Harry & Pepper.

a series of one shots involving Harry and Pepper.

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1. "Sorry Mate."

"They're beautiful." My fingers trailed across each and every curve of the plastic, goose bumps forming over my skin as I slid the dials up and down. I had never seen a soundboard quite like it. The new Sony Z750. I was in heaven.

"I love you Uncle David! Are you sure about all of this?" I wrapped my arms around my uncle's neck as I spoke. His laugh echoed in my ears as he hugged me back.

"Of course, as long as it's okay with you?"

"Of course it's okay with me! This is my dream job!" I did a little happy dance to myself as I squealed. I had just been offered my dream job and there was no way I was turning this down. Sound engineering was my life, I hadn't thought about anything else since my dad bought me my first board when I was 8. My uncle had to go and look after his sister-in-law in Australia for a few months, with her being seriously ill. He had to find a replacement for his job, and that was me. "When?"

"Rehearsals start tomorrow." My eyes widened. So soon? "Is that okay?"

"Yeah, yeah. I just thought I'd have a bit more time." Moving to London for 2 months and then touring the country for another 4 was a lot to ask. "Naa I'm still up for it though. I'm so excited."

"Good." I don't think I'd ever seen such a big smile on my uncle's face. "Be here in the morning then. Text me if you need me." That was all he said before leaving me on my own with the soundboards.

 

***

 

I hummed as I ran my hands all over the sound boards again. I had never seen such beautiful things in my life, every curve and every dial being made to perfection. I hadn't slept a wink the previous night, my mind too full of excitement for what I was putting myself into. The rest of the band were setting up their equipment in the big rehearsal hall, but I couldn't notice anything but what was in front of me. It might sound crazily pathetic, me being so affectionate about a pile of plastic. But it was more than just a pile of plastic to me, it was one of the last links I had to my dad, and that meant a lot to me. Somebody placed their body slightly to the left of MY new boards, clearing their throat to get my attention.

"Can I help you?" My eyes didn’t lift as I attempted to get whoever it was to go.

"Um, I hope so." This time, I did raise my head. It was one of the headliners for this tour. I couldn't quite put my finger on his name, so I was grateful when he introduced himself. "I'm Harry. What's your name?"

"Pepper. New engineer." I smiled, which he quickly replicated.

"Like salt and pepper?" He chuckled at his own joke, one that I did not find very funny due to the amount of times I had heard it.

"That's the one." I snapped a bit too harshly. But he didn’t seem to notice.

"Well, I hope I'll be getting to know you a lot more, Pepper." I smiled sheepishly once more before returning my focus to the board. I hoped by not reply would get the boy to go, but in fact did exactly the opposite. My shot my head up upon hearing sniggering coming from behind the boy, who was still standing in exactly the same spot.

"Look, sorry mate, but would you mind? I'm still getting acquainted with these bad boys, and anyway, it looks like your friends are waiting for you." I gestured over Harry's shoulder to the four boys who were making inappropriate gestured with their hands towards mine and Harry's situation. His head hung low, a pinkish tinge appearing on his cheeks as he realised what his friends were doing. Their actions looking like they were trying to make Harry feel as awkward as possible.

"Urm, yeah sure. I'm sorry about them." His cheeks grew redder as he looked me in the eye. "I'll see you later?" His words sounding more like a question than a statement. He backed away having seen my small nod. I couldn't help but giggle as he ran over to his friends, jumping on one of their backs and managing to get another into a headlock. They all seemed like really nice boys to be around, reminding me of my friends back in secondary school who would've acted exactly the same way. A painful yelp came from the corner the boys had turned, Harry running back around not long after. "Hi again." I smiled as he walked around the boards to stand next to me. "um… I was wondering if it is okay if I could get your number?" Dark curls shielded his face as he talked, his head hanging low making me unable to see his expression. I hesitated, not sure what to do. I mean, it would probably become inevitable that I ended up with his number due to us spending 6 months together, but on professional terms. This sounded like he wanted my number for a bit more than that.

"Are you hitting on me?" I raised my eyebrow, teasing the boy. I wasn’t going to deny, he was really cute. His green eyes suited his face perfectly, along with his mop of curly hair that sat on top of his head. Not to mention his hands... wow he had nice hands. Don't judge, I have a thing for big hands okay. His eyes shot up to meet mine.

"Um, yeah.. I mean no! I mean, only if you want me to be…" The red blotch grew larger in his cheeks, obviously embarrassed by the situation. I giggled at his nervousness, it becoming apparent by his rambling. I pulled my phone out of my back pocket, him doing the same. A large grin appeared on his face when he realised I had accepted his offer. Once we had our own phones back, we stood there smiling at each other. It was a bit awkward, but it only became awkward when one of Harry's friends reappeared.

"Harry! It's time for your rash ointment." Harry looked shocked at his friend's words.

"I-I don't have a rash!" I giggled as he reassured me, panic in his voice. He turned to his friend, giving him the death stare as his friend was collapsed on the floor in laughter. "I'll text you." I nodded before allowing him past. "I'm gonna kill you, Louis." I've never seen a person run away faster than Harry's friend.

 

***

 

I ignored Josh, focusing more on my phone that vibrated in back pocket. Rountinely unlcoking the device, a small smile formed on my lips as I saw who it was from.

