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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6. Feeling Like A Good Day

Victoria straightened the skirt of her dress one final time, allowing the navy blue fabric to settle over her legs once more.

She looked over at the clock hanging on the wall. He had said he was picking her up at seven. It was now six fifty-five.

Not knowing what to do with herself for the next few minutes, Victoria fiddled with the strap of her silver-sequined clutch. Opening the bag, she checked that she had everything that she needed: phone, money, keys, lipstick...

Seeing the lipstick in her bag gave her the strongest urge to check her face in the mirror. All but running to the decorative mirror in her lounge room, she began to briskly reapply the brilliant red colour, wondering why she was feeling so nervous about going to dinner with Harry.

In the middle of her ruminations, she heard a set of footsteps stop behind her and the sound of a low whistle.

“You’ll knock him dead,” said Jem in a low voice.

Not really knowing what to say to that, Victoria set a small smile on her face and looked down towards her shoes.

“Thanks, Jem,” she said finally.

Hearing a knock at the door, she walked as carefully as she could, not wanting to break an ankle before the date had even begun. Her shoes were highly impractical, but their simple beauty had over-ridden all, including the heart palpitations she had felt when she saw their price tag. The silver sequins matched those of her purse, and the ties now running up her ankles had added a touch of elegance that only silver chiffon could achieve.

“Have fun and be safe.”

What was initially a feeling of elation turned into absolute mortification.

“Jem! Don’t you dare say anything like that while he’s here,” she said giving him a glare of warning.

Chuckling, Jem wandered over to the kitchen, leaving Victoria to answer the door. Taking a deep breath she pulled it open to reveal a very debonair looking Harry.

His blue-checked shirt and dark trousers were accompanied by one of his signature blazers in a rather flattering shade of brown. This was all topped with a cheeky grin, that in Victoria’s opinion, made the look complete.
However, Victoria could not help but notice that the grin faltered when he saw her.

“What?” she said, immediately feeling insecure. “Is it no good?”

Harry swallowed thickly.

“Uh...no. Quite the opposite actually. You look beautiful.”

Yet again she was reduced to blushing like a school-girl thanks to Harry Styles.

“Thank you. I didn’t know where we were going so I didn’t know if this was appropriate or whatever...”

“No, you look perfect,” he said, the grin returning.

“I’ll just grab my coat and we can get going.”
Harry nodded, and stepped forward somewhat tentatively to help her slide her arms into the sleeves of the coat.

“Thanks...Jem!” she said, shouting out her name for 
Jeremy, “Harry and I are leaving now.”

“See ya,” came a distant reply, followed by an even more quiet, “Stay Safe!”

Shutting the door quickly behind them both, she hoped that Harry had not heard that last part.

“So, where are we going?” asked Victoria, feeling much more settled now that they were bundled up in the car.

Harry smiled his million dollar smile.

“It’s a surprise.”

“Oh, come on, give me a hint.”

“Look in the back seat,” was all that Harry replied with, keeping his eyes glued to the road ahead.

When Victoria turned her head all that she could see was several blankets piled on top of one another, and a scrap of black silk adorning the uppermost one.

“Blankets and what I hope is only going to turn out to be a blindfold...what have you planned, Styles?”

Harry chuckled.

“Just sit back and enjoy the music,” he replied turning the radio onto a Jazz station.

“Jazz?”

“What can I say? I’m all about class and style,” he said, the cheeky grin never leaving his face.

“Ha ha, very funny. As long as we don’t end up on the front page of a newspaper, I don’t really care.”

“What did I say – just relax and listen to the music, we’ll be there soon.”

Victoria relaxed against the back of the seat, trying to take in the scenery, but she found that her eyes could not help but meander over to Harry at increasing frequency.

She wondered if she were just setting herself up for failure by going on this date. Even if tonight went well, and they went out again, what would happen after that? Another date or two? Then what? 

It would be Christmas and he would go back to Cheshire to visit his family, and then he and the lads would be due to start the next leg of their tour.

