Excerpt: "But it was a pleasure giving you a ride," he nodded his tone not exactly innocent and Audrey blushed as she shook her head.
Audrey smiled at the man she was waiting on in the small diner where she worked. It wasn't busy tonight then again most Sunday's seemed to be slow and not that busy which she was thankful for, especially on days when she didn't want to work or do much of anything.
This Sunday was no different but maybe it all had to do with the fact that this Sunday made one year since Liam had married Sophia and while she had attended his wedding out of niceness it had hurt seeing him marry another woman. It hurt because it should have been Audrey up there with him and not Sophia.
Whenever Audrey had thought of her wedding day, it had always been her and Liam. But now it would never be her and Liam and she had to get past that, but today didn't seem like the day that would happen. Today seemed like the day she'd torture herself over and over again because why the hell not?
Biting her lip after she sat the man's food down in front of him, Audrey went to the back where she stopped when she saw Harry there, flashing her a smile.
"I do not have time for your flirting today," she told him as she shook her head and looked away from his gaze.
Harry Styles was the recent addition to the small wait staff at the diner where she worked and ever since he had been hired it seemed like he kept doing nothing but flirting with her and while usually Audrey would be flattered she just couldn't find it in herself to be flattered by him today.
"Not going to flirt today," Harry spoke as he leaned against the wall. "I was actually going to ask if you knew that one famous movie star you dated was in town?" he asked as he kept eyeing her and Audrey felt her cheeks heating up under his gaze.
"L..Liam?" Audrey asked as she heard her voice falter slightly. "He's in town?"
Harry nodded his head as he finally took his eyes off Audrey, "My mom ran into him last night at the grocery store. Apparently he was being followed by paparazzi."
Audrey went silent at Harry's words because she hadn't expected for him to tell her that Liam was in town. She hadn't expected that at all because since he had became famous Liam rarely came home, he always stayed out in Hollywood or wherever his filming schedule took him and she didn't see any reason why he'd be here.
"Was his wife with him?" Audrey asked not even sure why. She didn't care if Sophia came along nor should she care because she wasn't with Liam. She'd never be with Liam again.
"You haven't heard?" Harry asked curiously as he raised an eyebrow, amusement clear in his facial expression. "The magazines and tabloids all keep saying Liam and Sophia are in the middle of a divorce. Apparently he cheated on her."
Hearing Harry, Audrey felt her face drop slightly a bit surprised that Liam had cheated on Sophia. Yeah she had accused him of cheating on her with Sophia but she hadn't believed it, yet he had cheated on Sophia supposedly so maybe she had been right. That was a thought that made her feel slightly unsettled though she wasn't sure she'd admit it out loud.
"No, I hadn't heard," Audrey said as she shook her head. "I don't really keep up with the press or even Liam anymore."
Harry hmmed at that almost like he didn't believe her. "Really?" he asked her as he moved from where he was standing as he heard the bell above the door which meant they had a customer. "I find that hard to believe Auds."
Audrey didn't get a chance to reply as she watched Harry walk off to deal with their new customer and she eventually went to go check on the man she had been serving earlier. She didn't care what Harry believed though, she hadn't checked on Liam since his wedding day, deciding it was best not to keep tabs on the man she had once loved.
A man Audrey swore she might still love though there was no way she'd ever go back to him, not if he had cheated on Sophia because in the back of her mind she was convinced if he had done that to Sophia then he'd done it to her too and Audrey never took back cheaters. She had learned from her mom Janet that cheaters should never be trusted.
That night once her shift was over Audrey sighed loudly as she stared at her phone, seeing the text from her mom that she was running late and that she wouldn't be there on time and it would probably be best if Audrey called a cab if she wanted to get home before midnight.
Shaking her head Audrey sent back a text quickly to her mother telling her she'd call a cab and that her mother owed her, preferably in wine and red velvet cupcakes.
It was after sending that text that she went to her contacts knowing she kept the number to the local cab place in her phone because most weeks it never failed Janet was always late on Sunday's and Audrey half suspected it was because her mom was at the local church trying her best to get to know the new pastor who she had commented she found quite hot.
Audrey had laughed about it, because leave it to Janet Harlow to develop a crush on a pastor when she probably was the worst sinner there was sometimes.
"You need a ride?" a voice asked from behind Audrey and when she turned around she wasn't surprised when she came face to face with Harry who was giving her his best Cheshire cat smile. "I know it's Sunday and your mom always makes you take a cab."
Blushing Audrey looked away from Harry, "Like you said my mom always makes me take a cab. I'll probably take the cab."
