Actions

Work Header

so long i've been waiting (to let go of myself and feel alive)

Work Text:

Harry really needed to stop freaking out. Everything would be fine. Really, it would be fine. Her mum was only asking her - again - if she was bringing a boyfriend to their annual family cabin retreat weekend. She did not have a boyfriend, so she would not be bringing a boyfriend.

Being a lesbian was not very conducive to having a boyfriend. If only her family knew.

She had been trying to tell them for over a year now but every time the opportunity cropped up, she chickened out. She didn’t want it to be a big thing because it wasn’t. She just happened to like women rather than men. She knew, logistically, that coming out was really for straight people, for people who made the assumption that everything besides straight was abnormal, but this was her family. They deserved to know.

It would also stop her mum from asking about potential boyfriends every month or so.

With their annual family cabin retreat in a fortnight, Harry thought that would be the best time to tell them. Now she just needed the how - how would she tell her mother that she wasn’t really that big a fan of historical period dramas as a young teenager and was really only watching them for Keira Knightley. Or that all those sleepovers she had with her best friend when she was 17 weren’t as innocent as her mother would like to believe and said best friend wasn’t just her best friend.

“Love, what’s going on in that pretty head of yours?” Harry looked up to see her best friend and roommate, Louise, as she shut the door to their flat and locked it.

Harry had met Louise Tomlinson in her first year of uni in an intro to psychology class. They sat next to each and it’s a wonder Harry learned anything in that class because Louise constantly made her laugh and distracted her from taking notes.

They had been inseparable ever since. They moved into a flat together the next year, a small, cheap two-bedroom flat that they could barely afford. Now with Harry working full time as a manager at a florists shop and Louise at a secondary school as a para, just until she could get hired on as an actual teacher, they were able to afford a nicer and bigger flat that also allowed pets, meaning Louise was able to adopt an adorable labradoodle, Clifford.

“Just this family weekend thing I have to go to,” Harry sighed. “Mum is pestering me about a boyfriend again.”

“Darling, you know your family will love you no matter what,” Louise sat her bag down and kicked off her shoes before joining Harry on the couch. Just as Harry was leaning in for a cuddle, Clifford ran in from Louise’s room where he was sleeping on her bed and jumped between the two of them so he could greet his favorite person. Harry huffed a little but just moved back out of Clifford’s way.

“How was your day?” Harry asked instead of replying to Louise’s comment.

“It was good! Sammy, I’ve told you about him, was able to read through an entire paragraph without getting distracted or stumbling on a word today,” Louise said happily as she pet Clifford, scratching him all over until he rolled onto his back over both their laps so he could get his belly rubbed. “And I missed you so much, you big baby.”

“Glad you had a good day,” Harry said softly when Louise looked at her again. “And I’ll tell them. I will. Just have to figure out how.”

The rest of the night was lowkey, Harry preparing them dinner as it was her turn and then they watched a few episodes of reality TV before heading off to bed, Clifford trotting after Louise. Harry continued to try and think of a way to tell her family that she was gay without actually having to say the words.

If only she had a girlfriend, she thought as she was laying in bed, trying to get to sleep - except - that would be perfect. If she had a girlfriend, she wouldn’t need to say anything at all, just introduce the girlfriend to the family; they would never dare say anything in front of Harry’s partner. But who could she get to be her girlfriend on such short notice?

Harry bolted out of bed and threw her door open, doing the same to Louise’s as she jumped into her best friend’s bed. Louise, who had been mostly asleep, startled awake with a cry and Clifford with a growl.

“Lou!” Harry said excitedly, trying not to bounce where she had landed, half straddling Louise with her thigh in between the other girl’s. “I know how to come out to my family!”

“That’s great love, why did you have to tell me at...midnight?” Louise grumbled at Harry, looking up at her.

“Because I need your help,” Harry bit her lip a little nervously. She wasn’t sure if Louise would agree. “If I just bring my girlfriend with me, then I won’t actually have to come out.”

“You got a girlfriend without telling me, H? I’m devastated.” Louise tried to roll over but was stopped by Harry’s leg, shooting her a glare for it.

“Of course I haven’t. Which is where you come in. I need you to pretend to be my girlfriend for the weekend,” Harry said quickly, clasping her hands in front of her with a pleading look.

“You want me to come with you to your family holiday and pretend to be your girlfriend?” Louise asked incredulously. “You’ve told them about me. They know who I am.”

