A/N: This is a one-shot I wrote like four years ago, and it is by far my favorite thing I’ve ever written. I modified it slightly and I hope you guys like it! There will more than likely not be a part two, but that could always change. Enjoy!
He stood in the doorway leading out to the back porch of the little lake house, feeling the warm summer breeze, watching the sand colored curtains move with the wind. The little girl, a mere five years old, sat on her stool with patch-work paint, struggling to strum the strings of the vintage dark-wood Taylor. Her small frame was barely enough to accommodate the much larger guitar in her little lap. He smiled, watching her try to strum a chord with her little fingers. The crease in between her eyebrows deepened as she concentrated on the instrument and became flustered.
“Need a little help there squirt?” He asked, his voice gruff and deep from years of singing.
“I can’t do it daddy.” She pouted, her little pink lips jutting out in the slightest. She felt too small to do anything, she could barely get her tiny arms over the guitar to reach the strings, much less play a decent chord. All she’d ever wanted to do was be like her dad and perform. He wasn’t famous, but in her eyes, he was a rock star.
He frowned, “Sure you can. Come ‘ere.”
She stood, shuffling her bare feet over to be pulled into his lap along with the guitar. He reached around her, putting his hands over hers and guiding them to the correct positions to play a G chord. They strummed, and she smiled, loving the pretty sound that was the product of her movement.
“Daddy! I did it! I played!” She squealed, delighted to say the least.
“You sure did, look at you. On your way to being a musician already!” He smiled, so much adoration in his eyes for her. She was his little girl, the light of his life, his whole world and to see her so happy about something made his heart fill with warmth.
For the next hour or so, the two continued to play random chords, eventually beginning to add a few lyrics from his favorite song.
“Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes. There beneath the blue suburban skies I sit and meanwhile back…”
They sang together, his rough and worn voice against her twinkling, pixie-esque soprano, and he found himself thinking about her future and how bright he knew it would be. He felt it in his bones and in his heart, she would have her name in lights one day. She would be a star.
It was a quiet night in south Louisiana, the usually busy New Orleans streets almost empty as the late hours of Thursday evening slowly approached. Not many people came to the quaint bar, only the few usuals that came for a pitcher of beer after a long day at work and tonight was no exception. The suit-clad men huddled at tables together, shooting the bull and complaining about the load of work piled up on their desks and also their wives, who were probably nagging them come home soon.
The bar was slow that night, not that business was expected to skyrocket, especially during the week. The owner—an intimidating woman in her mid forties—was left the place when her husband passed away. In some ways, it was her baby, in others, it was just another burden. He had been a good man, well, until alcohol consumed his life and he lost control. Although he had lost the way of his life, she knew that he loved that old bar and more importantly, their daughter.
She sat on the wooden stool on the stage at the corner of the outside deck, strumming quietly on the old guitar that had been her father’s. Her long brown hair billowed around her shoulders, the slight breeze picking up, making it flow gracefully beside her as she picked at the strings. Moments later, her raspy, alto voice came through the speakers that sat just at the edge of the stage, and just like always, her mother’s attention was on her.
It was always something she enjoyed, watching her daughter perform in a place that her husband held so near and dear to his heart, but it also saddened her a bit to know that he would never get to hear her strong, pure voice that she’d heard so many times before. She knew that her daughter would go far, she had no doubt about it, but it was all up to her, it was her choice and she had to make it. She had to be fearless and realize just how much talent was bottled up in her small body. She wasn’t meant for the local bar performances, she should be sharing her music with the world, showing them just what they’d been missing.
“I turned around and the water was closing all around like a glove, like the love that had finally, finally found me. And I knew in the crystalline knowledge of you, drove me through the mountains, through the crystal-like clear water fountain drove me like a magnet to the sea.”
From a table close to the stage, Harry watched the girl on the stage intently. His green eyes trained on her face, watching her features scrunch up as she belted out the notes. Her voice was different; so smooth and even with the slight raspy tone, he found it so pure, so invigorating. And though he’d heard voices similar, there was nothing compared to hers.
For three songs, he watched and listened to her and in the end, when her set was finished, he found himself wanting to hear more. He rose from his seat as she thanked the small crowd that had gathered throughout the bar, occasionally offering her a glance, none of them showed much interest in the young girl, figuring she was just another wannabe, but that’s not how Harry saw her, she was a star.
Her eyes had travelled over to him, catching his and she felt her heart skip a beat. He was not a boy that you would see hanging out in a small run down bar in south Louisiana, no. He wasn’t like the boys around here. He seemed to be infatuated with her, she noticed it too, feeling the blood rush to her cheeks, making it obvious that his stare had had an effect on her.
She collected her guitar and quickly made an exit off the stage to scamper over to the bar to find Ivey, the curly-locked bartender that had been taken under her mother’s wing just a few years prior. As she walked, she could feel the strange boys eyes on her, and suddenly she felt the urge to turn around and confront him for his incessant staring but decided to let it slide, kind of liking the attention she was getting from him.
She wasn’t one of those over the top girly types, she was the hippy, artsy type, not too worried about anything but her music and her mom, who was really nothing to worry about but ever since her father passed away, she’d noticed her mother’s bright eyes lose their sheen, the green dulling a bit. She felt it her responsibility and obligation to take care of her, even if she thought she could herself.
She didn’t find herself overly pretty, just average. Just another girl that you pass on the street and didn’t give a second glance at. She was nothing special in her mind, just Penny.
“Great set tonight Pen, I think that was your best one yet.” Ivey commented, wiping down the dark wooden bar.
“Thanks, has my mom already left?”
She nodded, “Just ducked out after you finished. Said you could stay as long or as short as you’d like. She’d leave the light on for you when you got home.”
Her mother was never overly protective of her, and she really shouldn’t have to be, she was an adult and more like her mother than she would like to admit. She could handle herself.
“Okay, what time are you leaving? I’ll just go home when you do.”
“I’ll be here until closing seeing as Briony left early to go fuck some random.”
“Okay.” Penny nodded, knowing that Ivey and Briony didn’t have the best relationship, especially at work. Somehow Briony had talked the manager into letting her slip out early on multiple occasions with just a bat of her long eyelashes.
“Um babe? I think you have someone that wants your attention.” Ivey noted, cleaning the last pint glass that was left on the bar and nodding her head over to the corner where the strange boy had previously been sitting. Penny’s eyes trailed over in the direction she had nodded, noticing the tall, lanky boy making his way over to her. He came out into the smallest bit of light and Penny felt like her insides were going to burst.
The boy wasn’t just any boy from out of town, he was way out of town. She knew who he was, it was undeniable. Those curls, those dimples, the familiar inking on his left arm, it was him. The boy that had donned the cover of nearly every magazine on the rack, along with his four band mates. She didn’t consider herself a huge fan of the music, just the lyrics and in particular, Harry’s voice. It was just something new, something different. It didn’t fit the boy band mold. It was no Justin Timberlake or Nick Lachey voice, it had its own category. It was so smooth yet so rough at the same time, it made her insides melt and her heart flutter. Whenever she heard him sing, whether it be the song he had wrote personally that had gotten leaked or it be on an award show she had just happened to stop on, she felt like the overly-girly girl that she swore she’d never become. She became the biggest pile of mush.
Before she was ready, or could even process another thought, he was in front of her, towering over her small frame. His eyes were on her, taking in her face with the now closer proximity. She felt like she couldn’t breathe, her throat suddenly tightening as she tried to find words or at the least, a coherent thought.
“Hi,” he murmured lowly, “that was a great set you just played. You have a lovely voice.” His accent rolled off of his tongue like smooth velvet, sounding like heaven to Penny. “I’m-”
“I know who you are,” she commented, a little more eager than she would’ve liked. “I mean, you’re Harry Styles, you’re everywhere.”
He grinned sheepishly, looking down at his shoes. “Erm, I guess I’m not as low-key as I want to be.”
She giggled, feeling over the moon even with just a few words spoken between them.
“What’s your name, love?”
“Penny, Penny Lane.”
“Like the Beatles song?” He grinned, quirking an eyebrow at her.
“Um yeah, my parents were huge fans. My dad especially. He loved them.”
“Penny Lane.” Harry murmured, grinning softly.
Throughout her life, she had never particularly liked her name, thinking it sounded like a bird’s name, but hearing Harry say it, the way it fell from his lips, just made it seem so sweet.
“Um, I’m going to go straighten up outside.” Ivey muttered, awkwardly shuffling away to leave the two alone.
“So, what brings you to New Orleans?” Penny asked, taking a seat at a bar stool as Harry did the same.
“I have a little time off and I’ve always wanted to see it, so here I am.”
She grinned, she loved New Orleans, it was home, it may be labeled as a city full of drunken football-crazed fans, but it was so much more. She lived on the outskirts, right along the bayou. She loved the water and loved the atmosphere that her little town had. It wasn’t very busy, not very known, just thought of as another town people pass through on their way into New Orleans.
“Well, I hope you’re liking it so far. It’s a pretty great place.”
“Full of some pretty great people, from what I’ve encountered so far.”
She blushed, looking down at her fumbling fingers in her lap. She had never really been flirted with, especially with a boy like Harry. He was so beautiful and so talented, she couldn’t put her finger on just what he found intriguing about her. She was nothing to swoon over, or so she thought.
As the two talked, Harry took in the things he couldn’t quite make out when she was on stage. The small dimple in her right cheek, the small diamond stud piercing her left nostril, the bright green irises of her eyes, the perfectly straight teeth just inside the plump pink lips that he wanted to kiss more than anything. To him, she was one of the most effortlessly beautiful girls he had ever seen. He noticed the minimal makeup she wore, how the length of her dark, ombre hair flowed naturally down her sun kissed back, how she didn’t feel the need to dress in skin tight clothing, even to a bar. He liked it, it was much different than he’d encountered before.
“C-can I ask you a question?” Her voice brought him from his stare, as he chuckled nervously, shifting in his seat and nodding.
“What’s it like?” She started, and for a moment, he was confused by what she was asking. “Living your dream I mean. Like is it all everyone puts it out to be? Or is it not? Or is it a mix of both? I mean, is it really a dream?”
Her question stumped him, he had never really thought about it, he’d never really had to, no one had seemed to put any interest in what he truthfully thought about all of it. He was simply told to share a few short sentences, and to Harry, that wasn’t far enough.
“I think that it varies, to be honest. Some days, I feel like I’m on top of the world, like nobody can touch me a-and I feel like I’m actually worth something you know? And then others are just horrid, I mean, you don’t really expect people to actually voice their downwards opinion directly to you, and sometimes I become overwhelmed with the pressure of it all. Having to say the right things, look a certain way, act a certain way around my friends. It just comes crashing down around me sometimes.”
Penny listened to his every word, genuinely interested in what he had to say. She was infatuated by him and by his views. Somehow, she knew he wasn’t the womanizing punk that every magazine on the rack had put him out to be, he was a person with substance, and feelings, and so much insight on the world around him.
“People tend to take things way out of proportion. I can’t even hang out with a girl without them being labeled as my new fling.”
He stared at his now empty glass that had been previously full of beer, contemplating his next words. “Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve actually met a girl that I would even consider dating?”
Penny shook her head, “How long?”
“To be honest, never. There’s never really been anyone, aside from a girl I dated when I was fifteen. But as for the past five or so years, there hasn’t been a girl that I’ve felt comfortable enough with to actually be myself, full-fledged Harry, around.”
Penny’s smile slumped into a frown, thinking about how she has felt the exact same way about guys. They all seemed to be attracted to the girls with little to no ambition, living off of their father’s fortune. She had never really found a guy’s company enjoyable, well that was, until she was sitting at the bar with Harry.
“But that was before I met you.”
Penny’s eyes brightened, her ears perking at his words. Had he really just said that? About her? Harry Styles?
“It’s only been two hours since I first met you and I feel like I’ve known you for ages. I haven’t been able to act like this around a girl that wasn’t my mum or sister, well, ever. You’re different, a good different.”
Penny found herself blushing yet again, this time letting out a giddy giggle. “Um, thank you? I think.”
“You’re welcome.” He grinned. “What about you? Any guys lucky enough to see the real Penny Lane?”
“Um, never. It’s really hard for me to trust people, I used to be so open but people took advantage of my trust and betrayed me. So now, I hardly let anyone in.” Penny admitted, realizing that Harry had been the first person she’d told. “Especially guys, I let them in in other ways, and they all turned out to be complete asses.”
“And it hurts you know? To know that you put that much trust in somebody and it mean so much to you but so little to them. It’s kind of heartbreaking really, when you think about it. I was giving them all of me and only getting a tiny piece of them in return.” Penny felt a bit of a release from her confession, she hadn’t openly said what she felt in so long, she was never comfortable enough to. Harry brought a sense of security to her and she didn’t know how she had felt so comfortable and safe around Harry, she had only met him merely two hours before.
A silence fell between the two, Penny’s eyes falling on the Jack Daniels’ bottle just across the bar as Harry’s trained on her face. His heart ached for her, knowing exactly what she meant, every single word reflected what he’d experienced with girls. None of them really understood what they were getting out of him when he put that trust into them.
“Would it be any consolation if I told you I know exactly how you feel?” Harry spoke, trying to pull her stare away from the whiskey bottle.
She turned and before she could process another thought, she molded her lips to his. He didn’t fight it, immediately cupping her face in his large hands, rubbing his thumbs over her cheeks. There was a fire burning between them, passionate and emotionally raw, something Harry nor Penny had ever felt before.
“I’m sorry, I just- I had to do it.” She breathed as they broke, her face flushing a deep red.
“Don’t apologize, I was about to do the same thing.”
She blushed again, feeling her heart flutter and butterflies erupt in her stomach. No one had ever made her feel this way, except Harry. It was strange, knowing that he’d only walked into her life just a short time ago and already she felt so attached and addicted to him.
“I hope this isn’t too forward, but um, would you like to come back to my hotel with me?” He asked carefully, not wanting her to think the wrong thing, but simply just wanting somewhere with more privacy.
She hesitated, but met his eyes again, melting into his stare and muttering a strong, “Yes.”
Somehow, the two had managed to sneak into the hotel unnoticed, through the back door. Harry was quite thankful that he didn’t have to deal with the ever-curious paparazzi that followed him nearly everywhere just trying to get a story out of anything they could. That was one of the parts about his job that he absolutely hated, the constant spotlight. He loved to sing, it was his passion and his life, but he hated constantly being put under the radar and often found himself wanting to be just a regular guy again.
“Wow.” Penny stated, utterly stunned at the luxurious hotel room. She didn’t take Harry for the over-the-top hotel type, but remembered that he was used to the posh lifestyle.
“Um, just make yourself at home.”
“So where’s your posse?” She giggled, referring to his always present group of friends.
“They’re home taking a rest before we go back on tour.” He rested his arm on the back of the couch, wanting the space between them to decrease soon, she was too far away for his liking. He wanted her as close to him as possible, in every way. He’d never wanted to be with someone so much. “I’ve talked about myself more than I really want to, I want to get to know you. So who is Penny Lane?”
She giggled nervously, feeling herself blush again. She didn’t necessarily like talking about herself, there wasn’t really much to talk about in her opinion.
“Um, well I’m twenty-one. I usually tend to keep to myself and my music now that I’ve quit college. Thankfully, I have a house full of people who support that, even though the one that started my obsession with it, my dad, passed almost four years ago so it’s just me, my mom, and Ivey now.”
“If you don’t mind me asking, what happened to your dad?”
She sighed, feeling the tears coming. She always got so emotional talking about her dad. No matter what anyone said about him, she would always think of him as the greatest man in the world, because to her, he was. “Um, when I was thirteen, my grandmother was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer and it took a big toll on my dad. He took care of her nearly every day, some nights he even spent the night at the hospital, and when she got worse, he turned to alcohol.” She sniffled, looking down at her lap. “Over the next three years, it just got worse and worse. People in town whispered about him, speaking his name with such poison and hatred, it was like he was the devil. They were almost sure that he had abused my mother and me, but he never did. Sure he would yell and get angry but when it would get really bad, he’d go and sleep at the apartment above the bar. He never once laid a hand on me or my mother. He was too much of a man to do that, he loved us too much.” Tears were falling slowly down her cheeks as she took a deep breath. “He died four days before my seventeenth birthday.”
Harry’s heart ached for Penny once again, scooting closer to her and wrapping his arms around her small frame, letting her crawl into his lap. As soon as his arms wrapped securely around her, she wrapped hers around his neck, burying her face into his neck. She had never cried in front of a stranger before, but as she had realized three hours ago, Harry was no ordinary stranger.
She sniffled again, wiping under her eyes with her fingers and letting out and embarrassed laugh. “I’m sorry, you must think I’m some emotional wreck.”
He grinned, rubbing his hand up and down her exposed thigh comfortingly, “No, now I know you’re human.”
She smiled, running a hand through her hair, meeting his eyes again. Her desire to feel his lips against hers was increasing rapidly, she wanted to feel the fire again, feel the passion that was elicited in the first kiss. Never had she wanted someone so much.
Unlike the first time, Harry made the first move, cupping the back of her neck to pull her down to his lips, molding his around hers. He suckled on her soft, plump bottom lip as she cupped his face in her small hands, feeling the burning passion again, her heart was pounding and butterflies filled her stomach, fluttering around rapidly. Harry’s hands worked their way down to her back, pulling her closer to him as he ground his hips into hers. She unexpectedly let out a small moan, breaking their heated kiss.
“Harry.” She whispered breathlessly.
“We can stop if you want.” But Harry wanted to go all the way with her, to have her completely, cherish every inch of her body, make her feel absolutely beautiful.
“No, I want this. Please… Make love to me.” Harry wasted no time in pulling her face back to his to mold his lips to hers.
Time seemed to slow down as Harry slowed their kiss, wanting to cherish every single moment they had together, not worrying about time or interruptions. She wanted him to make love to her, and he would do that, even if he had just met her a mere three hours before, she made him feel something, something amazing and it was indescribable and addictive. If it were up to him, he’d never let her go, never let her feel anything less than absolutely beautiful and completely loved. He wouldn’t say he loved her yet, but he was sure that someday he could and would.
Harry stood from the couch, scooping her up in his arms and walking over to the bedroom to lay her down on the soft mattress, keeping his eyes locked on hers. She smiled as he broke from their stare and he walked over to the iHome sitting on the desk, hearing a soft tune come through the speakers. He made his way back over to her, leaning down to press his lips to hers tenderly, letting her know silently that he would take care of her, she didn’t have to worry, not with him.
“Settle down with me, cover me up, cuddle me in. Lie down with me and hold me in your arms. Your heart’s against my chest, lips pressed to my neck, I’m falling for your eyes, but they don’t know me yet. And this feeling I won’t forget, I’m in love now.”
Her hands found the hem of his shirt, reaching underneath the soft fabric to feel his warm, toned torso, running her hands greedily up and down his tight stomach, loving the feeling of his warm skin against her fingertips. Wasting no more time, she peeled the unneeded fabric off of him, leaving his endless torso bare. She took in the many tattoos scattered across his slightly tanned skin, admiring the swirls of ink that he had collected over the years. He was beautiful, every kind, every shape, form, and fashion. It was almost frustrating to her because of how godlike this boy was who was already so perfect to begin with.
He reached for her now, pulling her up by the hand to stand before him. She stood in front of him, watching him intently as he reached to lift her dress from her body. Letting him, she lifted her arms as he pulled it above her head and tossed it to the floor to join his discarded shirt.
Harry pulled her into his arms again, attaching his lips to her neck, hearing her soft moan again, loving the sound knowing that he was the cause. She knotted her fingers in his curls, tugging in the slightest making a low groan erupt from Harry’s throat. He was doing wonderful things to her neck, biting and then soothing over the now sore spot with his warm tongue. She was sure there would be spots to find in the morning, but she wouldn’t care.
Taking the straps of her bra between his fingers, he pulled them down slightly before reaching around her again to unclasp her bra, watching it fall in between them. He took her in, her perfect chest, her sun-kissed skin, her endless curves, the small birthmark near her belly button, everything.
“Beautiful.” He breathed, watching her blush a deep crimson before pressing a chaste kiss to her flushed cheek. “So beautiful.”
Penny pulled his face to hers once again, reveling in feeling his soft lips against hers. She could kiss him for hours, days even. Every time there was the same intense, burning passion between them. There was no denial that he was now her drug. She couldn’t get enough of his touch or his kiss. His lips were addictive, just like the rest of him.
The bed felt cool against her bare back as she was laid back down on the fluffy duvet, watching Harry strip himself of his jeans and boxers, leaving him completely bare. She took him in again, appreciating his seemingly perfect body, how could someone be so godlike, yet so real?
Their lips were attached in a heated kiss, desperate to taste more of each other. His hands gently caressed her bare body, making sure to appreciate every curve. Her breathing hitched when his tongue slid over the raw spot on her neck.
Her mind suddenly swirled with thoughts and doubts, her heart beginning to pound rapidly. She wasn’t ready, as much as she wanted to be, she wasn’t ready. Yes, she wanted Harry, more than ever, but there was just something inside of her screaming ‘Stop!’.
“Are you okay?” He asked, feeling her stiffen suddenly. Their green eyes met and Harry saw the evident doubt written across her face, feeling slightly guilty. His heart dropped, thinking that he had pushed her too far, pressuring her into going all the way when they had only met hours before.
“I-I can’t do this Harry. I’m sorry.” She scrambled to get out from under him, searching desperately for her clothes on the floor, feeling the heat in her cheeks increase. Embarrassment flooded her entirety, wanting to crawl in a hole and shrink away into nothing. “I’m sorry about this, I-I just need to leave.”
“Wait, what’s wrong? Did I do something wrong? I’m sorry if I pushed you too far, I didn’t mean it honestly, sometimes I just get carried away, ya know? I just wanted to make you feel good and I’m rambling and you’re staring at me like I’m a madman.” He rambled, scrambling to find his own discarded clothes.
“Harry, you didn’t do anything wrong, you were perfect. It’s just I-I thought I was ready to do this, but I’m not.” Her voice was quiet, she felt like a small child, scared and tiny. When she looked up at Harry, she saw regret washing over his face, as if he still thought that he had done something wrong, but that was the thing, he didn’t, he was absolutely perfect and such a gentlemen, but her heart just wasn’t ready for the kind of trust that sex required. “Please, don’t think you pushed me too far.”
The room fell silent as Harry watched her dress herself once again, aching for her to stay but knowing that was too far-fetched of an idea. He knew he wanted to see her again, but would she want to see him?
“Wait, can I see you again?” He asked, grabbing her hand before she walked out of the door.
She sighed, looking down at her shoes, before offering him a small smile, “Of course.”
He couldn’t fathom the idea of her not being in his life after their conversation at the bar. It was like he needed her in his life. He couldn’t explain what it was about her that just drew him in, kept him begging for more. She was his drug, and he was hooked.
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