Always In My Head: A London Calling Series
Saturday Night Live Opening Theme (Howard Shore)
“Good morning, Sugar.” Harry’s raspy sleep-filled voice spoke directly into my ear. It wasn’t really morning. The pain of traveling all the time was you slept when you could and sometimes that was in the middle of the day. We’d landed early this morning from London and both crashed immediately upon reaching our apartment.
“It’s…” I glanced down at my watch. “1:37 in the afternoon.”
“Fine, good afternoon, Sugar.” He kissed just below my ear.
“I think we are supposed to get up,” I said as I turned to my side and buried myself into his chest. “I vaguely remember a text from Jeff and Tommy saying we were supposed to do lunch.”
“We clearly have missed lunch.”
“I know. I told them both to fuck off and that I was sleeping. So I think they said that they were coming over at like 2:00. Evidently you’re supposed to work this week.” I laughed a bit.
“But it’s Sunday and I just want to snuggle my girl and stay in bed.”
“Tell your managers that. I wonder if it will fly.” I knew it wouldn’t. They weren’t just his managers, they were two of his best friends. And the week ahead of us would be one of the biggest of his life. That didn’t mean he wanted to be worried about it today but I knew he needed to be. He reached for his phone on the nightstand and clicked to open it and make a call.
“Hey man.” I heard Jeff answer because Harry had the volume turned up loud.
“I’m not doing anything today.”
“Funny story, buddy. The car is dropping me off right now. Tommy and I will be up in like 2 minutes.”
“Go away. My girl is naked and I’m going to keep it that way.”
“I am not naked! I’ll let you in,” I said loudly as I climbed out of bed.
“You’re betraying me, Annie!” Harry called after me as I pulled a hoodie on while walking to the living room of the apartment. This place was one of my favorite in the world. Harry had fallen in love with New York when we’d made a trip shortly after the boys decided to go on break. He could blend in for the most part and just live. He’d decided that we needed a place here and there was no way I was going to put up a fight about that. I loved New York as much as he did. It was a place that inspired both of us to sit and write and just watch the world go by. I made it just as Jeff and Tommy walked off the elevator.
“Hi guys.” I hugged them both.
“Sorry if we woke you up,” Tommy replied.
“It’s okay. The crazy starts tomorrow. He needs to learn to function on a strict schedule again. Despite having stuff going on with the release of an album this boy still just does what he wants.” I went into the kitchen and started some coffee. "That ends soon.”
“I’m glad you were able to come with him,” Jeff said. “You’ll help us wrangle him for the week.”
“Ha! I should ask for gifts for using my skills to help you. After all these years I’m a pro at making him do shit he doesn’t want to do when he needs to do it. You two make my life easier because he at least feels bad telling you no.” They both laughed as they sat down at the island in the kitchen. A few minutes later Harry wandered into the living room in sweatpants and no shirt. His hair was an absolute mess, one of the side effects of how short it was these days was the bedhead he obtained usually meant his hair stuck straight up. He walked over to me and wrapped his arms around me before bending down and kissing my neck. I bent my head backwards and kissed him.
“Hello gentlemen.” His voice was still raspy. “Look at my girl being amazing and making me coffee.”
“Actually I was making me coffee. Want a cup?”
“Yes, Sugar.” He went to the other side of the island and hugged Jeff and Tommy. “So do I get to at least enjoy part of today?”
“Yeah, today is going to be a good day,” Jeff said.
“It’s just dinner and fun today,” Tommy added. “The real work doesn’t actually start until Tuesday. Tomorrow is going to be all done here. We have your stylist coming to decide what you’re wearing for the week and hopefully an early night for you. Then Tuesday you go in and get started.”
“And I get to shop and enjoy New York!” Harry glared at me. “And tag along to watch you work?” He smiled to show his approval.
“Was your Mom coming to the city for the week?” Jeff asked. Jeff knew that I wanted to find an excuse to bring my Mom to New York ever since we’d bought the apartment here. When he managed to book this trip for us he suggested that I bring my Mom along
“Yeah, she flies in on Wednesday. She’s really excited to see the place and be here to represent all of the parents. I’m disappointed that Harry’s Mum and Robin couldn’t join us.” We’d really hoped Robin would be feeling well enough for them both to travel and to have a good week with family but it was just going to be my Mom and we were happy with that.
“That will be fun. She’ll have a good time. I’ll make sure the passes are worked out for both of you with the network for the week,” Jeff said.
“Thanks,” I replied.
“She’s gonna love it. She hasn’t seen the apartment yet so I know she’ll be happy to have some time in the city with us.” It was amazing what we’d been able to convince my Mom to do since she retired. She’d spent six weeks with me last summer while Harry was busy filming Dunkirk. We decided to travel for a lot of it as I’d gotten approached by a travel company who wanted to plan trips that I would take and then write about on my website. It was an incredible partnership that took my Mom and I amazing places. We’d traveled all over England, gone to Ireland, Scotland, Italy, Austria, Holland, and a few trips to France to see Harry when he had a day or two off. She’d also been able to come out to Los Angeles to visit a few times when we were there. She really hated the idea of us spending all of the money on her at first but she was getting a chance to see the world and we were happy to give it to her. I’d heard she and Harry talking last summer when we’d gone to see him in France. He told her he was glad that I’d had someone to travel with while he was busy working so that I wasn’t alone or just sitting in a hotel room waiting for him to come home and sleep.
“Let’s face it boys, I’m not the reason she’s coming here.” I started to laugh as I was talking. “She hasn’t been to New York in ages and loves the city, I somehow managed to get tickets for us to see Hamilton next week when he’s finally done working, and she gets to be the proud gushing mother-in-law as she watches Harry perform Saturday.”
“What can I say? The woman loves me.” He smiled big enough for his dimples to show which of course caused me to smile.
“More than me some days,” I replied as I put his cup of coffee in front of him. I jumped up onto the counter to face them and enjoy my coffee. “So Tommy can you help me arrange a car to go pick her up? She told me she could just meet me at the apartment but I’d rather pick her up at the airport.”
“Consider it done,” he answered as he started tapping away on his phone.
“So what does the rest of today involve then? You said dinner and fun.” Harry leaned back. His body language showed that he didn’t fully trust them that he wasn’t going to get stuck working.
“Yeah, your girl planned it.” I smiled proudly before taking a drink of my coffee as Jeff continued talking. “She didn’t want to have a big mob going somewhere. Arranged for a chef to come and cook dinner. Your band is all here and will be coming over as well as Lou and Harry.”
“My girl planned a dinner?” He looked at me smiling.
“Your girl planned a dinner. Remember that little Italian restaurant we went to for our date night when we were here in February to meet with your label?” He nodded. “The chef from there is coming to do the dinner.”
“You’re pretty amazing, Sugar.”
