Imagine: Harry coming into the common room, and finding you painting: a skill he didn’t know you could do. [x]
Harry: What are you up to- *sees your sketch book*
Y/N: Oh, hi Harry. *smiles* I’m... I’m just painting.
Harry: I didn’t know you could paint! Can I look closer? You’re so talented.
Y/N: Aw, well thank you. I don’t usually show people... But, I’ll make an exception for you.
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[A/N: I no longer take Harry Potter requests; please do not send any]
A/N:This concept came from a lovely who anon who suggested four versions of Harry at Christmas. Newly engaged Harry, Dad to be Harry , New dad Harry and Newly Wed Harry . I hope you like it , reblogs and feedback is appreciated , let me know what you think and Happy holidays ❤️
He has one of those countdowns on his phone that tells you how many days until you get married and never fails to inform you every morning that “only 121 days until your mrs styles babe”.
When you visit Anne’s for Christmas she’s gushing over your ring while your both sitting round her kitchen table flicking through wedding magazines and drinking tea, discussing floral arrangements.
At the family party on Christmas Eve, cousins and family friends are congratulating you both on your engagement and Harry is just glowing with how happy he is.
When you wake up on Christmas morning with a certain fiancé in between your thighs he can’t help but moan against your ear, “this time next Christmas you’ll be my wife” and that alone has you clenching down on him like you’ve never done before.
Concept number two: husband Harry when you and him are the only two who know he’s going to be a dad.
You’ve not quite hit the twelve week stage yet and you both agreed that you would keep the news of your first pregnancy a secret until then. However Harry is on cloud nine and wants everyone to know just how happy he is.
He’s hyper aware of all your movements and the protective dad to be is very much in full swing. He won’t let you lift a finger and although you sometimes find it overbearing,you know it comes from a good place.
When your doing the finishing touches to the tree and reach up to put the star on Harry gently scolds you “ be careful babe let me do it , you need to be careful your growing someone special in here” as he rubs your tiny growing belly.
Uses your newly developed cravings as a good excuse to join in with the eating, he’s a bit softer in the middle and can simply blame it in “winter weight” but you and him both know this will continue on throughout your pregnancy and if your honest you prefer him when he’s slightly softer in the middle.
Making jokes about his “food baby” after he’s eaten to much then winking at you because you’ve an actually baby in your belly and your just like 🙄because he’s already such a dad with his jokes.
Buys your unborn baby a Christmas onesie and every now and again you catch him looking at it with tears in his eyes because he can’t wait until he can hold his baby wearing this.
He spends most evenings lying with his head against your chest , fingers tracing up and down your not so visible bump yet planning how next Christmas will be and how amazing it’s going to be with three of you.
He buys this cute Christmas tree decoration that has “bumps first Christmas “ with the year on it and he can’t wait to get home and show you what he bought …..”babe don’t shout , I know it’s still a secret , but look what I seen at the market I just had to buy it “.
You’ve both devised a plan of why your not drinking at Christmas. You’ve got a “urine infection” so unfortunately you’ve to take antibiotics. You think it’s a full proof plan however your mum and Anne can’t help but notice how “concerned” Harry is about you and that he asks you if your ok every five minutes and how he’s more “handsy” with you. They don’t say anything but they share a knowing look to each other just like mothers do.
When your over excited drunk uncle embraces you with a bone crushing hug to say goodbye he doesn’t even think before he says “ hey be careful , she’s pregnant” and everyone near gets whiplash with how quickly they turn round to glance at you and Harry who has this sheepish look on his face .. “ yeah me and Harry are having a baby”.
Concept number three: exhausted new dad Harry with a young baby who’s soooo happy.
Harrys been looking forward to Christmas with your daughter since the night you told him you were pregnant.
He’s bought her about 6 different Christmas themed outfits including an adorable Christmas tutu and a not so adorable elf costume.
He buys you all matching pyjamas for Christmas Eve with mummy bear , daddy bear and baby bear. You want to hate the idea you really do then you see them both matching and next thing you know your taking a family selfie looking very cute.
Cries when he buys you your first Christmas card and present from your daughter.
Cries again when he receives his first present as a dad. He carefully has her on the crook of his arm and after kissing her wee nose says “my goodness bub you’ve been busy doing all this shopping. How did you know I wanted this jumper eh? Your so clever just like your mum”.
Makes sure he leaves a carrot out for Rudolph and a mince pie out for Santa and makes fake snow footprints like Santa has been. You have to remind Harry that she’s six weeks old to which he just scoffs at you saying “ it’s her first Christmas. It has to be special”.
Books a Christmas photoshoot for your daughter to embarrass her in years to come.
Sings Christmas carols to her at night during bath time.
On Christmas night when everyone’s partying downstairs you find him in Anne’s spare room, sitting in her rocking chair peacefully with your baby sleeping in his arms and when he’s sees you he simply says “ this is the best Christmas I’ve ever had”
Concept four: Newlywed husband Harry who everyone’s still kind of fawning over and joking with because you and him are boring grown up married people.
You might be obsessed with your new husband but your family even more so. Your mum asking what time will Harry will arrive so the celebrations can really start and normally you’d be highly offended but your so glad they love him as much as you do.
At any given opportunity he’s whispering “merry Christmas mrs styles in your ear “.
He won’t admit to you how ridiculously happy he was when he was finally able to buy a Christmas card that had the word wife on it.
He of course buys a very tacky but somewhat cute Christmas tree decoration that says first married Christmas.
Suggest you do joint Christmas cards this year that of course says “love from the styles”.
When some of his mates ask him to go for a Christmas drink he always relies “ dunno mate I’ll have to ask the wife”.
Your cousins taking the piss out of you both because you decide to leave the pub early on Christmas Eve , with jokes about being an old married couple and how boring you’ve both become since you got married and how last year you were both doing tequila shots until closing but if truth be told your heading back to Anne’s early so Harry can fulfil his promise of making you cum with just his mouth and who are you to let him break a promise.
Thank you for reading and thank you to the anon who came up with this wonderful concept 🥰 come chat to me about Harry at Christmas and I hope everyone has a very happy holiday season ❤️
Summary: Harry Styles is a young billionaire and CEO of his own company. He mostly keeps to himself, he is stern and very meticulous when it comes to business. He also likes to keep his personal life very private for the sake of his newly born son, Oliver Styles. It isn’t until he meets Y/N Y/L/N that everything changes. She becomes his new nanny after his previous one quits due to personal reasons. She is young, caring, and sweet. Will they ignore their feelings? Will Harry’s girlfriend accept their love and leave them? Will she be able to cope with his busy agenda? What about Oliver’s mother? Where is she? Who is she?
Author's note: HELLO EVERYONE! It feels nice to be back! I took a much-needed break from everything and everyone. I hope you are all doing well. Not only that, but I am sorry to have kept you waiting! Hope you enjoy! WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO! LET ME KNOW!
Word count: 5.3K
warnings: sex, talk about mental and physical abuse
Her fingers didn't do enough damage as his did. Her hands were too small but they were enough to have her moaning. Harry stood back and silently watched her. He reached down and untied his swimming trunks as he watched the woman that he had become addicted to, pleasure herself. It was a sight that he would never forget. The memory would remain permanently engraved in his mind. He couldn't see her face, but he could bet that her cheeks are red from pleasure and embarrassment.
“Enough,” He demanded as he gave himself a few tugs. He wasn't in the mood for any type of foreplay. He was desperate to feel her clench herself around him. Y/N's hand retrieved back to her side just in time to feel his warm hands on her cold ass. “Fuck! You are cold” He gasped as he felt water running down his torso. Y/N giggled.
Harry's big hands caressed and squeezed her round behind before giving it one last slap. “How are you so perfect?” He asked as he reached down and gathered her wet hair in one hand. Harry gently tugged her hair, urging her to raise her torso and turn towards him. He forced his lips on hers and gave her a sloppy kiss before pushing her back — face down. “This is going to be fast and hard, babe,” He warned her as he aligned herself with her entrance. “Either way, we don’t have enough time”
“O-okay” Y/N managed to say before he thrust himself into her. The couple was instantly driven into divine bliss. They had missed each other so much. It was always beyond intercourse. For Harry, it’s wasn't only the immense pleasure he felt, but it’s the way she unfolded and relaxed before him. Harry leaned down and pressed his lips against her cheek. He took a few seconds for her to adjust to his size, and so he could get used to her warmth and the immense pleasure and tightness he felt.
His hands gripped her hips tightly for support before he began thrusting into her. She didn't have to look back to know that Harry's grip was probably going to leave marks on her hips.
“Fuck H” She exhaled as she felt his hips come crashing against her ass. Their skin slapped together as they both groaned and moaned from the bare sensation. “You are so good to me”. She had almost forgotten how perfect he was for her.
“Christ lovie” He exhaled as he felt her clench around him. “Do that again” Harry slapped her ass as he continues to fucked her. Y/N complied sending him almost to the edge. “Fuck that’s good” he grunted as his hips come in contact with hers. He reached down and played with her, adding more pleasure, enough to make her moans get louder.
“Harry” She gasped as she gripped his wrist trying to stop him from making her cum so quickly. “Holy shit” she moaned into the comforter. Harry smiled to himself loving the sound of her moans. “I think I am about to —. Can I?” She felt embarrassed that she hadn't lasted, but the pleasure was too intense to ignore.
“Cum? Already?” He managed to say as he found the right rhythm for both to get off. “I don’t think you deserve it” He slapped her skin again. “No cumming before I do” Y/N gasped as he continued moving within her. She rolled her eyes in annoyance, pissed and frustrated at him.
“Why not? Please” She cried as she felt the knot of her lower stomach grow with every thrust. His rhythm didn't stop, he didn't slow down for a second, instead, he pushed further.
“You made me wait. So, you’ll wait until I cum” He grunted. “It’s only fair, baby” He hissed as his breathing got heavier.
“I can’t hold it” Harry abruptly stopped making her almost burst into tears. “Harry!” She wined. He chuckled through his heavy breathing. Just as she was going to turn around and have a word with him, he slammed into her without any mercy.
“Do it” He hissed as he felt himself getting closer to his high. His hand reached down and played with her most sensitive area. Her mouth fell open as she felt herself explode with warmth. Harry leaned into her as he came undone from her clenching. His head laid on her lower back as they both rode out their orgasms after their quickie.
He threw his body beside her, exhausted, but content with the outcome. Harry placed his arms under his head as he tried to unwind and control his heavy breathing. He closed his eyes as he enjoyed the after-sex bliss that she always brought him. After a few minutes of complete silence, he turned his head in her direction. She remained facedown, but with her legs stretched out. Her eyes were closed, her left cheek squeezed against the comforter and her lips slightly parted.
He stared at her — at the way her skin glowed by the rays of the sun that filtered through the small window. Her hair cascaded over her shoulder and to her side. He had no doubt that God himself carved the curves and dips of her body. God certainly had a favorite and that was her. Y/N was his gift to man. She was absolutely flawless. He felt truly lucky. A feeling surged within him. It was something he couldn't even begin to describe. He just knew that he was in big trouble because he would never be able to let go of the woman before him. She was everything and more than he had ever wanted in a woman.
Sadness overwhelmed him as he thought about his upcoming week and without thinking it twice, he blurted it out.
“Will you come to Italy with me, next week?”
They laid in the pure intimacy of their bedroom after their lovemaking session. He had just asked her to travel with him to a country that she had always dreamt of visiting. She was a bit surprised by his sudden proposal. He had gone on business trips alone before. So, what had changed? She pondered.
“I don’t even own a passport.” Harry groaned as he raised to his feet. He faced Y/N from the end of the bed before bending down and reaching down for his phone. He began tapping on his phone, clearly texting someone else.
“You don’t need to worry about that. I’ll fix that for you” Harry had enough connections to be able to get her a passport before they arrived back in the city. He was still pretty surprised that Y/N hadn't had the opportunity to see the world. That single fact instantly made the trip more important to him. He was going to be able to show her the world.
“What about Oliver? Is he coming with us? Who is going to take care of him?” She sat up in bed and began readjusting her top and tying the bottoms that Harry had undone.
“He is staying in New York. He is still too young. I’ll get a babysitter” Y/N perked up at the mention of the babysitter.
“He already has me, Harry. It’s my job to take care of him. That’s what you are paying me for” Y/N got off the bed in search of a mirror to fix her crazy hair.
“That’s something I need to talk to you about” Harry had given it a lot of thought. Ever since he first asked her to be his. He didn't want her to keep working for him anymore. It all felt wrong. “Although we’ll talk about that when we get home” He dismissed, not sure how that particular conversation was going to go. He felt they should be in the privacy and coziness of the penthouse before he dropped the bomb on her. “Oliver is not coming lovie”.
“I just said no” His voice was rougher like the one she usually hears him use when speaking to his employees. “Period. Oliver is staying and that’s final” She bit her own tongue, stopping her own fingers from continuing to go through her hair. She could see him through the bathroom mirror. He was frowning as he finished tying his swimming trunks.
“Fine” She snapped back as she tried her best not to feel offended by his sharp and demanding tone. “When are we leaving?” She exhaled as she turned to face him, leaning against the bathroom counter. Harry's frown softens and his demeanor instantly changed. The dark cloud over his head seems to evaporate in seconds.
“A week from today” He hated using that tone on her, but his temper ran short when people defied him. He still felt shitty because he knew that she only meant well. “Come here” Harry reached out. She cautiously walked up to him. His hands made their way around her waist before he nudges the side of her head with his forehead. He puckered his lips asking for a kiss. She can’t stop the smile from spreading at his soft gesture. She gently gave him a chaste kiss. “Let’s go upstairs. My mom is probably waiting for us”.
The rest of Style's clan were waiting for them. The food had been served on the big table on the sun deck. All types of meats including lamb and a bunch of sides had been placed on the table. Y/N gripped his hand tightly as they approached the table, she couldn't help feeling like everyone knew what they were doing.
“There you are! I almost went looking for you” Mrs. Styles called out, “Please sit and enjoy” Harry pulled Y/N’s seat out for her before taking a seat beside her. They quietly started serving themselves meanwhile Y/N tried to ignore Mr. Style's hard stare.
“Is there something you would like to share, father?” His stare doesn’t go unnoticed by his oldest. Mr. Styles looked over at Harry with pursing lips.
“I don’t think the dining table is the place to have this conversation son. It’s best if we leave it for later” Harry raised an eyebrow at him as he tried to figure out what he was referring to.
“Then I suggest you stop starring at my girlfriend and making her uncomfortable” Y/N’s eyes widen as she turned o look at Harry, wanting to smack him for his bluntness. If she wasn’t feeling uncomfortable, she certainly was now. The entire table is completely quiet. It was a staring contest between the men of the family aside from Nathaniel, who seemed too invested in his food to participate.
“Forgive me, Y/N. I didn’t mean to be rude” Mr. Styles tears his eyes away from his son's eyes that looked so much like his mother’s. He was apologizing, but Y/N could see that he didn't mean a single word.
“There is no need, Mr. Styles. It’s no big deal” Y/N faked a smile at him before staring down at her food. Mrs.Styles exhaled loudly as she tried her best to thinking of something quickly to break the awkward tension.
“Snorkeling or tubbing next, Y/N?” It was Allison who finally interjected as she reached out for the giant bowl of cold pasta salad.
“Tubbing? On what?” Y/N giggled; thankful to have Allison around.
“On a hot dog or burger. It’s your choice” Harry's younger sister knew how uncomfortable her brother and father could make guests feel. Allison was reliving the same situation that she had endured when she had brought Nate home. Her father had treated him like shit. It hadn't been until Allison put her foot down and Harry almost threw himself on his father that he stopped his snarling and condescending comments towards Nate. Either way, he still treated him unkindly at times.
Allison knew that it’s worthless to stay mad at her father. He had always been that way. They had all tried to change him, but they hadn't had much success. Allison just couldn't understand why her mother never said anything and allowed their father to walk all over them.
“Hot dog sounds fun” Y/N smiled as she looked back down at her food. The altercation had honestly ruined her appetite. Harry had no problem eating. He looked unbothered by it, but in reality, he was fuming from inside. He is beyond pissed. Not only that, but he just couldn't wait until everyone left and he could have a moment alone with his father. Mr. Styles was going to get a piece of his mind whether he liked it or not.
Allison and Nate were the first to excuse themselves after coffee and dessert. Mrs. Styles rose to her feet and looks over at Y/N who seemed uncomfortable.
“Let’s go honey” She stretched out her hand for her to take. Just as Y/N pushed her seat away from the table, Mr. Style's hand smacked against the table. All the plates, silverware, and porcelain shook; startling the women.
“You leave,” Mr. Styles said as he looked at his wife. “This has nothing to do with you”.
“Excuse me?” Mrs. Styles asked back with her hands on her hips.
“I told you to leave. Don’t make me ask you again because it won’t be nice” He snapped at her, causing her demeanor to instantly change. That tone was too familiar to her and hearing it only brought dark memories. Horrible memories — enough to make her feel scared and remain quiet.
“Do not talk to my mum like that” It’s Harry's turn to snap at him. He couldn't sit back and watch how his father verbally abused his mother. He wasn't hitting her, but he knew that his words had the same effect. His words sometimes hurt her more than his fists.
“She is my wife! I can talk to her however I please!” Mr. Styles responded. Not one bit faced by his son’s harsh tone.
“Honey, just listen to your father. I am fine” She felt like a fool for believing her husband’s promise. He had promised her that he wouldn’t cause a conflict during the kid's stay.
“Go with my mum, babe” Harry can change the tone of his voice for her as he saw his girlfriend’s concerned expression. Y/N quickly stood up to comply with his demand.
“NO! This concerns her, therefore she should be here” Mr. Styles explained making both women shake. Y/N stopped moving as Mrs.Styles continued walking out as she gave her a reassuring nod.
“I just told you to leave, Y/N” Harry's protecting side arising. He didn't want her around just in case it got uglier.
“It’s okay” Y/N knew that his father wouldn't back out and whatever he had to say she could take it. She wasn't going to hide behind Harry. She was a strong, independent woman that could take the ignorant opinions of an abusing man, especially with her boyfriend by her side —at least that was what she thought. Harry pursed his lips and looked back at his father.
“It’s funny how your girlfriend has more balls than you, son” Mr.Styles sarcastically chuckled as he looked over at Y/N. “I am surprised, Ms. Y/L/N. I didn’t think you had it in you”.
“You don’t know many things about me, Mr. Styles. You would be astounded to know that I am not like other women,” She snapped back as tried her best not to feel intimidated.
“That is certainly true. I was surprised to find out that you aren’t who you say you are, Ms. Y/LN. Did you know that, son?” He asked as he looked over at his oldest. “You have no idea who you are sleeping with”. Harry chuckled, but continued to listen to his preposterous statements. “Is Y/N even your real name?”.
“It is Mr. Styles, and I’ve been nothing, but honest with your son. Therefore, I would love to hear an apology coming from you,” She kindly smiled at him.
“She is a fucking nanny, Harry!” He snapped. Y/N calm demeanor was easily getting under his skin. “She doesn’t work for Alessandro. Is all bullshit. She is probably some gold digger” He looked at her with disgust.
That was enough for Harry.
“Don’t you fucking dare to talk about her like that!” Mr. Styles smirked pleased with the reaction has he had just gotten out of him. “I am well aware that she is a nanny, father” Harry chuckled as he crossed his fingers with one another, entertained by the show that his father had just put on.
“She doesn’t even come from a proper family. How do you think the media will react when they find out that she is nothing, but your son’s nanny?!” He spat, feeling offended that his son had brought someone like her near him.
“I took her to the gala, father. They already know. We were seen by hundredths and a bunch of pictures were taken,” Harry rolled his eyes before rising to his feet. “Instead of making a big altercation of this, you could have just asked me about it and I would’ve told you. I am not hiding her”. Harry took Y/N's hand, ready to leave.
“Her father is dead, Harry and God only knows who and where her mother is!” Mr. Styles said just before they could leave the room. The small comment was enough for Y/N to let Harry's hand go and turn back.
“You have no right to talk about my father, Mr. Styles. Let alone about my mother or anything that concerns my family. You might have all the money that anyone could dream of, but not everything can be resolved with money. I find your hypocrisy very astounding. After all, you are an abuser. Shame on you for judging and blaming my deceased father. Instead of focusing on where I come from and who my family is, you should be trying to gain your family's trust again and thanking them for enduring all the pain that you inflicted on them. “ His snarly comment about her father had been enough to set her up in flames. No one would ever mess up his memory, especially when she was around. She loved her father and all she had left of him was the fun-loving memories of him, and she wasn't going to allow anyone to ruin it.
Y/N released his hand, and gave Harry a quick glance as she walked past him in search of some peace and quietness.
She sat on the edge of the back of the boat. Her legs were submerged in the surprisingly warm water. The events that had taken place in the last half hour kept replaying in her mind. She kept thinking about the conversation and still couldn't understand how it had taken such an appalling turn. Y/N knew she couldn't turn back time, and she couldn't take back her words, but she still wished she could.
He appeared from the corner of her eye and settled beside her. He was quiet and felt a bit distant. She knew that she shouldn’t be feeling guilty for using her voice and demanding respect from his father. However, the last thing she wanted was to lose Harry because of it.
Either way, her eyes remained glued to the horizon where the ocean met the sky. None of them uttered a word — each deep in thought. Both wondered how to approach the subject and ease up the tension that only continued to grow with every passing second.
“When did you find out?” He was the first to break the silence. His past was something he had always managed to keep hidden. In fact, Harry Styles had never spoken to anyone besides his family and his psychiatrist about the abuse that he had endured.
“Your mom — earlier today” immediately she regretted throwing Mrs. Styles under the bus. Y/N hoped that this wouldn’t create another conflict and cause a bigger tear in the family.
Harry was rather surprised that his mother had shared such an intimate memory. After all, the Styles clan have always seemed perfect before the eyes of the outside spectators. They are glamorous, elegant, and regal. All four members seemed cut with the same perfect mold. When in reality, each of the members faced their struggles and demons every day.
” Why didn’t you tell me?” Y/N knew that Harry hadn't confided on her because there were still issues revolving it that he had to resolve. She only wished that his trust in her grew. Harry sighed as he sat beside her, dipping his feet in the water too. Y/N shrugged as she thought about how to frame her answer and not come off as an asshole.
“I kept it to myself because you had no intention of sharing it with me. I wanted it to come out of your mouth because you wanted to. Not because I cornered you or pushed you to it”.
“My past is something I keep to myself, Y/N. I don’t like sharing about it” .
“You don’t like sharing anything” Harry turned his head towards her; facing her for the first time since the altercation with his father. Y/N knew she shouldn’t be kicking him when he was down, but it was the truth. For the relationship to work, she had to share what she was thinking and feeling.
“That’s simply not the truth. I’ve told you more things than I have told anyone” There it was — the indistinguishable stern and demanding tone that Harry was known for.
“Harry, you hadn’t told me about Oliver's biological mother. If it wouldn't been because she appeared, you wouldn’t have shared! And that is one of a few things that you have slipped under the rug!” He exhaled loudly, releasing a deep breath that he hadn’t realized that he had been holding.
He abstained from running his fingers through his hair in frustration. It was her eyes again. Those soft, gentle eyes always managed to pull on his heartstrings. Y/N’s eyes could make him do the unimaginable. She could move mountains within him with a simple look.
“Do you want to know all the gory details?”
“Not unless you want to, Harry”
“One day I will tell you everything. Just not know” She didn't push any further. She could see that he wasn't prepared, and she couldn't blame him. After all, who liked to revisit the moments; when the person that was supposed to love you the most — hurt you the most?
They remained still in the comfortable silence for a few seconds. He had even managed to feel closer to her or anyone. Harry felt he might like her more than he did in the morning. By the mere fact that she hasn't pushed him to reveal his darkest memories like most had attempted in the past.
“She was a one-night stand. I’ve had a shitty day at work and I went to my favorite bar for a few drinks” He shrugged, “You know to take the edge off, and she was there that night. Harry leaned back on his hands as he tried his best to remember the few pools of soberness he had throughout the night. “She was sweet, nice, and didn’t seem that interested in the watch, suit, or credit card I used. So I bought her a few drinks”.
Y/N knew it was the past, but she couldn't help feeling jealous. And she knew it was all very silly.
“We end up having sex. By the morning, she was gone. I didn’t hear from her until she was two months into her pregnancy. At first, I genuinely thought she wanted to make things work, and I was hopeful that our relationship could work. I was so naive that at some point I thought that we could raise Oliver together like a family,” Harry shook his head, erasing the ridiculous thought. “I was oblivious to the fact that Forbes magazine had published their monthly issue with me on the front cover, interviewing me about how I had become one of the twenty youngest billionaires in the world. The magazine had magically ended on Ashley’s hands, and that’s when she came up with the plan”.
Y/N pursed her lips, already knowing where the story was heading. Her hips had turned to his direction, and she had leaned closer to him. She was intrigued, but also missed his gentle touch.
“Anyway, she threatened me with aborting Oliver and asked for a ridiculous sum of money. I complied and wire transferred half of the money and made her sign a contract. She agreed to give me full custody of Oliver once he was born. In return, I would give her the rest of the money,” Y/N couldn’t believe the nerve of the woman.
“The last time I saw her was the day she gave birth to Oliver. She signed all the paperwork and I made sure to put a restraining order on her. Just in case, this type of shit ever happened” Harry sighed, “I honestly don’t know what else she wants now. I guess we will have to wait and see, huh?”
“He is not hers to keep. She gave him up without ever giving him a chance. Therefore, you should do the same to her — not give her the chance”
“I already set up a meeting with her on Monday morning” he revealed. “I have a few things that I never got off my chest”
“Do you think that’s wise?” She tilted her head. “I suppose it will only anger her more”
“I don’t” Harry shrugged. “But she won’t beat me at my own game” referring to his ability to terrorize everyone in the office with a simple look.
The last time that Harry and Ashley had been in the same room, he had been submissive with her requests because of what was on the line. Now she was stepping into the lion’s den, and Harry wasn’t going to hold back.
“I know I was out of line earlier” Y/N relaxed as she felt the weight getting lifted from her shoulders.
“You weren’t. You deserve respect and my father was a complete jackass” He reached out for her conveying his apology. She scooted closer to him enough so their thighs and shoulders would touch. Harry wrapped an arm around her waist from behind and delivered a soft peck on her temple.
“Good morning, darling,” He looked at her through the mirror as he finished adjusting the cuffs of the shirt. Harry was straight out of the show. He was clean-shaven and his hair had already been styled the way he liked it. “You are up early” He pointed out as it only was half-past six.
They had gotten back from the awful trip to the Hamptons that same day. As soon as the yacht docked, Harry dragged Y/N back to the house. They picked up Oliver and said goodbye to everyone. Everyone except Mr. Styles.
“I guess I wasn’t that tired” Harry smiled, knowing she was lying to him. After all, he was the one that had kept her up until the early hours. Their rendezvous had dragged out later than he had expected, “Plus I wanted to see you before you left”.
“Are you having breakfast with me then?” He adjusted his tie. Harry could see her sleep deprivation from miles away and only hoped she would decline his invitation. Just so she could get some sleep. By the look of the bags under her eyes, she was in need of well-deserved rest. Oliver wasn't due to wake up for a few more hours, which gave her the perfect window to charge batteries.
“I would love to” She wiped the small tears that her big yawn had just given her. Harry wasn't surprised at her stubbornness. “I am just going to get ready real quick”
“I’ll meet you downstairs then” He leaned down and pecked her lips on the way downstairs.
Food had just been served by the time that Y/N descended the stairs. She wore a long-sleeve blouse with a low-cut neckline, high-waisted light gray pants, and pointed-toe black heels. Her hair was down and tucked behind her ears, revealing the very fake, white pearls that she had gotten a while back.
Harry was looking at the stock market when his attention was drawn back to her. An apparent smile made its way to his face as he watched her stride her way towards the table. He crossed his arms over his chest, blowing out his cheeks at her beauty.
“Maybe I should jus' take you to work with me,” Y/N shook her head at her boyfriend and tried to act unbothered at his playful behavior. She loved early morning, playful Harry. At six in the morning, no one had yet ruined his mood with unforeseen problems at the company or complaints from other employees. “You know, f'my sort of entertainment”.
“Another Styles requires my uttermost attention” The young nanny knew she couldn't leave Oliver in someone else’s care, even if she wanted to. Not with psycho-Ashley lurking in the streets in search of him.
“Pity” He reached out for his coffee. “We would’ve had so much fun,” He winked before taking a sip. “However, you should come before the day ends”.
“We have to talk about your job and make all the necessary arrangements fo' our Italy trip” He watched her carefully, waiting for any type of reaction. The last time he had touched the subject, he had snapped at her and the conversation hadn’t gone like he had wanted to.
“You aren’t going to fire me, are you?” She asked with a bit of humor in her voice. Harry shook his head at her, but she could feel the sudden tension in the air. “Oh my god! You are going to fire me!” She gasped.
“I just said we’ll talk about it this evening, babe,” He threw in the term of endearment to soften the situation.
“Harry” She started again.
“I won’t leave you without a job, Y/N. What kind of boyfriend would I be?”
“A very bad one” She caught a glimpse of his sly smile before he continued eating his granola and yogurt for breakfast.
“Y' could just let me take care of you, m'love” He suggested, knowing he would get shut off by her without a second thought.
“You can’t Harry” She had never envisioned herself as one of those high-class socialites that stayed home and planned tea parties with her friends from the golf country club.
