Picture Imperfect (Niall Horan)

{Book 4} When Niall Horan falls, he falls hard. The moment he lays eyes on Cassie Barnett, he's in too deep. Past relationships —including the one with Amabel's ex best friend— have not gone as planned. Is he the reason for breakup after breakup?

Cassie Barnett has eyes for Niall's best mate, Zayn. Niall's desperate attempts at getting her attention just might be enough for her to fall for him instead. Could she be just what he's been waiting for?


11. Cassie

11 - Cassie

The final bell rings on Thursday, and I am so glad I only have three classes today. I leave the building and go straight to my car. Before I leave the parking lot, I make a phone call I've been forward to all day.

"Cassie?" Zayn asks when he answers.

"Hey," I smile. "How's your day been?"

"Good, just fine. How's yours?"

"Fine, I just got out of classes actually."


"Yeah," I say. "Um, anyways, I was wondering if maybe you wanted to go out tonight?" I bit my lip nervously, hoping he says yes.

He doesn't answer for a few seconds, but then says, "Yeah. Of course, that'd be awesome. Can I pick you up at eight?"

"I'll see you then."

"It's a date."

I hang up, and then squeal a little bit. I am really looking forward to this date with Zayn. I really like him and I think he likes me, too. That's so strange, him liking me. I have liked many guys in my time but none of them have truly returned the feelings so I'm not one hundred percent sure how to be a committed girlfriend. Zayn makes me laugh and we have loads in common, so we have plenty to talk about. Don't forget the fact that he is absolutely gorgeous.

I call Marley next and she answers on the third ring. "Hey! I was just about to text you."

"You were?" I ask. "Anyways, you'll never guess who I'm going out on a date with tonight!" I'm so excited.

"Niall?" she asks.

"No?" I say in confusion. "Why would I go out with Niall?"

"No reason," she dismisses quickly. "So where are you and Zayn going?"

"I'm not sure. I think just dinner, I'm sure. We didn't really talk about that." I should have asked him about that.

"I wouldn't worry too much. Zayn is really chill and I'm pretty sure he likes you.

"Well I like him," I admit, biting my lip to hide my smile.

"You do, hmm?" she teases.

I laugh. "Yeah, I do."

"Good luck. Do you need me to come over and help you pick out something to wear? I can even bring you a few dresses that you like or something."

"That would be amazing!" I say. "Thank you so much, you're a life saver."

"This is what I'm here for! What time is he coming to get you?"

"Eight. Can you get here at seven?" I ask.

"Of course. I have to go, Louis is calling me." She hangs, up and I finally put my phone away and drive home.


When I open the door and walk inside, I hear the TV coming from the front room so I walk in and see Angie watching a cooking show. I don't know why she bothers to watch this; she's amazing as it is.

"Hi sweetie," she says and I plop down next to her, exhausted from school, even though it's just past noon.

"Hi," I sigh.

"Are you doing anything tonight?" she asks, flipping through a magazine. "Your father and I were hoping to catch a movie later."

I sit up a little bit. "Um, I... yes actually. I'm kind of going out with Zayn."

"Zayn Malik?"

"That's the one," I smile. "He's picking me up at eight."

Angie surprises me by throwing her arms around me. "That's so exciting! So, you like him?"

I flush. "Yes."

"And he likes you?"

"I think so... I hope so."

"Promise me you'll be safe, all right?"

"Angie!" I cry. "We won't be doing that! It's only our first date and I want to actually get to know him before I do anything." This couldn't be more embarrassing. Yes, she's basically my mother, but no matter who I am having this conversation with it's a little uncomfortable. She knows I'm not a virgin but my sex isn't the most preferable topic of conversation.

"Okay, okay," she holds her hands up in surrender. "I just want to make sure you're being responsible."

I stand up. "I am. Don't worry. But that won't be happening with Zayn for a while, if ever." I smile at her and she returns it. "I'm going to do some homework."

I take the steps two at a time up to my room. I shut the door behind me and take my notebook to brainstorm some ideas for my photography project. I have two weeks left and I have come up with a general idea, I just need some details. My power point and the part on the computer is finished, I just need the actual photos and the two page paper explaining why this is a necessity in life. When I think of what everyone needs in life, one word comes to mind.


