A/N: Sorry I wasn’t able to update this one last week but here it is! Important note by the way, this ‘Bradford’ city I’m describing in here and for the next chapters are seeds of my imagination. I wanted to make it like a sin city or something (famous bars, nice hotels, gang properties, etc.). I hope Zayn doesn’t mind. I’ll be posting my fics earlier I guess ‘cause I think I won’t be able to face my laptop this Friday. :) x
Storyline: Gang leader Zayn Malik was known for having a heart of steel: never feeling remorse for his enemies or single care for his followers. But after hearing the voice of Niall Horan inside a bar, something inside his chest melted in an instant. He never felt the urge to protect a complete stranger whom he thought has always been there, waiting for him.
Zayn was ready to give him everything and give up all the things he gained and wanted in his life just to earn a place inside Niall’s heart.
Niall followed Zayn as they walked down the hallways. He couldn’t believe his eyes the moment he left the room. The ceiling was too high, decorated with the most beautiful chandeliers he ever laid eyes on. The walls were vast, covered with cream-colored wallpaper, each panels were designed with different paintings, sculptures and large scale photographs. He looked over Zayn who was silently walking in front of him and Niall thought he might be some kind of collector or an enthusiast with creative things. Or maybe, he’s the son of a president of a high-class company or business. That must be it.
Another thing caught his attention as they continued to walk: these strange men who bowed down to Zayn whenever they saw him (while they look at Niall with suspicion), they really look like they respects him too much. His curiosity over this complete stranger just grew stronger by the minute.
Niall followed Zayn when they reached the main hall and – wow. Does this place even exist? This time, he got a good look on where he was standing. This is no ordinary house. This is a mansion or more or less, a grand villa. The light coming from the outside illuminates the whole place, since all he could see are large glass windows. He could see the view outside, vast, green meadows. Is he even in Bradford? How come he never saw this place, or even heard about it?
He noticed that Zayn had been waiting for him on the steps of the stairs, looking at him with such amusement that he felt the slight burn on his cheeks. Niall finally looked away from the view and followed Zayn from behind.
He then remembered that he wasn’t able to thank him properly for what he had done last night. But all of it suddenly slipped from his mind when he smelled the grand aroma of food coming from the room they were heading.
“You’ve got to be kidding me.” He blurted out and he earned a wide grin from Zayn. What the fuck, Niall. At least make yourself look like you don’t want to gobble up everything.
But that was what he was really thinking. Everything that was on the table looks so delicious: fruits, roasted chicken, soups, heaps of pancakes and waffles, and other foods he doesn’t recognize anymore but still, they look so good his eyes were already full. He was still standing at the door when Zayn pulled a chair and asked him to sit.
“W-where are the others?” Niall asked. Still not getting over by how near he is with the roasted chicken now. He could literally taste it now.
“No one’s coming. It’s just the two of us.” Zayn said as he pushed his chair closer to the table. He couldn’t possibly be smiling just by staring at Niall, could he?
“But, it’s too many. I won’t be able to finish it all.” Niall was moving his head to see the other servings: different slices of cakes, different kinds of bread, this is not even breakfast, this is a feast!
Zayn pulled the napkin on the table and Niall watched in awe as he spread it and put it on his lap. This guy must have been raised with such class. Zayn caught his eye and again, he smiled as he saw the flush of embarrassment from the lad who decided to fiddle with the napkin instead.
“I didn’t ask you to finish it, did I? When we’re done eating, they’ll be served to them.” By them, Zayn meant those people who have been bowing at him every time they see him, right? Niall might’ve guessed it right; since Zayn nodded the moment he looked at the guy who was at the door they came into.
“Oh.” Niall replied. He took the courage to imitate what Zayn did on his table napkin and put it on his lap.Zayn watched him as he finally held his utensils.
This is unnerving, Niall thought. Zayn must’ve been laughing at him right now, looking all stupid doing these simple things. The way he holds his spoon was million ways apart from how Zayn holds his.
“Don’t mind what I’m doing. Just eat the way you always eat.” Zayn kindly said. Niall was about to say something to regain his position of a guy who doesn’t even have any manners at all, but seeing Zayn starting to eat, he could feel the rumble on his stomach again and it’s probably the right time to forget about it and just well - eat.
