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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7. Look A Little Like Her

ictoria reached down to ensure the laces of her running shoes were tight enough.

“Hey, beautiful.”

She straightened up immediately at the sound of the familiar, low voice.

Taking in the clothes that he was wearing, she assumed that Harry had had plans similar to her own.

“Off for a run?”

“Yep,” he grinned, “Wanna come with me?”

Already breaking onto a medium-paced jog she waited until there was a bit of distance between them before shouting back to him.

“Just try and keep up!”

*********************

“You need to spend less time on strength, Styles, and more time on cardio,” wheezed Victoria.

She turned to find Harry bent over, arms firmly gripping his knees as he attempted to create as much room as possible for air to enter and escape his lungs.

“Hey! As far as I can see, you’re not in a much better position than what I am,” he gasped out, taking in how Victoria was clutching at her sides as she inhaled enormous breaths.

“At least I won,” she panted, trying to steady her breath as much as possible.

Harry looked up to glare at her.

“Since when was it a race?”

“Since I won it, that’s when,” said Victoria, poking her tongue out at him.

“At least I got a good view from the loser’s position,” he replied, winking at her.

Victoria turned away slightly, and she hoped with all her heart that he did not notice the scowl on her own face. She had wanted to be the one with the ‘good view’. Everyone knew that Harry looked good on a poster, but nobody could deny that he wasn’t absolutely gorgeous in real life. 

She heard him speak again.

“What are you doing for lunch?”

Victoria turned back to face him.

“You just killed yourself with exercise, and you’re already thinking about food?”

“Yep,” he grinned. “Care to join me?”

Realising that she did not have a reason not to, Victoria agreed.

“If you’re not hungry right away, we can do a spot of Christmas shopping beforehand.”

Victoria pretended to look utterly gobsmacked, purposefully letting her bottom jaw drop as her hands covered her cheeks.

“A guy that suggests shopping! I’m shocked beyond belief, Styles.”

“Ha ha, very funny. I just love Christmas in London. I want to enjoy it while it lasts.”

Victoria noticed the wistful expression on his face and it was with his last comment, tacked onto the end that made Victoria realise once more that whatever she and Harry had was limited. It reminded her, more than anything else, that there was an expiry date to their fun.

“Right, well, before we do any of that, I’m in desperate need of a shower and some proper clothes. Meet you back here in an hour?”

“Sounds good to me,” he replied, expression brightening.

1D1D1D1D1D1D1D1D1D1D1D

Although there were still a few weeks to go until Christmas, the streets of London were choked with shoppers attempting to grab a few Christmas bargains. However difficult it was to navigate through, Victoria was grateful because it meant that she and Harry would be able blend into the crowd. Dark sunglasses also helped.
The pair wound their way through the streets, hand in hand, like any other couple there.

“Hey, let’s go in here.”

Victoria felt the gentle tug of Harry’s hand on hers as he pulled her into a small antique shop. It was so small and inconspicuous that if Harry had not pointed it out to her, she may not have even noticed it was there.
Stepping down into the shop, Victoria could not help but notice the musty smell that seemed to permeate every inch of air. It filled her nostrils with disgusting rapidity, but she put this out of her mind for the moment.

Harry seemed to know where he was going, so she let him lead her over to a glass counter that contained a number of pieces of antique jewellery. The layer of dust covering the glass was so thick one might be able to mistake it for being a layer of dirt, however it did nothing to dispel the beauty of the pieces within.

Long strands of pearls were coiled neatly on velvet cushions, alongside broaches that still had the indents where the creator had manipulated the gold to succumb to his will. She even saw an earring and necklace set that she was sure was made of real emeralds.

“They’re beautiful, aren’t they?” whispered Harry into her ear.

“Mhmm... I can’t help but think of the people that might have owned this once upon a time. They would have had to have such glamorous lives to be able to afford this kind of stuff.”

“What do you like best?” said Harry, turning to face Victoria as she gazed through the glass, open mouthed in awe.

She instantly snapped her head up, looking at Harry with genuine astonishment.

“What do you mean?”

