Everything for the big Christmas dinner was set. Brian had brought in a Christmas tree earlier, and it was set up and decorated in the front right corner of the living room. We were all dressed up, awaiting the arrival for our family. I was wearing a simple black dress that ended a couple of inches above my knees, nude heels, gold antler cuff bracelet, and ruby earrings. I had on red lipstick with a bit of blush and black smokey eyeshadow with eyeliner and mascara, and my long hair was perfectly straightened.
Mum had made so many dishes of different types of food. Ranging from chicken to beef to pasta to salad. She’s an amazing cook, and everyone loves her food, so we can never get enough. Riley, who is wearing a cute little red dress, is sitting in the middle of the living room floor as she watches Dora the Explorer on TV. She has started crawling now, so we have to keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn’t hurt herself. I have my white iPhone clutched in my hand as I watch Riley giggle as she watches TV, bringing a smile on to my face.
The doorbell suddenly rings, and my mum lets out a shriek. “They’re early!” she cries.
I laugh. “Calm down, Mum,” I say. “It’s only Harry.”
She lets out a breath before nodding and walking back into the kitchen. With my heels clicking on the hardwood floor, I walk over to the door and open it. Harry stood on my porch, wearing khaki pants with a brown belt, a red button up shirt with a black tux type jacket over it. I grin as I see him, letting him inside the house. “Hey, love,” he smiles, kissing my cheek as he walks in.
I smile. “Hey,” I say. “Good to know you didn’t bail on me.”
Harry chuckles. “I’m hurt that you’d think I would,” he says as we walk into the living room. He sees Riley and a wide grin appears on his face, scooping her up while she giggles uncontrollably. “Here’s my princess!”
Riley giggles as she looks at Harry, causing me to smile. Just then, Brian walks in, and smiles when he sees Harry. “Harry, my boy,” he says. “Glad to see you made it.”
Harry grins. “It was my pleasure coming, Brian,” he says, putting Riley back down on the floor.
A few minutes later, the doorbell rings and Mum runs out of the kitchen. She’s dressed in a full sleeved red V neck shirt with jeans and heels. For a woman who had a baby about two months ago, she definitely has her body back. “They’re here!” she says, going over to the door.
Brian and I roll our eyes at Mum while Harry chuckles. Mum opens the door, and then a crowd of people come in. First in sight is Mum’s older brother Jerome with his wife Emily, along with their nineteen year old daughter Cassidy. Then there’s Mum’s younger sister Jasmine with her husband Tom and eighteen year old son Luke. Trailing behind them are my mum’s parents who I call Pops and Mams.
After them come in Brian’s younger brother Cody along with his wife Leslie and two daughters. One is sixteen year old Alice and fourteen year old Melanie. Then came in Brian’s other younger brother Aaron with his wife Tracy and nineteen year old son Eric and seventeen year old daughter Emma. Lastly came in Brian’s parents, whom I call Gramps and Grams.
I smile as I see my entire family walk in through the door, each of them grinning widely. My grandparents, all four of them, were lively people. Even though each of them were in their late eighties, they all were loud and talkative, and hated just sitting around. Overall, they were all active.
My cousins were all good looking as well. They all had either blue eyes from Brian’s side of the family, or brown eyes from Mum’s side. They all got into the living room and when they saw me, they grinned. “Carly!” Cassidy exclaims, running over and wrapping me in a hug. “It’s good to see you again, girl!”
“You too, Cass!” I laugh, hugging her back. Cassidy and I were super close, she was like my sister. We haven’t seen each other in such a long time, so it’s good to be reunited with her once again.
“Oh my God!” Alice and Melanie gasp, wide eyed. “It’s Harry Styles!”
Everyone’s eyes land on Harry, who looks a tad bit nervous. Alice and Melanie freak out, and I grab Harry’s hand. I feel his tense figure relax at the touch of our hands, and I pull him forward. “Everyone, this is Harry, my boyfriend,” I smile. “Harry, this is everyone.”
“Hello,” Harry smiles, charming dimples in view.
Luke steps forward, raising his eyebrows questioningly at Harry. “Favorite football team?” he asks him.
“Manchester United, definitely,” Harry smirks.
A smirk forms on Luke’s own face. “I like this guy,” he nods approvingly.
I roll my eyes at my cousin. “Good to know, Luke,” I say.
He smiles at me, pulling me in for a hug. “Good to see you again, Carls.”
