someone making a comment about prosecco h about how he should date his age and it sends yn into a spiral like "oh god this isn't a good idea"
Would love to see the first fight for Prosecco (or any one i love the first fight one shots for ur other series lol)
Prosecco angst!! Pleaseeeee
"(Y/N), love, c'mon."
Harry's feigned exasperation fell short the more his smile grew. His arms were wrapped securely around her waist as she clung to him, legs hitched around his hips in her effort to not let him go.
"I don't want you to leave."
(Y/N)'s pout could be heard from miles away, Harry didn't even need the confirmation of her puffed lips pressed against his throat. He only sighed at her whining, the sentiment the same thing she'd been saying since he unraveled himself from the sheets of his bed and her legs.
"We've spent the whole weekend together, haven't we?" he attempted to soothe her, running his palm along the span of her back, "And, you'll still be here when I come home, right? No reason to pout about that, is there?"
"Yes, there is," she argued, her petulant tone making Harry's grin widen, "I don't want you to leave at all. Tell them you're sick and we'll lay in bed all day. You can go to work tomorrow instead, when I have class and can't miss you."
"That's the same thing y'told me last week, and I really did take the day off, remember?" he told her, walking them back to the kitchen counter where his abandoned mug of coffee sat in wait after he was distracted, "Don't think I can get away with that again, sweetheart."
A quiet humph sounded from where she was huddled in his neck as he settled her on the ledge of the kitchen counter. Despite the stable surface now under her bottom, she didn't bother to unravel herself from around Harry's form, thighs still cinched around his hips and arms looped around his neck.
"Can you work from home, then?"
"I wish, but I don't have any of m'things with me. And, I've got to be at a meeting today with some of our new clients." Harry dropped a kiss to her shoulder once he saw them deflate at all the reasons he couldn't stay him and lie in with her, no matter how much he wanted to.
"Fine," she relented, peeling herself away from his neck only enough to get a look at his face.
Just as he expected, even though she was giving up on her fight, her features were still molded into the sad puppy look she had begun to realize was something he had a hard time resisting.
"Don't look so sad, darling," he cooed to her, ducking his head to press a kiss to the tip of he nose, "I'll be home soon, 'kay? Y'can even call me on my lunch if y'really miss me that much."
"We just had so much fun this weekend, I don't want it to be over already," she told him, canting her head to the side as she gazed up at him.
"We did, didn't we?" he smiled at her, thinking abut their weekend full of nothing but lounging around in bed and going out to eat when (Y/N) got too antsy in the house and wanted to dress up. "I promise we'll do it all again this weekend, pretty girl. Jus' need to get through work first, right?"
"Okay," she sighed, "Maybe we can go to the aquarium this weekend?"
Harry's smile winded at her words, dimples deep in his cheeks. "We can definitely do that, sweetheart. I'll buy the tickets today, alright?"
She brightened some at his promise, giving him the smile he was missing since she decided to be his pouty girl. "Thank you, H."
His arms around her waist tightened at her quiet gratitude. There was nothing he loved more than making her happy. With his grip, he pulled her just to the edge of the kitchen counter as her body relaxed, legs now dangling on either side of his with her arms a loose loop around his neck.
"Now, give me a kiss before I go. 'M already going to be running late," Harry requested, dipping his head down with a nudge to her nose with his own.
(Y/N) complied with no convincing, happily pressing her lips to his. Her kiss tasted like the fruit he cubed up for her for breakfast, warding off the bitter afternotes of the coffee he barely had time to brush from his teeth before (Y/N) pounced on him with pleas to stay home.
"Love you," he murmured against her lips, planting a small smattering of pecks across her mouth before pulling away.
"Love you, too," she told him, bright smile on her lips, "Text me when you're on lunch so I can call you."
"You know I will, darling," he told her, giving her one more kiss before finally stepping out from between her legs.
(Y/N) hopped off the counter and followed him for the send off, the length his button down swaying over her thighs as she followed him. As much as he hated to leave her, the idea of her waiting at his home for him, dressed in his clothes and full of love for him made his heart race. He'd never had someone to come home to like this, even if they weren't officially moved in together yet. That thought made the days a little easier to get through.
With one more blown kiss in her direction and a wave before he pulled off, Harry tried his best to start his day despite the fact he was leaving his heart behind.
(Y/N) was bored.
Harry's house wasn't that fun when he wasn't there with her, she decided. She went through and finished up the laundry they started the day before and changed the sheets out on his bed, and even made sure she had all of her toiletries packed up in her bag so she could go home after dinner tonight, but that only filled a few hours before she was lounging on his couch watching a reality dating show she couldn't believe really found love for these people. Her only saving grace was the fact that the lunch hour was approaching.
Despite the fact she had already promised to call him during the break this morning, these lonesome hours allowed her to think up an idea that sounded much more fun the longer she laid out on his couch.
She was going to go see him.
She was going to pick up some lunch on the way there, and actually go see him for the first time at his big office. Planning her outfit took all of twenty minutes as she refused to take off his shirt, deciding to pair it with a pair of jeans that Harry had told her made her butt look good and the pearled headband she wore on their first date. It was a fun distraction, getting ready, as she primped her hair and did her skincare routine—forgoing makeup for the day—before placing a pickup order at Harry's favorite little diner he takes her to when she's hungry in the middle of the night. She couldn't wait to surprise him.
The drive to the diner was a familiar one, a quick stop that had her bubbling with excitement as she double checked the order of Harry's favorite meal and all his fixings (he loved this melt they had, the ingredients basically making up a grilled cheese until Harry added all of these bits and extras that elevated it to a 'melt' instead). As soon as she had today's lunch packed away in the passenger seat, (Y/N) put the address of Harry's office building into her GPS. A canopy of butterflies made their way through her tummy as her ETA approached with every mile she drove to his office. She'd never been before, and the fact that Harry wasn't expecting her added another layer to her bubbling nerves. Hopefully, she could find the place—and his office—easily so she couldn't have to ruin the surprise with a call asking him for directions.
Once the towering building came into view, (Y/N) realized just how many times she'd passed it on the way to her labs for her required science class her first year of university. The glossy windows shone in the sun's rays, gleaming almost as brightly as the blocky lettering that detailed the company name over the top floor of the structure. She knew his job was important, that he made a good living and met high-profile people, but she never figured it was this important. If she was being honest, what she had pictured was a building in a business plaza with a few floors to spare for the different departments, Harry's office settled on the highest one (at max, the fifth floor). Looking at the scale of his job, she now felt a little guilty for convincing him to call in the previous week. (That didn't mean she wasn't planning on doing it again, though).
With their lunches in hand, the plastic bag hanging off her wrist as she locked her car, (Y/N) craned her neck to gaze up the height of the building. If Harry was important as she figured he would be—should be—, he was at the top behind one of those glossy windows. He probably had a killer view.
Going through the glass doors, (Y/N) saw a luxurious waiting room complete with a receptionist smiling behind a glass desk and a shiny set of elevators pinging behind her as people came and went. It was definitely the lunch hour if the amount of suited people sifting through the lobby with lunch pails and takeaway containers to some of the fancier restaurants nearby was anything to go by.
"Hello," the receptionist greeted her, a bright smile on her face as that could rival the gleaming plate on her desk that detailed her name to be Seline. "Are you here to drop off a lunch delivery?"
Glancing down at her casual look and a bag of food at her side, (Y/N) couldn't blame her for thinking she was just here to drop off some executive's food order. The one day she doesn't feel like getting all dressed up to see him.
"Oh, no," she laughed, carefully approaching the desk so she didn't make any scoffs with the worn soles of her shoes, "I'm actually here to see Harry Styles? I think he's supposed to be on his lunch break right now, so I was hoping I could eat with him if you wouldn't mind telling me where I can find his office."
"Oh," Seline chirped with a raise of her brows, glancing down at the desktop Mac stationed on the surface of her glass desk, "I see. And may I ask for your name?"
"Right, sorry, I'm (Y/N). His girlfriend." (Y/N) hated the way her answer felt like a question with the way her tone tilted upwards at the end. She was beginning to feel so out of place in this building, she even doubted her own name.
"His girlfriend?" Seline deadpanned, her eyes flicking from her screen to fix on (Y/N). Though she still held a pleasant expression on her face, there was something vacant entering her smile, like she wasn't entirely sure what to do about this situation.
"Yeah," she affirmed with a jerky nod, her hair fluttering behind the hold of the headband crowing her head, "It's kind of a surprise, so..."
(Y/N) cringed as she trailed off, wishing she had thought through her statement before she opened her mouth.
"Oh, okay," Seline smiled, the edges turning down some as she tapped away at her keyboard. After pressing definitively on the enter key, the receptionist looked up with an apology in her eyes, "Unfortunately, I'm not able to let anyone up to see any of the executives unless I have express permission from them or an appointment on their schedule. But, I can take a message for you and let him know you stopped by?"
A kind of anxiety (Y/N) hadn't felt since her first day of college swept through her system. She was sure Seline was doing her job, following policies in place that made the most of Harry and his colleagues' time, but (Y/N) had never felt more stupid or out of place in her life. Another set of employees dressed in suits and skirts, everything creaseless with precise pleats and expensive shoes that clacked over the tiled floor made their way out of the elevator, making (Y/N) feel that much more out of place with the holes in her jeans and the wrinkles in her borrowed shirt. She hadn't even bothered to brush her hair before she left.
The bag of food at her side crinkled as she shifted, grabbing for her phone from her pocket. "Um, could I actually give him a call, really quick? I-I'm sure he'll let me up, I just didn't know he needed to let you know."
"Of course, take your time," Seline offered, dropping her skeptical gaze to (Y/N)'s flowery cased phone, "As soon as I have his permission come through my system, I can buzz the elevator for you."
Peeping out a thank you, (Y/N) scurried off to one of the white leather seats that decorated the waiting area. She was sure no one was paying her any mind as she fiddled with her phone, getting frustrated when her Face I.D. wasn't accepted with the way her hands were shaking, but she swore every person that passed through the waiting area—especially Seline—had their eyes glued to the silly girl that was trying to bypass protocol to see her 'boyfriend'.
