Always and Never

Ariel Tanner believed that love was nothing but an illusion, a sick prank your brain pulls on you. But when she meets Harry Styles she begins to question everything she has put together about love. This frustrating boy was the only truly genuine person she'd ever met. How someone like him could even exist blew her mind. Harry, on the other hand, was amazed at how closed off Ariel acted. He made it his mission to knock down the walls she'd built around herself, because behind the flirting and the sarcasm, he got a glimpse of a girl that he wanted to become as close as humanly possible to. But did he really want to know everything behind those walls?

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65. Daughter

A/N: I fear that this is the end of the road for us, my friends. Thank you so very much for taking your time to read my story! It means the world to me. Comment and let me know how I did, hope you enjoy the last chapter! [it's basically just the beginning of After 18 years] -Xx

Harry's Pov. Last Chapter.

I was in my bedroom when my phone began to ring. It was someone at the gate. I answered. Niall's face appeared on the screen of my iPhone 26. A large grin spread across my face. I hadn't seen Niall in weeks!

“Hey Harry! It's Niall! Open up!” He laughed.

“Hey Nialler! I think I can let you in, mate.” I chuckled. I pressed the button to unlock the gate on my phone. I jumped out of bed, pulling on jeans and a t-shirt. I'd been in my underwear. What could have made Niall decide to drop by? I was glad he did, don't get me wrong, but it was a surprise.

I made my way down the staircase of my large house. Sometimes it got lonely, a very big house holding only one person. That is, only when the lads and their family's weren't over.

“What made you stop by?” I grinned as I caught sight of Niall on the couch, but my smile disappeared when I noticed his company. No way. No fucking way.

“Niall,” I whispered, my voice trembled, “is this some kind of sick joke??” Impossible. This person sitting on my couch... It couldn't be. Her face was hidden, her hair- which was a shade lighter than mine- created a screen between her and the room. The way her body was shaking told me that she was upset, nervous.

“Come sit down Harry.” Niall suggested, gentle. I couldn't make my muscles work. It couldn't be real... Just another dream... I hadn't had a dream like this in months, I thought they'd gone away! I pinched the inside of my arm as hard as I could. Ouch!!

Holy Shit. It wasn't a dream. She was real! I had to stop myself from tackling the woman that sat like a trembling statue next to Niall. It took all my self control to only sit next to her, our legs touched. Sending an ecstasy through my body that I never thought I'd feel again. She didn't look up at me, but she began to shake more violently. I placed my index finger under her chin, her soft skin like rose pedals, and lifted her head gently to look up at me.

“Where have you been?” I whispered, my voice cracking like a 13 year old boy's would during puberty. Ariel was home. My love, was home...

“America.” She whimpered. Tears ran down her cheeks, I quickly wiped them away. Her voice, oh my God her voice. It was beautiful music to my ears. I'd almost forgotten what it sounded like... How could I forget? It was my favorite sound in the world. I almost melted in her hands with that one word, for a few moments I didn't even register what she said. My head dropped to her shoulder, and I hugged her to me like a 3 year old grasps their stuffed toy. For safety, comfort.

“I thought that I would never hear your voice again.” I breathed. I heard Niall get up and leave, giving us privacy. She began to lean away.

“I can't. Harry. Too much.” Her voice was pained. Her breath came in fast, heavy gasps. That hurt. I slowly, painstakingly, lifted my head from her, and slid a few inches from her on the couch. I couldn't make myself move further away than that. Honestly I didn't think she wanted me to move further away.

“I came for a reason...” She began. No, she wasn't going to leave again. I was never going to lose her again.

“I still love you, Ariel.” I mumbled. It wasn't a secret, what could possibly make me fall out of love with her?? She was the most amazing woman I've ever known. She began to cry harder at that statement. She cradled her face in her hands as she sobbed. I wished I could comfort her, protect her from the sadness. But I couldn't. She didn't want me to touch her.

Oh how I wanted to touch her, the urge was almost over powering. I wanted to relive our time together, that one night, when I proposed... I shook away the thought, knowing if I thought about it too much I might pressure her to do something she probably doesn't want to do. It took her a few minutes to get the tears out, but eventually she sat up again. She didn't look at me though, she looked at her wet hands.

“What have you been doing the past 18 years?” I asked, attempting to make conversation. Then something on her hand glistened in the light, catching my eye. A ring. On her left hand. White gold, the one I gave her was normal gold.

“Wh-what is that for?” I stuttered. Her moving away from me hurt a little, but this, this hurt a lot.

“My engagement.” She replied. How was I still alive? No one, should have to live through the pain I was feeling. I couldn't make myself look at her anymore, I stared at the wall.

“I don't love him.” She admitted with a sigh.

“Then why are you going to marry him?” I asked, my voice trembled.

“I don't want to be alone.” She answered. That was the only reason? Then why not marry me?? She loved me, and I would take good care of her!

“You don't have to be.” My head snapped back to look at her, the denial on her face made me look back down.

“Would you call it off if you had a good reason?” I questioned, a plan hatching in my head.

“Yes, I'm sure I would.” She nodded.

“Tell him you cheated.” I suggested, I moved to smash my lips to hers. To kiss her plump lips like I've been longing to for half my life. I almost fell on my face, when I sat back up and opened my eyes I saw that Ariel had stood up. She was facing me.

