You're My Light

When Zayn stumbles upon a girl who has many secrets and cuts herself he decides to take her in. She doesn't trust him at first and is quick to try to escape. But he keeps her firmly trying to protect from herself. As she realizes she can overcome the hurt, the two fall for each other. Then a horrible event occurs, but the boys don't see it as too tragic. Will her secrets all be revealed? Only Zayn can bring the light back to her darkness and vanquish the evils that haunt her.

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9. Close Call

Zayn POV

            She told me one of her secrets. I wasn't sure how many secrets she had but it seemed to be tearing her apart. An overwhelming feeling of protectiveness had come over me. It had caused me to pull her down next to me where I was laying on the floor. She wanted to get up and away from me but I held her next to me. I could tell by the way we talked that she was conflicted. Charlotte didn't know if she should tell me her  secrets. She didn't know if she could trust me, and she most certainly didn't know if she wanted to stay or not.

            I found out that her aunt lives in Liverpool and that she's orphaned. I wasn't sure why that was a secret, but if the "secrets" were only that big then we wouldn't have a problem. But then again, there WAS that secret of the guy who had hurt her. Did HE hurt her physically or mentally? Or both?

            There was only so much that she trusted to tell me and even though I really wanted her to, I knew her trust wouldn't come easy. She told me that she didn't want to be a charity case. But she wasn't a charity case. She was so much more. Charlotte was like my missing puzzle piece. I felt like I needed her and I definitely knew she needed me - whether she liked it or not.

           We went downstairs to get breakfast and I instructed her to sit at the kitchen island. I didn't want to take the chance of allowing her to hurt herself. I wasn't sure how stable she was this morning but she hadn't exactly pushed me away when I kissed her.

           The kiss this morning was much like the night before. All I knew was that she was looking all wondrous and beautiful. I wanted to comfort her and protect her at the same time and our eyes were already locked. It seemed ironic because she was trying to escape, but in that moment she was just there.

            "Do you enjoy that?" She asked me.

            "Enjoy what?" I questioned her.

             "Enjoy watching me eat?" She inquired. I laughed and looked around.

            "Is this better?" I asked. She placed her hand on my arm. I looked down at it and then up to her face again. She wasn't looking at me though. She was staring out of the doorway and down the hall. Everyone was awake now and she didn't seem to like that everyone was still here and had spent the night.

            "Sleep overs are normal for us love. We are all in a band together," I said.

            She removed her hand quickly and looked down at her plate. I didn't understand why she had withdrawn so quickly. But maybe I was putting too much pressure on her. I would take a step back to make sure to take care of her. If I pushed myself on her she would cut even more which is what I was trying to prevent.

             When she finished I took the plate and put in the sink. I turned back to her and she had her head in her hands. "Are you okay love?" I asked tentatively. She shook her head. "What can I do?" I questioned, debating if I should embrace her or hold my stance. 

             "It's nothing," She mumbled, wiping her eyes with her eyes with her hands and sitting up. She wouldn't meet my eyes.

             "Hey, hey. Charlotte. Don't push me out. Talk to me," I said stepping closer.

             She sighed. "I want to go home but I can't," She told me quietly.

             "Why not? I'm sure your aunt misses you just as much," I replied, trying to soothe her.

            "I can't live with the secrets around them. It's too much to bear. Zayn it's tearing me apart," She whispered and her voice cracked. She looked up at me when she said my name and I held her gaze. In that moment I knew she had been hurt a lot in her past and had run away as a way to leave the pain behind. I put my hand on the table and slid it over to her hand.

            "Babe whoever has hurt you, won't get by me. We can work out the secrets or around the secrets.  I can take you to a therapist or we can work together here. It's all your decision but I'm telling you it will get better," I comforted her.

            She leaned into me and I grasped her hand in mine. We didn't say anything after that, but I think my speech helped her a little. I think she trusted me a little more now even if it wasn't by a lot. "Hey Charlotte! Do you want to go shopping with me?" Eleanor called from the living room.

             Charlotte didn't move. "Would you like to go with her? Some Eleanor and Charlotte time?" I laughed.

             "Sure," She replied unenthusiasticely. 

             "She'll be out in a second!" I yelled to El. Then I turned Charlotte. I held her at arm's length. "Please don't try to run," I asked Charlotte.

             "And if I do?" She whispered.

             "I don't have to worry about that right? Charlotte this isn't me telling you not to run. This is me asking you not to leave," I said quietly. I seperated myself from Charlotte just in time for Eleanor to walk into the kitchen. She threw a pile of clothes at Charlotte and laughed when I caught them while falling to the ground. "Well that's going to be sore tomorrow," I chuckled.

            Charlotte walked off with Eleanor, looking back to make sure that I got up safely. I washed the dishes in the sink and put them on the drying rack. When I was done I went to sit down in the living room. The girls came downstairs shortly after. Eleanor kissed Louis on the cheek before waving politely to all of us. I sent Eleanor a responsible look and she waved me off. Charlotte nodded at me and I smiled encouragingly at her.

            As soon as they left the boys all tackled me. "Details mate!" Harry yelled.

            "What do you mean details?" I asked.

            "Where exactly did you find her?" Liam inquired.

