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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10. N I N E

N I N E

 

At one point, Harry didn't seem to see the world around him. It wasn't that it was irrelevant to him, it was simply that he had ceased to care. This happened about the time he had turned eighteen. At eighteen it seemed as if the rest of his friends had found their place in the world, while he was still trying to read the fucking map. All he truly cared about was the bakery, his books, and his family. He didn't seem to comprehend how his mates had managed to create a world in which they truly belonged. They had managed to do this of course, with someone they had met and had fallen in love with. Leaving Harry and Niall to fend for themselves, as they of course were the only two bachelors of the group. Harry at first did not mind. He truly had ceased to care that the world he resided in was one he passively lived in. But now he yearned for what his mates had so badly it was beginning to eat away at him. Harry wanted to be with someone who thought of him constantly, who wondered about the intricacies he was made up of. He yearned to make his own world, not to keep passively living in one he so obviously didn't belong to. 

"Fuck, I'm late again!" 

Harry looks up as his flatmate runs across the wooden floor, almost slipping head first into the kitchen in the process. 

"It's only half past eight."

"What!?" Niall looks at his watch and sighs loudly. "My alarm clock is fucking off."

"Is it slow?"

"I guess." Niall now takes a deep breath, buckles his belt, and slips on his shoes. 

"Are you going now?"

"Yeah, should be early to make up for all the days I'm late."

"A responsible man you are." Harry retorts sarcastically.

"Shut up, twat. I'll be home tonight."

"Tonight? You? You're actually going to be home tonight?"

Niall simply smirks at Harry and proceeds to stuff things into his knapsack, "Yes, Harold, I'll be home tonight. In the evening, when the sun goes down."

"What's the occasion?"

"Occasion?"

"Yes, why are gracing me with your presence tonight?"

"Would you rather I not?" Niall says snappily closing his bag and slipping his sunglasses onto his shirt.

"I never said that."

"Then?"

"Well, you're never here on a Friday night, bit strange is all."

"Strange?"

"Niall, stop playing stupid. Why are you going to be home tonight?"

"Want to spend some time with my mate is all." He says feigning innocence.

"Fine. I'll be here."

"Good, I'll see you tonight."

Harry grins to himself as Niall walks out of the flat, concluding to himself that he did belong in this particular world. After all he did have Niall and his mum and Gemma. He knew that. He knew that he was a part of their worlds. But somehow it just wasn't enough. He wanted to have a fantastical world that he built from the ground up with someone.

And now he found himself in a state where he wondered if anyone else thought the same way. If anyone thought that their world could be built with him in it. Maybe even around it? Or even if a particular strawberry girl thought of him as the potential co-creator of her own spectacular world. Or, even, if any girl ever thought of him. He found it funny how flighty emotions could be, how you so easily could be taken off your feet with a mere look or with the touch of a hand. He thought of Mia constantly, incessantly, and fervently. He was a man obsessed. But it made him truly ponder if anyone were ever obsessed with him, if anyone had ever wanted to make him a permanent fixture in their life. Because he was certain that was what he wanted.

And now more than ever he began to ponder about the writing of his own story. He sat at the kitchen table with no book in hand. Instead, he had traded in his ever present books for a leather bound journal. Niall of course did not notice in his rush that this had occurred, but it was a grand change of pace for Harry and as it was he hasn't even been able to write out a sentence on the mockingly blank sheet of unlined paper.

But he hadn't been able to, not for lack of ideas, but because he wasn't exactly sure the world he wanted to create. He had the power to make any type of world he possibly could imagine. It could be a world of whimsy or fanstasy, or of death and famine, or even a world that exists the farthest it could from his reach. But that's not what he wanted. He didn't want a world that he himself had crafted into perfection. But he knew he was not interesting enough to write a memoir, he was not that special. Instead, he wanted to write the life he could have. It would be a work of fiction, that would consist of a reality he yearned for. The ups and downs, the possible journey he would ensure. And the first page he began to write in his squarish writing, hesitantly at first but finally gaining momentum. It was funny to him, that his voice began to take over the page. That somehow he didn't think of what tense or even in what person he was going to write. He just started. 

And it was a magical thing, how the world just started to take form. At least, within the confines of the leather bound journal, Harry was beginning to create a world. This world of course, this imagined world that was a work of fiction, contained a reality in which he and Mia were getting along extraordinarily well. One could even say they were dating. In this world, Harry was still the ever brooding, poetry reading, novel addicted, bakery boy. And Mia was still the same angelic, cake loving, strawberry girl. She was she and he was he, but, she was she with him and he was he with her. He could have written in the matter of a few sentences how they had fallen in love, gotten married, had kids, and lived happily ever after. But Harry was not that type of man. He knew better. He knew that there had to be substance. There had to be something more. 

So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Harry wrote this at the top of the page and underlined it. He nodded, looking at the Shakespearean quote and smiling. His world could not be that simple. He wanted to immortalize this world, he wanted it to be something that would always live within this book. He wanted there to be awkward encounters and first kisses and weird lulls in conversations. He wanted to live within this journal the things he might never experience with the girl he's so stupidly fallen for. For as long as he had this, then he would always have the world he wanted in the palm of his hands. And that was a pretty fucking amazing concept to him, having the world in the palm of his hands. It almost pained him to have to put down his pen and get ready for work. But he shrugged it off, figuring that the skeleton he had constructed would still be there when he came back. 

—✴—

Harry comes back home after work at six fifteen on the dot, per usual. Surprisingly, he finds Niall home as well. 

"Wow." Harry states walking in and staring at Niall, who has taken it upon himself to start peeling potatoes at the kitchen table.

"What?"

"You're acting very domestic, have to say I quite enjoy it."

"Well, my big strong man was coming home from work, he does deserve a hearty meal." Niall says, attempting his best American girlish accent.

Harry chuckles and sits down across from him, taking the onions out of the basket upon the table and getting out the cutting board, "I'll help you out I guess."

"Thanks, mate."

Harry begins by cutting the onion in half. He takes a half, squints at the pungent, burning odor it releases, and finally cuts it in half again. He takes the smaller half and places it upon his head, almost immediately feeling the burning subside.

"What the fuck are you doing?" Niall says with a furrowed brow, looking at his flatmate with an onion upon his curly haired head.

"Oh, read it in a book."

"First the poetry, now bloody cookbooks? It's probably not even a good one if it's making you put the bloody food we're supposed to eat on your unwashed head!"

"Hey, I'm clean!"

"You look like a dirty fucking hippy! Didn't Anne tell you to cut your hair last month?"

"Seriously? I thought you were all rock and roll and shit. You're telling me to cut my hair?"

"Well, when you decide to put our bloody dinner upon it, then yeah it kind of fucking concerns me!"

"We aren't going to eat the part that I put on my head!"

The boys get well into their argument before noticing the bell had gone off. At first Harry had thought someone had mistakenly rung it, but then he saw the betraying smirk upon Niall's face.

"Who did you invite over?"

"Technically she invited herself." Niall says, continuing to peel and avoiding eye contact.

No, Harry couldn't possibly ever dream of creating situations like these. The normal everyday ones. Ones that were supposed to be normal occurrences, like meeting up for dinner. That was why, as soon as the night was over, he was going to write it in the leather journal so he could relive it forever.

But then he would have to open the door first, of course, if he ever wanted to have any material to write. 

 

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