Michael's point of view
"Fuckin sick" I whisper as I look at my hair in the small hall mirror. I avoid the bathroom mirror at all costs because it shows way more than my face. "What would magenta frosting taste like?" I hear Ashton ask Lou and I roll my eyes. "I think... Maybe like raspberries" Lou says and i laugh. I come out from the hall and into the kitchen and Ashton smiles widely and proudly states "you are now my magenta cupcake" and I smile. "You see..." He begins, looking at Lou "Mikey is a cupcake, and every time he dyes his hair his frosting changes flavours, the last was green so his frosting flavour was grass" and I blush, embarrassed whenever he goes over this with people, he can't just explain that he likes to call me cupcake, no, that would be too basic, he has to give a full explanation. "You guys are fuckin adorable" Lou whispers. "You and those damn pink cheeks always blushing at every endearing thing that escapes his mouth" she says, pointing at me "and you with those eyes that light up at every thing he says, hanging on to every word, always at the edge of your seat" she says, pointing at Ashton. Ashton leans over and says quietly "that's not very punk rock of you" and I burst out laughing. He laughs too and Lou just rolls her eyes before packing up all her things and saying "you guys are being too cute, I'm out" and she tells Lux to pick up her toys.
After both of their things are collected and packed in bags Lou gives us both hugs and kisses on the cheek before heading out the door with Lux, but before Lux crosses through the door she runs back and hugs both me and Ashton, making us both smile and she runs back to an emotional Lou who is clearly touched by Lux's cuteness. The door shuts behind them and again me and Ash are left in silence. "Hi sunshine" I say cheekily with a sweet smile. "Hello cupcake" he returns and I smile.
Ashton's point of view
Mikey's mobile beeps in the pocket of his one-legged striped jeans that make him look incredibly tall. "S' from Tom and it says he has an opening where we can both get waiter jobs at some restaurant, or a game store. Game store gig would be pretty sick but I'd rather work in a place where we both sort of know what we are doing so d'ya wanna go for the waiter one?" He supplies and I smile at the thoughtfulness of him not wanting to stick me in a place I know almost nothing about. "Okay let's do it.. When?" I ask. "Next week." He says and I nod. "Well that'll be cool" I say blatantly and he laughs. "What do we do now?" I ask after a long silence. "Have a cuddle and video games?" He asks. "Sounds good to me" I say and walk go the couch and plop down. I rest my head on the arm rest and stretch my legs across the whole couch and my feet slightly hang over the edge. Mikey walks over to the television and turns on the Xbox and messes with it for while. After it's on and he puts a random game in he grabs two remotes and shuffles over to the couch before plopping on top of me and erupts in a fit of laughter. One of his legs hangs off the couch and the other is laced in between my legs and his arms are hung loosely around my neck and his newly coloured magenta hair is tickling my neck and I giggle. Once he's realised what he's doing he shakes his head like crazy and it makes me laugh harder before trying to push him off without hurting him. After a few kisses and a bit more tickling we finally play the game and Mikey has to guide me though the whole thing because I'm almost clueless when it comes to this stuff. "What the fuck Ash! you are complicating it so much... Literally just point the gun and shoot, s'not that hard" he exclaims.
Michael's point of view
"Not everyone is as incredibly talented at this nerd stuff as you are" Ashton says to me and I laugh a little at the praise that is hardly believable. "Incredibly talented is an overstatement" I say and he rolls his eyes in endearment at me. "Always so self deprecating" he says sadly and reaches over and leans into my chest. "You're very pretty and smart and funny and you are so good to me, why can't you be good to yourself?" He asks, grabbing around my waist. "Because people give the love they want back and don't think they deserve the love from the people they love more than themselves" I say and he looks up at me. "You know it's true Ash because why else would you have cut? You loved so many people and almost none of them loved you back" I say and raise my hand to my forehead, regretting bringing that up. "S...speaking of cutting... This will probably be the weirdest question I'll ever ask you but I was wondering if you'd mind if I cut just one more time, and let me explain" he says. It hurts that he's asking such a messed up question but I wait till he's done. "So I have four cuts all in a line right here" he says and pulls his bracelets back to show me a spot on the side of his wrist where as he said there are four lines next to each other "and I wanted to put one cut across them for a tally mark, sort of like a tattoo but a scar tattoo" he finishes and I think about it. The tally mark has always been his thing, and he could have just not asked me and done it on his own so it means a lot that he asked. "It has nothing to do with anything that has hurt you, you just wanna make it into a tally mark yeah?" I ask and he confirms it by saying "absolutely nothing to do with anybody or anything hurting me, just want to turn it into a tally mark." I nod and look at him in the eyes, searching for any piece of pain or any trace of hopelessness that I have seen for a vey long time. "Fuck it. Fine" I say and he nods and grabs my hands and holds them for awhile, occasionally kissing my knuckles. "I'll do it later, you're too fucking captivating to get up and do anything else" he says and I smile. "So endearing" I whisper and he giggles. "You said I was pretty, why can't I have a punk rock word like hardcore or a manly word like handsome?" I ask and he laughs. "Well you are handsome and sometimes hardcore but you're pretty, Like not girly, Just pretty. Like pretty face, pretty hair, pretty eyes, pretty lips" he says and I blush but hide it by shoving my face in his chest. "Find summat down there?" He asks and I giggle in his armpit. "Tosser" he remarks at my giggles. "Oh shut up" I say, muffled by his armpit. I throw my hand in the air and aim to hit him in the stomach but end up dropping my fist right on his crotch and he cries out in pain but it comes out mixed with laughter because he is laughing hysterically. "You dick!" He yells through laughs and I laugh too.
