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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21. New Year's Dissolution (Part 1)

A/N: Sorry for the lateness of this update! Expect Part 2 soon! xo

 

Fiona’s P.O.V:

Sprawled out on the living room floor of Evie’s musty Camden flat, I stared upwards, watching the continuous spinning of her ceiling fan, around and around and around. It was New Year’s Eve, and the streets of London were humming with hope for a new beginning, with the opportunity to start going to the gym, to quit smoking, to confess to the object of your affection that you are in love with them. With a chance to get it right the second time around. All that seemed to be swimming through my mind however, was destruction, dissolution, and of course, Harry.

Evie hungrily snorted up the remainder of her final line. Licking her finger, she rubbed the remnants of the cocaine along her gums, turning to grin at me mischievously. “Good shit, isn’t it?” She commented, flopping down beside me on the ground.

I turned to face my new friend, examining her in my drug fueled stupor. Evie Warsaw was decidedly evil, perhaps more so that I could ever be. With her sharp, pixie-like features, grey eyes, and white blonde hair, there was no question that Evie would not stop until the world was hers, which is perhaps why we got on so disturbingly well, sometimes even better than Charlotte and I.

Drawn from my thoughts, I nodded vigorously. “Imagine it, Evie,” I began, squeezing her hand. “The both of us walking for Chanel one day!” I exclaimed zealously, eliciting a hearty laugh from deep within Evie’s chest.

“Or even Victoria’s Secret when we decide to get fat again!” Evie replied with equal fervor, squeezing my hand back in reply. “The world would be ours.” Evie whispered wickedly, her ambition mirroring my own.

And rightly so.” I told her scandalously, feeling so good that I decided I could go for another hit. Sitting up, I poured out what was left of the small baggie Evie had discarded on the coffee table, using my credit card to divide it into two equal lines.

Sitting up as well, Evie watched on thoughtfully as I indulged, appearing to be pondering something as she twiddled a piece of her straw-like hair between her thumbs.

What?” I inquired snidely, narrowing my eyes in suspicion. Yes, Evie was my friend, but I wasn’t sure yet that I could trust her as far as I could throw her.

Evie blinked at me curiously, an innocent smile appearing on her lips. “Oh it’s nothing really. I was just wondering if you still hang around with Charlotte Spencer.” Evie told me nonchalantly, licking her thumb and rubbing what I presumed was a streak of cocaine from my cheek.

“Of course I do. We’ve been friends for years!” I exclaimed, retrieving the pack of Sobranie cigarettes I had purchased earlier that day from my purse. “Not sure what I’d do without her.” I told Evie, selecting a pink and gold cigarette and placing it between my lips, offering the pack to Evie.

Evie nodded her white-blonde head, plucking a mint green and gold cigarette for herself. “Isn’t she a bit straight-edge for your taste though? All her healthy eating business and what not,” Continued Evie, cradling the flame of her Zippo as she lit her cigarette, leaning over to light mine next. “Bet she’s never skipped a meal in her life.” Evie added under her breath.

I let out a long sigh, unable to completely disagree with Evie. “It’s not without difficulty, being friends with Charlotte.” I told Evie, taking a generous drag from my Sobranie. “She doesn’t exactly support our lifestyle.” I drawled in minor amusement, gesturing to her cocaine covered coffee table.

Evie froze in place, her cigarette almost falling from her lips. “You mean she doesn’t know?” Evie exclaimed in astonishment, her grey eyes wide.

I shook my head, my gaze falling to my lap, guilty for having lied to Charlotte all this time, even after promising I would always be truthful to her. “She thinks I’ve invested in a gym membership.” I mumbled, mashing my Sobranie into a marbled ashtray, already laden with a month’s worth of cigarette butts.

Hm.” Evie assessed in mock understanding, tapping the ash from her cigarette. “In my opinion, Fiona, people like that are only hold you hold you back.” She told me with a patronizing smile, as if she were chastising a small child. Opening my mouth to snap back at her, I found myself unable to, a small voice inside my head telling me that perhaps she was right.

