Thirty Eight.

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...

I wake up to an empty bed and, surprisingly, no headache as a reminder of the night before.  Sun is streaming through the window, Harry must have opened the curtains when he got up.  Normally on weekends he waits for me to wake up or wakes me up, but this time he's nowhere in sight.

I feel more relaxed than I did when I fell asleep, but my head is still spilling over with questions about Gemma and what she is doing here, why Harry is acting so strange about it and what she meant about killing her father's business.

I don't know as much about Harry's family as I would like to, they were always better friends with my parents and not Jess and I.  Even though our parents met as soon as the Styles family moved into the building next to ours, I didn't meet Harry until Niall introduced us.  Hopefully that will all change tonight since Harry and I are supposed to go for dinner at his parents' place.

Yawning, I swing my legs out of bed and pull my messy hair into a ponytail.  I pad over to the door and open it a crack, stopping myself from stepping into the hallway when I hear voices coming from the living room.

"I thought you might have just been confused or -" I hear Harry's deep, raspy voice sound out.  Although he's speaking in a hushed tone, his voice echoes in the silence of the morning.

"No, I wish I was but I found out last time I was here that he's at it again.  It's partially my fault too..." Gemma says, her voice slightly strained.

"Your fault?"

"Yeah, I met this artist at my first showing and he showed me some of his work.  I visited mum and dad afterwards and I guess I mentioned him, dad got really interested and next thing I knew he was sending Liam out to make the offer."

None of this is making sense to me, but obviously I've missed a whole bunch of information here.  I know I shouldn't be listening, but Harry wasn't willing to tell me anything last night and I doubt that will change.  He may have opened up and stopped keeping things from me, but when it comes to his family I never knew much.  That was something he always kept to himself.

"God dammit, Liam?" Harry groans, and I hear his footsteps hitting the floor.  He's pacing.

"I know... I think it might be an addiction Harry," Gemma says, her tone grave and quiet.

"You think?" Harry scoffs, his footsteps stopping.  "He's been doing this for years!  He can't stop Gem, he's proven that.  He'll only get worse and he'll keep doing it until he's caught.  That's the only way he will stop," he says, and I can picture him gripping his hair at the roots.

"Well if we convince Liam -"

"You know that won't work.  He'll just find someone else, Liam wasn't the first one to work for dad and he'll find out just like everyone else that he won't be getting paid his damn dues."

"But if -"

"No Gem, I'm done trying with him.  I'm really only going there tonight to see mum, I could care about that deadbeat.  He's hurt us all so fucking much, flipped our lives around and I'll never forgive him," Harry spits, his tone harsh but hiding a sadness that I can only just hear.

"Harry, stop," Gemma urges, her voice desperate to calm him.

"No.  Does mum know?"

"I don't know," she sighs.

"Fuck.  This is exactly why I haven't been round there in months, to stay away from his shit.  If you want to try to fix him, go right ahead but I sure as hell won't help you."

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