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.


9. Nine

Elle was both physically and mentally exhausted. It had been a very long and eventful day, and being comfortably curled up on the lounge underneath a blanket, she soon fell asleep about halfway through the movie the boys had chosen to watch. Without stirring once, and despite sleeping on a lounge for the second night in a row, Elle woke up the next morning feeling completely refreshed. She made to sit up but didn’t quite recognise her surroundings immediately. Her eyes strayed over the sleeping bodies beside her, and it was then that all her memories from the previous day rushed back to her. She recognised the boys straight away, and being hardly delirious as she was the day before, was finding it truly hard to believe the circumstances.


There was a boy fast asleep right next to her; Niall. His head rested not far from where Elle laid and she watched his face carefully as she tried to get up from the lounge without disturbing him. He looked very at peace as his chest rose and fell slowly and evenly. Elle took this moment to notice him properly. His skin appeared smooth and pale, except for the slight pinkness of his cheeks. His blonde hair looked soft and complimented his complexion, and Elle found herself wishing she could see his eyes to complete her picture of him.


“Good morning.” Elle heard a voice from the kitchen once she had successfully gotten past Niall who continued to sleep, undisturbed. She quickly looked across the room to see Liam sitting at the kitchen bench by himself with a piece of toast in his hand. Elle hadn’t even noticed that one of the boys had been missing.


“Morning,” Elle replied as soon as she left the lounge room.


“Sorry we had you sleep on the couch,” Liam apologised.


“That’s alright, I actually slept really well.” Elle reassured him.


“It’s quite comfortable, isn’t it? That movie went for much longer than we thought it would. We all ended up sleeping on the couch.” Liam informed her.


“Did you see the end?” Elle asked as she glanced back to the TV.


“No, I don’t think anyone did. It was all still on when I woke up this morning.” Liam laughed. “Can I get you some breakfast?” He offered.


“I can get it, it’s alright.” Elle insisted with a smile. “Just tell me where everything is.” She quickly added as she walked into the kitchen. Liam directed her as she fixed herself some toast. By the time she settled herself at the bench next to Liam, Niall, Louis and Zayn all woke up simultaneously. They all made their way over to the kitchen and made themselves breakfast before joining Liam and Elle.


“That is the biggest bowl of cereal I have ever seen.” Elle said as Niall took the seat beside her. She was quickly learning about Niall’s big appetite.


“It’s good stuff.” He defended with a mouthful of cereal.


“In case you haven’t noticed, Niall loves his food.” Zayn said, motioning to Niall with a glass of orange juice.


“I can see that.” Elle said, taking another bite of her toast as everyone watched Niall. He shrugged defensively and cradled his large bowl, causing them to all laugh.


“Should we wake Harry up?” Elle asked as she noticed he was still fast asleep.


“Harry’s not really a morning person.” Louis cringed.


“He’s speaking from experience, too.” Niall said with another mouthful. “We all are.”


“All the more fun,” Elle smiled deviously as she glanced at all the boys. “May I have the pleasure?” She asked.


“He’s all yours.” Louis said with a smile.


“Don’t say we didn’t warn you.” Zayn gave a laugh as Elle hopped down from her stool and walked into the lounge room. She looked over Harry’s sleeping figure, anticipating how she should kindly wake him up. She decided ripping off his blanket would be the best option, and so that’s exactly what she did. Harry took a deep breath and let out a strangled noise as the cool air overcame his body. Rolling over he looked to see who his adversary had become this morning. He was more than surprised to see Elle standing there with his blanket clutched to her chest.


“What?” He managed to croak in confusion.


“Morning, Harry.” Elle smiled mischievously.


“Did they put you up to this?” Harry asked, rubbing one of his eyes as he glanced over to his band mates sitting in the kitchen.


“It was all her, mate.” Liam said with a smile that was much too cheery for this time of day according to Harry.


“We did warn her.” Zayn reinforced.


“Well, then...” Harry said as he sat up and ruffled his hair. Elle took a step backwards in anticipation.


“I do hope you know that if there’s one thing I hate, it’s being woken up.” Harry said slyly. “And punishment will have to be given.” He said as he finally stood up. They boys sitting in the kitchen began to laugh at Harry’s corniness. Elle flashed a bright smile at Harry before throwing his blanket back to him and retreating very quickly. Dropping the blanket on the lounge, Harry began to follow her. Elle glanced behind her, and when she saw Harry’s gaze set on her, she gave a startled laugh and began to run with Harry in hot pursuit.


“Deal with the consequences, Elle!” Harry said as he chased her through the entrance hall and through the room with the piano.


“Never!” Elle shouted back without turning around. She had hardly made it into the kitchen once more as Harry’s hands quickly found their way around Elle’s waist, and she let out a scream of laughter. Harry picked her up, her feet dangling inches off the floor, and carried her back into the lounge room.


