Sunday, 20 May 2018

AFTER ROMANCE Episode 51-55

I rush out the back door to find Harry. He has knocked over the patio table and is pacing back and forth on the deck with one hand balled into a fist at his side, and the other tugs at his thick hair.
I'm not sure how, or if  I can help the situation at all but I know I would rather be out here with Harry than in the dining room after his outburst. I feel responsible for this whole mess because I agreed to come in the first place when Harry didn't want to, now I see why.
Harry spots me and sends me an annoyed glare and he turns away from me when I approach him.
"Harry," I keep my voice gentle and low.
"Don't, Tessa." He warns. He's always warning me and I'm never listening. "I know what you're going to say. You're going to say that I need to go back in there and apologize to them and there is no way in hell that is happening so don't waste your breath! Why don't you just go back in there and enjoy your dinner and leave me the hell alone," he spits.
"I don't want to go back in there." Is all I can manage to say.
"Why not? You fit in perfectly with their prudish and boring fucking personalities."
Ouch. Why am I here again? Oh yea that's right, to be Harry's punching bag.
"You know what?" I raise my voice. "Fine! I will leave, I don't know why I can't just stop trying with you!" I shout. I hope they can't hear me inside.
"I don't either! You just can't take a hint I guess." As the words leave his mouth, I feel the lump growing in my throat.
"The hint is well taken." I try to swallow the sting from his words but it's nearly impossible. I look up at Harry and his cold eyes meet mine.
"That's it? That's your defense?" He laughs and shakes his hair.
"You don't deserve anymore of my time. You don't deserve for me to even speak to you, or those nice people in there to spend their time setting up this dinner to have you ruin it! That's what you do is ruin things, everything! And I'm done being one of those things." I yell.
Unwelcomed tears soak my face as Harry steps towards me. I back away, my feet disagree and I fumble over them. Harry's hand reaches out to steady me but I grab ahold of the railing instead. I don't want or need his help.
"You're right." he sounds exhausted.
"I know I am." I turn away from him again.
He snakes his hand around my wrist and pulls me to his chest. I lean into him without hesitation, I want to touch him so badly, but I know better. I can hear the heavy thump of my heart, rapid beneath my chest. I wonder if he can hear it, it seems impossible that he doesn't. Can he feel the pounding of my pulse under his grip? His eyes are full of anger and I know mine mirror his.
I have no warning before he crashes his lips down on mine, the force of his mouth is almost painful. His action is so full of desperation and hunger that I am lost. Lost in Harry. Lost in the salty taste of my tears on both of our lips, lost in his fingers threaded through my hair. His hands move from my hair to my waist and he lifts me onto the railing of the deck. My legs part for him and he moves between them, never losing contact with my mouth. We are all heat and gasps, tangled in each other. My teeth graze over his bottom lip causing him to groan and pull me closer until my chest is flush with his.
The back door creaks open, breaking the spell. I'm horrified as Liam's soft eyes meet mine. His cheeks are flushed, and his eyes are wide in surprise. I push Harry away from me and jump down from the rail, adjusting my dress as my feet hit the deck.
"Liam, I.." I begin. He holds up his hand to silence me and steps towards us. Harry's breathing is so loud that I swear it is echoing between the house and the trees. His cheeks are flamed, his eyes wild.
"I don't understand? I thought you guys hated each other, and here you are.. you have a boyfriend Tessa, I didn't think you were like that." he says. His words are harsh but his tone is soft.
"I'm not.. I don't know what this is" I motion between me and Harry. Harry stays silent, for which I am glad. I'm ashamed by my behavior and that shame is only multiplied by Liam's clear disappointment.
"Noah knows, well about before. I was going to tell you, I just don't want you to think differently of me." I defend myself, even though I know I'm wrong. So wrong.
"I don't know what to think.." Liam says and walks back towards the door. Like something out of a movie, a clash of thunder rolls through the air.
"It looks like it may storm." Harry says, his eyes scanning the darkening sky. Despite his flushed appearance, his voice is calm.
"A storm? Liam just caught us.. kissing." I say and feel the fire slowly burning out between us.
"He will be okay," Harry tells me.
I look up at him, expecting to see a smug expression, but it's not there. He puts his hand on my back and rubs gently. The fire ignites again. I am still reeling from the kiss, now he is comforting me? I can't decide which is more shocking.
"Do you want to back inside or do you want me to take you home?" He asks. It's astounding how abruptly his mood can change from angry to lustful to calm.
"I would like to go back inside and finish dinner, what do you want to do?"
"I suppose we can go back in, the food is pretty good" he smiles and despite the awkward situation at hand, I find myself laughing.
"That's my favorite sound," Harry surprises me by saying.
"You're in a much better mood." I meet his eyes and he smiles again.
"I don't understand it either," he says, rubbing his neck like he always does.
So he is just as confused as I am? I wish my feelings weren't so strong for him, then I could deal with him much better. When he says things like this it makes me care for him that much more. I only wish he could feel the same, but I have been warned by Steph and Harry himself that it would never happen. I remember when he told me I wasn't his type, it hurt a little then but I didn't consider him my type either so I didn't mind. Little did I know, he would have me hoisted on the ledge of a deck kissing me less than a month later.
Thunder rolls again and Harry takes my hand. "Let's go inside before it rains."
I nod and he opens the door and leads me inside. He doesn't remove his hand from mine as we walk back into the dining room. Liam's eyes dart down to our hands but he says nothing. As much as I don't want Liam to see it, I love the way Harry's hand feels over mine. I love it too much to pull away. Liam focuses back on his plate as we take our seats. Harry lets go of my hand too soon and looks up at his father and Karen.
"I am sorry for yelling at you that way," he mutters to his father.
The surprise on everyone's face is evident and Harry looks down at the table.
"I hope I didn't ruin the dinner that you put so much effort into" He continues. I can't help myself, I reach over and put my hand over Harry's, giving it a light squeeze.
"It's okay Harry, we understand. Let's not let the night be ruined, we can still enjoy the dinner." Karen smiles and Harry looks at her. He gives her a small smile, which I know takes a lot of effort from him. Ken doesn't say anything but he nods his head at Harry as if to say "It's okay". Forgiveness is clearly a strong trait among this family in everyone except Harry.
