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?


23. Moving On



“What’s it like in England?” Kristy asked me as we walked alongside the Pacific Ocean.

I pondered her question as memories flooded my head. I nearly choked on some tears as Zayn’s face came in view. Kristy looked at me curiously. I exhaled loudly. “I’m sorry,” I gasped. “I…I can’t…I can’t talk about that yet.”

“I’m sorry!” she said, placing her arm over my shoulders. “It just slipped out of my tongue and…I am so sorry Lucy.”

I shook my head. “It’s ok…I’m sorry I act so silly about it, but it’s not something I’m ready to think about.” Kristy nodded and we continued walking. I felt the stares as we passed the guys on the beach. Yes, they were fit, but all I ever saw was Zayn.

And the truth was, I thought about England all the time. I thought about Zayn, especially. The way his eyes spoke for him, the way his lips felt on top of mine, the way he made me feel safe in his arms. And then I became furious because it was my parents who forced me and Mike to “vacation” in California. It turned out that this surprise vacation was really moving to Los Angeles, California. It turned out that my dad cancelled both Mike’s and my cell phones so that those numbers no longer worked. It turned out that I couldn't connect with Zayn online. It turned out that my parents did this all on purpose once they discovered that I was still seeing Zayn, but that time more than friends.

This was all Sheila’s fault.

There were several instances where I just couldn't control my anger. I remember how in England, I was friends with practically the whole school. I thought that having lots of friends meant never being alone, but that was far from the truth. Instead, I was betrayed by the people who I thought were my real friends. So now here I was, in California, and trying to protect what little I had. I had cried myself to sleep for the first two months. I had tried all sorts of ways to try to connect with Zayn, but he seemed unreachable.

I would have found it unimaginable before, but I realized that it was time to move on. It was obvious that I wasn't going to be heading back any time soon.

The one thing I’m most mad at though, is the fact that I never got to say goodbye. I didn't know what Zayn thought about the disappearance of both his girlfriend and best friend. It now dawned on me that Zayn had lost all of his close friends: Jared, Mike, and me.

“England’s beautiful,” I said, interrupting the silence between us.

“Really,” Kristy said quietly.

“Yeah,” I said. I didn't know what else to add.

“Well, that’s a start then,” she smiled. I chuckled and nodded my head. We reached my house, which was right next to the ocean. It had a beautiful view and the house itself was amazing. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Lucy.”

“Ok, bye,” I said, giving her a hug. Kristy was one of the few people at my new school whom I could actually confide in. I didn't tell her every little secret, such as Zayn, but I told her pretty much everything. Kristy also tells me everything about her, which surprised me. I realized that Sheila was able to hurt me so bad because I told her everything. Sheila never talked about herself, but she always had gossip from every person in school. Kristy was a good person.

“Kristy,” I called out. She twirled around. “I think I’ll give Tony a chance,” I said.

Kristy’s face brightened up. Tony was a close friend of hers who happened to fancy me. I didn't pay much attention to his affection, but I appreciated his friendship. “Really?” she squealed.

“Yeah, I think it’s time I let go of the past,” I grinned.

“Yay!” she screamed, running back towards me to hug me tightly. “I promise, and I’ll make sure of this, that he treats you right.”

I giggled. “Thanks Kristy, see you later,” I waved. I walked inside the house, suddenly exhausted. I entered the kitchen only to see Mike. I saw the tension on his face when he saw me enter. I was trying my best to get over the move here, but Mike was definitely holding a grudge. He hasn't mustered more than a few words at a time when he realized we were staying here for good. He took a sip of his orange juice without saying a word.

“I miss hearing your laugh,” I whispered. Mike wasn't just mad at mom and dad; he was furious at me. He blamed me because if I had listened to mom and dad in the first place, we would still be in England. Mike didn't say anything. “I miss him too,” I said, louder.

Mike slammed his cup on the kitchen table. “I know I pushed you guys toward each other, but couldn't you just do what you were told. The three of us could have still been hanging out.”

I let my jaw hang open. I almost didn't recognize Mike’s voice because it was that rare to hear him talk. I came over to him and hugged him. He hugged me back, although reluctantly.

“Mike…I don’t know what you want me to do. It’s too late now,” I said. I saw Mike’s jaw tense.

“It’s never too late, but I guess you just couldn't wait,” he sneered. I looked at him in confusion. “Tony’s not Zayn and we both know it. I can’t believe you’re actually going to waste your time with him.”

“You know what Mike,” I said firmly. “I can’t sulk around every single day and expect that to make a difference. I miss Zayn just as much as you do, but there comes a time when you just have to move on. Tony’s a good guy, and I know he’s not Zayn, but at the moment, he can make me really happy. That’s all that I want. I want to be happy. I want all of us to be happy. Mike, you have the chance to reinvent yourself, to make new friends. It’s been months already and…I think it’s time we agree we’re not going back to England for a really long time.”

Mike made a fist and then released it. “I can’t move on. I don’t want to move on. You know what I found out. Mom and Dad didn’t like Zayn because of his religion, did you know that?” he shouted. I shook my head. “They thought he was a freak just like every Goddamn person in that school!” I held back the tears that were forming. I didn’t like where this conversation was heading. “And of course they couldn't admit to such a thing, so they waited for the perfect excuse to separate you from him. All that crap that Sheila told them fueled their actions. And then when you made it official that you guys were dating, Sheila went straight to mom and dad and told them.”

 “Mike, stop, I don’t want to hear it,” I begged.

“No, you have to know the truth because you’re definitely not going to get it from mom and dad. They were already thinking about moving before Jared got sent to jail. Since Zayn was best friends with Jared, they agreed to move away, justifying that Zayn would be a bad influence on the both of us. But we both know that that’s just bullshit. They look down on Zayn just for being himself. If I move on, then that means that I’d be agreeing with Zayn not being good enough. I don’t know about you Lucy, but I’m not going to give them that.”

Tears trickled down my cheeks when I asked Mike, “How do you know all that?”

Mike sighed. “I happened to skip school that day and they didn’t know I was home. I overheard mom and dad and Sheila talking about what you and Zayn were doing. After Sheila left, they began making plans to move here.”

“Wow,” I breathed. I wiped away the tears. I began to doubt whether I should have told Kristy that I would like Tony to be my boyfriend.

“Yeah… so now that I've got that off of my chest,” he smiled, giving me another hug. “I can finally be happy… well at least with you.” We both laughed. It was good to have Mike back.

“Mike,” I said, serious again. “I’m not about to forget Zayn. I know that for sure. But I’m serious when I say this; we both deserve to be happy. I don’t think Zayn would like it if we moped around all day instead of enjoying beautiful Los Angeles,” I teased.

“Yeah,” he said. “I only wish he could be here with us to enjoy it.

“Yeah,” I agreed. “Come on, I know this great ice cream shop. I think you’ll enjoy it,” I said, taking his hand.

“Whatever,” Mike sighed, and then we both laughed.

I guess it was really hard at first for the both of us to move on, but if we never did, we would have ended up depressed. The only way to move on was for the both of us to keep England towards the back of our minds and just focus on each individual day. We were soon able to laugh and smile like before. Our relationships with our parents never fully recovered though.

I have to admit though that I sometimes open that box which flooded my mind with memories from England. Whenever I did, I would wind up crying myself to sleep, so I tried really hard to keep it locked up. I would be fine for a while, but somehow, Zayn always managed to sneak in again. 

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