Because of Rosalie
Chapter 08: A Very Delicate Topic
Unfortunately, Friday approached rather quickly. The daytime hours clicked by faster than ever before, which left me rushing around my room trying to get my appearance thrown together somewhat presentable and nice. Harry dresses quite chic and stylish - at least he has every time we went out. That on its own sets a high standard for me to meet. I can't show up in sweats or leggings. I have to look nice, or else I would be out of place - drawing attention from everyone.
Rosalie has thrown a billion questions my way today, all referring to what my night will consist of. I just tell her it's adult business and she doesn't have to know everything I do. It's not that I don't want to tell her but I can't. I will not let my daughter know that I'm going to meet the man that she practically hates. He left a bad first impression and that has poisoned her views on him. Perhaps one day things can change and she can get to know the Harry I know, or at least think I know..
Harry once told me, while on or third date, that he liked the way dark colors looked on me. He said the contrast with my pale skin and light hair was lovely. So, of course, I decided to wear a navy dress tonight that hugs my body in the right places. My hips and my chest - some of my thicker features. I don't mind, I've always been accepting of my own body. Despite the changes childbirth caused, I do appreciate the figure I have. My chest got bigger and my butt got fuller once Rosalie came along, but it's nothing I can't handle.
I slide my feet into a pair of two and a half inch navy heels - a strap around my ankle to keep them secured. My final touches include some small diamond earrings Mom gifted me with when I graduated high school and a silver necklace with a small cross dangling from it, something my grandmother gave me years ago that I have cherished ever since. Perfume is the last to join me. Harry commented on my perfume a couple of times, saying that the sweet smell was appealing to him. Why am I constantly thinking of him?
Minutes later, I go downstairs and kiss both my mother and my daughter goodbye, assuring them I will return at a decent hour. Rosalie doesn't want me to go, she started to tear up. Mom promised her they could stay up a little past her bedtime to watch a movie of her choice, and that made her smile and cheer up some. With a final goodbye, I grab the keys to my car and head out the door.
The restaurant Harry has made reservations for is about a fifteen minute drive - and that's with light traffic. It's Friday night, six thirty - I'm sure the traffic is very intense right now. My heart is violently throbbing in my chest as I start up my car, sighing heavily as I adjust the volume of the radio. It's left on a station Harry recommended to me. Despite it being two months since we cut ties, I haven't thought about changing the station. It plays good music, and besides.. it's not like his voice comes through the speakers - simply just good music.
"You can do this.. you can do this." I breathe out, my eyes watching the street carefully as I begin the trip.
My palms are sweating around the steering wheel, my level of nervousness is out of the roof at this point. Sometimes my anxiety can get so far ahead of me that I nearly lose my sanity - which is happening right now. I'm thinking of the absolute worst. What if he stood me up? What if he lied in the letter and he just wants to tell me how much he hates me? I shake off my thoughts, there's no way he would do that to me. Who would waste their time hand writing an apology just to have it turn out to be a joke? Harry isn't that immature, at least I hope not.
When I finally arrive at the restaurant, which Harry referred to as "our place", it's five minutes to seven and my entire body feels numb. We had our first, third, and fifth dates in this building. The food is amazing, the atmosphere is wonderful, and of course Harry's presence just sort of makes everything perfect..
My legs are weak as I shut the car door. I slide my purse strap over my shoulder as I start the walk to the front entrance. I see a few people lingering outside, engaged in small talk with one another. I give them a friendly smile as I pass by, only a couple of them returned the polite gesture. I don't know why I'm so nice all the time. I guess it's how my mother raised me. Why not be kind? There is no reason to be unnecessarily cruel and mean, this world has so much hate - we need to lower the levels.
Before I even realized it, I am standing in line for the hostess stand. The couple I'm behind are in their early to mid thirties. Their hands are wrapped together between them, a nice sized diamond sits on the woman's ring finger. I sigh gently, it must be nice to be happily in love with someone. They are the next to reach the hostess, meaning that I'll get there soon. My eyes flicker down to my watch, it's two minutes past seven. Did I walk too slow from my car? Is he going to leave and forget this all if I'm late? Did he cancel our table? Did I ruin everything once ag-
I flinch, the sudden sound of her voice scared me slightly. I walk up to the stand, a nervous exhale leaving my body.
"Um, I'm meeting someone here." I mumble, not entirely sure what to say to her.
