By Chance

‘“Elle,” Niall smiled. “It’s a pleasure to meet yeh’.” He said, shaking Elle’s hand gently. Elle recognised the twang that was evident in the way he spoke to be an Irish accent. She caught his bright blue eyes in her own and felt somehow that Niall was also familiar to her.’
Elle has lived in central London for a little over a week with just one key to her flat. One afternoon she bumps into somebody in the street, losing her only key down the drain. The stranger, somehow familiar, convinces her to stay the night at his place where she meets his flatmates, who are also familiar to her. They are generous, humorous and very welcoming, and it doesn’t take long for Elle to recall who they really are. From there laughter, talent, friendship, romance and careers ensue, all by chance.

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5. Five

Liam led Elle up the wide flight of marble stairs to the top floor and showed her to a bathroom.

 

“Here you are. I’m sure you’ll appreciate this, the showers here are amazing.” Liam smiled as he turned the lights on to reveal an enormous bathroom made of sandy stones.

 

“I’m looking forward to it,” Elle smiled as she admired the spacious room.

 

“I’ll send someone up with some dry clothes for you.” Liam said as he left to go downstairs again.

 

“Thanks, Liam.” Elle said as she closed the door behind him. Without hesitating she peeled off her cold and thoroughly wet clothes and stepped straight into the shower, drawing the sandy coloured curtain across. Elle was most definitely impressed. The shower itself was nearly as big as her entire bathroom, and the shower head was as big as a dinner plate.

 

As she let the hot water stream over her body and regained the feeling in her toes, her mind wandered to the five boys downstairs. Remembering each of their faces, she had definitely seen them somewhere before. With her mind set on that fact, she still couldn’t recall ever coming across them since moving, other than Liam of course. Liam, Harry, Louis, Zayn and Niall... She thought, desperately trying to remember them from anywhere. Then she thought about this mansion they were all living in together. This mansion was unbelievably big and very modern, and she tried guessing how much it would cost them. They were all so young, but they must be so rich to afford such luxury. Not to mention the security gate.

 

Elle was suddenly jolted from her thoughts as there was knocking on the bathroom door.

 

“Yes?” She called out uneasily.

 

“Hi, sorry,” An Irish voice said and Elle gasped as she realised the voice was in the room.

 

“I just brought up some dry clothes for you.” He said.

 

“Oh,” Elle sounded surprised. It was Niall. She consciously covered herself with her hands, even when she knew the curtain was not transparent.

 

“I’ll just leave them here next to the sink.” Niall said.

 

“Thanks, Niall. Uh, I’ll be out in a minute.” Elle said uncertainly.

 

“No worries.” Niall said, and Elle heard the door close. She let out a deep breath that she hadn’t realised she’d been holding and ran her fingers through her hair one last time before she turned the water off. She made sure to peek around the curtain before stepping out, even though she knew nobody would be there. It was just such a large place that held five attractive young men who clearly had a spot in high class society, and Elle had unwillingly been roped into coming to stay, and she felt vulnerable. Not to mention embarrassed. She didn’t know any of these boys, she was overtired and even a little bit confused with the feeling that she had seen not just one, but all of them somewhere before.

 

Feeling more than muddled, Elle dried herself off and found the clothes Niall had left for her. They must be his if he was the one who came to lend them to her. He left navy track pants and a large grey hoodie, all of which was much too baggy on Elle. Seeing herself in the mirror with rosy cheeks, watery blue eyes and long tendrils of wet blonde hair stuck to her face, she still felt the same amount of embarrassment as before knowing she would spend the night here looking the way she did. She wouldn’t even dream of complaining, however, because they were all very nice and welcoming boys who had invited her into their home all in good nature.

 

Elle gathered up her wet work clothes in her arms and left the bathroom. She looked up and down the wide hallway to see just how many rooms there were. She nearly felt as though she was standing in a hotel with the identical doors and chandeliers decorating the roof. She then quietly made her way back down the marble stairs, her bare feet slapping as she went, and entered the kitchen to see all five boys sitting very casually in the lounge room. The lounge room consisted of one large, black horseshoe shaped lounge with a glass coffee table in the centre and a ridiculously big flat screen mounted on the wall opposite. Louis and Liam were sitting on the far side of the lounge which faced the kitchen and were able to see Elle.

 

“Feel better?” Liam asked as both boys stood up at the same time.

 

“Much better, thank you.” Elle smiled kindly as they made their way over. She noticed the other three boys twist around on the lounge to see her. It was right then in that moment, as she saw all five boys in a row, that she thought she may have just remembered where she had seen them all before.

 

“Are you working again tomorrow?” Liam asked as he reached Elle.

 

“Yeah, I was just wondering if I could hang these up somewhere to dry so I could wear them again.” She said, motioning to the wet pile of clothes she was cradling.

 

“Here, I’ll put them in the wash for you.” Louis said, taking them from her and leaving the room before she could begin to protest.

 

“Oh no, really, I...” She began to try to insist that was too much trouble, but Louis was already gone.

 

“You wouldn’t want to go to work in dirty clothes, would you?” Liam asked, already knowing the answer as he smiled. Elle returned the gesture.

 

“Thanks for the spare clothes, too,” Elle said, looking down at her oversized clothes.

 

“You’ll have to give credit to Niall for that one. He’s the smallest of us all, so we thought they’d fit best. Clearly we were wrong...” Liam said as he pulled out Elle’s limp jumper to its regular fitting size. Elle and Niall shared a shy, but understanding, smile across the room.

 

“I really can’t thank you enough for letting me stay tonight, I really hope I’m not intruding, or-” Elle began, turning back to Liam.

 

“Don’t be silly! I owe you at least this much, I really can’t stress enough how sorry I am.” Liam interrupted her.

 

“I forgave you a while ago now,” Elle reminded him, laughing.

 

“It doesn’t mean I won’t stop being sorry. I still can’t believe that happened,” Liam replied, rolling his eyes at the memory of their earlier incident.

 

“It’s alright, honestly.” Elle smiled.

 

“Friends?” Liam asked with open arms.

 

“Friends.” Elle grinned, opening her arms to be engulfed in a tight hug from Liam.

 

“Sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry-” Liam began to chant very quickly before being interrupted by Louis.

 

“Isn’t forgiveness such a great thing?” He attempted to sound philosophical as he joined in hugging both Elle and Liam. Laughter was heard coming from the lounge room as Harry entered the kitchen, clapping his hands.

 

“Alright, take your hugging elsewhere. The kitchen is Harry’s zone now.” Harry said, pushing Liam, Louis and Elle to the edge of the kitchen and opening the fridge.

 

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