Chapter 8

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Anne rushed into the school’s infirmary unit, and asked where her son was. The nurse led her to the back of the unit, where Harry was lying in a bed with his hand in his mouth, quietly whimpering. “Oh, my baby! What happened?!” Anne nearly broke down crying at the sight of her son. “Mum!” Harry yelled, as he reached out for his mother with both arms. Anne wrapped her arms around her son, and swayed him from side to side. They stayed like that for a few minutes until Louis cleared his throat, and Anne spun around, still keeping a hold on Harry. “Ma’am, someone from our school started messing with Harry. I don’t know who it was, but my friends let the principal know what happened.” Louis finished with a nod. “Thank you, Louis. I really appreciate you looking after Harry. Is there any way I can repay you?” Anne asked. Louis was quick to refuse, but Anne wasn’t planning on taking no for an answer. “At least let me invite you over for dinner, Louis.” Anne sighed; feeling the need to thank Louis had become overwhelming. “Bring your friends too! I’d like to thank them in person!” Anne smiled warmly, as Louis finally agreed. “Alright, so be over to the house around 7.” Anne smiled as she rubbed Harry’s back. “Alright Harry, let’s go home.” Anne gently helped Harry off of the bed, and kept an arm around his shoulder as she led him out of the school.

                Once at home, Harry began clinging to Anne everywhere she went. He kept a firm hold of her hand while she walked around the house, and hugged her whenever she stood still for more than two seconds. “Was scary, mummy… He hit me. No more school, please. Wanna stay with you…” Harry said quietly, with his head comfortably tucked into the crook of his mother’s neck. “I know it must’ve been scary babe, but you can’t stop going to school now. You’re doing so well, and I’m so proud of you!” Anne crooned, as stroked Harry’s cheek. Gemma, who had been sitting at the kitchen table near them, was listening intently. “Harry, why don’t you come sit with me?” Gemma patted the seat next to her. Anne had already informed Gemma about Harry getting beaten by the stranger, and knew that Harry would be clingy afterwards. “No, I wanna stay with mum-ma.” Harry hugged onto Anne tighter. Anne couldn’t help but hug back for a little while. She also couldn’t help but notice Harry’s sudden set back in his behavior. Earlier that morning, he had wanted to do everything by himself, and now he needed Anne 24/7. Dr. Flack had mentioned about how sensitive Harry’s skull was, and how even the lightest blow to the head after the accident could cause regressing behaviors in a person with a severe brain injury. “Harry, show me where the bully hit you.” She pried Harry away from her. He pointed to stomach first, and Anne lifted his shirt to reveal a reddish-purple bruise. “Oh, my goodness,” She said in disgust. Anne pulled his shirt back down, before Harry pointed to his head. “Oh no,” Fear struck Anne as she parted Harry’s curly hair, to see a red, and swollen bump right above Harry’s scar. “Okay, the let’s put some ice on your head, babe.” Anne led Harry to the kitchen table, and sat him down next to Gemma. “No leave, mum.” Harry whined, as he pulled at her hand. “I’m just going to the freezer, honey.” Anne said, as she managed to get her hand out of Harry’s grip. She grabbed an ice pack from the freezer, and wrapped it in a clean dish cloth. “Alright, keep this on your head until it starts to feel numb.” Anne placed the ice on Harry’s head. “Should I call Dr. Flack?” Gemma stated, also noticing Harry’s behaviors. “Yeah, give her a call, and try to set up an appointment for tomorrow.” Anne instructed. Gemma nodded, and left the room the make the call. “Harry, I think it’s about time for you to take a nap,” Anne said with a worried expression. “Not tired,” Harry said gleefully, while bouncing in his seat. It perplexed Anne how quickly Harry’s moods could change. “Mum, when’s Louis coming over?” Harry asked as he got up, and practically skipped over to his mother. “Here comes the hyper Harry…” Anne thought to herself. “I told him and his friends to be here at 7-“Anne said before Harry cut her off. “He’s bringing friends?!” Harry yelled happily, while hopping up and down. “Inside voice, Harry,” Anne chuckled. Harry just giggled, and ran around the room, playing with anything that caught his eye. “Harry, why don’t you go to the living room, and watch some television for a bit?” Anne asked. “I don’t wanna sit down,” Harry whined, as he clumsily continued to skip in and out of the kitchen, almost tripping over his pigeon toes. Anne decided to kill sometime by grabbing a book to read. She sat down comfortably on the couch, only to have Harry follow her. “What’s that book, mum?” Harry asked, while pointing at the book in Anne’s hands. “It’s called, ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. It’s a wonderful American classic.” Anne said before putting on her reading glasses. “Can I see?” Harry pulled the book out of her hands, and turned the pages, before getting a confused look on his face. “Where are the pictures, mum?” Harry asked, while scanning each page for any trace of an illustration. “It’s a novel, babe. There aren’t going to be a lot of pictures.” Anne smiled at him, and took her book back. “That’s boring,” Harry said while crossing his arms over his chest, and pouting. “Where’s Gemma?” Harry asked while getting up from the couch. “I think she’s in her room, but try not to bother her too much, okay? She’s working on a very important assignment for school.” Anne gently nudged Harry off the couch, and he made his way upstairs. He knocked on Gemma’s door three times, before he heard a muffled, “Come in.” “Hey Gem!” Harry exclaimed as he ran over to his sister’s desk, and gave her a bear hug. “Hello Harry,” She strained from briefly getting the air squeezed out of her. “Why do you have to do work when you don’t have school?” Harry asked, curiously. “In Uni, some of the teachers hand out assignments for students to do during winter break.” Gemma stated, her eyes trained on her computer screen. “Ugh! You and mum are boring!” Harry exclaimed. Gemma chuckled under her breath, as she continued to type.

