[Somewhere in California]
"Damn, I've got no angle on this!", I say, trying to line up the best shot I can with what's still left on the table. "I don't suppose you fella's would consider calling off the bet, would you?", I chuckle. The two big guys just laugh and shake their heads at me. "Yeah, that's what I thought". I smirk spreads across my lips as I formulate the best course of action. Yeah, they were good. Real good. But not as good as me. Pool fiction or pool truth, I am about to take them both down. People said they are some kind of gods of the game. They told me this was the room that all the big boys want to get a piece of. Even if it was just for a beer, with a sit down and a look see.
What they don't know yet though, is that I'm the shnook that's hustling this table, a sleaze of the shadows, now out for some light of day and some--approbation. I want all the other mooks in town and whoever is lucky enough to play at my table, to remember my name.
I fire long, straight in shots in the cross corner pockets and run the rest of the rack, easily, without breaking a sweat. The balls are reracked and I do the same again, and again... 13 breaks and runs in a row. The big guys give up the $1650 in cash, peeling bills slowly and peeling 'em pissed.
"Ben!", a familiar voice calls from behind me, and before I have a chance to turn around, "We've missed you at the tournaments man...With your skill level, you'd be raking it in!" Busted. This is not going to end well.
"TOURNAMENTS?!", the big guys shout, wide eyed. I groan, and in the blink of an eye, grab the money out of his hand and bolt out the bar door. I'm in better shape then the losers in that place, so I'm not worried. I can hear them quite a ways behind me, but as I duck around a corner and into an alley, the voices become more distant and muffled. I crouch down surrounded by darkness and pull my jacket closed around me, and wait. Patiently and quietly until I'm sure they have given up and gone. I walk cautiously back out on the street and hail a cab.
"Where too?", the cab driver asks.
"The airport. Home...It's time to go home...", I say.
After getting Lexi off to school the next morning, the girl's, as promised, called the house to tell me they would be picking me up at 9am. I can't help but groan as I quickly take a shower, pull on my favourite jeans, fitted blue v-neck t-shirt and my black low-cut converse sneakers. I dry my hair and put it back in a high ponytail. Coffee, I need a bunch of it, if I hope to get through this shopping trip. Have I mentioned just how much I despise shopping, especially when it's for myself.
I bound back down the stairs and head for the coffee pot. Zayn is the only one up. "Coffee?", he offers with a smile.
"I think it's a Cafe-Mocha-Vodka-Valium-Latte morning, please...", I say, smiling.
"Wow, something tells me Harry and Niall did not get that kind...", he chuckles, pouring me just a plain cup of coffee. "Is that indicative of how much you're looking forward to this shopping trip?", he asks.
"Why yes it is Mr. Malik. Nothing gets by you!", I tease, and take a big drink. He leans against the counter with his arms crossed in front of him. He looks really good with his morning hair. Stop it Faith.
"Harry mentioned what happened yesterday...Are you okay?", he asks.
"Okay-ish...", I say.
"That's not okay..."
"It's okay with an 'ish' at the end... I'm suffering from déjà-vu... I swear I had this same conversation with Harry... Can we not talk about this anymore?!", I mumble.
"Sure...try to think positively about the whole shopping thing. It'll be fine..." I put my hand up to silence him. "What?"
"I'm waiting...", I say.
"For what?", he smirks.
"To see if my coffee chooses to use its powers for good or evil today...", I laugh. He shakes his head and laughs.
"You need professional help...", he teases.
"I've already been, they told me I was fine...", I say.
"May I suggest a second opinion?!"
"What are you doing up this early? Lexi, told me you were the 'sleeper' of all the lads...", I ask, taking another drink.
"I just wanted to make sure the coffee was ready for you...", he says, staring at me. My eyes lock on his as awkward silence fills the space between us.
"Good morning. Bonjour belle fille! Avez-vous dormi bien?", Benny says, shuffling into the kitchen, interrupting our moment, (or whatever it was). (**Good morning beautiful girl! Did you sleep well?***)
"Yes, thank you. I trust your night was also satisfactory?", I say, breaking my gaze away from Zayn's.
"Where is your husband, Faith?", he asks, looking between Zayn and I. Oh shit.
"Still in bed. He'll be down shortly. I had to walk Lexi to the bus...", I say, trying to explain why Zayn and I are the only two in the kitchen. I feel as though I'm back in school and just been sent to the principal's office.
"I was just making some coffee... Would you like some?", Zayn offers, quick to explain his presence. We chat for a while with Benny, about life in Paris. It sounds beautiful. I guess I don't have to tell you that I've never been. The others slowly rise and join us in the kitchen. Harry's the last to finally come sauntering in.
"Good morning love...", he says, giving me a kiss on the cheek. I blush and fidget with my fingernails. Without looking up I can feel Zayn and Niall's eyes burning holes through the side of my head. I decide it's safer to keep my head down.
"I would like to spend the evening getting to know you all better... I find it helps me with my song writing... Tonight, yes?", Benny says, finishing his coffee, getting up from the table and heading back upstairs. "I'll be back down in about an hour to work lads...", he shouts, from the stairs.
The front door opens then and Eleanor comes bounding in. She jumps on Louis back and plants a huge kiss on his cheek. Two other girls follow closely behind her. A pretty, brunette with long curly hair makes her way over to Liam. He wraps his arms around her waist and pulls her in for a kiss, and an attractive blonde, makes her way over to Zayn.
"Hey beautiful babe...", she says, wrapping her arms around him and pressing her lips to his. Oh wow, I want to disappear. I fight the overwhelming desire to claw her eyes out, and instead pinch my arm under the table, hard. I drop my gaze to the floor not knowing what else to do. How could I let myself develop feelings for someone that I can never have, again, I scold myself.
"Faith, this is Danielle and over there is Perrie...", El says, finally.
"Hi...", I say, softly.
"Are you ready to have some fun today?", Perrie asks.
Not with you... my subconscience snaps. "Um, yeah. I guess...", I say.
"Well, then. Let's go...", Dani says, ushering me out the door. "First stop, starbucks!" Thank god...I'm going to need a vat of it just to get myself through this morning.