By the time she had the phone pressed to her ear with Harry's contact pulled up, (Y/N) worried she was going to scream if the plastic bag with their food crinkled one more time in the quiet lobby.
"Sweetheart, I was jus' about to text you," Harry greeted her, his voice offering a flood of relief.
"Harry, hi—uh—I'm at your office." She cringed as the words left her mouth, knowing Seline could definitely hear the way she wobbled through her words. "But—um—I'm not allowed up until you say its okay."
"You are? Sweetheart, I'm so sorry, I didn't know y'were coming," Harry prattled off after a beat, the sound of a keyboard tapping in the background.
"It's okay, I was trying to surprise you with lunch and everything," she murmured, feeling silly now in her plan. Of course she wasn't going to be escorted to someone's corporate office without some kind of permission or appointment. At least they were getting it figured out.
"Oh, pretty girl," Harry cooed through the phone, his smile evident in his tone, "That's so sweet of you. I can't wait to see you." He paused for a moment before she heard a ping on the line. "Alright, I sent my access code down to Seline, she'll buzz y'right up, yeah? Once you're on m'floor, just need to take a right to Shelly's desk and you'll need to tell her your name but she'll let you in right away."
"Thank you, H," she sighed as her shoulders sagged in relief. With a proper plan in place, (Y/N) could breathe. "Love you."
"Love you too, gorgeous. I'll see you in a minute."
After hanging up, Seline waved her over as soon as (Y/N) stowed her phone in her pocket. "Mr. Styles' permission just came through!" she beamed at her, "I'm so sorry about that confusion, Ms. (Y/N). Mr. Styles just didn't let me know he was expecting anyone and you look so young, I was worried a daughter of one of his clients got a little too attached over a client dinner or something." Seline laughed as if she had told (Y/N) one of her funniest jokes as she clicked away at her keyboard, the up arrow above one of the elevators lighting up as she pressed enter. Swiping a keycard from a drawer on her desk, Seline handed it out with a polite smile on her face. "Scan this at the elevator, and go to floor twenty. Have a nice lunch, Ms. (Y/N)."
(Y/N) swallowed as she took the keycard, reciprocating the polite smile the receptionist gave her though (Y/N) could bet her own was nothing more than a shaky imitation. She worked robotically as she followed the directions she was given, the keycard taking a moment to scan as she couldn't steady her hand.
She looked so young that Seline worried she was a daughter of one of Harry's clients coming to stalk him? Alone in the elevator with her distorted reflecting staring back at her in the mirrored panels that slated the walls, (Y/N) didn't know what to think. Of course it was never a secret that there was a lengthy gap in age between she and H—the very reason he had waited so long in becoming close to her—but never had that fact been so blatantly presented to her.
Sure, (Y/N) didn't do herself any favors with her makeup-less face and rumpled outfit, but she didn't think she particularly looked like someone's teen daughter who sought after a man of her father's demographic. Shaking off the comment, she tried to remind herself of the relief of finally getting out of that lobby and getting closer and closer to her Harry—her comfort zone. All she had to do was talk to Shelly, and she was in. No more crinkling plastic bag or scuffs of her shoes over the expensive tile.
Once the elevator dinged, the number twenty illuminated over the door, (Y/N) let out a breath. This floor held the same ambiance as the waiting room she'd just left—clean lines, light colors, and glass fixtures everywhere. Office doors with titles and names lined the length of the hall. Each sprawling end was serrated by the lobby area that almost perfectly emulated the one below, only smaller.
The same glass desk as Seline's was stationed in the middle of the lobby, the main fixture in the area with the gleaming iMac and tall vase of neutral flowers on the edge. A desk plate inscribed with Shelly across the brass shone in the sunlight seeping through the windows. But, there was no Shelly to be seen.
Peering down the hall, (Y/N) spotted what looked like it could be the office to the Chief Officer of Brand Relationships, or his better known name: Harry Styles. Without Shelly there, and her safe haven within her sights, (Y/N) figured she'd just toe her way down the hall and get to his office by herself. Just as she moved to bypass the glass desk, the sound of heels tapping over the elaborately titled floors sounded from the hall behind her.
Looking over her shoulder, (Y/N) paused when she realized who was clicking over the floor.
"Hello, sorry about that I was—" Shelly cut herself off, her brows furrowing once she was close enough to realize who was standing in her lobby, "(Y/N)?"
"Hi, Shelly," (Y/N) awkwardly greeted her, taking in her classmate from the Business English course she took before (Y/N) realized she would rather die than have anything to do with writing business polices and handbook guides. She'd never seen Shelly so dressed up, used to her curls being tied into a poof on the top of her head with baggy sweatsuits covering her form. Here, she was clad in a smart skirt with the matching top tucked in, complete with the resounding heels that clacked over the floor, hair in defined and shiny ringlets. (Y/N) swallowed before she spoke again, "I didn't know you worked here."
"Oh yeah," Shelly waved off, a pinch remaining in her brow, "this is where I do my internship hours."
When she paused, this is what (Y/N) had been scared of. She and Shelly certainly weren't close enough to maintain a bubbling conversation with anything other than surface level small talk before settling into a static silence.
"That's nice," (Y/N) smiled, forcing herself to keep from grabbing for her phone out of habit at the feel of the awkward air, "How do you like it?"
Shelly gave her a generic smile, one she most likely trained herself for with this job. "It's really nice, thanks for asking. Super nice place, and the food is awesome around here so there's always fun lunch breaks to be had." They both broke out into polite laughs, (Y/N) trying to ease herself when she saw Shelly's eyes drop to the plastic bag at her side. "Are you here dropping off food for someone?"
Round two begins.
"Oh no," (Y/N) shook her head, schooling her features as best she could, "I'm here to see—um—Harry Styles, actually. He said he sent a permi—"
"You're Mr. Styles' girlfriend?"
(Y/N) nervously began to pluck at the buttons of her top with her restless fingers. Though her smile was beginning to waver, she kept up her polite facade. "That's me," she chirped with a shrug, faux-nonchalance greasing her joints.
"Oh," Shelly sounded, eyes wide with brows raised as she rounded the side of her desk. In seconds her gaze was flitting over her computer screen, incredulous look still pasted to her face by the time she finally looked up at (Y/N) again. "You're the one that talked to Seline downstairs?"
"Yeah," (Y/N) replied simply, unsure of where else to go with a question like that.
Shelly hummed, leaning down and typing out something on the keyboard before she stood to the full of her height and gave her attention to (Y/N), though she wished she could give it back. "You're having lunch with him today?"
"Yeah," she parroted, the bag at her side crinkling at the worst time, "I called him when I was downstairs, so he should know I'm here and everything already."
"Right," Shelly laughed, shaking her head with a fluff to her curls as she seemingly remembered where she was, "Sorry about that. I got Seline's message that Mr. Styles' girlfriend was here to see him, you're just not what I was expecting." She rounded her desk once more with a pleasant smile, heels clacking.
Gesturing for (Y/N) to follow her with a quiet right this way, Shelly started her down the same hallway (Y/N) had seen Harry's nameplate. As much as she had wanted to scurry away and hide in Harry's office before, (Y/N) dragged her feet during the trek. Maybe she was nothing but a glutton for punishment, unable to let the draining weeds growing in her head go unfed, but she couldn't help herself before the next question left her lips.
"What do you mean?"
"Hm?" Shelly hummed, falling back to walk in line with (Y/N).
"Just—I mean..." (Y/N) stuttered, cringing at herself for stumbling so hard over her words in the quiet hallway. "Um, what were you expecting when you heard his girlfriend was coming?"
"Oh," Shelly chirped, slowing even further as she directed her gaze to the ceiling with a pucker to her lips as she thought. "No one specific, really. I don't know, I figured it would be some kind of executive lady, or something. Oh, wait! Do you remember Prof Frances?"
(Y/N) stopped herself from taking in the deep breath that ached to be a sigh at the mention of one of the teachers that was well known across campus. She was a super beautiful woman, someone that people were known to take her class for with only the intention of staring at her and trying their hand at flirting with her during office hours. She was a kind woman, reserved and quiet when not up front lecturing, but held the kind of confidence that only came with age and loving the body you were in and the person you were. She was grown. Of course, Shelly would picture someone like that for Harry.
Cool, confident, and sure of herself. Her beauty was only a plus and her age was much more well matched for Shelly's Mr. Styles.
"I remember her."
"I guess I pictured someone like her then," Shelly bubbled off, shrugging her shoulders as they came to a stop by Harry's door, "All tall and dark and everything. I definitely wasn't expecting one of my classmates."
(Y/N) gave a polite laugh to Shelly's attempt at a joke. She felt entirely too stiff in the lungs and tight in her tummy to think of anything sunny at the the moment.
"It was really nice to see you, though," Shelly chirped, eyes bright as she turned, "Let me know when you're planning on coming by next time, and I can tell Seline so she can have the keycard and everything waiting for you."
Getting out a weak thanks, (Y/N) watched as Shelly knocked on Harry's office door before cracking it open enough to stick her head through and let him know his guest was here. The sound of Harry's deep voice sounding through his office, though muffled by the time it reached (Y/N)'s ears, did enough to soothe her anxieties before she was ushered over the threshold with Shelly shutting the door behind her.
"Hi, sweetheart," Harry smiled at her, rising from his spot behind his desk with open arms, "'M so happy to see you, c'mere."
It was instinct the way she moved across the office, dropping the bag of food into one of the chairs opposing his desk with her bag and keys. (Y/N) smushed her face against his chest as soon as she was close enough, looping her arms around his middle while Harry's became a cradle around her shoulders.
"Hi," she peeped against his chest, eyes falling closed.
"My pretty girl," he hummed as he dropped a kiss to the top of her head. "Best surprise ever, you know that?"
