Solace ~ h.s.

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

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35. ⪻ 35 ⪼

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A Week and A Half Later.

H.

“Are you off, Dr. Styles?” The question, though thoughtful, isn’t exactly what I want to hear at a time like now. I simply want to go home and sleep for the next twelve hours without interruption, from anyone.

“I am.” The words make their way through a heavy yawn, the tiredness simply oozing from my body, as I turn to look at my colleague.

Dr. Liam Payne, yet another young, thriving doctor striving for excellence in our field of neurology by the age of twenty-five. Unlike I, Liam was only brought on at this hospital a short while ago, transferring from a hospital in London a year ago. I’ll be honest, I was a little threatened with his arrival, but we’ve gotten on great, for the most part.

“You need some sleep, mate.” He says, clapping me on the shoulder with his hand.”You’ve been here for what, twenty hours?” He ponders and I find myself wishing I had only been here for twenty hours.

“More like twenty six, Payno.” I respond, yet another yawn tumbling from my lips. “And I will, after I have lunch with my girl.”

Liam has always had a suspicion about Miss Chambers and I, ever since her stay at the hospital. I don’t blame him for figuring it out then either, I was, and still am, protective when it comes to Annabelle. I could have been a bit more discreet with my crazy, but alas here we are.

“Your girl, eh?” He chuckles lightly, raising a brow at me, to which I roll my eyes in his direction. “Made it official then?”

In fact, Annabelle and I hadn’t made it official. We hadn’t even had a conversation about what exactly we are to each other, but I know it’s serious. I plan on making it official, and soon. With the surprise discovery of Annabelle’s adoption, now’s not the time.

“Not yet, but it’s on my to-do list.” Along with cleaning my flat, calling my father back, and buying Dusty more cat food.

“Well, enjoy your lunch.” Liam says as a nurse calls him over to the nurses’ station. He’s a popular lad with the nurses, all of them pulled towards his charm and looks.

“Later Liam.”

No more time was wasted in my place of employment, my feet dragging me directly to my vehicle before driving to one of Annabelle’s favourite restaurants. I hadn’t told her I was on my way to bring her lunch, actually I hadn’t told her I was coming at all.

She had been extremely stressed this past week and a half, distancing herself from myself and focusing solely on work. I understand where it’s coming from and I have no way of relating to what she’s gone through this spring alone. But I can try to make her feel better, and soup and some bread from her favourite place in Manchester is just the way to do it.

Arriving outside Smith and Carlton Publishing, I gather all the food I’ve brought for Annabelle, hoping I’ll be able to steal her away for a bit. I’d even go as far as begging her awful boss for a moment alone with Annabelle.

“Welcome to Smith and Carlton Publishing.” I recognize the woman sitting at the receptionist desk, the space beside her open, the one where Annabelle usually sits.

As I approach the desk, the woman, whose name I’m not too confident in knowing, sits up a bit taller and shines a pearly wide smile in my direction. I return the smile, walking up to the desk in my scrubs and setting the food atop the ledge as I greet her.

“Hello, um...”

“Victoria. Harry, right?” I nod in response, “how may I help you?” She asks before I can continue.

“I’m looking for Annabelle, can you point me in her direction?” I tell her, happily gazing around the modern office setting. When I look back to Victoria I see the expression she wears; her look confused upon my request, furrowing her brows and looking around shortly.

“Annabelle doesn’t work here anymore.” I find myself chuckling lightly as if Victoria’s simply messing with me. Surely, Annabelle still works here, there’s no way she isn’t.

I see Victoria physically gulp before nodding her head slowly. The smile on my lips immediately fades and anger I hadn’t felt for a while was beginning to surface bit by bit.

“What? What are you talking about?” Victoria sighs, leaning towards the desk a bit, as if someone would be listening in.

“Annabelle hasn’t worked here for nearly two weeks. She didn’t tell you she got fired?”

Not only is Annabelle no longer working here, but to learn that she didn’t quit and actually got fired has me slightly mad. I may be biased, but Annabelle’s a hard worker, so surely there’s a mistake.

And yes, it hurts a tad that she didn’t tell me. I don’t know why she didn’t tell me, but I’m not mad at her for it; I’m sure she had her reasons.

“Why was she fired?” I know it’s not my place, but I’d like to have at least some information when I speak with Annabelle later tonight.

She and I are having a night in at my place whilst Niall takes Edward to the cinema to see some film they’re both giddy about. I know I said I wanted to sleep uninterrupted, but only after Annabelle and I drink some wine, eat some food, and maybe doing a little baking, if I can convince her. Tonight is supposed to be about us, as a couple.

“Ms. VanCarlton freaked out on her about several things that she did, or didn’t do. The big deal breaker was when Annabelle forgot to take a phone meeting with this big writer we support. It was stupid, honestly. I overheard their conversation, and so did just about everyone working on this floor.”

I could feel my anger growing, boiling hot underneath my skin at the mere thought of this Ms. VanCarlton yelling at Annabelle. This woman, though I’ve never met her, gets under my skin so easily that it’s worrisome. But it all goes back to my protective nature around Annabelle.

“Where is Ms. VanCarlton right now?” I seethe out through a locked jaw. I wanted to have a word with this woman about how she treats people.

“Harry, I wouldn’t -” victoria starts.

I’m quick to stop her, though it’s not actually my voice that interrupts; a sultry voice echoing from behind me being the culprit of the interruption.

“Victoria, what is taking you so long?” My feet turn my body around almost in slow motion, facing the woman that is Ms. VanCarlton. She looks almost surprised by my presence in her office building, a look of confusion on her face before a large smile breaks out, no doubtedly thinking I’m someone I’m not. “Oh, who is this?”

Instead of calmly approaching the situation like I should have as a twenty-five year old adult, I’m a yelling mess.

“Ah, so this is the bįtch that fired my girlfriend.”

The witch of a woman standing before me with her hand outstretched now wears a look of disgust. Apparently she never expected for Annabelle ever to be associated with this place of employment ever again.

“I beg your pardon?” Her voice is oddly calm, whilst I’m buzzing in my shoes.

“What goes through a person’s head when firing a perfectly innocent woman?” Ms. VanCarlton chuckles at my jab, shaking her head slowly.

“Perfectly innocent?” She wonders, looking around the office, “she wasn’t cut out for this job.” She motions around the building and feel more than just Victoria’s eyes on us in this moment.

Smith and Carlton Publishing employers should really learn privacy.

“She made mistakes, the decision was quite simple.” Again, Ms. VanCarlton is perfectly calm, never showing much sign of anger. “Now, please, get out of my building.”

Threateningly, I take a step forward towards Annabelle’s ex-employer, sizing her up. The significant height difference and my look of utter anger causes the older woman to take a step back, narrowly missing the glass wall behind her.

“You’re lucky I’d never harm a woman,” I seethe, “because you’re a half a second from me knocking you on your årse.” I hear a bunch of whispers from around us, the employees clearly impressed by my confidence.

“Get out.” Ms. VanCarlton’s voice matches mine, the low tone sending shivers down my spine. I can see why Annabelle always seemed hesitant around this woman; she’s quite scary.

Being the bigger person I am, I back away from the woman and turn towards the exit, muttering a fück you all whilst figuring out what to say to Annabelle.

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