“There’s absolutely no fuckin’ way.” he smirks while shaking his head. As he was just about to get up to get some sparkling water out of the fridge, Anne holds onto the fabric of his cotton shirt on his arm, right where his heart tattoo is placed.
“You don’t have to feel like..”
“Mum.” Harry interrupts her while letting out a small laugh. It’s not about making fun of his family and their concerns. It’s just because even questioning his decision to plan the family trip by himself (and of course paying for it) seems more than ridiculous to him.
“I’d love to take everyone out to New York for Easter and it’s my decision to book the flights. And let me fuckin’ pay it.” he complains. Anne just tries to hide a small smile behind her more than proud facade (as so often). Harry looks up to Gemma, who’s sitting in front of the family table with a glass of white wine in her hand and one knee up on the chair. She sticks out her tongue while looking at her brother.
“Michal, are you in as well?” he asks the tall blonde man, sitting next to his sister and being the reason for all the little smiles she shares way more often than usually since he’s here.
“Depends on wether she’ll dump me after this family weekend or not.” he jokes, receives a hit from Gemma onto his side right after. Everyone laughs a little as Harry finally stands up to walk into the kitchen. He loves Christmas at home and right now in this moment, when he can hear the same Christmas music as every year as well as everyone’s laughter in the background, he knows that this is something he never wants to miss.
Spending time with the people who loved him first.
As soon as Harry gets back to the table with a bottle of water in his hands, Anne casually places her hand on his shoulder and looks at him with that familiar curious facial expression.
“So.. why don’t you bring Kendall as well?” she asks. Harry looks at his mom and doesn’t hear any reply from the others in the room. He knows why.
“I think she’s going to want to spend easter with her family as well..” he replies hesitantly, knows that not everyone of his family has that much sympathy for her.
“Well, you two have been seeing each other since three years now. Why don’t you.. integrate her more into those family things, love?” Anne asks casually while Harry fills up everyone’s glasses again. He just sighs, was never happier than now to get interrupted by Robbin.
“Hun, why don’t you mind your own business and leave this poor boy alone with his love life? He’s twenty- two and old enough. Don’t you think?” he says, making everyone smirk a little. Anne just sighs and nods. She knows that it’s none of her business, but she also knows that Harry’s a good person. Too good to ever ask for more. More time. More effort. More love.
“Mum, we’re casual. Okay? I told you this so many times now. We’re.. seeing each other whenever we feel like it. There’s no pressure. And we’d love to keep it that way.” Harry answers politely, starts to feel really uncomfortable with Gemma sitting in front of him and having this look on her face. The look that says ‘There’re so many mean comments I’d like to add but I won’t ‘cuz it’s Christmas’.
“Okay, fine. I won’t ask again.” she says, with a salty tone in her voice. She focuses on her dinner again and starts to pick in her salad. Harry looks at her and laughs a little.
“What?” she asks.
“Nothin’.” he smirks and keeps on finishing his supper as well.
“Where are you going that late?” Anne yells from the kitchen, as she hears her son grabbing his Gucci boots in the hallway of the family house. It has started snowing a little and while Michal, Robbin and Gemma made themselves comfortable in front of the fire after dessert, Anne started to clean up the mess in the kitchen. This is just typical for his mother. She can’t stand a dirty kitchen for more than five minutes.
Harry gets up and grabs his long black coat. His short brown hair are already tucked under a grey beanie and he steps up to his mum. He quickly presses a short kiss onto her cheek.
“I’m off to the Crawshaws. Promised I’d say ‘hi’. I’ll be back in an hour.” he murmurs and walks up to the door.
“Say ‘hi’ to everyone from us as well.” Anne reminds him. Harry opens up the big wooden door and steps outside into the cold winter air.
Darkness. Darkness and silence.
He closes the door and starts walking down the small street of Holmes Chapel. That’s what he loves about coming home and taking a late night walk. No people. No yelling. No excitement.
He starts to walk down the street and peaks into some of the enlightened houses. He can look through some living- room glasses and see Christmas trees and dogs running around. All families that he still knows from his childhood are reunited again with their grown- up children. He loves this time of the year.
After a few more minutes of quiet he arrives at the big white house at the end of his street. There’s a light coming from the kitchen window and he already imagines Liza betraying him with her self- made oatmeal cookies. A smile appears on his face. Nothing has changed. As he was just about to knock, the door opens up and a smiling brunette hugs him tight.