“Oh trust me I can. Yeh jus' won’t let me,” He exhaled as he leaned back on his seat. “It would be a pleasure, but I know you are too stubborn to ever accept”
“You can’t expect me to stay all day here with my arms crossed and not move a finger” Harry pursed his lips, and rested an elbow on the arm of his seat. “Plus, you are my boyfriend and not my husband”
“If I was your husband, you would let me take care of you?” He leaned forward, intrigued by the conversation.
“Harry” she warned, trying to hide the small smile that kept trying to creep up.
“Do you often think of us getting married, Ms. Y/L/N?”
HS one shot at where he cheated & sees her at a bar with her new boyfriend 117, 79, 72, 148, 27, 158, 399
A/n: Thanks for requesting❤ I tweaked the situation a little so they are friends with benefits and this was so much fun to write!!!
Word count: 4.5 K( Short fics? I know you not;-))
Warnings: smut, angst, cheating( in a way) friend with benefits where the benefits become too much after a while, the jealoussiveness cliche, cursing but I couldn't get creative, my absolute lack of Proficiency in assigning my oc's good names and more than 10 seconds reading time, talks about violence, parties(eww), Harry is a dumb asshole, reader's a sad sponge, golden paint, talks about a point in the future where Harry isn't venturing into every field put there and actually releasing music, Benefits.
Please reblog if you like this fic. Let me know what you think! Love you❤❤
117- " I don't want to hear your excuses anymore"
79- "Don't forget who you belong to."
72- " l swear I'm going to fuck the next person who comes through that door.
148- "I'm not jealous! It's just...you're mine."
27- " Bite me! If you insist.
158- " I'm gonna fuck you so hard you forget that guy's name."
399- " I just wanna fuck away the pain."
That tick in his jaw, followed by the classic drag of his tongue against his lower lip. The highlighter which he had brushed against his cheeks, giving him a soft angelic glow, despite the fact that he was scowling- glowering. His eyes bleeding in flames of red, green and purple.
Ofcourse, he had to wear the highlighter. That fucking highlighter. An addition to his look which he somewhat despised, till you sauntered up to him, settling yourself snug on his lap, dragging the brush tenderly along the crests of his cheekbones till they shone golden. He had completed your act by thoroughly fucking you against the mirror of his dressing room, taking his time biting, kissing, scratching and marking till you were a melted, sweaty mess. He was ten minutes late to the stage where a crowd of ten-fucking- thousand waited for him, and man didn't all of that dissolve into nothing when he claimed his blissful abyss against your lips.
Or so he says. No, scratch that. Or so he used to say. When you were on speaking terms. When he was a reason for your pleasure, both physically and emotionally. When he made you smile and kissed you on the forehead as you cried out his name, trembling underneath him, tracing out the tattoos which grounded you as he thrust in you. When he did not let another woman sit between his legs and blow him in a random party. When he had not fucked all of this over.
Benefits. You starred in the music video of this song, some three months back. The set where you had first met him. Varnished all over in gold paint, your job was to twirl around, twerk, flip your hair, jut your lips out and let glycerine run all over your body while Harry sat manspread on a red velvet couch somewhere behind you and three other girls. And maintain eye contact, even if it burns. Though you had filmed in far more compromising situations than this, the golden beaded corset you adorned had you feel hotter than hell, more desirable than just anyone else. The attention you received from Harry that day was flattering, his intense gaze combusting over your skin as dusts of gold glitter shimmered down from your eyelashes to settle on his dress pants and the sleeves of his suit. His hands raked through your hair, far more touchy with you than with the other girls. Hundreds of cameras captured him disregarding everything the director said to touch you.
Three months back. That was when all of this started, from the not-so-subtle touches to the unabashed 'fuck me' eyes at each other, you too were so transparent in your desire for each other you could as well paste it over the sky. Which was why you both got nothing more than an eye roll and a scoff the few hundred times Harry's crew, or your best friend, or your manager or somebody from your shared circle walked in on you going at it like you planned on bringing the building down. It was about damn time anyway.
You two weren't exactly friends, but both of you knew how to snitch the benefits. The number of times you had sex was enough to dissociate the ovaries of your next door Mary Sue, and both you and Harry enjoyed every freaking moment of it. For a while you were basking in the high, one which could be brought only with his hushed words and whispers and the swipes of his tongue and heavy breaths. All of it was like an all consuming fire, everything around you shuffling to centre at 'Harry'. To the point you were certain it was an inescapable bubble, one which you couldn't tear out of even if you tried. You hadn't considered the possibility of him tearing it down for you.
Your Harry bubble was shattered the moment you walked into a company party's washrooms to find Harry, your Harry, with his head thrown backward in that orgazmic haze which had you tremble and clench in white hot desire, a chick who wasn't you sucking him off. You had been heartbroken, without even realizing that your heart had been pulled into this messy equation. So you had taken off, broken up with Harry, or whatever that was, even taking the liberty to glare at him so hard you could find traces of panic underlying the angst and confusion in his eyes. Even though neither of you had defined what you had and all terms holding your 'relationship' worked in his favour in this situation, you were hurt. So you walked away, taking all the pain and the stupid heartbreak you carved for yourself with you.
All of this was a week back, and for somebody who had their heart pinned to a cracked wall, you were holding yourself well. It's just been one week though. It felt like nothing. You were still subconsciously reaching towards your phone, hoping he would shoot you a text. So you had tried to look confident while entering this party, even with your hair flying and dress crumpled from having to squeeze in the backseat of your friend's honda- Lots of people you should meet. Just make it. Your manager's dismissive words rang in your head, sounding to you like you were a beach ball she was struggling to manage against the crashing waves but not having it in her to just let you out on your own. That was when it happened. Almost like a film you could never squeeze yourself a role into, your eyes swept against Harry's.
What the fuck was he doing here? This party wasn't the kind of place you would catch Harry Styles in, even if the number of influential people was high, higher than the amount of bills you had in your wallet at least. And Harry had this determined look on his face as soon as he saw you. Like he was gonna walk over to you, sweet talk you about what happened and just get away with it. So he could squeeze in another fuck. Satiate his ego by ending it on his terms. Probably get off at the fact that he could so easily have you under him, trembling and moaning, all traces of the headstrong woman you are fucked to the back of your head.
No Styles. You met a headstrong, confident woman. You fucked her. And you fucked her over. Now she is just an angry, bitter woman. Fuck men.
Out of the corner of your eye, you caught the gold highlighter gleaming against his cheekbones, the little addition that you loved so much. You used to say something about how it added to the Adonis in his persona, and the internet agreed. You flipped your hair, collecting all of it over one shoulder, your bare back out against the two nonexistent straps wound across it. You caught the eye of Ronan, a makeup artist you had met at the set of the last film where you were another 'pretty face on the street', and even though the reality of your recurring roles was snickering right at your face, you mustered up the flashiest smile you could get, pushing across some people over to him.
Ronan's a nice guy. Blonde. Respectful enough to not grope you or grab you even though he was on his third glass of whiskey, and though his jokes didn't really hold much substance, his eyes had a light, carefree aura you hoped you could replicate by the end of this night.
"Is that Harry-freaking-Styles?" Your companion was loud, and so was your wince as you glanced in the general direction of Ronan's tipsy gaze. The pair of eyes which burned back at you, intense and- was that anger?- had you curling your lips over the edge of your glass of tequila, the painful clattering of the ice shaking you back to reality.
What's his deal now?
Whatever it is, it's not your problem. He can go find another girl who would be willing to drop to her knees and hand her mouth and push her tongue out for him. Not you. Not after what you saw last week.
"He looks like he wants to fuck you." Ronan simply said, and you hadn't quite expected some mundane words from an inebriated college to hurt so much. But it did. It hurt too bad, to the point you almost struggled to breathe, shakily reaching behind Ronan and placing the glass on the counter behind him. Ronan's hand caught your elbow, possibly because you looked like your knees would cave in and you would crumble then and there, and then he was placing a strong hand against your back. Steadying you.
"I swear I'm gonna fuck the next person that comes through that door." You seethed, suddenly all the anger, the frustration, the betrayal, the loss -of something which you never even had in the first place- cracking your voice open, a delicate timber slipping underneath your words. "But I won't fuck him."
If Ronan was confused by your words, he didn't show. If he was intrigued by your story, which you had to agree was worth gossiping about, he did not try to pry. He just languidly brushed a knuckle against your cheekbone, the warmth of his touch helping you ground yourself. At least a little bit.
Then you caught his eyes flitting from your face to something behind you. Someone behind you. Someone who was digging holes into your back so hard you could feel the sharpanel scrape down your spine. Slowly untangling yourself from Ronan's hold, and only then realizing you were literally sprawled over him, to meet the glowering eyes of Harry Styles.
Goddamn. For somebody who could unload a barrel against your heart, he sure looked beautiful. The highlighter, which had caught your eye from the distance seemed smudged under the sheen of sweat glistening over his skin, and your befuddled mind wanted nothing more than for him to dig his head between your thighs till you were all spent and wasted.
"Can I have a word?" Harry asked, his husky accent making you swoon internally, but you stayed put, encouraged by the way Ronan wrapped both his arms around your waist and pulled you flush against his back, not giving you much of a choice to move.
"No." You fired, rolling your eyes at the way his jaw clenched and eyes narrowed at the sight of you completely engulfed by what's-his-name who he'd never seen before. Should have thought about this before he let some bitch get her mouth on him.
Huffing out, Harry glared at you so hard you were sure he was gonna knock down the man behind you and carry you out full caveman style.
I'd like to see you try.
"You," Harry shifted his attention from you to your partner, holding out one heavily jewelled hand and flicking it as if he was tossing out a fly, "Get lost."
"Excuse me?" Despite the boldness which Ronan showed just moments back, his words faltered under Harry's sweltering gaze, a vein of indignation and perhaps, fear, running underneath.
"Mate." Harry growled, iridescent green curtained by a malignant emeraude, pupils pushed out and hypnotizing against the charismatic greens. "I'll ask you again. Leave."
Men are chickens. They really are. And you didn't even realize you said that out loud as Ronan untangled himself from you, shooting a quick scoff and muttering something in the lines of "keep me outta your mess." The light chuckle from Harry didn't help with your mood as you watched Ronan's retreating figure, cursing him out in your head.
"What was that for?" Your words were low and angry and unnecessary because you knew what was that for and yet you had to say something to cut through the suffocating gaze Harry had set on you. Also, it helped you not slap him right away for sending away a potential fuck. Or it was you dragging out time till you reached the end of the line, where you'd be yelling and crying and trying to find a place to hide.
"You didn't seem to be enjoying yourself much." Despite the anger shitshow he'd just put up, his arrogant, cocky tone had to make an appearance, which made you debate on whether you should suck on his dick or cut his balls off.
"If you insist."
And his stupid lips curled up in that goddamn smirk, alcohol lacing his breath, the reason why you were so gone in the first place. His peace ring ran along the slope of your nose, his breaths minging against yours. Whiskey and smoke. Strong. So good it kept you grounded and took you to the damn skies. You breathed in a deep sigh, fluttering your eyes shut and leaning back against the counter as the cold of his ring left their metallic bite over your lips, the smooth rub of his thumb smudging your lipstick out of the edges.
That's when you snapped.
No he doesn't get to cheat on you, he doesn't get to drive away a friend and act all cocky like you were the one who needed reprimanding. He most definitely did not get to ruin your makeup. He had lost that right.
"Get your fucking hands off of me," you slapped his hand away, his pink crystal ring hitting the edge of your finger and shit, that stung. Rings aren't all that great, not if they don't get marked against your ass. Harry isn't all that great either. Not when he is not fucking you.
"Baby, you've got to listen to me."
You wanted to yell. You wanted to yell at the quiver of his words, at the baritone which got you to melt every-fucking time, at the sincerity and regret which was so easily discernible in his eyes. You wanted to tell him he had no right to do this to you, he had no right to string you along in his frineds with benifits bullshit, to put you on a fucking pedestal even when you were just another fuck for him. If he had to keep it under the friends with benefits category, he did not have to do things to make you fall in love with him. He most certainly did not have to hold your hand and talk to you about your interest post coitus, he did not have to go for late-night ice creams with you. He most certainly did not have to give you thoughtful gifts. If he was throwing a Cartier necklace or a Gucci bag your way, you could have gotten the concept. He did not have to give you his books, books where he had added his little notes in his horrible handwriting. He did not have to go and stock his shelves with your favourite tea despite the fact that he hated anything which wasn't coffee. The stack of hoodies he had left at your place begged you everyday not to toss them into somebody's else's laundry and get them out of your sight.
But he did. And when Harry had to do all these, he could as well keep it in his pants till you were there to help him out. But no, he had to get sucked off another girl, that too in a party you were supposed to be in, where you had made plans to sneak out and have your fun. But Harry gets what Harry wants.
Not this time.
Slipping out, you shoved away the person on your side, shuffling across and tripping over your two feet. Without even meaning to, your hand shot out to grab Harry's which was already out to hold you steady. A little unwillingly, you let him drag you out of the crowd to the room behind the bar. The change of scene, and the absence of brake lights and annoying chatter and incoherent music got you sobered up, enough to drink in the sight in front of you.
No. You were not gonna check Harry out. It only led to you ogling, and an unnecessary heat over your face and neck and a pool between your thighs. It also buttered him up, that smirk cockier than ever. So you looked around, to the rows of liquor bottles, probably some which had been aged for a while, covering three of the walls of the room. The room was a tad barren for you otherwise, just some couches pushed towards the edge of the wall and a skylight over one end of the ceiling.
This resembled the set where you both had first met, when you were a background addition on his music video. How he'd touched you. You were sobered up, but even then you felt intoxicated. With him, it was possible. The soft caress of the highlighter against his cheekbones had you dig your fingers into your palm to stop yourself from touching him. You vaguely wondered if you could just climb up the skylight to the roof, and if Harry could haul himself up with the extremely tight dress pants he wore.
"Lovie," Harry whispered, imploring, bursting you out of your bubble. The stench of whiskey was strong as he spoke, so inviting even when you hated it. You jerked away from him, pushing him for good measure to get him out of your personal space. "Just, listen to me. Please."
"I don't want to hear your excuses anymore!" You yelled, voice cracking at the end. You wondered why the hell were you not throwing hands at him yet.
Harry flinched, looking at you like a kicked puppy. He reached out to you again, eyes so sincere and brimming with emotions you had to look away. "Just, baby, I'm sorry," he started, trailing away when you glared at him just as harsh as the last time you had walked in on him. "Just hear me out."
"Please. I thought she was you."
"Cut the bullshit Styles."
"Believe me babe. I thought she was you." He stressed so ardently, you would have believed him if you hadn't been in this industry for as long as you were. Never trust someone who really wants you to trust them.
"And I look the same as every girl in this party, don't I?" You bit back, walking around him towards the door but Harry got there faster, blocking the exit. Fuck him and his long legs and stupid heels. This stance of him standing with his hands placed on the doorframe as if you couldn't just duck under him and leave, gave you the chance to take in his outfit. And as easy as you used to shotgun with him,or kiss him or laugh at his dopey jokes, you had mentally undressed him out of his retro combination suit, easily remembering what it felt like to have him between you.
"Seriously Harry. Real mature."
"Please. I was drunk. And high. At the same time. You can ask Mitch."
You scoffed, but he continued. "She had your hair colour. Her dress was like yours. She was your height. She winked at me. I thought she was you. Till you walked in there and I -fuck- baby, I fucked up. I'm so sorry."
"Yes Harry. You fucked up. And this isn't something you set right with an explanation." You looked at his miserable eyes, willing yourself to duck and bolt as he mumbled another "please, let me try," your way.
"No. You not only broke my heart, you also drove my date away. Really classy Harry."
"Babe!" This time Harry whirled around, catching your elbow and tugging you back to his chest, before he lifted you up bridal style, shoving himself and your indignant form back into the room where you came from. He settled you at the edge of the sofa, immediately clasping your hands as you yelled profanities at him. You thought of that music video where you were both on a similar setting and couch, doing such different things, having the world swoon over you. If only you could go back to that time. But nah. Time travel is illegal. So you stayed put, glared at Harry and hoping it scares him off enough to let you go.
You forgot he had his own mastery at the art of eye contact. What was supposed to be a harsh, wounding glare soon melted into a seamless daze, where you could let him do anything with you. One hand engulfing both of yours, he wound his other arm around your waist, crouching on his knees in front of you. Harry was giving you enough space in case you wanted to act out on hitting him, but tight enough so you wouldn't bolt out. Fucker.
"Just, please. Take a swing at me if you wanna. Destroy my car or something. Just, take me back. Please." He was bordering on unhinged if he was ready to let you destroy his car. His first wife or so he called her.
"That's stupid. And it won't change anything."
"Then what will? What can I do to change this?" He looked desperate, a sheen of glossiness coating his eyes as he looked on earnestly, intertwining his hands with yours and bringing them up to his lips, kissing them repeatedly.
"Let me go, Harry."
"No. I can't."
"You didn't even want me. I was just a fuck buddy." And the bitter taste was back in your mouth, a little metallic too. Maybe you had bit your tongue down too hard. "You'd find somebody else to warm your bed. Just let me go."
"I don't want somebody else. I never wanted somebody else." He presses, tugging at his hair in frustration. You would have felt bad for him, but he hurt you.
"I don't believe you. Not after that." You freed your hands from his hold, untangling your legs from his thighs. "And I got a party to attend."
"You can ask Mitch. Heck, Sarah mistook her for you too. Just please, let me fix this." Should it be satisfying? Harry styles on his knees, begging for you to stay. Of Course not. It tore at your heartstrings, and involuntarily, you were setting back where you were, clasping his big, bejeweled hands between yours, a scared, tentative ray of hope streaming across his eyes.
"I'm not, Harry- let's just go back to the party. Let's go home separately. I'll talk about this when we're both sober."
"Please don't go home with anybody." He pleaded, a vague terror in his eyes in case you decided to do what he'd taught you.
"Why Harry? Why not?" You couldn't stop your bitter drawl, "We aren't exclusive, are we? That's what you said that day. I don't want the benefits from you tonight. Need another mouth on me today. Lemme see if I can convince Ronan." His grip tightened around your fingers, one hand shooting up to grip your hips. "I might even blow him in front of you, orchestrate some cheap porno for you to get off at night."
Yeah, your words stung. They hit home with the way the soft simmer of anger turned into a full-fledged, barely controlled wildfire, tearing all through his face and body language, and suddenly you were hauled up and pushed against the wall beside the sofa.
"Don't forget who you belong to." He seethed, visibly angry and you could see the green. The envy. The anger. Even betrayal. Just like how you had felt all week long.
"Not to you." You sassed, "I'm a free bird, can be taken by anyone who wants to fuck me like a bitch in hea-" he didn't let you continue, wrapping his fingers around your throat and pulling you towards him, his lips crashing against yours. Your hands were at his hair, fisting his curls as he pressed you to his torso, thighs breaking between your legs and grinding against your cunt.
He let go of you, grasping your shoulders and flipping you around in a beat so you were caged against the wall, his erection hard against your back. "Wanna try that again?" he growled, grabbing your jaw and turning your face to capture your lips in another possessive kiss, one which was demanding, claiming, and feral. His message was clear. You were his.
"Jealous much?" You smirked when he broke off, your chest heaving at the intensity of his movements.
"Fuck, no." He huffed, wrapping his arms around you the exact same way Ronan had done sometime back, erasing every trace of his touch over your skin. Claiming your lips with a hunger that mocked his words. He tugged at your hair, pulling your hair back so his lips could descend along your jaw and neck, sucking, biting, marking. "I'm not jealous…" he faltered, biting in another bruise right under your jaw and gliding his tongue over it. You ran your hand over the front of his pants, his actions stopping momentarily before he was devouring you again. "It's just, you're mine." For a second, his cockiness disappeared as you toyed with him, returning back in waves as you twisted your head and scoffed at him.
"But you're not mine. It doesn't work that way."
"Who said?" Harry growled, turning you back so you were facing him. He pressed his lips to yours again, engulfing a boob with his huge hand as the other tenderly caressed your jaw. "I'm all yours babe. Always was. Always will be." He lolled your lips between his, languidly threading his teeth over your bottom lips as he traced out your nipples. "I'm sorry it took me so long and I'm sorry you had to see that. But please, allow me to try again. Let me start this again and let me do this right, this time."
His words sounded sincere, and you had the fiend at your shoulder, egging you on to just take the risk. Words like, 'you weren't exclusive then.' ' you weren't official.' 'That girl did look like you.' rang in your head, and the last rational part of your brain shut down on a permanent hiatus before throwing a 'you're gonna regret this.'
"And your idea of making it right is fucking me in a room behind the party?"
Harry chuckled, lifting his head from the crook of your neck where he was already working on his artwork. Hooking a finger at the said straps, he tugged your dress down, taking one breast in your mouth as he lifted you, throwing you to the sofa.
"I just wanna fuck the pain away," he murmured, kissing all over your body. He made a few more hickeys, scattering them over your breasts as you squirmed under him, grabbing him and pulling him closer. He reached the waistband of your panties, kissing over them as your body jerked under him. A week couldn't make you forget how skilled that tongue was, and a single swipe against your clothed cunt had you convulsing under him, crying out for more.
With a hand wrapped around your throat, he tore your panties off, slapping your inner thigh which was your cue to wrap them around his head, the first lick almost setting you to tumble down to the ground.
"I'll make it up to you babe. You'll never have to complain again." He sucked at your clit, holding your spasming thighs as you tried to hold in your mewls and whimpers, "and you're gonna scream for me. Let everybody in that blasted party know who makes this pussy gush."
"And when that would be done," he lifted off, lips painted with your wetness as he slid a finger up to the band of his rings inside you, pumping it excruciatingly slow was he pulled you up by your throat, his words spoken against your lips, so low you could feel the rumble against your chest.
"I'm gonna fuck you so hard you forget that guy's name."
a/n: myy loovesss, here i am again with a new serrrriiiessss. we get dadrry and him being cute af with his child. we love to see it. REMEMBER feedback is encouraged and welcomed. love you guys <3
word count: 3.5k
There was no one in the world Harry loved more than his daughter, Lucy. Everything he did was for her. There was not a want or need in her because Harry was quick to fulfill it… On his own usually…
Harry met Brooklyn about six years ago at a work ball that he and his company hosted annually during the holidays. She was the daughter of a partnering company and while their relationship was short, Lucy happened. It was unexpected and unplanned but nonetheless, Harry was ready to step up and become a father in comparison to Brooklyn that was adamant on not wanting any kids. He found it funny how she repeated it over and over during the pregnancy since he was clear about him supporting whatever choice she made with her body. Instead, she decided to carry to term, give birth, and make Harry’s life hell.
Brooklyn wasn’t the best mother. It made Harry angry because he was certain his daughter deserved the best and only the best, so he took her to court and battled for full custody of their child after the back and forth for five years. With many expectations from everyone in Harry and Lucy’s life, he won. In a matter of a week, Brooklyn was expected to give everything over to Harry, only keeping certain things because the court agreed she could see her every other weekend which Harry wasn’t a fan of, but he compromised since Lucy would be with him ninety percent of the time.
Now, Lucy was six, Harry trying his absolute best to a good father, but he felt like he was failing. The man was always tired. Being the owner of a company and a single dad wasn’t easy. His daughter was always so full of energy, wanting to play as soon as he was out of work and picking her up from school. Harry would always give in once Lucy gave him those puppy eyes that were green and vibrant much like his own. He just couldn’t say no. But fuck, he was tired.
“Daddy!” Lucy exclaimed as she ran clumsily to Harry, her chocolate curls bouncing in excitement once she saw her dad.
Harry smiled wide, kneeling down to be at her level, pulling her into an embrace once she crashed into his chest with her arms around his neck. “Hi, pet. How was school today?”
“Was s’ good! We played hide and seek during recess, and we learned how to write words. Oh! And some shapes too!” Harry chuckled at her excitement, helping her into the car as she spoke on and on about the activities she indulged in for the day. “Sounds great, bub.” Harry got into the driver’s seat, pulling out of the school’s parking lot and heading home. He really wanted to just be lazy, sit, and watch a movie for the rest of the afternoon as that was the only thing he could do in peace while watching Lucy. But given her energy today, he doubted that would be the case.
“Daddy, can I ask you a question?”
“Yes, bub. What is it?”
“Can I do ballet? My friend, Erika, is always talking about it and it sounds so fun, daddy! She spins around with a pretty bun!”
That was the best idea he’d ever heard coming from a six-year-old. Harry could take that designated time to do whatever he wanted, a small break for his tired soul at best. He felt terrible about his feelings given that he wanted nothing more than to be with his daughter all the time, but Lord knows just how bad Harry needs his own time, even if it were just a two hours a week.
“I don’t see why not. I’ll make sure I speak with Erika’s mum tomorrow and find out about this ballet class.” Harry peeked through the mirror to see his daughter jump in her seat with pure enthusiasm. God, he loved her.
Harry was able to talk to Erika’s mother who so nicely shared all the details with him and even gave him the number of the ballet studio her own daughter attended. He was quick to call once he got home, signing his daughter up, taking notes of all the things he needed before she was taken to her first class.
“Yes, okay. Leotards, uh, tutus, tights, ballet shoes, and bring her in a bun every class. Got it.” He reiterated to the nice woman over the phone. Until his eyes widened, and a small gasp came from his lips. Harry was useless when it came to Lucy’s hair. He’d always send her to school with her curls free, only brushing them and calling it a day since his ponytails, buns, and braids always came out too loose and ugly. “Everything okay, Mr. Styles?” She asked nicely, Harry quickly clearing his throat and nodding, internally cursing at himself for being an idiot when he realized no one could see him. “Uh, sorry… I’m a single dad and have no idea how to really do her hair… But that’s none of your business so, I guess I’ll um, just figure it out.” He sighed again, drawing little doodles on the napkin where he quickly jotted down everything his daughter would need. “Oh, don’t worry! How about you bring her in about thirty minutes earlier and I’ll fix her up?”
Harry’s eyes immediately widened, a huge relief washing over him as if the woman just saved his life. “Thank you s’much! I truly appreciate it. What’s your name? So, I can look f’you when we arrive.” Her giggles were heard over the phone and Harry couldn’t help but smile. “My name is (Y/N). Looking forward to meeting Lucy on Friday Mr. Styles. Have a great rest of your evening.”
The rest of the week was spent with Harry and Lucy shopping for all the things she needed for ballet, his daughter quite literally jumping up and down while they walked through every store. “Y’excited for ballet, pet? Can’t stop jumping, y’gonna get hurt.” Lucy giggled and held on to his big hand tighter. “Yes, daddy! I can’t wait to look so pretty.” Harry scoffed, looking down at her as they walked through the shops at the mall, his other hand filled with many bags. Too many, perhaps. “Y’already s’pretty, bub.”
After a couple more stores and a couple more bags, Harry opted for a facetime call with his mum. He felt it had been a while since they spoke since the man had been so busy.
“I think that’s a great idea, honey. She seems really excited, and it’ll be good to spend all her energy on something so fun. Plus, you can rest, catch up with work, see some of your friends.” Anne spoke through the phone, sipping on her wine while she sat in her backyard talking to her son.
“Doesn’t make me a bad father for wanting a few hours to myself?”
“Oh, Harry. Don’t be silly. She’s lucky to have a father like you. You need time for yourself. You do so much for her, and you should recognize that. Promise it doesn’t make you bad.”
Harry sighed, shrugging softly, and looking back to peak at Lucy who was still playing with the small plastic kitchen set at the corner of the living room. “Well, mum, thank you. Gonna make dinner f’us. Love you.” He smiled and blew a kiss to the camera. “Love you both, honey!”
He couldn’t help but be just a tad bit nervous for Friday. Harry had never been the type to care about anyone’s opinions, but he didn’t want people thinking he was a bad father for showing up to a studio with Lucy and her unruly curls, begging for help because a bun couldn’t look good from the ministrations of his hands for the life of him. It seemed like something so insignificant, but it meant a lot to Harry. And besides, most of his time is spent with Lucy when he wasn’t working, and she wasn’t at school, so he was going to worry. Maybe they’ll let him watch the class just so he could see Lucy… Even when it could be an opportunity for the man to rest.
Friday came way too soon, and while Lucy was the happiest, chirpiest little girl in the world, Harry was nervous.
“Come on, bub! We gotta get y’home and all changed for ballet! We don’t have much time!” They actually did but Harry had to drop her off earlier at the salvation of a sweet young woman over the phone, but his daughter didn’t know that right now. “Going daddy! My shoe’s untied!” She bent down, tying up her laced just as Harry taught her before she was hopping into the car, Harry quickly buckling her in.
They arrived home and Harry dressed her in all light pink, at her request. “Do I look like a princess, daddy?” Harry could nearly cry. Lucy constantly tugged at his heart, and this almost made him shed a tear. “Mhm. It’s what y’are, darling. Daddy’s pretty princess. Now, come on. It’s almost time to go.”
Harry fed her a snack before heading out, the GPS on the small screen in his car reflecting the way to the studio. Thankfully, it wasn’t too far away though he’d be arriving a bit earlier than the young woman, (Y/N), asked him to go.
Once he got to the studio, Harry helped Lucy out of the car. Her small hand wrapping around Harry’s index finger as he guided them in through the glass doors, soft classical music filling his ears as he looks around with a sigh. He heads to the front desk, a middle-aged woman greeting him sweetly. “Hi! How can I help you, sir?” Harry cleared his throat, looking down at Lucy momentarily as she looked around with the biggest smile on her face. “Yes, please. I’m actually looking for (Y/N). Could you tell her Lucy is here?” She nods and smiles, “Sure thing! One second, please.”
