"I don't know what I was thinking!"
"What are you talking about? This is what you wanted!"
"I was drunk! I didn't know what I was doing!"
"Michael, you LOVE them!"
"But Elise, what am I supposed to do when I meet them huh?"
I'm Michael and in a state of drunken ecstasy, I entered a competition were the winner would have their original song featured on the next One Direction Album. The problem is, I am comletely in love with them. Your probably wondering what the problem is right? The song I entered actually won the contest! Still don't see the problem? When I say I'm in love with them, I mean I'm totally gay for them. Really, I'm about as strait as a rainbow, and I don't know if I can keep my cool in front of them. So I have two days until THE Simon Cowel picks me up from Brighton and takes me to stay with One Direction for a month; and couldn't be more nervous.
"Here come on I'll help you pack," Elise is my best friend/my sister for all intensive purposes. She was the only one I told my secret to but most people around me suspected it anyway, so I didn't try very hard to hide it.
"So what do you think will impress him the most?" she asked rummaging through my closet. Harry was my muse; the reason that I sing. Meeting him meant everything to me, I am head over heels in love with him!
"Elise! I don't want to scream "Gay" to them. I just want to wear something simple, you know, that doesn't stand out and makes me look like a regular guy,"
"But you are not a regular guy," she walked over to sit next to me on my bed and put her arm around my shoulders, "You are awesome!"
"Thanks hun but I still want to go simple,"
"Fine," She stood up and went back to my closet, "How about this?"
"Yeah. That's the one," Now the only thing left, is to get over my nerves.
"I'm coming! I'm so sorry!" I can't believe it! Out of all days, I picked today to sleep in. *Ding**Dong**Ding**Dong*. I grabbed my suitcase and handbag and sprinted out of the door and down the stairs. I paused in front of the door and calmed my breathing.
"I hope he's hot," Zayn was lounging on our leather chair with his legs dangling over the side, fixing his hair with the mirror app on his phone, "I mean, did you hear his voice? Damn that was sexy!"
"Okay calm down Zayn, we haven't even met him yet," I said.
"I just hope he's really nice. I want another mate," Niall was sitting with Liam at the counter that divides the main living room from the kitchen; Niall eating cereal directly from the box of lucky charms.
"Aww, am I getting too boring?" That was Liam or "Daddy Direction"; the "Father Figure" or "Big Brother" of the group. He slung his arm around Niall's shoulders and Niall blushed.
"Never," he replied smiling back up at him.
I was sitting on the couch with Louis' head on my lap, watching "The Inbetweeners" marathon. I tried to make it seem like I couldn't care less about the new guy coming to stay with us for a while, but I was probably the most excited out of all of us.
"Oh get a room you too!" Louis tossed a pillow from the couch, that knocked Niall's' Lucky Charms to the floor.
"Awww Lou! That was my favorite! Now you have to pick um' up!" Niall said.
"No way clumsy! You dropped it!" Louis sat up to laugh at Niall.
"It doesn't matter," Zayn said, "Simon just messaged me. They're here,"
It was hard to take it all in. I was in a limo with THE Simon Cowell sitting across from me, on my way to meet One Direction; to meet Harry.
"How do you feel?" Simon asked.
"I'm really nervous," I looked at the windows even though I couldn't see a thing out of them.
"Well you don't need to be. I listened to your track and it sounded absolutely brilliant. I know they are excited to meet you too. Oh right on time! We are here!"
We came to a stop and Simon whipped out his phone, typed something and shoved it back in his pocket. I held my breath as the driver opened the door and I stepped out after Simon. I put my handbag over my shoulder and turned to face my temporary home. It was a normal looking house. IT was forest green with a white trim and it matched all of the houses on the block. It was a perfect disguise. I saw motion in the window and I turned to see what it was but whatever it was, was gone. I followed Simon up the steps.
"Breath," I whispered to myself. Simon rang the doorbell and the door immediately swung open. It was Zayn. He looked very eager and stared right past Simon; directly at me. I couldn't help but blush, he was staring right at me with a huge grin on his face.
"Come in guys," he finally said. I robotically stepped in the doorway, still hidden behind Simon.
"Hello boys, this is Michael, the contest winner," I spotted Niall and Liam on their hands and knees picking up spilt cereal from the floor. They stood up and walked over to me. Simon moved out of the way and I instantly felt bare.
"Hi! I'm Niall!" I held out my hand for him to shake but he walked right up to me and gave me a hug instead.
"Hi, nice to meet you,"
"Okay, Niall that's enough," Liam came up behind Niall and pulled him off of me.
"Hi Michael, I'm Liam," I shook his hand.
"Well, I have to get to a meeting so I will leave it up to you guys to take care of him. Liam, like always, I am putting you in charge. I will be back in two days to discuss the schedule for the next month or so," Simon turned and left, closing the door behind him.
"Here I can take those for you," he said looking at my bag and suitcase.
"Thank you," I said handing them over. Liam disappeared down a hallway. Zayn walked towards me and grabbed my shirt, pulling me closer to him, until I was just inches away from his face.
"That's adorable," he said looking down. I followed his eyes. Oh My God! Zayn was pulling on my tag! My tag was in the front of my shirt meaning not only was it backwards, it was also inside-out!
"Oh my gosh! I don't know how that happened!" I pulled away from Zayn and took of my shirt, frantically trying to fix it and pull it back on. I could tell that I was blushing like crazy and it made Zayn laugh.
"No worries mate!" He said catching his breath. There was motion from the other end of the room.
"Give him some space guys," a familiar husky voice said. He stood up from a couch and turned to face me and froze; completely wide-eyed. He was more gorgeous that I could comprehend. His eyes were so mesmerizing I couldn't look away. He slowly walked over to me and held out his hand, and I took it.
"Hi, I'm Harry," he said.
I felt like an idiot; I didn't say anything or do anything and I couldn't even bring myself to let go of his hand.
"M-Michael," I managed to say. I still didn't look away from his piercing green eyes and I certainly didn't let go of his hand. We just stared at each other for a while until I felt someone jump on my back.
"Louis! What are you doing?" Zayn said staring at the person on my back. Louis had his arms loosely locked around my neck and his legs wrapped around my waist. I tumbled back a little bit and instinctively through my hands around to my back to hold him up-right.