“Hey looser.” she says excitedly into the hug. He laughs a little while hugging her back.
“Hey you too.” he simply answers. Abigail lets go off him and quickly pulls him inside the cozy family home. As both have arrived in the hallway of the old house, she places her hands carefully on his shoulders and remains still for a few seconds while observing him.
“Oh god you’re so fuckin’ tan! What did you do?” she says.
“Thank you for asking. I’m well. How’s your Christmas so far?” he answers ironically. Abigail rolls her eyes but then looks at him again while Harry takes off his coat.
“Where is everyone?” he asks and takes a peak inside the empty kitchen, expected her big family to roam around. Just like they always do on Christmas night.
“You didn’t answer my question.” she says, stands in the doorway and leans her head onto the frame. He smirks. She looks a bit tired, her long and brown hair is a little curly and her make up a little smudged. But she gives him the same smiling face as she always does. He still has no idea how a person can constantly be as happy as her.
“You neither.” he says casually, causing her to hit him right on the shoulder.
“Do you want cake?” she asks then and walks up into the family kitchen. He just drops onto one of the bar stools and shakes his head.
“No, my mum stuffed me with ice cream already.” he complains. Abigail, who just picked up her plate with the slice of chocolate cake that’s almost done already, just sticks out her tongue and whispers a sarcastic “Right, now your L.A. diet is ruined.” as she teases him and stuffs her mouth with the cake. He laughs at her and gets up.
“Exactly. So again, why are you alone on Christmas Eve?” he asks, casually walks up to the fridge and grabs a small bottle of water. It’s not awkward, not even a little bit. This house was nearly like his second home since he was six. Abigail’s brother Toby used to be his best friend. And then there suddenly was Abigail, who quickly became his best friend as well. When he was twelve he had the biggest crush on her but after a couple months of holding hands, Harry and Abigail both decided just how ridiculous this idea was. The idea of him and her being sweethearts, when they were so much more than that.
Best friends. Brother and Sister. Ever since. Still today.
“Everyone went to the church but I just got here from Leeds, and I was way too tired after working non- stop last week.” she says and sits down next to Harry. It’s quiet in the room. Abigail has finished her slice of cake already and now looks at Harry.
“How was L.A.?” she asks, a little more serious than before. She knows how important his solo project is for him and she could not be prouder of his commitment and his hard work - even without the other boys.
“Really great. It’s going really well. I just finished another three tracks and.. yeah. Feels good.” he says and looks at her. Abigail smiles proudly at him.
“I’m sure it’s going to be super successful. People will love it. I’m sure.” she says and places her hand on his forearm, right over his black shirt.
“So what else is new?” she asks.
“Not much.” he answers quick.
“Oh C’mon. How’s ‘Kenny’?” she teases and pokes him into his side. She knows exactly how much he hates the fact that everyone, including his closest friends, like to make fun of his Kardashian girlfriend aka friend-with-benefits every once in a while. But just because he’s now Mr. One Direction- Styles doesn’t mean that she’ll treat him differently than she would have before - or tell him exactly what her opinion on his chick- flicks are.
He looks at her confused as hell, opens up his mouth but then doesn’t know what to say.
“What?” she asks as he just shakes his head.
“Why does everyone, literally everyone, always wanna know how she is or.. what we are or when she’s gonna join any family dinner or..”
“H.” she interrupts him, “it’s just not that normal to be dating a girl and sleeping with a girl for more than three years without committing to a real relationship.” she says, “especially not in Holmes Chapel.” she adds and laughs a little. Harry looks at her. Her brown eyes shine, even though she seems to be really tired.
“I know. It’s just so annoying at times.” he says and covers his face in his hands.
She looks at his tattooed arms and the many rings on his hands. He hasn’t changed at all since she’s seen him last month.
“But why don’t you wanna talk about her? I mean.. remember Jessica from french class when you were fifteen?” she asks and can’t hide a little laughter in her voice. Even Harry has to smirk with his jet- lagged and tired eyes.
“Abi, I was a kid.” he laughs and looks at her. She keeps on holding on to his forearm while talking - a typical habit of hers.
“Abi, she’s the love of my life. The most beautiful woman on earth ever.” she imitates him, making him laugh even more.
“I said that?” he asks a little embarrassed.
