Chapter 1: [One]
New York City – February 18th, 2016
The 38th Street Diner was Audrey’s spot. Her own little slice of Heaven. She spent a lot of time in there working on homework, reading or just people-watching out the large windows in front. New York City was a big illustrious place, but she always kept pretty local. She grew up there and for the most part, she’d seen it all.
As she sat at the corner table by the window with her tattered copy of Pride and Prejudice perched between her fingers, her eyes trailed up over the book as the bell on the door jingled when a new patron walked in.
She almost thought her eyes were deceiving her. She thought she was losing her mind. Her heart immediately sped up and all the blood rushed to her face as she watched the guy walk toward the counter and sit down.
Audrey was literally losing it. It couldn’t be. It just couldn’t be.
She stared at the back of his head full of bleached blonde hair, praying she would get another glimpse. She had to know if it was him. When he covertly turned his head to survey the people in the restaurant, she got a good look at him. Their eyes even met for a split second and her breathing caught in her throat. She could have choked on air had she been breathing.
It was Niall Horan – widely known as the loveable Irish cutie from the band One Direction – a band Audrey followed since 2011. She was twenty-one years old and still caught a lot of flak for supporting their band. But she would back them forever. They were on an extended hiatus after just releasing their fifth album Made in the AM and many fans left the fandom thinking it was the beginning of the end for the band, but Audrey was still loyal. And in that moment, there was nothing in the world she wanted to do more than meet the one and only Niall Horan.
She had to take a few deep breaths to relax herself enough to build up the courage to actually approach him. She didn’t want to be one of those rabid fans that ran up to them, gnawing at their legs. She wanted to be casual. She wanted to actually make an impression. Stuff like this doesn’t happen every day.
Audrey quickly packed her book into her purse and threw it over her shoulder as she stood up. She took another deep breath and moved toward the front counter.
“You looking for your check, Audrey?” George, the diner owner, asked her as she approached.
Her focus was solely on Niall and she was totally thrown off by George. Her eyes shot up to the loveable plump man with the thick New York accent who she’d gotten to know well over the years. Out of her peripherals, she saw Niall look in her direction and she immediately felt her cheeks blush.
“Uh… not quite yet,” Audrey said, smiling pleasantly at George.
“Oh. Well, can I get you anything else?” He asked her.
“Uh…” She stammered, quickly looking over at Niall whose vision moved back to the menu in front of him.
“Water. I’ll take a glass of water,” she choked out, feeling the dryness of her mouth.
“Coming right up,” George said happily.
Audrey hesitated slightly, not knowing what to do next. Should she run back to her table and wait for the water? She saw Niall peek over his shoulder at her once again and decided to just plop herself down in the seat she was standing in front of, which just so happened to separate her from Niall Horan by one empty stool between them.
“Here you go, doll face,” George said, smiling as he set the glass of water in front of her.
“Thanks, Georgie,” she said, smiling politely back at him.
“Anytime,” he said before walking back toward the kitchen.
“Looks like you’ve got some pull with the staff,” Audrey heard. It took her a second to process that it was him talking to her. Niall Horan was talking to her.
“Uh… what?” Audrey choked out, looking over at him.
“You must come here a lot,” he rephrased as their eyes met.
Audrey was staring into his bright blue eyes and he was staring right back into hers. Although it wasn’t Niall who she adored all throughout her adolescence, but looking into his eyes now sent a satisfying shiver up her spine.
“I-I do,” she nodded.
“Any suggestions on what to eat?” He asked, sending her a sideways smirk.
“Try our Reuben. You will not be sorry,” George suggested as he came out of the back. Both of their line of vision met up with the big Italian man.
“The Reuben, aye?” Niall asked, smirking at George.
“Audrey hates it, but you look like a guy wit’ some taste,” George told him.
“Audrey? You’re Audrey?” Niall asked, looking over at her.
“I’m Audrey,” she said with a nod. She could feel the heat in her cheeks and she knew she probably looked like a fool.
“Niall. Nice to meet you,” he said, holding out his hand to shake hers. She couldn’t believe this was happening. It was absolutely crazy.
“Nice to meet you,” she said quietly as she shook his hand.
“Well, I’ll have to take your word for it, mate. I’ll have the Reuben. And I’ll take a coke to go with it,” Niall said, turning his attention back to George.
“Coming up,” George told him.
Audrey smirked to herself, biting her lip as she looked at George who gave her a wink and a suggestive head nod toward Niall.
“Anything for you, my dear?” George asked Audrey again.
“No, no. Georgie. Water’s good,” she said, smiling widely at him.
“I’ll get you a piece of chocolate cake – on the house,” he said, smiling at her.
“No, George—” She started to protest.
“Uh-uh-uh. No arguing, Audrey,” he said, holding his hand up.
She shut her lips, knowing she would get absolutely nowhere arguing with him anyway. When George bustled off, Audrey looked over at Niall who was snickering lightly to himself.
“Shut up,” she said with a smirk.
“I didn’t say anything,” he chuckled.
Audrey and Niall sat there for a few moments in silence – it being a completely awkward silence for her, since she knew who he was.
“So, do you live here? I mean, you must if you’re like a local celebrity in here with George,” Niall asked, smirking at her.
Celebrity? Her? Ha. She was just plain-Jane Audrey who grew up in New York City – a little fish in a big pond. She was practically the farthest thing from a celebrity.
“I grew up about two blocks from here. I’ve been coming in here since I was old enough to see over the counter,” she said as she smiled lightly at him.
“Ah,” he said, nodding his head.
“What about you? What are you up to in New York?” She asked, feeling herself blush immediately.
She already knew the answer. She recently heard on tumblr that Niall was in New York to write and record a solo album.
“I’m here for work. I always like coming back. I spent some time here a handful of years back,” he said with a fond smile.
“Aw, that’s nice,” she said with a nod.
She knew that already too. She knew everything. And she felt like a creeper, stalker girl knowing all of this about him. But she couldn’t bring herself to mention she was a fan. It was too perfect, too peaceful. She thought it might be weird. So she didn’t bring it up.
George brought Audrey a ridiculously huge piece of chocolate cake when he brought out Niall’s Reuben sandwich.
“George, I can’t—” Audrey started to protest.
“Uh-uh-uh,” he tutted, wagging his finger at her as he walked away.
“Oh my god,” she said, looking at the massive slice of cake.
“He’s testing you,” Niall snickered.
“Or he’s trying to fatten me up,” Audrey chuckled.
“You might as well eat it. I think you might offend him if you don’t,” Niall said, smirking at her.
“Maybe a few bites,” Audrey said, smiling mischievously at him.
“’Atta girl,” Niall said as he took his first bite of the sandwich.
“So, just how many times in all of the years you’ve been coming here have you actually eaten the Reuben sandwich?” Niall asked her once he chewed his bite.
“I’m not sauerkraut’s biggest fan,” she said with a passive shrug of her shoulders.
“This sandwich is amazing, George,” Niall told him matter-of-factly.
“I’m glad you like it,” George said, beaming a proud smile at him.
“I do. I do,” Niall chuckled, taking another bite.
“To each his own,” Audrey said, taking a bite of her chocolate cake.
Audrey and Niall talked all the while as they ate, finding it pretty easy to carry on a conversation with one another. She really enjoyed herself with him and almost forgot who he was. Almost.
“It was nice talking to you, Audrey. I’ll have to stop in again. If the Reuben is that good, I can’t wait to check out the rest of the menu,” Niall said with a smile as he stood from his stool.
“Yeah, definitely,” Audrey said, feeling her cheeks blush for about the hundredth time in his presence.
“George, thank you so much,” Niall said, throwing down some money onto the counter from his wallet.
“You’re very welcome,” George said, smiling at him.
“I’ll see you around, Audrey,” Niall said with a sideways smirk.
“Yeah, you too,” she said with a nod.
She didn’t want him to go. She really didn’t. But she didn’t know what to say to make him stay. She watched him walk out the door and down the sidewalk until he was out of sight.
“And you didn’t even get his phone number,” George said, clicking his tongue at Audrey.
She shook her head, feeling a little dazed. He was in One Direction – the biggest boy band in the whole world. How in the hell would she ever ask for his phone number?
“That was a meet-cute if I ever saw one. He was into you, girly,” George pressed.
“Was not,” Audrey said, shaking her head again.
“You’re a beautiful young lady, Audrey. Why wouldn’t he have an eye on you?” George asked.
Because he was Niall Horan. Because he was famous and worldly. And because she was just… Audrey.
All she had going for her was the promise that Niall made to come back to the diner and try his luck out on the rest of the cuisine. Maybe she would be lucky enough to meet up with him again. After all, he’d be in New York – for work – for quite some time.
New York City – March 19th, 2016
Audrey couldn’t believe the turn her life took. Niall just so happened to make it back to the diner and Audrey was lucky enough to be there when he did. She supposed luck didn’t really have much to do with it though, since she pretty much made it her mission to spend as much time at the diner as possible in hopes of seeing him again. And then one day he came back… and he remembered her.
The two hit it off right away. Niall was easy to talk to and they soon became friends. And the day Niall asked to exchange phone numbers with her was probably the best day of her life up to that point – especially when he started texting her later that evening.
Niall: So you, being a life-long New Yorker, should show me around some time.
Niall: Yeah. I’ve been here before, but never really got a chance to see much. Just the basics really.
Niall: I think it would be amazing to see it from a NYC-native’s perspective.
Audrey: Okay. I’m in.
Audrey: Tomorrow. Meet at the diner?
Niall: Does 9 am work?
Audrey: 9 am works. See you then.
There was a buzz that wrapped around her as she anticipated her day with Niall Horan. There were so many different places she would like to take him. So many that they probably needed more than one day together to see them all.
Niall was all smiles when he met her at the diner that morning. The two of them ordered breakfast and ate together at the counter, talking with George all the while. And when they finished, the two of them left the diner together while George watched on with a massive smile like a father sending his daughter on her first date. Well, maybe not like that because she was certain her own father would not have a smile on his face as he sent his youngest daughter on a first date.
“So, I want you to take me to your absolute favorite place in all of New York,” Niall told her as they walked down the sidewalk together.
“My favorite place?” She asked him.
“Yes. The place you love most,” he told her.
The first thing that came to mind was her bedroom, but not in any suggestive way. Her bedroom was her absolute favorite place because it was her safe haven. It was comforting and cozy and decorated exactly to her liking. Besides, there might have been a few One Direction pictures peppered around the room that would definitely raise some red flags if she brought Niall there. Plus, she knew it would be incredibly weird to take him to her bedroom, so she brushed that thought off. She’d have to say the diner was her second favorite spot, so she’d have to take him to her third.
“You have a spot in mind?” Niall asked her.
“I do,” she said with a smile.
The two of them headed for the nearest subway entrance and took the stairs down.
“So I have something to tell you… to confess actually,” Niall told her apprehensively.
“Ohh-kay,” she said, looking at him skeptically.
“I kind… I’m kind of, I don’t know, famous,” he told her.
“Ah,” she said quietly, nodding her head. Now was the time. She had the perfect opportunity to tell him she was a fan.
“I’m in a band,” he told her.
“I know,” she told him as her stomach turned, hoping things weren’t about to get weird between them.
“You know?” He asked with a smile.
“One Direction,” she said evenly.
“Yeah,” he said, giving her a sideways smile.
“Yeah,” she said as the two of them swiped their train tickets and moved out onto the platform to wait for the train.
She didn’t elaborate on how she knew and he didn’t ask. He seemed a bit relieved that he didn’t have to explain and she liked that. She wanted to treat him as normally as possible, because he was. He was just a nice, normal dude, and she really liked that.
After taking the train downtown, Audrey guided them to a large Victorian-Goth building in the heart of Greenwich Village. It was the Jefferson Market Library – a building with a fascinating history going back to the 1800’s.
“Wow,” Niall said, looking up at the massive building.
“The building itself is a wonder to look at. It’s just so beautiful. C’mon, the architecture – it’s just… wonderful,” Audrey told him.
“It’s quite nice,” Niall agreed, smiling over at her.
“It’s beautiful and historic,” she elaborated.
“It is beautiful,” Niall said, looking at her instead of the building.
“I mean, I suppose it isn’t something as amazing as like, an Irish castle or whatever…” Audrey said, pursing her lips at him, causing Niall to let out a laugh.
“Who said anything about Irish castles?” Niall chuckled.
“I don’t know. I just feel like whenever someone from Europe comes over to America they’re completely underwhelmed by our lack of history,” she said, shrugging her shoulders.
“I’m not underwhelmed at all,” Niall told her.
“Fun fact: it used to be the village courthouse and there was a women’s detention center right next to it – where that garden is now,” she said point out a few facts.
“Fun fact, aye?” Niall said, smirking wildly at her.
“I find it fun,” she said with a laugh as she started walking toward the entrance. And Niall quickly followed behind her.
As the two of them made their way inside, Audrey continued the guided tour, making sure to lower her voice because… library, duh.
“I just love… I just love the ambiance. I mean, it’s big and it has the old library smell and there’s just… there’s lots of light. I love coming here to study… obviously when I’m not studying at the diner,” Audrey gushed about the old building.
“Obviously,” Niall said, smiling at her.
“C’mon. I’ll show you my favorite nook,” Audrey told him as he followed her up the large staircase toward the adult reading section.
“This place is massive,” Niall said as he looked around in awe.
“I know. I love it,” she told him excitedly.
Once upstairs, the two of them walked down a large aisle before she stopped to show him her spot – a corner of the library with a couple small desks and two well-worn green arm chairs smack dab in the History section.
“I love history,” Niall told her with a huge smile on his face.
“So do I. I would have majored in it if I could use if for more than becoming a high school History teacher,” she scoffed.
“What are you majoring in?” He asked curiously.
“Communications,” she said with a blush.
“Wow,” he said.
“Yeah. I know, I know. I am the least likely candidate for a communications major. I can barely get two sentences out half the time and I am remarkably shy and awkward,” she laughed, taking a few digs at herself.
“You’re completely mad, you know that?” Niall laughed out loud.
“What?” She laughed.
“You’re none of those things,” he told her.
“Well, you haven’t really gotten to know me all that well then. Don’t you remember how incredibly awkward I was when we first met?” She asked.
“No,” he laughed.
“Oh, shut up,” she laughed.
“You were perfectly fine,” he told her, sending her an odd look.
“Whatever,” she scoffed, shoving his shoulder.
“I’m serious. I’ve met a lot of people and you we’re completely normal, believe me,” he told her sincerely.
“Ha. Well, I’m glad my awkwardness is less noticeable than I thought,” she chuckled.
“So, c’mon. Teach me something about History,” Niall said, plopping down in one of the green armchairs.
“Yeah?” She asked, smiling from ear-to-ear.
“Yeah,” he said, patting the arm of the open chair.
“Okay. American or European?” She asked as she quirked an eyebrow.
“American,” he told her.
“Okay. Uh. Did you know that the legal separation of America from Great Britain actually took place on July 2nd? But it wasn’t until the 4th that the four-father’s signed the Declaration of Independence? So, in all honesty, I’m not sure why we celebrate the signing of the Declaration of Independence instead of the actual date of the independence. Historian have actually said the 2nd was supposed to be the day celebrated, but the American people just went off the date on the Declaration of Independence instead. Which in my opinion makes us as a country look kind of stupid,” Audrey explained and Niall let out a laugh at the end.
