Summary → the bridge between friendship and something more is crossed in the middle of an airport terminal
Warning(s) → mentions of drinking, hangovers, panic attacks, fluff
Word Count → 1.4k
Note → part two to this, but can be read separately
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“What’s wrong with her?”
Tom’s been nursing your hangover with water and delicate caresses for going on three hours. You woke up in his bed, drowning in his pink hoodie with a face stripped of makeup. His arms had been looped around your waist, keeping you in the center of the bed despite your steady relationship with the floor-- there was a reason you pushed your bed up against the wall. Now, you have your head resting on his shoulder, and you shiver each time his fingers slip beneath the soft cotton of his hoodie to rub circles into your hip and up along your side.
“Why don’t you just sit in his lap then, Y/N.”
You whine at Harry’s taunt, raising a middle finger in the general direction of his voice, not willing to sacrifice your comfort to glare at the Holland. Instead, just to spite, you wiggle yourself closer to Tom’s warmth. You dig your face into his neck, twist your legs around his waist, and unintentionally grind your centers together. His breath hitches, a warm exhale melting into your shoulder. Your head is throbbing, and each time you readjust your positions another wave of nausea overcomes you.
Harrison scoffs at the two of you, completely unimpressed with your long running delusions. You’re convinced Tom wants nothing to do with you outside of vanilla friendship. You’re blind to the several passes he’s tried to play throughout the years, and Tom’s just as narrow. He’s never noticed that he’s the first one you reach out to when somethings happened-- bad or good. He’s the person you call when you don’t feel safe walking around campus alone, and when you’ve had a particularly rough go at adulting, you surround yourself with things that remind you of him. You’re both wholeheartedly immersed with the other, but you’re too in love with your long standing friendship to test the waters and explore something outside of vanilla and platonic.
“I take it Chloe and Thea got a hold of her?” Harry doesn’t even bother directing his question towards you. You’ve been mute since Tom dragged you out of bed and forced a brush through your hair-- he’s tied your hair up into a bun, and you’re envious of the way it looks cuter than your own quick and practiced twists.
Tom nods, a scowl on his lips. He doesn’t like the twins' influence over you, having had to save you from situations similar since meeting them. Ever since dorming with Chloe during your sophomore year of uni, an innocence has dispersed from your aura.
“Shut up, Thomas. You liked my dress.” Your whine is spoken into his skin, and this time you aren’t oblivious to the way his shivers beneath you.
“I did, darling.” Tom mumbles back, returning to his unconscious pastime of rubbing circles into your skin. He presses a kiss into your shoulder, and it’s unaware to you that he holds you just small bit tighter in that innocently intimate minute where best friends border on something more.
You miss the car. Tom’s trying to pull you away from another wall, while keeping a conversation together with management, and all you want to do is be cuddled into his arms. You’re flying commercial, and although security has regulated a good majority of crowds, the remaining busy and bustling atmosphere is enough to set sober you on edge.
Your grip on Tom’s hand grows slack, eyes narrowing in on nothing in particular. You recognize the signs quickly, but between your preexisting migraine and fear of further disrupting Tom’s travel, you keep to yourself and hope that eventually your vision will even out, and you won’t become a bigger inconvenience. Making Thea happy really wasn’t proving to be worth the way you felt.
It didn’t. Instead, everything around you moves slower. It’s like you're back in a blackout, but instead of chasing a euphoric buzz, you're moving in slow motion towards an inky void you can’t escape. Your breathing skyrockets, while every muscle in your body becomes impossibly tight. You’re overwhelmed, and it takes nothing for Tom to see the signs.
He nods at Harrison, jaw locked. His hand squeezes yours tightly, fingers twisting into yours and brushing against second knuckles. You shiver at the heat that runs up your side, unfocused and blurry attention locking to the sight of your threaded together fingers. It reminds you of the drive home from the party. Drunkenly you had grabbed Tom’s hand over the stick shift, and fallen asleep with his thumb tracing your knuckles. You never wanted to let go.
“Hey,” His voice is gentle and far off, even with your re-focusing vision. He sets his other hand on the back of your head, guiding you in closer to his chest, shielding and encasing your small and shaking frame. It’s clear to him that you’ve been fighting with yourself for a stretch, and he kicks himself for not noticing the signs sooner. You’d been off all morning, he should have known the hard and heavy hangover paired with your travel anxiety and engrained fear of being too much would overwhelm you to the point of panic. “Hey, baby. Y/N, look at me, sweet girl.”
A quiet sob ripples through your chest and tickles his. His bottom lip ends up bitten between his teeth, forehead falling to rest on the crown of your head. The best way he can help you is by just letting you cry, and if you miss the flight then so be it.
Tom’s seen you like this a few other times, and though he’s more than prepared and willing to step up to be your support system, it breaks his heart to see you so distressed and broken down. The girl clinging to his chest is not the resilient woman you pride yourself in being most days of the year. You take so much of other people's opinions into consideration. It truly is no wonder that you overwhelm yourself while striving to step into society's version of perfect. Tom thinks it all bullshit. He loves your little laugh, and your wicked sense of humor, the way you get extra cuddly when you're sleepy. He’s in love with your compassion, and he’s in love with you.
Thomas Stanley Holland is in love with you.
“Baby love,” Tom tries, pressing a gentle finger beneath your chin and raising your attention to his eyeline. His lips are pressed into a pout, a sight that both melts your heart and intensifies your guilt. “Hey, put that pout away.” He brings his thumb across your bottom lip that unconsciously mimics his, features softening when he cups your cheeks, and his thumb collects tears that defy your quivering cupid's bow.
When he notices you beginning to spiral again, vision unfocusing and losing touch with the busy scene around you, it dawns on him that a few recited affirmations aren’t going to save you from the storm this time.
“Please don’t hate me.” His voice cracks, stomach doing somersaults. He leans forward, capturing your lips in his with sweet and intimate motions that draw you from the depths of inky darkness. Your head feels both light and heavy when he pulls away. This is everything you’ve wanted, and although the kiss tasted of your tears, traces of Tom are still on your tongue.
He’s looking down at you with cheeks flushed with nerves, hands twisting into the gentle cotton of his hoodie. Harrison and Harry are standing frozen still, resembling scolded children in an abandoned corner, trying to act like they didn’t just witness a first kiss. Repercussions of your panic attack wash over you, but the embarrassment and aching joints are misplaced when Tom leans forward again.
“I’ve wanted to do that for a while, Y/N.” He admits sheepishly, “Especially last night. You looked really fucking good last night.”
A loud laugh bubbles in your chest, and though it’s wheezy and sends you doubling closer into his chest with coughs, it doesn’t fail to squeeze tightly at Tom’s heart. His lips fall onto your crown, and he looks over to Harrison and Harry, who he knows have just watched the bridge between friendship and something more be crossed.
“I love you, but please, no more frat parties with Chloe and Thea.”
You giggle, nodding into his chest, “No more parties. I’ll save my best dresses for you.”
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