19. His Past With Her

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(Isabelle's POV)

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(Isabelle's POV)

When we arrive at the Malik's, Mrs. Malik is quick to open her arms for a hug.

"Isabelle, Darling, how are you doing?" she squeezes me tight.

"Good... yeah." I cough slightly from her tight hug while I look at Zayn who smiles at my struggle.

"I'm glad you finally agreed to stay here! There's no reason to be staying in that hotel all on your own!"

"Well, I just didn't want to intrude..."

"Of course not, Dear! You are always welcome here!"

She acts as if I'm Zayn's actual fiancé but also meeting her for the first time, it's strange but warm. There's this odd feeling of comfort I get from Mrs. Malik. It's as if I can trust her undeniably, as if I've known her my whole life but I've only really known her a month or so. Maybe it's because when I look at her I can see parts of my mother — the warmth, the kindness, her willingness to do whatever she can to make me comfortable. Soon on paper she will me by mother too, I guess, but not for long.

Zayn shows me to the guest room where I'll be staying. A double bed with floral sheets, a white dresser and a full length mirror are the only pieces of furniture in the pastel green painted room. The hardwood floor creaks beneath my feet showing the home's age. It's nice — just a small family home.

"So, I'm just next door if you need anything and the bathroom is just down the hall... I guess I'll give you some time to settle in while I get ready for tonight."

"Thanks," I smile. "... and don't sweat tonight, I'm sure everything will be fine."

"Yeah, I'm sure it will." He nods, though I can tell he's trying to convince himself of that too.

The night came quickly and I became more and more nervous. I had nothing nice to wear so I just wore my peach dress that I used to wear to my grandmothers Sunday tea party. She used to have at least twenty people over in her backyard for finger-foods and tea, of course. Her backyard always had beautiful flowers and smelled so sweet because of it. There would be tables spread across the lawn, letting people sit when they wanted to, though most people stood. I miss those summery days, I wonder how she's doing.

I brush my hair, leaving it to fall naturally and then put on my mother's necklace before taking one last look in the full length mirror sitting against the wall. My cheeks are rosy even though the rest of my skin looks as pale as a ghost. At least my hair looks okay.

After somewhat approving of my look, I leave the bedroom and head for the kitchen.

Mrs. Malik stand in the kitchen cooking dinner.

"Anything I can help with?" I ask, coming up behind her.

"Oh jeepers!" She spooks, then laughing it off. "Sorry, you scared me, Dear!"

"Sorry... hehe..."

"I'm alright for now, you can just relax."

"Okay, well, let me know if you need anything."

The kind smile on her face fades when she turns back to her soup on the stove, leaving me to wonder if I had done something or if it was something else.

"You know, I'm not one to speak badly about anyone, especially when they aren't here to defend themselves but... it just disappoints me that he's tangled up with Alissa."

I don't disagree with her, it's kind of disappointing in general. His relationship with her is hurting him more than making him happy. He always has his face stuck in his phone with a cemented frown. I just wish that he would realize it for himself. But, he wears those rose-coloured glasses like an oxygen mask.

"I shouldn't be telling you this but, assuming you'll be in our lives — his life — for a while, I think you should know what he's been through."

"I don't want to intrude..."

"I'm sure you'll find out one way or another..." she sighs. "He's been with her for two years now and a few months ago one of his friends sent him a... very telling photo of her kissing someone else."

"Oh gosh... that's awful!"

"He says it's nothing because she was apparently drunk and it was just a kiss but, I think she's just bad news in general."

"Yeah... I can see that."

"I'm glad I'm not the only one, well maybe not glad that this is even a thing to agree on but you know what I mean."

I nod.

"I know that this isn't your problem and that maybe... nothing will happen between you two, you know, if he stays with Alissa... but, I'd be happy if he saw you in the same light."

I smile at the compliment, though I doubt it will happen, it's nice to have her approval.

"Thank you... it would be..." I shouldn't have said that.

She smiles back and then returns to the soup.

Did I just admit to the mother of my fiancé who has a girlfriend that I wish he liked me the way he likes his girlfriend? Yeah, actually, I think that's the least of my problems.

"I think I'll go check on him... see how he's feeling about tonight and everything." I say getting up from the chair.

"Okay dear, let me know if I need to drag him out of there." She jokes.

I laugh and then leave to go see him. I need to know if he's feeling okay about tonight so I can feel okay. As if right now, I'm buzzing with anxiety. Sadly, I think he might be doing the same. I just hope he has a game plan, maybe that will make things easier.

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