Solace ~ h.s.

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

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Shout out to the Great British Bake Off website for the ideas that sparked some of the sweets mentioned in the chapter below. Check out their divine website: https://thegreatbritishbakeoff.co.uk/news-and-recipes/recipes/ xx

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I only had about thirty more minutes to freak myself out before Harry was parking outside of his childhood home. And even with the five minute refusal to get out of the car because I didn’t think the woman would like me, I still didn’t have enough time to prepare.

So here we stand, right outside the freshly painted front door that Harry gushes he painted for his mother a few weeks ago. Despite warning me not to ruin his masterpiece, he raises his own hand and knocks on the door, earning no response in return.

I joke that no one’s home and turn to rush back to the vehicle, but Harry is quick to grab me, wrapping his hand tightly around mine. He opens the front door and pokes his head into the house, shouting a mum?

“Mum, we’re here!” Without a response, yet again, Harry tugs me into the house. “She’s probably outside in the garden.”

Harry leads me through the lower level of the house, pointing to various things, like the piano at the edge of the room and a few photos hanging on the walls, before we make our way to the kitchen. I’m in awe at the interior of the house, but especially the kitchen.

I would have thought from the exterior of the home that it would be a cute little English village home, but it looks newly renovated. The entire home is impressive, but this kitchen is to die for. Sparkling marble countertops, spotless white cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, and not to mention a huge island, it’s my dream kitchen.

“Like the kitchen?”

“Like it? I love it!” I exclaim in a low tone. Harry smiles down at me as he leads me to a pair of doors leading out to the back garden.

“Hello mum!” He calls out to his mother like a child and tears through the doors. His mother barely has time to get out of her chair before Harry’s engulfed her in a hug. The beautiful woman, who I can’t believe has raised to grown, adult children, hugs her son back and laughs at his actions.

“I didn’t hear you come in; I’m sorry!” She apologizes, kissing Harry on the cheek before prying his arms off of her. “How are you, my love?” She wonders, staring up at her son with so much love it makes my heart pound with jealousy deep in within.

This interaction right here was another reason I really wanted to push this meeting off. Seeing an interaction between a child and mother is still painful for me, actually seeing any parent with a child is painful. I remember when my mum used to greet me like this when I would return home from university.

“And you must be Annabelle!”

And just like that my heart rate spikes as I’m pulled into a friendly hug from Harry’s beloved mother. The interaction causes me to stiffen at first, not entire expecting to be grasped onto before I was even out of my head.

“It’s so wonderful to finally meet you, Annabelle. Harry talks non-stop about you, so I feel like I already know you.” As Anne releases me from her tight grasp, I can’t help but smirk over at Harry to see him blushing slightly.

“He talks about me that much?” I wonder, wanting to know exactly how much he talks about me to his mother. I feel faltered and that alone is making me feel a little bit more relaxed, and the fact that Anne is very kind.

“He talks about you so much.” She answers, motioning to the kitchen island for me and Harry to take a seat.

“Mum.” Harry warns, his cheeks still a blazing red colour. I chuckle lightly at how embarrassed he looks, probably looking like I had when we first entered this house.

“Oh shush, I’m your mother.” Anne says to Harry as she puts the kettle on to make us some tea. “It’s my job to embarrass you as much as possible and seeing as I don’t get many opportunities I’m going to make the best of it.”

I try and hide the smile tugging at my lips at Anne’s words. I know Harry’s said that he didn’t really date all that much in the past, seeing as he was primarily focused on his career. It makes me feel incredibly special that I’m one of the only girls who has made it to the meeting the mother stage.

“Well Anne, it’s lovely to meet you. Harry talks about you a lot as well.” I tell her, and it’s true.

Harry is a very family oriented person, whether or not he’d like to admit it. From the hours we’ve spent speaking about everything from childhood to adulthood, the bulk of Harry’s stories have something to do with his loving family; whether it be about Anne or any of his other family.

“If I knew we were visiting I would have made you something.” Anne perks up at my words, grinning over at me from the kettle.

Her eyes fit towards Harry briefly before falling back to me. It dawns on me that Anne probably knows all about my love for baking and cooking if she’s giving Harry those knowing looks.

“Harry said something about you being a baker.”

“Aspiring baker.” I correct, causing Anne to laugh. “It’s not official or anything, but it’s my dream. I even went to university for culinary arts, but opportunities are few and far between, unless I want to work at McDonald’s.” I joke.

“Never give up on your dreams.” Anne tells me as she slides a steaming cup of freshly brewed tea in my direction, the milk and sugar following soon after. “What’s your favourite sweet to bake?” Anne wonders as I take a spoonful of sugar and add it to my tea.

“Well, I don’t discriminate with sweets; it’s hard to narrow down. I do think my chocolate mini rolls take the trophy for my best baked good, but I also enjoy making pies, pastries, molten puddings, and everything in between.”

I honestly could go on for days about my favourite items to bake. Sometimes recipes just pop into my head at random and other times inspiration will arise during one of the many nights Harry and I binge The Great British Bake Off.

“Wow, that’s quite impressive, Annabelle.” Anne praises with a smile. From the corner of my eye, I see Harry smiling at me as well. This time it’s my turn to blush. “Some of those things are very hard to make to perfection.”

“Well, I started baking at a young age and I am a perfectionist. My mum actually taught me when I was really young and then when I got my first tablet I began perfecting recipes from the Internet. From there I started making up my own recipes. Sometimes I’ll spend an entire day, into the wee hours of the morning, trying to perfect a recipe.” I ramble, finding it hard to stop talking when it comes to baking.

“It’s true, mum. I spent the night at her place one night,” Anne raises her eyebrows towards us and I feel my cheeks burn, “on the couch.” Harry clarifies, wrapping his arm around the back of my chair, “I woke up at three in the morning to find her covered in flour in the midst of her kitchen with baking supplies everywhere. I can’t believe I hadn’t heard all the noise she was making sooner than when I did.”

“You’re a deep sleeper, and I bake like a ninja.” I tell him, receiving a kiss to the cheek in response.

“You’re right, Harry.” Anne says out of the blue, prying Harry and I from the bubble I had put us in. For a moment I had completely forgotten his mother was actually still in the room. “She’s perfect for this.”

“She is, isn’t she.” Harry’s eyes don’t leave mine as I’m left in the blue, wondering what on earth they’re talking about.

“Perfect for what?” I’m hesitant to ask, once again nervous at this turn of secretive conversation.

“Don’t look so nervous, dear.” Anne assures me, walking over to counter behind her to gather a folder of some sort.

“You may or may not know, but I work very closely with charities and organizing events for them.” I do remember Harry mentioning something about that. “There’s this charity ball coming up within a month and we’ve hit a dead end with something that I think you could help with.”

“I’d love to help anyway I can.” Anything to keep me from clawing my eyes out whilst sitting on my sofa at home. Anne slides the folder over towards me and I catch it quickly before it hits my cuppa.

“Well, we haven’t been successful with finding someone passionate, hard working, and not to mention talented, or available, when it comes to baking. I was wondering if you’d like to help us change that.”

Suddenly, I start to feel myself getting too excited to sit still; praying and hoping that I haven’t just imagined this entire exchange happening before my eyes. I’ve dreamed about a day like this, but in my dreams I already have my own bakery. I can’t deny the fact that this feels like fate, though I know Harry has something to do with this...

“Annabelle, how would you like a job baking for our event?” 

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