"Did they make a reservation?" She asks me, glancing up from the book sitting in front of her.
"Alright, last name please." When I realize she repeated the question from seconds ago I feel my cheeks heat up in embarrassment, am I that clueless sometimes? Obviously I just have to say his last name.
"St-styles." I stammer, mentally slapping myself for being so anxious about this. It's just Harry..
"Follow me." She nods her head to the left before taking off in that direction.
I follow her immediately, not wanting to get lost in this crowded place. Despite coming here a handful of times, I still am not comfortable with all the surroundings. I'm not even sure I remember where the restrooms are located. My mind is buzzing off, thoughts rapidly shooting through my brain. I wonder what he's wearing. I hope it's one of those button up shirts he likes to dress in. They are usually oddly patterned and paired with a solid color blazer and trousers. He really pulls it off though, I give him credit for that.
My eyes linger over a few tables. All I see are fancy people with suits and cocktail dresses on - watches shining on men's wrists and diamonds dripping from women's ears. Not little diamonds like mine, but big droplet earrings that catch the light when they turn their heads. I take a deep breath as I realize the hostess is slowing down, most likely coming up on the table. The exhale comes through my nose, a gulp sliding down my throat just a second later.
Part of me wants to turn around and cut out running for dear life. I'm sure Rosalie would be pleased to see me return so soon, my mother as well. I don't even realize I'm clenching a fist at my side until I feel my fingers become cold from the lack of blood flow. I release my grip and huff, my spine is receiving racing shivers as I stare at the hostess's heels - they are coming to a completely stop.
"Mr. Styles.. your date is here." She says with a kind tone, but I can easily tell it's fake and only an act. Just doing her job, I suppose.
A chair moves, indicating that someone has rose to their feet. She steps out of my way, forcing me to lift my eyes off the floor. I trail my gaze up a tall figure - legs clad in black trousers, nicely fitting around their thighs, and a matching blazer. What catches my attention the most is the pink shirt with white detailing - I can hardly make out what the design is though. Perhaps some sort of lines scattered all over the place.
"You look beautiful, Jen."
That deep voice rattles my brain, my lungs instantly feel like bricks. I feel a small smile come to my mouth, only to draw attention away from my cheeks which are currently lit on fire.
"Are you alright, love?"
The moment I hear his accent living strongly in his last word I feel my knees start to give out. Ever since the first time I heard it I've been completely in love with it. He does wild things to me, without even trying. I remind myself that this moment is real, and he's speaking to me - therefore, I don't need to be rude and just be mute the entire time.
"Have a seat, please." He laughs faintly, but I could hear the strain.
I does as he insists, and I sit down at the table. The candle in the middle makes me shiver, and then I see the glass vase. My heart melts as I count the number of white roses. Six, to mark this as the sixth date. On our first date he brought one, on the second he had two, then so on. He hoped to make it high up in number, and at the time I prayed for that to happen. He takes his seat as well, not leaving me alone at the table. The hostess walks away after Harry assures her that we are fine and don't need anything straight away.
"I.. uh." He starts, but has to clear his throat before he could get too far into his statement. "I started to think you, um, weren't coming."
"Just a few minutes late.. not an hour." I shrug a shoulder, not seeing what the big deal is.
"If.. if this is too-too much for you.. you can.. go." He sighs, feeling frustrated with everything. For some reason I think he's not directing that feeling towards me but to himself.
My head lifts from my lap, almost automatically our eyes lock. It feels like ages since I've seen the emerald gems. His lips curve into a smile, making me tingle to the core of my being. I swallow harshly, trying to collect myself in this chair without making it obvious that I'm not doing well at the moment.
"It's not too much. I'm fine." I tell him, licking my lips - my anxiety starting to take over now more than on the ride here.
"How was your drive? Was.. um.. the traffic bad?" He questions curiously, taking a sip of what appears to be red wine in his glass - he always ordered a glass of wine, but never got wasted - never had more than one when he was with me.
"It wasn't too bad. A few hold ups."
He nods slowly, taking another drink of the red liquid. My stomach starts to churn, I'm not sure it's hunger catching up with me or my nervous behavior that's messing with me. I reach into my purse to grab my phone, I like to have it sitting on the table just in case Mom calls or texts me. Emergencies are something I fear and try not to imagine, but it's a reality I have to accept - especially since I have a child. A child.. Rosalie.
