Wednesday, 6 June 2018

AFTER ROMANCE 2 Episode 21-25

Harry grabs two pillows off the bed and I pull the comforter off to hand to him.
"No, you use that. I will get a blanket from the hall closet." He says and exits the room.
"Okay." I quietly answer even though I am alone in the room.
I am still dealing with the emotional aftermath of watching Harry break down in front of me. I never, ever thought that I would ever witness anything like that from him.
He was so raw, so vulnerable. I feel like the dynamic between Harry and I is constantly changing and shifting, one of us always having the upper hand. Right now I am positive that I do, but I don't want to. I don't trust myself to be in control of what happens between us. Up until a few hours ago I had it all figured out but now after seeing him that way my mind is muddled and my thoughts clouded.
Harry returns with two blankets in his arms and sits them down on the floor. I feel a little guilty because he will be sleeping on the concrete floor of our.. this apartment but considering everything he has done, that's not too bad.
I had planned to take a shower tonight but I am going to wait until the morning, I just want to change and lay down. I am not sure how much sleep I will actually get but I don't have the energy to shower right now. I climb off the bed and grab the small pile of clothes from the end of the bed. Harry watches me as I walk into the closet and pull the door closed behind me. Once I am dressed in the shorts and t-shirt, I regret not grabbing pants. Harry obviously has seen me in much less clothing, no clothing at all, but I feel oddly exposed in the cotton shorts.
Taking a deep breath, I open the door and pad back to the bed. Harry is laying on his makeshift bed, his long body taking up most of the spare room on the floor. I feel his eyes on me until I reach the safe haven of the bed, tucking myself under the thick blanket and letting out the breath I was holding.
"Do you want me to turn the television on?" He asks after minutes of silence.
"No, if you want to you can but I am okay without it." I answer.
I wish that I would have grabbed my nook out of my bag so I could read until I fell asleep. Maybe reading the demise of Catherine and Heathcliff's lives would make mine seem easier, less traumatic. Catherine spent her whole life trying to fight her love for that man, on and off until the day she begged for his forgiveness and claimed she could not live without him, only to die hours later. I could live without Harry, couldn't I? I won't spend my entire life fighting this, this is only temporary. Right? We won't bring ourselves and other's misery because of our stubbornness and hard heads. Right? I am bothered by my uncertainty of this and I can't help but compare Trevor to Edgar.
"Tess?" My very own Heathcliff calls, breaking me from my thoughts.
"Yea?" I croak.
"I didn't fuck.. sleep with Molly." He says, correcting his foul language.
I stay silent, I want to believe him but I can't allow myself to forget that he is a master of deception.
"I swear it." He adds.
"Why did you say that then?"
"To hurt you. I was just so pissed because you said you kissed someone and I just said the thing that I knew would hurt you the most." I can't see him but somehow I know that he is laying on his back, his arms crossed, hands under his head and staring at the ceiling.
"Did you really kiss someone?" He asks before I can respond.
"Yea." I admit.
I hear the suction of a deep breath and he sighs.
"Only once." I try to soften the blow.
"Why?" His voice is cool yet heated. It's a strange sound.
"I honestly have no idea.. I was mad because of how you were acting on the phone and I had way too much to drink so I danced with him and he kissed me."
"You danced with him? Danced how?" He asks.
I roll my eyes at the fact that Harry needs to know every detail of what I do, even when we are not together.
"You don't want me to answer that."
"Yes I do." The air between us is thickening again.
"Harry, we just danced like everyone else was dancing and then he kissed me and tried to get me to go home with him." I stare at the blades on the ceiling fan and I know if we keep talking about this they will stop, unable to cut through the tension.
"Thank you for the nook. It was very thoughtful." I try to change the subject.
"He tried to get you to go home with him? Did you?" I hear him shuffling, giving me the indication that he is now sitting up. I stay flat against the mattress.
"No, do you even have to ask that? You know I would never do that." I snap.
"Well I never thought you would be kissing and dancing at a club either." He barks and I roll my eyes but stay quiet.
After a few beats of silence I speak.
"I don't think you want to get started on the unexpected." I say and hear the blankets shuffle again.
"Tell me, please tell me that you didn't." His voice is right next to me. He sits down on the bed next to me and I move away from him.
"You know I didn't."
"I need to hear you say it. Say that you only kissed him once and you haven't spoken to him since." His voice is harsh but pleading.
"I only kissed him once and I haven't spoken to him since." I repeat, only because I know he desperately needs to hear that words.
I keep my eyes focused on the swirl of ink poking out from the low collar of his shirt. Having him on the bed with me soothes and burns me at once. I can't stand the internal battle I am stuck in the middle of.
"Is there anything else I should know?" He asks softly.
"No." I lie. I am not telling him about the date with Trevor. Nothing happened and it's none of Harry's business. I like Trevor and I want to keep him safe from the time bomb that is Harry.
"You sure?"
"Harry.. I don't really think you are in the position to be hounding me." I say and look into his eyes. I can't help it.
"I know." He surprises me by saying.
"What time are you leaving tomorrow?" He asks.
"I don't know, shortly after I wake up. I am going to take a shower and everything first. Do you want to me leave early?"
"No, no. Not at all, I was just wondering."
"Okay." I sigh. I am drained.
"What's wrong?" The concern in his voice tugs at my chest.
"Nothing, I am just tired."
"Oh, sorry." He says and moves off of the bed.
I ignore the immediate emptiness that takes over me from his absence.
Just as I close my eyes he speaks.
"You really liked the nook?"
"Yea, I really do. It was very thoughtful." I tell him, my eyelids heavy.
Harry's POV.
"I am glad you liked it, I wasn't sure because I know you don't like the whole digital reading thing but then I thought that your mind would be changed after the conference." I tell her.
