The Christmas I Turned Pretty

'After a long and boring three-hour drive, our car is finally driving down the familiar snow-covered streets. I gaze out of the car window at all the little shops I know so well. We are finally back in Holmes Chapel. Back home.'
Summer spends every year longing for the winter or more specifically, Christmas.
Every year she spends two and half weeks in The Lodge with her family and the Styles'.
But this year everything is different.
This year, Summer has turned pretty.
Inspired by Jenny Han's book 'The Summer I turned Pretty'. Cover (c) Shilo


14. The End

“So...” I begin when I eventually pull away.

“Listen, Summer-”

“No, don't. It's okay...everything is okay.”

“What I've done to you these past years...”

“Harry, please. I mean it, it's okay.”


He steps into the house as I make my way into the lounge, Harry quickly following behind.


“No, Summer. I should have said all of this years ago and I just need to get it off of my chest.” I look up into his eyes for the first time since our kiss ended, and I see how determined he is.

“Okay,” I reply softly.


We take a seat on the leather sofa with a slight distance between us.


“I don't know how it got like this,” He begins, turning to face me. “you not being at the Lodge, and- and I don't know how I let it get this far. It should have been simple from the start – it could have been – but I was stupid and for some reason, despite knowing how I felt about you all these years, I pushed you away. I never should have hurt you Summer...I'm so sorry.” He looks up, his blazing emerald eyes meeting my caramel ones.

“I know you're sorry Harry, I really do. And I forgive you. I always will, really. I didn't know that until today, until you were so far away...”


Harry's eyes take a sudden change in emotion, all warmth disappearing and being replaced with nothingness; his gaze is completely empty.


“Maybe that's a problem,” He says almost inaudibly.

“What-” I begin to say, panic evident in my voice but Harry quickly interrupts.

“Why should you forgive me? No matter what I do you always take me back, and I've always taken advantage of that. Why do you do it Summer?”

“I- Well,” I begin, taken aback by his sudden question. “I guess I just know that no matter what we'll always find our way back to each other, and I really wouldn't want it any other way. I know that you will always be the only one who I love so I know that it would be stupid for me to give up on that, to give up on you.”


I look up nervously to see Harry's eyes firmly trained on me. The intense, fiery colour has returned to them and I can almost feel the passion that fills them, making my heart start to beat even faster.


“You really mean that?” He whispers, his face moving closer to mine; so close that I can feel the warmth of his breath on my face. “You're not going to give up on me? Because I'm a mess Summer, I really am.”

“Hey, you were the one that promised me I'd always be your girl, and I'm keeping you to that promise, Styles.” I say, closing the gap between us.

“Lucky it was a pinky promise, then.” He chuckles, his lips brushing mine softly, almost teasingly. “Because you definitely can't break them.”


Not being able to handle it any longer, I grab a fistful of Harry's white shirt in my hands and pull him into me, his lips finally crashing onto mine.


We stand up, our lips never leaving each other as Harry scoops me into his arms while my arms naturally snake around his neck. My heart hammers against my chest as Harry pulls me in tighter, as if we need to be as close as possible to each other. His lips are just about to move onto my neck as the front door swings open.


Our lips break away almost instantly when we hear the drop of a bag on the wooden floor. I still remain pinned against the wall in Harry's arms as I stare at my fuming father with my mouth hanging open in both shock and embarrassment.


“Summer, can I talk to you in the kitchen,” My father says after a few moments of his eyes burning holes into both Harry and I, gritting his teeth furiously. “NOW.”

“Okay,” I say sheepishly as I detach myself from Harry's arms.


“It all makes sense now!” My dad laughs bitterly. “Now I know why you sounded so upset on the phone! Well, congratulations Summer; you're a bloody brilliant actor, I'll give you that.” He says, raising his voice.


I open my mouth and then close it again, trying to figure out firstly what the hell he's talking about and how I'm meant to reply.


“I- wait, what?” I say, furrowing my eyebrows. “That phone call- that wasn't an act or a prank or whatever. I genuinely was upset... I thought you hadn't noticed anyway.”

“Oh, so you're trying to make me believe that you didn't pretend to be at the Lodge with your mother and the boys to cover up that you were in fact in my apartment with that- with that boy doing God knows what!” He's practically shouting now which is unusual for my father; he's normally a very calm and collected man. But now he's shouting so loud that Harry can probably hear the whole conversation.


I start to blush furiously at my father's words, especially because Harry has probably heard too.


Dad!” I shriek. “We weren't- no! Nothing like that was happening. He just came over and then... But I didn't bring him here! I was only hear because things happened at the Lodge and I just- I just couldn't handle it any more!”

“You expect me to believe that? I know that boy's reputation Summer, and-”

“No you don't, dad! You don't know anything about him! You never came to the Lodge anyway – even when you and mum were together – so you don't 'know his reputation'. You don't know him at all. And if you really want to know, I do expect you to believe me because it's the truth.” I snap. “I never knew you thought so low of me.” I add on quietly at the end.


