Harley breathed in and out slowly. It had been night for a while now and Mason still hadn’t arrived. Yesterday was the first time he actually agreed to come over. He was still acting suspicious and no amount of coercion would make him talk.
Her thoughts were interrupted with a loud clearing of the throat. When Harley’s eyes flew open she saw non other than Mason.
“I thought you weren’t gonna show! You were supposed to be here hours ago!”
“I wouldn’t leave you hanging if I told you I was coming Harley. I just...ran into some trouble earlier.”
Harley lifted her chin while her nose was scrunched up,
“What kind of trouble are we talking about?”
Mason scooted in closer and grabbed her around the waist,
“Nothing you have to worry about beautiful. Now tonight is about us right? How should we spend it?”
It didn’t go unnoticed by Harley that he had brushed her question off, but since he was here she didn’t want it to end up in a fight. So instead she smiled at him coyly and said,
“Oh I think I have a pretty good idea.”
No it wasn’t their first time. Ever since her birthday they had been messing around. Tonight was different though. It felt to Harley like he was more passionate, more loving. As if it was the last time they would ever do such a thing.
After everything was said and done they were lying in bed cuddling. Everything was silent until there was a pounding on the door and then it was thrown open.
“WHAT THE PLUM?!”
Mason and Harley had jumped out of bed and were sitting on the edge when Jensen pulled Harley up and set her near the wall.
“What do YOU think you’re doing here?! And with MY daughter, doing plum knows what!”
Harley was terrified. She tried to stop her rampaging father,
“Daddy listen to me! It’s not what you think!”
“Shut your mouth Harley Belle. I will deal with you later. I TOLD you when you were a teenager to stay away from this boy!”
Something in Mason seemed to snap, and in that moment all plum broke loose.
“No. You don’t get to treat her like that! She wouldn’t tell you about us because she knew this was how you would react! She is an adult now and the heir to this legacy you are both apart of so she can do whatever she plum well pleases! If you honestly knew what I sacrificed, what I GAVE to help this family, then you would rethink treating me the way you are.”
Mason got up and walked over to Harley, and with Jensen still in the room he gave her a kiss.
“I’ll meet you tomorrow at the park, alright?”
The only thing Harley could manage was a meek nod while her father was glaring at her through slanted eyes.
As soon as Mason had left last night Harley had run into her room and locked the door. She had to deal with her Dad banging on it and going through the stages of him trying to get her to let him in. Anger, trying to talk calmly, anger again, begging, and then finally acceptance. Her Mom was the one that finally pried her Dad away from her bedroom door.
Finally the next morning, before anyone else had woken up, Harley snuck out of the house and to the park in the town over, where Mason lived.
When she arrived she found Mason sitting alone on a bench looking grim. He hadn’t seen her yet and Harley took this opportunity to drink in every little detail of his face and body.
She couldn’t stare for that long because Mason felt it, when he turned and noticed her he walked up and scooped her into a giant bear hug.
“Harley...I missed you so much.”
“I missed you too Mason.”
“Was it bad last night?”
Harley pulled away and shrugged her shoulders,
“It wasn’t as bad as I expected. He just kind of stood at my door yelling and banging on it and my Mom finally took him away.”
Mason cringed outwardly and grabbed her hand,
“Well at least it’s over now, and I made hamburgers for breakfast just in case you hadn’t eaten yet.”
“No I haven’t yet, but burgers? For breakfast? Is that the only thing you can make?”
When they sat down Mason gave a fake hurt expression.
“Well! I will have you know that I can also make turkey burgers!”
To Harley it almost felt like another real date. As if they were two normal people having a picnic in the park. She would pretend, for now, that that was the truth.
After relaxing at the park and finishing up their burger picnic, Mason invited Harley back to his house.
Harley hadn’t ever been inside of his house, only on the outside when she came to get him to go out.
“Bland? Under decorated? Mediocre?”
Harley laughed and nodded her head,
“Yea kind of.”
“Well sweetpea, I’m not one for decoration. I have what I need and that’s about it.”
