Liam comes back into the room twenty minutes later to find me staring at the ceiling. I barely look over when he comes in.
He kicks his shoes off and lays down next to me. "What're you thinking about, babe?"
I slowly roll my head to the side to watch his reaction as I respond, "Zayn."
His eyes squint slightly in confusion, studying my face. "Should I be worried?"
I reach for his hand as I shake my head. "I need to ask, but I'm not accusing you of anything, I swear."
He frowns. "I don’t like where this is going."
I bite my lip, trying to corral my courage. "Do you have any feelings for Zayn? Not-so-very-platonic feelings?"
The seconds that pass before he replies tells me all I need to know.
"Nothing that compares to my feelings for you," he says, turning his body to face me as he props his head up on an elbow. "Nothing can change how much I love you. He's my best friend. That's it. I promise."
I take a deep breath and slowly exhale. "I just needed to hear it. Thank you."
His arms wrap around me in a hug. "Good to know you trust me, baby."
"I do trust you," I confirm. "I just – well, I was feeling a little confused and insecure."
"Sorry, babe. We've developed a routine together on tour. It's hard to switch it off." He rolls over on top of me and leans in to press a kiss to my neck.
"I love you," I tell him. More than I can express.
He smiles against my jawline, continuing his path of kisses up to my mouth. "Love you, too."
I just want you to be happy.
His mouth brushes against mine, tongue darting out to taste my lips.
I could make you happy. . . but together we could make you even happier.
Our lips slot together and my eyes fall closed, savoring the connection.
I'll have to make sure Zayn and I are compatible. . .
His fingers dig into one hip and I know he's trying to remind himself this isn't leading very far – not today – not when my body is still punishing me for surviving another month without getting pregnant.
I don't want to be, like, sister wives. . . we'd have to be romantically involved, too. I'd have to love him as much as I love Liam. . . What if he couldn't love me as much as Liam?
"You seem distracted," Liam mumbles against my lips.
I don't even know if Zayn's attracted to me. What if Zayn's actually gay?
I thread my fingers through Liam's short hair, lightly tugging. "Sorry, my brain won't shut up."
He chuckles, lightly, pressing his nose into my neck. "Maybe we should do something more distracting."
I smirk. "Like continue your education in Doctor Who?"
"So what did you two do all day?" Harry asks. Cameras flash from a distance as we walk around beneath the Eiffel Tower.
I smile and life one shoulder in a shrug. "Nothin' much. It's just good to be together."
"Yeah? You two are going out tomorrow, right?"
"I think so. He hasn't really told me what his plans are." I aim my phone's camera up to take a shot from under the tower.
"You wanna go up?" Harry asks.
I shake my head. "Let's just go out and take some cute pictures," I request, pointing towards the grassy area ahead.
We're seated at a fancy restaurant before I convince myself to get Harry's advice on my crazy situation.
"I need to talk to you," I say. "And I need you not to tell anyone – not yet."
Harry's eyes study me across the table, concern etching his forehead. "Including Lou?"
I nod. "Just for now. I don't want it getting back to Liam before I'm ready."
"Riles, are you . . . you're not pregnant, are you?"
"No! No. Nothing like that. I'm actually on my period right now, so that's definitely not a thing to worry about."
He nods, minutely. "Okay, what is it, then?"
I bite my lip and stare down at the table, searching for the best way to phrase my dilemma. "I talked to Zayn earlier," I tell him, folding my hands together and looking up at him. "And he – well. . . yeah, he's got feelings for Li. And I asked Liam and he assured me that he loves me and all, but I know he feels something for Zayn, too."
Harry nods, listening intently.
"And I don't - " I take a deep breath. "I don't want to be the one keeping them apart - "
"Riley, you'd absolutely break Liam's heart if you broke up with him," Harry assures me.
I shake my head. "I don't – I don't want to break up with him. God, that' the last thing I want. I love him. I just – I had this crazy idea – I mean, I think it might work – I want it to work, but I dunno - "
"Spit it out, Ri," Harry prods.
I let out an awkward laugh. "I'm thinking about asking Zayn if he'd want to – like, be in a relationship with us." I rush out the words, slightly shocked to hear them out loud after they'd bounced around my head all afternoon.
