Solace ~ h.s.

If he weren't there... I don't know what would have happened.

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24. ⪻ 24 ⪼

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Best God dåmn burger I’ve ever had was right.

Harry took me to this rather traditional looking pub for the start of our second date. The whole atmosphere was exactly what you would expect from a English pub, complete with the sparse seating and men and women getting their Tuesday drink on. I’m pretty sure we were actually the only two that didn’t actually drink, only partaking in the American style burger and chips they promised.

“So?” Harry asks as soon as we’ve stepped out of the pub. I turn back to look at him, doing my best not to trip over the heel of my ankle boots; an autumn look being worn in the spring, what can I say, I’m trendy. He looks expectant, as if wanting me to review the entire meal right out front.

“Okay, that was a really good burger.” I admit, walking off towards his vehicle.

“I told you.”

“Thank you for dinner.” I call over my shoulder at him. I hear him chuckle lightly but not say anything.

Instead of continuing to follow along like I had intended, Harry reaches out and grabs my hand, stopping me in my tracks. With a light tug, I’m standing beside Harry, wondering what on earth he’s thinking.

“Night’s not over yet.”

I didn’t think there was actually going to be more to the evening, if I’m honest. The time was already nearing half-nine, just for the sole fact that we spent the last two hours just talking amongst the drinking fools.

“It's not, is it?” I wonder, trying to fight the smile off my lips. “Where are we off to next?” I question as Harry tugs us in the completely opposite direction of his vehicle.

I can’t help but stare down at our intertwined fingers, his thumb gently rubbing over the back of my hand in a soothing rhythm. Would it be cliche to say that I hadn’t felt comfort like this in a long time?

“You’re about to find out.” Harry’s hand causes me to laugh loudly as it latches over my eyes, keeping me from seeing what’s in front of us.

Jokes on him though, I had already seen the signage of the place he was leading us to. It was either a European Wax Centre or an Artisanal Ice Cream Shoppe, personally I was hoping and wishing for the Ice Cream place.

“Tada!” I burst out laughing as soon as Harry’s hand has released my face, the pure excitement that Harry shows is refreshing. He’s acting like Edward had when I surprised him with a tiny fish on his fourth birthday.

As you can tell with that situation, the excitement didn’t last long, as the fish was no longer with us five days later. But with this, my happiness sticks around.

“Ice cream! How’d you know I’m not lactose intolerant?” I question Harry as he walks up to the shoppe’s doors and pulls one open. He stops short in his place, turning and looking down at me. There’s a smirk upon his lips, and I would be lying if I said it didn’t make me melt inside.

“I’ve seen you smash an entire carton of Mint Chip before.”

Yikes! He witnessed that and he’s still around? Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve found a keeper.

“Sorry you had to witness that.”

The both of us entered the shoppe like eager children, both ordering double scoops of our preferred flavours: Harry with Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, and I with Mint Chip. I had assumed we were going to enjoy the cooling sensation of ice cream within the confines of the shoppe, but Harry had other plans.

We walked with our ice cream down towards the walkway over the canals in Castlefield. There we found a small bench to perch ourselves upon whilst we ate.

“Tell me more about yourself.” I practically order Harry as I set my empty tin of ice cream down at my side.

“What do you want to know?” Harry wonders, doing the same with his ice cream as he slings his arm over the back of the bench. I shrug my shoulders, leaning into his slightly.

“Anything. Everything.” He sighs heavily for me, looking up into the night sky as if thinking really hard.

“When I was sixteen, I saw my first pair of boobs.” I shout in laughter and allow my hand to fly over his perfect lips, shushing him from going on.

“Okay, not everything. I do not need to know everything.” I say laughing as I remove my hand from his face. Harry just smiles over at me, the grin probably the widest I’ve ever seen it. “Um, tell me more about your family. You haven’t really told me all that much about them.” Harry nods, standing to his feet and reaching his hands out for me to take.

“If I’m going to tell you about them, we’re going to go for a little stroll.”

“Deal.”

Harry already knows a lot about my life. He knows all about my family, for obvious reasons. He, unfortunately, knows the bare minimum details about my ex and my non-existent bakery. But in reality, I don’t know too much about him.

I know the story of how he came to be a doctor, but not exactly the grimy details of what he does. I know that he has an older sister and a mother, whom he talks about frequently, mainly about how he needs to visit his mum and how he should call his sister. I know that he and Niall have been best mates for a while now. But other than that, not a lot, which is startling because I’ve trusted him with my brother.

“Long story short, my mum, Anne, married my dad, Des, when they were young. They were married for a bit before having my older sister, Gemma, and then a couple years down the road, I arrived. Things weren’t always the best at home with them, they argued frequently, but they tried to keep it from Gem and I. They held out until I was around seven. One evening they just sat us down and explained that they were getting a divorce.”

“I’m sorry.” I interrupt, squeezing Harry’s hand in mine. I can tell it bothers him a bit, thinking back to that time, and I feel guilty for bringing it up.

“It’s alright. They just fell out of love, I guess. My dad moved here to Manchester whilst my mum, Gem, and I stayed back in Holmes Chapel. We lived predominately at my mother’s, but we had our weekends with dad.” Harry says, smiling lightly. “I enjoyed having our weekends with my dad, he’d take us out and do some really fun stuff in the city. I still have a good relationship with my father.”

