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.


6. The tale of an apprehensive girl.

“Harry Styles,” Emma heard her mother say as she took one last sip of her tea before she poured it down the sink the evening of the next support group.

Her eyes widened, wondering why the hell her mother was in the other room speaking his name. Emma hurried out of the kitchen, stopping dead in her tracks when she saw Harry standing in the open doorway with her mother.

“Harry—” Emma choked out.

“Hi, Emma,” he said, looking bashful, his fists pushed deep inside the front pockets of his jeans.

“What—what are you doing here?” She stammered, her eyes wide with surprise.

“I figured you might need a ride. I mean, we’re going to the same place, right?” He said with a passive shrug of his shoulders.

“Aw, Harry. What a kind gesture,” her mother beamed at him, then looked back at Emma with a wide, goofy smile.

“I, uh… I… yeah, I guess. But Piper’s on her way already,” Emma pointed out.

“Oh,” Harry said, his face dropping slightly.

“Non-sense, Emma. If Piper has a problem, she can take it up with me,” her mother said, waving her hand through the air.

“I mean, yeah. Yeah,” Emma nodded.

“Well… well, get going then,” her mother said cheerfully, like her biggest dream in life was getting the two of them back together. A thought Emma couldn’t even fathom at that point in her life. She wouldn’t even know how to begin to start dating again.

“Yeah. Yeah, I’ll grab my purse and just… just say goodbye to Maddie,” Emma said, feeling more than awkward that Harry came there for her.

“Harry, you look… you look fantastic,” Emma heard her mother say as she made her way into the living room where Maddie was bouncing in her jumper, chewing on a teething toy.

“Thanks,” Harry said and Emma looked up to see him blushing.

“It’s so wonderful that you and Emma ran into each other… you know… given the circumstances,” her mother went on to say.

“Oh… yeah,” Harry said quietly.

“Bye, baby girl. I love you so much,” Emma said, kissing Maddie’s cheek before she grabbed her purse.

“Okay, Mum. We’re going now,” Emma said, cutting her off before she said anything else to add to the awkwardness that she and Harry already felt.

“Okay, you two. Have a good night,” she said as Emma walked toward the door after Harry.

“Goodnight,” Harry said, waving back to her mother.

“Call me if—” Emma started.

“Madeline will be fine, Emma. Go,” her mother said, pushing her along.

“Alright,” she said, quickly looking in the house again to see Maddie happily jumping.

“Go,” her mother said again, shooing her out.

“Alright,” Emma said, kissing her cheek and making her way out to Harry who stopped to wait for her on the sidewalk.

Emma smiled weakly at him, unable to really process her feelings about him showing up on her door step. She knew it didn’t bother her – that she found herself enjoying having him back in her life. She didn’t realize how much she missed him until he was there again. They shared so much together and Emma was the one to just let it all go. A part of her felt the need to make it up to him, but she didn’t know if she could go there. She couldn’t even fathom what it would entitle to make it up to him.

As Harry was opening the passenger door for her, Piper pulled up next to Harry’s truck in the driveway.

“Harry!” She bellowed, jumping out immediately.

“Hi, Pipes,” Harry chuckled.

“Coming to pick up Emma, huh?” She smiled, walking toward them.

“Yeah, sorry. I just figured we’re… you know… going to the same place,” Harry said, giving her a sideways smile.

“No, no. Go for it. I’m glad,” she said, smiling at him.

“I should have called first,” Harry said bashfully, rubbing at his neck with his hand, looking down at the ground before he looked back up at Piper.

“It’s totally fine,” Piper said, waving her hand through the air, a large beaming embarrassing smile plastered on her face.

“Yeah. We should, uh… we should go if we don’t want to be late,” Harry chuckled as he made his way around the truck to the driver side.

“Nice,” Piper mouthed to Emma as she walked up to her, nudging her older sister with her elbow. Emma rolled her eyes at her.

“Tell me everything later,” Piper whispered just before she walked away from Emma to go into the house.

