For the second time in just two days I awoke in Harry Styles bed.
This time however I was curled on my side, my head tucked against his chest. We had fallen asleep in the same position last night and miraculously we had stayed this way.
It must still have been very early as my alarm had yet to go and instead of pulling myself from bed I took the time to just relax.
At some some stage we had managed to fling the covers off us so that they were only draped over the lower half of our legs.
I couldn't help it but within a few minutes my gaze began to stray.
I looked over Harry's left arm which was draped around me and noted his numerous tattoos, they seemed random and scattered but I couldn't help but wonder if they held meanings and whether they were arranged the way they were for a reason. My eyes continued their journey along his arm to his shoulder and across his chest and stomach.
Everywhere I looked was muscular and defined, scattered with tattoos and currently rising gently with his soft breaths. My eyes roamed over his muscular abs and followed the thin trail of hair that dipped into the band of his boxers. My breath caught as I could not help but look even further and caught sight of the significant bulge his boxers clung so close too.
I gulped and dragged my eyes back up, fearful he had awoken and caught me staring.
I was painfully aware that Harry was only the second guy I had every seen in so much detail and he was so different to the last that he intrigued me no end.
He was almost like a contradiction; a collision of strength and beauty with his muscular, lithe body wrapped in flawless skin dotted with art.
I irrationally wanted nothing more than to run my hand across his torso and confirm if his skin was as soft as it looked and if the muscles underneath were as hard.
Finally my alarm sounded making my heart nearly leap out of my chest and breaking me abruptly out of my reviere.
Harry groaned deeply making butterflies form in my stomach.
I extracted myself from his arms to shut the sound off and to bring myself away from his body which unnerved me so.
Little did I know that I would that I would be seeing a lot more of Harry Styles body that week.
This morning when I woke I was in bed alone.
Arianna must have woken earlier and already left.
I was suprised that I hadn't woken when she left but I was glad too because right now I was sporting the biggest hard on.
This in itself was pretty common but I knew that the reason for my arousal this morning was because of the girl who had just left my bed and the tight fitting jeans and leggings she had sported yesterday.
Not even guilt could stop me from slipping my hand beneath my boxers and thinking lustfully after her.
I reached my climax with a guttural groan and not a moment too soon as Louis bounced into the room and onto my bed.
'Aww crap you're already awake' He complained at losing out on abruptly tearing me into the land of the living.
'Yep' I said succinctly trying to catch my breath.
Not that I would have been bothered if Louis caught on to what I had been doing. We were five guys who basically lived in one another's pockets so we knew exactly what one another were at. There were definitely times we had walked in on eachother in the act but we just laughed about it.
'If you're looking to wake someone up abruptly try Zayn' I suggested prying my eyes open as my heart rate settled.
'I'm quite attached to my balls Styles so I'd like to keep them thank you very much' he replied with a snort.
Zayn was notoriously difficult to wake up, it was an act we had all dreaded doing and I didn't envy Arianna the job now it was hers.
Thinking of Arianna I wondered what the plans for our day were, it was odd after all that she hadn't woken us yet.
I voiced this to Louis who just shrugged and made his way over to my wardrobe where he began to rummage.
'Maybe Arianna's still sleeping?' He suggested with his head thrust between my clothes.
'Yeah maybe' I replied thankful that I didn't have to face him. I didn't lie to the boys and I wasn't exactly sure why I hadn't told them about Aria staying in my bed but it would have made it into a thing and I didn't think it required that weight or scrutiny. I wasn't lying, just not telling but it still felt wrong.
There was no point trying to get back to sleep now Louis was awake so I dragged myself out of bed and into the bathroom, shedding my boxers as I went.
I sometimes wondered that if other people saw us would they find our nudity around one another strange. I had never had brothers or lived in a house with other boys so I didn't know if our walking around naked or barely clothed in front of another was normal. Either way I didn't particularly care, I wasn't ashamed to admit that I loved being naked, I was comfortable with my body and I liked the feeling of freedom.
There was no denying that I was the worst of us all, the boys now all saw me naked on regular occasions but they never batted an eyelash, they knew what I was like. Niall came in a close second, begrudging any time he had to wear clothes over boxers whilst the rest of the guys were partial to little or no clothing on occasions.
I somehow managed to continue a nonsensical conversation with Louis whilst in the shower with the bathroom door open until silence finally fell. When I got out, wrapped a towel around my waist and went into the bedroom it was to find it empty and half of the clothes which had been on hangers now on my cupboard floor.
Shaking the excess water out of my hair I made for the kitchen to find out exactly what was happening with our day and why we had yet to be called.
I found Aria at the kitchen table, leant over the iPad with a frown on her face whilst Louis was making an inordinate amount of noise trying to pour a bowl of cereal.
'Morning Aria' I said sitting down beside her.
'Oh morning Harry' she replied glancing up with a blush on her cheeks.
I wondered if her pink cheeks were because of the vulnerability she had shown me last night or because I was currently only in a towel.
Whichever it was I was irrationally pleased.
I was brought back to earth as Louis plonked a gigantic bowl of coco pops down in front of me, causing some to spill over the side and onto the table.
'Thanks mate' I said to which he shrugged, sitting down opposite me.
'So what's the plans for today?' I asked Aria shovelling a spoonful of cereal in my mouth and looking to her expectantly.
'Well I'm not explaining it three different times so you'll have to wait until I drag the rest of guys out of bed' she returned with a smile, rising from her chair and leaving the kitchen.
I couldn't help but glance at her bum as she exited the room only to be caught by Louis who snorted into his bowl as I laughed.
I couldn't help it, she was wearing an oversized casual t-shirt which left her beautiful slender legs exposed. I knew the outfit was casual as she had teamed it was a cotton scarf and a pair of brown flat boots that envied my own but she still looked heart wrenchingly beautiful, the fact that it was unintential just made her more attractive.
Louis and I were mainly silent as we munched our way through the cereal, going back for the box and filling our bowls with more.
It was a good ten minutes before the rest of the guys made an appearance, Zayn and Niall still in boxers and Liam with low slung sweats on. They grabbed bowls from the cupboards and helped themselves to the cereal too as Aria sat back down.
'Right guys' she started 'The schedule's all changed a bit dramatically in about the last half an hour so listen up'.
We grunted and nodded to indicate we were indeed listening.
'Today, we're staying here to start proper tour planning, all the people are coming to sort it out. Choreographry are also coming along with Gene, Lou and the rest of the stylists to get your outfits sorted. Tomorrow morning we leave for Liverpool for promo, then Thursday we're in Manchester. Friday we go to Italy and then Saturday you're for the Cannes Film Festival in France, with promo that day. We fly back here on Sunday' she concluded.
As she had spoken I couldn't help but notice that she had counted herself as one of us, referring to us as 'we'. It made me smile that she already felt so comfortable with us, we had always said that One Direction was team work and now she was one of the most important pieces in that team.
The next week would be hectic but it gave me butterflies, it was a taste of the tour to come and I was buzzing with excitement about that.
'Ok so everyone should be here in about half an hour so if you could try and put some form of clothes on for then that would be great' Aria continued and I chanced a grin at her for that remark to which she blushed further.
Finished with the cereal I got up from the table to put my bowl in the dishwasher. As I stood and turned for the sink Liam grabbed the edge of my towel and pulled it from around my waist.
'Oh my God' I heard Aria cry, flustered as the rest of the guys howled with laughter.
I turned to her with a grin on only to find she had her hands clamped over her eyes.
'Aww come on Aria you know you want a look' I joked, chiding her.
'Oh my God, please tell me you have your towel back on' she blustered as we continued to laugh.
I approached with silent steps until I was sitting on the table facing her. I pressed my leg against her and put one hand on her shoulder.
'Oh my God, oh my God' she chanted, clamping her hands tighter over her eyes. I knew the only reason she wasn't moving was because she would have to open her eyes to do so, so I took the opportunity to lean in and hug her.
She screeched against me;
I laughed once more, relinquished her and finally wrapped my towel back around my waist.
'It's safe now, you can come out' I toyed with her but she shook her head, her eyes behind her hands.
Niall intervened 'Arianna he has it back on I promise'.
She hesitated and then slowly lowered her hands and edged her eyes open.
I saw her visibly take a deep breath of relief and noted her firey red cheeks with a smile.
'Go, get dressed, all of you' she chivvied us out avoiding our eyes.
Still laughing we began to make our way out of the kitchen.
I turned at the door to look back at Aria, catching her eye to which she shook her head disbelievingly.
Feeling cheeky I turned back to leave and as I did so I dropped my towel to reveal my bum to her.
'Harry!' Her shriek reverberated up the stairs after me as I struggled to catch my breath from laughing.
I was going to kill him.
All of them really but specifically Harry.
At the best of times these boys had an aversion to clothes but he had just taken it to a whole new level.
Harry Styles had been inches from me, completely butt naked and not at all abashed.
Even rethinking the whole thing made my cheeks flush horrifically.
