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Greetings. I am a completely average teenage girl who loves words and music, and aspires to have a massive library one day. I love many fandoms (just peruse my blog to find out which ones), and am prone to sarcasm. This blog also contains stories and rants about my life. Family, and friends are what keep me going.
Yours, Olivia
~~~~~Smith College 2017~~~~~

I

Rose

Tires squealed. Horns blared. A siren wailed in the distance. People rushed by me.

I smiled happily. God, I love the city.

I had been living in Boston since starting college at Boston University in the fall, accomplishing the goal I’d had since freshman year of high school of moving to Boston. It was very satisfying to know I’d gotten this far in life. It hadn’t always seemed like I would.

On this particular day, I was walking down Newbury Street, hands in the pockets of my hoodie, ear buds in, walking in time to the song playing:

“Get out, get out, get out of my head

And fall into my arms instead

I don’t, I don’t, don’t know what it is

But I need that one thing

And you’ve got that one thing.”

I smiled to myself, remembering the first time I heard the song. I had been a senior in high school, spending way too much time on Tumblr and not enough time studying for finals when the music video showed up on my dash. I had seen pictures of One Direction before since a few of the blogs I followed worshipped them, but I had never listened to any of their music. I decided to humor myself and click the play button, if only to put off studying for another three minutes and eighteen seconds.

I ended up putting off studying for another couple nights.

It became a bit of an obsession as I listened to all of their music, watched their music videos, twitcams, video diaries, interviews, and read up on everything about them. I read fanfiction and talked about them endlessly with my friends until we were left repeating the same things over and over again. And then, just like with everything else, I moved on to a new obsession, leaving the flailing over One Direction behind.

But their music was still good and it brought me no shame to admit it. “One Thing”, the song I was currently listening to, was the first of their songs I learned how to play on guitar while continuing my procrastination in my senior year. I rubbed my thumb over the tips of my fingers. I hadn’t had much time to play guitar lately and my calluses had peeled off. That sucks, I thought to myself, I kinda felt like playing today too. But I shrugged it off, not in the mood for painful blisters and continued walking.

The air had finally started to turn warm about a week after spring break ended, and everyone seemed to be breaking out the short sleeves. I was a naturally cold person, so I was always accompanied by my trusty, ratty, worn-out hoodie wherever I went, but as March turned into April and it really started to warm up, I realized that I really did need to start wearing short sleeves. And maybe get a new hoodie.

Okay, the new hoodie wasn’t my idea. My roommate, Lianne, had started nagging me about it on a daily basis. Just that morning she asked me in a very pointed manner, “Rose, how long exactly have you had that hoodie?” When I had hesitated for more than two seconds to count the years, she had butted back in. “See, if you actually have to take the time to count, you’ve had it too long. And look at it!” she added, gesturing to where it was laying on my bed. “It’s faded and stained and saggy and has holes in it and is generally disgusting! And you wonder why guys don’t go for you.”

I knew she had a point, but pulling the “you’ve never had a boyfriend” card was a low blow. But I had grudgingly agreed to go shopping and find a new one and pick up a few more warm-weather-friendly shirts. So while Lianne and her boyfriend decided to spend their Sunday together doing whatever cute, happy, dating couples do, I took the Green Line to Arlington Station and walked over two streets to Newbury. And then I started the long stroll down the lane.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of walking it, Newbury Street is one freaking long street! It is lined with shops and restaurants and cafes and other awesomeness. As far as streets go, it’s pretty popular. Sadly, most of the stores on the street are major designer brands, which include, but are not limited to, Giorgio Armani, Burberry, and Valentino. In other words, brands that a lowly undergraduate student like me who works for breadcrumbs at a Starbucks could never afford in a million years. And to be perfectly honest, I would rather pay off my student loans than get a thousand dollar purse.

“You’ve got everything you need

But you want accessories

Gotta hold it in your hand…”

I laughed as “I Want” started playing, finding it to be a very fitting song for the moment. A girl carrying bags from more than one high-end store strutted by in her stiletto heels and gave me a slightly disgusted look. I just laughed and shook my head and walked into Jack Wills, one of the slightly more affordable stores on the street.

Once inside I stopped my music, took out my ear buds and put them along with my iPod into my purse. I would have happily continued to shop with them in, but I didn’t want to seem completely antisocial. Yeah, a girl out shopping alone. Why would anyone consider that antisocial? I scoffed to myself, rolling my eyes at my pathetic existence.

Keeping with typical broke student practice, I headed immediately for the sale rack. I flicked through the hangers trying to find something that I liked, but, as is usually the case when I try to find clothes on sale, there was nothing that I would ever wear. With a sigh, I turned to the full price items. I was actually able to find a really cute tunic sort of shirt (I have no sense of style so bear with my descriptions). It was navy blue with a floral pattern cut out of the sleeves. That was basically my perfect shirt until I saw that it would cost me about $90. So, after blanching at the price tag, I turned to the more standard t-shirts of lesser price and picked out three that I liked. One problem: solved.

The second problem, the getting-a-new-hoodie problem, was much more costly than the first. I decided to get the least expensive one in the store. It was just a plain, grey, zip-up hoodie, but it was soft and would match every piece of clothing I owned. God, I loved neutral colors.

I was making my way towards the check out when I happened to pass a display of dresses. Now, I am a sucker for a pretty dress. If I had it my way, I would buy every single dress that strikes my fancy. Sadly, fate is not always kind, so I have nowhere near enough money to buy one dress let alone dozens. Not like I’d have anywhere to wear them even if I did have the money. But, nevertheless, I have wandering eyes, and they were being drawn towards a light pink dress with tiny blue flowers all over it. Just from one look, I could tell that it was one of those dresses that looked great on the hanger but would look atrocious on me. You don’t have the body for that dress, I insisted to myself. To wear that you would have to be a stick with long legs and good hair. And maybe give a crap about how you looked once and a while. Look away. Just. Look. Away.

But I couldn’t. I stood by it, touching it every so often, looking at it lustfully. I felt someone walk up and stand behind me. I assumed it was some person at the store telling me to either buy the dress or get the hell out, so I was stunned when I heard a distinctly British and very familiar voice say, “That dress would look really great on you.”

I knew that voice.

A year ago, that voice would have made me pass out, but I had gained enough distance now that I was able to escape the situation with a slightly elevated heartbeat. I didn’t look away from the dress, but I smiled and replied, “Well thank you, Harry. I’m glad you think so.”

 II

Harry

I had slept for hours and was still jetlagged. Me and the boys had flown in from London the day before to do some interviews and publicity stuff in Boston, spreading the word about our next tour and other such business matters. We had flown into Logan at around 8:00 P.M., waved a quick hello to the fans who were camped out at the airport waiting for us to get in, and went to our hotel where we promptly passed out. I woke up at 7:00 in the morning feeling like it was time for lunch.

Groggy and disgruntled, I texted the boys to see if anyone else was up. No one replied. Muttering slightly to myself, I headed to the shower. The hot water did wonders waking me up, and I was awake and dressed before 8:00. I checked my phone. There were still no replies from the guys. I smirked and shook my head. They would sleep in on our day off. Helping myself to some of the complementary cookies provided by the hotel, I tweeted a quick “Good morning Boston!” to the world, and headed out.

It had been a year since we had been to Boston, and the first time we didn’t have enough time to go around and see anything. I wanted to change that this time around. In the lobby, I picked up a map of the city and asked the woman working at the check-in where she thought I should start. She suggested walking around the common and the Public Garden first and gave me directions. I thanked her and headed out.

 

I walked around the common for a while, observing nature and enjoying the day and such. But you can only take so much of that before it gets boring. I had made my way across the common and through the Public Garden and was walking along Arlington Street when another sign caught my eye.

Newbury Street.

I remembered hearing that name mentioned before. And I was pretty sure there was Jack Wills on that street too. My interest had been piqued.

I waited for the traffic, thinking to myself of how funny it would be if Louis were here to do his stop the traffic, let the people through dance. Eventually, there was a gap in traffic and I jogged across the street. I hadn’t walked a block and I could tell that this was high-end Boston. I walked by designer after designer with a modeling agency, gallery, and café thrown in every so often. It was a materialistic person’s heaven. Almost every person I walked by was carrying some shopping bag or another, and it became obvious that most of the girls who I would have thought were pretty and gone after were the most materialistic of all, if their shopping bags were anything to go by. Our song “I Want” was running through my head on repeat. I looked down at my Converse clad feet scuffing along the sidewalk, trying to block out any negativity that could potentially bring me down during our trip.

I had to walk a very long way before I reached Jack Wills. I didn’t realize the street was so long. Once inside the store, it felt like I was back in London again. Everything was so familiar. But you’re not in London. You’re in Boston. Get a grip. I shook my head and flipped my curls out of my face, reorienting myself. I decided it wouldn’t hurt to get some new clothes. I started looking through a rack of polo shirts when I noticed something out of the corner of my eye.

Someone.

She was looking through the sale rack near the fitting rooms. The look on her face suggested that she didn’t like anything she was seeing. Her lips were pursed, and her nose slightly wrinkled. Her long, dark brown hair was pulled into a braid over her shoulder, but I could see parts of it falling out of the braid from where I was across the store. She was wearing skinny jeans, white converse, a purple t-shirt, and a worn looking black hoodie. I smiled. Of all the girls I had seen today, she was the only one who didn’t look like she spent five hours planning out what she was going to wear and yet was just as attractive as any of them. I watched her look through all the clothes on the rack, looking more discouraged every second. Finally, she sighed and closed her eyes. Her eyes shut and I found myself staring at her eyelashes. They were quite long. Styles. What are you doing? Stop staring! The voice in my head started scolding me, so I tried to go back to looking at shirts.

It didn’t work.

