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in the summertime, when the weather is fine

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This was supposed to be a relaxing summer. 

The whole reason Zayn is here, at his parents’ house in Bradford rather than the internship he’d been offered at the National Gallery in London, was because he’d been so stressed and anxious at school that he’d needed a nice break where he could just be in the comfort of his home, relaxing with his only responsibilities being his one-hour-a-week therapy appointments. 

But no. His parents just had to get their pool renovated this summer. And they just had to hire the single most attractive person Zayn’s pansexual ass has ever laid eyes on. So now he’s not even safe within the comforts of his own room because every time he glances out the window, he sees the image of the new pool boy’s perfectly sculpted, shirtless chest. 

So no. This isn’t a relaxing summer. Nothing about Zayn hopelessly drooling over a guy who’s at his house all the time being stunning and shirtless and completely unattainable while he hides out in his room, too socially awkward to even so much as go outside and introduce himself is relaxing. 

He’s been home for two goddamn weeks, and he’s creepily stared out from his bedroom window at the pool boy-- Liam’s his name, his mum tells him while urging Zayn to stop being so antisocial and "go talk to the lad for goodness sakes", and like of course he has a sexy, manly name-- enough to learn that he comes to check on their pool every Monday and Thursday around 10am. Staring from afar and memorizing his schedule like the creep he is covers the full extent of how Zayn’s plan of making Hot Liam fall in love with him has gone so far.

Two fucking weeks of Zayn spending all his waking time-- not doing art or working on his mental health as he’d said he would when he decided to come home for break-- but rather psyching himself up to go talk to a sweaty, shirtless Liam out by their pool, only to each and every time, suddenly come up with a very logical, reasonable excuse for why he should put it off once again until the next time Liam’s over. 

Besides, what is he even supposed to talk to such a hunk about? They probably have nothing in common. Liam probably likes sports and cars and beer and….. other manly man things, while Zayn likes art and music and being in touch with his feelings and shit. So it’s not Zayn’s fault that they haven’t talked yet. Liam’s equally at fault for just being so intimidatingly goddamn attractive. 

Today, though, today apparently his parents hate him and want him to die, because Zayn wakes up right before 10am-- his body apparently setting its own internal alarm clock so that he can’t miss out on even a moment of Liam-ogling-time-- to find a note from his parents slid under his bedroom door: 

Sonshine, we ran out for a few errands with the girls and won’t be home until after lunch. PLEASE will you make sure Liam gets his payment for this week? We left it on the kitchen counter so you can go out and give it to him. Thanks, Mum :)

That fucking smiley face is mocking him as he rereads the note again, his heart dropping to his stomach as he realizes that he literally can’t avoid talking to Liam.

No, no, no. This is no good. No good at all.

He’s not fucking ready. He needs at least a few hours to mentally prepare himself and come up with a game plan for how he'll approach the sexiest man of all time, but Liam will be here any minute now

Heading downstairs, Zayn contemplates “accidentally” tripping down the stairs so that he’ll have to go to the doctor right away and will “unfortunately” miss out on talking to Liam, all by no fault of his own, of course. 

He pours himself a giant mug of coffee once in the kitchen-- if only to have something to do with his hands since he’s already keyed up and wide-awake from the rush of adrenaline coursing through his body since he found that wretched note.

He sees the cash for Liam laid out at his spot at the kitchen table and notices another note lying next to it. He considers ignoring it, reasoning that if he doesn’t read it, he won’t have to do whatever it’s asking him, but then he considers that maybe his mum realized that Zayn doesn’t need to give Liam the money after all, and this note will solve all his problems.

Sighing, he picks up the note and reads it: 

PS TALK TO HIM. He’s a very nice boy, and I think you will get on well! You should really be interacting with some more people your own age this summer!!! Your dad left one of his old swimsuits that should be about your size on our bed, so go out to the pool and help Liam, please!

Zayn groans aloud, and he’s now convinced his parents hate him and want him dead because they are absolutely fucking killing him right now. 

Truthfully, it’s not a terrible plan. This at least resolves his concerns about what they’ll talk about, since he has to give Liam the money.

And now he can’t even use the excuse that he doesn’t have a swimsuit, and he can’t go hang out at the pool fully-dressed like a total chump. 

Zayn heads back upstairs to look for his dad’s old swimsuit, because if he’s going to have to finally talk to Liam, he might as well not be wearing his gross, ratty pajamas.

Entering his parents’ room, he spots his dad’s old swimsuit—emphasis on old— immediately, and he now knows his parents want him dead because this is some sick fucking joke they’re playing. 

Maybe those swim trunks were cool and hip in the 80s, but they’re absolutely mortifyingly bold… and short! They’re some weird zebra print, and Zayn doesn’t think he could even ironically pull them off, even if he could fit his dick in them without popping out what with the obscenely short-length they are.

He’s about two seconds from calling his mum and giving her a piece of his mind when he hears a car door slam in front of their house, and he rushes to the window, peeking out sneakily. 

