Detective Nicks instantly liked Zayn. Figuring how much I talked about him in the past, I’d have been surprised if he didn’t like Zayn.
Mari got used to it quickly. Enrolling him into a new school in the middle of the school year should’ve been hard but he was a social kid and made friends fast.
It’s been three weeks since we got here and Zayn’s father hasn’t called once. He didn’t protest when we told him Mari was going with us to Bradford and after disowning Zayn he didn’t have much to say in his case.
The small house in the back of Nicks’ house was small for three people. We made it work though with me and Zayn on the bed towards the back and Mari in the front with the pull-out couch.
While I was closing in on my case and writing papers, Zayn was working at the local pub. He worked late nights so when he finally did get home he was tired and would fall straight into bed. Tonight was different though.
Mari was in the main house with Nicks playing video games when I went into the bathroom to see Zayn fixing his hair in unusual attire.
“You’re not going to the pub?” “Not tonight. I have the night off.”
“So why are you getting all dressed up?”
He turned to me and smiled widely, “I plan to take my girlfriend on a date.”
My cheeks warmed at his statement. “And where are we going?” “To dinner at that new Peruvian place.”
My eyes shined. He knows my love for Peruvian food. “Really?”
“Yeah so put on something nice and meet me in the car.”
I leaned up and swiftly kissed him, “Okay,” I smiled, patting his bottom before sending him out the bathroom.
After I was all dressed in a simple violet dress and gladiator sandals, I walked through the main house to tell Mari Zayn and I were leaving. Nicks paused their little game, suddenly looking at me seriously.
“I’m not saying to go over there tonight but there’s a kid down at the station. She was one of asshat’s victims. She’s been in foster care the past two weeks because detectives can’t find her parents. There were some complications with the foster parents so if there’s any chance I want you to look over her case and meet her. She’s shy and I think you can communicate with her.”
I checked my watch to see it was almost eight. I nodded, “If I have time after dinner I will.”
Nicks smiled at me, “Have fun at you dinner.”
Zayn and I enjoyed our dinner, being the cheesy lovers you’d see in movies. We fed each other and shared loving glances over the table. He was so handsome and I couldn’t wait until we got back home.
When he payed the bill and helped me stand, he kissed me so intimately I damn near melted against him.
I was getting worked up and had to remind myself that we were in public before thinking it was okay to stick my hand down his pants.
I pulled away breathlessly and stared up at him. “When did you become so sensual?”
“Since you’ve been screwing me every chance you’ve gotten for the past few days.”
“My period is coming. You know I get sensitive,” I whispered, pulling him behind me after leaving a tip for the waiter.
He lightly chuckled, “Where are we going now? You mentioned something about the station.”
“Oh yeah, Nicks wants me to stop by there.”
“Why do you always call him that? His name is Marlon.” I rolled my eyes, “Whatever. Come on.” ~~~~~
The station was nearly empty due the late hour of the night but there were still a few men milling around.
I ran into an officer and smiled warmly at him. “Nicks sent me over to check on a victim from the closing case.” “Ah, yes, Amelia. She’s right over here.”
He led me and Zayn down the corridor and to the staff break room where the little girl resided.
I nearly gasped at seeing her. She was so tiny, thin and sickly, with marker on her wrists and arms. She was staring at a colorless coloring book as if she wished to brighten the dim pages but was too scared to move. The officer nodded towards me before leaving us in the room with her.
Zayn shut the door behind us and the little girl slightly winced at the noise and whispered, “Please leave it open.” It was opened again and I grasped onto Zayn’s hand as I stared at the child.
She said nothing.
“I’m Orion and this is Zayn.”
She slightly nodded. “What’s your name?” “Amelia.” Her voice was small and all I wanted to do was hold her and make her laugh. “That’s a lovely name,” Zayn said, stepping forward and bringing our bodies closer.
“Would you like to color?” I asked her. She nodded but didn’t move to do so. “I’ll join you.” I walked out of Zayn’s embrace and sat across the table, taking a purple crayon in my hand before coloring the dragon.
“Can you color with me? Try the princess.”
She hesitated before grabbing the brown and coloring the princess’ hair.
I heard a chair shriek against the floor and looked out the corner of my eye to see Zayn turn and straddle it, watching our hands move over the paper. “You like that color?” she quietly asked.
I looked at her and smiled although she wasn’t looking at me, “Yes, I like it a lot.” “Is it your favorite?”
