“Who’s Ian?” He asks, casually flicking through your phone, holding it just high enough that you can’t grab it from him. You roll your eyes, jumping for it, but he easily evades you.
“He’s just a guy.”
“Just a guy, huh? Judging by these texts, it’s more than that. You’re going to have to do better if you want this back…”
“Niallllll,” you whine playfully. “Give it baaaack.”
Louis, wanders in, surveying the situation with a practiced eye—he does have four younger sisters. “Niall, just give her the damn phone. You’re not her boyfriend or her brother—leave her relationships private. But, for the record, you two need to get together within the next two weeks, or else I lose £10 to Liam.”
“The hell, mate?” Niall demands. Louis shrugs.
“Didn’t you know? We have a bet on how long it’ll take for you two morons to get together.”
You both vehemently deny that it will ever happen, but four years later it’s Louis who has the last laugh, when he tells the story at your wedding.
“It’s been to long since we’ve done this, Lou,” you smile at him across your coffee. The corner of the cafe you two are sitting in is relatively secluded; so far no fans have spotted you.
“Louis?” You hear a familiar voice behind you. “Who is this—oh. Hi, Y/N. Y/N!”
“Congratulations, Harry. You know my best friends name.” Louis sasses. “Hang on,” Harry waves him off dismissively. “I have to text the boys and tell them I’ve won.”
“Won what?” You ask, half amused and half concerned by Harry’s reaction.
“Bet pool as to when you two finally get together. All the boys are in, Danielle, Perrie, Josh, etc. It’s an ongoing thing.”
“Whoa, whoa, slow down. This isn’t a date. This is two mates having coffee together.”
“Are you drunk?” You add. “Because two o’clock on a Wednesday is way too early to be drunk, Haz.” Harry rolls his eyes theatrically.
“Don’t look at me like I’ve sprouted five heads. It’s only a matter of time until you two finally give in to all the UST.”
“You’ve been watching The Bachelor too much,” you say dismissively, but two weeks later, Harry’s proved right (although Zayn’s the one who wins the bet).
“What’s up, Li? Why so down?” He’s sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall. You playfully ruffle his hair as you settle in next to him, and he smiles weakly.
“I’ve just been thinking a lot about what Zayn said.” You frown, trying to remember what Zayn has said that would evoke this reaction.
“Oh, you mean about us making a good couple? Just ignore him.” You shrug. “We have a solid friendship, Li, that’s all.” His face falls a little more at your words. He stands up to go, but you pull him back down. “C’mon, Li, talk to me.”
“Are you friendzoning me?”
“Do you not want to be friendzoned?” You ask, confused. He shakes his head.
“Actually, I don’t. I’m sick of being in the friendzone, Y/N. I… We’ve had a long journey together, and somewhere along the way I fell in love with the most wonderful person in the world, my best friend. I actually would really like it if we gave this a proper go. As a couple.”
You blush. “I… I’d like that.”
You’re lying with your head in his lap, drifting in and out of consciousness. It’s probably two in the morning, and the boys are just finishing up their third movie of the night. Through half-shut eyes you see Eleanor and Danielle across the room, similarly situated on their respective boyfriends.
“Well,” Harry says quietly as the movie ends. “I think I’m going to put Y/N to bed.”
“Unfortunately, not in the way you want to,” Niall quips, setting off chuckles around the room, and even a catcall from Louis.
“Oh, shove off, you lot.” Harry grumbles, gently twirling a strand of your hair around his finger.
“Haz, why don’t you just ask her out already?” Zayn interjects.
“We’re just mates.” Harry insists, to more guffaws.
“Please,” Liam dismisses that with a wave of his hand. “You’re so hopelessly in love with her.”
“So what if I am?” Harry asks defensively.
“She’s hopelessly in love with you, too, in case you haven’t noticed.” Niall opines—you can hear the grin in his voice.
Unable to stand it any more, your eyes flutter open, meeting his green ones. “Actually,” you say softly. “She is.”
“So, what’s going on with you two?” Liam asks, casually leaning against the kitchen counter. You almost spit out your drink in surprise once you realize what he means. Zayn has a similarly shocked expression on his face.
“What? We’re not… What gave you that idea?”
Liam gives you a knowing look. “C’mon. We all know you two… It’s just a matter of time.”
“Liam, what the hell are you doing?” Zayn demands, sounding much more upset than the situation calls for. You round on him suspiciously.
“What’s going on?”
“You two should date. You’re perfect for each other.” Liam shrugs. Zayn groans in frustration next to you.
“Get out, Li.”
“What’s your problem, Zayn?” You inquire, eyes narrowing.
“Shit.” He mumbles. “Um, about what Liam said, I’d… Sometime, I’d like to see where this goes. Outside of friendship.”
You stare at him for a long moment, and his face falls as he starts to retreat from the kitchen. Finally you remember how to speak, darting after him and gently tugging him into a hug.
“No, no, Zayn. I’d love that.”