my incapacity to decide on anything

Hotline Bling Ch. 9

a/n: hopefully the length makes up for the wait


For most, depending on the situation, trending on social media might have been a pleasant surprise. For you it was definitely a surprise, ain’t nothing pleasant about it though.  Not with the way your phone had been lighting up all morning with notifications of calls and messages, most of which were all asking the same thing.

“Is that you?”

“Yeah…”

“Since when do you hang with Justin Bieber?” Audrey’s voice, though surprised, was a lot less incredulous than previous callers.

“It’s complicated…” you trailed off, pulling your phone away from your ear to see another incoming call.

You declined without a second thought for probably the sixth time in the last hour. His persistence was infuriating.

“When is it not?” you managed to hear her mutter lowly before she continued, “Well it’s not like you have anything to worry about. You’re barely recognizable in the pic. Only people who know you can tell,” she tried to assuage your concerns.

“I’ve been fielding calls all morning. I’m so over it,” you admitted.

“I’m sure it’ll blow over soon, babe. Hang in there.”

“I hope so. “

It had been less than five minutes since your call with Audrey ended before your phone was ringing again. One glance at the screen sent your eyes rolling heavenward and your finger swiping left.

“Leave me alone!” you shouted into the empty room.

For someone who’d made it pretty clear that he thought nothing more of you than a glorified bed warmer, he sure was trying to contact you constantly.

As you tossed your new phone somewhere beside you on the bed you remembered what had happened to the old one. Hot flares of anger warmed your entire body at the memory of Justin angrily flinging your phone against a wall. What he’d said after pissed you off even more.

The nerve….

The morning had started with you signing for a package that had been delivered to your door. You were slightly surprised to unwrap a brand new phone with a note attached:

Sorry

Nothing more. You’d tossed the note and for a split second you’d contemplated throwing the phone away too, but then came to your senses.

You spent the next two hours doing damage control when the calls and messages started rolling in. It didn’t help that every so often Justin’s name lit up your screen with an incoming call.

You’d declined every last one, ire rising steadily each time.

Like clockwork your phone chimed continuously from between the sheets. You blindly snatched it up, almost at your wit’s end, and glanced at the display.

The name that stared back reformed your mood instantly.

The memory of your time together from the day before brought about a giddy grin. Upon leaving Justin’s place you’d been so livid you almost couldn’t see or think straight. It was a wonder how you’d driven to Drake’s condo in one piece.

You were glad you did. You’d watched a couple movies, pigged out on snacks and had an overall great time. You knew he’d been curious as to why you’d shown up at his place with steam emitting from your ears, but he’d tactfully avoided asking about it.

“Hey…”

“Long morning?” he asked, adeptly picking up on your tone.

You thought you’d hid your distress well, but you were coming to realize that Drake was perceptive and easily noticed the little things.

“Kinda,” you confessed.

“Wanna talk about it?”

You caught yourself smiling at his gentle offer, but shook your head despite his incapacity to see the gesture, “That’s the last thing I want to do actually.”

“What you doing today?” he smoothly switched topics.

“Uh, I didn’t have anything planned.”

“Would it creep you out if I said I was driving by your neighborhood and my mind ran on you so I decided to call?

You covered your mouth as if that would stop the smile that spread behind your fingers “Would it creep you out if I asked you to come over?”

“I can be there in five minutes,” he answered without missing a beat.

-

He came bearing gifts. The kind that widened your smile and made you remember that you hadn’t eaten yet.

 

You sat, curled up on your sofa with a box of food nestled in your lap. The TV was on, but neither of you paid it any mind.

Just when you thought the day was looking up your phone buzzed with a text. You opened the message before releasing a groan.

His eyes shot to yours, wide in question.

“I’m so tired of these damn messages. Yes, it was me! I was the girl leaving Justin’s house yesterday. Why is that even news?!”

Your outburst was tailed by his laughter. You squinted your eyes at your guest as he regarded you with a grin.

“I take it you’re not taking your fifteen minutes of fame too well.”

Your eyes narrowed even further.

“More like my invasion of privacy.”

He didn’t appear affected by your clipped tone. He only shrugged as he spooned rice into his mouth.

“It comes with the territory.”

“What territory?” you asked, wary of the nature of the conversation.

