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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12. “Yeah, we’re in a band…”

Harry Styles has once again ripped a hole in my sanity.

     That night, after seeing him at work, the reminder of his existence sparked another mind-wrenching nightmare, bringing me to breaking point.

     And by mind-wrenching, I mean that the dream consisted of a furious Harry pressing two harsh thumbs into my temples until the edges of my vision blurred.

     "Don't ever forget about me again," he whispered in a growl, the intensity of his grip almost cracking my skull. His fingertips seemed to match the strength of an arm, but it wasn't so much the pressure that hurt me most. It was the feeling of having something etch itself into my brain, carving unwanted thoughts into my mind to create scars. Memory scars to remind me that Harry must always be ever-present in my life, whether I had a choice or not. The bloodcurdling scream that followed escaped with me into consciousness, filling my room with the memory of Harry and the terror I felt.

     10:16pm; my wake-up record had been broken. With a sigh, I tried rolling over, but the familiar pain behind my forehead kept me from falling back to sleep. The only thing I could think of doing was drawing out the ache again.

     I furiously sketched the Harry of this nightmare, creating my interpretation of the demon plaguing my mind. As if on cue, the drawing was complete and so was all the pain. Now I started to think that maybe it wasn't so crazy that I could control the aftermath of a dream. Perhaps I couldn't stop them yet, but this was somewhat therapy for my mind.

     I slept easily after that, but I knew that the nightmares were still lingering around the edges of my subconscious.

 

***

 

My alarm buzzed louder than the morning brightness, burning both my ears and my eyes behind their lids.

     I groaned, slamming the off button and squinting at the time: 8:00am.

     Yes, I set my alarm seriously early for a Sunday morning, but I had made arrangements during the week with Abby to go on a 'friend date'. She had basically jumped on me at school and accused me of not asking her on one, which I never realised I had an obligation to do. After that, we decided we'd meet on the weekend for our official friend date, which meant getting up at an ungodly hour.

     We agreed to meet up outside this little coffee shop on the far side of Holmes, which took me forever to find. I sat down at a small table outside the shop, the aroma of roasted coffee beans travelling out the window.

     Minutes passed as I watched cars drive by, not one of them containing Abby. When I'd waited for twenty minutes, I started wondering if she'd forgotten.

     The coffee shop bell dinged and I looked up to see a familiar face exit.

     "Louis?" I called, and his body twisted round to the sound of his name.

     "Ellie, hi!" he beamed in surprise, clutching his two coffees in their cardboard holder. "Funny seeing you here. What brings you to this end of town?"

     "I was meeting up with someone, but she hasn't showed yet," I said, glancing once more at the road before back at Louis' bright face.

     "Well, I shall keep you occupied until she does," he said, pulling up a chair beside me.

     "We haven't actually had a proper conversation since, you know, the restaurant last night," he continued. "I didn't realise Harry fancied you, I swear."

     My eyes widened when I realised what it must have clearly looked like. "No, no! He doesn't, okay! Trust me, we are just friends... and I think he's more worried that he'll lose his best mate," I murmured the last bit.

     "Why?" Louis' brow creased, and a blush instantly burned my cheeks.

     "Um, well, you know, you were kind of talking to me, um, like that..." I stumbled, fiddling with my fingers and trying to compose a proper speech.

     It clicked in Louis' head and he said, "Oh! Well it's not like I'm going to stop being friends with him-not that I'm saying I'm interested-wait, I don't mean I'm not-"

     "Ellie?"

     Our escalating awkward conversation was snapped away to the new voice. Harry was standing a short distance from our table, his hair pulled back in a beanie with little curls sticking out the sides. He was wearing a plain grey t-shirt, a stitched heart logo on the breast pocket, almost covered by his folded arms. He looked from the two of us to the coffees that Louis placed on the table. "Am I interrupting something?" he asked slowly.

     "You're late," Louis ignored his question. "I was close to giving Ellie your drink, since she's been waiting for her friend too."

     "Well I'm here now, let's go," Harry said blatantly, almost dominantly. A shiver ran through me, chilling the warm blood beneath my skin. I'd heard that tone many times before.

     "Okay, Mr Moody," Louis teased, looking back at me to wink. "Hopefully you can text soon."

     Harry definitely overheard his words, a bitter snare on his face. "Louis, now."

     "Coming," he laughed, quickly writing out his number on the back of his receipt and handing it to me. "Shoot, I forgot sugar. I'll be back in a second." Louis darted back inside the cafe, leaving Harry and I alone.

     My gaze carefully made it up to his eyes that were finally looking at me, the green almost blazing.

     "‘Meeting your friend', huh?" he scoffed.

     "Yes, I am," I snapped. "This was a coincidence."

     "There's no such thing as coincidences," Harry stated, clearly unconvinced by the innocence of mine and Louis' encounter.

     "Believe whatever you want, but I'm not trying to break this boy code you've got going on, trust me."

     "He just gave you his number! And-you don't understand," Harry said through gritted teeth, soft and frustrated and a little bit hesitant.

     "Then what-?"

     "Here we go, Hazza," Louis said as he came back out, handing Harry one of the coffees. "One long black with two and a half sugars."

     "And a half?" I laughed, raising my eyebrow.

     "Harry here is very particular about his sugar intake. He thinks if he only has half of his third packet, he's cheating the calories for a better taste," Louis said, winking at a groaning Harry.

     "Shut up, it's been proven," he murmured, snatching the coffee and walking away from us down the street.

     Louis was still laughing. "I better catch up to him. It's going to suck spending a day in the recording studio with him in this mood."

     "Recording studio? As in you're music artists?" I asked. It would explain why Harry could sing so well.

     "Yeah, we're in a band..." It sounded as if Louis was going to elaborate, but he didn't continue. I felt no need to question him further either. "Hey, I rent this house down town; you should come over some time and jam."

     "I'd love to," I said, and that's where Louis departed to catch up with Harry.

     I waited a little longer for Abby, and just as I went to pry my phone out, a car pulled up to the curb and a girl with untamed curls and breathless expression jumped out.

     "I am so sorry!" Abby basically cried, receiving a few startled glances from people passing by.

     "I thought you were standing me up on our first date!" I mocked shocked, eliciting another whine from her.

     "I slept in and my alarm didn't go off and I am sorry," she exasperated, pulling me into a bone-crushing hug. I even thought I heard a snap.

     "Abby, can't breathe," I gasped, attempting to struggle from the jaws of Abby's arms.

     "Not until you forgive me," was her response, and I sighed.

     "I forgive you!" And with that she let me go.

     "Great!" she beamed, removing herself from my personal space to grab my hand, "because I've got things planned for us today."

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