#harry styles writing
eveningepiphany · 3 days
far from sober | H.S
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my masterlist
summary: you’re incredibly drunk, and when you are it comes with you having an obscene lack of a filter. harry being the sweetheart he is, is trying to get you back into your hotel room in one piece. he was not ready for you to be so touchy.
warnings: alcohol consumption, drunk people (including close family members), fluff, sexual tension, brothers best friend, drunk crying lol
a/n: sorry I haven’t posted properly in a while! here’s a shorter piece while I work on some more stuff <3 plenty to come x
Saying you were a bit drunk was a drastic understatement.
You were stumbling all over the place, heels becoming impractical now you were so intoxicated.
Harry, who knew you were going out with some of your family and friends tonight at the bar, had no idea what he was coming back to.
You don’t remember actually intending to get this drunk, but your Aunty had been egging the group on to do some shots, and before you know it you’re well past tipsy. Even your mum was getting drunker than you’d seen in years.
So all the other boys who’d gone out— including Harry— walk into the hotel bar. It was as chic as the lobby, just adorning some more neon signs and rustic bar stools.
Harry had gone out with them to look at a heap of shit that you and your female family members had little interest in. They’d insisted you all stay and just have a couple cocktails, since it was a holiday after all.
It was to their surprise when your same eager aunt bounded up to them when they popped through the door to the bar. They had expected tipsy, but not hammered.
“Oh my god!! You guys will not believe how good the cocktails are here!” She swooned, and they all glanced at each other with an amused chuckle.
“I think I just might believe it.” One of the boys piped up.
Most of them dispersed to find their significant others, family or friends amidst the bar, and see how much chaos was being caused.
But you’d b-lined straight for Harry, regardless of whether he was seeking you out.
His brows shot up when you collided with his side, “Harry!”
Your arms wrap around his middle and you end up latching onto him, practically using him to keep yourself upright.
“Oh!” He speaks in surprise, hands jumping up to brace around your lower back.
“Are you absolutely hammered too, love?” He chuckles and you bury your face into his chest.
“Yeaaaaa…” you drawl, a smile spreading onto your face.
“Everyone else is rounding up their partners. Suppose I’m in charge of you, yea?” He suggests, rubbing your back.
“Wanna—“ you hiccup, “have a drink with me?”
He shakes his head with amusement, “I think you’ve had plenty, sweetheart. We should get you back to your room.”
Most of your drunk family were getting escorted out by their respective people, being taken up to their hotel room before they can drink themselves any sillier.
This included your brother, Leon, who had his longtime girlfriend pulled into his side, holding her half up and laughing a little at her drunken slur.
He came to a stop when he seen both of you, eyes flitting between your two figures. A small twitch of his brows suggested he wasn’t sure of how he felt about the sight.
“You got her?” He asks, a protective edge to his voice. One that drunken you missed easily as you stayed plastered against him— which is something sober you would not do in general, let alone in front of your brother.
Harry nodded straight away, understanding his defensiveness over you since he feels the same about Gemma. He said softly, “Of course, I’ve got her mate. I’ll take her up to her room.”
Leon glanced at you again. Harry and him met when they were 9, and they’ve been best friends since then. He trusts Harry with his own life, and knows he’d never ever do anything that would hurt you, but his protective side is still flaring up.
Only when his girlfriend, Brie, complains of feeling nauseous he curtly nods, and continues heading for the door.
You are again, oblivious to all this, running your fingers along the tattoos exposed on his forearm— his sleeves rolled up to his elbows— putting his gorgeous skin out on display for you.
“I loveee your arms.” You slur, and his eyes shoot from the door back down to you.
He rarely sees you this drunk, and you’re suddenly very close— making comments that for many reasons are bringing a flush to his face.
“Y/N, Jesus you’re hammered.” He shakes his head, still smiling.
He slowly starts walking, “Cmon, let’s go. Y’brother is expecting me to get you back to your room in one piece.”
“You definitely won’t have a drink with me?” You whine, taking a few steps backwards trying to tug him in the direction of the bar instead of the door.
“Nope. Maybe tomorrow if you can even stomach alcohol.” He pushes the doors from the dimly lit bar open, and leads you into the back of the lobby that it’s connected to.
You squint at the dramatic change in lighting, which is hardly helping your sense of perception, or lack thereof, from the alcohol.
Harry’s hand has taken yours though, leading you to an elevator.
You noticed how warm it was, smooth against yours, aside from the rougher pads of his fingers from the years of playing guitar.
Being so off it, you could not keep that thought to yourself.
“Your hands are so soft, H. Like silk.” You say as you walk into the first elevator to open, squeezing his hand.
“First time anyone’s ever told me they feel like silk. I’m flattered.” He smiles, squeezing back.
“what floor are y’on, by the way? D’ya even remember— or are we a bit too wasted for numbers?” A teasing lilt is in his voice.
You half-laugh half-hiccup, “it’s… 7…?”
“You hardly sound certain about that.” He nudges you with a laugh, “It’s 12, we’re on the same one, remember.”
You laugh much harder than any sober person would, which makes it funnier to him. Since it was a mediocre joke at best.
You’re still laughing as you touch his chest with your palm, “you’re not funny.”
His gaze travels down to it, and he’s shocked at how touchy you are. You never do shit like this when you’re sober. His own amusement quickly takes the back seat, even though you’re still giggling.
However your face falls shortly after, laced with a curious gaze as you slide the neck of his long sleeve to the side, in search for the swallows inked onto his collar bones.
He watches as your eyes wander the small expanse of skin there, and how your fingers brush the tattoos.
“Having fun?” He asks, trying to joke again, but really he’s undeniably a little worked up.
“Yah, heaps.” You snap your gaze back up to him as you enthusiastically nod.
He hates the fact he’s blushing so hard right now over this, since you’re drunk and not completely in control, but he at the end of the day is a man with a very pretty girl— which happened to be you— pulling at his top like she wants it off him.
You hum to yourself, “Have such a pretty neck.” And you trail your hand up it, running a finger over his adams apple.
The elevator door opens like a blessing, and he quickly moves to make distance between the two of you.
“Can you remember your room number, darling? That’s one thing I actually don’t know.” He looks to you as you follow him out with clumsy moments.
“Uh… I dunno— wait I think the keycard is in my purse.”
He laughs at this— wondering if it will come to you in time once you sober up.
“Fuckkk.” You groan. “My purse is in Molly’s big handbag.”
The groan soon turns into a whine, because drunk and being slightly inconvenienced is not a good pair.
“It’s ok!” He amends quickly, trying to keep from having a drunken meltdown on his hands, “We’ll just got back to mine, only if you’re comfortable?”
He quickly prepares for you to not want that, “otherwise— I’ll call her, she didn’t seem too wasted, I’m sure she can—“
He’s interrupted by you, “I don’t mind going back with you.”
You say it with a confused look on you face, a tiny pout on your lips.
“Why would I be uncomfortable going with you?”
“Because… well— I’m not sure. I just wanted to leave you with other options.”
It’s not like you haven’t spent time alone together before— you’ve actually spent plenty, but just never with you drunk.
And so touchy.
“No. It’s ok. I love being with you!” You chuckle.
He leads you down the hall, pulling the keycard from his back pocket once he reaches his room, 3313.
The door clicks open, and he holds it open for you, following you in shortly after.
You’re still unstable on your feet, and one look at those heels, he’s surprised you haven’t ended up on the floor in the last ten minutes
They’re practically a health and safety issue. He can not imagine you getting them off right now— which is exactly what you’re about to bend over and attempt.
Before you can throw off your centre of gravity, he quickly says, “Go sit on the bed.”
You glance back over your shoulder, face only lit by the light from the lamp in the corner of the room.
“That’s a little forward, don’t you think, Harry?”
He toes off his own shoes, shaking his head immediately at your drunken misconception of what he asked.
“So I can take your shoes off.”
You make the few steps left to the bed safely, and you sit at the edge of it, still giggling as you say, “just my shoes, huh?”
“Yes.” He walks over, kneeling down on one knee, pulling your heeled foot up onto the strength of his thigh.
He fiddles momentarily with the laced up string, warm hands splayed on your calf, and choosing to ignore the way your dress is riding up your thighs.
Christ. This is harder than he thought.
“I forget how hot you are sometimes.” You deadpan, and his jaw goes a little lax.
You’re usually playful, yes, but never do you breach into territory like this.
It was only others, like those at a family gathering, or your close friends, that would push to get stuff like that out of you like they were matchmakers.
There were many times that barbecues or some kind of event held at yours, Leon would invite Harry over. And if the two of you even interacted for just a second, someone in your family circle would tease you. Especially your own damn brother— it was a constant streamline of snarky comments from him.
“You are so drunk.” He mumble while pulling up your other foot.
You ignore his statement, thinking back to when he was a boy to now. He was cute— always was— but the way he looks now is just unmatchable.
“Have you always looked so… like… this?”
He chuckles, almost nervous, “what does question that even mean?”
“So pretty.” You clarify after a moment of trying to find the word.
“Ah, you’re only saying that because you’re plastered up the walls.” He laughs, and a dimple popped on his cheek, and your hand jumped into action before you could even think about it.
“Noooo, sober me thinks that too. She thinks you’re more than pretty.” You say, cupping his jaw, gently tracing the dimple that popped up.
He doesn’t know how to interpret any of this. His heart is jumping in his chest, and he’s trying to reason its genuinely just the alcohol in your system.
He holds eye contact as he slips off your other shoe, placing in neatly next to the other.
He stays there for a moment, unprepared for your next question.
“Can I kiss you?”
She’s drunk, she’s drunk, she’s drunk…
“You’re drunk, sweetheart.” He says, and it’s painful— because he wants to, so fucking bad, but you’re not in a state to consent to literally anything at the moment.
And especially not in the mind frame to be making decisions like this.
You lean forward anyway, before he has a chance to avoid it, managing to meet his lips on your own terms.
He caved for a brief flash of time, and allows a second for himself to feel it, no longer than that though. Just a mere moment to take in the warm, soft feeling of your lips on his. It takes so much strength for him to not kiss you back, he has to focus on the task at hand— sobering you up and getting you safely asleep.
He pulls back after that single moment, leaving his forehead against yours, “baby, I know, I really…” he cuts himself off.
A deep inhale and he stands up, “Not tonight. Cmon, let’s get you out of your dress. You can wear something of mine.”
He walks over to his suitcase, anything to remove you from his sight for a moment, to reset his thought process. He pulls out a tshirt and pair of gym shorts, hoping they won’t be too big on you.
Turning back around, he convinces himself he’s fine. Placing the clothes from his bag on the bed beside you, his hands come under your arms, helping you stand up on flat feet for the first time in hours.
You lean into the touch, turning around so he can undo the back of your dress.
The feeling of his fingers brushing your back have you going wild, and the way they gently slide the zipper of your dress down.
His eyes lock with the back of your lacy bralette and he chooses not to follow your skin any further down.
You use your hands to slip the straps off your shoulders— and very quickly the dress is pooling at your feet.
A shaky inhale passes through his nose as now you stand in just your underwear and a seemingly very pretty bralette.
He reaches and picks up his shirt from the foot of the bed.
“Do you want to… take this off before…?” He gestures to your bralette when he catches your eyes.
You nod, reaching behind you to undo the clasp and allowing it to slip from your shoulders to the floor.
Harry puts all his focus on getting the tshirt over your head to cover you up.
Once it’s over your whole frame, you can’t help but smile.
He’s so nervy and cute around you.
“Thanks, Harry.” You smile, suddenly feeling an overwhelming amount of adoration for him hit you.
It inflated up in your chest, and bubbled deep into the pit of your stomach.
It killed Harry to watch it happen, and although he had no idea what kind of thoughts were going on in your head, just seeing you light up like that…
You wrapped your arms around his middle again, just like you did when you ran up to him in the bar.
He placed his hands in your hair this time, taking in your scent— which was mixing with his own now that your were in his shirt.
“Love, if you were sober right now. God.” He confesses.
“Im sober enough.” You beg, even though it’s such a lie.
He still shakes his head against you, “‘M not gonna be that guy, Y/N. I have waited years just to have you. I can wait another night. Or week. Or a whole ‘nother year if that’s what it takes.”
This hits you hard.
And it felt like your 15 year old self could hear it up in the confines of your head it rung through you that loudly.
She loved him then, more than she’d ever admit. And sure, you’ve grown up from 15, but yet never once did you grow out of him.
As noted early, being drunk and inconvenienced is not a good pair. But being drunk and having someone say or do something sentimental like that is another level.
Tears immediately start to fall from your eyes, and he feels your chest shake at the sudden outburst of emotion.
He pulls back, thinking he’s done something wrong, or said the wrong thing, and an apology was immediately on the tip of his tongue.
But relief thrums through him as you tug him right back into the hug, “that’s— that’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me.”
“The nicest thing a boys ever told me.”
“Sweetheart.” He coos as you cry, his own voice wobbly with emotion.
He feels like he’s on a roller coaster. 5 minutes ago it seemed all he could think about was the unspeakable things wanted to do to you, and now he just wants to lay you down and hold you until you fall asleep.
He forgets the shorts on the foot of the bed, shuffling the two of you up to where the head of it is— which was still unmade from last night when he’d slept in it.
He tugs you into it, pulling you tightly too his chest as your heads hit the pillows.
And he just hugs you.
Eventually, your crying subsides off, and you enter an indescribably calm state.
“I love you. I don’t even know if you’re going to remember this in the morning.” He sighs, “but fuck, I love you.”
“I love you too, Harry.” You whisper, before your eyes begin to fall heavy, and those words were the last to leave your lips before you fell asleep.
a/n pt2:
back again guys, hello!
this is like an extended a/n, but I have a lil update. I saw harry for the very first time live 3 weeks ago. it was so so incredible, and the experience was by far the best time of my life. I miss harry so much i just feel sick ugh. he is perfect. auslot was amazing, he absolutely gave us his all.
that’s why I’ve been so absent on here, literally coping with my pcd a day at a time. I’ve written heaps but nothing I’m 100% happy with haha.
but anyways I just thought I’d share, thank you so much for your continued support and know there is plenty in the works x
all my love, <3
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goldengalore · 2 days
Rough Day
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Summary: For Harry, nothing makes up for a bad day better than rough sex. Luckily, he has his friend Y/N to help out with that.
Word count: 2.1k
Warnings: smut (friends with benefits, mean dom!harry, degradation, bondage, spanking w hands and belt, choking, oral, anal, use of ball gag and butt plug)
Harry slams the door behind him as he enters Y/N’s apartment. He texted her earlier to ask if he could come over. His message alluded to the possibility of rough play, which Y/N could hardly ever refuse. As soon as he arrives, she can sense the irritability radiating off of him. It shouldn’t excite her this much—her friend being in a crappy mood—but it does.
“Hey,” she greets him, sitting up on the couch where she’s been indulging in some online shopping for the past hour.
He just hums in response and drops his duffle bag on the floor before removing his shoes, coat, and gloves.
“Rough day?” she asks, studying him.
“You have no idea,” he mutters.
“Wanna talk about it?”
“Not really.”
Of course he doesn’t. Harry doesn’t like to talk at the end of a bad day. He likes to fuck. Without holding back.
Glancing at her, he says, “Wait there.” Then he picks up his bag and heads into her bedroom. A minute later, he emerges from the room without the bag and strides over to her.
“Up,” he says, as if he were instructing a dog.
“Okay.” She sighs and takes her time getting off the couch to avoid seeming too eager, even though on the inside, she’s ready to do just about anything he tells her.
Once she’s on her feet, he simply says, “Clothes off.”
Again, she dawdles while pulling her sweatshirt off and fumbles with the waistband of her shorts, lazily inching them down her legs. Harry releases an impatient sigh.
“Today, Y/N.”
“Okay, okay!” She quickly removes the rest of her clothes.
The path his eyes take as they trail down her bare body sends the blood rushing between her legs. He steps closer and places his mouth over hers. His hands rest on her hips for a mere second before sliding to her backside. He squeezes it firmly, his fingers digging into the flesh of her round cheeks and pulling her body upward. She rises up on her toes and clutches his shoulders for balance. His teeth bite into her bottom lip. He tugs her even closer until her naked body is flush against his clothed one.
The kiss ends abruptly, leaving her wanting more. All of a sudden, he lifts her off the ground and slings her over his shoulder like she weighs nothing at all. Her upper body hangs behind him, her ass in the air.
“What are you—?” she starts, but he lands a swift smack to her rear, ordering her to be quiet.
He carries her to the bedroom and tosses her on the bed, not bothering with gentleness, then flips her onto her stomach. While she finds her bearings, he bends down to grab something from his bag, which is sitting on the floor next to the bed.
A moment later, her wrists are pulled behind her back and cuffed together. His hands wrap around her ankles and yank her towards him until she’s bent over the edge of the bed with her feet on the floor. She hears the clink of his belt buckle behind her.
It all happens so fast. One moment, he’s rubbing the tip of his cock over her entrance, and the next, his entire length is inside her. No warning. No preamble. A strangled moan escapes her mouth.
“So fucking wet,” he growls, grabbing on to her hips. “You like being manhandled and tossed around like a ragdoll?”
He doesn’t wait for her to answer before ramming his cock into her again. Usually, he’ll start slow and build up to a hard and fast pace, but today, he seems overcome by a primal desperation—one that has probably been festering inside him all day. She can barely keep up, but that makes it all the more exhilarating.
One hand pins her bound wrists to her lower back, keeping her in place, while the other grips her hair and yanks her head backwards, forcing her to arch her back. He finishes fast, emptying deep inside of her cunt, grunting and moaning with relief. She looks over her shoulder at him.
“That’s it? I didn’t even come,” she says just to egg him on.
He grabs a fistful of her hair again and speaks lowly into her ear, “What makes you think I give a fuck about your pleasure, hm? Sluts like you don’t deserve to come.”
He releases her hair and pulls out. Some of his come leaks down her inner thigh. Through the corner of her eye, she sees him reach down towards his bag. And then something cool and hard pokes between her legs. He presses the object into her slit, twisting it around, dousing it in her arousal and his come. It’s a plug, she realizes. A rather large one.
Once it’s covered in a mix of their fluids, he uses his free hand to spread apart her cheeks and starts inserting the plug into her tightest hole. He doesn’t really take his time. The rounded tip goes in, then the rest of it is hastily crammed into her. They’ve been doing this long enough that it slides in easily, but she still squirms and whines at the discomfort.
“Oh, stop whining,” he snaps. “It’s not even that big. You’ve had bigger things in your ass before.”
She scowls at him over her shoulder. “Well, if you think it’s so easy, why don’t you try shoving one up your own ass?”
He retaliates with a harsh spank.
“Bold of you to talk back to me from the extremely vulnerable position you’re in right now,” he threatens, and the effects of his words are felt right between her legs.
He grabs something else from his bag, then tells her to open her mouth before shoving a ball gag in there. He secures the leather strap behind her head.
“That’s better,” he says. “Should’ve done that ten minutes ago. Only thing your mouth is good for is sucking me off anyway. Isn’t that right?”
All she can do is glare at him with the gag in her mouth.
“Glad you agree, love,” he says with a cocky smirk.
A soft, plushy object is placed in her hand—the squeaky toy they use in place of the safeword when she’s bound and gagged. Then he folds his belt in half and gently glides the cool leather over her bum. As soon as he raises the belt, she tenses and screws her eyes shut, bracing herself for the first strike. When it doesn’t come, she relaxes a bit and opens one eye, falling for the same trick he’s used on her countless times.
The belt smacks against her ass. She cries out. A second smack makes her knees buckle, dragging her down a bit.
“Stay still,” he orders.
It’s a good thing she’s gagged because she definitely would’ve answered back with a snarky comment and made things worse for herself.
He whips her with the belt several times in a row. Her ass clenches around the plug each time. He pauses only briefly to run his hands over the bright red marks now decorating her backside, like an artist proudly inspecting his work. And then he’s back to belting her, occasionally aiming for the backs of her thighs. There’s no doubt that sitting will be a challenge tomorrow.
Tears stain the sheets beneath her while her cunt drips with arousal, the pain cathartic and excruciating at the same time. She comes somewhere between the punishing blows, too lost in the pleasure to keep count.
He eventually stops and tosses the belt aside, telling her to get up on the bed. It’s a little awkward with her hands cuffed behind her, but she manages anyway. Once again, he yanks her around like a doll until he has her in his desired position: lying on her back with her head hanging off the edge of the bed. Her hands are trapped under her but still free enough to squeak the toy if needed. He removes the gag from her mouth and instantly replaces it with his hard cock.
“Let’s put that whore mouth to good use,” he says as he begins fucking her mouth the same way he fucked her pussy earlier.
His tip connects with the back of her throat over and over, his large hands clawing at her breasts. He pinches and tugs at her nipples hard enough to make her body arch off the bed. Then he brings a hand to the front of her neck, squeezing it while his hips continue thrusting into her mouth. She presses her thighs together tightly.
Just when she thinks he’s going to come down her throat, he pulls out. She gasps for air. Finally, he takes off his own clothes and joins her on the bed, flipping her over onto her stomach. He uncuffs her wrists and cuffs them above her head instead, then lifts her up onto her knees and forearms.
She feels him tug on the base of the butt plug, fucking her with it a little before taking it out. He squirts a generous amount of lube between her cheeks and begins driving his cock into her ass but doesn’t get further than a couple inches. She’s too tense. It always seems to happen despite how many times they’ve done this.
“Gonna have to relax for me, love,” he says in the softest tone she’s heard him use all night. His hand caresses her lower back. He can be a dick sometimes, but he’s shockingly aware of when she needs a gentle touch.
“Give me a minute,” she says, steadying her breathing before telling him to continue.
He pushes in a bit more, then draws back and pushes in again, going a little deeper every time. Once the tightness in her muscles eases, he slides all the way in and holds himself there.
“Fuck,” she groans. “Fuck me.”
Her mind is so muddled by the intense sensation of her hole stretching around his cock that she almost doesn’t hear the word.
“Beg me to fuck your ass,” he demands.
That bastard.
“Fuck you,” she replies, though it comes out as more of a whine than an insult.
“I’m not moving an inch until you beg.” He grips her hips tightly to ensure that she can’t move either.
She doesn’t want to give in so quickly, doesn’t want to give him the satisfaction. But as much as she hates to admit it, Harry’s dick makes her weak. And the worst part is he knows it too.
“Please, H, please fuck me. Your cock feels so good in my ass. I need you to fuck me hard and not hold back. Just— Fuck! Just use me for your pleasure. Please.”
Finally, Harry’s hips start moving. He retracts them, then thrusts forward sharply. She cries out in surprise and relief. He starts pounding into her. Quick, sharp thrusts. One after another. With little pause in between. She would reach down and rub her clit if her wrists weren’t bound together. Fortunately, Harry has the same thought. His hand finds her clit, rubbing it in fast circles to speed up her orgasm.
She feels it crash over her moments later, igniting in her core and spreading outward to her limbs. Harry continues fucking her through it, not slowing down for a second. He tells her he’s going to come in her ass, calling her his good little cumslut and his perfect little fucktoy and every filthy word in the book, becoming more and more incoherent until he finally lets go with a deep groan.
Rolling over onto the bed, he frees her wrists and tosses the cuffs to the side, not caring where they land. Y/N lets her knees give out under her and falls onto her stomach with a soft thud. She closes her eyes. A while later, his fingertips graze the back of her shoulder.
“Hey,” he says softly, “you good?”
She opens her eyes and grins. “Yup.”
“Wasn’t too rough, was I?”
“You know that’s how I like it.”
A pleased sigh leaves his lips. He runs a hand through his hair, pushing the stray curls off his damp forehead.
“Thanks for letting me come over,” he says. “I really needed that.”
“Aww, you needed me?” she teases, knowing how much he despises the idea of “needing” anyone.
He scoffs and looks away, but not before Y/N can notice the blush creeping into his cheeks.
“You wish,” he grumbles.
“Whatever you say, tough guy.”
Thank you for reading!  MASTERLIST
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avatar-anna · 2 days
Better Man
just a little angst about better man (taylor's version)!
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Sometimes in the middle of the night I can feel you again, but I just miss you and I just wish you were a better man.
You knew letting him past the front door was a bad idea, but you didn't always have the strongest resolve, especially when it came to your ex.
Harry was laying on the other side of your bed, his back turned to you as he slept soundly on familiar sheets. You should've been asleep, but it didn't come. So you stayed awake, staring at Harry's back as it rose and fell. You admired his broad shoulders, the constellation of freckles all over, the birthmark. It was a familiar canvas, but it wasn't yours anymore. Him being here didn't change that.
"I can feel you staring," Harry mumbled, words pushed together like he was still half asleep.
"Sorry," you said before turning over.
There were only a few beats of silence before you heard sheets rustling as Harry shifted and draped an arm across you. The scent of his cologne was dizzying as he pressed a kiss to the crown of your head.
"Out with it then," he said, sounding a little more awake.
"I don't know what you mean."
"I know you, Y/n. You sleep like the dead unless something is on your mind."
He was right, of course, but that was part of the problem. He knew you too well.
"I just…miss you, that's all."
And God did you miss him. Harry was…well, you thought he was everything. For years, the two of you were inseparable, so incredibly in sync with each other. Harry brought out the best in you, made you comfortable in your own skin. He made you feel seen and taken care of and loved.
Until he didn't.
Breaking up with Harry was the hardest thing you'd ever done. It was messy, he didn't see it coming—which was another problem of its own—there were periods where you would somehow end up sleeping in each other's homes for days at a time afterwards, and the periods when those days ended felt soul crushing. Losing him felt like losing a part of yourself. Harry loved you, that was never a question. He just…he wasn't what you needed anymore.
"I miss you too. Constantly," he said. "But you don't have to, you know. Miss me. I've always been right here."
You kissed his arm. "I know, but we broke up for a reason, Harry."
He sighed, because he never could grasp why things ended, he couldn't figure out why you would ever want to leave him. As much as you loved each other, you were on different pages, wanted different things, became different people—or rather, he changed and you stayed the same. Harry was at a point in his career where the whole world was at his fingertips, and he wanted it too, wanted to reach and reach and reach. You didn't blame him for that, he was good at what he did, out of this world. But he'd made promises before, when he was just yours. When the world called, he changed his mind, and he wanted you to change yours with him.
Part of you knew that perhaps he'd made those promises out of fear of losing you, that he wasn't the type to believe in a simple kind of love. It always had to be more with Harry. And perhaps he wasn't aware, but you knew it was because he was afraid of love, of letting people see the worst parts of him along with the best. You knew that and fell in love with him anyway. He would be the one to break your heart but you let him do it happily.
"I love you. Can't that be enough?"
You did your best to hide a sniffle. "I wish it was, but something has always held you back from me," you said, your thumb running along his arm. "I won't settle for anything less than what I deserve."
"Then why keep letting me in?"
"Because you're a hard man to say no to, Harry Styles," you laughed, but it was more sad than humorous. Even as you talked about being apart, all you wanted to do was pull him even closer. In a lot of ways, Harry still felt like home. You were safe right there in bed wrapped up in him. "And despite my best efforts, I'm still in love with you."
Harry sighed and pulled you closer to his chest. "I want you. I can't even think about anyone else. It makes no sense for us to be broken up when we both want the same thing."
"But we don't," you said. "You want me on the sidelines cheering you on with no ambitions of my own."
"That's not—"
"You want me to watch while others throw themselves at you and pretend like it's fine because it's all for show. You want me to be another trophy in your collection, Harry, and I—I'm so much more than that."
You twisted around to face him, only to find that there were tears lining his eyes. You hated seeing him cry. It always twisted your gut into a tight knot.
"Is that really what you think of me?" he asked, sounding hurt, betrayed.
"You told me you loved me, that you wanted me in your life, but I was never a part of it," you said.
Harry had promised that nothing would ever change, that he only wanted to take on the world if he had you by his side. And you believed him at first, but somehow you'd fallen to the wayside. He left you to fend for yourself at parties with people you didn't know, took on more opportunities and projects that kept him and you apart for longer periods of time, going out almost every night and sleeping through the day, leaving you such little time alone with him. Sometimes it felt like the only way to see him was in an interview or music video.
And the moments when you had him all to yourself were perfect. He was completely and totally yours. He doted on you, took you on dates, made you breakfast in bed. He made you feel like the luckiest girl in the world, and in those moments, you knew he loved you, that he would never be tempted by anyone else. Harry really was yours, you could feel it with every cell of your body.
But those moments were fleeting. He was gone for longer periods of time, and you didn't know how to make him understand that you needed him to stay longer than the few days off he got while touring. For a long time, those stolen moments were enough, until they weren't anymore. Harry stayed away longer, and you felt him slipping. The hand you had wasn't a winning one, so you folded before he could break your heart. Well, more than breaking up with him did.
This wasn't a life together, it was just his, and you were along for the ride.
"I wanted to build a life for us. I wanted to make myself into someone you would be proud of," he said.
Your smile was sad as you threaded a hand through his hair. "I've never not been proud of you. You've always been enough, H, I don't know why you've never seen it."
To say Harry was complicated was an understatement. Even when you met he had his fair share of demons. But everyone did, and you loved him as he was. As he began to gain notoriety, he began reinventing himself, to be someone that was loved by everyone. You knew who he was was enough, but you couldn't get through to him, he needed validation from the world. Once you realized how deep that insecurity was rooted, you knew you couldn't fix him, he needed to do it himself. And you deserved someone who wasn't so obsessed with seeking approval from others that they overlooked the people that loved them most.
"All I ever wanted was to give you the world," he whispered, his gaze trained on where your hand was still on his cheek.
"All I ever needed was you," you replied, moving your hand to rest it over his heart. "I'd like to believe that the man I met so many years ago is in there somewhere, but I can't count on waiting to see him again. I—I'm not going to put myself in a position to make you choose when I know what your choice would be."
You didn't really believe that fame was something that would ever change Harry, but it did. Or it preyed on his deepest insecurities, and he let it happen. You loved him, and it hurt to see him so broken, especially when he didn't even seem to realize it, but you couldn't hold his hand while he untangled his messes anymore.
"I love you," he said again. "I have never stopped loving you."
"I have seen every facet of who you are, and I've never loved you less, flaws and all," you said, and it was true. Despite everything, Harry was a hard person not to love, and there were moments where he made you feel like you were more important to him than anything else in his life. The secret smiles and stolen kisses and songs that were made just for you. He was the kind of person that burned so brightly, but that also meant he cast just as big a shadow, and those shadows could be all-consuming. "You're a good man, Harry. I just…I think I just deserve better than you."
Harry didn't argue with you about it. He didn't try to contradict you or give you a list of reasons why you should be together. He just hung his head and held you close, a shuddering breath escaping his lips. You let yourself rest your cheek against his chest, his skin warm and familiar. It felt so right to be there, you couldn't fathom anyone else feeling as good as Harry did. Maybe no one ever would.
Wrapped up like this, your eyes grew heavy, and it became harder and harder to stay awake. Harry hadn't fallen asleep yet, you could tell just by the erratic beat of his heart against your cheek. Moving your head just to the side, you kissed him right there, right where his heart laid beneath his chest. Your heart squeezed, as if it knew this was the last time you would be letting Harry through your front door.
Turning your head to the side once more, you let yourself fall asleep on his chest, a couple tears slipping past your tired eyes.
Still awake, Harry ran a hand through your hair, letting the silky soft strands fall through his fingers. "I can be better," he whispered. Not to you, but to himself. "I'll be better. I promise."
410 notes · View notes
duhstyles · 1 day
Reluctant Hearts | Part 2
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summary: in which Harry and y/n are forced to work together on a project despite their mutual hatred for one another | 4.7k words
a/n: make sure to read the part 1 first!! u guys are crazy, already over 300 notes on the first part??? i love y’all omg! anyways share your thoughts on this mini series so far, i'd love to hear it.
warning: enemies to lovers, slow burnish, mentions of ex, uni!harry, angst, harrys still a jerk, emotional abuse (lmk if i missed anything !!!)
Masterlist | Part 1 | Part 3 (lmk if you guys want another part)
By some force of the universe, me and Harry were able to come up with an agreeable plan on where and when to meet. It was the second class when I saw Harry for the first time that week since Melissa and Niall's post-class drink at the bar. "Okay, so when do you want to work on the project?" I asked Harry, hoping to finally get this over with.
"I don't know, when are you free?" Harry responded with a hint of annoyance in his voice.
"I have class in the mornings and work in the afternoons, so I'm pretty much free in the evenings," I reply, trying to keep my tone polite.
"Well, I have football (soccer) practice in the evenings, so that won't work," Harry says, sounding frustrated.
"Okay, how about this weekend?" I suggest.
"I have a game on Saturday, and I'm going out with friends on Sunday," Harry responds.
"Okay, what about Monday?" I ask, trying not to get too irked.
"I have a lab report due on Monday, so I'll be working on that all day," Harry says, sounding exasperated.
I can feel my patience running thin. "Harry, we need to work on this project. Can't you make time for it?" I say, trying to keep my voice steady.
"I am making time for it, I'm just busy," Harry retorts defensively.
I take a deep breath and try to stay calm. "Okay, what about Wednesday evenings? Can we meet at the library?"
Harry seems to consider this for a moment. "Yeah, I can do Wednesdays. What time?"
"Let's say seven  pm at the library. Does that work for you?" I ask, feeling a glimmer of hope.
"Yeah, that works," Harry says, sounding more agreeable.
"Great, I'll see you there," I say, relieved that we've finally made a plan. We parted ways, feeling relief of not being in his presence anymore, but a looming swirl in my stomach for Wednesdays at seven pm. 
As I walk into the library, I see Harry already sitting at a table with his laptop open and papers strewn across the table. I take a deep breath and walk over to him. "Hey," I say, trying to sound casual.
Harry looks up and gives me a nod. "Hey."
I pull out my laptop and start organizing my notes, I sense him watching me, his eyes like lasers that never stray. I try to ignore it and focus on my work, but it's hard not to feel self-conscious.
I steal a glance at him and see that he's furrowing his brows, staring intently at his laptop screen. I can't help but wonder what he's working on.
I try to break the silence. "So, what do you think we should focus on first?"
He looks up at me, his expression still serious. "I was thinking we could start with the literature review."
I nod and we both turn back to our laptops, starting to work on our individual tasks. I bathe in the awkward atmosphere between us, but I don't know how to break it. “Does he want us to-” 
Before I could even finish my sentence, I was interrupted, “Listen, if you're going to show up late, at least have the decency to be prepared and know what to do,” He emptily stares. 
Astonished, I checked the time on my phone. I haven't even been here for a full five minutes and he's already made a cynical remark, “It's literally 6:58, we agreed to meet at seven. I am not even late, frankly we’re both here early.” I am genuinely at a loss of words, it wasn't like I was going out of my way to make small talk with him, just trying to make sure I was doing the right section before putting my time and focus on it. Ok fine let's not talk. Rubbing away the headache that's beginning to form, and shift my body to not being directly in view of Harry to ease my own tensions. Someone shoot me now. 
Though the rest of the time surprisingly goes by smoothly, aka we did not bicker with each other because well we did not talk at all. It was to the point where I just highlighted and commented on the document instead of voicing my opinions, too defeated to even attempt starting up a conversation. 
I would steal glances at Harry and catch him staring at me. His eyes quickly dart away as he clears his throat, pretending to be engrossed in the book in front of him. I try to shake off the impression that he's judging me, but I can't help feeling self-conscious.
I can tell that Harry is an intelligent and dedicated student, and I don't want to disappoint him with my lack of knowledge on the subject. My writing portion was filled with highlighted one word comments from Harry letting me know to fix minor spelling errors or content information. I begin to doubt myself, wondering if I'm even capable of completing this project.
As the minutes tick by, we both continue to work in silence. I try to focus on the task at hand, but my mind keeps wandering to Harry. I wonder what he's thinking, what he's feeling, and why he seems so distant. Sue me for trying to understand why as such a people pleaser, this man was quite the opposite of pleased with me. And yes I know you can't please everyone, but at least I can make them not hate me. 
Harry seems content with the silence, no efforts of wanting to break through the wall that's separating us.
An hour rolled by, and we both began to pack up our things and prepare to leave the library. Sure I was disappointed in still being in square zero with Harry, but we both managed to be in the same small shared space without actively ripping at eachothers throats, so there's a win. 
As it comes to no surprise Melissa and Niall officially started dating. Granted they have been basically dating this whole time but did not want to label it so quick after meeting. Melissa and I were having a girls night at our place when she “broke” the news. It was a much needed girls night, being able to spend some quality time after beginning the semester that has already managed to exhaust us with the amount of studying and assignments we have to do.
We had the wine flowing and our favorite rom-coms queued up, ready to go. Pizza has been ordered and a striking idea was composed to create a fort in the living room to lay in to watch the movies. I blame the wine for the way we’re acting as little school girls, struggling to push the couch to make room, gathering all the cushions and blankets we could find. Melissa skips back in the room with fairy lights that she is determined to hang on top of the many blankets we used to construct the roof of the fort. Once successful, we both stand back to admire our very warm, cozy, and somehow still standing fort, feeling very carefree and happy. 
"Do you remember when we tried to make that homemade pizza and it turned out terrible?" Melissa randomly strikes up.
"Oh my gosh, how could I forget? We almost burned the whole complex down," I chuckle wide-eyed at the memory. We both dissolve into laughter. “Which is why we’re ordering pizza this time” I add with a stern pointed look. 
Pizza soon arrived after, we nestled inside the fort, cuddling as we watched the movies, We laughed and cried along with the characters on the screen. It's moments like these that make me grateful for Melissa's friendship. She always knows how to make me feel better and lift my spirits. Before long the movie became background noise as we chatted away. Lying on the floor with our feet sticking out, we talk about everything and nothing. 
 "So, I have some news," she says with a beaming smile . "Niall and I are officially dating!"
“What? No way!” I faked a shock expression, my hands cupping my face to add dramatic effect. Melissa shoves me slightly, crimson coating her face. “But really, that's amazing!" I exclaim. "I'm so happy for you two!" I feel a warmth in my chest, knowing that one of my closest friends has found someone who makes her happy.
Melissa's face lights up even more at my response. "Thanks, Y/N! I'm so excited about it. He's really amazing, you know?" I can't help but feel a sense of pride for Melissa. She deserves to be with someone who treats her well, someone who respects and supports her in all that she does. And from what she's told me and what I’ve seen about Niall, he seems like an incredible guy. Melissa goes on to tell me all about how they became official, the sweet things he's done for her, and how happy she feels when she's with him. I listen intently, feeling genuinely interested in her story and eager to hear more.
As the night went on, we finished the bottle of wine and the conversation shifted to me when Melissa brought up the topic of my ex-boyfriend and how he had treated me. I confided in her about the emotional abuse I had suffered during our relationship and how I was struggling to move on from it. 
I remember the first time Riley said something hurtful to me. At first, he was charming and funny, but then he became unrecognizable. The person I loved slowly turned into someone who would always cut me down with his words. It started with small jabs, but it quickly escalated to full-blown emotional abuse. He would constantly criticize me, belittle me, and make me feel like I was nothing without him. Every time I tried to stand up for myself, he would twist my words and make me feel like I was the crazy one. The worst part was that he knew exactly what to say to tear me down and make me doubt myself. I lost all my confidence, and it took me a long time to realize that his words had an impact on me.
Melissa listened to me and offered me her support, telling me how proud she was of me for standing up for myself and getting out of the relationship. I'm genuinely happy for her and Niall, but a small part of me can't help but feel a little envious. I want what she has, someone who loves and cares for me just as much as Niall does for her.
Melissa notices my change in demeanor and quickly reassures me. "Don't worry, Y/N. You'll find someone amazing, just like I did with Niall. You deserve nothing but the best." Her words make me feel better, and I smile gratefully at her, I couldn't imagine going through something like that without her. I feel appreciative for this moment, this time spent with my friend, just talking and enjoying each other's company.
Eventually, we started to get tired, and we decided to sleep in our little makeshift fort for the night. As we lay there feeling safe and warm, I couldn't help but think about how lucky I was to have Melissa in my life, someone who was always there for me and made me feel loved and supported. She was my rock, my confidant, and my best friend. And even though life can be challenging and uncertain, I know that as long as we have each other, we'll be okay. The night had been just what I needed to unwind and feel a little more like myself again.
And with a blink of an eye, Wednesday evening has rolled around. I poked my head out slightly before I stepped out of my apartment, scanning the hallway for any sign of Harry. With my luck that the universe seems to give me and enjoy, I would run into him more than needed. I mean it is already bad enough that we live in the same off-campus building, but better yet his apartment is two doors down from mine. Although I find it pretty funny not that I am the one constantly on guard when it comes to him, even his name alone brings an unwanted anxiety in my stomach, and no not the butterflies type, more like flies.
Despite our horrible first couple interactions, I would still attempt to engage him in conversation to just be civilized, yet again like all the other times he would shut me down with a sharp one-word comment. It was frustrating and hurtful especially as we were doing this for our best friends, I would not fathom what I even did to him to get him to not like me. Eventually though, I stopped trying, there was no reason for me to go out of my way to make it bearable to be in his presence, and just gave him the same energy back. I would dismiss him if he ever, which he didn’t really, talk to me, and when we would converse it was jabs being thrown at one another much to Melissas and Nialls disappointment.
As I make my way down the hallway, I see Harry step out of his apartment wearing his usual scowl and fitted clothes that look so good on him, his curls framing his face. I can't deny that he's attractive, but I can't stand his personality. I groan internally as he notices me and starts walking towards me with a sly grin accompanying him. Talk about luck, oh the universe just loves to laugh and cause unnecessary problems for me.
This has happened a handful of times since I learned that Harry is quite literally living in such close quarters to me. Leaving to attend class, I would see him also exiting his apartment, then would have to retreat back inside to give me a couple minutes until I know he's far enough I won't run into him going to campus. Or when I sprinted to catch the elevator before it shut, just to find out Harry is inside and the one who held his hand out to halt the doors from closing on me. Yet once he realized it was me who aided in not missing the elevator he would groan and retreat his hand back so quickly that it gave me whiplash.
"Evening, Muffin," he says, his voice dripping with sarcasm once he reaches me. My jaw clenches as I bite my lip from making a comment and giving him the satisfaction of knowing it still bothers me. That stupid name. The nickname was born when I sent a muffin flying across the lecture classroom. I was walking into the lecture hall with a muffin in one hand and my notes in the other. But, as soon as I took a step, I tripped on my own foot and sent the muffin flying out of my hand. It went rolling down the aisle and ended up right at Harry's feet.
He picked up the muffin, examining it for a moment before turning to me with a smirk. "Well, well, well, look who we have here. Muffin."
I groaned in embarrassment and tried to play it cool. "Ha ha, very funny, Harry," I said, rolling my eyes.
But he continued to tease me throughout the lecture, calling me Muffin every chance he got. I could feel my cheeks burning with embarrassment, and I could tell that everyone around us was starting to notice. After class, I confronted Harry about his constant teasing. "Why do you have to be so annoying all the time, Harry?" I asked, frustrated.
He just laughed. "Come on, Muffin, don't be mad. It's just a nickname. Besides, you have to admit, it's kind of fitting after what happened earlier."
I scowled at him, but secretly, I couldn't help but find his teasing a little bit endearing. It was the only time Harry had happened to be smiling and laughing in front of me, though it still came at my own expense. "Fine, but only if you promise to stop calling me that in public," I said, crossing my arms, throwing my head back to display my annoyance.
Harry grinned. "Deal. But in private, you're still Muffin to me." He winked. And with that, he walked away, leaving me blushing and shaking my head. What the hell was that?
We continue down the apartment hallway in silence, heading to the library to work on our assignment. The destination not far enough for me to make the effort to dig through my backpack for my headphones to tune out the slightly uncomfortable silence that looms over us. Harry constantly bumps into me as we walk down the path. From knowing Harry for the amount of time I have, I learned this man cannot walk properly and always ends up diagonally regardless of the path being a straight shot. “Quit it” I exclaim, stopping in the middle of the sidewalk to let him go ahead.