Hopping to her feet, Evie made her way towards the black IKEA mirror hanging in her foyer and began to touch up her makeup, slathering on a fresh coat of deep red lipstick and further smudging the black shadow bordering her eyes. “Martin should be here soon.” Evie informed me, ruffling the short layers of her hair to give it more volume. The middle-aged and severely balding Martin Doyle was Evie’s Agent as well as her afternoon shag. Their arrangement assured Evie that Martin would dedicate all of his time and resources to her budding career. He also seemed to enjoy buying Evie nice things which she was not about to say no to.

Taking that as my cue, I clambered to my feet and began to gather my things, the rush of blood to my head momentarily blurring my vision. “I’ve got to go pick up a dress for tonight anyhow.” I told Evie, pinching her Zippo and securing another Sobranie between my lips for the road –a gold and blue one this time. “I’ll be seeing you at the club then?” I inquired with a grin, pretending to be excited for the coming night when in fact, I was dreading it.

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world!” Evie replied absentmindedly, puckering up her lips in the mirror. And so I begrudgingly made my way towards the door. Feeling my phone vibrate in my pocket as I walked, I was certain that it was Harry, for the third time now.

“Fi, aren’t you forgetting something?” Evie announced playfully. Whirling around to face me, she was waving a small baggie of white pills back and forth and proceeded to throw them in my direction.

Catching the small baggie of rohypnol in my hand, I curiously observed the tiny white pills, my eyes flickering back to Evie’s. Of course she wouldn’t let me forget, even if I had wanted to. “Thanks.” I mumbled, shoving the pills into the pocket of my black peacoat and continuing my trek towards the door.

“Whatever would you do without me?” Evie teased, walking past me and opening the door.

I ignored Evie, entering the hallway. “Right, see you at District, then-” And I was cut off by Evie pressing her lips to mine, completely catching me off guard.

“What the fuck was that?” I spat when she pulled back, flushing in embarrassment as I wiped at my lips.

 

Evie rolled her eyes, blowing her choppy blond bangs out of her eyes. “For fuck’s sake, Fiona, you’re so fucking uptight sometimes.” And with that she slammed the door in my face, leaving me wondering if she would be showing up that night at all.

*

Clambering out of the lift with my shopping bags in tow, I started down the hallway, highly satisfied with what I had managed to purchase. Jane had generously provided me with a small advance prior to my first booking, mostly for upkeep in terms of manicures, waxing, and a dye job. There had been quite a bit of money left over, and so I decided to treat myself for a new dress from Harrods. The simple black, iris print McQ Alexander McQueen dress was quite the steal, only putting me out 260£. I had managed to pick up a pair of falsies as well as a bottle of red-label vodka to sip on before departing for the club. If I didn’t start booking jobs soon, I mused in slight terror, I would no longer be able to afford my flat in London. I would be forced to move to a more affordable area like Camden, and worse still, get some sort of job to support myself. The thought alone of retail work sent a shiver up my spine. Anything was better however, than begging my Mother for money as my mind sometimes entertained when I was desperate enough. I had not yet sought money from my Mother, and certainly would not begin to now.

Checking my mobile, I saw that I had just enough time to have a quick shower before Charlotte came around to start getting ready for the night’s festivities. Walking along with my head down, I reviewed the text messages that Harry had sent me earlier but had not yet responded to.

Fi, did things go as planned? Harry had said. I could not help but notice the gaping space at the end of Harry’s statement, missing the occasional ‘x’ that would sometimes make an appearance at the of end his messages to me. It had never made a difference to me before, whether they were there or not, but today, its absence seemed to eat away at me.

Fiona?:S Harry had sent another a few minutes after.

With a roll of my eyes, I gave in and began to reply to him, remembering that Harry’s happiness was the only reason I was still a part of any of this anymore.

Thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt Hazza… I began, hoping that my irritation would most definitely shine through. The plan is a go. See you tonight. x And before I knew it, I had replied to him, ‘x’ and all. “Fuck.” I hissed, mentally kicking myself repeatedly. Hopefully Harry wouldn’t take too much notice of it and just assume it was the product of habit. I could hear someone else heading down the hallway as well, yapping away loudly on their mobile.

