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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16. The Day of Reckoning: Part One

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

The Day of Reckoning: Part One

I lay awake and unable to focus on anything but the bloody fact that in three hours a judge was going to decide whether I was going to see my baby girl everyday for the next six months.

Light entered through the blinds, and sunlight slowly began to descend upon London. The day of reckoning was upon us. 

"Daddy"

"Emma, baby." I say without sitting up, knowing she wanted nothing more than to sleep on my bed. She climbs up onto my bed and snuggles next to me, wordlessly. "What's wrong?"

She nestles into my chest, and I could feel tears soaking through my thin shirt. 

"Baby? Did you have a bad dream?"

She nods and refuses to look up at me. I gently stroke her head as she starts to slowly cam down.

"Em, what was the dream about?"

"Daddy gone."

"Daddy gone?"

She hugs me as tightly as her little arms would allow and I feel my heart break. 

"Baby." I sit up and and lift her onto my my lap. Her blonde hair is askew and she's slowly starting to wipe the tears off her cheeks. "I promise you Emma, I will never leave you." She wraps her hands around my neck and hugs me tightly, and I knew neither of us ever wanted to let go. 

And what scared me the most, was the thought that I may have to. 

–❈–

"I can't do this." I fix the buttons on my shirt for the tenth time as Louis watches me wearily.

"Harry, you need to keep it together for Emma, alright? We've already gone over everything, twice. Just take a deep breath and settle down." He sits upon a bench outside the courtroom, as we both wait for the boys to come back with Emma from breakfast. 

"I just...I don't know how to keep it together right now."

"Well, try, because Edie is coming this way."

I stop fidgeting with my shirt and look up as Edie walks over, looking as proper as ever. "Mr. Styles, Mr. Tomlinson, good morning."

"Good morning Ms. Messer." Louis says extending his hand, "It's nice to finally meet you."

"As well." She says taking his hand.

"Well, I will be taking off for now. Need to check up on the boys." Louis turns and heads towards the exit.

"So proper today." I say with a growing smirk on my face.

"Yes, well, one of us has to be." She looks at me up and down, from my black trousers with the rip in the knee to the button down with the suit jacket over it, I knew she was judging me.

"Hey, i'm allowed a pass. It's been a rough morning."

"Already, huh?"

"Yeah."

"Well, it's almost time. Are you ready?"

"I guess so."

"Whatever happens, know we tried our hardest." Her hand slips into mine and she squeezes, only for a moment. 

"Thank you."

We both turn at the sound of four booming voices and a little girl's giggle. 

"Hello, cutie!" Edie says as she watches Emma come down the hallway. Emma runs towards Edie with open arms and we watch as they both embrace. 

The boys walk over, and watch as Edie puts Emma down and composes herself. She smiles looking at them and extending her hand. "Hi, I'm Edie Messer."

"A pleasure to finally meet you." Liam says as he takes her hand and smiles widely. 

"We've heard a lot about you." Niall excitedly states as he shakes her hand next.

"Thank you so much for everything you've done." Zayn tells her with a slight smile. Her smile widens, and she coquettishly brushes a strand a hair back into its place. 

"You boys have done much more than me, I should be thanking you for keeping Harry together this whole time."

"All in a days work." Louis says clasping me on the shoulder. "Is it time?"

"Almost." Edie looks at her watch and then at me. "I think it's time to take Emma to the room she's supposed to be in."

"Alright." I say smiling through the anxiety. "Emma, I will see you in a little while okay?"

"Okay."

And with that Edie grabs Emma's hand and leads her down the corridor to the room in which she will stay until we were done. 

"It'll be alright." Liam says as he watches them as well. 

"Let's do this then." I say, before I lose my nerve. 

–❈–

I sit in between Louis and Edie, dying of anxiety because my only other character witness had yet to show up. They allotted him ten more minutes, but it's been five and he still wasn't showing. 

"Simon does like to make an entrance." Louis says trying to reassure me. I turn back to look at the rows of people behind us, the boys in the second row nodding in assurance. As I turn back to face the judge I hear the large wooden doors open behind us, and the sound of shoes clacking on the marble. 

"Sorry for the delay, when business calls you can't ignore it." Simon calmly sits down on Louis' left side as the judge eyes him. 

