☠ Chapter Thirteen ☠
➳ ARIELLE'S POV
I roll over, mumbling several curse words. I use my arms to slowly and carefully lift my weak body up in the bed. I immediately regret the decision to sit up in bed, placing my head in my hands, which is throbbing.
I run out of the bed literally as fast as I can carry my body, straight for the master bathroom. I barely have time to turn the light on, place my knees on the floor and lift the seat of the toilet before my stomach spills its contents. I retch a few times and then sit on the cold tile floor.
I flush the toilet and stand to face the sink. I rinse my mouth and wash my hands. When I look in the mirror I notice the harsh red lines in my eyes. Why did I drink so much last night?
I run my fingers through my hair, noting that it's a knotted mess. Realizing that my breath must smell like vomit I desperately search his cupboards for mouth wash. I spot some and put a cup of it in my mouth, swirling it around until I feel satisfied that the smell and taste of vomit should be gone.
I put the seat of the toilet back down and shut off the light in the bathroom. When I take a step into the bedroom it's near black. I stare at the window which is now covered with a thick black sheet, blocking out the bright sunlight. I can make out the furniture - it seems as though everything's in place. I stumble through the bedroom until I'm standing at the side of the bed, which is empty.
Obviously Zayn never even returned home last night.
I run my fingers through my hair again and make my way towards the kitchen. The sunlight streams into the hallway, making my head pound even more. I realize that I barely remember last night. I remember cooking with Zayn, him leaving and the last thing I remember was staring at a painting of my lower half wearing ripped jeans. The rest is all a blank slate.
I round the corner and head into the kitchen to find Zayn standing there, not realizing I've entered the room. He has a brown paper bag sitting on the counter and he reaches his arm into the bag and pulls out a small burger. He places it onto the counter and then turns to throw out the bag. When he turns around again he notices my presence.
"Good morning. How're you feeling babygirl?" He walks around the island.
"Sick," is all I respond.
He smirks at me and then his eyes slowly rake up and down my body - which is barely covered. I look down, realizing that I'm wearing his shirt, which is barely covering my ass. My eyes widen. I avoid eye contact for a moment. "C'mere," he chuckles.
I comply and walk forward towards him. He tucks a stray strand of hair behind my ear, "I got you something to eat." Zayn takes a step towards the island, leading me by placing his hand on my lower back. I feel the shirt begin to ride up, exposing more flesh.
He makes me sit on the barstool and grabs the hamburger. "Here's some ginger ale for your stomach, some pills for your head, and a nice greasy hamburger." I notice he's wearing something different from last night. He shrugs his shoulders, "I know the first thing I crave after drinking too much is a greasy hamburger… if you don't want to eat it, or if you don't eat stuff like that it's fine."
I grab his arm gently, "no, it's lovely. Very thoughtful." I begin to unwrap the burger as he walks around the island, leaning on the hard marble top with his forearms. "Is this your way of apologizing?" I ask before taking a bite of the burger.
He runs his fingers along his stubble, "yes." He's staring at me, "business was a little more… complicated than I had anticipated."
"You couldn't have phoned, or texted?" I bite back.
"Arielle, it's business. I can't just take a moment to call you, especially if I'm driving. I may drive dangerously but I need all of my focus - not to be focusing on sending a silly text message." He takes a moment to look over my shoulder at the sun. I notice a new bruise forming on his right fist.
I ignore his comments. I know that he's right but I also know that he could've taken thirty measly seconds when he wasn't preoccupied, to send a text my way. There's no use fighting over it anymore. "You came home last night," I comment, pointing to his fresh clothing.
"It wasn't until late. You had already passed out darling. You must've been completely snockered." He smirks at me. He walks around the corner as I finish off the burger. I feel his presence behind me and then his chest against my back. He leans forward and places his hands on my bare thighs. "You feeling any better babygirl?" He places a kiss to the back of my neck.
I nod my head lightly, "a little. But I'm still upset with you."
"Okay," he murmurs into my throat. "Well I guess I'll just have to make it up to you."
"That's what you said last time," I point out as I turn around in the barstool to face him. He doesn't even hesitate - his hands are quickly placed upon my bare thighs again.
"Are you wearing a bra?" He smirks wickedly as he uses his index finger to pull at the fabric so he can take a peek down my shirt. "Fuck Angel."
I swat at his hands, "Angel?" I ask, curiously.
He ignores my comment and roughly places his lips to my chin. "Y'know I can think of one way to make it up to you…" His stubble tickles my cheek as his hand moves its way up my thigh - fingertips just ghosting across my skin. His hand emits a trail of goose bumps as it continues its path.
I grab onto his wrist, stopping him. I lean forward to whisper in his ear, "yeah no, I’m definitely not still snockered." I tease his use of the word 'snockered' - a word I'd never even heard before he said it.