I didn't want to admit it but having seen his bum there was no denying it's beauty. It was taut and flawless like the rest of him.
I was becoming increasingly aware that in the three days I had been with these boys I had now seen all of Harry Styles apart from one particular place. As time passed it was quickly becoming clear that I was lucky not to have seen that place, although I wasn't so sure lucky was the right word.
I shook my head. Too many gorgeous half dressed men first thing in the morning did not do well for my concentration. And today I needed to concentrate because things were about to get seriously mental.
The tour team all arrived early just as the boys descended the stairs and we convened in the living room where we began to thrash out all the details. Tour buses were decided on, driving routes planned, days off penciled in (subject to cancellation) hotels chosen and entire floors booked out. Radio and TV interviews were squeezed in alongside fan meet and greets. Album writing and recording times were organised in military fashion to fit in between rehearsals and shows. It soon became evident that the guys weren't going to have an un-allocated minute in the entire nine months.
A fact that it seemed I wasn't the only one to have picked up on.
Paul, the tour manager spoke up;
'Ok guys as you can see, this is going to be crazy, you will be country hopping like there's no tomorrow and so I have a suggestion to put to you' he said as they hung on his every word.
'A private jet' he said to resounding silence.
'All this time waiting about in airports is going to wreck you, it is quicker and simpler for everyone if you have your own jet, but it's your call' he concluded.
'We can have our own jet?' Liam voiced incredulously as the team smiled at each other.
'Yeah Liam you can have your own jet' one of them replied, shaking his head as though the question was stupid.
'Sick' said Zayn.
'Cool' voiced Harry.
'Whooo! We're getting our own jet!' Exclaimed Niall, throwing himself upon Louis and Harry in excitement.
'Eugh get off you heavy sod' said Louis shoving him off and on to the floor.
Niall managed to grab his arm and trailed him with him and from there the whole thing descended into anarchy as the rest of the guys joined the floor scrum.
I took this opportunity to leave and began to rustle some sandwiches together for lunch knowing the boys hunger would kick in soon and they would come searching for food.
Their last forage into the kitchen was still very evident, there were coco pops scattered all over the place upon which I kept standing and coming across in nooks and crannys. You would have thought cereal would have been relatively straightforward but nothing seemed to be with these guys.
I loaded up plates of sandwiches and crisps and brought them into the living room where I was nearly pounced on.
'Oi!' I called turning away from the boys.
'You're last' I said dodging them and making my way over to Paul, the security and drivers with the food.
'Why?' Niall cried petulantly.
'Because of your antics this morning' I replied.
'But I didn't do anything!' He exclaimed.
'Exactly, you didn't help me. Harry you go get the glasses and drinks' I said turning to face him.
'Right you are mam' he said in a pathetic cockney accent whilst saluting me.
The boys glared until they too finally received food upon which they were content.
As soon as we were done with lunch Lou and the rest of the stylists arrived laden down with clothes and products.
She embraced me with a warm hug and introduced me to the other two women who were different to the ones I had met yesterday.
'This is Alicia, my new trainee' Lou said beaming and introducing me to a pretty blonde girl who looked only a few years older than myself.
'And this is Caroline, she's the stylist, I just help her out. I'm more hair and make-up but Alicia here will be helping both of us' she explained as Caroline introduced herself to me with a hug.
They were then accosted by the boys who came rushing over.
'Where's Lux?' Harry asked Lou enthusiastically.
'My daughter' Lou explained to me pulling out of Harry's hug 'And she's at home today Harry'.
'What about Brooklyn?' Put in Zayn.
'That would be my daughter' explained Caroline with a smile.
'And my Goddaughter' proclaimed Zayn proudly.
'She's at home too, we've got a lot to get through today' she said as the boys faces fell.
They really were too adorable sometimes.
'What about you Alicia? Do you have a daughter or a child in general?' I asked as everyone laughed.
'No, no, definitely no children for me' she said eyes wide.
'So we're an even team then' said Lou with a smile.
'Now let's get these boys gorgeous'.
'Oi we're already gorgeous!' Exclaimed Niall before introducing himself properly to Alicia alongside the other guys.
It was a relief to realise I wasn't the only new member to the team, nor the only young one.
Thus began my second barrage of half naked gorgeous guys.
I saw Alicia blush and avert her eyes and laughing I went over to her.
'You may get used to it, they have a strange aversion to clothes' I explained as she smiled gratefully.
'Especially Harry' I added.
'Seen Harry naked yet then Arianna?' Lou asked abruptly from the other side of the room handing Harry a pair of jeans as I stared at her in horror.
She laughed at my reaction.
'Harry loves to be naked don't you?' She said to him slapping him playfully on the arm as he grinned.
'Everyone who works with Harry sees him naked, I warn you now. You'll probably see Niall too so you may both loose the modesty gene now girls. These boys come without clothes' she concluded as Caroline laughed.
'Despite how much I try to put them in beautiful ones' she said as both Alicia and I laughed and blushed simultaneously.
Picking the clothes for the boys took forever and it became apparent to me just how important this aspect of the boys preparation was. Caroline and Lou were meticulous about dressing the guys but they were vocal about what they liked and where they weren't prepare to venture. I nearly bust a gut when Caroline encouraged Liam into a pair of tight fitting jeans which progressed to rip right along his bum as soon as he attempted to move. It was evident that Harry was the king of tight fitting jeans, they were so well fitted that they looked like they were painted on him but he seemed remarkably comfortable in them. I was beginning to wonder if anything fazed Harry Styles.
The boys had just managed to pull themselves out of the clothes they had chosen and into shorts and t-shirts when choreography arrived.
I opened the door to a slight man who introduced himself as Paul. He was accompanied by a tall, younger male who Paul introduced as Jack, his assistant. The sight of him flustered me somewhat. There was no denying that he was extremely handsome with golden skin, blonde hair and blue eyes he looked every inch the American boy next door. I spoke very little to him, afraid of making a fool of myself but instead led them to meet the boys.
It was evident now that everyone of an important role in this team had an assistant, it was a reflection of how hard work managing five, highly energetic young guys was. It also made me think of Gene and how I had essentially abandoned him, I needed to remember to help him as much as I could although I wasn't sure where I was going to find the time to do so. That was of course provided that I actually stayed as the boys PA, it was easy to forget that I was still on a weeks trial.
The boys were introduced to Jack by Paul and they all followed him to the dance studio whilst I tried to help Caroline, Lou and Alicia tidy up the chaos that had been spread across the living room.
As they were leaving Alicia and I exchanged numbers and emails, as the newest member of the team hers was one of the details I didn't have and as I was the only girl close to her age she seemed keen to keep in contact. I had no problems with this but I was hesitant of friendships now, especially those with other girls and so I didn't expect Alicia and I would develop any particular relationship.
By the time I had cleared up and made my way to the dance studio the boys had all stripped of their tops as they ran across the wooden floor. To me it seemed less like dancing and more like barely continued mayhem. Paul was trying to get them under some sort of control but they weren't really listening to him as opposed to doing their own thing. Paul was getting increasingly annoyed and as time passed I began to get ticked off too, we still had so much to do today so the guys really needed to start working with Paul. Finally as Harry thumped against the wall in conclusion of a slide along the ground I lost my temper;
'Right enough!' I yelled.
I walked over to Harry and grabbed his upper arm from where he lay on the ground;
'Up' I said sternly.
Thankfully he listened and pulled his lean body to a standing position only inches from mine. I backed away swiftly and over to Niall who was sitting atop Liam's back;
'Down' I ordered to which he swiftly obeyed.
They were now standing around me scuffing their trainers across the floor as Jack and Paul stood off to the side.
'No more fooling about, we have so much to do today, I'm warning you this once and not again' I said harshly as they nodded meekly.
'Now listen' I said pointing toward Paul and Jack.
I was relieved when they began to finally pay attention to Paul and Jack and do as they asked, the whole arrangement was still very crazy but at least now they were performing moves they could reproduce on stage without risking killing one another.
Finally we were done although I was left unsure as to what had actually been achieved. It seemed that Paul did not desire to have set routines organised with the boys, he merely proposed certain moves or ideas which they more than often edited or elaborated on. It would be interesting to see how it would all come together on stage during a show.
Paul and Jack let themselves out and I was suddenly left alone faced with five topless, sweaty and hungry boys. I tried not to become flustered as Harry approached me and I noted the rivulets of sweat which trickled down the ridges of his chest and abdominal muscles. His green eyes locked with mine as he began to speak;
'What will we do about dinner?' he asked as the rest of the boys followed him pushing their damp hair out of their eyes.
My heart rate began to race and I knew that my cheeks were beginning to turn pink as I struggled to form a sentence.
Thankfully the doorbell rang at that exact moment and I dashed out of the room to answer the door to my saviour.
It was Gene.
I let him in with a smile and couldn't help but look at the bags he had in his hands.
He noticed my gaze and smiled;
'Thought you'd all be hungry' he explained lifting the bags and I could have kissed him.
