☠ Chapter Twenty-Nine ☠
➳ ARIELLE'S POV
Sitting on the edge of the bed, I let my feet dangle to the ground. The height of the bed causes my toes to just brush the carpeting. I run my fingers through my hair, which feels like a disaster. I decide it would be best to take a shower.
When I look at the clock displayed atop the side table it reads twenty after eleven. Zayn's still fast asleep. I watch as he sleepily pulls the blankets over his face, successfully covering his face from the sunlight that's streaming in from the windows.
I stand from the bed, picking up my discarded clothing from last night. I toss the ripped panties into the garbage. I place the bra into my luggage and grab fresh clothes to change into after my shower. I place the clothes onto the vanity in the bathroom before looking in the mirror. I was right, I look like a mess. I have s ex hair.
I quietly make my way over to Zayn. His hair is a ruffled mess, just like mine, but somehow he still looks perfect. I love this man that's lying here with his body strewn about on the mattress. I love him and it feels incredible. How could I not be happy when every time I see him I feel butterflies?
I could watch him sleep for a single minute and find a hundred things I love about him. Everything from the way he sleepily mumbles when the sunlight hits his face, to the way his eyelashes flicker when he's dreaming. But I think one of my favourite things is when he sleepily rolls over, opens his eyes and calls out to me in his husky morning voice. I wish I could wake every morning to the sound of his breathing. He softly snores which causes a light giggle to erupt within me and I have to cover my mouth to stifle it. There aren't quite words to ever explain exactly how he makes me feel . . . or what he's become to me. Being in love with Zayn feels exquisite.
Checking that he's still sleeping, I tuck him into the sheets to ensure that he's both warm and blocked from the sunlight. Before entering the bathroom, I close the curtains to confirm that he has darkness to sleep in.
As I make my way back to the bathroom I hear two vibrations come from Zayn's phone, which is resting on the dresser near the bathroom, just like yesterday. Out of habit I check the phone. It's locked, but a few messages and missed calls are displayed on the screen.
Langley: It's not that easy, bro
Langley: Where the f uck are u? We need to meet up
Langley: Malik u can't just say that s hit then hang up on me. F ucking return my calls
Who's Langley? He's called Zayn six times since early this morning. Zayn stirs in his sleep and it causes me to panic, so I place the cell phone back down onto the dresser quickly and scurry into the bathroom. I close the bathroom door, turn on the shower and hop into it.
I grab the provided shampoo and begin to lather my hair. Who the h ell is Langley? I try to think back to see if I've ever met a man named Langley. When I think back, I realize that I've never really met anyone that Zayn associates with. I've met Louis, and Liam, Snow, Kit - even thinking her name makes me roll my eyes - and that guy, Ryder. I've never met someone named Langley, so who is he? And why's he calling Zayn during the early hours of the morning? What are they meeting up for?
All of this is confusing, but I realize why . . . Langley probably has something to do with however Zayn earns his money. I rinse the shampoo out of my hair, almost getting a big glob of it in my eye. I grab the small bottle of conditioner and thread the product throughout my hair.
What exactly does Zayn do? Does he sell drugs? Is he just a street racer? Part of me thinks that he's doing something more than street racing, but I can't figure out what it is. I just hope and pray that whatever it is, it doesn't end up getting him hurt, or in jail.
I don't even know whether or not I should ask him about it. Would he tell me about it? I doubt it. He probably doesn't want me involved. If he ever got caught doing whatever he's doing then I could be put into question and he obviously doesn't want that. Would he even ever get caught? He told me that his mother's a cop, so does she protect him? Does she put her job at risk to keep her son out of jail? If she does, what would happen if she ever got caught? This is such a tangled web of secrecy that I feel my insides twist as I try to decipher it with as little information as I have.
I know nothing. Honestly, I'm not sure I want to know the truth but I also feel a little obligated to know. I love the guy for f ucks sake, and what do I really know?
I know that he's Zayn Malik and that he's twenty-two. I don't know when his birthday is, what his parents names are, his middle name, if he has any siblings, what his childhood was like, what he does for a living . . . In actuality it appears that I know nothing.