“I try.” I finished my cup of coffee before jumping down off of the counter. I filled it up with another cup before adding sugar and cream. “I also need to try to look like a human. People should start getting here around 3:00. I wanted the band to feel like they could just come hang out with us today. So you three get your schedules for the week figured out and I’m gonna go shower off a red eye flight.” I left the kitchen and went back to the master bedroom. After finding the clothes I was going to put on for the day and stealing Harry’s pink iPhone from his suitcase I went into the bathroom.
I turned on Harry’s record and climbed into the shower. I sang along to every word like I did every morning. He was being paranoid and wouldn’t let me put it on my phone yet. It was just on this pink iPhone that floated around our house. A phone that he refused to allow to connect to the internet for fear that someone would figure out how to hack it and leak it. I wanted to laugh at his freakish paranoia but I got it. We’d been through this before. His mother’s iCloud had been hacked. Photos of us, our family and our friends flooded the internet. The minute the album was mastered and finished it went onto the pink iPhone and stayed on the pink iPhone. He was the only person able to play it for anyone which meant anytime it needed to be played for someone for advance press purposes, opinions from a label or friends we were on a plane flying somewhere with the pink iPhone. He had learned quickly to leave it in the bedroom when I was getting ready because I listened to it every day when I got ready. It gave me the chance to be in awe of his talent every morning and most of the time without him being embarrassed about my gushing.
“So have you listened to the whole album or just this one on repeat?” he asked as I stepped out of the shower.
“Fuck me!” I yelled. He’d been sitting on the sink in the bathroom watching me and I didn’t notice. “The whole album, in proper order. I just happen to like this song most.” I secured my towel around my chest as I walked over to him.
“Kim has always been right about you. So self-centered. You love the songs that are about you most of all.”
“Most of yours are baby.” He laughed before leaning forward and kissing me. “Well most of them that you write. Your album defies logic because most of them are not about me.”
“That is correct.” He kissed me again. “You smell good.”
“I smell clean, something you should try. You still smell like an airplane.”
“I’m gonna shower. Lou sent me a message. She’ll be here soon. Said if we needed to cut my hair tonight we could if I wanted.”
“It is getting a bit shaggy,” I said as I ran my fingers through it. “I like it though.”
“I’ll need to get it cut before Saturday.”
“I know but let’s not do it today. Let’s just focus on being with friends.”
“Sounds perfect. I’m gonna shower. You should keep singing to me though. You sounded good in the shower.”
“Get out of my face.” I started to laugh pretty hard as I walked into the bedroom to put my clothes on. I’d decided on a pair of black distressed jeans and white sweater. I’d decided not to wash my hair because I didn't want to deal with trying to style it. I went into the bathroom to do my makeup and opted to just pull my hair up in a bun.
“You look cute,” Harry said as he stepped out of the shower, towel barely being held up at his hips.
“You look underdressed.”
“Really? I was thinking this would be a great look for dinner.”
“For real though, you look cute.”
“Thanks baby.” We both finished getting dressed and ready to entertain for the rest of the day. It was nice to have a quiet afternoon with Harry's team and show them some hospitality before a busy week of rehearsals, fittings, and press. His band and team were hardworking and incredibly devoted. Feeding them a nice meal was the least I could do. Harry walked out of the bathroom and caught me playing on my phone.
“Nerd,” he said as he saw me taking selfies.
“You love me.”
bookshopbirdie: I’m so excited to be in New York that I’m growing flowers from my head. Don’t worry, @harrystyles is laughing at me…really loudly.
As usual he was being cautious this evening. Not drinking too much and just enjoying the company of our friends. He practically floated around the room between conversations so easily until the hours got late and he plopped himself down in the chair I was sitting in beside me. I’d been in conversation with Claire, his pianist, most of the night.
“Thank you for tonight,” he said quietly in my ear before kissing the top of my head.
“Of course, baby. I’m glad you’re enjoying yourself. Jeff and I knew you needed to relax before this week. You’ve got an extremely busy schedule and we wanted you to at least have a day to enjoy yourself.”
“Well, thank you. Evidently we don’t have anything until 10:00 tomorrow so we can sleep in a little bit.”
“Fuck yes! THANK YOU JEFF AND TOMMY!”
“For what?” Tommy asked.
“Scheduling him a late morning tomorrow. It means that I get to sleep in tomorrow.”
“You’re welcome,” he replied. “I figured jet lag might kick both your asses and you’d need the rest.”
“You are correct, sir.” Our friends all filed out of the apartment and we were alone again. Hiring a chef and a catering company for the evening seemed like it was a little bit overboard but when I looked into the kitchen to see it clean and hear the dishwasher running I knew it was worth it. We wouldn’t spend the first night in New York cleaning up after a party.
“You looked beautiful tonight,” Harry said as he wrapped his arms around me from behind.
“You smell amazing,” I replied. He may not have drank a lot tonight but I had a fare amount of wine. I heard him start to laugh at me as he slid his hands under my sweater.
“You’re tipsy aren’t you?”
“Oh lord. Let’s get you in bed. We have a long week for you to start out with a hangover.”
“Uh-huh. Meanest ever. Get in the bedroom.”
“Oooo. You’re being forceful. I like it.” He laughed as he pointed towards the master bedroom in our apartment.
“Not being forceful to be fun. Just trying to get you into bed so we can sleep.” We made it into the bedroom and I started to strip my clothes off throwing them on the floor. As soon as I was down to my panties I crawled under the covers. “Not gonna put your pajamas on?”
“Nope.” He just shook his head at me as he picked up my clothes off the floor and put them into the laundry hamper. He reappeared from the closet in his boxers and climbed into bed next to me. I moved closer to him in bed and started to kiss him. He pulled back from me and yawned. “Am I really that boring?”
“No, I’m just really that tired. We had a really busy day yesterday, then flew here at the crack of dawn and have barely slept. So I’m tired, not bored.”
“Fine. Leave me sex starved.” I threw myself onto the bed nearly hitting Harry in the face as I flailed my arms out.
“Oh you melodramatic woman. You had sex last night.”
“We were in a different country. It doesn’t count.”
“You test my patience every day. You are lucky I love you.”
“I know," I said as I climbed into his arms to get comfy. “I love you too, Dimples.”
“Goodnight, Sugar.” It didn’t take much for me to drift off to sleep in his arms. The next morning I woke up without the help of an alarm which was so rare. I did also wake up alone in bed, which was not rare. I was not a morning person and Harry sometimes was. I looked at my watch as I picked it up off the charger. 9:35 AM. What time did they say people would be here? I think it was 10:00 which meant there were likely already hoards of people in my apartment and here I was in bed in just my lace boyshorts. I climbed out of bed and quickly used the bathroom before pulling on really short shorts and the t-shirt Harry had worn the day before. I walked into the living area barefoot to find Harry and Lou with a sheet on the ground and her cutting his hair. “Good morning sleepyhead.”
