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My Heart Skips A Beat

Chapter 37

“So… Am I allowed to ask a seemingly off-limits question?” Harry asked, hours later. I was curled up on the couch, trying to get through Hamlet, and he was making tea in the kitchen.
“Hm?” I said, putting the book down on my lap.
“Are you even considering saying yes to your dad?” The question shouldn’t have taken me by surprise, but it still kind of did.
“I… Well-“
“I’m not trying to be pushy, or, anything, I was just thinking about it and, I mean, maybe it wouldn’t be the worst idea, you know?”
“And why is that?” I asked, smiling as he handed me a mug.
“For one; your brother. I’m sure he’ll be there. And, not that I know the lad very well, but he seemed to really care about you. Maybe this would just be a good time to, like, set some things straight, you know? I just want you to make the decision that you really want to, not just say a straight no just because of your feelings towards you dad, you know?”
“When did you get so retrospective?” I joked, ruffling his hair, which he quickly shook back into place.
“I think all your smartness is rubbing off on me. I mean, you are reading Shakespeare in the living room. I don’t think I’ve ever even READ in the living room.”
“Well there’s a first time for everything.” I joked. “And uh, about the wedding thing, I’ll think about it.”
“That’s all I’m asking for.”

Throughout the day, all of the boys went in and out of the flat at some point, but Harry and I managed to spend pretty much the entire day in my room. Not like, that. We just talked and watched TV and I read for school and we made out until we were both desperate for food.
“I swear, if the two of you learn to grocery shop I will be floored.” I joked as Harry locked the door behind us.
I slipped on my sunglasses as we walked outside, Harry’s hand covering mine.
“The regular place?”
“Of course.” We began walking in the direction of our favorite restaurant, dodging our way through the crowded sidewalks.
Lunch went by way too quickly and before I knew it, I was in a cab, on my way back to school for the week. Leaving Harry’s was even harder than I had expected. I didn’t want to go, mostly because somehow hisplease was starting to feel a lot more like our place. And maybe that wasn’t a good thing, but I couldn’t really help it.
Once I was back in my room, I was able to finally breathe. Lately, walking through the school halls has been terrifying. I was always worried about what people were thinking, how they were judging me, what they even knew about me. But when I was in here, behind a locked door, at least I knew there wasn’t anyone watching me, wondering when I was going to screw up next.
I was lying on my bed, my laptop balancing on my lap, when I heard a quick knock on the door. It was Molly.
I hadn’t talked to her that much since everything happened over break, mostly because I was embarrassed, and also because nothing felt as normal or natural as they used to with us.
“Hey!” I said, opening the door wider and letting her in.
“Hey. Look… I know things have been strange between us, and, we haven’t talked a lot lately. But, there’s something I think you need to know.” She was talked quickly and nervously pacing around the room, never looking me directly in the eye. I was immediately nervous, and the look on her face wasn’t helping much.
“What is it?”
“Um, can I use your computer for a second?” I nodded, handing it to her. She sat down at my desk, opening a new window and typing in a URL.
“There’s been something going around school for a while, and I didn’t even know about it until recently. But it’s – It’s bad. Really bad.”
“I don’t understand…”
“ wehateannahollis.tumblr.com. It’s… well, it’s a hate blog.”
“Of me?” I was in complete shock. And then she clicked Enter, and I felt like I was going to throw up.

“I don’t-“ I was speechless. And then I started scrolling.
There were pictures of Harry and me that had been edited; my face had been covered with random objects, or red X’s. There were paragraph-long rants about me, and how much they hated me. They made fun of my hair, my clothes, my smile, my voice, everything. They had pictures from inside school.
“How did they even get these?” I said, my voice strained.
“I think I know who started this. It’s this girl, Ingrid. She’s a Sophomore and completely obsessed with One Direction, especially Harry. I asked around and most people said they found out about the site from her. But Anna, you just have to know, I am so, so sorry. If I had known about it earlier, I would’ve told you-“
“It’s okay, I’m glad you did. Well, not glad, just… I don’t know what to say.” I didn’t want to cry, I really didn’t want to. But at this point, I don’t think I could help it.
“Oh, sweetie-“ She grabbed me, pulling me into a hug.
“I don’t know if I can take it anymore.” I sobbed. “It’s like, I can’t do anything right.”
“I know it seems that way. But Anna, you’re the strongest person I know. Everything you’ve been through in the past months, and you’ve managed to make it through it all. This is just going to be another one of those things.” I nodded, holding my breath to try to stop the crying.
“I’m sorry, I just need a minute, alone, and just – understand. But thank you, so much, for everything. I really appreciate it Molly. I appreciate you.” She gave a small, sympathetic smile, and walked out the door.
I spent the next 20 minutes torturing myself and scrolling through the website. It only made me feel worse, but it was like I literally couldn’t stop, it was almost addictive. But it was late, and I had to be up in like 5 hours, so I eventually forced myself to close the computer, and turn off the light. I wish it had been that easy to turn off my thoughts.
I knew I was going to have to tell Harry, or he would eventually figure it out himself. But I didn’t know how. And I didn’t want to. He had just been saying this morning how we’ve been through so much and we’ve always made it through it all. But that wasn’t necessarily the best thing. And although he would never admit it, he shouldn’t be spending so much time and energy worrying about me, he should be focusing on his music and his career. And this website was going to do the exact opposite.

