A Perfect Stranger

When Lara meets a mysterious stranger in the park, they get to talking and she feels drawn to him. What happens when she finds out who he really is?

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5. Consequences

“Oh, how I wish that was me.”

 

It wasn’t a bad kiss, even though it was short lived.  I watched as Niall’s eyes went wide in shock and felt his arms tense. Seizing my opportunity, I pushed with all my might and sent Niall tumbling backwards into the pool. I whooped victoriously and slid of Louis’s shoulders, joining him in his laughter. “Foul!” cried Liam indignantly, but laughing none the less.  I looked over at Zayn where he sat at the edge of the pool, doubled over laughing. “Who won?” I asked innocently.

“Congratulations, Lara and Louis, you are the winners!” Zayn choked out through his laughter. Smiling, I walked over to where a dazed looking Niall hunched in the water. “See, I win.”

 

The soccer ball lay forgotten in a corner as we spent the rest of the day fooling around in the pool, splashing and playing round after round of stupid pool games like Marco Polo. Niall refused to play against me in any of the rounds of one-on-one games we came up with. We reluctantly left the rooftop pool only when twilight passed and it began to grow properly dark.  I shivered as I wrapped a towel around myself, the cool night breeze on my wet body making me feel twice as cold as I should, even after that long in the water. Looking around at the boys, I raised an eyebrow. “You kidnappers have to lead the way back,” I said, “I have no idea where to go.”

They laughed and led the way through the door and into an elevator down the hall. As we got in the elevator and began the short trip down a floor or two, Niall piped up. “I still think you cheated,” he shot at me.

“Not my fault that I make you so weak at the knees Ni,” I giggled.

“Okay, you were good, but not that good. You surprised me is all!”

“Hey!” I protested, “First timer here. Haven’t really had much of a chance to practise.”

Niall’s face went blank with shock. “You’re kidding right.”

“No. Do I look like I’m kidding?”

“Oh.”

I laughed, wrapping my arm around Louis’s waist. As we walked out of the elevator and onto our floor, I consoled him, “Niall, chill. It wasn’t a big deal. It was a game.”

“Oh, Nialler takes these things very seriously, don’t ya bud?” Harry joked.

We all laughed, and I waved at the security guards sitting outside the door. It was the same two from the first night. They seemed surprised to see me, but waved back as we passed. My attention turned to Lou, but I didn’t show it. There had been something forced about his laugh. I decided to talk to him later in private, having a sneaking suspicion that I knew what it was about. I looked at the guys and smirked. “DIBS FIRST SHOWER!” I yelled before grabbing my bag from the table and streaking off down the hall. After a brief pause I heard indignant yells and footsteps pounding down the hall behind me. When I was nearly at the door to the first bathroom I felt a pair of strong arms scoop me up and I found myself hanging upside down over Harry’s bare shoulder. “Harry, put me down! Hey, I DIBSED THAT SHOWER!” I yelled as I saw Zayn attempting to sneak in. His shoulders slumped in defeat and he stepped away from the door. I heard laughter from the living room. “Dibsed? Is that even a word?” Liam chuckled.

“It is now!” I laughed back as Harry finally put me down with a cheeky grin still pasted on his face. Doing a little victory dance at the boys, I walked backwards into the bathroom waving smugly as I closed the door behind me.

 

I took my time with the shower, making sure to relax every last one of my muscles under the steaming water. When I finally stepped out, I smelled like man. My hair and my skin wafted pleasantly from the body wash and shampoo I had used, reminding me of the boys, in particular Louis. Pulling on the change of clothes I had brought, a pair of black jeggings and a beige knit top that went down to the middle of my thigh, I towelled the extra water from my hair. Crossing my fingers I stuck my head out the door and yelled, “Any chance there’s a hairdryer in this place?”

Liam came around the corner nodding. He looked a little concerned but put on a good voice as he spoke. “Mmm, there is,” he said, “Let me show you.” He walked over to the sink and knelt, rummaging through the contents of the cupboard below. On a whim I wrote in the steamed up mirror, ‘Is Lou okay?”

Liam stood and handed me a dryer, turning to read the mirror as I pointed at it.

‘He seems off. I thought I was being paranoid, but I guess I was right’, Liam wrote as I plugged in the dryer at a nearby power point. Turning it on, I placed it on the floor and returned to the mirror.

‘I think I know why. I’ll talk to him and sort it out later.’