"Good," she tried to laugh, urging her lungs to relax, "I was starting to worry that I wasn't supposed to be here."
"What do you mean?" Harry asked, unpeeling himself from around her. Shifting his grip, he laced a hand through hers while he reached for the bag of food on his desk, a smile appearing on his face when he noticed the restaurant name on the plastic.
Flashing back to the tight air that filtered through the lobby downstairs and the unexpected run-in with a classmate, (Y/N) only shrugged. Fanning her gaze across his office, she followed after him as he took her to the comfortable pair of chairs stationed by the floor to ceiling window that plated one side of his office. The perfect spot to schmooze clients and lunch with other executives.
"It's just really fancy here, and all," (Y/N) settled on as she sunk into the plush leather of the chair.
A huffed laugh left Harry's lips as he doled out the contents of the bag, packets of silverware and napkins being shared on the sidetable planted between the chairs. "Yeah, a little, isn't it? Definitely not what it used to be when I started working here."
(Y/N) only nodded as he spoke, a small smile on her face. She wanted to be here with Harry, talking about his work, seeing his excitement when he realized what she picked up for him, or just allowing the fact she was spending time with him to wash over her. She wanted all of that, but each time she felt herself relax, a moment of Seline's quickly concealed judgement or Shelly's bordering-on-disrespectful surprise flashed through her memory.
Should she even be here right now?
"Pretty girl, y'got me my melt!" Harry chirped with a bright smile, bringing her attention back to the moment where an unopened takeaway box sat on her lap.
A genuine curve of her lips molded her features. This was what she had been looking forward to when she thought up her plan. "And, I even made sure they put all that gross stuff you like on there."
Harry scoffed and made a face as he reached for a pack of cutlery. "'S not gross to have mushrooms on a melt, love. At least 'm not dipping it in ketchup or something worse."
With a pointed glance in her direction, Harry waited for the explosion she was going to give him.
"Harry Styles, that was one time, and I was drunk. It's not fair to keep bringing that up!"
The bright smile on his face was reward enough for all the trouble she'd gone through to make it to his office. "'S jus' shocking, that's all," Harry pressed, his curls falling over his forehead as he shook his head, "As a self-proclaimed grilled cheese purist, I expected a little better out of you."
Rolling her eyes, (Y/N) cracked open her own box. From the corner of her eye, she could see Harry digging into his lunch, spinach leaves and avocado smears edging out the back of the sandwich.
"You know," he started, swallowing down his bite while (Y/N) twirled her side of macaroni on her fork, "y'should be happy that's the most embarrassing thing you've done around me while drunk. By the time I was your age, I had friends who had to babysit me at parties after this one time I tried to eat some girl's cigarette. I only have photos to prove that even happened, though because I don't remember a second of it."
Normally, (Y/N) would have been enamored at the mention of what Harry was like when he was university aged like her. But, today the phrase of when I was your age, struck a cord in her.
There hadn't been too much thought in her head about their age gap when she met Harry. The only time she had really thought about it was when Harry brought it up, telling her that he hadn't wanted to pursue her sooner in hopes of avoiding making her uncomfortable. When he had told her that, she remembered the way she canted her head to the side with a furrow in her brow; the fact he was thirty (or close to, when they met) hadn't been something that sounded all that bad to her. If he had showed her any kind of interest earlier, (Y/N) wouldn't have given it a single thought before trying to subtly flirt her way into his life.
Today had been the first time she really had to confront their age gap in a way that didn't make her feel protected and warm.
Sure, she could understand a moment's hesitation. They weren't a traditional coupling, and that was fine, but hearing more than once that she was not what others had expected to be Harry's girlfriend got under her skin. The mention of a previous professor just about sealed the deal for (Y/N).
Of course, someone his age would be able to bond over the same things they grew up with, the same formative years and pop culture references. Of course, he would be better matched to someone with the same level of maturity who was on the same chapter of their life.
"What's got y'thinking so hard over there, sweetheart? Making me nervous y'jus' remembered y'left the stove on or something." Harry's joking brought her back to the present, the bright open space of his office greeting her from where she emerged in the back of her head.
(Y/N) shook her head, "Nothing. I was watching Love Island before I left, and those people are so weird sometimes." As expected Harry's smile turned crooked at the mention of the television show she had managed to get him sucked into on more than one occasion.
"Yeah? What happened this time?"
"Too much, I'll have to show you later," (Y/N) brushed off. She could barely remember half of the contestants' names right now, let alone recall any specific scene of the episode she watched today. She had much bigger things on her mind. "Can I ask you something, H?"
The responding hum he gave her was enough to have (Y/N) pushing at the fries littering her takeaway box as she tried to construct her question.
"Have you... You've told people about us, right?"
Harry nodded his head as he plucked a dangling piece of spinach off his melt. "Yeah, I've mentioned y'to my colleagues and all and talked about you at a couple of events and everything. Why?"
Urging herself to be nonchalant, (Y/N) tried her best despite the robotic motion of her shoulders as she shrugged. "Both of the people I talked to—the receptionists—seemed really surprised to see me."
"I mean, y'surprised even me, sweetheart," Harry laughed, smiling around the French fry he tossed in his mouth.
"I know. I guess, it was like they were surprised to see me. Like, they couldn't believe that I was your girlfriend." (Y/N) zipped her lips before she could manage to spill any more of what was running through her head while she had been pinned under the microscope of his employee's gazes.
A furrow pinched at his brow as he wiped at his mouth. "I don't really show pictures of you, or anything since 's no one's business," Harry paused as he spoke, "But, I can start doing that if y'want? Was thinking about putting a picture of you on m'desk anyway, so we can start there."
While the mention of being a fixture on Harry's work desk was a sweet sentiment, that wasn't exactly what she had been shooting for. She didn't know how to tell him about what had happened out in the waiting areas, not wanting to cause any problems or drama, and Harry didn't seem to understand what she was hinting at. She could always bring it up later, once he was out of his work clothes and (Y/N) wasn't feeling so raw from the experience.
With that thought, (Y/N) brushed off the memories and sunk herself into the leather of her chair.
"You'd put me on your desk?" she smiled at him, trying not to picture what Seline or Shelly would do if they saw a photograph of Mr. Styles with his co-ed girlfriend in his office.
"Course," Harry cemented, a sweet smile on his features, "It'd be a whole lot easier than unlocking m'phone every five minutes to see your picture."
Though there was a dark corner in the back of her mind that couldn't even begin to prune the poisonous weeds growing there, (Y/N) did her best to accept Harry's sweetness as it was.
He loved her and she loved him back just as much, that was all that mattered.
By the time (Y/N) made it back to Harry's house, she couldn't think of another time she had been this exhausted.
Lunch with him was perfect after she managed to banish those inflammatory feelings from her mind, but it was the trek back downstairs when his lunch hour was up that wrung her out. Shelly was behind her desk when (Y/N) left Harry's office, giving her a polite smile and see you later pinged in (Y/N)'s head knowing that the next time she would see the receptionist would be on her college campus. Seline was just as polite, but still vacant as she flicked her gaze to (Y/N)'s shoes that squeaked over the tile on accident.
It was nothing they said, but the way they looked at her that had (Y/N) fidgeting on the drive back. Shelly could be a bit of a gossip from what (Y/N) could remember back when they shared a class, and it wouldn't surprise her to find out that the ding she heard from Seline's computer was a message from Shelly dishing about Mr. Styles' girlfriend.
(Y/N) was an overthinker and she knew that. The stupidest things in class could have her up at night analyzing every moment in fear she said the wrong thing or wasn't nice enough in a single moment. Everything with Andrew and Iris that happened forever ago had made her lose many weeks of sleep trying to figure out where she had gone wrong to cause either of them to treat her so poorly. When she and Harry started getting closer, she remembered the nights she would lay with her eyes on the ceiling trying to figure out if the way he said 'just friends' really meant they were only friends or if she should put more stock in the way he held her to his side and clung to her hand as he walked her home. She spun herself out on more than one occasion, and it appeared her power was needed once more.
Stepping over the threshold to his house, (Y/N) was washed over with Harry's scent. Though the hallmarks of the typical comfort she felt walking into his space remained, she still had that lingering feeling of being out of place. Just like she had at his office.
She kept her shoes on as she trekked through the space, forgoing the usual ritual of shucking them off before placing them beside Harry's own collection by the door. Her bag hung limply in her hand as he walked down the hall. She felt ready to bolt at a moment's notice like a spooked animal.
Though he was partial to hanging art pieces through his home, Harry still had his fair share of personal photos pasted to the walls. A panel dedicated to his family and friends stole (Y/N)'s attention as she approached his room, eyes grazing the pictures. Many were with the friend group she was now apart of, majority with Harry's closest friends of the bunch, Mitch and Sarah. She could see holidays and getaways spent with his people; tan as he vacationed with Mitch and Tom and Jeff in Jamaica, and bundled up with a cap covering his curls while spending time in Japan.
Trailing her eyes through the photographs, Harry's smile seemed to show the brightest in pictures with his family. More often than not, his mother and sister were tucked underneath his arms, matching smiles on their faces as they gazed into the lens. The trio of them all looked so similar; dark hair and pretty eyes, dimples and high cheekbones.
(Y/N) wondered if his mom smiled like that when Harry told her about his girlfriend. When he told her that his girlfriend was still in university and had to have Harry order for her when they went out because she was too anxious to do it herself. Did those dimples still crater her cheeks when Harry detailed out how his girlfriend's ID was still skeptically looked at by bouncers and bartenders, a handful of them even blatantly asking if it was a fake or giving Harry a dirty look for corralling some young girl out to the bars with him. (Y/N) wondered how his sister reacted the first time she saw a photo of them on instagram, and even moreso when she had inevitably perused (Y/N)'s page after and found teenaged photos that weren't that far down the feed.
Did either of them look the way Seline had? Did they share that same shocked surprise that Shelly had written all over her face?