But I know that he has a small freckle in his left eye, that he's most relaxed behind the wheel, that he likes being out on his balcony while having a smoke because he can watch the sun. I know the sound he makes when he really loves something he's eating, the way he murmurs in content when he's sleeping, the way he freaks out during storms because he's terrified of them, the way his body moves when he's listening to music, the way he mindlessly plays with his lip ring . . . I know small little details about him. That counts, right?
As I'm washing the conditioner out of my hair I hear the bathroom door. Out of instinct, I cover myself. Relief washes over me when I realize that it's just Zayn. I think to myself that I'm not sure exactly who else I expected it to be.
He smirks when he catches sight my n aked body. I roll my eyes when he reaches for the waistband to his boxer-briefs and tugs them down, kicking them off his legs. He cockily walks over to the shower, opens the door and steps inside.
"Morning," I say to him. "You're up early."
"I came quick when I heard the shower running," he replies as he places his hands on my hips. He presses his lips against mine quickly before reaching for the shampoo. We switch places and he stands under the shower head while I use the body wash to clean my skin. Zayn watches with wild eyes. My lips still tingle from his kiss.
When he's done, we switch places and I wash the body wash off. "You missed a spot," Zayn says before he takes a step forward. In an instant, I feel his soft hands rubbing circles on the upper portion of my back and my shoulders. I lean into his touch. His touch is my nicotine. It's the thing that wakes up all of my senses, that makes my heart race. His hands pull away from me too quickly, and the craving becomes instant.
"Do me," he says aloud.
I turn around and squirt a small amount of the liquid into my hands. Rubbing my hands together causes the liquid to turn into a lather, and I softly spread it all over his shoulders and upper back. I use the time to admire the tattoo inked into his upper back. Another one of my favourite tattoos on him.
After a few minutes he rinses off. I step out of the shower and wrap a towel around my body. Once he's done, he turns the water off and steps out after me. After he's done wrapping a towel around his waist he looks down at my wrists and grabs them within his hands. I notice the familiar tint of blue-purple starting.
"Guess we went a little harder than I thought," he mentions. "I'm sorry," he murmurs as he places kisses delicately to the bruising areas.
I don't say anything because honestly, the bruising doesn't really bother me. The s ex was fantastic last night . . . a little purple mark is nothing.
Zayn takes a step towards me, and his thumb slowly runs down my carotid artery. My pulse instantly begins to race, and I know he can feel it when a smirk begins tugging at his lips. He leans over so that his lips are hovering over the artery, "we could get back in the shower and I could make it up to you . . . y'know, for hurting you." His lips begin attacking the flesh of my neck and I instantly tilt my head to the side to give him better access. I feel his fingers dance up my spine and I mentally curse at myself for letting him have this effect on me.
I need to find his little trigger spot. The spot that makes his pulse race, and make all of the blood rush to other areas . . . I can't even begin to imagine where it is on his body, but I decide then that it's my next mission.
He nibbles on my ear and a moan escapes my lips. "Zayn . . ."
"Mm?" He hums in response. His fingers reach for the part of my towel that's tucked in and keeping the fabric secured around my body. With one swift motion, he has the cotton untucked and it falls to the floor, exposing myself to him. His lips instantly trail down my body as he looks up at my reaction from underneath his eyelashes.
I run my fingers carelessly through his hair and tug on it, forcing him to raise his face to my level. I hungrily press my lips to his. Zayn's tongue toys with mine feverishly and it causes this crazy swarm of butterflies to stir within me. I reach forward, and grab hold of the towel that's wrapped around his waist, using it to pull his body closer to mine. He grunts in approval. While we're having an intense make-out session I tug the cotton off his body, so that we're both now n aked. I feverishly run my hands up and down his body, memorizing every little curve in his skin.
I promised myself that I wouldn't go too far today with Zayn because I wanted to go out and explore New York, yet here I am, n aked with him in the bathroom after having taken a shower together. That was the effect he had on me. At this point, I love him so much that I know I'd do anything and everything for him. All I want is to please him.
