Safe & Sound

its new, hope u guys like it!!
​I remember you said,
"Don't leave me here alone."
But all that's dead and gone and passed tonight.


5. To my one and only ever love, I would never love again.

An enticing aroma of what smells like sage and coffee is what wakes her. It almost seems to drown out the throbbing pain in her temples from yet another restless night. The clock on the wall reads too early for her liking. She has to be off to work soon.

After reluctantly getting out of bed and redoing her sorry excuse for a ponytail, she notes the clean floor, free of any air mattress, sheets, or pillows. She checks on Addison, expecting her to be fast asleep. But the crib is just as empty.

She assumes the obvious and leaves the room in search of the duo, following the delicious scents coming from the kitchen. They get stronger the closer she gets and once the room is in view, she feels her lips stretch into an involuntary smile and her stomach begin to grumble.

Addison is sitting on a pile of books at the table, raising her high enough to reach the plate of sliced bananas on a place mat in front of her. Standing over the stove preparing omelettes is Harry, still dressed in the now quite wrinkled t-shirt and jeans he slept in.

''Good morning,'' Kennedy greets them, placing a kiss atop the child's head before leaning against the refrigerator.

''Morning,'' Harry sings, his eyes focused on the only frying pan she seems to own.

''You're making breakfast.''

He nods nonchalantly before sliding a helping of eggs onto a plate and sprinkling cheese on.

''Hope you like it,'' he offers her.

She smiles, taking it from him. The last time he cooked for her, they were kids and he burned the microwave pizza. Now a switch seems to have turned inside him and suddenly he's an adult who knows better.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, in the late hours of the night, a shallow thought made her expect him to be gone come morning. For whatever reason. Out of fear, perhaps. Everything's she's sprung on him recently hasn't been easy. She wouldn't have been surprised to wake up and find that he'd left.

But he stayed. He's in her kitchen, looking as if he belongs here. It's a strange feeling, but it's also quite a sight for sore eyes.

''Thank you,'' she tells him honestly.

Harry merely blushes down at the counter, preparing to chop up more vegetables. Kennedy tries not to think of how this will affect her scarce grocery inventory.

''Hi,'' Addison smiles as her mother takes a seat across from her at the table.

''Hello, beautiful,'' Kennedy responds, ''You like those bananas?''

Addison nods before taking another bite. Kennedy tries to ignore the paleness of her young skin and the tiny dark circles under her eyes and focus more on how happy she is to be in Harry's company. It must be exciting for her to have someone besides her mother prepare her a meal for once.

The omelette turns out to taste exquisite mostly because it's the first hot meal Kennedy has had in years that hasn't come from a box. She compliments Harry, fully prepared to devour the entire plate.

''How long have you been up?'' she asks between heaping bites.

''Not long. Addie woke up at around seven, so I just got up as well. I took her out of the room so we wouldn't disturb you.''

''Did you sleep well?''

He tells her yes, which is partly true. Sleeping in his jeans was an uncomfortable first and he barely got a wink of actual sleep thinking about everything that's going on. He thought Kennedy was awake most of the time as well, but he fought the urge to speak in case he was wrong.

Kennedy merely nods at his answer, gratefully receiving the hot mug of fresh coffee he hands to her.

''Mama, did you call Mister?''

Harry creases his eyebrows together as he takes a seat at the table with his own plate. ''Who's Mister?''

''My boss,'' Kennedy answers distractedly, too focused on her meal, ''Mr. Ackerman. She can't pronounce his name, so she just calls him Mister.''

''Ah,'' Harry understands before digging in.

But then the realization dawns on Kennedy out of the blue.

''Wait,'' her eyes widen, ''Did you say you got up at seven? What time is it now?''

He checks the silver watch wrapped around his wrist. ''8:15, just about.''

Kennedy's fork falls against her plate and she rushes to stand. In her grogginess, she must have read her clock wrong.

''I'm going to be late for work!''

In the moment, Harry is more baffled at how Addison seemed to remember work before Kennedy did. She's probably used to Kennedy calling her boss when she can't come in to work, and today seemed odd to her because she didn't do that and was still home. He realizes Kennedy was right. Addison is exceptionally smart.

Kennedy runs to the bathroom to brush her teeth, properly tie up her hair, and sweep on enough mascara to make it look like she got more than a mere hour's worth of rest last night.

''You don't have to stay, Harry,'' she reminds him from over the sink, ''Edith should be here in about fifteen minutes.''

''Oh,'' he murmurs, ''Alright, yeah. I better be off.''