“And we’ll just say that it led to us realizing our feelings for each other,” Harry said easily. “Please Lou, this is the only way I can think to come out to them without giving myself an option to back out.” Louise sighed dramatically.

“If you fuck off and let me sleep, then yeah, I’ll be your fake girlfriend,” she said and pushed Harry off the bed, rolling onto her stomach. “Now get out.”

“Oh Lou, thank you so much! I’ll bake your favorite cookies tomorrow! And cake! And brownies! Whatever you want!” Harry said and pushed herself off the floor. “Goodnight! I love you! Thank you for doing this!” She hurried out of Louise’s room after that, before she could throw something at Harry.

Finally, she was going to come out.

***
Over the next two weeks, Harry and Louise worked out a story to tell her family and they decided that sticking closest to the truth was the best solution. They agreed to say that they had been dating for four months, having gotten together after kissing while drinking one night after being friends for years. It was simple and easy to remember.

“I can bring Clifford, right? If I can’t then you’re paying for his boarding,” Louise asked a few nights before they left as she was stirring the pasta sauce on the stovetop.

“Yeah, it’s pet friendly, you can bring him,” Harry said as she rolled her eyes. She knew how much that dog meant to Louise and to be honest, meant to her too. She had gone with Louise to adopt him and took care of him just as much as his actual owner did. She took him on walks every other day, fed him, played with him, and usually went to the vet with Louise when he had to go.

“Good,” Louise said. “Now come grab the plates and shit, dinner is almost ready.” Harry did as told and once they were sitting down to eat, Clifford eating his own dinner, Louise brought up their trip once more.

“So what do I need to pack?” she asked.

“Pack? Lou, we’re leaving the day after tomorrow, you haven’t packed yet?” Harry gasped and rolled her eyes. “After this, we’re going to get you packed.”

“Sorry babe, you know I’m awful at this kind of stuff.” Louise did sound apologetic.

 

“It’s fine, Lou. I know what kind of clothes you’ll need anyway,” Harry said, rolling her eyes, though she couldn’t help but be a little bit endeared by Louise’s complete inability to plan for anything outside of her job. The rest of dinner went peacefully, Clifford going to lay in his oversized bed rather than beg them for food once he finished. Harry took over the washing up while Louise put away the leftovers.

“Now let’s go. I’m gonna grab my bag. I’ve still got loads of room and it’ll look better if we share one,” Harry said and ducked into her own room to grab her duffle. She dropped it onto Louise’s bed and then opened her wardrobe. She noticed Clifford followed the two of them in, jumping onto Louise’s bed. “We won’t be going out anywhere so you don’t need anything fancy. Just some comfy clothes and clothes you could hike in, stuff like that.” Despite telling Louise what to pack, she went through Louise’s drawers to pull out pants, socks, and bras and packed them in her bag, as well as everything else she would need. “You’ll need to pack your toiletries but you won’t really be able to do that until the morning of.”

“Thank you for helping Haz, I don’t know what I would do without you,” Louise said and moved off her bed to hug Harry tightly. “I’ll be the absolute best fake girlfriend you’ve ever had.”

“I’ve never had a fake girlfriend before, so by that same logic, you’ll also be the worst fake girlfriend I’ve ever had,” Harry laughed loudly, her annoying honk laugh as Louise gasped and immediately began tickling her ribs.

“You take that back right now!” Louise insisted, digging her fingers in.

“Never! Clifford, help me!” Harry called at the dog lounging on the bed, lazily looking at her with only one eye open. Harry scoffed at his lack of reaction.

“He would never betray me,” Louise laughed and stopped tickling Harry, wrapping her arms around her waist instead.

“I don’t think it’s because he doesn’t want to betray you.” Harry pulled away from Louise and picked up her duffle, taking it to the living room to set it by the door. “You wanna watch a movie?”

“Yes please, can we watch in my room? I’m gonna get ready for bed,” Louise asked, pulling out some pajamas from her drawers.

“Course Lou, I’ll get ready too, and then we can cuddle and watch in bed,” Harry said with a smile. She headed to the bathroom first so she could wash her face while Louise changed and then they switched so she could go change. While Louise wore old joggers and shirts as pajamas, Harry preferred cute, silky sets, and that’s what she chose for the night. She met Louise in her room and climbed onto her bed, settling in next to Clifford. Louise joined them shortly after.

