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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52. Neighbor

I was reading, curled up on the couch with a blanket and a bowl of popcorn when Harry got home. I heard him drop his suit case in the entryway, and then I was off the couch and hovering over the floor. I had to smile, despite my suspicions. He hugged me to him tightly, so tightly I couldn't get my arms free to hug him back, sighing in content.

“I missed you.” He mumbled.

“I missed you too, an unhealthy amount.” I inhaled his scent, it was comforting. I loved it way, way too much. He set me down before replying, hands finding a home on my waist. 

“Never. Never unhealthy.” He muttered, almost sounding like it was to himself.

“Do you have to unpack right away?” I asked.

“Of course not.” He answered, pulling me onto the couch. We sat as close as two people possibly could without actually being on top of each other. He tucked the blanket around the two of us and turned on the TV. We sat like that for a long time, and I almost forgot that I was angry with him.

Around supper time the doorbell rang, Harry got up to answer the door, pecking my cheek on the way. I listened closely, curious as to who was here.

“Hello, what can I do for ya?” Harry questioned.

“Uh, who are you? Where's the girl?” A high pitched man's voice said from the doorway. I groaned. It was the neighbor who complained about my music the other day. I got up and walked sluggishly to the front door. I had to make sure Harry didn't punch him or something. The man's face seemed to light up when I got to the door. Not with happiness, in a creepy way.

“Are you sure you've got the right house?” Harry asked, irritation seeping into his features.

“Oh, yeah, that's her. Hey sweetheart, I came over to see if you wanted to have a little fun.” The man grinned.

“Okay, uh, ew, no. And don't call me that.” I spoke like I was talking to a kindergartner.

"Come on, you couldn't help but feel the heat between us the other day." The creep continued.

"Go fuck yourself." I answered. This guy was getting on my last nerve.

The man didn't look discouraged, only more excited. Harry's gaze hadn't strayed from his neighbor, he saw the mood in the man's eyes. Before anyone could say anything else, Harry's fist had connected with the man's face.

“Harry!” I exclaimed. My entire purpose for coming to the door was now irrelevant. 

“He's a fucking creep, what else was I supposed to do??” He shouted, clenching and unclenching his fist.

“I don't know... Geez, that looks like it hurt...” I muttered, more amused than would probably be deemed acceptable in this situation. The guy was now moaning on the floor of our porch.

“Shit!” Harry groaned. I followed his gaze, a person with a big black camera was sitting in the front seat of a small van on the street connected to our driveway.

“That was worth it.” The man laughed as he stood up. His nose was bleeding and below his left eye was beginning to darken, “They paid me five hundred pounds to do that.” He grinned again, stumbling off the porch. Harry lurched forward, but I had ahold of his arm. I slammed the door before any other bad choices could be made.

“How the hell did he know you?” Harry exclaimed, “Damn paps!” He shouted even louder, but those words were directed toward the door, not me. 

“He's one of the neighbors, he complained about my music being too loud when you were gone, so I turned it up and flipped him off through the window...” I explained quickly.

“He's a neighbor? If I see that prick again...” He trailed off.

“Let it go, people are gonna be watching you after this.” I insisted. Harry let out a ragged sigh, massaging his fist unconsciously.

“Let's make dinner.” I suggested, changing the subject.

“Alright. What are we making?” He agreed.

“How about we make some soup.” I decided. That sounded good.

“Mmm, with french bread.” He nodded as he followed me to the kitchen. I put the soup on the stove while Harry threw a loaf of french bread in the oven.

Should I bring it up now? No, no, after supper, I decided. It was so nice, to relax with dinner together. The lights dimmed, a wine glass in our hands. For the second time I almost forgot to be irritated at Harry...

We finished our dinner, and I went up to change into pajamas and brush my teeth. By the time I was ready to meet Harry back downstairs he was in our room, also in his pajamas. I took a deep breath. Now. You cannot just let him get away with this. I stood, rigid, in the middle of the room. I didn't want to say anything, but I had to. Tonight Harry had the power to decide whether my heart stays whole or not...

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