Their feelings for each other felt so powerful they thought it would break the stigma. Ambitiously talking and texting daily, in time the phone calls became less as the back to back scheduling increased for Liam. For him the weeks flew by exhaustively, but for Piper every hour waiting for his call felt endless.
Their affections for one another never faltered, but time and distance had weakened their fight to continue. Still close, their relationship took a step back into the friend zone. It was useless to feed into the idea of surviving that kind of separation, in its newness and fragile state. This left Liam torn, disappointed beyond recovery.
Liam continued his world tour with the band, then went back to the studio in London. Not a free week in sight. The scattered days off offered no comfort of a quick getaway. His career had defeated him and won. Many nights he'd beat himself up, drowning his regrets and failures in shot glasses. Stirring concern within his band mates as he wasn't the drunken type.
Piper eventually found a way to cope around the short lived dream. Catching herself watching endless videos and interviews of the band. Distracted by day, missing him by night. In the end, she brainwashed herself to believe that he was indeed too young for the relationship as his set of priorities would always come between him and every girl.
Two years later . . .
Piper began dating Jake, the bartender. He had become her shoulder to rest and vent on. She cared for him as a friend, but he insisted that she give him a chance to mend the damage that Liam had made. Hesitant at first, one day she decided to give him an opportunity. No explosive feelings just yet, hopefully in time that would change; both knowing that he liked her much more.
Jake had invited her to an outdoor charity benefit in Laguna Beach. The event's proceeds were going towards children's education and medical aid in Africa. Piper was so drawn towards the cause and their need for volunteers, she thought why not start there on her expedition around the world. Her so called new boyfriend had no say or notion of her plans.
Ushered to a table with two remaining seats, Piper and Jake joined the quiet group. Jake was a fairly attractive guy, and while he held no advantage over Liam, he was there . . . physically. The couple soon began to chat with the other guests, refreshing her curiosity on all matters behind the charity.
After lunch was served, special guest celebrities began to share short testimonials on their first hand experience visiting these places. Piper was so engaged, Jake didn't stand a chance in talking to her.
"Thank you so much for coming everyone!" said the host. "Your donations will change lives. I also want to thank you for sharing your stories, we hope to hear many more. And now, for our surprise performance, a band who's also invested so much of their time and money to the kids out there . . . One Direction!"
Piper's eyes widened, staring off to the abyss. Refusing to look towards the 5 gentlemen seated on their stools about to sing. Fearing the look on Jake's face, her eyes closed tight once she heard the opening lyrics sung by Liam. Pained by the realization that he was truly there, she turned her head.
Knowing she couldn't be too obvious, but the sight of him reignited all her past feelings and memories. Wondering if he would even recognize her. Her hair was much shorter and straightened with slight bulky waves towards the ends. Not like before, when her mane made her easy to target.
Liam sang each verse, fighting back the tears in his eyes as he remembered his second trip to Africa not too long ago. Forming attachments with a group of 10 year old boys, he would have given anything to stay longer. But as dreaded, he was a slave to the set schedule.
Moments into the second song, Liam's vision was caught by a young lady standing up from her seat. She wore a magenta A-line dress. He could tell, in those few seconds, that she was a stunning woman. Listening to his fellow band mate sing his solo, Liam's intriguing eyes followed her as she walked away; unable to catch a glimpse of her face.
Piper walked inside to find the restrooms. It had taken every mind trick to keep from crying in front of Jake. Finally in the privacy of her own stall, she let out a huge sigh as she pressed down her tear ducts to keep from ruining her eye-makeup. She couldn't remember the last time she'd talked to Liam; she'd dare guess over a year.
To see him now when she finally thought she got over him, reopened the deep wound. She was incapable of staying for the rest of their performance. Surely they would perform and take off somewhere, as was the custom. Pulling herself together she checked herself in the mirror before exiting.
No longer hearing the music, she stayed in the back area to give time for the band to leave. She wasn't strong enough to see Liam yet . . . or ever. Luckily Jake found her first. Worried if she was okay, and not believing her answer. He grabbed her hand, but her skin still felt cold to his touch.
"Would you like to go?" Jake asked hopeful.
"You know what, yes. Wait here, I'm just going to grab my purse. I left it at the table."
Ignoring the worried look on his face, she stammered off back to the table. Secretly hoping to see Liam one last time from afar. But the band was nowhere near the tables. She said her goodbyes and even exchanged a few numbers, before leaving with her purse.
Jake was in full view, he awaited her with a smile of relief. Extending his hand slowly the closer she got. About to reach back for him she paused as a few men were going to cross between them. The second guy stood still. Piper looked up to see what was going on when she froze.
Liam had seen the dress again, it stood out as though his surroundings were in black and white. Zayn, noticing his nervousness, said he'd accompany him to go talk to her. That was until they were both close enough to recognize something about her. Zayn kept walking, looking back at his poor friend; Liam still paralyzed before Piper.
Piper had forgotten about everything and everyone when her eyes fell upon him. Not knowing whether to act indifferent or friendly. She wanted to touch his hand or give him a side hug, anything that would lead to some kind of contact. His sad eyes made her nauseous.
Liam's body turned numb, losing feeling in his fingers and toes. Mute as can be, he didn't know what to say. She looked more beautiful than he'd remembered. She was a stunning woman no doubt. His lips parted but still couldn't vocalize a single word. Wanting to hold her so badly, he shoved his hands in his pockets.
"Hi Liam." she said kindly.
"Hi Pip-" He began before he got cut off.
Jake went around and grabbed her hand. "Are you ready to go?"
Piper blinked a couple of times, remembering now where she was and how she was set on leaving. Not really wanting to but feeling a tug from the boy she was now dating. Her heart crushing as she saw Liam's shocked expression. Piper wanted to talk to him, after all they remained friends and it was good seeing him again.