“Does he still live here in Manchester?” I wonder.

Harry, obviously, doesn’t talk about his dad much. I would assume that he would if his dad still lives around, but maybe he just likes to keep private about his father.

“He moved out to Liverpool about ten years ago when he met his, now, wife Juliette. She has children from previous marriages and works over there, so my dad went to be with them. She’s great and I even got a couple of great step siblings out of it.” Harry explains as he takes us over the walkway above the canals.

“How old are they, your step siblings?”

“Juliette has a couple kids from a couple different marriages, so there’s: John, who is twenty-six; Leigh-Anne, who is my age; and Nathalie, who is twenty-three. All lovely, I try and see them ‘round Christmas Time, depending on how busy it is at the hospital.” I find myself smiling.

I knew Harry was a big softy from the occasional stories he’s told me about his mother and sister, but it just warms my heart that he’s close with his step siblings too. You hear horror stories about Cinderella situations, so it’s refreshing to hear a happy ending.

“Do you see Gemma often?”

“Not as much as I would like. She lives in London, working as a fashion and travel blogger. I don’t find myself in London too often; and when I do, Gem is usually away on work or with her boyfriend, Michael.”

“She sounds lovely.”

“She is. I’m sure she’d love to meet you.” I find myself grinning about the talk of introducing me to family. That’s usually something you wait off until around the couple month marker.

With my last boyfriend, he didn’t meet my family until around two months in, and that was only because Edward fell sick and we were spending the entire weekend together. It was a drop everything and go situation, even if it were just for the flu, but my ex had tagged along. But I didn’t meet his family until about a year into the relationship, probably not a good sign.

“Already talking about meeting the family? Harry it’s only the second date!” He laughs alongside me and wiggles his hand out of mine to wrap around my waist, pulling me exceptionally close to him.

“I guess it just means I really like you.”

My face feel incredibly warm all of a sudden and I hope the cool breeze disguises the true origin of the rouge on my cheeks. Again with the compliments, I may not last long if he goes on.

“Okay,” I begin, shaking my thoughts from the kind things Harry says to me. If I think about it too long, I’ll combust. “I need to ask about your job, because we’ve known each for a little over a month and I don’t even know exactly what you do.”

“I suppose you’re right.” Harry says laughing. It was odd that something so simple past us both by. “I am technically a neurosurgeon.”

I immediately have so many questions; one being that fact of how he’s made his way up to being a neurosurgeon so early on in his career. I think the fact that he graduated medical school at the age of twenty pretty much sums it up.

“I work mainly up in neurology, but I find myself in the A&E if they need extra hands or I don’t have any consults, surgeries, or patients to work with.” He explains, a smile on his lips as he stares straight ahead of us. “I work alongside neurologist and another, more experienced, neurosurgeon, it’s quite lovely though. It’s stressful, yes, but it has its perks.”

“That’s why you were always so adamant on checking my head for injuries.” Harry peers down at me and shows me a little shrug, giving my hip a bit of a squeeze.

“Guilty. One of the perks of the job was meeting you.”

And again with the blushing.

“You met me before I was admitted into the hospital and something tells me I didn’t really need to be in the neurology wing.”

“Maybe I just wanted you close.” I lightly push Harry off me, trying my best to disguise my rouge cheeks. But I know from the laughter that he already knows.

“Stop, you’re making me blush.”

“Saying something that simple makes you blush?” He wonders, jogging to catch up to where I’ve stopped, at the centre of the walkway over the canal.

“You have no idea how much you make me blush.” My voice is low, carrying off into the night sky with the light wind that blows through my hair. My words alone make Harry grin widely, his eyes scanning my face before landing on my lips.

My heart nearly stops beating in my chest as I begin to discover what his intentions are. It’s been quite a while since I had kissed someone, or been kissed, and honestly, I’m out of practice. Harry takes a step closer to me so that our chests are nearly pressed together. I find myself gazing into his eyes before allowing my eyes to take in the rest of his face.

My eyes end up landing upon his pink lips, doing nothing but looking ready to kiss.

“Can I try something I’ve wanted to do for a long time?” I watch as his lips move, the words spilling off his tongue slowly. His slow words have a way at creating the goosebumps that line my skin and the shivers that paint my spine.

“You don’t have to ask, Harry.”

Just like in the movies, his lips are delicately placed on mine and as cliche as it sounds, my entire body ignites in a hot fire. His hands take their place on my body, one hand gently caressing my cheek whilst the other holds dearly onto my hip, keeping me from falling to the ground in a puddle of my own happiness and excitement.

Immediately the smell of fresh peppermint and cologne overcomes all my senses, flooding my nose with the delicious scent. The overwhelming smell distracted the feeling of his soft lips upon my surely chapped lips.

I should have moisturized.

“What’s wrong?”

It’s discovered quite quickly, that in my time of cursing myself out for probably having chapped lips, I had stopped kissing him. Instead of opening my eyes to see an upset look of a man who just was stopped from having a smooch, I see a man who looks genuinely worried.

“Nothing, sorry. I got caught up in my head.”

“You’re bonkers.” He mutters, his eyes trained on my lips before no other words are said and it’s just two adults kissing romantically on an empty bridge under the night stars.

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