The Way We Are

My name is Campbelle Brooks, also known as every female Directioner’s worst nightmare.

Formerly known as Liam Payne’s best friend; Louis Tomlinson’s mortal enemy; Niall Horan’s erotic fixation; Harry Styles’ secret fuck buddy, and Zayn Malik’s girlfriend, now you know the reasons why everyone wants to murder me in my sleep.

It’s been a year since I got banished off the whole band’s life. Shamed and heart broken, I promised myself that I will forget everything that’s got to do with One Direction or that I even met them.

Only, life truly is a bitch. After getting an unplanned visit from an old forgotten friend, it was inevitable –again, here comes trouble.

"Somewhere in between falling in love with our midnight conversations that were exhaled through cigarette breaths and interrupted by coffee stains, and reading the love notes you had written on my flesh, I realized, I am in love with the presence of your words and the feel of your existence.

But am I in love with you?

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18. Eighteen

“This is looking like a contest of who can act like they care less

But I like it better when you were on my side.

The battle’s in your hands now

But I will lay my armor down

If you say you’d rather love than fight.

So many things that I wish you knew

But the story of us might be ending soon.”

 

Story of Us – Taylor Swift

 

No.

 

It was that one simple word that changed everything. It was that one word that broke the firm foundation Zayn and I made through the months. Just when I thought that we were enough, I had it all wrong. Just so wrong that both of us came crashing down to pieces because of that stupid answer.

 

What made it worse was it has stuck to all of us permanently. A scar it was that will be forever frowned upon. It was the reminder that our life isn’t some excerpt from a fairytale, that at some point, we were going to fall down and falter to the eyes of everyone who trusted in us.

 

Zayn Malik believed in forever. He wanted us to stay forever. Zayn asked me to be with him -for forever. I was scared of forever; a huge doubter of things that could happen if I let myself loose of the thoughts of forever simply because of the fright with what happened to my parents’ past. He didn’t know anything about that dark past of my childhood. It was that one part of me that I’ve never had the chance to tell Zayn at all because we never dwelled about it. Our relationship was all about happiness. We never had the chance to take a look and talk about the darker side of us.

 

We both lost control.  

 

I didn’t know who to blame. If there was even really someone exactly to blame for what happened that night. At first, I tried to blame it all to Zayn. The foolishness, carelessness and suddenness of that crucial question lead to the unexpected honest answer of no. It wouldn’t have happened if he thought for so long about it. He just threw it all in to me and expected me to say yes. We were both too young. People didn’t want us together. His family didn’t want me for him. I thought it was just the right thing to say and to do.

 

But then in some lonely nights I spent crying in a hotel bed, I would realize it was entirely my fault. It was because he didn’t know I was still afraid of what’s the possibility of life for both of us if I didn’t decline. If I did love Zayn like how I told and believed myself I was, then why am I afraid of all the chances that could happen if I share my whole life with him? Did it ever really matter? Zayn didn’t give a fuck for what the world would say, why can’t I? He didn’t care for what others might say about us, why would I? But is it really the problem? Were those really the basis why I said no?

 

It wasn’t.

 

I was weak. I was doubtful. I was stupid and was too scared.

 

Zayn’s always told me, nothing would mean anything to him if I never was there together with him. That was what scared me. He saw me as something that’s as positive as him towards the ups and downs of this life. He never knew I was his opposite. He never thought of asking about the secret fillers of those untold gaps in my past that I’ve never told anyone.

 

In the end, my cowardice cost me Zayn, my friends and that one thing I loved and held on for support in this life I have.

 

In the end, as I shattered for all the mistakes I made, little did I realize, Zayn has completely lost his way too until he has forgotten his way home.  

 

Maybe Liam was right. Maybe Liam did have a point of blaming me that none of these would have happened if I didn’t say no after all.

 

Yet if I didn’t say no, I wouldn’t have known about Liam’s feelings that he’s kept for so long. I wouldn’t see and understand what was right and wrong about our friendship. I wouldn’t have known Harry’s hopes and regrets. I wouldn’t have known some of the meanings behind his tattoos and the lyrics of the songs he wrote. I wouldn’t have known that they were holding on to me, and that I was so insensitive on them. I wouldn’t have realized everything that was wrong from the very beginning. I wouldn’t have known that I brought them so many complications. I wouldn’t have known that there were way too much more skeletons hidden deeply beneath my threshold, same goes with the boys, and if I made that mistake of accepting Zayn and forever, history will just repeat itself that it would cause pain to the man I love and I would never find myself again.

