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Change of Mind, Change of Heart
Love at first sight had been something neither of them had believed in. That is, until they met each other.
The little town of Holmes Chapel, Cheshire was quiet on this faithful night. Snow glistened in the air as it fell softly and collected on the frosty ground. Small lights twinkled in the distance as a girl the age of eighteen walked quietly over the the ice-glazed cement.
This girl was Catherine Wood. Standing at five feet nine inches, she was a strong, slender figure, but held a light, sweet personality, like cotton candy. Her deep brown wavy hair blew softly around her as she strolled on the sidewalk, the small crunches under her shoes a result of the snow bunching together. Her breath came out in puffs in the bitter air and the cold enveloped her tightly. She saw late-night Christmas shoppers bustle around the streets and watched as cars blew by, sending a rush of cold in her direction.
What she didn't notice was that she wasn't the only one observant of her surroundings.
"Hello," A deep voice said as Catherine passed a rather dark alley.
She jumped and looked around frantically, searching for the owner of that voice. That's when he decided to show himself.
"You don't need to be so scared, love. I'm not going to attack you." He chuckled deeply when Catherine turned swiftly and looked like she was about to do just that.
"Why are you?" Catherine asked, amused that anyone (besides herself) would've been out and not Christmas shopping.
"Harold Williams, but I prefer Harry." Catherine observed Harry quickly: he seemed about six feet tall with chocolate brown curls that reached barely below his ears, green eyes that anyone could mistake for emeralds, and had a slightly muscular build that made Catherine wonder how old he was to have that kind of figure. He was currently sporting a black overcoat that ended at his knees, with a cream scarf that hung loosely around his neck, and his legs were clad with midnight blue denim that contrasted deeply with his white sneakers. "What about you?"
Catherine snapped out of her trance to see that Harry was holding out a hand.
"Catherine Wood. Nice to meet you, Harry." Catherine said halfheartedly, as she wasn't one to befriend alley people. She shook his hand anyways. Don't want to seem rude, she thought.
"Likewise," Harry said, and noticing Catherine's expression, added, "I'm not a low-life bum who lives on the streets, you know."
"Then why are you out in the cold?" She asked.
"I like to watch the snow fall. It's so beautiful." he said, his glowing green eyes moving up from Catherine's face to the dark, cloud filled sky, his soft brown curls sliding to their parting direction.
Catherine looked ip, and for a moment, the two just watched the small ice crystals fall swiftly around them. Harry looked back down at Catherine's face, her nose red and her ocean blue eyes focused on the sky. He admired how her eyelashes fluttered whenever a snowflake landed delicately on them. He smiled to himself when she poked a small portion of her tongue out of her mouth and caught a few snowflakes on it.
"So, why are you outside right now?" Harry asked when she finally looked back down.
"I wanted to get a bit of fresh air, clear my mind, you know." Catherine answered truthfully; she had applied for countless jobs ever since she graduated high school, and the one she had most recently applied for was one she actually had interest in, but as usual, they had rejected her, which dented her already totaled confidence in finding work.
"How about you come inside and warm up for a bit?" Harry suggested. Catherine was skeptical at first; if anyone who was lurking in an alley had asked to come to their house, a flat out 'no' would be her reply, but something about Harry made her feel safe. He had a warm, comforting aura; he seemed to have true intentions of Catherine coming to his house to get out of the cold and warm up.
"Alright, where's your house?" She asked.
"I'll show you." Harry said, gripping her hand lightly. Although it made no difference to her appearance, Catherine felt more heat rise up in her cheeks.
As the two walked hand-in-hand, Catherine started to analyze her new found relationship with Harry. They weren't too familiar with each other to be in a highly romantic relationship, but it wasn't exactly fully platonic, either. Catherine settled for something in between. Love at first sight relationship? That sounded right.
Meanwhile, Harry's roommate, Louis (pronounced lou-ee) Howell, had recently just turned on the T.V. to find that the news was making a public service announcement.
"A highly dangerous mental hospital patient has escaped. He is known to be very unstable, and police reports have shown he escaped with a numerous amount of weapons. His name has yet to be released. He was last seen wearing a white wife beater, loose blue pants and black sneakers, and is six foot two. If you have any information, please call...." Louis heard the woman read the phone number out loud, but was too distracted with the thoughts that were being tossed around in his mind.
Harry hasn't come back from his walk yet, and he hasn't called back yet, either, Louis thought as he scrambled around to find his phone. When he did, he dialed Harry's number, and Louis tapped his foot until Harry answered.
"Harry?" Louis asked.
"Louis?" He heard Harry say. Louis sighed in relief, and chuckled to himself.
"Whew, I thought something had happened to-"
"Catherine?" Was all Louis heard before the call ended.
Louis stood there in shock, his phone falling out of his hand and onto the ground with a clatter. He picked it up, pulled on a coat and some shoes hastily, and was gone in the blink of an eye.
"Harry?" Louis called throughout the streets while maniacal laughter rung through the snowy skies.
Finally, after minutes that felt like hours, Louis saw a mess of curly hair bending over a bleeding body.
