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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20. Nineteen

“Permanently trying to hide

The scars we can’t remove

You’re drawn to me, and I’m still drawn to you.

I’m running out of room

For your tattoos

How can I get over you, over you?

When you’re all over me?”

 

Tattoo – Jason Derulo

 

Spring 2012

 

It was the moment I knew my fantasy was going to an end, and that reality was taking me back to where I belong.

 

Flashbacks of my entire year with him were the hardest to take to my chest. Every kiss, every hug, every cry, and every second of love we’ve spent together. Our rights and all the wrong things we’ve overcame together. Everything blinded me of what I believed he changed me to, but was still really am. They choked me to tell him the truth. It was the least that I could do to save him from the misery I’m about to bring him.

 

I am such a horrible person.

 

Looking back into his eyes, I know for a fact that it was genuine happiness. I knew him very well to tell what and what not was true about him. I could see them all in his eyes, how the glimmer in them says he’s not afraid I would say anything but yes, how the shine in his eyes tells me he was confident that he’s not making a mistake with his actions. All I know is that mine showed him the opposite, and Zayn was oblivious of it.

 

He believed so much in love. He thought I believed in the grandness of it too because I secured him with the three words of I love him. Those words were really dangerous. He didn’t know it was the very reason we’ll be crashing, shattering to pieces apart. He thought it was just him and me. He thought of forever engraved and entwined to our names together. He wasn’t fooling around by asking my hand for marriage. Zayn Malik wouldn’t dare joke about something as serious as marriage of all. He believed in us, that both of us were real and truthful. I honestly thought I was too –that was until recently that I realized, I was lying everything to Zayn, and the worst of all, to my own self.

 

How can you even think of breaking someone who means so much to you? How can you tell the truth to the person standing right in front of you, who expects for the best, is about to get the worst –all of it coming from the person he never expected to bring him would.

 

How can I do such cruelness to Zayn?

 

The screams from everyone watching in the background erupted and it worsened the anxiety that was circling up in the pit of my stomach. I could hear the girls shrieking and crying out of joy with what they’re witnessing. They thought it was the most romantic thing they’ve ever witnessed and it sickened me. I could hear the boys cheering mostly for Zayn and his chivalry. I could hear Niall’s loud voice, shouting some clouded words to me I couldn’t honestly understand at the point.

 

Though I can’t see their faces, I know everyone’s expecting me to say, ‘Yes, I will’.

 

Not one of them thought that I have the audacity to say no back.

 

“Campbelle…” Zayn called, still kneeling down in front of me.

 

“Babe?” he called me again.

 

The question kept repeating in my head.

 

Will you marry me?

 

Will you marry me?

 

Will you marry me?

 

Campbelle Laine Brooks, WILL YOU MARRY ME?

 

I looked back at Zayn’s waiting stare, copied his position and knelt down before him. I intertwined the fingers of my hands with his, felt like this was going to be the very last time I’ll ever do it so lovingly. He’ll never forgive me for what I’m about to do. He’ll never love me again like the way we loved one another. Friendship wasn’t an option for I seriously doubt we’ll ever be back to being close friends. It’s easy to turn friendship into love but never will be love into friendship. That’s like putting lime to a fresh wound and still smile like it didn’t hurt. Imagine all the sting and the pain afterwards, and all of this is about to happen just because I’m scared of committing myself for forever with him.

 

It was when the tears started flowing freely from my eyes.

 

He brushed the tears away with his hand and kept them rested in my cheeks as he leaned forward and gave my lips a kiss. The second our lips parted, I knew I’ll miss the way his sweet kisses lingered in my lips.  

 

My Zayn.

 

“It’s okay to cry, Campbelle.”

 

A reassurance from him was the last thing I’d want. He kept forgiving me with being so messed up. He didn’t know my internal struggle will bring him down too.

 

Oh my God, Zayn. My Zayn.

 

I shook my head and finally, managed to confess, “No… It’s not, Zayn.”

 

My heart was pounding madly because this was it.

