The House Next Door [One Direction]

COMPLETED: One Direction: Harry Styles/OC - Victoria lives next door to her best-friend Jeremy. Jeremy lives with his friends Dan and Gemma. Gemma's brother comes to visit with his friends. Having nine people crowded into two houses was never going to be easy, but it was always preferable to the alternative.

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19. Cheshire

 

Sorry I didn't update like I usually do. I was on holiday and didn't have any internet. I was going to give you a double chapter update to make up for it, but instead I bring slightly disheartening news: I have decided against writing a sequel. Instead I am concentrating on several other stories that I have not yet finished. If I still feel like it, I may write a sequel when I have finished the others, but that probably won't happen for a good few months. Sorry!

Only one more chapter after this one! Thank you for your support so far :) I can't wait to read your comments.

“There!” wheezed Harry as he heaved the last of the suitcases into the back seat of the car. “I don’t know why you needed so many clothes, anyway. It’s not as if I plan to let you wear too many of them over the next few days...”

He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively at his girlfriend.

Victoria’s eyes widened at this, and she hit his shoulder, albeit playfully.

“If I didn’t know any better, Mr Styles, I might be tempted to think that you were trying to seduce me.”

“And if I was?” replied Harry, putting his arms around Victoria and drawing her closer.

“That would be highly inappropriate given where we are going...Ooh, would you look at the time. We’ve got to get going if we want to get there before it gets dark,” teased Victoria as she jumped out of his arms. Opening the front door of the car, she slid into the passenger seat before turning her head and poking her tongue out at Harry.

Feigning hurt, and cursing under his breath, Harry made his way around to the other side of the car.

“I’m actually really excited about this,” said Victoria. “It will be nice to get to see your family again... although I am a bit glad that waited to do this.”

“Me too,” replied Harry with a smile on his face. “This trip couldn’t have come at a better time.”

Turning the key in the ignition with one hand, Harry used his other to grasp onto Victoria’s hand. However, before they had the chance to drive off, the sound of a very loud, slamming front door had them quickly turning around in the seats to find the source of the noise.

A tapping at the window caused Victoria’s heart to begin to pump furiously, and she turned her head with wide eyes only to want to slap the person on the other side.

“Jem! You scared the living daylights out of me. We’re about to leave, what’s wrong?” said Victoria once she had rolled down the window.

“You were about to leave without a proper goodbye!” replied Jem accusingly, panting slightly from his exertion. “Oh, and hi Harry.”

“Hey, Jeremy,” said Harry, biting back a smirk at his friend’s antics.

“Jem,” countered Victoria shaking her head as she spoke. “We are coming back in three days, and I saw you yesterday.”

“Yeah, whatever you say. I’ll be happy with a hug through the opened window.”

“Move out of the way, you goose,” said Victoria as she opened the door and stepped back out of the car.

Holding out her arms, she moved in to give Jeremy a proper hug.

“You’re so silly sometimes, Jem,” Victoria said with affection in her voice. “I’ll miss you too.”

“Do you promise to send me a text message every night?” he asked, giving Victoria a wink as he pulled away from the hug.

“I promise to send you one every evening to wish you goodnight, and one every morning to make sure that you get up in time for work.”

“Aww, Toto, you know me too well! See you in a few days,” replied Jem with a grin.

Returning the grin, Victoria turned around and settled herself back in the car glancing at the way Harry was smiling at her the whole time. Finally Victoria couldn’t take it any longer.

“What are you smirking at me for?”

“Not much, I’m just glad that you and Jeremy are friends again.”

“You aren’t jealous?” teased Victoria, raising an eyebrow at her boyfriend, who laughed at her in return.

“I have no reason to be jealous. I know that you love me,” he replied, a smug expression evident on his face.

Although she playfully smacked Harry in the arm in response to his smugness, Victoria could not help but smile at her luck with the way things had turned out since Jeremy had had his little meltdown over her.

The couple sat comfortably; completely unbothered by the silence that now prevailed between them. Staring out the window, Victoria took the opportunity to appreciate her view of the English countryside as they drove along. Always having lived in the city, she did not often get the chance to see what the rest of England had to offer in terms of scenery.

The light was streaming through the front windows creating a lovely warmth within the car. Victoria rested her head on the window, still looking at the flowers and fields as they passed. She did not notice that she had fallen asleep until she felt Harry gently shaking her shoulder and his voice buzzing in her ear.

