harry didn't mean to find out the hard way the truth about y/n's feelings.
part one (prosecco)
previous part (sangiovese)
Harry couldn't help but frown as he reread (Y/N)'s text as he parked outside of her building.
Just come in when u get here the door is unlocked!!
He didn't like the idea of her leaving her door unlocked for just anyone to walk in, even if it was intended to be a favor to him. He didn't bother to reply, instead grabbing the couple of added bits (Y/N) had requested for him to bring along. The plan was for (Y/N) to make Alfredo for dinner to share, and she asked for him to bring along a fancy wedge of cheese she had wanted to use—as long as it was okay with Harry of course. He hadn't a problem with bringing it over, knowing good and well that he would be the one that ended up taking over for the night. He didn't mention it to her, but (Y/N)'s reputation in the kitchen preceded her as he'd heard several stories from their friends that she lacked the skill to make anything edible aside from cereal.
Once he cleared the staircase to her apartment, Harry tested the doorknob, finding it was unlocked just as she had said. He released a displeased huff at the thought, slipping inside and quickly locking the door behind him. He could hear the sound of clanging pots and pans coming from the kitchen, her TV lit up with the 'Still Watching?' screen from Netflix. Music filtered throughout the expanse, stemming from her kitchen and playing through the rest of the apartment with a song Harry didn't quite recognize.
Over the noise of the music, (Y/N) didn't hear Harry as he stepped closer to the kitchen. She had her phone screen illuminated with what looked to be a recipe for tonight's dinner, and a pinch in her brow as she dug through for the needed cookware.
"You know," he called, a smile quirking his features as he watched her jump in response to his voice, "'S not really safe leaving your door unlocked like that."
She turned around with wide eyes and her clenched fist cradled to her chest. Her other hand dropped the pan with a clang as it fell to the floor. "Harry! You scared me!"
Harry bit back a laugh, knowing his point was just proven even if she didn't realize it. He stepped into the kitchen, leaving his things on the counter as he reached to pick up the pan she had dropped. "That's why y'need to keep your door locked, could've got a real scare if it hadn't been me," he nudged, a teasing lilt to his voice as he stood and placed the pan on the counter.
(Y/N) gave him a bit of a pout as she cleaned up the rest of her mess, piling the previously spilling pots back into the cabinet they tumbled from. "I was just trying to make it easier for you," she explained with a pouted huff, "I was hoping I would have started dinner by the time you got here and I didn't want to make you wait on me before I could open the door."
Harry cracked a smile as he heard her intentions. She was just the sweetest thing, Harry was sure of it. He leaned back against the counter top, gazing at her with what he was sure was an adoring gaze, the devotion poorly hidden. "Jus' be careful, yeah? Don't want y'getting hurt."
She gently shook her head as she stood up, mumbling something about how she's just fine, but Harry could see the pull of a smile on her lips. The same small tugging that adorned her face when he tenderly complimented her and she turned shy under his gaze.
She flitted her gaze from his, lashes fluttering as she blinked with a bashfulness set in her eyes. She perked up when she caught sight of his things he left on the counter, "You brought the cheese!"
Harry let out a laugh at her reaction, his dimples leaving deep dents in his cheeks. He absently crossed his arms over his broad chest, knowing he needed to keep his hands to himself and stop himself before he reached out and wrapped her up in his arms.
"And how are we using it tonight, chef?" Harry teased, a sly smile cracking at his features as he watched the way she nervously bit at the plush of her bottom lip.
"I—uh—I think it goes in the sauce while its boiling," she mused, her brows in a furrow as she glanced at the recipe on her phone.
Harry nodded his head along, struggling to keep his face straight as he knew you weren't supposed to boil Alfredo sauce. "Okay," he answered, "What do y'want me to help with?" He stood from the counter he was leaning on, ready to help wherever she needed him (which seemed to be everywhere, as far as Harry could tell).
"No no, you're not supposed to help! I'm cooking for you tonight," she rushed, grabbing him by the arm and tugging him away from the stove, "Go sit down!"
Harry held his hands up in surrender, allowing her to push him out despite the way the small amount of force she was exhibiting. "Alright, alright," he laughed, taking a seat at the dining table with a view into the kitchen.
He watched for a few moments as she fumbled around the workspace, periodically glancing at her phone propped on the counter. She looked just as clueless as he figured she would be, but he didn't want to embarrass her to know that he had already heard how naive she was in the kitchen.
"How were your classes today?" he asked, trying to recall what courses she had to attend on Fridays.
"They were good," she smiled at him over her shoulder, "Lots of reviewing before finals, but I feel pretty good this semester, which hasn't happened in a while. How was work?"
It felt awfully domestic to be watching (Y/N) pattering about her kitchen, a heart shaped speaker playing soft music as she tried to decipher the recipe for tonight's dinner. The smile she shot him as she asked about his own day gave him images of a future where nights like these were something of a regular occurrence between them. In his mind, Harry pictured them as date nights, where he could come to his girlfriend's apartment, cuddle on her couch and watch movies while eating takeaway after her poor attempt at making dinner.
He propped his chin up on his hand as he sat his elbow on the table. "It was good," he offered, holding back the admission of rescheduling a meeting or two so he could get out of work early to get here, "Much better now, though."
"You're just saying that because I'm cooking for you," she teasing, looking at him over her shoulder again as she carried an armful of ingredients from the fridge.
Harry held back his own teasing comment, wanting to see how far along she'd get before he'd take over for her. He opted to stay quiet as he heard her mumble to herself, seemingly reciting the steps to herself.
"Are y'sure y'don't want help?" he called after a moment, having seen her debate grabbing a small container of cream cheese.
"Yeah," she answered, her voice unsure as she looked to him with the tub in her hands, "Do you think cream cheese will work if I don't have mascarpone? You said they were really similar, right?"
He thought back to their date where he had explained what mascarpone cheese was to her—a variation of cream cheese he had told her. He hesitated with his answer, not wanting to blow out the hopeful shimmer in her eyes.
"'M not sure," he responded slowly, his fingers plucking at his bottom lip, "I know they're similar, but I don't think y'can substitute it for this one, love."
"Really?" She deflated before his eyes, her shoulders dropping with the container of cream cheese cradled in her hands against her stomach. Harry was about to offer his own response, something of reassurance to her that would hopefully stop her brows from downturning and her eyes from keeping that doe-like roundedness, before she stopped him as she fell into the counter with a pout on her lips and hands in her hair. "Harry, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm sorry I'm ruining tonight."
"Oh, love," he sighed, getting up from his spot at the table and moving towards the kitchen.
He rounded the peninsula countertop, (Y/N) looking to him with an embarrassed heat in her cheeks. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, settling in beside her before she turned to him. "Sorry," she said, a small laugh to her voice despite it not reaching her eyes, "I just really wanted tonight to be perfect. Our last date was really special, so I wanted my turn to be just as good. But, I don't really know how to cook if I'm being honest."
Harry couldn't help but crack a smile at her words. She had a very sweet way of thinking, wanting to pay him back for their date in the ways she could—even if she didn't really know how. "I know," he admitted, squeezing her shoulder with gentle pressure, "Tawny and Charlotte told me about that dinner party I missed."
