Who'd You Rather?

Going on the Ellen show was a dream come true for Tegan Griffin, a rookie to the celebrity status she recently accrued from her break-out movie role. When Ellen asks her to play the celebrity-crush game ‘Who’d You Rather?’, Tegan can’t help but spill her guts about a crush she’s had since she was just a kid - Harry Styles. Things get a bit embarrassing, especially when Ellen gives her the surprise of her life.

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1. Part One

Tegan Griffin was an up-and-coming young actress who at the age of twenty-one had already been nominated for a supporting actress Oscar and won a Golden Globe for the same category. The past year for her had certainly been a whirlwind and she was up in the clouds. Even more so when her manager booked her for an interview on Ellen.

Tegan was absolutely delighted and nearly in hysterics to be sitting in the green room at the Ellen show. But even so, she kept on high alert, knowing Ellen could be lurking anywhere, ready to jump out at her or something. Tegan had seen the show enough through the years to know to be completely aware of her surroundings or suffer the wrath of a scare-prank of some sort by Ellen herself. She also knew that sometimes, even if you were on high alert, she still managed to get you. But luckily enough for her, she was able to get herself onstage without being scared to death for Ellen and her audience’s amusement. And somehow, just being with Ellen on that stage put her at ease, like they were old friends talking with one another. She grew up watching Ellen as a kid, so it almost felt like they were old friends, and when Ellen suggested they play a game, Tegan was unconditionally and unquestionably on board.

“So, we’re going to play a little game,” Ellen told her as the two of them sat opposite of each other in matching white chairs.

“Oh, yeah? I’m excited,” Tegan said, letting out a little laugh.

“It’s called ‘Who’d You Rather?’” Ellen went on to say.

“Oh, is this like the uh, FMK game?” Tegan asked curiously, not wanting to say out loud what FMK actually stood for – fuck, marry, kill.

“’FMK’? I’m not familiar,” Ellen said with a smirk, in a way that told her, she was quite familiar. Tegan let out an embarrassed laugh. Oh, god. Why’d she even bring it up?

“Tell me more about this FMK game. Is it an acronym? What does it stand for?” Ellen asked comically and Tegan couldn’t help but let out a giggle.

“It’s uh, it’s kind of brash, really. You get three choices. And like, you choose one to um, go to bed with and one to um, marry and the last one is who you’d kill out of the three of them,” she explained and the crowd let out an ‘ooh’ before they laughed.

“Wow. Graphic,” Ellen joked and the crowd laughed again.

“Yeah. Uh, it’s fun to play with the girlfriends though,” Tegan added in, biting at her lip.

“I bet,” Ellen said, pulling an almost horrified face, making the crowd laugh loudly.

“It’s… it’s, I don’t know. It’s all in fun,” Tegan said, smiling out into the audience.

“Fun with a side of murder?” Ellen quipped, causing Tegan to laugh out loud.

“Now, now, come on,” Tegan said, trying to settle the crowd. She seemed to be digging herself deeper and she could tell Ellen was loving it.

“Well, our game is a little more family-friendly than that,” Ellen laughed as the logo for ‘Who’d You Rather?’ popped up on the screen behind them.

“So, there is no killing what-so-ever in any Ellen show games. We do not condone murder of any kind,” Ellen went on to say, making the crowd laugh again, leaving Tegan to blush even more.

“Alright, alright. Noted,” Tegan said through a laugh.

“It’s more to find you a date… or a soul mate. Whatever, you know,” Ellen told her with a shrug of her shoulders that was meant to be passive, but definitely came out as comical.

“Oh, wow. Really?” Tegan laughed, feeling her cheeks heat up.

“Cause you’re single, right?” Ellen asked curiously.

“Yes. I am, currently,” Tegan said and the crowd let out an ‘ooh’.

“Well, I don’t know if you know this, but we’re quite the match-makers here at the Ellen show,” Ellen joked.

“Are you?” Tegan asked, quirking her eyebrow.

