Tell Me I'm A Screwed Up Mess

Natalia is moving into her cousin's London flat after moving from America. She runs into a familiar, famous face, who just so happens to be the surprise guest her cousin has waiting for her when she arrives home to the presence of One Direction. What can one night change between two people who've just met? Pictures will be of the boy in question in all of my oneshots. (:

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1. Tell Me I'm A Screwed Up Mess

 

Half an hour after my plane landed in London, I was stepping out into a windy day that whipped my loose, chocolate brown curls around my head in a halo. Before I started my trek to my cousin’s flat, I stopped to gather my locks into a low ponytail and shot her a text that I was on my way.

            I shouldered my backpack and began rolling my suitcase along, I didn’t get very far before my phone started blaring the chorus of the old New Kids On The Block hit, (You Got It) The Right Stuff. What can I say? I never grew out of my boy band phase.

            “Yeah?” I answered, nearly getting shoved onto the pavement by a rather rude fellow pedestrian.

            “Nat! I can’t wait to see you!” my cousin Lena screamed in my ear.

            I pulled the phone from my ear a bit and grimaced. “I know! I should be there in fifteen.”

            “Well hurry! I’ve got a huge surprise for you!”

            I blinked. “And what would that be?” I asked, maneuvering around the front of a car as I crossed the street.

            “Yeah right. I’m not ruining this one. It’s too good. Hurry your ass up!” Then she hung up on me. Well. Alright then.

            On my way, I passed several small shops and bars. Or are they pubs? Is that only in Ireland? Or- my internal ramblings were out of when someone slammed painfully into my shoulder.

            My head whipped around in surprise and a familiar face was looking both apologetic and rushed. Harry Styles of One Direction was apologizing to me. I was too shocked to respond as he explained that he needed to be somewhere and he was busy trying to dodge a group of ten or so prepubescent tween girls who were following him. I sort of nodded, speechless, as he ran off again. Then I was subsequently slammed into a brick wall and nearly thrown to the ground and trampled by the girls in chase.

            Holding my hand to my head, I turned the next corner and approached Lena’s apartment building. ….Flat building? I really needed to get myself associated with British lingo. As I pushed open the door to her second story flat, I said, “Len, you’ll never guess who I just ran into….”

            My voice trailed off as I found myself walking into the living room where I found Lena sitting with the boys of One Direction—including the offender I’d been ready to gush to Lena about, Harry Styles.

            “Who?” Lena asked curiously, seemingly oblivious to the pop phenomenon gracing her flat with their presence.

            My mouth dropped open and I pointed to Harry. “Y-you ran into me!” I exclaimed, capable of nothing else, it seemed, other than gaping and looking like a fish.

            “You’re the girl I ran into!” Harry returned, looking almost as surprised as I did. “Fancy that. So you’re Natalia, then?”

            With the initial shock beginning to wear off, I nodded, shedding my peacoat, and looked for a place to sit. “Not to be rude, but….” I made an awkward hand motion, meant to gesture at the boys, “What?”

            A few of the boys chuckled and Lena began to explain. “Remember how I told you about that new job at Syco Records? Turns out the guy I’m assistant to is their manager. Since I know of your thing for boy bands, I figured I’d surprise you.” She smiled brightly.

            I looked thoughtfully at my cousin and told her, in all seriousness, “I love you.”

            She winked and smirked. “I know. So. Guys, this is my cousin, Natalia Hewlitt. Nat, I don’t think I need to introduce these five.”

            I laughed. “No need. Liam, Louis, Niall, Zayn, Harry, it’s a pleasure,” I smiled.

            “You’re just as beautiful as Lena said,” Harry told me with a wink and a sly smile.