Shaking her head, (Y/N) willed herself to go to his room, tearing her gaze from the wall of photos that she was only using to hurt her own feelings. Those weeds of doubt that had sprouted back at Harry's office had vined around her mind and taken her hostage with no escape route in place.
(Y/N) knew in her heart that Harry was her perfect match; she could trust herself on that decision. No one had loved or cared for her the way he did. No one she had ever known texted her in the middle of the day just because they saw a bundle of clouds that looked like this little plush dog (Y/N) had loved as a kid. No one called her first thing in the morning with the express purpose of leaving her a voicemail to wake up to.
She knew that Harry was her perfect match, but maybe she wasn't his.
Was she holding him back? There could be someone out there that could actually relate to him when he brought up some toy he had as a kid that was discontinued before (Y/N) was even born. Someone who could afford to treat him to more than a cup of coffee or lunch at a greasy diner. There could be someone who could fit him better, but he was too busy entertaining her to find them.
Sinking into the edge of his mattress, (Y/N) hung her head in her hands with her elbows digging into her thighs. She knew she needed to stop herself right now, right where she was in her never-ending process of negativity. She wasn't being rational.
Harry loved her and he wouldn't waste his time on someone the didn't believe was worth it. And, (Y/N) knew she loved him just as much, if not more than he did her. Spiraling over all of this wasn't helpful to anyone, especially when she knew there was no reason to doubt her gut or her place in Harry's life.
But, that insecurity that rooted itself in her brain and guilt that had flooded in along with it wasn't that easy to boot.
Pulling her head from her hands, she looked to the mess of her stuff she had made by his closet door, duffle bag left open with her clothes spilling out from all sides. (Y/N) sighed as she stood up, reaching down to clean up the mess she left on his floor after rifling through for her outfit for the day. In a pang of bitterness, she couldn't help but knock herself down with the thought that Prof Frances would never leave a mess like this at Harry's house. She was too mature, and put together to leave her charging cable laying along the floor with extra underwear hanging out of the side pocket to her bag.
Taking a deep breath, (Y/N) shoved her things harder into her bag, wrinkling and mushing her clothes into a lump of fabric. She was mad at herself for getting so hung up over this all; it wasn't even bad what was said today! Sure it was a bit annoying to be compared to a teenager and told that her old professor would be a more predictable fit for Harry, but no one was out to hurt her feelings—it had only been herself knocking her down. Slumping back on her heels before her bag, (Y/N) wondered if she might have better luck of shaking this feeling if she just went home.
There, she could shower using her fancy body scrub that was too hard to transport for sleepovers at Harry's, use her sweet-smelling shampoo and even do a face mask and wipe away everything that had bothered her today. At home she could lick her wounds and be a better partner to Harry when she wasn't so raw and down on herself. While she thought she hid it pretty well over lunch how upset she was, she knew it wasn't fair to Harry to wait for him to come home after a long day and pretend she was in the best of moods.
With a sigh, brows pinched at the middle, (Y/N) hooked her overnight bag over her shoulder before reaching for her phone. She had her eyes placed on her phone as she left his room, making a point to bypass the wall of family photos without a glance.
hey h I think Im gonna go home:( im not feeling super good and really want to shower at my place and sleep some before class tomorrow. ill bring your shirt back after I wash it and everything. sorry :(
Her hands shook as he pressed send before locking his front door behind her. Locking her phone, (Y/N) made her way to her car with a pit in her tummy. It didn't feel good to lie to Harry, especially when it was a lie that would keep her from spending time with him. She didn't even want to see the inevitable sweet text he would send back, most likely offering to drop off soup or come by for a cuddle if she needed someone to help take care of her. In the long run, though, she knew this time apart would be good for them.
That's why even when Harry texted her back with with a sad face and a promise that it was alright, pretty girl, she couldn't waver. Even when he sent her another message after he had assumed she'd fallen asleep while she was taking her time in the shower that he missed her and couldn't wait to see her later this week. He was here for her if she needed anything, he reminded her.
Locking her phone without responding that night was the hardest thing she had to do.
Harry felt his heart ache when he stepped out of the shower, looping towel around his waist as he saw (Y/N) hadn't texted him back still. Poor thing really must not be feeling well if she conked out at seven, his little night owl.
He hadn't been too surprised when she messaged him earlier in the day to let him know she wasn't feeling well, but it still made his shoulders drop at the prospect of her not being there when he got home. She had been a bit off during lunch, lost in her head and reluctant to eat more than a few bites before she claimed she was full from breakfast still. He was worried about her when he saw that she hadn't even been enticed by the side of macaroni and cheese she ordered for herself, the diner being one of her favorite places to have it. If not for the fact she told him she wanted to get some sleep in so she could be well enough for class tomorrow, Harry would have insisted in going to her place after he got off work. But, he knew that if he stopped by, she would do what she always did and try to stay awake as long as possible with him.
If she wasn't well enough by Wednesday when they had plans to see one another, he wouldn't take no for an answer to bring her some soup or coddle her through her bug, like she had declined tonight instead for sleep.
Settling into bed, Harry was wrapped in (Y/N)'s scent that puffed through his comforter as he fluffed it around himself. When he closed his eyes, it was like she was still with him.
After setting his alarm early enough he had time to call (Y/N) and leave a good morning voicemail and make his cup of coffee before heading to work, Harry filled his head with all the love and affection he wished he could be giving to (Y/N) in that moment. Hopefully she would feel some of it and know he was thinking about her, and could help her feel somewhat better.
Harry hoped she was thinking about him, too.
Though the threat of a day's worth of classes loomed over her head, (Y/N) woke on Wednesday morning feeling worlds better than she had even twenty-four hours prior. She had made the right choice in staying with herself for a couple of days, having all that time to spend with herself to get her head screwed on straight and talk herself down from the spiraling decline she had set herself up for.
Tuesday had been a hard day to get through, especially as she started the day with a mention of her faux-illness in Harry's morning voicemail. That guilt she felt about holding him back, not being the right person to make him happy only increased ten-fold when she tacked on the fact she had lied to get away from him for a couple of nights. But, since she had all that time to herself she was allowed to wallow for a few hours before being sucked into real life and having to exit her head.
The reality of it all was that it didn't matter what ran through Seline's head when she saw who her boss's girlfriend was. Same thing with Shelly; she had assumed Harry would be interested in someone like Prof Frances, but that wasn't true. Harry was interested in someone like (Y/N), and she loved him back just as much. That was all that mattered, and if anyone really had any issues, any quarrels about her age or whether or not she was an appropriate person for Harry to be in love with, didn't. She was happy with him, completely dedicated and willing to be in this relationship, and she knew he felt the same. That was all that mattered.
By the time she'd gone to sleep on Tuesday night, (Y/N) was still happy to have this time to herself (especially since she was doing all kinds of body skincare that entailed her hands to be wrapped in serum soaked gloves and feet to be in the same situation), she missed Harry. At least this time she didn't pretend to be asleep while he was texting her.
Wednesday morning was a piece of cake by then. The pit of anxiety that had weighed her down since Monday was finally gone, and (Y/N) couldn't have been more excited to see Harry that night.
She just had to get through class first.
By the time her final class of the day started—creative writing with Prof Daniels at two p.m every Wednesday and Friday—(Y/N) was excited. She actually really loved the current assignment for the class, and didn't feel even a tint of exhaustion at the idea of having plans after she was done for the day. If she made enough progress on her draft today, she might even be able to share what she had done with Harry and see what he thought.
After Mr. Daniels made his introduction for the day, reminding the class of the first draft's due date and what themes are meant to be focused on for this assignment, he retired to his office for the hour leaving everyone to independently work and make progress on their drafts. A few of her classmates left once their professor went to his office, getting the attendance grade before going off to do whatever else they wanted for the day, but (Y/N) stayed planted in her spot, headphones in her ears.
Wanting to start off on the right foot when this project was announced, (Y/N) had outlined the general flow of the piece with each of the required themes weaved throughout, making this entire process much easier than she had in the past. (Y/N) had found her groove moments later, typing away at her laptop with quick glances back and forth at her handwritten outline. Much of the class had emptied out for the hour when she bothered to take a look around, but she didn't mind being one of the few that took advantage of this allotted time to finish her work. Besides, she didn't want to go home and forget what time it was while she was working only to have Harry come in to see her still in her sweats when she had something a little bit prettier planned to greet him with.
When (Y/N) had just made it through the first section of her piece, out of the corner of her eye she noticed someone settling in the seat beside her. A quick glance showed it was one of the girls in her class that she often peer reviewed with, Isla. She was someone (Y/N) had met through Iris but wasn't all that close to either of them, which (Y/N) was thankful for after everything that had happened; she was nice during peer reviews and gave honest feedback, and (Y/N) would have hated having to find someone else in the class if she insisted on being loyal to Iris.
Isla's body was positioned in her seat to face (Y/N), knees pointed toward her with a smile on her face. Her laptop was still stationed at the typical desk she occupied, so (Y/N) figured she wasn't switching her seating situation. Plucking a headphone out of her ear, (Y/N) paused her music.
"Hey," she greeted Isla, voice quiet despite the fact almost all of her remaining classmates had their own headphones on and music playing, "What's up?"
"Hey, (Y/N)," Isla smiled at her, quickly glancing at her phone that was lit up in her lap, "I'm so sorry to bother you, I know we're supposed to be working on our stories."
"Its okay," (Y/N) brushed off, giving her attention to Isla despite the blinking cursor on her screen that urged her to keep going, "Did you need help with something?"
Isla shook her head, red curls fluttering around her face, "Oh no, this is actually super weird. But, my roommate told me something that didn't sound right, but I wanted to ask you if it was true."
A furrow pinched at (Y/N)'s brow as she listened. Couldn't Isla have just googled this?
"Okay," she started, "I don't know if I'll know the answer, but I'll try."
Releasing her bottom lip that had gone trapped between her teeth, Isla grabbed for her phone in her lap one more time. "You know Shelly Blake, right?"
