River woke up early the next morning to Harry sprawled out on the bed beside her, his arm draped over her lazily and his bare torso stark against her dark sheets.
She smiled, remembering immediately the events of the night before. She still felt the warmth of it all, even though it had been hours before. The memory of his lips on hers and his hands all over her made her feel like giggling. It had been everything she'd always expected and so much more. He'd been so gentle and caring, making sure it was everything she wanted it to be, and it had ended up being so much more than she even could've imagined.
Harry stirred beside her, his eyes fluttering open and catching her staring. He grinned, pulling her close with the arm that was already around her. She planted kisses all over his face, making him laugh quietly.
"Don't try and distract me from the fact that you were just staring at me like a proper creep," he said, his voice raspy and dry with sleep. She laughed with him, shaking her head.
"I'm not ashamed," she told him, and he smiled again, catching her lips with his.
"Good," he mumbled, tickling her ribs playfully and making her giggle.
A few hours later, it was time for him to go. He packed his things and kissed her hard before making his way to the door. She followed him, wrapping her arms around him in a tight hug one last time. He hugged her back, holding her close and kissing her temple.
"I'll miss you," she told him, and he sighed.
"I'll miss you more."
He kissed her slowly and softly, in that way of his that made her feel like they were the only two people in the world and nothing else mattered.
"I'll text when I can and call you when I land," he told her, and she nodded.
She wanted to say more, to tell him for the millionth time how much he meant to her, but the words wouldn't come out. Instead, tears rose in her eyes and he reached up and touched her cheek gently.
"None of that. We'll see each other again soon, I promise. I'm not sure when, but it'll be soon," he told her, and she nodded again.
He kissed her one more time, his lips lingering on hers for a few long moments. Eventually, he pulled away and picked up his things from the floor behind him, turning the doorknob slowly.
"Bye, Haz," she whispered, and he smiled.
"Bye, Angel," he replied, and she closed the gap between them to kiss him again. He smiled into it, sloppily smooching her cheek as she went to pull away and making her laugh.
Without another word, he stepped out into the hallway. She watched him until he got to the end of it, and he sent her a small wave before stepping into the elevator.
River stepped back into her quiet apartment, immediately able to almost physically feel his absence. It felt silly; he'd only been there a week, which was no time at all. It was ridiculous that she'd already become so completely accustomed to having him around, but she had and she already missed him.
She ventured into the bedroom, grinning when she saw his hoodie and soft gray sweatpants folded neatly at the end of the bed. There was a note folded on top of them and she plucked it up, perching on the bed.
"Call me cheesy or whatever you will but I thought you might like to borrow these while I'm gone. You are so unbelievably strong, River. Just remember that. Call me if you need me (and even if you don't), and I'll see you very soon, lovey.
She picked her phone up off her nightstand to thank him for the gesture, but was immediately distracted by an influx of texts from Jasmine's best friend, Nadine. The three of them had grown up together and while Nadine had always been just that little bit closer to Jasmine, she'd been a very good friend of River's, too. Until Jasmine was gone, that is.
After that, River was pretty sure Nadine partially blamed her just like their parents did. She hadn't heard from Nadine at all in months. At first she'd forced herself to check on Riv now and then out of courtesy, but that hadn't really lasted very long.
This... isn't you, right? Because it definitely looks like you.
The text was accompanied by a link to an article, and River clicked on it and gasped audibly a second later. It led to a write-up on a gossip site that, sure enough, had her picture plastered across the top with the headline: 'Harry Styles' Late Night Rendezvous With Mystery Girl'.
The two of them were sitting on a park bench in the photo, wide smiles on both of their faces. It was pitch black outside other than small lamps that lined the path in the park. This was the very reason they'd only really ventured out of the apartment at night, and apparently it hadn't even worked. River couldn't bring herself to actually read the article and went back to Nadine's texts.
The next five messages were links to different articles. River clicked on each one, looked at a version of the same photo, and went back without reading those articles either.
It's totally you, isn't it? What. The. Fuck?
River sighed, tossing the phone onto the bed and collapsing backwards so that she was looking up at the ceiling. It made her ridiculously nervous that apparently the entire world had seen her face now, and she couldn't even pretend that it didn't. Obviously, she knew that if she was going to be associated with him in any way, there was a damn good chance she'd end up in papers and on blogs. With him being who he was, there wasn't really any way around it. She just... hadn't expected it to happen so soon.
The thought of it all made her stomach turn and she desperately wished Harry was there.