“What movie?” she asked as she grabbed her laptop and opened Netflix.

“Whatever is fine, Lou.” Harry waited until Louise sat back against the headboard before moving closer to cuddle into her side, head on Louise’s shoulder. The laptop rested on their legs, one of the Marvel movies playing. Harry rolled her eyes a little. She didn’t care for any superhero movie - besides Wonder Woman of course - but Louise loved them, so she kept her mouth shut.

Harry laid her head on Louise’s shoulder as the actual movie started playing, but within fifteen minutes, she had fallen asleep against the other girl.

***
“So this is where we’re spending the next four days then?” Louise asked as they pulled up to the cabin. It was completely surrounded by trees and they had driven on gravel roads for at least ten minutes before finally arriving.

“Yes, it is,” Harry said brightly. She always loved these annual weekends, spending days hiking or fishing and nights playing board games and drinking wine, all while spending time with her family. And now she got to share that with Louise.

“It’s cute. Quaint,” Louise said as she climbed out of the car. “It’ll be nice to spend some time out here rather than in the city.” She opened up the back door to let Clifford out, the dog immediately running over to the grass. Harry laughed as she opened up the boot and tugged out their duffle.

“Come on, mum and Robin are already here,” Harry said and walked around to stand with Louise, taking her hand with a deep breath.

“You sure you’re ready?” Louise asked quietly. “We don’t have to tell them we’re dating.”

“No, I can do it. I want to do it,” Harry smiled a little. Louise whistled for Clifford as they opened the front door. It opened into the kitchen and living room, Anne and Robin sitting on the sofa.

“Harry!” Anne stood and hugged her daughter tight. “I haven’t seen you in so long!”

“I missed you too,” Harry laughed, letting go of Louise’s hand to hold her mum. “Sorry, it’s been so long.”

“Just remember to call more often, yeah?” Anne finally pulled back and glanced over at the other woman. “Louise, I didn’t know you would be coming.”

“Kind of last-minute decision really,” Harry said before Louise could reply. “I wanted you guys to meet my girlfriend.”

“We’ve already met her, love,” Anne said and moved in to hug Louise. “But it’s nice to meet you with a new title. How long have you been together?” Louise glanced over at Harry, but the other girl seemed a bit awestruck.

“Not long, only a few months. Wanted to make sure it would stick before we told anyone,” Louise lied easily and moved over to hug Robin. “When will Gemma be here?”

“She texted me about half an hour ago that they were about 45 minutes away, so very soon. Why don’t you two go get settled in your room and Robin and I will start on dinner?” Anne suggested.

“That sounds wonderful. Babe, got your bag?” Louise turned to ask Harry, startling her slightly.

“Yeah, yeah, I got it,” Harry stammered as she followed Louise back into the hallway and into their bedroom. It was a cozy room, full of warm colors and even a small balcony looking out onto the forest.

“This is a quaint little place,” Louise commented as she dropped her bag on the floor. Clifford had followed them in and jumped onto the bed. Louise closed the door quietly and then looked at Harry. “How are you feeling?”

“They didn’t care,” Harry said, eyes wide and mouth hanging open. “Not one bit.”

“Isn’t that a good thing?” Louise prompted and reached forward, taking one of Harry’s hands in hers. “They support you. It’s not a big deal that you’re into women and not men.”

“It is, I’m glad they support me. I was just expecting...more,” Harry shrugged and looked over at Louise. “Even just an acknowledgment?” Louise pulled her into a hug, holding her tight.

“Don’t worry, we’ve still got Gemma and her fiance,” Louise said with a laugh. “Now, let’s get unpacked so we can go eat because I am starving.” Harry nodded and they quickly got unpacked and joined Anne and Robin out in the main room, Clifford dutifully following them.

They weren’t out there for long when Gemma and her fiance, Michael, arrived. After greetings and hugs, Gemma looked at Louise with narrowed eyes. “We didn’t know you’d be coming this year,” she said.

“Yeah well, since Lou and I started dating, we figured it would be appropriate,” Harry cut in but before she could continue, Gemma had turned to Robin.

“You owe me twenty quid,” she said and held her hand out.

“What?” Harry asked, very confused. “What do you mean he owes you? What does he owe you for?”

“I bet that you and Louise would get together before Christmas. He said after your next birthday,” Gemma said with a smug smirk. Robin rolled his eyes as he pulled out his wallet and handed the note over to Gemma.

