War Cry

*unbelievably slow updates* One Direction is put onto a three year break. All of the guys have decided what to do with their lives in the meantime. Liam Payne chose to go into the army. He was glad to meet his best friend, she was nice and funny and someone so easily to get along with. She made his army experience a lot more enjoyable. But what if another band member finds her just as enjoyable as he does? Would he be jealous? Or would he be happy for her?

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23. Chapter 22

Chapter 22

 

Everything is so different now. We went from strangers to best friends to intimate friends to nothing. She won’t even be in the same room as me anymore. It hurt, that first day I saw her after we shared that moment. It was the next day and we all had dinner at Zayn’s place since Perrie was going back on tour and we all had to say goodbye. She looked straight at me, her green eyes panicking at the sight of me, and made up some bullshit excuse to leave the room. No one took notice of it, everyone just shrugged it off because they didn’t know there was a problem, and she left the room with no questions asked. The rest of the night progressed like that. I’d enter a room she’s in and then she’d skirt around the edges and move to another room with other people.

It was petty and childish of her to avoid me like this. She refused to even talk to me about it at her own place, always insisting Niall to be with her at all times. Niall though thought it was pretty odd as well but paid no mind to all the extra attention. It was so frustrating. Here I am, trying with all my might to fix this… whatever the hell we are now, and there she is avoiding me like the plague. I didn’t know what to do anymore. I tried and tried and tried. I didn’t want to give up. I thought she was worth the fight; she was worth the frustrating fight that I knew I was losing.

Now it’s been three days and I’ve barely left my apartment. I’ve wanted to talk to someone about what’s going on and usually that person would be Niall. So obviously I couldn’t talk to him. The next person was Zayn. Lately, it’s been easier to reach him now that Perrie has gone on tour.

“Liam,” Zayn greeted when he opened his door for me.

I smiled tightly in response. He pursed his lips but let me in anyway, holding the door wide enough to let me slip through. I settled into my favorite seat, the brown leather single couch closest to the TV, and took up his offer for a drink. He handed me a glass of scotch and took a sip a little too eagerly. It seems that all I ever do these days is drink.

“So, how you been? How you coping?” I asked. I’m not usually one for small talk but here I was, doing just that.

Zayn shrugged. “Fine. I mean, I’m always going to miss her but I’m starting to get used to all this long distance stuff. We’re both always going to be on tour anyway.”

It’s true. I had long distance down pat since my first serious girlfriend. It takes a long time to handle and cope with distance and it’s always going to be a problem. No matter what.  I nodded my head in understanding. 

“But this isn’t about me,” he stated, matter-of-factly. “You know, I’ve been waiting for you to talk. I watch you all the time. Perrie says I’m being an idiot but I know you, Liam. You’ve never acted like this before.”

I frowned. “Acted like what?”

“All closed off, barely talking,” he replied. I never realised that that was how I acted whenever we had our gatherings. In my head I’ve always thought I contributed as much as I usually do. But now that I look back, I seldom spoke to anyone, choosing to close myself off with the endless thoughts that circled around in my head. “So, what’s up?”

I sighed before I told him everything. From Christmas Eve and onwards. I told him about how I felt that night, about New Year’s Eve, and some vague details about that day. When I finished, I sat back, feeling relieved that I’ve finally told someone about what was going on.

Zayn stayed silent though, processing everything I’ve said. Finally he puffed out his cheeks before he took a sip from his drink. “That’s a lot of shit to dump on someone in one go,” he stated. I didn't reply. I knew it was a lot. I've kept everything in since the very start. I wanted to talk to Niall but obviously I can't because it's not some other girl I'm in love with. It's his girl I'm in love with. I thought I was going to sort through everything on my own, that I’d be able to figure out everything as I went. But I didn’t. Instead, I’m left with my thoughts all jumbled and my feelings all scattered and my actions all crazy.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell anyone about this from the beginning,” Zayn said. “That’s not like you. Weren’t you the one who told me to never be silent when my head is loud?”

I stilled. Of course I gave some advice about something like this. “Yeah, I was.”

“You should really start taking your own advice, Liam. They’re actually helpful.”

I leaned back on the chair, folding my leg over the other. I know my advice is helpful, that’s why I give it. But I never remember what I say so I never follow it. Yeah, I should’ve said something earlier but I felt like I couldn’t. Everything was too messed up. I didn’t know what I was feeling. Most of the time I just thought that I was only thinking what ever I was thinking because I was drunk.  I guess when I’m drunk that’s when I discover my real thoughts.

“What do I do, Zayn? I’ve been going crazy since Christmas!” I told him. He sighed.

“Look, Liam, I think you should tell Nia-“ I interrupted him before he finished his sentence.

“Are you crazy! I literally gave him my blessing when he asked if he could ask Tanya out. I told him there was nothing. I can’t just come up out of the blue and say, I’m actually in love with Tanya,” I said all in one breath. I stood up and began to pace. I felt like I was overreacting to the whole situation but I couldn’t care less. I really was going out of my mind with guilt. Especially after seeing her face when she answered the phone to Niall after we did it.

