Solace ~ h.s.

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

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“How on Earth did you leave your coat here earlier? You weren’t even wearing one!”

After a long day of baking, stressing, and then baking some more, I came home to a nice, quiet flat. I didn’t stay there for long though. Edward is off at Anne’s tonight, because Harry wants to take me out for a special date night. I told him that we shouldn’t have a special date night until after the opening, a celebration you may say, but he insisted we go out.

That being said, to thank him for his overwhelming support over the last few months and because I’m desperately in love with him I decided to spice things up tonight. I picked out my favourite dress, one with a flowing skirt, something like Marilyn Monroe on the subway vent flowy, only more modern. To top it all off, I, for once in my life, made the decision to be bold.

When Harry finally makes the move tonight, there’s one article of clothing he won’t have to worry about discarding… if you know what I mean.

It took me a little over an hour to get ready and that leaves us where we are now, parked right back outside my bakery. Someone apparently left his coat here earlier and with the December chill running through everyone’s layers, he really does need it.

“I was wearing one.”

“Were not.” I argue as I shuffle from foot to foot behind Harry as he unlocks the front door to the shop. If he doesn’t hurry up soon, my lady parts will be completely frozen and there will be no sex tonight.

“Were too.” We argue like children Edward’s age.

“I know for a fact that you weren’t because: A, you were wearing that NYC jumper you know I love on you; and B, I’m almost positive I saw it on the sofa before we left home.”

He’s up to something, I can feel it in my bones. I just don’t know what he’s planning, or maybe he really did forget his coat here. With all the stress I’ve been taking on, my memory isn’t holding up to good.

“Baby, just let me check.” Harry says as the lock clicks open.

“Only because I don’t want you to catch a cold.” I tell him as he holds the door open for me to step inside.

As soon as I’ve taken one step into the front of the bakery, all the lights in the shop flip on and I’m greeted with the shouts and smiling faces of a lot of people we both know and love.

“SURPRISE!” They all yell, causing me to jump into Harry.

Despite my shock for them standing before me, I can’t help but be very aware of the fact that if the skirt of my dress catches one breeze I will be humiliated for life. My hand is instinctively holding the skirt down as I put on a happy smile and pretend to just be shocked for the sole reason of them all being here.

In fact, I am shocked in that matter. Anne is standing near the counter with Edward standing directly in front of her. Des is with Juliette, both cheering and holding champagne flutes. Then there’s all the siblings: Gemma, Leigh-Anne, Nathalie, and John. Of course, Niall is in attendance and for some reason doing an Irish jig to the lack of music in the room. And finally my eyes lock on the middle aged woman that I’ve not seen in quite a long time, Lorna Reed, my biological aunt. A grin comes to my lips on behalf of everyone being here, but it only grows wider when I meet Lorna’s gaze.

“Oh my God.” I finally vocalize. “What is all this?”

Of course I knew what it was; I had a feeling since we parked outside the store front. I really just didn’t want to believe it for the sake of my choice on fashion back at the flat.

“It’s your night-before-the-opening-of-your-bakery party.” Harry says, as if it’s just so obvious. He steps fully into the bakery, causing the door behind him to fall closed and a gust of cold air to whoosh through the room.

“Shit.” I curse nearly inaudible as I grab ahold of my dress. They say going commando is freeing, but personally I find it more stress-inducing than I do freeing.

“What’s wrong?” Harry wonders, wrapping his arm around my waist as he looks down at me. I shake my head and put on a smile for him.

I really want to be happy about this surprise, and I am, but it’s hard to enjoy everything when you feel exposed and everyone is staring at you.

“Nothing. I’m just shocked. You did all this?” When I look up at Harry, he’s nodding with a sly smile on his face. I find myself leaning into him as I press a kiss to his cheek out of thanks. With a soft pat on my lower back, I turn towards everyone in the bakery, fearing I’ve been a bit too rude by not really acknowledging them until now.

“Hello everyone!” I exclaim, smiling largely. Gemma approaches from near the front counter, holding a bottle of champagne and a champagne-filled flute. She gives me a quick hug and a kiss on the cheek before he’s handing me the flute. “Oh, thank you, Gem.”

“Speech!” Someone yells, Harry’s head and mine snapping to the culprit.

“Alright, thanks John.” I mutter, feigning annoyance, even though I’m really not one for public speaking. Secondary school was the worst, especially in my Literature class when I had to give a presentation on The Scarlet Letter, I nearly threw up in front of the entire class. “Um, I guess I’m not really one for public speaking, but I’ll give it a go.

