A/N: HARRYS HAPPY ENDING. NEXT CHAPTER IS NIALL'S. I STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU ONLY READ THE ONE WITH WHO YOU SHIPPED SOPHIE WITH OR YOU MIGHT GET CONFUSED. BUT IF YOU WANT TO READ BOTH, FINE! :D ENJOY!
I zip up my daughter's coat.
“Zip, zip, zip,” she giggles, her blue eyes sparkling as her hand slides up the zipper of her coat.
I laugh with her and help her put on her mittens and her hat. I reach for her boots.
“No. Seule,” she denies in French and English, shaking her head as I try to get her boots on. Nearly two and a half years old, Juliette likes being independent. She almost always wants to do things herself. The only thing she doesn’t do by herself is put herself to sleep. Ever since she’s been able to speak, she has kept asking for numerous stories at night, as well as new words in English and in French because Anne and I have taken upon ourselves to make her learn both languages. She needs French due to the fact that Quebec is a French city: communicating with the other kids at daycare is much easier when you speak their language. And she needs English because Anne still has difficulty learning French and also since English will end up being useful for her someday.
“When will you two be back?” Anne questions from the kitchen.
“Oh I don’t know. We’re just going to take a walk in the park. Shouldn’t be too long,” I answer, keeping my eyes fixed on my daughter as she tries to put her boots on. “We might return towards one o’clock for her nap.”
“No naptime,” Juliette shakes her head, her boots on her feet. I smile, knowing better than to argue with her on the matter right now.
“Well I’m leaving for work in...” she looks at the time, “ten minutes. So you should bring your keys because I won’t be back until 5:30 tonight.”
“Yeah okay,” I nod, putting on my own coat and boots. The tinkling of the keys in the coat’s pockets ring loudly. “Whoa there slow down Juliette,” I chuckle as she reaches for the doorknob, standing on her tippy toes. I help her out and open the door, holding my hand out for her to take. Her small hand slides into mine.
“Have fun!” My sister calls as we step outside, the cold Quebec weather nipping my exposed cheeks.
I can’t stop smiling as I watch my daughter break the thin ice over the puddles in the park, giggling as it cracks under her boots. Sitting on the swing barely a few feet away from her, I rest my head on the chain holding the swing in the air, crossing my feet. I smile, feeling good. I’d come a long way to finally be this tranquil. To finally be at peace with everything. Thanks to Anne and a psychologist, every single one of my thoughts had been cleared up and fresh for Juliette’s arrival, giving her a shot at a perfectly normal life with a stable mother and a very loving aunt.
I push out steam as I sigh, looking momentarily at the sky before returning my gaze to my daughter.
I freeze as the person beside me speaks, my hands clenching as the voice rings an alarm in my head. No, no, no. This can’t be. Not now. Not ever. I turn slowly, only to realize that Harry Styles has taken a seat on the swing next to mine. I feel as if I’ve taken a cold shower. His mouth goes up in a tentative smile.
Rapidly, I stand up and grab my daughter, a wave of emotion hitting me.
As I haul my daughter away from the curly-haired boy, Juliette protests in my arms, clearly not liking the fact that I interrupted her game and that I couldn’t let her walk.
“No! No! Down!” she whimpers, flailing with her arms and legs.
His hand touches my arm and a shudder racks my body.
“No!” I yell, overwhelmed, spinning around to look at him. “Don’t touch me you hear me?!” I state, voice shaking as tears of fear start flooding my eyes. “Please go!” I say, still struggling with Juliette in my arms. I spin around, heading home.
“À terre! À terre!” she protests in French, trying to wriggle out of my grasp and onto the ground.
“Juliette s’il te plait,” I plea, voice breaking. She stops moving, now noticing my anguish.
Harry’s hot on my heels.
“Please love, hear me out,” he begs behind me.
I shake my head, still clutching my daughter against my chest as I walk determinedly to my apartment. There’s no response as I keep a rapid pace without looking behind me.
“Méchant?” Juliette enquires, frowning. I don’t reply, making the last couple of strides before walking up the four steps leading to our door. I place Juliette on the ground, my right hand clasping hers as the other rummages in my pocket for the keys. I frown and start to panic as I come up empty handed. But I had them! I heard them jingling in my pocket! I look again, pulling out my hand to see a small handful of loose change. My heart skips a beat.