 

Maybe Liam was wrong. Maybe for once in my life, I did something I never thought would help and bring clarity to all of us.                                                                               

 

If I could turn back that time and Zayn would ask me the same question all over again, I would still tell him the same answer.

 

No.

 

I won’t let anyone of them make the same mistakes. They’ve even written a song about it.

 

“We take it for granted that we’ll be the same, but we’re all making the same mistakes.”

 

Spring 2012

 

            Two days of pure happiness. Two days of nothing but bliss. I felt the world around me didn’t matter because what mattered more than anything else was every moment I spent together with Zayn.

 

            He made sure I felt his love. He made sure I wake up every morning with him next to me. Zayn made sure that for the last two days before our very anniversary, I won’t forget why I chose to share half of me entirely to him –that half of me who was scared to take a leap of faith about love. He changed me, whether Zayn wanted it or not. What’s amazing is that I didn’t care that I have changed, or maybe it was at least safe to say it was all too late to accept the fact that somehow Zayn contributed so much with changing most of who am I. This feeling in me was new, and I was getting more and more comfortable about it.   

 

It’s amazing how life has turned out the way I’ve never expected it to be ever since I chose to share myself with someone like Zayn Malik.

 

It was the last night of their concert tour in Newcastle, the very same night of our first year anniversary. Zayn has mentioned something like a nice dinner after the show but I didn’t believe him. He’s always got something up on his sleeves that he’s perfectly tarnished the meaning of the word simple for me. He never settles for something just good these past three days, and it’s scary how the fans thought I’m making Zayn splurge down huge amount of money because it’s our anniversary. I mean, I told him a dozen of times I need no gifts but he insisted all the time and I just can’t say no because he’s already bought them or did them to surprise me. It’s not my fault he’s got money to spend. It’s not my fault he’s got control of himself with all that money he worked hard for and earned for simply being 1/5 of One Direction. It’s certainly not my fault if he wanted to spend it for an upcoming special day for both of us. It’s not my fault he wants us to remember we’ve made it stronger for a year now. Is that so bad?

 

Mitchie and I watched the show from the sidelines together with Danielle, Eleanor and the rest of the team. Don’t get me wrong, Danielle and Eleanor’s company is amazing but you can’t blame me if I just feel left out sometimes. They’ve been on the tour for weeks now, I just got back, and they’ve bonded way longer together, add on the fact that the fans loved and preferred them on the tour more than poor Campbelle, totally not my fault there. Mitchie was conveniently on the same town as we were just for today because she has to visit a first cousin who’s getting married and she’s going to be a bride’s maid. Guess I was just lucky for the time being.   

  

“Everyone’s getting married in my family. My cousin just got twenty-one two months ago and now she’s getting married. Even my own family thinks I need to settle now. I mean, I just graduated from school. Can’t I enjoy life myself for a little bit before getting tied for with a man for eternity? They think marriage is easy, and with what’s life today, I think everyone’s delusional and watched too many romance movie craps. I read that there’s a higher divorce rate for couples who tied knots in the lesser age of twenty. I believe that’s way too young, and way too foolish to settle with someone even if love is the so called foundation.” Mitchie complained as the song ‘Last First Kiss’ started on the stage and Liam singing the first verse.

 

Well, I couldn’t agree more to the statement. See what happened to my own parents for example.

 

            “But anyway, let’s not talk about marriage here. Your Zayn looks fantastic tonight. I can see it in his eyes that he is so happy.” Mitchie gushed as we both watched Zayn singing back up with the boys.

 

            I believe I’m a reason for that happiness in Zayn, and that alone makes me happy as well.

 

“You look glowing as well, Campbelle. Amazing how so in love you both are. I bet you two made up for those months you weren’t together.” Mitchie teased. She’s so eager to know the dirty details about my sex life with Zayn and it honestly makes me cringe even though she’s told me Cosmopolitan said in an article girls were supposed to share details of their love making. Sometimes, I do get boys. Women are hard to explain, and that’s coming from a woman’s point of view.

 

“But there’s something different in the way he presents himself tonight. Don’t you think it’s weird?” she asked me.

            “To be quite honest, he’s been weird lately.” I turned my eyes back at Zayn on the stage and caught him looking back at us while singing the words,

“Girl what would you do?
Would you wanna stay if I were to say

I wanna be last yeah
Baby let me be your, let me be your last first kiss
I wanna be first yeah
Wanna be the first to take it all the way like this
And if you only knew I wanna be last yeah
Baby let me be your last, your last first kiss.”

“I’ve heard from the Twitterverse that Zayn sang you a special song on one of their soundcheck a couple of days ago. Said it was something with the words ‘will you marry me’, tell me about it!”

