Zayn is 14 the first time his mother catches him with his hand down his pants and his eyes fixed on his laptop. She leaves the room quickly, the expression of surprise and embarrassment on her face mirroring the one on his. If she’s worried that he’d been looking at a photoset of a McDonald’s happy meal, she doesn’t say anything. Not at first, anyway.
In fact, it’s not until a week later that his mother calls him from out of his room to talk to him. “A nice chat,” she says, from the other side of his door. Zayn somehow doubts that the chat will be nice, and he barely musters up the courage to leave his room.
He is filled with trepidation as he sits down across from her. It’s not like Zayn doesn’t know that being attracted to a fast food restaurant is a bit unusual. It’s not something over which he needs to be confronted, least of all by his mother. He knows that it’s weird, and he’s working on it.
Thankfully, his mother seems just as reluctant as him to bring up McDonald’s. Instead, she simply tells him that she thinks he’s spending too much time on his own.
“Maybe you should join some extracurricular activities,” she suggests, as gently as she can. “Or a job, maybe. Those are great ways to meet new people. And wouldn’t it be nice to get a lovely girlfriend?”
Zayn stares at her blankly. She knows, is all he can think, mind fraught with horror, when he hears the girlfriend comment. She knows that I’m not attracted to girls.
As if reading his thoughts on his face, his mother perseveres. “Or boyfriend,” she says, in a voice that sounds desperately hopeful, as though pleading for Zayn to have any sexual preference other than McDonald’s. “You don’t have to feel pressured to like girls, Zayn,” his mother insists, “I’m very open-minded, and a boy who treats you right is just as good as any girl.”
It goes unsaid that her mind is not open enough to include Zayn’s actual preference.
“Okay, mum,” Zayn says, obligingly, desperate to escape the conversation. “Yeah. Maybe I’ll try to get a job.”
Zayn’s pretty sure that when his mother recommended that he get a job, she didn’t mean at McDonald’s. In fact, she probably meant anywhere other than McDonald’s. However, the reality of the situation is that very few places are willing to hire 14 year olds. McDonald’s, however, isn’t remotely choosey in its hiring process.
Zayn tries to be offhanded about the entire situation when he tells her. He watches her grin as he explains that he’s been hired, and he watches the grin slide off her face almost immediately when he tells her where.
“Are you sure… you know, Zayn, I’ve changed my mind. You’re far too young to be working. My baby shouldn’t have a job at only fourteen! Why don’t you join an extracurricular instead? You have such a lovely voice, Zayn; I still wish you’d sign up for the school musical.”
“I’m not good enough to be in the school musical,” Zayn mumbles, ignoring his mother as she tries to interject with what would undoubtedly have been lies of encouragement. “Besides. You’ve always said I need to work on my sense of responsibility. And it’ll be nice to have some extra pocket money.”
Zayn’s mother looks like she’s on the verge of offering him extra pocket money just to turn down the job, but instead chooses to sigh loudly.
“Okay, sweetie,” she says reluctantly, “But I reserve the right to make you quit if you fall behind on your schoolwork.”
Zayn doesn’t know why she’s making such a fuss. He figures that seeing how the food is actually made and having to spend so much time around it will only make him lose interest. This job will help him to curb this ridiculous attraction, he is certain of it.
“Alright, mum,” he says confidently.
Zayn is wrong.
Seeing how the food is made does not make him lose interest. His attraction is not decreasing, and instead is growing, to the point that every shift he works is an exercise in self-restraint.
He doesn’t understand why he’s like this. He’s lucky enough to have two very understanding parents; he could probably date someone of any gender, religion, or ethnicity, and his parents wouldn’t care as long as he was happy.
It’s just his luck that he’s not attracted to people.
He’s been working at McDonald’s for about a year when his employment culminates. It’s when he realizes that he’s been gently caressing the Ronald McDonald statue for at least ten minutes, instead of cleaning it, as he ought to be; he nearly jumps out of his skin when a little girl asks him if he’s finished playing with Ronald, as she’d like to get her picture taken on his lap.
Zayn knows then that he has to quit; the pent-up sexual frustration from being constantly surrounded by McDonald’s is getting the better of him, and he can’t allow it to continue. If he keeps working here, someone is bound to notice his lustful stares at the food, at the logo, at Ronald McDonald. Everything about his workplace turns him on, except the people, and he knows that he can’t keep it hidden much longer.
