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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11. Bros Before Hoes

Who knew being a waitress was so complicated? You'd think that all you'd have to do was just take orders and bring out the plates to the patrons for the entire shift. Turns out there's a certain way you have to carry the plates on your arms so you can take four at a time, which was almost a disaster for me on my first training night. But by Thursday, I could write out the list of meal requests faster than the customers said them, but I wasn't up to carrying more than three plates. My boss said I would get the hang of it, but all I could see was the plates becoming the perfect mosaic pieces on the floor.

     Since getting the job and working after school shifts till late, I barely had time to think about my still absent neighbour. My free time was consumed by homework and teaching myself French, so all thoughts of Harry disappeared. He wasn't the only thing staying dormant in my mind. My vivid nightmares had reduced to blurry visions that I could barely recollect when I woke up in the morning. As crazy as it sounded, drawing in my sketchbook may have helped stop them. No, that was crazy.

     "Customers, Ellie!" my boss called as I was scrubbing dishes out the back on Saturday night. My shift tonight was relatively busy, but by this time not many were arriving. Yet, a group of young guys definitely made themselves noticeable with their boisterous voices when they entered.

     I stood behind the counter with my friendly smile, but that was wiped clean from my face when I recognised a familiar head of brown curls amongst the group. I sucked in a breath and ducked behind the counter before Harry could even get the chance to realise that I was now a waitress on a training wage.

     "What are you doing?" my boss asked, a concern frown pulling together his eyebrows as he saw me crouched on the ground.

     "Um, I-I dropped some coins," I improvised, pretending to search for non-existent change.

     "Well can you serve that table?" he said, pointing in the direction where Harry sat.

     I nodded, holding my breath and tucking my hair behind my ear. It didn't last long before it fell back over my face, but maybe it was better if he couldn't see my face when I approached their table slowly.

     "Hi," I said, reluctantly standing at the end of Harry's table. The group of guys were all laughing and submerged in conversation, except for Harry, who was the first to see me. His eyes widened for a moment, and it almost looked like he was going to laugh, but it was immediately stifled and he averted his gaze to his hands. I guessed he still hadn't gotten over what happened on our last tutor lesson, which I still didn't quite understand. And I didn't understand why he was ignoring me either, even now when we were face to face.

     Eventually, one of the boys noticed me standing there, raising one eyebrow and spreading a smile across his face.

     "Well, hello there," he said in his high, British accent, picking at his white and black striped shirt and swiping his brunette bangs across his forehead. "Did you want a seat with us boys? I'm sure we could fit you over by Zayn." The boy referred to as Zayn shuffled in the back corner against the wall, giving him a strange look.

     "Louis, mate, that's our waitress," another boy next to Louis muttered. Louis blinked back up at me, a mix of surprise and amusement spilling from his attractive face.

     "Really?" he said enthusiastically, allowing his mouth to drop. "What's a pretty miss like you working in a little restaurant like this?"

     I let a little laugh out, and I could feel my cheeks burning. My smile dropped slightly when I saw Harry's tightened expression from the corner of my eye.

     "Louis," Harry murmured, trying to get his attention, but Louis shrugged him off.

     "No, seriously. When do you knock off? You should be sitting here with us rather than working your butt off serving people," Louis continued.

     "Louis," repeated Harry, his voice much darker and threatening. What was he playing at?

     "I'm here because I get paid, and I don't knock off for another half hour," I said, and I wasn't sure if I had added a hint of flirtation to my voice. Whatever it was, it made Harry snap his head to look at me irritatingly and tense in his seat. I couldn't comprehend why he was even acting moody, but it seemed I may have been the cause of it.

     "And she's an Aussie, lads!" Louis exclaimed, trying his best to impersonate my accent. "Well they don't sell kangaroo on the menu, so I'll have the pasta." He pointed at the menu as I wrote it down. "I'll order one for you too, yeah?"

     "Wouldn't it get too cold when I finish my shift?" I wondered, but Louis just leaned forward, whispering, "I'm hot enough to reheat it," and giving me a cheesy wink. I let out my laugh, trying unsuccessfully to stifle it. A satisfied smile jerked at his mouth, but Harry was almost bursting under pressure.

     "Ellie!" Harry snapped loudly, stopping me from laughing instantly. All the boys at the table looked at him, and he just shrank in his chair.

     "You know each other?" Louis asked, looking between us with raised eyebrows.