"But my offer's free," Harry piped up as his smile grew. "You don't have to pay unless you want too that is."
Audrey blushed more as she took a deep breath slowly and then let out, "Fine," she agreed as she shook her head. "But no funny business mister," she teased which got him to laugh before he walked past her and she followed behind him as he lead the way to a small car that she guessed was his.
"Sorry it's not the best," Harry apologized when they reached his car. "It needs some work but I'm saving half my paychecks up on that."
"It's fine," Audrey told him as she watched him unlock the door and once it was unlocked she got in. "I mean who am I to judge? I'm the one saving up for a car since totaling mine in a wreck three months ago," she continued as Harry got in.
Harry again laughed as he started the car up and pulled out of his parking space, soon turning and driving off towards her place.
"How do you even know where my mom and I live?" Audrey asked breaking the silence that had been created between them.
"Because I live close and sometimes during the summer I see you and your mom out tanning," Harry admitted and he sounded almost sheepish, reminding Audrey of some teenage boy.
Shaking her head Audrey let out a laugh, "That's gross to know especially since you have to at least be barely legal or something," she said knowing he looked eighteen or close to it in her opinion.
"I'm not barely legal," Harry answered her statement as he now laughed as well. "I'm twenty-one so I'm close to being barely legal to drink but I'm a few years past eighteen and I can't be much younger than you are."
Audrey went silent at the new information Harry shared with her which kind of shocked her because hell he looked so young and she had been wrong, something which she really hated.
"But you look so young Styles," Audrey finally spoke as she used Harry's last name. "Maybe I'm slightly less against you always hitting on me," she added on as she turned her head to see him smiling a bit at her words. "Only slightly though so don't get to hopeful, okay?"
"I'll try," Harry deadpanned as he looked away from the road briefly. "But you know my ego and all. It's big and so this makes me happier which means more hopeful, Auds."
Rolling her eyes Audrey went silent again and this time she stayed that way until he pulled into her driveway. Unbuckling her seat belt she looked at him, giving him a genuine smile. "Thanks for the ride Styles," she smirked before leaning over to kiss his check briefly. "And again don't get too hopeful because I was nice and kissed your cheek."
"Again, I'll try," Harry repeated as he smirked back at her. "But it was a pleasure giving you a ride," he nodded his tone not exactly innocent and Audrey blushed as she shook her head.
"I asked for that innuendo didn't I?" Audrey asked as she cocked an eyebrow up, watching as Harry nodded his head yes in return. "I should have known better," she muttered before opening the door of his car and getting out. "See ya tomorrow you loser," she teased as she shut the door.
Seeing him lift his hand to wave at her before he backed out of the drive way, she briefly returned the gesture before heading to her porch, reaching into her jeans for her set of keys and it was while she did that, that she heard someone clearing their throat.
Turning in the direction of whoever cleared their throat Audrey felt the keys which she had finally gotten out of her jeans, drop from her hands, making a clattering sound as they dropped onto her wooden porch as she came face to face with Liam Payne. She knew Harry had said he was in town earlier today but she sure as heck didn't expect for him to show up on her porch.
"L..Liam?" she questioned her voice faltering as her mouth felt like it had went dry on her. Audrey was half sure if she could see herself she'd resemble a ghost or be a lot paler than she was and that was a hard task because she was pale, paler than most people.
"Surprise," Liam spoke giving her his best smile. A smile she was sure he had learned in Hollywood thanks to the TV shows and movies he did as well as the red carpet appearances. "I wanted to surprise you and I guess I did. Though I was afraid you'd have seen my pictures all over the magazines and knew I was back already. I'm kind of glad you didn't know."
Audrey forced a smile at his words as she shrugged her shoulders, "You sure did surprise me," she told him deciding to omit that she had been informed he was in town. It really wasn't his business that she knew. "But why are you here?" she asked as she raised an eyebrow. "Shouldn't you be in California with Sophia?"
"Soph and I are divorcing," Liam informed her and maybe hearing it from his own lips instead of Harry's made that reality a bit more real for her. "We just don't fit together well."
"The tabloids say you cheated," Audrey spoke before she could even stop herself. After she had done so she wished she could find a way to kick her own self besides just doing it mentally.
Liam laughed a bit bitterly at that, "I didn't know you kept up with the tabs, Auds?" he asked and hearing him use that nickname, the same one Harry used felt a bit foreign because it had been ages since he used it. "But I did cheat on her," he confirmed which made Audrey's forced smile falter. "It was a mistake but a mistake I made because I was unhappy with her and we didn't fit."