"They did?" she whined, her eyes widening and brows raising as her mouth fell open in a small gape, "They weren't supposed to tell you that! I made them promise we wouldn't talk about it anymore after Adam got better from his food poisoning!"
Harry couldn't help the laugh that bubbled out of him, standing straight and pulling (Y/N) to mimic his stance. He trailed his hand down her arm and wrapped his fingers delicately around her wrist. He tried his best not to get distracted at the way she curled her fingers and reached towards his hand, her fingertips brushing her skin. "'S okay, sweetheart, really. I planned on finishing everything for you, anyway. I really don't mind."
The whites of her teeth peeked out as she trapped her bottom lip between her teeth. "Are you sure?"
"Completely," he offered with a smile on his face, "I heard m'Italian is very good too, so 'm more than happy to take over for the night."
"Can I still help? I feel bad making you do all this since you took such good care of me last time."
"Why don't y'stay right here, and read out the recipe for me, yeah? Make sure 'm getting everything done right." Harry shifted his hold on her as he spoke, placing his hand on her hips before lifting her to sit atop the counter. He flattened his palms against the surface on either side of her thighs, the edging of the skirt that adorned her bottom pinned under the tips of his thumbs. "This okay?"
"But you already know what to do; how to make it and everything," she countered, "I don't think I'll really be much help if I do that."
"'S okay, still need some reminders, right?"
She sat quietly for a moment, allowing Harry to get a good look at the melting of her irises and the tangling of her mascara coated lashes. She nodded finally, a small smile on her face as she began reaching precariously towards her phone on the other side of the wraparound.
"Let me get it for you," he mumbled, innocently setting his palm on her waist. He righted her position to keep her from tumbling off the surface as he feared she would. He grabbed the device for her, the screen lighting up with a floral based wallpaper as he deposited it in her lap.
He offered her a small squeeze on the dip of her waist before slipping away from her, examining the pile of ingredients she left out, "So, what do I need first?"
Harry already knew good and well what he needed, his own version of the dish working in his head as he headed towards her fridge in search of a few other things he might need. He could vaguely hear her rattling off ingredients on the list, using her voice in place of the melody that played through her speaker.
From the corner of his eyes, he could see her kicking her legs as she sat on the counter with her skirt shifting atop her thighs. He couldn't help himself as he set up his station right beside her. Every couple of swings, he could feel her feet brush against the back of his pants.
"Hm?" Harry hummed, slowing his chopping of garlic at the sound of her voice.
"Can I taste test as you go?"
Harry's fairly certain he'd let her do anything, really.
"So, what do y'think?"
(Y/N) thoughtfully chewed for a moment, squinting her eyes and feigning contemplation as she sat across from Harry at the dining table. She flicked her gaze to his for a moment before nonchalantly shrugging her shoulders and making a show of pushing the noodles around on her plate.
"It's okay, could've used some salt."
A smile curled around the edges of Harry's lips, his mouth dropping open with a huff of a laugh. He raised his brows as he made eye contact with her. "Oh, really? Didn't know I was dining with a five-star chef and not the same girl I had to explain mascarpone cheese to not even a month ago."
She only shrugged her shoulders, an impish smile on her face despite the serious showing she was trying to pull off. "I mean, other than that, it's pretty good."
Harry nodded at her words, playing along to the teasing game she had set. "I think you're right. Needs something else, something like cream cheese maybe."
"You're so annoying," (Y/N) laughed, gently nudging her foot against his in a playful kick under the table, "You're the one that told me they were the same!"
Harry raised his hands in front of him in surrender, avoiding her gaze with a playful roll of his eyes. "If that's what y'think, love."
(Y/N) only shook her head, the makings of a smile curling at the edge of her lips. Though she was no longer trying to teasingly kick him under the table, her socked foot continued to brush against his own. It was only when she settled into her spot, the dining room falling silent as they dug into the food they had been working on for the better part of an hour, that the motion stopped, leaving her foot nudged against his.
A question had been toddling through Harry's mind since he had come over, memories of (Y/N) teary-eyed and yearning for his reassurance and affection from the last time he had seen her playing in the background of his thoughts. He just hoped that if he asked, it wouldn't elicit the same reaction. Although he couldn't deny he indulged himself a bit in the way she craved to be stuck at his side, he's fairly certain he might lose it himself if he had to witness her shedding anymore tears over a man who didn't deserve her.
"How are y'feeling from last week?" he asked, taking a swirl of linguine into his mouth. He didn't want her to be embarrassed as she so often became when he asked about her feelings, or like he was going to try an analyze her answer the way he knows Tawny does when given some form of gossip.
"I'm good," she smiled, eyes directed on the plate in front of her, "I told you I wasn't hungover or anything."
"I know, was wondering if y'were alright from what happened before that," he pressed, trying to keep as vague as possible as to not recall any feelings he didn't want her to get bundled up in.
"Oh," she chirped, not at all the melancholic reaction he was expecting, "Yeah, I'm okay. A couple of my friends ended up calling me the next day, and we talked a lot so I feel much better about all of that." She absently swirled a mouthful of noodles onto her fork, looking to Harry clearly without the hints of shyness he had expected. "And I ended up seeing Iris on campus the other day, so we finally got to talk, too. She apologized for blocking me and doing what she did with Andrew and all that. I don't really know if she meant it but I accepted it. I don't think I really want to be her friend anymore, so I'm kinda sad about that, but it'll be okay." She finished with a half smile on her face, shrugging a shoulder before popping the bite into her mouth.
Harry nodded to her words, taking his own time chewing the pasta before pressing for the answer he tried so hard to not care about. "And Andrew?"
Her brows met in the middle with a furrow stitching onto her features. "I don't really know actually," she seemed surprised at her own answer, "I don't think I've talked to him in over a month? Whenever that whole thing happened was the last time I talked to him." She seemed to brush off the knowledge as if she hadn't had a crying fit over the way he had slept with a close friend of her's just a week ago. He would think she would have confronted him too, especially if she had talked to Iris.
Harry hadn't even noticed the way a furrow pinched at his brow. He wasn't able to connect how the same girl crying drunken tears so heavily into his shoulder, was able to all but dismiss the one man they were over only a mere seven days later. He knew (Y/N) was an emotional person, just from the bits about her she's let him in on, so he hoped she wasn't just covering while in front of him.
"What's wrong?" (Y/N)'s voice tugged him from his head, disrupting the line he was trying to trace between who he had picked up from the club last week and who was sitting across from.
"I—" Harry cut himself off, unsure of how to phrase his question as to not give away the nagging feeling he's held over her yearning for Andrew, "Jus' thought y'might have wanted to talk to him since y'were so upset over him last week."
"I wasn't really upset over Andrew—not anymore, anyway," she started, just as casual as if Harry was to have known this beforehand, "It's just that Iris knew what had happened, and it really hurt my feelings that she didn't care and went behind my back and everything. I was upset about Iris doing what she did, nothing about Andrew." She paused for a moment, her plate now clear as she dropped her silverware to lay on the ceramic. An easy smile crafted her features as she gazed to him. "Didn't I tell you that last week? I know my memory is a little fuzzy, but I swore I sobbed all that out to you on your couch."
