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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27. The Press

 “Do you want something to drink?” Harry asked when Darcy was long gone.

“Sure, I'm not picky.” I replied. He ducked into the kitchen, returning with a couple beers in his hand. He handed me one after popping it open. I took a swig, letting all the stress melt away.

“Half of me wants Darcy to never talk to boys again. But the other half wants her to meet someone who will sweep her off her feet.” He said, sighing.

“Being a parent is like that.” I laughed. This was his first experience with a daughter's heartbreak.

“I haven't lost my temper like that in years...” He shook his head, referring to earlier.

“You didn't kill him, that counts as controlling yourself.” I smiled, resting my hand on his knee for reassurance. He chuckled, leaning over to kiss my cheek.

“I have something for you.” Harry said like he'd just remembered something important. I waited for him as he dug around in his pockets. He smiled as he held up something small and shiny to show me.

“Marry me.” He requested. My heart fluttered in my chest as my eyes focused on the ring that he held up to me.

“Harry....” I muttered, pain in my voice. He bit his lip and looked away.

“No. You're saying no.” He mumbled.

“I'm saying not yet.” I insisted.

“Don't worry I wouldn't give up even if you told me you hated me.” He sighed, standing up and finishing off his beer. He disappeared into the kitchen, then I watched as he came back out then went up to his room with a box of more bottles. What a great way to end a depressing day... I dragged myself up to my room and into bed. Restless sleep soon took me over...

I woke up in the middle of the night to a loud crash. A curse escaped my lips as I got out of bed and walked to Harry's room, where the noise came from. Another crash sounded as I opened the door.

“Hey!! Ariel!!” Harry exclaimed, taking a swig of beer. He was drunk, really drunk. The crashes had been empty beer bottles being smashed against the wall. I closed the door behind me.

“Can I have a drink?” I asked, holding my hand out for his beer. He handed me the one in his hand, grinning stupidly. I set it on his dresser. As I turned to face him again he smashed his lips against mine, picking me up in his arms and stumbling to his bed. For a moment I was scared he'd drop me. I pushed him off myself when he set me on the bed.

“Come on babe! I love you!” He exclaimed, kissing me again. I pushed him away once more, the alcohol in his breath stung my nose.

“You're going to wake Darcy.” I hissed.

“Oh... Sorry...” He whispered, sitting down next to me, planting a kiss on my jaw, then resting his head on my shoulder.

“Why are you drinking?” I questioned, trying to sound casual.

“You don't want to marry me. That makes me remember when you left.” He answered simply. He sounded like a little kid. I sighed. He wasn't going to remember any of this.

“But you're wrong. I do want to marry you.” I admitted.

“Then why did you say no when I asked?” He asked, completely lost.

“I'm scared.” I mumbled.

“Don't be scared, I love you Ariel. I love you so much. I love you more than me. I can't wait until our wedding, it's going to be amazing.” He gushed.

“I'm sure it will be amazing, but we can't get married when you're drunk. So you should go to sleep until you're sober.” I suggested.

“I'm not drunk Ariel.” He insisted, slurring his words. He attempted an eye roll, but it didn't turn out quite right. He ended up swaying a bit where he sat, and having to place his palm to his forehead to balance again. 

“Fine, then you should go to sleep so that you're not tired tomorrow when we go out with Darcy.” I changed the angle I was coming from. His brow furrowed as he thought hard about my statement.

“You're right, if I don't get some sleep I'll be really tired tomorrow...” He finally agreed, pulling me right up to his side, his face maybe an inch away from mine. The smell of alcohol made a cloud around him, engulfing me.

“Goodnight, my love.” He murmured, closing his eyes and placing a kiss on my forehead.

“Goodnight Harry.” I replied, pecking his cheek. He giggled in response, then got into bed. I turned out the lights to his room when I left, sighing in relief.. It killed me that I could affect him like that... I didn't sleep well the rest of the night, lots of tossing and turning.

When it was finally late enough to be socially acceptable I got out of bed and hopped in the shower. I turned the water up so that it was so hot it hurt. I let it run over my skin for a long time. Everything around me felt cold when I got out, I wrapped myself in a huge white towel and sat down on my bed. My fingers combed through my hair. Harry was going to be hungover this morning... I sat there for a while, thoughts running wild through my head. Eventually I got irritated enough from the wet hair dripping down my back that I got dressed and put my hair into a ponytail.

