“He talked a lot about the past, and I gathered that he wanted to recover something, some idea of himself perhaps, that had gone into loving Daisy. His life had been confused and disordered since then, but if he could once return to a certain starting place and go over it all slowly, he could find out what that thing was ....”
My eyes scanned yet another page of the well worn book as I read about yet another love filled struggle between Daisy and Gatsby. This must have been the hundredth time I read about the green light on the dock and the still dissatisfying battle for love. It was true that I loved this book, not for just the words on the page but for the memories this story held. Nowadays with my life in the past, all I had to grasp were the memories.
I marked my page and set the book down on the covers beside me and pulled the soft beige blanket around myself. This morning was especially cold as the snow fell outside. Even with every attempt to consume the heat from the blanket, I found myself shivering. I suppose some of that was due to the fact that I was still wearing the maroon shorts and the Cambridge sweatshirt but I wasn't about to let my guard down. The bag of clothes and other items that had been surplusly given to me still sat in the corner of the room. They had been there for a week and much to Harry's argumentative displeasure, they would stay there.
I felt another chill run down my spine and I slipped my feet over the edge of the bed and pulled the blanket along with me. Padding along the chilly wood floor, I made my way out of the bedroom and down the hall to the stairs. Before descending, I glanced at the wall clock and saw that it was now nearly twelve. I had been engulfed in the book for hours. I walked deliberately down the stairs and over to the thermostat. It had been set to sixty degrees. A frown spread across my lips and pushed the up arrow button to increase it to eighty-two.
While I waited for the house to heat up, I walked into the kitchen and put some water into a kettle and set it on the stove. I walked over to the island stools and sat down, waiting for the water to heat up. My eyes wandered the modernly designed kitchen and I noticed a stack of newspapers on the counter. I read the headline on the top one.
'Prime Minister Polls are Neck and Neck' it read. I stared at it for a few moments before deciding against reading it. What would come of reading about it?
I sat there at the counter, watching the second hand pass each number on the clock. It had passed the one five times by now. My eyes closed, straying my attention away from the clock and I ran my hands stressfully through my hair. I began to think. I had been doing that a lot in the past week, thinking. After all, what else was there to do? All the books I had in my possession had been read so many times to the point where I knew them practically word for word. I had no interest in watching TV. And as for conversing with Harry, well, that was out of the question. To he and I, talking was now a foreign subject. I wouldn't talk about the clothes. He wouldn't talk about the argument. And as for the kiss, well, that was out of the question. It wasn't that it wasn't a good kiss. Actually, it might have been one of the best I've ever had. But that kiss meant something. It meant that I wasn't just a stranger in his home or even a friend. He saw me as something else. Something I didn't want to be to him. Or to anyone for that matter.
The kettle began to scream and I jumped in my seat. I sat there staring at the pot for a moment before slipping off the stool and grabbing a mug from the cabinet. I pulled the kettle off the stove and poured water into the cup. I shuffled around in the cupboard before finding one last tea bag of Yorkshire Tea. After throwing the box away, I slipped the tea bag into the cup and dipped it in and out a few times. I walked back over to the counter with the mug in my hand and sat down. It wasn't even five minutes later that I heard the front door open and close and footsteps filled the entry way. I prayed that he wouldn't walk in here, just to avoid conversation. Well, it were as if the thought were enough to lure him in. He walked in with little white flakes still remaining in his hair and flushed cheeks. He glanced at me for only a second before his eyes shifted to the half full tea pot on the counter. He grabbed a mug out of the cabinet and grabbed one of his tea bags out of the cabinet. After pouring himself a cup of tea, he stood across from me at the counter. When he didn't speak, I decided to.
I cleared my throat a little. "How was the meeting."
He looked down at the cup and shrugged a little. "It was fine." He looked up at me. "How was your morning?"
I twirled the tea bag around in my cup. "Simple."
He nodded his head a little before taking a sip of his tea. I could tell his mind was consumed with thoughts that were attacking him. Anyone could see the words that were on the tip of his tongue that he was dying to say but always decided against. We stayed silent. What were we supposed to say? We couldn't pretend, we were too far into this. Whatever this was.
"Are we going to talk about this?" Harry asked finally. "Because I'd really like to."
It took me a minute to respond as I looked down at the swirling tea in my cup. "What's there to talk about?"
I could hear the frown in his voice as he spoke. "Everything that happened last week. The fight, the stuff I got you that you refuse to wear because you're so damn stubborn... and-"
And that was that. The seven letters and two words were there but neither of us dared to speak them. They were like a poison to our language and the first to speak the forbidden words would drop dead on the spot. We both knew we were thinking them, but it was a matter of who would burst first.
"Rebecca." He finally spoke, his voice soft.