“Well, no. But this could be the time it happens,” Ellen said straight-faced and the crowd erupted in laughter.

“Alright, then. I’m in,” Tegan said, nodding her head, resigning to the fact that it was Ellen’s world and she was just living in it.

“Okay. I’ll put two pictures up on the screen and you have to choose between the two of them. Who would you rather go on a date with,” Ellen explained.

“Wonderful. Bring it on,” Tegan quipped, feeling confident. This wouldn’t be so hard.

A moment later, pictures of Zac Efron and Shawn Mendes appeared on the screen.

“So, we have Zac or Shawn,” Ellen told her.

“Oh, wow. Starting out hot,” Tegan laughed, biting at her lip.

“We’re determined to make it worth your while,” Ellen told her with a smile.

“Um, wow. They’re both so… cute. This is hard,” Tegan said, studying both of the pictures like she were actually taking a test and her answers mattered.

“Um, I’m going to go with Zac,” Tegan chimed in.

“Alright, okay. Zac it is. Next,” Ellen said and Tegan looked to see Shawn’s picture turned into a picture of Ryan Gosling.

“Ryan!” Tegan said quickly, not even having to think about.

“Well, alright then,” Ellen laughed and Zac’s picture turned into Channing Tatum.

“Oh, wow. Why are you doing this to me?” Tegan groaned playfully.

“We’re just making it fun,” Ellen snickered.

“I think, I’m going to stick with Ryan… only because I’ve had a crush on him since I was like five-years-old watching Mickey Mouse Club reruns with my sisters,” Tegan explained.

“Oh, wow. So, a love that stretches decades then?” Ellen quipped.

“Yes, yes,” Tegan laughed.

A moment later, Channing’s picture flipped to Harry Styles, and Tegan’s whole body instantly heated up as a laugh erupted out of her.

Oh, god,” Tegan groaned through a laugh, knowing Ellen somehow had to know of her massive crush on Harry Styles.

“So, Ryan or Harry?” Ellen said, her voice laced with amusement, and Tegan knew Harry was definitely put on the list on purpose.

“Oh my god,” Tegan groaned, holding her hand over her face as her cheeks begin to rapidly blush.

“’Oh my god’, what?” Ellen asked, feigning innocence and the crowd laughed loudly.

“You’re trying to break me, aren’t you?” Tegan laughed, pointing her finger at Ellen.

“I don’t know what you mean,” Ellen said, batting her eyelashes at her. Tegan laughed out loud again, biting at her lip as she shook her head.

“Ryan or Harry, Tegan?” Ellen asked impatiently.

“Uh, Harry,” Tegan said finally, feeling her whole face heat up again.

“But you and Ryan have had something since Mickey Mouse Club,” Ellen joked, tormenting her further.

“Oh my god,” Tegan laughed out loud.

“So, Harry, huh?” Ellen asked, quirking her eyebrow.

“Yes, Harry,” Tegan laughed, feeling so embarrassed. Her crush on Harry Styles was all-consuming.

“I’ve actually heard about how much you admire Harry,” Ellen chimed in.

“Oh, have you?” Tegan asked sarcastically, quirking an eyebrow at Ellen.

“I have. Do we have a clip?” Ellen asked her producer.

“Oh my god, no!” Tegan yelped, knowing she was certainly about to be truly embarrassed on national television.

“We do? Great,” Ellen said, smirking deviously as a clip of Tegan talking to a reporter on the recent Academy Awards red carpet popped up on the screen.

“Oh, no,” Tegan groaned, watching as the clip started to play.

“Who are you most excited to see tonight?” The reporter asked in the video.

“Uh, probably Harry Styles,” Tegan said, biting her lip, doing her best to play it cool, but the dimples dug deep into her cheeks were a dead giveaway.

“Harry Styles? He’s in for a big night tonight, I think. Dunkirk has been nominated for a whole slew of awards,” the reporter chimed in.

“Yes, yes. Have you seen it? It’s amazing,” Tegan gushed.

“I have seen it. Harry gave quite a performance,” the man commented.

