"Almost ready Lexi?", I call from my bedroom early the next morning.
"Do I have to go mom?"
"Yes, school is non negotiable and Lexi, please don't tell anyone about what we're doing..."
"Ok, mom", she says sadly, dragging her feet.
"Where did I put my keys?", I say out loud to myself. I groan when I remember that I gave them to Zayn the day before. "Let's go, grab your school bag... Hope someone made coffee..." I mumble, as we head downstairs. After Simon left yesterday, Louis girlfriend Eleanor came over for supper. She was nice and very pretty. Intimidating, but I liked her nevertheless.
I can smell the aroma coming from the kitchen as soon as I get to the bottom of the stairs.
"Good morning loves. What would you like for breakfast?", Harry asks.
"You don't have to do that, I can get us our own", I answer quickly. "Where's Zayn? He has my keys..."
"Can I have Fruit Loops?", Lexi asks.
"Sit down Lexi. I'll get it for you...", Harry says. "Where are you off too this morning?"
"Stupid school!" she snaps and I giggle as I listen to her complain. I pour myself a large coffee in a travel mug. Niall and Louis walk into the kitchen just as I take my first heavenly drink.
"Mmm, coffee...we can get it anywhere, and get as loaded as we like on it, until we reach that teeth-chattering, eye-bulging, nonsense-gibbering time, that we are classified unable to operate heavy machinery," I babble...
"Really Faith, have you considered counselling?" Louis chuckles.
"Um, people who live in glass houses should dress in the basement, mate... Did you get counselling for your obsession with carrots?" Niall teases.
"Oh, burn..." I giggle.
"I was supposed to meet up with Simon this morning for a bit but I can re-schedule and drive you this morning..." Harry offers.
"No, it's ok. I have an errand to run after I drop her off anyway..."
"What errand?", Zayn asks, making his way into the kitchen.
"I have to go to 'Harrods' and pick up my last pay cheque... Where are my keys?"
"I have nothing on this morning. I'll drive you..." Zayn offers.
"No thanks, I can drive myself..."
"Fine then, take my car...", he says, handing me his own keys.
"I don't want to take your car..."
"Then I guess, I'm driving you...", he snaps.
"I don't need you're help Zayn, nor did I ask for it...", I say, my voice slightly louder than it should be, while the others watch and listen silently. The coffee must really be laced with caffeine this morning, I'm not usually so confrontational, but he's seriously pissing me off.
"Well, that's a real shame. Because I wouldn't help you if you were the last baby sea turtle dragging your little, tiny body across the burning sand whilst hungry seagulls circled overhead. No...I'd just pull up a chair, sip a beer and watch nature take its course..."
"Whatever..." I snap back. What the hell is his problem. "C'mon Lexi, let's go..." I say, walking out the front door. Zayn's right behind me.
"Where are you going with that?", he snaps.
"To your car..."
"You can't have that in my car..."
"Seriously, I have a lid on it?!", I shout.
"Seriously...", he smirks.
"Fine...", I snap, opening the door and rolling the window completely down. I settle in the passenger seat being careful to keep my arm and cup sticking out the window as I shut the door with a huge smile on my face.
"Now let's see you drink it?", he snaps, trying to fight off the look of amusement on his face.
"Sure...", I say, sitting up and sticking my entire top half out the window and taking a big drink. "Mmm, good to the last drop...", I smirk.
"You better stay that way until it's all gone...", he says, with a chuckle.
"Yes captain, my captain...", I say, giving him a salute. He rolls his eyes and shakes his head before getting into the driver's seat of his Bentley Continental GT.
"You're infuriating..." he says.
"And you're an ass..."
"Mom! You have to put a dollar in the swear jar. You said 'ass'!, Lexi giggles, from the backseat.
"Tell you what. Here's a twenty. That ought to cover me and mom until lunch..." Zayn says, handing her some money. He pulls up in front of her school and I get out to open her door.
"Here, I'll take this and put it in the swear jar...Ok? Have a good day, Lexi...", I say, giving her a kiss and watching her walk inside. I chug back the rest of my coffee and get back in the car. Zayn's sitting there looking at me with this annoying smirk that I just want to slap off his face. "You are such a - a...", I stammer trying to find the right words to describe what a total prick he's being.
"At a loss for words huh?"