            I blushed. “W-well,” I stuttered. How do you respond when Harry Styles calls you beautiful? I tossed a glance at the full length mirror that stood between the two bedroom doors. I took in my appearance and had to admit I didn’t look too bad. I was wearing a pair of black leggings, a flowy red tunic that fell to mid-thigh, and a pair of simple silver flats. Hanging at two different lengths from my neck was a doubled up silver chain and my ear lobes sported two modestly sized diamonds. Deflecting from the fine choice of dress, however, was my lack of makeup and the messy ponytail with my hair collected in it. At this, I dropped my gaze down to the aforementioned flats and muttered a shy thank you.

            “Aw, don’t mind Harry. He’s a harmless flirt,” Niall smiled reassuringly at me.

            I smiled, adoring him and his cute little accent. Niall was a sweet one, for sure.

            Lena scoffed. “Oh come off it, Nat. It’s not like you don’t have guys coming and flirting with you all the time as it is. Quit acting like Harry is any different because he’s got a little fame to his name.”

            I brought my head up to stare at her, jaw dropped open yet again. “Lena!”

            “It’s true!” she cried. “Guys freaking adore you and you know it.”

            I pursed my lips and felt the heat rising to my cheeks. “Can you maybe not in front of the famous company?” I snapped, swiping a hand in the direction of the five boys.

            “Well it’s pretty obvious you don’t hurt in the dating department,” Harry quipped.

            With wide, embarrassed eyes, I looked at him and realized I had no hopes of winning. Such was my life, though, and I should’ve been used to it by this point.

            “Yeah, a lovely lady such as yourself? No way have you ever been single for long,” Louis added with a wink. Louis’ comment flattered me, because really, the teasing in his tone was obvious. Whereas Harry’s was laced with more meaning and hints. I almost wanted to define him….as a bit of a playboy. His flirting wasn’t exactly subtle.

            “Well, for your information Harry, I don’t date much. I’ve been single for nearly a year now.”

            “By choice,” Lena pointed out, rolling her eyes.

            “My point is still valid!” I claimed, crossing my arms over my chest.

            “How so?” she challenged, meeting my fierce stance with one of her own.

            “I can change that if you like,” he offered with a broad smile.

            I groaned. I couldn’t decide if he was flattering me or just infuriating me. But I was suspecting it was the latter. “Harry Styles, if you want to date me, you’re going to have your work cut out for you convincing me after today,” I huffed.

            “What ‘ave I done that’s got you so riled up?” he asked, his brows furrowed.

            “You’ve tried to charm me with that sharp tongue of yours,” I snapped, a little more harshly than I’d originally intended.

            “Only tried?” he smirked.

            With an aggravated huff, I left my things where I’d dropped them in the floor and stormed out of the front door of the flat. I stepped toward the railing on the other side of the walkway and folded my arms over top of it, hanging my head down. Behind me, I heard the door open and shut. “If that’s you, Harry, you can kindly shove off,” I stated sharply.

            “I think Hazza is a little more British than me,” Niall said, coming to stand beside me. He leaned back against the railing, resting his elbows on top of it and turning his head to look at me. “Why’s he bother you so much?” he asked carefully.

            I sighed and shrugged. “Honestly, I don’t really know. It’s like he’s saying things to get under my skin and it’s working.”

            “You only just met him, Natalia. He’s really not a bad guy.” He nudged my shoulder with his own. “Could you try to put up with him? The rest of us would really like to get to know you.”

             I looked at him and smiled. “Really? Or are you just saying that to be nice?”

            He grinned. “I’m sayin’ it because you need to hear it. But why does that have to mean it’s not true?”

            “You’re a charmer, Niall.”

He flushed a little with minor embarrassment. “Just go in there and play nice. As a favor for me?” he asked.

“On one condition,” I contended.

“What’s that?”

“You, Niall Horan, just became my best friend. So I think I’m entitled to a hug of epic proportions.”

Niall chuckled and brought his arms around me in a warm, sweet embrace. “Best friends?” he questioned.

“Yep. Up for the challenge?”

“We Irish are always up for a challenge.”

-----------

My first night in London, you’d think we’d go out, celebrate my arrival. But as the guys and Lena had grown close in her time working for their manager, they wanted to stay and welcome me. Thanks to their famous status, however, we opted to stay in and order movies on Pay-Per-View.

