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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7. Seven

 

“Didn't wanna want you

Didn't wanna need you so bad

Didn't wanna wake up

And find that I was falling so fast.

Didn't wanna need you

Didn't wanna need anyone

Now look what you've done.”

The Way I Do – Joe Cheng

 

“Hold your horses down for a second. I need to digest everything you just said, Camp!”

 

I had to tell Mary Anne everything, and I mean everything. From how Liam and I became best friends, how Liam and I had this ‘friends with benefits’ thing, how I was there before Liam, Zayn, Harry, Niall and Louis became the world famous lads of One Direction. I told her details about my relationship with Zayn, how Harry got involved, how every relationship ended with so much heartache, and so did my life with them. After witnessing how I completely broke down in front of her, she insisted to know what the real story behind me was. Mary Anne said she’d listen to me like an older sister I never had.

 

“Okay, so let’s get this down again. You know One Direction, hell, you went on a tour with them and were basically best friends with One Direction -excluding Louis on the latter half of course-, but you messed up your two year relationship with Zayn Malik because of a steamy arrangement with the one and only Harry Styles? In the end, you were banished by your own best friend, Liam Payne. And that crushed you. You disappeared for eighteen months, but never found peace anywhere other than your own home, Wolverhampton. And you think you’ve healed after you went away. But now that you’re back, all of a sudden whirl, you’re meeting them all over again and you’re scared of what might happen, am I right?” Mary Anne asked.

 

I nodded back at her, only to be shot with “You whore.”

 

“Wow, thanks for stating the obvious, Mary Anne. You should join the trending topic, hash tag ‘Campbelle the whore-der of One Direction is back’.” I mocked.

 

“I don’t have a Twitter account. Why do you think I never heard or read anything about you? What do the fans call those who are new to the fandom, carrots? Yeah, that’s me. I’ve never been obsessed with them since the beginning. Puberty just got them right in every way, that’s practically the reason why I became a fan. They’re gorgeous, but after everything you told me, I change my mind. They’re all sorts of dumbfucks, excluding my Nialler, of course. Do you think you can set me up with him?”

 

I frowned back and asked, “Have you really been listening to me?”

 

“Ehh, just about half of it, I guess? All my brain could comprehend were you fucking Liam, Zayn and Harry all at the same time. Honestly, I never pegged you as that kind of girl. Well, you’re hot and gorgeous, yes. Damn, who would say no?” I purposely have her see me roll my eyes at her. Not helping at all. “But who am I to judge why you did that? You lived, breathed, touched and practically were one of them. Not that I’m saying you took advantage or anything, but I guess you just got confused with your emotions.”

 

I hesitated for a while, before I answered back, “I’m a mess.”

 

“That’s what you want to believe, Camp. I reckon you are. If you were a mess, you wouldn’t come back. You wouldn’t take Liam back. I understand you, Camp. You’re just confused because those boys are the ones who are messed up in those heads -on top and down below!”

 

But am I? What if Mary Anne was just saying that because she knows my side of the story? Could she tell the same if she’s heard Zayn’s or Harry’s?  

 

“Oh my fucking god, so that was really Liam lurking outside our shop?! Damn! I just saw Liam Payne and missed the chance to ask for a picture. I knew I saw a glimpse of Liam that other day! He stopped by to check on you!”

 

“That was just one time. I told him immediately don’t come back if he still wants to live because my mate from work is bonkers about him and his band.”

 

“Camp, you did not!” she exclaimed as she hit me in the head with a hanger.

 

Somehow I managed to laugh. “I can’t believe I’m friends with someone who’s seen those five boys in their naked glory. Totally jealous of you right now Campbelle Brooks! No wonder you get death threats.” She told me again.

 

“Remind me to call my mum so to pick me up. The chances of me getting abducted later would come across like 99.9%.”

 

I’m expecting a huge mob of fans outside my house after my shift. I just know it. Again, thank you, Liam.

