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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28. "Are you scared of me?"

Was I naïve enough to think all good things don't come to an end? When I was with Harry, I allowed myself to believe that absolutely nothing could ruin our blossoming happiness, but when had anything in my life just settled with a happy ending?

     I was content with having Harry as my boyfriend and finishing up my first term of school without this overbearing fear that something would spoil it. Especially when things were going so well. Videos of Harry and I singing at karaoke went viral on the Internet, and magazines and websites were already calling us one of the cutest couples of 2013 (mostly because I wasn't famous and instead a student from Australia). But it was like his fame rubbed off on me a bit. Whenever Harry and I were out- even when I was alone- people were updating what I was doing. I felt a little bad for Harry's privacy now that I knew how it felt to have scarcely any.

     I started singing at work for a bunch of people as they ate their meals and drank at the bar, and it happened to be more exciting than I'd expected. My voice was well responded, and I was given the feedback to sing again. My boss cashed my first pay check, which caused my jaw to drop. I tried not to seem overly excited, but in my mind I was jumping like a fool. Being known as Harry's girlfriend and as a singer at a little pub-restaurant in Holmes meant more people came in to dine and drink. I was constantly telling Harry that I wasn't intentionally gaining from his status, but as modest as he was, Harry simply said that it was me doing it alone, not him.

     Noah was coming home from his tour next week, which I knew was a huge success. Lottie felt the need to constantly update me on their happenings while being away, but I was yet to tell her about the things going on at home. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to fill her in that I was now dating Harry, but the thought of Noah withholding that knowledge made me feel uneasy. Still, they'd find out eventually, so I just let Lottie consume the phone conversations until she was back.

     Everything was good. I was happy. But throw nightmare Harry into the equation and you find out that no, nothing was good and I'd never be genuinely happy.

 

***

 

Harry's POV

I drank in Ellie's milky complexion as her thick, black eyelashes rested on her rosy cheeks. Brown locks curled over her collarbones and chest, which rose and fell rhythmically, indicating that she was lost in slumber. We'd finished our tutoring for the night- which I swear we get nothing done in- and decided to watch a movie whilst cuddled on the couch. It was amazing how perfectly her little body fit into the crevices of mine, and how simply she fell asleep with her head nestled under my chin.

     I couldn't sleep, of course, not when my eyes had the pleasure of indulging in such beauty. After everything we'd been through, she actually chose to be with me. I was so horrible to her, so ungrateful, but I vowed I would spend the days of our relationship making sure that she knew she was the most beautiful girl I ever got the privilege to adore.

     I brushed her lips with my finger, lightly enough not to startle her awake, but enough so I could feel their softness. They not only graced the best kisses and quick-wit attitude; the sound that fell from them was beyond description, and never had I been so drawn to such a unique voice before. Each time she sang, a part of me fell for her harder. I don't think she knew she had the ability to take my breath away.

     Ellie Harper, I think I-

     Her leg twitched, startling me. At first I thought she was just flinching in her sleep, but when her face started contorting and lips quivering, I began to frown. "No," she mumbled incoherently, shaking her head whilst still unconscious.

     "Ellie-?"

     "Stop!" she screamed, lashing out her limbs as her eyes darted around behind their closed lids. I quickly cradled her trembling body and grabbed her shoulders to try and wake her up, but she continued to thrash and cry.

     "Ellie, wake up!" I shook her and her eyes flashed open. They looked straight at me, pure dread painted on her once angelic face. Then she recoiled with a scream, stumbling out of my grasp and onto her feet.

     "Get away from me!" she shouted as I tried to approach her.

     "What-?!"

     "Please stop! Don't hurt me, please!" she began to cry, pressing her body up against the far wall. I took her shoulders and looked into her tear-stricken eyes. "Ellie, I'm not going to hurt you! It's me-Harry! It's me!"

     Her once black irises slowly gained its normal brown colour, and she whispered, "Oh my god."

     Ellie wrapped her arms around my shoulders, nuzzling her nose into my neck. I just stood there in complete shock until she pulled away and whispered hastily, "I've been having these dreams..."

     "...What do you mean?" I asked hesitantly.