We made a night of it, having decided that the boys would stay over and we’d have a sort of lounge-around-and-be-lazy party. Their manager had happily brought over changes of clothes from their hotel for the boys, happy to have them out of his hair for a night. Lena and I changed into pajamas of our own while the guys popped several bags of popcorn and dumped it all into a couple of huge bowls. We all added various flavors to it that quenched our preferences.

Lena had one of those great, huge wrap-around couches that formed a wide U shape in the middle of her open-layout flat. Thanks to said layout, there was more than enough floor room for the large piece of furniture. Just as we were all getting settled into the couch with bowls of popcorn at set intervals so it was available to all of us, I shouted out, “Wait!”

Everyone stopped their fidgeting and maneuvering to get comfortable and looked at me. “We don’t have candy!” I informed them. So I took it upon myself to go out and get the candy. “Who wants to join me? Niall?” I half pleaded.

He looked uncertain, quirking his mouth to one side and then the other. “Why don’t you go with Harry?” he propositioned at last.

I gave him a strained look before glancing at Harry and sighing. “Well, alright then. Come on, Harry.”

He nodded, quiet for the first time since I’d arrived at the flat. “Alright, what does everyone want?” I asked.

“Hershey’s Kisses!” Lena shouted.

“Sour Patch Kids!” Niall and Louis yelled in unison.

“Licorice,” Liam decided after a moment of deliberation.

“Red Vines,” Zayn chuckled, referencing A Very Potter Musical, a rather amusing parody of his –and my- favorite book series. “No, wait, I was mocking Liam. Sort of. I want one of those bags with the mini Snickers and Three Musketeers and Milky Ways.”

“Picky, picky,” I teased. “Now come on, Harry. We’ll slip up the street to the convenience store I saw on the way here. We’ll be back in a few,” I announced.

I pulled on my peacoat, gripping it tightly around my pajama-clad body and closed the door behind Harry as he stepped out.

We walked quietly for several minutes before Harry broke the silence. “Hey Nat?”

“Yeah?” I asked.

“I’m sorry if I offended you earlier or something. It wasn’t my intention. Sometimes my flirting gets misconstrued.”

I sighed. “No, it’s alright. I shouldn’t have reacted so badly. I’m pretty sure it was the jetlag getting to me. I’m not usually so short tempered.”

“Eh, women are temperamental. What can you do?” he shrugged.

I shot him a disapproving look but pursed my lips and kept my smart comments to myself. I’d told Niall I’d try to make nice, so I planned to. “I have a question.”

“Shoot.”

“If you guys get so little time at home these days, why would you choose to spend them with Lena and her cousin, a stranger whom you’ve never met, instead of with your families?”

Harry rubbed one of his arms to warm up a bit and opened the door to the convenience store that we’d reached as I’d been posing my question. “Well, yeah we don’t get a lot of time at home, so that means we don’t get a lot of time to just hang out with friends and have fun, either. I don’t know if you know this, but Lena got her job a while ago, so she actually was with us for the last few stops on our tour. We got to know her pretty decently, and she’s really close to you, she said, so we all just kind of trusted her judgment. Having this little soiree seemed like a good idea, and we’ve all been having a great time. At least, I know I have.”

I started down one aisle then turned up the next before I responded. “Yeah, but doesn’t it bother your family?”

Harry shrugged. “They get used to it. They understand that we need some time for fun that isn’t necessarily for publicity or work related. Don’t get me wrong, we love what we do, but it is still work.”

I nodded. I could understand that. If you put effort forth, even if it was into something you loved, it could still feel like work when done often enough. I grabbed two bags of Sour Patch Kids and a bag of Licorice for Liam. Harry picked up the Hershey’s Kisses and the bag of assorted deliciousness for Zayn.

“What are you getting?” I asked him.

“A bag of lollipops, of course. You?”

“Reese’s. They’re my favorite. But you all still get to see your family somewhat regularly? And when you’re in London, you stay with them?”

