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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25. Chapter 24

Chapter 24

 

Tanya’s POV

 

I felt the pounding in my head before I was even fully conscious. It was like a hard knocking on the walls of my skull, like my brain was pulsing and expanding so it could explode. I kept my eyes closed, knowing that if I opened it and saw light it would get worse. I clutched my temples like it would do any good. I’m not usually a puker after a night of heavy drinking but I could feel bile rising up my throat and I knew that it wasn’t because of the alcohol. As I lay on the cold hard ground, I tried to recall how I came to this moment of getting, possibly, the worst hangover I’ve ever gotten in my life.

 

The memories of Harry’s party came flooding back. Images of the party, of Liam, then of Liam’s apartment with a bottle of vodka between the pair of us. I jumped up in shock as images of us kissing flooded into my mind. No, no, no! This is not happening, absolutely not. I looked down at my body which was wrapped in a sheet; I was most definitely naked under it. The room I was in was most definitely Liam’s and the arm draped across my waist was most definitely Liam’s. My heart hammered in my chest. Why did I kiss him? How could he let me kiss him, especially in my inebriated state?

 

I carefully eased myself out of his embrace and off the bed. Looking around his room, I picked up my discarded pieces of clothing that were thrown around the room and looked suspiciously like a trail leading out to the hall.

 

“Where the hell are you going?” I jumped when Liam’s voice echoed in the silence of his room. I turned to face him, still naked with my clothes clutched to my chest. His eyes were narrowed in accusation. It baffled me that he didn’t just let me leave, let me deal with the embarrassment on my own.

 

“Home?” I replied but it came out more like a question. I could feel my blood rush to my cheeks. It felt like his apartment had been blasted up to thirty degrees.

 

“Figures,” he scoffed as he ripped the sheets away, “of course, you would run off without even thinking about talking over this with me.”

 

I was stunned. It never occurred to me that Liam had never spoken to me this way before. He had never made any snide comments and it had spoiled me. Only now had I realised that I don’t deserve him as a friend or anything more. But god, I want everything that is attached to ‘more’. I want it all. I was prepared to give him the ‘more’ since I’ve discovered that I liked him, really really liked him. But I don’t deserve him and I’m not selfish enough to take whatever I want. Liam is one a whole new level compared to me. I’ve done nothing but push him away when he’s done nothing but be there person I needed him to be.

 

I’m such a mess.

 

I frowned. “I-I’m sorry.”

 

He swung his legs over the edge, standing up in all his naked glory without so much as a blink. My eyes dropped unconsciously, and took in the sight of his erection. I knew it was because of the morning, like the morning wood, but part of me kind of wished it was because of me. I clutched my discarded clothes tighter to my chest and dragged my eyes back to his.

 

The anger on his face was prominent. I’ve never seen so much rage contort his features; not even when we were in the army. I felt like a deer caught in headlights. I was frozen and so very unsure as to how I should proceed. Now I wished I put my clothes back on before I thought about sneaking out.

 

“What exactly was your plan, Tanya? Were you just going to sneak out and act like nothing happened? Or were you just going to avoid me like you had for the past few weeks since the last time we had sex?” There was no mistaking the frustration in his tone as he pulled on a pair of boxers. I couldn’t see his face as he kept it on his feet and I kind of wished I did. I wanted to see those soft brown eyes hard with rage for once.

 

“I-I,” I stammered. I was absolutely frozen. I’m not one for confrontation. I’m the type of person to come up with certain scenarios in my head where I do end up confronting someone and lay all my thoughts and feelings. But when it happens, I always feel caught. Trapped with my mouth opening and closing like a damn fish because I never have any idea what to say.

 

Exhibit A: this moment right here.

 

“You what?” His tone wasn’t angry anymore, it was defeat and that hurt more than his fury. I bit my lip and glanced down at my bare feet.

 

“I’ll just put my clothes on then we can talk,” I replied. I didn’t wait for an answer, turning and heading straight to the bathroom to put my clothes on. The ache in my temple was still there, but it was the hangover kind of ache, it was a hurt and confused kind of ache.

 

Liam has never been angry at me which is a feat in itself seeing as he has had plenty of opportunity to be angry at me. I quickly got dressed into the clothes from the previous day sans the underwear since I hate wearing day old underwear. I took lungfuls of breaths before walking out of the bathroom. I was afraid for what awaited me once I walked out. He wasn’t in his bedroom anymore but his bedroom was trashed. I was surprised I didn’t hear it all. His sheets were torn off his bed, his lamp torn from the power socket and on the floor, clothes all over the floor and draws opened in his closet.

 

My heart cracked a little bit more.

 

I walked out of his room and into his living room to find him with two coffees out on his balcony table. He was leaning over the railing, his head hung low over the great height of the building. I inhaled a deep breath, preparing myself for the conversation to come. Picking up the coffee, I folded myself on one of the balcony chairs, keeping to the silence that hung between us. I hugged the warmth of my mug towards my chest, finding comfort in the temperature.