“He’s absolutely stunning. So wonderful,” Tegan continued to gush.

“Have you met him before?” The reporter asked.

“No. I wish. I’ve honestly been a fan of his since he was on the X-Factor with One Direction. Not gonna lie, his cardboard cut-out is still standing in my bedroom at my parent’s house,” Tegan explained, truly sounding like a ridiculous fangirl, not a serious actress who deserved to be at such an esteemed award show.

The video cut off a moment later, leaving Tegan feeling truly mortified. She hoped to god Harry Styles would never watch this episode of Ellen.

Oh my god,” Tegan breathed as the audience laughed and clapped happily.

“First question: Did you get to meet him at the Academy Awards?” Ellen asked with a large smirk.

“No! I honestly didn’t even get to see him,” Tegan huffed playfully. She was still so bummed about it.

“Well, darn,” Ellen told her.

“I know. Sad day,” Tegan said, puffing out her bottom lip.

“My second question though: you have a cardboard cut-out of Harry in your bedroom at your parent’s house? Still?” Ellen asked curiously, stirring the pot.

“I was fourteen! I was fourteen!” Tegan told the crowd, who seemed to be eating it up.

“And you’re what? Twenty-one now? And it’s still there?” Ellen asked with a cock of her eyebrow.

“He’s still cute!” Tegan yelped, shrugging her shoulders, causing Ellen to laugh out loud.

“You were a big One Direction fan?” Ellen asked, smiling widely at her.

“Ohmygod, huge!” Tegan gushed, feeling her cheeks heat up even more.

“Were you lucky enough to see them in concert or did you just enjoy them from afar?” Ellen asked, her smirk ever-present on her face.

“I was lucky enough to see them, yes. A few times actually,” Tegan said proudly. She still missed One Direction with a heart-wrenching ache to this day.

“A few time, huh?” Ellen asked, quirking an eyebrow.

“Five… five times actually,” Tegan admitted embarrassingly. Although she was a proud fan and Harry Styles was her crush to end-all crushes, she still felt absolutely mortified talking about it on national television.

“Wow. So, should we even continue with the game or has Harry already won?” Ellen asked with a surprised look on her face.

“We can continue. We can continue,” Tegan said as the crowd cheered loudly.

Soon enough, Harry’s picture was back up with Louis Tomlinson next to him.

“Okay, that’s not fair. You already know Harry is my favorite,” Tegan scoffed playfully, giving Ellen a look.

“How do I know that?” Ellen asked, feigning innocence again.

“Okay, fine. Harry. But I love all of the guys. Seriously,” Tegan told her.

Then Louis’ picture went away, replacing it with Niall.

“Harry,” she said evenly, unable to keep the smile off her face.

Niall was then replaced with Liam.

“Harry. Let me guess, the next one will be Zayn…” Tegan said, quirking her eyebrow as a laugh rumbled out of her.

And sure enough, it was Zayn’s picture on the screen, causing the entire audience to roar with laughter.

“Harry, Harry, Harry. Okay?” Tegan laughed, never feeling so embarrassed in all her life.

“Well, we have a surprise for you then,” Ellen said, sticking her arm out toward the backstage where moments later, none other than Harry Styles walked out, surprising the holy hell out of everyone – including a very star-struck Tegan.

“OH MY GOD!” Tegan erupted, standing on her feet quickly as she shielded her entire face with her hands, her heart beating a mile a minute.

“Since you didn’t get to meet Harry at the Oscars, we decided to bring him here,” Ellen told Tegan, who couldn’t stop internally freaking out as Harry walked up to her, sliding his hand across her back, causing her to freak out even more because HARRY STYLES WAS TOUCHING HER.

“Oh my god,” Tegan said as Harry wrapped her up in his arms in a tight hug.

“Is this your dream come true?” Ellen asked, smiling from ear-to-ear.

“It’s something,” Tegan said, pulling back from his arms, unable to even look up at Harry, who seemed to be watching her contently. She couldn’t believe this was happening… and on national television. She almost couldn’t handle it.