 

I resorted back to stacking the shelves with the trinkets I dropped earlier when I heard Mary Anne behind me said, “There’s just something I don’t quite understand about you, Camp.”

 

I turned around and gave her a confused look back. “What is it?” I asked right away.

 

“If you were just really confused, how come you know straight away that you needed Harry?”

 

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

 

Winter 2011

 

Zayn made me fall in love with him every single time, all over again.

 

Oh my god, I am so in love with Zayn Malik.

 

He’s gone home earlier yesterday before the rest of us could so to spend the holidays with his family. Liam, Harry and I were bound for the airport an hour later after lunch time because Liam had to wait for a delayed package that was his Christmas gift for Ana while Harry’s flight got cancelled last night.

 

Since we couldn’t be together for our first Christmas as an official couple because I was spending it with my Mum, Liam and the rest of the family back in Wolverhampton while he’s away in Bradford, Zayn surprised me with an early Christmas gift, delivered to my hotel room along with personal written card by him.

 

He gave me a simple Tiffany & Co.’s (read: gasps!) necklace, with a pea-sized teardrop diamond as pendant. It was so beautiful, I felt like crying. I have never received something so simple yet so big for me. I was never the person who was fond of receiving gifts, I’m contented and enjoyed the littlest things I already have in my life and that what makes me happy. But the fact that it came from Zayn himself made it special more than anything I ever had in my life.

 

I was just Campbelle Brooks. What have I done so special for me to deserve this much?

 

‘I hope this isn’t too much for an early Christmas gift. It’s just that the diamond pendant reminds me so much of your eyes when I look at them and they sparkle with joy. Happy holidays Campbelle.

Love, Zayn’

 

If he was here with me, I would say how much I love him.

 

I am truly, madly, deeply in love with him.

 

“Let me guess, Zayn?” a deep voice filled my ears just like always.

 

I turned around and found Harry standing just a few feet behind me, hands tucked inside his pockets while he was leaning against the doorframe of mine and Liam’s hotel room. A smile etched beautifully in his cheeks with those pair of dimples showing in either side of his handsome face.

 

“Oh! Good morning, Harry.” I greeted as I nodded for him to come inside. My mouth stretched wide with the biggest grin in the history of Campbelle Brooks. I bet with the way Harry’s brows were shot mockingly, I probably looked insane to him. What has love done to me?

 

“Look at you, smiling in the morning. I never knew you were capable of that. I could get used to this.” Harry said as he made his way, sat next to me on the bed and together, we adored the fine gift on my palm. “Zayn’s got that quite right.” he said in that low British accent he has.

 

“Huh?”

 

“I was with Zayn when he purchased that. He said when the first time he saw the diamond, it quickly reminded him of your eyes. Said they always sparkle when he looks at them. Just like now.” Harry explained to me.

 

Harry would be a good boyfriend, I thought of. No wonder girls liked him the most. He’s too adorable. He just really knows how to make a girl’s heart melt with the words he says, how to compliment and see to it that a smile would appear after.

 

I’m definitely smiling; happily in love with Zayn and happy that I’ve got a good friend beside me.

 

“Could you please help me put it on?” I asked.

 

“Of course,”

 

Harry and I went to the bathroom where the vanity mirror was. He stood behind me as he clasped the lock of the piece jewelry securely on my neck. I smiled back at Harry as he glanced back at me through the mirror. I looked back at the necklace hanging just perfectly on my neck, its diamond pendant lying on that crook in the middle between my collar bones.

 

Then all of a sudden, all I could feel was his breath right against my neck, how his fingertips brushed lightly on the skin that sent shivers down my spine and at the same time, felt his body warmth close to my back as Harry softly whispered, “Beautiful.”

 

I shrugged the thought that was starting to cloud my head. Oh for fuck’s sake Camp. This is just Harry. He could be flirty, yes, but Harry’s just like a brother to you. There was no need to put meaning to his every move.

 

And so I joked, “Do you mean ‘the necklace’ or ‘the Campbelle’?”

 

I just watched as Harry grinned back at me. “You really are something, Camp. Zayn’s very lucky to have you.”