They spent the next hour engulfed in historical conversation, Niall chiming in with many, many Irish facts, opposite of Audrey’s extensive knowledge on America.
They got along almost better than Audrey ever thought they would and she was so happy to have found a friend in him that it sometimes kept her up at night with wonder and anticipation for their next adventure together.
New York City – March 22nd, 2016
Audrey didn’t see Niall for three days after she took him to the library. She supposed he was busy and hoped he might be able to find the time to hang out again soon. And then, as if she dreamed him into fruition, the tiny bell on the diner door chimed and Niall Horan was standing there in all his bleached blonde glory, looking carefully around at the patronage in the moderately filled dining room. When his eyes met hers, she felt her stomach turn as excitement flooded her.
His smile was a mile wide when he caught a glimpse of her. His feet immediately took him to her and he sat down across from her at her table.
“Hi,” he said, the smile never leaving his face.
“Hi, how are you?” Audrey asked, with a smile that more than matched his.
“I’m… I’m well,” he told her.
“Good. I’m glad,” Audrey told him.
“How… how are you?” Niall asked.
“Uh, great,” she said as she closed the text book in front of her.
“Did I… I didn’t mean to interrupt your schoolwork,” Niall told her.
“No, no. It’s fine. I’m almost finished anyway,” Audrey told him.
“Okay. So, uh. I have some mates coming into town…” Niall began.
“Okay,” she said, wondering why he felt the need to tell her that.
“And uh, Harry, he’s having a show,” Niall told her.
“Harry Styles?” Audrey said, trying as hard as she could not to squeal out his name. Thee Harry Styles? Be still her heart.
“Yeah. He’s got a solo show. Just a small gig in a couple of days,” Niall told her.
“Oh, that’s cool,” Audrey told him, trying to play it cool.
“I was wondering if maybe you wanted to tag along,” Niall asked her.
“Tag along?” Audrey asked as her heart nearly skipped a beat. Tag along to one of Harry Styles shows? Yes, please.
“Mm-hmm,” Niall confirmed.
“That sounds great, Niall,” Audrey said with a smile.
“Brilliant. I think Louis will be there too,” Niall told her.
“Oh, cool,” Audrey said with a wide smile.
“Well, I uh, I don’t want to keep you from your work,” Niall told her.
“Oh, no…” Audrey started to protest.
“We can uh, meet up somewhere, or I can pick you up here for the show?” Niall offered.
“Whatever you want,” Audrey told him.
She would literally go along with whatever he wanted to get to go to a Harry Styles show. She was so entirely excited and it took all that she had not to let out a screech right in front of him. If it wasn’t already her life, she’d sure as hell be envious of the person living it.
New York City – March 24th, 2016
Audrey wasn’t entirely sure what to expect or what exactly Niall’s intentions were when he invited her with him to a club to see Harry Styles whoop it up on stage. She told him she would go, but the skepticism set in when he told her his mates would be there and he wanted her to meet them. Was it a date? Or were they just friends, like she thought? Audrey and Niall had been meeting up at the 38th Street Diner off and on for over a month now. But he never made a move or even hinted that he was showing any other signs but friendship toward her – which she was okay with.
Oh yeah, and there was this little nagging part of her that secretly wanted to meet the illustrious Harry Styles – even though she knew there was a snowballs chance in hell for anything to develop with that. Harry Styles was what you might call a ladies man. He always had the most beautiful girlfriends, whether they be famous models or pop stars, it didn’t matter. This really was the only time in his life where he wasn’t toting around a gorgeous woman on his arm and that was because he was deep into the One Direction hiatus, working on his solo music. So, like she said – there was a snowballs chance in hell that she would ever have a shot with a man like Harry Styles. But she could always hope, couldn’t she?
Audrey felt silly and out of place standing with Niall side stage at the sold-out club. But the thing she liked about him was that he was the complete opposite of her – he was bubbly and friendly and always had a smile on his face. The same could be said about the man on the stage, shouting out to the crowd between the songs he performed.
He was in rare form, dancing around the stage, laughing with the people up there with him. He looked like he was having an amazing time and Audrey absolutely loved watching him. It wasn’t the first time she’d been in the same place as him, but it was the closest she ever felt to him, especially with Niall Horan standing next to her. It took all she had not to sing to the One Direction songs he performed during his set. And listening to his flawless new music was probably the best thing in the world.
If someone would have told Audrey a month ago that she would become friends with one fifth of One Direction, she would have said they were out of their mind. Being a long-time fan, she had the chance to see One Direction live on every single one of their headlining tours – which was still something she had yet to share with Niall. Too much time had passed since they met and she thought it would be weird if she brought it up now. Besides, she never expected him to ever come back to the diner and she sure as hell didn’t expect them to become friends.
But there she was and there he was and there Harry was.
“Hey, mate,” Audrey heard and looked up, only to be met with the likes of Louis Tomlinson and Eleanor Calder.
Audrey was almost star struck as they stood in front of her. Her eyes were wide with shock and awe, feeling like a complete stalker because she was already privy to intimate details about the infamous relationship that was Elounor.
“Hey! I’m glad you made it,” Niall said, hugging his mate and then Eleanor.
“Hey. I’d like you to meet my friend Audrey,” Niall said, introducing her to them.
“You’re friend Audrey, huh?” Louis said, smiling suggestively as he looked over at her.
“Yeah,” Niall said as Eleanor leaned up to say something to him.
“It’s nice to meet you, Audrey. I’m Louis, Niall’s mate, and this is my girlfriend Eleanor,” Louis said, shaking her hand.
“Hi,” Eleanor said with a wave and a bright smile as she continued to carry on a secret conversation with Niall, that neither Louis nor Audrey could hear over the music.
“So how do you know Niall?” Louis asked Audrey curiously.
“Niall and I met about a month ago in a diner,” Audrey told him.
“In a diner, huh?” Louis asked as his eyes widened in amusement.
“Yeah. I don’t know. We just started talking and we’ve been friends ever since,” Audrey said with a shrug.
“Friends?” Louis asked, smiling at her.
“Friends,” Audrey nodded. Louis smirked and looked over at Niall.
“I swear that’s all it is,” Niall was saying to Eleanor, oblivious to Audrey and Louis’ conversation.
“Alright,” Eleanor said, smiling at him.
“Well, it’s very nice to meet you, Audrey,” Louis said, smiling at her.
“Likewise,” Audrey said, smiling back at him to show him how unphased she was by his implication that there was more going on between her and Niall besides a simple, budding friendship.
The four of them watched from the side of the stage as Harry rile up the crowd over and over again. It was crazy and awesome and it completely made her entire life being backstage with three-fifths of her favorite band. If she was dreaming, she did not want to wake up.
“He’s acting a bit crazy right now, innit he?” Louis laughed, looking over at Niall.
“You know Harry. He’s always got that pent up energy,” Niall chuckled.
“I know. But like, he’s acting crazier than usual,” Louis said, making a face.
“He’s probably drunk,” Niall laughed, which made Audrey giggle.
She thought it was kind of funny that the first time she would meet Harry, that he just so happened to be drunk. She waited a long time for this. But luckily for her, it was almost kind of exciting to see him like that. Ever since she saw drunken pictures of him at his nineteenth birthday party, she always wanted to be in the presence of Drunk Harry and now she would get her chance.
Harry’s set was filled with covers of classic songs and new songs, some One Direction songs, and a few brand new solo Harry Styles songs. It was quite a treat for Audrey as she watched and listened to him. After an hour, Harry ended his performance and bid adieu to the crowd of his loyal fans.
“Hey, you were brilliant up there!” Louis told him, giving him a quick hug as Harry approached.
“Thanks, mate. It was unbelievable,” Harry said with a wide smile.
“It really was great,” Eleanor said, wrapping her arms around him for a short hug.
“Thanks, El,” he told her.
“Congrats, mate,” Niall said, giving Harry a hug as well.
“Yeah, thanks,” Harry said before his eyes fell on Audrey.
It was crazy the sensations that flitted through her entire body as his eyes washed over her. It was Harry Styles after all. She’d never been more than a large crowd away from him. And now, she could reach out and touch him if she wanted to. And she wanted to. She really did. But that would make her the crazy girl and she didn’t want to be that.
“Harry, this is my friend Audrey,” Niall introduced them quickly.
“Audrey,” Harry breathed.
There was something about the way her name sounded rolling off of his tongue. It was heavenly – absolutely divine.
“Audrey, this is my mate Harry,” Niall continued. Harry reached out, taking her hand in his to shake it.
“Nice to meet you, Harry,” Audrey said, trying her hardest to keep her voice from quivering as she said the words.
Her face was burning with blush, but that couldn’t have been helped. When given the chance to meet a man who she’d admired for five years, things as trivial as blushing cheeks didn’t mean a whole lot.
“Likewise,” he said, still shaking her hand lightly as he stared into her eyes.
Audrey wasn’t exactly sure what was happening, but she knew she felt something. What really threw her off was how entranced Harry was with her. He wasn’t backing off. He was just standing there, staring at her, shaking her hand – taking her all in. Audrey’s heart was beating out of her chest, she was so excited. But she didn’t know what to do, so she just stared back, appreciating every single second with him.
“Ohh-kay,” they heard Niall say awkwardly.
Louis and El’s snickering was enough to break Harry out of whatever daze he was in and he dropped Audrey’s hand and looked around at his friends.
“So uh, do you want to get out of here? Get something to eat?” Harry asked his friends casually.
“Yeah, sounds good,” Louis said, smirking at him.
“Audrey, are you in?” Harry asked, his eyes coming back up to her, stunning her with the use of her name once again.
She looked over at Niall who had yet to answer. After all, she was there with him. She couldn’t just go off with his friends without him. Niall gave her a slight nod of his head to say it was cool.
“I’m in,” Audrey told Harry.
“Brilliant. Let’s go,” Harry beamed a smile at her.
An hour later, they were sitting around a table at a small 24 hour diner near the club. They were already finished eating, so they just sat there talking and laughing with each other. Audrey was seated between Harry and Niall – any girl’s dream – while Louis and El sat across from them.
Harry was bouncing in his seat, still going off the adrenaline from his set at the club. It was surprising that he was still so hyped up. He was obviously a little intoxicated, which was amusing in itself. But she had no idea where all that energy came from. Then again, if you knew anything about Harry Styles, you’d know he was an upbeat person in general, especially when it came to performing. Audrey always loved that about him over the years.
“So, what is it you do, Audrey?” Eleanor asked Audrey curiously.
“Oh. Uh. Right now I am a full-time student,” Audrey told her, feeling a slight blush rise up her cheeks.
She was in the company of multi-millionaires and there she was, a poor little college student with an encroaching mountain of student loan debt.
“That’s great. What’s your major?” Louis asked.
“Communications with a minor in business,” she told him.
“Oh, really? What kind of career are you looking for after school?” He asked curiously.
“Oh, I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought much about it. Probably something in public relations. I don’t know,” Audrey said shyly as she pushed around the crumbs on her plate with her fork.
“PR, ugh,” Harry grumbled under his breath. Audrey looked over, sending him an odd look.
“I just want to be able to make a living for myself and my future family,” she said quickly, shrugging off his comment.
“That’s very noble of you,” she heard Harry say.
Audrey looked up at him from the corner of her eye and he gave her a wide grin as he bobbed his eyebrows at her. Every little thing he said or did made her heart beat a little faster, even if it was at times mildly insulting.
“You’ve gotta have a plan, you know,” she said, shrugging her shoulders.
“I’m all set,” Harry said, sending her a smirk.
“Unfortunately some of us don’t have the luxury,” Audrey said, breaking her eyes away from him to look at her plate again.
“And that’s okay. Working for what you get is the most rewarding,” Louis chimed in, sending Harry an odd look too.
“That’s not what I meant. I didn’t mean to sound ungrateful,” Harry said, looking around at his friends before he looked at Audrey.
“I wasn’t being rude. I didn’t mean it to be rude,” Harry told her, looking a bit offended.
“I didn’t take it that way,” she said, looking at him again.
“Good,” he said as he began to bounce his leg once again.
The five of them sat in an awkward silence for a few moments. Audrey wasn’t sure of what to do or say. She already knew so much about these people and that was awkward in itself, carrying that information around. She always thought she’d have so much to say to her idols if she ever met them, but the reality of it was, when she was faced with it, it was hard to get anything out.
Harry Styles was sitting to her left. Harry Styles, the boy who she had legitimately fantasized about on several occasions was sitting right next to her, bouncing his leg so much that every once in a while he’d lose control of it and it would knock against hers. Harry Styles’ anything touching her was like a dream come true. And that fact made everything awkward.
“I’m going to use the loo,” Niall said, standing up from the table.
“Alright,” Louis said, looking at his friend.
“I’ll come with you,” Harry said as he shot up too, heading after Niall to the bathroom.
Louis, El and Audrey were left at the table with each other, which wasn’t too entirely awkward. They seemed so down to earth.
“So… are you from around here, Audrey?” Louis asked curiously.
“I grew up in Midtown Manhattan,” she said with a nod.
“Oh, yeah? We spent a lot of time here over the past couple of years,” Louis said with a happy smile.
“Yeah. Niall told me that,” Audrey said, smiling back at him.
“So you and Niall…” He started to say.
“Are friends,” she reminded him.
“And that’s it?” He asked curiously.
“I swear,” Audrey laughed.
“Alright,” Louis chuckled.
“Leave her alone,” Eleanor laughed, smacking Louis’s arm lightly.
“What? I’m just asking,” Louis laughed, rubbing his arm.
“I already told you I talked to Niall,” Eleanor reminded her boyfriend.
“Yeah. I know,” he chuckled.
“Wait. What did Niall say?” Audrey asked curiously. He was so hard to read sometimes. It would be nice to figure out just a bit of what he was thinking.
“That you were just friends,” Eleanor told her.
“That’s all he said?” Audrey asked.
“Would you have liked him to have said more?” Louis said, smirking suggestively at Audrey.
“Ha. No. I just… I don’t know. I’m curious,” Audrey laughed, shaking her head.
Those two sure were inquisitive. And the fact that they were grilling her about Niall gave her more than a few butterflies, even though he wasn’t the one she truly had eyes for. The way they kept smiling at her made her think they would have liked to see Niall with a girl like her. And that kind of approval was life-changing.
“So, how did you two meet again?” Louis asked curiously.
“Well, there’s this diner I’ve been going to since I was really little. And one day he came to eat there and I don’t know… we just started talking. And he kept coming back and we kind of just became friends,” Audrey told them.
“That’s cool. Niall is a good bloke, a good friend,” Louis said, smiling at Audrey.
“It’s not like we’re best friends or anything. We don’t talk about our deep dark secrets or anything. The conversation stays pretty light. Like, we like to talk about history,” Audrey said with a small smile. Louis let out a boisterous laugh.
“I know, I know. We’re dorks. But that’s what we kind of bonded over,” Audrey said with an all-encompassing blush creeping up her face. She enjoyed being dorky with Niall.
“We talk about other stuff too, I guess. He did tell me a little bit about how he and his girlfriend just broke up. Long distance issues and things like that,” Audrey said with a passive shrug.
“Yeah, it happens,” Louis said with a somber nod.
“Not for you two though, huh?” Audrey said, smiling fondly at them, trying her best to lead the conversation away from herself.
“El usually just travels with me wherever I go,” Louis said, giving his girlfriend a cute little look as El scrunched her nose up at him adoringly.
