But I'm in Love With You

If I could burn my memories, I would. If I could take a lighter to a series of photographs and words and music and everything I associate with him, I would. And if I could show you everything I’ve seen, you’d burn them too.

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5. #5

Scarlett

The next three months passed in a blur of gigs, signings and, of course, Zayn’s announcement that he was now dating Russian model, Eugenia Vina. They were forced to make it public after a wad of pap photographs were leaked online, and they haven’t looked back since.

She would often travel with us and, unsurprisingly, the boys were absolutely captivated by her. Everyone but Harry, that was.

Despite his seemingly blasé approach to girls, he seemed far more finicky when it came to this one – one day she might be too skinny and the next her eyes were too blue. During this period we grew increasingly close until we spent most days in each other’s company – according to Maddy, I kept him tamed – but in the same instance Zayn and I drifted a little. Not an ocean wide but just a little. He still sat on my lap when there weren’t any vacant chairs but when my hands were cold and I couldn’t seem to warm them, they remained cold. He didn’t take them like he used to, whisper his warm breath onto my icy fingertips. I used to be able to tell you the lines that ran over his palm, his fingers; the exact placing of his hand in mine; the softness of his skin against my own. Now, I could barely remember myself and, if I was to be frank, I let the memories go like a puff of smoke to the wind. I didn’t want to remember.

Perhaps I would be more inclined to their relationship was she as beautiful on the inside as the outside – thing was, that wasn’t the case. And she seemed to have taken an instant disliking to me. She would never refer to me by name but by some scathing nickname – of course, never in Zayn’s presence – although I doubted whether he’d do anything in favour of me these days. When we were the way that we were, he wouldn’t take a single word against me and accept it – and there were lots of words – but now? Sometimes, I wondered whether he even remembered me at all.

*** 

Madison Square Garden – New York.

It was lunchtime and, despite the seven hour gap until they were due onstage, everyone seemed to be in a slight state of whirling panic. Maddy had yelled at just about everyone but Eugenia, from make-up to the boys, and was now laying into a runner supplied by the venue.

‘Turn around,’ I tell Liam absent-mindedly, and shift slightly to allow him to spin in his chair whilst I watched Maddy become increasingly flustered. Sinking my fingers into his locks, I massage until they are of sufficient messiness and send him on his way. Zayn was next, and as I turn to say to the stylists supplied by the venue that it was then that I would take my break and would they cover for me, I am suddenly aware of someone standing close to me – so close that I could smell that all-familiar sweetness.

I turn to face him, the strand of my hair that he has wrapped around his index finger tugging lightly on my scalp. He doesn’t look at me but gazes blankly into something intangible, his hand that encapsulated my hair coming to rest on my shoulder. A frown ripples across my forehead and my mouth etches open to say something but my throat seems to shut off, whisking away any potential words being released – he cried in the same way that I didn’t. The tears were brimming so rapidly that he didn’t even have to blink to rid of them.

He continues to twirl the strand of my hair around his finger even when I place my hands against his cheeks, brush away his tears with my thumbs only for them to be replaced instantly. His chin begins to tremble with the effort of trapping the sobs and, without a word I loop my arms around his neck and pull him into me. Releasing the strand of my hair from his finger, his arms wind around me like ribbons and he buries his face in my neck and suddenly he is sobbing. Those around us turn and their faces shift to mirror my own – confusion. Concern. Unease.

‘Scar –’ Louis begins with a chuckle, emerging from the hallway with a can of hairspray and a towering tuft of hair at the crown of his head. Our eyes meet briefly before he breaks away and slips back into the hallway; moments later, Harry, Niall and Liam have appeared in the doorway with faces awash with concern.

I won’t lie and say that I didn’t stand there wondering if I really was the one he wanted – after all, he had barely spoken with me for months. We hadn’t drifted a little but an ocean-wide – and I see that now.

And I won’t lie that the first thought of fleeing – however fleeting – didn’t flit across my mind; that it didn’t catch in my memories and thoughts and pull back the seal, revealing the anguish that had gathered there. Because it did, and I couldn’t take it back.

And I won’t lie and say that it wasn’t killing me.

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