'Guys' I called down the hall as Gene and I made our way into the kitchen and began to unload the burgers and chips he had bought.
They came rushing in, delighted at the sight of food.
I was dismayed to realise that none of them had felt the need to put their tops back on and so I tried to avoid looking at any of them as they squabbled over the food.
I looked up when a burger was held right under my nose and smiled into Harry's green eyes once more.
'Thanks' I said taking the burger he had salvaged for me with gratitude.
After eating Gene took Zayn back to the dance studio to start rehearsing his solos and practicing his vocals.
Although the rest of the boys wanted nothing more than to flop down on the sofa in front of the TV until it was their turn I was poignantly aware that we all needed to pack before the night was done so I dragged them upstairs to begin.
This task did not get off to a great start as I found Niall flinging a random assortment of clothes haphazardly into a bag without a second thought.
'Niall!' I barked from his doorway causing him to jump.
'Do it properly or I'm going to make you do it all again. There's no way you're going to be able to wear those clothes by the time we get anywhere!' I exclaimed in exasperation holding up one of his sorry t-shirts.
'Ok, sorry lass' he replied with a sheepish grin which I returned.
I was surprised to find that Liam was actually doing as I asked and not at all surprised to find that Louis and Harry had taken up residency on Louis bed and not at all began.
'Harry!' I cried in dismay going over and grabbing his arm in an attempt to haul him off and into his own room.
This plan failed miserably as he placed his hands around my waist and pulled me down so that I was lying sprawled half on top of him and half on top of Louis. I shrieked but they ignored this and proceeded to tickle me mercilessly so that I was writing between them begging them to stop. It was only as I really began to struggle for breath that they relented and I pushed my hands against their chests until I was kneeling between them looking down at their faces which were creased with laughter.
'I'm going to kill the both of you' I promised.
'When you least expect it' I added for emphasis.
I then wedged my foot at Harry's hip and pushed with all my strength until he rolled off the bed and landed with a thump on the ground.
'Now pack!' I said waiting for him to get up and leave Louis room.
I was relieved when he did as I asked and somehow by the time Zayn was finished with Gene and Niall was called all the guys and myself were organised for the following few days.
Remembering the promise I made to myself I went down the stairs to help Gene rehearse with each of the guys, I was also interested to hear each of them sing individually.
I was aware that they had all heard me sing, something I didn't do much these days and so I was keen for us all to be on an equal footing.
Harry was the last one Gene called and I had to admit he was the one I was most intrigued to listen to.
I tried not to show this however as he entered the room and so I kept my eyes averted to the piano keys as Gene greeted him.
Soon however I couldn't ignore him anymore as I heard him begin to sing his piece from their song Little Things;
'I know you've never loved the sound of your voice on tape
You never want to know how much you weigh
You still have to squeeze into your jeans
But you're perfect to me'
My heart stopped and the hairs on my arms stood on end as I listened.
The guys were right about his voice, there was a delicious, gravelly effect that he brought but it was more than that.
It was his face, his chiseled features prominent as he sang.
It was his eyes burning with an intensity and a darkness I had not seen in him before.
It was his full, pink lips that curved as he voiced the words.
It was the vein on his neck that strained prominently.
It was even his hands, they way the one holding his microphone curled around the top, holding it with such ease and individuality.
He had the whole package.
I understood now what the guys meant when they said Harry was born to do this job.
He looked in his element, so at ease and yet so alive at the same time and the cumulation of the sound and sight of him was something quite extraordinary. Harry had something I couldn't quite put my finger on, he had something extra that set all of his qualities off.
I had never in my life been more intrigued or attracted to another individual.
Then just like that he shut his voice off and his lithe body returned to its natural state, radiating its quiet grace and power.
I dragged my eyes back down to the keys of the piano as I tried to steady my heartbeat and clear my mind.
It was only when I heard the door shut that I looked up, relieved to find only Gene left in the room.
'Well that explains it' he muttered more to himself.
'Explains what?' I asked.
Gene had gone through the boys qualities with me when they had left the room but so far he wasn't making much sense to me regarding Harry.
He appeared to shake himself as he came closer to speak to me.
'When One Direction went to try and break America, the American side of management were hesitant, there isn't a good past record of British bands making it in the US. They wanted One Direction to have a front man, a lead singer and they wanted Harry' he said as I listened.
'I always wondered why because for all intents and purposes Liam has the strongest voice of all the guys and they're all equally good looking but well that explains it' he concluded.
'What do you mean?' I asked hesitantly.
'You know what I mean, you just saw it yourself. There's something different about Harry, something extra that brings it all together, something that can't be explained or reproduced. Something pretty awesome' he said with a smile as I nodded in agreement.
That was the only way of describing it really and I was relieved to realise that I wasn't the only one who had noted the something different about him.
'What happened?' I asked Gene 'In America' I clarified.
'Well from what I know they approached Harry with the proposition. He flat out refused, in fact I think he was pretty offended. He insisted that it would be against the nature of One Direction, said they were all equal and always had been. He wasn't for changing it. They checked with the other guys and reinforced that they might not make it in America without a lead but they supported Harry's decision. He didn't want it and wouldn't take it apparently. Turned out to be the right decision' he concluded with a smile.
This was all news to me, another piece in the Harry Styles puzzle. I was surprised by his decision, it had been a massive risk on his and the rest of the guys part but it was testimony to his loyalty and his grounding. Today alone had shown me that despite the amount of people involved helping make One Direction what it was the boys were still very much in control, nothing was decided without their input, everything was done the way they wanted it to be. It appeared that breaking America had been much the same and I respected them for it.
It was near midnight by the time Gene left and we were sprawled across the sofas in our customary positions when Aria entered the living room.
She sat down alongside me, folding her legs up under herself and pulling one of her chains from around her neck.
I watched out of the corner of my eye as she took one of her notebooks from her bag and unlocked it with the key on the end of her chain.
Turning from me slightly she placed the chain back around her neck, pulled out a pen and began to write.
I knew enough that her writing would be considered highly confidential so I averted my eyes to the TV and gave her the privacy she deserved.
Soon the rest of the guys began to disperse for bed, waving goodnight as they left or ruffling mine and Aria's hair. Niall was the last to leave, kissing Aria on the forehead before he did so;
'Night lass, thanks for today' he said stifling a yawn.
She smiled up at him;
'Oíche Niall agus tá fáilte romhat'
('Night Niall and you're welcome')
I started at the sound of the foreign tongue and turned to look between Aria and Niall.
Did he know what she had said? I didn't even know what language that was.
I saw him blink in shock and then smile before timidly replying;
'Ní raibh a fhios agam labhair tú Gaeilge'
('I didn't know you spoke Irish')
What on earth was going on? I had never heard Niall speak any language other than English, I didn't know he could speak another language.
'Sea, an labhraíonn tú sé i bhfad?' Aria replied to him.
('Yes, do you speak it much?)
I watched in awe as Niall shook his head and replied, this time with more confidence;
'No, ní ó scoil, aon duine eile labhraíonn sé'
('No, not since school, no one else speaks it)
Aria smiled up at him before speaking again;
'Beidh orainn a labhairt ansin'
('We'll have to speak it then')
This was definitely one of the most bizarre situations I had ever been, my head was swiveling back between Aria and Niall with alarming speed. I had not one clue what they were saying but I had come to the conclusion that they must be speaking Irish. They were, after all both from Ireland and it was the only reason that would explain why I had never heard Niall speak it, he had no one to speak it with.
'Ba mhaith liom go bhfuil. Oíche Aria, Night Harry' Niall concluded as I gaped.
('I'd like that. Night Aria, Night Harry')
'Night mate' I said and I presumed Aria said the same as Niall left the room.
It was times like this that reminded me how little I knew about Aria, she might only have been with us a few days but she already felt like one of us so it was easy to forget there was so much about her we didn't know. The more little snippets of her I saw the more intrigued I became.
I turned to face Aria so that we were sitting facing one another, both of us with our legs crossed Indian style upon the sofa.
'Was that Irish?' I asked as she nodded.
'I didn't know Niall could speak it' I confessed, feeling guilty that I didn't know this detail of him.
'In Ireland we're all taught to speak Irish from a young age in school but it's easy to get out of the way of speaking it' she explained.
'Do you speak it much?' I asked intrigued.
'I try to speak it with my Mum and I try to read in it as well, it's easy to lose languages if you don't practice them and I don't want that to happen' she said.
'Do you speak other languages?' I asked, catching her eyes as I spoke.
'Em yes' she replied hesitantly 'I speak Italian, French and a little Spanish too. I have a grounding knowledge of Latin but it's not a spoken language' she explained with a shrug and a blush.
'Wow' I said by way of reply 'Aria that's a lot. How did you learn all of them and practice them too?' I asked in awe.