“That’s nice,” Audrey said, smiling at the two of them just as Niall and Harry came back to the table.
“Hey,” Niall said as he sat down on her left side.
“Hey,” she greeted him as she felt Harry drop down next to her on her right side, the side of his leg resting up against hers.
Audrey’s heart began beating faster and more irregularly at the thought of her and Harry touching again. She didn’t want to be that girl who has a coronary being in his presence, so she took a couple deep breaths to try to calm herself.
“Are you okay?” Audrey heard Niall ask her.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she told him, giving him a small smile.
“Good,” he said, smiling back at her.
“Any of you looking to have some desert?” The waitress asked them as she walked up.
“Oooh,” Audrey heard Harry exclaim and her head immediately turned in his direction with a small smile turning up her lips. He was so endearing.
“Ice cream,” he said, bobbing his eyebrows at her. Audrey giggled slightly at his excitement over something as trivial as ice cream.
“What kind would you like, sugar?” The middle-aged woman asked Harry.
“Vanilla with hot fudge,” he said, smiling at her.
“Anything for anyone else?” She asked, looking between all of them.
“Uh, I think we’re okay,” Niall said, looking at the rest of them.
“Ah, come on. Someone’s got to eat dessert with me,” Harry whined. Audrey smiled to herself over the childish nature his voice took on.
“Audrey, come on. I’ll buy,” he said, elbowing her lightly. Audrey turned her head toward him, letting him see her smile.
“Come on,” he said, giving her puppy dog eyes.
“Fine,” she conceded and couldn’t help but smile at him.
“Ace!” He said triumphantly.
“I’ll have the same as him,” she told the waitress.
“’Atta girl,” Harry said, patting her upper thigh, causing her entire body to tense at the contact.
It only fueled the dirty thoughts in her brain that she really shouldn’t have been having for that man as she sat in such close company to two of his best mates, one being a friend to her. But she couldn’t help herself.
New York City – March 24th, 2016
Harry loved everything about music – everything. He loved the sounds, the feelings, the memories that could be conjured up by listening to it. He loved writing it, singing it, composing it. Music was everything to him. So when he got to play a few solo gigs at a club, he ran with it. He was in New York staying with Niall for the time being as he worked on his solo music. One Direction had just gone on hiatus and all the lads were diligently working on their own stuff.
It was nights like these that Harry loved. He was able to have his time in the spotlight. And he was feeling good. The alcohol flowing through his veins also made him feel good.
He couldn’t believe how blessed he was to be able to make a living doing what he loved. He would never be able to thank the fans enough for letting him continue even after One Direction. He made his music for them and hoped he could continue making them happy for the rest of his career.
He spent his entire set, giving it his all. He channeled all his energy into every song and relished in the crowd screaming the words back at him. It was like a drug he never wanted to be off of.
After his set, he found Niall, Louis and Eleanor backstage. As he walked toward them, Harry saw Niall talking to a very attractive blonde woman. He was quite proud of his mate for chatting up a girl after the bad break-up he just went through not long before, but then he remember how Niall mentioned he was going to bring his new friend Audrey – that he insisted was just a friend – to the club with him.
As they all turned to look at Harry as he walked toward them, his eyes immediately connected with the beautiful blonde pixie – who had to be Audrey. What exactly was the policy on immediately getting the hots for his mate’s only friend in New York? Was it acceptable to act upon it? Or did he need to tread lightly?
“Hey, you were brilliant up there!” Louis said as he hugged him quickly.
“Thanks, mate. It was a unbelievable,” Harry said as he hugged him.
“It really was a great,” Louis’ girlfriend Eleanor said.
“Thanks, El,” Harry said as he hugged her.
“Congrats, mate,” Niall said, hugging him.
“Yeah, thanks,” Harry said, smiling at him.
“Harry, this is my friend Audrey,” Niall said, finally introducing him to the lovely girl.
Harry heard him talk about her all week. Yet, he never talked about her like he fancied her. He only talked about her in the friendly sense. And he never told Harry exactly how beautiful she was.
“Audrey,” Harry breathed, shaking her hand, staring straight into her eyes.
“Audrey, this is my mate Harry,” Niall introduced them, but neither of them gave him any attention. They were too busy falling in love with each other.
“Nice to meet you, Harry,” she breathed. Harry could see the blush creep up her cheeks even through the dim lighting of the club and it made his spine tingle.
“Likewise,” Harry said, still shaking her hand lightly.
“Ohh-kay,” Niall said, eyeing the two of them.
Harry heard Louis and Eleanor snicker lightly, snapping him out of his daze. He dropped Audrey’s hand and looked around at his mates.
“So uh, do you want to get out of here? Get something to eat?” Harry asked them, trying to recover from whatever it was that just happened.
“Yeah, sounds good,” Louis said, looking at his girlfriend as she shook her head.
“Audrey, are you in?” Harry asked, bringing his attention back to her, because why not? Her eyes looked to Niall and then back to Harry.
“I’m in,” she told him with a nod.
“Brilliant! Let’s go,” Harry said, smiling at her.
With Audrey it was instantaneous. There was no other way to explain it. Sure he’d fallen quickly for other girls in the past. But this was different. It felt different. It felt real.
Now all he needed to do was make sure he wasn’t encroaching on Niall’s territory.
Harry tried to watch Niall and Audrey out of the corner of his eye – just to see if there was any kind of touching to hint that things were progressing with them. But as far as he could tell, there was no touching of any kind really. In fact, she was actually sitting closer to him than she was to Niall, which kind of made him wonder if she felt the same connection between the two of them that he felt the second they laid their sights on one another. Or was it just her way of being shy and bashful toward Niall? Did she like him? Did he like her? It was driving Harry crazy not knowing.
“So, what is it you do, Audrey?” Harry heard Eleanor ask her from across the table.
Harry looked up quickly at Louis’ girlfriend and kind of applauded her in his head. Why didn’t he think to ask something like that? He should be asking Audrey those kinds of question. He should be making small talk with her – getting to know her. He wanted to get to know her. Why was it so fucking hard to concentrate?
Harry was really regretting doing those few lines before the show. He really hated himself for feeling like he needed something to get him going. Cocaine was definitely not what he needed. He couldn’t even fucking stop bouncing his leg. He pressed his hand to his knee stilling his leg, realizing he should probably try to listen to Audrey’s answer.
“…full-time student,” he barely caught as he turned his head toward her general direction.
“That’s great. What’s your major?” Louis asked Audrey.
Fuck. He really wished he was asking her these questions. He was a proper idiot.
“Communications with a minor in business,” Audrey replied, smiling at Louis.
“Oh, really? What kind of career are you looking for after school?” Louis asked, giving Audrey a smile.
“Oh, I don’t know. I hadn’t really thought much about it. Probably something in public relations. I don’t know,” she explained.
“PR, ugh,” Harry grumbled.
He hated the entire concept of public relations. They were sharks in blood infested waters when it came to spinning stories to fit a particular narrative. They’d done enough to fuck with all of their lives in the past six years.
“I just want to be able to make a living for myself and my future family,” he heard Audrey say just as he looked up to see her eyebrows furrowed at him. Did he offend her?
“That’s very noble of you,” Harry chimed in, giving her a bob of his eyebrows when she looked over at him. He wanted her to know he wasn’t judging her.
“You gotta have a plan, you know,” she said, giving him a small smile.
“I’m all set,” Harry told her, smiling back.
His life plans were set in stone the second they made their first million. When the millions kept rolling in, he knew his future wife, his kids and possibly their kids would be set for quite a while.
“Unfortunately, some of us don’t have the luxury,” Audrey said, giving him an uneasy look, like she was embarrassed or something.
Harry froze, trying to realize what just happened. Did she take what he said offensively? Like he thought he was better than her because he didn’t have to find a traditional job like she would? He didn’t mean that at all. He was on a roll, wasn’t he? By the rate he was going she was more than likely going to tell him to fuck off by the end of the night. A sense of dread washed over him as Louis addressed the issue.
“And that’s okay. Working for what you get is the most rewarding,” Louis told her.
“That’s not what I meant. I didn’t mean to sound ungrateful,” Harry said, staring at Louis before he quickly looked over at Audrey to make sure she knew he wasn’t trying to be a pompous asshole by saying that.
“I wasn’t being rude. I didn’t mean it to be rude,” Harry told her, quickly trying to redeem himself.
She looked over at him with her big wide, beautiful eyes staring straight into his.
“I didn’t take it that way,” she said, her voice sounding sweet and beautiful and airy.
“Good,” Harry told her, feeling relieved, but also feeling incredibly attracted to this girl – even more so than before.
It wasn’t every day that he got a chance to hang out with a girl that was so down to earth, a girl that wasn’t concerned with them being from One Direction. They were just regular blokes to her. That was proven by her friendship with Niall.
“I’m going to go to the loo,” Niall told the group.
Harry almost didn’t hear him, because his thoughts were so loud inside of his head, but he’d been itching to get him alone all night to ask him about Audrey.
“I’ll come with you,” Harry said, jumping up out of the booth, immediately following Niall toward the toilet.
“Alright,” Niall said, giving him an odd look.
When they got into the bathroom, Niall gave Harry another odd look.
“You alright, mate?” He asked carefully.
“Yeah. What? What do you mean?” Harry asked, knitting his eyebrows in confusion.
“You seem… jumpy,” Niall said, watching him from the corner of his eye as they stepped up to the urinals.
Harry waved it off, knowing it was just one of the many side effects of the cocaine. But Niall didn’t need to know that.
“Nah, mate. I’m just buzzin’ about the gig still,” Harry said, turning away from him quickly as he finished up.
A moment later, he turned to the sink and started washing his hands to have something to do rather than being under Niall’s scrutiny. But once Niall began washing his hands too, his skeptical gaze was back on him through the mirror.
“So, uh… Audrey…” Harry started, wanting to get down to business.
“What about her?” Niall asked nonchalantly.
“You two… are you…” Harry started.
“Just friends,” Niall said as grabbed for a couple paper towels to dry his hands. Harry couldn’t help but notice that Niall looked a bit annoyed by the question.
“Just friends?” Harry asked, quirking his eyebrow as his heart began beating a bit faster – if that were possible.
“I don’t know why I can’t just have a friend who’s a girl,” Niall said evenly.
“I mean, you can. But like, I don’t know, you haven’t really had a girl-friend before,” Harry said with a shrug.
“I am capable of having platonic feelings,” he said, looking at Harry like he was a complete idiot.
“I never said you weren’t. She’s just… she’s cute,” Harry said, shrugging again, trying to act blasé about the whole conversation, like he wasn’t aching for the new girl who Niall called a friend.
“Seriously, mate. We’re just friends. I don’t think that’s going to change. Besides, me and Celine just broke up,” Niall told him.
“Alright. I get it,” Harry said with a nod.
That was good news. Good news indeed.
As Harry and Niall were leaving the toilet, Harry could have done a fucking dance, he was so excited. Audrey was fair game.
Please let me know what you think of the story. I want to try to update regularly, but I lose all motivation when I don't get any feedback. Thanks!
Chapter 3: [Three]
New York City – April 17th, 2016
Harry had been spending more time in New York than usual – ever since he met the lovely and beautiful Audrey. And it wasn’t lost on him that she began spending more and more time at Niall’s flat with the two of them, which was definitely a plus for him. It gave him time to charm her. But even if he couldn’t, he still enjoyed her company immensely. She was so smart and witty, and he loved how bashful she could be and how sweet she really was.
Even on days like these when she was weighted down with her laptop and books, doing copious amounts of schoolwork, it was still a great day for Harry. And the fact that she came over at his suggestion, made him feel a bit special. The two of them sat together in the music room, Harry working on mixing a song and Audrey typing away on her computer. It was quiet and peaceful and comfortable. He imagined it might be a good way to spend the rest of his life – with a girl like Audrey.
When he got frustrated enough with the song he was working on, he pulled off his head phones and quietly swiveled in his chair, adoring the girl sitting on the couch across from him. She was so intriguing and genuine and oh so lovely. He watched as she bit at her bottom lip unaware of his eyes on her. Her glasses were slipping down the bridge of her nose, her messy ponytail was high on her head and the way her over-sized t-shirt slipped down over one of her shoulders was just so sexy.
“Come out with me tonight,” Harry said as the thought popped into his head.
He hadn’t really thought about asking her out so soon, since he was still testing the waters, seeing if she liked him or not. And he was still treading lightly because of Niall. But his mouth spoke before his brain could catch up, and he honestly wasn’t sorry he did because her expression was priceless. She looked up at him almost in shock as her mouth dropped open in an ‘O’.
“Go out with you?” She asked, eyeing him skeptically over the top of her laptop.
“Yeah. You know, to a club or something,” Harry suggested off the top of his head, concluding with a nonchalant shrug.
He didn’t really care where they went as long as he could be with her. He would have gladly stayed in with her all night, but figured it might be fun to take her out.
“Honestly, I don’t really go to clubs,” she told him with a sympathetic look.
“Aw, come on. It’ll be fun,” he promised. She sent him a look of displeasure and he let out a laugh.
“Well, do you like to have a good time?” Harry questioned, quirking an eyebrow at her.
“I think everyone likes to have a good time, Harry,” she contended, lightly scoffing with a roll of her eyes.
“Come on. I’ll make it fun,” he insisted.
“It’s a Tuesday, Harry. I have class in the morning,” she told him as she slipped her glass up to the top of her head.
“But, I leave for France soon. Don’t you want to hang out with me?” Harry whined, sending her a look of utter distress. He’d be filming Dunkirk soon and he had no idea when he’d have a chance to see her again in the upcoming weeks.
Harry watched a bashful smirk form on her face as she eyed him. He could tell she was contemplating it.
“Come on. For me,” he added, really trying to tip the scales in his favor.
“Fine. But not too late,” she said, finally giving in.
“Define ‘not too late’,” he said, smirking wildly at her.
By nightfall, Harry had Audrey out on the dance floor with him at a night club called NV. She wore the sexiest dress he’d ever seen on her and it was enough to truly awaken his libido. She was an absolute knock-out. And as a plus, once she started drinking, she got more vocal and livened up a lot, which Harry loved it. She was fun and carefree and a bit wild. It was like he was seeing a whole new side of the perfectly poised girl he usually saw. And he definitely enjoyed it a little bit too much.
New York City – April 17th, 2016
It wasn’t like Audrey at all to be out at a club. And it certainly wasn’t like her to actually be enjoying herself at one. But she was positive it had everything to do with the man she was with, a man she was dancing exceptionally close with.
She could feel his hand on her lower back, inching lower and lower as the two of them danced with each other. She had never been so close to him in all her life. It was as if they were one – just one solid entity of hormones and sweat and sexual tension.
Audrey rarely drank, so she had the tolerance of a fly when it came to the alcohol Harry kept plying her with. But she kept drinking them. And before she knew it, everything was swaying and distorting and it wasn’t because of her dancing or the intoxicating man in her arms. She was drunk. And maybe that was his plan all along.
As the two slipped off the dance floor after dancing with each other for nearly five songs in a row, Audrey walked straight to the bar to order a tall glass of water. She was completely out of breath as perspiration wrapped around her entire body. It wasn’t like she wanted to stop dancing with Harry, but it almost became a necessity to step away to take a breath. He was suffocating in the most pleasurable of ways – his scent, his presence, his aura. He was like an enigma, absolutely mystifying. And she wanted to keep pulling back the layers to see who he was deep down, to really have a chance to get to know the real Harry.
