Solace ~ h.s.

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

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49. ⪻ 49 ⪼

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True to my word, I’d been slaving away in this kitchen for the last several hours. Everything was practically baked, plated, and ready to go, but it still felt as if things weren’t finished. My worries were that I didn’t make enough desserts for the guests, but Anne has assured me numerous times that I did make enough. And shortly after her assurance, she shooed me away to get dressed in time for Harry, who should be here to pull me away from my work momentarily.

“There you are!”

Speak of the devil.

Looking up from the last of the desserts I’m plating, I see Harry enter the kitchen. He’s dressed to his best in a perfectly fitted suit and a pair of Gucci boots he bought himself when he went on a short weekend trip to London with Niall and Liam. He looks absolutely gorgeous, handsome, and grown-up. He looks like a professional model with that outfit and his perfect God-like body.

“What are you doing back here?” He questions once he’s entered the room fully. I stand tall from my post and smile over at him.

“I’m working.” I answer, putting a finishing touch on one of my chocolate mini rolls.

“You said I could steal you away as soon as the sweets are plated.” He tells me, repeating my words for all to hear; and by all, I mean just me. “According to that guy,” Harry points to a man that’s been in charge of getting the food ready to serve, “the desserts are plated and ready to go, so come along.”

He sounds like an impatient child, awaiting a trip to the ice cream parlor; and he acts like it to. Harry waltzes up to me and pulls me away from the counter of treats, forcing me to stop working. It’s forceful, but it’s what I need. I’d be here all night if it weren’t for Harry.

“I can’t.” I tell him, slightly joking with him.

“What? Why?”

“I’m not ready yet.” I tell him, looking down at my outfit. My gown length dress brushes against the floor as I walk and my stilettos sit at the edge of the room away from my bare feet. Harry reaches across, running his hands down my arms until they reach my hands. He holds me at arms length and gives me a delicate observation on my body.

“What are you on about?” He wonders, letting his eyes roam my body until they meet my own eyes. “You look gorgeous, beautiful…” He pauses and takes a step towards me with his eyes burning into mine,”...ravishing.” Blushing, I push him off of me and shake my head. “What’s really going on?”

“I don’t fit in with anyone out there.” I tell him, pointing towards the wall to Harry’s rear. Just beyond the wall is the banquet hall filled with doctors, chairpeople, and other guests of the charity ball, all of which I have nothing in common with. “Everyone is so successful and… and beautiful and I’m just the baker.”

“Hey,” Harry lifts my chin so I’m looking up at him, “you’re the incredibly talented and unbelievably gorgeous baker, who is also my lady. I don’t care about your status and neither do most the people out there. So suck it up, baby.” Harry tells me with a straight face, causing me to laugh.

“Harry!”

“No, come on!” He orders me, grabbing my hand and dragging me towards my shoes. Like the gentleman he is, he kneels before me and slides my heels on like I’m Cinderella.

As his warm hands brush a little higher on my leg than just my ankle, I feel the shivers run all over my body. I’m caught off guard in this moment and Harry takes that to his advantage, pulling me with him out into the banquet hall. The once quiet area I was happily baking in is now replaced with the loud chatter and music of the charity ball for Cancer research.

I immediately feel out of place in my under £100 dress and old heels that were scuffed from years of use. My hand grasps onto Harry’s arm as soon as I see the first person’s eyes on us. Harry simply smiles and gives me a peck on the cheek.

“Harry, there you are!”

Both Harry and I stop in the midst of the room when a young, beautiful woman approaches us. She’s holding a flute of champagne and there’s no denying she’s one of the most gorgeous women in this room. When she approaches us, she goes straight to Harry, kissing one of his cheeks before taking a step back. I can’t deny there’s a split second of jealousy in there.

“Charlotte, how are you?” Harry politely asks the slightly older woman.

“Wonderful! Your mother has done a magnificent job with this ball, everything is absolutely stunning.” She compliments, her Northern accent incredibly thick and absolutely sultry sounding.

“Well, I will tell her that. How are Patrick and your kids?” I release a breath I didn’t know I was holding when I hear that she’s married with children.

“Busy driving me up a wall.” All three of us chuckle lightly at her joke, or at least what I hope to be a joke.

“How old are you children?” I find myself asking, hoping to make common ground with talk of children. Charlotte looks over at me with a wide grin, and from the corner of my eye I can see Harry smiling between the two of us.

“Well, I have two children: my son, Max, is eight and my daughter, Chloe, is six.”

“My brother is actually turning six in a couple of months.” I find myself sharing with the stranger.

“Does he go to York Primary?” Charlotte asks, sounding genuinely interested with what I have to say. I nod my head, smiling over at the woman.