She's surprised he doesn't offer to look after Addison himself. He wants to be able to. Badly. But he knows he can't. He's too nervous to admit it but as much as he cares for the toddler, he's not ready to be on his own just yet. If it were all about feeding and playing and sleeping, he'd have the job down. But he still has no handle whatsoever on her medication dosages. Trying to figure it out this morning took half an hour and he still didn't succeed. He needs Kennedy for that. He needs Kennedy for a lot right now.

It's painful for both of them when Addison sadly asks them if they're leaving her. They're honest with her and she seems to understand. Either that or she's just more concerned about her bananas and getting to watch cartoons once Edith arrives.

''Thank you for breakfast,'' Kennedy tells Harry as he prepares to depart, ''It was lovely, really.''

He zips up his jacket and looks down at her. ''I can make lunch as well. And dinner.''

She smiles. ''I'll remember that.''


The movie's about halfway through. He's seen this one before. Why Miranda doesn't remember, he doesn't quite understand. He saw it with her at the cinema on their second date. But she seems enthralled in it now, curled up on his arm, one hand over her mouth as she watches as if it's all new to her.

''You really don't remember this?'' he asks her, half amused, ''Like this scene, look. The guy goes into the room and finds the woman dead.''

It plays out exactly like he describes but, much to his surprise, Miranda turns and smacks his shoulder.

''I know that,'' she playfully scolds him, ''But I like to watch like it's the first time.''

Before he has the chance to refute and ask why she didn't just ask him for another movie from the rental shop, she smirks.

''I like to do other things like it's the first time as well.''

He raises his eyebrows in interest and lets her kiss him, but her attention is short lived. She returns to the film nearly the instant after she pulls apart.

He gives up commenting, letting her have her way. He tries to pay attention to the movie for her sake. Maybe it'll work if he concentrates hard enough.

But the effort ends up going against him. The actress playing the main character has chestnut hair, the exact shade and cut of someone in his past he's been thinking about quite a lot nowadays. More than he'd like to admit. She's different now. Everything's different now. Without his permission, his mind drifts back to a time when she was everything to him and the only thing he ever had to worry about was making her happy. But for reasons that make a world of sense now, she was out of his life quicker than he could catch her and bring her back.

May 2010

He's mesmerized by the way the sun shines on her face. He always has been. It's casting elegant shadows on her skin from the leaves above her head and the patterns seem to make her look that much more beautiful, as if that were even possible in his eyes.

''Harry,'' she sings softly. Her eyes are closed, but even in her blindness, she knows he's laying beside her with his head propped on one hand, not bothering with the risk of getting dirt on his jeans or grass stains on his elbows.


''You're staring again,'' she smiles.

Casually, as if moving by themselves, his fingers reach for a fallen leaf on the waves of hair framing her face and move it away.

''Can't help it.''

She doesn't attempt to hide the blush that creeps onto her cheeks and he's grateful for that. It warms him knowing that he's the cause of that.

''Come on,'' she opens her eyes and swiftly rises to her feet, fixing her denim skirt that has risen up slightly, ''It's getting hot.''

He takes her outstretched hand and gracefully pulls himself up. It requires a bit of effort on her part. He's not exactly light and compared to her, he's a good bit taller. But she succeeds and the second he's up, he takes her waist.

''What?'' she asks shyly when she catches him smiling down at her.

''Nothing.'' He presses a kiss to her forehead before motioning towards the footpath. ''Lead the way.''

She walks him to her house around the corner from the field they've been laying in for the past hour. Sometimes that's just what she needs to do. Fall down on the ground for a while and appreciate the little things she merely glances over every day, like the warmth of the sun, the softness of the breeze, and the feeling of just being in Harry's presence, no words needed.

''No one's home?'' he asks her when they step inside the air-conditioned home, considerably cooler than the warm spring day outside.

She shakes her head. ''They're never home.''

''But they'll be alright with me over?''

''Who cares?'' she scoffs loudly, ''They think they control everything. It'd be a nice wake up call to show them they don't.''

It seems to him like the right thing to do in this moment would be to sit her down and convince her otherwise. He should tell her that her parents love her. That they're controlling because they're protective. That even though they don't show it much, they love her.

But even he's not convinced of all of that. Trying to successfully persuade her would be hypocritical. Her parents have hard shells and he's never once seen those shells crack, not even when Kennedy brings home straight A's or some scholarship for some prep school. When they're not ignoring her, they're yelling at her. So he bites his tongue.

The pair makes their way up the wide staircase of the townhouse and she lets him into her bedroom, closing the heavy wooden door behind them. It's a large room, much like the rest of the lavish residence. With both of her parents as doctors who seem to work every second of the day, it's no surprise she lives in one of the most upscale parts of England.

