A bit later the boys had to go to an interview, I decided to stay behind since I don't want to get in their way. They'll be gone for a while, I decided to do a bit of cleaning around the place to keep me busy. I am a perfectionist, which means that I think everything should be tidy and into place, so it takes me ages to get stuff done, which is why I think cleaning up will get me busy until the boys get home. Niall made the most mess of the place, throwing dirty socks and shirts all over the place. I start by getting cleaning supplies in a closet in a hallway, then cleaning up the bathroom, wiping away wet footprints, throwing dirty towels into a hamper, and folding up clean ones and piling it into a neat stack, arranging toiletries, and cleaning the mirrors and sinks. Next I pick up all of the dirty clothes and tissues and rubbish on the floor of the living room and put it in the trash (the boys made a huge mess and were terrible at keeping things tidy), vacuuming the floor, wiping off a desktop and fluffing up pillows on the couches. I proceeded to the kitchen, then the bedrooms, the hallways, and last the bedrooms. I didn't bother to pick up and store Liam and Louis's personal items, I just cleaned up a bit, made their beds, put away dirty clothes and such, then I went into Harry and my bedroom. I liked that Harry was a bit more tidy, I just made the bed and folded some of his shirts, while on my part I barely needed to tidy up anything. I decided to sort out and fold some of my clothes. I dig in my trunk and pull everything out, fold it, and lay it out neatly on the bed. I find a brown, leathery object at the bottom of the trunk. I tilted my head. What? I didn't pack that, I thought as I reached in and picked it up. It was a journal, with a brown leather cover with red silk bits of ribbons sticking out of the pages as random. Curiously, I opened the front cover to the first page. On the top left page of the inside cover of the journal were neat, scrawling letters that spelled out:
Property of Jonathan Hilton
The name somehow struck like a bell in my mind. Jonathan Hilton! He was my father! I almost cry out aloud, but I hold it in. How is his journal in my trunk? He died two years ago!
With shaking hands, I turn to the first entry and read it:
July 4th, 1996-
Today my little Alys turned two!She is the cutest baby in the world, with her mummy's soft grey eyes and round face and a beautiful smile with little dimples on both of her cheeks. I feel so proud as a father to have her. We started off the day by buying a strawberry cake with strawberry icing for her birthday, since her favourite flavor is strawberry. She didn't know since she was sleeping. When she woke up we gave her her first present which was a new dress that was grey that matched her eyes. We slipped it on her and then took her out on the streets of London. She giggled and pointed at buildings and people all the time. She would keep on saying, "Da-men! Da-da, men!" And then she would giggle and point again at people, especially people wearing grey (I don’t know why, but she was adorable!). We took her back home and then we had an early lunch, we took her for a bit more sightseeing and then we came back, ate dinner and her cake (she loved it) and fell right to sleep after eating. I love my little Alex, she is so cute and funny. I hope that one day I can share this with her when she is older and we can have a laugh together.
To my beautiful wife and daughter,
I didn't notice that tears were streaming down my cheeks as I read the first entry. I wiped away my tears but more and more seemed to come, making my vision blurry as I stared at his handwriting and gingerly touched the pages where he put his hand on. He loved me and mum dearly, and the jerk that was drunk and riding that car, well, it had to-just had to hit dad squarely. Of all the people in the world. And it took his life.
"ALYS!" I heard a door open and then close, and footsteps of Harry, Niall, Liam and Louis came my direction. "We're back! Where are you?" Called Liam, their voices getting nearer.
I quickly shoved the journal in my trunk and stuff all my clothes over it just in time. The boys came in and saw me and rushed over.
"Alys!" Harry exclaimed, with a worried expression on his face, sitting next to me on the bed. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," I say, a bit too forcefully than I meant it to, wiping away my tears angrily and scooting away.
Liam looks taken aback at my anger. "Alys-"
"I'm fine, honestly, boys," I say, but in a softer, more gentle, Alys-like tone. "I just need a bit of time to myself."
I push off the bed and stand up, and walk out of the room. Harry and the others resist and come after me.
"Alys, will you please tell us what's wrong," pleaded Niall, looking more and more upset by the minute. "Please."
"Alys, we're worried about you, can you tell us?" Asked Louis gently. Harry goes up to me and reaches a shaking hand to my cheek, wiping away my tears.
"It's okay, love." He said softly. "You don't need to tell us."
I feel enormously guilty for not telling anyone, but I nod. I wasn't in the mood for sharing what I discovered. I slowly backed away from the boys. "Okay-um, I'll just be in the bedroom, in case you guys need me."
I turned and fled back to the room, shutting the door.
I stood staring at her as she ran back to the room and shut the door. I was shocked. What was it that was bothering her? I kept staring that the bedroom door, thinking, when someone clapped me on the shoulder. I forced my eyes to avert to Niall, who's eye were somber. He gave me a small shake of the head, then jerked his head towards the living room where all the boys were sitting. I understood and reluctantly followed him to the couch.
"I hope Alys is okay," I said immediately. "I would...I would kill myself if she were more upset than she is right now."
Liam studied me closely with his brown eyes. "You really love Alys, don't you, Harry?" He asked softly.
Something struck me like a bolt of lightning inside. I've never thought like that about her. Was I really in love with Alys? I would kill myself if she were more upset than she is right now. I was being protective of her. Maybe I loved her. Did I really? Was it just a coincidence that I met the perfect girl at meet and greet? I put the image of her fixed in my mind. Curly, warm brown hair, olive-skin complexion, freckles dotting her nose and cheeks, dimples on both cheeks, long eyelashes surrounding her beautiful grey eyes. I was falling for her. I noticed I was acting a lot different around Alys than with other girls. When the realization hit me, I was speechless.
"Harry? Harry?" Asked Louis, waving his hand over my eyes. "You look like you've been struck with a club."
I blink and come back to reality. The boys are looking at me expectantly.
"It was her. It was her all along-"
"Who? What? Spit it out, Harry," said Niall.
I shook my head, rubbing my forehead. "It's-it was Alys. You're right, Liam. I like her and I've just been this stupid to realize it until now."