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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26. "Start it all over again."

Harry's POV

Not spending time with Ellie happened to be both a good thing and a fucking shit thing. I occupied my spare nights sitting in my bedroom hunched over a piece of paper and a pencil pressed between two fingers. The surface was creased and corners bent, but that only happened because I was constantly rubbing off the graphite and I carried it around with me in case inspiration struck. You see, the ripping ache in my chest only eased when I wrote music or sang it out with a strained voice. It prevented me from the brink of unmanly crying and broken fists in cracked walls at the thought of Ellie when she slammed the door on me, slamming my hope. As pathetic as it sounded, pouring my mistakes and frustration and love into lyrics actually created something realOur band has this set genre and audience for our generically clichéd music, and drifting from that would completely change our image and essentially lose it. But when I took my crumpled sheet of scraggly handwriting into the studio for the boys to listen to, it just happened to be the song that our upcoming album needed.

     "You need to get your heart broken more often," Zayn said admirably after my song fell silent.

     "I think I've experienced enough for one sitting," I grinned, swallowing my sickening joke. "I'd love to see the inspiration that comes out when Perrie dumps your ass."

     "That's not going to happen," Zayn snapped, eyes wide. "But I'd write one heck of a song."

     Louis was sitting quietly, I noticed. When I sang, I had glanced at him and he stared back, the strenuous pain written all over his face. He connected with my song. He felt it too.

     "Lou?" I asked warily.

     His lowered eyes came up to meet mine and he smiled sadly. "You need to sing that to her."

     I was taken off guard. I'd written it out of desire and desolation and for me; not for Ellie to know it actually spawned from her. "What?"

     "You heard me, idiot," Louis said, sitting up more confidently in his seat. "This is your apology."

     "Er, have you met this chick? She hates sappy shit, let alone our music. I saw her iPod once and at least every song had the words ‘blood' and ‘suicide' in the titles," I retorted.

     "The only difference is that you wrote it for her."

     I couldn't fathom it. Me? Singing Ellie a song that I tragically wrote out of her rejection? That was a joke. One of the reasons I like her so much was her ability to bypass any feelings towards cheesy, pitiful notions of the heart. Now that I thought about it, my identity was formed out of just that, and if I serenaded a song to Ellie, I was singing away my last thread of dignity and feelings she might still hold within.

     "That's a massive risk," I whispered.

     "What do you have to lose?"

     He was right. As much as I laughed at the idea of spilling my heart to her, if it were to be the last thing I did, it'd be worth it to try before I could eventually move on.

     "And we're going to help you," Liam said, patting me on the back.

 

***

 

Ellie's POV

9:45am. Saturday. 14 days, 9 hours, 40 minutes ago marked the night Harry Styles turned from friend to admirer to a distant companion. It'd only been two weeks, but the long hours dragged so sluggishly that I had enough time to recount. They say time heals all wounds, but this gash was festering and refusing to close.

     I began my dull routine of reluctantly getting out of bed, drawing my curtains to let diminutive light in and running myself a hot shower. The weekdays and weekends seemed painfully tedious in comparison to the liveliness that he brought. Did I miss him? I wasn't sure. All I knew was having him spark it up gave me some form of enjoyment, but I hadn't noticed until it was gone.

     I exited the shower and assessed my body. Was my skin paler? Probably. Was my hair lighter? I almost mistook it for silver. Did I have more pimples? Better buy some cream. All these little nit-picky flaws surfaced for me to judge whilst my self-confidence was at its lowest. I hated it. I hated that Harry had this effect on me.

     I slowly dried my bare body with a towel to take up the minutes I had to pass doing absolutely nothing. And I couldn't just leave myself to my thoughts, for they haunted me as much as the ones in my slumber. With my hair dripping against my knitted sweater, I sat back on my bed and pulled out my laptop. The craze in the media had died down substantially since Harry and I had lost communicative contact, which was thankfully a virtue. They'd somehow managed to dodge the topic with the boys in the studio recording their new album-saying how Harry wouldn't have time for a girlfriend. Well, I thought. Maybe she doesn't have time for him.

     The worst part was, Harry hadn't tried again. When you watch films and read books you gather this fictive idea that if you push someone away, it only makes them want to try harder for you. These 14 days had begged to differ. I wasn't living in a clichéd love story; I was in a world that if you slammed doors in people's faces, they'd just leave you alone. But no one ever wants to be alone, not really. Behind all that anger and insecurity sits a lonely girl begging to love and be loved in return, except she's too stubborn on the outside to admit that loneliness is a burden, not an advantage. Either way, you're still weak.

     My phone vibrated violently on my bedside table, shaking the entire wooden piece and rippling the glass of water on its surface. I reached over and opened the received text message from Louis.

     Louis: Are you home? x

     I typed back an obvious reply.

     Ellie: Of course, where else would I be? Haha.

     There was a delayed pause before it buzzed again in my hand.

     Louis: Open your window.

     I paused for a moment with my eyes slightly furrowed in confusion and unease. Slowly, I got up from my bed and cautiously made my way over to my window, cracking open the cold, frosty glass pane. I almost gasped in shock, and my stomach dropped to my toes. Standing outside were five familiar boys, the centre one most prominent of them all.