“Well, Mr. Styles…” Audrey giggled as she swayed on her feet, grasping onto his forearms to steady herself.
“Yes, Miss Brighton,” he said with a lopsided grin. She loved that he remembered her last name. She only remembered telling him once.
“You have officially gotten me drunk,” she said matter-of-factly, slightly slurring her words.
“Oh! Well, now. I don’t think that is entirely my fault though,” he laughed, looking at her brightly. She could swear she saw a twinkle in his eye.
“Oh, no?” She questioned with a sly smirk.
“No. I think you secretly wanted to come out with me and you wanted to drink with me and you wanted to have a good time, despite the little nagging voice in your head to be the good girl,” he told her with a playful smirk.
“The good girl?” Audrey laughed out loud.
“Yes, Audrey. You are a good girl,” he told her with a nod.
“Psssh. As if you know me,” she scoffed out a laugh.
“Well, you’re certainly not a bad girl,” he countered, cocking his eyebrow at her.
With his words and the way he was looking at her, she took it as a challenge of sorts. If he wanted to corrupt her, she was sure as hell going to let him.
“Hmm,” she hummed, moving closer to him so they were almost touching.
“Define ‘bad girl’,” she breathed suggestively in his ear.
Harry’s eyes went wide as a devious smirk played across his lips. Their eyes connected and there was a moment of contemplation, of hesitation before Harry’s hand snaked up around her, pulling her as close as close could get. Audrey’s breathing hitched as his stare penetrated her. The anticipation was killing her. And as if in slow motion, Harry leaned in pressing his lips hard against hers. It took a few moments for Audrey to realize what was happening – that Harry fulfilled a deep, long-standing desire within her when he kissed her, that he just opened all the feelings she bottled up since the moment she met him.
It wasn’t long until they were stumbling into Niall’s apartment with each other. Everything that happened with Harry at the club was still fresh in her brain. She wanted him. She wanted him bad. And she could see the desire swirling through his eyes as well. When Harry pulled her toward the bedroom he’d been occupying since he arrived in New York, Audrey knew what was going to happen. And she wanted it, even needed it to happen.
But when she woke up in the morning and realized what they did, her anxiety nearly ate her alive as panic swelled up inside of her. She slept with Harry Styles – world-traveling, musical genius, ladies man Harry Styles. She was just another notch on his bed-post. Another girl to add to his long list of conquests.
Fleeing the apartment before Harry even woke up was cowardly, but she wasn’t sure she could handle herself in his presence. She didn’t know what to say and she couldn’t bear to see the regret in his eyes once he realized what they did.
Audrey avoided Niall’s apartment altogether until she knew Harry had left for France to start filming for the movie Dunkirk. She had a glimmer of a chance with the boy she always loved and with one stupid, drunken night she was certain she threw it all away.
New York City – April 25th, 2016
“Where have you been?” Niall asked Audrey when he found her sitting at her usual table at the 38th Street Diner.
He tried to find her there for nearly a week, to no avail. And she wasn’t answering his texts. He was getting worried.
She looked almost panicked to see him walking toward her and he knew why. Harry. He only heard his mate’s half of the story about what happened between the two of them, so he was curious to hear Audrey’s. What did Harry do to fuck things up with her?
“I’ve been… around,” she answered quietly.
That was a lie. She hadn’t been around. And she knew he knew she was completely bullshitting.
“You’ve been around? Oh, really?” Niall asked sarcastically, giving her a look of absurdity.
“Well… I’ve been busy,” she huffed, avoiding eye-contact at all costs. Seriously, what did Harry do to fuck things up with her… besides sleeping with her, of course?
“Too busy to even answer the phone? I probably called you a million times this week,” he huffed right back.
“I’m sorry,” she said quietly, admitting defeat.
“I mean, you weren’t even here. I was really getting worried,” he kept on, his eyes never leaving her, even when hers looked away.
“I’m sorry, Niall,” Audrey apologized, looking up into his eyes tentatively.
Niall paused momentarily to really give her a good look; her bright blue eyes worried, her expression timid. He hated that she felt that way around him. He hated that Harry was messing things up in their friendship.
“Apology accepted,” he conceded. He didn’t want to alienate her more than Harry already did.
“Thank you,” she breathed, looking down at her schoolwork in front of her.
“Niall! What can I get yous?” George asked as he came up to them at the table.
“Hey, George. I’ll take a—” Niall started.
“Lemme guess. A coke?” George asked, cutting him off.
“You got it,” Niall said, smiling widely at the plump Italian man smiling back at him.
“You good on your water, Audrey?” George asked, focusing on her now.
“Yes. Thank you, Georgie,” she said, smiling pleasantly at him.
“Be right back,” he told Niall, clicking his pen at him.
“Thanks,” Niall said as his vision went back to Audrey.
She hesitantly looked up to meet his eye before looking back down immediately. She was doing a good job of trying to avoid him by keeping her nose in her book, doing her homework, but he wouldn’t allow it.
“You’re acting strange,” Niall pointed out.
“What? No, I’m not,” she scoffed lightly. She was. She definitely was.
“You are, Audrey,” he stated matter-of-factly, calling her out.
“No,” she insisted, shaking her head.
“Is this about Harry?” Niall asked, deciding to draw attention to the elephant in the room.
“What?” Audrey choked out, looking straight at him with almost horrified eyes.
“Harry told me,” Niall said quietly, getting it all out on the table. Her expression was aghast as she looked up at him.
“Oh my god,” Audrey breathed, bringing her hand up to cover her face as her cheeks almost caught on fire from the blush that rose in them.
“I’m just confused,” Niall interjected, staring at her, despite the fact that she was avoiding his gaze.
“What did he tell you?” She asked, peeking around her hand to look at him.
“Everything,” Niall confessed.
Harry was worried in the days leading up to his departure to France and confessed what they did after their drunken night at the club. Niall also got an earful of details of their night together that he did not ask for, which was more than a bit distressing. In the end, he was obviously disappointed in Harry because of the fact that he seemed to ruin everything Niall built with Audrey in one stupid night. It was infuriating.
“Everything?” She questioned, looking almost nauseated.
“Everything,” Niall repeated in quiet confirmation.
“What is ‘everything’?” She asked quickly.
“Do you want me to say it out loud?” He blurted, looking around the dining room to see just how many prying minds there were in their vicinity.
“Oh my god. Why would he tell you?” She whined, looking truly mortified.
“Well, it wasn’t like he, you know, was telling the whole world. He only told me right before he left, after you’d been missing for days,” Niall explained.
“Oh my god,” Audrey breathed, her hand covering her face again.
“Why are you avoiding him? What did he do?” Niall asked curiously.
All Audrey could do was give him a dead-face stare. He could tell she didn’t want to have this conversation with him, but he was determined to get to the bottom of it.
“What?” Niall chuckled.
“Is that a trick question?” She asked seriously.
“No. Why would it be a trick question?” He questioned, looking at her oddly.
“Niall… oh my god,” Audrey sighed.
“Audrey. He was pretty hurt, you know,” Niall explained, causing Audrey to groan inwardly.
“But he’s… he’s Harry Styles,” she stammered. Confusion spread through him from her statement.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Niall asked, furrowing his brow at her.
“He freaking Harry Styles. Mr. Popular. Mr. Rich & Famous…” Audrey explained, looking more than a little uncomfortable.
“He may be Harry Styles, but he’s still just Harry. Just because he’s famous doesn’t mean he doesn’t have feelings. Honestly, the thing you need to learn about him is he’s actually pretty shy deep down. He likes to put up a good front,” Niall explained, trying to smooth out any hard feelings.
“Gahh. I just… I freaked out, okay. It wasn’t… we weren’t… it just wasn’t supposed to happen, okay,” she stammered, looking like she was about to go into hysterics.
“But it did happen. And you can’t just run away from it,” Niall told her.
He wasn’t quite sure why he seemed to be playing as Harry’s wingman after he so rudely swooped in and slept with Audrey without even having a proper conversation about it with him first. Harry didn’t deserve his help in the least.
“I’m sorry,” she said quietly, looking almost embarrassed.
“Look, I didn’t come here to squawk at ya. I actually came here to hang out and to see if you were still alive,” Niall said, smirking slyly at her.
“I’m alive,” she said quietly.
“Audrey, I can tell you feel bad. Just… just don’t avoid him, I guess,” Niall offered finally. She nodded, but still looked unbelievably skeptical about the whole thing.
“Is that how you see me too?” He asked her, trying not to take offense in the fact that she couldn’t see beyond their celebrity status.
“You know I don’t,” she told him, looking incredibly sincere.
“Okay. So why is it different for Harry then?” He asked curiously.
“I don’t know. Maybe because the first time I met him he was performing onstage. I met you under normal circumstances,” she explained, shrugging her shoulders.
“Well, I’m glad we met when we did then,” he said, sending her a wide smile.
“Me too,” she said, beaming a smile back at him.
Nord, France – April 25th, 2016
A week passed since things went down with Audrey in New York. A week passed and she was still all Harry could think about. Images and memories of what happened that night kept coming back to him over the course of the week – in the most inopportune times. He’d be in the middle of a scene on set or standing in a queue getting coffee and a flash of Audrey’s naked body would throw him off completely. Or the thought of their heavy breathing, or his lips grazing her heated skin, or the pleasure that raced through his body while they were together would entrance him and he’d be lost. It was rather vexing when he’d finally snap back to reality and some random person would be staring at him, trying to get his coffee order or needing him to be mentally present while filming. It was like he was losing touch with reality. And it was really starting to get to him.
Harry had so many feelings over the whole situation. He couldn’t even wrap his brain around it. He and Audrey had a genuinely good time with each other that night at the club. That much he knew. She was enjoying his company and he was enjoying hers. But then they kissed and it escalated enough for them to take it home. And somehow it turned into a one night stand, where she ended up running away in the morning and avoiding not only him, but Niall too, for the rest of the week. It was enough to thoroughly bruise his ego.
“So, I talked to Audrey today,” Niall told Harry over the phone that night.
“What? You finally got in touch with her?” Harry asked curiously, sitting up a little straighter on the couch in his hotel room. It was good news. It had to be good news.
“Yeah. I went to the diner and she was actually there,” Niall told him.
“What did she say?” Harry asked, sounding a little too excited.
He knew he should probably rein himself in, but after a week of not knowing what the hell was going on, the possibility of getting some sort of insight was much too appealing.
“I told her you were upset that she just disappeared,” Niall told him.
Harry’s stomach twisted violently, hoping Niall didn’t portray him as some poor little puppy off licking his wounds because of her. It was a low blow, but it wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle.
“Ohh-kay,” Harry said, wanting a little more elaboration.
“She felt bad about it. She looked pretty upset when we were talking,” Niall told him.
“What did she say?” Harry asked, hoping he could get a little more out of him.
“I don’t know. That she was sorry. And that she freaked out and that’s why she left, I guess,” Niall explained.
“She freaked out?” Harry asked quietly. His stomach and self-esteem plummeted. Why did she freak out?
“I think you two should talk about it. I just don’t want there to be any hard feelings or animosity between any of us,” Niall told him, sounding more than a little bit annoyed.
“If she’ll talk to me,” Harry said quietly.
“I think she will,” Niall told him, sounding confident in the matter.
“Alright,” Harry breathed.
“I don’t know why you had to have sex with her in the first place, mate. Aren’t there plenty of girls lining up for that? Why her? Why my friend?” Niall asked, suddenly becoming defensive.
“Whoa. I asked you, mate. I asked if you had feelings for her,” Harry said, defending himself right back.
“I don’t have feelings for her… like that. And when you asked me, you most definitely didn’t make it clear that you were gunning for her. I thought you were just giving me the third degree like Louis and Eleanor,” Niall told him.
“Are you angry?” Harry asked boldly.
“No, I’m not angry. I’m just annoyed that you’ve alienated her from me,” Niall snapped.
“Look, I’m sorry, okay. I didn’t mean… I really didn’t want to… look, I like her, Niall. I think I really like her,” Harry confessed to him.
Niall was silent on the other end. Harry had to pull his phone away from his ear to see that the call was still connected.
“Are you there?” Harry questioned.
“I’m here,” he heard him say.
“Does it bother you?” Harry asked hesitantly.
“The only thing that bothers me is that things are awkward. And you made them that way, so you need to fix it,” Niall told him firmly.
“I’ll be back state-side soon. I promise I’ll talk to her, okay. Just… I might need a little help getting her in the same room as me,” Harry told him.
Once he got her in front of him, he had of 50/50 chance of things going his way. It was the prospect of things going unfavorably that had him worried.
New York City – May 1st, 2016
“Audrey,” she heard and her whole body tensed at the sound of the voice – the deep, sultry voice of Harry Styles.
She looked up into the eyes of the man who hadn’t left her mind in weeks.
“Harry,” she breathed quietly.
“Hi,” he said, smiling weakly at her.
“Wha-what are you doing here?” She asked, looking around the small diner that was her and Niall’s spot – not Harry’s. Harry had never been there before.
“I mean, how… how did you know where I was?” She stammered, her brain already answering the question for her as she spoke it.
“Niall told me where I could find you. I hope you don’t mind,” he explained.
“No, no. That’s fine,” she said, feeling incredibly flustered.
“I think we should talk,” Harry said, looking straight in her eyes, showing no hesitation or uncertainty.
“Yeah,” she nodded, dropping her eyes from his.
“Can I sit?” He asked carefully.
“Sure. Yeah,” she told him.
Audrey waited as he took the seat across from hers – the seat Niall usually occupied when they were together at the diner.
“Listen. I’m just going to come right out and say it, okay,” Harry said, boggling her with his words of intrigue. She knit her eyebrows together as she looked into his eyes.
“I like you, Audrey. And… and I don’t regret what happened, okay,” he said, shrugging his shoulders.
Her mouth dropped open slightly as she stared at him in disbelief. This wasn’t really happening was it? Because if it was, then she literally needed to hope and pray that the constricting in her chest wasn’t due to some sort of heart failure.
“You—” She choked out.
“I like you,” he said again.
“Oh,” she breathed through the daze she was in.
“Oh?” Harry asked, his eyebrows heightening.
“Uh…” She stammered as her brain stalled inconveniently.
“Jesus, Audrey,” Harry scoffed lightly, breaking his vision away from her. She was upsetting him. That much she could be sure of.
“I’m sorry,” she breathed, apologizing for her lapse in the conversation.
“You’re sorry? For what? Are you… are you trying to let me down easy? Because I can take it, okay,” Harry said, his voice filled with annoyance.
“Harry, no. No,” Audrey said quickly, shaking her head. She couldn’t believe this was happening.
“Then what, Audrey?” He asked impatiently.
“You don’t understand,” she said quietly.
“I don’t understand what?” He asked. She was digging herself deeper and deeper with every moment that passed without explanation.
Audrey’s eyes looked up into his narrowed green ones, hoping her words would come out right.
“I’ve liked you, okay. I’ve liked you for a long time,” she said, shaking her head, feeling like a complete idiot.
“Yeah?” He asked, a bashful smile turning up his lips.
“A long time… like, years,” she confessed.
“What are you talking about? We only—” He cut himself off and Audrey looked up in time to see his eyes grow wide.
“You…” He breathed, looking like he was coming to some sort of realization about her.
“I’m sorry,” she said quietly.
“Niall said you… that you didn’t. You weren’t a… fan,” Harry stammered.
