The Romantic & The Cynic

Sky Benson is a romantic. She believes in the happily ever after and Prince Charming on a white horse, mostly. And as a wedding photographer, she gets to live it everyday. She could use a few more adventures but who couldn't.

But her life changes with a phone call. Her friend, another photographer, calls to ask her for a favor. He needs someone to cover a job for him and he wants her to do it. She decides to, thinking of it as a romantic adventure she can tell her grandkids.

Then she meets Zayn, the mysterious boy who doesn't think the world has room for romance. Will she be able to convince him otherwise? Or will she become a cynic as well.


5. Chapter 5: A Part Of Your Own Prescription

Sky knew that she had to test the waters with each of the boys to determine what the working relationships with them were to be like. And very quickly, she figured out who she would have an easy time with and who she would struggle with. Niall, Harry and Louis were the ones who would welcome her with open arms. In Harry's case, maybe a little too open but she could deal with that. It was Liam and Zayn that she was concerned about.

She decided that her plan of attack would have to be three against two. She knew that Liam might have to cave if the other three were on her side. As for Zayn, she decided that may be a lost cause but not one that she would give on just yet. If for nothing else than she had to complete her assignment, she had to have some type of workable relationship with the brooding man.

After Zayn had vacated his seat on the couch, it had been quickly filled by Harry. He lazily slid his body into the couch seat and rested his arm on the sofa behind her but she shimmied forward to create some seperation. She caught a whiff of his very fragrant cologne, a mixture of vanilla and wood that tickled her nose in an not unpleasant but strong way. He smiled cheekily at her, his dimple showing and his tongue sliding across his full lips.

"So, the name is Sky is it? That's a pretty one." She could tell that his voice was practiced and deliberate. And it made her fall in love with him just a little bit like she loved puppies. It was obvious that he was trying to impress her, trying to show that he was suaver than his young years. She didn't know a lot about the members but she had read about the various romances Harry had shared with high-profile women in the magazine article she still had tucked in her carry-on bag and she had no desire to be part of the elite list.

"It is," she said as she stood up, adjusting her shorts and shirt. "I'm looking forward to working with you guys over the next while. It's going to be very different than what I'm used to shooting."

Harry moved his arm awkwardly from where he had put it behind her and Sky felt badly for a moment. He was probably a sweet boy but she didn't want to start the job with the wrong impression. She moved back to where her she had set her camera down and slipped the strap around her neck before turning back towards Harry, lifting it and aiming it at Harry.

"Smile," she said as she snapped the shutter and took a picture. His reaction had been automatic and his smile had lifted just before the picture had been snapped and as she took a quick look at it, she was satisfied. She turned the camera screen towards Harry and showed him the screen. "Aren't you cute," she said she said as she smiled at him.

Sky felt an arm fall over her shoulder and turned to see Louis at her side. She was immediately struck by his face, the stark and simple beauty of it.

"Come on now," he said with a cheery voice. "Leave this poor bird alone Hazza." He turned to face her and smiled brightly at her. "Let me save a pile of time. Mr. Styles is a heartbreaker and no woman seems to resist him. But you, my dear, seem different. I think you may be the woman that finally withstands the charmings of my dear Hazza and teaches a valuable and much needed lesson about respecting the women in his life."

Sky caught a hurt look briefly appear on Harry's face but it was quickly replaced by his usual happy smile. She softly moved away from Louis' arm and snapped a shot of him, his eyes dazzling as he looked directly into the lens.

The rest of the morning passed relatively smoothly. Harry continued to try to press his way with her but she found it was easy to deflect the attention. Louis helped her by being his happy self and diverting Harry's attention away from her as well. The two of them seemed to bounce off of each other and wanted to include Sky in their seemingly boundless energy.

Niall was another ball of spirit. He seemed to always be moving somewhere and Sky thought that she would only see a blur of motion when she reviewed the photos. While he wasn't a complete blur, there was always a part of him out of focus, unsharp in the moment that she snapped the shot.

Liam and Zayn stayed away from her. Whether Liam was hunched over the board or Zayn was curled up on the couch with his sketchbook, neither of them responded when she snapped a photo. Zayn occasionally looked up with a scowl on his face but that was all the emotion she was able to get from him and she didn't want to record it.

After a couple of hours, food appeared as the receptionist from that morning entered with several pizza boxes along with a sniff towards Sky. Niall immediately jumped up and grabbed a couple of slices and Harry and Louis weren't far behind. Liam finished some settings on the board before taking his but Zayn remained in his seat, his interest focusing on his sketch and not on the food that had appeared. Sky watched as Niall grabbed another slice and put it on a plate, sliding it in front of the Zayn but he made no move toward it and Sky knew it would remain untouched and grow cold. Niall walked away with a sour look on his face.

Zayn knew the pizza was there, knew that Niall wanted him to eat it but he had no desire to do so and so he continued to sketch the image he was desperate not to forget. His appetite had disappeared the day that Perrie had told him that she was moving on. The day that she had packed up her few belongings from his apartment that had migrated their way there during their time together and removed herself from his life without any discussion with him. It had been two weeks now and it still felt like she had carved out a distinct piece of his soul to pack in the box and take with her out the door.