I looked at him with his hands tucked into his sweatshirt sleeves wrapped around his cup. His eyes were soft, innocent almost.
"Rebecca, we can't hide from this forever." He said.
"Yes we can." I replied.
"No we can't." He argued. "It happened and we can't deny that it happened."
I sucked in my breath and gripped my mug tighter. "What Harry? What happened?"
"You know what happened." Harry fought."
"Tell me." I frowned.
He stared at me, his eyes not longer soft and innocent but rather frantic and anxious. He didn't want to say it but I knew he would.
"I kissed you. And you, you kissed me back." He spoke.
I narrowed my eyes. "I didn't kiss you back Harry."
"Yes you did. You can deny and feelings for me but you can't deny that." He said.
I didn't respond to his ridiculous words.
"Jesus christ Harry will you stop calling me that!? You sound like my mother." I frowned.
He paused. "Bec," There was caution in his voice.
I stared at him. "If you're going to say it then say it. Might as well get it all out now."
Harry tugged on the sleeves of his sweatshirt nervously. He took a deep breath. "I like you. And I've kind of liked you since that day you opened up to me in that diner."
I sucked in my breath and closed my eyes. "And the elephant in the room is free." I muttered under my breath.
"What are you so afraid of Bec?" He whispered.
I looked up at him. "What am I so afraid of?" My lips curved into a frown. "I'm not afraid of anything. I'm just so tired of guys buying me stuff and telling me they like me and-"
"You're tired of kindness?" Harry asked.
I felt my heart speed up and my breath hitch in my throat. "No." I uttered. "I'm tired of life."
His eyebrows furrowed a little and he walked around to sit next to me. He looked at me as if I were fragile.
"Bec, what happened to you the night I found you?" Harry asked me, his voice soft.
I didn't respond. I couldn't respond. Just the thought of the events of that night were enough. They haunted me.
"Bec. I really need you to tell me." He said cautiously.
I dropped my head into my hands and shut my eyes tightly. I couldn't let the memories get to me. Not now.
"I can't tell you." I scoffed, my voice cracking.
My head shot up and it took everything in me to keep the tears from flowing. "Stop! Just stop Harry! I just- I can't."
"Why not?" He pushed.
I stood up and threw my hands in the air. "Because I can't Harry!"
I hurried desperately out of the room and dashed up the stairs as if a demon were chasing me. In a way, they were. I hurled myself down the hall and into my room. After shutting and locking the door behind me, I launched myself onto the bed and just lay there with my eyes closed. I pulled the blanket that was still wrapped around me closer to my body and shut my eyes tightly. I tried to block out everything but the memories took over.
"You!" He bellowed, his face twisted with furry.
"Jackson please, baby, I can explain." I cried, slowly backing away.
"You think I give a shit about your fucking explanation?!" Jackson roared.
"We were watching a movie! That's it!" I tried to explain feverishly.
He grabbed my shoulders and slammed me against the wall. A whimper escaped my lips as I felt his big hands digging into my skin. His face was inches from mine and his eyes screamed with anger.
"I've told you time after time to never see him again and what do you fucking do?! You fucking see him again!" He yelled.
I wanted so badly to protest but I knew it would do nothing but escalate the argument.
"You disobeyed me!" Jackson howled. "You fucking disobeyed me after I told you not to!"
I shrank back into the wall and shut my eyes tightly. "I won't do it again!" I cried. "I promise! I won't do it again!"
My body shook as I felt his hot breath on my neck, his hands still grasping my shoulders tightly.
"You think a fucking promise will make me believe you? No. I need to teach you a fucking lesson." He growled.
He hurled me aside, causing my head to slam into the wall. I cried out in pain as he slowly stepped towards me.
"Jackson please!" I yelped helplessly.
"If you don't shut that fucking mouth of yours I'll shut it for you." He spat.
He picked me up by my arm and slammed me onto the floor.
"Will you disobey me again?" He jeered angrily, standing over me.
"No!" I cried. "No!"
I could feel my cheeks being stained with the constant tears that flowed from my cold eyes. My shoulders and my head throbbed with pain and as his foot came into contact with my torso, I yelped, feeling a sharp pain shoot through me.
"Jackson please!" I pleaded again.
It's as if my words hadn't reached him. His arms jerked me up again and he stared down at me.
"You're mine." He growled.
My response was not heard as he thrusted me out of his arms and into the glass door behind me. I felt my back break the glass and the moment I hit the ground it was as if the whole world has disappeared.
I awoke with a start to find the sheets around me with damp with sweat. My body shook softly and my tired eyes wandered the dim room. Outside the sun had begun to set and snow still fell rapidly from the light ridden sky. As usual, the house was fairly silent except for the soft ticks of the clock and the muffled sound of the TV downstairs. I sat up in the bed and pulled the soft blanket around me, closing me eyes. And so they began again. The nightmares.