 

This was the moment of clarity, the moment of the unintentional heartbreak brought by a scared soul. This is the moment of truth, and it was all said in one simple,

 

“No.”

 

Not even a second of hesitation in it. And before I knew it, words were coming out of my mouth without a pause, and there was in no way of escaping the cruel honesty in each of them and the later I’m about to speak off.

 

Zayn was for a second taken aback with my blatant answer. I saw how his shoulders dropped, off was his nervousness that was replaced by confusion. His thick brows furrowed as he slowly shook my head and let out a stuttered “W-what?”

 

I felt his grip tighten on my hand which was shaking as I continued crying.

 

I then placed them right to my racing heart. “I love you, I really do…but…”

 

I stammered.

 

“You’re making a mistake.”

 

My shoulders drooped. My face didn't work anymore - all it could do was sag, lifeless and bleak. Zayn remained motionless, like he was still processing what I was trying to tell him. His hands fell lifeless on his sides, away from my face. For some reason, I had expected a different reaction rather than pure silence and an unreadable face.

 

“Campbelle,” he called out once again as his hands held me back on my forearms, holding me still on my place. “I…I don’t understand-” he trailed off.

 

My voice cracked. I sniffled pathetically. “You are special, Zayn, and you deserve someone better, someone who’ll never hurt you, someone who’ll never break your heart -someone who isn’t me.”

 

He looked back at me with a blank expression. He really didn’t understand why I was pushing him.

 

I took in a deep painful breath in before I said, “I’m so sorry… but, I can’t… I can’t accept your proposal, Zayn.”

 

It completely broke my heart as soon as everything drawn to him.

 

He looked completely devastated.

 

My face crumpled.

 

“Forever doesn’t exist.” I finished in a whisper.

 

Zayn never said a single word back to me. The tears in my eyes were unstoppable, so was the rapid beating of my heart that hasn’t seized a second at all. I muffled a sob by covering my mouth. With my free arm, I pushed Zayn's hands away from my forearm and stood up. I let myself cry for a moment for all of them to see how a disaster we were, sniffling into my hand and then wrapping my arms around myself. This was my own battle, my guilt, my internal trouble.

 

 Zayn stayed where he was, perplexed and hurt, kneeling with his head staring at nothing but the ground where I once stood before I ran away.

 

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

 

            I had 43 missed calls and not one of them was from Zayn.

 

            I retreated myself and got a room on a hotel that was a few blocks away from where the whole team was staying.

 

My companion –a bottle of Jack, two bottles of Absolute Vodka and a pack of smoke, yet none of them helped me and that uncomfortable feeling that was building in my chest. I felt like a complete mess, inside and out.

 

Inhaling through my nose, I unfurled my crooked spine and turned to face my demons –the same demons that held me back from believing in happily ever after. It all seemed silly, if I let myself think about it, this place would be the last one I’d visit at the height of my transformation back to my insecure pathetic shell.

 

It took a lot of effort, but I pushed those thoughts aside.

 

Half through the bottle of Jack, I heard my phone ring again.

 

I tried to ignore it, but when I saw Zayn’s caller I.D I almost fell off my chair as I reached for my phone.

 

But then I stopped, what the hell am I doing?

 

There came the first ring. The second ring. The third ring.

 

Screw it.

 

As I was about to click answer, he ended the call.

 

And there came the fresh batch of tears in my eyes once again.

 

I’ve disappointed not only the people I love the most, but also myself.

 

I felt alone and lost and completely useless.

 

Zayn didn’t dare give me a call again. His was the last phone call that I received. They got tired and eventually given up, I suppose. My phone remained silent as I finished off the bottle of Jack with one gulp.

 

I’m all alone in a hotel room, drunk like there’s no more tomorrow, with a broken heart. I’m not sure if it will even heal ever again.

 

I heard a couple of knocks from someone at my door.

 

Swinging my way to open it, I was expecting it to be room service, but it wasn’t.

 

It was Harry.

 

My shoulders slumped, a glint of helplessness in my eyes as I questioned, “How did you…what are you doing here?”

