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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23. Twenty three

It's a Thursday night which is usually one of the days Harry and I go out and I'm waiting for him to text me to go to his so we can head out, but he's half an hour later than usual. I'm kind of annoyed to be honest but I'm a little worried too just in case anything's wrong so I give him a call. He doesn't answer the first time, or the second or third time and I do get worried then. 

He's seemed happier recently, he doesn't seem stressed anymore but maybe he is and just didn't tell me. Maybe that's why he's ignoring my calls, he wants to be by himself, but I can't relax until I at least know that's all the problem is. I try calling Dan and a few of the other guys but they haven't heard from him either so I go over to his place.

"Hello sweetheart." Brie says when she opens the door and she looks nervous too which makes me even more anxious. "I thought you were with Harry."

"No, I'm looking for him actually." I frown. "He's not here then?" 

"No and he's not answering his phone." she says, panicking more now. "I don't know what's going on with him. Something about him has seemed a little off recently."

My stomach tightens with guilt. Other than when he initially told me he was stressed, I didn't realise. I thought he was feeling better now. Brie sighs, shaking her head. 

"Don't look so nervous about it Alice, it's not your fault if you didn't notice. He wasn't really like it around you anyway. I think you keep his mind off of whatever it is that's getting him so down." she says but her eyes are distant like she's thinking of where he could possibly be. "He does have a lot to be stressed about but I don't know why it's affecting him so much now when it never did before."

There it is again, somebody telling me how much he has to be stressed about. I don't know what they mean but I just feel bad that he doesn't feel like he can tell me. I feel bad that he didn't even feel like he could tell me he was feeling upset again. More than anything right now, I'm worried. I tell Brie that I'll go and look for him. I know somewhere in a rational part of my mind that he hasn't done anything extreme but when I'm this scared it's hard to stop that from going into my thoughts. Either way, I just want to find him. I don't want him to just be somewhere by himself, upset. 

I go everywhere we usually go when we're out but he isn't in any of those places. Eventually I'm just sat on the ground at the look out, close to tears. I'm almost angry with him. I've been calling him all night, he won't answer when he obviously knows we're all worried. I'm terrified and so are his parents and he's just letting us be this scared.

I text him then: 

Harry, tell me where the hell you are. This is stupid now. You're nearly eighteen, do whatever you want, just tell us you're okay because you're just scaring us all. 

He replies after a couple of minutes:

Dan's. If you're coming in, just come straight up, his parents aren't home.

I'm confused because I know Dan's not even home, he's out on some date, but I guess he let Harry in before going out. I feel angry at Dan for not telling me where Harry is but I guess Harry told him not to and Dan doesn't know fully how worried I am. I head over to Dan's next and just go straight up to Dan's room and Harry's in there, just laid on the bed. The TV's on but he's not really watching it. I'm so relieved to see him and I'm still kind of annoyed but I'm more glad he's okay than anything.

"Harry." I sigh. "I was worried sick."

He looks up, noticing I'm here. He gets up and to my surprise, pulls me into a hug, sighing. "I'm sorry Alice. I wasn't meaning to worry anyone, I just needed some time to think by myself."

I hug him back before saying anything else. It's a little awkward because he's so much taller than me but at the same time, it's natural to just be there trying to make him feel better even though I have no idea whether I am or not. He holds me closer then, resting his cheek on my hair.

"I'm sorry." he whispers. "I really didn't mean to scare anyone."

"It's okay." I tell him, pulling away, but he holds onto my arms anyway. It's sad seeing him like this, so dependent on me, I don't even begin to find it flattering this time. He just seems so exhausted. "What's going on?" 

"Nothing's going on." he shrugs. "Not particularly. I'm just stressed. Still."

"Why didn't you tell me?" I frown. 

"Because you made me feel better. I didn't want to drag all of the stress into our friendship."

"Well do that now." I look up at him. "I want you to tell me what's wrong."

"It's the same as last time. Nothing in particular. I don't know, it's just finals, studying, applying to college, football all the time, all these feelings I have for you that I can't do anything about because I'm pathetic enough to still be upset over a girl who broke up with me over a year ago-"

"Hey." I interrupt him. "You need to stop saying things like that. You're not pathetic, you're not a loser, you're allowed to be hurt over breaking up with a girl who you were seriously in love with."

He closes his eyes. "I just don't feel good about anything recently." he opens his eyes, looking at me and a tear falls onto his cheek. "I'm just a little bit scared."

I pull him close again and just try to think of the best thing to do for him. I think I know what would make him feel better. I also think it might get us in trouble but right now, the most important thing to me is Harry feeling happy again. 

"Let's go somewhere." I say and he pauses.

"Me and you?" 

"Me and you." I say. "We'll get out of Austin, tell our parents we're safe but just get away from here for the night."

"Okay." he says softly. "Where shall we go?"

"Where do you want to go?"

"Taylor is only an hour away." he shrugs. "Not very exciting there but there's a little hotel we can just stay in to get out of here."

I smile up at him. "Then we go to the little hotel in Taylor."

His smile's a little tired and a little sad but either way, he's smiling and that's exactly what I want to see from him right now.

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