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5. Chapter five

Chapter Five

 

 

 

“We’re going to the finals. We’re going to the finals. We’re going to the finals.” Harry’s singsong voice had initially been exciting. Each repetition of the phrase would cause a surge of adrenaline to rush through my veins. However, once he had reached the one hundredth repetition, I was beginning to become annoyed. Despite my disapproval, his singing continued. The other boys apparently seemed to agree with Harry and they joined in. Subconsciously, my hands reached up towards my stick straight dark hair and placed themselves upon my ears. Yet, this attempt wasn’t good enough as their voices still managed to infiltrate my brain. I rolled my eyes.

The train was moving at a steady pace, passing through the serene countryside, heading towards my home. I missed my bed. Pressing my warm forehead against the cool glass, I closed my eyes, finally forcing the boys’ voices out of my mind and concentrating on the frosty condensation upon my skin.  

With about a month to kill between Boot Camp and the judges’ houses, the boys were taking it in turns to have the rest of the band over at their place. Harry was first, hence, the train ride that was supposed to be my solitary time with Harry had turned into a kerfuffle of noise and the musky tantalizing smell of men’s aftershave filled the enclosed space.

“Are you guys serious? I like chilli food!” Zayn Malik’s eyes glittered as he described his love for food. Passionate about everything possible, he never failed to express his love for anything. His appealing personality had struck me instantly as we’d managed to share several conversations about both the irrelevant (such as potatoes and grass) to the meaningful (such as relationships). I enjoyed his company, which I deemed important considering he would be spending a lot of time around Harry. His perfectly sculpted hair and irresistibly charming accent were just an added bonus. His tanned skin complimented mine nicely as well, making for gorgeous pictures. However, his love for chilli did not gel with me.

“Chilli? Are you freaking serious?” I asked, indignation etched on my face. The boys laughed at me. I rolled my eyes, however, I was unable to stop the smile that crept onto my face.

“Like you can laugh at me Harry! You’re an absolute baby when it comes to spicy food,” I chuckled, reminding him of the one time he started crying in a restaurant. The boys were uproariously laughing at my story and Harry’s face began to redden. Niall Horan was holding his stomach, bent over awkwardly in a fit of laughter.

Niall was adorable. He always found everything funny and this made his personality infectious. It was impossible to be sad around Niall. He referred to himself often as the Irish Justin Bieber and this in itself made him a funny young man. Similarly, Louis Tomlinson was just as hilarious. Joke after joke after joke, I knew that he would be a boy that would never fail to make me laugh. He was the oldest, however, there was no way he was the most mature. In fact, I would go as far as to say that he was the least mature. His quiet demure at that moment surprised me and I removed my head from the glass to see what he was doing. Apparently, engrossed in his phone, he was ignoring the other boys. I briefly wondered who he was texting before it left my mind. Instead, an absolute foul stench erupted within the room, infiltrating my nostrils without permission. I almost retched.

“What the hell is that smell!” Niall started laughing at the fact that I rhymed. Louis remained engrossed in his phone. Harry and Liam were both staring at Zayn, who was looking at me sheepishly. Rolling my eyes, I got up and passed by him.

“All those chilli’s huh? Must’ve gotten to your stomach.” The grey metal door handle met my small hand and I opened the carriage to step out into the hallway. Smiling at the boys, I told them I would return shortly. Before I could close the door, Harry’s foot stopped me. He roughly shoved it back open and told me he was coming with me. I didn’t object.

The narrow corridor made it almost impossible for us to walk side by side. Instead, Harry trailed behind me, occasionally bumping into me. His warm breath greeted my clammy skin and his hand grazed mine. We found an empty carriage and took the opportunity to slip inside. Closing the door, I reclined back into the seat, revelling in a moment of quiet. Harry sat down opposite me.

I avoided his eyes, because I knew what was coming. I opted to focus on the green diamond pattern which graced the plush green seats. This didn’t deter Harry from speaking though and he casually went ahead like it was no big deal. However, there was something off about his slightly clipped tone.

