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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40. Forty

We're all eating lunch at school when Harry just says to me "Wanna talk to Leigha tonight?"

I look at him, eyes wide. "Okay."

He looks back, unsure. "Are you alright?"

"Yeah." and then shrug. "It was just a bit sudden, that's all."

"I mean, if you don't want to do it-"

"No I do." I promise him. "If it's going to help out with the whole visitation thing, of course I want to do it."

He smiles at me. "Thank you."

I'm silent for the whole drive over to the diner that night. I'm more nervous than I've been in a long time. However much she does sound like she's being a bitch with this visitation thing, the more I've thought about it, the more I'm empathising with her. I mean, I definitely think she's got a bad attitude about it but so would I to be honest. To see Harry, who she was in love with and had a baby with, go around with some other girl? Even if I didn't want to be with him anymore, I wouldn't want to see that. So I'm going into this ready for her to hate me and ready to be kind to her never the less.

"You're quiet." Harry nudges me as we walk in.

"I'm nervous." I say and I can tell he kind of is too. 

"She's over there."

The first thing I notice about her is that she's really pretty. She's one of those girls who is just ridiculously, perfectly, pretty. I wasn't expecting to feel insecure at all but now I kind of do. I know Harry and I aren't together and we're not going to be but we were and honestly, I do not compare to her. Maybe it's stupid but I just feel pathetic compared to her. Also, she looks so done with this whole meeting already so I'm even more nervous. 

"Hey." Harry says when we get there. It is weird seeing him with here. Even just from that greeting, along with the looks on both of their faces, there's just this atmosphere where you can tell there's a long history. 

"Hi." she says reluctantly as Harry and I both slide onto the bench opposite her. She gives me the longest look up and down and I just smile at her even though I feel like running. 

"Hey." I say to her.

"Hi." she says in that same bored tone and then looks at Harry. "What's all this about then?"

"I just feel like you're mad because you've heard things about me and her." he says. The way he just called me 'her' then made me feel kind of like a little kid sat in the back seat of a car while the grown ups talk. I don't know, maybe I'm making something out of nothing.

"Yeah, I am." she says, raising an eyebrow. 

"I'm allowed to date whoever I want, you have no right to be mad." Harry says, angrily.

"And you also have no reason to be." I say to her, trying to stop any argument that might happen. "Honest to god, we're just friends."

"You haven't always been though." she looks at me, her eyes cold. "Look, let's talk girl to girl." I just stay quiet and she sits forward. "He drove you around the city, right? Went swimming with you in the lake, brought you to dinner here all the time, went to the look out?"

"Yeah." I say, my voice shaking. "How do you-"

"Because he did all the same things with me." she says. "Throughout us dating, we did all the things he did with you. And I bet you felt all rainbows, love hearts and butterflies because he liked you. The amazing, wonderful Harry liked little old you. Except he didn't. Not really. You were just his replacement."

I wish I could say she was just being bitchy and mean and trying to throw me off but I do believe her. I don't like what I believe, but I do, because even just from being sat here with both of them, I just feel like I don't matter to Harry in this moment. It's like if this room was burning, there'd be no doubt in who he saved, whether they had Robin or not, and looking back on everything we did together it just seems so obvious. I was some girl who he could tell liked him and he was still caught up over his ex so he used me to move on and also revisit everything he liked doing with her. I really was just some replacement. 

"You're right." I tell her and get up and leave, not looking back. 

He doesn't even come after me to check I'm okay, not straight away. I get the bus home and just go straight up to my room and burst into tears. 

"Alice?" I hear my mum's voice and then she comes into my room. "Alice! What's the matter?" 

"Please leave me alone." I sob into my pillow. 

"Alice, baby." I feel the bed lower next to me and she strokes my hair. "What happened?"

"Harry." I mumble into the pillow. "It's always his fault. I don't know why I bother."

"You are very special to-"

"No I'm not." I turn onto my side away from her. "That's what you think, but I'm apparently not."

She sighs. "If you want anything you let me know sweetheart."

Five minutes after she leaves, I get a call from Nicole. 

"Hey." she says all casual but I just know my mum told her to call me. "How are you?" 

I sigh. "Nicole, I know she told you to call me."

"Well tell me what's wrong then." she says, concerned. "What did he do now?" 

I'm halfway through explaining when there's another knock at the door and I hear his voice. "Alice?" 

"He's here." I tell her, sighing. "I don't want to talk to him."

"Then don't." she says. 

"Okay." I say. "Thank you Nicole."

"No problem. We're all getting together tonight, we'll call you."

"Okay." I say before hanging up the phone. 

"Alice." he says again. "Can I come in?" 

"No." 

"I wanna talk to you."

"You don't sound all that enthusiastic."

"Well I'm not!" he exclaims. "I don't think this is worth an argument."

"Who says we're arguing?" 

"Well can I come in?" 

"No." 

"Then we are arguing!"

"We're not! We're just not talking." I say. "Harry go away please." Even now when he's trying to talk things through I kind of feel like he's doing it out of duty. He doesn't sound like he cares I'm upset. 

"Alright, what do I care? I'm going home."

"I don't care."

"Neither do I."

"Tell Leigha I said hi." I say spitefully. 

"I will." he says, just as bitter.

He doesn't talk again after that and when I check outside my door, he really has gone home. Any other day, he would have stayed but now it's like he's seen Leigha and remembered I don't really matter that much. I'm not his main priority however much I always liked to believe I was. 

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