"Do you lke my butt?" Louis whispered in my ear. I didn't realize that I had my hands on his ass. I was just trying to hold him up. I dropped my hands and he dropped right afterwards.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to, I just didn't want you to fall," I said
"I'm just joking mate! Lighten up!" He walked in front of me and gave me a hug. "And don't get any ideas," he whispered into my ear again, "He's mine," he took a step back and smiled at me.
"Would you like a tour?" Liam had walked back into the room.
"Um, yeah sure thanks," I quickly walked over to Liam. The truth was, I couldn't wait to get out of that room, and I couldn't stop thinking about Harry.
"They're here!" Zayn jumped up from the chair and ran to the window. "Wow, he's really fit, I've got dibs! Damn his body is- oh shit!" Zayn sprinted from the window. "I think he saw me!"
"Well you were being creepy, and you can't call dibs," I said.
"Aww let him! You got me anyway," Louis walked over and gave me a kiss on the cheek.
"Stop it," I said wiping my cheek. But he did it again
"Shut up," Zayn went to stand in front of the door.
"Just try not to scare the crap out of him," I said. The doorbell rang and Zayn opened it immediately. I rolled my eyes. There was silence at the door for a while and then Zayn finally spoke.
"Come in guys," he said moving out of the door frame.
"Hello boys, this is Michael, the contest winner," Simon said. I didn't turn around yet, the episode was over. I heard Niall and Liam greet the new kid at the door. Simon said he had to leave and that Liam was in charge. What were we, kids? I glanced over at Niall, back on his hands and knees picking up his 'Lucky Charms' and sneaking some of the marsh mellows in his mouth. Never mind, maybe Liam should be in charge.
The episode was ending, and the preview for the next episode started.
"That's adorable," Zayn was trying to make his voice low and seductive. Oh no, he was going to pounce, I thought.
"Oh my gosh! I don't know how that happened!" Zayn did something to him that made him embarrassed and I could tell he was blushing; Zayn is really attractive and he appeals to both girls and guys. Zayn was laughing now. 'I should save him now' i thought to myself. I stood from the couch and turned to face them.
"Give him some space guys," then I saw him, and stopped dead in my tracks. He was absolutely stunning. No, exquisite. I wanted to hold his pale, olive toned hands and never let go. I wanted to run my fingers through his midnight black hair and never leave him. I wanted to kiss his baby pink lips and never stop. I found myself walking slowly walking towards him, only falling deeper in love with him.
"Hi, I'm Harry," I said holding out my hand, anticipating his touch.
"M-Michael," He said gently holding onto my hand. I was completely lost in his eyes. They were sapphire eyes like the bottom of the ocean; mysterious, and intriguing. My trance was broken by Louis (of course). I couldn't believe him! He snuck up behind Michael and jumped onto his back causing him to step backwards and un-locking our hands, leaving mine tingling form his touch. I glared at Louis. I knew he did it on purpose; he was jealous that my attention was given to someone else but him. Louis whispered something in his ear and he turned even more red, and Louis jumped down.
"Would you like a tour?" Liam had walked back into the room.
"Um, yeah sure thanks," I could tell that Michael wanted to leave the room and I watched the back of his head as he disappeared around the corner with Liam.
Everyone had gone to their bedrooms. Well, everyone but Niall who was still snacking in the kitchen.
"You know what Harry? I just came up with a brilliant idea!" Niall said from behind the counter. I walked over to the counter and sat on a bar stool.
"What is your brilliant idea Niall?"
"I am going to tell who ever makes the "Lucky Charms" to make boxes of ONLY marsh mellows!" He grinned from ear to ear and I couldn't help but smile back at him. Niall was considered the "baby" of the group even though I was the youngest. Everything about him was so youthful. He was one of those baby-faced guys who you felt like, deserved a pat on the head just for being themselves.
"Niall, that is very un-healthy," I said.
"Well I don't care it would be yummy!" He went back over to the fridge.
"Niall stop eating everything. I just went shopping and I'm going to have to do it again if you keep it up," I said.
"Harry, you don't have to! Let me go shopping!"
"Niall you know damn well you can't go shopping. You always buy way too much food,"
"Well at least we don't run out too soon," He grabbed a tub of ice-cream from the freezer and stuck a spoon right in it. I rolled my eyes and walked up the stairs to the first room on the left; Louis room. I knocked on his door and waited for him to respond but there was no answer. I slowly opened the door and saw him lying on his bed, his head leaning on his arm. I closed the door behind me but I think that may have been a bad idea.
"Hello Hazza," he looked me up and down and bit his lip.
"Um, Louis? I have to talk to you... about... something," I took a step back as he jumped up and walked towards me. He leaned in close forcing me against the wall with both of his hands on either side of my head.
"Louis wait-," Louis closed the space between us. He kissed me gently at first and I let him. There really was no fighting back when it came to Louis. His kisses became more forceful. I felt his tongue on my lips, but I refused to open my mouth. He leaned back and smiled.
"Playing hard to get? That's not like you Harry," His hands slid down my sides and rested his fingers on the top of my jeans.
"Louis, I want to talk to you,"
"I'm going to make it so you won't be able to speak," he said kissing along my jaw and down my neck. I couldn't help but let out a small moan, and he smiled against my skin.
"Shhh," he kissed me again while unbuttoning my jeans. He slid his hands under my shirt and broke our kiss for a moment while he lifted it over my head and then taking his shirt off and throwing it onto the mound on the floor. He nibbled his way down to my collar bone and trailed his tongue down my chest. I bit my lip, trying to keep myself from moaning as he pulled my boxers down with his teeth.
Louis was good I have to admit. No matter what mood I'm in, somehow, he always gets me naked in his room.
I had promised Elise that I would call her as soon I was settled.
"Hey Elise, it's me,"
"Oh my gosh! Tell me everything! Did you talk with him? Does he like you?" She sounded frantic.
"I don't know what to think anymore,"
"What do you mean?"
"I just don't think I have a chance with him," My heart skipped as said that sentence. Then my heart ached when I realized how true it was.
"Well because I think Louis likes him," actually, I know Louis likes him, but I didn't say. I mean, who wouldn't like Harry.
"You know those are just rumors. It's a bromance, they're best friends not lovers!"
"Okay, well then if Louis doesn't like him, then why did he say, quote, : 'Don't get any ideas, he's mine'?"
"Wow he said that? Well it doesn't matter. you are so much better than him!"
