The air on his face felt good...it brought him back to reality. It brought him to the present, to his perfectly content life, work and Olivia that loved him. He needed it, he needed to remember what he had because his past was right there, behind those doors and right now, his past made him want to thrown all he had away, to say the hell with it and follow her wherever she wanted him to.
"I had no idea she was there Liam" Fred said opening the door of the car on the driver's side
"I know you didn't" Liam said getting inside the car on the passenger's seat.
He might not see her when he entered the house, he just knew that she was inside the room way before he heard Vivienne tell Fred what was going on, glancing at Liam the whole time.
He wasn't excepting to see her. Liam knew she would come, eventually at one point and he knew they would have to see each other again. He just didn't expect it to be today. Nor did he expect all his feelings to crawl back to life, stronger than before.
When she first left, she said that she wanted to follow her dreams, see new things and met other places…He let her, Liam just let her go because that was what she wanted. He knew what this was all about: it wasn't about her, it wasn't about getting to know the world, it was about running away from her feelings, she was a free spirit and what they shared…it was scary even for him.
They knew each other, to the core, he knew her better than she did, just like she could read him better than anyone else. He would give his life for her that was how much that girl meant to him.
Liam was hurt when she left, he felt weak for admitting it, he wanted to go to the airport and beg her not to go, to just stay with him and never leave. Following Peter's advise he started dating Olivia three months after that to keep his head off Lily but there was no feeling there, he knew; Liam didn't feel a thing for her, but she was save, she was head over heels in love with him, everybody knew, so he just stayed with her, wishing that someday he might have feelings for her. His hopes were squashed down as Lily returned four months after leaving the first time, asking him to take her back..
He was stupid then and for the second time he let her go, not because it was what she wanted, but because he needed it. He wanted to hurt her like she had hurt him and he knew he managed to do just that, because she didn't come back for 5 years. He never told anyone what happened that day, not even Fred knew, because on that day, he made two mistakes: he let Lily go for the second time and second, that was the day he buried himself deep inside Olivia, pretending the whole time it was Lily.
Over the past years, he had been trying to convince himself, and Olivia, that he loved her and he succeeded, until an hour ago, when he saw Lily again.
It was almost out of this world the power she had over him. When he got inside the house, Vivienne was shocked to see him, but he didn't care, he knew she was there; when he saw her laying on the bed he was paralyzed, he needed the wall as support; when he first heard her voice again, Liam felt relief wash over him; when she looked at him his insides twisted and his heart speed up as his feelings for Lily washed over him...Everything he felt for her, everything she was for him, had been buried deep inside him, but right at that moment, as his eyes met hers something broke and there they were again, those feelings...
It wasn't the same thing, it wasn't as aggressive or as desperate as before but it was stronger somehow and it crawled underneath him.
"She is still in love with you…" Fred said breaking into his thoughts as he started the car. Liam didn't said a thing, he just kept staring outside the window
"And you're still in love with her…"
"I know" He said simply, there was no point in denying that, because the truth was, even if he tried to deny it to himself, he had always been in love with her
"Ok…Red or yellow?" Vivienne asked, her joyful expression almost lighting up the room.
"Red" Lily said and smiled as Vivienne laughed and told the teenage boy her final wishes. Lily smiled as she walked behind Vivienne. She was lucky her parents had connections, because Lily wasn't sure how she was going to get that amount of flowers in less than two weeks.
"I know I should have" She said as they walked to the car "But I wanted you here to do it and my parents almost own this place. They told me not to worry" She shrugged and opened the car. They both got in. "Besides you know how much I change my mind, so if I had planned this three months ago, I'd probably be telling them I'd no longer want petunias but roses instead" Lily laughed as Vivienne smiled at her. It was true; Vivienne was the most undecided person Lily knew.
"I'm still not sure how you said 'Yes' to Fred right away without doing the pros and cons of marriage" Lily told her, resting her head on the headrest and tilting her head to look at Vivienne. The other woman rolled her eyes
"That was an easy decision" She said, her tone telling her it was obvious "It was also the most romantic thing he did to me. I'm sure Liam helped him because there is no way he'd be able to draw Paris on a wall like that" Lily knew the story and because of it, she let her thoughts drift to Liam…
It had been 4 days since she had last seen him, he didn't come back that day. She had thought a lot about him, about the effect of seeing again had inflected on her, because it wasn't just the fact that she was back and surrounded by old memories, it was the longing to make new ones with him that assaulted her mind. She wanted him, she loved him and she needed a third chance. She needed to talk to him but he didn't call her, not once and she didn't have the courage to call him.
