Bad Things

Of all the men mom had married, there wasn't a single one that could replace my dad. Except one.

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19. One Year Later

“Jared and myself would like to thank you all for joining us in celebration of our daughter’s successful business launch. Honey, we love you and are proud of your biggest achievement to date. Congratulations.” Mom raised her glass as everyone followed suit. I’d never been more grateful to finally have the support of my loving parents. Dad would’ve been so proud if he was here with us today. Dad, this is for you. I think while raising my glass in the air. Louis approached me with a smile and greeted me with a kiss on the cheek. “Congrats love.” said he. I smiled and quickly kissed his lips. Though as I pulled away, my eyes locked with the familiarity of green ones.

Six Months Ago.

I would’ve never imagined that I’d be opening up my own business. It had always been a dream of mine to start my own company. Only being 25, I’d say that’s a young age to have a start-up company. I mean I’d prefer a smaller company to start with. I’ve been spending at least an entire month conducting interviews. A knock sounded at the door. I glanced up seeing that it was Perrie. “Hey girl.” she smiled. I greeted her with a warm hug. I’d never been more than happy to see my friend. We pulled away and caught up what the other has been doing in the last six months. She had heard about the break up.

Neither wanted to speak up about it but words were exchanged. Perrie and Zayn broke up as well. I thought the two would last. She asked about the interviewing process. I told her that I made a pile of resumes of people I am certain about hiring. After her short visit, she added that I should come by the new office sometime. I told her that I’ll think on it before she left. I haven’t seen the office since I resigned and broke up with Harry. At the end of the long day, Louis arrived to pick me up. We have been friends for a few years now. Also, I’ve been living with him at his apartment. Louis and Eleanor are still together, and so, I slept in the guest bedroom. I didn’t want to stay with mom after moving out of Harry’s place. They had gotten married months ago but still getting used to living with each other. Besides, I wasn’t ready to tell anyone about the break up, especially mom.

One day when I wasn’t interviewing people, I drove to Harry’s company. I can hardly remember the last time I had stepped foot into the office. The lobby still had the same layout. Wait, I don’t remember a mahogany desk. “Kathryn, hey!” The woman at the information desk exclaimed. “How are you? I’m glad you’re back.” I was a bit confused. It had only been four months since my resignation and break up with the CEO. Back? My inquisitive look had been returned with a silent nod. She told me to go right up. I’m surprised there were still a few familiar faces. I reached the floor of Harry’s offices. Perrie was the first to greet me before introducing me to Niall Horan. “The new office is...”

“It’s amazing, right?!” Perrie exclaimed.

I rolled my eyes, but agreed with her. Then she walked out. Jade. Why is she still here? “Why are you here bitch?” asked she. Is she going to grow up? It doesn’t seem like it’ll happen any time soon. I told her that I wanted to visit Perrie and see the new office that she was telling me so much about. Jade rolled her eyes and walked away. She doesn’t fail to make me want to slap her across the face. I’ve managed to hold myself back from doing things I regret. Just as I was getting ready to head out to leave, Harry emerged from the hallway. Seeing him had started to hurt. “I hope she’s not joining us for dinner.” Jade said sourly. Perrie told me that they were all going out to eat dinner. I said I had other plans, but the only person who could tell I was lying was Harry. “Good, we don’t need your company anyway.”

I said goodbye to Perrie before heading to the elevator. I rode the elevator down to the main floor and headed out of the company building. I figured that it wasn’t the best idea to visit the office while the break up was still fresh. “Kathryn!” Harry called out. There were a lot of scenarios that played throughout my mind, except none had matched the very one that was going to happen next. “Leave me alone.” I said without giving him a second glance and walked to my car. I started the drive back to Louis’s apartment and sat with the car off in the parking lot before finally crying. I broke up with him. Why did I feel like this? I should be angry. I moved out of his place. I left his company. A part of me still wanted to be with him. I still want him. 

Now.

“What’s he doing here?” asked Perrie. She and Niall had approached me after Louis had pulled away. Harry showed up at the venue with Jade, his fiancée. I didn’t know. It was the my mom spoke up by saying that she was responsible for inviting Harry. She knew how I felt about him. It had been six months since the last we saw each other, since we last spoke. Mom greeted him with a hug. At least they’re on good terms now. “Congrat--”

“Don’t even try to fake a smile Jade. I knew you didn’t want to come here.” I interrupted her. “Help yourself to some food. We have plenty.” I walked outside and closed my eyes. I wish Liam was here, except he had called to apologize that he couldn’t make it. The one person I wanted more than anyone else right now, even more than my friends and Louis. Liam would know exactly the right words to say in this situation. He’d know exactly what to do. All it would take is a hug and a few words. Right now, he’s not here. “Kathryn.” I heard Harry’s voice. I didn’t turn to face him. I felt his presence beside me. I always could tell if it was Harry. There was something about his presence that was comforting. He made me feel safe. Yet, the feeling was different now. “If you’re trying to make up for what happened a year ago,--”