“Merry Christmas!” was all that he said, eyes never leaving her face.

“Harry, you can’t be serious. You can’t buy me one of these, it’s too much!”

“Don’t you worry about that, just pick the one that you like the most.”

“No,” she said, turning her body to face him as she crossed her arms over her chest in defiance.

“I’ll agree with you, they’re beautiful...but seriously, Harry. I can’t accept something so extravagant.”

She could feel her resolve weakening under his unwavering gaze. Despite herself, she could not help but notice that the blue in his eyes was more pronounced today and some distant part of her mind wondered if that was what subconsciously had drawn her to a sapphire pendant necklace that was lying in the far corner of the case.

Harry must have noticed her eyes flicking between the pendant and him, because she heard him asking the old man, who had been sitting in the corner, about it.

Apparently customers were not a frequent occurrence for this man, because it took Harry several attempts to jerk the man’s head up from sleep. He reluctantly left his stool behind, and puffed his way over to where they were standing.

“What can you tell me about this necklace?” he questioned the man.

“It’s not for sale,” was his gruff reply.

“It’s in a case with other pieces of jewellery that are for sale. Why would it be there if it was not for sale?” he said, giving the man a withering glare.

Victoria wrapped her hand around Harry’s as she tried to lead him away.

“Come on Harry, let’s just go. If he doesn’t want to sell it, he doesn’t have to.”

Harry turned to face Victoria once more, and she very much wished that he hadn’t because now she was forced to gaze into his beautiful eyes once more.

“I can see that you want the necklace, and I want to buy it for you as a Christmas present. Please let me do that.”

Not knowing how to reply, Victoria let Harry get back to irritating the store owner. However, after several minutes of Harry not being able to get anywhere, she decided to take over the situation.

“Why don’t you want to sell the necklace?” she asked the man in a tone that contrasted Harry’s progressively more annoyed one.

The man’s hazel eyes locked into Victoria’s blue ones, and she was able to see the slightest amount of defeat in them.

“It belonged to my wife,” he finally said. “She specifically requested in her will that I sell the necklace. It has been passed down in her family for generations, but we didn’t have any children.”
He fell silent, but Victoria could sense that there was more to the story. Using her hand to cover his where it had been resting on the counter, she mentally urged for him to continue.

“She wanted someone who loved it to have it, so that they could pass it on to their own children and to their children. She didn’t want it locked away in a box somewhere. She wanted someone to enjoy it, as she did. I just can’t bring myself to let it go...”

“It’s okay to feel like that,” said Victoria, her voice gentle and full of compassion. “When my Mum and Dad died, I didn’t want to let go of any of their things, but I eventually learned that even if I did let go of them, it didn’t mean that I loved, and still love them, them any less. I think that your wife’s wishes for the necklace are beautiful, and they reflect what a wonderful person she must have been.”

The man had begun to blink very rapidly, as though he were trying to hold back tears.

Victoria could feel Harry’s eyes on her, but she did not dare turn to look now. Not when she had captured the attention of the shop owner.

“You sound so much like my Talitha,” he finally said, gazing at Victoria now that there was no sign of tears forming. “How would you like to pay for it?”

Harry immediately handed over a credit card before Victoria could even begin to protest.

The old man had not stopped staring at Victoria, and it was only when they were about to leave and he spoke again that she understood why.

“You know, you even look like she did when she was about your age. Good luck, love,” he said with knowing wink finally allowing the young couple to escape back onto the busy street.

Victoria felt Harry’s arm pull her closer to him as he wrapped it around her waist.

“You were amazing,” he whispered into her ear before using their close proximity as an excuse to kiss her.
This kiss reminded Victoria of Harry’s goodnight kiss to her, right down to the feeling of wanting more; however, she was much more pleased about this one, as she was awake and able to participate more fully.

Prising his lips open with hers, she tangled her fingers into his hair and deepened the kiss.

“Thank you,” she said as she pulled away, albeit reluctantly. “I guess I’m going to have to find somewhere to wear such a pretty piece of jewellery.” 

“I’m sure something can be arranged,” replied Harry with a smirk.

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