The week flew by quickly. The boys too busy with their pop star schedule to eat out meant I saw them less. I couldn't blame them for having no time; they have duties as a boy and to fulfill.
Unlike me where I've run away from my duties as a princess for my own selfish ambitions. The only better part of this week would have to be Harry and I's second Starbucks date on Saturday although it's far from a date, what else could I possibly call it? A friendly date I suppose?
But we are not friends. Well according to young Harold we aren't. So why does he still want to see me?
I entered the same Starbucks we both visited a week ago and greeted the blissful smell of sweeter affections and bittersweet beverages. Just like before, Harry was sat down by himself in the same table; eyes trained on his phone while his fingers hurriedly skimmed the screen.
I decided to make my presence known and sat down beside him. "Hey." I greeted him with an enthusiastic smile. "Hi." He mumbled bluntly and got up. "I'm gonna go order for us. You can stay here." He said quickly then made his way to the line without any response from me.
Well he's better than last time. It was freezing today and I only hoped Harry remembered to wear more layers underneath his coat. As his unofficial friend I always encouraged him to wear something warm under his jacket. I've texted him plenty of times this week, reminding him.
"Here you go. I forgot to ask what you wanted so I just got you want you had last time." Harry explained, placing my Grande gingerbread latte in front of me. The chocolate muffin however was a nice added touch to the fact that Harry was a good listener during conversations.
We chatted about nonsense really. We bantered about world issues, listed more things that we had in common, he for the most part explained to me the list of dates the boys had for signings in hopes that I could bring them dinner.
"I'd be glad to! Plus I can drop it off on the way to the animal shelter." I told him as he smiled and nodded. "Wait you go to the animal shelter?" He added as I nodded.
"Yeah I volunteer there sometimes." I said as he but into his muffin. "Does that mean you like animals?" His question left me stifling my laughter as I nodded. "Yes, otherwise I wouldn't be volunteering in an animal shelter." I joked as he shook his head at me and continued.
"Are you good with cats?" He asked. "Yeah, they're one of my favourite animals. Why?" I gave him a questioning look as he smirked and hopped up. "Come with me I have something to show you." He said, grabbing my hand and pulling me and my precious latte and muffin away with him.
"Where are we going?" I whined, stopping in front of his range rover that was parked in the alley way. "To my place." He said as he got into his car.
"Whoa stop right there Harold, I am not going to be another one of your babes." I warned him while I stepped away from his vehicle cautiously. "Wouldn't dream of it." He smiled in annoyance before pushing the door open for me. "Now get in." He ordered and I sighed.
"I trust you." I told him truthfully yet skeptically when he looked at me oddly. "Thanks." He said before we drove off.
Not even a few minutes later we arrived in the battered old side of London, where old apartments from the time of Elvis Presley were residing. This whole side of town seemed abandoned and forgotten.
Harry started slowing down and turned to drive up one of the driveways before we came to a complete stop.
Harry turned off the ignition and jumped out of the car, shutting the door quite loudly, making me flinch. "Well get out already!" He yelled, waving me over. I opened the door cautiously and carefully stepped back down onto the dark asphalt.
"Come." Harry said, walking ahead of me into the mouldy looking building without a look back. I obliged and shut the door before heading towards Harry who was unlocking the front door.
The door flew open when he unlocked it due to the harsh winds that were picking up. "Welcome to my humble abode." Harry walked inside past me and threw his keys onto what looked like a coffee table only supported by books.
I followed Harry into the small room, avoiding the stacks of books and wood that were scattered on the floors. The walls were bare, wall paper peeling off slowly revealing the mouldy surface underneath. The kitchen was no different. The only difference was the pantry was barely filled and the carvings in the cupboards seemed almost inflicted; like someone or something had done the damage.
"Your place... It's uh nice..." I trailed off, trying to sound polite about the environment but only received a scoff. "Oh please my place is a piece of shit. But it's my only escape from this the famous life plus no one's around to bother me."
"Do the boys live in apartments like this as well?" I asked him. "Nope. They live in central London in a big ass mansion that could fill hundreds.`` He said as I nodded. ``Then why do you stay here? You said it yourself it’s a pretty poopy place.``
``I plan on making it look nicer once I have the time. I don’t want to live in that gay ass mansion and have maids serve me all day. I’m not into the whole ``Oh Mr. Styles we have done the laundry and have begun folding. Would you like us to clean the pool?``, it’s degrading.`` Harry explained as he sat down on the sofa and motioned for me to sit down beside him.
I glanced down at the pizza box covering the sofa and grimaced at Harry. ``Do you ever clean?`` I mumbled, moving the pizza box aside then let out a scream as a small creature pounced on me, making me fall backwards into a stack of books. ``JESUS MARY AND JOSEPH!`` I yelped, as the creature hissed at me. Wait hissed? I pried my eyes open and looked up at the cat laying atop of me, claws digging into my sweater.