Feeling adventurous, I quickly dart my lips to his collarbone. I place a slow kiss to his skin while staring up at him from under my eyelashes. I attach my lips again and begin to suck, drawing blood to the surface. I suck as harshly as I can, wanting to make his skin as purple as possible. He runs his fingers through my hair. When I'm pleased with the mark I've made, I pull away. I run my finger over the forming bruise. I've officially marked him mine. He's done the action to me several times and I always wondered what the hype about it was. But as I run my fingers over the mark, I feel a pang of something go through me. There's just something about seeing his skin marked by me that has my heart swelling. Every time I look at his collarbone is a reminder that he's my boyfriend and I love him. He always called me his, but now he's mine.
"Would you like the favour returned?" He asks, interrupting my thoughts. He trails kisses up my neck and bites the skin on my jaw. The shadow of stubble that covers his face tickles at my skin. I can barely think straight with him teasing me like this.
I put my hands on his chest and push lightly, whispering, "mm, we have to go my love." I hear a little chuckle in my ear.
"Are you sure? We could have so much more fun here . . . just the two of us." He places his hands on my hips and nibbles on my ear again. "I could tie you up again," he whispers hotly in my ear. I can only imagine the sly grin that's plastered on his face right now.
"Zayn," I say it as a warning that we need to get going, but it comes out as more of a moan. My voice is failing me when I need it. I'm trying desperately not to lean into his addictive touch, but I end up doing it anyways.
"You could tie me up," he whispers seductively. My insides twist deliciously at the thought. His hands continue exploring my n aked body, bringing fire to every little spot he touches. I'm slowly losing my composure the longer I stand here with him. I know that if I don't end what's going on right now that he'll end up having his way and we won't get to see the city. H ell, we won't even make the plane if he has his way.
"We have to save that for another time. I want to see the city before we have to go," I try my best to sound confident, but I'm completely melting under Zayn's touch.
"But-" he starts.
"We can save this for when we get home, hm?"
"Promise?" He breathes out, pouting.
"Zayn!" I swat at his chest playfully. We had s ex less than ten hours ago and he's pouting because I won't f uck him. This is the same man I was admiring sleeping earlier . . . the man I'm in love with.
He lets out a disgruntled sigh, "okay, fine. That just means I get a double dose of my babygirl next time, yeah?" At least he's not pouting like a child anymore.
"I love you," I reply, to which he smiles.
"That makes up for it," he says as he begins walking out of the bathroom, still stark n aked. "A little bit," he adds cheekily before disappearing into the bedroom.
I take a moment to pick up the towels and check my appearance in the mirror before I head out into the bedroom. Zayn's standing in front of his suitcase with a fresh pair of boxer-briefs on. I can't help the smile that overwhelms my features when I realize that the material is decorated with comic book characters. He hears a little giggle that manages to escape from my lips and he turns. I try to hide the smile but it's just too hard.
"What?" He asks, as if he's oblivious.
"Nothing," I reply, still trying to hide my smile. I grab a fresh, matching pair of undergarments and slip them on.
"Are you laughing at my boxers?" He makes his way over to me as he talks. He makes a loud scoffing sound as if he's offended. When he reaches me, he comes up behind me and wraps his arms tightly around my small frame.
"No, I like them. You should wear them more often."
He leans over so that he's able to pepper kisses all over my neck. He places his hands on my naked thighs and slowly drags them up my body, taking time to play with my navel piercing. "Touché, babygirl." He dips his hands underneath the waistband of my panties, "how am I supposed to keep my hands off of you when I know this little treat lies underneath?"
I whimper when he kisses just behind my ear and squeezes my right breast. "Arielle," he calls out my name.
"Zayn," I reply back. It's so d amn hard to not give into him when he's like this. I end up lifting my hand above my head and tangling it up in his hair. For a moment I've forgotten that it's already getting late and I want to see the city before we have to catch our flight.
When I realize just that, I pull away from him but he grabs my hand and attempts to pull me to him. "I have to get dressed," I tell him. I walk to my suitcase and begin laying out warm clothes for the day, but Zayn doesn't take the hint. He comes up behind me again. When he spots a pair of panties, he picks them up and lifts them to eyesight.
"Can't you just wear this . . . and nothing else?" His husky voice fills my ear.
