Sunday, 20 May 2018

AFTER ROMANCE Episode 46-50

An obnoxious buzzing wakes me up in the middle of the night. I almost forgot Harry was in my room. How do we always end up together? And more importantly where is that annoying noise coming from? I follow the noise and it leads to Harry's pocket, of course it does. It stops as I reach my bed so I take a second to take in how peaceful Harry looks in his sleep. There is no constant crinkle in his forehead from him constantly frowning, and there is no purse to his pink lips. I sigh and turn around only to have the buzzing start again. I reach my hand down and try to reach into Harry's pocket, if his pants weren't so tight I probably could have removed the phone from his pocket, but I have no such luck.
"What are you doing?" he groans. My feet carry me back a few feet away from my bed.
"Your phone is going off and it woke me up" I whisper despite the fact we are the only people in the room. I watch silently as he digs into his pocket, his large hand struggles into the pocket but he pulls out his phone and answers it.
"What?" He snaps into the mouth piece. A few seconds later he rolls his eyes and swipes his hand over his forehead.
"I am not coming back there tonight, I am at a friend's house" Are we friends? Of course not, he is just giving whoever is on the phone an exuse why he isn't returning. I stand awkwardly and shift my weight from one leg to the other.
"No, you can't go into my room. You know this, I'm going back to sleep now, so don't wake me up again, and my door is locked so don't waste your time trying" he hangs up and I back away instinctively, he is in a bad mood and I don't want to be on the receiving end of his poor attitude. I reach Steph's bed and grab the blanket off the floor, I dropped it in my attempt to find the noise.
"Sorry that my phone woke you" he says quietly. "It was Molly" The annoyance I feel for her is never faltering.
"Oh" I sigh and lay down on my side, facing my bed across the room. Harry gives me a small smile as if he knows what I am thinking about Molly. I can't ignore the small bubble of excitement that comes from him being here instead of with Molly, even though his actions make no sense to me.
"You don't like her do you?" He rolls onto his side to look at me and I shake my head.
"Not really, but please don't tell her. I don't want any conflict or teenage drama" I beg. I know I can't trust him but hopefully he will forget to torture me with this information.
"I won't, I don't care for her either" he murmermer and I roll my eyes.
"Yea, you really seem to dislike her" I sound just as sarcastic as I intended to.
"I don't, I mean she is fun and all but she is quite annoying" he admits making that bubble grow once more.
"Well maybe you should stop messing around with her" I suggest and roll onto my back so he can't see my face.
"Is there a reason I shouldn't mess around with her?"
"No. I mean if you think she is annoying then why keep doing it?" I know I don't want the answer but I ask anyway.
"To keep my occupied I guess."
I close my eyes and take a deep breath. Talking about Harry messing around with Molly hurts me worse than it should.
"Come lay with me" he interrupts my jealous thoughts.
"No"
"Come on, just lay with me. I sleep better when you are with me" he admits and I sit up and look at him.
"What?" I can't hide my surprise at his words. Whether he means them or not, they make my insides melt.
"I sleep better when you are with me, last weekend I slept better than I have in a while" he breaks eye contact with me and looks down.
"It was probably the scotch, not me" I try to make light of his confession, I don't know what else to do or say.
"No, it was you" he assures me.
"Goodnight Harry" I turn over, if he keeps saying these things and I keep listening, I will be putty in his hands yet again.
"Why don't you believe me?" He almost whispers.
"Because you always do this, you say a few nice things and then you flip the switch and I end up crying"
"I make you cry?" How doesn't he know that? He has seen me cry more than anyone else I know.
"Yea, often." I feel emotional again.
I hear my bed squeak lightly and I close my eyes. His fingers graze my arm as he sits on the edge of Steph's bed. It is too late, well early for this. It is four a.m.
"I don't mean to make you cry"
"Yes, you do. That's your exact intention every time you say hurtful things to me. And when you forced me to tell Noah about us. For example, you just told me you sleep better when I am around but if I was to lay with you, the second we woke up you would tell me I am ugly, or that you can't stand me. You humiliated me after we went to the stream, I thought that..never mind. There are only so many times I can have this talk with you. " I breath.
"I am listening this time" His eyes are unreadable.
"I just don't know why you love this game so much, you play cat and mouse with me. You are nice, then mean. And I heard you tell Steph you would ruin me if I came around you, then you wanted to drive me home. You are just hard to figure out"
"I didn't mean that. That I would ruin you, I just .. I don't know I just say things sometimes" he defends.
"Why did you drop Literature?" I finally ask.
"Because you want me to stay away from you, and I need to stay away from you."
"So why don't you?" I am slightly aware of the shift in energy around us. Somehow we have moved closer, our bodies only inches apart. There always seems to be a magnetic force between us, pulling us together.
