Little Perfections

He never saw it coming.
She was taken away so abruptly.

Everything was going perfectly until then.
But it did happen and he needs to move on.
He's trying to.

Though, its not as easy with a child by his side.
To top it all off, he's been offered a promotion.
And so he needs a nanny to take care of
his daughter when he's at work.

But when things are given to his mates hands,
he has absolutely no idea who he will come across.

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4. Chapter 3: Cookie Crumbs and Heart Aches for Daddy Dates

Little Perfections

Chapter 3: Cookie Crumbs and Heart Aches for Daddy Dates

It’s been a little bit over a week since Audrey’s been picking up Darcy from school and bringing her back home, waiting for her father to arrive.

From what he was told, she had taken his little girl out to play in the little snow that had fallen during this third week of December. Darcy had been explaining to her daddy what they had done all week from sledding down gentle hills to building snow mans to having some hot chocolate by their cozy little fireplace.

Luckily for Harry today, he was sent home earlier. Right when the clock stoke noon, he gathered his papers and shut off his computer, excitedly scurrying down the hallways like a school boy before the holidays. He stopped by Zayn’s cubicle, not so politely bidding him goodbye, earning a reciprocated answer as well as a ‘bastard’.

The drive home was short and thoughtful, as he thought about the light up houses for the holidays and how Darcy’s first Christmas was spent without Lauren’s company. Though, he still remembers his Christmas’ with his soul mate; waking up to the smell of cinnamon buns and the real Christmas tree. Thinking about it right now, it all felt so perfect and surreal, as if it couldn’t have actually happened.

Before his thoughts could deepen, he was parking his car in the driveway and stepping out into the colder weather compared to the inside of the SUV, making his way through the front door. Harry noticed the two different sized boots on the side of the hallway still wet, getting the conclusion that the two had arrived shortly before him.

“Darcy?” he called out, though not receiving an answer. Walking towards the end of the hallway, he stopped in his tracks when he heard the two voices coming from Darcy’s room.

She was just rambling about her uncles and how her favorite one was Niall, while she was mindlessly drawing on a piece of paper. Audrey though, sitting on the bed and carefully listening, caught sight of Harry by the doorway and smiled at him –to which he smiled back, of course.

“Hello sunshine,” he smiled at Darcy while knocking on the open door to catch his daughter’s attention and bending his knees to crouch down to her level.

Excitedly, she squealed, running in his arms, as he whispered, “I missed you lovebug,” he showered her head with kisses.

“Hey,” he greeted Audrey with a smile as Darcy scurried back to her drawing.

“Hi Harry,” she softly said, her voice only above a whisper while fidgeting with her fingers.

He just looked at her for a moment and questioned her, “Are you guys hungry? Did you have anything to eat?”

“Yeah. Right when we came in, we had some biscuits and–”

“Can we make Christmas cookies?” Darcy enthusiastically jumped from her seat, the idea making her very happy, though, when she saw the doubt on her father’s expression, she started to plead. “Pretty please please daddy?!”

He miserably failed to keep his serious face, laughing at the sight of his adrenalized daughter. “Of course we can.” He took Darcy’s hand –considerably small in contrast to his – and turned to face Audrey, asking her with a playful grin, “Will you join us?”

Accepting his ‘invitation’, her cadet grey eyes twinkled with amusement as she nodded. They walked down the hall and into the kitchen, clearing the counters only for them to be filled with the cookie making essentials.

“So I’m guessing you know how to bake?” Audrey looked at Harry, raising an eyebrow and nodding towards the endless supplies of ingredients.

“Sort of,” he rubbed the back of his neck, “but I’m sure we’ll figure it out,” he encouraged with a smile. “Won’t we Darcy?”

“Yup,” she confirmed, popping the ‘p’.

...

“I want to try! I want to try!” the little girl squealed.

