"Isn't She Lovely?"

Harry Styles hasn't always made the best life decisions. When a tragic event results in him confronting his past, emotions stir and his life changes drastically. Follow Raegan, Harry's little secret, as she loses her mother and is forced to meet her father for the very first time. Read along as she learns to accept her life with her newly found father, and faces the complications and advantages of living with five young men.

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16. Hurt Feelings

 

 

Chapter Sixteen:

Hurt Feelings

 

 

Once I was nice and clean, I headed back downstairs to see how the boys and Rylee were getting along. What I saw was no surprise. The boys hadn’t moved an inch, and Rylee had barely moved enough to sit on the couch. The boys were turned to her, listening very carefully to every word she said. Louis was just being polite, but I can’t say the same for the rest of them. Harry and Zayn were so wrapped up in her appearance that I doubt they heard a single word she said. Liam too, looked as if he liked what he saw. It was pathetic. Niall sat beside her, uninterested. As I stepped off the final step of the staircase, I walked over and sat next to him.

“Sooo how’s it going?” I smiled, winking at Rylee.

“Great,” Louis spoke up. “Rylee was just telling us about university.”

“Oh? Where do you attend?” I asked.

“University of London,” Zayn answered, still dazed in her appearance.

“Wow, that’s really cool, RYLEE.” I snapped, looking at Zayn. Rylee giggled.

“Thanks. This upcoming year is my final one.”

I nodded. “So you’re what? Twenty-two?” I asked, glancing at Harry, hoping he would get the hint.

“Actually, I’m twenty-four. I decided to go a couple more years, to take some extra classes,” she smiled. “How old are you?”

“Oh,” I said a tad disappointed that she was closer to Harry’s age than I expected. “I’ll be seventeen next week.” Suddenly everyone’s expressions changed, and each of the boys gave Harry a look. It was pretty funny actually. None of them knew when my birthday was--including Harry.

I sat back expressionless, enjoying the looks on their faces. In an instant, Niall was tugging at my shirt trying to get my attention.

“Why didn’t you tell me?” he whispered in my ear. I shrugged.

“It’s not important. Hey, your face stopped bleeding,” I said, changing the subject.

“Raegan..” he glared at me.

“Niall, it’s not a big deal. How does your face feel?”

He sighed. “It’s fine, Raegan; and it is a big deal.”

I shook my head, refusing to discuss it any longer. When I turned my attention back to the conversation, I noticed Liam staring at me. I smiled at him, but he just turned his face away. I sighed, knowing it would just cause more unwanted thoughts if I worried about it. A couple hours passed, as Rylee went on and on about herself. I enjoyed hearing what she had to say, but couldn’t have been more annoyed with how hypnotized the boys were. All accept, Niall.  Niall, sat, twiddling his thumbs, probably wishing he could leave.

“Whatcha thinkin’ about?” I whispered, getting tired of the conversation, myself.

“What? Oh. Nothing.”

“Liar.”

He looked at me amused. He knew I was aware of his lies. “Ok. You got me. I’m thinking about the football game that’s supposed to be on tonight,” he lied, again.

“Oh, okay,” I accepted, not wanting to argue. A look of relief spilled over him, making it obvious that he really was lying. “So what do you think of Rylee?” I whispered, even quieter so she wouldn’t hear me.

He shrugged. “She’s alright.”

“Alright?” I repeated, surprised. “You don’t think she’s absolutely gorgeous?” I said sarcastically.

He chuckled quietly under his breath. “Nah.”

“Your friends would disagree,” I said, glancing in their direction.

He followed my gaze and rolled his eyes at their expressions. “Yeah? Well, we have different tastes,” he said, proudly.

“Oh really? What’s your ‘taste’?” I asked out of curiosity.

“Well, I can’t tell you that.”

“Why not?” I said, a bit offended.

“You’re a girl. You might blow my cover,” he smiled. I rolled my eyes, hitting him playfully in the arm. It was getting to be dinner time, and I could tell Harry wasn’t going anywhere as long as Rylee was here.

“Are you getting hungry?” I asked Niall, hoping I wasn’t the only one.