After shutting the door, she presses her back against it and eyes him in a way she hopes conveys what she's hinting at.

''We're alone,'' she smiles slyly.

''We're always alone,'' he points, amused.

''Not with a bed.''

He knows exactly what's on her mind and he can't deny it's on his, too.

''Someone's being naughty.'' He's laughing cheekily, but there's nothing humorous about the way he firmly pulls her close as the words escape him.

''And you're encouraging it.''

She reaches up to kiss him and he wastes no time in lifting her, positioning each leg on either side of his waist, and carrying her over to the bed in the corner, clad in a baby blue duvet.

''Wait,'' he sighs when her lips instinctively go to his neck. They feel soft and hard to resist.

''I took it this morning, Harry. We're safe.''

''Are you sure?''

She meets his eyes and nods. ''But if you're worried, be double sure.''

Her hands reach for his back pocket and pull out the condom, after which he finally accepts they'll be okay. It's always his primary concern with being with her like this. He was raised to be responsible about this if not anything else. Treating her with respect and taking every precaution necessary is what he's been taught to remember, and he's not stopping now.

So he continues, hovering over her, always marveling over how she sighs his name and pulls him close like he's the only thing that matters to her. And he is.

For now.


Kennedy's known around school for always attending her classes, no matter what threatens to stand in her way. He can't count the number of times he's seen her show up ridden with the flu or a broken bone or sleep deprivation.

That's why it's troubling when, two weeks after their get-together at her house, she misses three days of school in a row. It's unlike her. She would come even if her cat died on her way out the door.

He tries contacting her to find out if she's alright. But every time he calls, it goes to voicemail. And every time he texts, he spends hours waiting for a reply that never comes. It's maddening going through all the possibilities of what might be wrong with her in his head. She gets into arguments with her parents on a daily basis. He wonders if that's what happened. He wonders if it's his fault. Maybe they found out this time that he was at the house without their supervision and for some reason chose now to start caring. Maybe she got a bad grade and they fought over it. Whatever the case, he's going crazy trying to form a prediction that makes the least bit of sense and explains why she hasn't vented to him about whatever's going on.

His worries don't cease even when he walks into his first class and spots a neatly folded piece of lined paper on his desk. The front reads ''Harry'' and he recognizes her handwriting immediately. She always curls her y's, just like him. But as he scans the room for her, from her assigned seat in the back corner to the spot out in the hall where she usually waits for him, she's nowhere to be found.

Quickly, he opens the note so eagerly he nearly rips it. It reads:

Field 3pm
- K

The paper is flipped and examined thoroughly, but there's no other writing on it. That's the only message she's given and it's confusing him. Why is she being so secretive?

It's all he can think about during school. He can't focus on anything. His calculus class has him zoning out while staring at the back of her empty chair. It's worse that he doesn't even have an idea of what's happened.

Once his last class draws to a close, he speeds out, practically running past the crossing guards towards her neighborhood. Upon reaching the open field, he sees she's already here.

''Kenn,'' he sighs breathlessly, dropping his bag on the freshly mown grass and approaching her quickly, ''Where have you been?''

He hugs her tightly, but her arms stay soft against her sides. He glances down, taking a good look at her, and she looks as if she hasn't slept in days. Her hair is flat against her head as if all she did this morning was brush her fingers through it. And she isn't wearing a drop of makeup, not that she needs it, but it's odd considering she's worn some every day for the past four years.

''Are you alright?'' he asks, worry written all over his face.

Her voice is much too soft when she speaks and it never once hardens.

''Harry, I have to tell you something.''

The darkness in her eyes immediately scares him. She suddenly looks nothing like the Kennedy he knows. She's changed. Something horrible has happened to make her lose that light in her eyes and he's desperate to know what.

''I just, I don't know how to say it,'' she stumbles, ''I was...I'm...''

He's eager, holding onto every syllable of her words. Quicker than he realizes, her strength fails her and she begins to cry. It's the frantic kind of cry. The one where you can't breathe or think clearly and your face twists up in an agony that makes anyone witnessing this torture feel your pain as it bursts out.

''Harry, I love you,'' she whimpers.

His heart flutters because it's the first time he's heard her say it. He can feel the surprise at the beautiful words emerge on his face. But something's off. It's not exactly the way he pictured it would happen and he's conflicted with how he should feel if saying it makes her cry like this. There has to be more to it.

The quizzical look on his face seems to confirm to her that he can't say anything yet and prompts her to continue.

''But,'' her voice gets progressively softer and higher-pitched, ''I can't do this.''

