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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10. The Decision

I calm myself down and wipe away the tears that are cascading down my cheeks. I walk back down the driveway and stomp home, my sadness quickly changing to anger.

 

They had no right to speak to Liam. They should have given me the chance to explain to him about what was really going on. In fact, my brothers should have given me the chance to explain to them as well because they just jumped to conclusions and somehow forced all of the blame onto me.

 

I pull open the front door and storm into the house.

 

The mums and all of the boys, including Harry who has suddenly appeared, are all sat in the lounge area, blissfully unaware of my anger. But that will change pretty soon.

 

How could you?!” I scream at them, making everyone in the room jump. “You didn't have to tell Liam anything! You should have given me the chance to actually explain to him what was going on because you don't know anything! You probably think that I'm a pathetic whore who can't choose between Harry and Liam but you're wrong! You should know that I've loved Harry for ten bloody years and every single day of those ten years I've been hoping and praying that something would happen between us. And stuff did happen between us, stuff still is happening! But then I got messed around and confused and my heart has been broken so many times. I thought that maybe I had a chance to move on, for my heart to heal but it turns out that I can't move on because that curly-haired prick has my heart and, for some godforsaken reason, I still love him after everything. But Liam was a good friend to me; he was nice and kind and he actually listened to me. But you had to take that away didn't you?”

 

I take a deep breath and wipe away the angry tears that have fallen, but I'm not finished yet. The five pairs of shocked eyes watching me make me even angrier so I continue.

 

“And you,” I yell, turning my attention to Harry. “Are you fucking happy now? Is this what you wanted? Because I'm a bloody mess, Harry and it's all because of you. I have so many scars on my heart and they're probably never going to heal because, no matter what I do, you're never going to love me, are you? You're always going to be able to pull me back in whenever you want but I'm never going to be able to call you mine, am I?” I wail.

 

“Summer,” He whispers and I see that his eyes have now filled with tears. “You really think that I wanted you to feel like this? I should have told you years ago but-”

“No Harry, I don't want to hear it! I just want you to stop pulling me back in! I need to be free!” I shout. “Let me be free.” I add on in a whisper.

 

I fearfully look up to see the reaction of my mother but she's not even looking at me. Her eyes are trained on the wall and her jaw is clenched.

 

“Mum?” I say, my voice cracking.

 

But she doesn't look up. She keeps her eyes focused on the cream wall and leaves me stood there trembling.

 

We've never had a brilliant mother-daughter relationship, my mother and I, but I had always thought that when the time came - when I really needed her - she would be there for me. That she would wipe away my tears and hold my shaking hands but it turns out that she isn't going to do any of that. She doesn't care.

 

My eyes flicker to Anne who's sat with her eyes closed and her hands resting on her face. I see the tear slip out of her eye and I know that I've really hurt her. That all of this messed up shit hasn't only hurt me, or annoyed my mum but it's upset Anne. And that's making me feel even worse than I was before.

 

I back away from them all, exiting the lounge as my breathing quickens. I've never felt more alone in my entire life, even though I'm in the presence of my 'family'.

 

I run up to my bedroom and lock the door, not that they're going to come up anyway. I pace around the room as my sobs come out so loudly that the whole neighbourhood can probably hear them. I sink to the floor and pull my knees into my chest as I gasp for air.

 

I've really done it; I've lost everyone who I love. My mother looked so angry with me for ruining Christmas, and I understand that, but can't she see that she's not being there for me when I need her the most? I need someone to tell me that everything will be okay, and that in a few years it will all be a distant memory. But she's not going to tell me that.

 

“Summer?” I hear faintly through the thick, wooden door. “Hunny, it's going to be okay. Please open the door sweetheart.”

“No,” I bawl. “I don't want to come out. I never want to see them ever again.”

 

My sobs become louder but I can still hear the voice on the other side of the door.

 

“Sweetie, no matter what, we all care about you. At the moment you might not believe me but we really do. Me, your mum, your brothers and Harry...we all love you,” I can hear the tears in Anne's voice but I still don't open the door.

 

It's better if I stay in my bedroom. In here I can't hurt anyone and no one can hurt me.

 

I crawl onto my bed and let my tears soak my pillow as the sound of Anne's footsteps gets fainter. My eyes become heavier and I don't have the energy to let any more sobs out, so I give in to my tiredness and fall into a deep sleep.

 

~*~

 

When I wake up the house is eerily quiet. There's no sound of talking or music playing or even the T.V. I slowly sit up in bed and that's when it hits me. I remember everything from before I went to sleep – my screaming rant, my mother ignoring me, Anne trying to calm me down. My stomach drops at the thought of how everything has changed so drastically in such as short space of time.

 

A few days ago I woke up in the exact same bed after having a dream of Harry, and then I went into the woods and saw him. It was only a few days ago but it feels like a whole different lifetime. It was before Liam kissed me or before my brothers hated me. It was before everything got even more messed up.

 

I'd do anything to go back to before Liam kissed me so I could stop him, so I could prevent his sadness and anger. Actually, I'd do anything to back to a few years ago so that I could stop all the games before they even fully began. I'd just do anything to go back to when everything was normal and not complicated, to when I was happy.

 

I get up from my bed and open my wooden door quietly so I don't attract the attention of anyone, seeing as I'm not really in the mood for talking. But when I go out into the landing I still hear absolutely nothing. I slowly walk down the creaking steps to see an empty lounge area. I check the kitchen and still see no one there. I do see, however, a piece of paper on the marble worktop of the kitchen island with a note in Anne's neat, curly writing.

 

'Gone out for Dinner. There's a lasagne in the fridge and some ice-cream in the freezer

Will be back at half seven.

Love you sweetie,

A xxx'

 

They're out...and will be back at half seven. I glance at the clock and see that the current time is 6:30pm. And without a second thought I run up to my room and pull out my dusty suitcase from under my bed. I throw in clothes, shoes, make-up – practically everything in sight.

 

I grab my handbag and check my purse. It has enough money for where I want to go.

 

I pull my packed suitcase down the stairs and stop in the doorway. Am I really doing this? Am I really going to just leave? No one will miss me anyway.

 

I look back into the beautiful house, the house that has been more of a home to me than my actual home in London, the house that holds so many beautiful and heartbreaking memories.

 

I have about twenty minutes until the train leaves. I should at least leave something for him. Something to explain myself.

 

I abandon my suitcase near the front door and rush into the kitchen. I grab a pen and a piece of paper and I start to scribble down everything I want him to know. As I write some tears manage to escape but I hold the rest back because if I get upset it's going to be a lot harder to leave. And I need to, I really need to.

 

I quickly jog up the stairs and place the crinkled piece of paper on Harry's bed before going back down the stairs, taking my suitcase by it's handle and leaving the house without looking back.

 

I arrive at the station, my suitcase in tow, with a few minutes to spare. When the train arrives I buy my one-way ticket and take a seat in the empty carriage. My heart beats loudly in my ribcage as the train eases its way out of the station and starts to pick up speed, the beautiful views of Holmes Chapel passing by as a blur. I turn away from the window, from the views of the village, and gently close my eyes.

 

There's no turning back now. I'm really leaving.

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