"I swear to God Styles I will kill you." I was digging my nails into his shoulders. Harry had threw me on his back and we were running back to the fire. He kept pretending to throw me into the ocean.
"It’s not that cold." He was just on the edge of the beach, the water lapping at his feet.
We were so close to the fire I could make out each face perfectly. Just then I felt the tug and my heart threw it’s self out of my body.
"NIAAAAAAAAAALLL" I screamed to get his attention as Harry and I dove into the cold ocean.
The water swirled all around us. Everything so dark, and freezing. I broke the surface flipping my hair out of my eyes.
"You are so dead Harry."
"Come on love." He splashed at me. I took off after him.
"Grab him Niall!" He had come running into the water, Liam and Louis in tow.
"Guys! I think we can settle this in a mature fashion don’t you?" He was shivering.
"We could." Said Liam stepping closer to Harry.
"But that’s not nearly as fun." Louis said
Niall and I pounced on Harry submerging him fully under water and keeping him down. The other boys charged and Harry burst out of the water whaling as if we were trying to murder him.
"Fine it’s on!" Harry grabbed at me picking me up and throwing me out further into the ocean. Niall and Harry were battling when I came up. Louis an Liam were swimming out towards me. I was treading water, knowing it was warmer under the water than in the cool breeze of night.
"Let’s get his trunk." Louis whispered in our little huddle.
"How?" I was game.
"You distract him, and Louis and I will swim up to him under water and rip them off."
I swam a little closer then called out for Harry.
"Harry, I’m so cold! Come hold me."
Hook line and sinker. Harry was swimming over to me. I saw Liam and Louis disappear under the surface.
"Come here Love."
"So I was thinking," I was stalling, batting my water clumped eye lashes up at him. "How much I love your swim trunks."
"You do?" We were shivering half exposed to the night time air.
"Yeah, I kind of want them."
As if the boys could hear me, on cue the were ripping off Harry’s shorts. Harry was squirming and thrashing trying to keep them on. I was laughing so hard. Niall was beside me now, knocking his shoulder into mine and I knocked his back. Liam and Louis emerged from the ocean victorious holding Harry’s trunks high above their heads.
"Good one lads. Jokes on you. I love oh natural.” He leaned back in the water, swimming around as if he were some bizzar naked sea creature.
"Fine, then we are taking you trunks and your girl." Niall turned and threw me up over his shoulders and was running back towards the fire with Liam, Louis and Harry’s trunks right behind us.
"Nialler you unhand her right now!" Harry was clambering out of the ocean.
"Harry!" I shrieked covering my eyes.
Everyone was laughing uncontrollable as Harry made it to the fire grabbing his towel and wrapping it around his waist.
"Finders keepers, losers weepers. Sorry chap she belongs to us now." The boys had wrapped me up in a towel and had formed a half circle around me.
"I guess it’s come to this." Harry dropped his imaginary gloves to the ground and started jumping around like a kangaroo with rabies. The boys quickly discussed who was going to fight Harry first. Louis stepped up to bat.
"Bring it pretty boy." Louis’s hands went up and he was too jumping around like a deranged animal.
They collided, pushing back and forth. Everyone cheering on their teams. Louis went down and pretending to be slain. He raised his head up an through gritted teeth he cried “I’m sorry Holland.” and with a final, dramatic breath went limp.
"Loooooooooooou!" Liam went running to avenge Louis death. In two quick moves Liam was dead on the ground beside Louis.
Niall stood and looked back at me.
"I’m coming back for you, never fear."
I blew Niall a kiss like the damsel in distress I was.
Niall let out a loud warrior battle cry and both boys went at it. Niall over took Harry, his foot slipping in the sand, and just before Harry fell he made one finale move sending Niall down in the heap of his fallen comrades.
"My fair lady." Harry said knelling down in front of me, kissing my hand.
"My knight in wet towel!" I ruffled his hair and he plopped down beside me taking me in his arms.
"Holland can we go to the mountains tomorrow?" Eleanor’s voice cut through the chatter.
Harry shot me a curious look.
"Sure. Does anyone else want to come with us?" The group mumbled. Harry gave his answer by Kissing just behind my ear.
"We’ll come." Zayn and Perrie kissed to settle it.
Niall and Liam were going to play a game of football tomorrow so they were out.
"Couples day!" Eleanor dragged the word out.
"Cute." Harry mocked.
I dug my fingers into his shins.
"Be nice." I hissed.
"We’ll lets call it a night then." Zayn offered.
Everyone agreed and started collect all their belongings. Harry put his trunks back on as I put out the fire.
As everyone made their way back to the cars Harry and I trailed behind. Swinging our hands as we walked.
"What do you want to do now?" Harry let the question dangle in the air between us.
"If anything, I should go back to my place and pick up some stuff."
"If we get a ride to my place, I have my car there if we decide to go back."
"Sounds like a plan."
We climbed into the back seat of the mustang, Louis was driving.
"Where too love birds?"
