Nobody Compares

When Addison Selley's family is killed in a car crash, she's forced to live with her new guardian until she turns eighteen- her cousin Harry Styles. Yes, that Harry Styles.
However, a distraction arises in the form of a blonde Irishman.
Right. There's just one foreseen problem. And that problem is Niall Horan.


*WARNING* coarse language, sexual scenes, violence. :)

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17. lychees don't have thorns

 

 

I could recognise that curly haired loner anywhere.

"Harry! Hi!" I exclaimed brightly, strolling over. My cousin was sitting outside the cafe by himself, wearing a sweater and jeans, with his sunglasses pulled over his eyes and his phone out. As soon as he noticed me, he grinned and got up, pulling off those douchey glasses.

"Addie," he sighed, as I hugged him tightly. "Glad to see you're still alive."

"Managing," I said with a shrug, as he pulled out a chair for me. I sat down, putting my bag down beside me. "How are you? Haven't seen you in ages."

"I've been alright," he said. "Mostly worried about you. I've considered dropping by and checking up on you once in a while, but I didn't want to piss off Niall."

"Pfft," I scoffed, waving him off, "Don't worry about Niall. Seriously, visit when you can."

"Has he been treating you alright?" Harry asked, hailing the waiter. He ordered us some coffees, and the waiter retreated back inside. It was nice today, a little chilly but at least the sun ocassionally popped its head out from behind the clouds. I realised abruptly I still hadn't answered, as he stared at me with a raised eyebrow. "Addie?"

"He's been treating me fine," I lied, picking at the table.

"Don't lie to me." I groaned. Sometimes, he could be such a dad. A dad- that thought made my chest hurt. It'd been a while since I last thought of my family. He was frowning. "Addie?"

"What?" I said, caught a little off guard, snapping back to reality. "Oh. Nothing, never mind." His pretty green eyes narrowed and he leant forward across the table.

"Addie," he said quietly, placing his hand over mine. "Has he been- you know...hurting you?" I thought for a moment. Had he hit me recently? No. But had he hurt me recently? All the time. I didn't even know how to reply to that question.

"I-" I began uncertainly, but the waiter arrived and I fell silent immediately. He set down our drinks and left. Harry was still staring at me expectantly. I blinked back at him, before I turned to look away, sipping me drink meekly. He just stared at me for a long time until it turned into a glare. "I forgot to ask, how did your coffee date with your lychee lover go?"

He sighed, realising I wasn't going to talk about it.

"It went fine," he replied, reaching up with his hand and ruffling his messy curls. "I like her."

"Yeah?" I said, pretty happy he was distracted.

"But she's different, you know?" he said, squinting like he was a little confused himself. "I dunno, I think she likes me too."

"Harry," I sighed, "How could she not? She doesn't deserve not to like you." He shot me a look before rolling his eyes.

"There's just...she doesn't really react that much to my flirting, that's all."

"Oh?" I snickered, ribbing him, "You were flirting?" He frowned at me as if he was disbelieving of my immaturity.

"She's guarded."

"Well, she does sell lychees for a living."

"That doesn't bother me," he answered thruthfully, "And she's a student. What's her lychee selling job got to do with her guardedness?"

"I don't know," I said doubtfully, "Lychees just come across as prickly fruits."

"They're not prickly," he retorted, "It's not like they have thorns or something. You peel the skin off and it's all fleshy and sweet inside." I made a face.

"Jeez Harry, I don't need to know that much about your new girlfriend," I smirked as he sighed exasperatedly. "So how long you reckon this one's gonna last?"

"She's not my girlfriend yet," he pointed out, sipping his coffee. "I'll see how it goes. And don't think just because we're talking about how prickly how my date was that I'm going to forget about your refusal to answer my question." Damn he was persistent.

"Listen, he's been livable, alright?" I said frustratedly, "It sucks because in general, he's just a terrible human being, but he's not...like, hurting me anymore. Not physically. He hasn't hit me, Harry." He stared at me for a long time, as if hoping ofr a sign that I might be fibbing.

"You're not telling me something." I made a face. Why was it that everyone I talked to about Niall assumed that I was always hiding something? Abruptly, I remembered what Sawyer had said in our meeting at Starbucks.

"You like him, don't you?" Even the thought of those words made me angry. Me? Like Niall? No. He was repulsive. I shook the thought from my head.

"I'm not," I said easily, almost surpising myself with how convincing I sounded. "I promise Harry, if anything was happening, I would tell you. You're family, you know?" He leant back in his chair, still surveying me closely.

"Alright," he said finally in a quiet voice. "I trust you, Addie." Now that made me feel bad. Wait- why should it? I wasn't lying. We sat in silence for a few moments before I remembered something I'd been meaning to ask someone for a while, definitely not Niall.

"Harry?"

"Mm?"

"Do you know anything about a...someone called Bec?" The instant that the name rolled from my lips, his reaction was instantaneous. His eyes widened, he looked like he momentarily forgot how to breathe, then his expression softened and crumbled into something almost parallel to hurt. Something about that look felt all too familiar. With a start, I realised that was how I felt when Niall and I had been in the store and he'd pulled me against him again. "Harry?"

