Save Your Heart
Last night’s show had been one of my worst ever. I wasn’t into it at all. wanted to be, I felt so incredibly guilty; All of those people had paid to see us, all five of us. But if was obvious that I wasn’t pulling my weight. I forgot lyrics, lost track of where I was meant to be standing, didn’t talk much at all throughout the concert.. I was a mess. I was shocked that no one said anything afterwards, but I wasn’t going to question it.
All I could think about for the past 2 days if the fact that she still hadn’t called. I’m not sure why, but I had actually expected her to. It was completely illogical, but I was still holding out hope. I hadn’t texted or called either;
I was sitting in my hotel room, on the end of my unmade king sized bed, my head in my hands, the phone pressed to my ear as it rang…and rang…and rang…
“Hello?” I was stunned to hear her voice on the line. So shocked, that I forgot to respond.
“Yeah, it’s me.”
“Hi.” Her voice was quiet and sad. I thought, if she even answered, that she might be angry. But she wasn’t… that made me hurt even more.
“Hi.” I wasn’t sure what to say. I clearly hadn’t thought this through.
“Um, why are you calling me?”
“I guess I wanted to apologize for the other night. I don’t remember much… but I assume I was a complete twat. I don’t know what I was thinking…”
“- You were gone when I woke up.” Once again, her words surprised me. Had she wanted me to stay?
“Oh, um. Yeah, well… we had rehearsals for the show last night.”
“How’d it go?”
“Honestly? Terribly. I was a mess.”
“Because of you.” I had said it without even a second thought. The words had slipped out; it was the truth.
“Um, well then, I’m sorry, I guess.”
“You don’t need to be sorry.”
“You’re probably right.”
I nodded to myself, realizing she couldn’t see me. “I don’t know why I called.” I said, trying to work things out in my head. She was being so blunt, and so honest. It scared me, because it was forcing me to be honest too. “- Actually, that’s a lie. I know exactly why I called. I called to tell you that i’m sorry, which I did. but I also called you to tell you that I miss you. I miss you so fucking much, every single day. And even though what I did the other night was stupid, at least I did something, right?! I mean, it would’ve been completely mad for us to be in the same city for an entire week and for me to do absolutely nothing about it!” I stopped myself, before I went too far.
I heard her sigh on the other end of the phone. “You know I miss you, Harry.” She had that tone in her voice when she was about to cry.
“Then when can I see you again?”
“I- I don’t know.”
“Please, Anna. Please.” I had to resorted to begging. You’d think i’d be more ashamed of it. But in all honesty, if it was what got her to really talk to me, than I was willing to do it.
“No. No, you’re gonna say no. I can feel it. I can’t let you say no.”
“I wasn’t going to say no/”
“What were you going to say?”
“I was… I’m - I’m late for an appointment. Can I um, call you back later? Or, you can call me… or something…”
Before I could protest, or ask her what she wanted to do about this. The line went dead.
“I kissed Liam.” I said simply as I sat down with Dr. Newton. He didn’t seem very fazed. He knew who Liam was - he knew. But still, he didn’t even flinch.
“And I fucking kissed LIAM ! And now Harry’s calling me, asking to be able to see me. And I have no idea how i’ll deal with that. But I also don’t know what would happen if Harry found out about what happened!”
“Did you by any chance, want to get back at Harry? And that could be why you did this…?”
“No! And I didn’t even do anything! He just, randomly kissed me for no reason. I mean, he was trying to be helpful. He kissed me, and then asked if I felt anything. And if I didn’t, that might mean Harry needs another chance.”
“So did you?”
“Feel anything? Oh god no! It’s Liam ! But - I still feel guilty for some reason. And I totally shouldn’t. I mean, Harry’s the one hooking up with one girl after another for months.” Dr. Newton just nodded, writing something down in his notebook. I always wondered what he was writing in there…. I assume it’s not proper therapy etiquette to ask.
“Liam asked me to come to their show tonight, at the Beacon. He had someone drop off a ticket at my building.” I hadn’t thought Liam wasn’t telling the truth or anything, but I was still surprised when a got a call saying there was something waiting for me downstairs. And there it was; a front row ticket and a backstage pass, just waiting for me.
