"Ciao, come stai." I repeat to Harry. He's trying to teach me simple phrases in Italian so I can talk to the people who walk into the shop. I've come here every morning from 8 to 12 to work for a week straight now. So far, I'm hopeless at speaking Italian. Harry usually takes care of the customers because I'm useless since they can't understand what I'm saying. I work at cleaning up artifacts, unpacking boxes, and doing financial stuff. however, it would be nice to know at least a little Italian. But Florence is crowded with plenty of English speaking tourists so at least I can help those customers.
"Good, now you know a total of three words in Italian!" Harry comments with a smile.
"You forgot to count: bonjourno, grazi, and prego! I'm practically fluent in the language!" I joke. We both laugh at how pathetic I am, and I'll admit it is actually quite funny.
Harry walks behind the counter and sits on a stool. He polishes an old cup, he's still smiling from our last conversation. I turn and look at the calendar. It's June 22nd. I've been here for 22 days. I wish James could be here with me. Some days I miss him more than others, today is one of those days.
I sigh as I turn back around to Harry. "What's wrong?" He questions when I exhale and concern is strewn across his face.
"Nothing." I respond. I try to focus on an old dusty book sitting on a book shelf so I won't cry. I don't cry when I can focus my attention on something, however, I can feel the tears about to stream down. But I can hold it in. I'm not weak, I don't cry. Why am I even thinking about James right now? Harry and I were joking around only minutes ago and now I am about to burst into tears. it doesn't matter though, the only thing that matters is that I do not cry. I will not cry in front of Harry. Again. I increase my focus on the book until it almost pains me. It's the only book on the shelf. It looks red but it's hard to tell because of the thick layer of dust rested upon it. It looks as though no one has touched the book for at least 50 years. I want to ask Harry about it but I know if I speak I won't be able to hold in my sobs any longer.
"Audrey, just tell me what's wrong." Harry says as he walks from behind the counter to where I am standing. He must think I'm crazy. I look crazy right now. Maybe I am crazy. All along I may have been an insane lunatic but I'm too mentally insane to even notice. I don't know if that makes sense. None of my thoughts do at the moment and I have too many things rushing through my head at once. I'm about to explode.
I take my focus off of the book and I look into Harry's eyes, his beautiful bright green eyes. Even when he's worried they hold light in them. When he's angry they still have the same type of light. No matter what emotion, they still hold light. It's like when all hope is lost, the light in his eyes bring back something to hold on to. They give a sliver of hope that everything is going to be alright, and that's what's happening right now. He is my reminder that although I feel lost, I am found. Harry is with me, he has found me and he cares about me. I know he does because if he didn't he wouldn't be so concerned about me right now. I am safe.
I let a tear escape from my eye, but while it falls I hold a smile on my face. It must look pained but it truly is sincere. I'm happy Harry's here.
"I was just thinking about James, but I'm alright, really." I try to say it with confidence but my voice comes out shaky. I really am fine. In fact, I feel enlightened. But my unsteady voice and wet eyes are obviously making it appear that I am, on the contrary, not alright.
Harry slowly approaches me. He cautiously moves his thumb to my face and wipes away a stray tear that was making it's way down my cheek. He looks deep into my eyes and I stare back into his. Whenever I'm with him like this, time appears to freeze and we are stuck between infinities. A world with great meaning and no meaning at all, the constant motion of minds but almost none through actions, we are boundless and eternal. We are liberated. We are free. We have escaped.
And it feels as though we are standing like this for centuries. But 100 years would still not be long enough to satisfy me. I wish I could stay here so close to Harry perpetually. However, I cannot, and every good thing must come to an end and it does when Harry drops his hand and looks toward the door. A costumer has arrived.
"Bonjourno." Harry greets the costumer and they continue to talk in Italian. I pick up a few artifacts and I take them to the back room to be polished. I check my watch, 11:46. I can leave in 14 minutes. I wipe the tears from eyes and I get to work at polishing a platter that was used by a very rich man who used to live in a palace in Florence around 100 years ago. I like how each artifact has it's own story. Somehow this reminds me of the red book that was sitting on the shelf. I forgot to ask Harry about it. I stop polishing the platter immediately and I walk back into the front of the store. Harry is still talking to the old lady who walked in. I look towards the shelf where the book was, it's gone.
There's a rectangle on the wood with no dust on it where the book used to be. How could it be gone? It was just there. There's a few other empty bookshelves around the store so I look on those too just in case. But they don't hold the red book either. I know it was right there before. I stare at the vacant spot trying to figure where it might have gone. I hear the lady leave through the door, she didn't purchase anything.
"Harry, where is the book that used to be sitting on this shelf right here?" I ask while pointing at the shelf.
"What book? We don't have books here." He looks sincerely confused.
"Yes, there was a red one sitting right here about ten minutes ago. You can even tell where it used to be on the shelf."
He moves closer the shelf and examines it. "Well I guess you're right. But I've never seen it before."
"Did the lady take it?" I ask.
He shakes his head. "No, she didn't even walk over here. She was just looking at some artifacts on the other wall."
"Well there were only three people in this store since I last saw it so one of us has it." I say.
"I guess not because the woman didn't have it, I don't have it, and obviously you don't have it." He responds.
If I don't have it and the woman doesn't have it then maybe Harry does have it. He has been hiding secrets from me. He could very well have hidden the book when I was in the back room because he doesn't want me to find something out that was in it.
"Why does it even matter to you so much?" Harry asks.
"It's just strange." I answer. I look at my watch and I see that it's 12 o' clock exactly. "Well I better get going. See you later." I say to him and I walk out the door. Harry usually stays until 1:00 and then he closes the store in the afternoon. As I walk out the door I turn back around to look at him once more and he is closely inspecting the spot on the shelf where the book used to be. There is something very suspicious about Harry Styles, and it excites me.
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A Sweet Escape (Harry Styles fanfiction)Fanfiction
Audrey Jacobs is searching for nothing more than adventure for her summer away in Italy in the year 1993. She has a curious mind that thinks too much and a heart that might love a little too much too, but she is determined to find the adventure she...