Solace ~ h.s.

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

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15. ⪻ 15 ⪼

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Healing. It's always easier said than done. And moving on, it's a hundred times harder to do than heal.

The day after the funeral, Harry went back home to his penthouse flat in Manchester. Edward didn't seem to notice his absence, even with the goodbye Harry bid him. I, on the other hand, noticed the absence of a friend immediately after him leaving the house.

The house was just so quiet.

We no longer needed him like we had the first few days. In order to move on completely, he had to leave as well. It's not like him staying over was practical and professional in the first place, though it was nice. Plus, he had been away from his real world for too long. He had to return back to his duties of saving lives.

We've kept in touch. I wouldn't be able to just let the only friend I have go the second he left us. His daily messages to me are the only things that keep a smile on my lips. I wake up to a good morning text and I fall asleep to a good night message. It's a cycle that I care not to break, no matter how stressed and frustrated I may feel.

Edward hasn't been coping as well as to be expected, if you can expect a certain way of coping. He didn't think I knew at the time, but he would cry himself to sleep every night for two weeks. The sounds of his sobs cracked my heart in two and every time I went in to help he would shy away underneath his covers. Thankfully, after a sit down and many sleepless nights for the both of us, the crying subsided.

Then came the endless questions from him. They went on for days and most times I had no idea how to answer. Mum and dad didn't leave because they hated me, right? Was it my fault? What's going to happen to us? Will you die and leave me too? Will I die? The questions were nearly impossible not to shake me up and worry me. I spent many hours on the phone with Harry, asking him far too many questions.

And then one day, the questions just stopped.

And now we're into the current state of coping that Edward is in, anger. Edward's developed a bit of an attitude, and by a bit I mean he's acting like a teenage boy going through puberty. Whether it's snapping at me, locking himself into his room, or simply just having a witty come back for a five year old, it's bad.

As for me, I'm doing okay. On days when I get Edward over to a friend's house or to school, I go into the city and work at my new job. I got a job at Smith and Carlton Publishing. The receptionist job the farthest thing from glamorous, but it pays well and is close to the flat that I bought for Edward and I.

The house was becoming a beacon of bad memories and expensive bills. Selling the house was one of the hardest things I had to do throughout this entire experience. We put a lot of my parents' things, that I just couldn't handle throwing out, into storage. You can't very well put the entire home into storage. I know that it's bugged Edward, but hopefully once we settle into the new place and his new school, all will be well.

Or so we hope and pray.

"This is it." I say, carrying the last box from the rental car towards the door of our apartment building.

I just picked Edward up from school back in Northwich and after a goodbye to our old home, we made the journey here. My brother was silent on the drive over, his attention solely on that of my tablet that I was letting him borrow. Even now, as I maneuver the box in hand so I can free my keys he completely ignores me.

"Are you ready to see our new flat?" I wonder, my voice trying to remain a bit happy in this time that I know is especially hard for the young boy.

"No." Is all he says, barely taking his eyes off the tablet. If I had a free hand, and the nerve, I would take the electronic from him and scold him. But unfortunately for me, I don't have the backbone to be authoritative right now.

So I ignore his attitude and somehow get the door open, pushing the wood open with my foot. I usher the boy into the flat before following after and setting the box down on the ground. With a swift kick of my foot, the front door is shut and we're standing in silence.

"Welcome to our new home." I say, mainly to myself. I clear my throat and stand up straighter. "Alright, buddy, this is the lounge, that's the kitchen." Edward barely glances up from the tablet to look where I'm pointing, his small body huffing slightly before toddling over to the sofa and sitting down.

The majority of our furniture had been moved over the course of the last few days. Everything aside from a single box and our mattresses were left at the house this morning before I left for work. Now everything we own sits in the small, two-bedroom apartment in the Northern Quarter.

"Would you like to see the rest of the flat? Your room maybe?"

"No."

I sigh heavily at his answer and move into the kitchen to finish unpacking the few boxes that remain there. There's curses muttered under my breath, but at this point in time I'm too tired, too frustrated, and too hungry to care if Edward hears the words.

Not more than ten minutes into unpacking our plates and cutlery, there's a knock at our front door. I yell for the person to come in, too busy carefully setting a plate in the cabinet to get the door myself. Plus, I know Edward won't get the door. He's too engrossed in whatever he's watching on the tablet.

"There's my best friend." The person's voice shouts from the foyer, startling me briefly.

"So I've been upgraded to your best friend now?" I question, leaning back against the counter to watch as the man I haven't seen in a month walks into my lounge.

Harry Styles, the one and only, strides into the room with a random lamp in hand and a smile upon his lips. He wears deep blue scrubs and has a black duffle hanging from his shoulder. I don't take too much time to admire the man that I've actually come to miss as I'm already crossing the floor to take him in my arms.