She ended with a laugh like it was an easy joke, as if Harry's heart hadn't swollen to accommodate the flooding ease that loosened his muscles. Maybe he hadn't realized just how much the thought of (Y/N) holding out for another weighed on him, but the relief that filtered through him gave him an idea about just how hard he had yearned for an outcome like this.
"I don't think I heard that part," Harry mumbled, the hints of a smile dipping around the edges of his mouth. He wished he would have. He'd have been saved a week's worth of moping on his part, missing out on a whole self-pity induced spiral about being nothing more than a distraction.
Gradually, (Y/N) moved on from the subject, prattling on about another story from her art history class. He stopped holding back the smile that had been threatening his features as he listened to her. She seemed happier than he had ever seen her, even including the times before he had been promoted. He had missed the smiling, bubbly butterfly she had become within their group, and now he had her all to himself as she sat across from him. His gaze followed the delicate path a stray strand of her hair drew as it fell into her face. She periodically reached up to brush it away, only for the piece to flutter back into position a second later. He was only slightly aware of the way he tucked the fingers of his free hand under his thigh; he needed to make sure he couldn't reach across and take care of it for her, even if he wanted to.
Although he had to keep reminding himself that just because she didn't care for Andrew in that way anymore, didn't mean she had transferred those feelings onto him. But it did make way for a bit of hope to beat through his heart.
"Harry, are you even listening to me?"
Tawny's comically offended expression greeted him when he whipped his head to face her at the sound of the reprimand. If he was being honest, he hadn't heard much of what she was saying, her chattering becoming a kind of background noise as soon as he saw (Y/N) walk into the room. He hadn't even known she had arrived until Charlotte bubbled out her name and Sarah joined in the call. At the sound of her name, he couldn't help but begin to scan over the room, itching to find her form.
He hadn't seen her since the dinner at her house, where his heart had swelled with hope now that (Y/N) had made it clear she had moved on from Andrew. They'd been texting, of course, but he still urged to see her, especially since he had heard she was supposed to come to Tawny's housewarming party tonight (she hadn't moved anywhere new, just completely remodeled and wanted everyone to see, but there's not really a catchy name for a party like that). He had offered to drive with her, so they could arrive together and if (Y/N) choose to drink, she would already have a designated driver, but she gave him a quick decline with ":(" tacked at the end of her text message. She told him she was going to have to come late due to a group project she was apart of for one of her classes; they had finally agreed on a meet time after more than a week of her groupmates dodging her texts, so she couldn't skip this one. Harry understood—of course, he remembered being apart of those groups and hating every second if not paired with the right people—, but he still couldn't help but be a little bummed out knowing he would have to wait that much longer to see her and miss out on a roundtrip with her in his passenger seat.
Since he'd made it to Tawny's house, he'd been on high alert for any sign that (Y/N) had arrived. He planned on slipping away the moment he caught sight of her and spending the rest of the night following her around. Now that she was within eyesight, Harry was finding it rather hard to pull his gaze away from the sight of her wrapped up in the oversized cardigan and a bottle of rosé wine in her hand that he knew she would crinkle her nose at. He wasn't even sure (Y/N) had seen him yet, making his pining gaze that much more embarrassing now that he was caught.
Before he could sputter out an answer, a shrewd, teasing smile covered Tawny's features as she followed his line of sight. "Oh," she breathed, "I see. You're too busy staring at your girlfriend to listen to me, okay." She feigned nonchalance with an exaggerated nod of her head and shrug of her shoulders, lifting her glass of wine to her lips for a short sip.
Harry was quick to shake his head, dropping his eyes to his own glass in his hand, though his was filled with nothing more than sparkling grape juice. "She's not m'girlfriend, leave her alone," he denied though he felt his eyes soften at the idea of her being acknowledged as such.
"So what was her post about going out on a date with you all about, hm?" Tawny questioned with a raised brow over the rim of her glass, "And, Charlotte already told me about how she spent the night at your house a couple of weeks ago."
His cheeks flushed at being so bluntly called out for his time with (Y/N), though he knew there was nothing to blush over. They were nothing more than friends, that's all. "It wasn't a date," he insisted, "After y'told me about everything with Andrew, I jus' wanted to take her out and cheer her up, that's all."
"And she stayed over for you to cheer her up, too?"
"No, Tawny," he urged with a quick laugh, her implication being clear in the smug curl of her lips, "She had another bad night and called me. She didn't want to be alone so I let her stay with me, but that was all it was. We're jus' friends."
Harry didn't believe her acceptance of his explanation at all, but if she backed off about it, that's all that mattered. It wasn't like Tawny was hurting anyone with her prying, but he didn't want it going around to everyone that he and (Y/N) were anything but friends, even if they had grown closer since Charlotte's birthday. He knew they were a bit of a nosy bunch, as could be shown with the investigation into everything that consisted of the (Y/N)-Andrew-Iris triangle, and he didn't want (Y/N)'s business up for examination again. (And, if he did end up getting his heart broken through all of this, he didn't want his hopes laid out for the group just to receive pity glances from them after it went downhill and they found (Y/N) with someone else).
Acting out of something of instinct at that point, Harry couldn't help himself but flit his gaze through the group that had gathered through Tawny's renovated living room. (Y/N) was still stood with her cardigan covered hands clutching the frosted bottle of wine, a large glittery bow tacked to the neck and a card with Tawny's name dangling from the label, as she toed the ground in a pair of much more comfortable looking shoes than he'd seen her in previously. The hem of her sweater reached lower on her thighs than the dress it was covering; a simple, white piece that followed her form in gentle sweeps of the fabric. Her hair was left free to sway over her collarbones, only held back by a thick, white headband on the top of her head. She looked gorgeous—as expected, Harry thought. How was he supposed to pull his eyes from her when she looked like that?
As if out of habit, (Y/N) plucked her own gaze from her pair of friends, a pleasant smile stamped across her lips. She scanned over the room for a second before landing on Harry as her smile stretched into a wide grin. Her lashes acted as a frame around her brightening gaze that only grew wider when she caught his eye, bouncing on her heels as she waved at him with the pink sleeve of her cardigan covering her palm. Charlotte and Sarah followed her line of sight, twisting their necks to find Harry and a less-than-impressed Tawny lent against the breakfast bar in the kitchen, the former with moony eyes and a soft-lipped smile.
"Just friends, yeah," Tawny prodded when (Y/N) settled back into her conversation with the girls, Harry's gaze still hooked on her form as he watched across the room, "You know I don't believe you right? Especially after that and how you can't even look at me now that she's here."
"I know," Harry relented, making the conscious choice to turn away from (Y/N) and put his eyes on Tawny (he didn't have to be a good liar, but maybe he could try his hand at not being so obviously a bad one), "But we are, jus' friends."
A challenging look crossed her features, the brown of her eyes lighting up in the way only Tawny's can when she thinks she has a plan that will stir the pot. "So, since you're only friends with (Y/N), you wouldn't mind if I introduced you to my friend Fiona, right? She thinks you're really cute, and when I told her you were coming by tonight, she told me she wanted to meet you. But only if you don't already have your eyes on someone else, of course." A sticky sweet smile acted like a punctuation as Tawny lent down to place an elbow on her countertop, chin in her palm and fingers curling in front of her wicked smile.