‘About that, hey? You’ll work it out. He really cares about you.’

I smiled at Liam in thanks, and he gave me a soft hug before he left. Picking the buzzing hairdryer from the floor, I set to work, but not before I had wiped our secret conversation from the glass.

 

We were sitting in a group on the floor, leaning on the couch behind us. Spread around us were multiple, now empty, boxes of Nando’s. I looked around at the guys, then at the boxes and then the guys once more, bursting out laughing and collapsing on Louis’s lap. “This is so ridiculous!” I laughed from where I lay. Lou’s hand came to rest in my hair and he started playing with it, giving me a bemused smile. “What?” he asked.

“I’m sitting in the penthouse of the best hotel in the city, eating Nando’s with One Direction.  Every fangirl’s dream and I’m living it. And then some,” I said, giving Lou a smile in which I tried to convey everything I felt for him.

They boys all laughed except Lou, who gave me a thoughtful look. On a sudden hysterically fuelled idea, I grabbed my phone from my pocket.
“What are you doing?” Zayn asked me curiously.

“Updating my status.” I flipped onto Facebook and typed in a new status. “Sitting in the penthouse of a hotel eating Nando’s with 1D and having my hair played with by the super sexy Louis Tomlinson!”

As I pressed post and went to return my phone to my pocket a hand came and stole my phone away. I watched as Harry read through the post and laughed, passing my phone back along the line for everyone to see. When it reached Lou and I at the end, I watched his face carefully, feeling relieved when I saw a genuine reaction flicker across his face. He chuckled and looked down at me. “You’ve got comments,” he told me, handing me my phone. I laughed as I read them aloud to the boys.

“Wake up now La, it’s time for your meds. Plus Harry’s way hotter.”

“Ew Lara. Just ew.”

“You wish.”

The boys laughed as Harry whooped triumphantly and nudged Lou with his foot. “Told you so!” he said smugly. As I tapped away at my screen to post my own comment, I defended Louis, “Sorry to disappoint Harry, I ship team Lou and my opinion is the one that counts.”

Louis is so hotter! And Alex, shut your mouth. 1D rules. Waayyyy more than you. <3 these boys so much. So glad that they came into my life. Directioner FOR LIFE!

I laughed as I posted my comment, tossing my phone to the boys so that they could see. I winced as a minute later my phone hit me on the nose. I glared at Niall who grinned sheepishly back. Taking my phone, I scanned through the new comments.

“Larz, you haven’t met them. BUT PROMISE IF U EVA DO YOU’RE GONNA TAKE ME!”

“Team Harry all the way. Sozzles bbz.”

I poked my tongue out at Harry as his smirk strengthened.

Jayne, hush. You’re making Harry’s overinflated ego even bigger. He’s grinning like the Cheshire Cat. And yes, Lyss, I doubly promise. THAT WOULD BE SO EPIC!

I hit send and felt a little guilty about the last part, but there wasn’t much I could do. I chucked my phone at Liam’s waiting hands and smiled up Lou. I snuggled closer, trying to make him feel better, as he smiled back, grinning broadly when I hear Harry’s outraged cry. “I do not have an overinflated ego!” he yelped. I laughed along with the others as Harry tapped away at my phone.

“Careful!” I warned him, grabbing back my phone to see what he had posted.

I take it all back. Harry is the humblest, best looking, smartest, most talented, most amazing member of 1D. I will love him forever and serve his every need and want willingly.

I laughed hard and shook my head, typing in a comment of my own.

Please excuse that last rubbishy comment. Some PANSY HACKED MY PHONE. I spoke my comment aloud for the boys’ benefit. Harry pouted as Zayn elbowed him in the ribs.
“Pansy, huh?” Zayn taunted Harry, who pulled a face. Harry lunged at Zayn and the started mock wrestling each other while Liam, Lou and Niall started chanting, “Fight, fight, fight!” I was distracted form there battle as a new comment appeared from Jayne.

“Dammit! Now I’m all worked up and I won’t be able to sleep. Lara, this is all your fault!”

In a sudden moment of inspiration I tapped a comment, biting on my lip to hold in my laughter.

It’s not my fault. It’s Niall’s fault. Everything is always Niall’s fault.