"Thank you for paying for my mom's stuff that afternoon. She.. she couldn't stop gushing about how kind you were." I blurt it out faster than I could form the sentence in my head. It's out there now, I can't take it back. I'm quite sure it was bound to happen at some point tonight.
"Oh, you don't have to thank me." He smiles once more, making me tear my eyes away from his face.
I sit my phone down, opening the screen just to check for anything. I have a message from my mom that just tells me to enjoy my night and not rush home. I don't reply, I'm sure she won't worry if I don't send a text back for a hour or so.
"Your mother.." Harry says suddenly, making my head snap up, ".. did she know who I was?"
Giving him a shake of my head, I sigh, "No.. she said she had no clue. She, um, didn't see you that night.. She was focused on Rose."
"Yeah.. um.. her name's Rosalie but we call her Rose sometimes." I inform him, not sure if he wanted to know that or not.
"Rosalie.. That's.. that's beautiful. Quite.. traditional." He gives an approving nod, taking the rim of his glass back to his pink lips.
"Yeah, I've always loved that name."
"Jenny, I'm sorry." Harry shoots out, catching me off guard. "I feel like it means more in person. So.. I'm so sorry for what I done. I will never be able to forgive myself."
The amount of hurt he's holding in his eyes, and over his face, makes my heart start to drip like wax down a candle. His lips are turned to a frown, and his brows are scrunched so much that he has wrinkles on his forehead. He looks like someone just told him the worst news ever.
"Harry.." I mumble, making my eyes move back to my lap, staring at my chipping nail polish. "You hurt my feelings."
"I know, I fuckin' know, Jen. And it's been killing me ever since." Harry's voice lowered to a pleading whisper, his use of vulgar words is probably the reason. In a place like this, you shouldn't be loud while using those sort of words.
"I don't care about you hurting me. I.. I can get over it. But.." I stop myself, pushing a few fingers against my mouth to keep my lips from quivering so fast - my emotions are exploding inside of me, ready to force their way out own in all possible ways. "You hurt my daughter.. and that.. is.. she's something I don't mess around about."
Harry pushes the wine away from him, suddenly uninterested in its flavor. He rests his forearms on the table, crossed over each other, while he leans forwards to get closer to me.
"When she looked at me in the grocery store.. I saw literal fear in her eyes and it crushed my entire soul." Harry's words don't help with my sobs wanting to be freed. "I wanted to scoop her up right then and there and apologize to her over and over again until she forgave me."
"Are you ready to order, sir?" A waiter appears from nowhere, making Harry groan in irritation.
The man walks away with a nod. I want to apologize for Harry's rude tone but he was gone too fast. Harry takes a few breaths, eyes still staring at me - most likely awaiting my response. There is this little voice in my head trying to convince me to just get up and leave. I have better things to do at home like sit with my daughter and enjoy time with her. She loves to watch movies with me and eat popcorn. I miss her so much already and it hasn't even been an hour yet.
"Honestly, I don't know why I reacted the way I did when I first saw her." Harry gets a hold of my focus, pulling me from my thoughts without my permission. "I guess I was.. shocked beyond words. I panicked. I didn't want to end things. I didn't want to leave. I don't know why I decided to."
"I hope that you just acted out of anger.." I breathe out, my eyes moving to observe the position of the white roses. Harry pushed them aside, along with the candle, after we got settled so that we could properly see each other.
I don't think I could ever forget that text he sent me the night before our first date. He had asked what color flowers I liked. I told him I loved all kinds of flowers but that white roses held a special place in my heart. My grandmother loved white roses. Unfortunately, her mind has slipped some and she often forgets that. I tend to remind her, I always take her one when I visit. I guess Harry wanted every detail to be perfect and to meet my liking. I appreciated it, of course, I still do. They're lovely. He's always let me take them home.
"I was so far out of line. I don't think I could ever apologize enough for that. It's not like I was disgusted or anything. In fact.. once I was home I realized how beautiful it is. A child.. they're precious and innocent." Harry's voice is slightly deeper than it was moments ago, which only draws my ears to concentrate on him even more now. "I believe I was just mad.. because you didn't tell me."
This leads us into the most important part of this night - it's my turn to apologize to him. He didn't know that I have a daughter, I refused to tell him so soon in our relationship - if that's what you would call it. I take a deep breath, trying to relax myself. I push a few spray strands of hair behind my ear, stalling just a little. When I pick my eyes off the table, I find that Harry is already looking at me - slightly lowered brows as he focuses on me.