"Don't even say that! I could never compete with a guy like him,"
"Well you will never know if you don't try. So just go for it," she said, "I have to go Mike, I love you,"
"By hun I love you too," I hung up the phone and collapsed back on my new bed. I took a look around my room. It was small but it had a full sized bed and a T.V. in the corner. I had a small dresser and a closet for my clothes and there was a cool painting on the wall of... well... I don't know what it was but it was cool. The only thing I didn't like was that it was directly in between the two people I was most intimidated by; Louis and Zayn. It wouldn't bother me too much but Louis was pretty loud. I keep hearing a thumping noise from his room. It's almost like he's doing it purposely against my wall.
"Louis," That sounded like Harry. I pressed my ear against the wall and the thumping continued. I could have sworn I heard Harry next door. I really needed to get Harry off of my mind so I decided to take a shower. Luckily, the bathroom was right across from my room. I stripped and wrapped a towel around my waist and headed into the bathroom. I found it kind of funny that all of Zayn's products were labeled with 'Do not touch: Zayn'. I ran the towel through my wet hair and wrapped it around my waist again. I walked out of the door and ran into Louis (Literally RAN into him).
"Oh, I'm so sorry," I said looking up at him. He smiled at me and leaned in close.
"It's okay, but you did get me wet," he slid his finger down my chest and brought it to his lips.
"Um... I'm sorry... again," I tried to walk away but Louis grabbed the end of my towel and I clutched at it trying to keep it from falling.
"Wait a minute," he said pulling me back. Unless I wanted to walk back to my room completely naked, I had to walk in the direction of my towel that Louis was pulling. I felt like a dog as he 'walked' me to his room and opened the door. I didn't know what to do or what to think when I saw Harry Lying on Louis bed in nothing but his boxers. He was asleep and his hair was matted to his forehead. He was so gorgeous, I wanted to jump on the bed and sleep next to him.
"Beautiful isn't he?" I forgot that Louis was standing next to me. He let go of my towel and walked over to Harry's' side. I fell apart when he leaned over and kissed his lips. I didn't realize I had been crying. I never thought of Louis as a mean guy. I think he knows that I have feelings for Harry, and to kiss him right in front of me, that's cruel. I didn't know what to do, I couldn't get far enough from him. I walked all the way to the end of the hallway and opened the door furthest away from Louis. I closed the door behind me and sank down sobbing into my hands.
"What's wrong Michael?" I looked up from my hands at Niall. He was sitting on his bed with his laptop eating out of a can of Pringles.
"Oh hi Niall I'm so sorry for coming in. I wasn't sure if this was anyone's room," The tears in my eyes spilled over and I put my head in my hands again.
"No it's okay, this is an extra room. I just come in here because my room it too messy to sit down in," He popped one more chip in his mouth and walked over to me.
"It's okay really," he took my hand and led me to the bed and sat me down. He sat next to me and put his arm around my shoulders. "I'm sorry about Louis. I know how he can be sometimes. He's just really protective when it comes to Harry,"
"I don't know what you mean," I said
"Like I said, it's okay. I know that you like Harry. He likes you too,"
"I don't think so, but thanks anyway," I put my best fake smile on for him, and he gave me a big hug.
"Hey Michael, can you be my friend?" at first I thought he was kidding but he looked very serious.
"Um, sure thing Niall, I'll be your friend," He seemed so happy and he gave me an even bigger hug.
"And don't worry about Louis, he's just having his fun right now. He'll back-off," I'm glad Niall was there for my comfort, but I couldn't help but feel awkward because I was sitting on a bed with him, crying; mostly because of his sour-cream and onion breath from the Pringles.
Chapter 5: Nandos
I know it was mean, but I just didn't want to share him.
"Louis?" Harry opened his eyes and looked at me.
"Hey," I smiled and gave him a kiss on his forehead. He shot strait up and backed away from me.
"What time is it?" He asked
"Um around five? Why?"
"Louis listen. We can't do that again...ever," I wasn't sure what to do or say. I couldn't believe what I was hearing.
"Didn't you like it?"
"Lou, that's not it. I sort of like someone else," I laughed to try and hide my pain.
"You don't mean Michael don't you?" I said with a grin still on my face.
"It's not your business who I like," Harry pulled is shirt back on and walked to the door.
"I'm sorry, but do you not remember what we did just hours ago?"
"Yes, I remember, and it was a mistake. Louis, did you ever wonder how Eleanor would feel if she found out what we've been doing?" He had a point. Eleanor has been my girlfriend for a while now and she has always been good to me, and I definitely don't want to hurt her. It's just... with Harry, he makes me feel something that Eleanor can't. I don't know what it is, but Harry has that one thing.
"Never again," I watched him leave my room and shut the door behind him.
I took a deep breath and shook out my hair a few times, before heading towards Michael's room. I stopped outside his room and knocked on the door. There was no answer so I knocked again.
"Oh hi Harry!" Niall came walking out of the extra room at the end of the hallway.
"Hi Niall," I took a step back to make it look like I had just left the bathroom.
"Hey Harry," Michael walked out of the room behind Niall. What were they doing together? And in the empty extra room?
"Hey... Michael," I said.
"Michael said he'll take me out to Nandos! We're going on a date!" Niall put his arm around Michael's hips and pulled him in for a kiss on the cheek. They laughed together as Michael wiped his cheek and playfully punched Niall's arm. They smiled at me but I glared back at them. I didn't think it was funny at all. I can't believe that Niall stole a kiss from him before I could, even if it was just on the cheek.
"Fine, I'm coming with you," I spit through my teeth.
"No, I don't need you to escort me. Michael said he'll make sure I don't eat too much," Niall said walking into the garage with Michael.
"Just don't take the motor-," but they left before I finished my sentence. I missed him already, and I've barely said a full sentence to him. I snatched a beer from the fridge, stripped down to my boxers, and sat on the couch to watch the Inbetweeners marathon re-run.
"What am I going to do?" I asked myself.
Niall and Michael still hadn't come back and it was late. Louis left a little while ago to pick up Eleanor. He didn't say a word to me of course and I don't blame him. I wanted to go to bed, but to get there I had to pass Michael's room, and I couldn't help but stop in front of his door. I opened the door slowly and took a look inside. He had unpacked most of his things and I went and took a seat on his bed.
"What am I doing in here?" I said to myself. I was about to leave when a phone buzzed on the bed side table. Why would he leave his phone here? I glanced over at it.
'New Message From Elise' was all it said.