“Okay Darce,” Harry moved to the side of the counter and aligned a chair in front of the mixing bowl, helping his daughter grow a little bit more. “You know how to crack eggs, don’t you?” to which she nodded. “Okay then,” he handed her one of the eggs.

He turned to Audrey, who was oiling the backing sheets, softly humming to herself an unrecognizable tune. Her hair was put up in a messy bun, strands of hair pushed behind her ears, dressed in a grey baggy t-shirt and a tight pair of skinny jeans, fitting her perfectly as his eyes travelled down to her behind before he could stop them.

“Oopsies,” Darcy bit the tip of her fingers, looking down at bowl.

In the pace of the ten seconds Harry had managed to take a glimpse of Audrey, Darcy had dropped a half cracked egg into the basin, little pieces of shell floating on the top.

“Awn, it’s okay love, we’ll fix it,” Audrey cooed at the little girl as her bottom lip started to quiver, tears welling up in her eyes. “Don’t cry, babe.”

Not being able to watch this, Harry suggested that she went to have a nap or watch TV while they’d finish baking, though promising her that she’d get to finalize them with icing.

As Darcy dozed off watching an old episode of Kim Possible, the two adults had managed to take out the bits of shell, mix it all up, shape the dough with the cookie cutters and place them onto the baking sheets and into the oven.

They were both in the midst of cleaning and softly humming along with the radio to Pumped up Kicks. When they both caught on that they were singing together, the second chorus rolled in and they started to chant louder.

“All the other kids with the pumped up kicks                                           you better run,  better run, outrun my gun                                               All the other kids with the pumped up kicks you better run,                  better run faster than my bullet.”

Harry and Audrey finished off with a breathy laugh, and bumped their hips together.

“Your voice is not so bad,” she complimented him.

“Eh, it’s okay I guess.”

“It’s better than mine,” she laughed.

“Honestly, anyone’s would be better than yours,” he joked, which earned him a hit across his upper arm. He grinned at her, her face turning red as he looked down at her.

Audrey stared at his features for a minute, taking everything in ; his hair, lips, nose, dimples, the way all his teeth would show off or the wrinkles by eyes when he smiled.

“You look like her.”

“Darcy?”

She hummed.

“She looks more like her mother,” he replied, glancing at the portrait of Lauren and Darcy, and maybe for a bit too long. Audrey caught on, shifting her gaze towards the object Harry was staring at.

“She’s beautiful.”

“Very,” he nodded.

“With parents like you two, I can tell where Darcy got her looks from,” she blurted out, her eyes widening as she blushed furiously, realizing what she had just said.

His loud chuckle filled the kitchen, a wide smirk on his lips. “I think I’ve just got a little part in that,” he joked after his laughter cooled down.

Mortified, Audrey swiftly turned around, pretending to go check on the cookies that were baking in the oven. “Oh God, I’m sorry,” she sheepishly mumbled.

“It’s not as embarrassing for me as it is for you,” he remarked, with a chuckle. “’S alright.”

“Are you always like this?”

“Like what?” he cockily challenged.

She turned back to face him, shooting him a glare and exaggeratedly waved her arms in front of her, motioning his behaviour. “This!” she jokingly exclaimed with a playful huff.

“C’mon! I’m not that bad.”

“ ’Course not,” she rolled her eyes.

“I’d just like to remind you that you’re the one who just–”

“Jesus!” she interrupted him. “Can you shut up?” she hid her face in her hands, making him laugh. “I really don’t like you.”

“Usually it’s the curls or the dimples...Maybe it’s the eyes for you? Eh?”

“I’d go for the nose, really.”

“Out of all...” he trailed off.

“What’s wrong with your nose?”

“Nothing.”

“I like it.”

“Really? It looks like a penis.”

His comment took her completely off guard, sending her into a hysterical laughter at the sudden remark. As Harry watched her, he couldn’t help but laugh along with her; hers being to contagious.

“What’s a pe-nis?” Darcy voice startled them, not realizing her presence in the room over their laughter a couple of moments ago.