"I don't know" he huffs. He rubs his hands together then rests them on his knees.
I want to say something, anything but I can't without telling Harry that I don't want him to stay away and that I think about him every second of everyday.
"Can I ask you something and you will be completely honest?" he finally breaks the silence. I nod.
"Did you .. did you miss me this week?" That was the last thing I expected him to ask me.

I blink a few times to clear my frantic mind. I told him I would answer truthfully, but I am afraid to.
"Well?" He repeats for the second time since his initial question.
"Yea" I mumble and hide my face with my hands just to have him pull them away. Even his touch on my wrists sets flame to my skin.
"Yea what?" His voice is strained, like he is desperate for my answer.
"I missed you" I gulp, expecting the worse. What I did not expect is his sigh of relief, and the smile that appears across his beautiful face.
I want to ask him if he missed me but he begins to speak before I get the chance.
"Really?" he asks, How many times is he going to make me answer this? I nod in reply and he gives me a shy smile, Harry shy? He seems to be pleased by my admittance, probably because he knows he has me wrapped around his finger.
"Now can I go back to sleep?" I whine, I know he isn't going to reciprocate my confession with one of his own and it is really late.
"Only if you sleep with me, as in the same bed of course" he smiles.
I sigh and lay down on Steph's bed , careful not to touch Harry. A sudden yank on my legs causes me to yelp in surprise, Harry lifts me off the bed and throws me over his shoulder. He ignores my kicking and pleas to put me down until he reaches my bed. He rests one knee on the bed and lays me down on the side against the wall and then lays down next to me. I glare at him silently, I am afraid if I fight him too hard he will leave and I know I don't want that.
He reaches down and picks up the pillow that I tossed at him earlier and places it between us as a barrier.
"There, now you can sleep" he smirks and I smile back at him, I can't help it.
"Goodnight" I half giggle.
"Night Tessa" he laughs back and I roll over on my side. I am not anywhere near tired so I just stare at the wall.
A few minutes later I feel the pillow move from in between us and Harry's arm wrap around my waist and pull me to his chest. I don't move it, or call attention to his actions. I am enjoying the feeling too much.
"I missed you too" He whispers against my hair. I smile knowing that he can't see me. I feel the light pressure of his lips against the back of my head and my stomach flips. As much as I love it, I am left more confused than ever as I drift off to sleep.
...
My alarm goes off too early and roll over to shut it off. The memory of Harry coming to my room last night flashes through my mind and I snap my eyes open to find Harry sitting up next to, staring down at me with an amused smirk.
"You're cute when you're asleep" he teases and I sit up as quick as I can.
"What's the alarm for?" He asks and hands me my phone. I switch it off and climb off of the bed.
"I am going to get a car today, so you can leave whenever" I tell him and he frowns.
"You're obviously not a morning person"
"I am.. I just don't want to keep you" I feel a little guilty for being rude, but I had expected him to be rude as well.
"You're not. Can I come with you?"
"To look at a car? Why would you want to do that?" I am suspicious of his motives.
"Why do I have to have a reason? You act like I am plotting to kill you or something" he laughs and ruffles his hair.
"Well, I am a little taken aback by your cheerful mood this morning.. and you wanting to go somewhere with me" I admit.
"I just want to.. I don't have anything else to do"
"I think counting the tiles on the ceiling would be more fun than coming with me" I do want to spend more time with him but my judgment is so clouded by him. He confuses me too much, there is too much back and forth between us.
"Look, if you don't want me to go just say it and I will go" His annoyance is evident.
"I do, I just.."
"You just what?"
"I am afraid that you will be ..unpleasant to me the entire time" I turn away from him and gather my clothes. I need to take a shower before I go anywhere.
"I won't be. I promise, just let me show you that we could.. that I could be nice. It's just one day" he smiles. I feel like we are constantly trying to be friends, not be friends, stay away from each other, stay the night with each other, so much energy is put into whatever this is between us. Noah will surely break up with me and never speak to me again if he knows that Harry stayed the night with me, in my bed, holding me as we slept. While I am lost in my thoughts it finally seems okay for me to admit that listening to Harry's steady breathing in my ear while he slept was worth never speaking to Noah again.
I don't know what it is that keeps me constantly afraid of losing Noah, maybe it is my fear of my mother's reaction if we broke up, or maybe that my old self is so tied to Noah, he has always been there for me and I feel like I owe it to myself and him to continue our relationship. But I think the biggest reason is because I know Harry can't and won't give me the type of relationship I need and honestly want from him.
"Earth to Tessa!" Harry calls from across the room. I have been standing here mentally debating with myself and forgotten Harry was even in my room. "Is something wrong?" He asks and steps toward me.
Oh, nothing just that I am finally admitting to myself that I have feelings for you and want more from you but I know you will never care about anyone, especially not me.