“You bet on when we would get together?” Harry asked, obviously surprised.

“Duh, all you ever talk about is Louise,” Gemma said. “Louise this and Louise that and did you know this about Louise? Have I told you this about Louise? It’s disgustingly adorable.”

“I didn’t know you talked about me that much, babe,” Louise said and wrapped an arm around Harry’s waist from behind. “It’s a little embarrassing.”

“Oh shut up.” Harry flushed a bright pink. “Do you need any help with the food, mum?” With the subject change, the six of them sat down to eat around the large dining table, catching up on each other’s lives. After supper, they broke out the Scrabble board and the wine.

Louise knew that Harry could be competitive, especially when it came to board games, but she had no idea how deep it ran.

“That is absolutely not a word!” Gemma shouted, glaring at Harry across the table. “There is no way that is a real word!”

“Then look it up if you want! I don’t cheat at scrabble, Gemma,” Harry sneered back, crossing her arms as she sat back against her chair.

“I didn’t cheat at scrabble, I have never cheated at scrabble!” Gemma argued. “You’re just sulking because I won!” Louise stood up at that point, grabbed her and Harry’s empty glasses, and took them to the kitchen. She filled them both up and took a sip of hers as Anne joined her.

“They do this every time,” she told Louise. “And they have since they were little.”

“I mean, I’ve seen her get competitive, but never like this. It’s quite cute, actually,” Louise admitted. She loved watching Harry when she was passionate about something, even when that something was beating her older sister at scrabble.

 

“I’m glad you think so, because after twenty years of it, it has lost its charm to me,” Anne said with a smile.

“Well then, I’ve still got another fifteen or so years,” Louise said and grabbed Harry’s now full glass and joined her at the table again. They kept going for another hour before Anne called it a night, Harry coming out victorious with a ten-point lead over Gemma.

“Babe, we still have to take Cliff out,” Louise interrupted Harry’s gloating.

“Course,” Harry said and whistled for Clifford. They went onto the back porch, sitting on the porch swing as Clifford ran out into the grass. “How do you think it went?”

“Coming out?” Louise asked, laying her head on Harry’s shoulder. Their bodies were pressed against each other where they sat, Harry using her foot to gently push the swing. “I think it went amazing, H. They seemed like they already knew, or had a clue anyway.”

“They did. Gems and Robin even bet on it. Well, on us.” Harry couldn’t help the blush that spread over her cheeks.

“Do you really talk about me that much?” Louise asked teasingly, reaching up to tug lightly at a stray curl that fell from Harry’s bun.

“I mean, you are my best friend and roommate. We do everything together so whenever I talk about what I’m doing, you’re always there too,” Harry said, dismissing the thought that there was anything weird or out of the ordinary about how much time they spent together.

“I talk about you to my mum and sisters all the time too,” Louise said. “And the fact that they thought we were already together only works in our favor.”

“You’re right,” Harry admitted. “Though I hate to say it.”

“You hate not being right. And also losing, apparently. I’ve never seen you so...savage while playing scrabble before, babe,” Louise said. “A bit surprising to see, actually.” Harry groaned and buried her face in Louise’s hair.

“I only get that bad around Gems, really. I don’t know what it is about her. Sorry you had to see me like that,” Harry apologized.

“Don’t worry about it. It was pretty funny actually,” Louise laughed as she remembered all the insults that the sisters had hurled at each other over the course of the game. Clifford ran back up on the porch then, so Harry and Louise headed inside and to their bedroom. They were able to get ready for bed next to each other in the bathroom thanks to the double vanity, and Louise couldn’t resist making faces at Harry in the mirror to get her to laugh.

“S-Stop, you’re gonna make me choke on my face wash or something,” Harry giggled uncontrollably. “We need a bigger bathroom. Not having to wait for you would be heaven.”

“Oh whatever,” Louise finished her own nighttime routine and went back to the bedroom and changed quickly, climbing into bed and under the covers. Clifford was already laying at the foot of the bed, rolled onto his back with his legs in the air. Louise settled back against the pillows, checking her phone and replying to a few texts as she waited for Harry. Once the other girl was in bed, Louise set her phone down and held her arms open.

“Thanks,” Harry said as she tucked herself into Louise’s hold. She almost always preferred to be the little spoon while they cuddled. “And thank you. For doing this for me.”

“You’re my best friend, H,” Louise said quietly. “I would do anything for you.”