Sure enough, Liam’s here already, and he looks even better than normal, if that’s possible. Even from a distance, Zayn can see how big and strong his muscles are, and it makes him weak in the knees like some fawning schoolgirl. God, what Zayn would give to be able to touch, to taste those muscles, to feel those muscles pressing him up against the wall. Shit, Zayn's fantasies of being manhandled are literally right outside the window, and he's hiding behind the curtains like a bitch.

As Liam approaches the house, Zayn realizes that the cut-off shirt he’s wearing is actually a Deadpool shirt, and not just from the movies but like the real, authentic comic book Deadpool. 

And shit! What is Zayn supposed to do with that piece of info?

Is it possible that Liam's not only a perfectly built Greek god, but also into comic books like Zayn? Could this be a conversation topic between them?!!

Fuck ,” Zayn mutters under his breath, already headed back over to where he dropped those swim trunks as he pulls his shirt up and over his head. 

Because now he’s fucking curious, and it’s going to bother him to no end if he doesn’t go out there and talk to Liam and see if he’s actually into comics.

And apparently Zayn's going to wear those stupid fucking trunks since that's all he has, and well, apparently this is his life now, one never-ending, long saga of embarrassing shit he'll do just for the chance to talk to some shirtless sex-god-looking fella. 

Without allowing himself to think too much about it, he tugs on the swim shorts, and much to his dismay, notes that they fit him perfectly and he's not going to fall out of them and indecently expose himself. He actually looks really good, so good in fact that a cursory glance over his shoulder even lets him know that they’ve even somehow made his flat tush look… well existent and , if he says so himself, quite grabbable. 

He stumbles a bit in his haste to get to his own room where he throws clothes out of his dresser drawer, desperately searching for his own Deadpool shirt.

On second thought, he figures that might be a bit too much, so he opts for a Daredevil shirt, hoping Liam isn’t just some phony who likes to wear comic book shirts for fashion or something but actually knows his shit. Well, at least this way, he'll hopefully find out. 

He takes a moment to check himself out in the mirror, and if he gets past the fact that he looks just as nervous as he feels-- which is soul-crushingly nervous-- he thinks he looks pretty good actually. He at least grabs a pair of sunglasses on his way out the door, hoping they hide the fear present in his eyes. 

In the kitchen, he snatches the money from the counter and is about to head outside when he gets his first up-close look at Liam.

And look he does. 

Fuck !”

Liam’s stripped out of his shirt, leaving Zayn with the mouthwatering view of his muscled back as he leans forward and reaches the net into the pool, fishing out debris. His shoulders shifting and arms flexing with the movement makes Zayn want to turn back around, march up to his room, and just touch himself until he comes over and over again and Liam’s long gone and Zayn’s gotten this all out of his system. 

Fuck, he can’t do this. He can’t talk to this shirtless sex god, not in these embarrassing shorts at least that’s for sure. 

But he thinks about what his mum will say, what his therapist will say, and he sighs defeatedly, crumpling the money up in his fist as he realizes that no matter how much he’s dreading it, he knows he’s going to go talk to Liam today. So might as well not put off the inevitable.

At least this way, when Liam inevitably rejects him, he’ll have some sense of closure. Maybe he can stop pining pathetically over someone he never actually stood a chance with and move on with his life. 

Yep, that’s it. That’s a good plan. Go out there, give him the money, get his heart torn out of his chest and stomped on, and then carry on with his life. 

Easy peasy. 

But….. as his eyes land on the shopping list tacked to the fridge across the kitchen from him, maybe he doesn’t have to go down without a fight. 

He hurries over to the freezer, grabs the last pre-made ice cream cone from the box, and rolls his shoulders back, feigning confidence as he stalks over to their back door and yanks it open. 

Liam’s head snaps up at the sound of the banging door, and his look of surprise is quickly replaced with a warm, easy grin as he catches sight of Zayn standing in the doorway, ice cream cone in one hand and money in the other. 

Setting the net down, Liam wipes his hands on his shorts and heads over to Zayn, arm outstretched in a handshake. 

“You must be Zayn! I’ve heard so much about you. It’s so nice to finally meet you!” 

And god, his voice! Fuck, it’s downright sinful the things that come to Zayn’s mind at the first sound of that smooth, sexy voice directed towards him. 

“Yep!” Zayn squeaks out, immediately blushing as his voice comes out much too loud and high-pitched to seem casual. He switches the ice cream cone over to his other hand and shakes Liam’s, trying his hardest not to full-body shiver at this casual, platonic skin-on-skin contact. 

“Um… here,” he shoves the money into Liam’s other hand, wincing internally at Liam’s look of confusion at Zayn’s unnatural, jerky behavior. 

“Oh, thanks, mate,” Liam's face quickly morphs into a bright smile at Zayn, taking the money and turning to tuck it into his bag a few feet away. 

Zayn is sure now that the universe is in on his parents’ plan to kill him, because he’s treated with a perfect view of Liam’s ass as he bends over to put the money away, and Zayn has to bite down on his lip to stifle a whimper. 

“I like your shirt by the way,” Liam says, turning back to Zayn. 