“Hi,” I replied before going over and kissing Harry and giving Lou a kiss on the cheek. “How’d you sleep baby?”
“Decently. You thrashed a bit in your sleep. Probably the wine.”
“Probably. Did you have a goodnight Lou? You were going out after you left here, right?”
“Yeah, we went to a bar near the hotel and a had a few drinks. You should’ve come with. You would’ve loved it.”
“She probably would’ve but she also needed to sleep. I’m actually shocked she’s awake already.”
“Me too,” I replied as I curled up on the couch watching Lou meticulously cut his hair. My phone started to ring in my hand. I glanced down to see it was Kim and a FaceTime request. I hit accept and saw her walking around the house with one of the twins attached to the front of her. “Hey!”
“How’s New York?” she asked.
“Great. I mean I haven’t seen outside of the apartment yet but it’s great so far. Harry is getting a haircut.” I turned the phone so she could see Harry and Lou.
“Hey Kim!” they both called.
“Hey,” she replied before I turned the phone. “So I’ve figured out a trick.” She held the phone back so I could see the baby attached via a baby carrier to her front. She then moved the camera and I could see the other on her back.
“That is fucking awesome. How did you get them on like this?”
“Magic. It has to be magic. I normally can’t get either of them on without Nate and today managed both. They both have been fussy all day and refused to stop crying. I clearly can’t carry them both so I put Max on like a backpack and Jack on the front. I’m pretty sure there’s vomit in the back of my hair but I don’t care right now. They stopped crying.” The twins were just around four months old and Kim was still home with them.
“That’s quite the trick.” I laid my head against the back of the couch. “I wish you guys had been able to come with.”
“Me too. I could go for actual American food right now. Like barbecue or a really good cheeseburger or something. I love Nate to death but I’m so tired of his attempt at cooking things I would like, he fails every time.”
“We will pack some junk food to bring back. Send me your list. I’ll make sure to go to a grocery store before we leave.”
“You’re an angel. So do you have a big day today?”
“Harry has a fitting today so I don’t have a strenuous day by any means but he’s being demanding and I can’t go out and explore.” I stood up as I saw the elevator door open and walked towards it as Jeff and Tommy entered the apartment.
“Good morning,” Jeff said handing me a venti coffee from Starbucks.
“You’re my favorite person ever, Jeffrey.”
“Hey!” Harry called from behind me.
“Don’t worry, we brought you coffee too,” Tommy replied.
“Less about the coffee more about her saying Jeff is her favorite person ever. I thought I was your favorite,” Harry said.
“You’re all wrong. I’m her favorite,” Kim argued via FaceTime.
“She’s probably right,” Jeff answered. “Hey Kim. How’s London?”
“Cold and rainy,” she replied.
“You’ll have to tag along for their visits to LA soon. Maybe you and Nate can sneak out with them for Harry’s Late Late residency.”
“That sounds like a wonderful dream but I doubt that I’ll be able to leave the twins.” He laughed a reply before heading to Harry to get started with their day. “I’ll let you go. You’ve got a house full.”
“I do and I need to change. I’m in pajamas which is becoming increasingly inappropriate the more people fill my apartment. I’ll text you later. Bye boys!” I said waving at Kim and the twins.
“They would say bye if they could talk. See you when you get home,” she replied before ending the call. Life was different but it was good. I missed being able to drag Kim and Nate along for a trip somewhere but I loved their boys as if they were my own. Knowing that anytime I was home all I had to do was make the short trip to their house and I could get my fill of baby snuggles made the times where I was there alone so much better. I headed into the bedroom and threw on some clothes.
The day was spent watching Harry try on a variety of outfits before they determined what he would wear. As usual I sat quietly observing with my camera and my laptop as I wrote. During the period of transition in our life I’d tried not to write. Harry had really wanted to just disappear. He wanted us to have a normal life, like normal people and not constantly give people access to our lives. It was something he hadn’t had since before going on X-Factor. It had been something we spent a great deal of time discussing during the remaining days of One Direction. We wanted to agree on what I would be doing and have the decision made before the first moment the break started.
I’d really done my best to accommodate that request and only failed a few times. I wrote about topics rather than life. I’d post photos and write about the travel we’d done over the years or about an album I’d been listening to or a playlist I’d made. When I started to get bored of that I’d write about current events which usually drove Harry nuts. I was opinionated and an American ex-pat who started ranting about politics on her blog and caused his management to contact him in regards to the opinions of his ‘friend’, that is until he finally parted ways with Modest and signed with Jeff. Once that happened I was off leash, Jeff didn’t care what I said or did and also knew better than to call me his friend. Modest had always had a hard time respecting the relationship Harry and I had, especially after he put a rather large diamond on my hand.
So those times I’d failed, well I was lucky Harry loved me. He went on a self-imposed social media hiatus, or at least that was what it seemed like. He lurked. He read what people wrote. He looked at the tweets. He searched through their Instagrams. I’d accidentally gotten overly proud of him while he was filming Dunkirk and posted a picture of him in uniform, he looked sexy I couldn’t help it. I’d posted a vague photo of him from Jamaica that thankfully didn’t give away our location. I’d shared a picture of him with my niece and nephew as they slept on the floor in front of the fireplace waiting for Santa Claus. I knew he wanted anonymity but I wanted the world to know he was safe, he was happy and he was loved.
“What are you doing, Sugar?” Harry asked. He picked my laptop up off of my lap and laid down with his head replacing the computer. I ran my fingers through his freshly cut hair.
“Thinking about doing some writing but mostly just enjoying watching you change clothes repeatedly.”
“I saw you taking pictures of me when I’m half naked.”
“You’re a perv.”
“So if I went through the pictures in your phone right now there’s none of me scantily clad?” He started to laugh as he blushed a little.
“They aren’t on my phone. I’m not that stupid.” He smiled a devious smile. “They are on my laptop, which you know.”
“You love me.”
“Harry, you need to get back to work,” Jeff called from where he and Tommy had set up office on our dining room table.
“Alright. Well, write away sweetheart.” He gave me a kiss before getting back to work.
10 April 2017: New York State of Mind (Billy Joel)
It’s a big week in our world.
That fantastic fiancé of mine is making his worldwide solo television debut. No big deal, right? It just happens to be on Saturday Night Live as it’s being broadcast live from coast-to-coast in every timezone. Well, I think it’s a big deal, he’s acting like it’s just another thing to do on a Saturday.
He’s so at ease with his job it’s insane. He’s trying to act like he’s not checking Twitter on his phone to see the reactions. He is. He’s so grateful to have his fans and I can tell you I’m so grateful that they all love ‘Sign of the Times’. The excitement I have for everyone to hear the rest of it is unexplainable. I am so unbelievably proud of the work he has put into this record and the quality of the product he’s putting out. It’s my favorite album and I listen to it every day while I’m getting ready. I know the album backwards, forwards and inside out. I’m not saying this just because I share a house with this man, it’s the best album I’ve heard in years. Release date can’t come soon enough so I can stop hiding what songs are my favorites and start using the lyrics as Insta captions, because we all know I will.