“Help, please!” She begged the boys who sat back and laughed at the pair, Niall nearly choking on his cereal at her amusing despair. Harry dropped her onto the couch and bent down to begin tickling her sides furiously.


“Are you ticklish?” Harry asked in an intimidating manner.


“No.” Elle said very harshly despite the smile tugging at the corner of her mouth.


“I don’t believe you.” Harry said as he tickled her even more and Elle couldn’t hold it in any longer. She began wriggling about and no matter what she did she couldn’t squirm away from him. She began laughing and screaming and shouting for help again, but the boys simply watched on in amusement. 


“Do you give up?” Harry teased her.


“Yes! Yes!” Elle cried, tears streaming from her eyes with laughter as Harry finally ceased tickling her.


“Now you know why you should never ever wake me up.” Harry said triumphantly as he left for the kitchen. Elle got up, out of breath and followed him, wiping the tears from her face.


“And now you know why you should listen to us when we warn you.” Zayn said, raising his eyebrows at Elle. Harry took a seat on a stool and slumped onto the bench.


“Too much exercise for one morning.” Harry’s muffled voice was heard.


“Aw, poor Harry,” Louis said as he began rubbing his back.


“You shouldn’t have chased me then.” Elle said, resuming her position in between Liam and Niall.


“You shouldn’t have run in the first place.” Harry retorted.


“You should have woken up sooner.” Elle quickly defended with a cheeky smile. Harry gave a sigh.


“I give up.” He moaned, not once lifting his head. At that moment Elle found herself glancing at the kitchen clock and she let out a gasp. It was a quarter to eight.


“What’s the matter?” Niall asked as he was the only one to hear her.


“I have to be at work by eight!” Elle exclaimed as she hopped down from her stool again and all the boys glanced at the clock before they too made a move.


“I’ll go fetch your clothes.” Louis said as he quickly left the kitchen.


“Would you like a toothbrush?” Liam asked. “I think we have spare ones upstairs.”
“That would be great,” Elle said and Liam left to get her one. She quickly made her way to the downstairs bathroom and checked herself in the mirror. She could get by one day without any makeup. She didn’t have a choice in the matter anyway. She began finger combing her hair as Louis walked past the door, saw her, and came back with her clothes.


“Thank you so much, Louis!” Elle said as she took her freshly washed and folded uniform from him.


“No problem, love.” He smiled before leaving her to get changed. She changed very quickly and folded up Niall’s clothes neatly before loosely tying up her knotted blonde hair as someone knocked on the door.


“I have a toothbrush for you.” Liam’s voice was heard on the other side of the door. Elle quickly opened it to have Liam holding a new toothbrush and a half empty tube of toothpaste for her.


“Thanks, Liam.” She smiled, moving back to the bathroom sink and messily brushing her teeth as she rushed. When she was as ready as she could be she walked back out into the kitchen to see the clock. It was now five to eight.


“I’m going to have to really get a move on guys, I’m going to be late.” Elle said as she began walking to the front door.


“Hang on, I can drive you!” Harry’s voice suddenly called. Elle stopped in the entrance hall to slip her shoes back on as Harry came running down the stairs in fresh clothes. The rest of the boys had followed her from the kitchen.


“What, no goodbye?” Louis said with a pout. Elle gave him a smile as she picked up her bag and stood up straight.


“Um... Well I haven’t exactly figured out how I can get back into my flat just yet. I was kind of hoping-” Elle began to say.


“We’ll see you tonight, then.” Liam interrupted her before she went any further and a wide smile spread across her face.


“Really? Thank you so, so much!” Elle said, extremely grateful for Liam’s generosity.


“Goodbye for now?” Louis asked, still pouting, but with open arms this time. Elle laughed and walked up to give him the hug he was asking for.


“Bye, Louis.” She said as he let her go. Zayn stood next to Louis awaiting his turn with open arms as well.


“Bye, Zayn.” Elle said as she gave Zayn a hug.


“See you tonight.” He said as they parted. Liam stood next in line, and Elle realised that she was going to end up hugging each of them.


“Bye, Liam. Thank you so much for looking after me.” Elle said graciously as they hugged.


“I owe it, remember?” Liam reminded her.


“Are you saying you wouldn’t look after her if you didn’t owe it?” Louis asked pointedly.


“I think that’s exactly what he’s saying.” Harry sided with Louis as Liam stood defenceless. In the mean time Elle had moved onto Niall.


“Bye, Niall.” She smiled as he engulfed her in a tight hug.


“Bye, Elle.” Niall said, holding on for a fraction longer than the rest of the boys which didn’t go unnoticed by any of them. “Have a good day.” He smiled as he finally let go.


“I will.” She smiled as she turned to leave with Harry.


“You’re not going to run us off the road after this morning, are you?” Elle asked sarcastically as Harry opened the front door.


“Don’t worry, I got my revenge. You’re safe.” He said with a cheeky grin.


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