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My Heart Skips A Beat

Chapter 18

Going over to Anna’s school past midnight had been a spur-of-the-moment decision, clearly. And on the whole way over there, I had every intention of asking her all of the things I had been thinking about all day. But then I just, didn’t.
I got up to her room, I saw her, and every little though I had had about having this inevitable conversation just disappeared. SO instead, I spent the night in her bed.
“Anna.” I whispered at around 4 AM. I shook her gently, trying to wake her out of a deep sleep.
“Huh?” Her eyes fluttered open, looking up at me, clearly confused.
“I’ve got to go, love.”
“Noo…” She protested, pulling me down next to her.
“I’m sorry, babe. But I have to. But I’ll talk to you late, yeah?”
“Okay,” I gave her a kiss on the forehead. But as I was about to make the descent out her window and down to the empty street, she grabbed my wrist.
“Wait.” She said, her voice husky with sleep. I turned around and she sat up; “I love you, Harry.” Then she smiled and gave me the lightest kiss, her lips barely brushing across mine.
“I love you too.” She smiled and flopped back on her bed, her blonde hair fanning out all around her.
Well, that little trip didn’t exactly go as planned.

“So, how’d it go?” Louis asked later that morning.
“Well, terribly. We didn’t end up talking at all.”
“Hm. Doesn’t sound too terrible to me.” He gave me a sly grin, which I responded to with a slap on the back of his head.
“It wasn’t terrible. I just mean- everything I had wanted to say, just, flew out of my head.”
“Understandably so.”
“You’re actually no help. At. All.”
“ I thought I was just here for the comic relief.”
“I guess so because that’s all you’re really good for right now.” I huffed, not really angry with Louis, I was more frustrated with myself. Clearly I had ZERO self-restraint when it came to Anna. Which was becoming a problem when things needed to be sorted.
“What do we have for today?” I asked Louis, desperate for a subject change.
“Jacob called earlier; We have a magazine interview later on, and a meeting with Simon. So you might want to put on a clean shirt.”
“Yeah, alright mum.”
No matter how big things get, or how successful the band is, meetings with Simon are always nerve-wracking. He can be pretty intimidating when he wants to be.
“Do we know what he wants to talk about?”
“Mate, the album comes out in less than a month. What do you think he wants to talk about?”
“Yeah, okay.”
“You gonna be able to do this today?”
“Of course. I haven’t really got a choice.”
I knew I wasn’t going to be able to focus completely; I was barely all there right now. But this was work. This was important. This meeting could bring so many things. So even though so many things were running through me head, for this small bit of time today, I didn’t have any choice but to let it go. If not for me, for the rest of the boys. Because I know I owed it to them.

“It’s good to see you boys!” Simon said as we filed into his office.
“Great to see you!” Liam said, shaking Simons hand. We sat down across from him, nervous even though we knew this wasn’t that type of meeting. Simon just sort of caused that reaction towards everyone.
“So, less than one month ‘till the release. How are you feeling?”
“We’re feeling great. Massively excited!” Liam said enthusiastically.
“Yeah, we can’t wait!” Niall agreed.
“No nerves?” he said, laughing a little.
“Well, of course.” Louis said, cocking his head towards Simon.
“That’s good though, nerves mean you cares. When you stop getting them is when we should be worried.” We all laughed a little.
This chitchat continued on for a little while longer, eventually we got down to business.
“The reason I called you boys in today was to talk a little about your image. We all want to stay genuine to who you are, but PR is still always something to consider and think about.” We all nodded; “So, in the weeks leading up to the album, and even after, I’m hoping you will all be on your best behavior. Go out, have fun! Let the people see that you’re still normal lads. But, don’t go overboard.” I felt his eyes bore into me when eh said that. Didn’t want ot look up at him, so I just stared at my tattered converse.
“Absolutely.” Liam said, nodding along with whatever Simon said.
“So, with that in mind, we should talk about what happened recently- Harry?”
“Uh, yes… Well-“
Thankfully, Louis stepped in; “Simon, we know what happened was bad. The paps can be brutal, clearly. But I think they’ve both handled it extremely well.” I looked at Louis, so thankfully.
“Yes, I agree Louis. I was just going to say how sorry I was, not only for you, but for that girlfriend of yours. It’s terrible, what lengths the press will go to. But, if you can, I think it’s smart to look at this as a learning experience. You boys are celebrities now, and you’re only getting bigger. So, with that said, you’re going to have to understand that the paparazzi will do anything for a story. They don’t have a conscience when it comes to this. And unfortunately, that doesn’t just mean for you, but clearly for the people you have in your life. SO that’s all I really wanted to say; that I am sorry, but to put it blatantly, there’s a lot more where that comes from.”
I was so gutted after hearing what Simon had to say earlier today. It was true, all of it. But I just think, up until now, I didn’t want to hear it or believe it.