"No, I was just thinking about what to wear" I lie. His eyes move down to the clothes in my hands and he tilts his head but doesn't say anything.
"So, can I come? It will be easier for you anyway so you don't have to take the bus. That's what you were going to do isn't it?"
He is right, it would be easier. "Yea"
"Yea what? You're going to let me take you or you had planned on taking the bus?"
"Both" I walk towards the door and he follows me.
"What are you doing?" I ask him.
"Coming with you"
"I am going to take a shower" I dangle my toiletry bag in front of him and he grabs it from me.
"Me too" he smiles. Damn co-ed bathrooms. He walks past me and opens the door without looking back. I rush to catch up with him and grab ahold of his shirt.
"Nice of you to join me" he jokes and I roll my eyes.
"We haven't even began the day and you're already annoying me" I tell him and he laughs.
A group of girls walks by us and into the bathrooms, they don't even try to be sutble about staring at Harry. They aren't staring at him because of all his tattoos and pericrings, they are staring at him because he is hot.
"Ladies" Harry smiles at them and they giggle like school girls. Well they are technically school girls but they are adults so they should act like it. I scold myself for being so angry at every girl that Harry comes in contact with, he is single and he can do what he pleases, I just wish it was with me.

I don't see or hear Harry in the showers at all so I hope he didn't go off somewhere with those girls. He didn't even bring any clothes with him so if he does shower, he would just be putting on dirty clothes. Harry could wear clothes matted with mud and still look better than any guy I have ever seen. Except Noah, I remind myself. I dry off and pull my clothes on and make my way back to my room. I am relieve to find Harry sitting on my bed. He is shirtless and his hair is still wet. I close my mouth to make sure my tongue isn't hanging out, panting. My loose purple shirt and jeans seem silly compared to his snug black jeans and bare skin. At least I am wearing my tight jeans.
"Took you long enough" He says and lays back. His muscles constrict as he lifts his arms back behind his head.
"You're supposed to be nice to me remember" I say and walk over to Steph's closet and open the door to reveal the mirror. Grabbing Steph's makeup bag, I sit myself down and cross my legs in front of it.
"I am being nice"
I stay quiet as I try to apply a little makeup. After three attempts of making a straight line on my top eyelid, I chuck the eyeliner at the mirror and Harry laughs.
"You don't need it anyway" Harry tells me.
"I like it" I defend and he rolls his eyes. "Fine, we can just sit here all day while you try to color on your face" he says. So much for nice Harry.
He catches on and apologizes to me while I wipe my eyes off, giving up the makeup routine.
"I'm ready" I tell him and he stands up.
"Are you going to put a shirt on?" I ask him and he shakes his head.
"Yea, I have one in my trunk" I remember at the stream how he pulled a t-shirt out of his trunk then too. I was right, he must have an endless supply in there. I don't want to think about the reason behind it.
True to his word, he pulls a plain black t-shirt out of the trunk and pulls it over his head.
"Stop staring and get in the car" he teases me. I stutter a denial and oblige.
"I like when you wear white shirts" The words are out before I can process them. He cocks his head sideways and gives me a smug grin.
"Is that so?" He raises his eyebrow. "Well I like you in those jeans, they show off your ass wonderfully" he says and my mouth drops. Harry and his dirty words. He takes in my reaction and laughs.
I swat at him playfully but I mentally pat myself on the back for wearing these jeans, I want Harry to look at me even though I would never admit it and I am flattered by his strange way of complimenting me.
"So where to?" He asks and I pull out my phone. I read him the list of car lots within a five mile radius and tell him about a few of the reviews on each.
"You plan things way too much, so we aren't going to any of those places" he says.
"Yes, we are. I already have this planned, there is a Prius that I want to see at Bob's Super Cars" I tell him and cringe at the cheesy name.
"A Prius?" He spits.
"Yea? They have the best gas mileage and they are safe and.."
"Boring, I knew somehow you would want a Prius, you just scream 'Lady with a planner in her Prius!'" He says in a fake woman's voice and I laugh with him.
"Tease me all you want but I will save hundreds on gas every year" I remind him and he leans over and pokes my cheek.
I look over at him, shocked by him doing such a small but adorable thing and he looks as surprised as I do that he did that.
"You're cute sometimes" he tells me and I look out the window.
"Gee, thanks."
"I mean that in a nice way, like sometimes you do cute things" he mutters. The words seem uncomfortable on his tongue and I know he isn't used to saying things like this.
"Okay.." I say and look out the window again. Every second I spend with Harry increases my feelings for him, its dangerous for me to allow these small seemingly meaningless moments to occur, but I don't have control of the situation when Harry is involved. I am merely a passer by to this storm.
