After meeting the boys, Harry took me shopping and bought me new clothes to fit my ‘new life’. These clothes consisted of newer versions of what I already owned because Harry believed that I didn’t need to change. Now I am sitting on the couch in his lounge room watching a Sci-Fi movie in my new pyjamas. Harry said I could stay the for the weekend before I have to go back to school if I didn’t want to go home so of course, I am staying at Harry’s this weekend.
I had to call my parents because I felt so bad about running off without out them knowing. Mum agreed that if I agreed to let them come over and check out my head, I was allowed to stay here before I had to go back to school. So while I am watching the movie, I am keeping an eye on the clock so that I can be ready when Mum gets here.
Mum only ever knocks twice. That’s how I know it’s her so I get up and hurry to the door. Harry isn’t too far behind me and he stands behind me when I open the door. When I open the front door, I find my mum standing there looking at me, with her arms out stretched. I run into them and feel them curl around me.
“Hi mum,” I smile. She says nothing but kisses me on the forehead.
“Please come inside Dr Carter,” Harry says politely. She accepts his invitation and steps inside. Hanging from her side is a small bag that I recognise as our heavy duty first aid kit. I lead her through to the large down stairs bathroom. The door swings open and she and I step inside.
“What the fuck were you thinking, Lainley?” She whispers harshly. She hits me across the arm. “How could you be so stupid? You run off from the fucking hospital after a head injury. You sneak off with some boy no one knows. Some boy no one has ever even heard of. You never answered your father and I. He nearly lost his job because he was so stressed about where you were. I’m still going to allow you stay here until school starts again because a deal is a deal. But as soon as you get home, you’re grounded. We will have our neighbour drive you to school and then drive you home. No socialising after school. You go straight to Mr Richards and go home.”
I nod my head. I don’t know why I thought it would be a good idea to contact Mum after running away and then refusing to go home. However, I realise I can’t back out know because I have already made the deal with Harry and my mum. So I just take a deep breath and let Mum examine my head. She pulls out a packet of wipes from the first aid kit and starts rubbing the area around my wound. It sting a little bit but I can put up with it.
Next, she pulls out disinfectant and pours that onto a tissue. She dabs that on my head and I can feel it burning all the way through me. I hiss in pain and Mum lightens her touch. I’m not entirely sure why she does. I suppose it must be some sort of instinct after working as a doctor for twenty years.
“Lain, your head is fine. It’s actually healed pretty well considering it only happened a few days ago. Your stitches will be ready to come out in about a week. However, I don’t think you’re ready to go back to school. Not only is your injury only new but your mental state cannot be coping well at this point. As we previously agreed, you are able to stay at Harry’s until you go back to school. If his mother is okay with it. I’ll write you a medical certificate for five days off school. That should be enough time for you to heal enough.” Mum says.
She smiles and wraps her arms around me loosely. When I hug back, her grip tightens. We stand together for a few minutes, holding one another up. Then, Mum unwraps her arms from around me and places her hands on my shoulders. She pulls me closer and places a firm kiss on my forehead.
“I love you,” She says quietly.
“I love you too, Mum,” I whisper.
I head towards the door and pull it open and move over to the side to let Mum pass through. She slips past me and I let the door go. It shuts behind me. I lead Mum through Harry’s house back to the lounge room. Mum can’t help but to stare at all of the baby photos up on the walls. She stops to look at one of a little girl. Next is a photo of Harry. Mum takes a quick look at his photo and then moves onto the next one. It’s a photo of a little girl. She looks strikingly similar to Harry, but that isn’t where my Mum knows her from. Her hand rises to touch the little girls face in the photo.
“Why does she feel so familiar?” Mum whispers.
“Mum, that’s Gemma. Harry’s sister. My friend. Who died in a collision,” I speak quietly.
Mums face drops and she realises. She recognized Harry when she first saw him, back at school in the nurse’s office. But she was in too much of a hurry to notice.
“I never even noticed. He still looks the same as he did all those years ago,” she says. I nod my head in agreement. Harry does look the same as he did back then. I even noticed it, even though I never noticed him and I know that doesn’t make much sense, but that’s how it was.
