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My Heart Skips A Beat

Chapter 1

I had been in London for all of a week, and already I was starting to pick up on the lingo. Literally, without even trying, I used the word ‘lift’ and ‘queue’ in casual conversation. I wasn’t picking up a fake accent or anything, but the culture was definitely rubbing off on me. It was so strange to think that only a week ago, my parents had practically shoved me onto a flight from JFK Airport. Boarding School had been their choice, not mine. They had been going through a really bad time lately, fighting a lot, my dad moving out… So I think they just wanted to get rid of me. Although neither of them would ever admit that.
Anyway, here I was; living in a dorm room, in a bedroom the size of my old bathroom, spending my days trying to figure out this new city, these new people, this entirely new life. So far, it was going as well as you could expect. I had made a few friends. Molly, the girl whose room was just next to mine, had been my first real friend and had introduced me to a lot of people. She was really sweet, and I could not be more thankful to be welcomed by her. Like right now, we were currently sitting in one of the common rooms, watching TV and sipping tea from big ceramic mugs.
“So, Anna, you tired of the rain yet?” A boy named Oliver asked. He had reddish brown hair and a few freckles across his nose.
“Ehh, I don’t mind it too much. I kind of like the rain. But ask me again in 2 months, I’m sure my answer will be different.” He laughed and smiled at me. Not to sound completely conceded, but I sort of had a feeling Oliver was flirting with me a lot. And not that he wasn’t cute - because he was, I just wasn’t interested. I turned to Molly who was sitting on a big armchair with her boyfriend, Keenan. He had his arm around her and was whispering something in her ear. I have to admit, when I saw something like that, it sort of made me wish I had a boyfriend. But just that alone wasn’t going to make me hook up with the first guy I see. I had made that mistake before, and I wasn’t going to do it again.
There had been this guy back home, Drew; he had sort of been every girls dream guy. Captain of the lacrosse team, good-looking, popular, probably headed off to some big Ivy League school his parents pushed him towards…. And all of that was great, and for a while I thought I really liked him and we had been sort of going out. But it wasn’t until right before I found out about moving away that I realized I didn’t actually like him that much. I think I liked the idea of being with him, of having someone, but Drew never made me feel special, or wanted, or like I really meant that much to him. He was nice and all, but it was just extremely one-dimensional. And to be completely honest, I wasn’t really the girl to fall for the popular jock anyway; I think it was just something I thought that I wanted. And everyone had always been telling me how lucky I was that he liked me, so I felt like I was sort of required to like him back. So anyway, Molly and Keenan were adorable.
“So, what’s the plan for this fine evening?” Another guy, Bryce, asked to the group.
“Molly and I were thinking of staying in.” Keenan said, smiling at his girlfriend.
“Well, since the old married couple isn’t interested in having fun, who’s up for the usual pub?” Bryce said.
“Sure, why not.” I responded. I wasn’t technically legal here for another 7 months, but I learned pretty quickly that if you don’t bring too much attention to yourself, no one really cares all that much.
“Good. We’ll meet downstairs at 8.” Bryce said to everyone else who had agreed to come along.

