Both Liam and I stayed out a lot longer than we should have. When the sun first appeared over the rooftops of the cottage style houses, we had both squealed. As our scooters lay forgotten on the pathway, Liam took me in his arms and held me as we watched the sunrise.
It was a fantastic start to the day, in the arms of an amazing guy. When we finally returned home at seven in the morning, the kitchen was buzzing as breakfast was made. All the other boys were already up, groggy and in their sleeping gear. Liam and I walked in, hand in hand, not really expecting anyone to be awake.
As my hand reached out for the doorknob to enter the kitchen, it felt cool against my palm. Twisting it, I looked behind me and smiled, before marching in. Niall’s mother looked up and grinned at me and that’s when it clicked.
Why wasn’t she getting angry at me?
“Good morning, sunshine. Did you have a good sleep?” She questioned, scrambling some eggs in a large saucepan.
“Uh, yeah… yeah? It was good…”
Liam, who had come to stand behind me, slithered his arms around my waist. His eyebrows had risen too, a look of confusion on his face. He whispered into my ear, instructing me to leave it. Taking two plates stacked with toast, we walked over to the dining table where the boys were half dead and slowly munching away on their breakfast.
When they saw us walk in, acting couple-like, they all reacted differently. Zayn, whose hoodie was covering the majority of his head, locked eyes with me and gave me a large grin. Niall bit his lip and gave me a nod. I nodded back. Louis glanced up, before glancing at Harry. Harry didn’t look up at all.
Pulling Liam with me, I took him to the two available seats on the dining table, both opposite the side Harry and Louis were sitting on.
“Did you have a good night last night guys? Didn’t do anything too naughty did you?” Zayn asked, his question directed at Liam. The boys chuckled, however, I noticed Harry flinch. It seemed I was the only who had done so, because nobody mentioned anything. My eyes bore into the top of his head, hoping he would look up. He didn’t.
“Yeah, it was good,” Liam replied, digging into his scrambled eggs on toast.
“Yeah,” I echoed. “Hey, by the way, Niall, did you cover for me last night?” I asked, still looking at Harry. Niall had been the last person I’d seen before going on a six hour walk, which resulted in me arriving at his house at one in the morning.
“Uh, nope. I’m really sorry if my mum got angry at you,” he apologized on her behalf.
“That’s the thing though, she didn’t? She just asked if I had slept well. Zayn, Louis… Liam, did you guys say anything?” They all shook their heads in sync, too engrossed in their meals to give me a proper answer.
“I covered for you,” Harry said, his voice muffled due to his head hanging. “Just like old times,” he added, a grin appearing on his face for a split second before it disappeared. I laughed heartily.
There was a lull in conversation as the scraping of metal against metal filled the empty air. My breakfast lay untouched, however, as I carefully watched Harry. He was purposely looking down, but from my view it seemed as if his eyes were slightly puffy.
“Hey, babe, are you gonna eat that?” Liam asked, poking me lightly with his fork. Rubbing the spot where he touched me, I smiled and shook my head, pouring the contents of my breakfast onto his plate.
“Harry, can I…erm, talk to you… in private for a moment?” I hesitantly asked, still watching him carefully. The silence around the table became deafening as all eyes were on us. The only sound that arose was from Liam, who continued eating, carefree. His renewed confidence in me heated me from my core, spreading through my body and giving me the boost required to talk to Harry.
He remained quiet for a moment, the fork still in his hand as he intensely watched his plate. With a light shove from Louis on his right, he finally looked up and nodded, dropping the silver utensils and leading me into the lounge room.
Niall’s lounge room was connected to his dining room and I knew the conversation would float back towards the boys. Harry, who had walked in before me, was currently leaning against the dark burgundy feature wall. I walked towards him and stopped just in front of his cocked knee. His blue eyes connected with mine and I couldn’t help but stare back.
As I had deciphered before, his eyes were slightly red around the rims. I knew this was exemplified due to the lack of sleep, but at the same time, his red eyes told me he had been crying. I could see the pain reflected within them, which made my job even harder. As much as I wanted to look away, I couldn’t. His eyes were too mesmerising.
He looked at me, expectantly, waiting for me to begin.
“That kiss…” I started, knowing that what I was going to say would kill him from the inside. I had to say it, though. I had to clear the air and I had to return to being simply his best friend. “That kiss was a mistake, Harry.”
He blinked rapidly for a moment and I almost started crying when I saw his eyes begin to well up. He fought his tears, however, and feebly smiled through them.
“I know,” he whispered. Breaking his gaze, he continued. “I’m really happy for you and Liam and I’m glad you’ve sorted it out.”
