The Direction of Fate

When Ellie Harper's parents ship her off from Australia to live with her brother in Holmes Chapel, England, the arrogant and obnoxious Harry Styles enters her life. Their frequent encounters have them both suspicious, but Ellie shrugs it off as just an irritating coincidence. But the more they see each other, the more she questions if this is something more than just chance. And it doesn't help that she has vivid nightmares involving her quite dominant and sadistic curly-haired neighbour.

Was this the direction of fate, or was the universe honestly burdening her with this pompous boy band member?

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4. “A kiss for a delete.”

"This can't actually be the uniform," I murmured to Lottie as the shop lady walked out of the room for our privacy.

     "It's not that bad," Lottie replied, tilting her head and analysing the attire.

     It almost dripped solemn. If the school's intention was to match the dwelling grey skies with their uniform, they definitely succeeded. A similar grey skirt that came just above my knees hung off me like an oversized dress, the thin matching belt the only thing that kept it from falling to my feet. It accompanied the white blouse and deep navy blazer, a striped tie done up tightly to complete the piece. I felt like I was enrolling in an all-girls boarding school rather than a public one.

     "It's incredibly miserable to wear," I said, turning around a few times to see if different angles improved my opinion. It didn't.

     Coming from an Australian public school, this was a vast contrast. My old uniform was a pale aqua skirt and yellow striped white blouse-not that I wore the formal uniform often. I'd usually wear the sport uniform that was a yellow polo and had aqua shorts. Not the best combination, but it definitely beat the dullness of this one. Even these sport polo's were a dark shade of depressing. For someone who wore nothing but black for practically a year, I'd still prefer my uncoordinated old school colours over the Comprehensive's not so uplifting greys and blues.

     "Well think of it this way," Lottie said, "everyone has to wear it."

     Sure, more people to be sad sods with.

 

***

 

I pulled out my earphones and shoved them in my ears as we got back in the car. Noah had officially enrolled me and the uniforms were haunting me in the boot of the Prius.

     My iPod still consisted of the same heavy metal and screamo, and it just reminded me too much of the life I left behind. My stomach began to ache from nostalgia, so I chose to turn it off and tune into what Lottie had chosen on the radio.

     The tune sounded quite familiar, but as I was recalling it, Noah groaned and pressed the next station.

     "You're insecure, don't know what for..."

     "Oi, I was listening to that!" Lottie snapped, slapping Noah's hand and pressing the station back.

     "Everyone else in the room can see it, everyone else but you..."

     "What's wrong with One Direction?" Lottie asked him.

     Oh! That's when I remembered hearing it in the car yesterday. The catchy, clichéd boys.

     "You can't honestly expect me to like that pop, boy band crap?"

     "I kind of like it," I decided to join in whilst sitting in the backseat, and I was returned with Noah's shaking head.

     "What happened, Elliephant? You used to have good taste."

     "You're questioning my taste when you still call me that?"

     Lottie snorted. Noah rolled his eyes and sat back properly in his chair.

     "I already love having her around," she grinned, and he pouted.

     "Now I'm getting ganged up on? She's been here for like two days and you're taking her side! Are you forgetting who your boyfriend is?" he said. Lottie took one hand off the wheel to lightly squeeze his hand.

     "I'd never forget you, babe," she whispered, and my hopeless romantic heart went out to them. It was only slightly weird because it was my brother, but otherwise, they seemed so happy together. How my brother managed to hook someone as gorgeous and caring as Lottie was beyond me.

 

As we approached the driveway, I took a subtle glance across the road from the window. I'd made it my mission this morning to make it to the car without running into Harry after our little...welcoming. Now I was doing the same on the way home so I didn't have to interact with that boy any more than necessary.

     "Ellie? What are you doing?" Lottie's head popped up at the window as she tapped on the glass. My head flew back and I stifled my scream of surprise. I hadn't realised the car had stopped moving already. It must've looked strange for her to see me peeking out the window.

     "Nothing," I quickly said, getting out of the car being everything but casual.

Lottie gave me a strange look. "Well, can you grab the uniforms?" she said before retreating inside.

     I looked over to Harry's house again and slid my back across the car side in a crab-like motion to get to the boot. I don't know why I was being so paranoid. Most likely because that boy could jump out of nowhere just to see me freak and fall over, proving his point of how clumsy I am.

     In one quick motion, I opened the boot and grabbed the bags. My head whipped side to side and over my shoulder, but there were no signs of my neighbour.

     I made it inside the house and let out a breath. When I thought back to the situation that had just occurred, I realised I was losing it.

     "Ellie, come out here for a second!" Noah called from out the back, and I curiously made my way to the part of the house I hadn't yet been to.

     I opened the sliding glass door and was greeted by a tiled patio, a glistening blue pool in the middle. Why they'd have a pool in a place where it's never ending winter was beyond me. Noah and Lottie were leaning over it, and I went to join them. Paddling in the water was a duck being followed by seven ducklings.

