Chapter 7 - Waking up in Holmes Chapel
When Tessa woke up the following day she was confused. She didn’t recognize the room she had slept in, and that freaked her out, but then all of the memories from last night came back to her. This had to be Harry’s childhood home. Tessa nervously tiptoed to the window and enjoyed the sight of the sun that had already risen. She opened the window and was met by a puff of wind feeling like summer. The weather was perfect for a new beginning, but sadly this happened to be without any family left. The made Tessa feel utterly alone but she thankfully remember her caring friends. Tessa made the bed and looked around in the room. It was a normal teenage-boy-room filled with computer games, books and guitars - besides this there were a couple old pictures of Harry and his friends in here. Tessa unsuccessful searched for her suitcase to change clothes. She was still had on her dress from last night but on top of it, she was wearing an oversize jumper. It was most likely Harry’s since it smelled like him. She didn’t remember getting home or going to bed last night, so he had probably carried her up here. Tessa did not know what to do - she felt misplaced so when she had been standing in the room for a little while she finally found the courage to open the door. Tessa hoped she wasn’t going to run into anybody - because she really didn’t feel like explaining why she suddenly had arrived late last night.
Tessa sneaked down the hallway, when she heard a voice that instantly stopped her. „Oh no he didn’t”. Tessa nervously turned around to face a pretty brown-haired girl, who she assumed was talking about Harry. „He did what?” Tessa asked puzzled. „Brought one of his one-nightstands to our mom’s house. What the hell is wrong with him? And you? Just because he is famous doesn’t mean you can just sleep with him, sneak out and by the way steal his jumper,” the girl continued while pointing at Harry’s jumper - Tessa figured her to be Harry’s older sister Gemma. Gemma really believed she had slept with Harry, when he instead had saved her from her own family. This made Tessa laugh a bit. „What?” Gemma snapped when Tessa didn’t answer. „Don’t worry he didn’t,” Tessa just smiled. „So if I open the door to his bedroom, he won’t be sleeping in there?” Gemma then asked suspiciously and laid her hand on the doorknob. Tessa just silently shook her head and waited for Gemma to open the door to Harry’s room - which she did. Nobody was in there. Gemma just awkwardly stood there for a bit. „Sorry about that,” she then said and sent Tessa an innocent smile, which Tessa returned. „Don’t worry about it”. Gemma was just about to say something, when their conversation was interrupted. „Well well well, isn’t this just lovely - two of my favorite girls chatting up in the hallway,” Harry said and pulled Gemma into a hug. He then put his arm around Tessa’s shoulder and squeezed lightly. „I hoped you had a goodnight’s sleep Tess - I bet my bed was more comfortable then the couch,” he said and winked at her. Tessa knew what he was doing and she was grateful for that. Harry was trying to make her forget about yesterday and just make sure she was okay. He was really worried about her - he felt this need to protect her and that is why he made a promise to himself. From now on Harry’s first priority was to make Tessa happy, she had been through enough - and Harry felt sick of himself, when he was still hung up on Taylor, so maybe they could both use a friend right now. „I could have slept on the couch Harry, it’s your home. But thank you for everything,” Tessa said not only referring to the sleeping arrangements. Harry just nodded knowingly. „Are you ever going to introduce or what Hazza?” Gemma then interrupted impatiently, so Harry introduced his sister to his dear friend Tessa, since he was the only one aloud to call her Tess. „By the way your suitcase is in the living room babe. You were too damn heavy, so I tossed it in there when I carried you to bed,” Harry said jokingly. Tess just smacked his arm and laughed quietly but Harry noticed the genuine twinkle in her eyes. Tessa then left the siblings to go get her suitcase.
„So?” Gemma said curiously. „So what?” Harry replied and went straight on the defensive. Gemma felt the urge to interrogate her baby brother. „What exactly is going on with the two of you? And why did she arrive in the middle of the night?” „Well, she had some serious family problems, so I went to pick her up - and now she is staying for a bit, but we’re just friends,” Harry said without explaining the details. „Are you sure about that?” Emma questioned which caused her brother to nod. „Then I probably shouldn’t have accused her of being a one nightstand,” she started laughing hysterical. „You what?” Harry practically yelled and felt his cheeks redden. „Little brother you are adorable when you blush,” Gemma cooed. „How long is she staying?” „I’m not sure. She can’t go back to her family, and she’s visiting Perrie so she lives with us in London, so she will probably just come back with me, if she wants. I told her she can stay as long as she needs,” he said his voice filled with concern. Gemma watched at him with warmth in her gaze - her brother actually cared about someone again, she had been afraid this would never happen.
When Tessa got out of the shower she felt like a completely new person. She quickly tried covering up the dark circles under her eyes with concealer and then added some mascara, leaving her blond hair hanging. When she was satisfied with her appearance, she jumped in a pair of black skinny jeans and a random t-shirt. Tessa headed towards the living room to find Harry, who had told her to get ready for a tour of his hometown. She found him watching TV in the living room. Harry seemed so different here compared to back in London. He wasn’t as tense or had this front put up - here he just appeared to be so relaxed. „Are you ready Tess?” Harry asked interrupting her trail of thoughts. She nodded, and Harry got up - still wearing his sweatpants, white t-shirt and his green beanie. Just before leaving the house Harry noticed something and immediately stopped. He stepped closer to Tessa and lightly led his fingers over the dark marks on her arm. It was clearly where Mike had held her yesterday. One could not fail to see that the marks were evident handprints. Tessa hadn’t detected the marks, but she felt the goosebumps appear when Harry stroked her skin. Harry clenched his jaw and turned around going back to his room. When he reappeared he brought his favorite sweatshirt, the one saying Teenage Runaway. „I couldn’t bear to be able to see those the entire day,” he explained and handed her the sweatshirt. She took the sweatshirt thankfully and put it on. When she took a look in the mirror, she started to giggle. „What?” Harry asked puzzled. „Teenage Runaway - how ironic”. This made Harry join in, and they left the house together laughing.
