After 18 Years

Darcy Tanner ran away from home on her 18th birthday, in search of her father. A little over 18 years before, her mother- Ariel- found out that she was pregnant with Harry Styles' child. She fled to America, scared to end the career that he enjoyed so much. Now, when Darcy forces Harry and Ariel to reunite will they fall back into love? Will revisiting their youth be painful or the thing that makes them happiest? Will everything be the same again, even after 18 years apart?

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1. Birthday

A deep sigh emitted from my chest. It was 4 in the morning. I hadn't gotten a wink of sleep. I sat up in bed, and slipped my slippers onto my feet. Today was my daughter's 18 birthday. The 18th of June.

I hummed quietly to myself as I wandered down the hallway and into the kitchen. The tune was abruptly cut off as I realized what it was... I poured cereal and milk into a bowl as I shook off what had just happened once again, an annoying habit of mine. 

Sitting down at my spot at the table, I ate my cereal very slowly, not really thinking about the action. I was thinking back to 2013. Reliving every moment. The best year of my life. Today, I was going to be forced to relive it once anyways, so what could it hurt to do it twice?

I stared at the ring that weighed down my left hand so much. This one was nothing compared to the ring that I received years before. It was like comparing McDonald’s to some super expensive Italian place- right in the middle of Italy. 

My deepest secret? I don't love the man I am to marry in a month. Never have, and probably never will. But I'm not the type that enjoys being alone. I'm still pretty sure I love someone else.. It's quite silly because I haven't seen him in over 18 years, in person at least... A big part of me screams that he was the one I belonged with. Except I went and screwed it all up, like I do with most things... Thank God my daughter turned out nothing like me.

Now how did I screw up the life I was supposed to have with my soul mate? I got pregnant. I guess it really wasn't as bad as I took it, because it was his child. I moved from London to a small town in North Dakota, called Dickinson, and never contacted him again. I wish I'd handled it better... But I saved his career. He was in a very popular band, and having a kid would have put all his dreams on hold. Wouldn't it have? Plus, raising a child on a tour bus and in hotels? It just didn't seem right. Well, leaving the girl without a father doesn't quite sound right either, does it?

Anyway, I'd promised my daughter all her life that at the age of 18, I would tell her who her dad was, and answer any questions she had about him, which I may regret. But hey, a promise is a promise...

My spoon was just hitting the empty bowl, and I hadn't noticed until I got a few mouthfuls of air. I washed my bowl and my spoon, then laid them out to dry. I walked slowly to the gym downstairs, and hung my robe up on the hook on the wall. After a 45 minute run my mind felt clear. I routinely then went to take a shower. I let the water run over my body for some time. So long that we started to run out of hot water. I turned it off quickly so that my daughter may have some to shower.

When I was dressed in pink shorts and a white t-shirt, and my hair was done, it was 7:30. Darcy would be up soon. I sat down on the couch to wait for her, and turned on the Saturday morning sitcoms, that I didn't actually watch, but were on the TV a lot. The shrill sound of the phone going off made me jump. I pressed my hand over my heart, able to feel the accelerated beat, and picked up the phone. It was my fiance.

“Hello Dan.” I muttered.

“Hey Ariel, is Darcy up yet?” Dan asked, sounding like he just woke up.

“No, not yet. But I assume that she will be soon.” I said looking at the clock again. It hadn't moved much.

“Okay, well, when she does tell her I wish her a happy birthday. I may be able to get off work early tonight, if you want to go out and celebrate.” He offered. I cringed at the thought. Why had I said yes to marry this man? I was going to have to live with him and I can't even stand the thought of seeing him.

“No thanks Dan, 18 is a big one, so I think we'll just spend this one mother and daughter.” I said coolly, dodging a bullet. He didn't seem phased.

“Okay, then I'll see you tomorrow for lunch or something.” He suggested.

“Sounds good.” I replied, in the most cheerful voice I could force out of my throat. I hung up the phone then, thanking all goodness that he worked 7 days a week. I heard footsteps start down the stairway, then freeze for a moment, then come bounding down at top speed. My newly 18 year old daughter ran and sat on the couch next to me with wide excited eyes.

“Guess what day it is mum?” She asked- a smile spreading across her face.

