Thursday came around slowly with nothing eventful happening during the week, and to be honest I was kind of thankful for it. All the drama of last week and my date on Saturday had put me behind on my work so I had a lot to catch up on. Harry and Louis seemed to be getting on better with Liam and Niall now that they had all been working on their performance together, and while I obviously hadn't forgotten what they had done to me, you could see in Harry's eyes that he had missed them and was happy to be on better terms with them.
On a brighter note, Jared had only gotten even more perfect than I thought was possible as the week had gone on. We had spoken for hours into the night every day, and he sounded up for coming on a double date with Harry and Taylor which was nice. I had tried multiple times to get Harry to tell me where we were going but he always seemed to get distracted before he had a chance to say and by Thursday lunchtime, he still hadn't told me which was cutting it a bit close since I needed to tell Jared so we could sort out pick up times.
"Tay, do you know where we're going to dinner tonight?" I asked casually as she sat down next to me with her tray. She spooned a forkful of rice into her mouth and shook her head with a shrug. I couldn't help but think that it seemed a bit odd that he hadn't told her considering how 'perfect' he had said this place was. As if on cue, Harry and Louis joined us at the table and I decided he was going to tell us now.
"Harry! Just the person I wanted to see!" I said brightly. He turned his head to me and grinned widely, although I could tell from the way he raised his eyebrows he was surprised, "Have you got the time to talk, I really need to ask you something?" No way was he getting out of this with another excuse like not having the time.
"I'm all ears, is something wrong?" He said leaning in and I heard a hint of concern in his voice.
"No, everything's fine, I'm just texting Jared and he wants to know where we're going tonight." Harry's face dropped and he leant back in his chair and reached for his sandwich to take a bite.
"Bloody hell Selena, I thought there was something actually wrong with Kendall or Jared or-"
"Why would you have thought there was something wrong with Jared?" I interjected quickly, matching his defensive tone.
"I don't know, I just thought you actually needed me for something." His eyes flicked to Louis and then back at me. There was a hint of resentment in his voice but his face was unreadable to me.
"It's so cute when you're concerned over your friends Harry!" Taylor cooed as she stroked his hand. He looked at her with what I thought was a forced smile, before she removed her hand and continued, "So where are we going tonight? We need to know how nicely were supposed to dress!" she laughed but Harry didn't, I actually thought that I could see panic in his eyes instead. What the hell was going on with him this week?
He abrupty pulled his phone from his pocket and put it to his ear and spoke into it for a few seconds before getting up and leaving the room to take his phone call.
"Well, that was weird," I said, watching him as he left, looking at Louis and Taylor. Taylor just shrugged and carried on eating her dinner but Louis gave me a look that said he thought it was really odd as well.
A few minutes later, Harry came back with a smile on his face and sat back down in his seat looking smug and continued eating his food. I waited for a second before pressing him again.
"So... where are we going H?" He looked at me calmly with a smile, his entire demeanour had changed.
"Oh, sorry, I forgot that we were talking before, that was actually the restaurant confirming our table for tonight, which is why I had to step outside because it's too loud to hear in here," He explained unnecessarily, "We're going to Pablo's Place."
"Ok..." I said suspiciously, but decided not to press the fact that he was being odd, "Well, I'll let Jared know, and we'll see you guys there?"
"Perfect!" Harry said with a smug smile.
I had forgotten all about Harry once I had gotten home, and I was still not ready when Jared arrived at six. The doorbell dinged and my heart jumped into my throat from nerves. He had insisted on meeting my parents this time when I rang to tell him where we were going for dinner, and after much debate I had finally relented. I shouted that I would get it, raced down the stairs to make sure that I got to the door first, smoothed down my hair and opened the door calmly.
"Hey, you," Jared flashed me a smile that I swear would have left me feeling on the floor if I hadn't been holding onto the doorframe.
"Jared, Hey! You look good!" I tried to keep my voice level as I smiled at him and looked him up and down. He was wearing a black coat with a green scarf and blue jeans, simple but effective. We stood on the step for a few more seconds before he laughed awkwardly.
"I can go and drive around the block if you really don't want me to meet your parents? I just felt kind of rude last time, that's all ." He said, reaching out and pushing a fly-away piece of hair behind my ear. I hesitated for a moment and then mirrored his smile.
"Not at all, we can say hello to my mum and then you can come upstairs with me and watch TV while I finish my make up." His grin grew wider as I moved my arm aside and he stepped into my house, just as my mother walked into the hallway from the living room. She was grinning at me like a cheshire cat and it was possibly the most embarrassing thing ever.
"Hello Mrs. Gomez, I'm Jared." he said confidently, extending a hand for my mother to shake. She smiled up at him warmly and took it as he continued, "You're house is beautiful."
