“So you are telling me, that Bennet has been blackmailed the whole time” I add with a sigh. Zayn gives me a nod. He looks tired and sleepy, I think it would be best to leave.
“Thank you very much Zayn. Really, it means so much to me” I smile warmly at him “- but I think it´s enough drama for one day” I add and stand from very comfortable sofa. God, it´s after 4 am already!
“I will inform you if anything changes” Zayn´s smile goes wider but I can see the tiredness in his eyes –“And stop thanking me all the time, you are my friend and I will always fight for my friends. Besides, Harry would end our friendship the moment I would say no to you” Zayn giggles and stands up too. I notice Harry´s eyes going even wider after Zayn´s words. To be honest, it´s nice to know these guys stand by me. Especially now, when I see the blush in Harry´s cheeks. An unexpected smile appears on my lips and I am glad for it. It slightly helps my head coping with problems about Bennet and the company.
Harry and Zayn shake their hands friendly and I just observe his home office. The lights are turned off now except the one little lamp in the corner. I want this room in my house when I grow up too. Or just when I get my own house.
“See you tomorrow, don’t forget to be there at 7! Write it down somewhere or something” Zayn talks to Harry with laughter. I haven’t actually paid any attention to them until Zayn´s giggle echoed through the room.
Harry´s confused look speaks for its self- “What´s tomorrow?”
“Niall´s birthday, you idiot. Sue is calling me every day not to forget, I expect she does the same to you too” Zayn replies.
“Yeah yeah, I know. Don´t worry” this sounds even more confused even from Harry. I bet he did forget about it. He is such a bad actor.
The cab pulls out right next to my front door. This drive was silent but I didn’t mind. I guess our minds were occupied enough for talking.
“Good night Harry” I add while opening the car door.
“Good night Noell” Harry replies and I briefly look at him. His long arms are waving along his bent knees, fingers intertwined with each other. His green eyes are reflecting the street lights, somehow I find it calming and I stay staring at him for other 3 seconds. Ok, enough. I straighten myself up and open the car door. I smile at him one more time while watching the cab disappearing behind the corner. What a day.
It´s 5 am and I don’t find the reason why to go to bed. My thoughts win the battle with a sleep so I just stare at the ceiling in my bedroom. The lighting from cars outside reflects above my head I find it calming.
Bennet is a victim. Maybe there is a chance he isn’t the bad guy. Zayn is married. Wow. The bridge thing. I really cried in front of Harry. Harry. Harry. Harry. James.
Thoughts about today slowly fade away and I let sleep win this time.
248 days after
When I open my eyes I realise it´s raining outside. Water is flowing aside the window and I close my eyes again.
Rainy mornings on Saturday mean staying in bed the whole day and act like there is nothing to do except reading books and drinking tea. And going to toilet, occasionally. But I guess I can´t deny the fact that there is no one to make the pot of tea except me. I look at the empty place on my bed. It used to be James´s side of bed. I bury myself into pillow with a noisy sigh and after couple of minutes leave the bedroom.
After hot shower I put on some clean clothes and dry my wet hair. After pulling them to bun I start to making some breakfast and preparing water for tea. I briefly look at my phone.
-2 missing calls-
One is from Bennet, I ignore that one and the second one is from Harry. I guess I didn’t hear it when I was in a shower. I dial his number straight away while putting butter on me crunchy toast. He answers it after third beep.
“Morning Noell” His voice is full of morning optimism which I have lack off.
“Morning, Harry” I reply and smile. I am glad he can´t see me.
“I was just wondering if you have any plans for tonight…” He adds more quietly and hesitantly. I smile again.
“No. I think…” I reply now smiling from one ear to another. My hands are pre-occupied with the breakfast but I give him my full attention.
“Good! Sue is throwing a birthday party for Niall and it would make me very happy if you could join me” Harry adds and I stop doing whatever I was doing. I sit on the kitchen counter, my legs waving in the air.
“That would be great. And should I bring something? Like a present or?” I ask.
“Let me take care of it” he replies and I realise the water has already boiled. I quickly stand up and go back doing perfect breakfast.
“It begins at seven . I will be waiting in a taxi at six thirty outside your house. I am glad you are coming, Noell” Harry adds and my heart jumps a little. Why is it doing?
“I am glad you called. Ok. I´ll be there. Bye for now” I add and bring the plate to the living room. When I am ready to hung up, Harry giggles.
“What?-“ I am confused now.