Louis asked now question, just plugged my address into the GPS. I curled up against Harry, who was playing with my wet and tangled hair. I was taking him into my world.
The drive only lasted twenty minutes with no traffic. We pulled up in front of a small house with tall pine trees on either side. I found they always made house look like a cottage right out of a fairy tale book. We popped the trunk and I grabbed my bags. If Harry did notice the Victoria Secret bag, he never drew any attention too it.
"We’ll see you tomorrow at noon?" Eleanor asked hanging over her door.
"Sure will!" I gave her a hug and waved at Louis.
"Goodnight." Louis said before they drove away.
"Do you live here on your own?" Harry said as I fumbled with my keys at the front door.
"Yeah, my grandparents left it to me."
"Oh." Harry said
"No, they aren’t dead. They just cashed in on their pensions and moved down to Florida."
I chuckled at Harry who audibly sighed in relief. I finally got the door unlocked.
"This is home." I said as we stepped into my dark living room. Unlike Harry’s spotless bedroom, my living room was cluttered with books and old take out boxes. My cheeks burned.
"Sorry I was kind of a shut in."
Harry shook his head dismissing the mess. He reached back and locked the door behind him.
"Do I get a tour?" He was beautiful in the moon light seeping in through the window.
"Sure." I stumbled around like a chicken with it’s head cut off.
"Relax." Harry said placing a hand to the small of my back.
"This is my living room." I gestured over to the mess.
"Back here is the kitchen." This was clean. I hardly ever used it. I was a terrible cook.
"Bathroom." I said nodding to the half sized bath room in the hall.
"Guest bedroom, office." We passed by two rooms with the doors opened. Mine however was shut tight. French doors. I pushed them open. Suddenly every inch of my body was hyper a wear that Harry was standing in my bedroom. It was at the back of the house, the large windows out looked the back yard with a hot tub and the deck I had helped my grandpa build five summers back. I turned around to find Harry studying all my photos I had hung up on one of my walls. He was smiling. I walked over to him and burrowed into his side.
"This was my first ballet recital." My fingers hovering over the distant memory. "That’s me and my best friend Becky." Her name caught in my throat. I missed her, I missed her so much.
"I’d love to meet her, and your family." He was still looking over my photos.
"I think that would be lovely." The thought of Harry sitting around while my family yelled over top of each other to be heard, talking about everything from Sam’s first spelling test, to the war in Iraq. That was the problem with a big family, lots to talk about, with lots of opinions.
"I’m going to take a shower." I looked up at Harry and slipped away from him. tossing my cover up a his feet. I glanced back at him over my shoulder. His eyes were trained on me as I slipped off my top and left it as another bread crumb in a trail to the bath room.
"No I can do it!" Louis was attempting to stat the fire by rubbing two sticks together, something he swore he learned in survival camp. The sun was sitting just on the horizon. The freight ships anchored out at sea for the night. The sky had began to turn into a billion shades of orange and pink. It was breath taking.
"I believe you mate, but it’s been like half an hour." Zayn said.
We all erupted in laughter. Eleanor pulled out a match from the fire wood package and held a finger up to her lips. This was the only way or we’d be here till next Friday.
"Babe try blowing on it where the friction is." She bent down over the kindling and started to blow as she motioned for Louis to keep rubbing.
"Louis look at that ship." Liam pointed out to the closet freight to us.
"What about it?" Louis was puzzled by its lack of allure.
Eleanor lit the match and threw it in like a flash of lightening.
"You did it Lou!" Harry cried and patted his back!
"I did, I did!" Louis was almost shocked himself.
"Now the trick is to a long lasting bonfire is to arrange the logs like a teepee." I started to arrange the logs. My mother was actually the one to teach me this. My father as useless when it came to building fires, though on occasion we let him think he was ‘the fire king’ as he liked to be called.
My father and mother were perfect for each other. Where one lacked the other made up for it. They were each others darkness and each others light. I remember growing up thinking that not even the fairy tale kind of love was as amazing as my parents love. I glanced over at Harry who was on the other side of the fire, the flames dancing across his body, painting him in licks of red and orange. His smile, the one that rarely left his face, was beaming. He shook the curls from his eyes, second nature. I wondered how our story would sound written down and read out loud.
I allowed myself to dream. Of a house built in the country side, Shakespeare running around being chased after kids. Would I have any? Could I bring myself to have children, or would they only serve as a constant reminder of the innocent lives I took. Was I worthy of growing old with an amazing man like Harry. I bet he was fantastic with children. I could almost feel myself separate from Harry for a moment. Would I survive his goodbye?
"Love, did you hear me?" Harry as now walking towards me.
"No." I laugh trying to cover up my own thoughts. "I totally blacked out. What did you say?"
Harry came over and kissed my forehead sending a rush of pleasure through out my veins. I could feel a tingle beneath my skin where ever Harry touched. My knees a little weak, I slumped into him. I knew one day, with or without Harry, I was going to have to learn how to hold myself up and together. For now, I’d stumble around with Harry guiding me as I went a long. We could be like my parents. I’d get strong again, be there for him when he needed me.