“I might regret it later, but I sort of feel like I have to go.” In all honesty, I had even surprised myself with that one. It was the first time I admitted that I wanted to do this.
“What do you feel that you will get out of it?”
“Um, I mean… I guess I wouldn’t mind seeing Harry when he isn’t falling over in my kitchen at 1 AM. I sort of want to know what he has to say, I guess out of curiosity. And all of the other boys are my friends too, I miss them alot. I just sort of think it would be good for me to get out. It’s not like I have anything better to do.”
“That seems reasonable.” He nodded.
“Really? Me, reasonable? That’s unheard of.”? I joke, to which Dr. Newton just gives me an only half amused look, before asking me a question about my mother and if i’d talked to her since she’s been away. But I wasn’t able to focus on anything he was saying for the rest of our appointment. I was too scared and excited and nervous for what might happen tonight.
The show tonight was going to be better. I was going to make sure it was. I couldn’t have another repeat of last night, no matter how shitty I felt. And this one was important, the people at this show has paid for special VIP tickets, apparently there were people from all over the country, who had flown and driven here just for us. I needed this to be perfect. If not only for them, for me. I had felt so guilty after yesterday. Thinking and analyzing everything I had done or said (or, I mean, not said) up on stage.
“Harry - you’re needed in the main dressing room.” One of our assistants said, poking her head into the Greenroom. I got up from my permanent spot for the past 2 hours on the couch and made my way into the room filled with clothes, people, and the smell of hair product.
“Alright, sit down, time for a trim.” Lou Teasdale, our main hair stylist, ordered. I did as I was told, sitting in her swiveling chair.
“You alright? You seem so quiet.” She said, wetting my curls with a spray bottle of water before pulling out her scissors.
“I’m fine I guess. Just, nervous about the show.”
“Yeah, okay, shut up…” I said, knowing I wouldn’t hear the end of this. People always found it so strange that I still got stage fright. “ I just really fucked the show up last night, I feel awful about it.”
“Well, i’m sure you’ll do better tonight. Plus, this is a much smaller show, so hopefully that means less nerves. So, have you talked to you-know-who?” Lou was the furthest thing from discreet if she wanted something from me, she was just gonna say it.
“I actually just called her. Not sure how well it went though. I didn’t expect her to answer, so I hadn’t really thought anything through… and then, I just was babbling on and on and she pretty much hung up on me. But she said she missed me. And she wants to see me.”
“Well that’s good news!”
“I guess… unless she wants to see me to tell me to stop trying.”
“I’m sure that’s not it.”
I didn’t want to talk about it anymore, which I think Lou could tell. So she switched the topic to something about Lux and how she went shopping for an outfit for her the other day and ended up all the way in Camden looking for this presumably very special baby clothes store… it was a long story, thankfully it kept me distracted for the rest of the time it took her to cut my hair. When she was finally finished, we didn’t have much time until the show started; only about an hour and a half. I had spent most of the day at rehearsal, and then contemplating whether or not I should call Anna. Time sure flies when you’re having a mental breakdown.
“NEW YORK CITY MAKE SOME NOISE !!” I screamed, running out onto the stage, lights blaring in my eyes, the shrill shriek of the crowd oddly comforting after this long. Before I knew it, the first few chords of the song were playing and we were off. I was going through the motions, trying to muster up some confidence to pull of the thing that normally came naturally to me.
When the song ended, there was a chorus of cheers. Louis was saying something to the audience. But I was a bit distracted by a serious-looking conversation going on between Niall and Liam across the stage. before I knew it, Niall was walking hastily over to me, leaning in to say something into my ear.
“Don’t be too obvious, but look to your left, right backstage, next to the drums, standing next ot Paul- “ I immediately looked in the direction he was referring to, my heart dropping to my stomach when I saw the familiar face staring out towards the crowd. She looked incredible; perfect.
“Oh my god.” I said. Niall was watching me intently, like I might bolt at any moment.
“Just get through the set, mate.”
That wasn’t going to be a problem now.
I didn’t know why she was here, how she had even gotten in, or what she was thinking. All I know, is that I wanted her to see me at my best. I needed this show to be perfect. I had found the determination I had been lacking not even five minutes ago.
