Saturday, 9 June 2018

AFTER ROMANCE 2 Episode 31-35

Harry's head is heavy on my stomach when the sound of phone vibrating on the table wakes me up. I lift him gently, as gently as I can and retrieve the annoying object. The screen flashes with my mother's name and I groan before answering it.
"Theresa?" She chimes through the receiver.
"Yes."
"Where are you and what time will you be here?" She asks.
"I'm not coming there." I tell her.
"It's Christmas Eve Tessa, I know you are upset over this thing with your father but you need to come home and spend Christmas with me. You don't need to be at some hotel alone."
"I am not driving all the way there mother, it's snowing out and I don't want to be there." I feel slightly guilty for not spending the holidays with my mother. She isn't the nicest woman, but I am all she has.
Harry stirs and lifts his head up, just as I am about to tell him not to speak he opens his mouth.
"What's wrong?" He says and I hear my mother gasps.
"Theresa Young! What are you thinking?" She shouts.
"I'm not doing this right now."
"That's him isn't it? I know it is by that voice!"
"I am getting off the phone now."
This is a terrible way to wake up. I sit up and move Harry off of me, covering my naked body with the blanket.
"Don't you dare hang.." She yells and I hang up the phone.
I knew she would find out sooner of later, I was just hoping it would be later.
"What was that about?" Harry asks, wiping his sleepy eyes.
"She was calling because she thought that I was going to come over for Christmas."
"Oh.." He says.
"Then she heard you and now she is ..she is just freaking out." I say and hold my phone up to him to show the two calls from her in the past minute.
"You knew she would, so really it's almost better that she found out this way."
"Not really. I could have told her instead of her just hearing you in the background."
"It's the same thing, she would have been pissed of either way." He shrugs.
"Still." I am slightly annoyed by his reaction. I know he doesn't care for her but she is still my mother and I didn't want her to find out like this.
"Well what do you want to do invite her over for a nice Christmas dinner?"
"Really?" I snap.
"Just saying."
"Well you could be a little nicer about the whole thing."
"Sorry." He says.
I expected him to have a rude comeback but I am glad he didn't.
"Would you like me to make you some breakfast Daisy?" Harry smiles.
"Daisy?" I raise my brow.
"It's early and I am not at my best to quote literature but you're grumpy so I called you Daisy."
"Daisy wasn't grumpy. Neither am I." I can't help my smile.
"Yes you are, and how do you know which Daisy I am talking about?"
"There are only a few Daisy's and I know you well enough to know which one you were referring to."
"Is that so?"
Yes, and your attempt at insulting me failed miserably" I tease.
"Yea..Yea..Mrs. Bennet." He fires back.
"I assume since you said Mrs. you are talking about the mother not Elizabeth which means you are trying to call me obnoxious."
"Then again, you have been off this morning so maybe you are saying I am charming? I just don't know with you anymore." I smile.
"Alright.. alright.. Christ. A man makes one bad joke around here and is condemned." He laughs.
My earlier irritation is dissolved as we continue our banter and climb out of bed. Harry informs me that I should stay in pajamas today since we aren't leaving the house. It is a strange idea to me, if I were at my mother's house I would be expected to be dressed in my Sunday best.
"You could just wear that shirt." He points to his t-shirt on the floor.
I smile and pick it up, pulling it over my bra before putting on sweat pants. I don't remember ever hanging out with Noah in sweats, ever. I didn't wear much makeup until recently but I was always dressed nicely. I wonder what he would have thought if I showed up to spend time with him in sweatpants and a baggy t-shirt. I always thought I was comfortable around Noah. I thought I was myself around him because he knew him so well when in reality he doesn't know me at all. He doesn't know the real me, the me that Harry has made me comfortable enough to show.
"Ready?" He asks. I nod and pull my hair back into a messy bun.
I switch my phone of and leave it on the dresser and follow Harry out into the living room. The delicious scent of coffee fills the apartment and Anne is found standing in front of the stove flipping a pancake.
"Merry Christmas." She smiles and turns to us.
"It's not Christmas." Harry says and I shoot him a glare.
He rolls his eyes then smiles at his mother. I pour myself a cup of coffee and thank Anne for making breakfast. Harry and I sit at the table while she tells us that her grandmother is the one who taught her how to make the pancakes she is making. Harry' listens intently and even smiles during his mother's tale and we eat our breakfast.
"Are we going to be opening gifts today? I assume you will be going to your mum's tomorrow?" Anne asks.
The plate in my hand almost drops onto the floor instead of the rack in the dishwasher where I intended it to be placed. I don't know how to answer her exactly and Harry is silent.
"I am.. actually I am .. I told.." I fumble the words.
"She is going to Dad's house tomorrow. She promised Liam that she would be there and she is really his only friend so she can't cancel." Harry interjects.
I am thankful but I need to remember to remind him that I am not Liam's only friend.. well maybe I am but he is my only friend as well.
"Oh.. that's fine. Honey, you don't need to be afraid to tell me things like that. I have no problem with you spending time with Ken." Anne says and I can't tell which one of us she is speaking to.
"I'm not going, I told her to tell them we said no." He tells her.
"We? They invited me?" Her voice is full of surprise.
"Yea.. They wanted both of you to come." I explain.
"Why?" She asks.
"I don't know.." I say.
I honestly don't know why they invited Anne. Karen is so kind and I know she really wants to mend what is broken between her husband and his son, that is the only explanation I have.
"I already said no, don't worry about it mum."
"No, maybe we should go." She says, surprising us both.
"Why would you want to go there?" Harry asks her.
"I don't know.. the last time I saw your father was almost ten years ago. I think I owe it to myself and to him to see how he has turned his life around. Also, I know you don't want to be away from Tessa for Christmas."
"I could stay here." I tell her.
I don't want to cancel on them but I don't want Anne to feel like she has to go.
"No really. It's fine. We should go, all of us." She says.
"You're sure?" I hear the worry in Harry's voice.
