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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8. Starting Over

CHAPTER SIX

Starting Over

It was the first morning in the house and somehow Emma ended up in my bed once more, curled up on my side. I smile lightly as I carefully rouse her. She giggles as I carry her to her room to pick out an outfit. She picks out a pink tutu and one direction t-shirt. I smirk as she comes out of her room looking ridiculously adorable. She clings to my neck and I bring her down to the breakfast table so she can eat.

As I whip up a batch of blueberry pancakes, the doorbell rings throughout the house. I set down the bowl in front of Emma and turn to get the door.

"Veronica!"

"Harry!" She wraps her arms around me while a young woman next to her stares at me wide-eyed. I clears my throat and Veronica chuckles readjusting her glasses.

"I'm sorry dear, we haven't seen each other in a while" She says turning to the the young woman. The young woman nods smilingly.

"Harry, this is Edie" I  look at her and she blushes.

"I'm Harry"

"I know" she smirks. Her blue eyes twinkle mischievously.

Veronica looks at me and laughs. "Well Harry, may we come in?" I nod and open the door for both of them to come in. They settle in the kitchen at the center island. "How's my Emma?"

Emma gets off of her seat excitedly and runs to Veronica. "Veronica!" She hugs her tightly and Veronica chuckles.

"I missed you love" She sits on Veronica’s lap happily. "Well Harry, I’d like to say this was a social visit, but I am here strictly on business" Veronica looks at Edie then at me. "After thirty-five years of service, I am officially retiring next week"

"Congratulations!" Emma claps and everyone chuckles.

"Thank you love, but it seems that now someone else will be taking up your case"

I turn to look at Edie and she turns away, smiling slightly. "Would that someone be the young lady sitting next to you?"

"Ah, you catch on fast Mr. Styles, Miss Edie Messer will now be conducting these visits. I hope you both get to be as close as us" She winks at Edie and Edie rolls her eyes.

"Wait, do I not have a say in this?"

"No Mr. Styles you do not. The bureau chose Ms. Messer because of her qualifications and have found her suited to run your case. After all, she simply has to make sure that Miss Emma is in the best of hands" She gently hugs Emma. I look at Edie and her blue eyes pierce mine.

I felt a strange sensation when she looked at me, but I shook it off and smiled gently. "It'll be a pleasure then Ms. Messer"

"Indeed" She nods.

Veronica looks between us and smirks "Keep an eye on these two Emma" she nods. "Well then Mr. Styles, we'll be on our way" I nod as they get up and Veronica holds Emma to her chest. "Emma love, this is Edie, I hope you learn to love her as much as you love me" Emma holds her hands out to Edie and Edie's expression softens immediately.

"Mommy?" We all freeze. No wonder I felt it within my heart. She had Leigh's eyes, her soft smile. They looked so alike, but so different.

Edie smiled awkwardly as she squatted down to Emma’s level "No baby, my name is Edie"

Emma smiles, but doesn't quite comprehend “Okay” she says simply, and runs off to her room with her rag doll in hand.

We look at each other awkwardly.

“Well, it’s time we’re off” Veronica says as if nothing had happened “Edie will stop by later on to be updated on your case. It’s truly been a pleasure Mr. Styles”

I nod, avoiding eye contact with Edie as I open the door to let the two women out.

“Thank you for everything, Veronica” I say as i’m about to close the door. She smiles back and finally turns to leave.

I close the door and sigh loudly. Just when everything seemed to be turning out alright...

–❈–

I lay awake once more. It seemed as if nights were no longer fit for sleeping. Every time I close my eyes, I see Leigh, as always. But the strange thing was, that now I also see Edie. I turn carefully, making sure not to wake Emma. How could it be that they both looked so much alike? The same soft smile, the same wavy long hair. It was as if life wanted me to never forget her. To never forget what I had done. Could it be my mistakes coming back to haunt me? Could it be I’m such a horrible human being?

–❈–

"Emma love, come on now" She rubs her eyes with her chubby hands and I can’t help but smile widely. I scoop her up in my arms "Em you really need to start sleeping in your own bed" She wraps her arms around my neck tightly. I laugh, “This little girl has quite the hold on me already, don’t you love?”

I get her ready for the day. She laughs as I struggle to zipper her jumper and she runs a hand through my hair as I lace up her converse, which were identical to my own. I look into her eyes and can't help but smile. As we get ready to go, I give her a bowl of cereal and finish putting everything in her knapsack.  She giggles as I pick her up and takes her outside. It's a chilly day, the sky is gray and it looks as if it were going to rain. But Emma's oblivious to it all. I puts her in the car seat, buckling her in tight. She hums to herself as I drive down the familiar road to Louis' house.

