Chasing Melody (A Harry Styles Fan fiction) - Chapter 1

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I’d been watching the sad boy for almost two hours.

Not the whole two hours, obviously—I’m not a stalker. But in between pouring beers and washing out dirty glasses, I’d glance over at the end of the bar and look at him.

I couldn’t see his face, really. He had a black hoodie pulled over his hair, hiding the top of his forehead and half of his cheeks. He clutched his beer mug with his left hand, revealing tattooed letters on the outside of his wrist, but I couldn’t quite make out what they said from the other side of the bar.

He’d been nursing the same drink since he got here at 1:00 am. I know, since I’m the bartender. And Iggy’s wasn’t the sort of place where you only bought one drink, not on karaoke night. People needed their liquid courage.

Thursday nights at Iggy’s were always crazy. We weren’t the best karaoke bar in town, but we were the oldest. That had to count for something. I liked Karaoke Thursdays. It was sweaty and loud and people danced like they were at a swanky club in the Meatpacking District instead of a dive on the Lower East Side. I made my best tips on Thursdays, and sometimes folks would throw me a few extra bucks just for singing. My go-to was Bjork’s It’s, Oh, So Quiet—it was weird and quirky and fun. Like me, before I’d come to this city. It was the only pop song I knew. I was a jazz and opera kinda girl.

I glanced over at the sad boy again. Why had he come here, of all places? If I wanted to go be depressed somewhere, I’d have found a small Irish pub with a grandfatherly bartender who doubled as a therapist. There were plenty of those in New York.

I sighed. At twenty-three and female, I was far from grandfatherly, but I would do my part as bartender-slash-psychoanalyst.

I brought over a fresh pitcher of beer and set it beside his half-empty glass.

He didn’t look up. “I didn’t order this."

Oh my God. His voice ran through me like a bolt of lightning.

He was British. I swear, I’m like one of those idiotic American girls from Love Actually, fawning over the slightest English accent. I could listen to him say “I didn’t order this” all day long.

Collecting myself, I smiled, a friendly, your-accent-doesn’t-affect-me smile. “It’s on me. Here.” I topped off his mug.

“Thanks.”

I leaned against the back counter. “You want to talk about it?” I asked.

His hand tightened around his glass. Now I could read the tattoo on his wrist. I can’t change, it read.

“Talk about what?”

I shivered. That voice. Shrugging with forced nonchalance, I said, “You’re sitting at a bar alone, and you’ve only had one drink, so you’re probably not an alcoholic. I figure there’s something wrong.”

He swirled the amber liquid in his glass, saying nothing.

I’d tried my best. After two years of bartending, I’d learned that some people liked to talk, some people didn’t. I didn’t take it personally, although I’d miss hearing his pretty accent. “Suit yourself.” I turned and headed for the cash register.

“Wait!”

I straightened in surprise, twisting my neck over my shoulder to look back at him.

He tugged on the cord of his hoodie. “I’m sorry. It’s been a rough couple of weeks. I wasn’t trying to be rude.”

I took a couple steps in his direction. “You weren’t being rude. I was intruding. You don’t have to talk if you don’t want to.”

“I want to.”

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