Calum's point of view
-what'd ya do with ya little's
'Lukey' texts and I rub my face in stress before texting back
-ice cream treat and they wanted to go fuckin rollerskating, it was horrible. Kept fallin on me ass but they had fun so that's all that matters. You?-
And I hit send and continue packing my things. My hands shake in nervousness even though we aren't leaving for a few days. His reply comes back quickly and a second message comes in shortly after
-had a nice day I guess??? my little's just wntd 2 play with my guitar and jump all ovr my bed and we ended up passed out on the lounge floor wtchn toy story-
And the other message has an American mobile number and it says
-the flat wher mike n' ash stayin at, call dems mby and see if we can come dere plz?-
I send a quick okay message back before using my iPod to call through a calling app. "Hello, Larry's Royal Oak apartments, Louis speaking" a chipper American bloke says. "Hello, my names Calum, I have two Aussie friends at your apartments, Michael and Ashton, so me and another friend wanted to come and surprise them and stay at your apartments for awhile, and I was callin to ask if that was all cool" I say and the bloke on the other line laughs and says to someone "the Aussies are taking over, two more wanna come here Haz, is that alright with you?" And a male voice responds but I don't hear exactly what the he says. "Harry says that's fine, when will we be expecting you?" He asks. "Three days" I reply. "Thanks see you then" the bloke says and I sigh in relief and hang up. I grab my mobile and call Luke and he picks up on the second ring. "Hi Lukey everything's good they said were okay to come" I blurt out in excitement. "Well good, I'm excited." He says and I can see the smile on his face in my mind. "Me too. M' gonna finish packin I'll catch ya laters Lukey" I say and he laughs "okay princess love you" he says and I smile fondly "love you too." And hang up. I go around my room searching for the belongings I don't want to leave behind. Photos, guitar picks, a few pairs of shoes, several pairs of basic black skinnies, a bunch of my favourite shirts, and a few snapbacks and beanies. I leave three jeans on my floor in front of my closet and put shirts on them, three outfits for the last three days so I'm not living out of this backpack. I neatly roll up all the clothes as I place them in my backpack and laugh to myself, picturing Luke just shoving all his clothes in a backpack, not even folding them so he can get a lot more in there. After all the clothes I want to bring are packed I scan my room for anything that I should bring. I see the dart gun in my windowsill, and it brings back memories. I walk over to my window and pull it open and look at Ashton's window. I smile at all the times we shot darts at each other through the window and all the nights we've snuck through each other's windows after coming back late from causing trouble around town. For the fun of it, I shoot one dart over and I sit and watch and picture like a slide show of all the times Ashton has ever come and retrieved the darts, always a giant smile on his face. After reminiscing those dart gun window memories I go back and check through my room again, forgetting under my bed the first time. I get down on my knees and reach under my bed and swipe my arms for only a few things to slide out, including my lock box, and I sigh in relief that I checked under the bed because we really needed this money. I open the lock box and quickly put the saved up money in my wallet and toss it in my backpack. I go back to the lock box and a few photos of me and Luke are in it, photos that I wouldn't hang on my wall for various reasons. I smile and decide to put these in the stack of photographs I'm already bringing. After I empty the lock box I slide it back under my bed and look at the other things that came out from under the bed, one of Ashton's bandanas, a few rubber bracelets, crisp bags that are definitely Michael's and a pair of briefs. I toss the crisps bag into the bin and throw the briefs in the laundry hamper. As soon as I realise I'm done I sigh in relief and fall onto my bed, "here comes the weekend, hanging out with my best friend" plays softly through my radio and before I know it I'm drifting to sleep minutes later.
When I wake up in the morning I decide that I want to go out with a bang, and text Luke after I get a really good idea.
-skipping today, we're gonna have some fun, pick me up-
I message him and he reads it immediately like the good boyfriend he is and texts back seconds later with
-okay be there soon princess-
and It makes me smile. I throw my phone on my bed and get on one of the sets of clothes I have folded in front of my closet. I slip into black skinnies, a maroon tank top and black vans, grabbing my phone, wallet, ray-bans and a black beanie as I walk out the door, slipping past my family quickly and getting outside before anyone sees me. I sit on the pavement of my driveway in front of the garage and wait for my boyfriend, the live version of Lithium by Nirvana playing softly from my phone.
"Hi" Luke greets as he opens my door, what a fuckin gentlemen. "You look hot today" I say and he blushes. He steals the beanie off my head and swaps it out with his black SnapBack and now he looks less hot but more cute. The black tank top he wears has the Blink-182 logo on it, his black skinnies look similar to mine, and his all black converse fitting what he's wearing all together and I wonder how did I even get someone so attractive. "Where are we going?" He asks and puts his hand over the centre console to hold my hand. "Arcade" I say and grab his hand and he smiles wide. "Definitely worth skipping school" he says and I nod. "Well I wanted to go out with a bang you know so do summat like really fuckin fun as like the last memory and all" I say and he nods. He drives to the local arcade, holding my hand the whole time and using his thumb to rub small patters on my hand.
When we get there and go inside it is almost empty. I laugh at the fact that the only people there are parents with their little's that aren't old enough to go to school yet. "50 coins please" I say to the lady at the main counter. "Twenty five dollars" she says and I pull out the money and hand it over. She gives me the coins and I split them evenly and Luke smiles and kisses my cheek. "Thank you princess" he says and grabs my hand as we walk through the arcade, deciding what we are doing first. "Ski ball?" He asks and points to the ski ball lanes. "Fuck yeah" I say and follow him over to the lanes. He inserts three coins and the brown ski balls come out of the shoot and he takes two and hands me two. "You first" I say and he nods. The first one he slides up the lane goes into the 1000 points, the lowest score and he grimaces before stepping back and letting me go. I score the 2000 points and let him go again. He gets the 2000 and I give him a high five but he brushes it off. I slide my second ball in and it gets in the 4000 and Luke glares at me. I laugh and he steps up to the lane again. He puts the ball in my face and says "kiss it." I raise an eyebrow and say "that's nasty do you know how many hands touch that" and he rolls his eyes. "Okay Michael" he mocks, referring to Michael's borderline Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and adds "well then at least kiss my hand" and I laugh but oblige. He rolls the ball and the excitement that comes out of him as the ball goes into the 9000 is so contagious. "You have a lucky kiss!" He says and grabs my jaw and kisses me. "Oh my god" I say as I pull out of the kiss and the smile on his face is wide enough to make me smile too. We pull out the 14 tickets we won and walk around more. "Okay what next big shot?" I ask and he rolls his eyes. "That was all you" he says, referring to the ski ball. I shake my head but then point to the basketball hoops. "Okay" he says and we walk to the hoops. I place in six coins and five basketballs come out of each cage. A bell rings and me and Luke both grab the basketballs and aim in the hoops that are moving. He bumps my hip and makes me lose my balance, making one of my basketballs off and not getting into the hoop. To get revenge I smack his ass and the blush that spreads on his face as he looks around to see if anyone else saw makes him miss two more baskets. He still ends up winning and folds up the 23 tickets we won and slides them in his pocket. "Oh hell yeah" he says and pulls me to the race games. We take a seat in the fake car seats, putting in three coins each and select our fancy cars. "You're going to lose this too" he says with a smirk and I roll my eyes. I think of Michael and how unimpressed he would be with the cheap graphics of this game but know Ashton would enjoy it because the stupid animated girls opening the race with giant boobs. The race begins and since we have to have our hands on the steering wheels we don't try and mess each other up, but sometimes "bastard" and "asshole" come out in spite. I win and I get to kiss the fake-mad look off Luke's face that I find so adorable. "Pac man dude" he says and points to the pac man machine. "Aw but they're back to back" he says in a sad tone when we approach the machines. "And?" I ask and he shrugs. I put in three coins as he walks to the other side where the other pac man machine is backed up against mine. We both start at the same time and Luke comes back to my machine only after probably two minutes and I roll my eyes. He puts his chin on my shoulder as I play and says "I can't do good when you aren't there" and it causes me to smile. "Flirt" I tease and he kisses my cheek. After i finish my game, winning a lofty 10 tickets we walk around more, Luke pointing out all the little's he thinks are cute and it makes me smile.
