Solace ~ h.s.

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

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60. ⪻ finale ⪼

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25 March 2018 - 3 ½ Months Later

“Edward, buddy, please don’t rush about!” I roll my eyes and call after the young boy running amuck in place where he shouldn’t really be doing anything other than walking at a somber pace. I understand his need to rush on a day like today, but it’s stressing me out.

“He’s just excited to see them, let him be.” The handsome surgeon at my side comments as he wraps a warm arm around my waist and pulls me close to him as we still stand in the car park. He presses a tender kiss to my temple as we both watch Edward slow to a fast-paced walk in the direction of his destination.

“I know, but I don’t want to seem disrespectful to everyone else.” My eyes fall upon an older woman knelt towards the ground a couple meters ahead. Her head was bowed downwards but now it’s turned towards my brother who rushes past her. She doesn’t say anything and when we reach her my apology is only met with a solemn nod of her head.

“Are you nervous?” I peel my attention away from Edward to look at Harry, whose gaze is on me, seemingly never leaving. I shake my head but stop wondering why I’m trying to lie to myself.

“A little. This is the first time we’re all visiting them. I feel bad that we’ve not done this sooner. I hope they’re not mad.” Harry laughs lightly at me and presses another chaste kiss to my temple.

“That the only reason you’re nervous?” A playful smile sprinkles Harry’s lips as he speaks, his eyes wondering my face lovingly. I open my mouth to respond but am interrupted by Edward calling our names.

“I guess there’s no time to be nervous anymore.”

Harry and I approach Edward, who has already taken a seat in the slightly dewy grass. I feel the need to scold him for sitting carelessly, how he’ll get sick since it’s only March and he’s sitting in the cold, damp grass, but I hold it back. My eyes immediately bypass Edward to what sits before him and I release a shaky breath.

“Hi mum, hi dad.” I say into the air. My words receive no response but a cold breeze blowing my hair out of my face.

Their double tombstone looks sparkly clean underneath the frosty dew sparkling with the sun’s rays. It’s clean and no flowers sit in the holder placed specifically for them, aside from the ones that will soon find their home there.

“Edward, do you want a moment alone to say hello?” His eyes are glued to the stone and it’s like he’s memorizing the words written there for him to see. He shakes his head in silence and keeps still.

“Do you want a moment?” Harry pipes up. I shake my head and lead Harry over to the bench that sits close to my parents.

“Mum, dad, I hope you remember Harry.” I start, motioning towards Harry as if my two parents are sitting right across from us. Harry sends them a wave, to which I laugh at, and I know my parents would be too. “He’s only been here the one time,” When you were placed beneath the surface of the ground, “but as you can tell he’s stuck around.”

I can’t help but think about what it would have been like if Harry and I had met and begun seeing each other under different circumstances. Maybe we’d drive over to see my parent’s and Edward once a month. My father and Harry would chat like men and watch the game with Edward as mum and I would bake to our hearts’ content. Maybe my father would be cautious of Harry since my last relationship didn’t end well, or maybe he just knew that Harry and I would be right for each other. The thought alone brings tears to brim my eyes.

“I miss you guys.” I say just above a whisper, fearing if I speak any louder my voice will just break.

“Yeah, me too.” Edward adds, extending his hand forward to place against the stone.

We sit in silence for a while, just letting the wind make noise as if it were our parents speaking back to us. Oddly enough, though I’m crying on the outside I feel utterly content on the inside. The last time I was here, when it was only Edward and I, I was a mess and so was he, but now we seem familiar with everything.

“I opened my bakery.” I say out of nowhere. The last time we were here, the bakery was still in the beginning of the processes of being made, so I haven’t been able to tell them the great news. “I’m so happy with it. It’s called Belle’s, a name that Harry came up with, and I love it.” I look to Harry, as if for encouragement, and smile. “I didn’t know if it was going to be successful or not, but it actually is. Someone from The Telegraph actually published an article on Belle’s and myself because of how well we’re doing.”

From day one the bakery has been busy, busy, busy. The first week was busy with new customers coming in to check out my skills, the first month was busy with my catering and baking for special occasions, and now we’re just plain busy. I never imagined myself baking and decorating someone’s wedding cake or catering for a Manchester United event (Edward and Harry were beyond ecstatic about that one). I’ve grown from a staff of three to a staff of five (including myself) and clients of ten to upwards of fifty.