"If you knew you didn't fit then why'd you marry her?" Audrey asked him before bending down slightly to retrieve the keys she had dropped earlier. "I mean you say you didn't fit but you usually find that out when you date someone and if you didn't fit then, then why'd you marry her?"
"I married her because I couldn't have you," Liam answered with a clarity to his voice. "You ran away from me because you thought I cheated on you with her and I didn't and I was too chicken shit to come after you. I probably should have but I didn't, so, I went to Sophia hoping she could mask the hole in my life but she never could and I kept trying and I guess when I married her I thought it would work if maybe there was an even bigger commitment but even that didn't help really."
"So then you cheated?" Audrey questioned as she raised an eyebrow.
Liam nodded his head as he looked down, "I had an affair with a costar in my last movie. Sophia found out and so did the media and we decided to end things. I signed my divorce papers last week and flew here two days ago."
"W..why'd you come back?" Audrey asked another question though this one she felt she knew the answer too even if she didn't want to hear it.
"I think you know why Auds," Liam said as he looked up at her and he looked a bit scared like Audrey felt. "I finally did what I should have done and came after you."
Going silent at his words Audrey stood there as she just stared at him because this was something she had dreamed of but now she wasn't sure if it was much of a dream anymore. Not when she knew he cheated on his wife and how could she believe that he hadn't done it to her, even if he said it? And if she did get with him now what would the press say? Knowing her luck they'd probably be harsh on her and she wasn't sure she wanted that either.
"You're too late Li," Audrey spoke again before she could stop herself. "I have a boyfriend now. The guy that drove me home, that's my boyfriend and I'm happy and you're too late," she lied as she shook her head, turning her back to him before she could see the look of rejection pass over him.
"Go back to California and try to find someone else. Someone you actually click with," Audrey continued as she walked to her door and unlocked it. Once it was unlocked she opened the door and stepped inside, finally letting herself turn to Liam. "Goodbye Liam," she sighed before shutting the door.
It was only after she shut the door that she leaned against it and sighed. Audrey half regretted what she had done but she felt that was the only option that she had, had at the time. Though she wasn't sure why she had to go and lie about dating Harry. She only hoped Liam took her advice and went back to California because she really didn't want to have to tell Harry what she'd done or pretend to be his girlfriend because she half suspected Harry would be all smug and gleeful and maybe he'd also get his hopes up that she'd fall in love with him which Audrey wasn't sure would happen.
Audrey still loved Liam even if she was wary to be with him again and it'd be impossible to fall in love with anyone else
Excerpt: "I don't know what you did Auds but some man is sending you daises to our house at ten in the morning," Janet smiled as she walked to Audrey's bed, handing the flowers out to her.
Audrey awoke the next morning with a groan as the sun came through her window and as she did so, last nights events played over and over in her mind. Seeing Liam again after his wedding day and then him telling her he had came back for her along with the lie she had made up after.
Hopefully a lie that wouldn't go farther than last night because she hoped Liam had taken what she said to heart and went back to California.
As she sat up in bed, she raised an eyebrow as she watched her door open quickly and her mom stepped in holding what looked like and well was indeed a bouquet of flowers.
"I don't know what you did Auds but some man is sending you daises to our house at ten in the morning," Janet smiled as she walked to Audrey's bed, handing the flowers out to her. "I almost thought for a minute they were from Frank but then I read the card and saw they were to you though there doesn't seem to be a name. Whoever he is you should keep him."
Taking the flowers from her mom Audrey looked over the card, letting out a tiny sigh when she saw it was a request to meet up at some hotel. It was then that she knew who the flowers were from.
"I already had him once and let him go," Audrey told her mother as she stood from the bed, holding the flowers to her chest as she went downstairs and she could feel the heat of her mom's body as her mom followed close behind. "The flowers are from Liam."
Her words obviously must have shocked her mother some because it took awhile for Janet to reply, "Liam's back in town?" she questioned which meant she like Audrey didn't keep up with the press. "And he's sending you flowers while married?"
"He's getting divorced," Audrey informed her mom as she made it to the living room where she found an empty vase which she put the flowers in before heading to the kitchen. "I may have seen him last night."
"And you didn't tell me?" Janet questioned sounding a bit hurt and Audrey was sure if she looked back at her mom she would look just as hurt. "You were still up when I came in and we even ate a whole container of red velvet cupcakes."
Audrey shrugged her shoulders once she made it to the kitchen and she walked to the sink where she began to fill the vase up with water. "I just didn't want to rehash it right at that moment. I wanted to eat my feelings away and forget that I had seen him but that's hard to do with Liam. Liam just likes to make everything about him hard to forget."
