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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10. Lucky A Second Time

The several days of Christmas passed reasonably quickly for Victoria considering how despondent she had been feeling just previous to it.

She had awoken on Christmas morning to a text message from Harry wishing her a ‘Merry Christmas’ and thanking her for the enormous box of Haribo sweets she had given him. Feeling pleased that she had picked something he liked; Victoria rolled over and tucked herself back under the covers, falling back to her dreams in a very short space of time.

Jeremy had come over on Christmas day, nice and early. Too early, in fact, because he had taken it upon himself to jump into her bed with her before he had dusted the snow from his clothes.

“Get out!” she shrieked as the cold wetness touched her warm skin.

“MERRY CHRISTMAS! There’s actually snow out there!” he shouted into her ear.

“I hate you, get out,” mumbled Victoria as she pushed her head further into the pillow.

“No you don’t, you love me. Now, it’s time to get out of bed,” he said in a normal volume, instead choosing to accentuate his words by pulling the duvet completely off the bed.

Victoria scrunched herself into a tight ball, attempting to preserve the warmth, but she quickly found that it was easier to get out of bed and take a shower. At least Jem wouldn’t follow her into the bathroom.

Gathering a change of clothes, and a few other essentials, Victoria was soon in and out of the shower in record time. 

As much as she was annoyed with the way in which Jeremy had woken her, she found his excitement contagious and she couldn’t wait to spend the day with him.

She had been so focused on Harry when he was there, and then the fact that she missed him when he wasn’t there, that she had neglected her friendships with anyone else. 

Therefore, it almost came as a surprise to her to find a few small gifts under the tree.

“Ooh, presents!” she squealed as she kneeled beside the sweet-smelling tree, picking up a small package covered in pale green paper, tied with a darker green ribbon.

Carefully peeling off the tape, Victoria gently took the paper away to reveal several varieties of bubble bath, lotions and soaps. Inhaling the scent of lavender that had wafted up as she opened the package, she could not help but be reminded of a beautiful summer day.

Checking the label to see who it was from, she made a mental note to thank Gemma when she came back from Cheshire.

“Oh, cool, thanks Toto.”

Victoria felt Jem’s arms envelop her in a quick hug, and she turned to see him gazing lovingly into a boxed set of Dr Who episodes. 

Chuckling, she turned back to her own presents, methodically working through them until the small pile dwindled into nothing.

“What time is... oh, shit!” 

“What’s wrong?” asked Jem through a mouth full of Toblerone that he had apparently received as part of a gift.

‘That boy lives for that chocolate,’ thought Victoria absently as she dashed for the kitchen.

Pulling out all manner of ingredients, she began to prepare what she should have begun half an hour before.
With a rush of adrenalin, the potatoes were in the pot for parboiling, the carrots were chopped and waiting and she was up to preparing the ham that she had bought specially for the occasion. There were only two of them eating, but if there was anything better than a Christmas ham, it was leftovers from a Christmas ham.

“Where’d that bottle of wine go from the other day?” asked Jem as he casually strolled through the kitchen.

“Hmmm? Oh, it’s over there somewhere,” replied Victoria waving her hand towards the opposite end of the kitchen as she gathered the ingredients to make a sticky glaze that she would be pouring over the ham.

“Here,” she heard Jem say as he set down a glass next to her. “I know you’re a perfectionist about...well...everything, but you need to relax a bit.”

For once in her life, she heeded the advice of her best friend and she grasped the wine glass firmly with her sticky fingers.

Holding her glass aloft towards Jeremy, she remembered a tradition that her family followed when she was a little girl. Ever since she could remember at precisely eleven o’clock every Christmas Day, everyone would drop what they were doing and toast ‘absent family friends’ by saying their names aloud, taking a minute to remember them.

The words echoed through her memory, and although it was not a tradition she had observed in recent years, the words flowed freely from her mouth as though she had created them herself.

“Friends, though absent, are still present – Mum, Dad, Niall, Zayn, Louis, Liam, Anne, Robin, Gemma, Dan and Harry. Merry Christmas to you all. Wherever you are, know that you have not been forgotten and that we wish you were here celebrating with us.”

Victoria let a small smile grace her lips as she clinked her glass to Jeremy’s and hoped for nothing more than her words to be literal and true. 

1D1D1D1D1D1D1D1D

“What time is it?”

The voice seemed softer and more timid in the dark, but Victoria had no trouble discerning who had spoken.

“It’s not even eleven, Niall. You can keep going with your nap if you like. We’ll wake you up when it’s time, don’t worry.”

She watched as he lay his blonde head back down onto Zayn’s shoulder, and closed his eyes. 

Victoria snuggled her own body into Harry’s side, sharing his warmth. She could feel the blaze of the campfire against the exposed parts of her skin. His arm, already wrapped around her slim frame, pulled her even tighter against him.

The boys had returned on the twenty-seventh of December with Dan and Gemma, much to Victoria’s delight, and everything quickly returned to the dynamics they had established before anyone had left.