Emma didn’t know what exactly she expected to hear. They weren’t teenagers anymore. They weren’t going out on a date to the cinema. They were heading to therapy to help them cope with the loss of their spouses. The excitement her mother and sister showed was almost inappropriate.

Emma and Harry were both silent when they finally got into the truck. Music played quietly through the speakers as Harry drove, but they stayed mute, building up the awkward tension between them.

“I hope it’s okay that I picked you up,” Harry said finally and Emma’s head turned immediately toward him.

“Oh. Yeah. No, it’s fine,” she told him truthfully.

It only made sense, right? They were both going through something tragic. What was better than having someone to lean on? Except, Emma just wasn’t sure how to do that yet.

“You know, Emma...” He breathed lowly. She was hanging on every word, watching as his tongue darted out to wet his lips, watching as the streetlights in the rear-view momentarily lit up his sea-foam green eyes. He really was beautiful. He always was, but he only got better with age.

“I’m really glad that… that we’re back in each other’s lives,” he said and she watched as he cringed slightly with his words. And she knew he, like her, was thinking about the real reason they were back in each other lives – the painful, agonizing truth that they were truly alone.

“Me too,” Emma breathed, her voice quiet and timid as she tried her hardest to not think of Patrick, because she knew if she did, she would feel guilty that she was with Harry. And she didn’t want to feel guilty. She just wanted to feel something pleasant for once.

Harry’s eyes pulled away from the road, turning toward Emma, gauging her expression before a smile turned up his lips. She couldn’t help but smile back. And even when his eyes turned back toward the road, he kept his smile on his lips. Emma felt a blush run up her cheeks thinking about his smile, about making him happy.

When Harry pulled into the church parking lot, Emma was brought back to reality again – the spiraling painful reality of their harrowing lives.

“Ready?” Harry asked, taking a deep breath before letting it out.

Emma nodded lightly, staring at the building in front of them. Her stomach turned and her heart squeezed in her chest.

“We don’t have to go in,” he said quietly.

“No. I… I’m okay,” she told him, her shaky voice making her words sound like a lie.

“Are you sure, Em? I know how hard this is,” he said, causing her heart to constrict painfully again.

“I know you do,” she breathed almost inaudibly.

“Strength. We can give each other strength,” Harry said, resting his hand on top of hers.

Emma’s eyes prickled with tears and she knew she needed to go now or she wouldn’t get out of the truck.

“Strength,” she agreed, turning her hand up, squeezing Harry’s slightly before her other hand grabbed onto the door handle and pushed it open.

Emma and Harry walked into the Sunday school room together and sat down in the cold metal folding chairs next to each other. Most of the same people were there that they were in the group with from the beginning, but there were also a few new faces and her heart bled for them, for what they were going through.

Neither Emma nor Harry shared anything during the session once again. She didn’t know if she would ever be ready to share and something told her Harry was thinking the same thing. As they listened to some of the newer faces sharing their heartbreaking tales of loss, Emma found herself trying her hardest to think of anything other than the brimming pain and despair that hung over all of them in the small room.

Out of the corner of her eye, she found herself watching Harry. Her eyes flit over his jean clad lower half, one leg crossed up casually onto his other knee, his right hand holding his ankle, while his left hand hung loosely over the back of her chair. She felt his arm on her back and it made her feel, for lack of better words… taken.

Emma took a deep breath and looked up at the blonde woman who stood in front of the group sharing about her husband’s battle with prostate cancer. She just lost him not even a month before and finally felt comfortable enough to come to the group. Emma couldn’t help but think of how strong she was to come there after only a month. A month without Patrick and she was still gross-sobbing into her pillow for most of the day.

Harry shifted in his seat next to her and she took notice, watching as he dropped his leg down and brought the opposite one up, gripping onto that ankle with his hand. Emma’s eyes focused on the tattooed skin of his hand. Those hands that used to hold hers and hold her, those hands that touched her and pleased her. His hands were always so strong and she couldn’t stop thinking about how much she ached for what they used to have together.