Zayn fish-mouths for a second, caught off guard by Liam’s easy kindness, and he has to look down to remind himself what he’s wearing. He feels like an absolute dumbass when he remembers he put on this Daredevil shirt for the sole purpose of seeing if Liam would say anything. 

Somehow he manages to blush even deeper than he was before, and he gawks at Liam from behind his sunglasses which hopefully are hiding most of his embarrassment— and obvious lust. 

“Oh, uh, thanks,” he mumbles. 

Liam heads back over and picks up his net, carrying on his work. Zayn stands there a moment, feeling awkward and unsure if that was Liam’s way of dismissing him or if he is supposed to stick around. 

“You like comics?” Liam asks, glancing over his shoulder at Zayn. 

“Oh, uh, yeah,” Zayn says, scratching the back of his neck and feeling so uncomfortable about what he’s supposed to do with his hands or legs or body in general. “You?”

“Huh?” Liam asks him, looking over at him again with such fierce, directed attention as if Zayn’s the only thing that matters to him right now. 

“Um, like comic books I mean,” Zayn could kick himself for how embarrassing he’s being but Liam just smiles widely, either oblivious to Zayn’s internal turmoil or too nice to let on to how weird he thinks Zayn is. 

“Yeah! Totally!” Liam exclaims. “When I was a kid, I’d read them all the time. Wouldn’t even do my homework I was too busy reading superhero comics.”

Zayn smiles shyly, imagining a young Liam with his nose in a comic book. 

On a whim, Zayn blurts out just to test Liam's reaction, “yeah, one of my favorite superheroes is Deadpool.”

Liam stops his work and turns completely to Zayn, smiling brighter than the sun. 

“No way! Me too! Wait, hold on.”

He sets the net down and jogs over to his stuff, and Zayn absolutely does not stare at the way his ripped pecs bounce slightly with the motion. 

“Check this out!” Liam holds up the Deadpool shirt he’d been wearing earlier, smiling like a kid on Christmas, his excitement at showing Zayn his shirt absolutely infectious. “I was wearing this when I got here! Mate, that’s sick!”

Liam reminds Zayn slightly of a puppy, easily excitable and adorably happy about everything—except if puppies were big and strong and masculine and you wanted them to absolutely wreck you and then cuddle you afterwards. 

Liam wads up his shirt and tosses it back with his stuff, heading back over to Zayn and resuming his work. 

“Wanna sit?” Liam offers. 

Zayn frowns, suddenly worried that he’s come off as as awkward as he feels and that Liam can tell how unsure he is about what he’s supposed to do. 

Liam, though, seems unfazed and just continues talking. 

“You can sit on the edge and put your feet in if you want? It’s hot on the ground with the sun beating down and all, and you won’t be in my way at all. It'd be nice to have some company, actually.”

He seems so genuinely concerned about Zayn’s comfort that it makes Zayn’s heart literally flutter, and he has to sit down anyway because he’s too weak with love— okay, probably lust at the moment— for this man that he needs to sit down anyway. 

Suddenly remembering the cone in his hand, Zayn automatically licks away a drop of ice cream about to slide off onto his hand. 

Looking back up to Liam, he’s completely surprised to see him standing completely still, his grip on the net’s handle almost deathly as he stares wide-eyed at Zayn’s mouth. 

Wha—ohh, interesting. 

Barely able to stop his hands from shaking with nerves, Zayn sticks his tongue out and licks around the cone, eventually opening his mouth and wrapping his lips around the ice cream, similar to how he would a cock. 

And, holy shit, his suspicions are confirmed as he watches Liam’s Adam’s Apple bob as he stares at Zayn’s mouth sucking off an ice cream cone. 

Zayn pulls off with a loud, smacking noise, and it must jolt Liam out of whatever stupor he’s in, because he’s suddenly looking everywhere except Zayn, stuttering something unintelligible out and acting as if nothing has happened. 

Zayn has to put a hand over his mouth to conceal the wide, shit-eating grin that overtakes his face because holy shit , Liam totally just checked him out while Zayn was licking an ice cream cone. 

And that’s not totally platonic, no sir no ma’am. 

~~~

Zayn stays out there the whole time Liam works, and other than a few awkward moments where Zayn can’t form words because he’s too busy ogling Liam’s half-naked body or Liam suddenly loses his train of thought as he stares at Zayn obscenely eating the ice cream cone, their conversation flows smoothly and easily, and they learn they actually have a lot in common, despite their starkly different outward appearances, and where they disagree, they playfully banter and tease as old friends would. 

By the time Liam leaves, Zayn’s cheeks hurts from smiling more than he has in a long time, and he can’t tell if his face is heated because of the sun or the perpetual blush he seems to wear when around Liam. 

Zayn watches Liam’s truck pull away, giggling giddily as Liam leans out the window to wave bye to him. He clutches the slip of paper Liam had handed him on his way out the door to his chest protectively. 

When Liam’s out of sight, he finally unfolds it to read what’s written there: 

had a lovely time talking to you… and looking at you (hope that’s endearing and not creepy oops) here’s my number if you want to hang out sometime at a restaurant over dinner or something

PS you looked really cute in those swim shorts xx