When my eyes lay on Sarah for the first time, it was like her presence sucked all of the air out of my lungs. I’d never felt something so extreme before. She was beautiful, yes. But it was more than just her looks. It was her entire being – her aura. And maybe it was because she wanted absolutely nothing to do with me. She didn’t care who I was or who I was dating at the time or about my music. She just smiled and gave me a nod of her head and hung back while her friend nearly lost it at the sight of us. Sarah was just there and she was the only girl in the world to me – then and now.
“You do realize we’re adults, right?” Sarah asked, eyeing her friend.
“Yeah,” Genevieve nodded as her eyes scanned the surrounding area.
“We’re 21-year-old fierce, independent women and we’re scouring Times Square for a pre-pubescent boy band,” Sarah pointed out as she flanked behind her boy-crazy best friend.
“I’m aware, dude. Have you seen them? They’re beautiful,” Gen retorted, literally not giving a fuck that Sarah was trying to rain on her parade.
“They’re little boys,” Sarah snickered.
“They’re not that young and they’re British. It’s a win-win,” Gen countered, shrugging her shoulders passively.
“How do you even know they’d be here, like right now?” Sarah asked, slightly confused on how deeply integrated her best friend was in these boys lives when she never even met them.
“Twitter,” Gen said finally.
“Twitter?” Sarah asked.
“Yeah. Liam tweeted a picture a few minutes ago,” Gen told her.
“And how do you know he didn’t like, tweet it from his hotel room – like, they could have been here hours ago,” Sarah asked her, just as Gen’s iphone chimed.
“Niall just tweeted a picture of Harry with the Statue of Liberty!” Gen yelped, nearly jumping up and down.
“Of course your phone has One Direction twitter notifications. Wait! The Statue of Liberty? Gen, that’s in lower Manhattan. This is crazy,” Sarah scoffed, rolling her eyes, hating the wild goose chase her friend was leading her on.
Suddenly Gen stopped right in her tracks causing Sarah to run right into her.
“Oof! Genevieve. God,” Sarah grumbled, peeling herself away from her friends back.
“Sarah, Ohmygod. There!” Gen gasped, pointing her finger out into the distance.
Sarah’s vision followed where Gen was pointing and she caught a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty – well, a person dressed in a Liberty costume at least.
“That’s Harry! Ohmygod,” Gen gasped as Sarah’s eyes met with a boy being cradled in Lady Liberty’s arms, getting his picture taken by a small group standing around him.
“Sarah!” Gen yelped, gripping her friends hand tightly before tugging her along as fast as she could toward the group.
Sarah couldn’t believe they actually found them. Never in a million years did she expect to actually find One Direction on this tiny island. Once they were standing mere inches away from Lady Liberty and her companion, Gen immediately took out her camera, snapping endless pictures, giggling the whole time. Sarah stood behind her, biting her lips together, trying not to laugh at the goofball who was eating up the attention all around him, smiling and joking with everyone around him as Lady Liberty nearly groped the whole boy’s body.
Sarah had to admit, Harry Styles had it going on. He was cute – definitely cute. As all the girls around them freaked out and had near meltdowns over meeting their idols, Sarah stood back, silently watching – her eyes scanning over every inch of the floppy-haired kid. When Harry’s eyes looked up into hers, she felt her cheeks burn with blush. She bit her lip trying to stifle her smile as Harry’s own smile grew wide for her. She felt stupid. He was only eighteen. She was three years older than him – and he was absolutely unattainable. But that didn’t stop him from signing the last of his autographs and walking straight over to her.
“Hiya, I'm Harry,” he said, holding out his hand to her, giving his introduction.
“Sarah,” she replied, smiling bashfully at him as she placed her hand in his.
“Nice to meet you, Sarah,” he said with a sideways smile. Sarah couldn’t help as her eyes fell to his lips, enjoying their perfect fullness and pout.
“You as well,” she nodded, forcing herself to look back into his eyes.
“Are you here alone?” Harry asked with a smile. She loved the British accent that came tumbling out of his mouth when he spoke. It was very attractive.
“Uh, no. I-I’m here with my friend Gen, over there. She’s the one talking to your friends,” Sarah said, pointing to the girl standing with Liam and Niall.
“She seems like a big fan,” Harry smirked at Sarah.
“You have no idea,” Sarah chuckled, rolling her eyes passively.
“Are you from around here?” He smirked at her.
