My Heart Skips A Beat
The whole night, from the movie to the dinner at Seven at Brixton, was complete perfection. Even though we completely pigged out on Haribo candy during the movie, the meal afterwards was probably the best thing I’ve ever had in my life.
It was already almost 11:00 when Harry and I were strolling around the London streets.
“You’re really too much, you know that?” I said to him.
“So I’ve been told.”
“I’m serious! This entire night was…perfect. I just – you’re making it really hard to top you with this one.”
He laughed, “I’m sure you’ll think of some way to repay me.” There was a flirtatious tone to his deep voice.
“Maybe…” I said quietly.
I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to Anna when we pulled up to the front gates of her school, and by the way she didn’t make an effort to get out of the car, I don’t think she was either.
“Do you wanna maybe, come up, for a little?”
“You sure you can sneak me in?” I asked. To which she just nodded.
“Well Gives, I think this is where we part ways!” I said to the driver who just gave me a grin and a small salute as he opened the door for Anna.
“It’s been a pleasure, Mr. Styles.” He said as he slid back into the driver’s seat.
“Okay, just, wait here for a second.” Anna said in a hushed tone as she slid a keycard through a scanner to open the gates. I did what she had said, pressing up against a cold stone pillar.
“Harry?” I heard a second later. I followed Anna’s voice, slipping through the gate, keeping my head down. I jogged a few feet in front of me to where Anna was waiting.
“Come on!” She giggled, reaching out for my hand.
Then, without much warning, she broke out into a mad dash towards her building. We rushed up the steps, opened the door, and then practically sprinted up to her room.
“Damn it!” She said, giggling nervously as she looked through her tiny bag, eventually retrieving a key and opening the door.
Her room was dark, except for the dim light of the streetlamps outside her window. It was a fairly small room; just a small bed, desk, dresser, full-length mirror, and a closet. There were dark hardwood floors and a window seat and it was nice. Mostly, I think it was nice because it was hers.
As Anna took off her jacket and heels, I wandered around; looking at the things taped to the walls, or pictures in frames on her windowsill.
“Is this you and your brother?” I asked, referring to a picture that looks like it was taken at a beach. There was a little girl with white-blonde hair and big blue eyes, smiling brightly at the camera. Next to her was a boy who looked a bit older, with darker hair. He had his arm wrapped protectively around her.
“Yeah. Max. That was at The Hamptons. We used to go every summer when I was little.” She walked up behind me, watching me look at the picture.
“You were cute.” I said without thinking. I heard he laugh a little.
I continued looking around at little trinkets that sat on her desk, along with notebooks and binders and pencils.
“Sorry if I’m being nosy.” I said, realizing that this was sort of an invasion of privacy.
“No, it’s fine! I want you to know about this side of my life. I feel like you never really get to see it.”
“I want to know everything about you.”
“That’s a lot of ground to cover.”
“Well, I’m not going anywhere.” I saw her eyes light up and that same bright smile as the little girl in the picture. “So, tell me something.”
“Just – something about you that I don’t know.” She sat down on the window seat, pulling her legs against her chest in thought.
“Umm…well, back home, in New York, I guess people thought I had this like, perfect life. I had the nice penthouse, I had friends, a boyfriend. From the outside, everything seemed great, but for me, it never seemed like – I don’t know. I guess it never seemed like enough. Or maybe, I just never thought I deserved it I guess. I don’t really know how to explain it. So at the beginning of my sophomore year I started going to a therapist. I just think my parents didn’t really feel like dealing with all my issues so they paid someone else to. Um… yeah, they thought I was depressed and withdrawn. It was a hard year.” When she was finished, I could tell she was surprised at how much she had shared. I moved from where I stood, leaning against the wall, to sit next to her.
“Why’d you never tell me that before?”
“I just didn’t know how. It’s not really something you bring up in casual conversation.”
“You could’ve told me though.”
“I know. I just think that, maybe I didn’t want to disappoint you.”
