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Battle of the Hearts - Chapter 6

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"Okay. Close your eyes."

Smiling, I close them, excited. For weeks, Harry had been telling me I'd love my gift, that it would look beautiful on me. And a few days ago, he'd asked me, quite casually, what my ring size was.

So I was excited! And nervous.
It could only mean one thing if he'd bought me a ring!
He lifts my hands and I feel a long velvet box being places in them.
"Can I open my eyes now?"
"Yeah. Go ahead."

Opening my eyes, I see him standing in front of me, looking excited.
My heart sinks a bit when I look at the box.
It's too big to hold a ring. Just a ring.
Shooting him a smile, I open the box.

I'm still excited though and I see what's in the box, a shocked gasp escapes my lips.
"Wow! It's beautiful!"

It's a gorgeous set of diamonds, although I'm not sure if they're genuine diamonds, set in between rubies. The necklace and earrings are beautiful, but the ring is what really captures my heart. A large ruby set between small diamonds.

"It's amazing! Thank you!" I slip the ring on before setting the box on the side and standing up. I lean up and kiss him, my arms snaking around his neck.
"You're welcome sweetheart. I'm so happy you like it!"
"I love it!"
He smiles, "You deserve so much more."
Making sure my smile's still intact, I glance down.
Too many people saying that.

Harry's phone starts ringing and I move away as he walks over to our bed to answer it.
"Hey Luke!" He sits down, talking to his best friend. "Nah, man. We were just going out for dinner... No, no. Sure, you and Alisha can definitely join us!" I groan silently, rolling my eyes. There goes our romantic dinner. "Uh - I'm not sure. Let me ask her."

At least he's asking. I thought, he was just going to let them crash my birthday dinner without my permission.

Although, it IS going to be better with them there.

"Don, you don't want William coming along right? Alisha and Luke are joining us for dinner."
I stare at him for a moment before smiling. "Why not? He can come along. What's one more person?"
There! Now I'm even.

1-1
"I thought you didn't like him?" He asks, puzzled.
Off the chart.
I shrug, "Well, we talked and we're friends now."
"You talked?"
"Yeah, I told you we had dinner last week. When you were traveling."
"Yeah. I remember." He replies curtly before turning back to his phone.
2-1. I win.
Smiling, I stand up and walk over to my wardrobe.
What dress do I wear?

"Donna! Happy Birthday babe!" Alisha hugs me tight. "Sorry we crashed your dinner but I thought you might enjoy it more if I were there," she whispers.
I laugh, pulling back. "You thought right! And you look amazing!" I grin, looking down at her green wrap-around dress.
"Thanks! Luke bought it for me."
"Share the birthday girl with us too!" Luke exclaims, pulling his girlfriend away. "Look at you, gorgeous! Happy Birthday angel!" He kisses my cheek and then pulls me in for a hug.

I relax in his arms, sighing. Luke's like a big brother to me. I don't need to say anything, he can always tell how I feel and exactly what to say.

"Thank you." I pull back and he smiles.
"You alright."
"Perfect!" I flash him a smile. He steps back and I look up to see William, leaning against the table dressed in dark blue jeans and a white shirt. The neck is really low and on top of that he's left the first button undone, so half his chest is showing, a bit of dark hair peeking out. I unconsciously run my tongue over my lip as my eyes lock on his. "Hey."
"Hey? That's it?" He asks, standing up and walking towards me.
"Um... hi, best friend?"
He laughs. "Wrong again. But I'll take it." He leans in, his arm sliding around me waist and hugs me close for just a second, dropping a kiss on my cheek. "Happy birthday!" My mouth goes completely dry as he murmurs, "You're boyfriend's going to hate me now."
"Thanks." I laugh, albeit a bit shakily, catching Harry glaring at the two of us as William pulls back. I grin up at William and he chuckles.

We sit down, Harry beside me, William, Luke and Alisha opposite. We're at my favorite club and lucky for me, tonight is karaoke night. The conversation is light once we've ordered. William mostly talks to Luke since Harry is completely ignoring him. Alisha keeps shooting me looks as the conversation progresses.

