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?


9. Moor To Love

I'm in Love with a Stripper:

Moor To Love

Zayn’s P.O.V:


I sat unmoving on the sofa, watching the Bradford sky begin to lighten through the windows. I still could not wrap my head around the fact that I was sitting in Leila’s living room, with her sleeping just on the floor above. Pulling back the sleeve of my jumper, I checked the time; it was 6:37 AM. Sighing, I rubbed my tired eyes. I had been checking on Leila every hour or so to make sure that she was alright. I still could not get the images of her from last night out of my head, laying unconscious in a pool of broken glass, bloodied and cut up. It terrified me; the thought of losing her, just after she had come back into my life. I remember frantically wondering why I hadn’t told Leila I loved her yet, regretting not going through with telling her eight months ago. I couldn’t help but think that fate had a hand in all of this, bringing us together in this way. I was being given a second chance, and I intended to make it count. I would tell her, but when the time was right. Even if Leila didn’t love me back, she needed to know how I felt, how she made me feel.


Getting to my feet, I made my way to the stairs, creeping up them. Turning down the hallway, I headed towards Leila’s room to check on her once more before heading out to get groceries. The cupboards in her kitchen had been bare except for a box of crackers and I didn’t bother looking through the fridge since everything inside it would likely be rotten after all this time. Leila would be starving by the time she woke up, having thrown up all the contents of her stomach, so I thought I’d pick up some breakfast for her, buttered scones and coffee to be specific. Leila had been a caffeine addict even in college, so I knew that she’d be grateful for some when she woke up.


Approaching the door of Leila’s room, I opened it, poking my head inside. Rays of sunshine were cascading through the curtains, illuminating Leila’s sleeping form. Walking in, I shook my head smiling. She had kicked the covers off completely and was now curled up into a ball, probably freezing. Tossing the blankets over her gently once again, she at once hugged them close to her. With a smile still on my lips, I also checked to see that the glass of water I had left on her bedside table was full. Satisfied, I slipped out of her room quietly and back down the stairs past the covered up piano. Stepping out into the fresh morning air, I made my way home to get the car, lighting a smoke to keep me warm along the way. Niall had been right, coming back to Bradford proved to be the best decision I had made in a long time, aside for perhaps, walking into Victory Strip Club all those months ago.




I was sitting on the steps outside my house, waiting for Saffa to fetch me the car keys. After I had put Leila to bed last night, I had called my Mother and told her that I had run into some old mates from school and wasn’t coming back for the night. After some massive bullshitting, she finally sounded somewhat convinced by my tale.


“Just don’t get yourself killed, Zayn.” My Mother had pleaded with worry before hanging up. No one knew of Leila and my past, and I preferred to keep it that way for as long as possible. It was up to me to protect her, to take care of her, just as I’d promised her parents, just as I had promised myself.


I heard the front door opening from behind me. Turning around, I saw my youngest sister Saffa padding out onto the porch.


“Morning sis.” I told her with a smile. Saffa was still in her pajamas, the car keys clenched in her hand as I had asked for in my text message.


“Zayn, have you gone mad?” Saffa whispered, staring at me with wide eyes, taking a quick glance over her shoulder. “What do you need the car keys for at this hour?”


It was far too early for Saffa’s shenanigans. I could feel myself wanting another smoke as well as a long nap. Leila’s bed had looked so inviting and she had looked so soft and warm, her pink lips kissable-


“None of your business!” I snapped, my face flushing. “Now hand them over!” I tried to grab the keys from her.


“Can I come?” Saffa teased, moving out of my reach and dangling the keys tauntingly. “Please, please, please?” She begged, sticking out her bottom lip.


“No!” I said through clenched teeth, trying to keep my voice down, looking into the front window for any signs of my conscious Mother. I tried to grab the keys once more, but Saffa was too quick for my exhausted state. “Fine you can come with me you little twit!” I exclaimed in defeat, shooing her away. “Go get your coat, then!”


Saffa returned after a minute with her winter jacket, rain boots, and a warm hat pulled over her ears. “Ready!” She said with a devious grin, tossing me the car keys at last.


Rolling my eyes, I followed Saffa to my Mum’s SUV that I had bought her for her birthday. Sliding into the driver’s seat, Saffa hopped in through the passenger side, buckling herself in excitedly.


“Where are we going?!” She asked, turning to me, a gigantic smile on her face.


“Grocery Shopping.” I told her with a smirk as I started up the car. It was her own fault for wanting to tag along.


“Well that’s boring! But at least it’s an outing! Mum’s been keeping me locked up in the house watching every Hugh Grant movie that’s ever existed ‘Two Weeks Notice’ felt more like two months long!” Saffa said animatedly, reaching over to switch on the radio.


I flinched as I heard the Wanted’s ‘Glad You Came’ begin to play.


“Could you maybe play anything other than that overplayed bullocks?” I requested, scanning the road, turning right.


“Not in your dreams! I love this song!” Saffa proclaimed, jigging along to it. “So what do you need groceries for at this hour of the morning anyways?” She turned to me, narrowing her eyes in suspicion. Saffa was starting to look more and more like our Mother each time I returned home from our tour that I almost felt obligated to answer her out of fear. While Mum knew when to drop things, Saffa certainly didn’t.


