Check, please.

“I knew it was your month to pay the bills, so I made sure to use a lot of hot water.” I watched as he used the towel to dry between his legs and his torso, admiring his cleanly shaven male parts when the towel flicked up just high enough. “And your hair looks fine, Miss Over-Dramatic.” I bit my lip as I looked up and down at the bare and glistening body in front of me. “Been working out?”

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33. chapter 29

Betrayed.

Betrayed by the one person that I ever fully learned to trust. The only person I thought that I could trust. After I left the apartment, I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to take my eyes out of my head and try to wipe them clean of everything that I had just seen. It was one of my worst nightmares come true. I gagged when I saw a small pool of blood at the bottom of the stairs from where Therese had been. For as much as I hated her, I could have killed her and I was glad that I didn’t. I was almost horrified at my own rage and what had resulted because of it and I was surprised that I didn’t hit Harry more too. Maybe it was because a part of me knew it wasn’t his fault. But was it? It just didn’t add up. How the hell could he just leave me like that? If he was so worried, why didn’t he go outside and walk around the streets a little bit? He could have at least stayed at the studio and waited for me. Why would he think I would walk all the way back to the apartment? I just didn’t get it.

I shivered in the darkness as I walked down the street to Zayn’s, my head pounding and my heart still nauseous . I never really realized just how close he lived to us. I rarely ever went to Zayn’s, but I guess I felt like out of everyone that I could turn to for this instance, he would be the least dramatic about it all. He would probably actually listen to me like I knew Louis wouldn’t. He wouldn’t want to drink like Niall would. He wouldn’t want to ask a million questions about it like Liam would. If I wanted my space, I knew Zayn would give it to me, no questions asked.

“I was just looking to see if I could maybe hang here for the night?” I asked as he stood in the doorway, his plain white tank covered in paint.

“Or course, Love.” He stepped aside and let me into the dark apartment. Just like I said, no questions asked. The smell of fresh spray-paint filled my nostrils. There were large, white cloths over most of the furniture and a canvas as tall as I was stood in the middle of the room, half painted. I dropped my bag and kicked off my shoes, admiring the scene in the process.

“I’ve been painting,” Zayn said. “A guy on the street saw my work a few days ago and offered me quite a bit for it.” He rubbed his bare shoulder shyly as I observed the canvas so far. I could make out somewhat of a tiger or a cat, but a little more abstract than realistic, of course. The colors were all different but blended together amazingly. ”I was really surprised but I thought it would be a harmless way to make more money when I could.”

“That’s amazing, Zayn! I’m excited for you,” I said, lifting my hand to drag my fingers over the cloth canvas. That’s when I saw my hand, still bloody and split open from punching the wall. It was numb, swollen, and discolored in addition to being bloody. I was so mentally wrapped up in the past situation that I had completely forgotten about my hand.

“That looks bad, Scotlan.”

I nodded and pulled at the bottom of my shirt uneasily.

“Can I help you clean it? Wouldn’t want to have to amputate an infected hand.”

I laughed and turned to face Zayn. “That would be helpful.”

Zayn forced me (although it didn’t take much persuading) to get a little high before he cleaned my hand for me. When he said “clean”, I didn’t also know that he would be stitching it shut too. He numbed my hand with ice, cleaned it out with hydrogen peroxide, and before I could come down from my high, actually stitched my skin closed on my knuckles and bandaged me up. It was an uncomfortable process but I was grateful to say the least.

“I never ever knew you could do things like that, Zayn, that’s actually quite impressive,” I said, lifting the bandage to see the black stitches sewn through my skin.

Zayn plopped down on the couch after cleaning up the tools and washing his hands and grinned at me. “I like to be creative. To be honest, I wanted to be a surgeon, but I think the tattoos held me back. That, and I like to smoke weed.” He laughed loudly, surprising me. I don’t think I ever head him laugh like that in my life. “My mother was a nurse. One time I split my knee open falling off of a skateboard and she let me stitch myself up,” he said proudly.

I nodded, still astonished by the hidden talent, but then chuckled. “I don’t understand why the tattoos would affect anything. If you really were a surgeon, it’s not like your patients would be conscious while you were operating on them.”

Zayn laughed again and nodded. “Ahh, people just don’t like tattoos. That’s why you have to photoshop them out of our shots now too. People like Calvin Klein don’t want a bunch of tattooed men running around his ads. Unless you’re David Beckham I suppose.”

I sat quietly and watched Zayn carefully. He was such an interesting individual who I was never able to figure out. Ever. Some things about him were obvious, like the fact that he liked to be alone, he was fairly quiet, creative… but I felt like there were things that no one knew about Zayn except Zayn. He was usually really good about getting people to talk about themselves to avoid any conversation about himself, but tonight he seemed particularly talkative about his own life, which was nice.

