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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5. Beautiful in Red

"It's just a kiss," Harry purred, taking small and precise steps around me. His cold, empty breath was merely inches from my exposed neck, and a violent shiver ran to my toes. I was paralysed, trapped in this binding web Harry had created.

     "Please," I muffled, but the word was lost in the liquid that was pouring from my mouth when I parted my lips. It was the distinct stench of copper and the taste was equally pungent. I was slowly bleeding from the inside out.

     "Shh, Ellie, don't speak...or you'll drown," Harry hushed, smearing away the blood from my chin to bring it up to his lips. He closed his eyes almost in bliss, and when his eyes reopened, they were the purest of black. I wanted to scream, to face away from the eyes of this predator.

     Harry leaned down and scraped his rough tongue along my jaw and cleaned up the red substance.

     "Now, kiss me," he demanded, his voice much darker and dominant than before.

     "I'd-rather-bleed-to-death," I choked, struggling to articulate whilst the fluid clogged my mouth.

     "You'll never learn," he sighed, watching me carefully as the blood oozed down my neck. Harry touched it as it flowed, and it parted around his finger, continuing to descend into pools on the ground. Suddenly, my legs were my own once more, and they caved in on themselves. My knees hit the solid ground harshly, the dark crimson immediately soaking into my pants.

     "You do look beautiful in red," he murmured into my ear as the pool of my own blood completely consumed me.

    

My screams were muffled by my pillow pressed into my face. I woke up facing down, my breathing impaired by it. My throat was tightening and I let out a violent cough, spluttering the remains of the vivid dream I just had. Regardless of the air that was now flowing easily through me, my body still felt pain. The memory of the dream seared itself into my mind, and I knew it wasn't something I'd be forgetting soon. I wish I did though, because this was the morning of my first day of school.

     Reluctantly, I parted with the warmth of my bed to pick out the uniform that lurked behind the wardrobe doors. The greys of the attire moulded my dreary mood, and I brushed my knotted dark hair into a low, loose bun behind my head.

     I opened my curtains to let in the diminutive light coming from outside. Low clouds dominated the sky, letting barely any sunlight seep through the cracks. The start of this day wasn't looking so peachy.

     "I don't know how this usually works," Lottie began as I entered the kitchen, "but am I supposed to play the mother role and make your lunch?"

     I laughed and said, "Nah, Noah converted all my money to fit this currency, so I'll just buy something from school."

     She let out a breath, losing her straight posture in return for a more comfortable stance against the table. "Good, because I'm bloody tired and I'm going back to bed. Are you okay to leave on your own?"

     "I'm fine. Go back to bed," I said, and Lottie gave me a quick hug before retreating upstairs.

 

It was nice walking to school. I had the soft whistle of the morning wind and the smell of fresh dew pricking the grass beside the sidewalk to accompany me. Walking past Harry's house had initially made me speed walk, but once getting off the street, my pace slowed and I gave myself time to appreciate the positives of this tedious morning.

     I hadn't realised dread was building up inside me until I saw the large high school building emerging in the distance. With one big internal pep talk and a deep breath, I entered what would be my education for the next eleven months.

     First, I had to find the administration. With all the hallways and doors, I knew it would be pointless finding it without guidance. But that would require a guide.

     I looked around at the students before me. If I was going to survive this year, I had to choose my social group properly, or suffer. Hopefully Harry would be easy on me, knowing he'd be in with the popular clique.

     "Lost?" someone said and I turned around to face a girl with startling pale jade eyes. She was nearly half a foot taller than I was, with loose golden ringlets that escaped from her side plait. Atop her head she sported a knitted black beret, a classy addition to the rudimentary uniform.

     "Just a bit; I was wondering where the admin was," I said, and I couldn't cover the shyness in my voice. She simply gave me a warming smile and took my arm. "I'll lead the way."

     "So," she began, "you must be new here, and I can sense an accent. Where are you from?"

     "Australia," I said, and she gasped.

     "I have relatives living there! Who knows, we could be cousins!" she beamed. "I'm Abigail, but I like your accent so you can call me Abby."

     This girl was full of grins and forwardness and I kind of liked it. I think she was just what the new Ellie needed.

     "I'm Ellarie, but you like my accent so you can call me Ellie," I counteracted, in which Abby smiled and laughed in return.

     "Oh, I like you already!" she said, squeezing my arm until we got to the door labelled ‘ADMINISTRATION OFFICE'.

     "And here is where we depart," Abby said. "I'll hopefully see you in one of my classes, Ellie."

     I said my farewells and thanked her before entering the room. Behind the tall desk sat a stocky woman with her head tilted to the side and a phone plastered to her ear. She caught sight of me and her jungle red lips mouthed, "Name?"

     "Ellie Harper," I said over the counter, and the woman flicked through the files with one nail polished hand. A sheet of paper was pulled from the sort, and she stamped it once before handing it over to me.

