Cut To The Feeling
no more hesitations (this is on)
It was already two when Harry picked up his phone.
“Where the hell are you, Styles?! Was it just a plan of yours to have me standing outside the restaurant for fifteen minutes and not showing up yourself? Did you plan to stand me up so I’d make a fool out of myself?! Were you even serious about having lunch together or maybe I was just a fool to believe that you were?! I swear to God, Styles, if-”
“Hey, hey, hey.”
The voice didn’t come from the phone, it came from behind her. Harry was once again supporting his flamboyant shirts, this time it was a pink colored one with white polka dots all over it. Truth be told, those shirts didn’t look as hideous as Rory manipulated her mind to think. He looked good in those, even better than she would look. But as always, she wasn’t going to tell him that.
“I’m sorry. My car broke down and I had to walk- no, run all the way here. I’m really sorry Roro.”
His chest was heaving up and down as he spoke and Rory could see beads of perspiration glistening on his forehead despite of the slight chill November had brought. He was looking at her intently, and he was looking as apologetic as they could get.
She shrugged, “Okay.”
The restaurant they had chosen was a small Indian one. The owner knew Rory closely since she often went there. But it came a surprise to her when Harry practically engulfed Neha in his arms the moment he stepped in.
“It’s so good to see you, Neha.”
Neha was a small Indian lady who moved to England from Mumbai when she was ten years old. She had done her bachelor’s in cooking, and reminded Rory of Francine. Rory had babysat her kids on more occasions than one.
“It’s so good to see you too Harry, Rory.”
She greeted them both, Harry more enthusiastically. Rory wondered if he’d shown such enthusiasm when they first met, things would have been entirely different now. They were led to a booth next to the windows, and Rory avoided talking to him at all.
He wasn’t minding, it appeared, for he was vigorously going through his phone. That was how she wanted Harry to act around her; completely ignoring her. And now that he was doing it, she could feel the awkwardness getting palpable.
She took the initiative, “Was I really….wild last night?”
Harry looked surprised, probably because Rory always avoided making contact with him. But what was she supposed to do when he was sitting directly across from her and they were having lunch together.
“You weren’t wild, as per se, but you did have your moments Roro.”
Harry pondered for a second, “Like doing a weird, spider-like dance in the middle of the bar, kneeing a guy when he got too close to you during that, making Newt set up a karaoke machine and then singing songs which seemed to have come from another language,“ Harry stopped talking, assessing her face for a moment, "It was really fun seeing you like that.”
Rory wondered why he didn’t bring it up sooner, was he having a change of heart?
“It was really that bad, huh?”
Harry shook his head. “I would have stopped you, but Penny said you needed to have that, whatever that means. So I didn’t. But I enjoyed a lot.”
It was true, she really needed that. She smiled despite herself. “Thank you for looking after me.”
The lunch passed by smoothly, none of them talked after that. Harry insisted on walking her home, but she refused. She hated to say this, but seeing Harry so out of his element (not annoying her) made her confused. For it annoyed her (what?!) that he wasn’t annoying her.
It hadn’t registered in her mind till then that a teeny, tiny part of her was disappointed when Harry made civil talk with her, like it really wanted him to act like he normally did around her. It also didn’t register in her mind till then that a teeny, tiny part of her enjoyed when he did that.
She was confused.
Was she saying that she enjoyed when Harry made fun of her? No. Was she saying that it bothered her when he didn’t make fun of her and acted like she was some stranger he hadn’t spent the better part of six months trying to annoy? Absolutely.
Unknowingly, she had started liking Harry and his antics. Unknowingly, she had started observing him, how he’d scrunch up his nose and look absolutely cute and how he’d put on his best, adorable puppy eyes unconsciously so no one could say no to him and how even though he’d be making fun of Rory, it would be harmless, childish jokes and how, despite the times he’d said otherwise, he’d ramble whenever he got nervous.
Rory had observed it all. And around doing so, she’d developed a teeny tiny crush on Harry.
It was just a crush, nothing else. That was what she kept telling herself, but during the lunch, she realized something which could either save her or burn everything.
Harry was loudly munching on a piece of lettuce stolen from Rory’s plate. (It wasn’t stealing if you consider Rory had put it to the side). When he swallowed, his eyes lit up like fire.
“Hey Roro, do you know something?”
Rory hummed, mouth full of food. “What?”
Harry made a face as he saw that her mouth was filled to the brim, “I got your number.”
Rory was surprised, and confused, and surprised. She remembered him asking for it last night. “From where?”
“I asked Newt like you said. You were right; his eyebrows were so glad they started dancing. Also because he was drunk.”
She cursed Newt. If it weren’t for him, Rory wouldn’t have to deal with Harry’s arse at all. When Harry got to the shelter the first time, Newt was the one responsible for showing Harry around and letting him get the hang of things. But the bastard got sick the third day and Rory had to replace him. And then cued in Harry and his penchant of annoying Rory out of her mind.
“Great,” she drawled out, still lightly hungover and a lot more hungry. She couldn’t eat because her stomach was feeling off, but the hunger was still present.
“I didn’t get to send you the gif I was talking about, but here you go.”
Moments later her phone rang as she got a text from Harry. This better be good, she thought as she clicked on the notification. A sigh involuntarily heaved out of her lips as Harry’s laugh rang in the background. Harry had sent her a gif of cow screaming which he found undeniably amusing.
“Real mature, Styles.”
She shook her head, not at all amused. Somewhere around that Harry had stopped laughing and now was staring wistfully at Rory.
“Why are you looking me like that?”
