I'm in Love with a Stripper (a One Direction Fanfiction)

After the tragic loss of her parents, Leila Karim abandons her life in Bradford and sets her sights on London. Working as a stripper at Victory Strip Club under the stage name Bambi, ex-best friend and pop superstar Zayn Malik is the last person Leila expected to be sitting in the audience watching her undress. Will Leila find herself falling for Zayn all over again or will cheeky Harry Styles win her heart instead?

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16. I'll Be Home For Christmas I

A/N: Thanks for your reviews guys! Please keep em’ coming! Sorry for the poorly formatted last chapter not exactly sure what happened but I will attempt to fix it! xo

 

I’m in Love with a Stripper:

I’ll Be Home for Christmas (Part I)

 

Leila’s P.O.V:

DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE UPSTAGED

Yesterday night, Britain’s elite gathered at Buckingham Palace for a night of drinking and dancing; but all in the name of charity of course! Upon the great success of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in June as well as a spectacular summer Olympics in July, Britain’s long reigning monarch hosted a charity ball in the honour of her Grandson the Duke of Cambridge and his wife of just over a year, Kate Middleton whose formal title is now the Duchess of Cambridge. Upon her engagement to Prince William, Kate soon became an international style icon, women all over Britain rushing out to buy her latest outfits. As many of you may recall, Kate’s wedding dress which was undeniably the most anticipated gown of the century, was designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, leaving us questioning her choice to wear John Galliano last night. Although the mint coloured gown from Galliano’s Winter collection was undoubtedly breath-taking, perhaps Kate should have stuck with Alexander McQueen as One Direction girlfriend Leila Karim did.

Leila, the girlfriend of One Direction’s heartthrob Harry Styles who many have criticized for her line of work in stripping, unexpectedly stole the spotlight away from Duchess Catherine upon entering the Charity Ball. Donning a high neckline peach-coloured gown embroidered in lace, Leila kept her overall look simple, her black hair wound into a sleek bun and her lips slathered in a matte nude lipstick. The Alexander McQueen creation that Leila wore is estimated to cost approximately 20 000 £. Either Leila makes quite a bit of money stripping at the Victory Strip Club in Central London, or she has found a very generous boyfriend in Harry Styles, and I think we all know the answer to that one.

With a scoff, I abandoned the Metro newspaper into a passing rubbish bin, continuing to tread carefully through the inch of freshly fallen snow and praying that Harry had not come across the same article. It was December the 22nd, and at last London had managed to keep the snow around for longer than a night, meaning that the likelihood of a white Christmas for Londoners was quite high. I however, would be enjoying the snow elsewhere –at home, in Bradford. Shutting my eyes, I could faintly smell the spicy scent of the evergreen tress that littered Bradford’s forests, the familiar crunch of pine needles beneath my feet. My lips twitched upwards as I recalled Bradford’s heavy snows, frequently resulting in a day off from primary school. On occasions such as this, Zayn and I would spend hours in the park building snow forts, the day usually ending with a snow ball fight and Zayn taking the liberty of shoving snow down my pants, only agreeing to forgive him when he would buy me a cup of hot chocolate at the Apostrophe café in town. How uncomplicated things were back then, how effortless, quite like the snow making its way down from the white sky.

Squinting my eyes against the descending sheet of snow, I could make out the red neon lights of Victory in the distance. Peaches had rung me earlier that morning, launching into a frantic tale which frankly I had a hard time following without my daily fix of caffeine. What I managed to gather from the conversation however was that Peaches had a few matters to attend with me and that finally, Clive was gone; that he had fled from not only Victory but from London altogether and hadn’t been seen since. I had tried my best not to think of Clive, not to recall the sheer terror I had felt when he was choking me, my vision slowly fading to black as I begun to slip into unconsciousness. Clutching my chest, I took a deep breath, reminding myself that Clive was gone and that he could not hurt me or any of the other girls again, relief consuming me at last. 

Reaching Victory, I swung open its heavy black tinted door, only to be overwhelmed by a gust of the club’s signature musk as I entered. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I saw that Honey was not manning the reception area as she normally was, and so I made my way past the heavy red curtains and towards the dressing rooms. Approaching Peaches’ room at the very end of the dark hallway, I knocked primly on the chipped black paint of the door, my ears prickling at the sound of approaching footsteps.