“So, how’s the party planning going?” I asked Danielle. We were in Liam’s flat eating dinner, Chinese takeout. Anna wasn’t here, she was studying with her friends from school.
“Great! I hope you all have your costumes planned!”
“We’ve genuinely got to wear a costume?” I groaned.
“Of course! It’s a HALOWEEN party, what the hell did you expect?!”
“I dunno. What the hell am I supposed to go as?”
“We’ll think of something, mate. Maybe you and I could go as Batman and Robin!” Niall said, his mouth full of noodles.
“Sure Niall, whatever you say.” I smiled.
“Do you know what Anna’s going as?” Danielle asked me.
“Um, no. I uh, haven’t really talked to her about it.”
“Is everything alright with you two?” Suddenly, everyone’s eyes were on me.
“Yeah, everything’s fine. I just – It’s nothing.” I shook my head, trying to let go of everything I was thinking.
“C’mon, Haz. You’ve got to tell us now!” Zayn said.
“It’s nothing. But I mean, you guys were in that meeting with Simon today. You heard what he said, and he was right. I feel terrible for what happened. And I just think Anna’s trying to act like it isn’t affecting her. But I know, I can just tell, that it is. She called me yesterday… SO upset, and I just can’t bear it…” I hadn’t expected to say that much. It was quite unlike me to just throw it all out there to this many people. I usually keep things slightly bottled, not wanting to talk.
“Harry, she loves you. You know that. But I think you guys need to have a real talk about this stuff. Until you do, there’s no use in being upset about it.” Eleanor said.
“Yeah, I guess. Lets just, uh, talk about something else.” I muttered, not wanting to look any of my friends in the eyes. Because if I did, I know they would see how much this really was affecting me.