 

“And why is that?”

 

I looked at him from the mirror as he took tentative steps backwards away from me, without losing his stare, he muttered slowly, “He gets to hold a piece of happiness I could never have for myself. Things I can’t, I guess.”

 

I stood there, confused for the first time as I watched Harry walked away and left me there. Something’s telling me Harry wasn’t fooling, nor even trying to be cryptic. He wants to point something.

 

But the diamond’s sparkle that reflected through the mirror distracted my thoughts.

 

I was Zayn’s happiness.

 

That’s all you need to remember, Campbelle Brooks.

 

----------(The Way We Are)---------- 

 

I declined Mary Anne’s request of dropping me to my house herself, because I could already imagine the hoard of girls outside our house. She clearly doesn’t have the slightest idea that Directioners are crazy morbid kind of fans. The chances of me getting inside the perimeter of my own home without getting locks of hair off my scalp was highly, I won’t risk of her getting hurt too, especially when she’s got little Kelly on the backseat of her car. Those girls wouldn’t care less who I was with. They’d try and hit the lights out of me wherever or whenever they could.

 

I was standing alone outside the shop patiently waiting for my Mum to pick me up when I heard my phone ring inside my bag.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Camp,” I instantly recognized Liam’s voice on the other line. “I’m-”

 

“Please tell me you’re not in Wolverhampton yet or I’ll seriously hit you once I get home.”

 

“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to tell everyone that you’re back-”

 

“Yeah, so I’ve heard. You’re lucky I’m not yet home, or else you’ll hear the cries of your fans as they skin and burn me alive.”

 

“Camp, please stop thinking like that. You don’t have to worry. I told the fans on twitter not to hurt you or I’ll be pretty pissed back at them.” he told me back.

 

He actually sounded proud of what he did whereas I wanted to smack myself hard on the nearest pole post. “Since when did your fans ever listen to you when it comes in to terms about me?”

 

I hated arguing with Liam, but sometimes he’s really just an idiot. Liam threatening the fans was fuel to the burning fire of hatred for Campbelle Brooks. Damn it.

 

“Are you on your way home?” Liam asked.

 

“I asked Mum to pick me up.” I replied. “Anyway, how’s your day besides getting the hot seat on MTV?”

 

Liam was silent for quite a few second. I heard him sigh from the other line before he blurted out, “It was horrible, honestly. A fight started on our way back to the studio after the interview. I had to get in between Harry and Za-,”

 

“No, stop. I don’t what to know, Liam.”

 

Again, the line between us got damn pretty mute for a little while after I cut Liam from telling me anything further. I don’t want to hear. All I asked was about him. I was already fine with him telling me it was horrible. At least I wasn’t the only one feeling bad myself for how the whole world felt like against me.

 

“I’m sorry, Camp.” I heard Liam whisper.

 

I shook my head back, completely knowing he’d imagine me doing it so, but never would ask if I did. “There’s nothing to apologize for.” I said back.

 

“No, there is.” Liam insisted. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you right now.”

 

“Liam, you’re not obliged to be always present next to me all the time. You can’t shut your entire attention solely to me. You’ve got a life, a job, and whole loads of people to take in consideration. You’ve got everything planned for you right now. I can’t have you feel you need to always protect me. I’m not the only person you have in your world. That’s unhealthy in our friendship, Liam.”

 

“But I promised I’ll help you no matter what happens.”

 

“I know! I know you’re trying so hard to help me, but please, you need to think about yourself too. It won’t make me feel any better if I see you hurting in the process. Liam, please.”

 

“I’m not hurting, Camp. I just want you back. I want to have my Campbelle back.”

 

Never was Liam Payne the possessive kind of guy. I guess the year and a half time I was gone has really changed a lot about Liam and I.

 

He never called me ‘my Campbelle’ before.

 

Those were Zayn’s.