At the mention of Shelly's name, (Y/N) felt all the color drain from her face. Nonetheless, she gave Isla a small nod, rolling her lips between her teeth. She knew where this was going.
"Well, my roommate had brunch with her this morning, I guess, and Shelly said that you're dating her boss," Isla babbled, not being nearly as quiet as (Y/N) wanted, "But I told Kerry—my roommate—that I don't think that's true because I think Shelly's boss is, like, thirty or something. But, Shelly says that you, like, went to her office and went and saw him and all, but, I don't know, I don't believe it. I know you have a boyfriend and all, but it's not him, right?"
(Y/N)'s mouth ran dry as soon as she heard the mention of Harry's age. Of course, that would be the point of contention as to why there was no way (Y/N) could be dating Shelly's boss.
She didn't know what to say, but (Y/N)'s silence seemed to be enough for Isla to realize her own answer. (Y/N) worried her fingers in her lap as she tried to come up with something to say, the nourishing mask she had done on her hands the night before making a much harder task of picking at her cuticles.
"Um, actually," (Y/N) started, feigning a smile on her features so she didn't make this interaction any more awkward by showing that she was hurt, "it is true. I've been dating him for a little while now, and I just went and visited him for lunch on Monday."
"Oh," Isla sounded, glancing back at her phone before finally locking the device and turning it facedown, "I didn't know that. I guess I always figured the guy you post on instagram was from that tech university that's an hour away or something since I'd never seen him around."
"Oh, no," (Y/N) shook her head, pleasant face still in place, "He's an executive at Shelly's company in the city. We just don't really hang out on campus and all, obviously."
"And he's really, like, thirty?"
That pit (Y/N) had been afraid of returning began to open up in her tummy again, working like a blackhole as it tried to suck her in from the inside out. "Yeah, his birthday was a couple of months ago."
"Wow," Isla said simply, brows raising over her eyes, "I had no idea. I didn't even know you liked older guys. Or, that there were any actually cute ones around here that were willing to date college girls."
Just as (Y/N) was about to explain that while his age was something she found attractive, she wasn't necessarily into 'older guys', she was into Harry, Isla cut her off with a bubbling gasp that fed into a set of laughter.
"You didn't meet him on one of those sugar daddy sites, did you? Because I've always wondered if they worked, and if you did meet him on one you need to tell me which one because I need to try."
While she knew Isla was only trying to play around, (Y/N) didn't know what to say and knew she wasn't hiding it that well. She was sure Shelly or Seline had the same phrase—sugar daddy—running through their head when they realized her relationship to Harry, but neither of them had said it out loud. There was nothing inherently wrong with those kinds of arrangements, especially when everyone was happy and willing, but to have her love for Harry be reduced down to a relationship based on favors and cash hurt (Y/N) more than she realized it could. She would never use Harry for his money or take advantage of the fact he had the means to take care of her in places where she couldn't. That was never something she ever considered when she met him, or that ever crossed her mind still.
"Oh my god, (Y/N), I'm so sorry, that's not how I meant it at all," Isla rushed out as soon as she realized her mistake, her hands out between them as if she could wipe her comment out of thin air, "I just realized how that sounded, but I promise I didn't mean it like that, at all! I know he's your actual boyfriend, and its not like that at all. I was only trying to joke around, I'm sorry!"
"It's okay, it's okay," (Y/N) said, trying to soothe the situation as best she could and hopefully get Isla's volume down before someone overheard her, "I know you were only joking, I just wasn't expecting it, that's all."
"Are you sure?" Isla edged, features molded into an apology.
"Totally," (Y/N) pressed, "Don't worry about it, okay? It's not a big deal." The blackhole in (Y/N)'s stomach would love to beg to differ, though.
"Okay," Isla accepted with a reluctant smile, "Its cool if I tell my roommate that its true then? About you and Shelly's boss and all?"
In this moment, (Y/N) would rather die than have more people know about her relationship status and the opinions that went along with it, but there was no use in stopping it now. "Yeah, of course. Just let her know we didn't meet on a sugar daddy site, so I have no idea how legit those are."
Her comment drew a laugh out of Isla's lips, finally easing her from her faux-pas. "Thanks, (Y/N). Sorry to bother you, again."
As Isla stood from her borrowed seat, (Y/N) shook her head. "Its totally fine."
After sharing quiet goodbyes, (Y/N) was left alone again with Isla settling in her typical post towards the front of the room. Pushing her headphones back into her ears, (Y/N) wanted to resume where she was at in her assignment, but couldn't find the spot in her brain to concentrate. Her outline no longer seemed useful with all of her previous work feeling like it was for naught now that she couldn't concentrate for the life of her.
She knew her resolve was fragile when she made her peace with those comments she heard on Monday, but she didn't know it was this fragile.
Not only had she been branded a teenage stalker, but she was now a sugar baby using Harry for his money—two things that had been shared with her in less than a week. The thread holding her sanity together was moments away from snapping if someone shared one more thought about her relationship.
With another fifteen minutes left of class, (Y/N) just decided pack it up for the day. There was no way she was going to get any work done at this point, too much else on her mind to even begin to focus on her story. With her headphones in and bag slung over her shoulder, (Y/N) made her way out of the lecture hall with a wave over her shoulder to Isla.
The cool air outside did some good for her as she tried to clear her mind, feeling a little less trapped in the pit in her stomach with so much space around her in the quad. Now that she was alone, (Y/N) felt the urge for her eyes to fill with tears she'd been holding back for days.
She was just so frustrated, and, god, her feelings were hurt. Why she had to field questions about the validity of her relationship at all was something she didn't understand. Then to add that the three opinions she was given this week weren't the most kind of comments that have ever been shared with her, she wanted to scream with the frustration in her bones.
Yes, Harry was older than her, and that was where she needed the conversation to stop. She didn't need to hear about how she had been mistaken for being someone's daughter that held misplaced affection for Harry. She didn't need to explain that no, they didn't meet on a dating site with the express purpose of setting up arrangements between wealthy men and girls like herself. Everything extra she had to field and explain was pushing her into that dark, weeded corner in the back of her mind.
Making it to her car, (Y/N) didn't have the strength to hold back her tears anymore. The tint of her windows shielded the glimmer of her tears as they fell down her cheeks, tracking through the light layer of makeup she applied that morning. Her lungs squeezed as she tried to breath through her sobs the same way her fists did at her sides.
They'd only been together for a little over half a year, and just barely scratched the surface of the kind of comments (Y/N) feared they would get until she was old enough that people didn't notice the gap between them. How much longer could she do this, if she was now sobbing in her car after only a couple of days worth of off-handed comments.
Without much forethought, (Y/N) reached for her phone and pulled up Harry's contact.
i think that bug i had is coming back :( I felt a little better yesterday but today's been really hard so I don't think it would be a good idea to hang out tonight h im sorry:( I don't want to get you sick:(
She locked her phone before she could see if he was crafting his own reply back or even read the message. She needed to be alone tonight, and that was all (Y/N) let herself focus on as she drove back home.
Coming out of his meeting, Harry couldn't help but let his shoulders fall as he looked at (Y/N)'s text. She still wasn't feeling well? From what she told him yesterday, she was just about good as new.
There was no way he was going to let her get away with a third day in a row of not feeling well without stopping by or doing his part to help her feel better.
Typing out a quick reply, Harry told her he was sad to hear she still wasn't feeling good and that he missed her immensely as he mapped out his stop to the shops before rerouting himself to her apartment after he was done with work for the day. She didn't deserve to care for herself when he was perfectly capable of at least making her some dinner and helping her get to bed.
And, call him selfish, but Harry couldn't wait to see her again.
Armed with a plastic bag containing the ingredients to his favorite chicken soup his mom used to make him when he was young, and a bouquet of flowers he hoped would brighten her day, Harry knocked on the door to (Y/N)'s apartment. That familiar shuffling sound on the other side of the door sounded through the wood as he awaited her, a grin poking at he edges of his lips at the idea of finally seeing her again for the first time since Monday.
By the time she opened the door with a creak, Harry's smile dropped as soon as it formed.
(Y/N)'s eyes were red-rimmed and puffy, lashes bundled together in the fresh wetness that had seeped form her tear ducts. She halfway hid behind the door, peering at him with a quiver in her lip as she avoided his gaze.
"What are you doing here?"
While that wasn't exactly the greeting he had been hoping for when he decided to come over, he figured he shouldn't have set his standards up so high knowing that she was feeling sick. He had just hoped she hadn't felt so ill she had to cry over it.
"Oh, sweetheart," Harry crooned as he gazed at her, taking a careful step forward with the toe of his boot edging over the threshold, "How are y'feeling?"
"I'm alright," she sniffled, running a heavy hand through her hair, "I thought I told you I couldn't see you tonight."
"I know, I jus' couldn't live with myself if I didn't come help you even a little. I brought some soup for you." The flowers he had bundled against his chest tickled underneath his chin as he readied to take over her kitchen for the night.
When she hesitated and dropped her gaze to the floor, Harry felt his gut drop.
"I think you should go home, Harry."
The nasal tone of her voice accompanied the wobble of her lower lip as she spoke, her eyes flooding with a new set of tears.
Reaching out with a reluctant hand, Harry reached for her as he tried not to step through the door no matter how badly he wanted to hold her. He didn't want to overwhelm her.
"Sweetheart, I don't mind that you're sick, 's alright. Jus' let me take care of you, you're worrying me," he pressed. Just as his hand grazed her cheek, (Y/N) took a step back from him, widening the gap between them that was beginning to feel like a trench.
The way (Y/N) looked up at him afterwards told him she was just as surprised that she had distanced herself. Harry didn't know what was worse: (Y/N) deliberately taking a step away from him when he tried to touch her, or her moving out of the way on instinct, her subconscious keeping him from touching her?
"Harry, I-I think I need to be alone tonight."
"(Y/N), really. I don't mind taking care of you, you kno—"
"I'm not sick, Harry! I just... Let me be alone."