"Yea.. it won't be so bad. Besides if Kathy taught Tessa how to make those cookies imagine how good the food will be." She smiles.
"Karen mum, her name's Karen."
"Hey, she is my ex husbands new wife who I am spending Christmas with, I can call her whatever I want." She laughs and I join.
"I will call Liam and tell him we are all coming." I tell them and leave the room.
I would have never imagined that my Christmas would be spent with Harry and his family, both sides of his family. The last few months have been anything but what I expected. When I turn my phone on I have three voicemails, from my mother I am sure. I ignore them and dial Liam.
"Hey Tessa, Merry Christmas Eve." His voice is so cheery.
"Merry Christmas Eve." I tell him and I can picture his warm smile.
"You too. Youre not calling to bail are you?"
"No, of course not, the opposite actually. I was calling to make sure it was still okay if Harry and Anne came over tomorrow?"
"Really? They want to?"
"Yea.."
"Does this mean you and Harry.."
"Yea.. I know I am an idiot.."
"I didn't say that." He says.
"I know but you are thinking it.."
"No, I am not. We can talk about it tomorrow but you aren't an idiot Tessa."
"Thank you." I tell him and mean it. He is the only person that won't have a negative opinion on this subject.
"I will tell my mum they are coming, I know she will be thrilled." He says before we hang up.
When I join Harry and Anne back in the living room they already have their presents on their laps and there are two boxes on the couch that I assume are for me.
"I will open first." Anne smiles and tears the snowflake printed paper off of the box. Her smile is huge as she takes out the track suit I got her.
"I love these! How did you know?" She smiles at me and I point to the grey one she is wearing.
"I'm not very good at buying gifts." I tell her.
"Don't be silly, it's lovely." She assures me while opening the second box.
She opens the second box and squeezes Harry tight after holding up a necklace that says 'mom' just like he had told me. I am sure the fact that he got her a gift surprised and warmed her. She seems to like the thick scarf he bought her as well.
I really wish I would have gotten Harry a gift, I knew all along that I would go back to him, I think he knew it too. He hasn't mentioned that he got me one and the boxes on my lap both say from Anne so that is a huge relief. We can get better gifts next year. If you last until next year. My subconscious smirks and I want to smack her. Harry is next and he gives his mother his best fake smile when he opens the clothes she bought him. A red long sleeve shirt is among them and I try to picture Harry wearing anything but black and white, I can't.
"Your turn." He says to me in an attempt to bring the attention away from the hideous clothes his mother got him.
I smile nervously and pull the sparkly bow off of the first gift. Anne is better at choosing women's clothing than men. The pastel yellow dress in the box proves it. It's a light baby doll style dress and I love it.
"Thank you, it's beautiful." I tell her and give her a hug.
I really appreciate her getting me a Christmas gift, she just met me and she knew that Harry and she has been so loving and welcoming. I feel as if I have known her much longer than a few days.
The second box is much smaller than the first but the amount of tape used to keep it closed makes it very difficult to open. When I finally get it open I find a bracelet, a sort of charm bracelet unlike anything I have seen before. Anne is so thoughtful, just like her son. I lift it up and run my fingers along the rope textured string to look at the charms. There are only three each bigger than my thumb nail, two made from what looks like pewter and one is solid white..porcelain maybe? The white charm is a heart, and the second is a music note. The third is slightly larger than the other two and it is the shape of a book. When I turn the charm in my fingers I noticed something written on the back of the book charm.
"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same." It says.
I look up at Harry and swallow the tears threatening to form. His mother didn't get me this. He did.
(I love doing the interview questions! They are fun and I am surprised how many questions there are! lol. So you can keep asking them and I will answer. xo)

Harry's cheeks are flushed and lips hold a nervous smile as I stare at him.
"it's so.. it's just perfect." I sob and close the space between Harry and I on the couch, practically tackling him. Luckily, he is strong enough to keep us both from falling.
I hug him as tight as I can manage, causing him to cough so I loosen my grip.
"Thank you, that is so thoughtful and just unbelievable." I tell him and press my forehead against his as I stay in his lap.
"It's nothing..really." He timidly states and I smile at his casual tone.
Anne clears her throat and I hurry off of his lap. For a moment I forgot that we were not alone in the apartment.
"Sorry." I tell her and move back to my spot on the couch.
"Don't apologize." She gives me a knowing smile.
Harry stays quiet, I know he won't talk about the gift in front of Anne so I change the subject for now. His gift was so incredibly thoughtful. He could not have picked a more perfect quote from any novel to have engraved onto that charm.
"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same." It is so perfect for the way I feel about him. We are so different yet we are exactly the same, just like Catherine and Heathcliff. I can only hope that we do not share the same fate as them. I would like to think that we have learned from their mistakes somehow and that we will not allow that to happen.
I slide the bracelet over my wrist and slowly rock my wrist back and forth letting the charm sway back and forth. I have never received anything like this before, I thought the nook was the best gift but he managed to upstage himself by having this bracelet made. Noah always got me the same thing, perfume and socks. Every single year. Then again, I got him cologne and socks each year. That was our thing, our boring, routine, thing.
I stare at the bracelet for a few more seconds before I realize both Harry and Anne are watching me. Immediately I get up and begin to clean the small mess from the wrapping paper.
"What shall we do for the rest of the day?" Anne asks.
"I feel like taking a nap." Harry tells her and she rolls her eyes.
"A nap? On Christmas?" She mocks.
"It's not Christmas for the tenth time." He tells her harshly but then smiles.
"You're obnoxious." She scolds and swats at his arm.
"So are you."
I take the small pile of crinkled and torn paper and push it into the steel trashcan. I feel even worse about not getting Harry a gift for Christmas. I was too consumed by everything that was going on between us to worry about buying him a gift. I wish the mall was open today so I could get him a last minute present. I have no idea what it would be but anything would be better than nothing. I look down at the bracelet again and run my finger over the heart.
"You almost done?' Harry's voice at my ear causes me to jump in surprise.
