Liam was quiet for the journey back to the lake house and when we got there everyone was waiting for him. I expected them to bombard him with questions about where he has been or what was the matter with him but they all just said it was good to have him back. Like everything was pre-rehearsed.
He tugged my hand and led me upstairs immediately, I knew it was because he wanted to get away from the sympathetic faces.
“I’m just gonna take a small nap, I feel ... drained.” Liam flicked his shoes off and lay down on the bed, his eyes were heavy and he looked truly exhausted both physically and mentally.
“Okay, I can leave you to sleep.” I said turning towards the door.
“No, don’t leave me okay?” Liam grabbed my hand and pulled me back. The fear in his eyes was back and it was heartbreaking.
“I won’t. I’m here.” I reassured him.
“Lay down with me ... please.” He tapped the mattress beside him so I slipped off my shoes and his jacket and lay down next to him.
Our faces were merely inches away from one another, I was careful not to touch him because I knew he was still feeling fragile but being this close to him brought back all of the memories and I felt saddened that I missed out on weeks of him thanks to this Reece drama. However that seemed like such a minuscule issue right now.
“Olivia, about what happened yesterday...” Liam started, there was a blush creeping in across his cheeks and I could sense how awkward and embarrassed he was for his own actions.
“Shh Liam, it’s not important anymore.” I tried to calm him.
“How can say that Liv? You are the most important person in my life and I knew you did not want to do that but I did it anyway. There is no excuse for that, I should not have let it happen.” I could see the self hatred in his eyes, he was beating himself up about this and really struggling in his own mind.
But why? I agreed to it. It wasn’t some sinister act that I had forced upon me. Yet here he was clearly questioning the morals of what happened. Overthinking it and casting himself a villain, like always.
“Liam, I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy journey for you. I said yes yesterday knowing exactly what I was getting myself into. It was my choice, I consented to it and I would do it again and again if I thought it was going to help you. When I told you to stop, you stopped. You did nothing wrong.”
“I disrespected you, degraded you and used you like one of the girls from my past. You're better than that."
“Liam, stop.” Very slowly I reached up and cupped his face, his eyes followed my hand the whole way then I slowly leaned in and pressed my lips against his sweetly. I could feel his upset through the tenderness of our kiss. When I pulled back the self loathing had subsided a little and was replaced with lust.
“You know Reece and I are just friends, right?” He clarified. “When I first started at Sanford I had a lot to figure out, my body was confused but my mind was always sure. Nothing has ever happened between her and me. She tried to kiss me and I pushed her away. That is what the picture shows. Luke and the guys, they’ve got it in for me and they blackmailed Reece to show you the picture and tell you all of that stuff. She’ll tell you everything herself if you ask her.”
“I don’t need ask her, I believe you.” I said truthfully.
“Liv, you really hurt me when you turned your back on me. In one single moment everyone put doubts in your mind and it was so easy for you to believe them. It broke my heart.”
I felt terrible, seeing the hurt in Liams eyes up close, it mixed with the fear and general vulnerability that he was going through right now. I hated myself for doubting him, our relationship was stronger than that. I trusted his word more than any picture so why did I turn my back on him?
“I’m so sorry Liam. I felt you pulling away and then I found out about Reece and I was jealous. When she showed me the picture it just made sense to me because of the way you were acting. I just got upset and didn’t want to hear your explanation in case I didn’t like your explanation. I should have given you a chance to explain. I should have believed you.”
“You're right, I was pulling away. But not because of Reece. When we first got here it was liberating for me, I constantly feel like I'm not good enough for you. I believe I'm a terrible person who could never make you happy. I mess things up, hurt you, use you. I'm damaged Liv.
But here I was different, I could be anybody I wanted to be because nobody knew how many girls I had been with or how many fights I had caused. Nobody knew I bought heavy drugs or treated everybody like shit just so they couldn't get close to me. Nobody knew... me, except you.
I got caught up in pretending to be someone who I'm not but when I was around you I had no choice but to be myself. And I liked the fake version of me better, the version that actually might have been worthy of you. So I pulled away.
I didn't like the feeling of being reminded of everything I was trying to leave behind. But then I lost you and I realized I couldn't pretend any longer. Because without you, I was everything that I hated about myself only so much worse.
When I saw you with Luke I got really jealous and mad. I acted childish, bringing Reece here because I wanted to make you jealous. Somewhere in my warped mind I thought if you got jealous about Reece then it would prove you still cared about me. I needed to know that you still cared.
I have never done this before, this relationship stuff and I don’t know how to navigate through it. The fights, the sex, the friendships. I don’t know what’s off limits and what’s not. Am I even allowed to be friends with Reece? Jordan told me it was like I was going through puberty, discovering my sexuality again and I believe him because the crazy things you make me feel have me acting out in the most childish ways.”
“We both hurt each other Liam, seeing you with Reece made my heart break. You lied to me, tried to hide her from me and that's not okay."
“I’m sorry Liv, I acted dumb. I should have told you about her and when she tried to kiss me. I was just scared of fucking things up with you but then I ended up fucking things up even worse. I just... I made a lot of mistakes and I regret every single one of them.”
“I forgive you.” I replied honestly.
“I forgive you too.” He smiled sleepily.
He settled down cozily under the blankets with heavy eyes.
“Yeah? His eyes were closed and he looked relaxed for the first time in a few days.
“You know Tia and Jordan are hooking up?” His eyes opened, blue sleepy irises looking back at me with all the flecks in wondrous shades.
“Yeah, did you not know that?”
“No I caught them two days ago. Wait, you knew? When did you find out?” The shock was not lost in my voice.
“They’ve been hooking up for weeks Liv, I’ve known since we had that soccer match together.” Wow, I honestly thought it was a one time thing. He closed his eyes again and I watched his lips part as light breaths came out. He looked innocent and safe.
“Liv?” he whispered.
“I’m gonna tell them all tomorrow. They all deserve an explanation.” His voice sounded dozed and I wasn’t sure if he was dreaming at this point or if he really meant what he said. His breathing increased and light flutters of his eyelashes told me he had fallen into a deep sleep.