'Well I know we're taught Irish in school but I was actually raised speaking Irish, my Dad spoke it' she said pausing as I stared at her intently 'And my Mum, well she's Italian so I grew up speaking it too. Because I knew Irish already I didn't have to take it in school. I could take two different languages instead so I chose Spanish and French but I studied French for longer. French and Spanish are very similar to Italian so I picked them up quite easily. They are all based in Latin and I sang a lot in school in Latin which meant I ended up being able to read it fairly well' she explained as I gawked.
'That's incredible' I said in reply.
This in itself proved to me exactly what I had been thinking, I knew very little of Aria despite feeling as though I had known her forever. The girl spoke four languages and could read another and she was also trained in classical music. It made me wonder what else I didn't know about her and it also made me want to question her further.
'You said you sang a lot in school, was that classical?' I asked hoping she wouldn't mind my prying.
I was relieved when I saw her lean against side of the sofa, still in her cross legged position.
'Yes, I think I went to a singing class when I was very young, I actually don't remember it. All I know is that from there my Mum sent me to classical lessons and that's where it all started' she said.
'Did you do competitions?' I asked also leaning against the sofa.
She nodded 'Yes I competed for my school, county and Ireland' she said casually.
'What about instruments? Do you play any instruments' I pressed.
'Yes, I play the Violin, Viola and Piano' she said 'Oh and the tin whistle' she added as I smiled.
'The tin whistle?' I questioned with a quirked eyebrow.
'It's quite common for Irish traditional music' she explained with a blush. Was there anything this girl couldn't do? I voiced as much to her to which she laughed lightly.
'I am likely to be the most uncoordinated person you will ever meet. I am terrible at any type of sport because they all involve coordination of some sort' she said laughing 'I'm also horrific at maths, science or anything that involves logic, I'm a strictly creative person' she said smiling.
'What about you?' she asked.
'What about me?' I replied lightly.
'What are you bad at?' she asked.
'Why do we have to go over my faults?' I asked laughing.
'Well, because we already know your strengths' she said blushing again and making my heart soar at the same time.
I glanced quickly at my watch.
Aria and I were still on the sofa, still talking.
We had spread out now so that Aria's legs were flung over the top of my own. In order to stop myself from giving in and touching her smooth legs I took to rubbing her feet through her socks.
Initially she had jumped at my touch but now she was relaxed allowing me to rib circles into her small feet.
Something seemed to have changed between us in the last couple of hours. It was the first time we had spoken properly just the two of us and as soon as we had started there was no stopping us. We had covered a bizarre range of topics, from the benign to the downright strange and I finally felt that I knew a bit about the girl who would be sharing our lives for the next nine months or so.
It was more than that though, there was a strange connection between us. Granted we had both skirted over certain, big areas of our lives as though we understood the other one didn't want to speak about them but I often found it was the small details that mattered. We were very similar in a lot of ways but different in others and yet there seemed to be something about each other we didn't understood.
I was aware as I looked over to the beautiful girl who was looking at me lazily through tired eyes that in the last couple of hours I had gone from liking this intriguing individual to caring very deeply for her. Since she had joined us she had proven that she was different; quirky and fiery and I had instantly warmed to her. Now though something had changed.
In the last couple of hours we had created something between us, something fragile and beautiful and precious. It was something very new and I couldn't explain it but I wanted to nourish it and for some unknown reason I was eternally grateful she would be the one sharing the craziest year of my life with me. I wanted her there and yet I was worried she would be able to cope, she may come across strong and in control at the minute but our lives were crazy and it was becoming increasingly common that people around us fizzled out under the pressure. I didn't want that for Aria, I wanted her to be part of our lives but I also wanted to protect her from the inevitable stress.
I watched as her eyelids fluttered and so I broke the gentle silence that had enveloped us;
'Bed' I suggested and she nodded wearily.
I lifted her legs off me and stood up so that I was looking down at her.
I offered my hand out to her and I knew when she caught my eye she understood that I was not only offering to help her up but inviting her to my bed once again.
I was relieved when she accepted my hand and I pulled her into a standing position, with our hands still joined we made our way up the stairs and into my room.
I watched her closely as she set her rucksack at the side of the bed where she had come accustomed to sleeping. I had noticed over the days she had been with us that she brought the rucksack with her everywhere and I couldn't help but wonder if it was because of the notebooks within.
'I need to change' she said turning to me.
'Just sleep in that' I suggested pointing to the loose t-shirt she still wore, it looked comfy enough after all.
She wrinkled her nose up at me;
'Eugh no I've been wearing it all day' she said as I smiled at her fussiness.
'Here' I said rummaging in a drawer and pulling out a white t-shirt of mine and throwing it at her.
Call me irrational but I didn't want her leaving to go over to her own room for fear she wouldn't come back.
She caught it and smiled before leaving to change in the bathroom.
Satisfied that I had managed to thwart her I pulled my clothes off and climbed into bed.
Thankfully I had managed to squeeze a shower in earlier after I had finished packing and before I had had to rehearse with Gene and I had also had the forethought to put boxers on. Although I always preferred to sleep naked I don't think Aria would have taken to it too well. I had been surprised enough last night that she hadn't balked at my wearing only boxers. I hoped that she would be as accepting tonight.
When she re-entered the room to the dim light of my beside lamp my heart missed a beat at the sight of her in my t-shirt. It was a stupid, stereotypical thought but dressed in my clothes she looked like mine and I liked that thought despite how untrue it might be. I was also poignantly aware of the fact that my t-shirt only skimmed her upper thighs although I tried not to look for fear of making her self-conscious.
She climbed slowly into my bed, tucking her legs under the covers after depositing her bracelet on my bedside table.
I was aware that she didn't remove the chains which had the keys to her notebooks or the cross pendant from around her neck but I didn't comment, it was one of those things that we had left unspoken by some unconscious agreement.
This time she surprised me even further by sliding over until she was right alongside me, hesitantly, following her lead I lifted my arm until it was behind her and she laid her head on my chest, curling her body into the side of mine. I breathed deeply and wrapped my arm around her waist, keeping her close as her hand sat lightly on my stomach.
I was pretty sure that this was the most content I had ever felt.
It was only some four hours later that Aria's shrill alarm sounded tearing me awake with a groan.
Aria moaned, burying her head further into my chest and so I leant around her to grope under her pillow for the offending device which I tapped furiously in order to shut the noise off.
Finally silence descended once again and for the first time I noticed that during the night Aria's leg had worked its way in between my own so that we were closer than ever.
Her hair lay in a fanfare behind her and hand was high up on my chest, palm down.
I brought my hand to her hair, winding my fingers in it, comforted in the fact that she hadn't dashed straight out of bed.
A couple of minutes passed in which my eyes became accustomed to the dark.
'Aria' I whispered, still stroking her hair.
'We need to get up' I said, my voice hoarse.
We couldn't afford to sleep in this morning, we had a flight to catch and numerous appointments for which we needed to be on time. I knew that if Aria didn't get out of bed none of the rest of us would and then we would all be in serious trouble.
'Eugh, I know, I know' she groaned pushing her palm against my chest to bring herself into a sitting position.
Her hair fell in cascades down either side of her face as she rubbed her eyes and pushed the blanket back off herself.
She looked absolutely adorable, with her eyes bleary and her lips pouted. My eyes trailed down, across her t-shirt and to her her legs.
She was sitting with one leg bent in on the other and I knew that the only reason she hadn't noticed just how much flesh she was showing me was because she was still half asleep.
I gulped as she moved to get out of the bed and I caught a glimpse of the edge of hot pink underwear, instantly I felt my erection build.
'Ok, you need to get up too' Aria said turning to face me and I nodded readily.
'Yeah, yeah' I agreed pushing myself into a sitting position so she believed that I was getting out of bed. I was doing no such thing until she left the room, there was no way she would fail to notice the hard on I was sporting if I got out and that would definitely send her running.
'Ok, I'm away to get the others up' she said moving to leave the room.
'Eh Aria' I said hastily and she turned to face me. I paused.
'What?' she asked impatiently.
'You're going to get changed first right?' I asked, feeling like a fool as I did so.
I shouldn't care but I didn't want the rest of the boys seeing her dressed the way she was right now, maybe it was because she was wearing my t-shirt and looking like mine that this feeling felt more reinforced.
I saw her blush lightly;
'Yeah I'm going to get changed' she agreed leaving with a shy smile and allowing me to breath deeply.
Preluding the rest of the day the morning began at a crazy pace.
We managed to get through London airport undetected, clearly even the publicists thought this time of the morning was too early to alert the press and the fans to our location and I was grateful for it, my late night taking its toll.
However before we touched down in Liverpool Steve informed us that we would be met by fans and the press in the airport when we landed.
We nodded, grateful that we were at least being given forewarning.
Despite this however we were shocked when we landed by just the amount of people who greeted us, it was pretty overwhelming for so early in the morning and it was evident that airport security hadn't prepared themselves well enough. The flimsy barriers they had implemented and the limited security personnel they had allocated were soon overcome with the sheer number and excitement of our fans who pushed them aside and advanced on us.