The door flung open to a grinning Peaches, her blonde curly hair bouncing jovially as she shrieked. Peaches was clad in a sheer pink corset and black lace underwear, her corset done up so tightly that her breasts were on the verge of erupting from it. “Bambi, you’re here!” Peaches squealed, thrusting her arms around me and squeezing me into her bosom. “Please come in, come in!” She added enthusiastically, ushering me into her dimly lit dressing room.

 “How many times have I told you to call me Leila?” I told Peaches with a pointed smile, breezing past her and into her eccentrically pink dressing room. Scanning the room, I saw that it was the same as mine in every way possible except for the fact that Peaches had really taken decorating to heart. The room consisted of the same basic furniture; a classic white dresser and mirror littered with Peaches’ stage make-up while placed next to it was a matching wardrobe, stuffed with Peaches’ various outfits as well as a slew of different coloured feather boas; Peaches’ signature prop during her sets.

“Yes, yes I know.” Peaches snapped, heavily rolling her eyes as she plucked her black silk robe off the back of the door, slipping it on. “Bambi is just more fun to say, that’s all!” She explained distractedly as she guided me over to the far end of the room where a vintage black sofa was placed across from a matching love seat, a small white coffee table located between them. Sitting across from her, Peaches plucked a crystal decanter from the center of the coffee table, pouring a thick red wine into the glasses that she had set out for us.

Observing Peaches as she worked in silence, I was unable to curb my curiosity for any longer, the question I had been pondering all morning finally slipping out. “Where has Clive gone, Bridget?” I asked Peaches quietly, Peaches almost letting the decanter slip from her grasp at my inquiry. Clive was not the type to pick up and leave town without a very good reason, especially after Victory was bringing in more money than it ever had in its sixty years of business, each girl averaging around 2000 £ a night.

Peaches’ blue eyes flickered to me, studying me carefully as she replaced the decanter onto the table. “I’m not entirely sure, but I’ve heard some theories.” Peaches told me as she handed me a glass, her face looking tired and worn. I estimated that Peaches was only thirty-five at the most, however the fine lines on her face spoke of a hard life, leaving me wondering if perhaps she and I had more in common than I had originally thought. “When Honey was leaving for the night a few days ago, she said that she saw Clive stumbling away from the back alley all bloodied and beaten.” Peaches continued, taking a large gulp of her wine. “And none of us have seen him since.”

“Beaten?!” I exclaimed in surprise, choking on my sip of wine. Regardless of the rough area of town that Victory was located in, Clive certainly had not been mugged. I found myself thinking that he was attacked for another reason, something more sinister.

“Well it’s no secret that Clive had ties to the mob, Bambi.” Peaches whispered scandalously. “How do you think he paid for the renovations? Really you can be quite thick sometimes.” She sighed with a dismissive wave of her hand. “Either way, it’s a good riddance if you ask me!” She concluded in a huff, polishing off her wine.

If Clive had ties to the mob, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had everything to do with my first ever manager Tommy’s disappearance. After Tommy had suddenly left Victory, us girls had all assumed that he had finally decided to pursue his dream job in interior design; that is, until Kitty stumbled upon a missing person’s flyer with Tommy’s face on it, more of them popping up across London as the months went by. “Who’s going to replace Clive as manager, then?” I asked Peaches suddenly, realizing that Victory very well could not operate without one.

A smug grin appeared on Peaches’ face, her blue eyes twinkling. “You’re looking at her.” She teased, winking suggestively.

I was blinking dumbly at Peaches, certain that she was joking. “You’re the new manager?!” I exclaimed incredulously, almost choking on my wine. “You can’t be serious Bridget.” I continued, a notable grimace appearing on Peaches’ face at my reaction.

“I’m completely serious, Bambi.” Peaches snapped, clearly miffed that I didn’t have much faith in her. “Which brings me to why I’ve asked you to come round…” Peaches trailed off, reaching across the table, desperately taking my hands into hers. “Victory needs you!” She pleaded, her eye beginning to twitch. “Even though I hate to admit it, you’re our star!” She exclaimed.