His eyes slightly went wide as he heard his daughter pronounce the exact words he thought she’d only say when she would be a couple of years older.

“Nothing you need to know,” he lowly growled, scooping her in his arms and setting her on the countertop, after pressing a kiss to her hair. She slowly stroked the back of her eyes, rubbing away the sleep.

“Did you have a nice nap, love?” Audrey asked and pushed back Darcy’s brown curly hair behind her ears, clearing out her face.

“Mmhmm,” she hummed and excitedly asked in a high pitched voice, “Are the cookies ready?”

“They should be by now,” Harry glanced at the oven but Audrey was already making her way towards it. She opened its door, taking a look at the cookies as Darcy and her father were breathing in the warm, delicious smell lingering in the kitchen. “Yep. Just got to take them out before they burn,” she softly spoke to herself.

Audrey was searching for oven gloves and as she bent down to grab them from the lowest drawer, Harry unwillingly let his eyes travel down her body. Though when he realized how immature and disgraceful he was being, he mental scolded at himself and looked up at the oven to see the nicely baked cookies on the silver baking sheet.

“C’mon Daddy! We have to get the icing and the sprinkles!” Darcy requested as though it was the most obvious thing in the world.

“Alright, alright,” he chuckled, ruffling Darcy’s hair before going to get the essentials for the decorations.

...

About forty-five minutes later, nine cookies decorated, seven eaten and six left, the dining table was a sight to be seen. There were sprinkles spread out all over the surface in every single possible colour, different flavoured icing splattered here and there and bits of cookie crumbs all over the place.  There was no doubt that maybe they’d find some in their hair also.

As they were talking for what felt like hours, Darcy had fallen asleep, her day being full of activities and being worn out, on the table, one side of her cheek pressed to it.

Carefully, Harry slipped his arms around her long limbs –which she had gotten from him –, pressed her close to his chest and carried her slowly to her bed. He skillfully changed her into her comfortable cotton pyjamas and tucked her in, whispering a soft ‘Goodnight’ and kissing her forehead.

He made his way to the dinning room once again and found Audrey cleaning up the mess they had caused. She refused to stop when he asked her to so instead, he decided to give her a hand.

As they were both rearranging the kitchen –Audrey putting the material and ingredients back in their respectful spots and Harry cleaning of the oil and burnt crumbs off the baking sheet – Harry finally decided to ask her, though still being a little unsure as to whether it’d be a little too early or not.

“Would you like to stay for dinner? We could order some pizza if you’d like to. Or maybe it’s a bit late; if you don’t want–” he started rambling but before he could continue, she cut him off.

“Yea,” she smiled, “I’d like that.”

“Really? That’s good. That’s really good.” He was grinning from ear to ear, not even knowing why.

Maybe it was the fact that it had been a while since he’d had a girl stay over for dinner at his place. Since Lauren, most of the women he had over would either be disgusted that he had a daughter at such a young age or freak out because they couldn’t bear the thought of being with a man whom had a child already, with another woman, to top it off. Either way, he always thought to himself that if he were to be with someone, the person had to accept the fact that he already had a daughter and to love her just as much as they would love Harry.

Realizing how pathetic he must have looked like, a faint blush crept on his cheeks and the glint of amusement in Audrey’s eyes proved him that she had noticed.

“Pizza?” he wanted to make sure.

“Pizza,” she confirmed with a nod.

“Pepperoni?”

“I think all dressed would be much better.”

“No, ew. All dressed has olives.”

“What’s wrong with olives?”

“They’re weird looking and mushy. Plus they’re sour.”

“You’re so macho.”

He just rolled his eyes, before complaining again. “And it has mushrooms.”

“You can’t be serious.”

“I’m just saying that–”

“Fine. No all dressed pizzas.”

“So we can go with pepperoni?”

 “No. Actually, I was thinking about a chicken pizza,” she pondered.

