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My Heart Skips A Beat

Chapter 30

We drove in silence. I couldn’t have said a word even if I wanted to. I didn’t know what to think, or how to act. That same sense of dizziness settled around me, making me feel sick to my stomach as the police officers had continued speaking to my mother in their calm voices. I couldn’t listen, though; I couldn’t even try to comprehend what they were saying.
Max. My Max. My brother.
“We know this is a very difficult time, but we’re going to have to ask both of you a few questions, separately.” One of the officers said as we walked into the ER waiting room.
“Anna, may we please start with you?” He asked, turning his attention towards me. I barely nodded, knowing I didn’t really have much of a choice.
We went into an empty room. My arms were crossed over my chest.
“Anna, you were with your brother last night, is that correct?” The man asked. I looked at his badge, noticing the name stitched into his uniform; Officer Wilson.
“Yes, I was.” I managed to say.
“Where did you go? Who were you with?”
“We went to a party. I didn’t know anyone there; they were some of Max’s old friends. But um, it got a bit out of hand so, I left.” I hated saying it out loud; because now I knew, if I hadn’t left, he would be okay.
“How was your brother acting last night?”
“He was fine! I mean – he had some drinks but, but he’s legal. He was okay, I don’t – I’m sorry I just don’t think there’s anything I can tell you that’s going to help.” I said, my words running together as I attempted not to cry.
“I know this is very difficult, but these questions are mandatory for this case. Any information we can get is helpful.
“Wait, case?”
“This is a severe act of drug abuse, dealing, and violence. Not only do we need to find out who did this to him, but who he was buying from. I can’t tell you too much at the moment, and although your brother is very lucky to be alive, this isn’t just going to go away. I’m very sorry. I’ll give you a moment.” He said, stepping out and closing the door behind him.
The second he was gone, my eyes filled with tears that fell freely down my face. I felt like I just needed a minute to collect myself, so I sat down on one of the uncomfortable hospital chair, trying to comprehend what was happening. I just couldn’t understand, this was MAX we were talking about. He had never done anything like this – but then I remembered… his suspension. He had been so aloof about it, not even telling me why he was asked to leave school. Could this be it?

Hours had gone by and Anna still hadn’t called me back. I was starting to get nervous that something was really wrong. I called her again, but there was no answer.
It was 9 PM and everyone in my family was going off to relax in their separate rooms; which was quite impossible for me right now, so I decided to call Louis just so I could have someone to talk to.
“Hey mate! Happy almost Christmas!” He answered in his usual cheerful tone.
“Hey Lou. Um, I’m sorry to call now, but um, I think something’s going on with Anna and her family and she won’t call me back and I’m sort of going mad.”
“What’s happened?” He asked.
“I really dunno. I called her a few hours ago and she just said that her brother was missing and she would call me back to explain, and she still hasn’t.”
“Oh god, that doesn’t sound too good. Well, I would just give her some time. If it’s something serious I’m sure she’s really frazzled. She’ll call, we both know that.” He said quite certain which actually made me feel a little better.
“Yeah, I suppose… So, how’s your break going?” I asked, changing the subject.
“Great! I’m going to see my dad for Christmas Eve and then my mum’s with my sisters for the morning.”
“Ah, well tell them all I say hello.” I said.
“I will, tell Anne, Robin, and Gemma the same.”
“Will do. I’ll talk to you soon.”
“For sure, and if you get any updates about Anna, feel free to call. Whatever the time.”
“Thanks, Lou.”
I hung up, flopping down onto my small, unmade bed.
I tried to keep myself busy for a while, flipping through channels, tidying up around my room, but I couldn’t keep my mind off of it.
Finally, at around 9:45, I heard my phone ring. I dove across my room to answer it, seeing Anna’s name flash onto the screen.
“ANNA?!” I said breathlessly.
“Harry.” She said in practically a whisper.
“Anna what’s going on?! Are you okay?”
“I’m fine. It’s my brother, Max. We uh, we went out last night to this stupid party and he was drunk and I was tired, so I went home. Then, he never came back this morning-“ Her voice broke and I heard her let out a small sob. “- And then these police officers came to our house and told us he had over dosed and got beat up really badly and he was in the ER. So um, that’s where we are now. I just – I don’t know what to do, and I really don’t want to ruin your break, but I just-“
“No, no, Anna, please do not feel bad. I want you to let me be there for you. Even if I can’t actually, be there.. But um, I didn’t know that your brother had a drug problem!”
“He doesn’t! Er, at least, I didn’t know that he did. They won’t let us see him still, and we’ve been here for hours. I’m scared, Harry.”
“It’s gonna be okay. I’m sure he’ll be okay. But I just, I can’t believe it”
“I know…” She breathed out. I could hear her trying to hold back the tears. I wished more than anything that I could see her, and be there for her right now.
“What else have they told you?”
“Nothing really. Just that he is lucky to be alive. I don’t even know what that means! I don’t even know where he was, or who he was with. I can’t- I can’t believe I just left him.” I knew she was going to end up blaming herself, I could just feel it. “I have to go, my mom needs me. But I’ll talk to you soon.”
“Okay. I love you.”
“Love you too.” And with that, the line went dead. I was shocked; I didn’t know what to do with myself right now. I hated knowing that she was all the way in America, dealing with so much with virtually no one to lean on. And I was just sitting here at home, unable to help in any way.
“Mum?” I asked, walking into the living room where she was sitting on the couch, watching the end of an episode of some cooking show.
“Yes, love?” She asked casually.
“I just got off the phone with Anna. Her brother OD’d and he’s in the hospital.” I had told her earlier how Anna had been on the phone, so I felt this need to update her on the new information.
“Oh my god.” She said, her hand going to her heart. “How is she? Well, that’s a stupid question- I mean-“
“She’s a mess. I can just tell…” I sat down next to her, running my hand through my curls in frustration. “I wish I could do something. She sounded completely gutted on the phone.”
“I know you want to help, but I think beating yourself up about it isn’t going to help either of you.”
“I know…” She was right, as usual. “I think I’m going to try and go to sleep. I’ll see you in the morning.” I said, pecking her on the cheek and wandering back into my room where I in fact, did NOT end up going to sleep. Instead, I lie in my bed for hours, staring up at the ceiling.