I slowly pull my hand away but Harry laces his fingers through mine and looks sideways at me. I hope I don't wear the surprised but very pleased expression that I feel inside. For what seems like the first time since I met him, I don't overthink why I'm holding Harry's hand under the table during a dinner with his family while I'm still dating Noah.
The dinner continues well but I find myself intimidated by Ken a little more now that I know he is the Chancellor at WSU. That is a huge deal. Ken tells us about when he moved from England, and how he loves America, Washington in particular. Harry is still holding my hand as we both struggle to eat using one hand, but neither of us seem to mind.
"The weather could be better, but it is beautiful here." He muses and I nod in agreement.
"What are your plans after college?" Karen asks me as everyone finishes eating.
"I am going to move to Seattle, and hopefully work in publishing while I work on my first book." I say with confidence.
"Publishing? Do you have any houses in mind?" Ken speaks.
"Not exactly, I will take any opportunity I can get to get my foot in the door, I know how hard it is for a student to find anything so I won't be picky."
"That's great, I happen to have some pretty good connections at Vance Publishing, have you heard of it?" he asks and I look at Harry. He had mentioned knowing someone at Vance Publishing before.
"Yes, I've heard great things about it." I smile.
"I can make a call for you if you would like, it would be a great opportunity for you and you seem like a very bright young woman, I would love to help you." He offers and I take my hand out of Harry's to put them under my chin.
"Really? That would be so kind of you! I really appreciate it." I tell him and reach my hand back under the table to find Harry's but he quickly moves his hand away. Well, his affections didn't last long.
Ken tells me that he will call whoever it is that he knows on Monday and I thank him repeatedly. He assures me it's no problem at all and that he loves to help anytime he can. Harry excuses himself when Karen stands and begins to clear the table, I decide against following him this time.
"Can I help you?" I ask Karen and she smiles appreciatively.
"That would be lovely." She beams and I help her clear the table. I load the dishwasher while she washes the large serving plates that can't be put in the dishwasher. I really wish Harry wouldn't have destroyed a large amount of her dishes, he can be so cruel.
"If you don't mind me asking, how long have you and Harry been seeing each other?" She blushes at her question but I give her a warm smile.
"We have only known each other about a month, he's friends with my roommate Steph." I didn't exactly tell her we aren't dating, I just dodged the question.
"I haven't met any of Harry's friends, only seen them in passing but you, you are.. well, you are different from the ones that I have came across." I gather that she's trying to say that I'm not tattooed and pierced like them, but she is too polite to come out and say it.
"Yes, Harry and I are very different." I tell her, meaning that in more ways than she could imagine.
Lightning flashes and the rain begins to pound against the windows.
"Wow it's really coming down out there." Karen says and pushes the small window in front of the sink closed.
"Harry isn't as bad as he seems," her voice is so sweet when she tells me this and I can't help but laugh. I can't imagine the terrible things he has said to her since she has met him and I'm well aware of him destroying her dishes.
"He is just hurt, I would love to believe that he won't always be this way. I must say I was very surprised that he came tonight, and I can only believe that is your influence on him."
She takes me by surprise when she wraps her arms around me and pulls me into a hug. Unsure what to do or say, I hug her back and she pulls away but keeps her well manicured hands on my shoulders.
"Really, thank you." she says again and removes her hands.
She blots her eyes and returns to washing the dishes. She is too kind for me to tell her that I don't have any influence on Harry. He only came tonight because I did, and he wanted to annoy me. After I finish loading the dishwasher, I stare out the window watching the rain drops trickle down the glass. It is remarkable that Harry who hates everyone, except himself and maybe his mother, has all these people who care about him but he refuses to let himself care for them. He is lucky to have them, us. I know I am one of those people, I would do anything for Harry, even though I would deny it to him, I know it to be true. I have no one, except Noah and my mother and both of them together don't care about me the way Harry's soon to be step-mother does him.
"I'm going to go check on Ken, make yourself at home dear." Karen says to me. I nod and decide to go find Harry, or Liam, which ever one of them I see first.
Liam is no where to be found downstairs so I make my way up to Harry's room upstairs. I hope he is in there, if not I will have to just go sit downstairs alone. I turn the handle but it won't budge. He has locked the door.
"Harry?" I try to speak quietly so no one hears me. I tap my knuckles against the door but hear nothing. Just as I turn away the door clicks and he opens it.
"Can I come in?" I ask him and he nods once and pulls the door open just enough for me to come in. There is a breeze in the room and I can smell the cool scent of the rain coming through the bay window. He walks over and sits down on the built in bench surrounding the window and raises his knees up. He stares out the window but doesn't say a word to me. I sit across from Harry and wait as the constant drumming of the rain creates a calming rhythm.
"What happened?" I finally ask. He looks at me with a confused expression.
"I mean downstairs, you were holding my hand and then.. why did you pull away?" I'm embarrassed by the desperation in my voice. I sound too needy but the words have already been delivered.
"Do you not want me to take that internship for some reason? You offered to help me before?" I question.
"That's just it Tessa, I want to be the one to help you, not him. " he says.
"Why? It's not a competition, and you were the one who offered first, so thank you." I try to ease his stress even though I don't understand why it matters.
He sighs and exasperated sigh and hugs his knees. Silence hangs between us as we both stare out the window. The wind has picked up, swaying the trees back and forth and the lightning is more frequent now.
"Do you want me to leave now? I can call Steph and see if Tristan can pick me up?" I whisper. I don't want to leave but I have to eventually and sitting in silence with Harry is driving me insane.
"Leave? How do you get that I want you to leave from me wanting to help you?" He raises his voice.
"I don't know, you aren't speaking to me and the storm is getting worse.." I stutter.
"You are maddening, absolutely maddening, Theresa."
"How?" I squeak.
"I try to tell you that I .. that I want to help you and I hold your hand but that doesn't do anything.. you still don't get it. I don't know what else to do." he puts his face in his hands. He can't possibly mean what I think he does?
"Get what? I don't get what Harry?"
"That I want you. More than I have ever wanted anyone or anything in my entire life" he looks away from me.
