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Battle of the Hearts - Chapter 7

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"What was that?!"
I look across the room at Harry as he removes his shirt and throws it on the chair.
"Excuse me?"
"What was that stunt?"
"What stunt?" I ask, confused. What is he on about now?
"At the club. Making William sing."
I shrug, "I was just winding him up."
"In turn to watch him try to wind you up?"
"WHAT?"
"With him serenading you?"
I stare at him, shocked, "He wasn't serenading me!"

"Really? What was that 'I need you now', 'I don't know where to go without you'?" He asks furiously, making air quotes with his fingers.

I wouldn't know which way to turn, my mind corrects immediately.
I shake my head, "It must be his favorite song. What do you want me to do?"
"Why the sudden change of heart?"
"What?" I ask, confused by the turn in topic.
"Why suddenly become friends?"

I shrug, "We decided it was pointless holding grudges for something that happened when we were children."
Harry narrows his eyes, "Not because any feelings were involved."
"What?!" I exclaim, sitting forward, "Are you implying that I like William?!"
"He certainly likes you."
"I've just started accepting him as a friend. He wouldn't like me for the world."
"Don't seem that way."

"Who are you to judge? You're barely civil to him! Don't walk away from me when we're arguing Harry!" I shout after him as he leaves the room, "I can't believe you're being such an insecure little girl!" I scream, more for my own satisfaction and getting it off my chest.

It's not even an insult.
Idiot.
Groaning, I fall back into my pillows, covering my face with my hands.
This is not happening.
He didn't serenade me!
William doesn't need to serenade anyone. Girls would fall into his arms after one look into his eyes.

Right.
So he didn't serenade me. Harry's just being annoying.
Exactly.
I think.
He didn't serenade me, right?

I open my eyes in the dimly lit room and see Harry sleeping beside me, an arm thrown over his eyes. Sighing, I sit up and swing my legs down, getting out of bed.

I pull the box out from my wardrobe and carry it out of the bedroom into the lounge. Turning the lamp on, I curl up on the sofa.

The last thing my aunt left me.
I gulp, holding back my tears.
I miss her so much.

Running my fingers over the package, I pull on the string and pull off the paper. Inside is the blue velvet box she's always had in her wardrobe. She always told me of the day her husband, my uncle, had bought it for her.

I try to lift the latch but it's locked.
No way. I need a key?
I turn the box over in my hands but there's no key anywhere. There isn't one on the wrapping either.
What do I do now?
Sighing, I stare at the latch. I really want to see what's inside.

Wait a minute. This is so not like my aunt, there must be something behind it being locked.
Lifting the box towards the lamp, I study the latch.

It's different than any latch I've ever seen. It looks like... wait a second... it almost looks like a four leaf clover!

Dropping the box onto the couch, I hurry into my bedroom, taking care not to make any noise.

In my jewelry box, I find the bracelet and run back to the lounge. Pulling the box into my lap, I find the four leaf clove charm on the bracelet and press it into the latch.

Please be it. Please.
Something clicks and I hold my breath, watching as the latch unlocks with a soft pop.
Yes!
The first thing on top is an envelope with today's date on it.
Well, actually yesterday's date.
I lift it up, spying another envelope beneath it, but let it stay for now.
Sliding my finger beneath the sealed top, I pull it open.
A single sheet of paper, folded, falls onto my lap.
Okay, this is it.
Taking in a deep breath, I unfold it.

My Dearest Darling Donna,

Happy Birthday Sweetheart!
If you're reading this, then it means I am no longer with you and that my baby girl's a year older now.


(I wipe my tears away and reach for a tissue, sniffling.)

You always have been and always will be my baby girl and although you're my sister's child, I've brought you up and loved you like my own. You've been my joy and comfort all these years and I couldn't have asked for a more loving, caring daughter.

Always remember Donna, your parents will be so proud of you. Given all your obstacles and difficulties, you've stayed true to yourself, haven't changed from the person you are and stood up for what you believed in. I just want you to carry on for the rest of your life like this, not changing yourself for other people.

You left for New York five years ago, so full of optimism and life. It's still there, but has started to dim through the years. You only get one life sweat pea, spend it with whom you love, doing what you love.

I know you're in a relationship at the moment and since I haven't met the man, I presume he's keeping you happy. But that can't stop a mother from giving her daughter advice.