Harry ends up driving to Bob's and I thank him, I don't like when things don't go as planned, which is happening much more lately. Bob is a sweaty and over-gelled man who smells like nicotine and leather. His smile is equipped with a gold tooth and Harry stands.. well hovers over him, making faces when he isn't looking. The little man seems to be intimidated by Harry's harsh appearance, but I don't blame him. I take one look at the Prius and decide against it. I have a feeling the moment I drove off the lot, it would have broken down and Bob has a strict no return policy.
We visit a few more lots and they are all equally as trashy. After hours of countless balding men, I decide to halt the search for a car, I will have to go further away from campus for a decent car and I just don't feel like it today. We decide to get some lunch through the drive thru and we eat in the car and Harry surprisingly tells me a story about when Zayn got arrested for puking all over the floor inside Wendy's last year. The day is going better than I could have imagined and for once I feel like we could both make it through this semester without killing one another.
On our way back to campus we pass a cute little frozen yogurt bar and I beg Harry to stop. He groans and acts like he doesn't want to but I see the hint of a smile hiding behind his sour features. Harry tells me to sit and he gets our yogurt for us, piling on every candy and cookie imaginable, it looks disgusting but he convinces me it is the only way to get your moneys worth. As gross as it looks, it is delicious. I can't even finish half of mine but Harry happily clears his bowl and the remainder of mine.
"Harry?" A man's voice says. Harry's head snaps up and his eyes narrow. Was that an accent I heard? He is holding a bag and a drink carrier full of yogurt.
"Uhm.. hey" he says and the man smiles. I know immediately that the man is Harry's father. He is tall and lean, like Harry and has the same shaped eyes, only his are a deep brown instead of green. Other than that, they are polar opposites. His father is dressed in gray dress pants, and a sweater vest. His brown hair has some gray scattered through the sides and he looks very professional. Until he smiles that is, his smile is warm, like Harry's when he isn't putting so much effort into being a jerk.
"Hi, I am Tessa" I politely say and reach my hand out. Harry glares at me but I ignore him. It's not like he was going to introduce me.
"Hello Tessa, I am Ken, Harry's father" He says and shakes my hand.
"Harry, you never told me you had a girlfriend, you two should come over for dinner tonight. Karen will make a nice meal for everyone, she's an excellent cook" I want to tell him I am not Harry's girlfriend but Harry speaks.
"We can't tonight, I have a party to go to and she doesn't want to come" he snaps. A gasp escapes my lips at the way Harry speaks to his father. His fathers face drops and I feel terrible for him.
"Actually I would love to. I am friends with Liam too" I tell the sad man and his friendly smile reappears.
"You are? Well that is great. Liam is a nice kid. I would be happy to have you over tonight" Ken says and I smile.
"What time should we be there?" I ask and feel Harry's eyes blazing at me.
"We?" His father asks and I nod. "Okay.. let's do seven, I need to give Karen a few hours warning or she will have my head" he laughs and I join him. Harry stares angrily out the glass wall.
"Sounds great! We will see you tonight" I tell him. He says goodbye to Harry, who ignores him rudely despite me kicking his foot under the table. After his dad exits the building Harry stands up abruptly and slams the chair back into the table, it topples over and he kicks it before pushing open the door and leaving me alone to deal with everyone's stares. I clumsily pick up the chair he knocked over and run after him.
I call out his name but he ignores me until he gets halfway to the car. He turns around so quickly that I almost crash into him.
"What the hell Tessa! What the fuck was that?" He screams at me. People walking by start to stare but he continues.

"What kind of game are you trying to play here?" Harry yells and moves towards me. He is angry, beyond angry.
"I am not playing a game Harry! Didn't you see how much he wanted you to come over? He was trying to reach out to you and you were so disrespectful!" I'm not sure why I'm yelling back at him but I refuse to stand here while he shouts at me.
"Reach out to me? Are you fucking kidding me? Maybe he should have reached out to me when I was a kid, instead of abandoning his family!" The vein in his neck is strained under his skin.
"Stop cussing at me! Maybe he is trying to make up for lost time! People make mistakes Harry, and he obviously cares about you. He has that room for you at his house, full of clothes just in case you ever decide to come over" I remind him and he shudders with anger.
"You don't know shit about him Tessa! He lives in a fucking mansion with his new family while my mum works her ass off working fifty hours a week to pay her bills! So don't try to lecture me, mind your own damn business," he snaps and gets in the car.
"Fine Harry! I will mind my own business but I'm going tonight whether you go or not." I say equally as harsh and climb into his car. So much for our argument free day. I knew the idea was not plausible but I had hoped it could be.
"No you're not!" He grabs his door handle and slams the door closed. If I had known accepting his father's invitation would lead to this I wouldn't have done it, but Harry needs to understand that I will not be yelled at and told what to do. That's one redeeming quality I give my mother credit for, she showed me exactly how not to be treated by a man.
