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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13. Jealousy's Wine

Two caramel Frappuccino's and almost an entire walk across Holmes, I'd gotten to know as much about Abigail Simmons as my mind could handle; and I knew that wasn't much.

     "Ooh, I forgot one!" she said, tapping her plastic spoon to her bottom lip. "Boys. Are there any you fancy?"

     I titled my head back in a dramatic attempt to express my hilarity. "Nope, not yet at least."

      "Oh, come on," Abby said, stopping in her tracks. "There's not one guy that's even just a little bit on your mind?"

     My heart faltered for a second, thinking back to the vicious yet indulgent words the Harry of my nightmare had whispered to me last night about forgetting him. If it weren't for the weeks that I didn't see him in person, I wouldn't have let him stay in the back of my mind. Even when I tried thinking about Louis, Harry's spiteful scowl came into view. Now that I thought about it, Harry was constantly on my mind, and that wasn't necessarily a positive thing.

     "I've totally not had enough time to even think about the possibility of one," I continued. "Moving countries and school and now having a job really takes a toll on those things. But what about you? I see the way you laugh a little harder when Oliver tells a joke."

     Abby's eyes widened. "You notice that?! Oh, God."

     "Aha! So, there is something going on!"

     "As if," she rolled her eyes. "To him, we're just mates...but I kind of want more, y'know?"

     "If you want romance advice, you totally picked the wrong person," I laughed.

     Abby crinkled her nose and gave me that pity look. "Not many relationships, then?"

     "W-well, not-really..." I staggered, my efforts to keep the truth to myself failing. First I tried laughing it off, but, deep down, I knew how tragic I actually was.

     "I'm sure that neighbour of yours that dropped you off the other week could change that," she winked, nudging my shoulder.

     I completely stiffened. There was no way in hell that Harry would even think to date me. Once again, I laughed it off, but there still was that underlying question that ate at my stomach; could I even handle having him like me?

 

***

 

If I ever had any wonders about Harry's feelings for me, they were completely obliterated when he arrived for my tutor lesson on Monday night.

     The silence-all but Harry mumbling the correct French spelling to me when I wrote words out-was unnerving, so to break the awkward tension I opened my mouth to start conversation.

     "So your friends seem nice, from what I've seen at the restaurant," I piped up, and Harry's eyes slowly made their way up to look at me. I immediately regretted saying anything, because his eyes narrowed somewhat noticeably.

     "All of them, or just Louis?" he sneered, his curls swaying as he shook his head.

     "I don't know what you think, but I'm not interested in him," I snapped, receiving a snicker in return.

     "Is Louis under the same impression?"

     "Louis is under the impression that you like me," I bit my tongue as the words involuntarily slipped from the tip of my tongue to smack Harry's egotistical ears with a dose of satisfaction. My attempts to laugh it off seemed to fail, yet again.

     Harry looked at me carefully, his big green eyes almost glistening with something I'd seen before. Almost like Abby's yesterday. That flash of pity.

     "Ellie, remember: high maintenance. You're cute and all, but if anything, we're friends," Harry said rather bluntly.

     Right, that confirmed it. And it wasn't like I wanted to hear him say anything otherwise, but I think when you get friend-zoned by your asshole neighbour, you start to question if your trip on the Single Train will ever end.

     "Good," was all I said, before we were engulfed in the silence that caught us in this situation in the first place.

 

The night ended rather abruptly when my French homework was smaller than usual, and Harry seemed more than eager to leave.

     "Alright, bye, Harry," I muttered sarcastically behind him, and he paused by the door. With a small sag of his shoulders, he turned back around, his expression less taut than earlier.

     "I'm sorry," he grumbled in his husky accent, turning right around so he was facing me. I watched his irises as they slowly moved in his eyes, tracing my face. The way his expression held me in his gaze was the mixture of temptation, defeat, and a hint of fear. Who knew someone could convey those kinds of significant emotions, but something about staring into Harry's eyes made it easy to read. And he seemed tortured.

     Once giving me a half-smile with one dimple, he opened the front door. Who Harry crashed into on his way out was Noah, and he had to clutch Lottie behind him from the fright.

