“Rachel, you know how much this hurts me. I wish I didn’t have to.”
I stood at Terminal 16, refusing to turn around and face him. My eyes lingered on the people passing by. Some were frazzled parents who were trying to restrain their wild children. Others were cute little old couples leaving to take an extended vacation for the cold months ahead. I didn’t see any teenagers who were leaving. Because teenagers weren’t supposed to leave home. Or their girlfriends. But thats exactly what Zayn was doing.
He put his hand on my shoulder and I shrugged it off. You could say I was bitter. More upset than anything. I had only gotten to spend four months with him. Granted, they were four of the most amazing months I’ve ever had, it wasn’t long enough. Even if we did spend almost every minute together..it just would never be long enough.
I knew that he’d be leaving when I first got involved. Thats why I was so skeptical at first. I had already been so hurt and I wasn’t going to fall for his charm or sweet talking, or those beautiful brown eyes that were so easy to get lost in.
But..Zayn was different. Zayn had put me back together.
It was just about after my parents divorce that Zayn had walked into my life. My father was a drunk who abused both me and my mother every chance he got. The night he went too far and almost killed my mother was when I met Zayn.
I was in the hospital waiting room, crying my eyes out when he sat next to me.
“Everything alright?” he had asked.
I looked up with a glare. To me, every man was scum. They were all the same, and they all treated their significant others the same. They were disrespectful, hurtful and didn’t care for others feelings.
“Does it look like everything is alright?” I snapped, sniffling a little.
“Ouch. Sorry. Well, errr..I mean..do you wanna talk?”
I looked up into those deep chocolate brown eyes, pushing some of my wavy brunette hair off my wet cheeks. I thought about it for a moment, then shook my head. I didn’t want to tell my life story to a stranger, much less a boy, who would soon grow into an abusive, controlling man. No, I wasn’t going to take my chances. No matter how beautiful he was.
“If you need anything, I’ll be across the room. My mate decided it would be a good idea to take a shopping cart down Washburn Ave. Ya know the one with the huge hill? Long story short, he ran into a tree, has a broken leg.”
I couldn’t help but crack a smile at this.
The boy let out a small laugh. “Hey, you have a really beautiful smile. You should try to cheer up.”
‘Easy for you to say…’ I thought, looking down at the floor, chewing on my lower lip. We sat in silence for a few moments, then he got up and walked away. I figured I’d never see the boy again. After all, London was big and the chances of running into him again were slim to none.
But I was wrong.
We met again at a local coffee shoppe two weeks later. Everything was somewhat back to normal. My mom had already filed for divorce and it felt like a weight had been lifted off of our shoulders. But she was in a wheelchair and couldn’t do much cooking. That was the whole reason I was at the coffee shoppe, to pick up some donuts for us for breakfast.
I was staring into the clear case in which the perfectly frosted and sprinkled donuts sat when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I spun around quickly.
“Hello.” He said with a big grin.
At first I didn’t recognize him. I was about to ask who the hell he was…until I looked up into those brown eyes. Then I knew who he was right away. I just didn’t know his name.
“Oh..hi.” I said, my cheeks turning a bright pink, fidgeting with the 20 pound bill in my hand.
“Is everything alright? I mean..the person you were at the hospital for. Are they alright?”
Since when did someone, much less a stranger, care so much about my life? I had to admit, it was kind of a nice surprise. I had grown up a loner for most of my life, and nobody had really been there besides my parents. Mainly because I was shy, and nobody ever wanted to be friends with the shy kid. They were weird or stuck up.
But in reality, I was always waiting for someone else to start the conversation.
“Oh, my mom? She’s doing good. Er..hows your friend doing?” I asked, trying to be polite.
He let out a laugh. “Oh, he’s fine. Hobbling around the flat on crutches, but he’s fine.”
I didn’t laugh. I didn’t see anything funny about the situation. Plus, I figured it would be rude if I did.
I turned back to the donut case, figuring our conversation had ended. He leaned up against the case.
“How about I buy you a cup of coffee and we just chat?”
What the hell was this guy up to? Suddenly it didn’t seem like such a friendly chat. Who offered to buy someone coffee? Thats the shit you see in movies, not real life.
“I..I don’t really even know you.” I stuttered, refusing to make eye contact.
“My name is Zayn. Now you pretty much know me. And what you don’t know, you’ll find out over coffee.”
This was so unusual to me. Guys didn’t try to hit on me. It just wasn’t how life worked.
But something about him made me want to know more.
“I don’t know..” I said, my grey eyes lingering on a particular donut that I figured my mom would love.
“Oh, c’mon. Please? Fifteen minutes of your time, thats all I ask.”
The rest was history.
That fifteen minutes turned into an hour and by the time I was back home, I was completely smitten with Zayn Malik.
We talked on the phone almost everyday and finally, we met again, at the same spot.
Thats when I found out he was in One Direction.
He had brought along his mate that ran into the tree. His name was Louis. Just as we were about to leave the coffee shoppe to go for a walk in the park (or in Louis case, a hobble), they were swarmed by paparazzi and fans. I had no idea what the hell was going on, until Zayn told me later.
Yes, I had been living in London, and I was the only girl who didn’t know about the famous boy band One Direction. Maybe thats why I was always a loner.. I never knew what was “cool.”