     On the front titled my classes for the semester and I groaned knowing I had music first. This was Noah's favourite subject, but it's obvious since he's in a band now. But for me, it didn't do much on the interest scale. I had little instrumental talent, and I hadn't sung since I was very young. Heck, I didn't even know if I could sing.

     By following the room numbers, I found my very first class, and I prayed that the rest of the day to not be so sluggish.

 

***

 

I congratulated myself for making it through until lunch. The cafeteria I entered was large and filled with students and their multiple chattering, and I barely even heard my name being called out over the crowd of voices. Lucky for them, I turned around to face the caller.

     At first I contemplated if it was Harry. My breath caught in my chest as his memory triggered the thought of my dream this morning, and I involuntarily shuddered. I thanked God when I saw it was Abby who had actually said my name, and she was waving a long, elegant arm in the air, beckoning me forward.

     "Hey! How was first period?" she asked as I took the seat beside her.

     "I'm still getting used to everyone," I admitted.

     "Well, let me introduce you to the group." Abby pointed over to a boy with snow blonde hair and dark brown eyes, which regarded me with curiosity. "That's Oliver, he's strange but we love him." Oliver shot Abby a sneering gaze. Though it scorned his face, he was still quite an attractive guy-in that solitude-is-sexy kind of way.

     "This is Jasmine," Abby indicated to a girl with pixie brown hair and high, rosy cheekbones. Her eyes were bold but careful, like a fire that flicked wildly but remained contained.

     "And finally, Harr-"

     "Where?!" I snapped my head around, clutching harshly onto Abby's forearm. She frowned at me and said, "Right there, that's Harriet."

     My heart was still racing, but I relaxed a little. God, why was I acting so jumpy?

     "Right, sorry," I composed myself. "It's nice to meet you, Harriet."

     The girl called Harriet smiled a cautious smile, her thick eyebrows pulling together under her auburn bangs. Not one of my best impressions, I had to admit. Now they probably all thought I was completely wack.

     Abby started giggling. "My type of girl! Someone who won't be boring," she said to me, and I relaxed a little. At least Abby chose to see my outburst in a positive light.

     "So..." she continued, glancing at me and I swallowed. "Who was it actually who made you jump out of your skin? Harr-Harr-?"

     "Harry," I admitted. "I'm guessing he goes here?"

     Abby clicked her tongue and looked up in thought. "Hmm, I think there's a Harry in first year. Am I close?"

     "No, he looks my age," I said. Abby looked to her friends and they all didn't have any input as to who Harry was.

     "Last name?" she asked.

     "Styles."

     Actual synchronised laughter erupted.

     Abby was looking at me with that pitiful look and I frowned.

     "What?" I asked warily.

     "Oh, we know him, but he sure doesn't go to this school," Abby said before joining the others in a giggle fest.

     I almost let out a sigh of relief. Yes, I thought. I don't have to put up with him 5 days a week.

     "Well, thank God," I said, taking a sip of my juice on my tray. Abby was still looking at me, but her expression kept changing. "You're quite interesting, Ellie."

     "Thanks?"

     "You're welcome," she beamed, her soft pink lips pulling up in a quirky smile.

     By interesting does this mean I made friends?

 

***

 

The end of my first day finished quite quickly. I shared third period with Abby in French Studies, which she taught me how to answer the teacher's questions thrown towards the class without understanding what he had actually said.

     "This is the one class I know I'm going to fail," I sighed, looking at my French homework with glazed eyes.

     "Perhaps get a tutor? Put some flyers up and someone is bound to be looking for some extra credit," Abby said.

     I actually considered her suggestion as I walked home. I could print out some requests and put them up around my street, and some on the school noticeboard-

     My thoughts were pulled from me when a large bang sounded from up ahead of me. The people living a few doors down from my house were seemingly renovating, and as they were lifting a bucket of paint from a truck, it slipped from their grasp and exploded into the gutter. It must have been raining about an hour ago, for there was still water running down the street and into the drain. It stained the rainwater bright cherry, and as I was remembering the similarities to the blood in my nightmare, a car drove quite close to the gutter and the tyres kicked it up and splashed it in my direction. I stood there, shocked as my whole uniform was splotched with red paint, and I had to wipe it from my eyes.

     A laugh broke out over the sounds of my gasps. Across the road, Harry was almost completely hunched over in a fit of wheezing and cackling.

     "That-that just made my day!" he burst, slapping his knee. If I wasn't so shocked and mad, I would've found Harry's laugh to be infectious.

     "I'm glad you find this funny," I snarled, and it came out more hurt than intended. Harry stopped laughing and made his way across the road. "Aw, sorry, Ellie, I didn't mean it."

     "Drop the sarcasm, Styles," I snapped, ignoring his presence as I continued walking up the street.

     "Okay, okay!" he said, putting his hands up. "But you do look beautiful in red!"

     I stalled a few metres away from him, and my heartbeat collapsed.

     No...he didn't just...

     "You do look beautiful in red."

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