Monday was a long day of promotion, meetings, and interviews. I had texted Anna a few times but hadn’t heard anything back. I didn’t want to take it personally or anything, she was busy at school, but it was still kind of odd.
We were at a photoshoot for some teen magazine and had been here for about 2 hours already. It’s was Zayn’s turn in front of the camera and if history was any indication, he would be there for quite a while. This gave me some time to log onto twitter and facebook to see what was going on. As usual, I had hundreds of mentions and messages, most of which I didn’t get a chance to read. I tried to respond to as many fans as possible, but with nearly 3 million followers, it wasn’t really possible to talk to everyone.
While scrolling through the feed of people, I saw an exchange between Anna and her friend Molly.

@AnnaHollis93: Hope you’re doing better this morning, love. Find me at breakfast!

@MollyHx07: Thanks Molls. I’ll be there soon, save me a seat J

What had that meant? What had been wrong with Anna? I didn’t want to read too much into it, but it still seemed strange. I sent her another quick text right before we had to go back into the studio for group shots. I wasn’t really interested in beating around the bush with subtext, so I might as well just ask her straight out;

Hey, everything okay?

Another hour had past and I still had heard nothing back from Anna. It was 3:45, so she was already out of school… What the hell was going on? I tried calling her, no answer. I knew I was acting desperate and clingy or whatever, but I couldn’t help it. I just had a feeling that something was wrong. But I needed to calm down, I needed to relax.
When we got back to the flat I grabbed my laptop and sat down on the couch, logging back into the various social networking sites. I saw that Molly had tweeted Anna again, but I guess she hadn’t responded yet.

@AnnaHollis93: Remember what I said last night. Hope to see you at dinner <3

There was definitely something going on, and I needed to know what it was. If not by Anna, than by someone else.

So, that’s how I found myself sneaking into Anna’s school half and hour later. I had been here enough time that I knew how to get past the staff. It wasn’t until I was inside the dorm building, on Anna’s floor, that I heard my name.
“Harry?!” I was prepared for the screaming fangirls, but turning around and seeing Oliver, wasn’t exactly what I had expected. “What’re you doing here?”
“Have you seen Anna?”
“She’s not with you?!” I heard urgency in his voice and I immediately felt my pulse increase.
“What? No, why? Where is she?!”
“That’s what we would all like to know. We assumed she was with you but-“
“I don’t understand what the hell’s going on.” I muttered, rubbing my forehead in frustration.
“You don’t know?”
“Know what?”

I thought the first day back from break had been bad. I had thought it couldn’t get any worse.
I had been wrong.
I walked into the Dining Hall this morning, and it was like someone hit pause. Everything just stopped. And every single set of eyes were on me.
I guess no matter where you are, news travels fast. It was insane. Last week, things were just starting to die down from the last ‘scandal’. And now, it was happening all over again. Only worse, because this time it wasn’t just the press hurting me, it was the people I was forced to spend every single day with.
“Come on.” I had heard. And then I felt someone loop their arm through mine, guiding me to our table. It was Molly, coming to my rescue.
“Thanks” I said quietly. Oliver had offered to go get my breakfast for me. Usually I would have refused, but I really didn’t feel like walking up there right now.
When he got back, everyone at the table tried to make conversation. But I couldn’t do it. I spent the entire time staring down at my granola, trying as hard as I possibly could not to burst into tears.
“Wanna go to class?”
And that was how the rest of the morning went. Either Molly, Oliver, even Bryce or Keenan, pushing me along, guiding me through the halls and from class to class. It was like I was sleepwalking. I couldn’t focus on a single word that was said in any of my classes, and I could look anyone in the eye as I walked through the halls. Lunch had been too terrifying to even attempt, so I hid out in the library until it was time for my first afternoon class, which was also my first class without any of my friends. So I was going to be forced to try and get there all by myself.
I had been hoping to be the first one in the classroom, but no such luck. There were a group of girls sitting in the back row, their desk pushed into a tight circle.
“Hey Anna! So I heard you saw your fanpage. How’d you like our contributions?” One girl said, giggling. I didn’t know any of them, had never even had a conversation. And I wasn’t willing to start now. I ignored the dig, taking a seat in the front of the class.
“Honestly, I don’t know what Harry sees in you. It’s not like you can even hold a conversation. And it can’t be for sex… maybe it’s his way of giving back to the community?” The girl scoffed. I wanted to be able to keep my mouth shut and just ignore it, but the words were leaving my mouth before I even knew what to do with them;
“Look, we don’t know each other, so you don’t have to like me. But you can please just keep your opinions to yourself, okay?”
And with that, I stormed out of the classroom.
I was done. I was just done. Without thinking, I dashed out of the building, through the main gates, and down the street, never stopping for a second to reconsider what I was doing. I just walked and walked, not even sure where my feet were taking me; until I was there.
And then when I was finaly alone, I just fell apart.