"Oh, no, wait. I thought of some. Jerk! Arrogant, inconsiderate, mindless, frat-boy, lowlife, butt-faced miscreant!", I snap. His eyebrows shoot up in surprise and amusement as he stifles a chuckle.
"Shut up...", I snap, trying to maintain my pissed off expression, but It's no use, the next thing I know we're both laughing as he pulls away from the school.
"Need me to go in with you..." Zayn offers, pulling up outside Harrod's.
"No, this should just take me a minute...", I answer getting out of the car and making my way inside. I head straight to the back where Mr. Marshall's office is and knock on the door.
"Come in!", he shouts. I take a deep breath and open the door. "Didn't I fire your ass a couple of days ago," he snaps.
"I'm here to pick up my last pay check. Then you'll never see me again," I say, my voice waivering. Uh oh, my jolt of caffeine confidence must be wearing off.
"What pay check?" he asks, his eyes blaring at me.
"You owe me for 2 weeks,"
"I don't owe you...If anything, you owe me...for walking out the other day and leaving me short staffed. And I think I want to collect now..." he growls, licking his lips.
"Nevermind..." I say, quickly turning to leave. His hands and lips are on me within seconds as he slams me against a wall. I manage to push him away, just enough to break the connection between our lips but he still has me pinned, his entire body leans against mine as leaverage. "Please STOP!" I shout, punching him away. He grasps both my wrists and pins them to the wall over my head, then shifts slightly so that he's holding both of mine with only one of his. Tears stream down my face now as I continue to beg him to stop. He pays no attention as his now free hand travels down my body.
"I think the lady asked you to stop..." Zayn snaps from the door. His face is flushed and his hands are in tight fists. I'm released immediately. "Faith, go wait in the car..." he says, quietly. I'm shaking so hard that I don't bother arguing. I just want to get the hell out of there. I push my way past Mr. Marshall and run out the door. Time passes slowly as I sit in the passenger seat of Zayn's car waiting for him to return. Finally, about 10 minutes later he opens the door and slides in next to me. His hands wrap tightly around the steering wheel, his knuckles white. "Here's your cheque...", he says, softly, holding it out. I take it and fiddle with it. "Are you okay?" he asks, and that's when I lose it. I tremble and sob uncontrollably as Zayn reaches across the seat and wraps me in his arms. "Sshh, it's ok...", he soothes, stroking my hair. He smells like freshly washed clothes and body wash. It's intoxicating. I take a deep breath, letting his scent fill my nose.
After about 5 minutes or so, I compose myself and pull away. He holds me close with one hand, while he traces the side of my face with his fingers on the other. My breath hitches as he brushes over my lips. I swallow hard, my eyes are fixed on his, holding his burning gaze intently. Eventually, his gaze flickers down towards my lips and that's when I realize that for the first time in 8 years, since before Lexi was born, I want to be kissed. I want to feel his lips on mine.
That realization is enough to scare the living daylights out of me. This is just supposed to be a 'job'. I pull away abruptly. He already has someone, for crying out loud, and I'm supposed to be fake 'married' to Harry...
"Let's get back..." he says, his voice deliberately gentled, and I nod in agreement as I sit and gaze out my window. This has suddenly just become very complicated.
After Faith and I get home, she runs up to her room, without saying a word. I make my way into the living room and plop down on the sofa in between Liam and Louis. Niall's sitting opposite us on the chair.
"Where's Faith?", Niall asks.
"She's up in her room...", I sigh, and he shoots me a nasty glare. "It wasn't me this time mate... I swear..."
"What happened?", Liam asks concerned.
"Her boss, ex-boss jammed his tongue down her throat while forcing her against a wall," I explain. "It scares me to think of how far he would have gone if I wouldn't of walked in on him."
"Is she alright?", Niall asks.
"I don't know. I think. She didn't say much in the car on the way back. She's...frustrating..."
"You like her...", Liam says, bumping my shoulder.
"We all like her. She's likeable..."
"That's not what Liam means Zayn, and you know it..." Louis says, smiling.
"Naw, I have Perrie. I'm happy with Perrie..." I repeat, finally meeting Niall's burning gaze.
"Who you trying to convince mate? Us or yourself...", Liam chuckles.
"I'm tired, I'm gonna go throw myself on my bed...", I say abruptly, wanting more than anything to be done with this conversation.