s i x t y t w o - preparing.
//we all deserve a second chance//
Covered in muddy clothes, wet from the thunderstorm's heavy tears, stands a girl with matted dirty blonde hair and dull blue eyes, chapped lips and dirt smeared on her skin. My lips parted in utter shock - there was no vechile near, or any sign that one had come and left recently, so how on earth did she get here?
Harry glances over his shoulder at me before turning back to the girl. He kneels down to her height, his hands - those that were previously roaming my body, where I wish they were now - lift up to reach out for her but she shies away from him, shaking her head from left to right a few times. She denies contact with him, and I can clearly tell that hit him like a bullet to the heart. He stands and turns to me, a frown on his pretty pink lips. I don't like seeing him upset, and whatever the reason is now I want it to end and go away.
"Wh-who is that?" I ask blankly, confusion has overcome my entirity and I've lost hope of knowing the reality of this world I'm in. "It's a long story." He keeps his voice low, most likely so that she wouldn't hear us speak of the situation. "Well we've got plenty of time." I remind him, cocking a eyebrow at the tall, broad man in front of me. His eyes peer down to me, he visibly gulps as he stands in the silence. I look past him to see the little girl with tears settling in her eyes, a quivering bottom lip to go with them. My gaze averts back to Harry, who I'm clearly not too happy with right now. This child has shown up out of the blue and he won't even tell me.
"I know her family." He mutters back once my focus is fully on him. My lips drop to a displeased frown, "That doesn't explain why she's here." I toss my hands in the air, probably a bit too dramatically but that's okay. Harry has had plenty of time to tell me about this since he said he knew it would be happening - but apparently he thinks now is that time. "Julianne." Harry sighs lightly, his hand reaching for my waist. I step back, refusing to be touched by him right now. "Baby, please." He begs with raised brows and desparation clad eyes. "Who is that? Why is she here? And what do you have to do with it?" I repeat my previous questions then add on the next one.
He couldn't answer right away because I bluntly blurted out a question, "Is she yours?" If this turns out to be a product of his actions, preferably his sexual actions, Harry can just go ahead and take me back to my drunken father because there is no way in Hell I'm going to do this. If that is true, then it means he lied to be about his purity and his lifestyle.
Before I could ponder anymore on the issue, Harry lunged forward and grasped my waist with one hand while the other cupped my cheek. "Her name is Ruth.. and no, baby, I have nothing to do with her creation." Harry's voice is slightly strained, like it's suddenly hard for him to speak. "Then why is she here?" I shove his hand off my face, but I don't even attempt the one on my waist because he's stronger than me by a whole lot and that grip is currently hard. "I promised.. her brother that I'd.. take care of her if.. if anything happened to him." Harry's voice is cracking like a teenage boy's, making me wonder if he's telling me the truth or not. "I knew her brother.. We were good friends. Me and my family moved off.. we kept in touch. He.. When his mum was raped.. she had her. His parents are dead now.. and I assume he is too. I promised them I'd take her in, Julie." The use of that certain name Harry has said in the close past makes me realize that he's actually being truthful about the situation and I nod to him.
That large, warm palm presses to my cheek again, this go around I don't push it down. "I would never lie to you. She isn't my child, I swear to God." While he says this, his voice is soft and his eyes are trained on me - he never even dares to blink. "So she's just been dumped on you and you have to take care of her?" I say, finding this all to be rather incomprehenisble. Harry shakes his head in denial at my assumption. "This is something that was going to happen eventually.. I've been preparing for it." He says as he leans closer to me, slightly puckered lips that fall onto mine. My eyes fall shut just from instinct, just as his do. "Just help me please, she's afraid of me. It's been nearly two years since I last saw her." Harry's pleading eyes bore into mine as he leans back, desparate to get this right. "Please, baby. She doesn't have anyone." Harry continues to try and hook me, but he has yet to see that I'm already on the line.
