Check, please.

“I knew it was your month to pay the bills, so I made sure to use a lot of hot water.” I watched as he used the towel to dry between his legs and his torso, admiring his cleanly shaven male parts when the towel flicked up just high enough. “And your hair looks fine, Miss Over-Dramatic.” I bit my lip as I looked up and down at the bare and glistening body in front of me. “Been working out?”

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10. chapter 10

For the next two days, Harry and I were beyond bipolar. Neither one of us wanted to go out, not even to get food. I sat on the floor and took pictures of everything in the apartment trying to snap a shot that was filled with some sort of emotion; I took a picture of the hole that Harry punched into the wall, I took a million pictures of Harry, no matter what he was doing, pictures of our rooms, our clothes, our furniture, and I took a million pictures of the open refrigerator. I don’t know why. Something inside of me just wanted to take pictures of the chilled bottles and the icy but empty freezer. Maybe it was my inner ice cream lover telling me that I subconsciously wanted a large bowl of mint chocolate chip.

We argued over whether or not we would go to the reunion that Thursday. It didn’t occur to me that Anna would still be on her honeymoon until Harry pointed that out. I thought that we would still be a trio, all going together. I was upset with Anna, but I secretly envied her for not having to go. She swore that she was upset about it too and got too caught up in the wedding to think about it herself, but I knew she was lying. Whenever Harry said he wanted to go, I would convince him otherwise, and whenever I changed my mind and said I wanted to go, Harry would talk me out of it.

“It’s not like we’re going to miss out on anything,” Harry had said while I was in the shower. I could see him through the curtain, looking at himself in the fogged-up mirror and flexing his muscles. I giggled, but not hearing me, he continued, “We’re making it seem like a bigger deal than it is. They just stand around and talk I think. I hate just standing around and talking.”

A few hours later, I was talking him into it. “But it’s our first reunion. They’ll think we skipped because we’re failing at life or something.”

“But we’re not,” Harry replied like it should be obvious to everyone.

“But not everyone knows that. We should go to show them how well we’ve done.”

Not even a full hour later, I found myself dreading convincing Harry to go. “I mean, it’s just the FIRST reunion. There will be more. We can always go to those.”

Harry nodded. “We can just skip this one.”

But the next morning he was talking me back into it. “Don’t you want to see what your old classmates are doing with their lives? Come on, you know their lives are a thousand times worse than ours. We can go and laugh at them.” He stuffed his mouth with a large spoonful of Lucky Charms cereal.

I frowned. “That’s not very nice.”

Harry grinned at me as he chewed. “You know you want to.”

I groaned. “I hate those people though. I thought we would be done with them after we left high school.”

Harry swallowed and offered me a spoonful of cereal, which I gladly accepted. “We’re stressing ourselves out. We should go. If it sucks, we’ll leave. We live like 20 minutes from where it’s happening,” he reasoned.

I chewed on one of my nails as I studied Harry. He actually sounded like he wanted to go at this point, but I was hoping in an hour he would change his mind again and we would decide not to go. I sighed. “You know what, you’re right. This shouldn’t be this stressful. We’re all way more mature now. It’s been 5 years. There shouldn’t be any stupid drama like in high school.”

My phone buzzed with an email on the island. I picked it up and read the delivery notice. “Oh, we got the maroon backdrop in. Wanna help me put it up?”

Harry lifted his cereal bowl to his lips and sucked down the last of the milk and lucky charms marshmallows. He studied the empty bowl and said, “You know, I’m actually allergic to marshmallows.”

I rolled my eyes and pulled him to his room. He always said that, but it never stopped him from eating them. “Just get ready. It shouldn’t take us too long to get the backdrop set up.”

Boy, was I wrong. I had never set up my own backdrop. Whenever I thought about replacing or installing a new backdrop from the past, I always remembered it to be a quick and easy process. Lift it up. Pop it in place. Boom. Done. The more that I thought about it, the more I realized that usually I had Louis and Niall installing the heavy roll into the automatic machine that would change the backdrops with the switch of a button. Harry and I stood on ladders across from one another and struggled to get the heavy roll attached to a hook on the inside of the machine.