Harry stood stock-still, shocked by her outburst. The way she curled up on herself afterwards, recoiling form her own words, could have broken his heart if it wasn't already on its way to being shattered from her second request for him to leave.
"You're—I thought," Harry floundered, his hand with his bouquet of flowers dropping limply to his side, "Y'told me y'haven't been feeling well since Monday."
Another heavy hand moved its way through her hair, a tug being administered to her scalp. "I know I did, I'm sorry. I just didn't know if I could talk to you af—"
(Y/N) was cut off by the sound of her neighbour's door opening, a blonde haired girl walking down the hall with an awkward smile stretched on her face as she realized what she had just walked into. (Y/N) reciprocated as much as she could until her neighbour disappeared down the length of the staircase, that was when her smile dropped again.
He knew she was feeling embarrassed as she stepped off to the side, widening the berth of the door for Harry to fit through. She gestured for him to step inside, though it lacked every bit of enthusiasm that he had grown accustomed to when he visited her. With the plastic bag crinkling at his side and the bouquet of flowers rustling in the wax paper they were wrapped in, Harry stepped through the threshold of her door, her apartment almost completely silent.
Standing by awkwardly, Harry waited as she locked her door after him and padded her way to her living room where he stood. Swallowing around the lump in his throat, Harry glanced down at the flowers in his grasp.
"These are for you, by the way," he murmured, offering her the bundle of white magnolias.
With her gaze attached to the flowers, Harry watched as (Y/N)'s eyes welled up with a new batch of tears. She peeped out a thank you as she pulled the arrangement from his hand, padding off to her kitchen while Harry stood in silence.
He didn't know what she was about to tell when her neighbor interrupted them, but he almost didn't want to know. Knowing that she hadn't been ill and was using that as an excuse to avoid him was enough to have him on edge already, he didn't want to know why she had been avoiding him in the first place.
Relenting himself to sit on her couch, sinking into the stuffed cushion, Harry sat with his chin in his hand and elbows digging into his thighs. It felt like hours as he listened to her pull a vase from her cabinet, followed by the running water for the flowers. Normally he would be there helping her, teasing her as she reached for the vase and helping her arrange the blossoms in the water so every stem could take a dip. Not today, Harry guessed, he wasn't needed.
When she finally joined him, (Y/N) took a spot on the opposing chair set up in her living room, the stiff decorative pillow taking up most of the cushion as she sat on the edge. Shifting his chin in his hand, he gazed at her through his lashes as he waited for her to finish what she started.
As the silence stretched on, Harry felt more and more cracks appear in his heart. He couldn't take much more of this, especially when she couldn't even muster the courage to look at him. What did she need to tell him that was so bad she couldn't even look at him for a second?
Dropping his face into his hands, Harry slid his fingers through his curls, a startling pinch being delivered to the roots as he tightened his grip. "Why didn't y'want to talk to me, (Y/N)? What happened?" he grumbled out.
A sniffle sounded from the chair, but he didn't have the heart to look up. It would only make it harder to hear what she had to say if he had to watch her cry, too.
"Harry, I—" (Y/N) cut herself off, her thought dropping from her tongue before she had even bothered to finish putting it together, "I don't know how to tell you."
Something bubbled in his chest as he heard her hesitance to speak to hm still, even as he sat right in front of her. Frustration welled up in his system. How was he supposed to make anything better, fix his mistakes that led to her avoiding him, or make her at least stop crying when she wouldn't even tell him what was wrong?! How was he going to have a chance to save them from whatever had dug itself in her mind when he had no idea what he was up against?!
Forcing a deep breath into his lungs, Harry shuttered his eyes as he kept his head down in his hands. The heels of his palms dug into his eyes as he waited, giving her one last chance to say anything before he would take over.
With the sound of his blood rushing through his ears, Harry unclenched his jaw, "Start with why y'wanted to avoid me so bad y'pretended to be sick for almost three days."
"It's not that simple, H—"
"Then, what happened?! What did I do wrong?! You jus' keep sitting there, crying, but y'wont tell me what I did wrong or how to fix it!"
By that point, Harry was grateful for the fact his eyes were closed as he pulled his head from his hands, chancing a look up at (Y/N) though that view was quickly distorted by his own round of tears that flooded his vision. Sniffing his nose, Harry scrubbed his hands over his eyes to rid himself of the tears, still too frustrated to worry about them when (Y/N) still hadn't explained.
With her fingers a nervous bundle in her lap, (Y/N) broke with her bottle lip wobbling and eyes closed as if to stave off another round of crying. "It was when I vi-visted you at work."
Nodding his head, Harry took in deep breaths, already regretting the way he snapped at her. "Okay, thank you," he started, softening his tone as he gave her to the full of his attention, "What happened?"
(Y/N) shook her head as she ran her hand through her hair, rolling her eyes at herself. "It wasn't even that big of a deal, so I don't know why it's bothering me so bad," she rushed out, voice wobbling, "It was just... Seline? That receptionist on the lobby floor?"
Harry nodded his head, beginning to worry at the mention of Seline. She could be a bit cold, that much everyone at the office knew.
"She—I don't know, it was just weird when I talked to her. I know I wasn't on your permission list or whatever since I was surprising you, but she said something after she figured out that I was there to see you that's just stuck with me." (Y/N) swallowed, her eyes still facing the ceiling as Harry waited on her, his fingers prattling with his rings. "She... She said she didn't want to let me up at first because she wasn't sure if I was a daughter of one of your clients, coming to visit Mr. Styles after getting too attached over a busy dinner."
Rolling his lips between his teeth, Harry nodded his head. Sounded like Seline, that was for sure.
(Y/N) finally chanced a glance down at him then, feeling somewhat more calm now that she was getting everything out that had been rattling her brain for almost three days now.
"Then," she continued, surprising Harry as he had just began devising some kind of plan to keep Seline from being so rude to people in the waiting area, "I didn't realize that the Shelly on your floor was someone I go to school with." Harry sighed as he figured out where this was going. "She was really surprised to see me," (Y/N) muttered, fluttering her lashes as she tried to keep her waterworks at bay, "As soon as I told her I was your girlfriend, she got kind of weird and told me she didn't expect your girlfriend to be someone like me. When I asked her what she meant, she brought up this professor that used to work at my school, that everyone thought was really pretty, and was around your age, obviously. It wasn't that bad but after what I heard from Seline, it didn't really help.
"And then, today, I guess Shelly got brunch with the roommate of a girl in my creative writing class, and they apparently talked about how I'm dating Shelly's thirty year old boss, and the girl in my class asked if I met you on a sugar daddy website."
Now, that stung. The other two comments she shared with him hurt him for the fact it was hurting (Y/N), cheap shots taken at their relationship that questioned the depth of it just because of the gap between their ages. But this one—the implication that their relationship was nothing more than Harry giving out money and gifts in exchange for (Y/N)'s company—took a stab at his heart.
Harry knew what a relationship would look like to others the second he took a liking to (Y/N). That was why, other than wanting to maintain (Y/N)'s happiness and comfort in her friend group, he didn't pursue her. He knew that someone of his age and position financially wasn't supposed to mix with a college-age girl that had piled on student loans and worked as much as she could on the side to help pay for school. He knew that those two things could invite people to make comments or pull faces, he knew that. But, maybe they had just been lucky with how well it was going beforehand; their friends didn't mind, never once making a comment or raising a brow at the idea of the two of them together, along with his family being so supportive when he divulged details about his (Y/N), and even strangers on the street didn't give them a second glance. They had been successfully missing any of these comments up until this point, and, of course, it was (Y/N) who had to endure them.
If he hadn't already felt like shit for yelling at her earlier, now he felt like he should go sit on the curb with the rest of the trashbins.
Rising from his position on the couch, Harry moved to crouch in front of (Y/N). Instinctively, she spread her legs wide enough to allow him access to sit between. Settling his hands on either of her thighs, he waited on her to return to her living room with him, leaving the dark space of her head behind.
"(Y/N)?" he murmured, squeezing the full of her flesh in his palms, "Look at me, love."
Running her fingertips under her eyes, (Y/N) cleared her tears away before she looked down at him, her bottom lip trembling though she tried to hold it all back. "I'm sorry, Harry."
"Hey, hey," he crooned, shaking his head, "Don't need to be sorry, okay? Don't need to apologize for what they said."
"B-But, I shouldn't have stopping seeing you or talking to you over it," she countered, dropping her gaze to her lap though she didn't dare lace her fingers between his like she usually did, "I just didn't know what to do. I started to feel guilty."
"What do you mean, pretty girl? Guilty over what?"
"Li-Like I was holding you back or something," she whispered, the volume of her voice being the only thing that kept it from breaking, "I-I don't want you to mi-miss out on someone who might fit you better. Or, at least be able to handle something like this without avoiding you."
Harry shook his head as he stood to his feet, reaching for her hands that were bundled into a fumbling mess as she kept them from grabbing for his. Wrapping his fingers around her wrists, he pulled her to stand up before he replaced himself in her seat. The decorative pillow was crushed under his weight, becoming an uncomfortable lump under his bottom but Harry didn't pay it any mind as he pulled (Y/N) to sit in his lap. Her legs hung over the side of his own, her shoulder pressed against his chest as he looped his arms around her, interlocking his fingers as they rested on her hip.
"You've got to listen to me, (Y/N), 'kay?" Harry waited until he got a small nod from her, eyes meeting his through the frame of her lashes. "There's no one out there that could fit me better than y'do, do you hear me? I had some extra time before I ever even met you to meet this better fit, and I've never found anyone that comes close to the way y'make me feel. There's no one out there that would love me better than y'can, and I know that. Don't feel guilty over something that doesn't exist."
"No, I told y'to listen to me, didn't I?" Harry stopped her, unwilling to hear her make up fake scenarios about someone who didn't exist. "It hurts knowing that these comments made y'want to avoid me, but I understand why because I understand you. Y'weren't trying to hurt me, y'jus' wanted some time to yourself to be a little mopey and figure it all out before y'saw me again—I understand. Right?"
