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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11. The Truth

Harry's POV

 

It feels wrong, us eating out at a restaurant – Summer's favourite restaurant, in fact – while she is at home probably still crying in her bedroom. That's not the only thing that feels wrong; everything feels wrong. It's wrong that I'm not watching Summer shovel her favourite food into her mouth and then seeing her blush as she sees me looking at her. It's wrong that her mum is laughing and having a good time while her daughter's heart is breaking, breaking because of me. It's wrong that all of this even started.

 

I never intended for it to, even though Summer will probably find that impossible to believe. I never wanted to mess with her emotions or to break her heart or to play her. I just- I just got scared. I didn't know how to tell her everything that I was feeling, everything that I still am feeling. I was scared of rejection. I've already been rejected by my Dad, and I don't need someone else leaving me for someone better. I didn't want to lose her. But that's exactly what I have done; I've lost her.

 

“I think I'm gonna' go home,” I say to mum across the table.

“Are you not hungry, Harry? You love this restaurant!” Summer's mum says cheerily.

“I've lost my appetite,” I snap a bit too harshly but I don't try to apologise.

 

I want her to feel bad. She needs to know that it's not okay to ignore Summer when she's clearly desperate for her attention. But despite my harsh answer Summer's mother keeps her smile in tact, although it did falter at first.

 

Without another exchange of words I grab my jacket and leave the packed restaurant. I need to go home. I need to talk to Summer.

 

~*~

 

When I get home I go straight up the stairs and stand in front of Summer's door. I wait briefly, having a debate inside my head about what to say, or whether I should say anything at all. I finally just start talking, knowing that once I start I can't stop otherwise I'll look even more stupid. She needs to hear what I have to say. It's long over-due.

 

“Summer,” I say but get no response. I carry on anyway. “I know you probably hate me... I-I hate myself too.”

 

I take a short, deep breath. I still get no response but I figure that she won't respond until I have finished.

 

The way I treated you... it was awful. I'm awful. Over the years I have been such a dick to you, and I've sent you so many mixed messages, and you don't deserve any of it. I should have told you this years ago but I was scared, Summer. Yes, scared. I'm a wimp, I know, but I just couldn't imagine the idea of hurting you. Because I thought that if I told you, you'd get hurt in the long run. Everything beautiful I touch, Summer, it- it just dies. And I never wanted to hurt you, or to take away your beauty. I tried on multiple occasions but something always got in the way. Whether it was me biting on my tongue or you not wanting to hear what I had to say. But now there's no interruptions. I'm just going to say it... I love you, Summer. I always have done.”

 

I stop, anticipating her reply with my eyes squeezed shut. But once again, nothing.

 

'She hates me. She hates me so much that now not even telling her how I feel will make her forgive me. I've really lost her for good, and no matter how much I remind her of my love for her, it will never fix what I have done.' I think as still no reply comes.

 

“Summer?” I try again but I'm met with the same eerie silence.

 

I push the door slightly and, to my surprise, it opens. I step in and scan the room but everything isn't as it should be. Her desk and dresser is empty. Her wardrobe doors are left swung open. Her suitcase isn't under her bed. She's gone.

 

I feel sick to my stomach as I look around her empty bedroom. The dusty photo frames are left lonely on her shelf where as most of her other belongings are gone, along with her. I stare intently at one photograph, a picture from years ago. It's of me and her. When we were both happy.

 

“And now look at us,” I say bitterly even though there's no one there to listen.

 

I turn my eyes away from the somewhat haunting memory. I really have lost her this time.

 

I leaver her room, the smell of her sweet perfume and her absence becoming too overwhelming. I walk into my room and throw my head into my hands.

 

How could I be so stupid?! How could I believe that pushing her away and messing her around wouldn't hurt her? Why didn't I realize that eventually she would get tired of it and leave? And now I have to pay the consequences.

 

My eyes land on a crumpled piece of paper resting on my pillow. At once I recognise Summer's handwriting; her scruffy scrawl has never been hard to identify as her own.

 

With shaking hands, I pick up the piece of paper and read.

