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Elle Acerman is one of very few female paparazzi’s in L.A. Harry Styles is a world famous musician. When she sets her sights on him, she can’t help but develop a massive crush on him. He’s tall, dark and handsome, and a genuinely nice guy. When Elle’s agent pressures her into getting a story out of Harry Styles or leaving him alone for good, Elle works up the nerve to ask him what everyone in the world wants to know – is he gay? Not long after, the two begin a secret affair, but nothing in Hollywood stays secret for long. When some racy photos of them leak to the media, Harry and Elle are left questioning each other. How well do they really know one another? In the end, will they be able to survive a sex scandal?

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4. 04


Elle lay in her bed, staring up at her ceiling, remembering everything that happened the night before – the good and the bad. Nothing put a bigger smile on her face than the fact that Harry was still there in the morning – he didn’t run away.

Holy hell. What did they just start?

Her thoughts were interrupted by a knock on her door. And a wide smile turned up her lips at the thought of Harry. Maybe he changed his mind about leaving. Maybe his meeting got canceled. It didn’t matter to her as long as she got to see his face again.

She wrapped her blanket around her naked body and dashed for the door.

“Did you forget something?” Elle asked, opening the door, only to find her best friend Bonnie holding a disposable drink carrier with two Starbucks coffee cups in it, and a small brown paper bag with the infamous Starbucks logo on it.

“Did who forget something?” Bonnie smirked at her curiously.

It took Elle a moment to realize Bonnie had absolutely no idea of the events that transpired the previous night. She wasn’t even aware Harry was at the club with her. Elle ran out of there so fast, and with no explanation. She was completely in the dark.

Ooh, you brought coffee,” Elle said, stepping out of the way to let her in, changing the subject intentionally.

Elle,” Bonnie shot at her in a warning tone to hint that she better spill the dirt.

Elle snatched the bag from her hand and looked inside with a smirk on her face.

Ooh, and bagels.” Elle smiled, ignoring her warning.

“Are you naked under that blanket, you little hoe?” Bonnie asked playfully with her own smirk, tugging at the fabric.

“Maybe. Back off,” Elle laughed, pulling away from her.

“Who the hell was here? Who did you spend the night with?” Her eyes were wide with anticipation.

Elle moved toward her small kitchen, setting the bag of bagels on the counter before she walked back to the bed, discarding her blanket on it before walking to her closet to dress quickly.

“You little hooker,” Bonnie laughed playfully at her, seeing that she was in fact naked under the blanket.

Elle chuckled as she pulled on a tank top over her head and slipped a pair of pajama pants up her legs before she walked back out to the kitchen where Bonnie was already toasting the bagels.

“So spill it,” Bonnie said, watching Elle as she sat down on the stool in front of her kitchen counter.

Elle eyed her, not even knowing where to start. She wasn’t going to believe her anyway. She didn’t know if she even believed it happened. It was absolutely insane.

“Elizabeth Rose, spill your guts,” Bonnie pressed on, slightly aggravated as she side-eyed her.

“You won’t believe me anyway,” Elle told her matter-of-factly, pursing her lips together defiantly.

“Try me. You’re driving me crazy right now,” Bonnie laughed, rolling her eyes at her best friend.

“Harry Styles,” Elle spit out.

Bonnie stared at her with no emotion on her face. She just stared, waiting for Elle to say just kidding or yeah right or something.

“Harry Styles?” She questioned evenly.

“I knew you wouldn’t believe me,” Elle said, taking a sip of one of the coffees that had the letter ‘L’ written on it rather than the other one that read ‘Sophia’ – Starbucks employees getting names wrong since 1971. At this point, Elle just assumed they did it on purpose.

“You mean to tell me you hooked up with Harry Styles last night?” She asked Elle for clarification.

“Mm-hmm,” she confirmed, setting the cup back down, turning it idly on the countertop with her fingers.

Harry Styles, Harry Styles? Like Mr. Virgin movie star, could possibly be gay, Harry Styles?” She asked in one long breath.