"Who's Elise?" I wondered, "His girlfriend?" I know I shouldn't have but I picked up his phone and opened the message.
"I hope you're having fun. I love you, goodnight xx," So he does have a girlfriend. I can't say that I was completely shocked because I'm not. He was so gorgeous, why did I think I had a chance with him. After I set the phone back down on the table I fell back onto his bed and buried my face in his pillow. I fell asleep, inhaling the smell of his shampoo.
I have to admit, Niall was really fun to be around. He laughed at everything and was very friendly, even to the girls that came up to us while we were eating. I thought that maybe I could fall in love with him. I love beautiful, eyes and his eyes were almost as beautiful as Harry's. In fact they were just like Harry's but a blue version instead of green. Niall's driver had dropped us back off at the house. I couldn't believe how late we stayed out. It really did feel like a date, and I felt my cheeks flare up.
"WE'RE HOME!" Niall shouted. He turned to the left and flipped the main room light switch on.
"NIALL! SHUT THE DAMN LIGHT OFF!" That was Zayn. He was sitting on the couch with a blonde girl. I could tell they had been kissing; Zayn had lip gloss all over his mouth.
"Oops! Sorry mate!" Niall turned the lights off. "Have fun you two!"
"Fuck off Niall!" Niall laughed and I tried to make my way to my bedroom in the dark.
"Ouch!" I hit my foot on something hard. I'm guessing it was the kitchen counter.
"It's okay. I gotcha," Niall grabbed my hand and led the way, "But we have to make a quick stop first. We took a few more steps and the kitchen was illuminated by the light of the fridge. He took out a carton of ice-cream and stuck a spoon in it. "Okay now I'm ready!" He led me to my room and disappeared into the dark. I had to feel my way around to find the light switch. I turned on the lights and squinted from the bright lights that my eyes hadn't gotten used to.
"Whoa," I said quietly. Unless I was dreaming, Harry was sprawled across my bed hugging my pillow close to his chest. I panicked; I had no idea what to do. I quickly shut the lights back off and closed the door behind me. The blue light from the moon seeped through the windows and illuminated his face. I took the small chair from my desk and pulled it up to the side of the bed. I covered his bare shoulders with the blanket and sat in the chair. I watched him for a while before my exhaustion took over me and I rested my head on my arms on the edge of the bed. I fell asleep with a very pleasant thought in my head. I was (technically) sleeping with Harry Styles.
Chapter 6: Finally
That was probably the best sleep I've had in a long time; Louis keeps me awake practically all night. I opened my eyes and sat up, pushing the covers aside. I was in Michael's room and he was lying on the bed next to me. Wait... I WAS IN MICHAEL'S ROOM AND HE WAS LYING ON THE BED NEXT TO ME! I shuffled backwards as fast as I could and fell off the edge of the bed.
"Ouch," I whispered, rubbing the back of my head. I peeked over the edge. Yes. That was Michael and he was still asleep on his bed. But what was I doing in here? I don't even remember them getting back last night... OH NO! I can't believe I fell asleep in here! I smiled; he didn't want to wake me, he just let me sleep.
"Aww," I said.
"Hmm?" Michael said. It was quiet but I could still hear it. He turned his face and saw me and jumped up as quickly as I had, falling off the bed too.
"Ouch!" he said. I through my head back and laughed at him and he had no idea why.
"What?" he asked. I wiped a tear away and walked over to him holding my hand out. He took it and straightened out his hair.
"I'm sorry, I was just cold and there was room so I-I don't know..."
"Don't be ridiculous! It's your bed, I was the one invading your privacy, I'M sorry. You hungry?"
"Yeah! What's for breakfast?"
"I'll make some toast or something. Simon will be here soon, is that okay?" I asked.
I wasn't sure whether I was going to faint, or grow wings and fly. Harry wanted to make ME breakfast! ME!
"Um, Michael? What are you doing?" Harry asked, his eyebrows creasing together. I didn't realize that I had been leaning in, closer and closer to him. Our faces were just a couple mere inches apart.
"If you wanted a good morning kiss, all you had to do was ask," he closed the small gap and finished what I had started. It was just a small peck but it meant so much more to me. He took a step back and laughed at me. My face probably looked ridiculous; a mixture between utter shock and a bit of disappointment that he left my lips so fast.
"Calm down, I was just messin' 'round mate!" He turned to open the door and left before I had any chance to react. "Boys! Simon will be here soon! I'm making some toast and tea!" I heard him yell from the kitchen. I fell to my knees and couldn't help but cry. He meant it as a joke, nothing more; and it broke my heart to see him laugh at me after I had felt something so strong when our lips had met. I didn't understand though, I thought that if you felt sparks when you kiss, It was a shared feeling. How can it be a one sided feeling? Maybe he wanted to kiss me? (No) Maybe he felt something more? (No) Maybe, just maybe, I could be someone special to him? (No). I shook myself off and dried my tears.
"No use in crying over something you can't have," I quoted my mom who would tell me that every time I cried over a toy in the store. But Harry wasn't a Batman action figure with a turbo action Bat-Mobile.
"Hi boys! ... Why aren't you ready yet?!?" Simon let himself in and saw us all standing around the counter in our boxers, shoving toast in our mouths. "We have to leave NOW!"
"Calm down Simon. I've got it. If I dress Niall too we will be ready on-time. Come on buddy," Liam lifted Niall from his chair and slung him over his shoulder.
"Wait! Wait Liam I'm not done yet!" Niall was desperately trying to fit another piece of bread in his mouth.
"No no Niall, you've already had too much," Liam said walking up the stairs to his room.
"Aww man!" Niall protested. Zayn and Louis finished their tea and followed them upstairs. 'Wow, we sure are something' I thought.
"H-H-OT," I didn't even realize that I wasn't alone. I turned to Michael and gave him a concerned look. He was trying his best to choke down his tea as his face turned red and he gripped the edge of the counter-top.
"You okay?" I mumbled. What I really wanted to do was gather him up in my arms and tell him everything would be okay. But I didn't.
"Mm Hm," he nodded rubbing his throat; not once making eye contact with me. He put the last of his breakfast in his mouth and walked away. I couldn't help but feel like I had missed my chance to tell him I was sorry, and how much I really do care about him. It was one thing to love someone and keep it a secret, but it was another thing to love someone and play with their emotions. It didn't matter right now though; I had to dress myself for our up-coming interview with Michael.