“Are you kidding me? When am I not?”

I smiled. That was a dumb question. “So what should we do? I don’t think Harry’s going anywhere,” I started, rolling my eyes in Harry's direction, “and we all know that no one else here cooks.”

“Hmmm. You’re right,” he nodded. Why don’t you cook?”

I laughed as if it was a joke. He looked at me questioningly. “I can hardly make a sandwich.”

He smiled, pretending to hide it. “Oh… awkwaaard,” he whispered, making a face. I hit him in the arm, followed by his hushed laughter. “Okay… Then we’ll go out.”

“Who will?”

“You and me.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Do you really think Harry will let us go out alone after what happened this afternoon?” I asked, sarcastically.

He shrugged. “He would if we ask him now.” I followed his gaze back to Harry, seeing he was still completely absorbed in Rylee. I smiled. Niall was a genius. “Hey, Harry?”

“Hmmmm?” he mumbled, not tearing his eyes from Rylee.

“Rae and I are gonna go grab something to eat, you want anything?”

“What? Oh, no thanks. Have fun,” he mumbled back, eager to hear what Rylee had to say next.

“And there we go,” Niall smiled at me.

“Alright. I admit, that was pretty smooth. Where are we going to eat?”

He shrugged. “Who cares. Just get me out of here.” I got up and followed Niall over to the door. As he opened it to let me out, Louis spoke up.

“Hey! Can I come?” I looked at Niall for a response. He shrugged.

“Uh, yeah, sure,” I smiled, realizing he wanted to get away from the ‘zombies’ just as much as we did. “You want to come too, Liam?” I asked. Liam ignored me. “Liam?” I repeated.

“Liam!” Louis said, hitting Liam hard on the shoulder.

“What?!” he asked, as if he didn’t hear me.

“Do you want to come eat with us?” Louis repeated.

He answered without hesitation. “No. I’m not hungry.”

“You sure?” I spoke up. He again, ignored me. Now I knew he was doing it on purpose. “Whatever,” I mumbled to myself, and walked out the door. Niall and Louis followed me out as we all piled into the Audi. Louis took the driver’s seat, Niall the passenger’s, while I climbed into the back. I listened, as Louis and Niall discussed where we should eat and shared their thoughts on Rylee. Just as I began to zone out of the conversation, I learned Louis wasn’t too impressed with her either. Still, Louis’s opinion doesn’t really count, since he’s dating Eleanor. My mind wandered and ended up focusing on the last thing I wanted to think about: Liam. It had been nice hanging out with Niall all day, because I hadn’t really had the chance to think. Now that he was distracted, though, my thoughts consumed me, and I was forced to face them. Frustration ran through my veins as the thoughts came pouring in. Why was he ignoring me? What did I do to him? Just yesterday he was trying to kiss me! I began thinking of the possibilities and came to the conclusion that he may have been ignoring me, so he could focus on Rylee. Even though I might have answered my own question, my thoughts weren’t satisfied. Anger still pulsed through me. What is this? Jealousy? God, no. I’m not jealous. Liam can do what he wants. But even so, I was lying to myself. I didn’t like that Liam was ignoring me. I also didn’t like how he was looking at Rylee. I took a deep breath, mentally hitting myself for caring so much. I didn’t ask for this.

“You okay back there?” Niall asked, turning around in his seat. “You’re really quiet.”

“Yeah,” I lied, faking a smile. “I’m fine.”

“Good. Sooo, how’s ‘Garfunkel’s’ sound?”

“Fine with me,” I agreed, having no idea what ‘Garfunkel’s’ was.

“Great! To Garfunkel’s it is!” Niall turned and shouted at Louis.

***

As we entered the restaurant, we were greeted by a waitress dressed in all black. She lead us to a booth, big enough to comfortably seat four. I sat down first, Louis sitting across from me. Assuming, Niall would sit beside him, I was surprised when he took the seat next to me.

“What can I get you all to drink?” the waitress asked, politely.

“Water for me,” I spoke.

“Uhm, yeah. Same for me.” Niall agreed. The waitress nodded, smiling, and began to focus on Louis.

