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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6. Lifesavers

CHAPTER FOUR

Lifesavers

Our morning routine had become somewhat comforting for both Louis and I. Emma had brought a light into our rather dingy flat, and she had brought an unknown joy to all of our lives. Yet, I knew that I could not depend on Louis, or anyone for that matter. I had to take care of Emma, on my own. Not to say that her ‘uncles’ wouldn’t have a part in her upbringing, but I had to start building a stable environment for my daughter. At the very least, a home we could return to after being away for so long.  

“Tour starts in three months” Louis says as he clears Emma’s plate.

“Yeah” I reply placing the kettle on the stove.

“Have you thought about what we’re going to do with Emma”

“Well, I’m going to have to talk it over with Veronica, but I believe the best thing would be to bring her with us. I mean she doesn’t have any other relatives”

“True”

“Lux spends most of the tour with us, would it really be that bad mate?”

“I don’t know. I mean yeah, you’re right. Lux does spend most of the time on tour with us. I would think it would be pretty mad  if your kid can’t see you for a good ten months because you’re away”

“Do you think they’ll let me take her?”

“I don’t think it should be that big of a problem, Haz. But don’t take my word for it. Just wait for when you speak with Veronica”

“Yeah ”We stay silent for a moment, when I take a deep breath and work up the nerve to speak the thought that had crossed my mind last night. “What if…what if I finally move out on my own with Emma? She’s growing up Lou, she’s gonna need to live somewhere bigger than this flat”

Louis smiles widely “You wanker, you’re planning on ditching me already? You wouldn’t survive a day without my help”

I laugh loudly “Touché”

“I’m all for it mate, I think you’re finally ready. But remember, your house should have an extra bedroom for when you realize you’ve made a terrible mistake separating yourself from me”

“Oh please, you’ll probably just move in with Eleanor”

“She is a fit one, isn’t she” Says Louis wistfully thinking of his long time girlfriend. “That’s beside the point, I wish you all the best in finding a home for you and Emma” I smile as Louis clasps a hand on my shoulder “I’m proud of you”

“Yeah, yeah” I say shrugging him with a smile.

Louis goes and sits at the table, casually pulling out his phone “You excited to see your mum? Anne must be a bloody wreck, not having seen you in so long. She’s posting updates like mad”

“Yeah, she’s been a mess about it”

“When are you leaving? You’re going to see her today right?”

I look up at the clock across the kitchen and groan, having completely forgotten that I was supposed to be in Holmes Chapel in about ten minutes. “We were supposed to have left an hour ago” The kettle whistles loudly as I sprint into the living room and picks Emma off the floor. “Baby, we’re going to play a game”

“Game!” She says clapping happily.

“Good, let’s see who can get dressed the fastest”

“Okay”

“Mate, are you really going to let her dress herself again?”

I sigh as I remember Emma walking into the living room with only a feather boa on last month when Louis had tried to get her to dress herself.

“Good point”

“You go get ready, I’ll lay out her clothes and pack her knapsack”

“You’re a lifesaver”

“You’re going to suffer without me, wanker”

“I already miss you Lou”

–❈–

"Are you ready to go Emma?"  I call from the front door. Emma peeps out from her room and quickly makes her way to me, Louis following behind her.  When she reaches me she opens her arms and scrunches her nose, making my heart skip a beat.

"Daddy"

“We’re all ready then?” I says as I pick her up and grab her bag. "You're going to meet your grandma today"

She lifts both of her hands "Gandma?"

I kiss her cheek, restraining myself from chuckling at her inability to pronounce “R’s”. "Yes baby, grandma" As I turn to shut the door I call out to Louis "Bye mate, we're off "

Louis calls from the living room "Bye, call me if you need anything"

“I will”

–❈–

As we arrive to my mother's house I feel a wave of nostalgia run through me. I look to the house next door and point it out to Emma through the window of the now parked Land Rover. "Look Em, that's where mommy lived when she was little" She looks at it wide eyed as I unbuckle her from her safety seat. I pick her up and takes a deep breath before going up to the door and ringing the bell, Emma tightening her grip around my neck.

The door opened and my mother stands there, tears already brimming in her eyes "Harry, i'm so sorry love" She says wrapping her arms around us. She looks at Emma and tears start falling, "She looks so much like the both of you. She's beautiful Harry" Emma holds her arms out to her and my mother takes her from my embrace. "Hello beautiful" She says managing to wipe her tears away "I'm your grandmum Anne" She wraps her arms around her grandma and hugs her tightly "No crying gandma" Emma pulls back and runs her palm down her grandmum’s face to wipe away the tears. I  smile widely, that child was truly made of love.

–❈–

We sit in the kitchen where I had grown up. I look around and still feels the warmth I had felt before. The feeling of home, the feeling of belonging.  But it was slightly off. The furniture had been moved, the countertops had been changed, and moreover, my best friend was no longer three steps away from me. As I walk back to my seat at the kitchen table, I watch as Emma sits on my mum’s lap with her rag doll.

"Mum, did you ever hear from Leigh?"

She shakes her head "Harry, if I had I would've told you. What I don't understand is how she had a child and never told us"

"Well, the thing is I told her I wasn't quite sure I loved her anymore" She looks up at me, her hazel eyes showing a deep sadness "She let me go so I could learn to be myself mum, and all I did was fuck it up"

"Harry, she knew you loved her" She puts her hand over mine "Stop regretting everything, stop blaming yourself, love"  As feel her stare urging me to look at her, I look up and meet her green eyes."In order for you to raise this beautiful child, you need to be whole. You need to be able to open yourself to love, otherwise this isn't going to be fair to Emma" Emma looks up at her name and smiles mindlessly. My mum looks down at Emma and hugs her tightly. She wipes away a tear of her own and looks up at me once more. “Now, why did you wait so long to come see me? Robin and I have been worried sick”

“Mum, you know it’s been rather hectic”

She rolls her eyes playfully “I’m glad you’re here now, both of you”

“Thanks mum” I say getting up from my seat and wrapping both my mother and Emma in an embrace, my  heart and mind feeling a bit more at ease.

–❈–

As night falls, I decide it would be better to sleep there and make the trip back in the morning. Emma starts nodding off in the recliner in the living room, so I swoop her up and makes the familiar way to my old bedroom. I turn the knob and see the moonlight illuminate the room, flashbacks of Leigh's delicate figure illuminated by the white light of the moon set off in my mind. Her soft touch, her lovely words. Emma shifts slightly in my arms and brings me back to reality. I set  her down gently on the bed and lay down next to her. She immediately curls up in my arms, her favorite place to be. I close my eyes, finding myself to be tired as well.

"Daddy" Emma whispers sleepily

"What is it baby?"

She sniffles "Mommy, it smell like her"

I breathe in as well and smell Leigh's flowery perfume. This room had been untouched for three years. But how could her smell still lingered on the sheets? I hear Emma breathe steadily and is assured that she's fast asleep. I close my eyes and see Leigh smiling at me.

As if she knew we were going to be alright.

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