     "Sorry, mate," Harry said quickly before slipping past my wide-eyed brother.

     "No problem," he blinked before closing the door behind Lottie and looking at me. "What's he doing here?"

     "Oh, he's my French tutor," I explained, but it didn't help that my hands were quivering in my pockets.

     "Since when do you have a French tutor?" Noah laughed suspiciously, setting his guitar down in the hallway.

     "For a while now..."

     Noah raised an eyebrow, scoffing slightly. "And since when does that kid have the time to be tutoring my little sister? He's always working."

     I thought back to what Louis said about them being in a band, and I wondered how popular they actually were, or if they rivalled Noah.

     "Well our lessons aren't that long, and he usually leaves before you guys get home-by the way, why are you guys home so early?"

     Lottie and Noah exchanged glances, their expressions almost ready to burst.

     "Our band is going on tour!" Noah announced loudly, and I almost had to cough out the surprise.

     "Oh, my God!" I cheered, clasping a hand over my mouth. "When? When is it?!"

     Noah paused, once again looking at Lottie with slight hesitation. "Next week, actually," he said. "I know it's short notice and I know you have school and work-"

     "What?" I laughed. "You don't have to take me! I'll house-sit for you guys while you're away. How long is it for?"

     Once again, another pause for hesitation. "Two months."

     A startled cough plagued me again. "Holy crap, this is a serious tour!"

     "Well it's mostly promotional, but it's a fantastic opportunity for the boys," Lottie explained, twisting her fingers in her hands. "It's not too long, is it?"

     In two months, I'd be finished my first term at Comprehensive. In two months, I'd be able to hold four plates at once at work. In two months, I'd be nearing my eighteenth birthday.

     "Please, what could go wrong in two months?"

 

***

 

"You look awfully thirsty," Harry whispered, standing with his back to me. I stayed relatively calm on the outside, but there was no fooling the panic that fastened my heart to extreme speeds.

     "I'm fine," I said, flinching slightly as he turned himself around. In his hand was a silver chalice, the metal engraved with twisted vines that strangled the flowers. Inside its contents held a deep red liquid, rippling on the surface as Harry held it carefully out for me to grab. I was reluctant at first, but preventing him from losing his temper, I took it off him and watched the substance with both curiosity and unease.

     "What is it?" I asked, afraid of what the answer might be.

     "Drink," was all he responded with, his eyes darkening in anticipation.

     Slowly, I brought the rim to my lips, parting them slightly to let the tiniest drop catch on my tongue. It only took that small amount to engulf my entire tastebuds, and the flavour was so indescribably delicious that I had to gasp from pleasure. Harry's eyes darkened further as he devoured my sudden response to the drink.

     "This is incredible," I said, taking both my hands to clasp them around the cup for more access to my mouth. The warm sweetness coated my throat, encasing me in a velvety bliss. I couldn't get enough of it, and as I reached the last drops, I was thirsty for more.

     "More," I whispered, looking at Harry in desperation. He smirked, standing forward to smear away a patch of redness that caught on my bottom lip.

     "You're welcome to have more," he said, glancing to the left. My gaze followed his, and that's when the fragrant flavour in my mouth turned putridly sour.

     Hanging upside down by his feet was Louis, his eyes open and distant and his throat sliced, blood pouring from the wound. It landed into many identical chalices arrayed on the floor, and the one in my hand dropped to the ground with a clank. The sound was not as pitchy as the scream that sourced from the true fear within my soul.

     "I call it Jealousy's Wine," Harry smirked, bringing a drop on his finger to his lips.

     "Why did you do this?" I cried, collapsing to the floor beneath Louis' suspended body. Harry kneeled beside me, whispering dangerously close to my ear.

     "To show you that I will do anything it takes to make sure no one stands in the way of you and I."

 

When I woke, fresh tears were flowing involuntarily from my blurred eyes. I dug my face into the pillow, stifling my sobs with it.

     This is too real, I whispered to myself, allowing my tortured mind to give up. Harry had won.

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