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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75. Seventy five

Freddie meeting my parents is pretty uneventful. It's what I expected, they like him enough but I can tell in their minds they're thinking I should still be with Harry which is infuriating because it's like they want me to forgive him for what he's done and what he's still doing by being with Leigha. Either way, I let it go over my head, but I think Freddie's disappointed that he didn't make more of an impression. I keep reassuring him that they'll warm up eventually which I hope they will.

I'm annoyed with my own parents so it's nice to spend time with Freddie's family because they're all so nice and welcoming to me. Even at that family barbecue thing, Susanna is taking me around and introducing me to everyone all proud as if I'm her daughter which makes me feel all warm inside. 

I'm glad to see Freddie's not hating it as much as he thought he would as well. He admits to me that he's actually having a nice time and that it's a good thing to meet all these people who knew his Dad and even if they didn't know his Dad, it's nice to have more links to them. 

I'm stood with Freddie getting some food at some point when I see the last person I ever expected to see here. I would feel less stunned if the Queen was here. It's Harry. 

"I'm going to kill myself." I mutter under my breath. 

"Huh?" Freddie asks. 

"Nothing." I smile up at Freddie. I don't want there to be any drama with this, I don't want it to be awkward. They can meet, they can get along, that'll work just fine as long as Harry doesn't know I'm here. "I'm just going to the bathroom."

I run up to the bathroom and shut the door behind me. My heart is beating so fast, I don't remember ever feeling so stunned and confused in my life. I should have known this was going to happen. This is just my luck. Of course the guy I met completely out of nowhere, in England, has distant cousins in Austin, one of whom happens to be Harry who I never want to see again. Yeah, why wouldn't that happen? 

I spend the whole time avoiding Harry and Brie and Daniel as I'm guessing they're here too. I just don't want there to be any awkwardness for anybody, especially Freddie seeing as he's actually enjoying himself. I don't want to ruin that but I also can't leave because that would ruin it too. 

The whole day I just keep thinking about when I get home and it's all over. I just need to believe that it'll be over and Harry, Brie and Daniel will have no idea I was even here and it'll all be okay. Wouldn't that be a dream? Of course that's not what happens. And it's all because of Susanna's kindness which I usually love so much. 

"Everybody!" she calls out when everyone's in the garden. Thankfully Harry, Brie and Daniel are on the other side of this huge garden and I'm facing the other way so they don't see me. 

"Are you okay?" Freddie asks as his mum keeps making her little speech.

"What? Yeah, I'm fine." I say quickly and he smiles at me, amused. 

"You're acting kind of weird."

"No I'm not. Listen to your mum, we're being rude."

He just chuckles, putting an arm around me. If there's a speech happening, we must be nearing the end of this whole thing. I must be close to going home and getting away with it all.

"Well, we're all family here, but there's just one person here who isn't." Susanna says, looking out into the crowd of people. Her eye catches mine and my heart drops. Please no. "A couple of weeks ago, my boy Freddie bought home the loveliest young lady I've ever met. Not to be rude, but let me tell you, the girls he's brought home in the past..." she lets out a low whistle, shaking her head and everybody laughs. "So, Alice, I just wanted to say that even though you technically aren't family, you are very welcome here."

All eyes are on me for a moment as she continues her speech and everybody's smiling because it was really sweet of her to say but my eyes go straight to where Brie, Daniel and Harry stand. I catch Brie's eye and she gasps, getting Daniel's attention. They both grin at me, excited and I force a smile back but my heart sinks. I guess I'm not going home and getting away with everything. I'm look at Harry next and he just looks done with everything, just like I feel. 

"I need to talk to you." I tug on Freddie's hand and he follows me inside to the kitchen. 

"What's up?" he asks, picking up a cupcake. 

"You know your second cousin Harry?" I say. 

"Yeah, I met him earlier, really cool guy actually." he says, biting into his cupcake.

"Oh yeah?" I say. "Tell me about him."

"He plays American football which is really cool." he continues, still not getting it. 

"Really?" 

"Yeah, he was on his high school team, he's at college right now."

"Wow."

"And he's actually got a kid even though he's so young." he takes another bite of his cupcake.

"Mhm." I say, just staying quiet and waiting for him to have the realisation.

He looks at me blankly and then shock covers his face. "No!"

"Yes." I groan. 

"That's why you've been acting so weird!" he says. "Alice, why didn't you just say?" 

"I didn't want to make things uncomfortable! I'd done well avoiding him and his parents until your mum made that speech. Which was really nice of her by the way."

He laughs, shaking his head. "Will you ever stop talking about how nice my mum is? And don't worry about the Harry thing. It doesn't even matter. He's got a girlfriend, you've got a boyfriend, you're not each other's business anymore."

I sigh, relieved. "You're right."

"I always am." he smiles, putting a bit of icing on my nose. I laugh, wiping it off and back onto his face. 

"Alice!" I hear Brie say and I'm nervous all over again. "Oh my god! This is such a coincidence!"

"Hi Brie." I smile, hugging her. I smile at Daniel too (avoiding looking at Harry) and he grins, shaking his head. 

"This is just unbelievable!" he says. 

"I know!" I laugh. "Uh, I guess you've all met Freddie."

"Yes, we have." Harry says, forcing a smile. "So you two are together."

"Uh, yeah." I say, turning back to Brie and Daniel. "How long are you here for? Our house is only twenty minutes away, you should definitely come and see Mum and Dad while you're here!"

"Oh, definitely!" Daniel agrees. 

I didn't really think that through because of course Harry comes over after the barbecue too, and Freddie is dropping me off and coming in to hang out with me for a while so it's all very awkward when Freddie and I go upstairs leaving Harry with the parents.

"That was sufficiently awkward." Freddie says, flopping down on my bed and pulling me onto him. 

I laugh, kissing him. "It could not get more awkward."

"Let's forget about it." he says, kissing me back. 

The door opens and we both jump a little. Harry stands there, his face red. 

"Sorry, I thought this was the bathroom." he mumbles and walks away.

Freddie and I are quiet for a moment before he says "It got more awkward."

"Yep." I agree.

I don't really know what I can do about this. I guess it's similar to waiting to that moment I wanted to be home after getting away with everything. I just need to think of that moment when Harry and Brie and Daniel have all left and Freddie and I can forget all about Harry again.

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