A tense fell over his shoulders at the prospect of meeting someone like Fiona, the implications of their introduction being something he wasn't interested in. He didn't want to say no and prove Tawny right; prove to her that her instincts still hadn't failed her and she was correct in assuming there was something bubbling under the guise of being just friends with the flower girl across the room. He didn't want anyone else in his view or chasing after him while he was pursuing someone else (he knew what it was like to be on the other end, fighting for someone who was fighting for another). But, talking wouldn't hurt, right?
Harry would make it clear he wasn't interested, and just be friendly with her. That's all he'd do. There's no harm in that, right?
"Sure," Harry nodded, a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders thrown in around his agreement.
Tawny's brow raised at his simple compliance. She hadn't thought he'd let her get this far, expecting some kind of half-assed denial that would give her all the answers she needed. But, she was more than willing to play this game, he could tell.
"Okay, well, wait right here, then." Tawny dropped her drink off on the counter top before sashaying to her backyard, a confident stride to her walk that scared Harry with how far she might push this.
Before his friend was even out of sight, Harry dipped his gaze back to (Y/N). He didn't even try to hide his pining at this point, indulging in the fact he didn't have Tawny's prying eyes to call him out. He lent against the lip of the counter, elbows propping him up on the granite surface. He draped his gaze over (Y/N)'s form, taking note of the way her shoelaces tied through her white tennis shoes, matched the sage green knitting that made up the torso of her cardigan. She, Charlotte, and Sarah had since drifted closer to the outskirts of the room, giving him a much clearer view of her. He watched on as she laughed, pieces of her hair being tossed back over he shoulders at the motion before those same strands would fall forward and brush over her collarbones in affectionate sweeps.
It felt like a gift when she chanced a look in his direction, the chattering of Charlotte and Sarah becoming muted as they launched into a side story, leaving (Y/N) to give her undivided attention to Harry. The familiar, butterfly-inducing smile that he saw in his daydreams spread over her lips. Her fingers tightened around the neck of the bottle she still needed to gift to Tawny, the gleam of her cream swirled nails glinting in an emulation of the light in her eyes. He waved to her, finally reciprocating the motion she had given him before Tawny tugged at his attention.
(Y/N) perked up at the sight, biting back a smile as she flicked her attention back to her friends to nod at something Sarah uttered. As soon as she was free again, her eyes were back on Harry. She held up a single finger from the hand that held the wine bottle, the movement concealed from her partners with the help of her cardigan and the cover of the chilled bottle, her eyes flicking over the two girls in front of her. She would be over in a minute, she was telling him, she was only going to finish up with her friends, then she'd be over with him.
Harry felt like preening at the silent promise. He gave a small tip of his chin, nodding to her with an affectionate smile on his lips. In an effort to draw a laugh from her lips, he then emulated that of the chatting girls, making exaggerated gapes of his mouth as if he were ooh'ing and aw'ing at gossiped remarks paired with raises and curls of his shoulders. His funny faces were enough to draw a bubbling laugh from his (Y/N), the girls across from her quickly calling into question whatever it was that had made caused the reaction. From where he stood, he could still make out her quick denials, telling them something they had said that was apparently funny enough to pull a giggle from her lungs. They agreed skeptically before falling back into their conversation.
She gave him a scolding glance once they were well distracted, her attention on him much more subtle now that they were almost caught in their silent conversation. He shrugged it off with a grin, pride still puffing out his chest and broadening his shoulders at the fact he was able to make her laugh for him. While he still held her gaze, Harry lifted his glass to her, brows raised in a question. If she wanted, he was going to make her a drink that would be waiting for when she was free to spend time with him. A quiet shake of (Y/N)'s head was earned in response, her softened smile breaking only for her to mouth the words thank you to him.
This time, they hadn't been so lucky to have both Sarah and Charlotte keep from examining further as to where (Y/N) was spending her attention. Instead of asking any questions, Charlotte followed (Y/N)'s line of sight and found Harry lounging against the kitchen countertop, a sheepish smile curling his lips at being caught. Sarah followed after with a light igniting in her eyes at the sight, mouth falling open in scandalous shock. Neither girl prodded or teased him the way they immediately did for (Y/N), whipping their heads back to her with their voices rising to teasing gasps with Harry's name uttered through the mix. He felt inclined to join (Y/N) in the interrogation that was surely happening on her end, but before he could even take a single step in their direction, a stilling hand was placed on Harry's shoulder.
The telltale candy-apple red that was Tawny's signature nail color greeted him first before she turned to him with a challenge in the brown of her eyes. Behind her was a girl Harry could describe as beautiful with long, ashen hair that reached the mid of her waist. Golden strips were woven between the strands that matched that of the hazel gleam in her eyes, the gold within the irises weighing out over the green streaks and brown flecks. Her cheeks were glazed in a rosy hue, dew points highlighting the tops of her cheeks and her full lips in an alluring gloss. A smile brightened her features as she stood confidently into his eyesight, out from behind Tawny with self-assuredness that only came with age.
"Harry, this is Fiona. We worked together when I was at that law firm, remember?" Tawny introduced, her smile sticking to her lips in a baiting challenge.
"Yeah, I remember," Harry smiled, standing up straight from his leaning position against the counter. He offered a hand for her to shake, "I saw y'once at the holiday party, right? The one at the Kemberly?"
Tawny's brow raised at his recollection of the night, surprisingly failing with what she had thought was a snare to trap him. Maybe she had been wrong, the fall of her expression told him, he and (Y/N) weren't as entwined as she had thought.
Fiona's features brightened at the mention of the party from years prior, taking his hand in a solid shake. "Yeah, that's right. I totally forgot Tawny had brought you, I'm surprised you remember."
"Me too, if 'm being honest," Harry laughed, bouncing his grip in hers before falling away, "But, 's nice to officially meet you, Fiona."
"Likewise," she beamed, her attention falling from Harry as Tawny quietly excused herself, telling them she would leave them to it. Fiona slid into the spot beside Harry, emulating the stance Tawny had taken when they were chatting before she put her plan into action, "So, Tawny told me that you work at a marketing firm?"
Harry nodded his head at her line of questioning, the ice in his glass tinkling at the motion. "Yeah, I work down in the city at Levine," he offered, keeping his voice light despite the way he didn't know where to take this conversation.
Sure, Fiona was pretty and seemed nice enough, but he had his heart set on the prettiest, kindest, sweetest girl he'd ever met in his life. He wanted to chance a look in her direction, see if (Y/N) was still preoccupied with the girls like he hoped, but he kept his gaze on Fiona. If Tawny was still observing her experiment, he wanted to stick to the script as much as possible.
He listened intently as Fiona offered her own anecdotes centering around her workplace, politely laughing and interjecting comments as they were called for. He gave his own pleasant answers to any questions she might have had, but he was definitely drier than he felt was polite. Even when he offered to make her a drink to refill her iced glass—which she happily accepted and waited as he flitted about the kitchen as he did such—, his thoughts still lingered around the butterfly soft presence that called for his attention.
