The Christmas I Turned Pretty

'After a long and boring three-hour drive, our car is finally driving down the familiar snow-covered streets. I gaze out of the car window at all the little shops I know so well. We are finally back in Holmes Chapel. Back home.'
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Summer spends every year longing for the winter or more specifically, Christmas.
Every year she spends two and half weeks in The Lodge with her family and the Styles'.
But this year everything is different.
This year, Summer has turned pretty.
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Inspired by Jenny Han's book 'The Summer I turned Pretty'. Cover (c) Shilo

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9. The Change

You know that feeling when you just know that everything has changed and will never be the same again? Well that feeling hit me pretty hard.

 

It's as if I can see into the future and what I'm seeing isn't pretty. I know that even when we leave The Lodge and go back home to London, everything won't be like how it used to be. Me and my brothers have had loads of fights – normally over stupid things – but I've never seen them look so...disappointed in me. And the way Matt spoke to me made me feel as if he'd never see me in the same way again. As if I'd suddenly become a massive disappointment in his eyes and he'd only just seen 'the real me'. But I'm still completely confused at where all of this has suddenly come from.

 

Firstly, over all these years that this 'drama', as Matt put it, has been going on, not once have my brothers said anything, making me believe that they had no idea. And secondly, both of my brothers seemed to imply that it was all my fault. I know part of it is because it takes two people to be involved but I've never taken pleasure in the messed up relationship I have with Harry. In fact, I've always despised it and have always wanted everything to be normal between the two of us. But wanting something normal with Harry is like wanting snow to fall in summer – it's not likely to happen.

 

I decide that there's only one thing that I can really do, and that's talk to Harry. I walk up the stairs and quietly knock on his door but there's no answer.

 

'He must know it's me and is ignoring me,' I think as I stand waiting outside his door.

 

“He's out,” Will says sharply but at least he's actually speaking to me.

“Oh,” I reply pathetically before going into my own room.

 

I pull off my clothes and replace them with my pyjamas before tucking myself into bed. I stare into the darkness of my bedroom just wishing that I could go back in time: go back to before all of this started. Before I fell in love with Harry, before all of the games began... just before everything was broken.

 

I hear the quiet laughter of the mums downstairs signifying their return.

 

A sickening feeling floods to my stomach as I realise that soon they'll know, and when they find out not only Harry and my brothers will hate me but Anne and my mother too.

 

I hear Anne's laughter continuing up the stairs so I close my eyes and pretend to be a sleep, knowing that soon she'll be knocking on my door. And just as I had predicted, I hear a few faint knocks but don't answer.

 

The door creaks slowly open and Anne tiptoes in.

 

“Sum?” She says, concern evident in her voice. “What's up sweetie? Have you been crying?” I feel her thin fingers gently wiping away the few tears that had escaped. I open my eyes, knowing that there's no point in pretending with Anne because she knows me too well.

“I've messed up Anne. I really have. Everything's just so messed up,” I wail and she quickly pulls me into her embrace, letting my tears soak what looks like a new top.

“Shh,” She says gently while stroking my hair. “You know there's no problem which doesn't have a solution! What's happened, love?”

“I don't want to tell you because I don't want you to hate me,” I say after I calm down slightly.

“Summer Williams, you very well know that I will never hate you!” She gasps.

 

I might as well just tell her, seeing as soon enough Harry will.

 

“It's just- I- everything is so messed up!” I finally say. “It always has been, I guess, but this year everything has got so much worse and I don't know what to do. Harry just makes me feel like, like I don't even know! He has this way of making me feel like the most special and interesting person in the world but then he can make me feel like the most invisible, within a day. And then this year Liam arrived and he's so nice and I don't deserve to spend time with him because I always manage to hurt everything that is nice and sweet. But I don't want Harry to have power over me any more! And I guess I thought that by spending time with Liam I would forget all about Harry but...”

But you can't. He's been apart of your life for years, Summer. And it will take much more than a nice boy for your to forget about him.” She says gently.

“I never will move on from him, will I? You never forget your first love, do you? He's going to have this unbelievable power over my heart and emotions and there's nothing that I can do about it, is there?”

Summer, you're right. You never do forget your first love but it's not impossible to move on from them. In years to come you may find that you're completely happy with someone else and it's not wrong to have a little piece of your heart belonging to someone else – your first love. But the main question you have to ask yourself is do you want to move on from your first love? You said that you wanted to forget about Harry by spending time with Liam but do you want to forget about Harry? Or do you just want to be free from all of your contrasting emotions?”

 

Of course I want to forget about Harry! ...Do I? Oh, I don't know. Nothing seems to make sense any more.