Well, this week is going to be busy and fun and amazing. Today is wardrobe fitting for Harry and the band to make sure that they look all pretty for Saturday Night Live. Then tomorrow rehearsals start. Wednesday is going to be my big day. My Mom arrives in the city!! She hasn’t been able to visit us since we got the apartment here and she gets to represent the parents this week as everyone else was unfortunately unable to travel with us. Mom has been instructed to take tons of pictures to capture every moment of this experience so that she can share with the other parents. They also know that it’s very rare that I don’t have a camera attached to my hand to document our life.
Thank you for all of your support of Harry during this experience. I promise you, it will be worth the wait we’ve all endured for this first record. It’s beautiful.
All the love. (Yup….I’m stealing this from him.)
That was still weird to say. New home. We’d done this on a whim, sort of. We thought having a place in New York for a while might be fun. We found a real estate agent who showed us a few things. Both of us being obsessed with the history of things fell in love with our place in New York immediately. Our building is a former 19th century bookbinding factory that was converted into some of the most amazing condos I’d ever seen. It didn’t take much for us to decide to buy and we were coming up on a year since Harry signed the papers to buy the place.
Ever since we’d been discussing if we were going to keep a house in LA, move out of the city or downsize for a while. We both loved Malibu and the idea of being out of the city a little. We also knew we’d be on the road for the better part of the next year and half to support his record. We didn’t really need houses all over the place but we loved being in LA so it was hard to give up.
“Let’s stay in bed a bit longer,” he said as he snuggled up against me.
“You have a table read today as well as photoshoots. Time for you to go work.”
“And what are you going to do all day?”
“Lay here naked waiting for you to come home.”
“You’re so fucking gullible. I’m gonna come with you for a little while but I’m off to take pictures. I haven’t been able to explore and photograph New York for a while. So it’s time for me to do some work since the rest of the week is based off of your schedule and my Mom being here.”
“I wish I could go with you and take pictures. I love being your assistant. Spending an afternoon with you as you go out and explore with your camera has become one of my favorite ways to spend a day.”
“I know but you being my assistant would not afford you the life you love.” He started to laugh.
“You’re the only thing I need in life to love it.” I leaned in to kiss him softly. Without even really trying he was the sweetest and kindest person I’d ever met. His arms wrapped around me and held me tightly. “What time do I have to be ready?”
“The car is picking us up at 10:00.” I saw him glance at the clock over my shoulder.
“Then why did the alarm go off at 7:00?”
“You normally like to go to the gym in the morning. You also should eat breakfast and make sure you look presentable and don’t show up with bedhead and morning breath.” He laughed a bit at me. “Plus setting the alarm for this early, despite neither of us being morning people, means that we can lay here and have some quiet time, just us. We won’t likely get much of that for the rest of the week.”
“So very true. Your Mum will be here. There will be lots of friends and people around. Now is a good time for quiet.” He kissed down my jaw line and onto my neck. His lips left featherlight kisses across my collarbone as he shifted my body so I was laying on my back. In a quick movement he was in between my legs and hovering over me.
“You don’t look like you intend on this time being quiet.”
“It all depends on you.” He ducked down and captured my lips. “Will you be quiet?” I started to laugh loudly at him. “I’m going to take that as a no.”
“We should be getting out of bed.”
“We should be doing a lot of things. But the question is, would you rather go to the gym or let me make love to you?”
“If you have to ask that question I clearly am engaged to an absolute buffoon.” He laughed as he started to pull at my tank top.
“I knew your answer. You are not engaged to a buffoon. Just a man who is really excited to get his fiancé naked.” The tank top came off and he started to kiss down my chest. I heard his phone start to ring on the nightstand.
“Aren’t you going to answer that?” I asked.
“No,” he replied barely removing his mouth from my stomach. The phone stopped ringing and then started again. “I don’t care who is calling. We need to have some time this week where it is just us.”
“I know.” His phone finally stopped ringing and then mine started. “Okay, what if it’s an emergency?”
“FINE!” He threw himself onto his back on the bed as I reached for the phone. I saw that it was Jeff calling but didn’t want to say it before I answered.
“Hello,” I answered.
“Is he in the shower?”
“Shit. I’m a terrible friend, aren’t I?”
“Have him call me later. Enjoy your morning.”
“Bye Jeff.” I hung up the phone and looked at Harry. “What?”
“You answered a phone call from Jeff during sex?”
“We weren’t having sex.”
“Fine. You answered the phone in the middle of foreplay and it was my manager.”
“I could’ve been an emergency.”
“Well I don’t know. He asked if you were in the gym, then the shower and then is sort of figured out what was going on and said he was being a terrible friend and you should call him later.” Harry started to laugh loudly.
“I love you.”
“I love you, too.” Our clothes were quickly pulled off and thrown on the floor in the bedroom. Our bodies twisted together and our breathing synced up. The phones might’ve rang again, but neither of us would’ve known. We were in our own world.
“So I’m not going to the gym this morning,” he said as he stood from bed and headed to the bathroom. “Shower with me.”
“Okay,” I replied as I stood up and followed him. Our shower was quick and we got ready quickly. Jeff had wanted to come over to the apartment before we left so that he and Harry could have one last meeting before the week started. I left them alone in the living room while I finished getting ready. I knew I needed to be dressed decently, it was a big day for my fiancé. Not the kind of day you show up to in beat up trainers, a t-shirt with holes in it and yesterday’s eyeliner. Yet considering a good portion of the day I’d be running around the city alone I knew it was also the kind of day I wanted to be comfortable. No heels to try and impress the people who expected Harry to have a model on his arm. He knew he didn’t need a model on his arm, he just wanted me. I put on a pair of black skinny jeans, a light chambray shirt, and a pair of nude flats.
I made sure to tuck a camera into my bag that I was carrying today. I never really wanted to carry around my entire camera bag and had found a purse recently that had a good amount of space for what I’d normally need and a camera or two, depending on the day. I grabbed a portable charger for my cell phone, some extra camera batteries and was ready to go. I walked into the living room and saw Harry and Jeff sitting and talking.
“You ready to go, Sugar?” I nodded as I sat down next to Harry and rested my head on his shoulder.
“Sorry about earlier,” Jeff said.
“Don’t even mention it. It’s nothing.”
“You’ve come along way. You used to turn bright red if I interrupted you two and you saw me the same day.”
“Jeffrey, you also used to turn red. But we’ve become good friends. Now it’s just normal for us.” I laughed. “I just prefer when it’s via the phone and not you appearing in the house.” There were a few times that had happened and then the whole vacation on a yacht that was a terrible idea if you wanted privacy and loved to have sex. Harry and I had to learn how to sneak around, we felt like we were on vacation with parents, it was rather funny.