Later that night I was standing in front of my tiny wardrobe, trying to decide what to wear tonight. It’s not like I had anyone to impress, but I still wanted to look decent. I finally decided on a pair of dark jeans, a flowing white tank top, and my favorite leather jacket. I pulled on my black Prada motorcycle boots (that had been an “I’m sorry I’m a sucky parent and am moving out, but here are some shoes to make up for it” gift from my dad. And even though they were a complete bribe, they were really nice and I mean, I couldn’t let them go to waste - as long as he never saw me wearing them). I grabbed my small clutch and made my way downstairs, running a few minutes late, as usual.
“It’s nice of you to show, Yankee.” Oliver said, smiling at me. A lot of the friends I’ve made have made it a habit of calling me “Yankee”, for obvious reasons, (being American AND a New Yorker, I should’ve seen it coming). We all made our way outside and started the walk down the cobblestone street towards the pub. When we got to the front entrance, there were tons and tons of people.
“Wonder what’s going on.” Bryce said. So obviously this wasn’t normal. We finally made our way into the pub, which was completely packed with people. There was loud music blasting, people dancing and yelling and laughing. And although it seemed like everyone was having a good time, I immediately felt insanely claustrophobic. My heart started pounding and I took a few deep breaths, trying to calm myself down. We all took our seats at a booth that was definitely not made to hold 15 people. I was pressed up against a girl, Willow, whom I’ve said about 10 words to, and Oliver, who was already ordering a round of shots and beers for the table. I felt sick to my stomach due to the mix of smells; alcohol, various perfumes and colognes; along with the thumping of music and the tons of voices. I needed to get some air.
“Hey, I’ll be right back. Can I just get out?” I asked Oliver. He looked at me with a confused look but got up anyway.
“Everything alright?” He asked.
“Uh, yeah. I just need to get some air. It’s a little stuffy in here. I’m sort of claustrophobic.” He gave a bit of a shrug and then sat back down. I quickly rushed away before anyone could try and ask more questions or protest. It wasn’t until I made my way back outside that I realized how uncomfortable I had felt. I usually wasn’t like this, so uptight. I just wasn’t feeling too well and being inside there wasn’t helping. I decided not to go back inside, and instead to just grab a cab back to the dorms. It was about a 25 minute walks, which I just didn’t feel like dealing with right now. So I slid into the backseat of a cab at the end of a line of about 5 more cars. So we were forced to wait until the rest of them pulled away. Right when we were about to leave the curb, a huge crowd of people rushed in front of the car, screaming.
“What in bloody hell!” The driver shouted, honking his horn at the group that I noticed primarily consisted of girls.
“What’s going on?” I asked, confused and a little nervous.
“Who knows.” He responded, annoyed at the people that still had not moved, he honked the horn but the crowd was just getting louder and bigger.
Suddenly, the back door across from me swung open and a tall figure ducked into the car.
“Um, excuse me, this one’s taken.” I said, as politely as I could.
“I know, I’m sorry. I just- can you just drive, please?” The guy said. He looked over at me with a pleading look.
“Wh-” I was about to question him when a loud banging came from the window behind me. I jumped. I turned around to see girls surrounding the car, flashing pictures and yelling.
“I- Yeah, just- Go.” I said, wanting to get out of here as quickly as possible. This situation wasn’t really helping my whole claustrophobia issue. I shut my eyes as the cab driver honked his horn again, moving the car an inch, forcing the girls in front of us to go rushing in different directions.
“Are you okay?” I heard the guy ask, I still didn’t open my eyes.
“Yeah. I’ll be fine. I just don’t do too well in, uh,.. Crowds. And so, yeah.”
“Oh, god. I’m sorry. Really.” I still didn’t open my eyes until we had finally been able to pull out onto the street and drive away. I took a deep breath and opened my eyes to find one of the most gorgeous guys I had ever seen in real life sitting right next to me. Seriously, he was just… beautiful. He had this amazing curly, dark, messy hair. And his eyes were green and sparkly, and his perfect dimpled smile could make you completely forget the fact that he had just stolen your cab. I could tell he was tall by the fact that his knees were pressed up against the seat in front of him. And to top it all off, he had good style. He was wearing a pair of dark jeans, white converse, a white t shirt, and a navy blazer.
“I am really, really sorry about that.” He said, looking genuinely apologetic.
“Oh. I mean. It’s fine I guess. But, well, what was that all about?” I asked.
“It’s well, uh. I’m Harry Styles.” he said, as if that was supposed to clear everything up. He didn’t say it in a rude way, but something about it made me think he thought I knew who he was.
“I’m sorry, I don’t-”
“I’m part of One Direction” he said, “The uh, well, the boy band?” Now that he said that, I think I have heard a few people talk about them.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I just moved here, so I’m not really up to date yet on the pop culture and everything. But uh, nice to meet you. I’m Anna Hollis.” He reached out a hand to shake mine, which was when I noticed the few leather, rubber, and thread bracelets around his wrist. They looked like the type of bracelets people wear all the time. Not like it was some fashion statement he was trying to make.
“You feeling better, then?” He asked as we drove down the open streets.
“Yes. Absolutely. Thanks.” I said, smiling at him from across the back seat.
“S’cuse me miss, Am I still dropping you at the same place?” The driver asked, forcing me to take my eyes off Harry to acknowledge him.
“Oh, uh- Well, where should we be dropping you?” I asked Harry.
“Oh, I’ll just go along for the ride. Deal with me later, mate.” He said, giving is insanely charming smile to the man behind the wheel. He nodded in agreement. Only a few short minutes later we were outside the gates of St. Kingston’s Boarding School. I was about to pull out my wallet when Harry quickly handed the man a few bills.
“No, you don’t have to-”
“It’s my pleasure. I did cause you to have a bit of a breakdown back there, so I think I owe you.” He said, smiling. I didn’t know what else to do besides smile back at him like an idiot.
“So, it was nice meeting you.” I said, as I was about to open the car door.
“Wait! Would you um, want to get a cup of tea with me?”