“Oh, let me remind you of that sweet letter you wrote back then.” she teases. He interrupts her fast enough.
“Why don’t you skip that letter and get to your point?” he says, making her laugh again.
“Okay, so what I’m saying is that.. even as a twenty three year old wise, rich and famous man..” she exaggerates and makes him roll his eyes, “it’s okay to be in love. And to share it with your family.” she says, way more serious than before.
Harry looks at her and he feels trapped. Nobody can get to the real issue as fast as she can, with him.
“But why share an open relationship? I mean, of course I love hanging out with her and we have so much fun together but like.. I just don’t want to act like I’m gonna marry her in front of my family when we haven’t even had the talk yet.” he claims.
“Harry! You don’t have to marry her to let her be part of your family and your home.” she says with a little smirk on her face. She sometimes cannot believe that the boy with the enormous number of girlfriends throughout his life so far, is so bad at committing to someone.
He doesn’t say anything. Abigail looks at him a little confused. He seems to be incredibly interested in his bottled water all of a sudden. She sighs and places casually both her hands on his shoulder.
“H..” she sighs. He looks up to her.
“What?” he asks with his raspy voice as usual.
“Do you love her?”
He looks at her, right into her green eyes and opens his mouth. Nothing. Nothing will come out except for an embarrassed stutter.
“It’s.. it’s not like that. I mean.. yeah. I guess.”
She doesn’t move, has that look on her face that she always had when Harry told her about his affairs or ‘fun times’ how he likes to call it. She doesn’t blame him - he’s young and successful and she does want him to live life to the fullest and to enjoy himself in this amazing time of his life. But she knows him better than that. She knew him when he was the shy little Harry Styles from Burlington Road who worked in Charleston’s bakery from 5 to 12am on saturdays and she knows the megastar Harry Styles, who jets around the world and is known by everybody.
He always wanted more from a relationship than that. He always used to and he still does. That she knows for sure.
“You ‘guess’ you love her?” she asks again, both hands still casually placed on his shoulders.
“Oh gosh, Abi. This whole conversation is just so stupid..” he complains and she grins softly. She really knows how to drive him insane.
“Okay, I get it. She’s beautiful and successful and you looove fuckin’ her. Right?” she asks. He looks at her and shakes his head in disbelief.
“You’re a horrible person at times Ms. Crawshaw.” he says quietly. She shrugs with a smile on her lips.
“Admit it and I’ll be quiet.” she laughs and pokes him again. He sighs annoyed but can’t hide a smirk as well. How could he be best friends with someone so stressful at times?!
“Okay, okay fine! I ‘looove’ fuckin’ her.” he says, throws his hands up in the air. He’s trapped. She won.
“I’m glad.” she answers confident of victory, gets up and walks up to the fridge.
“I think we need a glass of wine now that we got to your love life, Styles..” she determines, grabs the bottle of white wine and gets back to Harry.
“After the last five minutes of therapy by Dr. Crawshaw.. hell yes!” he says quickly.
She laughs a little while pouring some of the chardonnay into the wine glass that she has just placed in front of him. It gets more quiet. Harry, as well as Abigail both seem to be lost in their own thoughts while focusing on the soon to be filled glasses.
“Can I say something really cheesy without you teasing me for the rest of our lives with it?” she asks. He laughs again, then looks at her face. A warm smile is formed on his lips now. He knows Abigail and one of the reasons why she’s still his best friend after all these years is the fact that she simply has a good heart. She’s one of the kindest and most giving people he knows. Even though it means that she can get a little too romantic for his taste sometimes.
“Can’t promise that, but I’ll try.” he smirks.
She stays quiet for a few seconds, then opens her mouth again.
“Someday you will look into someone’s face and you’ll know.” she says. Harry looks up to her, a little confused.
“And you’ll know that this person is right and that.. that it was worth having those ‘I guess’- relationships. And when you’ve met this person, you’ll know. And I promise you’ll find that person, Harry Styles. Good people always do.”
He looks up to her again. How she’s standing there in her Micky Mouse socks and the little moon necklace that she got since she was fourteen. She doesn’t move but she smiles at him. Warmly. As always.
Good people always do
“Thank you..” he says quietly, almost like a whisper.
She doesn’t reply, grabs her glass of wine and then looks up again, right into his eyes.
“You’re welcome.” she smiles quietly and he knew.
In that moment, he knew.