"How.. why did you think that?" She asks. I can tell by her voice she is on the verge of sleep.
"I know you." I explain.
"Yea.. I guess you really do." Her voice stops and I look up at the bed to watch her eyes close.
Today has been hell. A hell that I welcomed with open arms, but hell all the same. I never expected to see her when I came home from picking my mum up from the airport. I had came up with a simple lie, my girlfriend wouldn't be available to meet my mum because she would be out of town all week for Christmas. My mother had whined a little but didn't ask too many questions or push my story. She had been so thrilled and surprised really, that I had a woman in my life. I think her and my father both expected me to be alone my entire life. Then again, so did I. I find this amusing, in a twisted way, that I can't go a second without thinking of her when up until three months ago I wanted to be alone. I never knew what I was missing and now that I found it, I can't let it go. It's only her though, no matter what I do I can't shake her.
I tried to stop, tried to forget about her, tried to move on and it was a disaster. The nice blonde that I took out Saturday night wasn't Tessa and no one would ever be. She looked like her, even dressed like her. She blushed when I cursed and seemed a little afraid of me throughout our dinner. She was nice enough yeah, but she was boring. She was missing that fire that Tess has, she didn't scold me for my foul language, she didn't even say anything when I put my hand on her thigh in the middle of dinner. I knew she only agreed to go out with me to fill some fucked up bad boy fantasy she had before she went to church the next morning, but I was using her too. I was using her to fill the void of Tessa and to distract me from Tessa being in Seattle still with fucking Trevor. I felt guilty when I moved in to kiss her, then pulled away. The embarrassment was clear on her innocent face when I practically ran to my car, leaving her stranded at the restaurant.
I sit up further and look at the sleeping girl that I am desperately in love with. Seeing her in the apartment with her clothes in the washer, the apartment clean , and even her toothbrush in the bathroom has given me a little bit of hope. But then again, you know what they say about hope.
I am still holding onto the sliver that exists, the small chance that she may forgive me. If she woke up now, she would surely scream at the sight of me standing over her as she sleeps. I need to take it down a few notches. This behavior and these feelings are so foreign to me that I have no fucking idea how to deal with them. I push a loose strand of her soft hair from her face and force myself away from the bed, back to my pile of blankets on the concrete floor. Maybe I will be able to sleep tonight.
Tessa's POV.
When I wake up I am slightly confused by the familiar brick ceiling above me. It is strange to wake up here after staying in hotels the last week. When I climb out of bed, the floor is cleared. The blankets are folded and sitting on the floor next to the closet. I grab my toiletry bag and head to the bathroom.
"She can't stay today mum. Her mother is expecting her." I hear Harry's voice from the living room.
"Couldn't we have her mom come here? I would love to meet her." Anne responds. Oh no.
"No, her mother is.. not very fond of me." He says.
"Why not?"
"She doesn't think I am good enough for Tessa I guess. And maybe because of how I look."
"How you look? Harry don't you ever let anyone make you feel insecure about the way you look. I thought you loved your....style?'
"I do, I mean I don't give a shit what anyone thinks. Except Tessa." My mouth falls open.
"Who are you and where is my boy?" Anne laughs.
"I can't even remember the last conversation we had where you didn't curse me out, it's been years. This is nice." I can hear the happiness in her voice.
"Okay..okay.." Harry groans and I giggle while imagining her trying to hug him.
"Tessa?" Anne's voice calls. My eavesdropping skills are obviously not up to par.
"Uhmm.. I am just going to take a shower and I will be right out." I mutter and close the bathroom door.

After my shower I decide to get myself all the way ready before leaving the bathroom. I am a coward, I know but I need a little more time before I put on a fake smile for Harry's mother. It's not exactly a fake smile, that's the problem. I had a really nice time yesterday and I slept better than I have all week including my drunken slumber with Harry on Friday. I slept well that night but I only got a few hours of sleep.
Once my hair is curled to near perfection, I pack my things back into my small bag.
"Tess?" Harry's voice calls through the door as his knuckles lightly tap the wood.
"I'm finished." I respond and open the door to find him leaning against the door wearing long gray cotton shorts and a white t-shirt.
"Not to rush you or anything but I really have to piss." He gives me a small smile and I nod.
"Sorry." I say and try not to notice the way his shorts hang on his hips making the black ink over his side even more visible under the white t-shirt.
"I'm going to get dressed then I will be on my way." I tell Harry and he looks away, focusing on the wall.
"Okay."
I exit the bathroom and walk straight to the bedroom to get dressed before facing Anne. I feel terribly guilty lying to her and leaving so soon. I know she was so excited to meet me and I am leaving on her second day here.
I decide on wearing my white dress with my old black tights underneath, It is too cold to wear only the dress. I probably should just put on jeans and a sweatshirt but I decide against it. I wear the dress more than the rest of my clothes lately but I love it and it gives me a strange sense of confidence, which is something that I need today. I pack my clothes back into my bags and place the hangers back into the closet.
"Do you need some help?" Anne says from behind me.
I jump, dropping my navy dress that I wore in Seattle.
"I was just..." I fumble my words. I don't know what to say.
"How long will you be at your mother's?" She asks, her eyes staring into the half empty closet.
"Uhm.. I.. " I am a really terrible liar.
"It looks like you're going to be gone for a while."
"Yea.. I don't have many clothes." I squeak.
"I was going to see if you wanted to do some shopping while I was here, maybe if you come back before I leave we can go?" She asks.
I can't tell if she believes my lie or if she suspects that I don't ever plan on returning here.
"Yea.. sure." I lie again.
"Mum.." Harry says in a low voice as he enters the room.
I notice his frown as his eyes take in the empty closet and hope that Anne isn't observing her son the way that I am.