“You said Door 23, didn’t you?” The voice spoke into his phone, a voice that sounded all too familiar to me.

Snapping my head upwards I instantaneously staggered backwards, dropping my bags to the floor. Standing directly in front of me with his mobile pressed to his ear was my older brother Jude. Tall, lanky, bronze haired Jude, looking quite like he did when I decided to leave home, as if a day had not passed since I last saw him when in fact, it had been two years.

Jude stared back at me in shock, his hazel eyes wide in astonishment. “I’ll call you back.” Jude murmured into his phone and snapping it closed, his eyes not leaving me once.

“Jude?” I inquired, still in disbelief. This could easily be a hallucination; I was on drugs after all.

Jude smiled at me, lines crinkling at the very corners of his eyes just as they always had. “Hello, Fiona.” He greeted me brightly, and I knew then that I was not dreaming. “Aren’t you going to invite me in?”

*

I watched with narrowed eyes as Jude took a sip of tea, wishing that we could skip the pleasantries and that he would tell me the true reason for his appearance at my door. Had our Mother finally managed to drink herself to death? Was Jude here to inform me that I had been left out of the will?

Jude cleared his throat, raising his hazel eyes from his lap. “Fiona, I’m here to apologize.” Jude began, gently placing his cup and saucer onto the coffee table.

I let out a loud snort. “Apologize?” I exclaimed indignantly, genuinely finding the idea alone to be preposterous. “Whatever for?” I inquired, crossing my arms over my chest.

Jude’s eyes searched mine, an ominous expression appearing on his face. “Dad’s in prison.” He choked out. “The things you said he did to you,” Jude explained slowly, wildly grasping for the appropriate words to phrase his statement. “He did them to another girl and now he’s in prison.” Jude concluded shakily, his eyes beginning to fill with angry tears.

I could do nothing but stare at Jude, feeling the colour drain from my face with each passing second. I could feel a scream clawing its way to the surface of my throat, could feel the pressure of his hands on my body for the first time in years. The little box where I had locked him away burst open, and I could hear the words he would whisper into my ear as clearly as if he were here right then. Be a good girl, Fiona. It all crashed down on me so hard and so quick that I began to tremor, breaking out into a cold sweat. “You need to leave.” I managed to sputter out.

“Fiona-” Jude got to his feet, his face wrought with remorse.

I jumped to my feet then as well, venom coating my voice. “You and Mum were living in a bloody fairy tale while I was living in hell, EACH NIGHT!” I screamed, suddenly feeling quite disoriented and falling against the sofa.

In a panic, Jude dashed over to where I was leaning heavily on the sofa and placed his hand on my waist, attempting to help me sit back down. Jumping at his touch, Jude quickly withdrew his hand, a mixture of guilt and sadness carved into his boyish face. I found my way back to the sofa on my own, collapsing onto the cushions and curling into a ball.

Be a good girl, Fiona. Be a good girl, Fiona. Be a good girl, Fiona.

Jude crouched down in front of me, his eyes reflecting the sorrow that he had finally allowed himself to feel. “Fiona, as your brother it was my duty to protect you, and I failed to do that.” Jude began emphatically. “There was always a part of me that knew you were telling the truth. I just couldn’t bring myself to accept it.” Jude breathed, taking my hand and cradling it in his. “Please, Fiona, forgive me.”

I found myself staring at Jude, reminiscing on all the lovely times we had growing up; school plays, birthdays, scraped knees. And suddenly I could feel myself retreating from my memories, seeing that after all these years, my beloved brother Jude had come for me at last, and that more importantly, he finally believed me.

“Jude.” I choked out, at last succumbing to the sobs that I had been holding in, not just during the past few minutes, but for the past few years. The tears erupted from me like a geyser, and throwing my arms around Jude, I pulled him to me. As Jude enveloped me into a secure embrace, for the first time in years I felt a little less empty than I had yesterday.