When we get there, we both make a beeline to the table in the back corner, far away from any distractions, the only thing we managed to silently agree on when we first began working together. I pull out my laptop and start typing away, trying my best to ignore Harry's presence. But of course it's not long before we start bickering. Harry keeps interrupting me, criticizing my ideas and telling me what to do.
"I don't understand why you can't just listen to my ideas for once," I speak calmly and steadily, masking the exasperation I feel.
"Because your ideas are terrible," Harry retorts, his tone laced with mockery. "Honestly, do you even know what you're talking about?"
I gritted my teeth, my annoyance with him growing by the second. "Of course I know what I'm talking about, Harry. I've done my research, and I think my ideas are just as valid as yours."
He lets out a loud scoff, his eyes narrowing. "Please, Y/N. Your ideas are about as useful as a chocolate teapot." It's quite clear that we don't see eye-to-eye on anything.
Fists clenching as the feeling of anger boils inside of me. "You know what, Harry? Maybe if you weren't so closed-minded and actually listened to me, we could make some real progress on this project."
He leans back in his chair, a smug expression on his face. "I think I'll stick to my own ideas, thanks. At least they won't lead us down the path of failure." The more he speaks I feel my muscles tightening, god can he just shut up.
“Well if you stopped interrupting me then maybe this could be over and done with, then we won't have to see each other.”
"What's your problem?" he snaps.
"You're my problem," I fire back. "You can't just come in here and take over. We're supposed to be working together."
“Well if you could stop being incompetent, then I wouldn't have to consistently fix everything you do wrong.” I bristle at his words, feeling a familiar sense of inadequacy creeping up on me. I let out a frustrated sigh, knowing that this argument isn't going anywhere. Working with Harry was definitely a real challenge, but only a couple more weeks left so I let out a breath trying to calm myself.
Harry's words send a wave of emotions through me, hitting me where they hurt. My confidence has been struggling ever since my ex-boyfriend, Riley. He was always quick to belittle me, making me feel stupid and useless. I remember countless nights spent in tears, trying to make sense of his hurtful words. His snide comments about my appearance, intelligence, and even my hobbies always cut deep. It's like he took pleasure in seeing me suffer. He made me doubt myself at every turn, and it's taken me so long to regain the self-confidence he stole from me. He was always putting me down and telling me I wasn't good enough. And now, Harry's words are triggering those same feelings.
“Fuck you.” Reaching for my papers, books, and laptop, I began packing it all up wanting to get the hell out of there as possible. My face flushed with anger but also my head swarming with not only Harry's comment but also Rileys words he would throw at my face. My throat felt like it was closing up on me as I swing my bag over onto my shoulders. I rush out of the library leaving no room for Harry to spew out another jab.
The sound of jingling keys unlocking my apartment was the only thing I could focus on, trying to avoid the tears threatening to spill down my cheeks from exposing me to my entire floor. With a pounding heart and blood rushing not helping my case, I finally got the door unlocked and shoved inside. Why did Harry have to be so rude and condescending  all the time? I hated him, I really did. And yet, here I was, stuck working with him on this project. 
Sitting in the living room, gaping at me stunned was both Melissa and Niall, immediately noticing my red, puffy eyes. Melissa sprang from her cozy spot next to Niall on the couch, sensing my distress as soon as I walked in the door, and rushed towards me, enveloping me in a much needed hug with a comforting hand on my back. “What's wrong?” Niall questioned, I looked up from Melissa's tight embrace and noticed Niall removing my backpack, then leading all of us back to the couch. 
I open my mouth to speak, but the words just won't come out. My heart is racing, and I feel like I'm going to be sick. I take another deep breath and try again. I couldn't bring myself to tell them what had happened with Harry, so I just muttered something about feeling overwhelmed and stressed out, my voice barely above a whisper.
"Is it because of Harry?" Melissa probed gently, knowing me too well.
I scoffed. "Of course it's because of Harry. He's impossible to work with, always criticizing everything I do."
Niall spoke up, "I know he can be a bit grumpy, but he's really not a bad guy once you get to know him. Maybe you guys just need to put your differences aside and work together for the sake of the project."
“Differences!?” I exclaimed, throwing my hands in the air, “I wish it was about differences, he's always attacking me. Half the time, no wait, every time, I did nothing wrong.” My voice begins to shake as I look at Melissa silently communicating with her, knowing she understood. 
“Is this about Riley?” She questioned but ultimately knew the answer. I gave a weak nod, Niall giving a tight lip reaction. He knew what happened between Riley and I, drunk me one night decided he should know, and now he does. Niall was someone you can get close with quickly, one of the easiest people to talk to and always made me laugh. He always had a listening ear and gave the best advice. Our friendship bloomed, and I found myself comfortable with him knowing about Riley when confiding in with Melissa. There was just something about Niall and Melissa that made me feel comfortable and safe.
“I don't know, Harry's words tend to trigger and start to sound like stuff Riley would say to me too.” I lean my head on Melissa, “It's just that I finally found myself after Riley tore me down and now it feels like I am back again where I started, except with Harry.” 
“I'll talk to him,” Niall declares, eyes bright. 
“NO! Don't say anything I rather he does not have another thing to spin around back at me,” I huff. Appreciating Niall's attempt to help but knowing that conclusively would be worse in the end. “Guess I'll just stick through this stupid assignment and then really just never speak to him again - no offense Niall.”
“Yeah, I dont get why he's such a dick to you,” Niall agrees, though I notice a flash of realization in Niall's eyes but it went as quickly as it came. Truth was, I didn't have much of a choice. I needed to pass this class, and Harry was my assigned partner. So, with a heavy sigh, I agreed to give it another try.  
Over the next few days, with Melissa and Niall's encouragement, Harry and I went back to our usual dynamic. Harry didn’t necessarily apologize for his words, but his rude and unnecessary comments did subdued, which meant mine did too. Look, mine were just self defensive against his attacks, uh usually. It's almost like he realizes how much he's hurt me with his words, and he tries to keep them in check. It's a small effort, but I appreciate it nonetheless. Granted we were still sarcastic and snarky with each other. We continue to work on our project together, but don't get me wrong, there's still an underlying tension between us. 
Lying in bed, I scroll through my phone, procrastinating the work I should be doing, when a notification pops up from a groupchat with Melissa, Niall, and an unknown number. I furrow my eyebrows, wondering what this might be about, I click on the chat and read the message.
Melissa: Hey guys! 
How about bowling tomorrow?
Niall: It’s been a while since we've all hung out 
It’ll be so much fun
Unknown: Can’t sorry I got stuff
Niall: Shut up Harry no you don’t
I literally know your whole schedule
You’re coming
My heart drops as I realize what's happening. The unknown number clearly Harry could only mean one thing, Melissa and Niall are trying to get Harry and me to hang out more outside of class. My mind starts racing with thoughts. This is not a good idea, what the hell are they thinking? 
I shot out of bed and pace around my room. I began typing, searching for a believable excuse to get out of this. 
Me: Sounds fun, but I’ll have to check my schedule 
I scour my mind for something that Melissa wont call my bluff on, but before I could, she already sixth-sensed it. 
Melissa: Y/N don't worry I already checked for you :) 
You’re free!!! 
Niall: Wow perfect, who knew we were all free 
It’s a plan 
Me: You both are insufferable together 
Harry: I can hardly contain my excitement (this is sarcasm fyi) 
A notification buzzes letting the group know that Harry had reacted to my message with the two exclamation points bubble effect. I laughed over the fact Harry felt the need to explain his sarcasm over text.
Melissa: We love you guys too <3
Both me and Harry disliked Melissa’s message. 
I flop back onto my bed and groan, staring up at the ceiling. I know Melissa and Niall well, but the thought of being in a noisy, crowded bowling alley with Harry, pretending like my existence doesn't bother him, for reasons still unknown, makes me feel sick.
Uneasy thoughts race through my mind: What if I do something stupid and embarrass myself in front of him, again? I would rather not have another nickname arise. What if this makes things worse? What if I just don't show up? Well now that could work, wait no except Melissa will probably track me down and drag me there herself. 
With a sigh, I toss my phone aside, trying to rid the thoughts of tomorrow to save the last piece of peace I have left. 
a/n: whew so harry is still a jerk. please let me know how you feel about this story so far, I'd love to hear your thoughts! feedback, likes, replies, repost are ALWAYS appreciated :)
also another side note part 3 will take a bit longer to post since (1) i haven’t started writing it yet (2) i have a HUGE exam this Wednesday which i have been procrastinating to study for but i really don’t know anything so that will be where my focus lies for the next days
if u read this far then ur a real one haha sorry for my blabbering, love you all, my little muffins lol
reluctant hearts taglist: @venomsvl @mypolicemanharryyy
174 notes · View notes
planethallie · 2 days
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Partied a Lil’ Too Hard
"Alright big guy," Niall wheezed as an unstable Harry began drooping from his drunken grip, "lean on me, that's it, buddy."
They were both drunk; Harry more on the plastered side. Tonight was Niall’s birthday celebration and he'd been drinking like it was his 21st birthday party and not Niall's. The said birthday boy was holding up Harry's entire body weight on his right side as they stumbled down his friend's lamppost-lighten street.
"Here we are, H." The blonde pushed Harry into his front garden when they arrived at his and Lucille's house and had him lean against the frame of the front door. Before knocking, Niall fished his phone out from his pocket; it was about to hit two A.M on the dot and he winced. The likelihood of Lucille being awake at this hour was far from high.
Despite his doubt, Niall rapped two of his knuckles on the oak and stepped back while pursing his lips. He scanned the house for any lights or sign of life inside and breathed a sigh of relief when the hallway light beamed through the glass on the front door. Rustling of keys was heard on the other side.
Niall's drunk eyes wandered over to Harry who's body was slumped and looked like it was about to kneel over. His chest hitched with a drunk hiccup.
"Mate, brush your teeth when you get in; for Lucille's sake if not yours." Niall grimaced at the putrid stench of booze practically radiating off his friend.
"Shu'thefuckup. ." Was what Harry slurred back and swallowed warily afterwards with a hand placed on his chest.
Lucille eventually opened the door, revealing herself wrapped up in her short, silk dressing gown. Her hair was falling out of its plait and she was squinting with tiredness and confusion under the warm hallway light.
"Hey, Luce." Niall started. He eyed Harry's fiancé carefully as he helped Harry stand straighter. "Sorry for waking you; he's absolutely hammered."
"I can. .see that. . ." She stepped back and allowed Niall to nudge Harry inside. "Did he forget it was your birthday party and not his?"
"Ello, m'lovie." Harry slurred. Lucille could only attempt a smile but it turned into more of a grimace as she stared down her fiancé; he was shirtless, sweaty and his jeans were low and showing his boxers.
"Niall, where's his shirt?" She was passed Harry's t-shirt which was clearly congealed with a portion of last night's dinner and drinks down its front. She sighed and draped it over the stair banister. "Well, thanks for bringing him back. Guess I'm on babysitting duty for tonight." Lucille folded her arms.
"Well he's your fiancé!" Niall sarcastically saluted as he backed out of the house. Lucille shoved his chest and pushed her front door shut, leaving her and Harry alone.
Now that Niall had left, she unwrapped her dressing gown and draped it across the banister on top of Harry's soiled shirt. She was left in a see-through white tank top that was bunched up around her waist from sleep and a pair of plain black panties. She was braless which meant her nipples were poking at the thin material.
Harry cheekily cupped one of her boobs and smirked.
"Y'look so pretty, Baby. . ." Harry pulled her into his chest and kissed her hair. He'd always been a real cuddly person when he'd get drunk.
Lucille rubbed his bare back with a dry laugh but quickly froze and grimaced when he suppressed a burp into her hair. Her eyes widened and she pulled back, staring up at Harry, who only looked back at her innocently.
"Gross, H!" She chuckled and pulled away, "it's bed time for you.
"M'not tired, Luce!" He whined, "jus' wanna kiss you all over, Baby. . . my pretty girl."
Lucille gently took his hands from her chest, "No chance, Mister. Sleep. Now."
Harry eventually trudged up the wooden hill and stripped his jeans off and climbed into bed. He'd actually fallen twice while trying to actually clamber onto the mattress but finally got settled with Lucille's help. She too climbed in and tried tucking him under the duvet,
"No, 's too hot." He pouted and rolled over onto his side, his back facing Lucille.
"Too hot for cuddles?"
Harry's ears seemed to perk up and he rolled back over and spooned his fiancé. She giggled softly and stroked his cheek.
"Did y'have fun tonight?" Lucille whispered softly, breathing in his cologne and alcohol-mixed scent. The answer she received was a soft snore. Her face was gobsmacked and she rolled over with a joking scoff, squirming into Harry's big spoon and drifted off to sleep.
When Harry woke up later on the same morning, he was met with a face full of sunshine coming through the window. He groaned and squinted while shakily covering his eyes with his hands.
Lucille was already awake and sat up against the headboard on her laptop when her hungover fiancé aroused from his post-drunk slumber. She set the computer aside and stroked Harry's hair back.
"Hey. . . how're you feeling?" Her voice cooed quietly. The reply she got was another grumble and her fingers pinched her reading glasses to rest them on the top of her bed head.
"The sun? Wha'the fuck?"
"Sorry, I opened the curtains; thought it would be good for you to have some vitamin-D." She shrugged slightly, "I can close them if you like?"
"Yes, please." Harry mumbled. Lucille padded over to the window and drew the curtains shut before climbing back into bed. "Sleep well? It's nearly one in the afternoon!"
Harry slouched himself against the headboard and rubbed the sleep from his eye as he recollected his thoughts. "Not bad; threw-up at some point though.."
Lucille frowned and worry crossed her features. She shifted slightly so that she could fully face Harry; she couldn't help the flow of concerned questions that rambled out her mouth.
"You did? Where? Are you still feeling sick?"
"In the bucket." Harry simply replied with a yawn tailing. Lucille's frown only deepened; what bucket?
"What bucket, Harry?" She began subtly glancing around their bedroom for a puddle of stomach contents soaked into their carpet.
"The bucket you left out for me, Lucille." Harry shortly snapped, his hand flopping to from his face to his side in frustration. He looked up at his fiancé and was slightly frightened at the complete confusion written on her face. "Lucille. The bucket at the end of the bed!"
"Babe, I didn't—" Lucille paused and crawled a little to peer over the edge of the bed.
She had been correct; Lucille hadn't left a bucket out for Harry that night which meant that the said 'bucket' was actually their round laundry basket with a pile of freshly-folded and clean clothes inside. "Fuck, Harry!"
Lucille rounded the bed and picked up her basket as Harry swung his legs of the edge of the bed and sat up. She had a look of disgust and horror on her face as she shoved her clean clothes under Harry's chin. His eyes widened.
"Shi-i-i-it. . ." He drew out and scratched his forehead shamefully, "God, I'm so sorry." Crusty, half-dried vomit soaked into the t-shirt on top of the folded pile and Harry had to swallow a gag from erupting while he stared at his mess.
"Luce, I'm really sorry but can you please—" He swallowed cautiously and pushed the plastic washing basket away, "—get it away; it's making me feel weird."
Lucille sighed and dropped the basket to the floor and sat on the edge of the bed next time him, running her hand through his hair. He leaned into her touch and shut his eyes momentarily. "Fancy some breakfast then?” She offered softly but she knew the answer she was going to get.
"I'm good."
"I was thinking pancakes? . ."
"No—seriously I'm good."
"With thick maple syrup drizzled on top. ." Harry gagged (ever so slightly) at the description of Lucille's ideal breakfast, earning a laugh from her.
"Alright, alright; I'll stop." She glanced at Harry's features. His face was an uncomfortable grey colour and his hair was suddenly plastered with sweat to his forehead, making it look like he had some kind of bowl haircut. "Hey. . .You 'kay?"
Her hand slowly began rubbing up and down his bare back while Harry slowly swallowed with a weary shake of his head.
He felt her lean across him and opened his eyes, only to be greeted by a glass of foggy water. She told him to take a sip. Before he could decline, Harry realised how dry and stale his mouth and throat felt and took the glass in both hands.
The water slid down his throat; it felt good and refreshing so he took another two sips before placing the glass back down on his bedside table.
"Ergh—god. . ." Harry grimaced, his green eyes blinked slowly as he stared at a spot of the carpet intensely. The water wasn't feeling good in his stomach as it did going down his throat.
"What's wrong?" Lucille questioned, tickling the back of his neck softly.
"The water. ." His throat bobbed and Lucille watched the grey fade into green in his complexion. "it's hit my stomach like a rock."
Lucille hesitated before opening her mouth to suggest laying back down. That was then Harry quickly stood up and slowed his walking pace when he began heading for the bedroom door.
"Where're you going?!"
An incoherent reply drew quiet when Harry walked down the landing and swiftly shut the bathroom close behind him. Lucille stayed seated, twiddling her engagement ring while listening for Harry to come back from the bathroom.
The agonising retch from down the hall had her standing up and bounding into the bathroom. Harry was knelt in front of the toilet with his head hanging just above the bowl; his mouth was hanging open and his shoulders rolled back as he heaved up his second bout.
Lucille swore under her breath and bent down to smooth back Harry's sweat-soaked hair from his face. With her own hair in her eyes, she scanned the bathroom counter for Harry's mini claw clip and briskly pinned back his fringe. She knelt down behind him and rubbed the nape of his neck while Harry panted over the toilet. He moaned and shifted closer to his safe-haven, holding his head in one of his propped-up arms on the toilet seat.
"Shhh, you're okay. ." Lucille cooed to her fiancé. Harry barely felt her kiss and rest her forehead on his bare, sweaty back before he rocked forward with another dire retch.
"Lucille." Harry called for her between bouts of projectile vomiting and her heart broke; she'd never heard Harry sound so vulnerable before. She watched in pity as he reached down and began rubbing his bare stomach while profusely spitting into his mess in the water.
"I know, Baby; just get it all up and you'll feel so much better. . ."
"'S all jus' alcohol—no food." Harry breathily burped at the swirling sight of his sick in the toilet. Lucille reached up and flushed away last night's mistakes before pulling Harry into her lap and tucking his head into her chest.
"Do you feel any better?" She whispered, stroking his hairline. He gulped and nodded, his warm breath fanning her collarbone. Lucille smiled to herself and rubbed slow, firm circles alone his back.
The two sat for a few minutes in comfortable silence, Lucille rocking them both side to side ever so slightly.
Harry pulled away from her touch and sat up after a while and Lucille was on high alert, thinking he was going to be sick again. Her panic settled when he cracked his cheeky smile and tucked her hair behind her ear,
"Lucille, I think I'm ready to stomach those pancakes of yours."
125 notes · View notes
hstyleshoney · 1 day
Loves Me Loves Me Not - five.
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“You said you were feeling a bit poorly today and I… Well, I thought maybe you could use one of those.” “Thank you. You didn’t have to.”  “I know."
AU fake-dating, bartenderry // Harry is a bartender and new in town. A joke with her friends turns into reality after too much tequila, but nothing goes according to plan.
And what the hell is going on? 
word count: 9.5K // language, a little bit of angst, consumption of alcohol 
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Y/N had been distracted lately. Her plan to make Reece fall in love with her was somehow getting further and further down on her to-do list.
And she needed to get back on track.
It had been two weeks since her Sunday with Harry. Two weeks since she told him about her family’s tragic history. Somewhere between texting the grumpy man silly little updates about her days and dealing with Arlos teasing comments about how much she was looking at her phone - Y/N had kind of forgotten about Reece and her plan.
So much so that when the blond hunk of her dreams came stumbling into the salon, his skin glowing and glistening from sweat due to working outside in the spring sun, she was completely stunned. Not because he looked absolutely gorgeous, but because the jitters running through her reminded her of his existence. He had bought her another cup of coffee, and for the first time, it was exactly how she liked it.
She needed to get back on track.
As soon as Reece left she had texted Harry to tell him about the brief encounter, to let him know that the plan needed to keep going. To which he simply replied, “you’re insane.”
She told herself that Reece must be jealous because she hadn’t paid him much attention lately. She had been more focused on Harry and it made Reece jealous enough to finally get her a cup of coffee she could drink.
Unintentionally, her plan had been working.
Because texting Harry silly little updates hadn’t been a part of her original plan. After their day together, eating croissants and brownies, she truly felt like he was starting to open up to her and wasn’t completely opposed to the idea of being friends.
Perhaps calling them friends was a bit strong, but he always replied and had made no indication that he wanted her to stop. His replies were usually short, which was not really a surprise. While he seemingly refused to use any other emoji than the thumbs up, he never ignored her and her excessive use of different emojis. He always made sure to send her a reply, no matter how pointless her text had been.
However, something that very much took her by surprise was when Harry showed up at BLOOM, looking a little uncomfortable and holding a paper bag with Pebble’s logo printed across the front.
Y/N was busy finishing up with a client by the cash register when she heard the bell above the door chime. As soon as she looked up and saw his familiar frame her brain was scrambled. Arlo and Margot’s eyes burning gaze on her definitely didn’t help either. Her cheeks felt hot as she tried to focus on the client in front of her and make sure she put in the right amount they needed to pay for their appointment. 
Harry stood awkwardly by the entrance, scratching the back of his neck while he waited for her to be done. His brown locks were a mess from the wind outside and he was dressed in the same black outfit he usually wore for work.
Suddenly the room felt a lot smaller than it had been just moments ago. Harry’s presence in the salon was astonishingly noticeable, his dark clothing and broody demeanor stood out amongst the soft colorful interior around him. Y/N had to triple-check that she hadn’t messed up on the computer in front of her. She was used to being startled by Reece while at work, but seeing Harry come in was not something she had ever expected. He had never given her the impression that he would willingly put himself in that situation. 
And trying to work while he was right there, his eyes examining her every move was nerve-wracking. It was like her first day at work all over again. When the client was done paying Y/N was nearly exhausted. 
But as the client was leaving, Harry finally moved forward and came up to the front desk, giving her a tight-lipped smile while greeting her with a small nod. 
“Harry,” she tried to not sound as startled as she actually was. Texting him and getting short replies in return wasn’t as daunting as being around him. She found herself being less nervous when his piercing green eyes weren’t right on her. 
Harry showing up unannounced at her work was something else entirely. Something she hadn’t prepared for, especially not when both Arlo and Margot were so close and could eavesdrop on the entire thing. 
Then the memory of his comforting hand on her knee as she told him about her family pushed itself to the center of her mind. It dawned on her that she hadn’t actually seen him since, and she didn’t know what to say. Ideally, her two friends, who knew nothing of her scheme, wouldn’t have been right behind them when she saw him again. 
Y/N leaned forward against the counter in an attempt to act casual and cool. Behind her she could hear her two friends giggling and sniggering between themselves, their eyes still clearly focused on her and the interaction that was about to take place. “Hi, what are you doing here?” 
“Hey,” he spoke with a low, almost reluctant, tone. Y/N watched as the muscles in his throat moved when he paused and swallowed harshly. Her eyes followed the contour of his sharp jawline up to his face and noticed his cheeks flushed in a light color of pink. “I brought you this.” 
He handed her the paper bag over the counter and Y/N raised an eyebrow questioningly as she took it from him. A smile immediately tugged at her lips as she looked inside and saw a single brownie wrapped up in a small plastic container. Harry cleared his throat before speaking again. “You said you were feeling a bit poorly today and I…” he trailed off, scrunching up his nose a little, looking for the right words before speaking again. “Well, I thought maybe you could use one of those.”
Behind her, Margot let out a not-so-subtle squeak. Y/N threw her friends a quick glare over her shoulder to shut them up before turning to Harry again.
“Thank you,” she gave him a small smile. “You didn’t have to.”
“I know,” he mumbled and shrugged lightly. “I was just passing by and got myself something, so...“
A silence fell between them and Harry diverted his eyes away from hers. He had his regular White Deer t-shirt and black trousers on. An outfit she had gotten used to seeing him in behind the bar and associated with his stoic frown, yet, there was a notable difference about him. He came across as far less intimidating in the bright lights of the salon. The way he continued to uncomfortably shift his weight from one foot to the other, not knowing where to put his hands, was a side of him she hadn’t seen before.
Before Y/N could dwell on it though she watched as Harry suddenly tensed up, his gaze landing on something over her shoulder, and without looking back she knew exactly what was happening.
“Aw, look at you two little lovebirds,” Arlo’s sweet voice rang out between the four of them and Y/N felt his arm fall around her shoulders as he squeezed up next to her. “Aren’t you just the cutest.”
“Arlo,” Y/N warned quietly and shoved a light elbow into her friend.
“What?” he said, his body shaking with laughter next to hers. Y/N rolled her eyes.
“Hiya! I’m Margot,” her more sensible friend cut in cheerfully and put her hand out towards Harry to shake. “I don’t think I've had the chance to introduce myself to you yet.”
Harry stood frozen for a bit before eventually reaching out to shake Margot’s hand.
“Harry,” he mumbled and Y/N watched as he took a subtle step back after shaking Margot’s hand.
“It‘s so nice to finally meet you properly,” Margot continued excitedly, not having noticed Harry moving away from them slightly. “It’s always so busy at the pub and I’ve heard so much about you from both Ruby and Y/N!”
Harry glanced at Y/N with a wary look, his green eyes already showing signs of regret about coming into the salon.
And even though his visit had brought her a brownie; a part of her wished he hadn’t shown up either. Harry being in the salon was the first time she would have to fake it right in front of her friends. They had only seen the two of them talk from a distance before. How was she supposed to keep up her scheme without a plan of action?
With no time to prepare it was bound to be a disaster.
“Have you now?” Arlo spoke up again before Y/N could protest the claim being made. “Because this one,” he squeezed Y/N closer to himself. “Won’t say a bloody thing to me. You’d think she made it all up with how secretive she’s being.”
“Well, I’ve only heard good things,” Margot argued and childishly stuck her tongue out. “Maybe if you weren’t so cheeky all the time people would actually tell you things.”
”Okay you two, please stop,” Y/N seized the opportunity to interrupt and shot Harry an apologetic look.
Being alone with Harry and texting him was one thing. They were friends, kind of, when it was only the two of them, and she could be herself. Now she had to play the role she had given herself as his potential girlfriend. Sharing the cramped bed in his flat had been less nerve-wracking than putting up an act right in front of her closest friends. They (Arlo) would see right through her if she acted even slightly suspiciously. “Harry only stopped by to bring me a brownie, not to hear you two bickering and making up lies.”
“Aw, you got her a brownie?” Margot pouted and looked at Harry with big eyes. “That’s so sweet of you! She loves those!”
“Yeah, hopefully she’ll be a bit nicer now,” Arlo started with a teasing tone and chuckled. “She can be a monster at this time of the month. You better get used to it, H-man, if you're planning on sticking around.”
“Arlo!” Y/N hissed, her cheeks getting hotter, as she pushed her friend away from her. “Could you not?”
“Only giving him a heads up Y/N. You’ve been in a grumpy mood all day,” he turned to look at Harry again. “I swear, she makes the evil step-sisters from Cinderella look nice when it’s that time of the month, but chocolate is the way to her heart. Write that down if you wanna live.”
“You’re such a prat.”
“I’m only joking Y/N,” Arlo said, his voice less teasing than it had been when he noticed how she once again rolled her eyes and clenched her jaw tightly.
“Well, it’s not funny,” she huffed and tried her best to not let her annoyance show too much. It was a good thing she wasn’t actually dating Harry. Because had it been real, she did not need the guy she had just started dating to know that the gremlin inside her took over when lady red was on a visit.
It wasn’t like she cared if Harry knew she had her period, it was only natural. But it still got her flustered that Arlo had announced it so casually to him. She just hoped he wasn’t too uncomfortable to find out that was the reason she had texted him that morning. Y/N woke up with the worst cramp in her lower abdomen, feeling bloated and agitated. She had sent him a message telling him to forget everything she said about Thursdays being the best day because she felt like shit and hated the world.
However, after having a cup of tea and a shower she felt a little better and her day had been quite pleasant. Thursdays were still her favorite day.
And she knew Arlo had no ill intentions saying the stuff he did, sometimes she just wished he would think twice about what he said.
“Um, right,” Harry started and cleared his throat. “I better get back to the pub.”
“Oh, ignore Arlo, he is just being a brat,” Margot said in an attempt to keep him in the salon for a bit longer. “Stay and hang out for a while, let us get to know you.”
“I got work,” Harry told her flatly and slowly started backing towards the door to make his escape.
“Yeah, of course, duh,” Margot laughed lightly before letting out a small gasp. “Oh! Everyone is coming over to mine tomorrow night to celebrate our friend Finn’s birthday, you should come!”
Y/N felt her blood run cold at the suggestion coming out of her friend’s mouth. She quickly looked at Harry. As always, his face was set like stone, giving away no clue as to what was going on inside his head.
It felt like hours had passed by before he eventually spoke up.
“Nah, I wouldn’t wanna intrude.”
“You wouldn’t!” Margot argued. “It’ll be fun. The more the merrier!”
“I’m not really a party-person,” Harry told her and shot Y/N a discreet glare, silently pleading for her to step in and help him.
“Nonsense,” Margot continued and waved her hand around as she spoke. “Everyone will be thrilled to see you and get to know you better. You don’t have to be a party-person.”
“Mar,” Y/N spoke up slowly and racked her brain for something to say that would help Harry get out of the situation. “I don’t th-”
“C’mon Y/N,” Arlo interrupted her before she could finish. “Tell your boyfriend to come! It’ll be a blast. We need to get to know the man who have you staring at your phone all day.”
“I don’t do that!” She quickly defended herself firmly and looked at Harry with honest eyes, begging him to not believe her friends. Even if she was sending more texts than she usually would, she wasn’t staring at her phone all day waiting for Harry to reply. Her screen-time statistics were still the same. “It’s his choice whether he wants to come or not.”
Harry gave her a dirty look for her weak attempt to help him get out of Margot’s invitation.
“Harry, I promise you won’t be intruding,” the chirpy girl continued, blind to the tension in the grumpy man’s shoulders. Her dark curls fell across her forehead as she clasped her hands together and gave him a pleading look. “C’mon, it’ll be fun. You won’t have to mix any drinks for anyone and you can just have a good time and get to know some people.”
“Also, if it helps,” Arlo added and gave him a pointed look. “I can already imagine Reece’s face when he sees you show up and I promise you it’ll be worth it.”
Harry stayed quiet and looked between the three friends. Y/N felt a tingle in her stomach at the mention of Reece’s name and realized that, while she had been ambushed by the whole interaction between Harry and her friends, maybe it wasn’t such a bad idea for Harry to come. It could be the final push she needed for her plan to be completed.
“If you’re busy it’s okay,” Y/N still tried to give him another out. Even if a large part of her thought it would be a perfect opportunity to make Reece jealous - Y/N felt bad. Harry wouldn’t exactly be thrilled about the idea of having to spend a whole night with them. There was no doubt in her mind that he could be completely interrogated by her friends.
And she knew how he felt about that better than anyone. She had been both the interrogator and the subject of the interrogation, but she would be there to help him. There was no way she was just gonna throw him to the wolves on his own. “There is no pressure, but you’re more than welcome to join us.”
Harry let his eyes linger on hers for a bit. For a moment, it was as if he saw right through her and into her brain. He knew she thought it would be a golden opportunity for her plan, and judging by the flash of annoyance behind the green in his eyes he was less than impressed with the turn his little visit had taken.
He let out a harsh breath and gave his final answer.
“Alright, I’ll be there.”
Y/N pressed her lips together to restrain the victorious grin that was threatening to take over. Margot clapped her hands together and went into another ramble about how fun it was going to be. Harry’s eyes were still on Y/N though, and she could tell he wasn’t listening to a single word leaving Margot’s mouth.
“Thank you,” Y/N mouthed quietly to him. His face didn’t move as he continued to stare her down.
Suddenly, Margot’s voice was just a faint background noise to her as well. The only thing her brain could register was the deep green color of Harry’s eyes and the clash of emotions behind them. She couldn’t tell whether he was angry with her, upset, or just disappointed.
Either way, it left a sour taste in her mouth, because the way he kept looking at her made her feel like she had betrayed him.
She had to bite her tongue to stop herself from taking back the invitation and apologize. The hole she had dug for herself was already too deep. There was no going back because there was no way she could explain her backtracking without coming clean about the whole scheme.
And that was completely off the table.
“Talk to you later, Ducky,” Harry said eventually and broke the intense eye contact between them. Next to her, Margot let out a flicker of delight, something Harry undoubtedly heard as well, and quickly turned around to leave before getting roped into another question. Y/N opened her mouth to say something to him, but nothing came out.
Instead, she watched as he used his body weight to push the door open and slip out, leaving her feeling a little empty and dumbstruck.
On one hand, she was happy he had agreed to come. It would take her whole plan to another level, and hopefully, it would be the last push Reece needed.
On the other hand, she did not like the way he had looked at her and the hollow hole it left in the pit of her stomach.
The paper bag felt heavy in her hands as guilt started to creep up on her. From her fingertips up to her heart. Harry had, for the first time, been the one to approach her and do something nice for her. And she had only thought about her plan.
“Ducky!?” Margot exclaimed with big eyes after the door fell shut behind Harry. “Gosh, you two are so cute together!”
“Ehm, yeah,” Y/N said and laughed weakly. “He’s just being stupid... It’s just... just a joke we have.”
The guilt inside of her continued to grow, along with the confusion as to why she suddenly felt so stupid about using Harry to get to Reece.
“That’s so adorable,” Margot gushed. “Honestly, I was a bit confused by what you saw in him, but I can totally see it now.”
“How?” Arlo thought out loud. “We only saw him for like five minutes.”
“I know that. He just seems like the type of person who would do anything for the people he actually cares for, you know what I mean? Like once you get to know him. Like you have Y/N.”
“You got all that from that conversation?” Arlo laughed. “He hardly said a word and when he did he was trying to turn down your offer to come hang tomorrow.”
“Ah, don’t act so surprised. I’m good at reading people,” Margot shrugged smugly. “Also, he is absolutely gorgeous! If I didn’t have a girlfriend, one look into those lush eyes would’ve had me on my knees.”
“Jesus Christ,” Arlo burst out and his body shook with his loud laughter.
“Have you kissed him yet Y/N?”
Her eyes widened at the question directed toward her. She tried to mimic her friends and let out another weak laugh to play along with their excitement.
“No, not yet,” she told them.
“You’re telling me you spent the night at his place and nothing happened?” Arlo scoffed and bumped his hips into her. “C’mon, you expect us to believe that?”
“It’s true,” Y/N said and swallowed the lump in her throat, still trying to figure out why she felt so incredibly guilty. Harry had agreed to help her out. He knew the reason she had approached him was to spark Reece into asking her out.
So why did it all of a sudden feel like she was using him? “Um, I’ll be right back,” she muttered and swiftly turned to walk to the backroom of the salon without another word. Arlo called her name, but she ignored him.
Instead, she dumped the paper bag containing the brownie on the table and hastily pulled out her phone to send Harry a text. She had to talk to him. She wasn’t even sure of what to say, she just knew she had to talk to him.
But as she opened her conversation with Harry her breath got stuck in her throat. Because above the small keyboard on her phone were three small bubbles, indicating that he was already typing something for her.
“Hey, you okay?”
Y/N looked up with big eyes, feeling like a deer caught in the headlights, and saw Arlo standing by the doorway with a concerned frown.
“Is everything okay?” Arlo repeated his question. She looked down at her phone again, the three bubbles still blinking on her screen sending a wave of nervous shivers down her spine.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” she said, locking her screen and looking up at Arlo again. She gave him a small smile. He studied her for a while before sighing lightly.
“Look, I’m sorry if I came on a little strong with Harry,” he apologized.  
“It’s fine,” Y/N shook her head and felt her phone vibrate in her sweaty hands. Harry had sent his message.
“I was a bit of a twat,” Arlo admitted. “I didn't mean to. I just figured you two were like solid now and I could take the piss a bit, but wasn't really fair on you.”
“Honestly, don’t worry about it,” Y/N told him and gave him another smile, wanting the conversation to be over so she could read what Harry had sent her. “Maybe just don’t mention I’m a monster when I’m on my period again.”
“You got it,” Arlo said and ran his fingers across his lips, pretending to lock them. She glanced down at her phone and the screen lit up again, the notification of Harry’s text looking back at her tauntingly.
He had brought her her favorite brownie and she had completely overlooked it and forced him into another part of her scheme. Could it be their growing friendship that made her feel a lot more treacherous about the whole thing than before? Was that the reason for the guilt spreading like wildfire inside her? “I’m happy for you by the way,” Arlo’s voice startled her out of her spiraling thoughts. “You've been happy lately. He seems like a good guy, even if he doesn’t really say much.”
“I-” she faltered and rattled her brain for an appropriate answer to Arlo’s comment. The guilt inside her instantly grew another branch. She had never lied to any of her friends before. The reality of what she was doing was slapping her in the face, and it wasn’t very nice. “...Thank you.”
“Anyways,” Arlo nodded. “I just came to tell you that your four o’clock client is here.”
“Oh, right!” She exhaled deeply as she was reminded of the fact that she was still at work. “Could you get them seated, please? I’ll be right out. Just gotta check something quick.”
Arlo simply nodded and gave her a thumbs-up before he spun around to get back out into the salon. Y/N looked down at her phone, swiping a finger across the screen to finally come face to face with the message Harry had sent her.
Harry Styles 3:59 pm Nothing bad ever happens on a Thursday yeh?
You owe me.
His words immediately added a new layer to her guilt, while simultaneously also lifting a weight off her shoulders, because at least he was still talking to her.
“For fuck sake,” Harry muttered to himself as he glanced at the clock and realized Y/N was running late.
He never should’ve agreed to help her out. He should’ve known it was going to be a lot more than just one date. Ever since he first laid his eyes on her he knew that she was going to give him a headache. Something about Y/N kept pulling him back, even when he tried his best to keep his distance.  
The silly girl had cast a spell on him. Whether it was the way she would look at him with her big puppy eyes whenever she asked him for a favor or the fact that she seemed to be genuinely interested in getting to know him - Harry didn’t know.
He felt protective over her in a way he couldn’t explain, and he hated it. It only got worse after she told him about the passing of her dad and brother. She’d given him a small glance at who she really was behind that controlled smile and carefree attitude. Harry had let himself get captivated by her pure and innocent nature, and it needed to stop.  
It gnawed on his mind daily. How had he allowed himself to let her get so close? He was beyond frustrated, and yet, he still found himself picking up his phone as soon as he was alerted of a new text from her.
He really should’ve said no. Because one date had turned into letting her spend the night and now he was going to hang out with her friends. Something he had desperately been trying to avoid since arriving in the small town. He wasn’t there to make friends.
So why on earth had he agreed to help her?
Y/N had offered to meet up with him before so he wouldn’t have to arrive at Margot’s place alone. And as he stood waiting for her to show up, Harry decided he was done. He was going to tell her he no longer wanted to be a part of whatever was going on. If she wanted to be with Reece she was going to have to get him herself. The whole thing was ridiculous and he didn’t have the time nor the energy to engage in her stupid scheme anymore.
The whole thing was a mistake.
Perhaps Patrick had been right when he said Harry was a fool. He had a good life in London. A home most people could only dream of, a good job that paid more than enough, and a pretty decent future waiting for him. If he had stayed he would’ve been set for life; he never would’ve had to worry about money and whether he would afford to pay his rent.
London had everything he could ever need.
And yet, he left.
Because there was one thing that growing up in London had taught him; everyone would find a way to betray you. Even the people who were supposed to always have your back.
Any time his mother told him he was acting too much like his father he sank deeper and deeper into the dark he had first been exposed to from a young age.
Harry had never even met his real dad. He had no idea who he was or if he was even alive. As far as he knew, even to this day, his father was nothing but a scumbag. Denise had fallen pregnant with Harry at the age of 15 and his father, being a couple of years older, had left her to deal with it on her own.
His mom remarried when Harry was five and Patrick was the closest thing he had ever had to a father. Although, he couldn’t recall ever calling Patrick 'dad'.  
Patrick came from a different world. A world of privilege and wealth. He was set to take over the family company and inherit millions of pounds. It took a long time for Patrick's family to accept Denise, a young single mother working as a waitress, as their son’s wife.
The Lovell family was a well-known and respected name in the upper class in London. Patrick’s parents had expected him to marry someone from their circle of the world, someone with the same status and money as them.
Whereas they eventually warmed up to Denise, they never truly recognized Harry as a part of their family.
His mother took the name Lovell after getting married, but Harry still had her maiden name. He wasn’t Patrick’s real son, and all of them often liked to remind him of that as he grew up.
The twins were born a couple of years later, and while Harry was struggling to fit in, his siblings got everything handed to them on a silver platter. He did everything he could think of to finally get accepted into the Lovell family. He got the highest grades in school, always kept his room tidy, played tennis (even though he hated it - the Lovells loved it), and spent all his free time reading instead of playing video games.
Eventually, he went to university, got his degree, and started working for Patrick, hoping that would finally earn him the approval he had been chasing for so long.
And it worked, kind of, but in the end, Harry found out it meant nothing. He hated his job and all the pretentious people surrounding him. It was all about who had the biggest house or the fanciest car. He found himself faking it to make his mother proud. He turned into someone he didn’t recognize and slowly started to despite the reflection staring back at him in the mirror as he got ready for work.
Then Tamara came along and for a short while Harry thought he had finally found the love he had been yearning for all those years.
Unfortunately, like most things in his life, it turned out it was too good to be true.
Y/N’s voice snapped him back to reality and he looked up to see her running towards him frantically. “I’m so sorry I’m late! I had a nap after work and didn’t realize what time it was. Then my bike had a flat tire and I couldn’t find the pump to fix it and I thought I was gonna have to walk all the way into town, but then I-”
“I could’ve picked you up,” He interrupted her rambling with a frown.
Why did he say that?
He couldn’t keep helping her.
“Well, I figured I was already making you do enough,” she said and bit the inside of her cheek. “I’m sorry for this whole thing. I didn’t know Margot was going to invite you.”
“You didn’t exactly stop her,” Harry scoffed, his annoyance about everything accidentally slipping through. He hadn’t meant for it to sound so harsh, and when he noticed the small smile on her lips falter he instantly felt bad.  
“I know,” she mumbled. “I’m really sorry. I promise I’ll make it up to you.”
Harry sighed, running a hand over his face tiredly. She had that look on her again. The same one that had left a sour taste in his mouth at the restaurant during their “date”.
Before she showed up he had been fully determined to tell her it was the last time he would be helping her. The whole thing was starting to be too much. The quiet life he had pictured for himself did not involve helping some girl he had pretty much just met make another guy jealous.
The phrase ‘I’m done’ was on the tip of his tongue, but as she looked up at him through her dark lashes he couldn’t bring himself to say it. Y/N, with her stupid plan and bewitching smile, had gotten under his skin.
That was what bothered him the most. He had made a promise to himself and he was already failing. He never should’ve had dinner with her or let her stay the night, and he most certainly never should’ve bought her a brownie. What the fuck was he thinking?
“Don’t worry about it,” he ended up telling her and let a multitude of profanities soar through his head.
He had to end the plan.
He would end the plan.
“It’s just one night and there will be a lot of food and drinks and it’s all for free, you just need to pretend you’re having a good time... and maybe hold my hand or something.”
There was no way it could continue. It was stupid. The plan was so incredibly fucking stupid. The only thing stupider than her crush on Reece was Reece himself. Everything Harry had learned about the guy was against his will and he would pay good money to never hear that name ever again. It was hard to pinpoint exactly what it was that bothered him so much, but Reece frankly just reminded him far too much of the people he was trying to leave behind.
Which was another reason why the plan had to end. He had left London to get away from people like Reece and now he was suddenly going to spend an entire evening with him. If Y/N could just remove the rose-colored glasses she saw him through, and see his true colors, Harry would feel a lot better about quitting on her.
Maybe Y/N would give up on her own accord after tonight, Harry thought.
Maybe it was the last push she needed to see that her plan was pointless.
He could only hope.
