Hurdles

Our relationship. It wasn't sonnet inspiring, the story of it won't make thousands want to listen. But it was complicated and it was special to us. It was certainly more than I bargained for from just seeing a boy with a football helmet across the room.

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I spend a lot of time avoiding thinking about the wedding. Whenever it comes into my mind I remember how I felt sick when I heard about it and that's confusing to me so I think about something else instead. Even on the flight over I don't think about it. I don't know why I should think into it anyway, I'm not going to come to any kind of conclusion. This is just my brain automatically freaking out when really, it's fine if he marries Leigha.

However, avoiding thinking about it makes me so much more anxious when I get there. It's just this atmosphere of people hanging around, talking, all excited to see Harry and Leigha get married. It's weird to see the way they've planned things, it's a weird thought that Harry decided to have this wedding in the gardens of this hotel and he chose cake and guests. I just feel like I've missed out on a big part of his life somehow.

We had an hour before the wedding started when we got to our hotel so we got ready and got straight there with time to spare. I text Dan when we arrive and he tells me to go inside to that hotel and find them all. 

I go up to the room where they're all getting ready and my heart is pounding as I knock on the door. Dan opens it and grins, pulling me into a hug. 

"Hey little Alice! You look wonderful! Come on in." he says so I step inside, saying hi to everybody and hopefully not coming across as nervous which I am for whatever reason.

"I'm so glad you made it!" Ben exclaims and I smile at him. 

"I wouldn't miss it for the world." I promise. "Is everybody excited?"

"We're all terrified." Alex admits laughing. "The first one of us is getting married, it's crazy."

"It is!" I say and I'm about to ask where Harry is when I hear his voice from the bathroom. 

"Mom, I swear to god if that's you to come and get another last look at me as an unmarried boy then-" he steps out into the room and his smile drops. Not in a bad way, he just looks surprised. We both just stand there for a moment and I can't stop looking at him. This whole situation is just a lot. For some reason, all of our history seems to be present here. This is Harry, he was always my Harry, and here he is in his wedding suit about to marry someone else. Maybe I'm not okay with this at all. But what am I meant to do?

"Uh, let's head downstairs guys." Dan says to all of the guys. "See you out there man."

"Yeah, see you." Harry says absentmindedly as they all leave. I finally break our silence, laughing a little. 

"You knew I was coming right?" 

He chuckles, shaking his head. "I mean, I knew I invited you. I didn't know if you were going to show up."

"Of course I did." I smile at him but I feel nervous. "Congratulations by the way."

"Thanks." he smiles and he seems kind of nervous too. 

I don't know what to say then so I just say "I'd better find my seat."

"Yeah, yeah, of course." he nods. 

"Uh, good luck." I force another smile. 

"Thanks." 

I'm shaking as I wait for the elevator. I don't want this to happen. I don't know how I realised all this just by looking at him but it was something about him being in his wedding suit. I guess whenever I see him I feel like he's still mine but seeing him in that suit ready to marry someone else made it all clear. He's marrying Leigha. This is his wedding with her, he's going to have his wedding night with her, his future is with her, the last year of his life and years before I came along were with her. None of those things are with me but I feel like they should be. I guess I didn't know what I wanted to gain until I was about to lose it all. I'm about to lose it all and there's nothing I can do.

"Alice?" he says, coming out of his room and I guess he wants to ride down with me but I'm on the verge of tears so I pretend I don't hear him but he runs and gets into the elevator beside me. I prepare for awkward small talk but he just turns to me. 

"I'm making a mistake." he says and I feel faint. 

"Harry, no." 

"Yeah, I am!" he says and hits the emergency stop button, turning back to face me. I really feel like I'm about to faint, this isn't like real life. "I can't marry her, I still love you."

I close my eyes, leaning against the wall. "Harry, are you kidding me? What did you spend the last year doing with Leigha?" 

"I love Leigha too." he sighs. "I'm always going to love her but I don't know if I really want to be with her. I haven't been sure for a while, since I went to England really."

