Cold air hit my face as I pushed open the pub door. I pulled on my red gloves and wrapped my coat tighter around me. Loud voices from the bar caused me to look back and through the fogged up windows. Harry smiled at something said in his group conversation and his eyes traveled outside to me. I stuck my tongue out at him.
His duty of “keeping an eye on me” would be unsuccessful due to me leaving. Jane and Niall had assigned him and then left us to find their couple friends. I had to survive amongst the arrogant musician and actor types and others “in the business.” Once they discovered I was a student studying Art History, I no longer held their attention, nor had I cared to in the first place. Nice and normal people could be found, especially those I knew from being around the boys, but they couldn’t spend the whole night with me.
I headed towards Westminster Bridge, passing tourists emerging from the 24-hour souvenir shop, hand in hand and presumably in love. To have a Valentine in London…wonder what that feels like...
I turned right just before the bridge to walk along the Thames and more couples surrounded me. I continued toward the London Eye and found open space against the bank of the river. In front of me to my left, Big Ben lit up the dark sky. I took a picture and uploaded it to Instagram, with the hashtags London, Big Ben, and favorite.
Closing my eyes, I listened to the footsteps and low voices around me. I stayed that way for a couple minutes, relaxed. And then an arm rested on my shoulders.
“Hey, it’s okay,” Harry laughed. “It’s just me.”
I slapped his shoulder. “Jerk! You scared the bejezzus out of me!”
“I couldn’t resist,” he said with his cheeky grin. “What are you doing all the way out here anyways?”
“There were so many people at the party, I just needed a break.”
“Making my job of baby-sitting you nearly impossible.”
“But you found me,” I said.
“Indeed I did.”
“How did you?”
“Since we’re close to Ben I figured you’d gone to take a look at him.”
I tilted my head and slightly squinted me eyes.
“What?” Harry asked.
“I’m just surprised you would know that about me.”
“Hey, I pay attention to the things people like. And then your photo confirmed it.”
I giggled. “Yes, this is one of my favorite spots.”
He put his arm around my shoulders, bringing me closer to his side. “What do you say we go back? For a half hour and then we can drag Niall and Jane over to Louis’ so El can make us some food?”
“Sounds good to me, pal.”
We took a couple steps and then stopped. Harry and I looked at each other and smiled. The aroma of freshly baked food invaded my senses making my mouth water. We looked around and several teenagers neared us eating waffles.
“I changed my mind. How about we go this way instead?” I said, grabbing Harry’s hand and pulling him towards the direction of the food.
“How can I say no to you and waffles?” Excitement fluttered in my stomach and Harry held on to my hand when I attempted to let go.
“So are you going on any more trips before you start rehearsals?”
“No I’ll stay in London except for a few days to Holmes Chapel.”
“Good. You boys are more fun when you’re all together anyways.”
“Hey,” Harry spun me so I faced him and he grabbed my wrists. “Are you saying I’m boring on my own?”
“Hmm,” I looked up at him. “Perhaps.”
A mischievous glint came appeared Harry’s eyes. He lifted me and carried me over his shoulder and started jogging.
“Ahhh Harry! Let me down!”
“Nope! Not until you say I’m the best member of One Direction and I’m never boring.”
“Ugh. I’m sorry. You could never be boring and you are the best and my favorite member of One Direction.”
He placed me back on my feet. “Now that’s what I like to hear. Thanks, babe.”
My face warmed at his endearment. “There’s the waffle cart. Oh my gosh, I can’t wait. What are you getting?”
“Whipped cream and berries.”
“That’s way too healthy. I’m getting Nutella with banana.” I reached for the money in my wristlet, but Harry put his hand over mine.
“I got it. I’m the reason you’re out tonight anyways.”
Once we got our waffles we sat on a nearby bench and started eating. After a few bites in silence I said, “What do you mean you’re the reason I’m here tonight?”
Harry took a deep breath. “I begged Jane to invite you even though she said you hated these kinds of parties.”
“I wanted to spend time with you,” he paused, “Because I like you.”
“O-kay. I…what-what does that mean exactly?”
“You’ve been on my mind a lot and I think we have a shot at being more than friends.”
I began to twirl the ends of my hair. “Wow. I never thought—well I guess. Sorry I’m babbling, I’m just surprised. I don’t know what to say.”
“Say yes to one date, Anna.”