"I'm just finishing packing." I explain and he nods.
I zip the last bag and look at Harry, completely unsure what I should say.
"I will take your bags down for you." He says, grabbing my keys from the dresser then bends down to pick up the bags from the floor.
As Harry disappears from the room, Anne's arms wrap around my shoulders.
"I am so glad that I got to meet you Tessa, you have no idea what it means to me as a mother to see my only child this way."
"What way?" I manage to ask.
"Happy." She replies and my eyes begin to sting.
If this is happy Harry to her, I don't want to see her usual Harry.
I say my final goodbye to Anne and reach for the door knob to exit the apartment for what feels like the hundredth time.
"Tessa?"
I turn around to face her once more.
"You'll come back to him won't you?" She asks me and my heart sinks. I get the feeling she means more than coming back after Christmas break.
I don't trust my voice so I just nod and quickly exit.
When I reach the elevator I wipe the corners of my eyes and take a deep breath before meeting Harry outside. He has moved my car to the very front of the building and wiped the snow off of my windows.
"Thank you, you didn't have to do that." I say when he steps out of the car.
"It's nothing." He half smiles and shrugs his shoulders.
His nose is red and his cheeks are flushed. The sleeves of his jacket are covered in snow and his exposed legs must be freezing.
"I'll uhm.. well call me if you need anything." He says and shakes the snow from his hair.
"Yea..okay." I respond. I feel like I should hug him but I don't know if that is okay so I just nod awkwardly and get into the car.
It is warm and the heat is all the way up. I look back towards the door but Harry has already gone inside. I decide not to call my mom to tell her that I am on my way. I don't feel like talking to her right now. I want to use this two hour drive to think and try to clear my head. I need to make a mental list of the pro's and con's of considering being with Harry again. I know how stupid I am for even entertaining the thought, he has done terrible things to me. He has lied, betrayed, and humiliated me. So far on the con's list we have the lies, the sheets, the condom, the bet, his temper, his friends, his ego, his attitude, and him breaking my trust.
On the pro's list I have.. well.. I have the fact that I love him, he makes me happy, he makes me feel stronger, more confident, he usually wants the best for me unless of course he is the one doing the damage, the way he laughs and smiles, the way he holds me, the way he kisses me, the way he hugs me, the way I can tell he is changing for me. I know my pro's list is full of small things, especially compared to the large list of negatives but the small things are the most important right? I can't decide if I am completely insane for even thinking about forgiving him because I am so consumed by my feelings for him. As much as I try to fight it, I can't stay away from him. I never have been able to. The only way would be to move to Seattle when the new Vance Publishing building opens.
This would be a good time to have a friend to talk to, a friend that has been in this type of situation before. I wish I could call Steph but she lied to me the whole time too. I would call Liam but he has already told me his opinion and sometimes a woman's point of view is better, more relatable.
The snow is thick and the wind is strong, whipping my car side to side on the deserted roads on the way to my mother's. I should have just stayed in the hotel, I have no idea what possessed me to come here. The drive went much quicker than I thought it would and before I know it I am pulling into my mother's driveway.
After three knocks she finally opens the door. She is wearing a robe and her hair is wet. I can count the times in my life that I have seen her without her hair and makeup done on one hand.
"What are you doing here? Why didn't you call?" Her tone is unfriendly, as always.
"I don't know, I was driving through the snow so I didn't want to be distracted." I step inside.
"You still should have called so I could have been ready."
"You don't need to be ready, it's only me." I shrug and hear her huff.
"There is never an excuse to look like a slob." She informs me.
I almost laugh at her ridiculous comment but I decide against it.
"Where are your bags?"
"In my car, I will get them later." I tell her.
"What is that? That dress you are wearing?" Her eyes scan my body and I smile.
"It's a dress for work. I really like it."
"It's way too revealing but the color is nice I suppose."
"Thanks. So how are the Porter's?" I ask, I know bringing up Noah's family will distract her from insulting me.
"They are great, they miss seeing you. Maybe we should invite them over for dinner tonight."
"Oh, I don't think that's a good idea." I cringe.
"Why not?" She pours herself cup of coffee.
"I don't know.. that would be awkward for me."
"Theresa you have known the Porter's for years. I would love for them to see you now that you have an internship as well as going to college."
"So you basically want me to show off?" The thought annoys me. She only wants to have them over so she can have another thing to brag about.
"No, I want to show them the things that you have accomplished. It is not showing off." She snaps.
"I really would rather not."
"Well Theresa this is my house and I want to invite them, so I will. I am going to finish getting myself presentable and I will be back." She says before exiting the room.
I walk back to my old bedroom and lay back on the bed to wait for her to finish.
"Theresa?" My mother's voice wakes me up. I don't even remember falling asleep.
"Coming."
When I reach the living room Noah is sitting on the couch.
"Look who stopped by while you were napping." She smiles her fakest smile.
"Hey." I knew I shouldn't have come here.
"Hey Tessa, you look great." He smiles and waves his hand at me.
I have no problem with Noah at all, I care for him deeply, like a family member. But I need a break from everything going on in my life and him being here only adds to my guilt and pain. I know it isn't his fault and it's not fair to him for me to be short with him. I am the one who hurt him and he is still so kind to me.
My mother leaves the room and I pull my shoes off and sit down on the couch opposite of Noah.
"How is your break going?" He asks.
"Good, yours?"
"Same. Your mom said you went to Seattle?"
"Yea, it was great. I went with my boss and some co-workers."
"That's awesome Tessa. I am happy for you."
"Thank you." I smile. This isn't as awkward as I thought it would be.
"You're mom has been so tense since Saturday. I mean more than usual. How are you doing with all of this?"
"What do you mean?"
"With the whole thing with your dad?" He says slowly like I know what he is talking about.