Three pancakes, two waffles and croissants, a large chunk of chicken, a bowl of soup and a mug of hot chocolate – this was the most heavenly breakfast Niall would ever experience in his whole life, and it was showing on his face. Smiling at every bit, a satisfied ‘ah’ in each time he gulps and blue eyes glinting in each time his fork would spear into every food his eyes landed upon.
Zayn didn’t know when did he stopped eating and just preferred to watch him finish that enormous amount of food on his plate. Even George, who was on the kitchen door, was watching with wonder. He doesn’t look like he was someone who would eat that amount, and yet, Zayn was biting his lip to keep himself from smiling to widely.
This lad must’ve been on some kind of spell, because normally, Zayn shouldn’t be feeling this way. He shouldn’t have invited him for breakfast (and asked George to serve the most scrumptious meal he could ever cook), he shouldn’t have watched him when he was asleep and think of weird things because he wasn’t really into conversing with strangers and plastering fake smiles, but with Niall, everything was just so different, so natural and he felt so comfortable with him. This is getting stranger than he thought it would be, actually.
Because right now, he wasn’t just watching Niall – he was staring at him, observing every movement his face does. How his eyes flutter softly in each bite and how his mouth just swallowed each food with such grace. It was only then that Niall noticed him staring that made him look away, uncomfortably.
“I – I’m shorry. I’m not usually this hungry. I shouldn’t have eaten sho many…” Niall said. He bowed his head in embarrassment, swallowing all the food that was in his mouth in one go. Zayn had to stifle his laughter to avoid embarrassing Niall even more.
“No, no. It’s fine, really. I should be the one apologizing. I shouldn’t have watched you while you were eating. I’m pretty sure it made you uncomfortable.” Zayn took a sip from his coffee.
“This is my first time seeing such glorious food in front of me. I get a little bit excited, I guess?” Niall wiped away the syrup that was on his mouth. I should stop eating now. But he was still eyeing those untouched slices of cake that calls for a big bite.
“Don’t worry. It doesn’t bother me at all. Just eat as many as you like.” Zayn says, taking a small bite of his untouched bread.
When they were finally done, taking in a lot of effort to finally say ‘no’ from the unending offer of Zayn, Niall finally realized it was time to properly thank his saviour.
He smiled at George who took his plate and wiped his table’s part clean. When he left, together with the food (which Niall thought he could’ve gotten himself some fruits first); he started to say the first word that came to his mind.
Zayn cocked his head to his direction, lifting his elbows to the table and resting his chin on his hands. “You’re welcome.”
“N-No! Not this. I mean, yeah, thank you for this as well, I mean the food was really great. But thank you for last night. You saved me from that person.” Niall said, hitting himself mentally for being so awkward and mentally ill for mentioning the food over and over again.
“It was nothing.” Zayn shook his head. “I was just at the right place at the right time.” If Harry was there, he’s 100% sure he’ll hear his annoying voice repeating to him: Really Zayn? Right place at the right time? Since when did you watch love stories?
Fortunately, Niall didn’t seem to mind that weird vocabulary of his.
“I really thought you were dead the moment I woke up.”
“Well, isn’t it that nicest thing to hear in the morning.” Zayn raise his eyebrows.
His pale cheeks turned into that faint hint of red again. “I was just worried.”
Worried. That was just some one word – simple word to be exact – but it didn’t miss the way it brought an uneven turn into his stomach. Was he glad that Niall was worried for him? Maybe it was the other way since nobody really cared about him since he implied to protect himself and hearing someone was worried for him was really funny.
Zayn cleared his throat, brushing away those silly thoughts swimming on his head. “So, what brings you to Bradford? Your accent tells me you’re not from here.”
Niall freezes into his position for a moment, thinking if he should lie to him or not. “I’m from Ireland. I – I ran away from home.”
Zayn wasn’t really that surprised to know that he was a runaway kid. Judging by what happened last night, Niall could be this wannabe singer trying to make a name for himself in the famous bars of Bradford. Unfortunately, he chose the wrong bar to start.
Zayn was just about to ask him why he ran away from home when Niall continued instead. “My mom wanted me to be an engineer, just like my father. But I’ve always wanted to play the guitar and sing. I can’t imagine my life without it.”
