E I G H T E E N
It was mid August when Harry and Mia had fallen into the habit of falling asleep together. This is when Harry realized that he was seriously trudging into dangerous territory. He used to be fine being alone, he used to believe he was perfectly happy with himself. But now, even sleep became unbearable unless he had her beside her. It wasn't that he craved her body in a sexual way, it was that he craved her in the most innocent of forms. He couldn't sleep unless she was beside him, and when he discovered that was so he never went to sleep without her by his side.
Mia of course had no objection to this. Her own love for Harry growing more, if possible, every day. It was in his bed that she first told him everything about her. It was the first night they had slept together. His fingers were woven into her hair, slowly brushing out waves whilst his other hand was firmly pressing her bare back to his chest. She looked out the small window that was slightly open. The summer air was filling the room as she inhaled and exhaled.
Harry pressed her tighter to him, "Tell me something you haven't told anyone else."
She smiled. Ever since the night she had first said that to him, it became a habit. Sometimes they would tell each other silly things, trivial things. But that night she felt as if the moment was too serious to tell him that she had burned the cake she attempted earlier that day. She wanted to tell him something more anyways.
"I was five when my dad passed. We moved from our house in London and came down here to Holmes Chapel. My grandmum used to own the cabin and the field, but she had no use for it. She left it to us after she had passed. It wasn't until my mother and I came that the strawberries began to flourish." She paused, remembering the first harvest of ripe strawberries. Remembering the story her mother had told her. "I always used to wonder why strawberries existed."
"Do you know why?" He asks.
"Yeah. I think I do. But, let's save that for another time."
Harry smiles into her shoulder and lets her continue.
"I spent the entirety of my childhood on that field Harry. I spent the entirety of my childhood with my mum. You know, it felt like we only had each other in the entire world."
Harry knew that feeling all too well now. It was both the most beautiful and most terrifying feeling he had ever experienced, allowing your world to rest in the hands of a single person.
"And when she died, I just...I didn't think I would ever be okay again." Because when Mia's mother died, she remembered it feeling as if her entire world had disappeared. Everything she had ever known was gone. From her father's memories to her mother's sweet smile, everything was fading. She found herself alone in a world that she had never really known.
"I'm sorry, Mia." Harry says, kissing curvature of her neck ever so softly.
"But now, now I'm more afraid than ever."
"Why is that?"
"Because, Harry. You know how I told you that you should write your own story?"
"Well, what happens when I'm done being a part of it? What happens if something happens to me or you? What happens to our story?"
"Mia." Harry says wordlessly.
"Harry, I don't want there to be any strawberry fields because of me. I don't want anyone to miss me. I don't want to watch someone destroy themselves over the thought of having lost me."
"I'm so scared, Harry. I know its useless to be scared of death, to be scared of something that you're not in control of, but God, I don't want anyone to have to go through what I did. I don't want our story to end when either of us dies. I don't want your world to fall apart or mine to end once more. I just want you and I to be together for as long as we can be." She had been near tears at this point.
Harry, his own tears causing his eyes to burn and his throat to close up, turns Mia to face him.
"Mia. Please." He wasn't sure what to say. He hadn't ever questioned his mortality. He hadn't ever pondered the idea of death. He had been lucky enough to not have his world come to a halt or to a sudden end. But now, now that he had created his own world, now that he had truly begun to live he realized that it could all end in a matter of seconds. If she were to leave, if anything were to happen to her, his world would come crumbling down around him. Since this was still relatively new, since it was something he never believed he would ever have, he never thought of the consequences of building his world around one person. But now he had seen them. Upon seeing Mia's tears, her fearful expression as she clung to him, he realized that losing her would mean losing everything. It didn't matter how much he wrote, how much he was able to preserve. If ever she were to leave, if ever she were to go, he would have nothing but those pages. He would have nothing but mere words to sustain himself on.
They said nothing else the rest of the night, they didn't have to.
But this particular morning, as Harry awakens to a sticky Mia upon his chest, he realizes that he forgot to turn on the fan as they slept. He groans as he feels the own sweat upon his brow and turns his face slightly to see the time on the clock upon his end table. He notices the untouched manuscript he had already been about ten chapters into. After that night with Mia, he felt as it mocked him. As if it told him 'This is it. This is all you get to have with her' and that made him not want to ever finish the bloody thing. It was as if finishing it meant the end of them. The end of their world. And he would have none of that.
"Do you smell something burning?" Mia says groggily.
Harry shifts to look at her face, it was red, and had a slight indent upon her cheek from his silver chain. He tried to withhold his laughter. "Something burning?" He sputters. He sniffs and realizes that indeed something seemed to be burning.
Then they both look at each other and mutter "Niall."
Mia jumps up from the bed, her baggy t-shirt covering her shorts and going all the way down to her knees. She rushes towards the door and runs into the kitchen, only to see Niall fervently attempting to put out a small fire upon the stove.
Harry comes in two steps behind her, shirtless and looking still slightly confused. Niall looks at them both and yells, "Put it out!"
Mia quickly grabs the smalll fire extinguisher she had the good sense to have purchased after the last time Niall had cooked and puts out the fire.
Niall looks at her begrudgingly, "I guess it was a good present."
Mia smiles cockily, "And you hated it so when I gave it to you."
Harry runs a hand through his hair and looks at the abandoned pancake mix upon the counter, "I'm going to guess you were attempting to make some breakfast."
"No shit, Sherlock." Niall mutters.
"So early for such hostility." Harry replies, grabbing the bowl and handing it to Mia.
"Fuck off." Niall responds, marching off into his room and slamming the door.
Both Harry and Mia laugh.
"He likes to be independent." Harry explains. "I think it's a phase. He's never quite been this way. Lately though, he's been trying to do a lot of things himself."
Mia giggles, "He's preparing himself for when you leave."
"Well, if we were to move somewhere else together, and he were to be alone, he probably wants to make sure he won't starve."
Harry wraps his arms around Mia's waist as she begins to pour the batter onto a clean frying pan, "You think he believes I'm leaving?"
"You never know. He probably thinks we're very serious about each other."
"Are we not?"
Mia looks at Harry and smiles, "I don't know. Once you admit you can't live without someone I'd say that's pretty damn serious."
They both smile at each other endearingly, not noticing that Niall had quietly slipped back into the room. He bumps Harry away from Mia and slides in next to her. "Okay, I'm ready to learn." He says looking at Mia.
"What in the bloody hell."
"I want to learn to make pancakes."
"Since I felt like it."
"Very mature." Harry says, pecking Mia on the cheek.
Niall rolls his eyes, "Fuck off. Come back when breakfast is ready, I don't want any distractions."He waves Harry away with a dish towel.
"Okay, okay. I'm going." Harry begins to walk towards the bathroom with what feels like a permanent smile etched upon his face.
Although his best mate was preparing himself for when Harry would eventually leave, he now was assured that this world that he was building would be a stable one. Or at the very least, a sturdy one.
He brushes his teeth, studying his medium length locks in the mirror. Pondering many things all at once. Whether he would look good with shoulder length hair, how many tattoos would be too many, and finally where he and Mia would live. Would it be in this flat? In hers? In the field?
He wasn't quite sure, but at least he was sure she was pondering the same.