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My Heart Skips A Beat

Chapter 38

I think maybe I had expected Harry to be able to find me here, but when I heard his soft, low voice say my name, and I looked up to see him standing there, I was still surprised.
He knew, I could just tell.
“I don’t know what to do.” I said, a sob escaping my throat.
“I know, baby.” He pulled me against him. Neither of us said anything for a few minutes; he just held me and stroked my hair and made soothing noises in my ear.
“How did you know I was here?” I finally asked, pulling away just enough to look into his deep green eyes.
“I just did.” It was all he needed to say to cause an entirely new batch of tears to fill my eyes. These tears were slightly less about the website and the people at school, and a bit more about the fact that Harry knew. I didn’t know how, but he knew.
“You can come back to mine, yeah?” He muttered, his lips grazing my cheek as he spoke. I nodded. It was a Monday night, but I didn’t care. There was no chance that I was going to school tomorrow anyway, so I might as well be somewhere I felt safe and at home.
Harry took both of my hands, pulling me up and into another bone-crushing hug.
“Why didn’t you tell me when you found out?” He said, his voice sounding slightly hurt.
“I… I don’t know. I guess I felt guilty. This is just one more of those ‘things’ you had been talking about. I don’t want any more of those things Harry. I just want you.”
“Shh… Don’t say that, please. This is not your fault. You have nothing to feel guilty about. This wasn’t you, it wasn’t. It was – them. Whoever they are”.
Some girl named Ingrid. I thought to myself.
“You want to go back? I’ll make you some tea, yeah?”
“Okay.” Harry kept his arm wrapped protectively around me, leading out of the park.
“We should come back here, in the spring.” I heard myself say, so quietly that I wasn’t even sure Harry had heard me. But then he rubbed my arm, nodded, and said;
“We will.”

“She’s still asleep?” Danielle asked. It was around 9:30 and Anna hadn’t left my room since we got back. She had said she was tired, so I let her relax and I just did whatever I could to help. And as much as I hated it, in this case I think that meant giving her a bit of space, at least for a little while.
“Yeah. I think she just wants to be alone, not that I blame her.”
“This was brutal, what they did to her. I can’t even imagine. I mean, El and I have dealt with hate and things, but this just seems… different.” Danielle and Liam sat on the couch next to Niall. Louis and Eleanor were on the other end of the sectional, and I sat in the middle. Zayn was coming over later too. We all wanted to be here for Anna, whenever she decided she needed or wanted the company.
“I feel like I should be DOING something, I just don’t know what.”
“Would you mind if we put something out on twitter as well? I don’t see what harm it could do?” Liam asked politely.
“’Course, thanks lads.” Thinking of twitter, I hadn’t checked my phone since I wrote that message earlier when I had first found out about everything. So, as everyone else began composing their tweets about the situation, I pulled out my own phone, seeing what damage I could’ve caused.
Obviously, there were tons and tons of tweets and messages about all sorts of things, but most of them were related to Anna. They ranged from; “She seems like a really nice girl who doesn’t deserve this kind of hate.” To “What happened to Harry’s girlfriend?” or; “I don’t feel sorry for her. She knew what she was getting into. Besides, how long do we think this ‘relationship’ with REALLY last?!”. Those last ones hurt, a lot. And it took a lot of willpower not to respond in the harshest way possible. I then went on to checking my texts; there were a few from some friends about random things. Then, I saw one from Simon;

‘Harry, I’ve heard about what’s happened. Give me a call. And tell Anna how sorry I am and I hope she’s doing alright. ‘

I needed to remember to call him later.
“Should we maybe get some food for when Anna gets up?” Eleanor said quietly.
“Yeah, that’d be great actually.” I said thankfully. The flat was pretty quiet; none of us really knew what to say as Louis and Eleanor grabbed bags and coats to leave from the market.
“Harry?” Danielle asked eventually, breaking the silence. “Would you mind if I went in there and talked to her for a minute?” She gave a small smile. I really never understood how important it was that Anna have people like Danielle and Eleanor in her life. It was clear from the moment they met that they cared and took care of each other, because they were all handling the same things.
“Yeah, course. Thanks, Dani.” She got up, giving me a quick hug, before disappearing into my room.
“How you doing, mate?” Niall asked. It was just the three of us left. I just gave him a look as if to say, ‘really’.
“Sorry, rubbish question.”
“You boys know how thankful I am and how much I love everything we do and stuff, but sometimes it can be a real pain in the ass.”
“We know, Haz. And this might be the worst thing we’ve experienced, and it’s horrible that it happen to Anna. But at this point what can we do?”
“That’s what I’ve been trying to figure out…”