And then he hugged me. The embrace contained no feelings of jealousy or anger or hurt. It was one of our hugs. One full of comfort and friendly love. Harry’s support was exactly what I needed right now and whilst I knew he was hurt, I couldn’t help but fall for his complacent façade. Everything was alright as long as Harry was alright.
One thing I had noticed about Harry was that he was a great actor. He had the ability to suppress emotions whenever necessary. I remember once, in our many years as friends, I had become distressed over a particularly bad set of grades that the school had sent me. Crying, I had run into Harry’s arms, protesting that I would never pass school. He had comforted me, told me everything would be fine with a big beam on his face. Later that evening, I had found out that his grandfather, someone who he had been very close with, had passed away. The guilt I had felt had been indescribable, but I had learnt an important lesson that day. Harry Styles was able to put on a persona, no matter what he was feeling on the inside.
Despite knowing this, I still fell for his content exterior. Perhaps if I had known that he was wilting within, that his insides were writhing with contempt and jealousy, I would’ve been more courteous of his feelings. But, like always, I put myself first, ignoring his needs and revelling in my simplistic life, revelling in how everything always seemed to go my way. I was selfish and I knew it, but I continued to be selfish without a care in the world.
Pulling away, Harry smiled a big smile that just missed his eyes. Kissing me on the cheek, he whispered again, “I’m so happy for you and Liam,” before pushing me in front of him and out of the door.
I giggled as I saw the four remaining boys scatter in different directions from behind the wooden door. Returning to my seat, I picked up my large glass of orange juice and downed it in three gulps.
My ID lay flat on my palm as I handed it over to the clerk behind the desk, waiting for my boarding pass to be printed. The robotic sounds of the airport filled the air around me.
After a whirlwind four days, it was finally time for me to head home. The boys still had plenty of bonding to do, more so now that I had interfered and caused a slight rift between Harry and Liam, and I, myself, thought it was time I knuckled down and focused on my singing. I had to get through to the Live Finals.
I had to admit, the timing probably could not have been worse. A newly reformed relationship with Liam that needed work, a best friend that needed my love and three new friends who needed to know that I was a good person were being left behind for some solitary time with my family. Knowing that this break could potentially lead to even bigger problems, I was wary of booking my tickets.
But as my clothes ran out, I knew I had to leave, to focus on myself for a little bit and truly sort out my priorities.
The young woman, with strikingly platinum blonde hair pulled into a painfully tight bun, handed me my rectangular boarding pass with a blinding smile. Thanking her, I collected my bag from the floor and walked over to the seat where the boys were sitting with Niall’s parents. Harry, Liam and Louis had their backs turned to me and they seemed to be mulling over a digital camera.
“I don’t understand why the flash isn’t working?” Louis questioned, the digital device in his hand. Walking up behind them, I tried to stand on my tiptoes and look over his shoulder, failing slightly when I realised Louis was too tall.
“Whatchya doin’?” Spinning around, Louis smiled at me and took a surprise shock. Glancing down at the screen on the camera, he burst out laughing.
“That’s hot!” He exclaimed, throwing the camera at me. Catching it, I scowled, before promptly deleting the disgusting picture of me.
“Mum, can you please take a picture of us?” Niall called, before shoving us all together and arranging us for a group shot. Smiling, I watched as the red light went off before bending down again, to kick my bag out of the way.
“So, I’ll see you guys soon, yeah?” I said, looking directly at Liam. “Skype, phones, whatever. Keep in touch and I’ll see you at Liam’s place!” The boys nodded, before giving me a hug and moving off.
Louis and Niall told me to keep out of trouble and gently whispered that there were no hard feelings for the week’s events. Zayn reiterated this by letting me know that he loved me no matter what. Harry’s hug lingered a little longer than most, but he assured me that he loved me forever and that he would call, text and Skype at least once a day. Liam, very publically, kissed me with his soft lips before holding me in his arms for a few moments.
All these embraces between me and the boys were captured on camera and with reassurances that they would all be sent to me via email that evening, I walked off through the security gates towards my flight.
The next week and a half was both harder and easier than I expected. With my mind focused on getting through to the Live Finals, any spare time I did have wasn’t devoted to missing the One Direction group. I received regular updates from all the boys, who never failed to call me at any hour of the day, including four in the morning when I was half asleep and groaned into the phone in an embarrassing manner.
At the same time, I began to miss their constant company profusely. My house seemed quiet, even with the presence of Annabelle and my mother’s nagging. Louis’ jokes, Niall’s laughter, Zayn’s accents, Harry’s flirtatiousness and Liam’s love were all missing and it made life rather dull.
However, this did ensure that any call or text I received from any member was cherished more than they usually would be. Each joke brought more laughter; each message of love brought more admiration. Without their continuous company, I began to love them with all my heart.
As they say, absence only makes the heart grow fonder.