“I can't, I can't hurt him like that.” She shook her head, her eyes wide. I should have guessed, she was too good a person to do that... A soft knock sounded from the front door.

"I'll get it." Ariel mumbled. I watched, confused, as Ariel opened the door to a girl. She was tall with brown hair. She had a suit case in her hand.

“Darcy! Thank goodness you're alright!” Ariel exclaimed, throwing her arms around the stranger. They embraced each other and I saw Ariel whisper something in her ear that I couldn't make out. Ariel led her over to stand in front of me. I kept my eyes on Ariel's face, watching her expression.

“What are you doing here mum?” The girl mumbled. And now my heart snapped in half, after taking almost 19 years to heal.

“'Mum'? You didn't tell me you had a kid...” I muttered. The girl looked like she was in her late teens, that meant Ariel had her right after she left me... Wait... I made eye contact with the girl. The eyes that stared back at me where the same that stared back in the mirror every day. She had my eyes, my same color hair. Before making the conscious decision I was on my feet.

“How old are you Darcy?” I demanded, staring at my eyes set in the beautiful girl's face.

“18.” She answered quickly. I glared at Ariel, pain and anger exploding inside me.

“You thought it was okay to keep my own child from me for 18 years?? It's bad enough you took yourself away from me, but my daughter too?” I bellowed. I would have cussed, but I reminded myself, my daughter was standing there. My fucking daughter. Niall walked back into the room then, probably to keep me from yelling.

“Who's this?” He asked, surprised at my new guest.

“My daughter.” Ariel and I answered at the same time. My voice sounded cold, bitter, Ariel's was matter-of-fact. Niall sighed, smacking himself in the face.

“This is a lot more complicated than I thought.” He mumbled. I almost laughed- almost. I was a father... Holy shit...

“Half my life I've had a daughter!! I've always wanted a daughter! But I thought I would never get one!” I raved on. How could Ariel take my own child from me for over 18 years? My flesh and blood! How dare she!!

“Why would you never get one? I'm obviously not the only woman who ever wanted you!! You could have chosen from millions of girls who documented your every move!” She bellowed at the same volume. It always impressed me how she held up her side of a fight. And it scared me the slightest bit...

I considered not saying anything back, to keep from infuriating her further. Did I expect her to stay if we fought? Then again, I was angry. Very, very angry that she didn't give me the chance to watch my own daughter grow up!

“I already said that I only ever loved you! I didn't go out and get a new fiance did I? And I just completely opened up to you, while you had the biggest secret possible hidden from me!” I exclaimed. Well, I may not have gotten engaged but I went out with other women... That caused a pang of guilt in my chest, I only ever slept with those women. Never a second date... Darcy moved to stand by Niall. They watched our argument. I felt bad, embarrassed, that this was the first way Darcy ever saw me. I didn't even say hello to her...

“Whoa, wait... Fiance??” Niall questioned, lost.

“It's complicated,” Ariel said quickly, then turned back to me, “I opened up to you too! Do you know how hard this was?! And I've been tortured for 18 years because I left. But I left for you!!” She shouted.

“How was hurting me like that good for me?!” I demanded, becoming quieter. I didn't want her to be upset with me.

“You know what would have happened! You were in a boy band. A baby and a wife would have ruined your career 3 years in! You were on the road constantly, and you can maybe bring me on a tour bus, but not a child!” She replied.

I realized with a sigh that she was right. I wouldn't have been able to concentrate on work when I had a pregnant wife and a baby... One Direction would have been no more. She saved my career, but that didn't mean she saved me. My gaze locked on her ring. The one I got her was so much more spectacular. Dare I say it, this one was truly plain.

For a fraction of a second I glanced at my own hand, but then back at hers. Ariel's eyes now flashed to my left hand, where the ring that she bought me was wrapped around my finger. The one she left on the bed, as a sort of goodbye, I came to think of it. Maybe now that I knew the whole truth, it could be seen as an apology. I'm sorry I got pregnant.

And now I felt guilt mix with the rest of my feelings. She suffered through raising a child, alone, in a new country. All so that I would be able to keep singing...

“Harry.” She whispered. I didn't look her in the eye.

“Did you keep mine?” I asked. She had to have it, unless of course she sold it, but I knew she didn't leave it at our old house.

“Yes.” She answered. My heart beat faster in my chest. She kept it, she kept it, that's got to mean something! I watched as she pulled her wallet from her small purse, retrieving a shiny object from the coin part. It was most definitely my ring. Smugness, flooded my body. Her stupid fiance wouldn't like that she carried around a different engagement ring, would he?

“Doe's your fiance know you keep that?” I questioned, bitterness dripping from my words.

“No...” She mumbled. I didn't think so, I almost said, but then I decided: better not piss her off. She had a bit of a temper, if I remembered correctly.

“Mum, you can't marry Dan. He doesn't make you happy.” Darcy muttered behind me. So that was the bastard's name. Dan. Hello Dan, sorry to be an inconvenience, but Ariel loves me. And oh, yeah, Darcy is my daughter. Go find a new fiance, because I've just taken mine back.

My beautiful daughter... Her voice was like angels singing, just like her mother. Now, my job was to get to know her, to get her to love me. I already loved her, with all my heart. My goals for as long as it may take were one: make my daughter love me like I've known her her whole life, and two, make Ariel my wife...

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