I had told Harry I was tired and wanted to try and sleep for a little. But I think he knew I really just wanted to be alone. I wasn’t sure what time it was, but I still wasn’t the least bit tired. I was in the bathroom, splashing cold water on my red and puffy face (from the crying) when I heard a light knock on the door.
“You can come in!” I called out, assuming it was Harry. But then Danielle appeared in the doorway of the bathroom.
“Hey. I didn’t know you were here.” I said.
“Harry thinks your sleeping.”
“I know” I responded, feeling guilty.
“You doing alright?”
“Not really. I want to be. I don’t want this to effect me this much, but it is.”
“Of course it is babe! We don’t expect you to be okay, we just want to be able to help.”
“I know, I’m sorry. I guess that’s not something I’m that used to hearing.”
“Well get used to it girlie, because we’re not gonna leave you alone. Ever.” She said, smiling and laughing a little.
She came over and hugged around my shoulders.
“Yeah… Thanks, Dani.”
“No problem. So you think you’re ready to come out and hang out with us?” I laughed, wiping my eyes one more time before nodding.
“Good. Let’s go. I think someone could use a drink.”
I felt kind of awkward and slightly embarrassed walking out into the living room where the three boys sat.
Harry turned, seeing Danielle and I walk out of his room. I broad smile formed on his face and just like that, he made me feel 100 times better.
My girl.” I heard him whisper as he buried me in a hug. I took a deep, shaky breath, trying my absolute hardest not to cry. Niall always got really nervous and awkward when people cried.
“I love you. Now I need your help. Just for tonight, I really want to try and forget about all of this.”
“I think that can be arranged.”
A little while later Louis and Eleanor got back with enough junk food and beer to last us weeks.
“Wow, you guys don’t mess around, I’m very impressed.” Niall joked, grabbing one of the bags and digging into it, pulling out various packages of cookies and candy.
“Not necessarily the most nutritious, but I thought the situation called for sweets.” Eleanor said, coming over and standing next to me. I wrapped one arm around her shoulder, squeezing.
“Thanks” I muttered.
The rest of the night went reasonably well. Maybe it was because I had had a few drinks, or maybe because I was surrounded by people whom only want the best for me. But either way, there were a few times where I actually did find myself having a pretty good time.
It was really late when everybody either left, or passed out on various couches and beds. Harry had his arm around me and was holding me up / guiding me into his room.
“Yeah?” I could tell he was trying not to laugh. I wasn’t exactly drunk, but I had been getting there.
“I’m gonna go to the wedding.” He stopped, still holding onto me, but he turned so he could look me in the eye.
“- But only if you come with me.” I wound my arms around him, burying my head in his neck.
“I don’t really think you’re in the right state to be deciding this babe.” He murmured, chuckling.
“No, no. I’ll do it. I will.”
“Let’s just talk about it tomorrow, yeah?”
“Hmm…” I had already moved on from the topic, breathing in the boyish aftershave scent that lingered on his skin.
“You wanna go to sleep?” Harry asked, his hand stroking the back of my head, combing through my hair with his fingers. This always calmed me down and made me fall asleep.
“Yeah.” Harry pulled of his shirt and jeans and got into bed just in his underwear. This was something I had gotten used to over time. I changed into pajama shorts and we both got into bed together. I let him pull me against his chest, and as I drifted to sleep, I began to wonder what the future would bring. Because right now, I couldn’t see things staying the way they are right now; In this weird, static, in-between world.