I glanced back over at her. She was now examining a navy colored shirt in the non-sale part of the store, but immediately jumped away from it when she looked at the price tag. She was looking at her hand like she had burned it while touching the shirt. She blinked a couple times and shook her hand in the air like she was still trying to cool down the burn and moved onto a table covered in generic t-shirts. There was something different about the way she walked. It was almost as if she was gliding along the floor. And then she would stumble a bit and have to quickly regain her footing. But unlike most other people, she didn’t look around to see if anyone saw her blunder. She would just carry on as if nothing had happened. She was fascinating to watch.

My phone vibrating in my pocket brought me back to the present. I pulled it out and checked who was calling. Louis.

I hit the answer button and brought the phone to my ear. “Hello.”

“So where’d you get off to all bright and early without telling us?”

“Decided to see the sights. And I did try telling you guys but none of you checked your phones.”

“Hey!” he said mock-defensively. “I did the reasonable thing and decided to sleep in on our day off. God knows we won’t have nearly enough time for it the rest of the trip.”

I laughed. “Yeah, you’re probably right. The time change just messed me up.”

“I hear you, mate,” he answered sympathetically, stifling a yawn. “Listen, the rest of us are going to go on one of those duck tour things and maybe look around the city some more. Want to meet up with us?”

I thought for a moment, but decided against it. “No, I kind of want to just do my own thing today. I’m in Jack Wills right now looking around.”

He laughed. “You’re such a girl.”

“Shut up,” I told him, smiling. “I’ll meet you guys for dinner or something.”

“Okay. Enjoy your shopping.”

“Shut up!” I laughed, and hung up. Without thinking, I glanced back over to where the girl had been before. I felt a pang in my chest when she wasn’t there. I abandoned the practice of being subtle and looked wildly around the store, desperately hoping she hadn’t walked out while I was on the phone. I exhaled in relief when I found her again looking at a dress. I smirked. I could tell she wanted that dress. She would stare at it, reach her hand out and stroke it, drop her hand back to her side and repeat the process. It was a pretty dress. Light pink with little blue spots on it. They might’ve been flowers. I was too far away to tell for sure.

Without completely deciding it was a good thing to do, I began to walk over to where she was standing. I had done plenty of flirting, talked to more girls than I could probably count, but still something about this seemed different. More meaningful in some strange way. I stopped walking when I was about a foot behind her, slightly off to the right so I could see a bit of her face. I noticed her shift while she was standing, aware that someone was behind her. I didn’t want to seem like a weird stalker or anything, so I made myself known. “That dress would look really great on you,” I told her in hopefully not creepy way. Then again, here I was some random guy walking up behind her in a shop, so there was definitely some aspect of creepiness to it. At least I was reasonably good looking. That might end up saving the moment if she thought I was some stalker.

Thankfully, I saw smile. Actually, it was more of a smirk. That’s different, I thought to myself. Without looking at me, she responded, “Well thank you, Harry. I’m glad you think so.”

I was taken aback for a moment. How did she know who I was? She didn’t even look at me. But I recovered and said in what I hoped was a smooth transition, “You should try it on.”

She finally turned to me. She was a good deal shorter than me and had to look up quite a bit to make eye contact. I backed away a bit for her benefit. She noticed and raised her eyebrows. “Quite short, aren’t I?” she said. I opened my mouth, trying to think of some way to respond, but she cut me off. “You don’t have to answer that, I know it’s true. And it is one of the many reasons why I won’t be trying on the dress. See, to look good in that dress, you would have to be very tall with very long legs, and very skinny, none of which are qualities I possess. Additionally, it costs more money than I can afford to spend, so there is no way I could ever buy it, and even if I could, I would have no place to wear it.”

I gawked at her. I was at a complete loss for words. I hadn’t expected her to be this forward at all. I’d probably just gotten used to the fans who were frequently at a loss for words when they got a chance to talk to us. Either that or trying not to hyperventilate. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fans. We would be nowhere without them, but at the same time, the screaming did occasionally hurt you ears. She smirked at me some more. It made her eyes crinkle in a very cute way. But there was a devilish gleam in them. “At a loss for words, Styles?” she asked with a bit of a laugh.

I blinked and tried to get my brain to function again. “How did you know it was me before you even turned around?”

That made her falter a bit. Finally! I thought. I wasn’t used to being out-witted. Her cheeks turned a bit pink and her eyes darted to the floor. “Your voice stands out when you’re used to only hearing American accents all the time.” She hesitated before continuing. “And I’ve listened to enough of you interviews and stuff to be able to recognize it.”

Now I got to smirk. So she was a fan. “I need to give you credit for not completely freaking out. That’s what usually happens.”

She gave a small laugh. “Well, be glad it isn’t a year ago. If that were the case, I’d probably be passed out on the floor by now.” She turned back to the dress, touching it again. I noticed the purse she had over her shoulder. It was canvas and was covered with pins, many of them with snarky sayings on them. I began to read them. “Amazingly enough, I don’t give a shit!” declared one. “Drink coffee: do stupid things faster and with more energy,” said another. She had a couple music related ones (“Tune it or Die”, “I can’t…I have rehearsal) and I noticed a smaller one with a picture of the T.A.R.D.I.S. from Doctor Who on it. Suddenly, her voice brought me back to the situation at hand. “Enjoying the view?”

I suddenly realized what it probably looked like I was doing. I quickly straightened up. “I wasn’t—” I started, but as I started to say it, the power of suggestion took over and I did look. Skinny jeans were very flattering on her. But then she turned to face me and I looked back up at her. She had crossed her arms over her chest but didn’t look too upset.

“Sure you weren’t,” she said, eyebrows raised.

I looked at the floor and stuck my hands in my pockets. “Sorry.”

“Don’t worry about it,” she laughed. “I suppose I should take it as a compliment. It’s not like hot guys are checking me out on an hourly basis.”

My ears focused in on one word. “You think I’m hot?”

She blushed and glared at me. “Like you aren’t already aware.” After a pause she added, “My name’s Rose. In case you wanted to know.”

I smiled at her. “Lovely name.”

“You’re such a flirt,” she said, rolling her eyes before sighing and looking back at the dress. I could see something in her face crumble as she grabbed one of the dresses off the rack, sighing. “I can’t help myself,” she declared, heading towards the fitting room.

“Mind if I watch the fashion show?” I asked as she walked away. She turned around and looked me over, as if judging whether I was serious or not. Finally she motioned with my arm to follow. I smiled and did just that.

 III

Rose

I hated him. So much.

He had to compliment the dress and suggest that I try it on. He had to pay attention to me for no reason at all and check me out and be all flustered and cute and freaking British.

It was all. His. Fault.

I was standing in the dressing room in the pink dress with the blue flowers looking in the mirror. I had been wrong when judging the dress. It didn’t make me look short and fat with stumpy legs like I had assumed it would. It did exactly the opposite. The strapless bodice pulled in my stomach and made my waist look tiny. The skirt flared out just a little bit over my hips and fell to just above my knee. It even had pockets. I turned to the wall of the stall and let my head fall against it, trying to un-see that perfect dress on my body. But when I looked at the mirror, it was still on and it was still perfect. I closed my eyes and pulled the door open.

Harry was sitting on a chair across from my stall looking at his feet. He looked up when he heard the door open and his face lit up as he looked me over. I leaned against the door dejectedly. He rolled his eyes. “Oh come on. I came for a fashion show not an Angst Monthly photo shoot. Walk!”

I glared at him and pushed off the door, slumping towards the mirror in the hall. The three different angles confirmed for the millionth time that the dress was perfect for me. I was starting to get emotional. I could feel the tears forming behind my mournful eyes. I looked away and slouched back towards Harry. “What’s the matter?” he asked, noticing I was upset. “It looks great on you!”

“Exactly!” I spat at him. “I broke the number one rule of any type of shopping which is don’t try anything on unless you are able to pay for it, and I am most definitely not able to pay a hundred fifty dollars for a dress that I have no need for!” I leaned against the wall and buried my face in my hands. “OhmygodIwantitsobad………” I groaned into my palms and swallowed the tears of desperation that were on the verge of spilling over.

I hear Harry stand up and walk over to me. “Hey,” he said softly, “calm down. Look at me.” I shook my head and didn’t move my hands. He sighed, held my wrists and pulled my hands away from my face. I looked at him, trying to rid myself of emotions and ignore the fact that he was still holding my wrists in his hands. Oh god, his hands…

He looked me directly in the eyes. “It’s okay,” he assured me. “It’s just a dress. No!” he cut me off as I tried to protest that it was not just a dress. “It is just a dress. A very pretty dress, but just a dress. And it is partially my fault that you tried it on in the first place, and I am sorry. How about if you take it off, hang it back up, buy your other stuff, and I can buy us lunch or something to make up for it.”

I blinked rather dumbly. Did he just ask me out? I decided that it was more of a pity-date since a pop star like him really had no business seriously asking out someone like me, so I nodded and returned to my dressing room. As I was changing, he called to me through the door, “I have to warn you, I have no idea where anything is here, so you may need to decide where we go after this.”

I laughed. “Not a problem. I know a great place just down the street.”

There was a pause before he asked, “How much farther down the street? It’s a pretty damn long street, if you don’t mind me saying.”

I smiled. “It’s only a couple blocks from here.” I gathered up my soon-to-be new clothes and opened the door. Harry was leaning against the wall looking down at me, his dimpled smile spreading to his pale green eyes. I looked back at him, matching his gaze evenly. “Thanks,” I said, not really sure what I was thanking him for.

“No problem,” he replied, obviously not requiring an explanation for my thanks.

IV

Harry

She led the way down the street, walking slightly ahead of me the whole way. We didn’t do very much talking, but I didn’t mind. I was more than happy to just watch her.