My stomach flips over and over and my head starts to spin. The air between us has once again shifted. Harry's unguarded admission hit me hard, I want him too. More than anything, not in the same way I am sure but he wants me. More than anything.
"I know you don't .. you don't feel that way but I.." he begins and this time I am the one to cut him off.
I move his hands off his knees and pull them, bringing him to me. He hovers over me, uncertainty clear in his green eyes. I hook my finger into the collar of his shirt and pull him down to me. He rests his knee beside my thighs on the bench and I look up at him again. I expected him to kiss me by now.
"Kiss me." I beg and he moves his head closer. Leaning into me, he snakes his arm around my back and guides me down so my back is laying flat on the cushioned bench. I open my legs for him, for the second time today, and he lays his body between them.
Harry's face is inches away from mine when I lift my head up to kiss him, I can't wait any longer. As our lips brush, he gently pulls away, he nuzzles his head in my neck, planting a small kiss there, then slowly bringing his lips back up. He kisses the corner of my mouth, then my jaw before, sending shivers of pleasure through me. His lips brush over mine once more and he runs his tongue over my bottom lip before closing his lips around mine and opening them again. The kiss is gentle and slow, as he laps his tongue around mine. One of his hands rests on my hip, fisted around the material of my dress where it has bunched up at my thighs. The other hand caresses my cheek as he kisses me, my arms wrap around his back, hugging him tightly to me. Every fiber of me wants to bite as his lip, to pull his shirt over his head, but the soft and gentle way he is kissing me feels even better than usual burn of fire.

Harry's lips mold to mine and my hands travel up his back. His narrow hips grind down on mine and a whimper escapes my lips. He swallows my gasps as his lips trace mine, movement for movement.
"Oh, Tessa the things you do to me.. the way you make me feel," he whispers into my mouth. His words unravel me and I reach for the hem of his shirt. His hand travels down from my cheek, to my chest, and down my stomach. The thick fabric of my dress concealing the goose bumps forming on my skin. His hand moves to the small space between our bodies where my legs are parted and I gasp as he rubs gently over the lace of my tights. He applies a little more pressure and I groan and arch my back off the bench.
No matter how angry or upset he makes me, one touch from him and I am under his control. Control that at the moment seems to be faltering. He is trying to hold onto it but I can see it crumbling. He brushes his nose against my cheek as I pull his shirt up and over his head, it strains to get over his hair but he reaches one hand up and tugs it as he lifts off of me. He tosses the shirt and immediately dips his head down and finds my lips once more. Feeling need and impatient, I grab his hand and move it back between my thighs, a small chuckle vibrates through him and he looks down at me.
"What do you want to do, Tessa?" his voice is hoarse.
"Anything," I tell him, meaning the word. I'll do anything with him, let him do anything to me, and I don't care about the consequences that are bound to come tomorrow. He said he wants me, and I am his to take, I have been since the first time I pressed my lips to his.
"Don't say anything, because there are a lot of fucking things I can and want to do to you," he groans and pushes his thumb against my tights and panties. My imagination runs wild with the different things he could do to me,
"You decide," I moan as he moves his thumb in a circle. I don't have any suggestions, I just want him to keep touching me this way.
"You're so wet for me, I can feel you through the tights," his tongue runs over his lips, wetting them and I moan again. 'Let's get these tights off, okay?"
Before I can respond he moves off of me. His hands slide up my dress and grip the waistband of my tights, pulling them down along my thighs. The cool air hits me and I buck my hips involuntarily.
"Fuck, you're fucking soaking," he mutters as his eyes rake my body and stop between my legs. Unable to stop himself it seems, he slides his finger down my folds to collect the moisture. He brings his finger to his lips and he sucks on it with hooded eyes. I've never witnessed something so erotic in my entire life. Watching him suck his finger sends heat through my whole body.
"Remember when I said I wanted to taste you?" he asks and I nod. "Well, I want to now. Okay?" His expression is eager. I am a little embarrassed by the idea but if it feels as good as him rubbing me at the stream, I want him to. He licks his lips again and keeps his eyes at a steady gaze into mine. The last time I was going to let him do this, we ended up fighting because he was being cruel. I hope he doesn't ruin it again.
"Do you want me to?" He asks and I groan.
"Please don't make me say it" I beg. He brings his hand back down to me and runs his fingers along my hips in wide circles.
"I won't." he promises. I am relieved, I nod my head and he lets out a breath.
"We should move to the bed so you have more room" he suggests and reaches for my hand. I pull my dress down once I stand up and he smirks at me. He walks to the side of the bay window and pulls a string, setting free thick blue curtains, making the room much darker.
"Take it off" he demands quietly and I do as I am told. The dress pools at my feet and I am left in just my bra. My bra is plain white, with a small bow on the dip between the cups. I need to invest in some new undergarments if Harry is going to keep seeing me in them. His eyes go wide and loiter on my chest, and he reaches out and brings the small bow between his long fingers.
"Cute," he smiles and I cringe. I try to cover my naked body from him, I'm more comfortable with Harry than I have ever been with anyone, but I'm still shy standing here wearing only a bra. I glance towards the door and he pads over to make sure it is locked.
"Are you smirking at me?" I scold and he shakes his head.
"Never" he chuckles and leads me to the bed. "Lay down at the edge of the bed, with your feet on the ground so I can kneel in front of you" he instructs.
I lay back on the large bed and he slides me down by my thighs to the end of the bed. My feet dangle but don't reach the floor.
"I didn't realize how tall the bed is," he smiles. "So just lay towards the top" I scoot towards the top of the bed and Harry follows behind. He hooks his arms around my thighs and bends his knees slightly so he is almost crouched in front of me, between my legs. The anticipation of how this will feel is driving me wild, I wish I had more experience so I would know what to expect. Harry's curls tickle my thighs as he lowers his head.
"I'm going to make you feel so fucking good," he mutters against my stomach. My pulse is thrumming through my ears and I temporarily forget we are in the house with other people, luckily it is a large house.
"Spread your legs baby," he whispers and I oblige. He gives me a dazed smile and brings his mouth down and kisses just under my belly button. His tongue swirls around my creamy skin and my eyes flutter closed. He nips at the soft skin covering my hip and I yelp in surprise. He sucks the skin between his lips. It stings but there is something so sensual about it that I don't mind the pain.
