I suddenly became dully aware of a blunt object coming into contact with the side of my head and I flinched, ducking into and under the covers on the bed.
"Winter, what the heck are you doing? Are you even listening to me?" Liam sounded annoyed, probably because I'd spaced out again.
I peeked out from under the blankets and saw a nerf football lying next to the bed; it must have been what had hit me.
"Fuck, Winter…" Liam huffed angrily, rising from his computer chair and making his way towards me. He forcefully took hold of my shoulders and pushed me back into the plush bed, straddling my waist and staring right into my face only inches away. "Why are you spacing out? What the fuck is going on with you?" He demanded.
"Sorry," I said, blinking up at him.
He frowned at me, pausing to study my face, so I closed the short gap between our lips and gave him a quick peck. He looked displeased.
"Stop chewing on your lips. It looks gross and it feels disgusting when you kiss me." He said angrily, giving my shoulders a hard shove into the mattress before getting off me. It sort of hurt.
"Sorry…" I said, quietly. I wasn't trying to annoy him by spacing out, I just couldn't focus today. And biting my lip was just a nervous habit I just couldn't seem to shake.
"Stop saying sorry." He said with his back to me, headed for his bedroom door. I absently wondered where he was going, but hoped I'd be able to stay in his bed a while longer. I was dead tired and the spot I'd curled up in was soft and warm.
"Come on, we're meeting everyone for pizza and then maybe a movie or something." He said, the annoyance in his voice still clear to me.
I sighed and shut my eyes tightly, "Can I just stay here this time? I don't really feel good." It was true, my stomach was aching and I'm pretty sure I was so tired I'd be liable to fall asleep anywhere. What if I went to sleep and Liam accidentally left m-... he wouldn't do that, he loves me.
"No, you have to go. Come on." He said gruffly, yanking on his winter coat.
"Li, please…" I tried again, though I knew it was in vain.
"No, come on!" He shouted this time, actually scaring me enough that I jolted from my place on the bed and rolled off onto the floor. "Sorry," he said, walking over and grabbing me by the arm to pull me up. "Just, let's go."
He handed me my coat from off the floor and I slowly slipped it on. It was much smaller than his. I was much smaller than him. Standing next to Liam, the top of my head came to just under his chin. He was also more muscled than I was, still lean and everything but you could actually see muscle tone. My own arms were almost like limp bean poles.
The drive to meet everyone was silent except for the radio, but I wasn't paying attention to that. I stared out my window at the falling snow, loving how it was starting to cover things until they were unrecognizable white lumps of matter. We were so far north that this snow would be here to stay for many upcoming months. I shivered just thinking about it.
When we pulled up in front of the restaurant, Liam turned off the car and sat for a moment, taking in a deep breath. "I'm sorry I got mad at you."
"It's okay." I said softly. And it was. I knew deep down he loved me no matter what.
He gave me a small smile and leaned over to kiss my cheek. "Seriously though, I want you to stop biting your lip."
I nodded and reached for the door handle, stepping out into the piercing wind. Good god it was freezing. I instantly wished I was back in Liam's bed.
Liam opened the restaurant door for me and wrapped his arm around my waist as we looked around for our friends. Spotting them, we walked over and slid into the booth. I grabbed a straw wrapper and started playing with it, twisting it around my fingers as Liam talked. There were about six other people around our massive booth all talking so I just kept quiet.
Suddenly everyone was laughing and Liam pulled me against him, ruffling my hair. "Hey! Cut it out, Li." I said, trying to be annoyed, but not really.
"Come on, Winter, stop spacing out." He grinned, kissing me on the cheek. This got a response out of the girls around the table; they all squealed a collective "Aww!"
"Hey, cutie." A girl named Chloe breathed, scooting close to my side. I sort of liked her because she was nice and pet me, and she was also really pretty. Most people at this table were really pretty though. We were all dressed in black with splashes of bright color, kohl rimmed eyes, dramatic hair and expressions, and plenty of angst and drama. Honestly, I just tried to stay out of everything. I wore what Liam wanted me to wear and fixed my hair and makeup according to his liking. I liked it too, though. It made me feel good to know he liked the way I looked.
"You look sort of out of it today, sweetheart." Chloe said, moving her fingers through the side of my hair. It was sort of comforting because I didn't really like being social in large groups, and I was starting to feel anxious.
"Yeah, I feel out of it." I sighed. I looked over at Liam, but he was busy talking to everyone else, waving his arms animatedly while he told a story. I noted that he was completely different when he was around other people – grinning, laughing, talking more. He was probably getting sick of me and that's why he'd been annoyed. I needed to work on myself to be better for him.
"I think everyone's coming back to my house after this, we can get you something then, okay?" She said, grasping my hand from my lap and giving me a smile.
I nodded and noticed a waiter headed towards our table with three large pizzas in tow. They looked amazing because I was starving; I'd only had a mug of hot chocolate this morning and that hardly counted as something to eat.