"My dad?" What?
"She didn't tell you?" He looks down the empty hall.
"Don't tell her I told.." Before he can finish I am on my feet.
"Mother!" I storm down the hallway to her room.
What the hell about my dad? I haven't seen or heard from him in eight years. Did he die? I don't know how I would feel about that.
"What about dad?" I raise my voice as I burst into her room.
Her eyes go wide but she composes herself quickly.
"Well?" I shout.
"Tessa you need to lower your voice. It is nothing, nothing that you need to worry about." She rolls her eyes.
"That is not for you to decide, tell me what is going on! Is he dead?"
"No, I would tell you if he was."
"Then what is it?"
She sighs before she speaks. "He has moved back here. Not too far from where you are now but he won't be contacting you so don't you worry about it. I took care of it."
"What does that even mean?" I don't have enough space in my head for all of this with Harry and now my absent father moving back to Washington. Now that I think about it, I didn't know he moved away in the first place. I only knew he wasn't here.
"It doesn't mean anything. I was going to tell you when I called you Friday night but since you couldn't be bothered to pick up the phone I decided to handle it myself."
I remember her calling me repeatedly while I was at the night club but I was too drunk to answer. Thank goodness I didn't. Now that I know, I wish I didn't.
"He isn't going to bother you so wipe that sad look off of your face and get ready, we are going to do some shopping." She says too casually.
"I don't want to go shopping, this is sort of a big deal to me mother."
"No, it isn't. He hasn't been around for years. He still won't be around now, nothing has changed." Her tone is full of annoyance.
"I don't want to go shopping, can't we just stay in today?" There is no use arguing with her.
"No, we are going shopping and you need to lose the attitude." She says and disappears into her closet.
I walk out of her room and back to the living room. I grab my phone and put my shoes on.
"Where are you guys going?" Noah asks.
"I don't know where she is going." I answer and walk out of the house.
I wasted all this time coming here, two hours of driving in the snow just to have her be a complete witch.. no bitch, She is a complete bitch. Honestly one of the biggest bitches ever. I wipe the snow off of my windshield with my arm, a terrible ide. I climb inside and start my car, clenching my rattling teeth as I wait for the car to hear up slightly before backing out of the driveway. I repeatedly call my mother every name I can think of during my drive and try to figure out what to do next. Memories of my father flood my mind and I can't get them out.
Tears soak my cheeks as I grab my phone off the passenger seat.
"Tess? Are you okay?" Harry's voice booms through the small speaker.
"Yea.." My voice betrays me and I choke on a sob.
"What happened? What did she do?"
"She.. can I come back?" I ask and he lets out a deep breath.
"Of course you can baby..Tessa." He corrects himself but I find myself wishing we wouldn't have.
"How far are you?" He asks.
"Twenty minutes." I cry.
"Okay, do you want to stay on the phone?"
"No..it's snowing." I explain and hang up.
I shouldn't have left in the first place. It's ironic that I am running to Harry despite everything he has done. When I pull into the parking lot I am still crying. I wipe my face the best I can, my makeup from this morning streaks and litters my face. When I step out into the snow, I see Harry standing by the door covered in snow. Without thinking, I run over to him and wrap my arms around him. He steps back, obviously throw off by my affection but then wraps his arms around me and lets me cry into his snow covered sweatshirt.

Harry's POV.
Holding her for the first time in what seems like a lifetime is better than I could begin to describe in my mind. I physically felt the relief flood through me when she ran into my arms, I never expected that to happen. She has been so distant, so cold lately. I don't blame her but fuck if it doesn't hurt.
"Are you okay?" I ask her against her hair.
She shakes her head up and down against my chest but continues to cry. I know she isn't okay. Her mother probably said some shit to her that she shouldn't have. I knew this would happen and honestly, I am glad for whatever she did. Not because she hurt Tessa, but because it caused her to run to me for comfort.
"Let's go inside." I tell her and she nods but doesn't let go of me.
I force myself to take my arms from her and walk us both inside. Her beautiful face is marked with black streaks and her eyes and lips are swollen. I hope she didn't cry the whole drive.
I pull my sweatshirt off as soon as we step into the lobby I pull my sweatshirt over my head and hand it to her. It's wet from the snow but warmer than her wearing only that dress. That dress. I would normally go into fantasizing about peeling the thin fabric off of her but not today, not while she is like this.
"Thanks." She hiccups and pulls it over her head. Her blonde hair sticks up out of the side in a big knot but she looks younger than usual.
"Do you want to talk about it?" I take the small chance to ask her when we step off the elevator and walk down to our..the apartment.
She nods and I unlock the door. My mum is sitting on the couch and worry spreads across her face as she takes in Tessa's appearance.
I shoot her a warning glare, hoping she will remember the promise she made to me minutes ago to not bombard Tessa when she returns. She tears her eyes from Tessa and looks at the television to give the illusion that she doesn't notice.
"We are going to go in the room for a little while." I announce and my mum nods.
I know it is driving her crazy not being able to talk but I will not have her making Tessa feel any worse by prying.
I stop at the thermostat in the hallway to turn the heat up for her, I know she is freezing. When I step into the room she is sitting on the edge of the bed. I am not sure how close I am allowed to get to her so I wait for her to say something.
"Harry?" She says in a weak voice.
She has been crying the whole drive, I can tell by the hoarse tone of her voice.
When I stand in front of her she surprises me again by grabbing ahold of my t-shirt and pulling me to her. This is more than her mum saying some rude shit. She holds the fabric in her hands as I stand between her legs.
"Tess.. what did she do?" I ask her as she cries again, smearing her makeup on the bottom of my white shirt. I could give a shit less, if anything I will have a reminder of her when she leaves me again.
"My dad." She croaks and I go rigid.
