One night.
That's all it took.
But she'd never tell him.
Because he was living his dream.
And she was at home raising her daughter.
Their daughter.
"So Harry, do you want kids?" the interviewer pressed, hoping to unlock a new rumor. Harry shrugged, pinning his bottom lip between his thumb and index finger.
"Yeah, eventually." Ari let out a little squeal, almost as if she were pleased with his answer.
"Daddy!" she called, turning to laugh at me.
"Ari, shh!" I tried hushing her, but it was too late. the band turned to face us, Ari began waving. I guess my shield behind the curtain wouldn't work after all. Harry's face went white, eyes wide and he stood up, storming out of the interview, leaving the rest of the boys to stare at us in curiosity


12. Chapter 12

Mum! Dad!" Bennie cried out, racing over to their stoned bodies, latching onto their necks like a child. She cried into our mother's shoulder and soon a warm embrace was wrapped around her but cold and vicious eyes tore me apart.

The party was quiet, people eavesdropped and awkwardly exited, leaving a very over-due family affair to be dealt with privately. Some took seats and watched the drama collapse but only a few ignored us and minded their own business and conversations. 
I cleared my throat and snaked my hand around Harry's, which had a tight drip on my waist, holding me close to him in a protective shield. "Zayn... Could I please have Ari?" I asked politely and he nodded, gently walking over and handing her little body to me.

"What brings you here on such a convenient occasion?" I stuck my nose in the air, trying to be as primp and proper as possible, hopefully giving them some essence that I had succeeded as not only a mother but a business women... which was complete bullshit seeing as I was a waitress.

"We're not stupid, Maeve. We know when our granddaughters birthday is." mum rolled her eyes, mimicking my pursed lips and towering nose.
"How? You've never even met her." They fell silent. Still holding onto my sister tightly. Nothing has changed since my childhood, Bennie always has been and always will be the favorite.

My father gave me a somewhat soothing look, his deep blue eyes always held the ability to comfort me no matter the situation.
I was most like him in every way imaginable, I knew it hurt him to see me go but I always thought it must not of hurt as much as I'd hoped, since he never asked me to stay or even said goodbye when I left.

Dad turned his loving stare into a glare towards Harry, eyeing him up and down, turning his tall body limp and frail against my frame. 
I squeezed his hand for support, leaning into his shoulder and wrapping my free arm around his waist, he kissed Ari's head.

"That doesn't mean we never wanted too." Dad finally answered, walking towards me but stopping about a meter away. 
He held his arms out, in hopes I'd hand him Ari. With trust, I did so. She didn't fuss but she looked at him with confusion.

"She looks just like you, Mae. The nose...The eyes..." I shook my head, looking up at Harry. "No, no. She has Harry's eyes." he held his breath, looking up at Harry and nodding a stiff, but sort of friendly, nod. 

"Mr. Nichols," Harry greeted him, nodding back.
"Harry," I looked at the two of them, feeling awkward and literally caught in the middle. My claustrophobia kicked in and I knew I had to bring this somewhere private. 

"Let's go inside," I brought everyone back to the living room, looking around to make sure no one was around.

"Why?" I asked when I was sure no one was inside. 
"Why what?" Mum's smart ass remarks are what caused us to lock horns. She knew damn well what I meant by 'why?'.

"Why are you here? I didn't call you, Bennie didn't call you... Why?" Dad was still holding Ari, rocking her slightly and whispering "Grandpa" into her ear from time to time.
Mum had nothing to do with her. She wouldn't even look at her, the whole time her arm was locked around Bennie.

"We came to meet Ari..." Mum began, still not looking at her. "But we also came for Bennie." her hazel eyes matched mine, giving me a sick feeling, knowing I looked at least a little bit like someone who disowned her own daughter because she was having one of her own. 
I was still upset about the whole ordeal, if it weren't for their reaction a big part of me would have let myself stay in Cheshire and raise Ari with Harry... Or maybe not. But either way, they were a large part of why I left Holmes Chapel to begin with.

"I'm sorry, you came for Bennie?" I raised an eyebrow, letting the part about Ari slip for the time being. 
"Yes..." Dad nodded.
"She lives here with me and her niece. She's a grown woman, why would you want to 'come for her'?" I asked, becoming angry.

My arm around Harry had dropped and soon he was nearly wrapped around me, keeping me from lunging at Bennie.
"I-I'm going home, Maeve." Bennie stuttered, looking down at her wrists.

I nearly fell to the ground. "What? Bennie this is your home." she shook her head, tears starting to form and fall.
"No... No Holmes Chapel is, Maeve. I can't live here anymore. Ever since Jordan left I've been a mess and with Ari around I don't-"
"What about Ari? She's done nothing wrong." I defended.
"You're right, but I don't want to expose her to such depression at two years old... And Mae, she's such a handful sometimes I can't function-"

Harry's arms grasped my tiny waist, pulling me back. 

How dare she talk about her niece that way. Saying she was a handful? Of fucking course she is! She's two! If Bennie was so upset she knew she had me to talk too, all she had to do was come to me.