His mother is delighted, to say the least. “And just in time for you to audition for this year’s school musical,” she crows, enthusiastically. Zayn sighs. He really doesn’t think he’ll even get a small part, but he concedes that he needs to do something to try to distract from his unnatural attraction to McDonald’s. It is therefore with extremely low expectations that he tries out for a part in Bugsy Malone.
Zayn gets the lead role. He is so overcome by the fact that someone thinks that he is not only good enough, but the best, that he does manage to forget about McDonald’s for a while. He’s wrapped up in rehearsals and is almost entirely consumed by the pressure he feels not to disappoint anyone. He’s won the role, but he still doesn’t quite think that he deserves it, and his hard work to feel like he’s worth this part keeps him from thinking about anything else.
By the time he performs his last show, he still doesn’t have time to think about McDonald’s, because all of the space in his mind is occupied with visions of shining lights and a stage, and singing like the melodies are keeping him alive. Zayn has never really felt much like he belongs anywhere, but when he looks out at the audience, nearly blinded by the lights as he takes his final bow, he thinks that the stage is a place that he could learn to call home.
The thing is, Zayn still doesn’t know if he’s really all that good. He got the lead in a high school production, and a bunch of people’s parents applauded; it doesn’t necessarily mean that he has even the slightest modicum of talent. He wishes he were good, and he spends most of his class time daydreaming about singing for an audience of his own, an audience of people who are paying to hear him because they feel as though they cannot live without his voice. He doesn’t think he’s talented enough to make it, but he spends nearly all of his time hoping.
It is thus with trepidation that Zayn greets his mother’s suggestion that he audition for the X Factor. In truth, it’s not so much a suggestion as it is an insistence, a barrage of compliments towards his voice that he knows she’s not qualified to give.
This dream of his, this passion he feels towards music is the only thing that is keeping his mind from straying to McDonald’s, though, so he decides to give it a chance. Besides which, he feels like it’s better for him to know. If the judges tell him that he can’t sing, like he knows they will, then maybe he’ll be able to cast aside these unrealistic dreams of his and be able to properly concentrate on his schoolwork, so he can one day get an actual job.
And, if they happen to tell him that he can sing, that his mum and his teachers and his peers haven’t been lying, well.
Zayn will be the happiest person in the world.
Zayn has blown it. He knows he’s blown it. Somehow, by some miracle, they put him through to bootcamp, and now he’s ruined everything. He would never have even auditioned in the first place if he’d known there would be dancing. Thanks to his first audition, he’s going to go through his entire life knowing that Simon Cowell thought he could sing. And thanks to bootcamp, he’s going to go through his entire life knowing that he missed his chance.
These are the thoughts that are coursing through his mind as he absentmindedly steps into the McDonald’s. He doesn’t mean to do so, but he is drawn to it, drawn to a place that makes him feel simultaneously happy and unhappy in his time of despair. He barely even notices himself ordering his food, nor does he fully realize that he’s sat down at a table already occupied by someone else until the other person starts talking to him.
“Um,” the boy says, “um, hi.”
Zayn looks up at him. He’s got a bit of a Justin Bieber haircut, and a mostly untouched meal sitting in front of him. Zayn forces his gaze to stay fixed on the boy rather than on his food, and tries not to fantasize about the fries that lie sprawled across the tray.
“Sorry,” Zayn mumbles, immediately rising from his chair, “I was caught up in my head. I’ll just be leaving.”
“No!” the other boy says loudly, grabbing his wrist. He looks embarrassed with himself, and quickly relinquishes his grip before continuing. “Sorry. I just mean… you look familiar. Are you… are you at bootcamp? Like, the X Factor bootcamp?”
Zayn doesn’t want to talk about the X Factor. He doesn’t want to think about how he’s screwed up his chances and he definitely doesn’t want to think about how he’s about to have it confirmed to himself that he was never good enough, but the boy in front of him looks so hopeful and earnest, looks like he needs a friend.
Zayn reseats himself.
“Yeah,” he says. “But I don’t think I’m going to make it through to the Judges’ Houses. I’m Zayn,” he adds as an afterthought.
“Liam,” says the other boy.
