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The next week felt like it passed in the blink of an eye

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The next week felt like it passed in the blink of an eye. Harry and River spent most of their time either in her apartment or exploring the city after dark when it was easier for him to slip past people unnoticed, and all it did was prove to her even further that she was falling for him.

She couldn't believe she'd told him everything about her sister, and she couldn't believe he'd handled it as graciously as he had and with such open arms. Over their week spent together, she'd confided in him even more than she already had; talking him through the depths of her mental issues, telling him how most of the time she felt like she was in a deep gray ocean all by herself, how she felt like she was drowning all alone, and how she felt like her sister had been her only rescue in those situations. He listened quietly, interjecting with his own experiences and feelings where he saw fit.

He confided in her too, answering every question she'd ever had about One Direction or his life, or anything else. As it turned out, they shared quite a few of the same issues, although his weren't as in control of his life as hers were. He was nothing like the image she'd had in her head of him, and although she'd realized that with the first conversation she'd had with him on the phone, spending a week straight with him really cemented it. He was nothing like the media perception of him.

He was shy and quiet and introverted and so unbelievably relatable and sweet. In those moments they spent quietly lying next to each other in her bed, candles lighting the room dimly into the wee hours of the morning, he wasn't famous. He wasn't some sort of celebrity. Like he'd said to her before, he was just Harry, and just Harry was absolutely wonderful. He was a light in the darkness, a reminder that everything could and would be alright.

On the night before he was to leave, he cooked for her again. The meal was delicious of course, and afterwards they posted themselves on the couch much like they had the first night. They didn't have wine this time to give them liquid courage, but it didn't matter.

River arranged herself between his long legs, leaning back onto his chest and he held her tightly, sighing contentedly. She fiddled with the rings on one of his hands mindlessly, a habit she'd almost immediately picked up, along with lightly tracing the outlines of his tattoos.

"Angel?" he questioned quietly. He's started calling her the fond nickname almost constantly and it made her feel warm inside in a way she wasn't sure she ever had.

"Mm?"

"I don't want to leave tomorrow," he told her, and she shook her head lightly.

"I don't want you to either, but you have to be in the studio the day after," she reminded him, and he nodded.

"I know. I just... I wish you could come," he said, and she nodded back.

By complete coincidence, she was going back to work the day after the next too. She'd taken time off, probably too much, after her sister's passing. Her parents had taken care of her, but it was time for her to be completely on her own again and so she was returning to her job at a small record store.

"Me too, but... we'll still talk, right?" she asked, sudden fear surging through her. What if... what if they didn't? In such a short amount of time he'd absolutely become her rock and... he shushed her lightly before she could spiral any further, obviously detecting it.

"Of course we will," he said, intertwining his long fingers with hers. "Of course we'll still talk, lovey."

"Hazza, I..." she trailed off, not totally sure how to say what she wanted to. It was the first time saying something to him embarrassed her. She wanted to tell him how she felt, that she was falling for him fast and hard. She wanted to tell him what he meant to her, but the words seemed stuck in her throat. She felt her cheeks burn with a blush and he pulled his legs from around her, moving himself so that he was sitting on the other end of the couch looking at her, his eyes soft.

"What is it?" he asked quietly, taking her hand again and squeezing. "Tell me."

"I think... I just..." she sputtered and he grinned. She had a feeling he knew exactly what she was trying to say, but he stayed quiet anyway, watching to see if she was going to finish. She tried again but only managed to stumble on a few more words that didn't make any sense.

"Me too," he said quietly, smiling. "I know what you're trying to say, and I want you to know that I feel the same way. I don't... I haven't been so comfortable and fully myself around anyone in a very long time and I feel the exact same way you do, whether we put it into specific words right now or not," he told her, his voice resolute and firm.

She smiled back at him, deciding impulsively in the moment to take a chance. She leaned forward, wrapping her arms around his neck. His own arms snaked slowly around her back and she gazed at him lovingly for just a moment before pressing her lips gently onto his. He kissed her back at once, and it was like nothing she'd ever felt before. She'd always thought kisses described as 'electric' were cheesy, but that's exactly what she felt.

He kissed her slowly and meticulously, like he was trying to make sure they both got the absolute most out of it. He was a damn good kisser, better than anyone else she'd kissed by far. She all but melted into him and he made a small noise of approval in the back of his throat.

She broke the kiss a moment later, standing and reaching for his hand. He looked at her questioningly, cocking his head off to the side.

"Are you sure?" he whispered, and as he looked up at her with his bright eyes sparkling in the dim light and his plump lips swollen just slightly from their kiss, he was almost completely irresistible.

She nodded and he stood with her, pulling her close and looking at her intensely.

"I don't want you to do anything you don't want to. I... we don't have to," he told her, and she nodded.

She was a virgin and he knew it. When she'd first told him, he'd asked why and she'd simply told him it was just because she'd never found anyone who felt worth it. In that moment as she looked up at him, she'd never been more sure about anything than she was about the fact that he was completely 100% worth it.

"I'm sure," she whispered, grinning and standing on her tiptoes to kiss him again. He smiled into the kiss and picked her up. She wrapped her legs around his waist and kissed down his jawline and neck as he carried her to the bedroom.

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