"Call me Mandy!" she said as she let go of his hand and stepped back to look him up and down with an excited laugh, "Blimey, you're tall! You've got about a foot on our little Lena!" I felt my face flush red, but Jared just laughed back, put his arm over my shoulder and pulled me gently towards him affectionately.
"That's why I think Selena was just looking for an excuse to say hello when she walked into me, at six foot four I'm hard to miss!" he chuckled and then looked down at me, "I'm very glad she did though." I smiled and looked at the floor sheepishly.
"Aw!" my mum cooed, "Anyway, I'll leave you kids to it, Jared it was lovely to meet you, I am very impressed!" she said with a wink in my direction, before walking down the hall and into the kitchen.
I lightly took hold of Jared's hand and led him up the stairs and into my bedroom. He sat on my bed, removing his coat to reveal a blue jumper, and looked around in, what I presumed, was awe at my neatly lined bookcases and simple decor. I sat back down at my vanity table, and he scooted around to the side of the bed to talk to me as I added the finishing touches to my make up.
"Your mum is really nice." He said warmly.
"Well you made a good impression, I'm slightly worried about how much practice you've actually had at the whole 'meet the parents' thing!" I joked as I searched for my eyeliner in my eye makeup basket.
"You don't have to worry about that, I've only ever had one girlfriend before you." He said, grabbing one of my stuffed animals off of my pillows and stroking its soft fur, before I could ask him any more questions he changed the subject, "So, who are we having dinner with tonight, just so I don't look like a prick when I don't know anything about them?"
"Ok, Taylor is the best friend in the whole wide world and Harry is the guy she's dating." I said as I drew winged liner onto both of my eyes.
"Ok, Taylor and Harry. Got it, what are they into, music, sports...?" he said with a smile. I couldn't help but feel pleased that he was making such an effort to make tonight work.
"Taylor is really into her music, liked the standard stuff that they play on the radio, and she writes her own songs! Harry plays rugby, he's the captain of the under eighteens team at school. He's only really just started hanging out with us, but he seems like a great guy." Jared nodded, taking in the information and storing it away for later. I swiped on a layer of a neutral pink toned liquid lipstick, threw Jared the TV remote and stood from the table. I walked over to my closet and pulled out the two outfits I was debating between, inspecting them from head to toe trying to work out which one would suit the occasion more. I decided on the black top and brown skirt with thermal tights and slipped into the bathroom to get ready. I fixed my hair and checked over my outfit one last time before stepping back into the badroom. Jared was lying back on my bed watching the TV when I came back in.
I watched as his eyes flicked from the TV to me, back to the TV and then back to me, where they rested. He sat up straight and turned to face me, a small smile dancing on his lips as he stood up.
"What do you think?" I said nervously, doing a little twirl for him to see from all angles.
"You look amazing!" He whispered and took a step toward me and held out his hand for me to come closer. I blushed and took his hand so that he could link his fingers through my own and pull me closer. He leant down, pressed his lips gently to mine and I felt myself melting into him. I didn't know if I would ever get used to this feeling, and part of me hoped that I wouldn't.
"Taylor just text, Harry was running a little late, so she said to just go in and get the table," I said as we pulled into the carpark a few streets over from the restaurant. We got out of the car and I instantly wished that I had brought a thicker coat with me as the night's cold was beginning to settle in. I shivered and Jared looked at me with a laugh as he reached up, without hesitation, and removed his scarf. He stepped in front of me to wrap it around my neck and as he did pulled me closer for one last quick peck on the lips. Then he linked his fingers back through my own and we carried on walking toward the restaurant. We turned around the corner and both hesitated.
"Is this where we're meant to be?" Jared asked me, raising an eyebrow at the 'restaurant' before us.
"I think so?" I said, mirroring his nervous tone at the sight. Pablo's looked more like a bar than a restaurant, it had harsh purple neon lights lining the windows and the sign, which was flickering on and off. Jared held the door open for me and we walked inside cautiously and were greeted by a very odd smell and raspy music. The room was dim, and as we walked over to the host I felt my shoes sticking to the floor.
"Hi, we have a reservation under Styles?" I said as I glanced nervously around the room, there was a bar at one end, where a few older burly men were sat and a couple that looked like they needed a good wash were playing pool. I moved in closer to Jared, trying not to touch anything as the host led us to our table. As we slid into the booth, I gagged when I touched the table and had to peel my hand away. The host left four menus at the end of the table and walked away, leaving me and Jared, looking at one another in disgust.
"What the fuck is this place?" Jared said, screwing his nose up as he wiped something off of the table with a napkin, "You said Harry picked this place? Are you sure he meant here?" I shrugged as I pulled some hand sanitiser out of my bag and handed it to him.