There was a light wind and it was blowing the pieces of her hair that had fallen out of her braid around her head. She had to push it out of her face every couple minutes. I hadn’t noticed in the store, but when the sun was shining through her hair, it looked like a lot of it was ginger. There was one streak of blond twisting its way through her braid as well. Once I was able to look away from her hair, I watched her walk. It was strange. At times, she would walk toe to heel, and others she would go from heel to toe in a much exaggerated way that looked quite uncomfortable. It was when she was going between these two techniques that she would stumble.

Watching her made me smile.

“Here we are,” she announced walking down a set of stone steps to a door with a sign on it reading “The Wired Puppy.” She pulled open and held it for me. “How chivalrous,” I said as I walked in. She made a face at me and I grinned.

It was a tiny place, but it had a really great atmosphere. Laid back, no rush, like there was all the time in the world. It contrasted vividly with the busy street outside. She got a caramel macchiato, I got a cup of tea, and we both ordered blueberry muffins. She tried to pay, but I wouldn’t let her, reminding her that I owed her for making her try on the dress. I didn’t mention that it was almost more of a thank you for trying on the dress. She was absolutely beautiful in it. I had seen plenty of pretty girls, flirted with a good number of them, but her in that dress in a dressing room at Jack Wills…she was a vision.

We sat down at a small table in a room at the back of the coffee shop and sipped our drinks. I took a bite from my muffin. She broke off a piece of hers and put it into her mouth. The silence that hung around us was a bit awkward. She had put her purse on the table when we sat down, and I resumed looking at her pin collection. That gave me an idea of something to say. “So, earlier when you thought I was…you know…I really wasn’t. Well…not at first. Anyways!” God, I was stammering like an idiot. I could tell from the smirk on her face that she was enjoying my discomfort. Pull it together, Styles. “I was really looking at your pins,” I told her, gesturing to her purse.

She laughed. “At first,” she clarified.

I grinned and bowed my head. “At first.”

Her eyes glinted. “And what did you think of my pins?”

“I liked them. I thought they were funny. Especially the one about having rehearsal,” I told her pointing to the pin in question. “Basically the story of my life.”

“Oh, how hard it must be for you to make insane amounts of money by singing and performing. Getting all that attention from people all over the world for that talent…wow that must be really difficult for you.” She was being very sarcastic, making fun of me. I rolled my eyes. “The hours of rehearsing aren’t always fun,” I informed her and pointed to another pin. “And you watch Doctor Who?”

She nodded. “Religiously. I love it. I am a bit of a nerd, I admit, but I am completely proud of it. I love my nerdyness.”

I grinned. “I like it too.”

We were staring at each other now. Just looking into each other’s eyes. God, her eyes are a beautiful green.

Rose

Dear god, his eyes are gorgeous.

My mind fizzled incoherently as I stared sort of pathetically into Harry’s eyes. Although, he was staring into mine too, so I guess that made it a little less pathetic. Finally, he tore his gaze away, coughing slightly and taking a sip of his tea. I tried to discreetly shake my head to reorganize my thoughts and took a very large gulp of coffee. “So,” he finally said, breaking the silence, “you mentioned you worked earlier. What do you do?”

I snorted. “I’m a barista at the Starbucks on the corner of Charles Street and Pickney Street. It doesn’t get me much money, but it’s a nice location, I have a decent manager, and I get free coffee.”

“You’re a coffee person?” he asked, mock disapproval in his voice.

I shrugged. “It depends where I am. Here and Starbucks, yes. Anywhere else, I’m more of a tea person. But if it’s tea, it has to have milk and honey, and if it’s coffee it has to have caramel, unless it has eggnog.”

Harry was looking at me amused. “Very specific. Okay, so recap…if tea, then milk and honey. If coffee, then caramel unless eggnog.”

“Correct,” I told him, raising my cup in a toast to his excellent deciphering skills. “But other than working at Starbucks and drinking tea and coffee, I’m a student.”

He grinned. His smile made my heart race, and god, those dimples. “A university girl? What are you studying?”

I smiled stupidly. “Yeah, I’m studying psychology at BU. I want to be a therapist. Specifically for adolescence with depressive disorders.”

He smiled. “You love using big words, don’t you?”

“It’s a side effect of taking psychology,” I informed him. “You start sounding like your textbooks.”

He nodded his understanding. “So, you seem really sure about what you want to do.”

I could feel myself start to freeze up. Oh, god, why did you have to mention the therapy Rose? Was that really necessary? You just met the guy and you start telling him everything. “Yeah, well I want to help people. I always have.” I cringed at how defensive I sounded. He just nodded though, looking me over. Suddenly, I felt my pocket vibrate as I got a text message. I pulled my phone out, happy for the distraction. It was from my friend Teegan:

Hey! Sorry I haven’t talked to you in ages. Super busy with packing for senior week! Graduation is just around the corner… Ugh. But what are you up to?

I laughed and shook my head at her text message. Teegan had never quite moved on from that euphoric obsession stage when it came to One Direction. I looked up at Harry, who was watching me with questioning eyes, and just started laughing harder. I typed a quick response:

You would never believe me if I told you.

I shook my head and put my phone back in my pocket. “What are you laughing at?” Harry asked when I looked back up.

“The irony of life,” I said simply.

“Explain.”

I took a deep breath. “Well, this morning, as I was walking from the T, I was listening to One Direction on my iPod, and I hadn’t listened to your music in months either. Then, you randomly turn up, telling me I’d look pretty in a certain dress that I couldn’t afford, and now you’re taking me out for coffee…tea…whatever to make up for making me fall in love with that dress. And then one of my best friends, who just happens to be a huge fan of you guys, texts me and asks me what I’m doing.”

He laughed too. “Yeah, that is pretty ironic.” He smirked. My stomach did a flip. “Would you like to make your friend completely freak out?”

“What did you have in mind?”

He stood up, walked around behind my chair and pulled out his phone. He bent down so his face was right next to mine, chin almost on my shoulder, and held his phone out in front of us. I ignored my thudding heart and the proximity of his face to my face and grinned as he snapped a photo. Then he returned to his seat. “Okay, what’s your number? I’ll send it to you.”

I laughed at him. “Was this all some clever ploy to get my number?”

“Maybe,” he replied, smiling. I told him and he entered it into his phone. A second later, mine buzzed. I opened the message from the random number that appeared. For a picture taken on a cell phone, it was pretty good! My face actually looked normal, and Harry, as always, looked like a model, completely eclipsing me. It was probably the hair. The hair always stole the show. I quickly forwarded the message to Teegan and saved Harry’s number to my phone. Within seconds, Teegan had replied. It involved several pages of all caps, keysmashes, expletives, and lots of exclamation points. I cracked up and passed my phone across the table for Harry to read. He laughed too and typed a response. When he passed it back to me, I looked to see what he had sent:

Love your enthusiasm! –Harry xx

I laughed, only imagining what her reaction to that would be. I looked directly into Harry’s beautiful green eyes and proudly announced, “She is freaking the hell out right now!”

We laughed and laughed and laughed at this strange twist of fate.

V

Harry

Rose and I spent the rest of the afternoon together. And after our date type thing, we were able to keep a steady stream of conversation going the entire time. When we left the shop and continued down the street, she did one of her little stumbles right at the top of the steps. “You have a very interesting walk,” I commented with a smile.

She gave a small laugh. “In what way?”

I shrugged. “Well, sometimes you walk toe to heel, and other times you walk heel to toe, and then when you try and fix it, you end up tripping.”

She just nodded her head. “Yeah that’s a pretty accurate description.”

“Mind if I ask why you walk that way?”

She glanced at me. “You sure you want to know? It’s a pretty lengthy explanation.”

“It’s a pretty long street,” I reminded her.

“Touché,” she grinned at me. I loved it when she did that. “Well, I started taking dance lessons when I was four years old and continued until I was twelve and I took ballet every year. And when you’re in ballet, you are taught to walk toe to heel, very gracefully and ladylike and whatever.” She sighed. “I don’t dance anymore. I had a bitch for a teacher when I was twelve and decided to quit.”

I laughed. “How was your teacher a bitch?”

“Well, on the last class that I went to, she walked around the room, pulled a bunch of girls into the middle and announced to the rest of us, ‘This is what a proper bun should look like. Next class I want all of your hair to look like this.’” She rolled her eyes. “And every single one of the girls with a proper bun were the competition girls who used a tube of gel, half a can of hairspray, and two packs of bobby pins for every class. And in order for me to pull off that same hair, I would have to double all of the materials. My hair is more of a mane and is not easily tamed. I kind of just gave up after a while.”

“Well, it looks lovely,” I told her, catching a flyaway that was blowing in the wind and tucking it back behind her ear. She blushed and looked at her feet. “Anyways,” I continued, not wanting to embarrass her too much, “I am an advocate of just letting your hair do its own thing.”

“Obviously!” she laughed looking at me again.

I jokingly gave my hair a flip, making her laugh even more. “So that explains the toe to heel part. What about heel to toe?”

“Well,” she sighed, “that goes back to high school. Actually, it was eighth grade. I was in the school’s marching band. I had decided, upon quitting dance that I would focus more on my music, and I decided marching band would be a good thing to do since I was one of the better flutists in the school.” I smiled. I liked that she was a musician too. We had something in common. “But in order to survive in marching band, I had to learn to roll-step so my movements would be as smooth as possible and I would be able to walk around and play an instrument at the same time. It’s a lot easier said than done and it makes for very sore arches.” She cringed just at the thought. “You get used to it after five years though. Yeah. That’s why I walk that way. It’s the cognitive dissonance between those two methods of walking that have been ingrained into my head.”

“Is cognitive dissonance a psychology thing?”

Everything is a psychology thing,” she informed me. “Psychology is essentially studying how people think. It’s the science of how our mind works and it has a theory for almost everything. It explains behavior and emotion…it’s amazing. Although.” She paused. “It does sort of take the wonder and mystery out of things.”