Almost 2 hours later all five of us were saying our final thank you’s, waving to the crowd, and as the lights went out; running off-stage.
It was dark, meaning I couldn’t see Anna anywhere. I was looking around frantically, searching for her, when I heard a soft, sweet voice behind me.
“Harry.” She said. I spun around, and there she was. Standing right in front of me.
It felt like the first time i’d seen her, even though I know it was only 2 days ago. But I don’t want that one to count, I can barely remember what I had said. But now, everything about her was perfectly clear; her long blonde waves laying over her shoulders and down her back, her large blue eyes, looking up at me, her small frame, dressed in a light blue sundress that made her look innocent and beautiful. I was so distracted, I had forgotten to speak.
“I - I cannot believe this. I mean, how? What changed your mind? How did you even get here?”
“Um, I don’t want to ruin your night. But if you want, we can go somewhere to talk.”
I had almost backed out a hundred times, but I still ended up backstage at The Beacon Theatre, watching those five boys do what they do best. I didn’t want to, but my eyes naturally went to Harry. I’m pretty sure he had seen me after the first song. And I didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but everything about him changed after that; he was more animated, more energetic, and his voice was even better than before (if that were possible). But I couldn’t think about that, I had to keep my head clear. After the show, I assumed they were all going to go out or something. I didn’t want to be the one to mess up his plans, but he had immediately agreed to going somewhere else to talk.
Harry was leading me through hallways and several doors, until we reached an area labeled “Greenroom”. He opened the door to a large room with couches, a TV, and tables of food.
“Do you want anything?” He asked, grabbing a bottle of water from the cooler.
“No, thank you.” I sat down hesitantly on one of the black leather sofas. Harry sat down next to me, with about a foot of space between us.
“You did great tonight…” I said.
“I, um… I almost didn’t come here…”
“How did you get in?”
I finally looked up, wishing Liam had been the one to explain this to him. But nope, it was my job. Just what I needed.
“Well, uh… Liam came by my house the day after… everything. And he wanted to apologize for apparently being the one to tell you to, I don’t know, do whatever you were trying to do. And he said he wanted me to come here tonight, he had someone drop off a ticket. And I wasn’t sure if I was going to show up until like, 4 hours ago.”
“What changed your mind?”
“You did.” He seemed startled by my answer. “I wanted to see you, and talk to you. For real. Not like the other night.” He just nodded, gripping the water bottle tightly in his hand.
Harry took a deep breath, seeming to be collecting his thoughts. In this moment of silence, I couldn’t help but just look at him, notice little things about him. His curls were matted to his forehead with sweat from the exhausting show, his white oxford shirt unbuttoned at the top, revealing a bit of his chest, along with the few pendants that hung from it. I noticed some tattoo’s on his wrist and arm. I wondered where they had come from, when he had gotten them… who he had gotten them with. He looked tired, unbelievably so. But even with these small changes, he was still Harry.
“I don’t know what I was thinking. It was stupid. It was the wrong time, and… I’m sorry. But what i’m sorry for is showing up drunk at 1 AM. I’m not sorry for trying.” He lifted his head, his beautiful green eyes staring at me.
“Do you remember what you said to me the other night?” I asked.
“Not really. Whatever it was, i’m sure it’s stupid-”
“No. It’s not. You said you were tired, of ‘all of it’. And you said you weren’t happy. Is that true?” It had been the one thing that stuck with me. Because when he said that, it broke my heart.
“I guess it is.”
“Why aren’t you happy, Harry?”
“You know why…-”
“No! I don’t! I need you to tell me! I don’t know anything about you anymore!”
“That’s a fucking LIE, Anna! You know me better than anyone! And you know why i’m not happy. It’s because of you, because i’m not with you. Because I ruined everything.” I felt tears prick the corners of my eyes, but blinked them away before Harry could notice.
“I don’t want it to be like this. I just think it has to be. At least for now.” I said quietly, staring at the carpeted floor, not daring to look him in the eye.