"Want to go for a walk." Harry repeated.
"I’d love that."
Harry’s hand was so much larger than mine. My hand was doll size, everything about me was doll size in comparison to him. Somehow, everything about us fit right. My head always found the perfect spot on his chest, and his hands covered mine so completely. We worked for all the reasons we didn’t. He was beautiful and perfect, and I was ordinary and flawed. We were walking in silence along the beach. Kicking sand up with every step. Harry spotted log pile, he glanced sideways at me and winked. I let go of his hand we both took off at full speed racing to the top of it. Harry made it to the top seconds before I did.
"That’s not fair, you have longer legs than I do." I grumbled. Ever a sore loser.
"You have sexy legs." Harry said pulling me against him with one arm he firmly planted around my waist, locking me tight to his body. With his free hand, he trailed it down the left side of my thigh and pulled my cover up revealing up to my hip bone. My body shook with anticipation. Harry slipped a finger beneath the strap of my bathing suite bottoms as if he was going to untie them. His mouth hovering above mine, blowing hot humid air onto mine, driving me crazy.
"You suck." I teased him.
"Well fine then." He smirked and removed his hand from my thigh and released his grip on my waist.
"Styles!" I punched him in the chest.
"So I won, and you lost. Now I get to claim my prize." He began his decent down the log pile, leaving me standing there at the top.
As much as I hated to admit it, the twelve year old girl voice in my head screamed ‘claim me' I rolled my eyes at my cheap thoughts.
"I never agreed to this prize for wining bull shit." I started after him. My foot catching on a log.
Jack and Jill went up a hill to fetch a pail of water. Jack fell down and broke his crown and Jill came tumbling after.
Leave it to me to be Jack. I crashed hard into Harry’s back, who was taken by surprise and thrown to the ground below. Landing hard on the sand beside him. I pushed away all the ache I felt in my side. I sat up reaching for Harry. We crashed heads sending us back to the sand again.
"Harry are you okay?" I managed to spit out.
"I’m fine, are you okay? Are you hurt?" Besides my ego, I think nothing was permanently damaged or bruised.
"I’m sorry I’m such a disaster." I was biting at my tongue, trying desperately to keep from crying. Harry had seen enough of my tears to last him a life time.
"We’ll figure it out." He was quiet, he ran his thumb across my cheek bone.
"Will we?" I dared to say it out loud. It was eating away inside at me, we had to talk about the future eventually.
"I’m not going anywhere." His voice as breaking.
"What’s going to happen when you have to leave? You can’t take me with you. Harry, I eventually have to go home. I can’t stay in that house with you forever pretending like the real world doesn’t exist, but I can’t stand the thought of a world with out you. It’s just not an option. I hope you feel the same or I sound like a stupid rambling fool who doesn’t know fact from fic-" Harry was on top of me so fast I caught my breath.
He touched a strand of hair behind my ear and he was searching over my face.
"If you don’t want to spend everyday at the house, we will spend more time at your place, or in a shack in the words, or right here on the beach. If you want to go to the zoo we will go to the zoo, you want to run a marathon we will run a marathon. You want to come to London with me in two weeks, you can, or I can travel back and forth. I don’t care what life throws at us Holland, there is no part of this life were I don’t want it to you and I. If you can’t make any decision until everything here gets sorted out. I will move heaven and earth to be here for you.”
Harry’s tears where sliding down and splashing warm against my cheek. I reached up and pulled his lips to mine. I wanted to never breath again if it met leaving his lips. Harry kissed me as if he had the power to erase any all doubts. I swore that Harry could create world peace with his kiss.
"I love you Harry Styles."
"I love you Holland Smith."
There was absolutely no going back now, not that any part of me wanted a way out anyhow.
"Harry?" I ran my hands over the muscles on his back.
"Mmhmm?" His lips were making patterns across my collar bone, causing my body to arch up into his.
"Never let me go." I don’t know where the words came from, but they were falling out of my mouth between breaths.
"Never." He said sliding one hand up my slip snaking his hand around to the ties at my back. I tugged at his shirt and he kindly obliged and tossed it off somewhere in the distance. I ran my finger tips along the outline of his swallows. He caught my hands and kissed my fingertips.
"Harry?" I asked again. I could feel the panic raising in side of me.
"Yes love." He was s patient with me.
"Can you just hold me?"
He smiled and nodded. No trace of bitterness or disappointment. He rolled over and instinctually my head found the nook in his chest. I curled up beside him and looked up at the blanket of stars above us.
"My mum, always loved the stars. Every time I leave home she pulls me in close and whispers in my ear, if ever you get lonely, look up at the moon and rest in peace knowing that I am looking at it too."
"Do you miss your mom?
"Everyday. And my sister. Her name is Gemma. She’s so beautiful, inside and out. Both my Mum and Gem are. I love them."
"It’s only ever been my mom, dad and me. I wouldn’t have had it any other way."
"You never wanted any siblings?"