(Y/N) loved ballet. It was her life. It was the one thing she was grateful to her parents for through all the troubles she had to go through growing up. It was her escape, her passion, and her world of expressing herself. But if there was another thing she loved just as much, it was children. Being the oldest of all her siblings, she was forced to basically raise her three younger sisters since her parents weren’t really all that great or up to par with their title or life duty. Anyone might think she’d be the opposite, not wanting to be around them since she had to practically raise three on her own and so young. But that would never describe her.
When she was given the opportunity to teach ballet to kids of all ages right after college, she jumped at it. (Y/N) was extremely happy and so far, they have been the best four years of her life.
It was nearly 4 P.M. meaning her class of young preteens was about to finish, her hour break approaching before teaching the 4–6-year-old group. Her favorite if you’d ask her. No particular reason, but she loved it.
“Julie, remember what I told you. Tighten the calves, chin up, and a bit slower.” She said softly, watching the young girl correct herself and try again for the pirouette. “Perfect.” (Y/N) smiled, about to speak up again to the whole class before Carie walked in, excusing herself and calling her over. “What’s up, Carie?” She rested one hand on her hip, smiling at the woman. “Sorry to interrupt, there’s a man outside asking for you. Said Lucy was here for you.” (Y/N) furrowed her brows in confusion before it hit her. “Oh, yes! Tell him I’ll be out in a minute.”
(Y/N) remembered the conversation over the phone with Mr. Styles. He was so nice, asking all these questions about the class that she was more than happy to answer. She could tell he was a bit nervous when she told him how the girls were expected to come to class. Once he revealed his minor issue, she felt her heart shatter. While it was the cutest thing ever that he was so worried over doing a bun on his daughter, she could practically hear the stress in the tone of his voice. She had no problem offering a simple fix to his situation. Despite her break between classes being gold and important for her, she felt the pull to help him. She just had to.
“Alright class, I will see you all next week! Remember we will be going over your arabesques and your odettes so practice at home! Have a good weekend!” (Y/N) exclaimed a bit loudly over the music before she made her way to grab her phone, the music stopping. She walked out to the front once her room was empty, finding the man and the little girl by the front desk.
Holy crap, he was beautiful, and his daughter was the cutest thing ever. She was the spitting image of her father, and it only made a smile creep onto (Y/N)’s lips. “Mr. Styles?” She noticed his eyes light up in something akin to relief, walking over to her with his daughter right beside him. “Say hi to (Y/N), bub.” Lucy shyly waved with a small hi. Adorable. “Please, call me, Harry. Thank you so much again. You have no idea how much I appreciate your kindness.” She shook her head with a small smile. “No need to thank me. It’s no problem at all.” (Y/N) then leaned down, leveling herself to be Lucy’s height. “Hi, pretty girl. Why don’t you come with me so I can fix your hair into a bun just like a princess? What do you think?” Lucy looked up at her father for some sort of approval to which Harry gave her a nod. “Yes, please!” She giggled, letting go of her Harry’s hand before she stood beside (Y/N) as she got up. “Do y’mind if I watch, actually? I would like t’learn. Oh, and I brought her brush and a couple hair ties.”
Lucy was now sitting on the floor, (Y/N) right behind her with her legs under her bum, brushing at Lucy’s hair for sleekness before curling it into a bun.
Harry kneeled down right in front of them, his eyebrows furrowed in concentration while his eyes watched attentively at his daughter’s hair. “You want to make sure all of this is sleek before you start wrapping the bun. Use gel or hair spray, which ever you have though I find gel to be better.” She added, using her own gel that she always brought with her just in case. Harry nodded at her words, watching her hands continue the ministrations and soon enough, his daughter’s curls were nicely tight into a perfect bun.
“Mind if we talk for a second, (Y/N)?” She looked up at him as he was already standing, following suit with a nod, “Of course!” Lucy stayed sat on the ground, staring at her hair through the mirror in pure awe.
The two stood a few feet from Lucy, Harry clearing his throat and letting out a deep breath. “This might be a lot t’ask for but is there any way I can stay while she’s here? Never really been apart from her like this, can’t help but feel a bit nervous.” (Y/N) wanted to pout. He was too cute. Clearly, the man loved his daughter, and it was making her melt. “I’m sorry Mr... I mean, Harry. We don’t allow any parents during class so that the kids don’t get nervous.” Harry’s shoulders fell in defeat, nodding as if he understood. (Y/N) wasn’t one to usually just offer her personal number to parents but for the sake of his sanity, she couldn’t help it.
“Look, we can exchange numbers and I can keep you updated, or you can text me if you have any worries or questions. Is that okay?”
“Really? Oh, God. Yes. That’d be great. M’sorry, I don’t mean to be such a bother.”
“Nonsense. I get it. No need to apologize to me. I promise everything will be okay.”
Harry pulled out his phone from his pocket, unlocking it and handing it to (Y/N) for her to save her number. She handed back to him with a smile. “Already texted myself so I can have your number.” He looked down at his phone, smiling at the simple text she sent: Hi! (: He shoved his phone back in his pocket, looking back at Lucy for a few seconds. “Well, I’ll get out of y’hair now. For the millionth time, thank you.” (Y/N) shook her head with a giggle. “Told you it’s no problem.”
He then bid his farewell to his daughter, giving her a kiss on her forehead, sending (Y/N) a small wave and he was out.
Harry just got home, and he already felt the need to text (Y/N) and ask about Lucy. He knew he was being overdramatic, so he decided against it, putting on a movie and making himself a sandwich. He could’ve gone out with a couple of his friends, but he’d much rather enjoy himself in his quiet home before his little bundle of joy was back and needing all of his attention again.
For some odd reason. (Y/N)’s kindness stayed in the back of his mind. She was so sweet, so willing to help Harry and Lucy with a big smile on her face. And she was gorgeous. Absolutely stunning. He made note to buy her some sort of thank you present to show up with next class because he felt that his gratitude had to be clear to her. Albeit his millions of thank yous were enough for her.
Mid movie, Harry felt his phone buzz on the coffee table, worry instantly filling his mind. Lucy. He picked up it, seeing it was a text from (Y/N) but relief soon washed over him when he read over the text.
‘Hi, Harry! Just wanted to let you know everything is going well! Lucy is a fast learner and is already doing so great. Hope this brings some serenity to you!’
And it surely did. Harry smiled at his phone, pride filling him at the fact that his daughter was doing good. He also felt his heart race at the fact that she noticed how nervous he was, and her text was an attempt to make him feel better. How sweet, he thought. Now he really needed to get her something.
The two hours of ballet were nearly over, the alarm blaring through his phone reminding him that he had to head out soon, so he’d be there just a few minutes before the class ended.
Harry headed out, dying to see his Lucy already and listen to her babble on excitedly about her class.
He stood at the waiting area where a couple of other parents stood too, some in pairs, others alone just like him. Only he was the only man waiting alone for his child. Harry distracted himself with his phone before the chirp of his daughter’s voice was heard as she sprinted towards him, quickly hugging his thighs. “My sweet bub. Hi! How did y’like it?” He carried her up, almost groaning because she was too big but nonetheless, Harry loved carrying her around. “It was so fun! I learned how to do positions with weird names, and I made new friends. And miss (Y/N) kept telling me I did so good!” Her small head looked around for the woman before calling for her name, (Y/N) walking out from the room.
“Yes, dear?” She approached them with a sweet smile, chanting a soft hi at Harry. “Right that I did so good today?” (Y/N) laughed softly, nodding and high fiving the little girl who had her small hand open for her. “Yes. Super good. And don’t tell anyone but,” She covered her mouth at the sides before whispering, “You are my favorite.” Her little green eyes widened, covering her mouth as a fit of giggles broke through her, “I promise I won’t tell.” She whispered back before both pinky-promised each other.
Harry wanted to melt at the sight. He’d never seen Lucy warm up to another adult so easily. It warmed his heart. “Than-“ (Y/N) stopped him before he could continue. “Enough. I did it because I wanted to and I’m more than happy to give you all the updates and will continue to do her hair if that’s easier for you. I see your gratitude, Harry. Stop thanking me.” She said sweetly, her hand patting his forearm with a quick rub. “I’ll see you next week, Lucy.” Harry watched her walk back into the studio, him turning to head to the car with his daughter.
“Isn’t she so pretty, daddy? I think she’s my favorite princess, too.”
Harry chuckled, “Mhm. Very, very pretty.” And he meant it. Her eyes were so soft and honest, the color being something etched into Harry’s brain. He could get lost in them. She’s gorgeous.
“Can we bring her a flower next time? You always say princesses need flowers.”
“Yes, pet. That’s correct. We’ll bring her a flower.”
Summer's almost over. So, have some Island/Boyfriend!Harry. Inspired by this, this, and that white snapback he was so fond of this summer. As always, thanks for reading. Reblogs and comments are always appreciated. If you liked this (or any of my writing), feel free to buy me a ko-fi! My masterlist is here. Enjoy! NSFW, 18+.
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If there was brunch, then there were mimoas. If there were mimoas, they had to be bottomless. And the waitress had kept them coming. Then, somebody mentioned shopping and soon after you were in an Uber with friends and your boyfriend’s black AMEX in tow. The Mall of San Juan was just ten minutes from the brunch spot. It’d have been a crime not to visit.
You’d left the seaside villa that morning with gentle but firm instructions to enjoy yourself. Sure, the spacious house you’d call home for the next two months was gorgeous and offered endless amenities, but it’d be a shame to stay there alone all day. So after a calm debate over breakfast, post morning run and shower (the run? Harry’s idea), you’d texted Penelope and Valentina to make plans once he’d slipped the black card into your hand. And then into your bag after you’d given it right back.
You hadn’t known the girls prior to arriving in Puerto Rico, but following a loud, rum-fueled conversation over thumping reggaeton in a club bathroom a week prior, fast friendships formed. Good thing, too. Your boyfriend had come to the island to work, more or less, and since you’d taken his invitation to join, you’d known what to expect. He was in album mode, working on his next studio release and that demanded most of his time.
You could make your own fun. Or at least you’d thought so, but about two weeks in, you started to miss him, despite seeing him at least a few moments every day. And he tried to make time, bless him, had suggested a movie last night but he was asleep on your shoulder twenty minutes into the film.
“Oh my god, they’ve got Jimmy Choo here?” Valentina gasped, wide eyed as she led the way through the crowded mall. Valentina Huang, like you, was experiencing the Carribean for the first time and would be in town for the next few weeks with her girlfriend, Nicole.
Penelope Rivera was the native, hailing from nearby Bayamon and had appointed herself tour guide. She’d show you all a good time, she’d promised. Self-proclaimed wild child, she knew all the best clubs, the nicest restaurants, and the most beautiful beaches.
“They got a little bit of everything,” she said, texting away on her phone as she brought up the rear. “One more store after this one? I just scored a date for the night and I gotta go get ready.”
“I won’t be long,” Valentina promised, hardly inside the entrance before slipping off her sandals and asking the saleswoman to bring this shoe, or no, that shoe in her size. You’d just plopped onto a nearby ottoman and dropped your bags (courtesy of Versace, Free People, and Bvlgari) when Penelope sat at your side, smiling.
“She said Nicole’s taking her somewhere nice tonight. What about you, mami? What are you getting into later?”
You shrugged. Harry was supposed to be in the studio all day, and likely well into the night. “I don’t know. My boyfriend usually works late, so I’ll figure something out.”
“We should all hang out before you guys leave here. Valentina and Nicole, you and your man, and me and whichever guy I like the most that week. You can’t go home without trying my arroz con gandules. It’ll make you slap your abuela.”
You laughed, shaking your head. “I gotta try it, the way you keep hyping it up.”
“I’m serious!” Penelope insisted, laughing too. “I promise. You have some and you don’t have a little orgasm after, I’ll pay you.”
True to her words, Valentina was finished fifteen minutes later. The last destination was the Gucci store. A familiar scent wafted under your nose as your trio stepped inside; the brand’s latest unisex scent. You had a bottle sitting on your night stand back home. Perks of dating a celebrity brand ambassador. He was naturally generous and you were getting better at receiving.
Though you’d been with Harry for nearly two years, it was still surreal seeing his face all over the store, on its displays for the cologne. Especially when Harry was so... human. The same Harry that could be downright maddening when he was in rare but particularly bad moods and made them everyone else’s problem, too. The same Harry that was a little more insecure than he let on and needed the reassurance of hearing ‘I love you’ multiple times a day. The same Harry that’d give someone in need the very shirt off his back. He was humble, twice as human, and you’d never been so in love.
Penelope and Valentina were headed for the checkout as you wandered toward their direction. The leather handbag Penelope pointed out for the salesperson to grab for her? You had one just like it. Just one of many gifts from Harry, who was hell bent on spoiling you despite your protests.
“You’re not getting anything?” Valentina asked, peeking over her shoulder.
“No, I’m good. I got some Gucci pumps not too long ago,” you said. What you didn’t mention was that you hadn’t paid anything for them and that you regularly attended lunches, galas, dinners, and even midnight glow bowling groups that included Alessandro Michele.
“Think I could get him with a qualifying purchase?” Penelope asked idly, glancing at a display whose side panel was covered with Harry’s image. The camera loved him. His pretty green eyes pierced their subject, even in print. “You know they do promotions.”
“I don’t think that’s a promo right now, but I could be wrong,” you said, stifling a smile.
“Too bad. He’s fuckin’ hot,” she said, pretending to fan herself. “I’d love to tell him that to his sexy little face.”
You wouldn’t spoil the fun by revealing the single degree of separation, not until she got the chance to actually see that sexy little face.
“Who are we talking about?” Valentina asked after handing over her card to the salesperson.
“Harry Styles,” Penelope said, back to tapping away on her phone, bags at her side.
“Oh yeah! He’s a cutie. I heard he’s hiding out on the island somewhere. Think he really is?”
You simply shrugged.
The Uber driver jogged back to his car after earning his large tip by carrying your bags to the front door. You waved to the girls before fishing out the key, laughing at Penelope’s wide eyes while she pressed her face to the rear window to catch a good look at the house.
Carting the bags inside, you kicked the door closed and slid off your sandals, padding through the foyer. The airy living room was empty. No band members lounging on the couches, no loud music blaring, no tipsy games of Cards Against Humanity underway. It was quiet. Almost too quiet. Prime nap time. Those mimosas and the summer heat were taking their toll.
Dusk had settled over the villa by the time your eyes fluttered open, disappointed to discover the bedroom otherwise empty. You took a quick shower, slipped into your favorite yellow sundress, then went to the kitchen. Lupe, the housekeeper, was sweet as pie and kept the place stocked. Probably for Harry especially, since she had a little crush on him and never spared a term of endearment whenever he was around.
There was no telling when he’d come around tonight, you realized, settling for a leftover empanada from the batch Lupe made last night. You’d finished it and were scooping freshly cut fruit into a bowl when a splash sounded from the back yard.
Though the house was just Harry’s and yours, band members and managers and manager’s wives stopped in often from neighboring homes. It wasn’t unusual to find them in the colossal pool. Curiosity sent you to the patio doors, excitement weakening your very limbs upon finding someone in the pool, after all.
You quietly stepped outside, taking in the view. The property was surrounded by lush foliage and sky-high palms that waved in the breeze; their rich green leaves complimented the soft pinks and purples of the cotton candy skies just beyond. The air was heavy with salt from the crystal clear ocean, which was mere steps beyond the gate. There, in the center of all that paradise, was a soul whose calm extended beyond him and into the atmosphere. Any atmosphere he ever occupied, really.
“Excuse me, sir, who are you and why are you in our pool?”
A slow smile spread across Harry’s lips at the sound of your voice. He lie on his back, casually floating through the water with his eyes closed. “Very funny.”
He seemed especially relaxed, more than you’d seen him in a while. You sat at the pool side table and watched him, enjoying the sweetness of mango, the tangy blueberries, and the fresh strawberries Lupe had delivered from a farmer’s market that morning.
“I thought you were working all night,” you said eventually, patiently.
“I was gonna, but then I was like ‘nah’,” he spoke a moment later in that quiet, gentle way of his. He then peeked through one eye. “Sorry I fell asleep on you.”
“It’s fine,” you told him, careful to catch his eye. “You tried.”
“You looked peaceful when I got back earlier, so I left you alone.” Though he was talking to you, he eyeballed the bowl. “So. About them fruits you’ve got there...”
“I’ll share. Lupe probably picked them out especially for you, anyway,” you giggled.
“Lupe’s amazing. I think I’m in love with her. Thought you’d rather hear it from me,” Harry joked while hoisting his long frame over the pool’s infinity edge with ease, his toned arms flexing. Droplets of water dripped softly onto the ground as he tossed his head back, shaking the excess from his hair. Swimming trunks sat low on his hips, exposing his beautifully sculpted Adonis.
You should have been used to the sight of his body, an incredibly fit body that was currently beautifully tanned and littered with tattoos from his shoulders to his toes, literally. But every time felt like the first. Enough to find yourself biting your lip as he toweled off. It was hard to decide which was sexiest. Moments like these, when he was unassumingly sexy, or those moments where he was absolutely aware and owned it? Or when he was somewhere in between?
Maybe like now when he’d caught you staring and barely suppressed a smirk, dimples betraying him like they always did. He grabbed his hat from a nearby lounge chair, the white snapback he loved at the moment, put it on backwards and padded over to the table, lips already puckered as he leaned close. “Hi.”
“Hi,” you said, kissing him, warm all over like any time he was in close proximity. You then held out a piece of mango to feed him, which he gratefully accepted, sucking at the juice on your fingertips. You were officially leaning toward ‘aware and owning’ as he grinned innocently and sat in the adjoining seat.
“How’d it go today? Did you have a good time?” he asked, the last bits of sunset on his skin as he basked in the warm air.
“I did. Penelope wants to meet my alleged mystery man soon. She thinks Harry Styles is hot, by the way.”
“She does not,” Harry laughed, turning his head to look at you without lifting it from the back of the chair. “That’s way too on the nose.”
“I’m for real!” you insisted, searching for a strawberry. “We were at Gucci in the mall and you’re all over the place there, it makes complete sense.”
“I didn’t realize there was one here. What else did you find at the mall?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. “I suppose the better question is did you find anything else?”
“You’ll be proud to know that I did. And you’ll see it all when you finally take me on that date this weekend,” you said pointedly, pulling the bowl back as he reached toward it.
“The date’s gonna happen, I promise,” he said, eyes locked into yours. “I’m trying my best not to be that guy.”
“I know you’re not that guy, babe. I get it, you came to work. I’m not trying to give you a hard time,” you assured him, stroking his cheek before kissing the spot. He was a romantic, hopelessly and consistently. You weren’t worried.
“Fair enough, but I did ask you to come with me, so. I should be showing you a better time,” he said, his jaw tightening as turned his head again, glancing toward the sky. He lifted his hat just long enough to rake his long fingers through his dark brown curls,which were getting longer by the day, then tugged the cap down over them again. “I wanna yawn so bad...”
“I’m good with an early night. Order in something and maybe try that movie again?” you offered, reaching for his hand as he let out that yawn, after all.
“Or you could just bathe me and then feed me more of this,” he countered, snatching a blueberry and popping it into his mouth before you could stop him.
“Don’t push it.”
He smiled, giving your hand a squeeze. “I cut the session short so we could spend some time together. I’m not gonna go to sleep yet.”
“You said that yesterday,” you pointed out, laughing when he rolled his eyes.
“That wasn’t as helpful as I think you think it was...”
“I’m just messing with you. I like the faces you make when you’re annoyed,” you confessed, pinching his cheek before he pushed your hand away. You laughed. “I don’t feel bad about it either, because I know for a fact you do shit just to get a rise out of me.”
“... You got a point,” he conceded, chuckling. “I do think it’s funny when you get all high pitched.”
“That’s what I thought,” you said, abandoning the chair for his lap, satisfied when his arms went around your waist. You leaned against him, his bare chest warm against your back, the skin exposed through the low cut dress. There was no need for constant conversation, not when there was so much in the air; the sea washing ashore nearby, the faint sounds of live music from a local outdoor lounge, even the cicadas buzzing in the trees.
He left light kisses all over, along the shoulder blades and in between, tightening his hold around your body. You basked in it with renewed gratitude for having someone who never let you forget how loved and cared for you were. You never wondered if you still excited him, if he still desired you the way he had from the beginning.
You could only make sure he knew it all to be mutual.
The kisses had ascended toward your neck and jaw by the time you spoke again. “Anything come out of the session? Before you ditched them for me, I mean?”
“Nothing worth keeping,” he said between kisses, soft stubble and even softer lips brushing your shoulder as he spoke. That really meant there’d probably been something pretty great in the works, but he was a bit of a perfectionist and when he decided it wasn’t right, it wasn’t right, no matter what anyone else said.
“So everybody liked it but you.”
“You never like anything.”
“That’s not true,” he scoffed, sitting back. “For example, I like how this dress fits you. But I think you already know that.”
“Yeah?” you asked, although the question answered itself, if the way he shifted meant what you suspected it might. Something tightened inside your tummy at the thought. You tugged at the dress’ hem and slowly inched it upward. He was right. You knew he loved the sundress and you’d brought it from home for that reason. “What if I said I’m not wearing anything under it?”
He looked genuinely pained as you giggled, stopping short as you spied his hand on its way to find out. His brilliant eyes narrowed in suspicion as he looked up at you. “You’re not serious...”
“I’m totally lying but I could take it off...” you volunteered, nearly jumping out of your skin as he snaked his way under the dress and discovered the ‘it’. The skimpy thong you’d slipped into. It was too hot for clothes so you’d dressed accordingly.
“Would you?” he asked, pulling back one of the thong’s thin sides before letting it pop against your waist.
“What, right here?” you asked, your pulse quickening as you felt him growing stiff underneath.
He shrugged. “Why not?” Something dangerous flashed in his eyes they scanned your face, his lower lip caught between his teeth in anticipation.
“Someone could see us,” you reasoned half-heartedly, although the back yard seemed to have been crafted for privacy. The house itself was far enough away from the neighbors... not to mention, you’d stated the obvious. The element of getting caught was likely half the fun for him. What a scandal that would be. Especially knowing that Harry was always, in general, very careful.
“Something tells me you might like that idea,” Harry muttered against the nape of your neck, his tongue drawing across your skin, sending a chill down your spine. The proof was between your legs, the rapidly soaking center of your panties, which his fingers grazed.
Then, he gave up on subtlety and gently forced his hand between your inner thighs to spread them. You could swear his dick twitched when there wasn’t a hint of resistance. He wouldn’t get any, none of the usual tease. You wanted him just as badly. He then proceeded to toy with your clit, rubbing out slow circles over the drenched fabric.
It was hard to keep still, the writhing making him even harder against your ass. It felt like forever since he’d touched you like that. He seemed aware and determined to make up for lost time. He leaned into it as you reached back, stroking his chiseled jaw before turning to press your mouth to his. You moaned into it as he added pressure below while pushing his tongue past your lips.
Wrapping his free arm around your waist, he pulled you flush against him, the pair of you breathless after breaking the kiss. In that moment, you realized just how much you’d missed his touch, missed having his skin against your own. Harry’s scent made your head swim; there was his favorite cologne, the pool’s chlorine still clinging to him, even the warmth and sunlight from days past...
“Fuck,” you sighed, letting your head fall back against his shoulder. He hadn’t even touched you properly and had almost gotten you off. Naturally, he’d finish what he started.
“I want you. Want you right now,” he growled against your ear, biting at the lobe. His words, coupled with his light breathing against the spot below your ear was enough to make you shudder. At that point, he was rock hard and the thin swimming trunks were doing little to hide it.
“Only if you beg me,” you cooed, peppering kisses to his cheek. Begging wasn’t really necessary, he’d get what he wanted, like usual, but it was fun to mess with him. Maybe the teasing couldn’t be completely avoided, after all.
He turned his head and caught your lips, gently sucking at the upper before mumbling against it. “Please? I need it. I need you. Please, babe,” he pleaded, the depth and rasp in his tone setting off throbbing between your legs.
He could talk a nun out of her panties, you’d bet money. With great willpower, you wiggled free from his grasp, giggling when he sighed. With his perfect lips protruded in a pout, he watched as you backed toward the table and slid onto its surface. You grabbed a strawberry from the bowl, then spread your legs to give him a little peek. “You want it, you better come get it.”
Not that you planned to tell him no, but he was very convincing when he wanted to be. Before you knew it, he’d stood and went under the dress to get rid of those panties, tossing them over his shoulder. The strawberry you’d just bitten into was particularly juicy and it dripped down your chin, between your breasts... it wouldn’t drip much lower, not when Harry’s warm tongue stopped it in its path and followed the trail until he’d arrived at your lips. You pecked his a few times before pushing the remaining piece of the berry to his mouth, which he readily ate.
Wrapping your legs around his waist was all the invitation he needed. His teeth grazed your throat before sinking into the side of your neck, a sound you hardly recognized falling from your lips. His hands roamed over your thighs and hips, rubbing and squeezing as your own hands caressed his arms and chest. You then reached up and gripped his chin, planting a kiss on him that grew heavier and sloppier with each passing second.
You were quickly past the point of return and getting impatient, lowering your hands to pull him free. He was solid in your hands, grunting when you started to stroke him, deliberately and from top to bottom. Your thumb traced the wet, pink tip, knowing he loved it. It never got old, the privilege of pleasuring him when so many others wanted the chance. Harry had chosen you, lucky him.
He’d had just about enough after so long, replacing your hand with his own, using his free hand to push the snug-fitting dress higher over your waist. He aligned and pushed, groaning as warm, wet walls readily accepted him. Your nails dug into his shoulders as he tunneled a bit deeper, but not so much that he’d do himself in so soon.
“Oh god,” you whimpered, feeling the stretch and pressure as if for the first time. It grew heavier as he reached around and grabbed your ass, pulling your body against a deep thrust, which might have sent you running had he not anticipated the reaction.
He smirked as your thighs tightened against his waist. He kissed the tip of your nose, and then your lips. “It’s okay.”
Your eyes fluttered closed as he thrust steadily, in and out, warm, quick breaths against your cheek as his hips worked. You lazily slipped an arm across his shoulders, pushing your hips forward, dizzy from the sounds. Harry felt amazing, knew exactly how you liked to be fucked and delivered every single time.
He’d just started to mutter your name when he hit up against an especially receptive spot. One that sent your head lulling backwards, breaths hitched as it was almost too much. Almost.
Chasing the same high, you lowered a hand to pull at his, satisfied when he’d wrapped one around your neck. Then it was impossible to keep quiet, the low moans turning into loud, drawn out whines as he pounded relentlessly into you, applying pressure to your throat. “Fuck, baby, right there...”
He let up just long enough to make you curious. “Look at me,” he demanded, doling out long, slow strokes that made it near impossible to keep your eyes open, much less locked into his. “Play with it.”
He’d hardly spoke the words before you got to work, rubbing your clit while he drove into you over and over. It was a sight to see, his gaze meeting yours briefly before you both took in the visual. He was covered in you, a grunt low in his throat as you creamed on his cock. Your hips bucked as he slowed up and pulled out, stroking himself as he took a step back.
Harry didn’t have to say what he wanted. On shaky legs, you stood and turned, smirking when he bent you over the table. Knowing he couldn’t resist, you clenched when he hiked the dress up and slapped your ass. When he slipped inside again, it was hard to hold back any noise. He felt so good. You squeezed your eyes closed and kept quiet, holding tight to the table. He loved the sounds you made, was fueled by them. But he was usually even more turned on by defiance. So, you wouldn’t make a peep.
Defying him was fun. Defying him came with rewards. You brought out another side of him, liked a little aggression. He was a balanced kind of guy that way, peppering soft kisses across your back while he was being outright disrespectful to your lower half. And it felt divine.
“We can go all night until you give me what I want,” he mumbled, big hands attached to your waist as his hips rolled against you. He’d set something off with that statement, something that sent a sudden gush rolling down your inner thighs. Of course, he’d felt it, too. “God, that’s sexy as fuck..”
Harry went still for a moment, stroking inside until he bottomed out, grip tightening where he held you. Almost like he knew you’d go weak in the knees. Like clockwork, you rocked unsteadily in his grasp, purposely pushing back against him. That got him going, increasingly harder and faster, until his hips slammed against your ass in a mercilessly and you begged him not to stop.
“There we go,” he said, knowing he’d won. Again. His hands roamed your body until they landed on your shoulders. You couldn’t have escaped if you’d wanted to. your back arching as he gave you what you wanted. What you needed. An apology of sorts, for being so unavailable. Forgiven was an understatement.
You’d started to come undone and at times, it seemed he knew before you did. So he lowered a hand toward the center of your back, carefully pushing your upper body to the table top. And ruined your life in the process; every stroke brushed against the sweetest innermost spots. Spots he could find like he’d hidden them himself.
“N-not yet,” you stammered, knowing you were too far gone, anyway. The clenching and throbbing had started up, his thrusts were quick and reckless, and with him? There’d be another round. Or two. Whatever you wanted.
He pushed one last time and couldn’t hold back, swelling inside before spilling deep. The sensation then set you off, the orgasm hitting hard and spreading, your entire body weakening. He held tight as your legs trembled, his name dripping from your lips over and over.
“What do you mean, not yet?” he asked after a moment, watching you lie there, his lips curved in an amused smile. “You think I’m finished with you, is that it?”
“You gotta be,” you huffed, turning to look at him. That look in his eye meant otherwise. No. He wasn’t done. He’d caught his second wind. “Or not.” Thank god. You’d take all he had.
He slowly withdrew, then leaned over and kissed your shoulder. “I told you I was awake.”