"Are we ready, Mr. Styles? Or are we waiting for anyone else." The judges says as she eyes me with what looks like disdain. 

"No m'am, we are ready."

"Good." She hits her gavel and  announces "Court is now in session."

I watch her nervously as she shuffles through files and pulls out a rather thick one. Edie had informed me it would not be like a typical session in court, it would be focused around witnesses rather than cross examinations or anything of the sort since it was like a custody hearing. 

The psychiatrist from social services is the first to approach the stand.  After swearing him in Edie arises to ask him his opinion on the case. 

"I believe that Mr. Styles has shown a remarkable change. But it is my professional opinion that what is in the best interest of the child is to try to keep her life as normal and stable as possible. If she were to travel the world for six months, without a break, without a stable home, I believe that after the trauma of losing her mother she would revert back to the state in which she was in when social services had first seen her."

The state she was in? My brow furrows as Edie avoids my glare. 

"What state was she in?" The judge asks without looking up from the case file. 

"Let me explain first. Emma was only three when she lost her mother. A three year old's sense of self depends on the presence of others. Therefore, her mother was the most important figure in her life. Emma's sense of safety in the world depended on others being available to take care of her. And when her mother died, so did her only caretaker. Children this young cannot reflect on their own behavior beyond the moment. They cannot distinguish between inner or outer feelings." He takes a breath. "When we first met Emma, she was having a very tough time accepting that her mother was gone. Yes, she is only a child and we do not expect her to comprehend the death of a parent, but she would not eat. She would not speak. She was waiting for her mother to come back."

I felt tears well up in my eyes imagining my child in such pain. My poor Emma. Why had no one told me this before?

"Although her father would be leaving for six months, I believe that with visits here and there and constant communication, Emma would be better off staying with Mr. Styles' mother who I am reassured has a good relationship with the child."

"Don't you think a separation from her father would trigger this behavior once more."

"On the contrary Ms. Messer, the child is accustomed to her new environment. She is happy. If she were to have to move everything and leave once more, I think that would cause a negative effect on her. Her life was already moved from one place to another, and from what I am told Mr. Styles would not have much time to spend with his daughter anyways. A tour is not simply a vacation, it is his job. He cannot spend the entirety of the day with Emma, even if he wants to. And I believe that this way as well we can start to build a healthy separation between the two."

He was right. What would happen when Emma would have to start attending school? Or if another tour occurs? How would we get through it if she were so attached to me. 

"Alright. Thank you." The psychiatrist comes off the stand and she subtly points at Louis. "Mr. Tomlinson we would like to call you to the stand."

Louis clasps me on the shoulder before going up, reassuring me. 

""Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?" The bailiff asks.

"I do."

Edie walks up to the stand, file in hand and starts right away. "Mr. Tomlinson. When did you meet Mr. Styles?"

"Four years ago."

"Where?"

"The X-Factor."

"You two have a very close relationship, don't you?"

"Yes. I'd like to say we're like brothers. All of us." He tips his chin towards the benches. 

"And what would you say Mr. Styles was at the beginning. Four years ago, what was he like?"

"When we fist met he was like us. A typical sixteen year old boy with a dream. But as soon as we were offered a contract and had to leave home, I noted that he began changing. Now, I didn't know then it was because he had lost the love of his life. But he did change, a great deal."

"In what way?"

"He began to be more quiet, secluded himself off. There were nights we couldn't find him, and when we did he was passed out or drunk out of his mind."

"You were worried?"

"Extremely so. It came to the point where we weren't sure we could still be a group. We would never consider kicking him out, but everyone was talking about this terrible person he had become. And he began to believe it."

"And what happened?"

"I don't know. I think one day we just finally got through to him. He began leaving the alcohol, the drugs. I think he realized the person he was becoming was pretty bloody scary."

"What about now, how does Mr. Styles act now that he has his daughter?"

"He loves that little girl with the entirety of his heart. He would do anything for her. He has done nothing but right by her."

"Thank you Mr. Tomlinson."

Edie turns to look at me as Louis comes off the stand. She tries to reassure me with a slight smile, but already the wheels were churning in my mind. I had to do right by Emma, and that meant removing my needs first and deciding what would be best for her. 

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