"I did, a baby brother. I asked for him every year at Christmas until I was about eight. I’d wake up super early and run down stairs to check under the tree to see if Santa had brought him to me. I was so broken hearted when I realized how baby brothers were actually made."
Harry’s body shook beneath mine, and his laugh amplified in my ear.
"Like you never believed in anything silly."
"So until I was eleven years old I whole heartedly believed that I was in fact Harry Potter."
I laughed so hard I got a stich in my side.
"You did not?"
"I can understand believing you were a wizard because, well what little boy or girl didn’t, but Harry Potter himself. That’s very…. special."
Harry was still laughing.
"I woke up extra early on my birthday and everything, waiting for that letter from Dumbledore. It was crushing when it never came."
"Harry I love you."
"You aren’t so bad Smith."
I sat up and looked at him, shooting daggers with my eyes.
"I’m just fooling around you crazy girl."
I could hear voices in the distance screaming our names. How long had we been gone for? It didn’t really matter to me.
"Guess we should go back." My voice trailed off.
"Do we have to?" Harry pouted.
"Let’s run away together." I looked up at the stars burning a life time away from us.
"Where to?" Harry sat up and kissed my shoulder
We left Victoria Secrete with more than we should have in my humble opinion. There was this deep dark part of me I kept trying to fight off. The part of me that loved it. The part of me that couldn’t get enough. Perhaps it came from fighting and working so hard for anything I ever got in life. It was a strange feeling to just be given something for utterly no reason at all. Now my soul was at war about it.
"Any where else you want to go?" Perrie said over her shoulder as she walked a head of us towards the car.
The meter was going to expire soon, so we decided to drop the bags off, put more money in, and hit up American Apparel and some shoe stores. Eleanor kept taking about some sort of trainers she wanted to get for Louis.
It was nearing five O’clock and the sun was beginning to set. With us being the last province to see the sun at the end of the day, we got it until sometimes even around eight. It was hot, you could smell the salt water mixing with the city air. As much as I wanted to go home and show off what I bought for Harry, I wanted to be sitting on the sand, watching the waves crash into the rocks. Night time at English Bay in the summer was on of my favorite things. When I was growing up we used to find little inlets and start bonfires and dance around and drink until the cops would come and cash us all away, only to reunite and recommence in another inlet just down the way. I knew I wanted to share this with Harry. With all of them in fact. Since they so kindly brought me into their lives, this would be my way of bringing them into mine.
"Go a head with out me," I motioned to my cell waving the to head into footlocker.
I was trying to think of the perfect inlet to take them too as the phone rang. The one down my the bridge, or just off of the main beach? There was that really nice one with the sea wall and rocks for protection closer to Stanley park.
Just the sound of Harry’s voice made my entire body ache. I closed my eyes and pictured his face.
"Hey babe. How’s work?" Everything about Harry and I was effortless. I felt as if I knew him my whole life. I only wish I had.
"You know it’s work. We can’t get Niall to keep his clothes on to save our live, so that’s entertaining." He laughed and I could see it all so clearly in my mind.
"Such a free spirit that one is. Hey are you close to being done? Cause I kinda thought of something I’d like us all to do tonight." I bit my lip in anticipation.
It’s not as if the plan didn’t g through everything was over. It just meant no beach party.
"We could be. What the plan?" He sounded eager.
"Beach party?" I could hear my voice shake a little which frustrated me.
"A beach party hey?" Harry repeated and there was a pause where you could hear the other boys pipe up.
"I want to go, sounds sick, when, will there be food?"
I just laughed. Classic boys.
"So I’ll take that as yes?" I was so excited.
"Okay, meet us at the Cactus Club by English bay in an hour? We can go for dinner then head over to the place."
"You got it love. See you soon."
Just like that, I felt the shift from his world, as it collided into mine. There was no turning back now.
I walked into Foot locker to find the girls and fill them in. No surprise to me at all when I found Eleanor loaded down wit shopping bags. Bagging Perrie to help carry them to the car.
"El do you ever just go into a store and buy one thing?" I joked, taking a bag from here.
"Bite me Holland." She laughed.
"So I called the boys. They are going to meet us for dinner down at the beach in an hour then we are going to have a beach party!"
"That sounds like so much fun! Good idea Holland!" Perrie said popping the trunk of the car. There was hardly any room left.
"I have to buy a bathing suite!" Eleanor said matter-of-factly.
Perrie caught my eye and we exchanged a glance of concern.
"I think you may have a shopping addiction El." Perrie said placing her hands on both of Eleanor’s shoulders and looking her square in the eyes.
"I don’t have a shopping addiction Perr, I am a girl." Perrie rolled her eyes and through her hands up in defeat.
"What? We are going to the beach, we all need bathing suites, unless you plan to get wet in those clothes!" Eleanor rebutted.
"There was almost a valid point in there." Perrie stood her ground.
"What part of that wasn’t valid?" It was turning into a little debate right there on the side walk.
"We don’t have to get wet!”
