They say, if a boy fell in love with another girl whilst he was supposed to love you, he never loved you in the first place.
Yes, he couldn’t have loved me. That’s what I had to tell myself. I had to return to that way of thinking, there was too much against me.
None of the boys had mentioned my outburst again. Zayn did not mention the kiss and Liam never challenged my accusations. But Lexi had questions and not necessarily about the things I had said about Liam.
‘Jee,’ she hesitated, following me into my room. Right now I was looking to have a shower and then go to bed; my hangover had caught up on me.
‘Yeah?’ I strained, my head pounding.
‘What did you mean, last night?’
‘Ooh, you’re gunna have to be a bit more specific than that Lex,’ I replied, digging through my drawer for a onesie to put on after my shower.
‘Well the whole “Abusive boyfriend” part…’
I stopped in my tracks. I had forgotten that those words had left my mouth. I had become too incensed to censor myself and hide it; for a moment I had let myself slip. And now she knew.
‘What?’ I attempted a façade of innocence.
‘You know what I’m talking about,’ she said sternly.
I still didn’t turn round to look at her. I hesitated, constructing a version of events. I couldn’t tell her everything, she was still dealing with too much.
‘Riley, he, ur, abused me… In a way… I dunno, he just forced me to move out, threatened me. He hit me once. But that was it.’ I finished bluntly, trying to add legitimacy to my story.
‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ she asked, softer this time.
‘You had too much to deal with,’ I replied, telling the truth.
‘But I’m your best friend,’ she sounded a little sad.
I finally turned to her and walked over until I sat beside her on my bed.
‘I’m sorry Lexi,’ I murmured. ‘I don’t like to talk about it.’ I excused myself.
‘I can understand that,’ she sighed. ‘But I don’t want you going through shit like that alone,’
‘I know,’ I returned.
‘I hate that man.’ She spat suddenly.
‘Me too,’ I replied sullenly. ‘But he won’t be coming back.’ I ended quickly.
‘How do you know?’ she asked.
‘I just do,’ I said factually.
Lex exhaled, leaning her head on my shoulder. We sat in silence for a moment until Lex got up, walking towards the door. She spoke just before she left. ‘Just be happy Jee. Do whatever it takes, just be fucking happy.’ She smiled slightly and then disappeared.
It had been a week since Liam had split up with Alice. If he still liked me, he would’ve done something by now.
I was busy throwing clothes into a suitcase, trying not to forget anything on my mental list. We were going to a friend’s engagement party but it was down in Cornwall, too far to travel back overnight. And so we decided to stay in the hotel it was being held in, which also meant we could all drink. Liam didn’t drink but it took two cars to transport 7 of us and so someone else was usually banned from drinking- but not now we were staying over.
It was a long drive down and we set off early, Louis, Lex, Liam and I packed into Louis’ car, the rest of the boys in Harry’s.
This past week Liam had avoided me for the most part, yet today, he couldn’t seem to stay away. He was sat next to me now, his signature grin on his face, his eyes forming half-moons. In the front, Lex and Lou were playing a random game which was some take on Eye Spy… very mature, as usual.
Liam and I were playing the one step word association game. We had agreed that the loser would have to do something embarrassing tonight. Right now we were ‘arguing’. Because ‘Niall’ had already been used in the game, and I just said ‘Ireland’, Liam replied with ‘Zayn’.
‘Liam- that doesn’t count!’ I protested.
‘What doesn’t?!’ He laughed.
‘Zayn! How are Zayn and Ireland related!?’
‘Cos Niall is Irish and Zayn is Niall’s friend!’ he attempted to justify.
‘Liam, can you count?’ I asked light-heartedly.
‘Ok- what is this game called- specifically this version that we agreed to play?’ I lead.
‘ONE STEP word association!’ I specified. ‘And how many steps was that?!’
‘….Two….’ Liam trailed.
‘EXACTLY!’ I cried triumphantly. ‘I WIN!’ I hollered, causing Louis to check quickly over his shoulder whilst driving.
‘No you don’t! What about earlier when I said hair brush and you said Harry!’
‘Harry must’ve used a hairbrush sometime!’ I countered.
Liam could never not let me win, both us girls always managed to bend him to our ways.
