Before River even really had a chance to process what was happening, there was a knock at her door. An irrational part of her brain hoped it was Harry, even though she was sure it wasn't. She made her way to the door and peered through the peephole, rolling her eyes dramatically when it was Nadine on the other side of the door, moving back and forth impatiently.
"I know you're in there, Riv!" Nadine called, and River rolled her eyes again and sighed heavily before swinging the door open. Nadine burst in at once, firing a million questions a minute.
"What the fuck? Is that really you? Is it really Harry Styles? How the fuck did you meet him? Are you dating? Do you know how pissed your sister would be at you?"
She made to keep going, but River threw a hand in the air at the mention of Jasmine.
"Seriously? How pissed she'd be at me? First of all, she was a fan of Harry Styles, not his girlfriend and therefore wouldn't give a shit even if I was dating him. Second, how do you think she'd feel about the fact that you haven't so much as sent me a text in like three months to make sure I was still alive?" River threw back at her, much angrier than she would've expected to be. Nadine's mouth snapped shut and she seemed to think hard on River's words.
"I... I'm sorry. I just saw the articles and I was curious," Nadine said finally, and River rolled her eyes yet again.
"Fine. To answer your other barrage of questions: yes it's really Harry Styles, yes it's really me, no we're not dating, I met him pretty much by accident. Feel better?" she asked, and Nadine thought about it.
"I do, but I feel like the photographers outside probably have their own questions," she said, and River's eyes went wide.
"Photographers? Fuck," she said, marching to the other side of the living room and trying her best to look down at the sidewalk.
"There's already photos on Twitter of him leaving your building," Nadine said from behind her. River turned, glancing at the phone Nadine was holding out. "They're saying outright that this is his 'mystery girl's' building."
"Fuck," River repeated, shaking her head.
"You had to know this would happen. He's... well, he's Harry Styles, Riv."
At that moment almost as if on cue, River's phone rang in her jeans pocket. A silly photo she'd taken of Harry a few days before flashed across the screen and Nadine's eyes went wide. She stepped from the room and answered quietly.
"I'm so sorry," were the first words out of his mouth. "I honestly had no idea anyone had even really seen me, and now... now there's fucking paps outside your building and your face is all over and I'm sorry," he said, sounding stressed.
"It's alright. Really," River told him, trying to keep her own panic from sneaking into her tone.
"No, it's not. I know it's not," Harry said quietly, and she shrugged even though he couldn't see her.
"I'll deal with it. I'll just stay here for a few days and they'll lose interest and it'll be fine," she told him, and he sighed.
"I'm sorry, angel," he whispered, sounding tired.
"It's alright, Haz. Seriously," she assured him, becoming aware for the first time of the obvious airport noise around him.
"Come to London with me," he said after a pause, and she immediately started to protest. He interrupted her. "No, seriously. Come with me."
"Harry, I can't. I have to go back to work..." she said, and she knew her voice was betraying her words. In reality, she really did want to go with him. She didn't care about details, didn't care about anything. She just wanted to be with him. She knew it was irrational and probably a little silly, but it didn't matter.
"Please, Riv. Come with me. You can stay with me and come hang out at the studio. I want to show you where I come from and my mum is dying to meet you. She doesn't quite believe you're real because of the way we met, I don't think," he told her, and she was a little shocked about the fact that he'd gone as far as telling his mum about her.
"You know there's probably even more photographers waiting to follow us around in London, right?" she asked, and he made a noise in the back of his throat.
"I know, but at least that way I'd be there with you, to protect you. I want you with me, Riv. I want to spend more time with you. A week was nowhere near enough," he told her, and she smiled despite herself. If she was being honest, her mind was made up. She was going with him, of course she was. She wasn't sure why she kept arguing with him and herself.
"Okay," she said simply, and he coughed out a small laugh.
"Yeah, okay," she said, diving in. She had no idea if it was the right decision, but all she could think about was Jasmine. She'd wanted her to do new things and take risks, and she couldn't think of anything that fit that more perfectly than flying to a foreign country to be with someone she met online.
"My plane is about to leave but I'll book you a flight for sometime very soon," he said, and she could hear him talking quietly to someone with him.
They talked for a few more moments, excitement and nervousness building up inside her. She felt like she'd been possessed by someone much more exciting and brave than herself. It was a strange feeling, but also so ridiculously invigorating. They hung up with him telling her how excited he was and how he couldn't wait to see her.
She stepped back out into the living room with a huge grin on her face that she couldn't manage to get rid of. Nadine stared at her slack-jawed like she was expecting an explanation. River didn't give her one. Instead, she just sat down quietly on the couch and flipped on the TV.
"You're really not going to tell me anything?" Nadine asked, and River shrugged.
"Not really," she told her nonchalantly.
Nadine huffed, stalking out of the apartment and slamming the door behind her. River smiled again, not able to think of anything other than the excitement of knowing she was going to see Harry again soon.