“They’re for a friend. They’re too sick to go get them on their own.” I explained, turning onto Bristol Way, eyeing her nervously for a moment before returning my eyes to the road. The last thing I needed was Saffa’s little friends forming theories about my love life.


“A girl friend?” Saffa asked mischievously, raising her eyebrows.


I fell silent at this, refusing to look at Saffa. The insinuation alone of Leila ever being my girlfriend was enough to make me blush.


“She’s not my girlfriend…” I told Saffa trailing off. The familiar words led me back to the heat of the summer funfair that Leila and I would attend each year. I distinctly remember Leila looking different that day, clad in a blue sun dress when she would never be caught in anything but a pair of baggy trousers. I recall being somewhat shocked when I noticed that she was wearing makeup, her eyelashes long and dark, her lips glossy, the delicate scent of vanilla floating around her. It’s funny how I had noticed everything but my feelings for Leila at the time.


“Looks nice.” I had told her, sure now that I had been referring to not just her locket but her as well. 


“How romantic.” Saffa said dreamily, causing me to heavily roll my eyes. “Maybe one day Nathan Sykes will run out at seven in the morning to fetch me groceries!”


I felt myself clenching the steering wheel more aggressively. Saffa, having had a ridiculous crush on Louis (and his suspenders) for the past year was soon after forbidden from fancying any of my band mates, so she had settled for the next best thing which apparently was Nathan Sykes of the Wanted.


I turned to her slowly, an ‘I am your older brother, fear me’ look carved onto my face. “Over my dead body, Saf.” I told her in a voice that said there would be no further discussion on the topic. I was completely serious. There was no way I’d ever let her go around with one of those hooligans.


Pulling into the parking lot of the local Marketplace, I was relieved to see that it was completely deserted as I had hoped for. As a precautionary measure, I pulled my hood over my head before following Saffa out of the car. Entering through the sliding doors, I shook my head smiling as Saffa skipped alongside me, a ray of sunshine even at this ungodly hour. The entire shop was empty aside for two female cashiers chatting amiably to one another from their stations, talking so loudly that they didn’t notice our entrance.


“And he had the cheek to tell me that the enormous pair of red bloomers I found in his car actually belonged to his Great Aunt and that it wasn’t what it looked like!” One of the women announced to the other.


Stifling my urge to laugh, I dashed past them to retrieve a shopping cart while Saffa went running along and darting through the aisles. Pushing the cart across the slippery white flooring, I began to toss items into the cart as I went; a few bags of crisps, two loaves of bread, a dozen eggs, an assortment of vegetables, sugar, milk, butter, pasta, and of course chicken, purposely overlooking the pork since neither of us ate it. Finally, I picked up a few bottles of Ribena. The blackcurrant flavoured drink had been a favourite of Leila’s when we were younger. Satisfied with my choices, I turned the cart around to go in search of Saffa. After about a minute, I finally found her browsing through a small book stand on the far end of the store. She picked up a book and began to flip through the pages.


“What have you got there?” I asked, parking the cart beside her, at once recognizing the familiar cover of the book that Leila had never been seen without. “Wuthering Heights?” I snatched it out of her hands, gazing at the picture on the front. I ran my fingers over the cover, a lone tree amongst rolling hills, a storm brewing in the sky. Coming across this book was almost too perfect. 


“It looks a little more complicated than Twilight, that’s for certain!” Saffa said, corking an eyebrow upwards.


“I think I’m going to buy it.” I told my sister. “I should have read it years ago.” I said more to myself than to Saffa. I had always wondered what Leila had found so fascinating about this book. What better way to find out than to read it?


“I for one, don’t plan on reading it until they force us to at school!” Saffa exclaimed dramatically, taking hold of the cart and pushing it towards the check out. “Come on Zayn!” Saffa called over her shoulder.


I had seen Leila take off her clothes before, but what would it take for her to show me her heart? Would she ever let me in again after what I had done to her, after how badly I had hurt her? Staring at the cover, I realized that even though I had known Leila for years, there was still so much more to her that I was yet to find out.


Harry’s P.O.V:


I was flipping through a gossip magazine absentmindedly, sitting on a bench across from the Victory Strip Club trying to sort myself out. Harry Styles sitting in the middle of London going unnoticed, what a laugh. Dressed incognito, people were walking by me completely unaware of my presence. Making sure to tuck each and every curl securely under my beanie, I had thrown the hood of my jumper over my head and was wearing the darkest pair of sunglasses I owned. I felt my face contort in irritation as I came across an article dedicated to Leila and me. Would these people stop at nothing to sell their bloody magazines? However, for a magazine filled with lies, it did bring about some valid questions.




I was asking this myself and was almost certain of the answer. What was there to even salvage if we had another go at it? I had already fucked up beyond repair by shagging Fiona. It had been a moment of weakness, not to mention a prick move and I regretted it to no end. Leila and I had only been dating for a month; I couldn’t really have expected her to fall into bed with me right away considering she was a virgin. I hadn’t dated a virgin in so long that I had almost forgotten how important losing it was. It wasn’t just the kind of thing that you just gave away to any Tom, Dick or, Harry. Especially, Harry, I thought with displeasure.