“Sophie?” The British voice says again, not very far behind. Juliette turns her head around but I don’t. “You forgot your keys, didn’t you?”
“Anne is going to come back,” I refute.
“Go away Harry! This is harassment!” I say, still gazing at my door, wishing I could simply jump through with my daughter and be left alone.
“I’m at a hotel a couple blocks away Soph. Come with me, I just want to talk to you.” My whole body tenses up nervously as I hear him climb the steps leading to the door way. My stomach lurches. “I’ve changed alright? If you want nothing to do with me, I don’t mind but you and I need to talk alright? I need to talk. Especially if she, Juliette,” he pauses, “is mine.”
“She’s not yours!” I practically shriek, turning around to face him while hiding Juliette with my body. “Nobody is yours! You can’t simply claim a person!” I say, my last two years of therapy crumbling.
His face shifts to a troubled one.
“No, no, no! I didn’t mean it like that!” he denies, raising his hands in the air in surrender. “Oh God I’m so stupid! I know everybody is their own person. I just...” he passes his hand in his hair, distraught. His green eyes meet mine. “It was two years ago and she looks to be about that age and she has some Styles’ traits but...Sophie what I mean is that I’m terribly sorry for everything. I just want to make it up to you―”
“Harry I can’t okay?!” I cry. “I can’t let you back in my life,” I shake my head, my gloved hand clasping Juliette’s tightly. “No matter what you do, you’ve caused me too much damage for you to simply come waltzing back into my life.”
“Mommy pleure!” my daughter states, voice distressed. I pick her up in my arms, hugging her to my body. I just can’t let Harry back inside my life. Not with Juliette. There’s too much fuckery in our story.
“Soph please?” Harry begs, a few centimeters away from me. “I only want to talk,” he repeats.
I shake my head, turning away from him.
He raises his hand to my shoulder and I flinch. He drops it.
“I won’t touch you at all if you don’t want me to,” he continues. “But please Sophie? You two are going to freeze outside. You need some place to stay until your sister comes back.”
“I’m not going to your hotel Harry,” I persist, wiping my tears angrily, shifting Juliette so she’s on my hip.
“Then let’s go someplace else, I don’t care... I just want to talk. And be somewhere where it’s warmer. It’s cold out.
“Froid,” my daughter translates easily. “Clefs maison?” she enquires, looking at the door to our apartment.
I look at her. Her cheeks are turning red, and so is her little nose.
I don’t move, keeping a straight face.
He sighs loudly, and turns around, giving up.
I’m already scolding myself for my next words.
“Fine,” I huff.
He exhales in relief.
“But I choose where we’re going. And you’re not touching me or my daughter. At all,” I warn, looking at him. He nods, motioning for me to walk in front of him. Placing Juliette back on the ground, I grab her hand once more and start walking.
I feel him walking behind us. Not too close, but close enough to unnerve me.
I’m tense as Juliette, Harry and I are sat in a warm café.
Juliette is oblivious of the tension surrounding us, munching innocently on her cookie whilst drawing on a piece of paper with a couple of wax crayons. Harry’s eyes are fixed on her.
“Why didn’t you tell me?” he says finally, his green eyes meeting mine. “Why didn’t you tell me about being pregnant?”
“Because I was afraid of how you’d react,” I declare. “Your reactions have always been unpredictable and I didn’t want to test my luck with a baby because let’s be honest, a child is a big deal.”
“And what about afterwards? When you finally got away? I could’ve helped you financially―”
“Harry, Louis gave us more than enough money to start a life. All I really wanted was someone to help me raise this baby in a safe environment. An environment where she would learn that everyone has the right to make their own decisions and have their own opinions without being abused. She wouldn’t have been able to have that if I would’ve stayed―”
“You can’t be sure of that.”
“Exactly Harry. I wasn’t sure because you’ve proven to be both loving and aggressive. I wasn’t willing to risk my baby’s mental development in the hope that’d you’d be more on your loving side.”
He takes his head in his hands, exhaling loudly.
“I’ve messed up so bad,” he mumbles dejectedly.
I watch silently as Juliette sips on her juice box before taking another bite of her cookie and resuming her drawing.
“How’s Niall?” I ask.
“He’s found a girlfriend. Jessica. He’s really happy with her Soph. I’ve never seen him this happy,” he admits. “He’s thinking of asking her the big question in next month.” Something similar to pride invades me at the thought of Niall finally being truly happy. Of course, Niall couldn’t have ever been happy with me: he was stuck in Harry’s shadow.