"What’s the point of going to the beach if you don’t go in the ocean."
Perrie huffed in annoyance and defeat.
"Fine but you only get to buy one bating suite!”
Eleanor looked as if Perrie had shot her.
"Why do you hate me so much?" Eleanor whimpered
"Oh honey save the dramatics." Perrie said and slapped Eleanor’s bum as she turned to walk away.
"There’s a swim suite shop just two doors up." I shouted after her.
Perrie and I laughed as Eleanor stomped off like a three year old a head of us.
"This one’s cute!" Eleanor held up a two piece that was hot pink with silver inscriptions on it.
"El, one." Perrie was stern.
"You suck." Eleanor pushed the bathing suite back on the rack.
"I like the black one you just had better. The ruffles are adorable." I was trying to defuse this mother daughter spat.
"It was, wasn’t it?" She smiled and played with the strings of the bottom.
"You should get that purple one Holland. It’s the best one so far." Eleanor was right.
I wasn’t big into flashy bathing suites or bright colours, and purple did look good on me. Perrie got some strange one piece with the back cut out. It’s print reminded me of the 70’s. Very Perrie.
"Do the boys have trunks?" I asked.
"Yeah, they never go anywhere with out them. The hotels they stay in usually have pools if the are somewhere that doesn’t have a body of water close by." Perrie grabbed a towel and wrapped it around her body to check the length.
"We should get going, they’ll probably be on there way by now, and we still have to find a place to park." I handed the cashier over my bikini, cover up and towel. I made sure to pay with my own card.
I offered to drive because it was tricky to park down by the beach and Perrie tossed me the keys.
This time Eleanor road shot gun and Perrie in the back. I had never driven such a nice car before and I was a little nervous about trashing it. When Perrie hit the button for the top to come down it was fair game. The evening air was chilly on my skin. We had all changed into our bathing suites and cover ups after paying for them, to save time after he restaurant. Eleanor had texted Louis to make sure the boy brought their own towels and trunks, along with some wine and a blanket for us all to sit on. We’d go out and buy the wood for the fire after dinner.
As usual parking seemed non existent along the beach. Finally I gave up and paid the twenty bucks for valet parking at the hotel across the street.
I could see the boys standing out side the restaurant laughing and horsing around. Harry was doing an unusual ’dance’ type move that made my heart skip. He was so carefree. I loved that about him. They hadn’t yet noticed us. When the light switched and we could cross I resisted the urge to run and throw myself on Harry.
Well I resisted as long as I could. My body slammed against his, and molded perfectly into his. I ran my fingers in his curl and kissed the tip of his nose. Playfully he bit at my neck and wigged me about. I was laughing and the whole world seemed to vanish. A car honked loudly and the sound of screeching tires on pavement brought me crashing back into life. My entire body froze and I went limp. Harry held me together. Keeping my bones from falling away from the muscles that weren’t seeming to do their job.
He whispered in my ear cooing. “It’s alright. Nothing happened. You’re alright.” He smoothed down my hair and rocked me a little. I could feel my body start to rack in pain.
"It’s not you’re fault."
My eyes fluttered open. Niall was rubbing my back and whispering in my other ear. I felt my lungs fill with air again. I looked around. No one else had noticed. They were caught up in the ocean and stories of the day.
Harry let me stand on my own. Niall holding on to one arm.
"Thanks mate." Harry nodded at Niall. His face sad and torn. As if my pain was his pain. I was causing this.
"I’ll go get us a table." Niall said rushing into the restaurant.
I cupped Harry’s face in both my hands.
"Look what I’ve done to you." There was barely any audible sound on this as I stared into Harry’s green eyes. I could see a boy, playful and full of life, and a man who is strong for those he loves.
"You didn’t do anything to me." His lips were cold on mine, from the evening breeze. The kiss was sad and perfect, and strong, and messy all at the same time. So messy and desperate. Harry was kissing me as if trying to kiss the life back into my dead body. Harry was trying to save my life. I kissed him back hungry, and scared, and powerful. I could feel our bodies melting into each others once again, right there on the side walk for the whole world to see.
When Harry pulled back to look at me, the sorrow was gone, and a hunger was there. I felt it too. Burning from the moment we touch and growing every second. I took a deep breath and leaned my head against his chest, listening to his heart beating wildly beneath his shirt. I trashed the butterfly tattoo with my finger tips.
"Hey guys, they have a table for us."
We emerged from the restaurant a few hours later. Lightly buzzing from the complementary wine they gave us.
"This was a great idea." Niall said as he ran his hands along the back of my shoulders and collapsing his arm around my neck as we walked up to the convenient store to buy some wood.
"We haven’t even gotten to the best part yet!" We were giggling and trying to stay in a straight line so that other pedestrians had room to walk on the sidewalk past the lot of us.
Harry was piggy backing Liam and seemed to be in a race against Louis and Eleanor and Zayn and Perrie. Niall and I continued to stroll behind them now, still prompt against each other.