“Come on, Mum. Let’s go. Harry is waiting,” I urge. I place my hand lightly on her arm and she follows me out of the hallway. Harry is waiting for me and Mum. He’s sitting on the couch, watching a show but he turns around and looks at us when we exit the hallway.
“How’s your head, Fred?” He laughs.
“My head is perfectly fine and in one piece,” I smile proudly.
“That’s pretty sweet,” Harry says. I laugh at his comments and he returns with a sweet smile. Mum nudges her elbow into mine ribs and I whip my head around to look at her. She winks back at me and I roll my eyes. It goes quite suddenly. Its starts to feel awkward so mum clears her throat.
“I should probably get going. Your dad will be waiting for an update on you,” Mum says. She points a small smile in my direction and embraces me into a hug.
“I love you,” she whispers.
“I love you too,” I whisper back.
“See you when you start back up at school, Lainley,” Mum says as she leaves the house. She waves at Harry before closing the door. I turn around and lean my back on the door.
“So how long are you willing to put up with me?” I ask Harry.
“To be completely honest,” he starts. “I wouldn’t mind if you just didn’t leave. You brighten the place up a bit.”
“Well mum says I should take a week off of school. My head is ready to go back to school but my brain isn’t apparently. So I guess you’ll have me for an extra week.”
“Well that is absolutely no problem, Love. I like having you around,” says Harry, walking over towards me. I am still leaning against the door as Harry places one hand near my head. He puts some of his weight onto the hand and leans forward. I have to tilt my head up to look into his eyes. His body is close to mine and I can feel the warmth coming from him. It sends shivers down my spine. His presence feels scarily dominating so I press my back against the door as hard as I can. Suddenly Harry pulls back and shakes his head.
“Sorry, Lain,” he mutters. He turns and walks off, leaving me confused and alone. I don’t understand what just happened. I don’t understand why he approached me like that and then left so suddenly. I just shake my head and push myself off of the wall and walk towards the room I have claimed as my own. I was only able to claim the room due to the fact that I was staying for longer that I had originally intended. Harry had wanted me to say in his room but I argued to earn the spare room for some privacy. He agreed relentless and then told me it used to be Gemma’s room but they had long since repurposed the room into a spare guest room. Harry had said it really hurt to see his mum when they were redoing the room.
I wish I had of stuck around to help bare the load of the loss but I was selfish. I breathe in and sit down the on the bed. The bedding is basic. It consists of a simple white quilt and fluffy pillow. I burry my face into one of the pillows and just breathe. I don’t have the energy in me to do anything other than just lie there so that’s exactly what I do. I fall asleep after a while. It’s an unpleasant dreamless sleep.
I wake up later to find myself drenched in sweat. The wind is rushing outside. Maybe the wind woke me up. The alarm clock next to the bed reads eight pm. So I get up and clean myself up. I put on some fresh clothes. Pyjamas of course and walk out of the room. The lights are on downstairs and I can hear movement in the kitchen. Harry must be making dinner, I think. I pick up my feet and start to walk towards the stairs to go downstairs when I walk past Harry’s room and stop dead. I see Harry sitting on his bed, playing on his phone.
“Uh, Hi Harry. Who’s downstairs?” I ask.
He looks up from his phone at me. His eyes are wide in shock.
“It’s um… a secret,” he says. He jumps off of his bed and comes towards me. I shrink back after thinking about what happened earlier. But instead of getting really close to me, he just grabs my arm and pulls me into the room, closing the door behind us.
“Harry, what’s going on?” I frown.
He shakes his head at me. “I can’t tell you yet. Not until nine. And because I know you’re a curious little busy bee, you’re on lockdown in my room where I can keep an eye on you until it’s time. Luckily for you, I have some games in here to keep you occupied.”
“I don’t really want to stay in here. I claimed the spare room so I wouldn’t live in your pocket,” I argue.
Harry just grins at me and takes his place back on the bed with his phone. I roll my eyes and storm over to the bed and plop myself down next to him. I can tell he’s grinning next to me but I refuse to look at him. I refuse to give in. So I just sink further into the mattress and pull out my phone. I click onto social media and Harry suddenly jumps on me, stealing my phone.
“Dude, what the heck,” I yell out.