Getting to my feet, I tossed the magazine into the bin, happy to be rid of it. Seeing a break in the traffic, I dashed across the street, walking towards the entrance of Victory. I had to speak to Leila first before I could say where we stood.


Throwing open the heavy door of the club, it was easy to tell that it had gone from low to high end quite successfully. Still looking like it had been frozen in time, the floors and walls of Victory had been treated while the dusty red curtains had been replaced with new heavier ones. Approaching the front desk, I could see Louis’ favourite, Tyrannosaurus-tits sitting behind it, filing her nails in boredom. Noticing me coming her way, she quickly stowed her nail file into one of the drawers.


“Welcome to Victory Strip Club!” Tyrannosaurus-tits announced excitedly, her gigantic breasts bouncing. “My name is Peaches, and just so you know, there is a special on private dances today.” She winked at me suggestively, tapping her pen on the dark cherrywood.


I leaned over the counter for a better look at Peaches’ peaches, smirking. “I actually just wanted to have a quick chat with one of the girls.” I told her, intrigued by the fact that Peaches’ back hadn’t broken under the weight of her tits, but trying not to be too intrigued seeing as the real reason that I was there was to speak to Leila.  


“May I get your name?” Peaches inquired, scribbling messily into a notebook.


Unable to tear my eyes away from her chest, I said the first name that came to my mind. “Paul Higgins.”


I was not expecting the outburst that followed. Peaches let out a bloodcurdling screech, causing me to jump a foot into the air, breaking my intense concentration on her cleavage.


“PAUL HIGGINS?” Peaches squealed, jumping to her feet. “DO YOU TAKE ME FOR A FOOL? IF YOU’RE PAUL HIGGINS, WHO WAS THE OTHER BLOKE THAT CAME IN HERE TELLING ME THAT ‘PAUL HIGGINS’ WAS HIS NAME?!” She pointed at me accusingly, her blond curls bobbing angrily.


My eyes widened in shock at the revelation of our tour manager Paul’s secret fetish for strippers. I just knew he was a dirty bastard underneath that serious, unsmiling exterior of his! 


“But isn’t Paul happily married?” I accidentally found myself saying out loud. Whoops. Either way, Louis and I would never be letting him live this up.


“OH THAT IS RICH!” The dragon that was Peaches had unleashed its fiery wrath. She slammed her fist down onto the table. “THE BASTARD IS MARRIED AS WELL!” Peaches threw her hands into the air eccentrically. Without warning, she suddenly broke down into a blubbering fit of tears. It appeared that this woman was having a mental breakdown and that I was completely powerless in stopping it.


“Okay look,” I held up my hands, trying to calm the starking mad woman. “I would just like to speak to Bambi.” I spoke slowly so as not to spook her. I began to worry that she’d stab me with her pen, or worse (but better at the same time) suffocate me in her bosom.


“BAMBI, BAMBI, BAMBI, EVERYBODY LOVES BAMBI!” The lunatic went on. “WELL GOOD LUCK FINDING HER BECAUSE SHE PICKED UP AND LEFT TOWN!” Peaches sobbed, running off down the hallway, leaving me in complete bewilderment.


Leila had left town? It wasn’t that she had gone that hurt me; it was the fact that she hadn’t told me. Not even a text to let me know that she was alright. I knew that we weren’t on the best of terms, but what exactly was she hiding from me? Leaving Victory in a daze, I was left with more questions than answers. Firstly, where in the world was Leila Karim, and what had caused her leave?


Zayn’s P.O.V:


I woke with a start, images of a terrified Mr. Lockwood screaming in fear of the ghost of Catherine Earnshaw and the roar of the blizzard at Wuthering Heights still fresh in my mind. Hurriedly, I propped myself up when I saw my very own ghost from the past staring at me curiously from where she sat on the far end of the sofa that I had fallen asleep on. Leila was clad in nothing but a white housecoat, her black hair still sopping wet from the shower she had just had and her legs curled up to her chest. She looked well rested, her eyes wide and clear, but still there was apprehension in them. I stared at her in shock, unable to speak.


“So that wasn’t a dream.” Leila broke the silence, her deep brown eyes boring into mine, realizing that all the events of the previous night had indeed happened. I had found her in a heap on the floor, pissed out of her mind, I had carried her upstairs, and I had held her hair back as she threw up. Leila didn’t sound bitter, just surprised, as surprised as I still was to be so close to her, to be here with her in Bradford of all places by chance. I tried to stop my gaze from flowing over Leila’s long, tanned legs, exposed in her robe.


“No…it wasn’t.” I told her gently, shaking my head, really wanting to tell her that I had been sick with worry, sick thinking that she wasn’t okay, and sick thinking that I had lost her. I licked my lips nervously, unsure of how she would react to my helping her.


“Hm.” Leila said, in thought. “So I take it you enjoyed putting that nightgown on me, didn’t you?” Her pink lips broke into a slow cheeky smile.


Her statement caught me off guard, my face flushing unexpectedly.


“I probably would have if I had looked.” I smiled back at her, being completely honest. A part of me had wanted to look of course, which nineteen year-old red-blooded male wouldn’t want to? But there was more to Leila than just her beauty, there always had been, I felt myself clutching the book that she loved so much, still on my chest where I had left it before dozing off.


