"Alright, little one, what do you want for breakfast?"
"Are there...Um...I'll just have oatmeal."
What kind of kid likes oatmeal?
I scrunched my eyebrows as I grabbed her by the waist and lifted her onto the counter in front of me. "You sure?"
"Yes please," she mumbled, her eyes focused on the band logo on Zayn's shirt I threw on.
"No pancakes or fruit?"
"I would like that actually" she peeked up at me and lightly smiled.
"Hey, pretty girl, don't be afraid to say what you want. Especially around me I let whatever I want fly out of my mouth."
She giggled and I opened the cabinet over her head and grabbed the pancake mix, "You wanna be my helper this lovely morning?"
Her eyes widened as did her smile, "Yes!"
Twenty minutes and a whipped cream fight later the food was ready and we had surprised Zayn with breakfast in bed.
"Why," he whined, trying to cover himself with the blanket.
"Come on Zayn," I laughed, ruffling his already disheveled bed head.
"Yeah Zayn!" Amelia added. "We made pan-a-cakes!"
He huskily chuckled, making me have to remind myself that there was a child present and that I couldn't have my way with him. "I guess I can get up," he readily replied, sitting up and palming my face, shaking my head around. I swatted at his hand and glared at him.
"I hate you sometimes."
"That's sad because I love you all the time."
My forced frown turned into a hearty grin before I pecked his cheek. "Eat up and get dressed because we have things to do today."
Amelia giggled at the groan that escaped his lips and snatched a piece of bacon from his plate.
"That's my munchkin!" I applauded, dipping my finger in his whipped cream before running out of the room behind Amelia.
"Maybe I could live with you all the time."
Amelia's voice was anxious as Zayn parked in front of the station. Zayn had job interviews and I needed to continue school within the hour but none of us wanted to say goodbye to Amelia.
"Amelia, we would love that," Zayn said, making Amelia grin but it soon disappeared when he continued, "but it's a very long process and we're not entirely ready to have everything perfect for you."
She pouted the entire time on our way to Officer Stevens' office.
"There are temporary foster homes. One with a girl her age and a boy a little older. The other is filled with kids so I suggest the former."
We all glanced at Amelia, her eyes squeezed shut as she clung onto Zayn.
"How does that sound?" Zayn mumbled, rubbing her arm to soothe her.
"I wanna be with you," she mumbled, nuzzling her face into his shirt.
I crouched down in front of her and took her face in my hands. "This is just for a short time, we promise. Maybe in a little while you can stay with us or some other lucky couple might want a beautiful daughter. But for now you'll have two kids to play with and just like that," I snapped my fingers, " time will fly."
"Ok," she whispered.
I moved a strands of hair from her face, "If you ever need anything or just someone to talk to just give us a call, okay?"
She nodded and wrapped her arms around my neck in a hug.
I saw Zayn get to our level our of the corner of my eye, "We'll visit and see how things are going in a week."
She released me and tearfully smiled at him, "I'll count the days."
"Why am I so sad?"
Zayn stroked my hair as we laid together late at night. It's been two days since Amelia's been gone and they haven't heard one word from or about her.
"You miss her," he sighed. "I miss her too."
"It's so crazy," I hollowly laughed. "We only had her for a night but it felt like forever, Zayn."
"I know," I croaked, "It's just not fair."
"I talked to the court earlier."
I lifted myself on my elbow to look down at him, my eyes widened. "What?"
"I asked them about the whole adoption thing. They said that we'd have to be married for at least a year and both with stable jobs."
I had hope. "Well I'll be finished with school in a few months and you'll have your GED-"
"It's not called a GED here," he chuckled.
I smacked my lips while rolling my eyes, "Whatever. You'll have your whatever-it's-called and by that time we'll both be eighteen." I sighed and bit at my bottom lip, "Zayn...I really miss her."
"I know, baby."
"We'll have good jobs and Mari is a huge help around here. Zayn all that-"
"Orion," he smiled, "You're rambling. And I believe you walked around the whole marriage thing."
"Well...Wouldn't you want to be married?"
He stared at me for a few seconds, assessing my eyes with worried ones of his own. He sighed, "Of course I would Orion but..."
"But what?" I softly replied.
"We're so young and I don't think we're ready."
I let out a long breath and rested my head back on his chest. "You're right." Squeezing my eyes shut I let a sob rip through me. This hurt so much. It was an emotional turmoil I couldn't handle. I felt as if I had this opportunity to change an innocent life and I couldn't. Zayn was right, we weren't ready, but I wanted to be so we could help Amelia. To save her.
"It's gonna be alright, babe. I promise."
I hollowly laughed, "Why don't I believe you?"
"My dad called," Zayn mumbled, washing the few dishes we had in our sink. I looked up from the dinner I was packing away. I was glad Mari was asleep and didn't have to listen to this conversation.
"What'd he say?"
"He wanted to speak to Mari. See how he was doing and how we were holding up."
"How did you take that?"
"I...I don't know," he sighed, dropping the dish rag a bit forcefully. "He sounded sincere but after everything that's happened. I just don't know."
I closed the fridge and let out a breath, placing my hand on my hip. "I'm not expecting you to agree to this but why won't you talk to him?"
He raised an eyebrow in confusion, "I just told you I did earlier."
"No, Zayn, not about that. Why won't you talk to him about what happened?"
He instantly frowned and looked away from me, a scowl marring his features. "No."
"And why not?"
"He should be the one to say something. It's his fault," he snapped.
"And how's that been working out for you?" I questioned, raising my voice a bit.
He mumbled incoherently under his breath and threw down the dish rag. He left out of the small kitchen and seconds later I heard the bathroom door slam.
One more chapter to go!