4's A Crowd

Recently moved into a new flat, Aspen Langford can't wait to explore London after living behind the convent gates for a year. Since moving there from California she was excited for a new adventure. But what happens when she's forced to move in with three other guys who seem completely infatuated with her. Every girl would be lucky to be in her place...thing is, Aspen has no clue who they are.

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13. Beginning

Chapter 13
Liam’s P.O.V

“Alright guys it’s time for me to head off, it was great talking to all of you guys and answering your questions!” I waved at the camera smiling widely then clicked it off. I watched how all my twit cam viewers decreased one by one as I logged off of Twitter. It was great talking to my fans again and they were really important to me and had helped me become who I was now. 

But what really worried me was Aspen. She said she could take care of herself, but could she really? It felt weird that with her living here that I would even feel anything for her when I shouldn’t. At first when I saw here she looked so young and I set my mind to make myself think of her like a sister. But now I didn’t see her like that at all. She was confident and she knew what she wanted. Aspen would challenge everything even Harry when he was being nothing but an arse to her. Not only that but the fact that she didn’t fawn over Harry or Zayn, the ones best liked out of all five of us, felt so refreshing. She gave us all chances to show her who we were. Perhaps I liked her because I liked protecting her. When she was being hit on by those guys yesterday I felt nothing but anger towards them that they would even think about going up to her – to someone as innocent as Aspen. 

I shook my head and rubbed my eyes escaping thoughts of her. I snuck a peek at Harry and saw that he was looking down at his phone. Feeling my stare he said, “What Liam?”

“Do you know where Aspen and Zayn went off to?” I asked placidly.

He turned off his phone all interested now and I smirked, “To the coffee shop I suppose that’s what Zayn said,” I saw the smile start to form on his lips and he rotated to face me. “Oh no Liam not you too,” 

I raised my eyebrow faking curiosity, “Not me what?”

“You like her,” He stated matter of factly as his devilish smile broadened at my expression. 

I cleared my throat, “As if you don’t,” I accused.

Harry sighed and leaned back in his chair staring at nothing in particular his face was blank and uninterested, “Yea so? What’s it to you?”

“Harry this isn’t some random girl you hit on at a club, Aspen is-“

“Different,” he interrupted, “I know.”

I got up and sat on the coffee table and looked at him in the eye, “Then why are you treating her like she’s one of them? Aspen’s well she’s,” I took a deep breath and sighed raking my hands through my brown hair, “She’s kind, funny and confident, but she’s sensitive and innocent too Harry. If you, well you know think about anything besides a friendship with her, you’ll just surprise her and confuse her.”

Harry’s eyes darted back toward me as he placed his hands on his stomach contemplating what I had just revealed, “God Liam go get your balls back why don’t you? Stop playing big brother with her. Aspen’s not as innocent as she seems, yea she is all those things you said but she’s also a girl and I’m great with girls, you know that!” 

I rolled my eyes at Harry, “Yea I know that all too well Harry.”

“Look I’ll make a scout’s promise,” he raised three fingers in the air dramatically as he placed his other hand on his heart, “I won’t lay a hand on Aspen until Zayn and you have a go at her.”

I laughed annoyed, “But that’s not the point Harry! We can’t have a go at her! She promised us she wouldn’t like either of us!”

Harry smirked and crossed his arms in front of his chest, “Do you think she kept her promise? Zayn is already taking her out today and I – “ he cleared his throat, “well I did kiss her didn’t I? I didn’t see her arguing over any of that.”

I looked down at my white vans and looked back at him glaring, “She isn’t like Vanessa or any of the last girlfriends you had Harry, she’s a good person.”

“Get off your high horse Liam, I know she’s different,” Harry replied shaking out his curls.

I didn’t feel like arguing with him anymore and stood up and decided to rest on the bed. I could almost sense Harry’s smirk as I flopped down on the bed annoyed. Is Harry right though? Am I the only one that hasn’t pulled anything on Aspen? I mean sure Zayn might have already what with asking her to coffee and what not. And Harry already kissed her. God I felt like such a tool sometimes. As if all I’m really there for is to be protector to make sure everyone is safe and sound then worry about myself last. But no, this time I’m going to put myself before them.

ZAYN’S P.O.V

Aspen threw her hair back as she laughed her auburn hair gleaming shades of red and brown while she took her hair out of its confinements and instead gently flow in waves to her waist. All I ever did really was stare at her because she was so pretty. When I first saw her I deemed her average but I guess the attraction grew as I got to know her. Any girl could be beautiful but it’s always the personality that counts for me. Maybe I did get too carried away last night with the way I danced with her. I can still remember her surprised expression when she finally managed to pull away. I mean just because I like her and respect her I’m still a guy, and I still wanted to keep dancing with her. 

I felt my face flush when I realized she noticed my staring, “So what did you want to drink?” I motioned to the menu in the trendy coffee shop. She tilted her head as if she knew there was something I was holding back but she must’ve given up as she scrutinized the menu biting her lip in concentration. 

“I think I’ll get the peppermint mocha,” she decided as we got the front of the line telling the cashier.

The young cashier who looked about sixteen with blonde hair nodded and turned to me, “And for you-” Her voice cut off as her eyes widened as she took a glimpse at me. I flinched as a natural response then she leaned forward on the counter looking like as if she might dive for me. “You’re Zayn Malik from One-“

I put my hand over her mouth while I felt her still babbling through her muffled mouth, “Sh-“ I looked at her nametag, “Clarissa, It’d be great to go through the day without having fans chase after me so maybe you could not make a big deal out of me being here?” Without taking my hand out I saw her nod eagerly and with that I sighed a breath of relief and put my hand down away from her mouth. I composed myself and put my hands back in my pockets.

“And I’ll get an expresso,” I handed her the money and she took it so cautiously that our hands barely brushed. I turned over to Aspen and saw her bite back a smile and couldn’t help but chuckle too. 

The girl’s eyes darted between Aspen and I, realizing for the first time that there was in fact a girl with me, “Under what name?” she said through gritted teeth.

“Z-“

“Aspen,” she interrupted me. I glanced at her as the cashier hastily wrote the name on both cups, then turned her attention to the people behind us her glow for me all of a sudden gone. “Sorry, I just thought it would be better if she wasn’t yelling your name and I know you don’t want to be caught so…”

I took her hand and squeezed it looking down into her hazel eyes, “Thanks.”

She smiled in response and didn’t pull her hand away so I kept holding it. I really did like her and whatever it was that Harry said about me was completely and indefinitely wrong. I guess I was kind of a man whore when it came to girls I dated a lot of them; fans even. But Aspen she wasn’t loud and obnoxious nor was she fawning over me like how they would all do. She was her own her person and I liked her for that reason. I admit I was stupid to pull that crap on her before and think that seducing her would work but I had to actually try to be what she wanted. I had to be a gentleman and I think I actually could be able to pull this off.

After we exited the coffee shop we began to walk back home. She took sips from her mocha careful not to burn herself and all the while we were holding hands. Aspen would stop and tug me into different stores her face radiant as she tried on different types of clothes at each store. At one point I saw her sporting an outfit completely composed of feathers.

“You like?” she asked posing dramatically. I laughed and clapped my hands as she threw me daggers. “I’d like to see you trying to pull something off as edgy as this.”

I slapped my hand over my heart, “My ego!” Aspen giggled and shook her head and returned to the fitting room.

As soon as we left the shops we stopped at the fountain in the square and I placed an array of bags on the floor. “You do shop a lot Aspen.”

She shrugged nonchalantly, “Just because I’m not necessarily all that girly doesn’t mean I don’t like to shop.”

I smiled and and bit back a cheeky response, “You really are something Aspen.”

Her eyebrows furrowed and she looked up at me her eyes clouded with interest. Her head titled to the side again and she appeared so deep in thought I didn’t dare open my mouth to ask what it was that was wrong. “Do you mean it?” 