This cat was like no other, with fierce eyes staring into my soul as it defensively sat on Harry’s lap. A smirk was playing at Harry’s lips as he pet the cat on its head. ``Her name’s Dusty.`` Harry said as the kitty purred affectionately towards him.
``She’s quite feisty towards strangers.`` Harry added before kissing the cat on its head before shooing it off. I looked at him baffled, impressed by how admirable he was of the kitten and its presence. ``I have a cat too.`` I spoke up hesitantly as i sat back down on the sofa at a safe distance from the cat. ``I can tell.`` Harry glanced down at my legs before looking back at Dusty.
``His name is Squeaky, and I’ve had her since I was a little girl. He’s very protective of me and rarely ever let any one touch me or go near me.`` i explained to him, feeling a little down because squeaky was one of my best friends in the palace. While my brothers and sisters were busy at tea parties or attending local sports event, it ended with me being the adventurous girl I am would often explore the forests nearby with Squeaky by my side. I sadly had to leave him behind in order to come here. I missed him so much.
``He sounds like my Dusty, only male version. Dusty’s like an over protective girlfriend.`` Harry chuckled, placing Dusty back on the floor. Dusty gave me the evil eye one more time before prancing into the kitchen, away from us. I was used to Dusty’s kind but rarely encountered them. Judging by the fact I have not been torn to shreds yet by Dusty, I figured it had welcomed me personally and approves of me being here.
``She’s adorable.`` I smiled at Harry who nodded in agreement. ``So why are we here?`` I asked him. He hasn’t even said a word yet about where we stand; as friends, as acquaintances, what?
``Just felt like it.`` he shrugged, again not giving me enough information to process our situation fully. ``why do you even bother speaking to me?`` I asked him, finally gaining his attention. ``What do you mean?``
``I mean, why do you tolerate me? It seems clear to me that you have deep desire for independence, yet here I am.`` He was playing mind games with me. Throughout the weeks we’d been texting, he hasn’t once called me his friend or someone he’d want to be associated with. At random times he’d call me, asking different questions before hanging up without an answer. It irked me at times, but I just figured Harry just wasn’t at the right time and place to call.
``Because you’re different. You don’t scream at my face. You don’t judge me like the others. Plus you tolerate my attitude which is amazing. The question is, why do you tolerate me?`` The rhetorical question had a simple answer we both knew. We tolerated each other because we both had the same issue. We both wanted independence and wanted a friend who’d understand us for once.
``Because you’re different as well Harry. There’s something about you that intrigues me to learn more, even if I feel like I’m going to regret it.`` I told him truthfully as he looked up at me quickly before looking back down at his lap. ``We’re not friend you know. We can’t be friends. You’re too f*ckin innocent.``
Have to say that hurt- obviously. His fingers traced circles on my clothed arm as he sat closer to me. ``Have you ever smoked weed? Gotten so high that you passed out? Have you even had sex? Huh Aria? Have you ever felt that contact; sweaty skin against sweaty skin? Ever tasted a man before love? Anybody ever gone down on that beautiful pussy of yours?-``
Right then and there I knew this wasn’t Harry. Without hesitation I brought my hand towards his face and slapped him, before getting up and hurriedly rushing out the door. I felt unsafe here and the fact that it seemed like we were the only ones in this part of the city made chills run down my spine. I had barely made it to the sidewalk when a large hand enclosed over mine and pulled me back. I felt my face crush into a hard- breathing- object, while arms wrapped around me.
I could tell who this person was, by their tall frame and curls brushing my forehead. What shocked me was the moment afterward. Raindrops were falling from above, but instead they were coming from Harry’s eyes that looked clouded with pain and lost hope. ``I-I’m sorry... I don’t know why I’m like this... I need help... I need you... That’s why I tolerate you.`` He whimpered, his usual dark eyes turning into a hazel-emerald color as he held me at arm’s length. ``when I’m with you, it’s like I’m a whole other person. The weed, the drugs, the sex, the fame- none of that even compares to the happiness I feel when I’m around you.``
``You tried-... you tried me though. Am I just like one of your other girls?`` I asked him seriously. ``Not even close.`` He insisted as he shuffled awkwardly in his spot. ``Am I your friend then?`` I asked him, biting my lip as he eyed me considerably. ``Yes.`` he finally answered as a wide grin spread on both our faces. ``Am I your friend?`` He countered back as I tapped my chin questionably. ``Hmmm, maybe. Only on one condition though.``
``And what would that condition be?`` His eyes narrowed at my own, trying to find the answer before I even spoke it. I breathed in and out deeply and raised my hand to cup his cheek.
``You have to promise me that you won’t fall in love with me.``
His eyebrows furrowed in frustration for a moment before they eased back down and slowly but surely he nodded and grinned. ``I promise.``
Breathing out a sigh of relief, I push myself away from Harry’s grasp, and crossed my arms at him as I shook my head.
``How many times do I have to tell you to wear a sweater?``