 

'Harry,

 

I'm sorry I did it this way. I shouldn't have, and I know that. But there's so much that I've wanted to say to you over the past few years and I never have done, so I guess that's what I'm doing now; I'm telling you, or more like writing to you, about everything that I've felt, everything that you've made me feel.

 

You've broken my heart, Harry, too many times. But you've also put the pieces back together again. You've made me feel from low to high, and I wouldn't take any of it back. Everything that makes 'us' is messed up. But it's beautifully messed up.

 

I know I screamed at you today and I know that I've also probably left, otherwise you wouldn't be reading this, but I really do want you to know that I regret nothing. Honestly. Every single memory, every moment that we've shared is a part of me; you're a part of me, you always will be.

 

I love you Harry. I always have, really.

 

And if all this messed up shit is meant to be, and everything is for a reason, then maybe I'll find my way back to you again. But just know that even if I don't, you'll always have my heart, Harry.

 

Always.

 

Summer x

 

My tears plummet from my eyes and onto the crinkled paper, smudging the ink as a result.

 

How could she do this to me? How could she just leave after everything? God knows where she is.

 

I scrunch the letter tightly in my hands until my knuckles turn white. Anger quickly fills my veins and I let out the frustrated yell that I've been holding in for far too long. I leap up from my bed and dart straight for the photo frame, which was once resting peacefully on my shelf, and throw it to the floor. I watch as the glass shatters into a thousand pieces, and represents exactly how my heart currently feels. The picture that had been in the frame floats out, unscathed and lands softly onto the small pile of glass.

 

My anger drains out of me as quickly as it appeared, and I suddenly feel tired: tired from all the yelling and my anger, tired from all the pain, tired from my broken heart.

 

I sink down onto the floor and retrieve the picture that survived my fit of frustration. It's the exact same picture that was left in Summer's room, the picture that reminds me of how badly I've messed everything up.

 

Summer's words keep circling around my head, taunting me and all of my stupid mistakes.

 

'And if all this messed up shit is meant to be, and everything is for a reason, then maybe I'll find my way back to you again.'

 

...Or maybe she doesn't have to find her way back to me again. Maybe I have to find my way back to her. After all, I am the one who was lost in the first place.

 

I pull myself up from the floor and grab my coat, a new found energy replacing the tiredness that I had been feeling.

 

It might not be too late to fix everything, to tell her how I feel. She might not have left yet...And I know exactly where she might have gone.

 

~*~

 

When I arrive at the lake I'm out of breath and my aching limbs are slowly being numbed by the cold, but I haven’t lost the spark of energy that brought me here in the first place. I'm not giving up until I find her, until I tell her everything I need to.

 

I look up at the slightly misty lake, expecting to see her sitting cross-legged in the snow just like she has been a hundred other times before. But she's not there. The lake is completely empty except for myself and my racing thoughts.

 

She should have been here. Then I could've fixed everything. It shouldn't have turned out like this. None of the past few days should have happened. Summer should be right here with me now, looking at my through her gorgeous hazel eyes and I should kiss her and tell her everything I should have years ago. But I can't.

 

I drop onto the snow and pull my knees up to my chin, cradling them in my arms as I squeeze my eyes shut.

 

I should open my eyes and everything should be back to normal. We should be twelve and I should give her her first kiss and then give her hundreds of other kisses after that and never let her go.

 

Then, I should open my eyes and be thirteen. I should make that promise to Summer, telling her that I'll always be there for her, and then I should keep that promise.

 

When I open my eyes I should be fourteen again. And I should stop kissing that girl – the one whose name I can't even remember – and I should run over to Summer and apologise for everything. I should let her know that none of the other flings meant anything, that they were simply something to fill the stupid hole in my heart that should have been filled with her. And I shouldn't give her that look over the girl's shoulder. The look that was checking to see if she was jealous because I pathetically wanted her to be.

 

I should just go back and stop all of the pain and heartbreak so that everything would be different, so that everything would be okay.

 

But I can't do that, and now nothing is ever going to be the same again.

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