She's wiping aggressively at her face now and glaring down at her hands as if ashamed of her tears.

''I think we should...see other people. I'm sorry.''

Just as quickly as the words pour out of her, she turns on her unsteady heel and prepares to leave.

There's a sudden hollowness in his chest. ''I don't understand.''

She pauses in her tracks and he's forced to memorize the sight of her back turned.

''You tell me you love me and then you leave?''

''I'm sorry, Harry,'' she cries.

''This doesn't make any sense, Kennedy. There has to be something else. What have I done?''

Despite standing alone, without the weight of his bag of books, he suddenly feels heavy.

''We're just...too different,'' she tells him.

''Kenn, we're practically the same bloody person! We do everything together!''

He hears her sniffle into her sleeve. ''Please don't make this harder than it has to be.''

Before he realizes where his body is taking him, he finds himself in front of her, face-to-face with the hazel eyes he's seen every day for years that are now bloodshot and glossy with tears.

''This is for the best,'' she declares, but her voice breaks.

''Bullshit. You don't want this. I know you don't. I know you. Better than anyone. Please tell me what's going on, Kenn. I'm begging.''

''Nothing is going on. I just...''

''Just what?'' he presses when she doesn't say it, ''Kennedy, it's me. You can tell me anything. Please don't do this. Please.''

She watches painfully as he drops to his knees before her, his hands shaking as they hold hers despite her struggles against it.

''God, Harry...''

''Don't go,'' he desperately pleads, ''I love you, Kenn. Whatever it is that brought this up, I can do better. I promise. Please stay.''

''Let go,'' she tries to get out between her streams of tears. She won't look at him and yet he can't take his eyes off her. ''I just don't want to be with you anymore, don't you see that? Leave me alone.''

Kennedy breaks free of his trembling hands and stalks off, leaving him stranded in the middle of their field, still down on his knees, unsure how the hell all of this just happened. The one perfect thing in his life just walked away from him and, in his eyes, for no real reason at all.


The week goes by and each day he watches the classroom door intently, prepared to catch her walking in and determined to find out what's going on.

But the days come and go, and she never shows.

They soon become weeks and he knows he should stop waiting. Stop staring at that door. Stop hoping with everything he has that she'll come back. But no matter how much he screams at himself in his head to give up, he can't. His stay glued to her chair, thinking that maybe if he stares hard enough, she'll appear.

All of it seems to worsen when his calculus professor asks him if he knows what's going on with his classmate. Her reason for bringing it up is that she knew he and Kennedy were close, and she's desperate for answers on why she's missing so much class. Has she gone on vacation? Has she switched into another course? Is she ill at home? He merely tells her he knows as much as she does, if not less. She sympathizes with him, clearly feeling sorry for him as he's lost every interest he ever seemed to have in school, and assures that if she finds out anything, she'll let him know.

Then, two weeks later, she officially announces to the class that Miss Kennedy Ellis has changed schools and won't be returning. She expresses how much she'll miss Kennedy's intellect and raised hand, but then she moves on to the day's lesson as if nothing has really changed.

Harry can't move on that quickly. His waiting gives him a heavy heart. He's full of unanswered questions and confusion that will never be sorted. He thought things with her couldn't have been better. They had their rocky moments every now and then, he admits it. He should have been more understanding when she got jealous of his better grade on an exam. He should have always answered the phone when she called because she had an argument with her dad. He should have done a lot more for her when she needed him, but for the most part she seemed happy. If she wasn't, why would she have stayed all these years? And why would she confess she loved him?

He wonders if it was all in his head. Maybe he was the only one who was under the impression that their relationship was working. Maybe he did more things wrong than he could see. But what could've been so horrible that she couldn't talk to him about it and had to leave the school for?

Naturally, he gets no answers from her parents. They never call to console him. He never stops by the house, although they wouldn't have been home even if he tried.

By the time the school year ends, his eyes still occasionally fall over whoever's at his door when his mother answers it, hoping one day it will be Kennedy. But his faith has lessened. He's tired. It's maddening laying awake at night, praying she'll call. It's become pointless leaving her voicemail after voicemail, especially after she disconnected her phone.

She's abandoned him, and no matter how much it hurts to think about, it's about time he stopped waiting for her.

He focuses on finishing school, but none of it interests him. He goes about his day with a cloud over his head and everyone can tell. Everyone pities the boy who got his heart broken. Even his mother and especially his sister, who seems to get angrier at her former friend's sudden departure every day. Gemma forbids anyone from mentioning Kennedy's name under their roof. After months of being fully convinced her brother would someday marry the girl, she feels like a fool. How anyone could hurt someone like Harry, she doesn't understand and she probably never will.