“Good for him,” I breathe, happy for him. I’d tortured him for so long, it was about time he got what he wanted: someone who could love him entirely. Something I was never able to do due to my attachment to Harry.
“And what about the other boys?”
“Liam’s DJing here and there for fun. Zayn has turned to art to help him settle his emotions. He gives his work to charity events. And Louis...” his face breaks. “I’ve lost Lou since he dropped out of the band. He’s stopped all contact. I don’t blame him. We didn’t act like friends at all when we denied everything he said about abusing you and Anne. We let him go down on his own.”
“Did you try to talk to him?”
“He doesn’t want to talk to any of us.”
“Give him more time then,” I answer. There’s a short pause during which both Harry and I look down at our daughter. She moves a strand of curly hair out of her face, her little tongue sticking out in concentration while she colours and pays no attention to her surroundings. “Can I ask what you’re doing here in Quebec?” I question.
“I’m leaving tomorrow actually. I had to meet a man about some charity event happening soon. I was walking out from his house when I saw you in the park. I wasn’t sure it was you, especially since there was a child with you... But you’re impossible to mistake for another.”
“Voilà!” Juliette chirps, holding her random two year-old scribbles out to Harry. “Pour you,” she states, smiling.
“Thank you,” he replies, smiling at her whilst taking it in his hands.
“De rien,” she replies, finishing up her cookie.
“Both French and English?” Harry enquires.
“Communication is the key to being a normal human being. She has to speak in French at daycare and were working on her English at home,” I supply simply.
“Wow. You’re brilliant Sophie―”
“Stop Harry,” I declare dryly, standing up. I begin dressing Juliette. She starts pouting. “I know what you’re doing and it’s not going to work,” I continue, helping her into her boots while she puts her coat on.
“I’m not doing anything Sophie,” he objects.
“Yes you are. You’re trying to wriggle your way back into my life,” I state, also putting my coat on. “Complimenting me, learning about Juliette.”
“Can you blame me for caring for you? Soph I’ve never stopped loving you and I know I’ve done horrible things. I know that. But I want to be with you. I need to be with you. You help me grow Soph. You make me a better man,” he says desperately.
“I want to be treated as an equal Harry. At all times...” I shut my eyes. “You can’t come back into my life. Not now. Maybe even never.” I whisper the last words with a pang in my chest. A pained sound escapes his lips.
“You’re going to prevent me from seeing my daughter? I’ve already missed two years of her life Soph...” he begs, his green eyes shining.
“I know Harry and I’m sorry,” I say, tears filling my own eyes. “But I’m not ready. I’m not ready to open my wounds just yet. If you really do love me, you’ll understand. I’ve made my own sacrifices when I was with you; I believe it’s time for you to do the same. Please don’t try to contact me again. When and if I’m ready someday, I’ll let you know.” Tears are streaming down both of our faces as I finish. I pick my daughter up. “Goodbye Harry,” I end. I turn around on my heels and head outside the shop.
Juliette begs to walk by herself barely a minute after I begin heading towards home. I sigh and place her on the ground, holding my hand out for her to take. She obliges immediately, grinning. I smile back at her before I pull my cell phone out and call Anne.
“Hey Anne. Could you please come back to the apartment? I forgot my keys...” I trail on, keeping the device pressed to my ear.
“After I’d told you―”
“I know, I know,” I huff, shutting my eyes. “But please?” My voice starts shaking without my permission. “I just had a talk with Harry...”
“I’ll be there in less than ten alright?” she responds, sensing the urgency in my voice.
“Louis with me.”
My throat clenches and my eyes shut momentarily.
“I don’t mind,” I breathe out. “Just come home as soon as you can, please,” I plead before hanging up.
Three years later
It’s 7:30 in the evening and Louis, Anne, Juliette and I are all sat around the table after a satisfying super, sorting Juliette’s school material and putting it in her bag pack. Her first day was tomorrow and she was beyond excited to begin her education. I can’t help but smile as I watch her checking her things.
“Pencils?” she questions, ticking off the last items on her list.
“In your pencil case,” Louis answers.
“Also in there.”
“Why three?” she frowns, looking at us inquisitively. “Why not one?”