"You scared me!" I say as he chuckles.
"Sorry love." I feel him smile against my neck and he wraps his arms around my waist. My heart leaps when he calls me 'love'. It's so unlike him.
"Are you going to take a nap?" I ask him, turning myself around to face him.
"Yea.. join me?"
"Sure." I don't really like to take naps unless I am too exhausted to do anything else but I can spend time with my nook while Harry sleeps.
When we get into the room Harry pulls his shirt over his head and it falls to the floor. My eyes travel over the familiar designs inked into his skin and he smiles at me.
"You really like the bracelet?" He asks as he walks over to the bed. He tosses the decorative pillows onto the floor and I pick them up.
"You are so messy!" I complain. I put the pillows into the trunk and Harry's shirt on the dresser before grabbing my nook and joining him in the bed.
"But to answer your question I do love the bracelet. It's so thoughtful. Why didn't you say it was from you?" I ask and he pulls me over to lay my head on his chest.
"Because I knew you were already feeling bad about not getting me something and you would feel even worse after my great gift." He smiles.
"Wow, so humble." I tease.
"Also, I didn't know how things were going to between us. When I had it made for you I had no idea if you would ever speak to me again." He admits.
"You knew I would."
"Honestly, I didn't. You were different this time."
"How so?" I look up at him.
"I don't know.. you just were. It wasn't like the other hundred times you said you wanted nothing to do with me." Harry's voice is light as he pushes the fringe from my forehead with his thumb.
"Well I knew.. I mean I didn't want to admit it but I knew I would come back. I always do."
"I won't give you a reason again."
"I hope not." I say and kiss the palm of his hand.
"Me too."
I don't say anything else, there is nothing to say at the moment. He is sleepy, and I don't want to talk about me leaving him any longer. Within minutes he is asleep, breathing heavily, creating the perfect melody for me to relax. Harry calling me Daisy this morning made me want to reread 'The Great Gatsby'. Just as Nick is driving across the bay to East Egg, I drift off to sleep with my nook in my hands.
"Excuse me!" I hear a woman's voice.
My mother. I jolt awake and toss the nook to the end of the bed. Why the hell is she here?
"You have no right to go in there!" I hear Anne's voice.
Anne. My mother. Harry. This apartment. Oh my lord. This isn't going to go well.
The door crashes open and my mother is revealed wearing a red dress and black heels. Her hair is curled and pinned up to resemble a beehive and her red lipstick is bright, too bright for my newly awakened eyes.
"How could you be here! After everything!" She yells.
"Mother.." I begin as my mother turns to Anne.
"Who the hell are you?" She asks..
"I am his mother." Anne says sternly.
Harry groans in his slumber and opens his eyes.
"What the fuck?" Are the first words out of his mouth when he spots the devil in the crimson dress.
"Let's go Theresa." My mother beckons.
"I'm not going anywhere. Why are you even here?" I ask her and she huffs, putting her hands on her hips.
"Because I have already told you, you are my only child and I will not sit back and watch you ruin your life over this.. this asshole." Her words light a fire under my skin and I immediately go on defense.
"Do not speak of him that way!" I shout.
"That asshole is my son." Anne defends Harry with hooded eyes. I get the feeling that underneath her humor is a woman ready to go to the mattresses for her son.
"Well your son is ruining and corrupting my daughter." My mother fires back.
"Both of you, get out." Harry says to the two women and stands up from the bed.
"Theresa grab your things, now." My mother instructs.
"What part of I am not leaving do you not understand? I gave you the opportunity to spend the holidays with me but you couldn't get over yourself long enough to allow it." I snap.
I know I shouldn't be speaking to her this way but I can't help it.
"Get over myself? You think just because you bought a few slutty dresses and learned to put on makeup you suddenly know more than I do about life? You're wrong. Just because you gave yourself to this.. this filth doesn't mean you are a woman! You are nothing but a little girl. A naïve, impressionable little girl. Now grab your things before I do it for you."  She is half yelling, half laughing at me.
"You will not touch her things. She isn't going anywhere with you. She is staying here with me, where she belongs." Harry spits.
"Where she belongs? Where did she belong when she was staying in a damned hotel because of what you did to her. You are no good for her and she will not stay here with you."
"They are adults, Tessa is an adult. If she wants to stay there is not a thing you can do about it." Anne interjects.
My mother's angry eyes turn to meet Anne's equally fumed eyes. This is a disaster. I open my mouth to speak but my mother beats me to it.
"How can you defend this sinful behavior? After what he did to her he should be locked away!" My mother nearly screams.
"She has obviously chosen to forgive him, you need to except that." Anne says coolly. Too coolly. She looks like a snake, one that is slithering by so slowly that you never see it's attack coming but when it does you are done for. My mother is the prey and I can't help but hope that Anne's bite is venomous.
"Forgive him? He stole her innocence as a game, a bet with his friends and then bragged about it while she was here playing house!"
Anne's gasp mutes Harry and I's equally as surprised noises.
"What?" Anne gapes and looks to her son.
"You didn't know that? No wonder you were defending him. You're son bet his friends that he could take Tessa's virginity for money and was using her the entire time. He even kept the evidence and flaunted it around the entire campus." My mother says.
I am frozen in place.
I didn't want Anne to know the terrible things her son has done. I keep my eyes on our mothers , too afraid to look at Harry. I can tell by his breathing that he wasn't aware I had told my mother the details of his deceit.
"Evidence?" Anne's voice is shaky.
"Yes, evidence. The condom! Oh and the sheets with Tessa's stolen virginity on them. God knows what he did with the money but he was telling everyone every detail of their.. intimacy. So now you tell me if I should make my daughter come with me or not." My mother raises her perfectly sculpted eyebrow to Anne.
I feel it the moment it happens. I feel the change in the room, the energy shifting. Anne is now on my mother's side of this. I can see it perfectly in the disgusted glare she is giving her son. I try desperately to cling to the edge of the crumbling cliff that is Harry. The concrete floor is splitting beneath my feet, the pain from my mother's reminder, pulling me to their side of the cliff.
