10.

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The mother of the birthday girl had just arrived fashionably late to the party, without a formal invitation per Harry's request of course, and it shifted the atmosphere completely.

I felt suddenly so unimportant and unwanted for some reason, and I wondered if his ex-wife just had that power over little people like me. I knew that I wasn't a nobody, but in a room full of wealthy and successful people like this, I simply couldn't help but feel that way. They all looked at me like I was wearing rags for clothes and reeked of garbage or something, which made me also feel self conscious, but every single time I looked at Eloise's smiling face I was reminded of why I had to put my differences aside from everyone else's. She deserved a good birthday, and she definitely didn't need us adults fucking it all up with our problems.

Her mother said hello to every guest, aka her family, and gracefully weaved throughout the crowded room with her man in tow, looking like he just walked right off of a Bond movie set, and I could only assume that she was searching for someone. Whether or not that someone was me, Harry, or maybe even Eloise despite her being the center of attention right now, I didn't know, but I was going the extra mile to steer clear of running into her. I wasn't afraid of her even though she clearly held some power over everyone in some way, but I just knew that she wasn't the type of person that I wanted to surround myself with. Not only was she a shit mother for running off and leaving her child in the hands of Harry, a single father who was clearly traumatized in some way for being left to do it alone, but I believed that if she were to just snap her fingers and want Harry back, then he would gladly go. I couldn't speak for him or for anybody in a situation like this, but I knew how important the value of family was, and I could completely understand the decision if Harry were to take her back.

I wouldn't like it, but I wasn't even supposed to have such a strong opinion about this family. My job was to help with Eloise, not stick my nose where it didn't belong and get myself into trouble, so that's what I'm trying to do.

"Psst!"

I stood with my right side leaned up against the wall farthest away from the others, and where I thought that nobody would see me, but apparently I was wrong. When I turned my head to see who was trying to get my attention, I was utterly shocked to see that it was Harry, and if I had to take a wild guess, I'd say that he was also hiding.

"Mr. Styles?" I asked in a confused sounding tone of voice, "What are you-"

Harry interrupted me, his back against the wall as well and facing the opposite direction, clearly hiding from everyone, "Don't make it obvious that you're talking to me." It was a sort of rude command, but I did what he said anyway. When I turned back to face the front where Eloise and everyone else was, I heard Harry sigh, "My ex-wife is here."

I nodded my head, "I know."

Now that the mother was here, I assumed that the family was ready to start getting the standard birthday party activities out of the way, such as gift opening and cutting the cake, but I don't think that I was ready to see the three of them up there. It was selfish of me I know, but my heart just felt too weak to handle any hard blows like that, even if Harry had no intention of ever seeing me as something more than a caretaker for his daughter. I let a silly crush turn into something much deeper and more complicated, and now I was suffering from it in silence.

I could hear Harry clear his throat shortly after I responded, and then he said, "Ally isn't the nicest person in the world, and I think that you should just try to avoid her for the rest of the party."

I sighed, "I'm trying to."

"I know," He responded rather quickly, "I don't want you to think that I'm saying this because I'm ashamed of you or anything, because I'm not." Harry was typically a man with few words, but today it felt like he was talking my ear off. I wasn't complaining, and I listened intently to every single word that came out of his mouth. "She knows that I hired you, but I would just feel a lot better if you two didn't meet. At least not yet, anyway."

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