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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18. Meet n' Greet

 

“They say that we’re too young”

 

I awoke slowly from a deep sleep, letting wakefulness creep on my slowly savouring the feeling of semiconsciousness. When I finally came fully to lay contentedly between Louis and Zayn, dozing and daydreaming and trying to wrap my mind around the pieces of my life falling rapidly back into place, fitting even more snuggly than before. The occasional stir from the boys was the only noise in the hotel apartment. I mused over the future considering all the possibilities and challenges, near and far, that faced us. But I gave into the surety that this time, everything would work out and let the bliss seep through my body. The feeling of being watched alerted me to the fact that Liam was awake, watching me over the top of Zayn’s head. I smiled at him as I caught his eye, his answering smile warm. I startled suddenly as a voice whispered in my ear, “Boo.”

I pulled a face at the silently laughing Liam and turned to face Louis, smiling shyly at him. “Morning to you too,” I joked quietly. I held still as Louis leaned in, pressing a tender kiss to my lips, watching his blue grey eyes. “Ewies!” Liam joked quietly, making me roll my eyes and laugh. An idea pooped into my head as Zayn shifted in his sleep beside me. Putting a finger to my lips is signalled Louis into silence and eased slowly into a seated position, before getting to my feet and tiptoeing into the kitchenette and grabbing a glass, filling a small amount of water into the base…

 

“Ahh!” Zayn shot bolt upright, thoroughly dampened. Harry and Niall, whom we had wakened before Zayn, laughed along with Louis, Liam and I as Zayn stared me down with an unreadable expression. Then, gradually, an evil grin spread across his face. “I’m going to get you,” he growled, scrambling to his feet. I bolted, running for the hallway and security of the bedrooms. As I ran, laughing, I remembered a time where our roles were reversed and I was the one chasing Zayn, and he was the one trying desperately to avoid whatever retribution I was about to deliver.  As I was just out of arm reach of the door and safety, I felt Zayn catch me and lift me, throwing me over his shoulder and carrying me determinedly back down the hall. I squirmed and wriggled in my friend’s strong grip, trying to get my feet back on the ground. “Zayn Malik, what do you think you’re doing?” I asked as he continued out of the hallway, past the boys and into the kitchen. I struggled so see what he was doing as I heard the tap go. I heard raucous laughter form the other guys and started to squirm harder in an attempt to avoid whatever Zayn had planned. Suddenly the tap shut off and I was  on my feet in front of Zayn. Before I could react I found myself dripping wet and standing in a puddle, soaked by the full glass of water Zayn had just emptied over me. I gasped in shock, hair plastered to my face and shirt clinging to me in odd places. I could feel rivulets of water running down my arms and legs and every tiny breeze became a raging icy gust that sent goose bumps marauding across my skin. Suddenly I grinned. “Well there goes breakfast,” I chirped brightly, spinning on my heel to face the other boys, “I was going to cook, but I suppose I’ll be too busy showering now.”

There came a clamour of dissent from the boys, most loudly from a very peeved looking Niall. “Wha’ d’ ya mean, no breakfast?” he blurted, “What did we do?”

I shrugged. “Nothing,” I said nonchalantly. Niall looked stumped until I continued. “Which is exactly the problem. You just stood by laughing while I got an entirely unwanted shower,” I said, smiling sweetly and turning to walk to the bathroom, scooping the duffle bag Jayne had left me off the floor on the way past.

 

I showered and dressed, absentmindedly drying my hair before slinging my damp towel over the shower rail and swinging the bathroom door open, proceeding out into the hall and almost falling over five boys in the process. Their faces were all innocence, smiling angelically up at me from where they sat on the floor. A  smile crept onto my face and I shook my head for a moment before looking at their expectant faces, “Okay, okay!”

Wide grins met my eyes as the scrambled to their feet. “Victory!” cheered Liam. I laughed, following them out into the kitchen.

 

Five sets of eyes watched me closely as I strode round the kitchen, trying to get breakfast together. Finally I stopped, glaring at the hawk eyed boys and pointing to the bedrooms. “Okay you lot, go get ready. Watching a clock tick doesn’t make it any faster y’know?” I shooed them. They grumbled but complied, with all but Louis ambling off to their rooms. I watched them go with a fond look. Louis came to stand behind me, resting his chin on my shoulder as he wrapped his arms around me. “What are you thinking?” he said softly.

I sighed contentedly, “Just about how wonderful this all is and how much I love you guys.”

I felt Lou’s breath tickle my neck, “They love you too you know. A lot. But not as much as I do, never as much.”

I felt a warmth spread through me and I turned to smile at my love. As I looked into is eyes, no words were needed, a simple understanding between us conveying everything. Louis pressed a gentle kiss to my forward, squeezed my hand and slipped away after the other boys to dress. I skimmed a finger over where my skin still tingled from the touch of his lips, before returning to breakfast with a smile.

 

“So what’s the plan for today?” Zayn asked as we slouched with full stomachs on the assorted pieces of furniture that surrounded our giant bed.