"Ok! Let's go! You still need to try your new dress!" Vivienne said very quickly, turning on the car engine, bringing Lily back to the present
"Wait, my dress?"
"Yes…" Vivienne said slowly and avoiding meeting Lily's eyes. She was hiding something…
"I brought my own dress" Lily told her. She had bought it, a week before coming home again "it's actually quite pretty…" It was, yellow with - Vivienne faced her and made a face
"You mean that yellow potato sac? That's what you're going to take to my wedding?" Lily narrowed her eyes making Vivienne smile "I want you to try this one on. Just wait and see" She said and Lily rolled her eyes. Vivienne noticed that and laughed "Just trust me"
Vivienne was right, the dress was amazing. It was red, tied behind her neck leaving her back nude; it hugger her front like a second skin until it reached her hips widening then to the knee length
"I knew you'd love it!" Vivienne said proudly. "I'm sure you'll get yourself a boyfriend at my wedding! Fred has this cute cousin I'm sure that you'll bond. If you know what I mean" she wiggled her eyebrows. Lily laughed
"I'm actually more interested in the best man, to be honest" She answered quietly eyeing herself in the mirror. She did look beautiful. Through the mirror she could see Vivienne's face falling as she avoided Lily's eyes "What?"
"Lily…I don't think you should…" Vivienne got closer and grabbed her hands "Lily…Liam had been dating Olivia for so long…I found them yesterday, Olivia was talking about moving in and marriage and having a kid together…I think" She stopped and took a deep breath "As much as it pains me to say it and believe me it does….I think you've lost your chance." She finished quietly looking at Lily, her eyes sorrowful.
Her words cut into Lily like knives and they kept playing on her mind like a broken record. Lily felt like crying, but she couldn't.
"I'll just" She cleared her throat "Undress…now" Lily said moving inside the changing room and grabbing the curtain to close it and then let the tears fall.
"Lily!" She stopped "I'm sorry"
Lily closed her eyes "So am I" she whispered and moved inside as the tears started to fall quietly as her some voice inside her said 'I told you so'
"Your house is nice" Lily told Fred. It was a little over a week until the wedding and Fred, half-joking half-seriously, told her that she had yet to see the house they were going to move in after. It was a nice; it had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a kitchen and the living room. It also clearly screamed that Vivienne had been present when they shopped for furniture as her taste for modern art was all over the place. Lily moved around and dropped her purse on the back of the couch
"It has a spare bedroom for you if you ever need it" He told her. He stood a little to her left, his hands buried inside his pockets. Lily nodded
"Thank you. But I don't think I'll" She told him as she looked around and went to the front of the couch and sat down, her back leaning forward as her knees supported her elbows. Fred moved to the side so he could see her.
"Planning on escaping already?" He asked her. Lily took a deep breath. Fred's mother was going to make a little dinner the day after tomorrow in order to celebrate the especial day that was coming. Everyone was invited, including Liam and his girlfriend. She tried to say no. But his mother, Roberta, had none of that.
"It's what you usually do when something is hurting you" Lily told him, leaning so her back touched the back of the couch "The fight or flight reflect. I can't fight it, so I'll just" She moved her hand up a little, as a plane would do as it took flight.
"You knew Lily" Fred told her "You knew the moment you left what you were getting at" Lily looked at her hands "You knew that if he never followed you, he wasn't going to wait forever. You wished for it, but you knew, deep down that he wouldn't wait for you" He was right. Fred moved and sat on the couch.
"I made a mistake, Fred" She told him, her head on the back of the couch as she looked at him
"So did he" Fred said as he imitated her position "You both did, you for leaving the first time and him for letting you do it again" Lily looked up and fought the tears. She had cried enough that day inside the changing room. So much that her swollen eyes, red face and running nose had draw enough attention that Vivienne had to evade the sales woman concerns.
