20. Ever Since New York

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Tell me something I don't already know - Harry Styles

7:42 a.m. Thursday, September 30, 2021

The rain pouring down outside discourages Harry from his usual run, especially when he reminds himself that he's got a boxing workout tonight with Patrick. The smells from next door waft through the walls, and Harry runs the water in the tub as he debates whether he'll order Patrick's baked yumminess or something from the boy's aunt. It's time the two of them meet, and he uses a bath bomb, picked up at Nowhere Drugstore, to scent the water before climbing in and sinking to his ears.

Wondering what she'll be like, Harry conjures a picture in his head of a blonde woman with giant boobs and ample hips who likely wears a chef's uniform like nurses wear scrubs. He can't decide if he'll thank her for doing such a great job during a difficult time or if he'll just haul her in for a hug for helping to raise his three favorite kids.

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8:46 a.m. Thursday, September 30, 2021

Michele stretches her hands over her head, feeling quite decadent after sleeping late in her own bed for the first time in what feels like ages. When Mom had offered to help Patrick at the bakery, Michele snapped at the idea like a hungry puppy offered a piece of bacon.

A whole day to herself! What should she do? Where should she go? How should she spend her time? The answer comes to her quite quickly when she hears the rain outside. It's a day to stay home. Maybe watch some Netflix. Do some laundry. Read a travel magazine. Revise her list of places she wants to visit.

But first, she needs to take care of her needs -- and her growling tummy is near the top of the list. Hopping out of bed, she pulls on sweatpants and a large sweatshirt. It says Harry over her heart and "Treat People With Kindness" on the right sleeve.

When the phone rings, she answers gleefully. "Hello?"

"Your mom is back!" Liz yells into the phone.

"I know!" Michele responds.

"So you have time off! That means we can go out tomorrow for karaoke at Brainwash. Oh my lanta. I'm so excited! Can I pick the song you sing? Ppppppleeeeeasssse?" her best friend replies.

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10:47 a.m. Thursday, September 30, 2021

After braving the rainstorm with an umbrella and raincoat -- all for the purpose of going to the bakery and meeting the aunt -- Harry is tucked back in at the All Booked Up. Disappointment makes him draw the throw from the back of the couch and cuddle with it in his usual spot. The flames lick at the wood in the fireplace, and Harry wonders who tends the fire since it seems to always be lit.

He'd been expecting to meet the aunt. But it was Patrick's nana who was helping today. After chatting with his friend and buying Patrick's newest creation (Chelsea buns), Harry had once more donned his coat and umbrella for a trek back to the inn.

Sophie circles around the chair legs and then, without warning, jumps into his lap. Absentmindedly, Harry strokes her fur. By the time it occurs to him that he's won her over, he's half-asleep. Reaching into his pocket, trying not to shift the cat too much, he retrieves the stuffed mouse she'd left outside his door and hands it to her. At first, she pretends disinterest, but then she grabs at the toy, batting it between her paws. Content, Harry allows himself to drift into sleep, lulled by the warmth from the fire and the purrs of the kitty on his lap.

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2:04 p.m. Thursday, September 30, 2021

The back door opens and closes, causing Michele to sit up straight from her position on the sofa where she's sprawled while folding laundry and watching daytime game shows.

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