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My Heart Skips A Beat

Chapter 4

When I got back last night I had gone right to my room to finish the homework I had due the next day. I hadn’t talked to anyone until I showed up to breakfast, late as usual.
“Where were you last night?” Molly asked as she sipped on a cup of tea and nibbled on her wheat toast.
“Oh I just went out for a little while.” She gave me a skeptical look that I pretended not to see, quickly changing the subject.
“So what did you do after school?”
“I went to the café with Keenan and Oliver, which you were supposed to join us for.”
“I know, sorry. I already had plans. Was Oliver pissed?” I immediately remembered the conversation we had had.
“Not pissed just, disappointed I think. He likes you. And you clearly, don’t. I just don’t think he sees it yet.”
“It’s not that I don’t like him. I do- just, as a friend.”
“Yeah, yeah. I know. Just, let him off easy, okay?”
“Yeah, of course.” This was something that I was already dreading having to do. Maybe if I was lucky Oliver would just get the hint and then I wouldn’t have to have this conversation with him. But truthfully, I doubt it.
“So, if I may ask, whom exactly did you go out with last night?” I knew this question was coming.
“Just, uh, some people I met the other day. It was really casual.”
“I, well…” I really should’ve thought this through earlier.
“Well HELLO my dear friends!” I heard Bryce shout from across the room. He walked over and took a seat next to me with a full plate.
“How is everyone this morning?”
“Why do you insist on being the peppiest person on earth at 8 AM?” Molly groaned and I nodded in agreement. Bryce didn’t respond, just with a shrug and a smile that could cure cancer. He began devouring his breakfast as we sat and talked about nothing for a little while, thankfully Molly didn’t bring up ‘The Question’ again, so the rest of the meal managed to go pretty smoothly.
It was a regular, boring school day, filled with conversation about metaphors and verb conjugations and Pre Calculus. Lunch was an awkward experience in itself. Oliver was the only one at the table when I got there and instead of being a coward, I decided to be mature and go sit with him.
“Hey.” I said, trying to sound like everything was fine.
“Hi.” He responded, not looking up from his plate.
“What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, Anna. I just- I need to ask you something.”
“Okay…” I suddenly felt nervous and like I wanted to run away.
“Do you- I mean, I like you, and uh, I just- I was wondering if you, just-“ He was going on and on like this and it was so painful to watch, I just needed to say something.
“Oliver. Look, I like you, I do. Your super nice and fun but I don’t like you, like, THAT. I’m really sorry if I gave you the wrong idea.” It sounded pitiful and fake even to me, but it really was the truth.
He slumped a little in his seat.
“No, it’s fine. I sort of figured that when you said you were busy yesterday.”
“That wasn’t a lie, I swear! I really already did have plans. And I really like hanging out with you, as friends.”
“Okay, yeah, that’s fine. Thanks, Anna.” He began to get up from the table, about to walk away.
“Olly, come on! Don’t go. Please?” He looked down at me and sighed.
“I’m not mad, I just need to go.”
“Mmkay…” I mumbled, letting him go. A couple people ended up coming over to sit at the table but I didn’t really talk much. I felt bad for possibly leading Oliver on, when I never had any interest in being anything more than we already were. But the worst part of the whole situation was; No matter how much I felt bad, or thought about what had happened with Oliver, Harry freaking Styles was still always a constant thought in the back of my mind.

Molly and I had made a plan to do homework in the library after school that day. And after our almost-conversation earlier, I was dreading it. Only because I knew she was going to ask me again who I had been with last night. And she did-
“Come on Anna, why won’t you just tell me!”
“Why does it matter?” I asked.
“It didn’t until it became a secret. Now it’s a big deal because you’re making it one!” She gave me a pleading look and I knew there was no way I was getting out of this.
“Okay, I’ll tell you. But before I do, you need to swear that you will not tell ANYONE. Not even Keenan, I’m serious.” She automatically agreed.
“Okay, well… You know how the other night I told you I left the pub because I was feeling sick?” She nodded as I continued reluctantly, “Well, I was getting in a cab and right when we were about to pull away, this guy jumped in the car. There were all these people around the cab and I was already feeling really claustrophobic, so I was sort of freaking out. And it was Harry Styles- the guy in the car, I mean.”
“HARRY STYLE$!?” She practically screamed.
“Molly! Shut. Up.” I said, looking around.
“Sorry, sorry. I just- what? How?”
“I don’t know, it was so random. I didn’t even know who he was when I met him.”
“Are you kidding? How do you not know him!?”
“I think you’re forgetting, up until a week and a half ago, I lived in AMERICA.”
“Okay, so then what happened?” She leaned forward on her elbows, dying to hear more.
“Then we went out for a cup of tea, and he asked me to hang out with him and his friends yesterday and I did. And that’s all. But I’m not kidding Molly, you cannot tell a single person.”
“I know, I got it. So do you like, LIKE him?” I immediately felt myself blush. “Ahh you DO!!” She squealed.
“No, I don’t.” I lied. She gave me a look, but I still didn’t budge.
“Wait, you said you were hanging out with him and his ‘friends’. That wouldn’t include… 4 boys…” I gave a small smile and she practically leaped out of her chair across from me.
“You did NOT hang out with One Direction last night. Oh my god!” Although she was whispering I was still nervous that people could overhear us.
“Molly!” I reprimanded yet again.
“I’m sorry but you can understand why I’m freaking out a bit! I mean its ONE DIRECTION. You’ve got to tell me everything!”
“I don’t know, they were all really nice…”
“Wow, you are no help at all.” She said with a giggle.
“There’s just not much to tell. They’re all really normal.”
“Ugh, you have no idea how many girls would kill to be you right now.”