We spend 12 other coins on the pinball machine, a lame dance game, whack-a-mole and with three left we go to the photo booth. "Okay we have to do something stupidly stereotypical like you sit on my lap or kiss my cheek" Luke says and I laugh hysterically. "Oh my fucking god" I say through a laugh and he takes my three coins and puts his coins and mine in the machine. I laugh but oblige and sit on his lap and put my arms around his shoulder and kiss his cheek and after the first photo snaps we run out of ideas. "Wait, one where it looks like I'm strangling you" he says and it makes me laugh again. He makes his eyes wide and gently puts his hands around my neck and after the photo snaps I can't help but laugh. "For real kiss this time though" I say softly and he nods. I kiss him gently and think to myself "this one is so mine" and tickle his neck as the photo snaps and the smile he has that you can see as he kisses me is so perfect. "Three more" he says and I nod. "Funny faces?" I ask and he nods. I cross my eyes, pull my ears and blow air under my lips so I look like a monkey and with my eyes crossed I can't see what silly face Luke is pulling but I know he won't fail to make me laugh. "Confused" i say and he raises his eyebrow. I raise mine and the photo snaps and we both ponder the last one. "Okay you on my lap this time and do stupid stereotypical cheek kiss one" I say and he laughs but gets up and sits on my lap after I sit down. I feel his lip ring when he kisses my cheek and photo snaps, freeing us from this incredibly small and claustrophobic space. The printer on the outside of the booth prints the photos and they make me smile so wide. "We're literally the two most compatible human beings ever" Luke says and it makes me laugh, I wouldn't exactly word it like that but I agree. We walk up to the counter and the Lady counts our tickets, telling us our total is eighty nine. "Close your eyes" I say and he rolls his eyes but obliges. I look around at all the small prizes and roll my eyes at how stupid they all are until I find the tiny penguin statuette and immediately point to it and the lady gets it for me. I take it and hide it behind my back and tell Luke that it's his turn. I close my eyes and wait and finally when he tells me I can open my eyes I am met with a handful of colourful guitar picks. "Thank you" I say an he nods. I hand him the tiny penguin and internally celebrate as a wide smile spreads on his face. It really is the little things that impress him. "You have nineteen tickets left" the lady informs us. "Thanks" Luke says and takes the remaining tickets off the counter. He rips two off and hands me one and sticks one in his back pocket, I suppose for a memory. With the remaining tickets he scans the room and finds a little that looks about 5 and I smile as I watch him get on his knees by the boy and talk to him softly, handing him the tickets and making the little so happy. When he gets up and comes back by me I can't help but give him a huge kiss because that was one of the cutest things I've ever seen him do. "That was so nice" I say and he nods. "He was really happy and it was so simple, I mean just giving tickets to a little does so much" he says. We leave the arcade and go back to his house, wasting our last day with pizza and films and lots of kisses.
Michael's point of view
"Yeah yeah no problem" I hear Ashton say, and I roll over and he's not there but I can hear his voice from down the hall. I grab all the covers and wrap them around me and walk out of our room but only going to the edge of the hallway to see who it is. "Great thanks man, I'll drop her off in a few hours" I recognise as our neighbour Zayns's voice. "Great see you then!" Ashton says and closes the door. "Morning sunshine" I mumble and fall on the couch with the covers. "Morning cupcake. That was Zayn, we're going to watch Lilliana today, he said Lou bragged to him about how much fun Luxie had with us" he says and flashes a large smile. "We're watching Lux today though?" I ask. "Not like we can't watch both and Lou and Zayn both said they get on with each other so I figure why not going to the park or summat so they can just play with each other and all we have to do is make sure they're fed and had proper time to sleep around midday. Zayn is paying us and I think Lou is too" he says and I wave a dismissing hand in the air. "What's for brekkie?" I ask. "Hot cereal for you and I'm having waffles" he says and tries to mask a laugh. "There's no way in hell I'm eating hot fuckin cereal and not eating waffles just so you know" I say blatantly and he full on laughs and I just smile. He falls over the back of the sofa and onto me and shoves a dry waffle in my face that is really hot. "Eat it you demanding bastard" he giggles as he smushes the waffle all over my face. "My mouth is over here" I say and point to my mouth, "you've got the waffle in the wrong place" I say and giggle as he smushes the waffle agains my forehead. "God damn it Ash now I have to shower again" I groan and he laughs "but I only got it on your face" he says and I narrow my eyes and look straight at him and I can feel waffle bits on my chest but I dare not look down at my chest and see all the things I've been hiding for so long. "only on my face yeah...? Look at my chest bastard" I whisper, and when he looks he starts laughing hysterically. He abruptly stops laughing and gets a smirk on his face and says "or I could..." And leans down and starts eating the little bits "...clean you off" and continues eating the bits off my bare chest. "Oh and I'm the bad example" I mutter and he laughs "what?! This is pure innocence! Bad example is humping things in public and yelling the word 'balls' in the middle of assembly at school" he says and I laugh at the memories. "Good times" I say and he nods.