 

Leila’s P.O.V:

The look of desperation on Fiona’s face had been feral, almost animalistic and was something that I had not been able to get out of my head for the past four days. When Louis had sent me to fetch Fiona so that we could depart from Wrotham Manor for London, I had accidentally witnessed her vigorously snorting up lines of cocaine in the loo. Although a large part of me had wanted to revel in her misfortune, to celebrate the fact that self-righteous Fiona too had her demons –but I could not help but pity her, feel the need to help her even. Having gone down a dark path myself and almost allowing it to swallow me whole, I wished it upon no one; even the likes of Fiona Applebee.

“You think she’s starving herself?” Danielle mused aloud, staring into the hallway mirror as she secured wild her hair into a high ponytail.

“Who?” I inquired, having been drawn from my thoughts. Gently placing my flute of champagne onto to the coffee table, I decided that I should probably join Eleanor and Danielle in getting ready for the night’s festivities –New Year’s Eve to be specific. The three of us had once again selected my apartment as our base, firstly due to its lack of adult supervision and secondly due to its proximity to Central London and the brand new night club District.

“Fiona, who else?” Danielle told me matter-of-factly, slathering a wad of moisturizer onto her face and beginning to knead it into her cheeks. “She looks like a twig these days!”

Eleanor halted the removal of her old nail varnish and looked up to glare at Danielle. “Don’t be mean, Dani!” She exclaimed vehemently, continuing to vigorously swipe at her nails, placing the ball of cotton onto the coffee table. “Leila, please tell me you have more nail varnish remover?” Eleanor pleaded in defeat.

“Under the sink.” I told her with a grin, nodding down the hallway and towards the loo.

 “Excellent!” Eleanor gushed, and with that she delicately bounded to her feet, awkwardly shuffling down the hardwood floor in order to not ruin her freshly painted toenails.

Glancing over her shoulder to make sure that Eleanor was out of ear-shot, Danielle dashed over to the sofa where I still sat, throwing herself half onto me. “Danielle!” I squealed, squirming out from beneath her.

“Sorry.” Danielle grimaced, apologizing half-heartedly. “So what’s been happening with Zayn?” She inquired, her brown eyes wide with curiosity. “I still can’t believe you two have been-” Danielle continued, far too loudly.

At this I slapped my hand over Danielle’s mouth, muffling whatever damning words were about to exit her mouth. “Bloody hell, Danielle! Eleanor might hear!” I hissed, leaning over to glance down the hallway once again. I sighed in relief, seeing that Eleanor had not yet returned. “Things are better now that Louis’ birthday’s done with. He came around last night, through the window as usual.” I whispered to Danielle, a smile tugging at my lips as I recalled the previous night.

Zayn had brought McDonalds for us to eat, even going to the length of lighting a candle to make the whole thing romantic. We had curled up on the couch then, watching Andrea Arnold’s 2011 rendition of Wuthering Heights. I realized about halfway through the film that I hadn’t been paying attention at all, but instead had been watching the candle light caress Zayn’s face, flickering in his dark eyes. And when he turned his gaze upon me a few moments later, the movie was long forgotten and all that remained on my skin besides his was the pleasant weight of my locket.   

 Danielle’s face lit up with a shit-eating grin. “Will you be seeing each other later tonight?” She inquired, her smile growing larger.

“I doubt it.” I smiled sadly, reaching for my champagne and knocking back the last bit. “I’ll be with Harry most of the night I’m sure. We’re meeting for breakfast tomorrow, though.” I explained in an attempt to cheer myself, to which Danielle nodded along in understanding. “So we can start the new year together.” I added quietly, wondering what the next twelve months could possibly hold for Zayn and me.

Just then, Eleanor emerged from the loo, nail varnish remover and a box of Ciaté nail caviar tucked under her arm. “What’d I miss?” Eleanor inquired brightly, plunking herself into the red loveseat opposite from Danielle and me.

Before I could open my mouth to respond, Danielle jumped in. “Leila was just about to show me the dress she’s wearing tonight.” Danielle raised her eyebrows at me. “Weren’t you Leila?” She concluded with an innocent smile.