I let out a sigh, shutting my eyes closed. Could I truly return to Victory after everything that had occurred the past month? For so long, I had lost touch with myself, lost touch with Leila, but after my time in Bradford with Zayn I had felt more like myself than I had in years; Bambi, the hateful and unstable version of myself slowly beginning to fade away. But Bambi, she had been so strong, so sure of herself, brave when I couldn’t be that I wondered if I could truly let her go, especially when I feared that perhaps Zayn was in love with her, and not at all with Leila, with me. The thought had never really left my mind, its thorny vines slowly making their way around my lungs until I could scarcely breathe. Upon my return to London, the fear continued to gnaw at my brain, that perhaps Zayn was mistaken, that he had been captivated by my stage persona for the past few months and not at all by me, the girl who he had already rejected so easily once before. I had tried valiantly to banish the thoughts from my mind, telling myself that it was just my insecurity talking, but each time I was with Zayn I could not help but wonder if his feelings had everything do with the chase, with the stripping, with Bambi and nothing to do with me.  

“I’ll think about it, Bridget.” I told Peaches quietly, my mind suddenly plagued with doubt.

Peaches let out a guttural sigh, shaking her head in defeat. “Whatever you say, Bambi.” Peaches told me with a heavy roll of her eyes, running her hands through her blonde curls exasperatedly. “Oh! I almost forgot!” She exclaimed suddenly, plucking something out of the pocket of her sheer black robe. “For you.” She said, thrusting what appeared to be a photograph towards me.

Curiously, I took it from her, a smile appearing on my lips at once when I saw it was Zayn and I standing outside of my home in Bradford, Zayn’s hand delicately placed on my cheek and me wrapped up snugly in his red and white Varsity Jacket, Zayn peering down at me hesitantly as I looked up into his stormy eyes. “From the night in Bradford…” I trailed off, looking up at Peaches curiously.

Peaches nodded bashfully, her cheeks blazing. “From the night I planned on exposing you, yes, yes.” She huffed, slightly annoyed, her face softening suddenly. “It’s a lovely picture though, really.” She offered, a kind smile appearing on her lips for a quick moment.

I gave Peaches a small smile, marveling at how far we had come and thinking that perhaps she always had been my friend. “Thank-you, Bridget.” I told her, giving her hand a reassuring squeeze. Peering down at the picture once more, I could not help but sigh in awe at Zayn’s beauty. It was as if his features had delicately been chipped at until they were flawless, his perfectly straight nose, pink lips, and finally his dark eyes gazing upon the girl who stood in front of him. Who the girl was however, be it Bambi or Leila, I really couldn’t say.

*

I shivered slightly as a cool breeze blew past me, adjusting the scarf that covered my hair as I waited patiently for Zayn to open up. Listening carefully, I heard a hurried set of footsteps rushing down the stairs, jumping slightly as a loud bang sounded from past the door, Zayn letting out a muffled groan and a creative string of expletives before swinging the door open.

“Did you just fall?” I asked Zayn with a sly grin, corking my eyebrow upwards and trying my best to stifle a laugh as he rubbed his elbow gingerly. With his startling black hair laying flat against his forehead as he used to wear it so often in college, Zayn was clad in a dark brown pair of chinos and a grey knit sweater, its sleeves rolled up past his lean forearms revealing the most recent additions to his tattoo collection; a life-sized etching of a microphone, the word ‘zap!’ in shades of yellow and red, and finally a bolded number ‘6’. Zayn’s tattoos had always managed to fascinate me so, particularly the ones emblazoned across his chest. Remembering the night in Bradford that I had placed my lips on them, the sick feeling of doubt continued to churn in my stomach as I wondered if Zayn knew that Bambi had been locked away for the night, that it had been Leila kissing his skin.  

“Course not.” Zayn said with a grin, poking his head outside to make sure that the coast was clear and then hastily pulling me into the warmth of his house. Pushing me up against the door, Zayn’s lips crushed down onto mine, my hands running through his unkempt hair, a soft sigh emitting from my lips despite my apprehension.

After a few moments, we broke apart for air, Zayn’s forehead resting against mine and his stormy eyes drilling into mine. “How about a grand tour of my bachelor pad, then?” Zayn offered with a breathless smile, trailing his fingertips along my cheek.

