Two grueling hours. That's how long it had taken Sueda to get ready for Zayn's party. No outfit or hairstyle seemed to quite do the trick; and she wanted to be dressed to impress. All of her clothes seemed to scream 'boring college student,' and the Michigan humidity was cruel to her tresses. It seemed to be taking forever to prepare, and time was running out. They would surely be late.
At long last, Loreta had pulled out some last minute stops to assist Sueda in "sexing it up," as she had put it. Sueda had admittedly never felt as much like a girly-girl as she did tonight, fawning over perfect make-up and clothing the way that she had.
"Stop it. You look fine," Loreta growled as the trio approached the threshold of Zayn's co-op. Sueda had been fixing her hair in what she thought was an undetectable manner. Loreta, however, had eyes in the back of her damn head.
"I want his friends to like me," Sueda muttered. Zayn had never really had many friends in high school, so this was brand new territory.
"Everybody likes you, Sueda," Luke droned as he exhaled heavily in a sigh. Great. Even he was irritated by her perfectionism.
"I feel silly," Sueda argued, looking down at the dress she had borrowed from Loreta. The plunging neckline and hiked skirting left very little to the imagination.
"You look awesome," Loreta declared. "Now ring the damn door bell."
Sueda nervously stepped onto the porch. She could hear the music blaring inside, wondering what Zayn's definition of a 'small kind of party' was. Surely there would be all sorts of reckless college students, looking for a last hurrah before classes began in two days.
Just as she raised a tentative finger to press the bell, the door swung open. Out came two guys she did not recognize, as well as the curly man Zayn had been sitting with at the bar.
"Sueda!" he announced happily. She was surprised he knew her name. "And you two must be Loreta and Luke."
"That'd be us," Luke agreed.
"Hey – HEY – I said you have to go around the other side of the garage!" Zayn's friend yelled in the direction of the people he had emerged with. They were huddled at the end of the deck. "Last thing a goddamn Hot member of a boyband needs is a couple of kids smoking a doobie on his front porch."
The two guys laughed good-naturedly, but nonetheless did as they were told and disappeared around the far corner of the house.
"Sorry about that," he told Sueda. "Had to bring them outside before they lit that shit up in my kitchen."
She smiled hesitantly.
"I'm Harry Styles," he said at last, reaching his free hand out to shake. The other held a beer.
"Sueda," she announced, taking the proffered hand. "But I guess you already knew that."
"Only because I've heard such great things." He winked and grinned. "Nice to officially meet you. Come inside! Zayn's been wondering where you are." With that, he chivalrously pulled the door open and held it for the three new guests.
Loreta leaned close to Sueda, linking an arm through hers. "See? Nothing to worry about," she whispered giddily.
Sueda smiled. Right. Nothing to worry about. Harry had been quite gracious and welcoming…Hopefully the remainder of Zayn's friends would be just as warm and friendly.
The party was much larger than Sueda had anticipated based on Zayn's description. It appeared that around every corner was a new group of faces she had not yet seen. Harry was leading them through the crowd of people into the kitchen. And there Zayn stood, next to a refreshment table; he was hard to miss in Sueda's eyes, for he was easily the most attractive man in the house. He wore a blue button-down shirt, which brought out his piercing eyes even more than usual.