I saw Leila’s eyes fall to the book, her arms uncrossing at the sight of it. “You’re reading that?!” She asked me in disbelief, her gaze flickering from the book to my eyes. She was staring at me expectantly, waiting for an answer.


I shrugged. “I wanted to see if it was worth you reading it six thousand times.” Grinning, I rested my arms behind my head.


Leila stared at me sourly, her face in a grimace, causing me to grin wider. “Of course it’s worth reading that many times!” She snapped. “And since when did you know how to read anyways?!” She retorted meanly, narrowing her eyes at me.


Ignoring Leila’s insult, I sat up and began to slide across the cushions of the green sofa until I was sitting right next to her, just inches between us. Leila’s eyes were wide, frightened at what I was going to do next. I could easily have kissed her, I could have leaned in just two inches, and my lips would be on hers. Instead, I carefully took her warm hand into mine, slowly pushing the sleeve of her house coat upwards until I could see the bandage I had wrapped around her cut up forearm the night before.


Untying the bandage gently, I could see that the deep cut was beginning to heal. “It’s looking better.” I told her, looking up to see Leila’s piercing gaze still on me. She didn’t trust me, but could I really blame her? After everything I had put her through?


“Thank-you.” Leila whispered quietly, taking me by surprise. She was thanking me?


“Leila…” I began, trying to sort out my words in my head, but left completely tongue tied. Leila seemed to have that effect on me, rendering me completely and utterly speechless. I was close enough to smell the fragrant vanilla floating off her hair and skin.


Suddenly, I felt her warm fingers on my mouth, preventing me from saying anymore. “Thank-you, Zayn.” She told me firmly. “Thank-you for saving me…again.”


Taking her hand from my lips and into mine, I held it. Her hand was small, and soft, fitting so perfectly into mine.


Furrowing my eyebrows, I reached up, brushing Leila’s long dark hair to the side. She didn’t move as I did this, just watching me, knowing exactly what I saw on her neck.


“But I can’t save you from everything, can I?” I asked her, running my fingers over the bruises on her neck, so different from the ones I had left on her skin months ago in the back of a limousine. These were made from hate, violence, while mine were made from passion…love.


“Zayn…don’t.” Leila pleaded, her voice trembling.


I eyed her with concern. I wouldn’t force her to tell me, I would let her tell me on her own. Sighing, I let my hand drop and got to my feet. “I made coffee.” I told Leila, pointing towards the kitchen. “Would you like some?” I couldn’t help but smile when I saw Leila’s face light up at just the mention of ‘coffee’.


“How did you manage to make coffee?” Leila asked me, her eyebrows furrowed. “There’s nothing in the house!”


I began to make my way towards the kitchen. “I sort of went grocery shopping.” I called over my shoulder, smiling to myself in hopes that Leila would be impressed. I began to smile wider when she didn’t reply right away, proving my theory correct.


Entering the kitchen, I pulled two mugs out of the cupboard, placing them on the counter. Everything was exactly how it had been, being at Leila’s house almost every day, I had memorized where everything was kept. I could hear Leila padding into the kitchen timidly, silently watching me work from the doorway. I looked up to meet her eyes as I began to pour coffee into one of the mugs, giving her a small smile, certain that she still hated me to some degree.


I slid the cup in her direction. “Here.” I said softly, “There’s milk in the fridge and the sugar’s in the pantry.” I told her.


Leila bit her lip, examining me. Her dark hair was almost dry, falling into loose tendrils, her face makeup-less, a look I hadn’t seen on her in years. Mesmerized for a moment, I kept pouring the coffee into my cup until it began to flow over the brim.


“Shit!” I muttered to myself, noticing the mess I had made. Quickly, I threw a napkin over the spill, looking up a moment later to see that Leila had disappeared from sight. I began to butter the scones I had purchased from the market, popping them into the toaster oven to warm them up, wondering if she was coming back at all.


A minute later, Leila returned to the kitchen carrying the sugar. “Coffee is rubbish without sugar.” She said, smiling at me as she plopped the bag onto the counter.


“Really? I prefer mine black.” I told her, returning her a cheeky smile.


“Just like your heart.” Leila retorted snidely, still smiling as she plopped down on one of the barstools.  


“Very funny.” I told her, handing her a spoon to stir in the sugar. As Leila took the spoon from me, her warm fingers brushed mine, causing me to shiver at the contact alone. Swallowing hard, I turned away from her to check on the scones.


“You bought scones as well?!” Leila exclaimed with wide eyes, almost allowing her excitement to show.


“Buttered, just how you like them.” I told her as I retrieved them from the toaster oven. “I’ll never forget after you yelled at me all those times for putting jam on yours.” I said laughing, dropping the buttered scones onto a plate.


“…I’m sure I didn’t yell…” Leila said guiltily after a moment, carefully taking a scone off the plate. I watched, both pleased and amused as she took an enormous bite from it.


“Enjoying yourself?” I asked with a smirk on my lips, watching her scarf down the scone, bite after bite. I knew she’d be starving!


“Shut up.” Leila said embarrassed, reaching for another scone even though she wasn’t through with the first one.