Zayn’s never been much of a talker, but he and Liam get on right away. Zayn’s focus only occasionally drifts from Liam’s voice to the thought of McDonald’s, and if Liam notices how Zayn will intermittently caress his burger, but never take a bite, he doesn’t mention it. Zayn thinks that, maybe, it’s because, oddly enough, Liam is doing the same thing.
Zayn knows that he’s not going to make it through, but he hopes with all of his being that Liam does.
For five boys who have only just met, a movie seems like a pretty safe option. They’re at Harry’s bungalow, and they’ve spent a lot of the day getting to know each other, but now they’re about ready to settle down to watch a movie. Niall mentions that he’s brought along American Pie, and that it’s one of his favourites. Zayn’s heard of American Pie, of course, but he’s never seen it, so he and the others agree readily. They spend most of the movie half paying attention and half chatting absently to each other, stopping only occasionally when Niall announces that one of the best parts is coming up.
The movie isn’t exactly Zayn’s cup of tea, but he’s enjoying it well enough. He thinks he could enjoy anything at the moment, still basking in the glow that he’s been given another chance to prove himself. He’s been put through in a band, and he can’t believe his luck, can’t stop himself from hoping that they’ll get through Judges’ Houses so that he has even one chance on that X Factor stage. Zayn is allowing himself, for once, to feel cautiously optimistic about his life and his future.
This is until Niall shushes them once more, pointing eagerly at the screen and barely managing to control his laughter as he anticipates the upcoming scene. Zayn’s prepared to watch another snippet that results in him rolling his eyes and smiling as a red-faced Niall hugs himself and cackles.
Instead, he watches some guy have sex with a pie.
Zayn’s heart races and he tries not to look any of them in the eye. They must know, he thinks to himself irrationally. Liam noticed something off at McDonald’s, and now he’s told all of them and they planned this so that they could all make fun of me.
Zayn manages to calm himself down enough to notice that no one is pointing at him and laughing. No one is raising an eyebrow and saying “See something you like, Zayn?”
He feels a bit ashamed of himself. Liam’s a good guy. Even if he had noticed something weird about Zayn’s behaviour at McDonald’s, he wouldn’t have ever planned this as an attempt to hurt Zayn. And if he had, none of the other three would have let him. Zayn’s only just met these boys, but he trusts them implicitly; he believes that they have his back.
As if to confirm this thought, Louis slaps Zayn affectionately on the shoulder, before saying, “Alright there, mate? You spaced out for a bit.”
Zayn bites his lip. “Yeah,” he says. “Think that scene just overwhelmed me a bit. Can’t believe someone would do something like that with a pie.”
Louis laughs good-naturedly, but Zayn catches Liam eyeing him curiously.
“Hell of a taste in movies, Irish,” Louis says, and they leave it at that.
As a boy in Bradford, Zayn had never before encountered “fanfiction,” or “shipping.” No one had told him what an OTP was. This all changes with the X Factor.
At first it’s just Harry and Louis, a sudden onslaught of teenage girls insisting that his bandmates are in a relationship. Eventually, it expands to encompass the entire group. They’re a very touchy-feely lot and ridiculously flirtatious, so it’s no surprise when fans begin to put them all in various combinations, insist that their pairing is the real one and all the others are false, are just “bromances.”
Two pairings stand out high above the rest: Larry and Ziam.
Zayn thinks that maybe in another life, he could have fallen in love with Liam. He could have fallen in love with any of them, really. They’re all enchantingly funny and more caring than any other people his age that he’s ever come across. They are thoughtful and smart and even Zayn can tell that they’re very good looking. Niall is adorable, and Liam has these incredible abs. Louis has got a pair of fantastic biceps, and Harry’s got those dimples. There isn’t a thing about any of them that isn’t inherently attractive, but this is the real world, and Zayn is not fortunate enough to be in love with something quite as animate as a human being.
He doesn’t mind the fans putting them in relationships, even finds it funny, at first. But with so many fans shipping Louis with Harry and Liam with Zayn, there’s one boy that is left out, and with such a plethora of food-related quotes coming from the remaining band member, it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when fans jokingly start pairing Niall with his food.
Zayn knows that he shouldn’t allow it to bother him so much, but it’s difficult for him to see that so many people are willing to accept such a relationship into their lives as a joke, and yet, if they knew the truth about him, would likely ostracize him forever. As with all the trials and tribulations that he’s encountered since becoming famous, however, he recognizes that it’s something he’ll just have to get over on his own.