"Did you ever think that you would actually get the chance to record with One Direction?" Alan (our interviewer) was speaking directly to Michael. We sat on a couch that was way to small for six people. And just my luck, I was squished between Louis, and Michael.
"I wasn't really sure what to expect. I have been writing music all my life and to have it recognized by such successful artists, well it means a lot to me!" Michael answered.
"So you've known the guys for a couple of days now, tell us, are they really what they are made out to be, behind closed doors anyway?" We all tensed up, anticipating what Michael would say.
"No, actually," he said. I turned to face him with a look of shock on my face. He just smiled back at me.
"They are much more fun, and free-spirited," he continued grinning at me and put his arm over my shoulders.
"They all welcomed me into their little family and made me feel right at home. It is definitely the greatest experience of my life!" he looked around at us all, beaming with a huge smile on his face. 'I want this kid' 'I want him so bad' that was all I could think about for the rest of the interview.
"Um, come in?" I think that's what I should've said. Having two younger sisters, I never had privacy and they never knocked. All of the interviews were over and I collapsed on my bed to relax and play around on my phone.
"Hi, um I'm sorry to disturb you, but I thought you might like this," he stepped into the room and held out a small handheld massager.
"Oh! I love these things! Thanks Harry, my back is pretty sore," I reached for it but he pulled his hand away.
"Let me do it. It will feel better," he grinned at me. I hoped that he wasn't joking.
"Okay sure," I played it off like it was nothing. Sitting back down on my bed, I turned around and crossed my legs. After I felt him climb on after me, I took off my blazer and draped it across my desk. A shiver ran up my spine as he pressed the small, vibrating device against my back. I heard him laugh a little bit and continued moving it around.
"Thank you Har-," I gasped and my breath stopped in my throat. My mouth fell open in shock and my eyes widened. I felt my heart beating dangerously fast I through my head back. I had felt his hand sink lower and lower, but I didn't think about it until he moved it over my jeans above my crotch. I felt the vibrations and I only responded naturally by getting hard.
"Shh," he put his hand in my hair and brushed his lips up and down my neck.
"I'm sorry," The way he said it, it almost sounded painful. His breath against my skin felt like cold water on a burn. It made me feel like if he were to ever move away, I couldn't live without his touch.
"But I can't wait any longer... I want you,"
Chapter7: Finally Pt 2
"Can I take you?" he asks.
I couldn't answer him as my breathing hitched. He starts unbuttoning my shirt while he places feather-like kisses across my jaw, my chin, and the corners of my mouth. Slowly he peels it off and lets it fall to the bed. He removes his hand from my pants and I groan in protest, but the sound is muffled as he rotates and kissed me. He put both hands in my hair grasping each side of my head. His kiss is demanding, his lips coaxing mine as he slips his tongue in.
I moan and my tongue tentatively meets his. He puts his arms around me and hauls me against his body, squeezing me tightly. One hand remains in my hair, the other travels down my spine and to my jeans. I move my hands up to his face and into his hair. It's so soft and unruly. It's something I never thought I would touch. I tug gently, and he groans. He eases me backwards until I feel the bed against my back. He grabs my hips with both hands and drags his tongue down my chest. I close my eyes and clench my teeth, trying to steady my ravenous breathing.
"Hey Michael?" a voice comes from behind the door. We both freeze, holding our breath as Louis knocks again. I look at Harry, not knowing what to do. Harry jumps up from the bed and tosses my shirt at me. Louis knocks again.
"Michael can I come in?"
"U-um just... just a second!" I said buttoning my shirt quickly. I zipped up my pants and ran my hands quickly through my hair. I stood with my hand on the door knob looking once more at Harry. He was composed, his curls falling perfectly around his face as he stared at the television, pretending to pay attention to a sports channel. I took a deep breath and opened the door.
"Hi-Louis," I said, plastering a smile on my face. He took a step in.
"Hey um, I wanted to talk to you about what happens yesterday and-," He saw Harry sitting on the edge of my bed. He glanced between the both of us for a while before speaking again.
"Uh actually it can wait 'till later," he took one more glance at Harry and then left the room. I shut the door behind him and released the air that I had been holding in. Harry stood up and walked towards me. He smiled and leaned in to place a slight kiss on my forehead.
"I should go. See you at dinner?" He asked. I nodded, looking into his eyes again before opening the door for him. He leaves and I am left completely and utterly shocked and over-joyed. I'm laughing to myself now.
"I can't believe that just happened," I run my fingers over my lips and wince. They are deliciously soar.
"Hey there," Zayn appears in front of my open door, leaning smoothly, against the door frame, his arms crossed in front of him. There is something about him that is alluring but also, very dangerous. I'm a bit scared but try my best to hide it.
"Hi, Zayn. How are you mate?" He starts to talk and I try to pay attention but my thoughts trail to Harry.
"So?" he asks. I have no idea what the question was and I stare blankly at his face.
"Yes or no?" he asks again leaning in towards me.
"Um... sure? Yeah, sure," I said having no idea what I just said yes to.
"Great," he smiles and grabs my head and covers my lips with is. My eyes widen and I stumble backwards. His hands fumble with the buttons on my shirt. Wait... what's happening? What did he ask? And what did I agree to? I push him away as gently as I can, gasping for breath and covering my mouth with my hand.
"I'm so sorry but I have no idea what just happened. I wasn't really paying attention to the question, I have no idea what you asked," I looked up at him. My hand was on his chest, my arm extending the distance between us.
"Oh okay, then let me repeat myself. Michael,I like you, so I was hoping that you would consider me as something more than just your mate?" Zayn looked quizzically at me.
My mouth dropped open in surprise. He was so forward and confident; I really had no way to answer him.
"Michael, I need you to come with me for a second," Harry appeared at the door again. His hands were clenched into fists, and he was glaring at Zayn and I. He was angry for some reason but I was so relieved that he got here when he did. I dropped my hand from Zayn's chest and walked over to Harry and we left Zayn behind us in my room as we walked away towards the kitchen.
"What the hell was that?!" He asked looking at the ground as he walked.
"Hmm?" I asked. He stopped and looked at me.
"I saw--you and Zayn," I felt my cheeks flush bright red.
"Oh...," What should I say in this situation? He came onto me? He asked me to be with him and I said yes without knowing? Because the whole time I was thinking about you?
"I just don't understand," he said looking down again. I had to say something to him before it was too late. So I said the first thing that came to mind.