 

For the umpteenth time that day, tears have resurfaced my eyes. A sob choked right down under my throat, threatening. But I managed not to hold them all down as I muttered back slowly through Liam’s way, “I am. Not completely whole, but I am back.”

 

Even I believed myself with what came out of my mouth.

 

“We’re schedule for a few more radio and show appearances for the next few days and that’s it. As soon as we get a day off, I’ll fly back home. I promise.”

 

I smiled, hoping Liam would feel how comforting that sounded for me. “I won’t go anywhere. I promise too.”

 

This time, I’m going to do that promise for him. It was the only way Liam and I could keep each other.

 

“I lov-”

 

Only, timing’s a bitch. I hang up too soon.

 

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

 

Last night was a complete riot. The very second the fans caught a glimpse of me, they went mental. Mum almost wrecked the car and got us both hurt because she got scared of the angry mob chasing us down the road. If I was the one driving, I would have killed at least five of those damn motherfuckers.

 

Thank God someone from our concerned neighborhood called the cops and helped control the crowd. Only, it took them an hour –and a lot of persuading, more like threatening- to dissolve every single one of them. I think Mum was traumatized by the whole experience. Oh if she only knew this was just the beginning…again.

 

Fortunately, not a sight of a fan girl showed outside our doorsteps this morning. Mary Anne suggested I stay home for today. Said she’d tell the manager I called for a sick leave. In return, she asked me to babysit Kelly, something to distract for a little while.

 

Mum remained at home too, helping me out with Kelly. Told you she’s dead scared of the events at night.

 

Then Mary Anne said I was on local news. It turns out I wasn’t only on the local news. My name was all over the media, expecting a show of paparazzi for the next few hours. Fun -fucking- tastic everything right now is, really.

 

Liam called after he found out through Ana what happened to us. I heard it from him that he tweeted how gravely disappointed he was on those fans that went lunatic and told them Mum and I almost got harmed. He said he’s taking the next flight home as soon as possible. A show got cancelled and they were free to do whatever they want just for today.

 

And it hit me like a fucking hammer, hard on the head. This was exactly how my life was back then. Back when I was everyone’s girl. Back when everyone envied me for bull loads of reasons. Back when I was the old Campbelle Brooks. Back when I thought I was the luckiest bitch in the world.

 

Karma has hit jackpot on me quite well. Look where I am.

 

I can never change the past; I can only change what might happen in the future so in the end, hopefully, I’d still get a happy ending.

 

“Campbelle Laine Brooks!” I heard Mum shouted from the anteroom.

 

It was already mid-afternoon and Kelly and I were just chilling when Mum stormed inside the kitchen. Startled both of us, I almost fell off my chair. “Don’t you dare give the child Nutella and cotton candy!”

 

I can’t help it. The combo was my guilty pleasure. Kelly must learn from the expert that Nutella was a jar full of happiness.

 

And sugar, calories and most of all, cavities. Oh, the cleverness of me.

 

Sorry, Mary Anne. I’m corrupting your two year old child with my addiction of sweets. Hopefully, she doesn’t grow up like me.

 

Well, you know exactly what I mean.

 

“Just so you know I don’t have a stack of fairy floss now.” I told her as a matter of fact. “See, I’m feeding her some bananas.” The little girl was sitting on top of a stack of books on the chair next to me. But the obvious brown gooeyness of the snack all over her mouth gave it away.

 

“But with Nutella.” She corrected.

 

“Come on Mum, just eat with us.”

 

“I’m not eating mashed bananas, honey.”

 

“Banana! Yum, yum, yum! Mum Campy!” Kelly cheered as she took a spoonful of the mashed food and dumped it over her face.

 

“Aww, such an adorable little girl, yes, you are, little Kelly.” Mum cooed as she took Kelly and said, “You want to take a bath? Yes? Let’s wash you, okay? I’ll make you play with Mum Campy’s rubber ducky.”

 

“I don’t have a rubber ducky!”

 

I totally have one. A yellow little ducky, sitting right next to my milk bubble bath salts. Not that I’ve used and played with it before…okay, I sucked on lying.