“I tend to call first after that time,” he replied.
“You ready for today, baby?” I asked.
“As ready as I can be. But I’ve got my girl by my side and my best friend with me,” he said as he glanced at Jeff. We got all of our stuff together and headed down to the street where a car was waiting for us. Jeff climbed into the front seat leaving Harry and I in the back. He grabbed my hand and laced his fingers in mine before bringing it to his lips. He mouthed out a silent ‘I love you’ to me before I rested my head on his shoulder. I watched the city fly by out the car window.
This time tomorrow I’d be headed to the airport to pick up my Mom. I was so excited. It had been months since I’d seen my family. We’d been spending time in England prepping for all of this craziness. We’d also been taking time to go up north and visit Harry’s Mum and Robin. It was hard to leave but Anne constantly told us to live our lives, enjoy the time we have together and go on an adventure. So I promised to take as many pictures of this adventure as possible to show her the next time we made it back home. We pulled up outside of NBC’s studios and I saw a few people who appeared to be hoping they’d see Harry when he made his way into the studio. The door opened and I heard the few girls yell his name.
“Hello,” he said as he walked over. I stood just smiling at how amazing he was at this part of his job. “How are all of you doing?” He made small talk with them while Jeff texted someone on his phone. I grabbed my camera from my purse and took a picture of Harry as he took pictures with these fans. He was dressed like he normally did which was not what most of New York was used to. My friends who lived in the city had monochromatic wardrobes consisting of black, light black (grey), and negative black (white). Here was this tall, skinny, British kid in black skinny jeans, tan Chelsea boots and an obnoxious Hawaiian print shirt. He loved sticking out and being himself.
“Hi, Annie,” one of the girls said. I waived as I walked over.
“There’s my lovely fiancé. She claims she’s my official photographer for the week. Will you be blogging the pictures, Sugar?”
“Of course,” I replied smiling. “I posted a little bit of a blog yesterday and will probably wait until everything is over this week before I share the pictures. My Mom lands in New York tomorrow so I’ll focus on spending time with her and making sure this guy gets where he needs to on time.” The girls laughed. We talked to them for a few more moments before heading into the building.
We were greeted by a PA and led upstairs. I stood back and watched Harry turn on his charm. Every staff member he met smiled at him the way the girls had outside and at every One Direction meet and greet. He had this charisma that would make anyone fall in love with him, or at least that’s what Chris Martin always told me. He shook hands with everyone and I could see him doing the mental process he had on how he’d remember their names this week so that he wasn’t constantly just yelling for random staff and not remembering their names. He always wanted to know who everyone was. Finally someone took us to what would be his dressing room for the week. We all settled in and I watched as Harry looked around to see that the room was set up just how he’d do it himself. Candles that smelled like home. Little things that made it feel like it was his and not just a closet they stuck him in for the week. There was a couch in there and I laid on it as he and Jeff talked.
“You don’t need to stick around if you don’t want to, babe,” he said.
“I’m okay. I heard them say that you and Jimmy were going to be doing some promos during the first part of the day. I want to stay for that.” He glanced at Jeff.
“I think she’d leave me for Jimmy Fallon if he asked.”
“He’s cute and funny.”
“Are you saying I’m not cute and funny?”
“You’re cute.” I glanced up from my phone to see his face shift at my reply. “And funny, I just like getting that reaction out of you.”
“I love you despite you being so mean to me sometimes.”
“Robin informed me that I needed to knock you down a few notches this trip. Can’t let your head get too big or you’ll float away like a hot air ballon. I need my fiancé when this week is over. So expect me to bring you back down to earth.” He flipped me off. It wasn’t long before they took us out onto the stage to start filming some of the promos. I took a few pictures to text to our families and a few on my camera that would be much better.
Eventually it was time for me to leave and him to get to work. I made a deal that I’d come back in a few hours. As soon as I was out on the street with a coffee I was happy. I was in my element. A camera in my hand and no destination, just a desire to explore and take pictures. I had music playing through my headphones so that I could be in my own little world as much as I wanted. Getting lost in New York was something I loved doing, except that one time that I actually got lost. It took Harry a while to find me and so now he requires that he has access to my GPS location so he can find me when I go off on my own.
bookshopbirdie: History is happening in Manhattan, and we just happen to be in the greatest city in the world. In the greatest city in the world.
When it was time to finally head back to NBC’s Studios I hopped into a cab so I could get there without trying to navigate the subway. Sometimes I got lost and while I never had a problem with that happening it often annoyed Harry that I’d not care where I was going. He’d get worried. I managed the tube at home fine when I needed to but I was still learning New York. I was happy spending a day lost but needing to be there for my fiancé in a short amount of time meant not being okay getting lost.
Once I got up to SNL’s floor I was directed to the main studio to find Harry. He was in conversation with Jimmy Fallon when I found him. They’d both been busy earlier so I hadn’t had a chance to meet him but I knew Harry would take the opportunity based on the look he just gave me.
“Jimmy, I want you to meet my fiancé. This is Annie Catalano.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Annie,” Jimmy said as he reached to shake my hand.
“It’s nice to meet you as well. Hopefully Harry hasn’t been too much of a pain to work with today.”
“He’s been wonderful and you’re American.”
“I am. I lived in Iowa for my whole life until I up and moved to London. Then somehow met this guy and I’ve stayed.”
“She’s a huge fan of yours. So is her Mum, she gets here tomorrow.”
“You both made the trip for me didn’t you?” I started to laugh at Jimmy’s question.
“Actually I think my Mom is making the trip just to see Harry. I’m chopped liver. Her future son-in-law however, the sun rises and sets on him.” Harry blushed a bit. My Mom and I were close but she loved Harry. I of course understood why, I fell for him, I knew why everyone else did. We chatted with Jimmy for a little bit before we were ready to leave. “Hey baby, go sit on the stage I want to get a picture of you.”
“Okay, then we are going to get dinner. I need a date night before your Mum gets here and the week gets crazier.”
“Sounds wonderful to me.” I took a few pictures of him goofing off on the stage before we packed up what we needed and headed out to dinner. He had made reservations at a restaurant not far from home and we were completely alone which was wonderful. When we got home and climbed in bed I loaded the pictures onto my laptop to show him.
bookshopbirdie: Hey there @harrystyles!
“Yeah it did,” I replied before putting my phone on the nightstand and turning to curl up in bed next to Harry. “I’m not going to head to NBC with you in the morning.”
“I didn’t imagine you would be. You get to go pick up your Mum. I think I’ll be able to have lunch with you both when you get there. Tommy said he’d go with you to get your Mum and then we’d all have lunch at one of the restaurants in Rockefeller Center.”
“Sounds perfect. Tommy doesn’t need to go with though,” I said.