“What? Anna, you could never disappoint me. Ever. These are the types of things we should be able to talk about, right?”
“So, about this boyfriend…” She giggled. “How do I measure up?” I asked. I was really only half joking, but she didn’t need to know that.
“There isn’t even a comparison.” She said simply, trailing her fingers along the lapel of my blazer. It felt good to hear that from her. “Harry?”
“Hm?” I said, leaning my head against the window frame.
“Do you – I mean, could you maybe, sleep here tonight?”
“Sorry you don’t have anything to change into. That can’t be too comfortable.” I said as I pulled on a pair of pajama shorts and one of Max’s old sweatshirts (they were my absolute favorite thing to sleep in).
“Nah, it’s fine.” Harry replied, taking off his jacket and unbuttoning the first few buttons of his white shirt, rolling the sleeves up. If it was even humanly possible, it made him look even hotter. “You have like… a lot of books.” He said, walking over to my bookshelf, which was practically overflowing with paperbacks with cracked spines and dog-eared pages.
“Yeah…” I smiled to myself. I actually really liked the fact that Harry was so interested in these little things about me. In the three months since we’ve met, we actually haven’t been able to have a lot of moments like this.
“Which one’s your favorite?” He asked, trailing his long, elegant finger across the top of a few of them.
“I think – “I began, getting up and standing next to Harry, looking for the tattered cover. “This one.” I said, pulling it out from in between two books I still haven’t finished.
“The Fault in Our Stars” He read. “What’s it about?” I wasn’t really sure how to answer this. This book meant so much to me; in some ways it changed my life, and the way I think. How did you describe that type of thing to someone?
“Well, I don’t want to tell you in case you read it!” I said. He opened the front cover and read the little summary on the inside sleeve.
“What’s that mean?” I asked. I wasn’t protective or defensive about a lot of things. This book was one of the exceptions.
“Will I cry?” This made me burst out laughing.
“Yes. Yes you will weep.”
“I’m not sure I’m ready for that.” He said, putting it back on the shelf.
“Good! I wouldn’t let you borrow my copy anyway. I see the way you treat you things. It would be drenched in tea and destroyed by the time you got to chapter three.” He smiled and rolled his eyes playfully.
“Well, then we’re going to have to take a trip to the bookstore at some point then.” I smiled and wondered if he really meant that – if he was really planning on reading it just because it was my favorite.
“So I think it’s your turn.” I said, flopping back down on my unmade bed.
“To tell me something about yourself that I don’t already know, and it can’t be anything I can find on Sugarscape!” I said, poking his arm. He laughed.
“Alright… Well. I wasn’t exactly the best student when I was in school. So, trying out for the show was a way for me to get out of at least a day of schoolwork. That played like, a MAJOR role in why I decided to do it.” I laughed, flopping backwards and staring up at the white ceiling.
“Good thing it worked out for you.” I said, still laughing.
“Absolutely. Think of how many Maths quizzes I got myself out of!” He laid down next to me, out heads touching slightly. There was a short comfortable silence until he broke it, clearing his throat. “So, uh. Poppy is having this party tomorrow night and invited all of us.”
Well, THAT was random.
“– And so Zayn was really hoping you and the other girls would come. He knows that things didn’t get off to the best start with her, but hopefully this can change that. Those are his words, not mine.”
I let out a sigh but eventually said, “Yeah, okay.”
“Really?” He seemed genuinely surprised at my response.
“Yeah, why not. If El and Dani are there.” I turned my head to the side and was face-to-face with Harry, just about an inch of space between us.
“Your eyes are really pretty.” He said, completely out of the blue. “They’re usually just, a really nice blue color, but sometimes they have flecks of grey, or green, in them.” He stroked my cheek with his thumb, which made my entire body go up in flames. I took his free hand in mine, tracing his palm with my pointer finger. “That tickles.” He said in my ear.
“Sorry.” I giggled, lacing our fingers together.