"How could you Harry?" Anne cries. "I had hoped you were different now.. I had hoped you stopped doing things like this to girls.. women. Have you forgotten what happened last time?"
Last time? My heart sinks.

"Last time? See Theresa! This is exactly why you need to get away from him. He has done this before, I knew it! Prince Charming strikes again." My mother howls.
I look over at Harry, my fingers slipping from the edge. Not again. I don't think I can take anymore. Not from him.
"It's not like that mum." Harry finally says.
"It sure sounds like it Harry. I honestly can't believe you, I love you son but I can't help you here. This is wrong, so wrong." Anne says and wipes under her eyes.
I never am able to find my voice in these situations. I want to speak, I need to but an endless list of terrible things that Anne could be referring to as "last time" are running rapid in my head, stealing my voice.
"I said it's not like that!' Harry shouts at his mother.
"I think she should go with her mother." Anne says and a lump rises in my throat.
"What?" Harry says to her. His voice thick with surprise.
"She should go. You are no good for her Harry. I thought you were, that you had changed but its obvious that you haven't. I love you more than life itself but I cant allow you to do this again. Coming to America was supposed to help you but you did the same thing."
"Theresa. I think you have heard enough. It's time to go." My mother says and grabs ahold of my arm.
Harry moves towards her and she steps back, still holding onto me.
"Let go of her, now." He says through his teeth.
Her plum nails dig into my skin as I try to process the events of the last two minutes. I had not expected my mother to show up here, barge into the bedroom and I certainly did not expect Anne to drop yet another one of Harry's secrets. Has he done this before? To who? Did he love her? Did she love him? He said he had never been with a virgin before, he said he has never loved anyone before. Was he lying?
The angry mask he wears makes it hard for me to decipher.
"You don't get to have a say in anything that concerns her any longer." She strikes back.
I pull my arm from her grip and step behind Harry. Anne and my mother wear the same horrified expression as I wrap my fingers around his forearm.
"Theresa don't be stupid. Get over here." My mother instructs.
I stay hidden behind Harry, I don't really understand why but I am. I should be leaving with my mother, or forcing him to tell me what the hell Anne is talking about but I really just want my mother to go away. I need a few seconds, minutes, maybe even hours to comprehend what Harry could have done. I just forgave him, I just decided to forget everything and move on with him. Why must there always be some secret locked away that comes to head at the worst possible time?
"Theresa." My mother takes another step towards me and Harry brings his arm behind him to wrap around me, protecting me from her.
"Get away from her." Harry warns.
"Harry, that is her daughter. You have no right coming between them." Anne says.
"I have no right? She has no right coming in our apartment, in our fucking bedroom uninvited!" He shouts. My grip on his arm tightens.
"That is not her bedroom nor is this her apartment." My mother says.
"Yes, it is. See who she is standing behind? She is using me as a shield to block her from you." Harry points out.
"She is foolish and doesn't understand what is best for her." My mother says.
"Stop speaking as if I am not here! I am right here and I am an adult, I am nineteen years old mother. If I want to stay I will." I announce.
I don't know if I want to stay but I know that I don't want to leave with her.
"Tessa, honey. I think you should listen to your mother." Anne betrays me.
The sting of her dismissal burns my chest but I don't know what she knows about her son.
"Thank you! At least someone in this family is reasonable." My mother sighs and Anne shoots her a warning glare.
"I don't agree with how you treat your daughter so don't think because I want her to go means that we are on the same team because we are not." Anne reminds her.
"Regardless, we both agree that you need to go Tessa. You need to leave this apartment with me and not come back, we can transfer you to another school if need be. You have played his games long enough."
"She can make up her own mind." Harry defends me.
"He has poisoned your mind Theresa, look at the things he has done to you. Do you know him at all?" My mother asks.
:"I know him mother." I say through my teeth.
My mother turns her attention to Harry. I don't know why she is not afraid of him, the way his chest is heaving up and down, the way his cheeks are flared with anger, the way his fists are clenched into a ball so tightly that his knuckles are white, should intimidate her but it doesn't.
"If you care for her, even a little bit you will tell her to go. You have done nothing but break her down. She isn't the same girl that I dropped off at college three months ago and that is your fault. You didn't have to see her cry for days over what you did to her., you were probably with another girl while she was crying herself to sleep. You have destroyed her, how can you even live with yourself? You know you will hurt her again sooner or later so if you have one decent bone in your body you will tell her, tell her to come." My mother says.
The silence in the room is chilling.
Anne stands silently staring at the wall deep in thought. I assume she is thinking of whatever Harry did "last time' , my mother is glaring at Harry waiting for his response, Harry is breathing so hard he may combust, and me, I am trying to decide who will win the battle inside of me. My heart or my head?
"I'm not going with you." I finally say.
Anne snaps her head up to look at me and my mother rolls her eyes.
"You are.." She begins.
Harry's POV.
"You aren't welcome here, don't ever come back here. Who do you think you are busting in here like this and you have the nerve to talk to him that way!" Tessa shouts, cutting her off, She pushes past me and moves towards her mum.
I don't know what she will do, but I do know that her mum better not slap her again.
"I want nothing to do with you! No one does! That's why you are alone after all of these years, you are cruel and conceited, you will never be happy!" Tessa screams at the woman.
Her face is red and her eyes are beginning to water. Why does her mum always have to ruin shit? I can't blame her or argue with her right now, regardless of how much I hate her. I did hurt Tessa, but I don't think I have ruined her? Have I?
"I am alone because I chose to be, I don't have the need to be with someone, I am not like you." Her mum spits.
Tessa balls her small fists at her sides and takes a huge breath. She is so angry, so upset, but she doesn't look the least bit threatening. I glance at my mum for help, I don't know what to do, but the look she gives me lets me know that she hates me. I didn't want her to know what I did to Tess. I knew it would kill her especially after what happened before. I am not the same person as I was then, this is totally different,. I love Tessa.