She swallowed and looked down before looking at him again "I used to close my eyes and pretend that I never left" She confessed "I used to pretend that we are still together. Imagine it" She trailed off
"You said you used to" Fred pointed back
"It hurts too much. It's too painful" Lily said "Just like seeing him with her is going to be"
"You still love him" Not once Fred tried to get near her, take her hand offer comfort and Lily was grateful for it. She would break down in tears if he did
"I never stopped" She admitted. Fred nodded "I don't think I'll ever stop" She took a deep breath "I was so stupid!" She said getting up suddenly and pushing her hands inside her hair "I loved him and I got scared! I wanted it all, I wanted to follow my dreams! But what I wanted more than that was doing it all with him! I made that his test to see if he'd follow me. In my point of view that would prove that he loved me!" She shook her head "What I never realized was that the fact that he was letting me go was even a bigger prove that he did love me" She smiled sadly and shrugged her shoulders once "I ruined it all" She said and Fred got up then and went to her, gathering her in his arms "I ruined it all, Fred" She repeated into his shoulder as she fought hard against the tears that were on her eyes.
"Just so you know" Vivienne started "I can't wait for leaving this place and get on with the honeymoon" She told them after dinner that same night. Vivienne had come home, to find them on the living room, watching a football match on the TV and hour after Lily's break down.
They were now at the dinner table, the three of them too lazy to just get up and clean it.
"Where are you going?" Lily asked them. Vivienne had called her a dozen times, each one of them with a different place. Lily never really understood which one of them they finally choose
"Paris" Vivienne said looking lovingly at Fred, who just rolled his eyes. Vivienne stuck her tongue out
"I wanted New York" Fred said taking the glass to his lips.
"Yes, I know" Vivienne said "But it was Paris that was drawn on the wall the day you proposed" Lily looked at him and shrugged a shoulder telling him she had a point. He grinned at her "You know where we have to go someday?" Vivienne asked him just as the front door opened and closed and a deep voice soon followed the noise
"Fred, mate" Lily closed her eyes. She didn't need to turn and she knew that he wasn't inside the room yet he had stopped. He knew she was there. "I need to talk to you" He said getting inside the room slowly. Lily didn't look at him, glancing instead at Vivienne that was looking between Liam and Lily smiling. Lily knew exactly how he looked.
His body was tense, his eyes didn't waver from the back of her head as he urged to made sense at the scene in front of him.
Fred got up then, pulling Liam's eyes from her back as his focus turned to Fred. She heard him clear his throat
"Hello Vivienne" He said "Lily" Lily turned then, he was no longer looking at her, but at Fred
"What's up?" Fred asked him. Liam had just come off work; she could tell by his crumpled clothes and messed up hair. He looked at her then, feeling her eyes on him, before answering. When they made contact he closed his eyes and turned to Fred again. Lily looked at Vivienne, trying to drown their voices
"Where do you have to go?" Lily asked her, praying she got the clue and talked to her
"To visit you" She said smiling " I've always wanted to go, but it seemed that there was always something coming up"
"Just say the words and I'm yours for the week" Her attention was stolen by the sound of chairs being pulled. Liam sat down next to her, the only place available, as Fred took the seat he was previously occupying. Lily looked at his profile, his jaw was set and he was deliberately avoiding eye contact
"Is everything alright?" Vivienne asked Liam. He took off his jacked and rolled up his sleeves to his elbows.
"Yeah" He said as he nodded "Nothing you have to worry about"
"It's about the stag night" Fred said and Vivienne laughed
"Liam, I swear that if I don't get married the day I'm supposed to, I'm hunting you down and chopping your pieces off and giving them to charity" Liam laughed that rich, deep laugh that was unmistakably his. Lily almost closed her eyes at the sound instead she just looked at him trying to read what was going to his mind. Not once he looked at her.
"You'll be fine then. I didn't hire any strippers" He told her.
"I certainly hope so Thompson, for your sake!" Vivienne said
"Protective much?" Lily asked her and laughed as Vivienne stuck her tongue out for her. The moment the sound was out of her mouth, she felt his eyes on her, but she was weaker than him so she looked right up to him, urging him to see right into her.
'I still love you' She told him silently. He didn't move, his eyes staring right at her. She wasn't sure he had got it, but the next second he nodded his head almost imperceptibly.