     "Aren't they gorgeous?" Lottie squealed, and I watched as the reflection of the pool water glistened in her wonderstruck eyes. I could see Noah noticing too.

     "We probably should help get them out, though," Noah said, rolling up his sleeves and reaching for them. The mother duck flapped her wings and quaked at him, and Noah stumbled back, letting out a gasp. Lottie rolled her eyes and gently reached forward, in which the mother duck stayed calm.

     "How are you doing that?" Noah pouted, and she just shrugged.

     "Smaller hands?"

     A knock at the front door ran through the house, and because Lottie and Noah were preoccupied with the ducklings, I went and fetched it.

     With my hand merely inches from turning the knob, I prayed that it wasn't Harry behind the door. One person can't be that persistent, right?

     When the door opened and Harry said, "Oh my God, you're Ellie Harper!" I knew I was wrong.

     "What?" I said, taken off guard by his sudden outburst of enthusiasm.

     "Ellie Harper, of course I know who you are! Everyone does! Can I please get a photo with you?"

     I blinked at him and slowly made for a retreat back inside. This boy wasn't just persistent. He was nuts. Maybe all that handsomeness blew up his ego and now he's gone insane. Not that I thought he was handsome, it's just that he probably did.

     He grabbed my arm and yanked me from the doorframe, his big, warm hand nearly overlapping around my small wrist.

     "What are you doing?!" I screamed as I was pulled into the line of Harry's phone camera. His hand had moved from my wrist to my waist, securing it firmly from my struggles.

     "Smile!" he said, baring his wide mouth in rows of stunning straight teeth. I'd be mesmerised if it weren't for the fact that he was holding me against my will and taking photos without my consent.

     The flash went off and I just stood there, my mouth forming the perfect 'o'.

     "Can't believe you actually live on my street! I have to show my friends this!" He shoved the photo in my face and I gasped at what I saw. Staring back at me was a girl with her eyebrows twisted in confusion, her eyes wide with surprise. Harry, on the other hand, was too photogenic. Perhaps it was enhanced by the fact that I'd pulled the most hideous face.

     "Delete it," I growled through my teeth. Harry chuckled and shook the phone at me.

     "This is gold, why would I?" he grinned, a contrast to my boiling face.

     I lashed out, reaching for the phone but Harry was faster. He skipped backwards and continued laughing as I ran after him down the driveway.

     "Give me the phone!" I shouted at him, but he kept on running. I ended up chasing him, my feet barely matching his speed.

     "You got to be a lot faster, this is too easy!" Harry laughed. I pushed myself forward, catching the material of his jacket between my fingers.

     "Aha!" I cheered in triumph, but he didn't stop his pace. I struggled to keep up, and my foot finally caught on the other. My attempts to sustain balance obliterated when my hold on Harry slipped, and I greeted the rising pavement with the flesh of my palms. My hands were snatched before the rough cement could claim them for itself, and I was swung back up on my feet. Harry was looking down at me, his face merely inches from mine. He let out a heavy sigh, his mint-cool breath washing over my face.

     "Looks like I saved you from opening my new gift basket, which is a bit disappointing," Harry said, and I pierced him with my eyes.

     "Shame, I did want to try out the bandages, especially around a pair of grazed hands," I sneered back sarcastically.

     Harry scoffed and let me go. "Are you ever grateful, or are all Australians this conceited?"

     "I am grateful," I said. "Thank you, Harry."

     "All I get is a thank you?" Harry touched his heart and looked at me with a fake sincerity. "I don't know about back in kangaroo land, but here we show our gratitude via a kiss on the cheek."

     The boy actually patted his cheek for me. I just stared at him, blinking a few times before doubling over in a laugh. "I'm not stupid, I know that's not a thing, you perv."

     "Why don't I make you a little deal, Ellie Harper," Harry said, approaching me with dark, mischievous green eyes. "A kiss for a delete." He held up the phone, my surprised face mocking me from behind the screen. As much as I hated giving this arrogant arse what he wanted, that photo needed to be deleted before I started my first day tomorrow, or my time there will be a living hell of teases and sly comments passed in the hallways.

     "Fine," I growled, reaching up on my tip toes to level my mouth with Harry's cheekbone. His dimples were profound as my lips contacted his skin. Up close, he smelt of aftershave and that boyish tinge, and my stomach involuntarily churned. My lips barely brushed his, but as I pulled away, Harry was grinning with that look of annoying satisfaction.

     "Now delete the photo," I demanded, and Harry pressed a few buttons before the photo went into the trash.

     "All gone," he said grinning cheerfully. "See? Wasn't that hard to say thank you properly."

     "Don't be a smart arse," I rolled my eyes, turning on my heel and walking back to my house. I felt Harry's presence following suit, but as we got to our houses, we went our separate ways.

      I touched my lips gingerly. They felt as if I'd allowed them to dry out and they were burning from the cracked skin. On the other hand, they were coated with a warmth that I couldn't explain, and I came to the conclusion that Harry wasn't someone I'd ever befriend, but somehow I didn't really have a choice.

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