Janet sighed and Audrey heard a chair at the table being pulled out, "I take it seeing Liam didn't go well then?" she asked though it sounded more like a statement then a question.
Finishing putting water in the vase, Audrey turned the faucet off as she sat the vase down on the counter beside the sink, "Something like that," she sighed. "He cheated on his wife," she admitted watching her mom give her a confused look. "It was with one of his costars and he claims he did it because he wasn't happy with Sophia. That they didn't click."
"Because he clicked more with you, right?" Janet again asked and once again it was like a statement which made Audrey hate how her mom could always just guess stuff even with little facts there.
Audrey nodded her head before going to the table and sitting across from her mom, "He came back to get me back and I'm wary about trusting him or believing that he still didn't cheat on me so I kind of sort of lied about dating that boy I tell you about all the time. The one at work whose always flirting with me and then I told Liam to just go back to California."
"It seems like he isn't going to take your advice," Janet told Audrey as she eyed her sympathetically. "Or he is and wants to see you one last time."
Groaning Audrey just buried her head down on the table, inside of her arms, "But I don't want to see him," she spoke though she knew it probably sounded muffled to her mother. "Seeing him will just make this hard for me..the lie and everything."
"Then tell him the truth," Janet offered and again Audrey heard a chair moving and she knew her mom was standing up. "It's obvious you still love Liam and maybe you should just be honest and give him a second chance," she spoke as she patted Audrey's back. "Now stop having a pity party. I'm going to make pancakes and after breakfast you can go meet Liam like he wants you too."
Audrey didn't reply to that, though deep down she wanted to tell her mom, that no she wasn't going to go and see Liam but again she also knew she probably would. She had never really truly been able to tell Liam no and that was probably why her whole lie would end up falling apart.
After breakfast and once she had showered and changed into a sundress with her hair pulled back into a tight bun, Audrey chewed her lip as she sat on her porch swing, going through the contacts on her phone and debating on calling Liam just to see if his number was the same. To see when would be the best time to meet up...just to hear his voice again.
Her mom wasn't home right now, having realized that Audrey was going to be stubborn and not go see Liam right away, Janet had instead decided to go shopping with a few of her friends or well new friends. Ladies at the church that Frank was a pastor at.
Taking a deep breath and maybe against her better judgement Audrey clicked on Liam's name and hit call, putting the phone to her ear as it rang and it was only on the second ring that she kind of hoped he had a new number.
"Hello?" Liam's voice came through the phone on the fourth ring making Audrey's stomach drop slightly.
"I got your flowers," Audrey told him not sure if that was the right way to start off this conversation. Was there ever a right way to start one with an ex? "I thought I told you to go back to California and I have a new boyfriend Li," she sighed sounding way too nice with him but then again he hadn't done anything to warrant her being angry.
Liam sighed loudly as his end of the line went silent or well silent but she could still hear him breathing, "I know what you said but I'm not going to do it. Before I came back here I told my manager I was taking time off, Audrey. I need this time and so I'm staying in town at this hotel until I find a house I like."
Audrey took in his words knowing she couldn't argue with him, not if his mind had been made up before he came back here.
"Why did you want to see me?" she asked softly as she looked down at the hem of her dress. "If it's to try to win me back..." she started only to get interrupted by Liam.
"It's not to win you back," Liam answered and he actually sounded like he meant it. "You seemed to make it clear last night that you have a boyfriend and what kind of man would I be if I didn't respect that?" he asked though before he could give her time to answer he continued. "I just want to meet up as friends and maybe have lunch. The hotel has a restaurant inside and the paparazzi who is following me whenever I go out half the time can't get in."
Audrey now sighed herself as she kept her eyes trained on the hem of her dress, "Will dinner work instead?" she asked curiously as she raised an eyebrow. "Mom's out with some of her girlfriends shopping and right now I only have her car. Totaled mine in a crash and I'm saving up for a new one."
"Dinner's fine," Liam answered and Audrey was sure from his happier tone that he was smiling. "It'll be nice to see you and catch up..as friends," he spoke and Audrey wasn't sure she liked the long beat between his words because could they really be friends? Even if he claimed he'd respect her having a boyfriend though she really didn't.
"Yeah," Audrey nodded her head even if Liam couldn't see it. "It will be nice to catch up as friends," she smiled a bit finally and it was after that, that they talked a bit more and when she hung up she leaned farther back into the porch swing as she began to move it with her foot that rested against the porch.
