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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26. Eric

I woke up, the sun pouring into my room through my window. I opened my eyes slowly, trying to figure out what woke me. I lifted my head to look at my door, and I caught sight of Harry, sitting on the edge of my bed. He had wet hair, from a recent shower. I smiled, my eyes adjusting.

“What are you wearing?” I laughed. He had on tight black jeans, and a white Beatles tank top, one that showed off all of his tattoos. His curls were pushed up almost in a quiff, exactly like he used to wear it. He had on a few necklaces and rings from his boy band days as well. The Rolex watch wasn't anything out of the norm though.

“Why? Do you like it?” He smirked.

“Yeah. If it weren't for the grey hair, you'd look 19 again.” I teased.  

“I don't have grey hair.” He scoffed. I laughed again, he was right. He didn't have much. But I had to point it out.

“Now, your turn, what exactly are you wearing?” He grinned, looking me up and down. I realized that I'd sat up while talking to him, and the sheet had fallen from my body. I looked down. Yep. Still no pajamas... I avoided eye contact, trying to come up with a witty comment. I was at a loss... He laughed at my silence.

“My outfit must have scared Eric a little bit but I don't think yours will. Actually I am going to strongly encourage you to change because I don't think any male figure would be able to take their eyes off you in that...” He snickered. My cheeks exploded in flames. I pulled the sheet up higher on myself.

“That's a little better. Not quite enough, but better.” He winked, leaning in and kissing the corner of my mouth. “Wow your cheeks are warm.” He laughed, cradling my face in his hand. That only made me blush worse.

“Eric is here already?” I asked when he pulled away. Harry nodded. “I should get dressed then...” I said slowly.

“Do you need help...” Harry questioned, at first with real concern for my foot, but then he grinned, realizing himself what he'd just said. He didn't even have to try to flirt.

“I'll manage, just wait outside my door so you can help on the stairs.” I rolled my eyes. He stood up and left the room the idiotic grin still plastered on his face. His shadow was visible under the door as he waited. I threw on sweatpants and a tank top, then put my hair into a messy ponytail  I limped to the door and opened it, smiling at Harry who stood there waiting. He took my arm and helped me down the stairs. Eric and Darcy waited for us in the kitchen. I walked in, leaning against the island on the opposite side of the kitchen from them.

“How are you Eric?” I asked pleasantly.

“I'm well, Ms. Tanner. How are you?” He replied, his bright blue eyes stared up at me.

“I'm good.” I grinned at Harry. I had this boy trained. Harry had concern in his eyes. At that moment I wished I could read minds, because I had no idea what he could possibly be thinking about.

“So Eric, tell me about yourself.” Harry began, leaning on the counter next to me. His arm wrapped around my waist, pulling me closer. Harry spent half an hour or so interrogating Eric. Some questions made Darcy's eyes widen, she would look at me in a panic. I had to clean up a few times. Maybe I should have gone over with Harry what was okay and what was not okay to discuss with Eric, right in front of Darc. When Harry asked about criminal records in the family Darcy left the room, claiming she needed to get her phone.

“You don't need to answer that one, either...” I mumbled slowly, staring at Harry but speaking to Eric.

“That's okay Ms. Tanner. I don't mind the questions, I'm dating his daughter. If I may, could I ask you two a question?” Eric asked.

“Sure.” I nodded.

“Why were you two separated before, and now all the sudden together again? Darcy told me you were her real dad, so why weren't you two living in the same country?” He asked. That struck a nerve. Harry felt me become suddenly rigid and tense under his arm.

“Not that question.” Harry replied, irritation clear in his voice. Eric didn't say anything else. A few seconds later an outraged scream came from the staircase. Uh oh...

“You dick!! You IDIOT!!” Darcy screeched as she burst into the kitchen.

“What??” Eric exclaimed taken by surprise.

“You know exactly what!!” She shouted. Harry and I exchanged a shocked look. She shoved her phone in his face before stuffing it back in her pocket, showing him something.