“He’s definitely not gay,” Elle said, raising her eyebrows as she picked up her cup to take another drink.

“You hooked up with Harry Styles!?” Bonnie asked more firmly.

“Mm-hmm,” Elle hummed through a mouthful of coffee.

“You’re just… you’re just too calm for this. You’re screwing with me. Tell me the truth,” she said, narrowing her eyes at her friend.

“I am telling you the truth,” Elle laughed as she shook her head, because she knew Bonnie wouldn’t believe her.

“Proof or it didn’t happen,” Bonnie shot at her.

“I don’t have proof,” Elle told her evenly.

“Didn’t happen,” she said, shaking her head as she pulled the bagels out of the toaster and smeared cream cheese on them.

“It did. Oh, hey wait!” Elle said getting up from the stool.

Elle padded across the floor to her front door where her phone still sat on the small table. She checked her most recent text message and opened it, letting the butterflies go wild in her stomach at the thought of her cell phone number now being a part of his contacts.

Hey it’s Harry. Here’s my number.

“I have a text from him,” Elle told her, walking back over.

“Hand it over,” Bonnie said, grabbing Elle’s phone. She stared at it for a long moment before handing it back.

“How do I know that’s really him?” She eyed her, causing Elle to laugh out loud.

“I don’t really care,” Elle said, shrugging her shoulders passively.

“You hooked up with Harry Styles?” She asked once again, still eyeing her skeptically.

“Yeah. His DNA is in the condom somewhere if you’re really concerned about it,” Elle said, taking another drink of the hot coffee in front of her.

“Okay. One more time and I’ll believe you. You hooked up with Harry Styles last night?” Bonnie eyed her questioningly.

“Yes,” Elle nodded, giving her a slightly annoyed look.

“Oh my god! Spill. Fucking spill now!” She freaked out like she should have the first time Elle told her she hooked up with him.

Elle spared her of the most intimate details, but told her about how he sought her out at the club and bought her a drink. How he practically seduced her on the dance floor and followed her outside. She even told her about Lorenzo and how he snapped picture after picture of them on the sidewalk as she and Harry argued with each other about why she was leaving. And Elle told her how he got in the cab with her and practically told her how he didn’t care how many paparazzi came at them – that he was going to pursue her anyway. Bonnie was pretty much flipping her shit by the end of Elle’s small re-cap.

“How did this even happen?” Bonnie asked Elle, wide-eyed.

“I don’t even know.” Elle shook her head.

“You’re supposed to be like, his enemy. The evil camera-whore,” she beamed, clamping her hand over her mouth to stifle her laughter.

“I guess he doesn’t see me like that.” Elle shrugged taking a bite of the thoroughly prepared bagel Bonnie slid in front of her.

“Are you… are you going to keep taking pictures of him?” She asked tentatively, making Elle really question it in her own mind.

“Uh, probably not. Not when the only pictures magazines are going to want of him now are ones with me. Lorenzo is going to blow this shit up. I just know it,” Elle scoffed, rolling her eyes at the thought of Lorenzo.

“So are you like… dating him then?” Bonnie asked curiously.

“No. I mean, we spent one night together. The bed is barely cold from the two of us. We’re just… we’re having fun,” Elle said, trying her damndest not to get her hopes up. That was the last thing she needed.

“Wow,” Bonnie breathed out in awe of Elle situation.

“Besides, I don’t even know if we’re going to like, even see each other again.” Elle shrugged, looking down at her coffee cup, feeling slightly idiotic for gushing about a guy she had no real ties to.

“You just told me how he was the one who wanted to pursue you,” Bonnie pointed out.

“Yeah, but… I mean, he got what he wanted, right? I gave it up,” Elle told her, feeling slightly self-deprecating.

“Shut up right now. Remember all the times you went on rants to me about how great of a guy he was whenever anyone printed anything bad about him?” Bonnie reminded her, making Elle’s cheeks heat up immediately.