“Bachelor pad, hm?” I clarified playfully, shying away from his touch. “If I didn’t know any better, I thought you had a girlfriend.” I said quietly, slipping out of Zayn’s grasp entirely and making my way up the stairs.

“You caught me.” Zayn called after me amusedly, his dark gaze following me. “I’m sort of taken.” He added with a grin, bounding up the stairs as well.

Reaching the top, I was met with the interior of Zayn’s high-end townhouse, reminding me of the fact that he was indeed a celebrity which was sometimes easy to forget having known him for so long. “Not too shabby, Malik.” I told Zayn teasingly, observing my surroundings, absentmindedly noting a mixture of Zayn’s woodsy fragrance as well as the unmistakable scent of cigarette smoke.  

Zayn’s living room was similar to Harry and Louis’ in terms of the almost black hardwood floor and basic layout, but different in almost every other way. Zayn had truly made the place his own; the walls painted a deep pewter grey and the furniture outfitted in black leather, a framed painting of the word Allah in Arabic hanging above the fireplace. Elsewhere, various band posters and pieces of art were littering the dark walls which upon further observation, many Zayn had painted himself; the ability to draw being one of his numerous talents. Carefully, I approached one that caught my eye, mesmerized by the strokes of green, brown, and black expanse of trees across the canvas, realizing with a smile that it was of the forests in Bradford. Tracing my fingertips along the textured canvas, I shut my eyes, summoning the distant sound of the wind makings it way through the creaking trees, craving so desperately for home

“I’m working on one right now.” Zayn whispered. Opening my eyes, I saw that he had silently materialized beside me. “Of you.” Zayn added quietly, my eyes meeting his stormy ones in a flash. I stared after Zayn in shock, the sickening uncertainty I had felt so strongly at Victory rearing its ugly head once more, wondering if Zayn had painted Leila quietly reading a book or if he had painted Bambi with her legs wrapped around a silver pole.

At my silence, Zayn popped his head into the kitchen, presumably checking on the progress of the dinner he had prepared for us. “S’almost done.” Zayn observed, leaning up against the doorframe and nervously pushing his hand through his disheveled black hair, watching me with his ever penetrating gaze. “What shall we do ‘til then?” Zayn inquired innocently, licking his pink lips as the room’s tension closed in around us.

Taking this as my cue, I glanced towards the vacant sofa, my eyes returning to Zayn’s dark ones. “Sit down.” I told him with a whisper, thinking that soon enough I would have an answer to my earlier doubts; that although I feared it, I would know who truly resided in Zayn’s heart.

Zayn was observing me with an unsuspecting smile, his arms crossed over his chest. “Alright.” He finally replied, kicking off the doorframe and dutifully making his way over to the sofa, collapsing on it. Zayn’s lips continued to twitch upwards as he watched me make my way over to the Bose sound system that he had most definitely splurged on. Plucking my iPod out of the pocket of my trench coat, I plugged it into the auxiliary and selected the song I had specifically chosen, thinking that it was quite appropriate for the occasion. Hitting play, The Weekends’ ‘Wicked Games’ began to ooze soothingly out of the speakers, Bambi slowly working her way into my body, into my mind.  

I left my girl back home; I don't love her no more

And she'll never fucking know that, these fucking eyes that I'm staring at

Let me see that ass, look at all this cash

And I've emptied out my cards too

Now I'm fucking leaning on that

I turned back to face Zayn who was eyeing me anxiously, a seductive smile curling its way onto my lips. Standing directly in front of him, I slowly began to unbutton my trench coat in time to the music, Zayn blinking his dark lashes in awe as he watched me. “What’s this, Leila?” Zayn asked me, his eyebrows furrowing together as his gaze flickered to mine.

Bring your love baby I can bring my shame

Bring the drugs baby I can bring my pain

I got my heart right here, I got my scars right here

Bring the cups baby I can bring the drink

Bring your body baby I can bring you fame

That's my motherfucking word too

Just let me motherfucking love you

Letting my trench coat fall to the floor, I was left standing in the matching black corset and lace underwear set that I had worn for Zayn, thigh high tights held into place by silk black garters. “Just getting in a little practice for when I go back to Victory.” I cooed, delicately swaying my hips and running my hands up my thighs, Zayn momentarily hypnotized by my movements as I cupped my breasts.

