Always In My Head: A London Calling Series
Christmas Lights (Coldplay)
@bookshopbirdie: @harrystyles appears to have stolen a baby. #christmasshoottime #familyphotos #homefortheholidays
“Harry, I’m going to need you to take the camera away from the little guy,” I called as I watched my nephew, Frankie, attempt to pick up the camera that Harry had put on the ground in front of him. He was one, everything looked like a toy to him, especially his Auntie’s camera equipment.
“Sorry Sugar,” Harry replied as he grabbed the camera just as Frankie tried to put the lens hood in his mouth. I watched as Harry’s face contorted a bit at the slobbery mess that had appeared on the camera. “I’ll clean this up when we are done.”
“Thank you.” I finally had everyone arranged in the living room in front of the fireplace the way I wanted and took a few test shots. We’d been doing photos for what felt like three days. Reality was it had only been an hour but anything with a three year old and one year old was bound to be a challenge. When you finally got Frankie settled Gigi would lift her dress over her head and flash her Star Wars underpants at the camera.
“Annabelle I’m gonna need you to come get in the picture now,” Harry said as he plopped down in a chair. I’d staged the perfect display for all of us and was so happy with how everything looked through my viewfinder. I tucked the remote into my pocket and went to sit on the arm of the chair Harry was in. He put his arm around my waist and waited as I counted down and took the first picture. We were going to do several so I immediately started the countdown again. After the third countdown I felt Harry’s hand wrap around my side and pull me onto his lap. I started to laugh just as I saw the flash go off. He’d timed it perfectly from when I hit the shutter release on the remote to when I landed in his lap.
“Sneaky little shit.” He just smiled at me before kissing me.
“You love me anyway.”
“That I do.”
“Ah yes, I do. Two words I wish you’d start practicing,” he said loud enough that only I could hear. We’d lost the room and Frankie had started to head towards the tree and his awaiting presents.
“Oh shut it.”
“It’s present time!” Gigi screamed as she ripped through the wrapping paper on her first present.
“Okay but just a few because you need to get to bed soon or Santa won’t come,” my brother, Tony, shouted over the screaming of the kids in the room. With Harry and I being able to spend Christmas at home that meant everyone was adjusting their normal holiday schedule to get as much time with us before we jetted somewhere else in the world. It was my family and Tony’s in-laws doing Christmas Eve drinks and desserts tonight, mainly because rather than staying at my Dad’s or Mom’s house we stayed with my brother, Harry wanted as much time with the kids as possible.
“Do you want another glass of wine?” I asked as I situated myself in the chair so Harry and I were both comfortable.
“Yes please,” he replied. I stood up and headed towards the kitchen as my nephew opened a toy and immediately started screaming as his sister took it from him. I poured the last of the bottle into Harry’s glass.
“Don’t worry, there’s more,” Megan, my sister-in-law, said as she opened the door to the refrigerator and grabbed a new bottle. “The pictures that you and Harry took of the kids at the park this week turned out great. Thank you for involving Bella in the pictures.” We had picked up Megan’s niece who was just a few months older than Frankie and taken all of the kids to a snow covered park with giant trees. Harry and I had haphazardly thrown Christmas lights in the branches to make the trees look festive. It had been fun but the two of us against three kids three and under was something that should’ve been documented. More than once I watched as a child shoved a handful of snow in their mouth. “It’s nice to have you both home for Christmas this year.”
“It’s nice to get to be home for Christmas.” I had missed last year despite it being Frankie’s first Christmas in favor of spending the time with Harry in England. This year we opted to head to the States so I could spend Christmas at home with my family. We were only days into Harry’s unemployment as I liked to call it. We’d planned for a trip somewhere warm with his family to celebrate the New Year so that we could spend Christmas here. It was the first Christmas I’d been able to make it home since I moved to London.
“I can imagine. I don’t know how you have managed to only be able to FaceTime home for the holidays since you moved. We’ve all missed you but we at least had each other.”
“I had Harry most of the time. And I’ve had everyone in London so it hasn’t been too bad. The first Christmas was the worst. No Kim, Harry and I were only friends and he was home with his Mum. I think Cam and I drank ourselves stupid in the closed bar and he showed up to Christmas at his parents’ with a hangover while I slept, watched movies and read a few books all day under a big giant quilt.” I smiled thinking of that day. I spent half of it texting back and forth with Harry, he claimed he wanted to make sure that the quilt he gave me for Christmas was treating me well.
