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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3. Waking In His Arms

“I lie awake just to convince myself this wasn’t just a dream.”

 

I woke up, trying desperately to fall back asleep, even though I knew that the dream would be long gone by the time I got back to the land of dreams. Sighing in disappointment, I went to roll over and froze. Warm breath tickled the top of my head, strong arms wrapped around me and my legs were hooked through someone else’s. I felt a momentary surge of panic roll through me and my eyes snapped open. In the same instant the realisation hit me. Looking into Louis Tomlinson’s peacefully sleeping face; I knew that yesterday had certainly not been a dream. Where the hell was I though? Carefully craning my neck I looked around the room, realising that I was certainly no longer on the living room couch. It was a large luxurious looking room from the limited amount I could see; I assumed it was Lou’s bedroom. Over his shoulder I could see an alarm clock that read 9:34am. I was a little surprised; I never slept that late without waking up for a while before dozing off again. Looking back at Lou, I melted, joyous tears beginning to trickle from my eyes. I snuffled quietly and buried my head in his chest, slipping back into a peaceful slumber.

 

The grumble of my empty stomach woke me for the second time that morning. This time however, I felt fully rested and decided to get up before my talking stomach woke Louis, who was still sleeping soundly. Easier said than done. I spent the next five minutes or so slowly working myself loose from our entangled limbs, freezing every time he so much as twitched. I hated being the reason someone woke up before they wanted to. When I finally managed to get out of the bed, I was faced with the difficult task of trying to pick my way through the mess strewn on the floor of the room. I took a quick detour to the bathroom to rinse and floss my furry feeling mouth, grimacing at the taste of the minty mouthwash so early in my day. Running my finger through my hair, I spent a few minutes disentangling it, not wanting to look like some stoner with my bedhead.

 

I found myself standing in the kitchen, staring somewhat numbly at the fridge doors. Stealing a brief glance at the kitchen clock, I saw the time read 10:47.  That gave me enough time to make breakfast for the boys without having to wake them up. I hoped. Swinging open the fridge, I looked around inside and grabbed out the necessary items and placing them on the bench. The utensils provided a different problem entirely. I had to go through several cupboards and drawers before I found everything I would need and then had the task of removing the selected items from their places without causing a cacophony of clanging and banging. Once I finally accomplished this I set to work, chopping and mixing, adding things both on a whim and from memory. Once everything was done to my satisfaction I began to heat the two biggest pans I could find on the stove. While I waited I began to clean up the mess I had made, chuckling at the one and a half dozen egg shells lying on the bench in a sticky pile. Gathering up all the bits and pieces I took them and put them in the bin standing in the corner. Grabbing the butter from the bench top, I sliced a little pit off and dropped it in one pan to test the heat. It melted away rapidly, so I stuck a small chunk in both bans before pouring my masterpiece from the overlarge bowl evenly into both pans. Setting the heat on low, I replaced the lids and rechecked the time. 10:55 am. Perfect. I continued cleaning, putting the dishes into the sink as quietly as possible. I still had time to spare so I decided to go all out, setting the breakfast bar for five, warming up some bread rolls in the oven and boiling a kettle for tea. Remembering the men outside, I stuck my head out the door and offered them a drink and some breakfast. They both gratefully accepted the cups of tea, but had both brought their own food. The friendly guard from last night was still there, looking a bit worse for wear but alert. He gave me a kind, fatherly smile, which I returned before heading inside.

 

Soon, a pleasant aroma of omelette and fresh bread had spread throughout the kitchen and beyond, making my stomach protest audibly. I pulled myself up on the bench opposite the stove and oven, humming to myself as I kept a watchful eye on the food. My mind wandered, following its usual erratic course. My train of thought was perfectly logical to me, yet no one else seemed to understand how I got from thought A to thought B. I startled slightly when I heard I muffled groan from behind me. Turning around, I saw Niall standing in a dishevelled pair of tracksuit pants and a white tee at the entrance to the hallway, hands covering his face as he stretched. I smiled at him as his hands dropped back down to his sides, not at all surprised that he was the first awake. “Morning Ni,” I chirped, receiving a grin in return. His eyes focused over my shoulder, before flicking to the plates lined up in front of me along the curved bar. “You made breakfast?” Niall asked. He seemed surprised. 

I nodded, “Mmm. My way of saying thanks for having me.”

“Food is always good,” he said appreciatively.

“It’s just about done. Give it another minute or two and you can have some.”

