I looked at the different movie titles and then decided against it. The sofa would be pretty cold for only one person and I couldn't imagine that it would be comfortable without Harry at my side.
So I walked through the rooms which were open to me. What should I do? I couldn't imagine that Harry would clean up himself or engaged a cleaning service... For logical reasons.
I was looking for a vacuum cleaner or a broom and finally found in the far corner in the bathroom a bucket and a mop. I opened the doors of the cabinet under the sink and found – in addition to numerous feminine hygiene products – floor cleaners and scouring. I let hot water run into the bucket and added some of the detergents. Together with the mop I first went into my room and started to clean. This was followed by the kitchen and the bathroom.
I ran my hand through my hair and drank something quickly before I tipped off the water and filled the bucket with water and some of the cleaner again.
I began to wipe down the hall and then went over to the living room after I had shaken the carpet and lay it down on the sofa. Humming, I started in the far corner of the room and worked my way forward slowly. I was so engrossed in my work that I didn't notice as a car drove up and keys strummed in the lock.
"Grace, what the-?"
I shrieked and turned around. I had just made it halfway through the huge room and stared at the boy with green eyes.
"Hi," I said, and he laughed.
"Hey," he said, and closed the door with a kick.
"I'll be finished soon," I let him know and he looked at me with a grin.
"All right," Harry laughed and went on tiptoe and loaded arms through the room.
As fast as I could I finished my work and then tipped off the water. I put back the bucket and the mop where I found it and then washed my hands. Harry had already packed the stuff from the bags in the fridge and just took off his jacket.
"Is it that dirty at our place?," he asked, looking at me smiling. My heart began to beat faster at the word "our" and I giggled.
"No, well, not yet. I wanted to have a proper task," I said, and shrugged my shoulder while I leaned against the door frame.
He smiled at me and then sighed before he took off his shoes and put them in the hallway; we couldn't re-enter the living room.
I slowly got back to my room and asked, "Was a lot going on in town?" I let myself fall on my bed and closed my eyes.
"Oh, yeah, it was. It took me a little longer, I know. But I tried to hurry," he said with a laugh and I opened my eyes again.
I propped myself up on my elbows and looked up at my door frame where Harry stood with folded arms and had leaned his head against the door frame. His eyes never left mine for a second and I began to smile.
"What for a nice thing are you cooking for tonight?," I asked and he laughed. Slowly he came up to my bed and corrected me.
"I guess you mean what we're going to cook tonight. I thought we could start with something easy, something like spaghetti or pizza, but we had that already." He sat down cross-legged beside me and I gave him a little more space. "So we'll make soup and bake our own bread."
I looked at him for a moment just before I started to laugh. He bit his lower lip and I shook my head.
"You're serious, huh?," I asked and he nodded. I sighed and lay on my back again.
"And you won't give up, will you?," I asked, looking at him.
He shook his head and there was his smile again. I closed my eyes and groaned.
"Fine," I relented and he laughed.
"You're not going to get that easily away from me," he said, kissing my cheek.
I smiled and felt when the weight changed on my bed again. I quickly opened my eyes and could only watch as Harry walked to my bedroom door.
"You definitely need a few other things in your room, my back hurts from last night," he said and turned around, but didn't stop and was now heading backwards. I rolled my eyes and leaned back on my elbows.
"It's not like I would've chosen something in this room," I said, and let my eyes wander around the room.
It was dreary, gray and a lot of the furniture such as the desk or bed was a bit older. The paint was peeling and the bed was far from comfortable. When I looked up at my door again, Harry was gone.
"I know, I know," I heard his muffled voice from one of the other rooms of the house.
"Here, I promised I would get something for you," he said, as he came into my room again. I sat up and he gave some magazines to me with a smile.
I looked closer and expected titles such as "Closer" or "OK!", but none of the three magazines – or furthermore catalogs – involved these titles.
"What the...?," I asked and opened one of the catalogs.
My eyes met curtains and matching rods. I flipped through it and noticed beds, carpets, wallpaper and even garden furniture. The other catalogs didn't look different. Confused, I looked up and Harry looked like he was about to burst with joy.
"Did you somehow mixed up the magazine departments?," I asked and he laughed.
"You should like your new home and the things in here are, well,..." He left the sentence open and looked around briefly before his green eyes met my blue ones again.
A smile crept onto my face and I asked "I can choose anything?"
He nodded and I pulled an eyebrow.
"Anything? Like a new bed, new chairs, wallpaper, something like that?"
"Yeah," he said, laughing. "That's the plan."
"Okay..." I said, and didn't quite know what to say. "And what is my price limit?"
He laughed and shrugged his shoulders. "As if there's anything I could ever refuse you. I have enough money in my account. You could choose theoretically all three catalogs four or five times and I would still be able to buy us a villa," he said, grinning at me.
