Catching Feelings

They have one mission: to be good parents without killing each other in the process. [Based on the film 'Life As We Know It']

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2. Chapter II: Cold Coffee

Chapter II: Cold Coffee

He was late.

By an hour.

Since Lilah had taken it upon her busy self to arrange everything, I had been given no clue as to where my date was being held tonight. All she told me was to be ready strictly at eight O’clock PM. Although she did mention some unfamiliar place in London, I didn’t get my hopes up that it would be anything special or unique. As kind as she was, Lilah’s idea of the perfect date was entirely different from mine. While she preferred quiet, intimate dates, I fancied more spontaneous of sorts; things the average person would have to either think really hard about or not at all.

But this was not a normal date at all. This was different and with someone whom I had an ancient distaste for. The thought of his curly hair, green eyes and slow manner of talking would allow other girls to lose their minds in giddiness, however, I merely gagged at the thought. I plainly disliked him and for reasons he and I were both well aware of.

Knocking me out of my trance, a sudden banging at the front door forced me on my two feet. I smoothed out my floral dress, hoping there were not too many creases. I quickly glanced at the mirror on my way to the door before swinging it open to reveal my date. He had a small, almost sheepish smile plastered on his heart shaped lips. He intently looked me up and down, taking in my appearance as I returned the action. Unfortunately for me, he was dressed rather nicely for the night out. In his dark bottoms, white button down and blazer, it was difficult for me to come up with a nasty remark. So I didn’t. Instead, I watched as he removed his hands from the pocket of his trousers, a simple look on his face as if he wanted me to be the first to speak.

So I did.

“You’re late.” I glanced at the invisible watch on my wrist for good measure. “By an entire hour, no less.”

He used on his empty hands to run through his unruly hair. It was act, of which following the years of knowing him, I had come to realization existed due to nervousness. “I got lost.”

I held back an obnoxious snort and flipped the light switch of my flat off, leading the way down the corridor. “Whatever. Lets get going. We’re late as it is.”

By the time we reached the restaurant, the clock had struck 9:30 and our reservation had been revoked. Truth be told, I was sort of happy that we missed out. Just from glance, I knew I would not have liked the place anyways. It was far too fancy and elegant for my taste, except, now, our date had also managed to have become cancelled. Both he and I owed it to our friends to make things work between us so instead of being angry and upset with him, I suggested we have a warm refreshment at the coffee shop nearby. It was my absolute favourite. I had been going there since I moved to Holmes Chapel years ago. It was my most favoured location after the bakery at which I worked for minimum pay.

“One coffee, please.” He ordered for me, ringing up the server, “and a cold lemonade.”

I pushed some hair out of my face, sitting down comfortably on the chairs set up at the long table. A couple of others were also sat around, enjoying their night with friends and loved ones. The smell of caffeine circled the air, bringing a smile to my face.

“Here are your drinks, sir,” the waiter finally returned, moments later with our order.

I was passed mine, quickly springing the top off to blow at it. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the lad gaping at me with an funny expression, as if it amused him to see me do this. I lifted my head up, raising my eyebrow. “What?”

“Nothing.” He rapidly answered, his gaze averted. “I, uh…how are you?”

“Honestly?”

He nodded.

I shrugged. “I’m fine, I suppose. How are you?”

“Fantastic. I’m working for a new law firm.”

I raised my eyebrow once again. “Are you now? Which one?”

“Amherst. It’s amazing.”

I smiled, it was the least I could do. “That’s great to hear, Harry, really. I’m happy for you.”

“Thank you.”

The rest of our conversation spread between more insight into our working lives which then escalated to old school memories. Chatting with him, I had forgotten how easy it was to lose myself. Before prom, banter between us came naturally. We were the best of friends, nothing more, nothing less. He was one of the only people, besides Lilah, whom I could share anything and everything with because he listened. Not many others did that, especially these days. You could drone on and on about a certain topic, but the chances of a person actually paying full and undivided attention to it was near to none.