 

From: Harry

Come sit with us? X

 

I glanced up to find the boy grinning at me from the table on the opposite end of the cafeteria. I had sort of joined the band for dinner, them being the people I had spent the most time with today. They had allowed me into their group straight away. Our similarity in ages probably helping with the forming of our friendship. I had been told I was the youngest crew member, and the youngest girl with the next nearing 30 years old. Several men had turned their charm on for me, but only one making an impression.

 

To: Harry

Thank, but I'm alright over here. Sorry mate x

 

I was hesitant with adding the x on the end, but didn't want to seem rude. I didn't want to let him know I liked him, I hadn't known him long enough to know myself if I did. My attention was regained to the table by Dan throwing a carrot slice at me. "Oi, what was that for?" I threw it straight back at him.

"You weren't listening." Dan retaliated, flicking a piece of mash at me from his spoon. I gasped, feeling it land in my hair. A hand was slapped against Dan's mouth as he tried to keep a laugh from leaving his mouth.

"This. Means. War." I stated, launching peas at his face. Our mini food fight was cut short, Josh breaking the two of us up.

"Just bring Harry into the conversation and she'll stop." Unintentionally, I did what he had predicted. I paused, looking strangely at Josh, who continued. This time, he directed his words at me. "Every time he's looked your way today, you've gone bright red!" I could feel myself blushing again, hair hanging down to cover my face as I realised I had been caught. Josh was right. Harry had continually caught my eye, winking at me or making weird faces. I thought I was alright, hiding my blushing face behind my hair. But it seems as though I hadn't been careful enough. "Someone likes Harrryyyy."

"I do not!" I lied, slipping my phone out of my pocket as it vibrated once again.

 

From: Harry

Please! I'd much rather talk to you then these idiots. xx

 

I grinned, seeing him looking at me again out of the corner of my eye. "What's the betting that Harry just text her?" I threw the closest thing at Josh, which happened to be an apple, to shut him up.

 

***

 

"Do you need a lift?" I didn't need to turn to see who it was, my ears becoming accustomed to the boy's distinctive voice in just a few hours.

"No, it's okay. My car's outside." I turned to see a smirk on Harry's lips, his body leaning against the work top. "Thanks for the offer though."

"Where are you staying?"

"Oh, um.. I don't know yet. I'm supposed to be in some hotel but I have no idea where it is." Embarrassment filled me, my fingers suddenly becoming very interesting.

"You're staying with me tonight." I lifted my head to find the boy walking towards my, my hand taken hold of in his long fingers as he pulled me to the exit, me having finished tidying up.

"What? No! I can't do that. I'm fine in a hotel." I pulled my hand out of Harry's grip making him come to a stop. "Anyway, I barely even know you. For all I know, you could be a murderer." The small smile that barely made it to my face was a big contrast to the large one on Harry's, his wide smile encouraging his dimple to show.

"Don't make me tie you up." He winked, teasing in his voice. I was still hesitant. "Come on Pepper, I'd feel better knowing you were safe than wondering around a strange city at midnight." Thoughts ran through my mind, he cared about me? "And who knows who would want to take advantage of a pretty, 17-year old."

"I'm 18."

"Still…" His hand outstretched, waiting for me to slip mine into. My eyes flicked from Harry's to his hand, not sure of what to do.

"Are you sure?"

"I want you to come home with me. Add you to my collection of dead bodies." The grin was wide on Harry's face as I lightly slapped his shoulder at his joke. I took Harry's hand, allowing him to lead me to his car. A slight squeeze could be felt, my small fingers dwarfing Harry's, even though I wasn't that short.

"I wouldn't try anything. I've got Superman on sped dial." I joked as we walked out of the building, our cars being two of the last there.

"You don't need Superman, you've got me."

 

***

 

"You can take that room if you want." He pointed his fingers to the first room on the right as he locked the front door. "Bathroom's next to you, living room opposite. I'm next to the living room and the kitchen's at the end of the hall." He took my coat from my shoulders, hanging it up on the peg next to his.

"Thank you for this." He smiled, dimple popping again as he kicked off his shoes next to mine.

"I'm gonna shower quick, I'll leave you a towel in there in case you want to."

"Thanks." I didn’t quite know what else to say apart from thanks. "Oh shit." I mumbled under my breath, hoping Harry wouldn't hear as he went into his room. Obviously I wasn’t quiet enough.

"What? What is it?" Harry spun around, back at my side in no time.

"Oh, nothing. It's just I left my clothes in my car…" I found myself embarrassed again, hiding my face behind my hair. I had found that that was one of the benefits of having long hair, it providing a shield against the rest of the world.

"I'll run by the studio in the morning and pick up your car for you if you want." Harry made me face him by lifting my chin using his fingers.

"It's okay. I can quickly change before we start tomorrow." I didn’t want to be a hassle for him after all he had done for me tonight.

"Don't worry about it. Where's your keys?" I fumbled around in my bag for them, passing them to Harry when I found them. He bent down, pressing his full lips against my cheek. I won't be a cheesy bastard and say sparks flew between us and all that shit, but I can't deny that I felt all funny inside. "Goodnight, Pepper." All I could do was smile up at him, a bit dumbstruck due to our previous moments. He didn’t say anything else, spinning on his heels and stripping his shirt off of his body as he walked to the bathroom. I rushed into the room that Harry had allowed me to use, hoping that he wouldn't reveal anymore of his body before he got to the bathroom door.

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