“Look, guys. If there’s something you want to say to me, please just sya it. Literally anything is better than this.” I was sitting at a big wooden table in the library with Bryce, Oliver, Keenan, and Molly. We had been here for over and hour and none of them have really talked to me, not for real. I knew what they all could be thinking; I just wanted it all to be out in the open at this point.
“What is there to say, Anna?” Molly said, a sympathetic look on her face.
“You guys must be thinking something. Just - tell me, please.”
“I’m thinking that what happened sucks. And its kind of strange to talk about. But it also seems like that part of your life is just different than this part of your life.” I looked around at everyone, no one person would look me in the eye.
“What? Do you guys all think that?”
That was when Bryce looked up at me. “ Anna, we all love you here. We do. But you can’t say that things haven’t been changing. I’m not saying that we don’t want to be your friend anymore. We just want you to feel like you can talk about these things. You don’t have to pretend like Harry Styles, and all of those people, aren’t a part of your life. Because right now, that’s what it seems like you’re doing.”
I didn’t know what to say to that.
“I uh, I haven’t really thought of it that way. Do you guys all think that?” I didn’t want to cry. Because it feels like I’ve been doing a lot of that lately. I looked around at everyone, they just gave small nods and mumbles of agreement with what Bryce had said.
“I am really, really sorry. I never meant to do that. I really uh, I don’t know what you want to hear. I think I’m keeping things at a distance because ei’m scared of what will happen if I don’t. You saw what’s happened to me. You become part of that world, and something just as bad could happen to all of you. And I don’t want that. So I am really sorry if it seems like I’m closing you off, that was never my intention. I just – I think I need to go.” I felt so overwhelmed; I couldn’t be in this stuffy, overcrowded room anymore. My head was spinning as I grabbed my stuff, rushing out into the cool air. There was only one person, who was a complete third party, that I could think of talking to right now; My brother. It wasn’t until now that I remembered that I hadn’t called him back after seeing his call last weekend. When I was safely in my dorm room, I pulled my phone out and dialed his number, praying he would answer. It was around 10:30 AM at home.
“Heeello?” I heard him say, his usual cheery voice making me slightly happier almost automatically.
“Max? It’s me.”
“Anna.” His voice was like he was exhaling. “I’ve been trying to get a hold of you.”
“I know, I’m sorry. Things have been sort of, strange.”
“Yeah, I figured. SO uh, who is this guy, ‘Harry Styles’. What have you been doing over there? I wake up and see my baby sister on Perez Hilton.”
“I know. I’m sorry. I j- Wait, since when do you read Perez Hilton?” I could help but laugh. My brother wasn’t exactly the gossip magazine reading kind fo person.
“Shut up! One of the girls on my floor showed it to me!”
“Ok, sure Max.”
“Are you doing okay, Anna?” He said, his demeanor suddenly different.
“I’m – a mess, to say the least. I don’t know who to talk to, or, how to deal with this. In case you’re unaware, I’ve never dated a famous band member.” I sniffed; doing everything I could to keep to tears down for the second time today.
“Really? I think that douchebag Drew could’ve throw down a few moves, don’t you?” I couldn’t help but laugh. I wished I were with Max right now. We could just hang out and watch stupid TV and have fun. That’s what my brother was good at, having fun. I missed him a lot more than I think I let myself realize.
“But, Anna? If you ever need to talk, just call me. Mom and Dad may have lost their mind, that doesn’t mean we have to too. You and I were always the cool ones anyway. So just, tell me what’s going on?”
So I did, I told him everything. About making these new friends at school, about meeting Harry and everything that went along after that. I told him the entire story from start to finish (leaving out the expletives from being in the bungalow). And all he did was listen, which is exactly what I think I needed.
“You want my advice?”
“So badly you have no idea. Because I can’t figure out anything for myself lately.”
“I know you. I know how you think. You care about peoples feelings so much. And sometimes it get’s the best of you; like it seems like it has here. I think the only thing you can do right now is just, go with your gut. You know? If you really like this guy, go for it! But if you feel like it’s more trouble than it’s worth, don’t stick around just because he’s crazy about you. Which it seriously seems like he is. Just, take a little time, think about it. And when you have, do what’s best for YOU. Not what everyone else wants from you, okay?” That was it. With that, I felt my eyes burn with tears.
“I love you, Max.”
He laughed, “I love you too. No go on, and do some serious thinking.”
“I will. Thank you.”
“No problem.”
“Um, have you seen Mom and Dad? Or talked to them? Or…anything?” Part of me didn’t really want to know what was going on with them.
“Not really. I saw Dad for our ‘We’re gonna have a talk about how you’re wasting your life away with the stupid art’ weekly dinner. It was the same as always, but he had a bit to say about you.”
“He’s pissed. I know.”
“Yeah. He is. But I think he’s pissed about a lot more than that. It seems like it was just a way for him to let out his anger about all the other things, like everything with him and Mom. And Mom is, mom. She’s been at some Spa in Connecticut for weeks. Just, don’t worry about them right now. They will still be insane tomorrow, and the day after that, and probably forever. Just, focus on yourself for now, okay?”
“Yeah, okay. You know you should be a therapist?”
“I think I’ll stick to the ‘stupid starving artist thing that’s clearly leading nowhere but being homeless’.”
“Dad’s crazy. This is not news.” We both laughed before I hung up to do exactly what he said; Think.


@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! :)