“I just don’t fucking get it. Who do these people think they are?!” I was so angry I didn’t even know where to direct my rage.
“Um, your fans.” Oliver said dryly.
“Yeah. I know. But they’re not all like this. It’s just, like, the few that seem to really stick out. Fuck! I just, I need to know where she is. She’s not answering her phone and I’m just – goddamn it!”
“You have no idea where she might be?” Oliver asked. We were sitting in his room. I was hunched over at his desk chair, my head buried in my hands because, once again, this was all my fault.
“I haven’t gotten a clue. Can I use your computer? I need to se this thing.” He handed it to me, typing in the website.
As I scrolled through, it only made me more and more angry. How could someone be so cruel to a person they didn’t even know? It would never make sense to me. Reading through the posts, I felt like I could throw the laptop right out the window, but I withheld because, well, it was Oliver’s.
“This is disgusting.” I muttered, shutting the computer.
“I know. And mate, she was really hurting today.”
“I kept texting her, and calling… she never answered.”
“She wasn’t talking to anyone. She skipped lunch. And when she was in class, she wasn’t really there. It was bad. And now-“
“And now she’s gone.” I finished his sentence.
I needed to do something concrete. So, I took to twitter. I didn’t care if management got pissed or if it made me seem like a jerk. This had gone way too far and I was done with it. So, I typed out this tweet and posted it without giving it a second thought;

‘Whoever it was that started this, you should be ashamed of yourself. It’s disgusting. How can you be so cruel to a person who you don’t even know? If you did it to get noticed, congrats. But you hurt the person I love most in the world in the process, so I’m sorry, I have no respect for you. ‘

“We need to find her.” I said simply, slipping my phone back in my pocket.
“We’ve looked everywhere. I don’t know what else to do. The only place she goes is either here, or your place. Can you think of anything? Someplace secluded, where she could be alone, like, where no one would think to look, or find her, or something…” Oliver was just thinking out loud. But suddenly, I knew.
“I know where she is.”

I had started off just at a fast pace, walking as to not disturb the other people. But as I got closer; I broke out into a run. Now, I’m not the most athletic guy in the world, so by the time I reached the outskirts of the park, I was forced to stop and take a breath.
The park, one of the first places I had ever taken Anna.
We hadn’t been back here in forever, but I just had a feeling that this is where she would be. I entered the park, walking quickly, looking around for her. It was freezing, and all the plants and flowers were dead until spring, the grass matted down from snow and ice.
Finally, I reached the little sandwich shoppe that we had gone to, which was closed now. But I only had to take a few more steps to see her. She was sitting on a bunch, her knees pulled to her chest and her arms wrapped around her legs. She was wearing a coat and scarf, but still must be freezing. There was no one else around, mostly because no one really chooses to spend time in a park in the middle of January.
“Anna.” I said breathlessly.
She looked up; her eyes wide and a completely shocked look on her perfect face. She quickly wiped away the tears that were staining her cheeks. I took 2 long strides until I was in front of her. She didn’t move, so I knelt down so we were face to face.
“I don’t know what to do.” She managed to get out, her voice breaking in the middle. I wrapped my arms completely around her, holding her as tight as I could, burying my face in her hair.
“I know, baby.” But I didn’t know. I didn’t know what she could do to fix this, or what I could do, or if we even could fix this. I just knew she needed me right now.


@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! :)