“Taylor was all over him. They made out for two hours. Taylor only wants to date younger guys so she can be in control.” –Us Weekly
“The One Direction heartthrob was pictured leaving Taylor Swift's hotel and judging from his unruly hair, he appeared to have had a good night … the pair emerged from the hotel just moments apart … keen to flaunt their new relationship for all to see.” –The Daily Mail
Leaving those snobby Kennedys behind to rot in their castle by the sea, Taylor Swift bid her staff to quest after a new kind of royalty. The Hyannis Port love story had served its purpose, casting a wholesome glow over a wildly active love life that some (like jealous foe Miley Cyrus) might call sluttish, were it not for all those A-line skirts she wore on the Cape. But now Taylor Swift had a new album and edgy look to promote. She needed a prince of pop, not a prince of the blood. A Timberlake to her Britney Speakrs. But Justin was theoretically married, so she instructed her management to cast a wider net. They came back with binders full of One Direction.
There were five to choose from, mop-topped youths of a refreshingly foreign — but still English-speaking — persuasion. She pored over glossy pictures and impressive statistics, clicking through YouTube videos with 200 million hits in which the boys frolicked together like a pack of puppies. So innocent but so sexy. Cross-referencing early photos of the Beatles and reviewing Yoko Ono’s Q scores, she felt a stir of desire. She directed an assistant to do the usual market research, then put it out of her mind.
The next day, a fresh-faced boy was delivered to her dressing room. He was handsome, with a wild coif of chestnut hair that perched on his head like a living thing and eyes sea-green above a strong nose, generous lips, and triangular jaw. She walked a slow circle around him, stroking her own brilliant hair with a pearl-handled brush laced with bristles plucked from of unicorns.
He was “the charming one” of One Direction, a sweet pauper turned prince-ling by Simon Cowell and a television talent show. He was from a different world than Taylor; she had forged herself in the fiery hell pits of Nashville and had ascended on raw talent and cunning and by channeling the potent dark magic of female experience. She had six Grammys to his none. Twenty million Twitter followers to his nine. As she inspected the whites of his eyes and the health of his gums, she contemplated all she could teach him.
“You know what will be expected of you?” Taylor asked, crossing her long legs in black stockings and watching as his eyes were drawn up the lace and to the curve of her high-waisted hot pants. “I want to be perfectly clear before the paperwork.” She had learned her lesson with Lautner and Gyllenhaal. She would not make that mistake again.
“Yes, ma'am.” Harry smiled shyly. “I look forward to it.”
Yes, he desired her; he would sate her every need, professional and carnal. “Good,” she said as their lawyers shook hands and lit cigars. As foreplay, they agreed to a stage appearance at Z100's Jingle Ball, the premiere music event for overprivileged tristate teenagers, its air filled with cyclical screams. “Sing well for me,” Taylor Swift said to Harry as he took his leave. Then she returned to tweezing her eyebrows with a pincer made of diamonds.
The concert was a success; the press was mad for Haylor. She taught him to cut through a throng of paparazzi at 4 a.m., entering sleeping quarters on her arm. To stride purposefully through her hotel's front door, night bag slung over his shoulder. But in her magnificently appointed hotel suite in the interim — without a TMZ reporter in sight and with his personal stylist honor guard left in the hall — the theoretical tween ladies' man was less confident. As anticipated, she would have to teach him.
“This is our moment,” she said, taking his face in her hands. “I speak for heartbroken women; you embody all fantasies of safe, sensitive, gentlemen. Let our power wash over you. Let it arouse you.”
“Yes, Miss Swift,” he whispered. At her nod, he divested her of her delicate lingerie. She pulled him in for a kiss, testing his mouth, finding it able and clever. One did not come up through X Factor without learning a thing or two, she supposed. With a contented sigh, she leaned back and told him to strip. He had a spry, well-built body. She was ready to test it.
Taylor took Harry's elbow and led him across the suite and over to the oak pool table. In her head, she was already testing rhyming metaphors about balls and holes and breaks. She could hear the hook already. Her heart raced.
“For the next step of your training and exposure,” she said as Harry hooked his sinewy arms beneath her, hitching her onto the pool table's green-felt top. “We will be photographed doing charming things, cooing over babies at the Central Park Zoo. The world will fall in love with us.” He could feel his stardom growing and pressed it against her. “And we will be pictured reenacting iconic moments from the greatest love affairs of the twentieth century, so as to strengthen the visual connection.”
“Yes, Miss Swift,” he panted in awe, fingers faltering over her body. She spread out across the length of the pool table. “Make me forget all men who have come before,” she whispered. “Teach me your mysteries, though I be your humble servant,” he replied.
For Harry Styles was no boorish American, Taylor realized; this was a man who called a queen his leader. She should have gone British long ago. She instructed him in the arts of female pleasure; showed him where to kiss and lick and tease, when to suck and when to blow. She taught him the secrets of the female body that had driven her lesser lovers to broken metaphors (It’s only a “wonderland” if you don’t understand it, Mayer), and he practiced for her pleasure.
As he swirled his tongue across her milky skin, she corrected his sexual and artistic errors. “You sing, 'You don't know you're beautiful, that's what makes you beautiful' on your No. 1 worldwide single.” With his head down and otherwise occupied, Harry could only shrug. “Catchy, yes, but inaccurate. Beautiful people always know. Oh — oh — well done.” He was a fast learner.
She drew him onto the pool table with her, to couple with an energy and passion known only to ascendant, pixie-faced superstars. Green felt ripped beneath their sweat-drenched bodies. Ivory balls reverberated from their motion, falling deep into corner pockets. It was only a taste of what was to come, but Taylor showed him what a real woman of 23 could do.
“Blimey!” cried Harry, in ecstasy.
Afterward, she lay across the table, using Harry's hair as a pillow, plotting their future. This could be true love — or, better yet, a platinum single about falling for a boy from a faraway land who pierced her heart with a pool queue. As Harry murmured about introducing her to his parents in London, she reached for her Blackberry and pecked out a message to her managers, handlers, and henchmen. “When the male subject returns to his home nation,” she typed, “he must be seduced. Need to match narrative with new song about ‘breaking.’ Make him break my heart.”
Then, as Harry began to doze off, she reached for his phone. “Last night was the best thing I have ever done,” she tweeted from his account. He’d thank her later; he needed more followers anyway.
Amelia Casey is a romance novelist. Her most recent book, Taken by the Highwayman, makes Lady Anabel Mayward quiver.