"Like me! I don't need to be with anyone! You basically forced me to be with Noah, I never felt like I had a choice in anything! You have always controlled me and I am done, I am fucking done!" Tessa begins to cry and moves closer to her mother.
I know one of two things will happen if I don't pull her away, her mum will slap her and I will have to intervene, or Tessa will say something she will regret and I don't want her to be upset with herself over this.
"It's obvious that you have some codependency issues if you are stupid enough to come back to him. Is this because of your father?" Her mum's voice isn't sincere, it's full of sarcasm and it's clear that she is mocking Tessa.
"I hate you. I really hate you. You are probably the reason that my father drank and slapped you around! He left because he couldn't stand you! I don't blame him, I wish he would have taken.." I grab Tessa and put my hand over her mouth, pulling her back and holding her frame against my chest.
She screams into my hand and tries to push me off of her but she isn't strong enough.
"I think you need to go now." I say to her mother.
Tessa is throwing a fit beneath my grip and keeps kicking her feet against my shins.
I let go and she turns to me with an angry grimace covering her soft face. It's always so unsettling to see her angry, especially this angry. I am selfishly pleased that her anger isn't directed at me this moment. It will be soon, I know it. I know her mother is right about me, I am terrible for her, I am not the man she thinks I am but I love her too much to let her leave me, again. I just got her back and I will not let her leave me again. I just hope that she will listen to me, listen to the entire story before she leaves me. Even then I don't think it will matter. I know it's coming, there is no way she will stay with me once she hears it. Fuck, why did my mum have to say anything?
"Why did you do that! You.."
"Because you are saying things you know you will regret. Come on." I say and lead her into the bedroom.
She turns around, giving her mother one last hateful glare before I close the door behind us. Leaving our mum's in the other room.
"Why did you do that! Why did you stop me! I have so much shit to say to that bitch it's not even ..I can't even!!" She yells at me and pushes her hands against my chest.
"Hey..hey..calm down." I say, trying not to smile at her anger.
I bring her face between my hands and gently move my thumbs across her cheekbones, making sure she keeps eye contact with me as her breathing slows.
"Just calm down, baby." I repeat. The redness disappears from her cheeks and she nods slowly.
"I'm going to make sure she leaves okay?" I say so low, it's almost a whisper.
She nods again and moves to sit on the bed.
"Hurry up." She demands before I leave the room.
When I walk into the living room Tessa's mother is the only person in the room.
"Where is she?" She asks.
"She is not coming out, you are leaving and you are not going to come back here. I mean it." I say through my teeth.
"Are you threatening me?" She raises her brow.
"You can take it however you want to but you need to stay away from her."
"This is all your fault, you have brain washed her, she doesn't think for herself anymore. I know what you are doing, I have been with men like you. I knew you were trouble since the day I laid eyes on you. I should have had Tessa change rooms then and prevented all of this. No man is going to want her after this.. after you. Look at you!" She waves her hand in the air and turns towards the door.
She steps out into the hall and I follow her.
"That's the point isn't it? That no man will want her, no man but me. She will never be with anyone but me. She will always choose me over you, over anyone."
"You are the devil and I am not going to just go away. She is my daughter and she is too good for you." She threatens and takes a step towards me.
"I will make sure to remember that when I am burying myself into your daughter tonight."
As the words leave my lips she gasps and reaches her hand up in an attempt to smack me. I grab her wrist and push it back down gently. I would never hurt her or any woman but I wasn't going to allow her to assault me.
I give her my best smile before I walk back into the apartment and slam the door in her face.

Harry's POV.
When I turn around my mum is standing in the living room grasping a mug of coffee between her hands and her eyes are bloodshot.
"Where were you?" I ask her.
"The bathroom." She says, her voice cracking.
"How could you tell Tessa to go? To leave me?" I say. I knew she would be disappointed but when she agreed with Tessa's mum was too much.
"Because Harry, you aren't good for her. You know you aren't. I don't want to see her end up like Natalie, or the others."
"Do you know what will happen to me if she leaves me mum? I don't think you understand.. I can not be without her. I know I am not good for her and I regret what I did to her every single time I look at her but I can be good for her. I know I can be." I walk to the middle of the living room. Pacing back and forth.
"Harry.. you have never been emotional this way, are you sure you aren't just feeding into your own game right now?"
"No mum.." I try to keep calm.
"This isn't a game to me, not this time. I love her, I really love her. I love her more than I can even begin to tell you because I don't even understand it myself. I never thought I could or would feel this way. All I know is that she is my only shot at happiness, if she leaves me I will never recover. I won't mum. She is the only chance I have to not be alone for the rest of my life. I don't know what the fuck I did to deserve her, nothing I know, but she loves me. Do you know how that feels to have someone love you despite all the fucked up shit you do? I am nothing compared to her, she is way too good for me and she loves me. I have no fucking clue why but she does. She is always there for me mum, she always forgives me even when she shouldn't, she always says the right thing, she calms me but challenges me, she makes me want to be a better man. I know I am a shitty person, I know that. I have done so much shit but Tessa can't leave me, I don't want to be alone anymore and I will never love anyone again, she is it for me. I know it. She is my ultimate sin mum, and I will gladly be damned for her." I am out of breath by the time I finish and my mum's cheeks are wet and she is staring behind me.
I turn to find Tessa with her hands at her sides, her eyes wide and her cheeks just as wet as my mum's.
"I am going to go out for a little while.. give you two some privacy." My mum says, walking over to the door to retrieve her shoes and coat.
"Keys?" She asks. I point to the rack above her head and she nods.
There aren't many places for her to go on Christmas Eve, especially in the snow but I need to be alone with Tessa right now. As soon as my mum is out the door I pad across the room to her.
"What you said.. just now.. you meant it?" She asks through her tears.
"You know I did." I tell her.
The corners of her lips turn up and she reaches across the small space between us to put her hand on my chest.
