Everything was quiet aside from the endless thoughts roaming throughout my mind. Darkness and emptiness surrounded me as I silently sat on the top of my bed, legs crossed, examining a bottle of pills that rested in my right hand.
I opened the bottle and let a single pill slide out onto the palm of my hand. I held it close to my face, between my thumb and index finger, carefully examining it.
Suddenly, there was a knock on my door and I quickly plopped the pill in my mouth and closed the capsule, tossing it onto my bedside table.
The door slowly opened a crack and a head full of curls peeked into the room. It was Harry.
He lightly knocked on the door even though he was in my room and I had already spotted him.
"Can I come in?" he asked in a whisper.
I gave him a simple nod and he closed the door behind him. He walked up to my bed and I felt the mattress shift underneath me as he sat diagonal from me. Although the room was pitch black, I was still able to make out Harry's silhouette in the darkness.
"What are you doing sitting here all alone in the dark?" he asked in a gentle tone.
I didn't bother to look up at him. I simply kept my eyes centered on my hands as I nervously fiddled with them on my lap.
There was a low sigh from Harry as he fidgeted on the mattress and I heard the sound of his hands anxiously rubbing his jeans.
"Listen, I know today isn't an easy day for you...and it isn't for us either, but that doesn't mean you have to make it worse for yourself by sulking in your dark room all day. We need each other's support and comfort today out of all days, you know what I mean?"
I didn't have to lift my head up to know that he was staring at me. I knew he was right but I didn't want to say anything. I stopped twiddling my thumbs and brought my knees against my chest and hugged them tightly, my hands tightly gripping on my bare skin.
The bed shuffled a bit again before I heard the capsule full of pills being picked up, making a sound similar to a maraca.
"What are these doing by your bed?" asked Harry, with a tint of worry and concern, while holding the capsule close to my face.
"I had a headache," I simply stated with no trace of emotion in my voice. I turned my head away from the capsule that was held so close to my face.
"How many did you take?"
His tone was growing more worrisome.
"Promise? You're not lying to me?"
"I promise, Harry. Now just leave it." I spat out the last couple of words, not out of annoyance but for a reason I didn't quite know myself.
Harry had put the capsule back on my bedside table and sat on my bed in silence once again, not saying another word about the capsule full of pills. He let out another loud sigh.
"I-I'm sorry. I was just worried about you. I just feel like I owe it to Zayn to take care of you, to protect you now that he's gone and-God, I just miss him so much, Sarah. We all do. It's so fucking hard..."
Harry's fingers curled and gripped at his jeans as his jaw clenched. He was trying very hard not to cry, I could tell. I knew exactly how he was feeling, more than he knew. So, all I wanted to do was comfort him the way I wanted to be comforted at the moment.
I cautiously reached out my hand and placed it over Harry's, his body stiffening under my touch.
"I know exactly how you're feeling right now, but I think the best thing we can do right now is stay strong for Zayn. That's what he would want, Harry."
Harry sat in silence for a couple seconds before sniffling loudly and standing up all in a single swift movement.
"We should get going now. The...um...ceremony is about to start and everybody is probably already there waiting for us."
"Ceremony" wasn't really the proper word, but nobody liked to call it a funeral. The word was much too depressing. "Ceremony" made it feel a tad special at the least. It was a nicer word.
I gave Harry a small nod before standing up from my bed and straightening my small black dress as soon as I stood up. I grabbed the flats that lay at the foot of my bed and slipped them on before exiting my room and closing the door behind me.
I followed Harry down the stairs and out the front door where I saw a black van parked in front of my house. I soon realized it was the boys when Louis stepped out of the passenger side door to open the back door for me. I sat next to Niall who was solemnly sitting by himself, and then climbed in Harry who sat next to me as well.
Louis then went back to sit next to Liam who was in the driver's seat and looked back at me.
"Ready?" asked Liam.
"As ready as I'll ever be," I whispered in the quietest tone possible.
