She Taught Me How To Love

"If anyone asked me what impact Leigh had on my life, I could easily tell them. She taught me how to love." After four long years of a highly successful career, news of his childhood sweetheart sends international pop sensation Harry Styles into a whirlwind of emotions he believed had been forgotten all those years ago. As he struggles to become the person she always believed he could be, he learns once more that it is possible to love with the entirety of his heart.
©Ohhipstaplease 2014


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12. Grateful

CHAPTER TEN

Grateful

"Have you heard from the social worker?" Louis says as he lifts Emma from her seat in our kitchen. He hands her the rag doll on the counter and she runs off.

"Um, no, I haven't yet." As I place the dirty plates in the sink. 

"You're a bloody terrible liar, mate."

I sigh loudly and turn to face Louis, "Alright, I just don't want to say it."

"What she told you?"

"Yes."

"Why?" 

"Because, i'm scared"

Louis motions for me to sit down, and eyes me carefully "Why?"

"Because, when I say it...it makes it real, you know?"

"Yeah, but Harry, you have to tell me okay? I want to help."

"I know..." I put the last plate away and finally turn to face Louis,"I was denied permission to take Emma out of the country."

"They can't do that!"

"Yes, they can"

"But...you're her father!"

"Yes, but..." I sigh loudly and try to compose myself before continuing, "Look, they're not taking her away from me permanently. They just don't want to give me permission to take her out of the country for half a year. Edie told me that the psychiatrist with the department thought it would be too much for her after the death of her mother. And that the thing she needed most right now was stability." I felt my throat close up as Louis looked at me wordlessly.

"But, Lux....she gets to go on tour with us all the time."

"Yes, but only for a month at a time. She comes back with Tom every so often, remember?"

"But still, you're her father! You are the one who decides what to do with your daughter."

"Not when her father is Harry Styles"

"Harry, that's bullshit! They're not letting you take her because of everything that's happened before?!"

"They don't think six months is enough to deem me as a fit parent."

"What!? I thought you just automatically got Emma when Veronica brought her over."

"No, I didn't. It's conditional"

"What!?"

"Why do you think there was a social worker even involved in this case Louis? They didn't think I was a fit parent! I'm twenty, i'm a celebrity, and not until too long ago I was pretty much a bloody mess."

"Calm down, Haz."

"I just, I don't know what to do anymore. I've been trying so hard, but it seems like every time something is going to work out, it just unravels right before me."

"Look, let's just take today and relax with Ems, yeah? Take her to the zoo?"

"She does love giraffes." I say smiling widely.

"Great, i'll call the lads, we'll make a day of it."

"Okay, i'll get her ready then."

–❈–

"Princess! Look at that!" Niall exclaims as he carries Emma upon his shoulders. The toddler happily giggles as she looks at a penguin through the glass. 

"Ems, look its waving at you! Wave back, baby!" I say looking up at her. She waves feverishly, hoping that the little penguin would look back at her. 

"Cute!" Emma happily says as Niall carefully takes her down and holds her to him. She clings to him like a koala, "Uncle Niall" she says as she pats his cheek "Giraffes!"

"You wanna go see the giraffes?"

"Yes!"

Niall turn to look at us and I nod "Alright, let's go see them!"

The lads and I watch as Zayn and Niall run off with Emma, and finally they turn to look at me, "You told them didn't you?"

Louis smiles weakly, "You know I had to Harry."

"We just want to help, mate." Liam says as he leans against the railing that has been propped up next the exhibit. 

"Yeah, well, I think this particular situation may be out of our jurisdiction."

"What can we do?" Louis says as he watches the hordes of people walking their children through the busy zoo.

"I don't know. Honestly, is there anything we can do?"

"Did the social worker say you could do anything to help your case?"

"Well, witnesses may be called up to the stand."

"That's it, mate!" Liam says excitedly "We can all testify on your behalf!"

"I don't think four members of a boy band will be very good character witnesses." I say with a smirk on my face.

"Harry, we've seen first hand your troubles and your triumphs, if we're not good character witnesses, then who is?"

"He makes a valid point." 

"I guess, look we'll talk about it later." I watch as Niall and Emma come back and we start heading over to them. "Having fun, baby?"

"Yes!" She jumps into my arms from Niall's and hugs me tightly "Emma loves daddy!" she says planting a kiss upon my cheek. I look up and see the lads smiling, but their eyes betrayed them. I knew that not having Emma with me would not only affect myself, but them as well. They loved her too, and I was grateful. 

–❈–

For the remainder of the afternoon, the boys had decided to take Emma out for ice cream and then head back to Lou's for a movie. They relieved me of my baby duties so that I could have some time to meet with Edie and discuss a bit what was happening. Now that I had processed the information a bit more, I thought I could finally help out with the case Edie was building. 

She suggested we meet at a little coffee shop a few minutes away from Primrose Hills, and I agreed. As soon as I walked into the shop, Edie was at a booth. Papers and books covered the surface and her laptop was open. She smiled wearily when she saw me, and stood up to shake my hand. I was a bit taken a back seeing her in jeans and a jumper, when I was so used to the proper Edie in business attire. 

She noticed my stare and chuckled, "Harry, you can't expect me to dress up everyday. It's a bloody Saturday, i'm allowed a day pass."

"It's different." I say sitting on the opposite side of the booth and picking up a few papers. She stared at me as I tried to decipher what they said. 

"It's all legal talk, here i'll help you out." she takes the papers from my hands and smiles. "How have you been?"

"Exhausted."

"Are they running you ragged?"

"Yeah. And then this."

"I can imagine." she shuffles some papers and looks up "Don't you want a coffee?"

"Nah, i'll have a juice and a banana."

Edie waves a hand and within an instant a young waitress looks at me with tears in her eyes, "Hi, may I....take your order?"

"Just an orange juice and a banana, love." 

She flushes as soon as I say 'love' and tentatively looks at me "Do you think I could....get a picture?" Nervously she looks down and awaits an answer.

"Of course, Edie? Would you mind?" Edie smiles widely as the waitress hands her a phone. "What's your name?"

"Elizabeth"

"It's nice to meet you" I say wrapping an arm around her as Edie takes the picture.

"Thank you so much" She says smilingly, "By the way, I saw pictures of you and your baby earlier today at the zoo with the other boys. She's adorable, i'm happy you're happy." she looks down once more, feeling as if she had said too much it seems. 

"Thank you Elizabeth, I am very happy. Thank you for thinking of my happiness."

"Oh, of course" she turns a shade redder, if that's even possible,"I'll bring the order right over"

We watch as she walks away and in seconds comes back with what I had ordered. Edie looks at me and smiles "You made her entire day, probably month even."

"Don't exaggerate."

"You're Harry Styles, do you know how many people love you?"

"Including you?"

"I'm not obliged to answer that. But, I think it's lovely that you take time out of your day to meet fans."

"It's the least I can do. I'm surprised I even have fans after the past two years."

"They're happy you're in a good place, Harry. We all are."

"And for that I am truly grateful." I say peeling my banana.

Edie smiles at me as I avoid her stare. "What. Why aren't you looking at me?" she says obviously confused. 

"First rule of eating a banana, is avoiding eye contact." She laughs wildly and I do as well. And for the first time in a long time, things felt normal. 

 

 

 

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