☠ Chapter Thirty-Eight ☠
➳ ZAYN'S POV
"Can you remember anything about how you got here?" The nurse asks me. She asked me this question yesterday when I arrived in the hospital, and she asked me the exact same thing earlier this morning, but here she is . . . Asking yet again. I try to adjust my position in the bed, but my arm feels a little sore and weak, so it's a struggle. My one arm is still in a sling, making it even more difficult to move, seeing as how I'm only able to use the one to lift my body up.
The doctor said I'd managed to sprain my wrist, and the pain made that evident. It was swollen and hurt whenever I moved it, but it wasn't an unbearable pain. He gave me the sling for both my sprained wrist, and the pain I'm feeling in my shoulder. He said that whomever attacked me, probably stepped on my wrist and kicked my shoulder, which explains the pain I'm feeling in my entire left arm. It was an annoying, persistent pain, but that was it. I was lucky it wasn't completely unbearable.
I had a hard time sleeping last night. The nurse gave me a shitty meal that my stomach didn't agree with, and I had a pounding headache all night, along with the upset stomach. It was impossible sleeping in this room that I don't recognize where there's too much light and noise from the overabundance of beeping machines.
I sigh heavily before running a hand through my lack of hair, "no, I told you yesterday . . . The last thing I remember is hanging out with my friends." That was another thing I had to get used to - they shaved all my hair off. Doctors said when they picked me up in the ambulance, that I was bleeding from a head wound and so they shaved my head to gain easy access to the source of the blood. Once again, lucky for me that it was only a cut and didn't require stitches, but now I'm missing my once lengthy hair. At least, that's how I remember it being. But according to what everyone's telling me, that was probably what my hair looked like months ago.
"And what were you doing?"
I look around the room that's been my home for the past day. It was small, and it had the disgusting reek of hospital. There were way too many windows on the one side of the wall, but the view was shitty. My view consisted of a smidgen of the city, and the majority of a building directly beside the hospital. I had absolutely nothing to do in here, besides sketching on the newspaper they gave me every morning.
Yesterday I sketched my car all day, but eventually I passed out and when I woke, the paper was suddenly gone, and I'd imagined that the fucking nurse probably tossed it out. So I was left with watching shitty reruns on television, but the only thing on TV during the day is fucking soap operas so I just stared out the window, wishing I was outside smoking or driving . . . doing something other than sitting in this damn bed.
"We were playing poker. I took some girl home and fucked her," I purposefully say the last part to disgust the nurse, and I'm pleased when I see her face twist in repugnance. The nurse is some fucking prude, with her hair pulled away from her face and her red lipstick, but I know she enjoys the way my filthy mouth sounds, especially when she swallows hard and shifts uncomfortably. She can pretend all she wants that she doesn't wish she was being fucked by me right now, but I can see it in the way she's breathing hard and glaring at me with lustful eyes when she thinks I'm not looking.
"What month is it?" She adjusts the clipboard she's holding while she stares at me with this weird look.
"August," I say with the utmost confidence, "but you people have been telling me that it's January."
How could I have forgotten the last five months? I've been in a panic not knowing what I don't remember. There could've been a fucking hurricane and I wouldn't remember. The worst part is that it's not even like I have this blank spot in my mind right now. I don't feel like I'm missing any memories; I feel like I went to sleep the night before last after having sex, and then I woke up in a hospital.
I'm sure at some point I'll eventually realize that I'm missing five months of memories. Probably five months of women, liquor, and cars that I may never get back.
"Yes, you're correct, it's January. One last question, Zayn . . . Do you remember the number I told you when we started?"
"Fifteen," I reply.
"Good. You seem to be doing a lot better. The doctor is thinking of releasing you tomorrow morning," she explains to me.
I sigh and hit my fists against the bed. "I'm perfectly fine! Can't you release me tonight? Look," I shout at her, standing from the bed with ease. Blood quickly rushes to my head, creating an instant pounding in my head. The doctors warned me about headaches, and the possibility of aches and pains but I hide the pain from the nurse. "I'm fine, alright! I don't need someone to take care of me."
The nurse steps towards me and puts her hand on my shoulder, trying to push me back onto the bed. "Zayn, we need to keep you for observation. Just one more night," she says softly. Although she seems nice to me, I hear her sigh overdramatically as she steps away from me and leaves the room.
I fix my hospital gown, and take a sip from the glass of water that was left for me. I'm sick of drinking the bland liquid, but it's not like I can get a can of soda, or a beer around here.
I think about my car, and I wonder where it is. The doctor says I was beaten up, so did my attackers steal my car? Or is my car sitting pretty at my house in the garage? I hope and pray it's the latter. There's nothing more I crave right now than being behind the wheel of her.
