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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3. Two

My life had become nothing but a routine. Every morning, I wake up and brew my cup of coffee. I'd get ready for work and head out the door. He would be walking down the hallway to his apartment across the hall without acknowledging my existence.

Almost every single day, I'd see him in his gym attire. Sometimes, it was the casual black pants and dark t-shirt. His hair, I would notice, is styled differently. How he managed to pull of every single look? I wouldn't know.

"So what you're telling me is... you have a hot neighbor and you don't even know his name?" Jane Erickson, a 24-year-old like me, sat down at the table. She and I were on lunch break. I had met her three weeks ago. She was new to the job, so someone had to show her the ropes around here.

"I don't think I have the guts to even approach the guy Jane." I replied. I took a bite of my pasta that I had made for lunch that day. Most days, I would make my own lunch and other days, the two of us would go out to a local cafe shop.

"You're hot, he's hot. It'll work out." I rolled my eyes. If only it was that easy. I remember in high school, I was about 15-years-old. There was this boy in my class, whom I haven't spoken to in over nine years.

His name was Harry Styles. He had brown curly hair and beautiful green eyes. He had this dimpled smile. He was one of the nicest guys I had met. I don't always talk to very many guys because I'm too shy to open my mouth to speak up. The two of us did end up dating for two years.

We had gone to Junior prom together. Then about a month before Senior year started, the two of us broke up. I don't know what he's been up to lately. We lost contact since then. "Guess I wouldn't know what'll happen if I don't try." I told her with a sigh.

Work had gone by slow as always. At the end of the day, I finished up my work when my phone rang. I picked up. Cheryl had called. This was a rare occasion. Typically, she would call if someone wasn't doing the work they were given or to ask them to see her in her office.

"Rosie, I need to speak with you in my office. Now." said she. With that being said, she hung up. I exchanged glances with Jane, who asked about what had happened. I told her that Cheryl called to meet in her office.

I stood from my seat and went to Cheryl's office. The door was wide open, but I knocked because I didn't want to be rude. "You seem to be my most trusted in employee. I need to have you interview someone for me." said she.

I nodded and watched her write something down on a notepad. She handed the notepad to me. I looked down at the name and number. "Have it ready for me by next Thursday."

I had one week to interview the person on the notepad. Again, I nodded and exited the room. The name on the note was familiar - Harry Styles. Why was I interviewing an old friend?

It made me even more curious as to what job he's been doing. Jane and I exited the building when she asked me what Cheryl wanted. "I have to interview Mr. Styles." I said.

"Oh, the hot millionaire?" asked Jane. I looked at her. Harry was a millionaire? Since when? "Yeah, he's this new business savvy CEO. Apparently he inherited some money from his dad after he passed away."

How did she know so much about him? How did I know nothing? Harry was just from a small town, just like I was. How did he become a CEO that fast? Well, I guess there's some background information about a guy I haven't seen since high school.

I headed home and set my bag down on the counter. I have a lot to look forward to. The next morning, I called the number Cheryl had given me. I waited and heard two rings before the other end picked up. "Styles."

The familiarity of the voice reminded me of home. "Yes, hello Mr. Styles. I'm Rosie Jones. I'm calling to set up an interview sometime before Thursday, if you're available." There was a long, silent pause on the other end. 

"Today around 11 at the pier sound good? We can have the interview over lunch." said he. Instinctively I nodded, but realized he couldn't see the nod. I agreed before hanging up the phone. It was nine-thirty. I got dressed and grabbed everything I needed for the interview.

I had to be prepared. Maybe this interview would be my big break. Cheryl hardly gave any promotions or acknowledgements towards her employees. This was the first time since I've started at the company that I've ever done something like this.

Usually I would run errands for her or do paperwork and that would be it. When I double checked that I had everything, I exited the apartment. By the time I arrived at the pier, it was ten minutes until 11. I knew there was this restaurant nearby, but I wasn't sure if that's where I was meeting him.

Soon enough just minutes before 11, I spotted a brown curly haired man. He work dark shades, a buttoned up shirt that was unbuttoned slightly, and dark blue jeans. The sleeves were rolled halfway up his arms, showing off numerous tattoos up and down his left.

He wore a silver watch. I'm guessing it was a Rolex. He definitely dressed like a CEO, but he didn't seem to give off that boss-like vibe. "Miss Jones? Harry Styles." Harry held his hand out towards me.

"Rosie." I reached out to shake his hand. I didn't like being referred to by my last name. Although it was a formal interview, I felt like being on a first name basis would be appropriate. Harry motioned towards a table where the two of us sat.

He took off his sunglasses and set them on the table. I found myself staring into his bright green eyes. Should I bring up the fact that we knew each other? A waitress approached our table and asked us what we would like to drink before she started to flirt with Harry.

Harry ordered us some drinks, but he was much more interested in me than he was of her. The waitress walked away. "So, the interview?" asked he. Right, the interview. I didn't know where to begin. I prepared questions in my head before I arrived here, but they all seemed to disappear.

First I started to ask him questions about himself, his background, and how his company started. Then I went into depth about what his plans were. I had a recorder with me because I know I would have trouble remembering everything.

We were at the pier for about an hour. "Are you busy at all today?" The interview was done. Our lunch was finished. I was just about ready to pack up my stuff. I shook my head. He suggested that we take a walk along the pier. "You're not serious?" I asked.

"I am. It'll be like old times, Rosie." I gave him a surprised look. Harry smirked. So he did recognize me after all. After my walk with Harry along the pier, he had driven me back to my apartment building. "If you need anything, I'm a phone call away." said he.

I nodded before thanking him and got out of the car. I headed into the building and entered the elevator. For some reason, the walk at the pier was nostalgic. It reminded me of the earlier dates Harry and I had gone on years ago.

When I arrived on my floor and began the walk down the hallway, my neighbor exited his apartment. This has never happened before since the very day I moved in. I was too busy focused on the interview with Harry that I wasn't watching where I was going. I glanced up at him and apologized. "Sorry." I muttered under my breath.

"You live across the hall, right?" asked he. My neighbor has a British accent? Oh boy. I nodded innocently. A smile spread across his face. "I've been meaning to say hi, but you always seem to be in a hurry before I get the chance to. I'm Zayn Malik."

He held out his hand towards me. My heart was beating loud against my chest. I couldn't believe that he was actually talking to me. He made the first move. I reached out and shook his hand to introduce myself. "Rosie Jones."

"Nice to meet you. I'll see you around Rosie." Zayn pulled his hand away and continued his walk back down the hallway. I entered my apartment and leaned against the door. I let out a sigh. The accent had only made him hotter. Those intense feelings were brought back again.

Why did he make me feel this way? What was it about him that gave me images in my mind that I've never had before? Should I tell Jane? Maybe I'll just wait to tell her on Monday. I thought to myself before heading to my room.

I opened my laptop and began to work on the interview with Harry. Yet, Zayn was continuing to distract my thoughts so much I began to concentrate on him and only him. I started to feel hot and opened my window slightly.

The cool breeze entered, but it did not help one bit. If only there was a way to talk to him again, to see him again. I don't want to just have that one encounter. I wished for something more. I remember Cheryl had mentioned in a meeting about a party coming up in two weeks. Maybe I could invite Zayn as my date. Now, what do I wear?

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