I laugh, hugging him back. Once we pull away, Brian scoops up Riley in his arms. “Everyone,” he says, “I’d like you to meet Riley McKinley, the newest edition to our family.”
Everyone looks at Riley, their eyes wide and smiles on their faces. This is the first time they all are seeing Riley, and by the looks of it, Riley loves being the center of attention. Everyone oogles over her, saying how adorable she is, as Pops and Mams walk over to Harry and I. “You treating my granddaughter well, right son?” Pops asks Harry.
Harry nods, smiling slightly. “Yes, sir.”
A smile creeps on Pops’s lips. “Call me Pops,” he says, patting Harry’s back before walking away with Mams.
I grin, turning to face Harry. “That’s most definitely a good sign,” I say.
Harry lets out a breath. “I feel like I’m going to be eaten alive,” he says quietly.
I chuckle at him, kissing the tip of his nose delicately. “You’re gonna be fine,” I assure him. “The only thing you need to worry about is Alice and Melanie – they love One Direction.”
Harry pulls me close, his curls tickling my forehead. “You owe me, babe,” he whispers, his minty breath hitting my lips.
I smirk slightly. “I know,” I whiper, kissing his soft lips.
“If you two are gonna do nothing but make out, I’m gonna throw up before dinner,” a voice interrupts us. Harry and I turn our heads to see Eric making a disgusted face at us.
“Hello to you too, Eric,” I roll my eyes at my cousin. “Harry, this is my cousin, Eric.”
“Nice to meet you, mate,” Harry nods, smiling.
Eric grins back. “You too,” he says, blue eyes sparkling.
Just then, Eric’s sister Emma walks up to us. “Hey, guys,” she smiles.
“Hey, Em,” I smile back.
Emma grins at me and then at Harry. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Harry,” she says. “I would see pictures of you with my cousin everywhere I go, but it’s nice to officially meet you.”
Harry chuckles. “Nice to meet you too, Emma.”
Everyone then had moved into the living room, where there was more than enough space to fit all of us. The adults and grandparents took the couches and chairs, while us teenagers just sat on the floor. Harry and I sat along with Cassidy, Emma, Eric, and Luke, with Alice and Melanie. Riley was Aunt Emily, giggling in her lap as the women cooed over the baby.
“I’m gonna go check on dinner,” Mum says, standing up. “It should be out in about five minutes.”
“We’ll help,” Aunt Jasmine says as she and Aunt Tracy stand up and follow Mum into the kitchen.
“So, Harry,” Uncle Tom suddenly says, causing us all to look at him. “You’re a singer too, right?”
Harry nods. “Yes, I am,” he says.
“Is that how you met Carly?” Gramps asks. “Through one of your meetings or somethin’?”
Harry nods. “We actually bumped into each other on the set for a photo shoot,” he smiles.
“How long have you two been together?” Luke asks.
I cock my head to the side, thinking a bit. “About eleven months,” I say with a smile.
Cassidy lets out an impressed whistle. “Just remember this, Styles,” she says, putting a hand on Harry’s shoulder. Flicking a strand of blonde hair from her eyes, Cassidy says, “Break my Carly’s heart and I’ll break you, got it?”
Harry, who seems very frightened at the moment, nods as I roll my eyes. I glare at Cassidy playfully and smile at Harry. “Don’t worry, Cassidy wouldn’t hurt a fly,” I assure him.
“Excuse me!” she gasps. “I know taekwondo!”
Uncle Jerome snorts. “Yeah, if it means kicking a guy in the balls, you do.”
Everyone laughs as Cassidy pouts. “Dad!” she exclaims.
Our laughter was interrupted when Mum poked her head out the kitchen door. “Dinner’s ready, everyone!”
We all cheered as we stood up and walked through the kitchen and into the grand dining room. All of our eyes widened as we took in the sight of all of the food set out on the large table. There was chicken, rice, mashed potatoes, lasagna, a bowl of crisps, creamed spinach, and all of these other delicious looking food items. On the side were a few bottles of Champaign for the adults and soda for the teenagers. We all took our seats then at the large dining table.
Mum and Brian were at the heads of the table, while I sat next to Brian’s side. Next to me was Harry, followed by Eric, Aunt Tracy, Uncle Aaron, Uncle Tom, Grams, Gramps, Aunt Jasmine, and Emma. Across from me was Uncle Jerome, then Aunt Emily, Cassidy, Pops, Mams, Uncle Cody, Aunt Leslie, Melanie, Alice, and Luke. But before we all dig into the food, it’s a tradition that we thank God. We all join hands, with my right hand holding on to Brian’s and left hand holding on to Harry’s. It was kind of awkward for Harry, since his other hand had to hold Eric’s, but the two of them sucked it up.
