On her third day in London, River turned off her cell phone and left it that way without listening to the voicemail from the unknown number. She didn't really need the phone to begin with; she'd gotten a few texts from Nadine and had another missed call from her mum, neither of which she really cared about. Plus, the second she was seen in public in London with Harry, there were tons more gossip site and blog posts that she wasn't really interested in seeing.
Besides, she wanted to soak up every second she had with Harry. He took her to the studio with him and she met his band and producers and spent the day listening to him sing and admiring his process. She loved just sitting there watching him tweak lyrics and guitar riffs until they were exactly what he wanted. He got adorably excited every time something fell into place, shooting her a giddy smile that was impossible for her to not return.
They spent the next couple of days with him showing her around London, taking her to all of his favorite places and letting her marvel at some of the more touristy things that he'd surely seen a million times. But he was patient through it all, walking hand-in-hand with her in places that were a little less populated, and sticking close to her side protectively when there were obvious paps around.
Each night they went back to his place and ordered food, watching a film or just spending hours talking about anything and everything. She couldn't believe how close to him she felt, and he reassured her constantly that he felt the same way about her. He was so genuine and loving and she felt like her heart may burst from the thrill of it all.
A week into the visit, they made the few-hour drive to his mum's house. River was painfully nervous all the way there and Harry held her hand, reminding her to breathe. He reassured her endlessly that his mum would love her, and as soon as they got there she saw immediately that her worries had been for nothing. Both his mum and sister were just as completely lovely as he was, and they both seemed to do everything they could to make her feel comfortable. It was an absolutely lovely day and on the drive back to his place that evening, she felt so fully warm and happy.
"Hazza?" she questioned the now-familiar nickname, and he grinned just slightly. She reached across the console of the car to grab his hand and he gave it to her, grinning again as she started spinning the rings on his fingers.
"Yes, love?" he asked, his eyes darting from the road to her for just a moment.
"I'm gonna say this and it's totally fine if you don't respond, it won't change anything. I just want you to know. I just... I've felt it honestly since before we even met in person and I know we've only even known each other like two months, but I need to say it. I need you to know. I..." she trailed off nervously, knowing she was rambling. He looked at her with a raised eyebrow.
"Out with it, angel," he said gently, and she took a deep breath.
"I love you, Harry. I love you so much and like I said, I know it's soon and I'm sorry if it's weird I'm saying it, but I just need you to know that you mean the absolute world to me and I know I've said it before but I'm so ridiculously grateful for you," she rambled more, hoping in the back of her mind that the rambles that followed the sentiment might soften the blow if he didn't feel the same way.
Harry didn't even waver for a second. He looked at her, tears in his eyes and a giant smile on his face.
"I love you too, Riv," he said simply and immediately, squeezing her hand tightly.
"Y-you do?" she asked, genuinely surprised. He nodded.
"O' course I do. You're... you're so fucking amazing, River, and it breaks my heart that you don't see it. I decided very shortly after we met that I was going to make it my mission to make you see how beautiful and completely fantastic you are whether you wanted it or not, I'm just glad you seem to want me around because it'd be pretty weird otherwise," he said, making her laugh.
"I haven't been able to be so completely... myself around anyone in a very long time. I feel like you know a side of me that barely anyone else sees, and those seem to be the parts of me you like the most, and it's really nice. Long as I can remember, people have looked at me and seen me as Harry Styles the singer, Harry Styles the boybander, Harry Styles the womanizer or whatever else, and you just see me as me, and I see you too, Riv. Of course I love you. I have since before we met in person too," he told her, and she felt tears rise in her own eyes. She leaned across the car and planted a kiss on his cheek.
"I was so nervous you weren't going to say it back," she admitted and he laughed.
"Why d'you think I hadn't said it yet? I was fucking terrified," he told her, and she laughed with him.
"I love you, Hazza," she said again, just because she felt like she wanted to say it a million times just to hear him say it back.
"I love you too, angel."