After a tour of the city Tessa already felt more at ease, and she had gotten to know Harry even better. He had shown her his old school, the park he and his friends use to hang out in, the old music shop and of course his old workplace, the bakery - where they had actually met Barbara his old boss, and she was such a lovely lady. During their day together they had been stopped by multiple fans - both Harry’s and Tessa’s. They had taken pictures and signed autographs but it had been very low-key, and it had been nice. Now they were headed to, what Harry called “the most awesome place in town”, which was a little cozy café.
When the waiter had provided them with their drinks Harry gathered his courage. „Ehm, I’ve actually been meaning to ask you something. It’s kind of personal though,” Harry said nervously tapping his fingers on the table. „How come you’ve stayed with a guy like that? And marriage isn’t that a bit rushed? I mean it’s not like he is the nicest guy out there - you could find so much better,” Harry mumbled. „What are you talking about Harry?” Tessa felt clueless. „I heard you and Mike talking about getting married, when I was on the phone with you yesterday - so I just assumed he is your boyfriend,” he continued avoiding her eyes. „Well, he’s not,” Tessa simply stated. „He’s not?” Harry asked, wanting to get it confirmed. Tessa shook her head and sent Harry a small smile. „Then I really don’t’ get it. Why were you guys talking about marriage? And then who is your boyfriend?” He questioned and thanked the waiter, who brought them their food. Tessa quietly told Harry about her ex, and when he heard how bad Mike treated Tessa, he suddenly felt happy about hitting him. „My parents had practically planned our entire wedding and marriage, and he was all in - but of course I wasn’t. He wasn’t even supposed to be there, but somehow my parents arranged it. They’re a bunch of idiots, all of them. And regarding the boyfriend-question I don’t have one,” Tessa replied. It made Harry rather sad, that she didn’t feel like she could trust him - Perrie already told them about there being a guy in the picture - why didn’t Tessa just say it? „You know you can trust me right? I won’t tell the paparazzi - we can even make a non-paparazzi-code with one and another. Besides Perrie already told us you were dating someone, so I kind of already know,” Harry said holding her gaze. „She what?” Tessa almost spat out her coke. „I really don’t know why she told you guys Harry, but I swear I’m not dating anybody. I haven’t since Mike - I don’t really believe in all of that anymore. I’m just trying to focus on my career. And I do trust you - but I’m so game for the non-paparazzi-code,” Tessa giggled at Harry’s idea. They then pinky-promised to always keep quiet about each other’s secrets.
While Harry, despite of Tessa’s arguing, was paying their check Tessa phone rang. The caller ID showed a picture of a very drunk Perrie Edwards sticking out her tongue. „Theresa what the hell is going on?” Perrie shouted. „I was going to ask you the exact same thing,” Tessa replied. „Why did you tell all of the guys, that I have a boyfriend?” she continued. „Well ehm, I just didn’t want you to get hurt again - so I guess people would back of if they knew you were already dating, but don’t you dare change the subject. Why are you in Holmes Chapel? I thought you were visiting you family. Is something going on between you and Harry?” Perrie blurted out. At this point of the conversation Harry had come back to the table and gestured for them to get going. Tessa got up while still talking. „No Perrie, nothing is going on between me and Harry,” she replied while rolling her eyes at Harry, who started laughed at her comment about them being an item. „He just picked me up, because the amount of family drama was unbearable - I’ll explain it later love. And how do you even know I’m in Holmes Chapel?” „A bunch of your fans spammed twitter and Instagram with pictures of the two of you together - and that’s not all. Perez Hilton already put out an article about you guys; apparently you are wearing his sweatshirt? They even found an old picture of him wearing it, just to compare it. You should probably prepare yourself for the paparazzi showing up,” Perrie said and added that Zayn was calling her name so she had to go.
„Great so everybody thinks we’re dating?” Harry asked on their way back to Anne’s house. He frustrated ran his hands through his hair. „Who cares? We know it’s not the truth anyway,” Tessa shrugged. „I guess you’re right. I just can’t deal with this right now - I’m still not completely over Taylor yet, and it annoys me that my private life is lied about,” he answered. „I get it, trust me I really do - but perhaps this will help you then. If everybody thinks we’re together, people will stop bugging you about the dear Miss Swift,” Tessa said. This made sense to Harry, maybe it would help him recover from his heartbreak. As they walked in the driveway a car swung up. „Great, my mom is home from work. Now you finally get to meet her,” Harry said sounding excited, and all of a sudden Tessa felt nervous. „Mom,” Harry exclaimed and ran towards a pretty woman, who opened her arms for him. Luckily Tessa found Anne to be a wonderful person. She greeted her with open arms and told her several times, she was more than welcome to stay for as long as she wanted. Later Tessa was introduced to Harry’s stepdad Robin, who was equally as nice.