“What things?” I asked her.

She shrugged. “I don’t know. Love is the main thing that comes to mind. Why you become attracted to people. You think it’s some big, mysterious thing, but there are certain variables that control it to a extent. And I suppose it’s different if you’ve been in love and know how it feels and you can say, ‘Well, this, that, and the other thing may have been part of it, but there’s no way it can be all science.’ But when you’ve never been in love and all you learn is the science, you get a bit down on life.”

I didn’t really know what to say, so I decided to employ song lyrics to help me. “Well, you won’t find faith or hope down a telescope,” I told her.

She rolled her eyes. “Yeah, and you won’t find heart or soul in the stars. I can quote songs too.”

I was taken aback. I didn’t think she would know the song. “You listen to the Script?” I asked.

“They’re one of my favorite bands. Actually, Science & Faith is probably my favorite song by them.” I nodded. Go figure she would know the song. Now she probably thinks I’m a complete tool. “I have to give you credit though,” she started, and I looked at her again, “at least you quoted someone else’s song instead of your own.”

She was mocking me again. I looked at the ground, still smiling. “Shut up.” She laughed her musical laugh. I looked back up at her. “You enjoy making fun of me don’t you?”

“I enjoy making fun of the human race,” she informed me with a brilliant smile. Suddenly, she hooked her arm through mine and started pulling me into a store. “Sorry,” she said without sounding apologetic at all. “I need to stop into Converse.” I looked up at the sign above the door then back at her. She was still leading my by the crook of my arm towards the door. I took a few steps so that I was in front of her and beat her to the door. Then, I held it open for her. “How chivalrous,” she said, walking past me into the store, repeating what I had said to her earlier. She winked at me and I let the door close behind us.

We were still arm in arm.

  VI

Rose

I was still embarrassed about the whole rant about the psychology of love thing from earlier. I hadn’t meant to go spewing about my lack of romantic life, especially to the one guy who seemed to be showing any interest in me. Who also happened to be famous. And one of my celebrity crushes from the previous year.

How was this my life?

I was also still taken aback at Harry quoting the Script. Science & Faith was kind of the soundtrack to my life. Except instead of it being a fight between a guy and a girl in love, it was two pieces of myself fighting. The rational, scientific part that knew there was a logical explanation for everything, and the part of me that wanted to believe that there was a small part of my life that was out of my hands and predestined to a certain fate and that love was real and not just a cocktail of chemicals. That fight got me into a hole sometimes. An even deeper hole than I was usually in. God, neurotransmitters really hate me. Not only have I never loved or been loved, but they also don’t feel like doing their job and give me major depression too! How kind of them. The happy glow of the day had started to fade, and the Converse Store was a relief. As was Harry’s arm looped through mine, keeping us together, supporting me physically and emotionally like nothing had been able to do before.

I had already been planning on stopping into Converse when I came out today. I had a very specific purpose for being there. I dragged Harry through the downstairs of the store where all the clothes were located and upstairs to the shoe section. Then I led us over to where the shoes were located. The shoes were a pair of bright purple hi-tops that I had been lusting after for years. And I had finally saved enough money to buy them. I let out a sigh of contentment when I stood in front of them. They were going to be mine very soon. “Very nice,” said Harry from my side. His voice was coming through the haze that had developed in my mind as it focused on my shoes. “Is purple your color or something?”

“Purple is most definitely my color.” I withdrew my arm from his so I could take the box with my size out of the stack. Without even trying them on, I took them over to the check out where I paid for them and had the tags cut off. Then I ran back over to Harry and sat down on a bench to change my shoes. I smiled at my feet once they were clad in the new shoes. “I’ve wanted these for the longest time,” I told him. “I’m accomplishing so many goals today!”

“I’m glad to hear it,” he said softly. I was enjoying how close he was sitting to me. Like he wasn’t afraid to be close to me at all. It was nice. And it wasn’t even vaguely romantic, just very friendly. Introverted me was not used to so much friendliness. I pulled my phone out of my pocket and checked the time. It was 2:00. “What do you want to do?” I asked him. I was being very presumptuous. I was channeling my inner economist and assuming that certain conditions existed, those conditions being Harry wanting to spend more time with me. I decided to backtrack. “I mean, I’m basically done for the day. And I’m sure you have some big-shot pop star plans that you need to get back to.”

He shook his head, causing his curls to shake. “No, I’m actually not doing anything today. It’s my day off. The boys and I were going to have dinner later, but that’s it. I am up for whatever you are up for,” he said with a grin and a gleam in his eye.

I tried desperately not to blush, but it didn’t really work. “Um—I was just going to go back to my dorm. My roommate’s out with her boyfriend. Probably won’t be back till late, if at all. We could hang out there if you want.” I hope it didn’t sound like I was suggesting anything by saying my roommate wasn’t going to be back. I didn’t want to give him the wrong idea. Not that I even knew what the right idea was.

He seemed unfazed by my awkwardness though. “Sounds good.” He stood up and extended a hand to me. He pulled me off the bench and continued to hold my hand for a few seconds after I was standing. The butterflies in my stomach started going crazy and I had to concentrate on slowing my heartbeat. It wasn’t easy with him turning back to check to see if I was following him, grinning like crazy when we made eye contact.

 

We didn’t talk much on the train back to my dorm. The train was crowded, and we were sitting shoulder to shoulder with other passengers with even more standing in front of us. Harry and I were squished together, arms and legs pressing against each other. I could feel the warmth of his arm through my hoodie and was trying not to stare at him. Occasionally, though, I did stare, and when he caught me, I would quickly look away. I could see him smirk out of the corner of my eye whenever that happened.

He asked to see my iPod, so I let him scroll through my music, and we ended up listening to that for most of the ride. “I haven’t heard of half of this,” he commented at one point, scrolling through my songs.

“Yeah, I’m not one for popular stuff. I mean, I like some of it, but I find a lot of it really annoying. Most of the bands I listen to aren’t as well known. Or if they are well known, I usually like their less popular stuff more.” In the end, he ended up playing the Script, and we listened in silence, one ear bud each, for the rest of the train ride.

Getting off the train was a relief, but the side of my arm felt strangely cold without his arm pressed against it. Don’t think about it. You’re freaking out and becoming an obsessed fangirl again. Don’t ruin things. I led us to my dorm and he followed me up the stairs to my floor. “Home sweet home,” I announced, opening the door. It was cluttered, clothes scattered over the floor, especially around my bed. Books and papers were all over the place too. I had completely forgotten what a complete mess it was and instantly started scurrying to pick everything up. “Sorry it’s such a mess,” I called to him. “I’m a complete slob. I didn’t realize it was this bad.”

“I suffer from being a slob too,” Harry answered. I turned to look at him. He was sitting in the circle chair we had watching me with keen eyes. “Honestly, don’t worry about it.”

I hesitated, scanning the room to make sure there weren’t any bras or underwear in plain view, then sat down cross-legged on my bed, facing him. “Okay, this is weird,” I commented after a second.

He laughed. “Why?”

I rolled my eyes and fidgeted, my hands twisting and untwisting from each other. “Because, Harry Styles is currently sitting in my dorm talking with me. What more do you want?”

He laughed at my discomfort. I supposed he had earned it. I had done plenty of laughing at him today. “If it would help, you could think of me as Jim.”

My stomach clenched and my body went rigid. He had unintentionally found my weak spot. The chink in my armor. The one crack in the brick wall that I surrounded myself with. And he wasn’t even trying. I closed my eyes and took deep breaths, trying to force out all emotions and start fresh. Focus on the breath, nothing else. But it wasn’t working. It only worked when I was alone. I started shaking. Visibly. No! Not now. Please, not now. I felt the bed shift and an arm go around my shoulders. “Rose. What is it? What did I say?” Harry’s voice asked, pleading. “I’m sorry for whatever I said. Please tell me what it was.”

I shook my head. “No. I can’t. I’m sorry.”

“Okay,” he said squeezing my shoulder. “You don’t have to tell me. It’s fine. It’ll be fine.”

I nodded and then the tears started to fall. I buried my face in his shoulder and cried.

VII

Harry

I didn’t know what I’d said.

We had been talking normally and she had been feeling weird about me being in her dorm and then she had reacted to something and started freaking out. It was scary to watch. It was like she turned into a statue in front of me, all emotion leaving her face and just collapsing in on herself. When she started shaking I moved to her bed and tried to comfort her. I couldn’t even remember what I had said that made her do this. I was focusing on getting her through whatever it was. I tried asking her what I had said, but she just shook her head, and then she was sobbing into my shoulder and I just held her as she cried, rocking her, rubbing circles into her back. When her tears subsided, she pushed away from me, wiping her face with a hand. She looked at the huge wet patch on my shirt from her tears and laughed. “Sorry,” she sniffed. “It had been a while since I’d had a good cry. I needed that.”

I smiled at her in what I hoped was an understanding way. “It was my pleasure. Everyone needs a good shoulder to cry on.” She nodded and leaned back against the wall. I mirrored her. I continued looking around her room. I noticed a guitar case in one corner. “Do you play?” I asked pointing.

She nodded. “Yeah. I haven’t played much recently, but I can play. Piano too. But those are a bit harder to fit into a dorm.”

I smiled. Leave it to her to be crying one minute and joking around the next. “Do you sing?”

She shrugged. “I do, but I’m not sure how well.”

I smiled even more. “Well, I have the perfect way to find out!” I pushed myself off the bed and went over to the guitar. I took it out of its case and handed it to her. “Play me something.”

She laughed and rolled her eyes. “Why would I ever do that?”

I shrugged. “Because there is nothing else to do?”

She met my gaze shaking her head slightly. “The last time you talked me into doing something that I didn’t want to do, I fell in love with a dress that I couldn’t afford. I don’t want to make you run out of the building holding your bleeding ears or anything.”

