The lads and I all look at each other in confusion as Faith bolts for the front door.
"What just happened?" Liam asks.
"She freaked..." Louis says.
"I'll go talk to her...", Harry says, putting his coat on and following her out the front door.
"She's got alot of baggage. Maybe we should choose someone else..." Louis says.
"No. She needs our help just as much as we need hers. We're not bailing on her. People have done that to her all her life... but we are not..." Zayn snaps. Our conversation is cut short by the doorbell.
"I'll get it..." I offer, making my way to the front door. I pull it open to see Simon standing there with another gentleman.
"Is that who I think it is?", Liam whispers.
"They're like 2 whole days early!" Louis whispers back.
"Hi lads, this is Benny Blanco. He'll be helping you out on your next album." They both come in and Simon helps him with his coat.
"It's a pleasure to meet you gentleman. I look forward to working with you. Which one of you is married?" Benny asks. We all exchange nervous glances.
"Um, that would be Harry. He and his wife Faith just went for a walk...", Liam says, thinking fast. Just then, the front door opens and Faith walks in. She looks pale and upset. Zayn and I glance at each other. Something is clearly wrong.
"Faith, just in time. You remember Simon, and this is Benny Blanco. He'll be helping us out on our upcoming album...", I say. She looks at me silent and confused for a moment, before extending her hand in his direction.
"Uh, Faith Styles, nice to meet you...'Blanco', that's french isn't it?", she says. Harry comes in right behind her and stops in his tracks.
"Harry this is Benny Blanco...", I repeat.
"What an exquisite creature your wife is Mr Styles...Yes, it is french!" Benny says, planting a kiss on the back of Faith's hand. She blushes and drops her gaze to the floor. Bile rises in the back of my throat and I feel like punching his lights out. By the look on Zayn's face, I think he's feeling the same way.
"You're daughter, where is she?" he asks, smiling.
"Um, she's still at school. Alexis. She's Harry's step-daughter..." Faith explains, subtly reclaiming her hand.
"Come Benny, let me show you to the guest room where you'll be staying..." Simon says, leading him up the stairs.
"Here...Put these back on!" Harry whispers to Faith. She looks as though she's on the verge of a total emotional breakdown as she stares at the rings in his hand. She slowly, picks them up and puts them back on. I wonder why she took them off.
"I have to walk down and meet the bus..." Faith mumbles, glancing at her watch.
"I'll come with you...", Harry offers.
"No, that's okay. I'm fine.", she says, quickly walking out the door.
"What happened?", I snap quietly, after she's gone. Harry runs his hands through his hair. Both hands, for double the exasperation.
"I kissed her...", he whispers.
"What the hell mate?! After everything that happened this morning, you thought now would be a good time for that?!" Zayn whisper shouts.
"Okay, I agree...It was a poor lapse in judgement...", Harry mutters.
"Look let's just get this situation back under control before we all sit down for dinner..." Liam whispers.
By the time Faith comes back with Alexis we're all seated in the living room discussing song ideas. Benny gets up from his seat immediately and crosses over to them both. "Mr. Styles you have a beautiful family..."
"Uh, this is Alexis my...uh, our...daughter..." Faith says. Lexi runs over to Harry with her arms up in the air. He chuckles and swoops her up in his arms.
"Hi Daddy! Bonjour monsieur Blanco, comment allez-vous aujourd'hui ? Il est agréable de vous rencontrer..." Alexis says, wrapping her arms around Harry's neck and giving him a hug. (***Hello Mr. Blanco, how are you today? It is very nice to meet you..."***) The boys and I all look at her stunned.
"Vous savez comment parler le français?" Benny asks. (***You know how to speak french?***)
"My mommy taught me that on the way back from the bus... That's all I know..." she answers, smiling. Benny turns his attention to Faith.
"Je peux le parler. Ma mère était français. Elle m'a enseigné," Faith answers, beautifully. (***I can speak it. My mother was french. She taught me.***)
"You are a very lucky man to have such a beautiful wife and charming daughter!" Benny says, grinning widely.
"Si vous m'excuserez, je vais aller faire le dîner..." Faith says. None of us have any idea what she saying, but it doesn't really matter, we're all completely mesmerized. (***If you'll excuse me, I am going to go make dinner...***)
"No! Simon, I don't want this beautiful creature stuck in a kitchen all afternoon. Let's go out for dinner..." Benny insists. Faith's eyes widen. I know she's thinking about the fact that she hasn't had a chance to go shopping yet.
"C'est une nuit scolaire pour Alexis. Peut-être nous pourrions ordonner la nourriture et manger ici?" Faith says, smiling. Benny grasps her hand. (***It's a school night for Alexis. Perhaps we could order something and eat here?")
"Yes, that's a lovely idea. Ordering in, it is then! I wouldn't want to be responsible for keeping the child up on a school night..." Benny says. It's amazing, she has him hanging off of every word she says. I can't speak for the others but I'm in the exact same boat he is.
"Benny, let's go over some more ideas in the back office. That way Lexi will be able to play without us disturbing her...", Simon suggests, leading him out of the room. After he's safely out of earshot, the lads and I all breath a sigh a relief.
"Faith, that was amazing...", I say, giving her a quick hug.
"I'm sorry about outside...", Harry mumbles.
"It's fine... C'mon Lexi, let's go do your homework...", she says, turning to go upstairs.
For the rest of the afternoon, we work on song ideas with Benny and Simon. It's well after 5 by the time we call it a day and make our way out to the dining room for dinner. Simon had made a few calls earlier in the afternoon and arranged for caterers to come make and serve us dinner. The table is set and a delicious aroma fills the house. We all grab a seat and sit down, chatting. Then, Faith and Alexis enter the room. Alexis has on a little dress and Faith has on a long black sleeveless dress, that hugs her in all the right places. Her hair is up and off her long, lean neck. We're all speechless as they stand there.
"Um, I wasn't sure how to dress. I hope this is okay..." she says, as we all get to our feet. Harry crosses over and pulls out her chair, then helps Lexi settle in a chair between him and Faith. She's stunning. We enjoy our meal while the conversation continues.
"Thank you for opening your home to me...", Benny says, looking at Faith.
"You're most welcome. Did you have a long trip?" she asks.
"It wasn't all that bad...If I may, how long have you two been married?", he asks.
"6 months", Faith answers, raising her glass of water and taking a long drink.
"How did the two of you meet?", he asks, looking at Harry. Faith swallows hard, we're all thinking the same thing, how could we have not gone over that one?!
"Well...Faith love, you tell it so much better than I do...", Harry says.
"Um, ah...", she stammers.
"I got them together...", Lexi interrupts. "I called into a radio program and made a wish. I wished for my mom to find love. Daddy heard her on the radio and fell in love with her. Then he came and found us and brought us to live happily ever after in this house. Just like a fairy tale."
Faith is staring at Lexi, her mouth agape, tears brimming in her eyes. Benny laughs.
"Such a charming child...", he says.
"Lexi, say good night love. It's time for bed", Faith says, a bit later.
"Bonne nuit, monsieur Blanco. Good night, daddy", Lexi says, running around and giving Harry a kiss on the check.
How I wish I'd of won that damn coin toss.