  

They left me sitting quietly alone there on the kitchen, enjoying my spoon full of Nutella, the only thing that’s making me happy as of the moment. Reminiscing those times when I would scare Liam with me chasing him off around the house with spoons. How Liam and I would spend our weekends out in the sunshine while he sings me songs he’s written himself. All those times when Liam would sneak behind me while I’m cooking, pull me to the back garden and fool around. How normal things were before. How I wish things were just simpler again. I’d give anything for that normal life back.

 

When all of a sudden, I heard the doorbell rang, taking me completely out of the reverie.

 

I knew right away who it was. It couldn’t be a fan, nor would it be some stupid paparazzo (read: those two never ring the doorbell).

 

As I expected, it was Liam himself that greeted me where he stood right in front of our doorstep as opened it. Worry etched all over his face, I could see. He must have gone straight home coming from the airport, taken by the way he was still in his brown coat, black scarf on his neck and on his shoulders slung his travelling bag.

 

A sigh of relief has gone right out of our chest as soon as Liam threw his arms around me and lifted me up for an embrace. “Thank God, you’re safe,” were the first words he said to me. How melodramatic, it’s only been days since he went away. How I always long for Liam even if it’s wrong couldn’t just go away. There will always be somewhere in me that won’t stop from asking Liam to be always with me.

 

How our friendship has gone this way, I couldn’t explain in words.

 

I could feel his face buried in the crook of my neck, while as I had both of my eyes closed as I took everything in me. He never fails to make me feel this way –so comfortable, so safe that I couldn’t care less about the world around me or anything else.

 

“Told you I’ll be just right here where you left me,” I told Liam, now staring at him straight in the eyes. “I promised, remember? And I’m-”

 

My head jerked back in surprise. Words that were supposed to be spoken out were suddenly caught in the back of my throat as I saw the sight of him just a few steps behind us.

 

“Camp, he… uhm, he wanted to come. I said no, but you know him. There was no point on stopping him.” Liam said beside me, my feet back on the ground, standing so still. I took a step away from Liam just so to see if it was really him.

 

Hands in his pockets, Harry wore a self-conscious smile. He looked wonderful. His emerald eyes were shining. His jacket was unzipped, a scarf was slung lazily around his neck, and he was wearing a beanie to cover his brown locks of curls. Harry’s never changed. I realized he’s been always the same as before.

 

I didn't care if yet this day would end in heartbreak. I’m ready to face him, face the pain all over again, wearing my heart right out of my sleeves for him to see how he’s been the biggest regret I have to finally face. The fact that I couldn’t see him hurt anymore was worth the risk of suffering in the end.   

 

Without wasting more time, I ran towards Harry, running in full speed and jumped right into his expecting arms. Harry smiled as wrapped an arm around his neck, hugged him as tightly as I could. I felt him lace his fingers at the small of my back.  This could be the last time I’d have the guts to do this. I’m not letting fate fell short at us.

 

I snuggled into Harry’s embrace and all those emotions that were left unsaid came out without a halt. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry, Harry.” I began. Harry pulled away and had his hands shakily reaching for my cheeks. “I did this to you. I did this to all of you. I ruined everyone’s friendship because I’m so selfish -I’m whole loads of bad news. I never meant to hurt you in anyway, Harry. I’m really sorry.”

 

Harry planted a kiss on my forehead before he rested his own temple against mine. I could feel his lips hovering only mere inches away. Then just so softly, he whispered to them, “No, it’s my fault. You’re worth all the trouble in the world, Camp.”

 

End Notes:

 

Ok! I know this is going all sorts of crazy right now, especially between Harry, Liam and Campbelle, but please don't freak out! Well, maybe not yet, promise we'll get there. Trust me. :) You know I love you guys. <3

 

Thank you so much for all the support you're giving The Way We Are. I know I'm not the best writer here, but the reviews I receive are just overwhelming. I jus really couldn't thank you enough!

 

@_AndieTiu (Tweet me! I'll send you cookies!)

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