“So, Liam. You fancy him, yeah?” The smile was on his face, but it didn’t reach his eyes. They remained slightly deadened. On closer inspection, they appeared pained. It had been two days since we’d spoken about Liam on the bus on the last day of Boot Camp and I desperately wanted to know what the changed attitude was about. He had been so excited about Liam and I back then. What could possibly have gone wrong in simply two days?

“Yeah… I, uh, think so. I mean, he’s, erm, cool and stuff…” I trailed off, not entirely sure what to say. Harry’s eyes didn’t leave me and for the first time in our friendship, I felt somewhat intimidated. I was no longer the stronger individual in the friendship. My stature withered and I leaned back as far into the chair as it would allow. Harry’s hands twisted in his lap, his eyes still capturing mine. We watched each other for several minutes, unblinkingly. When his eyes began to well up ever so slightly, he looked away, but not before I had seen. My eyebrows knitted together in confusion. What was going on?

“Liam’s nice,” Harry said monotonously. “Are you sure you like him?”

“I… I don’t really know. I think so, I mean, I get butterflies when I’m around him and I definitely want to date him, I suppose… so yeah, I think I fancy him…” My answers were hesitant as I had a feeling that they were annoying Harry. He stared outside, no longer looking at me. I tried to lighten up the mood.

“Did you see any fit girls at Boot Camp that you wouldn’t mind hooking up with, ey Styles?” Winking, I nudged the air next to me. The corners of his mouth twitched, but the stony face remained almost intact.

“Um, no. Not really.”

“Oh, I know how it is, it’s the guys that you’re rooting for…or should I say, the ones you want to root.” My crude and unfunny humour never seemed to make anyone laugh, but Harry’s mouth twitched some more.

“No.” I stood up and ruffled his hair, before sitting down next to him. Our legs were propped up on the seat I had just vacated and our legs were touching, his jeans rubbing against my exposed legs. My shorts rode up my thighs and I pulled them down, simply so I had something to do with my hands. I hated idle hands.

“Harry?” I whispered, filling the space between our heads. “What’s wrong?” Silence filled the carriage for several minutes and I could both hear and feel Harry breathing against me. Suddenly, he got up.

“Nothing, nothing’s wrong. It’s fantastic that you like Liam! He’s a great guy. Hey! I can totally help set you up with him. Anyway, we should get back to the guys, wouldn’t want them finding your iPod and seeing your embarrassing taste in music.” He spoke very fast, barely stopping to breathe and his words slurred together. He refused to look me in the eye, instead staring at a spot just to the left of my shoulder.

The train rattled as it passed over a rough spot and I was forced to grab onto the edge of the seat to maintain my balance. In that brief moment, Harry had left, leaving the door open behind him. I slowly followed and returned to our original cabin.

The rest of the train ride passed smoothly although Harry seemed to be avoiding my eyes. Thinking it was a one off thing, I ignored it, choosing instead to fall asleep with my warm skin pressed against the cool window.

*

“What’s the first body part you wash in the shower?” I asked, before taking the strawberry and biting it gently. Strawberries were absolutely divine.

“Um, probably my arms,” Louis replied, swiftly stealing a strawberry from my bowl. “You?”

“Legs.” I moved the bowl away from his outstretched arms, prohibiting him from stealing anymore strawberries. They were mine. I glared. He smiled.

“Okay, what colour is your favourite hoodie?” He questioned, lounging back in the soft hammock hanging in Harry’s backyard. We were enjoying the warm summer breeze.

“Purple, definitely. I love it! Let me guess, yours is red?” Louis sheepishly grinned and tugged at his red hoodie that he hadn’t taken off since we had reached Holmes Chapel. Zayn came up behind Louis and leaned upon the tree holding up the hammock. He laughed at our conversation before lunging for a strawberry. He ended up tripping slightly and I rolled my eyes, offering him a piece of red goodness. He thanked me and sat down with us.