“Emmmma…” She heard and her eyes fluttered open.

Harry was sitting on the edge of her bed much like he always did after he snuck in her window in the middle of the night.

“Harry,” she said, smiling up at him.

“Hi,” he greeted, smiling back.

“What are you doing here? Seeing a film with me tonight wasn’t enough for you?” She asked, smirking wryly at him, a hint of teasing in her voice.

“That’s exactly it. We saw a film. I didn’t see enough of you,” he said seriously as he leaned down leaving a kiss on her lips.

“So you snuck in my window?” She asked, feeling a rush of love for him.

“I wanted to see you. And kiss you,” he told her, kissing her again.

“Mmm,” she breathed against his lips as she wrapped her arms around his neck.

Harry moved his body so he was lying with her on the bed, half atop her and half on the mattress as their kisses deepened further.

“You know… we’re going to be in huge trouble if my mum and dad find you in here,” Emma giggled against his lips.

“It’s a risk I’m willing to take,” he said, kissing her again.

Emma giggled into the kiss, giving his tongue a perfect invitation into her mouth as it moved fluidly against her own. She began to feel the blood in her body pooling to her lower regions the more she kissed him. He made it so easy to lose herself in him. She felt his hand push back the blankets, re-situating his body so the only thing between them was their clothing. She loved how warm he felt, how soft his skin was on hers.

“You’re not wearing much, Emma Haines,” he noted, smirking against her lips as his hand trailed up her bare leg.

“Maybe I had a subconscious wish for you to come here tonight,” she teased, smirking back at him.

“Oh. My. God,” he said, his eyes wide, his expression full of wonder and excitement. She giggled at his reaction and it didn’t take him long to get back to business.

His lips were back on hers, his hand slowly moving its way up. Her skin burned hot from his touch as his fingers caressed the flesh just above her navel. She so badly wanted him to keep moving up... or down. She wanted him to touch her. She always enjoyed herself so much when she and Harry were fooling around. She loved the excitement and she loved that it was him she was with.

His hands trailed further up into her loose t-shirt and her breathing hitched wanting more and more. His tickling fingers were agonizing as they slowly inched up. She almost wanted to grab him by the wrist and press his palm against her breast. She wanted his touch so bad.

“Please, Harry,” she whimpered against his lips, arching her back up toward him. His hand was still right below her breast and she realized he took her whimpering in the wrong sense.

“Touch me,” she told him, pulling back to look in his eyes.

“Yeah?” He asked, fascination swirling in his eyes.

“Please,” she nearly whined.

Harry’s lips came back down on hers and she felt his hand move its way up, faster than before as his fingers softly skimmed over the flesh of her hardening nipple. Spikes of pleasure shot through her as he did and she couldn’t get over the fact that he was turning her on so much by doing so little. She was nearly sixteen years old and she had never felt these kinds of feelings before, but there was something about Harry that really did her in.

“Emma…” Harry breathed and she opened her eyes to look into his.

“Hmm,” she hummed.

“Have you… have you ever thought about it?” He asked apprehensively.

“About it?” She asked, although she knew what he was referring to because in that moment it was all she could think about.

“Yeah. I mean… we’ve been dating for a little while. We’ve know each other for like ever. I mean… do you think… do you think you’re ready?” He asked and Emma could tell he was nervous.

He was all too adorable when he was nervous… like when he first asked her out. He was so incredibly endearing when he asked her to be his girlfriend and it made her fall completely for him. This situation was beginning to rival that and Emma couldn’t help but smile up at him. She wanted him forever.

“Do you think you’re ready?” She asked him.

“I mean… yeah. Yeah, I think so,” he said, sitting up on his knees. Emma sat up too, leaning her back against her headboard.

“For sex?” She questioned, just to be clear.

“Yeah,” he said, looking up at her, his eyebrows knit in concern, like he was afraid of her chastising him or something.

