It’s a quiet summer afternoon in Bradford, and Zayn is spray painting the walls of his home studio. He quietly hums along to the music he has playing on his phone. The painting he’s working on is a giant red eye on a vibrant green background. Suddenly he hears his doorbell ring. He quickly pauses his music and goes to the front entryway of his home. He opens the door and sees the face of his best friend Liam staring back at him.
“Hey, mate! What are you doing here?” Zayn asks, surprise evident on his face.
“I thought I’d take a little road trip to come see you,” Liam replies, a sheepish smile growing on his face. Zayn pulls him into a tight hug.
The boys met on Twitter 10 years ago and quickly bonded over their shared love of art. Two years after they became friends they met in person for the first time at a small coffee shop in Liam’s hometown of Wolverhampton. From that point on they had visited one another monthly until Liam got a new job about six months ago. His new work schedule made him extremely busy and he no longer had the time to see his best friend. They still texted constantly, but they both missed seeing each other in person.
“It has been way too long. Come in and I’ll make us some tea,” Zayn says.
Grinning, Liam steps into the house and makes his way into the living room where he plops down on the same couch he’s sat on countless times over the years.
Once Zayn finishes putting the kettle on he sits down next to Liam. “I am so glad to see you,” Zayn says, grinning at Liam.
“Not as glad as I am to see you! I took three days off of work to come spend time with you,” Liam replies.
Zayn’s jaw drops open. “You shouldn’t have done that!” he says, surprised.
“Yeah, but I wanted to,” Liam says in response.
The two boys spend the next hour drinking tea and talking about what they should do with the time they have together. Zayn shows Liam the paintings he’s added to the walls of his studio and Liam shows Zayn pictures of his latest drawings. They spend the rest of the afternoon watching movies and talking about the most random of subjects. When it gets late, Liam goes out to his car and gets the bag he had packed earlier that morning. He goes back inside and gets set up in Zayn’s guest room. They wish each other goodnight and go into their separate rooms.
Once the door is closed, Liam reaches into the bottom of his bag and pulls out a small pouch. In it is a silver necklace with a circular pendant hanging from it. Engraved on the pendant is a beautiful letter L encircled by a heart. Liam has a matching one with the letter Z in a small zipper compartment on the inside of his bag. Also in the pouch is a folded drawing of Zayn. Liam had spent so much time getting every detail of that drawing perfect enough to give to Zayn. He clutches the pouch in his palm and closes his eyes.
Taking a deep breath, Liam whispers to himself, “I’ll give it to him tomorrow. Tomorrow he’ll find out how I feel. How I’ve always felt.” He returns the pouch to the bottom of his bag and gets undressed before climbing into bed.
At nine the next morning there is a knock on Liam’s door. “Come in,” he says, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
Zayn opens the door and walks in before sitting on the end of the bed. “I didn’t want any of our time to be wasted. Sleep ok?” he asks.
Liam nods as he sits up in the bed. As he’s sitting there staring into Zayn’s beautiful brown eyes he remembers the pouch. Before he can chicken out he says, “I have something for you.”
Zayn looks surprised. “Really? What is it?” he asks.
Liam, heart pounding, replies, “Oh, just a little something. How about I make us breakfast and I give it to you after we eat.”
Zayn smiles and nods. “I’ll leave you to get dressed,” he says, before leaving the room and closing the door behind him.
Liam takes his time getting ready. He’s so scared that he’s made some kind of mistake. What if he tells Zayn how he feels and it ruins their friendship? He takes a deep breath and puts the little pouch in his pocket.
Half an hour later, he and Zayn are eating the bacon, eggs, and toast that he prepared. Liam is growing more and more nervous as their meal comes to an end. He knows it’s too late to back out but he really wishes that he could. Once they’re both done, Liam clears their dishes. He wants to stall as long as he possibly can.
“So, what is it that you have for me?” Zayn asks.
Liam shuts his eyes and takes a couple of deep breaths, trying to slow down the rapid beats of his heart. Slowly, he turns around.
Immediately, Zayn becomes worried. He can tell that Liam is nervous and he has no idea why. “Hey, are you ok?” he asks.
Liam nods and sits back down next to Zayn. He pulls the pouch out of his pocket and says, “This is for you.”
Gently, Zayn takes the pouch and opens it. He pulls out the drawing first and unfolds it. He grins when he sees it. “Li, this is so good! I love it!” he says, before reaching into the pouch again and pulling out the necklace. He looks at the pendant and his breath catches. His eyes flick up to Liam who is blushing a deep red. “I…you…it’s…” Zayn stammers.
“I’ve fallen in love with you, Zayn. I fell in love with you years ago. My heart is yours, if you’ll have it,” Liam tells him.
Zayn stares at Liam for a moment before suddenly lurching forward and crashing their lips together. Liam gasps, shocked, before melting into the kiss. His hands make their way into Zayn’s hair and Zayn puts one of his hands on the side of Liam’s face, his other still clutching the necklace.
After what feels like an eternity, they pull away. “I think I’ve loved you since I first laid my eyes on you in that coffee shop all those years ago. I never imagined that you might love me back,” Zayn tells him. He looks at the necklace in his hand before putting it on.
“Hold on a moment,” Liam says. He gets up and returns a moment later wearing his necklace. Zayn grins when he sees it and jumps up before pulling Liam into a tight embrace. Liam brings their lips together once more and whispers into Zayn’s ear, “I should’ve told you a long time ago.”