“Maybe we can do an ad about uniqueness or something,” I said quickly.

Zayn cocked his head at me.

“I mean, something that isn’t fashion. Something where you guys can show off who you are. Your tattoos. I don’t know.”

Zayn grinned. “I would like that.”

“Well we have to find someone who needs an ad like that first.”

“We can always just promote uniqueness as our own ad.”

I frowned. “Our own?”

Zayn nodded. “We’re good enough to do our own ads. Even if it is something as silly as uniqueness or being one’s self.”

When I remained quiet, swallowed up in the idea, Zayn spoke again. “Speaking of being yourself… you’ve been very different lately.”

I sighed. “It’s just been a little more of a roller coaster ride lately that I would have liked.”

“Why is that?”

I didn’t necessarily want to talk about it, but seeing no way out of it, I sighed again. “I don’t know. It seems like any time Harry and I get to be comfortable, something happens to fuck it all up.”

“But you guys have been gettin’ through some of the stuff, right? Working out your problems, yeah?”

I shrugged and nodded slowly. “Some.”

“Well then you’re doing all right. That’s the difference between just a crush and a husband. You can break up with a crush over anything. You have to work through your problems with your husband.”

I sat up off of the couch. “Jesus Christ, Zayn, I’m not ready for a husband.”

He laughed and grabbed a surgical mask off of the couch beside him. “Why not?” Zayn asked, strapping the mask on his face and handing one to me.

“I don’t know.” I watched him as he shook up a few different spray-paint cans and started to spray the colors on the canvas.

“Honestly, Scotlan, you and Harry could get married tomorrow and you would survive.”

I groaned silently and played with the strings of the mask. “I wouldn’t say tomorrow.”

Zayn stopped spraying. “You two are like those stupid couples who have know each other for ages and just never really admit that you love each other and everyone else knows and has always known that you two are perfect for each other-“

“But we have told each other we love each other.”

“And have you showed it?”

Not understanding completely, I began to stutter. “I mean… we have sex-“

“I don’t mean sex. Anyone can have sex. What have you done for him? What has he done for you? Have you made sacrifices or… or… gotten a present or something… I don’t know what I’m really saying anymore. If you really love him, you have to fight. You have to. If he screws up, lay down the law. If he doesn’t like the law, he can fuck off. But you at least have to show him you love him in the mean time.”

My mind flashed back to a thousand times in my life where Harry was there for me. Miserable parties, embarrassing school functions, good hook-ups, horrible hook-ups… But suddenly I was realizing that he wasn’t just there to be a friend, he was there because he loved me. In a strange way, he was always protecting me from afar. He was there during therapy after my mom died. He did little things like buy me tampons when I was on my period and scheduled me my appointment when I told him I was pregnant. He spent forever growing grass on the roof for me to enjoy. Even in the clubs when I was more of a slut than ever, he was watching me carefully from a distance to make sure I was safe, even when I was with another guy. Then it clicked. There was no way he would have cheated on me. He loved me way too much for that.

But then another thing clicked. I had never ever done anything for him. A part of my mind argued that I saved his life when he was unconscious drunk on my floor… and… and… well, I clean his room and do his laundry for him. Aside from saving his life, I was a completely shit girlfriend. Until that moment, I had never thought so poorly of myself.

“Oh my God.”

“What?” Zayn asked.

I curled up on the couch and hugged my knees. “Check, please? My brain is about to explode from thinking about all of this.”

Zayn laughed. “You’re thinking too hard. Go tell him you love him or something! Do like the people in the movies and rush up to him and wrap your body around his and shower him with kisses and-“

“ZAYN he’s going to think I’m fucking crazy. I just beat the shit out of our neighbor and then half broke-up with him and now half an hour later you want me to go running back… I can’t.”

Zayn shrugged. “If anyone understands your insanity, it’ll be Harry. But it’s your choice. Wait if you want.”

“What about I wait until midnight?”

Zayn stopped spray-painting and looked at me. “Scotlan, do what you feel is right.”

I grumbled. “Goddammit, Zayn.”

I waited. I was so antsy. I don’t know why I wanted to wait, but it felt right for a while. I would seriously appear mental if I just broke up with Harry and came running back minutes later. I looked at my phone and at the door hoping that Harry would come bursting through. I know he promised he would give me my space and wouldn’t come looking for me but that’s the opposite of what I wanted at this point. Or maybe it was better for me to come to him. I could show him how much I loved him by coming back to him this time. I was satisfied with my plan until about 11 o’clock. Something about the night felt ominous and dark. I tried to take my mind off of the bad feeling by watching Zayn. He had almost finished painting but was adding some minor details. The closer we got to midnight the worse I felt.