“He knows that. He volunteered to. He’ll pick you up here and go with you and then you’ll all come to see me.”
“Okay.” I leaned forward and softly kissed his lips. “I’m so proud of you.”
“Thank you, getting here wouldn’t have been possible without you by my side.”
“I’ve loved watching every minute of it.” Our conversation slowed and we drifted off to sleep. We had several more busy days ahead to get through. Sleep was precious right now. And in the morning, when our alarms went off, it was obvious we hadn’t gotten enough.
We moved like zombies around the apartment as we got ready. I took the time to curl my hair today and decided since I wouldn’t be running around the city that I could wear heels. I put on a pair of tight black jeans, a gray top, and black leather jacket. I found a pair of black heels and slipped them on before grabbing my purse.
“You forgot something important,” Harry said as he stepped out of the bathroom. I was looking at myself in the full length mirror in the bedroom. I glanced over at him as he held up my engagement ring. “Don’t forget this one, sweetheart.” He walked over to me and slid the ring on my ring finger while he kissed me. “I love you.”
“I love you too, Harry.” I glanced down at my hand and smiled at the ring. I was still amazed at how beautiful it was every time I looked at it. Sometimes I’d been known to get distracted staring at my hand and then get laughed at by all of our friends. He gave me another kiss before I caught him glance down at my ring.
“I did a good job.”
“Not good enough to get you down the aisle yet.”
“When are we going to fit that in? You’ve got an album out in a matter of days and we are on the road on tour for the next year and a half. Planning a wedding sounds like stress neither of us need. But you know what I do need?”
“Me?” he asked. I nodded. “That’s all I need too. You and only you.” One more kiss and we headed out of the bedroom. We discovered that in the living room Jeff and Tommy were waiting for us. They basically had complete access to our apartment and lives this week to make sure that everything happened as it was supposed to. “Hello gentleman."
“Hey you two,” Tommy said. “Annie, are you ready to head to the airport? We have a car waiting downstairs.”
“See you in a bit, sweetheart.”
“Have a good morning, baby,” I said before moving to kiss him. After a few short kisses Tommy and I were out the door and headed down to the car. Today we had an SUV, enough space for the three of us and Mom’s luggage.
“You excited?” Tommy asked. He was sitting in the back next to me.
“I am. I haven’t seen Mom since the beginning of March.”
“I didn’t realize it had been that long. I thought you’d seen your family last month.”
“I’d talked about it but he had so much going on that I stuck around home.”
“He’s lucky to have you,” Tommy said. I looked up from my cell phone where I’d been reading emails to turn and look at him. I smiled and knew I was blushing a bit.
“Thanks, I’m lucky to have him too.”
“So, what do you have planned with your Mom today?”
“I’m pretty sure we will spend the day at the apartment or around there. Maybe go hang out at SNL for a little bit. I know she’ll want to see Harry as soon as she can. We are gonna do lunch with him today in between his rehearsals.”
“That will be nice.”
“I think you and Jeff are joining us. She loves you guys.”
“Your Mom is pretty great. Think she’s gonna be making meatballs while you’re all in town?” I started to laugh, she’d cooked dinner for everyone a few times when she was staying with us in Los Angeles and they all immediately fell in love with her meatballs, it also meant that I was being asked to make them a lot more frequently.
“I think the plan is to make them Sunday so that Harry can rest and enjoy a quiet day at home.”
“And we are all invited?”
“Our doorman will let you in whether you are invited or not. So yes, you’re invited.” It wasn’t much longer and we were at the airport. The driver pulled up somewhere to park and I hopped out of the car to go get Mom. “You don’t have to walk with me, T.”
“I know. I want to.” It wasn’t long waiting before I saw my Mom walking towards us with her backpack on. I’d bought it for her when we were traveling as well as a camera, a laptop and a few things she might enjoy having when she travelled and they all fit nicely in the backpack. I hurried over to her and we embraced in a tight hug.
“I’ve missed you.”
“I’ve missed you too.” We finally ended our hug and I saw her look to my right where Tommy was standing. “Hi, Tommy.”
“Hi, Joy. How was your flight?”
“It was great. These kids needs to stop spoiling me. First class was completely unnecessary.”
“You were on a plane so early this morning that the least we could do was make sure you were comfortable. We are going to head to SNL’s studios and meet Harry for lunch. We can stick around there this afternoon if you want or we can head home or do whatever you want.”
“We will figure it out. See what Harry wants us to do.”
“Told ya,” I said looking at Tommy as we got her luggage and started to head to the car.
“Told ya, what?” Mom asked.
“She said that you were coming to see Harry and not her.”
“Well, it’s kind of true. She’s not going to be on Saturday Night Live. This is a big deal, Annie. It’s not like when you send me snapchat videos of you being weird. He’s on SNL.”
“See, chopped fucking liver.” Mom just laughed as she followed me out of the airport and towards the car. We made small talk as we drove through the city but Mom was easily distracted. She’d point out everything we passed that she was excited about, which was pretty much everything. We pulled up outside Rockefeller Center and hurried upstairs, bringing her bags with us.
“Joy!” Harry practically screamed when we walked into his dressing room where he was sitting with Jeff and his band. He jumped up off of the chair and engulfed her in a hug.
“Have a nice flight?” he asked.
“It was good, thank you for the upgrade.”
“Of course. Are you ready for lunch?”
“Yes,” she said. “Are you sure you have time for lunch?”
“We made sure he had time,” Jeff added as he stood up and hugged my Mom. She was almost like a mother to everyone. She’d met the whole band, she and Lou had known each other for years and sometimes she and Jeff had been known to text back and forth about things. We headed out of the dressing room and to the elevator to get to one of the restaurants. Harry grabbed my hand and pulled me into him.
“I forgot to tell you this morning how cute you looked.”
“So tonight we are going to do dinner with your Mom. Just the three of us.”
“Are you sure?” I asked. I knew that this was a big week. Time away from his team was rare. “We had a date night last night. I don’t want to keep you busy tonight too.”
“I always have time for you and our date night last night wasn’t keeping me from anything. It was just what I needed. And tonight, we get Mom time. I thought you’d want some alone time with her tonight. Things just get busier for the rest of the week, so tonight is for family.” He bent down to kiss me as the door opened.
“Come on lovebirds,” Adam said. I flipped him off before walking into the elevator.
“You’re just jealous that the wife didn’t come on the trip.”
“I am. Completely jealous. She says hi, by the way.”
“Tell her I miss her. We will have all of you over for dinner once we are all home. I miss the kids.”
“She’ll love that.” The elevator door opened and we made our way to the restaurant and then were taken to a private room for us to all have lunch. I was in between Mom and Harry with Lou next to Mom.
“So I have an idea,” I said as I leaned forward to talk to Lou. “I need your help.”
“What’s the idea?” she asked.
“Think cotton candy.”
“Let’s chop my hair and dye it pink. Help him celebrate the pink album.”
