Amore And Pizza

Hey, I'm Avery. I thought I had it figured out, ya know? I thought I had distinguished the difference between love and imagination. I was SO sure that no one could ever love me. Especially someone so extraordinary like Niall. But for once in my sob story of a life, I WANTED to be proven wrong. But I was right. Again.

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21. Happy Endings Are For Shmucks

     The converse rubbed against my ankle painfully while I jogged to Pizza Hut. I tried to think of things I could say to Harry if I found him there. Hey Harry, so, I pretty much broke your heart but I was wondering if you wanted to be buddies again? Seriously, I thought about it. How about, Harry, I am incredibly sorry and I want to make things right.(Then I'll get on my knees and beg). Too much? There wasn't time to think of anything else because I was already here. I looked up at the big trademark white letters and sighed. Niall or Harry. Initially I liked Niall period. Then Harry started to appear as more than a friend. Before I knew it, Harry and I almost kissed. Now all of that had been thrown away by my idiocy. It's easy to see now that Harry had been there all along for me, even when it was clear I didn't return the favor. If I really thought about it, Niall never plainly did or said anything that indicated he liked me. Sure he held my hand, and hugged me, but somehow they didn't seem like more-than-friends gestures. Guess that's why they're called 'crushes'. They freaking hurt.

     I decided to not think about those little details and focus on the big picture. I needed a recap. 1.Niall and I were definitely not going to date. We really weren't even friends anymore. 2.I finally came to the conclusion that Harry was at the moment the best guy for me. Underneath the pain and regret left by Niall, I could feel that warm feeling Harry gave me. No faking that now. 3. I liked Harry. Before, It might have been something I could push down, something I could hide for Niall. But not now. Now I knew that Harry and I had something that italian people would say: Amore. And finally, 4. I still needed to write my paper for school.

     Not delaying any further, I sighed and pushed on the door. As only Avery Brooke Jackson could possibly do, I pushed a door that you're supposed to pull. (I was dying with laughter as I wrote this part.) Mentally kicking myself, I held my breath and pulled the door open. The first thing I saw was well, nothing. There was no one in sight, except for the lonely cashier tapping his fingers on the counter. I was not giving up hope, though. I walked around and checked every booth to the right of the counter. No such luck. Praying and praying and praying, I walked over to the left side of the restaurant. 

     His curly hair was pretty noticeable amidst the empty booths. I realized this was the exact same booth that I had sat down in when I became friends with Harry, Liam, and Louis. Harry was looking down at his hands, which were twirling the same violet he had at my house earlier. I cleared my thorat. He looked up in shock, which quickly turned to anger.

     "What are you doing here, Avery?" 

     I gestured to the booth. "Can I sit?"

     "Depends. Why are you here?"

     I ignored him and sat down anyways. "I wanted to say..." All the lines I had rehearsed in my mind flew out of the room. I couldn't think of a way to say it. Hey Harry, I knew you liked me, but I ignored you. Then I went to a dance with a different guy, he broke my heart, so now I'm here to tell you I like you and want to be friends again. Maybe even more? Fat chance.

     "Say what?"

     "That...I'm sorry. I was wrong. You loved me more than Niall ever could have." I gasped as I realized something. "That's why!"

     "Why what?"

     "Why you sang that song so well! At my house, when we were in my room. I was listening to my Ipod, and you were listening too. The song "More Than This" was playing, and you were singing it like it was written for you. I never got that. But now I do! You meant that you could love me more than Niall!" I was babbling at this point. But it was one of the more happier things today. I know, it was pretty obvious that that particular song fit pretty well with the situation, but I had never put two and two together. I do that a lot. What surprised me the most was when Harry laughed. "What's so funny?" I asked.

     "You are a nerd, you know that?"

     I smiled. "Proud of it." The moment passed, and Harry once again lost all happiness to his voice. When he spoke again, his voice was a mix between annoyed and confused.

     "So you're just here to say sorry then? What about the dance? How was it with your boyfriend?" I winced at his choice of words. Boyfriend? Far from it. Niall wasn't even a friend anymore. Harry must've noticed he struck a nerve. "What? He's not your boyfriend? Did the poor Avery Jackson not get everything she wanted?" 

     "Stop." Harry's words made my heart ache. I had never seen Harry like that. Even when we had that fight on Tuesday. Harry ignored me and kept going.

     "I really don't get you. I mean, we could have started dating. I really like you, and I tell you that, then you just run off to precious Niall."

     "Harry, stop."

     "I even tried to ask you out like you wanted. I asked your dad for you! So then I wouldn't be another 'Connor'. But no, you run away again, right to the guy who didn't even ask your dad like he was supposed to. And let me guess, he dumped you."

     "Stop."

     "You saw him kiss another girl."

     "Harry..."

     "Or, did he try to do something else? Did he try to go further than that with you? Make you uncomfortable?"