     "She's my neighbour," Harry said quickly before excusing himself from the table and grabbing hold of my arm to lead me away. Once we were out of earshot, he said, "What the bloody hell was that?"

     "What was what? I was trying to take your orders," I said, blinking. Harry rolled his eyes and held my arm tighter.

     "I'm talking about that little giggly shit you were putting on for me best mate," he growled. I looked at him with my mouth slightly ajar. Was Harry actually angry at me?

     "He started talking to me, remember?" I snapped back. "And sure, I may have encouraged it, but what harm did I do?"

     "He's my best mate!" Harry repeated, like I should automatically understand.

     "Is there some boy code I'm unaware of? Under normal circumstances it would be ‘bros before hoes', but since there is nothing going on between us..."

     "I didn't mean it like that," he started, sighing in exasperation. "I don't want some outback girl going and turning him insane. Do you know how high maintenance you are?"

     "I am not high maintenance!" I retorted, folding my arms.

     "Please, you wouldn't last ten minutes without falling over or breaking something," Harry said, and even through his anger I could tell it amused him. "Louis would crack under pressure. -Look, just stop all that giggling and shit, alright?"

     "You couldn't have waited to tell me that later? And why haven't you been talking to me?" I asked, my eyes wide and expectant for any explanation from him. He suddenly went quiet, his eyes darkening.

     "I've been in London with the boys," he simply said.

     "And you didn't think to let me know so I'm not waiting for a tutor lesson that will never happen?" I snapped, folding my arms.

     "It doesn't matter 'cause I'm back now. We'll start again on Monday," he grumbled, hands in his pockets.

     "Great," I said with slight sarcasm. "Well if you're done accusing me of 'flirting' with your friend, I have to get on with my job," I said, shaking my head and nudging past him. I went back to their table and took their orders before getting as far away from Harry as the restaurant allowed me. I didn't understand why he was mad, but I guessed it had something to do with how clingy he was to his friends. Perhaps that's why he substituted me for them in London.

 

***

Harry's POV

I sat back down at the table, hiding the expression on my face. The boys watched me intently, shifting eyes and waiting for someone to speak up.

     "You alright, Hazza? What was all that about?" Liam finally said, but I just shrugged him off.

     "Is she your girlfriend? 'Cause I won't do that again," said Louis, copping a death glare from me across the table.

     "She is so not my girlfriend! No way," I muttered, allowing my eyes to wonder over to the reception desk. There Ellie stood, flicking a page on the book in front of her and tucking loose strands of dark brown hair behind her pierced ear. Because of the layers, it fell back over her face again, and this time she left it. I felt the irritating urge to curl it back for her, but ignored that offer by returning to face my attentive friends.

     "Oh, she's a fan," Niall spoke up in understanding, but I scoffed and shook my head, wild curls flicking with the movement.

     "She has no idea I'm famous," I said. "I've been hinting her for ages, but she's so stupid I've began to give up."

     "Go easy on her, mate," Louis said, and I slapped his hand from brushing the top of my curls. "I'm sure she'd get it if you announced loudly: ‘We're One Direction, surprise!'" Louis' arms flailed in the air, and I noticed Ellie's face turn towards our table. My breath hitched for a second, trying to get Louis to shut up so she didn't hear, but she just continued to pull that hideously cute look of confusion. She can be bloody thick, I thought. A part of me wanted to do just that, to yell it out and watch her face fill with shock and understanding, but the other prayed to God that she never found out I was a celebrity. Something about the way she couldn't see my mask of fame kept me captivated.

 

***

Ellie's POV

I wiped down the counter as it was nearing the end of my shift. Harry's table got up and the group of guys made for the exit. Not once did Harry make any effort to look at me, and I could tell from his stern expression that he was determined to focus on anything but.

     Louis paused behind the rest of them as they all exited the restaurant, turning on his heel to make his way over to me.

     "Tell the chef that the pasta was fantastic," Louis said, pressing his index finger and thumb together and pouting.

     I stifled another smile and said, "Will do."

     "Oh, and sorry about Harry's behaviour. I promise I wasn't stirring him up on purpose," Louis said quietly, leaning against the counter.

     "I don't think he appreciated your 'hot' joke," I laughed.

     "It was worth it," he said, winking. Another wave of heat boiled behind my cheeks, but luckily enough he turned before my skin turned completely beetroot.

     "I'm Louis, by the way," he said over his shoulder.

     "Ellie," I smiled.

     Louis was so easy-going and cheeky, why was he friends with such an arse like Harry? 

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