I still couldn’t believe we did it. I never condoned cheating, and there I was, willingly becoming the accessory to a sin. But honestly, I didn’t even think about Niall. All I could think about was her, and how much I love her and how much I miss her. All I could think about was her brown hair and her deep green eyes and her soft porcelain skin. It was cheesy and corny but it was true.

“Shut up and let me talk,” Zayn snapped. I shut up immediately. Whether or not he was being serious, his tone sounded like whatever he was going to say would help me more than my whining. “You should tell Niall because“ –he narrowed his eyes when my mouth opened slightly to protest– “he may understand what you’re thinking more than you know.”

I frowned. “How do you know?”

“Liam, he’s your best friend. Of course he would. Plus have you ever known Niall to let a girl get in between a relationship? He doesn’t love her like you do. And also you pretty much had dibs from the start, it doesn’t matter whether or not he asked for your permission,” he explained.

What he said actually made me feel better. Everything he said about Niall was true. He’s loyal to his friends. He literally lives by bros before hoes. He doesn’t believe that you should let a girl get in between a friendship. I pursed my lips as I thought it over. “True,” I finally replied.

“I know it’s true. Now get your ass over to Niall’s so you can stop whining and sulking and actually start having fun when you’re out with us. Seriously. Eleanor is like two days away from giving you an intervention and you know what Eleanor’s like,” he said. Eleanor is the ultimate mother hen. She’s a fright but there is no way we’d be able to survive without her.

“Okay, I will,” I paused. “Maybe later.”

Zayn shot me an irritated look before diving forward and grabbing my arm. “Ah! Zayn, what the hell?” I shouted. He didn’t answer but instead dragged me outside of his apartment and right outside of Niall’s.

“No, I’ll do it tomorrow,” I grumbled. I needed time to think and to memorise what I’m going to say. I can’t just do this out of nowhere. I have to prepare myself. He punched my shoulder hard and I bit my tongue to stop myself from screaming out loud. If I’m quiet enough, I could leave when Zayn leaves. Niall would never know I was here.

“No, I know you, Liam. When you say ‘maybe later’ you mean never.” Zayn knocked on the door and ran away. I stared after him, shocked that he would leave me here. I’m not ready to talk to Niall about this. I’m not. I’m going to freak and maybe faint. Or vomit. My hands started to shake. My god, I’m such a wuss but I couldn’t help it. There was no way I was ready for this. I was about to walk away when the door swung open.

Shit, I shouted in my head.

“Liam,” Niall greeted with shock in his tone and in his expression. I forced a smile though I’m pretty sure it came across as a grimace.

“Hi,” I said. Shit, I should’ve ran away as soon as Zayn ran off. I started to panic as all words leave my brain. I had no idea what to say or what to do. I was frozen, paralysed as I stared into Niall’s surprised blue eyes.

We stood like that for what felt like forever, just staring at each other. I had no idea what to say to him and neither did he. Or he was just waiting for me to say something. It felt so awkward that I found myself glancing behind him and noticing things I never noticed before, like how unorganised his apartment was and how there’s a stain on the wall that I suspected was from the mini spaghetti fight we had three years ago. I opened my mouth to say something but ended up closing it shut, not finding the right words to say.

“Want to come in?” He finally said after what felt like an hour of an awkward silence. I nodded in response, glancing behind me at Zayn’s closed door knowing that he was staring through the peephole. I glared at it before I walked into Niall’s apartment, shutting the door behind me.

I watched as Niall fussed around the room, a habit he does when he’s nervous. It didn’t make sense why he was nervous; I mean I wasn’t about to go off my head at him. But then I realised that he’s finally going to hear why I’ve been avoiding him for the past few months. Knowing Niall, he’s been thinking about this since day one and me being selfish, I never knew that it impacted Niall as much as it impacted me.

“Do you want a drink? Tea, coffee, water?” He asked, picking up a pillow then putting it back exactly where it was. “Or alcohol?”

I seriously considered taking his offer on alcohol since it would calm my nerves and numb my overdriving brain but I’ve had so much alcohol lately that it’s probably not good for my health to have any more. I swallowed visibly and asked for some water. He almost spun a whole 360 as he went to grab me some water. He looked lost in his own apartment.

I would’ve laughed at him if I weren’t so lost in my thoughts.

When he returned, he handed me my water and took a seat across from me on the single seat. He fidgeted with his fingers then the hem of his shirt then he finally rested his hands on the armrests of his chair.

“So,” he started, “how’ve you been?”

I tapped my fingers on the glass of my water before replying. “In a mess.”

Niall nodded. I didn’t know if he was agreeing or if he was listening to the thoughts in his head. “Good, good.” He was listening to the thoughts in his head.

“Niall,” I said, trying to catch his attention. He glanced up at me and smiled sheepishly.

“Sorry,” he mumbled. “I don’t know why I’m so nervous.”

