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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41. Chapter 38

It is a tearstained goodbye that Maria and I give Harry in the car outside the airport. We will not go in there with him. The risks of Maria and I getting caught in a mob are to high, and so far, we’ve managed to keep our relationship a secret, as well as Maria. She hugs him, and clutches the guilt-gift he gave her this morning because he is leaving, and won’t be back until the 12th of May, for a short break before he leaves again. It is a stuffed bear, almost as big as her, from the Teddy Factory, the old fashioned kind. To me, he has given a similar bear, though mine is a different colour, and is sitting in my bedroom. I still haven’t moved into his, though we are planning on it sometime in the near future. It’s just never been on the table before for me to be sharing a bedroom with a young man.
Harry turns to me, and I give him a quick kiss, a few silent tears rubbing off on him and wetting his cheeks. April sun is blaring outside, and with a few words of goodbye, he pushes on a pair of sunglasses, takes a breath, and steps out of the car. He carries his suitcase into the building, and a few seconds later, we hear a crowd of teenage girls go wild. I smile a sad smile and start the car again.

The flat feels empty without Harry, and after a few hours that afternoon, I can’t handle it anymore. I take Maria grocery shopping, and while debating on our choice of pizza toppings for the night, a familiar face comes into view.
“Macy!” I exclaim, and she looks up from the package of crackers she’s holding. A smile breaks out on her face, and she walks over with a confidence in her stride that I simply have to admire.
“Jasmin. How are you?” She says and hugs me. She turns respectfully to Maria and holds out her hand. “I’m Macy. Nice to meet you.” She says. With a bright smile, Maria answers with her name.
“We’re good. I’m a guardian now.” I say proudly, stroking Maria’s hair.
“Really? You’re kidding! Congratulations.” Macy exclaims. I smile at her reaction.
“Thank you. How are you? I haven’t seen you since autumn.”
She nods. “I’m good. Finally broke up with that piece of- child present.” She mumbles, “Broke up with my loser boyfriend. I’m much better now. I didn’t realize how miserable we were making each other.” She says with a bittersweet smile. “It’s for the best.”
“I’ll bet.” I say. “Why don’t we do something soon? Maria and I have the flat all to ourselves, we could do a girls’ night or something.” I offer, guessing, though I have no experience, that a good way of coping with a breakup would be bitching about your ex to a willing listener. And though I am sure that Macy has other friends to hang out with, I figure it can’t hurt anybody.
“I’d love to. I’m going to give you my number, hold on.” She scribbles her number on an old receipt, and I stick it into my pocket.

As we’re unpacking our groceries, and I’m scolding Maria for sneaking a pack of smarties into the cart while I wasn’t looking, my phone rings, and I answer it with a finger pointed at her to tell her we’re not done yet.
“Hello?”
“Hey, it’s me. We’re in Frankfurt now. How are you girls doing?” Harry replies. I smile when I hear Louis telling off someone else for stealing candy from him in the background.
“Hey. We’re good. We just got back from Tesco. How was the first flight?”
“It was good. Cute airhostess.” He jokes.
“Oi!”
“I’m kidding, I’m kidding. Is Maria okay? She was quite shaken at the airport wasn’t she? I didn’t see that coming.” He says, the worry in his voice thick.
“She’s right here. Do you want to talk to her?” I ask, but before he can answer, I can hear the phone changing hands.
“Jasmin. Hi, it’s Louis.”
“I can hear that. Hi. What’s up?” I chuckle.
“I don’t think our boy here can handle it.” He laughs.
“Handle what?” I ask him, amused by the sound of protest from Harry.
“Being away from you girls. He’s already getting-“
“Give me that.” Harry says, and the phone is back with him. Knowing that he must still be close enough to hear me, I yell into the phone. “Bye Louis! Safe flight!”
“Don’t listen to him. Anyways, I just called to check in. We’re just going to sit around in a lounge for a while, there’s over five hours till the plane leaves. I’ll skype you when I can.” He says.
“Okay.” I reply, opening the fridge and putting a packet of butter in there.
“I love you.” He says, and I smile. Hearing him say that is so new to me, and saying it even more so. But both feel so wonderful each and every time, and I cherish the words as I reply.
“I love you too.”
We hang up, and I turn around to find that Maria has chucked unpacking duty for one of my old fairytale books. She’s been reading them nonstop since we brought them back here, and I adore the thought of those books being my legacy to her.
“Suit yourself young lady. This just means you’re clearing the table tonight.” I chuckle. She groans, but keeps reading The Tale of Twelve Princesses. (Some Kings and Queens need to know when to stop having kids…)

Harry.

I put my phone in my bag and hand the receptionist at the lounge my boarding pass. To my right, Liam is doing the same. All of us are let in, and we find two couches and an armchair, big enough for the five of us.
I love you’s now hmm?” Zayn questions, giving me a look that is begging to be updated.
“This is new. What happened to just friends?” Niall asks as he’s rolling his earbuds around his iPod.
“We’re past that. No going back. We just agreed to do it properly this time. I’ve messed up, she’s messed up, we figured we might as well just carry on.” I explain, shrugging my shoulders.
“Good decision. You already seem much happier.” Says Liam. I look around me, smiling gratefully. These guys have pulled me through a lot, and I’m thankful to have them. I pray that we won’t be one of those bands that split up and never talk again, making some of us go solo, and some just be forgotten, and then having one of those tacky reunion concerts where everyone in the audience is a middle aged person acting like a teenager.

Days pass, and we reach Rio de Janeiro. With only three days left before our short holiday, I’m itchy, and a little homesick. I call home once we settle into the hotel, anxious because Maria has contracted a touch of the flu at school. Jasmin picks up immediately.
“Hi. How’s Rio?” She asks, and I can hear the creaking of the floorboards as she leaves the kitchen.
“It’s good so far. No one figured out what hotel we’re at yet, so we had a quiet check in. How’s my little girl?” I ask, zipping open my suitcase to get a few things for the shower. The hairstylists don’t trust hotel shampoos.
“Coughing and missing her Harry. I’m handing you over.” She replies, and I hear the phone change hands.
“Hi poppet. Feeling any better?” I ask, stopping what I’m doing to listen fully.
“A little.” She croaks. I smile at her bravery, thinking that’s my girl.
“That’s good. Are you keeping up with your homework?”
“Yeah. Cindy came with some of it today.” She explains, and though I have no idea who Cindy is, I keep the conversation going.
“That was nice of her. I’m coming back soon, then I can nurse you for a while.”
“But you’re not a nurse.” Maria says, and though I can’t hear it now, I know that had she not been sick, she would have scepticism flowing from her voice. She questions my every action.
“No but I am very good at taking care of sick people. Just ask Jasmin about the last time she had a hangover.” I say with a laugh.
“What’s a hangover?”
I give a long laugh. “You can ask her about that too.”
“You are so dead. Why would you say that to her!” Jasmin groans into the phone, having taken it from Maria.
“She’ll find out sooner or later.” I chuckle.
“You are so horrible at this. I swear…” She mumbles, and I smile.
“Alright well listen I’ll see you guys soon okay? Talk to you later?”
“Yeah just call whenever. I might be at the Dubliner, but you can always call the home phone. Maria could use some company while I’m at work.”
“Alright I will.” I say. “Bye Jas.”
“Bye Haz. Later.”
 

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