“You know I would do the same for you, yeah?” Harry asked, looking up at Louise.

“Yeah, I know babe,” Louise smiled and nuzzled their foreheads together. “Now, get some sleep. I’m sure that we’ll be doing lots tomorrow and you’ll need your energy.”

“Kay. Goodnight, Lou,” Harry muttered and closed her eyes, tucking herself as close to Louise as she could as she fell asleep.

***
The next morning, they all decided that a long walk would be a good way to start their weekend and, only about ten minutes in, Louise was regretting that decision.

“I’m getting eaten alive,” she whined, only Harry glancing back at her.

“I told you to wear jeans Lou, not shorts,” Harry said and stopped, sliding her backpack off her shoulder. She pulled out a can of bug spray and moved closer, bending down to spray it all over Louise’s legs. “Turn around,” she ordered, making sure to get the back of her legs too. “That should help. Though if you just listened to me, you wouldn’t need the bug spray.”

“Yeah, whatever,” Louise rolled her eyes. “You had it anyway. Now come on, we have to catch up to the others.” She waited for the other girl to put her backpack over her shoulder before grabbing her hand to pull her along the trail.

“I always forget how pretty it is out here,” Harry said quietly. “I think I’d want to get married somewhere like this. Out in nature.”

“Yeah? I think that fits you. You’d look like a fairy or something,” Louise said. “All magical and shit.”

“I’d like that,” Harry smiled at the thought. “What about you? Where do you want to get married?”

“I don’t know for sure. I haven’t really thought about it too much. I haven’t had a serious enough relationship to even consider it since before I met you,” Louise said, stopping as they reached the edge of a clearing filled with bright and colorful wildflowers. “Although, if it were this pretty, I definitely wouldn’t mind getting married someplace like this.”

“I haven’t either,” Harry said in response, confusing Louise.

“What do you mean?”

“I haven’t had a serious relationship since I met you. It’s always just been flings. Think the longest one lasted six months,” Harry said thoughtfully. “It was Emma. She was cute and smart but….I don't know. That was kind of it.”

“Mine was Lucy. Dated her for four months before she broke up with me. Said she couldn’t be with someone who was committed to someone else, but I really had no clue what she meant,” Louise shared. That had been a theme, actually, for reasons her past girlfriends had broken up with her.

“She doesn’t know what she’s missing,” Harry said as she squeezed Louise’s hand.

 

***
After they returned to the cabin, they all shared a simple lunch of sandwiches and chips, then agreed to a lie down before going swimming in the afternoon sun. Harry, Louise and Clifford retreated to their bedroom, Louise dropping onto the mattress with a sigh.

“How am I so tired?” she groaned. “We barely even did anything.”

“That’s not true. We walked for hours this morning, Lou,” Harry said as she joined her on the bed. “Come on, get up here so we can nap together. And then we’ll go swimming.” Louise pouted and complained under her breath as she crawled up to actually lay next to Harry, but as soon as she was pulled into the other girl's arms, her protests died off.

“Swimming in a lake?” Louise asked as she settled against Harry.

“Yeah, in a lake. Where else would we swim?” Louise grumbled at Harry’s laugh.

“Fine. But you’re washing my hair from all the lake water.”

“No problem,” Harry answered, and Louise thought she sounded a bit strained. “Now, go to sleep or you won’t get any before we go swimming.”

“Then you should stop distracting me by talking,” Louise poked Harry in her ribs before closing her eyes, drifting off to Harry’s calming scent and steady breaths.
***
Harry was already awake and dressed by the time she shook Louise and ordered her to get up and change into her swimsuit. She then left the room, letting Louise have her privacy - which was a little ridiculous. They had been roommates for five years, they had seen and heard everything.

Nonetheless, Louise got changed - a simple black one piece with a low back - and then threw a light blue dress on top and slipped on her sandals. “Come on, Cliff, time to go swimming.” She and Clifford headed out to the main room, everyone else there and waiting.

“Ready?” Harry asked, greeting her with a soft kiss to her cheek. Louise just nodded and let Harry take her hand as they followed her family down the short path to the lake. As soon as the water was in sight, Clifford sprinted and jumped into, jumping around happily. Louise giggled at the sight - she loved her big, goofy dog. “I grabbed you a towel, Lou, and you need to put on sun cream.”

“Do I have to?” Louise asked with an exaggerated pout.