“Sorry, but you’re going to spoil the surprise. This is a big night tonight, Lain,” Harry replies.
I just role my eyes and turn over so I face away from him completely. I sit there for a little while until I hear Harry laughing behind me. I grunt, trying to make him feel bad. Why does he get to do whatever he likes and I have to sit here with nothing to do.
“Ha ha, don’t be like that love,” Harry says. “Here, come play this game with me. It’ll take your mind off of being locked in here with your absolute favourite person in the world.”
“Me,” he whispers after a slight pause.
I sit back up, and punch him in the arm, but take the controller he was holding out for me. The game was a simple racing game but it did its job. It kept me occupied while I waited for Harry to hurry up and let me in on what’s going on downstairs. Of course, Harry decides not to tell me what’s going on, so I am left squirming in my seat while trying to beat the car that was always going just slightly faster than me.
I don’t remember when Harry got off the bed but he appears in the door way, holding a long black dress in one hand and silver glitter heels in the other hand.
“What?” I ask, slightly surprised by the beautiful clothes he’s holding and by the fact that he just randomly appeared in the door way after I swear he was sitting next to me.
“Put these on,” he says. He places the clothes next to me and leaves the room.
After he closes the door, I jump up off of the bed and grab the clothes. I also look around the room for my phone but Harry probably took it with him so I wouldn’t find out about his big ‘surprise’. Instead I just take the clothes into Harry’s ensuite and pull my clothes off.
I raise the dress above my head and slide it on. The dress is tight and loose in all of the right places. It falls down around my ankles and elegantly. Next, I slip the beautiful silver heels on and I look at myself in the mirror. I’ve never seen myself so dressed up and honestly it would almost be a nice surprise if my hair wasn’t a mess. I quickly brush it out and tie it back in a loose French roll. I quickly apply some light makeup so I don’t look like I haven’t showered in eighteen years. I look at my appearance in the mirror and am somewhat satisfied with how I look so I take a step out of the bathroom and find Harry buttoning up a suit shirt.
He turns around and his jaw drops. “Wow, you look beautiful,” he admires. I smile but turn my head away in shyness and to hide my suddenly hot cheeks. He looks away too and tucks his shirt into his pants and ties his tie. I must say, he looks really good. He walks towards me and grabs my hand.
“Come on, let’s go downstairs,” Harry says.
Gently, he places my hand in his and together, we head towards the stairs. Harry lets me hand go when we reach the stairs and heads down first. I follow when I see him reach the bottom and turn around to smile at me. I hesitate at the top of the stairs until Harry widens his smile at me again. I can’t help but to grin. He’s so sweet.
I start down the stairs. The lounge and the kitchen are filled with Harry’s friends and a few others I’ve never met. The house is spotless and the kitchen has been done up. There are lit candles on the table, set up for a dinner party.
A woman on the other side of the room opens up her arms, and Harry drags me to her.
“Lainley, this is my mother, Anne. Mum, this is Lainley,” Harry smiles.
Anne embraces in me in a hug and I stand there shocked. I pull back and step towards Harry.
“Harry, I’ve been here for a while, how come this is the first I’ve even heard of your mother?”
“Well…” he mumbles. “Mum has been on holiday over in America doin’ some stuff and I thought it’d be nice if you got to love her on your own terms, not by my words. Sorry, Love.”
I stare dumbfounded at the floor at how Harry could not tell me about his mother. I don’t have it in my right now to yell at him and I also really don’t want to spoil the mood of this great party so I just smile at him and turn back to Anne. I hug her again and say “Well, I’m glad to finally meet you after hearing about you so much in the last five minutes.”
She laughs with me and lets me go. However, Anne does not break eye contact. She quickly looks towards the kitchen and gestures five, with her fingers. Harry sees the movement and looks down but as he does, Anne returns her hands to normal, pretending like she hasn’t just told me to meet her in the kitchen. I wonder what she would like to talk to me about. I mean, I suppose she would have thousands of questions for me. I have no idea how much Harry has told her. The thought of it gets my heart racing and I feel like it showed on my face, because Harry gently places his hand on my shoulder and smile at me.
I weakly smile back at him and try to return to the conversation the boys were having.