“Well, I was. I am. I just… I… I don’t know. I didn’t want to… fuck,” she breathed, unable to complete a full sentence let alone a thought in her head.
“You didn’t want to what?” He asked, his voice coming out sharp.
“God,” Audrey grumbled to herself, hating how uncomfortable the whole confession was.
“You’ve just been lying to us?” He asked impatiently.
“No. No, I haven’t,” she said as she shook her head.
“You weren’t honest,” he scoffed.
“And what does it even matter?” Audrey asked, letting her voice raise slightly, feeling the annoyance building up inside of her.
“It matters, Audrey,” Harry shot back.
“Why? I’m still the same person, Harry. Niall and I still met under the same circumstances. You and I still met under the same circumstances,” Audrey argued.
“If Niall knew, I’m sure we wouldn’t be sitting here talking about this right now,” Harry scoffed unforgivingly.
His words cut through her. They were hurtful and mean, whether he meant them to be or not. Audrey felt the stinging of tears in her eyes.
“Well, I guess then we wouldn’t have made the mistake we made then,” she shot back at him, immediately wishing she could take the words back.
“You’re right,” he seethed, meeting his angry eyes with hers for a few moments before he stood up abruptly.
Audrey watched him turn and walk toward the door without another word. He didn’t even bother to look back and she knew she messed up by not telling them. But once it all started, she wanted to do everything in her power to keep it all running smoothly. So she kept it to herself. And a part of her was certain she would do it all over again if she was given the chance to go back.
New York City – May 1st, 2016
“Niall!” Harry called out, once he got back to the flat.
“In here!” He heard him call from the make-shift recording studio he put together in one of the bedrooms.
Harry stomped toward the room, feeling the ball of anxiety building in his chest.
“Did you know?” Harry asked him as soon as he turned the corner into the room.
“Did I know what?” He asked, pulling the headphones off of his ear, letting them rest on his neck.
“About Audrey,” Harry scoffed.
“What about her?” Niall asked, looking baffled.
“That she’s a fan,” Harry scoffed even louder.
“What?” Niall asked, making a confused face.
“Yeah. She’s a fan… of us. Of One Direction. All along,” Harry told him.
“Nah-uh,” Niall said, smiling as he shook his head, turning back toward the soundboard in front of him.
“I’m not kidding, Niall. She’s been a fan all this time. She was always a fan. When you met her, she knew who you were, mate,” Harry said, moving toward the couch and plopped himself down onto it.
“No,” Niall said, turning his chair toward Harry, looking at him in disbelief.
“I swear to god, mate. She just told me. She’s been lying to us all along,” Harry said, throwing his feet up onto the coffee table and crossed his arms tightly over her chest.
“You just talked to her?” Niall asked, quirking an eyebrow.
“Yeah, mate. I just fucking talked to her,” Harry said impatiently.
“Why… I mean, what… what were you talking about?” He asked curiously.
“I told her I liked her,” Harry said, shaking his head.
“And she told you she was a fan?” Niall asked, looking at him confused.
“She told me she has liked me for a long time. And then that’s when I put two-and-two together,” Harry explained.
“You put two-and-two together? Did she actually say she was a fan?” Niall asked skeptically.
“Niall, she is a fucking fan!” Harry yelled at him, letting his annoyance come out with his words.
“Ohh-kay,” Niall said quietly, backing off slightly.
“I can’t believe she lied to us,” Harry scoffed.
Niall sat there silently, contemplating for a little while, just staring at the floor. Harry was waiting for him to get as annoyed as he was and show some sort of emotion over the betrayal they both were subjected to.
“You don’t have anything to say?” Harry asked after a few minutes of his silence.
“I just… I don’t know. She’s still Audrey,” Niall said, shrugging lightly. Harry’s eyebrows knit together as he looked at him in disbelief.
“She’s still Audrey?” Harry scoffed.
“Yeah. I mean, she might have been a fan, but over the last couple of months she’s really been a friend to me, Harry. I just… how can I be upset with her when I probably wouldn’t have thought twice of ever going back to the diner if I knew she was a fan?” Niall explained.
“It doesn’t bother you at all?” Harry asked, wanting to know Niall was on his side just a little bit.
Ever since they were put in the band, privacy was a big issue for them because of their fame. And to know someone just weaseled their way into their private lives didn’t exactly sit right with Harry.
“She’s still Audrey,” Niall said again.
“Well, it bothers me,” Harry said, pulling his feet off of the coffee table as he sat forward.
“You’re just angry because you slept with her,” Niall said with a mischievous smirk at Harry.
“This isn’t funny,” Harry glared at him.
Niall’s doorbell rang seconds later, causing both of their heads to snap toward the doorway of the room.
“I’ll get it,” Niall said, pulling himself off of the chair.
He disappeared out of the room and Harry pulled himself up off of the couch, walking toward the hallway. He could hear Audrey talking to Niall from the foyer.
“Niall, I’m sorry. I just… I just didn’t… I didn’t know how to—” Audrey stammered.
“It’s okay, Audrey,” he heard Niall say, forgiving her instantly.
“I just saw you that day… I saw you and I was so… I was happy. And… and I… I wanted to talk to you, introduce myself and it just… we started talking and… and I’m sorry. I should have told you. I’m sorry,” she said, sounding incredibly distressed.
Harry’s heart softened in almost an instant after hearing her honest, heartfelt apology to Niall.
“It’s okay, Audrey. Really. I was just talking to Harry—” Niall started.
“Harry’s here?” She asked quickly, sounding almost scared.
“He is,” Niall said.
“I’m sorry,” she breathed.
“When he told me, I realized you’re still the same person I met in that diner,” he told her.
“I am,” she said.
“And nothing’s going to change, is it?” He asked.
“Nothing’s going to change,” she assured him.
“Well, alright then,” Niall chuckled.
“I never… I was always me, Niall. I never pretend to be someone I wasn’t,” Audrey told him.
“I believe you,” he said finally.
Harry quietly stepped into view of the two of them. Audrey’s eyes met his immediately, looking slightly panicked. Niall turned to see him too.
“I think you two need to talk,” Niall told them.
“Yeah,” Harry breathed, moving toward the two of them.
Niall backed away from Audrey and went back to the back bedroom, leaving them alone.
“Harry, I’m sorry. I really am,” Audrey said as soon as Niall disappeared.
“It’s just really hard for me to trust people, Audrey. I don’t take it lightly when people lie to me,” Harry told her.
“I didn’t mean to. I didn’t want to. I just… I didn’t know how to… to say it,” she said, scrunching her face up, looking pained.
“So, why did you run away?” Harry asked her.
“I-I didn’t. You did,” she said, looking at him confused.
“Not today. I meant the last time I was here,” Harry told her.
“Oh,” she said, looking down at the floor.
“If you liked me so much, then why did you run?” He questioned.
“Because I liked you so much. I just… I… I couldn’t face you. I didn’t… I didn’t want to see the regret in your eyes. I didn’t want you to give me some stupid excuse to let me down easily. I ran because I couldn’t face you in the morning,” she said, unable to pry her eyes away from the floor.
Harry took a step toward her, watching as her eyes darted up toward his again.
“I wish you hadn’t,” he said, taking another step toward her.
He was close enough to hear her sudden intake of breath as a result of his words and his closeness.
“Because you wouldn’t have seen regret in my eyes,” he told her sincerely.
“Harry…” She breathed, looking uncomfortable.
“I like you, Audrey,” he told her again.
“But…” She started.
“No, buts,” he said, shaking his head lightly as his hands found her waist, pulling her slowly toward him.
Her eyes stared into his the whole time and he was sure if he was looking hard enough, he probably could have seen her heartbeat jumping against her chest.
“I like you, Audrey,” he breathed against her lips.
“I like you, Harry,” she whispered back.
“So, as long as you continue to be you—” He started to say.
“This is me, Harry,” Audrey assured him.
“Good. So, stay you and we shouldn’t have a problem,” he said, smiling as he looked down to see her lips pull up into a smile.
Harry pushed forward, kissing her lips, sealing their feelings for one another.
New York City – May 4th, 2016
Audrey was sitting at the counter in the 38th Street Diner, her books sprawled out across it as she tried to study for the stupid test for her Sociology class. A couple of days passed since her little secret came out – that she was a fan of One Direction. It was also a few days since Harry confessed to liking her and kissed her in the entryway of Niall’s apartment.
She hadn’t seen either of them since. Harry was still in New York, but she knew he and Niall were both busy writing and recording for their upcoming solo albums – which, let’s face it, were going to be epic. Audrey was still kind of feeling alienated due to her little confession, so she didn’t want to be the one to make the first move – even if it was Harry who kissed her in the end. She still felt like a hindrance on them and she wasn’t entirely sure why.
“Chocolate cake, Audrey?” George asked her as he brought a piece over to her on a small plate.
“Georgie, no,” she whined playfully.
“On the house,” he said, smiling at her.
“George, are you trying to fatten me up?” She asked, smirking at him.
“You need a little meat on them bones,” he told her sincerely with a shrug of his shoulders.
“Chocolate cake is not going to give me meat. It’s going to give me a coronary,” she told him with a laugh.
“Eat it,” he told her in the playful demanding tone he had.
Audrey sighed, watching as he set it down on the counter in front of her. There was no arguing with him, ever. He always won.
“I bet Niall or that other fella wouldn’t mind seeing a little meat on your bones, either,” George told her.
With just the mentioning of them, Audrey’s cheeks blushed and a small smile crept up her lips.
“I told you that boy was sweet on you,” George said, smiling back at her.
“Niall? No,” Audrey said, shaking her head.
“Then that boy you ran outta here the other day?” He asked curiously.
“I did not run him out of here,” she scoffed.
“He ran,” George pointed out, causing Audrey to sigh.
“Whatever,” she said, rolling her eyes.
“You playin’ games with them, Audrey?” George asked, arching his eyebrow at her.
“I don’t play games, George. I am offended that you would even come to that conclusion,” she told him.
“Don’t even. You’re a woman. You all play games,” he said, wagging his finger at her.
“George!” Audrey laughed.
“Sad but true,” he said, looking at her knowingly. She scoffed as he walked off chuckling.
Audrey threw her hood up over her head and slunk down in the seat, really trying to focus on the study material that was in front of her. But all she could seem to think about was Harry and Niall… and of course, what George just said.
“I do not play games,” she mumbled to herself as she mindlessly read the same line over and over again.
She didn’t know how long she sat there unable to focus or concentrate. She was just staring at the pages of her book, seeing words, but not being able to comprehend them. She knew she should have been straight with them from the beginning. No, she should have never gotten herself involved with them in the first place. But, who was she kidding? She would have never been able to stay away – just like she couldn’t keep her mind off them now. It was impossible.
“Ahem,” Audrey heard George clear his throat loudly, causing her to nearly fall off her stool because he startled her so badly.
“Jesus, George!” She said, gripping at her chest.
“Do you talk to your mother with that mouth?” He scolded her.
“Sorry,” she said sheepishly.
“Are yous two fighting?” George asked, quirking an eyebrow.
“What? Who?” She asked, watching as George nodded his head back toward the dining room.
Audrey quickly turned around to see Niall Horan sitting at her usual table dipping a tea bag in and out of a mug.
“No. I don’t think so,” she said, turning back toward George as her cheeks blushed wildly.
Was he mad at her after all? Did he think it over and decide she wasn’t worth being friends with in the end? Every insecurity she had over the situation came to the forefront and she was doubting everything.
“Go talk to him then. Maybe he didn’t see you,” George pressed.
“I don’t want to bother him,” she said, waving it off.
“Audrey, he’s sitting at your table. Go talk to him,” George pressed even harder.
“Fine. But I’m not taking this chocolate cake with me,” she told him.
“I’ll box it up for you and you can take it to go,” he said, smiling widely at her.
“You would,” she said, giving him a playful glare as she closed her text book and shoved it in her bag.
“I will,” he chuckled, grabbing the small plate off of the counter as she turned to head toward Niall.
Niall must have been lost in his own head because he didn’t see her coming until she was standing right in front of him.
“Audrey!” He said, looking surprised to see her.
“Hi,” she said quietly.
“I, uh… here, sit down,” he said, standing up like a gentleman to offer her the seat across from him.
“Alright,” she said, sitting down, setting her bag on the floor at her feet. Niall sat back down and smiled at her.
“You’re at my table,” she pointed out.
“Yeah, uh… I was hoping I’d run into you,” he told her.
“You were?” She asked, looking at him skeptically.
“Yeah. I haven’t seen you, you know, for a couple of days,” he told her.
“I’ve… I’ve been busy. School and stuff,” she said, letting her eyes wander away from his.
“I understand. I’ve, uh… I’ve been writing a lot,” he told her.
“Cool,” she said quietly.
“Listen, I just… I don’t want things to be weird,” Niall offered.
“It’s not,” she told him.
“I can tell it is,” he said, quirking an eyebrow at her.
“What do you mean?” She asked, finally looking into his eyes again.
“I mean, you and Harry… you’re like… I don’t know. You like each other, right? I don’t want things to change between us. I want us to still be friends, Audrey,” Niall told her.
Bless his heart for not bringing up the other elephant in the room – that she was a fan.
“No, no. I mean, I have no idea where Harry and I stand, but you and I… things could never be weird, okay. You’re Niall and I’m Audrey and we’re friends. I don’t want things to change at all,” she told him.
“Good,” he said.
“Good,” she reiterated.
“So, have you eaten?” Niall asked.
“George is trying to shove a piece of chocolate cake down my throat, but other than that, no,” she said, smirking at him.
“Him and his chocolate cake,” Niall chuckled.
“I don’t know what it is. I should tell him I’ve developed an allergy to it or something,” she laughed.
“He’d never believe you. Besides, he’d just slip you a piece of apple pie or a cannoli,” Niall laughed.
“There is no doubt in my mind that he would,” Audrey laughed with him.
She enjoyed where they were with one another. She was glad they were still friends and that he could look past her little white lie. She really appreciated him and respected him as a person for that. And she was certain after all of this, Niall Horan would be a friend for life no matter where she stood with Harry or how big of a fan she was all along. He was most definitely one of the greatest souls she ever had the pleasure of knowing.
Obviously, I couldn't ever see Harry react like this in real life to someone being a fan. He's much to pure-hearted. But like, whatevs. It's fanfiction. Drama, drama, drama. :D
Chapter 5: [Five]
New York City – May 4th, 2016
“I’m glad we’re hanging out again,” Niall said, smiling over at Audrey.
After he showed up at the diner to make sure things weren’t weird between the two of them, they sat and talked for a while at their usual table. It felt good to not have any weirdness between them. It felt like they were back to normal.
“So, since you’re like… a fan…” Niall prodded, looking up at her through his long eyelashes with a mischievous smirk on his face.
He couldn’t help but notice Audrey’s cheeks immediately pink with blush from his words. It made him smile.
“I was wondering if maybe… I don’t know… you could come over and listen to some of the stuff I’ve been working on for my album,” Niall said with a shrug.
“What?” Audrey choked out, her mouth dropping open.
“I figured you’d be the best judge since you’ve been around… I mean, how long have you actually been a fan of One Direction? I guess I never asked,” Niall questioned.
“Uh, since 2011,” she told him as she bit at her lip, looking incredibly bashful.
“Wow. So nearly the entire time,” he said, heightening his eyebrows in shock.
“Yeah,” she said quietly.
“Did you ever see us live?” He asked, really wanting to get it all out on the table.