"You have no say in what I do and in case you didn't notice, I was invited. Maybe I should see if Zayn wants to join me?" I'm completely aware that I'm being childish and mentioning Zayn is a sure way to get Harry to overreact, like now.It's obvious that I've pushed him too far when Harry jerks the steering wheel and pulls onto the shoulder on the busy road.
"What did you just say?" The dirt and dust is flying all over his white car.
"What the hell is wrong with you? Pulling off the road like this!" I'm just as angry as he is by this point. Being around him makes me insane, I'm sure of it.
"What the hell is wrong with you is the question! You tell my dad I will go to his house for dinner, then you have the audacity to mention bringing Zayn?"
"Oh yeah sorry. I forgot your cool friends don't know that Liam is your step brother and you're afraid they will find out?" I taunt him.
"He is not my step brother for one, and two you know that isn't why I don't want Zayn there," his voice is much lower now, laced with anger.
Through my own anger, that ridiculous bubble of hope inflates again at Harry's jealousy. I know it's more of a competition thing for him than actually caring whether I'm with someone else but it still makes my stomach flutter all the same. Even my common sense is imparied by Harry.
"Well if you won't go with me, I will have to invite him" I say, faking an innocent smile. I would never actually invite Zayn to Harry's father's house but he doesn't need to know that.
"Tessa, I really don't want to go. I don't want to sit around with my dad's perfect family. I avoid them for a reason." He sighs and I detect a hint of the vulnerability that he is a master at hiding.
"Well I don't want to force you to go if it will hurt you, but I would really like if you could come with me. I am going either way. He invited me and the look on his face was too much to turn down, I'm sorry." My voice is soft now as I try to diffuse the situation. Harry and I have gone from eating yogurt to screaming at each other and back to calm again. My head is spinning, it has been since I met him.
"Hurt me?" He sounds incredulous.
"Yes, if it will bother you that much to be there I won't try to make you come. I just thought it was a good idea but I see now that you don't agree," I meet his eyes and he quickly looks away. I know that I could never make Harry do anything he doesn't want to do and he has no history of ever being cooperative so why bother?
"Why would you care if it hurt me?" He brings his green eyes back to mine and I try to look away but once again I am under his spell.
"Of course I would care, why wouldn't I?"
"Why would you is the question," he runs a hand over his hair and the look in his eyes gives me the idea he is pleading with me, like he wants me to say the words, but I can't. He will use them against me and he probably won't ever want to hang out with me again. I'll become the annoying girl who likes him, just like the girls Steph told me about. I refuse to be one of them, I want to be more but I know that won't happen either, so I'd like to keep a little dignity.
"I care about how you feel." I hope this answer is good enough for him, it's all that I'm ready to say.
Interrupting my embarrassing confession, my phone rings and I reach down and pull it out of my purse. Noah's name and photo flashes on the screen and without thinking, I hit ignore before I realize what I'm doing.
"Who is it?" Harry asks, he is so nosy.
"Noah,"
"You're not going to answer?" He looks surprised, he should be. I should be.
"No, we are talking," And I would rather talk to you , my subconscious adds.
"Oh," he shortly responds, his smile evident.
"So are you going to come with me? It's been a while since I have had a home cooked meal, so I am not passing it up." I smile, the mood in the car is lighter but tense all the same.
"No, I am not. I have plans anyway." he mutters. I don't want to know if those plans involve Molly. I try not to dwell on them but I can't seem to help it.
"Oh, okay. Are you going to be mad at me if I go?" It's strange for me to go to Harry's father's house without him but Liam is my friend too, and I was invited.
"I'm always mad at you, Tess." he says and I laugh.
"I'm always mad at you too," I agree with him, it sure does seem that way.
"Can we go back now? If a cop comes along we will get a ticket." I remind him and he nods, putting the car into drive and pulling back onto the road. I'm relieved that our fight ended before it got too out of hand.
"What are your.. uhm.. plans today?" I ask, I promised myself that I wouldn't ask but I have to know.
"Why are you asking?" I can feel his eyes on me but I focus on staring out of the window.
"I'm just wondering, you said you had plans anyway so I was just wondering."
"We have a party again. That is basically what I do every Friday and Saturday, except last night and last Saturday.."
"Doesn't it get old? Just doing the same thing every weekend with the same drunk people?" I hope that doesn't offend him but I'm genuinely curious.
"Yeah, I guess it does but we're in college and I am in a fraternity, what else is there to do?" He raises a brow at me. I still can't connect Harry Styles and fraternity in my mind.
"I don't know..it just seems tedious, to clean up everyone's mess, every weekend especially when you don't even drink"
"It is, but I haven't found anything better to do with my time so.." he trails off. I know he's still looking at me, but I keep my eyes away from him.
