E I G H T
It is not an easy feat to forgo your sanity and instead listen to the instinctual organs in your body. Whether it were his gut or his heart, Harry was not sure, but what he was sure of was that he had completely gone mental and had forever parted with his mind. Watching his strawberry girl run into the darkness of the stormy night, he couldn't help but be completely overwhelmed, and at the same time so utterly relieved. He was for once going to just go with it. He didn't know where he was going or where he would end up, but he didn't care. All he wanted was to feel like Mia did, so utterly free and wild, so instinctively going towards wherever would bring her the most joy. He wanted that. But more importantly, he wanted to be right alongside her.
He runs towards her, a smile already appearing upon his face at the sight of her. And surprisingly, he never once questions the validity of his kinked lips.
"So." He says standing right before her.
"Well, I'm assuming it'll be raining the entire evening."
He furrows his brow, "Shouldn't we go somewhere indoors?"
"Do we have to?"
"Well..." He looks up at the already night sky, his face dampening with drops that were coming at a slightly quicker pace.
"Are you going to melt?"
He looks at her smugly, "No, but your cake isn't going to fare well."
She looks at the white box in her grasp, already covered in damp spots. She yelps and holds it tightly to her chest, "Indoors may be the best option."
"Yours or mine?"
Harry nods, walking forward and slightly in front her. He smirks to himself, hearing her red wellies squeaking as she walked upon the glistening pavement. There was just something so comforting, something so reassuring, in hearing someone walking in sync with him. Knowing that behind him there was someone that was going to the same destination he was. It was knowing that there was someone walking with him. It was just so very simple, Harry had been so lonely for so long, he hadn't even known how much he had missed something as simple as having someone to walk home with.
"Is Niall home?" She asks, obviously taking her time and not rushing to meet Harry's absurdly quick pace.
"Should be, he has work tomorrow."
"When has that ever stopped him?"
"Well, it's raining."
"Harry, when has anything ever stopped him."
"Well...I think there was that time he had the flu."
"No, I remember that. He still did open mic night, got about half of the pub sick. Owners had to shut down for a few days."
"So that's why he was home."
She laughs, "Well, maybe we'll get lucky and he actually will be home."
Harry nods, turning the corner and hearing Mia's boots squeaking with every step. He never thought the sound of red rubber boots would be the sound he associated with comfort, but then he never thought a girl like Mia would just happen to fall into his life.
"Oh, we're almost there." She says cheerily.
"I have excellent photographic memory."
"Just not too good with a map?"
She smiles, "See, but if you teach me how to get there, I'll memorize the route."
"But what if you've never been there?"
"Then I need to leave an hour early."
Harry looks up to see that they were at his dingy flat. He stops at the gate, opens it for Mia and walks in after her. She spares no time getting into his home as soon as he opens the door, and to both of their surprises they find Niall, asleep on the couch.
"Huh." Harry says looking at his blonde flatmate, asleep in the fetal position.
"Maybe he had an early start." Mia says covering him with a throw that was on the adjacent chair.
"Sounds about right."
"It's chilly in here." She says looking at Harry and putting the cake down upon the counter.
"AC is rather wanky." He explains.
As Mia begins to hungrily open her treasured white cake box, Harry watches her with what felt like an imprinted smiled upon his face. Both of them too busy to notice that Niall had awoken from his slumber.
"Mia? What are you doing here?" Niall says stretching, his shirt rises up and reveals a pale toned stomach. Harry hurriedly rushes over and pulls down Niall's blue shirt. "What the fuck?" Niall says looking at Harry.
Harry simply gives him a side glance and steps away.
"Well, I stopped by the bakery and Barbra had the cake I liked." Mia says placing both slices on a cake that Harry had taken out of their cabinet.
"So why didn't you eat it at your house?" Niall says, approaching her and taking a strawberry off the plate. She looks at him angrily as he eats it sloppily.
"I didn't want to wait to eat it."
"Your house is five minutes away from here."
"Five minutes longer I'd be without cake."
Niall knows better than to argue with her, and instead reaches for another strawberry, she slaps him roughly this time. His skin becoming red at the site of impact, "Mia! What the fuck!?" The strawberry he had reached for slipped back upon the plate and Mia smiled a very satisfied smile.
Harry smiles and sits at the table as Niall and Mia continue their playful banter. He watches as she eats her cake in front of Niall, and he fumes at the thought that even though Mia was a guest in their home she refused to share her precious desert.
Amelia herself was beginning to feel more at ease, as if this were all a natural occurrence. As if something in the universe had shifted and this is where she finally belonged. It was not even that our strawberry girl was necessarily in love, it was that she finally felt as if everything was as it should have been. After having spent so long searching for a home, it felt as if she were finally stumbling upon something that could most certainly be a synonym to the phrase.
"Why would you even come here if you weren't going to share!?" Niall says eyeing her plate as she continues eating.
"I wanted to visit."
"Well, next time you can visit with some bloody cake."
Harry looks at them and panics. He goes into a blind white panic. This girl was taking over him. How could it have been possible that she was here, that she just so suddenly came into his life in this way. How did this even occur. He tries to remember if ever he had met any of his previous girlfriends in this type of way. If they somehow had appeared from out of nowhere, like a summer storm as the sun is shining. And he knew they hadn't. He knew that every girl he had fancied, every girlfriend he had, each one had been a girl he had studied meticulously. A girl he had known everything about. A girl who he knew had certain tastes, certain likes, certain standards. It was just so much easier for him that way. But Mia, he knew absolutely nothing about her, and yet he was still so bloody willing to follow her anywhere. To take her lead.
"Harry are you alright?"
Harry snaps his up and looks at them, "Just lost in thought."
Niall waves him away and continues on talking to Mia.
This girl, this strawberry girl was starting to permeate every part of his life. He was becoming so incredibly different, a shift that he was not able to stop. A shift that he did not want to stop.
"Mia?" Harry says looking up at her.
"You want some tea?"
She smiles, "I'd love some tea."
Niall takes that as his cue to leave and subtly takes the last strawberry upon Mia's plate before exiting the kitchen. As Harry goes to get the kettle, Mia looks at the tea selection he and Niall had. The one thing Harry and flatmate most cared about was their tea, although they could not afford many luxuries, the spent their well earned money on teas that they could not live without.
Mia grabs a packet from a box entitled "Strawberry fields" And Harry can't help but smirk. Niall had bought that box, against Harry's wishes, when he had gone to the market. Harry refused to taste it, but now he couldn't wait to see what it tasted like.
"You know..." Harry tries. He tries to come up with something witty, something that could possibly be flirty.
"What?" Mia says opening the packet and looking at the tea bag.
"Niall told me a funny thing the other night." He hands shake as he realizes what he's about to say, but he can't stop himself from saying it.
"He said you fancied...me."
Mia turns to look at Harry and with a very serious look upon her face she simply states, "Niall is also a well known drunk."
Harry at first felt a slight jab at her remark, at the fact that implying she fancied him was ridiculous. He as always, took it to heart. But then, he didn't. He laughed, after a slight pause from her initial remark he laughed loudly. And she chuckled as well.
"But...you're not too bad, Styles." She says with a slight smile.
And that was all the validation Harry would ever need to continue onto his descent into madness.