"So how are you doing?" It was a loaded question. I knew Niall wasn’t asking me how I was doing right then and there, he meant how was I doing after my mild panic attack. I sucked in a deep breath.
"I can’t seem to get a handle on them. I’m scared that it’s going to consume me and it’s going to become too much for Harry. I don’t want my guilt to become his burden. He didn’t sign up for this." It was poring out of me. Niall didn’t even flinch.
"Look Doll, Harry loves you. The thought of loosing you drives him mad, I could see it in his face when you slipped away from us there. He didn’t want to let you go. Maybe it’s time for you to get some help."
Harry was scared? I thought he was hurt, because I was crazy, because he finally realized I was beyond repair. Niall thinks I can be saved. Who knows maybe I can.
"I think so too."
It was silent as we continued to walk up the street.
"I’m not coming out! And no Perrie you cannot come in! I look ridicules!"
I was staring at myself in the changing room mirror. I was wearing rather tight gold and jewel incrusted lingerie number. Perrie and Eleanor pleaded and sulked until I caved in and disappeared off into the fitting room. The truth was, I didn’t look ridicules, I looked rather beautiful in it, but you could clearly see my ass and I was not ready to show that off to the world.
"I will break down this door!" Eleanor said sternly. I sighed and opened the door slightly. Both girls crammed inside slamming the door behind them.
"Holy cow! Your bod is bangin!" Perrie exclaimed. I could feel my cheek staining red.
"Harry’s heart is going to jump right out of his chest!" Eleanor fanned at herself.
"Eleanor!" I giggled like a twelve year old school girl.
"We aren’t nuns!" She shrugged and winked and Perrie and I.
My heart skipped a beat at the thought of Harry seeing me in this. My stomach fluttered and my body pulsated at the thought of his hand on my bare skin, sliding off the straps and undoing the buttons. It was too much.
I jumped when Perrie suggest I try on the leopard print one next.
"Calm down there Holland. Oh my God! You dirty bird! You were totally mind fucking Harry while we were in the room with you!" El teased and tapped my bum.
"Out with the lot of you!" I motioned to the door.
"The leopard!" Perrie shouted as I slammed the door in their faces.
When I let them back in on the third number Eleanor sighed.
"Okay it’s just not fair how good you look in everything!" I nervously laughed and thanked her. I guess you could thank the 18 years of dancing for that.
"So you’re going to get all of it right?" Eleanor said when I emerged fully clothed once again.
"I don’t really want to waste my money one all of them. I was thinking just that gold one."
"Just that gold one! Please, you are getting all of it."
Eleanor grabbed the arm full of lingerie they had me try on and brought it up to the counter.
"She’s going to take all this but we are going to keep on looking around. Thanks love." She winked at the girl behind the cash who smiled and nodded her head placed all the items in a bin behind the counter.
"So I’m in love with this!" Perrie held up this pink corset with diamonds all over it and feathers at the top.
"So cute! I’m more of the black leather kind of girl." Eleanor said saucily. Naturally I gravitated to the PINK section.
"Holland!" I whipped around to find Mallory, one of the girls I dance with standing just over in the fleece section.
"It is you! It’s been a while. How are you feeling?" Mallory was short, and sweet, and just you typical ballerina. I loved her, all the dance shows we had grown up doing together. For what ever reason we just never clicked as friends outside of the dance studio. I had been gone awhile.
"I’m feeling better thanks. How is everyone at the studio?" I hated staying away so long, many times I wanted to force myself out of bed, but I just couldn’t stand to be around anyone. I had to give up teaching at the studio completely. Seeing the kids was too much.
"Great, really great. Everyone really misses you. We can’t wait for you to come back. You are coming back right?" Her eyes were full of pity and I couldn’t stand to look at them. They were ripping me apart.
"I hope to." Was all I could manage.
"Think you’ll be back for the scholarship showcase?" I had long since given up on any sort of future, let alone a dance future.
"I don’t think so." I shuffled my feet. I wanted to run away. I couldn’t handle this conversation anymore. I left dance, I left that dream behind that morning. I swore I’d never dance again.
"You should stop by Michael would love to see you. He asks about you all the time. And the girls are worried. Becky says you haven’t returned any of her calls."
Becky. My best friend. I shut everyone and everything I loved out of my life. I wanted so badly to suffer for taking away all that from three people. I had not suffered enough in this life time yet. Harry’s voice drifted into my memory. ‘It’s not your fault.’ I breathed into that. Still not willing to believe it fully, but enough to know I needed to stop hurting the ones that loved me.
"I’ve been meaning to call her back. It’s just been hard."
My voice cracked and I felt as if I was going to throw up. Mallory just nodded as if she could feel all the pain.
"Hey Holland, what do you think of," Perrie and Eleanor had come up behind me. "Oh hello there." Perrie said
She had been holding up a completely blinged out hoddie, totally Perrie style.
"Mallory this is," I began to introduce the girls to Mallory.
"Shut up! You’re Perrie Edwards and Eleanor Clader!" Mallory screeched and started vibrating.