"Well go take that shower and get some proper clothes on because the little's will be dropped off soon" he says and slides off of me and walks back into the kitchen "but I haven't had my brekkie yet!" I whine. As I walk away three waffles come flying at me; one hits me in the back of the head, one hits the floor by my feet and the third hits the wall next to me. "I'm not cleaning that up" I say as I point to the grease stain the waffle on the wall made and grab the ones on the floor and throw them back in the kitchen at Ashton and walk to the shower. I sigh that I don't have an iPod for music and I don't want to go out the door to get the radio and get the waffles thrown at me again. I take my pyjama flannel pants and briefs off and try not to look at myself in the mirror, afraid to see purple, black, and blue; afraid to see cuts and scars, constant reminders of being pushed into table corners and being shoved into metal locker doors. I hastily hop in the shower and tap the cold water and hum Boulevard Of Broken Dreams by Green Day. Just as I thought the waffle war was over Ashton proves me wrong by bursting through the bathroom door shouting and opening the shower door and throwing four waffles at me. I cringe at the sight of the now soggy waffles and he runs out of the bathroom, clothes wet and leaving a trail of water behind. I roll my eyes and ask myself "what am I going to do with him?" And continue showering, avoiding the bits of soggy waffles all over the shower floor. Not cleaning that up either.
After my shower I go into my room and close my eyes tightly before I put a new pair of briefs on and some black skinnies and the black jumper that I love because the sleeves are so long. I open my eyes and put two mismatched black socks on and walk in the living room and look around for Ashton. A note on the counter says "hide and go seek, I have summat you want. x" and I sigh. "Goddamn it Ashton this flat is smaller then you think apparently" I yell and begin opening cabinets in search for my mentally five year old boyfriend. "Suuuunshiiiiineee" I say in a sing-song voice, dragging out the vowels. I look under the couch, in both bathrooms, both bedrooms, all the closets, the office, all the kitchen cabinets and he's not there anywhere. I hear a knock at the door and I am unsure if I should get it. I am terrified of knocks on doors and door bells ringing. I slowly go to the door and open it and Ashton is casually sitting on a lounge chair acting like he is tanning and sipping on iced tea. "Who said I'd be in the flat?" He asks, and yawns like he's bored. I laugh and say "who said you wouldn't be in the flat?" And smirk. "Touché" he says and nods. "What is it that you had and I want?" I ask and put my hands behind my back. "Oh nothing, that was just a push with the shove kinda thing to make you come looking for me" he says smiling under his sunglasses. I sit on the edge of the lounge chair and tickle Ashton's feet and he giggles but then it gets silent. "I uh..." He says and puts his arm out and moves his bracelets so I can see the tally mark scar, the newest line fresh and red across all the others that are almost all healed. It hurts to see that but he promised he'd be done and i trust him so I know he won't ever hurt himself again. I nod and he slides the bracelets back into their rightful places, doing their job of covering the scars. "You don't have to wear those if you don't want to, new life, new rules" I quote, and motion to the bracelets. "I'm still... adjusting, but I will take them off eventually, I just, like, they're sort of part of me now? I don't feel them anymore and they don't bother me so I don't mind 'em but I probably should take them off and let my wrists breathe a bit, haven't in four years maybe five" he says and I nod, understanding what he is saying about how they're part of him, just summat he got used to seeing and feeling. I grab his hands and move the bracelets over and kiss his wrists; scars and all, and he watches me the whole time with sorrowed eyes. He pulls his hands back and holds them tightly to his chest and looks down at them. "Hey listen to me, I think you're perfect okay? Those scars don't make me love you any less, they probably make me love you more and I want to be able to set you free from whatever you feel about those scars, I don't know if you're embarrassed by them or scared of what people will say but who cares what people say or think? be you because that's why I love you" I say and pull his hands in my lap, running my fingers over his scars through the gap in his structure of bracelets to cover them. "Thank you cupcake I love you too" he says, almost whispering. "A...and you don't have to wear long jumpers and long pants to cover your bruises and scars" he says and reaches over to my arm and slides my sleeves up. When I put my head down and stare into my lap trying not to look at my arm he gently swipes a finger down my forearm. "Just to let you know you don't walk alone" he whispers in my ear, referring to me humming in the shower. I silently laugh at that cheesy comment and he smiles because I think that's what he was trying to make me do. We sit for awhile and I continue to use my thumbs to rub gently under his bracelets and he closes his eyes and leans his head slightly back, sensitive about people touching his cuts, but melting into my gentleness and the fact that someone actually cares, it almost looks like ecstasy but not from pleasure but from feeling loved through such a small but meaningful gesture.
"We could probably make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the littles to eat at the park" he suggests. "I can do that" I say and get up abruptly and quickly kiss his knuckles before going inside the flat and locking the door so he can't come in. I walk over to the kitchen and turn the radio on low and get the jars of peanut butter and jelly and two knives. I search for the bread in the pantry and organise it whilst I'm in it because it's a mess, Ashton. After all the things are on the counter I need I start to make the sandwiches, half listening to the door and half listening to the radio. "Michael Gordon Clifford let me back into this fucking flat right now!" Ashton yells as he jiggles the door handle and bangs on the door. "Rock rock till you drop, rock rock never stop" I sing along, smugly, whilst putting peanut butter on the bread. "Bastard!" He yells and I hear him plop back down on the lounge chair. "Love you too" I yell back sarcastically and I hear him laugh. After I finish the sandwiches I wrap them in cling wrap and put them in a market bag and go back to the door. Ashton is still on the lounge chair, glaring at me. I giggle and open the door fully and start to walk back into the flat. "Motherfucker" he says and abruptly jumps off the lounge chair, moving it a few feet and chasing me into the flat. I run and jump on our bed and curl into the fatal position and he comes seconds later and jumps next to me and as I suspected starts tickling me.