See kids, never judge a person just by their exterior!

“Yes, Edward does go there, he’ll be in Year two when the term starts in the fall.”

“That’s wonderful, I wonder if your brother knows my Chloe, she’ll be going into Year two as well. Ah!” She hands Harry her flute of champagne before digging around the in tiny clutch that she held under her arm. “Here’s my card, call me and we can set up a time for my kids and…?”

“Edward.”

“Edward, to get together. May I ask what your name is?” I find myself internally smacking myself for skipping right over introductions. I’m the absolute worst when it comes to making conversation.

“Right, my apologies,” Harry interrupts me from saying anything, “Charlotte, I’d like you to meet my girlfriend, Annabelle Chambers. Charlotte is one of the doctors in the Oncology ward.” Charlotte and I shake hands, introducing ourselves to each other with soft smiles.

“It is so lovely to finally meet the other half of the infamous hospital romance!” Charlotte exclaims, causing me to narrow my eyes slightly.

“Other half of the infamous hospital romance?”

As far as I know, the only personale from the hospital that are aware of the true backstory behind Harry and I meeting are Niall and Liam. Harry rarely talks about anyone else from the hospital other than those two hooligans.

“Niall has a big mouth.” Harry answers, causing the three of us to burst into laughter, which in turn directs just the person we were talking about to our little circle.

“I heard my name.” Niall tells us, suspiciously sipping at his beer as he slings an arm over my shoulder.

“We were just talking about you and your big mouth.” I answer, patting Niall on the back.

“Please excuse me, I have to go speak with the head chairperson of the hospital. Annabelle, it was an absolute pleasure to meet you. Please ring me so we can get the children together.” And with that Charlotte is making her way over to an older gentleman at the edge of the room; a man who looks rich beyond his years.

“I see you met Harry’s work wife.” My eyes widen at Niall’s words and if I had a drink, I probably would have choked on it.

“Niall, shut it.” Harry scolds the Irishman, slapping him upside the head.

“Ouch! I was kidding!” Niall exclaims. “Annabelle, I was kidding.” He assures me, looking around as he rubs his head. “Listen, I just wanted to say hello and that I’m quite excited for your desserts tonight.”

“Don’t be too excited.” Niall nudges me and shakes his head.

“Don’t be too hard on yourself. They are going to be delicious; you’re an amazing baker.” Wrapping my arms around Niall, I give him a tight squeeze before pressing a kiss to his cheek. I thank him quietly and stand beside Harry, wrapping my arm around his waist.

“Niall Horan!” All of us look in the direction of a curvy, curly-haired brunette standing by the bar. She smiles over at Niall and motions for him to join her.

“Now, who is that Dr. Horan?” I wonder, speaking for both Harry and I. He looks genuinely confused by her identity as I am. Not once has Niall said anything about a woman he’s been seeing. Niall shrugs his shoulders, but I can see a plus on his cheeks.

“That’s just Sammie. I gotta go.”

Niall is quick to leave Harry and I behind, making his way towards the beautiful woman in the black dress. He greets her with a kiss on the cheek and what appears to be a strong sweep of his eyes over her body. Harry and I look at each other and shrug.

“Has he ever told you about her?”

“No, but he better after tonight.”

Laughing, Harry and I make our way further into the banquet room, briefly greeting a few fellow doctors and donors along the way. We see his mother, speaking to a group of older men and women. She calls us over and introduces us as, my son and his beautiful girlfriend, Annabelle. We don’t stick with them for very long before Harry and I are making our way towards a familiar face sitting at a table.

“You remember Dr. Liam Payne.” Harry says as we approach Liam, who sits tall before shouting a greeting at Harry. Liam stands and gives Harry a large hug.

“I do in fact remember Dr. Payne, very difficult he is.” I jokingly say as he leans over and gives me a kiss on the cheek.

“I was only difficult because your boyfriend was on my case.”

“He wasn’t my boyfriend at the time.” I clarify.

“No, but he was already whipped.” Liam sends a wink in Harry’s direction, to which Harry merely blushes in return. He tries to hide the rouge colouring his cheeks, but I catch it.

“Liam, did you know that Annabelle is in charge of dessert tonight?” Harry announces, changing the subject from him over to me.

“Really? It’s not like Harry hasn’t mentioned it once or twice.” Liam sarcastically says. “Harry told me you’re a baker.”

“Aspiring.” I correct, smiling over at Harry, whom apparently talks far too much about me whilst he’s supposed to be working.

“She’s just being modest.” Harry tells me as he presses a kiss to the side of my head. Liam smiles at the two of us, his eyes shifting from Harry to I.

“And you’re just being biased.”

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