If she did, Harry would have his hands clean. He wouldn’t have to see the disappointment in her eyes and he could continue pretending nothing had ever happened.
And if she didn’t, he would just tell her that he was done later.
One more night couldn’t hurt, he reassured himself. There was no reason to potentially upset her right before meeting up with her friends. No matter how much he hated the plan, he hated the idea of upsetting her even more.
So he walked with her to Margot’s flat, desperately trying to ignore the small boy inside him still longing for acceptance.
Y/N’s brain was having a malfunction. Not a single coherent thought was running through her mind as she sat squished between Harry and Arlo on Margot’s small couch. Kiara had squeezed down next to Arlo on the other side, making Y/N scoot over and nearly end up in Harry’s lap. Everyone was talking loudly around her, but the only thing she could think about was the hard muscle of his thigh underneath hers.
To make things worse, Reece was sitting right across from her on a small plastic stool. His blue eyes made her head swirl ten times more whenever they landed on her. Despite wearing a skirt and a short-sleeved bodysuit, Y/N was burning up from the inside. Harry’s body was so hot next to hers.
And when Reece focused his eyes on her thigh resting on top of Harry’s, a flash of resentment flicking by behind the deep blue, Y/N nearly collapsed.
It wasn't until Arlo snapped his fingers in front of her face that she finally came back down to earth.
“Hello?” He mocked and lightly flicked her nose. “Are you in there?”
“What?” she flinched, accidentally jabbing her elbow into Harry’s side, causing him to let out a soft grunt. His hand unintentionally caught the arm that had dug into him. If Y/N hadn’t already been lost in thought, having Harry's long fingers wrapped around her wrist made her last brain cell vanish with the rest of them.
And the blue eyes glaring in their direction didn’t help bring any of them back to life.
“Well, Kiara here just asked you a question,” Arlo told her and nodded his head toward the dark-haired girl to his left. “Have you even been listening?”
“Of course,” she lied and chuckled lightly, hoping it would help her case. As soon as Kiara had sat down and Y/N was forced to mold her body into Harry’s she had stopped hearing a single thing anyone said.
To be fair, she couldn’t remember much from before that either.
On their way up the stairs to Margot’s flat her heart had been beating so fast she thought it was going to pop out of her chest. Everyone, besides Kiara, was already there so they had arrived to everyone staring at them. Most of them had looked at the pair with gaping mouths as if they had just seen a ghost when they noticed Harry hovering behind her.
Y/N tried her best to lighten the mood almost immediately, panic already rising inside her, by telling them all a joke. It didn’t work very well, but, thankfully, Margot’s enthusiastic spirit came to the rescue.
She was on her feet the moment she heard the front door open, welcoming them with open arms and repeating how happy she was that Harry had decided to come. Y/N still couldn’t believe that Harry had agreed to spend an entire evening with them, and as Margot threw herself at him to embrace him in a hug Y/N was sure he would turn right around and leave.
Harry didn’t necessarily hug Margot back. Y/N watched as the usual line between his brows appeared and how his jaw tightened. She had texted him back earlier, before tending to her client, and apologized profusely. She promised she'd meet up with him beforehand and that they wouldn’t have to stay long. Harry had only replied with a simple thumbs up, saying it didn’t matter, and the guilt running through her fizzled out for a moment. She just convinced herself that he wouldn’t have agreed if he truly didn’t want to.
Then she was late and saw him standing, waiting for her, with a tired face and slumped shoulders. The guilt flared back up almost immediately. He told her not to worry about it. She tried not to. But as the shock of Harry showing up had settled, everyone started blasting him with questions about his past life. Y/N felt so bad.
She did her best to change the topic and tell her friends to back off. They did eventually. Not because she attempted to help him though. It was more due to Harry being Harry. He didn’t really answer any of their questions. As soon as they realized he wasn’t interested in talking much, they quickly returned to whatever topic they had discussed before.
Nevertheless, Harry hadn’t pushed Margot away when she hugged him, and most importantly... he hadn’t left.
Instead, he sat squished next to her, quietly sipping his beer, and observed the group of friends as they got drunker by the minute.
“Uh-huh,” Arlo smirked. “Why don’t you go ahead and answer Kiara’s question then.”
“I...” Y/N started, quickly realizing there was no point in lying. She gave Kiara an apologetic smile. “Sorry, could you repeat that, please?”
Arlo laughed and raised his glass in triumph.
“I was just saying you two are quite the unexpected match,” Kiara told her and took a sip from the sparkling wine she was drinking, looking between Y/N and Harry. “I don’t think you ever told me how you two met. Was it at the pub?”
“Oh,” Y/N swallowed the lump in her throat. “Yeah... The pub, yeah.”
“I’m still impressed you’ve gotten enough out of him to go on a date,” Finn winked at Y/N and then shot Harry a quick look. “No offense, Bro.”
Harry only shook his head, completely unfazed by the birthday boy’s words.
“What can I say,” Y/N laughed nervously. “Sometimes it’s just easy.”
And she’s not sure what she was thinking, but the next thing she knew, she was reaching for Harry’s hand. He tried to resist, but Y/N ignored it as she gently lifted his hand from his lap and laced her fingers between his. Y/N didn’t dare to look at him, dreading whatever expression he had on his face. Despite resisting at first, his strong fingers wrapped around hers, warm and strong. The large ring on his index finger pressed firmly into her skin.
“You guys are honestly so adorable,” Margot cooed and cupped her cheeks, staring at the two of them lovingly. “I love Love.”
“God, M,” Reece cringed, rolling his eyes. “It’s not like they’re getting married.”
“Did you guys know he calls her Ducky?!” Margot continued, completely ignoring the comment thrown at her, and pointed a finger at the couple on the couch. “Adorable I say!”
“Alright babe,” Ruby laughed and gave her girlfriend a light pat on her thigh. “Maybe you should have some water.”  
The discussion quickly moved on after that, but Harry’s hand was still in hers. She couldn’t bring herself to let go. Mostly because she didn’t want it to look like she was only holding his hand to convince them they were dating.
The other reason they were still holding hands was more because Y/N felt like she could breathe again. Even with the deep blue eyes watching her closely.
And as the air was finally making it down to her lungs again Y/N found the courage to lift her gaze to the man sitting on the opposite side of the table, only to realize that the blue eyes were not on her.
Instead, blue was meeting green. Reece’s focus was solely on the man sitting next to her. The man whose hand was still currently resting delicately in hers.
Y/N carefully looked around the room to see if anyone else had noticed the two men staring each other down.
Fortunately, they were all busy chatting mindlessly about something new. The topic of her love life was completely left in the dust. Ruby had managed to get her girlfriend to drink a glass of water and was whispering something in her ear that made Margot giggle like a little schoolgirl.
No one had noticed the sneer on Reece’s lips and the way his chest suddenly puffed out. Holding her breath she found the courage to discreetly glance to her right and saw Harry staring back at the blonde man with the same narrowed eyes. Both men refused to accept defeat and be the first ones to look away first.
And Y/N regretted not being the one to run out.
For the first time, she looked at Reece and found herself feeling a little put-off. His usual charismatic demeanor was buried deep beneath the dark that had taken over his bright blue eyes. Harry, on the other hand, looked just like he always did. She had gotten so used to the stoic look on his face and the way his brows would knit together in a scowl. It didn’t surprise her to see him meeting Reece’s harsh glare and staring him down the same way.
The only thing that really took her off guard was the pressure on her hand. Whether it was intentional or not, Harry squeezed her hand in his.
It was Finn who eventually made the two men break.
“Alright, since it’s my birthday I think it’s time for some beer-pong!” The drunk man announced, slurring slightly and throwing his arms up in the air.
“Good luck sinking any of those cups, Mate,” Arlo laughed loudly. “Can you even see straight anymore?”
Finn raised his hand and middle finger.
“First of all, fuck you,” he said, chugging the rest of his beer. “Second, that’s why I’ll be the judge. It’s my birthday and that means I make the rules.”
“Aw, c’mon,” Ruby whined. “I’m not taking a shot every time I miss again. I want to make it home alive.”  
“Yeah, that was rough,” Kiara agreed. “I spent the entire day on the bathroom floor after that.”
“Make sure you don’t miss then,” Jack teased and Finn pointed at him with a large grin.
“Listen to Jacky ladies!”
“Nahh, I’m not playing if that is a rule,” Ruby argued and shrugged. “Sorry, not sorry.”
“Fine,” Finn pouted. “But just know there might be something worse waiting for you.”
“We doing teams of two as always?” Arlo asked and looked at Y/N with a mischievous grin, hoping to team up with his usual partner to protect their winning streak.
“Hmm,” Finn paused for a moment and looked between the two friends, undoubtedly catching the smug glance Arlo had given Y/N. “Yeah, teams of two, but Arlo and Y/N cannot play together.”
“I make the rules,” Finn smiled proudly. “You two are annoying.”
“Try working with them,” Margot giggled and Finn raised his beer, clinking it against her wine glass.
“You guys suck,” Arlo declared and sank further into the couch. “It’s not my fault you don’t know how to play.”
“Yeah yeah, go cry about it.”
“Angel, wanna team up?”
“What?” Y/N blurted out, looking back to the blonde man who had been shooting daggers at her ‘date’ just moments ago.
“Gotta make sure I get the best player when she’s available,” Reece winked at her, seemingly forgetting all about Harry and the staring contest. Y/N found herself not knowing what to say for the hundredth time that evening. It should’ve been an easy yes because it was exactly what she wanted. Reece wanted her to be on his team, just the two of them, playing together as one.
It should’ve been an easy yes, but the warm hand currently wrapped around hers made that yes get stuck in her throat on its way up.
When she didn’t immediately reply Reece continued. “C’mon, make me the happiest man in the room and say yes.”
Her heart skipped a beat. For a moment it was as if the whole room slowed down. Like it was only the two of them still there. She could feel herself getting flustered by his sweet words, her whole body growing hotter all over again.
Unknowingly Y/N let her lips curve into a bright smile.  
However, the warm feeling got an abrupt end when Harry suddenly released her hand. It was done smoothly, without anyone noticing, but she felt a cold shiver run through her as soon as he carefully slid his hand out of hers.
“This is unfair! You can’t just take my partner away from me like this. You all suck at this, how am I supposed to keep my beautiful winning streak with any of you on my team?!” Arlo sulked and shook his head in disbelief. Then his eyes widened, sparkling with enthusiasm, and he looked at the new addition to the group. “Harry, are you any good? I call dibs on the bartender!”
“Ohhhh, yes!” Finn burst out with a big grin and slammed his hand down against the table. A couple of empty bottles fell over. “The two champions against each other, let the game begin! Reece and Y/N against Arlo and Harry - let’s go!”
Y/N looked at Harry, her mouth falling open, ready to apologize for getting him involved in a stupid game of beer-pong. Nothing came out. Because how could she give him an apology in front of all her friends without making it weird?
Instead, she watched as Harry drank the last of his beer and got up to join Arlo, not sparing her a single glance.
“C’mon Angel, let’s go show them losers who are the true champions,” Reece said and stood up, reaching his hand out towards her to help her up.
Y/N stared at the large hand being offered to her before timidly reaching out and taking it. With the memory of Harry’s much softer hand still so vivid in her mind it was hard not to compare the two. Reece’s hand felt rough and cold in comparison to the one that had just been wrapped delicately around hers.
It was obvious Reece’s hand was a lot more calloused due to his tough occupation as a construction worker, and usually, it would light a flicker of arousal in her to have him so close. The only thing her body could pick up on now, as she took his hand in hers, was the lack of warmth.
What had she gotten herself into?
As she waited and watched her friends prepare for the game, Y/N tried to catch Harry’s attention. He kept himself busy by looking down at his phone, avoiding her gaze at all costs. Before she could get a clue as to what was running through his head Finn handed her the small ping-pong ball.
“Ladies first,” he announced and waved his arm towards the table. “Let’s go.”
Y/N really should’ve known that a game of beer-pong between two males who had just been staring each other down fiercely wouldn’t end well.
It started as any other game of the stupid drinking game. She threw the ball across the table and it landed right in the cup in the middle. Finn cheered loudly and announced his first rule; everyone not playing would have to drink as well when someone got the ball in a cup. Ruby protested and said it was unfair. Finn changed it and let everyone place bets on who was winning and had to drink when that team lost a cup.
The game continued and Arlo repeated what Y/N had done, letting the ball fly through the air and gracefully land in the cup in the middle. Reece missed his first shot. Harry too.
Y/N ended up missing her second attempt... and her third... and her fourth. She nearly got it on her fifth, but the ball ended up spinning out of the cup.
On her seventh attempt, she finally managed to score another cup, but it usually didn’t take her that long. She was far too unfocused. Reece was standing far too close behind her, his chest nearly pressing against her back, and whenever it was Arlo and Harry’s turn his hand would linger just beside her hip. Her head was in shambles.
Not only from Reece. No. There was a lot more adding to Little Y/N running around like a maniac inside her. The two men had picked up their staring contest and Reece took every chance he got to throw little digs at the other team, who were currently losing the game.  
“What’s with the frown Henry?” he snickered when Harry got up to take another shot. “Can’t handle losing? You didn’t play beer pong in the big city? Was it not posh enough for you?”
Harry rolled his eyes, it was subtle enough that no one picked up on it, apart from Y/N. It was enough to make her want to call it quits on the game and drag him out of there.
Harry raised his arm and threw the ball across the table and it landed right in one of the cups in the back row. Arlo jumped in excitement, pumping his fists in the air, while Finn and Jack let out a roar of laughter.
“Just trying to go easy on you, Mate,” Harry told him and shrugged casually. While everyone was preoccupied toasting to Harry’s comeback Y/N picked up on the, to her, very obvious hostile tone of his voice.
“Ah, that’s more like it,” Reece countered and clicked his tongue behind his teeth. “Why don’t we make this a little more interesting... how ‘bout a bet?”
“I’m good,” Harry scoffed lightly. Even with a table between them, Y/N could see the tension gradually growing in him.
“C’mon, don’t be a pussy,” Reece continued to taunt him, his chest puffed out and a smirk playing on his lips. “Loser gets the first round for everyone at the pub.”
“He works at the bloody pub,” Finn laughed at the bet. “He can probably get us a round for free!”
“Great, then he has nothing to worry about has he?” Reece replied and looked at Harry with raised brows, waiting for him to accept.
“I’m not playing for a bet,” Harry repeated firmly, the corner of his lips twitching slightly as the lower part of his jaw shifted forward.
“Who the hell put a stick up your arse?” Reece mocked. “Loosen up, Man. It’s only a bit of fun”
“Then play against someone else,” Harry replied coldly. Y/N shared a concerned glance with Arlo, who seemed to have picked up on the bitter direction the conversation was going. “Or are you just desperate to swing your dick around and show off to the new guy?”
“What the fuck did you say?” Reece retorted and pointed an accusing finger right at him after tossing the small ping-pong ball to the side. The playful smirk was long gone, replaced by an angry scowl. The sudden change in his demeanor seemed to alert the rest of the group that the mood between the two men had changed. They all stood by, watching awkwardly, as Harry let out a dry laugh and shook his head.
“What’s your problem, Mate?”
“It’s my boy Finn’s birthday,” Reece began and took a deep breath through his nose. His chest puffed out further as he straightened his posture, taking a step forward to get closer to where Harry was standing.
Ruby reached out to put a hand on his shoulder in an attempt to hold her brother back. Reece shrugged his sister's hand off of him and took another step forward. “I’m trying to have a good fucking night and you’re bumming everyone out and ruining the night. What’s your fucking problem?”
“Right now,” Harry started and mimicked Reece’s actions, getting closer. “You are.”
Arlo looked at Y/N again, eyes wide as he nodded his head towards the two men sizing each other up, silently telling her to step in and do something.
“O-okay,” Y/N interrupted with a shaky voice, her hand clutching the glass in her hand tightly. “Let’s just get back to playing, yeah? Like you said, Reece, it’s Finn’s birthday. Let’s just have some fun.”
Her head was swirling and she was sure her knees were going to give out if whatever was happening escalated any further. An awkward silence fell across the room, but Reece and Harry didn’t take a step back from each other.
She had known it was going to be a bit tricky having the two of them in the same room again. Harry had made it clear he wasn’t the biggest fan of the blonde man. Reece had also made it known he didn’t think very highly of the new bartender. She never could’ve imagined things would take the turn that they had. It was the most Harry had spoken all night, and she feared it would only get worse if she didn’t get them to back down.
Her body moved on its own as she rushed past Reece and put a gentle hand on Harry’s chest to push him back. “Ignore him,” she mumbled only loud enough for him to hear. “Please.”
Harry dropped his gaze down to her, his eyes getting softer almost immediately.
When she felt his body relax under her touch her knees finally gave out from the relief running through her. She stumbled a little and Harry was quick to catch her, placing his large hand on her hip to keep her steady.
Instead of getting herself lost in the deep green eyes looking down at her, Y/N quickly spun around and forced a big smile to ease the tension. “First round is on me, everyone,” she announced and tried to stop her regret from shining through. “No need for a bet!”
“See! This is what I want to hear,” Finn boasted. “Y/N automatically wins this round on her own!”
And that was the end of it.
Everyone moved on as if nothing had happened.
Margot and Ruby got up to play against Kiara and Jack. Finn continued making up rules as the game went on and had everyone downing a shot of tequila when Margot and Ruby were crowned as the new champions.
But even though the stand-off between Harry and Reece had been declared over and dealt with by everyone else, Y/N didn’t miss the harsh glances still being exchanged between the two.
It was going to be a long night.
A/N: IM SORRY! It’s been forever I know!!! Life got in the way of writing unfortunately, but part five is finally here! I hope you liked it and is still interested to follow along on this journey! <3 I’m praying it won’t be as long until part six. Im gonna do my best to get it up soon, but I don’t want to rush anything either and post something I’m not happy with. 
Please do tell me your thoughts on this though! I’m actually so nervous because it’s been so long since I posted something and I’m scared. I hope you all enjoyed it, things are definitely changing with all of them. I can’t tell you enough how much your feedback means to me and your support is what gets me motivated to find time to write. And PLEASE share if you liked it. I LOVE YOU! 
Until next time, be safe and do things that make you happy<3 
💏 TAGLIST: @annesauriol  @boomitsallie1 @caramello-styles @tenaciousperfectionunknown @perfectywrong​ @behindmygreyeyes @carolina-kiwi  @jessitpwk @sunshinemoonsposts 
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thediscomedley · 1 day
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Months of missed connections and fleeting moments had led the both of them to the worn lounge of her Rome living room. A realisation in the middle of the most uncertain times, that maybe all she’d needed was him to hold onto. 
“We doing this then?” She hummed at his question, waiting for him to clarify, “you and me, we’re doing it?”
All she could do was kiss him. 
Fame, chance meetings, a global pandemic and the invisible string that inspired Harry’s House.
Inspo Tag | Story Tag | Talk to me! | SNEAK PEEK
Haze on the Horizon - London, August 2019 // Nashville, October 2019
Part II - London, December 2019
Part III - Los Angeles, February 2020 // Viterbo, April 2020
Part IV - Rome, July 2020 
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heyyyharry · 18 hours
PREVIEW: Hits Different (from the Flatmate series)
...in which Harry goes to the club while his flatmate goes on a blind date.
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Here's the preview to a flatmate blurb inspired by Taylor Swift's unreleased song "Hits Different" :)
I washed my hands of us at the club You made a mess of me I pictured you with other girls in love Then threw up on the street Like waiting for a bus that never shows You just start walkin' on They say that if it's right, you know Each bar plays our song Nothing has ever felt so wrong
Unfortunately, Harry hated that song. It was the one Y/N had sent him earlier this week on Whatsapp, and he only listened to it because she loved it. Now they were playing it in this bar and it made him chug down more pints than he could count, and by the time he’d made it out of the club, his knees were wobbly and his head spinning.
Layla threw her big coat on, and Niall shivered in his trench coat, but Harry, with only his jumper on, couldn’t feel the October chill after having had so much to drink.
I wonder what Y/N is doing right now.
“Bet she’s having a better night than us,” Layla muttered, and Harry realised he’d said that aloud.
“Layla, don’t say that,” Niall said as he put an arm around Harry to help him stand. “Let’s get you home, Harry.”
“Can we pick up Y/N?”
“We don’t know where she is.”
“I’ll text her.”
“Don’t you dare.” Layla snatched his phone out of his hand before he could even unlock it. “The only night that Y/N gets to not be boring and you’re plotting to ruin it for her. Also, you’re being very selfish right now, mentioning her when you’re with us.”
Harry felt his stomach churn. “Do you think she’s having fun?”
“Well, obviously. She would have texted you if she wanted to leave the date. She might meet someone who’s perfect for her and fall in love and live happily ever after with him–”
Before Layla could finish painting that picture, Harry braced his hand on the wall beside him. He heard Layla scream as vomit pooled beneath him, staining his shoes, his stomach clenching in pain. Niall’s voice was muffled, though Harry could feel Niall’s hand rubbing his back.
While the taste of vomit passed down his tongue and filled him with shame and regret, the memory of this morning when Y/N was getting ready for her blind date stormed back into his head, and when he thought about another man touching her, the second torrent of sludge exited his mouth.
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6k words done already for Chapter 4! I'm so excited for it to be finished so I can share it with you! So here's a tiny piece of it. No context, just part of their conversation. You know me...
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"I wouldn't have come, but Gem dragged me here."
"Surprised you were willing to risk callusing those dainty, musician hands."
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Overall Taglist: @watermelonsugacry @tw1nflamebruis3 @hopefulwastelandcreation @tenaciousperfectionunknown @that-daydream-look @queenmadi2 @runway-to-my-aid @theekyliepage @be-yourss @b-reads-things @behindmygreyeyes @michellekstyles @a-strange-familiar @yousunshineyoutempter @buckybarnessimpp @sagcas-latte @msolbesg @sleutherclaw @katiebaxterrrrrr @percysaidnever @mrspeacem1nusone @thurhomish @harrystylesrecs @vickiii17 @itsbebeyyy @divalovesyou @bxbyysstuff @jessitpwk @sunshinemoonsposts @theroosterswife24 @boybands-baseball @austynparksandpizza @missmielyhoran @harryspirate @qualitygiantshoepsychic @tiaamberxx @matildasatellite @cherryshouse @yatebe-kohayu @perfectzinenerdperson @babyiamperfectforyou @daphnesutton @around1302 @daydreamingofmatilda @swiftmendeshoran @one-sweet-gubler @jerseygirlinca @carey86 @lomlhstyles @vrittivsanghavi
Taglist Continued: @fdl305 @harryslover47
If your name is blue, I couldn't tag you
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fkinavocado · 2 days
quick reminder that the wolffry fic i'm writing with @gurugirl is officially up! chapter 3 is coming real soon 👀👀
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harrytheehottie · 8 hours
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catch up here & let me know your thoughts
The elevator doors open to his room. The bright lights of the city light up the space as Harry leads you into the living room. You’ve been in plenty of hotels but never one this nice. It almost takes your breath away. Your eyes scan the space. It’s intimate. Somehow more intimate than his house in Italy. His luggage was left open next to his bed. Clothes scattered around. You noticed a frame on his bedside table — the same one from his trailer in Coachella. You were lost in your observations until Harry cleared his throat, he was behind the bar making himself a drink, his brows were up as he reached for the second glass, his nonverbal way of asking if you’d like one. 
“It’s 3am,” you say, speaking up for the first time since you left the arena. 
“That’s a fact.” Harry replies quickly under his breath. 
“I’m really tired,” you say as a yawn escapes you, emphasizing your tiredness. 
“Another fact.” 
The two of you begin to laugh, breaking any of the awkwardness and tension by Harry’s repetition, a proper boy thing to do. You thought to yourself before you spoke again, “Are you going to keep doing that?” you asked. 
“No but only after I share this one last fact.” Harry makes his way around the bar with an extra pep in his step. You had a puzzled look on your face as you watched him. He was now standing in front of you, his hand moving to cup your chin. 
“I really want to kiss you right now,”  Harry says as he drags his thumb across your lips. 
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moonchildstyles · 3 months
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being mr. azoff's assistant was y/n's dream job, it was just a bummer that his most beloved client seemed to hate her.
wordcount: 13.5k+
"Did you want anything, Harry? (Y/N)'s about to make a coffee run." 
Although she'd never admit it, (Y/N) held her breath as she fiddled her fingers behind her back, awaiting any response. She already had a good idea of what he would say when he bothered to give an answer, but she still had a tiny hope he'd prove her wrong. 
"No, 'm alright." 
He didn't even raise his head from where it was buried in his phone. Mr. Azoff gave (Y/N) that same polite smile he always did whenever Mr. Styles rejected her services, like he wasn't sure why Mr. Styles wasn't more accepting but it wasn't his place to ask or change the habit. Mr. Azoff treated her right and that was what she tried to focus on, not that the fact his best friend and someone she could consider to be a creative idol, couldn't seem to even give her a moment of his time. 
"Okay, I'll be back in a minute, Mr. Azoff," (Y/N) chirped pleasantly, well versed in how to brush off being brushed off. 
(Y/N) was grateful for the fact her boss's preferred shop was only a few blocks away from his office, giving her the chance to clear her head with fresh (or as fresh as it could be here in L.A.) air instead of stuffing herself into her car. 
Mr. Styles was always like this. Why it still bothered her when he brushed her off or ignored any of her offers of help, she wasn't sure, but it did. That world famous kindness that circulated within the industry as well as what was flung around Twitter had been what she was expecting when she finally made it through the vetting process to be hired as Jeff Azoff's assistant, knowing full well who one of his biggest clients was. She had been realistic, knowing that Harry Styles wasn't going to be her best friend, fawning over her at all times, or suddenly fall in love—this wasn't like those stories she remembers reading when she was young—but she had figured he would give her more than a passing glance the first time she met him. 
Since that first day where he offered a single sentence introduction, she'd been waiting in vain for anything more to happen. More often than not, his conversation would stop when she entered the room or go quiet enough to let her know she wasn't to be included. He gave her plain smiles, not even the hint of a dimple, when he bothered to acknowledge her presence, usually when he would skirt around her to leave the room she'd just entered. She never got a chance to experience firsthand the humor everyone praised, the kindness he all but trademarked as a middle name, or the gentle vulnerability he gave to those who needed it. He could barely even meet her eyes, his gaze moving to his phone or where he plucked at his sleeves or painted nails. 
To be fair, she was still fairly new at the job, only about six months in to her position, so there was a good chance he still needed some warming up after being so used to Mr. Azoff's last assistant that had been employed for years before relocating and leaving the position. Mr. Styles was also known to be shy, something a few others had disclosed to her when they noticed she didn't have much to add whenever he was brought up. Maybe he needed a little more time, and that was something she was more than willing to give, along with the space it seemed he needed.
At least until his European tour started. Then, he would have to at least get used to her presence, seeing as they were to be sanctioned to matching flights, hotels, and backstage areas for the better part of the next three months. She wouldn't be able to give him much space then. Hopefully he wouldn't hate her more after those ninety days together. 
As much as the walk to the cafe and the extra Matcha latte she treated herself with, cleared her head and had her back on her feet after being blown back by the nonchalance paid to her entire existence by someone she felt singled out by, the effect could only last for so long when she entered the office. 
Before pushing the door open, she could hear the voices inside happily chattering away. Mr. Styles' cackling laugh that she was sure had his eyes creasing closed with his head thrown back was the most prevalent noise, something she usually only caught the tail end. As she expected, the second she gave a gentle rapping of her knuckles against the door just before pushing it open, all sound stopped, even Mr. Azoff's chattering trailing off once he realized Mr. Styles was done interacting for the moment. 
"Here you go," she chirped, passing along the coffee to her boss with an unbothered smile that was much stronger than she felt, "Is there anything else I can do for you?" 
"No, no," he shook his head, "Not until this afternoon. Go and enjoy your lunch, (Y/N)." 
She gave a quiet nod of her head, chancing a single look in Mr. Styles' direction. He had his gaze fixed on his hands. A flush clung to his skin, surely a lingering effect of the laughter she had interrupted. 
"Okay, let me know if that changes," she offered with a short smile before turning on her heel.
Just as she left the room, closing the door behind her, she heard Mr. Azoff heave a muffled sigh on the other side. 
"Jeff, please. She jus'—" 
(Y/N) left before she could hear much more. She didn't need to know what Mr. Styles thought about her. 
Despite the buzz filling the terminal, (Y/N) almost couldn't believe the way not a single person had noted Mr. Styles' presence. Not even a single muttering or whisper of his name could be heard in the busy place. 
He sat in peace, a grey hoodie with the strings tied covered his torso, hood up over a pink beanie that concealed his curls. He sat with his legs spread wide, taking up space with his black sweats folded over his legs. Scrolling through his phone, he was in his own world with his chin propped up in his hand, cheek smushed against his ring-bare fingers. He only looked up when boarding was called. 
(Y/N) followed quietly behind the trio of Mr. Styles, her boss, and Mr. Lambert, the tour's stylist. She could hear the tittering and quiet conversation in front of her while other members of production and the team trailed behind her. Without Mr. Azoff's wife joining them just yet for this tour, she didn't have many close friends within this group for the time being. 
It was all a blur, finding her seat on the plane and placing her carryon above. She was the first in her row, huddling close to the window seat. She knew Mr. Azoff was going to join her as soon as he finished doing whatever it was he and the Harry's were doing, so at least she wasn't going to be completely alone. 
Biding her time until take off while the rest of the plane filled up, (Y/N) distracted herself with answering emails on Mr. Azoff's behalf. She verified hotel arrangements, replied to all the correspondence that went along with Mrs. Azoff joining them later in the week, and anything else that needed her attention before takeoff. 
Huddled into her corner of the row, the early call time for the flight began to catch up with her. The emails in front of her couldn't hold her attention against the tiny pillow she had managed to sneak into the backpack she shoved under her seat, the plush sandwiched between her cheek and the sidewall of the plane. The sound of shuffling feet as the rest of the flight filled up was like white noise to her cloud-puffed brain. 
(Y/N) couldn't help herself before she was fluttering her eyes closed. Surely, Mr. Azoff would wake her before takeoff if she really passed out. 
She wasn't sure how long she sat, resting her eyes with her limbs floating in the in-between realm before much of the shuffling ceased and the heft of someone settling in beside her sounded in the empty space. She didn't bother blinking her eyes open, even when she heard chattering beside her. Mr. Azoff was one of the voices, followed by someone who sounded a little too close to her for his comfort. 
"Jeffery..." Mr. Styles sighed. 
"Stop acting like a child, H," her boss scolded, voice stern though he was quiet, "She's asleep, I'm not going to make you talk to her." 
(Y/N) was grateful for the way she had her cheeks mushed between her shoulder and her fluffed pillow. Maybe if she covered them, her seat mates wouldn't be able to feel the embarrassed heat gathering under her skin. 
Mr. Styles was sitting right next to her, she realized when she heard the heavy intake of a breath leave his lungs. She wasn't sure how she'd do it, but it looked like she was going to have to pretend to be asleep all the way to the hotel. Maybe, she could convince everyone she was a very well-organized and direction-following sleepwalker if she was careful. 
That thought didn't last long, (Y/N) having to break her facade at the sound of Mr. Azoff's voice calling to her.
"(Y/N)," he started, speaking around Mr. Styles. He repeated her name a couple of more times, prompting her to mime opening her eyes as if she'd been dead asleep only moments prior before he continued, "We're about to take off." 
"Oh," she smiled, the curve tight, "Thank you." 
If not for the fact she was sure she would die if they knew she had overheard the way Mr. Styles couldn't stand to even sit next to her, she would have hesitated more before she crossed her gaze to the man beside her. His eyes were already on her when she looked at him, expression tight as he seemingly forced a smile in her direction. His back was stiff against the seat, hands twisted in his lap with flaking nail polish. His gaze didn't linger on her for very long before he looked away, just in time for the safety spiel from the steward team.  
Following suit, she followed through the motions of checking her seatbelt, absently locating the exits, and curling into her seat by the time they were cleared for takeoff. She didn't like this part, but it was enough to huddle herself against the back of her seat and brace herself with her hands clenched into the armrest to her right side. 
She sat with her eyes closed, nails digging into the leather of the armrest as she felt the motion beneath her feet, the runway disappearing underneath them until the turbulence of takeoff shook the body of the plane. (Y/N) breathed her way through it, hunkering down into the slouchy fit of her hoodie. 
It wasn't until the turbulence evened out, steady windfall starting in the dark of the early morning, that she felt eyes on her. Without really thinking, she blinked her eyes open only to find Mr. Styles looking to her with something softer painted over his features. 
He didn't immediately flit away when her eyes met his, allowing himself to touch over her features with the warmth of his gaze. His tanned skin still held a buttery warmth even under the draining overhead lights of the cabin, stubble covering the bottom half of his face she'd never seen him grow out until recently. His eye contact was famous around the world, unrelenting though welcoming as it gave her a chance to see the flecks and streaks through the moss of his irises. (Y/N) floundered under his attention, unsure of what to do with something she doesn't think she's ever had before. 
"Um—Did—Or, do you want m-my pillow?" she asked, blindly reaching for the little plush fit between her body and the sidewall. 
At the sound of her voice, Mr. Styles seemed to realize what exactly he was doing and who he was glazing over with his eyes. He shook his head then, curls peeking out from underneath his beanie. 
"No, thank you," he mumbled, reaching into his hoodie pocket to pull out a pair of headphones. 
That was all his attention that she was granted until his headphones were plugged into his ears and she was alone again in her row. 
"And finally, on drums, Sarah Jones!" 
(Y/N) was blown away as the area erupted into cheers she was sure could rival the screams that sounded when Mr. Styles first appeared on stage. She watched on from the mouth of the backstage area, her boss at her side with a drink in hand, as Mr. Styles reveled in the screaming and yelling, a bright dimpled smile on his face. If not for the fact she was technically there in a professional sense and this was only the second show she'd had the privilege of watching, she would have joined in and screamed and cheered for the band that was being introduced. (After getting a chance to meet every moving part of his touring band as well as watching them perform, she very much so understood the enthusiasm offered to these characters).
It was when Mr. Styles joined in on the fanfare, pumping his fist and making a noise that sounded like he was barking along with the crowd that she couldn't hold back her laughter. The layered fringe hanging from his jacket glittered in the light, matching the sheen of sweat that covered his shirtless body. He threw his head back with a bright laugh she almost wished he had the microphone held to his mouth for, just so she could hear what his joy sounded like. 
Even just this moment alone was something she was sure she was always going to remember, no matter how many times she was going to witness this over and over. Never had she been to a concert that held the same energy as these arenas—and eventually stadiums—she'd visited. She couldn't blame a single person in this room for everything they did to get to this place, every moment of planning, saving, celebrating, and crying. She understood. 
Mr. Styles was meant to perform. Even with his brief breaks he spent on movie sets, it was clear why he came back to this space with these people that followed him like honeybees and gave so much love and kindness to him. 
She watched as he finished his introductions of the band, launching into another song that had the whole arena moving and dancing. Even without the help of the spotlight and the cameras following his every move, she was sure she wouldn't be able to keep her eyes from him; he commanded the space, with every intention of taking that attention and thriving under it. 
Despite the relationship—or lack there of—off stage, (Y/N) couldn't wait to see this almost every night for however many months she had the privilege of standing stage side.
"Call me if you need anything!" 
Mr. Azoff shook off (Y/N)'s offer as she started off in the direction of the green room being used as the catering space for the day. A busy morning had ensued, leaving (Y/N) running around trying to find any trace of an adequate wifi connection in the middle of the venue just so she could answer emails and show up to video meetings she was attending on Mr. Azoff's behalf. It wouldn't have been so bad if not for the time differences given the fact she was on a completely different continent than any business she was working with. The stress of it all had her beat before the morning had even touched into the double digits for the day, still with another handful of hours worth of work to get through. 
Finally—finally—she had typed away at every email, fielded every phone call, and spaced out the following day's agenda given the lack of a performance crowding Mr. Azoff's schedule. Now, she could sit down and eat before shuttling back to the hotel for a nap—as long as she wasn't needed for anything else, of course.
The catering space wasn't as busy as she sure it had been an hour prior, only a few others lingering about. One of the few happened to be Mr. Styles. 
A clip was holding his curls back, a plain t-shirt with a pair of basketball shorts covering his legs revealed he had just finished with a workout before he would shower off and get to his soundcheck. He had his phone in hand as he forked food into his mouth, that intense look on his face that she always seemed to catch on him. His brows were knitted heavily in the middle, shrouding the bright green of his eyes in the shadow of his brow with his jaw tight as he chewed down whatever he had picked over from the table. 
(Y/N) flitted her eyes to the rest of the crew littering the space before she was caught by Mr. Styles who seemed to always somehow know when someone had spotted him, even with nothing more than a phone camera. The little whiteboard catering hung above the food table was filled out with the day's menu. The prettily curved words brought a bright smile to (Y/N)'s face when she spotted the forth item down the list. 
The catering team's arancini was easily one of (Y/N)'s favorite things she's ever eaten, on this tour or otherwise. She didn't care that it wasn't more than some risotto rice left over from the night before's dinner, repurposed as to minimize waste and turned into a crunchy, cheesy ball with the perfect acidic marinara served alongside it. If she could, she would live off those little pieces by themselves. Hopefully, there were at least a few left for her to devour, even if they were a little cold at this point. 
Readying her plate with a small serving of Caesar salad and the lemon baked salmon (Mr. Styles' favorite and top request from what she'd heard), (Y/N) worked down the line until she reached the covered basin that held the arancini she easily dreamt of at least five times since the first bite. Lifting the lid, the fresh scent of bright tomatoes and fragrant oregano filled her senses, the bite of the smell hitting her harder with her empty stomach. 
Nothing hit quite as hard on her expectant tummy than the fact she realized only a second too late that there wasn't a single rice ball left in the warmer. A thin layer of remaining sauce was laid along the bottom, but nothing was dropped beside the mushed tomatoes. 
Maybe she was being a little dramatic, but (Y/N) felt her shoulders drop at the sight of the empty container. To be fair, she was almost two hours late to serving time, so she couldn't be that surprised that there wasn't any left to spare. Surely, she wasn't the only one obsessed with the parmesan coating on the outside of the sticky rice. She couldn't blame anyone for jumping on the opportunity to take as many as they could while they were there. 
(Y/N) replaced the lid, taking her half filled plate to one of the small tables set up in the room. The day began to catch up with her as she sat down. Her morning had been hectic enough to suck the energy out of her bones, now combined with the disappointment of how high she put herself at the mention of her favorite food before finding it all gone. She slumped into her chair, taking out her phone and finally looking at something that wasn't work-related for the first time that day. 
Every bite she scooped into her mouth was monotonous as she slipped a pair of earbuds in before screening the missed messages she'd had to ignore for the morning. Music was filtering through her headphones, the perfect distraction to her brain that felt entirely too empty now that she wasn't running at top speed like she had been the second she'd woke up. If not for the texture of each bite she took, she wouldn't know exactly what she was eating with the way she couldn't use even muster the minuscule amount of energy it would take to glance at her fork.  
With her eyes glued to her phone as a video now played out on screen, (Y/N) didn't have enough room in her head to keep track of the rest of the room. As much as she prides herself on being a good assistant, especially being so new to this position, she doesn't think she would notice if Mr. Azoff walked in and screamed out her name while banging pots and pans. 
That was exactly the reason she didn't notice Mr. Styles approaching her table either. 
It wasn't until she noticed a plate being slid onto the table beside her, a hand complete with a tattooed cross and green glittery nails keeping a hold of the lip until she managed to pull an earbud out. Looking up, Mr. Styles still had that tight look on his face, his free hand fidgeting at his side like he was itching to get out of there. 
"Yes?" she chirped, assuming he was finally taking her up on her offers to help him as well when she assisted Mr. Azoff. 
Watching as Mr. Styles dropped his gaze from hers, (Y/N) had to keep from tipping her head at him. That wasn't like him at all, unable to keep eye contact. From what she knew, that was something he insisted on. She hoped he was okay. 
"Um—'M full, but I thought I'd ask if y'wanted any before I threw these away," he said, his voice floating under his breath. 
It was then that (Y/N) finally noted what was on his plate, finding a duo of the arancini balls she had been mourning only moments earlier. The same fragrant, acidic sauce laid underneath it along with shreds of parmesan cheese sprinkled atop, the same way she would have plated it. She had to keep herself from drooling at the sight. 
"A-Are you sure?" 
A beat passed, the green of Mr. Styles' gaze finally meeting hers again. "I thought these were your favorite." 
(Y/N) had to stop herself from letting a pinch touch at her brows. "I mean, yeah, they are, b—" 
"Then, 'm sure." 
The deep vibrato of his voice was more soothing than any note of music she played could ever hope to be, the same voice she'd had the privilege of listening to every night while on the road on the loudspeakers. Despite the giving nature of his tone, underlying softness floating alongside, she knew there wasn't much room to argue. Besides, (Y/N) didn't think she had the strength to say no to his offer with that plate in front of her. 
"Thank you, Mr. Styles," she smiled, reaching for the plate as he retracted his grip. 
A chaste smile curved his lips, the tip of his nose seemingly blushing red before he gave her a quiet nod of his head. He didn't say anything else before he walked away, leaving her to constitute her two plates of food into one with that warmth in her stomach that could have energized her enough to work another hectic morning. Her only complaint was that she wished he would have sat down with her. She'd even give up his offer of the arancini if that meant he'd sit down beside her and finish his meal. 
She didn't see him again until he was leaving the greenroom with a granola bar in hand, one bite already taken out. She had thought he said he was full. 
It was with that thought that, shortly after, (Y/N) realized she had never told Mr. Styles what her favorite food was. 
"Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday, dear (Y/N), happy birthday to you!" 
(Y/N)'s skin felt warm with all eyes on her, a sheet cake in front of her with frosting flowers and twinkling candles stuck through. She didn't know what to do with everyone's eyes on her, twisting in her spot with a shy smile on her lips as the song came to a close. Fluttering her eyes to a close, she blew out the candles while everyone cheered. A wish absently flittered through her head, hoping for happiness to come to everyone in this room with her as they deserved so much after surprising her with a birthday celebration in the middle of an international tour. 
"Thank you all, so much," (Y/N) muttered once the room grew quiet, her fingers knotted into a sheepish pile as she swept her gaze across the gathered crowd, "I didn't even realize anyone knew it was my birthday, this really means a lot. Thank you." 
All of her new friends, crew and production members for the tour that she had grown close with over the last few weeks, all gave her mixed mutterings of more birthday wishes, that of course they remembered, and they were all more than happy to be a part of this with her. After the show tonight, they all promised to take her out to one of the clubs in town to help her celebrate before they would be off for the next city the following day. Cutting the cake came next, the grouping of crew began to break off as conversations rose in volume in the green room, leaving (Y/N) to soak in the atmosphere as the creamy icing spread over her tongue at first bite. 
She truthfully had no idea anyone had been aware of her birthday, let alone have the time to put something like this together. Sure, it wasn't a huge celebration, but the fact a cake had been secured, complete with personalized frosting spelling out her name while on the road, was enough to have her heart hurting from how full it was. Even Mr. Styles had made it, huddling himself in one of the small corners with his arms folded across his chest as he sang along to the birthday song. She was pretty sure he had even been a few minutes late to a fitting for the next slew of tour outfits just so he could be apart of something like this for her. 
"Happy birthday, (Y/N)," Mr. Azoff said, coming up behind her with his wife only a few paces behind, both with a plate of cake in hands. 
(Y/N)'s features softened immediately as she took him in. "Thank you so much, Mr. Azoff," she started, still disregarding every invitation for her to call him by his first name, "You didn't need to put anything like this together at all. Really, thank you so much." 
He would be the only one that might recall her birthday, she figured, coming from her hire paperwork. Besides, they spent enough time together she may have accidentally let it slip out while talking. Mr. Azoff would definitely be the kind of boss that would do something like this for her. 
Instead of the humble way he swept away her gratitude she had been expecting, her boss let out a bubbling peal of laughter. Mrs. Azoff matched (Y/N)'s confused expression, knitted brows and all as they looked at him. 