For a boy who was quite closed off in high school, Zayn thinks he’s done a remarkable job of adapting to the “no boundaries” attitude that his band has clearly chosen to adopt.
That doesn’t mean that he’s prepared for his bandmates to interrogate him about sex dreams.
It’s on a hotel night, and he’s rooming with Louis, for a change. Zayn mostly rooms with Liam on hotel nights, and he thinks that if Liam had heard him moaning in his sleep, he’d have been kind enough not to bring it up. However, he’s rooming with Louis, and Louis has never been one to let something like this go.
Zayn opens his eyes to find three of his bandmates laughing at him, while Liam looks on sympathetically.
“Sweet dreams, bad boy?” Louis asks, between bursts of raucous laughter.
Zayn feels his face heat up. “What do you mean?” he says, feigning confusion.
“You were moaning in your sleep,” Niall replies. Harry and Louis take this as an opportunity to loudly imitate the sounds Zayn had been making.
Zayn rolls his eyes and pulls his pillow over his head so that he can try to stifle the sound of his bandmates and ignore the fact that his heart is in his throat. The pillow is, unsurprisingly, yanked off of his head almost immediately.
“You were dreaming about me, weren’t you?” says Louis, affecting seriousness. “It’s okay, Zayn, you can admit it. The excitement of sharing a room with me got to you, and you had a sexy dream. If I were you, I’d probably have sexy dreams about me all the time. You can tell me, Zayn, I won’t let this ruin our friendship.”
Liam slaps Louis upside the head and Zayn makes a mental note to do something nice for Liam later on.
Niall, who is sitting far enough away from Liam not to worry about being slapped, continues the interrogation. “Okay, so obviously it wasn’t about Louis –” Louis squawks indignantly “– but who was it about, then? Come on mate, all the rest of us have shared before! You never do, and I think it’s your turn.”
Zayn has no clue what he’s supposed to say. He can hardly explain that he’d been having quite a vivid dream about himself, the Hamburglar, Grimace, Birdie, and copious amounts of McDonald’s special sauce. These guys are his best mates, and unfailingly supportive, but he thinks that if anything could test the strength of their friendship, it would be this revelation.
So instead he says, “Yeah. Yeah, it was about me and all of you guys, what can I say, you guys just do it for me.”
They laugh, and to Zayn’s relief, they let the subject drop.
The main problem is, all four of the other boys seem to love McDonald’s. Not in the way that Zayn does, he’s sure, but in a way that it’s their number one choice of fast food place to stop off at for a quick dinner while they’re on tour.
If Zayn’s feelings towards McDonald’s were at all appropriate, he’d be delighted by this. However, since he’s become famous, he’s been trying to stop this attraction in earnest, this time by going cold turkey. He’s not going to go to McDonald’s; he’s not going to look at pictures of McDonald’s; he’s not going to talk about McDonald’s; and he’s going to try his very best not to even think about McDonald’s.
Unfortunately, this means a lot of Zayn insisting that he’s not hungry whenever another boy mentions the place, and Zayn spends a large portion of his time on tour going to bed with a growling stomach, wishing desperately that the boys would just go to Subway, or something, instead.
It’s miserable and exhausting and Zayn doesn’t understand how they don’t get tired of having McDonald’s nearly every night. If it were him, he never could, but he’s not like the others, he’s different, and he’s sure that they should be fed up with the lack of variety by now. The whole ordeal is making him ache with yearning and he’s jealous of the boys for being able to spend so much uncomplicated time in McDonald’s.
Luckily, he doesn’t have to endure this for very long before Louis sees fit to confront him, eyes blazing, and looking fiercely protective and determined.
“You’re coming out to eat with us tonight,” Louis says, his tone bearing no room for argument.
“Okay,” says Zayn, agreeably. “Where are we heading?”
“I was thinking McD –”
“You haven’t been eating properly, Zayn, so you are going to shut up and eat dinner with us.”
Zayn is angry at Louis for making this so hard on him. He wants to go to McDonald’s, has been craving everything about it for weeks, from the Ronald McDonald statue, to those beautiful, happy-looking arches. But he needs to be normal, needs to let go of this obsession, and if he wants to do so, he can’t go to McDonald’s. He’s furious with Louis for making it so hard for him to resist temptation.
