Liam doesn’t believe in love, love with a capital ‘L’, Love. His entourage is composed of two high school sweethearts who refuse to label themselves as a couple and a best friend who can’t seem to find the right guy but still hope of his fairytale ending. Liam doesn’t want a relationship, he just wants someone for the night and then, forget about him.
The new bartender can’t understand how someone can’t believe in Love but he’s convinced he can make anyone change their mind about that. That’s how Niall Horan found himself trying to prove to skeptic Liam Payne that love is more than a stupid myth, whatever the cost.
a/n: I know it’s been a long time but there it is, a new chapter. Thanks to my wonderful beta Ansley and enjoy! xx
Liam didn’t know when it happened. He didn’t know when he started looking forward to the Friday Nights at the pub, not because of the cheap booze, the easy flings or just because his week was finally done. He was actually excited to enter through the faded brown doors, to push through the mass of slutty girls with their two inch dresses and sweaty guys who were probably drunk out of their minds to be dancing in public this badly. He didn’t know when it happened. He didn’t know when it really didn’t matter anymore how bad it fucking smelled in that tiny place or how of a complete idiot Louis could be when Harry was pining over him right by his side. It didn’t matter anymore because as soon as Liam would catch a glimpse of golden hair, a smile would grow on his face, against his will.
He couldn’t help it.
He liked the company of the young boy. He liked his bubbly, go-lucky, optimist personality, pretty much the complete opposite of himself. He soon found out that the boy always had a reason to smile, a reason to laugh. It was so natural for him. Liam couldn’t do those kind of things naturally, even if he wanted too. He never wanted too though, and that didn’t help.
Liam did laugh before he met Niall. But he needed a good amount of alcohol to reach that point.
With Niall though, he could be totally sober and a smile could still make it on his lips. He didn’t know how, the blond just had that power over him.
So when Liam got to the pub that Friday night, everything felt good. He pushed the heavy door, nodding at not-so-strangers as Liam saw them every week, he just never talked to them. He made his way to their usual table, Louis and Harry were caught in an intense make out session that would surely leave Louis with bruised lips and Harry with a broken heart. Zayn was off, dancing with some dude Liam had never seen, probably the one Zayn told him about after he announced his not-really-surprising break up with Matt. It must’ve been Zayn’s third boyfriend only this month, three boyfriends that he claimed to “love with all my heart” or “I seriously think he’s my soulmate man, I love him” and even “if he’d ask me to marry him, I’d accept in a heart beat”. Zayn had psychological and emotional problems. Liam didn’t have a doubt about it and he even proposed him to consult or something because this 13-year-old school girl attitude was really getting out if hand. But he didn’t make anything of it at the moment.
Because he spotted him. Behind the bar, in a tight polo and a ever present smile on his face, shaking whatever drink that not even pretty girl ordered. He handed her the glass and leaned over the bar to talk to her and Liam could’ve swear he felt his blood boil up. He didn’t even have a good reason, Niall was gay, he liked boys, not girls with long brown hair and too much lipstick and no, Liam wasn’t in love with him and he wasn’t his boyfriend so he had no valid reason to overreact because of that simple conversation he couldn’t even hear. For all he knew, they could be talking the elephant’s reproduction system, except that’d be weird. He had no valid reasons to feel jealous.
But he did.
And that’s how he found himself excusing himself from his two friends who were still all over each other’s face, oblivious to his presence and probably would be oblivious to his departure.
He reached the bar in no time, and dropped down on a stool next to the already tipsy girl who was definitely far from attractive now that he could see her face more clearly.
Niall still had his back to the bar, into some deep conversation with another barman and Liam cleared his throat to get the blond’s attention. Niall turned around and his face broke into an even bigger grin, if it was ever possible, when he saw Liam sitting there, looking at him though soft eyes.
“I’ll take a scotch tonight.” Liam said as greeting but Niall shook his head.
“No you won’t.” he replied and Liam had this incredulous expression on his face, because what the fuck?
“Pretty sure that’s not how it works Ni. From my side of the counter, I order my drink, and from your side, you give me that cute smile and shake the bottles.” Niall giggled.
“You’re not getting drunk tonight.” Liam arched an eyebrow.
“I’m not?” Niall shook his head.
“I’m singing tonight! You don’t want to miss that, I promise.” Niall winked and if it wasn’t for the fact that the pub was so small and so hot and that his face was already red, Niall would’ve notice a blush creeping on Liam’s cheeks. Because Liam really didn’t want to miss it.