"The three of you? Together?" He asks, surprised.
I nod, biting the inside of my cheek.
The waiter arrives with our first course, giving our conversation a pause as Harry thanks the man in French and requests he leave the bottle of wine.
"I think we're gonna need this," Harry teases me, topping off my glass of wine. "So you haven't asked Liam about this yet? Or Zayn?"
I shake my head. "I think – I mean, I don't know if Z's even, like, attracted to me. So I thought I'd get his thoughts on it first. . . I don't want to get Li's hopes up if Zayn's not even interested."
"And you think Liam is interested?"
"He wouldn't want to admit it, but Zayn could make him really happy."
Harry's eyes study me as he takes a few bites, chewing and swallowing and watching me. "But are you doing this because you want this? Or just because you think Liam does?"
"Both. I love Li. I love him more than I've ever loved anybody and all I care about is making him happy. And yeah, I know I could make him happy on my own – I mean, he is happy. But he's be even happier with me and Zayn."
"And you wanna be in a relationship with Zayn, too? Because if you're all gonna take a go at this, it'll have to be you and Liam, Zayn and Liam, and you and Zayn," Harry reminds me.
"I know. I like Zayn. He's attractive and he's so loyal and protective of those he cares about. I think we could be good together." I grin. "We've both got good taste – falling for the same guy. And, yeah, I know it's going to take more effort for the relationship with Zayn to work at first, but I'm willing to try."
Harry drills me through the rest of dinner and I finally ask if he really thinks it’s a horrible idea.
"I just want to make sure you know what you're doing," he replies with a small shake of his head. "There's a lot that could go wrong, babe."
"I know," I say, looking down at my hands.
"You'll just have to be careful," he continues. "You're just piling on the secrets you have to keep, love. But I'm not – that's not me saying you shouldn't do it. If it's gonna make you happy, then go for it."
I grin. "Yeah?"
He reaches across the table for my hand and smiles. "Of course."
"Are you sure I can't tell Louis?" Harry pleads in the elevator. We just returned to the hotel after finishing the paparazzi date with a sweet kiss outside the restaurant.
"I don't want it getting back to them before I get a chance to talk to them," I insist.
Harry's quiet for a moment and then he grins. "Why don't you come spend the night with us? And then you can tell him."
"That's not the point, Haz - "
"But we're your best mates and we've barely had any time with you - "
"Because I came to see Liam - "
"And soon you're gonna be spending even more time balancing your relationships and less time with us. . . " Harry turns on the puppy eyes and I'm giving in by the time we reach our floor.
"Hey, babe. Harry's con - " I stop, surprised to find Zayn in Liam's room and Liam nowhere in sight.
"He's just jumped in the shower," Zayn supplies with a small apologetic smile.
"Oh, I guess I'll - " I close the door behind me and cross the room to sit on the end of the bed. "What've you two been up to tonight?"
"Just catching up on Arrow," he replies. "How was your date?"
My mind darts forward to how this situation could go in the future, if everything works out: Zayn asking about my date with Harry as he marks up my neck. . . By the time Liam exits the shower, Zayn has me naked and moaning on the bed. Liam --
"Riley?" Zayn's voice interrupts. "You okay? You look a little heated."
I close my eyes, flustered and blushing. "It's nothing. Date was great. We went to see the Eiffel Tower – it's absolutely gorgeous at night. Wandered around the Louvre for a while."
"Good," Zayn murmurs, unsure where to take the conversation from here.
"Did you guys get all caught up on Arrow?"
"Yeah, you like that show?" He asks.
"I love that show." I dart a glance at the bathroom door – still closed. "Stephen Amell is – well, he's a beautiful specimen and I love his Oliver."
Zayn chuckles. "You saying you don't watch Arrow for the plot?"
I grin. "Maybe not entirely."
"He is pretty impressive. That salmon ladder thing he does – it's crazy difficult."
"Are you saying you've tried it, Mr. Malik?" I ask and suddenly realize I'm flirting with him.
"Liam dared me," Zayn replies with a shrug.
"Wait, can Liam do it?" I can't keep the incredulity from my voice.
