Hopes and aspirations – she had them. Elle Acerman had big dreams of becoming the next big fashion photographer. She took the classes in college. She got a degree. But really, there was nothing out there. You needed to have connections to get into the business – and strong ones at that. You don’t just start out photographing for top designers. You have to pay your dues. Put in your blood, sweat and tears. And that’s what she was doing.
She started out working in a department store taking senior portraits and ridiculous amounts of pictures of crying babies and bored families. Her life was so boring, she could have gone insane in the clutches of normalcy. From there, she moved on to doing some landscape photography for a gallery in downtown Los Angeles. But she was literally drowning in student loans and she needed to get her head above water – fast. That was when she met some guys at a club that worked freelance as paparazzi. They turned her on to all the financial benefits of the job and Elle jumped in head first. Her first big win was getting pictures of up-and-coming pop music sensation, Justin Bieber, feeling-up his famous actress/singer girlfriend, Selena Gomez, outside a club. It wasn’t Elle’s proudest, most shining moment, but she got some fast cash and a lot of it for the pictures. After that, it was like a drug to her – a rush of adrenaline and she was hooked.
The first time she saw Harry Styles – like, truly saw him – is when she really started enjoying her job. She knew who he was from early on in his career. If you were younger than the age of thirty you knew who he was. He was one-fifth of the biggest boy band in the world during his teens and early twenties – One Direction. But now, he was no longer the squeaky clean, British pop-star. He was a tall, lean, extremely sexy man who partied and drank with his friends and was known to break a heart or two across the globe. Taking pictures of that man and his entourage became high on Elle’s priority list.
She didn’t particularly find deep meaning in her job. She didn’t get the satisfaction that most people did from a hard day’s work – not in her chosen field. A lot of the time she felt like a complete asshole. But she did it because she had to. And there was something about that man that kept her coming back time and time again. If she could have solely followed him, she would have – and for the most part, she did.
Having grown up in Los Angeles, Elle was never really star-struck before – and doing what she did for a career – but there was something about Harry that made her take a step back and take a look around every time she was in his presence. Maybe it was because of the way their eyes would catch and the smile on his lips would form only for her. She was convinced that for the longest time he just assumed she was one of his many adoring fans who followed him around taking pictures of him. Well, up until that night.
There were rumors swirling around the internet – rumors she didn’t care to pay attention to, but ones her agent did. She suggested that if Elle was so keen on chasing that one celebrity around, she needed to really dig up the dirt and get a story out of him. Otherwise she needed to move on to someone like Justin Bieber who brought them the big bucks before. Elle cringed at the thought of following that little adolescent boy around. She got absolutely no gratification, no stimulation from that sort of work. No, not like she did with the illustrious Harry Styles.
“Hey, Harry… Harry, over here,” Elle shouted through the group of her fellow cameramen. Harry’s head turned in the direction of the only female voice in the crowd – hers.
“Hello, there,” he said, and smirked at her as she snapped a quick picture of him.
He stood tall – nearly six foot, with waves of haphazardly styled chestnut hair on his head. His green eyes stared into hers with an air of mystery and just the slightest hint of amusement. His lips held the most perfect pout on a mouth that housed two perfect rows of pearly white teeth. His clothes were immaculately tailored to fit his amazingly fit body. All in all, he was a woman’s dream – utterly perfect.
“Do you have any comments on the new rumor that’s been popping up on the internet?” Elle asked as she snapped a few more candids of him. His eyes never left hers.
“And what’s that?” He asked, cocking his eyebrow in response.
She hated this. She really didn’t want to ask him the question. It was his personal business and no one really needed an answer. But her agent was breathing down her neck about getting something substantial from him regarding the subject.
“That you started batting for the other team,” Elle said with a sideways smirk, trying to keep it light.
“What?” He cocked his head, scrunching up his face in question. Elle swallowed hard, wishing she didn’t have to blast him right then and there.
“That you’re gay,” she choked out.
Everyone went quiet the second she said the words. One of her connections in the business, Charlie – a guy who she teamed up with on occasion, was filming the whole conversation.
Harry let out a light chuckle, shaking his head, before he looked back at her.
“You’ve been following me long enough. What do you think?” He retorted, his facial features not showing a hint of emotion. Not a damn thing to tell her she’d stepped over the line or that he found any sort of humor in it.
Elle’s breath caught in her throat. What did she think? Well, if she had her way, he’d be as straight as an arrow and irrevocably attracted to her.
“Everyone wants to know, Harry. They don’t want to hear what I think,” she countered, smirking at him flirtatiously. He laughed out loud finding humor where she couldn’t.
“Well, let’s just put it this way. There are about ten lads standing here and I only have my eyes on you,” he said, his British accent thick as he flirted with her right back.
The group of cameramen surrounding them and two guys in his posse all let out a collective “ohh!” from his words. Elle’s cheeks blushed brightly as her insides twisted painfully. She was so attracted to him, it hurt.
“Have nothing else to say?” Harry smirked confidently at her.
“Consider me speechless,” she said with a shy smile back in his direction.
“Come on, Harry. We’ve gotta go,” his bodyguard said, starting to guide him along toward an awaiting vehicle.
“Hey. What’s your name?” Harry asked as he dug his heels into the ground, still speaking to her.
“What?” She choked out, caught off guard.
“What’s your name? I feel like we should at least be on a first name basis,” he said with a sideways smirk just for her.
“Uh, Elle,” she stammered, her mouth going dry in that moment.
“Elle?” He smiled, and she slowly nodded her head.
“Elle, I’m Harry,” he said, reaching out to shake her hand.
She thought she might actually explode as they touched for the first time. His hand was Soft and big and she could only imagine how amazing it would feel running up and down her body. His entire presence screamed sex. She couldn’t even look at him without thinking about it, obviously. He became her number one desire in those lingering moments. She could think of nothing else.
“Nice to meet you, Harry,” Elle breathed, making sure he could see the desire in her eyes and hear it in her words. She watched as his tongue flicked over his lips, before a mischievous smirk arose on them.
“Likewise,” he said with a breathtaking smile, just as his bodyguard gripped onto his shoulder, breaking his attention from her, thus breaking their hold on each other.
“I’ll see you around, Elle,” Harry said, smiling wildly at her as he got dragged away.
“That you will,” she told him, watching as they made their way to an awaiting vehicle.
“What the hell was that, mate?” Elle heard one of his friends ask him before they were fully out of ear-shot.
“Elle, I got it all. Oh my god. That was perfect,” she heard Charlie’s voice in her ear as she kept watch on Harry as he walked away.
Harry looked up at her seconds before he got into the vehicle, sending one last smile in her direction. Elle’s heart spun in her chest. She couldn’t even deal with the sensations floating through her mind and coursing through her body. He was definitely trouble. How in the hell was she going to be able to do her job after that?