“That actually doesn’t sound too terrible.”
“It wasn’t. Though this is much better,” I said as I pulled her into a hug and we glanced back into her living room that was filled with presents and kids. “Thank you for adjusting normal Christmas so that we could spend time with everyone.”
“Don’t worry about it at all. My entire family is happy to have you and Harry here with us. And really you didn’t have to disappear earlier today. We enjoy having you both around.”
“I didn’t want to intrude on your time with your family. We both appreciate so much that you’re letting us stay here so that we can spend more time with you and the kids, we wanted you to still have time with your parents and sisters. So we explored the city, did a tiny bit of shopping, and took some pictures. He hasn’t gotten to see much of Des Moines while we’ve been together. It was nice to show him around. We grabbed lunch some of my friends from college earlier.”
“Okay good, I just didn’t want to think that with your parents all busy getting stuff done that you didn’t have a place to go.”
“We were fine, no worries.” We got the desserts out of the fridge and started to get them ready for after the kids had all opened the presents that had been designated for tonight. Everyone made their way into the kitchen.
“I wanted to take a moment to thank all of you,” Harry said as he wrapped his arms around my shoulders. “It means a lot that you would adjust your normal holiday routines to be able to spend a bit more time with Annie while she’s home. And the way you’ve all welcomed me into being part of your family means a lot as well. I’m glad that things worked out to finally get Annie back to Iowa for the holidays.”
“We are too,” my Dad replied.
“So thank you all for allowing us to intrude upon your traditions and maybe start some new ones. Cheers,” Harry finished as he held his glass up to toast the room. As soon as everyone was filled sufficiently with cake, pie and cookies the kids were tucked in bed to wait for Santa’s arrival and the adults all shuffled their way out of my brother’s and headed home. Harry and I were in the guest bedroom getting ourselves ready for bed.
“Today was a lot of fun. Thank you for spending time with my friends and family. But most importantly, thank you for coming home with me.” He spit his toothpaste out before turning and capturing my lips in a minty fresh kiss.
“There’s no where in the world I’d rather be than right here with you, Sugar.”
“Aww Dimples, don’t go and get all sentimental on me.”
“Hard not to. I love you, Ann Marie Catalano.”
“And I love you, Harry Edward Styles.” We both quickly changed into pajamas and climbed in bed. The lights were turned down and each of us had a book we were reading. I was sure watching us in bed like this would be funny to the outside world. Both of us with our hair in a messy bun, reading glasses on and nose in a book. I still laid with my head rested on his chest and he had his arm around me, occasionally trying to put me in a headlock as he turned the page of his book. Eventually I closed mine and put it with my glasses on the nightstand and fell asleep. I woke up at 2:30 alone in bed. It hadn’t been odd for this to happen while we’d been home. The time difference was killing us both and our internal clocks enjoyed waking us up when we’d get up at home. I saw that the door to the bedroom was open a crack, Harry probably went downstairs for water. I pulled his hoodie that he’d worn while we’d shopped the previous day on and grabbed my cell phone before heading downstairs to find him. “Harry,” I called quietly as I walked down the stairs.
As I made it to the main floor of the house I realized that the only lights on were the Christmas tree and the fireplace. That’s when I found Harry. He was on the floor with a pile of pillows, a few blankets and my sleeping niece. He had his arm around her as she slept. I pulled my cell phone out and took a quick picture before tucking it back in my pocket.
“Harry, baby, wake up,” I said quietly as I gently shook him.
“Hey honey,” he replied, his voice raspy and filled with sleep.
“How did you get down here?” I asked.
“Gigi came in and woke me up telling me she thought Santa had come. We came downstairs to find that he hadn’t so I told her I’d wait up with her. She fell asleep and I didn’t have the heart to move her.”
“You two look cute but we need to put her in bed.”
“I know. I’ll take her up and put her back in bed and I’ll be back down.” He picked up her tiny body and carried her, still sleeping, up to her bedroom. I went into the kitchen and grabbed each of us a glass of water and took a bite out of one of the cookies that had been left out for Santa. “You’re eating Santa’s cookies.”