“Nothing, it´s just. I like how you said for now. It means you planned on calling me once more today.”
“Bye Harry” I laugh and hung up.
So. Ok. I am going to Niall´s birthday party with Harry. All his friends are going to be there and I am going there with Harry. I suddenly find it strange. I have to put hesitancy aside and just cope with it. I can´t be hiding from people forever. I have to put my social life together before it disappears totally.
After long deciding I chose denim skirt and black blouse buttoned up to neck. The only matching blazer was the tartan one. I put on my black converse. I thought about it. I don’t want to look too posh or something so converse lights up my look a bit. I haven’t spent much time dealing with hair so I just straighten it and put behind my ears. I find myself satisfied with the work I have done and lock the apartment with both locks. The cab is already there so I get in quickly and look at Harry. He looks great. Like, really great. He is wearing thick wool coat and skinny jeans with leather patches on the knees. His hair is done in a usual quiff and his smile lightens up the dark cab. I can smell his cologne in the whole taxi.
“Good evening Sir” I add and laugh. His eyes meet mine and I quickly blink.
“Good evening Damsel” Harry replies with a smirk. Then there is this awkward silence because I should say something but I stay quiet and look at my palms. They are sweating. Shit. I am nervous. I sigh heavily and lean hard against the seat.
“Is something wrong?” Harry asks worriedly and I give him my best smile.
“I am just a little nervous, that´s all” I reply and let my eyes watching his.
“Nervous? Why?” Harry responds warmly and gives me his comforting smile. I like this one so much.
“I don´t know” I reply and giggle.
“Yes, you know” Harry adds and laughs.
“It´s just weird” I say and look at my palms again.
“What is?” He is still confused.
“Me- being here, sitting right here in a taxi to Niall´s party, spending time with actual people, people who know just me without James question mark above my head.” I exhale and look back at Harry. He stays silent for a while and then smiles at me.
“Noell, that´s ok. You are allowed to feel excluded from people. Just, try to relax and enjoy being free for a moment. And-“ his hand suddenly reaches mine thigh- “I will be there for you.”
I get chills by the touch and start to observe his hand. It´s too big compare to the size of my thigh. But then he quickly pulls it back to his lap. Ok. This felt weirdly comforting. We stay silent until we reach Niall´s bar and get inside.
Music is loud, people are chatting with each other while holding drinks. We get to Niall while pushing people aside respectfully. Niall´s wide grin welcomes us and I give him a wide smile too. Standing by Harry, I wish him the best and kiss him on both cheeks. Harry hands Niall a paper bag and hugs him. Niall obviously knows what´s inside and thanks him three times. Now I feel uncomfortably awkward, there is no one I know. I don’t see Sue anywhere. I would like to say hi to her. It´s her party afterall. “What do you want to drink?” Harry leans into my ear and I get goose bumps when his breath hits the skin around my ear.
“Same as you” I reply and smile at him. He nods and I find myself alone in the middle of the party where the only people I know are Niall and Harry.
“Hey!” suddenly someone´s hand lands on my shoulder. I turn back to face him and I realise it´s Hazel, Zayn´s wife.
“You look like a lost puppy” she declares and I laugh. I know I do. “Looks like Harry is not that big of a gentleman” Hazel adds and I shake my head.
“He just went to bring me a drink” I reply with a smile. She looks beautiful. Her dark haired curled up around her pale face and dark lipstick reminds me of some actress from the 30´s.
“I was kidding. Do you want to join us? We are sitting right in the left corner” Hazel tells me right when Harry gets back with the two glasses of whiskey. Hazel notices him and grins.
“Hazel” Harry adds seriously.
“Harry” Hazel replies even more seriously. I am just grinning at both of them.
“I was just telling Noell to come sit with us” Hazel laughs at him and points behind her back.
“And what about me? I am not allowed to?” Harry smirks at her.
“I dunno. It depends on what jokes you are planning on telling” Hazel jokes and Harry raises his eyebrows. He doesn’t seem touched by her insult he just hands me a drink and we both follow Hazel to the left corner. I feel Harry´s fingertips gently touching mine back as he walks behind me.
“Look who I found” Hazel announces and the whole table turns their eyes on Harry and I. I awkwardly wave at them. Zayn, Sue, Liam, Louis, some girl and some girl are sitting next to each other wearing party hats. I see Louis grinning at me so I quickly move my eyes at the ceiling. This is going to be a long night.