“But if something like that does happen to me, I will only have myself to blame since I’m the one who convinced you to play in the first place!” I gave her my most charming smile.

She raised her eyebrows. “Who says you convinced me?”

“I did.”

She just shook her head slowly and smiled. “I hate you.”

“And I accept that.”

Rose

I was terrified to play for him. I hadn’t played in over a month and didn’t have anything freshly polished. And go figure the only thing I could remember how to play was One Thing. Playing one of his band’s own songs for him was possibly one of the riskiest things I could ever do, but it was all I could think of. “I apologize in advance for this,” I told him, placing my fingers. I saw his eyes light up when I played the opening chords. With barely enough time to think, I was singing:

“I’ve tried playing it cool

But when I’m looking at you

I can’t ever be brave

‘cause you make my heart race.”

Then something unexpected happened. Harry came in singing his part:

“Shot me out of the sky

You’re my kryptonite

You keep making me weak

Yeah, frozen and can’t breathe.”

Smiling, I sang the next part:

“Something’s gotta give now

‘cause I’m dying just to make you see

That I need you here with me now

‘cause you’ve got that one thing.”

Together, we sang the rest of the song, harmonizing, smiling, with Harry doing cheesy dance moves here and there. When I played the last chord, he broke into a round of applause. “You’re amazing,” he declared.

I blushed. “No I’m not. If I was, I would have your job and you would be the one still in school.”

“Not necessarily,” he countered. “You are passionate about wanting to help people with science. I’m more passionate about the faith aspect of things.”

I nodded. “You know, I have to admit you’re right, Styles. More right than you could even know.”

I saw him jump a little. “Sorry,” he said as he pulled his phone out of his pocket. He checked the caller ID before answering. “Hey Lou… Yeah, I’m still up for dinner… No I don’t know anywhere to go… Hey, hold on for a minute.” He took the phone away from his ear and looked at me. “Would you want to go to dinner with me and the guys?”

Well, that was a pleasant surprise. “Um, sure.”

He grinned. “Awesome. In that case, do you know anywhere good we could eat?”

I ran through my mental list of restaurants. “How fancy?”

He looked at what he was wearing. “Something where this would be considered acceptable.”

I considered his tan pants and polo. “Is seafood okay?”

“Is seafood okay?” he asked into the phone. A second later, he looked back at me. “Seafood is great. Niall’s been craving it apparently.”

I smiled. I had forgotten about Niall’s love for food. “There’s a restaurant called Legal Seafood in Copley Square that’s good.”

He nodded and repeated that information into the phone. “And, hey, I’m bringing a guest. That okay?” I mentally crossed my fingers, really hoping they wouldn’t mind me tagging along. I felt kind of bad. “Yes, it’s a girl,” Harry told the person on the other line. He rolled his eyes at something they said. “Shut up man. Okay, you know what? I’m bringing her. You no longer have a say.” He laughed at something and then said, “Okay so when are we meeting?… Okay see you then… Bye.” He ended the call. “So, you sure you want to eat dinner with us? Won’t find us too immature?”

I rolled my eyes. “Please. If I can survive four years of high school, I can survive one evening with you guys.”

“Is that a challenge?”

“Absolutely.”

 VIII

Rose

I was in the bathroom changing for dinner when Teegan called me. I smiled as I answered. “Took you long enough to call.”

“How did you meet him? What happened? What is this? Oh my god is this real?”

I laughed, sandwiching my phone between my ear and shoulder so I could tie my shoes at the same time. “Yes, this is very real. And I don’t really know what happened! I was in Jack Wills shopping and he just came over and started talking to me. We’ve been hanging out all day.”

“Wait,” Teegan sounded frantic, “is he still with you? Is he, like, in the room with you now?”

“No, I’m in the bathroom changing. I’m going out to dinner with him and the rest of the band in a bit.”

I nearly dropped my phone as she screamed on the other end. “Oh my god that’s the most amazing thing ever!” she shouted.

“Teegan, chill out! You’re breaking my ear drum.”

“Sorry.” I heard her take a deep breath. “So, actually I was calling to ask if we were still on for this week and me coming out and all. I know we had talked about it a while back.”

“Oh yeah! Is that this week?” I remembered our conversation regarding her senior skip week. Teegan was a year younger than me and lived in Pennsylvania and we barely ever got to see each other. But, despite the distance and lack of time spent together, we had still been best friends since we met at camp when we were in junior high. “Well, I still have to go to classes this week, but you can definitely come out if you still want to. We can hang out when I’m not in class and over the weekend.”

“Awesome. So, do you think I’ll get to meet the boys?”

I rolled my eyes. “Ulterior motive, much? And here I thought you were interested in seeing me.”

“I am!” she insisted. “But, I mean, if I just happen to see them while I am visiting you, I would not object in the least.”

I sighed. “Well, I don’t even know if I’ll see them again after tonight and I don’t know how long they’re even going to be here, so I can’t promise anything.”

“I totally understand,” she insisted. I smiled and rolled my eyes. She was trying not to be pushy so I was more likely to set up a meeting. “Well, I better let you go get ready for your date.”

“It’s not a date,” I said quickly. “More of a dinner with a friend.”

“Right. Dinner with a friend.” I could envision her smirking at me. “Like I said, enjoy your date.” She hung up before I could respond.

I sighed and tucked my phone back into my jacket’s inside pocket. Teegan could be frustrating at times, but I loved her anyways. I told her everything. Out of everyone I knew, she was the only person who had any idea how much Jim had screwed up my life. How ashamed I was that I had been so hopelessly crushed by a guy, and how gullible I had been to believe that he would want to date me. How, self-esteem crushed and feeling completely worthless, I had spiraled into depression and still struggled with it.

I leaned over the sink and took a few breaths. I took my medication out of my purse and took my nightly pill. I took one final look in the mirror, making sure my hair didn’t look like a bird’s nest on top of my head, but it was actually behaving well. Then I returned my pill bottle to my purse and left the bathroom. Harry was sitting on my bed when I got back to my room. He stood up when I walked in, looking rather shocked and staring at me, mouth slightly agape. No guy had ever looked at me like that. Like, actually taken in what I looked like. I felt myself blush as Harry’s eyes moved up my body, taking in my purple converse, tan skinny trousers, new purple t-shirt, and black jacket. I really didn’t think I looked all that spectacular, but Harry’s face told a different story. When he had finished taking me in, he looked me directly in the eyes. “You look beautiful.”

His voice sent chills down my spine. I broke eye contact and looked down at my shoes. “Thanks.”

He walked over to me and put an arm around my shoulder. “Well, we should get going. Don’t want to be late.”

I turned my head and looked up at him. He was smiling. I couldn’t help but smile back. “How right you are! Back to the train!”

He laughed, removed his arm and opened the door for me. I just smiled at him, not mocking his chivalry this time and he winked at me in return.

“So my friend Teegan is coming out this week,” I told Harry on the train.

“Is she the one I texted earlier?” he asked with a grin.

I laughed, “She’s the one.”

“Well, I look forward to meeting her then!”

I looked at him. “Really?”

He nodded. “Yeah, we love meeting our fans. And if she’s you friend, I imagine that she will be just as lovely as you are.”

I slapped his arm gently. “Oh, shush.”

“Is me complimenting you making you unhappy?” he asked jokingly. “In that case, you’re an atrocious slob, and I can’t believe I had the misfortune of meeting you.” I rolled my eyes and he laughed. “But seriously, on Friday we’re going to a party being held by some big-name music people and we are allowed to bring dates. It would be great if you and Teegan came.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Are you bringing two dates Harry? Feel like keeping all the girls to yourself?”

“No, you can set Teegan up with one of the boys. You’re the only date I want.”

My stomach flipped as he looked at me. The sincerity in his eyes was wonderful. In my life, I had been unable to find more than a handful of truly sincere people, and none of them were guys. I smiled and nodded. “That sounds good.” He grinned at me and then looked at the floor. I took out my phone and quickly sent Teegan a text:

Fine. It’s a date.

 IX

Harry

Words cannot describe how gorgeous she looked when she walked back into her dorm, nor can they describe how nervous I was when I asked her to come to the party with us. I had never been so unsure when asking out a girl. It was probably because I had only met her that morning. We hadn’t exactly known each other for very long. It felt like ages, but the clock told a different story. It was also knowing that if she had said no, I would probably have never seen her again after that night. And I wouldn’t be able to take that. So the relief that she said yes was incredible.

We were the first ones to the restaurant. We requested a table for six in a more secluded part of the restaurant. The hostess smiled and led us right there. “If four other guys with British accents come in, could you direct them back here?” Rose asked the hostess as we were sitting down.

“Of course,” she smiled. “Enjoy your meal.”

The table we were at was one of the ones where half of the seats are chairs, and the half along the wall is one long continuous booth seat. Rose sat down in the booth part and I sat down on her left leaving very little room between us. I hoped she didn’t mind. After seeing her smile, I was pretty sure that she didn’t. “I have to warn you,” she said quietly, “I’m a lefty. You may want to reconsider sitting there.”

“And why might that be?” I asked jokingly, knocking my elbow into hers.

“Oh no reason,” she laughed, elbowing me back.

We commenced and elbow battle and only stopped when someone sat down on my other side. “Well aren’t you two just too cute?” said Louis, grinning. Leaning forward, he reached his hand across me to shake Rose’s. “I’m Louis,” he introduced himself.

“Rose,” she said, returning his smile, cheeks a little pink.

“Rose, meet Niall, Zayn, Liam, and Louis,” I said, gesturing to each of them as I said their name.

“Hi,” she said, smiling at them, eyes sparkling. God, if they don’t like her, they won’t like anyone. “It’s great to meet you guys.”