“Hello, love,” Harry said, still looking at her and the crowd aww’d enthusiastically.

“Hi,” she squeaked out.

“Is that all you’re going to say to him? I brought him all the way here from England and all you’re going to say is ‘hi’?” Ellen chided her and the crowd erupted with laughter.

“Oh my god,” Tegan laughed, and she could still feel Harry’s hand on the small of her back.

“It’s okay,” Harry replied as he smiled down at her. Oh god, he was so tall.

“I don’t know what to say. I’ve imagined this day happening for the past seven years. It’s overwhelming,” Tegan said, finally looking up into his amazing green eyes. He was smiling so widely and contently at her, it almost made her knees weak.

“You’re beautiful,” she finally said, mindlessly reaching up to stroke his cheek gently and the crowd let out another noticeable ‘aww’ over it.

Tegan quickly took her hand back and bit at her lip, feeling truly mortified for having just touched his face so intimately. She felt like she was having an out-of-body experience.

“You’re beautiful too,” Harry retorted, making Tegan’s insides turn to mush. The crowd let out loud cheers and whistles as Ellen grinned ear-to-ear watching the pair of them.

“Oh my god,” Tegan breathed, hiding her face with her hand again.

“Well, there you have it folks. We’ll see you next time on Love Connection….” Ellen joked, looking into the camera and the crowd laughed loudly.

Tegan really couldn’t comprehend what was going on when they actually did go to commercial break. Harry Styles was standing in front of her – her forever crush. She was completely and utterly astonished. And that was when Tegan realized this was Ellen’s gotcha! moment with her. It wasn’t some scare in the green-room bathroom or an intern popping out of the end-table between the chairs on stage wearing some ridiculous costume. No, no. It was the complete and utter breakdown of her dignity as she was forced to admit her undying love for her celebrity-crush… in his presence. Oh, god. Did that just happen?

“It’s a bit awkward, yeah?” Harry asked Tegan as they stood together in the green room when her part of the show concluded.

“Indescribably,” Tegan said as she pretty much resigned to the fact that her cheeks would not stop blushing.

“You were amazing in Kaleidoscope,” Harry told her, mentioning the movie she was in that won her a Golden Globe and an Oscar nomination.

“You saw it?” She asked, looking up at him with all the wonder in the world. Never in a million years did she ever think Harry Styles would see a film she was in.

“Yeah. It was brilliant. You were robbed from that Oscar,” Harry told her, making her stomach clench with nerves.

“Meryl Streep definitely deserved it,” Tegan said, biting her lip as she looked down at her hands.

“She’s got a whole slew. You definitely should have won,” Harry told her and it made her heart flourish. She almost kissed him in that moment, but had enough sense not to. But God, she wanted to.

“I’m so happy Dunkirk won for best picture,” Tegan told him sincerely.

“I’d say thank you, but I was such a small insignificant part of it. It feels kind of awkward,” Harry told her.

“Insignificant? No way. I seriously saw it a handful of times because of you,” she said and immediately regretted admitting something like that.

“Yeah?” He asked, looking back at her hopefully.

“Of course,” she said, biting at her lip.

She watched as Harry’s eyes dropped down to her mouth and was pleasantly surprised when his tongue darted out, wetting his lips. It was so sensual, Tegan nearly went weak in the knees.

“So, what do we do when you’re a fan of mine, and I’m also a fan of yours?” Harry asked her, literally making every molecule in her body tingle with anticipation.

What?” She choked out.

“You’re brilliant and beautiful, Tegan,” Harry told her, smiling that mega-watt smile at her. She was sure to pass out. Oh, Jesus Lord. Have mercy.

Ohmygod,” she nearly groaned with excitement.

“And you’re bashful. It’s quite endearing, you know,” Harry told her with a simple bounce of his eyebrows.

“Seriously, ohmygod,” she breathed, feeling her whole body heat up. Was he hitting on her? Was Harry freaking Styles hitting on her?