It wasn’t until the next day that I heard from Harry again. I was just getting back to my room after spending almost 3 hours in the Library studying for a Biology test I had the next day. My phone began ringing as I was walking up the stairs to the 4th floor.
“Hello?” I said, out of breath and not bothering to look at the Caller ID.
“Did I catch you at a bad time?” I heard the husky low voice and immediately knew who it was.
“ Oh, uh, no. Not at all! Hi!” I tried to calm my breathing down as I finally made it to my floor, unlocking my door.
“Sorry I haven’t rang. The boys and I have been so busy in the studio with the album coming out in just 2 months.”
“It’s totally fine, I’ve been so busy with school and everything.”
“Oh really? Well then I guess you wouldn’t be able to make some time for me?” He said, slightly flirtatiously.
“I think I might be able to squeeze you in.” I responded, giggling a little.
“Tomorrow night? A friend of mine is having a party at his flat.”
“Yeah, sounds fun.” I stood in the middle of my room giddily.
“Perfect. Can’t wait to see you.” Neither of us hung up, “So, do you have a bit to talk?”
“Yeah, of course” I sat down on my bed, leaning against the wall with a pillow in my lap.
“So- Tell me, Anna Grayson, how is this new life in London treating you thus far?”
“Ehh, I’d say it’s pretty good so far. I still have no idea how to use ‘the tube’ as everyone insists on calling it. And coffee seems to be a foreign to you people.” I heard his low laugh and it literally gave me goose bumps.
“I think you might be right about the coffee part, but I CAN help you with the tube, er, I mean, the ‘subway’.” He said ‘subway’ in this terrible American accent. I burst out laughing.
“What!? I thought that was pretty good.”
“It was descent.” I said, trying to imitate his deep British accent.
“Oh HA HA. You SO funny.” He said jokingly. “But really, everything is going well? Not too homesick?”
“Yeah, it’s actually okay. Now, you tell me; how’s this super secret new album going? Liam couldn’t say enough about it the other night. Sort of ruining the whole “Super secret” aspect of it all.”
“Yeah, Liam can have an absolute massive mouth when it comes to the music. But, it’s great. We’re pretty much done with the tracks. We still have a bit until the album is actually released, but I can’t wait!” I could hear the excitement in his voice.
“That sounds amazing. You guys must be so happy.”
“Ugh, It’s incredible. It’s just, like, after all this time- everyone’s gonna finally be able to see what we can do. I mean, the single is doing well, and then the whole album- Its gonna be crazy.” He sounded so giddy just talking about it. “Sorry, I get a little, crazy, when I’m talking about work stuff myself, guess I shouldn’t really be poking fun at Liam.”
“No, its fine! Its cute, hearing you all excited.” He just laughed. “Yeah, well… Now it’s your turn, what makes you excited?” The question caught me off guard and I really had to think before I said another word.
“Hmm… really good books that make me cry.”
“Yeah, well…” I responded in an imitation of him. I couldn’t help but smile. I loved this kind of thing; this giggly, flirty conversation. It was just simple, and fun, and made me feel happier than almost anything else.
“I should go. Got to get a good night’s sleep before we’re back to work tomorrow.”
“Yeah, me too. I have this massive Biology test tomorrow.”
“Well, good luck. I’ll be thinking about you.”
“You too. Goodnight, Harry”.
“Night, sleep tight.”