"Harry, please," I breath. I need some sort of relief from his slow teasing torture. Without warning his tongue presses flat against my center making me cry out in pleasure. He makes small strokes with his tongue and my hands fist the comforter on the bed. I wriggle underneath his skillful tongue and he wraps his arms tighter, holding me in place. I feel Harry's finger rubbing along with his tongue's caresses and the burn begins to build in my stomach. I feel the cool metal of his lip ring, it adds to the sensation.
Without my permission, Harry slowly slides a finger inside of me and gently eases it in. I clench my eyes closed, waiting for the uncomfortable sting to go away.
"Are you okay?" He lifts his head up slightly. His plump lips glistening from me. I nod, unable to find the words and he withdraws his finger slowly and slides it back it. It feels incredible in combination with his tongue. I groan and move a hand to his soft hair, threading my fingers through and tugging. His finger keeps entering me and he draws it out slowly each time. Thunder booms throughout the house, echoing on the walls but I am too distracted to care.
"Harry," I moan as his tongue finds that overly sensitive spot and he gently sucks. I never knew that anything could feel this way, this good. My body is overtaken by sensation and pleasure and I sneak a peak down at Harry who looks incredibly sexy between my legs, the hard muscles under his skin contract as he pumps his finger in and out.
"Should I make you come this way?" He asks. I whimper at the loss of his tongue and nod frantically. He smirks and touches his tongue to me again, this time in flicking motions against that spot that I have come to love, in more ways than one.
"Oh god," I breath and he groans against me, sending the vibrations straight through me. My legs stiffen and I mutter his name repeatedly while I come undone. My vision blurs and I screw my eyes shut. Harry holds me and flicks his tongue at a faster rate. I bring one hand from his hair and cover my mouth with it, biting down to ensure I won't scream. Seconds later, my head hits the pillow and my chest is heaving up and down as I try to catch my breath. My body is still tingling from the euphoric state I was just in. I am barely aware of Harry's body moving up on the bed and laying next to me. He props himself on his elbow and brings his thumb up to caress my cheek. He lets me come back to reality before trying to make me speak.
"How was that?" He asks, his voice holds a hint of uncertainty as I roll my head to look at him.
"Mhhmm," I nod and he chuckles. It was incredible, beyond incredible. Now I know why everyone does this type of stuff.
"That sated huh?" he teases. The pad of his thumb brushes my lower lip. I bring my tongue out to wet my lips, and it touches Harry's thumb.
"Thank you," I smile shyly. I don't know why I feel shy after what we just did but I do. Harry has seen me in my most vulnerable state, a state that no one else has and that terrifies me as much as it excites me.
"I should have warned you before using my fingers, I tried to be gentle," he apologizes and I shake my head.
"It's okay, it felt good." I blush. He smiles and tucks my hair behind my ear.
A small shiver runs down my spine and Harry's brows lower. "Are you cold?" He asks and I nod. He surprises me by pulling the comforter up from the side and covering my almost naked body.
Feeling oddly close to him, bravery brings me to scoot closer to him. His eyes regard me carefully as I curl my body and lay my head against the hard surface of his stomach. His skin is colder than i expected, the breeze is still floating through the room from the storm. I pull the covers up and cover his chest, hiding my head underneath. He lifts the blanket up, revealing my face and I duck away from him, laughing lightly at our little game of hide and seek.
"How much longer until we have to go back downstairs?" I ask and he shrugs. I wish I could just lay here with him for hours, feeling his heartbeat against my cheek.
"We should probably go down now before they think we are fucking up here," he says. I'm getting more and more used to his foul mouth but it's still a little shocking to hear him say those words so casually. The thing that shocks me the most is the way my skin tingles when he says them.
I groan and climb out of bed. I feel Harry's eyes on me as I bend down to retrieve my clothes. I toss him his shirt and he pulls his over his head then ruffles his messy hair. I slide my panties up legs and shimmy them on under his gaze. The tights are next and I almost trip over them as I step into them.
"Stop watching me, its making me nervous," I tell him and he smiles, his dimples as prominent as ever.
Harry's hands slide into his pocket and he looks up at the ceiling. I giggle and finally get the tights up my legs.
"Can you zip my dress once I get it on?" I ask him. His eyes scan my body and I can see his pupils dilate from three feet away. I glance down and I see why. My breasts are spilling out of my bra and the lace tights hang just above my hips, I suddenly feel like a pin up girl.
"Y....Yea. I will help," he gulps. It's astounding that someone as handsome, well sexy, as Harry would be as affected by me as he is. I've been called pretty many times, but never sexy, I'm nothing like the girls he usually messes with. I have no tattoos, no piercings and I dress in conservative clothing.
I put the dress on and turn away from him, exposing my back to him, waiting for him to zip it up. I lift my hair up and hold it above my head. His finger grazes along my spin, skipping over my bra strap before he zips the dress. I shiver and lean back against him. I purposely push my behind against him and hear him suck in a breath. His hands move down to my hips and he squeezes gently. I feel him hardening against me, sending electricity through me for what feels like the hundredth time today.
"Harry?" Karen's voice calls from the hall as a delicate tapping hits the door. Harry rolls his eyes and brings his lips to my ear.
"Later," he promises and walks to the door. He switches on the light before opening it revealing Karen. I am so thankful we are both dressed.
"I am so sorry for intruding, but I have made some desserts as well, and thought maybe you two would like some?" She offers sweetly. Harry doesn't answer her but he looks back at me, waiting for my reply.
"Yes, that would be lovely" I smile and she grins back.
"Great! I will see you downstairs" she tells us and turns to walk away.
"I've already had my dessert" he teases and I swat his arm.
We walk downstairs together, his hand on my lower back guiding me. Liam is sitting on the couch with his book on his lap again. I need to make sure I talk to him soon, I don't want to lose his friendship.

Karen has made lots of sweets for us to eat. I eat a few while Karen and I discuss her love for baking. Liam doesn't join us in the dining room but it doesn't seem to cause any suspicion.
"I love baking as well, I am just no good at it" I tell her and she laughs.