“Yeah, all of us except Niall. He changes up who he stays with every time.”

“Why doesn’t he go home to Ireland? Ya know, when y’all actually aren’t doing anything, even recording. Because aren’t you guys recording now?” I asked.

“Yeah, right now we’re recording, so he has to be here. He goes home when he gets the chance, but it’s a little tougher on him. We can all see our family here when we’re recording and whatnot, but his family has to make all these plans and arrangements and really go out of their way. Miss work, school, the like, just to see him for a few days. And with our busy schedule, there isn’t a lot of time allowed for just skipping out and visiting home. But he’s a pretty bright kid. He seems to hold up just fine. Nialler’s a trooper, that one.”

I smiled. “Niall is a real sweetie. I’m pretty positive he’s my new best friend.”

“Yeah, I noticed you two getting rather chummy,” Harry chuckled as we walked up to pay for the candy. “Do you….fancy him?”

I smirked. “Why, are you jealous, Harry Styles?”

He hung the bag stuffed with candy from his wrist and shoved his hands into the pockets of his sweat pants which were doubling as pajamas, and we started back for Lena’s flat. He shivered a little and I sent him a sympathetic glance, but he bucked up and acted like the chill didn’t faze him. Finally, he spoke again. “I’m not gonna lie, Natalia. I think you’re gorgeous. I’m interested in you. I made that clear, even if I was a bit brazen in doing so. But it’s completely up to you what you do with that information.”

I nodded thoughtfully and took in a moment of silence before saying, “I’ll think about it. Does that sound reasonable?”

He cracked a grin, which was nice because he’d seemed oddly solemn during our little outing. “I think I can deal with that.”

I linked my arm through his, attempting to both keep him a bit warmer and keep the cute smile gracing his features. He seemed to lean into my warmth as we made our way back up to the flat. Before I opened the door, I turned and faced Harry. “Lean down a little,” I whispered.

Harry, who bit his lip and looked somewhat expectant, obeyed. I stood on my tip toes and brushed my lips across his cheek lightly. I wasn’t sure if it was that or the brisk air that had his cheeks tinted pink. As I turned to open the door, he stopped me, putting his hands on my shoulders and turning me to face him again. He leaned in close. “Come on, Natalia, I think you can do better than that,” he whispered, his eyes glued to my lips.

My eyes flickered from his brown eyes to those full, candy-colored lips of his. I swallowed hard. I hadn’t known him long enough to have feelings for him, but right then, in that moment, I wanted to kiss Harry Styles more than I’ve ever wanted to kiss anyone. “I’ve only known you for a few hours, Harry. Just….give it a little time. See how things play out. I don’t want to start something tonight that I may not want to pick up and finish tomorrow.”

Harry’s face stayed in close proximity to mine for another few seconds before he pulled away with a short, curt nod. “Just don’t blow me off.”

I swallowed; I think I was trying to push down the rising attraction I was feeling for Harry. He really was quite attractive, with his adorable brown curls and shiny green eyes. “I wouldn't dream of it,” I swore. Then I turned, took a deep breath, and we walked into the flat.

“We come bearing candy!” Harry shouted in his best –and deepest- American, knight-in-shining-armor-esque voice.

Now, I’m certainly a klutz, but the number of times I tripped while simply trying to get the candy dispersed from the bag to its rightful owner is truly ridiculous. I had let Harry Styles get inside my head. And he’d affected me.

I sat on the couch, finally, between Niall and Harry. A large blanket covered both Harry and I. As the movie started –we’d picked Cabin in the Woods since we were all feeling the horror vibe- I snuggled into the side of Niall’s chest. He was my new best friend, after all. I felt like I’d known the kid forever. We just clicked. In a platonic way, and that was okay. But a few minutes in, I could feel Harry shivering, like he was still chilled from the walk to and from the convenience store.

“Are you okay?” I whispered over to him.

He glanced at me momentarily, gave a small shrug, and went back to the movie.