For Victoria, this could only end catastrophically and she promised herself not to get too attached. Tonight could be a lot of fun, romantic even, depending on what Harry had planned. But it would have to be enough,
Thinking back to the previous night she had already lost sleep over the guys, but she mustn’t put any more at stake over something that couldn’t ever be – no matter how much she wanted it to be.

“We’re here. Remember that blindfold; it’s time to put it on.”

His voice pulled Victoria from her reflections and she reluctantly moved her sight from him to the back seat of the car.

Harry’s hands felt baby soft as he helped her to tie the black silk around her head.

“Wait here a minute. I just need to check something, and 
I’ll be back to help you out of the car.”

Victoria could not help but let out a small giggle.

“You know, if it were anyone else doing this, I was be completely creeped out and secretly ringing the police, right now.”

Being unable see Harry’s facial expression, Victoria relaxed a little more when she heard his deep chuckle rumble out of his chest.

“Lucky me,” he said before she heard him open several car doors and pull out what she supposed were the blankets that had been lying on the back seat.

All was quiet for a couple of minutes until she felt a cold whoosh of air where Harry had opened her own door.
She felt his fingers intertwine with her own and gently guide her out of the car, and across a springy softness that felt like grass. Occasionally there was the crunch of frost breaking under her shoe, but thankfully, it was not cold enough for snow.

“Ok, you can take the blindfold off now.”

Harry’s breath was warm at the back of her neck, but it still sent a shiver down her spine.

The blackness dropped to reveal dozens of tiny candles that were flickering at the base of an enormous oak tree, illuminating the gnarled bark and casting a warm glow over several picnic blankets that had been laid out.

“Wow,” was all that was able to escape out of Victoria’s lips.

“Do you like it?” asked Harry, staring at her face trying to gauge a response.

“Like it...I love it,” she replied turning to face Harry. 

“You didn’t have to go to so much trouble.”

Harry shrugged as though what he had just done was not a big deal.

“I wanted to.”

“Well, thank you. It’s amazing.”

The candles were aided by one of the brightest full moons that Victoria had ever seen. The light reflected off about half a dozen buckets of ice that held many bottles of champagne. These were arranged on either side of the blankets that were covering the ground. Small, silver bowls of strawberries were also interspersed amongst at least a dozen cushions, all piled up at the base of the tree, making a bed of sorts.

“Would you care for a glass of champagne?”

“Yes, please.”

Wrapping his arm around her waist, he led her over the tree, helping her to take a seat propped up against the cushions.

Pulling a bottle and a couple of glasses from one of the buckets, he poured them each a glass before tucking each of their limbs under one of the blankets with care.

“Cheers,” they said, almost in unison, gently clinking their glasses together.

1D1D1D1D1D1D1D

Waking up alone in her warm bed the next morning made Victoria realise exactly how much she had enjoyed the previous night. It wasn’t just the whole spectacle of champagne and strawberries under the stars. What she missed most was the sense of companionship that the night had brought for her. She had not felt that way in a long time.

Gently stretching herself awake, she reached over to the bedside table and grabbed her phone from its resting place: ten twenty-seven.

Not bad considering the time they had gotten in. Victoria had fallen asleep in the car on the way home, and Harry, being a true gentlemen, had helped her inside and put her to bed.

She put her fingers to her lips as she remembered the sweet goodnight kiss he had given her. But that was not the best of it.

The best was their first kiss, of both the evening, but also between themselves.

Victoria had had a couple of glasses of champagne to relax her, as had Harry. He had been lying comfortable against the cushions while Victoria had migrated to lying on the warmth of his chest. She would never forget how he had carefully tilted up her chin, as though she were the most delicate china figurine, and pressed his lips against hers.

It was brief, but incredibly sweet, and it left her wanting more.

She giggled at the thought of how many girls there were in the world that would kill to be in her position.

Forcing herself out from under the soft and cosy covers, she simply smiled. Today felt like it was going to be a good day.

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