The rest of the drive is quiet, not awkward just quiet.
"Well, thanks for taking me even though I didn't find a car. I appreciate you driving me." I tell him as he parks in front of the dorms.
"Yeah, no problem," he rubs the back of his neck with his hand. I try to think of an excuse why he should come in just so I can spend more time with him but I know there isn't one and I'm beginning to worry about my growing attachment to him.
"Bye Harry!" I call back and he waves me off.
I am flustered, my emotions are in overdrive. I just spent the night and most of the afternoon with Harry and we got along, mostly. It was actually fun, a lot of fun and I'm sad that it ended. Why can't I have such a great time with someone who actually likes me? Like Noah, for example I know I should call him back but I want to revel in the way I feel right now, I want to savor the way my blood feels like it's buzzing through my veins, I want to feel young and excited for just a little while longer.
When I get back to my room I am surprised to see Steph there, she usually stays gone all weekend. "Where have you been young lady?" She teases and shoves a handful of cheese popcorn in her mouth. I laugh and take my shoes off before plopping on the bed.
"I was looking for a car." I leave out Harry's involvement, the last thing I want to do is answer her questions.
"Did you find one?" She asks, handing me the bag of popcorn. I shake my head and shove a handful of the popcorn into my mouth.
While I'm explaining the events of the day, sans Harry of course, there's a knock at the door and Steph gets up to answer.
"What are you doing here Harry?" She growls. Why is he back? I glance up nervously and he walks over to my bed. He has both hands shoved into his pockets and he is rocking back and forth on the heels of his boots.
"Did I forget something in your car?" I ask, ignoring the not so subtle gasp from Steph. I'll have to explain to her later, I'm not even sure how we ended up hanging out so I need time to come up with an excuse.
"Ermm.. no. I uhm.. I thought maybe I could drive you to that dinner tonight. You know, since you didn't find a car." he stutters, suprsiing me by the nervous tone of his voice. He doesn't seem to mind or notice that Steph is standing in the room with her jaw practically on the floor.
"If not... that's okay too, I just thought I would offer." He adds. I sit up and he pulls his lip ring between his teeth. I love when he does that and it distracts me for a moment. That mixed with the surprise of his offer, makes me forget to answer him for a few moments.
"Yea.. that would be great. Thank you" I smile.
He smiles back, a warm and seemingly relived smile. One of his hand pulls out of his pocket and he sweeps his hair back with it before stuffing it back in.
"Okay.. uhm, what time should I be here?"
"Six-thirty?"
"Okay.. well see you then." he says and turns on his heel.
"Thank you, Harry!" I call as he reaches the door.
"Tessa." He calmly responds beofre walking out of the door, pulling it shut behind him.
"What the hell was that?" Steph squeals.
"I don't know, actually." I admit. As soon as I think Harry could not get more confusing, he does something like this. I don't know why he would want to drive me, but I'm sure I will find out his intentions soon enough. All I can do is hope for the best, I suppose.
"I can't believe that just happened! I mean Harry.. the way he came in here, he was like nervous or something! Oh my god! And he offered to drive you to dinner.. wait who are you going to dinner with? And you thought you left something in his car, which means you have been in his car today? Or was he talking about yesterday? How do I miss so much! I need details!" She rambles and takes a seat at the edge of my small bed.
I explain to her how he showed up here last night and we watched a movie and he fell asleep, then we went to look at cars today, I leave out all the details about his dad except and I'm thankful that she's pleased enough with all the other details from today and last night that she doesn't ask again.
"I can't believe he stayed here, that is a huge deal. Like Harry doesn't just stay places, ever. And he never lets anyone stay with him. I heard he has nightmares or something. I don't know, but seriously what have you done to him? I wish I would have recorded the way he looked when he just came here!" Steph laughs, she's obviously very interested in my... friendship, with Harry. I don't have the slightest clue what to call this thing we are doing.
"I still don't think this is a good idea, but you seem to handle him better than most, just be careful." she warns again. I get the feeling she has more to say but she fills her mouth with popcorn again.
What have I done to him? Nothing, surely. He just isn't used to being nice and for some reason he's being nice to me. Maybe just to prove a point that he can? I'm not sure and if I think about if longer than thrity seconds it gives me a headache.
I bring up Tristan and she takes the conversation from there. I try to pay attention to her stories from last night's party, how Molly ended up shirtless, (go figure) and Louis beat Niall in a drunken arm wrestling match, she swears it was one of those things that are much funnier when you are there. My thoughts drift back to Harry of course, and I check the clock to make sure I have enough time to get ready for tonight. It is four o'clock now, so I should start getting ready at five.