“Since you’re awake and feeling good, now might be a good time to tell you how much I spent,” you said, lifting up and attempting to fix your dress. Pointless, since it was coming off as soon as you went into the house.
Harry laughed, pulling you close. He kissed the side of your neck and smiled. “I was just fucking with you earlier, I already know how much. I get alerts on really high amounts.”
“Then we should go inside. I’ll get on my knees and show my appreciation.”
kinda late and nobody asked but after seeing harry do that gender reveal in nashville, you realize how badly you want a baby with him ;)
warnings: smut but minorish smut
it was a couple hours after the show and you and harry were finally up in your hotel room, alone. since you've been helping mitch and sarah with watching their little boy while they were on stage, your baby fever was through the roof. plus harry was looking extra good tonight and after watching your husband reveal the gender of that sweet couples baby, you couldn't help but wanna just jump his bones.
harry was in the bathroom, washing his face when you walked in after changing your clothes, slipping on one of his love on tour tshirts and a pair of cheekies. you wrapped your arms around his torso, pressing sweet kisses to his back, his warmth radiating into you, feeling his muscles tense with every move he made with his arms. he finished up his wash, patting his face dry with a towel before turning around to wrap his arms around you, "hi."
"hi," you grinned, squeezing him tightly, "gimme kissies"
he chuckled deeply at you, cupping your face and leaning down to press a few sweet kisses to your lips. he pulled away and you whined at the loss of contact, pulling him back down to kiss you some more, just wanting to make out with him for hours on end. you decided to take it up a notch and deepen your kisses, your tongue slowly dipping into his mouth and your fingers, running up his chest and around his neck to slightly tug at his freshly washed curls. he caught onto what you were getting at and let you kiss him deeper and more passionately, your lips smacking together and your tongues fighting for dominance. his hands slid down from your waist to your bottom, squeezing your little cheeks in his big hands.
he pulled away from you for a quick breather, his hands still holding you tightly, "ya in the mood?"
"yeah," you breathed out, feeling more desperate by the second as you felt your special button down there pulse repeatedly for him and the knot in your stomach twisting with how much he turned you on, especially now that you finally have him all to yourself
his famous cheeky smirk arose on his pink lips before he slightly bent down and pulled you up to straddle his waist, "c'mere"
he took a couple steps out of the bathroom and into the main room with your bed in it. with his lips on yours, he pushed you up against the wall, exerting his dominance towards you. he continued to take his time kissing you passionately, before slowly letting you fall to your feet, his lips never leaving yours. your hands cupped his face, his hands running up and down your body, squeezing your bum. his lips trailed down to your jaw, moving towards the sweet spot just below your ear. his dominant hand moved to the front of your waist and his fingers slipped past the waistband of your cheekies, moving south to feel his effect on you.
"damn, baby. you're so wet an' i haven't even touched yeh yet," he teased, spreading your wetness through your folds, "yeh been like this all night?
"mhm," you nodded, wanting sooooooo badly for him to give some attention to your clit that was in desperate need of attention, but he didn't, he continued to rub up and down your folds.
"wish i would've known so i could've done something about it earlier," he continued to tease and you were getting desperate, needing something more.
you whimpered and slipped your hand past your panties and grabbed onto his wrist, guiding him to what you wanted him to do. he immeditately pressed two fingers to your throbbing clit, rubbing it side to side, just the way you like it. you couldn't help the soft moan that left your lips. he dipped his head down and caught your lips with his, kissing you like it was the last time he would ever kiss you.
his kisses trailed down to your neck and you let your head fall back against the wall, giving him more room for his lips to work against your sensitive skin. you whimpered slightly, "oh harry."
you felt him smirk against your skin as his name fell from your lips in a breathless moan and you couldn't help but let these words leave your lips, "i want a baby."
"what?" he asked, pulling away from you to look at you, not sure if he heard you correctly or not
"i want you to put a baby in me" you repeated, looking up at him through hooded eyes, hips bucking up into his fingers that were still rubbing you gently and annoyingly leisure.
he smiled at you, the dimples that you adored popping out for you, "where's this comin' from?"
"mmm," you shrugged, "just seeing you with mitch and sarah's baby and then tonight when you did that gender reveal, I dunno, I just want a baby with you"
"aw, lovie," he pulled his hand out of your bottoms and wrapped both arms around your waist, "don't get me wrong. i'd love t' start a family with with yeh and we definitely will in the future, yeh know that, but i don't think right now is the best time, hunny"
"but i want a baby noooww," you whined, drawing out the 'now' for emphasize.
"'m just scared we won't have time t' raise a baby. we're already workin' on the third album and i bet joe will arrange a tour next year for that one too," he explained.
you popped your lip out and whimpered, letting your forehead fall to his tattooed chest in defeat. he rose left hand from your waist, grabbing little strands of your long, brown hair and twirling them through his ringless fingers.
"I jus' don't wanna raise a baby on the road" he added
"mitch and sarah are doing it just fine," you whined looking back up at him
"you know what i mean, sweetheart" he chuckled at you, cupping your jaw and letting his thumb lovingly rub across your slightly pink cheek
"i really do wanna have a baby with yeh though," he pushed a strand of your hair behind your ear and kissed you sweetly, "maybe i'll talk to jeff and see if we can slow things down a bit. but if not then i promise yeh we can start tryin' for a baby in the next couple years"
you smiled softly at him, pressing a couple sweet kisses to his pink lips.
"but in the meantime," he smirked cheekily against your lips, slowly slipping his fingers back into your panties, "nothing's stoppin' us from practicing makin' one, right?"
summary: after a tiring day at the studio, harry comes home to a pleasant surprise…
Harry could feel a headache coming on. His eyelids were heavy and his throat was sore. The day at the studio was long and tedious and unsuccessful. Everything lyric he came up with didn’t seem to satisfy him. Nothing he wrote down seemed right. Nothing fit. By lunchtime, he was ready to come home to you and your son Ollie.
It was Ollie’s second birthday three days earlier and Harry still felt guilty for missing half of it. He’d been called away to the studio to fix up a mistake on one of his recently recorded tracks. He was frustrated, taking it out on his colleagues and collaborators, that they’d pulled him away from his son on his birthday. Perhaps he shouldn’t have raised his voice the way he did, but he was angry. And he came in the following morning to apologise.
The house was quiet. All the lights were off. He placed his keys down on the coffee table, walking through to the kitchen. He flicked the light on, pouring himself a glass of orange juice. He finished it quickly, his mind wandering from what he’d have for breakfast tomorrow to when the last time he called his mum was. Quietly, he placed his glass in the sink before making his way upstairs.
A sense of warmth filled his heart at the sight of his son tucked under your arm, his eyes squeezed shut. He was asleep. He was snoring lightly, but that didn’t wake you from your own slumber. It was a hot night, so the covers were strewn halfway off the bed. He couldn’t help but smile to himself - you looked utterly content and at peace with the world.
Part of him wanted to curl up beside you and let sleep take him away for a moment of calmness. But he didn’t want to disrupt the stillness of the homely environment the two of you had built up for yourselves. He instead opted to have a shower, ridding the stresses of the day from his muscles.
When he was finished up in the bathroom, he walked out to find you running your fingers over Ollie’s hair as he slept soundly. “Did I wake you? Sorry,” Harry whispered, sitting down on the edge of the bed, turning back to look at you.
You shrugged, “It’s okay. How was the studio?”
“Tiring,” he replied. “How’s Ollie?”
You couldn’t help but smile as you looked down at your son, “He’s good. He just missed you, so he wanted to sleep in our bed.”
“I’m sorry. I’m trying to get shorter days, you know, come home earlier,” he sighed quietly, running his hands through his unkept hair.
“Go to sleep,” you whispered. “I can see the bags under your eyes from here.”
He let out a quiet chuckle, “You’re so flattering, love.”
“You know what I mean,” you grinned. “Just lie down, close your eyes and go to sleep.”
He did as you said, laying his head down against the soft pillows. He turned to look at you, his eyes exploring every small feature of your face. “I love you,” he whispered, “and I love this little guy.”
Ollie stirred for a moment in his sleep before rolling closer to Harry, as if he could feel his presence. “He loves you so much,” you smiled. “All he does is talk about you when you’re gone.”
“All I do is talk about him when I’m gone,” he said softly. “My little angel.”
Lying in the simplicity of the dead of night brought Harry indescribable levels of joy. Shutting out the world and being with his little family was better than any drug. And he realised that there was nothing better than pure contentment. He wanted to spend the rest of his life like this because he knew this was home. This was where he belonged.
Summary: The time has come for the new heir of the De Santis famiglia to be proclaimed. Stephano De Santis has ruled for forty-seven years, one of the five families that compose the Italian Mafia. The new boss is calculating, cold, precise, never driven by emotion. Even though he isn’t Stephano’s biological son; Harry Styles has been groomed to follow his footsteps since he was first adopted. As Harry’s last task he is sent to the Agostini’s to do what he does best, extract information in the shortest time possible. Ainhoa Cortez happened to be at the wrong place in the wrong time when she is kidnapped by the Agostini and set to be sold to the highest bidder. She is being held captive in their dungeon, right beside the cell of the man who Harry seems to be “convincing to talk”. Will he be captivated by her beauty? Will she get tangled in the webs of the mafia? Will she swear Omertá and keep quiet about the business that the family holds behind close doors and become one or will she turn in Harry and his family?
Author’s note: Hellooo, this is our first chapter of the serie. Please let us know if you like it and what you are looking forward the most. ASK IF YOU WANT TO BE ADDED TO THE TAG LIST!
DISCLAIMER NEITHER OF US SPEAK ITALIAN! We speak english, spanish and a bit of french, but NOT ITALIAN. All translations come from google translator, so if you have a problem take it up with him! Enough said, we hope you like it!! Enjoy!
Word count: 3.5K
warnings: cursing, violence, talk about sexual abuse
It's too quiet, sufficient to hear the thoughts of the people in the room. The moans and groans from the pain inflicted can no longer be heard. His body is crouched on the floor, silently asking for mercy from the perpetrator. Blood oozes out of the freshly made wounds on his face. The smell of iron lingers in the air.
“Per favore” He prays to be released. Even though he knows it’s worthless. He has heard the stories and the rumors that come along with the name of his aggressor.
He stands up straight, wiping the blood that stains his hands, just as much as his mind. He turns his back on the man that he has been torturing for the last two days.
“Sit him up,” He says harshly, leaving no room for negotiation or contradictions. The aloof man begins the task of unrolling the sleeves of his white shirt. Mindful that today he is going to put an end to the man’s suffering.
“I won’t say anything” He has been tied to a chair. He doesn’t have to be a fortune teller to know what’s coming next. He is desperate whereas the man that holds his life in his hands seems to be more concerned about keeping his attire clean.
In matters of seconds, a gun is drawn to him, pointed straight to the space between his eyebrows.
“No one ever steals from the De Santis, Marco. You should’ve known better” The air piercing gunshot echoes through the room.
It only takes the man a few seconds to compose himself and assimilate that he has taken another life. His callousness is no surprise to the men in the room. After all, he has been groomed to be a cold-blooded man since he was three, by his father —the mafia boss.
”Clean this shit up” Harry Styles snaps just before departing.
The men gather in the dimmed room. The announcement of the meeting had been unusual and abrupt. The unforeseen change of plans had created a sudden panic to spread down the halls of the manor. Surely, a few rumors had started going from mouth to mouth, terrorizing the most vulnerable members of la famiglia.
He is one of the last men to arrive. He strides into the room in all his might. With his head held up high, his jaw clenched and his mouth set in a hard line. He takes his rightful place on the table— one seat to the right side of the Boss. He regrets not pouring himself a drink before settling down. Now it’s too late — the room is too crowded.
Stefano De Santis — the patriarch of the family makes his way in. Instantly causing everyone to grow silent and still. He is followed by his capo bastone and most trusted friend — Victor Ricci.
“Buongiorno a tutti” He greets his men before settling down at the head of the table. “There are some matters I would like to discuss, but first I need to know what’s the situation with the next shipment” He leans back, elbows pressed on the arms of the chair and fingers intertwined with his own.
“The shipment was supposed to leave today, but some discrepancies surged” Stefano’s mouth switches at his oldest son’s words.
“Why wasn’t I informed?” All eyes shift to Marcelo, waiting for a plausible explanation. His oldest prevails silent, with his head down. Not knowing what to say. “Harry?” .
“The shipment was supposed to leave today, but the payment was never met. Yesterday we were finally able to agree” The bruises on his knuckles are the only evidence of the type of agreement that he had settled between them. The way the corners of Stefano’s mouth turn up reveals he has gotten the answer he wants to hear.
“Good” Stefano hates putting his sons as an example, but unfortunately sometimes he has to. “No more mishaps, Marcello. If it’s too much then step down. I am sure someone can take care of your responsibilities” He scolds him with narrowed eyes.
Harry can feel the eyes of his oldest brother on him, burning him like the sun on a hot summer day. But he doesn’t care, he is used to it. Harry isn’t oblivious to the hatred that Marcello holds towards him. It has always been there ever since he first stepped into their house. It is all jealousy. Even though Harry is not biologically a Di Santis, he is loved and cared for as one. Marcello has always seen him as his father’s favorite. His father trusts him more than anyone else, and that infuriates him.
“Yes boss,” said Marcello as he clenches his fists under the table, his eyes wander off his father’s gaze unto Harry's, giving him a deadly glance. “Very well then, report back to me when the shipment reaches its destination. Now that we have discussed this, there is something else I would like to inform you” The crowd goes silent. “I gathered you all today to inform you that I will be stepping down from the family business and I have chosen who will be my successor” Marcello’s eyes widened over the unexpected announcement, this is his moment, if his father chooses him he will prove him what he is capable of.
“After much deliberation, I've come to the decision that my son— Harry will be taking my place”. The moment feels surreal to Stefano. He has been the Boss for forty-seven years. He is retiring earlier than his father and grandfather did. Everyone could thank Francesca Di Santis — his wife. She had convinced him. ”You are dismissed”.
As expected the men sitting around the table, remained in their seats. The air feels thick enough to be cut with a butter knife and all the tension radiated from one particular man.
“Why?” He growls. He is fuming. He feels like he has been injected with venom. He can’t believe his father’s audacity. How could he have picked someone that wasn’t even his own blood? Someone who had no right — He wonders.
“I don’t need to explain myself to you, Marcello. I am still your father and most importantly the boss. You do as I say” Stefano he had seen this coming.
He and Francesca had discussed it the night prior. They do that sort of thing. Stefano never takes an important decision without consulting his wife first. Her opinion plays a big role in the way that the household runs. And they had come into a consensual decision. Marcello can never be the boss.
Unfortunately, something had gone wrong with the way they had raised Marcello. He is too selfish, irresponsible, impulsive and very hot headed. Marcello had been spoiled. And they aren’t proud of it.
On the other hand, Harry is calculating. He is never driven by emotions. He is able to make tough decisions without crumbling. And more importantly, Harry always puts his family first. Stefano had shown him the ugly and the good of the family business. Surely, he had spoiled him, but never to the same degree as Marcello. Harry knows what struggling is.
“Son — you only have to make one decision today. Who will be your capo bastone?” Harry’s eyes shift over to Alessandro Ricci; his close friend from childhood and most trusted man.
“It goes without saying” Alessandro nods back in response.
“It would be an honor” Victor reaches out and pats his son on the back before guiding out of the room. There is family business to discuss.
“Congratulations, bro” Niccolo throws his arm over his older brother. He knows that there is no one fitter for the job. “Wait until Chiara finds out. She’ll go nuts” Niccolo is closer to Harry than to any of his other siblings. He has always looked up to him. He is amazed at his drive, determination and discipline.
“Grazie Nicco” Harry gives him a half- smile. He still doesn’t know how to feel about it. He is proud of himself, but there is a feeling that lays heavy within him. Is it fear? that he won’t be able to fill in his father's shoes? — he asks himself. Tough challenges lay ahead of him.
Stefano can’t ignore Marcello’s heavy gaze any longer. He has tried to keep himself cool for the sake of his youngest. But enough is enough. He won’t continue to allow that sort of disrespect.
“Nicco go tell your sister, please” is all he says before the three men are left alone.
“How could you choose him? I am the oldest! And he isn’t even our blood?!” Marcello badgers, pointing fingers at his brother.
“I am glad you finally grew some balls to say it to my face” Harry chuckles. He couldn’t care any less what his brother thought. He found it entertaining. He loves getting under his skin. Especially when he throws his tantrums and makes himself look like an idiot.
“You are just choosing him because he is your little bitch. You know nothing! Your men are probably laughing behind your back right now” It’s as if someone has dropped a bomb within the room. It takes Harry two strides to get into Marcello’s face. His breathing has picked up, his jaw is clenched and the small smile he held has disappeared.
“Don’t you ever fucking disrespect our father in front of me! Who the fuck you think you are talking to?!” He roars. Stefano lays a hand on his son’s shoulder in hopes to calm him down.
“Don’t waste your breath, son. It’s all nonsense”
“Fucking asshole” Harry’s cold eyes remain on him for a few minutes before turning away from Marcello. His hand rises in the air; pointing towards the door. “Get the fuck out”.
It’s only when the door shuts that Harry can finally breathe again. His father is still the Boss and demanded respect until his last breath.
“Congratulations, figlio mio” He smiles brightly at him. “Didn’t I tell you that one of these days of this would be yours? The day has come” The memories from Stefano sitting him on the leather chair in his office when he was only five; flood Harry’s mind. “You got a long road ahead of you” Stefano gently slaps his face with the hand that holds the family heirloom ring. The same ring that identifies the Boss and will soon be his. “But remember hungry dogs are never logal” Referring to the betrayal and hypocrisy that came along with the job.
“Hm how could I forget?” Stefano chuckles, not worried one bit about Harry’s future as boss.
“I do need you to help me with one last thing. The Agostini have found a mole within their state. It seems like the Morelli are behind it. Lucas has asked for your assistant immediately. Fly out tonight and make sure to take Alessandro and a few men with you. Just in case it gets ugly” For the last three years things between the five families have been tranquil. But lately red flags have started flaring up and evidence has pointed to the Morelli.
“Yes sir. I’ll leave right away”.
Luca Agostini stands by the entrance of his estate. He wears an all-black suit with no tie. His hair is messy, looking like he has run his fingers several times through it. The situation he finds himself in is difficult, to say the least. The mole had been right under his nose the entire time. He had been in his house, near his fiance, listening to the conversations about the business and other families. Luca fears any confidential information between the families getting out. His family safety would be at stake.
“Welcome,” he smiles at Harry as he gets out of the car, followed by Alessandro. ”It’s good to see you man” Luca had been unfortunate and hadn't been able to crack the man. He wished to know what he had learned and most importantly, who had sent him. Unfortunately, he is a bit rusty with his techniques. Hence, why he had reached out for Harry’s help. He could break anyone.
“Good to see you too. What’s it been, six months?” It had been that long since they had met for a similar circumstance. Hopefully, it doesn't last as long as last time. It had taken them twenty four hours last time to get the man to talk.
”Something like that. How was your flight?” Luca asks, turning his attention to Alessandro.
“Long and boring” Alessandro responds after hugging Lucas.
“I guess congratulations are in order” He had heard the news and they hadn't surprised him. It was expected. He was just surprised that Stefano had stepped down as soon as he had.
“Thank you. Now, where is he?” Harry is tired and just wants to get it over with.
They start walking into the state “would you like something to eat or to drink?” He asked as they made their way into the dungeon.
“No thanks, let’s just get this over with” Harry hated pleasantries, especially when he was working. It had nothing to do with the people, he just didn't like to mix pleasure with work, it made it messier.
Ainhoa Cortez finds herself in one of those never in a million chance situations that parents warn their kids when going to Europe. She had arrived a week ago from Madrid with her three best friends from college. Everything had gone according to plan. However, Ainhoa hadn’t noticed that from the very first day someone had been watching her, luring from the shadows. She had gone out dancing and drinking to a nearby club with them. At the end of the night, they had ditched her for some hot Italian men. She didn’t blame them. They deserved to have some fun since it was their last night. Her phone was dead from taking pictures and videos by the time she left the club. Therefore, she couldn’t call a car service and found herself stranded. Ainhoa decided to walk. After all, the hotel was a few minutes away.
The whole ordeal had happened in matters of seconds. She had heard a car pull over, and she picked up the passe. Unfortunately, the men that had taken her where double her size and had done this a few hundred times. Everything went black and she was dragged into what she though was the car.
She had caught the attention of none other than Enzo Carpenteri; the capo bastone of Luca Agostini. He had first seen her while he enjoyed an espresso in a coffee shop across from her hotel. She had crossed the street, carelessly enjoying her time at the Italian capital with no knowledge that a man of his caliber was watching. He decided that very first morning that he had to have her. So, then he waited for the perfect time to pounce and rip her apart from the life she knew.
So, there she is, chained to wall like some animal. Deprived from her basic necessities until God knows when. The first night had been horrible especially because she had no idea where she was being kept. Enzo had made sure that she was kept blindfolded the entire time. He had touched her in the way that no woman should ever be touched. Little did she know that he had speared her that night, but the second day he didn’t hold back. He left her that night, on the damp floor, with what was left of her dress. It had taken her three days to get an idea of where she was and figure out the routine of the men that had kidnapped her.
She was kept in a cell in the Agostini dungeon, away from Enzo’s wife who was oblivious to the type of man that she had married.
Ainhoa pulls on the chains as soon as she hears the door open. She is surprised at the unexpected visit. Enzo and his men were earlier than usual. She gets the farther away from the door as if that would help. She recognizes most of voices except from two, one is definitely Italian whilst the other has an English accent.
Harry walks beside Luca as they make their way down the dark, wet hall. They take a turn and come across the cell of the man that Harry has a date with. He sits on a wooden chair with his head down, fatigued from the last time that he had been visited.
“Is this him? Really?” Harry asks with a laugh. “You made me travel all the way here for this motherfucker?” Luca tried not smile as one of his man attempts to open the cell for them. “He doesn’t seem that tough to break”. At plain view the man seems weaker than the men that Harry is used to deal with.
“We’ve been working on him for three days” Luca adds as all his men enter the cell and stand only a few feet away from him. Harry can see how much work they had put into breaking him. It wasn’t impressive, and he just knew that they were going to have so much fun. Enzo walks behind the man and pull his head up by his hair.
“Harry Styles?” The man recognizes him instantly, whilst Harry is taking off his jacket and folding up his sleeves.
“Mr. Popular” Alessandro smirks as he starts setting up the tools. Harry chuckles as he takes two steps closer towards him and squats down to his eye level.
“Guess I’ll skip all the pleasantries then” Harry’s eyes drift to the knots that kept his hands and feet tied to the chair. He wants to make sure that he is property tied before he begins. Since things always get a bit hectic. “Who the fuck sent you?”.
She hears the agonizing screams for hours making her scared for her own life. To the point that she finds herself crying for the unknown man. She only hopes that she isn’t next. Ainhoa can hear them speak through the shouts, but can’t figure out what they are talking about because of the language barrier.
Suddenly the screams come to a halt and the dungeon grows uncomfortably quiet.
“Who’s this?” Harry says as he stands outside her cell, wiping his hands.
“Just some girl that we are selling” Luca honestly has no idea why she was even there. Enzo had said something to him a few days ago, but he had been so busy that he had paid no attention to the matter.
“Why is she down here? Don’t you keep the whores upstairs?” Ainhoa shifts her weight on her feet as she feels uncomfortable by the attention of the men. She can’t see them watching her, but she can feel their burning gaze.
“I don’t know” he shrugs, “Enzo got her. It was his idea”.
“Isn’t Enzo married to Lorena?” Harry had even been invited to the wedding.
“Yeah so?” Before Harry can answer, Alessandro and Enzo join them.
“Ready to go?” Alessandro asks, desperately wanting to get back to the estate.
“How much for her?” It is dark, but from what he can see, she is quite attractive. He never buys whores. He finds it desperate. He has never needed help in that department.
“She isn’t for sale” Enzo snaps, Harry instantly turns towards him.
“Who the fuck asked you? Know your place” He is pissed. “You just said you were selling her. I’ll double the price”.
“What do you want her for?” Luca is intrigued by his sudden proposal.
“None of your fucking business. Do we have a deal?”
“Va bene” Luca signals the men to open her cell.
“I said she is not for sale!” Enzo shouts, forcing Harry to draw out his gun and point it at him.
“What is she to you?” Harry tilts his head sideways and that’s when he feels the cold metal from Luca’s gun against the back of his head. He sees Alessandro’s hand reach back in search for his. “Don’t” he commands.
“Put the gun down” Luca doesn’t understand why things have turn the way they had. He is confused to why Enzo is so adamant to sell her to Harry.
“I already promised her to someone” Enzo responds coldly and vaguely.
“Stop bullshitting me!” Harry spits, his patience running thin” It shouldn’t matter who she was promised to since I am paying double” Enzo keeps his mouth shut, not knowing how to get himself out of the situation. “Unchain and get her ready. We are leaving”.
Luca’s men start scrambling to get Ainhoa out of the cell. She is quiet and calm; too tired to resist. Just as she is being carried out, Enzo reaches out and yanks her towards him.
The sudden gesture is enough to make Harry shoot him. It’s chaos for a few seconds until everyone realizes what’s happening. Enzo falls on the ground, holding his leg as the pain shoots through his entire system.
“Tell me why I shouldn’t shoot you, right now?!” Luca yells as he shoves his gun closer to Harry’s skin.
“You don’t get it do you?” Harry smirks, “He didn’t kidnap her to sell. He kidnapped her for his own pleasure. Open your eyes, he is cheating on Lorena and that’s why he keeps her down here. Away from her”.
A/N: so I was sent this lovely concept by an anon in my inbox (except I know exactly who it is and girl I love you for it 💕) : Nikki I’m slightly embarrassed to put this off anon so I will give you: New Years Harry when he’s fiancé Harry or soon to be dad Harry. Super happy at midnight because you’re getting married or having his freaking baby this year! I hope this is what you had in mind my friend and happy and healthy new year to all of you ! I hope 2022 is kind to us! Let me know what you think feedback and reblogs are appreciated xx
Fiancé Harry :
Let it be known that fiancé Harry at new year is an even bigger pest than normal
Counting down the hours throughout the day so he can say your getting married this year
Spending the whole time at the New Year’s Eve party telling everyone about your wedding plans and how he can’t wait to eventually marry you , and everyone’s just in awe about how much he clearly loves you.
Wanting to spend the whole night just with you, trying to get your attention whenever he can, lightly brushing up against you when he’s refilling his drink giving you a knowing glance.
When the countdown to midnight begins he holds you in his arms , green eyes staring deep into your soul as the clock strikes midnight he’s kisses you so passionately it nearly knocks you over and before you can pull away he’s mumbling against your lips , “I get to marry the love of my life this year “. And with that you kiss him again.
When you get home he spends an indecent amount of time between your thighs , your hands knotted through his hair as he makes you cum twice like this before he cheekily remarks “should we see the new year in with a bang?”
And that’s how you spend your last New Year’s Eve as an engaged couple , riding him slowly as his head is thrown back in pure enjoyment with affirmations of love and how he can’t wait to marry you and when your tucked up in bed lying against his chest you wonder how good next New Year’s Eve will be as mrs styles …….
Dad to be Harry :
Your currently six months pregnant with your first baby and to say Harry is thrilled is an understatement.
You both decide to spend New Year’s Eve together just the two of you having a quiet night in as Harry very sweetly said it would be the last one just the two of you and he wants to spend it with just you .
You spend the evening watching films , Harry’s cosy in an old band T-shirt and his slightly longer hair clipped out the way in a wee sprout 🌱, your wearing his Randys doughnut hoodie which Harry insists on pulling up so he can look at where his baby is homed all nice and safe.
When the clock strikes midnight , he leans over to kiss you with a look that just radiates pure adoration towards you.
Then he kisses your baby bump softly and murmurs against your taught stomach how this is the year she’ll be born and how he can’t wait to meet her.
Then he holds you , your back against his chest hands wrapped around your bump hoping to feel any movement and whispers against you temple , “ we’re gonna be parents this year dove can you believe it?”. And you just know this is going the be the best year yet.
Shes short bit sweet , happy new year my babes , stay safe and I hope 2022 is good to you all ❤️
Lemme know what you think and as always reblogs and feedback is appreciated xo
This is my first attempt at an instagram blurb but I’m kind of obsessed! It slots between She and TPWK in my Fine Line series but can stand alone as well. Let me know what you think! I’m planning on making one for each chapter of the series | Masterlist
She’s the First One that I See
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yourinstagram my new boss is cool ig
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yourbff bitch wtf invite me next time
yourinstagram @/yourbff got a ticket with your name on it for the la show tomorrow!!
harrystan1 @/harryupdates who is she?!
harryupdates @/harrystan1 From what we can gather, she’s a part of his tour crew! Most likely a production assistant.
yourinstagram liked this comment
harrystan2 HARRY LIKED OMG
hannahbananaaa can’t wait to take on the world with you, girlie!!
yourinstagram @/hannahbananaaa love you girlie :-)
yourbff’s Instagram Story
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yourinstagram when the uber breaks down on the way to a @/harrystyles concert @/yourbff
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yourbff my face really says it all 😂
yourinstagram @/yourbff when he didn’t even know how to change a tire :.(
harrystyles should I call 911?
yourinstagram @/harrystyles don’t worry, Jeff sent a car :)
harrystyles @/yourinstagram @/jefezoff saves the day once again
yourinstagram @/harrystyles @/jefezoff my hero <3
harrystan1 I WOULD HAVE CRIED OMG 😭😭
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harrystyles Live on Tour Los Angeles
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harrystan1 “LOOKING FOR ALL THE FUCKS I GIVE”
yourinstagram liked this comment
yourinstagram thanks for the champagne boss man
harrystyles @/yourinstagram stop calling me that!!!
yourbff theater kid at prom vibes 💯
harrystyles liked this comment
harrystyles @/yourbff giving the people what they want to see
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yourbff post-harry depression
hannahbananaaa so nice meeting you!
yourbff @/hannahbananaaa you too! take good care of my girl while you’re away!
yourinstagram MISS YOU ALREADY :.(
yourbff @/yourinstagram MISS YOU MORE 😭
harrystyles @/yourinstagram @/yourbff you literally saw each other this morning???