 

“It was just a song, it’s nothing special. The boys make loads of songs all the time.”

 

“Liam said that Zayn made it himself. It must be special, Camp.” Danielle joined in. Eleanor nodded and said, “And can I just add that Zayn surprised you by singing it in front of the fans? That is so sweet!”

 

I felt my cheeks burning up. “I’ve told them never to surprise me again because it could be the death of me. The fans said I looked weird, like I was blue because of shock. I reckon I did look like I lost air in my lungs while listening to him. I mean the song was so blunt, right?”

 

“The title says it all, Camp, ‘Marry Me’. You’re thick if you don’t get it, honestly. If Louis sang a song like that to me, I’d probably end up crying on the side whilst their doing their soundcheck.” Eleanor said. I really hate her sometimes, just like how Louis gets really pissing lately. I think Louis’ haughtiness is just infecting that it has gotten through Eleanor’s big head –or she’s just really annoying like Louis.  

 

            “Campbelle, what if Zayn asks you to marry him tonight?”

 

            I stared back at Mitchie, completely shocked of the question she’s thrown at me.

 

            What?

 

“Girl what would you do?
Would you wanna stay if I were to say?”

 

            “Of course she’ll say yes!” Eleanor shrieked which caused some of the people near us give us quite a look.

 

            “Are you Campbelle?” Mitchie shot back sarcastically, looks like she hates Eleanor too, not that I’d blame her anyway. That woman is ridiculously loud and prissy just like her famous sassy boyfriend. “But seriously, will you say yes if Zayn does pop the question tonight? After all, it’s your first year anniversary.”

 

            “Girls, let’s not pressure Camp. That’s Zayn’s call. It’s wrong to presume, you might jinx it.” Danielle said.

 

            Eleanor looked angry before she excused herself away from us, probably going to bitch out that Mitchie sassed her out. Danielle went with her too that left me and Mitchie with a serious matter to discuss.

 

            Mitchie nudged me on the side and said, “I bet I made you think, huh?”

 

Not only did Mitchie made the screws in my head twist and turn, she also made me realize certain things. To be quite honest, I don’t even see myself walking down the aisle at all. Marriage is only for someone who believes in shit like fairytale endings, forever and happily ever after’s, just like Mum when she was a clueless young girl when it comes to love.

 

I don’t.

 

There’s still a part of me that doesn’t believe love would last that long because when you love, you already lose that better half of you and it would suck if you’re not sure that better half was shared to someone who’s willingly letting himself share his other half just like you did. That is how love works. Sometimes, love ruins people.

 

My father was the mere example. He took it all back for himself. I don’t want to end up like my Mum and my father. I don’t see myself marrying someone at all.

 

Not even Zayn.

 

I can’t be ruined because I tend to backfire to the people I’m closest to. I’m going to make them suffer if I did.

 

I can’t do that to Zayn.

 

But what if he does ask –not now, but might be some at some point in the near future, what will I do?

 

“Camp…Camp…Campbelle!” I heard Mitchie called.

 

“I’m sorry, what?”

 

“I just got a call from my cousin, would you mind if I go out of the arena for a while? This might be important. I’ll just meet you back after the show, alright?”

 

I just nodded and then Mitchie went on, leaving me all alone.

 

And I felt it in every inch of me. The loneliness that I thought was gone was creeping in every nerve in my body.

 

It felt uncomfortable. It felt like something was going to happen, and it would be thrown to me when I’m most defenseless.

 

I spent the last three songs of the boys completely out of daze. I was just staring at nothing. My thoughts were clouded by the worry of what I realized for myself. I mean, should I really be worried right now? I shouldn’t be bothered by something could or could not happen tonight, or the near future at least. It’s mine and Zayn’s anniversary. I should be happy. I need to show Zayn that I’m happy tonight. He’d know if something’s bothering me and he’ll make sure to ask what it is about. I can’t just tell him that ‘hey, don’t you dare offer me marriage because I just realized I’m scared of wedding bells and all that shit. Let’s just enjoy what we have now.’

 

Ah, fuck it. Why am I such a complicated person?

 

 Almost half an hour passed right after the show ended when I decided to look for them. I went straight to the boy’s changing room on the backstage but I didn’t find them there.

 

I saw Danielle and Eleanor coming towards me so I asked, “Where are the boys?”

 

“Where have you been? We’ve been looking everywhere for you and your friend.” Eleanor said nonchalantly. I really don’t like this bitch.

 

“The boys are back on the game room. Come on, they’re probably waiting for us.” Danielle told me.