After the days become weeks and the weeks become months and years, Harry's found himself living a life he didn't realize had changed so little. He goes about his days in routine fashion, rarely ever does anything new, and can't believe he's watched more than three and a half years of his life go by before his eyes. Because Gemma never lets a day pass without reminding him he needs to find a girlfriend to keep him company, she's set him up with Miranda, and although they have very little in common he must admit he likes spending time with her more than being alone.

He's at home on a Sunday afternoon. Miranda's out to lunch with some of her girlfriends. He has nothing planned for the day and it's eating away at him inside. He hates times like these. When he has nothing to distract him, his mind wanders. And when his mind wanders, it only ever lands on one thing. One person. Someone he wishes with everything he has that he could stop thinking about.

Just when the image of her chestnut hair comes into his daydreaming focus, his cell phone vibrates on the arm of his couch and he's hesitant to answer the unfamiliar number.


''Hello? Harry?''

His chest falls a bit at the familiarity of the voice, but he's learned to control that. Every now and then, each voice over the phone and overheard in public seems to sound like hers, but it never is and his hopes heighten for no good reason.

''Yeah?'' he answers.

''Hi,'' the woman on the other end sounds like a mixture of relief and pure nerves, ''It's so nice to hear your voice.''

''I'm sorry, but who is this?''

''Oh, sorry! So sorry, um...'' she clears her throat softly, ''This is Kennedy.''

He doesn't make a sound for a moment. Maybe he's hearing things. Maybe his insanity has finally caught up to him and he's hallucinating. He has to be. There's no chance she's calling.

''Kennedy Ellis,'' she specifies when he's silent for a long while.

''I know,'' he tries to tell her.

''Great, that's great. I'm glad,'' she murmurs anxiously, ''I'm relieved, actually.''

There's no making sense of what's going on in his head. It's swimming with possible questions to ask. Where did you go? Why did you leave? Where have you been all this time? But he can't speak the words. He just clutches the phone in his clammy, rigid hand, awaiting her response to his silence.

''Listen, Harry,'' she sighs, ''I made a lot of mistakes. I'm trying to make them right. I just...This would be so much easier in person. Do you want to grab a cup of coffee?''

It takes a lot to work up the courage to accept. He knows he should decline and hang up violently. Yell at her for hurting him, even. That's what the Gemma in his head is screaming at him to do. But his heart, as it usually is with all hearts, won't cooperate. He's dying to see her. He's dying to get some answers somehow, and accepting to meet her is what's going to make it happen.

That sparks everything. That sets off the dynamite and topples the first domino, and after that there's no going back. He remembers how stunning she looked when he saw her in the coffee shop window, sipping on her macchiato as he stood outside the door, fighting with a part of him that was terrified to step inside. He remembers how strange and yet absolutely wonderful it felt when she hugged him. He remembers the light in her eyes that seemed to have been reignited, and he later got to understand why once his gaze first landed on Addison.

Thinking about his life for the past few weeks ever since he got that fateful call has him finally realizing that there's so much more to all of this than what he's been treating it as. It's a big deal. It's not easy. And frankly, he can't handle any of it alone.

''Harry Styles, are you even listening to me?''

Miranda's voice comes into earshot, faint at first but slowly taking over his absentminded daydreams.

''Harry!'' she snaps a few fingers in front of his face and he turns to her, watching uneasily as her annoyed face comes into focus. ''Are you alright?''

''Yeah,'' he nods far too animatedly, ''Sorry, I dozed off for a bit.''

''You missed the end of the film.''

''I think I'll live...''

She eyes him for a moment before settling on calling him strange and kissing his forehead affectionately. After offering to get up and make drinks, the thought sparks in Harry that he should come clean about his latest news now. The sooner, the better. The easier. For everyone.

''Miranda, wait,'' he catches her attention before she turns into the kitchen. She peeks at him over strands of pin straight blonde hair.

''I have to tell you something.''

The look of expectancy on her face as she awaits his news makes him nervous and he can't help but imagine if this is how Kennedy felt when she was about to tell him. He rehearses the possible ways to break it to her in his head. I have a daughter. With my ex who I haven't seen in nearly four years. My daughter has leukemia. My life has gone completely upside down, but please stay with me. Every word sounds wrong. Telling her feels wrong and he's not sure why.

''What is it, Harry?'' she presses.

He stares at her eyes, deep blue with anticipation, and the desire to say it seems to fade.

''Just wanted to say you look beautiful today.''


sorry its a bit to long

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