 

Harry took four steps closer, appearing no less uncomfortable on the doormat and said, “Everyone’s looking for you.”

 

I grumbled to myself, bitterly refusing to accept this proclamation. I seriously doubt somebody would be willing to look for me after what I’ve done tonight.

 

“I want to be alone tonight, Harry.” I replied expressionlessly.

 

“Alcohol isn’t the solution for your problem, Campbelle.”

 

I took a deep sharp breath. “Neither is coming back with you.” I pointed back at him.

 

“Then so, just let me in so we can talk.”

 

“I don’t want to talk right now.” I told him.

 

“Please Campbelle, at least let me in so I can look after you.”

 

“I’m a grown ass woman who can fully take care of me, Harry. I don’t need anyone.” I spat back, drunkenly at him.

 

“You’re drunk, Campbelle. I’m not comfortable with leaving you here in this shitty hotel all by yourself.”

 

“Are you alone?”

 

He nodded.

 

I knew Harry won’t leave me alone even if I don’t let him in. I know how Harry thinks. I do get him most of the time. If I was on his shoe right now and he was the one broken, I would look for him too and see how he is.

 

Harry hasn’t said a word to me. He remained silent and just watched me puffed on smoke after smoke, which probably disgusted him. He’s told me before that he’s never been fond of my smoking habit, same goes to Liam.

 

I was the one who broke the silence in the room between us. “How did you know I’m here?”

I didn't mean for my question to sound cold and unwelcome, but I knew it was delivered that way. I chewed on my lower lip in regret.

“I followed you.”

 

“Without any of them knowing you did?” I asked him again. Someone’s bound to look where Harry Styles went.

 

“I’ve got my ways, Campbelle.” he answered.

 

I didn’t even tried to ask what he meant by it. If there’s one person who’s as cunning as I am, that will be Harry. He’s got ways none of us would know how and why he’s thought of doing so.

 

“Why did you say no to Zayn, Campbelle?”

 

I didn’t answer him. I’m not going to tell him what’s actually going on my mind the moment I said no to Zayn because the truth is nothing really was going on. I’ve gone blank. All I understand at that very moment is that if I say the other way around, Zayn and I will be going down spiral.

 

It took Harry some time to understand the meaning why I kept silent to him.

 

“I ask not because I’m supposed to be taking sides. I just want to understand you because right now, everyone else doesn’t.” he told me.

 

It’s because none of them were supposed to see us break, and I certainly do not give a fuck that they’re not on my side. Of course they’d blame me.

 

“If…If there’s anything, anyway I could help you-”

 

“I don’t fucking need anyone’s help.” I snapped at Harry, and it looked like I scared him.

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

Maybe I really was back to being numbed because I didn’t feel the tears fell down my eyes. It was only when Harry stood up and came closer to me so to wipe them off with his own warm hands that I noticed them and I understood that I was crying before him.

 

“Campbelle…” I felt his hand caress my face in such affectionate way.

 

With our faces inches away, my eyes blurry with the tears, Harry continued, “I don’t want to see you this messed up. I can feel you’re hurting yourself. I felt like I’m also one to blame because Zayn asked me to help him surprise you I didn’t have the slightest idea he was going to propose to you there.”

 

“Everyone’s surprised with what Zayn’s done. It wasn’t only you, Camp. It’s not your fault.” Harry told me.

 

All I did was to cry even harder.

 

“When I saw Zayn’s expression and heard your answer, I knew what was going to happen. When you ran away, everyone was worried for Zayn. I was, but more for you. If I didn’t get scared that I might lose you if I don’t follow you quickly, I would have stopped and asked Zayn. Why now?”

 

He was he only one who understood me and everything I thought about this whole thing.

 

Why now?

 

“You didn’t have to mind me.” I said, in between sobs, “Zayn’s your best friend.”

 

“You’re my best friend too. If it was hard for Zayn to accept your denial on his proposal, then how much worse would it be for you, because we all know how much you love him with all your heart, that’s why I wanted to understand from your point, so I can try and help if there’s any way I could. I don’t want you to break apart because of what you’ve done, Campbelle.”