“Let’s see it then!” Eleanor announced with excitement, clipping her hair back in order to keep it out of her face while she worked on her nails.

I grinned at Danielle, thankful for her timely save. “Your wish is my command!” I announced grandly, reaching behind the sofa and plucking a Harrod’s shopping bag off the ground. I had been lucky enough to spot a sale in the enormous sales department earlier that day, and had managed to purchase a dress I normally wouldn’t be able to afford. Reaching into the bag, I pulled out the black, iridescent Jovani dress, marveling at its splendor for a moment just as I had when browsing through the racks. The dress flared out at the waist, giving me a nice shape, while its sweetheart cut made my chest look far more generous than it really was. What struck me the most about the dress was its mesh and wire bodice, providing the hint of skin I craved for while at the same time, preventing a case of late December frostbite.

I handed the dress to Eleanor who excitedly began to examine in. “Not bad for 100£, I’d say.” I teased, quite proud of my shopping prowess.

“Oh, it’s to die for.” Eleanor cooed, lovingly stroking the luminescent black fabric. “I’m sure Harry’s going to enjoy it thoroughly. Maybe tonight’s the night, hm, Lei?” Eleanor raised her eyebrows seductively, eliciting a bark of laughter from Danielle.

I could feel a hot blush creeping up my cheeks, my mind flashing back to the only intimate experiences I had had thus far, all of which had been with Zayn. An overwhelming sense of guilt came over me. I hadn’t shared these details with Eleanor not because I didn’t trust her, but because she would probably stop trusting me if she knew the truth. Danielle coming to know of Zayn and I had been terrifying enough, even though she had ended up supporting me in the end. But would Eleanor do the same? Could I ask that of her?

“Eleanor, please.” I begged her, my face still flushed. “Try not to humiliate me in front of Harry tonight. We’ve just started back up after all.” I reminded her, wondering at the same time when I would run out of excuses for Harry; when I would no longer be able to run from him and our quickly accelerating relationship.

Oh alright.” Eleanor groaned in defeat, reaching over the coffee table to pass the dress to Danielle. “But I can’t guarantee that once I’ve had a few drinks in me!” She added with a wink.

Danielle had the dress held up in front of her, observing it with a hint of a smile. “Oh yes,” She agreed, nodding her head vigorously. “He’ll love you in this, I’m sure.” She emphasized, turning to grin at me, and quite obviously not referring to Harry Styles.

 

Zayn’s P.O.V:

I was sitting across from Niall, my legs kicked up on his coffee table, waiting patiently for him to speak. I didn’t think it was possible, but Niall’s townhouse was in a worse state than mine could ever be. There was food everywhere. Empty cartons of Kentucky Fried Chicken, half eaten pizzas, and an array of guitars strewn about. If not for the mess, Niall’s townhouse would look identical to mine. Admittedly, mine had been neater than ever before since Leila had started coming by. “You really ought to have the cleaning lady come by, mate.” I observed in minor disgust, shoving away a half-full carton of fries that I swore had moved on its own.

“You want to learn this by Leila’s birthday?” Niall ignored me, his eyes scanning the sheet music I had handed to him just moments before. “On guitar?” He confirmed, as if I was a madman.

I rolled my eyes heavily; trying not to let Niall’s blatant lack of faith in me put me off. “Yes, Niall.” I sighed, snatching the music from his hands and observing it again for myself. I reckoned that it didn’t look all that difficult. It would assuredly take some work, but with enough time and effort I was sure I could do it. The look that would appear on Leila’s face was all the inspiration I needed. I could see it in my mind’s eye, her full pink lips breaking into a radiant smile; her brown eyes alight and staring back into mine. I would do just about anything for that private smile; the one that would appear on her lips as she read, the one she would share with me sometimes. My lips tugged upwards just at the thought of it.

Collecting his favourite acoustic guitar and slinging it across his lap, Niall began to strum one of the chords I recognized from the song. “When is Leila’s birthday again?” Niall piped up, silently counting in his head.