If it was any consolation, it didn't seem he and Fiona were hitting it off much outside of being friendly acquaintances, her romantic interest in him seemingly dwindling as their conversation centered around their respective careers as opposed to anything personal. This was even better, he figured, now it would be Fiona that could go back to Tawny and tell her that she wasn't interested in him, so Harry was free to lie to her and tell her he tried before he returned his focus to (Y/N).
As he passed Fiona back her now filled glass—he made something up with vodka and his own sparkling grape juice from the bottle that was still in Tawny's fridge—, he allowed his vision to wander over the room. It wouldn't hurt to chance a look at (Y/N), right? Especially now that he was fairly certain that Fiona wasn't going to be pursuing him.
Fiona's fingertips grazed over Harry's own as she grabbed the glass from him. "Thank you," she beamed, tossing her long hair over her shoulder with a flourish. She lashes emulated the flutter of her hair as she blinked at him, something flirtatious coating her features despite the way he was sure that was just her natural aura.
Harry offered a polite smile before his eyes left her form. In the background, he could hear her breaking into a line of questioning over some marketing plan her firm had been toying with, claiming she wanted Harry's professional opinion on the matter, but he was too preoccupied to listen to the details, especially when he caught sight of (Y/N)'s form.
He found her still bundled in conversation with the girls though the bright expression she had been wearing before he was pulled into his own rendezvous was now missing. Her toes were prodding at the hardwood at her feet, scuffs appearing on the white rubber of the soles of her shoes as she bit at her lips. She seemed only halfway involved in whatever conversation was going on across from her, that same lost look in her eyes he recognized when she was letting her thoughts wander, usually before she would ask him a question or to explain something she was having trouble with understanding.
Their earlier lines of eye contact felt like a gift to Harry, when he would be granted with her attention on him, but this time felt like a curse. A weight was heavy on her irises, tugging them into a darker shade than he was familiar with finding from her, a melancholic hue tainting the color. Her eyes had found the brief moment of contact between his and Fiona's fingers and the flourish of her hair as she tossed it over her shoulder before she met his eyes. A tense line was created in (Y/N)'s jaw, her lips pinched into a concealing pucker before she quickly relented and schooled her features into something much more neutral. Even as she diverted her attention to the girls in front of her, the blue tint that seemed to overtake her presence prevailed.
"Is everything alright?"
Harry was pulled back to reality at the sound of Fiona's prodding voice. Her flawless brow was pinched into a frown that framed her concerned eyes. Her full lips were pouted into a frown as she reached across, settling her hand on Harry's shoulder.
"Um—Yeah, sorry," he breathed, aware of her palm warming his shoulder as he shook his head.
"Are you sure? You looked upset about something." Her tone came off rather motherly, sympathy radiating from her words. "Is it about your friend?"
His brows cinched together at her assumption, dropping his gaze to the slowly watering glass in his own hand, "No, everything's fine with Tawny, 's—"
"No, I mean the girl over there," Fiona nudged her head in (Y/N)'s direction, a subtle movement as she kept her hand placed on his arm, "You were looking at her like you just found out her puppy died."
Guilt filtered through his system at the fact he had been caught. He didn't want Fiona to know he was looking at another when she had struck up a conversation with him in hopes of pursuing him.
"I-I'm sorry." What else was he to say?
A dazzling smile took Fiona's features as she squeezed his bicep, "Don't be sorry, it's okay. Is she the girl Tawny told me about?"
The frown in Harry's brow deepened at Fiona's questioning. Tawny had told her about (Y/N)? "'M sorry, what?"
A confused smile tightened Fiona's lips, her hand falling from his arm, "She told me that you were wanting advice about a girl, but you wanted help from someone who didn't know the situation. I've been waiting for you to bring her up."
"She told y'that?" Harry pressed, Tawny's real plan beginning to sink in, "She told me that you—um—y'wanted to meet me because y'thought I was cute or something."
"I should have known," she laughed, "Tawny is way too nosy to let a third party get all of the drama. And, don't get me wrong, you're cute and all, but I love my husband a little too much to take you home."
A weight relaxed from Harry's shoulders now that he knew Fiona wasn't interested in pursuing him, Tawny just having tricked him into thinking this was nothing more than a ploy to get him to admit his feelings for (Y/N).
"'M sorry she dragged y'into this," Harry apologized with a breath of a laugh, "Jus' she"—he gestured in (Y/N)'s general direction with a nudge of his chin—"and I have been getting closer recently, and Tawny's convinced there's something more going on than there is. I think she was hoping I would spill all the details to you, so I wouldn't 'lead y'on'. Though, I doubt I can lead you anywhere."
Fiona joined in the laugh he finished with, shaking her head at the decoding of Tawny's trickery. "Well," she shrugged, taking a sip of her drink, "You still could if you wanted—spill the details, anyway. I promise I won't tell her."
Harry bit at the full of his bottom lip, swirling his watered down drink in his glass. What harm could it do? At the least, he would finally be able to get out some of his swirling thoughts so they weren't so bottled up in his head. "She's a really sweet girl, (Y/N), but I—uh—I don't think she shares the same interest that I do," Harry shrugged, "But 's okay, 'm happy being a friend if thats all she needs from me."
A soft smile took Fiona's features as she listened to Harry's shortened story. "You don't think she has the same 'interest' as you?" she asked, her tone quiet as if they weren't at a party.
Harry again chose to shrug his shoulders, not quite feeling like getting into the saga of Andrew and Iris to explain every little detail as to why he was sure (Y/N) wasn't looking at him under the same lens as he was with her.
"You're so cute, you remind me of my husband," she laughed, the noise bubbling and free as if Harry wasn't wilting across from her, "You don't see it, do you?"
"I don't know what you mean?"
"You're just like Jeremy," she mumbled, affection coating her tone at the sound of what he figured what her husband's name, "You know she's been looking at you every few seconds since I came over here, right? She's been acting like a sad puppy since we started talking."
"She-She's not—No—" Harry stuttered over the implication of Fiona's words, surely (Y/N) wasn't—
"She's jealous, in the saddest little way," Fiona murmured, her expression twisting into sympathy as she casually swept over the population of the room, (Y/N) still tucked away in her corner. "I think she's worried that this"—she gave a noncommittal wave of her hands between them—"is something she can't compete with, I'm sure. I remember being like that when I was her age, worried that every new person that came by was an opportunity for someone to leave."
Harry knew the feeling well, a little more than he figured Fiona did but not as well as he knew (Y/N) knew. He hoped that wasn't what (Y/N) was taking this as. He wasn't Andrew and he hoped it was clear in the way he and Fiona were acting that he wasn't looking at her as anything than an acquaintance (or a helpful friend, at this point).
"You think she cares about me like that?" Harry felt juvenile dancing around different terms to display (Y/N)'s feelings. To be fair, he wasn't sure he was ready to hear anything deeper than interest and care to be applied in case he got his hopes up.
Fiona scoffed a laugh, bringing her drink to her glossed lips. "Of course she does. Tawny had said something about you being oblivious, but this is a bit much. I caught you looking at her before I came over here anyway, and I can tell you both have got it bad." She flicked her head to the side, tendrils of her long hair glistening like waves, "Go talk to her. I'll tell Tawny that you wouldn't budge and didn't know what I was talking about when I asked."