“I love it!” Lou said.
“That would be cute,” Mom added.
“Tomorrow he doesn’t need me. Girls day?” Lou asked.
“Perfect. Mom, you okay with that?”
“Of course. I love a girls day with you two.” Lou and I sat silently texting each other ideas for shades of pink to dye my hair, I wanted to surprise Harry with it. We were trying to decide how much of my hair to cut off and what color to go. With a tour approaching short hair might be nice but also buns. I survived on top knots, ponytails and buns of all sorts because I hated taking the time to do my hair most days.
“Are you coming back with us?” Harry asked as we stood to leave the restaurant.
“Of course. But tomorrow I’m stealing Lou. We are having a girls day with Mom.”
“That sounds like a fabulous idea. Maybe you should try and get massage appointments. You need one. Your back has been acting up.”
“You should give me one.”
“I could be convinced to do that.” He kissed me again before stepping into the elevator. The rest of the afternoon Mom and I hung out with Harry’s team and watched a few of his rehearsals with his band. The crowd from the show that gathered to listen to him perform was bigger than I expected and everyone was whispering back and forth about how great he was. I swelled with pride watching him and hearing what everyone said. Once we were done we gathered his stuff, Mom’s bags and climbed into the car that would take us home. We got Mom settled and then headed to a restaurant not far from the apartment for dinner. "A toast to you, Joy. Thank you for joining us this week. It means a lot to have you here to support Annie and I.”
“I wouldn’t miss it for the world,” she replied. We all clinked wine glasses and jumped into conversation. Harry had Mom and I laughing as usual. I loved how well they got along. I’d been so nervous when he first met all of my family. Our relationship moved quickly and we were unconventional. But everyone loved him and welcomed him to the family as if he’d always been there. We made our way back to the apartment early so Mom could get some sleep. Harry and I headed into the bedroom by ourselves.
“Today was a good day,” he said as he climbed into bed next to me and took my phone from my hand. “So what are you and Lou doing tomorrow?”
“Doing some shopping with Mom. Probably getting mani/pedis. You know, girl stuff.” She had gone out and bought the coloring we would need and we were prepared to do the shopping and the mani/pedis but mainly we were ready to do my hair.
“That should be fun. Your Mom however isn’t a mani/pedi fan normally." He had started to rub my shoulders as I moaned a bit.
“We started to get them done with we traveled last summer. She likes them now. She just hadn’t ever gotten them enough.”
“You’re a good daughter to treat her to this kind of fun.”
“You’re a good future son-in-law to help treat her. I love you,” I said as I turned over in bed so I could look at him. He bent down and kissed me softly.
“I love you too.” We snuggled into each other and fell asleep quickly. In the morning there were alarms and texts and phone calls and emails and people and no alone time after we emerged from the bedroom. “Have fun today,” Harry said before he was ready to head out of the apartment. He wrapped his arms around me.
“Sing pretty today. I’ll see you tonight.”
“I love you.”
“I love you.” He bent down to kiss me and was quickly taken out of the house. “Okay so pink hair?” I turned to look at Mom and Lou who were the only people left in the apartment.
“I’m so excited about this,” Lou admitted. “He’s going to be blown away.”
“I hope he likes it. We all know he loves my hair long, chopping it off might not be the best plan.”
“You loved his hair long, he chopped it off,” Mom said. Lou and I both started laughing.
“And he keeps it so fucking short. I miss the long hair of the man I fell in love with. So yes, this is payback.”
“We’ve cut your hair short before and he liked it. You also know that when you’re running around on tour you enjoy having short hair. And, there’s always stennies.”
“Yes, but first we have reservations for brunch down the street before appointments for massages and mani/pedis.”
“For all of us?” Mom asked.
“Yes, Harry did this last night. When I told him we were having a girls day he took it literally.” They both laughed. We grabbed what we’d need and walked down the street to the restaurant we were having brunch at. We had mimosas and more pastries than imaginable in addition to a great breakfast. Days like this with Lou when we were on the road with One Direction had always been my favorite. We’d steal Lyla and Lottie sometimes and occasionally it would be just us. We’d formed a bond on that first tour that hadn’t been broken in the years since. l knew how important she was to Harry and made sure that she knew she was important to me too.
Once we were done with brunch it was off to a spa nearby. Harry had really arranged for everything. Massages, facials, pedicures and manicures. Of course I picked a blush pink polish knowing that supporting this man I loved’s pink obsession was my goal for the day. We bought some snacks and champagne on the way back to the apartment and Lou got to work. She was getting everything set up so I decided it was time to do an instagram shot of my nails.
bookshopbirdie: Anything is possible with sparkle and a little bit of pink.
“Okay, it’s gone,” Lou said. I finally released my breath and opened my eyes. “I still need to give it shape, obviously. But it's gonna be cute.” I reached up and ran my fingers through my hair.
“I’m gonna love it.” Mom was sitting on the counter in the bathroom and talking to us as Lou gave my hair a style and started coloring it. She’d just finished with the last picture of it when we heard the elevator open in the living room and the commotion of everyone in the house.
“Sugar, we’re home!” Harry called.
"Good luck,” Lou said as I took a deep breath and walked towards the living room.
“How was today?” I asked.
“Good. Rehearsals are great. The sketches are going well. I’m getting excited.” Harry turned to look at me and his mouth fell open. “You…you…you cut your hair.”
“Technically, Louise cut my hair.”
“And you colored it…pink.”
“Again, that was technically Lou.”
“It’s beautiful,” he said as he ran his fingers through my hair. “What made you decide to do this?”
“I wanted to support my wonderful fiancé. As he likes to remind me, pink is the only true rock and roll color.”
“You are amazing.”
“Eh, I do what I can.” He laughed before kissing me and running his fingers through the pink hair again. Our night was fun and quiet. We were ready for tomorrow to be one final day of Harry in rehearsals before Saturday which would be the big dress rehearsal and live show. We were up early for breakfast with Mom and some of Harry’s team before heading to NBC’s studios. Mom and I did the tour around there during the day as a way to have fun and keep busy while Harry was working. She was having a lot of fun watching him rehearse with his band, which we did make sure to get to.
“He’s incredible,” she said in between songs when they had stopped to talk about some stuff. I was on my laptop doing some writing and she was sitting beside me. “He was always fun to watch on stage with the boys but this is just so different. You have got to be so proud of him.”
“I’m unbelievably proud of him. I mean there’s a line of people sleeping on the street already to see him and they only know what one song sounds like. He’s in his element. It’s nice to see him this happy because of his music and for it to be all his.”
“I can’t wait to hear the whole thing.”
“We can do that before you leave. He’s still being super protective of it but tonight maybe we can listen. It will just be the three of us at home. He wanted to have a quiet night tonight before tomorrow and Sunday which will be lots of his team. And Nick is flying in today.”