"No Zayn, c'mon! I want to at least see one thing in New York before we have to go!" I ignore him and continue laying out my outfit.
"Oh, well that can be arranged," he rasps as he pushes his crotch into my a ss. "I promise that it's big, won't disappoint, and it'll make you feel like you're in heaven."
I roll my eyes, but I can't help the giggle that comes out. Zayn hears it and it causes him to chuckle too.
"Get dressed already," I say as I begin pulling on my jeans.
"Okay, fine." I hear him say. As I'm zipping up the fly to my jeans, I turn to see him doing the same with his black jeans. He doesn't say anything, he just smirks at me.
After we're done getting dressed and packing up our belongings in the hotel room, it's already too late for us to do all of the things I wanted to do while we were here. Out of the list of attractions I wanted to visit, my options are limited because we have to haul our suitcases wherever we go. So that rules out buildings with lots of stairs, and also places that have security who won't let us take in our luggage. Eventually I decide we should just go to Times Square.
And we do. It's overcrowded and Zayn and I both don't feel comfortable being around so many people. After dealing with the crowds for an hour we decide to get the h ell out and just head for the airport. By the time we get to the airport, Zayn's become a little irritable having had to lug our s hit around.
It's hard to believe what this trip turned into. I figured it would be a happy trip . . . boy was I wrong. I would call it a disastrous waste of time, but it wasn't. Zayn and I got some real quality time together and I believe that as a couple we've really gotten a lot closer. I finally told him about part of my past, and it's so relieving that someone finally gets why I hate my mother. It's exhausting having to fight my battles with her alone, but now I don't have to. I have someone who's always by my side. He's there to protect me.
As for my mother, I remind myself that she's living with Chef . . . and that they're moving back to Miami together. I now have to either go back to class, or I need to find another way to earn some sort of extra credit. Part of me feels terrified to go back to the college. What if Chef returns to teach again? What if he screws with my grades?
I remember back to when he cornered me in my kitchen a few weeks ago. I predicted this. I thought about how he'd be perfect for my mother, so why does it still surprise me so much? My mother is the most cunning, manipulative person I've ever met. I see that in Chef as well, it's just not as powerful as it is with my mother. I know that my mother would go to great lengths to hurt me.
I worry about Zayn being around her. I worry that she will hurt him in some way to hurt me. She's an uncontrollable force, like a tornado. She wrecks everything in my life very quickly every time she comes around.
"You ready to board?" Zayn asks me, bringing me back to reality. I nod my head. "You seem quiet, is everything alright?"
He grabs our suitcases and turns to start walking towards the terminal, but then he turns and looks at me. "Arielle?"
I look up at him. I'm overwhelmed by everything. I don't want to go back to Miami because I know that my mother will find me, and so will Chef. I want to be reckless. I want to run. I want to hop on a flight to Paris, London, Sydney, somewhere where they won't find us.
Zayn walks over to me, "are you alright?"
I close my eyes for a moment and take a large breath to gain some composure, "yeah," I say weakly.
"Are you afraid of flying? You were fine on the flight over," he wraps his arms around me, tucking my head into his chest.
"I'm sorry," I mumble out.
"Tell me," he says softly.
"I'm just worried, is all."
"About what?" His hands slowly run over my hair, trying to soothe me. I sigh and Zayn's finger is suddenly forcing its way underneath my chin. He pulls it up, and now I'm looking into his eyes. "Arielle, I know when something's wrong . . . tell me."
I sigh again and pinch the bridge of my nose. "Do we have to go home?"
"What do you-"
"Can't we just board a flight to Paris or something?"
Zayn doesn't answer me.
"They're moving to Miami, Zayn. They're going to find us . . . can't we just run somewhere where it's so far away that they won't think to look?" I run a hand frustratedly through my hair.
Zayn sighs lightly before taking a step towards me. He grabs my hands with his, holding them gently. "Babygirl, you know that's not realistic. We have a dog, which is like having a child and we can't just leave her . . . Besides, you don't have to worry about them, I will figure out a way to get rid of them." His thumb rubs small soothing circles on the palm of my hand. Somehow the combination of his voice and his touch has managed to calm my frayed nerves.