Author's note: I know I said this before, but I'VE WORKED ON HIS PIECE FOREVER. I started writing this on JULY 4, 2021!
I've erased thousands of words for months and re-writing hundreds of times. Furthermore, I wanted this to be as perfect as I could for all of you. Due to my therapist objecting and telling me that perfection isn't possible. I said ENOUGH! So, I wrapped the whole thing up these last few days. I hope you all enjoy and get the same feeling I was trying to transmit through my writing. I don't know if this short series will have another part. Let me know if you would like one.
Also, it's so good to be back!
They rested on their tummies on the sunbeds, as they caught the potency of the Italian sun. Catalina's arms rested above her head, leaving a small space under her arm to see him. Their books had been longtime forgotten and discarded only a few inches from them. It was relatively quiet except for the sounds of the waves crashing into the shore.
Harry turned his head to face her, noticing she was listening to music this whole time.
“What are you listing to?” His rough voice halted the comfortable stillness that had settled between them. Without a word, she took an AirPod out of her ear. Harry lifted his head; curious as to what she’d do next. She leaned over the gap that separated each of the beds, attempting to reach his ear without having to waste any significant energy. Unfortunately, her arm's length prevented her from reaching the cheeky, smiling man.
Harry chuckled at her determination yet grabbed the edge of her tanning bed and without any warning yanked. He yanked her close enough until their sunbeds collided; becoming one big one.
He had her right where he wanted her.
Catalina carefully and gently inserted the matching pair into his ear. By now both of them laid on their sides, facing one another just in time to hear Catalina’s music.
Her favorite playlist was composed of Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis, Guns N’Roses, and more. He was rather pleased to know that she had a good taste in music.
“Pink Floyd?” He asked after Wished You Were Here came to an end and Dreams by Fleetwood Mac began. She cracked a nostalgic smile.
“It was my mom’s favorite,” She gently said as she felt the familiar knot in her throat start forming. She could have been wearing sunglasses, but Harry had been able to catch her sensitive state. He scooted closer to her enough to catch a sniff of her suntan lotion. Leaving the side of their hands touching each other.
“M’sorry” he whispered to her as his pinky grazed the side of her hand. The small gesture was sweet and comforting.
“Don't apologize. I like to be reminded of her. It keeps her alive”.
Harry doesn't know what drives him to kiss her. Perhaps it was the rawness of the moment or how gentle her skin felt or how intoxicating was the smell of the suntan lotion, but he drove himself to do so without any remorse.
It was gentle and delicate. His hand-glazed her cheek on the way to the back of her head. His fingers tangled on her long hair. The kiss that they so craved, intensified by the minute. Both had abstained from tasting one other far too long, and by now they were both famished.
Their gentle kiss had started turning into a make-out session by the time that Catalina forced them apart.
She pressed her forehead against his as she tried to regain her breath and savor the moment. A moment Harry took to observe her beauty up close as an unavoidable smile appeared across his face.
“Y’Alright?” he asked as her eyes remained closed.
“Perfect,” she said softly catching her lip between her teeth. Harry pecked her lips quickly before laying back down.
He took his sunglasses off as he faced the sky. His eyes closed as he allowed the music to take him back to the moment he first met her. She doesn’t know, but Harry had already started writing about her, and he planned to keep it like that for some time.
“Would you let me do something?” Catalina interrupted the tranquility and the bliss that enveloped them. The corners of his lips slightly curved into a small smile. His cheeky personality surfaced.
“Depends on what it is, darling ” The term of endearment and his heavy accent had the power to cause a wave of heat to spread through her insides. She clenched her legs in response and hoped he wasn't able to tell what his words did to her. “And what y’gonna do f’me” he tucked his arm under his head, causing his muscles to look even bigger.
“May I take a picture of you?” He turned his head to get a look at her. The question confused him a bit. He was never asked permission. People constantly took pictures and exploited them in exchange for money. He also couldn’t figure out why she wanted a picture when the internet was filled with them.
“I just want to capture this moment,” She responded truthfully. It was a small hobby of hers. Her apartment, in Rome, had a specific room that she had altered into her studio. It was the messiest room, no one was ever allowed to enter unless she asked you to. It was her cave, her sanctuary, the place where she could express herself without hearing the opinion of others.
“Forget about it. It's silly,” She dismissed her own request after a few seconds of utter silence from him. Catalina hoped that she hadn't annoyed him or pissed him off.
He just looked so perfect and carefree that the artist within her craved to have a picture of him.
"S'not, m'love" Harry edged closer to her as he laid on his side. “I just wasn't expecting it” The request felt a bit foreign to him, but it was such a beautiful day that he wanted to remember it too. “Could I take one of you too, perhaps?”
Catalina nodded enthusiastically as she leaned over to her side for her bag and fished out a Polaroid camera.
“How do you want me?” Catalina looked up and raised an eyebrow at him. Harry let out a loud belly laugh And that was when she captured the first photograph of many. She took two more pictures of his side profile. Catalina was fascinated by the sharpness of his jaw and how he looked carved by the Gods. She felt like she could stare at him for hours.
“Hungry?” Harry asked, but his eyes remained closed.
“Where would you like to have lunch?”
“Are you asking me to go to lunch with you?” She giggled as she laid back down on her side and faced him.
“How else am I going to be able to take your photo?” Catalina shrugged and acted unbothered by his invitation to dinner when in reality she was thrilled and already was trying to come up with what she was going to wear.
“I guess I will have to go” Harry laughed and shook his head at her. "I think you might need more sunblock, H". She had started noticing the redness on his face. So without any further question, she reached out and started the tedious task of applying to him.
"I am fine!" He complained as she grabbed both of her wrists before she could lather the sunblock on his face. "I haven't burned yet" Harry kissed her knuckles, hoping it would distract her.
“Harry! Please” she pouted her lips attempting to convince him.
“I am fine m’love” Harry insisted as he kissed the inside of her wrist before letting them go.
“If you say so” Catalina made a mental note to pick up some aloe Vera on her way up to her hotel. She knew he was going to regret it.
“I was thinking you should come to my house for lunch. Will that be alright? Just thought we would have more privacy” He asked, not wanting to get the wrong impression.
“It’s not a problem” The Latina woman kept forgetting how famous and who he was outside their little bubble. “I just need your address”.
“I’ll text it to you”
Catalina found herself running around her hotel room, looking for one of her sandals. She had opted not to wear heels this time around. Mostly because she didn't want to embarrass herself like last time. On top of it, she had to get on a bus to take her. Harry’s house was secluded from the town.
She wore a green, polka dot, summer dress with her hair down. She had applied a bit of makeup but abstained from using foundation and wasting it since it would probably be sweated off. It was humid and hot. Only the cool ocean breeze made it okay for her to walk to his.
His house was a decent size Italian villa with its olive trees, arched windows, and vines with a private beach as his backyard.
The house had been decorated minimalistic. He wanted open doors to the backyard. He already felt trapped in his other houses. This time around, he had been very particular with his demands. Harry had spent the morning at the local market, choosing out the perfect ingredients to recreate a recipe that he believed she would like.
Then while the food cooked, he walked around the house worrying and thinking about her. He was beyond himself. He couldn't think straight and it worried him. Harry wasn't ready to get his heartbroken again. The craziest part of it was that getting to love her would be the most exquisite way to self-destruct to him.
It was just around two-thirty when he heard a soft knock on the front door. It was more of a late lunch sort of a thing. After all, they both had snacked most of the morning at the kitchen. He sat down his glass of wine and walked eagerly to the front door.
“Hi” She smiled at him, instantly noticing the sunburn that she had predicted he would have. The funny thing was that it made him look even more irresistible.
“These are for you” she gestured to the bouquet of flowers that she carried. Sure — it wasn't conventional for a man to receive flowers, but Harry wasn't like other men. “And so is this” Catalina handed him the aloe Vera.
"Aloe vera, how fittin" He chuckled, revealing his dimples that she has grown to love the last few days. "F'me?” She nodded eagerly at him. He was quite surprised and even more attracted to her. No one had ever bought him flowers. It was sweet.
“They are lovely. Thank you, darling" Catalina smiled, "Please come in”.
Harry noticed how she proceeded to take off her shoes beside the front door. Her gaze quickly shifted to the artwork, hanging on the walls. She was still respectful of his privacy and remained in the foyer. The last thing she wanted was for him to think that she was snooping around or felt entitled to walk around his house without his permission. She was respectful of his space.
"es hermoso y delicado” Catalina whispered as she stared at the small details that the artist had managed to draw with watercolor on the canvas that hung on the hallway that led to the rest of the house.
It was Harry's first time hearing her speak in her native tongue. And he only wished he could hear her speak more often in Spanish. Her tone was lovely and gentler than in English. Spanish for him had always been a language that was sung and it had a lovely melody mostly because it came from her.
“I bought it in a tiny art gallery in Japan” He shared, trying to make conversation with her. “It never fit with anywhere else. Then, when I got the keys to this place, I knew where it belonged”
“Well it’s beautiful” She stepped back and brought her arms down from having them crossed across her chest while she inspected.
“Come” he reached out for her hand. And Catalina noticed his fingers were still bare. He was still the relaxed Harry that she had first met that night at the restaurant. “Would you like something to drink?”
“What are you drinking?” she held his hand and allowed him to direct her towards the kitchen. Catalina hated being asked. She always asked what the host was drinking and asked for the same thing. She knew it was stupid but she always felt like she was bothering.
“Wine, would you like some?”
“Yes, please” Harry nodded and walked around the kitchen island to get to the small wine cooler. He also took the opportunity to check on the salmon that he was cooking in the oven.
Meanwhile, Catalina took the opportunity to step out into his balcony and catch a glimpse of the view. It was breathtaking. The sea crashed in the rocks right under them. She felt jealous of how comfortably Harry probably slept every night as he was lulled by the crashing waves.
“You must sleep until the afternoon most days with the sound of the waves” Catalina inhaled the fresh salty air.
“I am actually a morning person. I wake up around five most days” She looked at him as he had grown three heads. If there was a thing that she enjoyed more than sitting in a museum of art for hours, it was sleeping. Her sleep was sacred.
“That's awful. Espantoso. ¿Estas bien?” There it was her Spanish shining through again and Harry captivated by it. She pressed her right hand on his upper back as in comfort as if he was going through a tough time. Harry found it funny and her touch was just something he didn't know he needed but he did.
“I like to swim in cold water and meditate at least twice a day”
“I can put up with the meditation but not with the swimming” Catalina took the glass of wine from him. “Too bad this isn’t going to work. I hoped it would”.
“Too bad. Was hopin you would join me”
“The sea isn’t that cold at this time of the year, H” The sea temperature by the Amalfi coast barely dropped below 20C in summer so she didn’t understand where and how he got his cold swims.
“All the more reason why you should join me next time” Harry smirked mischievously. If it was up to him he would have offered her to move in with him.
“Maybe let’s see how this date goes”
“So, this is a date?! It’s not just you putting up with me as a thank you for allowing you to take a picture of me. And may I add, free of cost” Harry’s cockiness was unbelievable but he was simply being silly. He enjoyed teasing her. He slightly licked his bottom lip, a gesture that made Catalina’s knees weaken for a split second.
“Oh did I misunderstand?” She attempted to frown, “I could just go. Right now” Catalina took one step towards the front door and Harry instantly had his arms wrapped around her waist, preventing her from going any further.
“you aren’t going anywhere” He laughed, “we are having dinner”
"Not a chance"
They eventually sat outside after Harry insisted since he noticed how much she enjoyed the view. They joked and poked fun at each other. Catalina even attempted to critique his cooking techniques but failed miserably when Harry pointed out that she had eaten every one last bit of food that he had served her.
Catalina and Harry even touched upon heavy subjects like past relationships.
"You can't tell me you haven't had a serious relationship in how long was it?"
"Four years" She nodded as she doodled on the condensation of her iced water, trying not to make eye contact with Harry's eyes. Especially since she knew the power that his gaze had over her.
"That bad huh?" Harry noticed how she shifted uncomfortably in her seat and looked up at him.
"You could say he broke me; he took a piece of me". She smiled, but he could see the pain right through it. Catalina couldn't fool him. She had met him the summer before her first semester of college in Rome. He had every attribute and quality that she had dreamt of a boyfriend having.
"Did you love him?" He wasn't jealous nor did he have any right to be, but he felt like saying a few words to the man.
Catalina took her glass of water up to her lips as she thought carefully of her answer.
"I don't think I did. I was defiantly attached to him. He provided me with that comfort and familiarity that I had been given by my family. But I wasn't in love with him" Catalina shook her head, "I think it was the circumstances of how our relationship ended that hurt the most".
"You don't have to share if you don't want" Harry wanted to know more, but he abstained from pressing any further.
"How about you anyway?"
"You can say that my career is the common denominator" He was a hopeless romantic and even after many failed attempts to find the one, he would keep looking. Harry wasn't ready to give up on love. Plus, he was convinced there was someone for him out there.
"It seems a bit silly when they all knew what they were getting themselves in before they started dating you"
"I guess it's always too much. Plus, I don't if you've heard, but I'm an arrogant son of a bitch" Catalina laughed and shook his head at him, understanding the reference to one of his songs. "So you do listen to my music!" He pointed out just as excited as a kid on Christmas morning.
"Fine. Just a few" Catalina attempted to hide her smile with her glass.
"What are your favorites and why?"
"You really are a narcissist!"
"Just a tiny bit" Harry chuckled as he noticed the sun starting to descent and the ocean looking inviting. "Let's go for a swim" He blurted out, getting up from his chair.
"What?" She laughed, as she watch him unbutton his shirt. "Harry!"
"Let's go for a swim. It's so pretty"
"I don't have a bathing suit" Catalina tried to reason with him, but just as the words left her mouth. Harry pushed his shorts off his legs, leaving him completely bare.
"Who said anythin’ bout bathing suits?" He winked then busted in laugher before running off towards the shore.
"Harry!" She laughed after him, rising to her feet and running to the edge where she could look down at the shore.
"Come on! The water isn't getting any warmer!"
It was there while she stared at the man that she liked jumping into the ocean wearing only his birthday suit that Catalina reflected on her entire life. She had always played it safe. She always thought of the consequences before acting out on something. Catalina was a planner and hated when anyone changed her plans yet she found herself walking down the stone steps towards where the sea met the sand.
Harry came up for air and ran his fingers through his hair before turning to look at the shore where nervous and shy Catalina stood.
With the water up to his waist, he looked like a dream. His hair slicked back, and his tattoos glistened from the water.
“The water is delightful!” He wasn't lying, but he understood her hesitation. She still felt shy around him. They had only known each other for a few weeks. It made sense. Therefore, Harry turned his back towards her in an attempt to give her a chance to undress if she wanted to.
And it was then when Catalina first took her first risk and started stripping. Once bare, she went straight to the water. Thankfully, her hair was long enough to cover her breast, making her feel a bit secure as she walked up to Harry.
“You are insane, you know?”
“Hello” Harry turned towards her with a big smile. “Look” He pointed at the beautiful sunset and the different tones of light that dispersed through the sky. It looked like a painting, and to Catalina it was overwhelming. The natural perfection and the tranquility that she felt gave her the guts to confess why she had broken up with her ex-boyfriend.
“I was pregnant and lost the baby. He left the day I got discharged. He said he was going to pick us up something to eat while I rested, but never came back” She shared as she kept her eyes glued to the sunset and the sky. “I know you didn't ask, but since we have been sharing” Catalina shrugged, “though it was important”. She had never shared her miscarriage with anyone besides her aunt. She was over her ex-boyfriend, but the pain of losing an unborn child, she would always carry.
Harry went cold because the way his ex-boyfriend left her told Harry everything. He felt pain for her. Catalina deserved a better goodbye.
“I blamed her for cheating and broke things up with her before I gave her a chance to explain. I was wrong all along, and I had ruined a perfectly good relationship” Harry shared. It wasn't the same, but he wanted her to know something about him.
“Do you regret it?”
“No. I am a true believer that everything happens fo’ a reason” It was true. “Plus, I would have never met you”.
“Smooth dude” She giggled.
He reached underwater for her hand and turned her towards him. His hands came up to her face. His thumbs caressed her cheeks as he looked down at her, and she kept her eyes closed; enjoying his touch.
“I am so sorry” Harry apologized, referring to her miscarriage as if it was his fault, but Catalina only moved her hands to cover his with hers after kissing one of his palms.
And it was quiet as they remained still. They allowed the comforting quietness to surround them as Harry continued to hold her. The only sound was the crashing of the waves. And so, Harry kissed her gently, trying to convey the same feeling he felt around her.
Harry realized that she felt the same when the kiss was reciprocated and her small arms were wrapped around his neck. Catalina took a step closer, pushing their bodies against one another, feeling the heat that each felt towards the other.
His hands dropped and ran down her naked back and the sides of her body, enjoying the softness of her skin against his fingertips. Harry pulled away to move his lips to her neck and jaw.
A soft “Harry” came out of her mouth as he pushed his body closer to hers.
“What, m’love? What do you want?” He said, against her skin.
It was as if a switch had turned. Neither of them had noticed each other's nakedness. Now, lust and desire had overpowered them. Catalina’s body called out to him, responding to his simple touch. Her body was enticing, and he knew that the moment he went down that road, there was no turning back. She would officially become his just as much as he would become hers.
“You” she barely whispered with hooded eyes.
“Are you sure?” He asked, lifting his head from the crook of her neck.
“Christ” Harry smiled and reconnected their lips.
And so Harry made love to her in the privacy of his home, and until both couldn't get enough of each other. And until both were drunk off each other.
Catalina woke up, wrapped in soft bedsheets, in a bed that she didn't recognize at first. She was alone, but the other side of the bed was undone too, meaning that it hadn't been a dream. The soreness left between her legs was also evidence of it.
She was surprised that Harry was already out of bed. It was still dark outside. Still, with lots of questions within her head, she got on her two feet and started the quest of looking for some type of clothing.
The only article out of his closet was his iconic sweater ‘my life is crap’ with the little sheep. She threw it on before heading out on a search of him.
(This but in boxers and on a couch)
He sat on a couch facing the backyard, wearing only a pair of boxers. His guitar on his lap and a pencil in between his fingers.
“Hey, rock star” Harry instantly looked up from his journal with a gentle smile.
“Wha’ are you doin’up?” He questioned as he dropped his pencil and noticed her attire.
“I could ask you the same”
“Jus’ having a late-night, writing session” A lot had happened today, and he had needed to decompress, and he had already made love to her multiple times. “Nice sweater” He pointed out.
“The bed is lonely without you” Harry smile as he quickly wrote scribbled something. He loved feeling wanted and needed and desired. “Got any room for me over there?”.
“Come here” He sat back and settled the guitar beside him.
Catalina smiled and walked to him. She sat on his lap and ran her fingers through his hair.
“Close your eyes” she commanded after pecking his cheek. Harry obeyed but pursed his lips waiting for a kiss from her. Unfortunately, the only thing he felt was the coldness from the aloe vera that Catalina had started spreading all over his face. The man looked like a shrimp. It needed to be done.
On top of it, Catalina couldn't help noticing that his skin was hot from all the sun that it had absorbed. It had been like making love to a tiny radiator.
“Lovie” Harry complained as he opened his eyes widely at her.
“It's for your own good!” Her eyebrows furrowed, deep in concentration. She made sure to cover every bit of red skin. “It’s also boiling hot”.
“didn't see you complaining ‘bout that when my dick was poundin—”
“Shush!” She laughed, covering his mouth with a hand. Harry laughed and even though the aloe always left him sticky, he allowed her to finish in peace. “ There you go. All nice” She pecked his lips as she closed the container. “I guess it’s time for me to go, H. I have overstayed my welcome” The Latina climbed off his lap as she lathered the leftover aloe Vera on the sides of her thighs.
Harry sat up and gripped her waist, impeding her from leaving.
“Wha’ are you talking about, darling?” Harry couldn’t believe the words that had just come out of her mouth. “You could never overstay” he first pointed out, “stay the rest of the night”.
“ I don’t want to overstep”
“Darling — maybe I wasn’t clear enough about my intentions while I was making love to you” he chuckled, “I like you Catalina and I want you around me all the time or as much possible”.
“What happens when you go back to your life and I have to go back to Rome?” She liked him a lot, but she had to point out the obvious.
Harry rested his chin on her lower abdomen as he looked up at her, wrapping his arms around her hips.
“We’ll take it day by day. We’ll live in the moment, and we’ll fix it when that day comes. Alright?”
It was hard for her to let go. It was hard for Catalina to not have a plan for the future. Not only that, but it was especially hard for her, coping with uncertainty. That didn’t mean she wasn’t willing to try. After all, she did go to therapy every 15 days.
“I guess we could try” Harry smiles and pursed his lips. Catalina giggled and kissed him.
“Now get your lovely arse into the bedroom and get naked”
a/n: here is part 2!!!!! a little slow churn maybe but it’ll get there. hope you enjoy it babessss. feedback is encouraged and welcomed <3
word count: 2.5k
Harry spent the next few days trying to find something decent and appropriate to gift his daughter’s ballet instructor. Truthfully, he struggled because nothing seemed good enough or appropriate for a simple thank you. So, simple it would be. He decided he’d get her what he thought were the most divine chocolates in the world and a bouquet of sunflowers.
Lucy made sure to constantly remind Harry about (Y/N). His explanation to it was that because the only mother figure in Lucy’s life was someone who unfortunately is a woman before a mother, so naturally she found something comforting in (Y/N) that she’d never seen before. Clearly, (Y/N) and Lucy got along, and Lucy had been going wild since (Y/N) claimed she was her favorite. It was the cutest thing ever. The six-year-old girl even named her favorite princess doll after her that apparently defeated all evil with her ballet moves.
“Daddy?” Lucy called out from the living room, Harry sat a few feet away from her on the couch, his laptop resting open on his thighs as he reviewed some contracts. “Yes, pet?”
“Is miss (Y/N) going to do my hair again next class? She does my hair prettier than you.”
Harry scoffed, holding his heart as he pretended that pained him while looking back at her. “Bub! You’ve broken daddy’s heart! But yes, she will do your hair again. Which is why we’re going to take her chocolates and flowers next class. We have to be nice and thank her for helping us.”
Since the small girl could begin to understand emotions and meanings, Harry always instilled in her that kindness and gratitude were two important things. Lucy was great at learning this and sharing it around her. It made Harry proud to have such a kindhearted daughter, though all credit should be given to him. Brooklyn could care less. Whenever she’d decide that Lucy could see Harry before he had full custody, his daughter would be a bit sassy and spoiled in all the wrong ways. Harry was having none of it. Thankfully, she learned rather quickly that only bad people are mean and rude, and no one wants to be friends with mean people.
Truth be told, Harry learned rather quickly to do his daughter’s buns for ballet. He spent two days practicing on her hair before her showers. But he kept that to himself. A part of him wanted to see (Y/N) again, have a few minutes alone with her even if they were quiet and all about Lucy. Although he wanted things to be this way, he didn’t want to be a perturbance to the woman.
‘Good afternoon, (Y/N). Just reaching out to make sure it’s still okay to bring in Lucy earlier so you could help with her hair… hope you’ve had a good day.’
Harry was nervous, putting his phone face down on his desk so he wouldn’t stare at it while he waited for a response. He barely even had to wait because two minutes later, she replied.
‘Hi! Of course, it’s okay! Hope you’ve had a good day as well. See you both later!’
A smile adorned Harry’s lips, sighing happily at nothing. Harry blamed it on his stupid little crush. It had been a while since he’d gone out with another woman or dated anyone so her soft sweetness had him feeling like a love puppy at her feet. And he’s only been around her once for a few minutes… Though what stuck to him the most was how she was with Lucy. The most important thing Harry would ever consider when dating someone. It was evident his daughter liked her too so that pushed him even further into the stupid crush.
Harry made sure to leave the office a bit sooner than usual. He stopped by his favorite floral shop, making sure to pick the prettiest and more lively bouquet of sunflowers. Harry had gone out the day prior to buy the chocolates since the only place that sold those specifically were a half hour drive, so he didn’t want to rush the day of having to take Lucy to ballet.
It was now time to pick up Lucy, Harry waiting for her outside of his car, soon being greeted by his little girl with the same excitement as always. They shared a quick hug and Harry planted a few kisses onto her cheeks and forehead before helping her into the car.
“Those pretty flowers for miss (Y/N), daddy?” She asked once her eyes landed on the flowers.
“Yes, bub. Let’s hope she likes them.”
Harry dressed Lucy in a lilac leotard with nude tights before feeding her a snack and they were soon out the door.
Per Lucy’s request, the drive consisted of the two singing loudly to Happy by Pharrell. The little girl had the chocolates and flowers on her lap because she insisted she’d be the one to give them to (Y/N). Harry was more than okay with that. That would probably seem better anyway instead of Harry seeming like he was flirting with her.
In comparison to the last time, once Harry and Lucy walked in, (Y/N) was standing by the front desk as her eyes immediately lifted from her phone to see Harry and Lucy walk in with that same bright smile on her face. “Hi, pretty princess!” She smiled as she looked down to Lucy, instantly recognizing the items on her hands with a small gasp as Lucy handed them out and up to her with a big smile. “Hi, miss (Y/N)! These are for you. Thank you for being the bestest princess ever.” (Y/N) laughed softly at her words, shaking her head as she took the flowers and chocolates and the little girl immediately pulled her into a hug. She stood back up, looking at Harry with a sigh. “You’re unbelievable. Thank you.” (Y/N) smiled at him, then turning to lead the way into the empty studio room.
Just like before, Lucy sat in front of (Y/N) as she brushed out her curls before putting them into a bun. Harry was watching them, soon standing up with a groan once his phone started to ring, “I’ll be back in a second.” He excused himself, standing at the other end of the room for some privacy.
“Can I tell you something, miss?” Lucy whispered, turning her small head to (Y/N).
“Yes, of course. Anything, dear.” She whispered back, mirroring the little girl. “My daddy learned how to do my hair… He told me you were very pretty so I think he likes you. Ms. McCain at school told me that when you like someone else, you think they’re really pretty.”
(Y/N) looked at Lucy with her eyebrows raised, a small quiet giggle escaping her lips. “Let’s keep this conversation a secret. I’m sure he was just being nice, okay?” The little girl nodded with a smile, looking back to the front so (Y/N) could finish her hair.
If there was one thing she’d learn about little kids, is that they’re always spilling truth and secrets. It made her wonder in what context Harry decided to tell his daughter he thought she was pretty. It made her heart race because she thought herself that Harry was an extremely handsome man, and it was beyond her as to why he was still single. It definitely had to be by choice. That was the only explanation that made sense to her.
“Okay, sorry about that. Work stuff.” Harry huffed as he sat in front of his daughter once more, (Y/N) wrapping her hair into the bun before finishing it off with the hair tie and a little bit more gel.
She’d be an idiot to lie and say she didn’t have a crush on him. But she knew better than to say anything and act on her thoughts. Harry was the father of one of her students and that’s he’ll ever be. “Alright, all done, pretty girl.” Lucy immediately got up, running to the mirror to look at her hair. “Thank you. Again. I know I sound obnoxiously redundant but, can’t help it. M’very grateful.” (Y/N) smiled, nodding her head softly. “I know, Harry. Thank you. I’ll see you later.”
After Harry left, he decided he’d head over to one of his mate’s house, since he invited him over to watch a game with a couple of their other friends. They were all sat on the couch, all attentively watching the game except Harry. His mind went back to his daughter. And (Y/N). She looked even prettier today. (Y/N) didn’t notice but Harry took his time to discreetly take her in when he stepped away to handle the phone call. Red was her color. The leotard was perfectly hung on her body, her calves so beautifully sculpted by all those years she’d probably being dancing for, Harry was fucked.
But thankfully, he had an excuse to text her.
‘How’s my Lucy? Miss her already.’
Harry actually did miss her so an update would be appreciated.
‘Image attached: Lucy in the middle of a Cambre Back.’
‘Doing great. Meant it when I said she was my favorite. The chocolates are amazing btw… Sweet and creamy... (:’
(Y/N) was always paying full attention to her classes, not that she wasn’t now. But sneaking a text to Harry was no problem for her. It made her excited even though she knew he reached out only for Lucy. She re-read her message after she sent it and almost choked on her spit. It was innocent and honest, but anyone can think she could be insinuating something dirty. But Harry didn’t comment on it, and she was thankful to the heavens.
‘They’re my favorite. Figured I’d share such a delight with someone as sweet as you.’
(Y/N) decided against replying to him so she could give her all to her class. After all, their parents are paying, and she can’t be eating shit while teaching the kids. But, for certain, the rest of the class was taught with the biggest smile on her face, a slight jump in her step every time she moved between the kids, correcting anything she found wrong.
Harry shoved his phone back in his pocket once she didn’t reply, figuring she didn’t want to lose focus of her students. Though he hoped that shameless little flirtatious text was okay. He couldn’t help himself.