The twenty-fifth of March, for the second time, Niall!” I groaned, letting my face fall into my hands. “Is it doable or not?” I asked him outright, not wanting to waste any time if it ended up being a lost cause.

Niall gave me an incredulous look. “Of course it is.” He told me, clapping me on the back with his free hand. “But only because it’s me who’ll be teaching you.” He added with a bark of laughter, continuing to strum away on his guitar to figure out the chords. “…Layla, you got me on my knees, Layla…” Niall began to sing quietly, delicately plucking at the strings of his guitar.

Silently, I began to ponder, realizing solemnly that I probably wouldn’t even be able to spend Leila’s birthday with her, that she’d likely be spending it with Harry. And in spite of it not wanting to, my mind drifted to Harry and to Harry and Leila as a looming whole. Seeing Leila with Harry had always been difficult; from seeing her give him a private dance at Victory to seeing them on their first date at Nando’s, it had only gotten more difficult to witness. Especially when it felt like Harry knew it drove me mad. It didn’t make sense no, Harry hadn’t said it outright or even let it slip by accident. But from the way he acted with Leila, the way he seemed to purposely taunt me, all of it pointed to the fact that he knew.

“Niall.” I found myself blurting out in a panic, my hands beginning to twitch with an impending nic fit. “Do you think it’s possible that Harry knows?” I asked, running a hand through my disheveled black hair. “About Leila and me?”

 Niall halted his strumming, his blue eyes flickering to mine. “No.” He told me after a minute, his voice quiet. He resumed his strumming then, my eyebrows furrowing in confusion at the finality in Niall’s statement. No?

“How can you be so sure?” I asked defiantly, pursuing the topic further. I just couldn’t get the perpetually smug look that Harry wore on his face when Leila was near. “Beautiful, isn’t she?” Harry had said, catching me the one time my gaze had lingered on Leila for too long during Louis’ birthday. Was it just paranoia, or was there more to it? And if there was more to it, why hadn’t Harry done anything about it?

“If Harry knew Zayn,” Niall began emphatically. “I reckon you’d be on the ground with your teeth smashed in.” He told me with a raise of his light eyebrows, just as a loud knock pounded at the door.

“Niall! Open up you dirty minger!” Louis’ voice boomed from the other side of the door.

“Shit! They’re here!” Niall exclaimed, leaping to his feet and replacing his guitar against the wall. “The song! Hide it!” He reminded me with a hiss before dashing towards the door.

Fuck!” I growled, jumping to my feet as well, hastily stuffing the sheet music for ‘Layla’ into the pocket of my jeans. Niall and I had lost track of time. Turning towards the door, it was just in time to see Liam, Louis, and Harry breeze into Niall’s house.

“We bring booze.” Harry grinned, heartily clapping Niall on the back, his eyes flickering to mine. “Zayn, man. Where have you been?” He asked brightly. There wasn’t a hint of malice behind Harry’s statement, no ulterior motive. I stared at him with narrowed eyes, unable to speak. Had I just been paranoid about the whole thing?

“Yeah.” Liam piped in, plunking a large case of beer onto the counter. “Feels like I haven’t seen you since Louis’. What have you been doing?” Liam inquired, blinking at me expectantly.

I stared at the three of them, opening my mouth to speak but at a complete loss for words. At last something managed to tumble out of my mouth. “Reading.” I announced quietly, glancing at Niall whose blue eyes were staring at me in disbelief. “I’ve been doing lots of reading.” I repeated more confidently, although it didn’t make the statement anymore believable. I couldn’t wait to be drunk, even if it only meant temporary relief from this madness.

“You sure you don’t have a secret girlfriend you’re not telling us about?” Liam let out a bark of laughter, handing a beer to Harry who apparently had nothing to add on the topic. Twisting off the top of his beer, Harry began to chug it back thirstily. Pulling the can away from his lips, Harry’s green eyes were on mine for a fraction of a second, his lips turning up ever so slightly at the corners.