–❈–

"Harry you can't just put your entire life on hold" Louis stares right at me as the lads continue playing with Emma.

"Look, I just want to focus on Emma right now"

"Harry, don't you think maybe it's a sign that this Edie girl looks so much like Leigh?"

"Yeah, that life hates me"

"No mate, that maybe it's your chance to start over"

Emma starts to giggle loudly as Niall starts tickling her. I turn to look at them and then turns back to Louis "Do you really think I deserve a chance to start over mate?"

"Of course you do Harry" Liam says placing a warm hand upon my shoulder. I look up at him and Liam smiles at me reassuringly.

"Harry, everyone makes mistakes. You just have to learn from them"

"Why are we even talking about this in the first place, I just met the woman"

Louis smiles "Harry, you brought it up"  

"I'm not ready for this"

"Harry, we all have a past. You're not the only one. Anyone would understand" Liam argues.

"Liam, not everyone would quite understand that I left the mother of my child without knowing she was pregnant, and didn't even get the chance to say I’m sorry because she died" Niall turned to look at me wide eyed. Zayn’s cigarette fell out of his mouth. Anger accented every word, and they all noticed it.

"Harry, we know it's hard" Louis tries

"No, you don't"

"Harry you've had it rough okay? We know. We know you were in bad shape, but look at yourself now. You're a good dad Harry, that little girl has never been so in love with someone other than you" I look over at Emma, she's trying to climb up Niall’s legs and he's laughing loudly at her attempts.

"But, I...I'm not ready"

Louis gets up and sits next to me "It's okay Haz, we were just having a laugh. If you're not ready, don't push it"

"I'm sorry." I say.

"Don't worry about it"

Oh, how i've tried not to. 

–❈–

Another week passes without major incident. We go through our morning routine per usual, and I clock  in some serious rehearsal time for the upcoming  tour.

As I pick up Emma's toys in the living room the doorbell rings, I put down the basket I was collecting toys in and head towards the door. Emma scatters to her room and I quickly yell behind her. "Em don't run in socks, you're going to hurt yourself love"

I opens the door to see a smirking Edie staring back at me, "You have the daddy role down don't you?"  

"Hello to you too" She comes in and sits down at the kitchen table. I follow and puts a kettle on. She looks at me as I pour the water and turn on the stove.

"How have you been Harry?"

"Well, you know"

She smiles making her bright blue eyes crease a bit. "Look Harry" she says regaining a neutral look on her face "I have to make a thorough report about you. Although we already know you are more than capable of being a father, the bureau is concerned that Emma may have to go on tour with you. They don't consider it a very stable lifestyle for such a small child. Moreover, due to your past" She clears her throat "Indiscretions, we have to make sure we have all the bases covered" The kettle whistles and I pour both of us a cuppa, setting it down on the table and finally settling in the seat next to her. She blows lightly on her cup and turns to look at me "Harry, I know you have a tough past, but you're going to have to trust me and tell me your story. That's the only way I can help you" She looks at me and pure sincerity shone in her blue eyes.

"I don't know where to start"

"How about the beginning?”

"She was the only one who truly ever believed in me" I clear my throat once more and pushes aside my mug. "We had known each other since we were practically in the womb. But the thing is, I never truly showed her I loved her. You see, after I had signed the record deal, after I had started getting famous, well I lost interest. She knew that. She knew that I just wasn't the same person I had been before, and she accepted it. She let me go, she let me go because she wanted me to be someone. She wanted me to be what I had always dreamed of being, and what she always knew I could be. But I let her down"

"Harry"

I lifts up a hand and sigh lightly. “After I had left England and went on my first tour I realized I had made a mistake. But it was too late to fix it, I figured that she wouldn't want me back anyways. I went into a downward spiral "

She looks at me sadly "What happened Harry?"

"Things just seemed to numb the pain. Alcohol, sex, drugs, it all just seemed to make it go away"

"Did the pain really go away?"

"It still hasn't"

"Harry, you know this isn't your fault" S

"No, it is Edie. The decisions I made were entirely mine. The sooner I accept it the better"

"Harry, I just. I don't know what to say. Honestly, you were still a child. You had no idea what would have happened"

"That's just it. I didn't think about the repercussions"

She gently lays a hand on top of mine "Stop trying to rationalize her death Harry"

"What?"

