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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10. Ten

“Any time now, it’s this one on the corner.” Elle instructed Harry who had kindly driven her to work that morning.

 

“Hence ‘The Corner Bakery’, right?” Harry said as he read the sign.

 

“Right.” Elle smiled at Harry’s obviousness. Harry pulled up alongside the rear ends of the cars that had already occupied all the available car parks.

 

“Thank you, Harry. I really appreciate it.” Elle thanked him as she opened the passenger door to exit his small, black and incredibly flash car.

 

“Wait, Elle.” Harry grasped Elle’s attention as she turned to see him before she got out. “What time do you finish today?”

 

“It’s Friday, isn’t it?” Elle asked and Harry nodded in response. “I always finish at five, but on Fridays Nat usually lets me go at around four, half past maybe.” She answered him.

 

“Here, I’ll give you my number and you can send me a message to let me know when you’re being let off. I’ll come and pick you up.” Harry said, entering his number into Elle’s phone.

 

“Thanks, Harry. See you this afternoon.” Elle smiled as she got out of his car with her phone. He drove off as soon as Elle was inside the small cafe.

 

“You don’t see a car like that every day.” Nat said, replacing her usual friendly greeting as Elle put on her black apron. “Who does it belong to?” She asked, the rest of the day’s employees listening in for answers as well.

 

“A friend of mine.” Elle said as she tried to resume her usual position at the coffee machine.

 

“A boy friend of yours?” Nat hinted, nudging Elle who narrowed her eyes at her.

 

“A friend that happens to be a boy, yes.” Elle confirmed.

 

“If you say so.” Nat gave a smile that said she thought there must be more to it. She stood very closely next to Elle and whispered in her ear so nobody else could hear, “I want all the details later on.” Nat was in her thirties and was quite sassy. Elle got on very well with her, and if she had to choose, Nat was her best friend she had in the city despite their age difference and their position at work. Elle gave Nat a promising smile as she finally let her be at the coffee machine, contemplating what she should tell her, if anything.

 

As Elle worked away, she remembered everything from running into Liam and losing her key to waking up on the lounge this morning. She remembered each boy, how they looked, and as much of their personality that she had discovered in one night. Thinking back over the short time she spent with them, she realised just how nicely they had treated her. They were honest, genuine and incredibly friendly towards her. For people who were incredibly famous worldwide, they were really down to earth. She was beyond grateful that they so willingly invited her to stay for the second night.

 

To Elle, as she had met them personally, they definitely fitted into the friends category rather than the celebrity category. It must have been an instant result of not exactly recognising them first up. As confused as she had been, she was glad it happened that way. She had met five lovely people who just happened to be famous, rather than meeting five famous people who she had befriended. And she couldn’t wait to see them again.

 

As the next couple of orders came in Elle tried to concentrate on making fabulous coffees that the customers would compare other places to. The same way Liam had. Elle found herself smiling as she remembered what he had said about her coffees and quickly made an effort to stop. Her mind wandered back to Niall’s tour of the house. She remembered following him around and how he was eager to show her the pool. Stop smiling. When she woke Harry up and he chased her to tickle her as punishment. Stop smiling. How Niall was impressed by her piano playing. Stop smiling. How Zayn had warned her about waking Harry. Stop smiling. How Louis had washed her clothes. Stop smiling. How Niall had lent her his clothes. Stop smiling. How Niall had hugged her tightly and wished her a good day at work.

 

“Are the coffees smiling back?” Nat interrupted Elle who had gotten carried away in her thoughts.

 

“Not yet,” Elle continued smiling at Nat’s humour.

 

“It’s that boy, isn’t it?” Nat said as she polished a mug with a stain on it.

 

“What?” Elle asked, not entirely listening.

 

“I knew it. Just don’t get the orders mixed up.” Nat said, bumping Elle’s hip with her own before leaving again. Without getting any time to respond, Elle shook her head, trying to clear her mind from her thoughts.

 

Unfortunately for Elle the day did not fly by the way she hoped it would. She spent all day glancing at the clock that was going so slowly that she even considered replacing the batteries in it, though she knew that the more she looked the slower time would pass. She had analysed nearly every aspect of her chance meeting with the boys. She had pinned it to the point that she wouldn’t have ever met them if her key had not gotten caught on the spoke of her umbrella. She would never have met them if her key had landed anywhere else but in the gutter. If she had run into anybody else in the whole of London other than Liam. How lucky she truly was.

 

With her train of thought running like this all day long, she felt as though she was never going to be let off work. It was another busy day where she hadn’t gotten a lunchbreak and it was now a quarter to five. She was struggling to fight the rumbling in her stomach no matter how many coffees she had that day, not that she would admit that to Liam. She had just finished the last standing coffee order at that point in time when Nat came up behind her.

 

“It’s only going to quieten down from now, you can go.” She said to Elle, suspecting that she would be meeting up with the boy with the car. Almost immediately Elle had her apron hanging up on the hook and her bag on her shoulder.

 

“See you on Sunday! Thanks Nat.” Elle said excitedly. She pulled her phone from her bag and scrolled through her contacts looking for Harry. She quickly sent him a message to say she had just gotten off work and it didn’t take long for him to reply that he was on his way. Elle stood outside the cafe’s entrance for no more than a few minutes before she saw Harry’s expensive looking car drive down the street and parked in the same place he did that morning. It wasn’t a long drive considering the big white mansion was a mere two blocks away.

 

“Hello,” Harry greeted Elle as she slid into the passenger seat.

 

“Hi, Harry,” She greeted with a smile as she put her seatbelt on.

 

“How was your day? Busy?” Harry asked as he turned the car around to drive back down the street.

 

“Yes, I didn’t even get a lunchbreak in.” Elle replied.

 

“You must be starving then! We’ll cook dinner as soon as we’re home.” Harry said with a smile, glancing in Elle’s direction.

 

“Thanks, Harry. How was your day? What did everyone get up to?” Elle asked him.

 

“Not a lot of song writing, I can tell you that much.” Harry gave a laugh.

 

“Not even Niall?” Elle smiled, knowing full well that he was trying to write a song.

 

“Not even Niall.” Harry shook his head, unaware of Niall’s efforts. “You know, there was a lot of talk about you today.” He said, glancing at Elle once more to see her reaction.

 

“There was?” Elle repeated nervously as she stopped fidgeting to listen to Harry. He nodded.

 

“What time does Elle get off work? When’s she coming back? Is it five yet? Can we keep her?” Harry mimicked the other boys as they drove down Elle’s street. She laughed and covered her mouth with one of her hands as she found Harry’s poor impressions more than entertaining.

 

“You’re joking,” She managed to say between laughing, heat creeping into her cheeks.

 

“I’m not even,” Harry cracked a grin. “Are you blushing?” He asked rather suddenly, keeping his eyes off the road longer than he should have.

 

“When you hear a member of One Direction say things about you that the other members of One Direction supposedly said, why wouldn’t I be?” Elle defended, her cheeks burning brighter than before.

 

“You’ve got a point.” Harry shrugged. “But you shouldn’t think of us as One Direction.” He said a little more sternly.

 

“What?” Elle asked, confused at his sudden statement.

 

“You should think of it as one of your good-looking friends saying things about you that your other not-as-good-looking friends supposedly said. Which they did, might I add.” Harry integrated Elle’s speech with his own as they drove past the big white mansion’s security gate and brick wall, around the corner and through a larger set of gates off to the side.

 

“That’s debatable,” Elle said teasingly as they drove up a short driveway and pulled up in an empty garage. “But thank you.” She said with an essential smile, climbing out of Harry’s low car and looking forward to seeing her friends.

 

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