"It was not what it looked like! He just came in and I didn't know what to do, and after what-- we did, I was just--," He interrupted me, putting his hand over his mouth and laughing. His laugh was contagious.
"What?" I asked.
"I understand. Zayn can be that way sometimes. I'm glad it wasn't something more," he walked over and planted a kiss on my forehead.
"Oooooooooh!" Niall walked out from behind the kitchen counter making kissing sounds with his two slices of pizza. I was blushing out of my mind.
"Hey Niall," I said.
"Hiya Mike!" He took a bite and batted his eyelashes at Harry and I. We were silent for a while and then Niall nodded and yelled out of the blue,
"LOUIS! ZAYN! LIAM!" he yelled. There was pounding upstairs and then all three of them came flying down the stairs.
"Niall! Niall are you okay?!" Liam walked over and put his arms around Niall. "Don't scare me like that!"
"I'm sorry Liam, I'm fine," he smiled.
"So what is it then?" Louis avoided all eye contact with Harry and I, but Zayn strode right over me and put his arm around my neck. I was helpless under his weight and I had no idea what to do so I glanced over at Harry. He looked absolutely infuriated with Zayn. His face gradually turned darker shades of red and his fists were curled up so tight that his knuckles turned white. Oh no! He's really pissed off! Somewhere deep inside me I laughed because It meant that I effected Harry. He cares about me even after the short time we've known each other. I extended my arm slightly so that my hand was touching his. He visibly relaxed and tried his best to smile.
"I think we should go out for dinner tonight!" Niall said to all of us.
"Niall, I've already made us sandwiches," Liam said, still wrapped around Niall.
"Um yeah, about those sandwiches...," Niall looked down at his-now empty-plate.
"Niall! You didn't! All of them?!" Liam sounded upset, but didn't look surprised at all.
"But this is perfect! Now we can go out to eat with Michael and really get to know him! Plus, we should celebrate!" Niall turned and winked at Harry and I. Oh my God, what if he tells everyone what he saw between Harry and I? I'm not sure I really want them all to know. It may make things more awkward than they already are. I frantically shook my head at Niall, hoping that he would understand. I held my breath as he opened his mouth again.
"Michael made it through his first interview!" he said. I let myself breathe again, thank you Niall!
"Well, I like it! I'll have to miss tonight second conditioning treatment, but I could always do that tomorrow! Louis? Liam?" Zayn said, tightening his grip around me.
"Sounds good to me!" Liam said.
"I actually um, have plans with um, Eleanor tonight...Sorry," Louis said.
"Rubbish Louis! Eleanor went out of town yesterday! I won't take no for an answer anyway!" Niall said to Louis.
"Oh...yeah... that's right," Louis looked really embarrassed. He stood against the wall looking down at his knotted fingers, his cheeks flaming. In that moment he looked so young and vulnerable. Cute! He's really cute!
"Alrighty then!" Liam grabbed a pair of keys off the wall and tossed them at Louis. "You'll drive then?"
"Sure," Louis still wouldn't look up at us. God! I just want to give him some sweets and pat him on the head! He's so cute!
"Hey! Why can't I drive?" Harry asked.
"Harry, you're a very reckless driver," Liam said matter-of-factly.
"I am not! I'm a very good driver!"
"Harry, remember when we let you drive to an interview and you saw a kitten in the pet shop window?"
"That was just one time! I had to have that cat!"
"Harry you could've killed us, and half of the people in that building! We were lucky you turned in time," Zayn said, running his hand through his hair.
"I'm just glad I got to her before those other people did," Harry said.
"You have a cat? Here? Right now?" I asked.
"Yep! She's up in my room. Her name is Chatte!"
"Yeah. It's French for pussy," I stared at him with my mouth open. "You know... like as in pussy-cat? That's what I was going for...,"
"Okay Harry, sure that's what you meant. Anyway, come on guys, lets go! When we get back, I haveto do a twit-cam in the middle of the night while half our fans are asleep," Liam ushered us out of the door. Zayn finally let me go and I followed directly after Harry.
"Niall you too!" Liam shouted over his shoulder.
"One sec! Just need to grab a snack for the road!"
Chapter 9: A Night Out
I felt really uncomfortable in the dark limo. I sat across from Louis and he glared at me. I tried to ignore him and glanced at Harry next to me, begging for help. 'Don't worry' he mouthed to me nudging his arm against mine. I shivered against his touch and calmed down as we reached the restaurant.
"Yes!" Niall said, unbuckling his seat-belt and launching himself towards the door.
"Whoa steady there Niall," Liam grabbed him around the waist and pulled him into his lap, "The car hasn't stopped yet," Niall pouted in protest but stayed in Liam's lap until the car came to a complete stop. The driver had barely opened to door when Niall jumped towards it again followed by Liam.
"How does it look? Is it okay?" Zayn was looking at me and pointing at his hair.I took a quick glance at his perfected quiff and nodded.
"Yeah, It looks great," I gave him a reassuring smile and he jumped out of the car after Liam. Louis reluctantly stood to follow him.
"Here put these on," Harry handed me a pair of sunglasses.
"Why? It's the evening?" I was confused.
"Just do it," he smiled and put on a pair himself. He stood and stepped out of the Limo. I put the glasses on and followed him. Now I knew what he meant, there were camera flashes everywhere. Even with the glassed on, it was bright and I struggled to keep my eyes on Harry as we walked into the building.
"See? Your welcome," Harry said sliding them off my face.
"Table for six please," Liam spoke to a very flustered waitress who smiled sweetly and led us to a table in the far corner. We all took our seats and she passed us each menus.
"Good evening, I'm Natalie, and I will be your server today. Can I start you off with some drinks?" She took her pen and notepad from her back pocket.
"I'll have a beer," Harry said.
"Make that two," Niall raised his hand.
"Coke for me babe," Zayn gave her an exaggerated wink and she blushed even brighter and scribbled on her notepad. Being here kind of made me nervous. I looked around and nearly every head was turned and looking at us. Several people had their phones out snapping pictures at us. Harry put his hand on my leg from under the table and it was very distracting. I felt my face flush and I turned my attention back to the table.
"Michael?" Harry asked, "What do you want to drink?" His hand moved in small circles gradually inching his way up my thigh, I stopped breathing.
"Sir?" Natalie asked. I inhaled deeply and tried my best to speak.
"Um, I'll h-have an um water p-please," I managed to say.