“I don’t even know what to say right now,” Tegan told him, seriously at a loss for words.

“Say you’ll have coffee with me,” he told her.

“Coffee?” She squeaked out.

“Yeah, we can go get a cup right on the lot,” Harry said, pointing back toward the door of the room they were in.

“Are you serious?” She asked, looking up at him like she was a deer-in-headlights.

“Quite,” he said with a nod.

“Okay,” she chirped.

“Shall we then?” He asked, smiling widely at her.

“Y-yeah,” she said, biting her lip as he took her hand in his as the two of them walked to the door.

She was dying, she could feel it. Her hand was slipped into his soft, warm palm and her head felt a bit fuzzy, like she might actually pass-out. And she couldn’t help but think about how perfect their hands felt wrapped up in one another’s. Their palms weren’t sweaty or too clammy. It felt silky and smooth, and she didn’t know if it was just her mind playing tricks on her, but she could feel his pulse thrumming through his fingers, like she could feel the beat of his heart. And if she could, she would tattoo the rhythm of his heartbeat right across hers, because that’s where it belonged.

Once outside, the two of them slipped onto the back of a golf cart as Harry told the driver, who seemed to be someone he knew, to take them to the Starbucks on the lot. Tegan wasn’t sure what to do or say as they rode to their destination, but Harry seemed to be well-versed in conversations with women because he easily started one up.

“Where are you from?” He asked, smiling at her.

“Um, Big Bear Lake, California,” Tegan told him with a smile.

“And that’s where your parents still live?” He asked with a sneaky smirk that made the embarrassment flood back to her.

“Did you… uh, you heard everything Ellen was saying to me, didn’t you?” Tegan said, putting her face in her hand again.

“I did,” Harry said matter-of-factly.

“I am… ohmygod. I am so embarrassed,” Tegan groaned, unable to even look at him.

“Don’t be,” he told her and out of the corner of her eye, she could see the smirk on his face.

“My mum still has a cardboard cut-out of me as well,” he said wryly, letting out a chuckle.

“Oh my god!” Tegan groaned, dropping her face into her hands again. He was mocking her and it was emotionally scarring.

“I’m just teasing. Although, she really does. But I’m just teasing you. I find it endearing,” Harry told her with a laugh.

“I don’t still live there. I want you to know that. I don’t like, go to bed at night as your teenage cardboard cut-out stares at me from the corner,” Tegan said, finally looking up at him again.

“Okay,” he said, letting out a laugh.

“Okay, wow,” she said, trying to regain her composure as she took a deep breath in and let it out hard.

“Are you alright?” He asked, smirking at her.

“I’m trying not to have a heart-attack, to be honest,” she said, finally turning to get a good look at him.

His hair was short and fully-volumized and all she wanted to do was run her god damn fingers through it. He was wearing a dark blue suit with a crisp white shirt underneath it, unbuttoned dangerously low as per usual. His signature cross pendent was hanging between the two sparrows tattooed on his chest and his fingers were adorned with his many garish rings. He was absolutely magnificent.

“Don’t worry. I’ll save you,” he said with a smile and Tegan couldn’t help but drop her mouth open as she stared back at him in complete awe.

A moment later, the golf cart was stopping at the back entrance to the Starbucks.

“We’re here,” Harry told her with a smile as he slipped off the cart, holding his hand out for her.

She quietly slipped hers back into his and felt the same thrumming she did before. Oh, god. What was happening?

The two of them quietly slipped into the back door of the Starbucks into their own private room, which felt weird to her somehow. She’d never knew Starbucks to have private rooms.

“Is this like, a VIP Starbucks room or something?” Tegan asked as Harry pulled out her chair for her.

“Well, yes, actually. We’re still on the Warner Brothers lot, where there are a lot of celebrities who enjoy having coffee in peace, I suppose,” Harry explained to her as he sat down across from her at the small table.

“Wow, this is so… different,” Tegan said, smiling widely. She still wasn’t used to the perks of the biz.