"He must have! There was a reservation under his name!" I muttered back, placing my hands in my lap wishing I was back in the little restaurant that Jared had taken me to on Saturday. I looked over at the door and saw Taylor and Harry as they walked in. Taylor was dressed in a cute jumper and jeans with boots, while Harry was dressed in a black t-shirt, a khaki coloured jacket, jeans and boots, his long hair tied in a man-bun. Taylor's eyebrows were raised and even Harry looked a bit uncomfortable. I waved when Taylor saw me and she walked over, a smile forced across her face, Harry walking behind her looking expressionlessly at Jared.
"Hey S! Sorry we're late!" She gave me a small wave from the end of the table and then turned to Jared, "Hey I'm Taylor and this is Harry!" She tried her best to conceal her disgust at the place with a bright smile and a cheerful tone.
"Hey, Jared, good to meet you Taylor!" He said with a smile, as he stood up and gave her a hug, and then turned to Harry and extended his hand to Harry, "Harry, nice to meet you! Selena has told me so much about you both." Harry shook his hand with a nod and then took a seat next to Taylor who had slid in opposite me. Taylor reached for one of the menus, but on touching it she instantly let go with a squeal.
"Oh my god, Harry! Why would you suggest this place? It's gross!" She wiped whatever was on her hand on a napkin and I handed her my hand sanitiser and then looked at Harry in distress, "I don't know what the fuck that was, but I'm telling you, I'm not eating here! I'll catch something and die..." she moaned.
"Well, I uhh... Haven't been here in a while..." he said defensively, "I guess it's just gone a bit downhill since the last time..." I suddenly felt kind of bad for him at how mad Taylor was over the whole thing, I mean it was gross but she was being quite harsh. I squeezed Jared's hand below the table, hoping that he would get the message and say something helpful.
"Oh yeah I've done that before, it's always sad when nice places go down the drain..." Jared flashed Harry a sympathetic smile and then continued, "You know, I know a little place around the corner, The Roadhouse... I mean if everyone likes Spanish food then they should have a table free?" Jared suggested and I had never been so thankful in my life. Harry looked like Jared had just punched him in the face but didn't say anything, he just rolled his eyes and stood up with Taylor.
"We'll follow you guys then?" He said bluntly and walked away abruptly to wait outside with Taylor. As we stepped outside we saw Harry and Taylor had walked a little bit further away and looked like they were arguing, but when they saw us they instantly stopped and Taylor motioned for us to lead the way. Usually I would have gone over to play mediator, but since Jared was here I thought it best to just walk ahead, let them talk it out and hope that they would sort it quickly.
"Are they ok?" Jared asked, wrapping an arm around my shoulder to keep me warm as we walked, "He seems like he is in a foul mood..."
"Yeah, I think he's just a bit embarrassed, I'm so glad you knew somewhere else to go though!" I replied, with a smile.
"No problem! My brother and his girlfriend are real foodies so I know a lot of nice places..." he said cheerfully, "Can't be taking my girlfriend on dates to places like that..." He added with a smile and we slowed our walking so I could look up at him.
"What?" My cheeks had gone bright red and I was looking into his eyes waiting for them to show the slightest hint of a joke, "What did you just call me?"
"My girlfriend." He said matter of factly with a smile which I returned before throwing my arms around his neck and crashing my lips to his in excitement. He seemed caught off guard, but hugged me close, lifting me feet off the floor as our lips moved together in harmony. It wasn't until I heard Taylor giggle that I realised we weren't alone. My feet met the floor again and I stepped away blushing but Jared kept ahold of my hand with a wide smile.
"Aw, you guys are so cu-" Taylor began to coo, until Harry interrupted her.
"It's freezing out here, where are we going?" I looked at him and could see that he was irritated about something. He seemed to have been irritated all night... what was his problem?
"So, finally we made it to the top, about two hours later than we thought we would, Sam is pretty much about to faint from exhaustion and Dean is just looking for something else to eat and I'm about to kill them both, but the view was absolutely amazing and it made the whole trip worth it!" Jared said as he put his knife and fork together on his plate after finishing his last bite.
"I'm not surprised, it sounds amazing though!" Taylor said cheerfully. I was so happy that her and Jared seemed to get on so well, I mean there was no way that they wouldn't, he was just so great. Harry, on the other hand, had barely said anything since we had sat down, part of me wondered if he wasn't used to not having the attention of the table on him. I watched as he glanced at me, then at Taylor and finally landed his eyes that I could have sworn had gone even more green with envy. Knowing that Harry's emotions had a tendency to get the better of him, I tried to engage him in conversation.
Ok I know it has taken forever, but this Chapter ended up being so long I had to chop it in three... :)
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