After having a couple of drinks they found themselves in Mason’s bleak bedroom kissing and cuddling on his bed.
“Isn’t it nice to know no one is going to walk in on us?”
Mason said breathlessly,
“Mhmm, it is.”
Mason leaned up to nuzzle the nape of Harley’s neck and whispered in her ear,
“I love you Harley Belle. Never forget that.”
Before Harley could respond her mouth was enveloped in a kiss so sweet that it hurt.
In that bleak, under decorated bedroom. They enveloped each other again. This time it was more passionate than the last, this time, to Harley, it felt like he was trying to meld their bodies together to become one.
She had never felt so much love for one person in her entire life.
Afterwards Harley had changed into her pajamas that she had brought in her purse because she knew she would end up staying the night.
She fell asleep in Mason’s arms while he was petting her head and whispering sweet nothings to her.
A little before dawn Harley started to stir. She was freezing so, half asleep, she reached out and patted Mason’s side of the bed, looking for his warmth. What Harley felt though was nothing but a cold and empty space.
She jolted upright and looked around the room with eyes still foggy from sleep. With a scared expression on her face she said out loud,
“Mason where are you?”
“Mason this isn’t funny anymore! Where are you?!”
She walked into the dining room, the place where they had just sat, had drinks and laughed the night before. But on the table now was not glasses, it was a large filing box, a stack of manila folders, a piece of paper with a intricate insignia on it and a notebook.
Harley walked up and grabbed the piece of paper with shaking hands,
I know you will hate me. I know that you will never forgive me and I will respect that. I had to leave, and I feel deep down that you knew that I was going to leave anyways. You can forget me, you can hate me, and you can tell everyone what a plumhead I am. What I want you to know, and what I don’t want you to forget is that I love you, and I still will love you forever and always. I know I’ve been acting distant and the reason for that is I knew that I had to leave. Did you ever wonder why Antonio Monty all of the sudden came to Newcrest? Did you ever think for a second that that was weird? I did it. I’m the one that sabotaged him because I knew that your father had enough evidence to pin on him so that he would never get out, and Antonio knew that too and that’s why he was working on getting a guy to hack into the police database to wipe the system clean of his name. In return for the Agency giving him false information they made me renew my contract with them for another 10 years. I did it to save you and your family Harley. I did it so you would have a safe and secure future. I did it because I love you. All of the files on the table, including the notebook, is everything I could gather off of the people that Antonio had watching your family. This is also my stuff included. Burn it. Burn it all and never look back. I can say this though, this won’t be the end of us I swear it. Whenever I can I will send you a letter or a postcard from wherever they have sent me. Don’t ever forget how much I love you, and don’t forget that I will come back for you.
Harley’s knees gave out from underneath her and she fell to the floor. The pain in her chest was so extreme that the rest of her body felt numb. A single tear rolled down her face and when Harley reached up to touch it that’s when the floodgates opened up.
Harley laid on the floor in a ball sobbing loudly while clutching her knees to her chest. In her mind she was thinking so many things,
“This couldn’t be happening. This isn’t real. This is only a dream! I’ll wake up next to him and then he’ll hold me and say that everything will be okay!”
It wasn’t a dream.
Feeling empty inside, and all cried out with puffy red eyes, she used Mason’s shower and got dressed.
Afterwards, Harley started a small fire in front of Mason’s house in the early hours of the morning. She dragged out the giant filing box first and threw in all of the papers. When the contents fell out she saw pictures of her and Mason kissing, her Mom going to work, her Dad arresting someone, and her brother on a date with his old girlfriend Amber. Disgusted, she went into the house to get the notebook, and the other smaller folders. When their contents spread out among the flames she caught glimpses of herself and Delsin at school, her report card results and class schedules.
Something hit a chord with Harley and she couldn’t take standing there at the fire anymore, looking at what people had collected on her family. She turned and and started to run. She wanted to run as far away as possible from that house, but she also wished that she could run straight into Mason’s arms.
As she ran down the dusty sidewalks of Oasis Springs the only thing that mended her heart a little was the fact that he wouldn’t be gone for good. There was hope.