Always and Never

Ariel Tanner believed that love was nothing but an illusion, a sick prank your brain pulls on you. But when she meets Harry Styles she begins to question everything she has put together about love. This frustrating boy was the only truly genuine person she'd ever met. How someone like him could even exist blew her mind. Harry, on the other hand, was amazed at how closed off Ariel acted. He made it his mission to knock down the walls she'd built around herself, because behind the flirting and the sarcasm, he got a glimpse of a girl that he wanted to become as close as humanly possible to. But did he really want to know everything behind those walls?

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23. Dork

A/N: Sorry I haven't updated in a while! I'll try to get back to adding chapters twice a week! I love you, my beautiful readers! -Xx

I carefully washed and dried my feet, then waited for Harry to do the same. Colorful water swooshed down the drain. 

“I bought a few clothes for you to change into. I didn't want to ask you to bring extra clothes because then I would've had to tell you why.” He said, smiling cheekily. I probably wouldn't have asked too many questions... 

I followed him back into his bedroom. He opened a drawer full of women's clothes. What?

“Pick out what you want. I got a few sizes of each thing, so you can choose what you think is comfortable.” He explained.

“Harry you shouldn't buy me things.” I muttered, staring at the drawer full of probably expensive clothes- the jeans looked designer.

“It's really no big deal.” He shrugged.

“Yes it is, it makes me feel bad.” I said.

“It's not like I'm wasting money though, you could feel guilty if that were the case, but since they're for you, it's not a waste.” He smiled. I shook my head. He was going to stick to his argument. I chose a cute pair of jean shorts and a Doncaster Rovers t-shirt, both sat on the very top.

“I had no idea you had such great style, Styles.” I laughed.

“Haha very funny. I actually had a little help from my sister on these.” He smiled sheepishly.

“Tell her she has very good taste.” I smiled. “What's her name?” I added quickly, curious.

“Gemma. I'd actually like it if you met her soon, and my parents.” He said quietly, sounding unsure.

“I'd love that.” I grinned. A stroke of panic disappeared as fast as it had appeared. Didn't meeting the family mean we were getting serious? I brushed the thought away, not wanting to spend the rest of the day craving gold fish crackers... He smiled, beaming now. Who knew such a little thing could make him so happy. Before I could slip into his bathroom to change he snaked his arm around my waist, pressing his lips to mine. He soon let me continue.

The blood rushed to my head as I stumbled into the washroom. I changed quickly, not wanting to be away from Harry. It was so bad. So so so bad. I shouldn't be this crazy about a guy. They end up hurting you in the end, every time. That's why you're not supposed to get close enough to even care. But Harry's different... I thought involuntarily. This time, I secretly agreed with my subconscious. I know that sounds weird but I'm sure you've done it before. My conscious mind thought No! No! All men are the same. Don't let yourself be so vulnerable! You idiot! Of course I had to think that. I wouldn't be able to function correctly if I didn't.

Before I could start think about something else to distract myself, I wondered, if Harry decided right now that he never wanted to see me again, would I feel nothing like I'm telling myself I would? No. If that happened, I would be crushed. Stop! Stop, stop!! I can't think like this! This isn't who I am! You've gotta fight it, come on. Do you want to be hurt again?? You're stronger than the lies, than the illusion. The battle raged on in my mind as I stood there, just staring at the wall. The thing that finally broke off my thoughts was a knock at the door.

“Are you alright Ariel? You've been in there a while...” Harry's beautiful raspy voice reached my ears.

“Sorry. Just daydreaming I guess.” I said, embarrassed, as I opened the door.

“What about?” He asked.

“You.” I replied, a forced smile plastered on my face.

“Really?” He smirked. I nodded. He pulled me up against him.

“What did you imagine?” He breathed.

“That's something you'll never know.” I pretended to be playful. He had no idea that what just crossed my mind in there, was one of the scariest things possible. He rested his forehead on mine.

“Are you sure?” He asked, his voice getting lower.

“Very.” I nodded.