I sighed. “Here, take more of the blanket,” I offered, but he paid me no heed.

I huffed and turned to Niall. “Why is he being difficult?”

He shrugged. “Did something happen?”

I gave him a quick recap of the walk back to the flat.

“Ah, he’s probably just nursing his bruised ego. You didn’t exactly reject him, but you didn’t accept him right away, either. Why don’t you get off my arm and onto his? That’ll improve his mood.”

I wrinkled my nose. “If you say so, I guess….” So I wriggled out of Niall’s warm, comfortable hold in favor of cuddling up to Harry. I waited for him to take the hint and put his arm around me, and thankfully, he did so pretty quickly. Through the thin pink fabric of my penguin pajamas –penguins on skis, in case you were wondering like I know you were because you obviously love penguins as much as I do, because who doesn’t?- I could feel his warmth and the slight rise and fall of his chest.

“What are you doing?” he breathed into my hair.

“Keeping you warm,” I informed him.

-----------

I woke myself up with my own –rather unattractive- snoring in the early hours of the following morning. I was still resting against Harry, but I’d managed to slip down to about his rib cage. I looked up at him and smiled. He looked so sweet and peaceful when he was asleep. More harmless than when he was awake.

I snuggled in close to Harry, tucked my legs up underneath me, and was asleep again in seconds.

-----------

When I woke up again, it was to the gentle urging of Harry. “Hey Nat, it’s morning, love.”

I cracked open one eye and studied him. Then I groaned in the most unattractive way and rolled away from him. I was still sort of floating in and out of consciousness, but that didn’t stop Harry from picking me up and throwing me over this shoulder.

“Nice bum,” he noted, then gave it a good smack, eliciting a yelp from me. He set me down by the counter in the kitchen and I glanced around, watching Lena and the other boys running around and laughing, throwing food at each other.

“What’s going on?” I yawned groggily.

“We’re making a huge breakfast. Lots of pastries, eggs, bacon and sausage. Fresh Orange juice, and Lena went and bought some milk and apple juice. We’re getting fat, Nat,” Harry explained.

I giggled at his rhyme. “How did all this noise and rowdiness not wake me up?” I wondered.

“You sleep like the dead, perhaps?” he offered unhelpfully.

“Gee, thanks,” I grumbled.

“Nat! Yer awake!” Niall cried, his face –which was covered in flour- lighting up.

Everyone turned and peered at my sleepy –and probably very messy- state. With bleary eyes, I stuck up a hand and gave a small wave. Then I was met with smiles and my name said with several echoes.

“Come scramble the eggs, cousin!” Lena cried dramatically.

I laughed and twisted passed Harry, heading for the stove top. Lena moved out of my way and began retrieving plates and silverware, while I started working my culinary magic. Harry came and leaned back against the counter beside me. “So Nat, I’ve been meaning to ask, what made you move to London?” he asked curiously.

I shrugged. “Lena moved here for college, and she loves it. She got here two years ago when we were 18. She finally just convinced me I’d fit in better here than back at home in the miniscule town we come from. So she agreed to let me move in. Makes financial matters easier, and since she’ll be traveling with y’all a lot, it’s probably helpful to have me here to watch the flat.”

I could feel Harry’s eyes studying me intensely. “What if I asked you to come with us?” he asked, his words rapid like he was afraid to say them out loud.

I was stunned. “Isn’t that a little forward? Hazza, we only met yesterday.”

He threw his hands out in front of him in exasperation. “But it feels like it’s been longer!”

I frowned. “It’s lust. You’re thinking with the wrong head.”

He shot me a look. “I—“ then he thought better than to deny it. “Only a little,” he amended. “I really am interested in you and want to give this a shot.”

“And it’d be hard to give it a shot with you always on the road and us never seeing each other,” I sighed. “I see your point. But is there not a better way to go about this?”

“Are you agreeing to give me a shot?” he asked excitedly, his face lighting up happily.