I grinned, taking a sip of my coffee before plucking a scone from the plate for myself. With both my mug and scone in hand, I nodded at Leila once before heading to exit the kitchen, hoping that she would follow me out as I had planned.


“Where are you going?!” Leila yelled after me, perplexed as to why I was leaving.


I turned back to face her, raising my eyebrows. “I’m going to read more, you’re welcome to join me if you’d like.” I announced, fighting a smile. If there was one thing Leila couldn’t resist, it was reading that book. And I had to admit, I found myself liking it quite a bit.


Leila narrowed her eyes at me momentarily. “Really?” She asked me, still suspicious.


“Are you coming or not?” I asked her pointedly, half way out the kitchen door.


Leila jumped off her chair in a huff, grabbing her mug of coffee. “I suppose.” She answered, trying to act all nonchalant about it, flipping her hair over her shoulder.


“Good.” I said, mimicking her indifference, stalking out of the kitchen and towards the living room. Smiling to myself, I could hear Leila’s soft footsteps following a few paces behind me.


Entering the living room, I set my coffee down and collapsed on the green sofa, seeing Leila trudge into the room from the corner of my eye. She followed suit, sitting on the sofa as well, but as far from me as possible.


I grabbed the book off the coffee table, kicking my feet up onto it. “I’ll start where I left off, yeah?” I turned to her, smiling. Staring back at me for a moment, Leila’s eyes dropped to her lap and she nodded in assent, taking a sip from her mug.


Finding my place in the book, I cleared my throat and began to read. “‘Come in! Come in!’ He sobbed. ‘Cathy, do come. Oh, do-once more! Oh! My heart’s darling! Hear me this time, Catherine, at last!’” I stole a glance at Leila, the look on her face peaceful, fulfilled to be hearing her favourite story. Happily, I kept on reading, as intrigued in the story as she was.


Page by page and chapter by chapter, Leila began to slide closer to me. An hour had passed, and then another, and she was right beside me, her chest rising and falling against my arm as she peered over my shoulder reading along. I read to her until the sun began to set, rays of purple and orange crawling across the floor. I looked over at Leila curiously as I felt the light weight of her head fall on my shoulder. Smiling, I saw that she had fallen asleep, pink lips parted in slumber and eyes closed shut. Watching her for a little while longer as the room drifted into darkness, I found myself wondering how it was possible that I had not loved her from the moment I saw her.


Leila’s P.O.V:


I woke disoriented, completely unsure of where I was, until I felt the steady thump of a heartbeat beneath my cheek, my hand resting upon a strong and solid chest. Looking up, I could not help but breathe in awe at the sight before me. I didn’t know how to feel, didn’t know what to think of the fact that I had ended up falling asleep in Zayn’s arms. The room was in complete darkness, but I could still make out each feature of his, the gravity-defying quiff, the perfect nose, kissable lips; even in sleep he looked serious. I wanted to reach out, to brush his lips with my fingers, but instead, I slowly untangled myself from him, getting to my feet. I could stay, I found myself thinking. I could saviour these precious minutes next to him, near to him... Shaking my head, I dismissed my crazy thoughts. The last thing I did before climbing the stairs was carefully lay a blanket across Zayn’s sleeping form, wishing secretly that I could snuggle up close to him and listen to his heart beat once more.


Getting into my own bed, I regretted leaving Zayn’s warmth immediately. December in Bradford was never harsh, but it was always cold, so I was left shivering in my bed, wide awake. In the silence, my mind began to hazily drift over the day, a day filled with Zayn’s voice reading my most favourite story. I hadn’t read it once in the past two years, and there Zayn was, sprawled out on my sofa with the book laying across his chest. Why had he chosen to read it? I could not help but wonder. It must have been his way of cheering me up, from preventing me from drifting further and further down into the hole that I was falling into. He was being the friend he had promised he’d be to me, not more than that, nothing more than that. Anything else, it would just be wishful thinking. Turning over on my side, I sighed, thinking that by now I should be used to this. I would always be just a friend to Zayn, and to me, he’d always be a little bit more than that.


I decided that I would try to enjoy my final days in my childhood home, in Bradford, before leaving for good this time. The last time I had slept in this bed being the day after the police had found me wandering aimlessly through town after hearing the news of my parents. I had slept and woken without even realizing it, the only noticeable difference being that the usual chatter of my Mother and Father in the kitchen had been replaced with my Grandparents talking quietly. I had stared at the wall for hours, countless hours, wondering when I’d wake up from my nightmare. But I never woke up because I hadn’t been dreaming. My parents were gone, and so was I.




“Wake up sleepy head.” Zayn’s soft voice beckoned me from my dreams.


My eyes opened to Zayn’s face, to Zayn perched on the side of my bed. The side of my bed. Jerking backwards, I was pressed up against the headboard in shock. Examining the boy, it was hard to believe that I wasn’t dreaming. He had gone home to change and shower, actually bothering to return. I could smell his aftershave from where I sat, his tanned skin looking smooth and clean shaven in comparison to the stubble that had littered his face the night before. This morning, he was clad in a pair of cream coloured chinos and a blue and white plaid shirt, looking famous without even having to try.


