Changes

"This isn't the end, it's the beginning of a whole new chapter. We just have to learn to define ourselves this time around." | Happily ever afters are just the beginnings of new stories, at least that's what aspiring PR agent Reagan Bailey is learning. After seemingly getting it right with international pop star and 1/4 of One Direction, Harry Styles, things begin to fall apart within the band and in the boys' live as everything begins to change. While the boys are in the midst of their indefinite hiatus and are beginning to pursue other interests, Reagan must try to hold the group together before they decide they're better off going their separate ways. *For the Battle of the Fandoms Competition* *Sequel to "Labels"*

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12. ELEVEN

ELEVEN

Reagan breathed in as she sat in front of her mother, somehow she was as equally relieved as she was angry, "So dad had some important business to attend to, did he?" She asked, placing her elbows on the table and taking a sip from her glass. She looked at the empty seat next to her mother, and rolled her eyes. The table was of course incredibly empty, as it was meant for six and there were only three people currently occupying seats. Even Kennedy had not managed to make it on time, big surprise.

"That's what he told me. Said he'd meet Harry another day." Mrs. Bailey responded, clearly holding out on the real reason. But Reagan could guess why her father didn't want to show up to dinner. She didn't blame, or rather, she didn't blame him that much. But he didn't give her the chance to explain. Instead, he took off, like he always did. 

Harry genuinely looked disappointed as he said, "Well, darn. I guess that just means you'll have to make another amazing dinner just like this one the next time I come over, Mrs. Bailey."

Reagan rolled her eyes, but her mother laughed and said, "I suppose so. I'm just disappointed you didn't get the full family dinner experience, Harry. What with Mr. Bailey and Kennedy both gone. Where did you say your sister went, Reagan?"

"Oh, she said she had a study group or something." Reagan said smoothly. She was getting way too used to covering for Kennedy.

"That's nice, at least she's making friends."

"Oh, I bet." Harry muttered, making Reagan kick him under the table. 

He jolted up from the pain and yelped, "Fuck."

"What was that?" Mrs. Bailey asked.

"Nothing, I just...I stubbed my toe with the table leg. Me being a klutz and all, you know." He said, trying to play it off. He glared at Reagan and she simply smiled innocently.

Reagan's mother more or less dismissed his explanation and instead turned to her daughter,"Well, Reagan, why don't you help me with dessert?"

Reagan nodded, "Yeah no problem."

"I'll be here, with my stubbed toe." Harry remarked 

Both Reagan and her mother ignored Harry as they walked into the kitchen. Reagan spotted the pie already on a platter right away, and looked at her mother questioningly.

Mrs. Bailey placed a hand on her hip and stared at Reagan intently, "Spill."

"Spill what?"

"Don't play dumb, Rae. I know something is going on."

"With?"

"Your father? Kennedy? You? No one is telling me anything, but I know that something is going on."

"Where to start." Reagan muttered.

"Why did your father leave?"

"Mom, this really isn't the—"

"Reagan." She said in a warning tone.

"Okay." Reagan sighed, "But don't get mad."

"That's promising."

"Look, you know Harry hasn't been here for like two months right? And you know that I haven't gotten to spend much time with him or anything."

"So?"

"Well, when dad went to go drop off the documents I needed, Harry answered the door."

"Why did—Oh." Mrs. Bailey blushed slightly, "Is he living with you?"

"No...I mean not technically."

"Then what was he technically doing at your apartment?"

"Mom, it's not like that."

"You two aren't having sex?"

"MOM!" Reagan yelled, feeling her face turn about five different shades of red. She was pretty sure Harry had overheard, and well, that just made it even more mortifying.

"What I'm not allowed to ask?"

"I just..."

"Are you?"

Reagan mumbled something incoherently and nodded her head. The last thing she had ever wanted was to talk to her mom about her personal life, but now it was inevitable.

"Are you being safe."

"Mom, please. This is not the issue."

"Well it clearly is if your father felt he had to leave town just to clear his head."

"I'm twenty-two."

"Twenty-two or not, we didn't think you'd be moving in with a boy so quickly." Her mother said, obviously trying to understand Reagan, but at the same fighting the urge to become the strict parent.

"We didn't move in together."

"But he was staying over?"

"Yes, that's what I've been trying to tell you."

"Was he at least clothed when he answered the door?"

"He claims he was."

"Oh, dear." Her mother said shaking her head.

"Do you think dad's just overreacting, I mean, is it really that much of a surprise?"

"You know he still thinks of you as a little girl, both you and your sister. So yes, it might have been quite the shock. Especially, since well...especially since it was Harry."

"What are you trying to say?" Reagan said, even though she knew exactly what her mother was attempting to get at.

"Well, your father isn't particularly fond of you dating Harry."

"No way? Really?"

"Stop that, I'm trying to have a serious conversation here."

"Sorry, but really, mom. As if he hadn't been making that blatantly clear since day one."

"He just wants what's best for you, Rae."

"So do I, and Harry's a part of that."

Her mother put her hands up and shrugged, "I really do not want to get in the middle of this."