                It was getting close to 5:30, so Anne decided to get a start on dinner. “Harry, come help me with dinner, babe!” She called up the stairs. She thought Gemma had suffered enough of Harry’s constant questioning. After a few seconds, Anne heard thunderous feet run down stairs, as she prepared the ingredients for dinner. Harry ran into the kitchen excitedly, and said, “What can I do?” “First wash your hands, and then we can start to make your favorite food.” Anne smiled. “Tacos!” Harry exclaimed, and hugged his mother. It took them about thirty minutes to get everything finished, and set out on the dining room table. “Hmm, we still have a bit of time,” Anne said, before retrieving some chocolate cake mix from the pantry.

                Once the cake was finished, Anne expected the boys to arrive any minute. Finally, the doorbell rang, and Harry ran to the door excitedly. Anne followed, and opened the door to reveal Louis standing with three other boys that Anne recognized. “Niall? Liam? Zayn?” Anne asked puzzled. “Hello, Ms. Cox,” The three boys answered politely. “You know them?” Louis asked, equally as puzzled at Anne. “These boys used to hang out with Harry before his accident. They were over here all the time.” Anne said, smiled at the memory of the boys running around the house, and playing silly pranks on Gemma. “Wow, it’s been a really long time! Harry, remember Liam, Niall, and Zayn?” Anne asked, while gesturing towards the boys at the door. Harry scratched his head in confusion. “Umm, no… I can’t really remember…” Harry strained to find any sort of memory of the boys standing in front of him, but couldn’t find any. “It’s cool, mate,” Liam said while smiling warmly. “Well, please come in, and dinner is ready, so help yourselves!” Anne welcomed them inside.

                Lighthearted talk spread around the dinner table after Gemma had joined, and sat in the dining room. Harry, however, was beginning to feel jealous of all the attention that the guests were getting. Usually, all the dinner talk centered around Harry’s adventures at school, and the occasional story or two from Gemma. Zayn was in the middle of talking to Anne about his plans on majoring in art at Uni, when Harry interrupted. “Mum, guess what me and George did in class during reading time last week.” Harry grabbed his mum’s hand to try and get her attention. “Sweetheart, Zayn was talking. Next time, wait until he’s finished.” Anne patted Harry’s hand, before turning her attention back to Zayn. Harry huffed, and turned his attention to Gemma, who was talking with Niall about his plans to travel to Lithuania to visit distant family members. Harry tugged at the sleeve on Gemma’s shirt, until she turned around. “Gem, I want cuddles.” Harry pouted, and hugged onto his sister. “Harry, I’m in the middle of a conversation, you’re going to have to give me a few minutes before cuddles.” Gemma pried Harry away from her, and turned back to Niall.

                “Why is nobody talking to me?” Harry thought. His head was beginning to hurt, and he needed to get someone’s attention. He patted his mum’s cheek lightly, but she continued talking, completely ignoring him. “Muuum, Mummy!” Harry said tugging on her hand, starting to feel a bit distressed. “Mum-ma, I need to talk to you!” Harry eyes began to water. Anne sighed, and turned to Harry, who had tears in his eyes. “Harry, you have to learn to be patient, and wait for your turn to talk. It’s very rude to interrupt a conversation.” Anne sighed, and stroked Harry’s cheek, before turning back to her conversation. Harry felt anger rise up in his chest. “No! Mum, I wanna talk! It’s no fair!” Harry cried. He sobbed, and stomped his feet on the floor from his seat. All conversation had stopped, and all eyes were now on Harry. “Harry, I think you should go to your room. I’ll be up in a minute to talk to you.” Anne said calmly. Harry’s lip trembled even more, as he stood up from his seat, and stomped his way up the stairs, slamming his bedroom door closed behind him.

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