As soon as Niall pulled me in for a hug to say hi to me, I remembered him saying that I should call him in case anything happened. So I got out of his embrace quickly and excused myself to the kitchen to make some snack and not have to look at Niall and feel guilty and anxious. I had to pull it together and act more convincing because although Niall seemed clueless about everything I didn’t want to risk being exposed. For the first time in my life I wasn’t happy about someone caring about me.
That night I tried. I tried so hard to stay away from Liam’s friends, not because I was afraid of him, but because what he said was right. As much as I hated to admit it he was right. This thing was not going to last and we couldn’t stay friends after that. So it would be better not to make things harder by getting closed to them. I tried really hard but the boys were so keen on involving me in every single conversation and telling me all the details about the things that had happened in the past. I couldn’t help laughing when Louis was the one telling the story and Niall giggling beside me all the time didn’t help that at all. The boy’s laughs were contagious.
Now it was Harry’s turn talking in that slow tone of his about the time that Louis and Zayn played a prank on him and rest of them and Niall was teasing him about how distressed and worried Harry had seemed when he thought the woman who was interviewing the was actually giving birth there. I looked at Liam, while I was playing with a ring that was on a table beside me, absent-mindedly and saw how he seemed to have forgotten about what had happened a few hours ago and probably my presence right then and there and was laughing. I was lost in the expression on his face and not so concentrated on the image I had to put up when I suddenly noticed Zayn’s gaze on me. I checked my hair with my hand self-consciously, to make sure it was fixed and was hiding his friend’s hand print on my face. I let the breath I hadn’t realized I was holding out because my hair was in the right place but the look on Zayn’s face didn’t change. I smiled uncomfortably and he frowned at me.
He opened his mouth to say something but fortunately Harry’s story finished and Zayn didn’t get to say anything to me. I jumped at the opportunity. “ Guys, I really like to stay here but I have a big exam tomorrow and I need to study.” I lied through my teeth. It was the beginning of the semester and I had no exams. Liam looked at me knowing that I didn’t have any exams but didn’t say anything. Of course he didn’t. He wanted the intruder to go away and have some alone time with his friend!
“What? Oh come on, Alex! Don’t be such a geek! We were gonna play a game!” Niall practically whined.
I laughed at him and his adorable accent. “I’m sorry maybe some other time.” I said shaking my head.
“Say hi to El for me Louis.” I shouted as I went upstairs and into my room. I let my breath out after I closed the door. That was close. Zayn knew something was wrong. How did he find out? I thought I was pretty convincing. The boy was smarter than I had expected! I had to be even more careful from now on.
Suddenly I felt the need to stop thinking about the things around me for a while. I needed my friends, my family. I couldn’t believe how much I missed Nikki. I needed to talk to her. I hadn’t seen her since the day I moved from Leeds. I picked up the phone and dialed her number anxiously.
We talked for nearly an hour. She was angry at me. Said she’s tried to call and texted me numerous times and I hadn’t answered her once. She was worried about me. She said she had heard about the accident and me dating Liam. I explained the things that had happened for her as much as I could. I didn’t tell her about the contract and our negotiation but I just made her understand that nothing was as it seemed and that she needed to trust me and that’s what she did. That was what I loved Nikki. She was an awesome friend and trusted me no matter what.
I was in the middle of my conversation with her when the door flew open and I saw Liam standing at the doorway looking pissed. My heart was beating so fast I was afraid that Nikki might hear it over the phone.
“I’ll call you later Nikki.” I said before I hung up.
“Where is it Alex?” Liam said in a low voice.
What the fuck was he talking about? Where was what?
“What do you mean” I asked coldly.
“You know well what I mean.” He raised his voice, taking one step closer to me.
“No, Liam! I don’t know what the fuck is wrong with you again!” I raised my voice too trying not to back away in fear.
“I knew you were a bitch but I didn’t know you’re a thief too.” He took the last step. Our faces were inches apart.
“I can’t fucking believe you! You think I’ve stolen something from you?” I was furious. How could he think that? I pushed him away with all my strength but he didn’t move an inch. It just made him angrier.
“I know you’ve stolen from me. Now give it back.” He growled.
“I don’t even know what you’re talking about.” I replied with clenched teeth.
He took me by arm and dragged me downstairs to the living room, the place we were sitting with his friends a couple of hours ago.
“My ring was right here on this table Alex. I saw you playing with him!” He said, not letting go of his iron grip on my arm.
I looked at the table, confused. I remember playing with the ring but I was pretty sure I had put it back on the table when I said goodbye to the lads.
“Liam I swear to God, I put it back on the table.” I was starting to feel uncomfortable.
“”Don’t fucking lie to me! Just give the bloody ring back and get this over with.”
“For the last time Liam, I didn’t take your ring. Now let go of me!” I tried to free myself.
He gave me one last nasty look and pushed me on the ground. I was caught off guard. I fell on the floor and my head hit the table with a loud thump. I opened my eyes feeling the world rotating around me and after a few seconds when my vision was clear, I saw a shining object under the table. I reached for it with shaky hands and picked it up. It was the ring.
I got up and walked up to Liam who hadn’t changed his position but lost my balance on my way to him. I felt hands on my waste trying to help me stand steady. As soon as I regained my balance I got away from him and threw the ring at him.
“Here’s your fucking ring Liam! Next time before you start going around accusing people of stealing your stuff, open your fucking eyes and look for them.” I yelled at him and went back to my room, trying to hide the shakiness of my steps and looking confident.