I cringed as I spoke, “Um I think it’s meet the parents.” Silence greeted my suggestion. I shrugged ruefully. “I know they’d appreciate it and better get it over and done than delay the inevitable, right?”

Harry broke the tension, sighing dramatically. “Shame. I had planned to make it to my 21st, but I suppose that’s out of the question now,” he joked.

Louis scoffed at his best friend, “Ha, how do you think I feel?”

“It was nice knowing you mate,” Niall said, looking at him and shaking his head with false sympathy. I cracked a smile. “Chill it guys. My parents aren’t serial killers and I’m pretty sure that they don’t intend on having to go into witness protection for killing the idols of millions of lethal fangirls.”

“Well isn’t that a relief,” Liam laughed.

I nodded conspiratorially. “So, how do we get past the mob?” The boys waved off my concerns, muttering something about the mysteries of fame. I went along with it, “Well, get those mysteries ready, coz we’re out of here in thirty.”

 

I jiggled my foot nervously as we drew closer to my house. When the car finally pulled to a halt in front, the butterflies turned to writhing snakes as the blood rushed from my stomach to my extremities, preparing my body for flight. Ignoring all my instincts I muttered, “Wait here,” to the boys before stepping out and hurriedly pacing up my driveway, cutting across the front lawn to knock, perhaps a little to forcefully, on the front door. I waited anxiously as the sound of footsteps reached the door, the sound of the key clunking in the lock and the almost non-existent creak of the door as it opened. My mother stared at my confused, Dad’s head appearing over her shoulder a few moments later. I gulped. “Um, hi. I have some people I want you to meet,” I said hesitantly.

My mother looked at me incredulously. “Now?” she asked.  I nodded. She sighed despairingly. “You could have given me a bit of warning,” she lamented, “The house is a mess.”

I laughed at my mother’s primary concern. “It’s okay, I’ll give you a few minutes. I want to talk to the boys first anyway Mum.” She sighed in relief before bustling away, dragging my father along by the arm to speed clean the probably spotless house. I walked back towards the boy as they sat in the large car that had brought us here. I slotted back into my spot beside Louis, entwining my hand in his as I explained. “It’s all good, Mum’s just having an aneurism about the state of the house and our unannounced arrival, so I said I‘d give her a minute to organise,” I paused, looking around the car, “Just be normal guys, they aren’t gonna eat you.” I gave Louis’ hand a reassuring squeeze before sliding out of the car, dragging him reluctantly after me. The other filed out as I lead them towards the front door, keeping my hand in Louis’ even as we stepped inside. “Mum, we’re here!” I called as we meandered down the hall and into the open living area of the house. I eyed the room, it was spotless. Mum and Dad sat on our small two seater couch, facing our other couch, a generously sized three seater towards which I now led my little family of five. As they all took a seat it became clear that no matter how generous the three seats were, they would not fit six people. There was room on a small armchair near my parents and I considered briefly before plonking myself comfortably on Louis’ lap, much to the surprise of everyone in the room. The room continued in silence as I pulled my boyfriend’s arms more comfortably around my waist before looking at my parents. “So Mum, Dad, these are the boys.” I indicated to everyone in turn, the four boys all giving polite hellos as they were introduced. “That’s Zayn, Liam, Harry, Niall,” I paused as I reached the end of the line, shifting slightly to look at Louis before introducing him, “And this is Louis.”

He smiled cordially at my parents, “Hello, pleased to meet you.” My parents’ managed to speak equally polite replies, much to my relief. I sent a final mental prayer to the powers that be, hoping nothing embarrassing would utter from my parents’ mouths as it so often did, before fully committing myself to the conversation. “I figured you might want to meet the people I’m living with for now,” I offered to my parents, who looked a little out of their depth.

“Well, it is nice to meet you all. What have you been up to?” My mother asked, Dad keeping quiet by her side and giving the occasional suspicious glance to where I lounged on Lou. As the boys stared talking, their natural charisma took hold and the conversation began to flow smoothly as the boys described their careers and interests to my mother and father. I gave the occasional quip but otherwise remained quiet, the purpose of this exercise was to get the boys and my parents talking, it had almost nothing to do with me. I fiddled with one of Louis’ hands, gradually developing it into a full blown finger war. As the other boys engaged in conversation, Louis and I drifted off into our own bubble, all our attention focused on the intense game we were playing. Eventually through pure chance I managed to out manoeuvre Louis, trapping his fingers within mine. He pouted dramatically at me and I laugh, planting a consoling kiss on his lips before resting my head on his shoulder and trying to return my attention to the conversation, although it was admittedly difficult to concentrate on anything other than Louis. After a while, my father turned his attention to me. “So what are your plans for today?” he asked.

I shrugged. “Dunno. We have five months’ worth of catching up to do so,” I was interrupted by a quiet wolf whistle from Harry. I laughed sarcastically and poked my tongue out at him while everyone else chuckled along with Harry. A glance at Mum and Dad showed their mortification at the joking. I shook my head. “Ignore them,” I smiled at my parent, “They aren’t the most mature people you’ve ever met.” Indignant noises came from the boys. “Oh shut up,” I laughed, “You know it’s true.”