Our tickles end up in long kisses and grabby hands. "You're a bad influence Michael Clifford" he says as he ruffles a hand through my hair and sits up. "I like it when you use my full name Ashton Irwin" I say and he giggles. "Okay Michael Clifford" he says and I smile in approval. "Mykul and Ashtun!!" Lux yells from the living room. We both laugh before walking out and finding Lou and Lux on our couch. I'm so glad they just came in and didn't knock or ring the bell. "Oh god don't you dare do each other in front of the girls" Lou says and we both laugh, and I look over at Ash and he has disheveled hair and his lips are red and his clothes are also disheveled and he looks at me and understands what she is saying. "No! We had a tickle and a few kisses that's all" Ashton assures and she rolls her eyes in fondness before standing up and handing Ashton a bag full of Lux things. "Well Lux I'm off, have a good day and play nice" Lou says and leans down to Lux. "Wuv yew mommy" Lux says and me and Ash both smile at the cuteness. "Love you too baby have a good day" Lou says, kisses Lux on the forehead and waves at me and Ashton as she walks out. "Luxie how does the park sound?" Ashton asks, getting on the ground and laying on his belly near Lux, leaning on his elbows and crossing his ankles. Lux looks up from her colouring book and smiles, nodding and humming "mhm." The doorbell rings and it makes me hop in the air in surprise and my hands start to shake a bit but I go over to the door and I sigh in relief as a happy Zayn and Lilliana greet me. "Love this is Michael, he's gonna watch you today and I'm going to surprise daddy because today five years your daddy and I got married so it's our anniversary" Zayn explains, and it melts me inside, loving how in love they are and how gently Zayn explains this to his little.
"Okay papa" Lilliana says in a sweet small voice. "Be back soon, love you baby girl" Zayn says and plants a kiss on Lilliana's cheek. "Love you too papa" Lilliana whispers and kisses his cheek back. Zayn smiles and sets her down and he ruffles a hand through her blonde hair before she runs in our flat, excited to see Lux. "Hey bro thanks so much for watching her, we should be back tonight around nine... Oh and uh here's the money" he says and hands me a few bills folded up. Out of respect and modesty and my lack of care for money I just stuff the bills in my back pocket and say a quick "thanks."
"No, thank you" he says and walks off to his flat, and waves behind his shoulder before going into his flat and closing the door behind him. I go back into our flat and smile when I see my boyfriend sitting on the floor Indian style next to the littles. "Ladies, would you like to go to the park?" Ashton asks and I giggle at his fake American accent. "Yeah!" They both shout and Ashton hops up. "Mikey... Michael Clifford would you mind getting the sandwiches for the lovely Sheila's we have the honour of chauffeuring around today?" He asks and I laugh. "Yes sir" I say and salute. I walk to the kitchen and open the fridge and grab the sandwiches and a few juice boxes and some random cookies and crisps from the cabinet. After they are all placed in a bag I go back to the living room and Ashton has both little's standing on the couch. "Now, who would you like to carry you?" He asks and Lilliana runs to me and stands in front of me with her hands behind her back clutched together, and looks up at me, fondness growing in her eyes and no trace of fear, but a shyness that leaves a slight pink on her cheeks when she asks "would you carry me, please?" And her politeness and smartness surprise me until I think about her parents. Liam being polite and Zayn being brilliant only means she will grow up and be a great girl. "I'd love to" I say and smile, and she smiles. I get down on my knees and she hops on my back piggyback style and lets a small giggle loose. I watch Ashton gently pull Lux in his arms and lift her above his head and place her on his shoulders, admiring his arms. The position is perfect for Lux because she immediately dives her hands into his curly hair and giggles as he shakes his head and laughs. Ashton grabs the keys and I grab the bag of food and we walk out of the flat, and I have to remind Ashton of Lux on his shoulders so he doesn't hit her head on the doorframe. He bends down when he comes through the door and locks the door behind us. "Lilliana which way is the park?" I ask and turn my head to see her out of the corner of my eye. "Down the street and to the left, papa and daddy take me there a lot" she says and points down the street. Ashton nods and follows as I walk with Lilliana. "I like your hair" she whispers in my ear as we walk. "Thank you I like yours too" I whisper back and she giggles. "What music do you like?" I ask, and feel stupid after I ask because she's only four. "Oh all kinds, Papa and Daddy let me listen to their iPods sometimes" she says, and continues surprising me by her vocabulary and clear words.
We walk in mostly quiet, randomly I'll ask her questions about her, and she seems to really like it. "The park is up there" she says and points to the park. I look back at Ashton who is talking to Lux whilst walking behind us a few feet. I smirk at Ashton and he notices and starts to pick up the pace, holding onto Lux's thighs as he speeds up. "Hold on Lilliana" I say and hold her tighter whilst still being gentle. I start to run and Lilliana giggles as I run and I laugh a little too because her giggle is contagious. I can hear Ashton and Lux giggling too and it makes me so happy. Me and Lilliana beat Ash and Lux to the park and right away both little's run to the slides. Ashton and I walk to the swings and sit down and watch over the little's as we swing. "This is amazing, I really enjoy this" he says with a large smile, motioning to the park and the little's and us swinging. "I like it too" I say and grab his hand. We hold hands as we swing in silence, occasionally kissing and gently rubbing patterns into each other's arms, hands, and thighs where our hands are joined together.
After the little's play for awhile they both come up to us and Lilliana politely asks "can we please have juice boxes?" Ashton stares at Lilliana with a shocked look that makes me laugh. "Hey squirt you're really smart" Ash says to her and she gives him a toothless grin and squints her eyes. "Okay grape or apple?" I ask. "Gwape!" Lux exclaims. "Apple, please" Lilliana says and Ashton again marvels in her politeness and smarts. "Thank you" Lillian's says as I hand her the juice box. She stabs the straw in without a problem but Lux has trouble with hers and Ashton grabs it and says "here let me help you" and stabs the straw through the foil on the juice box. "Say thank you" Lilliana whispers. "Fank yew ashy" she says and I smile at the name. "Sandwiches?" Ashton asks the little's. "Not yet!" Lilliana exclaims. "Why not?" I whisper to her, leaning in like it's a secret. She leans into my ear and cups her hands around her mouth like she is going to tell me a secret but then yells "someone's poisoned the water hole!" Ashton laughs as I hold the ear that Lilliana just screamed in, and I admit it was funny but that really didn't feel good. "My daddy loves toy story" she shares, and starts to quote funny parts from the film, and I swear she's like a four year old walking dictionary with all her clear words and full sentences and she's just really smart and polite and I admire Zayn and Liam for raising her so well and plan to tell them tonight.