He pouted at the thought of having to wait but nodded. The sound of our conversation must have carried, because Liam soon came straggling around the corner, yawning widely. He waved when he saw me and Niall, one hand going to cover his mouth. He plonked himself down on a barstool next to Niall, who clapped him on the back heartily. “Morning you,” I said. “Tea?” I offered the two as I remembered the kettle, grabbing it from the bench beside me as they nodded. I filled the two cups with the steaming water, watching gain an earthy brown tone as the tea from the bags already in the cup began to mix. They both added the milk and sugar to taste, as I turned to check on the rolls and egg. The bread looked ready, so turning off the oven grabbing a mitt; I began fishing them off the tray. Juggling the hot bread rolls I dropped one onto each plate. “Careful, they’re hot!” I warned sarcastically, causing Liam to chuckle at this obvious statement. I swung back to the eggs, turning off the heat and removing the steamed up lids from both pans, placing them aside. Giving them a moment to sit, I turned just in time to see Harry come round the corner in nothing but boxers, struggling vainly with a tee shirt that seemed stuck halfway over his head. I walked towards him giggling at the sight. “Here, let me help you with that,” I told him, pulling the shirt down properly. He looked at my blearily as I made my way back into the kitchen to serve the boys, as I noticed Niall growing more and more impatient. “You’re in my kitchen. Why are you in my kitchen?” a deep voice asked me. I answered Harry without looking at him, attention on serving three of the five plates, “I was cooking. Generally what you do in a kitchen Harry.”

“Mmmph,” was the only reply I got as he seated himself alongside Liam. Niall was already demolishing his plate, but paused long enough to look up and wink at me and have a jab at Harry. “These are really good Lala. Even better than yours, Harry,” he mumbled through a mouthful of omelette and bread.

Harry narrowed his eyes at me doubtfully, eyes never leaving my face as he picked up his fork and took a mouthful. I struggled to keep a straight face, and burst out laughing when his only reaction to the forkful of omelette was to frown at me more and quickly shove another mouthful in. “Don’t worry Harry,” I consoled him between shakes, “We can share kitchen duties.” I turned back to the stove, intending to but the remaining eggs on a low heat to keep them warm. The feel of a warm body melding into mine, and warm arms around my waist startled me for but a moment, before I relaxed into the embrace, smiling happily. I felt Lou’s smiling lips at my ear, tickling my neck as he spoke. “Morning you,” he murmured. I hummed contentedly, turning around in his arms to face him. Putting on a mock stern face I berated him. “You,” I began, poking him in the chest, “Kidnapped me.”

Eyes widened innocently. “Me? Where did I kidnap you from, exactly?” he asked.

I giggled at this expression, shaking my head, “Butter wouldn’t melt in your mouth, would it? From the couch, you fraud! I told you I could sleep there…but where do I wake up? In your bed. That’s downright trickery!”

Louis looked at the others for support. “You guys saw what happened last night, didn’t you? Back me up here!” he pleaded with them, earning him chuckles and head shakes. Lou turned back to me, “You wouldn’t let go of me! I went to leave once you were definitely asleep, and you wouldn’t let go. You had your arms wrapped around my neck, and I couldn’t get them loose. I didn’t want to wake you up, so I took you with me. I promised not to sleep on the couch remember? So I didn’t, and neither did you.”

I gave an exasperated sigh at Lou’s logic, but didn’t argue. I knew he was telling the truth to some extent, I was a very…attached sleeper. Giving in, I let him pull me in and inhaling deeply, letting his scent wash over me. I shivered in bliss as I felt his lips press to the top of my head. We stood there in each other’s arms until we were interrupted by a new voice. “Oi, you two! Stop canoodling and get me some breakfast,” Zayn’s voice greeted us. Lou swung me round in his arms as he pivoted on his heel, so that be both ended up facing him. Zayn shot me a grin before winking at Louis, “Get in there mate, but after I’ve eaten.” Lou chuckled, giving me one last squeeze before he went and sat next to Harry, while Zayn sat next to Liam, who ruffled his hair affectionately. I took the pan with the remaining egg in it and dished up evenly between the two newcomers, leaving a little bit for themselves. Louis was busy leaning over the bar to fish the kettle from its stand to make tea, and was failing miserably, not being able to see where it was. “Stop, stop, stop, stop!” I tutted, waving his hand away and grabbing the kettle myself “You’ll knock it over or burn yourself if you keep doing that.” Zayn choked on a mouthful of egg, and Liam had to hit him on the back a few times before he stopped shaking. Zayn straightened, laughing. I gave him a quizzical look, shared by Liam while the others sat chuckling and shook their heads knowingly. Liam looked at me and shrugged. “What?” he asked Zayn. He was too busy laughing to answer, so Niall did it for him, “You sounded exactly like Liam when you said that. He’s always fussing like that.” Liam and I looked at each other again and I cracked a smile. “I don’t blame him. You lot seem to be a danger to your selves,” I shot back at them, still grinning. Liam was shaking his head. “If only you knew the half of it,” he muttered