I couldn’t just let her open that car door and walk away. I had to do something to spend more time with her. I don’t even know what urged me to do this, but I felt like I had to. Not because I felt bad for what had happened, even though I did. But it was because there was something about her. Something about the fact that she didn’t know who I was, that she was leaving that club alone at 8:30 at night, that she didn’t try to play the whole “no, please, let me pay” game when I offered to pay for the cab. She just had this thing about her that I was just, drawn to.
So, here we were, walking down the streets of London. I had asked her to get a cup of tea with me, not knowing where I was. Therefore, we were forced to wander around until we found a place to stop.
“So, are you just uh, visiting?” I asked, looking over at her.
“Well, sort of. I just started at a boarding school here. So I guess not so much visiting as, well, living. Which sounds completely weird when I think about it.” She gave a small laugh.
“Let me guess, this wasn’t your first choice?”
“No, not really. How’d you know?” She looked up at me with her blue eyes that hit the light of a streetlamp and glittered.
“I could just sort of sense it. And I’ve never heard of anyone choosing to go away to boarding school in another country.” She laughed a little but I could tell it was a sore subject, so I backed off.
“How ‘bout here?” I asked, pointing towards a tiny cafe that seemed to be open, but not too busy. Which was always a plus for me, as to not attract too much attention. Unfortunately, that was something I had to constantly be thinking about. It just came with the territory of fame. And although it was amazing and I was so thankful, it was hard when you’re trying to chat up a girl like a regular bloke, it could be a tad inconvenient.
“Looks good to me.” Anna said as we ducked into the tiny one room cafe. We sat at a table in the corner, the table so small that as we sat across from each other, our knees touched under the table. A little old man wearing thick glasses came up to us.
“Hello, can I get you two something this evening?” He asked.
“I’ll just have a cup of tea, with milk and sugar please.”
“I’ll have the same.” Anna responded. Suddenly, the man’s gaze fell back on me.
“Young man, did I use to watch you on my telly? I think I did! My wife and granddaughter LOVED you boys!” He said enthusiastically, which caused me to crack a smile.
“Oh, well, thank you very much. We really appreciate it.”
“You gentlemen should’ve won, especially with the amount of time those ladies spent voting.” He said, leaning in to a mock-whisper. He smiled and then turned away to fetch out tea’s. Anna giggled once the man was gone, looking at me.
“Wow.” She said.
“What?” I responded.
“I don’t know, I just had no idea you would have such a, wide, fan base.” She giggled again.
“Let’s be honest, we both know I probably don’t. You heard him; wife, granddaughter?” She nodded in agreement.
“So, you were on TV?”
“Well, yeah. I auditioned for this show, The X Factor. It’s like, a singing competition. But then, I didn’t make it all the way through myself. So, the judges put me and four other lads into a group. We didn’t win, got third place. But at this point it doesn’t really matter, not that you could’ve told me that at the time. But yeah, that’s pretty much it.” She nodded as I willed myself to shut up. I didn’t really want to talk about that right now. I wanted this to be able to be normal, natural. Completely un-celebrity-status induced.
“And you guys stayed a group?”
“Oh yeah, absolutely. It’s Me, Louis, Zayn, Liam, and Niall. We’re like best friends, brothers.”
“That’s really cool.” She said, seeming to genuinely mean it.
“So, now it’s my turn to ask questions.”
“Okay.” She put her elbows on the table and laced her fingers under her chin.
“Favorite movie?” I asked, wanting to get the basics down first. She smiled and looked down for a few seconds in thought.
“Hmm… Probably… The Breakfast Club, or like, The Wizard of Oz or something.” She giggled. “Your’s?”
“Love Actually.” This caused her to burst out laughing.
“What?!” I asked, not being able to keep a straight face.
“Nothing, just a bit of a chick flick.”
“Yeah, yeah. Well, I have sisters, so…” There wasn’t really anything else I could say to defend myself. I knew my favorite movie was a chick flick, I’ve come to terms with that. “Okay, favorite place in the world to be?”
“Sleeping.” She said almost immediately. I laughed, but I knew she wasn’t kidding.
“Good one. Fair game.” I responded.
“My turn.” She said, drumming her fingers on the table, picking up her teacup, taking a small sip. “Most embarrassing moment?” Oh god, I knew it the second she said it, but I really didn’t want to have to tell her.
“Ah… Okay, fine. So, on The X Factor finale, when the winner was named, it was Matt Cardle, and uh. You know, we were all really happy for him, and I sort of was caught saying something to him on live TV that wasn’t really supposed to be seen, or heard, by anyone.”
“Oh, now you HAVE to tell me what it was!”
“How about you just look it up when you get home, it’s THAT bad.” I said. And honestly, it was. I mean it was funny as hell, but still pretty embarrassing.
“Okay, fine.” We had both finished our tea and even though I knew it was getting late, it didn’t want her to go. I liked talking to her, she was really sweet. And I have to admit, fit as anything. She had really gorgeous blonde hair that was all wavy, and perfect blue eyes, and a great body. And she wasn’t like other girls, she was different. In the absolute best way possible. Meaning, it didn’t seem like she spent hours getting ready to go out for the night. Just a little makeup, nothing too crazy. And she was the only girl I had ever seen wear her hair in a ponytail out to a pub and make it look so damn good.The truth is, and I’m sure most girls would never believe it, that THAT was what made me think she was so pretty. The fact that she clearly wasn’t afraid of, well, herself. The way that so many girls are.