     "I said STOP!" My face was hot with anger, blush, and warm tears that were now running down my face. I couldn't believe where this was going. "No! He didn't do any of that! He led me on, all this time, acting like he liked me back, just because he wanted to keep me interested! He used me! Treated me like a fish he was trying to bait. And I fell for it!. I fell for it..." The silence that followed my outburst was deafening. Harry just stared at me in shock, his mouth wide open. For what felt like an eternity, I looked down at the table. The tears made it impossible to see anything anyways. We just sat there, Harry staring at me, while I cried silently to myself. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I stood up and whispered, "I shouldn't have come. It was a mistake." Head down and heart further, I walked to the door. I actually remembered that from the inside I would need to push the door to get out, but I didn't get that far. 

     My heart stopped-told you it would happen again-when I felt his hand grabbing my wrist.

     "Avery..." Harry began. I turned to look at him. His faced was etched with pity.

     "I don't need your pity, Harry. I wanted to say sorry, but I think the tables turned a bit." I ripped my wrist from his grip. "I have to go." 

     "Just, tell me what happened."

     "Why do you care?"

     "Because I do."

     "Fine," I sighed. "We were sitting down. That's all we did the entire time. He didn't ask me to dance. Not once. Finally, the DJ said it was the last song. I asked Niall if he was going to ask me to dance. Do you know what he said?" Harry shook his head. "He said no. After all that, he just said no. He told me that he didn't know what to do. That he liked me liking him, and he didn't want to ruin it. Well, he ruined it pretty amazingly, if you ask me. I was embarassed in front of the whole school. I went home, and then came here to look for you. Sorry I did." The tears threatened to fall again as I looked down at my feet.

     Harry took a step closer, so that when I looked up his face was close enough to touch my hair. "I'm the one who should say sorry. I shouldn't have said that. I didn't know he did that to you. I was just mad. I'm sorry." Our eyes locked for a moment. My eyes darted to the cashier, who looked like he was enjoying this particular turn of events. I guess it was better than cable.

     I took a big breath. "I guess I'll forgive you." I couldn't supress the grin that was tugging at the corners of my mouth. Harry returned the grin.

     "I suppose I have to forgive you too." We shared a moment then. This little bit didn't quite end the way I had planned. In my mind, I imagined Harry and I dancing to no music in the parking lot, forgetting about the past. But somehow, this was better. Somehow standing in the entryway of Pizza Hut, Harry and I found amore-love.

     I imagine that you guys out there are thinking this is the end of my story. Not quite. The night wasn't over.

     "So," I began, "did our football team win?" Harry laughed at my change of subject.

     "Yeah, we did. By the way, nice job during soccer today."

     "Thanks." Harry and I decided to sit down again. We took a booth right by the door. The cashier smiled to hiself and went back to looking at his Ipod. Maybe he was playing Temple Run.

     "Gabrielle didn't go with Louis, then?" Harry asked.

     "No. She ended up dancing with a freshman. It was cute." I smiled at the thought. "I wonder what happened after I left..." Until now, I didn't think much of that. Niall had probably told everyone the whole thing by now. Kalley would have been mad at Niall, probably hitting him like I did. That thought made me laugh.

     "What?"

     "I was thinking that Kalley probably slapped Niall. That would make two girls who slapped him tonight." I started giggling again.

     Harry joined in when he got what I was saying. "You slapped him?"

     "Yeah. It made quite the scene." We laughed for a little longer. 

     "How's your ankle?" 

     "Well, I ran from the school to my house. And then I came here. I'm guessing it's pretty good." I had a sarcastic smile on my face, but Harry looked a bit more mad. "What?"

     "You shouldn't have done that for me. I don't want you to wreck the rest of your soccer season because I was being an idiot." Okay, that was SO cute! I liked it when he was all macho-man. 

     "Don't worry, Harry. I'm fine. Besides, this was the only place I could possibly look for you." That made me think of something. "So, why did you come here? Why not go home?"

     "I don't know," Harry shrugged, "I was a little upset after you left, and Pizza Hut just made me think about happier memories."

     "Oh. Well, I'm glad you thought of that."

     "Me too." 

     After that, Harry and I spent a long time just talking. About our families, stories, things we liked to do. After all of the drama I had dealt with today, it was nice to hang out with a really good friend and just talk about things that weren't very deep at all. Harry had a lot of stories about his mom and sister. He was probably the only person I knew that liked school too. I found that really hard to believe. Other than soccer, he sang-for fun-and played piano. I was surprised to learn all of these things about him. There was one thing that hadn't quite been resolved yet, though.

     "Harry, you said earlier that you like me. You said 'like'..." I bit my lip and watched his reaction. My heart leaped when he smiled and nodded. He reached inside his jacket and pulled out a flower. It was the violet he was going to give me a couple of hours ago. Seemed more like ages.

     "I meant it. I'm in lo-er, I mean I like you. Present tense." He uncertainly handed the flower to me. It had landed on the ground, been stuffed in his jacket,  and who knows what else. But yet it's shape had held, the petals still perfect. The color was amazing, I had never seen one so gorgeous. I think the fact that it was given to me, and from Harry made it so much more beautiful.

     "You remembered..."