Steve and Scott immediately closed in, pushing us behind them as we struggled to place Niall in the center of us all. He struggled really badly with big crowds and often felt claustrophobic so this was his absolute worse nightmare. We tried to wave and speak to the fans as airport security rushed to help so that we could move along.
The whole thing was absolutely chaotic and becoming increasingly violent and dangerous.
I turned my head quickly to try and locate Aria only to find her alongside Niall, holding his arm with her hand and speaking to him lowly.
As though I were watching it in slow motion I saw a girl shove her in an attempt to get to Niall.
Aria fell quickly to the ground and was immediately lost amongst the crowd.
'Aria!' I called coming to a halt as alarm and anger coursed through me. I immediately began pushing my way backwards into the crowd until I located her.
Together Niall and I hauled her back to her feet and wrapped our arms around her protectively.
I could feel her shaking slightly against me as we continued to force our way through the crowd. All my amicability had vanished and I now wanted nothing more than to get away from this airport. Finally we made it through a door to a back corridor and out of the crowd. I immediately stopped and pulled Aria around to face me;
'Are you OK?' I asked looking at her in concern. She seemed pale and shocked but she nodded her head.
'Yes, yes I'm OK' she tried to reassure me.
All the same when we made to walk on I felt her come closer to me and so I wrapped my arm around her shoulders and kept her tight against my side, rubbing my hand over her arm.
She smiled gratefully up at me and I felt the strangest urge to kiss her.
'Alright lass?' Niall asked approaching Aria and squeezing her hand.
'Yeah, you?' she asked and he nodded.
'Aye I'm OK, it can all get a bit mad sometimes' he said smiling and playing down the fear I knew such pressing crowds imposed on him.
'Well you got thrown in the deep end that's for sure' said Louis turning around to walk backwards and I was pleased to see the colour return to Aria's face as she laughed weakly.
After the fiasco of the morning the rest of the day had returned to a more normal form of madness although Steve was still fuming with the airport security.
I had overheard him on the phone to head security of the airport seething about the fact that 'One of his team had been injured' and I was secretly chuffed that he both considered me 'one of his team' and that he was angry enough on my part to complain.
Seven O Clock that evening found us finally checking into the hotel. The boys hung about in the lobby whilst I approached the desk with our details.
Five confused minutes later I had managed to check us in.
It became apparent that Steve, Scott and the rest of the team all had rooms on one floor whilst the boys and I had the floor above booked out for us. I was quite confident that we didn't need an entire floor and I also couldn't quite work out why the rest of the team weren't on the same one as us but I was too tired and frazzled to care.
Even the boys abundant energy seemed drained as we traipsed into the lift and up to the top floor which had been reserved for us.
As predicted there was a long corridor with numerous doors off it, far too many for just the six of us.
The boys however seemed unconcerned as to the amount of space we had been allocated and merely siphoned off into the rooms closest to the lift.
I followed suit and opened one of the doors to see a gorgeous room furnished in dark wood with a huge double bed dressed in crisp white sheets. The room was massive, more like a suite really as it had a mini-living room, complete with a sofa, armchair and large TV. A door to the right side of the bed I assumed led into the bathroom.
I had barely set my bags down when Niall wandered through the open door like a lost lamb.
Without so much as a second thought he threw himself flat on my bed and before I could even protest the rest of the guys had found their way into the room and draped themselves across the bed, sofa and floor.
'Food?' I suggested as I pushed Niall over so I could squeeze onto the bed.
The boys voiced their approval so I lifted the phone off the bedside table and ordered room service for us all.
It arrived in record time and I guessed that the staff were going out of the their way to make sure we were well catered for.
When we were all fed and lying about aimlessly, half watching the TV, half scrolling through our phones Harry piped up.
'So boys, where are we going out tonight?' he asked a grin on his face.
It clearly didn't take him long to recharge his batteries.
Niall immediately jumped on board whilst Louis and Liam counted themselves out, Zayn muttered something about Perrie getting the night off so he was going to spend it with her.
I soon zoned out of the conversation until my phone began to ring loudly bringing me back to earth with a bump.
I blinked at the caller ID in confusion, it was Poppy. Poppy was one of my oldest friends, these days she was the only one I really had, she had been the only one who had stuck by me through everything but she had finished her A Levels on time and then left for University so I had seen very little of her if late.
I grinned as I answered the phone to her, realising as I did so that her timing could not have been more perfect.
'A! Is that you?' she squealed down the phone. Poppy had refused from an early age to address me with my full name claiming it was much too big a mouthful.
'Yes, it's me' I laughed down the phone.
'I feel like I haven't heard your voice in ages' she complained.
'Yeah, I'm sorry Pops I've been really busy' I said feeling bad that I had neglected my only true friend of late.
'How is Uni?' I asked.
'Eugh' she groaned 'I mean class is fine but I've got myself involved in so much drama. Did I mention to you that I hate men?' she lamented as I laughed again.
'Come on, it can't be that bad' I reasoned.
'It is! When are you coming to visit me to counsel me with your great advice?' she asked as I fell silent.
'Come on A, it's been months and you promised' she pleaded.
'Pops what would you do if I told you I was in Liverpool at this very minute?' I asked with a smile on my face.
'Fuck off, you're lying to me and it's a very cruel lie' she said sharply.
'I'm not I promise' I said rhyming off the name of our hotel to prove my point.
She screamed so loudly that I thought my eardrum had burst and Niall flinched beside me.
I laughed breathlessly down the phone, Poppy could always bring a smile to my face, a skill I had come to rely on.
'Oh my God!' she exclaimed 'Why are you here?' she asked before continuing 'Never mind that, you have to come out with us, we're all partying tonight and I have to see your face' she said quickly.
'I need to go and open the door here A there's someone knocking at it but I'm going to text you my address. Get a taxi and I'll meet you at the front door of my halls, you aren't far anyway and make sure you look really sexy, I did mention how hot the guys are here right?' she said all in one and I laughed at her dramatic turn around.
Poppy was always so happy go lucky, the life and soul of the party. I had been devastated when she had left for Liverpool.
'Ok, ok' I assured her down the phone already aware of one major flaw in this plan.
'I love you!' she called down the phone.
'Love you too' I replied quickly before she shut the phone off.
Lowering the phone I turned to find five curious faces looking at me.
'Eh, that was my friend Poppy' I supplied weakly.
'Ohh' they chorused in understanding.
'And she's at Uni in Liverpool?' questioned Niall knowledgeably revealing that he had heard every word of my conversation.
'Em yeah' I said.
'Are you going out with her tonight?' Liam asked.
'Is that OK?' I asked tentatively.
I didn't really know what the territory was here. Was I aloud to go out or was I still technically working?
Harry's laughter was answer enough 'Of course honey, go out and have fun' he supplied casually and finally I allowed myself a grin.
'As long as you promise me you'll text me and let me know where you are and if you're OK' I said to him and Niall deadly serious.
This did not go down as expected as Niall progressed to double up in laughter.
'Niall!' I said hitting him on the arm 'I'm being serious! You need to let me know you're OK' I exclaimed.
Finally he straightened up 'We will, we will but you know we're big boys lass' he assured me with a cheeky grin.
'Right out!' I said standing up abruptly.
'What?' said Louis 'Why?'
'Because I have to get ready' I said exasperated, these boys didn't leave me alone for a minute.
They grumbled as they hauled themselves to their feet and began to traipse out the door.
Harry was last to go, pausing just before he left.
'I could help you get ready?' he asked with a mischievous twinkle in his eyes.
I felt my cheeks redden before he elaborated 'I mean, I'm pretty good at picking outfits' he said innocently.
I knew him better than that already, he had chosen his words to deliberately fluster me.
This was confirmed as I tried to refuse his offer and chivvy him out and heard him laugh out loud to himself at my embarrassment.
Some forty five minutes later however I encountered a serious problem.
I had showered, done my make-up and hair in record time but now I faced the tricky proposition of my dress.
I had chosen a pale pink and black lace dress with a sweetheart neckline, cut out side detail and a short, flared skirt. It was a pretty risky outfit by all accords but this was made no better by the fact that the back of the dress closed by way of two black straps which crossed and then were shut with a bikini like clasp. I felt like I had a lot on show but it was a beautiful dress and I was going on a night out after all.
The only problem was there was no way I could get the dress shut by myself.
Taking a deep breath I weighed up my options and then, holding the front of the dress up to cover my naked top half I made my way out to the corridor.
I was hoping to find Niall's room to ask him to do the dress up for me, thinking he would be the least awkward of all the boys. The only problem was I didn't know which room was his.
There was nothing for it, I was just going to have to guess.
Holding my breath and the front of my dress with one hand I rapped the first door I came to.
He stood there and said nothing taking in my appearance and from the way he was looking at me I felt naked all together.
'Eh could you help me with the back of my dress?' I asked trying to cover the awkwardness.
'Oh yeah of course' he said backing away from the door so I could come into the room.
I did so self consciously and turned to face the window so that my back was to him.
I felt rather than heard him approach but I still flinched when he touched my bare back, goosebumps erupting over my flesh.