     She looked genuinely petrified. The last time I'd seen that expression was just after the red paint had splashed onto her months ago. I thought I'd never have to see her appear so distraught again.

     "I think it'll be easier for me to show you," she said quietly, taking my hand and leading me upstairs. This was the first time I'd been in her room; her duvet was crumpled on the bed and clothes sprayed the floor alongside the array of pencils and books. She sat me amongst the pile and her shaky hands picked up one of the spiral bound books. Before she opened it she said, "Nearly every night for the past few months I have had these nightmares and..."

     "...And?" I prompted.

     "And you're in every one of them," she whispered, not looking into my eyes. Instead she opened up to the first page, and my sight was greeted with a dark, rough sketch that was so detailed I knew it was me. As she flipped the pages, the drawn figure got more and more ghastly. What made it so identifiable were the eyes-those vibrant, bright eyes. They were mine, that was for sure. I glanced up at Ellie, who was chewing on her nails and not looking my way.

     "Is this what you see me as? Are you scared of me?" I asked slowly.

     "Of course not!" she was quick to say, grabbing the sides of my face and continuing, "This is what my mind is doing to me, not you. I just...I don't know what to do."

     I remained silent, continuing to look at the sketches. Besides the fact that I seemed to be portrayed as some villain, Ellie was an incredible artist.

     "I draw him because it stops the pain," she whispered. "-And I know you already think I'm crazy but-"

     "Ellie, I've always thought you were crazy," I said with a smile and my light tone relaxed her anxious expression. "But I don't think you genuinely are. Everyone has nightmares."

     She remained quiet, closing the book and sliding it under a heap of books on her desk. "I haven't told anyone about them; you're the first person," she said.

     "If you want to keep it a secret, then it's safe with me," I said as I brought her close, kissing her on the forehead and hugging her to my chest. Her shoulders were less tense, like the weight of the situation lifted now that I knew. I still worried though, because I'd never seen someone look so scared in my life.

     "I don't know what to do," she said into my shirt.

     "Have you tried sleeping pills?" I suggested.

     "You didn't happen to pack some in your gift basket?" she joked, her frail body vibrating as she chuckled.

     "No, but I can get you some, if you want them."

     Ellie pulled away so she could look at me directly, and with a smile and raw-red eyes she pecked me on the lips and whispered, "Thank you."

 

***

 

Ellie's POV

The next evening, Harry brought over a small blue box of non-prescribed sleeping pills, and I was surprised he even came over to begin with- especially after receiving the knowledge of my disturbing secret. I couldn't even begin to describe the horrid experience of last night. How did I mistake my Harry for the one in my nightmares? I literally couldn't differentiate them, not until I heard his real voice, deep and concerned, rather than the cruel and sadistic drawl of the other. Lately, I was finding it harder to separate what was a dream and what was reality, and last night finally confirmed I couldn't anymore. Maybe I just needed a good night's sleep, so these drugs would soon confirm if I'm insane or an insomniac.

     "Do you want me to stay tonight?" he asked as he handed them to me. The question hung in the air with both uneasiness and comfort. I had been alone in this empty house for two months, and the warmth of another body might just get me through the night. But was I ready for Harry to possibly see me scream and cry again?

     I gambled my luck with the pills in one hand and took Harry's in the other, leading him to my room.

     I stood in front of the bathroom mirror with the bottle resting on the countertop, and I shook two out onto my palm. They were large and light blue and sent my stomach twisting. What if they didn't work? Was I prepared to move forward and seek further treatment? What if mum and dad wanted me to come back home?

     Those were questions I swallowed back along with the two pills, and I returned to my bedroom to see Harry standing by my desk with one of my sketchbooks open on the surface. When he noticed my presence, he said, "You know I would never hurt you like this, right?"

     "I know," I replied, closing the book with his hand and holding on to it before he followed me to bed. I wasn't tired, but having Harry's arms wrapped around my body as I lay against his (or perhaps it was just the drugs) made me surprisingly drowsy. He drew swirls on my shoulder with his delicate fingertips, his breath warm on the back of my neck. The silence wasn't awkward- just comfortable. Was it ironic that the one person who could make me feel so safe also threatened my mind?

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