Love is a magical thing. It's a whirlwind of emotions, full of precious moments and excitement. I can tell you with complete confidence that when you're with someone you truly love, there's never a dull moment. Just being around each other is a joy.

I just hope that this is what my darling girl is experiencing but if not then you will find a man who'll always keep you smiling. There are going to be problems, there are always problems, but if both of you are working to solve them, then it'll be worth it at the end. Donna, I know, if no one else, how much you deserve it.

In this box there are a couple of letters I've written in the past few months, all containing encouraging words and support, for you. Whenever you feel out of depth, alone and distressed, pick one out and read it. But only if it's very important. They aren't in order, let fate play out which one you should read.

Just always remember, I love you Donna. I may not be there in person, but I'm always in your heart.
Take care of yourself,

Your Aunt


I run my fingers over the words, watching them blur through my tears.
I just miss her so much.
I miss her hugs. I miss talking with her.
I would have taken a break from work and gone to her if she were here now. Away from Harry and all our problems.

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

We haven't talked all day. We've been in the same apartment and haven't said a word to each other. I'm definitely not going to be the first one to. I was not the one who acted like an insecure brat.

I glance at myself in the mirror, brushing my hair. William's not told me where we're going, so I've dressed more on a formal dinner note than a casual one. I've got my hair flowing down my back, a dark blue strapless dress and matching pumps. Reaching for my mascara, I put it on carefully and the step back and look at myself.

Not bad.

Okay, I'm pretty excited. If you'd told me a few months ago, hell, even a few weeks ago that I'd be going out for dinner alone with William, I'd have laughed in your face and said no way was that ever going to happen.

The doorbell rings and I quickly drop my bag and hurry to the front door. That has to be him, unless Harry forget something. I glance through the peephole to make certain it's William before pulling the door open.

He smiles, seeing me, "Good evening."
I laugh softly. Good evening? Really. "Good evening. Would you like to come in?" I ask, playing along.
He smiles, charmingly, "It would be a pleasure."
I step back, allowing him to enter and close the door behind him, "How are you?"
"Great!" He grins, "how about you, birthday girl?"
"Fantastic."
"Ready to go?"
"Yup. Where are we going?"
He looks at my outfit and smiles, "You're dressed perfectly for the occasion."
"Thanks. Let me just get my bag."

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

"Have you settled in yet?" I ask William once we're seated in the cab that was waiting for us downstairs.
He turns to me, "You haven't come and furnished it yet, how could I?"
I stare at him, eyebrows raised, "You were serious?"
"Dead on. My apartment's bare except for my bedroom."
I shake my head, smiling, "I'll come this week, I promise."
He chuckles, "It's cool."

William takes me to a fancy restaurant, that isn't too upscale that it makes me feel underdressed, but fancy enough. From behind my menu, I study him as he reads his. He looks amazing tonight in a white and blue shirt over dark blue jeans and a black blazer.

"Will you be going back to London any time soon?" William asks once we've ordered.
I shrug, playing with my fork, "I don't have anyone or anything to go back home to."
He's silent for a heartbeat before replying softly, "But that's just it. You'll be going home."
"My aunt's left the house in my name but my life's here now. I've got a job, friends."
"So you won't go back?"

I look up and see concern apparent in his eyes, "I don't know William. Maybe once the fact that she's gone ceases to be so painful."
"I'm so sorry Donna. I know she meant the world to you."
"Yeah, well..." I give him a small smile, "we can't do anything about it."
When he continues to watch me, I frown, puzzled, "What?"
William glances down, looking... shy? What?

"I don't mean this in a wrong way but...." He glances up through his thick eyelashes and I feel my mouth go dry at his boyish smile. "I like the way you say my name. Especially now that it isn't filler with hatred."
I laugh shakily, "Thank you?"
He grins, gaining his confidence back, "I'm serious."
Wiping off my smile, I nod, "Very well then. Thank you." I say using my best deadpan tone.
William laughs and I watch him, a smile tugging at my lips, "You really are something, Don. I've missed you."

"So everyone's scattered around," William concludes, explaining where our few common high school friends have gone.

"What about your parents? They've moved, haven't they?"
"Yeah, they've moved into the city. Dad's retired and Mom's started a book club or something. She's really into fundraising and everything now."
"Oh, that's nice. Must keep her occupied."
"Yeah, it keeps her busy," he chuckles.