“Being a celebrity.”

“But I’m not though,” you pointed out.

“But you’re hanging with them.”

“And starting to regret it,” you muttered lowly, barely thinking of what you said until a quiet settled between the two of you.

You nibbled your lower lip, wishing you could eat your words.

“I didn’t mean you,” you added after the lengthy pause.

His brows lifted in amusement, “I would hope not. I bought your ass food. Twice.”

You bit back your laugh, intent on pointing out his blunder, “Actually…” you trailed off at the look on his face.

No matter what you said you know you would lose the argument because in essence he was right.

“Yeah,” he grinned, “That’s what I thought.”

“Whatever,” you playfully rolled your eyes at his smug face.

“You know I h-”

The ringtone of your phone interrupted his next words. You glanced down at the caller’s name and quickly declined the call.

“Sorry, I-” the jingle began once again in the middle of your apology.

You swiped left a bit more forcefully this time, annoyed at the disturbance. Before either of you could speak your phone vibrated with yet another inbound call.

Not having the patience to continue screening Justin’s calls you turned the device off. When you returned your attention to Drake he made no move to cover his sceptic brow raise or questioning glance towards your phone.

“You sure you don’t wanna get that?”

“Positive,” there was no hesitation on your part.

He regarded you for a few moments longer and you felt your smile slipping under his scrutiny.

“Are you okay?” his voice was unexpectedly gentle and it tugged at something in you.

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

He shrugged, “Maybe because after you left Justin’s yesterday you showed up at my place looking like you’d been crying and now you’re avoiding his calls.”

“I’m fine.”

“You always cry when you’re fine?” he continued when you made no move to answer, “It’s okay to not be okay you know. If something or someone hurt you, you can admit that.”

You shrugged, eyes focused somewhere else in the room, unable to meet his gaze. You angrily brushed away an errant tear.

“It’s okay to cry, babe.”

“He’s not worth it,” you countered.

Your mouth said one thing, but the second drop tracing your cheek clearly said otherwise.

“Can we just talk about something else? I don’t wanna think or talk about it. Please?” you softly pleaded with your fists pressed to your eyes.

As if on cue a very familiar tune began playing from the TV. You both glanced up in varying stages of amusement and surprise.

Of course your own enjoyment doubled when he promptly set aside his food and begin dancing in the same manner the TV portrayed.

“Ever since I left the city, you got a reputation for yourself now. Everybody knows it and I feel left out,” he chanted alongside his lyrics and his carbon copy dance moves were definitely a sight to see.

“Girl I know you’re down, I know you’re stressed out,” he continued.

The slight change in lyrics was not lost on you and it only made you smile wider.

“Cause ever since I left the city, you started wearing less and goin’ out more,” he danced his way over to you and held his hand out for yours.

“Glasses of champagne out on the dance floor. Hangin’ with some girls I’ve never seen before,” he took your hands and coaxed you from your seat when you hesitated.

Through your laughter you managed to join in on the pre chorus, “You used to call me on my cell phone. Late night when you need my love,” you began imitating his dancing, unable to control your laughter now, “Call me on my cell phone. Late night when you need my love.”

“I know when that-” you’d both started strong, but at the sudden start of a commercial your singing tapered off.

“Really MTV? Right at the good part?” he narrowed his eyes at the footage that had interrupted his music video.

Undeterred even the slightest his response was to shrug and jump right back in with the same enthusiasm.

“Cause I know when that hotline bling…c’mon sing with me babe, we don’t need no song we got the original right here,” he gestured to himself in the middle of his dancing.

“That could only mean one thing,” you joined in, “I know when that hotline bling. That can only mean one thing.”

His hands found yours once more, using his grip to bring you toward him, not once missing a beat.

“Ever since I left the city, you, you, you,” his volume dropped as he pulled you into a hug.

You allowed the embrace, melting into his hold, inexplicably comforted by his singing and easy rocking. You listened to him sing. His voice washed over you, bringing with it warmth and oddly enough everything was alright.

-

And that was the way things seemed to be when you were with Drake. His presence was strong and comforting and you fed off it. In the following weeks, your rendezvous became more and more frequent while remaining just as platonic as the last. Though not for lack of chemistry between you. Your attraction to each other was blazingly obvious, especially with the heated glances, shameless flirting and multiple make out sessions that all ended before passing the point of no return.