“We’re almost there, love.”

Stretching herself awake, Victoria blinked several times in an attempt to rid her eyes of their blurriness.

“How long was I asleep?” she asked before taking a sip of water from the drink bottle that had previously resided at her feet.

“About a couple of hours. Like I said, we’re almost there. I’ve just called Mum to say that we’re close by.”

“Mhmm, ok... are you alright? You keep touching your trousers. You haven’t wet yourself, have you?”

Harry let out a small laugh before removing his hand from the aforementioned trousers.

“Oh, am I?” replied Harry, keeping his eyes firmly fixed on the road ahead of him.

“Yes, you do keep touching there...oh, look! It’s so pretty!” said Victoria, quickly changing the subject when Harry’s parents’ house came into view.

Harry chuckled as he drove up the short driveway and parked the car. No sooner than he had turned off the ignition, the front door of the house opened and Harry’s mother, Anne, came running out.

“Hello, hello! How are you, dear?” she said, rushing over to Victoria immediately, engulfing her in a warm hug.

“I’m fine thanks, Anne. How have you been?” chucked Victoria as she returned the embrace.

The pair quickly turned around when they heard a scowl come from behind them.

“As much as I love that you two are getting along so well, I haven’t seen you in months, Mum. Where’s my hug?”

“Awww, poor baby,” giggled Anne, as she went to give her son a hug as well. “Robin is just down at the supermarket picking up a few things for dinner. He should be home soon....I just couldn’t wait to see the both of you. All we need is Gemma and Dan when they arrive tomorrow afternoon, and we’re set!”

Collecting their bags from the car, Anne quickly ushered them inside.

“You two will be staying in Harry’s old room. I have tidied it up as much as I can...but, I’m guessing that Harry will be a teenage boy at heart forever judging by the state of it.”

“Hey, Mum, that’s not fair. I haven’t been home in months, I haven’t had the chance to clean it.”

Giggling at the expression on Anne’s face, Victoria could not help but respond.

“You know, Harry, that’s not exactly a good thing either. The fact that you haven’t cleaned your room in months is only a testament to the fact that you ought to visit your Mum more often.”

“You should listen to your girlfriend more often Harry. She knows what she is talking about. Now go and get yourselves settled in. I’ve only planned a quiet dinner at home for tonight. I figured you could both do with a rest after that long drive.”

“Thank you so much Anne, for everything,” replied Victoria as she gave Anne another brief hug.

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The following morning heralded yet another beautiful day, perfect for Harry and Victoria to explore the village where Harry grew up.

“There’s not much to show really. It’s not exactly as big and busy as London is, but we can go for some breakfast at the bakery I used to work at. I know so much about your life, I would really like it if you got to see some of what my life used to be like.”

Munching on their cheese and bacon rolls, the couple spent the day walking around the village, admiring the old-fashioned shop fronts and houses. Harry took great pleasure in providing Victoria with a running commentary of all the places he would visit with his friends after school and on weekends.

“This place seems so small now,” he said as they tucked into their fish-and-chip lunch, sitting on an old stone wall overlooking an empty field.

“Do you ever wonder what life would be like if you had said ‘no’ when the X Factor judges put you together with the rest of the band?” asked Victoria, looking at Harry with a curious expression.

Harry sighed, and Victoria suspected that he was looking out into the fields without really seeing them.

“I actually spend a lot of time wondering about that. I think about it every time I come back home, or when I’m about to go on stage. I even think about it when I’m with you, because if I wasn’t in the band, I wouldn’t be in London, and I wouldn’t have met you....and I’m really, really glad to have met you.”

“Aww... Haz stop, you’re going all sentimental on me,” giggled Victoria as she gave him a quick peck on the cheek.

“You love it,” smirked Harry as he leaned in to give her a proper kiss.

“You’re right, I do love it, but I can’t love this right now. I’m feeling a bit self-conscious; I think that duck over there is watching us kiss. It’s weirding me out just a little bit.”

“You’re the weird one,” chuckled Harry as he turned back to his chips. “I don’t want to rush you, but Gemma and Dan are going to be arriving soon and it’s a bit of walk to get back home.”

“Oh, good. Gemma can help me decide on what I’m going to wear tonight. Do you know where Anne and Robin are taking us for dinner? How fancy is it?”