“When are you getting on?” Niall watched his wrist even if there wasn’t any watch.
“Now.” He said with a smirk and trailed away from the bar to the little stage in the back of the place.
Liam hopped off the stool to go back to the table where he left his friends, hopefully with a better view of Niall.
Liam always hated those nights when random strangers got to take the stage. He hated hearing them sing their heart out, smiling, looking like they were having the time of their life, all eyes on them as people cheered them to continue. Liam hated it, because that was all he ever wanted. To be able to face the crowds with his microphone as his only weapon. To live the dream, taste the glory, to have his fifteen minutes of fame. There was a time when Liam had everything to do it. The charm, the confidence, the voice. He used to.
“What is your boytoy doing up there?” Louis asked out of nowhere and made Liam a little jumpy. He didn’t expect those two to be sober and aware of his sudden presence but they were, and Liam didn’t give a shit.
“He’s singing tonight.” Liam replied as he watched the boy take one last gulp of his water bottle, pink lips around the cap, sucking at whatever remain of liquid, eyes shut and Liam had to tear his eyes away because he never wished harder than in this moment to be a water bottle.
The not-looking-at-this-hot-piece-of-ass didn’t last long though because his look drifted back to the stage just in time to catch him pick up an old guitar, setting it up in his lap as he sat on the stool.
Liam hated those nights, but not tonight. Because Niall was shaking, messing around on his guitar, looking all nervous and ready to back out. Liam knew it meant a lot to Niall and even tough he didn’t know much about Niall, he knew for sure that he deserved to be on that stage. It didn’t matter if he never heard him sing or play before, Liam knew he had to be good.
And Liam was happy to find out he was right as Niall began to strum the first chords of the song.
“Hoping I can run today and get away faster
Than ever from here
Another night and who can say if leaving is better
Than living in fear”
“He’s good!” Louis shouted to Liam but Liam ignored him, his eyes locked on the boy with the guitar.
“Here’s to all the broken hearts tonight
Here’s to all the “fall-a-parts” tonight
Here’s to every girl and boy who lost their joy
They let it get away
You know it’s never too late
Get up and start all over again
You know it’s never too late
There’s got to be a better way
Don’t settle for the cold and rain
It’s not too late to start again
Find a way to smile and never let it get away”
Liam found a way to smile.
“You know, I used to hate those nights.” Liam admitted as he drove Niall back to his place. Being one of the rare time Liam was sober on a Friday night, he decided he would be the one driving Niall back to his place.
“Yeah?” Niall arched an amuse eyebrow. “Why’s that?” Liam chuckled.
“I was jealous of them, the people getting on the stage.” He said with a blush but Niall didn’t laugh or made fun of him. He just had that sweet, sickeningly sweet look in his eyes and maybe a little of concern.
“Why were you jealous?” Niall asked quietly. Liam chuckled again.
“It’s nothing really, it’s stupid.” Liam said but by the look on Niall’s face, he didn’t have any other choice than to finish the damn story. “I used to sing. A lot. I wanted to sing for a living. Just like you.” Liam whispered the last part, and was surprised when he felt a hand squeeze his own between the seats, but he didn’t move, didn’t flinch, he wanted it to stay that way.
“Go on.” Niall whispered as he gave another reassuring squeeze.
“During one winter I got sick. Very sick. I had a very bad throat infection and they said I needed to get a surgery. I didn’t want to. Next thing I knew, I wasn’t able to sing anymore, every notes that came out of my mouth sounded like a strangled cat.” Liam chuckled once more but the sadness was obvious in this one.
They were parked in front of Niall’s tiny piece of flat, Liam’s chuckles dying on his tongue as Niall wrapped his arms tightly around him. Liam didn’t hesitated a second before hugging back, burying his face in the shorter boy’s neck. It smelled of cheap cologne, sweat and alcohol and Liam liked it.
“I’m sorry Li.” Niall said, his voice smile and his arms strong around Liam’s chest.
“You were great tonight. More than great, you were amazing.” Liam said against the skin of Niall’s neck and Niall hummed in response with another squeeze.
“Thanks.” Liam pulled away and smiled up at the boy.
“It’s getting late, go to bed Mr. Rockstar.”
A warm pair of lips were on Liam’s mouth for a fraction of second before being pulled away, leaving Liam confused with a fluffly stomach.
“Sweet dreams Li.” Niall said before he got out the car and into the filthy apartment building.
Liam wasn’t sure what was going on, but he was smiling, a smile that actually did reach his eyes, and nothing else really mattered.