My Heart Skips A Beat
ANNA’S POV : 3 Weeks Later From the day we arrived home at Heathrow Airport to hoards of screaming and crying fans, I knew things were changing. Everywhere we went, things we’re crazier than they had even been before. It was scary for me, with the crowds of people that followed us everywhere we went. Which is what caused me to become the type of person who doesn’t leave their house for several days at a time. I basically had Harry and Louis’ apartment to myself most days. One Direction was booked for some sort of event every day of the week. Whether it be signings that lasted 5 hours longer than planned, or late-night concerts that involved afterparties. All of that on top of the usual batch of talk shows, radio interviews, photo shoots, and appearances…To say I rarely saw any of them was an understatement. Harry would shuffle into his room late at night, dead tired and barely able to get a full sentence out before he collapsed into bed, falling asleep the second his head hit the pillow. I wasn’t angry with him for that; I understood why he was so exhausted. All five of the boys were being overworked. They never complained, but I could tell. Harry had constant bags under his usually sparkly green eyes, which have dulled a little in the past weeks. He put less effort into what he wore; settling with dirty t shirts and old jeans. And as much as it destroyed me to admit it, he had gotten lazier with me. We used to have so much fun together; always joking and laughing. He would cook and I would tell him stories as we ate on the floor. We would listen to music and he would chuckle as I danced around the apartment, finally giving in to me and joining in, twirling me around. Now, it was almost like we were roommates. He would give me a quick kiss in the mornings, apologizing for having to leave me alone yet again. At night, he would try to talk and hold a conversation, but it seemed more like work to him at this point. And I know it’s only been three weeks but if feels like so much longer. Maybe because things are evolving and changing at warped speed. Valentines Day had come and gone with little to show for it. One Direction was doing a performance at a private event. Harry had promised to make it up to me. he said we would do something special soon, but I didn’t really feel the need to press him on it. So, on the night of the 14th Danielle, Eleanor, Perrie and I stayed in, eating ice cream and watching movies. Speaking of Perrie, she’d become a member of our little girlfriend group almost immediately. We met her just a day or two after we got back and she was just as incredible as Zayn described her. They were great together; her adorable goofiness bringing out his rarely-seen silly side. She was beautiful, smart, funny, and incredibly nice. it was almost unfair, you weren’t supposed to be that perfect. The night we met everyone has gone out to a club to let loose right before they went back to work Monday morning. Zayn and Perrie never left each other’s side. And when they did for those few quick moments, his eyes were on her, admiring her from afar, literally. I was so happy for them. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little envious. “You guys are still in that amazing ‘honeymoon phase’. Everything’s all new and exciting and it’s all 3-hour makeout sessions and presents and giggling and talking on the phone for hours… i’m jealous.” I had told her that night. “Oh, I don’t know. You and Harry seem pretty happy together. I’m not going to lie, i’ve seen pictures in the papers, you’re always so happy together. I assumed she was referring to pictures from a while ago, since there hasn’t been much cute coupley-ness between me and Harry lately. As she said that, my eyes scanned the room, finding him taking a shot with Louis. He had been pretty drunk that night and I remember having to sober myself up just to get him into a cab, up the stairs, and into bed. I wanted to be happy with Harry again. I wanted to be able to say anything to him and I wanted him to just care a little bit more. I couldn’t always be his first priority, of course I knew that. But I was allowed to be once in awhile, right? HARRY’S POV: “So are you like, coming to the party after the party?” Blonde-Girl-With-Pink-Streak asked, grabbing my arm and leaning forward so I could see clear down her shirt. “No, I don’t think so.” I said, already bored with the conversation. “The Party After The Party”, really? “Oh, well, you should definitely reconsider. We’d love to hang out some more.” She and her other friend, Quiet-Girl-With-Red-Glasses smiled, nodding enthusiastically. “I should get going. But thanks for the drink.” I said, setting my empty pint glass on the bar, making a beeline for Liam, who was standing at the other end of the bar with Niall. “I think i’m gonna go home.” I said to the pair of them. “You sure mate? Apparently there’s some other party going on.” Niall was already pretty tipsy, swaying as he spoke, his eyes glazed over. “Nah, but have fun.” I patted him on the back, hoping he wouldn’t go too crazy tonight, we did have work tomorrow. The apartment was dark and quiet when I stepped in. I saw Anna’s school work spread out across the tiny