I take a composed breath. "Okay, let's go home," I say, still sounding weak.
He reluctantly turns from me and gathers our luggage. We head onto the plane together, and enjoy the flight in relative silence. Until Zayn ends up falling asleep and I tuck into his side and stare out the window. When we land, we catch a cab back to the house.
As I walk up to the front door, Zayn hands me the key and I unlock the door quickly. I'm surprised when I feel paws on my leg and when I look down I notice Sky, happy as ever. "Wh-" I'm about to ask why she's here, or even how she got here, but she jumps up at me and I'm forced to give her some attention.
Zayn pushes past us into the house, placing the luggage down. "I let Louis know that we were coming home, so he went and picked her up."
"She wasn't alone since this morning, was she?" I ask, still being attacked with kisses from the puppy.
"No, of course not. Louis just left maybe five minutes ago." Zayn grabs the house key from the lock and tosses it on the table just inside the door. He immediately reaches into his back pocket and grabs a cigarette and his lighter. Without another word, he walks out to the balcony and lights up a cigarette.
When Sky stops peppering me with kisses, I lock the front door and roll Zayn's suitcase into his bedroom. Stepping back into the foyer, I'm forced to look at my luggage, which just reminds me of the school and Chef and my mother.
I need to figure out how I'm going to finish the rest of my schooling . . . whether I want to go back to classes, or if I'm allowed to find a different type of extra credit to complete my degree. Just thinking about it causes my anxiety levels to rise. I don't know what I'm going to do, but I do know that the first step is talking with Miss Welles, the advisor.
That means that tonight I should probably head back to the school so I can hopefully meet with her first thing in the morning. I sigh heavily before sauntering into the kitchen. I pour myself a glass of water and rest on the barstool while watching Zayn outside. I watch him for a few minutes before he kills the cigarette and comes back inside.
"You feeling any better?" He asks as he tucks the lighter into his back pocket.
"A little," I lie.
He steps towards me and sits on the barstool beside me, twisting my seat in the process so that I'm facing him. He shifts his knees so that mine are between his and he looks intensely into my eyes. "Stop lying to me, angel. Tell me the truth."
I sigh when I feel Zayn's hands run up and down my arms. I close my eyes for just a moment, loving the feeling more than I probably should. "It's just . . ." I run a hand over my hair to take a second to collect my thoughts. "I don't know what happens with my schooling now. I mean, obviously I'm not working with Chef so I either need to go back to Le Cordon and take more classes, or I need to find something else to do as extra credit . . . but if I find something new to do as extra credit I need to talk to an advisor and tell her a legitimate reason as to why I'm not doing the extra credit that Chef suggested, and I need to confirm with her that I can actually work at another kitchen for the credit." I bite my lip, taking a second before I tell him the next part. "I'm not even sure if I feel comfortable going back to Le Cordon when I know that there's the possibility that Chef could work there again. So what am I supposed to do? I live on campus," I explain. "It's all just really confusing and stressful and like two weeks ago it all seemed so easy and clear."
Zayn takes a moment to take in everything I've said before he opens his mouth to speak, but then second guesses it. He absentmindedly plays with his lip ring. "I think it's a little simpler than that . . ." He places his hands on my thighs. "Look, I know some people . . . I'll talk to them and see if I can't find you a job that'll be like an internship. And about Chef, f uck him. I'll deal with him soon enough. As for your living situation . . . I own a large home, you need somewhere to live, it all works out." He smiles.
Did he just suggest that we live together? I open my mouth to speak but Zayn interrupts.
"I need someone to help take care of our child anyways," he says, making my heart race. Sky barks. "Look, there's our child now!"
I stare at him as if he's just grown three heads. He just suggested we live together, and he called Sky our child! My heart is beating faster than ever.
"Plus I really like having you around, so what do you say? Did I help relieve some of the anxiety?" He says as he squeezes my thighs lightly.
We're not moving too quickly are we? We've known each other for months now, and on the weekends I basically live here . . . so there really isn't any reason why I shouldn't live here, right? I barely think it over before I'm blurting out a, "yes!" I lunge forward, wrapping him in a hug, feeling thankful as h ell to have him in my life.
How could I ever live without Zayn?