Jake had gently pulled her along, thinking he was doing good by breaking their eye contact. She glanced back quickly before reaching the exit gates. Liam's stare bouncing from her face to the couple's clasped hands. Piper looked forward, enduring the ache in her chest.
Her phone didn't stop ringing. Wondering why now, after a year, Liam decides to call her. Knowing they didn't get a chance to talk and catch up, like she would've liked, she couldn't answer it in front of Jake. Piper grew anxious, biting her lip to restrain from doing anything. She wanted to act natural, unmoved, but she knew that Jake could sense her tension.
"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked while driving.
"No. I'm fine."
They reached her apartment, but she had expressed that she wanted to be alone. It wasn't the best reassurance that she had to offer, but she didn't want to spend the rest of the day pretending she was alright. She needed to scream, cry or grunt; whatever to release what was brewing inside her.
All that time it had took to heal, now worthless. She was back to the replays of all that went on in her apartment. Every corner and space haunting her with visions of Liam walking around in it. Startled, she heard a knock.
Annoyed when she opened the door. "I just really want to be alone right now Jake."
"I understand, just please call me when you feel better or you want to talk."
Nodding, she received a kiss on the cheek from him and waited till he stepped out to hurriedly close the door. She needed to sort through her feelings, pack up the boxes once again and throw them out, not keep them in storage. She needed to find a way to forget about Liam or each time they'd bump into each other she'd die again.
Resorting to a glass of wine to calm her nerves, she paced around the living room. Suddenly remembering all her missed calls, she searched for her cell phone. Contemplating to call him back or not, she finally did. Convincing herself that they would just laugh about the awkward situation and chat a bit about what they've been up to. Too bad there was no answer.
Sulking she was about to pour another needed round when the knocking returned.
"Damn it Jake, I said I wanted to be alo-" her sentence cut short the moment she found those sad eyes again.
"I'm sorry, but you weren't answering your phone so I thought I'd try coming here," he explained.
"I tried calling back a few minutes ago," she watched Liam search for his phone in his pocket.
"I must have left it in the car. Is this a bad time?"
"Kind of. I mean its quite the surprise . . . seeing you after so long."
"Yes, I still can't believe it. Can I come in?" he asked biting the corner of his mouth.
Piper was hesitant at first. What would Jake say if he caught Liam in her apartment? She did send him away, clearly stating she needed a little space. But this was Liam, and he was finally at her door.
"When did you arrive in California?" She asked stepping aside.
"A few hours ago actually," he could barely utter. "I would have come to visit you sooner otherwise."
Confused at what she meant by that, he frowned at her incredibility.
"I mean, we haven't talked for almost a year . . ." she added.
"I know. And I know its my fault. But it seems like you've moved on just fine," he said unleashing his true feelings.
"Well let's be honest here, its been what 2 years? Someone was bound to."
"Yes, I have too. We got back together . . . again."
"With your ex? Wow!" Piper was stunned and even disgusted. "Then why are you here Liam?"
"Because I didn't like how it ended back there. Seeing you again and not being able to even talk with you before your boyfriend dragged you off . . ."
"Jake is not my boyfriend, we're just dating," she felt the need to clarify.
"I just want to know if you're doing well . . . Bloody hell, I don't like us talking like this!"
"You need to let go Liam. You need to accept that what we had was a good time and take it for what it was."
"I know I know. "It is what it is"," he quoted her. "Should I leave?"
"Because we are both seeing other people, my answer should be yes," Piper looked away.
Nodding, he sighed before gripping the door knob. "I'm sorry Piper. It was great seeing you again. I just wish the circumstances were different."
Piper's eyes began to water. She knew the right and fair thing to do was for him to leave. But the other side wanted him to stay, to be tempted by how far they could get without being unfaithful. Still she had to do the right thing, that was her only source of control.
Two days had passed. It was now Tuesday and things seemed to be on the right track again. She reconciled with Jake and apologized for her weird and distant behavior. At the last minute she got called in to cover a shift, spoiling her dinner plans; they were supposed to have the night off.
Hair up in a wavy ponytail, Piper tied her apron on as she shoved some pens and a notepad in her pocket. The night was like every other and since her coworker had taken the last customer it was Piper's turn to greet the next set. Until she witnessed who they were.
No one else around to take the table, she reluctantly brought two menus with her to hand out. Liam and his friend Zayn sat at the table. Piper remained friendly but made no eye contact with her heart-breaker. Good thing Jake wasn't there.
Liam didn't know what he was doing. He had gone back to his sleepless patterns which caused him not to think clearly. All he wanted was for things to go back to the way they were, but he hurt her and now she wouldn't even look at him.
Piper took their orders and carried on with the rest of the tables. She walked back to the employee room to vent at the wall, hating the situation, wishing that he would almost go away so that she could stop missing him . . . even if it took two more years.
"I'll be out in a second!" she said, back faced towards the door, after hearing someone come in.
She looked back and saw Liam standing there. Torn between anger and longing, she wiped her eyes. But he had already seen her tears.
"You're not supposed to be in here Liam," she warned him, sniffling right after.
Liam's heart broke, knowing she was hiding in here crying because of him. He was going to ignore her wishes for the very first time and approach her. Walking closer to wrap her in his arms she tried stepping back but was cornered by the desk.
"Liam don't," but he hugged her anyway.
She kept her hands on his chest, making a poor attempt to push him off. Liam held her tight, stroking her back with his hand and smelling her neck. She smelled the same . . . lovely. Her resistance quickly died down as her arms fell to her side. Wanting to return the embrace but knowing it was unfair to Jake.
Hope you enjoyed it :)