Cali couldn’t believe the Reid’s, the old couple that lived across the hallway from her, were finally moving out. They lived in the building for upwards of forty years as far as she knew. They were moving on to an assisted living facility, unable to take care of themselves anymore. Mr. Reid recently set ablaze to the kitchen cupboards after trying to make himself breakfast. It was the last straw for their children – who in the end made the final decision for their parent’s transfer.
She couldn’t say she wasn’t sad to see them go. They were ideal neighbors – you know, besides the whole almost setting the building on fire and stuff. But they were always quiet, never threw parties, and Mrs. Reid was always baking, so the floor always smelt delicious.
Cali couldn’t even imagine the type of person that would move in next. It would probably be an obnoxious family with like five bratty kids. Or some cocky arsehole with a parade of girls coming through at all hours of the night. Either way, it wasn’t going to be the same when the Reid’s were gone.
It didn’t take the landlord long to rent out the flat after the kitchen remodel was finished. On the first of the month, there was a moving truck outside the building and movers stacking boxes up in the hallway of the building.
Cali was on her way out for a meeting with her agent and she could barely even get out of her flat door. She groaned as she noticed all the boxes. With a roll of her eyes she walked toward the new neighbor’s flat where music was cascading out of the opened door.
“Excuse me!” She bellowed into the doorway.
“Ugh, this is ridiculous,” Cali grumbled, trying to push some boxes out of the way so she could make her way into the neighbor’s foyer.
“HELLO!” She called over the music. There were boxes stacked all around the furniture in the flat as well. How could one person have so much shit?
There was a brown hair guy, looking to be in his twenties, standing by the window who noticed her and turned down the music.
“Yeah?” He called over.
“These boxes… they are a fire hazard,” Cali informed the mop-top fellow.
“Oi, Haz!” The guy bellowed to another person in another room.
“Why’d you turn down the music?” Cali heard another man before she saw him.
“You have a visitor,” the dude informed him.
“Who?” He asked as he finally became visible from behind the wall.
Instantly Cali’s stomach dropped and her blood began to boil with displaced anger. Harry fucking Styles. The enflamed thorn in her side throughout her time in school.
Back then, Cali was what you would call an outcast. She was not pretty – she had stringy, dull brown hair, glasses and a lanky frame. Her parents weren’t wealthy, so she always had her sister’s hand-me-down clothing, which were always two sizes too big for her because she was a bean pole. Her interests included math club and band – she played the clarinet. She had braces from year ten on out and Harry’s favorite nickname for her was ‘brace face’. It wasn’t necessary a terrible nickname, but when he got all his mates chanting it, then it became cruel.
Cali wanted to turned back around and flee the second she saw him, but it was too late. She knew just by the smug smile on his face, that Harry recognized her right away. Instead she stood her ground and sent him a glare.
“Well, well, well. If it isn’t Cali Freemont,” Harry said, swaggering up to her.
“Deviant,” Cali hissed back at him. She hadn’t seen him in over seven years and she hadn’t missed him in the slightest.
“No way! Cali Freemont? Brace face?” The brown haired guy said, looking at her wide-eyed. After giving him another look, she recognized him as Harry’s best mate Louis Tomlinson. She couldn’t believe they were still friends after all these years.
“Where did you crawl out of?” Harry asked Cali with a mega-watt smile plastered across his face, showing off his brilliant white teeth. She would give anything to smack the smirk right off his pretty face.
“These boxes – they’re a fire hazard. Get them out of the hallway,” she snapped at him, ignoring his stupid question.
“Wait. Do you live here? In this building?” Harry asked, smiling even wider at her. Cali’s eyes narrowed further. She didn’t want to answer the question.
“Calista Freemont, are we neighbors?” Harry asked, beaming a massive smile at her.
“Unfortunately,” she seethed under her breath.
“Where? Right over there?” Harry asked, moving toward her to look out the doorway. She instinctively took a few steps back from him and ended up tripping into a stack of boxes. She was a graceful runway model and five minutes in Harry Styles’ presence regressed her back to her clumsy youth.
“Whoa there, sweetheart. Watch yourself,” Harry said, grabbing her arm, keeping her upright. Instead of a thank you he got another glare.
“Feisty,” he said as he released her arm from his grasp.
“Just get these damn boxes out of here,” she grumbled again as she watched his eyes dip down her body and then up again, his smile never leaving his face.
“What?” She snapped at him.
“You are fit as hell,” he said, his eyes literally ogling her.
“Don’t even think about it, you cretin,” Cali replied with another glare as she turned on her heels and made her way through the labyrinth of boxes.
“You’ve still got that spunk, girly. Glad to see that hasn’t changed,” Harry called after her. She waved him off with a middle finger in the air as she made her way out the door.
There was one thing she was right about – her new neighbor was most definitely a cocky arsehole.