 

Once breakfast was finished, I got the guys to pile the dishes into the dishwasher, grateful that they had one. We soon found ourselves slumped on the couch. I looked around at them, fiddling with Lou’s hair in my lap. “So, what are we gonna do?” I asked, curious. My hands flew into the air as Louis sat bolt upright. “POOL!” he shouted. The boys all nodded enthusiastically. I grinned, liking the idea. “Sounds like a plan. But we’re gonna have to drop by at my house first, I want a change of clothes, and I may as well get some bathers then,” I said. I was still in Louis’s borrowed shirt, and as comfortable as it was, I didn’t really want to stay in it all day. Lou nodded, leaping off the couch and sprinting down the hall screaming; “DIBS FIRST SHOWER!” He was closely followed by Harry and Zayn and then Niall at a slower pace. Liam stayed sitting next to me, while my eyes streamed at the boys immaturity. “How many showers are there?” I asked.

“Four, but three really, if you count the fact that Zayn takes as long as the rest of us put together.”

“So the stories are true. Poor you. Are you always the last?”

“Yeah, but I don’t mind. I don’t take long.”

We sat in a comfortable silence before Liam spoke once more, “So, how did you meet Lou? You never really ended up saying what happened in those four and a bit hours you were away.”

I smiled fondly at the memory. “I was lying in my spot in the park. I always go there when I have free time. Reading, or just thinking. No one ever bothers me there, it’s funny. The whole park can be full, but there is always an empty circle around me and my tree. I like it, as weird as it is. That’s what happened yesterday. I guess Lou figured, well I don’t really know, come to think of it.  What did he say when he left? When did he leave too?” I asked, suddenly curious.

Liam shrugged. “He just said that he was going to have a look around the city, see it without the fans waiting for us, seeing as no one knows we’re here. He left at about half past twelve,” Liam told me. I frowned. It had taken us less than five minutes to get here from the park. I noted this detail, making a mental note to bring it up with Louis sometime soon.

“What?” Liam asked me.

I quickly wiped the frown from my face. “Sorry, I zoned. Bad habit of mine.”

Liam accepted my excuse and the conversation continued, both of us getting to know each other better. Niall soon came and took Liam’s spot, wearing a casual outfit comprising of jeans, a loose tee and Converse.  I smiled across at him, feeling at ease. I was surprised. Usually when I met people I acted larger than life, bigger than me, confident but not myself. Here, with them, I was confident, but I was myself. We sat talking and laughing until the others were almost ready, and I claimed Louis abandoned bathroom to get changed into my old clothes. Once we all ready, I had a thought. “Are you sure you guys are alright to go walking around?” I asked, not wanting to be the reason they were mobbed by fans on their holiday. They all nodded. Relieved that we wouldn’t have to take any drastic measures to disguise them, I motioned for the to follow me as I headed towards the door. “I’ll lead the way, seeing as you clueless tourist types have no idea where we’re going,” I joked. Harry scoffed and Zayn put his two cents worth in, “Hey! Men are better at map reading and directions than women. It’s been proven.”

“By men. Plus that’s only true because women let men think they’re good at something other than making a mess because we’re nice like that.” I fluttered my eyelids innocently at Zayn as the boys burst out laughing. Louis patted Zayn on the back consolingly and choked out between laughs, “I think the word you used was ‘feisty’.” This brought a fresh wave of laughter from everyone, until Niall was in tears and hanging off Liam for support. Louis caught my hand in his as he opened the door, squeezing my hand briefly and intertwining our fingers. I smiled happily and waved at the two new security guards on shift. They gave me curious glances, and the younger of the two, who looked to be in his late twenties or early thirties wolf whistled jokingly when he saw Lou and I’s hands. I poked my tongue out at him from the elevator as the doors closed.

 

 

To be continued…. Of course. Hope you enjoyed this chapter, new one will be up sooner or later, sooner if you REVIEW. I’d add in the day at the pool, and afterwards, but then this chapter would never end. <3 and xxx’s

 

-Serendipity

 

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