"I didn't put this together," he clarified, shaking his head before spearing another bite of cake, "I've been so busy I can't even remember what year it is, let alone the day." 
"Oh," (Y/N) sounded, face dropping. "Do you know who it was then? I just want to thank them properly." 
A shared look happened between the Azoffs, the missus' blonde brows raising in her husband's direction as if she was wondering the same thing. Mr. Azoff gave her a pointed look, flicking his gaze to (Y/N) for only a moment before he raised a brow. Realization seemed to spring across Mrs. Azoff's face, the kind (Y/N) was hoping she could share in. 
"Tell her," Mrs. Azoff mumbled, quiet enough (Y/N) knew she wasn't necessarily meant to hear the command. She watched as Mr. Azoff floundered, his lips pressing into a thin line with wide eyes as if he were pleading with her without words. "Jeffery, I think it would be nice for her to know. He's not going to mind." 
Her reasoning seemed to loosen him up some, only enough to have his gaze returning to (Y/N)'s with a small pivot. "Sorry," he told her, excusing the last few moments with a chaste smile on his lips, "Um—It was Harry. He was the one who remembered and put this all together." 
(Y/N) had to keep her jaw from dropping at the new information. Her fork was limp in her hand. "Really?" 
"Mhm," Mrs. Azoff chirped, "He was the one who came to us, telling us he had everything all planned out, we just needed to be here to surprise you. He did a good job, didn't he?" 
The picture of Mr. Styles standing so nonchalant in the corner of the room, singing quietly to the birthday song while she stood in front of the warm glow of the sparkling candles took on a new tint. This had been all of his idea, even the light pink and warm green frosting spelling out her name with petite flowers on the sheet cake had been his idea. The cake itself was even her favorite flavor, something she was doubting was a coincidence. 
"Really?" she asked, the question feeling dumb on her tongue but she couldn't help but ask. 
"It's all he's been talking about his last couple of days off. He wanted to make sure everyone knew and would be able to come celebrate with you." 
Mrs. Azoff's warm smile along with her boss's quiet curl to his lips was all the confirmation (Y/N) needed to know they were being completely serious. They were acting as if they were sharing a secret with her despite the room full of people that were in on it before she was. 
"Th-That's really nice of him," she settled on, unsure if there were any real words that could convey just how much the idea of Mr. Styles planning this little surprise made her heart ache. "I'm going to have to tell him thank you when he has a minute." 
"I think he'd really like that," Mr. Azoff told her, voice quiet as if he were sharing a tiny secret. 
With the way Mrs. Azoff looked at hm after he spoke, (Y/N) wondered if there really was another secret she wasn't privy to.
Screaming cheers filled the SUV the second the door flung open, Mr. Styles piling inside with a towel hung over his shoulder and a bright smile gracing his features. His energy was vibrating off of him in waves, intoxicating the small space of the car as they pulled out of the venue as the curtains closed behind them. (Y/N) never really got to see him this closely after a show, tonight being an occasion that Mr. Azoff and she were to head back to the hotel with him right away in prep for the late night meetings needed before any of them were to be dismissed to bed (Mr. Styles' next album was coming up closer and closer, and labels needed answers if he wanted the vinyl pressings to be done in time). 
Tonight, (Y/N) was packed into the backseat of the SUV with Mr. Styles, feeling that bright energy he harnessed on stage settling in like another person sitting between them. He used the towel offered to him by security to wipe off his glistening face, sweat soaking the fabric though he didn't stop smiling. 
"Jeff, Jeff," Mr. Styles started, pulling on the neckline of his blueberry embellished top, drawing the fabric away from his skin, "Did you see that back there?" 
She watched as her boss let out a small laugh, turning around where he sat in the front passenger seat to face his client. "See what, H?" 
The smile that broke out on Mr. Styles' face somehow grew bigger. His breathing was still coming in pants, something (Y/N) wasn't sure was coming from his excitement or the lingering exertion from his stage time. "That girl, she was dressed like a clam and her head was the pearl! I think she had a sign too, but I couldn't see it because every time I looked, she was dancing and I couldn't stop laughing." 
"Oh, that's why you could barely finish singing Sushi?" Mr. Azoff pressed, matching Mr. Styles excitement with his own bubbling smile. A small glance was flicked in (Y/N)'s direction, as if she were telling her to get a load of this guy. 
"It was so funny, Jeffery," Mr. Styles insisted, the purple leather of his pants squeaking against the seats with the way he couldn't manage to sit still, "It was like there was a bobblehead out there, but with these little legs." Just when Mr. Azoff went to answer, Mr. Styles completely changed with his jaw dropping before he turned to (Y/N) with another layer of excitement brewing in the car. "Wait, (Y/N)! Did you see that girl dressed like a fairy? She was standing with the angel and the sushi roll!" 
(Y/N) tried to school her features, keep the surprise off her face at the fact Mr. Styles was acknowledging her—and with a smile too! Attempting to focus on the question at hand, she racked her brain for whoever it was that he was referencing. "Maybe. Were they standing in pit?" she asked, settling into the leather of her seat with Mr. Azoff watching on with a less than neutral expression giving away his own shock. 
"Yes, yes," Mr. Styles chattered off, "Towards the exit catwalk! She had on big sparkly wings, and everything!" 
"Oh, yeah," (Y/N) perked up, giving him a matching grin, "That was the same costume—" 
"—you wore for Halloween!" Mr. Styles cut her off to finish her own sentence, bouncing in his seat in time with the rhythm of the pavement underneath the wheels of the car. "That's why I noticed her! Y'had the same wings, and the dress, and everything, right?" 
This time (Y/N) wasn't as smooth to recover at his words. She had been the only one to dress as such for the holiday, and she hadn't thought Mr. Styles had seen her at all in his own rush to be dressed in his own costume and prepping the extra song he was to cover for the occasion. It could have only been twice where she thought he might have seen her, especially as more than a blur that had to run past while doing whatever errands Mr. Azoff needed. 
"Y-Yeah," she bubbled off, pretending she didn't stutter in hopes that no one else would notice, "that was my Halloween costume. I didn't realize you noticed." 
The curls that flopped over Mr. Styles' forehead added to the boyish sparkle in his eyes as he looked at her, dimples denting his cheeks. "Your's was m'favorite costume." 
It was only a second later that Mr. Styles was distracted once more in his adrenaline-fueled post-concert excitement, drawing Mr. Azoff into another bubbling conversation about a moment that happened on stage. (Y/N) was left to settle into her spot, seatbelt tight around her chest as her heart struggled to beat out of its cage. 
If he wasn't careful, (Y/N) was going to start thinking he didn't hate her. 
(Y/N) sidestepped out of the doorway, allowing Mr. Styles to brush past her in his rush to exit the room she'd just entered. He didn't bother to even make eye contact with her or shoot her an awkward smile she'd become accustomed to. All she caught of him was his strained expression as she bounced into the room, feeling much more awake this morning after the bubbling excitement she felt while riding back to the hotel with Mr. Styles being so happy to talk with her. 
That excitement drained as soon as she saw the way he all but flinched at her presence now that the after show adrenaline had worn off. Mr. Azoff seemed just as surprised at the blatant switch as he watched Mr. Styles run off. 
"Uh—Good morning, Mr. Azoff," (Y/N) attempted to chirp out.
She could see the way he floundered for words, his eyes flicking between her and Mr. Styles' retreating figure she was forcing herself to keep from glancing at. "(Y/N), I—" 
"It's okay, it's okay," she waved him off, doing her best to convince herself with her own excuse, "He's probably still tired from last night, it's okay." 
The look on Mr. Azoff's face told her he knew something she didn't. (Y/N) figured it was a secret she didn't want to know. 
This had to be the first time (Y/N) had ever seen Mr. Azoff so stressed, especially after setting out on this tour with his favorite client. His hair was a mess with the usual day's worth of stubble on his face now growing into almost a full beard with the way the last few days have come stumbling around him. Near constantly did he have a phone pressed to his ear, preferring to take all of these phone calls as opposed to allowing (Y/N) to take care of them like he had so far in this route. 
"We don't know if he's going to be able to make it on this Friday," she heard Mr. Azoff sigh into the receiver, dragging a heavy hand through his hair. Mrs. Azoff looked just as glum as she listened into the conversation from the small couch that was set up in the living space of their hotel room. "I know—we're trying. He's barely been able to get out of bed since he got off stage last night, we haven't started on the road at all." 
(Y/N) felt concern spike in her chest at the mention of Mr. Styles' state. She knew he wasn't doing so well after last night, especially with how hard he had to start straining himself towards the end of the show just to hit notes she knew would otherwise be easy for him. What she hadn't known was the fact he didn't have the strength to even get out of bed. She'd hate for him to have caught the same flu that one of the crew members had suffered through just a couple of weeks earlier. 
"We don't want to cancel or reschedule anything, yet, no," Mr. Azoff rushed out, sinking into the couch cushion beside his equally as exhausted wife, "We have a few days still, so we'll see if he feels any better by Thursday. If not, I'll call you with options." 
It was only moments later that Mr. Azoff hung up the call, looking just as exhausted as he started the call. Seeing as how it was Tuesday, and Mr. Styles had only a few days left to be feeling better in time to even travel for his next show, she could understand his stress. 
Before (Y/N) could even offer her services, Mr. Azoff said her name with a lingering exhaustion. "Could you call one of those liquid IV offices, please? And get his doctor on a call; if he needs antibiotics, I want them picked up by the end of the day." 
Very few times did Mr. Azoff feel like a boss, always talking to her in gentler tones with requests rather than demands. Not that he was flexing any superiority and unforgiving directions even now, but she knew this was something he needed done thirty minutes ago, but was still willing to accept it being done now. 
That was all she needed to hear before she had her phone pressed to her ear. Even if Mr. Styles didn't care for her as much as she may have thought a week ago, she wanted him better just as much as Mr. Azoff did, and not just because of the touring schedule. 
How (Y/N) happened to be the only one within the central crew to have been vaccinated for the flu this season, she didn't know, but she didn't mind the added responsibility tied with the booster. Armed with a takeaway container of hot soup, a liter bottle of water, and another round of medication for Mr. Styles, Mr. Azoff sent her off to his hotel room. 
Mr. Styles had all but been quarantined since he started exhibiting those early flu symptoms, a medical team having been the ones tending to him the previous couple of days as he apparently worsened into running a fever and getting sick to his stomach. It was into the late hours of the evening that Mr. Azoff finally shooed them off (at his client's request, supposedly. Mr. Styles felt bad to have so many people fussing over him, he had said), and thanked them for everything they did for his client. They were left with the tools and a regiment on the best and fastest way to get Mr. Styles healthy again. She remembered watching Mr. Azoff read over the extensive list left in his care, a humorless laugh leaving his lips and he muttered something about the miracle of this week being one of the longer breaks he had scheduled between shows. 
As the crew couldn't afford anyone else getting as sick as Mr. Styles was, (Y/N) was chosen to be the first one to tend to him given the fact she would be the least likely to catch whatever virus he had—and even if she did, they could afford to have her on bed rest for a few days. Mr. Azoff had passed along the printed schedule of his medication times and what foods and fluids would be best to get his system back on track in the remaining forty-eight hours left until a decision would have to be made on whether or not the next show was in jeopardy, and she was on her way. 
An apology was ready on her tongue for the second she breached the sanctuary of his hotel room, knowing that she was most likely one of the last people he wanted to see at a time like this. That was the hardest part, she figured. She wasn't afraid of falling ill or seeing him sick, it was knowing just how unwelcome she was going to be in his space, especially since he wouldn't be able to flitter away from her like she knew he was used to. But, that fear was going to have to be shoved into a box in the back of her mind. Mr. Styles wasn't feeling well and needed someone to help him, and that was what she was going to focus on. 
After a quiet rap of her knuckles against his hotel room door went expectedly unanswered, (Y/N) pulled for the keycard Mr. Azoff had slipped into the bag of essentials he'd passed off to her. As soon as the handle clicked with a green light blinking, she twisted the knob carefully. A quiet creak whined from the hinges as she entered the dark room. 
Mr. Styles' messy bed was empty, the only light coming from the dimly set bedside lamp revealing the creases and folds in the bedding she was sure housekeeping hadn't had a chance to come by and change since he'd been holed up in the space. His luggage was left neatly beside the closet, only a pair of brightly colored socks laid atop the case letting her know it had been touched in the last few days. If not for the fact she knew there was no where else for him to have gone without someone on his team being notified, (Y/N) would have assumed his hotel room to be deserted by the way the air felt stale as she stepped in. 
"Mr. Styles? It's (Y/N). I know you probably don't wan—" 
Before she could finish her apology for stepping into his space, a gagging noise from the bathroom gave away his position. That was when she noticed the sliver of light leaking from underneath the closed door. 
Rolling her lips between her teeth with concern knitting her brows together, (Y/N) abandoned her doctor assembled and boss ordered care package on the bedside table. It was with shaking hands that she gently knocked on the bathroom door. 
A groan answered a beat later. "Jeff, I promise 'm going to be alright in a couple of days," Mr. Styles grumbled out, voice deep and sour, "Don't cancel anything, please." 
Releasing the hold her teeth had on her bottom lip, (Y/N) sucked in a deep breath. "Actually, it's (Y/N)." 
"W-What are y'doing here?" was his stuttered response, raw voice leveling out in volume. 
Not quite as biting as she may have expected in a moment like this, but (Y/N) had figured he would ask something of this type. "I'm the only one that's had my flu shot, so Mr. Azoff wanted me to come check on you. Is it alright if I come in?" 
"Please, don't." That was the clipped response she had been anticipating, but (Y/N) thought his tone dipped into something more embarrassed than angry. 
"Mr. Styles, I have water and food, and the medication you'r—" 
Before she could get much further with her explanation, she was cut off by the sound of a guttural noise on the other side of the door. Mr. Styles gagged alone in the bathroom, his panting breaths being cut off only to be replaced with the sound of him getting sick. 
As much as (Y/N) wanted to respect his privacy and foster a kinder relationship between the pair of them, there was no way she was going to be able to sit idly by knowing that she could help him when he so clearly needed some support. That was all it took for her to barge into the bathroom, rushing over the tiles to where Mr. Styles was hunched over the toilet. 
Focusing herself on him and not what was currently leaving his system, (Y/N) stroked her hand down his back while the other worked on drawing his hair out of his face. A stray clip was fit against the top of his head, a sloppy attempt she was sure he had executed with shaking hands. 
"(Y/N), no," he stuttered over her name until she felt a shudder rack his spine, his head being sent back to the toilet bowl as another round of sickness left his body. 
She didn't say anything back, knowing not only would it fall on deaf ears, but this wasn't the time to start pleading with him to let her stay. That wasn't up for debate as far as she was concerned; whether he liked it or not, she wasn't going to leave him to be sick all by himself in a hotel room in a country he didn't call home. Nothing sounded more dreadful than that. 
Instead, she only shushed him and lead a soothing hand down his spine with her other hand fixing his hair from his face. The strands had lost their curl after a few days without wash, matching the stale texture of his clothes that she was sure he hadn't changed out of in just as long. Having heard about how heavily he prioritized his self-care, especially when touring, she knew he really must feel terrible if he couldn't bring himself to do any of those basic things. 
Nonetheless, she stayed a constant, steady presence beside him on the bathroom floor. She tucked baby curls behind his ears, the strands too short to reach clip on the top of his head, and she shushed him with a gentle hand on his back as he emptied his system before being reduced down to dry heaves and gags resulting in nothing more than stolen breath and teary eyes. 
"It's okay, Mr. Styles, just breathe," she reminded him as he reached to flush the toilet, his breathing coming in rapid pants through his raw throat. 
"Don't call me that," he panted, sitting back on his heels though he still didn't care to turn to face her, "I don't like it when y'call me that." 
"Okay, okay," she soothed, the same word having fallen from her lips at least a hundred times at this point, "What do you want me to call you? What do you like better?"
"Jus' H, please. Want y'to talk to me like y'know me." 
Her heart just about broke at how pathetic he sounded in that moment, his request just short of a whine given his burned throat. "Okay, I can do that," she agreed with a gentle pat to his back. "I'm going to be right back, alright? I brought you some water for you to sip on." 
Before (Y/N) could even get to her feet, Mr. S—Harry—H twisted in his spot and raced to wrap his fingers around her wrists. He kept her from going any further with his manacle-like grip, bloodshot eyes glossy in the low light of the bathroom. "Wait, please. I-I don't want to be alone if I get sick again." 
As much as she knew it was against her better judgment to leave the liter of water out in the bedroom, there was no way she could argue against him when he looked at her like that. And, for the first time ever, he was pleading with her to stay with him, not fighting for a way out of her presence. How could she say no to that?
"Okay, I'll stay a few minutes longer, but I need to have you drinking something soon," she reasoned, settling back down onto the tile floor. She crossed her legs underneath her, opting for something more comfortable than the cuffs of her knees digging into the hard floor as she was prepared to sit there for as long as Harry needed her (or until she could convince him of the importance of water right now). 
Harry all but deflated with relief at her words, slumping into her arms in a way that had (Y/N) doubting he knew he was doing. Another sign of just how bad he was feeling then—he'd never seek comfort in her like this otherwise. Nonetheless, (Y/N) wrapped her arms around him without question, cushioning her back against the wall of the bathroom behind her while Harry's clumsy limbs found purchase around her. He shuffled up beside her with legs folded underneath him, his bottom on his heels. He was close enough to the toilet incase of an emergency, but his knees still knocked into hers with his arms around her waist, face tucking into the curve of her throat. 
"Thank you," he murmured into her neck once he burrowed himself against her skin, his forehead clammy. 
"Of course," she told him, her arms around his middle with her palms spanning the planes of his back. "Has it been like this all day?" 
"Mhm," he practically whined, his nose scrunching against her skin, "I hate it. I hate being sick. I jus' want to be better already." 
(Y/N) held him tighter the second she felt wetness slide over her skin, moreso than the sheen of sweat that covered his forehead. He was crying. That gloss that had lacquered his gaze had overflown, now leaking over her skin and pooling in the line of her collarbones. "I know, H, I know," she crooned to him, forcing herself to stay composed despite how much her heart ached for him then, "I brought stuff for you that's supposed to help you feel better. Do you want to try taking some medicine or drinking some water?" 
"I don't think I can keep it down," he told her, voice watery as he spoke, "'M sorry." 
"No, don't be sorry, okay?" she gently scolded him, shaking her head as she brought her hand up to card through the length of the curls on the back of his head. 
"I jus' want to be better, (Y/N)," he repeated earnestly, a sniffle following right after to match the wiggle of his nose she felt against her skin. She wanted to be endeared at the small touch but that was quickly outweighed by the concern she felt the second another wave of tears washed over her skin, Harry's breathing shifting until she feared he would start sobbing. 
"And you will be," she promised, hugging him tighter with her fingers lacing through his hair, "You need to give yourself a little more time, okay? Sleep a little more, and once you're up to it, we'll have you eating and drinking again and you'll be feeling so much better. I promise." 
Harry tensed in her arms before could finish his thought. A scramble of limbs ensued then, leaving (Y/N) feeling the absence of his warmth while he hunched over the toilet and threw up the nonexistent contents of his stomach. (Y/N) was behind him in a rush, rubbing his back and cooing to him as he began to dry heave, only bile leaving his system now. 
It was (Y/N) this time that flushed the toilet down for him after a few minutes of nothing else triggering his gag reflex, proceeding to gather him back into her arms once he was settled enough to unlock his joints and allow his muscles to go malleable again. 
"It's alright, H—" 
"See?" he cut her off, voice particularly raw after his latest showing, "'M not getting better, (Y/N). I jus' want to be better and-and play a show and I do-don't want to let anyone down." 
"You're not letting anyone down," she cemented, relaxing into the stiff sidewall of the tub as he tucked himself into her warmth one more time with his face in her neck.
"I've heard Jeff talking about cancelling or rescheduling shows," he mumbled, a sniffle following after, "I don't want to do that. S-So many people travel jus' to see me, and 's be-been so long an—" 
Harry was cut off by his own crying, the stress of the situation along with the just how awful he felt in that moment catching up to him now that someone was there to listen. His grip on her tightened with his arms around her waist and his face buried in her neck, his chest stuttering with his uneven breaths and squeezes of his sobbing lungs. 
All she could do then was hold him against her, as if her hug could keep him from shaking so hard with his heady breaths. Her neck was slick with his tears, the tip of his nose wiggling with every sniffle he sucked in in hopes of regulating his breathing.
"Its okay, H, really," she cooed to him, drawing one of her hands up to the back of his head with her fingertips twirling through the curls, "You need to stop crying, okay? You're only making yourself more sick by crying, you know. Just breathe, alright? It's going to be okay, I promise." 
Though it took him a moment, she could feel the way he tried to heed her advice. He fought off the stutter of his sobs, his breathing coming out in shaky pulls with the exhales being long and drawn out over her skin. Her palms soothed down his spine, the length of her nails dragging over his shirt in what she hoped was calming runs. 
"Feel a little better now?" she asked once he curated a rhythm of deep breaths and sinking exhales. Though she could feel just the smallest remnants of his tears having seeped against her neck, she didn't feel that dampness growing as opposed to the way it was only a few moments earlier. 
"Y-yeah," he mumbled, nodding his head against her neck, "Sorry."
"Don't be sorry, okay?" she told him, parroting her earlier words, "There's nothing to be sorry for. No one likes being sick, and I know you're under a lot of pressure since we're also on the road. It's okay." 
A nasally little thank you sounded against her neck along with the brush of his lips being felt against her throat. A small smile touched at the corners of her lips as she felt him relax into her, exhaustion weighing him down now that he wasn't clinging to the edge of the toilet. (Y/N) tentatively laid her cheek on the top of his head, lending him more of her warmth in hopes of holding off another wave of his fever. 
Just when she figured he'd fallen asleep, his breathing even with puffs of air fanning over her skin, he pulled his face from her neck. Harry's cheeks were flushed as he looked to her, ruddy and glistening with a sheen of sweat. His eyes were puffy and red, the scleras bloodshot from his crying session. Even his lips were swollen, the same hue as his red-tipped nose. 
"Can I have some water?" he asked her pathetically, voice nasally given his clogged sinuses, "And a blanket. 'M really cold." 
(Y/N) nodded her head right away, feeling her eyes rounding out as she took him in with pity in her gaze. "I'll be right back, okay?" she told him, brushing stray curls behind his ears. 
Harry gave her another sad look, mimicking the nod of her head. "Thank you," he told her before tucking his swollen bottom lip between his teeth. 
She made quick work of collecting the liter of water she'd put off to the side along with the knitted blanket that was bundled over the hotel bed. She knew that was something he'd brought from home, an item she'd seem him cart around to every venue and every hotel room to help him feel more at home despite the miles between. Hopefully it would be just what he needed in that moment. 
Stepping into the bathroom, Harry was just where she had left him. He was bundled beside the bathtub, his legs now bent in front of him to make himself into a small ball with his arms around his shins. His glossy eyes seemed to widen at the sight of his blanket, completely glancing over the water in her opposing hand in favor of reaching for his token from home. 
"Thank you so much," he repeated, grabby hands taking the knitted blanket as soon as she offered it to him.
Despite his aching limbs, the blanket was wrapped around Harry's shoulders in quick succession, the fabric being pulled up to his face with a finger wrapped in the material from underneath absently rubbing against his cheek. He soothed himself enough to have his eyes flutter to a close as (Y/N) settled in beside him, taking her spot against the bathtub wall with her legs criss-crossed underneath her bottom. 
"Still want some water?" she asked in a crooned tone, hoping to keep from disturbing him too much from the sweetened state he was falling into.
"Yes, please," he murmured, eyes still closed. 
Twisting off the cap of his water, (Y/N) offered it to him with a nudge against his shoulder. Harry begrudgingly untangled his hand from the knit of his blanket, taking the bottle with his eyes opened to only a slit. 
"Only take sips, H," she told him as he raised the bottle to his lips, "Any more and it might make you sick again." 
"But 'm so thirsty," he whined, brows pinching together in the middle. 
"I know, but if you drink too fast it'll make you sick again," she reasoned with him, scooting in closer to him with her arm pressing against his own, "Just sip it for now and if you can keep it all down tonight, you can drink all the water you want." 
Heaving a sigh, he gave a nod of his head as he heeded her advice and took small sips from his bottle. (Y/N) kept an eye on him as he drank, watching for any turn of the tide that would garner her helping him back to the toilet bowl. By the time he finally seemed satiated, handing her the bottle in search of the cap to be fixed back on top, he sunk down and lent his cheek against her shoulder. His eyes were shuttered closed once more, his hand working its way back under the knit of his blanket to press the material against his cheek again. 
"Tired?" (Y/N) murmured, maneuvering to wrap her arm around his shoulders and cuddle him close. 
"Yeah," he said, voice cracking some under the pressure of his raw throat. 
"Here," she said, shuffling in her spot to move just far enough away from him to get a whine filtering through his throat. Uncrossing her legs, she unfurled them in front of her with her ankles folding over one another, "Lay down, H, its okay. You can put your head in my lap." 
He seemed calmed at the prospect of her only moving so he could more comfortably. With his legs curled against his tummy into a ball, Harry laid his head in her lap, her plush thighs acting as his pillow. "Thank you," he sighed, nasally voice quietly bouncing off the tiles. 
"When you wake up we'll take some medicine, okay?" she told him, placing her hands in his hair as she unclipped the sprout she'd made with the strands to card through his curls. 
All she earned in response was a quiet okay, leaving him to fall asleep only moments later. 
Sinking against the sidewall of the bathtub, (Y/N) let her own eyes close. Cuddling with Mr. Styles was definitely not how she saw this morning going. She was going to have to text Mr. Azoff to let him know not to expect her for the rest of the day. 
Humming to acknowledge the call of her name, (Y/N) continued to clean up the little medication station she made up on his bedside table now that each of the pills were in his system. She was going to have to call up for another large water bottle for him now that there was less than a fourth of the liter left. And, probably another serving of hot soup since that had been forgotten hours earlier, going cold. 
"'M sorry," Harry said behind her, the warmth of his glossy gaze being pinned on her back. 
"You don't need to be sorry, remember?" she said to him, constituting all of his orange and white bottles back into the small pack the medical team had prepared as she gave him a small glance over her shoulder. "No one is upset with you; it's not your fault you're sick, we all know that." 
"No," he croaked, shaking his head against the fluffed pillow, "That's not what 'm talking about." 
"Oh?" she asked, settling into the nest of bedding she'd made her own since they carted him back to bed after his nap. He hadn't been sick for hours at this point, the main concern shifting to fend off the fever that was sapping his energy and drawing a fog over his brain. 
As soon as he saw her close once more, Harry made a move to lay his head in her lap again. It was instinctive at this point to have her hands carding through his hair, pulling the strands from his flushed skin. This time though, Harry looked up at her with his slightly hooded gaze, a touch unfocused despite the fact he'd been awake for the better part of the last hour. 
"'M sorry 'm so mean to you," he breathed, a sheen collecting over his eyes as he took her in, "You're taking care of me, and I don't deserve it." 
(Y/N) felt like a deer in headlights with his tired gaze on her. This was definitely not how she ever saw this conversation going—if this conversation ever happened, anyway. She floundered for words as she shook her head, distracting him with a particularly drawn out run of her fingers through his curls. 
"Don't say that, okay? What you don't deserve, is staying alone in a hotel room while you're sick," she murmured, "But, you don't need to worry about that right now, okay? You don't need to apologize for anything." 
To be fair, she never really considered his behavior mean. He avoided her, sure, but he was never blatantly rude to her. 
"No, no," he shook his head in her lap, "'M so mean to you 's not fair. I-I barely even talk to you, and you're still taking care of me. 'M sorry, (Y/N)." 
"Harry, really, I don't think you're mean, ok—" 
"I jus' don't know how to talk to you, (Y/N)," he continued as if he hadn't heard a single word she said, "'S so hard to talk to you, and-and m'brain hurts when I try to think about it." 
Canting her head as she gazed down at him, she dropped one of her hands from his hair only to skate over the planes of his face. She traced over the height of his cheekbone, and brushed the length of his lashes before she grazed the bridge of his nose. "It's okay, Harry," she soothed him, watching as his eyes fell closed, "It's okay to be shy. I know Mr. Azoff's last assistant was really close to you, it's fine if we're not there yet. We'll get there someday, right?"
"No," he whined, drawing out the syllable as he peeked his eyes open, "'S not like that—not like with Mallory, (Y/N). I like y'so much that m'brain doesn't work around you. It wasn't like that at all with Mallory—I didn't have a crush on her." 
(Y/N) was thankful for the cover of his illness to keep him from fully noticing her reaction to his confession. While it was sweet the way he described his feelings—a crush, he'd said—that had to have been at the very bottom of the list of reasons she would have thought up as to why he behaved the way he did around her. What was she supposed to say to something like that? How was she supposed to take it given the fact that this could be nothing more than one of his delirious ramblings given the state of his fever? 
"I can't believe 'm telling you like this," he muttered, eyes fluttered closed in a tight pinch as he turned in her lap. He faced the soft of her tummy, his arms wrapping around her middle as he nosed at the fabric of her top. "I smell like vomit and I haven't washed m'hair for four days, 'm sorry." 
A quiet sigh left her lips as she carded her fingers through his hair, the unwashed curls slipping between her fingers. "It's okay, Harry. Don't worry about any of that right now, okay? We can talk about that later, but you need to focus on getting better right?" 
"Right," he peeped, voice slowing and dredging deeper into sleep, "And you'll stay with me?"
Her answer was automatic, "Of course. I'll be here to take care of you, I promise." 
It was only moments later he was asleep again, face tucked against her tummy while (Y/N) was wide awake. 
(YN) woke with a stiff neck to the sound of the shower running, still wrapped up in Harry's bedding though now she had his knitted blanket draped over her form. The side of the bed she had slipped him into once she was too tired to stay awake was now cold, only the impression of his body on the sheets giving away his presence. 
Blinking her dry eyes, she tried to get her bearings after the long night she'd had tending to her boss's favorite client, along with every rambling confession he woke up in the middle of the night to share. 
He apparently thought her hair was very pretty, wanted to share clothes with her, and thought she had a cute laugh. Though, those were only the confessions she could decipher in his sleepy, nasally voice. 
She was still clothed in the outfit she'd donned the morning before, her phone waiting with a handful of texts from Mr. Azoff asking about Mr. Styles' state and if there was anything the pair of them needed now that (Y/N) had taken on the role of nursing him back to health for the time being. She pushed those messages off to the side at the moment, instead trying to untwirl her brain now that she had a moment alone without Mr. Styles' health at the front of her mind. 
He liked her, he'd said—he had a crush on her even. That was why he didn't have it in himself to hold a conversation with her, too shy to speak to her without making an ass of himself. The thought made her heart flutter, a fact she couldn't deny especially after she realized the smile on her face when she recalled his exact words. 
Despite the fact his kindness didn't always extend to her in the obvious ways, thinking back, she realized the signs were there. He remembered her birthday and put together an impromptu party that he couldn't even properly attend. He remembered her Halloween costume even though he was running around all day, preparing for one of the biggest shows of the year. He paid attention to her; he listened for her favorite foods, favorite colors, favorite books. While he was too shy to talk to her about those things directly, he still went out of his way to find them out and keep them to himself. 
It was easier for her since she knew she got this job to send her own feelings packing, out of her head and her heart before she could find herself in trouble with an infatuation with her boss's favorite client and best friend. That fact grew even more important as soon as Harry started behaving the way he did around her, but now that she had that glimmering confession, the tender explanation, it was hard to keep those feelings from marching right back in. All those months that she had to school herself into knocking away the melancholy at the fact that one of her inspirations didn't seem to like her now were turned in a new light, trying to see those same moments from Harry's point of view. 
How many times had she thought she felt his eyes on her, only to turn and find him looking the other direction? Had she really been only a second too late to catch his gaze? Every time she had chattered away with a member of the crew or Mr. Azoff himself, with Harry scrolling through his phone distractedly had he really been listening in and collecting information he was too scared to ask for? Or even the times he had dropped his gaze when she met his, the blushing hue to his skin now could be out of sheepish affection and not the need to get away from her as soon as possible. 
She hadn't been invisible to him, or even a negative presence in his day-to-day, she was piecing together. He thought of her the same way she thought of him. What a heart-stopping thought. 
(Y/N) jumped in her spot, the bedsheets rustling around her denim-clad legs at the sound of Harry's rumbling voice. Dropping back into the moment, she saw him standing just outside the bathroom door, luggage at his feet as he packed away the clothing he would need sent off to be washed before they were on their way to the next destination. A quiet smile was on his lips, a shy shifting to his gaze that kept him from meeting hers. His socked feet dug into the plush carpet on the floor, legs folded over in a pair of heavy black sweats along with a crewneck from his brand that hadn't been released to the public just yet. His hair was damp and dark, finally washed after the few days she was sure it had been bothering him.
"Morning," she chirped back, finding her voice, "How are you feeling?"
"Better," he mused, running a hand through his damp hair, "Finally getting to actually sleep last night helped a lot, I think. I took the medicine y'left on the table, and took a shower and I'm really feeling a lot better."
"Good, that makes me happy. Now, you can sleep all day and actually eat something instead of laying on the bathroom floor." (Y/N) felt proud of herself when she caught sight of the dimples denting his cheeks as he huffed out a quiet laugh.
A beat of silence passed between them as Harry finally dropped the guise of rifling through his bag to face her. Stuffing his hands into the pockets of his sweats, he toed at the ground as he looked at her through the fan of his lashes. 
"Um, thanks for taking care of me and everything yesterday, (Y/N)," he drawled, a pinch touching between his brows, "I really, really appreciate it. 'M sure it wasn't easy. My mum says I always get whiny when 'm sick, so..." 
"You weren't that bad," she told him with a gentle smile, crossing her legs underneath herself from where she sat on the bed, "I used to babysit when I was in college, and you are definitely not as bad as some of the kids I used to help."
"Great," he laughed with a playful roll of his eyes, "'m not as bad as a child. I'll have to tell my mum, that'll show her." 
After the short peals of laughter died down, silence filled in for their voices. Was she supposed to say something? Did he want her to say something? Or was what was said last night meant to stay right there—in the evening hours, in the brain fog that came along with his fever?
"Listen," he said, swallowing hard as he finally met her gaze head on, "'M really sorry about yesterday. I know I said a lot of things, and 'm really sorry if I made y'uncomfortable or anything. I-I don't know why I said any of that, honestly." 
Fighting the urge to drop her own gaze as she'd seen him do so many times before, (Y/N) kept herself focused on him, following the small droplets of water that clung to his forehead from his damp curls. "You didn't make me uncomfortable," she said, "But—um—di-did you mean it? What you said? About being shy and everything because of... me?"
Another harsh swallow had his throat bobbing, the green of his eyes disappearing for just a moment as he blinked towards the ceiling before returning. "I mean, yeah. I did mean it. I never wanted to tell y'like that, though, that's for sure. I know y'were being nice, but I definitely did smell like vomit and you're a saint for sitting there and letting me talk like a crazy person all night. I don't even know how you found time to sleep with me constantly bothering you."
"You weren't bothering me," she said, a smile cracking her features now that she realized there was no catch to his confession. There was no reason to quash the happiness filling her chest. "I thought it was really sweet what you were saying to me. It was nice to hear all of that stuff, especially since I was pretty sure you didn't like me just two days ago."
He clenched his eyes shut at her finishing words. "I really am sorry about that, I hope you know," he said with a heady sigh, "I wish I had a better explanation, but really, you jus' make me nervous." 
"It's okay," she waved off, shuffling towards the edge of the bed closest to him without much thought, "You make me nervous, too—I get it." 
"I do?" he asked, a boyish smile touching at his features while his eyes seemingly sparkled in the low light. 
"I mean, yeah," she revealed, a duh tone to her words, "Why do you think it's always so hard for me to talk to you?" 
Harry took slow steps towards the edge of the bed, his socked feet dragging through the plush carpet. "But you're always so—," he trailed off, flicking his hands out in front of him with a flourish, "Everywhere, I guess. Talking to everyone and laughing. I don't think I've ever seen y'nervous." 
"Well, I don't like everyone else the way I like you, so I don't get nervous like that. It's harder to talk to you when all I want is to say the right thing." 
Before she even realized it, Harry was stood right in front of where she was sat on the edge of the bed. He towered over her with warmth radiating from his chest, the heat much more pleasant than the fever he was running the night before, especially when he looked at her so sweetly with his big eyes. It was in slow movements that he brought his hands out and settled them on her wrists, only to trail down to lace his fingers between hers. When she didn't pull away or make any sound of protest, she felt him squeeze her hands. 
"I like hearing y'talk. Y'have a pretty voice," he murmured, his voice just a touch deeper than normal given the last week of his life. 
"I like your voice too," she beamed up at him, "Why do you think I'm always out there during the shows?" 
"Because, Jeff makes you?" he teased, shyly dropping her gaze to where their hands were bundled between them. 
(Y/N) shook her head, adjusting her position on the bed to sit with her bottom on her heels and her legs folded underneath her. "I like listening to you sing and talk to everyone. You're amazing on stage. It's my favorite part of being on the road with everyone—getting to see you every night like that." 
He keened under her praise, canting his head as he squeezed her hands. Dimples dented his cheeks as he looked to her. "Thank you," he murmured, the blunt ends of his front teeth sinking into his bottom lip once he got his gratitude out. 
Looking at him like this, feeling the strength of his hands and the heat of his skin all the while he looked at her so tenderly had (Y/N)'s heart racing. How was this real?" 
Dropping her eyes to his lips, the raspberry color just a bit drained from his illness though he wasn't any less appealing. She spoke without thought as her stayed stuck on his mouth, "Can I kiss you?" 
She watched as a smile grew on his lips at her words. "I—uh—'M sick, remember?" he protested less than half-heartedly. 
"I got my flu shot, remember?" 
That was all the convincing it took to have Harry dropping her hands from his, only to then cradle the soft of her cheeks in his hands. His lips slotted against hers in a tender press, allowing her to taste the clean mint of his toothpaste and whatever scented chapstick he'd swiped over his pout. She didn't even have time to think about the fact she was still wearing her clothes from the day before with unbrushed hair and unwashed skin, not with the way he was holding her and pressing into her mouth for more. It was as unhurried of a kiss as it was wanting, making up for the lost time that had been wasted over the past few months. 
The contact remained innocent, only sweet presses of their lips growing more and more delicate until Harry pulled away just to press a smattering of kisses against her pout. His actions drew a laugh from her chest, her hands reaching for his shirt as he kissed her smiling mouth. 
"We don't have to leave for the venue until tonight, right?" he asked, slightly breathless though he matched her smile tenfold. (Y/N) nodded her head still in his delicate grip, the pad of his thumb sweeping under her eye. "We should probably leave for a little and let housekeeping clean up a little, but 'm still really tired," his gaze flickered over hers, his smile growing that much more at whatever he found in there, "Could we go back to your room? We don't have to do anything"—that had his cheeks blushing—", but I don't want to sleep alone again after this."
That was all (Y/N) needed before she was dragging him down the hall to her hotel room, following right after him into her unused, plush bed. It was instinct at this point the way he cuddled up to her, face in her neck with his nose pressed to her pulse. All she felt was a press of his lips to the curve of her throat before he was asleep again, leaving (Y/N) the time to send Mr. Azoff a message. 
Harry was fine, she told him, but he'd probably need another day of rest and looking after. A job she was more than willing to continue to take on. She'd tell him the full story later, she decided, especially after he saw the room service charges for double meals to her room.
I got a request for something like this a super long time ago so thank you to whoever requested for being so patient! thank you so much for reading and sorry for any mistakes! if anyone has any ideas or requests of your own pls pls send them in !
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goldengalore · 1 month
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An anxious!reader fic.
Summary: Y/N hasn’t been intimate with someone in a long time, which makes her nervous about having sex with Harry for the first time.
Word count: 6.5k
Warnings: anxiety, smut (featuring soft dom!harry, fingering, thigh riding, oral - m receiving)
A/N: This is one last idea (for now) that I had for the anxious!reader universe. Lots of smut, but it’s very soft and sweet and full of love :)
His hands. Y/N can’t stop staring at his hands.
There are a lot of things she finds attractive about Harry. Too many. It’s actually maddening how one person can have so many attractive qualities. Lately, her brain has decided to fixate on his hands. They’re pretty and elegant, strong and masculine.
His long fingers are often decorated with an ornate collection of rings. Sometimes his nails are painted with vibrant colours; other times, they’re unpainted but still clean and neatly trimmed. She can often see the veins that travel up the backs of his hands into his toned arms. He moisturizes them well too, so they rarely look dry.
Y/N would be lying if she said her obsession with Harry’s hands is completely innocent and merely about aesthetics, that she hasn’t imagined how those fingers would feel in her mouth or between her legs and orgasmed to the thought of that while lying alone in bed at night.
It doesn’t help that he’s a highly affectionate person, finding any excuse to place his hands on her whenever she’s within reach. Even now, as they lounge on his couch, he pulls her legs into his lap and begins massaging them. She’s wearing a knee-length dress today, leaving her lower legs exposed. His hands don’t move up past her knees, but that doesn’t stop her imagination from running wild anyway.
“Y/N?” His smooth, commanding voice—another annoyingly attractive feature of his—pulls her from her thoughts.
“Hmm?” Her eyes flick up to his emerald ones staring back at her. She realizes with embarrassment that she hasn’t listened to a thing he’s said in the past minute or so.
“What were you staring at?” He glances down in his lap, where her gaze was just a few seconds ago.
“Oh, just your hands.”
His brows furrow slightly as he starts inspecting his hands, turning his palms up, then down. “Why? Something wrong with them?”
“No! No, they’re just… nice. Nice hands. That’s all. Sorry, what, um, what were you saying?”
A teasing smirk forms on his lips. “Nice hands, huh? Never heard that one before.”
She rolls her eyes, trying to ignore the heat rising to her cheeks. “Please. I’m sure you’ve heard that a million times.”
“Mmm, not really.”
She narrows her eyes at him, not believing him for a second. His smirk broadens.
“Anyway,” he says, resting his hands back on her legs, “I was just saying that I really missed you last week.”
Now she feels even worse about zoning out on him. He’s been out of town this past week for work. They reunited just this morning after his flight landed back in LA.
“I missed you too, H.”
“This week made me realize something.”
Her heart skips a beat. “What?”
“Made me realize how much I hate being away from you. I know our friendship started over Zoom meetings and phone calls and whatnot since I was on tour, but…” He shrugs. “After spending time with you in person these past couple months, I can’t imagine being away from you for weeks or months at a time. I think I’d go mad.”
His confession feels like being swaddled in a warm blanket. While he was away, Y/N couldn’t stop thinking about him. His fluffy hair and dimpled smile, his kind eyes and boyish laugh, even his cute nose consumed her thoughts from the moment she woke up in the morning to the moment she fell asleep at night. She found herself cursing the slow passage of time frequently throughout the week. To hear that her feelings were reciprocated makes her giddy inside.
When she takes a while to respond, he says, “I hope that wasn’t too intense. It’s just been on my mind lately and I had to say it.”
“No, I feel the same way.” I think I’m in love with you, she says in her head but struggles to speak aloud. She has never been the first to say those words in a relationship.
He smiles, relieved. “Okay, good.” He holds her gaze for a few seconds, then shifts closer, her legs still strewn across his lap. His hand comes up to cradle her jaw as he leans in for a kiss, sucking her top lip into his mouth.
She scoots even closer, practically sitting in his lap now. The movement causes her dress to ride up. Harry rests his other hand on her bare thigh, squeezing it lightly. Her heart quickens. His hand inches along her inner thigh, hiking her dress up even further. Suddenly, her whole body tenses up and she shrinks away from his touch.
“Sorry, I—I can’t,” she stammers, quickly removing her legs from his lap and tugging her dress back down.
