Friends, Lovers, or Nothing? (Sequel to Summer Love)

Things have gotten better slowly. Excruciatingly slow, to be exact. I saw Niall every now and again, but I refused to acknowledge his existence. I despised the guilty feeling I got when I looked at him nowadays. I knew he wanted to talk to me, but I knew I'd do something stupid if I did. Sometimes, he wasn't even home. Occasionally on those days, I would go speak with Maura, keeping tabs on how and what Niall was doing. Telling me concert dates and when he had to go in for recording sessions. These conversations stayed secret between us. That is, until Niall walked in on us one day. He stared at us, taken aback by my presence. I shifted uneasily in my spot on the couch next to Maura. I looked down at my reflection in my tea.

"It's good to see you." Niall said, shutting the door behind him. I kept my face low, avoiding his persuading, blue eyes.

"So,what are you doing here?"

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8. Dinner Date With Haz

I was practically jogging home. Blinded by excitement, I ran straight into Niall.

"Ow," I stood up, rubbing my bum.

"You're in a hurry," he brushed off his pants,"is something wrong?"

"No, everything's great! But I've really got to get going--"

"Wait, Arabella," he grabbed my arm,"I just want to apologize, about earlier."

"Apology accepted. I've really got to go though, bye!" I scurried away.

"Uh, bye."

Bursting through the door, I threw my sketch-pad and pencils on the coffee table. Throwing open my closet doors, I divided up my clothing. I've never been on a date before, especially not on an expensive one. A dress maybe? What kind of dress? Do I even have a dress? Scanning through, I realized that I had not one dress close to even being suitable enough for the occasion.

"Arabella, what's going on? It looks like a train wreck in here." my father slowly opened my bedroom door.

"I need something to wear, something nice."

"May I ask whatever for?"

"Dinner with a friend."

"Friend? And this friend is..."

"Harry. He's a nice lad and he asked me to dinner, but I don't have a dress." I explained.

"A...dress?"

"Yes, dad, a dress." I replied sarcastically.

He looked at me puzzled for a moment then motioned for me to follow him. I stood in his bedroom doorway as he unlocked my mum's wardrobe.

"Choose what you'd like." he walked away.

I examined everything closely. Eventually, I found something that seemed perfect. It was a fierce red, low cut, and hugged my curves marvelously. Reaching just above my knees and paired with stilletos, my outfit was complete. I straightened my hair and it fell elegantly over my shoulder. I walked out of the bathroom, my father astounded at my appearance.

"Is this boy a friend, or a sex partner?"

"Dad," I blushed in humiliation,"it's not like that! We're just friends."

"Some friend," he mumbled.

I slowly stepped down the stairs, careful not to fall. After managing to gather a purse together (and doing some final touch-ups), the doorbell rang. I answered to see a very prim, well-dressed Harry.

"Well you certainly clean up nicely." I oggled him.

"And I've suddenly become fond of the color red."

I grabbed my purse and we were about to leave when my father intercepted.

"Harry, is it?"

"My apologies, sir. Yes, I'm Harry. Harry Sty--"

"Harry Styles, I know. My daughter talks about you constantly."

"Does she now?" he smiled, pleased.

"Oh, not this one," dad laughed,"the other one, Jillian."

"Ahh, I see. Tell her I said hello."

"Oh, she'll be back from a friend's later tonight. I'm sure you'll be back by then, right?" my father stared at Harry fixedly.

"Well of course Mr. Holsten. Will ten o' clock be okay?"

"Ten-thirty at the latest."

"Will do, sir." Harry nodded.

"Arabella, a moment?" my father raised his eyebrows at me.

"Dad, please, can we get going?" I whispered.

"You were right, he is good-looking. You sure he's not a sex partner?"

"Dad! Harry, let's go!" I looped my arm through his and walked out of the house. "So where are we going?"