I push past him as I step through the door way, he has no clue on how to handle a fragile, frightened young girl - that's because he's never been in her shoes. I drop to me knees in front of her, my eyes finding her curious, yet anxious, gaze. "Hi, there." I give her a kind, simple smile - overwhelming her is something I don't want to do. "Your name's Ruth?" I ask as I realize she's not going to speak back in response to my greeting. She nods just slightly, if I had blinked I would have missed it entirely. "I'm Julianne." I tell her with a easy tone, the last thing you want to do is scare an anxious child. Surprisingly to me, her thin lips shape into a very gentle smile, her eyelashes hit her cheeks as she blinks a few times. "Do you remember me, Ruth?" Harry asks as he bends down beside me, his arm going around the small of my back. I feel my cheeks flush at his actions, they were simple, but I just didn't expect it.
She nods again to us. Harry and I share an unplanned glance at one another, both knowing that we're getting somewhere with this. I look back to her and find that her smile has gotten just a bit wider. "How about we go inside and get you cleaned up?" Harry insisted, keeping his voice calm and his smile warm and friendly. Her eyes just flicker back to me, it seems as if she's uninterested with Harry. "Do you like bubblebaths?" I ask curiously. Her eyes widen and she nods faster this go around. A grin comes to my face as I stand from my spot on the porch, her eyes following me intensively. "C'mon, let's go get you a bath ready." I suggest as I hold my hand out to her. She stares at my extended palm for a moment before her eyes trail back to mine. The shy little girl takes a hold of my hand and gives it a tight squeeze. I return the gesture before starting the journey back inside.
Ruth keeps a strong hold on my hand as we go up the staircase. I know she's leaving muddy footprints behind on the hardwood floors, but Harry can clean that up later on. We reach the bedroom quickly, which was something I didn't expect, and I go ahead and finish the distance to the bathroom. I shut the door behind us, but I don't bother with the lock since I'm sure Harry won't barge in. I leave her by the closed door as I go to the bathtub. I turn on the water and set the knobs so that the temperature is pretty nice, not too cold but not burning hot either. I pour the soap under the running water, bubbles automactically forming on the surface. I remind myself not to let it fill to the capacity Harry fills it to because that would be too much. I look over to see that she's sitting on the floor with her legs crossed and her hand rummaging through her bag that was previously on her back.
At first I wanted to question her on how she got here but I don't because it's not my business to be concerned with. Harry will have to explain this to me later on, maybe then I will know everything that I'm pondering so hard right now. Ruth pulls something out of her bag and her head lifts up, her eyes immediately darting to me. She holds the paper out towards me and I take the hint that I need to take it and read it, so I do. I get up and hurry over to her so that I can get back to the water in time. I lean down and grab the paper from her before turning and going back to the tub. I turn off the water and take a deep inhale before unfolding the paper. I begin reading, and already I'm starting to understand..
If you are reading this, it means that I have passed on and my sister has found you. First off, I want to thank you so much for doing this for me. I never wanted it to end this way and I never wanted to leave her like this, but I can not change it and it's done. Ruth is such a sweet girl, she's so loving and kind. Yet she's quiet, and it will take some time for her to open up. I wrote this when she was five - hopefully she is a lot older now, but I guess I won't know until the time comes. I have always told her about you and she somewhat remembers meeting you after her fourth birthday when you came up. I tell her how wonderful you and your family are and how welcoming you guys are. It's such a great thing, really, that you're taking on the heavy weight of taking care of my dear sister. I love her endlessly and I hope she does well with you. Don't be afraid to raise your voice or punish her for her mistakes, she understands that bad things lead to consequences.
Once again, I want to thank you on behalf of me and my mother for doing this for us. You are the only person we can trust and we hope that Ruth will learn to do the same. This means the world to me, please take care of my sister.