"Are you serious?," I asked, and he shrugged his shoulders again.
"Sure, just pick something."
I dropped the catalogs and jumped from my bed, only to fall around Harry's neck.
"Thank you so much! That's so nice of you," I said and pressed him to me. I couldn't wait to repaint the walls or cuddle in a comfortable bed...
Harry laid his arms around me and laughed. "All I want is that you like it when you're around me," he said, putting his head into my crook. I took a deep breath of his scent and then leaned back.
"You're not that of a bad guy like I initially thought," I said and his smile widened.
I worked on the song for which I had neither title nor the chorus. I scribbled something on the edge of the sheet and read trough the verses by which I had until now.
Who's that shadow holding me hostage? I've been here for days. Who's this whisper telling me that I'm never gonna get away? I know they'll be coming to find me soon, but I fear I'm getting used to being held by you.
No doubt that once again one of my songs that I would be heading for the new album was about Grace.
All my life I've been on my own, I use a light to guide me home. But now together we're alone and there's no other place I'd ever wanna go...
The words were true; Grace was, even though she was surrounded by her family, on her own. The fact that I had to grow up so early and had to behave mature while I was still that young, made me kind of lonely, too. We constantly had to occur in any other radio show and even though the boys were always around me, it was exhausting. Without something that really kept me on the ground, I was lost. I was tempted by alcohol, drugs and women, but with Grace I had no longing for these old desires. Now I knew where I belonged.
Oh, baby, look what you've done to me. Oh, baby, look what you've done now. Oh, baby, I'll never leave if you keep holding me this way, oh, oh. Oh, baby, look what you've done to me. Oh, baby, you've got me tied down. Oh, baby, I'll never leave if you keep holding me this way, oh, oh.
Without thinking about it, I wrote down these words and again they were true. You might think this would relate only to the person who was kidnapped in the song, but it happened to me, too.
Grace didn't know everything about me; she didn't know how much I had changed through these last days and am still changing. She didn't know that she had unconsciously made me a better person.
My temper was still the same, but now my head and my heart knew what they wanted: Grace. It was Grace and it would always be only Grace. She was the one I wanted all my life.
I looked up from my sheet and to her. She lay on her stomach, had crossed her ankles in the air and flipped through one of the catalogs. Grace wore her long hair open and the strands were moving at any time, when she turned a page. Like she would feel my eyes on her, she looked up at once and smiled at me.
"Are we going to paint my room together?," she asked and I smiled back.
"In any color that you want," I said, and her smile widened.
Her blue eyes sparkled at me and she looked happier than I had ever seen in my entire life. Okay, not exactly. Most fortunately it was probably when we had visited her in her hospital room. Maybe it was the moment we had squeezed onto that little slide outside the hospital and Niall made her laugh, while his hand were touching hers...
Who's this man that's holding your hand and talking 'bout your eyes? Used to sing about being free, but now he's changed his mind. I know they'll be coming to find me soon, but my Stockholm syndrome is in your room... Yeah, I fell for you!
Niall. Again and again, Niall. He had a real talent for getting in my way when I had met someone or developed feelings for a person. But this time he had lost his chance. Grace belonged to me and he wasn't close to being able to change that ever.
And suddenly I realized how the song had to be called. It had to be named the same as what I tried to wake in Grace: Stockholm Syndrome.
During the period in which Grace recovered from her anesthesia, I read dozens of Internet articles which were about this topic. If everything falls into place, then Gracie will develop all the feelings for me that I already have for her and we will be happy. Although I hadn't understood every word in the articles, I knew the result should be achieved through certain steps. Steps that I had perfectly planned and which were already in their implementation.
I smiled and shrieked, when a hand lay down on my shoulder and squeezed it. I quickly looked up and watched as Graces eyes lifted from the lines I had written up to mine.
"Will I have the honor of listening to the song first?," she asked and I smiled.
She hadn't removed her hand from my shoulder and her touch burned through the layer of my light gray sweater. My heart was beating faster than it normally would; her proximity, voice, beauty would cause heart problems someday, that's for sure.
"If we have the melody and recorded the whole song, you'll be the first one," I promised and she smiled widely at me.
"Have you already chosen plenty?" I asked, nodding in the direction of the catalogs.
"Yeah, and I think this will be the best room I've ever had. Thanks again," she said, and gave me a quick kiss on my cheek.
If I wouldn't be sitting, I would have fallen down, so soft felt my knees suddenly. God, I was so in love with this girl. She fucked with my head; I was on my way to lose my mind and I had no regrets.
"Anytime," I said, and had to clear my throat because my voice sounded horrible. Embarrassing.
She laughed and asked, "When are you going to force me to cook with you?"
I rolled my eyes and stretched myself briefly. "Give me ten minutes, okay?" I asked and she nodded.