Listen ma, I'll give you all I got

Give me all of this, I mean confidence in myself

Listen ma, I'll give you all of me

Give me all of it, I need all of it to myself

I need all of it

So tell me you love me

Only for tonight

Only for tonight

Even though you don't love me

Oh, oh

Just tell me you love me

I'll give you all of me; I'll give you all of me

Even though you don't love me

Zayn’s face fell then, his expression no longer amused. “I thought you were going to quit stripping?” Zayn asked me in bewilderment, slowly getting to his feet so that he was towering over me. “It’s dangerous, Leila!” He yelled over the music, tilting my chin upwards when I averted my gaze from his, forcing me to stare back into his stormy brown eyes.

Let me see you dance

I love to watch you dance

Take you down another level

Get you dancing with the devil

Take a shot of this

But I'm warning you

I'm on that shit that you can't smell baby

So, put down your perfume

My eyes began to water, Zayn blinking at me in confusion, his eyebrows furrowed as he examined me. Unable to keep it in any longer, I finally choked out, “Well it’s worth doing it if it keeps you around!” My face contorting once I said it, my lower lip trembling as tears threatened to spill from beneath my lashes.

Zayn raised his eyebrows in shock, a mix between confusion and horror appearing on his face. “What?” Zayn exclaimed in disbelief, swiftly reaching for the remote to switch off the music, the sultry lyrics cutting off abruptly. “What’s this really about, Leila?” Zayn implored softly, his brown eyes furiously searching mine knowing that something was clearly amiss.

The room was silent, but my thoughts loud. I took a deep breath, not fearing the question I planned on asking Zayn, but fearing his answer, and fearing what would occur if it wasn’t the one I prayed for. “Do you love me, Zayn?” I said quietly after a moment, finally finding the strength inside of me to ask him.

Zayn’s face softened at this, answering without any hesitation whatsoever. “You know I do.” Zayn whispered with conviction, reaching out to place his hand on my cheek, the warmth of his skin as intoxicating as always.

“You don’t understand.” I told Zayn weakly, shying away from his touch as my eyes searched his for answers. “Do you love me,” I paused, taking a deep breath. “Or do you love Bambi?” I asked Zayn gently, trying my best to stop my voice from shaking. I was not Bambi, I was not brave nor was I confident. I was not a laugh like Bambi was and I was not provocative like her either. I was Leila, a girl from Bradford who went completely mad after she lost her parents, a girl who had lost her way, a girl who had loved a boy that didn’t love her back. “They’re two completely different people, Zayn.” I explained with a whisper, fear rising in my throat as Zayn shut his eyes tightly, shaking his head to himself.

Within a moment, Zayn’s eyes were open again, and he was reaching for my trench coat, swiftly draping it around my shoulders. Pulling me close to him, Zayn began to stroke my hair, his stormy brown eyes searching mine. “I am madly in love with you, Leila.” Zayn told me quietly, a sad smile appearing on his lips. “I love that you read,” He began, a melancholy smile appearing on his pink lips as I studied his familiar features, marveling at how the boy I had loved for years had so seamlessly grown into the man standing before me. “I love how you’re smarter than I am.” He continued with conviction, and I smiled in spite of myself. “I love it when you play the piano, I love when you talk in your sleep.” He went on, my cheeks burning as I recalled waking with Zayn’s name on my lips as Danielle and Eleanor slept soundly beside me, wondering what Zayn may have heard me say since then. “I even love it when you yell at me!” He admitted with a laugh.

I could not help but smile at this, thinking that perhaps it had never been Zayn that I doubted, but that it had always been Leila who I had doubted; that she wasn’t worth loving, that no one in their right mind could ever love me. Allowing my eyes to finally meet Zayn’s, I began to think that him loving me back was something I’d never get used to. “You’re sure?” I asked Zayn with a whisper. “Even when I yell?” I clarified, my lips twitching upwards in spite of myself.

“Oh yeah.” Zayn assured me playfully, leaning in so that his lips were at my ear. “I also love it when you…” Zayn whispered into my ear, my blood coursing hotly through my veins at his intimate words.

“You are so vulgar!” I exclaimed, smacking Zayn across the arm, my face burning in embarrassment.