“Are you even lifting at all?” I grunted as I hoisted the roll up again, searching for the hook it was supposed to connect to.

Harry growled through his teeth. “Christ, Scotlan, I was about to ask the same thing. I feel like I’m doing all the work over here.”

I gritted my teeth as my arm began to burn and shake. “Harry, I’m gonna drop it! I can’t hold it up!”

“Hold on!” I heard a click from Harry’s side. He got his side hooked in. I groaned loudly and tried to switch arms, feeling around for the hook with one hand and holding up the heavy backdrop with my other. Harry jumped down off of his ladder and ran over to mine, climbing up to the step just under where I was standing on my tippy-toes. He reached up and grabbed the roll from me, taking the weight off of my arm and giving me a chance to rest. The ladder wobbled under both of our weights.

“Are you okay?” Harry asked breathlessly. His green eyes were unusually vibrant and studied my relaxing face as we stood within inches of one another.

I nodded and shook out my sore arm, focusing on the backdrop again. “The hook is right here, you just need to lift it. I couldn’t get it high enough.”

Since there was really no way for me to get off the ladder without Harry dropping the backdrop, I scooted to the center of the ladder step and turned to face him instead. He straddled me with his legs and reached his arms up over my head to the hook. I watched his arms, neck, and face as he struggled to lift and place the backdrop – his veins straining and his muscles contracting and expanding with each movement he made as he hovered over me on the ladder.

I was really turned on. It was probably because he straddled me and his entire frontside was rubbing against mine.

I should have just gotten off of the ladder.

Finally, I heard a click as Harry got my end of the backdrop in place. He heaved a sigh and relaxed, putting his head on my shoulder. “You okay?” I asked, running my fingers through his hair. I tensed and clung a little more tightly to Harry as the ladder wobbled again.

Harry laughed lightly and gripped the ladder as it continued to wobble back and forth. “I just think maybe we should get professional help next time. That was exhausting.” He looked up at me and grinned before climbing down to the floor. Once safely on the ground, he turned around, put his hands around my waist, and lifted me off of the ladder. Harry grabbed the black velvet couch that we sometimes used as a prop and dragged it to the middle of the empty set, facing the tripod that my camera was resting on. Harry flipped on my camera and pushed a few buttons before backing up and sitting on the couch. He patted the cushion next to him, motioning for me to come sit with him.

As I entered the plain set and sat down, the camera flashed and I jumped. Harry remained completely calm.

“Did you put it on a timer??” I asked. That wasn’t what I meant to ask though. I knew it was on a timer. I meant to ask WHY.

Harry nodded and grinned. I shifted uneasily and looked away from both him and the camera as it flashed again. “I hate pictures, you know that.” I shielded my face with my hand.

Harry laughed and pulled my whole body closer to him. “No one will see these. Relax.” He pushed the button on the remote for the backdrops and the maroon layer began to unroll to the floor behind us. I turned around to watch it and admired the color. I actually loved maroon, but we just never used it often. I grinned as it finished unfurling and hung nicely behind us. As I turned back around on the couch, the camera flashed again. I tried to jump up but Harry held me down with his arm. Once I was secure underneath on of his arms, he took a strand of my hair and began to twist it between two of his fingers. I twisted my neck to look at him and raised my eyebrows. He simply grinned at me, but not maliciously. He grinned like he was just happy to have me there leaning against his torso.

“HaROLD,” I grunted as the camera flashed again. “Why are the pictures necessary?!”

A warm and hearty laugh escaped from what seemed like all over his body. “Scotlan, it’s just a picture!”

I puffed out my cheeks in irritation and watched him as he laughed at me some more. He poked me in the cheek and pulled at my pouting lip as he continued to laugh. I don’t know why he thought his was so funny. The next time the camera flashed, I was too busy admiring his face – each little dimple and wrinkle that appeared around his mouth as his smile grew, the way his eyes arched upward, the way his eyebrows raised slightly when he looked at me. Before I knew what I was doing, I threw myself on him and kissed his lips.