“I didn’t rant,” Elle told her sheepishly.

“You kind of did,” she laughed, giving her a sympathetic look.

“Well, he is a good guy,” Elle protested once again, her words coming out almost breathlessly.

“Then what makes you think he’s just going to walk away?” Bonnie smiled optimistically at her, really giving Elle something to ponder. She didn’t want to believe he would just walk away, but she didn’t want to get her hopes up either.

 

When Elle received a text from Harry that night to tell her he was thinking about her, she had a mini freak-out as she lay all alone in her bed. It immediately forced her to believe things weren’t over between them. She couldn’t get the smile off of her face even if she tried.

The next day, Elle met Charlie for lunch like they usually did during the week.

“So Elle, I need to ask…” He started, his lips twitching up into a smile.

“I know what you’re going to ask.” Elle rolled her eyes, feigning annoyance.

“Harry Styles.” He pursed his lips together, giving her a questioning look.

Lorenzo,” she growled under her breath, hating the guy even more because she knew he had to have already released the pictures of her and Harry outside the club.

“He’s in negotiations with his footage as we speak,” Charlie informed her, like he could read her mind.

“God damn it,” Elle scoffed.

“Did you think he wouldn’t?” He chuckled, giving her a sympathetic look.

“I don’t know. Maybe. Professional courtesy.” Elle shrugged, feeling like an idiot, because she knew Lorenzo just as well as Charlie did.

“When has Lorenzo ever shown anyone any professional courtesy?” He asked her with a knowing look.

“He’s such a fucking snake,” Elle scoffed, feeling the annoyance wrap around all of her senses.

“I tried to get him to just let it go – to just give you a little bit of privacy, but you know him,” Charlie told her with a hefty sigh.

“I do know him,” she said shaking her head. Lorenzo was the equivalent of stubbing your toe repeatedly on a really hard piece of furniture. She despised the man.

“Hey, not to change the subject or anything – but, do you feel like getting out with me tonight. I know you wanted to take a little break, but I was going to hit up downtown L.A. tonight. It might help you get your mind off of what may or may not be printed about you by morning,” he snickered, giving her look of quiet apprehension.

“Oh, thanks,” Elle said, rolling her eyes at his last comment.

“No, but I’m serious,” he laughed blithely.

“Yeah. I guess so. Where you headed to?” She questioned as she took a sip of her water.

“All around, I guess.” He shrugged indifferently.

“Yeah. Sounds good. Pick me up?” She asked with a questioning cock of her eyebrow.

“I’m there.” Charlie smirked at her.

 

Elle dressed in her usual paparazzo garb – jeans, a random t-shirt and her Converse sneakers. She grabbed a sweatshirt before leaving her apartment to meet Charlie for work. They hit up Katsuya – a popular Japanese restaurant – when they got wind that Zac Efron and some friends were dining there.

“Why is it that we always target young Hollywood?” Elle asked Charlie after he parked the car and they set off toward the restaurant with their cameras in tow.

“Because their fans have the biggest demographic. Sure we can take pictures of older celebrities, but this is where the big bucks lie. Get a picture of a young celebrity slipping-up and you’re making bank.” Charlie smirked at her.

“Makes sense.” Elle nodded, realizing in the real world, it was money that reigned supreme to just about everyone – especially the paparazzi.

There was already a group of paps scattered around outside the restaurant, waiting like vultures – which was really what you needed to do as a photog. The job called for a lot of patience. If you didn’t have it, you weren’t going to make it.

“This place is already swarming. Do you want to go somewhere else?” She asked him quickly as she looked around at some of the familiar faces she saw on a daily basis.

“Where do you want to go?” He asked her as he too weighed the scene.

“I don’t know. Anywhere where there aren’t already fifteen cameras at the ready. We’re not going to get anything here.” She shrugged as her fingers gripped tightly around her camera.

“You’re learning.” He smirked at her, a look of pride in his eye.