"Your dad?" If he was there...
"Tessa, was he there? Did he do something to you?" I ask her through my teeth.
She shakes her head no and I reach down to lift her chin up, forcing her to look at me. She is never quiet, even when she upset. That is usually when she is the most vocal.
"He moved back here and I didn't even know he left, I mean I guess I did know but I never thought about it. I never thought about him." She says.
"Did you talk to him?" My voice is not as calm as I mean for it to be.
"No, she did though. She said he isn't going to come near me but I don't want her making that choice for me."
"You want to see him?" All of the things she has told me about this man have been negative. He was a violent man, often smacking her mum around in front of Tessa. He never hurt her but why would she want to see him?
"No.. well I don't know. But I want to be the one to decide whether I do or not. Not that he would even want to see me."
The instinct to hunt him down and make sure he doesn't come near her takes over and I have to talk myself down mentally before I do just that.
"I can't help but think. what if he is like your dad?"
"What do you mean?"
"What If he is different now? What if he doesn't drink anymore?" The hope in her voice breaks my heart, well what's left of it.
"I don't know.. that usually doesn't happen." I tell her honestly. I see the way her mouth turns down at the ends and I continue.
"But it could. Maybe he is different now?" I don't believe it but who am I to ruin the idea for her.
"I didn't know you had any interest in him?"
"I don't, well I didn't. I am just angry because my mother kept it from me. Then Noah told me and she acted like it was none of my business and then she wanted to go shopping. What the hell is wrong with her?" She wipes her nose with the back of her hand and I lift my shirt up for her to use.
As she wipes her nose and face against my shirt, she looks a little embarrassed but continues.
Tessa's mother is the only woman who would be speaking of her alcoholic ex husband then mention going shopping. I keep my mouth shut about Noah being there even though it pisses me off. He just won't seem to go away.
"It's okay that I am here right?" She asks and looks up at me.
"Yea.. of course. You can stay as long as you need to. It is your apartment after all." I try to smile and surprisingly she returns the gesture before wiping her nose on my shirt again.
"I should have a dorm room next week."
I nod, if I speak I will end up pathetically begging her not to leave me again.
"I am going to clean myself up." She tells me.
She seems much better than she was when she ran to me in the parking lot and I would like to think that is because she is here with me.

I walk to the bathroom to remove the makeup off of my face and pull myself together. I am much more calm than I was fifteen minutes ago and I am actually glad to be back here. Despite everything that Harry and I have been through, I am glad to know that I still have a safe place to land with him. He is the only constant in my life, I remember him saying that to me once. I wonder if he meant it then. Even if he didn't, I believe that he feels that way now. I just wish he would tell me more about how he feels. Seeing him breakdown yesterday was the most emotion that I have seen out of him since the day I meant him, I just want to hear the words behind the tears.
The warm water washes away all evidence of my eventful morning. I am not sure why I was so emotional over my father's return when I didn't know he left in the first place but think that it was a mixture of my anger towards my mother, the unexpected mention of my father, and everything going on with Harry that caused my breakdown. I go back into the room to find Harry sitting my bags down onto the floor.
"I went down and got your stuff." He informs me.
"Thank you, I really hope I am not intruding." I tell him and bend down to grab some sweats and a t-shirt. I have to get out of this dress.
"I want you here, you know that don't you?" He says quietly.
I shrug and he frowns.
"You should know that by now, Tess."
"I do.. it's just that your mother is here and here I am bringing all this drama and crying." I explain.
"My mum is glad that you are here and so am I."
My chest swells but I change the subject.
"Do you guys have anything planned today?" I ask him.
"No, I think she wanted to go to the mall or something but we can go tomorrow."
"You can go, I can keep myself entertained." I don't want him to cancel plans with his mother when he hasn't seen her in over a year.
"No, it's fine really. You don't need to be alone."
"I'm fine."
"Tessa what did I just say?" He growls and I look up at him.
He seems to forget that he doesn't get to decide things for me anymore. No one does.
"Sorry.. you stay here. I will go shopping with her." He corrects himself.
"Much better." I say and try to fight my smile.
Harry has been so gentle, so ..afraid the last few days so it is nice to see he is still himself.
"You could come?" He offers.
"I just want to stay in today, it's been a long day already and it's only four."
"Alright, I will see if she wants to go now then so you can have some privacy."
"Thank you." I say and walk into the closet to change my clothes.
Just as I lift the dress over my head he taps on the door.
"Tess?"
"Yea?" I say.
"You'll be here when we get back?" He questions.
"Yea, it's not like I have anywhere else to go." I snort.
"Okay. If you need anything call me." He says, the sadness in his voice is clear.
"Yea." I agree.
A few minutes later I hear the front door close and I emerge from the bedroom. I probably should have went with them so I wouldn't be here alone with my thoughts. I already feel lonely. After watching television for an hour, I am beyond bored. I wish Harry would come back already. My phone finally stops buzzing, it seems my mother has given up on trying to call me. I grab my nook and start to read to pass the time but I can't stop looking at the clock.
Maybe I should text Harry and see how much longer they will be? It's only seven and I don't want to rush him and his mother's time together. I will just make dinner to pass the time. I go into the kitchen to decide what to make, something that takes a while so I can stop checking the time every two minutes. Lasagna. That's what I will make, easy but time consuming.
Eight-thirty. It's only eight-thirty when the timer goes off for me to remove the pan of lasagna from the oven. If he doesn't come home.. come here.. by nine I will text him. What is wrong with me? One fight with my mother and suddenly I am back to clinging to Harry. If I am honest with myself I know that I never truly stopped clinging to him, I just fought it and tried to avoid it. Even though I may not be ready to admit it to myself, I know that I am not ready for a life without Harry. I am not going to jump into anything with him but I am exhausted from battling with myself all time over it. As terrible as he has been to me, I am even more miserable without him than I was when I found out about the entire bet. I am irritated at myself for my lack of strength but I can't deny how resolved I felt when I came back today. I still need a little time to think, to see how everything goes with us being around one another. I am still so confused.
