Sam gripped my hand tighter, as though I would escape or something. I wouldn't though, not now, when I'm already in front of the gates that secluded so many secrets.
I haven't been asking the right questions, and there were so many of them. I knew I'd have to attack my parents later.
My palms got clammy as we reached the front of the double doors of the living room, and Sam felt em' too. He let go and rubbed his hand off his shirt. I rolled my eyes, but I still felt as though there were wheels turning in my stomach. What's the worse that could happen? Belch right out in front of them?
My brother took both knobs, slowly turned them and raised the suspense for my already anxious frame, being the asshole that he was. The clicks of the locks were loud in the ever so silent hallway.
"You ready?", he asked me, a playful smile on his face.
Before I could even utter a word, or even prepare for anything, he pushed the doors wide open. Immediately multiple heads turned towards our direction.
I threw my whole attention at my father, who was walking towards me, a huge smile upon his face. As he came up to me, he looked into my eyes with his "don't worry, it'll be fine" look. I felt a little bit better.
"Aanah, what took you so long?...", my father said enthusiastically. He put his arm around me, and turned us around to meet our "guests". We made our way through the short distance towards them. My whole body was tensed, and I'm sure the temperature of it was way too high. I felt as though I was being presented to my possible in-laws during arranged marriages- looking at the ground, blushing with my hands intertwined with each other. Which is why I looked up to see their faces.
I first looked at Yaser Malik, and then at his wife, Trisha- quickly giving them my salaams (greetings), and expected a small reply in return.
But no. Trisha suddenly embraced me, placing her head on my shoulders and started sobbing.
What would someone do in a situation like this? I clearly didn't know. It would have been easier if I knew the person. I mean I knew who she was...but I don't know know her.
Everything is just so confusing, I want to die!
Now Aanah, now is not the time for crying on the insides. Zayn Malik's mother is bawling her eyes out, and is basically holding on to you for support. DO SOMETHING my subconcsious barked.
I obeyed, and returned her embrace, putting my arms around her, making soothing gestures on her back. She was shaking so hard.
Yaser Malik put his hand over my cheek and looked at me with so much affection in his eyes, I felt a slight tug on my heart.
I clearly meant a lot to them.
Trisha pulled back, putting her hands on my face, her eyes red from crying.
I didn't know what expressions I wore, as my mind was too busy trying to comprehend what was happening.
"Look at how big you've gotten...", she cooed with a sweet smile. Just for once forgetting about who they were, I took in their warmth and genuinely smiled at both of them.
Zayn's father cleared his throat, "now Trisha, let's not suffocate the poor girl. We're supposed. to be happy, not crying!", he chirped putting one arm around me.
She slightly laughed, "they're happy tears!..". She wiped them away, careful not to smudge her make up.
"You probably don't remember your Uncle Yaser, do you?", Yaser- I mean Uncle Yaser accused with humour.
"I don't mean to interrupt, but three beautiful girls are waiting to meet Aanah as well, stop hogging her Yaser", my father teased, while everyone broke into chuckles.
Uncle Yaser let go of me, and led me towards Doniya. She was beautiful, they all were. Damn these family genes.
She hugged me tightly, and I returned the gesture.
"I was just waiting for Mum and Daddy to get over their emotional drive before I met you", she joked into my hair. She pulled back, but still held me, a huge grin playing on her face.
"Aanah! I can't believe at how much you've grown! I remember how you used to follow me around everywhere and-"
"Doniya, you can chat her up later, there are other people waiting..", Waliyha interrupted, scowling.
I laughed unconsciously. It felt good. My insides were so wound up from the moment I saw them, and him- out in the hallway, that I haven't been respiring properly.
She wore her signature messy bun. "Well we never met, but I've heard a lot about you...and honestly I already think of you as a sister", she grinned.
I was so genuinely touched, I pulled her for a hug.
Safaa seemed shy, so I knelt in front of her. "Hi, you must be Safaa", I smiled. That was the first time I spoke since I walked into that room.
She nodded slightly. I put my arms out, "well I'm Aanah". Her lips curved into a sweet smile, before she hugged me.
"Well that seems like the last of greetings...glad that's over", my father said.
Uh, no. That was not the last one.
No one corrected him though, so I kept my mouth shut as well. Not like I was going to say anything anyway.
My father, Uncle Yaser and Trisha were talking amongst themselves, while my mother went to check on the food. Us younger ones sat together, on the other side of the room, getting to know each other.
We basically talked about ourselves, while Safaa sat between us being awfully quiet. Doniya, was in Uni, same as my brother. Waliyha was two years younger than me, but she seemed mature for her age.
Funny part was, that I already knew all this information, but I kept my mouth shut, and politely went with it. In conclusion, I knew we were going to get along really well.
Here was I was, sitting amongst his family, like it was a normal Saturday afternoon.
What was weirder though, was that no one even mentioned his name, not even once. Why haven't they? Has he left? Have I missed my chance meeting him? Does he even want-
"Aanah", Doniya nudged me, bringing me back from the series of questions circling my mind.
I looked up at them. "You've been quiet for some time, is everything all right?"
As I was about to answer her, she continued. "We know why you must be nervous, it's okay. Don't be", Doniya smiled.
"What?", I asked, confused.
"We've seen your room, it's....it's quite a masterpiece".
I blushed, looking down. Oh god.
My brother was shamelessly laughing out loud. This was so awkward.
