☠ Chapter Twenty ☠
➳ ARIELLE'S POV
Zayn walks out of the bathroom and I stand there alone for just a moment gathering my thoughts. I turn back to the faucet and splash a small amount of water on my face and collect myself. Deep breaths in and out. The flushing slowly fades from my face and I take it upon myself to exit the washroom.
When I exit I find that no one's actually playing poker anymore. Everyone has their clothes back on and are standing or sitting around in small groups, chatting. I spot Zoe on the far end of the room... her tongue shoved down Louis' throat.
I notice that both Zayn and Louis are missing from the crowd, which seems slightly larger than before. Snow approaches me and I turn to face her. "Hi," she says meekly, tucking a strand of knotted hair behind her ear.
"Hi," I copy, unsure of how to greet her, or how this is going to go.
"I'm Snow," she introduces. "Guess you caught that though..."
"That's a pretty name. How long have you and Zayn been together?" She asks.
"Why?" I bite.
"I'm sorry, it's just that Zayn usually doesn't bring girls around... at least not for long. But I remember you from that party..."
"Wait, the party?" I turn my full attention towards her.
"Yeah, that was my party," she laughs lightheartedly. "Some party, huh?"
I stand before her, stupefied. I'd thought this girl was just a junkie. Some girl that had spent the night with Zayn. My eyes wander down to her track marks which are easily visible to the naked eye.
"Yeah, that was really fun. Actually, that's where I met him," I use my thumb to point to the basement door, towards Zayn.
"That's what I was told," she laughs again and scratches recklessly at her arms. "Look, I just wanted to say that if Zayn were to ever get tied down with some chick, I'm glad it's someone like you. You're nice. You're stable. You're good for him. He already seems different." She cracks a small smile at me.
Boots are heard coming down the stairs. When I turn towards the noise it's Liam, coming down by himself.
I reach forward and grab her arm lightly. She begins to jerk away until she realizes that I'm just touching her arm in a friendly gesture, not to check her track marks. "Thanks," I murmur. My eyes wander from her dark ones and down to her arms again. My curiosity gets the best of me and I'm staring at the small red injection sites.
I look up at Snow with sad eyes. "I'm sorry if it seemed like I was flirting with Zayn earlier. I've been teasing him like that for years, it's just something we do."
Flashbacks come back to me of her pushing her breasts out, twirling her hair, ogling him as he takes his shirt off. I cock my head to the side, unsure if she's telling me the truth or not. Who's to say she isn't high on some drug? I mean she doesn't appear to be...
Snow shrugs her shoulders nonchalantly, "I don't remember how or why it started." She places her hands up defensively, "I've never slept with him, I promise. I've always been interested in Liam." She turns her head to the side and gazes off in his direction. When he turns and looks at her it's almost as if for a moment I see the gaze being returned but then it's immediately a different look. One that's much different.
"How long?" I ask, nodding my head towards the track marks on her arms.
She scrutinizes them, staring at them with confusion, anger, remorse and so many other emotions in her large blue eyes. She shrugs her shoulders again, "can't remember. That's the thing about drug addiction sweetheart."
"Dilaudid." When I cock my head unsure of what exactly that is she makes it clear. "Pain killers." Her gaze falters and she looks off longingly in Liam's direction.
I grab her arm again. This time she doesn't jerk away at my touch. "Go get better," I say. She looks at me with tears brimming around her eyes. I look in the direction of Liam, "if not for yourself then for him."
Snow wipes the tears away from under her eyes. She turns away from me to regain composure. When I look back at Liam he's looking at Snow again, sadness washed over his face. "I can see it Snow. I see it between the two of you, but you need to get better. You need to clean yourself up." A smile tugs at my lips.
"I know, it's just really hard." She scratches at her arms again.
"Well I'll help. I'll talk to Liam. We can get you into a rehab centre." I ramble out.
"I don't want to include Liam in this. Who's to say he even gives two shits about me," she ducks her head down.
"I see it Snow, I do. I think he'd want to help you. Can we just ask him?"
She stares at the ground for a moment before looking up at my face, mouth agape. "I-" she begins but then she bolts away from me and up the stairs. I look across the room, making eye contact with Liam. He looks up at the basement door sadly before sauntering over in my direction.
➳ ZAYN'S POV
Earlier, when Zayn was called upstairs
I step up onto the main floor. Immediately I'm greeted with the face of fucked up girl. She's having a hard time standing. "Hey," she slurs. I push past her lightly and head for the front door. I open it and walk outside. I light a cigarette.
"Malik," I hear a familiar voice and I turn towards the voice. Langley is standing on the sidewalk just up the street, smoking his own cigarette. As I'm making my way across the grass I hear the front door open and shut behind me. I turn and notice Liam coming out the front door.
He approaches me, "hey, you're not dealing with this dick by yourself." He gives me a small smile.
"Louis is my guy, where the hell is he?" I ask.