Like last time, Harry waited for Lucy just a few minutes before the class ended, only this time Lucy came out hand in hand with (Y/N) both giggling at something inaudible that Lucy said. “Hi, bub. Can tell y’had a good time, huh?” Lucy nodded, hugging Harry’s thighs before letting go of (Y/N) who was being called by another parent and grabbing his hand in turn.
(Y/N) momentarily spoke to some other parents before stopping Harry at the front door, “Thanks for the compliment, by the way.” She grinned, turning around, and walking away. Harry smiled, walking towards his car as Lucy skipped in front of him.
“What are you doing to me, (Y/N)?” He mumbled to himself with a stupid smile.
The following day, Harry woke up earlier than he usually would on a Saturday because he had to drop off Lucy over at Brooklyn’s. Lucy always put up a fight, not wanting to leave Harry which would always leave him heart broken.
“But daddy...” She whined and pouted, “I wanna stay with you.” Harry sighed, unbuckling her, and helping her out of the car before grabbing her weekend bag. “I know, pet. But you have to stay with mum. I promise I’ll be here to pick you up in two days, okay? I’ll take you for ice cream and we can go to the park. Would you like that?”
Lucy’s eyes watered, nodding softly before hugging her dad tightly. “Okay… I’ll see you in two days. I love you.” Harry smiled, pecking her cheek with a sweet kiss. “I love you more, bub.”
Harry had no idea what to do with his free time this weekend. He knew of no interesting plans, so he did what he knew best: work. He was sat on the island counter, laptop open as he typed up an email he was responding to. While at that, he heard his phone dig, turning it over to find a message from Brooklyn with a video attached of Lucy doing some ballet move Harry figured she learned the day prior and a text that read:
‘Lucy wants you to show this to some lady called Miss (Y/N). Says she wants her to see how she’s practicing like she promised.’
Harry smiled and chuckled. How cute, he thought. Instead of replying to Brooklyn, Harry saved the video and opened his messages with (Y/N), attaching the video.
‘You’ve got her spinning and kicking all around her mother’s house. Says she’s doing as she promised.’
Almost immediately, he got a response back.
‘She’s too cute!! Never doubted her anyway. She’s the best for a reason!’
This was the perfect way to strike a conversation with her. For once, he was thankful that Brooklyn did something good for him.
Harry ended up leaving the email halfway written, texting back and forth with (Y/N). They went from speaking about Lucy, to (Y/N) explaining how she got into teaching ballet (because Harry asked), now they were talking about flowers because she brought up how they were still so pretty and alive. Harry felt so tempted to ask her out, just take her to a nice dinner date and wine and dine her.
But there’s one thing Harry lived by. There is only one guarantee in our lives and it’s the one we’re living meaning you must live it to the fullest and enjoy everything it bring to you. So, what does he have to lose? Worst comes to worst, Harry can deal with rejection.
‘Is it a bad thing if I want ask you out on a date tonight? I think you know by now that I’m interested in you…’ Harry huffed, his head falling back to stare at the ceiling, hoping she would say yes,
‘Oh, Harry. That’s so sweet but I’m not sure it’s a good idea…’
He frowned and sighed. Of course, she declined it. Why on earth would she go out with the father of one of her students just because he got her pretty flowers and chocolates and compliments her whenever he gets the chance? Regardless, he has a kid and he’d been on dates before that have resulted in him finished his dinner alone because they’ve gotten up and left once they found out. Harry put his phone on the counter, turning back to his laptop to finish the email and try and pretend he didn’t just get rejected… But then (Y/N) sent another message and this one got Harry excited.
‘Actually… Tell me when I should be ready by. See you tonight. x’
Happy Monday! I apologize for such a long wait. I hope the 17,789K words make up for the delay. If you enjoyed this, please be sure to check out my masterlist. You can also buy me a coffee on ko-fi if you’re inclined to support a broke fic writer. Thanks for reading. Looking forward to feedback!
He was gone.
He’d had the decency to tidy up the side of the bed where he’d slept, but that was the extent of that decency. Harry hadn’t even said goodbye.
Resolving around one o’ clock that afternoon not to dwell on his insensitivity, you successfully pitched activities in a group chat or two. Then, it was Sunday Funday. First, lunch with friends, some bowling, followed by dinner with those same friends. The night rounded off finally with board games and a couple of bottles of wine.
Between all that fun, compulsive phone checks. He hadn’t called, hadn’t sent any texts. After some internal debate, you accepted that if he wanted to reach out, he would. And if he didn’t, well…
It didn’t matter. Well, it hadn’t until you were home, showered, and in bed. Saturday night’s hushed, strained conversation after the fact replayed both nonstop and vividly.
Following closed eyes to ward off the spins while regretting that last glass of red, drifting into a restless sleep only worsened matters. Suddenly, he’d practically returned, hands roaming, soft lips grazing yours, body nestled between your thighs once again.
Forcing yourself awake, needing it to stop, you half-expected to see him there, but alas, the bed was otherwise unoccupied. Almost like he’d never been there. In a way, you sort of wished he hadn’t. Not if this was how he chose to handle things.
And you’d even believed him, took to heart what he’d said that night. Fighting the urge to send drunken, angry texts demanding an explanation, you’d eventually fallen asleep, clinging to his words, nonetheless.
All too soon came Monday. The alarm blared, a most unwelcome alert to get out of bed and ready for work. Truthfully, calling in sick and wallowing around the house all day seemed ideal, but being alone with your thoughts didn’t.
So, you proceeded like any morning; a hot shower, then listening to the local news playing on TV while rummaging the closet for the day’s look. And in usual fashion, checking the wall clock just in time to narrowly avoid leaving late. Armed with hot coffee and an Everything bagel, you grabbed your bag and headed out to brave the cold, merging into pedestrian traffic toward the subway station.
After settling into a cramped seat among other commuters, it dawned that not even cranking your headphones up to obnoxious volumes would drown it out, that awkward talk following Saturday night’s antics.
Silence had long settled over the room like a thick, wet blanket, uncomfortable and suffocating. The stream continued to buffer, that annoying little wheel spinning as you stared at the screen. You had to get out of there. Fast. It was too quiet and there was no way he couldn’t hear the thumping in your chest.
“Do you, um, have everything you need?” you asked, shooting the briefest of glances his way. He was still at the opposite end of the couch, pulling at his lower lip. One of his many endearing habits, and oddly, it set off an unsettling sadness. What if you’d just ruined the relationship? What if you never saw him again after tonight? Was it that big of a deal?
Endless questions, no answers.
“Yeah. I’m… I’m fine,” he said eventually, but not nearly fast or confidently enough.
“Just let me know if you need anything else,” you mumbled. Bidding him a hasty good night, you shot toward the hall and didn’t stop until hidden safely behind the bedroom door. Sighing, you buried your face in your hands, muttering through gritted teeth. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.”
Was it worth it?
On one hand, a resounding hell yes. The last time you’d ever been so turned on was never. His patience, his intuition, his attention to the little things…
Then again, it was always best with somebody you loved, people said.
And you did love him. Despite abandoning the man to fend for himself, you loved Harry Styles. Profoundly, down to his very core. He had to be wondering, didn’t he? Why you’d kissed him to begin with, why he’d reciprocated? Why it’d gone as far as it had? Why he was so hell bent on pleasing you?
Maybe he was better off not knowing.
But he didn’t operate that way…
Lying under low lights and scrolling through social networks for distraction, you weren’t that surprised to hear a soft knock a few minutes later.
“Don’t, I don’t want you looking at me,” you whimpered, turning your back to the door just as he pushed it open anyway.
“Why don’t you want me looking at you?” And goddamn him, he sounded just as genuinely curious as he was confused.
“Because. Shit’s gonna be weird, now.” You grabbed a pillow to throw over your head.
“Shit doesn’t have to be weird.”
You didn’t bother answering, mostly for not knowing what to say, certainly for not knowing what to do. Hopefully, he’d just go off to live his life, sing his songs, and wholly forget about you.
Instead, he did the worst thing imaginable. The bed dipped under his weight as he climbed in and slipped his arms around your waist, his forehead rested against the nape of your neck. It wasn’t a new thing, the occasional cuddle, but damned if it didn’t feel different this time.
“I’m serious, nothing has to be weird,” he reiterated, giving you a squeeze. “Talk to me.”
Harry was so easy to talk to, had provided a listening ear countless times. Now, when he was prepared to do just that, words failed. How could you talk to him about him? What kind of crackpot thing was that to do?
“What do you want me to say?” you mumbled, hoping he didn’t notice the trembling.
“Something. Anything.” The embrace tightened while his tone softened. “You kissed me.”
Your chest went taut. “I guess I did. And you kissed me back. Among other things.”
He was quiet for a moment. His chest heaved against your back when he finally sighed, words breathlessly rushing from his mouth. “I’ve, um… kinda wanted to do that for ages.”
It was in that precise moment, your heart dropped. No way he’d missed that, not when it was practically beating out of your chest.
“Yeah?” Still, you faced forward, for fear of no longer being able to hold back the ‘I love you’ sitting on the tip of your tongue.
“Yeah.” His tone lightened. Like a weight had been lifted.
Though you’d never expected him to reveal such a thing, you kept quiet, didn’t want to make matters worse. Or better. Or maybe worse? The problem lie in not knowing. Emotions were high, maybe now wasn’t the time to spill it all?
“Why didn’t you say something?”
Harry laughed a little. “How do you bring that up?”
He had a point. You never could, at least not until now.
“Seems easier in movies.”
Silence hung over the room, and you could almost guarantee he was overthinking, too.
“Would you feel better if I left?” he asked, his hold loosening.
“No. I don’t want you to go,” you admitted, letting your hands settle where his rested above your waist. You pushed back, satisfied only when he held you even closer. “We’ll figure this out in the morning.”
You’d agreed to meet him on one condition, and that was to do so in public. Where there was noise, people, and that special chaos exclusive to Manhattan, there was also very little space for deep thought. For pondering the whens and whys. And like any good friend, he’d agreed, whatever it took to prevent further wallowing in self-pity. After all, it’d been a week since That Night.
Raven thanked the waitress as she delivered drinks. He leaned slightly as she sashayed back toward the restaurant, staring past you and directly at her ass. Almost immediately, he remembered the reason for the impromptu dinner and focused, clearing his throat. Unfastening the center button of his suede blazer, he sat back, grabbing his glass. “Well, at least now you know he’s a jerk.”
You snapped out of the reverie of watching locals and tourists pound the sidewalk, deciphering who was out for fun and tourist traps versus those headed to start night shifts in the city. Shaking your head, you took a sip of water before speaking. “He’s not a jerk. I-”
“I’m sorry, did you just open your mouth to defend the alleged friend who hasn’t thought to as so much text by now?” Raven’s dark brows rose as he blinked hard.
As much as you wanted to argue, he wasn’t wrong. Still, even after you’d bitten the bullet and reached out to Harry yesterday, that iMessage remained unacknowledged. The regret compared to nothing else you’d ever felt. You would never have let things go so far if this was the result. Despite it all, you hadn’t reached the stage where you’d agree that Harry was a jerk. He wasn’t. …Was he?
A beat of silence passed before you spoke again, shrugging. “I’m sure he’s got his reasons.”
“Yeah, he’s a fucking jerk!” Raven reiterated loudly, unconcerned with the passersby outside the low gate separating the restaurant’s patio from the sidewalk. “Who sleeps with someone and then just leaves like that?”
“We did not sleep together. I mean, he slept in my bed, but we didn’t have sex.”
“Yes, something did. Which I’m glad I didn’t go in detail about,” you added, frowning while studying him. Raven’s reaction made complete sense, that of a concerned close friend, but even daring to consider that maybe Harry wasn’t the person you’d thought he was? Impossible. Not when he’d shown you so much better over the course of the friendship. You’d given him the benefit of the doubt, but as the days passed, it slowly dwindled.
“Was he better than me?”
“You and I never had sex, idiot.”
Raven nodded, picking up the menu to browse. “I know that, but other things happened…”
“I don’t wanna talk about it!” The thought alone brought on the throbbing, and Harry flat out didn’t deserve the satisfaction.
“Fine! But you know? I’m a little disappointed. You’re smarter than this. And I’ve seen you drop lesser men for, hell, much less.”
“That’s not true,” you said, looking up from your phone, which you’d checked incessantly all day.
“You dumped that one dude around Thanksgiving because you didn’t like the way he chewed.”
“To be fair, if you’d seen it? Then he liked to talk, and sing, and tell jokes with his mouth full-”
“Nobody’s perfect, my dear.”
You leaned back in your chair, shaking your head. “Tell me about it.”
Raven’s expression softened as he placed his hand over yours. “I know I’m not always as sensitive as you need me to be, and I’m sorry. But I just want good things for you. And if he doesn’t feel the way you do, it’s better you know now.”
That, in particular, was hard to tell. Harry hadn’t disappointed you once. He was always reliable, even at his flightiest, loyal, loving, thoughtful… and still. Maybe Raven was right. Maybe he just wasn’t the one. Maybe a platonic relationship was in the stars, regardless of what the heart wanted.
“Also, I gotta say. I don’t remember you being this broken up about us ending,” Raven said, eyes narrowed. He laughed when you rolled your eyes.
“Yes, because when we called it off, it was a mutual decision that we talked about like grown ups.”
“Damn. Good point.”
“Forget it. Thank you for letting me talk your ear off about it, but it’s fine. Let’s move on,” you said with a sweep of the arms. “What’s up with you? Ronnie from Toronto, did you have a good time with her?”
Raven smirked. “Yep. In fact, I’m gonna go see her in Toronto soon.”
“What?” you asked, rearing backwards. “You’re gonna see a hookup again? On purpose?”
“I know it’s a little soon, but I think I’m in love.”
“Lust is fun like that, isn’t it?”
“You’ve got no idea. She’s very bendy. And doesn’t complain about the way I make eggs.”
“You let her sleep at your place? I can practically hear wedding bells.”
The waitress returned, flashing a polite enough smile your way before beaming at Raven. “Do you guys know what you want?”
“Or not,” you muttered, watching as Raven returned the smile, making no secret of checking her out, too.
Winding up in a club after hanging out with Raven wasn’t unusual, but this spot was new. It was just upscale enough; there was an air of sophistication, paired with a vibe that nobody was too good to admit they were there for an uncivilized sort of good time. A change of scenery was overdue; you’d done every bar and club in Queens to death.
Throwing back the fourth drink of the night, counting the two at the restaurant, you danced near the bar with Raven and the two friends he’d called to join the party that Saturday night. Andrei and Miles, Jersey guys through and through. Though they were strangers, they were cute strangers, and there were worse ways to spend the evening than swinging your hips to a sexy baseline with liquor in your system.
“Saturday night, Saturday night, you wanna take the party back home, some other night, some other night, I know you want out the friend zone…”
“We’re doing shots, you want one?” asked Andrei over the music, unable to keep still as he waved at the bartender.
“Sure, why not?” You didn’t ask questions or complicate things. If he was buying, you’d drink. Maybe the tequila would wash down the sorrows?
“Your friend can really hold her liquor,” Miles said with a smile as he watched you sway side to side. He unironically fist pumped to the beat with one hand, and chugged a beer with the other.
“My friend needs to slow down a little bit,” Raven returned without missing a beat, shimmying as he bopped along to the music.
You shot him a look. ”Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you say I needed to learn to have fun every now and then? Take a chance, do something crazy?”
“Did we miss something?” Andrei asked as he glanced between you and Raven, who resigned with a sigh.
“I did say that, didn’t I.”
You grabbed the shot from Andrei’s hand as he offered, glaring pointedly at Raven before swallowing it down, slamming the empty glass down on the bar top. “Nothing important. Thank you. Wanna dance?” you asked Andrei, pleased when he handed his beer to Miles and took your hand.
What was the saying? Get over them by getting underneath someone else?
Not that you intended to do that, but Raven didn’t know that. You mostly just wanted to remind him that if you wanted to, you could. Just like him and whatever flavor he was into that week. He had some nerve, being so judgmental.
Besides, Andrei was a good dancer and kept up easily, maintaining the kind of space between your bodies that was decent but also indicated that if you were into it, so was he.
For nearly one glorious hour, nothing mattered. The boys took turns twirling you around the dance floor, so much that the one boy that did matter was the furthest thing from your mind.
At least until a familiar face came into view over Miles’ shoulder. She was laughing with a few other girls, casually scanning the crowd when her eyes met yours.
Of all the damn bars in New York City…
She pushed her way through the crowd, waving as she moved closer. Emory was a lucky guy. Cassi, soon-to-be Cassi Campbell, was all killer curves, mega-watt smile, and impeccably dressed every time you’d seen her. She was rocking a new pixie cut, which suited her soft, round face perfectly. And though you’d dolled up for the night too, you suddenly felt as if you might as well had been wearing a potato sack and earrings. You excused yourself to meet her the rest of the way. The place was packed, getting through was no easy feat.
“Hi!” she cried, extending her arms for a quick hug. “How you doin’, girl?”
“I’m good, you? I’m loving the new hair.” She’d be a glowing bride.
“Thanks!” she said, tucking a stray strand behind her ear. “Wanted to try something different for the wedding. I don’t know what possessed me but it turned out okay. You look so cute. Who are you here with?”
“Oh, sorry! I’m with my friend Raven,” you said, nodding toward where he and the others were yelling about body shots. “And his friends, Miles and Andrei.”
“And I can see why,” she said, giving the boys a once over. “I’ve had to remind myself I’m an almost married woman a few times tonight,” she joked. “There’s not usually this many people here, since it’s pretty new? But it got out that Harry was here with Emory and the other boys last week and now the club basically needs a guest list.”
“He’s got that effect, people wanna be around him,” you said, fighting to conceal the bitterness in your tone. Where the hell was Andrei with his body and another shot when you needed one?
“I definitely think people hope they’ll see him tonight. I don’t even think he’s in town, though, is he?”
You forced a smile. “I don’t know. Haven’t talked to him.”
“Em wants to party after the wedding. We might end up here again,” Cassi said. “And I’ll let him get it all out of his system. You’re still coming, right?”
“Oh, um…” you started, figuring if there was an out, you could take it. You could ditch Harry and it’d serve him right. But, unfortunately, it didn’t make sense to take it out on Cassi. “Yeah. I’ll be there, for sure. Is Emory here?”
“Awesome. And no, he’s not, he’s actually working late. Here, where’s your phone? Take my number and I’ll send rehearsal dinner details. Harry’s a groomsman and I know I can trust him, but I’m admittedly a little neurotic about the wedding. I feel entitled to that. I’m sure you can keep his ass in line.”
Was Cassi seeing something you were blinded to, maybe? Mostly because anytime you thought about that curly-headed jackass lately, you only saw red…
“I’ll do the best I can,” you promised. And it was all you could do. Or try, at least.
Cassi’s head turned at the sound of her name. Her friends were waving from the other end of the bar.
“We were getting ready to do a shot, you down? Owner’s buying! I’ll introduce you to everyone.”
You turned to search for Raven, who was finally mid-body shot and otherwise preoccupied. With a shrug, you took Cassi’s outstretched hand. “I’m down.”
You’d swear it’d been 3:42 PM for the past ten minutes. Usually, days at the office weren’t so bad, but that particular one seemed to drag. The dreaded rehearsal was the day after tomorrow and you were still in need of a dress. Sure, you could shop alone, but you needed an honest opinion in order to look absolutely incredible at the dinner. So, you’d called Aunt Theresa that morning and she was on her way up from Hoboken to help find the perfect look.
Raven was right. There was likely much to learn from Aunt Theresa about the opposite sex, though it was likely to be lifelong education. So, you’d get in some family time and pick her brain all at once. Finally, four o’ clock rolled around, and after shutting everything down, you headed for your boss’ office.
Lori O’Dea gave permission to enter her beloved lair after the knock, which was decked out with original prints of vintage music posters, memorabilia, and several hard-earned journalism awards. The industry was a boys’ club, she’d always say, which only further motivated her to take as many awards away from them as she could. Only a select few were allowed to enter outside of hirings and firings and though she swore she didn’t have favorites, it was common knowledge that you were among hers, if not at the very top.
“Hey, just letting you know I’m taking off now.”
“Bundle up,” said Lori, still typing away at her laptop, sparing the briefest, brown eyed glance over her glasses. “I went out for lunch earlier and it was hard-nipple cold.”
“Great,” you mumbled, throwing on a scarf after shrugging on your coat. “See you tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow, darling. Oh, wait,” she said, shuffling through the stack of papers on the edge of her disorganized desk, bringing one into her line of vision. “We’ve got your friend Mr. Styles on the short list for one of the summer month covers. Do you want it if and when it’s a done deal?”
Of course. He’d put the finished touches on his third album and had just sent the project to Columbia, you remembered him saying over dinner. He was just about ready to hit the promo circuit. There’d be countless editorials and interviews to follow. It only made sense to try and recreate the magic.
“I’m not sure about that one,” you said, leaning against the frame of her door. You were trying not to let personal feelings get in the way of professionalism. It’d be a huge hit for the publication, just like your last interview with him, and was in everyone’s best interest truthfully, but could you get past the drama?
“Yeah? I figured you’d jump at this one,” Lori said, frowning as she pulled the pencil keeping her frizzy bun free, letting her curls tumble free around her shoulders. “Everything all right?”
“Of course, I’m all right,” you lied, perhaps too hastily.
Lori’s left brow lifted, but she wouldn’t pry after spying the look in your eyes that begged her not to ask. “Well, consider this a heads up. Let me know in a couple days. It was a big one for us last time.”
“Will do. Thanks, by the way. Starbucks on me in the morning?”
Lori laughed and resumed typing. “Now if I was the kind of boss that had a favorite…”
“It’d be me. Later!”
Theresa was often heard before she was seen. The woman was completely unfiltered and all colorful flowy clothes and costume jewelry. Like usual, her hair and makeup were flawless. She’d run one of North Jersey’s most successful beauty salons for nearly two decades now. Some would call her brash, others would call her over the top, but no one could deny her authenticity. It was the thing you loved most about her. That, and her fierce love for family.
She’d come as quickly as you’d called and nothing would deter Theresa from supporting her brother’s daughter. Her favorite perfume, of which she wore just a little too much usually, wafted under your nose as she approached from the subway tunnel, arms stretched as she bellowed your name and shouted for everyone to move out of her way.
“I’m here, baby. By god, I made it. Some weirdo on the train was eyeballing me,” she said as she hugged you tight, tossing a quick look over her shoulder. “I don’t wanna be arrested in New York again, so let’s be on our way, yes?”
You laughed, following as she hustled down the sidewalk. “I’m so happy to see you.”
Typically, you avoided Fifth Avenue stores. You made decent money, enough to comfortably afford a nice place in Queens on your own, and it’d stay that way as long as you avoided the luxuries New York City had to offer. But, just this once, you’d splurge on something above average. Wedding festivities were joyous occasions, after all.
Breezing past the clearance section in apparel, you began browsing, studying mannequins wearing clothes they’d never really know the extravagances of. The price tags nearly foiled your plans before they started, but hopefully, the look on his face would more than justify them. And despite it all, your feelings for him weren’t exactly past tense.
“Look at this one,” Theresa said, nodding toward an electric pink cocktail dress. Badgley Mischka. “Almost cute enough to swipe your uncle’s card and deal with the consequences later.”
“Almost,” you agreed. You didn’t mention that you could hardly remember husband number five’s name, much less his general temperament. However, this marriage had lasted longer than any of the others, so it couldn’t be too bad. “How’s everything going with Uncle…”
Theresa laughed. “Terrence. Things are great! Think this one might stick. I hope so. The paperwork is a pain in the ass. And I know what half the family says about me behind my back.”
“So you know that my mom says you change men like most people change underwear?”
“I’m aware,” she chuckled, circling a trio of mannequins wearing sequined designs. “She’s stuck with my brother, so she’s gotta take that out on somebody.”
You pursed your lips, fighting laughter. The love but mostly hate relationship between your Theresa and your mother was a rivalry spanning decades and would probably live on long after they were gone. At the very least, it made for interesting family gatherings.
“There’s no one you’re interested in?” she asked over a padded shoulder, leading the way deeper into the store. You shuddered to think what the price tags might show so far inside.
“Not anymore. Didn’t work out,” was all you said, hoping she didn’t probe any further. You’d resolved to give the situation less emotion, only to find that was both useless and ironically exhausting.
In true auntie fashion, Theresa did pry while pulling two dresses from a nearby rack and holding each to her chest in comparison. “What’d he do? Or she. Don’t wanna make assumptions. Luckily, you kids are freer than we ever were.”
You sat on a plush bench wedged between displays, sighing. “He said one thing, and did the complete opposite.” Shit didn’t have to be weird, huh? “I thought maybe we wanted the same thing, felt the same way. I guess not, though.”
“Well, guesswork’s no good in matters of the heart, sweetie,” Theresa said, replacing the dresses before sitting down. She threw an arm across your shoulders. “The two of you talk about it?”
“A little bit. But before we could really get anywhere, he was gone. Just left and didn’t say anything else. Asshole,” you murmured, frowning. “It’s been over a week, auntie.”
She offered a hug. “Take it from somebody that learned the lesson the hard way. Don’t ever give anyone more than they’re giving you. You’ve either got balance or you got nothin’ at all.”
And everybody swore Aunt Theresa was a lost cause. Maybe she was actually the one who knew what the hell she was talking about and brave enough to go after it. A most welcomed comfort at a time like now, especially.
“He invited me to that wedding I mentioned,” you said, head rested on her shoulder. “I wasn’t going to go anymore. Then the other night, I ran into the bride, Cassi. She’s such a sweet girl and assumed I was still going, even invited me to the rehearsal. Part of me wants to, just so I can tell him about himself, and another part of me just wants to skip it.”
“I think it’ll make you feel better to tell him to his face that he’s a piece of work. Hell, it’ll make me feel better. I expect to be told all about it.”
You laughed with her. “You know, before this? He was so sweet. We’ve been friends for a long time. I mean, I get that it’s scary to take a friendship there, but damn. I think that’s the worst part. He’s never let me down before.”
“Then you owe it yourself to find out something. Don’t let him off that easy. We always let them get away with murder,” Theresa said, shaking her head, a look of sheer disgust on her face. She then smiled, and nudged your arm. “You shouldn’t suffer by yourself. Be the generous person I know you to be. Give him some of it.”
“I knew I came to the right person.”
Theresa stood, eyes scanning the room. She then held out her hand. “Come on. We’re gonna wrap you in something sexy, get the hair and makeup going on the day of, the works. Teach his ass to hurt my baby.”
Motivation, along with anger, were usually fleeting. So, in the spirit of getting shit done, you’d take advantage while both simmered just below the surface. On went the dress you’d spent too much on, followed by the Balenciaga pumps from a months old splurge. Then, you stripped down en route to the kitchen for more water. The very thought of being in the same room as him sparked dry mouth and another bout of itching.
Standing at the sink, palms rubbing your arms and shoulders in search of relief, you debated calling the whole thing off. What was the point? Cassi and Emory were a lovely couple and it’d be a lot fun, the vow exchange and festivities to follow, but they weren’t really your friends as much as they were Harry’s. You couldn’t help but wonder if you could even consider him a friend anymore. Still, you promised Cassi you’d show.
The exhaustion from the mental gymnastics of trying to figure out why Harry had done what he had done ultimately decided. You were going, if for no other reason than to get some damn closure.
Ignoring the fact that your therapist always side-eyed when you mentioned the concept of closure, you sighed and went to slip into the dress and pumps again. Aunt Theresa would be disappointed to know you hadn’t shown off what she called her best hair and makeup work yet.
It took forever to get anywhere in New York. Tonight, the cab had cut through Midtown traffic in record time. Rockefeller Plaza came into view and your stomach dropped realizing it was now or never. Another realization? There were countless ways this could turn out for the worst.
What if he’d brought someone else? Would he be annoyed that you’d come, especially since you’d concluded he had no intentions of seeing you? Wouldn’t he have reached out if he wanted you there?
“Don’t be a bitch. Just get in there,” you muttered, albeit a bit loudly, given the dirty look the cab driver shot through the rear view mirror. “Not you. Talking to myself,” you added quickly, realizing he was searching for a place to park in front of the building. Once he’d squeezed into a spot, you quickly slid your card, added a generous tip as an apology, and bolted.
Red bottoms and designer threads abound, beautifully dressed and perfectly groomed people milled around the lobby, sharing hugs, air kisses, jokes, and polite conversation. Pulling in a deep breath, you pressed on with an air of someone with important things to do and prayed that the elevators weren’t miles away.
Luckily, you didn’t know anyone aside from the soon-to-be married couple and their friend Harry, and you’d drop dead on the spot if you spotted him before you were ready.
Not that you’d be ready at any point, really, but it was time to end this. However the universe saw fit to do so, it was time. At the very least, it’d be a beautiful tragedy. The 65th floor’s Rainbow Room was fairy tale perfect, breathtaking, even, as you slowly entered, awestruck as you observed the sheer elegance. Golden vases housing fresh flowers of various pinks were spread throughout the venue, perfectly color coordinated with the wedding’s décor.
Massive pink bows were tied to the chairs at the tables scattered across the shining hardwood floors, place settings and majestically lettered name cards atop the soft, ivory tablecloths. Low, romantic light poured from overhead, a shimmering centerpiece chandelier gleaming in the center of the ceiling, right over the dance floor.
To top it off? The spellbinding views from the tall windows lining the walls where you could see the Empire State Building, the tower close enough to seem just a touch away. If the rehearsal dinner was this impressive, one could only imagine what the rooftop ceremony space offered, where the Campbells would marry in less than twenty four hours.