We fell asleep like this, fingers interlocked, heads together.
I had woken up on Friday morning with Harry still lying in my bed, his hair mussed from the pillow. My twin-sized bed was dwarfed next to his tall frame. I didn’t wake him up until I was dressed and ready to go to breakfast.
“Harry.” I whispered, kissing him on the cheek.
“Huh?” He mumbled, rubbing his eyes.
“I have to go.” I said quietly, moving one of his dark curls out of his face.
“Umph.” He grumbled, sitting up. “Is that my cue to sneak out the fire escape?” He said, his voice husky and full of sleep.
“I’m afraid so.” I smiled. He stood up, grabbing his shoes and jacket.
“See you tonight?” He said as he opened my window.
“Text me the address.”
Getting dressed up two nights in a row wasn’t exactly the norm for me; so just like last night, here I stood in front of my closet, wishing I had some magical sewing mice like in Cinderella to whip me up a brand new outfit. But alas, I did not.
So instead I decided on a short red dress. The top was a beautiful red lace overlay with a high neck and short cap sleeves. It was perfection, so I was actually really glad to have an excuse to wear it. I pulled my hair up into a slightly messy chignon and stepped into my favorite leopard print pumps. I would be freezing the second I stepped outside, but I decided it was worth it.
Okay, yes, I do have to admit the fact that this was a party being thrown by POPPY, made me want to look extra good. I just don’t want that girl to have any reason to bring me down.
The second I shut my dorm room door, I heard another door open. Molly’s.
“Hey there! Where the hell are you off to?” She asked, pulling on her jacket. She looked like she was ready for a night out too.
“Poppy’s throwing a party that Zayn really wanted us to go to.” I said.
“Ohh…sounds interesting.” She smiled as she shut her door, locking it behind her.
“Hot date with Keenan?” I asked as we made our way downstairs.
“Oh yeah, REALLY hot. We’re going to see his stepsister in a performance of ‘Spring Awakening’ at this community theatre. Should be great.” Molly said, slight sarcasm in her voice. I laughed.
“Well how about, you and me: Breakfast. Tomorrow?”
“Sounds like just what I’ll need after tonight.”
“Awesome. I’ll see you later!” I said, waving as we stepped outside and went our separate ways.
I felt my phone vibrating in the pocket of my coat and I was quick to answer it. The caller ID read Eleanor.
“Hey! I just walked outside.”
“Perfect. We’ll be there in 2 minutes.” She said.
Rest assured, a minute later, a cab pulled up in front of me with two girls sitting in the backseat. I squeezed in next to them as we greeted each other with hugs and double-cheek kisses.
“So, you ready for this?” Danielle asked me as we drove.
“I guess I don’t really have a choice. I mean, you guys don’t think we’re being a bit harsh on Poppy, do you?”
“Anna. Has anyone ever told you that you are WAY too nice?” Danielle responded, putting a consoling hand on my shoulder.
“Actually, yes.” I said with a giggle. “But I’m serious. I mean, we’ve all been in her position. It isn’t easy.”
“Yeah, but none of us ever treated each other like shit. There’s the difference. If she ever feels like dropping the attitude, maybe we can have a different discussion, but for now, I’m playing nice for Zayn.”
“For Zayn.” I nodded, agreeing to her terms.
“I dunno, man. She like…really opened up. I felt like I should’ve said more. I just kind of froze.”
“What would you have said?”
“That’s the thing. I haven’t got a clue.”
I had told Louis what Anna told me the other night, about her past back home, knowing that he would never tell a soul. He was my best mate. I could trust him.
“And now I feel like she might think that I did that whole thing yesterday, just to get her to come tonight!” I sat on my bed, my elbows balancing on my knees.
“Are you fucking kidding me?! Harry that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard! No way would she think that you rented out a WHOLE BLOODY THEATRE, just to go to some party. Don’t psych yourself out!” He slapped me on the shoulder, trying to cheer me up.