“Oh God...”

After a bit more of a back and forth banter, they finally settled for a cheese pizza and called the nearest pizza shop for a delivery.

As they were waiting for their food, they were sprawled out on the couch, talking about everything and nothing. To anyone else, their seating position might have given the impression that the two had been friends for years. They looked so relaxed and comfortable next to each other that it seemed as if they were something a little bit more than a babysitter and a father. Both their legs were crossed over the coffee table, a thick woolen checked blanket draped over them. It had started to snow lightly outside while they were baking but the harsh gusts of wind were gradually lowering the temperature.

“So, tell me about these four famous uncles of Darcy’s. She talks about them nonstop.”

“Yeah?”

“Yep, all the time. She says her favorite one out of them is Niall, I think?” He confirmed with a nod, a smile spread out on his face.

“He always has been.” Harry suddenly went into deep thought, staring into space. “I mean, she’s grown up with these boys around her for her whole life. They’ve all been with her from the beginning and with me way before Darcy.”

“Tell me.” She tilted her head back, resting it on the couch, and slowly turned her head towards him.

“We’ve been friends since...since forever.” He chuckled. “It was always just us five. Since second grade, I think. Anyways, we were in this little band–”

“No way!”

“Yeah, though it was nothing major, just singing from pub to pub. And then somewhere, Darcy came along and, it’s always been us.”

“I’d really like to meet them, someday.”

He laughed. “Yeah, though they’re quite the handful.”

“Can’t be that bad...”

“You have no idea.”

“If they’re anything like you,” she trailed off, with a smirk.

“Nah, I’m one of a kind,” he cheekily flattered himself, to which she laughed with raised eyebrows.

“Of course.”

...

Harry’s alarm clock went off, interrupting his beauty sleep, too early. Way too early. He was spread out on his bed, his legs and arms going in every direction. There was long, brown curly hair sprawled out on his chest, and heat radiating from his side. For a second, he could’ve sworn he thought it was Audrey, but when he felt the light touch of short chubby fingers and a tiny hand, he immediately realized it was Darcy.

He pulled her in close to his bare side and placing her on top of his shirtless torso. Harry pressed feather light kisses on her cheeks and forehead, trying to wake her up in the pleasant way.   

“Wake up, beautiful,” he whispered in her ear. She groaned, shuffling around and pressed her cheek deeper into his chest. “C’mon, baby. It’s time for school.”

Darcy groggily opened her eyes, taking in her surrounding and looked at her daddy, pouting. “I don’t want to go to school.”

“I know you don’t love, I know. If I could stay at home with you, I would baby, but Daddy has to go to work.”

Still unhappy, she only deepened her pout, and shook her head. “C’mon Darce, you’ll get to see your friends and play with them.”

“No.”

“Fine then, guess I’ll just have to...” he slowly closed his eyes before quickly sitting up straight and startling Darcy. He latched his fingers on her sides and speedily wiggled his fingers. She fell into a hysterical laughter, trying to squirm away from his tickling fingers, but they just kept finding their way back to her. 

“Okay! Okay!” Darcy breathed out between laughs. “I’ll go get ready!”

Harry circled his arms around her back, his hands overlapping, and pulled his baby close to his chest, peppering her with sloppy, open-mouthed kisses.

“Eww! Daddy that’s yucky!” she squealed.

“Mmhm, I love you.”

“I love you too, Daddy,” she said back, making his heart clench, as he stared back into her green irises.

As they both got out of his bed, he stole one last kiss from her, making her run away with a shriek. After making it clear that she had to get ready so he can drop her off on time and get to work, he hopped into the shower for a quick wash. The warm water was enveloping his body as his thoughts traveled back to the girl he had spent his afternoon with yesterday. There was no denying that he’d had an amazing time with her. She was so carefree, so relaxed. He envied her. How calm, laid-back and easygoing she was. Obviously, he didn’t know much about her or how she was outside, but he had a feeling she was just the same.