“Yes, because I don’t want to hear you whining all night because you’re sunburnt.” Harry passed her the bottle of sunscreen. Louise pulled her dress over her head before she obediently rubbed the sunscreen in all over her skin.

 

“Need you to do my back,” she told Harry and dropped the bottle in her lap. She sat down in front of Harry on her towel and gathered her hair up in a bun, yanking an elastic around it.

“You could say please, you, know,” Harry said, but she squirted some sunscreen into her hand and began massaging it into Louise’s back. Louise bit her lip to stop herself from letting out any embarrassing noises, sinking back into Harry’s hands.

“Please and thank you,” Louise sassed, closing her eyes. Harry’s hands were warm, and she could feel her fingers push under the edges of her swimsuit, nails scratching ever so lightly.

“You’re welcome,” Harry said as she pulled back. “Now, you have to do me.” Louise turned around just in time to watch as Harry dropped her coverup into the open tote bag.

Shit.

Harry had bought a new suit for the trip, it seemed, as this was not the red one piece she was used to seeing her best friend in. Instead, she was wearing a vintage looking bikini, with a navy and white polka dot bottom that covered up to her navel, and a bright yellow halter top that made her tits look absolutely fantastic - not that Louise cared. Of course she knew that Harry’s boobs were a thing of beauty, but it was nothing but admiration. They were best friends. Nothing more.

“Turn around then, we don’t have all afternoon,” Louise forced out. Harry turned on her knees, her hair already pulled up and clipped to the top of her head. Louise squeezed some sunscreen into her hand and rubbed it between them to warm it before placing her palms on each of Harry’s shoulders, spreading it around and rubbing it in.

“Thanks, babe,” Harry said once Louise announced she was finished. “Gonna come swim with me?”

“Not yet. For now, I just want to lay in the sun and not think,” Louise said with a smile, bidding Harry goodbye as she ran into the water to join Clifford. Instead of laying down, Louise watched her two best friends play together, Harry throwing a stick that Clifford had managed to find.

She could watch that for the rest of her life.

***
It was late, far too late to actually cook anything for dinner, so Anne made the executive decision to pop a few frozen appetizers in the fridge while they all cleaned up. Louise marched into their room, dragging Harry with her as she went straight to the bathroom.

“You’re washing my hair,” Louise demanded and turned the showerhead on. She tugged her dress off, leaving her in just her swimsuit, and stepped under the water, letting it soak into her hair. “Come on then, we don’t have all night.”

“Fine, fine.” The shower was definitely bigger than theirs at home, but it was still a squeeze to fit them both. Louise turned, handing Harry her shampoo bottle.

Harry didn’t waste any time, Louise thought, as her hands were in Louise’s hair within a minute, lathering the shampoo through her roots. Louise’s breath hitched as all other thoughts left her mind barring the feel of Harry’s hands on her and the heat between their close bodies. Louise let herself get lost in the feeling and didn’t even realize that Harry had finished until she cleared her throat. Louise opened her eyes and glanced back at Harry, smiling softly. “Thanks, H.”

“Any time.” Harry’s voice was just as quiet as hers. “Now go, I gotta wash mine.” Louise nodded dumbly and stepped out of the shower. She dried off as quickly as she could and then headed into the bedroom to change into her pajamas, only then realizing that the wetness between her legs wasn’t from the shower.

Fuck.

***
The second day of their weekend retreat, Robin wanted to go fishing, so they were all up at the crack of dawn and trudging to the lake. No one but Robin was truly awake, all of them clutching travel mugs of coffee or tea. It didn't take them long to get set up on the dock, lines cast in the water and sitting on the dock itself or in camping chairs.

Harry set herself up by her mum, Louise sitting with Robin, as she had never gone fishing before so he was explaining all the nuances to her. Despite the fact that Harry was sure it was incredibly boring and Robin was getting off track talking about different fish he’d caught over the years, Louise was listening intently and nodding along.

“Can I ask you a question, mum?” Harry spoke softly, not wanting the others to hear.

“Of course you can, love,” Anne said before taking a sip of her tea.

“Why did you keep asking me if I had a boyfriend if you thought I was with Lou?” Anne looked a bit surprised at the question, and took a long moment before answering.

“I don’t know much about the...LGBT community, but from what I’ve seen in movies and such, coming out is always a big deal. I didn’t want to take that away from you,” Anne finally answered. “I don’t know if that was the right thing to do, but I didn’t want to force you to tell me something before you were ready.”