"Plastered." Liam replies, taking a sip of the beer in his hand. "With his girl."
I give Liam a look and we walk together towards Langley. He's impatiently tapping his foot on the ground while leaning up against his car. A blue '67 Pontiac GTO. He races muscle while the rest of us race import. I admit, it's a beautiful fucking car but nothing beats import.
"Payne, it's been a long time," Langley greets.
Liam nods his head and takes another sip of his beer. "Same to you, Langs," Liam teases.
Langley stands from his car, straightening his back as an intimidation trick. "Don't fucking call me that Payne. You know better than that." Langley walks forward and blows smoke right in Liam's face. Liam just squares his shoulders in defence as well.
"Chill guys," I say. Liam takes a step back but they don't break eye contact. "Langley what the fuck do you want?"
He slowly takes a step away from Liam, sucking on his cigarette. "This isn't about Sullivan, is it? I did what he asked."
I see Liam's head turn in my direction. Langley smirks wickedly. "It's about your payment. We are currently without a place to safely transition the money into your hands."
"And why is that?" Liam asks beside me. Langley's eyes burn a hole into Liam for talking.
"Oh you know, the usual." He raises an eyebrow at me.
"So what the fuck do we do about it? I need my fucking money." I finish the cigarette in my hands and stomp it out underneath my boot.
"Well you'll be without payment until we can figure out a way to safely get you your money." Langley says as if it's the most obvious thing in the world. He finishes his cigarette and lights up another.
"Well then I won't be doing anything for Sullivan until I get my fucking money," I comment.
"That's not your decision to make Malik," Langley opens the door to his car and gets in it. Once he closes the door he looks up at me, "you know that." He stars his car and revs the engine a few times, attracting the gaze of several people standing around us. "We'll be in touch," he says in a cloud of smoke. His tires squeal as he tears off into the distance.
Liam smacks my back lightly and heads inside the house. I pull out another cigarette and light it up, allowing it to clear my head. Though only for a moment.
➳ Roughly two hours later
I pull up into the driveway of my house. "What are we doing here?" Arielle asks, unbuckling her seatbelt.
"I have a surprise for you babygirl," a smirk falls across my lips. She raises an eyebrow, unsure of what exactly the surprise entails.
I get out of the car, as does she. I make sure to lock the doors. Stopping her before the front door I say, "but you have to do something for me. The moment you step inside the door, I need you to get down on your knees."
A smirk tugs at her lips and she giggles a little. "Okay," she says shyly.
I lead her up to the doorway and open it. My Angel does as she's told and gets down on her knees at the doorway. I quickly close the door behind her. It's quiet for a moment as she doesn't realize what's going on. I stand before her. She looks up at me seductively from underneath her eyelashes. Her eyes wander from my eyes down my torso and eventually they fall on the zipper of my jeans. Fuck.
That's when I hear the familiar thump. And then the small scratching of nails against my floors. "What is-" She's cut off from finishing her sentence.
The small animal comes tearing around the corner and straight into Arielle's lap. She covers her mouth with her one hand and frantically pets the puppy. "Where'd you come from?" She asks. She scratches her and she rolls around in her lap. Arielle's hands immediately rub the puppy's belly.
"What's her name?" She asks me, eyes wide with excitement.
"That's where you come in babygirl."
She raises an eyebrow at me. "You want my help with a name?"
I nod my head.
"What kind of dog is she?" Arielle asks still petting the puppy frantically. It's almost as if she's never owned her own dog.
"A rottweiler," I respond. I saunter over to the kitchen, grabbing a cup and some ice cubes. I carelessly pour brown liquor into the glass. When I turn to Arielle she's still petting the puppy lovingly. She hasn't even moved from her space on the floor. She lays down on the floor, her hair splays out around her and the puppy snuggles into her side.
"Aren't rottweilers nasty?" She asks.
"Naw," I reply. "They're just misunderstood. They're actually very loyal, loving, smart, calm animals. Just have a negative image s'all."
"Ambrose?" She says.
It takes me a moment to catch on before I realize that she's started brainstorming names.
"Tsunami?" She suggests, laughing as the puppy impatiently tears around in her arms.
"Skyline?" She jokes. I smile.
"Well we can think on it," Arielle says. I throw my head back and swallow the contents of my cup. When I look over at Arielle and the puppy, it's fast asleep in her arms.
A/N: so we voted for a new cover and as you all have noticed #3 was the winner (it got just over 50% of the votes). so obviously i want to thank you guys for voting and for your input!!! i do value your opinions incredibly!!
VOTING TIME: also we all get to vote again!!! yay!!! voting is now open for the new puppy's name!! the four choices are the four that arielle suggested, so please vote (once again it's imperative that you guys participate). so it's (1)ambrose, (2)tsunami, (3)odessa, or (4)skyline.
i want to thank you guys for reading. we've been exceeding well over 300 reads every chapter update so you guys are incredible!!! thank you for sticking with me even though times are tough