“Darc...” Eric murmured, panic stricken.

“Don't. Call. Me. That.” She seethed.

“Please let me explain.” Eric begged, his eyes flickering to Harry and I, fear settling on his face.

“What is there to explain?!” Darcy exclaimed. “I'm gone for two weeks and you go and cheat on me??” She continued, voice climbing in pitch. I stared at Harry. His face went from confused, to sympathetic, to angry, to deadly in a matter of seconds. The expression on Harry's face frightened me. I'd seen it before, but not for a long, long time... I took my eyes from Harry and glared at Eric.

“I didn't ch-” Eric began.

“Don't even try to lie right to my face, you asshole!!” Darcy exclaimed, slapping Eric's face so hard it turned it to the side, she stormed out of the room. Harry let go of my waist and walked up to Eric, slowly, intimidating. Though Harry was not much taller than Eric, he seemed to tower over him.

“You have 30 seconds to explain.” Harry ordered. I watched unable to move, and not because of my foot. Eric stared up in fear.

“I-I.” Eric stuttered, unable to speak.

“27 seconds.” Harry growled.

“I kissed another girl.” Eric mumbled, quickly so that the words blurred together.

“You kissed another girl? That's it?” Harry demanded. Harry wasn't dumb, he knew. I knew... Darcy wouldn't have reacted so strongly if he only kissed someone. Eric looked down as he shook his head slowly. I was disgusted.

“How could you do something so incredibly awful and then accept our invitation to come here??” I yelled, outraged.

“I know it was wrong, but I love Darcy.” He insisted.

“Not just the fact that you slept with someone while you were dating my daughter, the fact that you slept with someone! What were you planning on trying with Darcy??” I screamed. A slight smirk appeared on Eric's face.

“I'm not stupid Ms. Tanner, I've done the math. You were my age when you had Darcy.” He sneered. Harry immediately looked to watch my reaction to that comment. My insides writhed and seethed. The little prick was right, I thought darkly. If my daughter had any idea what I was like as a teenager... Thank God she didn't turn out like me. I felt my face contort with hurt and rage. This upset Harry further. He knew, he knew everything. He grabbed a bunch of Eric's shirt in his fist, the muscles in his arm flexing. Eric was lifted onto his toes.

“I dare you to talk to her like that again.” Harry spat. Terror crossed Eric's face. “Speak to my daughter or my wife again and I swear, you will regret it.” Harry said quietly, looking like he was restraining from killing the boy. Eric gulped. My anger disappeared for a few moments when I realized what Harry just called me. It sounded so... right. “Now get the hell out of my house.” Harry snarled.

“W-what about my luggage...” Eric said in a small voice. He must have put his stuff in a guest room already.

“I'll throw it out the window.” Harry retorted, dropping Eric. He stumbled backwards, then ran out of the kitchen. Harry followed him closely, I limped behind. I heard the door slam impossibly hard, and watched as a pissed off Harry began to pace along the living room floor. I walked as quickly as I could up to him. His eyes were murderous, his arms flexed, and his breathing was sped up rapidly. I put my hands on his chest, trying to think of what to say...

“Harry. Look at me.” I ordered. He did.

“I know you're pissed. I am too. But right now you have to at least pretend that everything is going to be okay.” I explained.

“I seriously considered killing him after he snapped at you. Holy shit he hurt my daughter and my wife!" He exclaimed. There was that word again...

“Darcy needs us to be more angry than her but not show it. We need to make sure she stays happy, and has things to do other than think about Eric. Dammit Harry! Listen to me! This happens to every girl! Getting my heart broken is what made me not believe in love when we met!! Do you want Darcy to believe that love is all a lie?! In order to keep her from that we need to be upbeat, supporting. Starting now!” My voice climbed in volume as I went on. Harry stared into my eyes, I watched as his brain began to work again and he processed what I was saying.

