I moaned as sunlight pierced my eyes. My head was throbbing and I felt sick. I wanted to cry – because I was in pain. I got up and stumbled to the blinds. I snapped them shut then quickly ran to the toilet. I threw up as the last of last night’s alcohol came out. I took a look at myself in the mirror. My face looked horrible. My mascara had smudged underneath my eyes, making me look like a racoon. Not to mention that it only darkened the already-dark circles under my eyes that my hangover had left. My hair had serious bed-head and I looked like Death – with a hangover.
I washed my face and then after a moment, I decided to have a shower. I washed my hair and brushed my teeth to get rid of my horrible smelling breath.
I got out and got changed into some old, faded jeans and a baggy t-shirt. I blow dried my hair and put on some light make-up. I walked down the stairs. Just because I looked better than I did 10 minutes ago doesn’t mean I necessarily mean I felt better than I did 10 minutes ago. My head was still pounding.
Everyone was downstairs and I could smell bacon. I loved bacon but the thought of the horrible, greasy stuff made my stomach turn uneasily. They stopped talking when they saw me.
“Hey” Eleanor said, cautiously. “How are you feeling?”
“I feel like Death” I said. “But other than that great”
The boys smiled. Then I saw him. And for a moment, I felt like running to him and giving him a hug but then I remembered why I had gone to the club in the first place. That’s right; I am supposed to be mad at him, angry. He caught my eye and for a split second, the world stopped. My heart sped up and my breath hitched in my throat but before I could do anything stupid, I turned to the girls and smiled sheepishly. And out of the corner of my eye, I saw him bite his lip and look sad. Clearly, he was doing all he could not to talk to me. Good, serves him right.
“Can I have some aspirin?” I asked.
Eleanor laughed. “Next time, you’ll think twice about drinking the local bar dry”
“I did not!” I exclaimed. “Drink the bar dry, I mean” I added quickly.
“Sure, sure” She said, handing me the aspirin and a glass of water. I took it and downed the glass of water within seconds. I didn’t realise how thirsty I was – and now to mention it, hungry. But the thought of food didn’t sound exactly appealing to me at the moment. That’s not what Sophia thought. She placed a plate in front of me with bacon and egg on it.
“Uh-uh. No way, I am not eating that. Just the look and smell of it is making me sick, let alone the taste”
“That’s what you think. The grease will absorb the left over alcohol in your system. Trust me, you’ll feel better if you eat this” She said.
I sighed and took a bite. I almost gagged. Clearly, my stomach couldn’t handle food today. But I swallowed with visible effort. Sophia noticed and sighed.
“Don’t eat if it makes you feel sick but promise you’ll eat something. Like crackers and drink some water or cordial”
I nodded and pushed the plate away. Niall stared at it for a second, debating whether or not it’d be rude to ask if he could have it. I made eye contact with him and he looked at me. I glanced at the plate then to him. Hope filled his eyes at the promise of food. I sighed.
“Go ahead, Niall. I know you want it”
He smiled and took the plate. God, you gotta love him sometimes. He shrugged at our incredulous faces. “Waste not, want not” He said, stuffing his face with food. “S’good” He said to Sophia. She rolled her eyes.
“It’s bacon and egg, Niall. Not some fancy recipe like crepes or French toast”
I inwardly laughed. Both were French breakfasts and her name was French too.
“Foods food” He said, shrugging again.
“Yeah, it all tastes the same to you doesn’t it? The only thing that ranks higher than everything else is Nandos”
“Hey, it’s not Nandos but then what is? Besides Nandos itself, because I mean, like, Nandos is a godsend for people like me”
“What, blonde, blue-eyed, skinny, Irish boys with a fast metabolism?”
“I meant people who love their food especially chicken”
“Right…” Liam said, slowly turning his attention to something – or more like, someone – else. Harry was walking down the stairs. But that was not what had caught his attention and I couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow in surprise and amusement. What had caught his attention was that he was not wearing anything… at all! He was completely butt naked. The girls shrugged, used to him walking around naked. But I, however, had not seen him naked enough to be used to it. Zayn groaned and my irritation to him grew.
“Harry! For crying out loud! What the hell are you thinking?”
“What?” He said, now wide awake and scared at Zayn’s outburst.
“You aren’t wearing any clothes…at all!”
“So?” He said, shrugging. I still couldn’t take my eyes of his…uh, downstairs area.