     "Ellie Harper," Harry yelled, his voice ricocheting off my house and into the neighbourhood. This was the first time I'd heard it since last week, and the sound was both sickening and an absolute relief. The two emotions battled themselves as I tried to stay composed at the window looking down at him.

     "I made the mistake of hurting you, and I know I can't make it up to you with the words ‘I'm sorry,'" he continued. "And I know you're going to think I'm totally tragic, but I wrote something for you. So what if we start it all over again?"

     Niall held a guitar strapped over his neck and he began to strum the strings to an unfamiliar tune, delicate but audible from my height. Liam stood forward, his finger pointed up towards me before singing, "Said I'd never leave her cause her hands fit like my t-shirt. Tongue-tied over three words, cursed. Running over thoughts that make my feet hurt. Body's intertwined with her lips."

     Niall joined for the next verse, and with me and my slackened jaw, I listened to him play the guitar and purr, "Now she's feeling so low since she went solo. Hole in the middle of my heart like a polo. And it's no joke to me, so can we do it all over again?"

     All five boys stood forward, gazing up at me, pressing their hands to their chests and harmonising, "If you're pretending from the start, like this, with a tight grip, then my kiss can mend your broken heart. I might miss everything you said to me.

     "And I can lend you broken parts that might fit like this. And I will give you all my heart, so we can start it all over again."

     If my heart was racing before, it was nothing compared to the intensity when Harry began to sing even more passionately than the others. "Can we take the same road two days in the same clothes? And I know just what she'll say if I can make all this pain go. Can we stop this for a minute? You know, I can tell that your heart isn't in it or with it."

     And with Harry, there was Louis, and the passion when he sang next almost rivalled Harry's, my heart continuing to ache for the boy I just couldn't fall for. "Tell me with your mind, body and spirit. I can make your tears fall down like the showers that are British. Whether we're together or apart, we can both remove the masks and admit we regret it from the start." I saw it in Louis' eyes when he serenaded me; even if Harry had written those words, the way in which Louis sang them gave an entirely different emotion. It was as if they were taken straight out of his mouth.

     Once again, they sang the chorus, and a crowd of curious and interested bystanders gathered around to watch as the biggest boy band in the world serenaded an average girl from Australia in a little village on a cold, overcast day. I felt so exposed, so frustrated at the cameras that snapshotted this unexpected scene and that Harry decided to do this in the most publically and embarrassing way.

     Zayn approached and smiled up at me, "You'll never know how to make it on your own, and you'll never show weakness for letting go." And building up to a crescendo, "I guess you're still hurt if this seed's sown, but do you really want to be alone?"

     The vigorous strumming of Niall's guitar faded back to the delicacy, whilst Liam cooed softly, "If you're pretending from the start, like this, with a tight grip, then my kiss can mend your broken heart. I might miss everything you said to me."

     The dip in volume sent my stomach down the same rollercoaster and back up once more as they sang, "And I will give you all my heart" one last time, before the tune fell short and they all stepped back but Harry, whom bellowed in his husky voice, "So we can start it all over again."

     A few people began to clap and cheer, but I remained completely stunned. Without even touching my face, I knew I was crying involuntarily, allowing the tears of humiliation and affection stream hopelessly in heavy downpours. God, how could he have this way with me? How could he almost perfectly spill his heart out to me when I was hardly even prepared to open mine back up again? I pushed myself from the window and ran from my room-ran down to the front door until I was at Harry's level. Suddenly, all my 14 days of silence and emptiness unleashed the pure fury I'd restrained.

     "You!" I started, pacing across the grass with my finger pointed thickly in his alarmed direction. "You've hurt me and you've stepped on me and now you've sang to me a song I'm fairly sure I'm going to spend the rest of my life crying over and I just want to slap you-!" My hand went up, ready to swipe his perfect little jaw, but he caught it in the air, dragging me closer with a smile before he sealed the space between us in a well-needed kiss.

     Everything I felt, all the pain and the loneliness and the longing all bound themselves together and blew up amidst our enclosed lips, destroying the suffering in return for the happiness we both deserved. In that moment, I allowed myself to fall for Harry Styles, and this time I had nothing to fear. This whole time I was starving, and time couldn't heal that. Now, I got what my body desired.

     Our mouths parted breathlessly, and I gazed up at his green eyes in the close proximity.

     "I was so scared you were going to kick me in the balls for that kiss," he whispered croakily, but I merely brushed the curls from his forehead and said, "I think I've wanted that longer than you realise."

     It was true. No matter how hard I denied it or remained stubborn, the truth was I wanted him this entire time. Time couldn't heal this wound because only Harry could.

     "Oh! And I have this for you," he said, diving into his pocket and producing a thin packet. "It's the Band-Aid you gave to me on our proper meeting when you stepped on my foot." Harry unpeeled the dressing and stuck it on my knitted sweater, right over the left side of my chest. "Turns out you need it more than me."

     "I don't think you realise how uncomfortably cheesy this is," I laughed, my cheeks flushing vigorously as I touched its placement.

     "And I don't think you both realise how uncomfortably cheesy this is for us," Niall commented, and I'd almost forgotten we were in the presence of company. Harry and I were trapped in our own world, oblivious for a moment to the fact that cameras were snapping and by tomorrow everyone would know that I kissed Harry Styles, and this time there were absolutely no regrets.

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