'Sorry, I'm cold' he said apologetically rubbing his hands together.
I knew that the goosebumps were nothing to do with the temperature of his hand but merely the feel of them on my naked skin.
I tried to push these thoughts away as he took each end of the clasp and brought them together so the bands were tight against my back.
I was surprised at how soon I heard the clink of the metal link confirming that the dress was done up, it was normally difficult to secure and yet he had made it look so easy.
I felt my skin tingle as I felt him run his hands along the bands of the dress and on to the skin of my back and sides as he straightened the bands and made sure the clasp was done properly.
The silence around us was deafening.
His fingers paused at my side and I realised in that instant that he was seeing the edge of my tattoo. I moved away from him quickly before he could read the words or question me as to it.
'Thank you' I said quietly before I virtually bolted out the door.
He grabbed me by the wrist before I could escape causing me to flinch and involuntarily try to pull myself out of his grip.
He dropped his hand immediately.
'I just, eh' he stuttered 'You look beautiful' he said finally in a quiet voice.
'Oh, thanks' I replied even quieter, cursing myself for my automatic reaction to him.
Would it ever go away?
Back in my room I forced myself to take deep breaths in the mirror, willing my mind to settle and my body to calm.
There was no doubt there was something electric about Harry. It was odd because sometimes, like last night when we had sat up into the small hours talking I felt so completely at ease with him, almost as if I had know him my whole life. Almost like he was the friend I had never had. Times when we struck a cord within one another that couldn't be explained. There was a lightness within Harry, something so natural and bright about him and the moments that I saw that part of him felt precious and tender.
Then there were moments like what had just passed between us in the bedroom. Occasions when I felt there was a current between us, times when I felt incredibly awkward and aware of my body and its involuntary reaction to his. At these points I was painfully aware that I hadn't known Harry as a child and that we were not children now. Times like these alluded to a darkness in Harry and the moments I saw glimpses of this blackness felt exciting and dangerous.
The combination was a heady one that intrigued and alarmed me in equal measure and I was at a total loss as to how to cope with it.
Avoiding him clearly wasn't an option.
I was glad that I had gotten out of his room before he had read my tattoo. It was something private and meaningful and I didn't quite feel like sharing it with him. Not yet anyway.
I was pulled from my reviere by a loud and insistent knocking on my door which caused me to jump.
Hesitantly I opened the door only to find a beaming Niall.
'What room are you in?' I bit sharply pushing out the door so he could point at his door, the one right next to Harry's.
Typical he would turn up minutes after I needed him and just typical his door would be right next to the one I had knocked.
He looked shocked at my abruptness but didn't question it instead turning to face me;
'You look hot' he said bluntly looking me up and down.
I rolled my eyes.
I couldn't explain it but I felt a lot less awkward with Niall openingly staring at me and commenting on my appearance than I did with Harry saying nothing. Harry made me feel inexplicably exposed and self conscious dressed like this in front of him whereas with Niall I felt as comfortable as I did in sweats.
'Well anyway I just came to say have a good night and be safe' he said with a smile, kissing me on the forehead in what had become his customary manner.
'Thanks Niall' I said 'You too'.
As he turned to leave, I grabbed his wrist.
'Promise you'll text me and let me know where you are and if you're OK' I said and I was relieved when he didn't laugh this time but nodded and assured me he would.
Just as I was getting in the taxi my phone beeped.
Harry: 'Have a good night Aria. Stay safe, text me later x'
I blinked at the message a couple of times, realising that as I did so that both he and Niall had wished me the same sentiment within minutes of one another.
Before I could reply my phone beeped again when numerous messages came through at once;
Louis: 'You left without saying goodbye :-( Have a good night, come back safe'
Crap I groaned to myself, I should have said goodbye to them.
This was confirmed when I opened the next text;
Liam: 'Didn't know you left, be safe and have a great night'
Now I felt really bad.
My phone beeped once more;
Zayn: 'Have a good night Arianna and make sure and stay safe'
Ok now I felt really, really bad.
Also had these guys got together and planned what to write to me because all their messages were basically identical?
Did they think I was incapable of ensuring my own safety or where they genuinely concerned for me?
Call me crazy but I was inclined to believe the latter.
I fired back apologetic and thank you messages to them before pausing at Harry's.
His was the only one with a on x on the end and the only one with a little difference.
Why did he want me to text him later, was it just to make sure I was safe?
Shaking my head I replied quickly before I could think too much on it.
'Thanks, you too x'
He replied virtually instantly;
'Will do x'
What on earth did that mean? Did that mean he would stay safe or he would text me later?
And why where their kisses on the end of our messages?
All this thinking hurt my head, I needed a drink, a strong one.
I stared at the x on the end of the message for an inordinate amount of time before I dragged myself off the bed and to the drinks cabinet.
Something was wrong; very wrong.
I had felt that Arianna had gotten under my skin from the very beginning but last night had resulted in her weaving her way into my heart. The conversation we had shared revealed that Aria and I could have an incredible friendship, there was something between us that just clicked and last night had confirmed that for me.
I wasn't blind, I knew she was absolutely gorgeous, that had been very evident from the beginning but I tried to separate the feelings of lust I had for her from those of friendship for my sake and for the bands.
It shouldn't be difficult, I had met beautiful women from all over the world who I kept as strictly friends. I knew that I wasn't in love with any of them and that it would be a purely physical encounter that would result in the end of our friendship. I wouldn't risk that.
But tonight when Aria had come to my door and asked me to help her with her dress I realised that the connection we had combined with her beauty was making things blurred in my mind.
Now I knew we shared some sort of indescribable bond my lust for her only intensified. As opposed to my feelings making me want to stay away as was the norm this time they were making me want her more.
I had never seen a more beautiful dress that I wanted to tear right off someone.
This was confusing and dangerous at the same time.
I had to realise Aria as only a friend, anything physical between us would no doubt end in disaster.
As I poured myself a drink I thought back to the tattoo I had caught a glimpse off.
It had revealed another aspect of Aria I didn't know existed, I hadn't imagined her as having any tattoos, especially in such a delicate place. I knew from experience that tattoos across the ribs were some of the most painful.
It had been relatively small, a single line of writing.
I hadn't had a chance to read the words though before she pulled away from me and I couldn't help but wonder if she had done so on purpose.
Was it a secret she didn't want to share?
I was beginning to wonder if Aria had many other secrets. We had left a lot unsaid last night and whilst I had thought at the time that would work out best to my benefit I now couldn't help but wonder if Aria had more to hide than I did.
I was pulled from this line of thinking my a loud knock on the door.
As was the standard with hotels the rooms locked automatically as the door shut which meant that we couldn't walk in and out of eachothers rooms freely. Whilst sometimes I enjoyed the privacy of knowing I wouldn't be interrupted without prior knowledge it generally served as nothing more than a pain in the butt causing us to traipse back and forth opening and knocking doors to simply speak with one another.
I opened the door to Niall who strolled straight in and took up residency of the sofa.
'Where will we go tonight?' He asked as grabbed a beer from the fridge and threw it at him.
He caught it deftly.
'I don't know' I replied 'Where's good in Liverpool?'
This was one major downside to being famous; we had to preplan virtually everywhere we wanted to go.
There was no way we could just rock up to a club like regular people and not get completely mobbed. As our band continued to grow in popularity things like this were becoming increasingly dangerous. That would never stop me though.
I loved to party as much as any other 19 year old and I intended to make full use of my youth. We just needed to be a bit more inventive about our outings.
Niall and I scanned the internet for good clubs whilst sipping on our drinks.
When we had decided on one he left to go and ask Steve to call ahead to VIP for us.
We always had to go VIP now, not that that in itself was reason to complain; all of the VIP areas we had gone to had been incredible. Sometimes though as I stood on the balcony or off to the side looking out to the crowd I longed to be in there with the mass, as anonymous and free as they were. I had relinquished that liberty though in pursuit of this career and on that reflection I realised it was an incomparable sacrifice. I was after all living my dream.
Niall had gone to ask Steve to ring for us because we had come to realise that when we rang ourselves the clubs tended not to believe who we actually were. It was as if they expected other people to make our phone calls for us and when we tried to do it they thought we were prank callers.
Tonight Steve and Scott would accompany us on our night out, there was no way we would be able to go out without security and as Steve and Scott were our main bodyguards following us on nights out was a task that fell to them. Surprisingly they didn't seem to mind it, they were pretty chilled out guys which I liked but they were also good at their jobs, stopping crazy situations before we even identified they were about to happen.
It didn't take long before we were ready and in the taxi to the club, already with a few drinks down our necks and in good spirits.
We pulled round a side entrance to the club where we were let in and brought to the VIP area.
From there the drink flowed and the madness began. Niall and I always had a good time when we went out together although he showed his Irish heritage by being able to drink me and any of the other boys under the table. We brought a couple of fans into the area where we drank, danced and laughed until my sides hurt. I was in great spirits, adrenaline and alcohol pumping through my veins and making me giddy and carefree. A couple of times my thoughts had turned to Aria and I wondered if she were having a good night too. I had done as she had asked and text her our location, I could tell that she had read the message but she hadn't replied to it. I couldn't help but worry she was safe.
