London always reminded Liam of New York. The two cities shared a cosmopolitan avant-garde personality, with its bustling streets, theatre and musical productions to the individuality of the people going about their day. Tourists seen milling around recognizable landmarks like Buckingham Palace and London Bridge, taking keepsake photographs and soaking in the culture of London, that most Londoners took for granted. But London always felt like home despite living in a penthouse apartment in Manhattan. Liam was in London for work and he wanted to get this portion of the day over and done with. He was itching to discover more of the city.
The screaming could be heard two blocks away as Liam sat in the back of the limousine. The traffic was just as bad here, as it was in New York but he didn’t mind. He was used to waiting. It was a warm summer’s evening in the West End and he was dressed smartly in a designer navy suit and a crisp white shirt, his fingers tapping along to the song that was being played on the radio. He took a deep breathe as he finally joined the multitude of cars weaving their way towards the premiere, other actors, showbiz personalities, the lot. When the limousine door opened he was immediately engulfed in a wave of hysteria, his actions becoming mechanical as he began smiling and waving towards the crowds. He worked his way around the crowd, as he had done a number of times before. He smiled and made small talk with a number of his fans, whilst blocking out the noise and chants emanating from every corner until someone stood out from the crowd. Someone he hadn’t seen in a long time and someone who he couldn’t forget.
Millie crouched down and smiled at the little toddler at the table, as she put a packet of coloured pencils and paper in front of him. She received a toothy smile in return and proceeded taking the order from around the table. It had been a long shift, a day where everyone had called in sick to appreciate the warm weather, away from work. She cleared the plates from a corresponding table and went straight to the kitchen. Her feet were aching and she could not wait to get back home to her flat and unpack. She looked at the clock on the kitchen wall, she had around two and a half hours left of her shift to do, which should go pretty quickly considering the ongoing premiere had brought an influx of people to the restaurant. The sound of the bell broke her out of her reverie and she grabbed the plates of food and made her way to table six where the toddler with the toothy smile sat with his family.
By the time she finished, she swapped her waitress uniform for a pair of denim jeans and a cardigan and clocked out. The crowds had since dispersed and she noticed that the families had since gone and were replaced by couples over candlelight. She walked out of the restaurant by the back entrance when she stopped mid-step. Her heartbeat accelerated at full speed much like the motorcycle he was leaning up against. He was casually dressed in jeans and a green jumper, his black leather jacket draped across the seat of his motorcycle and he was wearing a devilish grin.
“Hello Millie, funny seeing you here,” he stated.
“What do you want?” Millie asked, taken aback by the surprise meeting.
“I thought it was pretty clear what I want. Did you miss me?” he replied, as he walked towards her. Millie wanted to head back into the restaurant but the door had closed behind her. She could try to dodge out of his way but he felt like a force, a brick wall she couldn’t move past. He was in front of her, before she had a chance to even move. His steely grey gaze pinning her to the spot like a trapped animal, he towered over her and she suddenly felt suffocated. He took a strand of her hair and caressed it between his fingers,
“I much preferred your brown hair but red I can work with,” letting the strand of hair fall back into place.
“You’re obviously not here to comment on my hair Liam. What I needn’t to say, I’ve already said. So if you will excuse me I have to be on my way,” Millie said defiantly, trying to push past him but failing miserably. He grabbed a hold of her arm when the sound of yelling interrupted them both. He could already hear an array of voices screaming his name and could only contemplate that he’d been seen. Before Millie could even react, he was shoving a spare helmet towards her and ordering her to get on the bike. She knew of his fame and what it could do.
“Get on the bike Millie!” Liam said through clenched teeth.
She did as she was told and got on behind him. She had no choice but to hold tight to him as he maneuvered the bike out of the street and zoomed away from the on-coming crowd. The tantalizing smell of his aftershave lingered and made her insides go funny and the feel of his abs made her go weak in the knees. And she was thankful that she was sitting and not standing at that moment. She had forgotten what it had felt like to be on the back of his motorcycle, clinging to him as he executed every turn, as he cranked up the speed. He was good at a number of other things too but she willed herself not to think about those things, those memories had to stay buried. Thankfully he couldn’t’t see what his reappearance was doing to her, as she tried to focus on what his reappearance meant.
Millie felt the motorcycle slow and looked up and noticed he had parked on a side road. Her side road.
“But how did you-?” she barely had a chance to finish her sentence before he interrupted her.
“Let’s get inside, I don’t want to have a conversation out here,” he dismissed her as he strode towards her front door.
Millie walked straight into the living room and headed for the kitchen, she wanted as much space between them as possible but she felt as if the four walls were closing in on her. She went straight to the fridge and opened it; there was a pint of milk sitting on the shelf and nothing else. She hadn’t planned on visitors and she had forgotten where she had packed the tea bags, not that that mattered. She needed something to do with her hands. Just as she turned around, he was leaning against the door frame, his arms folded and she could see the contours of his biceps through his jumper and steered her gaze away. His penetrative gaze making her feel vulnerable. How could he possibly do this to her after so many years?
“Can I get you a drink? Something to eat? I could order pizza…” she said nervously.
“I think we’re past the niceties Millie, don’t you think?” he paused, “I didn’t wait this long to have a cup of tea, what I really want to know is the truth.”
The truth. Could Millie go down that road again, after she spent so long working at moving on? It had been a long time ago. It had been a chapter in her past she had wanted to leave buried.
He moved around her flat, his frame making everything look that much smaller. He looked at the bland walls and opened the lids of a few of her unpacked boxes, “Suddenly you’ve lost the will to talk- now that is a surprise Millie. I remember a time way back, when talking was all we did and some, surely you remember the times when we didn’t talk at all and all we did was- how shall I say it- consummate.”
That earned him a slap, not before his hand caught her arm and he watched as daggers formed in her very eyes. There was the feisty Millie Bright he knew, “Now, now, you don’t want to go down that road again.”
“You spineless-,” she began, but was silenced by his lips as they crushed down on hers. He held her, restraining her and he could clearly feel her reluctant at the simpleness of a kiss. She managed to push him away from her and their intimate touch, their connection was broken, "You can't deny there's still something between us."
Liam knew right then and there, that he had to have Millie again- whatever the means, he would get her in his bed again. He watched her, she was leaning against the kitchen counter top, her eyes transfixed on something behind him, the colour drained from her face. There was sadness in those eyes and it stirred something deep inside him. Something was not right and he didn't like it one bit. He made a move towards her and she flinched, as if he had struck her.
"I don't feel like talking right now Liam," she said, a look of distance in her eyes.
"We'll talk Millie," he began but was interrupted by her monotone voice.
"Yes, we will... soon but not right now. I'd like you to leave," Millie said walking like a robot towards the front door and opening it. He tried to make a move towards her but she stepped back, as if his touch would burn her, "Don't touch me."
"What's the matter with you Millie? I won't hurt you," he began. His attempt was useless, he felt inadequate standing in front of her. His instincts were telling him, something was wrong and he had to get to the bottom of it, but Millie was unresponsive. She treated him like a stranger.
"Just go please," she said avoiding his gaze.
"Just because I'm going, doesn't mean, I'm going to forget about this," he interjected before he stepped out and saw the door close firmly behind him.
Millie leaned against the door and crumpled down to the floor, just when she thought she was making headway, her past was coming back to haunt her, in the form of Liam Blake.