kitchen table, which she had started doing ever since we got back. She said she was really behind with stuff and it was twice as hard when she wasn’t actually in the class. And while that all might be true, it seemed like a way for her to not have to deal with me. I noticed an empty cup of tea in the sink. I went into my room to find her asleep, on her side of the bed, where she had been staying a lot lately. She looked so young right now, so perfectly innocent. Her lashes fluttering, like she was dreaming about something, her long hair spewed out around her. I had this urge to wake her up. I wanted to tell her about my day, and ask her what she did, or how she was feeling, or literally have any kind of conversation other than “We should buy some milk.” or “Louis said he would meet you there”. I felt distant, and I knew it was mostly my own fault. We were really working a lot, but I could always make time for her if I tried hard enough. But for some reason I wasn’t. What happened in Hawaii really messed with my head. Before that, everything had been going so well. After we had decided to just move on, that was sort of the opposite of what we did. Anna was distant, quiet, almost nervous and standoffish around me. That night where she strictly stayed on her side of the bed, that was when I knew. That had never happened with us before, and it really threw me off. I pulled off my shirt, slipping out of my shoes and jeans, getting into bed next to Anna. I Iie there for a few minutes, listening to her even breaths, dying to reach over and wrap my arms around her, but something stopped me. It was that same thing that had stopped me from really talking to her over the past few weeks. It was like this invisible force, a line I just wasn’t allowed to cross. I was over analyzing everything I had done in the entirety of our relationship when I felt her turn over. “Harry?” She asked, her voice groggy. I looked over and saw her rub her eyes, looking over at me with a look of surprise on her face. “Yeah, hi.” I smiled, loving the way she looked when she just woke up. “I thought you were going to be out late tonight?” I had told her that, and for a while I had expected to. I hated the tension between the two of us, so going out until I was sure she would be asleep, or until I was drunk enough to forget about everything, was the one way I wouldn’t have to deal with it. That was sort of my tactic for most things; distancing myself from the stuff that I wasn’t happy with, until eventually it inevitably blew up in my face. “I felt like coming home, to you.” I said quietly. The only reason that I was sure she actually heard me was the slight movement she made towards me. I felt her fingertips graze my arm and it caused a tingle in my skin that I hadn’t felt for weeks. “Look at me.” She whispered. I looked down into her big blue eyes, silently begging her to give me some sense of what was going on in her head. “I’m glad you’re here.” She said, cupping my chin in her hand. I smiled softly, getting that same feeling in the pit of my stomach that I always used to. “Me too.” I responded, pulling her closer to me and letting her fall asleep in my arms. Tonight was the first night since that night that I slept soundly, and I think it had a lot to do with the feeling of her heartbeat next to mine. The next day I was up and out of the house by 7:30, i’m sure long before Anna got up. “Have fun last night?” I asked Niall, who was clearly suffering through a major hangover. He just nodded and sipped his tea. Zayn was sitting on the couch across the room, texting Perrie incessantly, while Liam and Louis had been asked to do a quick magazine interview. We were waiting for Paul to get here so we could head out to the event we were booked to do, which gave us a bit of down time. “So what’s the plan tonight? I heard about something from Grimmy, he told me to tell you about it.” Niall said. “You sure you’re up for another night of partying Nialler, you like a little beat.” “Oh, i’ll be ready by tonight, trust me.” They both laughed. “I think i’m just gonna stay in tonight.” I admitted. They looked at me quizzically. “Really?” Niall questioned, surprised. “Yeah, i’ve been going out too much lately anyway. I need a bit of down time.” “If you stay home, i’m pretty sure you won’t exactly be getting down time.” Zayn joked, laughing along with Niall. I had hoped they hadn’t seen my reaction; eyebrows raised, a shrug. But they did. “What was that?” Zayn said. “What? Nothing.” “That was not nothing mate. What is it, lady trouble? I can help you with that, since i’m apparently an expert at this point.” he was trying to cheer me up, but it wasn’t working. Last night had been a glimmer of hope, it reminded me that I still had her, she was still here, that had to count for something. If she was really done with me, she would’ve left already, right? So with that in mind, I need to do whatever I have to to show her how much I care. “You really wanna know?” I asked him. He nods. “Ever since Hawaii, Anna and I just haven’t been…ourselves. She’s all quiet and distant. And then there’s me, getting out of the house whenever I have the chance. I think some of it has to do with being back here and knowing