 

We stayed like this for what felt like hours. I could practically hear him thinking, I just wish I knew what was going through his head. I wish that we didn’t hold this conversation of for so long. I wish I wasn’t so scared of finding something real between us. I wish I didn’t push him away like the idiot that I am. I just wish I could go back in time and knock myself over the head and tell myself that I had no reason to be scared.

 

“Are you ready to talk?” He finally asked, head still hung, elbows still firmly placed on the railing.

 

“Yes,” I whispered, barely audible over the morning traffic below. He raised his head, stretching his arms beyond him, still not looking at me. I thought it was better this way, I wouldn’t have to look at the hurt and disappointment in his eyes. He won’t have to see my regret in mine, my regret for everything I’ve ever done, including meeting him. Because meeting him opened this doorway of years in which I was oblivious to his feelings and my own. It opened years to putting him through this unnecessary and undeserved hurt. If I never met him he would still be able to live his own life with his band and with the entire world behind him.

 

“You know what,” he began, “I don’t even think I’m falling anymore.” The pause cracked my heart. God, if he wasn’t falling anymore I think I might just break apart. Of course, just when I’ve had my great epiphany, it’s too late. “I’ve already fallen. Fallen hard so long ago.”

 

My heart shattered. It shattered right across the balcony, into my coffee, onto the chair, down to the busy traffic below, filling the air around us. I’m split between relief and fear. Relief that, finally, both our feelings are reciprocated. Fear that I’m going to disappoint him again, and again, and again. That I’m going to ruin this even more than I have. A lot more than I already have. I’d be surprised if we could even salvage some sort of relationship from this horrid mess. I stayed quiet as I let his confession settle in.

 

“I’ve loved you all this time and you've never even noticed it. I watched your back constantly when we were on tour, I made sure you didn't lose yourself in bitterness after what we saw. I forced myself to believe that you're my best friend and nothing else because I knew, I knew, that that was all you wanted. I’ve spent four years burrowing these feelings down for you.”

 

“You could have just told me.” I cried. I was at a loss for words. If I had found out earlier, I would have… I have no idea what I had done. I only realised that I loved him a couple of days ago. God, was that why he didn’t tell me? Because he knew I wouldn’t have known how to react.

 

“And what? Ruined our friendship? Push you away further? You forget, Tanya, that I know exactly what runs through your mind. You weren’t ready for this, for me. I knew it. But now, god, I thought something could come out of all of this. After that day two weeks ago, I thought, finally, she feels it too. Then you kicked me out and didn’t talk to me at all for two weeks. Do you know how much that hurt? God, Tanya, you ripped me to shreds!” The pain in his voice was un-fucking-real. I couldn’t deal with the calmness he evoked on this situation. I’d rather there be yelling, fighting, arguing, but allt here is is this one-sided explanation that I had no idea how to control. That’s what it was with me most of the time, control. And for some reason, I felt more in control when it’s chaos. This isn’t chaos. This is still and I don’t know how to read it.

 

I took a deep breath and tried to swallow the lump in my throat that stopped me from talking calmly. “Liam, I’m sorry. I’m sorry, okay? I don’t know how to externalise my feelings. I tend to keep everything to myself and I don’t know how to show it to everyone, especially you. I love you, okay? I love you too but I don’t know what to do with it. I’ve never loved anyone like this in my whole life and I can’t handle it. I was scared that I will ruin everything before anything even started, I still am. But it seems like I already have.”

 

He turned around abruptly and took two long strides and knelt before me. I could read every emotion on his face and in his eyes. So much pain in his every being. “You’re not the only one who’s scared, Tanya! I’ve been scared since the start. Scared that I’ll lose you as a friend, scared that you’ll never love me the same way. But I fell, anyway because you have to take chances in your life every now and then.”

 

It shouldn’t have, but my mind flicked back to the letter from the army I received last week. It’s been sitting on my coffee table, the edges starting to wrinkle and the creases starting to rip already with the amount of times I’ve opened and read it. I remember the words on it. I remember how it asks me whether I want to come back.

 

Being in the army, it made me understand things more. With all that chaos, I knew what I was doing. And I knew that the army made me feel like I belonged somewhere. But I hesitated in replying back because of Liam. I don’t want to leave him, I don’t want to go back there without him because despite everything that’s going on now, we were a team there. I don’t know if I’ll be able to go back to do something I love without the person who kept it all together.

 

I placed my hands on either sides of his face, the stubble along his jaw tickling my palms. He wrapped his hands around my wrist, not moving me away, thankfully, but just holding me there. His eyes never moved from mine. He held me there, pinned my very being to that chair with his piercing eyes. I slowly leaned in, pressing my lips to his soft ones. It was barely anything, a small kiss to the lips. He didn’t push it further and neither did I. But it said and meant everything. Taking a deep breath, I pulled away. The lingering question at the back of my head was finally answered. “I’m sorry,” I whispered.

 

I left his apartment and it took a great amount of strength, strength I was surprised I had, to no turn back around.

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