Gemma’s house was quickly becoming the unofficial hangout place for the group. Currently, everyone was huddled around a fire in her backyard. They were drinking, talking, listening to music, and in the case of Niall and Zayn, sleeping; however, all were waiting for one thing, and that was to ring in the New Year, together.

Victoria felt Harry’s body shift against hers before hearing his voice hum into her ear.

“You’re very quiet... what are you thinking about?”

“Just how much I’m going to miss moments like this when you and the guys go on tour.”

Victoria felt Harry’s body sag beneath her a little as he listened to her. It was several minutes before either of them spoke again.

“It’s not fair,” he murmured quietly so that only Victoria could hear. “We’ve barely had the chance to get to know one another.”

“It’s also not fair to deprive you of doing what you love. I could never be happy with you knowing that I was taking you away from music and your fans... but it kind of feels more special this way. We have to make the most of what we have.”

Victoria closed her eyes as she felt Harry press a kiss to her temple. Although Harry had given her dozens of kisses since they had gotten together, she still felt her stomach fluttering with nervous butterflies whenever he showed her this kind of affection.

“I’ve always believed that you only had one lucky chance in life. You only get one thing that completely changes your life and makes you completely happy, and that being with the boys was my one lucky chance... but, now I’m thinking that I got it wrong. Maybe you can get lucky twice.”

Feeling heat flood her cheeks with his sentiment, Victoria did the only thing she could think of, and that was to kiss him. 

The pair continued to sit there, mostly in a peaceful silence. The only sounds that could be heard was the clinking of glasses and bottles, the hushed banter between those who were still awake and the buzz of Liam’s phone every so often.

She looked up to see him smiling cheekily at the screen. He must have been texting Danielle. There were only two reasons why he would be looking like that. One, when he was onstage, and the other when he was thinking of Danielle. Victoria forgot that she and Harry were not the only ones that were going to have to make a long-distance relationship work. Making a mental note to speak to Liam later on, she let out an inaudible sigh as she felt the warmth of Harry’s thumb rubbing small circles on her shoulder.

Looking down at her watch, she saw that there was now only five minutes until midnight. Gently releasing herself from Harry, she indicated towards her watch and stood to shake Zayn, Niall and now, Jem, awake.

Knowing that Jem was relatively easy to wake, she stood above his sleeping frame and saw that he was laying back in one of the chairs, and that his arms were tightly wrapped around a bottle of wine. Chuckling to herself, she gently tugged at the bottle trying to remove it from his arms.

Cracking his eyes open the smallest amount necessary, he tried to force his lips to form words, but the alcohol in his system apparently made this incredibly difficult.

“Whyz you waking me’s up?” he slurred.

Victoria’s chuckles only increased.

“Five minutes until midnight, love. You might want to be awake for that.”

“Okay,” he replied sleepily before sinking back down into the chair. Victoria decided to come back to him after she had tried to wake the others.

Louis chose this moment to look up from his own phone where he had been texting Eleanor, and seeing that her shaking of Niall and Zayn was having very little effect, he quickly reached and grabbed a few ice cubes from the bucket where the drinks were being kept.

Creeping over so that he was standing behind them, he signalled to Victoria to move out of the way.

When she was a safe distance away, he proceeded to drop the wet coldness down the backs of their shirts.

“Jesus Christ! What did you do that for?!”

Everyone turned to look as the two sleepy-heads shot their bodies upright. Niall’s response was the more amusing of the two and everyone watched on as he did a little dance to shift the ice away from his skin.

Zayn also exploded off the chair; however he looked like he was just about to kill whichever person had the misfortune of walking him up. Quickly untucking the bottom of his shirt, he watched the now small chip of ice fell to the ground, quickly forming a small patch of water thanks to the heat of the fire.

Breathing deeply in anger, Zayn swivelled his body to face Louis who was wearing a nonchalant expression despite the fact that he was slowly backing away.

“You should really turn that frown upside down Zayn, there’s only two minutes until the New Year. You don’t want to start it angry,” said Victoria loudly from where she had taken her place, sitting on Harry’s lap.

“You know,” said Gemma, who had finally regained a sense of composure after her raucous laughter at what had unfolded before. “If we hurry, we can see the fireworks from the balcony upstairs.”

Chairs were immediately scraped back, and bodies were squished as they hurried, en masse, through the back door, up the stairs and onto the balcony that faced the London Eye.

“Twenty seconds,” said Niall, quickly looking at his watch.

“Ten...nine...eight...”

Victoria felt Harry wrap his fingers tightly around her own.

“Seven...six...five...four...”

She responded by squeezing his hand and wrapping her other hand around his waist. Looking up into his sea green eyes, she felt heartened when all she could see was absolute adoration in them as he leaned his face closer to hers so that they were almost touching.

“Three...two...one!”

Shouts of ‘Happy New Year’ were drowned out by the tolls of Big Ben that were echoing across the vast city.
“Happy New Year,” Victoria whispered as she felt Harry’s lips brush up against hers, drawing her closer into him.

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