The little's eat in silence on the park bench next to the swings, looking around and enjoying their time I suppose. "Do you... Do you want to have little's, like in the future?" Ashton asks me, stuttering a bit from nervousness for asking a sensitive and risky question. "I'd love that" I say with a wide smile, reassuring him that his question was not a problem. "I want to have a lot of little's" he says, cracking a smile. "Okay" I agree, kissing his knuckles. "Five years, let's wait at least five" he says and I nod.
"Alright little Sheila's who wants to go back to the flat and put clips in Mikey's hair?" Ashton asks enthusiastically. "Me!" Lux yells. "Do you have any books I can read or crayons to colour?" Lilliana asks me quietly. "Yeah Lux brought a colouring book and crayons, let's go home and colour yeah?" I say to her and she smiles. "Do you like it better when people call you Lilly or Lilliana?" I ask as she hops on my back. "Lilliana" she almost whispers. "What's your full name?" I ask. "Lilliana Bethany Malik-Payne" she says. "That's pretty" I tell her as we walk. "Do you like being called Mike, Mikey or Michael better?" She asks. "Michael" I reply. "What's your full name?" She asks and gently pokes my cheek. "Michael Gordon Clifford, but one day I'm going to marry that boy..." I say and point to Ashton "and then I'll have his last name too like your daddy and papa have each other's last names" and smile as I think about spending the rest of my life with Ashton. "He's pretty" she says innocently and I smile and say "yeah love he is pretty, I got really lucky."
When we arrive to the flat a bloke about three or four years older than me and Ashton comes out of Zayn and Liam's flat. "Uncle Louis!" The little's shout as soon as they see him. I let Lilliana down and she runs to him and hugs his leg. "Oh how's it going my lovely Luxie and muffin brains?" He says and I laugh at the nickname for Lilliana, but I see how it works, considering she is cute like a muffin and she has brains. Lux runs to him next and he hugs her too, letting both little's crawl all over him. "You're the two new boys right?" He asks. "That's us" Ashton says and sticks out his hand. They shake and I shake his hand next. "I'm Ashton and this is my boyfriend Michael" Ashton introduces and I smile every time. "I'm Louis, Harry's husband" he says and flashes a genuine smile. "Zayn had us watch her tonight for whatever he was doing to surprise Liam" Ashton informs and Louis nods. "Well the love Cupid just went through their apartment and spiced it up a bit, if no one gets lucky tonight then I need to look into retirement" Louis says, and wiggles his eyebrows. Me and Ashton both laugh at his discreet reference. "Well have a nice night ladies and gentlemen" Louis says and waves as he walks away. "Love you uncle Louis!" Lilliana shouts behind him "love you too muffin brains!" He yells back. I unlock the flat and the little's run inside and Ashton plops on the couch whilst they play with Lux's toys from her bag. "Love you" I whisper behind him and he looks up at me and smiles "I love you too Michael Clifford."
Luke's point of view
"Ready Lukey?" Calum asks and holds his hand out. "Ready princess" I reply and he nods. I put my hand in his and we walk into the porte entrance. "Leave all your love and your lovings behind, you can't carry it with you if you want to survive" plays through my head and I nod my head in agreement with the lyrics. I let Calum do all the talking, partly because of shyness and lack of smart things to say but the other half is that I'm stressed. After Calum successfully gets the tickets we go through security checks and finally board the plane. It's going to be a long ass motherfucking flight" I say to Calum and he laughs and nods. "Kiss?" He asks, and my stomach flip flops at the idea of being able to kiss him in public without being afraid anymore and I can see it in his eyes as I lean in to kiss him that he feels the exact same way and I can only remember a kiss that has ever tasted as sweet as this one does, and that was our first kiss.
Calum passes out not a half hour into the flight but I am awake thinking, hating my thoughts sometimes. A few hours go by and breakfast is served, I order French toast and since Calum is still asleep I get him some too. "Breakfast princess" I say as I lift Calum's head to try and wake him. "What in the world?" Calum asks, still half asleep. "Brekkie babe" I say and motion to the tray table with his meal on it. His sleepy voice and squinty eyes makes me smile as I slide his food closer to him and he picks up his fork and knife and groans. "I'm fuckin lazy and tired how am I suppose to feed myself too?" Calum asks and leans back in his chair to go back to sleep. "Uh uh get up and eat" I say and poke his bicep. He doesn't move or anything and I sigh and say "you leave me no motherfucking choice" and dump a small amount of my water on his head to wake him up. He just shifts a bit and lazily wipes the water off his forehead and fringe. "Damn it Cal" I say and look around. I sigh before picking up my fork and poking him in the ribs with it, hard enough to get his attention but not hard enough to pierce through his skin or hurt him too much. "Ow what in the fucking bloody hells was that?" He asks and springs up. I laugh and he gives me an angry look as he eats his French toast, and I have to admit he is pretty hot when he is borderline angry like he says about me. "Can't get you to 'Murica on an empty stomach can we?" I ask him smugly and he just rolls his eyes. I plant little kisses up his arm that is tightly clutching the armrest out of frustration and he softens until he cracks a small smile. "There's my smiley princess" I whisper and he smiles wider. "Thank you for the food and sorry for being a prat" he says and I nod. After we finish our food I take the plates and things to the back of the plane where a flight attendant takes them and says "thank you young man" and I just nod. Calum stares at me as I sit down and doesn't say a word. "What the hell you lookin at?" I ask him and he rolls his eyes "I'm looking at my boyfriend, damn it, is that a sin?" He says in a mocking tone. "That could be debated" I say smugly and he laughs. "Oh I bought you summat, It's in the bag that's up there" he says and points to the overhead compartments. I get up and check to see what it is, slowly opening the bag in case he's playing some sort of joke on me. When I open the bag I see a black patch of faux fur and as I pull it out I discover that it is a penguin pillow pet. I quickly shove the bag back in the overhead and sit down with my penguin pillow pet and hug Calum "thank you thank you thank you this is so adorable thank you awhh" I say. "No problem, saw it and thought of you and couldn't resist, so I bought it" he says with a smile and it makes me smile because he's such a thoughtful boyfriend. I put the armrest in between us up and I lean over and put the pillow pet on his shoulder and lean on his left shoulder and he immediately wraps his arms around me and puts his head in my neck and kisses my cheek a few times. I giggle but not long after am I comfortable enough to sleep and I drift right off. When I'm alone it is hard to fall asleep because I feel unprotected, cold, lonely and I am stuck with my thoughts that make the hole of sleeping alone darker and larger, but when Calum is even in the room, when I know he is there I feel safe and I can sleep, and with his reassuring and strong arms wrapped around me I feel like nothing can hurt me and that's how I fall asleep.