I didn't know whether Liam had heard me or not, but it didn't matter. He started the car and we slowly drove away from my house and on the way to Zayn's funeral.
. . .
The funeral was much worse and depressing than I anticipated. There were a couple of people already there that looked like friends and family of Zayn's that I didn't recognize in the slightest.
As the boys and I made our way towards the large cluster of strangers I didn't know, who were waiting for the funeral to commence, a familiar looking pair emerged from the crowd. One was a man who looked Indian with short ruffled black hair and some stubble growing into a beard. The woman accompanying him with arms linked, English maybe, had long wavy brown hair that had a slight tint of red and of course they both wore black for the unfortunate occasion.
At first, I didn't pay much attention to them because I already had so much on my mind, but as they neared me it seemed as if they were walking towards me.
I stopped dead in my tracks and so did the boys behind me as the couple stopped one foot in front of me, the man holding his hand out to me. I hesitantly shook his hand and the lady gave me a small warm smile.
"It's so nice to finally meet you," she said, still smiling.
At this point I was very confused and had no clue as to why these two strangers were so excited to meet me.
"You're Sarah Bell, aren't you?"
"Uh, yes, I am, but I don't know who either of you are. I'm sorry," I said rather awkwardly. This was too weird. They even knew my name.
"Oh, my. I guess he never really showed you any pictures or explained what we looked like," said the lady, covering her mouth with her free hand in an amused gesture.
This was getting more confusing by the second.
"What are you talking about?" I asked, not sounding so polite.
"Oh, I'm sorry, we probably should've introduced ourselves first. My name is Yaser and this is my wife Tricia. We're Zayn's parents."
Out of every scenario I could think of this was the worst way possible I thought I'd meet Zayn's parents. I felt sudden guilt for the whole situation his parents were in and that it was my fault they were in this much pain and anguish. They didn't deserve this. No one deserved to have their child killed in a car accident or any accident for that matter.
I gathered the courage to look them in the eyes and shake his father's hand and say,
"It's nice to meet you too. And I'm so sorry about your loss."
His father gave me a small sympathetic smile while his mother kept quiet while staring at me in an admiring manner.
"You're just as beautiful as he said you were," she finally spoke.
Every muscle in me stopped all at once and I stood there, shocked, almost unable to speak.
"H-he talked about me?" I asked, my voice close to cracking.
"That's all he ever talked about! He was always saying how beautiful and amazing you are. He would go on and on about you."
Tricia then grabbed both of my hands and held them in hers and said,
"Thank you...for making our Zayn happy and taking care of him when we couldn't."
She looked at me with such endearment and gratitude with a single tears running down her face. It took all of my willpower not to cry in front of them. It was time for me to go before I made a scene.
"Of course," I said and when I looked back I noticed the boys weren't standing behind me anymore. "I have to go now. I'll see you both later."
We said our goodbye's and I made my way towards the crowd of people where I saw Liam standing in the back by himself, no sign of the others.
"Why are you standing all by yourself?" I asked in a hushed tone so I wouldn't disrupt the priest who had just started speaking up front.
"I just wanted to be by myself during the...event," he whispered back, dodging the word.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Liam, I didn't know. I'll leave you alone if that's what you want-"
"No. Stay. I actually wanted somebody to talk to..."
Liam looked down at the ground with his hands in his pants pockets. He seemed distressed and deep in thought as if he'd been thinking for awhile now about what to say. He didn't look back up at me as he spoke,
"Sarah...I can't help thinking it's my fault this happened to Zayn. I'm always the one watching out for the boys and keeping an eye on them like a father would, but I guess my best wasn't enough and right now I feel like I owe it to Zayn to take care of you and watch over you for now. It's the least I could do..."
"Liam, there is no possible way that this was your fault. I know everyone is taking the blame for it, but we all secretly know it was all my fault and there's nothing I can do about it now. He's gone and it's all my fault..."
I balled my small hands into fists up to the point where my nails were digging so far into my skin that blood could've been drawn. But I didn't cry.