‘Ok… you win…’ he sighed, defeated.
I laughed out loud, slumping into my seat and soon he joined in, our laughs filling the laugh, drowning out the music.
We’re all waiting 4 youuuuu! Xxx My phone buzzed, Zayn’s name appearing above the notification.
One sec! xxxx I managed to type before throwing my phone in my clutch. I was rushing around the hotel room, trying to find my other shoe. I had had a disaster this evening. The strap had broken on the dress I was going to wear, forcing me to refigure an outfit with the small supply of clothes I had with me. I had packed a slate coloured jump suit and so pulled it on now. It didn’t look nearly dressy enough but I gently curled my hair so it was tousled and lose and then accessorized. I cinched in the waist with a red belt, my chunky spike necklace that hung flat against my chest and the matching bracelet. I painted my lips bright red and was now in the process of finding my red stilettoes. Luckily I found it hidden under my bed.
I also noticed a rectangle gift on my bed for the first time, wrapped in gold paper, but I didn’t have time to see what it was.
I grabbed my clutch and dashed out of my room, still unsure of my outfit. They were all crowded outside my room, Niall and Zayn leaning against the wall next to my door, the others huddled in conversation.
‘Talk about lazy! Texting me standing outside my room!’ I laughed at them before they all turned to walk down the stairs of the grand, old hotel.
They all rushed ahead, all but Liam who hung back for me and as we followed them, he murmured in my ear ‘You look beautiful,’ he said with a smile on his lips.
‘Thanks…’ I tried to accept the compliment though I struggled. ‘You know, I haven’t decided on your forfeit yet!’ I laughed, a joking warning.
Liam smirked light heartedly, before continuing down the stairs.
Holly and Greg got engaged a few weeks ago when they were on holiday and I found the story absolutely adorable. He wrote ‘will you marry me?’ in the sand and put the ring on top of his sand castle. They already had a 9 month old son, Jack and he was also adorable. I spent most of the evening carrying him around on my hip.
We all laughed through Holly’s best friend, Sarah’s speech, partly due to the large alcohol consumption. Like Lex and I, they had been friends since they were small and we just as close as we were.
Holly and Greg were inseparable for the most part but when the boys came over, the old bromances kicked in. Luckily Louis didn’t have a chance to get jealous as he was with Lex all evening.
Holly, Sarah and I sat around a table, Jack in my arms.
‘Ahh! Can’t believe you’re gunna get married! You’re getting old!’ I teased Holly.
‘I can’t believe I’m getting married either! Bloody hell!’ she laughed.
‘Look at you getting married, you got a kid- you ARE getting old. You see, me and Heidi still have shit loads of time left to party!’ Sarah giggled. ‘Gimme five for being single!’ She added, grinning.
I returned the high five. ‘But in all fairness, Jack is the cutest little baby ever! I want him!’
‘You can have him!’ Holly joked before kissing her sons head.
‘But I kinda lied too…’ Sarah trailed.
‘What?’ We turned to our friend.
‘Well, I dunno, I think me and Will are on,’ she shrugged, and smiled like she was pleased with her work.
‘Oh my god! Finally!’ I exclaimed. It was one of the longest running will they-won’t they relationships going.
‘Yeah,’ Sarah slightly blushed.
‘Well you better bloody get over there and make sure that “I think” turns into a “me and will ARE on” eh!’ I laughed.
‘Good idea!’ she replied, her pretty face lighting up and leaving our table.
‘Awh Jack’s like falling asleep,’ I sighed to the little baby in my arms.
‘I better take him to bed,’ Holly replied.
‘I’ll take him Hols, stay here,’ I said, standing up.
‘You sure?’ She asked.
‘Yeah, it’s your party! You can’t disappear!’
‘Ok hun, thank you! Here’s the key! The nanny will be up there now so just hand him over,’ She smiled.
I took the key and took Jack up to Holly and Greg’s room, handing him to the nanny and then walking back. But it was then I realised I was way too hot inside and needed to take a breather. I ventured out of the huge patio doors into the silent garden, vastly spread in front of me, the only noises were the summer’s breeze and the trickle of the water fountain.