Maybe it was the lingering high over the fact he felt he suddenly had a chance with (Y/N), that other people could see the same glances they shared and saw what he had convinced himself wasn't there, but Harry didn't think anything of it before he pulled Fiona in for a friendly hug.
"Thank you," he told her over her shoulder, his free arm curling around her waist while the other held his watered down glass.
"Of course," she smiled, her own hand patting the flat of his back.
Pulling back with a smile on his face, planning to say his goodbyes before he marched up to (Y/N) and pulled her from whatever the girls were talking about, he saw something skitter by from the corner of his eye. As his eyes followed whatever it was that shot passed, he caught the tail-end of a familiar green knitted cardigan.
Tawny stood off to the side, a cinch in her brows and a frown deepening her pout as she held the bottle of wine (Y/N) had brought as a present. She, Charlotte, and Sarah were huddled in a group together now, their voices hush compared to the gossip Harry was able it pick through from before. After pulling her gaze from down the hallway (Y/N) disappeared, Tawny caught his eye with an apology tightening her features and sympathy floating in her eyes. He dreaded to think what had caused that.
"I'd better..." Harry trailed off, looking back to Fiona with his own apologetic smile.
She urged him off with her own lips curled, peering over his shoulder in the direction that his flower girl drifted off to, "Let me know if she's okay."
Despite the way Tawny had set them up in some odd plan to get Harry to spill his feelings for (Y/N), he truly appreciated the friend he was able to find in Fiona. He would definitely reach out to her again, he thought.
Harry's first stop in figuring out what happened with (Y/N) resulted in him making his own spot in the huddled group of girls standing by the mouth of the hallway. Tawny was the first to open her mouth, an apology swimming in the wide of her eyes.
"I'm so sorry, Harry, I didn't mean for her to—"
"It's okay, really," Harry started, giving her a softened smile to let her know he wasn't upset, "I know y'didn't mean to, y'were jus' trying to get me to talk. Is (Y/N) okay?"
Charlotte ran a heavy hand through her peach colored hair, offering something of a glare in Harry's direction before she shared a look with Sarah. "She saw you talking to that other girl and... you know how sensitive she can get, especially after everything with Andrew."
A frown cemented itself over his lips. Of course, he knew she was a little on edge, and if what Fiona had observed was true, he could only assume she was thinking the worst. He really thought he had kept things friendly with her, seeing as they were nothing but friends, but (Y/N) must have taken something the wrong way.
"But, nothing happened," Harry insisted, plucking at his bottom lip as he tried to look for answers from the girls, "I wasn't flirting or anything."
"I know, but (Y/N) doesn't. She's still a little off from how Andrew lied to her, so she worries. She left after you hugged that woman," Sarah filled in, much gentler than the bite that Charlotte's tone held.
With a heavy sigh filtering through his lungs, Harry sagged in place. He could see that—the way he made Fiona's drink, and offered her a hug that, under the wrong lens, could look less than friendly.
"She's just in the bathroom if you wanted to talk to her," Tawny suggested, something of a peace offering as she wrung her hands around the neck of the gifted wine, "You can tell her it was my fault, anyway. That I pushed you two together and everything."
Sarah and Charlotte held matching pinches in their brows, gaps being left unfilled as they listened to Tawny. She waved them off for now, focusing her attention on Harry where he was finding a war brewing in his mind.
"Are y'sure she would want to talk to me?" A dejavu moment Harry supposed, reminiscent of the similar question he had asked at Charlotte's birthday party.
Tawny's smile turned genuine at his doubt. "Of course she would, you know that. Just make things better like you always do."
With the echo of his friends' urging, Harry followed down the same hallway he had seen the flash of sage green and petal pink disappear down. Tawny only had one bathroom down this hall, the door shut tightly with the sound of sniffles heard through the wood. Shadows flashed through the sliver of light that escaped through the gap under the door, the sniffles pausing long enough for the sound of shuffling feet to be heard against the tiles. Harry's shoulders fell at the the story the noises were telling him.
A little too vivid of a vision flicked through his head: (Y/N) bundled in her cardigan as she had tissues pressed to her nose and gentle fingertips flicking way her tears just as he remembered her doing at the bar just a month prior. He felt so guilty knowing that he was the cause of her sniffling and crystalline tears. He couldn't believe Andrew had been in a position similar (though he did much worse and was overall a more vile human than Harry liked to compare to himself) and still paraded through Charlotte's party, not a single shred of sympathy or guilt roving over his features. Harry couldn't even actually see (Y/N) right now, and he was ready to get on his knees and ask for forgiveness as if he were a disciple to a scorned goddess.
A shaky breath sounded through the door, another fluff of a tissue being pulled from the box before Harry worked the courage to knock on the white painted wood.
"(Y/N)?" he called, voice soft as it wrapped around her name in the same way he wanted to hold her. All movement on the other side of the door stopped, the shadows stilling in the light escaping from underneath. If not for the fact he knew there were no windows in that bathroom, Harry would have thought she somehow escaped and left him to find her somewhere else in the house with how quiet she went. With a heavy sigh, he tried again, forgoing the knock in favor of coaxing her with his voice, "(Y/N), love, 's me. Can I come in?"
A beat passed.
The word was peeped out with shaky conviction. Despite the weight in his chest, Harry still managed to crack a smile at the sound of her voice.
"I jus' wanna talk to you," he pressed, leaning against the doorframe as he planned waiting for as long as it took to earn her forgiveness, "The girls were telling me y'saw some things that made y'upset, but 's not what y'think, really. Can I tell y'what really happened?"
Her feet shuffled against the tiled floor, the sound of the rubber soles on her shoes heard through the door. "I don't want you to come in."
A tint of embarrassment could be heard through her quiet words, Harry able to picture exactly the kind of sheepish face she was pulling with cinched brows and pursed lips, gaze sticking to the floor. She didn't want him to see her like this again, having told him time and time again how silly she felt to be crying in front of him so often. But he didn't mind, he always told her; he was too busy admiring the color of her eyes that the tears brought out and the need to make her feel better. He'd never think her silly or stupid for expressing herself.
"'S kind of hard to have a private conversation through a door, though, right, love? I only want to talk to you. Y'don't even have to say anything to me if y'don't want to." Harry waited a moment longer, tentatively settling his hand on the doorknob in hopes of hearing her agreement.
Something just a step or two away from relief strung through his muscles. Opening the door, he was greeted with the sight of (Y/N) sat on the closed toilet lid with her wide, watery eyes trained on him. The sleeves of her cardigan were pulled protectively over her hands, making only the tufts of tissues tucked into her hold visible. Her grip was tight around the thin papers, like the line of her jaw as she tried to keep her bottom lip from wobbling.
The sight of her with a glassy gaze and tear-dewed features wasn't something new for Harry, but it still chipped at his heart as if it were the first time. Besides, he'd never seen her cry because of him.