     "Course I did." I smiled at him as I took the flower. I inhaled the sweet scent, relishing in the moment.

     "Thank you, I love it." But there was something I had to put on the table too. "Do you remember when you came to my house when I was sick?" Harry looked startled at my question but nodded. "I realized then that I had feelings for you too. I'm sorry I hid them. It's just, I was focused more on Niall. Now Niall and I are through, and I know that I'm in lo-er, I like you. But of course now it just makes you sound like my sloppy second, right?" Now I had done it. Harry's just going to think that he was my second choice. That I'm only saying this because Niall is out of the picture. I seriously need to get my mouth sown shut.

     To my amazement Harry grabbed my hand. I gasped and looked up into his eyes. His green, piercing eyes looked into mine. I couldn't tear my gaze away. "I believe you," he said finally. He grinned his famous cheeky grin then. "So, I like you, and you like me..." Just when Harry was obviously going to be a man and ask me out, the cashier came to our table.

     "Look you guys, I have to close." Sighing, Harry and I got up and walked outside into the chilly air. Despite my sweatshirt, I was freezing already.

     "Here." Harry took of his jacket and wrapped it around me. I shivered, not because of the cold, but because of his touch. Gratefully, I took the jacket. 

     "So," I said, biting my lip, "what now?"

     "Now, we walk." With a grin Harry took my hand in his, and we started to walk away from Pizza Hut. I gave the restaurant a passing glance. The cashier was smiling and waving at us as he locked the doors. I waved with my free hand. I looked up at the big white letters. So many memories at that place. I made a decision that I would make many more there.

     Harry and I just walked in a comfortable silence, neither one of us wanting to bring up the subject before we left. The streetlights guided our path, gravel crunching underneath our feet. 

     Soon-too soon-we were walking up the path to my front door. I could feel my dad's eyes on us through the window. Ugh. 

     "Well, this is it." 

     "Yeah," Harry agreed. "We didn't quite finish what we were talking about back there." I bit my lip as Harry started to blush. "I really like you, Avery."

     "I really like you too."

     "So, Avery, will you go on a date with me? I want to do this right."

     "I'd love to." Harry looked at me and smiled widely. I held up the flower. "I couldn't very well say no, could I?" We laughed. Unexpectedly, Harry wrapped me in a hug. Cliche upon cliche, the hug sent sparks flying. We remained there for a minute or two, just enjoying the other's presence. Sadly, Harry let go. 

     "I guess I'll see ya later then? How about tomorrow?" 

     "Okay, great. Bye, Harry."

     "Bye, Avery." I turned to watch Harry walk down the steps. He was just on the sidewalk when I thought of something. "Harry!"

     He turned around. "Yeah?"

     "Where are you taking me for our date?"

     He thought for a moment. "How about...Pizza Hut?"

     I grinned. "Perfect." He grinned and continued walking. I watched until he was out of sight. So, the night didn't end with a cliche kiss, but that was definitely okay. Besides, I had a date tomorrow.

     I headed inside to find, sure enough, my dad grinning at me from the kitchen. "Looks like you guys made up." I laughed at my dad's casual manner.

     "No daddy, we were just screaming at each other. But you wouldn't know that, of course, because you weren't watching out the window." My dad held up his hands in surrender.

     "You caught me red-handed." I laughed and went to give him a hug. I told him how the rest of the evening went. Like me, when I had finished my dad couldn't wipe the grin off his face. "I'm happy for you Avery." He pursed his lips for a second. "You know, Aves, if you guys are going on a date, there's something that has to be done." I gave him a questioning look. What else is there? Harry already asked my dad for permission, and he said yes. There was no need for the 'policy' rule now.

     "What else is there, daddy?"

     "This." My dad gave me a great big hug and kissed my forehead. "I love you, Aves."

     "Love you too, daddy." I headed towards my room. Wow, the day was pretty much over. I couldn't believe it. This past month had left quite a footprint in my life. I didn't know what the future held, but right now, in the present, I was having one heck of a time. I was having a happy ending. Or, was it a happy beginning? Either way, happy endings are for shmucks. Call me a shmuck.

     I collapsed on my bed. I lifted my head to see all the postcards I had collected from previous places I had lived. I hoped this place wouldn't end up being another postcard. But, as my instincts were correct, I had a good feeling about Denver. Still do. 

     One thing I have noticed over time is that when a lot of things happen, my brain likes to do a recap. So here it is. 1. My life had taken a turn for the worse when I first moved, then got better, and then even better, then horrible, now magnificent. 2. Harry and I have something. Whether it is life-long or not, I don't know. But I do know this: I really do like him. And he likes me back. And that's all that counts right now. 3. What happened with Niall today seems pretty bad, but I think I'm going to work it out. And 4. That paper I have to do for Writing class was still not done. Mr.Gordon is going to kill me.

     That gave me an idea. I bolted from my bed and grabbed my laptop. I tapped the keys anxiously as it turned on. I opened the program I was looking for. With a smile on my face, and a picture of his curly hair in my head, I started typing.

 

 

 

                                                                                                THE END

 

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