“Do you always barge into the rooms of unsuspecting women?” I snapped at him, more angry at how nice he looked…and smelled. Was Zayn wearing cologne? A musky forest scent began to float up my nostrils, causing my entire body to tingle and my face to grow hot. This was unfair


“No, just yours.” He grinned at me, his brown eyes shining. “Get dressed, we’re going out.” Zayn hopped to his feet, throwing a pillow at my face in the process.


Dodging the pillow, I stared at him incredulously. “Out?!” I asked in disbelief. Had this boy gone completely raving mad? And why was he still in my house anyways?


“Dress warmly!” Zayn yelled over his shoulder before bolting out of my room, shutting the door behind him gently.


What in God’s name was happening? I was still finding it hard to believe that the both of us had ended up in Bradford at the same time, as if fate had a hand in it. After Zayn had walked into Victory all those months ago, I began to seriously believe that if there was a higher power that had it out for me. And then there he was once again, finding me drunk on the floor of my own home, and now essentially living in it.


Slowly crawling out of bed, I got to my feet. A huge part of me just wanted to remain in bed, feeling sorry for myself…but a more assertive part of me wanted to see what Zayn had planned. I wondered why he had been bothering at all; but it was obvious that he just pitied me, this shadow of his old friend that I had become. Couldn’t he see that Leila was never coming back?


Opening the duffle bag that I had brought with me from London, I pulled out the first article of clothing that my hand touched, a classic light grey pleated dress adorned with a bow. With my thick woolen stockings, boots and a coat, I would be warm enough, but probably not as warm as I had been cuddled up to Zayn the night before. Closing my eyes in despair for a moment, I then made my way to the washroom to change and apply my makeup. Slipping into my stockings and dress, I decided to keep my hair and makeup simple, natural. I was so tired of the same routine, painting on my face each day, that for once I felt like just being me. Parting my hair down the middle, I applied a bit of foundation to my face, mainly underneath my eyes where dark circles had formed, some rouge to my cheeks, a bit of sheer nude lipstick, some mascara, and I was ready.


Creeping down the stairs timidly, I could see Zayn sitting on the lowest step, his nose stuffed into Wuthering Heights. I couldn’t help but smile at the sight of him reading it, on his own will. I allowed myself to take him in before making my presence known, my eyes flowing over his broad shoulders and thick black hair. I found myself thinking of one of the reasons I had liked the book so much, Zayn had reminded me all too much of Heathcliff, the novel’s main character. Dark, brooding, impulsive, and serious, Zayn was just like Heathcliff, I remember that this epiphany of mine had been so natural yet so shocking at the same time, and now that I think of it, it was probably the moment I had realized that I loved him.


“Zayn,” I spoke quietly. “You really don’t have to take me anywhere.” I didn’t want him to feel obligated, like it was his responsibility to make sure that I didn’t self-destruct.


Getting to his feet, he turned, his eyes flowing over me. “You look nice.” He said gently, his gaze returning to my face.


Taken by complete surprise at his compliment, I failed to say anything at all. Zayn had never said anything like this before, why now? I tried to subdue my thoughts seeing as I had a tendency to overanalyze things. Continuing down the stairs, I averted my eyes from Zayn’s, sensing that his were still on me. Awkwardly, I slid my feet into my worn pair of brown riding boots.


“Where are we going?” I asked quietly, my eyes slowly drifting up to his from the floor.


Zayn’s intense gaze found mine. “Do you trust me?”


I began to grow uneasy. “What does that have to do with anything, Zayn?” I answered him in the only way I could, because I really wasn’t sure if I trusted him or not.


Zayn had a small smile on his face as he examined me. “You’ll just have to wait and see.”




We had been on the road for twenty minutes now, and with each passing minute I grew more and more nervous. Where was he bloody taking me? I stole a glance at Zayn and began to frown at the satisfied smile that he wore on his face.


“Tell me where we’re going!” I exclaimed forcefully, narrowing my eyes at him.


“It’s a surprise.” His smirk grew wider.


My cheeks began to grow warm. A surprise for me? I looked out the window so that he couldn’t see my reaction. As the dreary grey scenery flew by, the trees lining the road were more and more numerous while the civilization of Bradford’s houses and buildings had disappeared behind us.


“You know very well that I hate surprises…” My words died on my lips as the trees in the distance broke, revealing an expanse of rolling hills that went on and on for miles. I felt my jaw drop as my eyes drank in the sight of the rich green and brown of the moors, the very scenery that had inspired Emily Brontë to write Wuthering Heights. I had been planning on making the trip with my parents for years, but had always kept putting it off due to one thing or another. At once, my emotions overcame me.


“Do you know where we are?” Zayn asked gently, glancing at me from the road.


“Haworth.” I nodded in assent, finding myself staring at Zayn in complete bewilderment. He had brought me here, to the moors. Zayn Malik had brought me here. My eyes began to water. He was making this hard for me, too hard not to feel something for him as I had been fighting so valiantly not to. After everything that had happened, his reappearance into my life, his appearing in Bradford after not seeing him for so long, rescuing me, I felt my walls beginning to crumble around me.


“I was reading the back of the book and it spoke about how Emily Brontë and her sisters had grown up in Haworth, Yorkshire…which happened to be within driving distance of Bradford...” Zayn looked up at me and smiled, his brown eyes searching mine. “I just had to take you.”