“So you’ve known? That I’m a lesbian, I mean?” Harry fought to keep her voice steady, though she could feel tears form in her eyes and her throat felt thick.

“Not for sure,” Anne said. “But there were signs, when you were growing up, before you knew you should hide it. You would tell me that you wanted to marry a princess and live in a castle together. You loved Belle the most. It was just small things like that, that made me question it. But then you went to school and realized that you were supposed to like boys and I guess I just forgot. Until you started talking about your new roommate.” Harry was properly crying now, face red and blotchy.

“Uh, what about how I talked about Louise made you think we were together?” Harry asked next. She truly didn’t understand it. She loved Louise, of course she did, they were best friends, but she didn’t talk about her any differently then she would her other friends.

“Well, you spoke about her so often. Every time we talked you had something new to say about her. What food she made you try, what movie you watched, just little things. And the way you spoke about her. You always sounded, and you still do, happier when you were talking about Louise. Just...brighter. You rambled on and on about her. And when we FaceTimed or talked in person about her, your entire face just lit up,” Anne smiled at her daughter. “It was everything I wished for you, to be that happy. How could I ever care that you found that with a woman rather than a man?”

Harry flung herself over to Anne, hugging her tight. “I love you so much,” she whispered. Anne cooed and hugged Harry back just as tight.

“I love you too.” They stayed in their embrace for a few moments longer before Harry finally sat back in her chair. “Harry, I am truly grateful that you found someone that you love like you do Louise. And that she loves you back.” Harry glanced over at the girl in question, where she was now laughing with Robin as they fished together.

“I am too, mum,” Harry whispered, feeling her heart clench in her chest. “I am too.”

***
After fishing and a late lunch, they all decided to do their own thing, so while Anne and Robin stayed at the cabin, and Gemma and Michael went for a swim, Louise and Harry chose to take another long walk with Clifford, in order to get him to run himself tired.

“So, what did you and Anne talk about?” Louise asked once they were a safe distance from the cabin.

“Oh,” Harry started. “I asked her how she knew, how they all knew, that we were together.”

“Yeah? How did that end with you crying?” Louise teased, nudging their shoulders together.

“She just said some really sweet stuff about how she couldn’t care if the person I was with was a man or a woman if they made me as happy as you make me,” Harry said, glancing over at Louise nervously.

“Oh,” Louise said simply.

“You do, you know?” Harry tugged at Louise’s hand. “Make me happy.”

“You make me happy too,” Louise’s voice was barely above a whisper. “Think it’s why neither of us have really, you know, dated since we met. Why Lucy told me she couldn’t date me cause I was committed to someone else. She had to be talking about you.” Harry’s eyes widened as she listened to Louise, worrying her bottom lip between her teeth.

“What do you think she meant by that? Committed, I mean?” Harry asked. Louise turned to watch Clifford as he ran through the woods in front of them.

“I think she meant that I would do anything for you. Anything to see you smile,” Louise replied. “I canceled multiple dates because you needed something. I even stood her up once. I feel bad for it, I still do, but I’ve been thinking about it and she was right. There would be no way for us to work because of the way I treated you.”

“Think that’s why Emma and I didn’t work out either,” Harry said, taking a deep breath. “I never told you, but when we broke up, she said that I was never going to be happy in a relationship until I got over you.”

“What?” Louise practically cracked her neck with how fast she turned to look at Harry.

“I thought she was seeing things that weren’t there, or she was just looking for an excuse to break up with me, but I think they were right. I think my family is right. I’m pretty sure that we’ve been dating for years without the sex.”

“That’s ridiculous, Harry, of course we haven’t,” Louise protested, voice slightly panicked.

“Is it, though? We sleep together all the time, we practically own a dog together, you just admitted that you put my needs before the girl you were actually dating. You make me happier than any other person I’ve ever met. You do things for me that have no benefit for you. You make me food that you won’t eat, buy me little gifts because you think I’ll like them and I do! I love and treasure every single one because you gave it to me,” Harry stopped them in their tracks and turned her entire body to face Louise, forcing the other girl to do the same. “Why did you agree to do this? This whole fake girlfriend thing?”

“Because you asked and you’re my best friend,” Louise said stubbornly. “Because I love you and I want to see you happy and I knew that coming out to your family would make you happy.”