- Chad Cooper
"Is Chad your brother?" I ask her with slightly furrowed brows, I think Harry mentioned something about her brother. Ruth's eyes suddenly appear to sadden at the mention of his name. I bite the inside of my cheek, my nerves pinching now. But my heart is relieved when she lightly curves the corner of her mouth and nods to me. I try to reply in the best way I could, which was just giving her a soft smile back. "C'mon, your bath is ready. Time to get those dirty clothes off." I say as I walk towards her, folding the paper back up and handing it to her. She sticks it in the front pocket of her bag before dropping it on the floor. I help her unzip the stuck zipper of her rain jacket - at least she was somewhat prepared for the weather conditions still going on outside.
Ruth avoids further eye contact with me, and honestly it made me become a bit worried about her. Did she think I was going to be mean to her, or is she simply scared of what's going on? I don't know the situation, I can't tell her it's going to be alright because I really don't know if it will or not. Based on Harry's behavior, the thing that led to this wasn't good. I'll have to discuss it with him later on, but now I need to focus on her and take care of her, poor girl looks like she's been flopping in the mud all evening, it's time to get that mess off of her.
The phone just continues to ring endlessly it seems, nobody likes to pick up the phone but they're quick to send an immature text to mine. I hear a mix of laughter and talking when someone fianlly picks up the damn house phone. "Hello?" It's Liam, thankfully. I've never been more thankful to hear his voice. "Ruth is here." I blurt out, glancing over my shoulder to make sure that neither of the girls are standing there. Julianne is nosy, and I know she's lost and drowning in all the confusion and I get that, but now's not the time to talk about it.
"Woah, Harry. What? Ruth is there?" He says, taken back by my sudden words. "Yeah. We were just sitting on the bed and I picked up a scent. We went to the door and there she fucking was. Alone." I remember to mention the fact that she was unaccompanied which most likely means one thing - she had to find the way here on her own. I bet she was terrified, plus the storm was horrible today.
"That's fucking crazy.. That means.. Chad is.. dead." Liam mutters the last words into the phone, probably to not cause any distraction from the loud conversation blaring in the background - Niall and Louis leading it. "Obviously." I sigh, pinching the bridge of my nose. It's getting late and this is not how I wanted to spend tonight. I thought I'd be able to snuggle up to my sweet angel and fall asleep to the sound of her beautiful heart beat - but clearly that's not going to happen tonight. "What did you do?" Liam curiously asks, there is shuffling on the line before it finally gets silent - I'm sure he excused himself from the room. "I got Julianne to talk to her.. she still hasn't said a damn word to either of us." I tell him, my eyes staring at the staircase now - just waiting on Julianne to finish things up.
"Where is she? Is she like.. scared?" Scared wasn't a good word to describe it - I'd say horrified. She didn't seem to be fond of me, which isn't shocking because once people get a nice look at the nasty mark on my face they just assume I'm a horrible person when I'm really not - well, not most of the time. "Julianne's giving her a bath. And yeah she's terrified. Well, of me mostly. I thinks she likes Julianne." I swallow the reoccuring lump in my throat, I didn't expect this to happen so soon - not while she's this little. I figured it would happen when she was a teenager, but I bet that would have made it even worse to handle. I've already got one teenager in my hands, I don't believe I could handle another one. "That's good. Maybe Julianne can get her to feel more comfortable." He breathes out, this is a lot to take in at one moment.
"I haven't even explained it to Julianne, yet she just took over." I shrug to myself, Julianne is such a great girl - an amazing woman. "Motherly instincts, I'm sure." Liam assumes, which is what I thought about earlier as well. I focus my ears on the girls upstairs and I'm rather shocked when I hear a few giggles - some not belonging to Julianne. "Alright, I'm gonna let you go. I got to see what they're up to." I say after clearing my throat absentmindedly. Liam and I said our goodbyes before I ended the call and shoved my phone in my back pocket. I start the distance up to them by stepping on the bottom stair and letting my hand graze the rail as I continue up the steps. I push down all the barriers in my mind I had set up to block out Julianne's voice so that she could have some privacy with Ruth and all of that, this now allows me to smell her divine, warm blood flowing through her veins and hear her pretty steady heart beats and breathing pattern.
