The Only Exception

It's Zayn Malik before One Direction. Zayn and Lucy develop a relationship despite their popularity statuses. They love each other, but is it worth losing friends and family? Will their struggle to cope with outside forces end up in vain or will they have the happily ever after?


20. A Small Ray of Sunshine

Zayn's P.O.V.

“Fuck,” I yelled. I found myself crying then as I fell unto my bed. “Fucking motherfucker,” I shouted between sobs. I had ripped up the newspaper, leaving the shreds of paper beside my bed. I could hardly manage throughout today. I was going to skip school again today, but my mum caught me in bed, and forced me to go. Being with Lucy was insufferable. I thought that by being with her, things would be a bit easier, but instead, I found myself on the verge of tears when I even thought about saying a word. “Shit,” I groaned.

I made myself stand up and walked towards my window. I looked up at the sky, which didn’t contain a moon tonight. I then remembered that Jared had asked me a favor. There’s a stash in my drawer. If you could please keep it in a safe place as well as the other things in there. I had never seen this hiding place of Jared’s, and I’ll admit that was I more interested in the stash instead of those other things. I walked down the stairs to find an empty house. I slipped into the dark night and headed towards Jared’s place.

Once I reached it, I saw it was empty. I headed towards the door, which was open. I entered the house, which was nearly bare, even as I flipped on the lights. I knew Jared’s mom struggled to pay for the house, and he often told me about the next piece of furniture that was pawned. I was surprised the lights still worked. Jared and his mom barely lived in this house. Jared was out getting high or drunk or hanging out at my house while his mom was out doing all sorts of things to get money.

The floors creaked with each step I took. I headed into the kitchen first. The pantries were bare, except for some powder milk and cans of food. I opened the refrigerator, which smelled sour from the mold growing on uneaten food. I sighed in disbelief as I noticed that Jared would be far better off in prison. He would be forced to stay away from drugs and alcohol, and actually get some decent food. I heard the ghosts of yelling and fighting that Jared so often recalled. Jared was always troubled at home, and then he was an outcast at school, that it surprised me how he could always put up a good front whenever we were together.

I stepped out of the kitchen and into the small living room. There was nothing but a couch and a coffee table and a shabby carpet. I sighed again, accidentally letting some tears escape. I should have asked Jared to move in with me. I remembered walking around this same house thinking that it was just like Jared, but now I realized that it’s no place for anybody to live.

I got out of there and climbed up the squeaky staircase. I entered Jared’s room, which was to the left. I opened his door and entered the silent room. I frowned as I took it all in: a mattress on the floor with a raggedy blanket and a pillow, a beaten up desk, and, inside his closet, the few pieces of clothes and shoes he owned. I ran my fingers through my hair and then fell onto his bed. Jared had never let me inside his room, and now I know why. I lay down on the mattress and then remembered I was here to look for something.

With all the walls bare and basically no furniture, I wasn’t sure where Jared could hide anything. I looked around his closet and in his clothes, but found nothing. I flipped the mattress over and tapped on the floor to hear if it was hallow, but still, nothing. I looked behind the desk, yet there was still nothing.

“Where is it?” I said to myself, becoming desperate. I wanted to get out of there, but I also really wanted to smoke a joint. After some more frantic searching, I gave up. I curled myself underneath the desk where a chair would usually be. I began crying.

After what seemed like an endless shower of tears, I finally found enough control to minimize them. I wiped my eyes and held back the tears long enough to see a slit underneath the desk. I blinked way the remaining tears and opened the slit. Inside, I found a black shoebox.

I took it out and opened it. I squinted my eyes to see what was inside. I found the weed, but I lost interest in it as I spotted the other things. Jared and I became friends in elementary school, and memories flooded into my head as I took out the crafts we’d made as little kids. I found an old baseball cap, which we had stolen when we snuck into a baseball game. We were so close to getting caught, but fortunately we never were. We were both too chicken to wear the thing in case somebody noticed, so Jared volunteered to hide it. I smiled at the memory.

I pulled out a picture of the two of us standing side by side. My family had invited Jared to go to the amusement park with us and I had given Jared this picture.

In elementary school, we made several silly art crafts, and I was surprised to find Jared had kept both his and mine. After the teacher would grade them, I would head straight to the trash can to throw it away, but Jared always volunteered to do away with them. I never knew what he did with them.

Tears of joy escaped as I continued rummaging through the rest of the things. I never took Jared to be the sensitive type, but this proved it all. I pulled out the most recent picture of us, which was taken by my mum on the first day of high school. I laughed as I remembered it. It was both an exciting day yet something we both wanted to get over with.

I sat for hours underneath the desk looking and relooking at the things in the shoebox. I ignored calls and texts, which were surely from my mom. I continued looking and allowed the wonderful memories to take control.

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