I had spent most of the night, tossing and turning, unable to fall asleep. Not that I think this had anything to do with it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about Anna. I had wanted to call her the day after she want out with all of us but I literally had no time. So when I did have a moment, I couldn’t wait. It had been nice, talking on the phone instead of texting. I think sometimes people forget how much better it is to actually hear someone’s voice. Or maybe I just liked hearing her voice.
But, the real reason I think I couldn’t sleep is the fact that in a matter of weeks, our first album is going to be out. The fans have been so supportive, waiting ever since the show and the tour ended, and they deserved this more than anyone. We were all really happy about the songs, but that doesn’t mean we were any less nervous. Of course we were going to like the songs, they were ours. But the real test would be when it finally hit the public, how would they react?
“Harry!” I heard Zayn shout from across the table, snapping me out of my own thoughts. “What’s going on with you, mate? Daydreaming about your new girl?” The boys laughed and joined in with a chorus of questions and shouts.
“She’s not my girlfriend, boys. That much is obvious.”
“I wouldn’t say that. You two were getting pretty close at the pub the other night. Your face was like, this far away from each other.” Niall said, using his and Louis face as an example and moving it so their noses were practically touching. Louis turned and let out a huge scream in Niall’s face, he jumped and did his signature Niall Laugh, clapping the air.
“Well…” I said, remembering that moment for the millionth time. I had SO wanted to kiss her then, but at the same time, it didn’t feel right, the timing or something.
“Well you’re seeing her tonight, right? Did you invite her to Danny’s party?”
“Yeah, yeah I did.”
“Well brilliant then! You’ll have all the time in the world to make a move tonight!” Niall said enthusiastically as he scrolled through what I assumed was his twitter feed on his phone.
“We better get going boys!” Liam said, pushing everyone along to get up. We had to be at the studio in 15 minutes, and it usually took that long just to get over there. It was around 9:30 so I assumed Anna could be in her test right now. I pulled out my phone and sent her a quick text that she’ll get once its over.

Best of luck on biology today. I’m sending good thoughts your way!! Looking forward to seeing you tonight xx.

I knew it was sort of bold to add the ‘xx’ at the end but it was just a reflex, and before I could second-guess myself I pressed the Send button. I wasn’t expecting a response back for a while so I slid my phone back into my back pocket and got ready to go to the studio. We were pretty much done with recording, just a few tweaks here and there.
The boys and I piled into a big black car that was waiting for us.
“What time do you think we should get to Danny’s?” Liam asked, looking up from his phone.
“I dunno, like half seven?”
“Yeah, sounds good.”
“I’ll just meet you lads there, I’m going to go pick up Anna.” I tried to say this as discreetly as possible, not wanted to attract attention. But it was too late; they were all already looking at me with googily eyes. You’d think none of them had lives, considering how interested they were in mine.
“Would you all mind your own goddamn business? You’re like a bunch of teenage girls.” I laughed.
“You’re the one who’s blushing, Haz.” Louis admitted. This caused me to punch him on the arm, which he responded to with a punch on my shoulder, which eventually broke out into a full-on wrestling match in the back of the car.
“Guys, calm down!” I heard Liam say, always the concerned father of the group.
“Ohhh Harry’s in LOVE!!” Louis chanted in a girly voice, giggled uncontrollably.
“Louis shut the hell up or I’ll tell Eleanor you sleep with the bathroom light on because you’re afraid of the dark!” He immediately stopped and looked at me.
“You wouldn’t.” I just shrugged and raised my eyebrows at him.
“Fine, I’ll cool it.” He crossed his arms over his chest and pouted for the rest of the drive there.
“Oh, don’t act like a child, Lou. I wouldn’t actually tell Eleanor. Anyway, I’m sure she’ll figure it out for herself eventually.” He shot me a death glare but even then couldn’t manage to keep a straight face.
“Your such a twat!” He laughed, going back to his usual, happy self.
A few minute later we arrived at the recording studio where our vocal coach, producer, and a few other people were already waiting for us.
“Hello boys! So, how are we all feeling about the November release?” Our Producer, Jacob, asked enthusiastically. We all responded with cheers and smiles.
“Good, good. Well, obviously your going to need to do a lot of promotion even leading up to the release. We have you booked on a number of talk shows, radio shows, and we’re also going to want you to go over to the US to film a music video. And I know it sounds like a lot, but it’s all going to be worth it when you hit Number 1” He kept going on and on about appearances and signings and traveling, but all I could think about was those two words;
Number. One.
When we lost The X Factor, I was more devastated than any of the boys, or, I just showed it much more. In my mind, the only option at that time was winning. And when that didn’t happen, I was devastated. And even though everyone kept saying that we would stay together and we would still make music, I was so scared that that was all just big talk that nothing would come of it. But then, only days later, Simon Cowell called us into his office. That was the day when everything changed, when he signed us to Syco. And if you could have told me that only a few months later we were releasing an album with talk of being number one, I don’t think I could have believed you. It was all just so much happening so fast, not that I was complaining.
Jacob was still going on and on about our completely packed schedules that would start in about a weeks time.
“So, with that in mind, I hope your all ready to hear the first few finished tracks today!” He clapped his hands together and motioned for us to sit down. We hadn’t heard any of the songs completely finalized, other than What Makes You Beautiful, and I could not wait.
The first was ‘Moments’, a bonus track that had been written by our really good friend Ed Sheeran. It was an incredible song. It was quite haunting, really.
Second was ‘Stole My Heart’, a super upbeat dance song that Niall felt the need to fist pump to every time he heard it.
The third song was ‘Stand Up’ which was actually one of my favorites;