“Mm-hmm,” she confessed and he let out a laugh.
“How many times?” He questioned, knowing she wasn’t going volunteer any information by herself. Audrey looked up at him almost guiltily.
“A lot?” He asked, smirking at her.
“I pretty much saw you guys on every single tour,” she confessed.
“Shut up. You did not,” he said, feeling more than a little shocked.
“Yeah, I did,” she admitted, nodding her head.
“Really? I didn’t know you were that big of a fan,” Niall laughed. Audrey looked more than a little uneasy.
“Relax. It’s cool. At least I know you actually like us,” Niall said with a little laugh.
“I do,” she answered with a nod.
“Good. So yeah, do you want to hear some of my music then?” He asked again.
“You know I do,” she said as another smile turned up her lips.
“Cool,” Niall said, smirking at her.
“Cool,” she said, trying to stifle her smile.
“Do you want to go now?” He asked, pointing back toward the door.
“Sure. Yeah,” Audrey said, watching him get up from the table.
Niall walked up to the front counter and started talking with George, letting him know he’d be paying for his and Audrey’s tab.
“She’s a good girl, ain’t she?” George asked him.
“Audrey? Oh, yeah. She amazing,” Niall said with a smile as he pulled out his wallet to pay the tab.
“You and that other fella… you looking out for her?” George asked as Niall handed him a twenty dollar bill.
“Yeah. Me and Harry have her back,” Niall assured him, letting out a chuckle.
“Good. Cause Audrey is like family around here. I don’t want nothin’ bad happening to her,” George explained.
“I wouldn’t dream of it, George,” Niall said with a wide smile.
“You tell that other fella too,” George insisted and Niall let out another laugh.
He knew Harry had a higher chance of hurting her than he did – not that he believed he would. But Niall also knew he would probably be right there with George, taking out some kneecaps if that were to happen.
“Yeah. I’ll tell Harry,” Niall said as George tried to hand back his change.
“You keep it,” Niall said with a smile.
“Thank you,” George said with a nod and pocketed the money in his apron.
“Have a good day,” Niall told him, and George gave him a quick nod.
As soon as Audrey gathered up her belongings, Niall was already headed back toward her to leave the diner.
“I need to pay my bill,” she told Niall as he put his hand on the small of her back to lead her out.
“It’s already taken care of,” Niall replied.
“But, Niall…” Audrey protested, turning back to see George give her a wink.
“It’s no big deal, Aud,” Niall said as they made their way out the door.
“You don’t always have to pay,” she told him.
“I want to,” he said with a shrug.
“I have money, you know,” she retorted.
“I never said you didn’t,” he chuckled as they walked down the sidewalk in the direction of his flat.
“Do you want anything to drink? I have… water,” Niall offered once they got back to his flat, opening his refrigerator to look inside.
“I’m okay,” Audrey laughed as she walked toward him, leaning against his kitchen countertop.
“So, uh… want to listen… to the music?” Niall asked awkwardly, causing Audrey to laugh out loud.
“Yes, Niall. I would love to listen to the music,” she told him with a wide smile.
The two of them walked to the back bedroom he transformed into a small recording studio. He learned a long time ago how to record and produce music, and he was fully taking advantage of it now.
“So… I mean, it’s just rough right now, but… I don’t know,” he said, sitting down in his chair as he logged onto his computer.
“I am sure it’s perfect, Niall,” Audrey told him as she sat down on the couch opposite of him.
“I wouldn’t go that far…” He chuckled, realizing her opinion might be a bit biased.
“Okay, here’s a rough cut,” he said, looking back at her before he pressed play.
As she listened, he watched as her face transformed from casual to surprised to excited to almost baffled as she listened to the track, which was tentatively named On the Loose. And as it was nearing the end, he watched her drop her face into her hands and he couldn’t help but laugh. It was a good sign, right?
“What did you think?” Niall asked after the song finished. Audrey shook her head with her hands still over her face.
“Audrey?” Niall chuckled nervously.
“I can’t…” She said through her hands, her voice muffled.
“You can’t, what?” He asked, knitting his eyebrows together.
“God, Niall,” she exclaimed as she pulled her hands away from her face, looking over at him. He gave her an awkward smile, feeling incredibly confused.
“You have literally exceeded my expectations,” she gushed, immediately causing him to chuckle at her enthusiasm.
“I just… I cannot deal with you and your flawlessness,” she told him and he chuckled even more, shaking his head at her.
“If the rest of the record is anything like that, you’re golden,” she told him. Was that a rave review? His first as a solo artist.
“Thanks,” he said and he could feel a slight blush creep up his cheeks.
New York City – May 4th, 2016
Audrey couldn’t actually believe Niall was letting her listen to his new music. It was like a dream come true. She never thought in a million years that her life would turn into such a day-dream. But there she was, sitting on Niall’s couch listening to a beautiful written, produced and performed masterpiece by her very talented best friend.
What she heard was like perfection in musical form. But, she might have been a little biased. She really hadn’t expected anything less from him. And when she felt the overwhelming feelings of pride start to choke her up, she pulled her hands up to her face to hide her emotions.
“She’ll dance in the dark. A real work of art. Her eyes could burn down the room. So get out while you can. You don’t understand. She doesn’t know how to lose. Yeah, she loves when everybody’s watching. She knows the way her body moves. She loves the way they all crawl back when she says that she loves nobody else but you. She’s on the loose…”
“What did you think?” Niall asked after the song finished.
Audrey shook her head with her hands still over her face. His voice and his ability to create such amazing music was so overwhelming. She honestly couldn’t help the tears.
“Audrey?” Niall chuckled nervously.
“I can’t…” She said through her hands.
“You can’t, what?” He asked.
“God, Niall,” she exclaimed as she pulled her hands away from her face, looking over at him. He gave her an awkward smile, looking confused.
“You have literally exceeded my expectations,” she told him. He immediately chuckled at her enthusiasm.
“I just… I cannot deal with you and your flawlessness,” she told him. He chuckled even more, shaking his head at her.
“If the rest of the record is anything like that, you’re golden,” she told him.
“Thanks,” he said as she saw a hint of a blush creep up his cheeks.
A second later, Audrey’s vision cut to the doorway, watching as Harry casually walked in texting on his phone.
“Hey,” he said without even looking up.
“Hey,” Niall said, turning back toward the computer.
“Hi,” Audrey said quietly, feeling the ache for him in the pit of her stomach.
Harry looked up quickly, startled to see her sitting on the couch, like he hadn’t noticed her in the first place.
“Audrey, hey,” he cooed, smiling widely at her.
“Hi, Harry,” she greeted, smiling back at him bashfully.
“What’s going on?” He asked, looking between the two of them.
“I just had Audrey listen to the song I’ve been working on,” Niall told Harry.
“Oh. Did you like it?” Harry asked her.
“Of course I liked it,” she told him honestly.
“She cried,” Niall told him with a sideways smirk.
“Niall!” Audrey laughed.
“What? You cried. I saw you,” he laughed.
“I thought we were friends, dude. Why would just put my business out there like that?” Audrey joked.
“My bad,” he shrugged, looking at her over his shoulder.
Harry chuckled, looking between the two of them. When Niall went back to messing around on the computer, Harry tucked his phone in his pocket and sat down next to Audrey on the couch.
“How’ve you been?” He asked in a hushed voice.
“Good. How are you?” Audrey asked, feeling the butterflies flapping around in her stomach for him, because of him.
“Good. I, uh… I tried to call you,” he told her.
“Yeah. I know. I’m sorry,” she said, feeling bad that she ignored his calls. She’d been so entirely busy with school and she couldn’t just walk out of class to take a phone call.
“Can we, uh… you want to go somewhere so we can talk?” Harry asked her.
Audrey nervously looked over at Niall, who was already busy with mixing some music on the computer. She felt bad, because she came there with Niall. But on the other hand, she really wanted to go talk to Harry.
“Uh, sure,” she told him.
“Come on,” he said, quickly getting up off the couch, grabbing her hand to help her up.
“We’ll be right back,” Harry told Niall as they moved toward the doorway of the room.
“Sure,” Niall said, not even bothering with looking in their direction.
Audrey followed Harry to the room he occupied when staying with Niall and watched as he closed the door behind them. As soon as her eyes focused on the bed, visions of when they slept together came floating back to her brain. Oh, good lord.
“Come here,” he said, grabbing her hand as he led her to the bed. The two of them sat down on the edge of it and Audrey felt awkward and extremely turned on all at the same time.
Almost as soon as they sat down, Harry’s lips were pressed against hers and everything inside of her was screaming for him. Her hand came up to touch his face as his fingers weaved into her hair. She didn’t think he knew what kind of effect he had on her, because if he did he would know that blindsiding her like that could very well kill her. But in the same instance, his kisses are what revived her.
After a few moments, Harry slowed down the kiss, leaving a few perfect pecks on her lips before he pulled back.
“Sorry… I just… I’ve been wanting to do that for a while. I couldn’t resist,” he said, smirking bashfully at her.
“It’s okay,” she said, smiling back at him, feeling the sweet burning on her lips from his stubble.
“Can I be perfectly honest with you?” He asked, quirking an eyebrow at her.
“Please,” she said with a nod, feeling something close to elation to be the one girl in the world that Harry’s eyes were fixated on.
“The first time I saw you…” He said, looking deeply into her eyes. An intense stare that could ultimately tear her apart.
“…I just knew I had to have you,” he told her.
Oh, god. He was determined to kill her. Audrey swallowed hard, trying to process his words, trying hard not to throw up because of them.
“You are so beautiful, Audrey. And you’re so smart and you’re so funny. I just… it was instant for me. And I…” He trailed off, letting out a laugh, dropping his vision down to his hands as she stayed silent, slowly dying inside.
“I just remember thinking how I hoped Niall didn’t have a claim on you,” he said, looking back up into her eyes with a sideways grin on his face.
“We’re just friends,” Audrey choked out, feeling like she needed to clarify it again for some reason.
“I know,” he said, letting out a little chuckle.
She didn’t know what to do or what to say. There was so much that could have been said on her part, but she couldn’t find the words. Her mind was mush.
“I guess what I am really just trying to say is…” Harry continued, licking his lips as she focused on his mouth – his amazing mouth. Mm.
“I’m kind of wondering if maybe you’d want to, I don’t know… go out with me,” he said with a shrug, trying to act casual, but she could see his bashfulness shining through.
Audrey’s eyebrows heightened with his words. Did he just… did he… he just…
“Like… on a date?” She choked out.
“Well, yeah… and you know… to be… you know… exclusive with each other,” he said with a shrug.
Holy fucking hell. Was Harry Styles asking her to be his girlfriend?
“You want to be exclusive?” Audrey asked, her eyebrows heightening in shock and awe.
“Yeah. I mean, I like you and you like me. I mean… you know. It makes sense,” he said. Audrey took a shaky breath in, trying to feed her brain oxygen, before letting it out smoothly.
“Well, with logic like that…” She said, smirking at him and he smiled back.
“Exclusive sounds… I don’t know… perfect,” Audrey said, smiling widely at him.
Harry’s smile was bigger than she’d ever seen it in her life and her whole entire being thrived on it. If she could eat, breathe, and sleep that boy, she would.
“God, Audrey,” he sighed, leaning in to connect their lips again.
In an instant, Harry was able to make her whole entire world explode in the best way possible.
Chapter 6: [Six]
New York City – May 11th, 2016
“Is there anything I can get you? We have… uh, water,” Harry asked, smirking over at Audrey as he stood in front of the opened refrigerator.
“You guys seriously need to do some grocery shopping,” Audrey giggled, remembering when she and Niall were in the same spot a week before.
“We do,” Harry laughed as he shut the fridge before walking over to her by the counter.
“Is Niall home?” She asked curiously.
“Who knows?” Harry said with a shrug.
“Ah,” she nodded.
“I mean, do you want him to be home?” Harry asked, his eyebrows furrowing.
“No. I was just wondering. We don’t need Niall crashing our first date, now do we?” Audrey said, smiling at him.
“No. No, we don’t,” Harry said as his lips curled up into a smile.
They just got back from dinner – a very nice dinner Harry took her to, which was absolutely amazing. She was definitely not used to that kind of luxury – the kind that Harry could afford. But honestly, she didn’t need things like that to impress her. Harry already did that all on his own. What he didn’t know was she was already hooked. He could have brought her to McDonald’s and she would have had the time of her life because she was with him.
“So, what do you want to do now?” Audrey asked him, quirking an eyebrow.
“I don’t know. We can talk some more. I like getting to know you better,” he said, smiling at her as he took her hand in his.
“I like getting to know the real you,” Audrey said, smiling at him as he led her out of the kitchen toward the living room.
“Not what your PR would have me believe,” Audrey added in, to poke fun at his distaste of the bands public relations team.
Harry let out a snicker as they sat down on the long sectional couch together, his hand still in hers. Just as naturally as she and Niall were able to become friends, so did she and Harry. And just a short week before, Harry asked her out – and not just on a date. He had asked her for exclusivity – for her to be his girlfriend.
It was still surreal. How could the one boy on the planet she set her sights on so long ago, all of a sudden come crashing into her life wanting to be with her too? All she knew for sure was if this was all a dream, she didn’t want to wake up.
“I really like you, Audrey,” Harry breathed, his eyes focused on their intertwined fingers.
“You do?” She asked quietly, watching as his eyes finally met with hers.
“I do. I wish there was a way I could make you believe it,” he said sincerely.
“I-I do believe it. I just… it’s just going to take some getting used to,” she told him truthfully.
“I know I haven’t had the time you have to develop my feelings, but I feel them, Audrey. They came fast and they hit me hard. I just want you to know…” He said, trailing off.
“My feelings for you didn’t develop,” Audrey said, smirking bashfully at him.
“What do you mean?” He asked, furrowing his brow in question.
“It was like a speeding freight train that smashed into me. The first time we kissed, it was like an addiction that could never be satisfied unless it was you satisfying it. And whatever, it’s stupid because I admired you from afar for so long and this is probably just ridiculous. I mean, you’re absolutely crazy for falling for someone like me, you know,” she told him with a bashful smile.
“Yeah,” he chuckled, caressing his hand across her cheek.
“But… I mean, we’re here,” she said with a passive shrug.
“We’re here,” he said, cupping her cheek with his hand.
There was a brief moment where their eyes did all the talking, just staring into one another’s. And then he leaned in, leaving the perfect kiss on her lips and she wondered what she did right in her life to get someone as wonderful as him. Why did she deserve this man?
When Harry pulled back from the kiss, Audrey wasn’t ready to let him go, so she snaked her hand behind his neck and pulled his lips back to hers. Their lips moved fluidly, adapting wonderfully to each other. Harry’s body moved forward against Audrey’s, dominating her with his entire being. His hand slipped down to her thigh, pulling it up against his hip. It wasn’t long before she could feel his arousal against her and it made her ache for him. But within a split second, Harry pulled himself away and Audrey was left looking up at him wondering why.
“This… this isn’t why I asked you back here. I-I wasn’t… I mean, I’m not…” He stammered, looking flustered as she ran his fingers through his wild hair.
“Harry…” Audrey breathed, biting at her bottom lip, trying to hold back a smile.
“I want you to know that… that this isn’t just physical, Audrey,” he told her, the look on his face was so serious.
“Harry, I know. I know. Believe me,” she said, sitting up to be able to look him in the eye.