Stephthirty and is ecstatic when I ask her to do my hair and makeup. I'm not sure why I'm putting such effort into looking okay for a family dinner that I really shouldn't be going to, but I do anyway. She puts light makeup on me, you can barely tell it is there but it looks great. Natural but pretty, and she curls my hair the way she did yesterday.
Was that just yesterday? It seems like much more time has passed since. I decide to wear my maroon dress, despite Steph's attempts to have me wear something from her closet. My maroon dress is familiar and conservative, it is my favorite.
"At least wear the lace tights underneath, or let me cut the sleeves off of it," she groans.
"Fine give me the lace tights, I guess. This isn't that bad though, it's form fitting." I defend my dress.
"I know, it's just.. boring." She says, crinkling her nose. Steph finally smiles when I put on the tights and agree to wear high heels. I still have a pair of Tom's tucked in my purse from yesterday so I keep them there just in case.
I'm more nervous for the ride to his father's house than the actual dinner. I fidget with the tights and walk around the room a few times before Harry finally knocks on the door. Steph gives me a strange smile and I pull the door open.
"Wow Tessa, you uhm.. look nice" he mumbles and I smile. Since when does he say, "uhm " in every sentence?
"You two have fun" Steph says and winks. Harry flips her off and she returns the vulgar gesture as he closes the door in her face.
Harry and I climb into the car and he turns the radio on but keeps the volume low. I am beginning to feel nervous for the dinner, the drive is awkward and Harry is acting strange.
"I don't know why you got all dressed up just to go to my dad's when I am not even going. It's weird" he snaps out of no where. I roll my eyes and mentally bang my head against the window. I knew his nice behavior wouldn't last.

I ignore his insult and just wait for the next. True to Harry, he doesn't waste any time.
"Just to let you know, I won't be picking you back up." he adds and I nod. I don't want to arrive to Harry's father's dinner in a sour mood.
"Did you hear me?"
"Yes, heard you. I hadn't expected you to." I sigh and lean my head against the window. I know me not fighting with him is making him more annoyed but I don't care.
"Why aren't you talking?" His voice sounds too loud in the small space of his car.
"Because you're in a bad mood for a reason unknown to me and I don't feel like fighting with you."
"For a reason unknown to you? Really?" he growls.
"How much longer until we are there?" I completely ignore his question.
"Damn it Tessa! Why are you so difficult all the time?"
"You are the one that is difficult, you are just trying to pick a fight with me and I am not feeding into it. I am over this back and forth shit with you. Now either you are going to be nicer to me or I will not talk to you." I tell him and mean it.
"That's not what I am doing."
"Yes, it is. You have no reason to be upset with me and here you are insulting me and making fun of me. All I'm doing is trying to look decent to go to dinner with your family when you refuse to." I breath.
"I wasn't making fun of the way you look, I .. I don't know.. but I'm annoyed as fuck that you're going." he admits and I want so badly to reach across and touch him, even just a gentle caress of his arm. If Harry was a normal guy, I would be able to.
"Then why did you offer to drive me? You came all the way to my room and offered, why?"
"I don't know Tessa, maybe so I could see you," his voice is low, a simple confession but the words rattle me.
"Don't play games with me Harry." I warn.
"I'm not. Can we talk? I mean really talk?"
"Now? Can't we do this after dinner? I don't want to be late." I tell him. It's not that I care too much about being late, but I'm not ready for a talk with Harry. I don't know what he wants to talk about and I don't know if I want to know.
Well I do but I know that I shouldn't. of course I want to know I just don't think it will end well.
"I will be busy after dinner."
"Well Harry, obviously your party is more important than talking to me so forget it. I don't want to know what you have to say anyway." I hate that I have feelings for Harry and he doesn't even care to make time to have this "talk" with me.
"It's not that it's more important.. it's just that I want to talk now." I recognize the street and the massive houses, we are close.
"Well, I have dinner plans that you refuse to attend with me." I roll my eyes. I am getting more vocal with Harry every day and I am glad. He doesn't intimidate me as much as he used to.
"Those plans happen to be with my father who I don't speak to, who's house I vandalized just last week." he reminds me and the car stops. The house is even more beautiful during the day.
"Well, I would stay and chat but I have a date." I smile and his jaw clenches.
I climb out of the car and walk up the steps on the sidewalk. In the evening light I can see the old vines creeping up the sides and front of the house and the small white flowers joining the vines. I hear Harry's car door close, followed by the foot steps of his heavy boots on the sidewalk. I turn around to see him a few steps behind me.
"What are you doing?" I ask him.
"I'm coming with you, obviously." he rolls his eyes and takes one long stride to join me at the top of the steps.
"Really?"
"Yes." He's clearly irriated. "Now let's go inside and have the worst night of our lives." his face twists into the fakest yet appealing smile, something only Harry Styles can pull off. I elbow him and ring the doorbell.
