Dreams Unwind

[e l e v e n]

Waking up next to Harry is an odd experience. I’ve long grown accustomed to soft fur or the cold, empty other half of my mattress, so for my fingers to brush against sleep-warm skin when I stretch, it catches me off guard for a second. I nearly panic until my brain reboots itself, catches up to the reality of the situation, and immediately, all of the flight-or-flight instinct drains from me. I turn my head to see Harry curled up on his side, still fast asleep. His hair has fallen over his face, and a small frown tugs at the corners of his lips. I gingerly roll to face him and press a fingertip softly to the divot between his brows. The skin smooths out, and he exhales in a shuddering gust.

A buzzing noise comes from behind me, and I realise it must be after seven if the Do Not Disturb mode turned off. Harry evidently hears the sound, too, because he stirs, buries his face against the pillow with a groan. I stifle a giggle and roll over to silence the call. I sigh when I see my dad’s name on the screen. Double-checking that Harry hasn’t woken up, I slip out of the bed and press the accept button as I hurry through the door.

“You do realise it is far too early to be calling me, right? Especially when your brother woke me up at two-thirty this morning to make sure I hadn’t died.”

“Morning to you, too, Jo. Just wanted to see if you work today.”

“Uh, yeah, I have the eleven-to-three shift. Why?” When my dad doesn’t respond immediately, I pause mid-step on the staircase. “Dad… are you trying to check up on me because I spent the night with my boyfriend?”

“It might be a possibility,” he finally admits.

“Well, I appreciate it, I really do, but I’m running on less than four hours of sleep. And besides, I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself.”

“I still worry about you, kid.”

“I know, Dad. I worry about you, too. With that, I’m going to find some coffee in this place, or I’ll cry. I love you, and I’ll be home after work.”

“Love you, too, starlight.”

I hang up and shuffle into the kitchen. My mind is lagging enough that I don’t question the fact that there’s already coffee in the pot; I just search through the cupboards for a mug and pour myself some. I normally prefer my coffee with a dash of cream and sweetener, but I don’t want to rummage around in Harry’s house. So I take a sip of my drink, cross the room to stand by the patio doors, and stare out over the backyard. A pink-orange glow covers everything as the sun rises, and I breathe in deeply.

Exhaustion clings to every molecule in my body, wars with the peacefulness that the quiet morning brings to me. I swallow another mouthful of coffee and close my eyes. It was… nice, if I’m honest, to not wake up alone this morning. Having another body next to mine had been startling, but it wasn’t unpleasant. It gave me the same sense of comfort and security that Wil had. I shift uneasily, suddenly terrified at the realisation. Everything about this relationship with Harry has been fantastic - far better than I ever could have imagined any relationship being after what I had with Wil - but I can’t help but fear that I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve anything that Harry has given me.

I clear my throat quietly, squeezing my eyes more tightly closed against the burning sensation behind the lids. Sniffling, I turn away from the doors and sit at the table. I hate feeling so conflicted, when I’ve been nothing but happy with Harry; I sigh and run a finger under my eyes, dampness coating my fingertip. Shut up, I order the small voice in my brain that is telling me to run away. I don’t want to ruin what Harry and I have.

“Oh. Good morning.”

I turn my head to look at the man who’s walked into the kitchen; his dark hair is wet, and a towel hangs over his shoulder. “Hi.”

“You must be… Joey, right?”

“That’s me.”

“Hi. I’m Mitch. Nice to meet you.”

His hand is warm and solid in mine as we shake, and I force a smile, turning my gaze back to the coffee in my mug. His footsteps are loud in the silence of the kitchen, and I twitch at the soft clink of porcelain against marble. He whistles quietly as he moves about. The uncomfortable clenching in my gut grows to a level I can no longer ignore after a few minutes, so I grab up my coffee and phone, tell Mitch it’s been a pleasure meeting him, and head to the stairs.

Harry has sprawled out across the bed in my absence, and the sight makes me smile through the swirling emotions that I’ve been fighting. I stand there watching him for a long moment then make my way to the bed. Setting the mug on the nightstand, I slide in between the sheets and lay on my side, staring at his relaxed face. His hair curls slightly over his face, and I push it back gently. His eyelashes flutter, he draws in a quick breath, and finally, he lets out a soft sound before his eyes slowly open. The green is dark with his sleep, and my heart swells at the sight. I shift forward until I can press a kiss to his cheek.

“Morning.”

“Mornin’. How long have you been awake?”

I ignore the fluttering in my chest, dragging the tip of my finger across the sharp plane of his cheek. “Only for a little bit. How did you sleep?”

“Really great, actually.”

He exhales sharply, rolls from his belly to his back, and I let him drag me into his side. All the thoughts that have been circulating around in my brain flee with the contact, and I selfishly allow the scent and warmth of him to comfort me. I rest my head on his chest and sigh, his heartbeat lulling me deeper into peace.