"Oh, love," Harry sighed, rushing to crouch in front of where she sat on the toilet lid. He wanted to warm her bare thighs with the palms of his hands, dip his lips against her cheeks in soothing kisses, and caress the soft of her hair from her face, but he knew he couldn't. Even though she was moments from crumbling, that hard line in her jaw wavered just like the resolve to keep her poorly-hidden emotions in check, Harry knew there was a line he couldn't cross with her right now that included putting his hands on her. "Are y'alright?" he crooned, voice soft enough that he hoped it would wrap around her the way he wished he could.
(Y/N)'s lips pinched and features tightened at his words. She shook her head directing her eyes to the tissues in her clutch, "I don't want to talk, remember?"
He wished he didn't still find her so adorable in such a dreaded moment, but a small smile still wormed its way onto his lips. "Right, sorry," he relented, "Y'still okay with listening to me, then?"
All he got in response was a petite nod and a quick flick of (Y/N)'s eyes up to his face.
Harry adjusted his position in front of her, getting more comfortable as he sat back on his heels with his knees against the tiled floor. His eyes stayed soft as he took her in, a niggling reminder in the back of his mind telling him that she was in this state because of him.
"I know y'don't want to talk, so jus' tell me yes or no, kay?" he started, watching for her minute reaction of a small nod of her head, "Okay, so y'saw me and Fiona, right? The woman Tawny brought over."
(Y/N) gave another nod of her head with furrowed brows, fingers tightening just a hair around the fragile tissues in her hands.
He crept around his next question. "Is that what made y'upset?"
The pinch between her brows deepened, gaze still fixed on the crumpled paper in her hands. She didn't give a nod this time, only a shrug of her shoulders. Her eyes flicked up to find Harry through her lashes, something akin to embarrassment tinting her watery gaze.
"'S okay if it was. Y'can tell me," he softly coaxed, pushing the limit and settling his palm on the back of her ankle with his thumb running soothing and cautious circles around the jut of her bone. A beat passed before she gave a sheepish nod of her head, nose sniffling before she brought her tissue up to her face. A grim line took Harry's lips as he shuffled closer to her. His hand slid up the length of her calf, eyes trained to catch any kind of objection in her gaze. "I hope 'm not assuming too much when I tell y'that she's jus' a friend; that you've got nothing to worry about when it comes to things like that."
He gauged her reaction with intent eyes, trying to catch any shift in demeanor or switch in her features that would tell him he had wrongly assumed and taken everyone's encouragement a bit too seriously. But, it never came.
Instead, another shy glance through her lashes was what Harry earned. It seemed as though she had temporarily abandoned the hurt that had made her rush to the bathroom in the first place in a trade for the embarrassment that was tinting her eyes and making them dart around his own in an effort to track his reaction.
"But," she croaked, voice dry and nasally, "You were acting like you do with me, but with her." She seemed to cringe at her lame words, instead opting to push her attention back on the bundled tissues in her hands.
While Harry had half the mind to celebrate about the small admission that she was sharing with him—the fact she had been jealous to at least some degree over him interacting with someone else—he had bigger things to worry about. Cautiously settling both hands on the caps of her knees, Harry squeezed around the joint before rubbing soothing circles around the soft inside.
"Trust me, sweetheart, the things I do with y'are jus' for us. I don't share that with anyone else," he shuffled closer to her, the gap between her thighs spreading the more he inched towards her, "You know that, right?"
"You...I don't know," (Y/N) floundered, voice quiet around the crinkling of the tissues, "You asked me if I wanted a drink and then did the same for her, and you guys touched a lot. It just seemed like you were really excited to be talking to her. I don't know; I'm being dumb."
"You're not dumb, love, we've been over this," he smiled, hoping the lightheartedness of his tone would lift her and reassure her of his next words, "Fiona's nice, but she's not you. I asked her if she wanted a drink because its a nice thing to do, and I think she's a rather touchy person, that's all. And, I only really got excited to talk to her when we started talking about you."
She perked up at the mention of their topic of conversation. "Me?"
"Mhm," Harry hummed, a dimple thumbing into the full of his cheek at her reaction, "Right after we talked about Fiona's husband, she asked me about you."
(Y/N)'s shoulders dropped as Harry fed her more information. Her eyes grew wide as she tipped her chin, finally matching Harry's gaze and allowing him a full view of her softened features. "She's married?"
"And you talked about me?"
"We did. She was telling me that I reminded her of her husband because of how clueless I am, apparently. Because I didn't believe that you could share the same feelings as I do about you." Harry let his words hang in the air between them, tone hushed to conceal the secret that was just for her. "This was all some sort of plan Tawny thought up to test me or something and see if I was being honest when I told her you and I were jus' friends. She had told me Fiona was interested in me, and if I had refused to meet her, then she would have figured she had caught my 'lie' and that you and I had actually secretly eloped or whatever story she had working in her head. There wasn't anything going on between us, I promise. Besides, it's jus' me and you, right? I don't plan on changing that now."
(Y/N)'s bambi-esque gaze flickered over his face as he spoke before. Slowly, her eyes downturned with her brows curving into a frowned slope. He waited for her to say something about the soft confession he'd just given her, anything to tell him what she might be thinking. Instead, she all but launched herself into his arms.
Falling flat on his ass, Harry was quick to gather her into his arms. The thuds of her knees hitting the tiled floor of the bathroom made him flinch—he was going to have to check her later for any bruising—as she straddled his lap. She wrapped her arms around his neck and buried her face in the gap created between her arm and his skin. Muffled words sounded against the curve of his throat, fanning across the expanse. With his hands spanning over her back, fingers flexing into the knit of her cardigan, Harry let out a soft laugh as he held her tighter to his chest.
"What was that, love?" he murmured, tucking his own chin into her neck.
She peeked out from the spot she had made her home in his neck though she stayed close enough Harry swore he could could each of her eyelashes. "I said I was sorry," she peeped, guilt washing over her features, "I shouldn't have gotten upset just because you were being nice to your friend. I'm sorry I got... crazy."
One of the hands that spanned over her back, drifted to brush hair from her face before Harry fit his palm over the back of her neck. "You're not crazy," he insisted, looking up at her from where she was snuggled on top of his lap, "I understand why y'might worry about things like that, after everything with him"—Harry always tried to find any excuse not to say Andrew's name, the syllables singeing his throat like bile—"And I know I haven't been especially clear about how I feel about you. I've been worried about pushing y'away, or scaring y'with how I feel since we're not in the same demographic, y'could say"—that earned Harry a softened smile that spread over her lips—"I don't want to make you uncomfortable or push you."
Harry rolled his lips between his teeth, the pad of his thumb working small rotations over the curve of her throat in comforting strokes. (Y/N)'s own hands settled on the broad of his shoulders, clutching the fabric of his shirt between her fingers. Her gaze was locked on her hands, her fingertips tracing over the stitching of his black top.
"But, you care about me?" Her words were quiet in the still of the bathroom, muffled noises that could be heard through the door almost concealing her tone.
"I do, quite a bit actually," Harry admitted, a breathy laugh riding his words. He hoped his lighthearted facade was doing enough to cover the anxiety rising in his chest. She seemed to be rather receptive to the affection he was laying out for her, but he couldn't help but anticipate any kind of rejection she may dole out.
