Up All Night

Cara's a Directioner. She's one of the minority that won't freak out when she meets One Direction. And that's what makes one of the boys fall for her. But their love story isn't going to always be perfect. That's what makes them real and ready to stay up all night for each other.

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3. Taken~Cara

 

I have Liam Payne’s phone number.  Liam Payne of One Direction.  And Niall Horan’s, too.  While Niall was signing my CD, he asked if I wanted his and Liam’s numbers.  Of course I said yes.  Megan had already stepped away by then, so she has no idea what happened.

I stare down at my phone where I entered in Liam and Niall’s numbers.  Tentatively, I type out a text to Niall.

HI, NIALL, THIS IS CARA FROM THE SIGNING, I say. NOW YOU HAVE MY #, TOO. :)

I take a deep breath and send the text.  My fingers shake as I try and figure out what to say to Liam.  What if he doesn’t like that Niall gave me his number?  Setting down my phone, I decide it’ll be best to let Liam text me first.

A few hours later, I’m hanging out in my dorm and studying for an upcoming history exam.  My roommate, Holly, comes back from a class.  We exchange small talk, and then she settles in to study for an exam she has.

Then my phone rings.  I startle before reaching for it.  It’s Liam.

“Hello?” I say cautiously.

“Cara?  It’s Liam Payne,” he says in that oh-so-gorgeous British accent.

I giggle and automatically hate myself for sending like a typical fangirl.  “Yeah, I know.  Niall gave me your number.  I hope that’s all right.”

“And he gave me yours,” Liam counters. “The guys and I loved how you were so calm, and we wanted to invite you to hang out with us tomorrow.  Nothing special, probably just lounge around the hotel, maybe go to the game room, maybe swim.  Are you up for that?”

My heart rate quickens.  “Oh my gosh, are you serious?” I ask. “You’re not kidding?”

“Definitely not kidding, love,” Liam says with a laugh.

“Well, I have classes in the morning.  Is it okay if I come over around one in the afternoon?”

He replies, “Of course.  I’ll text you the hotel address and let security know you’re coming.  There are fans swarming the entrance.  I feel so bad for the other guests at the hotel.  They’re being so inconvenienced.”

I smile faintly.  That’s Liam Payne, a.k.a. Daddy Direction for you.  He’s really sweet and sincerely cares about other people.  We say good-bye, and I try to go back to my assignments, but it’s pretty hard.  My focus is completely off now that I can’t stop thinking about hanging out with One Direction.

 

Holly, who isn’t a One Direction fan, drops me off at the boys’ hotel.  I thank her and then walk to the front door.  A security guard asks me to present identification.

“Oh, yes,” he says. “Liam told me to be expecting you, Miss Palmer.  You can head inside.  Just tell the clerks at the desk who you are, and they’ll direct you to the boys’ rooms.”

I smile my thanks, and shortly, I’m headed up to the ninth floor.  Liam, Niall, and Zayn are in a two-bedroom suite, and Harry and Louis are sharing a room.  I knock on the door for Liam’s room, just because I feel more comfortable seeing him and Niall first.  After all, they’re the ones who have my phone number.  Niall and I texted a lot last night—he’s a sweet guy, and we’re already becoming friends.

“Cara!” Niall exclaims when he opens the door.  His face breaks into a giant grin, and he pulls me into a famous Horan hug.

He lets me into the room.  Liam is hanging out on the sofa, and he jumps up immediately when he sees me.  My heart flutters at how flustered he seems.

“Hey, Cara.”

“Hi,” I say shyly.

He gives me a quick hug, although his hands linger on my arms when he pulls away.

Harry and Louis arrive soon.  I can tell they’re all trying to make me feel comfortable, since I’m the only girl.  They can also probably sense my shyness.  Eventually, we head down to the pool.  It’s pretty much deserted; I guess most of the people who stay at this hotel are in the Twin Cities for business.

Although the guys are very comfortable shirtless—and I can’t help but sneak peeks—I wait until the last minute to remove the towel I wrapped around my waist.  I’m just a bit self-conscious.  My bathing suit isn’t too revealing, though.  It’s a navy blue tankini with white polka-dots and very retro-looking.

I race Harry and Louis in a swim-off across the pool (Louis beats Harry and me) and tease Zayn for staying in the very shallow end.  Niall picks me up and drops me into the water on multiple occasions, so I splash him for revenge.  Zayn, Harry, and Louis leave early to dry off—we’re ordering pizza in a bit—and then Niall smiles slyly and heads upstairs, too.  Now it’s just Liam and me.

I show off a bit and swim the length of the pool and back.  Liam hangs out at the deeper end, and when I reach him, he surprises me and picks me up, bridal-style.  My hands go around his neck automatically.

“You’re so tiny,” he laughs.

“Well, yeah, compared to you,” I tease. “You’re, what?  Five-ten?  I’m five-foot-nothing.”

“Yeah, that’s small,” Liam shoots back.

Then, time slows down.  I laugh, and Liam smiles faintly.  He leans in, and before I can think about what he’s doing, Liam kisses me softly and sweetly.

The door to the pool area slams open, and Liam drops me, startled.  I go under, and when I resurface, sputtering slightly, I see Niall.  His jaw is practically on the floor.

“I just…what toppings do you guys want on the pizza…yeah, I’m gonna go,” Niall stumbles over his words.

As Niall leaves and I tread water, I risk a glance up at Liam.  His brown eyes meet my blue ones, and I look away, embarrassed.

“I’m going to go dry off,” I mumble before swimming across the pool to shallower water.

Liam goes to the ladder and pulls himself up.  Our towels are right next to each other, but we stay silent as we dry off and head to the elevators.  The air conditioning hits me hard, and my teeth begin to chatter.  I feel Liam’s eyes on me.  My bet is that he wants to put his arms around me, but he doesn’t.

I dress quickly in one of the bathrooms and squeeze all the water out of my hair.  I have good timing, because the pizzas arrive just as I finish dressing.  We all grab slices and cans of soda and settle in the living room area.  I strategically make sure I’m sitting between Harry and Zayn, who are most definitely taken.

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