"It looks like you have indeed crossed the pond." I joked to the girls who were in a state of shock.
I could understand, being big in London is one thing, making it international, that must be such a crazy feeling for a stylist.
"Nice to meet you-" Perrie tried to spit out before Mallory interrupted once again.
"Mallory! My name is Mallory! I love your work I wanted to vote for you so bad but I live in Canada! I cried when you won! And Eleanor! You are like my fashion spirit animal."
"Your fashion what?" Eleanor said repulsed and scrunching up her nose.
"Sprit animal." Perrie whispered to Eleanor.
"Well it was lovely to meet you, but we best be off."
Perrie and Eleanor were whisking me off to the cash wrap.
"No offense Holland, but your mate is a bit of a nut job." Eleanor was rattled as she played with the bottled at the impulse towers while we waited in line.
"We aren’t really friends, I just grew up dancing with her." I tried not too sound too harsh. Mallory was in all reality, actually a nice girl, completive, and high strung, but what ballerina isn’t?
"Well you dodged a bullet on that one, she’s one screw loose if you know what I mean." She settled on a little mist bottle of Noir Tease.
"Like your all there Calder." Perrie raised her eye brows a El, guiltng her a bit.
"I’m not talking about me, Edwards."
"I can help the next in line." The cashier called out. Eleanor motioned for me to go ahead of her.
"Hi, I believe my friend left some things behind here for me. I’ll only be needing the gold one though." I said digging out my wallet.
"To hell you will. Ring up everything please." She said the cashier who stood there and looked between her and I, not too sure who to listen to.
"I promised Harry I’d make sure you got what you wanted. I hate breaking promises, don’t make me be a promise breaker."
She pouted and flashed the puppy dog face.
"You are unbelievable!" I turned to the cashier. Against everything I stood for I said.
"Ring it up."
Perrie and Eleanor high fived.
"It’s more for him anyway." El said triumphantly as she walked up to the cashier next to mine.
She was right. Although I would be wearing them, Harry was the one who would reap the benefits. My stomach did the flip again in the anticipation of it all. Eleanor was right, we weren’t nuns, but this act would be a sin. He would go, and I would stay, and this was only going to make it harder. But I was human, and he was Harry.
"Turn right at the next intersection." I strained to be heard over the radio which was turned up to combat the rush of the wind. Perrie had to be one of the worst drivers I had ever ridden with in my life. My Grandpa would have called here a ‘California lane changer.’ Eleanor sat peacefully in the back, swaying her head to the melody, watching the world fly past her.
"The mountains are beautiful!" She cried from the back seat.
"I can take you up to the top of one if you’d like!" I had climbed Grouse Mountain every summer with my family for as long as I could remember. I was always attempting to shave off a couple minutes off my over all hiking time. Eleanor didn’t strike me as like mountain climbing type, so I’d take her up on the tram.
"I’d love that!" She beamed, looking effortlessly beautiful in the rush of wind being stirred up by the forward driving motion of the mustang.
"It’s a date then." I winked at her in the rear view mirror, which Perrie was neglecting to use.
"Park here, it’s just a strip." I pointed at an empty space along the hustle and bustle of Robson Street. The prefect place. It had something for everyone. Although the girls got on like wild fire, their fashion choices did not go so well together. Perrie dressed in a mixture of edge meets bohemian, while Eleanor was modern and trendy. As for myself, well I lived in my lulu’s, the most accurate description of my closet would be, confused. I was a more, wear what makes you feel comfortable. If that so happened to look nice, well that was a bonus.
"It’s rather cute, where should we start?" Eleanor slid on a pair of thick rimmed Prada sunglasses. There was no doubt that she was a model once.
"How about food?" Perrie scanned the street up and down trying to find a restaurant. My stomach grumbled on cue, seconding Perrie’s motion.
"I know just the place."
Café Crepe was lined up outside the door. The girls mumbled about a bit, but I assured them that the line moved quick.
"This place has the best milk shakes. It’s worth the wait." I noticed a couple girls whispering back and forth as they watched Eleanor and Perrie’s every move.
"Do they bring all the boys to the yard?" Perrie started to shimmy at El who was swatting at her with her purse. I couldn’t help but shake my head and join in. What could I say, I was a sucker for gang mentality. So with Perrie and I on either side of El shimming and shaking, we caused quite the commotion. An younger couple in front of us started to laugh and shout "Get her girls!" which only encouraged us to sing louder and shimmy faster. With a red face Eleanor, and a very satisfied crowd, Perrie and I made our finale dance move, linked hands and took a bow. Everyone around us broke out into applause and where shaking our hands and whistling at us. Eleanor looked as if she had been shot. Just then the girls who had be watching us earlier broke through the crowd.
"It is you guys!" Right away Perrie stiffened, slipped her hand into Eleanor’s and groaned. I was pushed back from them by a growing number of girls who were asking for their autographs and asking to pose for pictures.
"It was lovely meeting you girls." Eleanor and Perrie said in an almost too sweet voice.
