I turn the music up slightly to fill the silence as I drive my car down the motorway. Cee's fast asleep in the back-seat and my dad sits beside me in the passenger seat. We ride the rest of the hour car journey in relative silence, only talking non-chantly about the road having too many bumps and the amount of traffic on the road ahead. We finally pull down the road and my palms sweat as I pull the car to a stop outside of the house. I turn the engine off and silence falls on the car. I look up at the house infront of me and close my eyes momentarily as my head burns.
"Come on," My dad says, placing his hand gently on mine. I wince slightly at the contact before pulling my hand away and unbuckling my seat-belt. Calla awakens as I gently unbuckle her from her car-seat and lift her out of it.
"Mummy," She murmurs, eyes half-closed as I take her and gently support her on my hip. My dad outstretches his hands towards her. I take a deep breath and hand her over. She clings to my dad's t-shirt as her eyes slowly draw closed again.
"Wait in the car." He says slowly. I watch him head towards the house as I hastily get back into the front seat of the car. My dad reaches up and knocks on the white front door and I bite my lip, waiting for it to open.
But it doesn't.
Confused, I look towards the driveway and see Niall's car parked up. Frowning, I cast my eyes back to my Dad who's now facing me with a concerned expression. I let out a breath and get out of the car, walking towards him. I press the bell and we wait for a while but still... no answer.
I pull out my phone and check the time. It was half eleven in the morning. He should have been up by now.
"Maybe we should go to hers," My dad says softly, looking up at the silent house. I nod and we head back to the car. After another twenty minute journey I find myself parking outside Perrie and Zayn's home. Rain gently begins falling as my dad once again gets out of the car and heads to the door. I stall, getting things from my bag instead. I watch as my dad knocks a few times and after a couple of seconds the door is pulled open. Zayn Malik stands in the door, hair messy and unruly, t-shirt and jean clad. He frowns at my Dad before his eyes land on Calla's body in his arms. They exchange a few words before he moves to the side, allowing Zayn to look straight across the street and see me. His mouth hangs open slightly before he breaks into a run towards me.
"Crystal!" He exclaims breathlessly, hugging me to his chest.
"Hey Zayn," I say quietly, the smell of his clothes overtaking my nose.
"We've all missed you so much," He says, pulling back with a shy smile. I try to smile back but I'm not sure it gets to the surface.
"Come on, come inside." He leads me back to the front door where I follow my Dad and Calla inside. I look around the hallway. Still the same wallpaper. Still the same carpet. Still the same pictures hanging on the wall.
"Perrie!" Zayn shouts up the stairs and she calls back.
"Come here!" He adds, smiling at me. I smile back slightly and Perrie appears at the top of the stairs. She's on the phone and chatting happily until she looks down and spots me and my dad standing there.
"Crystal," She murmurs under her breath, face turning from shock to a huge smile. She drops her phone and rushes down the stairs to bound into me.
"Hey," I whisper, as she clutches my body to hers.
"We'll talk later." She whispers in my ear and I nod against her chest, breathing in her warmth.
"I've missed you so much." She says, louder this time as she pulls back and her smile widens, tears threatening her eyes.
"I've missed you too." I say and we hug again, laughing at ourselves.
We spend the next hour talking and drinking tea in Perrie's kitchen. Zayn excuses himself after a while to talk to someone on the phone and my Dad tells me he's going to take Calla into the garden.
"How is... everything?" Perrie asks gently, nodding out of the window at my Dad and Cee. I nod in answer.
"He's... better. He's been around a lot more, visiting twice a week."
"Has he... said anything?" She prods, voice careful.
"No, he hasn't really mentioned anything about anything past me moving away." I swallow the lump in my throat.
"Perrie... at the stadium, I didn't mean for Niall to-" She cuts me off with a shake of her head and a small smile.
"It's fine, honestly. He was hurt," She pauses in thought for a moment.
"He cried, Crystal." She says slowly, voice low. I don't react, keeping my face straight even though my insides were crumbling.
"He sobbed. I held him on the floor for twenty minutes and he didn't stop. Then he got up..." She awkwardly brushes her hair away.
"He just got up and walked away." She sighs and I close my eyes, head throbbing.
"I'm sorry, Perrie. I didn't mean to leave like that so... suddenly. But I wasn't planning on seeing him. I only went to see you, no one else." I tell her and she nods, taking a sip of tea as Zayn re-enters the room.
We talk again before Zayn clears his throat and leans against the kitchen counter.
"Are you going to see Niall?" He asks, looking at me with an unreadable expression. Perrie shuffles slightly and I run my hand through my hair.
"I... We went over there before we came here. He didn't answer, but his car was there." I say and Zayn nods, clearly not surprised by my answer.
"He was probably asleep or something," Perrie says, consolingly. I nod and shrug.
"You wouldn't happen to have his number or anything would you?" I ask, looking over at Zayn. There's a moment of silence and Perrie and Zayn share a look. I frown in question before Zayn rubs the back of his kneck with his hand.
"Crystal, we haven't seen Niall in six months."