"I really enjoyed tonight William. Thanks."
He shrugs, "Don't mention it. I just wanted to prove to you that we can have a civil meal together without getting on each others' nerves."
I laugh, "Yes, point taken. You can be a gentleman."
He smirks, "I am English. It's in my blood."
"Of course." He leans over and pays the cab driver and then opens the door and steps out. I glance up as I start sliding out and see William holding out his hand. Slipping my hand into his warm one, I step out.

"Donna?"
"Yeah?" I turn to him as we walk towards the elevators.
"Wait here for a moment."
"O-kay." I watch him, puzzled, as he hurries out of the lobby.
What is he up to now?

He comes back after a few seconds, holding a white box.
"What's that?"
He grins, holding it out, "Your birthday gift."
"William!" I stare at him. "I told you not to get me anything."
"And when have I ever listened to you?"
I roll my eyes, "True that." I take the box from him. "Where was it?"
"With the night guard."
"Oh," I smile, glancing down. "What is it?" I freeze as the box moves in my hand and nearly drop it. "WILLIAM! If something jumps out at me, I'm not kidding, you're going to be dead!"
He bites his lip, looking worried. "I can't promise nothing will jump out but it isn't anything scary."
"I should hope not!"

He chuckles and follows me into the elevator, "Is Harry back?"
"I don't think so. I didn't see his car parked out."
"Oh." As we reach my front door, William holds out his hand, "let me hold it."
"Yeah. That's a good idea." I hand it over to him and then pull my keys from my bag. Opening the door, I hold it open and he walks in. Closing it behind us, I turn to see him waiting for me. "Let's go into the lounge."

I lead him inside and sink down into the loveseat. He sits down beside me.
"Come on, open it."

"Alright, alright," smiling, I take the box from him and place it on the coffee table. Tugging at the bow, I untie it and glance at William. He looks nervous and excited at the same time as he watches me. Taking in a deep breath, I lift the lid.

I gasp, completely taken by surprise. A pair of honey brown eyes stare up at me. The cat stands up and elegantly steps out of the box, standing in front of me.

"It's beautiful." I murmur, reaching out and stroking it. The cat seems to relax and I watch, entranced, as it steps onto my knees and curls in my lap. "A British longhair?" I ask William, turning to him.
He looks so much more relaxed.
"Yeah. It's a female. I thought you'd be happier talking to her when you needed someone to listen."
I laugh softly, "What?"
He grins, shrugging, "I remember you telling me animals were good listeners."
I scratch her ears and she purrs softly. So beautiful.
Her coat's three shades of colors; white, gray and pink. I've never seen a cat so different, yet elegant.

"She's gorgeous."
"Yeah, she stole my heart as soon as I laid eyes on her. That's how I knew she was perfect for you."
I look up at him, not sure how I feel. So is he saying he remembered me because I stole his heart? Like the cat? Or...?
I stare at him for a few moments before smiling, "Thank you. It means a lot to me."
"I know," he replies softly, not moving his eyes from mine. "You always wanted a cat when we were small, but your Aunt didn't like them."
"Yeah," I look down at my cat, stroking her beautiful coat. Why am I so pleased, he remembers all these things?

'Love is a magical thing. It's a whirlwind of emotions, precious moments and excitement.'

My Aunt's words come to mind and I shake my head. Not relevant here.
"I'm touched, you remembered."
He shrugs, his eyes shifting down to the cat, "I wasn't sure what to get you. When I saw her, I was sure I'd found the perfect gift."
"And it is. It's the best gift anyone's ever given me." I smile, my cheeks heating up, "thank you William."
He shrugs, "Don't mention it, it's nothing. So, what are you going to name her?" He asks, stopping me from arguing.

Smiling I glance down at my cat.

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

Replies to comments

PH - So did she! Poor Donna! Nooo, I didn't write the song! It's called 'Better Than I know Myself' by Adam Lambert. Amazing song!

Emma - AW, thank YOU! Really? Alright, I'll keep it in mind!

Ash - Okay! I will! Thanks.

MayJuneJuly - Hahah, we all do!! I'll try my best love!

Mrblobby - Thanks!

Dazzle - Thanks!

Praiser - Thanks so Much!! Yeah, it definitely isn't working... He isn't trying hard enough! I will! Thanks a lot!

Love you all!
By
Published: 10/3/2013
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