“Damn...” He sighed. He was very, very convincing. But I held on by a shred. His amazing green eyes made me want to spill every thought and dream that I've ever had. He had no idea how much power he wielded, and I'd like if it stayed that way.

“The boys are here, and they're wondering where you are.” He smiled.

“Why do they care about me?” I scoffed, disbelieving.

“Oh my God, they love you. Don't be surprised when they ask you to be the 6th member of the band.” He laughed quietly. I had no idea they liked me, in fact, I assumed they'd hate me, just because I occupy some of their friend's time... Most guys were like that. But these five were a different bunch, weren't they? Harry wasn't the only abnormal one, all five were out of the ordinary.

“They like me?” I asked, the surprise in my voice was a little heavier than I'd planned.

“Why is that so shocking to you?” Harry sounded concerned.

“I don't know... I'm just, me.” I shrugged.

“You're amazing. Only a fool wouldn't be able to see that.” He stared into my eyes, like he was trying to read my mind again.

“That's sweet of you to say.” I smiled.

“But I'm not just saying it Ariel.” He insisted.

“I know that you truly believe it, and it's nice that at least one person thinks that.” I said. No more talking about that. I didn't want to start crying again. Harry sighed taking my hand in his. He brought it to his lips, pressing a gentle kiss to the back of my fingers. That gesture was what dropped the topic.

We then made our way down the stairs to meet the boys.

“Hey!” They exclaimed when we emerged.

“Hey guys.” I grinned.

“How was your painting session?” Louis asked.

“Fun, different...” I answered.

“Good.” He grinned at Harry.

“So we have a little surprise for the love birds...” Zayn smirked.

“What?” Harry asked, genuinely confused.

“We set up a date for all of us. Perrie and Eleanor are meeting us there.” Liam said.

“What are we doing?” I asked.

“Just a friendly game of football. It'll be almost boys against girls, one of us will have to be on the girl's team to make it even.” Niall smiled. The answering grin that spread across my face was almost evil.

They had no idea I played soccer for years before my mom decided that I didn't deserve to do something that made me happy. And even after that, I played in secret. No-rules (I got very good at dodging tackles), with potheads- they weren't really a threat- drunks- how dangerous they were depended on alcohol intake- and the downright bad kids from school. Plus they were all older than me. I could no doubt handle these guys.

“When did you all plan this?” Harry asked.

“Yesterday.” Zayn answered simply.

“We've spent years preparing for this Harry, now you can show off your skills to your new girlfriend.” Louis smirked. I looked up at Harry, who was smirking as well.

“So you all play?” I assumed.

“A lot actually. Are you nervous?” He grinned.

“Not at all.” I laughed.

“Well you should be.” He growled playfully in my ear.

“Never.” I whispered back.

“You just wait and see then.” He laughed.

“Oh I'm looking forward to it.” I smirked.

“El and Perrie will be waiting...” Liam said politely, bringing Harry and I back from our little world, where only him and I existed.

“Okay, we're ready when you are.” I smiled. Harry locked the front door behind everyone, and then I followed him to Niall's car.

“I'll arm wrestle you for shotgun.” Harry grinned.

“That wouldn't be fair.” I laughed, trying to imply that he would be at a disadvantage. Obviously he didn't take it that way.

“You're right, I'd be sure to win.” He nodded thoughtfully.

“On that note, lets go right now curly. On the bonnet.” I smirked, setting my elbow down on Niall's car and motioning for Harry to come over as well. A crooked grin lit up his face as he copied my position.

“On three.” I said, a grin breaking out on my face. Harry's large hand engulfed mine. He flexed his arm muscles, showing off. I had to admit, he was kinda intimidating, but I still wasn't scared. Not one bit.

I'm strong for a girl, I used to lift my dad's weights almost every day. Harry could probably pack a mean punch... Now I wish he'd hit Brad. Oh, wow, I'm losing focus. I shook off the off-tangent thoughts and got back to our little competition. 

I rolled my eyes for Harry's sake. My boyfriend was a complete dork...

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