Over an hour later Harry was walking me back to the dorms. We had sat in that cafe, at that ironically tiny table, asking each other questions and laughing and talking for a while. Then we just wandered around the neighborhood which I have yet to become comfortable with, so I was a little nervous we were going to get lost. But thankfully I found my way back.
“It was really nice meeting you.” I said, sliding my student ID through the scanner which opens the black iron gates.
“Yeah, you too.” So, I guess this was going to be it? My one night with a pop star. And now it’s over. Not that I can complain. From what I can tell, there are millions of girls who would do anything to be in my position right now.
“Hey Anna?” I heard Harry say. I looked up at him.
“Do you think I could, um, get your number maybe?” I loved the way he said number like “numba”.
“Oh, yeah. Sure.” We swapped iPhones and both programmed our numbers into each other’s phones.
“Look, not that I think you will at all. But just- try and keep that to yourself. I already have to be changing my number every other month.” He laughed, but I knew this wasn’t really just a joke. He wanted to be able to trust me. And I wanted him to be able to too. Even if we never spoke again, I didn’t want him finding out I had accidentally given out his number, getting dozens of calls from teenage girls because of me.
“I’ll guard it with my life. And when I say that, I mean I’ll put a password lock on my phone.” He laughed and gave a small sigh of relief.
“Perfect. Thank you.” I nodded and he leaned in for a hug.
“Goodnight, Harry” I said, giving him a squeeze before walking through the main gates, back to the real world, and away from Harry Styles.