Things were going well. The buzz behind your ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ had fizzled out in short time and you’d gotten on with your life.

 

“Yeah, but when was the last time you went to a party?” Hailey continued to pester you as she followed you into the hallway.

“I’ve been busy Hails.”

“It’s semester break and you’re off from work on the weekends, you can definitely make this.”

You knew she’d backed you into a figurative corner and you had no excuse plausible enough to counter.

“Haileyyy,” you whined as you entered your room and face planted on your bed.

Nothing about her invitation to a Beverly Hills ‘soiree’ sounded appealing enough to warrant even basic polite interest.  As if you didn’t already think a party in the hills would be a dull and pretentious affair, the fact that it was referred to as a soiree sealed the deal.

“It’ll be fun. I promise! Please come with me,” she pleaded, falling on top of you less than gently.

“I don’t want to,” you groaned.

“Why?” she demanded.

You were surprised she understood you, considering the mattress ate most of your words.

You squirmed beneath her weight, feeling your breaths becoming laboured. She was much heavier than she looked.

“I just don’t want to. Move.”

“I’m not moving unless you agree to come with me.”

“Hails! Get off.”

“I’ll lick the back of your neck if you don’t say yes,” she was unrelenting and clearly didn’t understand the concept of personal boundaries.

“You wouldn’t.”

There was no warning, just wet warmth and a sponge like surface dragging across your skin.

“Ack, what the- what is wrong with you?” you squealed as you rolled over, effectively throwing her off of you.

Her raucous laughter was your only answer.  

-

At least they have free alcohol.

You swiped a flute from a passing waiter and lifted it to your lips as your eyes scanned the yard. Hanging lights, paper lanterns and the occasional fire pit on a pedestal kept the expansive backyard luminous. You caught sight of the DJ at the far end of the yard, diligently turning out the music that kept the atmosphere alive and pumping.

Veiled cabanas bordered the pool and from your vantage point you could tell most were occupied.

“Whose party is this?” you mused aloud.

“Some rich producer,” obviously, “I can’t remember his name. But this is nice, right?”

She turned to you with a smirk and hopeful eyes. You had to admit this party was not what you’d expected when she’d first asked.  There were easily five hundred people there.

And you didn’t want to acknowledge this out loud but you were actually having a great time. Upon arriving, you’d promised to keep an open mind and Hailey had promised that you could both leave after an hour if you weren’t enjoying yourself.

Somehow you’d lost her in the crowd soon after, but you weren’t complaining. You drank, danced and drank some more and by the time you’d run into each other again your head was light and your feet were tired.

“Let’s go inside, I’m hungry,” she was already leading you up through the back entrance before you had time to reply.

The kitchen was HGTV impressive, with its countertops laden with an array of food and snacks.  People milled about inside to the sounds of heavy chatter, clanking cutlery and the muted bass from the music outside.

“Aye Y/N, long time no see.”

You looked in the direction of the voice and sobered up instantly. Khalil stood at the edge of the kitchen with a friendly smile. Za was posted beside him. You moved towards his outstretched arm and accepted his hug, knowing that if these two were here then…

“Slow down Hailey, gotta leave food for the rest of the guests.”

You remained rooted, eyes on Khalil though everything in you was tuned into the voice that just entered the kitchen.

“Shut up,” was her only defense and you hoped that their banter kept him occupied long enough for you to escape without being spotted.

All you had to do was turn and leave through the side exit, so you did…and walked straight into him. His hands shot out to prevent your fall. One landed on your elbow, the other on your hip. The heat of his touch seared through your skin.

You glanced up, wishing you hadn’t when your eyes met ones already staring intently at you. Then your gaze darted to the sliver of pink as his tongue darted out to swipe over his lower lip. You felt your mind grow blank.

Your eyes flickered down, to the familiar feel of his cotton covered chest under your palms before you snapped back to the present.

You tried to distance yourself from him, but his hold kept you close.

“Hi.”

Hi?

You forcefully stepped back, breaking from his hold, a response at the edge of your lips, but then remembered you weren’t alone and that the last thing you wanted was to cause a scene. You cleared your throat. Eyes trained on a spot over his shoulder and responded.