She sneaks a glance at his face and detects some hurt there. It lasts for a split second, but her brain registers it anyway. She feels awful. This is the second time he has tried to get intimate with her beyond just kissing. The first was the night before he was supposed to fly out of the city. They were cuddling in his bed. She was giving him all the signs that she wanted to take things further—letting her hands roam all over his body, grinding her hips against him—but as soon as he started returning her touches, she pulled away.
It’s frustrating because she fantasizes about it all the time, yet when it finally starts to happen, she freezes up. It’s like her mind and body are on completely different pages.
“I’m sorry, H,” she repeats.
“It’s all right.” He gives her a reassuring smile. “You’re not ready for that. I understand.”
“But I am ready. I just…” She looks up at the ceiling as if the answers to her puzzling emotions will be there. “Ugh! I don’t know.”
A long silence stretches between them, though it probably feels longer in her head than it is in reality.
“I should go,” she finally says, rising to her feet, but he grabs her hand before she can go anywhere.
“Already? We haven’t even had dinner yet.”
“But I made things awkward!”
“No, you didn’t. Stop that.”
She was trying to avoid his gaze, but he tugs on her hand to make her look at him.
“We’ve been apart for a whole week. You think I’m letting you run off that easily?” He frowns a bit. “Wait, that sounded creepier than I’d intended.”
She giggles, feeling somewhat lighter. “Okay, fine. I’ll stay.”
They order sushi for dinner and crack open a bottle of wine. The awkwardness she felt earlier fades as Harry starts telling her about a deep conversation he shared with the five-year-old girl sitting next to him on his flight. Y/N is glad she decided to stay because if she had gone home to spend the night by herself, her overthinking mind would have eaten her alive.
After dinner, they transfer back over to the couch with their wineglasses in hand. They sit cross-legged, facing each other. The wine has helped her loosen up some more, granting her the courage to explain why she’s been so reluctant to get intimate with him.
“I’m not a virgin,” she tells him. “I know it probably seems that way because of how I act every time we try to do anything sexual, but I’m not. Not that there’s anything wrong with being one, obviously. I just thought you should know.”
He nods. “Okay.”
Although he doesn’t press any further, his eyes are curious and attentive in a way that makes her want to spill everything, just lay out all her secrets and fears and insecurities in a big, messy pile in front of him.
“I’m not a virgin, but I haven’t had sex in years,” she explains. “And I’ve always had to have a few drinks before doing it. I tried doing it sober once, and it was a total disaster. I was on the verge of a panic attack the whole time, and the guy didn’t know what to do. I just told him to keep going, so he did until he finished and—”
“Lovie, that’s not okay,” he interjects, brows pinching together in concern. “He should’ve stopped when he realized you were having a panic attack.”
“Well, to be fair, I told him to keep going. It was totally consensual.”
“Still. He should’ve at least stopped to make sure you were all right. Seems like basic human decency to me.”
“I guess....” She shrugs, knowing that he’s right but not wanting to think about it much longer. “Anyway, after he finished, he told me that having sex with me was like fucking a scared baby deer.” She forces a laugh, though the memory still makes her cringe inside. “Needless to say, I was mortified and never saw him again. And that’s the only time I’ve had sex while sober.”
“And all the times you weren’t sober, did you at least enjoy it?”
She hesitates. “Um, define enjoy.”
He appears even more concerned now. “If you’re having to ask that question, I’m afraid the answer is no. If you enjoyed it, you would know.”
“Well, I just asked because if by ‘enjoy,’ you mean ‘did I orgasm during it,’ then it’s a no. But my anxiety was a lot more under control, so I guess that could be considered a form of enjoyment… Right?”
Rather than answering her question, he asks, “You’ve never orgasmed during sex?”
She shakes her head. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about, but her cheeks still feel like they’re on fire.
“Have you ever had an orgasm?”
“Oh, plenty. When I’m alone, that is.”
“I see.” He rubs his jaw and looks away, sinking deep into thought. She can’t read the expression on his face.
“So, now you know how bad I am at sex,” she jokes to fill the silence.
He looks at her with a raised brow. “I don’t know about that. If anything, it’s the guys you’ve been with who were bad at sex if they couldn’t even make you come once.”
“Oh no, they were all very experienced.” Y/N doesn’t know why she’s defending these men, as if they would do the same for her. Perhaps it’s because she’s spent her whole life thinking she was the problem and this is the first time someone has suggested a different perspective to the one she’s become so accustomed to.
“Experience doesn’t always equate to being good at something.”
“I guess not.” She bites her lip and tucks a strand of hair behind her ear. “I do want to try again… with you. I just don’t know how to stay calm without having a few drinks in my system.”
“Yeah, we’ll have to work on that.”
His use of the word “we” doesn’t go unnoticed by her. We, as in this is our problem, not just yours. We, as in we’ll figure this out together, you don’t have to do it alone. She feels a surge of something in her chest, and the only term she can think of to describe it is love.
“I’m calm right now,” she says with sudden realization, placing her wineglass on the table so quickly that it almost topples over. “So, technically, we could try again—”
“No.” He shakes his head. “We’re not having sex for the first time while you’re drunk.”
“I’m not drunk drunk though. Just a bit tipsy. I think we could still—”
“Y/N, it’s not happening,” he states firmly. “Other guys might have been okay with that sort of thing, but I’m not, okay?”
Her shoulders slump. She looks down in her lap. “Okay. Sorry. I didn’t mean to pressure you. I just want you to know that I want it as much as you do.”
“I know. Hey”—he tilts up her chin—“we’ll get there. There’s no rush. I’m not going anywhere.”
He has no idea how much of a relief it is to hear those words. Her biggest fear this whole time has been him losing interest in her because she can’t seem to get over her anxiety around sex. It’s happened before. Guys often expect her anxiety to disappear after the first time. When it doesn’t, they take it as a blow to their ego and react by making her feel like a freak for being anxious at all. The humiliation leads to even worse anxiety the next time she gets intimate with someone. It’s a vicious cycle.
She doesn’t want to get her hopes up or anything, but maybe that cycle finally ends with Harry.
When it comes to Y/N, Harry just doesn’t know how to keep his hands to himself. Even before they met in person, he would dream of the day he could finally have her in his arms, how perfectly their bodies would mold together, how electrifying that first contact would be. For months, he’s been dying to touch and feel and kiss every inch of her, but after hearing about her sexual history, it’s no surprise why she’s so hesitant to take that step with him.
Taking things slow is not a problem for Harry. If anything, he feels lucky to be the one who gets to show her how fun and exciting and stress-relieving sex can be when the people involved actually care about each other’s pleasure.
It’s been a few days since that initial conversation. They’ve had several more discussions about it since then, and he thinks they’re ready to try something now.
He stares at Y/N lying on his bed, looking cute and cozy in his forest green Pleasing crewneck. Her lips are swollen from all their making out, her neck and collarbone littered with red spots where he licked and sucked on her skin like an ice cream cone.
“Question for you,” he says, leaning his head on his palm. “When’s the last time you touched yourself?”
“Hmm… A couple days ago?”
“Would you feel comfortable doing that in front of me?”
Her eyes widen. “Y—you want to watch me touch myself?”
“Only if you’re okay with it.” Her reaction already indicates that she’s not.
“Oh, I… I don’t think I am,” she admits, confirming his thoughts. “I mean, I don’t even like being watched while I cross the street. It’s like I forget how to walk.”
“Okay, different question. How would you feel about getting in a bath with me?”
She thinks about it. “I’d be okay with that.”
He runs them a bath lightly scented with a lavender oil he bought recently, while Y/N leans against the doorway and watches. Once he begins to undress, she follows suit. Starting with his crewneck, she removes her clothes at an extremely slow pace, as if she’s on the verge of changing her mind at any moment. He finishes undressing before she does and pretends not to notice her eyes bulging at the sight of his dick. Instead, he leans over to the tub to test the temperature of the water.
“I’ll get in first,” he says. “Then you can sit between my legs. Sound good?”
She swallows. “Yup.”
He steps into the tub and submerges everything but his head and upper chest into the water. His back rests against one side, his long legs outstretched in front of him.
In the meantime, Y/N finishes undressing. He forces himself not to stare, knowing that it’ll only make her more nervous. She moves quickly now, striding over to the tub and climbing in on wobbly legs. He holds out his hand for support.
“Careful,” he says.
She sits down between his legs with her back facing him. There’s still a lot of space between them.
“Just lean back against me,” he tells her.
She hesitates for a moment, then leans back until she’s flush against his torso.
He smiles. “There you go.”
“Okay, what now?”
“Nothing. Let’s just sit for a minute.”
They enjoy the next few minutes in companionable silence. The warm water seems to dissolve all the tension in her body, which is exactly why he suggested this idea in the first place. Her shoulders relax. She sinks deeper into him.
After a while, he says, “I’m going to try something. If you don’t like what I’m doing or you want me to stop, I need you to tell me. Don’t worry about hurting my feelings. My ego can handle it. Okay?”
She responds with a tiny nod.
“I need you to answer me verbally, lovie,” he says softly in her ear. “Just so I can be sure we’re on the same page.”
“Yes. Got it. Sorry.”
“That’s okay. Don’t have to apologize.”
“Sorry,” she says again, automatically. “Fuck! Sorr— Shit! Why do I keep—” She starts to sit up, but he places a hand in the middle of her chest, gently pulling her back against him. He can feel her heart galloping like a racehorse.
“Y/N, relax. You’re okay. You’re doing great. Just breathe.”
She inhales a deep, shaky breath, then releases it.
“That’s good. Keep doing that.”
Her heartrate gradually decreases with each breath she takes. Once she appears to have calmed down, he moves his hand from the centre of her chest to one of her breasts, cupping it tenderly in his palm. His other hand comes to rest on her belly before making its descent between her legs. She squirms a little once the pads of his fingers make contact with her clit.
“Are we okay?” he asks.
“Y—yeah.” She takes another deliberate breath.
He rubs her clit in small, tight circles and kneads her breast at the same time. Her hands rest at her sides on top of his thighs. As he pinches her nipple, twisting and pulling it lightly, her fingers dig into his thighs and his cock twitches between their bodies. He wonders if she felt it. His middle finger prods around her slit now and slips inside without resistance. He pumps it in and out a few times before adding a second one, using his thumb to rub her clit.
Y/N is completely silent, but the slick substance coating her pussy and the subtle rocking of her hips is confirmation enough that she’s enjoying this. He peeks at her face to find her eyes closed and her bottom lip pulled between her teeth like she’s afraid of accidentally making a sound.
That is another thing they’ll need to work on. Harry likes being vocal during sex and equally enjoys when his lovers are vocal too. He doesn’t want Y/N to hold anything back around him. But they can work on that another day.
“Does this feel good?” he asks.
She nods, then remembers what he said earlier and answers out loud, “Feels good, yes. Really good.”
Satisfied by her response, he presses a third finger inside and pushes all three of them deep into her with every thrust, turning her into a squirming, quivering mess in his arms. Her back arches off his torso as she comes, the smallest whimper slipping through her self-restraint. He gradually lessens the stimulation on her clit, then removes his fingers completely. She lets her head roll back against his shoulder.
“Wow,” she sighs. “I’ve never… That’s never happened with someone before.”
“Wasn’t too bad, was it?”
“No, it was great. Um… thank you?”
He chuckles. “My pleasure.”
Suddenly, she sits up and looks over her shoulder at him. “So… your turn now?”
He waves his hand, splashing some of the water with it. “Don’t worry about that.”
She frowns. “Are you sure?”
“Yeah.” He shrugs casually, trying to act cool as if he can’t feel his dick throbbing furiously under the water right now.
He could take her up on the offer, but he wants to focus on her today. Y/N is too nice to admit it, but he has deduced from their recent conversations that her previous partners were too greedy in the bedroom, exploiting her selfless nature for their own benefit. It’s quite unfortunate. Someone like her deserves to be spoiled, not exploited. At least now that she’s with him, he can make sure she gets the treatment she deserves.
After they’ve cleaned up and stepped out of the tub, he grabs one of the towels off the counter and starts handing it to her, then stops.
“Can I dry you off?” he asks.
She seems surprised but not opposed to the idea. “Sure.”
“Okay, just one moment.” He quickly pats himself dry, then grabs the other towel and walks over to her.
Timid eyes gaze up at him. They fall shut as he raises the towel to her face and dabs away all the little water droplets. Next, he moves down to her neck, shoulders, chest, and so on… After he’s done with her upper body, he sinks down to his knees on the mat and works on her lower half, taking his sweet time and humming softly to himself. He glances up to find her smiling at him.
Once her entire body is dry, he leans forward and plants a kiss to her belly before standing up with the towel thrown over his shoulder. Y/N’s eyes follow him as if in a trance.
“All good?”
She just blinks at him.
“I’m in love with you.” The words rush out of her like a whoosh of air that had been trapped in a sealed container. “God, it feels weird saying it out loud. It’s been in my head for so long and I didn’t want to say it because that makes it feel more… real.”
“Why’s that a bad thing?”
She doesn’t reply.
“Because you think I don’t feel the same way?”
“Do you?” She winces slightly as if she’s bracing herself for possible rejection, as if the answer to that question could be anything but “absolutely, positively, one-hundred percent yes.”
“Of course I do, Y/N. I thought I’d made that pretty obvious.”
“You should know by now that nothing is obvious with me.”
It’s true. Even when they were just friends and Harry began dropping hints that he wanted to be more than that, they pretty much all went over her head. Y/N is a smart woman; she just happens to be totally oblivious when it comes to love and romance, which he finds deeply endearing about her.
“Well, take this as your confirmation that I am, in fact, very much in love with you,” he states, taking her face in his hands and giving her a big, sloppy smooch on the lips, which she accepts with a laugh.
“That’s it, lovie. Keep going. You’re doing amazing.”
Y/N rocks back and forth on Harry’s thigh, her cunt positioned directly over his tiger tattoo. His thick, firm quads provide the perfect amount of friction against her needy clit.
A week ago, the idea of riding his thigh while he watched her would have made her extremely self-conscious. But since then, they’ve spent each night exploring each other’s bodies. He has given her several more orgasms with his fingers and mouth, while she has given him some with her hand. They’ve masturbated in front of each other. One night, he gave her a full-body massage that turned her on so much that he hardly even had to touch her clit to make her come.
She doesn’t mind being watched anymore. Not by Harry, at least. His gaze is never judgemental or critical. She doesn’t need to fret over saying or doing the wrong thing and ruining the moment. This has made her fall even more head over heels for him.
“Look so pretty getting yourself off on my thigh like this,” he says, toying with her breasts.
A moan starts to leave her mouth until she pulls her bottom lip between her teeth to trap it in. Harry reaches up and drags her lip back down with his thumb.
“Let me hear you,” he says. “Wanna hear how good this makes you feel.” He grips her chin between his thumb and index finger, keeping her mouth open.
She’s close now, the heat of her orgasm building in her core. Her hips grind faster against him. He lifts up his thigh to heighten the pressure on her clit. The tight knot in her lower abdomen unravels, and she comes with a loud moan, soaking his thigh with her juices.
“You make the sweetest sounds when you come,” he says, releasing her chin.
She pecks him on the lips and, before she’s even recovered from her orgasm, gets on her knees between his legs.
He frowns. “What are you doing?”
She looks at him like it should be obvious. “Returning the favour?” As she begins to reach for his cock, he grabs her wrist.
“Nope,” he says. “You always do that.”
“Do what?”
“Act like you have to pay me back for every orgasm. Sex doesn’t have to be so transactional, you know?” The smirk on his face conveys that he’s joking, but that doesn’t stop Y/N from having the sudden, embarrassing realization that perhaps she does treat sex like it’s transactional and just wasn’t aware of it until now.
“I—I know that,” she fibs a little. “I just want to make you feel good.” That part, at least, is not a lie.
Harry has been spoiling her heavily this past week, which has been delightful. She can tell he’s making every effort to gain her trust in the fact that he doesn’t expect anything in return for how incredible he makes her feel. But Y/N likes making him feel good too. She likes the way he hisses and shudders when she finds his most sensitive spots. She likes watching his usual composure crumble simply from her touch. She lives for it.
“Please?” she adds to her request, giving him her best doe eyes.
“Okay,” he says. “If you really want to.”
“I do.”
He lets go of her wrist, allowing her to reach for his stiff cock again. Nerves make her hands tremble, as she remembers how long it’s been since she gave someone a blowjob. She wants it to be perfect, but realistically, she’ll probably be a bit rusty.
She strokes him in her hand and runs her tongue along the underside of his shaft until, finally, she feels ready to take him in her mouth. Her lips wrap around his tip and slowly move down his length, tongue gliding against him. She considers deep-throating, then decides against it because it’s been way too long since she’s done it and she needs time to work up to it again. Any insecurity she felt about that disappears the moment she glances up at Harry. His eyes are closed and jaw clenched, his Adam’s apple bobbing as he swallows hard.
Emboldened by the look of absolute ecstasy on his face, she bobs her head up and down his shaft and massages his balls with her hand. She moans around him, and he releases a low groan at the sensation it produces. Then she lets his entire length slip from her mouth, teasing him by flicking her tongue over his tip and leaving little kisses along his shaft until his fingers are weaving through her hair in desperation.
“Didn’t know you could be such a tease,” he says with a breathy laugh.
She grins innocently, then takes him into her mouth again, determined to suck him to completion this time. His hand feels good in her hair. She imagines him holding her head in place while he fucks her mouth. She never thought she would be into that sort of thing until now.
“I’m gonna come soon, Y/N,” he warns her as he gets close.
She doesn’t pull away. He thinks she didn’t hear him, so he repeats himself. She makes eye contact to convey that she heard him, that she wants him to come in her mouth, which he does moments later. She relishes the taste of it, swallowing every last drop. As she draws back and wipes her mouth clean, he stares at her in amazement.
“You’re really fucking good at that,” he tells her.
“Thanks! I had this boyfriend in college who only wanted blowjobs all the time since that didn’t involve having to make me come, which was basically impossible for him. He was kind of demanding, but he taught me how to give a damn good blowjob.”
Harry grimaces. “You know, the more I learn about your previous partners, the more I want to hit them over the head with something.”
She laughs. “I think I make them seem meaner than they were.”
“No, I think you make them seem nicer than they were.” He pats his thigh. “Get up here.”
She stands up and sits on his thigh with her legs dangling between his this time. His arm wraps around her back.
Locking his eyes on hers, he says, “You are worth so much more than being some guy’s blowjob dispenser, all right?”
“I know, I know,” she says. “I was just young and naive back then, but I know better now.”
“Good. Don’t ever let any man or woman treat you that way. Okay?”
His eyes are so full of care and concern for her that she thinks she might just cry.
“Okay,” she replies.
Harry loves writing about the initial euphoria that comes with falling in love. It’s intoxicating and exhilarating and all-consuming. Many of his most successful songs were inspired by this peculiar feeling. It’s no wonder that he keeps heading into the studio lately to harness all this creative energy and inject it into his music.
Today, Tom, Tyler, and Mitch are all in the studio with him. Mitch is riffing on his guitar while Harry adlibs over it when Jeff pokes his head into the room.
“H, Y/N’s here to see you,” he says.
Harry raises his brows. “She is?” She didn’t tell him that she’d be visiting the studio today.
“Yeah, she’s waiting out front.”
“Is she all right? Did she say why she’s here?”
Jeff shrugs. “No clue. She seemed fine.”
Y/N always seems “fine.” She’s quite skilled at pretending everything is okay when it’s not, which can be rather concerning. Harry tells the guys he’ll be back, then heads to the front of the studio where he finds his girlfriend staring at a wall decorated from top to bottom with framed album covers of legendary musicians.
“Hi, darling,” he says as he approaches.
She turns to him, eyes illuminating as soon as they meet his. “Hi! Sorry, I told Jeff not to go get you, but he did anyway.” She gives him an apologetic smile. “I hope you weren’t in the middle of something. I swear if you were writing your next Grammy-winning single and I just ruined your flow, I’ll be so mad at myself.”
“Stop it. You haven’t ruined anything.” He steps closer, taking her hands. “Now tell me what brought you here. Are you okay?”
He studies her as she replies, “Yes, I’m fine. I’m not here for any particular reason. I just…” She hesitates. “I needed to see you.” As soon as she says it, her eyes squeeze shut. “Fuck, that sounds so needy.”
“That’s okay. We all get needy sometimes. Do you want to sit in the studio with me?”
She bites her lip, giving it some thought before shaking her head.
“Okay.” He brings her hands between their bodies, swinging them apart and together again. “Then tell me what you need.”
“I—I need…” She glances down in the general direction of his crotch.
A smirk tugs at the corners of his lips. “You need…?”
She rolls her eyes. “Don’t make me say it.”
He tilts his head to side, feigning innocence. “Say what?”
He wanted to make her say it, but the pleading look in her eyes makes him cave. “You need my cock, is that it?”
“Shhh! Not so loud!” Her head spins around to make sure no one heard them.
He laughs. “There’s no one around, lovie.”
“Still!” She sighs and presses her hands against her flaming cheeks. “It’s not fair. You’ve been teasing me with it this whole week, and it’s all I can think about. Couldn’t even focus on my art today because I kept thinking about how…”—she drops her voice to a barely audible whisper—“how you would feel inside me.”
It’s been exactly a week since Y/N first hinted that she’s ready to go all the way with him. Harry was the one who wanted to put it off a little longer. He predicted that if he made her wait long enough, her hunger for it would overpower any anxiety that might crop up during the act.
Smiling, he brings his hand up to her cheek, her skin hot against his cool palm. “Aw, I know, sweetheart. You know the only reason I’ve been teasing is to make sure you’re ready for it.”
“I know. And I’m ready now. I really am.”
“Okay, but we can’t exactly do it here, you know that?”
“Why not? Isn’t there a bathroom in here somewhere?” She pushes up on her toes to look over his shoulder down the hallway where he came from.
“We’re not fucking in the studio bathroom, Y/N.”
She groans and lifts her hands up to his chest, scrunching his shirt between her fingers. “But I can’t wait any longer!”
“Yes, you can.” He wraps his hands around her wrists. “You’re going to be a good girl for me and wait until I pick you up from your flat tonight.”
She pouts and concedes, “Fine.”
He kisses her pout and gives her a hug that lasts for several minutes because she doesn’t want to let go and he never lets go until she does, so they’re in a standoff for who’s going to let go first until finally, Y/N releases him.
After that, the rest of the day moves at a snail-like pace. Harry can hardly focus; he’s too distracted by the thought of what’s to come tonight. Every lyric he comes up with sounds too raunchy to put in an actual song. Even his friends jokingly speculate about why he’s acting so strange—especially Tom, who just loves to make him squirm.
That evening, he has to make a conscious effort not to speed all the way to Y/N’s flat. The plan was to pick her up, take her back to his place, and maybe eat dinner before having their fun, but he thinks he’ll have to skip most of those steps.
Y/N buzzes him into her building. She’s on the second floor, so he doesn’t even bother with the elevator and takes the stairs two at a time. As soon as she lets him in, his mouth is on hers. She kisses him right back, throwing her arms around his neck and pressing up against him. They make their way to her bedroom and remove all their clothes, ending up on the bed with him on top of her.
“Naughty girl,” he says between kisses to her neck. “Came all the way to the studio because you were needy for my cock, hm?”
She covers her face with her hands. “H, don’t tease! I’m embarrassed enough as it is.”
He gently pulls her hands away from her face. “Don’t be embarrassed. Do you have any idea how sexy it is that you want me that badly? Got me all hot and bothered at the studio. Could barely keep myself together for the rest of the day.”
A mischievous little grin makes its way onto her face. “Really?”
“Yes, really. That’s the effect you have on me.” His hand drifts down between her legs to find that she’s already drenched, so he grabs his cock and runs the tip up and down her slit. When he looks back up at her face, there’s a hint of apprehension that wasn’t there before. “You okay?”
“Yeah. Just remembered that I haven’t had something so, uh”—she swallows, glancing down at his cock—“big inside me in a while.”
“Do you want to be on top? That way, you can go at your own pace.”
“What if my pace is too slow and you can’t come?”
“What if I come two seconds after I’m inside you? Would you still love me?”
“Of course!”
“There’s your answer then.”
She squints at him, her lips curving up. “Well played.”
They switch positions so that she’s on top of him, straddling his hips while he leans back against the headboard. She carefully guides his cock up to her entrance, inserting the tip before lowering herself onto him. Her tight walls stretch and expand to accommodate him. She winces from the discomfort. He massages her hips, reminding her to take her time.
It takes her several attempts to get him all the way in, but once he’s there, the feeling is indescribable. He curses under his breath, closing his eyes briefly.
“Is that okay?” she asks.
“Perfect,” he responds in a strained voice. “It’s perfect.”
She seems reassured by his response and starts moving her hips in slow circles, getting used to having him inside her. Then she lifts up and sinks all the way down again. Soon enough, she’s riding him at a steady pace, her hands on his shoulders, her breasts swaying gorgeously in his face, beckoning him to place his hands over them. He has pictured this moment so many times, he can’t believe that it’s finally happening.
He starts thrusting up into her, meeting her halfway. As his thrusts become sharper, her jaw drops open.
The sound of his name slipping out of her mouth like that, all salacious and full of yearning, is a drug he can see himself getting addicted to.
“Please,” she whines.
He slows down, worried that he might have been too rough. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Just— Please don’t stop. It feels so good.”
“Feels good, huh? Someone finally fucking you like you deserve?”
She nods, her eyes rolling back as he resumes the movement of his hips.
“This is what it’s supposed to feel like,” he tells her. “Remember this.”
“Oh, I will.” She barely finishes her sentence before he pounds into her again.
He feels himself about to crest and reaches down to rub her clit. A final medley of moans and grunts leave their mouths as they come. Her pussy spasms around his pulsing length. As the waves of pleasure subside, her body goes completely slack in his arms, worn out from the intensity of the experience they just shared. She rests her head against his shoulder, basking in the afterglow while he brushes his fingers through her hair.
Her soft voice breaks through the silence. “I didn’t know it could feel this good. I’ve been missing out.”
“We’ve got plenty of time to catch you up. Don’t you worry.” He kisses the side of her head, earning a contented sigh from her.
Thank you for reading! For more anxious!reader and other fics, check out my MASTERLIST
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avatar-anna · 4 hours
I swear I could read prof y/n content all day longgg!
Could we get an angst moment? Love a bit of drama hahahaha 🤪😂
prof and h angstttt plsssss
enjoy! xx
The Professor Series
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Harry knew Y/n. He knew her favorite authors and composers; he knew her favorite constellations, how she liked to sleep curled up into a ball when she had stomach cramps, and how she took her tea; he knew she wore mismatched socks, that her Southern accent returned when she was tired or tipsy, and that she had a little freckle on her hip; he knew she worked really hard but wanted to try to take herself less seriously sometimes; he knew the things that made her laugh and what she got excited about; he knew what places to kiss to make her blush and that she appreciated when he listened to her lectures before she gave them, even if he didn't quite understand.
It was safe to say Harry knew his love, inside and out.
But the person he was faced with now he almost didn't recognize.
It wasn't uncommon for Y/n to be asked to consult on particularly difficult cases that local police departments were struggling with. Y/n often looked over the case files and any other bits of information as it came in, gave her profile, and that was that. Each case lasted about a week, maybe more, but they always had successful outcomes.
Harry had been away on tour while Y/n was teaching in Cambridge. They missed each other obviously, but Harry started to worry when he didn't hear from her for almost two weeks. A few days wasn't out of the ordinary, mostly because Y/n forgot to respond to texts or answer a phone call, but she usually got back to him within a day or two; if she was working on a particularly difficult case, maybe more.
But this was a whole two weeks. They’d never gone that long without talking to each other. There had been no fights or disagreements that would warrant a silent treatment from Y/n, so it couldn’t have been on purpose. But Harry couldn’t come up with a reason that was good enough for Y/n to not speak to him.
So, despite the pushback from his management team, Harry rescheduled a couple shows so he could fly home and see what was going on. They didn't want him to leave, but Harry couldn't shake the feeling that something was wrong.
Harry arrived at Y/n’s townhouse late at night. The door was unlocked, which was almost as unusual as the mess he found in the front room when he came inside.
He'd never seen Y/n's home in such disarray before. Books were scattered everywhere, takeaway cartons and half finished mugs of tea and coffee littered every surface in her kitchen and living room, and all the curtains were drawn closed, casting the whole space in a stuffy gloom. Harry almost couldn't believe his eyes. Y/n scolded him when he didn't use a coaster, and now there was week-old food sitting on her coffee table.
Y/n was nowhere to be found, though, which meant she was in her bedroom. Harry worried about what he would find on the other side, but whatever was going on with her, she needed him.
She was sitting at her desk, her back to him as she bent over it and read something. She didn't even flinch or turn around when the door opened, like she hadn’t even heard Harry come in.
“Y/n, darling,” he said.
She turned, tired and unfocused eyes landing on Harry without much emotion. “Oh. You’re here. Did you call?”
Harry had never seen her so out of it before. He suddenly realized that Y/n wouldn’t have known what day it was let alone the last time they’d spoken. He felt completely out of his depth, but he tried his best to tread lightly.
“No. No, I wanted to surprise you. How—How are you?”
“Busy,” Y/n said immediately. “I have this really difficult case, so I can’t talk right now.”
He guessed as much, but even difficult cases Y/n had worked on in the past never reduced her to this. Her hair was a tangled mess at the nape of her neck, she only had one sock on, and he was pretty sure she hadn’t changed her clothes in days. Harry was suddenly glad he listened to his instincts and came here.
“I know it's important, love, but so is taking care of yourself,” he said. “Why don’t you take a break and clear your head? We can eat and watch a documentary or something.”
Harry rested his hand on her arm, but he quickly realized that was the wrong move. Y/n wrenched her arm away from him, her eyes lit with irritation.
“Take a break? I can’t take a break! There is no time for breaks,” she yelled. Harry was immediately stunned. Y/n had never raised her voice at him, or anyone else for that matter. “Young women, someone's wife or daughter or sister is dying, and they will continue to die if I can't figure this out, don't you understand that?”
“I know, that, Y/n. Of course I understand, but you’ll have a clearer head if you—”
“Don't baby me! I didn't ask you to be here, so just leave me alone. I need to work, I need to figure this out, I need...”
She ignored him after that, and Harry could tell that he'd been dismissed. He also knew there was no use reasoning with Y/n when she was this upset, so he left her to her own devices and left her alone like she'd asked.
Going back into the living room, Harry began to clean. He picked up and straightened stray books, folded blankets, threw out old food. He found comfort in doing something rather than just twiddling his thumbs while he thought of some way to reach Y/n like this.
Because the truth was as well as he knew her, he'd never seen her like this before, and he didn't know how to be there for her, or how to bring her out of this darkness she seemed to be in. He knew how much these cases meant to her, how much she valued helping people, but this was different. It seemed almost personal.
By the time Harry had swept the floors and washed all the dishes and fed the Emperor and Faye Winter, who had been lounging on their cat tree—they at least seemed unaffected by Y/n’s unusual behavior—Y/n still had yet to come out of her room. Harry knew then that she wouldn't be coming out at all, and that he should probably get comfortable on the couch.
All night he worried about her. Every couple hours or so, Harry would hear Y/n pacing her room or cursing quietly or throwing what sounded like sheets of paper around after crumpling them up. She was frustrated, that much was clear, but all Harry could do was lay on the couch and listen. In the morning, Harry decided to keep giving Y/n space and went about his day like he normally would when he stayed at the townhouse. He sat and read some emails while the cats cuddled him on either side, he went into town to restock Y/n’s fridge, and he kept cleaning up.
And nothing. Y/n didn’t make an appearance the whole day. Not to eat or acknowledge that he was there or say hello to the Emperor and Faye Winter. Harry could hear her shuffling around in her bedroom like she'd done all night, but she never came out. By the time the sun was going down, he started to worry more than he already had been.
The problem was he didn't know what to do. Harry had never dealt with anything like this before. He thought he had a grasp on reaching Y/n and understanding what she needed and how, but she shut him out so fast and lashed out so intensely. This obviously wasn't a typical case, something must've happened to make her react this way, but Y/n wasn't going to tell him anytime soon.
And there was no one who could give Harry insight either. For all intents and purposes, he was Y/n's family. She didn't have relatives she spoke to regularly, not many close friends, no one who might have ever seen her act like this way before. And her mother certainly wasn't an option; Harry didn't want to give her the satisfaction of having to call her at all, and he didn't think she would know anything about this anyway.
All night Harry stayed up brainstorming. He wracked his brain for someone who might know Y/n and how to help. And when he did, he went to work on tracking them down. Harry had decided on contacting one of her old professors after recalling Y/n speaking fondly of one a couple times. It took time figuring out where he was and how to get a hold of him, but he eventually did. Harry called every ten minutes and left message after message with some secretary until he eventually got through.
“This is Dr. Moore.”
He sounded old, but Harry didn’t take the time to wonder what this person looked like. “Hello. My name is Harry, and I believe you know a close friend of mine. Y/n L/n.”
“Ah yes,” Dr. Moore said. “I haven’t heard from Y/n since she only had one PhD. How is she?”
“N—Not great,” Harry said. He proceeded to word-vomit the whole situation, his stress and anxiety about his love's well-being pouring out of him over the phone. “I—I've never seen her like this before and I'm not really sure what to do. She won't talk to me or leave her room. I was just hoping you might know something or had seen her...behave like this before.”
The professor didn't say anything for a while, hopefully gathering his thoughts. “She's rather well-adjusted for someone who has seen and experienced so much,” he finally said. “But you have to understand that she's...different from the rest of us. She has a gift that no one else has or can really make sense of.”
“She’s more than her intelligence, Doctor—”
“I don’t mean it like that, Harry,” Dr. Moore said softly. “She's a genius, she's brilliant, but that doesn't come without its faults. Many brilliant minds suffer from a little madness, Y/n is no different.”
It was like Harry could hear what Dr. Moore was saying, but he didn't want to believe him. “Y/n isn't crazy.”
“I didn’t say she was. But she has a tendency to be obsessive, loses track of time, hyperfocuses on a singular subject. Surely you've noticed that.”
“Yeah, but...It’s never been this bad, I mean, this is extreme.”
Harry didn't like the professor's insinuations, or how helpless he was making him feel. Harry knew Y/n, he knew her. She wasn't mad, she wasn't sick, she just needed a little help.
“I realized quite early on that Y/n never took failure...lightly. For someone like her, being wrong is a tough pill to swallow. Perhaps start there?”
“Right, thanks,” Harry muttered. This phone call was a bust. All it gave him was more stress.
He was about to hang up the phone when Dr. Moore spoke again. “Harry, Y/n is exceptional, and that doesn't come without its own bevy of...adversities. But Y/n is strong, and she has a good head on her shoulders, even after everything she's been through. I imagine just showing that you're there for her will be enough. Don't crowd her, but be close enough to catch her when she falls, as you've already done. Her family was never patient enough to love her the way she needed, I hope you can be that for her.”
Harry hung up after that, not having anything to say to the professor. A glance at his phone told him it was three in the morning, but he got up from the couch and chanced going into Y/n's room anyway.
She was pacing and muttering to herself incoherently, but Harry didn't let that bother him. Y/n noticed him but said nothing, and neither did he. He just got into bed, picked up a book off her nightstand, and began to read.
Y/n was quiet for a moment, and Harry could feel her gaze on him, but he kept quiet, and she eventually went back to pacing. It wasn't easy, but Harry did his best to just ignore her, have his presence known without talking to her directly like Dr. Moore suggested. He hoped that Y/n would come to him in her own time.
His eyes burned, begging him to finally go to sleep, the words on the book in front of him blurred. He was exhausted, but he was determined not to lie down. Not until Y/n was in bed next to him.
“You know, sometimes I find it helpful if I talk about things out loud.”
An invitation to open up, a small one after about an hour of silence. He didn't really expect Y/n to take the bait, but she did, kind of.
“What do you mean?”
Setting his book down, he said, “Well, all your thoughts are swirling around in your head. It might be helpful to just say them out loud, like bouncing a ball against a wall.”
She began to explain in loose terms what she was working on and what her thoughts were about the case. And once she started, it all came pouring out of her. “I—I failed. I gave a profile, they arrested someone, but it was the wrong person. I’m—I’m never wrong.”
“It’s not your job to make the arrests,” Harry said gently.
“People are relying on me! Women are continuing to die at the hands of some monster because I can’t—because I couldn’t—”
Y/n shook her head and went back to her desk, shuffling pages around. Harry sighed. He knew what the problem was, but now he knew for certain that Y/n wasn't going to rest until she fixed her mistake. He didn’t bother trying to convince her that this wasn’t her fault, that would be useless right now. But he had to do something.
Getting up from the bed, Harry trudged over to the desk. He rested his hands on either side of her and rested his cheek on top of her head. “Are you so sure that you were wrong and the police weren’t?” he asked.
“They would’ve found the right person if I was right. I must’ve missed something,” she said, shaking her head.
“More than one person can fit a profile, can’t they?”
Y/n exhaled harshly through her nose. “That’s what I tried to tell local police, but they wouldn’t listen. I’m—I’m missing something.”
Harry kissed the top of her head and began to knead the tension out of her shoulders. “Did you think you were right before?”
“Well, yes, but—”
“Give me a percentage.”
“Ninety four.”
Whistling, he said, “I’d take those odds.”
“These are people’s lives, Harry, not a craps table. Lives are being lost because—”
“Because terrible people exist,” Harry interrupted. “You didn’t kill those people, Y/n.”
She wiped at her eye harshly. “I can’t help but feel responsible,” she sniffled.
“I know,” he said. “But I believe in you. I believe you can figure this out. But not by running yourself ragged. You can’t work like this.”
“I can’t sleep,” she said, voice trembling. “I won’t. Not until—”
“Okay,” Harry said.
Harry made himself comfortable on the floor beside Y/n’s desk. He was exhausted, his back hurt from his night on the couch, but he couldn’t go to sleep. Not until she did.
“What are you doing?” Y/n asked him, brows furrowed curiously.
He tilted his head back and gave her a sleepy smile. “You stay up, I stay up.”
Y/n looked like she wanted to say more, but her focus was quickly pulled back to the papers on her desk.
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Harry didn’t remember falling sleep, but one minute he was watching Y/n work at her desk and providing noncommittal hums as she bounced ideas off him, and the next he was blinking his eyes open, his body stretched out on the floor. There was a pillow under his head and a blanket strewn across his body, an extra pillow beside him. Y/n was sitting in front of him with her legs crossed, a mug in her hands as she watched Harry sleep.
“Wha—What happened—”
“You fell asleep around 5:15,” she said, taking a sip while Harry sat up. His back popped and strained, clearly not a fan of another sleep on something that wasn’t a bed. “I would’ve carried you to the bed, but you’re a bit heavy for me.”
As his head cleared, Harry noticed that Y/n’s hair was wet and her eyes were clearer. She was in a fresh set of clothes and her desk seemed relatively put together.
“Did you figure it out?” he asked, his voice still scratchy with sleep.
Y/n nodded. “A little while after you fell asleep. I got an email about an hour ago. They arrested the right person.”
“That’s good,” Harry said, squeezing her knee. “That’s good, right?”
“Yeah, I just, um, I just got a different email. From an old professor.”
“Oh.” Well, that didn’t take long. “What did he say?”
“That he had the most interesting conversation with a close friend of mine,” Y/n said. Setting her mug down, she tugged her knees to her chest. “I know what you’re thinking.”
Harry could barely focus on anything but his stiff neck, but he tried to shake his head. “I’m almost positive you don’t.”
“There’s nothing wrong with me,” she said. “I—I don’t need to be fixed.”
“That—That’s not what I’m thinking,” Harry said frowning. “I don’t think that at all, Y/n.”
“Then why did you call him?”
Harry rubbed at his face tiredly. “I wanted to help you. I didn’t know how, so I asked for some help of my own.”
“I don’t need to be handled like some child.”
“Two weeks, Y/n,” Harry said, voice sharpening the slightest bit. Because for a moment, Y/n had frightened him. Not because he thought she was crazy or mentally unwell, but because he didn’t know how to reach her, and he always knew how to get through to her. “I didn’t hear from you for two weeks, and I come back here and the house is a mess, you’re not eating, you’re driving yourself—”
“Don’t say it!” she blurted. “Don’t say that I’m crazy, Harry. I’m not. I just...get a little sidetracked. I’m not—I’m not crazy.”
Harry could see it in Y/n’s face, then. The fear. She didn’t want him believing what she already believed about herself to some degree. He wondered how many times someone had told her that she was, or implied it. Harry had a feeling no one had ever taught her how to fail, or accept failure. Y/n was exceptional, but she wasn’t perfect, no one was, but she’d been brought up believing her knowledge had no bounds. She was taught how to fly, but no one taught her how to fall, and when she did, they blamed her for not figuring it out herself.
“I don’t think you’re crazy, because you’re not,” he said. “But I do worry when I you don’t come out of your room for a few days. I’m allowed to worry.”
Y/n had been looking down at her lap, but when she finally looked at him, there were tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry.”
Harry let the corner of his mouth curve into a smile. “For making me sleep on the couch yesterday? Water under the bridge.”
Y/n’s responding grin was small, but it was there, and Harry found himself wanting to make it bigger.
Joining him on the floor, they both laid back down. Y/n rested her head on Harry’s chest while he wrapped his arms around her. For a few minutes, they didn’t say anything, but before he fell back asleep, he found himself saying, “You know, I know I’m not as smart as you or anything, but I do know a thing or two about work ethic. I can help you find a balance.”
Y/n gave no indication that she agreed or disagreed. For a moment, Harry thought she’d already fallen asleep when he felt her nod. “I’d like that. But I think...I think I need to take some time off. Maybe just focus on teaching for now.”
“Yeah. I want to,” Y/n yawned. “I want to scale back. Just teach, travel, maybe get a Master’s degree.”
Harry laughed. Only Y/n would think going back to school for another degree would be considered “scaling back.” But he couldn’t be prouder that she was taking the right steps to treat herself better.
“I think that’s a good idea,” he said. He kissed the top of her head as he waited for her to respond, but she didn’t. Y/n kept quiet, her breaths keeping time with his until he realized she was asleep. Breathing a sigh through his nose, Harry stared up at the ceiling and hoped she had a dreamless sleep.
127 notes · View notes
gucciwins · 2 months
Gala After Gala
Harry didn’t know that one moment with Y/N would change his life. 
Word count: 28,920 (no joke)
A/N: hi amores! this has been something i have been working on for months. this is older harry and I can honestly say i've poured my heart into this piece.  special mention to @matildashoney who was just an amazing support as i worked on this on and off. thank you for being patient with me friends! 💜
i hope you enjoy, my loves. buckle in, grab your waters and happy reading!
Warnings: slow burn!!!!! (it’s worth it), angst, fluff, smut (female pleasure) 
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Another gala. Another check to write.
Harry has to remind his assistant to stop accepting these invitations for him. Next time he’ll mail a check out instead. He had finished buttoning his velvet maroon coat as he handed off his keys to the valet for the hotel. The doorman guided him down the entry leading him to the extravagant ballroom.
To no surprise, the venue was decorated beautifully. There seemed to be a common theme of gold and flowers. At every turn, he saw a waiter with a boutonniere in their left pocket. The tablecloth shimmered under the dimmed lights, unlike the usual cheap fabric he saw at other events. For food, appetizers were lined up in the back with small places and forks to the side so one could serve themselves to their liking. Dinner was set to start in an hour once most of the guests arrived.
Harry mingled with a drink in his hand, not bothering to force a smile, he had the displeasure of knowing most of the people in attendance, and he can’t say he’s the biggest fan of them. They all had one thing on their mind: money. None of them cared about the cause for tonight, Harry included. All they were there for was to flaunt their money and see who could donate the most, and by the looks of it, Old man Tommy was looking to take the win by how aggressively he was signing his checkbook.
Dinner went surprisingly well. The music was a classical band that didn’t play pretentious music Harry was used to. They also didn’t play covers of pop songs. It was clear that the band had worked a long time with each other because they created beautiful melodies people could enjoy around conversation but also dancing. He never took part in the dancing, finding it tacky, and for the first time since he started attending gala’s, he was filled to the brim because the food was actually good. He cleaned his plate of the salmon he was offered.