“From the moment I met you, everything changed. I knew I had to get you, whatever the pain. I had to take you and make you mine”.
The words were a little too spot on, it was freaky. As we all sat around, concentrating on the track playing, my phone buzzed. It was a response to my text earlier, from Anna;

As far as I can tell I will not be becoming a biologist in the future. But I think it went okay. How’s the music business treating you?

Well that’s all you can hope for a86;. We’re listening to a few of the tracks for the album. It’s so crazy, that these are really OUR songs! Maybe you can hear one of them soon, it reminds me of you.

I decided in that moment to stop trying to be discrete and just go for it. I liked her, I REALLY liked her. And if anything was going to come of this, I needed to be proactive and make the first move. So that’s what I was doing.
“What do you boys think?” Jacob asked when the third track had ended.
“It sounds brilliant!” We all agreed.
“Good, perfect. We’re just going to want to get a few background vocal s done for More Than This. So can we have Zayn and Niall in the booth first, then we’ll do Louis on his own for his solo, and then Harry and Liam together for the chorus bit?”
The next few hours went by quickly, we were kept busy with work and by the time we were done it was already half six. We got back home to find Danielle and Eleanor making use of their spare keys. They were sprawled out on the couch in Louis and My living room.
“Well, make yourself at home, by all means!” Louis said jokingly, giving Eleanor a quick peck on the cheek.
“Already done! Oh, also, we invited Anna over. We didn’t know you guys were going to be back so soon so we said it was just the two of us.” I immediately perked up,
“She’s coming here?”
“Yeah, what’s the matter with that?”
“Nothing! I just- nothing…” I suddenly felt nervous. I know I had been all confident when I had sent that text earlier. But when she never responded, I felt sort of stupid for sending it. Hopefully she just wouldn’t mention it.
“How long till she gets here?”
“Probably just a few minutes…” Danielle responded casually.“Relax, Harry!”
“I’m fine.” I tried to play it off like I was unfazed, but they all saw right through me.
“There’s no need to be nervous, I’m serious.” She said, as if she knew something that I didn’t. Did she? But I didn’t have time to ask before the intercom was buzzing. Niall jokingly lunged to answer, but I shoved him out of the way and beat him to it.
“Hello?” I said, as casually as I could.
“Oh, hi! It’s Anna.”
“Come on up.” I felt my smile growing. A minute later there was a knock on the door. I opened it and saw Anna standing in front of me, a confused look on her face.
“I thought it was just Eleanor and Danielle?”
“Disappointed?” I said smugly.
“No, I just wish I hadn’t worn sweatpants.” She motioned down to her clothes.
“You look perfect no matter what, get in here.” I embraced her in a hug, wanting to hold on for much longer than was appropriate.
“Anna Hollis!” Niall said in a funny accent, giving her a quick hug, as everyone else did the same. I watched as she joked with my friends, fitting in quite perfectly. I saw her glance over at me for a second, her blonde hair falling out of its ponytail and into her face as she smiled at me. I leaned up against the back of the couch as everyone joked and laughed, watching her interact with these people as if she’s known them all her life. Even though I liked Anna no matter what, the fact that everyone else seemed to like her too just made it that much better.
“Who wants a little pre-party cocktail?!” Louis asked, waltzing into the kitchen and pulling a few beer bottles out of the fridge. He passed them out to everyone, including Anna, who took it hesitantly.
“You don’t have to drink it if you don’t want to.” I said quietly, sidling up to her.
“I’m not a little kid Harry.” She said, gazing up at me and taking a swig of the bottle.
“Oh, I know.” The way I said it even made me stop. But she quickly moved past it and was back in the group conversation. I took a long swig of beer, letting it wash over me. I felt stressed, not because of anything other than the fact that this absolutely incredible girl was standing about a few centimeters away from me. So yeah, I sort of really needed the beer.


@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! :)