“Christmas?” I asked. People had a hard time believing that Darcy was my daughter, she looked a lot more like her father than like me, but she acted more like me. Not the old me, but we wouldn't want that anyways. Also, I had British accent, because I grew up there. Darcy had an American accent for the most part, but some words sounded British. She rolled her emerald green eyes at me, which were opposite to my brown. They were the exact same shade as her dad's. Darcy and I both had brown hair, hers being a shade darker, again, like her father.

“No... It happens to be my 18th birthday.” She grinned, her dimples looked like they were permanent marks in her cheeks.

“Wow, is that a grey hair?” I stared with fake concern at her head. She laughed.

“Real funny mom.” She said, but actually combed her fingers through her hair, and snuck a quick peek at it. She looked conflicted for a moment; not about her hair. She didn't want to push, but she wanted me to follow through on my promise. I sighed. Then thought about where I should start. Once I picked a place, I turned completely to face her. 

“You look a lot like him Darcy. A lot. And sometimes you act exactly like him too.” I sighed.

“Why did you leave?” She asked.

“Because, I got pregnant, and that would have been a bad thing for his career, and I thought that I, myself would be a bad thing for his career also.” I frowned. I hoped she didn't take that the wrong way. She shouldn't think it was her fault.

“But he doesn't know where you went?” She asked. I nodded. She was silent. She wanted his name. I swallowed loudly, and took a deep breath. 

“His name's Harry. Harry Styles.” I said in a weaker voice than I had imagined.

“Harry Styles.” She repeated in wonder. I winced, getting up and grabbing her gift from the table. I'd gotten her a new laptop.

“Tell me what you think. No more questions today. We can do more tomorrow.” I said. Darcy nodded, concerned for me, but went up to her room anyway. I fell back onto the couch. I then did something that I am not exactly proud of... I took unnecessary cold medicine and went to take a nap. Before I did I left a note for Darcy telling her that when I wake up I would take her shopping and for ice cream. I was out within 5 minutes. When I woke the sun was almost gone. I should have set an alarm!!! I didn't mean to sleep that long! I jumped out of bed and fixed my hair quickly.

“Darcy! Sorry! I'm ready!” I ran out of my room shouting. No answer. Weird. I went through the kitchen on my way upstairs to check her room, but where my note had been was a new, neatly folded piece of paper.

'Mom, I've bought plane tickets to London. I'm going to find my father. I've had this planned out for a year, please don't try to stop me. I love you- Darcy.' 

I set the letter down numbly. What was I going to do?? Why would she do this to me? I've got to get there first! There's an idea! I didn't even know what I was doing, I just started doing things without thinking... I dug my phone out of my pocket and dialed my boss as I ran to my room to pack a bag. I packed my most flattering clothes, because I was seeing him again. Some were from when we met. I hoped they still fit... 

“Hello?” my boss answered.

“Hi, I have to go really quick but you know those two months of paid vacation that I've saved up over the years? Yeah, I'm gonna need to use one of those starting now, thanks bye!” I said, then hung up as I whipped around the house gathering my things.

I next called my agent. “I need a ticket to London, the fastest possible I don't care how much it costs, I need it now. Take it out of my emergency account, thanks goodbye!” I instructed, and hung up again. The last thing I needed was my passport. I grabbed that the threw my bag on my shoulder. I ran out of the house locking the door behind me.

I then called Dan. Thankfully he didn't answer so I just left a message. “Hi, I'm gonna be out of the country, 'cause of a family thing for a while. I'll let you know when I get there. Bye.” I turned my ringer off and the car on, not wanting to speak to anybody.

I sped all the way to the small airport, meeting my agent there. She handed me a ticket for first class, on a flight that left in 30 minutes. I hugged her quickly then ran into the airport. I was a preferred flier, so I got through security fast and to my gate. They called first class and I was up, breathing heavily, but hey, I got there on time. I smiled as I settled down in my seat. I had one lay-over, in New York, which I almost missed. But I made it to my seat, prepared for my long flight. 

I ordered a glass of wine when we got in the air. It calmed me down a bit. The seat next to me ended up being empty, which I was quite happy about. After my wine I lay my head against the closed window and fell asleep from the stress of it all. I was woken by a voice in my ear. A voice that I knew all too well...

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