That word has so many meanings to me. One, family love. I love my dad and Angie. I even love Marley and Brandon like my own family. I would do anything for them, because right now, they are the four most important people in my life. They mean the world to me and I love them more than anything.

Love, as in being in love with someone. When I think of the word love, I think of dedication. No matter what else is going on, you don't leave that person's side because they are your whole world. Time stops when you're not with them and when you are, it's the highlight of your day. Love is not being able to get someone out of your head, no matter how hard you try. Love is realizing how much you need someone. I'm not in love with Zayn, but maybe I could be. I really like him and hopefully tonight could be that next step for us.

Finally: inevitable love. I love my birth mother; it's inevitable, although I only have fuzzy memories of her. Yes, she ran off and I haven't heard from her since but I love her. She's my mother. She raised me and taught me how to walk and did everything a mother does with her young child. Angie came around when I was a little bit older, but I remember seeing my mother's smile and I know she loved me. Maybe she still does, I don't know. But I what I do know is that I'm so much like my birth mother, and I like who I am as a person, so I would like to think that I would like her if I knew her today.

Before I know it it's five thirty, so I take a shower so I won't have to when Marley gets here. I take an extra-long shower to make sure my legs are completely shaven and I have scrubbed my body twice. By the time I step out, see Marley's truck in the driveway. I pull on a bra and panties and a bathrobe, pulling my hair up in a towel so it can dry. My door opens a minute later and my blonde friend comes in, a wide smile on her face.

"Right on time," I smile back.

"Don't you know me?" she laughs, and then sits on my bed. "So are you nervous?"

The butterflies erupt in my stomach. I nod. "Yeah, really nervous."

"You'll be fine," Marley reassures me and I take a deep breath. "Okay. You have exactly two hours until Zayn is coming. What are you wearing?"

I pad over to my closet and walk inside, pulling things from the hangers. "I was thinking these"-I pull out a pair of dark short shorts with a brown belt-"and these?" In my hand are black cowgirl boots that are totally Southern, and just my style.

"Yes!" Marley cries and takes a shirt off the hanger. "And this!" She holds up a white tank top with small black patterns.

I nod and set the clothes on the bed, then sit at the vanity by my dresser. "I'll paint my nails and you do my hair, okay?" Marley claps her hands excitedly and I unscrew the nail polish, my heart racing.


"Finished," Marley says, stepping back and closing the tube of mascara.

I look in the mirror and my jaw falls open. The girl in the mirror looks nothing like me. Her makeup is natural, yet you can tell she put some effort into her appearance. Marley put on just a touch of blush, but my cheekbones look more prominent. My hair is in soft waves and my eye makeup is just right. I only have eyeliner on the top with some clear eye shadow with sparkles in it to bring the attention to my brown eyes. My toes and finger nails are dry and don't look too bad.

"You are amazing," I tell my best friend and give her a hug. I slip into my clothes and put my phone, lip gloss and money into a small black purse with a chain.

"One more thing," she says, and sprays me with perfume. I gag, some getting in my mouth. I pop a mint into my mouth to mask the taste, and just to get ready for Zayn-who knows what'll happen? The doorbell rings and the nerves start piling up. "He's here!" Marley squeals and we run downstairs.

"Cassie, it's for you," Angie says, holding the door open to reveal Zayn standing there. He's dressed in black jeans and a white tank top with a sleeveless jean jacket over, showing me his tattooed arms. He looks beyond incredible and I feel my cheeks flushing.

"You look amazing," he whispers in my ear when I stand next to him.

"Have fun!" Marley calls to us.

"Bye Angie," I wave.

"It was nice seeing you again, Mrs. Barnett," Zayn says to Angie and I almost literally swoon. He's so polite and that's one thing I love about him. "Ready?" he asks and I nod.

"Where are we going?" I wonder as I climb into the passenger seat.

"A small pub, I'm sure you've been there." He smiles and me and rolls the windows down. The sun is just about to disappear beyond the horizon, and the air is still warm. It's a beautiful night. I look over at him and he's smiling at me. He places his hand over mine and I hope tonight will be amazing as I hoped.


"I was going to do that for you," Zayn says as I step out of the car, fixing my top. We arrived here, and he's right, I have been here before, only once though.