I open my eyes and look at him. "You're telling me you're getting married to her today literally in about ten minutes and you don't know if you really want to be with her?" 

He sighs. "I just-"

"Are you being serious?" I demand. "You're telling me you proposed to her, went through the whole process of planning a wedding and all through that, choosing the cake, sorting the seating plan, through all of that you weren't sure? You've let it get to your wedding day and you're still not sure?" 

"It's not that easy!" he says, exasperated. "I was trying to ignore it! I thought I'd get married to her and all these doubts would go away but then I saw you for the first time in forever and I'm not completely sure about what's between us but I can't get married to someone else when I still feel like there's something that we need to resolve."

"I mean, I kind of feel like that too." I admit. "But this is going to hurt her so badly. You've let it go too far."

"I know that and I'm trying to do the right thing now before it goes any further." he says and we're both quiet for a moment before he presses a button and the elevator starts moving again. 

I can't quite believe this is happening. And I'm really ashamed, but a part of me does feel happy. He loves me. I'm not about to lose everything. But at the same time, Leigha has been excited for this day for months and she's somewhere in her wedding dress ready to marry who she thinks is the love of her life. I'm mad with Harry but at the same time, that protectiveness I have for him is here again and I can't leave him with no help through this.

"Let me talk to her." I say to Harry when we get out of the elevator. "It's going to be less harsh if it doesn't come from you."

He nods, a tear in his eye. "I'm sorry Alice."

I pull him into a hug and it feels strange and unfamiliar for a moment until we get used to each other all over again. I pull away, looking at him. I still feel kind of dizzy from how surreal everything is, my stomach hurts because I'm so terrified and I feel awful for Leigha but it's Harry stood in front of me and I didn't know I could care so much for one person, but if this helps him then it's all worth it.

Leigha's in a little garden house off to the side of where the aisle and everything is and I knock on the door, going inside. She frowns when she sees me. 

"What are you doing in here?" she asks. 

"Uh." I look at all her bridesmaids and then back at her. "I need to talk to you in private."

She looks confused but tells her bridesmaids to step outside never the less. 

"Look, I get this is all very weird and we haven't talked in a year and that's weird. I get that you think I was only friends with you to get to Harry and that isn't it, but-"

"Leigha, none of that's important right now." I take a deep breath. "I was just talking to Harry and he told me something and I think you'd take it better if you didn't hear it from him. Not that I'm expecting you to take it well at all-"

"Alice, you're rambling." she says dryly and I take another deep breath. How am I meant to say these words? 

"He wants to call of the wedding." I say and she just sits there, silent. "Leigha?"

"Are you lying?" she asks, her voice cracking. I shake my head and she just starts crying. It's the worst kind of crying, she's just silent and staring into space with tears rolling down her cheeks. 

"Leigha?" 

She looks at me and I've never seen anybody more heartbroken. "What am I meant to do? I've got a hundred people out there, a whole wedding. Alice, what do I do?" 

She gets up suddenly and pulls me into a hug, tight. I close my eyes and hug her back. I am willing to help Harry but I'm also finding it pretty hard to sympathise with him right now because Leigha is the saddest person I've ever seen in this moment and it's all his fault. 

"Hey." I say gently, pulling away. "We'll tell everybody you fell and really hurt your ankle and that you'll be in touch soon. Okay?"

She nods. "Yeah. Okay."

I go outside and walk down the aisle to face everybody. This is still all so surreal.

"Um, excuse me!" I call and everybody goes silent. "I'm here on behalf of Leigha and she is so so sorry to you all but she's fallen and really hurt her ankle. She's had to go to hospital to get it checked so she told me to tell you she will be in touch about any other wedding sort of plans if there are any and she's very sorry for the inconvenience." 

I walk back down the aisle as everybody begins talking and Harry's stood at the end. He grabs my arm as I walk past. 

"Are we going to talk?" he asks. 

"I can't talk to you right now." I tell him and go to find my parents, leaving him stood by himself.

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