I bit my lip and noticed out of the corner of my eye how everyone had stopped and was watching us. I turned to them all. “Quit eavesdropping! Go back to your food making and throwing!” I snapped before turning back to Harry. I sighed. “Harry….you’re not as bad as I thought when we first met. You’ve laid off the ridiculously flirty comments, you haven’t thrown yourself at me, you turned out to actually be quite nice and pleasant to be around. You aren’t a bad guy. I’ll even go so far as to say that I’m interested in you, too. But—“

“Stop saying but, Natalia Hewlitt, and listen to me. Plenty of people meet once and decide they’re interested enough to try a few dates. So why can’t we?” Harry interrupted.

“Because your schedule doesn’t allow for that!”

And that’s when everyone else decided to butt into the situation.

“Just give him a chance, mate,” Louis tried to reason. “Is he really such a bad guy?”

I crossed my arms over my chest and turned to face the rest of the guys. “I never said he was a bad guy. In fact, I just said he was a better guy than I originally thought. But I’ve known him for less than a fay, and now he’s asking me on tour with you. That’s really jumping the gun, and you all know it. Even you, Harry,” I said, turning back to him. I gave him a quick once over, from his curly mop to his toes. Yeah, I was attracted to him. And no, he wasn’t as bad as I thought. And if I was being honest, I’d loved being curled up to him the night before, and a part of me did want to give him a chance. But a bigger part of me didn’t see how it’d work.

“How would it work?” I asked him. “How do I know that if I dive head first into this, it’ll be worth it?”

“You don’t. You have no way of knowing. But that’s part of life, mate,” Liam spoke up.

“Don’t you think, if it turns out well with you two, that it’d be worth diving for?” Zayn asked.

Lena gently turned me around to look at her. “This is about him, isn’t it? Your ex.”

My eyes burned into hers. How could Lena bring that up? And in front of five guys who, at least to me, famous or not, were complete strangers?

“Ex?” a few of the guys questioned.

“It’s got nothing to do with him,” I snapped at Lena. “Stop telling me that he made this screwed up mess,” I told her, gesturing at myself.

“I don’t think that’s true,” she informed me, fixing me with a disapproving glare. “I think that because things didn’t work out with him like you thought they would, because after two years and a future planned together and he dropped you out of nowhere, I think it makes you afraid to jump back in again.” She artfully ignored the comment about me being a screwed up mess.

“Haven’t I said that it’s got nothing to do with that? But being asked to go on tour with them the day after I meet them? That. Is. Too. Fast.”

Zayn nodded. “She’s right about that, though, mate. It is a little rushed.”

Harry hung his head in defeat. “Yeah, okay. So that was stupid of me. But seriously, Natalia, why can’t we just figure out how to make this work?”

I sighed and looked at Harry. “When do you guys go back on tour?”

He looked at the other guys. “In about a month and a half,” Niall spoke up.

I looked at Harry like he was stupid. “You’re an idiot, Harry. That’s plenty of time for a few dates. And then, if I feel like things are going well enough, then when you guys go back on tour, I’ll join you. But,” I emphasized this to make sure he heard that he wasn’t entirely getting his way, “not constantly. A few weeks at a time, maybe. We’ll have to see how things go.”

Harry looked down at me with sheer excitement in his eyes. “Then you’ll go out with me tonight? Just the two of us?” he added, looking pointedly at everyone else in the room.

I smiled up at him. “Yeah, yeah, I think I can manage that,” I agreed.

Harry stepped in front of me to shield me from the view of the others, then leaned down and gently started applying pressure to my lips with his own. And what a kiss it was. His lips were soft and he tasted like apples.

With a few obvious snickers coming from behind us, we pulled away. We all finally moved away from the topic of me and Harry, and back to the task at hand: finishing breakfast.

We ate like the bunch of pigs we all are, laughing and joking and having a great time. Just as we were all getting up with our plates to start cleaning up, Harry rested his hand on my lower back and leaned down toward my ear. He whispered a few words crafted to knock me off my feet.

“I know we only met, but let’s pretend it’s love.”

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