“I just don’t want you to think that’s all I am out for,” he told her sincerely, shaking his head lightly.
“I don’t think that, okay. I don’t,” she told him and he nodded his head.
“But, Harry,” she said and waited until he turned his head back to look her in the eye.
“I mean, I’m not going to think any less of you for wanting to,” she told him and he nodded again.
“Because I want to too,” she continued. His face lightened almost immediately, letting a smirk form on his lips.
“I mean, we’ve done it before,” she reminded him, smirking bashfully.
“We have,” he breathed.
“And now we’re… I’m your girlfriend, Harry. You’re my boyfriend. We’re together,” she explained.
“Yeah,” he agreed.
“Come on,” she said, grabbing his hand in her as she got up off the couch. Audrey pulled Harry flush against her body, kissing him again.
“There’s no harm in doing things that boyfriends and girlfriends do,” she told him, finding a bravery she never knew she possessed.
“No harm,” he agreed, smiling as he leaned in to kiss her again.
Audrey let Harry lead her to his room with the dark walls and comfortable bed – the bed she spent the night with him in on only one other occasion several weeks before. The bed that brought her to a whole other level with this wonderful man. And she wanted that over and over again. She wanted him – all of him. And she was pretty sure he was willing to give it, as she was ready to give herself right back.
New York City – May 21st, 2016
“Do it, Audrey,” Niall said, looking at her through the mirror.
“Are you sure, Niall?” She asked, giving him a somber look.
“I’m sure. Just do it,” he said again.
“Okay, Nike. But don’t blame me when you hate the end result,” she scoffed playfully at him.
“I’m not going to blame you. And I’m not going to hate it. Just do it already,” he urged her.
“That’s what she said,” Audrey said under her breath as she grabbed a pair of sheers in her hand to cut his hair. Niall rolled his eyes and shook his head at her over-used sexual joke.
“Sit still,” Audrey shrieked, gripping onto his scalp with her fingers to still him.
She was nervous enough as it was. She had the horrifying task of cutting off Niall Horan’s famous bleached blonde hair, which would in-turn bring it back to his natural brown since the blonde was so over-grown. Girls all over the world were going to mourn those beautiful blonde locks, including her.
“You should have a professional do this…” Audrey said, cringing as she ran his hair through her fingers before holding it in place.
“On with it already,” Niall told her with a laugh.
“Here goes nothing,” Audrey said, closing her eyes as she brought the sheers up to his hair.
“Audrey!” Niall snapped and her eyes shot open to find his in the mirror.
“Keep your eyes open,” he chuckled, looking at her like she was crazy.
“Oh, Jesus,” she said, positioning her fingers in his hair again.
“Are you sure about this?” She asked again, biting her lip.
“Do it, Audrey!” Niall pressed and she knew he meant business.
“Fine! Ahhhhh,” she cried out as she cut a strip of his perfect blonde hair off his head, watching as it hit the marble floor.
“Oh man, oh man, oh man,” Audrey huffed as she cut more and more.
“Do you have to make sound effects every time?” Niall chuckled, looking at her through the mirror.
“This is traumatic, Niall!” She yelped, looking at him incredulously.
“It’s just hair, Audrey,” he laughed.
“But… but, it’s your hair. Your blonde hair is famous, you know,” she protested.
“Sell it on e-bay then,” he joked.
“I’d be rich,” she scoffed as she cut more and more.
“I am going to have nightmares about this,” she mumbled under her breath.
“It’ll be fine,” he assured her.
“Girls are going to flip out,” she said, shaking her head as she continued to sculpt his hair, hoping she was doing it correctly. She took a few cosmetology classes in college before she realized it wasn’t for her. Which was why she knew this was a bad idea.
“In a good way?” He asked, smirking at her through the mirror.
“Mostly in a weeping, crying way,” Audrey told him and he just laughed.
“Are you giving me a faux-hawk?” Niall quirked his eyebrow at her as she continued to cut the sides before even touching the top.
“What of it?” She said, smirking back at him.
“I don’t think a faux-hawk is my kind of hairstyle, Aud,” he chuckled.
“You should always try things at least once,” she claimed, smiling after she finished sculpting his perfect blonde ‘hawk.
“Here,” she said, pulling her phone out of her pocket. He turned his head toward her and sent her a glare.
“Smile,” she said, holding up the phone in front of him to snap a picture. He didn’t even crack a hint of a smile. He just looked at her expressionless.
“Girls like personality, Horan,” she said, smirking at him.
“My personality is fine and I don’t need a girl,” he told her matter-of-factly.
“God. Does music seriously make you that happy?” She asked, looking at him through the mirror.
“Yes, it does,” he said seriously and she let out a laugh.
“What about companionship? What about kissing and cuddling and… and sex?” She questioned, feeling her cheeks flush from her words. Niall’s eyebrow quirked and his lips pursed as he looked at her through the mirror.
“Oh, don’t look at me like that,” she laughed as she felt her cheeks heat up with blush.
“My sex life is fine,” he told her with a suggestive quirk of his eyebrow.
“Hmm,” she hummed, focusing back on his hair as she tried not to think about Niall’s sex life.
“How are you and Harry doing?” He asked as he cleared his throat, changing the subject from his love life to hers.
“Oh, um. We’re… we’re good,” she said, nodding her head.
“And the sex?” Niall asked. Audrey’s wide eyes shot up to his in the mirror and she saw the mischievous smirk on his lips.
“Hey, you asked me about my sex life, friend,” he said sarcastically. Audrey laughed out loud at his little semblance of a joke.
“Oh, you know. We’re banging like rabbits. Just, you know, every night… for hours and hours. Until we pretty much pass out from exhaustion,” she joked, causing Niall to laugh out loud.
“Sounds… painful,” he said, making as disgusted face.
“Oh, it’s all pleasure, Horan. Nothing but pure pleasure,” she said suggestively.
“Whoa,” they heard Harry’s voice and Audrey’s eyes snapped up to him in the mirror. He was standing in the doorway of Niall’s bathroom looking at the two of them.
“What the hell is going on in here?” Harry asked with a sideways smirk.
“Oh, you know. I’m just defiling Niall. The usual,” Audrey joked, talking about Niall’s haircut.
“And taking about ‘pleasure’?” Harry asked, looking at her oddly.
“We were just talking about how you two bang like… what was it? Rabbits?” Niall chuckled, sending Audrey a playfully smirk.
“What?” Harry asked, entirely confused, yet he kept his smile on his face.
“Niall’s joking. He’s totally joking,” Audrey said, smacking Niall on the arm.
“You two are quite odd,” Harry said, looking at them curiously.
“Audrey is odd,” Niall scoffed playfully.
“Niall Horan! You are the oddest person on the planet,” she giggled, shoving his shoulder.
“Ohh-kay,” Harry said awkwardly. Audrey looked up at him and realized they were making him feel uncomfortable with their inside jokes and such.
“You just missed it, Harry. Niall had a faux-hawk,” Audrey said, trying to include him.
“Oh, cool,” Harry said, smirking at her.
“It wasn’t that cool,” Niall said, rolling his eyes.
“You’re lame,” Audrey scoffed at Niall.
“Are you almost done?” Niall asked with an impatient, yet playful huff.
“You can’t rush perfection, Niall!” She warned him.
“So, I’m gonna… I’ll be in my room,” Harry said to them.
“Okay,” Audrey said quietly as she watched him walk out of the bathroom.
She quietly set down the sheers and picked up the small set of clippers to put the finishing touches on Niall’s haircut.
“You got really quiet all of a sudden,” Niall pointed out.
“I think it makes Harry uncomfortable to see me and you… I don’t know,” she said with a shrug.
“To see me and you, what? We’re just friends,” Niall said, furrowing his eyebrows.
“Yeah, but… I don’t know. We’re close. Like I think I know you better than I know him,” she told him.
“But he’s your boyfriend,” Niall said obviously.
“Well, yeah, I know. But still. I know you better,” she told him as she concentrated on his sideburn.
“Maybe if you didn’t bang like rabbits all the time…” Niall said under his breath with a smirk on his lips.
“Shut up,” she giggled lightly, pushing his shoulder again and he laughed out loud.
“There. All done. Now you’re just some tool with brown hair,” Audrey joked as she smirked at him through the mirror.
“I resent that,” he said dryly, giving her his best unamused look.
“You’re still cute, Nialler,” she proclaimed, smiling as she pinched his cheek.
“Get off me and go get to know your boyfriend,” he laughed, swatting her hand away.
“Let me help you clean this up,” she told him in all seriousness.
“I’ve got it, Audrey,” he told her.
“Are you sure?” She asked, hesitating slightly.
“Get outta here,” he said, waving her off.
“Alright,” she said, setting the clippers down on the countertop before she moved toward the door.
“Hey, Niall,” she said, stopping just before she walked out.
“Yeah?” He questioned, looking up at her.
“Make sure you bag that hair up nicely. I wanna get top dollar for it on e-bay,” she quipped, smirking wildly at him.
“I hope you’re joking,” he said, eyeing her skeptically.
Audrey laughed out loud as she rounded the corner out of bathroom before going to find Harry.
“Hi,” she said quietly, standing in the open doorway of the spare bedroom Harry called home while he was in New York.
“Hey,” he said, smiling widely, standing up from the edge of the bed where he was sitting. Audrey took a step toward him and he took two toward her.
“Close the door,” Harry breathed.
Audrey smiled and did what she was told. She and Harry were still getting to know each other. It wasn’t all sex, sex, sex like she joked about with Niall. But there certainly was an aspect of it in their relationship. They both enjoyed all the time they got with one another.
“So, you told Niall we’ve been banging like rabbits?” Harry asked, smirking against her lips before he left a light kiss on them.
“Oh my god,” Audrey sighed, an embarrassed smile plastered on her face.
“Since when do you talk to him about our sex life?” Harry asked, keeping the teasing smirk on his face.
“I swear, I never meant it to come up,” she said, holding her hand over her face to hide her embarrassment.
“How did it come up?” He asked curiously.
“I don’t know. We were talking about girls weeping over his hair. And he said something like he doesn’t need a girl. And I asked him if he missed the kissing and the cuddling and the sex. I mean, I just blurted it out like an idiot. Like, who in their right mind asks one of the dudes of One Direction about their sex life?” she explained, tacking on the last bit as a joke.
“Yeah, because none of us fuck like rabbits,” Harry said in a playful, sarcastic tone.
“Right. So, yeah. Then, like… he brought up our sex life as a joke. And I jokingly said we bang like rabbits. So… yeah,” she explained, feeling all the blood pool in her cheeks as the embarrassment nearly killed her.
“You two have a really odd relationship,” Harry laughed out loud.
“We really do,” she laughed, nodding her head in agreement.
“Either way, I like coming home to find you’re already here when I’ve been thinking about you all day,” he said, smiling down at her as he slid his hands smoothly up and down her arms.
Audrey bit her lip trying to stifle her ridiculous smile, looking at him bashfully. It was probably one of the sweetest things anyone had ever said to her. Harry was always full of beautiful words and he made her heart swell every time he spoke them to her.
His lips pressed against hers in a sweet kiss and she could feel herself melting into him.
“Now that you’re finished scalping Niall, do you think you have a little time to spend with your beau?” He asked, smirking against her lips.
“I think I could check my schedule,” she quipped, smiled back as she left a light kiss on his mouth.
“Fit me in, please,” he said with a whine as he tugged her body closer to his.
She loved being in his arms, with his hands exploring the curves of her body while his tongue explored the slope of her mouth. He was her dream come true. She was nothing more than just an idealist before he came along. And the fact that he chose her, the fact that he wanted her still continued to blow her mind on a daily basis. She was his and he was hers. And all was well.
Audrey lay in Harry’s arms, their naked bodies pressed tightly together. There was something so satisfying about making love in the middle of the day. Could she really call it making love? They hadn’t declared such things to each other. Yet, yes. She would call it making love. Everything with Harry was just so lovely.
“Have you ever heard of fanfiction?” Audrey asked him out of the blue. He laughed out loud at her question.
“What?” She asked with a smile as she looked up at him.
“Yes. I’ve heard of fanfiction. Why?” He asked, smirking wildly at her.
“I don’t know. Sometimes I just feel like I’m living in one,” she sighed, resting her head back against his chest.
“Why because you were a fan?” He asked, still chuckling lightly.
“I am a fan,” she told him matter-of-factly.
“My biggest fan?” He questioned happily.
“Of course. I am devoted to you,” she breathed.
“Devoted, huh?” He asked, craning his neck to see her face.
“I am,” she told him honestly.
“Hey,” he said, curling his fingers under her chin to meet their vision.
“Hmm,” she hummed.
“I’m devoted to you too,” he told her in all seriousness.
She gave him a soft smile just before his lips pressed against hers again.
“This is real life,” he reassured her.
“I’m glad,” she breathed, snuggling against him once again.
He made her so happy. It was hard not to walk around with butterflies in her stomach when she was with him… or even when she thought of him. And even though they’d only been seeing each other for a short time, she knew they were meant to be. She never really believed in fate until Harry came into her life. But honestly, there was no other explanation for it. It was kismet. He was her destiny.
Chapter 7: [Seven]
New York City – May 25th, 2016
“’Harry Styles, the youngest member of the group One Direction, was spotted around New York with a petite blonde mystery girl. The two were seen canoodling—’ Canoodling? Really? Couldn’t they have picked a better word than that?” Audrey scoffed as she sat with her laptop in front of her on Niall’s sofa, reading a snippet from a gossip website.
“Why are you even reading that rubbish?” Harry asked as he sat at Niall’s computer desk with his headphones half on, working on some music.
“Because it’s about me,” Audrey said, looking up at him over the top of her computer screen.
“If I read everything written about me, I’d be a very unhappy, bored man,” Harry said, rolling his eyes as he looked back at the screen in front of him again.
“You’d be entertained, believe me,” she said matter-of-factly.
“What do you mean?” Harry asked, looking back at her amused.
“Your life entertains me. Why wouldn’t it entertain you?” She said, smirking mischievously at him.
“Well, let’s see. For starters, half the shit printed on the internet is lies and gossip,” Harry told her. She gasped playfully, dropping her mouth open and knitting her eyebrows together, like she didn’t even know the concept he referred to.
“That website you devote your life to – tumblr, that’s just a bunch of you girls gossiping and ogling over your celebrity crushes,” Harry chuckled, shaking his head lightly.
“Although that is one hundred percent the truth, I resent that, Mr. Styles,” she said, wagging her finger at him.
“What do you resent about it?” He asked, cocking his eyebrow at her.
“The only thing I am devoted to is you,” she cooed, smirking back at him.
“Yet you didn’t try to negate the rest of what I said,” he argued, smiling smugly at her.
“Well, that’s because it’s the truth. Look, I just reblogged a photoset of us canoodling on the streets of NYC,” she said, showing him the screen of her laptop, completely pleased with herself.
“You are ridiculous,” Harry chuckled, shaking his head at his lunatic of a girlfriend.
“I’m going to be completely honest with you… the amount of pictures I’ve reblogged of you is frightening,” she told him and all he could do was laugh.
It was definitely out of the norm for Harry to date someone like Audrey – a fan. But nothing could have stopped him, not even that little fun fact. From the moment he met her, he knew he had to have her, so he embraced it. She had her little quirks, like most people do, but it only made him like her more.
“So do you like, go around bragging to all your tumblr followers that you’re dating me?” He asked her curiously.
“God, no,” she said dramatically.