 

When we got to the game room, Eleanor jumped right in between Louis and Niall who were already busy on a game in their Play Station while Danielle went straight to the couch and cuddled with Liam. Harry was talking to someone on his phone in a hushed tone. Zayn was nowhere in sight, my suspicion of something wicked coming started.

 

“Where’s Zayn?” I asked everyone in the room.

 

“He just went back to the tour bus, said he needed to get something.” Liam answered me back.

 

“Yeah, he’d be back in a minute.” Niall added too.

 

I let my mind rest for a while and sat myself next to Harry. He was quick to say goodbye to the person he’s speaking on the other line. Soon after placing his phone down, he faced me and grinned like there’s something he’s been hiding.

 

“Let me guess… new girlfriend?”

 

“I don’t have a new girlfriend.” Harry said.

 

I snickered. “So it’s ‘old girlfriend’? I mean, like, an older woman?”

 

He just chuckled back and answered again, “I don’t have a girlfriend, Campbelle.”

 

Harry smiled with me as I wrapped an arm around his neck and messed with his curls. “I don’t believe that smile. You’re hiding something. If it’s about me, you’re so dead so spill it now Styles, or you’ll be begging for mercy later.”

 

“But I’ve been told to keep my mouth shut.”

 

“You little…so, you really are hiding something!”

 

Harry just kept shaking his head, indicating I won’t get anything dirty from him.

 

“Camp, I thought you said your college friend is visiting you tonight?” He changed the subject. “I don’t see a friend. Is she imaginary?”

 

I cursed under my breath, “Ah fuck, I forgot about Mitchie.” I said as I was quick to jump out of the couch where Harry and I sat and dashed towards the door.

 

“Oh, wait…” Harry called me back, “Camp, I’ll come with you.”

 

Harry laced his hands together with mine so as we got out of the room.

 

Only, instead of me pulling him, he was the one dragging me to my feet.

 

He just kept himself quiet. I was looking right at him to where he was taking us.

 

“Harry, I’m pretty sure she went out of the arena because she said she needed to take a call from her cousin. This isn’t the way to the back door.” I told him as a matter of fact, but Harry kept pulling me on his own way.

 

            After going on circles, going to a few empty room and corridors, I realized Harry was playing tricks to me. It was only when I heard someone still playing some instruments that I understood Harry was taking me back to the stage.

 

            “Harry, wait… Why are you taking me here?” I asked him as he pulled me and we took a run on a flight of stairs up to the stage where they perform.

 

            Then that was where I found who I was looking for.

 

But it wasn’t Mitchie.

 

It was Zayn, standing right in the middle of the stage with few of the spotlights centered on him.

 

I should have trusted my instinct when I knew Harry was keeping a secret, and that it will be a about me again.

           

And that the secret was something that Zayn planned.

 

“Thanks, man.” He said as Harry waved back at him and jogged his way to the sidelines where I was the others lurking, looking back at Zayn and I, with grins in their faces I did not understand what was about for.

 

            Hands both casually tucked on his pocket, he smiled at me as I walked towards him. I just looked back at him, with my eyes asking for an answer to what he’s got in store for me this time. I gave him a look that clearly told him he was strange at some point.

 

“Do you remember the lyrics to ‘Marry Me’?” was what he asked to me first.

 

Understanding the fact that we were about to talk about that song already started making me anxious. And with how almost the whole team was present on the side, looking and listening to us, I’m not sure if they’re really supposed to be there witnessing what’s about to happen to us.

 

“Yes… Of course, I do.” I answered back in a soft tone.

 

Like, who wouldn’t? That song has been stuck to my head for a couple of days now.

 

I was just staring at him stare at me as well.

 

“That’s not entirely what the whole song meant.” He told me.

 

“Zayn, what are you trying to say?” I asked for clarification.

 

His eyes left mine, downcast they went for a minute before he looked back at me and said, “I don’t want to be with you for a hundred and five years.”

 

I heard gasps from everyone, including one from myself.

 

“W-what?”

 

“I can’t lose everything,” he continued.

 

Oh my god.

 

“Those were lies, Camp.” He finally blurted out.

 

I felt the sudden pang in my chest, like I was hit so hard on it. This wasn’t what I expected to hear from him, not here, not tonight. I couldn’t make of everything that I was hearing. All those words coming from him own mouth, does he mean-

 

“Zayn, are you-?”

 

I unknowingly took a step back, but Zayn just stepped forward until I felt his hand touch my face.

 

“I don’t want to be with you for just a hundred and five years,” he repeated, and then he added, “I want to be with you for forever.”

