Songs for this chapter are:
Sad beautiful Tragic- Taylor Swift
Never say never- The Fray
"Harry, can I talk to you for a minute?" Carol's voice is soft, timid even. I'm already confused and the woman has barely started speaking.
"Uhm, sure," I stand back a little, keeping a safe distance from her. My back is against the wall in the small kitchen by the time I stop moving.
"I just wanted to talk about last night," her expression is tight and I know this is just as awkward for her as it is for me. I pull my eyes from her and glance at my feet. I don't know how this is going to go but she's already pinned her hair back and cleaned the mess of makeup that was smeared under her eyes last night.
"I don't know what got into me, I should have never acted that way in front of you. It was incredibly stupid and I-"
"It's fine." I interrupt her.
"No, it's really not fine. I want to be clear that nothing has changed here, I still feel strongly about you staying away from my daughter." She says. I didn't expect anything different from her.
"I wish I could say I will listen to you but I can't. I know you don't like me," I pause and can't help but laugh at my understatement. "You hate me and I get that, but you know your opinion doesn't mean shit to me. I mean that in the nicest way possible, that's just the way it is."
She catches me off guard by laughing along with me. Like mine, hers is a pained, low ring of laughter. "You are just like him, you speak to me the same way he spoke to my parents. Richard never cared what anyone thought about him either, but look where that got him."
"I'm not him," I snap at her. I really am trying to be as nice to her as possible but she's making it difficult. Tessa has been in the shower for so long and it's taking everything in me not to check in on her.
"You have to try to see this entire thing from my perspective, Harry. I was in the same type of toxic relationship and I know how these things end. I don't want that for Tessa and if you loved her the way you claim, you wouldn't want that for her either." She looks over at me and continues, "I want the best for her, you may not believe me but I always raised Tessa not to depend on a man, the way I did, and look at her now. She's nineteen years old and she's reduced to nothing each and every time you decide to leave her-"
"I-" I begin to interrupt again but she holds up her hand.
"Let me finish," she sighs. "I envied her actually, it's pathetic but a part of me was envious that you always came back for her the way Richard never came back for me, but the more you left, the more I realized that you two will have the same ending that we did because even though you come back, you never stay. If you want her to end up like me, alone and hateful, then you keep doing what you're doing and I can assure you that's exactly what will happen to her."
I hate the way Carol sees me, but even more than that, I hate the way that she's right. I do always leave Tessa and even though I come back, I wait until she's comfortable and then I leave again.
"It's up to you, you're the only person she seems to listen to and my daughter loves you too much for her own good." Tessa's mum tells me. I know she does, she loves me, and because she loves me, we won't end up like her parents.
"You can't give her what she needs, you're only holding her back from finding someone who will." I hear Tessa's old bedroom door close, signaling that she's out of the shower.
"You'll see Carol, you'll see." I pull an empty glass from the cabinet and fill it with water for Tessa.
I can change our course and prove everyone wrong, myself included. I know that I can.