The mystery wouldn’t last long, since Cassi had insisted on running through the ceremony at least twice. The night’s itinerary? A quick cocktail in the Rainbow Room as the wedding party and the couples’ families arrived, rehearsal upstairs once everyone was in attendance, and finally dinner.
Though expected, the awkwardness was most unwelcome. You stood near a far window, pretending to scroll through your phone and wondering why you’d bothered to come as the room steadily filled. Familiar faces wandered past, some with champagne glasses in hand, flashing cordial smiles. People from the dinner party. A couple of Cassi’s friends you’d met at the bar.
Grabbing a glass from the tray offered by a waiter, you drank down half as microphone feedback cut into the din of quiet conversations. At the front of the room stood Cassi and Emory, hand in hand, all smiles underneath a spotlight. His suit was accented with colors from her gorgeous party dress, only further testament to how well they complimented one another.
“Hi. We just wanted to thank everyone for coming out to celebrate with us. This wedding weekend is gonna be the shit,” Emory said, grinning as an older woman standing nearby wagged a finger at him. Her smile never wavered. His mother, absolutely. “Sorry, mama.”
“As my slightly ignorant fiancé said, this weekend is gonna be a lot of fun. Finally locking him down,” she said with a deliberate wave of her left hand, giggling as the crowd laughed. “It wouldn’t be nearly as special without you guys all being here. With that said, let’s kick it off! We’ll head upstairs and get started.”
“Ten minutes, guys!” Emory said as the crowd went to move. “I just calmed her inner Bridezilla so if you love me, move fast.” He ducked as Cassi playfully swung her arm in his direction.
A quiet shuffle started as everyone headed for the exit and toward the rooftop garden. You hung back, sipping your drink and waiting for the majority to go before you’d follow, with intentions of taking an empty seat in the back after everyone had claimed theirs.
While the guests moved with haste, they weren’t moving quickly enough. If only they’d shoved out a little faster, you might not have finally passed through the double doors just as Cassi and Emory’s friend entered them, impeccably dressed, in head to toe black, as usual, curls tamed for the evening.
It was satisfying, watching the color drain from his face as he walked past, slowing to a near halt as he turned to be sure. And sensing you weren’t yet ready, the universe intervened as Emory called out and waved him over to where the others groomsmen were gathered.
He hesitated before joining them, shooting another glance your way only to be met with your back as you headed for the garden. It took every ounce of strength you’d ever possessed not to detour toward the elevators and on to freedom.
What wasn’t so satisfying was the cold dread of realizing that while you hated his very guts, and wished him the worst, you were still very, very much in love with him.
If you pushed him from the roof, was there a jury in the world that would convict you? This, along with other unsavory thoughts dominated your brain as you sat in the very last row. It was a gorgeous, although chilly evening, city lights rivaling the stars. The second ceremony drill was halfway through and despite the slight breeze, you were on fire. It was easy to predict your actions when anticipating being placed into a particular situation. It was also quite easy to be wrong when actually in that situation.
It was possible there’d be no civility between you and Emory’s friend, should there be interaction. Whether or not he noticed, the bridesmaid he was paired to walk the aisle with had stars in her eyes. You imagined she’d have been keen to practice all night if they let her. And you couldn’t blame her for falling under his spell, for being endeared by his charm, for giggling at whatever he was saying as they floated up and down the aisle arm in arm.
Knowing it could easily be a projection, you noted a frowning man sitting in the next to last row on the far end of the opposite side. Then again, no. He was staring daggers at Harry and the bridesmaid, who wore a ring of her own. Frowning man was either her fiancé or her husband, and right then, she didn’t care. You fought a smile. Of course. Harry was the kind of person that made married people forget they were married people.
Then, you remembered you hated him and the white hot rage returned in full force. You debated leaving. Sure, it’d be a cop out, given how far you’d come, but the loss almost seemed worth it. After Emory assured Cassi they’d gotten it down to a science by round three, you jumped in with the others guests as they headed inside. Dinner be damned, you took the detour after all, only to hear Cassi’s voice calling out before you covered any real ground.
“Damn,” you muttered, turning to face her with a forced smile. The universe was a goddamned traitor.
“Hey, where are you going, girl?” she asked, snaking an arm around your waist as she caught up. “Dinner’s this way! It’s gonna change your life. The caterer’s always booked up about a year in advance, it’s that good.”
“I was looking for the restroom,” you lied, wishing you’d thought of a Plan B.
“Oh, okay. Come on, I’ll show you. I need to check my makeup anyway.”
Cassi disappeared into a stall as you approached the sink counter, needlessly fussing with your hair. Imaging Theresa slapping your hands for even touching it, you lowered your hands and stared in the mirror, sighing.
“Get it together. Tell him he ain’t shit and then, only then are you allowed to leave,” you muttered under your breath. That’d be the extent of a pep talk, since a few others wandered in. Cassi emerged a moment later. Once she’d washed her hands and reapplied her lipstick, the pair of you left and headed to join the festivities.
Music played at a reasonable volume as waiters and waitresses made their rounds serving dinner. Cassi stopped at a table near her own, pointing. “You’re here, beside Harry.” A name card bearing yours sat next to one that read ‘Harry Styles’. You noted his chair was empty as you sat, sighing. Cassi nudged your arm, winking. “Thanks for keeping him in line.”
Before you could deny having anything to do with his adherence to the rules for the night, she was gone. You reached for the water glass and drank it down in one gulp. Across the table sat a woman with an abnormal amount peas on her plate. He’d show his face eventually. Peas were available.
A few moments later, Cassi’s father tapped a glass at the DJ booth for everyone’s attention. A certain cologne wafted into your space, a warm body sliding into the empty seat just as a hush fell over the room. You remained facing the booth, fearing falling apart at the sight of your newest enemy.
It’d be rude to speak while Mr. Harvey gave his speech, but a second, barely perceptible voice spoke anyway, though you’d yet to even look Harry’s way. He’d proven more than once he could, in fact, be rude like anybody else.
“I didn’t think you were coming, but I’m glad you did.”
You spoke, attention trained on Mr. Harvey. “You should probably shut up, the man’s giving a speech.”
He always had been persistent. “You’re pissed off at me. I know, and you should be. But could we talk after this?”
“Oh, now you wanna talk?” you said, shooting him the shortest of glances, voice clipped.
The look seemed to silence him completely as he sat back in his seat and unbuttoned the center button of his jacket, sighing while giving Mr. Harvey the attention he deserved.
Then, Emory’s mother. Followed by Emory’s best man. Cassi’s maid of honor. For god’s sake, couldn’t they save it for the actual wedding reception? Why drag this thing out?
Curbing your impatience, relief finally came in the form of “Let’s eat!”, as shouted by the DJ, who raised the music back to that reasonable level while the guests dug in.
“You were put down for the chicken, right?” asked a waitress as she approached the table, plates in hand.
You nodded as she sat it neatly on the place setting, giving her a grateful smile which you then turned onto Harry. “You chose chicken for me. How appropriate.”
“Can’t go wrong with chicken,” was all he said, sounding as if he’d choked on the very words.
“You can go wrong with chicken,” you said, stabbing a fork pointedly into the soft, tender chicken breast. “Especially when you chose to be one.” Choosing not to cluck took incredible restraint.
Harry’s brows raised. “Did you just call me a chicken?”
“I’d call you a lot worse but you know, people.”
He leaned back and out of harm’s way as you gestured with the fork. Poor guy. He didn’t even know his actual life was in danger. Seething was too weak. Livid was more like it, but you couldn’t act a fool in such a classy place. A rush flowed through your veins. Anger. Frustration. Love. Or whatever.
Harry correctly sensed it’d be best if he was quiet and left you alone, politely chatting with the couple next to him instead. The older gentleman to your right made for a better conversationalist, anyway. Mr. Paul Calabresi had worked through his life’s story and up to when he’d married a Radio City Rockette and opened a bakery in Hell’s Kitchen. His wife of forty years, Margot, was on her way home from out of town for the wedding. In the meantime, the music had surpassed reasonable levels and he didn’t have a dance partner.
“What’dya say, young lady? Do you mind joining an old man on the dance floor for a song?”
“Sure,” you agreed, finding him endearing. You knocked back the rest of a glass of champagne. “I’d love to dance with you.”
“Hear that, young man?” Paul spoke, to your horror, to Harry while pushing himself back from the table. “I’ve got permission from your lady to twirl her around. I won’t leave you lonely for long.”
“Oh, he’ll be fine! He’s in the doghouse right now,” you explained, filled with an indescribable joy as Harry nodded, clearly lost, but the words didn’t go over his head. “He’s so far from my good graces, Mr. Calabresi, he might as well be in another country. Like England or something.”
“Uh oh!” Paul chuckled, patting Harry’s shoulder before taking your hand to lead Harry’s ‘lady’ out for a good rug cutting. “Whatever you did, kid, fix it. This girl’s somethin’!”
Summer Wind played and several other couples took the floor. Sinatra’s voice and Paul’s colorful claims of friendship with ‘good ol’ Frank’ were just the entertainment you needed. It was such a nice change of pace that one dance turned into three.
“Thanks for showing an old geezer a good time,” Paul said over the music, which had taken a more modern turn. “If you ever come into the shop, coffee and a bagel are on me.”
“Stop that, you’re no geezer. And I promise, I’m coming to you for all of my coffee and bagel needs,” you said with a smile.
“Perfect. Right back. A little water and then the finale!” He shuffled back toward the table. For a moment, you danced alone. Then, you figured you’d go check on Mr. Calabresi when he didn’t return right away. Harry came into view, smoothly catching your hand to turn you right back around. And it pissed you off to no end.
“What are you doing?” you asked, tugging against his grasp. A light grasp that you could have easily gotten free of, if you’d really wanted to. It almost felt like a test of sorts. Like he wanted to gauge things.
Still, your tone didn’t deter him. “Mr. Calabresi sent me in his place.”
“I don’t wanna dance with you.” The petulant energy felt warranted. Still, you followed, focused on what had to be done, however it panned out.
Harry tossed a look over his shoulder, one you couldn’t quite read. “He says we need to make up.”
“That works on the assumption that I want to make up,” you shot back. You weren’t going to make this easy. He didn’t deserve easy, having left you in the dark for nearly two weeks. Suddenly, he had so much to say.
“If you walked out of here right now, I wouldn’t blame you,” he said once face to face. A face you itched to slap and kiss at all once. You ignored the faintly dazed look in his eyes, a look as if he’d never laid eyes on you before.
“I should. I should just go and pretend like you don’t exist, either,” you said softly, much softer than intended. His features crumbled briefly, then he gathered himself, jaw set, arms loose around your waist as your arms rested on his shoulders. Stevie Wonder was playing now, and that was dangerous. These Three Words made things considerably harder.
Silence fell as the actual celebration raged on. You hardly registered the noise inside an otherwise occupied mind. Two weeks ago, life made sense. Lines went uncrossed, things had still been innocent enough, and the thought of him didn’t threaten to end in tears.
Theresa’s advice weighed on your heart. There was no point in giving more than you received. Even if it was him.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you. Honestly, I didn’t,” he said, giving your waist a deliberate squeeze. “I’m really sorry.”
Words failed. You weren’t ready to forgive. Would you ever be? Whatever the case, his pocket square was suddenly interesting. Those sensitive, dewy green eyes only weakened your resolve, and that just wouldn’t do.
“I panicked. I know that wasn’t the most mature way to handle it—”
“To say the least,” you cut in, looking him right in the eye anyway. “I thought we were better than that.”
“We are better than that.”
“So why would you just run?” you asked, voice tinged with fresh rage, like any time it reoccurred that he’d taken off the way he had. “I could have taken it, you know? If you didn’t feel shit for me, fine, but at least have the balls to tell me.”
“I didn’t say that because that’s not the case.” There was a sort of desperation in his tone as he dared pull you closer.
Pulling back, you scoffed, whispering fiercely. “You never said anything! And that says plenty.”
Incidentally, his following words set off panic the moment they’d left his lips, leaving the both of you in shock. You carefully and deliberately tore away and deserted him, smiling at Paul while approaching the table for your bag.
“You kids okay now?” he asked, hope shining in his kind brown eyes. So kind and sweet that you wished, even just for his sake, that you and Harry were okay.
“We’re good. I’m gonna go now, but I’ll see you soon at the bakery, right?”
The tears fell only after you’d strode through the doors and towards the elevator bank. You hit the wall button repeatedly, knowing full well it wouldn’t call the cars any quicker but the overwhelming need to leave was unrelenting.
Before a single door slid open, there was that cologne again, and then your name.
“Let go of me,” you snapped, snatching your arm away, which he’d gently grabbed. “Don’t touch me.”
His chest heaved with a heavy sigh when he saw tears sliding down your cheek, though he complied and stepped back. His shoulders dropped as he stared. “You look so fucking beautiful,” he breathed, sadness in his tone.
A pang shot through your heart. He said it, words you’d longed to hear from him. You never imagined they’d be so painful. “Well, burn it into your memory because you won’t be seeing me anymore.”
He reached out again, only to quickly withdraw his hands. “Listen, I just want you to hear me out, please. What good is both of us running gonna do?”
You rounded on him, eyes blazing. “Fuck you, Harry. You don’t get to say that to me! That or what you just said in there. Cause it’s bullshit. Unnecessary bullshit, at that. You’re free of me now, why dig a deeper hole?”
He raked both hands through his curls, tugging at them before dropping his hands. “For fuck’s sake, I meant it! You think I just throw that around?”
A dry laugh sounded through the bank. “I don’t know what you’re capable of! It’s like I don’t even know who the hell you are anymore.”
And that seemed to bite. He drew back, speechless, tugging at his lower lip and nodding slowly. Back in the Rainbow Room, no one was any the wiser to the scene unfolding just outside its doors. Meanwhile, you prayed for the very floor to crumble. Anything to get the hell out of there.
Harry looked sort of pitiful but unfortunately, you were fresh out of pity. He wore heartbreak well, complete with sorrowful eyes and rosy-cheeked frustration. It was almost enough to make you stay, but not quite. Harry spoke as one of those godforsaken doors finally opened. “I deserve that. I deserve a lot worse. But I need you to believe me.”
Then rose the question you’d been wanting to ask. Arms crossed, you turned to face him once more, shaking your head. “How could you do this? Does anything about the way you handled it seem right?”
He sighed, shaking his head, pleading eyes locked into yours. “No. I know it doesn’t. I fucked up, baby—”
“Absolutely not,” you said, throwing up a hand before he went any further, though the term appeared to take you both by surprise. “Don’t call me that. In fact, don’t call me at all. That shouldn’t be hard.”
“What did he say that was so bad?”
“I still can’t believe he said it.”
Raven waited expectantly, the break room silent for a moment. The faucet dripped, and Raven blinked. “Again, what the hell did he say?”
“He said that he loves me.”
Raven’s head tilted, eyes narrowed as he absorbed the information. “Call me crazy but I thought that was what you wanted?”
“I did. But I didn’t want it like that because I can’t help feeling like I forced it. And believe me, I know how that sounds, but it’s the truth.”
“You see, this is why I stay away from that word. Everything about it just seems… messy,” he said, rolling his eyes as a drop of vinaigrette dripped from his fork and onto the sleeve of his shirt. “Speaking of messes. This shirt cost me so much.”
“It is messy. And confusing. I think I’m done with it. I just want to move on.”
You’d concluded that three nights ago, while having a quiet dinner alone at home instead of getting tipsy at the Campbell wedding. Cassi had been disappointed but said she understood, genuinely believing that you weren’t feeling well. Lying wasn’t ideal but you wanted to wash your hands of the entire thing. And it wasn’t a complete lie. You were fine physically, at least.
“Oh yeah. Lori asked me if I wanted that interview after you turned it down Friday.”
“You should do it. After the one I did with him was released, job offers rolled in. And it could help with networking at the very least.”
“That’s a good point. I don’t wanna do it if it bothers you, though. Other interviews will come along.”
“Aw, look at you. You’ve got a heart in there after all!” you teased, laughing when he rolled his eyes.
“I take it back. I’d like to be selfish instead, please.”
“Seriously, go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose.”
“I could make sure one of the questions is about those extra nipples he’s got,” Raven said helpfully, grinning. His smile melted as you shook your head.
“Don’t do that,” you laughed. “Be nice to him. Besides, his fans know about those. Not deal breakers. Strengthens the deal, if anything.”
“All right, I’ll behave. Ronnie says I should work on being less vindictive.”
You pushed the rest of your sandwich aside, for not having much of an appetite lately. “That girl is working miracles.”
“Right? Big time,” Raven said, frowning. “I don’t know if I like it. Anyway. What are you gonna do now?”
“I think I’ll take a vacation. I’ve got the PTO. Maybe I’ll find my groove on someone’s island, but preferably not this one.”
“I suggest Ibiza,” he said dreamily. “That place changed me as a man.”
“Yeah, probably made you worse,” you said, checking your phone for the time. There were two unread texts and a missed call practically glued to the notification wall. All from him, days old now, unacknowledged.
“I’m not kidding, I want you to go somewhere. Being in this damn building all the time can’t be good for your health.”
You stood and walked to the sink to wash up, placing your utensils into the drying rack. “No, I’m serious. I’m gonna go. Eventually. Maybe not right away, but soon.”
“You are the queen of stalling,” Raven laughed. He spun in his seat and grabbed your free hand. “Please. Please go away for a week or so. I’m so tired of looking at you.”
“I love you too,” you said, swatting at his head.
“I can’t keep having all of the fun for both of us,” he said, shrugging. “I’m getting old. Have pity on the elderly.”
He wasn’t wrong. Being the fun one usually fell on his shoulders. Maybe it’d be nice to have a crazy story to tell for once. Your comfort zone was just that, comfortable, but boring. You had the means to step outside of it. Sighing, you nodded. “On second thought, come by my office in a bit. I’m gonna put in my vacation time request after lunch. Help me find a cute place to stay in Spain?”
The laptop, still plugged into the wall, remained on the airline’s site. You hardly remembered falling asleep, comparing flight prices and searching for Spanish excursions late into the night. Nothing booked yet, but you and Raven had spent a better part of the evening sharing a wine bottle while adding potential rentals to the wish list. You hadn’t completely dodged a bit of a hangover.
“Oh shit, you muttered, sitting up quickly, groggy and blurry eyed. Reaching for your phone, you learned that there were approximately ten minutes to get showered, dressed, and out the door. And eleven minutes later, you were hurrying down the sidewalk toward Bliss Station, hoping the seven train wasn’t running late for once.
The train screeched down the track fifteen long, long minutes after you’d reached the platform. And today, you hoped it to be true, Lori needed to have favorites. Though you were rarely late, there was a kind of anxiety that followed when it did happen.
“I’m gonna get fiiiiired,” you hummed under your breath, ignoring the stare from the passenger a couple feet away. She could mind her business. Besides, someone talking to themselves was far from the strangest thing to happen on any given train in the city. That anxiety spiked as your phone vibrated from your pocket. Fishing it out, you made a face after seeing Lori’s name flash on the screen. “Hi. I am so sorry. I overslept, but I’m on the train right now. Which was late too, I swear. I should be there soon—”
“Girl, relax! I was just checking to make sure you were okay,” Lori chuckled. “There’s nothing interesting going on here. And in that same vein, I have a favor to ask. Would you mind grabbing some coffee? I’m bored and tired enough to fall asleep. Keith broke the damn Keurig in the break room this morning.”
“How’d he manage that?”
“How Keith manages to get his underwear on right side out every day is a mystery.”
You laughed, relieved. “I thought I was fired, dude.”
“Oh please. You’re fine. But I have a request. Can we make sure it’s not Starbucks? It’s all that’s nearby and I refuse. That caramel mocha foamy… whatever thing I had the other day didn’t agree with me.”
“I told you to stop trying drinks you see on the internet.”
“Lesson learned. Put it on the company card, and grab yourself something too.”
“Thanks, doll. See you soon.”
Crisis averted. Much needed coffee and a bagel to boot. And while usually you’d brought those from home, there hadn’t been time.
Luckily, Calabresi Bakery was on the way into west Manhattan. An earlier stop and a short roam through Hell’s Kitchen and there it was, with its charming, old world Italian storefront. Welcomed warmth swarmed as you pulled open the door, a small bell chiming. The interior was everything Paul had said it’d be. The news played on a small TV mounted in the corner. Quaint and cozy, a few tables lined the wall across from the counter and display, where delectable doughnuts, cookies, croissants, and bagels all but called out to you. By name, even.
Turns out, that call was actually Mr. Calabresi. His eyes shone as he walked through a swinging door from the kitchen, tying an apron over his sweater. “So nice of you to stop by!” he said, delighted. “Finally come for the free stuff?”
“Actually, my boss says she wants really good coffee and I had faith in you,” you told him from the other side of the counter, comforted when he reached out and patted your hand.
“I won’t steer you wrong. My coffee, forget about it,” he said, waving a hand. “She’ll never settle for anything else. I’ll fix up a few cups. There’s some just about ready.”
You didn’t mind the wait, slipping into a chair at a nearby table. In fact, it was nice to take a load off, especially when the morning had started so… hectic. There was nothing good coffee couldn’t fix. Good coffee and an Everything bagel.
The bell chimed again. This time, an elderly couple entered, hand in hand.
“We’re here, honey,” the woman said, guiding her husband inside. The previously dazed look in his eyes was replaced with something else, something warm and familiar. You returned the smile they flashed as they passed, making their way to the table closest to the television. He pulled out her chair, and stood until she was comfortably seated. It was then you decided you’d never settle for anything less. It’d all be okay.
They’d no sooner sat down than an elegant woman emerged from the kitchen, and immediately you knew this to be Mrs. Calabresi. She joined them, patting each one’s hand as they began chatting. This seemed routine, like something they’d do every morning. A moment another person wandered in, a young guy with a laptop who parked two tables down. He, too, seemed at home, said his hellos to the couple and to the owners.
“About done!” Mr. Calabresi said from where he stood at the coffeemaker, peering over the counter in your direction. He smiled when the door chimed. Another loyal customer.
Only this was one was… more recent.
“Good morning, Mr. Calabresi,” said a voice that sent a violent chill down your spine. It couldn’t be. Especially while you were bare faced and in an outfit that probably didn’t make much sense.
“Good morning, Mr. Styles!” he returned, waving. “Grab a seat, I’m bringing fresh coffee.”
You didn’t move, just watched from the corner of your eye as someone moved into your space. Your gaze lifted until it met his.
Blinking, you swallowed hard, processing this early morning assault. “What are you doing here?”
“He’s been here the last four mornings looking for you,” Paul interjected helpfully, pouring coffee into waiting cups. “I did tell him to fix it.” Apparently, they’d gotten acquainted after you’d stormed out that night.
“You blocked me everywhere so I had to get creative,” Harry said, tugging off his beanie, his curls adorably disheveled. You didn’t hate watching him squirm, though the overall anger was reduced to mere embers, now. If only the love had done the same.
“I was still pretty upset…” you started, words trailing as he shook his head.
“It’s fine, you don’t owe me anything. I’m asking for a couple minutes, though. That’s all. And if you don’t want me to, I promise I won’t bother you again.”
Despite the instantaneous heartbreak, you gestured for him to sit and ignored the burn at the corners of your eyes at the mere thought of never being bothered with him again.
“I only have a few minutes. I have to get to work, I’m already late,” you explained, with considerably less bite than your last words. Mr. Calabresi delivered coffee as promised, but in mugs. You suspected his actions were deliberate, especially given his tiny smirk.
“I don’t want things left like this, if this is it,” he started, and just like the first time you’d ever spoken to him, and over coffee like last time, too, it became clear pretty quickly that he wasn’t putting on. There was that same sincerity in his eyes, in the way he faced you directly, with absolutely nothing to hide.
Still, it was hard to look him in the eye. But if only to tie up the loose ends, you’d say what had to be said. “I deserved better than you gave me, H.”
“I know you did. I don’t have any real excuses. It scared the shit out of me and it seemed easier to just go,” he confessed, fingers tracing the mug’s rim as he stared into it. Then, he glanced at you. “I’m sorry I chose not to give you better.”
“This has…” you began, chewing your lip, fearing oversharing, but going ahead anyway. “I’m questioning so much about us. I can’t help wondering if I was just… somebody to hit up when you’re in town. Old reliable in New York.”
“It’s not like that,” he said almost immediately, brows raised. “You’re one of my best friends, you know? So when it happened, it freaked me out because all of a sudden, I had to kinda explore. Really look into everything I’ve ever felt for you and I didn’t know what the hell I was doing. That doesn’t make it right, but that’s the truth.”
You sighed, letting his words settle before speaking. “I appreciate you explaining, and the apology. I don’t know about accepting it yet, but I appreciate it.”
“I can live with that,” he said, in a way that indicated that wasn’t the complete truth. His lips parted and after some hesitation, he launched forward. “Is this it? I hate that I made you feel like that.”
You didn’t want it to be completely over, if you were truthful. You only feared that it could never be what it once was. While you cherished his friendship, you worried that it wouldn’t be enough anymore. Especially not after his revelation. Which you still wondered about.
“What did you think was gonna happen?”
“There wasn’t a whole lot of thinking,” he admitted. “At least not until it was too late.”
“Were you ever gonna reach out? Or just leave New York and me behind for good?” What was that saying? Not to ask questions you didn’t really want the answers to?
“I was,” he said quickly, sparing brief eye contact. He then lowered his gaze again. “I was working up the nerve, I guess. Although one way or another I had plenty of nerve,” he mused.
“What you said. Last week,” you began, drinking from the mug before going on, “Was it the truth? Because you’ve said a lot lately that I couldn’t trust and that scares me.”
You didn’t need to elaborate.
He didn’t hesitate. “I meant it. I don’t blame you for questioning it. Hell, that or anything else I said, but I meant that. If you give me a chance to fix this, I could show you better than I could ever tell you.”
To hear it again, to know that you weren’t in love alone, was unlike anything else you’d ever felt. He wasn’t like anyone else you’d ever known. You stared past him, at the elderly couple as they held hands across the table. Then focusing on Harry, you leaned back. “You gotta give me some time. This is a lot.”
His left dimple deepened. “Take whatever time you need. I’m not going anywhere.”
You wondered why he was still in town. He usually wasn’t around more than a few days. “Long stay this time?”
He shrugged. “Technically, there are things I should be doing in L.A., but I wanted to at least try to clear the air first.”
You couldn’t take that lightly. Hell could freeze over and he’d still be taking meetings. “You’re still here because of me?”
“I told you that I love you. Damn.”
“I will quite literally choke you in this fine establishment.” Goddammit, you loved him, too, It was on the tip of your tongue. Chances were, he’d concluded that already.
“You don’t have time. You’ve got work, yeah?”
“Oh. Shit, right,” you recalled, hoping Lori’s grace extended a bit further. You called out to Paul, who was delivering food to Laptop Guy’s table. “Mr. Sneaky, can I get those to-go drinks now?”
Mr. Calabresi laughed. “Of course. You two, is it fixed?”
You glanced at Harry, who was on his feet now, pulling out your chair as you went to stand. You then smiled at Mr. Calabresi. “We’re working on it.”
Five days. He’d stuck around for five days. You met him for coffee at Calabresi’s every morning. Fresh flowers were delivered to your office daily. The pair of you fell asleep together every night via FaceTime.
Then on day six, he said he had to go. Los Angeles couldn’t wait any longer. He couldn’t field another call from his friend and manager, had run out of reasons to push it out another day. Tomorrow morning, he’d be on the first flight out of Laguardia. There was no hiding the disappointment after he’d passed along that news over the phone. You sank back into your desk chair, frowning. It was lunch hour but suddenly, you weren’t that hungry anymore.
“I knew you were gonna have to leave at some point, but I still hate it.”
“Yeah, same here. I don’t really want to,” he confessed with a sigh. “I was threatened with bodily harm though, so I guess I’d better. Am I gonna be able to see you before I go?”
“I’ve got a thing with my family tonight,” you said. It was Aunt Theresa’s birthday and Terrence was throwing her a party at their home. It’d break her heart if you didn’t show. Besides, there was no way you’d let her down, especially after she’d given love and support you’d desperately needed. “I don’t know how long I’ll be in Jersey.”
“I understand,” Harry said, hardly able to conceal the disappointment in his voice. “I’m not sure when I’ll be back in New York, but. We’ll work it out.”
Working things out was why you didn’t extend an invitation to the family party. He’d been indisputably consistent. You had your friend back. He loved you. You loved him. But it had only been five days and if only for being shell shocked, head ruled over heart. There was no point in letting your family fall in love with him, too, if things didn’t work out.
”Yes, we will. I’m gonna miss you,” you confessed, frowning. No more coffee and bagels at Calabresi’s. No more long hugs and sweet kisses goodbye. And you’d done well not to get too physical, although just being around him was temptation enough. It was why good nights were exchanged over the phone, why you hadn’t been alone with him.
Basically, you were terrified. Scared of getting hurt again. Afraid he’d leave New York and forget all about you. But hadn’t he always shown you more good than bad? How long was long enough to rebuild?
He was sure to say that he loved you every day, even when you didn’t say it back.
“I’ll miss you, too.” He paused. “Could I ask you something?”
“Uh. Sure, yeah,” you said, powering through the dread tightening your chest.
“How are you feeling? About this, us? Are we sort of like, fixing a friendship or is this something else?”
It’d occurred that at some point, he might ask. Harry had never been a direct kind of person. He was much more passive, and usually so polite, it sometimes worked against him. The gravity of his question was unusual. So much that it nearly threw you off, since you often got right to the point. There wasn’t much of that happening anymore, and the switch was likely just as jarring for him as it was for you.