Niall always knew it was wrong to narrate personal things like this to a complete stranger even though that stranger introduced himself, let him sleep in a very comfortable bed (and did nothing to him) and most of all, let him feast into all those foods. Still, Niall felt safe – that was the best word to describe it – when he’s with Zayn, even though it’s their first time to actually meet. Maybe because he had saved him that made him feel like this, but whatever it is, Niall wanted to make this moment last as long as he could.
“There are a lot of places you could’ve gone to. Why Bradford?” Zayn asks, wondering why he is so interested to know more.
“My best friend lives in here. When I called him, with my bags already packed, he told me to fly to Bradford and I have no place to go so I gave it a shot.” Niall said. His eyes fixated on the curtain that covers the view from the window. “He told me he knows someone who needed a singer, that’s when I met Paul, the owner of the bar I’ve been singing at for months now.”
Zayn saw how his eyes suddenly turn a bit disappointed when he sighed. “I never thought he allowed someone to actually buy me.”
Oh. So that’s how it is. He was actually bought by that pervert and he wasn’t quite aware about it.
“So that – Paul – he must be really furious by now. I’m sure that pervert must’ve asked for the money back.”
Niall’s heartbeat started to hammer on his chest rapidly. Why didn’t he realize it the moment he woke up? Now he’s sure he lost his first job – the only job he had.
“Yeah. I’m sure he’ll fire me the moment I get back in there. I should probably give the extra money I got from that stranger.” Niall bit his bottom lip, the image of Paul throwing him out of the bar almost made him cry. That was the only source he got so he could at least provide himself some new clothes, buy some food and give something to his friend who let him stayed there.
Speaking of which, he remembered how he didn’t call him last night. Niall fiddled with his pocket and thank God – there’s his phone.
“Shit.” Niall murmured. Seeing 27 missed calls all from the same person.
“Is there something wrong?” Zayn tilts his head to look at Niall intently, his troubled face worried him.
“I – I got to go.” Niall said, pushing himself away from the table. “I forgot to call Louis last night, because well, I fainted. He’s dead worried about me and it’s already –“He looked at his phone’s clock. “10 am! God! I’ll be dead if he calls my parents.”
“Did you just say something that sounds like ‘Louis’?” Zayn calmy pushed his chair as well, standing an arm away from Niall.
“U-uhm, yeah. Louis, he’s my best friend. The one who brought me here.” Niall didn’t really want to look like he was dying to go, because honestly, he doesn’t want to. But the thought of Louis calling his parents and telling them where he is will be the most important matter for the moment. “I – I really have to go.”
“Why don’t you just call him and tell him where you are? I’m sure –“ Zayn stopped himself when the realization on his side sinks in. He hasn’t told Niall about himself until now. Niall was looking at him suspiciously. What will he do if he learns that he’s actually standing inside the house of the most feared person in Bradford? He’s pretty sure he’d run away without second thoughts.
And his friend, that Louis. If ever, that Louis is the same person who got a large bum, tousled hair and has the same gay arse like his boyfriend, he’s certain that he wouldn’t let Niall get near to him again.
“Zayn? Are you alright?” Niall inched in a little bit closer. Zayn closed his eyes for a bit to regain his composure and looked back at Niall.
“I’m fine. Would you do me a favour?” Zayn must be bargaining something in here and it could the suspicion on Niall’s side but he’s got to try anyway, there’s no way he’d let this moment be the last time he would see Niall (even if he doesn’t know why, or why the hell is he feeling this way towards him).
“Yeah. Sure, anything.” Niall smiled reassuringly.
“Could you not speak to anyone, even to your best friend where you’ve been? Don’t mention my name, or the place or anything. Just tell him you stayed at a hotel.” Zayn said.
Niall looked confused but he was thankful that he seemed to understand his situation so he nodded.
“Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. I promise.”
Zayn signalled one of the guards, and whispered something to him.
“He’ll bring you back your things and you can follow him after.” Zayn found it hard to say those words because honestly – he doesn’t want this Irish lad to go. He still wanted to talk to him, know more about him and offer him as many food and help as he can give, but he could see that his attention wasn’t with him anymore and that he would be pretty obvious if he asked him to stay for the night.
“I – uhm, yeah? Guess I’ll see you around then?”
“I’m certain that we will, Niall.”And that was everything Niall needed to hear, smiling towards Zayn from ear to ear, and walking away with the hope that he would see him as soon as possible.