After the table was cleared for a place to put the pizzas and plates were handed out, I grabbed a large slice and started eating. Normally I ate really slowly, but I was really hungry tonight and practically devoured my slice in only a few minutes. As I was about to reach for another Liam unexpectedly grabbed my waist and pulled me into his lap, making me squeak in surprise. Thinking he was just being playful, I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and turned back around to grab another slice for my plate.
"Hey, don't you think one is enough?" Liam whispered into my ear, his hands gripping my hips, fingers kneading the bone there. "You're so hot and skinny, and these jeans won't fit on a fat person." His breath was hot on my neck, and he moved his hand over my thigh under the table, nails raking against the material. He placed a soft kiss on my shoulder.
Hesitantly, I nodded and pushed my plate back. Liam was right, the slice I'd eaten was really big. Too big. "I'll be right back, okay?" I said quietly, moving off his lap and down from the booth. He nodded and gave me a look, but I just hurried as fast as I could to the bathroom at the back of the restaurant. I had to get rid of it, now. It wasn't the first time I'd done this either. Liam had been watching out for me and gently reminding me whenever I was close to eating too much ever since we got together. I owed all the disgusting weight I've lost these past few months to him.
Pulling a stall door closed and locking it, I quickly turned towards the toilet and already felt nauseous. I can't believe I'd eaten as much as I did. I felt disgusting and pictured a nasty glob in my stomach about to turn into pounds of fat to add to my bones. I was repulsive.
Feeling a huge wave of sickness, I went with it and knelt in front of the toilet, shoving two fingers down my throat. Instantly, chunks of food came rushing up and I wished to god I'd spent more time chewing instead of scarfing it down. The feeling was terrible but I kept shoving my fingers down until I was certain it was all up. Thank god it was only one slice, what if Liam hadn't stopped me? I loved him, he was constantly looking out for me.
"Hey, are you okay in there?" A voice called from the other side of the stall door, fingers knocking gently on the wood.
Oh, shit! Shit, shit, fuck! I hadn't noticed someone was in here, or had they just walked in? I could feel a new wave of sickness and nervousness wash over me, but there was nothing left to throw up and I just dry heaved.
"Seriously, are you okay?" The person sounded worried.
Oh my god, please just go away. I wanted to disappear into the floor, this was so embarrassing. When it became clear the person wasn't leaving I resigned to shakily standing up and opening the door, keeping my eyes on the floor. Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.
"Whoa." The boy breathed quietly, and I could only imagine what he was thinking. 'This boy is disgusting and fat, and has shit all over his face.' But again, he didn't move away, just stood rooted to the floor.
I took this opportunity to make my way to the sinks, still keeping my eyes on the ground. My face was on fire and I bet I was completely red. I'm such a dumb fuck.
I turned the taps on and washed my hands before cupping them and bringing them to my face to wash it off and rinse my mouth out. Suddenly, my body was wracked with a coughing fit and I ducked my head into the sink, hacking my brains out.
"Hey, hey, hey…" The body behind me abruptly came to life, moving to my side and placing a hand on my back, rubbing it in soothing circles. It felt really good.
When I had calmed down and finished washing my face and hands again, the boy beside me handed me some paper towels. I still hadn't dared to look up, mostly from embarrassment but also from fear. I was drying my hands when he spoke again.
"Are you okay now? Or… do you need anything?" He said, reaching out to move some hair out of my eyes.
I flinched away from his touch and then finally looked up into this boy's face, this boy who had reached out to touch me even though I was disgusting. And then I really freaked out.
Standing before me was the most beautiful boy I'd ever seen. His chocolate brown hair fell into piercing green eyes, his features etched with worry. He was really tall too, even taller than Liam and I guessed the top of my head just reached his shoulder. Also, he was standing extremely close to me.
Like an idiot, I freaked out and backed away from him. Except there was nowhere to back away to and my hip rammed painfully into the edge of the sink counter. Oh god.
"Umm… N-no, I'm fine." I stuttered dumbly, again avoiding his gaze. I folded my arms over my stomach self-consciously and hoped he would just leave now. He was making me extremely nervous and my hands were starting to shake.
"What's your name?" He asked calmly, not obeying my silent wishes.
"W-winter." I really was making a fool of myself. I couldn't even talk properly to some boy I didn't even know.
"I'm Teagan." He replied, and I chanced a look up at him. His smile was easy and his eyes light, completely gorgeous. He shifted away from me a little bit and I instantly missed his close proximity. He was probably just starting to see how repulsive I was and regretted even talking to me. "So you're alright now?"
I nodded and tried not to stare at his face.
"Cool." He smiled again and brought his hand up to rub it against my back in a soothing way, though it was very brief. "Well hey, I'm here with my friends if you want to join us. We're just hanging out and stuff and everyone's chill."