Maybe she was wrong to be worried about seeing Liam though it seemed what she should be more worried about was her nonexistent relationship with Harry. If Liam thought they were together and he was going to respect that, then surely that meant having to tell Harry so they could at least seem couplely for a bit and maybe once Liam had found someone else or seemed to have moved on from her then she and Harry could stage a break up.
It was a horrible plan and Harry would probably love every minute of it but Audrey didn't see a way out of it because if she told Liam the truth then he'd just pursue her and she didn't want to take him back when she was scared he had cheated and would possibly cheat again. She was just a normal girl and he'd find someone better, hell he had, had someone better and still strayed.
She was just saving herself heartache again even if some of it had never completely gone away.
Excerpt: "That's such an old man's name."
"So remind me why you came to my house to get ready for your dinner date with Liam?" Brenda asked as she raised an eyebrow and deep down Audrey knew that Brenda was judging her. Even if she had met Brenda at random at some book club the local bookstore had, something Audrey had gotten into the first few months after her break up with Liam, She knew Brenda was judging her because Brenda just had this expression of judgement that she wore when she was judging people and right now she was giving that look to Audrey.
Looking away from Brenda, Audrey shook her head, "Because if I had stayed at home then my mom would have asked questions or assumed this meant I was getting back with Liam and it doesn't," she clarified as she shook her head.
Hell Audrey wasn't even sure Brenda would believe her. Brenda had only really became her friend the year after she and Liam broke up but she knew Audrey still carried a torch for Liam, that she always would because Liam had been her first love, her first everything no matter how much time had passed between them. You never got over your first love and with Audrey it was true.
"Well aren't you?" Brenda asked which only proved Audrey's previous thoughts. That Brenda too didn't believe her.
"No," Audrey sighed as she finished doing her make up and put the stuff back in the bag that was resting on the sink in Brenda's bathroom. "I told you, he thinks I'm dating Harry and he isn't going to do anything. This is just a dinner as friends."
Those words it seemed, shut Brenda up at least briefly. Though eventually she opened her mouth and spoke again, "I still don't understand why you told him the Harry lie," she muttered out sounding as if maybe she was once again judging Audrey. "I mean Harry's a nice kid but is he really your type and is he someone you want to fake date for a bit just to convince Liam?"
Making a face Audrey knew Brenda had a bit of a point because outside of work she really didn't know Harry much even if it seemed he did at least know where she lived just like he knew that on Sunday's she usually had to take a cab home from work. Maybe she should have been a bit more observant of people.
"I guess I'll find that out," Audrey replied as she shrugged her shoulders giving Brenda a smile. "But how the heck would you know Harry's a nice kid. You aren't the one stuck with him at work all the time."
"He hangs out with Niall a lot," Brenda answered as she brought up her boyfriend, a man Audrey rarely saw because he was always busy thanks to his job as a touring indie musician. "Well when Niall's home anyway."
Audrey made a mock offended face as she left Brenda's bathroom, "You mean to tell me Niall's home enough to make friends sometimes?"
"Sometimes," Brenda laughed as she followed behind Audrey. "I think they met because Harry sometimes does acoustic shows at the bar where Niall got his big break at."
"Harry sings?" Audrey asked as she reached the couch where she had laid her purse. As she picked it up she turned to look at Brenda as she shook her head. "This kid is a fucking mystery to me," she admitted honestly and she couldn't help but hope that Liam didn't ask her any questions about him because in the end she didn't know all that much about him to be able to answer them.
Brenda nodded her head in confirmation, "He's actually kind of good too," she offered as she sighed. "But yes he is a mystery and that's coming from someone whose probably spent more time with him in intimate occasions than you have," she added on as she chewed her lip. "But I guess if you fake date him you'll get some time to learn him hopefully."
"Hopefully," Audrey agreed though she didn't sound or even feel all that optimistic.
Chewing her lip though Audrey took a deep breath because she knew she had to go and meet Liam. A fact that made her nervous but only prolonging this dinner date would just make her even more nervous.
"I guess this is it, huh?" Audrey asked as she walked to the front door of Brenda's house. "I go meet Liam and we reconnect after three years..well minus me going to his wedding though I never really saw him. At the reception I only stayed briefly and talked to his mother."
"You need this Auds," Brenda spoke and for a minute Audrey was sure Brenda was channeling her inner Janet Harlow which almost amused her because Brenda had never been around Audrey's mom much. "Maybe he'll open up and you'll realize you're dumb in even thinking he'd cheat on you even if he had cheated on Sophia."