"I need to know what you did." She speaks.
"I know.. just promise me that you will try to understand.."
"Tell me Harry."
I nod and walk over to the couch, I need to be sitting to tell her this shit. She sits down and crosses her legs less than two feet away from me.
"Okay.." I take a deep breath. I don't know where the fuck to start.
Tessa's POV.
Harry's face is pales and he rubs his hands over his knees before he speaks.
"I had a group of shitty friends back home, they were like Jace I guess.. We would do this thing.. this game I guess. We would pick a girl .. pick a girl for one another and see who could fuck their girl first.
My stomach drops and he continues. "Whoever won would get the hottest chick the next week, and there was money involved.."
"How many weeks?" I regrettably ask. I don't want to know yet I have to know.
"Only five weeks went by before this girl.."
"Natalie." I suppose.
"Yea.. Natalie was the last one."
"What did you do to her?" I am terrified of his answer.
"The third week.. James thought Martin was lying so he came up with the idea of proof.." Harry says.
The blood stained sheets pop into my mind and my chest physically hurts.
"Not the same type of proof.." He knows what I was thinking.
"Pictures.." He says and my mouth drops.
"Pictures?"
"And a video.." He admits and covers his face with his large hands.
A video?
"You recorded having sex with someone? Did she know?" I know the answer.
He confirms it when he shakes his head.
"How could you? How could do that to someone?" I begin to cry.
The realization that I don't know Harry at all hits me and I have to swallow the bile rising in my throat. I scoot away from him without thinking and I see the pain in his eyes.
"I don't know.. I just didn't care. It was.. fun to me.. well not exactly fun but I didn't care." His honesty slices through me and for once I long for the days where he kept everything from me.
"So what happened with Natalie?" My voice is coarse as I wipe the tears from my eyes.
"When James saw the video of her... he wanted to fuck her himself and when she turned him down he showed everyone the video."
"Oh my god. That poor girl." I feel so terrible for her.
I feel terrible for what they did to her, what Harry did to her.
"The video spread so quickly and her parents found out before the day ended. They were really big in their church community.. so the news didn't go well. They kicked her out of their house, and when word got around she lost her scholarship to the private university she was supposed to go to that fall."
"You ruined her." I say quietly.
Harry ruined this girl's life, the way he once threatened to ruin mine. Will I end up like her? Am I already just like her?
"You said you had never been with a virgin before.." I look at him.
"She wasn't a virgin. She had slept with a few guys already."
"Oh."
"That's why my mom sent me here.. everyone back home knew about it. I wasn't in the video.. well I was fucking her in it but I wasn't visible, only a few of my tattoos on my arms were. That's sort of what I am known for there now.." He says.
My head is spinning. It sickens me to think about Harry being with anyone else and the images won't stop playing.
"What did she say when she found out what you did?"
"She said she fell in love with me.. and she asked if she could stay at my house until she found somewhere else to go."
"Did you let her?"
"No."
"Why?"
"Because I didn't want to, I didn't care for her."
"How can you be so cold about this? Do you not understand what you did to her? She fell for you and you lead her on. You had sex with her and taped it, you showed your friends and she lost her scholarship and family because of you! Then you don't even have the compassion to let her stay with you when she had no where else to go?" I shout and stand up.
"Where is she now? What happened to her?"
"I don't know. I didn't care to find out."
The most chilling part of this whole thing is how casual and cold he is about this. This is nauseating.
I see the pattern here, I see the similarities between Natalie and I. I was left with no where to go because of Harry too. I have no relationship with my mother because of Harry. I fell for him while he was using me for some sick game. Harry stands up with me but keeps few feet of space between us.
"Oh my god.. you recorded me.. didn't you?" My entire body begins to shake.
"No! Fuck no! I would never do that to you! Tessa I swear to god I did not. I put that on everything."
I know I shouldn't but I believe that he didn't.
"How many others?"
"How many others what?"
"Did you record?"
"Just Natalie.. until I came here."
"You did it again! After everything you did to that poor girl, you did it again?" I scream.
"Once.. to Dan's sister." He says.
Dan's sister?
"Your friend Dan?"
"Yea.."
"That's what Jace meant when you were fighting!" It makes sense now. I had forgotten all about Dan and Harry's fight. Jace had hinted to some previous tension between the two of them but I didn't think much of it at the time, I was too distracted by Harry beating the crap out if him.
"Why did you do that if he was your friend? Did you show everyone?"
"No, I didn't show anyone. I deleted it after I made sure Dan knew about it. I don't know why I did it really. He told me to stay away from her when he brought her around the first time and that made me want to fuck her just to piss him off. He is a dick anyway Tessa."
"How do you not see how fucked up this is! How fucked up you are?" I yell.
"I know it is! I know that Tessa!"
"I thought the bet was the worst thing you had done.. but oh my god this is even worse."
It doesn't hurt me nearly as bad as finding out about Harry and Zayn's bet but it is vile, revolting, and makes me question everything I thought I knew about Harry. I knew he wasn't perfect, far from it but this is a whole new level of disgrace.
"This was all before you Tessa, this is my past. Please let it stay that way. I am not the same person now, you have made me a better person." He pleas.
"Harry you don't even care about what you did to them! You don't even feel guilty do you?"
"I do."
"Only because I know now."
He doesn't argue.
"You didn't care about them, about anyone!"
"You're right! I don't care, I honestly don't give a shit about anyone, except you!" He shouts back.
"I don't know what to think about all this.. this is too much Harry! Even for me, the bet, the apartment, the fights, the lies, getting back together, my mother, your mother, Christmas, it's too fucking much. I don't even get a chance to breath between these.. these messes. As soon as I get over one thing, another comes out. God knows what else you have done!"
"I don't know you at all, do I?' I cry.
"Yes you do Tessa! You do know me. That wasn't me, this is me. This is me now. I love you, I will do anything for you, for you to see that this is me. The man who loves you more than breathing, the man who dances at weddings and watches you sleep, the man who's day can't start until you kiss me, the man who would rather die than be without you. That is me, that's who I am." His eyes are glossy and I am moved by his words.