I sighed. “I do. And that’s why I’m here.” He looked at me with expectation as he waited for my explanation. I leaned forward and set my glass on the rosewood coffee table.

“Look, Niall, I know I haven’t really spoken to you since like Christmas and I’m sorry.” I paused, working out how to tell him the rest of what I needed to say. “The truth is… Okay, let me start over. What happed was that I didn’t know what I was feeling when I told you that you could be with Tanya. I thought whatever I was feeling then was just in the moment or I was just being a good best friend and looking out for her. But the truth is, it wasn’t. I…” I sighed and looked away from him. “I have deeper feelings than I thought.”

I took a deep breath then looked up to meet his curious blue eyes. “I’m in love with her, Niall.”

He didn’t react straight away like I thought he would. I was bracing myself for a verbal attack or a physical one but he just sat there staring straight into me. I waited patiently and in agony for him to say something or do something. “Niall?”

Finally he snapped out of his stupor said, “I’m not surprised.” I couldn’t tell by his tone whether or not he was angry or not. I bit my lip nervously.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Look, Liam, I’m not going to lie and say I don’t feel anything for Tanya because I do. I really like her. But what I’m trying to say now is that I knew that one day you’re going to fall in love with her.”

I frowned. “So then why did you ask if you could date her?”

“Half because I wanted to and half because I wanted to see how long it would take you to realise what you felt for her,” Niall answered.

“That is one messed up logic, Niall,” I grumbled. “What if it took me longer and you fell in love with her?”

Niall laughed humourlessly. “Then I was fucked. But look you’ve known her longer and I have no right getting in between that. Bros before hoes.”

I smiled at him. Having Niall as a friend is pretty much the best thing you could ever ask for. He will never let anything ruin that friendship, just as long as you talk it out with him. He is invaluable. “Thanks, man. You’re really one of a kind.”

He shrugged with a smile. “Besides, she isn’t as into the relationship anyway. I feel like she’s just biding her time with me.”

I frowned. “It didn’t look like it on Christmas or New Year’s.”

He chuckled. “Haven’t you noticed that she was drunk both times?”

“What about when we went to lunch with Sophia?” I asked. Thinking back to how they held hands the whole time.

“She was more focused on you and Sophia,” he answered. “You should talk to her, you know. You’re probably not the only person that’s feeling deep feelings between the two of you.”

I leaned back on the sofa. I know I need to talk to her too. I contemplated whether or not to tell him about what Tanya and I did three days ago. It would probably crush him or he would understand. My god, my head is about to explode. “Niall, there’s one other thing.”

His eyebrows rose in question. I took a deep breath, trying to ignore all the protests going off in my head. I just couldn’t hold it in. I’d be overcome with guilt for the rest of my life. As I said, Niall’s invaluable and if he found out that I didn’t tell him about Tanya and I, he’d never forgive me. “I had sex with Tanya,” I blurted out, all in one breath and all in a rush.

His eyes widened. “What?”

I closed my eyes, my chest exploding in anxiety. I couldn’t determine what tone he had, whether it was shock or surprise, both words meaning completely different things in this context. “I know. It was stupid and I’m so sorry. I didn’t expect it to happen. I just went over to explain some things to her three days ago. It’s been a mess between her and me. I just wanted to fix things before I ruined our friendship. Jesus, Niall, I’m so sorry.” I didn’t open my eyes until I was done and when I did, I found Niall still wearing an unreadable expression.

Niall stood up and began to pace. He looked deep in thought. I then braced myself again for either a verbal attack or a physical attack. I stood up and placed my hand on his shoulder. I didn’t know what I aimed to achieve but I just did.

It surprised me when Niall gripped my hand and took it off his shoulder then punched me square in the jaw, all in one movement. Niall has never ever punched someone. He tries to avoid violence as much as possible. For him to hit someone, me nonetheless, is unbelievable. “Ah shit,” I moaned as I cupped my jaw.

He exhaled. “That felt better.”

I took a step back from him and moved my jaw side to side. It didn’t feel broken but man it hurt like a bitch. “Nice punch.”

“Thank you. There now that I’ve punched you, I solemnly swear not to attack you verbally or physically about you and Tanya,” he vowed, holding up his right hand.

“Thank you. And I’m sorry about that, okay. I really am. I’ve been holed up in my apartment trying to forget about it and trying to drown my guilt but I couldn’t. I couldn’t. I’m so sorry that I did that. I really am. And don’t blame Tanya because this was all me,” I told him. I didn’t want to tell him that she kissed me first. That would be so unfair to him.

“Okay. I’ll let you know when I forgive you,” Niall said.

I thanked the lord that this conversation turned out better than I thought. I was glad that I only came out of it with one punch to the jaw. To be honest I expected a whole lot more yelling and punching and maybe some bleeding. But I only got on punch and a bruised jaw. I said sorry once more before leaving his apartment and letting him think over what just happened between the two of us.

Next to talk to is Tanya. Good luck to me.

 

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How many months has it been? Two? Three? I’m really sorry. Been super busy with school.

 

- Winona

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