I found myself completely overwhelmed and unable to form a coherent sentence. “I…I don’t know what to say.” Zayn really had surprised me. He was always surprising me these days. It was quite obvious that he was going to be the death of me.


“You don’t have to say anything.” Zayn said quietly, pulling over to the side of the road.


I sat for a moment, just gazing at Zayn as he rifled through his things. This boy, this man, he had broken my heart once and he was well on his way to doing it again. Suddenly, he was out of the car, running around to the passenger side.


Whipping open the door, he held out his hand to me. “Milady.” He said softly, grinning at me with his stupid beautiful crooked smile.


I knew then that taking his hand, if I did it; that would be it. That would be it for my heart, for my sanity. Without thinking, I put my hand in his, jumping out of the car and into the frigid December afternoon. Zayn smiled down at me, with the moors just behind him, he was so much like Heathcliff that it made me dizzy.


“Where to Mr. Malik?” I asked him, tilting my head upwards to gaze at him, wanting to feel his lips moving against mine as they did that night in the limousine. I realized then that my hand was still in his.


“This way.” Zayn said, tilting his head onwards towards a trail, worn into the grass by years and years of footsteps. Pulling me behind him, we were off.


Closing my eyes I breathed in the fresh after rain air, only to open them again to the lush green expanse of the moors, the only thing that could be seen under the grey skies. I found myself feeling quite like Cathy, roaming the dark and mysterious rolling hills of the moors with Heathcliff in tow. Looking back up at Zayn, I found myself mesmerized by his beauty, as I always had been, hating him for the way he was making me feel, hating him for making me feel at all.


“There.” Zayn whispered, snapping me out of my hypnosis, pointing just beyond a parting in the trees.


I took in a sharp breath at the sight that I beheld. Just beyond the trees was Brontë Parsonage, the home in which Emily, Charlotte, and Anne Brontë had lived out their days. Approaching the old house, the silence and peace was all that could be heard save for the wind rolling over the hills in the distance. As we walked on, Zayn and I found ourselves surrounded by tombstones. Neither of us spoke as we walked through them, stopping briefly at Emily’s, I was unable to resist myself reaching for Zayn’s hand once more. Looking up at me with a slight look of surprise, he smiled at me, squeezing my hand in reply. At last we were in front of the Parsonage, the perfectly preserved home of the Brontë sisters. Sighing in awe, I took in every inch of the brick covered house, it’s wide airy windows that I could just imagine the Brontë sisters peering out of as they wrote their masterpieces.


“It’s so tragic.” I breathed, tearing my eyes away from the house to land on Zayn who was staring at me curiously.


“What is?” He asked, his perfectly arched eyebrows furrowing in confusion.


“None of them ever found true love.” I sighed, glancing back at the house. Only Charlotte Brontë had been married, and briefly, dying when she was pregnant.


“They did something more important than that,” Zayn said quietly. I looked at him in confusion, unsure of what he meant. “They gave love, perfect love, to their characters.”


I held Zayn’s smoldering gaze for a moment, in amazement of his words, in amazement of him. “That they did.” I gave him a small smile.


Afterwards, I found myself sitting next to Zayn on one of the cool grassy hills, staring out into the distance at the careless green and brown swells in the land. The frigid wind was blowing gently through my hair. Sighing I closed my eyes.


“It’s beautiful, Zayn.” I whispered, listening to the wind howling, my eyes still shut.


“Yes it is.” Zayn replied quietly in his velvety voice. I opened my eyes to see Zayn looking directly at me. “You deserve to be happy, Leila.” He said after pausing for a moment.


I found myself laughing bitterly. “Happiness is not in my cards, Zayn.”


“Where did those marks on your neck come from, Leila?” Zayn asked me outright. “They have something to do with Victory, don’t they? That’s why you ended up in Bradford?”


I swallowed hard before answering. “My new manager Clive, he wanted me to start taking off everything, not just my top.” I answered hesitantly, wishing I hadn’t. “And when I told him no, this is what he did.” I told Zayn, sniffing as I rubbed at the bruised skin on my neck.


Zayn nodded at this, clenching his jaw. “I want you to stop stripping, for good.” He said, meeting my gaze. 


“But how can I, Zayn?” I felt my eyes begin to tear up, and at that moment I could think of nothing but my Mother and Father. “I wish my parents could be here.” I told him, my voice trembling. “I miss them so much, Zayn. I’m helpless without them.” I let out a small sob, unable to contain myself.


“Maybe they can be.” Zayn told me softly. “Here…with you.”


Turning to him in confusion, I took a sharp intake of breath when I saw what was in his outreached hand. My locket. It was my locket. And even in the bitter December cold, I could feel the summer heat of the summer funfair, and Zayn’s warm fingers gently grazing my neck.


“But how?” I asked him in astonishment. “I threw this out! I tossed it into the bin!” I looked at Zayn, mystified at how it had appeared here in his hand.


“I dived into the bin to find it.” Zayn said smiling, his intense gaze on me.


My heart swelled at this knowledge. After all these years, after all this time he had kept it.


“Open it.” Zayn whispered, gently putting it into my hand.


Carefully, I opened the heart-shaped locket, the once barren insides replaced with pictures of my parents. Maybe they can be…here…with you, he had said.


