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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27. French Kissing

I felt like I was living a fairy-tale. Well, not exactly princesses and gowns and glass slippers, but I got my Prince Charming in the form of a curly-haired British boy leaning against the front door frame as I opened it.

     "Hey," he said huskily, a lopsided grin on his face as he assessed me also. Ever since making our relationship official a few days before, I started attempting to look more decent when Harry made his visits, which meant not perspiring in my school uniform. I returned the smile, grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him inside, slamming the door shut and kissing him against it. I'd surprised him somewhat, for when we parted, his eyes were wide and breath gasping.

     "Hey," I replied, biting my lip to conceal my grin.

     "God," he groaned, his hand in my hair. "If I always get greeted like that, we're going to have to make our lessons more than once a week."

     "That can be arranged," I winked. I loved this new side to our relationship. Sure, I enjoyed the constant bickering and arguments we'd previously shared, but being able to kiss and flirt effortlessly with Harry beat it all.

     I took his large hand in mine, and it almost overlapped my tiny one. Calling Harry Styles my boyfriend was the strangest and most foreign thing to fall from my tongue. Before I could even tell Abby about him and I, she was already well informed over the havoc on Twitter and Facebook. Videos of the serenade and kiss were uploaded to YouTube faster than I could open my laptop, and soon enough my name was a worldwide trend. Girls at school whispered and pointed; some even screamed. Surprisingly, I was at ease with it. Well, that was until I had the paparazzi following me to school like desperate vultures.

     I could barely concentrate on the French homework in front of me, at least not with Harry's lingering gaze landing on my face every few minutes.

     "You're the biggest distraction," I mumbled, not lifting my eyes up from my page.

     "I'm just making up for the weeks that tortured me not seeing you," he said quietly, and I could feel his smirk when my cheeks reddened, the words on the page blurring together and making it impossible to focus.

     "You always know what to say, don't you, Styles?"

     "I guess it's working then, Elliephant."

     I internally groaned at the pathetic pet name Noah had given me, and then reluctantly handed down for Harry's use. Needless to say, I preferred it when my brother said it rather than my new boyfriend. But there was a sense of passion that held thickly on his plump lips, a teasing method that sent my stomach aching in a bundle of nerves-and that made it far more exciting. I swatted him on the arm, and in response Harry held me by both my wrists in one large hand and clasped my waist with the other. I squealed out in a fit of girlish laughter, the occasional cackle bringing an amused grin to his face.

     "Harr-ha-Harry, I-haha-I need to get my work done!" I tried to say whilst wriggling from his overbearing grasp. "You're supposed to be teaching me!"

     "Oh, I am teaching you," he said so softly I shivered under him. "Today's lesson is all about French kissing."

     My laughter fell short, as did my breathing. Harry's face had turned from cheeky to dead serious in seconds, his seductive demeanour causing my body to weaken in his arms. I still wasn't used to the fact that I actually had a boyfriend, let alone it being Harry. Intimacy had this pathetic effect on me, but with Harry it was an entirely different reaction.

     He leaned in slowly, savouring the tense space between our breathless mouths. "First," he said delicately, "I'm going to tuck your hair behind your ear..." Once curling it from my face, he continued, "Then I'll lick my lips and my gaze will flicker from your beautiful eyes to your soft lips."

     This was insanely a turn on. I'd never seen Harry like this before, ever. I went from being his casual friend to the object of his desire...how did I even manage to get someone so gorgeous, so interested in me? I partially expected to wake up from all of this, like it was some sick joke my mind was playing on me to lure me in, and when I was too deep it would snap me out of this dream and drown me in disappointment.

     Harry leaned in slowly, his nose grazing my cheek before he said, "May I?"

     Did he even need permission? I was too flustered to even speak a coherent word, so I nodded faintly and he kissed me carefully, taking his time with the pressure. His tongue parted my lips and mingled with mine, and his mouth happened to be one of the sweetest, most perfect tastes I'd ever had the pleasure to experience. Harry Styles, worldwide pop star, was teaching me how to French kiss.

     I tilted back until I was lying on the floor with Harry propped up on his elbows, kissing me above. My hands found his neck and it turned from a simple study lesson to a make-out session. When he separated, he said, "What are you doing tomorrow night? I want to take you out."

     I sighed. "It's karaoke night at work and I'm on a 5 hour shift."

     Harry smiled a little disappointedly, lifting me back up into a sitting position and winding an arm around my waist. "Another time, then."

     Honestly, I was a little disappointed too. Though this was the start of our relationship, I still felt we had so much to catch up on. We'd known each other for a while now but all that time was wasted when we could have just removed our ignorance and admitted to our feelings earlier. Now it seemed other commitments were getting in the way of our own.

     Harry pecked me on the lips and said, "I better go, love. Have to get up early for a Cardiff interview tomorrow."

     I walked him to the door and said, "You go answer celebrity questions and be awesome and stuff." He laughed at my lame enthusiasm and kissed me again. Would I ever get over his lips? How could anyone when they looked like a luscious, plump heart?

     "Goodnight, Ellie," he said, leaving for the night.

 

***

 

I never thought I'd say this, but I actually, painfully missed him. He didn't have much time to text me between my lunch breaks and him between interviews, but the time we were separated took a toll on my body. I was so pathetic. Not even 24 hours had passed and I was already itching to see his gorgeous smile and smell his soft cologne.