I thought I was alone as I stood in the early summer’s night but the sound of movement on the paving alerted me that I was not alone.
‘You alright?’ Liam’s voice spoke, making me jump a little.
‘Yeah, you?’ I smiled.
‘Yeah, bit warm. Fancy going for a walk?’ He grinned, reaching out his hand. I accepted, grasping his big palm and wandering through the gardens. We came to stop under a tree, the branches drooping towards the ground like a hand templed on a table. It created a quiet glade underneath and so we slipped under, our back rested against the tree.
‘I am still thinking of your forfeit!’ I exclaimed.
‘Hmm, how about we play another game. Loser has to buy the other one Nandos?’ Liam suggested.
‘That’s hardly a forfeit!’ I laughed.
‘Well, we should play truth or dare and you can punish me then!’ he suggested.
‘Ok, ok! You can start.’
And so we played; the dares stupid and the truths light-hearted.
After a dare which involved me rolly-pollying all the way across the lawn to the water feature, in clear sight from the hotel, it was my turn.
‘Truth or dare?’ I proposed.
‘Truth,’ Liam decided.
‘Ok, if you could have one selfish wish, what would it be?’ I asked.
Liam was silent for a moment before he spoke. ‘It would be to make you love me.’
I replied before I thought about it, ‘You don’t need a wish for that.’ I immediately regretted what I had said. I made myself vulnerable when I wasn’t even sure Liam loved me properly.
Without saying anymore, despite his calls of my name, I ran off, like I had done before.
I ran through the party and up to my room, slamming the door behind me.
Unsure what to do with myself I tried to calm myself. But my attention was caught by the gold package on my bed. I hesitated toward it, sitting beside it on the bed.
There was an envelope attached and I knew the handwriting was Liam’s. I ignored it for now and pulled off the paper on the square package. It was a CD but it had no cover. It was a homemade disc. On the front of the disc, written in sharpie was Heidi’s mix. There was no list of songs so instead I moved over to the sound system on the other side of the room and place it in the tray, pushing it closed. I took the remote and sat crossed legged, back on the bed.
I knew the first song instinctively, Teenage Kicks. Curious to know what else was on the unmarked CD, I pressed next on the remote. The opening piano chords of She’s always a Woman by Billy Joel played. I was still curious as to what else was hidden and so skipped to the next song, and the next and the next.
I’m Yours by Jason Mraz, Firefly by Ed Sheeran, Count on Me by Bruno Mars, She by Ed Sheeran, Sunburn By Ed Sheeran, Ordinary People by John Legend, Fill my Little World by The Feeling and finally Boyce Avenue’s version of Teenage Dream.
Tears were gathering on my lower lashes, but I was still unsure of what it all meant. I pulled open the envelope hoping to find an explanation. There was only one thing written inside.
I know you just don’t understand what I feel so I hope this will show you.
But before I could do anything about it there was a light knock at my door. I tried to wipe the tears from my cheeks as I pulled it open.
And there he was, his brown eyes melting me.
‘Heidi, I’m sorry-’ he started but then heard the last part of Teenage dream playing and knew what I had been doing. ‘So you opened it,’ he said, not a question.
I nodded silently.
‘That’s all true, I promise.’ He murmured.
I couldn’t say anything.
‘Heidi, I will love you forever and a day. And I know I always screw things up and despite the fact I’m supposed to be “daddy direction” you make me feel like a kid. I didn’t know it was possible to be in love this much. And I will forever be sorry for what I did to you when I hooked up with Alice but I wanted you so badly and there was something about her that reminded me of you and that was good enough for me at the time. But when you were there, nothing was comparable to you. Like, you’re standing in an empty room- I can only see you. And you know me better than anyone in this world. And I have completely fallen for you. And I just hope you can see it now, and that you love me back.’ His face was almost desperate.
‘Liam, I have been so, so stupid. Because I have loved you for my whole life yet I never really realised it. And that’s it; Liam James Payne, I am completely and utterly in love with you.’ It felt like a weight had been lifted off my physically and I stood a tiny bit taller.
‘You have no idea how long I’ve waited to hear that,’ He murmured before leaning towards me. His lips pressed against mine and I had never felt something so utterly right before.