"Yeah," she peeped, her cheeks heating and eyes watering as she listened to him, "I didn't mean to hurt you, Harry."
"I know, I know," he murmured, dropping a careful kiss to her cheek, his heart eased when she didn't flinch away. "And 'm not upset now that I know, okay? Don't need to be sad over that. And, 'm sorry I yelled at you; I got scared when y'wouldn't say anything, but I shouldn't have done that. We're a team and teams don't work when one of us is being mean." The small nod and I forgive you, that (Y/N) gave him allowed for a short smile to carve into Harry's lips before he grew serious. "I jus' need y'to be honest with me for a second, then."
A short nod came from (Y/N) as her hands unraveled, finally relieving Harry as she curled her fingers around his forearm to keep him close.
Swallowing, Harry tried to figure the best way to phrase any of his questions. "Do you...Did any of what these people said make y'doubt being with me?"
Her answer was immediate in the shake of her head, stray strands of hair fluttering around her face, "No, no, no. I love you so much, Harry, I just want you to be happy. I don't want you to be bothered one day when you realize I'm not at the same spot as you; I don't know all of those references you make and I can't take you out for fancy dinners the way you do for me. At least not until I'm out of school."
"I don't—... None of that matters to me, okay?" he reassured her with a squeeze of his arms around her, "I don't care about any of that. I like getting to see y'grow and learn and I never expect you to pay me back for any of the things I do for you. I don't understand all of your little jokes, either, sweetheart, and I know that doesn't bother you, because you're like me in that way. We love being with each other, and that's what makes us happiest, so that's all that matters. Right?"
A watery smile worked its way on her lips as she nodded her head. "Right."
"See, sweetheart," he cooed, "As long as we're on the same page about that, we can get through anything, can't we?" He was rewarded with another short nod and quiet smile. "'M sorry that y'were the one that had to hear those things, and I want y'to know that y'never have to hide that from me again. Tell me and I'll help talk y'down, okay?"
"Good girl," he praised her, even when she couldn't speak louder than a whisper and manage a smile bigger than the one on her lips if she didn't want her features to crumble. "'M always gonna help you, jus' need y'to tell me how. Can y'promise me that?"
"I promise, Harry."
"M'best girl, aren't you?" he crooned to her, dropping his face to nudge his nose again her own. Her smile grew as she took in his words, just as he wanted. "Can I kiss you, sweetheart?" he asked her the full of his lips brushing against her own.
The quiet nod he gave him was all he needed before he pressing his lips in affectionate pecks all over her face, starting with her plush lips. With each dot of his lips over her skin, more and more bubbling giggles fell from (Y/N)'s smiling mouth, his grip on her tightening as she wiggled in his lap. The bridge of her nose was smothered in his love before he tapped over her cheeks with his lips. Her forehead wasn't spared in the carnage either, getting as many kisses as he could fit in the space until he had to drop his kisses to her eyelids. The salt of her tears was bittersweet as he tasted them on his kiss; sweet knowing that he was able to quell them, but the bitter taste lingered knowing that they started in sadness. By the time he made his way back down to her lips, she was smiling too big to pucker her lips against his.
"Kiss me back, pretty girl," he murmured, his own amusement seeping into his tone no matter how hard he tried to keep it held back.
That was all the encouragement she needed before (Y/N) was cradling his face in her hands and trying her best to kiss him through her smile. It was clumsy and off-center, not perfect by far, but it was easily one of Harry's favorite kisses he's ever shared with her. This was where all of her sweetness concentrated itself: in her kiss as she nudged her nose against his and breathed out giggles every time Harry pulled away.
"I love you," she spoke against his kiss.
"I love you too, sweetheart, always," he murmured, drawing away just enough to match his gaze to hers. "Me and you, remember?"
The mantra he had repeated to her more than once brought a bright smile to (Y/N)'s face.
"Me and you, H."
angst is always so hard for me to write so I hope everyone enjoys this! thank u sm for reading and sorry for any mistakes! if you have any ideas or requests of your own please send them in:)
Made to be XI
Read the rest of the series here: Made to be ￼
Notes: I think this might be it...I'm not sure if it's exactly what everyone will want. But the good news is, I feel like I might have few short extras/check-ins in the future so don't miss them too much.
Thank you, thank you, thank you all for reading this series for the last two months. I hope you enjoyed it sincerely and truly. I've really loved writing about this cute little couple.
Warnings: absolutely none
“Harry is so lucky to have you,” Gemma promised. “I won’t ever let him forget it, and you shouldn’t either,” she said. “I know he’s my brother, but he would be lost without you...it’s like...he was made to be with you. Has anyone ever told you that?”
“Once or twice.”
Harry had been so standoffish. He still took care of her—made sure she had enough blankets, enough water, enough to eat. But he was practically...unapproachable...That’s the only way she could think to describe it. He was short with her. Sure, kitten. No, kitten. I don’t know, love.
It made her uneasy. She didn’t want to bring it up...and she probably should have. She knew Harry was big on open communication... If it was anything but this, she would have talked it out with him.
But it was him.
Harry was...something else. It had been a year and a half of knowing one another. Just about a year of dating. This Christmas she and Harry did a quick trip to England, so they could spend time with her family around the Holidays as well. Even in England Harry was acting weird.
“Are you alright, love?” Anne asked. She was staring out the window while she insisted helping with the dishes. Harry and Gemma were in the other room cleaning up the wrapping paper and other dishes. Their bickering over who should be the one to take the trash out could be heard from the kitchen.
She felt her lip wobble. She didn’t want to talk about her son to her. She shook her head. “Harry’s been weird,” she whispered. “Feels like...how it did...with my ex,” she swallowed. “M’sorry. I shouldn’t talk to you about Harry.”
“Oh love,” she said stilling her washing and wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “Harry is crazy about you. Even when he’s not...expressing it. You’re in his every thought, I promise,” she said firmly. She nodded and took a deep breath.
She knew she should just talk to Harry about it. It wasn’t a big deal...probably. Like most things it was probably all in her head. “Maybe the novelty of me has worn off,” she mumbled. “M’not full of drama and excitement,” she joked.
“Love,” she chided sweetly. “Harry doesn’t love you for the drama and excitement. He loves you for the calmness and sweetness,” she whispered. “You make him excited the second you walk in the room. We’ve been waiting for you to find him...and I won’t let him act anything less than perfect for you—you’re not leaving any of us,” she said knowingly. “So get used to it.”
She smirked, swiped at the stray tear that fell down her cheek as Harry and Gemma came storming into the kitchen. “Mum, please tell Gemma that I was the one who put the star on the tree at Grandma’s when I was younger.”
“There’s no way, pipsqueak,” she glared up at her brother who was a foot taller than her. “You couldn’t reach.”
Anne rolled her eyes. “M’pretty sure Grandma would just take it off so both of you could have the chance to put it on,” she smirked.
Gemma’s mouth popped open, and Harry turned to look at her; a knowing expression on his face. The sweet girl by the sink giggled. “That’s adorable.”
“Technically, m’right,” Harry said.
“Technically m’right,” Gemma mimicked in a tone that wasn’t even Harry’s and she stuck her tongue out at him. Harry pinched Gemma’s sides and she smacked him across the chest as siblings do.
“Hope you’re in it for the long haul,” Anne mumbled in her ear as she continued with the dishes. She smirked and shook her head. “Harry, would you relieve your poor lady of dish duty.”
Harry snickered and flicked Gemma on the cheek for good measure as he made his way to her side. “Thanks, kitten,” he said sweetly, pressing a kiss to her temple and nudging her out of the way with his hip. She took a deep breath feeling a slight bit of relief at his display of affection. But it was still so short. Not that she expected a long eloquent speech about dishes. But it was everything in their life recently felt like this. It made her so anxious.
Gemma nodded toward the living room, so she followed her there. “I know time is pretty limited this visit, do you want to go shopping or anything while you’re here? Visit the bakery you liked or that bookstore?”
“Oh...um...we don’t have to, no. M’just happy to see you and your mom,” she said sweetly.
Gemma smiled at her. “You haven’t heard from your ex since I visited right?” She asked. It seemed out of the blue. Shocked her a bit to think about that stupid day.
She blinked in surprise at her line of questioning. “N-no, not at all.”
She nodded. “Good, I hope he keeps his word that he won’t bother you ever again,” she shook her head. “Ridiculous.”
“Um...is there a reason you asked?”
“Well, I’ve asked Harry every so often, but he’s all privacy when it comes to you, y’know,” she shrugged. “Like I’m not allowed to know information about my future sister-in-law,” she rolled her eyes. “Think he’s a bit miffed he got punched in the face,” she smirked.
There was so much to process in Gemma’s words. She felt like an idiot sitting there, not knowing that she had specifically asked Harry on clearly more than one occasion about the exciting event from Gemma’s visit to the states. She was stunned by the future sister-in-law comment. Thinking about it made her stomach and heart flutter in tandem. Harry acting so weird made it seem nearly impossible to think about. And thinking about Harry getting punched in the face, even though it was long since happened, made her stomach churn.
“Oh...” she shook her head. “Well, you could ask me.”
“I know, but I didn’t want t’ask you over the phone. Seemed a bit much and impersonal and me dragging stuff up. I didn’t want it to be a thing, y’know?” Gemma explained. “M’sure it seems like it is now, but I just love and worry about you,” she said squeezing her knee. “I’ve never had a sister or anything close,” she smiled sweetly. “I know Harry will protect you with everything in him, but I also know you would get pretty upset about that too...I’ve seen it in person,” she had a mischievous look in her eye remembering the sweet girl storming out of the apartment building ready to do who knows what to protect her little brother when he was the one who sent her away from the scene.
She looked at Gemma for a minute. “I have three sisters,” she said softly.
“I know,” she nodded. “I can’t wait for you to be mine,” she wrinkled her nose, and she looked so much like Harry. She loved Gemma so much. As much as she could love a boyfriend’s sister. They were the best family and she hoped Gemma was right about the sister-in-law thing because she would hate to lose Gemma and Anne.