"I would love to teach you, I am quite the baker." she boasts and I smile. Hope is evident in her brown eyes and I nod.
"That would be great" I don't have the heart to say no. I feel for her, she is really trying to make an effort to get to know me. She believes me to be Harry's girlfriend and I can't tell her otherwise. Harry has made no move to tell her or his father either, which gives me a swell of hope. I wish this night was how my life could always be, enjoying spending time with Harry, his eyes constantly meeting mine as I converse with his father and soon to be step-mother. He is being nice, for the last hour at least and his thumb rubs over my knuckles in a gentle gesture that gives me a constant string of butterflies. The rain continues to pour outside and the wind howls..
After we finish the desserts, Harry gets up from the table. I look at him questionably and he leans down to whisper in my ear.
"I will be right back, just going to the loo" he says and I smile. I watch him as he walks away and disappears down the hall.
"We both cannot thank you enough, it is so wonderful having Harry here, even if it's only one dinner" Karen says and Ken takes her hand above the table.
"She is right, it is wonderful as his father to see my only son in love. I had always worried he wouldn't be capable.. he was an .. angry child." Ken mutters and looks at me.
He must notice how I shift uncomfortably in my seat. " I am sorry, I don't mean to make you uncomfortable, we just love to see him happy" Happy? Love? I choke on my breath and break into a heap of coughs, the cool water in my glass slides down my throat, calming it and I look back at them. They think Harry is in love with me? It would be incredibly rude to laugh at them but they obviously don't know Harry.
Before I can respond Harry returns and I thank the heavens that I didn't have to respond to their sweet but false assumptions. He doesn't sit down, instead he stands behind me with his hands on the back of the chair.
"We really should get going, I have to take Tessa back to the dorms" Harry tells them.
"Oh, don't be silly. You two should stay tonight. It is storming outside and we have plenty of room, right Ken?" She turns to her fiancée and he nods.
"Of course, you're both welcome to stay" He says and Harry looks at me. I want to stay. To extend my time with Harry, especially when he is in such a good mood.
"I don't mind" I answer and try to make eye contact with Harry. I don't want to upset him by wanting to stay here any longer. His eyes are unreadable but he doesn't seem to be angry.
"Great! Then it's settled. I will show Tessa to a room, unless you will be staying with Harry in his?" She asks, there is no accusation behind her voice, only kindness.
"No, I would like my own room please. If that is okay?" I ask and Harry glares at me. So he wanted me in his room with him? The thought excites me but I don't feel comfortable with them knowing Harry and I are at that point yet. My snarky subconscious reminds me that we aren't dating at all, or even close to it. I have a boyfriend who is not Harry, I ignore her as usual and follow Karen upstairs. Harry doesn't follow.
She shows me to a room directly across from Harry's. It isn't quite as large as his room but it is decorated just as beautifully. The bed is a little smaller and sits on a white frame against the wall. There are pictures of boats and anchors scattered through the room. I thank her multiple times and she hugs me again before leaving me to my room.
I walk around the room and find myself at the window. The backyard is much bigger than I had thought it was. I have only seen the deck and the trees on the left side. On the right side there is a small building, it looks like a greenhouse but I can't tell through the heavy rain. I will have to ask Harry, if he even knows. He doesn't spend much time here so he may not know.
As I stare at the rain, my thoughts begin to run wild. Today has been the best time I have ever had with Harry, despite his multiple outburst. He has held my hand, which he never does, he put his hand on my back as he walked, and he did his best to comfort me when I was worried about Liam. This is the furthest we have went in our.. friendship or whatever this is. That's the confusing part, I know we can't and never will actually date, but maybe whatever we are doing now will be good enough? I have never imagined being someone's friends with benefits but I know I won't be able to stay away from him. I have tried many times now, and it never works.
A light knock on the door brings me out of my thoughts. I expect to see Karen or Harry when I open but instead I find Liam. His hands are in his pockets and his handsome face holds a small awkward smile.
"Hey" he says and I smile.
"Hey, do you want to come in?" I ask him and he nods.
I walk over and sit on the bed, he pulls the chair out from the small table in the corner and takes a seat.
"I" we both say at the same time and laugh.
"You first" he suggests.
"Okay, I am so sorry that you found out about Harry and I that way, I didn't go out there with that intention. I was just making sure he was okay, this whole dinner with his father was really getting to him and somehow we just ended up.. kissing. I know how terrible it is of me and I know I am horrible for cheating on Noah, but I am just so confused, and I tried to stay away from Harry. I really did." I breath.
"I am not judging you, Tessa. I was just surprised to see you two making out on the deck, I thought when I walked out I would find you yelling at each other." he laughs and continues. "I knew something was up with you too when you had that fight in the middle of Literature and then when you stayed last weekend, and then when he came back and started a fight with me. The signs were all there but I thought you would tell me, but I do understand why you didn't." he says and I feel a huge weight lift off my shoulders.
"You're not mad at me? Or think any different of me?" I ask him and he shakes his head.
"No, of course not. I am worried about you and Harry though. I don't want him to hurt you, and I believe he will. I am sorry for saying that but as your friend I need you to know that he will." he says. I want to get defensive and even angry, but part of me knows he is right, I just hope he isn't.
"So what are you going to do about Noah?" He asks and I groan.
"I have no idea, I am afraid that if I break up with him I will regret it, but what I am doing to him isn't fair. I just need a little time to decide what to do."
He nods.
"I am so relieved that you aren't mad at me" I tell him and he smiles.
"I was being a jerk earlier, I just didn't know what to say. I am sorry."
"Me too, I completely understand." We both stand up and he hugs me. A warm and comforting hug as the door opens.
"Uhm.. am I interrupting something?" Harry's voice travels through the room.
"No, come in." I tell him and he rolls his eyes. I hope he is still in a decent mood.
"I brought you some clothes to sleep in." He tells me. He sits a small pile of clothes on the bed and goes to walk out.
"Thank you, you can stay" I don't want him to leave.
"No, I'm good." he snaps and leaves the room.
"He is so moody!" I whine and plop down on the bed.
Liam chuckles and sits back down. "Yea, moody is one word for what he is" he says and we both burst into laughter.
