Shhhh.... let's go to bed.
Hi, u awake?
I’m out your back door.
I’m this much drunk.
You can’t see that but I am holding up my fingers.
The constant vibration of my phone against my bed side unit woke up up, it’s half past three in the morning. Who was texting at this time.
Come out pls. I just wanna see u I’ve had a bad night.
Another one coming through made me grab my phone and squint my eyes as the brightness of the screen contrasted with the darkness of my room. ‘Liam’ showed up on my notification bar as the messages kept flying through one after another.
I’m not goin away so you have to come get me.
I grabbed my dressing gown and threw it over my pajamas making my way towards the kitchen. I’m not sure what to expect from Liam right now, we left things unresolved. He told people we didn’t sleep together which settled down the name calling and touching. But I was still mad at him and yesterday at school he was back to completely ignoring me.
His face was squashed up against the glass making his nose and lips bend and flatten with the pressure. He smiled drunkenly as I fumbled with the key in the lock. Once the door was open he stumbled inside, steadying himself on the kitchen counter.
His face was all banged up like he had just gotten into a fight. There was swelling to his lips that I could clearly see now that they wasn’t pushed up against the glass. His left eyebrow was cut and he had slight redness to his cheekbone that I’m sure will display a new bruise tomorrow.
“What happened?” I asked, concerned referring to his face.
“You brought your date to my work. Just couldn’t stay away could you?” He slurred whilst swaying from left to right, clearly unsteady on his own two feet.
“That’s not what I meant. What happened to your face? and how much did you drink? Who drinks on a school night?”
“Stop it Liv. I came here because I know you won’t ask questions. So don’t ask questions.”
“You’ve been ignoring me all week, then you show up at my house in this state and expect me not to wonder why?”
A small drunken smile stretched across his banged up face. “You can wonder why, just don’t ask.” He opened one of the cupboards and pulled out a glass, helping himself to some water as I watched in disbelief.
“Why have you been such a dick all week? My anger was slowly returning.
“That’s just who I am.” he shrugged and looked solemn for a few seconds before closing up the gap between us he placed his index finger across my lips and I let out an involuntary gasp that I hope he didn’t notice. “Shhh... lets go to bed.”
My eyes widen in horror at his statement and with heavy eyes he lets out a small drunken giggle. “Just to sleep Liv” he reassures. Without me fully agreeing Liam grabs my hand and leads me through my house to my bedroom. He strips down to his boxer shorts exposing his marked body and climbs into my bed, pulling back the covers he pats the empty space next to him and blinks at me with bloodshot eyes. I willingly climb in next to him, though I’m not fully sure if I’m making the right choice.
We lay in the darkness, silence shared between us. Liam taking the little spoon position for the second time this week. I just lay listening to his breathing and feeling his chest move up and down against my hand.
“Liam?” I whisper into the darkness.
“Yeah?” He whispers back.
“You can’t keep doing this, you know? You’re going to have to either let me in or let me go.”
With that sentence I hear his breathing become rapid and feel his heart race against the back of my hand. After several minutes of hesitation he finally replied.
I enter the social studies classroom surprised to see Liam standing there talking to some of the girls. He’s ditched this lesson all week because he has been avoiding me but there he was. He left before I woke up again this morning and he hadn’t made any efforts to talk to me at all today. I took a seat at our table and tried to look busy with my notebook.
Mr Hibbert entered and told everyone to take their seats, a current of fresh vanilla an oud wood blew my way as Liam sat down. I waited for him to address last night with me but he just stuck in his ear phone and refused to look my way.
“I want you all to take three pieces of paper. Write down two facts about yourself and one secret. Don’t put your name on them and don’t let your partners see them. Once you’ve wrote three things down bring them to the front. We’ll shuffle them about a bit and then you’re welcome to come to the front and guess which ones was written by your partner. Lets see how well we know each other.” Mr Hibbert announced to the class.
My hand reached out to grab a small scrap of paper laying on our desk, so did Liams. Our hands collided on top of one another sending mouthwatering tingling sensations throughout my body. Liam pulled his hand away and gestured for me to take one first so I complied. That was the first contact we’ve had since last night.
I looked at my blank paper questioning what to write, I doubt Liam would guess correctly anyway. Liam was already scribbling away on his paper but I couldn’t see what he was writing, probably something vacant anyway.
Fact One: Strawberries give me hives.