"I swear to you, Harry, I was going to tell you."
"Why didn't.." For a moment, I thought he was going to burst into flames, but he stops himself to take a few inhales. "Why didn't you tell me before?" It's very evident that this topic fuels his anger. I would be upset, too.
"Am I.. am I terrible person? Did you not.. not want her around me?" He cuts in before I get a chance to explain.
When an annoyed sigh comes through my lips, he relaxes against the back of the chair and nods lightly to me, giving me the floor to speak on now. I take advantage of his silence, not sure how long it will last.
"Up until I was like thirteen.. my mom always had guys coming over. She tried to date but it usually just ended with a hook up. They were gone by midnight.. but I still witnessed it. And.."
I take a pause, partially unable to stabilize my emotions. My breathing becomes slow and steady, my heart is trying its best to keep a regular beat. After a minute of quietness at our table, I carry on with my explanation.
"I've tried to date before.. but no one ever really made it past the first two dates. I didn't want to bring someone around her that I knew was just going to leave in a few days anyways. But.. with you.. I.. I felt that you weren't going to just disappear.. clearly I was wrong. And the few guys I did tell cut ties immediately. It's like.. I've always feared that when I did let someone in.. they would break her heart.. or they wouldn't want to take care of her or pay her any attention. I will never allow myself to be with someone who doesn't love my daughter."
Harry pushes his hand through his hair, getting it out of his face. I admire how it falls perfectly, like he never touched it in the first place. His index finger and thumb are pulling on his bottom lip, his eyes staring down at the empty space in front of him. For a second, I feared what he would think about that - how he'd react to everything I poured onto his plate.
With a calming sigh, his eyes dart back to mine and he licks his lips, "Now I understand."
"Are you ready to order, sir?" The same waiter returns to our table, making me slightly fearful of Harry's reaction.
"Fucking no. I will let you know." He snarls through gritted teeth, my heart skipping a beat as I notice how exasperated he can become.
I wait for Harry to lower the amount of steam flying out of his ears - letting the silence emerge again between us. He's rubbing a few fingers against his temples, trying his best to bring his anger down.
"And Jen.." He mutters that name - I swear he's the only one ever to give me that title - it makes my heart flutter uncontrollably. "If you had brought it up on our first date.. or before.. I wouldn't have bailed on you. I would've asked to meet her. And even that night.. if you would've brought her out.. I believe I would have acted a little differently. I think hearing her blurt out Mommy just.. screwed with my head."
Right as I'm about to reply to his words, which touched my heart slightly, my phone beeps. I look down to see it's a text from Mom. Unlike the first one, I decide to read this one. I open my phone, Harry's eyes are watching me closely. I read over the message before quickly replying to her.
From Mom: (7:16PM) Rose just threw up. :/ I will give her some medicine when her stomach calms down.
To Mom: (7:16PM) Gosh, I hope she doesn't have the stomach flu again. Give her a kiss for me xx
I sit my phone down, sending a quick prayer about my daughter's health. I hate it when she's sick, seeing her in so much pain and discomfort hurts me.
"Is everyin' alright?" Harry asks, concern deeply woven into his thick voice.
"Um.. Rose is.. throwing up." I mutter, not wanting anyone to overhear me while they're eating.
"Gosh. Poor thing. Do you need to go?" Harry's worry isn't towards whether I have to leave this date or not, he's focusing on my daughter and I can tell it's very sincere, very real.
"No. My mom's going to give her some medicine. She'll sleep it off. It.. it could be just something she ate." I take the glass of water I've been staring at for a majority of the time and take a few sips from it.
"Are you hungry? We.. we can order now, if.. if you'd like." Harry asks, glancing around for the waiter but he's nowhere in sight, at least not from my view.
It didn't take long for the young guy to make his rounds again - asking Harry the very same question when he arrived to our table for the third time. Harry ordered a steak, his usual, and I decided to go for chicken. I didn't want to eat anything heavy tonight. For the most part afterwards we just small talked. He asked about my classes and I done the same. His life is far more interesting than mine. He told me about this charity mural he's working on at some old building outside the city. He mentioned that I should come see it when it's done, I didn't directly respond to that part though. I'm still debating if they'll be another time for us to meet up or not.