That girl that was here yesterday comes in the room then, greeting me with, "hey baby." She's the blonde girl, Kit was her name, I think. She tells me that I'm supposedly her boyfriend. I mean, she's hot, but it doesn't entirely make sense to me. The last I remember, I was fucking some other chick, some one night stand, so where does Kit come into this equation?
But the doctors said I have memory loss, so obviously I started seeing her sometime in the last five months. I still haven't had time to adjust to the fact that it's January, let alone the fact that I've been dating this woman for several months.
The person Kit tells me I am seems a lot different from what I expected. It's a little strange to hear that I've been in a relationship with a girl for the last third of a year. It seems strange that I've been fucking the same girl, instead of a series of one night stands. I'm used to winning races, smoking pot, and fucking girls, not this barely racing, no weed, one chick shit.
Kit says I'm out of the business now - that I haven't raced in months. However, I'm not sure if the phrase, 'out of the business' - which is the phrase she used - includes my business interests with Sullivan or not. I'm not even sure if I've told Kit about what I've been doing with Sullivan and how I earn my cash.
I don't really know anything anymore, it seems and it's frustrating as hell.
"How'd it go?" She asks me as she sits beside me on the bed. Her hand instantly reaches for my leg. It feels a little weird, seeing as how I don't really know her. But I don't bother moving her hand because she's hot and frankly, I'm horny. I've been cooped up in this damn bed all night, and this girl Kit has been around, along with that other fit as hell girl, Arielle and it's driving me nuts. I feel desperate for some sort of release, but I can't do that sitting in a hospital room.
Part of me hopes that Arielle girl shows up again sometime later today. I didn't even have a chance to ask for her number before she was gone. She was fucking hot, and I could really use some good strange.
That, and the craving for nicotine is almost unbearable at this point. I crave for the feeling of a cigarette between my fingers, as well as my lips. But for as long as I'm stuck in here I can't smoke and I can't have sex.
"It was the fucking same as yesterday. Same fucking questions, same fucking bitchy nurse." I roll my eyes at the mention of her.
"So what'd she say?" Kit runs her hand over my stubbly hair, before she leans towards my ear and whispers, "can I take you home yet?" Her palm presses against my chest as she kisses just below my ear.
"Not yet love. She said maybe tomorrow."
"And then you're all mine?" She whispers against my skin. I hum in response as she trails wet kisses across my jawline, as her fingertips dance across my skin.
"I can't wait to take you home, baby," she mumbles, and I lean into the touch of my supposed girlfriend.
➳ ARIELLE'S POV
It felt like I was grieving. Zayn wasn't dead, but yet it still feels like I'm grieving the loss of him. I guess in a sick, twisted way I am because he's not the Zayn I love anymore.
After running away from Kit, eventually Louis caught up to me and he captured me in his arms, holding me back while I thrashed wildly. He continually asked me what was wrong and what happened but I couldn't speak - everything that left my lips was just a series of inaudible sobs. He didn't know what to do, and so he took me to a coffee shop, where he ordered me a hot chocolate, and himself a tea. And now, here we were, staring at each other over the steaming beverages without having said a word.
I'm sure I look exhausted. I'm absolutely positive that there are heavy, black bags underneath my eyes. I couldn't sleep last night. Not only was I overthinking about the whole situation with Zayn, Kit, and I but it was also weird being in a strange bed with my ex-boyfriend's best friend, who was quickly becoming one of my good friends. I was suddenly plummeted into Louis' life and I still don't know how to feel about it.
I got maybe an hour or two of sleep last night, and I could feel it. I could feel the tiredness in my muscles when I moved, and in my eyes as I struggled to keep them open at certain points. But I was certain that tonight would just end up being another night where wakefulness would tempt me.
"Ari," he speaks, lifting his cup up to his lips to take a sip. His blue-green eyes almost look like a mesmerizing shade of grey underneath the light we're sitting beneath, it's a minor distraction before he's ducking his head to get my attention.
I cradle the cup between my hands, absorbing the warmth into my skin. "What?" I mumble, as if I have no idea what he's talking about, but I know exactly what he wants to talk about, and I seriously want to avoid the subject.
"Don't pretend like you don't know. What the hell happened between you and Kit?" He stirs his tea a little while he talks.
"I-" I start talking, but then I realize that I don't know what to tell him. Kit explicitly said that if I told anyone of her plans she'd reveal my secret, and I can't have that happening. What can I tell Louis? All I know is that I need to think on my feet because he's staring at me, waiting for an answer. "Nothing, Louis. Kit just did what she always does. She set me off."