 “You get used to it,” he told her, smiling at her sweetly and she couldn’t help but smile too.

“Will I ever get used to the fans?” She asked curiously.

“Probably not,” he told her and his deep voice was literally electrifying. She had goosebumps dancing across her skin.

A moment later, a barista came in to take their orders. Harry ordered a simple hot tea and even though Tegan felt sick to her stomach in his presence, she ordered a peach iced tea.

For the next forty-five minutes, the two of them talked and joked freely with one another, until Harry was told by his handlers that a car was waiting for him.

“Listen,” Harry told her, dropping his gaze to the table before looking back up at her with his big gorgeous green eyes.

Hm,” she hummed, feeling so much disappointment over the fact that he was about to leave her.

“I’d like to see you again,” he told her with a smile tugging up his lips.

“You would?” She nearly gasped, honestly not expecting those words to come out of his mouth.

“Of course,” he breathed confidently.

“Of course,” she repeated under her breath, unable to break her eyes from his intense stare.

“I’d actually like to take you on a date,” he said with a sideways smirk.

Shut up,” she gasped, unable to comprehend what the hell was actually happening.

Harry let out an amused laugh.

“I’m sorry, wow. If you haven’t noticed yet, there is no filter from my brain to my mouth,” Tegan said, pressing her palm against her forehead for a moment to try to help her regain some sort of brain function.

“’S okay,” he said with a smirk.

“I didn’t mean to tell you to shut up. Not like that anyway. It was just a… an exclamation, like ‘holy shit’,” she explained and then visibly cringed because why the fuck was she still talking?

“I get it,” Harry said, letting out a laugh again.

“Oh, god,” she groaned under her breath. When would she stop making a fool out of herself?

“You’re funny,” he told her and god, that deep voice did things to her.

Mm,” she said, biting her lips together to help her from rambling anymore.

“Would you like that – if I were to take you on a date?” Harry asked, quirking his eyebrow at her.

“Only if that’s something you want. Don’t just… don’t feel like you need to. I’m a big girl. I can handle it if you… if you don’t want to get… involved,” she told him, completely lying through her teeth. She would not be able to handle a rejection from Harry freaking Styles. Her life would be over.

“I’m quite serious, Tegan,” he told her and just hearing her name slip out of his mouth was so magical, she almost stopped breathing.

“Wow, okay,” she said, trying not to smile as widely as the muscles in her mouth were trying to.

“Yeah?” He questioned, quirking his eyebrow.

“Yes, of course,” she told him, giving into her ear-to-ear smile, letting those dimples loose.

“Of course,” he breathed, smiling just as wide as she was.

“Can I give you my phone number?” Harry asked, pulling out his cell phone from a pocket on the inside of his blazer.

“Yes,” she squeaked, grabbing her cell phone from her small purse. She rambled off her ten digits and a moment later, she heard her text tone chime.

She looked down at the screen of her phone where an unknown number text her with ‘Hi.. –H. xo’ and she knew it was him. Her smile erupted on her face again when she looked up at him. Harry Styles just text her. She was really going to have to tone down the star-struck bit if she were going to go on a date with the likes of him. She would need to fight off seven years of unrequited feelings and it wasn’t going to be easy.

“Can I text you with the details of our date?” He asked as he looked up to see his bodyguard trying to move him along.

“Of course,” she told him.

“They have another cart out there to take you back to the studio,” Harry told her as he stood up from his seat.

“Okay,” she said, realizing this was it. He was leaving her.

“It’s been so lovely getting to know you, Tegan,” Harry breathed as he stepped forward, pulling her into a hug.

“You too,” she breathed against his chest and a moment later she felt him press a light kiss to the top of her head, sending waves of excitement through her.

“We’ll be in touch, yeah?” Harry asked her as they pulled back from each other’s arms.

“Yeah,” Tegan breathed.

“I’ll see you soon,” he told her as he took another step back.

“Yeah,” she said again and was left standing alone in the room as Harry waved back at her before he was suddenly gone.

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