I embrace the man, not caring if his scrubs are dirty and his body is tired from a long day or so. Harry laughs lightly before wrapping his free arm around my waist and tugging me closer to his body. The familiar feeling of his arms around me settles the butterflies that I felt in my stomach from finally being alone with Edward in a new place.

Growing up an introvert I never felt the need to have many friends. I was, and am, completely content with a night on my own with a glass or two of wine. Going out wasn't really for me, even in college. Unfortunately for me, I met my ex before I had more than one singular college friend; meaning all my friends were actually his friends.

When I lost him, I lost everyone.

"You must really have missed me." Harry chuckles, my arms never really leaving his body. "Okay, Belle, you're squeezing me a little too tightly." Cursing silently and blushing out of embarrassment, I carefully slide my arms off of him and take a step away.

"Sorry." Harry's smile is as bright as the sun in this moment, causing a contagious smile to break out onto my lips. "Um, welcome to our home!" I exclaim, taking another step back and motioning to the entirety of the room we're in.

His eyes take a look around the room whilst he drops the duffle onto the floor beside the sofa.

"It's lovely."

"You don't have to lie."

"I'm not lying." Harry immediately states, setting the random, yet beautiful, lamp down onto the kitchen counter. "It's perfect for the two of you." He strides over towards the sofa, rustling the strands of Edward's dark locks.

Before the funeral, Edward would have turned 'round in the sofa and embraced Harry immediately. The two had a wonderful relationship for only having known each other for a few days. But now, his reaction is somewhat surprising to the both of us.

Edward's small hand comes up and pushes Harry's hand off his head, groaning a bit in place. I roll my eyes, biting down on my lip to keep from an outburst. The doctor shifts his eyes over to me, motioning to me in a what-the-hęll manner.

"Hey bud," Harry ignores my silent instructions to just leave him be and leans over the sofa to pursue a one-sided conversation, "how have you been? I've missed you. Your sister told me you went back to school."

Like expected, Edward shrugs the man off and ignores the questions and comments towards him.

"Edward," I round the couch and squat in front of him, trying to gain his attention, "baby, please, be polite." His eyes shift up from the tablet to give me a dead stare.

"Why should I?"

"Edward Philip." I scold, standing tall and snatching the tablet out of his hands. Probably isn't the most appropriate way to scold a five year old, but hey, I'm not a professional.

The small boy lets out a loud whine, flopping limp on the sofa before the two adults in the room. I shake my head at him, he thinks his pouting and adorable face will make me hand him the tablet back.

"Apologize to Harry, please."

"No!"

"Edward -"

"I said no!" He shouts, standing from the sofa with a loud whine.

Whilst Harry and I stand watch, Edward stomps off in the direction of the other rooms in the house. He takes a couple seconds to search for his new room before entering and slamming the door. The loud noise causes me to jump a bit before I fall onto my bum on the sofa with my head in my hands.

"Ugh, what am I doing wrong?" I groan to myself, having my a pout fest of my own.

"How long has he been acting that way?" I shrug, my eyes wandering to the man who's rounding the sofa and lowering himself down beside me. We exchange a quick glance before we're both staring ahead at the wall.

"Like almost a week. I don't know what's gotten into him. I mean, I know it's a way of coping, but it came from nowhere."

Literally, it was like a switch had been flipped in his brain. We had the question phase and then a few days of normality, but then one day he woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Ever since that morning, he's always woken up on the wrong side of the bed. I feel like I should send him to a child's therapist, but we cannot afford anything like that right now.

"I'm sure it's just a phase of coping."

"Yeah, but how long is this phase supposed to last?" Harry simply chuckles at my response, patting my leg with one large hand. "By the way, what's the lamp for?" I question, pointing back at the lamp on my kitchen counter.

"Oh, whenever one of my close friends or family moves into a new place I get them a gift. Usually it's like a blender for smoothies, but I wasn't sure if you already had one. Thus, I went with the lamp." The thoughtfulness of his gesture brings a smile to my lips. He's done enough for our family, he needn't do more.

"How did you know I didn't already have a lamp?" I ask, a smirk painted on my lips as Harry laughs again.

"Wild guess."

"And the bag? Planning on stay awhile?" Harry shrugs, glancing over his shoulder towards his bag before drawing his attention back to me.

"Well, I figured I should change before we all go to dinner. I smell like hospital."

My entire body perks up hearing something that is related to food. It's been awhile since lunch and Edward's been driving me insane, so much so that I've worked up an appetite.

"The three of us?" Harry sends me a smile before standing from the sofa and toddling over to his bag.

"Yeah, plus a special guest, perhaps. Now let me change and then the three of us need to get going, we're already running late."

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