Much too soon the end of the night was signalled by Steve tapping his watch and looking in my direction. I knew by this he meant that the music was about to be cut, the lights turned on and the club emptied and he wanted us out before that began. I groaned out loud, I wasn't ready to go back to the hotel to sleep. I had only begun to feel the effects of alcohol and I was therefore in much more energetic form than ever. I looked to Niall to see his crestfallen face, clearly he was in the same mind as me.
There was little we could do about it though as we didn't know anyone in Liverpool at the minute who we could party with so we forlornly waved goodbye to our fan friends and followed Steve and Scott out to the taxi. Giving into the urge I had suppressed all night I pulled out my phone and text Aria;
Hey where are you? Are you ok?
I felt almost foolish as I clicked send but grateful when my phone buzzed a couple of minutes later.
Aria: Hey I've just left the club on my way to a party, I am GOOOOD
Ok even I realised that as a slightly tipsy text message but that wasn't my concern as I replied quickly.
A party? Can me and Niall come?
It was a daring move but I didn't care, I wasn't ready to go to sleep. Once again her reply was quick.
Yes as long as you bring alcohol
I laughed at the bluntness and turned to Niall with a grin.
'We're going to a party' I revealed.
'Yes!' He exclaimed punching the air before pausing 'Where?'
'Eh good question, hold on' I said taking my phone out again.
We'll bring alcohol. Where is the party?
'Who's party is it?' Asked Niall, enthused.
'Don't know' I shrugged 'But Arias going' I said with a smile to which he whooped.
'That means it's going to be full of hot students!'
At that moment my phone went again and I read the text message with a grin.
'You bet it is because the party's in University halls' I revealed to which he swore in delight.
'Please tell me you can look after yourselves there and we don't have to come?' Steve groaned.
'Don't you worry Steve, we'll be more than fine' Niall said with a mischievous smile.
'We'll drop you off at the hotel, go in, get some alcohol and then head over' I said succinctly as Niall nodded obligingly along.
'This is going to be awesome' he said 'I can't wait to meet all these students' he added excitably and whilst I agreed with him I knew deep down there was only one person I really wanted to see.
We stopped off at the hotel briefly to leave Steve and Scott off and get some alcohol. We didn't know what the people we were going to meet drank so we just bought a variety of virtually everything.
I could see the batman raise his eyebrows as we ordered, evidently he thought we were going to some crazy celebrity party of some sort but he said nothing.
The taxi journey to halls was short and as we pulled up outside I took my phone out to ring Aria.
The complex was big and I didn't want to go wandering around alerting loads of people to us, I was here for a party and I wanted to just be treated as normal.
Thankfully she answered on the third ring.
'Harry' she crooned down the phone, in the background there was a lot of noise and what sounded like a lot of people.
'Hey honey we're at the front gates, will you come meet us?' I asked.
She replied that she would be there in a few minutes so we paid the taxi driver and hauled our drink outside to the pavement.
True to her word Aria arrived within a couple of minutes, tottering in heels which made her legs look longer than ever.
'Hey boys' she greeted us with a joint hug and beaming smile.
'You're drunk' Niall said bluntly as we picked up the drink and began to follow her.
'I think you'll find I'm tipsy' she replied sticking her tongue out at him to which he laughed.
'Besides' she said turning to walk backwards as she spoke to us.
'I'm off duty so I'm allowed to be drunk if I wanted to be' she added.
'Which I'm not' she clarified pointing at us.
At this exact moment her heel caught the edge of a kerb bordering a flower bed. Thankfully I had spotted this inevitablity and was within close enough distance to throw my arm around her waist and pull her to me before she ended up in a hedge.
'Not drunk at all' I laughed at her to which she smiled.
'I think the problem is here' she said disentangling herself from me 'Is that you two' she pointed at us both 'Are too sober'.
'I definitely agree with that' said Niall.
Soon enough Aria paused at one of the glass doors.
With a frown on her face and biting her lip in concentration she entered a pin into the metal keypad.
She whopped in success when the door clicked, unlocking itself but encountered problems when she tried to push it open, it was clearly too heavy for her.
Laughing Niall reached over and pushed so that the door swung in on itself. He had thankfully had the foresight to hold Aria around the waist so that when the door swung she remained beside him as opposed to the ground. He released her again to pick up his bag of drink and we began the assent up the stairs.
I had never been in student halls before but so far the corridors reminded me of a hospital, bland and clinical. The outside had been nice, like a mini village but I got the feeling that these outside appearances didn't reflect the madness within.
As we walked up Niall posed the awkward question I dreaded the answer to.
'Did you tell them we were coming?'
Aria turned to face us.
'Of course! I had to ask, it's not my party' she explained as though we were stupid.
Inside I groaned, clearly she didn't understand the repercussions of telling people our whereabouts. It of course depended upon the people she told but I was more than convinced that they had spread the word quickly amongst their friends and we were about to be mobbed by fans.
'What exactly did you say?' Asked Niall with the same dread I felt written over his face.
'Em is it ok if two of my friends come?' She said as though this were a ridiculous conversation.
'So you didn't tell them who we were?' I clarified quickly feeling elated at her description of us as friends.
'No I didn't think it mattered' she said hesitantly as though she had done something wrong.
'Yes lass, I could kiss you now' Niall exclaimed and I saw her smile return now she was sure she hadn't done something to annoy us.
At the top floor of the building Aria paused again to enter a pin and as we pushed through the doorway I saw immediately that my perception of the innocent exterior not reflecting the corruption within was right.
There were two doors to either side of us which had been propped open creating one long hallway with doors off it and the place was complete anarchy.
There were both boys and girls in varying states of undress, people kissing up against walls, couples stumbling into rooms, boys playing a raucous game of football, girls competing to see who could complete the splits best and others just sprinting up and down.
With a grin I followed Aria to the end of the hallway and into an open plan kitchen and living room. Here things seemed a little more calm with people lounging across sofas listening to chilled out music and drinking, I could also smell the tell-tale whiff of marajuana. Aria introduced us to her friend Poppy who screamed and hugged us both fiercely.
'You didn't tell me the band you were working with was One Direction?' She basically yelled at Aria who shrugged as Poppy rolled her eyes.
I was pleased to note that Aria wasn't telling loads of people about working with us, it showed she understood how important privacy was to us but was also a reflection about how unfazed she was by us. I liked that.
'Let's get drunk Styles' Niall put in dumping the alcohol we had brought on the counter.
'Hell yeah' I replied.
A couple of hours later and the craziness had subsided.
Most of the mass of people had either passed out or left which meant there was only a small crowd of us remaining in the living room.
I was chilled out in a sofa, feeling pleasantly drunk and relaxed having taken part in numerous crazy drink related games throughout the night; my knees were suffering serious carpet burn after doing a race up the hallway on them (which I had won). Niall and I had been pleased to note that Poppy and her friends were all pretty cool people who didn't seem bothered by our fame, they treated us completely normally which proved to make a good night.
I was blearlily watching Niall try to learn a new song on the guitar under the instruction if a red headed girl. He was failing miserably due to the alcohol and kept bursting into fits of laughter.
Aria was a little way off in the kitchen speaking to a guy called Callum. I had met him earlier in the night and he seemed like a nice guy, Aria and he had been talking for some time now. I looked back over to Niall to find him now kissing the red headed girl, I grinned to myself at his mystical pulling powers, I was surprised he could keep a straight face long enough to kiss someone.
On discovering my beer was empty I pulled myself up put of my chair and into the kitchen to get another.
Thankfully there was one left and as I cracked it open I got talking to another one of the guys about everything and nothing in particular.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Callum place his hand on Aria's waist and lean into kiss her.
As though it were happening is slow motion I saw her balk and quickly move away from him, panic etched over her face. I was beginning to see reactions like this all too often now and as Callum looked at her in shock I moved to put my arms around Aria and pull her into me. She immediately buried her head in my chest.
'Wow man I didn't know there was anything between you two' said Callum holding his hands up but looking annoyed nonetheless.
'There's not' I clarified 'It's just there's something else' I added vaguely 'It's not your fault' I tried to reassure him as he looked at the back of Aria's head in confusion.
Shaking his head he walked away.
'Time to go?' I whispered to Aria, my arms still around her shaking frame.
She nodded against my chest and surfaced shortly after.
I could see her eyes had tears in them and I felt a slight damp patch on my t-shirt.
I tried to smile reassuringly at her despite my utter confusion and collected her heels from the corner of the room where she had left them.
'Let's go' I said and as we moved from the kitchen I felt her hand slide into mine, I gave it a squeeze and kept her close.
She said a subdued goodbye to Poppy who I knew was all to aware of our joined hands and then I dragged Niall away from the red head. We made a quick and quiet exit from the halls and as we reached the stairs I stopped to scoop Aria into my arms bridal style.