Zayn let out a laugh and pulled me to him, his eyes searching mine timidly. “You’ll let Bambi down easy for me, yeah?” Zayn asked, giving me a crooked grin, gently weaving his fingers through mine.

I let out an embarrassed laugh, burying my face into Zayn’s solid chest, his heart thudding strongly beneath my ear. “I’ll try my best.” I told Zayn, tilting my head up and allowing myself to take in Zayn’s features; his defined jaw, his pink lips, his dark gaze that was always so serious, thinking that I wanted to trace each one until they were imprinted into my mind forever.

“That’s another thing.” Zayn murmured after a moment, a slow smile appearing on his lips. “Your laugh.” He explained shyly, brushing my long dark hair past my shoulders. “I could listen to it for days.” He told me with a whisper, his eyes dark eyes unreadable as they gazed back into mine.

At this I thrust my arms around Zayn’s waist, pulling him to me, his grey woolen sweater soft beneath my cheek “I love you.” I told Zayn with a whisper, not sure if my words were even loud enough to hear. Inhaling deeply, I shut my eyes, allowing myself to be lulled by the sturdy beat of Zayn’s heart. Zayn rested his head on top of mine, sighing deeply. “I love you too.” He whispered into my hair, his words gently vibrating through his chest. “And don’t ever forget it.” Zayn added below his breath, so quietly that I was sure I had imagined it.

Fiona’s P.O.V:

The bitter wind nipped at my cheeks as I burst out from the IMG Models Studio, the door swinging shut behind me and tears threatening to spill from my eyes. Leaning against the sleek black wall of the studio, a sob nearly escaped my lips as I reflected on my meeting with Jane. Shutting my eyes, I slammed my head against the wall, wondering how it was possible that I had not yet lost an inch on my hips. I had been starving myself, my stomach in such pain for the past week that sometimes it kept me awake at night. Jane insisted that it was simply water weight and that soon I would be seeing results and that the two extra inches on my hips would be long gone. Until then, however, Jane could not offer me a contract.

How stupid of me to have been so easily lulled into a sense of security, thinking that there was no stopping the launch of my modeling career and thinking that Harry and my plan to ruin Zayn and Leila’s little affair had been fool proof. Already it seemed that both of the ventures that I had such confidence in were pain and simply, crumbling. Slamming the back of my head against the brick wall, I allowed the temptation to cry to pass, and instead patted the pockets of my winter coat, searching for the pack of fags I had placed there earlier. Finding them, I licked my dry lips and slid a cigarette between them, my hands shaking as I scoured through my purse for the pink fifty pent Bic lighter that I had purchased the other day. Cursing under my breath, I realized that I had leant it to Charlotte, completely forgetting to ask for it back.

“Need a light?” A sickly sweet voice emerged from my right.

Looking up slowly, I saw that approaching me was none other than the modelesque white blonde haired girl who I had flipped off before proceeding into Jane’s office for my go-see. A prim little smile was plastered on the girl’s lips, the sleek black lighter that was grasped in her hand outstretched in my direction, its flame flickering mercilessly in the wind. I observed the girl with a grimace, thinking that for all intents and purposes I should not engage in any sort of conversation with her whatsoever, but unfortunately my nic fit could not go ignored for much longer.

With narrowed eyes, I leaned in, holding back my sheet of long blonde hair and waving the bottom of my cigarette over the flame until it lit. “Thanks.” I told the girl slowly before taking a drag, averting my eyes from her grey ones and directing them towards the pavement instead.

The girl lit a cigarette for herself, also leaning against the wall and observing me in silence. “Fiona, right?” The girl inquired after a moment, flashing me a smile. “Jane told me that you’re the other girl she’s offered a contract to.” She explained matter-of-factly, blowing out a tuft of smoke from her mouth.

If I’m ever able to lose those two bloody inches that is, I thought to myself gruffly, returning my gaze to the girl. “Is that right?” I told her through clenched teeth, my displeasure masked by a smile as I scanned the adjacent road for the next passing mini-cab, desperate to be away from her as soon as humanely possible.

“Yes it is!” The girl implored innocently, dropping her cigarette onto the cement and putting it out with the pointed heel of her black stiletto. “Jane also told me that you’ve been having a bit of,” The girl paused deliciously, wracking her brain for the word she was searching for. “Trouble, shall we say.” She concluded in her child-like tone, her lips forming into a tight little smirk.

I stared at the girl, refusing my face from betraying the sheer horror I felt at Jane revealing this to her. “Trouble?” I clarified coolly, also dropping my cigarette onto the cement and crushing it beneath my boot, imagining that it was the girl’s white-blond head instead.

“Don’t be so sensitive, Fiona.” The girl scoffed, rolling her grey eyes at me. “Even the best of us have a hard time keeping the weight off,” She explained, tucking a piece of her short straw like hair behind her heavily pierced ear. “Some of us, however, have ways to…deal with it.” She informed me, her voice taking on a scandalous tone as she unearthed a little baggie containing white powder from her pocket, offering it to me.

I stared at the packet in silence, knowing exactly what it was. I returned my gaze to the girl’s grey one, scrutinizing the small smile she wore and silently pondering her motives. “Go on, take it!” She continued, taking the baggie and shoving it in my hand. “It’s a good time and it gets the job done.” She winked one of her grey eyes at me.

I glanced down at the little bag of white powder, having been offered it so many times before, never having been desperate enough to resort to it. Am I desperate enough now though? I thought to myself. “Why are you doing this?” I asked the girl, narrowing my eyes at her. “And what is your name anyways?” I added sharply.

“Because we’re friends of course!” The girl flashed me a wide smile, her sharp features looking awkward in such a content expression. “And my name is Evie, Evie Warsaw.” She concluded, suddenly lifting her fingers to her lips and letting out a sharp whistle. Turning to my left, I saw that a mini-cab had screeched to a halt in the middle of the street and was patiently waiting for Evie to enter it. “See you around, Fiona.” Evie sing-songed, gracefully making her way over to the mini-cab and thrusting the door open. “If you ever lose those two inches that is.” She threw over her shoulder with a venomous smile, hopping into the mini-cab which upon a wave from Evie, shot off down the road.

Bitch!” I muttered in disgust, watching as the cab took a sharp left, zooming out of sight. Remembering the little baggie still clutched in my hand, I glanced down at it, examining the fine white powder that was inside of it. In the beginning of my career, I had sworn to myself that I would never resort to drugs and that I would never resort to starving myself, already having failed on one front, what was one more? Glancing around the deserted street, I quickly tucked the baggie into my pocket, recalling the words that one make-up artist had whispered to me before a shoot. “Diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend in this industry my love,” She had whispered to me while applying rouge to the apples of my cheeks. “It’s cocaine.”

Harry’s P.O.V:

Leila and I were curled up on the sofa in her apartment, a notable gap of space left between us as The Grinch Who Stole Christmas flickered across the television screen. It was the day before Christmas Eve, and still I had not plucked up the courage to ask Leila to accompany me to Cheshire, to spend Christmas with me and my family in Holmes Chapel. I had planned on asking Leila a week ago, but something my sister had said to me on the phone was stopping me.

“I’m sure she’s lovely,” Gemma told me distractedly, most likely painting her toe nails as she spoke to me. “But what do you really know about the girl, Harry?”

Aside for the fact that Leila had known Zayn for her whole life and was now shagging him behind my back; I knew nothing about her at all, I realized bitterly. “I know enough…” I had mumbled to Gemma defensively, cutting the conversation with my sister short.

Stealing a glance at Leila, I found myself held captive by her beauty, watching as the light of television illuminated her tanned skin, dancing about in her dark eyes. I wanted so badly to be angry at Leila, wanted so badly to hate her like I probably should, but here I was, as helpless as I was the first day I had met her at Victory. Suddenly Leila’s gaze was on me, a small smile on her full pink lips. “This was my absolute favourite Christmas movie when I was little.” She told me with a grin, her black hair tumbling over her shoulder in waves. “I would watch it even when it wasn’t Christmas! It drove my Mum completely mad!” Leila admitted with a musical laugh, returning her brown eyes to the tele.