 

“Now get some sleep, and I'm sure that tomorrow morning everything will settle down and you'll feel a lot less overwhelmed.” Anne kisses me on the forehead and gets up to leave. As she's just about to shut my door she turns around and adds, “Don't ever hesitate to talk to me, okay? You know I'll never hate you, Summer. You're the closest thing I have to a daughter and no matter what, I'll always be here for you.” She shuts the door behind her and I close my eyes.

 

''I'll always be here for you'' I think. 'where have I heard that before?'

 

~*~

 

Anne couldn't have been more wrong about everything settling down the next morning because when I go downstairs I'm met with the same deadly silence as the night before. Everyone (except Harry because I still haven't seen him since yesterday afternoon) eats in silence, despite Anne's best efforts to start up conversation, and then everyone goes off to different corners of the house in silence.

 

I look up at my mum, wondering if she's as mad as me as the boys are, but she carries on reading, seemingly oblivious of my need for her attention.

 

“Mum?” I say from my position on the sofa. She looks up at me so I continue. “Do you know about-”

“Yes, Summer. I do.” She says tiredly. “All I ask for is two weeks. Two weeks where I can relax and have fun without the stress of work but-” She cuts herself short as she sees the upset expression on my face. “Never mind. Yes I know, Summer, but I'm not getting involved.”

“Okay,” I half-smile, not wanting her to see that she upset me because she probably didn't mean to. “I'm going to go to Liam's, okay?”

“Summer I don't think that's a good idea,” She says warily.

“Well, it'd be nice to get out of the house and away from everyone who clearly wants to be away from me.” I say a bit too harshly but I don't go back to apologise, instead I leave the house and walk to Liam's.

 

I'm going to make it very clear that I just need a friend right now. I can't stay in the unknown-zone where I'm not sure whether he wants something more than friendship because I don't want to be accused of 'leading him on' even though my brothers (and probably my mother and Harry) think I am. I don't want to hurt Liam and with everything that's going on – my confused feelings for Harry and his strong grasp on my heart – I feel that he will get hurt if I let our relationship go any further than just friends.

 

“Hey,” I say once Liam opens the front door. “You're not mad at me too, are you?” I joke but Liam doesn't laugh or even ask what's wrong. He just looks at me, pain evident in his eyes. “Liam? What's wrong?”

“As if you don't know,” He says and I feel the blood drain from my face.

 

He knows. And I haven't even had the chance to explain.

 

“Liam, I can explain. I came here to explain, actually,” I say but it seems like he's not listening. He looks too hurt to be listening.

“It's weird. I knew that you liked him. I could just tell, you know? The way you looked at him... it was the way I was looking at you. But I ignored that and kissed you anyway and the worst thing is that when you kissed me back and then when I spent time with you, I-I thought that maybe you'd actually start to like me. I don't know where I got that crazy idea from!” He laughs coldly. “I don't understand, Summer, I really don't. What does he- what does he have that I don't? I did nothing but be kind to you and, stupidly, I thought that would be enough. But it's never going to be enough, is it? I'm never going to be enough. You're always going to love him.

 

“Liam, please. Just let me explain!” I say as tears start to roll down my cheeks. “I never wanted to hurt you. I-I shouldn't have kissed you back-”

“But you did,” He snaps. “And you probably imagined him when you did it.”

 

No, just listen to me!” I yell, suddenly frustrated with being constantly interrupted. “I didn't imagine it as him. I knew I was kissing you. And at the time I was happy that I was but- but afterwards I knew it was wrong and I couldn't take it back. I never wanted to hurt you, Liam. You've done nothing but be kind to me and make me laugh and I don't know why it's like this. I don't know why Harry has this effect on me. For some messed up reason, which I'd love to know, I love someone who confuses the hell out of me and leaves me in tears and makes me feel like screaming instead of someone – instead of you - who I don't even deserve because you're so nice and sweet and-”

“Just stop, Summer! I know that you love him and I don't need you to tell me it again!”

“No, I wasn't trying to say that-”

“Oh and tell your brothers thanks for the heads up,” And then he slams the door in my face.

 

I stand there on his doorstep, in the snow with tears falling down my cheeks.

 

It isn't meant to be like this. Hell, no Christmas is meant to be like this.

 

I never wanted for Liam to get hurt or for Harry to get hurt, in that matter. I never wanted to ruin my brothers' Christmas or create stress for my mother in her meant to be stress-free two weeks. I never wanted for Liam to like me; it would have been better if he'd never met me and he's probably wishing that right now. And I never wanted to fall in love with Harry.

 

But you don't always get what you want, do you?

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