Liam begins to talk about Danielle and how he can't wait for her to come visit next weekend. I almost forgot about the bonfire. Noah is coming. Maybe I should tell him not to. What if this change between Harry and I is all in my head? I feel like something has changed between us today, and he did tell me he wants me more than he has ever wanted anyone. But he didn't exactly say he has feelings for me, only that he wants me. After an hour of Liam and I talking about everything from Tolstoy to the Seattle skyline, he tells me goodnight and retreats to his room leaving me alone to my thoughts and the sound of the rain.
I pick up the clothes Harry brought me to wear. One of his signature black T-shirts is on top of a pair of red and gray plaid pants. I laugh at the idea of Harry actually wearing them, but then I realize he probably never has. They are from the dresser of unworn clothes. I lift the shirt up and it smells like him. He has worn this one, and recently. The smell is intoxicating, minty and indescribable but it is my newly acquired favorite scent in the entire world. A pair of large black socks accompanies the clothes and I remove my tights, dress and bra before putting the clothes on. The pants are much too big but they are very comfortable. I lay down on the bed and pull the blanket up to my chest, my eyes fixate on the celling as I relive the whole day in my mind. I feel myself drifting off to sleep, to dream of green eyes and black t-shirts.
"NO!!" Harry's voice yelling those words, jolts me awake. Am I hearing things?
"Please!" He yells again. I jump out of bed and run across the hall.

My hands find the cold metal of the doorknob to Harry's room and I twist it. Thank god it opens, he must have forgotten to lock it.
"NO! Please.." he yells again. If someone is hurting him, I have no idea what I will do, I didn't think this through. I fumble around for the lamp and switch it on. Harry is shirtless and tangled in the thick comforter, thrashing and tossing in the web. I remember Steph briefly mentioning that she heard Harry has nightmares, the rumor must be true.
Without thinking, I sit on the bed and reach for his shoulder. His skin is hot, too hot. "Harry!" I say quietly, trying to wake him. His head snaps to the side and he whimpers but doesn't wake.
"Harry, wake up!" I cry and shake him harder while my body moves to sit astride his. Both of my hands go to his shoulders once more and I shake him again. His eyes fly open, terror fills them for a brief moment before confusion, then relief. Beads of sweat cover his forehead.
"Tess." He chokes. The way he says my name breaks my heart then heals it. Within seconds he untangles his arms and brings them to my back, pushing me forward to lay on his chest. The wetness of his chest startles me but I stay put. I can hear his heart beating, pumping rapidly against my cheek. Poor Harry. I put both of my hands on his sides, hugging him. He strokes my hair as he repeats my name over and over, as if I am his talisman in the dark.
"Harry, are you okay?" My words are lower than a whisper.
"No." he confesses. His chest is rising and falling slower than it was, but his breathing is still shallow. I don't want to push him to discuss what terror he has just dreamed.
I don't ask him if he wants me to stay, somehow I know he does. When I lift up to turn the lamp off his body stills.
"I am going to switch the light off, or do you want it on?" I ask him. Once he realizes my intentions he relaxes, letting me reach further to the lamp.
"Off please." He begs. Once the room returns to darkness, I lay my head back on his chest. I would imagine laying this way, straddling his body would be an uncomfortable, but  it is comforting to him and I both. Hearing his heart beat under the hard surface of his chest is calming, more calming than the patter of the rain on the roof. I would do anything, give anything to be able to spend every night with Harry, to lie this way with him, to have his arms wrapped around my back as his breathing slows.
I wake up to Harry shifting below me. I am still laying on top of him, my knees at his sides. My cheek pressed against his chest, my head lifts up and he makes eye contact with me. In the light of day I am not sure if I am wanted the way I was last night. II can't read his expression, leaving my nerves to take over. My neck feels sore from sleeping on Harry's hard chest, and I need to stretch my legs out.
"Good morning." He gives me a dimpled smile, soothing my fear.
"Good morning." I move to climb off him but he stops me.
"Where are you going?" he questions.
"My neck hurts." I reveal and he brings me to lay next to him, my back pressed against his front. He startles me by bringing his hand to my neck, causing me to jump. I recover quickly as his hand begins to rub my neck. My eyes close and I wince a little at his contact with the ache but it slowly disappears as he massages.
"Thank you." He speaks before me. I turn my head to look at him.
"For what?" Maybe he is telling me to thank him for the neck rub?
"For.. coming in here. For staying." his cheeks flush and his eyes dart away from mine. He is embarrassed. Harry embarrassed, he never ceases to amaze and confuse me.
"You don't have to thank me, do you want to talk about it?" I hope he does, I want to know what he dreams about.
"No." He states and I nod. I want to push it further but I know what will happen if I do.
"You look incredibly sexy wearing my shirt." He coos in my ear. He nudges my head with his and brings his lips to my skin. I realize that he brought me his shirt that he wore yesterday and that is why his scent is so heavy in the fabric. My eyes close in response to his plump lips wrapping around my earlobe, gently tugging. I can feel him hardening against me making me feel drowsy, in an incredible way. Harry's mood changes so quickly, but this type of mood swing is one that I enjoy.
"Harry." I chirp and he chuckles against my neck. His hands travel down my body, he brings his thumb along the waistband of the oversized plaid pajamas. My pulse begins to quicken and I gasp as his hand slides down the front of the pants. He always has the same effect on me, within seconds I feel myself pooling in my panties. His other hand cups my breast and he hisses as he flicks his thumb over my sensitive nipple, making me glad I decided not to sleep in my bra.
"I can't get enough of you, Tes.s" his raspy voice is even deeper with lust. His hand cups me over my panties and pulls me as close to him as possible. His erection pressed against me. I reach down and take his hand, removing it from my pants. When I turn to face him, a frown covers his face.
"I.. I want to do something for you." I whisper slowly, embarrassed.
A smile overtakes the frown and he takes my chin in between his fingers, forcing me to look at him.
"What do you want to do?" He inquires. I don't know exactly, I just know I want to make him feel as good as he does me. I want to see him lose control like I did last weekend, in this same room.
"I don't know.. what do you want me to do?" My lack of experience is evident in my voice. Harry puts my hands in his and slides it down to the bulge in his pants.
