Solace ~ h.s.

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

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36. ⪻ 36 ⪼

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“Annie, wake up.”

...your parents did not survive the crash

“Wake up.”

...you’re adopted?

“I’m going to be late for school.”

...you are fired

“Annie!”

Startled by the small voice, I sit abruptly in bed, thankful to be out of the dream state that my body was keeping me in. Through laboured breaths I come face to face with that of the small boy at my bedside, his arms crossed over his chest and a content expression on his face.

“I’m awake.” I assure him, my breathing beginning to slow back to a steady rhythm.

“I’m going to be late.” Edward tells me again.

Sighing, I pick up my phone from the bedside table, ignoring the few good morning messages from Harry. I vaguely remember shutting off my alarm at half six in the morning, only to fall victim to sleep until just now… at fifty past eight.

“Shįte!” I exclaim, throwing the duvet off my body to rush over to my wardrobe, leaving Edward standing at my bedside. “I’m sorry.” Peering over my shoulder, I see his school uniform on his body already, with his tie lying haphazardly across his chest, but at least he was dressed. “Have you eaten?” I wonder.

“Yes.”

“Good.” I say, turning back to my wardrobe to grab the first pair of joggers I find, sliding them over my bare legs and underneath the oversized tee I wore to bed. “Go get your stuff ready to go. I’ll be right there.” Ushering him out of the room, I shut the door behind him, taking a breather for a moment.

Things weren’t going to plan and for once I couldn’t put on the illusion that everything was fine.

I’ve spent every morning pretending to get up and ready for work, dropping Edward off at school only to come home and send out my CV to potential employers. Lying to a five year old about my employment status is perhaps the worst thing I’ve done; behind lying to the man, that’s been with me through it all, about my employment status.

The objective for today: shuttle Edward off to school and keep him from telling Harry about this fiasco of a morning. I don’t know how much longer I can go with lying to Harry about everything, seeing as were scheduled for a night in tonight.

Until now, I was practically avoiding the man. Thankfully with Harry’s work schedule and my furious search for a new job, times with Harry on our own were few and far between. I don’t think he was on to me yet, but the plan was to find a new job before telling him about the loss of the other one.

We’ll see how long I can hold out.

“Annie! Let’s go!” I jump at the sound of Edward’s voice.

Cursing to myself, I grab a random bra sitting on my floor and throw it on before tossing a light vest over my top. Purposely avoiding a mirror, like I am with Harry, I make my way out to Edward, grabbing my bag and our house keys.

“Let’s get a move on. I’ll fix your tie on the way there.”

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“How was work today?”

I’m struggling. I’ve got no job and I’ve had no luck finding a new one. Apparently, the need for a twenty-two year old culinary arts graduate raising a five year old on her own isn’t really in demand. On top of all that, I’m sitting on a sofa, facing Harry and practically lying to his face about everything.

“It was okay.”

I’m ashamed, losing the only job that I had on such stupid terms. I can’t keep a receptionist job of all things. And because I was fired, I can’t put that on my CV, so I’m back to square one with experience. I feel like a failure of a woman.

I’m numb from everything that’s been happening. I’ve been trying to push the news of my adoption to the back of my head, choosing to focus solely on finding a new job. But, it’s easier said than done.

“How was your day?” I counter, hoping the pause between us hadn’t been too extensive to have him question my behaviour.

I’ve been successful thus far into the night with hiding my sorrows from him, at least I hope.

“It was alright.” Harry says sighing. “I had lunch with my mother after I got off work this morning.” There’s an abnormal pause after this fact, his eyes watching me as I bring my wine glass to my lips and take a sip.

I nod to him to go on, wondering if my spacing out was beginning to make him think I wasn’t listening to him.

“She is still on my case about meeting you.”

“I’d like to meet her as well, seeing as even Edward’s beat me to it.” Just thinking about mothers has my heart aching painfully in my chest. I want to just forget everything so the constant ache will just leave me be. “He quite likes your mum, even calls her Aunt Anne.” Harry chuckles lightly at that fact.

“She’ll practically die when she hears that. I secretly think that she wanted more kids to raise.” Harry tells me.

Practically die, you mean like how my parents died knowing I was adopted and never told me?

“What are you staring at?” I snap out of my head, knowing damn well Harry didn’t mean anything by what he said.

And suddenly I was over the minor slip of words, focusing on the fact that I didn’t want to feel numb anymore. Maybe it’s the glass or two of wine I’ve had, or maybe it’s my desperate need to feel something, but I make a move on Harry. Something very unlike me.

“You. You’re just too good for me.” I utter, my voice low as I set my glass down and scoot closer to Harry on the sofa.

“You have no idea how good you are for me too.” His response causes my heart to thump painfully in my chest, my actions bringing me closer and closer to his body.

