The Actual Battle Field

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I head down the stairs, keeping my eyes glued to the floor. There's almost nobody inside the house. However, I can still hear some shuffling, so I don't want to see who's here with me.
"Need help?" Harry asks. I look up to find him descending the stairs alongside me. I smile and nod my head.
"Wish you could take my place," I say. Harry sighs, frowning.
"I don't think I'd look that great in heels and a champagne-colored dress." We both chuckle. "I was asking if you'd like me to escort you out into the lawn. As a best friend of course," Harry adds hastily. There's nothing wrong in that. Plus, if I have Harry by my side, I'll be much calmer and far more composed than I am right now.
"That'd be great." I link my arm through Harry's and we head towards the battlefield together. "You've no idea just how grateful I am for your presence today."
"You've no idea how lucky I am that I get to escort such a beauty to her engagement." Harry says, looking straight. A small smile adorns his lips, but it doesn't hold any mirth. Instead, it's filled with despair.
"Oh please," I scoff. "The girls will only have eyes for you. You're the pop star, remember?"
"But you're looking far more elegant than a queen."
"God, all this butter is making me slip." Harry laughs and meets my eyes finally.
"You know I speak the truth and nothing but the truth. I believe in complimenting someone, only if they're worth it. Otherwise, I just keep my mouth shut." Harry leans his head toward my ear. "And you're definitely worth it." His breath sends a chill down my spine. I don't know what to say in return, so I keep my lips sealed shut. As we descend the last stair, the realization of what I'm about to do, finally hits me. I'm getting engaged to someone who falls underneath the friend's category for me, and quite recently, I'm not even sure if he's my good friend. However, if I don't do this, I could quite potentially be ruining two capable children's futures. On the one hand, I can let that happen and just sit back and watch. While on the other, I could step in and help them out. I'll always choose the latter over the former, especially because I love those two to bits.
"Ready?" Harry asks, stopping in front of the glass doors that lead outside. They're made of a one-sided glass, so that people can't see inside. However, I can see outside and the garden is jam packed.
"How many people are there?" I ask rhetorically.
"About a hundred." Harry answers anyway. I squint my eyes shut and perform a breathing exercise. I have to do this sooner or later. Might as well do this right now and get it over with.
"Let's go," I say. Harry pushes open the doors and we both step out into the backyard. The air is buzzing with excited voices, and soft music. White lanterns have been hung from the trees to give an old, yet peaceful touch to the place. Most of the men, are in suits. While some are casually dressed. The women, on the other hand, have gone all out as always. They're wearing their best jewelry and dresses. God, this is the problem with my paternal side of the family; they're all so materialistic. A few heads turn to face us, and their eyebrows immediately furrow up in confusion, wondering what's the bride doing with someone who's not her groom-to-be. I just look the other way, stand tall and allow Harry to guide me towards where the temporary stage has been set up. He's the one who was still observing the arrangements. I, however, am completely tuned out of the whole set up. If anyone even comes to ask me about the buffet tables, I won't have an answer.
"Are they all staring?" I whisper, leaning further into Harry's side.
"Yup and the men aren't staring in a good way." Harry says, and I can feel the scowl in his tone.
"Who can blame them, I do look ravishing, after all." The only actual reason as to why I'm continuing to walk through this battle field is because I have my brave soldier beside me, guarding me at all times.
"We're here." Harry announces, stopping. I look up to find a small, square stage set up toward the far back of the garden. Carter's waiting for me, his eyes as confused as the guests. The stage is decorated in white, with white flowers, white confetti and white carpets. Carter, himself, is dressed in a black jacket, underneath which he's wearing a red shirt. His tie is black as well as his pants. I don't pay much attention to him, as I leave Harry's hand and climb up on to the stage. He takes my hand, and finally smiles.
"You have some explaining to do." Carter says softly, so as not to let the others hear.
"There's nothing to explain." I state confidently. "Harry simply escorted me from the house till here. Have you seen my dress? I could've tripped." Standing here, on stage, I feel much more confident and my voice is loud and clear as well. Some guests who are close to the stage chuckle, probably hearing me. Carter's jaw clenches, but he doesn't dwell on the topic any further. Dad bounds onto the stage and smiles at the both of us. My eyes leave Carter and Dad, and search for the one person who I don't want to kill tonight. However, while searching for him, my eyes land on Niall, Louis, Liam and Kate. Okay, maybe there are five people present here who I don't want to kill. But they all look sad, as if they're at a funeral and not an engagement party. Finally, I find Harry. He's standing in the corner - hidden by the darkness - sipping something from a tiny bottle. The same tiny bottle that helped me out a while ago. Now it's helping him. The guests break into a round of applause, making me look at Carter. Seems like Dad has just given a short speech or whatever because he's holding a small piece of paper in his hand. Carter grins and shakes his hand. I want to roll my eyes, but suppress myself from doing so because every eye in the room is on us. I divert my gaze back towards Harry, and he's moved himself further into the shadows. But I can see him smile at me. I smile back. What we're doing is wrong and I feel like we're having an affair of some sort. Although, I am cheating on Carter because I've already kissed Harry. But it felt so right.