“It’s great to meet you too,” said Liam, smiling at her.

A waiter appeared by the table to take our drink orders. When he left, Louis asked, “So, what did you two do today?”

I looked at Rose, trying to figure out how to describe our day. Luckily, she was good at thinking on her feet. “Well, we went shopping mostly. Jack Wills and Converse. We stopped for coffee and tea around lunch time. And then we just hung around campus for the rest.”

“Yeah, Rose played guitar for me,” I added, eyes on her, wanting to see her reaction. She glared at me, making me laugh. “She’s really good, and she can sing too.”

Niall grinned at her. “Always nice to meet a fellow guitar player and singer.”

She laughed and fiddled with her napkin. I could tell she was getting shy. “I’m really not that good.”

“Yes you are,” I told her softly.                                   

“Shut up,” she whispered back, but she was smiling.

I looked around at the boys who had all taken a sudden interest in their menus, but I could see that they were smiling. “Well, this is rather disappointing,” said Rose from beside me.

We all looked at her, slightly confused. “Harry promised me a dinner full of high schoolish immaturity. And here you are all behaving like perfect gentlemen. I’m quite shocked.”

It was my turn to take a keen interest in the menu as the rest of the group snickered at me. “Immaturity? Is that so?” Asked Louis from beside me. “Well,” he continued, “I seem to remember getting a text from Harry here threatening a very painful death if we weren’t on our very best behavior.”

“Really!” said Rose in a tone that could only mean she was about to make fun of me. That girl. “I seem to remember a challenge between us saying that I wouldn’t be able to stand one dinner out with you guys on account of immaturity. I insisted that I would, and it appears as though I have won.”

I looked over at her. Her eyes met mine expectantly, waiting for me to make the next move. This is a game of chess. “Really? You think you’ve won?” I nudged her with my elbow. “Why would you ever think a thing like that?” I kept nudging her with every word, making her laugh.

“Okay, enough, you lovebirds,” called Louis from my other side. “Rose, tell us about yourself. Where are you from? What do you do? What are some of your nasty habits? What are your deepest, darkest secrets?”

“Well,” she began, taking a sip of her water, “I’m from a tiny town in the middle of the state and wanted to get out of it for years. I finally got my chance this year when I started going to college in Boston. I am currently a barista at a Starbucks, but aspire to be a psychotherapist. Nasty habits…well, I’m a complete slob. Harry can confirm that if you’re in doubt. As for my deepest, darkest secrets…” she trailed off, and I remembered her breakdown this afternoon. I’m sure that’s what she was thinking about too. I wondered what secret that had to do with. “I don’t share secrets with people I’ve just met,” she finished.

“Oh, come on,” Louis badgered her, “you can trust us.”

But she just smiled and shook her head. “Not happening. Maybe in time.”

Louis held up his hands in surrender. The waiter came back and we ordered our food. We all kept up pleasant conversation through the meal, and were all laughing together and smiling. Rose was positively glowing. The other boys seemed to like her too. When she went to the loo, Liam turned to me and said, “She’s a keeper, mate.”

“I agree,” said Louis, nudging me. “She’s great.” Niall and Zayn nodded their agreement.

“It feels like I’ve known her forever and it hasn’t even been a day,” I told them. “She’s just so easy to talk to. I haven’t met anyone like her in my life.”

“Then you go for it, mate,” said Liam. “We’re on a deadline here. You need to make the most of it.”

I nodded at him. One week and counting. Rose slid back into her seat. “Did I miss any interesting discussion?” she asked.

I smiled at her. “Not really. Just five guys talking. I’m sure you can imagine.”

We left the restaurant around nine, all of us exhausted. Rose told me that I should go back to the hotel and get some sleep, but I insisted that I take her home. On the train, she leaned her head on my shoulder and dozed peacefully. I stroked her hair, bathing in the moment. Outside her door, we said goodnight, and I hugged her tightly. I wanted to do more, but I also didn’t want to rush things. So instead I stood outside her door long after she had gone in, wishing for a future with her.

 X

Rose

I woke up to my alarm going off at seven in the morning. I was still surrounded by a happy glow from the night before. I missed Harry. I had only known him for a day, but it felt like a lifetime. I closed my arms and remembered our hug outside my door last night. I had wanted to say so much more, convey some of the emotions I was feeling, but the part of me that wanted to take things slowly was hitting the brakes.

Not to mention all of my insecurities.

And my depression.                       

I showered and got dressed for the day. As I was brushing my teeth, my phone buzzed as a text message came in. I checked who it was. Harry. I rinsed my mouth and checked the message:

Good morning. How did you sleep? xx

My heart fluttered.

Very well. You?

The reply came a few seconds later:

Same. I had a great time last night.

 

Me too.

 

Any plans today?

 

Class until 2, then work until 7. What about you, Mr. Pop-star?

 

Got a couple interviews, but that’s it.

I grabbed a muffin from the dining hall and ate as I walked. I was running late for my first class.

What a drag! I’m sure that sitting through an hour and a half lecture about brain function is so much more interesting than that. *cough cough* Actually I have to go to class now. Talk to you later?

 

Absolutely. Have a good day. xx

I put my phone in my pocket and sat down in the lecture hall, preparing myself for a very restless two hours. Time to count the seconds.

 

I was at work when Harry texted me again.

Up to anything interesting now?

I was in the back room. I looked around to make sure no one saw me before answering:

I’m hiding from my boss so I can answer this.

I headed back out to the front of the shop and went to the register to take the next person’s order. “What can I get for you?” I asked before looking up.

“I’ll try a coffee with caramel in it,” said the British voice I had been missing all day.

I smiled up at Harry. “Would you like a latté or macchiato?”

He looked very confused. “What’s the difference?”

“Macchiato has espresso in it. Basically,” I clarified, “do you want to be shaking after finishing your drink?”

He laughed. “I guess I’ll have the latté then.”

I nodded. “Good choice. What size?”

“Small.”

I grabbed a cup and marked his order on it so my coworkers could start making it. “Anything else today, sir?”

He shook his head, making his curls bounce. I rang him up and took his money. “Your drink will be down the end in a minute,” I told him, gesturing to the pick-up counter.

“How long till you get off?” he asked.

I checked the clock on the wall. “Like, ten minutes. And it’s slowing down so maybe a little sooner.”

“Okay. I’ll wait for you over there,” he pointed to a small table by the window.

I smiled at him and he moved down the counter to pick up his coffee.

Exactly ten minutes later, I was hanging my apron in the back room and clocking out. Then I returned to the front and sat down across from Harry. He smiled and pushed the coffee he had bought across the table. “For you,” he said with a smile.

I gave him a “you shouldn’t have” look, but drank it greedily anyways. “How were the interviews?” I asked.

“Good. A ton of fans showed up. But not as many as other locations. I suppose that’s why we’re here. We want to create more of a fan-base here in Boston.”

“Well, you’ve got one definite fan!” I informed him.

He smiled and put one of his hands on top of mine. My breath caught, but I grinned anyways. His hand was warm against mine. It also made mine look like the hand of a child. My hand looked so small and pale and fragile in his. It was like he was protecting it with his, trying to save it from the dangers of the world, keeping it from ever getting hurt.

It was the best I had felt in my entire life.

The next couple days happened the same way Monday had. I had class in the morning and Harry had his promotional stuff with the band. Then I went to work, where he would show up a few minutes before my shift ended to buy me coffee and walk me home. Our hand holding had become automatic, and our hands found each other without even having to think about it.

I was happy.

Teegan texted me Tuesday night to tell me she had arrived. I had an earlier shift the next day so we planned to meet for sushi for dinner. When I got out of work, I informed Harry of my plans for the next day. He sighed in pretend frustration. “Well, I suppose that I can let you do your own thing for one night. But only one! Then I want you back.” He pulled me into a hug. I closed my eyes and breathed in his smell. It was absolute heaven in his arms. “But seriously, go have fun,” he whispered.

I hugged him harder. “You’re the best thing to happen to me in a long time.”

“The same goes for you,” he said back, kissing the top of my head softly. We finally pulled away and resumed walking across campus. “Out of curiosity, who are you planning on setting Teegan up with on Friday?”

“I was thinking Niall,” I tell him. “They share a love of food, soccer, and he is her favorite in the band too.”

Harry laughed. “Well, that works out well! Are you telling her that you’re setting her up?”

I shook my head. “I’ll probably just tell her that we’re going to a party, but I won’t mention you guys. I want her to be surprised.”

“I love surprises!”

“Me too.”

 XI

Harry

I was actually glad that Rose was having dinner with Teegan. It would give me time to carry out the plan that had been forming in my mind since Monday.

As soon as the interviews were done on Wednesday, I wanted to head out. Louis stopped me though. “Whoa, where’re you going?”

“I’m getting a present for Rose,” I told him. Simple. Simple was good.

“Are you sure about what you’re doing with her?” he asked. “We’re leaving in a few days. How are you going to keep in touch? You live across the ocean from each other.”

Where is this coming from? “Whatever happened to ‘make the most of the time you have’?”

Louis shrugged. “I like her. And I care about you. I don’t want either of you getting hurt. I trust you to make the right choice, just be sure to think about what you’re doing.”

I nodded, and he patted me on the back. I did think about what he had said. It was back to Science & Faith. The science: Rose and I lived on different continents. We had completely different lives and met by sheer chance. The faith: we would get through. Love conquers all.

But that brought up another question.

Do I love her?

The jury was still out on that one, but the answer was very close. As I stepped into the store, I could feel that something was coming.

 

Rose

I was waiting for Teegan at the restaurant and jumped up when she finally arrived. “Oh my god, it’s so great to see you!” I squealed, hugging her half to death. I held her back at arm’s length and looked her over. She had a cut in her lip and I could still see a little mud on her neck where she had missed wiping it off. “You don’t look too good,” I informed her.