"Set you off, how?"
I have to look away from him. "She rubbed it in my face that he may never remember me," I explain and he stares at me without saying anything. "It just set me off and I couldn't stop crying, okay?" Louis stares at me, but when he doesn't give me any strange looks I assume that he's accepted my lie as the truth. I mean, I didn't entirely lie to him . . . Kit was rubbing it in my face that Zayn may never remember me, among other things.
"Why was she there?" He asks me, sipping on his tea again.
I raise the mug of cocoa to my lips and blow on it in an attempt to cool it. It's also a distraction, a . . . minor procrastination technique. I shrug my shoulders when I look at him. "They had a thing, and apparently they have a thing now."
"Explain," he pushes. I sense that either he's really confused, or he just doesn't understand what I'm saying.
I sigh heavily, annoyed. "I don't know, Louis. She says that they're together now."
He scoffs lightly, "yeah, okay."
"Yes! I guess the accident changed him, I don't know. I don't understand how the brain fucking works, Lou. If he wants to be with her, I'm not going to fucking stop him!"
Louis doesn't say anything, instead he's fucking smirking at me and for some reason it irritates me, "what?"
"You just called me Lou," he points out.
I think back to what I just said, "no, I didn't."
"Yes, you did."
"Whatever, I was angry." I take a sip of hot chocolate and stick my tongue out at him.
"Or maybe you're finally starting to like me," he comments quietly before sipping on his tea and giving me a little smirk.
"What are you talking about? I always liked you."
"That's not what I sensed. I reckon you thought I was just the idiot Zayn hung out with."
I reach across the small table and smack his arm, "I've always considered you a friend!"
"Mhm," he mumbles with a little sass. "Maybe I just consider you the girl that hangs out with Zoe."
"What are you talking about? You hit on me the first time I ever saw you! You still stare at my ass!"
Louis can't help the smile that spreads across his features, but he looks away with false nonchalance. "No," he says playfully as he drags out the vowel.
"Oh, c'mon, you can't even own up to it."
He looks down at his cup before his blue-green eyes fixate on me, "alright, fine. You want me to admit it? You're fit, is that what you want to hear?"
I open my mouth to speak, but I'm rendered a little speechless. Did Louis just say that he thinks I'm hot? I could swear that he's flirting with me, but I must be mistaken.
He rubs his hand along the stubble on his jawline, "I'm sorry, that made things awkward." He bites his lip and looks away.
"No, it's okay. I sort of coerced it out of you," I chuckle, trying to break some of the tension. I drink some more of the cocoa and look at him.
Louis looks at me a little strangely from behind his cup.
"Thanks for the drink," I say quietly.
"It was nothing."
"I hate to do this, but there's something else I have to ask you about."
Louis raises an eyebrow, "what is it?"
"I'm uh-" I look away from him and stare at the liquid resting in front of me. "I'm moving out of Zayn's."
"Wh-" he scratches the back of his head and adjusts himself in the seat of our booth. "Why?"
"Well, he doesn't know who I am, Louis. If he ends up being released soon, what am I supposed to say to him? He doesn't know me, so why would he want to live with me? Besides, him and Kit are a thing now or whatever so I need to leave. He obviously doesn't want to be with me."
"How can you say he doesn't want to be with you when he hasn't the slightest clue of who you are?" He takes a sip of his tea again, looking at me with sincerity filled in his eyes.
I close my eyes and pinch the bridge of my nose. "It's complicated. Let's just say that the universe obviously has other plans. Everything happens for a reason, right?"
"Not necessarily. Sometimes you need to say 'fuck you' to the universe because you need to look out for yourself," he adds.
I sigh, "well there isn't much I can do. If he doesn't want me, he doesn't want me. It's painful, but I survived without him before and I can do it again."
"Good for you, but he's an idiot." He gives me a genuine smile before finishing off what's left of his tea.
"Thanks," I utter. I find myself flushing a little in front of him.
He takes a look at the bill we were given and tosses a few dollars down onto the table, "so, are you ready to go?"
"Where?" I ask, standing up from the booth.
"To move you out of Zayn's," he says as he begins walking towards the exit. "C'mon."
* * *
After picking up Sky and an hour or two of packing, Louis begins taking some of the things out to his car. I don't know where I'm going, or what I'm going to do, all I know is that I'm leaving Zayn's and it's slowly breaking my heart. It's hard because I know that I can't cry. If I cry, it'll never stop. I know that I have everything, I know that everything's been packed into Louis' car, but something feels wrong, as if I'm forgetting something very important.