Brian who was at the head of the table, took a deep breath. “We thank God for having us all be here together, safe and sound in peace, so we can enjoy this delicious dinner made by Jenna. We give thanks for all of us enjoying our time here together as a family. We thank God for all of the events that have happened in our life. We give thanks for giving us a healthy and joyous baby such as Riley, welcoming her to our family. We thank God for Carly’s huge success, making her the star she is today. We thank God for bringing Harry not only in Carly’s life, but to all of ours since he has been such a helpful boy. Thank you, for this joyous night. Amen.”
“Amen,” we all repeat, and then let go of each others hands.
I was surprised when Brian had said that about Harry, but in a good way. It’s great to know my family approves of Harry the way that they do – I can’t thank them enough.
“The food was amazing, Aunt Jenna,” Cassidy grins, swallowing the last bite of her chicken.
“Thank you, Cassidy,” Mum smiles, bouncing Riley on her lap.
We all had just finished eating dinner, and I have to say, it was bloody delicious. By the looks of it, everyone was full, and would probably want dessert most likely an hour or so later. “So shall we retreat to the living room?” Brian asks.
Everyone nods and we all leave the dining room and go into the living room, returning to our seats from before. We all started talking about how excited we were for Christmas, sometimes talking as a whole group and then breaking into small, indivisual conversations. Harry and I were talking about our plans for Christmas Eve when Mams suddenly says, “What happened to our old kareoke tradition?”
We all look at her as Cassidy grins. “Mams is right!” she says. “We should have a little sing off.”
Everyone seemed to agree as Harry and I looked at each other. “I think Harry and Carly should go first,” Alice grins.
Melanie nods enthusiastically. “Yeah!” she agrees. “They could do a duet!”
Harry and I look at each other, smirking. “But that’s not fair!” Luke groans. “They’re professional singers,” he says. “They sing for a living.”
“Oh, don’t be a sour puss, Luke,” I smirk as Harry and I stand up. Brian had already set up the old kareoke machine, and the surround soung system we had in the living room had been turned on as well.
Harry grabs the two mics as I call him over to choose what song we should do. “How about that one?” he smiles, pointing to the song called Almost Paradise by Victoria Justice and Hunter Hayes. I nod, grinning, and click the button. The TV turns on and the music starts playing as the words dance across the screen.
Harry and I grip our microphones as everyone watches with smiles, and Harry brings up the mic up to his face and starts singing the first few lines. “I thought that dreams belonged to other men. Cause each time I got close they'd fall apart again,” his raspy voice sings, bringing a smile to my face.
The two of us were standing in the middle of the gigantic living room and I brought the mic up to my lips to sing my lines. “I feared my heart would feel in secrecy.”
Harry joins in with me as we sing the next line, the two of us occasionally smiling at each other. “I faced the nights alone. Oh how could I have known that all my life I only needed you?Oh...Almost paradise!”
We walk around the room as we sing, my family seem to be enjoying it. Riley sat on Mum’s lap, giggling and clapping, making me grin as Harry and I sang together. “We're knocking on Heaven's door. Almost paradise! How could we ask for more? I swear that I can se forever in your eyes...” As we sang that one line, Harry and I had locked eyes before averting our gazes, and I swear there was a blush on my cheeks.
“Paradise,” I sing the word.
“Yeah, it’s paradise,” Harry sings after me.
I walk over and crouch down to Melanie and Alice’s eye level as I sing the next line. “It seems like perfect love's so hard to find.” Standing back up, I sing, “I'd almost given up, you must've read my mind.”
“And all these dreams I saved for a rainy day. They're finally coming true,” Harry and I sing in perfect harmony, and I run a hand through my hair. “I'll share them all with you. Cause now we hold the future in our hands. Oh... Almost paradise!” We smile at everyone and at each other as we continue singing. “We're knocking on Heaven's door. Almost paradise! How could we ask for more? I swear that I can see forever in your eyes... Paradise...”
Harry brings the microphone away from his lips as I sing the next line. “And in your arms salvation’s not so far away.”
He then joins in with me, grinning. “It’s getting closer, closer every day! Almost paradise! We're knocking on Heaven's door. Almost paradise! How could we ask for more?I swear that I can see forever in your eyes...”