 

“I can’t lose everything, because… you to me are everything.” he took his other hand out from his pocket and there I saw the small red velvet box he’s been holding on to this whole time.

 

In the back of my head, something was screaming so loud I couldn’t hear anything else in the background.

 

This is all wrong, it said.

 

“Campbelle Laine Brooks…”

 

And before I could even understand anything he’s been saying, right in front of me, Zayn knelt down in one knee.

 

“Will you marry me?” he finally asked.

 

And that’s when everything became clear to me.

 

This night, Zayn and I, we were a disaster in the making.

 

-----------(The Way We Are)------------

 

“Niall, you’re nuts. This clearly is not going to work out.”

 

“I’m putting my faith in you with this, Campbelle. Isn’t that enough to at least get you to trust yourself?”

 

I just kept shaking my head at him as we made our way inside the hotel. “You don’t understand what you’re saying. Trust in me-”

 

Niall cut in and immediately said, “I do, and I already told you countless of times Camp, I’m the only one who understands what’s happening around, and as their friend, I need to do something before it’s too late. I want my friend back to the way he’s supposed to be living. I want Zayn to understand. I want Harry and Liam too. Hell, I want Louis to also see you’ve already been through a lot and he needs to forgive you.”

 

I sighed, defeated, “Nothing’s going to change once Zayn sees me again this time.”

 

“You haven’t even given yourself a chance to do it, yet.”

 

Niall and I have been bickering nonstop all throughout the ride to the venue where they were scheduled to do a fan gathering.

 

The decision of coming with him to see Zayn and try to have a conversation with him tops of all the stupid things I’ve recently did.

 

So as soon as I stepped on the room where the boys were, everyone’s eyes laid upon on me. I began hyperventilating and I looked not an inch good at all.

 

If it wasn’t enough anxiety that I was just a few feet away from Zayn, then I don’t know what’s going to kill me –that Zayn and I was in the same room or that the Zerrie supporters, Zerrie haters suddenly turned Campbelle Brooks fans slash Cayn/Zelle shippers have begun a fandom war in the venue, as per what Twitter recently has told Niall. I don’t understand these people.

 

It all started when they found out everything that happened in the engagement party, made up plenty of stories that said I gate crashed and wrecked the whole party, that Perrie and I had a bitch fight in the middle of their engagement party because I’m that much of a home wrecker.

 

No fucking way I did any of those. It’s horrifying how they could construe what really happened on the party and blame it entirely to me.

 

Not liking the tension on the room where they were doing the signing, I retreated and made my way on a deserted room. I needed to breathe. I couldn’t when everyone’s staring at me like that.

 

I guess I was just lucky that nobody was on the room and see me there. I’m sure Niall haven’t told anyone, other than Liam and Harry, that he’s taking me with him. But even Harry and Liam were doubtful I should be in a room together with the rest of them, especially Zayn.

 

And as saving grace, I found myself a pack of cigarettes lying on the table. I could at least calm with having a few smokes. Hopefully nobody barges in anytime soon. I wanted a bit of privacy when I’m smoking.

 

I took the pack of cigarettes, together with the lighter lying on top of it and walked to the open balcony.

 

I took a stick and put it on my mouth, lit the lighter on until I noticed something on the cigarette stick.

 

Written in bold letters, it says:

 

I STILL LOVE HER

 

I quickly removed the stick out of my lips and stared at it for quite some time. I took the pack and see if the other sticks have markings like it, and they do -all twenty of them.

 

I STILL LOVE HER

 

While I was staring with fascination at the cigarette sticks and the message I found on them, I heard someone talk just behind me,

 

“Those are mine.”

 

End Notes:

 

I apologize for taking so long to update. The past few weeks were really hard for me. After being hospitalized for nearly two weeks, I lost a significant other and I’ve been grieving so much that it was so hard to accept I lost my mommy, and that it’s not very healthy for me, especially when I’m not strong at all. I lost an inspiration. I lost someone who believed in me. She’s my number one fan. I lost someone who knew everything I’ve been going through this past few years and it’s slowly sinking to me that I’ll never get to tell her how happy I am when people likes my stories. That’s why it took me so long to come up with this chapter, and if this sucks, I’m really sorry. I’ll do better next chapter, I promise. Thank you so much for those who waited patiently, and I’m truly grateful I’ve got readers like you guys.

 

Thank you for praying for my recovery. Thank you for sticking with me and the story. I know some people won’t give a fuck with what I shared, but I treat you readers as my friends, I just wanted you all to know what’s happened. Don’t worry, I’m okay now, and you’ll be reading more from me. :]

 

@_AndieTiu

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