Nine-fifteen. It's only nine-fifteen when I finish setting the table and cleaning up the mess I made in the kitchen. I will text him, just once, a simple text just to check on him. It is snowing so I am only texting him to check on him, you know for safety reasons.
I pick up my phone as the front door opens. I sit my phone down as he enters the kitchen.
"I was just going to text you." I blurt out.
"You were?" He seems surprised but happy about that.
"So how was shopping?" I ask him at the same exact time that he says "You made dinner?"
"You first." We both say and laugh.
"I made dinner. If you already ate that's fine too." I tell him as Anna joins us in the kitchen.
"It smells so good in here!" She smiles as she surveys the table full of food.
"Thank you." I say and she sits down at the table.
"That mall was dreadful, all the last minute Christmas shoppers filled the place. Who waits until two days before Christmas to get their gifts?" Anne complains.
"You." Harry answers and pours himself a glass of water.
"Oh hush." She scolds him and picks off the end of a breadstick to pop into her mouth.
Harry sits down next to her and I take the chair across from Anne. Over dinner Anne talks about the shopping horrors they experienced and how a man was tackled down for trying to steal a dress from Macy's. Harry swears that the dress was for the man himself but Anne rolls her eyes and continues with the humorous tale. The meal I prepared is actually quite good, better than usual and almost the entire pan of lasagna is gone by the time the three of us finish. I had two servings myself, that is the last time I will go all day without eating.
"Oh, we bought tree. Just a small one but you two have to have a tree in your place, especially your first Christmas together!" She claps her hands and I laugh.
Even before everything fell apart Harry and I had never talked about getting a Christmas tree, I had been so distracted by the apartment and just Harry in general that I nearly forgot about the holidays all together. Neither of us had taken any interest in Thanksgiving him for obvious reasons and I didn't want to spend it at my mother's church so we ordered pizza and hung out in my dorm room.
"That's okay right?" Anne asks and I realize I haven't responded.
"Oh yea, of course it is." I tell her and look at Harry.
He is staring at his empty plate. Anne takes over the conversation again and I am grateful.
"Well, as much as I would love to stay awake with you party animals, I must get my beauty sleep." She teases and stands up from the table, putting her plate into the sink.
"Goodnight." She says and leans down to kiss Harry on his cheek. He groans and moves away so her lips barely brush his skin but she seems pleased with the small amount of contact.
"Goodnight Tessa." She says and hugs her arms around my shoulders, placing a kiss against the top of my head.
Harry rolls his eyes and I kick him under the table. After she disappears I stand up and put away the small amount of leftovers.
"Thanks for making dinner, you didn't have to." Harry tells me and I nod before we both head into the bedroom.
This is one of those times where we should have thought about getting a two bedroom apartment. Or Harry could have not destroyed our relationship, my subconscious throws in there.
"I can sleep on the floor tonight since you did last night." I offer even though I know he wouldn't actually have me sleep on the floor.
"No, it's fine. It's actually not so bad." He says and I sit on the bed.
Harry takes the blankets from the closet and lays them onto the floor. I toss him two pillows and he gives me a small smile before unbuttoning his jeans. Oh. I desperately want to look away, I don't exactly want to, but I know that I should. He pulls his black jeans down and steps out of them. His black boxers cling to his skin and his head snaps up to look at me. I jerk my head to the side and feel my cheeks flare.
"Sorry." I say, humiliated.
"No, I am sorry. It's just a habit I guess." He shrugs and pulls a pair of cotton pants from the dresser.
I keep my eyes on the wall as he gets dressed.
"Good night Tess." He says and flicks the light off. I can practically hear the smirk in this tone.
I stare at the ceiling, I can barely see the blades of the fan moving through the darkness. The mental exhaustion from my day catches up to me and I am asleep within minutes.
"No!!" Harry's voice wakes me.
"Please!" He whimpers.
Shit, he is having a nightmare. I jump out of bed and kneel down beside his thrashing body.
"No!" He repeats, much louder this time.
"Harry! Harry wake up!" I say into his ear and shake his shoulders.
His shirt is soaked with sweat, and his face twisted as he opens his eyes, sitting up immediately.
"Tess." He breathes and pulls me into his arms.
I rub my fingers through his hair before bringing my hand down to his back. I gently run my hands up and down his back, my nails barely grazing his skin.
"It's okay." I tell him and he hugs me tighter.
I shouldn't have made him sleep on the floor, he probably has been having nightmares all week and no one was there to wake him up. I wonder if he has slept at all, except last night of course.
"Come on, let's go to bed." I tell him and move to stand up. He holds onto my t-shirt as we climb back into the bed.
"Are you okay?" I ask him when he lays down.
He nods and I pull him closer to me.
"Do you think you could get me some water?" He asks.
"Of course, I will be right back." I tell him and turn the lamp on before climbing back out of the bed.
I try to keep as quiet as possible on my way to the kitchen so I don't wake Anne but she is already in there when I enter.
"Is he okay?" She asks me.
She must have heard him scream.
"Yea he's okay now, I am just getting him some water." I tell her and turn on the sink.
When I turn around she pulls me into a hug and kisses my cheek.
"Can we talk tomorrow?" She asks.
"Yea we can." I nod.
I hear her sniffle as I walk back to the room and close the door.
"Thank you." Harry says and grabs the water from my hand.
He gulps down the entire glass and leans over to place the cup on the nightstand.
I join him back in the bed and I can see how uneasy he is, mostly from the nightmare but I know part of it is from me.