“Oi, Niall!” I called, getting his attention away from Harry and Zayn who now lay in their backs panting and grinning. As Niall turned to face me I ditched my phone at his head, Hi-5ing Lou when it hit him square in the forehead. He pulled a face at me while he picked my phone from his lap. I whispered what I had written in Lou’s ear while Niall read. He shook with silent laughter and I smiled, glad that I had made him happy. A faux hurt look appeared on Niall’s face once he had finished and Liam looked at me curiously. “What did you say?” he asked me.

“My friend said it was my fault for getting her all worked up,” I told him, “I told her it wasn’t my fault. It was Niall’s fault; everything is always Niall’s fault.” We all laughed, including Niall, who threw my phone back at me. I caught it and saw Jayne’s reply.

“What?”

Inside joke. Dw bout it.”

Her reply came a moment later.

“Inside joke with who?”

Um, myself.

 

I conversation calmed and we chattered on from our places on the floor. I had put my legs up across the laps of the guys with my head still resting in Lou’s. My eyes zoomed to his face as I felt his hand squeeze my shoulder. “Stay?” he mouthed at me. I nodded instantly, warmth spreading through my chest. Having a light bulb moment a second later I grabbed my phone and sent a text to my bestie Claire. Hey, can u do me a massive fav?

Claire says: Depends =P

Can you cover for me? Can I tell mum + dad I’m stayin at urs?

Claire says: Okays, why? DEEETSSS!

I grinned as her message arrived, regretful that I couldn’t tell her the truth yet. I cant say yet, but soon u’ll find out I hope. Just trust me and know that u’d want the same!

Claire says: Kay, I believe u. Hint maybe?

I sighed, biting my lip while my brain warred against itself. Feeling reckless, I replied. Okay, U CANT TELL A SOUL! OR I WILL BE DEAD AND HATED BY MILLIONS! ur hint is, fb never lies. night xx.

I put my phone down and poked Lou in the stomach. Startled he looked down at me and raised an eyebrow curiously. “Done!” I mouthed at him silently, making him smile.

“What’s done?” demanded Harry imperiously.

“My cover story for however long I need it,” I replied blithely. Harry gave a long wolf whistle, trying to embarrass me. I reached my hand up to my shoulder and made a point of wrapping my hand in Louis’s. Smiling sweetly at Harry, I replied, “And don’t you know it.”

 

Yawning, I took a discreet glance at the time on my phone. 10:23. Stretching sleepily, I sat up from Lou’s lap, leaning against his shoulder instead. “I’m off to bed you lot. And if you guys wanna come with me tomorrow, you will too,” I said.

“Ooh, where are we going?” Liam asked me.

“It’s a surprise, but you need to be up by ten at the latest, okay? It will be fun, I promise.” I stood, and Lou followed, still quiet. They others hesitated for a moment, before they followed, Harry and Niall grumbling loudly. I hugged them all goodnight and when I got to Liam I squeezed extra hard after he whispered words of encouragement in my ear. We all headed down the hall in a loose group, splitting off when we reached our respective rooms. Shutting the door to Louis’s behind me, I turned to face him, smiling gently. “Mind if I borrow a shirt again?” I asked him.

“Not really. Stripes suit you,” he replied, tossing the one I had worn last night at me.

I grinned before putting on a mock stern face. “Mr Tomlinson!” I reprimanded, “Get your mind out of the gutter.” Lou just smirked , making me secretly pleased to get a reaction out of him.  Clearing a patch of debris on the floor, I pulled my top over my head and dumped it on the clear space, before pulling on Lou’s borrowed shirt. My jeggings soon went the same way as my top, joining it on the floor. I sauntered past Lou and plonked myself down on the bed, giving him an expectant look. He gave me a despairing look before stripping down to boxers and coming to lay beside me. I snuggled into his side as he put an arm around me. I felt him sigh, and decided now was the time. “Lou, what’s wrong?”

“Hmm? Nothing, why?”

I rolled so I was lying on him, chin resting on my folded arms on his chest. I looked him in the eye, “Don’t lie. You’ve been off ever since we got back from the pool. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing, I’m just tired, I promise,” he said giving me a reassuring smile.

“Oh, come off it Louis, you and I both know that’s a pile of absolute rubbish. Something’s up and I’m pretty sure I know what, but you need to talk to me. Please Lou,” I beseeched, softening my tone. He sighed, avoiding my gaze, and remained silent. “Lou.” I prompted, a warning note in my voice.

He rolled his eyes in irritation. “If you know why I’m upset, then why are you asking me?” he said sharply, still not looking at me.

