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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30. Love (long)

*** “I lied.” Harry said, his eyes dark, cold.

“About what?” I questioned feebly, tears already glittering on my face.

“About loving you.” He sneered, his eyes raked up and down my body, a look of disgust in them.

“W-what do you mean?” I whimpered.

“I don't love you. I love her...” He smiled at a figure that approached us. I collapsed on my knees when the girl came into the light. It was my cousin, the same one that my mum tried to replace me with...

"You're just not... good enough." He spoke once more before embracing the traitor.

“No. No...” I whispered as their lips touched. I cried as I watched that girl steal the only boy I had ever loved... *** 

"Stop!" I screeched as I shot up in bed, the sun was already shining through my window. My breath came heavily, tears ran down my face. Crying in my sleep... Hadn't done that in years. I took a few deep breaths, trying to calm down. It was only a dream. Only a dream... I got out of bed, stumbling to the washroom. I was looking forward to a hot shower.

I caught a look of myself in the mirror before I stepped under the warm water. The person who stared back was in rough shape... Makeup was smeared down my face, the skin under my eyes was dark from restless sleep, and my entire body had red splotches all over. I sighed as I turned away from the mirror and hopped into the shower. I was glad Harry wasn't there to see me like that... My shower was quick. I was soon dressed in my work clothes even though my shift wasn't for a few hours; I didn't know what else to do.

My feet swung back and forth as I sat on my bed, contemplating whether or not I should call Kate about what happened after dinner with Harry's family. On one hand, she may chastise me about lying and not admitting that I love Harry. But on the other hand, she'll probably have the best advice on what to do next... As I mulled over the possibilities a knock reached my ears. I cussed quietly. Company was not something I was looking for at the moment!

When I opened the door I was prepared to send the person away, but it was Harry... I stood there dumbly, my mouth part way open, in position to say 'go away'. Obviously because of who stood in front of me those words wouldn't come. My mouth remained open, unable to speak also because of this someone's appearance...

Harry was soaking wet. Like he'd bathed in his clothes. Yes, it's raining outside, (I do live in Britain...) he just wasn't smart enough to wear a jacket.

“A-are you okay?” I asked quietly. On top of being soaked to the bone, he looked... depressed. Everything about him was sad, his expression, his dripping hair that was supposed to be curly and bouncing all over. He was supposed to be in the recording studio! Singing his heart out! Instead he was walking alone in the rain...

“No. I'm not.” He muttered. It really was a pointless question, on my part. I didn't assume he was 'okay'.

“Uh, here, come in, I'll get you a towel.” I insisted, moving out of the way for him. Well, I suppose 'insisted' may be the wrong word, but 'ordered' would be a bit harsh. Just imagine it was somewhere in between the two.

He shuffled in, his shoes squeaking a little against my wood floor, and sat down on my bed. That would create a wet spot... I got two towels from the bathroom, throwing one at him and using the other one to help dry his hair. First, I make sure he doesn't get sick, and then I cheer him up.

“I might have some clothes from the second hand store, when I planned that date. I got a couple outfits.” I said, eying his extremely wet shirt. Harry only nodded. Normally he was a chatter box. He was really worrying me. I jumped off the bed to look in my closet for extra clothes. There was a sweatshirt and sweatpants that should fit him... Like I said, from the second hand store.

“Here.” I shoved them at him. “Go change.” I ordered (no, I'm not 'insisting' anymore, or anywhere in between). He obeyed, dragging his feet yet again the the bathroom. I chewed my fingernails while I waited for him. An old, bad habit of mine.

He took forever! When he finally came out and sat back down, I moved his head to face me. He adjusted his entire body so that we were perfectly across from each other. The deep frown on his lips looked permanent. That was a depressing thought... If Harry never smiled again, the world would have no hope.

“What happened?” I demanded.

“I know you heard what I said last night.” He spoke finally. Panic gripped my heart, sending shots of adrenaline down all my limbs. No. No, no, no he couldn't be bringing this up. That was what made him come to my apartment all depressed?! I thought his fucking mum died or something!!

I didn't reply.