“Because, I’m a mess. I don’t want to be. I want to be the person I was 9 months ago. I want to be the person you know, but right now, i’m not. I’m… seeing a therapist every week, and i’m living alone, and i’m just trying to figure things out. And you’re living this entirely separate life, which I would never want you to feel guilty for. Because it’s your job, and you love it. And things just aren’t… right- at least not yet. Do you know what I mean?”
“Yeah, I do…” He looked dejected, like he knew this is what I was going to say.
“I know I was really drunk. But, I remember the important things from the other night. I remember how you helped me, and that you remember how I take my tea, and you were wearing that t shirt that we got at that place on Portobello Road, the one I said I liked so you bought it and wore it when you stayed over at my place. And you had your hair up, which I always think makes you look really sexy…. and I know I shouldn’t be saying this, because it’s not gonna change anything. But I remember telling you that I love you. And I do.” He was looking at me with a look that I knew well, it was real love. And I couldn’t stop the tears from forming in my eyes. I wished I could just forgive and forget everything that’s happened over the past 3 months. I want to hug him and smell the familiar scent of him and be allowed to touch him and kiss him.
Instinctively, I reached over and took his hand, squeezing it. I ran my fingers over his palm, staring at it and looking at the quote tattoo around his wrist “I Can’t Change”. I felt a tear run down my cheek, but I didn’t bother hiding it from Harry.
“I love you…” I whispered, gripping his large hand between my two much smaller ones. I didn’t want to let go. I kept telling myself I had to, but I couldn’t do it. “ I want you to be happy. I want you to have fun and be able to live and experience things. And I want that for myself too. And if we’re meant to be together, maybe we’ll find our way back to each other. But right now, we both know it isn’t possible. It could never work…”
“Anna, baby, please-” He managed to get out. I looked up to see his eyes glassy. Harry didn’t cry much, hardly ever. And it only made me more emotional. “- Please don’t say that. I can’t take it.” He choked out, wrapping his long fingers around my hands, holding onto me tightly.
“Do you remember… um, that date you took me on? When we went to the Ritzy, and we watched The Wizard of Oz?” Harry nodded, not looking me in the eye. “I was thinking about that the other day. It’s one of the best memories I have. Not just with you, but, like, ever. I’m serious. It was so perfect.”
“Why are you telling me this?”
“Because I want you to remember us, and me, like that. I don’t want times like this as the only thing you can think about. It’s something Dr. Newton, my therapist, tells me. He makes me talk about memories and dreams and stuff a lot, and it actually is really helpful. I just, wanted to tell you that that is how I remember us. Not like this.”
“The Bungalow.” Harry said suddenly.
“The Bungalow. That weekend. That’s my memory. Not for, what happened with the pictures. But, on the car ride there… it was when I told you I loved you for the first time. It was the first time we were - together, like that. And even though it didn’t go as planned, it was still perfect for me.”
“Me too.” I smiled to myself, remembering jumping into the pool in the brisk October weather, sitting by the fire, Harry cooking me dinner. It had been sort of perfect; in a weird, messed up kind of way.
We sat for a minute longer, still both clutching the other persons hands for dear life.
“I should go.” I finally said. Harry still didn’t move though. He made no effort to let go of my hands. He shook his head slightly.
“I don’t think I can let you go.” He whispered.
“You have to.” I said back. He nodded..
Then, slowly, I leaned forward. I moved over so I was sitting slightly close to him, our legs now touching. I moved forward that little bit necessary to just barely graze him lips. The moment could barely be considered a kiss, but if felt so significant. I pecked him on the cheek, finally extracting my hands from his grip.
“I can’t watch you walk out that door.” Harry said, quickly standing up and looking at me with desperation.
I smiled sadly, taking a few steps towards him “Close your eyes.” I murmured. He did as I told him to, his eyes fluttering shut. “Please promise me one thing; have fun, be happy, enjoy this time in your life. And try and enjoy the rest of your time in New York, Okay?” I reached up and cupped his cheek in my palm.
“I’m gonna miss you. But i’ll see you soon, eventually. I promise.” I pulled away from him, walking towards the door.
“I really do love you, Harry.” This was the last thing I said before I opened the door, and stepped out. Before shutting it behind me, I looked back to see that he was still standing there, eyes closed.