"What is your problem?" I ask Harry once our food's arrived.
"What?" He shoots me a confused look.
"Why are you ignoring William? What has he done to you?"
He shrugs, "Nothing."
"Then?" I raise an eyebrow. "You wouldn't like it if I were ignoring one of your boring golf buddies would you?"
He groans, "Fine. I'm sorry."
"You shouldn't be saying that to me."
"You have got to be kidding me." He remarks under his breath.

Sighing, I turn around and see William watching me, looking concerned. I shoot him a small smile before turning to my food.

"You alright?" William asks once Harry and Luke have gone to get drinks.
I nod, smiling. "Yeah. Thanks."
"I'm sorry, I couldn't get your gift today."
I roll my eyes, "Please, William. I don't want anything."
"Oh, come on, I need to get something for my new best friend."
"Excuse me?" Alisha looks up from her phone. "I will have you know mister as handsome as you may be, the best friend role and place is already taken."
I laugh as William replies, turning to wink at me. "I can still try."
Glancing up, I see Harry and Luke have returned. Harry, who's busy glaring at William. Luke sighs, sliding in next to me.
"He's my best friend but there are some things he'll just never understand."
"Just ignore him." I murmur, raising my drink to my lips.

I look at the guy singing on stage. He looks so uncomfortable. I look at the table that's cheering and laughing, and chuckle. Those must be his friends.

"Awful aren't they?" William asks, leaning over.
I laugh, "His friends? Yeah!" I watch as a waiter walks around to each table. He approaches us a few minutes later.
"Anyone brave enough to go up and sing?"
Everyone start to shake their heads and I turn to William, getting an idea.
"What about you?"
He shoots me an are-you-crazy look. "You're kidding right? I can't sing!"
"Oh, come on. It'll be fun. Make it my birthday gift."
He shakes his head. "No way. Thank you."
"Come on, William!" Alisha chimes in.
"For me." I add.
He stares at me for a moment before sighing and sitting back.
"YES!' I grab the pen from the guy's hand and scribble down William's name.
"I didn't say yes!" He exclaims.
"You'll be up next." The waiter says before leaving.
"Donna!"
"William!" I grin, leaning back in my seat.
He exhales, sitting back. "You're unbelievable."
"Thank you." I smile.

I watch as he closes his eyes and start feeling bad. Maybe he's a terrible singer. I probably shouldn't have don't this. Just as I'm about to speak up, he opens his eyes and looks straight at me. Biting my lip, I stare back and watch as he slowly breaks into a smile.

"I'll do it." He holds up a finger as I brighten up. "But only because it's your birthday. Don't think you'll get away with it easily next time."
I sigh, relieved, and he glances to his left as the song comes to an end.
"Looks like it's my turn."
"Woohooo! GO William!" Alisha claps as he gets up and walks to the stage. I glance around the table. Alisha looks as excited as I feel. Luke's taking it as a good joke and Harry is trying to hide his foul mood. He shoots me a smile and I genuinely smile back before turning completely to face the stage.

"And next up, from London, England, is William Crawford!" A man announces and hands the mic over, before jumping off the stage.

The music starts and I clap, and cheer along with Alisha, my heart for no reason whatsoever, starting to beat faster.

I watch as he tells the guitarist something. His back is to us for a few moments before he turns, singing the first few verses.

"Cold as ice,
And more bitter than a December,
Winter night."
His gaze cuts through the crowd and lands on me, his eyes locked on mine.
He CAN sing?! Oh my God.

My mouth goes dry as I watch him, my heart starting a slow rhythm that seems to be moving up with each second, each word that's sung.

"That's how I treated you,
And I know that I,
I sometimes tend to lose my temper,
And I cross the line,
Yeah that's the truth,
I know it gets hard sometimes,
But I could never,
Leave your side."
His hand reaches out towards me and gasp, frozen to my place as I stare up at him.