“She got to bake for the Manchester United players! Stuart Mathieson even autographed a jersey for me!” Edward exclaims, his face still lighting up like the morning I gave it to him. Harry was equally excited when I brought him along as my date, because apparently I don’t simply belong in the kitchen during big events, so him and I mingled a bit during the course of the night. I swear Harry almost pissed himself when the players came up and introduced themselves to him.

Edward goes on to talk about school and his friends. He’s gained a tremendous amount of confidence at this school, no longer needing weekly counselling for behavioral and emotional occurrences. He has friends whom he hangs out with outside of school and he’s doing excellent in his studies. He should be proud gushing about his life. I’m proud of him.

“And Annie has Harry, which is really cool.” My attention turns back to the young boy when I hear my name. “He’s really cool and funny. We also live with him now, which means I get this huge room all to myself. Harry and I painted it red and put up Manchester United posters.” I look up to Harry and sneakily press a kiss to his cheek as he watches Edward gush about him.

The two of them have become like brothers too. Sometimes it’s as if Edward and I aren’t related by birth, it’s those two. I have no hard feelings towards that; I’m just happy that Edward is happy.

Edward had a project on family in class one week. He had to make a poster to present to the class about his family. I was a bit worried when he first told me about it, but upon seeing the finished product I had to excuse myself to have a cry on how perfect it was. Under mum and dad, there were photos of our mum and dad but then a photo of Harry’s mother. He called her mum on accident once and has never stopped since (again, another reason I cry). And under a photograph of his siblings he put a photograph of Harry and I together. Thankfully, his teacher was aware of, and Edward explained, our situation or else she, and everyone else, would have been alarmed of a photograph of Harry and I liplocking.

As for Harry and I? We’ve been amazing. Being in a relationship with someone that you love so unconditionally is mind-blowing and eye-opening. There are days when I question how perfect and fairytale-like we are together, but then we’ll have a minor argument and I’ll know it’s real. He makes me so happy. I’ve fallen harder for him in the last months, if possible. I picture a future with him, more so than I have in the past. I see us married in a few years, maybe with a few kids after that, and maybe with another cat besides Dusty. I want that for us and I think Harry does too.

There have been moments where he’s hinted at marriage, a slip of I think our first dance at our wedding would be to… and a blunt I want to marry you someday. As for me, though I don’t see us marrying or getting engaged anytime soon, I have hinted at a rose gold engagement ring with a circular diamond… but only once two months ago. But I see it happening for us and I like how we’re on the same page.

“Love, do you mind if I have minute alone to speak with your parents?” Harry asks as we’re all getting ready to leave the cemetery. I don’t question what he wants to tell my parents or “speak” with them about I just simply nod my head, give him a kiss on the lips, and whisper we’ll meet you in the car.

Edward and I walk towards Harry’s Range Rover whilst Edward tells me something funny that happened at school the other day. I laugh along to the story as we get into the car and I start the engine, hoping to warm my frigid body. Edward almost immediately plugs his headphones into his ears and blocks out the world as my eyes scan out the windscreen towards Harry in the distance.

He stands tall with his hands in what appears to be his coat pockets. I can’t see his face, so I can’t tell if he’s speaking or just having a silent conversation, but I grow curious when I see him raise a hand towards his face. I can’t tell for sure what he’s doing but it looks as if he’s wiping a tear away, and my heart aches. I don’t even know for sure if he’s crying, but if he is it worries me only slightly.

Harry turns around a few minutes later and once he gets close enough there appears to be little signs of tears shed. His nose is a little red, but that could be from the cold, and underneath his eyes look to be slightly damp.

“Alright?” I question once he slides into the warm car. Harry looks to me, ignoring the hint of worry in my tone, and leans over to press a kiss to my lips.

“Never better.”

I never knew exactly what he said to my parents that day, but a month later I found out the gist. When Harry got down on one knee in the middle of my bakery with tears in his eyes and a smile on his lips, he professed his love for me and mentioned that though my father couldn’t give him permission he did give them a head’s up.

I fell more in love with him: my lover, my savior, my solace; and from that moment on I knew that we came together for a reason. That reason originally being to find comfort in a time of such distress, but now it’s because I need someone to love unconditionally and to care for me and my brother when times are hard and when they’re not.

Solace ⪼ sol∙ace / noun / comfort or consolation in a time of distress or sadness

The End. 

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