“There are girls in this household. Two who are completely used to you being naked but one hasn’t seen you enough times in the nude for her to be used to you naked. Put some freaking clothes on” I cleared my throat and tried to avert my eyes somewhere less…revealing.
“I don’t have too. Maybe she should learn to get used to it, seeing as I’ll be doing it more often now. And you won’t know when, heck, I don’t even know when. It will just be like one moment, I’m clothed, the next it’s all Adam and Eve”
“Harry, man, have some dignity and pride. Your junk is not for vulnerable eyes like Ashley’s” Zayn said, annoyed and frustrated. I, too, was annoyed. I was also extremely irritated and mad and angry and a whole lot of other emotions that wasn’t good for me. I took a breath to calm my nerves and stood up abruptly. I looked from Harry’s devastating face at being asked to put on something decent to Zayn’s enraged face at Harry being naked. Now, I could politely to tell Harry to put some clothes on and/or tell Zayn politely to fuck off and leave Haz alone. But, I had a more effective way of telling Zayn to mind his own fucking business and getting back at him for what he did. I walked to Harry’s side and looked him the eye. A slow smile crept over his face as he read in my eyes what I was about to do.
I shimmied out of my jeans and shirt. I turned around. The girls and Liam, Niall and Louis were all stifling laughs and giggles. Zayn, however, was doing everything he could to hold himself back. His eyes were filled with desire and longing yet filled with sadness and loss and…regret. I smiled smugly.
“First, Harry can walk around naked all he wants, I don’t care or mind. Hell, I might even join him at times like I am now. Second, Harry’s right, I should start to get used to it. And I think, what better way than to get naked with him. And yes, I heard how wrong that sounds and you know what, I don’t care. Harry, here, is a role model. He is telling us that we shouldn’t care what people think of us and that we shouldn’t have to change for people and I think that he’s right. I’m proud of him. Third, he’s ‘junk’ I can handle. Besides, I’ve seen worse. Fourth, it’s none of your business what Harry does. Fifth, I do not need you to speak for me or whatever; I am capable of that myself. And sixth, you’ve all seen me and Harry naked before so it’s not a big deal. Now, I think I have made my point quite clear so here is where Harry and I take our leave. Come on Harry, let’s not listen and be around these immoral people. Let’s go play some Xbox. Reckon I could whoop your ass?”
“Pfft, in your dreams” Harry scoffed.
“Oh you’re on”
We retreated into the lounge room, naked and sat on the couch and started to play Call of Duty.
Zayn stared after me with the same look in his eyes. He sighed and turned to the rest of the guys who were shaking their head in disbelief.
“Man, you got yourself into this”
“Yeah, you hit Ash; she hits back twice as hard”
“You never get into a fight with her. She makes Mean Girls look like Teen Angels compared to her”
“She has you wrapped around her finger and you know it”
“You had it coming from the moment you started the fight”
“Alright guys, I get the point!” He sighed, frustrated. He put his head in his hands and rubbed his face. “I just wish she would let me apologise and explain”
“Have you actually tried?” Liam asked, looking at him seriously. Zayn got the meaning behind the question and sighed again.
“No, she won’t give me the time of day to”
“But you haven’t tried. Maybe if you made some effort to apologise, then she might listen. But as far as I can tell, from the effort you are putting in at the moment, it seems to me that you don’t want her back”
“But I do…so much”
“Then show her, tell her, make an effort to get her back. I remember you telling me you’d do anything for her, even die for her, so surely you’d do anything to get her back”
“I know but…”
“No but’s, remember what I said. If you guys don’t get back together and she hasn’t forgiven you. We’ll throw you out like Scrappy was thrown out of Mystery Incorporated”
Zayn nodded solemnly.
The day carried on as normal after that. I was still naked with Harry by night.
I was walking into the kitchen when someone grabbed my wrist and I gasped in shock and surprise. I turned to see who had gripped my wrist and saw Zayn. I gritted my teeth and glared at him. I looked at his hand on my wrist and raised my eyebrows. He let go. We both remembered the last time he had touched me, and the bruise he had left behind, physically and emotionally.
“Sorry” He said, sheepishly. I snorted.
“Oh don’t worry, we both know that you’ve done worse” I spat at him. He flinched and I almost regretted saying it – almost.
“That’s what I want to talk to you about. I wanted to apologise”
And for the second time today, my heart sped, the world stopped and my breath didn’t quite make it to my lungs