“I know – I mean, you’re right. But still…”
“She really didn’t want to come?”
“No. She was nice about it, but I could just tell she really didn’t want to.”
“Yeah, I had to bribe El to show up.”
“What the hell with? Wait – I actually really don’t want to know.” Louis just responded with a devilish grin and rising of his eyebrows.
“We should get ready. We’ve got to leave in half an hour. Remember what I said, though.”
25 minutes later Louis, Niall, Liam, and I were walking out the door. Zayn wasn’t ready yet thanks to: 1- His insane primping routine, and, 2- The fact that it seemed like Poppy had him pretty occupied until about half an hour ago when she finally left our flat and went to check on the work that the party planners had done.
The party was at Poppy’s new flat that she had just bought, and had yet to fill with expensive furniture. So, for now, it was able to hold the hundreds of people we saw the moment was walked in.
We weren’t even through the door when I heard a squeal, and then saw Poppy running over to us.
“Oh my god, my boys!” She yelled, throwing her arms around first Niall (which of course, he loved), then Liam, then Louis, then me.
“HARRY! I’m so glad you came!”
“Uh, yeah… ‘Course. Um, is Anna here yet?”
“Yeah, I think she and her little posse is over by the sushi buffet.” She said, waving her hand in no specific direction. “Where the hell is Zayn?” I heard her say as I walked off, not bothering to answer.
I saw Anna almost immediately. She was standing in between Danielle and Eleanor, who went off to greet Louis and Liam. Her back was to me when I came up behind her and wrapped my arms around her waist.
“I should ask you to go to parties more often if you’re going to show up looking like this.” I felt her laugh. She squirmed around until we were facing each other.
“Hey, you.” She said, placing her champagne flute down on the nearest table.
“You look very beautiful.” I said, placing a soft kiss on her pink lips. Almost instinctively, I intensified the kiss by opening my mouth slightly and sliding my tongue into her mouth. I felt her pull away slightly; “Harry!” She giggled into my mouth.
“What?” I groaned, not letting go of her waist. Finally, I pulled away, smiling down at her.
“You have some – “She began, wiping away the remnants of her lips gloss of my lips.
“What, it wasn’t my color?”
We had been here for over an hour and thus far; I had done a pretty good job of steering clear of Miss. Hostess, aka Poppy. I saw her from across the room several times, always with Zayn in tow. Other than a ‘thanks for inviting us’ when we arrived, there had been no interaction which I was thankful for.
“I’m gonna go find the bathroom.” I said to Harry who was in a deep car-related discussion with some random guy. He just smiled and gave my hand a squeeze as I walked away.
I finally located the powder room, only to find that it was occupied.
“Oh, Anna!” I heard from behind me. I had been leaning against the wall, waiting for the door to open. Hesitantly, I turned around to see Poppy Upton, herself, standing in front of me, one perfectly manicured hand on her bony hip.
“Hey, Poppy.” I said as nicely as I could muster.
“So, having fun?” She asked with that ever-present condescending tone to her voice.
“Um, yeah. This is a beautiful place.” I was literally just trying to make casual conversation until the bathroom door opened.
“Yeah. So, I heard something funny today.”
“Um, what’s that?”
“I heard that you didn’t really want to come here tonight.” This made me stop; I’m sure with a shocked look on my face. “And please don’t even TRY and act all surprised and innocent, because I’m not buying it.”
“I – I don’t – “
“So I just wanted to come over here and let you know that I don’t give up that easily. I get what I want, no matter what. Just keep that in mind, mmkay love?”
“Look, Poppy. I’m sorry that you had to hear that, but I mean, can you really blame me?” I tried to sound calm and civilized.
“Oh sweetie, I’m not placing blame. I know that you three girlies run in a pack, and you all hated me the second we met. The thing is, I just really don’t care. So I’m not really interested in having a discussion right now. I’m just here to tell you one thing; watch yourself.”