Tears were freely rolling down my cheeks when I looked up at him.


“May I?” Zayn offered, his smiling brown eyes like warm pools of chocolate in the bleak expanse of the moors.


Smiling with tears still in my eyes, I handed the locket to him, turning my back to face him. After a moment, I felt the familiar weight of the locket fall onto my chest, and it was if a piece of me that I had lost, had finally been returned.


Turning back to him, I held the locket between my fingers. “How does it look?” I asked him, my voice thick with emotion.


“Looks nice.” He whispered passionately in response, speaking the familiar words that he had told me so long ago.


Of all the money that e'er I had, I spent it in good company

And of all the harm that e'er I've done, alas it was to none but me

And all I've done for want of wit, to memory now I can't recall

So fill to me the parting glass. Goodnight and joy be with you all


We were left looking at each other, the wind roaring in the background, and for a moment I thought that Zayn was leaning in towards me; however I would never know for sure because just then a flash of lightening flickered through the dark grey sky, the slow growl of thunder following shortly after.


“We should go.” I told him quietly, looking out at the brewing storm in the distance.


“There’s one more thing I wanted to do first.” Zayn told me with a smile. Hopping to his feet, he reached out his hand to me, waiting for me to place mine into his.


Taking it, he heaved me upwards and began to carefully walk down the hillside. Where was this crazy boy taking me now? At the bottom of the hill, we reached a small stream, flowing quietly beyond the bend of another hill. Zayn picked two white Camellias from a small shrub nearby and handed them to me gently.


Of all the comrades that e'er I had, they're sorry for my going away

And all the sweethearts that e'er I had

They would wish me one more day to stay

But since it falls unto my lot that I should rise and you should not

I'll gently rise and I'll softly call, "Goodnight and joy be with you all!"


“For your parents.” He whispered, motioning towards the flowing stream.


Taking the Camellias from his warm hands, Zayn watched as I crouched down, allowing my hands to submerge into the cold water, the flowers floating from my hands, slowly drifting downstream, helped along on their journey by the wind.


A man may drink and not be drunk, a man may fight and not be slain

A man may court a pretty girl and perhaps be welcomed back again

But since it has so ordered been by a time to rise and a time to fall

Come fill to me the parting glass, good night and joy be with you all

Good night and joy be with you all


Getting to my feet, I wiped my eyes, looking up to smile at Zayn.


“Let’s go home, Leila.” He said quietly, as the rain began to pour down, reaching his hand out to me once again.


Taking Zayn’s warm hand for the third time today, I followed him up the moors and through the rain. The heart shaped locket that he had returned to me bounced as I walked along, and as for my heart; as I feared, it was once again in the hands of Zayn Malik.


Fiona’s P.O.V:


Almost tripping over the coffee table, I ran over to the buzzing intercom.


Pushing the button, I spoke into it, hoping that it would be who I was expecting. “Charlotte?” I yelled into the speaker.


I only had to wait a moment for her response. “Yes it’s me you twat, now let me in! It’s pissing out here!” Charlotte hollered back at me.


“Sorry!” I exclaimed, apologizing. Pacing back at forth across my flat, I patiently waited for her to reach my door. I know I had promised Harry not to tell a soul, but I just couldn’t keep it a secret for any longer. And I wasn’t just telling anyone, I was telling my best friend Charlotte Spencer. There was that little fact about her dating Niall, but at this point, it didn’t matter to me.


Jumping when I heard Charlotte pounding on the door, I ripped it open, yelling “I slept with Harry Styles!”


Charlotte’s green eyes bulged out her head as she shoved me back into my flat, looking behind her to make sure that no one had been in the hallway. Shutting the door behind her, my red headed friend stared at me for a moment before screaming “YOU WHAT?”


We quickly dashed over the sofa, Charlotte stripping off her sopping jacket along the way.


“Last night.” I told her frantically, sitting down. I could hardly believe it myself.


“You lucky bitch!” Charlotte hooted, punching me in the arm as she sat. “How was he?”


“Amazing!” I breathed. It was true; Harry Styles was one of the best shags I had ever had. “But…there’s still something bothering me.” I said in spite of myself, sealing my eyes shut.


Charlotte groaned in irritation. “Are you serious?” She exclaimed. “You’re still hung up on that wanker Zayn? After the way he treated you?”


I nodded slowly. “I don’t want to be.” I said, my eyes falling to the ground. “I just can’t help it.”


“He barely even acknowledged you in the whole eight months that we were following them around, Fi!” Charlotte tried to reason with me.


“I know, I know Char,” I told her shaking my head. “And there was something else; it didn’t seem worth mentioning before…” I trailed off, glancing up at Charlotte, my eyebrows furrowed.


“What?” Charlotte asked, confusedly staring back at me.


“Zayn said there was someone else.” I whispered to her, wondering if she knew anything about this ‘someone else’ that Zayn had spoke of.


“But who?” Charlotte asked me with narrowed eyes.


In eight months, Zayn had not gone on a date once, brought a girl back to the hotel once, or even flirted with a girl once that I could remember. If there was someone else, where had she been all that time? But more importantly, who was she?


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


The Parting Glass - Ed Sheeran

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