The adorable and ironically-named cat, Dusty, that had been sitting between the two of us, leaps off the sofa, tearing out of sight as my body makes contact with Harry’s.

“Then show me.”

“What?”

Before Harry can say anything else, my lips are on his, peppering passionate kisses against his wine stained lips. Startled, Harry doesn’t kiss back, but he begins to calm after a few moments. His lips mesh perfectly with mine, feeling feathery smooth against mine as I run my fingers through his chocolate curls. Enhancing the kiss with my tongue, I climb fully on Harry’s lap, parting our lips for a second to throw my shirt off over my head.

Harry’s eyes grow double in size, falling down to my push-up bra before retreating back up to my face.

“Belle.” I half expected his words to be filled with lust and breathy, but they’re only breathy filled with hesitation.

“Shhh,” I seductively purr, running my finger along his lips as I grab his hand with my free hand. Biting my lip and keeping constant eye contact with Harry, I take his hand and place it on my right breast, only it doesn’t stay there for long.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, Belle stop.” Harry tells me, his hands going to my waist to pick me off his lap to set me on the sofa beside him. His chest is rising and falling at a rapid pace from our previous activities, but it’s the only sign of what had occurred before; well that and his swollen lips. “What’s gotten into you?”

Perhaps making the random leap into making out with the man that I said I wanted to take it slow with, was a bad idea.

“You don’t want this?” Ladies, and gentleman, guilting a man into having a steamy snogging session is not a good idea.

“Of course I want this.” Harry says, his eyes falling briefly to my exposed top before meeting my gaze again.

What can I say? My breasts are one of the qualities I actually adore about my body. #selflove

“Then why are you stopping me?”

“Belle.”

“What?” And like that, everything I’ve been bottling up inside me decides to come forth in an exclamation of emotion. “Do you not want me either?”

“Love -”

“I’m… I’m sorry.” I apologize, lowering my voice and slumping back into the sofa with an overwhelming urge to cry. Embarrassingly, I snatch my tee from beside me and slide it back over my head all whilst avoiding the intense stare of Harry’s eyes. In a matter of minutes, I had made a fool of myself and managed to make myself feel more awful than I had before.

Things are quiet between us a for a minute or so, the two of us looking in different directions from each other. I didn’t know what else to say to Harry, the only way that I could possibly salvage this evening gone wrong would be to explain myself, but that takes a lot of courage, and possibly more wine.

“Why didn’t you tell me you were fired?”

My head snaps up from staring at my lap to meet the harsh gaze that Harry’s giving me. His green eyes soften, studying my face.

“How did you know?” I wonder. I thought I had been hiding it so well, but apparently I hadn’t.

“I came by your office today to bring you lunch.” My eyes fall closed, mentally cursing myself out. “Victoria said you were fired a week and a half ago. Belle, why didn’t you tell me?” He asks.

Because I’m the emotional person I am, instead of answering, I break out into tears.

“Shhh, okay, don’t cry.” This time Harry is the one to make a move to be closer to me.

He sits right beside me, wrapping his strong arms around me and pulling me into his hard chest. He continues to shush me, comfortingly rubbing my back and kissing the top of my head.

“I’m so ashamed.” I admit, “I can’t do this. My life is falling apart completely.” Again, maybe it’s the wine or maybes it’s my heightened emotional state, but I’m blubbering like a psycho. “I can’t keep a job. I can’t raise Edward properly, did you know that he was nearly thirty minutes late today because I was careless and slept in? I can’t do anything.”

“Alright now, shush.” Harry tells me, pulling me so I’m at arm length from him. His hands untangle himself from me to wipe away the evidence of tears along my puffy cheeks. “You can do this, Belle. And you know why?” Sniffling, I shrug my shoulders. “Because you are the strongest person I know. You can do anything you set your mind on and losing that job wasn’t your fault.” He assures me.

“And as for raising Edward, I know it’s hard but you’re doing an amazing job. So what if Edward was late for school this morning, I’m sure they understood and I’m sure Edward understood too.”

“He doesn’t know about me losing my job.”

“Well, of course not, he would have told me before I found out myself.” Harry jokes, causing me to laugh through the tears.

We share a quiet moment, my arms encircling around Harry’s waist as I lower my head down to rest of his steadily rising chest. Nothing is said between us, but there doesn’t have to be. I feel safe in his embrace.

“I want to find my real parents.” I blurt out of nowhere. Harry’s hand which had been softly rubbing my back, froze in place upon my confession.

“What?”

“I’ve done a lot of thinking these past two weeks and I feel like I owe it to myself to at least try and reach out. Everything’s falling apart and all I can think is that they’re out there somewhere.”

“Say no more.” Prying my head off Harry’s chest, I look up at him to see that infamous cheeky grin on his lips. “I’ll help you find them.”

“Thank you.”

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