"Not yet. I'm sure a word or two from you would have him working harder on it, though."
I smirk. "Well, we'd all enjoy that view, wouldn't we?"
Zayn chuckles, uncomfortable.
I bite my lip. Liam should be out any second, but - "Zayn?" He look back over at me. "We need to talk. Before I leave. Not now - " I dart a glance at the bathroom door. "Maybe tomorrow?"
"About what? I told you, you don't have to worry about - "
I shake my head and hear the water stop in the bathroom. "I'm not worried. I just – I need to talk to you. I've got a – uh, a proposition of sorts."
He squints suspiciously at me and then Liam is exiting the bathroom in a cloud of steam.
"Hey, baby," Liam greets me, coming over to lean down for a kiss.
"Hey, Harry's convinced me to stay with them for the night, so I'm just here for a few," I apologize.
Liam pouts before sauntering over to his suitcase. He drops the towel around his waist as he starts digging for a pair of boxers. I can't help looking over to see Zayn's reaction and he seems to be swallowing thickly by the way his Adam's apple bobs; his gaze fixed on the floor.
"Came for a goodnight kiss, then?" Liam teases, turning around as he pulls a pair of boxers on. His soft cock is visible for only a moment, but Zayn being in the room and my fantasy a few moments ago has me cursing my uterus. It's been entirely too long since I've felt him deep inside me.
"Yeah, just wanted to let you know," I reply, slightly flushed.
Liam gives me a knowing look with a smirk. "Z, could you give us a minute?" He requests.
Zayn quickly agrees and escapes, mumbling something about seeing Louis.
Liam's across the room, pressing me back against the bed as soon as the door clicks shut behind his bandmate. His lips press to mine and my fingers thread into his short hair, clinging to him.
"God," he curses, so close I can feel his breath across my lips. "Love how you react to me. Just – fuck, Riley." He pulls my bottom lip between his teeth, sucking lightly.
"T-tomorrow," I stutter out as his hand squeezes my breast. I'm in a dress that won't let him access bare skin easily, but it isn't stopping him.
"What about tomorrow?" He asks.
"Tomorrow night – I think I can – my period usually only lasts – about three days – so – tomorrow night we can - " He's mouthing at a sensitive spot just below my ear and my whole body is arching up to touch him. He's hard; it's not easy to miss with his think boxers being his only piece of clothing. "You can – I mean - " I slide our hips together, indicating what I can't seem to voice.
He shakes his head, eyes closed. "I can – I can wait. Tomorrow."
I flip us over so I can lean over him, pressing kisses down his chest. I drag my tongue across a nipple and he moans, low and gorgeous.
I reach down and squeeze him through his boxers. "Let me take care of you," I whisper into his ear.
"Baby," he whines.
I lean back to help him maneuver out of his boxers before moving down to press kisses to the inside of his thighs. I brush my fingers along his shaft before biting a mark into his bare hip.
I consent to his pleas and reach for the bedside table drawer, pulling out a bottle of lube to squirt a little on my fingers. I rub them together, warming the cool substance and maneuver up to press our mouths together again. I wrap my fingers around his impressive length and slowly start stroking him, not quite giving him the friction he craves.
"Riley," he begs, a hint of frustration edging his voice.
It feels so good to have him under me, nude and hard, while I'm still fully clothed. It gives me a rush of adrenaline to be in control.
I smear the pre-cum around him as I tighten my hold and start sliding up and down his length. He thrusts up into my hand, wanting more speed, more friction. I kiss my way down his chest and take his tip into my mouth – swirling my tongue around and increasing the speed of my hand.
"Ri – I'm - " he stutters out a few moments later. I pull back, removing my mouth and continuing with both hands, pulling and twisting and squeezing until he's coming – white ropes shooting across the front of my dress.
I wipe my hands on the bedspread and move to lay next to him. "How's that for a goodnight kiss?" I smirk.
He grins over at me, still catching his breath. "I love you."
I press a small kiss to the corner of his mouth. "Love you, too. . . Think Zayn'll stay? Since I'm going down the hall?"
He studies my face. "That's alright with you, right?"
I smile and nod. "Absolutely. I trust you." I press a kiss to his lips. "Both of you."