After a few moments, I regained control of my emotions and spun around to him. I grabbed a water bottle from the fridge.
“I don’t wanna hear it” I said, not looking at him. I did want to hear it though. But, like I could ever tell him that without losing control.
“Please just let me explain” He said, following me to the lounge where I sat.
“There’s nothing to explain”
“What?” He said, taken aback. I took a swig of water and looked at him coolly, showing no emotion.
“I said; there is nothing to explain”
“What do you mean? Of course there is!”
“No there isn’t. I know why you said those things, why you hurt me, why you were mad and angry. I know why we got into the fight in the first place”
“Fine, why don’t you tell me”
“Because you were jealous” I said, simply. I directed my gaze somewhere else, acting as if I didn’t care about this topic.
“No that’s not…wait, what?” He said, looking shocked that I was right.
“Oh please” I scoffed. “Don’t act so surprised. I know how you boys work, you see your girl with a boy, you get jealous. You don’t stop to think. You act before you actually go through the motions. You boys are all the same. So let me give you some advice; next time before you rush headfirst into things and do things stupid you’ll regret, ask before you assume. It’ll save you a lot of energy and time next time”
“So, if you knew that I was jealous then why haven’t you forgiven me?”
“Well, first, you haven’t actually apologised. You haven’t actually explained, and because I’m still mad at you. I mean, it’s slowly fading but I’m still mad at you. You need to let me take some time to figure things out. You need to let me have some space. I need to know what’s going to happen next. And what’s happening between us. I need to know that I can trust you again, that you won’t get jealous next time I spend time with a boy, let alone Andrew”
“I won’t! You can trust me” He said, kneeling and looking me in the eyes. So much love and passion in there. I realised that it was never gone, it had never left his beautiful chocolate brown eyes. I sighed – I was so close to breaking, I was tethering on the edge of a very dangerous cliff – and smiled but there was no humour in it. It was a sad smile.
“I know Zayn, but I need to figure that out for myself. Then, maybe, I can learn to love you again. But, right now, I need to be by myself. Okay?” I said.
Zayn bit his lip and nodded. “God, I miss you” He said, rubbing his face.
“I miss you too, Zayn” I said, taking his hands. “But you need to remember that I’m a girl. We don’t get over things easily like you guys do”
He put my hands against his forehead. “You have no idea how hard it is for me, to see you and not hold you, laugh with you, be with you”
“No, I’m pretty sure I have an idea of how you feel. It’s equally hard for me. It takes so much effort for me to stay mad at you, it exhausts me”
“Then don’t be mad at me” He pleaded. I smiled wryly.
“But then, I remember how insane you were to think I’d leave you. Nice try, buster but it ain’t gonna work”
“Man, I love you so much” He kissed my knuckles. I smiled another sad smile, tears started to form in my eyes but I blinked them back. I needed to be strong.
“I love you too, Zayn. Too much for my own good”
I had a sudden dèja vu but when I tried to remember it was hazy. I brushed it aside.
“Which is why I think that we should take like a month break” I continued. Zayn looked up suddenly. Tears fell down his face and I almost let myself slip. “I just need to figure out where this relationship is going and where we are going exactly”
“Ashley, don’t do this” He begged, shaking his head vigorously.
I ignored him. “More importantly, I think that I should figure out where I am going. I’ve spent too much time thinking about us that I haven’t thought about me. I haven’t even thought or taken into consideration my future”
“Your future is with me” Zayn said. I let out a little laugh, but there was no humour in it either.
“Cute. Maybe, but not now. I need to focus on other things. And I can’t do that when I’m distracted by someone or by you. I need to clear my head on focus on my career”
I felt the tears fall down my face, giving me away. Damn, cursed, wretched tears. I sniffed and wiped them away.
“And maybe in a months’ time, we can be together but for now, I just need some me time, some Ashley time. No Zashley time. No us” My voice started to quiver but I cleared my throat and pulled myself together.
He nodded, his beautiful chocolate brown eyes filled with tears. His long eyelashes wet. The tears ran down his perfect cheeks and fell to the ground from his immaculate jawline.
“I love you Zayn and this is why I have to do this. We aren’t exactly breaking up, think of it more like a sabbatical, a short break to focus on something more important”
I held his face and tilted it up to look at me. He looked into my eyes and I bit my lip.