"Please don't let this ruin us, please baby." He steps towards me and I back away.
I need to be able to think.
"I can't think straight, I need time. I need to think about all of this. This is too much for me right now." I tell him.
"Okay..okay.. take time to think." He seems relieved.
"Away from you." I explain.
"No.."
"Yes Harry, I can't think straight around you."
"No Tessa, you are not leaving." He commands.
"You will not tell me what I will or will not do." I snap.
He sighs and wraps his fingers in his hair, tugging hard at the roots.
"Fine.. fine.. Let me go then. You stay here."
I want to argue but I really don't want to leave. I have had enough of hotel rooms and tomorrow is Christmas. I have no idea what is going to happen before we have to be at Ken's. This is a disaster. How am I supposed to smile and socialize when I just had all of this information dumped on me?
"I will be back in the morning.. unless you need more time." He says, he puts his shoes on reaches for the key rack before remembering that his mother has taken his car.
"Take mine." I say.
He nods and walks toward me to.
"Don't." I bring my hands in front of me and he frowns.
He walks into the bedroom, I don't follow him. When he returns less than two minutes later he is dressed and has his wallet in his hands.
"Please remember that I love you and I have changed." He says once more before leaving me alone in the apartment.

I walk to the bedroom and sit on the edge of the bed. What the hell am I going to do?
I am sick to my stomach from all of this. I knew Harry wasn't a good person before and I knew there were some things that I wouldn't be happy to hear but out of all the things I thought Anne could be referring to, this never ever crossed my mind. He recorded himself having sex with a girl without her knowing and showed it to his friends. Even worse, Harry's friend showed everyone. Her parents and her church found out, she lost her scholarship and was kicked out of her house. To top it off when she was kicked out and asked to stay with Harry, he told her no despite the fact that he was the cause of all of her problems. He violated her in a terrible, deplorable way and he didn't even care. He had no remorse for his actions and he still barely does. Unwelcome tears spill down my cheeks and I try to breathe in and out slowly, careful not to choke on my own breath.
The worse part to me is knowing her name. If she was just some anonymous girl I could almost pretend that she didn't exist. Knowing that her name is Natalie opens up too many thoughts. What does she look like? What did she plan to study in college before Harry took her scholarship from her, does she have any brother's or sister's? Did they know? If Anne wouldn't have brought this up would I have ever known?
How many times did they have sex? Did Harry like it? Of course he did. I am reminded. It's sex and obviously Harry was having a lot of it. With other girls, Lots of other girls. Did he stay the night with Natalie after? Why do I feel jealous of Natalie? I should feel sorry for her not envy her for touching Harry. I push the sick thought out of my mind and go back to thinking about the type of person Harry really is.
Can I forgive him for this? The more I think about it I don't have anything to forgive him for, he didn't do it this terrible thing to me. Not this time.
I didn't even know him when he taped himself having sex with her. I am disgusted by myself for the jealousy that keeps clawing its way to the surface.
I should have had him stay to talk it out, I always leave or in this case made him leave. The problem is that he clouds my thoughts, his presence washes away every ounce of gumption I hold. I have no constraint when he is involved.
I wish I knew what happened to Natalie after Harry demolished her life, leaving her with nothing but rubble at her feet. If she is happy now and leading a good life I would feel better, slightly. I wish I had a friend to talk about all of this with, someone to give me advice. Even if I did I wouldn't divulge Harry's indiscretion, I do not want anyone to know what he has done to these girls. I know how foolish it is to want to protect him when he doesn't deserve it, but I can not help it. I don't want anyone to think any worse of him and mostly I don't want him to think any worse of himself than he already does.
I lay back against the pillows and stare up at the ceiling. I just got over. well was working on getting over Harry using me to win a bet with his friends and now this? If it was just Natalie maybe it wouldn't be so bad but even after seeing the extent of the damage he had caused to the girl, he did it again with his friend's sister, then played another game with me. This is a cycle with him, this is what he does, will he be able to stop doing it? What would have happened to me if he wouldn't have fallen in love with me?
I know that he loves me, he truly does love me. I know that.
"Do you know how that feels to have someone love you despite all the fucked up shit you do?"
I do love him despite all the mistakes he makes and has made in the past. I do see a change in him since I have met him, even in the last week I have seen a change in him. He has never expressed his feelings about me the way he did today. I just wish that his declaration was announced under different circumstances.
He said that I am his only shot at happiness, I am the only chance that he has to not spend the entirety of his life alone. What a heavy statement. What a true statement. No one will ever love him the way I do, not because he is not worth loving but because no one will know him the way that I do. Did. Still do? I can't decide but I want to believe I know him, the true him. Who he is now is not the person he was just a few months ago.
He has done a lot for me despite the pain he has caused me. He has made a huge effort to be the person I want and need him to be. Half of me thinks that it may be time for me to take some of the blame here, not for what he did to Natalie but for being so hard on him. Granted what he did was wrong, so incredibly wrong but sometimes I expect too much from him. I forget that he is an angry, lonely man who up until now has never loved anyone. I know he loves his mother but not the same way that people usually love their parents.
The other half of me is tired. Tired of this cycle with Harry that has been constantly repeating itself. In the beginning of our relationship it was a constant cycle of him being cruel to me then nice, then cruel. Now the cycle has somewhat evolved but it is worse. Much worse. I leave him, then come back, then leave him again. I can not keep doing this, we can not keep doing this. If there is anything else that he is hiding it will break me, I am barely holding myself together now. I can't take any more secrets, any more heartache, any more break ups. I always used to have everything planned, every detail of my life was calculated, over analyzed , until Harry. He has completely turned my life upside down and mostly in a negative way. That being said he has also made me happier than I have ever been.
We need to be together and try to move past all of the terrible things he has done or I need to end things and keep them that way. If I leave him I need to move away from here, far away. I need to leave behind every reminder of my life with Harry otherwise I would never be able to move on. The pain that comes from considering leaving him is much worse than the pain he has caused me.