Mum looked at me thoughtful before speaking in a careful voice. “Lara, can I talk to you for a moment?” she asked. I pretended not to notice the inference in her tone, pretended not to notice the sudden quiet, pretended not to notice Louis tense beneath me. “Shoot,” I said.

She paused, eyeing me seriously. “Privately.”

I gave her an equally serious look and refused to budge. As I went to speak the boys all stood at once, Lou’s steadying hands on my waist the only thing that stopped my from tumbling to the floor. “We’ll wait outside,” Liam offered as the boys started walking towards the door. Louis went to follow but I grabbed his arm and refused to let go, even as he tried to pry my fingers gently free. “Lara,” he appealed softly. I could hear the exasperation in his voice but I refused to budge. Instead I hauled him closer and put my arm firmly around his waist and stared pointedly at my parents. “Anything you want to say can be said in front of Louis. And if you’re uncomfortable saying it in front of him, you probably shouldn’t be saying it at all,” I pointed out. My mother sat torn between her habitual politeness and desire to speak her mind. Finally, Dad made the decision for her. “We’re just worried about you,” he said calmly.

I smiled and shook my head. “You don’t need to be.”

“How do you know? Have you just forgotten the last five months?” my mother prodded incredulously.

I matched her tone as I replied, “No, have you? Have you forgotten how much I was hurting without him, how hard it was for me to get on without Louis, without Niall and Liam and Harry and Zayn? Because I sure haven’t.”

She scowled before her expression forced itself into a softer one. “Sweetie, we just don’t want to see you hurting again.”

I sighed. “Don’t you see Mum? I’m not going to be hurting anymore. Everything is going to be okay again,” I promised.

“But what if it isn’t? Why do you refuse to accept that you may have to live life without them, him?”

I struggled to remain calm, Louis’ silent strength by my side the only thing that let me hold control of myself. I took a deep breath before continuing, “Because I will not live life without Lou and the boys. There is no force in this world that could ever stop me from following them wherever they go. You haven’t spent the time with them that I have, you don’t know them like I do. I’m sorry, but you can’t possibly understand.”

“I don’t pretend I do.  I’m sure you’re a very nice young man,” she said to Louis. “But that’s just it. You’re young. And what’s more, you’re famous, with thousands of screaming girls all vying for your attention, not to mention a lot of well women who wouldn’t mind being at your side either. At what stage in time will my daughter become a bore to you and you go running off to bigger and better things?” she ranted.

I gaped at my mother. “How shallow do you think he is?” I marvelled.

I went to continue but a hand on my shoulder stopped me. I looked up at Louis as he spoke, “I can understand where you’re coming from, but please understand that I will never again do something to hurt your daughter. I really do love her and I will make certain she know that every day until the day I die.” The sincerity in his voice touched me and I forgot the world, wrapping my arms around Louis neck and pushing myself up onto tiptoes to kiss Lou fiercely. “I love you so much,” I said fervently.

He held me for a moment before prying me loose. His eyes sparkled with amusement and something more as he leant in to whisper in my ear, “Later.”

I blushed furiously as I turned back to my parents. “Um, look why don’t you two come over tomorrow evening for dinner or something. Get to see what it’s like, you know?” I suggested. After a second both Mum and Dad nodded. “Well, that’s a plan then.”

 

We sat back in the comfort of the apartment, lazing on the bed that was still set up in the living room. I had my head on Louis and was playing idly with Harry’s hair while he rested is head on my stomach. We bantered, enjoying each other’s company, when my phone buzzed in my pocket. I pulled it out to see an new message from Cherie. 

Cherie: You still alive?!

Very much so. Ahaha

Seconds later a reply sent my phone buzzing again.

Cherie: Good. Was beginning to doubt.

“Hey guys, how would you feel about a visitor the day after tomorrow?” I mused aloud. There came murmurs of agreement so I sent Cherie a reply.

Hey, wat u doing day after tomoz?

Cherie: Please tell me it’s meeting 1D

It is now. I laughed aloud as I received her reply

Cherie: I think I love you. When and where?

I considered for a moment before sending her the details and saying goodbye to an excited new friend.

 

See, I’m being a good child and writing when I should be studying for my exam tomorrow, because I love you more than I love my future. Feel special. Hope you enjoyed. Remember to review, favourite, follow etc. You can find me on Facebook too now, so go to facebook.com/SerendipityFinch to like me! You know you want to. Also, today’s request is spread the word. Tell everyone you know about A Perfect Stranger, I would love to get more reads! Helpful links….

 

facebook.com/SerendipityFinch

twitter.com/RealSeren_Finch

fanfiction.net/s/8136695/1/A-Perfect-Stranger

wattpad.com/story/1994804-a-perfect-stranger

movellas.com/en/book/read/201210101340537689

 

So go forth and multiply…. the number of my readers that is… ;). <3 and xxx’s

 

                -Serendipity

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