"I can open a door, Zayn," I smile at him, and my lips only tug up further when he takes my hand in his and leads me inside. The atmosphere is wonderful; a bar and stools wrap around three quarters of the place with stools, which are almost all full. Music plays and people dance on the dance floor. It's not really a club, if that's what you're thinking. You can order food and nonalcoholic drinks as well. Multi-colored lights create a wonderful mood and I enjoy being here with Zayn.

"Can I get you a drink?" he offers. No one really questions him since he is twenty-one, and I'm grateful. I am not twenty-one yet, but I will be in December. It's the last week of August now, so I don't see the harm.

"Just beer please," I smile and he offers me a stool. I thank him as he takes the seat next to me.

After a few minutes of talking, Zayn says-kind of nervously I might add-"Would you like to dance, Cassie?"

I flush and set my beer down. "I would love to."

Zayn takes my hand in his and we walk to where everyone else is. The slow music of a ballad fills the pub, and Zayn's arms wrap themselves around my waist. My hands slide up to his neck and he brings me close. He smells incredible and he says in my ear, "you look beautiful."

I look up at him and into his brown, beautiful eyes. He really is the most attractive person I have ever seen. The touch of his hands on my waist is so prominent in this moment, and I am surprised when my thoughts jump to Niall and to when we were in my pool. When we fell into the water and then resurfaced, I thought he was going to kiss me. I don't know what would have happened if he did. His touch send shivers up my spine, only I wasn't cold. Now, here with Zayn, I realize that Zayn's touch does not give me goose bumps like Niall did.

"Are you alright?" Zayn asks.

I shake my head to clear those thoughts from my mind. I like Zayn, and I should be thinking of him and only him. "Yeah," I reassure him with a smile. "Thank you for bringing me here. I'm having a great time."

"Thank you for agreeing to come." Zayn leans down and gets closer and closer. Our lips are almost touching, our noses brushing. I inhale deeply and one of my hands cups his cheek. Flashes of water trickling down Niall's body flash in my memory and I mentally slap myself. No!

Zayn doesn't kiss me. He just continues to hold me close, our foreheads touching as we sway to the slow music. It's comfortable being here with him, and I have to tell myself not to think of Niall. Why am I thinking of him in the first place, and why now, when I'm on a date with Zayn? I told Zayn the truth when I said I was having a wonderful time with him. Zayn is kind and sweet and we have so much in common. Niall... Niall and I have close to nothing in common, but he makes me laugh, I'll give him that.

I am thinking too much. For the rest of the night I just try to keep my mind on Zayn and how amazing he is. He really is. I try to keep my mind from focusing on anything except what is important, which right now is Zayn, not Niall and how he looked in swim trunks.


Before long we are leaving the pub with Zayn's hand on the small of my back. It's not exactly comfortable but I don't ask him to remove it. During the drive back to my house, the conversation we have is light. There was almost no pressure on me tonight, except for the fact that I am out with Zayn Malik. I can't believe I have kept it together this long, honestly. When he pulls up into my driveway, he gets out and basically runs over to open my door for me. I smile at him and take the hand that he offers me. I thank him quietly and then I realize what's happening. Zayn is walking me to my door after a date, and from what I know about first dates, the guy usually kissed the girl on her door step. Oh God.

"I had a great time, Cassie," Zayn smiles at me and I look at me feet, fighting a smile.

"Thank you Zayn. I had a nice time too."

He leans in closer and my eyes widen for a second. But my breath is soon released when his lips press to my cheek. "I'll see you later."

"Okay," I breathe out. Not because I am love-struck, but because I am relieved that he didn't kiss me. I mean, who wouldn't want to lock lips with Zayn Malik, but it just wouldn't feel right considering Niall kept making appearances in my thoughts throughout the night.

When I close the door behind me, I rest my back against it, beyond exhausted. I make my way to my room and get ready for bed in two minutes or less. During the night, I dream of a boy with Zayn's smile, but with Niall's eyes.


This is one of the longest chapters I've written lol! I hope you liked it. Do you like Zayn and Cassie's relationship? Don't worry, Nassie will happen before you know it ;)

Please vote and comment, ily! If you're just discovering me on movellas, follow me on Twitter @excusemeniam! I am on almost always and would love to talk to you. If not, DM me on here and I'll be sure to reply. :) Remember I am also on Wattpad.com :)

Alli, x

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