After their meal, he knew he had to mingle, so he found an old friend Mr. Horan who he occasionally saw and invited out for a game of golf. He wouldn’t call him a friend, but he made decent company when Harry reached out. The Irish lad could hold his liquor and his jokes weren’t bad, not that Harry would ever let Niall know.
He wasn’t listening to the conversation around him. They were going on about the growth in their companies, and it was laughable. Not that he’d tell them, he wasn’t in the mood to step on their fragile egos.
“Excuse me, sir?”
Harry turns to find a young-looking waiter holding a tray with a single drink.
“Yes?” Harry asked in a bored tone.
“Lady in the black dress sent you this drink.” He nods at a woman standing at the bar's end in red heels. He couldn’t see the designer, but he knew they had to be expensive with the gloss they had on them. He wasn’t in the mood to be hit on, let alone to be sent a fruity drink. The worker did nothing wrong, so Harry took the glass. He didn’t bother excusing himself, instead making his way over to this woman who would most likely cry or scream at his rejection.
“Why’d you send this to me?” Harry questions as soon as he’s right behind her.
She turns around, a pout on her perfectly stained red lips, “you don't like an amaretto sour?”
Harry does his best not to let his face fall because she’s gorgeous. The dress looked beautiful, hugging all her curves. She was confident. He was sad he didn’t appreciate her backside more. Most women Harry knows wouldn’t dare be caught in a dress this provocative at an occasion like this, but she somehow added a hint of modesty to it with her red shawl that matched her lips perfectly. Although she’s stunning, he’s not falling for any trick of hers.
“Not my taste.”
“Oh,” the frown deepens on her face, “it looked like you weren’t enjoying your drink.”
Harry looks down at the brown liquid, “I ordered this.”
She raises her hand and shrugs. “My mistake. Your mood looked a little sour.”
It irked Harry how she had noticed him and his expressions when this was the first he saw her.
He keeps his eyes on her trying to see if he could get another reaction besides her pouty frown. “It’s the environment.”
“You don’t like Galas,” she states. “It’s an important cause.”
“It’s not that.” Harry takes a sip of the drink she sent him, mistaking it for his tequila. He holds back a reaction knowing she noticed his mistake. “I sometimes wish they asked for a check instead of making me pay a ticket and then donate a check once I’m here.”
“They ask for money and give us little food,” he surprises himself by continuing to talk, not wanting to walk away from her just yet.
“The food offered tonight had large portions.”
“For once,” he scoffs.
“Open bar?” She offers.
“Strange,” he rebuttals.
“But it works.”
Her gaze shifts to someone behind her, and Harry knows she’s about to walk away from him, and he hates that he wants to follow her. She leaves her drink behind, moving around him, getting ready to head to the person seeking her company.
“See you around, Mr. Styles.”
Harry watches her walk away until she gets lost in the crowd. As Harry keeps sipping the drink she ordered for him, there’s one thought swimming around his head.
He had never given her his name, let alone his last name.
For the rest of the night, he had kept an eye on her, seeing as she glided from donor to donor. Everyone laughed with her. She was charming them all. It worked on everyone, even Harry, something he’d never admit to her. As Harry watches her speak with the host of the night, an old family friend comes up to him.
“Styles, where have you been hiding?” Miles asks, a giant grin on his face.
Miles isn’t bothered by his answers; he is already used to Harry’s attitude. “How are you?”
“What are you drinking?”
Harry looks down at the empty glass that once held his second amaretto sour. “Nothing now.”
“Want another of whatever?”
He shakes his head, “good for now, thank you.”
“Why are you still here? I know you do your rounds and leave.”
“Uh…got to know a few people.”
Miles sees that Harry’s gaze hasn’t shifted for a second, and he finds where Harry has been staring for the last few minutes.
“Oh, Y/N.”
He repeats her name over and over, committing it to memory.
“Have you met her?” Miles asked him.
“Only for a moment.” Harry digs for more, “what do you think?
“She’s brilliant. Y/N is an intern for Lifelong Creativity long term but works side jobs with different partners Hope has introduced her to. I can’t tell you exactly what she does, but I know she’s passionate and would talk anyone’s ear off who asks. She’s finishing her degree soon, and everyone wants to snatch her up by the sounds of it. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was already working up on opening her own nonprofit soon.”
“How old did you say she was?”
“She’s 23.”
“Real young.”
“Yeah, but it’s clear she knows what she’s doing.”
“You should speak with her. I’m sure she’d love to. She knows every person on the guest list. Seeing as she helped create it.”
Safe to say, Harry was intrigued to learn more about Y/N.
Life moved on. He pushed the college student out of his head and continued on with his life, or so he told himself. When a new invitation arrived the following week for an event taking place at the end of the month, he was quick to get Pearl to RSVP for him.
Now the night has arrived, and he isn’t sure why he’s here.
It’s not to try to get a look at Y/N, not at all hoping to have a longer conversation. He learned her name; it doesn’t mean he wants to use it.
He spots her as soon as he arrives at the bar. She’s wearing a sage green dress with embroidered flowers all around. She’s wearing white heels tied around her calf, and he wants to know how long it took her to get the perfect bow for each foot. Harry soon sees her with another woman with a checkbook in her hand, another familiar face.
Before he can second guess himself, he’s walking towards them.
“Hello, Lucy.” Harry greets her with a charming smile and a kiss on the older woman’s cheek.
“Mr. Styles, always a pleasure.”
“It’s always mine.”
“I was just speaking with Y/N here, thanking her for helping me plan a successful night.” Lucy smiles at Y/N, who squeezes Lucy’s outstretched hand.
“Quite something,” Harry inputs.
“Evening, Mr. Styles.”
He nods at her, “Y/N.”
“Lifelong Creativity is lucky to have her. I’m glad you were able to help out, Y/N.” They all hear Lucy’s name being called from a distance and know she’s about to leave them alone. “Excuse me, will you?”
It now leaves them alone, making Y/N finally look at him. Her lipstick is a soft pink with an added shine of glitter. He wonders if he were to kiss her if it’d stain his lips just the same. He clears his throat, willing the thoughts away.
“You’re an intern,” Harry states.
She doesn’t seem surprised. “Yes, I, uh, graduate soon.”
She smirks because she knows he’s searching for information about her. Y/N shakes her head, “Grad.”
“What’s your job?”
“I work for various nonprofits as well as hospitals. I’m part of their sub-events team.” She shrugs like it’s nothing of importance, but it is.
She’s part of the team that plans events to gain more funding for their organization and programs. She plans events to get people with heavy pockets, like Harry, to fork away thousands for a cause they believe in. Harry had often disregarded Gala invites due to ticket prices, but if his chances to see Y/N increased, he might just come to them all.
Harry does his best to hide how impressed he is with her.
“I’m sure you’ve reached your goal. Emptied all these fools out of their pockets.”
Y/N flashes him a grim smile. “Good day.”
What he said was clearly wrong because what Harry thought would be a long conversation was cut short.
The rest of the night, he never finds a moment alone with her. It’s as if she was dancing around him, having noticed that he was chasing her. It seemed she loved to play, and Harry didn’t like to lose.
Harry needed to pick up his suit from his tailor. He had a date, and this was his good luck suit. He pushed Y/N out of his mind. She was an intern and too young for him. He did not need to think about her or worry about seeing her at another event he attended. He was picking up his burgundy suit that needed fixing. It was made by his dear friend Alessandro. Usually, Alessandro makes alterations, but he was traveling at the moment, and Bartolo was the best. He had been coming to Bartolo long before meeting Alessandro. While his friend always made the most gorgeous suits, he seemed to have gotten his measurements wrong. Not that he minded. Harry liked paying Bartolo a visit, who always told him he needed to settle down with someone. That he wanted to see Harry happy. Harry simply told him it wasn’t the card for him.
He walks in, ready to be greeted by Bartolo, but to his surprise, he sees Y/N seated on a chair facing away from the window with a book in her hand.
She looks up, a slight smile on her face. “Mr. Styles, a pleasure.”
“Just Harry, please.”
She shrugs him off.
“Do you work here, Y/N?” He loves the role of her name off his tongue.
“My friend is an apprentice.”
“Dawn?” Seeing she’s the only other worker here besides Bartolo wasn’t that lucky of a guess.
Y/N, for the first time ever, smiles at him. It’s beautiful. It leaves him breathless. “Yes. Does she work with you too?”
Harry clears his throat, “no, uh, I work with Bartolo.”
He was surprised. Dawn had been working with Bartolo for two years, never had he crossed paths with Y/N. It was strange he found himself meeting her outside of their usual environment of a Gala. Seeing her dressed in a silk midi skirt with a slit going up her leg bundled up in an oversized sweater showcasing her university. The chunky boots on her feet gave her extra height, and Harry wished she’d stand up so he could see where she’d measure to him now. At their first meeting, he didn’t take note, but she noticed how she was a head smaller than him by their second meeting. Today he wondered if she’d be lined up to his lips if she would think of kissing him just like he thought of her.
She hums in response, leaving them in silence. He doesn’t know why but he wants her to keep talking. He wants to hear the softness of her voice fill the room.
“Bello!” Bartolo grins, bringing out his suit in his garment bag. Even that bag was customized with his name stitched in gold thread.
“Hello, Bartolo.”
Dawn walks in from the back, a few steps away from Bartolo and Y/N. “Y/N, your dress is ready to try on.”
Y/N follows behind Dawn but calls to him, “see you, Mr. Styles.”
Not a single glance his way. He wanted just one final look, and she didn’t give him that. Harry goes on his way home after paying Bartolo. He goes home with a clouded mind and a heavy heart.
Harry cancels his date that night.
No invites have arrived at his house or office.
It has been over a month, and he waits and waits. Harry has never been so aware of time as he has now. He feels every hour move slower, and he has no idea why. What kind of spell has she set on him that she is all he can think of?
He was tempted to look for her online. He had the power to do it, but he couldn’t break her trust. Harry doesn’t know her well, but he knows she’d hate it if someone looked them up without permission.
A knock on his door breaks him out of these thoughts.
“Come in.”
“Mr. Styles,” his temporary assistant Diego, while Pearl was away on maternity leave.
“Yes, Diego.”
“You said to come in if you received a new invitation.” There, in his employee’s hand, is a gold envelope.
In black ink is his name written on the front of the envelope. He opens it and reads from a close partner of his.
Golden Skies Invites you to join us as we celebrate our 10th anniversary.
Formal Attire - Be ready to dance
Anthony Carmichael
Y/N was nervous.
She could remember the last time she had felt her palms sweat and her heart wanting to beat out of her chest. It was when she was interviewing in front of the board the last step to seal her fate if she’d be accepted into the Graduate program of her dreams. Now here, she was nervous for an entirely new reason, this one holding less value to her life, but she knew it had the power to change the course of her life.
As much as Y/N loved the game of chase, she wanted to see if Harry was all talk or serious about pursuing her. Y/N had the confidence to go after what she wanted, and right now, she wanted to ask Harry Styles, CEO of Pleasing, a growing business, their net worth growing by the day.
Today she wore a satin midi slip dress with floral applique and lace trims in a dark shade of pink. An open back with delicate buttons on her lower back. This dress only doubled her confidence. She was ready for tonight.
The team had planned a big night as there would be dancing and a live band, unlike the past gala’s she had attended last month. Guests arrived promptly and quickly took a tour of the venue, many judging it, trying to find anything they felt didn’t hold up to their standards. She didn’t mind; she knew she could never please everyone. As long as she pleased her partners, then she knew she had done a job well done.
Y/N had to will herself to stop staring at the doors as they opened, bringing in familiar and new guests. She was waiting for a green-eyed man who never failed to impress with his custom-made suits from Gucci’s creative director.
“Y/N, sweetie. This is marvelous,” Keaton praises, leaning in to kiss both her cheeks, something she had to grow accustomed to seeing as most of her partners were big on the French greeting.
“Oh, uh, thank you. We’ll have to see how the night goes,” she tells him brushing off the compliment.
“You need to relax. Don’t you have Gracie to worry for you?” Keaton questions.
“Yes, but–”
“Nope,” Keaton cuts her off. “You need a drink in hand. You look smokin’, and everyone needs to see it.”
“I really shouldn’t.”
“As far as I am concerned, your work here is done.” Keaton passes her a glass of champagne he got from the waiters walking around happily offering them to guests. “Now drink.”
She takes a sip and hums, appreciating the bubbly drink. Y/n might not be sure what brand she’s drinking tonight, but she does know that each bottle costs over one hundred dollars, and if Keaton is telling her to enjoy then she will. Plus, a bit of liquor courage was always helpful.
Y/N spends time speaking with Nora and Liam, part of her team. They get lost in conversation, going over how they’re looking forward to the auction in a few weeks that Nora was happy to be part of. She loved getting people to spend money on her, and she seemed to get offers from everyone in the building. Nora returned with the most insane stories, and Y/N was excited for more. Getting lost in conversation, she forgot about the man she was waiting for to make his presence known. He had RSVP’d, and it wasn’t until Liam told her a broody man had his eye on her from across the room.
She knew Harry had arrived and that he had spotted her before she could spot him, not that Harry knew she was looking out for him. Harry stands alone, a champagne flute in his hand. The music was loud, and the dance floor had couples dancing and laughing out loud, enjoying the night. Y/N hoped she’d be joining in on their fun in a few minutes.
As Y/N walked towards Harry, she admired his suit. It was different from the previous ones he had worn. The suit had a subtle black flower print. As she got closer, Harry acted like he didn’t see her coming, choosing to look at the dancing couples. She allowed herself to notice the details in his suit, from the black velvet lapels on his oversized jacket and his trousers hugging his thighs nicely while the bottom gave a nice balance with a flared hem. She really liked the look.
“Mr. Styles,” Y/N greeted
She let his eyes roam over her knowing she looked amazing. This was a borrowed dress, one she would be sad giving back, but it served its purpose. Plus, it wasn’t like she’d have an occasion to wear the dress again, not when all these people would remember.
“Do you dance, Mr. Styles?” Y/N asks as she joins him in, watching couples spin each other around. The music was more lively than the classical she knew he preferred.
“Are you not good at it?”
Harry scoffs, “I’m just not open to doing something intimate with acquaintances.”
“I see.” They stay silent for a few minutes until Y/N decides it’s now or never. “There was something I wanted to ask you.” She tells him, turning away from the dance floor to face him.
Harry gives her no reaction. “Is that so?” She nods. “Well, go ahead.”
She looks behind her, and when she turns back around, she has the most gorgeous smile on her face, not an inch of nerves, not like a few seconds ago, and Harry feels his heart speed up. He wasn’t sure what she would ask, but he might just agree to anything she said if she continued smiling at him.
“I was hoping you’d like to go on a date with me.”
A date.
Harry felt his throat closing up. She was asking him out. He didn’t believe it. Why would she want to date him? He wasn’t aware he had managed to make an impression. Harry’s ego is through the roof at the thought of this gorgeous young woman wanting to go out with him, but on the other hand, his brain is telling him he can’t. That she was younger than him, and he had no reason to involve himself with her.
He knows he has been silent for too long as he sees her smile begin to slip. They both know the answer that’s coming.
“No, Y/N. The answer is no,” he forces out in a neutral voice, hoping she couldn’t pick up on the bitterness he felt towards himself for rejecting her.
Y/N did not move an inch. He had expected her smile to fall or for her to ask him to reconsider, but he got none of that. Instead, she tucked away her smile and gave him a slow nod. Her eyes stayed locked with his, and Harry had trouble reading her. It seemed she was unaffected. So he tries again.
“I’m sorry, Y/N.”
She brushes him off, “you don’t go through life without receiving a rejection. You’re not the first, and I’m sure you won’t be the last.”
Except Harry doubted that. Who could ever say no to her? Apparently, he could.
He did nothing as she excused herself, wanting to put as much distance between them as possible. He had no right to be with someone as sweet and young as Y/N. It was fine. He wouldn’t be seeing much of her after tonight.
Harry would think about this interaction for days, beating himself up for saying no, but it was for the best.
At least, that’s what he kept telling himself.
Rejections never came easy.
It wasn’t the first time Y/N got told no, and as she told Harry, it wouldn’t be her last.
Was she disappointed he said no? Absolutely.
Was he out of her league? One hundred percent, and Harry must have known that.
Y/N thought there was something there. She knew who he was. There was a reason she sent him a drink that night. She didn’t ask him out for his connections or because he was crazy rich but because she heard people speak about Harry, a great man. From someone who spends time volunteering at the soup kitchen to donating gifts to hospitals during the holidays. No need to mention the extensive checks he leaves after each gala. Many people are philanthropists or say they are because it’s a write-off or will make them look good, but Harry does it to remember where he came from in that small town in England.
She knew too much about Harry from colleagues and guests but never got to know anything from the man himself, and that is something she’ll regret. Instead of taking the chance to learn from him, she asked him out, and now she’d keep sending invitations to his company while doing her best to avoid him, or at least until she got over the humiliation.
Y/N let herself wallow in pity for only a day. 24 hours is all she gives herself because it’s back to work on Monday. No need to be stuck on something so trivial.
By doing so, she takes herself out to eat. A meal that will always make her smile is dumplings, and she knows just the place. The Dumpling Bar is a favorite place of Y/N’s to dine alone or with her friends. The service is fantastic, never failing to leave her feeling so welcomed and leaving with a full stomach. She always sits in the front, with a nice view of the window facing the small lake it is located by. She treats it as a reward because it is a bit of a drive from her apartment. She wished she lived somewhere closer, but for now, she’ll keep making the drive. The back area is for classier meals, Y/N likes to say, even though they are all eating dumplings. Guests are allowed to have a seat in the backroom for a more intimate dinner.
Upon arrival, Y/N is greeted by Alba, the hostess who, just like her name, reflects the warmest energy she feels every time she sees her.
“Hi, Alba!”
“Hello beautiful, it’s great seeing you. Table by the window, alright?”
Alba points to the table Y/N had been eyeing since she walked in and eagerly lets her know it’s perfect.
“Danielle will be with you shortly.”
Y/N thanks her. It was not long before Danielle took her order, making small conversation and promising her that her food would be out shortly, and true to her word, Y/N did not have to wait long.
Oh, how she was looking forward to eating until her tummy was full. On a full stomach, she’d be too sleepy to even begin to remember why she was feeling sad.  
As Y/N munches on her dumplings, she can’t help but overhears the conversation. Next to her, a couple is sharing dumplings and talking very loudly.
“I told my father that a horse would not make me happy, not when my last one had been a champion. How could I go back to the Hamptons to show my face going from a winning horse to one that would surely be a loser.”
Y/N giggles. Oh, the drama. She enjoys listening to the couple, the boyfriend trying to be supportive and failing.
“Tell your dad to get the best trainer.”
“Chad, you’re not helping. Father is working hard, and I can’t bother him over a coach. Everyone is lousy in the industry now.”
The conversation seems to be going in circles. Y/N enjoys dining alone because she can’t imagine having dinner with someone she does not like. There would be awkward conversation and forced smiles. It’s a big reason she’ll never be on a dating app. Also, it helps that attending so many galas has connected her with many single men, not that any of them have been worth her time.
Y/N was waiting for Danielle to return her card and receipt because she was ready to call it a night. She had a full belly and was craving her bed. She’s humming along to the song being played in the restaurant. She had been trying to think of the song's name, but she’s been coming up blank. The front opens, and she hears Alba’s cheery voice greet them. Curiosity gets the best of Y/N, and she turns her head to the entrance to see who walked in when she sees a man in an emerald suit, the jacket a pinch oversized, and it seems the sleeves were folded in not that anyone would notice, the woman on his arm was gorgeous. It’s clear she dressed up for a night out on the town with how shiny her dress was, maybe even too bright for a fancy dumpling restaurant.
“My date and I have a reservation,” Y/N freezes as she hears the man’s voice. His voice was firm but polite, the English accent thick as he stated his name to Alba’s. He looks around the dining room, and that’s when Y/N looks back down, staring at her used napkin and empty cup that once held her raspberry lemonade.
The hostess nods, “we’ve got the private dining area ready, sir.”
Y/N ducks her head, afraid if he spotted her, he’d give her a look of pity, and she didn’t need that tonight, not when she had seen it when he rejected her.  It was no surprise he said no to her. She could never look that elegant on a weekday, let alone a day after a gala where she stayed hours past all the guests. Y/N sits there in orange bell bottoms and a black knitted sweater.  She looks lovely, and this is her favorite restaurant. This brought all the feelings back Y/N had thought she had let go of, and honestly, as much as it broke her heart, Y/N knew she wouldn’t be coming back any time soon.
It’s been a month of endless planning and working with Hermanas Unidas, and Y/N was thankful the night was finally here. Tonight would be a bit different, and she was more on edge than ever. There would be an auction in a few hours, and Y/N wanted everything to run smoothly for Julieta, who has always been a good friend to her but today was her boss.
Y/N had raided Sapra’s, her best friend’s closet, once again. She knew she had to buy new clothes for her events, but she loved her best friend’s style and would rather borrow a dress than spend money on a new one. She was wearing a maxi dress with tie straps. Y/N chose it because she had fallen in love with the velvet material, and after trying it on, she felt sexy, not to mention she loved a slit to show off an extra bit of skin.
Sapra made Y/N promise she’d bring it back soon, stating it was her date night dress, and Y/N didn’t bother asking because whatever Sapra and her boyfriend did was not her concern.
The night had been in full swing since the doors opened to the venue. She had managed to blend into the background for most of the event and successfully avoided seeing the guest list for tonight, meaning she got to enjoy life without a care in the world.
After the rejection, she has happily moved on (or so she’s telling herself) Sapra and Atlas took her out on a double date that left her feeling back in her game. Her confidence was doubled, and she was ready to go out and have fun. No reason she had to stop because of one rejection. Although the man she went on a date with did not go well tonight, she’d be speaking with Colin, who had been made partner at Coulson’s Co. He was a family lawyer, and truth be told, Y/N was eating up everything he was telling her.
He was charming and had a deep laugh that sent chills down her spine. He was drinking wine and offered to get Y/N a glass when he saw she had been eyeing it. It’s safe to say Y/N was upset when Julieta’s assistant approached her to say she was needed backstage. Colin promised he’d miss her and looked forward to finding her soon.
Y/N was sure nothing would wipe the smile off her face until Julieta told Y/N why she was needed.
“Part of the auction?” Y/N exclaimed. “You’re joking!”
Julieta grimaced, “Erica called in sick. Always knew she’d flake.”
“Please, mi amor. I really need you. You’re all I have. I can’t do one less, not when I advertised five eligible bachelorettes.”
“Hope they can settle with me,” Y/N mutters.
“Dios, you know I hate when you talk like that. You are a beautiful woman. I’ve never seen confidence like yours, so please bring that Y/N back.” Julieta has done so much for Y/N, and she knows there’s no way she’d say no to her.
“Fine, what will I have to do?”
“It’s a good cause, Y/N, and I’m sure you’ll have a great time. If it’s someone you don’t feel comfortable with, I’ll handle it,” Julieta reassures her.
Y/N relents and allows herself to be dragged to the side of the stage, where four other ladies are lined up.
Here’s to a fun night. She really hoped Colin liked her enough to place a bid on her.
Harry was disappointed, to say the least. He had not caught a glimpse of her all night. He wanted to know what she was wearing, how she had styled her hair, and if she was drinking anything new. Tonight did not have a strict dress code, so he had settled on a simple black custom suit. He paired the suit with a black tank top, and to give it that extra flare, he wore his silver glitter boots.
As he spent the night looking for her, he knew he would not find her. The first time they met was because she wanted them to, and now she was back to blending into the crowd, but he knew he’d find her. He knew it was wrong to want to see her after rejecting her, but she was the only thing on his mind. Harry was never the type to get distracted, but here he is, attending another gala in the hope of getting a single glimpse of Y/N.
Harry knew he would find her, but he didn’t think it’d be by the owner of the organization presenting her onstage as an eligible bachelorette you could bid to take on a date. Harry was prepared to pay the auction no attention, but she always surprised him.  
He hadn’t seen her since he said no to her. Harry had rejected her not because he didn’t like her but because he was older. She was still in school, and he was running a billion-dollar company. He had the time and love to give, but he didn’t want to take away anything from her. He had no idea what she wanted out of life, and Harry was sure one date with Y/N and he’d be ready to get down on one knee because he recognized how intelligent and hardworking she was. It was rare that Harry found a person that could challenge him, but Y/N did it without a second thought. He didn’t want her to miss out on life experiences because he was at a different point in his life than her. He wouldn’t do it to her, no matter how much his heart hurt at never getting the chance to get to know her and the taste of her lips.
The bidding was starting, and Harry found himself with a numbered paddle. The number six stared at him, and he knew he would not be putting his hand down until he won that date with her because Harry was sure every person in that room who bid on her would not treat her the way she deserved.
“Good evening, everyone! I am Julieta, as you all already know. Tonight’s auction is slightly different. We always do amazing vacations, but tonight we decided something different. Behind me stand five beautiful women who are very important to this organization and me. So be aware that if you bid on one or more of these women, they will talk your ear off about Hermanas Unidas. Starting off, we have Clarissa.”
Y/N was the last person to be auctioned for the night. He didn’t know why she would do this? It didn’t seem like her, but then again, Harry didn’t really know her did he?
She walked up to Julieta with a beautiful smile on her face. She scanned the audience, and Harry froze, thinking she was searching for him but there in the second row, she locked eyes with a man and offered him a wink. Harry wouldn’t be surprised if she was seeing someone else already. He knew he was feeling green but swallowed it down, for it wasn’t the place to act out on jealousy of someone he had no ownership over.
“Bidding for the angelic Y/N starts at $500.”
Four hands shot up. Harry’s included.
“$1000,” the blonde guy in the second row offered as he was the first hand up.
“Very well. Do I have $1,250?”
Harry was quicker this time, his number up first. Julieta nodded, accepting his bid. He had his eyes locked on Y/N, and the moment she realized it was his number, he saw her take a step back, surprised to see him bidding for her.
She kept a smile, but he knew it was forced now, no longer carefree.
The blonde once again beat Harry, “$3,000.”
Harry rolled his eyes. Is that the best this guy could offer? Harry was ready to lay down all his money if it meant a date with Y/N. The highest bid was for Samantha at $11,000, and the person who bid was her boyfriend, the owner of his family’s business he inherited three years ago.
He decided he’d wait to see how long this guy wanted to play because, for Y/N, he wouldn’t be backing down. “$5000,” Harry countered.
That seemed to get the blonde’s attention as he turned around to get a look at Harry, who only offered him a smirk tempting him to play his game, and by the scrawl the blonde gave Harry, he knew this was now about betting the most for Y/N but also who could prove to have the larger pocket.
“$8,000,” the blonde stood, not even glancing at Y/N anymore.
“$10,000.” Harry has now stepped closer to the stage, not caring that all the attention was on him and his opponent.
“$15,000,” the blonde winced, and it seemed only Harry heard it.
Julieta waited to see if Harry would respond, with one last raise of his paddle, “$30,000.”
The gasps were loud, but Harry didn’t care. His eyes were locked on Y/N’s, who stared at him in disbelief. He had doubled the blonde’s number, and it seemed he was out by the way he shook his head and sat down.
Julieta did not let her surprise show and accepted Harry’s bid, closing the auction with an offer of $30,000 for Y/N to go on a date with him. Harry was proud and shot the blonde man a smug smile as he was guided backstage, as he asked to speak with Julieta when in reality, he went in search of Y/N.
Upon arrival, he found her taking a sip of her red wine for the night. She looked exquisite, not a hair out of place, and her makeup was done to perfection. She shined as the true diamond of the night.
“Y/N,” Harry called out to her softly.
She turned, a frown on her face. “Mr. Styles.”
Harry frowned. He couldn’t detect an ounce of kindness in her voice. “Seems like we have a date,” he joked, wanting to see her smile.
Y/N scoffs, “why did you do it, Mr. Styles?”
“Pardon?” Harry hates how she says his name with so much distaste.
“Why’d you bid on me? It’s clear you have no interest in me.”
Harry wasn’t sure where to go from here because that was the furthest from the truth. He didn’t have to reply because Y/N wasn’t done talking.
“How can you be jealous when you said no when I asked you out?” Harry stays silent. “That’s what it was, right? My attention wasn’t on you anymore, and you didn’t like that. Did flaunting all your money make you feel good?”
“Y/N,” he steps towards her, but she puts her hand up to stop him, and he freezes. “I’m asking you now.”
She frowns, her voice rising. Harry never wished to see her upset, but it’s exactly what he caused. “No, this isn’t you asking.”
Harry sighs. There is no getting through to her. “Come on, Y/N, don’t be difficult.”
It’s clear that was the wrong thing to say because her eyebrows scrunch up, and there’s not a hint of kindness in her eyes, only a blazing fire that he seemed to be the cause of, and he regrets everything he has said to her from the moment he met her.”
“This is how you want to go out,” she points to the number on her chest, displaying her as contestant number five. “Because if so, I’ll take the money, but I won’t go.”
“C’mon, Y/N, give me a shot. That’s all I’m asking for.”
Harry winces because he did. He bought a date with her, and some part of him regrets doing this without speaking to her, but it’s too late now.
Julieta comes up behind Y/N and places a hand on her shoulder, “Mr. Styles, thank you for your donation. We will deposit the check the day after your date, you know, for insurance purposes on both ends.”
“Of course, Julieta. I have always been a fan of the work you are all doing.” Harry hopes she doesn’t pick up on the tension between him and Y/N.
“You’re a gem, Mr. Styles.” Julieta shoots him a polite smile before turning her attention to Y/N. “I owe you one, Y/N, but I’m sure you’ll have a great night with this fine gentleman.”
And like that, they’re alone again.
They stand there in silence, waiting for Julieta to turn the corner to return to the party. They don’t want anyone overhearing their conversation. It’s clear they both have a lot more to say.
Harry starts wanting Y/N to know how sorry he is. “Don’t, uh, don’t think of it as a date. Think of it as an apology.”
Y/N rolls her eyes, “an apology I’m forced to accept because you paid for it.”
Harry grimaces. There’s no coming back from this.
“What would your girlfriend think of spending $30 grand on another person?”
There was no girlfriend in his life. It’s been years since he had a partner. There’s only one girl he wishes to make his girlfriend, but he royally screwed that up, so he knows it will never happen.
“No girlfriend, I can assure you.”
“You’re a liar,” Y/N spits out.
“Enough,” Harry rebuttals. “There is no one.”
“I saw you. I won’t date someone else’s boyfriend.”
“Saw me?”
“Eating dumplings, or I was eating dumplings,” she fumbles. “You walked in with a date. I’m sure you were very cozy in the private room.
Harry’s eyes widened, “Y/N no, it was only a date.”
Hearing it was a date just as much as seeing him with the other woman. It is confirmation enough for Y/N to know there wasn’t another person she’d be hurting if word got out she went out on a date with Harry Styles.
“Please,” Harry begs.
“If I do this, you double the donation,” Y/N counters, and seeing how desperate Harry looked, she knew he’d agree to anything at this moment.
Harry doesn’t even react. He pulls out his checkbook, ready to write the check.
“Make it out to you or the charity,” Harry teases, hoping to ease the tension.
She rolls her eyes, “Hermanas Unidas would be wonderful, thank you.”
“Y/N,” his tone full of defeat
“I’m doing this for Julieta,” Y/N declares.” Not for you.”
Harry nods.
“You can get my number from the sheet. All the details for your reward are there.”
Harry watches her pick up her drink and walk away from him, leaving him alone to feel sorry for himself. And he knows he has a lot to make up for if he wants any chance with Y/N.
Y/N has been dreading this day.
It had been a week from the fateful day of the auction where Harry bid $30,000 well, now $60,000 for a date with her. The donation would do wonders, but she had to make it through an afternoon with Harry. Seeing as Harry informed her that it would be something casual but ending with a nice dinner. Y/N had no idea what that meant, but she decided that her brown checkered trousers and an old knitted sweater that always kept her warm would be a safe outfit.
She managed to slip on her shoes as she heard the doorbell ring, perfect timing.
Opening her door, she found Harry smiling, a small bouquet of flowers in his hands. They were a beautiful shade of violet chrysanthemums. Y/N knew these were a rare shade to find, and she tried her best to bite back her smile at the sentiment.
“Hi, Harry.”
“Hello, Y/N, you look wonderful.”
She nodded but made no move to invite him in.
“Uh, t-these are for you,” he extended his hand, waiting for her to accept them. She was careful to not have his fingers brush against hers, not needing him to add to her nerves.
“I’ll, umm, go put these in water.”
Y/N knows she left him awkwardly hanging outside her apartment, but she was, in a way, inviting him in. She doesn’t want or need to cross that line with him. After setting the flowers on her counter and double-checking that the stove was off, she grabbed her bag and returned to Harry, who looked awkward waiting for her.
As Y/N locks her door and follows behind Harry, she can see that he did mean casual. He’s wearing wide-leg jeans that don’t do much to give him any shape. He paired it with a duck-stitched cardigan that softened his features in a way that his luxurious suits never have.  
Harry opened her door, offering a small smile as she slipped into his Bentley; the car couldn’t be more than a few months old by how sleek and cared-for everything looked. Y/N thinks of her Camry, better known as Baymax. The car that got her through undergrad and is still by her side now as she’s getting her master’s. Baymax has seen better days, but from what her father tells her, as long as she continues to care for the car as she has been, she has many years left with Baymax.
Harry's playlist in his car allows her to relax, classical music has always had a calming effect on her, and this time is no different. Harry didn’t try to spark conversation during the ride, and Y/N didn’t want to try either. She could feel the tension rising in the car as he fiddled every few minutes with the radio while Y/N tried to figure out where he was taking her.
It was half an hour until Harry turned up a paved road that led them to a large building, the parking lot full of cars. Y/N sat up straight, trying to figure out where he had brought them, but she’d never driven out this way. It was a hidden area, and the road easily missed when driving down if one isn’t actively searching for it.  
They pass a sign that reads, “Sunshine Haven” Y/N wants to say she’s heard the name but can’t pin it at this moment, she’s tempted to take her phone out and google, but something tells her Harry will have an explanation for her. As Harry parks in a spot that reads ‘reserved,’ she unbuckles herself but doesn’t move to get out as she sees Harry has not moved, instead playing with the beaded charm on his key chain.
“Before we go in, I want to say that I did go on a date.” Harry begins, clearly uncomfortable but important enough for him to bring up. “She is not my girlfriend. It was only one date.”
Y/N shrugs, disinterested. It doesn’t matter to her, no more than he does to her right now.
“I asked her out. It was a bad date. That’s all. I don’t even have her number.”
Y/N wishes he hadn’t told her this, that he kept it to himself because it hurts her a lot more than she thought to hear Harry talk about asking another person out. He asked that person out because he was interested in them, while Y/N got a rejection. It’s clear to her now that Harry goes after what he wants, and it’s clearly not her.
“All forgotten,” she tells him with a forced smile and then gets out of the car. Harry follows a few seconds after coming to meet her at her side. Y/N feels the chilly air and is thankful for her sweater because she doesn’t know what Harry has planned, but it doesn’t feel like anything warm is waiting for her.
He begins to walk, and Y/N follows a step behind him. She takes in the beautiful environment growing around her, the trees and shrubs a bright green displaying how much sunlight they must receive daily. Harry stops walking as they reach the welcome center entrance. Y/N sees how fidgety he’s gotten again and knows he has something to share, so she stays silent.
Harry rubs his eyebrow, a tell-sign he’s nervous, “uh, I thought Sunshine Haven Rehabilitation would be a good place to bring you because I’ve seen various causes you’re passionate about, and well, this is one of mine.” He gestures to the entrance, where there’s a bulletin board of all the animals that have been released back into the ocean; on the bottom are sponsors, and listed second to last is none other than H. Styles. His photo icon is of him smiling, that dimple he never seems to show off was on display with a stuffed dolphin in his arms, and it warms Y/N’s stomach in a way she hasn’t felt since she first introduced herself to him.
Y/N knows she has mixed emotions. She can go about this one of two ways: act nonchalant as if her heart didn’t grow three sizes when finding out that Harry brought her to a place that clearly meant so much to him, or embrace the day and see what Harry and this beautiful rehabilitation have to offer.
“Lead the way then, Styles,” Y/N gave him a small smile, hoping to ease his nerves, and the one she got in return managed to call her down as well.
Y/N was ready to get to know the real Harry Styles, even if it didn’t mean anything more to Harry because, at the end of the day, she could make a fantastic friend, which didn’t sound like a bad idea to her. Walking in, a receptionist greets them, asking if they’re here to volunteer or pay for a visit until the lady slips her glasses on and gasps seeing Harry in front of her.
“Young man, you haven’t been here in ages,” she scolds him.
Y/N bites a smile as Harry looks down bashfully. She uses this time to look at the woman’s name tag: Sally.
“Sorry, Sally. I’ve been busy.” Harry wraps her in a hug, and Sally sighs.
“Fine, fine. Go on, I forgot you called in.”
Y/N, not wanting to be rude, moves aside and stretches out her hand. “Sorry, I’m Y/N, a friend of Harry’s. Thank you for having us.”
“Oh, sweetie, aren't you polite.” Sally accepts her hand, giving her a firm shake. “I’d hug you, but this one is known to be jealous.” Sally gestures to Harry, causing Y/N to laugh.
“I know.” Y/N grins at Harry loving the chance to tease him.
“Haha, we’ll be going now.”
“Have fun, dears.”
Harry opens a door, leading them down a long hallway until it shows displays of different areas for each animal in the rehabilitation center. It’s clear how loved this location is, with all volunteers walking around each animal center.
“What are we allowed to do?”
He shrugs, “mainly walk around, feed a seal if we’re lucky.”
She tries to contain her excitement, “are we going to be lucky?”
“We’ll have to see, won’t we.”
Y/N pouts but doesn’t push him. He kind of hoped she would. She lets Harry take the lead in showing her around. A few other school groups are volunteering, and Y/N knows if she were their age, she would have also signed up to volunteer here. Her time in the library was put to good use; she learned how to code and the Dewey decimal system of her town’s library.
She stays silent as Harry tells her about the first section: the sea turtles. Y/N can’t help but take in Harry as he talks about Sunshine Haven with pride; his eyes shine with every new fact he rambles about without looking at any of the information boards displayed. Y/N doesn’t dare interrupt him, letting him guide her. She’s almost tempted to reach for his hand because his strides are more extended than hers, and she always finds herself catching up.
Y/N stops as she sees a sign for the otters. Her eyes shine with delight. She calls his name when she sees him walking away.
“Let’s go there, please.” It’s her first request, and Harry smiles, seeing her waiting for him to say yes and guide them to see the otters, her favorite animal.
“I don’t know, seems busy.” He teases.
She doesn’t stop herself when she reaches for his hand, deciding that she will take him there since he doesn’t seem to want to take her.
“Hurry, Harry. I want to see the otters. Please,” she begs
“Lead the way, love.”
She leads the way to the otters while Harry giggles knowing he’d follow her to the ends of the Earth. Y/N made him feel like a little kid full of happiness and never-ending energy. He wanted to spend every moment with her, and having the day with her would have to be enough for now.
Y/N coos as she catches sight of the otters happily swimming in the cold water. She steps towards the glass waving at the otters, although Y/N and Harry know the otters can’t see her. It doesn’t stop her; if anything, she steps closer, trying to get herself as close to them as possible. She looks like a little kid admiring their favorite animal for the first time.
“Didn’t know you were such a big fan,” Harry tells her as she marvels in awe at the different sea animals.
“Oh, I was certain I would be a marine biologist when I was five.”
Harry laughs, clearly picturing a small Y/N with her wide smile looking at picture books of animals and stating she’d be taking care of them.
“What happened?”
“Biology is what happened,” she shutters in disgust. “They made me dissect a frog, and it broke my heart. I thought they were all about helping animals, not studying their insides.”
“Oh, love.”
Y/N feigns tears, “I’ve never recovered.” She lifts her head to flash him a cheeky smile while he shakes his head at her antics.
Harry giggles at her act of sadness, having believed her bit. “You’re trouble.”
She shrugs, “only a few can handle me.”
And Harry knows he would be lucky to say that she’s his.
Dinner is something Harry had been looking forward to all afternoon. He enjoyed walking around Sunshine Haven with Y/N and seeing her relaxed and happy in an environment he loved. Harry led her down some stairs until they were met by a small opening that led them to a large tunnel. Y/N let out a gasp seeing all the fishes swimming all around her. She looked on in awe, not even noticing Harry capturing a photo of the moment.
“That’s a tiger shark,” she breathed out, pointing it out to Harry.
“That’s Tank,” he shares.
“Will she be released soon?” Y/N hears Harry sigh and knows that won’t be the case for Tank. “What happened?”
“They found him young, and his dorsal fin was cut off. Most sharks can survive without it over time, but he was so young that he was seen as prey, not a predator.”
“He isn’t bothered by the other fish?”
Harry guides Y/N to sit down, letting her continue to marvel at the ocean life around her. “We let him roam, then he returns to his own tank. He’s respectful because he isn’t the best hunter, but we’ve seen he loves his space.”
“I’ve always liked sharks. Feel like they’re misunderstood.”
Harry laughs loud and rich, making Y/N smile, knowing she’s the reason he’s laughing. “That’s one way to put it.”
“Come on, they’re a feared animal due to movies or shark bites. There’s a 1 in 7 million chance you’ll get bitten or die from a shark attack. You have a higher chance of getting taken out by the flu.” She tells him as Harry removes the silver food cover to reveal a plate of chili tofu and a rainbow pasta salad.
“You’re right,” he agrees. Harry is constantly in awe around Y/N, finding new ways to be surprised by her, whether it be her beauty or intelligence. “Hope you enjoy the food. I know you mentioned being a fan of tofu.”
“Oh, it smells delicious. Is this from a restaurant nearby?”
Harry ducks his head to hide the blush on his face, “no, uh-I-I made it.”
Y/N widens her eyes in surprise as she takes her first bite. Harry watches as she chews, not looking away from him even when she reaches for her drink.
“Thoughts?” He asks.
She giggles, “it’s amazing.”
Harry tries his best not to look too smug, but he knows he’s failing because his mother always told him the way to someone’s heart was through their stomach, and for her to be a fan of his food means he was a step in the right direction. He wishes he had called his mother more for advice because he knows if he had talked to her about Y/N, he wouldn’t have messed it up so many times.
“Right, Harry. You’ve got to tell me about the time you fell into the waste bins.”
Harry gasps in shock. It’s a story only a few knew around here, “when did Sally have the time to spill these lies?”
Y/N laughs, not at all surprised he was quick to deny the story. “Fine. You can tell me how the dolphins wouldn’t accept your treats.”
“Now, that’s not fair. They’re spilling all my secrets.”
Y/N enjoyed dinner with Harry. He was easy to talk with, never once cutting her off and always having his gaze on her. There wasn’t a moment she thought she had lost him, not even when she rambled on about evaluation reports she had to sit through every few months. She always seemed to do the data cleaning because no one had figured out how to use the template she provided, even with all the lessons she gave each employee.
Harry assured her after dinner that there was no need to clean up, that he had it handled. She agreed and let Harry walk her out, where they got the most gorgeous sunset view behind the trees. Sally waved them goodbye making Y/N promise to come back even if it wasn’t with Harry. Y/N promised she would; she had seen a flyer on the bulletin about rescues they have every other weekend when they open it up for volunteers in training, and Y/N wanted to make time to come out for one of those dates.
The drive home is filled with aimless chatter as Harry tries to learn about Y/N. He’s surprised by how much she’s actually willing to share, but he’s not one to question it. He likes answering her as well. He doesn’t think he’s told someone his favorite cereal choice in years; no one has ever wanted to know something so irrelevant, yet Y/N made his answer feel special. His past girlfriends were into materialistic items, not that Harry minded, but conversations always dulled if they did not involve the newest fashion trends or famous designers.