That was his silent 'I know'
Vivienne's point of view
"Remember when that girl, Sissy, was throwing herself at you?" Liam asked Fred.
He had long lost his rigid posture, instead he was leaning back on the chair, his hand around a bottle of beer. Lily was beside him, despite the fact that they were apart, there was something about their body language that told Vivienne that if they wanted, if they reached out to pull each other close they would fit each other perfectly, just like they always did.
Vivienne meant that she said to Lily, she was never able to read Liam, not like Fred was able to but since he got inside their kitchen, she could do it, she could see it, the way he used to look at Lily, the way that every time he or anybody else told a joke it was her face that he glanced first.
It was just like before, they were all around the kitchen table laughing and sharing stories about the time were everything was uncomplicated, simple. Now things were complicated and unfair.
When Olivia told her, after she ran into Liam that they were thinking about marriage and children, she glanced at him, trying to read him, trying to see if his face told her something. It didn't, his face was closed off and his eyes were guarded. So Vivienne just nodded and smiled, because that was what she was supposed to do. She wanted to scream at him 'I'm giving you a chance! Don't blow it up again' because she really was giving him a chance to make it right. She shouldn't be tendentious but she was, she wanted him with Lily, but at the same time, she didn't want Lily to get hurt in the process.
Lily was her best friend, Vivienne loved her like a sister and if depended on her Lily wasn't leaving again, not without Liam by her side, even if she had to lock them up together in a room and ship Olivia to Croatia in the mean time. And the way they were now, gave her a little hope, that perhaps not everything was lost…
"Don't mention it" Fred groaned and put his arm around her shoulders. She looked up at him as his green eyed turned to her, she seemed to lose her breath, just like the first time she looked at him. She loved him, with everything she had in her, she loved him and she was going to marry him! She was going to be his wife!
"Your wife came to me and asked me to teach her how to play football" Liam said and Fred looked down at her, amusement on his eyes. She quite liked the sound of that – his wife.
"Really?" Fred asked amusement in his eyes. Vivienne rolled her eyes
"She knew how to play so well and I thought you might start liking her so" She shrugged and turned to Liam "Thank you by the way. I clearly remember my sixteen year old self, telling you not to tell Fred" She grabbed her bottle of beer and saluted him with it before taking a sip. He saluted her back smiling and drank.
Liam was smiling and that blew her away, it had been years since she saw that smile on his face
"I think you just lost a hell of a story to tell at the wedding" Lily said smiling as she peeled off the label of the beer. Liam turned to her, his eyes clear and bright "And I should be offended that you didn't ask me to teach you how to do it" Lily told her making Vivienne smile "Everybody knows that I play way better than those two" She pointed with her bottle between Liam and Fred "put together"
"Dream on" Fred said as a "You wish" left Liam's lips.
They looked between each other and laughed. It was familiar, that was a same old joke that they shared, every time Lily would say that, they would respond with those exact same words.
But that was soon forgotten for Lily and Liam, because as their eyes locked, the world seemed to stop, at least at the other side of the table. They were at it again, talking to each other without using words. There it was, clear as water what they felt for each other, it transpired between the two of them and it was written all over their faces. They nodded almost imperceptible and turned to the table again, smiling slightly
"Remember when we went camping?" Fred asked them "And it started to rain so bad we ended up trading tents?" Vivienne remembered and she was sure the couple over the other side of the table remembered as well as Lily's cheeks turned red. It had been on that same trip that she went all the way with Liam "That night, I decided I would marry you someday" Fred said to Vivienne and she couldn't fight the smile that broke on her lips "When you were there, sleeping next to me after you ran to my tend because you were afraid of the thunder" He shrugged and sipped his drink "I just knew" Vivienne brushed her lips against his. He smiled at her "How is that for a wedding speech story?" He asked the group. They didn't answer it and as Vivienne turned to them, she realized why.
They were at it again, looking at each other, not waving, their gaze looked, as they talked. Liam's Adam Apple bobbed up and down and he tore his eyes way from Lily's.
"Sorry?" Liam asked "What did you say?" Vivienne rolled her eyes. When were these two stop being such a pain in the arse and talk to each other?!
A/N: Any mistakes you may find are mine as English is not my first language. Thank you for reading.