Nevertheless, Harry had forever been different from that. He always put his friends’ feelings before anything else and me, including everyone else, loved that. I remember Gemma, his older sister, and I used to joke about the wife he would one day bring home and how happy she would be because he would care for what she thought, unlike a lot of men I had met these past twenty years of my life. God only knows if the events that occurred with us when we were sixteen hadn’t, where we would be now.

“Do you remember when Sophie tried dying her hair pink and it ended up-“ I cut myself off, noticing the new figure who had just walked into the coffee shop. The familiar jet black hair, the dark brown eyes and tall stature made my heart leap in my throat and my body to stiffen. I hadn’t laid eyes on him in ages and seeing him now made me live through all the moments of Year 10 in lightning speed. Leaving Harry confused and deserted, I jumped off my stool and headed in his direction, careful not to bump into anyone. He was alone, thankfully, and as soon as he finished ordering his coffee, turned to me with an astonished then genuinely happy smile. “Alistair.”

He grinned, engulfing me in a tight hug that I could not help but breathe in. I had missed him dearly. “Darcy! Oh, it’s good to see you, love. How’ve you been?”

I bit my lip, smiling through. “Wonderful, really. What about you? Where have you been?”

“You know, here and there…” he trailed off, as if he wanted to say something else, but didn’t bother with it. “Are you here alone?”

My smile faltered as I remembered the Harry I had left behind. I pointed behind me awkwardly. “Yes, actually, I’m here with Harry. You remember him? Harry Styles?”

At first, Alistair’s expression was filled with puzzlement, but when he peered past my shoulder, it switched into an understanding one. “Ah, him. Mr. Prom Destroyer Extraordinaire. Haven’t seen him in a while.”

For some odd reason which I could not pin-point, Alistair’s bold nickname for Harry struck me. I mean, I know he had a lot to do with what happened, but he didn’t exactly have any right to be calling Harry anything. He used to be a friend after all, to both of us.

“Let me say hello?” Alistair asked, although he didn’t wait for my response and walked over to where Harry was sat. He was sipping on his lemonade, acting as if he hadn’t just witnessed Alistair’s and I’s greetings.

“Hi, Harry.”

He looked up, his face a flash between hurt and irritated. “Hi.”

“How’ve be been doing, mate?” Alastair kept his smile firm, as if it’s what he did for a living.

“Lovely. You?”

“Same.”

There was a thick atmosphere amongst us now, the little flickers of fury radiating off the curly haired lad and hitting me full force. Even after all this time, I had failed to understand what his issue with Alistair was. He was such a generous, caring and honest man. He always had been. Yet somehow, Harry had made it clear, he was not his biggest fan. Even as friends, it seemed as though they were constantly trying to outlast each other's worth. Always trying to outshine the other.

“Do you, uh, mind if we get back to our date?” Harry asked Alistair whose eyes widened as he glanced between us.

“You’re on a date?”

Harry nodded triumphantly, as if he had scored a big trophy. “That we are. And I’d love to get back to it now, if you wouldn’t mind.”

Alistair turned to me with a shocked expression to which I merely shied away from. This felt like prom all over again, sort of. Eventually, Harry’s heated gaze snapped him out of his confused state and he hugged me one last time and left. When he was gone, I heaved a deep sigh, not knowing what emotion to discharge first.

“What was that?” I hissed, grabbing Harry by the arm and forcing him to look at me. “Why did you have to do that?”

He shrugged. “What? We are on a date.”

“More like a forced date.” I stared at him pointedly, spilling all my anger out at once. “You and I are both well aware that we don’t exactly fancy each other’s presence. We’re only doing this for our friends.”

He gaped at me, shocked. “I am no-“

“Save it.” I swiveled around for my coffee, hoping the warmth would somehow calm me down. It didn’t. “Fanfuckingtastic…now my coffee’s gone cold.”

 

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As you can probably tell, Harry is not famous in this story. x

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