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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4. Nice Save, Styles

 

Victoria could feel the plastic handle of the bag sag down, cutting deeper into the flesh of her hand. The fact that she had swapped hands was not helping. Indeed, it only made sure that all of her fingers were searing in pain. At least she was almost home.

Adjusting the falling strap of her handbag, she tried desperately to not drop her iPod as she flicked it over to another song. She bit back a grin when she heard the familiar chords of ‘One Thing’ come pouring out of her earphones.

She looked down at her hands and sighed at the bright red palms edged with blanched white fingertips where the circulation had been cut off. Again, she swapped her groceries, however, instead of feeling the heavy weight in her other hand, she felt the tingling lightness of nothing.

Her heart began to pump furiously as she attempted to work out where her shopping bags had gone.

“Hey, you looked like you needed a hand.”

A familiar voice was buzzing in her ear, and her whole body relaxed considerably when she realised that it was only Harry.

“Oh my goodness, for a second, I thought someone had gone and stolen the food.”

She heard him chuckle beside her.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to absolutely devastate you,” he replied in his ridiculously smooth speaking voice.

“It’s alright, half of it is for Max anyway.”

Harry turned to look at her with what she could only describe as being an almost panicked expression.

“Relax, Max is just my cat.”

Victoria chanced a look at him out of the corner of her eye, watching his body relax once she had informed him of the cat. She had to admit; even from her position as his sister’s friend he did look attractive - especially now that he had unburdened her of the heavy bags.

“Thanks for carrying those. You’re right, losing it would have been incredibly sad, or at least, losing all the human food would have been,” she cut through the silence between them.

“No problem,” replied Harry. “By the way, what are you listening to?”

Victoria had completely forgotten about the headphones still in her ears, and she felt her cheeks begin to burn when Harry asked what she was listening to.

“Don’t worry,” she said, hastily stowing away her iPod as she spoke. “You’d probably find it really boring.”

For the first time since they had started walking up the street together, Harry looked at her. His eyes, a curious mixture of both blue and green, seemed both enquiring and teasing, almost as though he knew exactly what she had been listening to.

“Ok, fine,” replied Victoria after a minute. “I was listening to One Direction.”

Harry laughed.

“Don’t laugh!” cried Victoria. “It’s not funny.”

“Fine, it’s cute then,” replied Harry still chuckling.

Victoria hoped that his eyes were directed at the road ahead, and not at her. She did not want him to get the impression that her cheeks were permanently the colour of pink candy floss (A/N: Or cotton candy/fairy floss, whichever you prefer).

“I’m surprised that there isn’t a throng of teen girls following our every move,” said Victoria after a minute or two of awkward silence.

“Why are you surprised?”said Harry, the curiosity clear in his voice.

Victoria turned to look at him with an expression that was congruent with the sarcasm in her subsequent answer.

“Because you’re Harry Styles, that’s why.”

 “Well spotted, and you’re Victoria Linde, so what if I’m Harry Styles?” Harry shrugged.

“The difference between you and I is you are one-fifth of a particularly famous boy-band. There’s nothing all that special about me.”

“Don’t say that!” growled Harry.

“Don’t say what?” asked Victoria, perplexed. “Don’t you like being in the band?”

“No, not that. I meant the part about you not being special...err... everyone has got something that is unique and special about them.”

‘Nice save, Styles,’ thought Victoria as they approached the front of her house.

“Well,” said Harry, one hand resting on the gate, “I guess I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

He held out the plastic shopping bags to her, eyes never leaving her face.

“Here are your groceries.... would you like to come over a bit later on? Jeremy’s already said he would, and unless you want to spend the evening alone, or maybe you have other plans, you’re more than welcome to come over and just hang out...”

A smile crept up onto Victoria’s face as he spoke, and she tactfully avoided pointing out the case of verbal diarrhoea that Harry had acquired in that speech of his.

“I would love to... give me a few minutes to put these away and get ready, and I’ll be there.”

“Ok...cool...” mumbled Harry, “See you then.”

Victoria took the bags from Harry, accidently brushing her hand against his in the exchange.

Desperately trying to ignore the surge of electricity that was currently running up her arm, she waved a brisk goodbye and let herself into the house as quickly as possible.

Hands full once more, she pushed the door shut with her bottom and leaned her back against the door.

‘What was that?’ she thought as she stood in the dimly lit hallway, letting the warmth of the central heating thaw out her body. Letting out one drawn out but calming breath, she proceeded to the kitchen, mindlessly stacking and putting away the food.

There were so many things that were bugging Victoria about that conversation.

Firstly, Harry had known her full name. Had the others been talking about her when she was not there? She would have to corner either Gemma or Jeremy sometime tonight and find out. What else had they said about her?

Secondly, why was Harry being so nice to her, carrying her shopping, calling her special..?

‘Get a grip, Victoria,’ she mentally cursed herself. ‘You’re just twisting his words. He said everyone had something special about them, not you.’

Still, she could not help but wonder if it was a carefree comment, or there was something else behind the words. Or rather, she hoped there was something else there.

She was sure that she had felt something when their hands had touched for the briefest of moments.

‘No, you’re over-thinking everything again,’ her brain took over once more. ‘He has millions, literally millions, of girls after him. He could have any one of them that he wants. He was only being nice because he was obliged to after seeing you struggle getting your shopping up the street.’

Ensuring that all the bags were empty, she proceeded to hop up the stairs two at a time aiming for the bathroom. Stepping over a pair of Jeremy’s boxers she wondered why he had a habit of dropping things wherever he happened to be standing when he was done with them. However, this only made her wonder what he had finished doing at the top of the stairs that made him drop his pants there, of all places.

Glancing at the clock hanging on the wall, she saw that she had spent a lot of time thinking about her encounter with Harry. Not wanting to keep the others waiting for too much longer, she gathered her things and took a hasty, but thorough, shower where she promptly forgot all about Harry Styles.

Deciding that she wouldn’t catch pneumonia if she went outside for two seconds with damp hair, she pulled her dark locks into a loose bun and applied a smudge of cherry lip balm.

Picking up her phone and a set of keys on the way out, she pushed them into the tight pockets of her jeans and proceeded to join both old friends and new, in the house next door. Because that is what Harry Styles was, a new friend. Right?

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