“I didn’t take you as a Lorde fan,” Y/N tells Harry as she sees him singing along to one of the artist's newer songs.
Harry turns to face her for a moment before turning back to the road, “what did you expect then?”
“Hmmm….you really appreciate Jazz and love any piano piece, so I assumed Joni Mitchell, Carole King, oh, and Van Morrison.”
“Wow! You take me for an oldy, Y/N,” he gasps.
“Tell me I’m wrong.”
He shakes his head, laughing, “can’t do that.”
“Knew it,” she celebrated.
“What about you?” Harry turns the question back to her.
“I want to hear what you think.”
“That’s a lot of pressure,” he tells her honestly.
Harry racks his brain, trying to picture the type of music Y/N would listen to. He’s never really thought about it, but she seems the type to love melancholy songs or love songs that you can’t help but sing at the top of your lungs.
“You’re a Spice Girls fan.”
Y/N laughs fill the car, and Harry wishes he could store it in his memory forever; he knows he’ll never hear another sweeter sound. “Who isn’t, Harry?”
“Fine, you’re a Taylor Swift fan. You love those romance songs, and maybe Lana Del Rey. She’s got that unique voice.”
She takes in his response for a second, “I mean, you’d find them both on my playlists absolutely, but they wouldn't be top five on my Spotify wrapped.”
Harry chuckles, not surprised he was wrong, “well, who is it then?”
Y/N grins, taking Harry’s phone that was sitting on the console. Harry hears her typing away then a familiar beat fills the car, and she is quick to join the lead singer in singing.
“Paramore,” he states.
“Paramore,” she repeats. “They’re amazing,” she shrugs, “I’ve always seen them have fun with their music, and I love that.”
“My friend’s a co-writer with them on their new album,” Harry shares nonchalantly.
“Shut up!” Y/N yells.
“Oh! That’s amazing! Ugh, I’m so jealous. I’ve always aspired to be Hayley Williams.”
Harry has never seen Y/N be more her age than right now as she gushes over a band she loves. He’s always seen her serious and professional, and he likes that side of her, but laidback Y/N is just as sweet. Harry can feel her creeping into his heart.
He’s disappointed when the GPS announces they’re right outside her home. He did not want the date to end. Harry knows he went about everything wrong with Y/N, but he hopes he can get a real chance with her after tonight. Y/N lets him walk her up, his hand on the small of her back. She’s fumbling with her keys stuck in her bag's zipper; he watches on, amused, until she flashes him a slight grin to show she’s got them.
“Thank you for today, Harry.”
“Of course, Y/N.”
Harry cuts her off, having almost forgotten an essential part of tonight, “forgot to hand you the check.” He chuckles, reaches into his coat, and slips out a folded check. He didn’t see Y/N’s face fall as if finally remembering the reason she went on the date tonight.
Y/N looks down at the check and knows that as meaningful as the date was for her, it was still a debt to be paid.
“Goodnight, Harry.”
Harry doesn’t know what happened in a matter of seconds, but he doesn’t want the night to end on a heavy note, so he shares something weighing heavy on his chest. “I like you, Y/N,” he breathes out. He doesn’t let her answer. “I'll see you soon.”
Y/N watches Harry walk away, leaving her more confused than ever.
Harry was shopping for a gift. It was his niece’s birthday in a few days, and he knew that at eight, Abigail had become a big reader, what better gift than a few of his favorite books, as well as a year membership that allows her to get a new book each week. He was browsing a shelf when he froze, seeing someone at the end of the aisle reading a book. He didn’t expect to see Y/N so soon. She looked beautiful. Her hair was in a ponytail, a ribbon holding it all together. It seemed fitting for her. He didn’t expect to see her so soon after their date.
He didn’t know what to say or if he should say anything at all. It’s clear the date went well, at least to him, but when they said goodbye, he felt a shift. It was awful to realize, but Harry was nervous about approaching her. He wished he had a percent of confidence like he did going into corporate meetings, where he always owned the room the second he walked in. Yet, ten seconds in the presence of Y/N, he feels nervous and forgets every word in the English language.
After finally deciding not to approach her and instead head straight to the register, Y/N tucks the book under her arm and turns to find Harry right in front of her. He sees the surprise settle on her face, and he knows he needs to leave. Abigail’s presents can wait. He pretended he didn’t see Y/N and acted like it didn't break his heart to see her smile fall. Instead, he walked right past her like he wasn't hurting her or himself. He knew he was ruining his chances with Y/N, romantic and platonic.
Y/N stood in her spot, frozen. Harry brushed past her like they had not gone out on a “date” two nights ago. As if he didn’t tell her he wanted it to be an actual date that he “liked” her. It was a bunch of bullshit to toy with her feelings, but Y/N has decided she’s had enough. There will be a gala this coming weekend, and she’s decided he no longer deserves a minute of her time.
Harry was uneasy, arriving at the gala tonight. He hoped to find Y/N immediately because how they last saw each other left a bad taste in his mouth. He was done with these games. He didn’t care about anything else, not when all he wanted was Y/N, but first, he owed her an apology.
He spotted Y/N right away. He had come to learn that where the conversation was loud and joyful, that is where he would find her. She seemed to be the shining light of every event, as everyone who spoke to her always left with a dazed smile. It’s as if she bewitched them, and Harry knows he’s fallen under her spell as well, and he never wants it to end.
He could see she was guiding a conversation with ease. He took the time to admire her dress; her gowns never failed to leave him breathless, as if each one was perfectly made just for her. Tonight she wore a prune midi dress with a crew neckline and what Harry recognized as cap sleeves. The button detailing falls off-center, allowing the dress to give more shapes to areas of desire. The slit on her dress seemed to lie higher than other dresses he’s seen her wear, and he wished he was lucky enough to know what she had under.
Harry joins the group, pardoning for the interruption and addressing the group before letting his gaze rest on Y/N, who he sees standing close to the gentleman next to her. After a few seconds of staring at her, he can see where her arm is hooked in the crook of the man next to her.
He does his best to hide the shock. Seeing her at an event with someone else, let alone another man, doesn't feel real.
She always came alone.
Now here she was, smiling brightly with the man laughing at each joke she told.
“Mr. Styles,” she’s grinning, and it hurts to know he’s back to that formal name, no longer Harry. The reason she’s happy is because of the gentleman she’s proudly showing off by having him at her arm.
“Y/N,” his voice was low and defeated.
“This is–”
“Excuse me, will you–”  he interrupts before she can introduce her date. He was a fool for thinking he had a chance; he rejected her and bought a date. For fuck’s sake, he really screwed everything up. He heads to the bar hoping to drink away the time.
Y/N isn’t one to allow someone to walk all over her, but it seemed there always was an exemption to the rule, and for her, it was Harry Styles. He’s been insufferable from the moment she introduced herself to him, but she found him charming. She took a shot, and it didn’t land. That was fine. Their date was good but nothing more, not when it wasn’t real.
Tonight when she wanted to present Mr. Styles to her brother-in-law, Isaac, he didn’t give her a chance to speak. He was a real piece of work. As much as she didn’t want to believe all the rumors she was starting to hear about Mr. Styles, they were getting harder to deny, especially when he brushed her aside in almost every meeting they had.
“You alright, Y/N?” Isaac asks, escorting her away from two fellow donors who promised a check of $20,000 and over to the open bar on the other side of the room.
Y/N sighs. There’s no point in lying. “That’s Harry,” she muttered.
Isaac gasps, “no, the handsome guy who glared at me from the moment he walked in and saw you at my side.”
“The very one.” She doesn’t seem to pick up on the last bit of his sentence.
“He’s handsome,” Isaac states.
“And he knows it.”
“I thought you said he wasn’t a douche,” Isaac questions her, confused. “Or Matias said he hadn’t been.”
“You both gossip too much,” Y/N accepts the whiskey he hands her and takes a sip before hammering it all back.
“Taking it back to the old days, I see,” he teases.
“Piss off. You and my brother did much worse, if I recall.”
Isaac scoffs, “Matias and I were the perfect children. Don’t care what you say.”
“Your mother’s front door says otherwise,” Y/N reminds him.
“That’s not fair. You and Sapra took the car up to Bristol for the weekend.”
“With permission,” you remind him.
He scoffs, accepting anything whiskey from the bartender. “How have you two always been the favorites?”
“Because we didn’t fall in love with each other.”
“You’re a wanker!” Isaac nudges her side, careful to not spill her second drink.
Y/N laughs, leaning her head onto her brother-in-law's shoulder. She always has the best time with him. It’s the reason she asked him to come with her tonight, also because her brother asked for her help to get him out of the house to allow him to bring in and hide Isaac’s birthday gifts that he somehow always managed to find each year.
Isaac helps Y/N work the room. She had forgotten how much fun it was to hang out with Isaac. He seemed to always be a package deal with her brother, not that she minded but spending time with him reminded her how much he always made her laugh.
“He’s watched you all night,” Isaac informs her after returning with a new drink from the bar Y/N, having walked away from Daniel, a cold stone CEO who turned into a giant teddy bear promising a check of $10,000 after a five-minute conversation with Y/N.
Y/N shrugs him off, “I’m over it.”
“Sure, babes.”
Y/N scoffs, “I am.”
“You want to be under him, not over him,” Isaac tells her, not at all falling for her charade.
“But he’s been a dick.”
“I think he’s intimated.”
“Of?” Y/N questions.
“You, dummy.” Isaac gestures to Harry, who’s standing next to a few other men clearly in charge of the conversation, but he doesn’t seem to care because he glances at her every few minutes. “He’s probably never met a woman who’s asked him out to get to know him. Maybe he thought you were only trying to sleep with him.”
What Isaac is saying makes no sense to her, but maybe he has a point. Maybe Harry didn’t know her intentions, and that’s why he told her no, it doesn’t explain his other actions, but it is a start.
“Enough.” She’s tired of discussing Harry and would rather head home now before Harry gains the courage to approach her. “ I’m going to the restroom, and you’re getting my coat. I know a good place to eat.”
“You paying?” Isaac teases.
“Yes, you little diva.”
Isaac presses a loud kiss to her cheek, sending her off with a slap to her ass, “off you go.”
Y/N rolls her eyes at his dramatics but goes off to do her business. She was feeling hungry tonight. Leaving the restroom, Y/N bumps into someone waiting right outside. She laughs as the person helps her straighten out.
“Haha, sorry there.” She really should be more careful.
“You okay?”
Y/N freezes. Of course, it’s him.
“All good,” she assures Harry.
She stands there awkwardly, waiting to see if he would say anything, but he stays silent.
“If you’ll excuse me,” she moves past him.
“Y/N, wait.”
She looks at him expectantly.
He sighs, and he runs his hand through his hair, a tell sign he’s nervous. “I’m sorry. I shouldn't have ignored you. I was having a bad day and didn’t want to bother you.”
“Wasn’t so hard, huh, to let someone know you see them but didn’t have time to talk.”
He shakes his head, “not at all.”
“I’m sorry. I can’t say it enough.”
Y/N shrugs. “Well, it’s done, I guess. We don’t owe each other anything.”
Harry deserves her hesitancy. He hasn’t been good to her, but he misses seeing her smile and laugh at his awful jokes.
“Ready to go home, babes?” Isaac calls from behind Harry, holding up her coat.
She holds back a smile shaking her head at Isaac, who has a Cheshire grin. Harry looks at her like he wants her to say no, that she’ll stay with him, but she’s had enough of his games.
“Good night, Mr. Styles.”
“Y/N,” he reaches for her hand but stops. They both stare at his arm, having stopped inches from touching her until he drops it back to his side.
“Take care.”
Harry nods as he watches another man drape her coat around her, then place a hand on the small of her back and guide her out.
He really had no chance now.
Y/N loved ice cream.
When she was younger, her parents loved taking her out for ice cream after any kind of academic achievement, wanting to shower her with praise just as much as they did her brother, a star athlete. She loved coming because she got to pick a new flavor each week and also how they found out she was allergic to pistachio.
Growing up close in age, many thought she and Matias would not get along, but that was not the case being the younger sister allowed her to see her brother in a guiding light. She loved following after him at least she did until he pushed her down the last few steps of stairs for breaking his favorite crayon. He broke her arm, which she was allowed to hold over his head forever.
He was the reason she had to learn to write with her left hand. Their parents thought they would hate each other after that fight, but it only brought them closer together. Matias realized how fragile his sister was and vowed never to hurt her or anyone again. It's why he became a swimmer. No actual harm would come to him or anyone while Y/N gained the strength to stand up for herself, not wanting to be seen as weak.
As much as Matias denies it, his heart broke when Y/N met Sapra, her best friend, because it meant he was losing her as his best friend, something he’d never dare tell her. Sapra walking into Y/N’s life was amazing because it made her glad she had a brother because it meant she could have Sapra as the sister she never had. From the day they partnered in English for a project, Sapra being the new student and Y/N the star student, they did not go a day without each other. They became part of each other’s families and officially became sisters thanks to the help of their brother by falling in love and getting married.  Now here she was for her weekly ice cream date with Sapra.
“He didn’t!” Sapra gasps as Y/N explains how Isaac cut off Harry and escorted her out like a true gentleman.
Y/N nods, licking her caramel vanilla ice cream. “Yup, he looked like a kicked puppy.”
“Oh, that’s devastating.”
“It was.”
“I thought you liked him.”
She shrugs, “he’s all mixed signals. I ask him out, and he says no. I’m auctioned as a date he buys me. The next time I see him, he ignores me.”
“Maybe he didn’t see you.”
Y/N gives her a deadpan look. “We stopped right in front of each other. Had a book in hand, and he had a coffee. I waved, gave him a smile, and took a step towards him, and he stared past me and then walked past me.”
“Right…” Sapra realized there was no bright side to her situation.
“I seriously don’t get his problem. If this man says he’s doing all that because he likes me, I’ll call bullshit.”
Sapra sighs, “maybe he likes you but doesn’t like how forward you are. Maybe he’s into sweet innocent girls.”
“Ugh, this is why I don’t date. I seriously thought he’d be mature for being older. Seems all that money has clogged his brain.”
Y/N watches as her best friend laughs.
“Speak of the devil,” Sapra gestures behind Y/N, and she does her best to bite back a groan.  
“Noooo,” she groans. “This is my favorite shop.”
Harry notices Sapra staring at him and shoots her a polite smile. “He saw me.”
“He doesn’t know you.”
They decide to ignore him, and it works. Sapra finished her ice cream, and Y/N excused herself to the restroom claiming they had a few more stops before ending their day together. Y/N returns from the bathroom just in time to see Harry standing in front of Sapra, a cup of ice cream in his hand. As she gets closer, she meets Sapra’s eyes which are telling her to stop, but she doesn’t listen, able to catch Harry’s final words.
“--love to take you on a date.”
She’s not sure what to feel. Instead, she doesn’t let an inch of emotion show as she says excuse me taking her seat in front of Sapra again. Y/N sees the exact moment Harry’s face falls as he recognizes her. Then back to Sapra, the person she told him about on their so-called date.
“Y/N,” he breathed out.
“Mr. Styles,” she addressed him coldly. “See, you met my best friend, Sapra. We’ve spoken about her.”
He clears his throat, evident in the growing tension. Y/N’s expressions stay neutral while Sapra looks at Y/N, smirking.
“Well, Mr. Styles, as flattered as I am. The answer is going to be no.” Sapra shrugs, no longer meeting his eyes.
Harry fidgets with his rings, his discomfort apparent, “no, I understand.”
“Heard you met my brother. He’s a real charmer.” Sapra tells him.
“At the gala,” Sapra reminds him. “He was Y/N’s date. Think they make a great pair.”
Harry frowns, feeling his skin itch.
Y/n decides to end his suffering. “Isaac is Matias’ husband. My brother, I told you about him.”
“The older brother who painted your mum's wagon pink,” he checks to confirm.
“The very one.”  
“Have a nice day,” Sapra tells him harshly, cutting off the conversation from going any further.
“Good day.” Not an ounce of confidence in his walk. If anything, Y/N thought he looked sad.
Both girls watched him walk away until he was outside and in his car. Y/N isn’t sure what to say, but she can’t say she blames Harry. All through their time in school together, Sapra was the person all the boys asked out. While Y/N was the person, they went to for advice, not that she ever helped them. It wasn’t until she was at university did she realize she didn’t care what others thought. Y/N started working on her self-confidence, and she blossomed. When she first asked a boy in her English class, and he said yes, she felt empowered. She took that energy and put it into her work ethic. It’s why she’s so successful today. She will admit it hurt seeing Harry ask out her best friend, but it also helps put things into perspective that Harry Styles might not be the man she thought he was.
Harry is an idiot.
He has one girl on his mind, and to take his mind off her, he asks another out, only for it to be her friend, her best friend of all people. He really screwed this one up.
“You haven’t called me in a while,” Harry’s friend Mitch says as he sips his bourbon.
“I’ve been busy,” Harry mutters.
The two men sit in silence. It’s something they have always done. They are not ones to express their feelings unless they need to.
“What shit did you do now?” Mitch asks as he sees Harry pour his third cup of bourbon.
“Shit, Mitch. You don’t beat around the bush, do you?” Mitch gives him a pointed look, and Harry relents. “There’s this girl.”
“That’s a first.”
“As I was saying, she—she’s beautiful. And so god damn out of my league, I don’t know what to do with myself. I’m fucking 33, and she has me acting like a teenager.”
“Ask her out, simple as that.”
Harry laughs bitterly. “No, Mitch, it isn’t. See, she asked me out, and I said no.”
Mitch winces, “ouch. Bruised her ego.”
“No, that's the thing. She acted unbothered and treated me with respect after.”
He knows he’ll regret that rejection for the rest of his life.
“What were you expecting? A drink in the face.”
He shakes his head, “course not.”
“Why is she a problem if you rejected her?” Mitch emphasizes.
“Because every time I see her, I feel my heart wanting to beat out of my chest. I see her speaking with another man too close, and I get jealous. Hell, I bet on an auction date with her, but I fucked it over by ignoring her the next time I saw her. And today, I was finally working up the chance to go out on a date to get her out of my head, and the person I asked out turned out to be her best friend, and she was right there.” Harry slumped back against his chair, bourbon now forgotten.
Mitch grimaces, “that doesn’t sound great.”
“It’s all shit.”
“Backtrack. Why did you reject her?”
Harry groans because he’d been a fool to say no. He thought he was too old for her or that she was looking for some fun in the sheets, and he wouldn’t disrespect her like that, not when he admired her. “She’s young.”
“Eighteen young?”
“No, you dick.” Harry spits out harshly.  “She’s in graduate school. She’s in her twenties.”
Mitch sits back on the couch, frowning.
“Spit it out.”
“It seems you made a mess of things for no reason.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well,” Mitch takes a sip of his drink, getting all his thoughts together. “She asked you out, meaning you didn’t seek her out. If I recall, you said she knew your name.” Harry nods, and Mitch continues. “It means she was aware of your age difference. She had an idea of her chances being slim to none to you saying yes. She came in with the upper hand, but you carried the power with your response. You’re going about your feelings all wrong. If you’re not going to treat her like she knows she deserves, then leave her alone.”
Once Mitch had laid it all flat for Harry, he could see that Mitch had a point. She knew what she wanted from the moment they met, which intimated Harry for some reason. She sent him the drink, asked him out, and reached out while he hid and avoided. She held herself with grace and respect, and that somehow intimated him.
He wanted a chance with Y/N to prove to her he could be a gentleman, and he valued her time and respected her. He just had to find the right opportunity. His eyes flickered to the ripped invitation on his desk. An invitation to a Masquerade Ball in two weeks to support Global Warming. He knew who would be there. It was the perfect time to apologize and ask for a date, a real one this time.
Y/N hated being sick.
From a young age, she threw the biggest fuss when she would fall in and had to miss school. She told her parents that missing out on learning would ruin her life when she didn’t want her friends to forget her for the days she was gone. Given that when she would go back, she received big hugs; clearly, she was not forgotten.
Now, as an adult or graduate student living alone in her small but entirely her own apartment, she didn’t like to be sick, not when she had to work or had events to attend. Thankfully, Y/N’s work has always been flexible and has health benefits, so she can take the day off. The sad news is that there’s a gala, not one of hers this time, that she promised she’d attend with Sapra. The theme was masquerade, and Sapra had worked on her mask for ages wanting to stand out during the night, and Y/N couldn’t bear to disappoint her. Sapra had been looking forward to this night for ages, even writing it with a pen in her calendar, and she never did that in case plans changed. Y/N felt horrible, but thankfully Sapra was super understanding, and their good friend Dawn was able to come in and save the day. With the promise to send Y/N lots of pictures, they left her with soup and crackers to last her the next few days while she began to feel better.
Harry had been counting down the days to see her. He hoped he was able to spot her among all the people tonight because if not, he’d be asking every person in the room to remove their masks until he found her. He had decided on a gold mask with intricate black designs all around. His dear friend Alessandro took his time with it. He knew he’d take it back to his friend after it was too much of a delicate piece to keep for himself. He knew he would have no use for it after. His suit tonight was velvet, a deep black that held a shimmer in the right kind of lighting. Harry loved the little details in outfits, and he couldn’t wait to notice each one of Y/N’s tonight.
He must have walked around three times and nothing. Not a single citing of her. Harry decides to stop at the bar when a woman in a gorgeous red gown drops her mask, and Harry gasps. It was not Y/N; it was her best friend, Sapra. That meant Y/N had to be around here somewhere.
“Good evening, Sapra.” Harry interrupts her conversation with the short woman next to her. She’s in a yellow gown, one that reminds him of Kate Hudson’s in her iconic role in How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. He recognizes her as Bartolo’s worker in the shop. He hadn’t been there since Alessandro came back from his trip. “And Dawn, it’s nice to see you again.”
Dawn flashes him a smile. “You as well, Harry. Bartolo misses you. Says no one comes in to challenge him like you did.”
Harry nods, “I’ll have to visit soon, then.” Sapra elbows Dawn as if reminding her they weren’t team Harry. He notices, and before giving them a chance to make their exit, he asks the question that’s been sitting on the tip of his tongue. “Where’s Y/N?”
Sapra and Dawn share a look before turning back to Harry, matching frowns on their faces. “Girl code, Mr. Styles,” Sapra tells him, voice full of distaste.
“Please, I know I don’t deserve it, but I want to speak with her,” he begs.
Dawn takes pity, having heard Harry bare his heart to Bartolo when he came in for a suit fitting about how nervous Y/N made him and that his confidence seemed to vanish around her. She thought it was a step in the right direction to ask them about Y/N despite his first meeting with Sapra.
“She’s sick,” Dawn shares, not caring that Sapra will give her shit for it later.
He frowns. She’s sick, and she’s alone. That doesn’t sound like a good evening. “Will she answer if I go?”
“You’re kidding?” Sapra asks.
Harry shakes his head, “please, I only came tonight in hopes of seeing her.”
Sapra turns around at the bar to speak with the bartender, and he gives her a napkin and a pen. She clicks the pen and turns around, handing it to Harry. He didn’t tell them he knew where she lived.
“She tells me you said something dumb, and I’ll make sure to burn your empire to the ground,” Sapra promises. Dawn whispers for her to cool it, but Harry understands where she’s coming from.
“Do you know when that restaurant closes down the block from her house? She told me she really likes their soup there.”
Sapra shared a look with Dawn. Yeah, it seemed that Harry had some feelings to sort through.
Harry takes a deep breath. He isn’t sure if she’ll let him in or even want to see him. If it were him, he’d take one look and slam the door shut. Well, he won’t know until he finds out. He knocks two times and takes a step back, allowing himself to look down at her doormat. There is a range of wildflowers displayed, and if Harry’s honest, he has no idea what their names could be. As Harry focuses on anything but the door, he fails to realize it has fallen open.
“Harry?” She whispers, confused.
Harry lifts his head, flashing her a smile. “Hi, how are you?”
She ignores his questions. “How are you here?” Y/N shakes her head. “Don’t answer that. I bet it was Dawn; she’s a softie.”
“Do–Would it be okay if I came in?” He stutters.
Y/N tilts her head and looks his head to toe in his velvet suit, his mask forgotten in his car. She knows this is weird and has a right to kick him out, but he’s carrying a bag, and Y/N can smell the hot vegetable soup she craves when she’s sick.
She moves back, and Harry takes it as a sign to come in. He lets out a sign in relief. While Y/N locks the door, he toes off his shoes, noticing the shoe rack by the door. Y/N thanks him quietly, and he follows after like a lost puppy. She grabs two bowls while Harry begins to unpack the food. He wasn’t sure how much she would like, and Kim, the waitress, suggested two of their largest sizes, and he agreed.
Harry takes the bowl from Y/N and begins to serve her a healthy amount, knowing if she has too much, she could end up puking it all up.
“Thank you, Harry.”
She grabs her bowl and heads to her couch. As she settles in wrapping herself in a blanket, she sets the bowl on her lap. Harry stays frozen in the kitchen, unsure if he’s allowed in her space.
“Are you going to make me eat alone?”
“Sorry?” He breathes out.
“Serve yourself and come sit. You brought me so much soup I’m not going to finish it all on my own”
Harry grabs the second bowl, notices the strawberries, and laughs. He likes getting to see more pieces of Y/N. From her linked shoes at the door, he can tell she’s organized. As he walks further into her living room, he sees a full bookcase with hundreds of books and a little reading nook with a stack of books waiting to be read. He sits at the other end of her couch, sinking into the comfortable cushion; he smiles at her record player and wonders what she last listened to.
“Do you want a blanket?”
He sighs. Y/N’s a sweetheart treating him kindly, accepting him as a guest in her home. “Thank you, but I’m okay.”
They settle into silence, and usually, Harry finds it annoying, always needing a conversation to be going even if he isn’t leading it. However, with Y/N, he relishes the silence because he enjoys her presence. No words are needed.
Y/N ate until she was full, meaning she left her bowl clean, not embarrassed to have Harry see her slurp the last bits of her soup. Harry refilled her water as he placed her rinsed dishes in her dishwasher.
“How was the gala?” She asks after he settles back in his seat.
“Awful,” he answers honestly. It was the truth, he knew Y/N prided herself in the work she did for each event, but he couldn’t lie to her.
Y/N frowns, “good means I didn’t miss anything important.”
He’s surprised she had no hand in the event, but if he thinks about it, each gala he has been in attendance of where Y/N has helped always went without a hitch. He can’t say the same about tonight. “You didn’t plan this event?”
She smiles at his shock. “Not this time. Sapra heard it was a masquerade ball and begged me to get her in. How were the ice sculptures?”
Harry laughs, “melting, a puddle of water all around.”
“Oh, bummer.” She shakes her head, upset she missed it. “They have awful AC in that building.”
Y/N proceeds to tell him about how they reached out, but she’s had a busy schedule, and as much as she loves her job, she’s still only an intern who needs time for her studies and herself.
“Is that why you fell sick? Overworking?” He asks, concerned.
She giggles, “no, I have a healthy work and life balance, thankfully.” Y/N’s phone rings interrupting her. She apologizes as she’s sending off a text before giving her attention back to him. “My neighbor Terry has a one-year-old, and I was babysitting her for the night. We didn’t know she had the sniffles until she woke up colicky from a nap. Turns out their bub was sick; thus, she gave me the bug that took me down.”
“How’s the bub doing?”
“Oh, she’s a fighter. She was not a big crier; she needed a few cuddles and medicine, and she was much better. The thing about babies: they get sick and are better the day after. Their bodies next time around will have now built a strong immune system able to fend it off even better.” Y/N feels her face flush, feeling she shared a bit too much.
Harry sends her a dimpled smile. “My little sister is having a baby in a few months. I think it’s essential to know how to help. Thank you, don’t think parenting books are always so helpful for uncles.”
Y/N can’t hide her grin at Harry’s confession. “Oh, that’s lovely, Harry. Send her my best. I have a link for the best stroller, and I mean the best. It's easy to fold even when she might be on her own. I’ll send it your way.”
Before Harry can thank her, a ding rings loud, and it’s his phone signaling, he’s received her message. “I appreciate it. It’ll make a good gift.”
Her eyes widened, seeing the stroller's price.  “Do you need a discount? I got lots of coupons for this website.” She offers.
Harry is surprised she offered. She must know he’s well off. A stroller that costs a few hundred bucks won’t make a dent in his bank account.
“Sent it anyway,” Y/N tells him. “It’s good for six months.”
“Thank you.”
Y/N grins, happy to be useful even when sick.
Harry takes in her tired eyes and knows he’s taken too much of her time. Instead of letting her rest, he made her stay up when she could have been sleeping.
“I feel like I have overstayed my welcome,” Harry stands up, offering her a sheepish grin.
“No–” she’s cut off by a yawn.
She laughs, rubbing her eye, trying to will the sleep away. “I’m sleepy when I’m sick.”
“Thank you for letting me in.”
“Thanks for the soup,” she counters.
Y/N walks him to the door, the blanket wrapped over her as she tries to keep herself warm. “Will you be alright alone?” He checks, not wanting to leave her alone if she gets worse while sleeping.
She notes his concern, and Y/N knows she can tell him it doesn’t concern him, but he did come out of his way to check on her. “Dawn promised she’s on her way here to give me cuddles. I'm a big baby when I’m sick. Get all clingy.”
Harry can imagine her lying on his chest, blankets up to her neck as he holds her close, rubbing her back. Warm tea and soup at hand to make sure she’s eating. He would love to care for her, but that would be crossing a line. Neither of them were ready for all because of Harry’s stupidity.
“Y/N, before I go, I wanted to apologize. I–It seems every interaction with you, I only seem to leave a bad impression. I genuinely think you’re an amazing person and felt lucky to take you on a date, but after ignoring you, I feel I keep messing everything up. Will–is it okay to call you my friend, or if we can take a step in that direction.”
She knows there’s no possible way they could be friends, not with the chemistry they have together, but Y/N appreciates where he’s coming from.
“Friends it is, Styles.”
“Friends,” he confirms.
And maybe something more.
It had been a month since Harry saw Y/N sick in her apartment. He texted her the morning after, and she promised she was doing better; her headache was gone. She teased him about the soup, saying it was the abundance of soup that cured her. He felt a flutter in his stomach at the fact that Y/N thought he was helpful. God, he was really head over heels for her, but they were friends. Friends that texted and sent photos of things that reminded them of each other (Harry was on the receiving end of most images. He did practice his use of emojis for her).
Y/N was going through exams and focusing on the internal work of her internship, as in paperwork and the hiring process to take her on after graduation. She let him know she was still considering her options, but Y/N knew she would be saying yes because the pay was well above what she went in asking for, and she had a healthy work environment. It made him happy to see how well things were going for her. It made him want to invite her to tour his office. He wanted to see her sit in his office chair as she looked at the view of the city.
Wake and Wonder were holding a gala to raise money for their new NICU ward. Harry was part of the board for this event and knew Y/N would be attending, having heard her name throughout the night from the guests. Over the last few months, Harry began to see the importance of these events and attending, most of the guests were snobby and stuck up, but every person working for their organization cared. They were working hard for others and not for their own gain. Harry might have it easy to write checks, so if he can give back, he will.
Tonight, Harry decided to be a bit bold. He left the velvet suit behind and wore a pink Alexander McQueen suit. A double-breasted jacket featured pink embroidered flowers with green stems and leaves down the front. He paired it with matching wide-leg trousers, a white button-down, and black boots. He felt confident in all his suits, but this one was special. It was the first suit he bought himself when he got his first client that would change his life. He knew it brought him luck, and he needed a bit of that tonight.
Every woman he encountered tonight had on a full-out gown. It seemed they were, for once, following the theme to a t. Harry was nursing an amaretto sour when a glimmer of yellow floated by in the corner of his eye. It seemed he wasn’t the only one whose attention was caught. The person went straight to Alexander, the host for the night. He looked elegant in a black suit with gold embroidery around the jacket sleeves and down the front that connected to look like constellations. His partner wore something similar, opting for a deep blue to bring out his eyes, the gold embroidery found coming up his sleeves ending right below his elbows. Harry knew they had an eye for design and liked when they hosted events. The two men hugged her, thanking her. He didn’t realize he had gotten closer until he was able to pick up her voice.
It was angelic. It was familiar. It was Y/N.
She was wearing an elegant yellow satin gown. It had a princess silhouette with puffy short sleeves. He could see the corset back from the few feet away he stood. He knows Dawn must have had to help her, and for some reason, he can’t take the idea out of his head of helping her loosen the corset and out of the dress. It’s a fantasy he needs to push away as Y/N happens to be coming his way.
“Ms. Y/LN,” he greets with a gentle smile.
“Mr. Styles,” she flashes him a bashful grin and makes her way across the venue to mingle with the guest.
That was progress. She offered him a gorgeous smile, one he knew would stay imprinted in his mind forever. Now, all he needs is to gain some courage. Throughout the evening, Y/N danced around him. It’s as if she could sense him coming and would shift in another direction, allowing them both to get tangled in conversation. Harry did not like the chase, but Y/N held all the power in her hands, and he’d do anything for a moment of her time.
Harry was tired, not of Y/N playing a game of mouse with him but of the event. Usually, he spends an hour at most and then heads home, but tonight he’s two hours in, and he’s tired of all the talks and acting like he isn’t dying to speak with Y/N, but he respects her, and he’s been an idiot for too long to ruin the foundation they have created.
He was watching couples on the dance floor, criticizing their waltz. Many were lost in conversation to remember the importance of holding their partner close and letting one person lead.
“Mr. Styles,” Y/N greets with a cheeky grin. He doesn’t hide his surprise as he looks away from the dance floor. He takes her in, admiring her shining eyes and perfect makeup.
“Hi,” he breathes out. “You look beautiful.”
Y/N offers him another smile, a more timid one than her previous one. “Thank you.”
“Would you like to dance?” Harry offers, extending a hand toward Y/N.
She stares at him for a second before placing her hand in his. He led her to the dance floor, his right-hand settling high under her shoulder, his fingers together and pointed down. Her left arm rests softly on his shoulder like a bird perched on a branch. Her hand arched, fingertips behind his shoulder and thumb in front. He feels the lightest touch. Y/N raises her head, meeting his eye as she places the palm of her right hand in the palm of his left, resting her fingers in the cradle between his thumb and forefinger. They both fold their things softly over each other. It’s a light touch, and Harry gets the sense that Y/N is well-versed in the waltz.
“Have you waltzed before, Y/N?” Harry asks as he begins to lead. It’s one of the easiest dances to learn but easy to get lost if a partner is not allowed to lead.
She scoffs, “Surprised?”
He shakes his head. “No, but I am intrigued.”
Y/N laughs, letting Harry lead her around the dance floor. “In undergrad, a few GEs are pointless.” Harry gives her a pointed look. “Come on, Harry. You know what I mean.” The truth is he does. “Anyways, I took a dance class and learned a choreographed dance, tap, salsa, and waltz. That’s only a few.”
Harry nods, impressed, “a woman of many trades, huh.”
She shakes her head because it’s useless talents, but they’re hers. Who knows when one day she might need them, like today, dancing with a handsome man.
“I love this song,” Y/N tells him as he brings her back from a spin. “Moon river makes you feel lost in time.”
Harry agrees, “thank you, Aubrey Hepburn.”
Y/N gasps in surprise, “you know Hepburn?”
“Shouldn’t I be asking you that?” He teases.
She feels her face flush because he’s right, but Y/N grew up watching these films with her grandmother every Sunday. Some children got taken to church, and Y/N was taught about the best movies to ever exist growing up.
“What’s tonight's theme?” Harry asks Y/N, no longer wanting to dance in silence. He loves her voice.
“Disney, but more specifically, Disney princesses,” she answers with a soft smile.
“And you are?”
She gestures to her dress, the beautiful yellow silk. “Don’t know, Ariel.”
He throws his head back laughing, she teases him with no care, and he loves that he did deserve it. It’s clear what princess she was trying to resemble. “You’re a beauty. You put Belle to shame,” he confesses.
Y/N bites back a grin. “Seeing as she’s an animated character. Thank you.”
Harry’s smile drops, and he falters in his seat, causing Y/N to stumble, but he rights her up like nothing happened. “No, I mean–”
“I know,” she breathes out, giggling at his panic.
As Harry releases the anxiety that passes through him, he goes back to complimenting Y/N. “You fit the role nicely.”
“Does that make you Gaston, my Beast, or Lumiere?” Y/N asks with a smirk.
He doesn’t take the bait.  “Haha, very funny.”
She shrugs, “I try.”
The song is coming to a finish, and Harry wonders how long she’s going to allow him to dance with her. “I’m no prince, but I’d like to be the person who’s able to capture your heart,” he confesses, putting everything out there.
“You’re a poet now?’
Harry smirks, “you don’t take compliments, do you, beauty?”
“I'm not easily swooned,” she confesses.
“I like challenges,” he answers carelessly.
Harry feels her stiffen instantly and knows he’s messed up. In a matter of seconds, he managed to ruin this fun, peaceful energy he had with Y/N.”
“Mr. Styles,” her voice cold and distant. “Thank you for the dance.”
She drops her hands and walks away. Harry reacts quickly. He goes to reach for her but thinks otherwise and instead calls her name.
“No, Y/N, wait, please,” he begs.
She pauses, turning to look at him.
“I shit- you make me incredibly nervous, and I hate that.” She frowns but lets him continue. “You make me question my every thought. Your beauty is overwhelming, and I–I’m older than you. I know that, and the fear of you not liking that or someone saying anything rude to you has stopped me from allowing myself to pursue you. I apologize. I’m so damn sorry.”
“The pursuit ended the minute you said no to me,” she tells him honestly.
“But I-”
She holds her hand up, and he stops talking. “I respect you, Harry. But I also respect myself. I’m not sure what game you’re playing, but I’m not taking any part. It was a wonderful dance, but I’ll be on my way.”
Harry knows she’s right. He’s messed up, but she deserves his honesty. “Y/N, let me say one last thing.”
She gestures for him to go on.
“I know I don’t deserve it. I know I don’t, but would you go on a date with me? No pretense or auction, just you and me where I can get to know you. I’d really love to get to know you.” He asks, putting his heart on the line.
She looks down at her heels, swaying back and forth, and the silence lasts a few seconds, but Harry feels it’s been hours by the time she replies. “Okay,” she agrees.”
“I respect–you will?” He asks, surprised.
She giggles, “I’d love to see you when you’re being charming because, truthfully, as much as I've been enjoying awkward Harry, I’d love to see more. You have my number, and it’s your only chance.”
Harry places his hand over his heart. “I promise I’ll treat you well. Thank you for saying yes.”
Y/N smiles, “I’ll see you soon, Mr. Styles.”
He couldn’t wait to see her for their date.
This was his third time standing outside Y/N’s apartment door. This time was different. He felt he could throw up from the nerves. He spoke with his Mum before driving to Y/N’s apartment and shared how he felt nervous about a date. She reminded him he needed to be himself and wear his confidence with pride. It’s something he learned from a young age.
Growing up, he had crazy curls that led to endless teasing, and one day he decided he had enough and got a haircut. He looked in the mirror the following day and didn’t recognize who he was. He let himself be influenced by others, and since then, he decided he wouldn’t care what others said about him. While in uni, he grew out his hair going through the long hair phase that drove his Mum crazy, but his sister loved it as he allowed her to braid it. It’s also when he began getting all his tattoos. Harry had to go through a journey of self-discovery to gain his confidence and keep it.
Tonight, he had confidence, but his biggest worry was Y/N not enjoying the date. All he wants is for her to have a pleasant time with him with no ruse or promise of a check at the end of the night.
Harry knocks twice and waits for her to come to the door. There’s a bouquet of pink roses in his hands because it reminded him of Y/N. He doesn’t know her favorite, but he’ll be sure to ask tonight. Y/N opens the door dressed in what he assumes is her casual wear. She’s got loose jeans and a black button-up she kept open with a white top under. A white ribbon in her hair made her messy bun look perfect. He notices this is another time he sees ribbon in her hair, and he’s curious to see how many strings she has and how many colors. She’s beautiful, and he’d happily remind her every chance he gets tonight.
“Hi, Y/N, you look beautiful.”
Y/N smiles, accepting the flowers he is offering her. The pink roses are beautiful as if there were just cut from the garden. She gestures for him to come in as she grabs a vase from her kitchen. He’s quiet as he watches her work in her kitchen. Once satisfied with how they sit in the vase, she turns her attention back to him.
“Thank you, Harry. It was very sweet of you.”
Harry shrugs, a blush setting on his cheeks. “Anything for you, beauty.”
Y/N’s back is turned to him, not allowing him to see her reaction to the term of endearment. As she grabs her bag and slips it on her shoulder, she offers him a squeeze on his arm, and he takes that as an okay to keep using it. As she’s locking up her door, Harry waits and asks about her day. She shares about having an easy day of classes and how she’s glad she didn’t have to work. Harry opens his car door and helps Y/N into the car. Y/N can see what he means by charming now.
The drive is filled with aimless chatter about the songs Harry is playing and how nice the weather has been lately. Y/N notices they’re headed toward a residential area and not into the city. Harry decides to share what he has planned for them tonight.
“I was thinking we can have a wine and paint night in my backyard if you're up for it.” He runs his free hand through his hair, sparing a look at her before focusing back on the road.
“You want to paint?” She exclaims.
He shrugs, “thought it’d be fun.”
She leans back into her seat, keeping her eyes on Harry as he holds a tight grip on the steering wheel. “I think it sounds perfect.”
Harry sighs in relief, good that’s good.
Arriving at Harry’s house, he feels his nerves coming back because he’s bringing the woman he likes to the place he calls home, where he finds comfort. It’s where he comes back home after a long day of work. He doesn’t know what he’ll feel after seeing her among all his things because he’s sure she’ll be a perfect fit and will struggle to let her go.
Y/N takes in the art pieces he has around the entrance of his house and photos of his family. The credenza by the entrance holds a key bowl where Harry drops his wallet and keys inside. He doesn’t remove his shoes and instead goes through the kitchen's double doors. Y/N isn’t sure if she is supposed to follow him, but a book on his coffee table captures her attention. It’s titled Raising Good Humans. She reads the first page as Harry makes his way back to her with two glasses of wine, one red and one orange.
She places the book down when Harry offers her a choice, and she accepts the orange wine, curious how it might taste. He gestures to the book, “I bought it for my sister, but I realized she probably won’t want to read it all, so I’m highlighting and bookmarking the important sections.”
Y/N hums in surprise. She didn’t take Harry for a caring guy, but here he is, proving her wrong. It’s clear how much he loves his family. “I’m sure she appreciates all the help.”
Harry laughs, “she told me she’s waiting to cash in for all the times I ever embarrassed her.”
“Oh, I understand being the youngest with an older brother. I swear he lived to embarrass me.” She shares that as much as she loved Matias, he was still a pain in her butt at one point in her life.
“Someone needed to look out for her,” he offers. “Come on, it’s out this way.”
His kitchen is gorgeous. The kitchen has color-filled floral wallpaper. There are pops of colors, making the backdrop feel neutral. The cabinets are maroon, closer to pink than red, and the three chairs are muted cyan that sit against the countertop. Y/N can see herself taking a seat there as Harry cooks them dinner. She shakes the thought out of her head and heads out the French patio doors where two easels sit side by side, a small stand in between them to hold their glass of wine and cheese that Harry has set up for them.
“I’m lactose intolerant,” she shares as she eyes the cheese.
Harry’s eyes widen in surprise, and he mutters under his breath. “I’m so sorry. That was insensitive of me not even asking what you would prefer. I have cookies if you’d like. They’re gluten-free though or–”
He cuts himself off when he sees her laughing behind her wine glass, and that’s when he realizes she’s joking. Harry shakes his head, their laughter mixing together in the air.
“I’m sorry,” she mutters.
“You’re cheeky, beauty.”
Y/N sets her finished wine glass down as she sees a black canvas apron with her name embroidered resting on what she assumes is her chair. She lifts it gently, running her finger over the yellow stitching. Harry slips his one, his last name embroidered on his, and she knows these must have been specially ordered. The material feels expensive and as if it were made with great care.