"You know I'm not stupid mom, you know I think everything through."

"Yes, dear, but love isn't rational. It doesn't let you think things through, even if you always have."

"Mom."

"I'm serious. You've changed a lot since you've met Harry, and I'm not saying that's bad. But just look at the consequences your choices have produced."

"The only reason dad's mad is because things didn't work out in his favor."

"Honey."

"No, mom. It's okay. I don't have a bone to pick with you or anything. But please, just don't bring up the uh...the..."

"The sex thing?"

"Shhh!"

"Reagan, you're twenty-two." She reminded her sarcastically.

"Can we just serve the pie already?"

"Yes." Mrs. Bailey said, chuckling to herself. She began to take small plates out of the cabinet when she realized, "Wait, where is Kennedy?"

"I told you she has a study group today."

"Reagan, I'm not stupid. She's with a boy isn't she?"

Reagan sighed, there was no way she could hide this from her mother, "Yeah."

"Do you know who."

Reagan didn't answer, knew it wasn't her place. Instead she took the plates from her mother's hand, grabbed the pie, and quickly ran out of the kitchen, "Hope you like apple pie." She said to Harry as she placed the dessert in the middle of the table.

Her mother frowned at her from the doorway, "You think you're so clever."

"What?" Reagan said too innocently, making Harry look at Mrs. Bailey and then at Reagan. He realized he kind of probably missed something, again.

"We will talk about it later." Her mother said, taking her seat once more. Reagan served both of them, and sat down as well. Watching as her mother stared intently at Harry. Finally she asked, "Harry?"

"Yes?"

"Do you like apple pie?"

"Yes." He nodded with a smile, "This one is particularly good."

"That's nice." She nodded as well, "And do you like my daughter?"

"An awful lot." He said, kind of bashfully.

"And you two are being safe?"

"Mom!"

"Well you aren't telling me anything!"

Harry though, in his blissful ignorance answers,"Of course, I always make her wear her seat belt in the car."

Reagan wished the earth would swallow her whole at this point, "Harry that's not what she meant."

"What did she mean?"

"I meant—" Luckily for Reagan, the door opened and within a few seconds Kennedy appeared in the hallway.

"Hey." She said, putting her backpack down, "Sorry, I'm late."

"Study group run late, honey?" Mrs. Bailey asked.

"Oh, yeah. So much studying, so little time."

"You hungry?"

"No, but I'll take some pie." She said sitting down at the table, next to Harry. "Where's dad?"

"He had to fly out." Reagan responded, picking at her plate.

"Tonight? I thought he was going to be here for this dinner."

"We thought you were too." Reagan's mother said, playfully, but obviously with some underlying intent.

"Sorry, mom. We're going to have to do this again anyway, I'll be here on time for sure."

"Alright." Mrs. Bailey responded, getting up to get Kennedy a plate.

While Mrs. Bailey left, Reagan glared at Kennedy from across the table, "You said you'd be here on time!" She said in a low, harsh whisper.

"I'm sorry."

"You were with him this whole time!?"

"I-"

"Here you go." Mrs. Bailey said, placing the plate in front of her younger daughter.

Kennedy smiled up at her, "Thanks mom."

Reagan looked from her mother, to Harry, to Kennedy, thinking how grateful she was that this was the extent of the night. Sure her mother had kind of humiliated her, but it was much better than getting into a fight with her father. If this was the note she and Harry would end on until the end of the boys' press tour in two weeks, she would be perfectly fine with it.

After all, Harry seemed to take everything in stride. Maybe it was time she learned to do the same.

---

"Do you really have to go?" Reagan asked, her voice drenched in a dreamy sleep. It took everything Harry had within him to untangle himself from her embrace, wrap her back up in her covers, and kiss her forehead.

"Yeah, love. I do." He smiled sadly, "But you know this is going to be the longest we'll be a apart for a while. When I come back, almost everything will be based out of here in the states."

From New York, to Mexico, to Europe, to Australia. Their sleep schedules would be out of whack again, but at least it was only for two weeks. That's what he kept telling himself, it was only two weeks.

"It's not as bad as two months."

"It'll go by quickly." He reassured her and himself, "Just go back to sleep okay?"

She nodded, giving him a squeeze before he finally gave her one last kiss, "I love you. Be safe." She said as he pulled back. She tried to memorize everything about him, from the way he smelled, to the look in his eyes when she spoke. It was only two weeks, she didn't know why they were being so dramatic. But at the same time, she did.

"I love you too." He said, before he finally stepped away from her bed, grabbed his small bag and walked out of her room. She heard his steps reverberating throughout the house as he reached the front door. He finally yelled, "Bye, Rae. I'll call you tonight."

She didn't yell anything back, just heard the door shut and tried to close her eyes to go back to sleep. The boys were almost done, this was almost it. It was terrifying and amazing all at once. She didn't know what the future held for all of them, but she prayed it would be something as wonderful as the life they had led so far.

And with that she was lulled back to sleep, missing Harry, and hoping for change to keep bringing joy into their lives.


 


 


 

 

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