I woke up with the feeling of something tickling my nose. My eyes fluttered open and I saw Louis standing above me with a shoelace in his hand, dangling it above my face.
“What the hell are you doing?” I grumbled, flipping the pillow over so it covered my face.
“Oh, c’mon! I thought for sure that would get you up! Its half eleven already! Get your arse outta bed, mate!” He shouted in his overly cheery voice.
“I’m tired, Louis! Go find someone else to bother!”
“BUT I CHOOSE YOU, HAZZA!” He shouted, jumping on my bed and hopping up and down. I knew he wasn’t going to stop until I got up so I managed to drag myself out of bed and into the kitchen for a cup of tea and some breakfast. I looked at my phone and saw I had one text message. My mind immediately shot to one person when I thought about who it could be. But when I opened the message, it was Niall from last night, asking if I could pick him up some chips at the corner store. I had purposely ignored it. I sighed, wondering if Anna would ever actually text me. Should I text her? Why the hell was I over thinking this so much?!
“So, what the hell happened to you last night?” Louis asked, messing about in the kitchen, pulling a spoon out of a drawer to stir his tea and managing to spill it all over the counter.
“Oh, uh, nothing really. I just met this girl, why?”
“Ohhh, a lady for Harry. Who is she?”
“She’s American. She had no idea who I was, or any of us. She just moved here.”
“Well that must have been refreshing.”
“It really was, actually. I gave her my number but she hasn’t messaged me or anything yet…” I said, my glance falling back to my lifeless cellphone.
“I’m sure she will mate, you’re Harry Styles, ladies’ man!”
“Yeah, the thing is Lou, I don’t think she really cares.”
“Well then I’d say that she’s a keeper then.”
“I don’t exactly have her. I just met her last night.” He just smirked and cocked his head.
“You’re forgetting that I know you, Haz. I’ve seen you be quite the charmer. You sweep em’ off their feet in a second.”
“Nah, this is different.”
“I’ll believe it when I see it.” He said, turning to grab a bowl out of a cabinet.
“So what are you doing today?” I asked, realizing I had no plans. That used to be normal for me. But lately, I crave days off. To have absolutely nothing to do. To just be able to shlub about in the flat, watching TV and eating.
“I’m meeting El for lunch in a bit, you wanna join?” He asked out of courtesy.
“And be your third wheel? Nah, I think I’ll just stay here.” Louis was a good friend, always inviting me out with him and his girlfriend. I think he felt bad leaving me alone, but I really didn’t mind at all.
“Don’t just sit on the couch all day mate, why don’t you go chat up that girl! Give her a call, make a plan to meet up?”
“Alright, mum. I’ll get right on that!” I said, shoving him jokingly. I think secretly Louis was dying for me to get a girlfriend. That was the only possible explanation.
“Oh, shut up. You know you want to.” I would never admit it to him, because it would give him far too much satisfaction, but I really did.

A while later I was doing exactly what I swore to Louis I wouldn’t, sitting on the couch watching the tellie, snacking on whatever I could find, which was limited since we always ate out anyway. All of the other boys had plans, which meant there was no excuse for me to be anywhere. At least, that’s what I was telling myself. Suddenly, I felt my phone buzz. I had to search for a moment, eventually finding it under one of the cushions. I pressed the home button while simultaneously swiping some crumbs off of my t shirt.
‘1 New Text Message From: Anna’ I was genuinely surprised. I assumed I would have to make the first move, but I was glad she had contacted me first. I immediately opened the message.

just looked up you ‘most embarrassing moment’ on youtube. even i have to admit, it was pretty bad.

i told you ;) now you’re gonna have to tell me yours.

mmmm… i don’t think so. i’m not sure i could even beat saying pussy on live tv.

we’ll see…. so, having a nice day?

pretty lazy. I should really be getting some work done for monday i just can’t get myself motivated.

ha. yeah, i know what you mean….

YOU know what it feels like to be stressed about school work? I think not Mr. Superstar.

HAHA VERY FUNNY! but hey, i went to school. i was only homeschooled for a year!

fine, i take it back. life must have been sooooo hard

thanks for understanding :)

no problem.

so, if you’re not doing anything… would you maybe want to go get lunch?

I was actually sort of nervous as I awaited her reply, which took a bit longer than her other texts had.

sure, why not. give me half an hour?

i’ll pick you up.

might not be the best idea. this IS a high school full of teenagers, you know?

good point, how about i come in disguise then?!

if you insist…

I laughed as we agreed to meet just a block down from her school in half an hour.


@notarealhipster Who do you imagine anna as?


I'm from the US, outside of Philly :)
Where are you from? My side of the pond (United States) or the other one?
I love this story it's my favorite one I've read so far! :)