“Because,” I snapped, letting my annoyance get the better of me, “I want to hear it from you. How is anything ever going to work between us if you won’t talk to me? I’m no expert, but when people are in a relationship they talk to each other Lou. So talk.”

His eyes finally met mine. “Okay. Yes, I’m upset.”

My face softened when I saw the hurt in his eyes. “What’s wrong Lou? You can tell me.”

“I, I,” he paused and took a breath, looking away again. “I’m upset that Niall was your first kiss and not me,” he blurted out, eyes closing in what seemed to be embarrassment. I felt my heart swell at his words and had to fight back the joyful tears threatening to make an appearance. “Lou, look at me,” I pleaded. After a moment’s hesitation he complied. “That,” I began, “Is the sweetest thing I have ever heard in my entire life.” I reached out a hand and let it rest on the side of his face. He snorted disbelievingly. I frowned. “No, it really is. I’m sorry that I upset you Lou, I really am. And I want you to know, that what happened with Niall was nothing. I promise you with all my heart. It was just a game. Yes, I feel for him, but as a friend, nothing more. Lou, you’re the one that I fell for, not Niall, not Liam, not Harry or Zayn. You, Louis. I’m not sure what made you think otherwise.”

Louis gave me a long searching look and then a rueful smile. As his hand reached up to take hold of mine, he explained. “I guess, I thought that after meeting all the others, I would be less special and maybe you would forget about what happened in the park. It’s all happening so quickly, I don’t know what to make of it.”

I sighed, rolling back down onto the bed. “I know how you feel. This all seems so surreal to me as well, I guess I never thought of how weird it was for you. I’m sorry,” I apologised.

“Hey, it’s not your fault. We’ll work this out.”

A mental note from earlier made its sudden reappearance. “Lou, can I ask you something?”

“Anything.”

“Something Liam said to me yesterday made me curious. He told me why and when you had gone for a walk, and it doesn’t make sense,” I mused, heart fluttering nervously.

“How so?” Louis asked.

“Well, he said you had gone for a walk to see the city, but I did the maths and there was no way you could have seen anything at all before you got to the park.”

“Go on,” he pressed.

“I’m just curious. What made you stop and come to my tree? Why didn’t you just keep walking?” I asked.

There was a long pause before he finally answered me. “When I saw you there, lying under the tree, with no one around you, even though the park was packed, I wanted to know why. I don’t know, I guess I just wondered what kind of girl could be so amazingly confident that she could lie there all alone, ignoring the world.”

Words sprang unbidden to my lips, flying free before my brain had the chance to trap them, those words which my heart sang. The moment I spoke them I cursed myself, even though they were the truth. “I love you,” I murmured. I froze, my breath stilling in my lungs as the despair crept over me. Just when things were going so well, I had to ruin it. Suddenly our previous positions were reversed, and Lou was hovering over me, eyes searching my face as I looked anywhere but at him. Gentle fingers on my chin made me look at him and once he had caught my gaze I could not break away, as much as I wanted to. We stared at each other, unblinking, my heart thudding painfully in my chest. Why, why had I said those words? Too early and surely he didn’t feel the same for me. How could he? We had known each other for a little over a day. I saw a fire burning in his eyes as sweet breath assailed my nose as he leaned close, lips meeting mine ever so tenderly, but not before he uttered the four most unbelievable, incredible, beautiful words I had ever heard in my life.  “I love you too.”

 

This kiss broke all too soon and we lay beside each other, foreheads touching, Louis’s strong arms wrapped around me and our legs entwined. I closed my eyes, feeling the warmth and euphoria racing through me like fire in my veins. Hot tears began to leak from the corners of my eyes; I forgot to fight them before it was too late. “Are you crying?” came Louis’s concerned voice.

“No.” I said, my traitorous voice cracking.

“What’s the matter?” It was Louis’s turn to ask.

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Everything is perfect. Better than perfect. These are happy tears, very happy tears.” I snuffled.

I melted when I felt soft lips come and brush against my skin, stealing away those tears. “I love you,” I repeated.

“So much,” came the reply. Feeling the tiredness wash over me, I gave myself in to it, feeling perfection hold me as I drifted off to sleep with a permanent smile.

 

Thanks once again for reading. Remember, don’t be invisible, comments etc! <3 and xxx’s

 

                -Serendipity

 

 

 

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