Well, it was officially the day before Christmas. Unfortunately, the only thing that reminded me that I was supposed to be in the holiday spirit were the decorations scattered around the hospital: a mini Christmas tree here, a menorah there…
My mom and I had slept here over night, constantly begging for updates and getting nowhere. Then, finally, at 5 AM of the 24th, a doctor carrying a clipboard walked in.
“Family of Max Grayson?” He asked, eyeing both of us as I jumped up form where I had been sitting.
“Yes!” I answered; eager to hear whatever it is he had to say.
“So sorry to have kept you waiting. My name is Alan Rickfeild, I’ve been the doctor taking care of Max.”
“Is he okay?” My mom asked.
“He’s alive. But no, he is not okay. He had several very severe injuries; internal bleeding, broken rib, broken arm, a tooth knocked out. And although all of those things are terrible, that isn’t my main concern here.”
“What is it then?” I could tell my mother was getting impatient.
“Miss. Parks, how long has your son been involved with drugs?”
We were forced to answer several more questions asked by both the doctors and police officers. As far as they knew, Max had not only been severely under the influence, but he had also been dealing; which ultimately had something to do with getting beaten up so badly.
At around 8 AM we were told we could go in and see him, but to be completely honest after everything I had heard about him today, part of me really didn’t want to.
Although my mother was livid, she still wrapped her arms around Max, bursting into tears.
“I’m so glad you’re okay, honey.” She said, kissing him gently on the cheek. I kept my distance, staying close to the door, not wanting to even look him in the eye.
“Anna, come here.” I heard my mother say. I didn’t move.
How could you do this to me?” I eventually spat out towards my brother. I looked up to see an uncomfortable look on his face.
“Anna, please.” My mom said, clearly embarrassed by my outburst. But I didn’t care.
“Tell me!” I said, raising my voice.
“I don’t-“
“You don’t what, Max? You don’t know how you could force me to go out with you last night, how you could get drunk at some strangers house where you were apparently dealing AND doing drugs? What, is that why you got suspended?!” I didn’t regret saying it. I was too angry to keep any of his secrets anymore.
“Max, what the hell is she talking about?” My mom asked, her voice a little higher than before.
“I- I um, It’s-“
“I’m done Max.” I said, opening the door and walking out, not looking back at either of them.



It had been a nice Christmas; all four of us getting up on the morning of the 25th, eating breakfast and opening gifts. But as nice as it had been for me, it had been that terrible for Anna. I could tell she was trying her very best to hold herself together when I talked to her on the phone, but she clearly was far from okay.
Which is why, on the day after Christmas, I decided to get on a plane to New York without telling her.
“Harry, are you sure about this? I mean, it’s very sweet. But-“
“I have to mum. I just have to.” It was all I could say to explain this to her. I NEEDED to be with Anna right now, as much as she would try to deny it.
“Well you are a very nice boyfriend. Have a safe flight, dear. Please call me when you land, alright?”
“I will mum. Thank you for a lovely Christmas, and for understanding. Love you.” I said, hugging her, Gemma, and Robin before I stepped outside and into the waiting cab. I was really unsure about how Anna was going to respond to me showing up unannounced. Part of me wondered if she would be mad, but I just felt like this was something that I needed to do.
Hours later, I arrived at JFK airport. Because no one knew I was even coming to the US, there wasn’t the usual crowd of fans outside the airport; which I had to say I was sort of thankful for. As much as I wanted to meet fans, that wasn’t why I was here.
I slid into the first cab I could find, giving them Anna’s address.
Driving through New York City was an event within itself, so it took a bit longer than I had suspected, but finally we pulled up in front of a tall posh-looking apartment building. There was a doorman who held the door open for me.
“How can I help you, sir?” He asked.
“I’m here to see Anna Grayson. I’m her boyfriend.” I said politely.
“I didn’t know Anna had a boyfriend!” The man said, sounding like a surprised and proud father figure. I just smiled and nodded.
“Well go on up, they’re all the way on the Penthouse.” He said, smiling warmly at me.
“Thank you.”
On the elevator trip to the top floor, I tried my best to calm my nerves. I was hoping she would be glad I was here, but the closer it got to actually knocking on the door, the more unsure of myself I became.
Finally, the elevator doors slid open and the only option I had was to swallow my pride, and just go for it.
I knocked a few times until finally I heard someone unlocked the door, but it wasn’t Anna who answered; it was a woman who I assumed was her mother. Actually, I didn’t really need to assume, I could just tell. This woman looked very much like an older version of Anna. She had the same blue eyes, same petite figure, and same blonde hair. This woman may have been at least 30 years older, but you couldn’t miss the similarities.
“Hi, um, sorry. I’m Harry, Styles.” I said quickly, clearing my throat.
“Oh, um, well, I’m assuming you’re here for Anna?”
“Yes ma’am.”
“She’s not here.” She said bluntly, giving me no explanation.
“What? What do you mean, where is she?” I was trying to stay calm.
“She left yesterday to stay in a hotel.”
“Would you mind um, giving me the address possibly?” Something about the way she talked told me that she wasn’t very pleased with her daughter, but thankfully, she obliged and wrote the address on a fancy piece of stationary.
“Thank you.” I said, gripping the paper in my hand.
“Hopefully you’ll be able to get through to her.” I heard her mumble as the door shut.


