He just stood there like stone. The expectations I had for Harry were being drowned in the cruel reality around me. He didn't want her, Gemma and Bennie were wrong. He hated the thought of being a nineteen year old superstar with a two year old daughter.
Anne had Ari wrapped up in her arms, cuddling her and whispering sweet nothings into her little ear. I was happy her Grandma wanted her, because as of right now her father was about to pull a complete 360 and walk away.
It wasn't fair. It wasn't fair to Ari. She was so tiny and deserved so much. I fucked up when she was born, holding her in the delivery room all by myself. Bennie and Jordan were both at work and I had no one else to call. At that exact moment I knew I should have stayed. She needed a father. But now that I tried to fix my mistake by giving her one, he was about to walk out all over again. And I knew when she grew to understand what had happened, in some shitty way she would learn to blame herself, when it was most certainly not her fault, but mine.
"Harry? Say something?" Gemma stepped forward, demanding some sort of answer from her shocked baby brother.
Anne held onto Ari, who played with the necklace around her neck. "Nana... Can you say that, love?" she smiled. Ari tried to mimic her, "Na.. Nan.. Na.." I let myself smile a bit, proud to say I had accomplished one thing.
"Nana." she finally said and Anne jumped, Ari clapping to herself. "Yes baby girl! Nana!" Anne looked up at Harry who was eyeing his little girl, tucked into his mother's arms.
"Can.. Can I hold her, Mum?" Harry's husky voice was finally heard. My heart skipped a beat when he reached out and took Ari into his arms.
Her big green eyes reflected his, they looked at each other for a long time, Ari's hand raised up to touch Harry's cheek and he leaned into it. A tear scattered from his eye down to her little finger. "Daddy." she smiled, and he chucked to himself.
My heart had finally re-mended itself, watching my daughter with the father she deserves. Harry leaned in, leaving a long kiss on her forehead. That's when I broke.
I knelt down, squatting. My face in my palms, that were soon filled with my tears. Silent sobs shook me and I felt Bennie or Gemma around me, holding me, crying with me. They knew the happiness was on it's way and they knew every little piece that had been missing from my life would find it's way back.
I looked back up, Harry's signature smile mirrored Ari's. A dimple on each of their cheeks as they made silly faces at one another.
Anne smiled and stepped back to take a photo. Harry looked at his mum and posed with his daughter, but soon his smile faded.
"Mum, you can't post that anywhere." I stood up, not understanding, when I really should have.
"But why not, Harry? Shes your daughter." Anne crossed her arms.
"No one can know yet, it's all too new. I don't even think I've fully processed it yet." Harry shook his head and then looked up at me. "Maeve and I haven't even worked out child support or visitation yet, let alone how we're going to tell the fans."
My head dropped. Reality rushed back when I begged for it to leave. He didn't want to be a family, he had his girlfriend to worry about. I knew it was selfish, but a part of me that came rushing back shattered again.
The part of my heart that held Harry so close. I looked up at Harry, "Do you want to come over to my flat for dinner? We can talk about it then... Catch up a bit." I half smiled, trying to cover up the fact I wanted to ask him on a date.
"Wait... This isn't your house?" I shook my head, "This is Bennie and Jordan's house. I live a few blocks away." I hated to admit it, but I was embarrassed to bring Harry back to my flat.
It was tiny and ugly, a place Harry would never be used too.
"But she's moving in here soon," Jordan smiled and I looked up at him. "They've invited Ari and I to move in. So I'm going to accept." Bennie's head shot to the side, her face was beaming.
"Really?" she mouthed. I nodded.
I focused back on Harry. His curls were pushed up into a quiff, black skinny jeans covered his legs and a leather coat and white shirt hugged his body just the right amount. I looked down on his beat up, brown boots. He was so beautiful.
"I'd like that." he smiled. "Six, okay?" I blushed and he nodded. That's when I noticed the necklace. The paper plane necklace.
I wanted so bad to bring it up, but I knew it would be more appropriate to bring up at dinner later on.
"Well, I should go get ready for tonight... Will Ari be there tonight?" he gently handed her over to me, out hands brushing, making a thousand memories flood back.
"Of course!" I gave Harry my address and he smiled, "I know exactly where that is." I nodded and thanked him for being so nice with Ari.
"It wasn't her fault." is all he said before leaving a hesitant kiss on her head and walking out with Gemma and Anne.
He blamed me for everything.
* * *
"Daddy's here, Ari!" I bounced her in my arms, as I walked to the door to let Harry in, I looked around the flat.
I had spent four hours cleaning top to bottom. Since I had started renting the flat, it had never been so clean. I was usually such an OCD home owner, but because of work and the fact Ari was so young, I gave up on trying everyday. I saved cleaning for special occasions, this dinner 'date' being one of them.
I swung the door open and Ari squealed, clapping. Harry gave her a shy smiled and pulled a stuffed bunny from behind his back. "Ah!" I tickled her, making her laugh as she snatched the bunny from Harry.
"You didn't have to do that." I thanked Harry but he shook it off. It was only a few pounds out of his millions.