"Well, I looked around and I was thinking, how about we go to Shanahan's on the Green, in Dublin?" Harry opened his sport's car door for me. I checked around the inside of his car. It was fabulous and I felt so out of place. He sat down and revved the engine, making me feel upscale.

"You like it?" Harry smiled at me.

"Relishing in it. I had no idea you rode in such luxury."

"You parked next to me at the meet n' greet didn't you?"

"I thought that car was provided for you! This is really nice, and it suits you."

"What's that supposed to mean?" he laughed.

"Well, you're sleek, amazing, smoothe, and...hmm..."

"Sexy?" he finished.

"Well, yeah..." I blushed. We were silent for a bit.

"Uhm, it'll take awhile to get there soooo, hows about we play a game, Truth?" Harry spoke up.

"Like from the Sarah Dessen book?" I laughed.

"Yeah, it seems like a legitimate game."

"Okay, you first."

"What was your first impression of me?"

"Uh..." I got a bit nervous. On second thought, maybe this game wasn't the best idea to agree to, but I had to be completely honest. "I thought you were charming. You have a gorgeous smile and amazing eyes, but I think you're the one who started hitting on me first."

"Give me an example, then."

"You held my hand a little longer than necessary, and don't think I didn't notice that flirty smirk! Not to mention you followed me to my car." I laughed.

"Your car was near mine," he blushed.

"No excuse! Anyways, it's my turn. Why did you ask me to dinner?" I was genuinely curious.

"You suggested we spend more time together, so that's what I'm doing." he replied.

"But dinner? Don't you think that's a bit...formal?"

"Maybe I just wanted an excuse to see again sooner than later." he smiled. 

"Is  it?"

"Oops, I don't think it's your turn right now." he grinned.

"But--"

"Ah, those are the rules, but if you'd like to stay on the topic, why did you accept my invitation?"

Sigh.

"I wanted to be distracted." He looked a bit hurt, so I carried on. "Haz, don't take it the wrong way! I don't mean it like that. I just meant that I felt bad, and you always seem to be there to pick me up. I really enjoy spending time with you, in fact, I just really like you in general." I shut my mouth. I hadn't meant to say that much, especially about how he made me feel. I blushed and kept my head down, something I'm prone to doing in these sort of situations.

Then, I got a surprise reaction. He took my hand in his, his palm warm and soft. He stroked the top of my hand with his thumb, saying nothing. Glancing at him, I saw that he was completely unbothered, a smile across his face. 

-----------------------

Dinner went better than I'd hoped, aside from several waitresses hitting on Harry. The restaurant was breathtakingly beautiful and the food was divine. Harry smiled at me from across the table the entire time.

On our drive home, he stopped by the park.

"You don't mind, do you?" he asked before shutting off the engine. 

"Not at all. I could use some fresh air."

We walked slowly through the park, side by side. I was looking at the stars when Harry grabbed my hand, pulling me to sit down on a blanket on the lawn. He was laying on his back, staring at the night sky. He pat the spot next to him. Instead, I lay my head on his chest.

"Harry, thank you. It's been great."

"Maybe if we're lucky, we'll see a shooting star." he set his hand on the small of my back, pulling me closer.

"Who needs one, this night is perfect." I closed my eyes. He kissed my forehead and I listened to his heart; 14, 28, 56, 112...

"So, Arabella, how about we finish that game?"

"Well, it's my turn, so how do you feel about me?"

He blushed.

"I really like you. I feel comfortable when I'm with you, like I don't have to try to be some one else. You make me happy."

"Like ice cream kind of happy?"

"No, like love kind of happy."

"Oh..." I blushed.

"I'm not sure yet though. I don't want to rush into things, you know?"

I rolled onto my stomach and looked into his eyes. "Then we'll just have to see how things go from here, won't we?"

He sat up a bit. "You mean--"

"If you want to."

He sat up fully, giving me the biggest smile ever. "I'd like that." He leaned in, giving a sweet kiss.

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