that all her friends are in school, and she’s not. And the fact that she’s pretty much forced to stay in the flat all day thanks to the paps outside. But I know it’s really mostly about me and what I did. And I have no clue how to fix it.” Zayn didn’t say anything for a minute, thinking it all over I assumed. He nodded. “Um I know it’s a crazy idea but, have you tried talking to her about it?” “Well, not really.” I sounded idiotic. Most likely because i’m an idiot. I know I need to talk to her, duh. I was just hoping Zayn had some better advice than that. “Pretty sure that’s a good place to start.” Niall chuckled in the corner. I gave him a death glare and he went back to silently sipping his tea. “I know but what do I even say at this point? It’s been nearly a month! Shit, what if I ruined everything?!” I stood up, tugging at my hair and ruffling at it. I always seemed to do that when I was stressed. “You’ll never know if you don’t ask.” “Yeah, yeah you’re right. I guess it’s really all I can do at this point.” I sat back down, lacing my fingers together. “Thanks for the obvious advice that I was just too stupid and nervous to take for the past 3 weeks.” Zayn just smiled and waved it off as if it was nothing. But honestly, sometimes I wonder what I would do without these boys. ANNA’S POV: Today was the same as the rest of them have been; lonely and boring. I was getting restless in the quiet of the apartment, so at about 1:30 I decided to brave the swarm of photographers outside and just go for a walk and get a coffee or something. I pulled on some old jeans, my trusty black motorcycle boots, a grey sweater, and my favorite leather jacket. I pulled a beanie over my head and slipped on my sunglasses to attempt to do this in cognito, knowing it wouldn’t actually work. When the elevator reached the lobby I already heard the loud voices and screams from fans. The main door revealed me to a group of people, all hoping I was one of the boys. haven’t they seen them all leave this morning? Either way, there was at first disappointment, followed by some recognition. “ANNA WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN WE HAVEN’T SEEN YOU?!” “ANNA HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT HARRY’S PARTYING?!” “ANNA YOU’RE LOOKING PRETTY THIN!” They were telling me these things as if I didn’t already know them. As if I was unaware of the mess that currently was my life. But I just kept my head down, ignoring them as best I could. “Anna, sorry, could I just get a quick picture please?” I heard a girl ask. I looked up to see a girl about my age standing just a foot away from me, looking nervous and hopeful. “I know this is kinda a bad time but you’re such an inspiration to me.” “I- I am?” I was shocked. No one had ever said that to me before. “Sorry but, why?” I didn’t want to sound mean, I just couldn’t believe she was telling me the truth. “Just, the way you handle everything so well. I can’t imagine being Harry Styles’ girlfriend is simple. But you make it look effortless. And from what i’ve read online and stuff, you haven’t had it all easy. I just, admire you for that.” She smiled and I felt like crying, taking the camera from her hand and wrapping one arm around her shoulder while the other reached out and took the picture of the two of us. “What’s your name?” I asked. “Juliet.” She responded, smiling brightly. “I’m gonna remember that.” I smiled, hugging her before I walked away. The time by myself, outside of the apartment, was actually pretty great. Once I got a decent distance from the paparazzi I sort of just did my own thing. I didn’t expect anyone else to notice me, I certainly didn’t look like anyone special. And I wasn’t. So I just got a coffee and sat in a little cafe with my headphones in as I flipped through an old magazine I had thrown in my bag. I went to Sephora just for fun, and stopped at TopShop with no intention of buying anything at all but left with a new sweater and a pair of shorts. It was nearly 4:30 when I got back to the building, surprised to see a few people still milling about. I heard the camera’s flash as I again attempted to get through this unscathed. “ARE YOU SURE YOU’RE DOING OKAY? YOU LOOK PRETTY SKINNY.” I heard one of the men say. “EAT SOMETHING WHORE!” I suddenly heard a girl’s voice yell. A split second later, I felt something cold and sticky fall directly on my head. I was in shock. I didn’t move for a minute. I think everyone was a little taken aback, but it only took a millisecond for the men with their camera’s to start snapping away, getting every frame of my most humiliating moment captured forever. “Oh my god.” i said, stifling a sob. I wiped my eyes. There was no way to gracefully recover from this. “IS SHE CRYING?!” Another girl yelled, mocking me. I covered my mouth with my hand, hiding the sob that escaped. I needed to get out of here right. now. “ANNA WHAT’’S GOING ON WITH YOU?! ARE YOU AND HARRY OKAY?! DID HE REALLY CHEAT ON YOU?!” I felt tears burn my eyes. One or two might’ve fallen, but I couldn’t do anything about that now. I just grabbed my things, opened the gate, and ran into the building and up the elevator. I’m not sure how much more of this I can handle before I break.