“I don’t know,” you said a moment later. “I haven’t figured that out yet.”
“I’m not rushing you,” he reassured softly. “I’m just curious.”
“You’ll know as soon as I do.”
The clock hung over the dining room table showed a four hour difference between the current time and when you’d arrived. Most of the family had come and gone but you stayed. Aunt Theresa was always good company, especially after two or three Budweisers.
“I should probably take off soon. I don’t want to have to catch the train too late. Jersey weirdos give New York weirdos a run for their money, sometimes.”
Theresa laughed. “True. We’ll pay for one of those rideshares back home.”
“Those are expensive from here to Queens, auntie.”
Theresa waved with the beer bottle in her hand. “Nonsense. Terrence, could you grab my purse, sweetheart?”
You shook your head. “It’s your birthday, not mine. I’d feel bad having you spend that much.”
“Rule number one. Always take advantage of drunk people offering favors. It’s between them, God, and their bank account.”
She dug around for her debit card after Terrence delivered the bag. A few hours’ observation was all anyone needed to see why he and Theresa were so well suited. They balanced one another. She’d given him the courage to join when the rest of the family danced around the living room. Throughout the party, he’d traded out her beer bottles for water bottles between drinks and lightly fussed about avoiding hangovers. It was hilarious. And sweet. He leaned in to kiss her once she’d finally yanked the card free from her wallet.
“Good night, baby,” he said, and then turned his smile onto you and waved. “You be safe getting home, honey.”
“I will, thanks! Good night,” you replied, waving back. He left the porch and disappeared into the house, leaving you alone with Theresa and the stars.
“Now here. You do what you gotta do with that,” she insisted, handing over the card. “Get one of them Ubers or something.”
There was no use fighting when she’d made her mind up about something. So, you found your phone and got to work while she finished her beer.
“How’d everything go at the wedding?”
“I didn’t go to the actual wedding. Sent my gift through the mail. I did see him, though.”
“What’s this boy’s name?”
You laughed at the way Theresa referred to anyone even slightly younger than herself. “His name is Harry.”
“Oh! Is that the one you did that interview with? That watermelon sugar boy?”
More laughter erupted. “Yes, it’s the watermelon sugar boy.”
“I like that song. It came on the radio when I was sitting in your uncle’s lap last summer in Atlantic City, and I’m telling you—”
“Auntie, please. Please don’t tell me.”
“Meanwhile, you didn’t tell me that little bit of information,” she said, lifting an arched brow.
You handed back the card. The Uber would arrive shortly. There was a little over half of your own beer left. You grabbed it, shrugging. You weren’t driving. “Would it have mattered?”
“I’m not saying that, exactly. I assumed it was some guy I’d never met. Remember when I stopped by your place after Terrence and I came from seeing Cats on Broadway? That was our first date,” she recalled fondly, smiling. “Anyway, he was there that night. Sweetest thing, I see what you mean, now. We chatted about the play for a little bit.”
“What is with everybody and Cats?”
“Did you see the movie?”
You took a long sip before answering. “Yes and no.”
“They’ve got hands. People hands.” She wiggled her fingers and you chuckled.
“Don’t remind me!”
“He was smitten with you, then.”
You gave her a sideways glance. “How do you figure that?”
She laughed. “Baby, if there’s one thing I know…”
“Now, don’t make any exceptions for him just because he is him. What happened at the dinner?”
“I made him as uncomfortable as I was comfortable with. Then, it all went left. Everything’s weird.” You picked imaginary lint from your jeans. “We’re talking again but it doesn’t feel the same,” you confessed, aloud for the first time. You swallowed down that sobering realization with the remaining Budweiser.
“Maybe it’s not supposed to,” Theresa said, rocking along with the motion of her chair. “It could be that it’s outgrown what it used to feel like.”
The possibility stung. Flat out hurt your feelings. Four years was a long time for any friendship. It was possible that it’d run its course.
“Damn. You’re a wise lady,” you said, smiling when she laughed.
“I know just enough to make me dangerous. For example. If you love watermelon sugar boy, and it sounds like you do, I say try to make it work. But not if you feel like it’s more trouble than it’s worth. ”
Her words stuck as you got the notification that the ride arrived, during the hug goodbye carside (since she’d insisted on joining to politely threaten the driver about any ‘funny business’), and as the exceptionally well-behaved driver navigated back to Queens.
It was a little after one, according to the bedroom clock, once you’d washed off the day and gotten into bed. It was officially day seven.
It was a little after nine am once you’d settled into your office to begin work. The small TV mounted in the corner played one of the millions of celebrity gossip shows in existence at low volume. As usual, they were discussing various A-Listers, including the one you’d texted just a few hours ago. Too late, probably. He was due to liftoff at five.
Have a safe flight.
The message would be waiting once he turned off airplane mode. Until then, there was plenty to be done. Articles didn’t write themselves. You were only halfway through the long list of recently released albums Lori had assigned a few days ago. There were certainly worse jobs than occasionally being paid to listen to music. It made for easy work days. So easy that you still hadn’t booked any travel despite the vacation time being approved.
You had vowed to get things done before leaving. Raven was holding you to it, had waved off your insistence that you could work from anywhere in the world. Said it defeated the purpose of vacationing. You refused to tell him he was right, though he clearly was. Lori, however, had been sure to agree as she caught the tail end of the previous day’s argument in the break room.
Thanks to a fresh cup of Calabresi coffee, a significant dent in your work was made by the time one in the afternoon rolled around. It then occurred that lunch was a good idea.
In need of fresh air, you wandered past nearby restaurants, deciding on comfort food from a local deli. Your phone vibrated on the patio table as the hostess left you with a smile and a menu.
Made it safely. Miss you already.
A mutual sentiment. Scrolling through Twitter after placing an order, it wasn’t a surprise to see Harry’s name all over the feed. He could scratch his nose and make the news. A Los Angeles sighting was trending, photos and videos of his arrival and attempted departure from the airport. You clicked the most recent video.
There he was, all smiles and messy curls as photographers bombarded him outside of LAX. He took it all in stride, long, sexy stride, you had to admit, surprisingly energetic where jet lag should have been. You smiled, always awestruck in moments like those. He handled fame better than anyone you’d ever seen.
“Harry, can you tell us what your new album is gonna sound like?” shouted one photographer as he nearly tripped over himself trying to snap a shot.
Harry smiled, obviously fighting a laugh. “I could. Watch your step, yeah?” he suggested breezily, waving as he pushed ahead, flanked by his security team. He ducked into a waiting black, limo-tinted Range Rover parked at the pick-up area. Seconds later, they were off.
You replied to his text, figuring he was still en route to his destination since the video was just five minutes old.
Your booty looked pretty cute in those jeans.
And I miss you already, too.
Three dots appeared in the thread shortly after.
I’ve been doing squats. I’ma give you a FaceTime peep show of these cheeks later.
You laughed out loud, lowering your head as other patrons stared. “Sorry.”
Then, to your surprise, a call came through. It was him.
“Hi. I’ve got a question.”
“The work from home thing. Is that something you can still do?”
“When I let Lori know ahead of time, yes,” you said.
“Say it wasn’t necessarily from home...”
“As opposed to?”
You nearly choked on water, sitting down the glass the waitress had just delivered. “California?”
“Yeah. I was thinking we shouldn’t be so far apart right now, and you’re always saying you want to see LA.”
It was true. You’d only been as far west as Las Vegas. The Walk of Fame and the Hollywood sign were on your bucket list. He was right on another point, too. Being on opposite coasts flat out sucked, and he hadn’t even been gone a day.
“I don’t know. I feel like even their smog is organic or vegan or something, and my lungs are used to carnivorous east coast smog...”
Harry laughed. “I know it’s a lot to ask and I’d get it if you said no...”
You were already racking your brain for excuses, only to quickly realize there were none. ‘No’ was the default answer whenever risk was involved. But whatever the case, it wasn’t fair to waste your time, nor his. Either you’d try trusting him again or you wouldn’t.
So, in the spirits of taking chances and keeping Raven young, you decided. No overthinking, no more holding back. “Okay. I’ll come out to see you.”
He’d been holding his breath, almost surprised when he spoke. “Really? I don’t know what I expected but it wasn’t that, at least not that easily.”
“I could always make you work for it.”
“Unlucky for you, I’ve got pretty decent stamina. And I was prepared to be a bloody pest.”
You laughed. “Won’t be necessary. Let’s make it happen.”
“Great. But could we still have that peep show later?”
It was one thing to imagine, an entirely different one to be smack in the middle of it. After a polite argument, you’d relented and let him make the arrangements. The jet had just landed on a private runway as you stared out the window, taking in unfamiliar surroundings. This city already felt worlds away from Queens. There were distant silhouettes of sky-high palm trees against the soft pink sunset falling over Van Nuys.
Still unable to process that you’d taken the leap, it dawned. You’d done it. You’d gotten on the plane for a smooth five-hour journey west, with countless amenities at your disposal. You hadn’t troubled the eager attendant for much more than a meal and glass of champagne to settle your nerves against rare turbulence.
Lori had been almost too happy to see you go, and had offered a not-so-subtle reminder that while there was an option to work, she didn’t recommend it. After all, you’d spent the last two days finishing up assignments after informing her of your plans to leave.
Once it was safe to deplane, you thanked the attendant for his help, and shook hands with the pilots after they’d politely escorted you from the aircraft and onto the runway. Just a few yards out sat that same shiny black Range Rover, and the sight alone tightened the knots in your stomach and set your heart racing. The back door opened.
You couldn’t make sense of the apprehension. It was Harry. Longtime friend, though nothing about it was platonic anymore... why were you so nervous? Was it that he hadn’t left you in New York after all? Or that there was no home field advantage? This was wildly new territory overall. Love, California, the lavishness, the uncertainty...
That uncertainty faded once you laid eyes on him. You’d never been so sure you were doing the right thing as he approached with wide open arms. Breathing him in, you melted into the embrace, more convinced than ever that this was exactly where you were meant to be.
“I’m so fucking happy that you’re here,” he confessed, lips against your temple.
“Me too,” you said with a smile. Pulling back a bit, you kissed him and squeezed around his middle. “Thanks for inviting me.”
He helped you into the back seat before heading for the rear of the vehicle, loading your things into the trunk while he chatted up the pilots. He’d never met a stranger and you didn’t mind waiting.
“Did you have a nice flight, ma’am?” asked the driver. She looked to be gracefully middle aged, and quite fit under her uniform. Maybe you’d hit the gym while visiting?
“I did, thank you,” you said, giving her your name, and extending a hand. “And you are?”
She smiled, catching your eye through the rearview mirror. “My name is Beatrice. Everyone calls me Bea.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Bea.”
“And it’s refreshing to meet you, too. Most people think I just come along with the car,” Bea laughed. “So I appreciate that.”
After a brief, comfortable silence, Bea spoke again. “That’s quite a guy you’ve got. Harry’s a sweetheart.”
Instinctually, you opened your mouth to correct her, but he sort of was yours, wasn’t he?
You glanced over your shoulder as he shook hands with the pilots, saying his goodbyes. “He is, isn’t he?”
“My whole condo could fit in this closet.”
Although his LA home was a condo, too, it was a massive, sprawling high rise tucked away in Westwood. The master closet was filled with designer threads, some you could recognize from past events and concerts. He was famous, sure, but it was particularly apparent in times like these.
“It ain’t too shabby,” he said, placing your luggage beside the bed. A California King bed, at that. He then sat on the edge, phone in hand. It hadn’t stopped going off for the last hour.
“You know, I can chill out on the couch for a while if you’ve got things to do,” you offered, abandoning the closet and moving toward him.
He shook his head, tossing the phone aside. Reaching for your hand, he pulled you between his knees and onto his lap, wrapping his arms around your waist. “I didn’t ask you to come all the way out here just to watch me work the entire time.”
“I didn’t come to be in the way, either.”
His eyes narrowed. “Do me a favor. I want you to get out of your head a little bit. I can all but see you overthinking.”
And he wasn’t wrong. You leaned in and kissed his nose to pacify him, smiling when he laughed. “Fine. I’ll try. I’m not making any promises, though.”
“Well, work on this, since you insist on thinking so much. It’s your first time here. What do you want to do? You feeling up to going out?”
“I’m not as tired as I thought I’d be. Slept half the flight. Thank you again for that.”
“The private thing was a little self-serving, I wanted you coming here really relaxed. Loads easier for me.”
You laughed, swatting his arm. “Whatever your motive, I appreciate it. It was nice not to have to fight people over arm rests. As for what we’ll do tonight, let me get a shower and I’ll think about it.”
And an incredible shower it was. The waterfall shower head was magnificent, as were most things about the place. Washing off the flight took admittedly longer than it should have, but eventually you emerged, towel wrapped and following the faint trail of Harry’s cologne into the living room. The walls were covered in gorgeous contemporary art, the odd, beautifully crafted sculpture scattered here and there. There were shining hardwood floors, sky lights, high ceilings, the works. Him living in such a beautiful space just made sense.
He sat in the middle of one of the lengthy sectional situated near the center of the room, phone to his ear. From the sounds of it, he was talking business and you wouldn’t interrupt, perfectly capable of entertaining yourself for a few minutes.
“Stop it,” you whispered as you walked past, feeling him tug at the towel. He chuckled as you tightened it. One good yank and it’d be on the floor. Although you couldn’t imagine he’d complain. Nor would you. It was hard to be so close to him without jumping his bones. But you’d behave. For now.
The view from the bay window was like nothing you’d ever seen, not even back home. Beyond the furnished balcony, a shimmering pool and fire pit on the ground floor were visible, there for the building residents’ use. Beyond that, city lights shone under the night sky, practically begging to be explored and there was no way you’d be staying in tonight.
It felt natural leaning back into his chest as he moved behind you, hugging his arms around your waist. You felt safe. He was trying, just like he’d said. He rested his chin on your shoulder, smiling when you kissed his cheek.
“This is my favorite part of the place, too.”
“Ya done good.”
He laughed. “Decide what you want?”
“One of these days I’m here, I wanna be a tourist. Hollywood sign, all that. But tonight, I demand to be fed and driven around.”
He was happy to cater to your every whim, which was why an hour later, a Pink’s hot dog and a box of Randy’s donuts sat in your lap. You were happily strapped into the passenger’s seat of the Audi, taking in the sights and feeding him now and then as you cruised through the streets.
“You think we could get stuck in traffic on the freeway before I go?”
Harry made a face, glancing at you. “You want to sit on the 405 for two hours?”
You nodded, biting into another donut. “I want the full experience.”
“It’s not nearly as fun as it looks in the movies, trust me.”
“Maybe we’ll circle back to that one.”
“Yeah. Rethink that and let me know.”
You could feel his eyes on you while the car idled at a traffic light. You wouldn’t have minded, only you were shamelessly stuffing your face at the moment.
“What?” you asked, avoiding eye contact while searching for a napkin. “Nobody’s cute when they eat.”
“That’s not it at all,” he laughed.
“Then what is it?” Where were those damned napkins?
There was something in his eyes. Love, unmistakably. “What, I can’t look at you if I want to?”
“You can’t use my own words against me.” That night. That infamous night. The one that sort of scared and excited you all at once. Though you tried to avoid thinking about it for too long at a time, memories of the heights of pleasure he’d taken you to always weaseled their way in. This was going to be a long week. You sighed, mumbling. “Damn, I wish you weren’t sexy.”
“You say something?” he asked, a single brow lifted.
“Nope. What do you want next? Hot dog or donut?”
“Doesn’t matter. I’m gonna pay for either one in the gym. Surprise me.”
You went for the donut. You’d just popped it into his waiting mouth before leaning in to kiss him, right along his perfect jaw.
“What was that for? Not a complaint, by the way.”
“Cause you’re cute and I like you,” you said simply, laughing when he did. Then, you pushed ahead, finally spilling days old thoughts. It’d either be the dumbest thing you’d ever done, or the greatest. Only time would tell. “You should like, be my boyfriend, or something. If you want. No pressure or nothin’—”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
You rolled your eyes as he cackled obnoxiously. “So. What do you say? I’ll rescind my offer so fast...”
“Rescind. Who the hell says rescind?”
“Harry Styles, I swear to god, bro...”
“Just fuckin’ with you. I’m your problem, now.”
“Sounds like a good time.”
The Hollywood sign. The Walk of Fame. The rest of Hollywood Boulevard. Griffith Observatory. LACMA. Santa Monica Pier. The Broad. You’d dragged him to every tourist attraction you cared to visit and he hadn’t complained once. Some were more hectic than others, especially when fans gasped and pointed, some even brave enough to approach despite the security guards following the pair of you around.
Harry was always pleasant, posed for a picture or two and signed the occasional autograph. Arrangements were made whenever possible to explore some attractions privately. Wasn’t always doable but he’d done his best.
In a blur, four days had gone past. You’d gotten that full experience after all, on the way back from the Pier. A full hour and sixteen minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic, horns blaring. Harry was right. It wasn’t fun by any stretch of the imagination.
Tonight, an official date. You’d just arrived at Catch, wide eyed, excited, and nervous as a hostess led the way toward the tables outdoors. A spectacular seascape awaited, the pier’s Ferris Wheel visible from the deck.
However gorgeous, it paled in comparison to the man who’d just sat across from you, after pulling out your chair, of course. From his tamed curls down to his polished, Italian leather shoes, he was perfect.
Drinks and entrees ordered, you absorbed your surroundings. The outside area was sparsely seated, and it seemed that no, you wouldn’t spend the night being gawked at. A nice change. Still, you’d learned that it’d come with the territory, and that was okay. There was no going back.
“This is amazing,” you said, breathing in the salty, Pacific air. “Pulling out all the stops, are we?”
Harry grinned, shrugging. “I’m still apologizing. The millionaire thing don’t hurt.”
“Don’t hurt at all, watermelon sugar boy,” you agreed, giggling. You’d have been just as happy sitting on the couch at his place, watching bad movies and eating junk food. Thankfully, reassurance wasn’t necessary. He knew.
“I have got to see that woman again.”
“Oh trust me, I won’t hear the end of it until I get you two back together.”
Thoughts of Aunt Theresa brought home to mind. You’d have to go back, eventually. Alone, at that. He’d moved a few things around, wasn’t working as much while you were in town, but at some point, you’d both have to get back to it. Back to the reality that you were settled in New York while he was in a new country any given day.
“I really wanna know what her and your uncle got into on the beach,” Harry said, laughing when you grimaced.
“The first rule of the We’re Gonna Fight If You Don’t Stop Bringing That Up Club is...”
“I only do it to annoy you and you never disappoint me.”
You pinched a piece of bread from the basket of rolls in the center of the table and tossed it at him. “Shut up. Respectfully.”
“Whatever, “ he scoffed, dodging the bread. “You’ll miss me when I’m gone.”
Too right, he was. Just a few more days stood between you and a flight back home.
“Maybe. Ever consider that you’re a burden?”
“Sometimes, but with an ego this size? I come to my senses pretty quick.”
The pair of you went back and forth over what had to be some of the most delicious food you’d ever had. There was amazing food back home, but this was in a class all its own. Your only regret in life currently was not visiting California sooner.
“You are such a liar!”
“You did not see Stevie sacrifice a baby goat.”
“Probably not, but part of you will always wonder whether or not I actually did,” he said, chuckling into his wine glass.
“To hell with you,” you laughed, shaking your head.
“Planting bullshit seeds, one at a time.” He then shot finger guns.
Resting your head in your hands, you sighed. And it came out before you even realized it. “I swear I love you.”
“What was that?” he asked, brow furrowed.
“I said. I love you.”
“I know, I heard you,” he nodded, leaning back in his chair. “I just wanted you to say it again. I’m sorry, you just make it so easy sometimes.”
He flashed a gorgeous smile, obnoxiously adorable dimples and all. “I love you, too.”
The sun would be up soon, and you still couldn’t sleep. That excitement and uncertainty were back. Paired with the last few days, there was no rest to be had when there was so much thinking to be done. Staring up at the ceiling, you flipped the covers back once again, sighing. Incidentally, this was the happiest you’d been for some time. It was all so perfect, imperfections and all.
You had what you wanted. Him. All of the extra was just that. Extra. Not that it wasn’t fun, it was a whole lot of fun, in fact, but you couldn’t help wonder if it was all temporary. What would happen when he couldn’t get to New York? When he was too busy to visit? Though he had a house in LA, England was home and he spent more time in London than anywhere else. You didn’t mind hopping across the pond. It was a mere matter of a few more hours on a plane.
But this wasn’t the norm. His career was important. Time consuming. Uncompromising. You just couldn’t help wondering. What would happen when things weren’t so easy? He loved touring and often did so for months, even years at a time. Where would you fit into all of that?
Quiet thinking wasn’t as quiet as you’d thought. Harry started to stir after the fifth flip of your pillow. He’d given you your space, hadn’t tried or pushed for anything physical the entire time. But you’d done enough tossing and turning that he’d felt it, too.
He turned onto his back, rubbing his eyes. “What’s the matter?”
“Nothing,” you said flatly.
“Bullshit,” he said, voice thick and deep with grogginess as he turned his head toward you. “Tell me what’s wrong.”
He wouldn’t let it go, this you knew. So, you went ahead. “I’m just thinking about what happens when I leave. I’m just worried, I guess.”
“You. This. Us,” you sighed.
He was quiet for a moment. “Are you having doubts?”
“Not doubts so much. Well, actually, yeah,” you concluded. “I want us to make it.”
“Who says we won’t?” He turned onto his side, propping up on his elbow. “You trust me, don’t you?”
You nodded eventually. “I do. I can’t hold the past over your head forever if we’re ever gonna get anywhere. Either I forgive you or I don’t. No in-between. It’s the future that’s got me scared.”
He reached out and guided you into his arms. The tight embrace soothed, brought you back down to earth. It was incredible, the effect he had. Dim moonlight shone through the wall-spanning windows, casting a soft glow over the very spot you lie in.
“There’s nothing you need to worry about,” he said, kissing your forehead. “It won’t always be easy, but nothing worth having ever is, I think. All I know is that I’m in it. I’m in this and we’ll just take it as it comes, love.”
You smiled. “Thank you. For everything. For dealing with me, especially.”
“I should be thanking you,” he laughed, hugging you tighter. “For taking a chance with me. You don’t do a whole lot of that kinda thing.”
He wasn’t wrong. There probably wasn’t anyone in existence that played it safer than you did, safer than you always had in general. And letting go, taking leaps... it felt good. Amazing, even. Raven would stay young another twenty years if you kept this up.
“You’re kinda cute and that works in your favor.”
“I would have said sex symbol but I’ll take that, too.”
With that load off your mind, there was room for other thoughts. Thoughts you’d been fighting back for days. Twice as hard when he walked around the house shirtless. Three times as hard on the whole two mornings he’d convinced you to join him in the gym or for a run around the neighborhood, and he’d glisten, practically glow with sweat. His t-shirts had the nerve, the gall to cling to him at the most inopportune moments.
At first, you’d been trying to prove a point. Make him work for it. The fact that he hadn’t tried anything yet only made it worse. It was hard not to get naked when he kissed you good morning or good night... it wasn’t clear who was suffering more.
“I have a question. Why haven’t you tried to take advantage of me yet?”
He laughed. “I’m on my best behavior. Let the record show that could change.”
You looked up at him, fingertips drifting across his bare chest and tattooed skin, over taut, chiseled abs. They flexed underneath your touch. “I want it to change. I don’t know if you deserve it yet, but I do.”
“Only if you’re sure, darlin’,” he drawled, and clearly, the switch had flipped. A low groan sounded as you slipped a hand into his sweats and gripped him, giving him a squeeze. Mouth watering.
“I’m sure. If you’re so sorry, show me,” you taunted, fearlessly entering into dangerous territory. Biting at the delicate skin of his throat, you smirked when his cock twitched in your grasp. “Prove it.”
His hand traveled the length of your thigh, only to pull it flush against his hip as he moved on top. Almost instinctively, your legs wrapped around his waist, arms following suit around his neck. It was dizzying, his chest against yours, his scent overpowering every bit of good sense you clung to. The last of it disappeared when his tongue slipped past your lips in a deep, slow, heady kiss, only the weight of his beautiful body preventing full-on levitation.
Peeling your arms from his shoulders, he caught your wrists in one large hand, slipping the other between your bodies and under the thin fabric of your panties. It set off throbbing, the purposeful tease, his fingertips brushing just barely over your clit, then lower.
Your complete unraveling was the goal. His middle and ring fingers explored as your back arched from the touch alone. He was gentle and careful, but confident. Knew where to go, knew when to dial it up and back down. As his lips trailed along the sides of your neck, those fingers easily delved inside, your walls clenching.
“Keep those open,” he muttered against your jaw, dragging his teeth along the skin as he worked in and out, hardening against your inner thigh as your legs involuntarily closed around his hand.
Wet and weak in the knees, you moaned his name as his thumb circled your swollen clit. He added pressure, unrelenting, only satisfied when you cried out, all clenching and trembling. For all that satisfaction, he was far from finished.
You watched, drunk with lust as he sucked you from the tips of his fingers. He then leaned in and kissed your lips before finally releasing your arms, moving up onto his knees.
“Don’t look at me like that,” you mumbled, still riding the wave, throwing an arm across your eyes.
“Like, at all,” you said, sighing when he laughed.
“You gonna get these clothes off?” he asked, already hauling soaked panties down your legs.
“I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.”
You sat up as he left the bed. He rummaged through the bedside drawer as you tossed your shirt somewhere. Though it wasn’t anything neither of you hadn’t ever seen before, beholding each other’s bodies, like this, was as fascinating as it was erotic.
He was all too glad to show you his. He had every reason to be. And knew it, from the cocky little smirk on his lips as he ripped open the condom.
“I hope you’ve got a license for that.” At least it’d be a fun challenge. And from the way he stared at you, all of you, completely awestruck, it’d also be mutual.
He worked his way between your thighs, nestling while sweeping you into another soul-stirring kiss.
Finally, skin to skin, surrounded by tangled sheets. Caressing the nape of his neck, a whimper passed from your mouth into his as he deliberately probed and pushed inside. It was intoxicating. The feeling surpassed anything you’d ever imagined, even in your wildest, most vivid fantasies.
It was so overwhelming, it almost sent you running. Thankfully, he was intuitive, rubbing a soft, soothing palm over your thigh and left a kiss just below your ear, keeping still. “You okay?”
Nodding, your eyes fluttered open and you let out a heavy sigh, smiling. “I’m okay.”
Only then did he proceed. Slow, deep thrusts worthy of hair tugging and back scratching resulted in just that. Toned back muscles flexed underneath your hands, low, almost shy moans escalating into throaty groans that only encouraged him.
“Shit, you feel good,” you muttered against his ear, teeth tugging at his earlobe.
He only grunted in response, pushing deep until the length of him was buried inside. The pace slowed as he felt your legs tremble and basked in it. Your neck, shoulders, collarbone, and breasts... he kissed, sucked, and gently nibbled at every inch of skin.
“I’m sorry,” he said, planting a long kiss to your lips. “I’m so sorry, baby.”
If you hadn’t already forgiven him, that would have sealed the deal. It was enough that hot tears sprang to your eyes, which fluttered closed as he kissed the tears away.
Reaching up to rake your fingers through his curls, you gave them a light pull and smiled. “I want on top.”
He was happy to oblige, hands attached to your waist the second you’d rolled to straddle him. It felt even better this way. He hit spots you’d swear nobody had ever discovered, much less touched. His fingers dug into your skin as you picked it up, squeezing purposely around him with every lift of your hips.
“Fuck,” he groaned, the word stretching and bending against his lovely lips. Watching him abandon his own inhibitions was a sight. Leaning back, you gripped the tops of his thighs, gradually riding him harder and faster, taking all you needed and unsure it’d ever be enough.
Freeing up a hand to rub your clit, he took in the show as long as he could stand it, before pushing your hand aside to take over. His hard, precise upward thrusts only made matters worse. Or better.
Whatever the case, when it hit, it hit hard. It spread from between your legs and throughout the rest of your body. Every limb limp with pleasure, you scratched at his chest, chanting his name. Still, you didn’t dare stop moving, not until that telltale swell gave him away. Wrapping his arms around your middle, he pulled you close, moaning as the wave crashed into him, too.
Smiling, you rested your forehead against his, kissing the tip of his nose.
“All right. Point taken.”
Sunlight beaming through the window served as an alarm clock of sorts. You weren’t surprised to find the other side of the bed empty. For some godforsaken reason, he insisted on being awake at godforsaken hours. But instead of his workout gear, he only wore sweats when he returned, two steaming mugs of coffee in hand. And good thing, too. Your legs were in no shape for anybody’s treadmill. You smiled thinking about last night. Mind blowing sex was a good enough excuse, wasn’t it?
“It ain’t Calabresi, but it’ll do,” Harry said, handing one over after you sat up right, resting against the headboard.
“Thank you. He’s gonna be so happy to know you’re out of the dog house,” you teased.
“That old bloke is a saint,” Harry said, climbing back into bed. He kissed your cheek. “Good morning.”
“Good morning, my love,” you said.
He stretched out, propping up on pillows. “Listen. I’m thinking... I don’t wanna do anything today.”
“Too bad,” you said, sipping from the mug before sitting on the night stand. Digging into your bag next to the bed, you fished out a pen and your trusty notepad. “You’ve got an interview.”
Harry chuckled, giving up trying to restore some kind of order to his curls. “I’m sure Raven was looking forward to grilling me.”
“I’m sure he’ll understand. Now. Mr. Styles. Let’s pick up where we left off, shall we?”