 

I didn’t want any ways of comfort, because you can’t –in any possible way- mend a broken soul, not when it’s already shattered into tiny pieces.

 

For the first time, I introduced Harry that side of me, that one he’s never met before.

 

I told him everything –from my parents’ story, my childhood, my fear of losing myself with forever and how I became scared of committing eternity with somebody. He listened intently to every word I’ve got to say. All the little things he needed to know so he could understand why I said no, and I never stopped.

 

When my story came to its painful ending, Harry just looked at me with the same sadness I had in my eyes.

 

Harry and I, we were in some ways like one another. His parents also had a rough past, but he didn’t end up like me. He still sees his father which I don’t and never planned to at all. His parents explained to him and Gemma what happened to their family while my dad was just selfish and left us. To think it though, Harry was far from what I am.

 

Then out of the blue, Harry rolled his jacket’s sleeves up to until it reached half of his forearm, removed those many bracelets he wore in his wrist and I saw something that shocked me.

 

“Are those scars, Harry?”

 

There were dozens of them all over his wrists. He’s got scars too, just like I do. But Harry’s, they were visible -and permanent.

 

“When I was fourteen, these happened. I was also fourteen when I realized I needed to stop what I’m doing. I told myself, they don’t do anything different to me. Hurting myself won’t change anything, they never did. I stayed the same after all this time.”

 

“But you didn’t seem…I don’t see you…”

 

“I’ve learned this from you, Campbelle. One smile can hide all the pain.”

 

“How did you know?”

 

“I just do.” He said. “I’ve got scars in my body and stories I can never tell, not even you.”

 

That night, I realized Harry and I, we were the same. We’ve got the same devils that penetrated us in every dark way possible.

 

Harry and I, we were both lost in our sad past. It’s what made us this person we are now.

 

And nobody knew but us.

 

Without any warning, Harry snatched the bottle of vodka from the table and took a swig of it himself. I saw how his face scrunched up before he said, “That thing’s nasty. I can’t believe you finished two of those, and you’re not drunk?”

 

“I think my drunkenness got carried away by the tears. This is bullshit.” I said.

 

“You need to stop drinking now.”

 

“Well since you’ve invaded my pity party, what have you got on mind then?”

 

“We’ll think of something, you just wait.”

 

It was a mistake that I was too cruelly honest with Zayn. It was a mistake I eloped myself in a shitty hotel and got drunk. It was a mistake I knew about Harry’s scars.

 

Staring back at Harry, I finally realized, I made way too many mistakes this night.

 

What I didn’t know was that Harry and I were about to do one more that will change the way we are.

 

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

 

            I should have believed my mother when she said that smoking will kill me.

 

            If I die, it will be best to blame Zayn and the pack of cigarettes –which were his.

 

            Trouble, you’re always in trouble, Campbelle.

 

            I tried to keep my composure. I didn’t want to look weird in front of him, and my fuck it was really awkward. It should be. We haven’t had a conversation for like two years now. It is supposed to be awkward.

 

            I could run if I wanted to. I could run and disappear from Zayn and the boys’ life once again, but there was something so highly on the ground where I stood frozen that prevented me to. Whether it was Zayn’s look at me or that the fact he admitted the sticks were his –that he somehow admitted he wrote those words.

 

            Why in the world haven’t it came across my mind that it would have been Zayn’s?! It was crafty. It was bloody genius. It was on a pack of smoke. A smoke, Campbelle. Who the hell besides Zayn smokes in the band and is so dramatically creative on it? I shouldn’t have taken it if I just thought of it. Damn it. Look what happened. Look what your curiosity brought you, again.

 

            I shoved the pack a bit harder than I planned to back to Zayn, which completely shocked him might I just say. And because of his expression, I took the pack back to me and just realized what a completely idiot I was right in front of him.

 

            And then Zayn chuckled.