“Someone has to or your three year old bestie will cry thinking he didn’t want the cookies she made with you.” Harry had been sweet enough to bake cookies with Gigi, because of their work schedule Tony and Megan had told her they’d just leave some fruit snacks for Santa and she was not having that. Harry picked up another of the cookies and took a bite. “You two did a good job.”
“Thanks,” he replied as he sat down next to me at the island and took a drink out of the milk that was also waiting for Santa. Gigi had insisted that we leave chocolate milk for him because it was her favorite. “She is a lot of fun.”
“She’s just like you,” he said while laughing a bit. “Even the way she sleeps. She fell asleep and burrowed her way into my arms.”
“You’re a cuddly guy.”
“And you Catalano women like to abuse that.”
“That is a true statement. This Catalano woman however is missing some of the fringe benefits that go along with being the fiancé.” I leaned forward and kissed him deeply.
“I miss those benefits too. Only downside to staying with your family and not in a hotel, lack of privacy.” He kissed me again as his hand slid under my t-shirt and up my back. His hands were a bit cold and they caused goosebumps as they slid to the side and up my body. I knew what he was trying to do and stopped his hand just as it went to cup my breast.
“Not in the kitchen. We aren’t at home.”
“Then finish your cookie.” I shoved the last bite in my mouth and we snuck back upstairs, this time locking the door when we shut it. He pulled me into him, his lips capturing mine again and his hands grabbing my breasts through my shirt. I moaned a bit into his lips. “Quiet Sugar.”
“I know,” I replied as I pulled him towards the bed with me. We each striped shirts and pajama pants off before laying down. As he pulled the covers up over us I traced his tattoos with my fingers. “You are so fucking sexy.” He laughed as he started to kiss me and move to hover above me in the bed. We were so quiet for fear that even attempting this with family in the house would get us caught. And unlike being home we couldn’t allow ourselves to just fall asleep, we had to put our pajamas back on before getting too comfy.
“I love you more than anything in the world. I am so happy that we have all of this time to figure out what we want to do with our lives together.” Now that it was after midnight and officially Christmas it meant Harry had just reached day twelve of being on hiatus. I knew it had been a hard decision for he and the boys to come to but that despite even the biggest of protests they were all ready for it. They wanted a chance to stop, breathe, and live for a while.
Coming to Iowa for Christmas was part of that. A chance for Harry to be in a normal relationship and go spend the holidays with his fiancé’s family like any normal guy would do, not sit and worry about what he should be tweeting to fans and if he should stop and talk to them while doing his last minute Christmas shopping. The benefit of being in Iowa for the last week meant that he’d been able to start this hiatus without cameras following him around or people even realizing it was him sitting beside them in a restaurant or standing behind him at the Target checkout. The first time we’d gone to the mall to grab lunch with my brother and he made it through the entire place without being noticed he looked at me and smiled and told me that he felt normal for the first time in years. The only people who had realized who he was were the people my brother worked with and that was because they knew his sister was engaged to Harry Styles.
“I’m excited for the rest of our lives too, Harry. Thank you for coming home with me and spending Christmas here. And thank you for the vacation we get to take. I can’t wait to lay around and get a tan while hanging out with your Mum and Robin for a while. And honestly, I think you need it.”
“I know I do. I need to allow myself time to figure out what is next and not just worry about not working. Thank you for supporting me in that decision.”
“Of course. You are my world, Dimples.”
NotesOkay I know it’s a WHOLE LOT shorter than I normally write, but this was literally all written today while listening to Christmas music and talking to my Mom while she made dinner for us to share for Christmas Eve. So needless to say, I may still get inspired and write a part two or a completely different Christmas. Who knows.
I wanted to write something that was canon to a story but involved cute, sweet Harry and kids and since ITHOLA can’t have canon Christmas drabbles yet and Annie and Harry didn’t have kids it meant a trip to Iowa and snuggles with Annie’s niece and nephew.
Let me know what you think of this and MAYBE I’ll get motivated to write another piece. Maybe even something non-canon if you’re all up for that.
I hope you all enjoyed it and have a wonderful holiday with your family. I hope that Santa brings you everything on your wish list and that if you’re traveling that you stay safe. It’s a white Christmas here in Iowa (just barely but I’ll take it).
Thank you for reading what I’ve written over the last several years and sticking with me when the chapters come slower than I would like.