Fact Two: I still have the friendship bracelets my first crush made me.
Secret: Loneliness consumes my world.
When I was done I placed my papers scattered across the table with the others and returned to my chair.
“Could the right partners please approach the table and gather the three papers you believe was written by your partners” Mr Hibbert announced.
My eyes fleeted across many words and nothing really stuck out to me as if Liam would have written it. This was hard, Liam was so closed off I had no idea about any facts let alone any of his secrets. Among the table there were ‘I’m gay,’ ‘I’m a virgin,’ ‘I have a really small penis,’ ‘I stole a lipstick from walmart’ ‘I kissed my best friends boyfriend’ but then something stood out to me from the rest. In small black font there was a simple, heart wrenching sentence that said ‘I’ve never felt happy.’ and despondency washed over me. I kept on looking over the table ‘I shop in the thrift store,’ ‘I see a therapist,’ ‘I’m falling for someone I can’t have and it’s scary,’ then I spotted another one that screamed Liam but I debated not picking it up in case it wasn’t Liams and we open up that can of worms again.
“Tick tock, you’ve got ten seconds to chose.”
Mr Hibbert lay down the pressure so I quickly picked it up as well as another one and returned to my seat. The left side partner was called up, Liam walked over to the table with ease, spent a few minutes looking at each card with concentration built up across his face. Then he returned to his seat with plenty of time to spare.
“Okay, now one by one you should show your partners which paper you retrieved. You can admit to it or not, it’s completely up to you.”
Liam & I turned to look at each other properly for the first time this lesson. His guard was halfway up but there was flickers of emotion in there and for once he didn’t seem disinterested. He placed one piece of paper faced up so I could read back my own font ‘Strawberries give me hives.’ He then placed the second one faced up which read ‘I still have the friendship bracelets my first crush made me.’ I held my breath in anticipation for the third one, silently begging for him to have picked up the wrong one. He softened his eyes and watched me intensely as he turned over the third and final piece ‘Loneliness consumes my world.’
He didn’t ask me if he got them correct, I think my face told him all he needed to know. I took a deep breath and turned over the first one ‘I’ve never felt happy’ his posture instantly stiffened, sending thick awkward tension spiraling in the air. Sapphire rings pulled back all the blue from his eyes and replaced them with darkness as Liam started adding concrete bricks to his wall of protection.
“Maybe we shouldn’t -” I whispered timidly.
Liam grabbed the arm I used to hold my papers in. He nodded slightly and said “go on” in a raspy voice. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes and turned over the next piece of paper, I opened my eyes when the words were exposed ‘I wish I wasn’t so damaged.’ He looked broken like I was subduing him to torture but he didn’t deny that these were not his words.
“Last one.” he said in a barely audible voice.
He inhaled sharply, preparing himself for whatever was about to come next. Worry building on his face, uneasiness echoing through his body. I felt my lip twitch slightly at the corner of my mouth as I turned over paper number three. I could see it took all of his courage to drag his eyes down to the table and read the words staring back at him. I bit my bottom lip, envisioning how number three would go down in such a heavy moment. Liam stared at it for a few seconds then looked back at me in silence.
“I have a really small penis.”
With those words on his lips I couldn’t hold back my laughter. I combust sending little gross spit sprays into the air. The heaviness we had been feeling moments ago had completely evaporated as Liams face filled with light, that boyish grin spread wide across his face in such a desirable way. My favorite one of Liams faces.
“That one is definitely not true.”
Liam laughed through his words, basically admitting that the other two were true but I already knew that. I knew Liam didn’t write the last one when I picked it up but I needed something to lighten the mood and this statement worked like a charm.
“Hey, I’m sorry about last night. I know I woke up in your bed, I know I sent you a stream of text messages in the middle of the night but I can’t remember actually being there. I hope I didn’t say anything inappropriate I can be quite flirty when I’m drunk.”
“You don’t remember it?”
He rubbed the back of his neck and looked at me puzzled
“You told me all of your secrets.”
I kept my face straight and serious even though I was laughing in my head. Liam stilled and paled on the spot, the smile draining from his face as the fear took over.
“Relax would you, I’m just messing. Getting information out of you is like getting blood from a stone, even when you’re drunk. Would it really be that bad if I knew your secrets?”
The end of day bell rung and Liam quickly stood, grabbing his bad and avoiding this conversation.
“Saved by the bell” I said with a smile.