Strawberries [AU]

She spent her days lazing in the summer sunlight, eating strawberries whilst being enveloped in a world of prose. He spent his own locked away in his flat, reading Bukowski whilst the world passed him by. When he first saw her, first talked to her, first heard her, he wondered how such a girl could be real. How a girl, who tasted like strawberries and recited lines of poetry that wrapped around his heart and sung for days could ever look at a boy like him. And he couldn't help but wonder, "could the strawberry tasting girl ever love the brooding hazel eyed boy?"

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5. F O U R

F O U R

 

Introvert. Harry was an introvert cursed with the face of an extrovert. Of course he played it off that he was handsome, that his frame was lanky but built, that his eyes were the color of the forest in spring, and that his long disheveled curls framed his face perfectly. He had the face, the body, and the personality of an extrovert. The fucking allure of one. Everyone seemed to radiate towards him as if he were the fucking sun. But of course they did, he wouldn't blame them. Harry was a people pleaser.  He tried so hard to make those around him feel welcomed and happy, he tried to seem happier than he actually was. He tried to be the extrovert that his body told him he was, but alas he was an introvert at heart, relishing the moments he could finally be alone. Where he didn't feel any type of anxiety, the constant type that plagued him when faced with people he didn't quite feel comfortable around. He was a funny boy, and he knew it. But he tried not to think about it much. Perhaps he shouldn't even be differentiating between the two, he could quite possibly be both. But then, when he saw Mia, dear Amelia, he knew that she was most certainly an extrovert. And it made him want to be one too.

This girl would be his ruin. He was already seeing how his life would go up into flames. Already he was embracing a side of himself he quite tended to hate. What had this girl done? 

"Are you just going to stand there and look pretty?" Mia says, looking at Harry's pensive face as he stands over the counter. She shoves a plate of potatoes in front of him and simply states, "Peel."

Harry does as commanded and grabs the peeler from a drawer. Mia does not look at him, her tawny hair, once down, is now pulled back as she commences to cook. He looks at her, seconds at a time, as to not call much attention to himself. Her face was also one of an extrovert he noted. She looked like the type of girl who knew everyone, who made you feel as if you had known her the entirety of your life. 

"Harry?"

"Yes?"

"Could you please stop staring at me? It's really freaking me out." She states as she finishes basting the chicken. Harry flushes and looks away. 

"So," She begins as she collects the peeled potatoes from Harry and places in front of him the onions she knew she didn't have the will to chop, "What's your story?"

"My story?" Harry asks, looking at an onion and willing it not to make him cry. 

"Everyone has a story." She says, starting to cut up carrots and celery. 

"Mine isn't quite that interesting, I'm sorry to say."

"Bullshit." 

He looks up at her with a furrowed brow. She cusses eloquently as well. The accent made the coarse word sound so much more refined. He winces at himself for his thoughts, how could he possibly thing that the word 'bullshit' sounded refined?

"It really isn't. I was born in Holmes Chapel, I have a sister, my mom remarried, I dropped out of uni, I now work at a bakery."

"What about everything in between?"

"Irrelevant."

"How so?"

"Not that much character development I'm afraid."

"You're telling me that from the moment you left the womb until now, that's the character development you've achieved so far?"

"Unfortunately."

"So basically, you're a brooding baker who dropped out of uni? That's it?"

"You got it."

"I'm sorry to say you should fire your writer." Harry laughs out loud and Mia smiles at having been the reason of the chuckle. "I'm serious. You're the flatest character I've encountered since Luzhin."

Harry gapes at her, "You read Crime and Punishment?"

She raises an eyebrow, "You're aren't the only person who reads the classics you pretentious douche. Most of us just don't go around showcasing it for the world to see."

"Is that your nickname for me now? And for the record, I was in the middle of that book. I didn't want to leave the house in the first place."

"Are you done with the onions?"

"Almost." He states, trying not to shed a  tear. Mia looks at him and rolls her eyes. She grabs an onion chops it in half and places it upon Harry's head. "What in the hell are you doing?" He exclaims. 

She simply smiles, "Read it in a book. It's helped me."

"What kind of books are you reading?"

"Magical realism. It's just a phase though. At least it'll help you get through chopping these up."

Harry furrows his brow, but already his eyes were watering less. He contemplated now going into a magical realism phase after his brooding Bukowski one. 

"What else have you read?" He says, chopping his final onion.

"A lot."

"Your favorite?"

"Too many to pick one."

"You have to have one that's meant something to you."

"Do you have one?" She says looking at him with a pained look.

"Well..." 

"See, you can't ask that to someone who truly appreciates literature. You have favorites of course. But then, there could be favorites in every genre or style."

"That is true."

"But if I had to pick one..."

"Yes?"

"Complete works of Jane Austin."

"That's cheating!"

She laughs, grabbing the chopped onions and placing them upon the chicken. 

"But really, Harry. I'd love to hear your real story."

"My writer is obviously lacking. Might need to pay him better."

"Or you could write your own story."

"That sounds dangerous. I'd be breaking the bloody fourth wall."

"Harry, who better to write your own story than yourself? Maybe you'd finally be the fucking protagonist instead of some shifty flat character that gets dropped half way into the book." 

The timer goes off and Mia jumps. She smiles when she realizes it was just the oven. He watches as she re bastes the chicken and places it back into the oven.

One conversation with her and suddenly he wanted to be the protagonist. He had no interest in being the side character anymore. Harry realized that Mia was right. If he wanted his life to turn out the way that he had imagined it would be. If he wanted that immortal feeling back that he had once had. He would have to do it himself. He would have to write it himself. 

And what's a brooding protagonist without his leading lady?

He watches as she looks up at him and he smiles. 

"What now?" She asks, leaning against the counter and looking at Harry. 

He leans back in his wooden seat and shakes his head, "Nothing, it's just funny."

"What is?"

"You managed to get me to want to rewrite my life story in the matter of five minutes."

She smiles, "Does that mean I get to be in it?"

Harry shrugs, "We'll see won't we."

 

 

 

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