“NIALL! I NEED THE BADDER TO ACTUALY MAKE THE COOKIES. STOP.EATING.IT!” I was woken up by loud voices, traveling in from the kitchen. Anna was still sound asleep next to me, her head buried under the covers. I got up as quickly as possible, opening the door and shutting it behind me.
“Are you lads trying to wake us up?” I joked, walking in to see Louis, Niall, and Eleanor in the kitchen, surrounded by baking ingredients. “What the hell are you doing?” I asked.
“This one came up with the genius idea of making everyone feel better by baking. But Niall keeps eating all the cookie dough.” Louis said, hitting Niall on the back of the head.
“Well, it was a nice thought.” I said, trying to maneuver my way around the kitchen and get a mug for tea.
“How’s she doing?” Louis asked, his tone suddenly quieter and slightly more serious.
“I honestly haven’t got a clue. I think last night was good for her, and exactly what she needed. But now, I just don’t know. And she’s missing school and saying she wants to go to the wedding, and…. I don’t know what I can do to try and help and its fucking killing me.”
“Harry, you’re doing it right now.” Eleanor responded, jumping up to sit on the counter next to Louis. “You’re being there for her whenever she needs you. Anna is one of those people who’s had to pretty much raised herself, and dealt with all of the hardest parts of her life all alone, Until now. So I just think it’s still something she needs to get used to. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t appreciate it, or you.” She smiled and we all turned to stare in awe.
“You should be a therapist!” Niall said, thoroughly impressed with her answer to my only semi-rhetorical question.
“You are… completely right.” I said, shaking my head. “I just think sometimes I forget everything she’s going through, er, what she already has. Thanks, El.” I smiled, nodding at her. “I’m just gonna, take this into her” I say, picking up two mugs for each of us.
“You awake babe?” I asked, pushing the door open with my foot. Anna was still in bed, but she had her phone in her hands, scrolling through something.
“Hey, yeah.” She responded, smiling and sitting up, taking the mug I handed to her. “Thanks.” She murmured, taking a small sip of the hot liquid.
“You feeling a bit better?” I asked tentatively, sitting down next to her and sipping my own tea.
“I don’t know… I’m still, confused. And kinda hurt. And embarrassed. But last night was fun, so thank s for that.”
“It was my pleasure. And you still have every right to feel all those things. And believe me, no one is taking this lightly; I actually got a text from Simon. He told me to tell you how sorry he was.” She looked surprised.
“Wow. Really?”
“Yeah…” I couldn’t tell what she was thinking.
“I meant what I said last night. About the wedding.”
“You sure?”
“Yes. But only if you go with me.”
“Of course.” I then saw a little hint of that sparkle in her eye that had always been there. The blues were a little bluer, and her smile was a little brighter. Things may not be perfect, and they might never be, but as long as I continued to see that sparkle in her, I knew we were going to be alright.

I had texts from Molly and Oliver; asking how I was and if I was coming back tomorrow. But I didn’t answer any of them. I just needed to get away from school 100%, even for just a single day. I had gotten the texts when I had been on my phone earlier. I tentatively logged onto Twitter, nervous to see what kind of damage had been done. And then, while scrolling through my feed, I saw the tweets from Liam and Niall that they had written last night. Niall’s said;

“Come on guys, this is just rude and disgusting. We know it’s only a small group of people that did this, but they should feel ashamed and sorry. No one deserves to be treated this way. By hurting Anna, you’re hurting Anna, and ALL of us. ”

While Liam’s had said;

“We all love Anna and if you knew her at all, you would know how sweet she is. She is the last person who deserves something like this. Think before you act, because you never know who could be effected by what you say or do.”

I could’ve started sobbing right there and then, but Harry was opening his bedroom door with 2 mugs of tea before I got the chance. He was trying to tiptoe around the big questions, the one that I knew he really wanted to ask. So right then and there, I decided to just go for it, and answer one.
I hadn’t been sure about going to the wedding until right now. Because I knew if Harry were there with me, I would be able to get through it. And I had to admit, there’s a large chance that if I didn’t go, I would regret never knowing what would happen if I had.
“I hope I didn’t pressure you into anything or-“ I put a finger to Harry’s lips, shhing him.
“Please just, stop worrying. I want to do this, for me. Having you there is just an added bonus.” I felt his lips curve into a smile against my finger.
“Okay. Now. Next order of business.”
“Yes, of course. Very official.” I joked.
“This website. Our people are already dealing with taking it down. But, that’s not really what I’m worried about.”
“What are you worried about?”
“I’m fine, Harry.”
“No you’re not, how could you be?! Anna, you don’t need to try and put a brave face on for me.” He stroked my cheek, looking at me intensely.
“I know…” I said quietly. “I just want this to be gone. I want to be able to get past it. I just don’t see that happening.”
“It will. We’ll get past it, it might just take a bit.” He gave a small half-smile, showing me one of his dimples.
“So, do you think you know who did it?” He moved his hand from my cheek to my hair, twirling strands around his fingers.
“Yeah…. Apparently this girl Ingrid who’s a massive fan of yours. But I really don’t want to like, confront her or anything. Can’t the site just, go away?” I knew I was being stubborn but I couldn’t help it for some reason.
“I suppose. But –“ He stopped and seemed to be rethinking something. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll call Jacob and just, ask him to get the site down. If that’s what you want.”
“I think it is.” I didn’t know what I wanted. The truth was, I didn’t want to have to handle any of this. But I thought that just getting the site deleted and then moving on would be the simplest thing to do.
“Alright then.” Harry said. I knew he was hesitant. But I was thankful that he didn’t push me on the issue. “Anna?” He said as we both moved to a comfortable position; Harry’s arm around me, my head resting on his shoulder.
“Yeah.” I looked up at him and saw a different expression on his face.
“I’m sorry.”


@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! :)