My muscles that were tensed up in suspense relaxed and then I began to hold both her hands, “Of course Aspen I –“ Out of the corner I saw a mass of paparazzi headed in our direction. I didn’t think they were looking for me but then I couldn’t be too sure either. 

Aspen could see the worry in my eyes and placed a hand on my forearm, “What is it?”

“Paparazzi,” I said through gritted teeth. Still looking at them I had a feeling of dread that they would catch us here and not only exploit me but Aspen too. And I wasn’t going to be the reason for putting her under their radar. “Kiss me.” 

Aspen eyes broadened and her face turned red in embarrassment. I felt so bad at that moment but I didn’t want to risk her being photographed. “I- I couldn’t possibly,” she sputtered incoherently. 

“Please, just till they leave,” I pleaded to her as she awkwardly leaned back and I leaned towards her.

She swallowed her inhibitions and cleared her throat while placing her hair to the side. “Okay.”

ASPEN’S POV

I know he could sense I was nervous and dear god I was too. I wanted to run away at that moment run from him run from what I was feeling and hell run from those stupid paparazzi. Did I like Zayn? Well…I’d be lying if I said no. He was so sweet and he never disrespected me in any way and that was all I wanted after being surrounded by Harry. 

I nodded, “Okay.” I placed my hair to the side and he leaned towards me. Zayn placed his hand on the back of my neck and pressed me closer. I know he could feel my heart thump beneath my chest like a sledgehammer as his face came closer. It had always been the moments before the actual kiss that I would be scared of the most; the anticipation of what was about to happen. And at this time, it was no difference. I slightly titled my head to the side, Zayn mimicking my actions. My eyes drifted to a close, my nose grazing his. We remained motionless for a few seconds, then Zayn closed the minimal gap between our mouths on his own account. I felt as though I was about to explode as our lips touched, head spinning and stomach flipping. For a few moments, our lips just stayed pressed together. I know he could feel my hesitation because he paused and placed his forehead against mine. 

“I think they’re gone,” I said through my staggered breathing. 

He nodded and helped me up gathering the bags and carrying them. “Let’s go home.” 

When we finally were in step together I spoke up breaking our silence, “So what did the buffalo say to his son as he left for college?” We entered the lobby and my shoes clicked on the marble floor.

Zayn started to grin, “No clue.”

“Bison,” I replied running ahead of him. I could hear him laughing as he ran to catch up with me. But all I did was giggle and look behind my shoulder bounding towards the elevator. It dinged open and I jumped in clicking the 14 incessantly to get to our flat. Then I saw Zayn run in and place his hands on the doors of the elevator propping them open. 

“Trying to escape so soon?” He whispered leaning down towards my ear and I felt my skin prickle and I let a sigh escape my mouth. 

I resisted the urge to want to kiss him again and placed my hands against his chest then tip toed to get as close to his ear as possible, “Yep.” And with that I pushed him out of the elevator and the door closed in front of him. I gave him a small wave and waited as the floors ascended 1,2,3 and so on.

It took a good five minutes until I reached our floor. And right as I stepped off I saw Zayn casually leaning against the wall his foot propped up and his arms crossed in front of him. “Only took you so long.”

I gaped at him, “How did you-“

“Stairs,” he looked behind him and pointed smiling as we reached our door.

I shook my head disbelievingly, “You never seem to stop surprising me.”

“My goal in life,” he chuckled and placed his arm over my shoulders. I blushed and let myself lean into him. “Thanks for getting coffee with me it…fun” he winked at me and turned to face me as he placed his hands on my waist.

My face turned redder and looked up into his warm honey eyes for the millionth time today then admitted, “I had fun too.”

His face got closer to mine and I knew it was coming again and I was going to let him. I liked him and I think he liked me too. His hand found its way to my cheek and I felt his breath against my face and closed my eyes to allow him to kiss me for the second time that day. Then the front door flew wide open.

Harry propped the door open and his stupid smile widened as he saw what he interrupted, “So did you kids have fun?”

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