However, it is also incredibly endearing that Louis cares about him this much, and Zayn is too hungry to send Louis off with a refusal.
“And I will,” he says. “Just not McDonald’s. Anywhere but McDonald’s. I don’t like McDonald’s.”
Louis stares at him doubtfully. “You used to like McDonald’s,” he says, suspicion edging its way into his tone.
“That was before,” says Zayn, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Rather uncharacteristically, Louis concedes to him, promises that they won’t go to McDonald’s, but Zayn knows that the conversation is far from over.
Sure enough, it’s barely a week later when he overhears Louis and Harry talking, although he can tell by their hushed tones that they are trying to avoid eavesdroppers.
“… clearly repressing himself…”
“… wish he’d just talk to us, y’know?”
“… not like we’re just going to stop being friends with him. He needs to admit that he loves –”
“I’m not gay,” Zayn finally says, by way of announcing his presence.
Louis and Harry whip around, staring at him in shock. “Neither of us said you were,” says Louis carefully.
“And I’m not in love with Liam,” Zayn insists. If only it were Liam that I was in love with, he doesn’t say.
Harry and Louis are both shaking their heads and forcing unconvincing expressions of innocence on to their faces. “We honestly weren’t even talking about you,” Harry says, but Zayn can tell that he’s lying. In spite of this, he decides to humour them.
“Okay,” he says, gamely. “Who else is it that you think is repressing himself and not admitting to you some sort of clandestine love?”
There’s a moment of silence, before Louis says, “Okay, maybe we were talking about you – thanks, Harry, for being such a shit liar – but we don’t think that you’re gay.”
Zayn feels dread begin to course through his veins, but he tells himself that this can’t possibly be what he thinks it is. After all this time, they can’t have finally sussed him out. There’s no way that they can possibly know.
“What,” he says, stumbling over his words, “what do you mean? How am I… how am I repressing myself if I’m not gay? What do you think I’m hiding? I’m not hiding anything.”
Harry bites his lip, and Zayn catches him murmur softly into Louis’ ear, “maybe we shouldn’t do this now, maybe now’s not the right time.”
Louis’ eyes flash. “No. We’ve been waiting for Zayn to join us for too long, and I’m not letting him hold out on us any longer.”
“What – join you?” Zayn splutters, baffled. “What, have you been having band orgies or something? We just discussed this! I am not gay and I am not joining your orgies.”
Louis has the nerve to laugh. “We have not been having orgies, Zayn, don’t be ridiculous. We want you to join us at McDonald’s.”
Zayn’s whole world stops. He can feel his lips moving, but he doesn’t really hear himself when he says, “I told you that I don’t like McDonald’s, Louis.”
“Yeah, and I say that’s bullshit. I think that you love McDonald’s, Zayn. I think that you love McDonald’s a lot more than you let on.”
Zayn is terrified, fear consuming him now that his secret is being uncovered, but he’s furious, too, downright irate with Louis for treating him like this, for drawing attention to his stupid fixation instead of letting him get over it on his own time.
“You know what, Louis?” Zayn says, “Fuck you. You don’t get to treat me like this. I know that it’s weird and all kinds of messed up, but I’ve been trying to stop it, I’ve been trying to stop it all my life, and I haven’t shoved it in your face –in fact, I’m not even sure how you found out – and if you’re just going to – to laugh at me, and try to drag me along to McDonald’s with you so you can stare at me like I’m in a zoo, like I’m some sort of freakshow, then you can… you can just fuck off, alright?”
Zayn doesn’t give him a chance to respond before he’s storming out of the room, hating himself for the tears that well up from beneath his fluttering eyelashes.
He just really hopes that he hasn’t screwed everything up again.
The next few days pass in a haze of Louis urgently trying to corner Zayn and Zayn just as urgently trying to stay as far away from him as possible. Zayn knows that his avoidance isn’t wise, knows that it will only inspire Louis to go to more creative lengths in order to instigate the inevitable confrontation, but Zayn can’t bring himself to care. The longer he gets to put off this discussion, the better.
He should find it suspicious when Liam texts him, asking him to come to his hotel room, but Zayn is so exhausted from the stress he’s been putting himself through these past few days that he doesn’t have the energy to think anything much of it; besides which, his trust in Liam is unfailing, and it doesn’t even occur to him that Liam might be trying to help Louis in his intervention, or ambush, or whatever it is he has planned.