“Yeah, I just came from a soccer game. It got a bit intense.” She shrugged it off like it was nothing. I just rolled my eyes. I didn’t understand the fascination with soccer. I didn’t understand sports in general, but especially not soccer. She sat down across from me. “So what do you want? I’m completely starving.”

“You’re always starving,” I remind her.

We ordered three different rolls, beef tetaki, soup, and a tempura platter. All the food was eaten by the time we left. “So guess who I saw at the game?” Teegan said as she crunched into a tempura shrimp.

“Who?” I asked, dipping a piece of caterpillar roll into soy sauce.

“Naill and Liam.”

I choked a little bit on my sushi and had to quickly drink some water so as to not completely embarrass myself. “You don’t say. And how was it?”

She rolled her eyes. “I freaking met two-fifths of One Direction. How do you think it was?”

I laughed. “True. So is Niall as good in real life as you though he would be?”

She grinned. “Yes he is. He’s actually decent at soccer too.”

I raised a quizzical eyebrow. “I thought you said he was only watching the game.”

“Well, yeah, but then he wanted to take some shots with me in goal. See if I really was good or if everyone else playing just sucked.”

“And the verdict.”

She smirked. “Oh, I am definitely that good.”

I raised my glass to her. She copied my motion and took a sip. “So how are you and the lovely Harry doing?”

I grinned like an idiot at the mention of his name. “We’re great. He’s such a great guy. And I actually know that this time, I’m not just assuming it’s true.”

She nodded, looking at the table. “So, have you told him about…?”

“No.” I knew what she was talking about. I didn’t want to think about it. “He doesn’t need to know about that. It was in the past.”

Teegan gave me her “bitch please” look. “It’s not completely in the past. It’s had lasting effects on your life. And those are most definitely relevant in your relationship with Harry.”

“I don’t want to ruin anything!” I spat out. “For the first time, I’m happy with every single aspect of my life. Nothing’s missing. And it’s great.”

Teegan looked at me levelly. “You know what you would say to me if I was in your situation?”

“What would I say?”

“You would tell me that if I don’t tell him, it’s going to bite me in the ass.” Her eyes were hard and unwavering. She knew what she was talking about. “I’m not trying to tell you what to do, I’m just pointing out what you made me promise I’d point out after everything that went down last year.”

That was all that was said on the topic of my relationship, and our discussion for the rest of the night was somewhat strained. But we were able to catch up with each other so the night wasn’t a complete bust. I got back to my dorm early and did most of the reading that had accumulated over the week. I texted a quick goodnight to Harry and went to bed before I could do too much thinking.

 XII                               

Rose

I didn’t have to work on Thursday so Harry and I spent the entire afternoon together. The excitement of seeing him was what got me through my daily classes, but when we finally met up, my expectations were not fulfilled. There was something strained between us. We didn’t talk as much as we usually did, and our banter was lacking. We mostly sat and walked in silence.

Everything Teegan had said was swirling through my head. It’s not completely in the past…lasting effects on your life…going to bite you in the ass… And I knew, hearing those words play over and over again that she was completely right.

I had to tell him.                                            

Harry

I could still hear Louis’ voice in my head. Are you sure?… Think about what you’re doing… Don’t want you to get hurt…

I still believed that we could make it through. But that was exactly it. I  believed we could make it. I didn’t know about her. I knew she liked me and in a perfect world, we might already be together, but the fact was I didn’t know if she would want to try to keep up a long distance relationship. And track records for long distance relationships were not good.

Maybe it’s better for us to be friends and remember the good times together.

But what good is just friends?

Yesterday, I’d had the question of love and if I loved Rose. I still wasn’t sure, but I was falling harder than I ever had in my life.

We ended up at the Prudential Center. Inside, on the lower floors, it was a huge mall. Rose and I walked through hand and hand, but neither of us expressed interest in the stores. We ended up sitting in the food court. Not eating. Not talking either. Just sitting. The silence that hung around us was heavier than it had ever been. I needed to talk to her. Figure out where things stood when I went back home.

“Listen…” I said at exactly the same time as she said, “I need to tell you…”

We both stopped in the middle of our sentences and stared at each other. So this is why it’s awkward. We both need to talk. “You go,” I told her. She hesitated. I took her hand and squeezed it. She smiled sadly and opened her mouth.

“Rose?” came a loud voice from behind me. I turned and saw a tall, bleached-blonde, skinny girl walking towards us, a toothy smile plastered on her face. “Oh my god, it’s you!” the girl screeched when she reached our table. “How have you been?” She leaned down and hugged Rose who had turned into a statue. This is what had happened to Rose on Monday too. What was the connection? There had to be something. What was it?

“I haven’t seen you in ages,” the girl continued. “It’s so funny, because we both go to school in Boston, and yet we barely see each other!” She laughed. “God, cities are huge. Anyway, Jim and I are still together. High school sweethearts and all that,” she giggled. My ears had caught something that I remembered from earlier in the week.

If it would help, you can think of me as Jim.

Jim and I are still together.

That was it. Jim was the common element, whoever he was. “Well, I’ve got to get going,” said the girl, “but we need to keep in touch! Talk to you soon!” she screeched as she walked away.

I looked back at Rose. She hadn’t moved. Her face had no emotion in it. She had become cold and rigid. I took her hands in mine and squeezed them gently. “Rose. Talk to me.” Nothing. I had to ask. “Who is Jim?”

Finally, she moved. Her eyes snapped to mine and held them there. My eyes begged her to say something, even if it was to tell me to shut the hell up and piss off. It would be something.

“Jim was the first guy to ever ask me out,” she finally said.

Oh god does she still like him? Is that where this is going?

“It was last February, around the travesty that is Valentine’s Day. I’d had a crush on him for months, and when he asked me out to dinner, it felt like the stars were aligning. He suggested that we meet up at me favorite restaurant that night, and me being me, I arrived ten minutes early. I didn’t think he would be there, but he was. He wasn’t alone though. He was with Kole, the girl who was just talking at me. I had thought Kole was my friend up until then. Turns out, she had been hooking up with Jim for months and had told him all about me. That’s why he asked me out. It was a joke. To humiliate me and make me feel even more horrible about myself than I already did. I remember them telling me that I was pathetic and gullible and that nobody would ever like me, because I was a freak. I was unlovable.” She stopped talking and closed her eyes. She took two deep shuddering breaths. “There had been something off with me before then, but that was the real trigger. After that day, I became depressed, and was diagnosed with major depression. I still have it, it’s just easier to control. That’s why I want to be a psychotherapist. That’s why I’m all science and no faith. I’ve experienced the cruelty of people and the lingering effects first hand. I have lost all faith. Science gives evidence though, hard evidence that you can draw conclusions from. It’s certain and that’s what I need.” I felt her hands trembling. “I’m sorry, Harry, I can’t do this. You deserve so much more than me. I’m—I’m a shadow. And you deserve a complete person. I have to go.” I tried to protest, to hold her hands, but she pulled them away, stood up and ran away.

“Rose! Wait!” I called, going after her, but she was gone. Swept away in the sea of people.

 XIII

Rose

I called Teegan when I got off the T at my stop. I was crying and she could barely understand me, but she knew that I needed her. She came to my dorm and stayed with me all night. She held me while I cried, telling me that it would be okay, that everything works itself out eventually. I fell asleep in her arms and that’s where I woke up when my alarm rang at seven. Without even thinking, I hit the off button and went back to sleep. There was no way I was facing classes today.

I woke up again with Teegan shaking my shoulder. “Rose. Come on. Time to get up and get out and do something. You can’t stay here all day. Come on. Let’s go.” She pulled me out of bed, threw clothes at me and let me change. She took me out to breakfast at a little diner place where we had mountains of pancakes with torrents of syrup poured on top. I buried my emotions with pancakes and it worked temporarily.

I spent all day with Teegan. We went on the swan boats, we walked through the park, we even walked a bit of the Freedom Trail and indulged our fascination with history. But then she said she had to go back to her hotel. “You going to be okay?” she asked.

I nodded my head. “Yeah I’m all set. I have extra chocolate bars if it gets bad.”

She laughed. “That’s my girl.”

Harry

I had been freaking out when Rose ran off. I didn’t know if she would be able to make it home the way she was. I called her and texted her multiple times, but she eventually turned her phone off.

I was sitting in my hotel room at three in the morning, wide awake when my phone went off. I was relieved when I saw Rose’s caller ID. The message read:

Rose is with me. She’s in rough shape but she’s safe. She’s sleeping now. We need to talk. Meet me by the frog pond at 4 tomorrow? –Teegan

I sent a response immediately:

I’ll be there.

And I was there. Actually, I was there half an hour early. I just stood and watched the water of the pond ripple and tried not to lose it. “You look horrible,” said a voice next to me. I turned my head and saw a girl, about my age with blonde-brown hair, tan skin, and hazel eyes, looking at me with her arms crossed over her chest. “Teegan?” I asked. She nodded. “Come on,” she said, leading me to a bench in the shade.

“So what happened exactly?” she asked when we had sat down.

“Well, this girl—Kole I guess—came up to us and started talking to Rose, and Rose got really really upset. She just froze. No emotion. It was really scary. When I finally got her to talk, she told me what happened with Kole and Jim.” I felt rage boiling in me just saying his name. He made Rose’s life miserable, he could rot in hell. “Then she told me that she was depressed. And then—then she insisted that I deserved so much better than her and that she wasn’t good enough and she ran off. Which isn’t true at all. She’s all I could ever want and more.” I couldn’t talk anymore. I could feel myself getting choked up.

Teegan was silent for a moment. “Did you tell her that she was all you wanted?” she finally asked. I shook my head. “So you really have no problem with her? And you really care for her?”