"I really want your plump lips wrapped around me." I gasp at his words, and feel the pressure in between my thighs.
"Is that something you want?" He asks, his hands moving circles over crotch. His dark eyes regarding me, gaging my reaction.
I nod and gulp, earning a smile from him. He sits up and pulls me to join him. Nervousness and want both flood through my body. The loud jingle of his ringtone echoes through the room and he groans before snatching it off of the table. His eyes meet the screen and he sighs.
"I will be right back." He informs me and disappears out of the room. He returns a few minutes later and his mood has changed once more.
"Karen is making breakfast, it's almost finished." He pulls open the dresser and grabs a t-shirt. Tossing it over his head without looking in my direction.
"Oka.y" I stand up and advance to the door. I need to get back to my room and put a bra on.
"See you downstairs." his tone is emotionless. I swallow the lump rising in my throat. Guarded Harry is my least favorite Harry, even less liked than angry Harry. I nod and walk across the hall. Why can't he just stay in a good mood? I smell the bacon from upstairs and my stomach grumbles. Who called Harry and why did it make him return to the room so distant?
I put my bra on, and pull the drawstring on the plaid pants as tight as it will go. I contemplate putting my dress back on, but I really don't want to be uncomfortable this early in the morning. My feet carry me to the large mirror on the wall, I run my fingers through my unruly hair and wipe the sleep from my eyes.
As I close the bedroom door, Harry opens his. Instead of looking at him, I focus on the wallpaper and walk forwards down the hall. I can hear his steps behind me, when I reach the staircase his hand wraps around my elbow, pulling me gently.
"What's wrong?" He asks. Worry seems to be clouding his features.
"Nothing Harry." I snap. I am overly emotional and I haven't even had breakfast yet.
"Tell me." he demands, he dips his head down so that his face is in full view.
I give in. "Who called you?"
"No one." He lies.
"Was it Molly?" I don't want to know the answer.
He doesn't say anything, his expression gives away that I am right. He left the room as I was about to.. do that to him .. to answer a phone call from Molly? I should be more surprised than I am.
"Tessa, It's not.." He begins. I pull my arm from his grip and he clenches his jaw.
"Hey guys." Liam appears in the hall and I smile. His hair is sticking up slightly and he is wearing plaid pants similar to mine. He looks adorable and sleepy. I pass Harry and move towards Liam. I refuse to let Harry know how embarrassed and hurt I am by him answering Molly's call while with me.
"How did you sleep last night?" Liam asks and I follow him down the stairs, leaving a frustrated Harry to himself.
Karen has went all out on breakfast, I knew she would. Harry joins us at the table a few minutes later.  I decide on eggs, bacon, toast, a waffle and a few grapes to fill my plate.
"Thank you so much for making this breakfast for us." I tell Karen on Harry and I's behalf. I know Harry won't be bothered with thanking her.
"It is my pleasure dear, how did you sleep? I hope the storm didn't keep you awake." She smiles.
Harry tenses beside me, he must be worried I will mention his nightmare. He should know by now I would never do that.
"I slept great actually, I sure didn't miss my bed in my dorm." I laugh and everyone joins me, except Harry of course. He takes a drink of his orange juice and keeps his eyes focused on the wall. Mindless breakfast chatter fills the dining room as Ken and Liam banter about a football game.
"If you don't mind me asking, is that a greenhouse in the backyard?" I ask Karen and help her clean up the kitchen once again. Harry surprises me by hovering in the doorway, not offering to help of course, just watching me.
"Yes, it is. I haven't done much with it this year but I absolutely love gardening. You should have seen it last summer." she smiles. "Do you like to garden?"
"Oh yes, my mother has a greenhouse out back as well and it was where I spent most of my free time as a child."
"Really? Well maybe if you two come around more often, we could make something out of mine." She offers. She is so kind, and loving. Everything I wish I had in a mother.
"That would be lovely." I smile and Harry clears his throat. We both turn to look at him.
"We should get going soon." Harry says and I frown. I knew my time here would end but it has been such a nice departure from my normal life, no lists, no alarms, no obligations. I am not ready for it to end. He disappears and returns minutes later with my clothes and purse in his hands, holding out my toms from my purse. It's a little discomforting that he went through my things but I overlook it. We say our goodbyes and I hug Karen and Ken while Harry waits impatiently by the door. I promise them that we will return soon, hoping that it will come true.

The car ride is awkward, I hold my clothes on my lap and stare out the window waiting to see if Harry is going to break the silence that hangs between us. He makes no move to speak so I pull my phone out of my purse. It's off, it must have died last night. I try to turn it on anyway and the screen comes to life. I am relieved to find that I have no new voicemails or texts. The only noise in the car is the light drizzle of rain and the slow screech of the windshield wipers.
"Are you still mad?" He finally asks as he pulls onto campus.
"No" I lie. I am not exactly mad, just hurt.
"It sure seems like you are. Don't act like a child."
"Well I am not. I could care less if you want to drop me off so you can go hook up with Molly" the words tumble from my mouth before I can stop them. I hate the way I feel about him and Molly. It makes me sick to my stomach to think of them together. What is it about her anyway? Her pink hair? Her tattoos?
"That's not what I am doing. Not that it is your business anyway." he scoffs.
"Yea, well you jumped to answer your phone when I was about to.. well you know" I mutter. I should have just stayed quiet. I don't want to fight with Harry right now. Especially when I don't know when I will see him again. I really wish he wouldn't have dropped Literature. He just pushes my buttons, every single one.
"It isn't like that, Theresa." he defends. So we are back to Theresa?
"Really Harry? It seems like it is to me. I don't really give a crap anyway. I knew it wouldn't last." I finally admit to him and myself. The reason I didn't want to leave his father's house is because I knew once it wasn't just Harry and I, it would go back to this. It always does.
"What wouldn't last?"
"This.. us. You being decent to me for once." I don't dare to look at him, that's how he gets me to turn to putty every time.
"So what then? You're going to avoid me for another week? We both know that by this weekend you will be back in my bed." he snaps. My jaw drops open. He surely did not just say that?