"Well at least she didn't scream in your face...I was actually hoping she would though. Too bad", Sam interjected, laughing like the asshole he was.
At this point my cheeks were full on fire. "Um, I'm going to go see if my mom needs help", I smiled politely and tried to make it out of there really fast.
"Aanah, we were joking!", I heard Doniya call out to me.
I looked over my shoulder, "I'll be back in a second".
"Sam, why man? Why?", I heard her say to him, finally leaving the room, hearing my brothers obnoxious laugh fade.
Honestly, my nerves calmed down when I had a decent conversation with them. I wasn't as nervous as before. Although I'm not so sure about right now.
Before reaching the kitchen door, my phone buzzed in my hand. It was Audrey.
"Hello? Aud? You still in school?"
"Aanah, something happened, something huge!", she huffed into the phone. She sounded pissed.
"I swear to god, if I don't kill Moira...", she continued, her fury radiating through the phone.
"I know you have guests in your house, so can you go someplace private?", she calmed down a bit.
Through the window, I can see Mr. Allen coming up our driveway, with stacks of envelopes in his hands. Not again.
"Okay wait, let me just go outside. Please, just calm down", I counseled, walking out the front door.
I put my hand on the receiver as I met Mr. Allen halfway. "I'm so sorry Mr A. I don't know why this keeps happening....it's getting out of hand".
He handed me our mail, "it's okay. It's no trouble at all. Have a good evening", he smiled and walked back to his house.
"You too", I called back.
I hurriedly put the phone back to my ear. "Okay so what happened?"
"Moira...". Damn it was freezing. I walked back towards the front door.
Audrey continued, "Moira's pregnant"
I abruptly stopped moving.
"All right, I better go back inside...everyone must be wondering where I am", I told Liam.
"Okay, don't forget to call soon. Love you man".
I walked, not really paying attention to where I was going. I checked my messages, for what had to be the hundredth time, hoping I'd get a reply.
I sighed putting the phone back in my pocket. I looked up to see that I had come to the side of the house, by the pool. I looked in, the water looking extremely uninviting, seeming like a black hole.
I turned on my heels to look back, to see who that was, but in the process I suddenly slipped on the icy concrete, losing my balance and fell right into the freezing water.
I screamed, my whole body turning numb within seconds, and I couldn't open my eyes to see properly.
"Zayn! Oh my god", I heard a female voice say.
"Here, take my hand!", I still couldn't open my eyes, as I frantically searched for the unknown persons hand. As I felt it, I immediately grabbed on. I could tell she was using all her strength to help me out.
When I got out, I fell to the floor, panting really hard. The girl was right beside me, as I could hear her heavy breathing. I was shivering like crazy. Struggling, I finally got my eyes to open. I blinked a few times, to look at my rescuer.
She wore mixed emotions of worry and shock. Her dark eyes wide. The moment I set eyes on her, I knew who she was.
"Aanah", I breathed.
"Zayn, son are you alright?". I looked to the side to see everyone running towards me.
"Zayn, darling you okay?", Mum frantically asked.
"I'm fine Mum", my voice was hoarse, and cracked at the end. She didn't look convinced.
"Quick Sameer, wrap the towel around him", Uncle yelled. Sam swiftly put it around me, and got me on my feet.
"Come on, I'm sure you can fit in my clothes, right?", Sameer questioned, leading me towards the house.
I nodded, looking over my shoulders. She was gone.
I took a hot shower, dried myself, and wore Sam's clothes. He lend me a t-shirt and some sweats. He was wrong though. The t-shirt was huge on me, but all in all it was comfy.
I sat there on Sam's bed, as he was sharing his room with me for the night.
Where had she gone? Why had she? Where is she now? I rubbed my face with both hands.
This is ridiculous.
I got up, and went out the door in search for Aanah. She was probably with the girls. I checked in the room where the three of them were sharing. She wasn't there.
"Guys, have you seen Aanah?"
Waliyha looked up from her phone. "Last I saw her, she was speaking on the phone"
Halfway closing the door Doniya interjected, "Zayn, don't freak her out okay?". She was taking clothes out of her suitcase.
"What do you mean?", I asked confused.
"You'll see soon enough", she smirked folding away.
Whatever that meant.
I closed the door, and roamed in the hallway, looking for her. My eyes fell on a door, with the same intricate designs I saw on that window. Only it was shaped into a big A. This must be her room.
The door was ajar. I was about to knock when I heard her muffled voice.
"I cannot believe this is happening. How can she be so stupid!", she said frantically with an edge of anger.
Is now a good time? She seems rather upset. No, I don't care. I'm meeting her now.
I slowly opened the door open, not wanting to make it creak. When I was fully inside, I couldn't help but gape.
Now I get what Doniya was talking about. I've seen quite a lot of rooms. Walls full of posters, pictures and whatnot. The cardboard cut outs, but this, this was sure something.
I looked around seeing my mates and their exact figures. I swear to god, it felt like they were here with me. I go up to the wall where I was situated. It was the exact same height. The reason it was so extraordinary was because it looked so life like.
I didn't even notice the spiral stairs until I heard footsteps against it. Aanah was coming downstairs.
"Okay, okay...I'll talk to you later". She hung up and sighed really loudly. She stopped abruptly when she saw me.
She froze, completely. Was she even breathing?
We just stood there, looking at each other. Silence.