“Ariel, answer me. I know you know. Don't make me sit here feeling like an idiot any longer.” He pleaded. He looked- not like himself. Not at all, his eyes were desperate. It was scary, to see him like that. I didn't speak for a long time, but eventually words came.

“You're not an idiot.” I said.

“God Dammit!” He cried, his head flew down to his hands.

“No! No Harry! Stop, what do you want me to say?!” I questioned.

He looked back up at me. “I want you to tell me the truth.” He answered.

“About what?!” I demanded.

“I love you! I said it out loud last night and I know you heard me, but you won't say anything about it.” He exclaimed. Again, I was silent, and my eyes moved to stare at the wall. Yes, he was right, I did hear what he said. And I lied, when I said I didn't. After a minute or two of still silence- it felt like a million years- Harry couldn't take it any longer. He took my face gently in his hands, making me look at him.

"I've fallen madly, in love with you. I don't care what you say. I just need to know how you feel about me. The truth." He said. Obviously he was lying, he did care what I said. But I would tell him the truth, mostly because his beautiful green orbs were preventing me from coming up with a good fib.

"Love isn't real. It's a filthy trick that your brain plays just to see you get hurt." I whispered. I instantly regretted speaking the truth. The heartbreak in his eyes- that I caused- was excruciating. See Harry, only pain...

“You don't believe that. I can see it, in your eyes. I promise to never hurt you Ariel, just tell me what you're really thinking. Please.” He pleaded, impossibly quiet.

“I can't.” I breathed, trying to escape his grasp. I wanted to run, I wanted to run away as fast as I could so that I wouldn't have to discuss this any longer. He refused to let me go.

“You promised to always be honest with me. Why can't you now? Don't you trust me?” He asked, sounding hurt. Ouch. The trust thing was uncalled for...

“Of course I trust you.” I insisted, my eyes were beginning to prickle in that oh-so-annoying way. No. No crying.

“Then why won't you tell me the truth?” His voice faltered slightly mid-sentence.

“Because, I just can't.” I replied.

“So you don't love me?” He assumed, looking almost... broken. His large hands slipped from my face.

“No! No, I didn't say that!” I rushed to reassure him.

“Well, if you loved me then why wouldn't you say it?” He demanded now, his eyes were shining, same as mine.

Listen, Harry. Relationships are scary, but I took a risk. Love... Love isn't scary, love is terrifying. And it only results in pain.” I whispered, like we were in a huge crowd and everyone was eaves-dropping. 

“But it's with me.” He said softly, taking my hand in his a pressing his lips to it. Again, silence, for a what felt like a long time. Though, I don't think it was. A few seconds maybe. 

“You need to leave." I spoke finally. My voice sounded small, scared.

"You can't be serious." He mumbled, his eyes widened with surprise and panic. 

"I am. Get out." I was losing the battle against the tears, but I thought I could hold them back long enough for him to leave. 

"Ariel." He whispered, almost inaudible. He lost his battle, the moisture fell in little droplets down his cheeks. Making wet streaks where his dimples belonged. Harry looked like he wasn't strong enough to stand up. 

"Go." I forced the word through my teeth, having to clench them together as hard as possible to keep the sobs away. He didn't say anything, and he didn't move. Anger bubbled up inside me, anger and fear. Those two tyrants ran through my body hand-in-hand.

"God dammit Harry! Just leave and go buy a fucking jacket! You're a fucking millionaire you shouldn't have had to walk through the god damned rain!!" I shouted, my voice broke several times. I realized a few seconds after my outburst that I was standing. Harry finally looked at me, his tears hadn't stopped, which made me feel sick to my stomach. 

"If I do, d-do you want m-me to come b-back?" He stuttered. In his eyes was a mixture of hope, panic, and pure pain.

"Always." I whispered, losing my own battle. The tears tickled as they dripped down my face, either sticking on my jaw or dripping to the floor.

With that he left, not another word. Shutting the door behind himself. 

I watched out my window as he walked through the parking lot. All I saw because of the rain was a grey blob. He stood beside his car for a minute, letting the precipitation soak him to the bone. My brain wanted to run to him, catch him before he could get into his car and drive away, but my limbs just wouldn't go. A large part of me was glad about that. Vulnerable was not a word I would use to describe myself, and I wanted to keep it that way...

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