"So, whats the place in France actually like? I presume you've been before?" I asked as Jared made the drive from mine to his.
"Only once. It's lovely, great access to the slopes in the day and a cozy living room with a real fireplace and a huge TV to laze around and watch films in the evening." He smiled as he spoke, as though he could see it in his mind and I couldn't help wondering if were imagining this time with me, or remembering the last time he went with her. I didn't get a chance to make any kind of comment since his phone started ringing, distracting him.
"Hello?" he said after he pressed the little green button on the hands free set he had clipped to his sun visor above his head.
"Jerry, how close are you?" Jensen's voice came through the speaker and I could see by the change in Jared's face that his brother must have sounded off.
"Less than ten, why? Is Meg-" He started saying worriedly, but Jensen swiftly cut him off.
"Frank and Claire have just walked through the damn door!" He hissed quietly. I watched as Jared's features contorted themselves from worry into displeasure, "Gem said Selena can stay there tonight if you don't want to bring her here." Jared looked at me, considering the offer and then flicked his indicator up to change direction.
"Okay can you call her and let her know that I'm dropping her off now then?" I looked at Jared shocked. What the hell was going on? Jensen agreed and hung up the phone.
"What the hell is going on?" I questioned as soon as I heard the beep that indicated the end of the call. Jared looked both ways as he waited to pull out and turn right at a junction before glancing at me apologetically.
"I'm sorry Lena, It's my parents, they've come home a day early..." He said quietly, but I heard a hint of distaste in his words.
"You don't want me to meet them?" I asked. He stared at the road ahead as he shook his head. I had never seen him get so cold about anything since we had met. Why didn't he want me to meet them? I suddenly felt a surge of anger at the lack of information as to what was going on, "Why? Are you embarrassed of me or something? Scared they'll think I'm too common for you?Not good enough to meet you're parents because I don't go to private school?" I spat as he pulled up at traffic lights, folding my arms in a huff.
"Is that what you honestly think is going through my mind right now?" His voice was icy as he spoke quietly. I turned to face him again and saw him looking back at me. For the first time since we had met, there was no playful spark in his eyes, instead it had been replaced by a thunder that matched the rest of his now serious features.
"Well that's the way it looks to-" I had started to answer as he pulled the car over and cut the engine, his knuckles going white from how hard he had been gripping the steering wheel.
"If you honestly believe that I give even the smallest of shits about how much fucking money you have, then please, tell me now so I can end this right here," He snarled coldly as his snapped round to face me, "If you think I'm that disgustingly shallow, it just shows how low your opinion of me truly is and I don't see why you would ever want to be with someone like that!" I was shocked, I wasn't expecting that kind of reaction out of him and I could tell that I had hit a nerve. I hung my head, unable to look at the hurt in his eyes anymore. We sat in the blaring silence for a few minutes, the anger radiating from him like heat from a stove. I lifted my head slowly, unsure of what to do next. I hated seeing the hurt expression that was plastered on his face and it hurt even more to know that I had put it there as he looked out of the window.
"I know you're not like that..." I whispered as tears filled my eyes, "I guess just don't see what else it could be..." He turned to face me again slowly as a small tear slid over my cheek. He reached his hand out to my face and gently wiped the tear away with his thumb and then moved his hand to my neck as he leant in and softly pressed his lips to my own for a few seconds.
"It's nothing to do with you... it's them." He whispered as we pulled apart. He sat back in his chair with a sigh as he ran one of his hands through his hair. I waited patiently for him to explain what he meant. He closed his eyes as he continued, "Jen and I don't have the best relationship with them because they're just really shitty people... I'm embarrassed of them Lena, that's why I'd rather you just went to Gemma and Harry's after what happened when they met her." He opened his eyes and looked down at his hands in his lap. I studied him for a second before reaching out and taking his hand in my own.
"Let's go then." I said quietly with a smile. He looked at me gratefully as he squeezed my hand and then kissed it gently.
"I'll be round to pick you guys up first thing tomorrow." Jared whispered to me as we said goodbye on the doorstep. My arms wound around his neck and I pressed my forehead to his before planting a kiss on his lips.