He jumped as though he'd forgotten I was there. His expression was drifting off.

"Who told you about her?" I pressed my lips together.

"I- I just heard it in passing," I answered, avoiding his eye. It wasn't a lie. He was just staring longingly into the distance now. I leant forward and snapped my fingers infront of his face. "Harry? Seriously?"

"I don't know about anyone called Bec." Even I could see through that one.

"Come on," I groaned, "You're a terrible liar, you know?"

"Leave it alone," he muttered, ducking his head like he was all self-conscious all of a sudden.

"Harry," I growled angrily, leaning closer.

"Why the hell do you need to know, Addie?" he demanded exasperatedly.

"Because!" I said staunchly. "Niall has been tossing and turning in his sleep for the last few weeks and mumbling her name in his sleep!" He stared at me disbelievingly for a few moments before he finally said,

"It's a long story."

"I'm not going anywhere," I scowled, folding my hands and staring at him expectantly. "So?"

"It all started a while ago," he sighed, staring off into the distance. "With Niall." He sighed heavily again like a strained housewife. Urgh.

"What did Niall do?"

"The ponce," said Harry quietly, knotting his hands toether and propping his chin up on them. "He fell in love." For some reason, I felt almost defensive. What the hell was wrong with me? I forced myself not to care.

"What happened?"

"It was back on our last tour- before you came," he explained, "We were in Australia, and he met a girl. Back then he was just Niall you know? But after everything that happened on that tour...he was never really the same again." I stared at him, waiting for him to continue. "They had one of those crazy relationships where everything moves so fast, and where a couple of weeks in, they were practically in love already."

"So what?" I guessed. "Tour ends and the fantasy falls apart?"

"Of a sort," he replied in a tiny voice. I blinked in slight confusion. "She...betrayed him right before we were about to leave. Broke his heart, but he still loved her. And he's never gotten over it. I don't think he trusts anyone anymore." Well that explained Niall's serious issues.

"What dyou mean betrayed?" I asked quizzically. I watched him swallow thickly and try to dodge around it, until finally he had to say it.

"I-she...cheated on him," he answered flatly. "With a friend." My jaw dropped in shock.

"Cheated on him?" I repeated shrilly. "With who?" Harry's eyes finally met mine.

"With me." No.

"No!" I gasped, my hands flying to my mouth before dropping quickly. I didn't know what to do with my hands. I didn't know what to do with myself. Why hadn't I heard of this? One of Niall's ex-girlfriends, who cheated on him with Harry? As in my cousin Harry? Perhaps that was the explanation behind why thoe two were so tense with each other, why Niall acted like he did. "You? Harry...how could you?"

He shot me a cold look.

"It was a long time ago. Almost a year," he said, as though that were sufficient explanation for it. He was raking his hand through his head repeatedly. "I didn't realise but I'd...I'd fallen for her. And I knew she was Niall's but it didn't mean I wanted her any less."

"You know this means that Niall's never forgotten it?" I asked in disbelief, "That he thinks about it in his sleep, that he remembers all of that stuff?"

"What do you care about Niall?" demanded Harry abruptly.

"I don't!" I protested hotly. "Just-I can't elieve you'd do something like that. To your friend, just for a girl."

"Am I the criminal here?" he shot ack in bewilderment. "If I have to remind you, he's the one who's been hurting you like he has." Maybe he was just because of what he felt like had to do. Wait- how could I justify his abuse with something like this?

"Why didn't you tell me?" I said blankly, staring in shock at the cafe table.

"It was never important," he replied exasperatedly. "That's what you wanted to know right? So now go ahead, judge away." He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at me indignantly, like a child.

"I'm not going to judge you," I said eventually, realising enough. "You never judged me for all the whoring around I did beore.  I don't judge you for any of that. I just don't like the notion behind it. The betrayal."

"It explains it all doesn't it?" Harry asked shooting me an amused glance. "Why he is the way he is. He never got over her. But she loves me, and I love her, and we can't be together because Niall'll never forgive me." Harry leant forward across the table, closer to me. "Don't you see, Addie? I'm worried about you. I'm just scared that one day I'll realise that the very thing I'd suspected came true."

"What's that?"

"That he's going to use you," Harry whispered, staring straight in the eye. "Because you're my cousin, because you're my family. He's going to use as a weapon against me- just because of what happened with Bec." The words -for some reason- stung.

"Why the hell would he do that?" I snapped. "Not everyone is like you, Harry."

"Only because you're important to me."

"I'm not a child anymore," I shot back defiantly. "I'm not a weapon that's going to be used against you."

"He could turn you into one!" he said staunchly. "I've seen the way you look at him, I don't know why but you do, Addie. What if this whole act you two are putting up isn't an act for you?" I got up quickly, because I could feel my cheeks burning out of pure incense.

"I'm going now," I said in a calm voice, hardly suppressing my anger as I snatched up my bag and stormed off. I hated that Harry would think that of me but more than anything- I hated that I had to be scared that it might come true.

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