I pulled the blanket tighter around my body and slid my feet off the edge of the bed. The floor was cold as I walked towards the door and I began walking down the hallway, The sound of the TV became louder as I descended the stairs. Upon entering the living room, I immediately recognized the audio. I stood in the doorway a few moments, watching Harry as his eyes were glued to The Great Gatsby. His knees were tucked slightly into his chest and he sat in nothing but a sweatshirt and sweats. Harry's lips curved into a small smile as Daisy walked into Nick's small house which contained thousands of flowers.
"Oh," Daisy gasped. "Did you ransack a greenhouse?"
A soft chuckle escaped his lips. My feet took me quietly across the wood floor and around the couch. Harry's attention turned away from the movie and his eyes were set on me. I sat down beside him and pulled the blanket around me. When I felt his eyes still on me I turned to him with raised eyebrows.
"What?" I asked.
He blinked a little and turned his head away. "Nothing."
Both pairs of eyes turned back to the screen and I watched yet again as Daisy and Gatsby discovered each others presence. I had always loved and hated the story line. It was so clear that Daisy was in love with Gatsby but she was married to Tom Buchanan and because of the way she lived and the power Tom had against her, it would stay that way. It bothered me though, Tom clearly didn't love her seeing as he had an affair with that Myrtle woman. I had always hoped that every time I watched the movie or read the book, somehow Gatsby and Daisy would end up together but I'd always be left with the heart wrenching disappointment. What made me most sad was that love truly couldn't find a way. It was all about the lives in which they lived that wouldn't allow them to be together.
I had been so engulfed in my thoughts that I hardly noticed Harry looking at me again. I sighed and tried to concentrate on the movie but his eyes never left me.
"Are you cold?" He finally asked me.
I took a moment before looking at him and shrugged. "It's winter. We're all a little cold."
His eyes looked at me solemnly but his arm lifted, indicating his permission to get closer. I hesitated.
"Bec, you're cold and my damn thermostat doesn't go any higher." He told me, seriousness engulfing his voice.
After much hesitation, I slid closer to him and hooked myself under his arm. I pulled the blanket closer to me and he threw the rest of his blanket over my legs. We didn't speak after that. He and I kept out eyes glued to the screen and eventually my feet had regained their feel. Ultimately, when the movie was over he and I just sat in the silence for a while. My head turned to the window that continued to display a snowy, white blizzard.
"So you like the movie..." I finally spoke.
I felt Harry's breathing against my shoulder and he nodded softly. "I was never really into those kind of movie but then you came along..."
My head turned towards him and I frowned a little. "Can I ask you something?"
He shrugged. "Of course."
I struggled with my words. "What... -" I paused. "what made you like me?"
Harry bit the inside of his cheek and brought his hand up to run it through his maine of curls. His eyes glanced toward mine.
"Promise you won't yell at me or walk away or anything?" He asked.
"I won't." I shook my head.
His eyes blinked slowly. "I don't know, you're just so- mysterious. You choose your words carefully and you're independent. Even when you don't think so, I think you're beautiful. And while you may have your bad days, you also have those days where we lay on the floor of the kitchen with fallen pots and pans around us." A soft smile fit to his lips. "And you've kinda made me like a lot of new stuff like this Gatsby movie and parmesan chicken."
"But-" I began slowly. "You don't really know me that well."
"While I would love to know you better, I still really like everything that you are right now." Harry told me.
I shifted uncomfortably in my seat. His eyes stared intently at me but I said nothing. What was I supposed to say? When I didn't respond, he sighed heavily.
"What are you so afraid of?" He asked me. "It's not like I'm going to judge you or anything. I just want to know who you are."
My face turned towards him. "You already know who I am."
"Not you're name. I mean like who you are as a person. What you were like when you were younger. How well you get along with your siblings. I want to know that kind of stuff." He said.
I let out a soft sigh. "When I was younger I read a lot. I don't mean like Winnie The Pooh books and stuff like that, I mean I was reading Pretty Woman by the time I was eight. The way I was raised, I wasn't allowed to go out and play in the bud or watch movies. To my parents, all of that was silly and unsophisticated, something neither of my parents were. So I read. I kind of found salvation in reading. With my siblings it was the same way. I usually spent most of my time with my older brother, Will. After a while my younger brother, Lukas joined in and the three of us spent a lot of time together."
"Didn't you say you have a little sister? What about her?" Harry asked.
I shrugged. "She gets along best with Will, probably because he's the oldest. She and I get along well though."
"Why would your parents never let you have fun? That's kind of what being a kid is all about." He said.
I shrugged a little. "It was mostly my mother. She cared a lot about the families image. She's the type that always throws charity banquets and garden parties. Never a hair out of place."
"Did you get along with her at least?" He asked.