“And you, sir?” she said, her eyes sparkling a bit as she talked.

“Erm.” Louis thought. “Suppose I’ll just have water, too,” he said.

“Alright, three waters coming up,” she smiled, not tearing her gaze from Louis. When she finally wandered off, I burst into laughter. Niall and Louis were confused.

“What?” Niall asked. I bit my lip, trying to suppress my laughter.

“What’s so funny?” Louis encouraged.

“She was totally checking you out!” I half-shouted at Louis, holding in another laugh. Louis’s cheeks went red.

“What? No she wasn’t.” He denied.

I looked to Niall for help, and when I met his gaze he was wearing an evil grin. “Now that you mention it, she did seem a bit more interested in you,” he teased.

“Oh, shut up. She was just being friendly,” Louis said, trying to defend himself.

“Mhhhm.” Niall and I said in unison, grinning back at him.

He rolled his eyes. “Whatever,” he said, crossing his arms across his chest. Niall and I snickered silently at his response.

“Don’t worry Lou, we won’t tell El.” I smiled, jokingly. Just then, all the humor left the atmosphere. Louis’s facial features dropped to a hurtful frown, and the room seemed to get quieter. I looked to Niall, who had halted his laughter and was now wearing a similar frown. Louis’s arms relaxed, moving back to his lap, followed by his head, hanging low, looking at them. I raised my eyebrows questioningly at Niall, for some explanation. He responded by shaking his head, insinuating for me not to go there. Apparently ‘Eleanor’ was a sore subject. A long moment of silence passed before anything else was said. “So, what looks good?” I asked, picking up my menu, hoping to ease the mood. The look on Louis’s face lightened slightly, though I was still curious to know what was going on. My mind traveled back to the other night at dinner, when Harry and Louis spoke of Eleanor. I remembered wondering then, too, why he was so sad, when just shortly before he was so happy to hear her name.

“Uh, the grilled salmon looks good..” Niall said trying to help me out. “What sounds good to you, Lou?”

Louis kept his head down, playing with his fingers. “I’ll probably just get the soup..” he mumbled. I began feeling really bad about bringing it up, but honestly I had no idea there was even a problem. Soon enough our waitress was making her way back over to us.

“Right. Ok. What about you Raegan?” Niall said, trying to keep conversation going.

“Oh..uhm.. the ‘Spaghetti Bolognese’ sounds pretty good.”

“Hmm.. you’re right. That does sound good. Three ‘Spaghetti Bolognese’ please.” Niall said as the waitress reached our table. And with a turn of her heel she was back off in the other direction. I looked at Niall confused, and apparently I wasn’t  the only one. Louis was almost glaring at him from across the table.

“What the hell, mate?” Louis said, apparently dissatisfied with the idea of spaghetti. “That’s not what I said.”

Niall shrugged. “I know. The soup here is terrible though.”

“Don’t you think I could have made that decision myself?” Louis snapped.

“I’m just lookin’ out for you, mate.” Niall smiled, getting a kick out of Louis's aggravation. And with that, Louis’s sad expression turned into an annoyed one, followed by his arms re-crossing in front of his chest. I looked up at Niall who was smiling bigger than ever. When he looked down at me, he read my confusion.

“I’ve never had the soup here.” Niall whispered, chuckling.

“What? Then why did you do that?” I asked, looking over at Louis. Louis was looking in the opposite direction, doing his best to ignore us.

“A mad Louis is better than a sad Louis.” Niall said, bringing my attention back to him. “If Louis is sad, he will stay that way for a significant amount of time. If he’s mad, however, he’ll be over it in approximately five minutes.” My eyes grew wide as I soaked in what Niall just said. He really was a genius. Niall must have read my mind, because his smile grew bigger and more self-satisfied. “I know, you don’t have to tell me. I’m a genius.” I rolled my eyes and when I looked forward, sure enough Louis’s mood had lightened. Before too long, Niall and Louis were chatting about cars and music, with me patiently listening.