“How could you do this to me?”

I replayed the moment over and over in my head, remembering the guilty look on his face, the confused look on my mother’s. I didn’t know where I was going to go; I just knew I couldn’t be around either of them anymore. So, I went home and began packing my bags. My mom arrived later and somehow convinced me to at least stay until after Christmas. Not that it really made a difference. She spent Christmas day at the hospital, where I refused to go, and then, the very next day, I left; which is how I ended up here, at a hotel, completely alone.
I was half asleep when I heard a knock on the door. I had the ‘Do Not Disturb” sign on the doorknob so I quickly assumed it was my mother. And if it was, I knew she wasn’t just going to leave. So, I got up and opened the door;
Harry?” I couldn’t believe who I saw standing in front of me. I was in complete shock.
“Hi.” He said, a small smile on his face. He shuffled his feet nervously.
“How did you – “
“I talked to your mum. She told me you were here. And I know you said you were okay but I just didn-“ I felt fresh tears escape my eyes, falling down my cheeks. I cut him off, throwing my arms around him, sobbing into his chest.
“Shhh, it’s okay, I’m here.” He said soothingly, rubbing my back and pressing kisses into the top of my head.
“I missed you so much.” I managed to choke out, clutching him tighter.
“I missed you too baby, so much.” We stepped into the room, shutting the door, but never breaking away from each other.
“I can’t believe this.” My words were muffled into the fabric of his wool coat. “What the hell are you doing here?” I said, laughing a little as to how surreal this entire moment felt.
“I could hardly just sit around in Holmes Chapel knowing you were here all by yourself”. His voice was low and quiet, causing butterflies to erupt in my stomach.
“But you didn’t need to come all the way here, I feel terrible for pulling you away from your family.” I moved away from his slightly, looking up towards his face. I was so short that all I could see was his chin, so he moved his head down so we could be eye-to-eye.
“Don’t you dare. I wanted to do this, and my family knew it was important to me. I just needed to be here.” I felt the first smile in days form on my face and without giving it a second thought; I pulled Harry’s head down a little further, connecting his lips with mine. And in that one moment, it felt like everything just, fell into place. For the first time since I’ve been home, everything felt completely right.
“You do too much for me.” I mumbled into his ear after we had broken apart from the kiss.
“Are you kidding me? You put up with so much because of me; you deserve whatever it is that I can give back to you.” I put my hands on his shoulders, just looking up at him. I think I had forgotten how seriously beautiful Harry was; the intense green of his eyes, his full lips, and his soft curly hair (hidden under another grey beanie, of course). Sometimes I still just stop and wonder how the hell I got so lucky. Not to be girlfriend of ‘Harry Styles from the boy band One Direction’, but just to have a boyfriend who cares about me as much as Harry does. I know it’s a rarity to find someone like this, and I know how lucky I am.
“I love you.” I whispered, my hands roaming from his shoulders to those few little curls at the nape of his neck. I pressed my cheek against his chest where I could hear the steady beating of his heart.
“I love you too.” I heard him mutter, tightening his grip around me. “Were you sleeping?” He asked, referring to my messy hair and extremely casual attire.
“Sort of, but-“
“Come on then.” He said, pulling off his coat, scarf, and hat and lying down in the bed next to me. “We have all the time in the world to talk about all of this. Let’s just relax for now, okay?” I nodded, nuzzling into his shoulder as Harry wrapped his arms around me. I had barely slept for the past few nights, tossing and turning for hours and never being able to stop my thoughts from taking over. But for the first time since finding out about my brother, I slept completely soundly.


@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! :)