Liam’s too old for this. They both are. They have to decide. It’s stay or leave. If Zayn’s getting married, they can’t keep- they’re not exactly children anymore, is what he’s saying. It’s been a year since it changed from fucking around to just fucking..
But then there’s a good night.
He means, the memory of a good night. Because what he and Zayn used to do was the good nights and the long kisses goodbye and then they started sleeping apart.
But this is the memory of a goodnight. Because Zayn couldn’t even look him in the eye after and Liam was half-hard, dizzy, sloppy on the uptake.
Liam had said, “It’s tomorrow”, and Zayn had said, “Don’t remind me.” And so this is post-coital resignation, he guesses. There’s a hotel room on the other side of the city with a condom in the bin with his come in it and he’s here outside his girlfriend’s flat- trying. Breathing. Barely, but. Caved in by the cement car park walls.
Is there a limit on it, then? He’s wondering to himself, hoping he can stall and then maybe twelve hours will go by and he won’t have to attend a funeral and pretend to be a happy best man.. Is there a limit on it? Is it post-coital if it’s been an hour? He needs something to blame the pain on. His chest is throbbing right where his heart should be, he’s breathing like he might not make it, and his hands are too unsteady to grip the cigarette right. He just sets it between his lips and closes his eyes.
Post-coital shut down, kneading his knuckles into the top of his thighs, the dashboard a smeared black horizon- he might be crying.
Post-coital cigarette. But if he really wanted to forget, he wouldn’t have a pack of Zayn’s cigarettes in his pocket to begin with. Remembering things. Pathetic things. Because they’ve been low before, but tonight was the ultimate fuck-you. Zayn took a minute to catch his breath and then he said, “Are you good to drive?” and Liam said, “Yeah, I’m- I’m good, yeah.” Eloquently.
He has to dig through the glove box for his lighter, and then he’s trembling, flame weak to his lips. He breathes it in. A good dark high. Tries really hard not to remember that he’d come to Zayn’s place begging.
They’d discussed it. In a round about way. It’s how they usually handle things- things like this. Liam will always bring it up, whatever it is. He’ll be nervous, mumbled half-sentences and Zayn will wait patiently for him to work it all out and they’ll be fine.
They’ll be fine even after this, Zayn knows. Because they’re always fine. And because Liam can’t walk away anymore than Zayn can, tethered to the past, tethered to promises. It’s a shame.
Zayn remembers Liam fumbling with a handful of words before ending up with, “Don’t. You don’t have to, you know?”
If that’s the right word. Whatever it means when you’re dreading waking up the next day because you know your entire world’s about to change, but you can’t stop it because there’s a part of you that’s sick enough to want this and another part that’s- tired of wanting anything.
That’s the thing with Liam. Zayn doesn’t want him. He’s never wanted him. He needs him.
Like he was three years ago, and like he is now- sitting on the edge of Zayn and Perrie’s bed- and like he’ll be when they’re old probably.
“You want a drink?” he asks.
Liam looks at him. “You’re drinking?”
“I’m drinking, yeah. Why?”
They watch each other. Then turn to the nightstand where there’s a shiny white alarm clock with stick-thin green digits. 2:47.
“You’re getting married at noon.”
Zayn nods. “I’m drinking.”
What he wants to say is Just ask me, Liam. Because this is so much worse. They’ve been here for an hour already and Zayn’s chucked his shirt, unzipped his jeans and hitched them a little low on his hips, and Liam’s watching him because he always does.
“Where is she?”
They could do this all night.
There’s a bottle of jack on the shelf in his closet and a little lube in his dresser drawer, folded up in a hoodie he stole from Louis ages ago with no intention of ever giving it back.
Liam watches Zayn gather these provision. Watches him take the lead. He doesn’t mind it really. If this is going to be the last time, he’d rather spend it breathless, he’d rather be filling him up than making plans.
Is there even anything to say? He just wants to get through it.
Liam doesn’t say what he wants to say. That he’d been cradling some sad hope. Maybe one day, maybe half-baked, a little tipsy, Zayn would put on that mocking tone he reserves for hotel nights alone with the covers pulled back.
Liam’s mind huffs out a laugh, And what? Propose?
No, of course not. But he doesn’t need anything like that anyway. Just an eternity would be nice.
He feels like a mistress now, sneaking in after dark and out by the time the sun’s beginning to rise. He flushes when Perrie smiles at him. Is there a word for men who sleep with married men? Mistress sounds almost glamorous. Liam doesn’t feel that way about it. It seems so wrong, if he’s being honest. But it makes the most sense for him to be here. He won’t give it up. Not for a wedding band and not while Zayn’s still asking for him.
Zayn calls him, “She’s out. You want to come over for a bit?”
He can’t say no. He’s never been able to say no.
An hour later, he’s stretched out on his back on their bed, Zayn’s straddling his waist. When he sinks down, it feels heady, euphoric. He catches his breath and lets it go and drags his tongue up to the roof of his mouth so he doesn’t say anything stupid about how Zayn looks like something holy with that faint blush inching up his neck, cool hands on Liam’s chest.
When he says his name, he knows he could never leave, stuck here in limbo.