I clenched my jaw, refusing the urge I had to leave altogether. “I’m sure.” I told Liam, who in reply tossed me a beer. Catching it in my outstretched hand, I aggressively twisted off the cap, downing its entirety in a few large gulps. Smirking, Harry’s green eyes surveyed the scene, his expression unreadable. If Harry wanted a competition, he’d most certainly be getting one.

“Right.” Liam replied with a grin, easily moving on to another topic. “I just wanted to say a little something before I’m too drunk to remember later on.” Liam began sheepishly, seamlessly jumping into his annual New Year’s speech. “I could not have asked for more in my life. Making music with the best mates I’ve ever had, touring the world with them, and having the most amazing fans…” Liam trailed off, triumphantly raising his beer after a moment. “I can’t imagine ringing in the New Year with anyone other than you four.” Liam announced emphatically, his dark eyes brimming with tears.

“And Danielle.” Louis corrected him with a playful raise of his eyebrows.

Liam let out a tearful laugh. “And Danielle.” He conceded with a wide grin.

Suddenly, Harry stepped forward, raising the remainder of his beer into the air. “To new beginnings.” Harry chimed brightly, his green eyes lit up and his pink lips spreading to reveal a bright white smile. Harry’s eyes had flickered to mine then, challengingly holding mine for a fraction of a second. Harry knew, he had to. And as quickly as quickly as Harry’s eyes had met with mine, they were gone, Liam leaning forward to clink his beer with Harry’s.

To news beginnings!” Niall, Liam, and Louis chorused together. Meanwhile, I was left staring at Harry, who laughing animatedly had pulled Niall into a crushing hug, certain that it wasn’t the beginning, but perhaps the end, at least for Leila and me.

Leila’s P.O.V:

Craning my head out the window of the taxi and into the cold December night, my jaw dropped once the staggering form of District night club came into sight. The exterior of the club, styled in shocking black brick and mortar was swarming with scantily clad twenty-something’s as well as their potential New Years kisses. Quickly extracting my compact from within my wristlet, I skimmed over my make-up and hair, happy that I decided to go with vampy black eye-shadow, plum coloured lipstick, and voluminous curls swept to the side.

“Thank God we already have our tickets.” Danielle muttered under her breath, her eyes furiously scanning the growing line-up.

Pulling the cab over to the curb, the driver awkwardly cleared his throat, vigorously punching in a few buttons on his screen. “That will be 40£.” He announced in a thick Indian accent, his dark eyes locking with mine in the rear-view mirror.

40£?” Eleanor exclaimed, her mouth hanging agape. “Did we take a detour to the moon that I was unaware of?” She announced, staring at Danielle and I in bewilderment.

Reaching into my wristlet, I unearthed a scrunched up 50£ note, thinking that sometime next week I would have to start applying for jobs in order to prevent bleeding into my savings any further. “Don’t worry, I’ve got it.” I consoled Eleanor with a Motherly pat to her knee, thrusting the bank note into the driver’s outstretched hand. “Keep the change.” I told him with a pleasant smile. Staring at me with an unreadable expression in his dark eyes, the cab driver nodded his head once, stuffing the bill into his front pocket and averting his gaze. Furrowing my eyebrows at the man’s strange behavior, I simply shrugged it off, thrusting open the cab door and bracing myself for the evening’s frigid air.

Linking arms with Eleanor and Danielle, the three of us approached the menacing bouncer that was manning District’s entrance, trying our best to ignore the rude stares and whispers of the girls in line who recognized us. Providing our names to him as well as our tickets, the bouncer quickly ushered us into the darkness of the club in order to avoid any sort of situation from occurring. Bypassing the sleek looking coat-check area due to our lack of coats, Danielle, Eleanor and I breezed onto District night club’s staggering dance floor, packed wall to wall with moving bodies. District, styled heavily in black and green was twice the size of even Cathedral, a large screen lining the entire back wall just behind the DJ’s booth, perched high above the crowd. Green strobe lights flickered rapidly as the crowd danced, moving as one entity to the thick electronic music.

Certain that it was Zayn when I felt my mobile vibrate within my wristlet, my heart began to slam against my ribcage when I saw that it was in fact Harry.