“Do you really think...” she swallowed. “Do you think Harry will...” she sighed and closed her eyes thinking it was easier to get the words out. “Do you think Harry will actually...allow us to be sisters?” She wondered. It was a stupid way to ask the question. But it was the only way to ask.
“Oh my God, yeah,” Gemma said with an eye roll. It wasn’t even a question. She didn’t elaborate, nor did she ask any follow up questions. It didn’t need a follow up question because it was so obvious in Gemma’s eyes. “Are you alright, love?” She asked.
She nodded, then shook her head. “Yeah...um...just a bit overwhelmed...”
Gemma tilted her head at her. She could see her analyzing her, practically. Her eyes scanning over her body language and facial expression trying to piece it together. “You’ll have to teach me how to be a girl-sister,” she smirked. “I only know how to be a boy-sister. But I will say, Harry’s pretty good at painting nails and braiding hair thanks to me.”
She smirked. “Yes, I suppose I should thank you for that,” her face and body relaxing once more. It kept Gemma from analyzing her, but she felt like Gemma already knew everything she hadn’t said out loud.
“Harry is so lucky to have you,” Gemma promised. “I won’t ever let him forget it, and you shouldn’t either,” she said. “I know he’s my brother, but he would be lost without you...it’s like...he was made to be with you. Has anyone ever told you that?”
“Once or twice.”
Gemma nodded. “You’re perfect for him. Exactly who I’d want for him...and more importantly, me, obviously.”
She grinned. “Well, glad I could be of assistance.”
Harry was grading in their bedroom while she cooked. It had been a while since he’d written anything, and he thought he’d reread some of his old stuff to get back into the swing of things. He had been under a lot of stress with the holidays among other things. Now that things were slowing down, he felt the need to get back into writing. Venting and expressing himself the way he knew best—even if only he (and occasionally his angel) would read it.
He leafed through the pages looking for something worth rereading when he noted her scrawly script at the back of the last page he’d written on. He turned immediately. It was dated from before Christmas, almost a month ago.
I dated this only so you know why I’m writing it and maybe it will put things in context when you see it.
If you are sick of me, I wish you’d leave because I don’t think I’ll be able to bare talking about it. It’s so different this time. You’re different. Everything about it is different. I think I’m imagining things, but you’ve been acting SO different. It makes me nauseous it’s why I’m writing in your journal. I promise I didn’t read the rest—I just wanted to write it because I feel so terrible about everything that I think I would get sick trying to talk about it. I know you want me to be comfortable talking to you, and I am. But this…
If you’re sick of me, please just leave me in the middle of the night. Don’t leave a note. Don’t leave a forwarding address just leave so I can die in peace. I know that’s dramatic. I don’t want you to think I’d actually die so you don’t leave if you want to. But part of me would die...my heart absolutely would. I wouldn’t be able to date anyone ever again.
You are made for me, and I don’t want anyone else. If I did something wrong, please tell me how to fix it because I guess I’m lying. I really would die without you in the most melodramatic way imaginable.
I love you and I’m sorry if I did something wrong and I hope I can still fix it.
Harry sauntered into the kitchen while she stirred the batter, she was making for something at school. He’s not sure what it was for. Maybe it was bake sale. It could have been a reward for her students for a job well done on their test. But regardless, it was definitely a function of stress. He liked to hear her hum and he leaned against the frame of the entryway admiring her quietly while she worked so cutely and diligently. She had an apron tied around her clothing and Harry just wanted to lay her on the counter and kiss her and eat brownie batter off every inch of her skin.
“What would you do about school?” He asked from the doorway. She turned hearing his voice, but it was muffled by the music in her headphones. As she turned, she pulled it out of her ear and shook her head at him. It was stupid, but she was suddenly very nervous around him. It was Harry and she wasn’t scared—not really. Just scared of what he would ask of her.
She licked her thumb of chocolate and she swallowed nervously. Her eyebrows pinched tighter. “W-what?”
“School?” He repeated.
She blinked. “What about it?” She asked nervously.
“Well, y’want me t’leave,” he said holding his journal up as evidence and then placed it on the counter haphazardly. “Not leave a trace behind. Am I t’quit m’job? Or would we jus’ run into each other every day?” He had a smirk playing at the corner of his mouth. It was ridiculous how handsome he was. Even when he was about to leave her. Her lower lip trembled ridiculously. She could sense the amusement in his voice. It made her feel silly, but she still felt worried he would leave.
“Harry,” she whimpered. He chuckled.
“Kitten,” he cooed. “What were y’thinking? In what world could I ever leave you?”
She let the tears fall freely. “You’ve been so distant,” she sniffled. It was suddenly killing Harry to keep the distance between them. Nearly half the kitchen separated them. The air felt so cold between them. He crossed the space quickly and slid his hands up her forearms. The air warming almost instantly. She still seemed so nervous, her heart pattering out against her chest. His heart nearly shattered when he read his name. One sentence all alone. It was a gentle pleading. Harry. He could hear her voice break just like it did a few moments ago when he was kindly telling her how ridiculous she sounded—that he would leave her. She wouldn’t let go of the spoon stirring her batter. It must have made her feel better. Harry ignored it and continued to gaze at her as if she had lost her mind a bit—and maybe she had.
“Angel,” he clucked his tongue, he tried to meet her eyes where they were shifting away from him as he leaned down to look at her. “If I left you, I would die instantly. Don’t think I’d make it all the way downstairs. Would surely combust in the parking lot.”
She frowned. “Did I do something wrong?” She pressed.
“My God, love,” he sighed in exasperation. But he wasn’t exasperated. He wanted everything to be perfect and it wasn’t. But he loved her so much it didn’t matter. He just wanted her. “I’ve been trying t’figure the best way to propose t’you. S’near impossible,” he told her. “And ‘ve obviously made this worse by trying t’be sneaky.”
She dropped the battered spoon back into the bowl. It splattered a bit onto her arm. Harry swiped it away with his thumb. She swallowed. “What?” She whispered in shock.
“Proposal, m’love. Want t’marry you so much,” he told her. “Never wanted anything so badly in m’whole life. Need it t’be perfect,” he said shyly. “Clearly ‘ve ruined that now.”
“You want to marry me?”
“Love, are y’serious?” He rolled his eyes. His hands slid up her arms, over her shoulders, the sides of her neck and settled holding each cheek between his palms. “Kitten,” he smiled at her so warmly, she could feel it melting every inch of her. “Why d’you sound so surprised?”
“Because you’ve...been acting so weird. I thought I did something.”
“Why didn’t y’say, anything, angel?” He chuckled. “You were seriously jus’ gonna kick me out through writing in m’journal?” He asked. He knew she was embarrassed, nervous, and probably felt terrible about everything. But it was truly laughable. The poor thing. She shrugged in response, her lower lip jutting out a bit in the most adorable pout. Harry had no choice but to rub his thumb along it. “Baby,” he cooed at her.
“Harry,” she whined. “Stop making fun of me!” She stomped her foot. His hands slid back down to her upper arms, and he pulled her toward her.
“M’sorry, kitten,” he said pressing his lips into a line in a futile attempt to hide his smirk. She pushed him to get away from him. He pulled her closer. “C’mon, m’sorry,” he said softly. “S’jus...unimaginable love,” he mumbled into her hair. Her ear pressed to his chest, she ran her hand up and down his arm squeezing her eyes closed, savoring the moment of being so close to Harry like this. “The idea of leaving you...” he shook his head. “Don’t know how anyone could even think ‘bout it.”
She didn’t say what she was thinking, what Harry knew she was thinking. It would break his heart...just like all the other times she broke his heart by not saying what was right in front of his eyes. She stayed silent listening to his heartbeat under her ear. “You want to marry me?” She asked again.
“More than I need t’breathe, m’love,” he promised.
“Why didn’t you just ask me?”
He shook his head. “You haven’t a clue how special you are, kitten,” he said simply. She could feel her heart skip a beat at his words. “I wanted it t’be perfect.”
“You just asking is perfect,” she mumbled. Her face pressed to his chest. “I’ve been distraught, Harry,” she said softly. “Cried to your mom about it. Nearly cried to Gemma about it.”
He smiled and shook his head against her. “That explains the incessant messages ‘ve been getting from them,” he pulled away from her keeping hold of one hand and he knelt to the floor. She gasped and put her hand over her mouth.
“You don’t have to do that,” she whispered.
He rolled his eyes and knelt anyway. “M’love,” he said softly. She squeezed his fingers. She didn’t blink. She didn’t want to miss a second of Harry’s words or his voice or anything about this moment. “I adore you, more than anyone ‘ve ever known. You’ve made m’life so much better in every way. M’hopelessly in love with you. Don’t want t’think about a day without you. M’the luckiest man in the world t’be in your life and spend every precious second with you. I promise m’gonna cherish every moment we have and I’ll...I’ll do anything for you. Will you,” he paused, and she pressed the back of her free hand to her mouth as he pulled out a small box from his pocket. She wasn’t so lost in his speech that she realized he was carrying the ring the entire time. “Please do me the greatest honor and marry me?”
She nodded. “Yeah,” she whispered.
“Yeah?” He repeated, that gorgeous, perfect smile of Harry’s spread across his face, nearly touching ear to ear. He rolled her ring finger between his two fingers.
She nodded more vigorously. “Yes,” she said breathlessly.
He stood up and wrapped his arms around her in one fluid motion. He was chuckling the whole time as her toes lifted off the ground. She giggled and clung to him, wrapping her arms around his neck. “You poor, silly thing,” he chuckled. “Leave you...think m’mum would kill me,” he mumbled. “Kitten, I couldn’t dream you, if I tried.”
She pressed her face into the crook of his neck and nodded still. “I love you so much,” she whispered.
“I love you,” he answered. “Made t’be with you,” he mumbled.
“Made to be,” she repeated softly into his skin.
“Always, always, always.”