"No matter what I say!
'Cause if I wanted to go,
I would've gone by now but,
I really need you near me,
To keep my mind off the edge,
If I wanted to leave,
I would've left by now,
But you're the only one that knows me,
Better than I know myself!"
His gaze is unwavering for the few moments that his voice echoes, before he tucks his hand into his pocket and glances around.

"All along,
I tried to pretend it didn't matter,
If I were alone,
But deep down I know,
If you were gone,
For even a day, I wouldn't know which way to turn,
'Cause I'm lost without you..."


I glance down, swallowing. Okay, this has back fired like crazy.
He is NOT singing this TO me. Calm down, Donna.
Chill.

I take a peek at Alisha who's staring up at him, a huge smile on her face. Luke, behind her, is watching me and winks as my eyes meet his. I don't even want to know how Harry looks, let alone what he's thinking.

"I know it gets hard sometimes,
But I could never,
Leave your side,
No matter what I say,
'Cause if I wanted to go,
I would've gone by now,
But I really need you near me,
To keep my mind off the edge,
If I wanted to leave,
I would've left by now,
But you're the only one that knows me,
Better than I know myself."


He looks down at the stage, singing the next three verses before looking up, straight at me. "I get kind of dark,
Let it go too far,
I can be obnoxious at times,
But try to see my heart,
'Cause I need you now,
So don't let me down,
You're the only thing in this world,
I would die without!
.... If I wanted to leave,
I would've left by now,
But you're the only one that knows me,
Better than I know myself!"


He murmurs a thank you into the mic. Jumping off the stage, he walks towards our table, looking at me. I stare up at him as he reaches us and his eyes don't leave mine for a second.

I shoot him a smile. "Wow! I didn't know you could sing so well!"
"You don't know a lot of things about me." He answers quietly. Normally that sort of response would bug me but this time, it just makes me feel sad. William smiles. "Happy Birthday! I hope you enjoyed your gift!"
I grin, "I did! Thank you."

Alisha gushes over him, and Luke and Harry congratulate him, Harry a bit stiffly. Luke buys us all another round of drinks and the night continues. Much later on, Harry's on the washroom and I'm leaning against the bar when William joins me.

After a few moments of silence, I turn to him, biting my lip. "William?"
"Yeah?" He asks softly, turning towards me.
"I'm sorry I made you go up there."
He chuckles, "Don't be! Like I said, it was your birthday gift."
"So I'm forgiven?" I ask, smiling.
His lips curl into his trademark smirk and it try to place why it was always irritating to me.
"You might have to make it up to me."
"Might?"
"Okay. Definitely."
"How?" I unconsciously lean in closer.

He hesitates before replying,"If you're free tomorrow night I'd like to take you out. As friends. Just for some fun."

I stare at him, taken aback. He wants to take me out? Excitements bubbling up inside and I feel a smile tugging at my lips.

"I'm up to it."
"You sure Harry won't mind?"
I shrug. "It's his night out with his friends, so no."
He grins, genuinely looking happy. "So tomorrow at ... six?"
I nod, smiling. "Tomorrow at six." I unconsciously run my tongue over my lip, watching his gaze unfocus for a moment. "You have an amazing voice by the way."
"Thank you," he murmurs and I'm surprised I've heard it above the music.

William just stares down at me, his eyes shining. Or it could be the lights reflecting in his eyes, I'm not so sure. I can smell his cologne, something with a trace of cinnamon, and I take it in, my mouth-watering.

"Oh and William?"
"Yeah?" He whispers, his breath blowing over my face.
"I'd love to get to know all those things that I don't."

He doesn't reply and instead gazes down at me before glancing up. He takes a step back and I breathe in the smell of the club instead of his delicious scent.
I didn't realize we were standing so close.

"Donna?" Harry's voice comes from behind me.
"Yeah?" I turn around, smiling.
"Ready to go?"
"Yup."
"See you around Crawford." William just nods.
"Bye William."
"Bye," he smiles.

Harry and I say goodnight to Alisha and Luke. As we reach the club door, I glance over my shoulder and see William watching me.

*****************************************************************************

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Published: 9/17/2013
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