“Born and raised,” she told him with a nod.
“In Manhattan?” He asked curiously.
“Well, in New York. I was born in Long Island and moved to Chelsea when I graduated,” Sarah explained to him, and she wasn’t sure why she was so freely sharing such things with him.
“High school or college?” He asked. Sarah smirked at him, because he was asking her so many questions. It was kind of awkward, but totally cute at the same time.
“High school. I don’t look that old, do I?” She snickered, looking at him oddly.
“No, not old. But I do fancy older woman,” he chuckled, bouncing his eyebrows at her.
“Oh well, then I must be right up your alley,” she said sarcastically with a little laugh, rolling her eyes slightly.
“How old are you?” He asked, cocking his eyebrow at her.
“Twenty-one,” she said, pursing her lips amusingly at him.
“Oh, too young,” he said playfully, pretending to wave her off.
“Oh, really?” She laughed out loud.
“No, not really,” he said, smiling widely at her. His eyes were so big and bright, and Sarah couldn’t help but fall in love with them, right then and there.
“Too bad I’m out of your league though,” she joked, smirking blithely at him.
“Doesn’t matter,” he said, not missing a beat as he shook his head slightly and smiled back just the same.
Sarah was impressed. Not many guys could keep up the banter, round for round, with her. They usually lost interest or tried too hard to impress her. Harry kept things real and she liked that.
“Are you busy right now?” He asked, confusing her almost immediately.
“What? Why?” She smirked, wondering what he was even thinking.
“I’ve heard about the big ferris wheel in the toy store over there,” Harry said, smirking at her as he pointed back behind him.
“Yeah…” She said, looking over his shoulder at Toys R Us in the distance. There was a 60 foot high ferris wheel housed inside the toy store that Sarah rode many times in her life, despite being an adult most of the times she did.
“I wanna take a ride,” he told her, keeping that lovely smirk on his face.
“So, take a ride,” she laughed.
“Come with me,” Harry told her.
“What? No,” Sarah said, shaking her head, quickly looking around at the rapidly growing crowd.
“Yeah. Come on. I’m afraid of heights. You can hold my hand,” he told her, smirking once again.
“You’re crazy,” she said, trying to hold back the smile that threatened to break free on her lips.
“Come on. It’ll be fun. Just come with me,” he said, gripping onto her hand as he began to tug her along toward the big toy store.
Sarah almost pulled her hand away, but thought better of it. Even more than she didn’t want to be photographed holding this famous boys hand, she also didn’t want to be known as the prudish girl who denied him either.
“Sarah!” She heard Genevieve screech, and she turned her head, giving Harry’s hand a little resistance. Harry stopped with her, turning around to see what was going on.
“Where are you going?” Gen called out to her.
“We’re going to ride the ferris wheel. Come on,” Harry shouted in response.
Genevieve’s eyes widened as she looked at her best friend before an excited smile pulled up her lips and she started moving forward toward them, even though she was in deep conversation with Niall and Liam. Both boys were looking up at Harry and Sarah wondering what was going on.
“Come on. Ferris wheel!” Harry shouted again, waving his free hand through the air, still tugging on Sarah’s with his other.
And without question, all four of his band mates and Sarah’s best friend were on their tail, heading straight toward the iconic toy store.
Harry and Sarah made it in before anyone else, going through the massive turn-style doors and straight down the large staircase to get to the indoor ferris wheel entrance.
“Slow down,” Sarah giggled, feeling the wonderful sensation of adventure she got in the pit of her stomach as Harry turned to her letting out a cheerful laugh.
She couldn’t help how the butterflies rose and fell in her stomach and how her blood spiked when he looked at her like that. She was quickly seeing what Gen saw in these boys all along – although she’d never admit it.
“Come on. We get the pony ride,” Harry smiled, handing off some cash to the person at the ticketing booth before he tugged Sarah toward the awaiting ferris wheel car which was fully decorated in My Little Pony ponies.
Once they got settled into the bucket, the rest of the group showed up at the gate with huge smiles on their faces, paying the person for their turn on the ride.
“This one’s full! Next one!” Harry shouted out to his friends as he nodded toward the guy working the controls of the ferris wheel.
The guy smiled and closed the door to the car that Harry and Sarah sat alone in and pressed the button for the next car to move forward. The ferris wheel whisked Harry and Sarah up to their next position as Sarah giggled and looked down at her friend who was staring up at her, giggling as she got herded into a ferris wheel car that looked like a taxi cab with the remaining four One Direction band mates.