I frowned a little. "When I was younger yeah, but when I started to grow up she sort of tried taking over my life and that ultimately ruined our relationship."
"What did she do?" Harry asked me.
I sighed. "She just- she tried to control me and I didn't like that."
Harry nodded his head slowly, trying to process my words. While he was contemplating, I decided to drift the topic away from me.
"What about you? What were you like?" I asked.
"Well," He breathed. "The first few years of my life were pretty good. I got along really well with my sister. My parents got divorced though and that kind of changed a lot. My mum got custody of my sister and I and I see my dad sometimes still but I'm closer with my mum. She's actually getting married soon and I'm happy about that. But when I was younger it was all about having fun. I loved to go outside with my friends and sometimes we'd kick a football around. And as for movies, I loved those. I remember when I was younger I absolutely loved everything Power Rangers. I never really read much but when I did it was probably a school book that I was required to read. I also just loved entertaining people. Like I loved school plays and talent shows and I just loved it when I made people laugh and smile. I was a proper show-off." Harry chuckled.
"You still kind of are though." I smiled a little.
"Oh, you think I'm a show-off?" He asked, his eyebrows raised.
"You are. You dance all the time when you're making tea and stuff and you crack the lamest jokes." I chuckled softly.
Harry laughed. "Oh but you love my jokes. You laugh every single time."
"No I don't." I protested.
"Yes you do. Watch. What do you call a balloon that's a whore?" He asked.
I raised my eyebrows, quite amused. "What?"
"Breathtaking." He replied proudly.
I couldn't control the loud laughs that immediately escaped my lips. The jokes were so lame but the way he said them made them hilarious.
"See! I told you. Heres another one. Knock knock." He spoke.
"Who's there?" I gasped out, still laughing a little.
"Harry." He grinned.
"Oh god." I chuckled.
"Actually I think it's Harry who." He sassed.
"Harry who?" I replied, a smile creeping on my face.
"Harry up and let me in, it's cold outside." He spoke proudly.
And I again I couldn't control the fits of laughter that appeared after the words left his mouth.
"You are absolutely the dorkiest person I've ever met." I informed him.
"Mission accomplished then." Harry grinned.
It took me a few minutes to catch my breath but once the two of us had stopped the constant laughter, we just sat there on the couch in the inching darkness, my head turned back towards the window. I watched as another gust of white powder blew past the window and I shivered a little. Harry's arm wrapped tighter around me and I found myself inching closer to him.
"Can we please stop with the whole arguing thing? Honestly Bec, I miss moments like these." Harry spoke finally.
I looked up at him sadly. "We can't just forget everything that happened Harry."
"I can't control about how I feel about you but I can control how I display it. This doesn't have to change anything. I just really want us to be on good terms again." He said.
My eyes darted toward him and then back to the window. "Only if you promise me something."
"Anything." Harry replied.
I looked at him. "You can't fall in love with me."
His breath paused and he looked at me.
"Okay." He said quietly.
"Do you promise?" I asked.
He nodded. "I promise."
We sat in silence for a while before his phone began to rang and he walked out of the room to answer it. I lay back onto the couch in the place that he sat and continued to stare at the darkening sky outside. I could hear Harry's muffled voice from the kitchen and it sounded as if he were arguing. It was only minutes later that he entered the room again, lifted my feet and sat down, setting my feet upon his lap.
"You okay?" I asked him as I watched him stressfully run his fingers through his hair.
"Yeah. My uh- my dad just called me. We haven't spoken in quite a while." He muttered.
"What was the yelling about?" I asked.
He sat back and looked at me. "He wants me to come spend a weekend with him because he couldn't come down for my birthday."
"Your birthday? When was that?" I questioned curiously.
"Last week. February first." He admitted.
I sat up quickly. "Harry! Why didn't you tell me!?"
He shrugged. "You were mad at me. We weren't talking."
"Well did you at least go out with your friends or anything?" I asked him.
Harry shook his head. "Nah. I wasn't really in the mood."
"Well," I began. "I'm going to make you a cake and we're going to throw our own little party."
"Bec." Harry groaned.
"No. You don't turn twenty every day." I told him.
"How about this. My birthday present from you will be you sitting here with me while we drink tea and watch movies all night." He grinned.
"Is that really what you want?" I asked.
He nodded. "I just want to spend time with you."
"But what about your friends?" I questioned. "Won't they want to celebrate with you?"
Harry shrugged. "Maybe. But for now I just really wanna spend my time with you."
I sighed and looked at him. "Okay."
"I'll get the tea and you pick a movie." He told me, getting up.
"Hurry back!" I called over my shoulder.
For the continuation of the night we watched movies all the way from Finding Nemo to all three Hangover movies. And during that time the snow fell outside and a peaceful atmosphere filled the room.