My Brother's Best Friend

Jasmin Smith is no one special to the eyes of the public. A normal pretty barmaid at a pub, a talent for singing and a flat in London. But not too long ago, Jasmin received some horrible news. Her twin brother, her other half, James has passed on, and she is now alone.
Jasmin and James are originally from Holmes Chapel, and James's best friend was no other than Harry Styles. The two boys lost touch when Harry started getting whirled around in the famous life, but even after all the time that has passed, Harry is devastated at the news of James passing away. When he and Jasmin meet by chance, he makes it his mission to help her recover after the great loss she has suffered, and perhaps recover himself with her help. He feels it is his duty towards James to protect and shelter her, but never did he expect that those feelings should grow much stronger than that.

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39. Chapter 36

Chapter 36

 

Jasmin.

 

Maria is sound asleep in the backseat, her head lolling back and forth with the motion of the road. Harry drives with one hand on the steering wheel, and the other on the centre console where it holds mine in a light grip. Early spring sunlight is coming in on my side of the car, and we drive at a steady pace on the highway.

“And you’re sure your mom is fine with Maria coming?” I ask him, glancing at his tired face. He was out late last night, celebrating with the boys and some other people from the record label. The new tour has been announced.

“Are you kidding?” He breathes a laugh. “I’m convinced that my mother only had kids for the sake of someday having grandkids. With Maria it’s just fast forwarded.”

I fall into a brief silence, pondering what he’s just said.

“I know she’s not my kid Jas, I didn’t mean that. I’m sorry.” He says, not needing me to say anything for him to know what I’m thinking.

“I know you didn’t.” I say.

 

Maria wakes up a few minutes after we’ve passed Tamworth, and we play DNA on the stereo. Maria adores Little Mix, and Harry has promised to introduce her at some point.

“Jazzy?” Maria asks, and I turn down the volume and twist myself to look at her.

“Yes sweetheart?”

“Are we there yet?”

And in that moment, I feel such a rush of… motherhood. It’s such a common question for a child to ask their parents, and I enjoy every second. Harry senses it, and takes his eyes off the road for a split second to look at my facial expression with a smile.

“Another hour or so.” I say, and turn back in my seat.

 

Anne’s door opens up just as Harry and I are getting our duffel bags out of the trunk, and Maria groggily tumbles out of the car. She fell asleep again for the last half hour of the ride.

“Jasmin!” Anne calls happily, and gives me a loving hug.
“It’s so good to see you.” I mumble into Anne’s shoulder.
“I’ve missed you. What a whirlwind you’ve been through!” She lets me go and looks down at Maria.
“Hello Maria. I’m Anne, I’m Harry’s mum.” She says gently, squatting down to shake Maria’s hand.

Within the minute, Maria is completely in love with Anne, and gets whisked off to the kitchen for a cup of hot chocolate. Harry and I are left outside, wondering what just happened.
“That was quick.” He comments, and a grin spreads on his face. I shake my head in disbelief at Anne’s superior ability to manage children. We follow them inside, but instead of going to the kitchen, we go to Harry’s room to dump our stuff all in there for now. We’ll sort out rooming later. Gemma’s not home, so there’s two rooms at our disposal.

Coming into the kitchen, I walk up behind Maria’s chair and tangle my fingers in her wonderful and unruly hair. It will be a nightmare for me to comb out tonight, after her head rubbing up and down the headrest in the car all day, but I love it nonetheless. Anne and Maria are in serious conversation about which movie to watch after dinner, and I join in with my opinion on watching Tangled.

“It’s a really good Disney movie. It’s never going to be The Lion King, but it’s something.” I say.
“I’ve never seen The Lion King.” Maria says sadly, and with my fingers in her hair, I pull her head back gently, so that it hangs over the back of her chair, and she is looking up at my face.
“You’re serious?” I ask her. She nods.
“That settles it. Harry!” I call over my shoulder. He comes down the stairs and walks into the room, hovering by the door.
“Yeah?”
“Do you have The Lion King on dvd?” I ask, shaking my curls out of my face.
“Nope.” He pops, and I smile wickedly.
“In that case, you’ve got an errand to run. Nearest rental, be back before dinner.” I command. With a short laugh, and a shake of his head, he pushes off the wall he’s been leaning on. “Alright.” He says with a shrug of his shoulders. I hear him gather up his car keys, and he leaves.

“I have to say, I like the way you manage my son.” Anne chuckles. I look at her with an amused smile and shake my head.
“Simco manages your son. I just keep him in line.” I respond with a wink.
Harry is still gone when I start helping Anne carve a chicken up for dinner, and Maria is upstairs in the shower.
“Do you know how much my son adores you?” she asks, and I freeze, and turn my head.
“What?”
“Do you realize that he loves you?” she rephrases. I meet her warm eyes, and smile. With a small nod, I say “Yes.”
“Did he tell you?”
“Yes.”
“So what’s the current status?” She asks me, and I can hear how much she is straining to keep from acting like a teenage girl.
“I… don’t really know. I mean, we live together. We never do anything in front of Maria, because I don’t want her to get confused, and if things… don’t work out, I want her out of harms way. But we haven’t… we haven’t defined anything yet.” I struggle to shape my sentences, struggle to use the right words and make sure Anne doesn’t misunderstand.
“It sounds to me like you two need to talk some things through.” She says, going back to peeling potatoes.
“You’re right about that.” I sigh.

After dinner, everyone, except Robin, who is out at a friend’s birthday dinner, is piled up in the living room, ready to watch The Lion King. Maria’s hair is still wet, and she’s sitting in front of me while I work on untangling the small birds nest that is occupying the back of her head. She’s tough. She doesn’t complain about the pain at all, too caught up with Timon and Pumba giving the show of a lifetime on the screen. When I finally finish brushing out her hair, it is dry and puffy, and to tame it, I pull the hairtie keeping my own curls together out and French braid her hair down her back. Now that my job is done, she settles back against my chest, and my arms reach around her tummy. I feel a warmth on the back of the couch, and look to my left to see that Harry’s arm is lying there, not quite around my shoulders, but close. With a small smile, I snuggle back further against the headrest, getting closer to his arm.

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