"Excuse me?" I shout. I am at a loss for words. No one has ever talked to me the way he has, no one has ever been so disrespectful. Tears brim over my eyes as the car slows to park. Before he can respond, I open the door, grab my things and bolt towards my room. I cut across the soaking grass and curse at myself for not taking the sidewalk, I just need to get as far away from Harry as I possibly can. When he said he wants me he meant sexually, I knew this but it hurts to let it soak in.
"Tessa!" I hear him call, followed by the sound of his car door slamming. One of Steph's heels drop and clamber to the ground but I keep running, I will get her a new pair.
"Damn it Tessa! Stop!" He yells again. I hadn't expected him to follow me. I push myself to run faster, finally I reach my building and run down the hall. By the time I reach my dorm room I am full on sobbing, and yank the door open, slamming it shut behind me. My tears mix with the rain and I furiously wipe my face.
I am frozen in place when I see Noah sitting on my bed. Oh god, not now. Harry will be crashing through the door any second.
"Tessa, what is wrong? Where have you been?" He gets up and rushes towards me. He tires to cup my cheek in his hand but I turn my head. Pain flashes in his eyes as if he is asking why I am turning away from his touch.
"It's..I am so sorry Noah." I cry as Harry yanks the door open, the hinges squeak and crack against his pull. Noah's eyes widen and narrow as his gaze meets Harry's. He backs away from me with a horrified expression.

Start from the beginning
Harry tosses the high heel that I dropped onto the floor and walks further into the room. He doesn't acknowledge Noah's presence at all.
"I didn't mean that, what I just said." Harry steps towards me.
"That's where you were? You were with him all night? Are those his clothes? I tried to call you and text you all night and all morning, I left you countless voicemails and you were with him ?" Hatred is laced in his voice.
"You went through my phone didn't you? You deleted the messages!" I shout at Harry.
My head tells me to answer Noah but my heart is only focused on Harry.
"Yea.. I did." He admits.
"Why the hell would you do that? You can answer Molly's calls but you delete my messages from my boyfriend?!" He winces as I say call Noah my boyfriend.
"How dare you play these games with me Harry!" I scream, sobbing again. Noah grabs my wrist and turns me to face him, then Harry shoves Noah back by his shoulders.
"Do not touch her" Harry growls at Noah. This isn't happening. I watch as the daytime soap opera that has become my life unfolds in front of me.
"You don't tell me what to do with my girlfriend you prick." Noah spits back and shoves Harry back. Harry advances towards Noah once more but I grab his shirt and pull him back. Maybe I should let them fight each other, Harry deserves a good punch in the jaw.
"Stop it! Harry just go!" I wipe my tears. Harry glares at Noah again and moves to stand in front of me.
"No, I am not leaving this time Tessa, I have already done that too many times." He sighs and runs his fingers through his hair.
"Tessa, make him leave!'" Noah begs but I ignore him. I have to know what Harry will say.
"I didn't mean what I said in the car, and I don't know why I took Molly's phone call. It's a habit I guess, please just give me chance. I know you have already given me too many chances but I just need one more. Please Tess." he breaths. He sounds exhausted.
"Why should I Harry? I have continued to give you chances to be my friend over and over, I don't think I have it in me to try again." I tell him. I am faintly aware of Noah gaping at us but at the moment I don't care.
"I don't just want to be friends.. I want more." His words knock the breath right out of me.
"No you don't." Harry doesn't date.
"Yes, I do. I do."
"You said you don't date and that I wasn't your type." I remind him. My mind still can't wrap itself around the fact that I am having this conversation with Harry, in front of Noah at that.
"You aren't my type, just the way that I am not yours. But that's why we are good for each other, we are so different yet we are the same. You told me once that I bring out the worst in you, well you bring out the best in me. I know you feel it too Tessa. And yes, I don't date, until you. You make me want to date, you make me want to be better. I want you to think I am worthy of you, I want you to want me the way I do you. I want to fight with you, even scream at each other until one of us admits we are wrong. I want to make you laugh, and listen to you ramble about classic novels, I just.. I need you. I know I am cruel at times.. well all the time, that is only because I don't know how else to be. This has been me for so long, I have never wanted to be any other way. Until now, until you." his voice is half a whisper and his eyes are wild. This Is so unlike him, but the way his words came out in a rushed string and the heavy breathing that accompanied them somehow make it seem natural. I am dumbfounded.
I am not sure how I am still standing after his declaration.
"What the hell? Tessa?" Noah says frantically.
"You should go." I whisper, not breaking eye contact with Harry.
"Thank you! I thought that was never going to end." Noah says.
Harry looks heartbroken, absolutely crushed.
"Noah, I said you should go." I repeat. I hear Harry and Noah both suck in a sharp breath. Relief washes over Harry and I reach for his hands, threading my small fingers through his trembling ones.
"What?" Noah shouts. "You can't be serious Tessa, we have known each other so long, this guy is just using you. He will toss you aside as soon as he is done with you, and I love you. Don't make this mistake Tessa." He begs. I feel for him, and it hurts me to do this to him but I know I can't be with Noah, I want Harry. And Harry wants more. More with me. My heart flutters again and I look at Noah.
"I would stop talking. Now." Harry warns Noah.
"I am so sorry that it happened this way, I really am." I tell him. He doesn't say anything else, he looks broken as he leaves my room. I know he left because he didn't want to cry in front of Harry.
"Tessa.. I.. you really do feel the same way?" Harry gasps and I nod. How could he not know this by now? I had thought I seemed desperate and obvious with my feelings.
"No nodding, please say it." desperation fuels his words.
'Yea, Harry I do." I say. I don't have a beautiful or meaningful speech like him but those simple words seem to be enough for him.
The smile I receive from him heals some of the pain I feel from breaking Noah's heart just moments ago. I am still reeling from what Harry has just said. It is everything I wanted him to say, but never imagined that he actually would.
"So what do we do now?" He asks. "I'm new at this." he flushes. This feels like a dream.
"Kiss me." I say and he pulls me to his chest, his hand fisting the loose fabric of his shirt on my back. His lips are cool and his tongue is warm as it slips into my mouth. Despite the chaos that just occurred in my small room, I feel calm. I somehow know it is the calm before the storm but right now Harry is my anchor. I just pray that he doesn't pull me under.
To be continued


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