"Okay, I will be right back with your drinks, keep in mind our specials today are..," I tried to concentrate on her words but all I could hear was the blood pumping behind my ears. I looked over at Harry; his face was completely content as he listened to a conversation between the rest of the boys. How can he look so calm? I put my hand over his but he didn't stop. He kept rubbing his fingers against my hard-on, over my pants. I felt the familiar quiver below my waist, and I knew I was about to come. No! Not Here!
"Harry!" I said way too loudly. Everyone at the table fell silent and stared at me. Harry's hand stopped and he turned to me, his face full of amusement.
"I um... I-I,"
"Are we ready to order?" Natalie came back with our drinks. 'Thank you so much Natalie' Ithought to myself. I didn't say anything for the rest of the night, I was way too embarrassed. I was thankful for Niall and his four beers that kept him talking and keeping everyone's focus away from me. Liam struggled to keep Niall in his seat when he tried to chance every girl that resembled Demi Lavato in any way.
"No Niall, that's not her. Yes I'm sure," Liam said. "Is everyone ready to go?" I had hardly touched my sandwich but I didn't really feel like eating. After paying, we all stood to leave. The limo was waiting for us outside, and so were all of the cameras and a few girls now.
"Wait!" Niall shouted, and ran back into the restaurant.
"Niall! No!" Liam said following him. I was about to follow them but then I heard Harry let out a big sigh.
"Well, might as well sign a few autographs," he said.
"Autographs?" I asked.
"Yeah," He walked over to one of the girls holding a poster and shaking like crazy. "Hey babe, how are you?"
"HI HARRY!" She yelled, giggling and giving him a face-splitting grin, "Can you sign this please?" she asked.
"Sure," Harry took the pen she offered and signed the poster under a picture of him.
"Could you sign it too Michael?" She looked at me and shoved the poster in my direction. Why did she want me to sign it?
"Um, sure yeah," I awkwardly scribbled my initials under his and then smiled. I had just signed my first autograph!
Liam walked out dragging Niall behind him, Niall carrying a white box and a sandwich between his teeth- my sandwich. We all filed back into the limo and I took my seat next to Harry and across from Louis. Louis still had that look on his face, like he was angry but also hurt in a way. I have to remember to talk to him, try and make peace with him and make him understand. When we all walked through the door, we each went our separate ways; Zayn to his room and Louis to his, Niall went to the fridge under the watchful eye of Liam who sat on the couch and opened up his laptop. I walked behind Harry upstairs and held my breath when he turned to walk down towards my room. I felt a bit disappointed when he walked into the bathroom but I shrugged it off and went to my room. After closing the door behind me pulled off my jacket and relaxed on my bed. I took my phone out of my pocket and found three missed calls, all from Elise. I smile and call her back.
"Hello? Michael, why haven't you called me back!?"
"I'm sorry; I went out with the guys,"
"Yeah, I know I saw all the pictures online,"
"Wow, that fast?" I asked. I knew word traveled fast, but I didn't know it was that fast! There was a knock at the door and I instinctively said:
"Come in," Harry walked in, wiping the water off his mouth with a towel. He didn't look happy, in fact he look angry. I could tell he wanted to talk but I held up my finger, trying to signal him to wait a minute.
"Is someone there?" Elise asks.
"Um, yeah it's Harry," I said.
"Oooh, Haaarry!" She cooed.
"Elise!" I tried to keep my face straight and impassive but failed and fell back in a fit of laughter. "I love you so much!" I said. Harry bounded towards me and snatched the phone from my hand.
"Sorry Elise," he spit through his teeth, "Michael has to go," He pushed the 'End' button and threw it on the bed; he was completely pissed.
"Hey what was that about?!" I asked.
"Look, I'm sure she's a nice girl but after everything, you're still going to stay with her?!" He grabbed both of my wrists and stood between my legs.
"What are you talking about?" I asked stunned.
"When I had you here hours ago with my hands-," I felt suddenly so embarrassed.
"No! No I mean about Elise! I'm not with her, she's my sister, my best friend sorta," he said nothing, he looked like he was struggling for words and I kept rambling. "I don't really go for girls anyway," I couldn't stop myself from saying it, it just kind of slipped. My heart quickened when the realization of the words hit me.
He was on the phone with her. Feeling jealous wasn't something that happened to me very often but hearing him laughing with her infuriated me. I snatched the phone from his hand and mumbled something barely coherent in the phone and hung up.
"What do you mean, 'you don't go for girls'?" I asked
"You know what I mean," his eyes darted everywhere but at me and his face blushed deep red. So Elise was his sister, and he doesn't have a girlfriend. In fact, he doesn't even play for that team. I felt a grin creep on my face, his cheeks flushed darker. It was impossible to describe my elation.
"What?" he glanced at me from the corner of his eye.
"I'm just happy that's all," I released my grip on his wrist and let him sit up again. "Good night, Mike," I gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and turned to leave.
"You're leaving?" his voice was quiet, but I heard him loud and clear.
"You want me to stay?" he nodded slowly and looked down at his knotted figures.
"Hmm... good night Mike," I gave him my biggest smile and left shutting the door behind me. "This is going to be fun," I said to myself. "Louis?" I wasn't as surprised as I acted. This happened most nights, but I wasn't going to do this anymore.
"What do you want Louis?"
"Damn, I'm hungry again,"
My mouth fell open in surprise. What? He wasn't going to stay? That's cruel. Well two can play at that game! I sent Elise a quick text and wandered down stairs and found Liam still on the couch with Niall and his guitar.
"Hey guys," I said.
"Michael! Come join us! We just ordered Chinese food," Niall was extremely enthusiastic, "Say hi to the people!" I smiled and sat between them on the couch in front of the laptop.
"Hi everyone!" I waved to the screen. I stared at the quickly passing comments and tried to answer any that I saw for me. "Yeah, I'd say we're all getting on real well," I replied to one of the questions. It was so cool to have fans, even though they haven't heard any of my music.
"Yeah, real well! Some of us, more than others," Niall
nudged me with his elbow, and I blushed wildly. "I'll Get It!"
Niall jumped up and opened the door. "Hey mate! How mu- Who are
you?" Niall asked.
"Can I talk to Michael?" The strangers' voice was deep, low, and familiar. Oh No! I quickly stood and ran to Niall's side, standing and pulling him away from the door to stand protectively in front of him.