            "In the alley down the street," I answered. I told them all about how I found her and how I instantly knew I had to help her. I told them about her beauty when she was sleeping and about how every time our eyes met I felt like I was in a trance and couldn't look away.

             And do you know what they told me? After I told them about this morning, Harry said, "Mate I think you should know that you're  in love,"

            "It's not like that though," I protested. "She doesn't even trust me, let alone like me,"

            "You said she didn't pull away when you kissed her. And the lack of trust could be due to that guy she talks about," Liam said. I sighed.

           "What are you doing?" Louis asked Niall, who was on the computer.

           "Looking up all of the Charlottes in Liverpool and checking the missing persons records," Niall answered.

           We all jumped up and surrounded the screen. "There is two Charlottes missing in England and one of them is listed in Liverpool!" He exclaimed after a moment of waiting. He clicked on the name and a picture of Charlotte popped up. We all gasped because the picture showed a completely different Charlotte. The one in the picture showed her smiling, in pretty pink, with make-up on her face. 

           My phone went off buzzing. I checked the caller ID: Eleanor. I flipped it open. "Hello?" I said urgently.

           "Zayn, Charlotte took off. I was in the dressing room and when I came out she was gone," Eleanor called through the phone.

          I motioned to the boys to get going and we grabbed our keys. We would take different cars to search for her; I had it planned out in my head. "Where were you shopping?" I questioned her, clicking the print button on the computer so I would have Charlotte's picture.

          "At the outside mall. The clerk says she thinks Charlotte turned to North Boulevard," Eleanor said.

          "We're on our way," I said grabbing my keys as we all  walked outside and into the cars. I drove past the limit towards the mall. I called the boys to tell them what general directions to take and headed North myself. I drove down the road slowly and came to a stop outside of a drug store. If Charlotte was leaving she was going to buy more razors. I parked and walked into the store slowly.

          I didn't find her in the store but the shelf that had pencil sharpeners for display had three sharpeners missing. I took off towards the register and showed the worker Charlotte's picture. The clerk said that she had seen Charlotte  in here a little while ago so I thanked her and left.

          I took off in my car down the same street and saw a figure duck into an alley. I parked the car and took off running towards the direction. A motion turned a corner so I followed it. After a minute I was back out on a main street and I saw Charlotte walking through a crowd of people. I kept an eye on her but kept my distance. She stopped at a coffee stand but when she got it, she took off running. The coffee stand guy was calling threats of calling the police so I stopped there for a moment. 

           "That's for her coffee," I said dropping money on the cart. He grunted as I took off after Charlotte again. When she ducked into an alley I turned, determined to catch her now.

          "Hello beautiful," A guy said ahead. I hid behind a corner. Charlotte turned around to head back the way she came. "I'm not done with you," He told her. I couldn't see them but I was determined to get out there. I took a deep breath and moved out there to see a guy a year or two younger than me, pressing Charlotte up against the wall. He was holding her arms above her head with one hand and had the other on her stomach.

          "Get off of my girl," I shouted. Charlotte, who was sobbing now, looked up at me. The guy turned around, still pinning her against the wall.

          "She's mine now.  Aren't you love?" He said to Charlotte. I ran at the guy and pulled him off of Charlotte. I punched the guy in the face and pushed him to the ground before kicking his stomach in twice. 

          "She's my girl. And that's not how you treat a lady. Got it?" I snapped. When he didn't reply I kicked his stomach again. He grunted a yes. "Come on love. Let's get out of here," I said, turning to Charlotte. Her eyes were clear now but it was pretty obvious that she was ready to fall apart. 

           I ushered her out of the alley and onto the main street again. As soon as we were out she stopped. I pulled her towards me and wrapped my arms around her. She rested her head on my chest and I squeezed her tightly. "Did you drop your coffee?" I asked trying to distract her a little.

           "How long have you been following me?" She questioned.

           "I saw when you ducked in the first alley," I answered, stroking her hair. "I paid for your coffee and saw when you ducked behind this alley," I added. 

           "Thank god you were there," She said, on the verge of tears.

           "Shh. Let's go back to my flat before we talk about it. But first I need you to give me the bag," I told her, holding out my hand.

            "I don't know what you're talking about," She lied.

            "Charlotte please don't make me take them," I insisted. 

            "I thought you said you saw me when I ducked behind the alley," She countered.

            "We'll take about it after. Come on Charlotte," I begged. A tear rolled down her cheek and she dropped her head on my chest again. I grabbed a bag sticking out of her back pocket and took it away. She began to protest but I threw the bag straight into the nearest trash can.

            I took her hand in mine and pulled her along with me gently. "I can't do this Zayn. I have to cut. It's going to overwhelm me," She begged. I turned to face her. She looked at me with pleading eyes and I saw all of her hurt and loss echoed through them. 

            I leaned down a little, unsure if I should kiss her. I wanted to; and it seemed like the right thing to do. But I wasn't sure if it would help her or backfire so I didn't move anymore. She reached up on her tiptoes and her lips met mine. We kissed softly and gently, with a protective edge. I pulled back with the same gentle force and helped her along with me.

            We got back to the car and I helped her in her seat. I kissed her cheek before climbing back to my seat. I was satisfied that I was able to save Charlotte but I realized how vulnerable she was. It was definitely a close call.

"And if you feel like falling down, I'll carry you home, tonight,"

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