You look beautiful, the text message read. Three words, three words just like the ones Harry had whispered to me in one of Wrotham Manor’s many antiquated bedrooms, three words that I had not yet told him back.

Glancing up from my cell phone, I at once found my eyes locking with Harry’s bright green ones, a ghost of a smile on his full pink lips. Leaning heavily against the lit-up bar, Harry sipped on his drink, watching me from where I stood with Danielle and Eleanor. Clad in skin-tight black jeans and a navy blue dress shirt, there was something different in Harry’s green eyes that night –a sort of confidence that I had never quite seen in him before, a secret held in his clear green eyes and sealed beneath his lips.

“Go.” I heard Eleanor whisper in my ear, giving me an encouraging push in Harry’s direction. Nearly toppling over on my enormous black pumps, I stole a nervous glance at Danielle, seeing that her face was contorted with worry. Searching my face for a moment, Danielle at last nodded her head once, wordlessly suggesting that I go to him. Swallowing hard, I reminded myself that I had to do this, that I was in too deep to stop pretending now. Chin held high, I allowed Bambi to break free from her restraints, needing her now more than ever. Leila was weak, weak when it came to hurting Harry. Bambi however, Bambi was strong. Bambi was shameless.

Putting one spiked heel in front of the other, I began to make my way towards Harry, my heart contorting sharply when Zayn suddenly came into view. Allowing myself the most fleeting of glances in Zayn’s direction, my eyes met with his stunned dark ones. A beer clenched in his strong hand, Zayn was clad in fitted black jeans and Batman t-shirt, his thick black hair styled into his usual swooping quiff. Blinking his stormy brown eyes at me in surprise, Zayn opened his mouth as if to speak, suddenly remembering himself and closing it. Instead, Zayn chose to stare and me helplessly, his face contorting and the veins in his neck protruding in frustration. Beside him, Niall frantically elbowed Zayn in the ribs, but still Zayn did not look away, his dark eyes searching my face in agony.

Stomach panging, I wanted nothing more than him right then, wanted nothing more than the entire population of District to vanish aside for us, wanted nothing more than to lay beside him in the Moors –Zayn’s dark eyes on mine and mine on his, the wind howling around us.

Struggling to take a breath, I tore my gaze from Zayn’s before I would find myself unable to, turning back to Harry who still waited patiently for me by the bar, his green eyes surveying me curiously. Leila screamed at me from within the confines of my mind, to not break Harry as Catherine Earnshaw had broken Edgar Linton, to not lie to him or myself for a second longer.

The truth however, Bambi reasoned in my mind the truth is what will break Harry. And so I breezed up to Harry, watching as his pink lips broke into a breathtaking smile. Towering over me, Harry’s dark curls were styled away from his boyish face, his green eyes

“Happy New-.” Bambi’s words began to seamlessly spill from my mouth, Harry placing his thumb on my lower lip to stop me from speaking.

Harry gave me a cheeky smile. “Say that to me at midnight.” He whispered, leaning forward to brush his lips against my ear. “Right after I kiss you, right after we start the new year together.” He emphasized.

Shutting my eyes, I took a shaky breath. “Are you excited?” I inquired brightly, pulling back to gaze into Harry’s clear green eyes. “For what’s to come?” I whispered, wondering what joys or tragedies the New Year would bring, wondering how I could start with Zayn, when I had not yet finished with Harry.

Harry’s green eyes searched mine in momentary agony, a sad smile finding his pink lips. “More than you’ll ever know.” Harry whispered to me, he eyes drilling into mine. Allowing Harry to pull me into his chest, I could hear his heart racing beneath my ear, galloping towards 2013.  And although I could not see them right then, I could feel Zayn’s dark eyes on us, searing a hole between my and Harry’s chests, between me and the bright future Harry was certain the coming year held for us.

A/N: So sorry for the lateness of this once again! I will be getting back to all your lovely comments later tonight! Follow me on tumblr for sneak peeks and updates at iminlovewithastripperfanfiction . t.u.m.b.l.r.c.om

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