“What were you doing at 8am this morning?” As I posed the question, the rest of the band came outside after freshening up and took the remaining seats in the backyard. The sun was making it incredibly difficult for any work to get done and we instead opted to spend time enjoying the rare heat. In fact, it was so warm that I was wearing shorts and a singlet top, a rarity and the thought of jumping in the pool was becoming more and more appealing.

“I was in bed with Harry,” Louis said, jumping up from his hammock and tackling Harry. The boys laughed. At the boys’ request, I had been invited over on their second day of getting to know each other. Apparently, they enjoyed my company according to Harry and I had smirked in his face, cockiness unavoidably entering my system. Apart from that conversation we’d had on the phone that morning, Harry and I hadn’t spoken all day. The moment Louis had left his seat, Liam stole it, stripping off his top at the same time. I had to physically pull my jaw up from the floor as I saw his chiselled chest. Oh, the things I would do to have the opportunity to feel him up.

My dirty thoughts made my face redden. The strawberries suddenly became my main focus of attention.

“Do you bite your ice cream or do you lick it?” Niall asked, joining in our game of questions. I thought about it for a moment before replying, “Both”. Zayn agreed, whilst Liam said he likes to “Lick it”, whilst looking directly at me. My mind went into overdrive and I blushed again, this time the heat spreading to my entire body. The strawberries invited me once more and I took another one, slowly inserting it in my mouth and taking a bite. I could feel Liam watching me.

The little games that Liam and I played hadn’t gone unnoticed by everybody. Whilst Zayn, Louis and Niall just believed that we had been friends briefly before they became a band, I knew that Harry knew there was something more. He would often watch us from the corner of his eye. However, when I caught him looking, I instantly stopped, not wanting a repeat of our train ride earlier in the week.

The wooden lounge chair I was on was rapidly warming up. Placing the clear strawberry bowl on the mahogany seat, I stood up and walked over to Harry.

“Hey Styles, you want to swim?” I casually asked, walking past him to go grab my bikini. He ignored me and I frowned, before putting it off to him not hearing me. Returning to my bag in Harry’s room, which was upstairs and to the right, I fished out my bikini and put it on. All black, it accentuated my tan and curves. Grabbing a spare towel from the bathroom, I ventured back outside after quickly popping into Gemma Style’s room to say hi. The sun greeted me and I saw the pool calling. I asked the other boys if they wanted to join me but they all said a little later. I nodded and jumped into the pool, revelling in the cool sensation that surrounded me.

Finally, after doing a few laps and just enjoying the coolness, I dragged myself out and went and got Harry. It wasn’t that we were fighting or anything, we just hadn’t spoken properly for several days now. In fact, our last uninterrupted conversation had been the one on the train. I loved the other boys, but Harry was my favourite, my best friend, I had to find him. I discovered him and Louis sitting on the veranda, talking about a girl named “Hannah”. My curiosity peaked, but I saved it for another day. Excusing Harry, I pulled him with me, stripping off his shirt at the same time. Ensuring his phone was out of his pocket, I pushed him into the pool.

He laughed. His first genuine laugh with me in a few days, I enjoyed it immensely, jumping in after him and positioning myself on his back. Harry grabbed my legs, holding me in position. His warm skin was a stark contrast to the cool water that surrounded my skin. He dropped me in the water and I squealed. When I regained momentum, I broke the surface of the water and found that Harry had left. I frowned.

He returned several moments later, with the rest of the boys and set up a game of volleyball. I enjoyed it plenty yet in the back of my mind, I wondered if it would always be like this for now on. I wondered if my time with Harry was limited and I wondered if everything we did from now on had to be done as a group. As much as I hated to contemplate it, I wondered if my friendship with Harry would last. Truthfully, I missed him already even though at that particular moment he stood a mere metre away from me.

 

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