“Actually, my favorite color is blue but purple is second. What’s your favorite color?” She looked up at me and for the first time I saw her precious face. She had the most stunning eyes and full lashes. Her rosy cheeks matched the color of her pretty lips. “Yellow.”
I smiled brightly, “That’s a lovely color.” She shifted her eyes to Zayn, “And yours?”
He cleared his throat before replying, “Blue.”
“Is that why you guys are best friends? Because you like the same color?”
“Yes,” he replied, nodding his head almost childishly. She smiled at hime, a big toothy smile that almost made me awe at her. She was missing her to bottom teeth and her big upper teeth looked so cute on her. “What games do you like to play, sweetheart?”
Her cheeks warmed over at his endearment. “I like checkers.”
I looked around the room and found a checker board. “Would you like to play now?” I asked, reaching over to grab it.
“Yes.” She closed the coloring book and slowly took the crayon out of my hand before placing the purple and yellow back in the sixty-four pack.
I unfolded the board and watched her big, beautiful, brown eyes light up.
We set up the game and started to play. Zayn laughed every now and then because this girl was really kicking my ass.
She giggled—possibly the sweetest sound in existence— and kept up her moves, winning in the end.
“Where’d you learn to play? You’re good at this game.” “My sissy.”
“Where’s your sissy now?” “She moved,” she murmured, biting her lip. “How about another game,” Zayn butt in, noticing the sad expression marring her features.
She looked at him and nodded and then was interrupted when a yawn broke through her. I saw Zayn smile and I leaned my head on his shoulder before wrapping my arms around him.
“I’m tired too, sweetie.”
“I’m not tired,” she protested.
“It’s alright if you are.”
Zayn and I waited for her answer to come so when it didn’t he slightly coaxed, “What is is?”
“I will have to go back to the place,” she nearly whispered. “I don’t…I don’t want to.”
I let out a shaky breath at her expression and stood. “I’ll be right back, okay? I’m gonna go talk to Officer Stevens.” She lightly nodded and started stacking checker pieces.
Once I got to his office I shut the door and sighed. “Where will she be tonight?”
He palmed over his face and let out a few choice curses. “I don’t know. It’s late and all locally foster homes aren’t answering their phones. We’re trying tone that’s out of town but if they don’t pick up then we’ll have to set her in a group home.”
“Group home?” I nearly screamed. “Orion…” “She can’t be a few months over six and you’re sending her to a group home? No way, I can’t allow that. Detective Nicks knows about this?”
“Yes, and there’s nothing we can do. We can’t legally have her stay here unless she’s in a cell and we don’t want it to get to that point.” “She’ll stay with me,” I quickly reasoned.”
He shook his head, “Not possible.” “She’s a child with no family as far as we’re concerned. She needs a proper environment that’s safe. Tell me that the group home will be safer and I’ll accept it.” He stared at me as if thinking over his answer. He sighed,”Alright…Fine.”
“Thank you. I’ll bring her back tomorrow to get things sorted but for right now she’s tired and needs proper sleep.”
“This is temporary,” he assured me. “Of course.”
When I got back to he break room Amelia was rubbing at her eyes as Zayn was putting the checkers game away. I tugged on Zayn’s arm and whispered into his ear, “How would you feel about having her stay at our tonight?” He quirked his eyebrow at me in confusion. “That officer said it was okay?”
“Yeah, it’s either with us or a group home.”
He nodded and looked over at Amelia who was playing with her hair and staring at us. It was a matted mess atop of her head but it didn’t lessen her adorableness.
“We’ll have to make up a bed for her,” he reasoned, biting at his lip.
I smiled brightly at him, “I love you.”
He shyly smiled, as I was a bit shy to say it. Those words were still new for us but I just loved to say them.
He lightly laughed to rid of his blush and kissed my cheek before whispering, “I love you too.” I turned to Amelia was was grinning at us. “You guys are more than best friends,” she said in an accusatory tone. “Yes, we are boyfriend and girlfriend.”
“I had a boyfriend in pre-school,” she beamed.
I laughed, “He was a lucky boy.”
She nodded and noticed me taking my purse off of the chair and adjusting it on my shoulder. “You’re leaving?”
“Yes, but we got permission from the men here to bring you home with us for the night. Would you want to?” Zayn propositioned, walking towards her and holding out his hand. “Really?” she gawked, slowly placing her hand in Zayn’s. “Of course.”