“For Darcy.” I repeated, quieter than before, but still earnest. He took a deep breath, his minty breath overwhelmed my senses.

“Go upstairs and bring her down here.” I insisted after a few seconds. He nodded, kissed me quickly, then was gone. Taking the steps 3 at a time. I sat down on the couch, waiting for those two to come back down. It didn't take long, the downsides being that, first, Darcy was curled up in a ball in Harry's arms as he carried her down the stairs. And second, she was sobbing. Harry sat next to me on the couch, Darcy in his lap. He stroked her hair, singing softly. Darcy stopped crying after a while and sat between us on the couch.

“I was going to tell him I loved him today.” She mumbled. “I told Ash that he was staying here and what I was gonna say... A-and she told me I shouldn't. I asked why, and she sent me a picture of Eric and another girl in her bed at the party she threw last weekend.” 

“He's not worth your tears or your time sweetheart. Not all of them are keepers.” I said softly. She nodded, wiping a few stray tears from her cheeks. Harry caught one that she missed.

“Let's have a lazy day today, and tomorrow we'll explore London together, and introduce you to the press as my daughter.” Harry suggested after a moment of silence that seemed to last a bit too long. 

“Yeah, that sounds good, I forgot that no one knows yet...” She smiled. Harry smiled immediately in response to hers, both of them lighting up the room.

“You two are gonna be together from now on right?” Darcy asked suddenly, looking at me. Harry looked at me too, grinning.

“We have to go home at the end of the month Darc, but I doubt your dad and I will lose touch.” I answered, not wanting to say a definite yes or no. Harry's smile faded and his gaze switched to the floor.

“I'm just going to take that as a yes, okay. I've been thinking about something lately and I wanted to see what you guys thought.” Darcy grinned, though her eyes looked... nervous.

“I'm going to take it as a yes too.” Harry laughed.

“What's up?” I asked, ignoring Harry.

“I want to change my last name to Styles.” Darcy said, looking at me like she thought she was in trouble.

“I think that's a great idea.” I smiled.

“You're not mad?” She asked, shocked.

“No! Why would I be?” I questioned, Harry was her dad. She's supposed to have his last name. 

“I thought you might be offended.” She said, sighing in relief.

“Not one bit.” I assured.

“I love the idea, I think your mother should consider doing the same thing. Ariel Styles and Darcy Styles, doesn't that have a ring to it?” Harry smirked, first at Darcy, but then at me. If I was being completely honest with myself I knew I wanted my name to be Styles instead of Tanner, but I wasn't about to say that out loud, so I just rolled my eyes. Harry laughed- I hadn't said no, had I?- as he got up to get some movies from under the TV, before putting any in he brought a pile over to Darc. 

“How did you know?” She laughed, her eyes lit up and her mouth hung open. I leaned over to see what he had given her. It was a pile of around 20 of her all time favorite movies.

“I pay attention.” He smiled, shrugging like it was no big deal. Darcy set the movies on the floor then threw her arms around Harry's neck. Harry look completely shocked. Darcy isn't much of a hugger. He slowly wrapped his arms around her as well, his face glowing. 

“I love you Dad.” I heard Darcy whisper. A huge smile spread across Harry's face, he looked at me, delighted.

“I love you too Darc.” He answered. I smiled, it was one of the sweetest things I'd ever seen. Darcy let him go, a big smile on her face.

“Which one do you want to watch first?” He asked, picking the movies up off the floor.

“Guess.” She grinned. Harry looked worried as he thought about this, probably that he would pick the wrong movie and ruin the moment they'd just had.

“Indiana Jones, Raiders of the Lost Ark?” Harry asked, unsure. Darcy nodded, relief flooded Harry's features. He put in the movie and the three of us curled up on the couch with a blanket. We sat around all day, eating junk food together, staying happy. Harry and I didn't let Darcy get down. She went to bed early, I almost objected, not really wanting her to be alone, but I kept my mouth shut because she seemed tired...

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