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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14. “…Are you in the toilets?”

The school hallways seemed to blur together as I walked down the middle, the threat of both sides caving in tempting me to turn around and escape the building. It wasn't until two hands grasped my shoulders when I snapped out of my trance.

     "You literally look like a zombie," Abby said, her wide green eyes inspecting me. "Ellie, how much sleep did you get last night? Or should I even ask if you slept?"

     "I may have had a bit of a restless sleep," I admitted groggily. That wasn't entirely a lie; after that nightmare, I struggled to even doze off for a moment. I had no energy whatsoever to pick up my sketchpad until the morning, and even then it was a horrifically bad drawing. There was no way I could escape the fatigue that plagued me now, no matter how many coffees I'd drunken prior to going to school.

     "Just try not to fall asleep in English class," Abby quipped as she took hold of my arm and lead me to the classroom. I was thankful that she was there, for I didn't know how much longer I could keep myself from smacking the ground.

     I sat quietly at the back of the classroom with Abby-she recommended that we lay low if there were any chance of me accidentally going into a coma. The chances of that happening were slim, for I refused to even think about sleeping when the nightmare I had last night truly brought out the terror within me.

     "Now," said the teacher, raising a novel in the air, "I'd like you to open your copies of A Midsummer Night's Dream so we can discuss the five-act structure-"

     Dream. The word sounded both enticing and frightening. I either wanted to sleep my worries away at the risk of being hurtled into another one of Harry's sadistic plans, or stare bloodshot-eyed at anything to keep me awake.

     My focus came to land on the floor beside the desk in front of me.  A small spider was settled on the pastel blue surface, and I carefully watched the detail of its legs and attempted to catch the clicking of its claws. The small creature jumped to the left as a dark red splash landed on the ground before it scuttled away. Confused, I examined the splotch when another drop merged with the first. Then another. Soon enough, there was a puddle of red liquid, and I slowly trailed my eyes up to the source of it. My mouth instantly ran dry when the male occupying the desk hung limp in his seat, the same red liquid pooling around his head and dripping to the floor.

     My eyes darted quickly to Abby's, but she was staring intently towards the front. Everyone in the class was. It was like they couldn't see that there was a gory body in the room.

     A deep chuckle pulled my attention to the far side of the room, and there Harry stood with a pair of scissors in his hands. There was no mistaking the glint of red across the blade, and I trembled at the thought of him using stationary to kill the person before me. When I looked closer, I realised that the person was Louis.

     "Ellie!" Abby hissed, and my head snapped towards her. Trembling, I tried to get out the words that were stuck in my dry throat, so instead I pointed towards the bloody mess. Except, when I looked over, it was just one of the students carrying on with his work. No Louis, no Harry, no blood, no nothing.

     "What?" Abby frowned, trying to understand what I was indicating. I must have looked insane. She just shook her head and said, "Having a good dream? I hope you realise you were just out of it for like 10 minutes."

     "Was I?" I scrambled, trying to recollect the point when I closed my eyes. Even so, that dream blended together my reality and my subconscious state without me even noticing. It all felt so vivid, so real, and my worry for Louis still lingered in the pit of my stomach. Would Harry actually hurt him? Or was my mind so convinced that he would, regardless if I were dreaming it or not?

     There was a burning on my thigh as I felt my phone resting in my skirt pocket. The sensation was both irritating and painful, with the added temptation to call Louis and see if he was still alive. As crazy as it sounded, and as unlikely as it was, I still needed something to release the anxiety racing through my head.

     My hand shot up before I asked to be dismissed and the next thing I knew I was rushing down the hallway in search for the girl's bathroom.

     Once I had a toilet block to myself, I pulled out my phone and scrolled through my contacts. Louis number was one of the latest instalments to the list, and it was funny how I didn't even have Harry's. I was quick to press call, and before I could go back, the dial tone rang.

     "Hello?"

     I paused. Oh, God, what was I supposed to say? Hey, Louis, just checking if Harry hasn't actually stabbed you with a pair of scissors. Have a nice day!

     "Hi, um, it's Ellie," I said instead.

     "Oh, hi!" Louis beamed over the receiver. "I'm glad you called. I was thinking you weren't going to. How are you?"

     "I-I'm good," I said. "I wanted to call, I've just been busy these couple of days with homework and stuff..." One thing I had to admit, I was crap at phone small talk.

     "Hm. Doesn't that mean you should be in school right now?"

     "I am, I-just got out of class for a bit," I said hesitantly.

     There was a silent pause on the other end. "...Are you in the toilets?" Louis asked, slight amusement lacing his voice.

     "What? No-! I'm hiding out on the back courts!"

     "Don't fib, I can hear the echo. But I'm flattered, honestly. No girl has ever ditched class to call me up on the loo."

     The blush that crept onto my cheeks could have marked my entire face, but it was luck that I happened to be hidden away on a toilet seat. Or did that sound more ridiculous than I was hoping? At least no one could see me; that's all that mattered.

     "I just needed a distraction," I breathed. "Are you still up for that jamming session?"

     "I'm literally booked out all week with signings-" Louis paused, coughing slightly. "Anyways, the boys and I are all together next week, so how about then?"

     "Sounds great," I smiled. "And good luck with the signings or whatever. It's for your band, right?"

     "Er," Louis sounded hesitant. "Yeah, it is. Okay, I have to get back to work, I'll text you."

     "Bye," I said before the call was disconnected. Gee, Louis really wasn't one to boast about his band, or even talk about it at all. Perhaps they weren't as ‘out-there' and upcoming as Noah's band was planning to be. It just struck as odd that Harry would subject himself to a low-profiled band-since he was such an immodest person when I met him.

     All that mattered was that my conscience was clean of any impure thoughts and likelihood that Louis could be in danger. Especially when the person of interest was his best mate. It was senseless to think that these thoughts could even pass as plausible when you don't get enough sleep.

     I wandered carefully back into class and slipped into my seat unnoticed. Abby glanced up and leaned over slightly to say, "Is everything okay?"

            I could've answered yes, and I could have answered no. Yes to the fact that Louis was definitely unharmed in my reality, but no to the torment that if I was to fall asleep again, no one was safe.

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