"I hope you like pasta," I turned to smile at him, but he was stood still. Looking at some of the photos I had hanging up from throughout the years.
I tip toed over to him and tried to find which one he was studying. When I did, it broke my heart.
It was the only photo I had from the day Ari was born, I laid, tired and sweaty, in the hospital bed. A tiny pink blanket bundled in my arms. My dark hair was tied back, pieces falling out from every direction. My attention was on my brand new angel, loving every inch of her body.
I could feel the sadness and almost sorry energy coming off of Harry's body. "Harry?" I whispered, he shook his head and looked at me.
"Hmm?" he raised an eyebrow, making me melt at the look that covered his face. "Do you like pasta?" I asked again. He nodded, "Very much."
"Okay good, that's what I made for dinner." I shuffled over to the kitchen, looking at the clock on my microwave.
"Harry, if you don't mind, I have to go give Ari her bottle." he licked his lips and nodded, "I'll just be... Here..." he motioned to my photo wall, awkwardly.
"If you want... I have some photo albums in the living room. You're welcome to look at those as well."
I smiled at the thought of Harry looking at all of the photos I had of our daughter. He could learn so much in just a few pictures.
"Okay baby, let's get you to bed." I sat down in the rocking chair next to Ari's crib, adjusting her body so she was being cradled.
She began to suckle on the nipple of the bottle, sitting quietly I could hear Harry laugh at some photos. I thought I even heard an "aw".
Shortly after 6:40, Ari had finished her bottle. Her eyes were dropping and her body was weak. Her typical body language when it was time for bed.
I stood up and tried to lay her down but she let out a whine, "Daddy!" I nodded and smiled, "Yes, daddy is out in the living room, sweets." I tried again to lie her down but she grabbed onto the side of her crib and cried louder.
"Daddy!" I lifted her up and watched her gaze fall on the doorway. There was Harry, watching in embarrassment. "S-sorry... I was just curious..." he turned to walk away but I stopped him.
"Harry... She wants you to put her to bed." I offered her to him and he shyly walked into her room, took her from my arms and rocked her gently.
Ari's eyes looked up at him, her hand reached out to play with the paper plane necklace around his neck. He hummed a short tune to her before laying her down in her crib and leaning down to kiss her goodnight.
"So... You want to start off with me taking her next weekend for the day?" I nodded, Harry pulled out his phone and went to his calender. "Okay... September 23rd..." he typed it into his phone while I gave him details.
"Now... What about child support?" I licked my lips, hoping what I wanted wouldn't be too much.
"I was thinking like... 200 a month? It'll help pay for what my paycheck can't."
"200? That's it?" his head cocked to the side.
"Mhm, that's it." it was quiet for a minute.
"I'm sorry for what happened with Stacey last week... She gets a bit... busy when she's drunk."
My heart sunk. Stacey.
"Oh, Harry. It's fine. I'm happy, you're happy." he reached across the table and took my head, tears coming to the surface of my eyes.
"You're so beautiful and you've given me such a beautiful child. I may be upset that you hid this from me for so long... But I want to thank you for thinking of me when you did what you did."
A tear escaped, but I brushed it away before he could see it. I looked over at him and noticed the necklace hanging from around his neck.
"You still have it." I whispered.
"What?" he looked around at himself, but still wasn't sure.
"The necklace. T-the plain. You still have it." I pointed a trembling finger at the little plain.
"Oh, yeah. I love it."
"I got you that for our one year..." he had loved my gift so much.
It was quiet for a moment, we just sat hand in hand, looking at one another like we would in high school.
Like we would when we would hangout, he would make me waffles after school and I'd sit and eat a whole plate full while he held my hand and just gazed at me. Making me feel so insecure yet so pretty at the same time. Knowing he loved me was one of the best feelings I could have ever experienced. The feeling of his warmth and safety around me was the only thing that kept me sane during those terrible four years.
"So what are you doing for school?" I shut my eyes for a few seconds, wanting that moment to come back again.
"I'm doing online stuff... I want to write." I looked up at him and he smiled.
"You always loved to write, Maeve. Your writing was always-and probably still is- my favorite thing to read in this whole world."
We talked for a few more hours, about what I wanted to do with my writing career and filling him in on the past two years since Ari had been born.
"Her birthday is October 15th. I'm having a party at Bennie's and you're welcome to come." he gladly accepted my invitation.
"Is it really eleven? Oh, love. I have to get going. I've got to record tomorrow." he stood up and I followed him to the door.
"Thank you for coming over." I reached for the door knob and he nodded, accepting my thanks like an awkward gentleman.
"When do you plan on telling the band?" I studied my fingers, which played with the zipper on my sweater.
"I will soon... Maybe sometime this week." I nodded and opened the door, but he shut it gently.
He walked towards me, my body was against the wall and only inches from his chest.
He leaned in and my eyes began to flutter, I hadn't been kissed-or in such a position- since I had told Harry I was leaving.
I inched my head forward but he pulled away quickly, "Thank you." he shook his head, looking angry at himself and walked out the door.
I watched from the door frame as he drove away, tears pouring down my face at the thought of losing him again and again.