“Yes, can we go now?” “Sure. Do you have a coat or anything?”
She shook her head.
I studied her for a bit before going through my purse for my small cardigan. It was thin but it would have to do. I unfolded it and held it out for her. “Come.”
She stood and made her way towards me, fitting her arms inside of the article of clothing. “What’s’re name again?” she slurred, looking up at me with bleary eyes. “Orion.”
“Like the stars?” “Yes, do you like that name?”
She held onto Zayn’s hand as we made our way out of the police station and into the car. I didn’t want to pity the child because, due to the files I have on the sick bastard, I know what she’s been through. I know he touched her and I know he took pictures of her, exposing her to other men just like him.
Zayn doesn’t know this and I want to let him know. I want him to know that the people here really are trig to find justice for these kids and their families.
Once we parked I looked in the back seat to see Amelia with her head on the door, snoozing away.
“Look at her,” I whispered, tapping Zayn. He looked through the rearview mirror and smiled, “I’ll get her.”
I watched as he carried her through the yard and to the back house. I opened the door and saw that the pull-out bed was empty, meaning Mari must have fallen asleep in Nicks’ living room.
Zayn placed his hand on Amelia’s back and lightly shook her awake. “Amelia, sweetheart. Amelia.”
She whimpered and lifted her head, looking at him with a tired pout.
“We’re here. Would you like a bath, some pajamas or anything?”
I liked how he asked her. I remember when I was her age my mom would have to force my ass into the tub. I hated baths so much, almost as much as I hated falling asleep.
“ 'Jamas please.”
We walked to the far back of the small place and as Zayn held small conversation with her I went through the drawers to find a small tank and a pair of Zayn’s boxer briefs.
He set her down and I handed her the clothes. “Here you go. There’s a bathroom right down there and when you’re done changing you can come back in here, okay?”
She nodded and sleepily made her way towards the restroom Zayn breathed out and plopped onto the bed.
“I have to tell you…” I took a deep breath. “I have to tell you about Amelia, how she ended up at the station.”
“I was going to ask that. What happened to her? Where are her parents?”
“She…She’s a victim in my case.”
He paused and seemed to stare at me for what seemed like hours. When he did finally say something it was complete and was said in a slow murmur, “Against…”
“Yeah. The foster home she was in had some complications and now she has no place to go. Officer Stevens said her misplacement is only temporary and they might be able to find her a home by tomorrow-“
“She can stay,” he croaked and sat up. “As long as she needs to, she can stay.”
I went over and sat next to him. The glisten in his eyes made me lay my hand on his cheek, turning his face towards mine. “I know you’re getting over this and I’m so proud of you.”
“She’s…She’s just a little girl.” “I know,” I mumbled, kissing his temple. “He’s going to be in jail for a long time because of this.”
The bathroom door opened and Amelia appeared in the clothes that were slightly hanging off of her.
I made up the bed that Mari usually slept on and led her there to tuck her in. “If you have any questions we’re right down there, okay?”
She slowly nodded as her eyes drifted closed. She was so innocent, marred with scars from a man that should’ve been dead.
Once with Zayn again I changed into a large shirt and panties before getting under the blanket with him. I curled up next to him and shivered when his cool fingers skated down my arm before resting around my waist, pulling me closer.
He kissed my forehead and whispered goodnight to me before nuzzling the crook of my neck and falling asleep. I quickly joined him into oblivion. ~~~~~~
I was groggily brought out of my sleep when I felt someone shift on the bed behind me. Knowing Zayn was cuddled to my front, my first instinct was to panic.
I quickly turned to see, throughout the dim moonlight, Amelia pause and stare at me with my blanket in her small hands.
“What’s the matter?” “I got…I got scared,” she whispered.
I pulled the cover back and sat up, “Come on.”
“I want to be in the middle.”
I lazily smiled, “Okay?”
“Orion?” Zayn groaned, “What’re you doing?”
“Amelia is coming in with us. Scooch over a bit.”
He moved a few inches away and I patted Amelia’s back as she made her way over my lap and in between us. She instantly laid her head on Zayn’s chest and, when I laid down, laid her back arm over my collar bone. She was sprawled out on her stomach so her arm was at an odd angle but she didn’t seem to mind.
I rubbed over her back as sleep took over again, feeling a warmth that was all too familiar because of Zayn but flared deeper because of Amelia.