I was upset with Zayn at first. He had kept such a huge part of his life a secret from me, and I thought he was so honest, kind, and sweet. But when I finally realized it was to try to protect me..well, thats when things really kicked off.
Zayn asked me to be his girlfriend, and I almost automatically said yes.
He even told me he’d be leaving for the USA tour in four months, and that he’d be gone for a long time.
But I still said yes.
After all, it was like my mom had told me… “Not all men are scum, Rachel. When you find a good one, you should give him a chance. There are men out there who want to love you, and treat you like a princess.”
Zayn treated me better than a princess. Every morning he’d send me a good morning text, and then later stop by the house with coffee for my mom and a rose for me. He’d take me out on dates and make sure I always knew I was beautiful. But most importantly, he was my best friend. I could tell him anything without him judging me, and we had some of the best times. He made me laugh and I was so happy. Zayn brought out the best in me. He brought out my unpredictable, humorous side that I never knew I had.
He had saved me from a dark time in my life I thought I would never escape. He made everything better..he was a hero.
Zayn was my superman, and I was most definetley in love.
So yes, I knew he’d be leaving in four months when we started this all out. I just hoped the day would never come.
Zayn spun me around to face him and I looked up into those brown eyes.
‘Dont you dare break, girl..’ I told myself,
“Rachel…” he said, his name lingering on his lips.
A tear fell down my cheek and I wrapped my arms around him tight, placing my head on his chest. He wrapped his arms back around me, letting his fingers play with my hair as I cried softly into his shirt.
“Baby, please dont cry.” He whispered in my ear. “I’ll be back before you know it. I promise. We’ll skype everyday and I’ll text you and…”
I pulled away to look up into his eyes. He was wearing a meek smile and I couldn’t help but smile back as he kissed me gently, wiping away some tears from my eyes.
“Last call for American Airline 7085.” a booming voice said over the loudspeaker.
We stared at each other in silence and I kissed him on the cheek, picking up his bag, handing it to him.
“Your fans are waiting, Mr. Malik.” I said with a small giggle.
He chuckled, caressing my face with his hand. “I love you so much, Rachel.”
Kissing me one last time, he walked out of the terminal and towards the gate. I ran to the window and watched him get on the plane, pressing my hands up against the glass.
The engine fired up and the propellers whirled around. The plane slowly began to ascend into the air, and I had to choke back more tears that were welling up as I watched my superman fly away.
-12 YEARS LATER-
“Yes honey. Okay. Tell your sister I’ll be home soon. Dad’s in the garage, working on your bike. Yes, I’ll get you a donut. Ah-huh. Goodbye.”
I hung up the phone, letting out a small sigh, shaking my head. It had been an extremely long day at work and all I wanted was to get out of these heels. But I couldn’t function without my daily latte. The familiar aroma made me smile. I had come here as a teenager so often, and the place hadn’t changed a bit, except for the people who worked there. The line was long and I clicked my heels against the tile impatiently. I had two anxious children who wanted to go to the park at home and a husband who needed dinner cooked for him before he went off to his big work meeting. I didn’t have time to wait in lines.
A tap on my shoulder interrupted my thoughts.
I turned my head at the sound of my name. A tall, muscular, tanned man was smiling at me. I raised an eyebrow at him, looking him up and down. He was very handsome..but how did he know my name?
Then I saw the deep brown eyes.
“Oh my god…Zayn?” I asked, grinning from ear to ear.
He nodded and I let out a girlish squeal, throwing my arms around him. He hugged back. We probably looked like a couple of kids.
“Wow. It’s been so long. How are you?” he asked as we pulled away from the embrace.
I shrugged, adjusting my purse on my shoulder, smiling. “Just fine. And yourself?”
Zayn shrugged. “Can’t really complain.”
“What are you doing back here in London?” I asked. The last thing I had heard about Zayn was that he moved to Paris to open his own design studio for men’s clothing.
“I’m visiting Harry. Him and his wife live actually just down the street. They kicked me out for an hour while they..well..he didn’t say it directly but you know Harry.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. Seems like Harry hadn’t changed.
I looked back up into Zayn’s eyes and my smile faded. I had a million things I wanted to say. Why didnt you call me? Why didnt you ever write? What did I do? How did you fall out of love so easily?
“You look wonderful, by the way.” he added with a grin.
My pulse raced. “Well thank you, so do you.”
He chuckled. “Not as good as you. I couldn’t notice you have a husband?” he gestured towards my left ring finger.
I looked down at it and smiled, thinking of Jerry before looking back up at Zayn.
Suddenly there weren’t so many things I wanted to say.
“Yea. Two kids too. They’re wonderful.”
“Well good for you. Congrats.” he said with a smile.
“NEXT!” The lady called.
“Well..I need to get home, so…” I said, pointing towards the empty counter, indicating it was my turn.
“Right, right.” Zayn said with a nod, shifting his coffee from his left hand to his right. “It was wonderful seeing you.”
I watched him walk out the door, smiling slightly to myself, remembering all the good times we had as kids, and how he truly had saved my life that night he showed that the human race wasn’t complete shit, and that there was always hope.
For as long as I lived, Zayn Malik would be my superman. I owed my life to him. And I would always love him.