We ended up walking to the pizza joint back on his campus and grabbing a few slices to go. He told me it wasn’t as good as the barbecue chicken pizza back at home but he supposed it was a close second, although he didn’t sound very convincing. The boy is very passionate about his pizza. Then he took me back to his dorm with the pizza box in tow.
“Hey” Reece said from her bed, she was already tucked up and sleeping by the looks of things and I think we disturbed her.
“Hey Reece, just grabbing some things and then we’re going out again.” She sat up in bed and rubbed her eyes looking really drowsy.
“You want some pizza?” I offered holding the box out to her. Liams eyes shot to me without Reece seeing and I could see the disapproval in his face. Clearly he didn’t want to share.
“No thanks, where are you going?” Reece asked.
Liam grabbed two hoodies from his closet and threw one in my direction. I caught it and slipped it on, inhaling the beautiful scent Liams clothes all naturally had. He slipped his own hoodie on and then grabbed his art sketch pad from the side.
“The pier, don’t wait up.” Liam said before pulling me out of the door by my hand. I followed behind him quickly, not having enough time to say goodbye to Reece.
The pier was a few minutes walk from Stanford, not even that. Liams college was practically sitting on the beach. It was a lovely beach with the most lush sand that your feet sunk into and in the daylight the water was crystal clear but at night it reflected the stars and moon above and everything just felt romantic.
“Do you bring all the girls here?” I joked as Liam shoved a huge slice of pizza into his mouth.
He chewed on it rapidly trying to free his mouth so he could reply and I giggled to myself because I timed that question awfully. After a few tense bites he finally swallowed.
“No, but I have brought Jordan on a hot date here once, he didn’t put out though.” Liam teased.
“Lucky you.” I laughed.
Liam picked up the black sketch pad and held his fingers spread over the top. The excitement built up inside of me and I don’t know why I was looking forward to seeing his drawings so much. Sure I knew they would be good but they’re just drawings.
“Can I ask you something?” His eyes twinkled with mischief.
“Sure.” I said matching his amusement.
“Would you let me read your journal?” My smile fell because I knew exactly what he was doing.
I scoffed on instinct, as if. “No.” I said straight.
“Even if you lost a bet?” He questioned further.
“I would never agree to those terms, my journal is private.” I knew what he was getting at here but I could also see by the amusement on his face that he didn’t take it all too seriously. I think he was just toying with me.
“Why? You’re only writing what you did in the day. Dear diary, today I ate macaroni and painted my nails.” Liam put on a mocking voice, I think he was trying to do my voice but it sounded nothing like me. I burst out laughing.
“I don’t just write about what I did in the day, I write about how I felt when I was doing those things... I write about how you make me feel and that is why I wouldn’t want you to read it.” I could feel my cheeks turning pink and I hoped he didn’t notice thanks to the darkness around us.
He took a deep breath “Well this is my journal.” He smiled shyly.
“Are you trying to get out of your bet Mr Maines?” My brows furrowed playfully at him.
“No, I’m gonna show you. I just wanted to let you know that there are things in this sketch pad that you won’t understand and I don’t want to explain them.”
“Okay, that’s fair enough.” He handed me the book and lingered his hands on it for longer than needed before releasing his grip. I looked at him one last time, seeking his permission and he nodded his head so I opened the book.
His whole life was in here in some way or another, page after page was filled of drawings each one telling the story of his past. Jax, his boots, Liam cowered on the floor small and bruised. The man from the diner with a distorted face, his eyes had been scratched out and there was daggers sticking out of him and blood. Another page had the words ‘Little Liam’ wrote across the entire sheet but each one was stricken out aggressively enough to dint the paper. Two drawings of his mom side by side, one of them was how she looks with messy hair, barely dressed and the other one was how he wanted her to look, more motherly and maintained.
“Liam...” I didn’t know what to say, I was lost for words. Each picture was dark and had a whole world of emotion behind them. Some were even so far into the darkness I couldn’t decipher what they meant. I could feel his pain through his art and seeing a visual representation of what happened behind closed doors was heartbreaking.
“Keep going.” He encouraged.
As the pages went on the story line got lighter. There were soccer pictures, pictures of his friends and just random things that made him happy, much like his wall display at home. Then there was me.
Drawing after drawing I filled the page, he captured me from every angle like he was drawing me without me even knowing. He drew our love story, right from the start. Us handcuffed, our first kiss by the waterfall, our first date, the promposal. It was everything that happened captured in art form. The dark pages no longer existed.
“Who has seen this?” I asked as I gazed down at a page of Liam and I in bed together, the night we had sex in my childhood bedroom. He was blushing a deep shade of red and I wondered if he had been blushing all along or if it was this picture that set him off.
“No one.” He said nervously.
I kept turning the pages and stopped when I got to Reece, not doing anything in particular just wearing different outfits or just her face. He captured her beauty well and as I turned more pages and saw more of her face he rubbed the back of his neck.
“You were into Reece?” I asked quietly. He sighed.
“I was confused by Reece but no, it’s always been you Liv.” I nodded my head and continued turning the pages.
The darkness was back, reminding me of a time I kissed Luke and everything that followed but now I was seeing it from Liams side. The drugs he took, the beatings he got, sex by the bins, a brothel with a sex worker and her legs spread wide, the gun. I saw his world without me in it and it didn’t look pretty.
“Nothing happened with her.” He said with a worrisome voice but I didn’t need that clarification because I already knew nothing had happened.
As the pages turned the light came back and it was brighter than ever before. There were pictures of our wedding, pictures of our kids and our house. Pictures of our future.
“You think about this stuff?” I asked in awe of his artwork.
“All the time.” Liam whispered with pink cheeks.
“Wow.” I said closing the book and handing it back to Liam. Seeing his life drawn out in front of me was intense and it left me feeling a mismatch of emotions.
“That’s kinda what I wanted you to do if I won” Liam pointed out shyly.
I looked at him with perplexity and he rubbed the back of his neck nervously.
“I’m gonna be making a lot of money soon. I plan to buy a house somewhere in the middle of our campuses and I wanted you to move in with me.”
My eyes widened at his suggestion but I didn’t say anything so he started to nervously ramble.
“It’s not going to be straight away. I’ll have to save up a bit first and it doesn’t have to be a forever home, just while we’re both studying. Then we can find somewhere together, wherever you want.”
A smile grew across my lips at his sweetness
“Liam-” I started.
“I know it’s a dumb idea I don’t know what I was thinking. It’s obviously too soon.” He started talking himself out of it rapidly. But I reached over and placed my finger over his lips.
“Liam, stop.” I whispered, his eyes glowed reflecting the moonlight somewhere in that blue glaze. “I would love that.” He looked taken aback but after he absorbed my words that delicious smile crossed his lips and he pulled me in close, nuzzling my hair.
“Me too.” He whispered.