"I love you." I said as we pulled apart and stepped back into the house.
"I love you too." He leant back down and kissed my head before turning and running back to his car. I watched him pull away and waited until he was down the road before walking back into the house and into the living room where Gemma was sitting watching Britain's Next Top Model while Harry was read a book on the armchair next to her.
I took a seat next to Gemma who looked over at me sympathetically.
"Believe me, you don't want to deal with 'FC Incorporated'!" She put little air quotes around Jared's parents' company name and rolled her eyes. I chuckled a little and then hesitated, I had never really spoken to Gemma and now I felt like I was going to ask her something quite personal.
"Jared said that something happened when they met you...?" I questioned cautiously. She looked at me with a sad smile.
"Nothing happened exactly... I was eighteen when Jen and I first got together, I was the first girlfriend either of them had brought home so neither of them knew what to expect really... I wanted to make a good impression and they were about as interested in me as they are their own children... Jen was mortified and I guess Jerry learnt from that experience not to bring girls home..." I nodded and was about to ask another question when a kindly faced woman poked her head round the door.
"Harry, love, help me bring in the shopping?" She said with an exhausted smile before turning to me.
"Hello dear, you must be Selena, Harry's told me-" she was cut off by Harry groaning playfully.
"Seriously mum, I won't tell you anything about anyone if you're going to come in and rat me out!" He laughed as he glided across the room and kissed her on the cheek before doing as he was asked and heading out to the car. She rolled her eyes in my direction once he was out of the room with a small smile.
"Only good things, I promise!" She winked and then disappeared back into the house. She reminded me of my own mother and I instantly liked her.
"You'll be in Harry's room tonight if that's ok?" Gemma said as she stood up and turned the television off after the film we had just watched finished. I glanced over wide-eyed at Harry who was asleep, laying sideways across the armchair, his book still open on his chest. Gemma laughed quietly and shook her head as she picked up the blanket that was folded on the back of the sofa I had been sitting on.
"He's sleeping down here, don't worry!" I let out a breath of relief as she took the book from her brother's chest and put it on the coffee table before covering him with the blanket. He stirred slightly, let out a quiet snore and settled back into sleep. She then lead me out the room, up the narrow staircase and pointed me to his room before saying goodnight and disappearing into her own room.
I walked in slowly unsure of what to expect. It was smaller than I had thought it would be but I found it cozy rather than cramped. I sat on the bed to see how comfortable my night was going to be when I realised that in the change of plans I had left my pyjamas in my suitcase in Jared's car. Since I didn't feel comfortable enough bothering Gemma for a pair and I wasn't about to start snooping through Harry's draws for some tracksuit bottoms, I decided to just take my jeans off and leave it at that. I was taking them off when I heard the door open behind me.
"Shit! Oh my god, I'm sorry! I was just... I'm..." Harry stuttered as he turned away awkwardly while I scrambled into the bed to cover myself, "I just wanted to get something warmer because there's a draft downstairs..." He said sheepishly as he turned around and rubbed the back of his neck. I felt guilty that he was having to sleep down there, that he had given up his bed for me. I looked at the single bed and debated whether I should ask him to share or not. I looked over has he rifled through his draws and pulled out a large pair of fluffy socks and a beanie. I sighed, my mind made up.
"Do you have some tracksuit bottoms I can borrow?" I asked him quietly. He nodded and opened another draw, pulled out a grey pair and tossed them to me before sitting on the end of the bed and pulling the socks on, getting ready to go back downstairs.
"Once I have these on you can just stay in here with me... I feel bad having moved you out of your bed, especially if you're going to be cold down there." I explained holding the trousers up. He hesitated and then smiled gratefully.
"Are you sure?" He said turning away so that I could put them on.
"Yeah..." I replied getting back into bed and squishing myself up to the wall, "You can get in now." He flicked off the overhead and padded his way across the carpet in the dark.
"Do you mind if I take of my t-shirt, this room gets hot when it's just me, so I don't want to frighten you in the middle of the night if I have to take it off to be able to breathe?" I laughed and told him it was fine and heard him grunt as he lifted it over his head. I suddenly found myself feeling nervous as he peeled back the covers and he got in next to me so we could lay back to back. After a few minutes of laying there in silence, I could feel from his breathing pace that he was still awake.
