Lost & Found

After her husband dies in a car accident, Emma Haines-Gaunt is encouraged by her mother and sister to attend a therapy group for widows. Though reluctant to even give it a try, Emma finds herself in a church basement listening to heartbreaking stories of tragedy from her fellow therapy members. When she notices a mysterious man during the session, Emma is intrigued by him, only to realize it is her childhood friend and ex-love Harry Styles. Her mind spirals when she realizes he must have lost his spouse somewhere along the way. And try as she might, she can’t seem to shake him from her mind. The two of them begin a harrowing journey of loss and redemption, determined to help each other find solace in the tragedy that their lives have become.

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2. The tale of a dazed girl.


The look in his eyes almost mirrored her own – astonishment. Emma was almost certain he never planned to see her again in this lifetime. Although she was young when she left Holmes Chapel, she stayed gone – a fact she could be sure was something Harry would never forget. She went off to boarding school in London for the final two years of high school and stayed out there to go to the University. That was when she met and fell in love with Patrick. But it didn’t mean she ever forgot her first love. No, there would be no chance she could ever forget Harry Styles – the boy that she let slip away.

“Hi, I’m Chris,” Emma heard a man say.

It took her a few moments to realize he was talking to her. Her vision cut away momentarily from Harry’s to look at the short, balding man standing to the side of her. When she looked back over to where Harry was, he already turned away and started walking toward the exit. Emma’s heart constricted in her chest. She didn’t want him to go, but she knew there wasn’t anything she could say to him to make him stay. She watched him disappear out of the doorway and she could feel as her heart shriveled back down to size when he left.

“Uh… Emma,” she said, shaking the man’s hand.

“Hello, Emma. I was glad to see you show up tonight,” he told her, smiling cheerfully at her.

“Huh?” She asked confused. How did he know anything about her?

“Don’t worry. I just meant by you showing up, that all who signed up for the sessions showed up. That rarely ever happens,” he chuckled to himself.

“Oh. Yeah. My sister and mother made me come,” she said, her voice monotone.

“I’m sure glad they did,” he continued, his smile never leaving his face. He was much too cheerful for a grief group, that was for sure.

“Yeah,” she breathed.

“I hope to see you again next week, Emma,” he told her.

“Yeah,” she nodded, still feeling the after-effects of what seeing Harry did to her.

Every nerve in her body seemed like it was on high alert and she was dangerously close to running after him, just to see his face again – just to look into those bright green eyes once more.

 


As Emma waited for Piper to pick her up, she sat on the bench in the lobby of the church. Visions of Harry’s face pillaged through her mind as memory after memory played like movies in her head. It was like an atonement for all the years she tried to forget about him, to make the ache in her chest for him end. The memories were all back with a vengeance.

“You know I’ll always love you, Emmy,” Harry’s voice resonated through the memories in her mind.

Emmy.

No one ever called her Emmy before or after Harry. She almost forgot about the nickname… until now.

“How was it?” She heard Piper’s voice. Emma looked up to find her standing in front of her in the lobby. She didn’t even hear her come in, her thoughts were so loud.

“Fine,” she said quietly.

“Do you want to talk about it?” Piper asked.

“No,” she sighed. She wasn’t ready to tell her about seeing Harry yet.

The car ride was quiet. Piper didn’t pry, in which Emma was entirely grateful for.

“Do you think… do you think maybe you’ll go back next week?” Piper asked before Emma got out of the car at their childhood home.

“Yeah… I think… maybe,” Emma told her with a shrug.

“Good,” she said with a smile and watched as Emma exited the car.

Maddie was asleep in her crib when Emma went to check on her. She didn’t realize how much she missed her until she was away from her for a few hours. She gave her a kiss on the cheek before she turned and walked out of the nursery, which was once her room growing up.

Emma walked down the hallway to Piper’s old room, which was the room she lived in now. Sighing, she sat down on the bed. Seeing Patrick’s picture on her nightstand sent a wave of guilt through her body.

She barely even thought of him since she saw Harry. Did she even think of him? How could one man make her forget another so easily? But it wasn’t like she forgot Patrick. Not a chance. It was just as if Harry’s memory displaced those of Patrick for the moment.

As Emma laid down in bed, she let memories of Patrick work their way into her head, needing to feel him with her once again.

 


“Are you new around here?” Emma heard a male voice ask from behind her. His Irish accent was well-noticed.