“I don’t want to do this-”
“Then do-” He started to interrupt. But I stopped him by putting a finger to his lips, telling him to be quiet.
“Let me finish. I don’t want to do this but I have to send you out, you’re a guest. You can’t stay here, Zayn. If you’re here, you’ll only make it harder for me to focus on things. You’ll be a temptation, a reminder. I won’t need those. I’ll make sure that Liam and the others keep in contact. I won’t break the friendship between youse. You’ve been friends longer than we’ve been dating. I won’t see you until tomorrow” I stood up and pulled him up with me. He was looking at the ground and my heart broke into pieces.
“Zayn” I said softly. He looked up. I took his face again and kissed him. It wasn’t raw and passionate and hungry. And it wasn’t sweet and loving. This was a goodbye kiss; a kiss that was ended shortly afterwards. He hugged me tight and I embraced him back. He was shaking, crying and I felt more tears slide down my face.
“I don’t want to leave. I don’t wanna be without you”
“I know, and neither do I”
“I’m going to miss you so much. Do we really have to?”
I smiled and pulled back. “Come on, surely you know when you’ve lost a fight”
“Yeah” He said, sheepishly. I kissed him again and then started to walk back into the kitchen. Somehow, the house had dropped at least ten degrees. I was getting goose bumps; from the cold or what was happening, I’m not quite sure. And for the last time, I turned and smiled sadly and said goodnight to Zayn.
As I left him in the lounge room and went into my room to go to bed. Zayn sobbed so much that it wasn’t possible a boy could shed so many tears. He was hurting and I was hurting. We both knew that we were supposed to be together but that fight had ruined what would be a perfect relationship. And I wished I could say that it was both equally our faults, but we both knew that it was his fault for being over jealous and over protective.
The next day, Zayn packed his bags and said goodbye to us all. We all hugged him and expressed how much we loved him and how much we would miss him. He smiled and said it was the necessary thing to do. That me and him needed to take a break. I walked him to the car and gave him one last hug.
“I will miss you. There won’t be a single day where I won’t regret this, where I won’t miss you”
A single tear ran down his cheek. “It’ll be the same for me. But you’re right. We need to focus on our career and we can’t do that when we’re around each other”
“I’m glad you finally understand, Zayn”
“Yeah, well, it’s been a long time coming”
He put his bags in the back of the car and got into the driver’s side. I kissed him on the cheek and ruffled his hair playfully.
“Hey! Watch the hair” He said, warningly. I stuck my tongue out at him. He laughed.
“Well, I gotta admit that I will miss this place. But I can definitely say that I won’t miss the lack of shops and resources they have here”
“Yeah” I sighed. We both knew he was stalling. But we couldn’t put off the inevitable. And he knew it. He smiled wistfully.
“See you in a months’ time?”
“Absolutely” I said, smiling.
“And hopefully, things will be sorted out by then and…” He trailed off. He didn’t need to finish the sentence but I knew what he meant.
“Hopefully” I said.
“Well, I guess this is goodbye then”
“For now” I said.
“Yeah for now”
He reversed out and waved goodbye. I waved back. And as he drove away, I felt like he was driving away with half of me with him. Like he had torn away a part of me, a piece of me soul. Like he had left me hollow and empty but maybe that wasn’t it. Maybe he was the other half me, maybe he was a piece of my soul. Maybe he was a part of me. I shook my head, I couldn’t think like that.
When he was out of sight, I finally let it out. All the tears I had been holding in came out in a flood. I was no longer strong enough to hold it all in. I shed a thousand tears that day and I locked myself in my room, refusing to talk to anyone, refusing to eat and refusing to come out. I just sat cross-legged on my bed crying and when when I got stiff from sitting like that, I switched to lying on my bed and sobbing into my pillow.
The boys checked on me every now and then but gave up after a week, afraid I might turn on them if they upset me or something. The girls stuck for longer and didn’t give up. They held me as I sobbed and reassured me it was the right thing to do and I had made the right choice but I wasn’t convinced. When I didn’t say anything, they didn’t go away. They stuck by me and continued to stroke my hair and hold me as I shed more tears.
The only thing that kept me sane was them, if I didn’t have the girls I probably would have already pulled my hair out and had started cutting my wrists.
I guess I should be thankful…