The tears have stopped now as my verdict sets in.
I can't leave him, I know I can't. I know how pathetic that is but there is no way I can be without him. No one will ever make me feel the way he does, no one will ever be him. He is it for me, just the way I am it for him. I shouldn't have had him leave, I needed time to think and I should take more time but I am already wanting him back with me. What is wrong with me? Is love always like this? Is it always so passionate yet so damn painful? I have no experience or even references to compare to. I can only hope that our relationship will not be like this forever.
I hear the front door open and climb off of the bed, rushing to the living room. I am disappointed to find Anne instead of Harry. I should have known it would be her, Harry is giving me time to think. Time that I asked for but now want to give back.
Anne hangs Harry's keys on the rack and removes her snow covered shoes. I am not sure what to say to her after she told me to leave with my mother.
"Where is Harry?' She asks me as she walks into the kitchen.
"He left.. for the night." I explain.
"Oh."
"I am sure if you call him he will tell you where he is if you don't want to stay here...with me."
"Tessa, I am sorry for what I said. I don't want you to think I have any ill feelings towards you, I do not. I was just trying to prevent you from what Harry can do to you. I don't want you to .." I can tell she is searching for the words.
"To end up like Natalie?"
"He told you?"
"Yes."
"Everything?" I hear the doubt in her voice.
"Yes, the tape, the pictures, the scholarship. Everything."
"And you are still here?"
"Yes. I am not going anywhere." I finally decide. We both sit down at the table across from one another.
When she looks at me with wide eyes and I know what she is thinking.
"I know he has done terrible things, deplorable things, but I believe him when he says that he has changed. He isn't that person anymore."
"He is my son and I love him but you really have to think about this. He just did the same thing to you Tessa. I know that he loves you. That is so clear to me now, I am just afraid that the damage has been done."
"It hasn't. Well damage has most certainly been done but it's not irreversible. I can't hold what he did before he knew me against him. If I hold his past against him how will he move forward? I know you probably think I am naïve and foolish to keep forgiving him but I love your son and I can not be without him either."
"I don't think you are either of those things. If anything your forgiveness shows maturity and compassion. My son hates himself, always has and I thought he always would, until you. I was mortified when your mum told me what he did to you and for that I am sorry. I don't know where I went wrong with Harry, I tried to be the best mother that I could be but it was so hard with his father not being around. I had to work so much and I didn't give him the attention that I should have. If I would have maybe he would have more respect for women." Her voice is full of guilt.
I know that if she hadn't already cried today, she would be crying now.
"I don't believe that he is this way because of you. I think it has a lot to do with his father and the type of friends he has, both of which I am trying to work on. Please do not blame yourself, none of this is your fault." I tell her.
"You are certainly the most kindhearted person I have met in all of my thirty five years."
"Thirty-five?" I arch my brow.
"Hey, just go with it. I can pass for thirty-five right?" She smiles.
"Definitely." I laugh.
I was just crying and on the verge of a breakdown twenty minutes ago and now I am laughing with Anne. The moment I decided to let Harry's past be his past I felt most of the tension leave my body.
"Does he know how you feel about all of this?" She asks.
"No, I told him I needed time to think so he is staying somewhere else tonight.. but I think I am going to call him soon."
"I think he could use a little time to stir." Anne smiles.
"I guess so." The idea of torturing him further isn't appealing but he could use some time to really think about everything he has done.
"I think he needs to know that there are consequences to the bad choices he makes. I will make dinner then you can put Harry out of his misery?" She laughs.
I am happy to have her humor to bring me from my sad confusion over Harry's past and I know that she is right about him needing to know there are consequences. I am willing to move past this, or at least try but he needs to know this is not okay and we still have a lot to talk about. I need to know that he will never d this again and that there are not anymore demons from his past that will railroad me again.
"What would you like to eat?"
"Anything is fine. I can help." I offer but she shakes her head.
"You just relax, as much as you can. You have had a long day with everything from Harry.. and your mum."
"Yea.. she is difficult."
"Difficult? I was going to use another word but I will keep it to myself since she is your mother." She smiles and opens the refrigerator.
"She's sort of a b..word." I say, not wanting to say bitch in front of Anne.
"She's a bitch, I will say it for you." She laughs and I join in.
Anne makes chicken taco's for dinner and we make small talk about Christmas, the weather, and everything else except what is actually on my mind. Harry.
"What do you think?" She asks.
"Sorry.. what?"
"I asked how you think tomorrow will go but I can tell you are distracted." She teases.
"Sorry." I take a drink of water. It is literally killing me not to call him and tell him to come home now.
"Do you think he has stirred long enough? it's been almost three hours." I say, not admitting that I have been counting the minutes.
"No, but it's not my choice." She says.
"I have to." I tell her and leave the kitchen to call him.
The surprise in his voice is evident when he answers the phone.
"Tessa?"
"I am done thinking.." I say into the phone.
"Already?" His voice cracks.
"Yes, we still have a lot to talk about but I would like if you could come home so we can talk."
"Yea.. yea of course. I will be there in ten minutes." He rushes the words.
"Okay.." I hang up the phone.
I have ten minutes to go over everything in my mind before he arrives, I need to stand my ground and make sure that he knows what he did is wrong but that I love him anyway.
I pace back and forth across the chilled concrete floor waiting for his arrival. After what seems like an hour, the front door opens and I listen as his boots thud down the small hallway. When he opens the bedroom door my heart breaks for the thousandth time. His eyes are swollen and bloodshot. He doesn't say anything, instead he walks over and places a small object in my hand. Paper?
I look up at him as he closes my fist around the folded up paper.
"Read it before you make up your mind." He requests.
I open my hand as he places a swift kiss on my temple and leaves the room.

To be continued. .

1 comment:

  1. Question....
    How do you come about this awesome story???

    ReplyDelete

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