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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6. "You want me."

"Ellie? What's wrong? Hey!" Harry's voice was lost as I slammed the door on him. I had momentarily choked on the fact that he had recited one of the sentences in my dream. How the hell did he do that?

     I ran to the laundry, fresh, frustrated tears swelling in my eyes. It wasn't just the fact that Harry had proven my insanity; it was also that I was completely sodden and cold in my red stained uniform.

     I stripped down and shoved them in the washing machine, turning the dial and listened to the vibrations of it cleaning away the blood- paint!

     God, these dreams were too close to reality, and I had to admit I was a little scared.

     The door was still being pounded upon, but luckily neither Noah nor Lottie was home from work yet to answer it. I knew Harry would give up eventually, and seconds later, the knocking ceased. I was left bare, except for my undergarments, sitting on the floor listening to the washing machine and my heart that was beating wildly in my chest.

 

I watched my bed from afar later that night. The purple sheets looked more lethal than comforting, and the pillows seemed sharper than their usual softness.

     Once taking a deep breath, I crept under the blankets and pressed the side of my head to the pillow, the sound of my heartbeat thumping through my ear.

     The room was an eerie quiet. Nothing but the sounds of the faint wind outside and my heavy breathing could be heard, making it that much harder to close my eyes. Not that I genuinely wanted to go to sleep; it was just frustrating.

     Almost as if I only blinked once and I was pulled into another night of screams and torment from the demons of my imagination.

 

***

 

The next morning, I taped my flyers to telephone poles as I made my way down the street. The wind flicked the corners as I stuck them down, managing to advertise about four on my street alone.

     At school I stuck two on the notice board, and I wondered if any of these students would actually care enough to tutor the new girl from Australia. I honestly hoped someone did.

     "Hey, Ellie." I jumped as Abby grabbed my shoulders from behind and startled me. "Ooh, you don't look so good."

     It didn't surprise me. After yesterday's incident I had refused to sleep longer than 30 minutes between each interval, resulting in the purple shadows that appeared under my faint bloodshot eyes.

     "Trouble sleeping," I tried to say as casually as possible. On the inside, the thought of closing my eyes made me cringe. Especially after last night's vivid imagery.

     "Well, let's get off to class," she said dismissively, but I recognised the concern behind her voice.

 

That evening, I hadn't received any calls or offers to be my tutor. I didn't think much of it because there was a likely chance no one had seen it yet. But when the end of the week loomed and I had no responses, I started fearing that French was going to be my first failed subject.

     Sighing, I grabbed my French homework and settled myself on the floor in the lounge room, reading through the textbook. The words seemed to merge together, making it even more impossible for me to decipher the foreign language.

     I heard the door knock. Both Noah and Lottie were still at work, so I groaned and went to fetch the door. I almost could sense his curly hair before it had completely opened. Harry was standing there, and my stomach retracted violently. I still hadn't forgotten the incident earlier this week, and no matter how long the time was since I'd seen him, he was still discomforting.

     I looked down to his hand, which was holding up a piece of paper. My eyes widened when I realised what it was.

     "I was walking down the street and I happened to see that a little someone needs a French tutor. Isn't she in luck? I happen to speak French," Harry said, dimples and all.

     There was no way in hell he was going to be my tutor.

     "Someone already called, and I'm having the lesson now," I hesitated, improvising as best I could to make him go away. Harry raised an eyebrow and looked over my shoulder into the house.

     "Huh. Didn't see anyone come over."

     "Are you stalking me?" I asked, folding my arms.

     "Stalking is a harsh word. Let's call it a harmless observation."

     "Whatever you want to call it, stop it because it's creepy."

     "Look, I know you need a tutor, and I am offering to do it without a price. And I brought some things for the lesson." Harry held up two plastic bags, one smelling of warm food.

     Damn it, he was cocky and eager, but he was right. I really did need a tutor, and I couldn't exactly afford to pay for one either.

     I clicked my tongue before saying, "Fine. Come in."