“Gen is in Heaven,” Sarah smiled over at Harry.
“Well, she’s not the only one,” Harry smiled at her confidently.
“Ohmygod,” Sarah laughed, feeling her face heat up with embarrassment, not only for herself but for him as well. She almost hated it when guys used cheesy lines like that – almost.
“What?” He chuckled.
“Nothing,” she laughed, shaking her head of all the intriguing thoughts she was having of him.
Harry couldn’t help but watch her – everything she did. She was just so beautiful. He didn’t know why he was so instantly smitten with her, he just was. There was no explaining it. He studied every feature of hers that he could get his eyes on – from her big wide, beautiful eyes, to her full soft lip, to the way that her skin stretched over her collarbone so perfectly. He could go on, he was sure of it, but that might make him into less of a gentleman than he was hoping she saw in him.
“What?” Sarah asked, when she noticed him gawking at her.
“Are you coming to the show tonight?” He asked, ignoring the fact that he knew she knew he was checking her out.
“Oh, yeah. Gen got tickets forever ago. She’s dragging me along—” Sarah told him as he began thinking back to the day the Jingle Ball acts were announced and how Gen nearly had an aneurysm over it.
“’Dragging you along?’ Sounds painful,” Harry smirked at her.
“I’m sorry. You know what I mean. I’m not… I never was… I’m… not into boy bands?” The last of her sentence sounding more like a question than a statement.
“Not into boy bands?” Harry replied in a high pitched tone, mimicking the way Sarah sounded.
“Shut up,” she laughed, reaching out her hand to smack him lightly.
“HARRY! HARRY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING IN THE PONY CAR!?” The two of them heard from below them.
Harry moved over to Sarah’s side of the car and stuck his head over the side of the bucket with a big smile on his face.
“Shut it, Louis,” he replied back to his friend, causing Louis to laugh out loud.
“BUT WHAT ARE YOU DOIN’ UP THERE!? The car is shaking!” Lou called back and Sarah could hear all of them snickering below them.
“We’re having a party,” Harry yelled sarcastically down to him.
“Have a ball!” Louis shouted back up and they all began to loudly snicker once again.
“Real mature,” Harry smirked, looking up at Sarah, who was timidly smiling back at him. He loved her smile already.
Sarah had to look away. Harry’s eyes were just so intense. He was doing things to her that she couldn’t even explain. She had to break the stare, so she decided to look down to see what Genevieve was up to – since Sarah was pretty sure she was living a well-played-out fantasy. Gen was sandwiched in between Niall and Zayn with a big smile on her face and Sarah knew her best friend’s highest aspirations of the afternoon were fulfilled.
“Gen! Genevieve!” Sarah waved down at her getting her attention.
“Sarah!” Gen waved back, giving her a wide, excited smile. Yes, Sarah was certain Gen would never get over spending uninterrupted time with her favorite boy band. Well, four fifths of her favorite boy band, at least.
Sarah’s eyes met back up with Harry’s when she realized that maybe she should be making the most of the situation she was in as well. No doubt Gen would be hounding her for a play-by-play once this insanely unbelievable experience was over.
“So, you’re coming to the show,” Harry said matter-of-factly, continuing their previous conversation as he leaned back against the seat to get a full view of her.
“Sure am,” she nodded, smiling at him, feeling a little more self-conscious now that he was on the same side of the car as her.
“Will you look for me?” He asked with a smile.
Sarah giggled, bringing her hand up to her face to hide the bashfulness she felt. All in all, she felt stupid. He was a boy. He was an eighteen year old boy. An eighteen year old famous boy who may or may not be romantically linked to Taylor Swift. He was eighteen and she was twenty-one. Yet, she couldn’t stop the feelings once they started. She was smitten.
“Sure,” she smiled and blushed.
“Okay. So, how about I come up with a sign that’s just for you,” he smirked at her.
“A sign?” She questioned, her brow marred with confusion.
“Yeah. Like a symbol – a hand gesture. Like, how about when I rub my nose like this—” He said as he curled his index finger and slid it up and down his nose.
“—when I rub my nose like that, then you’ll know I’m thinking of you,” he told her.
“Oh, really?” She smiled.
“Really,” he said with a nod and a smile.