“Hi.”

You needed another drink. As you stood in the kitchen, absently laughing along with the rest of the group and held hostage by the standards of decorum you plotted your escape.

It was impossible to ignore the heat of his blatant staring, but you refrained from giving him the satisfaction of looking his way.

So when Hailey had excused herself to go to the ladies’ room, the words were barely out of her mouth before you were offering to accompany her. And from the bathroom you were all too happy to follow her back outside where the air wasn’t thick with tension.

You once more took advantage of the passing waiters carrying glasses of champagne.

One drink somehow turned into four and with a total of six flutes of bubbly in your system what were once coherent thoughts were now a seamless stream of questionable decisions.

Starting with your dance partner who had been gripping your hips a bit too tightly, as he moved behind you. He leaned in to whisper something in your ear and you belted out a laugh when the feel of his stubble tickled your neck.

“Where are we going?” you asked once you realized your had was in his as he led you back into the house.

“We’re going to have a little more fun,” he supplied over his shoulder as he headed towards the front door.

“I love having fun,” you giggled, stumbling in your heels as you tried to keep up with what was clearly going to be your second questionable choice of the night

“I’m sure you do baby.”

“Why are- why are we leaving the party?” you managed to string together when you noticed where you were headed.

There was a hand on your arm, its grasp firm enough to stop your movements and pull you from the stranger.

“You’re not leaving with him.”

You turned to intense brown eyes for the second time that night.

“Justin,” your tongue felt heavy, “You- you’re not…you’re not the boss of me.”

“Fuck off, man,” your dance partner grumbled as he reached for your hand.

With faster reflexes Justin pulled you away and into him. An arm wrapping about your waist to keep you upright and steady. Your head lolled against his shoulder, the sudden movement making the room spin.

“How about you fuck off before I knock you the fuck out?” he threatened.

Your partner hesitated for a moment, but then deciding that you weren’t worth the fuss, turned and left.

You lifted your head and stepped back, ready to tell him off for butting in, but you tripped over your feet. With movements much quicker than yours he was reaching out to balance you once more. One moment you were careening backward and the next you were flush against him; hands at his shoulders, your chest pressed against his and faces inches apart.

You blinked slowly as your mind caught up with what was happening.

“Jesus, how much have you had to drink?” he muttered, regarding you with worried eyes.

“That’s,” hiccup, “none of your business.”

“Of course it’s my…” he sighed, looking away momentarily before bringing his eyes back to yours, “I’m not trying g to fight with you right now.”

“I wanna go back and dance. Let me go,” you slurred, pushing against his shoulders.

His grip around your waist tightened, hindering your movements.

“You can barely stand on your own, let alone walk. You think I’m going to let you go dance with some other asshole who’ll try to take advantage of you?”

“Fuck you, I can- I can take care of myself!”

His laugh was mocking, “Yeah? How’s that working out for you? Where do you think you’d be right now if I hadn’t stopped that guy?”

You didn’t answer, only struggled against his hold. It took you only moments to realize his grip was unrelenting. Your forehead dropped to his shoulder, suddenly tired.

“I’m taking you home.”

You didn’t fight it. You wanted to go home. Preferably with someone else, but at this point ally you wanted to do was kick off your heels, slip off your dress and get into bed.

So when you nodded off in the front seat of Justin’s car and woke up as he was pulling up in his driveway your brows furrowed in confusion.

“Why are we here? You said you were taking me home.”

“I’m not going to leave you by yourself while you’re drunk, Y/N,” he explained before he exited the car.

He was on your side and opening your door before you could protest. You reached to unbuckle your seatbelt, but in the dimness of the car you couldn’t see or feel for the buckle. Your delayed actions were no help either.

His scent weakened your aptitude even further as he leaned over you to unbuckle you.  His breath on your shoulder sent delinquent shivers up your back.

Getting inside and upstairs was a process. When you finally crossed the threshold of his room the sight of his bed was like an oasis. You climbed on and attempted to crawl towards the pillows when his hand on your calf stopped you.

“Hold on,” he mumbled as he unbuckled and slipped off your shoe before moving to the other.

“I just want to sleep,” you whined.