"What was that all about?" I raised my eye brow and cocked my head.
"Turns out they were visiting from London too and they recognized us from that thing I told you about back home." Reaching into her bag and pulling out a package of gum and offered it up to me.
"And what was that exactly?" I was praying that I was sounding genuinely curious rather than a nosy bitch.
"I style the stars. I am an intern for Vogue UK, Eleanor works there with me. We just did a large fashion show with the cast of Harry Potter. That’s how the girls recognized us." Perrie shoved a piece of gum into her mouth and started savagely chewing on it.
"Right, that’s right. So strange that we ran into fans here." Eleanor smiled and peered down the line. We were almost up front.
"That’s pretty cool, what was Emma like?"
"Lovely, she is magical." Perrie answered a little too quickly.
"After lunch where too?" Eleanor interjected.
"Suppose we could just make our way down the strip? There’s a few other shops on Granville street that aren’t on Robson like Urban Outfitters and Topshop."
"Shut up!" They both shrieked!
"So topshop it is!"
Topshop was fairly empty at this time of day, then again it was a Tuesday afternoon.
"Please try this on!" El pleaded and handed me over a white lace dress. It was beautiful. I nodded and gladly took it from her.
I refused to use the card Harry gave me. This relationship wasn’t about money, and I had my own, so there was no need to take his. While Eleanor and Perrie had practically bought out the store, I left with just that white lace dress Eleanor had gave me, and some high wasted jean shorts and a sunflower crop top.
"Where else?" Perrie said as we emerged onto Granville street.
"There!" Eleanor pointed across the street at Artzia. That was such an Eleanor Calder type of store.
We walked in and Eleanor immediately went into game time mode. Perrie was caught up in conversation with one of the sales associated who was trying to give her styling tips and force her into purchasing an ugly puke green shirt she had only just glanced at.
"Welcome to Artzia where if you think about it, you buy it!”
I was chuckling to myself when a tall skinny girl walked right in front of me, preventing me from moving on. I smiled politely and tried to step around her.
"I don’t need a size thanks." I said and tried to move again.
"Are you with them." The tall blond girl practically snarled at me as she eyed me up and down. I took a step back and realized she was talking about Eleanor and Perrie. I rolled my eyes in annoyance and crossed my arms.
"Yeah." She glared at me. What did this wanna be starving model want with me? Go back to your job of frightening off customers.
"You aren’t even that pretty." She laughed at herself and flipped her hair.
"Excuse me bitch?" I thought the words, but they did not come from my lips. I turned to see Eleanor standing off to the side of me.
"Oh I’m so sorry." The girl crumbled on sight of Eleanor. The scene had caught Perrie’s attention and she joined.
"What’s going on."
"This plastic bimbo had the audacity to tell Holland she wasn’t even pretty. Which is rich coming from her bottle blond, look a like mouth."
The girls eyes were filling up with tears and her face a burning red colour.
"I think you should leave now before I ask to speak to you manager and make sure you can never work in this city again." Perrie was terrifying when she was angry.
Both girls stood shoulder to shoulder like alpha lions protecting their cubs. I appreciate it, but I was starting to feel a little pathetic from all the saving that I had become a victim of.
The girl practically ran into the back room.
"Come on, I suddenly don’t feel like shopping here anymore." The girl tossed their clothes over a rack as a further statement of protest to the way I had been treated and stormed out.
"Well for what it’s worth I think you’re beautiful." Eleanor said wrapping her arms around my shoulder and leaning her head against mine.
"Thanks El." I sniffled. I wanted to pretend like that didn’t bother me, but it did. I struggled with insecurities everyday. I knew I wasn’t stunning like Perrie or Eleanor, and I was all wrong for Harry. I knew that. To have it thrown in my face, in public, well it broke me deep inside.
"Hey now! I love you just the way you are." Perrie said joining in on the group hug. I sniffled and laughed while I sobbed. What a sight this must be.
"Come on, I know just the cure."
Eleanor guided us back over to where we had parked the car earlier in the day.
"Where is it, I could have sworn- ah there it is."
She threw her arms up like a car show model to the front doors of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. I burst out laughing, brushing away the left over tears.
"I love you Eleanor!" We linked arms and entered.
Chocolate was definitely what I needed right now. I went up and ordered two box full of assorted chocolates. One for now, one to bring home to Harry. Perrie bought the biggest chocolate covered candy apple I had ever seen. It was all done up like Elmo. Eleanor ordered ice cream and we began to eat my feelings away.
In my self pity I allowed myself to think about what it was going to be like when this was all over. When Harry and the boys, and Eleanor and Perrie all had to return home. Would El and Perrie still want to be friends? Would Harry and I try to make the long distance work? I panicked a little. My chest tightened and my head went light. Somewhere inside me I heard ‘don’t worry’ which eased my body and mind slightly.
"So I was thinking…." Perrie trailed off in a mischievous elf like voice.
"You don’t even have to say it because I can read you mind!" Eleanor said.
Both girls looked over and me and grinned.