Toxic

Los Angeles—the city where all of your dreams come true. Rosie Jones couldn’t have imagined a life better than the one she’s currently living. She had just moved into a new apartment and meets a guy from across the hall, who has a secret of his own. Everyone warned her about him, but she didn’t listen. What happens when all of your dreams comes crashing down?

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8. Seven

The next morning I awoke with a pounding headache. Zayn entered the bedroom and held out two small pills. “You’ll need it.” said he. I took them from him and drank them down with the glass of water he had in his other hand. I couldn’t remember much from the night before, except for the drinking. I looked down to see that I was wearing a black t-shirt and my underwear. “Where are the rest of my clothes?” I asked him when I slowly sat up in bed. He told me that they were in the wash. I looked around the room. I figured that this was one of the rooms upstairs or his bedroom. I couldn’t exactly tell. “C’mon, I’ve made you breakfast.” He advanced towards the door. Reluctantly with my glass of water, I followed him down the hallway into the main room. We entered the dining room where two plates were full of food. Wow, he made all of this when I was asleep. “What time is it?” I asked once I took a seat at the table. He took out his phone and told me that the time was 11am.

“I’m late for work.”

“I called Cheryl and told her that you were not feeling well.” he said.

“I still have an interview to do. She’ll want it by this Friday.” He asked me about who I was going to interview. I told him that I was scheduled to interview Cheryl’s husband, Jack. “She’s not going to be happy if I don’t finish it on time.”

“I’ll have her extend the deadline for you.”

“How do you know Cheryl?”

“That’s not important. You need to eat. I’ll call Cheryl and talk with her about extending your deadline.” Zayn immediately left the room. As I started to eat, my phone was going off. My bag was sitting on the counter. I stood up and went to answer my phone. I saw that Jane was calling me. “Where the hell are you?” I knew that she would be worried about me. I told her that I slept in and wasn’t feeling well.

“Well someone stopped by asking for you.” she said.

“Who?”

“You never told me you were seeing that hot rich guy, Mr. Styles. His name is Harry. Now the ‘H’ makes sense from those flowers he sent you.”

“I’m not seeing him Jane. He and I were old friends back in high school. What did you tell him?”

“Well I told him to give you a call. Oh and Cheryl’s been asking about you all morning. Where exactly are you?”

“I’ll tell you later.” I glanced over and saw that Zayn had emerged from the hallway. “I gotta go.” I hung up the phone and put it back in my bag. I retreated back to my seat at the table when he joined me. He told me that he called Cheryl to push my deadline back to next Wednesday. I thanked him and continued to finish the rest of my food. He asked me who I was talking to on the phone. A friend from work, was my reply. He nodded and joined me at the table to eat. When I finished my food, my clothes were done. Zayn laid them out for me on the bed and said I could change. I nodded and went straight to the room to get dressed. Once I got dressed, I asked him to drive me back home. “I’ll see you soon Rosie.” He said when he dropped me off in front of the apartment building. I was surprised that he wasn’t heading back inside with me. Guess he must have some errands to do. 

I didn’t see Zayn during that week. I had done the interview with Jack that Thursday and emailed the copy to Cheryl by Monday morning. The rest of the work week had gone by slow. Jane and I would talk during lunch in the break room before we parted ways to different areas on the floor. At the end of the week, I was just about ready to head out when Jane approached my desk. “It’s now later. Tell me where you were when you missed work.” If Jane could hog-tie me to a chair to get me to talk about my night with Zayn, she would. She confronted me, only to have me cornered and nowhere else to go. “I know I have a lot of explaining to do Jane, but-“

“Rosie, tell me.”

“I met a guy. I have been hanging out with him recently.”

“What about Harry?”

“Harry was an old friend from high school. The two of us dated back then, but it’s not like anything is going to happen between us anytime soon. Besides, this guy I’ve been hanging out with lives across the hall from me.” Jane had asked me what his name was. I told her that it was Zayn Malik. It was then she gave me a reaction. Did she know Zayn too? She told me that I couldn’t have been seeing Zayn lately. I was confused. “Rosie, he’s not the kind of guy you should be with.” said she.

“Why?”

“I went to school with Zayn. I know what kind of guy he’s like. He’s just not boyfriend material.” Did anyone not want me to be happy? I mean, I lost my father and apparently I can’t date Zayn. I wasn’t sure whether to take her advice or shrug it off like it was nothing. Her statement was going to bother me of course, but that made me wonder about her. Did she have a bad run in with Zayn? What about Cheryl? Does she know something that I don’t as well? When I arrived back home, Harry was waiting outside the door. I was surprised to see him here at my apartment. “I had come by earlier this week, but you weren’t home. I tried to catch you at work, but you were busy.” said he.

“I’m sorry. I just had to take a day off from work to be on my own for a while. Ever since I lost my dad, things just aren’t the same.”