Going silent Audrey fought the urge to roll her eyes but she nodded her head, "Yeah..whatever," she mumbled before laughing as she opened the door. "I'm going now. I'll text you the details later, I promise."
"You better," Brenda told her sounding firm and it was after that, that Audrey opened the door and stepped outside, going to where she parked the car in the drive way and getting in.
It was after she buckled up though that she got even more nervous but she did her best to ignore it as she pulled out of the driveway and headed off to the hotel where Liam was staying. Hopefully the restaurant had wine or some other alcohol because Audrey was certain she would need it.
An hour and two glasses of wine later, Audrey kept nervously eating the salad she had ordered as she listened to Liam talk about his life since they had broken up. How California was a bit different than their semi small New York town and how he hated having the media know his business even if it had also semi helped him in a way by outing his affair because it had let him end a marriage he had realized too late he didn't want.
"Sophia wasn't hurt by your cheating?" Audrey asked after that last bit and it seemed like her question had maybe shocked Liam or he'd just assumed she would stay silent since she had been ever since they ordered and their food had arrived.
It hadn't been that she had wanted to stay silent, Audrey just didn't know what to say and she was afraid of maybe saying the wrong thing.
"I'm sure on some level she was," Liam answered as he now picked up his own glass of wine to take what Audrey thought was a very big drink. Obviously she had struck a nerve. "We never really talked about it."
Arching her eyebrow, Audrey took in his words before speaking again, "You never talked about the reason why you're getting divorced?" she questioned not sure how she felt on that but then again Liam had said they didn't fit. Sophia could have felt the same and the cheating had been the confirmation and final nail for her.
"Sophia didn't want to see me or speak to me much after I got busted two months ago," Liam explained as he grimaced slightly. "That's how I'm sure on some level that Sophia was hurt but I never sat down and had a heart to heart with her. I think deep down though she was more hurt and upset that the cheating became so public and it ruined her image in the media or well the image that our marriage was perfect."
"No relationship is perfect," Audrey laughed as she thought of her and Liam's own past relationship. "Though you and Sophia did seem really happy on your wedding day."
Liam's grimace faded a bit at that, "I think we were," he nodded as he now looked away from Audrey. "I was kind of surprised when I saw you in the crowd of family and friends. I didn't know my mom would invite you."
"I think she felt bad for it after," Audrey told him as she remember Karen's expression when Audrey had walked up to her at the reception. It had been one that clearly conveyed the woman felt a bit bad. "It was a nice wedding though and you and Sophia seemed happy so I guess I'm just shocked that you weren't."
After saying that Audrey picked at her salad again before taking a tiny bite to keep herself from adding on that she also felt guilty. She was guilty because in the end it had been her that had been the cause of their issues. Liam had practically told her as much on the porch when he said he had been looking to fill a hole in his life with Sophia after Audrey had left him.
Only she and Liam would be dumb enough to stubbornly hold on to each other after three years. Three god damn years and they both loved each other, though Audrey was wary of him because she was afraid he had cheated on her too and even if he hadn't he could. Didn't they always say once a cheater, always a cheater?
"Hard to be happy when I let the best I had get away," Liam spoke being blunt and his words made Audrey blush.
"Li," Audrey sighed as she shook her head. "I'm not the best you had. You're best is still out there," she told him though those words made her feel kind of sick to say. Not when just yesterday before she had known he was in town and back, she had been thinking of how she should have been the one who had been his wife.
Liam nodded though he looked a bit sad, "Is your boyfriend the best you've had?" he asked as his words came out bitter and if they could they probably would have wounded her somehow. But deep down Audrey knew what Liam was asking, he was really asking if she thought Harry was the one for her.
Audrey shook her head no, "I don't see myself spending the rest of my life with Harry," she said easily but then again she wasn't really in a relationship. "He's just someone I have fun with," she lied as she forced a smile because besides their drive home yesterday Harry usually annoyed her at work with his constant flirting with her.
"Harry," Liam repeated his name almost as if it was bitter tasting to him. "That's such an old man's name."
Laughing at that Audrey couldn't help but be amused, "He's twenty-one," she said giving Liam the information she had just learned last night. "So no old men. The only older man I've ever dated was you and you're not that much older. Just from August to December."
Liam blushed slightly as he locked eyes with Audrey, "So all your men after me were younger?"
"Who said there were that many?" Audrey asked as she finished her salad finally. In all truth there hadn't been any, shamefully not even one night stands which was probably either her being a prude or her being stubborn when it came to her feelings for the man in front of her.