“Yes, I really care for her,” I snapped, “I’m in love with her.”

I had said it.

I looked at Teegan. She was just nodding. “I suggest telling her that. Maybe not the whole ‘I love you’ part just yet, but definitely tell her the rest. Because she won’t believe it unless you’re the one telling her.” She stood up and started to walk away, but turned back once more. “So, will you be at the party tonight?”

I shrugged. “It all depends.”

She just nodded and walked away.

I knew what I had to do.

I returned to my hotel room and grabbed the box with the red bow that I had bought two days ago off of my night stand. Then I got on the train to her university. You have to do this, I told myself as I walked to the door. You have to do this.

Rose

Around quarter of five, there was a knock on my door. I had been laying in bed with one of my textbooks, catching up on my reading. I was wearing old sweatpants and my old hoodie in all of its faded and worn glory. I shuffled to the door and opened it.

“Harry.”

He was a mess. There were dark circles under his eyes, a lack of a smile, and his usually sparkling eyes were dull, not one shred of happiness in them. “Can I come in?” he asked in an unusually dead voice.

I considered that I was responsible for his emotional distress, and decided that the least I could do was let him in. I stood aside and he walked into the room. He walked over to my bed and sat on the edge. “I brought you something,” he said, lifting a box that he was carrying. He placed the box next to him on the bed. I sat down across from him in the circular chair. He was staring into his lap, fiddling with his hands. The way we were sitting was almost an exact mirror image of the first time he had been in my dorm. I didn’t say anything. There was obviously a reason why he came here, so I would let him tell me what it was. At last, he looked up at me. “You’re not a shadow,” he said.

I was slightly taken aback. “Wha—?”

“You’re not a shadow,” he repeated, “not to me. You’re a person. A wonderful and beautiful and kind and witty person. And I honestly couldn’t wish for anything more than what you give me. None of us are complete people. I know I’m not. But the closest I have ever felt to being complete was singing with you the other day. That was as close as I’ve ever gotten. And you were a part of it. I don’t know if there are other reasons behind it too, but if you think that we shouldn’t be together just because you think I deserve more than you, then think again, because you are more than I could ever ask for.”

My heart was pounding in my chest. Every word added another butterfly to my stomach. His eyes penetrated into my soul and I felt something stir within me when I was looking at him. He stood up to go. “The party is tonight,” he said. “I still really want you to go. But I understand if you don’t want to. There’s a note in the box with directions in case you change your mind.” He turned to go again, but once again turned back. “And I really hope you like the present.” Then he left.

I sat for a solid five minutes lost in thought once the door clicked shut behind Harry. At last, curiosity got the best of me. I took the box into my lap and pulled off the cover. A piece of paper rested on top.

-Rose

Just so you have it. Even if you don’t have a reason for it. Not that you need a reason when you look so beautiful. I hope you like it.

-Harry xx

I gasped as I lifted the tissue paper aside. It was the dress from Jack Wills. The perfect dress. I lifted it out of the box and just looked at it. A tear leaked from my eye, rolled down my cheek and fell onto my lap.

The world was lighting up again. Everything had faded to shades of grey, but now color was seeping back in starting with the dress. It was a new world. A new chance. I grabbed the note off my bed and flipped it over, looking at the address. This was it.

This was my time.

 XIV

Rose

I frantically rushed around my room, putting on the dress and fixing my hair and adding some makeup so I didn’t look like a complete zombie. I brushed my teeth while hopping around my dorm trying to get my silver heels on my feet. In total, it took me fifteen minutes to get ready and out the door.

I challenge any one of you to beat that.

I took the T as close as I could, but I still ended up having to walk two blocks to the club. I told the bouncer at the door who I was, and he stepped aside letting me in. Once through the door, I found myself in a huge lobby area. I looked around, and across the room, sitting on one of the benches I saw Harry. My heart started beating in double time just seeing him. I couldn’t help it. A smile spread across my face. He must have sensed someone looking at him because he looked up too. His face was still just as morose as it had been when he showed up at my dorm, but now it finally lit up again. I saw his eyes take me in, sparkling more the longer he looked at me.

An urge overcame me and I started to run across the room in full Lifetime-movie romance form, but, sadly, I wasn’t in a Lifetime movie. I was in real life. And the reality was that I could not walk in heels, never mind run, so I ended up tripping and nearly falling on my face about halfway across the room. I heard Harry laughing, making that joy grow even more. I managed to stand up just as he reached me and swept me up in his arms. His hands were on my waist, my arms around his neck, and he picked me up and spun me in a circle with the momentum he had from running across the room. He returned my feet to the floor and smiled down at me. “You came.” I nodded. “I—it’s just—you don’t even understand how happy I am right now. I didn’t think there was any chance of you coming, but—”

I cut him off. “Oh my god, Styles, shut the hell up,” I laughed before pulling my face up to his and kissing him with everything in me. His arms wrapped around me, one hand going to my back, the other to my neck, securing my face to his. Our bodies formed to each other, our lips moved together, and everything about it seemed like the most natural thing in the world. When we broke apart some time later, all we could do was smile at each other. I gave a small laugh. “What is it?” Harry asked, a smirk playing around his lips.

I blushed. “Well, that was my first kiss.”

He raised his eyebrows. “I honestly couldn’t tell.” Then, his voice laced with curiosity, he asked, “How was it?”

Instead of answering, I pulled him down for another kiss, this one significantly shorter than the first, but very tender. “I love you,” he breathed after our lips parted again.

I pulled back and looked up at him. “It just so happens that I love you too,” I told him with a smile.

Our fingers laced together, and we entered the club hand in hand.

 

The party itself wasn’t exactly my scene. Too many people combined with loud music and a decent amount of alcohol wasn’t exactly my cup of tea (or coffee), but with Harry holding my hand, I was up for anything.

We were sitting in a booth with the other boys and their dates. Teegan had given me a massive hug when she saw me. “Congratulations,” she said into my ear, winking suggestively before returning to her place on Niall’s arm. Slowly, everyone left to go dance or talk to the others at the party, and the only ones left were me and Harry, and Teegan and Niall who were sitting at the opposite end of the booth. They were sitting very close together, holding hands and laughing and basically everything the other one said. I nudged Harry. “Teegan and Niall seem to be getting along,” I informed him. He smiled and we looked back over at them.

Now, they were kissing.

Well, making out was probably more accurate.

Heavily.

“Wow,” said Harry next to me, laughing. “Not sure I really ever needed to see that.”

I laughed. “Me either,” I said, making a mental note to have Teegan tell me everything that had happened with her and the Irish boy. Because I had a feeling I was getting completely jipped on her part of the story. Turning back to Harry, I said, “What do you say we give them some privacy?”

He nodded and stood up, pulling me after him. We reached the very edge of the dance floor just as a very familiar song started playing. I laughed. “Well this song is fitting.”

It was Stand Up by One Direction. Harry leaned down so his mouth was next to my ear and started singing along with his own song:

“From the moment I met you, everything changed

I knew I had to get you, whatever the pain

I had to take you and make you mine.

I would walk through the desert, I would walk down the aisle,

I would swim over oceans just to see you smile.

Whatever it takes is fine.”

I joined him on the chorus, as did everyone on the dance floor, but in that moment, it seemed like it was just me and him:

“Oh oh ohhh oh, so put your hands up

Oh oh ohhh oh, ‘cause it’s a stand up

And I won’t be leaving ‘till I finished stealing every piece of your heart

Every piece of your heart.”

His lips brushed against mine again, and in that moment, everything was perfect. The stars aligned and I knew that even when he had to go home and we had an ocean between us, we would still have our own world together. I had the faith that we would find a way to make it through.

And in that is a fact of life: You can have all the explanations, you can know the reason for everything, but nothing will ever be perfect without a little bit of uncertainty and a little bit of faith.

 Epilogue

Rose

Two days after the party, One Direction returned to England, but for Teegan and me, it wasn’t the end.

I talked to Harry in some way every single day, whether it was a quick text or a three hour long conversation on the phone. We did all we could to minimize the distance between us. But most of all, we continued to love each other.

However, joy is always accompanied by some sort of sorrow. In the midst of all the love, Teegan received news that her brother had been killed by a drunk driver as he was crossing the street. She was shattered. I did everything I could for her and tried to be there as much as possible, but I could only do so much. I was eternally grateful for Niall being there for her in that time. They were always talking. He even flew back to the states for the funeral and held Teegan’s hand through the whole thing, allowing her to cry into his shoulder and supporting her every second of that day. He was the one who pulled her through that dark time and into the brighter future ahead.

At the beginning of June, plans were made, bags were packed and me and Teegan crossed the Atlantic for the entirety of the summer. Harry and Niall were waiting for us at the baggage claim. We laughed, we smiled, and there were even a few tears mingling with our kisses. Being reunited with Harry was one of the happiest days of my life. Once I threw my arms around Harry’s neck in the airport, we didn’t break contact for the rest of the day.

The paparazzi had a field day, of course, but this had been discussed, and it was unanimously decided that it was no use keeping our relationships secret. That’s the last thing any of us wanted or needed. I didn’t want to see any of the hate that was sure to be flowing my way, so I deleted my twitter account and didn’t check any other social network for the rest of the summer until things had cooled down.

But none of that mattered in the slightest. I was happy. Purely and completely happy. Nothing could change that.

Love is a strange thing. It can be explained by brain chemicals, behaviors, proximity, and countless other determining factors, but there is still that one part of it that’s a mystery and can only be felt when you’re in love, and even then you’re not quite sure what it is. I guess that’s the faith part. And for the first time in my life, I was content to just live and not worry about the explanation behind it. I would leave that to others to dissect. I would stick to my happiness and my love and my life

And my Harry.