chapter 27

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I tried my best to make our house in Kingston feel like home.

I made sure Harry came home to a hot, homemade meal every evening - which we ate together in deathly silence. I lit candles in our bedroom, made the whole place smell like lavender but he never seemed to notice. He didn't spend time with me anymore. He would plummet in through the door every night and race up the stairs, lock himself in the bathroom for a shower and then go to bed. He didn't listen to me anymore, either, always glancing distractedly at his phone or texting when I addressed him, and he'd look up in confusion and mumble a halfhearted 'What'?'.

I put up some pictures of us together, a few from last year when I'd gone to his for Christmas. Back when we'd been happy together, when I'd wished we could be something more than what we were - back when it was just sex. I wished I hadn't bothered making it into something more, now. He only ever let me down.

On the one day he was off in the week, he put on some old jeans and a faded black t-shirt and got out the paint. I told him repeatedly that there was no need, we could get someone professional, but for my information he was perfectly fucking capable of painting his own kid's nursery without having to pay someone to do it - his words, not mine. He was still irritable, and I had to watch what I said in his company. I found myself continually deciding to simply shut up completely these days, afraid of coming out with something that would unintentionally anger him. The silence between us simply intensified. The only activities we actively participated in when we were together nowadays were sleeping and eating. Where had the passion gone?

I carried him cups of tea every now and then, tiptoeing into the messy room blanketed in huge white covers to protect the expensive wooden flooring, and I couldn't deny the wrenching want in my gut when I laid eyes on him; his clothes splattered with paint and t-shirt riding up over his drooping jeans, the waistband of his Calvin Kleins on full display. I stood awkwardly in the middle of the room, waiting for him to acknowledge me, my bump nudging gently when he spoke.

"Is that for me?"

"Yeah," I replied quietly as he stretched his body, muscle flexing visibly beneath the skin in his arm as he pushed the roller along the surface of the wall, masking the previous green colour with warm cream. "Thirsty work, am I right?"

He sighed, setting the roller down carefully onto the newspapers laid out around his feet. "Yeah, I'm exhausted." He took the mug from my grip and took a long gulp, Adam's Apple bobbing. "Thanks."

"No worries," I responded, backing towards the door as I rubbed my bump carefully. My body felt stiff today with a sort of ache in my joints that was terribly uncomfortable. Before I'd reached the door, he called me back again. My name faltering on his tongue like it was a funny taste in his mouth.

"Yeah?" I murmured unenthusiastically, not bothering to look round at him. His deep, husky tone didn't excite me like it used to. It didn't entice me.

There was a still pause, and I bitterly resented him wasting my time. I had other things to be doing today. "Stay for a minute," he murmuered eventually, his voice changing now to become a weak, pleading noise choked from deep within him. I questioned whether or not I should for a moment. Stay or go, stay o go. Lately I didn't even enjoy his company that much, but I thought it better not to irritate him, so I spun slowly on my heel and joined where he sat crosslegged on the floor. It took a lot of goddamn effort easing my huge body down to rest, feeling like an absolute elephant as I tried unsuccessfully to get comfortable. He sipped his tea wordlessly and watched me with conflicted eyes, like he usually did. A fake, contented smile on his lips that fooled nobody.

"How are you today?" he asked and he sounded almost genuinely interested for once. I gazed at him in sour surprise. I'd told him every day for the last week how I was feeling and seemingly it had gone straight over his head.

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