At 11:30, something inside me burst. Without any warning, I leapt off of the couch and tore out of Zayn’s apartment without even putting on my shoes. I couldn’t take it anymore. Something was wrong and I could feel it. I sprinted all the way to my apartment. My heart leapt when I saw Niall’s car parked right behind Harry’s in the garage. I ran up the stairs skipping two at a time and yanking at the door handle. It was locked.

“HARRY!” I screamed, pounding my fists on the door as hard as I could without hurting my bandaged one. “NIALL, OPEN THE DOOR. HARRY PLEASE.”

I beat into the door until I thought it would fall down. I forced my body into it and jiggled the handle over and over, hoping that by some chance the bolt would jiggle loose or something incredible. “HAZ oh my god PLEASE HAZZA, PLEASE-“

Finally, I heard the bolt start to jiggle loose. It took much longer than I thought it would have and I could hear Niall swearing on the other side of the door. He was drunk. Completely wasted. Zayn ran up the steps behind me.

“Niall, listen, twist the lock. Twist it. You can do it, Lad,” he encouraged Niall patiently.

“Fuckin’ thing is shit why th’ fuck do you even fucking lock th’ fucking door, stupidest shit in th’ world-“

“NIALL PLEASE-“ I screeched, tears running down my face. I was terrified that I would burst in the door and find Harry unconscious again. I was terrified that I would be responsible for yet another death. After an eternity, the door unlocked and I pushed through, forcing Niall backwards over the end of the couch. Similar to the last time, the horrible stench of beer filled the place and beer bottles were broken everywhere. The TV screen was shattered and plates from the kitchen were broken into tiny shards all over the floor.

“Shit, I should have known this would happen-“ I gasped, covering my face. “Shit, shit, shit.”

“What the hell are ye’ doin’?” Niall slurred from the ground beside the couch. I stomped over to him and grabbed him by the collar of his shirt. “Where is Harry you drunken piece of shit??”

Zayn grabbed me from behind. “Calm down, Scotlan. Go check your room.”

I dropped Niall and sprinted down the hallway to the bathroom and bedrooms. I couldn’t understand how the hell Zayn would stay so calm at a time like this. Then I remembered that I was really the only one who knew how bad Harry could get when alcohol was involved. Zayn might be a little more urgent if he knew.

“Harry!” I shouted, sprinting over and around beds and into closets. He was nowhere.

“NIALL!” I screamed, coming back into living room. Zayn was throwing water on Niall’s face and trying to get him to come back around. He must have passed out while I was sprinting around the hallway. As I came out of the hallway, my bare foot crunched down on a large pile of glass. I froze and exchanged a horrified look with Zayn. When I lifted my foot, I saw blood already pooling on the ground. I threw my head back in partial defeat.

“Harry isn’t back here…” I wheezed, tears flowing in a continuous stream down my cheeks, more quickly now that I had glass stuck in my heel. “Oh my god, Zayn, where is he?”

Zayn shook his head. “I don’t know. Before Niall passed out, he said that he went to visit Bailey. He must have gotten depressed and brought beer over here to drink with Harry.”

I buried my fingers into my hair and pulled. How could I let this happen? This was my fault for not trusting Harry and overreacting.

“Is there somewhere Harry might go that reminds him of you?” Zayn asked. I shook my head.

“I don’t know, he used to always go to my room and fall asleep on my bed.” I hobbled back to my room and tore all of the sheets off of the bed just to be sure that somehow I didn’t miss his long body covered by the comforter. I ripped through my closet and screamed when I didn’t see him. I ran back to the living room and looked all around the couch and behind the TV. How in the hell did we lose a grown man? I put my forehead against the window and squeezed my eyes shut. I stood on my toes to avoid pushing the glass in my heel in any further and I could feel the cold blood running down the underside of my foot. When I opened my eyes again, I saw Alexander standing in the driveway under the street light waving his hand. I frowned. Alexander pointed upward. I tried to open the window. He shook his head and pointed upward again.

Up? Up. The roof.

“THE ROOF! How did I not think of that! The roof Zayn!” I leapt around the broken TV to the other window. Sure enough, it was cracked open. I pulled myself onto the ledge and looked down at Alexander.

“He climbed up there a few minutes ago,” he called up to me. “He just didn’t look completely stable so I’ve been watching him!”

My heart was beating hard in my chest. I spun around and climbed up the ladder as quickly as I could, but it was hard with my hurt hand and foot and without Harry pushing my bum. I grunted as I reached the top and dragged myself over the concrete ledge, scratching my stomach as I struggled to get my body fully onto the roof.

I collapsed onto my side and groaned. I stood up slowly and looked around. I didn’t know where he was but I didn’t want to say anything to startle him… if he was still conscious. “Harry?”

