The scar tissue at the corner of his lip tugged as he blew out a puff of smoke. The smoke dissipated and disappeared into the night. ‘Night’. Artificial like most everything else down here. The street lamps down below reflected off the clear, impossibly thick walls of their little bubble, the ocean waters beyond illuminated in strange distorted ripples.
Many places you couldn’t see the sea. Not anymore, maybe once. But here the street was creatively named Ocean Avenue. One side lined with shops and sitting areas where the bored and rich could admire the outside world lit up with lights and other closed in complexes far off. Could remember for once they lived down in the fucking ocean.
Zayn could see some like them too, down along with the rest. Recognized faces or shapes. It was easier to blend in at night even in a high end place like this.
He stubbed his cig out against the roof and turned his head to look at Liam. “Wanna go see if there’s a party in Sidetown?”
“Hmm.” Liam hummed for a moment as he stretched his limbs out. He looked more like he belonged on the other side of the glass, splayed out and limp like a jellyfish. “You can go, if you wanna.”
Zayn shrugged. He’d expected that answer. He knew Liam was already high and his head was off in whatever place he’d made for himself. The dark circles under his eyes stretched down even in the near dark up here. But Zayn would never say anything about it, all things considered.
“S’alright. Last party was a fuck fest. Harry needs to learn to either not drink or control his shit when he does.”
“He’s young. He’ll get it.”
With a roll of his eyes Zayn flopped back, laying himself next to Liam. Above them there was only black. He could just barely make out the shape of the artificial sun lamps high above. “He’s not young. Near enough to our age.”
“You know what I mean.”
Harry had only shown up a year or two ago. Not like Liam and Zayn and some others who were tossed back in the city a long time gone now. Liam always babied those kids, even if they didn’t want it. Zayn would tease him sometimes or get mad at him sometimes or roll his eyes sometimes. In truth he thought it was good for Liam. Mostly.
Liam hummed again, letting his eyes close. “Can hear.”
“What’s it this time?”
“Can’t tell. Too scrambled. A lady though, sounds pretty.”
Rolling onto his side Zayn pressed himself even closer to Liam, placing a kiss at the corner of his jaw. “Pretty. How’s that?” He whispered into the shell of Liam’s ear, voice deep and rough from his smoke. He always liked to try and distract Liam when his brain acted up. Or maybe he just felt like kissing him and wouldn’t admit it.
“Just is. Sometimes people sound ugly too. Or sound like nothing.”
Zayn nodded like he got it, stretching up so he could kiss at Liam’s temple this time. “Maybe she’ll go to sleep soon and shut up.”
“Idiot.” Liam shifted so he could face Zayn, a loose lazy grin on his face. “People still think when they sleep.”
“Then maybe she’ll have really hot dreams.”
That got Liam to laugh. It was a good sound, loud above all the bustle on the street. Liam laughed a lot but in a place like this it never felt like enough to Zayn. He wanted to kiss him more, make more stupid jokes and hear more about this pretty woman. But instead they were back as they had been. Shoulder to shoulder. Zayn too tired to act on his desires and Liam drifting too far away to do much of anything.
“Wanna find your frequency, one day.” Liam was mumbling, more to himself than Zayn. His hand fiddled with Zayn’s arm, pads of his fingers running along scars and cuts. Down down to his hand. Most of it was numb but he had enough feeling to know Liam’s fingers were curling around his own. “Find it and listen. That’d be nice.”
“Nah. I don’t think ‘bout much of anything, you should know that.”
Zayn thought about saying that Liam already knew his frequency. Had been on it since day one. That no one knew him better, no one knew more about him and all the corners of his mind where he hid his secrets behind mental walls and barbed wire. All those thoughts were swallowed down. That sort of thing was meant for the couples strolling arm in arm down the Avenue. They had that sort of luxury. The future for it too. Up here, out here, having someone to lay next to you - that was enough.