After dinner, Louis and Niall had agreed on driving around for a bit, just in case Rylee was still at the house. I didn’t argue, for I wasn’t thrilled at the thought of her being there either. I looked out the window, observing the many lights of London, as I listened to Louis and Niall continue their conversation from dinner. About thirty minutes passed, before I found myself starting to fall asleep. I barely managed a wink, however, as the car pulled into the long, cement driveway. Or so I thought. When I opened my eyes, and began to stretch, I met both Louis and Niall’s gaze. Both were smirking in my direction, holding in girly giggles.

“What?” I asked, unsure of what was so funny.

“Good nap?” Louis asked, his smile not fading.

“What do you mean? I didn’t sleep at all.” I said, still lost. At this time, both boys had let out deep chuckles.

“Riiiight.” Niall said between laughs. “You’ve been ‘talking to yourself’ for the last 15 minutes.” My confusion grew into embarrassment as I realized what they were talking about. I had a tendency to talk in my sleep.

“We would have been home sooner, but you just had so much to say.” Louis added.

I’m guessing my face turned a deep shade of red, for both boys continued to laugh. I couldn’t manage to find words to explain myself, so I kept silent.

“Don’t worry though,” Niall began, “We won’t tell anyone what you said.” As I tried hard to remember what I was thinking about, Louis’s grin turned sinister, and Niall winked in my direction. Whatever I said, was obviously something they didn’t need to know. I thought harder, doing my best to remember what was on my mind. My mind wandered before finally settling on a subject. Liam. Oh my God. If I said anything about what I think of Liam, I am done for. Surely, if Louis knew I had any sort of feelings for one of his friends, he would tell Harry. And if Harry already hated me for spending time with Niall, he’s going to flip shit when he finds out about Liam. My embarrassment was now pure terror, and I began to panic.

“W-w-what did I say?” I asked, almost too scared to know.

Suddenly, the corners of Niall’s mouth twisted up into the same sinister grin Louis was wearing. “Oh, didn’t you hear me? I said I wouldn’t tell anyone.” Both boys laughed, and jumped out of the car, making their way toward the front door. I followed, though my shaky hand could barely open the car door. Niall stood at the door, smiling, waiting for me to walk inside. I glared at him as I walked in, cursing his name. He laughed, following me inside.

When I got inside, the living room was clear. Well, I thought it was clear, until I made my way further inside, finding Liam reading in his chair.

“Hey,” I said, looking over to Liam. Though, as I expected, I received no response. Louis had already made his way upstairs, and Niall looked as if he were going the same way.

“What happened to Rylee?” Niall asked, as he made his way up the first few steps. Liam didn’t hesitate to respond. Bastard.

“Uhm.. Harry took her somewhere. I think,” Liam mumbled, not looking away from his book.

“And Zayn?” Niall questioned.

“Oh yeah.. he went too.”

“Idiots.” Niall spat, running the rest of the way up the stairs. Liam chuckled, but was soon silenced as he realized I was still in the room. I refused to ignore the way Liam was treating me, so I took a seat on the couch.

“So, what did you guys do tonight?” I spoke, clear enough for anyone in the surrounding area to hear me. Surprisingly I got an answer.

“Nothing.”

“Oh,” I said, quickly thinking of something else to ask him. I was not going to walk away until he talked to me. “Well…What do you think of Rylee?” His attention seemed to heighten at the sound of her name. Damn.

“Eh,” he mumbled, giving no further answer.

“Eh?" I repeated, a bit releived. "What’s that mean?” I asked, carrying a touch of annoyance in my voice.

He shrugged. “Eh?”

My frustration was rising, and this time I couldn’t seem to stop it. “Dammit, Liam. What’s your problem?”

To my surprise, he looked up from his book. “What are you talking about? I’m just trying to read my book,” he said, defending himself.

“Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You’ve been treating me like shit for the last two days.” My voice was rising, and he could tell I was getting upset. He moved to the edge of his seat, resting most his weight on his knees.

“What? I’ve hardly said a word to you!” he snapped back.

“Exactly! That’s the whole point! One day, we’re hanging out like two good friends, and the next, you act like you’ve never met me before!”