When eight o'clock rolled around I heard Darcy's door open and close, so I left my room and began making breakfast. We exchanged a smile when I passed her on my way to the kitchen. I made pancakes and tea. Darcy and I ate together, just like old times.

“I can't believe dad's still asleep, he's normally the first one up in the morning.” She laughed quietly.

“I know, he never sleeps late. It's strange not having him down here with us.” I responded. Though I knew exactly why he was sleeping late.

 “Just like it will be when we go back to America...” She mumbled. I remained silent, not knowing what to say.

“Mom I want him in our lives.” She stated, her face more serious than it's ever been. I noticed how she said 'our', thinking of me instead of just her. She had her father's big heart...

“I know you do, and I want him in our lives too. But Darc, we built a life in America, and you're going to college in the fall... I just don't-” I began to say, but she interrupted me.

“You two love each other, it makes no logical sense that you don't stay together.” She argued.

“There's nothing logical about love.” I murmured. I already explained myself to drunk Harry last night I didn't want to explain to Darcy too.

“Just think about it mom. I'm gonna go get ready.” She pleaded, standing up and leaving. I was alone for a few minutes, until Harry walked in. I couldn't help but laugh at his appearance. He looked horrible. His hair went everywhere and he looked incredibly confused. I hope Darcy hadn't seen him, because he was undoubtedly hungover.

“Morning sunshine.” I laughed. His cheeks turned a bright red color as he sat down across from me at the table. I pushed a cup of tea toward him. He smiled sheepishly and took a sip.

“How bad was I?” He asked after a minute.

“I just know I've never seen you that drunk...” I answered quietly.

“What did I do?? I saw the broken glass in my room...” He sounded ashamed.

“You weren't angry, I don't know why exactly you decided to start smashing bottles... You seemed like you were having fun.” I smirked.

“Why am I the only one that feels like crap?” He demanded, motioning to my not-hungover state.

“You really don't remember anything?” I shook my head.

“I remember feeling angry, but I assumed that I'd been angry because Eric had hurt Darcy, but other than that I only recall getting the beers from the fridge...” He trailed off. He didn't even remember what happened before he got drunk... I sat there in silence, not wanting to tell him what actually happened, but feeling like I had to.

“What's wrong? Damn, I didn't try to sleep with you did I? Please tell me I didn't do anything stupid. I'm so sorry Ariel I didn't mean to do anything to make you uncomfortable, I-” He rattled on, panicking now.

“No, no! It's fine, you didn't do anything like that...” I assured quickly.

“Then what did happen?” He asked. Not what you did sweetie... What I did... 

“Darcy went to bed, and you got a beer for both of us....” I began. He stared down at his tea, waiting for me to go on. “Then you asked me to marry you...” I cringed.

“You said no.... And it just all went downhill from there didn't it?.” He said slowly, finishing the story for me. His hand ran through his hair multiple times, he did that when he was stressed.

 “I'm so sorry.” I whispered, staring at the table.

“Can I ask why you said no?” He muttered.

“I already explained that to you, but I guess I could say it again...” I laughed lightly. He chuckled too, but waited for me to answer.

“It frightens me, the idea of finally getting married. I suppose that doesn't make sense but-” I babbled on, Harry stopped me, leaning across the table and pressing his lips against mine. He pulled away a bit and rested his cheek against my jaw so that he could talk.

“I love you no matter what. We don't have to ever get married if you don't want.” He whispered. His hot breath fanned my neck. I shivered as he placed a quick kiss where my neck met my shoulder. He then sat back down and finished his tea.

“I didn't wake Darcy did I?” He asked.

“No, she has no idea, but if she comes downstairs and sees you like this I'm sure she'll assume...” I trailed off. He jumped up, flashing me a grin as he disappeared out the door. I chuckled as I picked up the empty dishes off the table and put them in the sink. Darcy and Harry each appeared at the same time, ready to go. I'd just been sitting there waiting, lost in thought once again.

“I'm ready mum.” Darcy smiled, looking nervous.

“This'll be fun kiddo.” Harry smiled lovingly at Darcy, wrapping his arm around her shoulders.

“O-Okay.” She stuttered, unsure. Darcy made her way quickly to the front door, Harry and I followed. Harry locked up behind us, and we were off. I could only hope that the press are decent to her...

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