“I’m not trying to. I just want to give you something as a congratulatory gift.” Harry pulls out a box from inside his jacket pocket and holds it out. I take it from him and start to open it. He stops me. “No, wait until you’re alone. There’s... I wrote a letter that I want you to read. I’ve had it for a while. I’ve been... waiting for the right time to give it to you, but then uh... your mom invited me, and so that’s why I’m here. Congrats again on your new business.” He heads back into the building, leaving me with the unopened box.

That evening when Louis was sound asleep, I headed out to the balcony. I sat down on one of the chairs and took a deep breath. I was afraid of what I would find in the box. I was afraid of the letter that Harry wrote. I’m not sure if he would be angry, upset at me. It was hard to read him earlier at the party when he gave me the gift. I open up the box. A folded piece of paper was underneath another box. I took out and started to read the letter.

Happy Anniversary. Well, not our official anniversary. Today’s the day that we met a few years a go when you were 20. Your mom talked a lot about you and showed me pictures. They didn’t compare to the beautiful woman that you’ve now become. I see how you’ve become a successful business woman in the last year. I remember how I felt the very first time I laid eyes on your beautiful face. Of all the things we’ve done together, I was thinking we were moving too fast. I was married to your mom. I knew that you were unsure about sneaking around. After everything, we made it through. I’ve never felt those feelings I felt for anyone else. It seems selfish of me to say so because you’re currently dating someone. I don’t know who. I would assume Louis. He’s a good guy. I’d know. He was once my roommate.

Inside the box is something I’ve been meaning to give you since the day we met. I figured I’d wait a while. But since the break up, I feel that it’s about time that I give it up. So, I decided to give you something that I hope you’d like. Maybe even love. I wish I could tell you all of this in person. I wish I could hold your hand and express exactly how I feel when looking into your gorgeous eyes. I wish I could see you blush. I wish I could see the dimple in your cheek when you smile. I wish I could hear the sound of your voice. I wish I could hold you again. I wish I could be the person to wake up to you the next morning after a bad day. I wish I could feel your skin against mine. I’m only imagining how soft it would be. I wish I could wrap my arms around you when you’re having a rough day at work. I wish I could reassure you that everything will be okay when you’re stressed. I wish I could watch you become the mother of our kids. I wish I could grow old with you. I wish I could tell you over and over how beautiful you are, even when you stop believing in yourself. I wish I could tell you how much I love you. I wish I could show you how much I do. 

But you already know this.

You told me once when I asked about what your future was like... you told me about what you wanted. I’m only repeating to you the words you have said to me. You closed your eyes and you said: ‘I want us to live in a beautiful house. A house that isn’t too far away from my mom’s place so that our children could see their grandparents. I want us to have a backyard big enough where our children could run freely. I want a house that we could fill with children, preferably two. I want a patio with chairs that we could lounge in on a mid-summer’s afternoon while sipping iced tea. I want a daughter with hair as long as mine but curly like yours and a son who has the cutest dimples like his dad. As much as I love all those things, I don't love them as much as I love you. I have no future if you’re not in it. I have no happiness if you’re not the one making me happy. I am not whole unless you’re beside me. I am going to feel empty for as long as you’re not around.’ 

You opened your eyes and looked at me while saying, ‘Harry Edward Styles, for as long as I am alive, my world will never be the same without you. And I’ll regret someday when I decide to let you go. If we each find someone else, then I guess that’s something I’ll have to accept. Even if one of us decides to get married or both of us do and have families, I will never stop loving you. You are and forever will be my first love. You have been such a huge part of my life. You are the bad thing I can’t shake because I only ever wanted to do bad things with you. Being with you, I’ve never been so alive. Because of you, love will never be the same since you had set a bar so high that no one can or will ever amount to. If someday in the future that our paths cross again, marry me. No hesitation. Just do it.’

Before anything, a knock sounded at the door of the apartment. I stood up, bringing the letter and the box with me before opening the door. Harry stood before me, wearing the same outfit he was wearing the day we met. “I know it’s late. I shouldn’t--”

“Why did you write this?” I held out the letter towards him.

Harry looked down and took the box from my other hand. He didn’t bother to give me an explanation. “I ran out of ink when I was writing, so I couldn’t write what I’m going to tell you.” How convenient. He knew this whole time I was going to read the letter tonight. He could read me better than most people. Without a moment to waste, he got down on one knee and opened the box: “Marry me.”

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