"You didn't kill her. It was an accident. Nothing you would have done could have prevented it"

I sigh in frustration, taking my hand back from under hers "But I just wish she could have known Edie"

"Known what?" She says quietly

"How much I loved her"

She looks at me and smiles sadly, "She did Harry. She does" She pushes a strand of blonde hair behind her ear and looks back up at me . "She knew you loved her. But she also knew you needed some time on your own to figure out your life. She didn't want to hold you back did she?"

"No" I  mutter

"Harry. She wanted you to be happy. This isn't you being happy"

"How are you so sure of what she wanted Edie?" She looks at me nervously, not quite sure of whether to continue. "Edie?"

"She was my friend"

“What do you mean she was your friend?"

She sighs and pushes her mug away. "I used to live in Glasgow, it's where I was born and raised" I nod and she takes a breath before continuing. "I had just rented a flat, and was carrying my boxes in when I had noticed a girl about my age struggling with groceries. I put down my boxes and tried to help her before she fell down the steps. She laughed loudly when I pried the bags from her hands and that's when I saw she was a few months pregnant"

–❈–

"You shouldn't be carrying things up the stairs love, you'll get hurt" She laughed loudly in my face, her twinkling laughter reverberated through the staircase

"Don't worry, i've got to get used to it after all!" She tried to pull the bags from my hands, but I wouldn't let her. She furrowed her brow, "Come on now, I live right there" She said pointing to the door in front of us. I laugh "

Oh, I live right there" I say pointing across from her. She smiles at me extending a hand

"I'm Leigh" I take her hand in mine and squeeze it lightly.

"Edie"

"Well Edie, come in then" She said opening the door to her flat. I smiled widely at her, and she smiled back. There was something about her that made me feel at home. Her bright blue eyes and friendly demeanor, there was nothing off putting about her. I walk into her flat and shut the door behind me. She takes out a kettle and two mugs "In the mood for a cuppa?" I nod and she hums as she puts it on the stove. "So tell me about yourself Edie" She said sitting in front of me. The sunlight reflected on her shining blonde hair, her skin glowed. But somehow, somewhere deep in her eyes there was a sadness that abounded. Something about her reflected an emptiness that made me shudder. Something about her made me think she was broken.

–❈–

"So you were neighbors?"

She nods her head. "But within weeks we became inseparable"

–❈–

"What do you think of this one?" She said lifting up a pink onesie

"It's so cute" I squealed. She smiled brightly. "Babe?"

"Hmmm"

"Whatever happened to Emma's father?" She looked at me wide eyed and instantly paled.

"Oh you don't have to tell me, I was just wondering"

"No, no it's fine" She sat down in her favorite rocking chair, Emma only being a few days old was sound asleep in her crib. I sat down on the footrest in front of her and she looked at me smiling. "The father of my baby Emma has the most beautiful soul you will ever have the pleasure to meet" She looked away as if remembering fond details about him "His eyes were always gentle and lively, his smile could brighten a room" I look at her and smile "But what really would get you, is his very being. He was kind, compassionate, and quite frankly his looks were beyond superb" I giggle as she smirks at me. "He was my best friend" I nod, not quite wanting to push any further. She gets up and walks across the room, opening a small box. She pulls out a photograph and hands it to me "This is him" I grab it gently between my thumb and index finger. It was a picture of her and Harry Styles.

"Are you telling me Emma's father is..." She nods and leans over the crib, gently running a hand through Emma's blonde tufts.

"Her father is Harry Styles" I shake my head

"But does he know?" I see tears well up in her eyes and regret ever bringing up the subject.

"He doesn't know. I couldn't let him know Edie. Could you imagine what it would have done to his career? I want him to be happy. That's what love is isn't it after all?" I look at her sadly

"Don't you think he deserves to know?"

"One day he will. One day he'll meet her" She wipes away a tear "But until then, I want to give him his space to grow"

–❈–

"She told me everything. How you were Emma’s father, how she let you go. She wanted you to be happy Harry. She loved you so much, she was willing to let you be free" He tried his hardest to not tear up. He looked up at Edie and saw she was already on the brink of tears.

"How long did you two know each other then?"

"Not very long. I got the job with the bureau a few months after Emma had been born. I didn't seen her again after I had left Glasgow"

"So you that's why you were put on this case?"

She clears her throat. "I requested it" I look up at her, my brow furrowed. "I thought you deserved to know it wasn't your fault"

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