I paid no more attention to the consistent flashes from the camera as Harry slid his hands all down my body, over the back pockets of my jeans and up the back of my t-shirt. He kicked off his shoes with his feet and brought his legs up onto the couch, allowing me to straddle his lap. He took off my shoes with his hands and tossed them onto the ground beside the couch. I leaned forward onto him and slid my hands against his warm skin up his shirt, pushing more into the kiss and allowing him to take my bottom lip between his teeth. He sat forward and pulled his shirt over his head, not hesitating to pull mine off of me seconds later. The combination of the cold air of the studio crashing against my bare skin and Harry’s cold hands against my stomach as he pulled at the button of my jeans sent a wave of goose bumps all over my body.

“Chilly?” Harry asked, kissing my neck. I moaned quietly. Harry pushed me backward onto the couch and crawled on top of me, pulling my jeans down my hips as he did. He kissed me harder, reaching for my face and sliding his thumb along my jaw as he twisted his fingers more deeply into the hair behind my ear. I reached for the button of his jeans, but before I even felt the cold metal between my fingers, the studio phone rang.

Harry and I both froze and stared at each other, his body hovering over mine. The phone rang again. Harry slowly untangled his hand from my hair, not moving his face away from me until the phone rang for the third time. Then he stood up and straightened his pants. “I’ll get it.”

As he left the room, the camera flashed again. I had completely forgotten that it was on. I growled and jumped up to stop it. Before I turned the camera off, I flipped through the pictures, watching as we went from exhausted to hysterical to extremely passionate in as little as 3 frames. I stopped on the second to last frame where Harry was hovering over me and we were looking into each other’s eyes, realizing exactly what was happening.

Or was I just imagining things?

My stomach flipped as I studied his face, frozen in the pixels on the camera. The way he looked at me… he had never done that before.

“Did we get some good shots?” Harry laughed nervously from the door, almost causing me to drop my camera. I hugged the equipment to my nearly bare chest and gulped.

“Yeah,” I said, my voice quiet and shaky. “They were okay.”

Harry nodded slowly and chewed his lip as he picked absent-mindedly at something on the front of his jeans with his fingernail.

“So who was on the phone?” I squeaked.

“Uh, that was just a telemarketer trying to sell… something. I don’t remember,” he answered, rubbing the back of his neck.

I nodded and looked down, suddenly remembering that I was almost naked. I snatched up my shirt from the floor and set my camera down so I could redress. I felt my cheeks burn as Harry watched me from the door. I had been naked in front of him before. Why was this different?

Harry rushed over to grab my jeans for me. “Oh, let me help-“

“It’s okay, I’ve got it,” I laughed, sheepishly taking my jeans from him.

Harry stood up straight and ran his fingers through his messy hair a few times. “Oh, hey… I was thinking, maybe we should go to the reunion.”

“Oh. Okay,” I agreed as I buttoned my jeans. I was too lost in thought about the chemistry that we shared moments ago to argue about the reunion.

“I mean like, WE should go. As a couple.”

I snapped my head up at Harry. “You mean just to keep people off our backs about being single…” I clarified, but I hoped it was for other reasons.

Harry shifted on his feet awkwardly. “Yeah. We can just tell them we’re in a relationship and that way we won’t have to explain… well, you know…”

I nodded. “Yeah, no, I get it. That’s a good idea. As a couple.”

“As a couple,” Harry repeated.

We looked around the studio, avoiding each other’s gazes. I flicked a piece of dirt from the front of my shirt. I felt sick to my stomach thinking about how awkward it was. It wasn’t even this bad when Harry and I first lost our virginities to one another. Was I the one making it weird? Just because I felt a little something when I looked at him? A little something I had never felt before…?

I cleared my throat. “So what are we supposed to wear? You know, to the reunion?”

Harry laughed and shrugged. “Hell if I know.”

“Well we should go shopping,” I suggested, hoping that getting out of this room and around other people would help take my mind off of what just happened.

Harry grinned and nodded. “Sounds good, Scotty. I could use a new suit anyway.”

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