I stand in Zayn's master bedroom, reminiscing about all of the good memories. I stare at the chalk walls, reading all of the quotes that I'd written. I grab a piece of chalk and begin quickly writing a new quote on the surface. When I'm finished, I toss the chalk onto the flooring and stand back to admire the writing.
"All I ask is that you think of me as the girl who loved you most."
I choke up when I read the quote over, but I bite hard on my lip to stop the tears from spilling over. I simply stand in the room and reminisce about the time every moment I've ever had in this room.
I think about the time when I met Zayn on the street and I blacked out . . . He brought me back here and I woke up in the bed. I remember the times we made love, the quotes we wrote together on the walls, all of it. It just brings more pain in my chest.
"Ari, we have company," I hear Louis' voice from behind me and it startles me. I'm even more startled when I turn around to find that he's standing almost directly behind me.
"Kit's here," he explains. How did she even find this place? I thought Zayn said she had never been here before? I give him a quizzical look before I'm running down the hallway towards her.
She turns from the couch and looks at me with that stupid fucking look on her face. "Oh, you're moving out . . ." she feigns as if she has no idea while she winces her face. "This is awkward . . ."
If glances could kill, mine surely would. I stare at her with such anger, just hoping and praying that she'll spontaneously disappear. "We're done now."
Kit ignores my comment and steps up towards Louis, she licks her lips and bites it suggestively as her eyes rake up and down his body, "good to see you again, Louis." I almost forgot that Louis slept with Kit, but the second I remember, a shudder rips through my body. It's fucking gross.
I feel something touch my leg and when I look down, it's Sky. She's sitting in front of me protectively, glaring at Kit. I reach down and pick her up, cradling her in my arms in a desperate attempt to forget that I have to leave her. I have to leave this little angel of a dog with Kit, and the only reason I can actually walk away from her is knowing that Zayn should be home very soon.
Kit glares at me, as if she's the most intimidating thing. "Stop that, you're tiny. You don't scare me," I tell her.
She feigns laughter, "thanks. I watch what I eat." She says it as if it's a shot at me and my weight because I'm curvier than her, but it doesn't bother me.
I cock my head, "going in, or coming out?"
She scowls at me before rolling her eyes. I hear Louis snicker beside me and it obviously agitates Kit. "Fuck you, Louis."
"Hate to point out the obvious, but you already have."
I burst out in laughter the second that Kit gives Louis a death glare, but she doesn't see the humour in it.
"Get the fuck out!" She yells at us. She suddenly charges at me and rips Sky out of my arms. Sky begins harshly barking and thrashing about in her arms, and Kit struggles to hold the puppy.
Louis and I stand together, laughing. I can't help it. It's like every time I'm around Kit, my inner bitch comes out.
"I'm serious! Get the fuck out, now!" She runs at us angrily, chasing us out of the house. We run out of the house in a haste, and get into Louis' car.
"She's fucking crazy," I comment. I want to scream and yell that she's blackmailing me into leaving, but I can't and it's like a wedge to my heart.
"Why do you think I slept with her?" Louis asks, smirk plastered on his face. I give him a disgusted look, but he chuckles. "What? Sex with crazy chicks is fucking hot."
Times like these make me wonder how Zoe could date him, but I guess in a way they're the exact same. They're both rambunctious and outspoken and . . . well, they're goofs, for lack of a better word.
"You're gross," I say to him but for some reason I find myself laughing. It's a raucous laughter that erupts from within me, and it's so infectious that Louis starts too. We laugh for a minute or two sitting in the driveway of the house I lived in for just days.
I shouldn't be laughing, but for some reason it's uncontrollable. In a way I'm unable to control any of the emotions I'm feeling lately.
Eventually, Louis backs out of the driveway and we're driving down the road. After ten minutes or so, he pulls up to his flat, and I look at him a little confused.
"You can stay with me," he offers.
"I-" I begin to protest, but Louis seems to be having none of it, as he raises his hands to silence me. I don't know where I was planning on going, but I realize that I don't really have that many options.
"I insist. Besides, where else are you going to go?"
"I- Thank you," I give him a genuine smile, which he returns. It was true, I had nowhere else to go. I can't move back into the dorm, Zoe has a new roommate and if I wasn't going to the school, they weren't going to let me live there, so that wasn't an option. I'm sure that my mother's probably in Miami now, but I'd rather be homeless than live with her. So where else could I go? I can't afford to pay rent for my own apartment, and I can't afford to stay in a hotel, so it seems like Louis is my only option right now . . . an option I didn't even realize I had.
"C'mon, we'll move your things in."
I carefully get out of the car, and grab some of my things, carrying them into Louis' flat. I can't help but feel thankful that I have good friends like Louis.