He looked sort of hopeful but I said "I can't, I'm here with some friends too." And then I remembered Liam and how I was just staring at this boy, Teagan, thinking he was the most gorgeous thing in existence. Holy shit, Liam. He'd kill me if he knew I was talking to another boy. And I can't believe how slutty I was just acting, practically drooling over a stranger when I had someone who loved me.
"Hey, Winter, you in there?" Teagan said, waving a hand in front of my face and looking amused.
"Oh, sorry, what?" I asked, still dazed and a little horrified that Liam was going to find out about this. He'd not love me anymore. I was already gross but this would just be the icing on the cake. "Actually, I have to go. Right now."
"I was just saying I'd maybe see you around? But… okay. I hope you feel better." He said, his tone a little confused. I chanced another look up at his gorgeous face and he gave a soft smile and a wave before I was out the door. I felt extremely rude for not saying anything back, but I was in a rush to get back to Liam. To make this up to him even though I'd never tell him about it.
When I got back to our table everyone was already getting up and putting coats on. "Hey," Liam slid an arm around my waist, "We're going to Chloe's now. Do you want to stay the night with me?"
I nodded my head and wrapped my arms around his waist, burying my head in his neck. "I love you, Li. I'm sorry I'm a bad boyfriend." I felt like crying over this I was so upset. And nothing had even happened, I'd only talked to Teagan maybe two minutes. I still felt like a slut.
"You're not a bad boyfriend," he replied, wrenching my arms from his waist and pulling me away from him. "Come on, let's go." I took one of his hands and laced it in mine as we walked out behind everyone else.
Later, at Chloe's, everyone was passing a joint around and the air was thick with smoke. I tried not to cough as I cuddled against Liam on a couch in the basement. Every time it was our turn, Liam would offer me some, but I always shook my head no. I really wasn't into drugs or drinking of any kind. Plus that stuff gave you munchies and I could not afford to be eating right now.
Liam took in a drag and held it in for a long time before letting the white smoke billow out of his mouth. I was staring up at him because really, I thought it was sexy how he smoked.
"I think you should have some now," he stared back down at me, bringing it to my lips. I was about to protest but he gave me a look so I took it in my hands and breathed deep. I tried to do like Liam and hold it in for a while but I ended up coughing and my eyes watered.
"Good," he smiled down at me, and I smiled back. I wanted to make Liam happy no matter what. I wanted him to still love me. Lying back against him I felt slightly more relaxed, but I still wanted to leave. Everyone was just sitting around and talking loudly about nothing, eating, and playing video games. Chloe and another boy were making out on the couch opposite us.
"Can we go home?" I asked after a while of me and Liam just sitting there together, not bothering to join in with everyone else. I loved the feeling of us just cuddling together, not having to talk and just being, but I was getting really tired again and I didn't want to fall asleep here.
"Yeah," Liam finally responded, coming out of some daze he was in. "Will you drive though? I don't know if I should." I nodded and got up off of him.
"Aw, are you guys leaving already?" a girl named Roxy said from the floor, grabbing hold of my ankle and tugging on my jeans. I looked down at her and she giggled like mad, before rolling away to hug the girl beside her.
"See you later Chloe," Liam called before grabbing my arm and leading the way out. Don't get me wrong, I liked these people but they were more of Liam's friends than mine. I hadn't even known any of them until me and Liam got together. I was sort of just drifting around before Liam found me, not really belonging to any group because I was new to our school at the time and being too shy to actually try and meet people.
Liam was also sort of our group's leader and everyone looked to him. I think it's because he's got so much confidence and he does whatever it is he wants whenever he wants. He's also really cute, which is why I think most of our group is girls even though Liam clearly likes… boys. I coughed and Liam gave me a look but I continued with my thoughts as we got in the car.
It was still sort of awkward for me to be so affectionate with Liam in front of people, especially when they all squealed at anything we did. Liam doesn't really care though and sometimes he makes out with me in front of everyone, even though they're all clearly staring at us. It's sort of embarrassing but Liam likes it… so yeah. I mean, I'm fine with cuddling with him and giving quick kissing but I don't know. I just want to make Liam happy, he's done so much for me.
Suddenly, I randomly remembered Teagan from the restaurant bathroom and felt my face flush. Why was I thinking about him? I felt dirty and a pang of guilt stab at my stomach. I quickly looked over at Liam who was sleeping with his head against the window in the seat next to me. I can't believe I could think about Teagan with someone as great as Liam with me.
But I couldn't stop.
I thought about him even after we got home and I had to wake Liam up so we could go inside. I thought about the way he touched my back so comfortingly when I was getting sick when Liam took off his shirt next to me and pulled the blankets down on his bed. I thought about Teagan's bright eyes and soft smile even when Liam was pulling me into bed next to him and wrapping his arms around me.
Who is this boy, Teagan? I decided I'd never find out and avoid him if I ever saw him again.
"I love you, Li."