"Harry?" I said in a hushed voice, turning to face him.
"Yeah?" He whispered in reply, turning onto his back and turning his face toward me.
"Are you tired?" I asked, I felt him chuckle noiselessly, shaking the bed a little.
"Not really, why?"
"I don't know, I'm not." I said, not sure what to say next, "Can we talk for a bit?"
"Sure, what's on your mind?" he said and shifted so that he was now fully turned toward me and I could smell the mint of his toothpaste on his breath.
"Are you excited for this week?" I asked with a sigh.
"Yeah sure..." He said after thinking for a moment.
"Is that it?" I thought about how he was after we had come out of the exam earlier and it seemed as though his excitement had decreased as it got closer, "Why? You were excited today, weren't you?" He hesitated and then sighed.
"I still am." I waited for him to continue but he didn't.
"But..." I encouraged, my eyes straining to see his emotions on his face in the dark.
"But it's a week where I'll be sleeping in a bed alone while the girl I love sleeps with another guy next door... bit of a dampener." He chuckled half heartedly next to me.
"Oh..." I said awkwardly, unsure of what to say, but he carried on speaking.
"Actually knowing what it's like to share a bed with you now doesn't make it any easier." He admitted into the darkness. I looked at where is face would be, wishing that I could see his expression and if he was just speaking matter-of-factly or if there was real hurt in his eyes.
"I'm sorry." I whispered finally. He reached out his hand over the covers and brought it up to my face and stroked it gently.
"I'm not." He breathed. Against all my best instincts, I didn't move his hand away from my face. We lay there in silence for a few moments both lost in our own thoughts while Harry gently traced the contours of my face from my temple to my jaw with the back of his fingers.
After what felt like ten minutes, my arm was uncomfortable under my chin so I moved it out and found Harry's bare chest less than six inches away from me. Overcome by curiosity as to how close his face actually was, I began tapping upwards gently to feel for it.
"Selena, what on earth are you doing?" He said with a small laugh. My hand was at the base of his throat and I could feel it vibrating underneath my fingertips.
"Where the hell is your face? I was confused when I touched your chest, it just seems really high?" I whispered back frantically. With another small laugh, he removed the hand that had been stroking my cheek and used it to guide my own hand to his face. My fingertips touched his cheek and I realised he was lying slightly higher up the pillow than I was, but his face couldn't have been more than three inches from mine. A silence settled over us as my fingers brushed over his lips. There was a small spark of electricity in my chest and I knew that if I had felt it, that Harry must have.
I looked up towards him, feeling the urge to lean forward and plant a small kiss on the plump lips I knew were so close to my own. I moved closer by an inch and the tension grew, Harry was laying deadly still as though he were the cheetah trying not to frighten the gazelle that was stepping cautiously out of her home. I hesitated, I could hear his heart beating faster and my own heart was speeding up just the same. My heart was screaming for me to close the gap, to kiss him, to taste him. I moved closer by another inch and felt him tilt his head slightly downward toward me. Our foreheads were now touching and there were mere centimetres between our lips. My head began yelling Jared's name repeatedly and I hesitated.
"I..." I breathed, not sure what I was trying to tell him, not moving either forward or backward. His hand came gently up to the back of my neck, resting his thumb just below my ear, "I..."
"S..." he whispered back, his nose touching mine, "All you have to do is give in and then I'm all yours." His thumb moved, stroking underneath my ear. I wanted to lean in with all my heart but my head was winning the battle, showing me images and memories of Jared in my mind. I sighed and I felt Harry's face move back from my own as he understood.
"I'm sorry..." I whispered as I turned away from him, letting the guilt of what I had almost just done overcome me.
"Like I said, I'm not." He whispered back as his arm snaked around my waist and he settled down to sleep. I closed my eyes and decided that just for tonight, until I fell asleep, I would admit quietly to myself that I was slowly but surely falling for Harry again.
Ooh did you think she was going to do it?
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