When I pull away he's still smirking wickedly as if this is some twisted game. He doesn't push me any further, he just roughly presses his lips to mine. When he pulls away from me his eyes go down. He softly uses his index finger to lift the cotton fabric of his shirt off my thigh.
I watch his eyes scan over my tattoo. Zayn's so concentrated on staring at the pattern in my skin that he doesn't notice me watching him. His cool fingers touch my skin and he delicately outlines the pattern several times. When he's done he looks back up at my eyes from under his beautiful eyelashes. I place both of my hands on either side of his face and his eyes flutter shut for a second before he hungrily places his lips to mine once again.
"I have to get ready," I say once I pull away from him. He nods his head and I walk out the kitchen, knowing all the while he's staring at me in his shirt. I turn around once I'm at the beginning of the hallway and smile at him. He quickly smiles back and then it's almost as if he… frowns?
I decide to ignore the gesture and head down the hallway. When I enter his bedroom it occurs to me that it's plenty darker than it was last night. I faintly remember moonlight coming from the windows, which are now covered with thick black sheets. Did Zayn put these up?
I ignore it and gather my clothing which is sloppily folded on top of his dresser. I don't remember folding these last night. In fact, the night is so fuzzy that I don't even think I was in the right frame of mind to even fold my own clothes.
I scurry to the bathroom and quickly put my clothing on, leaving Zayn's shirt hanging off my shoulders. I adjust my hair in the mirror. When I exit the bathroom I feel my phone vibrate. I pull it out of my back pocket and notice fifteen unread messages. All from Zoe. Shit.
Where are you?
Are you with Zayn?
Ari, just let me know ur ok
I've tried calling
Louis talked to Zayn and he said ur ok. Please text me
Along with the several other texts I notice the missed calls. I open up Zoe's conversation and quickly send her a text, letting her know that I'm okay. I make sure that I've gathered all of my belongings from Zayn's bedroom and head for the kitchen. I place my phone along with my shirt on the counter. "I uh… I hope you don't mind," I point to the shirt.
He takes a step towards me, tugging at the shirt, "not at all. You wear it better than I do babygirl. Plus it shows the other men that you belong to me." He smirks. I'm about to interject until he leans forward and attaches his lips to my neck. "Next time we have a little sleepover maybe we'll switch it for another," he whispers in my ear. I shiver when his lips attack the flesh on my neck again.
"Is that so?" I ask, nearly breathless.
"Mm," he murmurs into my neck. I feel his hands make their way up my sides and he rests them just below the bottom of my bra. He continues placing rough kisses to my throat - the cool metal of his fresh piercing adds even more goose bumps to my skin. His stubble tickles my cheek when he moves upwards to nibble on my ear.
I grab his face between my hands and he stares at me for a moment with lustful eyes before he hungrily presses his lips against mine. My arms instinctively wrap around his neck and I thread my fingers through his midnight hair. I tug on his roots which releases an erotic grunt. Zayn begins pushing me backwards until my back is up against the edge of the countertop. He moves his hands to either side of my body and places them flat on the hard marble.
I hear a glass suddenly fall and it hits the counter. I pull away from him to find that we'd ended up knocking over my glass of ginger ale. "Shit," I breathe. Zayn ignores the spilling liquid and stares at me hungrily before attempting to kiss me again. I place the palms of my hands on his chest and push him lightly. "I'll clean up."
He stands there for a moment and I watch as his chest rises and falls quickly a few times before he seems to regain his composure. Zayn runs his hands through his hair and bites his lip. The ring in his lip bounces when his teeth release his lower lip.
I grab some paper towels from the roll and begin soaking up the spilled liquid. He watches me carefully and then sits himself down at one of the bar stools. He moves my shirt and my phone over to the other side of the counter so they don't get ruined by the ginger ale. Just as he's placing my phone onto the counter, it vibrates.
Zayn stares at the phone for a moment, "family day?" He asks me and then looks at me quizzically.
I look away from his eyes and finish cleaning up the mess. I turn away from him to toss out the paper towel and then I realize that I don't even know where the garbage is. I turn to face him and he's still staring at me, "where's the garbage?"
He points to the right cabinet underneath the sink and I toss the garbage out. As I'm washing my hands I hear his voice, "what's family day?" He asks and then I realize that he's standing directly behind me.
"It's nothing," I shrug. "Just a day for parents and siblings to come visit their family that's attending the university."
"Well then we'd better get going if you're going to visit your family then, shouldn't we?" He touches my shoulder and I turn to face him.
I shrug my shoulders again, finding solace in staring at the bandana-like design painted on his shirt. "It's not a big deal. I'm not even sure if anyone would come all the way out from Minnesota."
"Minnesota?" He questions. There's a moment of silence. "Are you sure no one's coming to visit you?"
"I uh-" I look up at his eyes, "yeah, I'm sure. Besides, it's almost over by now so everyone will be leaving soon." I'm sure that he realizes there's more to the story but he doesn't press any further. He turns around and gathers the pills off the counter he'd placed there earlier. He takes the cup - which still has a tiny bit of ginger ale left in it - and hands it to me. "Here, this will help."