“I know princess, but you can’t sleep in this okay? Let me get you a t-shirt,” he reasoned as he pulled you to sit up.

By the time you’d changed and been force fed a glass of water you were past the point of fighting sleep. You were out the instant your head hit the pillow.

-

It was a wonder a headache wasn’t among your hangover symptoms when you awoke. The churning in your stomach however more than made up for it.

Upon exiting the bathroom, you glanced curiously at the empty bed you’d spent the night in and wondered if you’d had company.

Before you could ponder further the door opened and Justin walked in, pausing when he noticed you.

You opened your mouth, but awkwardly let it close when you realized you didn’t know what to say. You cleared your throat, fingers tugging uselessly at the hem of his t shirt, suddenly feeling naked under his stare.

“Are you…um- how are you feeling?” he palmed the back of his neck as he shifted his weight from one foot to the other.

You looked out the window, wishing you could be anywhere but here, wearing his t shirt and skirting around the elephant in the room.

“Uh fine, I guess,” you nodded slowly deliberating the easiest and most painless way to escape whatever conversation was about to ensue.

“And, um, thanks for uh, last night and…um,” you gracelessly gestured to nothing in particular, hand suspended and fingers splayed as if waiting for the words to fall into your grasp, “Yeah…”

He didn’t speak. Only regarded you silently, as if things weren’t awkward enough. Your eyes connected momentarily before you looked elsewhere, refusing to acknowledge what you saw there.

“I’m gonna call a cab,” you turned then, in search of your phone, taking any opportunity to avoid his stare.

“I’ll take you home.”

His offer made you pause, your back to him as you pulled apart the sheets, “No, it’s okay. I’ll just call-”

“I don’t mind. I can drive you back,” he persisted.

“You don’t have to do that,” you attempted to put a stop to whatever guilt might have been prompting his words.

The last thing you needed was to be in a confined space with him for an extended period of time.

“Y/N, just let me-”

The memory of the last time you’d been in this house and the words he’d said to you caused you to whip around, eyes narrowed.

“I don’t want you to drive me home Justin,” your words were measured and left no room for doubt, “I am calling a-” but before you could finish, vomit rose to the back of your throat and you made a mad dash back into the bathroom.

And there you remained for the next twenty minutes. You’d showered, changed into a pair of jeans that you hadn’t even remembered leaving here and donned another of his t-shirts, then you’d brushed your teeth twice before you figured you couldn’t avoid him forever.

You were relieved when you re-entered an empty bedroom.

Meanwhile, Justin had ventured downstairs, frustrated with the words he didn’t know how to say and angry at himself and you for how things were.

He sat at a stool, hunched over the kitchen counter, head in his hands as he devised a way to get you to stay long enough to hear him out.

His phone vibrated beside his elbow, breaking his concentration. He moved to silence the call when it dawned that this wasn’t his phone. His hand hovered over the device as he deliberated whether or not to answer the call. It wasn’t any of his business, was it?

But damn it, it was! No matter what he’d said, nothing had changed. His feelings couldn’t be wished away and you were his business. So he had every right to make sure nothing came in the way of his business, didn’t he?

With that reasoning he answered the call right before it transferred to voicemail.

“Hey man, what’s up?” his cool tone belied the angry clench in his jaw.

“Justin?”

He was annoyed, yet marginally pleased to hear the surprise in the caller’s voice.

“Yeah.”

“Oh…where’s Y/N?” Justin smirked at the caller’s hesitance

“She’s upstairs, just left her in the shower,” the lie fell smoothly.

“She’s at your place?”

“Yeah, since last night dude,” he chuckled suggestively, “But um, want me to give her a message or something?”

There was a brief pause from the other end before Drake spoke again, “Nah. Don’t bother. Talk to you later J.”

He’d managed to erase evidence of an incoming call and replace the phone just as you rounded the corner and entered the kitchen.

He watched silently as you picked it up and dialed for transport.

He listened, as you curtly placed your order, stomach clenching at the finality in your tone.

“I’ll wait outside,” you threw over your shoulder, already on your way to the door.

“Y/N, I-”

You didn’t give him time to continue, “Please don’t, Justin. Just don’t, okay?”

You didn’t wait around for a response as you left and let the door close behind you.


 Chapter 1

 

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