     The day dragged on agonisingly slowly, and when it came to my shift at work, I could barely focus on the paying customers and the blasting sounds of tone-deaf singers. My eyes were constantly trailing towards the large clock on the far wall, which was barely distinguishable in the darkened room and neon laser lights (it felt more like a disco rather than a restaurant, to be honest). Harry had texted me earlier asking if he could come see me after I finished, and I was almost giddy with anticipation. It didn't help when the long hand took its time travelling past the minutes. I'd only been working for an hour and a half- which in hindsight was barely anything. Shifts like these rarely bothered me, but now that I actually had something to look forward to waiting at home, I really didn't want to be there this long.

     I was wiping down a table to a horrible rendition of Britney Spears' "Toxic" by two quite tipsy 20-somethings when I heard a voice close to my ear sing deeply, "-I'm addicted to you. Don't you know that you're toxic?"

     My heart literally leaped up into my throat as I turned around to see Harry's smirk, his hands lost in the pockets of his dark jeans. My eyes travelled up his navy-blue button-up dress shirt patterned with little white dots, and he took my breath away. That and because he had caught me completely off guard by coming to my work unexpectedly.

     "I thought you were meeting me later," I shouted over the music. He leaned into my ear to speak clearer and said, "Well I can go-"

     "No!" I said a little too quickly, and he grinned. I then composed myself and continued, "It's just that neither of us are going to have much fun here."

     "I don't know about that," he winked, glancing over at the two girls singing horribly off-key and stumbling over the lyrics on the small stage. My eyes widened. "Wait- no! I'm not going to-"

     Harry had already grabbed my hand and was leading me through the crowd of the seated and standing audience. The song ended and he jumped onto the stage to replace the applauded women and muttered something to the karaoke guy before a familiar classic began to play.

     "Ellie! Come up here!" Harry called, and the encouragement from the crowd sent my cheeks burning vibrantly.

     "You're going to get me fired!" I hissed, but he ignored me and pulled me up to his level, and I looked out at the group of attentive people with sickening unease.

     Harry began to sing in the perfect tone, "Don't go breaking my heart..."

     I had to quickly grab the mic and I hesitantly sang into it, "I-I couldn't if I tried."

     "Oh honey, if I get restless..."

     "...Baby, you're not that kind."

     It felt so strange singing against Harry's rocky vocals. Mine were high and shaky compared to his steady composure. He somewhat mocked my nerves with his foot tapping and body twisting-which I could only imagine he'd perfected in performances.

     Harry turned to me and took a step forward. "Don't go breaking my heart..." Looking straight at him melted away my unease and replaced it with a certain confidence. Although everyone was staring at us and potentially taking candids, I couldn't help but enjoy our little duet. "You take the weight off me."

     "Ohhh honey, when you knock on my door..."

     This time I took a step forward towards him and sang so close with a smile and wink, "I gave you my key."

     Harry's composure was lost for a second, which brought me great amusement. We continued to sing the chorus, and I was surprised at how well our voices collaborated. Of course, I could never compare to his perfect vocals, but something about singing with him brought this opulence of joy to flourish my body.

     "Don't go breaking my heart!" we sang together, finishing the song. An abundance of cheers and claps filled the room, but I wasn't sure if it was for the fact that they enjoyed it or it happened to be Harry Styles performing freely for them. I noticed that more bodies occupied the space now- probably from hearing and seeing a famous pop star up on stage. I felt so exhilarated nevertheless. This was the first time I had openly sung in front of a crowd, even though it was just karaoke. Normally I'd be too self-conscious to actually want to sing to an audience, but Harry somehow sparked a new light within me to want to do it again.

     We got off the stage and I said to him, "I-um, I better get back to work. That was fun."

     Harry lingered for a while before I told him he didn't have to wait up for me, but he insisted. And considering how many fans had rocked up to get a photo with him, he wasn't leaving for a while anyway.

     I felt a tap on my arm, and it was my boss. All my unease rose back up and my stomach tumbled over. "I-I'm sorry about earlier, I really didn't mean to get up there- it was so unprofessional. You don't have to pay me for the time wasted-"

     "Ellie, slow down," he laughed. "I was just coming over here to thank you. I don't think karaoke night has been this popular in, well, ever. You and that boy have talent, that's all I can say. You're just like your brother. Customers have been coming up to me and saying how much they enjoyed tonight."

     I sucked in a well-deserved breath. "Oh," was all I could say, and he pat me on the shoulder before saying, "It'd be fantastic if you did a couple of songs on a few nights- paid, of course."

     I didn't know how to respond. I started to choke on my words when I felt an arm land over my shoulders, and Harry said, "I think she'd love it."

     I raised my eyes up at Harry and he composed his smirk, so I lightly smacked him in the gut. He was still the same old git behind those adoring eyes and high cheekbones.

     When my boss left us, I turned to Harry and hissed, "Why did you say that?"

     "Look me in the eye and tell me honestly that you didn't want to take up the opportunity," he said. Damn, he was right. Deep down, I wanted to feel that attention again, that applause for my voice.

     "Fine," I grumbled, grabbing my bag from behind the counter and clocking off for the night. Outside, the air was frosty and sharp, but when Harry draped his arm around me once more, the heat of his body and my own nerves warmed me straight up.

     "You were amazing tonight," he said, breaking the quietness of our walk. I glanced up at him, surveying his eyes as they looked straight ahead, unaware of my watchful gaze.

     "That's an understatement compared to you," I laughed, and he stopped.

     "I really don't think you understand how incredibly sexy your voice is," he said, wrapping his arms around my waist before dipping his head for a light kiss. God, I really did miss his lips, and any questions that I wouldn't want to kiss him were completely eradicated. I didn't even care if people were watching; all I was focused on was the pressure of his sweet, lingering lips.

    "Hm," he said once we parted. "I think my tutoring is paying off."

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