“You know what I just realised?” At his responsive hmm?, I lift my head and meet his eye. “We literally have no pictures together.”

“Well, if you count paparazzi photos, we do.”

“I don’t count those, so we don’t.”

Harry stretches to grab his phone, and I roll my eyes affectionately as his finger swipes across the screen. He nudges me gently, and I settle back into his side. My lips automatically curl into a smile when he raises the phone, the front-facing camera already up and tracking our faces. I wait until his thumb moves to tap the button, then wiggle my fingers over his side. His laughter is music to my ears, and I let myself fall a little further.

... ... ... ... ...


The beach is empty save for us, and all I can hear is the sound of waves rolling against the shore. Warmth clings to the air, wraps itself around us, though it’s nearing midnight and the sun set hours ago; clouds encroach on the brim of the horizon, the edges hazy from the distance, a far-off storm threatening to come through. I doubt we will see a drop of rain. The stars overhead shine so far above us yet so brightly that I feel I can reach out and pluck them from the sky. I turn my head and stare unashamedly at Harry lying shirtless next to me on the enormous towel. The moonlight paints his skin a soft, milky colour, and the deep black of his tattoos stand out in stark contrast. He catches me looking at him, smiles that crooked grin, and pushes himself to rest on one elbow. His finger drags along my hip, and I shiver as goosebumps burst into existence. He leans over me, blocking my view of the sky, and his soft smile disappears when he ducks down to kiss me.

Every kiss before this has been soft, tender, gentle, but this isn’t the case now. Now, it’s demanding and dominating, intoxicating and overwhelming. My arms come up to wrap around his torso, and he obliges when I tug him closer. He tastes like coffee and mint, every brush of his tongue against mine a promise of something I can’t put a name to. I gasp into his mouth when his fingertips press firmly into my waist; a small part of me hopes he leaves bruises, wants the reminder of his touch on me. Tears prickle at the corner of my eyes as my skin heats up. I curve my fingers against his back, nails digging into his skin, and I steal the guttural moan from his lips. He shifts, his body blankets mine. There’s nothing on my mind but this, right here.

Harry’s hand trembles as it skims along my side, thumb slipping beneath the band of my corset-bikini top. Doubt struggles to seep through me, but I ignore it, move my hand to untie the string on my top. He pulls back slowly, and I try to catch my breath as his gaze travels from my face down my body. His Adam’s apple bobs when he swallows thickly; his eyes darken, and I don’t get the chance to say anything before he’s kissing me again, a bruising kiss that sends my head swimming. His fingers slip beneath the band of my bottoms, sliding across my skin, even as my heart skips a beat.

“Were you planning on this?” I whisper when he reaches toward my purse; I vaguely remember him slipping something inside of it when we first arrived. Now I know what it is, the wrapper reflecting the moonlight.

“I…” He bites his lip, stares between the condom and me with a sheepish grin. “Not necessarily planning, but hoping.”

“Good.”

His expression smooths out, and he huffs out a laugh and presses a kiss to the tip of my nose before ducking down to suck a bruise into the sensitive skin of my throat. His free hand pushes the fabric of my top to the side; heat rips through me at the fire in his eyes as he stares down at my exposed body. “God, you’re gorgeous.”

My skin heats with his reverence, and my hands tremble as I push gently at his shoulders. He lies back and watches me pull my bikini bottoms off, allows me to tug at the waistband of his trunks until they slide down his thighs. His bitten-back groan echoes in the silence when I roll the condom onto his length, and I move to straddle him. Leaning down to kiss him gently, I align our bodies and slowly lower myself, and I shake with the sensation of being filled, so torturously slow that I feel I might actually die. My eyes fall closed as I’m overwhelmed by the emotions that crash over me just as surely as the waves of the ocean behind me. I rest my forehead against Harry’s, the scent of mint and tea ghosting over my face.

“Open your eyes, love,” he murmurs, lips twitching when I do as he says immediately. “You are so beautiful.”

My words abruptly die out as he shifts, hips pushing upwards, and I gasp aloud and instinctively push down to meet his thrust. His gaze never leaves my face, his hands come up to cling tightly to my hips, and I bury my fingers in his hair, hold him still as I press a searing kiss to his lips. It quickly becomes less of a kiss and more of sharing oxygen while I move, neither of us able to focus on more than what we’re feeling. My skin feels far too small for everything that consumes me, the desire and peace and love that nearly drown me. The desperate need flows through my veins as naturally as my blood, my pulse races, my breath hitches with each thrust. I cry out, exploding into a million sparks to join the stars in the sky, and I lose track of where I end and he begins. Nothing else matters, nothing else remains but us and the undeniable truth that I’m utterly in love with this man.