My face fell as I was reminded with yet another aspect I knew nothing about in Leila’s life, one that was seemingly the most important. “But what do you really know about the girl, Harry?” Gemma’s words echoed tauntingly in my mind, and before I knew it my mouth had opened to speak. “What’s your family like, Leila?” I asked slowly, watching as Leila’s fear-stricken gaze met with mine, the pallor of her tanned face growing sickeningly pale.

“What do you mean?” Leila inquired innocently, her voice nervously rising an octave as she returned her eyes to the screen; the Grinch was looking down upon Whoville in disgust.

Reaching for the clicker, I switched off the television, the Grinch’s cackles vanishing into thin air as the screen went dark. “How come you’ve never mentioned them before?” I asked her, finding it difficult to compose myself, my face flushing in frustration. “Your family.” I clarified, watching as Leila’s eyes fell to her lap.

“Harry…” Leila trailed off, her dark brown eyes meeting mine again and her expression unreadable. Leila opened her mouth to speak, but hesitated, her eyes drifting back to her lap and leaving me thinking that perhaps her past with Zayn wasn’t her only secret.

I felt my eyes water angrily, frustrated at the situation, bitter that Zayn probably knew everything there was to know about Leila, her family, her childhood. It was no mystery that it took something special for Leila to smile; only taking place on the rarest of occasions. A few times, her smile had been because of me, and that feeling had been indescribable; that if I could make Leila smile I could do anything at all. I couldn’t be sure, but something told me that Zayn had to do with the many occasions where Leila was not smiling, where she was unhappy. I had to show Leila, prove to her that Zayn was all wrong for her and that I was exactly right.

“I’m your boyfriend, Leila.” I began, my voice softening. “If you can’t tell me, who can you tell?” I told her, tilting Leila’s chin upwards so that her dark eyes were on mine, blinking at me in apprehension. I began to stroke Leila’s cheek softly, trailing my fingers through her thick black hair. “You can trust me.” I whispered with conviction, wanting so badly to know all there was to Leila, regardless of what it was.

Leila took a deep, shaking breath, tears beginning to well up in her eyes. “My parents.” Leila breathed in desperation, a trail of tears making their way down her tanned skin. “My parents were killed in an accident.” She told me as she shook her head in defeat, her voice wavering with disbelief.

I could feel the blood begin to drain from my face, my ears ringing as Leila’s words repeated in my mind. “Your parents?” I found myself saying in shock, my eyes shutting in horror, thinking that this explained so much about Leila, her secrecy, her hesitance to tell me things about herself, even her stripping to some degree. Instantly I regretted asking her, thinking that I should have known better since Leila had dodged the topic so many times before. I began to rub my tired eyes in defeat, glancing back at Leila who was staring thoughtfully out the window, watching the descending snow.

“It happened two years ago, around this time of the year.” Leila continued in a far-off voice, as if she had delved right back into the night it happened. Sniffing quietly, Leila rubbed at her eyes with the sleeve of her green jumper, looking up to smile at me sadly. “After it happened, I lived with my grandparents and once I was eighteen I left for London.” Leila explained quietly, her voice almost childlike. “And I haven’t looked back since.” She told me, her lower lip trembling violently.

Leila…” I began, at a loss for words, my face contorting in realization; that I could no longer go through with Fiona’s plan in good conscience, that I didn’t deserve her after everything I had done. I shut my eyes tightly, recalling all the damage I had already inflicted upon Leila, all the lies, the deceit. Leila had been through enough, she had lost her parents, and there was no way I would add to her pain, and if it meant losing Leila, than I would lose her.

H-Harry.” Leila choked out a heart-breaking sob, curling her knees up to her chest and hugging herself. “I’m s-sorry, I’ve ruined everything!” Leila’s muffled voice sobbed, and with this, I took Leila into my arms, allowing her to rest her head on my chest. We remained like that for a while, the both of us watching as the snow continued to fall past the frosted windows, Leila’s breathing even and her tears dried at last. Looking down at the dark haired girl curled up against me, I fought the urge to tell her I loved her, knowing that she didn’t love me back and that maybe I wasn’t right for her after all.

A/N: Thanks for reading and continue on to Part II of I’ll Be Home For Christmas!

Check out the accompanying tumblr for I'm in Love with a Stripper and check out music, outfits, sneak peeks, fanart, and more! iminlovewithastripperfanfiction.tumblr.com

 

 

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