“I’ve learned that magazines and websites don’t give a shit about pictures that have already been offered to them time and time again,” Elle told him matter-of-factly.

“Bingo.” He smiled at her.

Right as they were going to turn to leave, a black SUV pulled up and their fellow cameramen all swarmed in to get their shot at a celebrity sighting.

“Well, who is this?” Charlie inquired curiously as he pulled his camera out in front of him, stepping forward toward the group.

Elle did the same, gripping her camera in her hands, ready to snap away. When the driver pulled open the back door, she watched as a big bulky man pulled himself out. Her heart began to beat wildly in her chest because she recognized the man. Her eyes stayed glued onto the opened SUV door, watching as a recognizable but not famous dark haired male got out, followed by another dark haired male.

Harry.

“Elle,” Charlie said, looking back at her with wide-eyes.

Another guy followed them out, but Elle’s eyes were glued on the only man in the vicinity she ever had sex with. She dropped her hand down that held her camera as all the other photographers – including Charlie – snapped away. Elle’s eyes followed Harry as he talked and laughed with his friends as they moved toward the front entrance of the restaurant. Just as he was passing by where they were, he looked up and their eyes connected. His smile dropped immediately as his feet didn’t know whether to stop or to keep going. Elle just stared back at him, watching as his lips curled back up into a smile, wider than before. She found herself smiling at him, but knew they couldn’t be seen like that… again. So she gave him a nod toward the restaurant and he nodded his head in comprehension, and proceeded on toward his friends. He gave one last look back at her before going inside.

“What was that?” Charlie asked her, snapping Elle out of her daze.

She looked around bashfully, noticing some of the other paps noticing her. She really didn’t want to be known as the girl who fell for her subject, but that was exactly what was happening.

“Oh my god,” she said, bringing her hand up to her forehead as she turned down the sidewalk, walking the opposite way of the group.

She felt a heightened level of embarrassment, because she knew the exchange between her and Harry could have easily been captured by any number of cameras in the vicinity. It was the last thing that either of them needed.

“Elle, what the hell?” Charlie asked, jogging after her as she continued down the sidewalk.

“Are you okay?” He asked as he caught up to her.

“I’m fine,” she said, looking both ways before she crossed the street, heading toward the car.

“What is going on with you two?” He asked, trying hard to keep up with her.

“Nothing,” she answered quickly.

“Nothing? Really? He just fights with you on the sidewalk and gets into your cab the other night and then tonight looks at you like he loves you – in front of many, many cameras, might I add,” Charlie scoffed at her, calling her out on her bullshit answer.

“I don’t know what’s going on,” she said, stopping in front of the passenger door of his car.

“Well, with the way he was looking at you, I can tell exactly what’s going on,” he laughed amusingly.

“What?” Elle asked, shooting her eyes to his.

“You’re falling for the movie star and he’s falling for the girl that stalks him,” Charlie laughed as he unlocked the car and got in.

His words left Elle speechless because she knew he was right – at least about the first part. And the thought of it made her stomach queasy.

Right as she sat down in the passenger seat of the car, her phone started to vibrate in her pocket. Elle pulled it out and saw Harry’s name. The smile she wore couldn’t have been help. And it only got bigger when she read his text.

 You looked absolutely beautiful. Can I meet up with you later?

The butterflies that pillaged her stomach made her feel thoroughly sick.

“It’s him, isn’t it?” Charlie smiled at her.

“Mm-hmm,” she said, nodding her head.

“I knew it,” he laughed, starting up the car.

 

 

Elle:

Yes. My place?

Harry:

Give me an hour? I’ll give my mates

an excuse and sneak away.

 Elle:

I’ll see you in an hour.

   Harry:

   You will.

 

Elle looked over at Charlie, ready to make up her own excuse.

“I’m not feeling so well. I think I just need to go home,” she told him, giving him a slightly guilty look.

“Uh-huh.” He smirked at her, but didn’t ask questions as he brought her back to her apartment.

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