The band had rallied around him, each individually attempting to console him in their own way in his time of pain. Harry and Louis had cracked awful jokes, Niall had provided too much food and Liam had told him to buck up. None of it had helped. None of it had brought his Perrie back to him. And that was the only thing that would fix it. Because she would bring back the missing part of his soul she had taken that day and allow him to have it back so he could put himself back together again.

He felt the couch shift beside him and looked to see Liam sit down at his side, a fresh piece of pizza in his hand. Liam had been the harshest on him during the last two weeks, not allowing him to mope around and making him understand that there were still commitments he had to keep. Zayn had felt frustration at what he took as the older man's lack of compassion but began to appreciate the fact that that he was being dragged kicking and screaming through his pain.

Liam gestured towards the pizza on the table. "Hey man, you need to eat something. Take a bite." Liam pushed the pizza towards him. Zayn relunctly set his book down and took a bite just to shut him up. It tasted cold and like cardboard but Zayn finished the piece just to not hear the lecture he knew would be coming if he didn't.

The two men were silent for a moment more. Zayn felt his hand itching back towards the book beside him, craving to sink himself back into the memory. Liam sensed it and set his hand gently on the cover illiciting a narrowing of eyes from Zayn.

"You need to stop this," he said with a caring in his voice that Zayn hadn't heard in the two weeks. "I'm not saying that you should forget her or that the pain will evaporate at will. What I am saying is that you need to fight through this. You need to be part of your own prescription."

Zayn listened to the words that Liam said, listened and tried to get them to sink into him. But they wouldn't. The pain was still too raw, too violent in his memory to be pushed into a dusty corner and pulled out only when he was capable of handling it. It was always there, hanging off of him and waiting to pounce. He set his plate down and pulled the sketchbook out from under Liam's hand. He opened the book to a fresh sheet and started to draw again.

"Thanks for the advice Liam but it's hard to take it coming from someone who's perfect girlfriend texted him five minutes ago." The words were harsh and Zayn had meant them to be. That was the other thing that had dug into him since Perrie had left. Liam had Danielle, Louis had Eleanor, Harry could have anyone he wanted. Even Niall had a girl back in Ireland that may not be officially his girlfriend but someone who cared about him, who it mattered to whether he was happy or not. Zayn had lost that. The boys had tried to be sensitive to it and had been more aware of not whispering sweet nothings when he was around. But gradually that had changed and the silly conversations and dreamy looks after texts had returned.

"Zayn, you will find your way back through this." Liam stood up and awkwardly stuffed his hands in his jeans pockets. "And all of us will do anything we need to to make sure that you do. You just need to let us try."

Zayn let his hand drag the pencil darkly across the page. He had filled one sketchbook and was halfway through another with pictures of Perrie since she had left. Pictures of her sleeping, of her smiling, of her laughing, of her leaving. All of the memories he had of her distilled to paper and carbon. But each one had seemed slightly off. Her face wasn't bright enough, her hair wasn't soft enough, her mouth wasn't full enough, her eyes weren't angry enough. Each time he started again, he was sure that he would get it right. That he would fix the one detail that he had erred on the last time. But each time he fixed one he missed another mark. And he had to start again.

Liam remained where he stood, waiting for an answer from Zayn. He waited for some type of acknowledgement of the support he was offering but he wasn't going to get it. Zayn was already back into her, back into his race to get the memories right before they were gone from his tenuous grasp. Liam unstuck himself and turned away from Zayn and back towards the rest of the group. Louis was currently having a wrestling match with Harry, Niall being the referee. Laughter emanated from all of them and it was all being happily recorded by the new photographer.

Sky. The person who could become an intimate part of their lives. He had been uncomfortable with the idea the minute that it had been proposed a month ago. They had always shared alot with their fans, the nature of their formation making the fans feel connected to them in a special way from the beginning of the ride. Through twitter, facebook and youtube, they had always invited their fans to enjoy the success with them and to let them know just how much the support meant to the group. But this felt different and awkward. To have someone record their moments, the times when they were creating what they wanted to put out to the world. He had always considered it a very private time for the band. A time when he wanted to protect what was bubbling and stewing and not ready for public consumption.

Zayn had originally been for the idea. He had wanted to let the fans have a controlled view into the lives of the band. Let them in, let them view it, let them feel even more part of their success. He had even suggested that they put up a weekly update on their website using the pictures and musical snippets. When the breakup had happened, he had pulled back. But not from the idea but from the group itself. He hadn't said he didn't want it, he hadn't said he did. Instead, he had dived into the sketches and no one had been able to pull him out.

After many long discussions, the group had finally convinced him to do it when he had met Jake, the original photographer. He was laid back, talented and most importantly male. That meant that he would not be a distraction to the emotionally cracking Zayn.

But now they had Sky. And he had a week to figure out if he wanted to invite her permanently into their world, Zayn's world. He knew what Louis, Harry and Niall's answer would be. Now he just had to figure out his own.

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