"It's my turn to wake you up Lukey"
Calum says and shakes my shoulders gently. "Goodmorning" he says and I smile "god damn morning people" I say and he laughs. "We're here?" I ask and he nods. I smile and get a very happy feeling, like I just passed an exam or got given a gift I really wanted. "Let's go then" he says and I get up and stretch and try to collect our things. I put my guitar on my back and hand him his bass and he swings it on his back and I hand him his bag and I grab mine. Calum hands me my pillow pet and I smile and give him a quick kiss to say thanks again and walk off the plane. Security is ridiculous like Ashton said and I feel really uncomfortable the whole time. "Were almost done" Calum says and grabs my hand. We finish security and head to the doors. "Okay so you have the address right?" I ask and Calum nods. He pulls out a slip of paper and shows it to me and I nod. He takes it to a cabby driver and asks "how much would it be to take us here?" And shows him the slip of paper. The cabby gives us a price and we aren't familiar with American currency so we can't decide if that's a fair price or not and the cabbies probably all cost the same anyways so we get in the cab and he drives. We watch the city go by, Calum's inner photographer coming out and snapping a lot of creative photos. "I'm so excited, they're going to go fucking ballistic" I say and he smiles "my stomach is like..." He says and scrambles his hands together in the air. I laugh but nod in agreement. "Oh I found my centuries old iPod and I loaded all my music into it" I say and fish out the iPod from my birthday a few years ago when the iPod first came out. "Woah I'm so used to IOS 7 and this is like a dinosaur... fuck" Calum says as I hand him the iPod nano. I pull out headphones and my double headphone jack and say "yeah well they can't track us on this thing so I thought it would be a good idea cause I can't live without music" and he nods. I plug in the headphones and give him a set and I put on a set. I can hear as he scrolls through the songs from the familiar sound of the clicker from the nano. "Pressure" by The 1975 plays and I look over at him and roll my eyes because that is such a Calum thing to do. He flashes me a smile and I smile back and throw a playful hand through his hair and he smacks my hand away but kisses my knuckles as I pull back. I put a reassuring hand on his thigh and rub meaningless patterns on his thigh to calm him down and maybe calm myself down too. "She Way Out" plays next and Calum plays air bass and it makes me giggle. It gets quiet and we just watch as town after town, all unfamiliar pass us by. "What's your accent?" The cabbie asks us through the rear view mirror. "Australian" I say and he nods. "We should be there within twenty minutes" he says and Calum's eyes go wide. I grab his hand and give it a squeeze and he nods at me, saying thank you. As the cabbie said we arrive minutes later at a beautiful looking flat complex and Calum pays, we grab our stuff and head to the main office. When we walk in Calum introduces us to a bloke that only looks a few years older than us "you're Harry right? I'm Calum and this is Luke" and we shake his hand. "Yeah I'm Harry, hope your flight was alright?" He asks "wasn't bad thank you, Ashton and Michael don't know we're here so we're gonna go surprise them, what flat is theres?" I ask. "203" he says. "Brilliant thank you" Calum says and we walk out. We find their flat and place out stuff outside. "Ready?" He asks and I nod. He knocks on the door and Michaels voice yells "one sec" and shortly after the door opens. My stomach drops and Michael makes a strange noise like he is being choked and runs and hugs me and Calum. "Ashton!" Michael yells and it scares the shit out of me because it sounds like he is being hurt and not even a half second later Ashton comes running through the flat to Michaels rescue. "Guys" Ashton chokes out through tears and runs and hugs us.
Michael's point of view
"Yeah I'm going to go in the room and play my cajon for a bit" Ashton says and kisses my forehead before going into our room and turning on the radio to play to whatever is on. I turn back to the television and keep clicking through the channels till I find an interesting tattoo programme. I watch for about 15 minutes and there's a knock on the door. I shake a little but I know I have to get it because Ashton didn't hear it. "one sec" I yell and untangle myself from the blankets and pillows to get the door. I open the door to see Luke and Calum watery eyed and slightly shaking. Immediately I start crying and my hands fly up to cover my face and I start sobbing. I make a strangled noise and I feel strangled because my two best friends are standing right in front of me. I grab them in a hug and we all cry. "Ashton!" I yell and it comes out like a violent scream for help. Before I can even blink Ashton is in the room and stares at Calum and Luke and tears flood his eyes. "Guys" Ashton chokes out and runs the few feet he is away from us and joins in and I chuckle at the image in my head of what we look like, four idiots crying on each other on the floor of a flat.