“I honestly believe that we should forget about needing to eat later and eat now. I mean, the food is there and it’s just staring at me and listen, I have a confession. I have no self-control. Guys, this is really hard,” Niall whines.
I giggle at the through of the torment Niall must be going through. I can just imagine the smell of the food wafting through the air into his nose, bringing the taste of freshly cooked nachos and other foods.
“Well I think that we should wait until the rest of the food is finished. That way, everything will be there in front of us and the rest of us will have a chance to get a bit of everything there is,” Liam argues back.
“He’s got a point, Niall. If we wait literally a few minutes, we’ll all get something. Usually at parties, we let you eat the food as you please, and then when one of us goes to get some, there is nothing left but a Niall in the corner with a swollen belly and crumbs around his mouth.” Louis adds.
Their pointless squabble is rather boring so I slip away and make my way to the kitchen. Leaning against the benchtop is Anne. She’s watching the kettle slowly heat up to boiling point. She looks towards me and smiles sweetly.
“Hi love, would you like some tea? The kettles almost boiled.”
I nod my head and step slowly towards her. The kettle clicks off and Anne pulls two mugs out of the overhead cabinet. Two tea bags are placed in the mugs and then filled with boiling water. I take a seat at the breakfast table and Anne joins me, holding the two mugs together, doing an excellent job of keeping the liquid in the mug itself. I always had the tendency to spill half of it on the floor. I take the mug off of her and hold it with both hands, absorbing the warmth.
“So love.” Anne giggles. “What’s the go with you and Harry?”
The question takes me by surprise, yet it’s not at all surprising. However, I still can’t prevent the heat from rising to my cheeks.
“Oh come on, don’t be embarrassed. I know all about you. Harry always calls me every night when I go away. Usually, he just talks about school and how Niall does nothing but eat. He always seems a bit lonely over the phone. But ever since you arrived, his nightly calls have been filled with joy. All he talks about is you and how sweet you are and even though I am unable to see him over the phone, I can feel the light in his eyes. And now that I’m back, it’s unbelievable. I haven’t seen him this happy since he was a little boy, when he was best friends with Gemma.”
I can’t believe what I’m hearing. Somehow, I managed to make someone like me. I start to think about everything I’ve done, trying to figure out what made him even care about me a little. When I woke up in the school nurses office, I thought he was there just because he felt pity for me. We may have a history from when we were little kids, but that is not reason to change his feelings for me now.
I’m not sure how long I am silent for, but when I look up from my mug to find Anne staring at me quizzically.
“Confused dear? Don’t worry. It’s all a bit much to take in for someone with your past. Harry told me about everything that has happened to you. I’m sorry. No child deserves to be treated like that. Children can be so cruel.” Anne reaches out and places her hand over the top of mine.
“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude but I can’t do this.” I push my chair out and gather my dress. I walk out of the kitchen and Hurry up the stairs to the spare bedroom. I kick my shoes off when I close the door and then through myself against the mattress. The thick quilts over the bed almost hides me when I sink further into the mattress. I lift up my arm and pull my hair out of the roll and let if fall all over the place. My brown curls spill crazily over my shoulders and the bed.
Moments later, the door to my room swings open. The footsteps creep towards my bed but I ignore them and keep my face buried.
“Lainley, sit up.”
I slowly push myself up to face him. Harry has concern written all over his face.
“You disappeared from the party and Mum said you ran off when you two were having a chat. I’m sorry if she said anything that may have hurt you. Sometimes her mouth runs and she can’t catch it. Are you okay?”
I slump over and Harry wraps his arms around me. His arms are warm against the bare skin on my arms.
“We can go back down when you’re ready, Lain. The boys are keeping themselves occupied. They’re still arguing about whether or not they can start eating. They could have started eating already if they would stop arguing.” Harry laughs a little at the thought of his friends still arguing. “Hey love, look at me for a moment.”
I move and lift my head a little bit so that I’m looking into Harry’s eyes. He stares straight back into my eyes and the world slows down just a little bit.
He leans closer into me, leaving his lips only seconds away from mine. His arm drapes down over my back and I shudder at his touch.
He leans into me and presses his lips against mine.