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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1. Coming To Stay

 

The young woman pulled the heavy door shut behind her, before lifting the collar of her coat to cover her neck. Still, the cold penetrated the heavy fibres of the fabric, cooling her rapidly as she lifted her arm to move her long brown hair out of her eyes. An involuntary shiver coursed through her body as she began to merge it to join the others on the crowded street.

Putting her iPod onto shuffle, she shoved her fingers into her pockets in a desperate attempt to preserve body heat.

Evidence that it had snowed last night was piled up against walls and fences. It was a shame that it would be a layer of brown sludge by mid-morning, thanks to the pollution that was draped over London like a dusty curtain.

Victoria loved the snow. It reminded her of winter holidays with her family in France.

She stopped at the street corner, hopping from one foot to the other as she waited for a break in the traffic that was big enough for her to cross over to the cafe on the other side.

The warmth of the cafe inflamed her cheeks as she walked in, eyes scanning the other early risers.  With one hand she pulled the headphones out of her ears, whilst the other hand was raised in hello to Jeremy who was busy behind the counter with a customer churning out yet another complicated order.

She could hear the woman over the noise of the rest of the conversations that were going on in the cafe.

“Half-skim milk, half full, latte with vanilla and caramel syrups. No, I don’t want the marshmallow in it, sitting on the side will do. Extra hot, no whipped cream...”

Victoria approached her counter to stand in line behind the woman rolling her eyes over the woman’s bleached blonde coiffure. She tried to hold back a laugh while Jeremy bit back his own smirk. Fortunately the woman moved out of earshot just in time before the pair of them burst out laughing.

“Hey, Toto, don’t you just want to pull that chopstick out of her hair and shove it...”

Jeremy trailed off when he saw that his manager was not three foot away from him, shooting him looks of pure annoyance. He sent Victoria a wink before taking her order in record time, and motioning for her to take a seat at a nearby table while her hot chocolate was being made.

Jeremy was Victoria’s neighbour and best-friend. He had helped her move in one rainy afternoon six months earlier, and they had bonded over Jeremy aptitude for making coffee and Victoria’s film collection.

“Hey, Toto,” he said brightly as he joined her with his own cup of coffee.

“You need to stop calling me that,” Victoria said as she took a scalding sip of her drink. The warmth permeated her body with satisfying rapidity.

“Would you rather me call you Tori or Vicky instead? Perhaps Miss Linde would be more appropriate for an impressionable young woman such as yourself? Besides, you love ‘The Wizard of Oz’, don’t you?”

“Yeah, but I don’t fancy being named after a dog. Are you insinuating something with that name?”

She mock glared at her friend over the rim of her paper cup, while Jeremy pretended to look like he was mortified at what she had said.

“Oh, fair maiden, I would never insinuate anything about you, especially when I have a favour to ask.”

Victoria raised her eyebrows at this.

“Oh, and what is this favour?”

“I need a place to stay for about a week or two. Could you spare a couch?”

“You have your own house, next door in fact. Why do you need a place to stay?”

Jeremy shrugged, and took a sip of his drink before continuing in a low voice.

“Gemma’s brother is coming to stay for a while...with his friends.”

Comprehension dawned in Victoria’s blue eyes.

“Fair point, you can stay at mine if you are not worried about sharing your bed with Max. He’s not been feeling will the past couple of days, been throwing up his dinner all over the place.”

“Don’t worry, I’ll wear pyjamas made of plastic for easy cleaning, but maybe you should take him to the vet.”

Victoria drained the last of her hot chocolate before speaking again.

“I have an appointment for him this afternoon. When did you want to ‘move in’?”

“This afternoon would be great.”

Victoria was already rifling through the Bermuda that was her handbag.

“Good, you’ll get there before I do, so here are the keys. You can return the favour by catching Max and putting him in his carrier before I get home from work. Dopey cat will probably be asleep anyway, it should be easy.”

Jeremy let out a groan before standing to put their cups in the bin.

“The last time I tried he almost tore me a new eyelid with his claws. I’ve got a feeling that cat is out to get me. Personally, I draw the line at sharing a bed with him. That’s dangerous enough.”

Victoria blew him a kiss goodbye as she put her earphones into her ears once more.

“’And I’ve gotta feeling that tonight’s gonna be a good night’. See you later,” she replied ignoring his protests.

Jeremy scowled but raised his hand in farewell nonetheless.

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