"I don't ring doorbells." He tells me, reaching past my body to turn the knob. I'm unconfportable with his lack of manners but it is his father's house so perhaps it may not be so awkward.
We walk inside and through the foyer before his father appears. The surprise is evident on his face, he had not expected Harry to show up. He smiles his charming smile and tries to hug Harry but Harry dodges his gesture and walks right past him. The embarrassment flashes on his handsome features but I look away before he realizes that I saw his gesture.
"Thank you so much for coming Tessa, Liam has told me some about you. He seems very fond of you." He smiles and I follow him into the living room.
Liam is sitting on the couch with his Literature book on his lap as I enter. His face lights up and he smiles at me and closes the book.
I walk over and sit down next to him, I'm unsure where Harry went but I am sure he will appear sooner or later.
"So you two are giving your friendship another try?" He asks with a frown. I want to explain what is going on with Harry and I but I honestly have no idea myself.
"It's complicated." I try to smile but I feel it falter.
"You're still with Noah right? Because Ken seems to think you and Harry are dating." He laughs. I hope my laugh doesn't sound as fake as it feels. "I didn't have the heart to tell him otherwise but I am sure Harry will" he says. I shift uncomfortably, unsure what to say.
"Yeah. I'm still with Noah, it's just.."
"You must be Tessa!" A woman's voice rings through the room. Liam's mother walks towards me and I stand up to shake her hand. Her eyes are bright and her smile is lovely. She is wearing a turquoise dress, similar to my maroon one, with an apron covered in small strawberries and bananas over top of it.
"It's so nice to meet you, thank you for having me. Your home is beautiful." I tell her. Her smile covers her face and she squeezes my hand. She's much more beautiful than I imagined. Ken is a handsome man but Karen is stunning. Classy and beautiful, she looks much younger and less plastic than I had visioned her.
"You are so welcome dear, it's my pleasure," she beams. A timer goes off from the kitchen and she turns her head, showing off large diamond earrings.
"Well, I'm going to finish up in the kitchen and I will see you in the dining room in a few minutes." Karen politely dismisses herself.
"What are you working on?" I ask Liam and he pulls out a folder.
"Next weeks assignments, that essay on Tolstoy is going to kill me," he smiles. I laugh and nod, remembering how many hours I spent writing that same essay.
"It really was a killer. I just finished it a few days ago." I tell him.
"Well, if you two nerds are done comparing notes I would love to eat dinner sometime in the next year," Harry says. I glare at him but Liam just laughs and sits his book down before walking to the dining room.
It seems their fight was good for them after all. I follow behind him and Harry until we reach the large dining room. The long dining table is decorated beautifully with full place settings and multiple platters of food in the center. Karen really went all out for this. Harry better behave or I will kill him.
"Tessa, you and Harry will sit on this side." Karen instructs and gestures to the left of the table. Liam sits across from Harry. Ken and Karen take their seats a few chairs down from Liam.
I thank her and sit down next to Harry. He's quiet and seems uncomfortable but he stays silent behaving much better than I expected. I watch as Karen makes Ken's plate for him and he thanks her with a brief kiss on her cheek. It's such a sweet gesture, I have to look away. I fill my plate with roast, potatoes, and squash then pile a roll on top of it. Harry chuckles quietly at the mound of food on my plate.
"What? I'm hungry" I whisper to him.
"Nothing," he laughs again and piles his plate higher than mine, still shaking his head.
"So Tessa, how are you liking Washington State so far?" Ken asks. I chew my food quickly so I can answer.
"I really enjoy it, it is only my first semester so ask me again in a few months." I joke and everyone except Harry laughs.
"Well I am glad you like it so far, are you in any clubs on campus?" Karen asks and wipes her mouth with her napkin.
"Not yet, I plan on joining the Literary Club next semester."
"Really? I've been trying to get Harry to become a member." Ken adds and I look at Harry. His eyes are narrowed and he looks annoyed.
"So how do you like living near WSU?" I ask to divert attention from Harry. His eyes soften and I believe he is thanking me.
"We enjoy it, when Ken first became Chancellor we lived in a much smaller place until we found this house and we fell in love with it immediately."
My fork drops against the glass plate. "Chancellor? Of WSU?" I gasp.
"Yes, you didn't know that?" Ken asks and looks at Harry.
"No.. I didn't." I look at Harry.
Karen looks at Harry and Liam looks at Harry.
"No! Okay, no I didn't tell her I don't know why it fucking matters. I don't need to use your name or position!" Harry shouts and stands up, leaving the table. Karen looks like she may cry and Ken's face is red.
"I am so sorry, I didn't know he.." I start.
"No, don't apologize for his poor behavior." Ken tells me. I hear the back door slam and I stand up.
"Excuse me" I say and stand up from the table to go find Harry.
To be continued..

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