Emma spun around to see an Angelic creature standing before her. She was certain he fell straight from the Heavens. He looked like a cherub, but with sexy qualities mixed in. He had blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. And just by observing him, Emma already knew he had no problem picking up women and that she was probably going to be next in line.

“I just started. I’m… I’m a first year,” Emma stammered, feeling like her brain and mouth were enemies at that point.

“Ah, don’t even worry about using terms like ‘first year’ around here. Nobody cares about things like that. We’re all just Uni students,” he told her with a wide smirk. She nodded with a bashful smile as she felt her face heat up. He was really beautiful.

“My name’s Patrick Gaunt. And yours?” He said, shaking her hand.

“Emma. Emma Haines,” she introduced herself.

“Like the knickers?” He asked, quirking his eyebrow skeptically.

“What?” She asked confused.

Hanes underpants. You know, Michael Jordan was their spokesperson for a while,” he said, smirking wildly at her.

“Oh, no. H-A-I-N-E-S,” she told him.

“Oh, okay,” he laughed.

“And yours… your last name means ‘skinny’ in the English language,” she pointed out.

“That it does,” he nodded, smiling widely at her.

“Not very noble if you ask me,” she teased playfully.

“Noble?” He asked, intrigued by her words.

“Yeah. If I were to choose a proper last name I’d want it to be something like… like Hardy… or uh, Hale,” she jested, smirking playfully at him, pulling random words out of her brain.

“Hardy or Hale?” He questioned with a tiny smirk.

“Yeah. Hardy means brave and Hale means strong,” she explained, nodding her head knowingly.

“Well, then…” He said, looking halfway between offended and amused.

“Gaunt means skeletal and puny,” Emma ribbed.

“Jeez, tell it how it is, lady,” he chuckled.

“I’m just kidding, Patrick Gaunt. I hope you know that. Gaunt is a wonderful surname,” she said, chuckling at him.

“One you wouldn’t mind tagging on to yours someday?” He asked boldly.

“Well, hey now. Was that a marriage proposal in the first ten minutes? Now, that sets some sort of record, Patrick Gaunt,” Emma joked.

“What was the record before?” He asked amusingly.

“Eleven minutes,” she joked.

“Oh. Ha,” he laughed. Emma smiled back at him.

“I like you, Emma Haines – not the knickers, Hanes,” he said, smiling sweetly at her.

“I’m glad,” she said, smiling back.

 

And without fail, as to not be out done by Patrick, memories of Harry filled her head as well.

 


“Emmmma…” She heard someone whisper.

It didn’t take her long to be woken up from the voice. It was Harry’s. Her favorite sound.

“Emma Rose…” He whispered again.

Her eyes fluttered open to see his face. He was kneeling next to her bed, waking her up in the middle of the night. It wasn’t uncommon for him though, to be awake in the middle of the night. He never slept well during the summer. The heat always got to him.

“Wake up and come swimming with me,” he said, smiling down at her.

“What? Harry, that’s absolutely mad,” she grumbled as she sat up in bed.

“You’re… you’re not wearing much…” He said as his eyes darted down to her chest. It was true. She was only wearing her bra and panties because of the heat.

“It’s… it’s hot,” she said, pulling the blanket up to her chest.

“Yeah,” he said as his eyes met hers once again.

“It covers the same as a bathing suit…” She felt the need to point out.

Harry just turned fifteen that February. Emma was still only fourteen, but right on the cusp of fifteen. They were both right on the cusp of everything really, including their sexual discovery. The two of them knew each other from school for many years, but it was only that spring that they became more than acquaintances and more than friends really. All Emma knew was she really enjoyed kissing him.

“Well, then… you don’t even have to change into your bathing suit then,” he said with a mischievous smirk.

“I’m not wearing this swimming, Harry,” she said as her cheeks began to burn with blush.

“So you’ll come swimming with me then?” He asked excitedly.

“Fine,” she conceded.

“Yes! Come on, Emma. You won’t regret it,” he said, beaming a smile at her.

“You need to stop sneaking in my window,” she threw out, but of course, she didn’t mean it.

“Never. I’ll be waiting outside for you. Don’t take long,” he said, going out the same way he came in.

 

Emma dreamt of Harry that night – the Harry she knew way back when, not the sad shell of a man he was now. Whoever his wife was, she was definitely someone he cared for deeply. And all Emma wanted to do was wrap her arms around him and cry into his chest. She wanted him to be able to cry too. She wanted to help him and have him help her.

There was one thing she hoped for throughout the passing week. That Harry Styles would be at the next meeting.

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