“Well, Jesus,” Harry chuckled, looking at her oddly, wondering what her reasoning for that was.
“First of all, no one would believe me. And second, if they did believe me, my blog would blow up. I wouldn’t be left alone. I would have to delete it. And my god, I did not spend the last four years of my life perfecting this masterpiece for it to have to get deleted,” she explained as she smirked at him. He could do nothing but chuckle at her insanity.
“That sounds… climatic,” he told her.
“It would be,” she said, pursing her lips together.
Harry pulled the headphones off of his head and walked toward her.
“I can think of something else that could be considered climatic,” he said, smirking suggestively at her.
“Oh, yeah?” Audrey asked, smirking back at him as she closed the top of her lap top and set it on the coffee table just as Harry was dropping down to kiss her.
“Yeah,” he breathed against her perfect, pink, pouty lips.
“Tell me about it,” she breathed seductively as Harry pushed forward, causing her to lie back on the couch.
His lips met hers immediately as his hands began a slow ascent up her torso. Audrey had an amazing body. She had curves in all the right places. She was small, but she wasn’t too thin. Audrey had everything Harry wanted in a girl. And that went way beyond her physical appearance.
“Good God!” They heard Niall yelp, causing them to break the kiss and snap their heads in his direction.
“Is this what you two do here when I’m not home?” Niall asked, walking deeper into the room, pulling his bag off of his shoulder and slinging it over the chair that Harry occupied no less than two minutes before.
“When we’re not interrupted,” Harry mumbled as he pulled himself off of Audrey.
“Remember – every piece of furniture in this flat is rented. Don’t leave any stains on them,” Niall said, sitting down in the computer chair, ignoring them completely.
“Gross, Niall!” Audrey yelped, throwing one of the decorative pillows at the back of his head.
“What? I was being serious,” Niall said, turning toward them again.
“Don’t worry about the furniture!” She laughed.
“It’s a real cause for concern,” he said, smirking playfully at her.
“I’ll do my best at keeping my bodily fluids to myself,” Harry said, rolling his eyes at Niall.
“Gross, Harry!” Audrey said, smacking his arm lightly. Niall just laughed.
“What?” Harry asked her wide-eyed, rubbing his arm where she hit him.
“Gross,” she said again.
“You don’t like to talk about bodily fluids?” Harry asked, smirking at her, trying to send her over the edge again.
“GROSS!” She yelped, cringing at his words.
“Bodily fluids,” Harry said again in an overly seductive voice.
“Oh my god, gross,” she groaned, pulling her hands up to cover her ears.
“Bodily fluids, bodily fluids, bodily fluids,” Harry said in succession, watching her squirm and squeal from the taunting.
“Keep saying it and you’ll most definitely be keeping your bodily fluids to yourself,” she threatened playful.
“Eww. I don’t want to hear about your sordid sex life,” Niall scoffed from the chair.
“At least we have one!” Harry laughed.
“You dirty, dirty people,” Niall said, looking back at them, feigning disgust.
Audrey’s giggle pierced the air, causing Harry to laugh too. One of the most beautiful things in the world was her laugh. She never failed to make him smile. As a matter of fact, everything about Audrey never failed to make him smile. He couldn’t help but admire her for that and hoped she’d keep him around.
New York City – June 14th, 2016
“Hey, mate,” Harry greeted his friend Jeff. Audrey watched as the two of them shook hands once they arrived at the club they were invited to that evening.
“Who’s this beautiful creature?” Jeff asked, smirking as he looked over at Audrey.
“Hey, this is… uh, this is my girlfriend Audrey,” Harry said, smiling at Jeff as he introduced them.
“Girlfriend? Harry,” Jeff laughed, giving Harry a cock of his eyebrow.
“It’s nice to meet you, Audrey. If you’re with Harry, you’re a VIP in my eyes,” he said with a wink as he shook her hand.
“Thanks,” Audrey said, smiling and blushing because of his charm.
The only thing Audrey really knew about Jeff Azoff was that he came from a massive family dynasty of celebrity management. His father, Irving, was like one of the biggest bosses in the business and Jeff was following closely in his father’s footsteps.
“Can I get you a drink?” Jeff asked her. Audrey looked over at Harry, who gave her a nod.
“A vodka cranberry?” She asked him.
“You got it, beautiful,” Jeff said, smirking at her as he moved toward the bar, shouting at the bartender over the loud music.
Throughout the night, Jeff kept buying both Audrey and Harry drinks, one after another. And Audrey was having a really good time with Harry and his friends. It was really the first time she had the opportunity to meet any of them. It was pretty much just the two of them hanging out at Niall’s place more often than not. Which was perfectly fine with her – she thoroughly enjoyed her time with Harry and Niall, and on occasion Louis. She just really liked seeing a different side of Harry.
“I think you’re really trying to get me drunk, Jefe,” Audrey said to Jeff. She was about five drinks in and she gave up calling him Jeff, deciding that Jefe was just so much better because he was like a little mini-boss, much like his father who was the big-boss.
“Nah, I’m just trying to make sure you have a good time,” he said, smirking at her.
“Aww,” she cooed, sipping up the last bit of her drink.
“And I have to see to it that my boy gets laid tonight,” Jeff quipped, laughing at his own joke.
“Oh! I don’t need alcohol for that,” Audrey said out loud, immediately clamping her hand over her mouth, realizing she said too much.
Everyone laugh at her outburst as she blushed, giving Harry a sympathetic look. He just smiled and shook his head at her.
“God damn it, Jefe. Look what you’re doing to me,” Audrey giggled as she let out a hiccup, causing Harry to snicker at her.
“It’s okay. It’s okay,” Jeff laughed, throwing his arm over her shoulder.
“Why are you calling him Jefe?” Harry asked through a chuckle.
“Cause he’s the mother-fucking boss, isn’t he?” Audrey asked before letting out another drunk laugh.
“Yes! I love your girl, Styles,” Jeff cheered, tightening his grip around Audrey’s shoulder before he leaned in, leaving a wet kiss on her cheek.
Audrey burst out drunk-giggling again and Jeff laughed with her.
“Let’s get this girl another!” Jeff called out to one of the VIP waitresses, only then taking his arm off Audrey’s shoulder.
“You two are completely mad,” Harry laughed blithely at Audrey.
“We’re totally best friends now,” Audrey told him confidently.
“We totally are,” Jeff said, smiling over at her.
“I’ll be right back,” Harry leaned in to tell Audrey over the loud music in the club.
“Where are you going?” She asked him, letting her face grow serious.
“Toilet,” he mouthed as he moved away from the table. Audrey nodded, watching him walk away. He had a perfect little saunter that was just so appealing to her.
“Ah, here’s your drink, Audrey,” Jeff said happily, taking the drink from the waitress.
“Why thank you,” she said, smiling as she grabbed the vodka cranberry from him.
“Thanks,” Jeff said, slipping the waitress a tip before she walked off.
“Let’s make a toast,” he suggested, picking up his own glass.
“What should we toast to?” Audrey asked him, looking around to see who else they could get in on their toast, but all their other friends were heavy into conversations with everyone else.
“To new friendship,” he said, raising his glass with one hand and patting Audrey’s bare knee underneath the table with his other hand.
“Hear, hear,” she shouted, clinking her glass with his before she took a sip.
Jeff’s eyes stayed on her as he drank from his own glass.
“So how long have you been seeing Harry?” He asked as he set his drink back down on the table.
“We, uh… about a month,” she told him.
“Ah, so it’s still pretty new,” he said, heightening his eyebrows.
“Yeah. Yeah, it is,” she said, nodding her head.
“How did you meet?” He asked, eyeing her intensely.
“I actually met Niall first,” she told him.
“That’s his old band mate, right?” Jeff asked curiously.
Her stomach turned at the use of the word ‘old’, because One Direction was still very current to her. She still had hope that they would come back from their hiatus.
“Yeah. We became really good friends – me and Niall,” she told him as she took another sip of her drink.
“And Harry just came and swooped you up?” He asked with a proud smile.
“Well, I mean, there wasn’t anything going on between me and Niall. I mean, we were just friends,” Audrey explained, feeling a bit put on the spot. Harry didn’t do any swooping. There was no swooping to be done.
“Either way,” Jeff said with a smile and a shrug of his shoulders.
“Either way,” she replied, nodding as she took another sip of her drink.
“You’re a very beautiful girl. He’s lucky to have you,” Jeff cooed, leaning in closer.
“Thank you,” she acknowledged, blushing as she felt Jeff’s hand on her leg again, slipping down between her bare thighs this time.
Her entire body froze in apprehension. She didn’t know what made her shut down in almost a total state of paralysis. Maybe it was the complete and utter shock that this guy felt like he had a right to touch her like that. Maybe it was fear that he might think of doing more. She didn’t know why she was frozen like a statue, but all she seemed to be able to do was stare at him in disbelief.
“You must be a good, hmm? A good girl? I mean, you’re with a Harry after all,” he said with a smirk, his hand still gripped onto her thigh.
“W-what does that have to do with anything?” She asked, her voice shaking noticeably.
“You’re a good girl, but you have a naughty streak, don’t you?” He continued as his hand moved further up her thigh.
That was all it took for her to break out of whatever paralysis she was in. All of a sudden it was like her body was released from the invisible grip it was in, quickly pushing his hand off her leg before it went any further up.
“Stop,” she told him, giving him a challenging look.
“It’s okay,” he breathed, going to put his arm around her again.
“Just stop it, okay. Stop,” she told him firmly as she caught a glimpse out of the corner of her eye of Harry walking back toward the table.
Jeff sat up straight, noticing the same thing. Harry smiled at Audrey as he walked up and she quickly slid toward the end of the booth away from Jeff, standing up in front of Harry.
“What’s going on?” Harry asked her, knitting his brow in concern.
“I-I’m not feeling well,” she lied.
“Oh,” he said, looking from Audrey to Jeff and then back to her again.
“Can we… can we just go?” She asked him, unable to even look him in the eye.
“Yeah, sure. No problem,” he said, rubbing her arm gently.
Audrey watched as Harry explained to Jeff and the rest of their friends that they were leaving. Of course his friends were noticeably disheartened over the fact that they were leaving so soon and it made Audrey feel terrible for stealing him away. But she didn’t think she could sit there and make lively chit-chat with the likes of Jeff Azoff. Not anymore.
“It was nice meeting you, Audrey,” Jeff said to her and she felt a noticeable feeling of unease skirt up her spine.
“Likewise,” she said, only to save-face in front of Harry.
She didn’t know if she should say something to Harry about the situation or not. All she knew at that moment was she wanted to get as far away from that creep as she possibly could.
“Ready?” Harry asked Audrey, wrapping his arms loosely around her waist.
“Yes, please,” she said and he guided her with his hand on the small of her back out of the back door of the club.
Once they were shut up inside the town car, Audrey began to fear if she were to tell Harry about what happened, that he might not believe her. He and Jeff had gotten very close since Harry started on his solo journey. And her relationship with him was still so new and she didn’t want to mess it up. He meant too much to her.
“How are you feeling?” He asked with a look of concern on his face.
“Better,” she said, still feeling kind of shell-shocked over what happened.
“Are you sure? You look… you look a little pale,” he asked, knitting his eyebrows together.
“I’m fine, I swear,” Audrey said, giving him a small smile as she leaned toward him, resting her head against his shoulder.
“Alright,” he said, kissing her forehead.
“Can I stay over?” She asked him. She honestly didn’t want to be away from him.
“Of course, love,” he said, wrapping his arm around her, squeezing her body against his.
“Thank you,” she breathed.
New York City – June 15th, 2016
“Hi,” Audrey said when her sister Renee answered her phone call.
“Hi, bug,” Renee greeted, using a nickname her parents used to call her when she was a little girl.
“How are you?” Audrey asked, biting at her lip, knowing she needed someone to talk to about what happened with Jeff Azoff at the club the night before.
“I’m well. How are you? How is your rock star boyfriend?” Renee cooed playfully.
“He’s… amazing,” Audrey gushed as a smile turned up her lips at the mentioning of Harry.
“I wish I didn’t live in London. I want to meet him,” Renee huffed.
“Maybe the next time he’s home you two can meet up,” Audrey said, half-joking half-serious.
“Yeah. And then I can steal him away from you, because he’s a certified babe, Aud,” Renee joked.
“I know, I know. I still don’t understand how I got so lucky,” Audrey said, blushing rapidly. All Renee could do was laugh.
“So, I uh… I kind of need someone to talk to,” Audrey said, feeling awkward about the whole situation.
“Okay, shoot. Unless this is some sort of weird sex scenario, then you’re on your own,” Renee quipped, letting out a laugh.
“No, no. Another time,” Audrey snickered.
“What’s up?” Renee asked finally.
“So, uh… Harry and I went out to a club last night with some of his friends and uh, I met this guy Jeff, who is like Harry’s new manager or something—” Audrey started to explain.
“If you’re about to tell me you’ve developed feelings for another man, I am personally going to fly out to New York just to smack some sense into you,” Renee interrupted quickly.
“No. No, absolutely not. I just… I don’t know. Jeff… he was great. Really friendly, nice, and the two of us really got a long… platonically, obviously,” Audrey continued to explain.
“But, uh… when Harry went to the bathroom it all like, went downhill and I’m not really sure what to do about it,” Audrey explained.
“What do you mean it went downhill?” Renee asked, sounding concerned.
“So, I mean, we were really drunk. This was like later in the evening and we were like five or six drinks in, working on the next one. And like, Harry was in the bathroom and Jeff was asking about our relationship. And then out of nowhere his hand was on my thigh… my bare thigh,” Audrey told her.
“Did you push it off?” Renee asked quickly.
“Not at first. I mean, I like, froze in shock or something. Then he started spouting off that I must be a ‘good girl’ if I’m with Harry. ‘A good girl with a naughty streak’, I think is what he said,” Audrey explained.
“Ohmygod,” Renee gasped.
“And like all the while his hand is moving up my thigh… like, between my thighs and I’m like, freaking the fuck out. And finally I pushed his hand away and told him to stop. But of course he laughed it off. And like, then Harry walked back over to the table and it was over. But like, I was done. I wanted to leave immediately,” Audrey continued.
“Wow. What did Harry say about it?” Renee asked, sounding worried.
“See, that’s the thing. I didn’t tell him. I don’t know if I should tell him,” Audrey said quietly.
“You didn’t tell him!?” Renee gasped dramatically.
“I don’t want to… I don’t know… mess anything up with his career,” Audrey told her, feeling her cheeks heat up.
“Mess anything up with his career? Why would telling him you were sexually assaulted by his friend mess up his career?” Renee asked incredulously.
“It wasn’t sexual assault…” Audrey protested half-heartedly.
“It was sexual assault! Just because it was Harry’s friend, doesn’t take away the fact that it was an unwanted sexual advance. And I still don’t understand why you think it will affect his career?” Renee argued.
“Cause, like, Jeff is his manager,” Audrey said quietly.
“He can get a new manager!” Renee yelped.
“Yeah,” Audrey breathed, feeling uneasy about the whole ordeal.
“You need to tell him!” Renee insisted firmly.
“I-I…” Audrey stammered.
“You need to tell him, Audrey,” Renee pressed again.
Even with the persistence from her sister, she still didn’t think it was the best idea to tell Harry. It happened, but it was over. If it happened again, then she would tell him. But, she didn’t want to risk him getting upset with her over something that was so trivial in the end.