Chapter 142

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"I..." she opened her mouth to speak. The single syllable that chocked out of her lungs was brief and perished quickly. She gagged on her own words. Her voice box refused to work.

Zayn laughed. He was truly amused by her naivety. The corners of his eyes crinkled, and his whole body shock gently from the vibration from his core. "Even after all this time, you still fail to acknowledge that nothing you do will go unnoticed by me. I don't know whether to be impressed or alarmed by your optimism."

Her eyes narrowed. His words of patronisation introduced a fresh dose of adrenaline in her bloodstream. "How did you know?"

"I saw you."

"You were following me?" her small voice rose by one tiny notch. "You said you wouldn't."

"I never said I wouldn't follow you. I said I would give back some of your freedom for a day or two, and that you were free to do whatever that you wanted during the period. I never said I wouldn't follow you around and make sure you weren't doing anything you weren't supposed to."

"You lied."

Zayn rolled his eyes. "I didn't lie. I didn't lie, I simply didn't give you the full truth, and even if I did lie, so what? People lie all the time. I didn't get to where I am today by following the rules and being a saint."

She shook her head, unable to believe what she was hearing. "And you expect me to love you? How could I love somebody I can't even trust?"

"I'm sorry," he apologised, but Evelyn doubted the sincerity of his words. His hand stretched out to touch the top of her knee that was exposed when the smooth silk glided off her pale skin.

Evelyn moved her leg away from his reaching hand. "Why?" she asked simply.

Zayn bit his bottom lip. Evelyn could see a momentary debate within his head, weighing his options. She thought he was going to do a loop and change the subject, but she was wrong.

"I was testing you, Evelyn. I wanted to see whether there were genuine feelings between you and Harry. I know you said what you feel for him is purely platonic, but I don't believe it. I can see it in the way your facial expression changes whenever he is mentioned." He looked away and his jaw clenched "I didn't want to believe in it before, but now, I can't bring myself to ignore the blatant truth that's flashing in front of my eyes like a bright warning light."

Evelyn gave Zayn an are-you-fucking-serious look. "You're delusional."

"I know you better than you think Evie. In fact, I'm pretty sure I know you better than you know yourself."

"You are a crazy, paranoid, fucking pain in the ass," Evelyn muttered under her breath. Her brows were knotted with frustration, and she was in the motion of sliding out of the bed when Zayn reached out, took hold of her waist, and pulled her close.

"Evie," he said her name in the tenderest and loving tone Evelyn had ever heard. "You don't have to deny what you feel for Harry. If I can accept Ethan, then in time, I can accept Harry as well. I know there will always be places in your heart that I'll never own, and I guess I'll just have to accept that. As long as I own a piece of your heart-no matter how small-I'll be happy." He leaned in to kiss her.

Evelyn retaliated. Her hand moved quickly, and she felt the sharp sting of his strong jaw against her palm before she realised what she was doing.

Evelyn winced at the pain. But despite having received more pain from her act of defiance, she felt a surge of triumph, because the slap fulfilled purpose. It kept Zayn's lips away from her squirming body. She pushed at his chest, but he his body stubbornly remained as solid as a marble statue.

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