"Come here." I tell him and see the relief in his eyes as he scoots his body towards mine and I wrap my arms around him and put my head on his chest. It feels just as comforting to me as I imagine it does to him.
Despite everything he has done, I feel like home in his flawed arms.
"Don't let me go, Tess." He whispers and closes his eyes.
(I had to have him say it! loll.. I just couldn't help myself! xo)

When I wake up I'm sweating. Harry's head is on my stomach and his arms are wrapped around me. His arms surely must be numb from my body weight. His legs are intertwined with mine and he is snoring lightly. I take a deep breath and carefully lift my hand to brush his hair off of his forehead. I feel like I haven't touched his hair in so long, when in reality it's only been since Saturday. My mind plays the events in Seattle like a movie as I run my fingers through his soft mess of hair. His eyes flutter open and i jerk my hand away quickly.
"Sorry." I say, embarrassed to be caught in the act.
"No, it felt good." His voice is thick from sleep.
He lifts himself from me too soon and I wish I wouldn't have touched his hair so he would still be asleep, holding me.
"I have some work to do today so I will be going to town for little while." He says and grabs a pair black jeans from the closet.
"Okay.." What? He grabs his boots and slips them on quickly.
I get the feeling that he is rushing out of here.
I thought he would be happy that we slept in the bed together and that we held each other for the first time in a week. I thought something would have changed, not completely but I thought maybe he could see that my resolve was wearing down, that I was a few steps closer to reconciling with him than I was yesterday.
"Yea.." He says and twists his eyebrow ring between his fingers before pulling the white t-shirt over his head and grabbing a black one from the dresser.
He doesn't say anything before he exits the room and I am left confused, once again. Out of all the things I expected to happen, him running out on me wasn't one of them. Why would he have to do work right now? He reads manuscripts, the same way that I do only he has much more freedom to do all of his work from home so why would he want to do it today? Maybe he is going to the library? The memory of what Harry was doing the last time he had to "work" makes my stomach turn.
I hear him talking to his mother briefly before the front door closes. I plop back onto the pillows and kick my feet in childish manner then I climb out of bed. I pick Harry's clothes up off the floor and shove them into the hamper and pad out into the kitchen to make some coffee.
"Good morning sweetie." Anne chirps.
"Good morning, thank you for making coffee." I tell her and grab the freshly brewed pot.
"Harry said he had some work to do?" She says but it sounds like she is asking not telling.
"Yea.. he told me that." I say.
I don't know what else to say.
"I am glad he is okay after last night." Her voice full of worry.
"Yea, me too. I shouldn't have let him sleep on the floor." I say without thinking.
Her brows lower in question and I try to think of a way to talk myself out of this.
"He doesn't have them when he isn't on the floor?" She asks carefully.
"No, he doesn't have them if we.." I trail off stirring the sugar into my coffee.
"if you're there." She finishes for me.
"Yea.. if I am there."
"Do you want to know why he has them? I know he will hate me for telling you but I think you should know."
"He told me.. about that night." I swallow.
Her eyes widen in surprise.
"He told you?" She almost gasps.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to just say it that way." I apologize and take another drink of coffee.
"No..no..Don't apologize. I just can't believe he told you. Obviously you knew about the nightmares but I am just astounded that he told you the story behind them." She dabs her eyes with her fingers and smiles.
"I hope it's okay." I don't want to intrude on their family secrets.
"It is more than okay. I am so happy he has you." She is full on sobbing.
"They were so bad, he would scream and scream. I tried to send him to therapy but you know Harry, he wouldn't speak to them. At all. As in not one word, he would just sit there and stare at the wall."
I sit my mug down on the counter and wrap my arms around her.
"I don't know what it was that made you come back yesterday but I am glad that you did." She says into my shoulder.
"What?"
"Oh honey, I am old but not that old. I knew something was going on between the two of you. I saw how surprised he was to see you when we arrived and I could tell something was off between the two of you when he called me to say you weren't going to make it to England." She says.
I had a feeling that she was onto us but I didn't know the depth. She sits down at the table and I sit across from her.
"He was so excited.. well as excited as Harry gets.. to bring you to England and then a few days ago he said you were going out of town but I knew better."
"What happened?" She asks.
I take another drink and make eye contact with her.
"Well.." I don't know what to tell her because 'Oh nothing, your son just took my virginity as a part of a bet then lied about it.' doesn't exactly sound nice.
"He.. he lied to me." Is all I say. I don't want her to be upset with Harry but I don't want to completely lie either.
"A big lie?"
"A massive lie." I admit.
"Is he sorry?"
"Yea.. I think he is." Talking to Anne about this is strange. I don't even know her and she is his mother so she will feel inclined to take his side no matter what.
"Has he said that he is?"
"Yea.. a few times."
"Has he shown it?"
"Sort of."
Has he? I know he broke down the other day and he has been calmer than usual but he hasn't actually said what I want to hear.
"Well as his mother I have to put up with his antics but you don't. If he wants you to forgive him then he needs to work for it. He needs to show you that he will never do anything like what ever it is that he did, it must have been a pretty big lie if you moved out. Try to keep in mind that emotion is not a place he goes to often. He is a very angry boy... man now."
"Would you forgive someone for lying to you?" I know the question sounds ridiculous, people lie all the time but the words tumbled out before my brain could process them.
"It would depend on the lie, and how sorry they were. I will say that when you allow yourself to believe too many lies its hard to find your way back to the truth."
Is she saying I shouldn't forgive him?
"However, I know my son and I can see the change in him since the last time I saw him. He has changed the last few months, so much Tessa. I can't tell you how much. He laughs and smiles. He even engaged in conversation with me yesterday." Her smile is bright despite the serious subject.