“Harry, this is too much.”
He laughs, “it’s nothing, Y/N. I wanted tonight to be special.”
She slips the top over her head and turns away from her, “can you help me tie the back?”
Harry steps close, standing right behind her, his mouth right by her neck. Y/N feels tense at the close intimacy. She doesn’t hurry Harry; she simply enjoys the closeness he’s offering her.
“All done,” he whispers.
She turns to meet his gaze, his eyes lingering before flickering to her lips. He nods, taking a step back, not wanting to cross any lines with her. He’s letting her set their pace.
“More wine, Beauty?”
“Yes, please. It was so good. It tasted just like an orange.”
Harry knows her lips must taste just as sweet. “It’s a favorite of mine. Glad you like it.”
He fills their wine glasses and comes back to sit next to her. He explains all the materials he has for them and how the painting to recreate is a lighthouse with a night sky background. It looks complex, and Y/N knows if she tries to copy it, it will look nothing like the original.
They began painting in silence. Harry had instrumental music playing and told her she could play what she liked, but she assured him she was enjoying the music. The silence was soon filled with chatter as Y/N asked questions, and Harry happily responded. What jobs did he work growing up? Bakery and a bookstore. If he was a good swimmer? Yes. His worst hangover? His best friend Mitch’s bachelor party in Greece. What he liked to bake? Cherry tarts. The questions never seemed to end because she wanted to know everything, but Harry was the same. He asked about her travels and where she wanted to go in the next year? Amsterdam. Her favorite movie? Pride and Prejudice. Her favorite book? A Thousand Splendid Suns.
Y/N was learning a lot about Harry and wanted to soak it all in, not forgetting anything. The first time she met Harry, she thought he was closed off and stuck up. That he had walls up so high, he’d never let anyone in, but Harry today was charming and kind. He gave her his undivided attention and asked questions wanting to get to know her. Harry was closed off because of his high position and how easily people had walked over him. Y/N had always worn her heart on her sleeve, but tonight with Harry, she wanted to keep it protected, but he made it so easy to give herself away.
“Are you ready, beauty?”
She takes a long look at her finished painting and decides she has no other choice. “Ready,” she breathed out.
Harry and Y/N turn their painting to each other, and Y/N gasps at Harry’s beautiful painting while Harry laughs at hers. Harry managed to draw a perfect resemblance of the lighthouse with the moon shining bright and the water so reflective that she felt if she touched it, her hand would go through the painting. “That’s gorgeous, Harry.”
Harry pointed to Y/N, “what did you draw?”
Y/N pouts, looking down at her painting. It might not be a lighthouse, but she loved what she painted. It’s a mermaid with short brown hair and a flower on their head. The scales of the mermaid’s tail were various shades of yellow, green, and blue. The mermaid was looking away into the deep blue sea background. It was nowhere near perfect, but she loved it. “It’s you,” she tells him. “As a mermaid–or well, merman.”
He points to himself, “that’s me!”
She giggles, proud of herself. “Yes, how I picture you if you were born a mermaid. I reckon you’d be the heir to the throne.”
Harry blushes and knows Y/N can tell. He doesn’t mind because she deserves to see the effect she has on him.
“I think I’d be a good-looking mermaid.”
“You'd be the prettiest mermaid in the sea, no competition.”
Harry giggles, letting the compliment soak in. “If you were there, I imagine I’d have a run for my money, beauty.”
She tucks a loose piece of hair behind her ear. “Harry,” she drags out his name, turning away from him, her smile wide. His dimples pop out as he holds back from teasing her and instead asks if she’s hungry.
“I’d love some pizza,” she tells him honestly.
“Then I’ll get you pizza, beauty. Any preferences for toppings?”
“Love jalapeños.”
“Is pepperoni and jalapeños alright?”
“Perfect, Harry. Thank you.” She leans in to give him a kiss on his cheek. Harry mumbles no worries, his face burning from the sign of affection.
Dinner was delicious, and pizza was the perfect meal to share. Harry wrapped the leftovers and slipped them into a paper bag for Y/N to take home. She argued he should keep it because he paid (she offered, but he refused), but he told her that he remembered life during university, and she couldn’t argue with that logic. Harry drove her home, promising he only had that original cup of wine, and then switched to sparkling water. While Y/N allowed herself to have three glasses, two during the painting session and one during dinner. The drive to her apartment was different than driving to his house. They went from quiet small talk and listening to Harry’s playlists to telling each other their favorite childhood stories.
By the time Harry pulled up to Y/N’s apartment, she had realized that more dates like this with Harry would make her fall deep in love with him. She didn’t know what he was thinking, but a second date sounded perfect. Harry opened her car door and walked her to her door. He handed Y/N her bag and the leftover pizza after she unlocked the door, and she placed the items on her small entrance table. She shut the door, turning to look at Harry and bid him good night. Y/N realized through the night, Harry was careful with his touches and would only reciprocate anything she initiated.
Harry stares at her with a dimpled smile, and she knows that smile will become her weakness.
“My favorite flowers are calla lilies,” she tells him as she leans against her apartment door.
Harry’s eyes open wide in surprise. Does that mean she enjoyed tonight as much as he did? “Does that mean we’re going on a second date?”
She smirks, “I’d be open to the idea.”
He steps towards Y/N, allowing her to stop him, but she doesn’t. Her hands come to rest on his chest. He’s thankful she doesn’t mention the quickening of his heartbeat.
“Is this okay?” He breathes out.
Y/N’s hands fist the ends of his open jacket. He doesn’t care if his jacket wrinkles. He only cares that she wants him closer.
Harry leans his head down, his nose brushing against hers. Y/N pulls him closer, desperate to close the gap between them.
“Beauty,” he whispers.
“You can kiss me.” She tells him, “I want you to kiss me.”
She stands on her tiptoes, her hand curling around the back of his neck. His skin is warm, and I grab the hair at the nape and pull him toward me. Y/N knew she would end the night kissing him when he showed up with pink roses at her front door, calling her Beauty.
His hands came up to her cheeks, his mouth eager as he deepened the kiss. It was all-consuming, she knew kissing Harry would be like no other, but this was everything. He was gentle but firm and in control of the kiss. He knew exactly what she needed and gave it to her. He tasted of cherries, his lip balm he told her he carried everywhere, never one for dried lips. It paid off because his soft lips were addictive, and after getting a taste, she didn't know how long she’d be able to go without him.
“You taste sweet, beauty,” he confessed, pulling back, giving her a dimpled smile when he saw the dazed look on her face.
“You can have another taste.”
Harry giggles, “if I knew a kiss would make you so kind, I’d have kissed you sooner,” he teased.
“You can keep kissing me now,” she offered.
Harry was tempted to say yes, to keep kissing her out here as the moon shined down on them, but he knew he’d see her soon. He’d make sure of it.
“I’ll call you tomorrow to plan out our next date.”
“Sounds perfect,” she promised him. “Goodnight, Harry.”
“Sweet dreams, beauty.”
Harry kissed her one last time, then broke away. She leaned against the door frame as she watched him walk towards his car, turning to wave at her one last time before driving away.
Yeah, Y/N was excited to see Harry again.
After their date, Harry spent every free moment he had with Y/N. Their second date consisted of bowling and wings. Y/N had managed to win by a landslide. Harry complained how it wasn’t fair and to make up for Harry being a sore loser Y/N was happy to indulge him in kisses. It seemed Harry was a winner after all. Harry promised her he wanted to keep seeing her, and Y/N repeated the sentiment.
It seemed from then, their time together grew. Harry would visit Y/N during her lunch on the days she was at work and grabbed dinner most nights after her internships. Harry would pick Y/N up from campus and ask her what she was in the mood for. The answer was almost always ice cream which he was happy to indulge her with.
Sunday, he came to learn were grocery days for Y/N, and after he paid for her the first time he went, he got banned from accompanying her again, which led to Harry sending her groceries every other week. She couldn’t get mad because, without fail, her bouquet of calla lilies would arrive soon after. Y/N had never felt affection this way, and after a talk with Harry, he expressed it was his love language and quality time. He thought he was overwhelming her and promised he’d do better, and it broke her heart for Harry to believe she was anything but appreciative. After talking, she allowed him to surprise her with small gifts, but nothing out of the ordinary because if he showed up with a diamond necklace, she would be breaking up with him.
“Does that mean we’re dating Beauty?”
She rolls her eyes, “unless you don’t want to.”
He clicks his tongue at her response, “now, don’t be mean, baby.”
Y/N seemed to always fall for his term of endearment; something about his accent got her going crazy. “Yes, Harry, we’re dating.”
Harry smirks, liking the thought of being Y/N’s. Their time from then on increased. From coffee dates to morning walks on the weekends and late-night phone calls when Y/N couldn’t sleep and would ask Harry to keep her company. It seemed to happen during the middle of the week, and he’d wake up tired the next day for work, but Y/N was worth it. She apologized every time she called and sounded like she woke him up, but he’d ask Y/N to tell him about her thesis, and she’d settled down as he listened intently and asked her questions when it was allowed.
On weekends Harry would come over to Y/N’s and spend the evening making dinner together, watching TV shows Harry has never heard of, and Y/N promised he needed to watch because he was missing out. Truthfully, he watched to indulge her but came to look forward to their time watching New Girl together. Their evenings started with them sitting next to each other, then her arm resting on his thigh and his arm over her shoulder. He realized Y/N was a big cuddler, always wanting Harry to hold her and be the little spoon. He didn’t mind loving how snug she felt against him. She started falling asleep halfway through the episodes, laughing when Y/N mumbled a reply to the show. Over time, they’d go from cuddling to Y/N sitting in his lap kissing, ignoring whatever was on TV. Their hands explored everywhere above clothing. They rocked against each other, but they’d always stop before taking it a step further, and Harry respected Y/N too much to cross a line she wasn’t ready for with him.
Harry was happy to have her kisses.
Y/N, at this point, had talked so much about her thesis that Harry could understand from a certain perspective what she was writing about and allowed him to read over his thesis and make any annotations for her to fix, grammatically, of course. Harry was honestly very proud of her; it was clear how much work and dedication she had put into her thesis, and he knew she'd do it with ease when it was time to defend it.
“You’re my smart girl, huh. Going to run the world.”
Y/N would hide her face in his chest when he began with the compliments, easily getting overwhelmed. It seemed that dating Harry had brought her happiness she never saw coming.
It was odd if they spent time at Harry’s house. It was more convenient for them to spend time at Y/N’s. Harry didn’t mind because he loved being surrounded in a space that was all hers. Tonight, Harry took Y/N to a sushi restaurant for dinner, and instead of driving her back home, she promised it was still early enough to go to his house and watch a movie. She batted her eyelashes at him, giving him a sweet pout, and he found himself saying yes. He can’t remember a time she allowed him to say no, not that he would ever want to.
Harry played a documentary he had wanted to watch, and Y/N promised she’d stay awake and that the coffee she had earlier in the day would help. Although he doubted it because her coffees seemed to always be on the sweeter side. It was half an hour in that he heard her soft breathing. He knew she would be sleeping until the end of the documentary. Harry was happy to have her cuddled to his chest, that she was comfortable enough to fall asleep. It was close to two hours later that the documentary ended, and Harry looked at the time and realized how late it was and that he still had to drive Y/N home.
“Baby, wake up.”
Nothing. He tried again.
“Beauty, come on. Got to get you home.”
She groaned, burying her face deep in his neck, not bothering to pick her head up.
“Come on, it’s late, baby.”
She raised her hand to her mouth, covering her yawn as she began to sit up.
“Hi,” he cooed softly. “I’ll give you a minute, then we can head out.”
Y/N shook her head, “can I stay?” she whispered.
Harry couldn’t hide his surprise at her request. “You want to stay here?”
“Please, lovie?” Her eyes were filled with sleep, and he wanted her to stay; of course, he did. Tomorrow was Sunday, and the fact that he had the chance to wake up to her tomorrow would not be something he passed up.
“Of course, baby.” Harry lifts his hand to cradle her cheek. She turns her head to kiss his palm; he feels himself melt at her affection.
He helps Y/N to her feet and guides her up the steps to his bedroom. She walks in and sits on his bed as he finds her clothes.
“There’s face wash, a spare toothbrush, and towels in the bathroom for you to use,” he tells her as he hands her an oversized shirt and spare boxers. She thanks him silently as she drags herself to his bathroom. As Y/N gets herself ready for bed, Harry does the same. He washed his bedsheets two nights before and knows it’ll be okay for Y/N to sleep in. As Harry slipped out of his button-up and pants, he wore shorts and an old Stevie Nicks shirt, not wanting to make Y/N uncomfortable.
She walks out a few minutes later, clothes in her hand, his oversized company t-shirt on her frame with nothing else. He’s quick to avert his gaze, surprised to see her only half-dressed.
“Were the boxers not okay?”
“Don’t want them to sleep. Is that okay?”
He nods “ of course, come on, let me tuck you in.”
Y/N drops her clothes by his window nook. Harry has imagined Y/N in his room more times than he counts but now that he has her here, he knows he’s never going to get the image out of his head. She gets under the covers and sighs when the cool sheets hit her skin. She scoots all the way to the middle of the bed. Harry checks to see if she’s comfortable and is about to turn the lights off and leave when she calls his name.
“Where you going?” Y/N asks, concern in her voice.
“To the guest room.”
“You don’t want to sleep with me?”
Harry’s heart feels heavy in his chest, seeing that he has upset her. “I didn’t want to assume,” he tells her honestly.
“Come, sleep with me.” She extends her hand to him, and he’s happy to accept. Harry throws the cover away and drags himself right next to Y/N, placing his hand on her waist and bringing her closer. She turns to rest her head on his chest, using him as a pillow.
“Is this okay?” He asks.
Harry closes his eyes but feels Y/N move. “What’s wrong, baby?”
“Kiss, please?”
If he wasn’t careful, he’s sure he’d fall in love with Y/N, but something tells him it’s a little late for that. He leans down and presses his lips against hers in a soft kiss. She hums in appreciation, letting him pull away without a fight giving her a final kiss on her forehead. Now they can both sleep content. As Y/N settles back down on his chest, about to close her eyes, a painting on Harry’s wall captures her attention. It’s hanging next to a photo of a lake in his hometown. It’s a mermaid painting, specifically the one she painted with Harry on their first date two months ago. She told him to keep it, but she didn’t think he’d actually hold on to it, let alone hang it up for him to see every day he wakes up. Y/N sighs against his chest, snuggling closer to him, feeling content to fall asleep in Harry’s arms, knowing she’ll be safe and cared for because Harry never fails to shower her in love and affection.
She can’t wait to make breakfast with him tomorrow, but for now, she’ll sleep.
Harry regretted inviting Y/N to the golf tournament. Pleasing hosts this golf event annually for new and old partners. He hadn’t prepared for how good she would look dressed in an active pink skirt and a white polo tank that hugged her figure beautifully. Her hair was up and out of her face, and she had a pink visor on her head to prevent sunburn. She looked prepared for a game of golf, where she promised she wouldn’t play besides chatting up the investors. He was clearly in over his head. Harry had taken one look at her when he picked her up and asked her if she wanted to stay home with him instead. She laughed, hopping into his car, reminding him he had promised her breakfast and she was craving a bagel.
“Hmm…” She turned to look at Harry with a beautiful smile on her face, just for him.
He reaches over and brings her in for a kiss. He sighs against her mouth, happy to have her here with him. As much as he loves his company, he only does this to make more connections and keep his company growing.
“If you get tired or hungry, just let me know, and we can take a break.”
She shakes her head, “this is important for you,” she reminds him. “I’ll be fine. Plus, you fed me and filled my water bottle.” She rubs her tummy to show him how full she still is.
“Doesn’t matter. You’re my priority.” He assures her.
Y/N scrunches her nose, placing a kiss on Harry’s cheek. “You’re an absolute sweetheart, lovie.”
Harry hurries out of the car to help Y/N out, earning him another kiss, he’s tempted to push her up against his car and keep kissing her, but Y/N seems eager to see him golf. He checks them in and gets the keys to his golf cart as she waits on the side, looking at the clean facilities. She overhears the receptionist telling Harry they’ll start at hole one on the east side, and his guest will be sent that way.
She trailed behind Harry taking in the lovely view in front of her. His outfit was anything but ordinary. He wore pastel yellow flared pants that hugged his ass just right. A black polo tucked in and a simple Gucci belt completes his look. He decided against a hat but had his glove ready on his left hand for that extra support. Y/N loved the contrast of his tattoos and how his tan skin seemed to shine due to the sunblock she helped lather him in. He almost always has hidden his tattoos, wearing a suit and sweater. She knew it was because of work, and he was easily cold, but she never took moments like these for granted. The contrast of tattoos on his arms while his left hand had endless tattoos, his right hand only a few. She had to wonder what he hid underneath. She had only ever seen the peek of two swallows on his chest.
“Beauty, you alright?” Harry is standing against a golf cart numbered thirteen. It’s been known to be an unlucky number, but she’s never seen it that way.
She shakes away her thoughts and focuses on the man in front of her. He’s been nothing but a sweetheart since the moment they started officially dating a few months ago, and she’s thankful she decided to give him a chance and that he proved to be a good person and not the cold man she met many moons ago,
“Sorry, I was just admiring. Haven’t been to the golf course in some time.” She takes his extended hand and slides into the golf cart, his hand settling on her bare, exposed thigh. A shiver runs up her spine. She’s ready to take it to the next level with Harry but has no idea how to bring it up.
Harry and Y/N don’t have to wait long when a group of men and a few women come and greet Harry. There is a mix of young and older individuals chatting, and Y/N right away spots the man who keeps to himself, much like Harry. He’s an older gentleman dressed in black slacks, a maroon vest, black gloves on both hands, and a frown on his face. Harry introduces her to Jeff, Niall, and Tyler, his good friends. He promised her if she needed anything, she could ask them. They were all welcoming, asking her questions, not a lot of teasing, but they assured Y/N that Harry wasn’t the grump he made himself out to be.
During the first few holes, a lot of conversation was happening, and Y/N sat in the golf cart because she didn’t know how she fit into this crowd. She was a graduate student among these men and a few women who run these million-dollar companies. She hated that Harry felt obligated to bring her because it was their date night, and he didn’t want to cancel their plans. He convinced her when he told her he’d miss her too much if he didn’t see her this weekend.
Harry, after every swing, turns to find Y/N, who’s already looking at him. He came over, and she’d kiss him, telling him how impressive the swing was and that she knew he would win. Slowly, Y/N began to let herself mingle and talk with the other players. She seemed to always gravitate back towards Harry and his small group.
Y/N was standing, arms crossed, visor lowered as the sun beamed down on her. There was a lot of chatter when she realized that the man with the vest who caught her eye was alone again; she decided to approach him as Harry was wrapped up in conversation.
“Hi,” she greets. “I’m Y/N.”
The tall man with eyes as blue as the ocean turns to look at her. He looks at her stretched hand and reaches out to shake hers. “Malcolm Levington. A pleasure, Ms. Y/N.”
“You as well, Mr. Levington.”
He grimaces, “Malcolm is fine.”
She shrugs, “if you say so.” Before he can ask what she’s doing speaking with him, she asks a question. “What is it you do?”
“I’m the owner of Star Horizons,” he shares.
“The hotels,” Y/N gasps.
He laughs, “the very one.”
“Oh, your hotel ballrooms are hard to get a hold of. I’ve been trying to plan an event there for ages. It finally happened a few months back, but it hurt to be told the wait was so long.”
Mr. Levington frowns, “what event was it?”
“Oh, uh, we had a private action event for Hermanas Unidas. They wanted to raise money to open a second location. We exceeded expectations thanks to generous donations and hired full-time staff to get it up and running in two months.”
“That’s wonderful. I heard about this event; it was one of the smoothest experiences we have ever had. We had no problems with staff or guests. We got a lot of guests to come back and stay with us. Were you in charge?”
She grins proudly, “no, I work with the sub-events teams. It’s part of my job to help nonprofits with their events to get donations.”
“Impressive work. Would you care to tell me more?”
Y/N happily indulges Mr. Levington as he tells her about the degree she is working towards. She shares about each event she has worked on. He offers ideas on how to help and ideas for new events. He promises to attend her next event.
“Y/N?” Harry calls her name, interrupting their conversation.
“Harry, I was speaking with Mr. Levington,” Y/N tells Harry, holding onto his forearm and giving it a loving squeeze.  
Mr. Levington looks between Y/N and Harry, a curious look on his face. “Are you his wife?”
“Oh, he’d be so lucky,” Y/N tells Mr. Levington, a loyal partner to Pleasing. She found out a mere seconds ago as Harry whispered it in her ear.
Harry laughs, “Y/N’s my–”
Y/N rolls her eyes. These men don’t need to know about her and Harry, not that she’d mind him showing her off. “Enough about me. Tell me about that TaylorMade Stealth PLus Driver you have there. I hear it has low spin.” She points to the clubs a few feet behind them.
“You golf, Ms. Y/N?” Mr. Levington asks, surprised.
Y/N leads the man away, turning to look at Harry, offering him a wink as the man tells her about his clubs.
They’re about to head to the next hole when he sees Y/N still chatting. The man held on to her every word.
“Now I hear the Sims 2 has a better grip as it’s more lightweight. But don’t take my word for it, I haven’t had the chance to swing it, but from what I’ve heard Harry and Mr. Rowland discuss, I’d say you ask him for a chance to swing, but I do know how you all are about your clubs.” She tells him, knowing she is setting up Harry for an interesting conversation.
“Y/N,” Harry calls for her once again. She turns to see him with a bright smile on her face. “We’re ready for the next hole. Y/N loves to chat, Mr. Levington”.
“She’s a dear. She was telling me about your driver. Seems she thinks mine has a problem.”
“Now, now, don’t go twisting my words,” Y/N chastises.
“Only teasing, Ms. Y/N.” Mr. Levington turns his attention back to Harry. “Think you’ll let me take a swing, Mr. Styles?” Mr. Levington asks.
Harry offers him a sincere smile. “We can work something out.”
“A pleasure, Ms. Y/N.”
Harry stands with a hand on her waist as they watch him walk away. “What did you do, you little minx?”
“What do you mean?” She feigns innocence.
“That man,” he gestures to Mr. Levington, walking next to Jeff with their caddy. “Always comes to our events and never says a word. Here you have him yapping on and on about clubs you probably don’t care about.”
“You’re right. I don’t,” she confirms.
“Then, beauty? You don’t have to be flattering all these old men.” He tells her honestly.
“Jealous, H?” Y/N teases, stepping closer to him, her hand resting on the back of his neck.
Harry hums at her touch. “Course I am. Prettiest girl here on the green don’t want to share you with anyone.”
She leans on her tiptoes, pressing a quick peck on his lips. “Promise I’m enjoying myself.”
“Will you still ride with me?” He asks her, as he hadn’t helped her onto the golf cart after each hole.
“Am I driving?” She waits expectantly.
He offers her the keys, which she snatches up before he can even think of pulling his hand away. “Now, now. Give me a proper kiss, and we’ll go.”
She doesn't even fight him, simply leans in and kisses him. Harry hums at her sweet cherry taste. He knows she must have stopped the cart girl and asked for a Shirley Temple with extra cherries, her favorite.
“Come on, Harry. I want to see you flex those muscles as you swing that club around.”
She skips towards his golf cart labeled thirteen. He sees her skirt bounce, and he groans. He takes a moment to remind himself to breathe. He could do this for a few more hours. He might lose his mind by the end of the evening, but he would endure it.
Safe to say, by the time they reached the last hole, Y/N had all of these men eating out of her hand. Each person listens as she tells another story.
“She’s a good one,” Mr. Levington tells Harry as Y/N tells the others about the time she went to a museum, and security gave her a private tour because she resembled a famous artist. “Never seen anyone so charming. Surprised she picked someone as sour as you.”
“Hmm…clearly, her magic worked on you. Can’t remember the last time you spoke to anyone besides your clubs,” Harry answers honestly, knowing he is lucky to have Y/N.
Mr. Levington chuckles. “Touche Styles. Keep her around. She's good for business and you, it seems. That facade has dropped.”
“Yeah, she’s one of a kind.”
“H,” Y/N yells, “Come tell them about the penguin. How he’d follow my every move.”
“Seems you’re wanted, Styles.”
They bid each other goodbye, and he makes his way over to Y/N. Harry doesn't think twice before taking her outstretched hand, launching into the story of how both penguin and Y/N had been amused with each other.
By the time they get home, Y/N’s exhausted. She wasted all her energy conversing with everyone and now needs to re-energize. Harry stopped by and got them burgers on their way to his house. They were quick to devour in the parking lot.
“Can I stay here?” Y/N asks as she throws herself on his couch, landing face down.
“Don’t want to go home, baby?” He slips off her shoes, giving her calf a squeeze.
She lifts her head searching for him. “If it’s okay. You got that nice bath I want to soak in, please.”
He walks over to her, planting a kiss on her head. “Course you can, beauty. I’ll go set it up for you.”
The bath is the perfect temperature as Y/N sinks in, sighing as her body relaxes. She apologized to Harry because she knew he was the one who must be exhausted from a long game of golf, but he was quick to assure her that it made him happy to take care of her. There was an abundance of bubbles around the tub, so she called Harry back into the room. She wanted him to keep her company.
Harry sat down at the edge of the tub, a bowl of strawberries in hand that he knew Y/N would be happy to eat. He offered her one, and she took a big bite humming at the sweet flavor filling her mouth.
“Yummy,” she giggles.
Harry thumbs away the bit of juice running down her chin; he brings his thumb up to his mouth and licks it clean, “yummy, indeed.”
Y/N feels her face flush and wants to sink underwater but keeps her gaze on Harry. She’s naked in his tub and wants him to touch her. She just has to let him know.
“Another, baby?”
She shakes her head no.
He frowns but doesn’t fight her; instead places the strawberries on the counter. He settles back down until Y/N gestures for him to come closer. He smirks but does as she asks. He leans in close until they’re nose to nose, and she presses her lips against his. She moans as Harry slips a hand in her hair; he pulls back as Y/N looks up at him, dazed. She follows him, but he doesn’t let her kiss him. Y/N whines for him to come back.
“What do you want, beauty?”
Y/N pouts. She doesn’t want to say it. Isn’t it clear what she wants?
“Harry,” she whines.
“Need you to say it, Y/N. Not a mind reader.”
Y/N sighs because he’s right. She leans forward, pressing a kiss to his thigh through his pants. “I want you to touch me,” she breathes out. She lifts her head, meeting his gaze. “I want you to touch me, please.”
Harry runs his hand down her neck, following a water droplet until he reaches the top of her breasts. “Is this okay?” His finger skims along the top, and Y/N wants more. She needs more.
“Yes,” she huffs, eager for his touch.
His hand sinks into the water, caressing her breasts, and she leans into his touch, moaning as he gets to know her body more intimately. He shifts position to kneel next to the tub, his hand pinching her nipples until she hisses from the contact. His lips settled on her neck as he bites down in different spots. It’s all so much, but Y/N is loving every second. His hand dances over her until Y/N has enough and directs him to where she needs him. His fingers glide over her steadily, whispering touch that works her into a frenzy, filling her with need. His mouth drifts down her jaw to the delicate space behind her ear. He swipes his tongue across her skin before blowing cool air, and a shiver wracks her body.
“Harry,” she whispers.
He finds her clit, rubbing his thumb back and forth in circles as he gives her the pleasure she’s been searching for. She loses her train of thought as he curls one finger inside her and rubs her in all the right places, bringing her closer to the edge faster than she thought possible. Her orgasm is fast and blinding. She grips the tub’s edge so hard that her hand aches, but Harry doesn’t stop.
“One more,” he whispers, his mouth tangling with hers in a hot kiss as they battle for control.
She shakes her head, “c-can’t.” She doesn’t think she’s ever orgasmed back to back with a partner in bed. She orgasms just fine, she can admit she’s had shit partners in bed before, but no one has ever treated her with so much care and passion as Harry.
“Oh fuck,” she yells as Harry wipes away the bubbles uncovering her breasts. He moves away from her lips, not caring that there’s water spilling over the edge as he drags his tongue over each pebbled tip promising Y/N next time, he’ll focus more attention on them.
Each touch Harry gives her is magic. She loves how in control he is of her body as he works to provide her with what she needs. His thumb moves quicker over her clit, two fingers moving in and out of her slick, making it easier for him. Y/N’s body gives in to Harry, and she knows she’s close once again. Y/N throws her wet arms around his neck because she needs him close. She feels herself tip over the edge. Breathless and satisfied.
“Gorgeous,” he mutters against her soft neck. “My beauty was gorgeous.” Each word is followed by a kiss.
Y/N feels heavy but relaxed as he holds her close to her breasts against his soft polo.  “H,” she manages to breathe out.
“Alright, baby?”
“Magic,” she giggles, her chest heaving as she leans back into the water, trying to catch her breath.
Harry laughs as he carefully separates from Y/N to reach for a towel from his towel warmer. She notices the towel and perks up, only now realizing how cold the water has run.
“If an orgasm is all you needed to be, my good girl, I would have begged to give you one sooner,” he tells her teasingly. Y/N whimpers at his words, leaning into his touch as he helps her out of the tub, still a gentleman as he averts his gaze. “Let’s get you in some clothes and then to bed.”
“Kisses and cuddles?” She requests quietly.
Harry chuckles. “Course, baby. Anything you want.”
Y/N had never been so comfortable in a relationship.
She had always been a confident, independent person. Yet, when it comes to Harry, she has come to let herself be taken care of because she sees he finds joy in caring for her. Y/N had never had an equal partnership where her partner put her needs next to his. She understood he was running a billion-dollar company, and she was finishing her degree soon. They were at two different points in life, but Harry always treated her events and exam nights with so much importance it sometimes overwhelmed her.
Harry was happy with her, and that’s all she could ever ask for. Date nights were reserved for the weekends and coffee dates during the week, and Harry always made time to pick her up from campus, so she didn’t have to ask for a ride from a friend. He made himself a part of her life effortlessly.
For a long time, she worried about how she fits into his life, but after dinner with Harry’s friends one weekend, she learned how much of himself he had already given her. Harry held her hand during dinner and asked what she liked to order, going as far as to order her second food option in case she didn’t like hers. He kissed her cheek any chance, not wanting to overwhelm her and his friends with PDA but also reminding her that he was thinking of her. The little things made her realize she was falling in love with Harry.
As Y/N met Harry’s friends and heard embarrassing and loving stories about Harry, she knew it was time for Harry to meet her friends properly. Sapra tried to convince her to invite Matias and Isaac, but Y/N wanted to save meeting her brother for another time. Harry suggested brunch, and Y/N couldn’t argue with that logic. If Sapra or Dawn said anything too embarrassing, she’d just get them drunk on mimosas.
“Are you nervous, Y/N?” Harry asks as she keeps her eyes on the restaurant's door, waiting for her friends to walk in.
Honestly, she was nervous because they knew everything, from when Harry rejected her to when she danced with him. She knows why they are a little weary (Sapra more than Dawn), but they haven’t had a chance to see how Harry really is. Y/N had told them how happy Harry made her. That he dedicated time to her and made her feel important and loved. She knew her friends would accept her if she saw how happy she was, but she also wanted them to like Harry.
“Is it our age difference?”
Y/N frowns that hadn’t even crossed her mind. “No, is that something you think about?”
Harry sighs, reaching down to grab her hand and bring it up to his lips, placing a gentle kiss. Her eyes stay on his face trying to figure out what he’s feeling. “It’s crossed my mind,” he shares honestly.
“It’s not a concern for me,” she promises him.
His green eyes focus back on her, and Y/N sees the glimmer of a smile. “I know, Beauty. It’s not something you’ve ever brought up, but I fear if one of your friends brings it up, then it’ll concern you, and I’ll most likely end up losing you.”
Y/N wishes they weren’t having this conversation now, but it’s her fault for being lost in her head when she should have been assuring him that her friends would love him. “Harry, lovie, I’m in this with you. In this relationship, it’s you and me. No one else. Thank you for being honest with me, but my friends do not influence how I feel about you.”
Harry fails at biting back a smile. He lowers his head, closing the gap between them in the booth. “How do you feel?”
Y/N knows she can be cheeky and tease Harry, but she wants to assure him that she sees a future with him and hopes he feels the same. “I’m crazy about you,” she whispers.
He doesn’t respond but connects his lips against Y/N’s, getting lost in each other, not noticing Y/N’s friends being directed by the hostess to their table. Harry pulls back breathless, allowing himself to get lost in Y/N’s eyes. “The feeling is very much mutual, beauty.”
“Hey lovebirds, can you not do whatever before I’ve eaten,” Sapra teases, pointing at how Y/N is fisting Harry’s button-up tightly. Y/N feels her face heat up and pulls away from Harry.
Dawn flashes them a smile, “it’s nice to officially meet you, Harry. This one’s always talking about you.” Dawn gestures to Y/N, who giggles bashfully against his shoulder.
Harry kisses her cheek, whispering how cute he is before turning his attention back to Dawn and Sapra. “Not as much as she talks about you both, I bet. It’s a pleasure to meet you both.”
As Y/N’s friends are telling Harry story after story, she realizes that she’s falling in love, and by the way, Harry is holding her hand tightly in his lap that he is too.
Harry has never been so happy to have someone make themselves at home in his house. His mother and sister had always told him it was too large for one person, but he told them it wouldn’t always be him. He didn’t know what he wanted in a partner, but after meeting Y/N, he realized he was waiting for her.
It was too soon to say he was in love, but he was basically there. Harry had no intention of letting her go, and by how Y/N enjoyed showering him with kisses every chance she could, he knew she wasn’t planning on leaving anytime soon.
Everything was perfect.
She found herself in his study when she needed a quiet place to study. Usually, it meant he gave up his chair and settled on watching her from the couch next to the window. She would have her laptop in front of her, and if he let her, she’d work for hours without a break. He took it upon himself to bring her a snack and drink every hour to ensure she was well nourished. Harry found pleasure in cooking and making snacks because it was one way she allowed him to take care of her.
This evening Y/N was working on her laptop while Harry read a report for the upcoming month. Y/N sighed, closing her laptop and leaning back into the chair. He lifted his head in concern to find her already looking at him, a frown on his face.
“Beauty, what’s wrong?”
Y/N throws her hands up, “you're giving me too much?”
“I didn’t need a new bag.”
She’s talking about her backpack ripping, and Harry thought nothing of replacing it for her.
“Your old one ripped.”
“My shoes were perfectly fine,” she fires back.
“The laces were barely holding together,” he reminds her.  
“I didn’t need new underwear.”
Harry smirks, “now that was for my pleasure.”
Y/N huffs, “Honey, I’m serious. I don't need all these material items.”
Harry sighs and pats his lap for her to come to sit. She does so without a second thought. She gets comfortable straddling him as his hands rest on her hips.  
“I like providing for you,” Harry expressed.
“I can provide for myself, mister.”
He nods because he knows she can. “But it makes me happy.”
“Harry,” she deadpans.
“Gives me a love boner.”
Y/N scoffs, slapping his chest playfully. “Be serious.”
Harry’s hands cradle her face, his thumbs rubbing her cheeks affectionately. “Baby, you could run me dry, and it gets me going because it means I was able to take care of you.
She sighs. “God, you're so cute,” she mumbles.
Harry grins, knowing he’s won. “Will you be my good girl and let me spoil you?”
Y/N nods slowly. He leans in to kiss her, but she stops him. “If you ever give me a diamond, I'm out,” she reminds him.
“Got it, no diamonds…. What about pearls?” He jokes. At least, she thinks he is.
“Lovie,” she exhales.
Harry has decided he’s had enough of the conversation and kisses her. Y/N always tastes so sweet. He gets lost in exploring her mouth against his that he doesn’t realize she has started rocking against him. Since Harry had given Y/N two orgasms in his bath, they’ve been more physical, but Harry isn’t in any rush, and neither is Y/N. They’re taking it slow, learning every part of their bodies before taking that final step in their relationship. He pulls back the dimples on display, he runs his index finger over Y/N’s swollen lips.
“Popcorn and Survivor, beauty?”
“Oh, Styles, you sure do know the way to a woman’s heart, don’t you,” she teases.
Harry pecks her lips. “Only yours, beauty. Only yours.”
Y/N couldn’t believe Harry would do this to her.
Harry sent over a large red box with a bow holding it closed. The carrier bid her goodnight, and she hurried to her kitchen to open the package. Removing the lid, she found a gorgeous emerald green dress. She picked it up, admiring the silk, and quickly pulled her phone out of her sweat pocket to call Harry. He answered on the first ring.
“Hi, beauty,” he greets cheerfully.
“Harry, tell me you didn’t.”
“Didn’t what?” He feigns.
“You sent me a dress for tonight.”
“Ah,” he giggles. “That I did. Do you like it?”
“It’s gorgeous.”
“Good. I'll be there at seven to pick you up.”
“You want to go together?” They knew they were both attending, but for some reason, she assumed they’d arrive separately.
“I didn’t get a matching tie for nothing.” He laughs. “See you soon, beauty.”
Y/N hurried to get ready, excited for what the night had in store for her and Harry.
Harry knocked on her door at seven on the dot. She rushed to the door, swinging it open and telling him to come in as she rushed back into her room. He laughed because he had never seen Y/N frazzled, and here she was, rushing, knowing she was running late. Harry put the blooming calla lilies in a vase he knew she kept under her sink.
“Shit, I’m sorry, Harry. My curler was being stupid, and then I couldn’t find my heels.” She huffs as she stands at her entrance, slipping on her heels.
Harry takes a minute to admire the dress on her. It’s an elegant satin spaghetti strap dress with a high slit up her left leg. Her hair is in an elegant updo, with a few strands framing her face. She’s gorgeous, and she’s all his to show off tonight.
“You sure you don’t want to stay home tonight?” He asks, reaching his hands out for her to take.
She shakes her head, knowing exactly what he is thinking. “Absolutely not. It’s a big night.”
And it was.
Y/N’s internship was hosting their gala of the year, where she played a prominent role in helping with the budget and the guest list. He would never keep her away from an event where she was an important guest.
Y/N grabs her clutch that holds her most essential items, such as her lipstick, ID, cash, and keys. She’s telling Harry she’s ready to go when she catches a yellow vase on her table filled with her favorite flowers.
“H,” she sighed. “They’re beautiful. Thank you.”
He kisses her cheek. “Anything to see that pretty smile.”
As she focuses on Harry staring down at her, she realizes she didn’t kiss him hello. Y/N leans in close, pressing her glossed lips against his. Harry hums at the familiar feel. He wants to take it further but knows they need to get going.
“All set?” He whispers.
“Let’s go then, my gorgeous date.”
Arriving at the venue, Harry offered his keys to the valet as Y/N was helped out the door. Harry met her by the first step and offered his arm. She happily accepted. Walking in, Y/N was awed at the displays of gold scattered around the room. The table decorations were pristine, the lights were perfect for photos, and the ballroom was full of people. As soon as they were inside, Y/N was whisked away by her director, Valentina. Y/N gave Harry an apologetic smile but promised to find him later. Harry had always been good at spending time alone, but for once, he wished Y/N could have paraded him around the room as they introduced each other to people they knew. He knew that time would come.
It’s a beautiful and busy evening; at one point, a waiter finds him a single drink on a tray and hands it over to him, saying that a woman in an emerald green dress sent it to him. It was an amaretto sour, his new favorite. Y/N smiled from across the room when she saw him raise it in her direction as thanks.
The event was winding down, the string quartet was playing their final songs, and Harry was ready to call it a night. After an entire evening away from him, Y/N managed to make her way across the room and stood before him.
Y/N perks up as she hears the opening notes to the song the quartet is playing, their song. Moon River. Harry doesn’t tell her he’s turned the song into her ringtone.
She holds her hand for him to take, and he takes it without a second thought until Harry realizes she’s leading him to the dance floor.
“We’re going to be the talk of the town,” he tells her looking at the lonely dance floor.
Y/N shrugs, “it doesn’t matter.”
As opposed to the first time they danced together, holding space between each other, they were much closer this time. Y/N wrapped her hands around his neck, and his hands found their place on the low of her back.
“If I’ve learned anything, it’s that your opinion is the only one I care about,” Y/N promises him.
Harry’s dimples break through and she grins, leaning up to give him a sweet kiss. She settles back in his arms as their song plays, lost in their own world.
“You know,” Y/N lifted her head, resting on his shoulder. “You once told me you didn’t dance, and yet this is the second time I have gotten you to dance, hmmm?”
Harry laughs because she’s right. “I was waiting for the right partner,” he affirms.
“And is that me?”
“Beauty,” he says softly, his emerald eyes locked on hers. “It could only ever be you,” Harry promises.
Y/N smiles in delight. They might not have had the easiest journey to getting to this moment, but Y/N knew she wouldn’t change anything for the world.
Dancing with Y/N on an empty dance floor to a song he knew had now become theirs, he knew meeting Y/N would be the thing to ever happen to him in life, and he couldn’t wait to see what the future had in store for them together.
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thank you so much for reading! i love you endlessly, amores 💜
please come tell me what you loved or your favorite part on anything at all. always happy to receive a message. 
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harrysfolklore · 20 days
harry leaving bubba for tour
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who missed some boy dad!harry? i hope you like this !
gif credits to @londonharry <3
Harry loved performing and being on the road, it was his favorite part of his job.
However, ever since his son was born going on tour came with something that he absolutely hated: being away from his bubba.
That’s why this time around he opted for residencies on some cities instead of traveling across the US to play shows, that way his wife and baby could be close to him without having to move around and the stuff that came with it. However, residencies were now over and it was time for him to travel to Australia to play the long awaited shows there, and his sadness to leave his loves was evident.
Don’t get him wrong, he was ecstatic to go back to Australia and perform for those crowds he dearly missed, but he just didn’t want to ever leave his baby.
“It’s going to be fine love, It’s just going to be a month and we will FaceTime ever day.” you tried to cheer him up as you stood in your front porch, waiting for his manager to pick him up to head to the airport.
“But I’m going to miss him so much, he’s still little he might forget about me, and I’m going to miss you too.” he dramatically said, nuzzling his head on your shoulder making you wrap your arms around his broad frame.
“He’s almost two, H. He’s not going to forget about you, we’ll be fine baby.” you caressed his hair for a bit, then he moved to pick your son up and place multiple kisses on his face.
“I’m going to miss you like crazy, bubba. Daddy loves you so much, don’t forget about him, okay?” you rolled your eyes with affection as you listened to him, melting at how much he adored your son.
“Love daddy” your little boy said what had become his favorite sentence in the world and you could tell that Harry had little tears threatening to come out, he was his favorite person in the world.
“Love you with my entire heart too, baby.” and he attacked his face with kisses again, making him giggle and squeal.
“You know I’m just a phone call away, right? You just got the say the word and I’ll drop everything and come home.” he turned to look at you, your boy still on his arms and playing with his pearl necklace.
“I know, darling. But we’re going to be okay, you need to focus on delivering your best performance, your fans over there have been waiting for you.” you let him wrap his free arm around your waist and bring you in for a side hug, kissing the crown of your head softly.
“I’m so excited,” he said with a fond look on his face, and your heart melt for him once again, “When this one is a bit older, both of you are coming with me, I can’t wait for that.”
You were interrupted by the sound of his manager’s car approaching your house, and it was time to say goodbye for good.
“I love you so much, okay? Always listen to mummy, eat your veggies and don’t forget to be…?” Harry waited for his baby to give him the reply he had been teaching him
“Kind!” the little boy finished the sentence for him and you both couldn’t help but smile, proud of how you were raising your son.
“Exactly baby, kind. I love you” he kissed your boy one final time and passed him to you, knowing that if he held him for longer he was going to drop everything and never leave your house.
“And I love you, so much.” he grabbed your face and kissed your lips, making butterflies appear on your tummy like the very first time you kissed.
“I love you too, now go make us proud.” with one final peck to your lips and to your son’s forehead, he made his way to his manager car.
He hated leaving both of you, but he would do anything to make you proud.
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