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


6. The Present

The kiss intensifies, going from what was once a gentle and sweet kiss to one filled with passion and need – the need to never stop touching each other, the need to never let each other go. I open my eyes slightly, expecting to see Liam's angelic face before me, but I don't. I see Harry's.




I wake up in a cold sweat, the haunting image of Harry's green eyes burning into mine still lodged firmly inside my head.


“It was just a dream. It was just a dream. It was just a dream.” I say over and over again, trying to convince myself.


...But why did it feel so real?


I touch my lips softly with my hand, still feeling the pressure of Harry's lips on them. The place on my waist where his hands had rested is still warm as if he's still here with me now.


But it really was just a dream. I'd never even kissed Liam like that, let alone Harry. After a short and sweet kiss with Liam he said he had to get home or his parents would be mad. So he went home and, after composing myself, I went back to the festival and joined in with the festivities.


Even now, though, I can't shake the feeling that what I did was wrong. The kiss with Liam left me feeling uncertain and, for some reason, guilty. And now after that horrific dream I can't help thinking that perhaps when I was kissing Liam I really was imagining Harry, but was oblivious to it at the time.


I brush the thought out of my mind, not wanting to become even more confused than I already am, and trail down the stairs, craving some pancakes. When I reach the bottom of the stairs I see everyone already awake, sat beside the Christmas tree.


How the hell could I's Christmas!


“Morning sweetie,” Anne smiles at me, pulling me into her embrace. “Merry Christmas!”

“We were just about to wake you,” My mum adds on.

“Yeah, cause you're a lazy shi-” my mum shoots a warning look to Matt. “sausage. You're a lazy sausage.”


I ignore his comment and join them around the Christmas tree.


It's weird – this year I don't have the 'Christmas Spirit'. It doesn't even feel like Christmas anyway. Normally, everyone is bursting with excitement on Christmas, even Will despite him being two years older than the boys and three years older than me. But this year it feels like no one is excited, not even me. Something has felt different since the very second I arrived at the Lodge but I can't figure out what it is.


“Right, who's going to open the first present!” Anne smiles while clapping her hands with excitement. Okay so maybe Anne is excited but it seems like she's the only one.


We each take turns in opening one present at a time. I unwrap clothes, make-up and DVDs mostly with a few other bits and bobs here and there.


When there are no other presents left under the tree we each take our pile of presents up to our bedrooms and that's where we stay. We normally go back down and watch a Christmas film and sometimes we're forced to play cheesy games with the adults but this year it seems like everyone is forgetting about the old traditions.


I sit on my bed and gaze down at the largish pile of presents before me. I'd trade every single one of those presents for a normal Christmas, a Christmas like we had years ago. A Christmas where there's no awkward cloud over us and one where we stick to all the traditions we've created over the years. A Christmas where everyone is actually happy.


A quiet knock on my door pulls me away from my thoughts.


“Come in.” I say with as much 'happiness' I can muster.

“Hey,” Harry greets me softly. “I couldn't help but see that you were a bit upset before and-”

“No, I'm fine.” I smile. “Really, I am.”


How the hell can he read me that easily?! I was practically grinning the whole time we were downstairs.


“Come on, Sum. It's me. I can read you like an open book.” He grins at me.


'Really? So you know how much you've been hurting me these past years, then?' I think.


“But anyway, as I was saying. I didn't want you to think I hadn't gotten you anything because I have.”


He brings a box-shaped present from behind his back and hands it to me. I stare down at the beautifully wrapped gift and feel my heart racing at the speed of the sound.


He actually got me something?


“Go it!” Harry urges and I can tell by his expression that he's both excited and nervous for me to see what it is.


I unwrap the wrapping paper carefully, not wanting to damage whatever is inside, and pull the lid off a smallish box. I gasp in surprise as I stare down at the most beautiful necklace.


“It's an infinity sign... so it sort of represents forever. Forever and always.”


He remembers. He actually remembers.


Age 13


We ran to the lake, my hand firmly in his as he pulled me through the maze of fir trees. We reached the frozen lake in record time although the run had made me breathless and red-faced.


“We can't keep doing this Harry,” I said once I had caught my breath. “The mums are eventually going to figure out that most nights we get no sleep and go out into the woods. And what if something happened? What if-”

“I just need to tell you something!” He interrupted me. “I've been thinking it for a while and I just need to get it off my chest.”


My heart stopped in my chest. Was Harry about to ask me out? Was he about to make all of my birthday candle wishes come true?


“I just-” He gulped. “I hope you never leave.”


Wait, what?


“I have no one else like you in my life and... and I don't know what I'd do if you left. You're the only person I can tell certain stuff to and I just suddenly realised that if I don't tell you what you mean to me then you might leave... I just want you to know that I really do need you and no matter what, in the end, I will always be there for you...because- because you're my top girl, Summer. You always will be. Forever and always. I promise.”


“Oh Harry,” I said as a few tears fell from my eyes. I leaped into his arms and held him as tightly as I could. “Don't worry; I'm not going anywhere.”




“Do you want me to fasten it for you?” Harry says, breaking me from my thoughts.



I watch as Harry comes up behind me and gently sweeps my long hair to the side. The coldness of the necklace does nothing to stop the heat that quickly floods to my cheeks. Harry's breath fans softly across my neck just as Liam's had last night and that is what breaks me from the somewhat trance I was in.


“I'm sorry. I can't do this...” I turn around and push Harry gently away, not wanting him any closer to me otherwise I may fall into the trance again.

“Can't do what?” Harry asks, puzzled. And that's what sets me off.

“I can't do these games any more!” I yell. “I'm tired of being there when you need me but when I need you you're nowhere to be found! I'm tired of all the tears and all the mixed messages and those bloody green eyes. You know exactly what you're doing to me and now so do I. Just please... stop.” I whisper the last word, suddenly exhausted from all the yelling.

“You're not any better,” he sneers. “I can think of quite a few boys you've been with when you've been 'crying' over me.”

“Oh, really? Because I've bloody lost count of how many girls I've seen you with! Let's see... there was Jessica, Louise, Freya, Tess, Kayleigh-”

“Will you shut up?!” He yells, making me jump slightly but I quickly regain my cool.

Make me.


And he does. He forces his lips to mine and I quickly respond. He backs me up against the wall and all I can think about is how I never want him to let me go. I never want him to stop kissing me. Because the feeling of Harry's lips on mine has been long overdue and nothing feels wrong or confusing about it. No, everything feels right.

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