He is therefore completely blindsided when he opens Liam’s door to find all four of his bandmates surrounded by McDonald’s paraphernalia.
Niall is running his hands gently over a plastic figurine of Ronald McDonald; Louis is lapping McFlurry off of his fingers sensually; Harry’s eyes are practically rolling back into his head, and he’s making an odd sort of purring noise as he nuzzles his cheek against a Big Mac.
Sweet, wonderful, thoughtful Liam, the boy who is incapable of wanting to hurt anyone, the boy in the band that Zayn has trusted more than any other.
Liam is curled up on his hotel bed, expression serene as he practically fellates a McDonald’s fishfinger.
Zayn isn’t even angry anymore. He feels completely drained, a sense of fatigue weighing down on him, and he thinks he might want to cry.
“Why are you doing this?” he says. The comment is directed towards Louis, but his gaze is fixed on the ground, his vision impaired by the glassy sheen of tears.
There is a loud pop as Louis removes his McFlurry covered fingers from between his lips. “What do you mean, Zayn? We thought this… we thought you’d be happy!”
Zayn lets out a sound that’s more a sob than a laugh. “Happy?” he intones, dully. “Why would I be happy about all four of my best mates taking the piss out of me for something that I can’t even control? I thought… this whole time, I thought you were trying to get me on my own to apologize or something, but… but clearly you just want to make me even more miserable. I just… I just…” Zayn’s eyes flicker briefly towards Liam, before once again being cast downwards. “I can’t believe you even got Liam to treat me this way. I didn’t think any of you were like this.”
There’s silence, and Zayn still can’t bring himself to look up, can’t bring himself to look at the boys that he has long since started considering his brothers, and see the betrayal in front of him.
Then he’s being encircled in a tangle of arms.
“Zayn,” says Niall, “come on, mate. We aren’t like that. We thought you’d have figured it out by now. We’re like you.”
Zayn rubs furiously at his eyes with the backs of his hands. “Like me?” he says, cautiously.
“Yeah,” says Liam. “I thought for sure that you had me figured out, that day we first met at McDonald’s.”
“And me,” says Niall. “All the other boys suspected after I showed you American Pie.”
Zayn is confused. He can’t quite wrap his head around what’s going on. It doesn’t feel like the boys are making fun of him, or like they’re disgusted by him; they’re just acting pretty much how they always do.
“Figure out what?” he says, uncertainty heavy on his tongue.
Louis lets out an explosive sigh. “How can you be so bloody oblivious? You can be really thick sometimes, Zayn. We like McDonald’s. All of us like McDonald’s.”
“In fact,” says Harry. “We love McDonald’s a lot; we love it more than most people would find normal. And we think… we think that you might feel the same about it.”
Slowly, Zayn looks up, hardly daring to hope. “You,” he says, before his voice catches in his throat, “you… what you were doing when I walked in here. That’s. That’s what it’s like all the time when you guys go to McDonald’s? You weren’t just, you know, making fun of me for how I feel?”
“You know us better than that, Zayn,” says Louis. “Even if we didn’t feel the same way as you about McDonald’s, we would never have made fun of you for it.”
Zayn feels lighter than he has in years. There’s a weight that’s been pressing down on him since that first time his mum walked in on him years ago, and it has suddenly, gloriously been lifted.
He flashes the four best friends in the world a watery grin. “So,” he says, gesturing towards the various foodstuff and McDonald’s toys lying about the room, “did you boys get anything for me?”
Interviews are a little less trying for Zayn, these days. He no longer has to worry about tensing up when asked about what he looks for in a girl, couldn’t care less whether his behaviour seems suspicious to his bandmates. They’re in this together.
“What do I look for in a girl?” Zayn says, a smile playing at his lips. “Hmmmmm. Well, I had quite the crush on Birdie when I was a kid.”
“Birdie?” says the interviewer, curiously.
“Yeah. You know, like from McDonald’s. So I guess maybe girls with feathers?” His voice is humorous, and the other boys are cackling, but the interviewer looks baffled.
“Better watch out, mate,” says Louis. “This could become the new “I like girls who eat carrots.”
Zayn’s cheeks hurt a little from smiling so much. He can’t believe that he ever doubted that things would work out in his favour.