She leaned over to him and kissed him, her hands pulled up to the side of his face. Her kisses were fast and amorous, because she loved him and because she didn’t think she could say the words out loud.

“Is that a yes?” Harry asked through her kisses. She giggled, pulling back from him.

His eyes stared into hers as she gripped the hem of her shirt and pulled it over her head.

“Yes,” she breathed.

Harry’s lips turned up into a smile and leaned forward capturing hers again, pushing her back onto the bed.


“Are you ready?” Emma heard Harry’s voice as his hand came down to pat her knee, snapping her out of her head.

“Oh, uh… umm,” she said, clearing her throat, looking up at him feeling dazed. It was over? Already?

“Yeah,” she said, standing up, seeing everyone else around them talking in groups or talking individually with someone from the session.

The two of them stood on their feet as Emma tried to contemplate how she let the whole hour slip by her without comprehension.

“Here,” Harry said, holding out her coat for her and she quietly shrugged it on.

“Well, it is so wonderful that you two have made friends with one another,” Emma heard and her head snapped up to find Chris, one of the counselors smiling back at them.

“Oh. Um,” Harry said, taken aback by the man talking to them.

“Oh. We, uh… we know each other,” Emma told him, looking back at Harry momentarily.

“You do?” He asked, sounding intrigued. Emma groaned internally wishing she didn’t even say anything. She didn’t feel like sharing with him.

“We grew up together,” Emma said, giving him the short answer.

“And you’ve both experienced a loss?” He asked, his smile dropping into a frown of sympathy.

“Yep,” Harry said, sounding uncomfortable.

“I’m so sorry to hear it. But what an amazing thing for you two to be able to come together and help each other through such a hard time,” he told them.

“Yeah. We were… we’ve got to go now, but… we’ll be back,” Emma stammered, looking back at Harry again.

“Next week,” Harry added in.

“Yes. Next week,” Emma nodded, feeling a blush in her cheeks.

“I’m glad to hear it. It only gets easier with time,” Chris said, making a pained face at them. All Emma kept thinking was she didn’t need his pity.

“Thanks,” Harry said curtly as Emma felt his hand on the small of her back, ready to lead her out.

“We’ll see you,” Chris said, smiling at them.

“Yeah,” Harry said and maneuvered Emma past the over-zealous therapist.

As they walked out of the church, Harry’s eyebrow was knit and his lips were pursed tightly together. He almost looked angry as he led her to his truck.

“Are you okay?” She asked him.

“I’m fine,” he said sharply and she sort of cowered from his tense words. But then he sighed and shook his head, letting himself relax a bit.

“I just don’t… I don’t want to talk. I don’t go to those meetings to talk. I don’t want to talk to those damn therapists,” he said, enlightening her.

“Then why do you go?” She asked as they reached the passenger side of the truck.

Harry grabbed onto the door handle and Emma thought he was going to open it for her, but he just stopped, giving her words some real thought.

“I-I thought just by going I’d be able to get my mother and my sister off my back. I don’t want to talk to some shrink that thinks they know what I am going through. They don’t know. They don’t have a dead wife and a three year old daughter at home to take care of. They have no fucking clue what I am going through. How the hell could they possibly help me?” Harry growled out his frustration.

“I know what you mean,” Emma breathed lowly. His eyes looked up into hers, looking softer than before.

“You do,” he stated, giving her a small nod before he finally opened the door for her.

Emma hesitated before she climbed into the passenger side. She felt like there was so much she needed to say, but she couldn’t find the words. Harry shut the door after her and she watched through the windshield as he made his way around to the driver’s side. She didn’t take her eyes off of him as he clambered into the seat next to her, pressing the key into the ignition.

“Do you want to go have a drink with me?” Emma asked him in a sudden bout of courage.

He turned his eyes to look at her, his eyes not giving anything away. She was afraid he might say ‘no’. She was afraid he was going to break down in front of her.

“I’d like that, Emmy,” he nodded and she breathed a sigh of relief.

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