"Harry, what happened?" Louis shrieked.
"S-some man just c-came out of nowhere and sh-shot her!" Harry choked out through his sobs. Louis pulled out his phone, since his best friend was obviously not in a stable state to make a call, and dialed 999 (the British emergency number). When someone picked up, he quickly explained the situation, and the lady on the other side assured him that an ambulance would arrive shortly.
Catherine was fading in and out of consciousness, her view blinking without her closing her eyes.
"Catherine, can you stay awake for me?" But a second after Harry asked, she had become unconscious.
"Harry kept his hand on the wound until the ambulance arrived, and when it did, Catherine was wheeled onto the back of the ambulance, and it was off, its sirens blaring as it headed to Accident and Emergency.
Harry and Louis stared in silence at the ambulance until it became a small speck in the distance. Louis turned to Harry and asked, "Who was that?"
"Someone I'd met... Her name's Catherine. Catherine Wood."
"Wood?"Louis spluttered, and Harry nodded. Louis remembered his coworker, Daniel Wood, had mentioned having a sister... But there were a lot of girls with the surname Wood; she could be anyone's sister for all he knew.
"Harry, why did you stay with her? You could've gotten shot, too-"
"What was I supposed to do? Leave her here until she bled to death?" Harry snapped.
"Harry, I... I just want you to be safe, alright?" When Harry didn't respond, Louis sighed. "Look, I'll let you borrow the car. You can go over to the hospital to see Catherine."
At this, Harry looked up almost immediately at his best friend."Really?"
"Yeah. I can see she means a lot to you, even if you did just meet her. Go ahead."
Louis didn't expect the hug he received from Harry, but he hugged back anyways.
Harry and Louis rushed back to their house, and Louis handed off the keys to Harry. "Go get her, bud."
"Thanks." And with that, Harry was off to the hospital to see a girl who was practically a stranger, and even though Louis didn't understand Harry's motive, he was going to help his friend in every way possible, like he had been for the past ten years, because as Harry's best friend, that was the right thing to do.
Harry arrived at the hospital and asked the receptionist if Catherine was available. She wasn't, but Harry was allowed to wait outside her room until the doctor said she was. He waited for minutes that slowly turned into hours before the doctor came out and told him that Harry could leave with her at any time.
Harry walked into the room, and saw Catherine sitting on a white bed, propping herself up on her right elbow. Harry noticed the white bandages covering up her whole left shoulder and felt a pang of guilt in the bottom of his stomach.
"Harry," Catherine started. "Don't think for one more second that this was your fault." He looked up, and she smiled a smile that didn't reach her eyes. "I saw the look you had on your face."
"Are.... are you alright?"
"Never better." She replied, and Harry half-smiled.
"You wanna go? They said you could leave, but I understand if you don't-"
"Let's get out of here." Catherine said. "This place isn't really all that welcoming." She got out of the tangle of sheets and slipped on her shoes.
As they checked out of the hospital and got into the car, Harry realized, the could really learn to love Catherine. Whether platonic or otherwise (he hoped for the latter), he got along with her easily, and that was enough for he base of a new relationship.
They arrived back at Harry and Louis' house in no time. Harry unlocked the front and saw immediately that Louis wasn't in the living room. He suspected that Louis was sleeping, since it was already two in the morning. Catherine was aware of this fact as well.
"Harry, it's two in the morning. I really should call my brother to pick me up."
Harry nodded, too tired to argue. Catherine got her phone out and called her brother, who, although tired, was happy to drive Catherine back to their flat, given the circumstances.
While they waited, Catherine's curiosity got the best of her. "Harry, what is love to you?"
Harry struggled with this question. What was love to him?
Love is that feeling you get in your stomach when you see that special person. Love is being able to trust each other without any suspicion. Love is being scared of losing that person. Love is wanting to be with them forever.
Love is what he felt for Catherine.
When Harry told her this (minus the last part), she smiled."That's really sweet, Harry." But before he could ask what love meant to her, a loud beep came from the street, signalling Catherine's brother's arrival. The two exchanged numbers hastily and Catherine bade Harry farewell for the night before disappearing into the flurry of white.
Catherine entered the car to find her brother, who's bottom eyelids sported a nice shade of purple. "Hello, Dan. You look nice."
"Should I say the same for you?" Dan asked, noticing Catherine's bandaged up shoulder. "What happened?"
"I got shot and was too unconscious to call you." She replied nonchalantly.
"Well, are you alright?" Dan asked.
"I have a hole in my left shoulder, but other than that I'm brilliant."
"Why were you at that house?"
"Oh, that's Harry Williams' house."
"Harry Williams? Is he friends with Louis Howell?"
"Yes, I think so."
"Louis' my coworker. He mentions Harry a lot." Dan said before Catherine could ask any questions.
She merely nodded and looked to the window, staring at the large building that housed the flat that the two siblings shared, and as she stared, she remembered what Harry's definition of love was.
Catherine came into a strong realization, and Harry had, too.
Catherine loved Harry very much, and to Harry, the feeling was mutual.