"As more than just a friend, right?" (Y/N) prompted, hands now abandoning his shirt and climbing up the column of his throat in inching brushes.
"On all of our friend dates, I was hoping y'would look at me and tell me y'wanted it to be real. That y'wanted it to be a real date, jus' like I did."
A beat passed, (Y/N)'s warm palms settling on the line of his jaw before cautiously pulling her eyes up to match his. "I care about you, too," she told him earnestly, a deep breath lifting her shoulders, "A lot."
Harry swears he was going to start running a fever with how warm his heart felt as he processed her words. He finally got answers for all the questions that followed him into bed each night and pinged in his head with every text message she went with an innocent heart emoji attached. An easy smile tugged at his lips, dimples dented deep in his cheeks and an affectionate flush dusting his cheekbones.
"Can I kiss you?" (Y/N) cut him off with her rushed question, her fingers curling into his hairline as she cradled his face. "Please?"
If he hadn't been so intent on keeping his eyes on her, seeing how her mouth formed around her request to kiss him and the glow that radiated from under her skin, Harry swears his eyes would have rolled to the back of his head by how good it felt to hear her words.
"C'mere," Harry instructed, voice soft and quiet to match the grip he still had on the back off her neck.
(Y/N) didn't need much convincing as her eyes automatically fluttered shut and she tipped her chin with puckered lips. Harry kissed her around the smile edging the corners of his mouth, a satisfied curl of his lips begging to be released over just how happy he was to finally have this moment. He fought it off as best he could, the need to really kiss her beating out the euphoria in his chest. Smoothing his lips between hers, the plush of her bottom lip cradled between his two was enough to have his arms tensing around her. She was still sat solidly in his lap, her gentle hands on his face grounding him to the moment as he lost himself in the taste of her kiss. The slick of his tongue peeked out, tasting the fruit fragrance that tinted her lips. Though he was guiding her through the kiss, her eagerness shone through in the way she had her thighs clenched around his own from where she sat astride him and the way she tipped her chin and surged forward every time she wanted more of him. The moment felt surprisingly intimate to Harry despite the way they were cuddled on a bathroom floor of a friend's house. He felt at peace as he sat with her.
And, god, did he just love kissing her.
He swears he could do this for hours, getting lost in the plush of her lips and the fresh taste that drew him in further and further. Nothing about their kissing was heated or verging in a direction that wasn't proper for a bathroom floor, but every bit of devotion Harry held for her was translated through the way his lips smoothed over her. Though he indulged in tastes of her lips, his tongue smoothing over the fullest point, he never met her own, allowing him to focus only on learning every bit of her he had daydreamed about. His arm around her waist worked as a cradle to keep her close with his hand on the back of her neck working to keep her steady. Drawing his knees up behind her, now having the soft of her body held between his chest and thighs, served as a form of cocoon around the moment, tethering them to each other. Tender caresses of her fingertips brushed through the baby curls bordering his hairline, making Harry feel like he could purr if given the chance.
Though he almost felt like he could do this for hours, he knew that wasn't practical with the party going on outside the door and the fact he knew (Y/N) hadn't eaten since she arrived. He needed to take care of her properly before he indulged in more presses of her lips and whispered promises of his affection. That made it his job to pull away first, though it was done reluctantly.
"Wait," (Y/N) breathed, her hands on his jawline sliding to work through the curls of his hair "One more."
Just a sliver of his eyes were open, just enough to catch the plea on her face that matched her words. How was he supposed to say no to something like that, especially when he was still reeling from their confession of shared feelings.
Harry didn't hesitate before he pressed another indulgent kiss to her lips, soaking in the contact to get him through the rest of the night. Before (Y/N) could have a chance to take it any farther, he pulled back completely, unfurling his body from around her and giving some semblance of space between them.
A moony tint took her gaze, irises softened and glazed over with something much more pleasant that the sheen of tears he had found her with.
"Y'alright?" Harry crooned, his hands now fussing around her in an effort to fix her mussed hair and adjust the headband on the top of her head.
"Yeah, yeah," she repeated, hands sliding down from his hair to the broad of his shoulders they had started at, "Thank you."
The sincerity burning in her gaze was enough to get his heart racing again with urges to pull her in for another kiss. She was thanking him, whether it be for the way he was fixing her hair, how he had kissed her, or the fact that they had finally come clean about their matching feelings, he wasn't sure, but any answer made his heart hurt. He would have pulled her in again, planting a lingering kiss over her swollen pout, if a low rumble hadn't sounded from her stomach.
A sheepish expression took her features, teeth trapping her bottom lip between the blunt ends. Her eyes were wide with shy embarrassment. "I'm so sorry, that's s—"
"Why are y'sorry?" Harry smiled, his incredulous tone coming out with a laugh, "Don't be sorry about being hungry. I was jus' about to get y'fed anyway."
"Still," she insisted, "Its bad timing."
That earned her a soft kiss on her cheek.
He made slow work of shuffling her from his lap and standing up from the cool tile that was hard against his backside. (Y/N) stood up before him, popping to the mirror in an effort to fix whatever else of her appearance had been altered from her tears then mussed up with the help of Harry's touchy hands and tender kisses. He took his time stretching out his limbs, eyes fixed on her reflection in the mirror as she fiddled with the neckline of her dress. She peeked up at him, finding his eyes in the mirror before a shy smile took her lips.
"What?" Harry pressed, running an absent hand through his hair in hopes that he looked well enough together that he could effectively fend off Tawny's prying.
"Nothing," she sighed, smile deep on her lips, "You're just really cute, and now I get to tell you that every time I think it."
Harry took her hand that had begun to adjust the wrinkled shoulders of her cardigan, twirling her around to face him with her back pressed to the countertop behind her. He settled his hands on either side of her form, fingers curling around the lip of the counter as he leaned in to match her eyes.
"If you're not careful, 'm gonna end up locking y'in here with me and we're going to be too busy kissing to actually be at this party," he nodded his head towards the door, his 'threat' thin and a little too inviting with the way (Y/N)'s eyes lit up at the mention of more kissing, "But, I think we've got to take care of you first, right?"
As if on cue, a rippling purr sounded from her stomach, just loud enough to be heard over the sound of the party going on outside. Another timid curl of her lips molded (Y/N)'s features before she peeped out a right. Harry rewarded her with a kiss to the tip of her nose before taking one of her hands in his. He filled the gaps between her fingers with his own, the whole of his palm encasing her hand in a protective hold.
"Ready?" he asked her as he reached for the doorknob.
A delicate squeeze was delivered to his hand, her painted fingernails brushing over the cross tattooed on his hand. "Do you think they're going to ask us questions? Like what happened and everything?"
"'M sure they will," Harry sighed, already trying to figure an escape route so he could clear a path around Tawny and hopefully introduce (Y/N) to Fiona before the night was over, "But we don't have to tell them anything. It can just be for me and you; our secret."
She brightened at the mantra that had become something special for the two of them.
"Yeah," she beamed, "Just me and you."
moscato wine is sweet and airy, floral notes blooming across the senses. a celebration of the italian summer
only a couple parts left!!! thank u sm for reading, sorry for any mistakes and please lmk if u have any ideas or if theres anything at all u want to talk about w this piece!!!
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