He’s only known her for a really short period of time, though he can’t say that he doesn’t wish they’d been friends for a longer span. Though somewhere, in the back of his mind, he can’t help but feel guilty of thinking about her in his shower. It doesn’t feel okay. It’s not right. He feels like he needs her permission.

Breaking out of his thoughts, he shook his head and slipped out of his shower, wrapping a towel around his waist.

“Darcy!” he called out. “Baby, are you ready?”

He heard her speedy little footsteps, before her head poked out from the side of the door frame. Her hair was put up in a funky ponytail, multiple strands of thick hair let loose and some caught in the hair tie.

“Come here, darling; I’ll do your hair,” he laughed.

He sat down on his bed and she placed herself between his knees, her back facing him. He carefully pulled out the elastic from her hair and tenderly brushed it, and bunched up her curls in one hand before twisting the tie around it, into a high, secure ponytail.

He left a kiss on top of her hair and sent her to go get dressed and prepare her school bag, so in the meantime he could clothe himself as well. Pushing his curls from his face, he slipped on a pair of boxers, a crisp white dress shirt along with black dress pants. He sprayed a bit of his signature cologne and styled his hair back, into its usual quiff.

Harry stepped into the kitchen, and spotted Darcy at the small kitchen table in the middle of the area, colorful pencils in her rather small hands, colouring in her book.

“Good morning, pumpkin,” he kissed her cheek.

“Good morning daddy!” She grabbed his face with her hands and pulled down his face and placed sloppy kisses everywhere, making him chuckle. “Can we have cookies for breakfast?” Knowing her father would say no, she pouted her lips and gave him her puppy eyes.

He laughed, shaking his head. “How about cereal and some fruits, instead, love?”

Playfully, Darcy scrunched up her nose, making a disgusted noise as Harry opened cupboard after cupboard before finding what he wanted. He grabbed a colorful plastic bowl from one and the cereal box from the other, and poured some for Darcy, adding the milk in the end. He then made himself a bowl, juggling between having sips from his spoon and cutting the fruits in a platter.

...

“Are you okay there, baby?” Harry asked from the driver’s seat, looking into the rear-view mirror, to find Darcy leaning her head on her curled up fist, staring outside the window with a small frown creased on her forehead.

“Why don’t you pick me up from school anymore, Daddy?” She pouted, looking up at him from beneath her long lashes.

Harry could feel his heart clench and shatter, closing his eyes for just a second as the traffic light turned green. He shifted his gaze towards Darcy once again, a sigh passing his lips. “Because, lovebug. Daddy has to work extra hard right now, so he needs to stay at the office for a few more hours.” His explanation didn’t seem to faze Darcy though. “What’s the matter, baby? I thought you liked to hang around Audrey.”

“I do, Daddy but I liked it when you picked me up from school so we could go to the park together or get some ice cream,” she clarified, crossing her arms over her chest.

Harry pulled into the school parking, and stopped the car in the limited rectangle. He quickly gathered his keys and phone into his pockets and stepped outside into the cold, bitter air. He opened Darcy’s door and squatted down to her level, placing one of his palms behind her head and holding her hands with the other.

“I’ll tell you what, munchkin. How about you and me, this Friday, on a date?”

“Really?” her eyes shined as a dimpled-smile spread out on her face.

“Yeah, where ever you want.”

“Promise?” She held out her pinky.

“I promise,” he swore, curling his own pinky around hers.

As father and daughter walked hand in hand towards the school entrance, their boots scrunching into the snow, Harry thought back to six years ago. The promise sounded so familiar to him, reminding him of Lauren, though this time, he swore that he wouldn’t let anything or anyone ruin what they had. And really, because he was so frightened that they might take his reason to live away from him, and worst of all, he didn’t want to lose his daughter’s trust. 

                                                                                                                                                       

Here's chapter 3 guys! Hope you enjoyed it!
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