“Well you use one of them constantly, the second one will most likely get lost and the third, you destroy into tiny pieces and you throw those pieces at the people who annoy you in class,” Louis explains. I shake my head.
“Don’t listen to Uncle Louis,” Anne tells a giggling Juliette while glaring at her boyfriend. “He doesn’t know what he’s saying.”
“Listen to Anne,” I say.
“What he really meant was that you can throw them at the boys who’ll tease you,” my sister corrects.
Louis laughs and gives Anne a high five.
“Guys!” I huff in disbelief. “Not helping! There will be no eraser throwing Juliette,” I tell my daughter.
“And what if someone teases me?”
“You tell the teacher okay? But don’t worry about that darling. Everything will be fine and nobody will tease you,” I tell her, caressing her head.
“Okay then,” she breathes, looking at her school bag once more. “I think I have everything,” she says, looking up at me with her big green eyes.
“Off to bed then if you want to be in tip top shape for tomorrow. Come on, I’ll tuck you in,” I offer. She smiles and runs to her bedroom, already in her pyjama’s by the time I’ve entered her room. She climbs in her bed and snuggles into her sheets. I tuck her in and kiss her forehead. “Good night Ju,” I mumble, looking down at her lovingly.
“Good night mommy,” she replies before yawning and letting herself sink deeper into her pillow. I smile and switch the light off before grabbing the doorknob and nearly shutting the door completely.
I exhale loudly once I join Louis and Anne in the kitchen. I find them locked in a lover’s embrace, Louis holding Anne in his arms while caressing her five month pregnant belly softly and whispering in her ear. I clear my throat.
“Seriously guys? Eraser throwing?” I grumble, placing my hands on my hips.
“Soph you’re way too stressed out,” Louis chuckles, kissing my sister’s neck once before breaking their embrace. “Juliette won’t throw erasers at someone unless they really deserve it.”
“Shut up Lou,” Anne says, slapping Louis lightly.
“That’s my problem exactly,” I mutter. “She should resort to talking before acting. I don’t want her to end up as the rebellious kid in class,” I sigh, sitting at the table with my head in my hands. “I don’t want her to get identified as something she’s not.”
“She won’t Soph. You made sure she knew about the differences between what’s right and what’s wrong. I’m positive she’ll end up being the smartest of them all,” Anne reassures.
“What if the other kids start asking her about her father?” I question, a knot forming in my stomach. “What if they start making fun of her because she doesn’t have one?”
“Calm down Soph,” Louis exhales. “Kids are kids. And as far as I know, for most of them, parents are divorced. They won’t start teasing each other about that.”
I nod, shoulders slumping.
“You should head to bed,” Anne advises. “Everything will turn out to be okay. It always does,” she reminds me gently.
“Yeah okay,” I sigh. “Night you two,” I state standing up.
“One quick thing though,” I say, pausing in the doorframe leading to my room. “Could you two keep it down when you’re...You know?”
Louis starts laughing.
“Don’t worry Soph. I’ll keep him quiet,” Anne chuckles, looking at Louis. I roll my eyes and head to bed.
I would’ve thought that sleep would’ve come easily due to my fatigue, but as I lay in bed, I find myself thinking about Harry, unable to shut my eyes. He should have the right to see Juliette grow. He should be sending her off to her first day of school with me.
Something similar to guilt presses down on me, followed by a bombardment of feelings, ranging from love to sadness. For once in his life, Harry had let me be. And that’s all I had wanted. For him to let me decide what I needed.
“I’ve made him wait long enough,” I whisper to myself, realisation dawning on me.
I rapidly throw my sheets off me and head for the living room, knowing that my sister and Louis always cuddled in front of the television before going to bed.
“Louis?” I ask, voice raspy.
“What can I do for you love?” he responds.
“Can I have Harry’s number?”
There’s a moment of silence.
“Yeah sure,” he mutters, pulling his phone out of his pocket before handing it to me. “Are you certain that’s what you want to do?” he demands, his eyes searching mine.
“I am. I know it won’t be easy to fix us, but he’s proven that he is finally able to let me make my own decisions,” I exhale, searching through Louis’ contacts. “It’s all I ever wanted from him,” I utter quietly. I find his name and my finger slides on the call button. I press the device to my ear, listening it ring on the other end. He finally picks up.
“Louis?” Harry questions.
“It’s Sophie... I’m giving you a final chance.”