Harry and I then grin at each other, singing the last few words. “Paradise... Paradise... Paradise.”
Once the song finished, everyone erupted into clapping and cheering, grins on everyone’s faces. Harry and I smile as put the microphones down, chuckling slightly. “That was fantastic!” Aunt Tracy grins.
“So that’s why my neice is famous,” Uncle Jerome teasingly says, causing me to laugh.
“Both of your voices blended so perfectly,” Melanie says in complete awe.
Alice agrees with her sister. “Yeah; it was amazing.”
Harry and I thank everyone, and we all go back to our conversations, no one wanting to go up for kareoke. The women had eventually retreated to the kitchen or dining room, possibly to gossip, while the men and grandparents stayed in the living room. I had started taking pictures with my cousins, and Melanie and Alice finally got a picture with Harry as well, and Harry had also followed them on Twitter. At one point, I had asked Uncle Tom to take a picture of me with all of my cousins. All of us stood in the long welcome hall of my house, posing for the picture. It was only of us elder kids, because Melanie and Alice were too busy playing with Riley. So it went like Luke, Emma, Harry, me, Cassidy, and Eric. Once the picture was taken, I had posted it on Twitter.
@CarlyMcKinley: Christmas dinner w/ the family! Perfect night with the family & the boo:* @CassFelton @EmMK @Luke_F @Harry_Styles @Eric_McKinley pic.twitter.com/SKO9281
Once the picture was posted, my Twitter blew up.
-@CarlyMcKinley Wow! You look gorgeous!!!
-Omg Harry’s with Carly’s family at her Christmas dinner party. THAT’S SO CUTE.
-@CarlyMcKinley you have so many good looking guys in your life. First 1D and now your cousins? Oh my god.
-The fact that Harry is at the McKinley Christmas dinner party is so adorable. #Harly is perfect.
-@CarlyMcKinley @Harry_Styles GET MARRIED ALREADY.
-I have never shipped a couple so hard as I have shipped Harly. It’s perfection. #Harly #Harly #Harly
I smile at the tweets, and then exit out of Twitter. I then go on the camera app once again and give it to Cassidy, “Hey, can you take a pic of Harry and I?”
“Sure,” she grins, taking my phone from me. Harry and I stand in front of the house front door, and his arm snakes around my waist. My arm does the same as we grin at the camera, and Cassidy takes a full-legnth picture of us. “Perfect!” she says. “Now let’s get one of you two kissing,” she adds with a smirk.
I roll my eyes as I take my phone from Cassidy. “Haha, funny,” I say sarcastically. Cassidy just chuckles as I smile down at the picture. It looked so adorable.
“We look cute,” Harry’s voice says from behind me.
I laugh, nodding as I turn to face him. “I know,” I say, tweeting the picture.
@CarlyMcKinley: Christmas with my boy @Harry_Styles (: xx pic.twitter.com/PAL9325
Once the tweet is posted I put my phone away and Harry and I retreat to the corner of the hall, making our own little conversation. “I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning,” Harry says, his green eyes sparkling. “We’re doing number two on our bucket list.”
My eyes widen. “We’re going to the aquarium?” I ask excitedly.
Harry grins, dimples in view as he nods. “Yep,” he says, popping the ‘p.’
“Oh my god, yay!” I grin. I was about to say something when something above of us caught my eye. I look up and a small smile forms my face.
“What are you looking at?” Harry asks, and then looks up to see for himself. A smile forms on his face as he sees the green thing hanging above of us.
He looks back down at me, and I look up at him, smiles on both of our faces. “I think we’re supposed to do something when we’re underneath mistletoe,” a smirking Harry says.
I chuckle quietly. “Hmm, really?” I ask.
“Yeah,” he whispers, before his head leans down and his lips meet mine.
The kiss is sweet and tender, gentle. It was a pleasant kiss as his soft lips moved with mine. When we pulled away three seconds later, my phone buzzed. Looking at it, I saw that I had a new mention from Cassidy. Harry looks over my shoulder as I look at the tweet.
@CassFelton: AWWWEEE! Look at the adorable couple kissing underneath the mistletoe! @CarlyMcKinley @Harry_Styles pic.twitter.com/KLF8302
Attatched to the tweet was a picture of Harry and I kissing in the corner just now, causing a laugh to erupt out of Harry. I roll my eyes and exit out of Twitter, not before retweeting and favoriting Cassidy’s tweet.
“Thanks, Cass!” I call out into the house.
A laugh sounds not long before a, “No problem, cuz!”