"You're the one that fucking insisted we move in!" I shouted. Harry had helped me regain balance, but still had a hand around my arm.
"Watch your language around the baby!" Mum scolded, but I ignored it. "What do you care? You won't even look at her! You don't even know your own granddaughter! You haven't seen me in nearly two and a half years and when you decide to come and 'catch up' you take my sister away?" 

I marched over to dad, snatching Ari from his arms. "And what do you plan on doing to the house?" I asked, before leaving the room.
"Jordan talked to the landlord... We all have to be gone by next week." my heart dropped.
"Where does that leave us? Me, Harry and Ari? Homeless!"
"He makes millions! He can have a house tomorrow for you!" Mum stood up, burning Harry with her eyes. He stepped back over beside me, feeling ashamed of his wealth.

"No he can't! That's not how it works!" tears began rushing down my face, faster and faster every second.
Bennie stood up and tried to walk over to me but I stepped back, refusing her sympathy.

"No, no! You stay away... Ari and I are leaving, I'll be back tomorrow for our stuff." I looked back over at the guests who were still mingling, but knew I had to go.

Harry quickly followed behind, whispering something to my parents that I couldn't hear but ignored anyway.

The only thing I grabbed to go with us was Ari's diaper bag and my purse, filling both with diapers, blankets, clothing and bottles.

Harry helped me carry my shoes and jacket out, I was in such a rush to leave I didn't even put them on. I just strapped Ari into her seat and went to jump in the drivers.

"Baby, you sit. I'll drive." Harry grabbed my shoulder. I looked at him, red puffy eyes and smeared mascara, he smiled at me and leaned down to kiss my forehead. 

"I love you."




We drove for hours, up and down country roads and all through London, not stopping once unless it was for a red light. 
Harry and I sat silent, holding hands. Ari eventually fell asleep after playing with her toy duck. 

"I feel bad for leaving the boys." I said, snuggling into his shoulder. He half smiled, "I texted them, told them things got complicated and left... I told them I'd call them later." I nodded, accepting the fact that they were a big part of his life and didn't mind them being a large part of mine and Ari's.

"Thank you... For everything you've done today. It was so beautiful, Harry." I smiled, dry tears tightening my cheeks.
"It was my pleasure, love. I'm glad you and my friends seem to get along." I nodded, thinking back to meeting Cara and Nick and a few others who's names I forget. But they were all lovely.

Eventually, Harry pulled up to a motel. I carried our two bags and Harry carried a sleeping Ari into the lobby. They gave us a room right away. 
Of course they knew who he was and soon people would be taking pictures of us or spreading rumors. I think Harry could sense my nerves so he pulled the clerk aside and asked, "May I request you keep our attendance on the down-low? This is a very personal trip and I don't want the paps attacking these poor girls." he nodded and promised full costumer confidentiality. 

Our room was quite big, but not as big as I assume Harry usually stays in. Someone had brought up a tiny bassinet and a basket of champagne at Harry's request. 

"Champagne?" He winked, popping the bottle open once Ari was tucked in.
I sat on his knee, sipping at my flute and running my fingers in his curls.

"I just... I wonder how they knew where to find me..." Harry fell silent. "It was so rude of them to ignore you... And my mother, oh my God, Harry I'm sorry." I apologized for such rude behavior but he just shrugged.

"Harry, what's wrong?" I asked, but he just smirked a little, sipping at the bubbles.
I stood up slowly, stepping back. "Harry..." he looked up at me.
"I'm sorry." he said, setting his glass down and walking towards me.
I stood still and confused. "Baby, why?" I laughed a little, thinking he was sorry for my parents actions.
"I... As a present to you... I invited them today. I wanted you three to work things out."

I moved from my stance, dropping my glass. "Why would you do that? That's none of your business!" 
"I know, Maeve I'm sorry." he held his hands up.
"Did you know they were coming for Bennie? Did you know about the house?" he shook his head, fast.
"No, no. God, no. I had no idea about Bennie, I knew they had been talking but never told her. Maeve, I can have a house for you in time for next week..."
"No! My sister is leaving me! She's been the only thing there for me since I got pregnant, Harry!"
His face turned a shade of pink. "And who's fault is that?" he mumbled.

My eyes went wide and I stumbled back. "Excuse me?" is all I could choke out. 
He looked up at me, his eyes filled with tears and apologies. "Shit! Maeve I didn't-"

Sobs escaped by body and soon I was locking myself in the bathroom. 
I sat crying for hours until I decided to run myself a bath. 

I heard Ari stir and fuss, but whenever I went to get out and soothe her, Harry had her quiet again.

Somewhere between midnight and 3AM, I heard Harry's back slide down the bathroom door and his phone dial a number.

"Ello?" a familiar voice answered.
"Lou.." it was Louis.
"Harry? What's wrong, mate? Where'd you go today?" he questioned, but Harry ignored it.
"Louis, I don't want to lose her again..." he cried.
"What's going on? Lose who? Harry?!" panic erupted in his voice.

"I fucked up."

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