"Mus," Carter whispers in my ear. "You look beautiful."
"Thanks," I smile at him. Butterflies don't erupt in my belly. A surge of happiness doesn't flow through my body at his words. I just take them as a mere compliment; the way one would take a compliment from a friend.
"Are you feeling okay?" Carter asks, concern lacing his tone.
"No, not really. Maybe it's something I ate," I shrug my shoulders.
"Well this'll be over soon and then you can go in and rest." Carter places his hand on the small of my back and rubs it affectionately. What if Harry was in Carter's position right now? Would he tell me to wait and just bear everything for a while longer, or would he have halted the celebrations till I felt a little better? I feel like it's the latter. Harry has always put me first, above anything and everything, except for his family. But of course, I totally understand that exception. Heck, I'm doing the same, putting my family above my happiness.
"Mus, there are a few things that I've been meaning to tell you these past couple of days. But in the hustle, bustle of things, I haven't been able to." Carter says, turning his body to face me, so that we're standing opposite each other. He takes my hands in his, and smiles. "You're the most amazing girl that I've met so far. I mean, the second I saw you getting out of the car, I knew we had something special going on between us. You're worth everything, and yet I won't be able to give you as much as you deserve. But I can guarantee you this, no matter what you ask me for, today, tomorrow, or years later, I'll always provide you with it. Just don't ask me for the sky, cause that'll be a tough feat." Laughter erupts from the guests and Carter's chest. However, I just keep smiling back at him. In these past few weeks, I've mastered the art of smiling, even when I don't want to. "I know this is happening too soon, and it sort of feels like an arranged marriage. But I know I'm in love with you, Mus, so will you please accept this ring?" Carter gets down on the floor, and leaves my right hand to retrieve the ring from inside his jacket. However, he's still holding my left hand, and rubbing his thumb across the back of it. I wait for him to take out the ring, open the box and put it on display for me, and the guests. The ring is beautiful, but a bit too much. There's a yellowish diamond placed in the center of a heart that's made up of quite a few tiny diamonds, but they're all white. Carter looks up at me expectantly.
"A little late to say no, isn't it?" I joke, letting out a bark of laughter. Unwillingly and unconsciously, my eyes drift over to where Harry's standing. He's watching me, I can tell because I can feel the heat of his gaze burning holes in my body. Carter squeezes my hand lightly, drawing my attention back towards him. "Yes." I mean, what else can I say? No? I'd like that very much, but that's not an option. Carter's grin increases and he slides the ring onto my ring finger. Everyone bursts into a round of applause, and Carter stands up. He pecks me on the cheek, as Dad comes and engulfs us both in a hug. My eyes have yet again found him, and this time he's bent over; as if he's about to throw up. My first instinct is to rush towards him and see if he's okay. However, the guests begin lining toward the stage to congratulate us. I hug one body after another, losing track of who's speaking to me and who I'm hugging because my sole focus is on the man standing in the shadows. Once everyone's done, which feels like eternity, I hastily get off stage and make my way towards Harry. Carter and Dad are so busy socializing that they don't notice my untimely escape.
"Quite the proposal, eh?" Harry's voice drifts out of the darkness.
"Quite a show, I'd say." I say, crouching down beside him. He's holding the small Vodka bottle that I immediately snatch from his hand. It's empty, with just a sip left in it. I place the bottle to my lips without thinking, and turn my head up, emptying the contents of the bottle. It stings, as expected, and tears prick my eyes.
"Geez, woman! You're not supposed to drink it like that," Harry chides me. He takes the bottle from my hands and hauls it toward the shrubs.
"I needed it." I shake my head, and contort my face with disgust. "You can finish the whole bottle, but I can't even bear a sip?" I chuckle, shaking my head. "Sexist."
"I'm just taking care of you, there's nothing sexist about that!" Harry exclaims. "If it were Gemma, I'd do the same because she can't hold down the alcohol and I don't know about your tolerance levels. Some other female friends, I'd not give a shit about because firstly, I don't care and secondly, they can hold their shit together." Harry rolls his eyes, and scoffs. I shove him.
"Someone's knickers are in a twist," I grumble.
"The show wasn't very interesting. Didn't get my money's worth. To be quite honest with you, the lead actress didn't play her part very well. She was too...fake." Ah, of course he noticed. I should've predicted this. I just look at him, wondering when he began to read me like a magazine. "What?"
"Nothing," I sigh. "Just wondering. You know, me and my crazy brain." I roll my eyes at myself, and get up. "Want to join me for dinner? The rest of my cast members are too busy socializing and enjoying the limelight." I glance over at Dad and Carter. They're still among the crowd, grinning, and chatting away. Harry holds his arm out towards me.
"Would I ever pass up the opportunity of having dinner with a lovely lady, like yourself?" Harry asks, grinning. I shake my head, smiling and yank him up. "Still got the power, I see?"
"Of course. These guns aren't just for showing off," I say. Harry throws his arm across my shoulders, and stumbles a little. I get ready to support him if he goes completely off balance. However, before I can, he balances himself, and huffs.
"Bloody vodka!" Harry curses, as we head toward the lively battle field, once more.

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