He said nothing, but continued to glare at me.

“What am I suppose to think?!” I shouted.

He rose to his feet, towering over me. I took a step back, a bit surprised at his sudden action. “I—“ he began to shout, but was lost for words. In a split second he was passed me, and on his way up the stairs.

Instantly all my frustration, turned to hurt, and I gave up on the matter. He obviously wasn’t going to explain himself. “Fine, Liam. Walk away! I don’t give a damn if I ever speak to you again!” I was sure the other boys could hear me, but not one of them made an effort to interrupt. Liam stopped half way up the stairs, hanging his head, and gripping the railing. I hung my head, free of tears, but still just as upset. I was breathing heavily now, and was trying hard to slow it down. In a flash, Liam was back down the stairs and standing right in front of me. Within seconds of me looking up, he wrapped his long hands around my face, and pressed his soft lips to mine. Before I could even process what he was doing, he had pulled away, and quickly made his way back up the stairs. I stood silently, in the spot he left me, my mouth slightly parted in disbelief.

***

For most of the night, I lay on the couch, too afraid to go upstairs. It was approximately eleven o’clock, and the room was completely dark, aside from the streetlights shining through the large window that sat to the right of the front door. My knees pressed to my chest, as my fingers lingered on my lips. I was surprisingly calm for how much my mind was racing. I sat quietly, letting each thought take its toll, until finally I was almost asleep. Just as I let the last part of me slip into unconsciousness, the front door swung open, revealing Harry and Zayn. I guessed both were drunk, since they could barely form a sentence and each sound they made was accompanied by laughter. I stayed quiet, as they wobbled up the stairs, contemplating whether or not I should go to my room. Finally, I decided that enough time had passed for Liam to fall asleep, and began my journey upstairs.

Immediately, after I entered my room, I fell onto my soft mattress. By this point, I had woken myself up, so I just lay there, staring up at the dark ceiling. I made no effort to change my clothes, assuming I would never find sleep anyways, so why bother? Hours passed, and though I had attempted sleep several times, it never came. I gave up trying, and reached out to my bedside table to retrieve my laptop. As I opened, the lid, I glanced at the alarm clock that read “3:14.” I sighed, logging on to my computer, and looked for something to do/read. I ended up on tumblr, scrolling through endless photos. I had wasted an entire hour on tumblr, when I heard a slight knock at the door. Though I was fully awake, and the sound was very hushed, I jumped in surprise. I waited, hoping whoever it was would realize I should be asleep, and go away. When a minute passed, and nothing else was heard, I settled back down into my computer. Seconds later, however, I heard the knock again. This time, it was followed by a croaky voice.

“Rae.. I know you’re awake. Please let me in.” The voice was Liam’s. My heart rate picked up, and I hesitated in answering the door. Slowly, I tiptoed over, and revealed a very tired Liam. “I’m sorry,” he spoke, taking a step toward me. I stepped back, letting him in my room. He softly shut the door behind him, and took another step forward, holding his arms out. I hesitated once more, before letting myself fall into his arms. I said nothing, as he held me close, apologizing over and over. 

We made our way over to my bed, where we sat crisscrossed, facing each other. I looked down, playing with my fingers as I listened to Liam explain himself.

“Rae, I shouldn’t have ignored you.”

“Then why did you?” I whispered, hardly making a sound.

He sighed, looking down at his hands, and then back up at me. “Is it fair to say, that I don’t know? My intention was never to hurt you.. or be mean to you. Honestly, I guess I thought I was scaring you away.”

“Scaring me away? What do you mean?” I asked, finally meeting his eye contact. His eyes were soft; shining their usual caramel color.

He looked as though he was getting nervous; bringing his hand back to scratch the back of his head. “Well, it’s no secret that I almost kissed you.” I nodded, waiting for him to continue. “I wasn’t sure, that was a good move, so I tried spacing myself from you. I didn’t think I could do it, so I guess, I went a little far, and just ignored you all together..” I looked at him, nodding, keeping quiet.

“So what are you saying?” I finally spoke.

He paused, staring at me for a moment. “I like you, Rae…”

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