She held her heels in her hand and rested her head against my shoulder as Niall bounced about in front of us, totally oblivious to her silence.
The taxi came immediately and before long we were back in the hotel, padding softly along the carpeteded hallway.
Niall made straight for his room where I had no doubt he collapsed on the bed fully clothed and I continued down the hall with Aria still holding my hand. I paused in front of my room to get my key card out, slotting it into the door and leading us into the room.
Aria still said nothing as we entered and so I turned the bedside lamp on and proceeded to pull the shirt I was wearing up over my head without undoing the buttons.
Approaching her slowly I lifted her arms and shrugged the shirt down over her. I then walked around behind her and putting my hands up the shirt undid the clasp of her dress. She completed the rest, pulling the dress off so that it fell into a puddle on the floor.
I went over and took her by her hands encouraging her to step out from the dress. She did so until she was standing right in front of me, her arms by her side.
I had never seen her so quiet and so forlorn, it was breaking my heart and yet I was totally confused and at a loss at what to do. I didn't want to spook her and I knew now that she was particularly prone to that so I was relieved when she acted first my stepping closer and leaning her head against my chest once more.
Tentatively I wrapped my arms around her waist and rested my head on top of hers. We were silent for a while but as opposed to making me feel more awkward it actually put me at ease.
Not withstanding this it still took some courage for me to voice the question I needed the answer to the most;
'What happened tonight?'
I felt her tense in my arms and make to move away but I held her firm, allowing her to only draw away enough so I could see her face which she had averted from me.
'Aria?' I said keeping one arm around her waist and bringing the other to her chin, titling it until she was facing me.
'I thought' I stuttered 'I thought you liked him'.
It was a pathetic sentence really but I knew she would understand what I meant. This was confirmed when she looked away from me, her eyes now firmly on my shoes.
'I did' she said in a voice barely above a whisper 'I mean, he seemed like a nice guy' she elaborated her focus still on my shoes.
'Then what happened?' I asked 'Why did you not want to kiss him?' I said.
As soon as these words left my mouth she once again made an effort to leave my grasp and for fear of hurting her I let her go.
She stood with her back to me but she didn't move away which I took as encouragement and so I spoke again;
'Aria, talk to me' I ventured 'Please' I implored.
'I can't' she said still not facing me.
'Why not? I asked, feeling hurt that she wouldn't confide in me.
'Because' she began, faltering 'Because you'll laugh' she finished in a whisper.
At this I approached, walking around her so that she was facing me once again.
I took her chin between my fingers again and raised it so that eventually she had no choice but to meet my eyes.
'Aria, I promise you no matter what you tell me I will not laugh at you' I said solemnly.
She kept eye contact with me, looking deeply into my eyes as though trying to decipher if I were telling the truth or not.
Finally she spoke, looking away from me as she did so with pink tinged cheeks;
'I've only kissed one person before Harry' she said quietly and I felt my body relax.
I had been so convinced she was going to say something much worse.
'Honey, that's not a big deal' I said smiling and putting my hands around her waist.
She looked up at me as though unsure I was being serious with her.
'It's just' she began looking down once again 'It's just I can't imagine kissing someone else' she said and I was happy that she was at least now confiding in me.
I took her by the hand and led her over to the bed where we both sat down crossed legged until we were facing one another, Aria with my shirt pulled down and tucked between her legs to maintain her modesty.
'Was he your boyfriend?' I asked, alluding to the guy she had kissed.
I saw her flinch at the mention of the word and I wondered if she was still hurting from their breakup, it raised a further question as to how long ago this breakup was.
'Yes' she answered quietly.
'And did you break up long ago?' I asked, wondering why I was asking questions I wasn't sure I wanted to know the answer to.
'About a year ago' she said playing with the hem of my shirt.
A year was a long time, I had to admit I was surprised that she hadn't kissed someone since then but I was also oddly pleased.
'You know I think you just need to bite the bullet' I supplied and watched in amusement as her head snapped up and she looked at me with a frown between her brows.
'What?' she asked and the confusion on her face reminded me that she still had alcohol in her system, in fact we both did.
'With the kissing thing' I explained 'The longer you leave it, the bigger of a deal it becomes, you just need to get it over with' I said with a smile.
To my concern I saw her bite her lip and look away again.
I had meant my comments to be light hearted, even though I did see the sense behind them too. I certainly hadn't meant for them to cause her any more distress.
'But what...'she began glancing up at me quickly and then stopping her sentence.
'What?' I asked gently taking her hands way from the hem of my shirt and holding them in my own.
'What if I'm not any good at it' she said her eyes locked firmly on our hands.
Her innocence was melting me, how insecure she was though was killing me. I had guessed before that she had no clue how gorgeous she was and this now confirmed to me how little confidence she had in herself.
'Aria, come on' I said squeezing her hands.
'Now you know that's just silly' I added.
'I'm sure you're a fantastic kisser' I said and I saw a blush creep up her cheeks. The worst thing was, I knew that I wasn't just saying this to make her feel better, I was 100% convinced she would be an incredible kisser but I had to steer my mind away from these thoughts.
'You're over thinking the whole thing' I said 'You just need to go for it' I said and finally I saw a smile grace her face as she looked up.
'Just go for it' she mocked 'Such great advice Harry' she teased and I was glad that giggly Aria was back.
I was never good with emotions, this was definitely an area Zayn was much better at but I didn't like the idea of Aria confiding these things in Zayn or any of the other boys for that matter.
'Oi, I'm trying to be helpful' I retorted with a laugh reaching out to tickle her sides.
'Harry, no!' she shrieked leaping off the bed. I followed suit, chasing her across the room until we had come full circle and I managed to tackle her onto the bed and tickle her.
After the seriousness of the evening the sound of her laughter was like music to my ears but as she struggled to breath I finally relented, myself short of breath.
I looked down at her with a smile as her breathing finally returned.
'Harry' she said quietly looking up at me.
'Yeah?' I asked.
'Thank you for tonight' she replied seriously.
'What are friends for' I replied with a small smile.
She nodded and pushed herself up until she was sitting directly in front of me.
'Aria' I said as she looked at me.
'How do you feel about biting the bullet with me?' I asked knowing I was on extremely thin ice.
I saw her eyes flick to my lips and then back up to meet mine and I could tell that she was unsure.
Bolstered by the fact that she hadn't balked at the idea straight away I elaborated.
'I mean, we're friends aren't we? And it would mean you could get it over with, you wouldn't have to worry about it any more' I said knowing that what I was saying wasn't strictly true. I was trying to convince myself as well as her that there was a legitimate reason for us kissing.
Despite this I still couldn't quite believe it when she nodded but I needed to hear her agree to this.
'Aria?' I questioned.
'Yes' she said but that wasn't enough, I wanted to hear the words from her mouth.
'Yes what?' I asked bringing myself closer to her, my hand around her waist and my eyes burning into hers.
'Yes, I want you to kiss me' she relented and said the words I so longed to hear.
I smiled but held her gaze before dragging my eyes down to look at her plump lips.
I had to be gentle, I needed to remember that this was a big deal for her and so I needed to keep myself in check.
It was with tenderness then that I pulled her closer to me so that one of her legs overlapped mine.
Then with my heart hammering I lent down and brushed my lips softly against hers.
I pulled back a little before repeating the action, this time feeling her lips move to meet mine.
I continued to pepper her lips with soft pecks until she was responding with an enthusiasm akin to mine.
I could feel myself begin to get restless, desperate to feel the heat of her tongue against my own.
Despite my promise to myself before I knew it I had my hand fisted in her shirt and I was dragging her closer to me than ever until there wasn't a spare inch of air between our two bodies.
Then on our most recent peck I nipped her lower lip lightly causing her to inhale sharply.
I had achieved my goal however and so slowly I edged my tongue into her open mouth.
I was surprised at how quickly she brought her tongue to meet mine and as they did I felt a fire ignite within me.
She tasted divine and her tongue swept across mine in an action that was causing me to feel like I was quickly losing control. The kiss deepened, becoming quicker and more frantic and Aria's hands somehow found their way into my hair, raking her fingers through it and her nails across the back of my neck.
Our chests were heaving against one another as I pulled away to peck her quickly and regain my breath before delving into her mouth once more.
I knew that this was going well beyond what I had originally proposed but I could not stop myself, she tasted too good and the feel of her soft body pressed against mine was not helping.
Eventually it was Aria who pulled away, pecking me swiftly on the lips before burying her head in my chest.
I knew she was doing so out of embarrassment and I could not help but chuckle at her modesty.
'Well honey you're definitely good at kissing' I said with a grin as she hit me on the chest in reply.
'Harry, shut up' she groaned causing me to laugh even more.
'Come on, sleep time' I said, lying back and pulling her down to lie on my chest.
My last thought before I drifted into sleep was that I hoped she didn't notice my straining hard on.
Conflicting modification on 22 April 2014 11:12:30: