She’s Just Not That Into You » Part III (A Harry Styles Miniseries)
As always, this miniseries is dedicated to @stylesunchained. Thank you so much for reading the first two parts! I hope part three is just as enjoyable for you all.
Let me know what you think! Happy reading.
Although Harry had been disappointed to not receive your personal phone number, he still called “Megan” the next day to set up an appointment to see you. The earliest you can see him for a consulting appointment is in two weeks, and when Megan breaks the news to him, he nearly chokes on his morning tea.
There wasn’t a logical way to see you sooner. There wasn’t a way to spin it in order for him to pop into your shop, especially considering he still had to sign the final papers to make the house his. How could he explain to you that he hadn’t quite sealed the deal yet, so you’d be decorating a completely hypothetical space? He’d already felt like an idiot in front of you, getting caught snooping around your bookshelves, and he wasn’t too keen on feeling like that around you anytime soon.
So, he waits.
He busies himself with packing up the items he knew he wouldn’t need: small, decorative sculptures, a majority of his books, the picture frames that littered nearly every spare surface of his home, his summer clothing that he knew would be completely unnecessary for at least five more months. Once he gets news that the final papers are ready to sign and the house is his, he cleans every nook and cranny of his current house, figuring it might as well be good to spruce it up for the new owners. He meets old friends for lunch, he takes his mother out for dinner, and he begs his sister to come over for a movie night.
And, of course, he reads. He reads the book you spoke so highly of, immersing himself within the worlds of each character, wondering which one you connected with most. Did you cry at the same parts he did? Did you have the same pit in your stomach that he experienced whenever the subject matter turned particularly dark? He needed to know what happened next, reading late into the night, promising himself he would go to bed after he finished the page he was on, but knowing he wouldn’t stop until he could no longer open his eyes.
The two weeks pass, but they feel more like a month and a half than they do a fortnight.
When the day of the meeting comes around, he peeks into the storefront, smiling at your name on the door. He meanders around your shop after checking in with Megan. She nods when he states his presence - a meek little thing with big brown eyes and a nervous giggle - and notifies you that “Mr. Styles is here,” via the bulky black telephone on her desk. He can feel the girl’s eyes on him as he walks around, recognizing some of the pieces from your website.
“Hi!” your voice echoes from behind him, your heels clicking against the concrete floor.
Harry turns around, fully expecting a normal salutation to escape his lips, but instead, his voice catches in his throat. You’re wholly professional, the version of yourself he saw in the magazine shoots. Cropped black pants with pointed-toe heels, a blazer rolled up to your elbows.
You look like you run the place - which, of course you do.
“How are you?” you ask before kissing his cheek and bringing him in for a hug.
That’s a bit better, he thinks to himself, remembering how previously, you’d greeted Nick more lovingly than you had Harry.
“Good, good,” he takes a step back from you, hoping your perfume had transferred onto him so he could smell you on him later - so he could pretend that reality wasn’t against him and that your scent was stuck to him for reasons other than a professional greeting. “Yourself?”
“Excited!” you clap your hands together. “Before we go back, let’s walk around a bit so you can get a sense of where I’m coming from, design-wise.”
He nods, pretending not to have already extensively researched “where you’re coming from,” and follows you until you stop in front of the mock room setups, pointing out some of your favorite pieces.
“Marble is really in,” you explain, tapping a stone coffee table. “But I try not to overdo it. If you like the look of marble - if you like this exact table, even - this would be the only marble piece I’d choose for whatever room.”
Taking his chin between his thumb and forefinger, Harry nods, inspecting the table and picturing it in his new living room. He likes it. Come to think of it, he liked everything. And it wasn’t just to appease you - there was no reason to like a chair just because you liked it - but he could envision nearly every piece in his new home.
“Just got these lamps in,” you turn one on. “I’m obsessed with them. Might snag them for myself,” you smile, clicking the remaining lamp on.
“How often does that ‘appen?” Harry smirks, raising an eyebrow.
“More often than it should,” you laugh. “I’m on this kick of deep greens, navy blue, and gold. Realize it’s not everyone’s cuppa tea, but if you see anything you like, there will almost always be different colors available,” you fluff a throw pillow, adjusting its position next to another.
Harry nods, imagining what his new place would look like decorated with a darker color scheme. He’d never been one for bold rooms - white was his go-to, with him being more concerned about how comfortable the furniture was instead of the color of the walls. You’d done Nick’s living room in bold, dark colors, and Harry loved it. It was his home, he’d told Harry. It wasn’t just a place he stayed and passed the time until he found somewhere else to live. It somehow felt right, even in the summertime, which Harry had initially worried about after seeing it for the first time. The home had Nick Grimshaw written all over it, and Harry was envious of how easily his best friend’s personality was packaged within every room.
He’d wanted that for himself, and you would be the one to give that to him.
He relishes in watching you work the room. You’re completely in your element, answering a couple of questions from Megan when the girl timidly approaches, letting her know that she was free to take lunch just as soon as your meeting with Harry wrapped up. You thank a middle-aged man for his order when he stops in to retrieve a rug, running to hold the door open for him as he heaves the rolled-up carpet over his shoulder. You make a joke with him as he leaves, winking at him with a smile and a wave of your hand.
Were you always this beautiful, or had Harry neglected to see how effortless your charm was?
No, that couldn’t have been the case. He’d noticed right from the second he laid eyes on you that you were something special; something different.
You lead him to the back of the expansive store, asking him questions about his current living space, wondering what pieces of furniture he wanted to keep and which he wanted to ditch.
“Oh my gosh!” you stop abruptly in the doorway to your office, clutching Harry’s shoulder as your eyes widen. “I didn’t even ask you if you wanted anything to drink! Water, coffee, tea?” you shuffle to the mini-fridge in the corner of the room, opening it and then closing it again. “I’m sorry. So sorry. I jump the gun sometimes. Get excited over the idea of a new space to transform and all that,” you laugh, rolling your eyes at yourself.
“Water would be great, thanks,” Harry smiles. He tries not to touch a hand to where you’d touched his shoulder, but he was worried you’d burned a hole through his shirt, what with how hot the area felt to him now.
He notices the familiar smell when he walks into your office, nodding his head when he sees that you’ve got yet another Diptyque candle burning on top of a filing cabinet - he can tell it’s pomegranate without even reading the label. He inspects the decor, loving the juxtaposition of clean lines set against rustic elements which make the room feel comforting and clean.
You pull out a chair with brightly colored fabric across the cushions, offering it to Harry before placing a bottle of water in front of him and walking to the opposite side of your desk.
“Okay,” you wake your computer up, scooting your chair closer to the screen. “I normally take clients through my portfolio so they can see the spaces I’ve completed, before and after I’ve gotten my hands on them.” You adjust the large monitor so Harry can view the screen as well. “Does that sound alright?”
“Of course,” he rubs his hands on his knees. “Whatever you normally do.”
You click on a file, asking Harry if he could see the screen properly. You show him your bigger projects - cafes and restaurants, along with office buildings - as well as clients who had hired you to renovate their houses. You mention how you tend to be inspired by patterns and colors, along with custom fabric you use to reupholster vintage, antique furniture.
“Do you reupholster them yourself?” he asks.
“The smaller pieces, yeah,” you nod, taking a sip from the cup of tea in front of you. “Like that chair you’re sitting on. I usually spend my free time refurbishing the pieces I find. I’ve done chairs, side tables, desks - all that,” you go on, clicking open a picture of one of your completed pieces. “Stopped doing the big stuff when my schedule got busier. Now, I work with a father-and-son team and they do the couches and loveseats,” you click again, a picture of you and two men sitting on a couch in what seems to be a workshop. “There we are,” you chuckle, quickly moving on to the next picture.
Harry knows that he can’t ask you to go back - what would you think of him if he’d insisted upon you showing him the picture again, just so he could see the way your legs crossed one over the other at the knee; how you smiled so easily, your eyes bright and your arms wrapped around the shoulders of both men. You were happy - genuinely happy - and it was a look you wore well.
“So which pieces from your current place do you want to keep?” you ask, meeting Harry’s eyes when he looks up from his lap. “If any…”
“Thinkin’ maybe,” he pulls at his bottom lip. “I’d wanna start fresh? To keep consistent?”
“Perfect,” you nod, minimizing your portfolio and bringing up a calendar. “Okay then,” you begin, moving the monitor back to its original position. “I’ll need to see your new place before I do any work-ups for you. Is there a time this week I can come and see the space?”
Harry’s heart jumps at the thought, even though your intent is purely professional.
You’d said the words, though.
You wanted to come over to his house. To his place. To his home.
“All I ‘ave is time,” he smiles. “So whatever works for you.”
Two days later, Harry finds himself waiting for you at his new property, the wintery London rain keeping him indoors as he paces back and forth in front of the large window overlooking the drive. It was just like London to rain on such a day - a day that should’ve been filled with bright sun to match the occasion - but he was used to the drizzle, no matter how much he didn’t agree with it.
His phone rings, the vibration in his back pocket causing him to jump. An unknown number flashes on the screen, and when he picks up, he’s surprised to hear your voice on the other line.
“So sorry, Harry!” your plea causes him to smile. You sound different on the phone - your voice is less smooth, but he lets the sound of it was over him, regardless. “I promise I haven’t stood you up! My shoot on the other end of town ran long, but I swear ‘m on my way! The GPS says ten minutes.”
“Don’t worry about it,” he chuckles. “I’ll be here. Drive safe, alright?”
You say you will and apologize again before hanging up. He grins as he looks out the window, biting his lower lip and furthering the dimples in his cheeks.
You’ve got his number saved in your phone.
He’s got your number now.
Whether it was your business phone or your personal phone didn’t matter. He had a direct line to you, and you to him. Knowing that he’d most likely never use it for reasons other than strictly professional, he felt nearly giddy as he saved your number, creating a new contact for you.
When you arrive, he’s surprised to see that it’s in a van with your logo on the side. Why - based on everything he knows about you thus far - is that the thing to make him hard? And why does his stomach flip so dramatically when he sees you step out of the driver’s seat, dressed in a worn-in flannel and jeans with paint splatters on them? You shuffle quickly over to the passenger’s side, shielding your eyes from the rain. When you emerge into sight again, you’ve got your arms full of materials like folders, tape measures, and a ruler. You laugh as you run up to the front door, shielding your papers beneath your plaid shirt.
How was Harry supposed to make it through the afternoon without a full-on stiffy with you looking like that?
“Hi,” he smiles when he opens the door, the security system beeping throughout the empty house.
“Hi!” you jump into the foyer, trying to catch your breath. “I’m so sorry - I hate being late!”
“Not a problem,” Harry assures you, noticing the pencil tucked behind your ear.
“And I’m sorry for looking suck a mess,” you peel your boots off with one hand, clutching your supplies close to your chest with the other. “Just set up a shoot and didn’t want to be even later in the name of looking presentable.”
Harry looks down at his hoodie and torn jeans, his hair flopping down onto his forehead, “Look more presentable than I do,” he chuckles.
You scoff, placing your boots neatly together, just as Harry did at your flat. He smiles at the unnecessary gesture, appreciative that you didn’t even bother ask whether or not he’d prefer you take your shoes off. Not that he’d have a problem either way - you could traipse mud and leaves all over his new home and he’d thank you for it.
“‘ve got the measurements and whatnot,” he explains as the two of you walk into the kitchen. “The original contractor has the blueprints and sent them over so we’d ‘ave ‘em.”
“Great,” you nod, inspecting the cabinetry from afar. “Think today’ll just be me scoping out the rooms, taking some measurements just to double-check,” you run your hands through your hair after setting down your armful of materials onto the counter. “Not that I don’t trust the contractor’s numbers. I’ve got my own system, though. Years of doing this makes me a creature of habit,” you smirk, flipping open a folder labeled STYLES, H. in bold letters. His heart jumps, thinking that you could’ve been the one to write it. “Wanna help me measure?”
“Of course,” he nods - maybe a bit too eagerly - as you reach for your tape measure and clip it onto the back pocket of your jeans.
The two of you walk through the empty house in your socked feet, Harry remaining quiet until you say something. You inspect each room, writing down how many windows are in each, commenting on where some crown molding will need to be replaced, recommending that the carpet be taken up and replaced with real hardwood to give it a more modern feel.
“Which colors are we thinking so far?” you inquire, unclipping the tape measure. Pulling out the free edge, you hand it to Harry, your fingertips touching his while you cock your head to the other side of the room with a smile. He’s frozen for a moment, willing you to reach out and grace your hand over his once more, but he’s snapped out of it by you walking away from him. He follows your lead, walking to the opposite wall from the one you’re standing against, holding the bulky measure down against the floorboard.
“Like the thought of a dark blue for this room,” he looks around, squatting on one knee when he reaches the wall. “Cozy livin’ room ‘n all that.”
“Good, good,” you grin. “Don’t want you to be swayed by my own likes and dislikes, but I promise you it’ll look good.” You make a quick chart with the ruler you’ve brought on the inside flap of the manila folder, muttering something about always needing to have straight lines, no matter if it was written in on an official document or the inside of a folder. It makes Harry smile, the admission of your quirk. “And if not, we can always change it. Paint is easy to change.”
“Don’t think’ll want t’ change it,” Harry assures, walking slowly backwards with the free end of the tape between his fingertips, crouching down once you’ve met him to measure the width of the room. “Whatever you’ve shown me so far, I’ve loved.”
You peek up through the hair that’s fallen down into your eyes as you scribble more numbers onto the folder, smiling at him in a way he forces himself to remember. His heart pounds in his chest - so much so that he hopes you can’t hear it - and he finds it difficult to swallow the lump that’s housed in his throat.
You work easily together as walk through each room, speaking vaguely about the initial ideas both of you had for the house. You don’t try to sell Harry on one idea or another - you offer a suggestion and if he doesn’t like it, you offer another until he’s comfortable. He feels relaxed, especially once you assure him that nothing is set in stone and that your feelings won’t be hurt if he doesn’t like something you suggest. This is his home, you remind him. It’s all up to him.
“What was the shoot about?” Harry asks as you measure the windows in what will eventually be his bedroom.
“Uneven decorating. Odd numbers look better,” you explain, sniffling slightly. “Always want to have one, three, or five of something, unless it’s like a side table or lamps. But anything on a wall - like framed art or pictures - and table decorations like figurines or candles look best when there’s an odd number of them.”
“You allowed to tell me which publication?” he smirks slyly, leaning up against the wall.
You twist your mouth, trying to conceal a smile. You think on it for a second, tucking your pencil back behind your ear. “Promise not to tell?” you reach out with your pinky, a pseudo-stern look on your face.
“Promise,” Harry links his pinky with yours, trying to conceal his smile by keeping his lips pressed tightly together. How could he say no to a pinky-promise imposed by a gorgeous woman? There were laws against it, he thinks.
“I’m serious!” you scoff, dropping your hand to your side. “I’ll know it was you if you say anything. If you even mention it to anyone - especially Nicholas Grimshaw - I’ll never speak to you again.”
He clears his throat, rubbing his nose twice. He closes his eyes, forcing himself to wear the same stern look you’re sporting. When he opens his eyes, you’re still staring at him intently.
“Swear,” he nods.
“And then you’ve gone and broken a pinky promise, too. Which in my books…” you raise your eyebrows and shake your head with a twitch of your pointer finger in front of you. “It’s HGTV Magazine. From the US.”
“That’s like a major TV channel there, innit?”
“Yeah,” you nod slowly, your eyes widening at the thought. “Now they’ve got magazines. And paint. And furniture. And decor. ‘ve got the market cornered over there. Huge, huge company. Like…massive.”
“And you’ve never been featured in the States, ‘ave you?”
“No,” you nearly whisper.
“That’s a big fuckin’ deal, then!”
“Guess so,” you chuckle, running your hands through your hair. “Thanks for that.”
“Absolutely,” Harry laughs, knocking your shoulder with his knuckles. “Congratulations. It really is a huge deal.”
He knew you were successful, but hearing about how you set up the studio to look like a living room today and would be going back tomorrow in order to get your portrait taken in the room makes him realize just how successful you are. A four-page spread, including an interview on how you’d taken London by storm and your influences would be seen within the American market soon. Their words, not yours, you assured Harry.
As the two of you walk through the rooms on the second floor, he asks how you started within the industry. You explain to him that you went to school to be a financial advisor and specialized in small business accounts. You were a pencil-pusher, you told Harry, and you were stuck in an office all day long. You’d spend your weekends refurbishing antique furniture, finding that you’d had a knack for it. It made you happy - so happy that it was the only thing that got you through the monotony of your work week. Although you loved your clients and always enjoyed the pride that came with their wins, you weren’t especially happy in your job. Something had to change.
After agreeing that all of the light fixtures upstairs would have to be replaced, you went on to talk about how even though you saw how much stress your clients were under running their own businesses, you couldn’t shake the feeling of wanting to begin your own business.
“Put my life savings into my first shop,” you flick off the hallway bathroom’s light. “I was eating Ramen nearly every night. Went without electricity in my apartment for a week because I didn’t ‘ave enough money to pay for lights at the store and lights at home,” you laugh. “Feels like such a long time ago…”
You started out selling furniture and other decor items. It was tough, but little by little, you made progress. Eventually, one of your regular customers asked if you were interested in working with her as an interior design consultant for her company. It helped get your name out, and soon you were redesigning spaces for people you could’ve never imagined.
Harry admires how smart and brave you are - he can understand how scary it is to go it alone without knowing the results. He was going through it right now. He was in a more privileged position, sure, but he was still unsure of what the future held, and he could appreciate how much courage it took to start over. It made him look at you in a different light - a light that allowed him to see the struggle you’d gone through, working you way from nothing to one of the best in your field. He’d envied the confidence that you sported when it came to your work and wondered if he, himself, would ever feel that.
Once you’re finished taking down all of the information you need, you follow Harry back downstairs.
“Still raining,” you frown, gathering all of your materials. “Does wonders for the hair.” You pretend to flip it over your shoulders. The natural state of it brought out by the weather makes Harry want you all the more.
“Ye’ look great.”
You tut, rolling your eyes a bit, but thank him nonetheless. “So, ‘ve got to take off,” you state, your body language pulling you back to the foyer. “But I really am so excited to get started on the mockups,” you hop a little. “It’s a beautiful space and we can start from scratch, which is when I have most of my fun.”
“‘m excited too,” Harry smiles.
“‘ll have Megan call you when I’m done with the renderings,” you slip your boots back on. “Should take no longer than a week. So count on next Thursday?”
“Yeah,” he nods. “And congratulations again on the magazine - really is a big deal.”
You tilt your head to the side, all of your features softening. “Thank you, Harry,” you smile coyly. You squeeze him a bit as you hug goodbye, the materials in your arms pressed between the two of you creating a barrier that Harry would rather be without. “I had fun today.”
“I did, too.”
He watches you run to your work van, leaping over a particularly large puddle. He laughs to himself as you struggle with your keys before unlocking the driver’s door, diving into the vehicle with a sigh that he can’t see. He watches as you push your mussed-up hair back, noticing him standing in the front window. You wave with a knowing smile before turning on the engine and backing out of the drive.
It’s that smile - that sly smirk - that pushes Harry over the edge that night.
He didn’t want to touch himself, but he’d been rock hard ever since he saw how beautiful your ass looked in your paint-splattered work jeans as you ran to the car. He didn’t want to defile you in his mind as he stroked himself in the shower, water running down his shoulders and back as he faced away from the spray. He didn’t want to moan your name as his balls tightened, the images of you naked and begging for him littering his mind to the point of no return.
But, he did.
He had to.
Nobody would know - it would be his secret - but if he didn’t jack off to the thought of you, he was sure he’d lose his damn mind.
He pictures you sporting the same upturn of your lips from earlier as you ride him, your flannel from that day still on, yet unbuttoned to reveal your breasts as you grind down against him. You know what you do to him, and your smile tells all. He imagines how beautiful you’d sound as he gripped your hips, slowing your movements to nearly a stop while he pushes up into you, groaning at the gasp you give him in return.
He’d never wanted to be inside someone as much as he wanted to be inside you. He wants to feel your breath against his ear, his name across your lips, your fingertips gripping his shoulders. He wants to know what you taste like - sweet, probably, like the candles you burn. He wants to know how warm you are; how wet he can make you by just the touch of his lips to yours. He wants to hear your moan - feel it vibrate down his cock while he’s in your mouth, that gorgeous pout of yours wrapped around the head of him.
He wants it all, but he can’t have it, so his hand will have to do.
A part of him feels guilty when he cums on the shower wall, his splotchy vision and ringing ears indicating that he gave in too quickly. But, fuck. What was a man supposed to do? You’d smelled so good; your stories never bored him; you were becoming a global success and you’d accepted to work with him.
And your ass? In those jeans?
He was done before he ever began, as far as that was concerned.
He walks out of the shower on shaky legs, a white bath towel wrapped loosely around his waist. Sitting down on the edge of the bed, he takes his head in his hands and grunts.
“Fuck’r you on, Styles?” he asks himself.
He leans back onto the covers, his feet dangling off the edge of his bed that he’ll soon replace with another one, based upon your recommendation. He falls asleep that way - sleeps deeply, too, his hair wet and his towel coming undone after he shifts slightly in his slumber. It’s a deep sleep, one that doesn’t produce a memory of a dream, and Harry is thankful for that.
He doesn’t think he could take another night of dreaming of you.
Not if he wasn’t able to turn those dreams into a reality so that his mind could stop wandering day in and day out…
Not if he wasn’t able to get what he wanted…
Not if, he knows, he wasn’t able to make you his.