Ashton's point of view
Michael flips through the channels as I finish cleaning up our lunch. "Yeah I'm going to go in the room and play my cajon for a bit" I say and kiss him on the forehead as I walk by and go into our room. I hit the radio on and let the music play and I find the drum pattern as my hands beat along to Rick Allen's drumming in "Billy's Got A Gun." I get lost in the song and I don't even feel my body move as I hear Michael scream my name like he is being hurt. Everything blurs as my body goes off impulse and I'm in the living room quicker then I've ever moved before. I stop half way at the sight of my two best friends hugging Michael. My stomach drops and so many questions run through my head but all I can say is "Guys" and I can feel the catch in my throat and the tears running down my face but the only thing registering through my brain is the fact that Calum and Luke are here in my living room. Actually here and I can touch them and hear their voices clearly and see them laugh and it's so surreal because a week ago we were talking on the mobile and now they're right in front of me. I run to them and hug them and I let the tears fall and their embrace feels so good and I'm the happiest person in the world right now. We are all piled on each other, a mess of limbs embracing one another and Michael yells "Jesus christ I am never letting you two out of my fucking sight again" and I laugh but agree with him because leaving them was one of the hardest things I've ever done. "I love you I love you I love you" I say and kiss each of them on the cheek. "Okay let's go to the couch this floor is uncomfortable and Mike's knee is crushing my ribs" Calum says and we all laugh. "My...ass" Luke says, and oh god I missed Calum's laugh so much, that genuine laugh of fondness at anything Luke says because he thinks he's just the funniest person in the world. We all get up and sit on the couch and Calum almost sits down before saying "oh fuck the stuff is still outside" and going to get their things. He comes back inside carrying two guitar bags and two duffel bags and sets them beside the couch and sits back down. Luke gives him a quick kiss and says thank you and we all sit staring at each other and it's not awkward or boring because just being in their presence is enough for me. "Do you want like a tour of the flat?" Mikey asks and they both nod. We all get up and Mikey shows them the kitchen and the bathroom connected to the kitchen and I smile as he intentionally passes up the spare bedroom because I already know he is saving that for last. He shows them our bedroom and the office and the hall bathroom, still slightly shaking from the shock of them being here. "What's that room?" Calum asks and points to the room that they're going to stay in. "Oh...that room?" Mikey asks smugly. "That's just where we keep all our prostitutes. Anyways!" Mikey says nonchalantly and moves on. I grab Calum and Luke's wrists and I open the door and push them inside and yell "it's your room!" And they both start to get emotional again "like I said, where we keep our prostitutes" Mikey mumbles and Luke starts laugh-crying, laughing because of Mikey's joke but crying because he is touched and the laughter was just the right trigger to have him spill. Calum hugs Luke and then hugs me, being so grateful up and down by repeating a mantra of "I love you's" and "thank you's." Luke hugs Michael and I start to get choked up again cause they're actually here.
After our hugs me and Mikey leave them in their room to unpack. We have a cuddle on the couch and watch some American rom com on mute. "I've been thinking about using that office room as a band room, and Luke and Cal being here gives me all the more reasons so we can be like playing together again and in a decent place unlike your damned garage" Mikey says. "Fuckin brilliant" I say and nod and he's definitely right about my damned garage, what a hell of a place to play.
Calum's point of view
Michael and Luke leave us to unpack and get settled and it's all sort of overwhelming but exciting. "Here Lukey" I say as I hold out his guitar bag. "Thank you" he says and takes it and carries it across the room. I zip open my backpack and bring it to the black dresser that is closest to the closet door and put it on the floor to unpack. Slowly I take my stuff out and neatly fold it and place it in the dresser, I've always been the neatest out of all the boys but Michael comes behind me cause he's slightly OCD. I glance over at Luke a couple times and he just tosses the clothes in the drawers and there's no way in fucking hell our room is going to get as messy as his was at his house. "Luke why don't you fold your clothes?" I ask. "Too lazy" he says nonchalantly. He really isn't all that lazy he just doesn't have a word for 'I can do it it's just I don't really care that much' so he just blames it on being lazy. I continue unpacking, neatly and slowly, humming a mix of Nirvana songs and after my clothes are unpacked I organise the pictures that I brought on my dresser so I can hang them up when I get tape. Luke finishes unpacking first and he waits for me on the edge of the bed. After I'm done I go to the bed and I sit on his lap and his arms snake around my waist and he puts his chin in my neck and mumbles "I love you." I close my eyes and relax into Luke and listen to his breathing as we sit in our room in silence. "Should we go out there?" I ask. "Yeah probably" he says. I try to get up but Luke just swings me around and picks me up and carries me out of the room and all I can do is giggle because how in the hell do you go from a dramatic silence to playful in three seconds. "So strong" I say and kiss him on the lips as he carries me. When we get to the living room he drops me on The couch and I see Mikey and Ash on the other one. "Are you two hungry?" Ashton asks. "Actually a bit yeah" Luke says and I nod. "We have food here or we could go out for food or we can get delivery it's up to you" Mikey says. "Here is fine just like whatever you got" I say and they both nod. Ash gets up and walks to the kitchen and opens the fridge and calls out "we got cold pizza, I mean it could be warmed up if you fancy that, orange juice, eggs, yogurt, sodas, Chinese rice, bacon, cheese, lunch meat, milk for cereal, and in the freezer..." He closes the fridge and opens the freezer drawer and picks it up with "pizza, pizza, pizza, pizza, chicken wings, ice cream, Popsicles, breakfast wraps, like those tiny burritos filled with breakfast stuff, waffles, well one waffle, chicken nuggets, uhhhh" and slams the freezer drawer shut and goes to the cabinets, opening and closing while shouting their contents "hot cereal, rice cakes, peanut butter, ohhhh nutella, jelly, marshmallow fluff, cereal, Michael's frosted oatmeal cookies..." Michael hears this and yells "hell fucking no, do not touch those or I will bite your giant ass hands off, those are so off limits!" Me, Luke, an Ashton all laugh but Michael is dead serious even though he knows that will never fly. Ash continues in the pantry with "bread, bananas, oranges, canned peaches, mangoes, crisps, crackers, dry noodles, Kool-aid packets, jello, and in the back hidden behind everything a huge but half empty assorted bag of sweet ass candy that I did not know we bought" and he glares at Michael and says "fucking addict" and Michael just laughs and shrugs his shoulders. I look over at Luke and say "you pick... I'll eat whatever." He laughs and buries his face in his large hands and groans. Mikey leans in close and whispers "the pressure is on" with a smirk and he's right cause all three of us are looking at him, Ashton with a look that screams "hurry up bitch" and I just laugh. "Damn it don't laugh at me there's so many different things" he whines. "If you don't fuckin choose then I will pick for you" Ashton says in a mock angry tone when in reality he is amused with Luke's distress, much like Mikey and the look of enjoyment on his face. "Okay whatever then pick what you want... fuck" Luke says to Ashton and shoves his face into the couch. "Nobody likes me" Luke says, muffled by the couch cushion his face is pressed against. I roll my eyes because he knows that's not true but I still do what I know he wants. When I put my arms around his middle and lean into him and plant little kisses on his neck he leans back up out of the couch cushion and has a cheeky grin on his face and kisses me. "Cheesy prick" I say when he pulls out of the kiss and he gives me a pouty look and I can't help but smile and kiss him again because fuck, I have the cutest boyfriend ever.