Even for as loud as I was getting up the ladder, my quiet greeting still startled him. Harry was standing tall on the very edge of the roof, his bare toes gripping the concrete as his long body swayed in the darkness. I could see his silhouette against the city, the light shining around him and outlining his body for me as he stood on the very edge, over 30 feet off the ground.

I covered my mouth with my hands. “Oh my God… Harry. Harry please come down…”

“Who is that??” He asked, swaying a little harder.

“Harry, it’s me. It’s Scotlan. Please, dear God, please just come down here on the roof.”

“Scotlan left, silly, she’s not here,” He slurred. I could tell he was more emotionally and mentally fucked than drunk.

I tried not to leap at him too quickly as he swayed again. “JESus Harry – Harry I came back. I came back for you. I’m right here,” I inched toward him and held out my hand, unsure if he could actually see me. Even if it was broad daylight I think he would have double vision. “Harry, reach for my hand. Please, Harry, I’m begging you.” My voice began to shake. I couldn’t lose another loved one. I couldn’t kill another loved one.

“My friend Anna asked me one time what I love about Scotlan and I couldn’t tell her,” Harry whimpered.

I choked on my breath. “Okay. It’s okay, Harry. Why don’t we talk about it here? On the grass? Remember the soft grass you grew?”

“I grew it for Scotlan,” he said, facing the city again and leaning forward just the slightest. He wobbled his arms around to keep his balance. I stifled a shriek but grabbed his wrist and pulled him backward on top of me. I fell back and hit the concrete HARD. Three more feet and I could have luckily landed on grass. I didn’t care at the moment though; at least I had Harry off of the ledge. I breathed heavily and my vision blurred as Harry allowed his weak body to completely collapse onto mine. His back heaved as he flipped over and sobbed into my chest.

“I’m sorry,” I whispered, stroking his hair. “I’m so sorry. I love you. I love you Harry.”

For as silly as it sounds, as Harry cried into my chest I couldn’t help but think of his tears as alcohol escaping his body. He seemed to sober up a little bit as he let it all out. We must have stayed up there on the concrete part of the roof for an hour before Harry finally spoke again. “I told Anna I loved everything about you and she told me that it wasn’t a good answer. That upset me because I really do love everything about you. Even when I hate you I love you.”

I stroked Harry’s hair and listened. “You love me so much that you’re about to hurl yourself off of a building because I left for the night?”

Harry stayed silent.

“Harry, you know I wouldn’t actually leave you. I say a lot of stupid things. Tonight was so stupid and I should have trusted you. I’m so sorry.”

Harry propped his chin on my chest and looked at me. “No, you had a reason to be mad. I probably should have kicked that bitch in the stomach but I just have a hard time hurting girls…”

I laughed. “Well I beat the shit out of her instead so it’s okay.”

Harry’s laugh echoed off of the buildings around us. “I’m sorry, but that was terrifying. All I saw was you drag her by her hair out of the room and then I heard screaming and a big BANG and then she was screaming as she fell down the stairs-“

“I punched her.”

“And you punched her-“

“No,” I laughed. “She didn’t just fall down the stairs, I punched her down the stairs.”

Harry sat up and laughed again. “I’m sorry I missed it. The day finally came where Scotlan broke and beat up Therese and I missed it.”

I grinned as I watched his head on my stomach in the dark, but my heart was still pounding hard. “Harry?”

“Hmm?”

I sighed. “Can we go back to never drinking again? Even if we get into another fight or something, please just promise me you wont drink? It just triggers something horrible in the both of us… what if you fell tonight or-“

“I promise, Scotlan. I promise. I’m sorry.”

Sacrifice. Zayn’s words from earlier echoed in my mind. There was another thing that Harry was doing for me. Sacrificing alcohol. For some people, that wasn’t a big deal, but for us it was huge.

“I love you,” Harry mumbled into my stomach.

“I love you,” I said back to him, scratching the sides of his head with my nails. “Do you love me enough to help me get this glass out of my foot?”

"Glass in your foot?"

I nodded. ”Because of that damn mess you made downstairs…”

Harry squeezed his eyes shut. “Sorrrry. I might still be a little drunk for foot surgery right now though.”

I laughed. “Then escort me to Doctor Malik, sir?”

I’m sure it was quite a scene watching Harry and I climb down from the roof, him still seeing double and me bleeding everywhere. Zayn helped us clean voluntarily and then got the glass out of my foot. I cried as he cut around my skin but Harry held my hand the whole time and kissed the top of my head, encouraging me like I was giving birth. “You can do it, just hold on, breathe, he’s almost done!” He cheered me on. When it was all over, I stood up and put a little bit of pressure on the bandaged part of my heel and started to clean up the other glass.

“What a fighter,” Harry laughed. And he was exactly right. From now on, I was going to fight for what I wanted and for what I had. I was going to prove to Harry that I loved him and nothing was going to stop me.

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