"So you're not the Chinese chicken man?" Liam came to stand next to me and I threw my arm out to keep him from advancing.
"No," I said, "He's... Jason,"
Chapter 9: Jason
Tall. Dark. Handsome. Those were the things I noticed when I spotted him that night.
"No!" Elise and I went out to celebrate my birthday and she was cruelly sabotaging every attempt I made to go after a guy. "No Michael,"
"Why not? It's my birthday!" I was still watching him from the corner of my eye.
"Because you're drunk and I don't want anything to happen to you,"
"You mean, 'You're my ride home, and I don't want anything to happen to you.' Listen, we both know that you can't leave here without me, and we both know that I would like to chat with that fit piece of meat over there. So here's the deal, I'll go talk with him, and if it doesn't work we'll leave," I smiled. 'Ha! That's telling her!' I said to myself. She sighs and rolls her eyes gesturing towards him. I know I've won this time. I give myself an imaginary pat on the back and casually walk towards him.
As I get closer, every part of him became more and more gorgeous. His clothes were intentionally too small and they clung to every part of his body. His hair, short, dark, and unruly was the same as his eyes. I cut right into his conversation with another guy, and stood right between them. He looked surprised for a split second and regained his composer, lowering his eyes and letting a grin spread across his face. I watched him carefully as he looked me up and down, darkening his gaze and grinning wider.
"You have a boyfriend?" he asks suddenly. Wow, that was really forward!
"No," I felt my cheeks flare up.
"Want one?" he asked. Okay, not exactly what I was expecting.
"Sure," words came out of my mouth before I had the chance to think them through. I knew it was the beer talking but I didn't care really. "Michael,"
"Jason. It's a pleasure," he smiled wickedly again and I smiled back. I had no idea what I was really in for.
"What are you doing here?" I mumbled, glaring fiercely at him.
"Well, I'm here to see you of course!" his lips curled backin asmile to reveal his perfect teeth. He casually stepped through the threshold, his eyes never leaving mine. I backed away, taking Niall with me.
"I think you should leave," I said.
"Why are you being so cold?" he took another step.
"Liam, call the police," Liam stood next to my completely stunned and motionless, but looked at me quickly and tried to dig his phone out of his pocket.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, there Liam, I just wanna talk," Jason put his hands up and shrugged.
"Fine, we'll talk. Liam, take Niall," I gently shoved Niall in Liam's direction.
"Wait, I think we should stay with you," Niall held on to my arm.
"Niall I'll be fine just go," I gave him a reassuring smile.
"Okay, if you're sure. Just don't let him near the fridge," he lifted an eyebrow.
"Niall! Okay fine just go!" I said.
"I mean it! My left-over's better be there when I get back!"
"I got him," Liam threw Niall over his shoulder and carried him off. I smiled as they walked away. They really are unique huh?
"Ahem," Jason cleared his throat. I forgot for a split second, that he was even there.
"So what is it?" I spit through my teeth.
"I just wanted to come and say hi to my boyfriend. I haven't seen you in forever!" he took another step closer.
"Boyfriend? Don't make me laugh. You said you were 'done with me,' remember?" I felt my throat closing up as the tension in the room grew thicker. "What are you really doing here?" He paused for a moment, just looking at me as if I already know.
"I wasn't very happy when I saw pictures of MY boyfriend everywhere with some curly haired freak clearly trying to get in your pants," he took a large step closer and I instinctively tried to step back and gasped when I felt the arm of the couch at the back of my legs. Oh no. I needed to get him back on the defensive and fast.
"So that's why you came back. It's because I'm getting attention from the contest thing huh? You're jealous of Harry aren't you?" I straightened my body to it's tallest length but he still stood a head higher than me. He frowned and tilted his head to the side.
"Hmm... Maybe I am and maybe I should just make you mine again," the corners of his mouth quirked up again. I felt the strong shove from his hands on my chest and I fell back onto the couch behind me. Before I had time to react he jumped on top of me pinning me down into the cushions with all of his weight and holding both of my hands above my head in one of his.
"G-get...off!" I struggled under him and tried desperately to free my hands.
"You know...," he trailed his hand up under my shirt and held my chin in place, "This would be much more fun if you would relax. But I do enjoy seeing you writhe underneath me," God why is he so strong! I tried once again to knock him off me but failed.
"Why don't you cry out? Yell for help and maybe that Harry kid will come and save you," I clenched my teeth in response to his nails dragging down my chest. My eyes watered, not because it hurt, but because I genuinely was terrified. He leaned in an inch from my face.
"You don't deserve to even be in the same room as Harry, you're garbage compared to him!" I spit right in his face. He removed his hand from my chin and wiped off his face. My tears spilled over after the sharp sting from his hand that he slapped across my face. I wanted to cry out, I wanted to scream and thrash until someone came to my rescue. But the last thing I wanted was to put any of them in danger.
"Harry," I whispered through my soft sobs. In an instant, his 190lbs, was gone. I hadn't realized how little I was breathing, until I felt the air rush back into my lungs. I shifted my head to the side to see Harry on top of Jason, who had blood trickling from his nose. My vision was blurring from my -still-flowing-tears. Harry seemed fine but there was a slight dis-coloration on his cheek. I'm so sorry Harry; you were hurt because of me, because I was too weak to do it alone.
"I'm so sorry," I whispered lightly. Then I closed my eyes, and didn't have the strength to open them again.
I wanted more than anything, for this night to be nothing more than a dream- just an awful dream. But my worst thoughts were confirmed as I woke on the floor. I was stripped down to my boxers and wrapped in a blanket.The room was dimly lit by a light in the distance, probably from the kitchen.A cold Ice pouch was pressed against my face.
"Michael?" Harry's voice startled me. I thought for sure that after what had happened, he would never want to be near me again. "Are you okay?" He repositioned the ice pack on my face and brushed my hair away. My head was propped up on his lap and his arm sat across my chest.
"Ihmm ffhinne. Iths hoth," I didn't notice how numb my cheek was. It was so cold from the ice and I couldn't feel it at all. Harry's face instantly relaxed and he threw his head back and laughed. I was so glad to see that he's okay too. I spoke slowly, trying my best to articulate my words more. "It...is...hot," There, that was better! He looked back down at me and moved his hands down to the blanket.
"No!" I said. I practically had no clothes on underneath.
"You said you were hot didn't you? Come on, its okay," he pulled at the blanket again and I resisted... Then he pounced,