He opens his hand, revealing two little pills. I hesitate a moment. I look up at him and he nods to his palm. I pause again before taking them out of his hand and swallowing them both with a mouthful of liquid.
"Do you want me to take you back to campus?" He asks.
I place the glass in the dishwasher and turn to face him. "Okay, I have a little bit of homework to do." I respond. I fiddle with my hair.
"Gather your things then," he pulls his car keys out of his pocket and begins heading downstairs to start the car.
I stand there for a moment in the kitchen alone. I grab the countertop with both of my hands, squeezing as hard as my muscles will allow. I take one deep breath and close my eyes for just a moment before grabbing my things off the marble top to follow Zayn down the stairs.
Zayn drives carefully the whole way, careful not to upset my stomach which is rather delicate today. When we pull up to the campus he doesn't say much except roughly kiss my lips. "I'll see you soon babygirl." He says.
"Is everything okay?" I ask. What's with the sudden change in attitude? This quiet isn't particularly a side to Zayn I enjoy - in fact it makes me feel rather uncomfortable, as if he's suddenly very unpredictable.
He nods his head lightly and places another rough kiss to my lips, "I'll talk to you later tonight." He dismisses me from the car and so I get out and begin walking up the sidewalk towards the building. He sits inside the car and waits for me until I get to the doors. Before I step inside I turn and wave at him and I listen as he shifts the car into gear and speeds off.
I stand there for a moment, watching his car speeding off into the distance. The sun is still fairly bright in the sky, but I'm sure it'll be setting soon. I turn and open the door.
"Ari!" I hear a deep slow voice yell my name. I turn to see Harry with his arm in a sling with fresh purple bruises covering his face and arms.
I involuntarily gasp and cover my mouth with both of my hands. He takes a few steps towards me and I stare at his eye - his one eye that isn't swollen shut. I take in the sight of his arm in a sling. The edge of his left wrist is hanging out the one end and it's nearly black with bruised skin.
"What happened?" I ask.
"You need to stay away from him Ari," he mutters out, his lip swollen and adorning a massive cut. I can't stop staring at his once beautiful face which is now a disaster. Who? Why? How could they?
Harry lightly grabs my arm, squeezes it and then shakes it lightly, "are you listening to me? Stay away from him Ari!"
"Who did this to you?" I ask, stunned.
Harry runs his right arm through his hair, "Zayn! Your boyfriend!"
I take a step away from Harry and put my hands up in defence, "no, Harry. He wouldn't do this!"
"I'm sorry to tell you, but I just know it was him!" He takes a deep breath, "I just know that it's because of the encounter the other day with you." He mutters under his breath so quietly that I nearly miss it.
"Wait, so you actually think Zayn did this to you?"
I can feel my chest rising and falling faster than before, "he would not do something like Harry! How dare you make that accusation! Do you have any proof that he actually did this? Like concrete evidence!" Harry shakes his head, confirming that he has no proof. "You cannot be that desperate to sleep with me again. For fuck-sakes, it was high school! Get over it! I'm not that easy anymore!" I'm screaming at him. When I realize that I've said too much aloud I quiet down and shuffle awkwardly, "you can't just go tossing around those kinds of accusations - they're… serious."
An extremely awkward silence falls between us, "look," he says. "I was just trying to be nice and warn you, but obviously he's already got you hooked on a tight little leash if you're defending him like this." Harry runs his hand through his hair again. "I don't remember much about the attack but I do remember like two, maybe three guys. Who's to say Zayn didn't hire someone, okay? I just -"
"Enough," I spit venomously. "Don't." I place my hand up towards his face, telling him to stop before I lose my temper again. "I'm sorry about what happened to you, but I can assure you that Zayn wouldn't do anything like that. He had no motivation and you have no proof so I don't want to hear about it. Don't just spill terrible, jealous lies to split him and I up."
"Ari, I -" he begins.
"Let me just say one thing?" He asks. I don't respond and he takes it as his queue to continue. "Just be careful around him okay? I -" Harry grabs my arm gently and I jerk it away, "I don't trust him. That's all. Sorry to disturb you." And with that Harry turns and walks away from me, leaving me fuming. I watch him limp off into the distance for a few seconds before turning back towards the door.
I head up to the third floor, opening my door with trembling hands. Zoe's sitting at her desk, I assume she's working on her homework. "Hey," she greets me when I enter the room.
I groan with annoyance, pain, and anger and fall onto my bed. "Everything okay?" She asks me as she turns in her chair.
I groan louder. "Look, today -" She begins. I raise my hand, signalling for her to stop.
"Nap time." I state. "Whatever it is, it can wait until after I have a nap." I give her a little glare and then let my head fall and hit the pillow.
Zoe doesn't object - she just turns back in her chair and continues to do whatever it was she was doing when I entered the room.