"I know that if he lost you he would go back to how he was before but I don't want you to feel obligated to be with him because of that."
"I don't, feel obligated I mean. I just don't know what to think." I wish I could explain the whole story to her so I could have her honest opinion. I wish my mother was as understanding as Anne.
"Well that's the hard part, you have to be the one to decide. Just take your time and make him work it, things come easily to my son, they always have. Maybe that is part of his problem, he always gets what he wants."
"He does." I laugh. That statement could not be more true.
"I am glad you are back here, and that you are in his life so I hope he does the right thing from now on." She smiles and I nod.
"Me too." I sigh and stand up.
I grab a box of cereal out of the cabinet and Anne stands to join me.
"How about you and I get dressed and go get some breakfast and do some girl things? I could use a haircut." She laughs and shakes her brown hair back and forth.
Her sense of humor is nice, just like Harry's when he allows it to show. He is more raunchy yes, but I see where he gets his humor.
"Okay.. I will take a shower." I tell her and put the cereal box back in it's place.
"Shower? Its snowing outside and we will be getting our hair washed anyway! I was going to just wear this." She says and gestures to her black track suit.
"Throw on some jeans or something and lets go!" She instructs.
This is so different than if I was going anywhere with my mother. I would have to have ironed clothes, my hair curled and make up on my face even to go to the grocery store.
"Okay." I smile and walk into the room.
I grab a pair of jeans and a sweatshirt from the closet and pull my hair into a bun before slipping my toms on and heading to the bathroom. I quickly brush my teeth and splash cold water on my face. When I join Anne in the living room she is ready and waiting by the door.
"I should leave Harry a note or text him." I say.
"He will be fine." She smiles and pulls me towards the door.
After spending the rest of the morning and the majority of the afternoon with Anne I feel much more relaxed. She is kind, funny and great to talk to. She hasn't mentioned the status of my relationship with Harry and I am grateful. She keeps the conversation light and has me laughing almost the entire time. We both get our hair cut and Anne adds bangs, daring me to do the same but I refuse with a smile. By the time we get back to the apartment Harry's car is parked in the lot.
I feel nervous for some reason, maybe because we slept in the bed together then he stormed out this morning. Well, he didn't exactly storm so much as ran.. but still he left. Anne and I grab her bags from the backseat and my small bag, holding a black dress I got to wear for Christmas. I have no idea what I am doing for Christmas, I don't want to intrude here and I haven't gotten any presents or anything. I think I may take Liam up on his invitation to go to his house. It seems a little too much to spend Christmas with Harry when we are not together. We are in this foreign in between stage, we aren't together but I felt like we were getting closer to each other until he left this morning.
When we get up to the apartment Harry is sitting on the couch with papers spread out across his lap and the table in front of him. He has a pen between his teeth and looks deep into whatever it is that he is doing. Working I suspect but I have only actually seen him work a few times.
"Hello son!" Anne says in a cheery voice.
"Hey." Harry' responds in a flat tone.
"Did you miss us?" Anne teases and he rolls his eyes before gathering up the loose pages and shoving them into a binder.
"I'll be in the room." He huffs and stands from the couch.
I shrug at Anne then follow Harry into the room.
"Where did you guys go?" He asks and sits down his binder on the dresser.
"To get breakfast then we got haircuts and did some shopping." I sit on the bed with my legs crossed.
"Oh."
"Where did you go?"
"To work."
"Tomorrow is Christmas Eve, I'm not buying that." I say. Anne must have worn off on me.
"I don't care if you're not buying that." He says in a mocking tone.
"What's your problem?" I snap.
"Nothing. I don't have a problem."
"Obviously you do. Why did you leave this morning?"
"I already told you."
"Lying to me isn't going to help anything, that's what got you..us into this mess in the first place." I remind him.
"Fine! You want to know where I was? I was at my dad's!" He shouts.
"Your dad's? Why?"
"Talking to Liam." He sits down on the chair.
"I believed the work story more than this." I roll my eyes.
"I was. Go on and call him if you don't believe me."
"Why? What were you talking about?"
"You of course."
"What about me?"
"Just everything, I know you don't want to be here."
"If I didn't want to be here I wouldn't be."
"You have no where else to go, I know you wouldn't be here if you did."
"What makes you so sure? We slept in the bed together last night."
"Yea and you know why. If I wouldn't have had one you wouldn't have agreed to it. That's the only reason you did, and the only reason you're talking to me now. Because you feel sorry for me." He raises his voice.
"It doesn't matter why it happened!" I shout back.
"So you do then don't you? You feel sorry for poor Harry who has nightmares and can't sleep in a fucking bed alone!"
"Stop yelling! Your mom is in the other room!" I yell back.
"Is that what you two did all day was talk about me? I don't need your fucking pity, Tess."
"Oh my god! You are so frustrating! We did not talk about you, not in that way. And for the record, I do not feel sorry for you, I wanted you in that bed with me regardless of your dreams." I cross my arms.
"Sure." He barks.
"You need to stop feeling sorry for yourself if anything." I say equally as harsh.
"I don't."
"Seems like it. You just started a fight with me for no reason. We should be moving forward not backward."
"Moving forward?" His eyes meet mine.
"Yea.. I mean maybe." I stutter.
"Maybe?" He smiles.
"You are insane, literally."
He was just fighting with me, his cheeks flushed in anger and now he is grinning like a small child on Christmas. I feel most of my anger evaporating. The control over my emotions that he holds terrifies me.
"Your hair looks nice." He compliments.
"You need to be medicated." I tease and he laughs.
"I wouldn't argue there." He responds. I can't help but laugh with him.
Maybe I am just as crazy as he is?

More comment's more episode's..

1 comment:

  1. Thanks... I hope they both comeback together no matter what....
    Next please

    ReplyDelete

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