New Beginnings

Harry and I have been dating for around a year now. It would be so much easier to be around the rest of my family with Harry if they were more understandig of our relationship.

And with the added stress of college Parent Teacher Interviews next week, it's starting to look like nothing will work out!

If only my parents changed their opinions of Harry...

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1. New Beginnings

It was Valentine’s Day and unfortunately also the day of my parent-teacher-interviews at college. I really hated these evenings because they were always made awkward by the eye contact you had to try and hold with all your teachers. Also my dad is really embarrassing. One year, we approached the desk of my French teacher and as she stood up to greet and shake my parents hands, my dad bellowed “Bonjour!” and everyone (and I mean everyone) in the hall turned round and looked at us. Humiliation at its best…

And this year it definitely wasn’t going to be any easier…

Harry is my boyfriend and we’ve been dating for about a year now. Yeah, I’d say we’re serious, we spend a lot of time together which is sometimes hard because of school work, home-life and friends on top of that, and Harry is often busy too. He works in the music industry helping to produce tracks with artists (or making tea! He’s only an intern at the moment, but he’s hoping to get a real job there soon) and his work is mainly based in London, so it’s difficult to find time to see each other; but we text, call and Facetime just like any other couple. We mainly talk in the evenings because we can never really find the time anywhere else.

Another thing we have to put with are my disapproving parents. They sort of think that harry is just with me because he thinks he can get any girl being in the industry that he is, and is just trying to look good by sticking with me. It’s upsetting to know that they think that, but I have to ignore it. I guess they must think that I'm only 18 and I don’t know much about relationships. But as I get older, and Harry and I date for longer, they will come to realise that we do love each other and it’s not just a teenage romance.

So with my non-approving parents, you can imagine the shock when Harry asked if he could come to parent-teacher-interviews last week.

We were all sitting around the large table in my dining room. My parents were being polite enough to make some conversation with Harry; but it was still a little awkward. My mum asked me if I’d had the reply slip back with the times of appointments on for PTIs (parent-teacher-interviews), and I told her it was in my school bag upstairs. Harry put his cutlery down, put his hands in his lap and nervously said “urm, yeah, that was something I wanted to talk about.” My eyebrows furrowed in confusion as all 3 of us looked at Harry. “I wanted to ask if I could come along to PTIs as well.” We were all shocked to say the least. After a little silence Harry said “it’s just that, I really do care for her, her education is very important her and also to me, so just to prove to you that I am serious about us” he placed a hand on my shoulder, “I wanted to come along. I-if that’s okay with you…” he stuttered.

My heart melted a little. I was so touched that Harry wanted to sit through PTIs for my sake because he really cared. I looked at him with comforting eyes and took hold of his hand that was on my shoulder, in some attempt to relax him. I didn’t like that my parents made him feel so tense, in a place where he ought to feel relaxed. My parents were silent for a little while and you could cut the tension with a knife as my parents communicated through silent looks. Reluctantly, my mum said “urm I guess so I don’t really see the-“ “Julia, please” my dad interjected. “Why not?” I said, and all 3 of them looked at me, but I wasn’t shy. “Why can’t Harry come along? I’d like for him to be there, it’d make the evening more bearable and he cares enough for my education to spend one of his free evenings at my college. I want Harry to come along.” I said decisively.

My dad looked at my mum, and after a little more silent conversation, my dad looked at us and said “Fine.” And that was the end of that.

***

PTIs finally rolled around the next week and Harry arrived at my house to join us to go to my college. Harry and I sat quietly in the back seat of the car holding hands. I wasn’t going to compromise on this one.

We spoke to each of my teachers in turn and I admired Harry leaning forward on his elbows resting on his knee’s listening intently to what each of the six teachers had to say about me. He didn’t ask any questions to the teachers which I understood- he didn’t want to push it considering my parents had only just agreed to him coming with us. Some of the staff didn’t understand why Harry had come along, but as we walked away and I held Harry’s hand, they soon understood.

We finished speaking to the last teacher, my parents thanked them, Harry and I flashed them a smile and we walked towards the car. “Urm, do you mind if I quickly go to the toilet?” Harry asked my parents, my mum nodded and Harry looked around for the mens toilets. “Come on I’ll show you where they are.” I said taking hold of Harry’s hand and starting to walk. “Actually,” my dad said, “I need to go as well. I’ll take Harry” he said as he led Harry in the right direction. Harrys hand slipped from mine and he flashed a cheeky-nervous smile at me which made me giggle. “Come on,” my mum said turning away from the boys, “let’s go and wait in the car.”

We waited in an awkward silence for the boys to return. I was relieved to see my dad and Harry step out of the toilets in the distance under a dimly-lit light. My dad’s mouth moved and Harry turned round. Confused, I watched intently. They seemed to talk to each other for a bit before shaking hands. My dad patted Harry on the back and they walked towards the car. Harry stepped in with a smile on his face. I looked at him puzzled and he just smiled and shook his head.

Pulling into our driveway, I still had no idea what Harry and my dad had talked about at college, but something had changed because my parents weren’t so uptight. All four of us were chatting and getting on well for the first time. I was a little shocked.

My mum opened the front door and my dad and she went to the living room. Harry and I went to my room. I flopped down on my bed and Harry went over to my wardrobe.

“What are you doing?” I asked.
“I’m taking you out for food” he replied.

Something weird was going on this evening, and I was going to find out…

“Okay…” I said joining him at the wardrobe.

He passed me a white blouse, a pair of light denim skinny jeans, a pink zip-up hoodie, and my pink converse. I smiled at him as he walked over to the door.

“Change,” he instructed, “I'm going to get my car and then I’ll come round to pick you up.” He smiled and let himself out of the house. From my bedroom window, I watched him walk down the driveway and along the street. He looked back up at my window and smiled whilst signalling to close the curtains. I giggled and got changed.

15 minutes later, I heard a car outside, said goodbye to my parents and jumped in Harry’s car. We drove for only 5 minutes before pulling up at McDonalds. We grabbed a variety of food and spread it all out on the tray helping ourselves to whatever we fancied.

“So what went on between you and my dad?” I asked.
“It was a bit random,” Harry said “he was apologising”
“What for?”
Harry smiled and said “he apologised for making me feel uncomfortable and that he was actually okay with us dating”

My heart lifted. I was happy that my parents had finally given some sort of positive consent to mine and Harry’s relationship.

“That’s brilliant!” I cheered.
“Yeah it’ll be better when we’re all together now.” he said popping a few chips in his mouth.
“Oh! I almost forgot” he said.
“What is it?” I asked.
“Happy Valentine’s Day” he smiled.
“Happy Valentine’s Day” I repeat as we bashed tumblers of strawberry milkshake.

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