Dessert was just dropped off to us. I got some sort of cake and Jenny got a fancy cookie. She starts to eat before I do, I'm too caught up in staring at her beauty to even realize there's a slice of cake in front of me. She looks so beautiful tonight, so perfect. Her hair is straightened - I've been dying to see it that way. It's much longer than when curled. She went to use the restroom earlier and I saw that the tips reached the small of her back.
Her dress is fantastic on her, she looks divine in darker colors. She looks perfect in everything, but dark colors just make her look so pale and fragile - so beautiful. As for her makeup, it's lightly applied like usual. Her eyes have a coat of mascara, her brows are tinted with product, there's only a little bit of brown pigment in the outer corners of her eyes, shimmer on her lids - her face makeup is practically non existing. She once told me that she just conceals her little acne pop ups, she doesn't like to pile on foundation or anything. And those lips, gosh those thick lips - they're covered with a thin layer of sheer gloss that she's reapplied once already. I'm sure she will again after she eats the dessert.
As far as conversation goes, we have mostly discussed things like college, a traffic incident I had a few weeks ago, some weird new food she tried and insisted I do as well - just the typical, normal stuff we talked about on those other lovely dates of ours. We have yet to really discuss her daughter. I doubt she'll bring it up again, but I'd love to know more about her. I want to know what she's like. Just as she takes another bite of her desert, I ask her something I've been curious to know.
"How old is Rosalie?"
Her eyes fling to me, her small hand covers her mouth to keep good manners. I just smile at her, she's quite adorable. I'm sure I frightened her by speaking out of the blue - especially while she was eating. She swallows the bite and dabs her lips on a napkin before sitting the fork down on the plate.
She takes a breath, "Four. Her birthday's in January."
I nod to her after taking in the information. Four year olds are easy to please, aren't they? Perhaps I will go buy her a stuffed animal as a peace offering - that is, if I get allowed to meet her one of these days. I hope I do, Jenny means the world to me and that results in little Rosalie meaning everything as well. Jenny takes another fork full into her mouth, ignoring me entirely now as she gets lost in the bliss of the desert.
With a smirk over my lips, I rest my chin in my palm, my eyes lingering on her. Hopefully she'll glance up and see me admiring her beauty. I'm sure she'll blush up like normal, and try to hide her face from me. I always told her she didn't need to do that, but she denied my claims that she's gorgeous.
Just as I suspected, her sight catches me and her face starts to tinge with redness. She puts the fork down, taking the napkin and pressing it against her mouth again.
"Stop that. You always.. do- did that."
"I like watchin' you. You always enjoy your dessert more than anythin'." I drop my left eye in a wink for her, only making her cheeks fluster harder.
I debate for a second, but decide not to mention her use of a past tense verb. It's almost as though she doesn't see this happening again in the future.
"It's good. What do you expect?" Her smile pulls one from me, she's the cutest.
"Jenny.. I know this is a very.. delicate topic.. but.. I just wondered if.. I would ever get the chance to-"
"Your bill, sir." The waiter sits the receipt and card holder down on the table, quickly fleeing in fear of being yelled at again.
Not only does my fist clench, but my jaw does as well. "Always an interruption." I mumbled when grabbing the receipt.
I glance over the total before pulling out my wallet. I can feel Jenny's stare on me as I drag the card from it's designated slot and it sit it on top of the receipt on the paper. On our first date I made it very clear that she was not allowed to pay for anything when I'm around. The only thing I wanted her to do was enjoy dinner and have a nice night. She argued with me at first, but I won in the end.
"What.. what were you saying?" She asks quietly, her shy side taking over.
I lick my lips, "Um.. I want to meet her, Rosalie. I.. I really want to."
She shakes her head lightly a few times, pushing the plate away from her despite not being through. I feel my heart skip a beat, the anticipation is killing me. Jenny looks at the time on her phone before finally lifting her head - her gaze returning to meet mine.
"I'm not ready for that.. neither is she."
"One day.. can I? Please?"
Practically I'm begging at this rate. I know it's a tough decision, this could make or break us in the long run. I want to meet that little girl, I want to show her the real me - not the angered man she saw yell at her mother that night. She remains silent.
"At least.. let me know if we can do this again.. if I can take you out again. If.. if you want to be done then.. I understand."
She displays a subtle smile, her eyes glance down to the table for a second, "We'll see."
I'm well aware that it's been three weeks since the last update, and I apologize. I've been so caught up with school and preparing for college and all that lovely, annoying stuff.. Anyways, I hope you enjoy this chapter. :) More coming very soon xoxoxo