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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7. Seven

“Who’s hungry?” Harry said as he pulled a stack of plates out of a kitchen cupboard. While everyone sat around socially, Harry had filled the kitchen with a wonderful smell that made their mouths water.

 

“Me!” Niall said, jumping out of his chair and inspecting Harry’s dish sitting atop the stove. All the boys simultaneously stood up and grabbed a plate each. Elle followed behind them.

 

“Yes, Harry, you’re a champ!” Niall said as he chewed something he had picked out of the large frying pan.

 

“Hey!” Harry snapped as he slapped Niall on the shoulder with a wooden spoon he was about to use. “Do you have any patience when you’re around food?” Harry asked sarcastically.

 

“Unlikely,” Zayn pitched in. Niall gave a cheeky grin before passing his plate to Harry.

 

“Ladies first.” Harry said, ignoring Niall and motioning for Elle.
“That’s why Niall is giving you his plate.” Liam joked, and Elle laughed as she squeezed through the boys.

 

“I’ll take yeh’!” Niall looked at Liam warningly, though a smile tugged at his lips.

 

“I hope you’re hungry.” Harry smiled as he filled Elle’s plate with rice and chicken stir fry.

 

“I’m starved! All I’ve had today is three coffees to keep me awake.” Elle said, realising just how hungry she was.

 

“And you called me a caffeine addict?” Liam asked, feigning hurt.

 

“I usually don’t drink that much coffee. If I didn’t I think I would have been dead on my feet.” Elle quickly excused herself from Liam’s teasing accusation.

 

“Why are you so tired?” Harry asked as he passed her full plate back to her and directed her back to the bench.

 

“Because I stayed up so late unpacking and fell asleep on the couch again.” Elle explained once more, and all the boys seemed to understand as they nodded. Liam must have explained her situation to them a little further when she was in the shower.

 

“Back of the line, Niall. You can get everyone drinks while you wait.” Harry ordered Niall who seemed seriously eager to eat the food that awaited him. With a sigh, Niall did as he was told. He pulled out second beers for everybody, fixed Liam another glass of water, and sat half a glass of red wine in front of Elle. Elle looked up at him questioningly.

 

“You said you’d have one with dinner.” He explained, as he had remembered Elle’s words from earlier. Elle gave him a cheeky smile.

 

“Thank you,” She said, raising her glass to him before taking a sip.

 

The six of them sat at the bench and talked away animatedly while they enjoyed Harry’s cooking. Most of the boys went back for seconds, and for the first time that day Elle felt incredibly content. As soon as the current topic of conversation dwindled, the boys all began to tidy up. Elle quickly joined in, carrying her plate across to the dishwasher.

 

“Here, let me do that.” Zayn offered, taking the plate from Elle and cleaning up himself. Elle attempted to assist in tidying up in any way, but was swiftly pushed out of the kitchen by Niall.

 

“You’re our guest; you’re obliged to not help.” He said with a smile.

 

“I’m a pretty sloppy guest then, aren’t I?” Elle replied as she stood at the end of the kitchen pointlessly.

 

“Far from it, love.” Louis told her. Within ten minutes the boys had the kitchen returned to its previously spotless state and had moved into the lounge room. Elle had secured a spot on the lounge in the corner. Everyone was having small conversations amongst themselves while Louis flipped through the channels on their huge T.V.

 

“Hey!” Louis suddenly shouted, sitting up straighter. Everyone looked up to the T.V to see he had found a music channel and none other than One Direction’s ‘One Thing’ was on.

 

“So, get out, get out, get out of my head! And fall into my arms instead!” He shouted, turning up the volume. As the boys found it entirely amusing they all begin singing, though it was more like shouting, along with themselves on T.V and flailing their arms around dramatically as though it was meant to be extremely heartfelt. Stunned for a moment, Elle glanced back and forth between One Direction on the screen and the real life One Direction sitting before her, hardly believing her eyes. There was no way this could be happening. Suddenly Niall, who had been sitting next to Elle, stood up and dragged her with him. He held her hands and started jumping around and dancing, leading Elle along, and finally she laughed and started singing the words too. All the other boys joined in, but before long the song came to an end and all of them collapsed back onto the lounge.

 

“I’m not going to lie; I think that was the weirdest thing I have ever seen in my whole life.” Elle laughed, breathless. All the boys laughed with her.

 

“Nothing’s weirder than seeing yourself on T.V, love.” Louis said as though he still wasn’t used to it.

 

“An’ he’s not joking.” Niall added in the same manner.

 

“I just saw you on TV and in real life at the same time.” Elle competed with a grin. Niall and Louis looked at each other and shrugged.

 

“She’s got a point.” Louis confirmed and Elle laughed victoriously.

 

“Am I allowed to ask about your song writing, or aren’t you allowed to give anything away to your ‘fans’?” Elle asked, air quoting ‘fans’.

 

“I think it’s safe to call you a friend now, whether you’re a fan or not.” Harry said.

 

“Why, what do you want to know?” Zayn asked with a grin, narrowing his eyes as though he had entered stealth mode.

 

“I was just going to ask if you’re going to release another album.” Elle said, settling back into her claimed corner of the lounge once more.

 

“That’s actually why we’re here,” Liam said, resting with his arms behind his head. Elle looked at him in confusion.

 

“Wait... you don’t live here?” She asked.

 

“I wish we did.” Louis said, suddenly spreading out across the couch and invading Niall’s and Zayn’s personal space as though he was soaking up the comfort the lounge offered.

 

“We’ve only been here for about a week as well.” Harry said.

 

“Really?” Elle prompted the boys.

 

“We all have our own flats around London, where we really live.” Liam began to explain.

 

“Except Harry and I, because we share.” Louis quickly added.

 

“But for the moment our managers, producers and whoever else, you name it, had us move into this place for the next couple of months to work on our next album.” Liam said.

 

“Ah, ok...” Elle said, as everything she had learned this past day had slowly fallen into place.

 

“But really we’ve just been chilling out since we’ve got here, because this place is awesome.” Zayn said, finally getting up and moving away from Louis.

 

“Yeah, when the sun’s out.” Harry said, rolling his eyes. Elle raised an eyebrow in his direction and he noticed. “There’s a huge pool out the back.” Harry quickly justified.

 

“Oh, you haven’t seen the pool!” Louis sat up again.

 

“You haven’t really seen any of this place, besides the kitchen and the bathroom.” Liam said, also sitting up.

 

“Where on earth is our hospitality?” Harry sighed dismissively.

 

“Come on, I’ll give you a tour.” Niall said, standing up and offering Elle a hand up from her comfortable spot. “Better late than never.” He smiled as he hoisted Elle up.

 

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