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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8. S E V E N

S E V E N

 

It had been exactly seven days since Harry had last seen Amelia. Seven days that he had avoided even thinking of her. Seven days that he talked himself into ridding her from his mind. He did not need this, he did not need her. All love could bring would be trouble. Forget change and fate, he thought only of problems and grievances that this girl could possibly cause. As beautiful as she may have been, Harry knew that she would only bring him trouble in the long run, as every other girl ever did. This strawberry girl, as alluring and beautiful as she may have been, was just that, a girl. He should not be so incredibly undone over a mere person. At least he tried to believe so. His pathetic attempts though were all in vain since on the afternoon of the seventh day since they had met, Amelia walked in to the W Mandeville bakery, with an umbrella and a pair of red slicker rain boots. 

"What an afternoon." Mia says, shaking her umbrella and making droplets of cold water fall everywhere around her. Harry simply marveled at the sight of her, the very irony of her being here. She was not supposed to be here. She couldn't just waltz into his life in the middle of a thunderstorm when he was trying so hard to forget she even existed. 

"Oh, hello dear! I just made some of that sponge cake you liked." Barbra says with a bright smile.

"Did you? Oh, that's exactly what I came in here for." She doesn't look at Harry. She had been working up the nerve to walk into the bakery since last week, but couldn't quite do it. The bakery boy to her was quite a strange enigma, so very intelligent and well spoken, but such a strange and brooding boy. She wasn't quite sure what to make of him, and that made her utterly and completely anxious.

"I've placed it in the back, I'll be right back."

Harry looks up as Barbra leaves the counter to go into the back room. Mia tries to meet his gaze and he unwilling looks at her.

"Hi." He mutters.

"Hey."

"How...have you been...?" He tries.

"Oh. I've been well." She says, shyly placing the umbrella behind her back and teetering back and forth on her bright wellies.

"That's good."

"Yeah."

"You know Harry?"

"What?"

"I'd love if we could hang out again."

"Yeah?"

"I mean, if you don't mind."

This was it. Harry knew this would be the moment that would decided ultimately whether he would allow this girl to ruin his life or if he would be wise enough to let her go and move on. He looked at her, studying the face he had not seen in a week. He had longed for it, even as he tried not to. Her hair was damp, waves upon her shoulders. Her skin glimmered from the precipitation outside, and he could imagine that she smelled like the rain so fresh and so comforting. But then he knew that accepting her, accepting everything that came with her could later on result in peril. Amelia was pure and utter beauty. But it was almost as if he could not bear to touch her. As if there were velvet ropes around her, and he was only there for the exhibition. But looking at her, he felt it. He felt his hands shake and his heart race, his mind go blank and his face flush. She made him feel something. Something he quite didn't know, but that he wanted to know. He wanted to know. 

"Of course I don't mind." 

She smiles brightly, "Great."

"Look here, dear." Barbra says walking out with an entire cake. Harry rushes over to take it out of her hands and places it on the counter in front of Mia. Barbra smiles as she looks as Harry, "Such a sweet boy he is. Has he introduced himself?"

Mia nods, "Yes."

"Well, I've made this cake today. Would you like a slice?"

"Can I have two?"

Barbra nods cheerily and slice the cake, taking extra care to grab the two pieces with the most strawberries. As Harry rings her up on the register, Mia asks, "Are you closing up for the day soon?"

"Yes, you might be our last customer, it's been a rather ugly day." Barbra says packing up the two slices in a white cardboard box with a piece of twine. 

"Would it be alright then if I waited around for you, Harry?"

Barbra looks up at them and smiles. Harry though, is taken aback. Yet he manages to quip, "Can't manage to eat two slices on your own?"

Barbra hands Mia the cake box and Mia holds it to her chest protectively, "You can bring your own cake. This is all mine."

"If you're asking me, you have to treat me."

Harry yelps as he feels a hand hit his tush and turns to look at Barbra. She playfully frowns at him, "Harold, be nice."

Mia giggles and Harry could feel his face turning three different shades of red as Mia continued to laugh.

"Barbra I asked you to stop doing that."

"Doing what?" She asks innocently. 

"Never mind." He closes the register and hands Mia her change. "I'll be ready in ten."

"Great."

"Just go ahead now, I'll be fine."

"No but-"

"I may be old, but I am not useless yet, Harold."

He chuckles, "Alright, fine." He starts untying his apron and hands it to Barbra, "Just don't lift anything heavy."

"I will not. Don't worry about me. Go have fun."

When he turns to look at Mia he sees her staring out he window, a slight smile etched on her face. She was watching the storm simmer down. And that's when he realized she was like the summer rain. She was like a fucking monsoon. She brought the utter necessities with which he needed to live, but left utter chaos in her wake. He was the calm before the storm, she was the bloody thunder. 

"Come on!" She says heading towards the door.

"I didn't bring an umbrella."

"We don't need it."

"It's still raining."

"So?" She walks out of the shop, umbrella closed. Rain drops start to pellet her, she opens her arms wide, the box hanging from her hand. "Live a little."

Harry walks out of the shop, looking at her questioningly. Already the rain was starting to get heavier once more, thunder rumbled and lightning tore through the sky. But still, she stood there smiling at him, eyes clothes, chin tilted up towards the dark sky. 

He clears his throat, "Where did you want to go?"

"Oh." She looks at him, "I don't know. Anywhere I can eat my cake, really."

"You can't have your cake and eat it too." Harry says with a slight chuckle.

Mia looks at him pointedly, "Really, I'd like to know who told you that you were funny. Who could have possibly encouraged you to make these jokes?"

"If I think I'm funny then that's enough."

"Sounds like a good philosophy to live by."

"I have to since apparently I'm not funny."

Mia smirks, "At least you know it."

She turns and starts to head towards the main road, still no desitination in mind. Harry watches as she spreads her arms out once more, welcoming the pleasant summer rain. He can't help but think that this wasn't all bad. That a girl like her could be good for him. 

"Well are you coming or what?"

He was. He finally knew that he was. 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

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