F I V E
Harry and Niall were never very accustomed to having company in their tiny two room flat. Usually, they went out whenever someone wanted to meet them, which is why it struck Harry as odd that Niall would invite Mia over here in the first place. But after tasting the meal she had prepare, Harry now understood why.
"You never cease to amaze me Amelia." Niall says leaning back in his seat and nodding. He looks at his empty plate and touches his full stomach, obviously pleased.
"Was it that good?"
"You know I never have a decent meal at home." Niall eyes Harry, smirking all the while, making an obvious jab at his flatmate.
Harry turns to look at him, "You're never home to enjoy the decent meals I make."
"Nag, nag, nag. Is that all you ever fucking do?"
Harry looks at Niall and shakes his head, "I cook for you every night. You just happen to leave right when I'm about to serve dinner."
"Maybe that's for a reason, mate."
Mia looks between them and starts laughing loudly. It sounds and looks genuine, as if she was truly cherishing this moment. But within an instant the shift occurs, Harry of course could see it immediately. It was as if this childish banter had triggered a memory within her, one perhaps that was of someone she had lost or hadn't seen in a long time. Harry knew the look, he had tried to downplay it when it occurred to him. Still of course, Mia, played it off. Her laughter filled the room as Niall continued wiping the floor with Harry, but once Harry had seen that wave of melancholic grief in Mia's eyes he just couldn't feign that he hadn't.
"Oh, it's that late?" Mia says looking at the clock and getting up to clear the plates of the table, noticing Harry's stare. She leaves the table abruptly, as if caught.
Harry of course jumps from his seat and takes the food crusted plates off of her hands, "Did you want to get going?"
"Yeah, I just...I have to walk home, you know?" She says nonchalantly, helping Harry clear dishes and placing them in the sink.
Harry nudges her away from the sink, "You made dinner. I'll wash."
"Oh, alright." She hands him the sponge she had claimed and steps away from the sink, leaning back against the counter, "So, why a bakery?"
"Why a bakery?"
"Yes, I'm curious. I haven't ever met someone our age the works at a bakery. I quite like it."
"Well, at first it was just a summer job while I was in high school," Harry scrubs a particularly difficult plate while remembering, "But those ladies didn't want to let me go, and I didn't want to go either."
She smiles, "That's cute."
"And also, all the free bread I can eat. It's marvelous." He replies finishing the last plate. As he goes to wipe his hands he notices the cake still upon the counter, "Wait, but what about desert?"
Mia shrugs, "It's quite alright. You guys can have the cake. I just didn't want to come empty handed."
"I thought you loved it. It doesn't feel right eating it without you."
She smiles, "It's alright, Harry. I'll live."
Harry doesn't listen of course, and take out a knife. He slices a rather large piece of the cake, places it on one of their cheap plates and clumsily wraps it in saran wrap. Mia looks at him blankly as he hands her the wrapped plate, "Here you go." She continues looking at him as she takes the plate in her hands and he asks "What?"
She breathes out and smiles wearily, "You're a funny guy, you know?"
"I try to be."
"Oh, god. No, I mean funny as in weird. Your jokes are terrible."
Harry simply glares at her as she restrains herself from chuckling.
"Are you going to be alright getting home?" Niall says from the living room, clearly already situated and not planning on move any time soon.
"Yes." She replies, grabbing her bag and heading towards the door.
"I can walk you." Harry says grabbing his keys and wallet.
"You don't have to."
"I want to."
"Really, it's only a ten minute walk."
"A lot can happen in ten minutes, Mia."
In the refreshing breeze of a cool London night, Harry and Mia walked down a small road attempting to get to know the stranger they had been so taken with earlier that day. While Harry smiled idiotically at Mia's anecdote about the time she had and Niall had done a duet at the pub, Mia blatantly told Harry to stop telling his horrid jokes.
The pair walked to her home, and as accustomed as Harry was to seeing the first kiss at the doorstep scene in every romantic comedy, he knew that it would not pass over too well with this particular girl. As a matter of fact, he himself was cringing at even having thought of it.
"Well then. Have to say, never quite imagined this was the type of person you were." Mia says, smirking at Harry as she leans against the rusted gate that was right in front of her flat.
"Isn't it too early to know what kind of person I am?"
"Not necessarily. You can tell these things in about the first five minutes you talk to a person."
"Well, in the way that you respond to a question. Whether you look me in the eyes when you speak to me. Your body language, maybe even the way you speak?"
"That seems superficial."
"But it is only scratching the surface I suppose. More of a test run?"
"A test run?"
"Well, that way I know what I'm getting into if I pursue a friendship with you."
"What are you getting into?"
"Well, the boy I met at the bakery refused to meet my eye for more than a quarter of a second." She says looking directly into Harry's attentive face, "But this boy. This boy that per chance I ran into once more, can't seem to stop looking at me."
"Is that bad?"
"I don't know yet."
She was a character. Harry wondered if perhaps she were one of those people who didn't quite have a filter, they just spoke whatever was on their minds.
"Well, I should be going." She says, looking towards her front door.
"Yeah. Night, then."
He watches as she opens the rusty gate and continues on to the front door of her flat. He is immensely overcome by a feeling he didn't know quite what to call. It was not love. He did not love her. He was not foolish enough to fall for the love at first sight facade. He didn't even know her. But god, he wanted to. There was something in her laugh earlier, that made him realize that there were so many sides to her that he wanted to discover. In her bloody laugh, imagine. He didn't think it would ever happen. That a single persons' laugh could ever have possibly changed the entire course of his life. But there he was, watching as Amelia opened the door to her flat, recalling as she laughed wildly at his banter, recalling how sad her happiness looked, changing not only the course of his life but the entirety of it forever.
The funny thing about living in the moment though, is that you don't quite realize when your life is changing right before you. But Harry knew, God he had known the moment he had set eyes on her. Whether she knows yet or not, Harry had known right away. Now, he simply had to wait for his strawberry girl to realize what he had taken as fact.
And that would be a whole different story in and of itself.