“Babe, you can make a potato sack look attractive, you can wear whatever you like. Having said that, I suggest a dress or something that is really pretty.”

“Harry,” replied Victoria in a tone that was suddenly serious. “Why so fancy, just for dinner with your parents? What do you know about tonight that I don’t?”

Luckily for Harry, Victoria turned away to look back at the duck just in time to miss the pink that was blossoming up his neck and face. Jumping off the wall, she gathered their rubbish and put it into the plastic bag she had brought with them.

“Has the cat got your tongue? Why so fancy for tonight?”

“No reason,” replied Harry quickly. “It’s just the restaurant that Mum picked. I think that she’s just excited to have me home, that’s why she picked it.”

“If you say so,” said Victoria shrugging her shoulders in response. “Well, like you said, we’d better hurry back. I want enough time to get ready for this ‘fancy dinner’ that you speak of.”

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“I really love it when you’re all dressed up like this,” said Victoria, gently fingering the lapel of Harry’s jacket as they walked into the restaurant at which Anne had reserved a table for their family dinner.

“Is that so,” whispered Harry, his breath tickling her ear as he spoke so that no one around them would be able to hear, “because I prefer it when you’re wearing nothing but the blanket from my bed.”

Victoria’s eyes widened as she realised what he was insinuating with his mother and step-father standing barely two feet away.

“Harry, not here. Sometimes, you are just too confident and cocky for your own good.”

The small entourage followed a black-jacketed waiter around to the back of the restaurant, in a secluded corner that was free of any windows.

Harry hurried ahead of Victoria, reaching the table just before she did so that he could pull out her chair for her.

“Why can’t you do nice things like that?” Gemma teased Dan as she watched Harry bestow a quick kiss to the top of Victoria’s head as she took her seat.

It did not take long for everyone at the table to decide what they wanted for their main meal, and in a surprisingly short amount of time, their plates of steaming hot food were arriving from the kitchen. Never having had service this fast is a restaurant before, Victoria was almost certain that word had reached the kitchen that Harry Styles of One Direction was a customer tonight. Still, she wasn’t complaining. Every forkful of her slow-braised lamb was practically melting in her mouth.

“I am very full,” declared Anne at the end of their main meal, “but I simply can’t ignore the eight-layer chocolate cake on the menu here. It’s what I imagine heaven to be like.”

“I think I’ll join you, Mum,” replied Gemma, skimming her eyes over the dessert menu. “Toto, it really is very good. Would you like to order some as well?”

“I will have you know that I have never said no to either chocolate or cake, ever in my life,” replied Victoria, her own eyes perusing the menu. She felt a slight pang in her stomach, wishing that she could try absolutely everything on the menu.

“What are you having for dessert?” Victoria leaned over to Harry. “I noticed that you didn’t finish all your food. Are you feeling alright?”

“Fine,” replied Harry, a little too quickly. “So, are we all having the chocolate cake for dessert?”

The waiter took their orders, and the table was once again full of chatter. The females were discussing when it would be great for them to get together for a girly shopping trip in London, whilst the males were lamenting the dent that this would put into their bank accounts, Dan and Robin  having slightly more input in this conversation.

“Harry, why are you fidgeting so much? Don’t worry, I was kidding when I said that I was going to buy myself a...oooh, would you look at the size of that cake.”

Victoria ogled the chocolate-covered creation as their waiter brought it over to the table, placing the entire cake directly in front of her.

“Why is it...oh,” was all that was able to escape Victoria’s mouth as she saw what was written on the top of the cake.

Whipping her head around to face Harry, she almost keeled over with shock when she saw that he was now out of his seat, actually on bended knee. Quickly looking around at everyone else at the table, Victoria could see that everyone else was beaming with obvious joy, and in the case of Anne, there were tears pooling in the corners of her eyes.

“Victoria, you’ve seen the cake, so I think you know what I’m about to ask of you, but I just want to say this first. I remember the first day that I met you and I couldn’t stop looking at you. Everything about you seemed so refreshing and we just got on so well. Even when we spent all those months separated while I was on tour, you dealt with it so well, and I’m so proud to call you my girlfriend, and if you’ll have me, I’ll be equally proud to call you my fiancé. Victoria, I love you so much. Will you marry me?”

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