“Yes, but you could have just encouraged me to tell them. You took off work, you concocted an entire fake relationship just to help me,” Harry took a step closer. “Because you want me to be happy.”

“I always want you to be happy,” Louise mumbled and though she looked scared, she stood her ground.

“And what if kissing you will make me happy?” Harry’s voice almost wasn’t audible. Louise looked like she was going to say something but changed her mind just before she tugged Harry closer, their lips meeting for the first time.

Harry had had her fair share of first kisses and most of them were nice, better than nice, even. At least they had been at the time, but here, now, kissing Louise? They all paled in comparison.

Louise kissed passionately, a little rough and a little messy. It was by no means a perfect kiss, their noses kept bumping each other, and their teeth clacked together more times than Harry would want to admit - but it was perfect.

Harry wrapped her arms around Louise’s waist, Louise’s arms going around her neck, both pulling each other further into the other’s body, as if they would disappear if they let go. When the need for oxygen became too much, Harry finally pulled back just enough to catch her breath, her head resting against Louise’s. They were both silent until -

“Wow,” Louise muttered. Harry burst out in a fit of giggles.

“Was it really that good?”

“Are you saying it wasn’t that good for you?” Louise asked, squeezing Harry’s hand.

“No, no, it was...the best first kiss,” Harry said, closing her eyes. “I might even want to do it again. Maybe a lot of times.”

“I think I would too. But maybe not in the middle of the forest?” Louise suggested. “We do have a bedroom in the cabin, with a nice big bed.”

“What kind of girl do you take me for?” Harry gasped with a smile.

“The kind that will let me do whatever I want to her,” Louise licked her lips, leaning in to kiss Harry again. Harry hummed into it, eyes fluttering shut. They stayed locked together until Clifford barked at them. Louise pulled back first this time, letting go of Harry completely as she squatted down to scratch Clifford’s ears. “What’s wrong, boy? Do you just want some attention?” Clifford wagged his tail furiously. Harry joined Louise in petting him, laughing as he moved forward to lick over her cheek.

 

“Cliff!” Harry huffed and pushed him away gently. “Are you just so happy your mums finally got their shit together?”

“His mums?” Louise asked, raising her eyebrows.

“What? Now that we’re officially together, you didn’t think that I wouldn’t claim Clifford?” Harry asked with a grin as she stood back up, helping Louise do the same.

“Officially together?” Louise said, smiling softly.

“Yeah, officially together,” Harry nodded and took Louise’s hand, lacing their fingers together. “Come on, let’s finish our walk.” Louise agreed and they set off on the path again, Clifford bounding around them happily.

***
The rest of the night and the next morning were the happiest days of Louise’s life. She was finally able to kiss Harry whenever she had the chance, which wasn’t even something she had known she wanted. They spent hours the night before just kissing, laying in bed and clinging to each other as they made out, never going further than some over the clothes fondling - they both agreed having sex for the first time in a cabin with all of Harry’s family around them was a bit much.

Harry’s family - if they noticed a change in the girls’ demeanor - didn’t say anything. Or perhaps there was no change to notice, because Harry and Louise had been dating for years without actually realizing it.

They were all packing their things to get ready to leave after lunch. Louise was in charge of their bag while Harry helped Anne in the kitchen. Louise tried her best to fold all of Harry’s clothes the way she liked, but she wasn’t nearly as good as her girlfriend - and if Louise didn’t feel giddy just thinking that. That Harry was her girlfriend.

Just as she finished, Harry came up behind her, wrapping her long arms around her waist. “Lunch is ready,” she whispered in Louise’s ear.

“Then you better let me go,” Louise whispered back, turning in Harry’s embrace to face her.

“And what if I don’t want to do that? I quite like having you in my possession,” Harry said with a smile.

“And I like having you in mine, but I’m hungry and it’s a long drive home,” Louise leaned up to give Harry what she meant to be a brief peck but they ended up kissing until Gemma had to shout for them.

“Let’s go then,” Harry said and stepped back, holding Louise’s hand as they made their way to the kitchen. Louise followed easily, thinking rather cheesily to herself, that she would follow Harry anywhere.

***
Less than a year later, they married in the exact flower meadow where they confessed their feelings. Louise wore a beautiful satin gown and Harry a flowing lace dress that did make her look like a fairy. With twinkling lights overhead, their family surrounding them, and the background sound of the woods as they said their vows and promised themselves to each other, there was no way to describe the night as anything but magical.