Harry shrugged. His eyes were really green, Rory noticed. It was like when grass glistened after the rain. Like that, they were twinkling. They must be a couple of feet apart but Rory saw his freckles, which looked undeniably cute.
“You just- um - you never call me by my name.”
Rory’s brow furrowed, “But I do! Isn’t Styles your name?”
Harry shook his head. “No, what I mean is, you never call me Harry. It’s always Styles.”
He looked so much like a wounded puppy that Rory was moved to think about what he said. It was really true; she never called him by his actual name. “But you also call me Roro.”
“That’s different,” he pursed his lips together, “When you call me Styles, it’s always with an air of indifference; I get the feeling you’re trying to push me away. And maybe you are, and maybe I’m really pushing boundaries here. But I don’t like when you do that, Roro.”
Rory was taken aback by his confession, his face reminded her of the time she got caught stealing a cookie and her mother was so much disappointed in her which she could never forget. The look on her mother’s face paralleled that on Harry’s face, both making her feel that she failed some test.
“I’m sorry, Sty- I mean, Harry,” she muttered sheepishly, “It’s just that, you never struck me as someone who’d be interested in befriending me, what with the pact you made since day one to bother me to no end. But,” she put up her finger when Harry opened his mouth, “I’m willing to try to be friends if you are.”
Harry nodded enthusiastically, the smile he had on his face almost breaking it in half, “I am. Let’s start over, but first, there’s something I want you to see.”
He took out his phone and began typing.
“It’s not another screaming cow gif, is it?”
But her phone rang once again. She clicked the notification, rolling her eyes when the text popped up.
“No,” he replied, “It’s a screaming sheep gif.”
Rory, without thinking about anything, let herself smile for the first time around him as he giggled obnoxiously. She shook her head at his childish demeanors. Her heart started behaving as if she’d been on a run, and her stomach started cramping once again. There wasn’t anything which could have caused it except for Harry, but Rory wasn’t walking on the path.
Seeing Harry laughing genuinely with her and not at her, brought her to conclusion. If she was going to survive going to the wedding, she needed someone by her side to distract her, someone who’d make her laugh when it would get too real. Someone who’d make fun of all the other guests and even the bride and groom with her.
Someone like Harry.
The epiphany Rory had left her giddy with nervousness through all the time she was actually supposed to prepare for the wedding and look after Moby.
Her belly was getting bigger, and Rory remembered there were six puppies inside her. Her appetite had also grown to accommodate for the six additional dogs and also, to Rory’s horror, Moby was having the worst case of morning sickness, which wasn’t as much of a morning since she kept puking throughout the day.
To Rory’s surprise, Harry was super helpful and super caring with Moby. He made sure she was comfortable and happy all times and even refrained from unnecessary teasing Rory with things related with pregnancy as they made her queasy. She knew it was nature’s most exciting phenomenon and she’d also go through it someday but it wasn’t her fault that she was born with the weakest of heart which trembled at the sight of blood and itself got ready to join the person she would see puking.
Before, Harry wouldn’t have let go of the opportunity to gloat about Rory’s weaknesses at the sight of blood but now when Moby was puking her guts out, Harry actually offered to look after her, making Rory sigh with relief when he chose not to comment on anything.
“Thanks for the offer, Harry, but I’d really like to be there for Moby.”
Harry. Ever since she had reverted to calling Harry instead of Styles, things had taken a complete U-turn for both of them. Their fights decreased to a large extent, they laughed with each other (not at the other) quite often and Rory hadn’t thought of banging her head on the wall after that.
But subsequently, she had started feeling giddy and nervous around him, probably because she was going to ask him to accompany her to the wedding of her ex. Harry might be nicer to her than before, but she knew because of his curiousness, she’d have to tell him whose wedding was she was talking about and everything. She still had not mustered up the courage to talk to him but she did RSVP to the wedding so now there was no backing up.
Christmas was getting closer, and so was the wedding. She had a detailed call with her mother who was now somewhere around the other side of the world with her boyfriend Steve who was much like a husband now except for the whole wedding part. Rory’s father had passed away in an accident when she was two and after years of refusing, her mother decided to date Steve who looked after the both the same way her father would have.
Talking to her mother made Rory realize how much she wished she had her to talk to and get advice from. But her mother, being a social activist, was somewhere in Kenya building nutrition centers. It left her feeling a bit of relief as her mother wouldn’t be home for Christmas so she wouldn’t have to drive all the way back to her hometown.
Rory would have asked both Penny and Lacey for advice but she just didn’t have that kind of relationship with either of them. Sure, they both considered her an elder sister but she was the detached kind of elder sister, the one who kept to herself and wasn’t at all close to her siblings.
Rory had to do everything on her own.
And with Christmas getting closer, she had to shop for gifts as well. She had a bit of an idea about what she was getting everyone else (she had spent about three years of Christmas with them) but Harry was the worry here. She didn’t know whether he’d be going home or not for Christmas or was he going to stay there.
With November halfway gone, Rory was getting fearful with each second which ticked by. There was the wedding, and then there were the confusing things she was beginning to feel about Harry. He made her giddy, he made her stomach cramp, and he made her anxious. She had dated her fair share of boys (including Josh) and all of them made her feel some type of way almost similar to what Harry was doing, so she knew she couldn’t ignore her feelings.
She didn’t know what Harry felt about her, but she was going to get all of her answers soon enough.
how are we today??
it took a bit long to update mainly because i was busy with some exams but i'm free now!! what do you think of this chapter?? and our homegirl rory (kind of) realizing her feelings?? what do you think is gonna happen next?
leave your thoughts as i love reading them.
until next time xx