Liam was technically her first and last so far, in every department. "Harry could be my first relationship after you. It's only been three years," Audrey reminded him. "What kind of woman do you think I am Mr. Payne?" she asked him teasingly and the flirty tone of her voice wasn't lost to her and she knew she'd have to stop flirting with him. Girls in relationships supposedly didn't flirt with other men.
"Well Miss. Harlow, I wasn't implying what you think I was," Liam smirked as he replied back equally as flirtatious as Audrey had been. "But I guess a beautiful woman such as you, well, I'd be shocked if she stayed single for long."
Blushing at Liam's words Audrey picked up her half full wine glass and took a longer drink from it before replying to Liam. She needed the drink after hearing him call her beautiful and how could she keep up this act of not wanting him if he did things like get jealous over Harry or call her beautiful? She couldn't.
"I did though," Audrey semi told the truth. "I was single up until Harry," she said as she saw him give a surprised expression and they both fell into a silence.
Looking down at her watch Audrey sighed, "I should really get going, it's getting late and I have work in the morning. Morning shifts at a diner are never fun."
Liam once again made a face, one that almost looked like he was reluctant or that he had something more to say so Audrey couldn't help but be curious when he finally did open his mouth.
"Yeah, I guess you should go," Liam spoke and Audrey hated the bit of disappointment that she felt. She had wanted him to ask her to stay, just a bit longer but of course he didn't know that. "But before you do I was going to say, you should come to my family's annual New Year's Eve party. You can even bring Harry, I'd love to meet the boy you're dating now."
Forcing a smile Audrey nodded her head, "I'll mention it to Harry and see what he says," she spoke as she stood from the table where she was sitting and she watched as Liam did the same. "It was really nice to see you again Li," she admitted honestly as she walked to where he was. "And hopefully we can see each other again soon."
Liam gave Audrey a genuine smile at that, "You know I'm going to see you as often as possible now that I'm back Auds," he said sounding sincere. Before Audrey could reply though she felt Liam engulfing her in a hug and she let herself hug him back, her eyes falling closed as she took in the scent of the man she was sure she still loved in some way as well as letting herself get a bit comfortable in his embrace.
She hadn't realized how much she missed feeling his arms on her or how much he still felt a bit like home to her. When he pulled away though, Audrey did her best not to pout and instead she gave him a tiny smile before turning and leaving the restaurant.
Going outside she looked down as she saw three men with camera's standing at the front doors and she knew they were paparazzi because who else would stand around in front of hotels with camera's?
Keeping her eyes off them she made it to her car and got in, starting it up and then backing out. It was only when she thought back on Liam saying she should come to his family's New Years Eve party that Audrey felt a bit of dread because now she'd finally have to clue Harry into the mess she had dragged him into. A mess that he would probably love and one she already semi hated.
Though she'd dwell on that tomorrow when she actually had to do it. Right now all Audrey wanted to do was keep thinking back to the hug she shared with Liam and again how much he still felt like home to her.
Excerpt: "Though I guess you're going to have to spend time with me and get to know me better. So you don't look stupid for not knowing your boyfriend well."
"You told Liam what?" Harry asked as he stood with Audrey outside the diner after their shift was over. Both of them having been put on the morning shift today which had been a good time to tell him about the predicament she had put him in.
That she was letting her ex think that she was dating Harry.
"That we were in a relationship," Audrey admitted again and this time as she spoke at least she had the decency to sound guilty. "He just assumed it the night you drove me home and I didn't feel like correcting him," she shrugged her shoulders, lying through her teeth.
Harry stayed silent for the longest time after that. Audrey sure he was just processing the information. Something she thought may have made him happy. It was no secret he had a crush on her after all but maybe a crush was all it was.
Maybe he knew it was nothing serious and this had made him feel uncomfortable or even made him realize how stupid he was for having a crush on someone so pathetic.
Someone who couldn't tell her ex-boyfriend that she was single because deep down she was afraid of getting back together with said ex-boyfriend.
Afraid that Liam had cheated on her and that he would again if she gave him another chance.
"No," Harry told her finally his word making Audrey just look at him with a raised eyebrow. "This isn't about you not feeling like correcting him. This is you wanting to spite him," he told her.
His words throwing her for a loop because they were so wrong. So very wrong.
Even if she had been the one to tell Liam he was too late. That she had been dating the guy who drove her home. It wasn't to spite him. It was to save herself.
Shaking her head Audrey crossed her arms over chest. "I'd do no such thing," she told him sounding offended that he'd think she would actually want to hurt Liam on purpose. She still loved him for god sakes. "This wasn't to spite Liam."