     Harry passed through the threshold and I realised this was the first time he'd been in my house. I felt a little vulnerable as he looked around before I settled him in the lounge room, my papers and textbook still strewn on the floor.

     "Um, we can do the lesson on the rug by the fire," I said, clearly unprepared for his company.

     "Cool," he said, sitting down and opening the plastic bags.

     "What did you bring?" I said warily as a few containers of food were being displayed on the floor.

     "French cuisine," he said, peeling open one of the plastic lids to reveal frog legs.

     "How the hell does that have anything to do with my passing grade? I'm learning to understand the culture, not eat it!" I said, squirming away from the container. Harry laughed, picking up one of the legs with his fingers and biting into it.

     "I can guarantee that the first question has something to do with frog legs," he said between chews.

     I looked at my homework sheet and attempted to articulate the first question. "Qu'est-ce qu'un délicatesse bien connue en France?"

     "What is a well-known delicacy in France?" he translated.

     "You're making that up," I said, my eyes narrowing at him.

     "I promise I'm not. I wouldn't make you fail a class in your first year."

     "I have a feeling you would," I mumbled, looking back at my sheet. I could feel Harry's gaze on me, and my eyes trailed up to see him holding a frog leg out in front of me.

     "Harry!" I squealed, recoiling so fast I hit the wooden brace of the couch. I winced and a hiss escaped my lips.

     "It's delicious," he laughed, popping it into his large mouth. I watched as he fed himself, and the way his tongue lolled out before the food went in. His lips puckered slightly as he chewed, my mouth slowly parting at the thought of how well he'd kiss-

     I snapped out as Harry's lips pulled upwards, and I realised he had caught me staring at him with an agape jaw.

     "Like what you see, Ellie Harper?" he teased, biting down on his bottom lip.

     "Can we get on with this? It's due on Monday," I coughed briskly and fanned my papers. I'd never admit that one of the most attractive things a guy could do was bite his lip. Especially when I seemed attracted to Harry doing it.

     "Right, second question."

 

***

 

Harry had got me through nearly all the answers, and I surprisingly picked up a lot about the language. I still refused to eat the frog's legs, though, but Harry polished them off all on his own.

     Just as I nearly hit my face to the textbook in exhaustion, Harry whispered, "Ellie," shaking my arm.

     I snapped up and looked at him, and his face was contorted into sincerity.

     "Hey," he said, so quiet I only just picked it up.

     "Why are you whispering?" I groaned, rubbing my eye with the back of my hand.

     "I was just wondering," he began, eyebrows furrowing, "why you ran from me on Monday? Was it because I laughed at you? Your reaction was worse than I had expected."

     I gulped, trying not to make eye contact with his questioning green eyes.

     "It was a long day," I lied, and Harry's eyebrows furrowed further.

     "Tell me or not, I'm still going to think you're insane." The cheekiness was back in his voice, and I was thankful he didn't continue to pry.

     "Thanks for the lesson," I said, the words stinging the back of my throat. It felt strange saying it to Harry, and I knew his ego was eating it up.

     "It's fine. I guess, if you're done, I should go," Harry coughed briskly and got up.

     I walked him to the door, and just as he went through the threshold, he turned around and whispered, "Whatever it was, I'm sorry I upset you."

     I went to speak, to say anything, but the space between Harry and I was closing in, his body in my personal proximity. My breath hitched as he smiled down at me, brown curls falling down over his eyes. The urge to sweep them back overtook me, and my hands went up to do just that. But before they could reach them, Harry's eyes darkened with anticipation and was there also a hint of...desire?

     "Admit it," he said in a deep, drawling voice. "You want me."

     I paused, my eyes narrowing at the smirk that pinched up one side of his mouth.

            "Goodnight, Harry," I snapped, pushing the tips of my fingers against his chest, and it was surprisingly firm beneath them. I could also feel his heart, which was beating unevenly. The last thing I saw was his mischievous pout before the door closed on him.

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