"Are we all dressed?" I ask as I reach the top stair, covering my eyes with my hands but I couldn't stop the smile from forming on my lips when I hear the two of them laugh lightly together. "Yes we are." Julianne answers me after a few quiet moments. I drop my hand and start the walk to the end of the bed where they're sitting. Julianne is dragging a brush through Ruth's damp hair, trying to get rid of any more tangles she missed. "How was your bath, sweetheart?" I ask as I sit on the edge, I turn my head and look at her but her eyes avoid mine and she shrugs a shoulder as a response. My gaze flickers to Julianne who just gives me a sympathic smile. "I messaged Sophia earlier and told her. She said they're going to start getting the room ready for her arrival." I say, mostly just to Julianne, but I couldn't stop Ruth from hearing. "She's going to be in Sara's old room since Sara usually sleeps with Niall or Gemma." I explain further as I stand from the bed and go over to one of the windows, the rain hasn't let up in hours.
I get up off the bed and trail over to the window, just to distract myself from the girls and give them some somewhat private time. "Harry?" Julianne spoke behind me with a questioning tone. "Yes, love?" I ask, turning back to them but remaining in my spot against the wall. Julianne removes herself from her spot on the bed after mumbling something to Ruth. She walks over to me, eyes lingering on my face the entire time. A slight smile comes to my lips as she reaches for my hand, I'm so glad she's coming out of that shell of hers. "Where is she going to sleep tonight?" Julianne asks me, a softness to her tone. Little does she know, no matter how quiet she spoke, Ruth could clearly hear her because she's just like me. I will spare that detail for now though, Julianne can only take so much at a time.
"With you. I'll take the couch tonight." I raise my hand, carefully pushing a few stray pieces of her soft, blonde hair behind her ear. "What? No!" She whines out to me, her free hand hitting my chest. Her fingers curl up, her hand grabbing onto my shirt. "I want you to sleep with me." Her bottom lip rolls out, but it's not forced out there - she's truly upset over this and I just knew she would be. "Baby, it's just one night. We'll go home tomorrow afternoon." My words are just lightly stern as I slide my hand to cup her flustering cheek. I tilt her head up some, holding in place so that I could pour my eyes into hers. "Just one night." I whisper assuringly, pressing my lips to her forehead for a few seconds before leaning up.
"I won't sleep then." She shakes her head at me, clearly not wanting to do any of this. "Baby, it's one night." I repeat myself for the third time, I just want to try and push it past her skull into her mind - it's like she hears me but she's not understanding it at all. "No, Harry. I can hardly sleep without you. I can't do this!" Julianne's eyes begin to water and I know where this will go if I don't solve the small issue quickly. "Alright, alright." I breathe out, my hand squeezing hers tightly, while my thumb rubs along her high cheekbone. She bolts her eyes shut, trying to fight the tears that have already slipped down her cheeks. I try to wipe away the ones that come near my thumb. I lean into her warmth, my lips falling to the corner of her mouth.
"We'll give her the bed for the night and you and I can sleep on the couch, alright?" I attempt to keep my voice calm and modulated, for the sake of her sobbing. "I just don't wanna-wanna be with-without you." Her words are brittle as they leave her mouth, flying straight into my heart like daggers. It is very agonizing to stand here and listen to her crumbling voice and watch her break apart in my hands. It's completely heart wrenching. "I know baby, and you won't be, okay?" I keep my mouth against hers, admiring the softness of her plump, swollen lips against mine. She nods slightly, but not enough to disturb our position. "Shh, stop crying now, baby. I've got you." I attempt to shush her as her head falls against my chest, that same hand still fisting my shirt while the other slides to the small of my back, pulling me into her. I gladly accept it and snake my arms around her waist, this is what I live for - my girl.
- Yes I know it's been a few days since an update.
- Yes I know it's super duper long and you're probably all just as confused as Julianne is!
- Yes I know it's hard to understand....
BUT... just give me time xx I promise it has a very great purpose to the story and it's reallllyyy important for the future events!! Stay tuned for updates xx
College has taken most of my time these past few weeks but don't worry, I could never forget about you guys! Love you all!! xx