"Then what was it for Auds?" Harry questioned her as he just looked at her disbelievingly. Like he still thought she had done it to spite Liam. "I know it's not because you were just too lazy to correct him on his thinking. You don't even like me no matter how many times I try to flirt the pants off you, you never bend. So you wouldn't want people willingly thinking we were dating unless this benefited you somehow."
Audrey fell silent almost hating that Harry of all people was calling her out on her shit. That the boy who always flirted with her somehow knew her so well.
"Because I still love him and if he knows that he'll want another chance and I don't want to get hurt again," Audrey relented not seeing the use with lying to someone who saw through her lies. "So I told him I was dating you and now we actually have to pretend to date at least for one night because he wants us to come to his family's New Years Eve Party."
Harry let out a laugh as he shook his head, his hands going through his hair. "Of course he does," he muttered out as if this was getting in the way of plans he had.
Again leaving Audrey to wonder if Harry always knew his crush on her was nothing serious.
"I mean if you have other plans we don't have to go at all," Audrey told him because a part of her wasn't sure she wanted to go but then again she'd do anything just to see Liam.
Even if it meant taking Harry and having to pretend to be his girlfriend for just one night.
Harry shook his head. "No, we will go," he said sounding certain in his words. "Even if I did have other plans," he sighed again sounding like she was interfering with his stuff.
It was something Audrey hadn't wanted to do.
Then again she should probably have rethought her decision to say she was dating Harry. Let Liam think she had moved on when she hadn't moved on at all.
Audrey was still very much in love with Liam. Probably always would be in love with him.
"Are you sure?" Audrey asked him as she finally uncrossed her arms.
Harry nodded his head, "I'm sure," he told her matter of factly. So matter of fact that Audrey knew better than to question him anymore. "It's just one night and it shouldn't hurt us too much to play pretend for one night," he said as he looked as if he was thinking something over.
Audrey getting ready to ask what but before she could he spoke again.
"Though I guess you're going to have to spend time with me and get to know me better. So you don't look stupid for not knowing your boyfriend well."
Audrey looked down because of course she had known that. Knew she'd have to spend more time with Harry and get to know him before New Year's even if she hadn't wanted to say it out loud.
Not sure why the thought of being with Harry too much scared her. He wasn't a dangerous man but well it was absurd really.
"I know," Audrey told him as she looked back up at him. "Of course I knew that," she said faking a smile. "We can decide when to hang out and you can give me a tutoring session on your life," she told him before moving away from where she was standing when she saw her mom pull into the diner parking lot. "But I do have to go now."
After saying that Audrey moved fast before Harry could say anything else. Getting into her mom's car and buckling up.
Feeling thankful that she had been saved by Janet's arrival in the end.
"Everything okay?" Janet asked after Audrey had buckled up.
Turning to look at her mom Audrey kept her fake smile. "Everything is lovely," she lied watching the way her mom looked at her.
Knew her mom knew she was lying but like the good woman she was her mom didn't call her out. At least not yet.
Audrey knew that was probably coming later and she wasn't sure what she'd say. Maybe she could call her mom's budding relationship with the pastor out if Janet questioned her too much later.
It would save her some time to think of more lies. Knowing she'd probably go to hell one day for all the lies she was telling and she was dragging Harry with her since he'd be lying to Liam about dating her.
"So I talked to Niall earlier," Brenda started from the other end of the line. Audrey having called her after dinner because Brenda had sent her a text saying they needed to talk as soon as possible. "He talked to Harry and Harry said he has to pretend to date you to make some movie star jealous."
"Oh," Audrey muttered knowing that of course this would get back to Brenda since Niall was such good friends with Harry. "Yeah I meant to tell you that I didn't correct Liam's thinking when I ate with him the other day," she admitted feeling herself blush, though she knew Brenda couldn't see her.
"Auds," Brenda sighed as if she was disappointed in Audrey. She wouldn't be the first person this week who was. "You should have told him the truth."
Audrey nodded her head, "I know that but I didn't and Harry is mad at me too."
"Probably because the fake date conflicts with a gig he had," Brenda offered and Audrey paused wondering why Harry hadn't told her.
Then again Harry had no clue that she knew he sang sometimes. He had no clue Brenda told her. Maybe had no clue she was close to Niall's girlfriend either.
"And he canceled because of me?"
"He canceled because of you," Brenda confirmed and yep there was that guilt again making Audrey feel worse. Which was why she zoned out during the rest of her conversation with Brenda.
Her mind doing nothing but reminding her of how awful she truly was for all the lies and secrets she had. All this stuff to protect her from being hurt by Liam who she still loved.