He nodded, “I understand. Are you free to go out tonight? Unless you have other plans-“

“I’d love to.” I smiled. “Come inside. It’ll only take me five minutes to change.” I unlocked the door to my apartment and entered. Harry followed and closed the door. I set my bag down and walked down the hallway to my bedroom to change. I changed out of my pants and put on a skirt. I took off the blazer and unbuttoned my shirt. I tossed on a red crop top and took my hair out of the pony tail. I re-touched my makeup and headed out into the main room. “You never fail to amaze me Rosie Jones.” Harry smiled. I rolled my eyes. I grabbed my bag and exited the apartment with him. I locked my door and we walked down the hallway. As we exited the building, I noticed that Cheryl’s car was in the parking space of where Zayn’s car would be. She wasn’t inside the car, but it made me curious. I get into Harry’s car. He began the drive own the street.

“Where are we headed?” I asked him.

“I have to go to a friend’s birthday party and don’t want to seem like a loner. Also, there’s this girl that I like but I-“

“You want me to put in a good word for you Styles?” I smiled.

“I would be grateful if you did.” I told him that I would do that for him since he had taken the time to fly out to Virginia when my dad was sick in the hospital. He was there for me when I needed someone, so I felt like helping him out. We arrived at the party. Well, at least I didn’t feel underdressed. “Styles! Glad you can make it mate!” A blond haired guy approached Harry with a hug. Harry hugged his friend back. The two pulled away from the hug. Harry introduced me to guy. His name was Niall Horan. “This your date Harry?” asked he.

“No, she’s just an old friend from high school.” Niall and Harry were friends in the college days. There were plenty of people in the room I didn’t recognize. It must’ve been their old friends from college. “Jade was asking about you.” said Niall.

“She was?” Harry sounded nervous. His eyes had caught the eyes of a girl across the room. I assumed that the girl was Jade. To see Harry frozen in place astounded me. He hadn’t acted this way about a girl since the two of us met. “Just go up to her.” Niall nudged him, but Harry didn’t budge. Guess that was my cue to walk up to the girl. I rolled my eyes and walked over to the girl. I introduced myself to her as Rosie. Jade held out her hand to shake. I asked her about Harry. She told me she had known him when they were in college together, but the two of them never got around to talking. “I don’t think he likes me.” said she. “He never approaches me.”

“Well, I think you should approach him for a change. He definitely likes you. I mean, he only freezes when he sees an attractive person in the room.”

“Really?” I nodded in reply to her question. Jade walked over and started to talk with Harry. Niall had left the two of them alone. He walked up to me and told me that he could never get Jade to talk to Harry. I told him that it was my advantage of knowing him since high school and having the chance to date him. As the party went on, I couldn’t stop thinking about Cheryl’s car in the parking lot. Even at work, Cheryl hadn’t spoken or given me eye contact. I went outside to check my phone. There were no messages left by Zayn. “You alright?” I turned and saw that Niall had gone out to check up on me. Harry was still inside with Jade. I let out a sigh and put my phone back into my bag.

“It’s kind of a long story.” I said.

“I know we don’t know each other very well, but if you want to talk, we can.”

“I don’t want to put a damper on your party.”

He shrugged, “I can’t have any fun when there’s a sad beautiful girl outside. There’s something on your mind.” We sat down on the chairs in the patio. I told Niall about the situation that I was in. I didn’t mention Zayn’s name to him. He listened intently as I explained to him about what I was feeling for Zayn and what my friend, Jane had told me about him. Also, I added the fact that he knew my boss, Cheryl. “I saw her car in his parking space.” I said. Niall suggested that the best course of action was for me to confront Zayn about what I was feeling and about everything I had explained to Niall. It wasn’t much advice, but it was a start. I nodded and thanked him. Still, I couldn’t get my mind off of everything. The two of us retreated back inside. Harry and Jade were nowhere to be found. I asked Niall if he could give me a ride home since I had been driven here by Harry. “The host leaving his own party. Well, I had enough fun for one night anyway.” he smiled. He grabbed his keys and exited the house.

Niall parked in front of the apartment building. I thanked him for the ride. I hadn’t noticed before, but his eyes were a bright blue. They looked darker underneath the moonlight. “No problem. It was nice meeting you Rosie. I hope we see each other again soon.” I nodded in agreement before getting out of the car. As Niall drove away, Cheryl’s car was gone. I headed up to my apartment. Zayn was just leaving his apartment. Our eyes met for a split second but I didn’t greet him. I unlocked the door to my apartment. “Rosie,” Zayn started.

“Have a good night Zayn.” I said before I entered and closed the door. I locked it and leaned against the door. A single tear rolled down my cheek. I wiped it away immediately. Zayn had secrets. Jane and Cheryl knew something that I didn’t. Yet, I was too stubborn to believe them. I wasn’t sure if Jane was telling the truth about Zayn. She could’ve been lying, but why would she? I took my shower and got dressed for bed. I laid in bed only thinking about what those possible secrets were. Even though there was a chance that Zayn was bad news, I couldn’t stay away from him. I was falling helplessly in love with him.

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