“And how are you even going to remember who I am once all your adoring fans are filling up your eardrums with the sound of your name?” Sarah asked, cocking her eyebrow at him.
“Forget about the girl I kissed on the big indoor ferris wheel? Never,” he scoffed, looking at her with a cunning smile.
“What—?” She breathed, her mouth going dry almost immediately.
Harry smiled a little wider at her reaction as he scooted a little closer to her, leaning in slowly.
“Can I kiss you?” He whispered against her lips, and the hotness of his breath sent shivers of pleasure down her spine.
Sarah took a ragged breath in as she slowly nodded her head, barely even taking the time to think about things like consequences. It was just Harry’s lips moving in closer and closer, and his eyes never breaking away from hers, and the way he was making her feel all warm from the inside out.
Sarah’s head nodded slowly, giving him consent. And slowly and softly, Harry’s lips pressed against hers. She almost thought she was dreaming – because how could a kiss make her feel that good? How could a kiss be that perfect? How could the feeling of his lips on hers feel so right?
The ferris wheel finally began its full turns when Harry pressed his lips more firmly to Sarah’s. Shivers ran up his spine when he felt her fingers tangle in the back of his hair. He just met this girl, and it was entirely irresponsible, but he couldn’t seem to stop himself – he didn’t want to. Harry usually found himself working on impulse and that was what this was – he was going with his gut instinct, and his gut instinct told him she was his best bet.
When the kiss finally ended, they rested their foreheads against each other’s and let their breathing even out before they pulled apart.
“What was that?” Sarah breathed.
“Magic,” Harry said simply. And with his words, Sarah knew she was hooked.
“Well-well-well-well-well,” Sarah heard from behind her as she waited patiently for Gen to come back from the bar.
She turned quickly to see the bright beaming smile of Harry Styles. Her eyes immediately attached to his pouty lips, watching as the tip of his pink tongue darted out and slid smoothly between them.
“Sarah. Good to see you again,” Harry breathed out in his abnormally-deep-voice-for-such-a-young-dude.
“Hello,” she said quietly, hoping her pink cheeks wouldn’t give her away.
“You look beautiful,” he smiled admiringly at her.
“Thank you,” she blushed wildly under his stare.
It impressed her to no end that he remembered her name. She knew it was only about six or so hours before that they met, but still, it seemed like so much happened between that time. She still couldn’t believe she was invited to an after-party at a fancy club. Hell, she still couldn’t believe most of what happened that day.
After their little impromptu kiss on the ferris wheel, they were forced to part ways, due to the fact that the boys needed to head off to the venue to get ready for the show that night. Harry made sure they exchanged numbers so he could see her again while he was in New York. During the show, Sarah counted six times that Harry did their special sign to each other – which threw her for a loop. She wasn’t even expecting him to even remember. And when she got a text from him saying he put her name with a plus one on a guest list for their after party, she almost lost it.
So there she was – and there he was, standing so suave and debonair in front of her. And she could almost forget they were so distant in age. He was beautiful and he was smiling and she felt herself slipping even further.
“Aren’t you dating Taylor Swift?” She blurted out, making the moment awkward in two point five.
“Where did you hear that?” He snickered to himself.
“Genevieve,” Sarah said, blushing rapidly.
“I’m going to assume Genevieve is your friend Gen,” Harry smirked at her. Sarah nodded at him, watching his eyes contently. She could always tell if someone was lying by looking into their eyes.
“So, are you?” She pressed on.
“No. I am not dating Taylor Swift. We’re just friends,” Harry confirmed.
“Friends who spend the night together in a hotel room?” Sarah called him out on his alone time with her the previous night.
“Would you like to know how Taylor and I spent the night?” He smirked, cocking his eyebrow at her.
“Please,” Sarah said evenly.
“We spent most of the time playing each other on Draw Something,” Harry smiled at her.
“Draw Something?” Sarah smirked at him.
“Yes. I am terrible at it,” he snickered, shaking his head embarrassingly.
“Hmm,” Sarah said, watching him contently.
“What?” Harry smirked at her.
“Nothing,” she smirked back.
“What?” He asked again.
“I don’t know. I’d just love a chance to kick your ass at it,” she snickered, feeling her blush growing hotter.
“Challenge accepted,” he smirked happily at her.
Their beginning was unconventional, but what they felt for each other was unprecedented. And one thing was for sure, Sarah had to give Harry credit – he gave her a reason to like boy bands.