 

            The beautiful special and one of a kind Zayn laugh that no one would ever want to miss for the entire world. The Zayn laugh which is like you’ve heard big bells chime from the kingdom of heaven. You’re considered lucky if you’ve ever heard it personally –that kind of special.

 

            I thought for a second I was just imagining it, but then he said “It’s alright. We’ve shared smokes before.” He said them so cool and normal I felt the cue of all sorts of silly in my stomach.

 

            Oh my God, what is happening? I am not ready for this one on one interaction.

 

Zayn stepped on the balcony, right next to me, took a stick as well as the lighter, and then lit it.

 

Beautiful, just so fucking beautiful, as always he is.

 

            “Here, let me light yours.”

 

            He didn’t wait for my answer. Zayn took a quick step closer to me, like suddenly personal space was not an issue. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I found myself putting the stick of nicotine in my mouth as he put the lighter on and lit mine.

 

            In that moment, our eyes met for the first time after the horrible turn of events in his engagement party.

 

            “How’ve you been, Campbelle?” Zayn suddenly asked.

 

            I wasn’t in the mind with talking to him everything that’s happened to me for the two years that we haven’t seen each other. The chance that I locked myself in the room where his secretly marked cigarettes were lying wouldn’t have been lucked for us so to talk about how I’ve been a wreck when I left them and how it got a lot worse with my dilemma with Liam and Harry. I was seriously not going to begin a conversation with him and how messed up things were with his two best friends because I thought I was doing the right thing. Faith didn’t put us this close, huffing on cigarettes like how we were before, just so to check with what’s happened in my life and when he’s close to losing who he really is.

 

Zayn and I didn’t meet because we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Faith decided to play with us –once again.

 

            He’s been kept silent by the cigarette in between his lips.

 

We smoked next to each other. I wonder if he’s feeling the same as I do –anxious. My eyes were completely fixated at the markings he made on the stick.

 

            I STILL LOVE HER.

 

            Oh God, I don’t want to assume.

 

            Do not assume, Campbelle.

 

            Do note assume, Campbelle.

 

            Do. Not. Fucking. Assume. Campbelle Brooks. You can’t just assume. You’re not the only girl in the world. You’re not HER.

 

            Zayn noticed me looking at the stick. “Do you want to know why I wrote those words?”

 

            I kept silent.

 

            I honestly don’t want to know his answer. I’m not sure if I could take it right now, I haven’t got the chance to recover yet.

 

            But of course, Zayn was merciless. He didn’t care he was going to be straightforward. It was the way he was ever since.

 

“I wrote them in each of my cigarette because I hoped that with each one that I burn, I would mean it a little less.” He explained to me.

 

Zayn offered me a weak smile, which added a little color to his pale face.

 

 “Only, it’s not working for me. I can’t keep doing this to myself.” he admitted. “I can’t keep on missing her like this.”

 

But who is ‘her’?!

 

Our eyes met for a second before he said,

 

“I just want to go home.”

 

            It dawned upon me, the vivid image of the masterpiece we made in his wall.

 

            Zayn could only be talking about one home.

 

‘Home is wherever I’m with you.’

 

End Notes:

 

If you’ve forgotten the lovely phrase at the end of this chapter (YOU BETTER DID NOT), then I suggest you go back to chapter fourteen and see what Campbelle is talking about. :] Seriously though, that’s important so don’t just skip it, I mean how could you want to skip THAT chapter when that chapter alone was the whole reason why this story is rated NC-17. Hahahaha!

 

So how’s your Christmas, my beautiful readers? Eventful? Romantic? Cold? Meeh? Same same last year? Well I spent the whole day cooking for our Christmas Eve and writing the Christmas drabble. My dad was sick so I also had to take care of him, but nonetheless we had a nice feast together.

 

How about let’s talk about this chapter? Let me know what you think. :]

 

I did a little ‘manipulating’ with some pictures, and this what happened…

 

Campbelle and Zayn: 

It’s not perfect, but it’s seems real, right? :]

 

Cayn/Zelle shippers, rejoice with me! Mwahahahaha!

 

@_AndieTiu

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