She went back to her seat on the sofa and I took out my phone. I photographed the lines and sent them to Julian. After a short time I received his reply.
FROM: JULIAN BUNETTA
Looks good! Should I try to expand the melody, we had already chosen lately? Then I would send a little video of it to u to catch ur opinion. We could even record the song tomorrow afternoon! What do u think?
TO: JULIAN BUNETTA
Sure, I can't wait until we have finished the album. Fortunately, we've had the photo shoot before, I look terrible.
I put my phone back in my pocket and closed my notebook. Then I packed my things, unlocked my room and threw my stuff on my bed. Actually, I would have to clean up here sometimes...
I shrugged my shoulder, grabbed two hair ties and locked the door again. Then I went back to Grace, who had a strand wrapped around one of her fingers, and read details of any piece of furniture.
"Are you ready?" I asked with a smile and she groaned.
"Absolutely," she murmured, and the irony wasn't to be missed.
"The men bun suits you. Looks very sexy," Grace said suddenly, I almost dismembered one of my fingers instead of the carrot.
"Uh, thanks," I said, looking at her.
She laughed, presumably at my reaction, and then grinned widely at me.
We were just about to cut the vegetables for the soup, while the bread already baked in the oven. Grace had peeled ginger and cut into slices and was now trying her best with the pumpkin. But she laughed and wasn't concentrated anymore, so when she tried to cut it, some of the fruit juice splashed on her sweater.
"Oh, shit," she said, and dropped her knife. Now I laughed and she threw a glare at me.
"That's not funny! This is one of my favorite sweaters," she said, and sighed as she examined the stain. Unfortunately, she wiped it and spread it even more. I had to laugh again and she growled.
"Damn it," she muttered and sighed. "I hate to cook."
"Stains are an occupational hazard," I said, smirking and shrugged my shoulders.
"Yeah, if you are a cook, not when you're forced to," she said and I laughed again.
"Oh, come on. Go and get changed, I'll do the rest," I proposed to her with a sigh and she began to smile.
"That sounds much better," she said and I rolled my eyes with a smile.
I cut the carrots and pumpkin into coarse pieces and then carried it into the kitchen; we had the most space in the living room and did everything there. I gave the carrots and pumpkin pieces in one of the pots, put the plate on the appropriate temperature and added a little oil. Again and again I assured me that nothing scorched. Finally, I added the ginger and covered the pot again.
I turned around and met Grace's eyes.
"It's much more fun to sit and watch you than help," she said, and I snorted.
"I don't understand why you don't like it," I said and walked back into the living room.
She lay on the sofa, had her legs outstretched and a smile on her lips. I lifted her legs and then sat down to where they had been before, so her thin legs now lay in my lap.
She shrugged and said "I'm just not good at it. Normally I'm not clumsy, but when I cook, everything goes wrong."
I frowned and then put a streak behind my ear, which had come loose from my bun.
"Maybe the soup was too much for the beginning," I muttered, but she shook her head no.
"Bullshit. Soups are obviously super easy. I'm just a loser when it comes to cooking. I'm not created to stand in the kitchen," she said, and I grinned at her. "No one would have married me fifty or a hundred years ago."
We laughed and I shook my head. "Probably not," I admitted, and she nodded in satisfaction.
"Fortunately, those days are over" she said, stretching.
With one last look at her I got up again and went back into the kitchen. The timer rang, so it was time to take a look at the bread. But at first I took care of what was sizzling in the pot.
Luckily I had bought Noilly Prat and deglazed the carrot-ginger-pumpkin-mixture with it. I added the broth that we had even made before the bread, and then set the timer to twenty minutes.
After that I opened the oven. I took a deep breath of the smell of fresh bread and I had to smile. It reminded me of my time in the small bakery in Holmes Chapel. God, how I missed those times.
Together with Grace I cleared the large living room table and then covered it right back. While I had to go back into the kitchen to add coconut milk and curry and other spices to the soup, Grace lit the candles that I bought today. With a ladle, I gave some of the soup into two bowls, which Grace then carried in the living room. With a quick movement I cut the little bread in sliced and Grace brought this, too, in the living room.
"I'll be right with you," I cried and she replied "Okay!"
I took the bottle of wine I had bought as a surprise for her from its hiding place behind a cabinet door. I uncorked it and poured some into two wine glasses. Then I took them and switched off the light, using my elbow.
"Voilà" I said, putting one of the two glasses in front of her. Her face lit up and she looked at me.
"I've totally forgotten!," she said as I sat next to her and she smiled.
"Yeah, I've hoped for that," I said, reaching beyond me to turn off the light in the living room. Now only the candles front of us lit in the room, otherwise it was pitch black.
"To us," I said, raising my glass.
"To us," she repeated, and clinked her glass with mine.