"It's been Hell without him, Sarah, I know more than everybody here. It's been Hell and I can't help but take responsibility for everything. Fuck, why did he have to go so soon?..."
I turned to look at Liam for the first time since I walked over and by just one look at him I could tell he was on the verge of tears. His hands were no longer in his pockets and were now balled into tight fists, turning his knuckles to a pale white.
I put a hand on his shoulder and he turned to look at me, his eyes glistening in the morning sunlight as tears were threatening to fall.
"Just promise me that you'll keep the boys and the band together no matter what, but more importantly the boys. They need your guidance now more than ever, Liam. You have to stay strong for them and Zayn. That's what he would've wanted, for you guys to be happy even when he's gone."
His fists loosened and he let out a long and deep sigh followed by a clearing of his throat.
"I promise," he whispered so quietly I could barely hear it myself.
"Good," I said with a small sympathetic smile and continued to stand next to Liam while the priest resumed talking, but the silence didn't last very long.
"Um, Sarah, I also wanted to give you something," said Liam and took something out of his pants pocket, and it must've been very small because I couldn't see it with the way he was holding it. "At the hospital, after Zayn passed, the doctor handed this to me and said that it was in Zayn's hand when he passed and after looking at it closely enough I figured out who it belonged to."
I was confused but mostly curious as to what the item was that Liam was holding.
He finally handed me the object and gently placed it in the palm of my hand and when I saw it I swore I could feel my heart skip a beat.
It was a ring that was gold all around with a small rose made of diamonds as the centerpiece. It was beautiful, but I was still confused and looked back up at Liam.
"You might not recognize one, but that's an engagement ring. He was going to propose to you, Sarah."
As the words left Liam's mouth my whole body went cold and I felt like I was going to faint.
Zayn was going to propose to me?! After everything I put him through he was going to propose to me? He wanted to marry me, but now he's gone and it's all my fault. It wasn't going to happen.
I closed my eyes shut, as tight as I could and took a long and deep breath. I needed to calm down. I looked back up at Liam, concern sketched in his eyes.
"Thank you," I managed to say in a small whisper and leaned in to hug him.
"Of course and he really did love you, Sarah. Never doubt that," he whispered back and returned the hug a little more tightly.
"I won't," I whispered into his ear and pulled away from our hug.
And truth is, I would never forget Zayn. He was forever going to be a part of me, of my life. And so were the boys.
After we pulled from our hug we realized people were walking up front to Zayn's casket to pay their condolences.
I looked up at Liam.
"You go ahead. I'm gonna stay back here for awhile longer," he said and sniffled.
I took and deep breath and clenched the ring in my right hand as I began to walk down the aisle towards the casket where Zayn now lay. Every step was more painful and agonizing than the last.
When I finally approached his casket I stopped and looked down for a second.
He's actually in there. Zayn is actually dead and laying in that casket right at this moment.
I took another deep breath and placed my right hand flat on the casket and whispered,
"I do, Zayn. I do."
I slowly slipped my hand away, leaving the ring behind.
I slowly made my way back down the aisle of people, memories of Zayn flooding my mind as I remembered what it was like when he loved me, when he was still with us.
Memories like our first kiss, first date, first time, every moment that I was with him made me happy. And I knew he would forever leave an imprint on my life like I did on his.
I remembered the first time we met, the first time we laid eyes on each other as if it was love at first sight. The way his eyes just sparkled with life and joy as he looked at me.
"Are you okay?" asked a familiar voice once again.
I recognized it as the guy from the store. I slowly turned my head in his direction.
"Yeah, I'm fine-" I stared in shock as I looked at the guys face, for he finally revealed it to me.
There was no mistaking those bronze eyes staring back at me. It was Zayn Javadd Malik from One Direction in the flesh.
I didn't know what to do, but stare at him with my mouth gaping wide open. He could tell I recognized him and gave me a cheeky smile that made my insides melt. He put a hand on the window sill and leaned in very closely to my face.
"So, where's my kiss?"
I looked back.
And I smiled.