“Firstly, I want to say thank you all for coming tonight. If you can’t tell I really am surprised to see you all. I’m really happy you could be here tonight; I know all lot of you don’t live close-by so it’s very kind that you would all drive so far to celebrate with this place. And not only thank you for tonight, but for everything you’ve done for myself and Edward, welcoming us into the family, helping out with the bakery; just thank you.”

I’m shocked I’m not crying, but then again I think I’m too happy to cry in a moment like this.

“Then I suppose I should say that I’m really, really excited about the opening of Belle’s tomorrow. It’s my baby and a dream of mine, it has been since I was young. I can’t believe it’s finally happening.” Clearing my throat and looking up from the champagne flute, where my eyes have found it most comfortable, I break a smile. “Like I said, rubbish at public speaking, so I’m going to wrap this up.” I lift my glass towards the sky and make a toast. “To Belle’s.”

“To Belle’s.” Everyone in the room shouts erupting in a chorus of cheers and clapping with I down some of the champagne in my glass.

“Annie! Annie!” Out of the corner of my eye I see Edward running towards me with a happy look on his face. Just as he makes it to me, he’s wrapped his arms around my legs and hugging me close. I nearly scream as I quickly pull down my dress that’s hiked up little by little. As much as I love Edward’s hugs, I’d really not like one right now.

“Hi buddy.” I greet, softly leaning down to press a kiss to the top of his head.

“I’m proud of you.” That alone makes my heart melt.

“Awe buddy, thank you. And thank you for being so patient and such a good boy throughout everything. It’s really helped me a lot. I love you.” I tell him, giving his back a pat as he detaches his arms from around me.

“Can I have a piece of cake?” He asks, pointing to the cake on the counter.

“A piece of -?” I nearly have a heart attack when he points to the freshly cut cake on the counter, thinking it’s one of mine.

“Don’t worry, my mum made it, it’s not one of yours.” Harry assures me, chuckling at my reaction. Surely I look as if I’ve seen a ghost. “Go for it, Edward.” He tells my brother, receiving a shout of appreciation from him before he’s darting towards the cake.

“Harry, can I talk to you?” I wonder, keeping my voice low as I look around the room.

Juliette is standing beside Lorna and Anne with the cake, all laughing at something Edward’s said. Des is with John, and a mysterious Asian woman I’ve never seen before. She must be that “amazing and beautiful” Japanese woman John has been seeing, his words but she is beautiful. And Harry’s sisters are gathered around Niall, who is telling some story with his insane hand gestures.

They all seem otherwise occupied as we sneak to the back kitchen.

“What’s wrong?” He asks me again for the second time this evening. His hands are in mine in an instant, still believing there to be something wrong. I shake my head with a quiet laugh to myself, thinking about how embarrassing this is going to be is quite funny. I can’t imagine what his face will be like when I tell him.

“Nothing major.” He still looks tense. “Calm down, doc. Thank you for all of this.”

“I know you don’t like to be the center of attention…”

“True,” He’s right, I hate when everybody’s eyes are on me, “but that wasn’t my issue. Babe, you arranged for you mum to watch Edward tonight because we were going to have a special date night.”

“I know, but…”

Does he really think I’m mad that we’re not having date night? I’d much rather spend time with Harry and his family, especially when they take the time to see us.

Harry starts rambling on about how sorry he is for “ruining date night” and I’m standing here feeling incredibly guilty for making him feel this way. Thankfully, as he’s sighing to himself it gives me a chance to cut in.

“There reason I’m only slightly mad, and mainly mad at myself, is because I’m not wearing anything underneath this dress.” Like I expected, Harry’s reaction is priceless.

His eyes have grown double in size and his jaw is dropped. He looks as if he wants to say something but can’t get the words out. He’s also gulping like a mad man.

“You’re not…”

“I was trying to be sexy and surprise you later tonight, in bed.” I add in a whisper. “But now I’m barely covered in a room with all of your family, and Niall, my brother, my aunt, and John’s girl.”

Like as switch has been turned at the mention of his family, he snaps out of his catatonic presence. He runs a hand through his curls and releases a big sigh, his eyes scanning my dress rapidly. It’s like he’s weighing his options, or rather the options for me.

Honestly, I would love to stay and mingle with Harry’s family and our friends, because they mean the world to us, as cheesy as that may be. But at the same time, I would really like to either escape the possible embarrassment that I may face or have sex with my Harry for the first time.

“We are wrapping this up, immediately.” Harry utters, his voice seductively deep and his eyes glistening a darker shade than normal. “Feign a migraine, just do something, for the love of all that is holy. I need to get you home, the sooner the better.”

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