An uncomfortable silence settles in the kitchen. All I can hear is the sound of my dad's uneven breathing, the radiators groaning and the floorboards in the hall creaking as Harry probably shifts his weight awkwardly.


“Look, I'm sorry. I was just surprised to see you, that's all, especially the way I found you... I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions.” My father looks up at me guiltily but there is still a hint of anger in his eyes. But after all, I am at least guilty of living in his flat for 24 hours without him knowing.

“I'm sorry too. I shouldn't have snapped at you. I really have missed you, daddy.” I whisper.

“Come here kiddo,” He says softly, pulling me into his arms and kissing me gently on the head.


“Erm, I don't want to ruin the moment or anything,” I say after a few moments. “But Harry's still stood in the hall...”

“Oh right, yeah.”


He pulls away and walks into the hall; I trail slowly behind, embarrassed about the whole thing.


“I'm so sorr-” Harry begins but he's cut off by my father's firm, authoritative voice.

“Listen Harry, I haven't heard the best things about you. And I know I shouldn't let that influence my opinion of you, but I swear to God if you do anything to hurt my little girl-”

“Dad!” I wail.

“Just...look after her, Harry.”

“I will, sir.” Harry says nervously.


I offer Harry a small smile over my dad's shoulder which he returns anxiously as he's still under my father's watchful gaze.


“Simon,” someone calls from the front door, causing my dad's attention to finally leave Harry. “Oh, hi!” She greets cheerily when her eyes land on the three of us stood awkwardly in the corner. “You must be Summer! I've heard so much about you.”

“Oh?” I say questioningly towards my dad.

“Summer, this is Jessica... you know the girlfriend I told you about.”


We stand there in silence, everyone seemingly unsure of what to say. As of yesterday I had no idea that my dad had a girlfriend. I knew he had to move on eventually but seeing her in person makes it that much more real.


“It's lovely to meet you,” I finally say, desperately wanting to break the awkward silence. “I've heard so much about you too.” I add with a smile.

“Summer,” My father says as yet another silence begins to settle. “I think it's best if I call your mother, just to let her know where you are and that you're safe-”

“NO!” I shout. “I mean, no it's okay. She probably knows that I'm safe and I really don't want you to call her...” I try to cover up quickly.

“Why? Don't you think it's the best thing to do?” He says gently, clearly noticing how reluctant I am to speak to my mother.

“I just don't think she cares that much... I think she'll be happy that I'm gone.”

“Summer,” My dad almost whispers. “You know that's not true! You're mother loves you so much.”

“But how would you know? You haven't seen what she's been like since you left! You haven't seen the way she looks at me or talks to me: I'm a disappointment to her, dad. I have been for years.”


I try to compose myself, after all it's not just a father-daughter talk; there's an audience.


“But it's fine, honestly.” I say quickly. “I have you, and I have the boys and I have Anne and Harry. And I do have my mother, I do. I just sometimes feel like I'm not enough...”

“How about I start making a roast dinner,” Jessica says carefully. “It is the new year after all, and that's the perfect time to forget about cracks in relationships and try to move forward... I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said any of that. It's not my place and-”

“No, please don't apologise,” I cut in. “You're completely right...And it is your place. You're part of my dad's life now so you're also part of mine.” I smile softly.

“...Thank you, Summer. Really, that means a lot.” She smiles and my dad places his arm softly around her shoulder. “Well, I better get the roast on! Your father told me about how much you love your roast potatoes so I'll make sure you've got dozens!”


I think I like her already.




I just want to say a toast,” My father says as we all take our seats around the wooden table covered with mouth-watering dishes that smell almost as good as Anne's. “I want to say thank you to everyone around this table. Harry, I know that everything hasn't always been an easy ride between you and Summer but I want to thank you for making my daughter so happy. Jessica, I want to thank you for making me happy and for remaining part of my hectic life. And I want to thank you, Summer, for remaining your beautiful, innocent self throughout everything. Not everything has been easy for you but I want you to know how proud I am of you. So here's to the new year, the new beginnings and the new relationships we're going to make along the way.”

“Cheers,” We all chorus together, raising our glasses before digging into the heavenly meal.


And as I look around the table - hearing cutlery clattering on plates, catching my father's loving gazes towards Jessica and sharing my own secret glances with Harry – it finally feels like Christmas, like home. Because home is exactly this: having Harry by my side, laughing with my family and feeling completely whole inside.


Over this Christmas my heart has broken into a million pieces, but it has also been mended again; I have shed what seems like hundreds of tears, but each has been wiped away; I've hurt, and I've lost but I've also loved and I've gained. But overall it has been a Christmas that I will never forget because of both the bad things but also the good things.


Because this Christmas I turned pretty.


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