“He is?” Mom asked.
“Yeah, he and his Mom are coming to see Harry tomorrow and spend some time in the city for his birthday. They are going to come for dinner Sunday since Jeff has declared that we are making meatballs for everyone.”
“That sounds like a perfect way to spend Sunday, though I'm sure you two will be out late tomorrow night after the show. Don’t they usually have an afterparty?”
“They do and we’ll go but we both are used to functioning on little to no sleep. Lots of travel and crazy these days.”
“Well, I can wake up and get started on stuff. We can go buy everything we need tomorrow before we have to come to the studio.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Harry walked over to us.
“How do I sound?” he asked.
“You sound great,” I replied.
“You’re fantastic!” Mom gushed. I was pretty sure that I wouldn’t be the only one who cried tomorrow watching him. “Thank you for inviting me to be here for this. I really like ‘Ever Since New York’, it reminds me of what I listened to when I was your age.”
“That shouldn’t come as a surprise. Your daughter plays most of that stuff around the house so it was bound to influence me at some point. What are you working on, sweetheart?”
“A blog with some of the pictures I’ve taken while I’ve been here. You did sound great though. You look comfortable with the guitar. I like it.”
“Well, they only need me to do a few more things and then we can get out of here and go home. I figured we could get that Chinese delivery we tried the last time we were here. Joy will like it.”
“Yes, she will. So that is perfect.” He finished up what he needed to do and we were in the car headed home. Mom and I both broke into some wine as soon as we go home. “So, Harry, baby, Mom hasn't heard the whole record. How do you feel about playing it for her?”
“Nervous,” he said laughing. “But we can do that.”
“I would really like that,” she replied. He got everything ready and we sat down in the living room, Harry now joining us with a small glass of wine, and he hit play.
I could still remember the first time I heard every song. The first time I heard them played together, in order. I cried. We had listened, just the two of us after he decided the track listing. We were at the house in LA, it was a quiet weekday afternoon with warm weather and the windows open. He was nervous to play it for me, worse than he was now because playing it for my Mom was one thing, but playing the album for me was something he admitted to me terrified him. If the person he loved more than anything hated what he’d done he wouldn’t know how to function. Luckily for both of us, I was in love with the album. The sounds he created, the lyrics, and the emotion struck me from the first time I heard it and still did now.
“We don’t talk about it/It’s something we don’t do/Cause once you got without it/Nothing else will do.”
Meet Me in the Hallway faded to a close and he hit stop. He didn’t want to keep listening to an album with someone if they didn’t like the first track. He knew in that moment that he’d need to leave if the first song didn’t appeal to his listener. He paced when he played it for me the first time in order and I’d been there for every step of him writing and recording the album. He looked up and waited for my Mom to speak. She was someone who always put a lot of thought into what she said when it came to our work, both mine and Harry’s. She wanted to give us her opinion, soften it if she thought it would hurt one of us. She opened her mouth and then hesitated.
“Harry, it’s beautiful.”
“You're not just saying that?”
“No, it’s a wonderful song but so heartbreaking. Just listening I can feel the pain of what you were going through.”
This was the point where I’d get nervous every time the song played to one of our family members. The song was something that broke my heart the first time he played it for me. I knew the exact day he was writing about. The way he felt, the way I felt. It was a day I wouldn’t ever get out of my head. We rarely fought, but we’d been through a lot of stuff in our time together. This song was his emotion on the day of our one of our biggest fights to date. A day that I’d locked myself in the bedroom and refused to leave. My anxiety and depression was getting the best of me. He was always the one who wanted to talk through what we were going through, I wanted to just cry and be fine. He sat on the floor of the hallway for hours that night until he finally got up and walked around the park for a while. When he got home the door had finally been unlocked and he crawled in bed beside me. When he played the song for me I was transported back to our bedroom and could recall everything down to the pajamas I had on that day and shirt he’d grabbed as I threw him out of the room. His ability to channel that pain into something so beautiful was amazing.
“You look nervous, Annie,” Mom said.
“It’s a hard song to listen to still.” Harry pulled me into him on the couch, kissing the top of my head. My legs were pulled up into my chest at this point. “A lot of emotions being brought up again. But it’s a beautiful song, one of my favorites.”
“Really?” he asked. I nodded. He started to play the rest of the album. It was always fun to see if people could pick out lyrics that were about me or try to guess if they were about someone else from his past, his mother had done the same thing. Though it didn’t take long for either of them to figure out Sweet Creature wasn’t about me, it was about Gemma. It was Anne’s favorite song he’d ever written and probably always would be. Only Angel started and I watched my Mom’s face light up. It was my favorite song on the record and one I knew the moment I heard it she’d love. The choir, the guitar, the way he channeled The Rolling Stones in the sound, it was something I knew she’d love immediately. The second half of the album always blows me away listening to it and it did Mom as well.
“Harry, you have a masterpiece on your hands. I can now understand why Annie gushes constantly about this album. You did a great job. I can’t wait to actually go out and buy a physical copy of it to have it.”
“Thanks, Joy. That means a lot.”
“So which song is your favorite, Annie?”
“Why is that?” Mom asked.
“It’s the only song that is blatantly about her and not utterly heartbreaking.” Mom started to laugh loudly. “The rest are a combination of women in my life, women in Mitch’s life, and some of the others that wrote with me. She’s my angel.”
“And when he thinks about me he hears fucking choirs in his head,” I said as I started to laugh loudly. Harry just shook his head at me. We ate dinner and I searched through Twitter. and took time to post a picture of my hair on Instagram.
bookshopbirdie: Pink is the only true rock and roll color.
“I’m having pizzas delivered tonight. Those fans are diehard. They deserve a reward,” he said as he opened up his fortune cookie from dinner. “A dream you have will come true.”
“Well, I’d say that’s true,” I said as I smiled at him and opened mine. “You will marry your lover.”
“One can only hope,” he replied as he rolled his eyes. Mom laughed. She was the only person in my family that we joked like this around. My Dad, Step-Mom, brother and sister-in-law were all anxious for us to settle down and get married. They constantly asked if we’d set a date. Mom just knew it would happen when we were ready for it to.
“Awww, mine is so true.” We both looked at my Mom as she held handed her fortune to us. Harry took it from her and read it.
“There is no greater pleasure than seeing your loved ones prosper.” He smiled before pulling her into a hug. It was another early night for us to go to bed knowing the day ahead of us tomorrow. I laid in there with Harry listening to him talk through the excitement for the next day until he made himself tired enough that he fell asleep.
When we woke up in the morning I made breakfast so he had a meal early and a way to start the day without having to eat something from a coffee shop or cafe. He was off to the studios earlier than Mom and I were. We took time to hang out at home and for me to get dressed since I was dressing nicer than I had all week. I'd gotten a black mini dress with lace on the shoulders and an embroidered bird design to wear tonight. It looked perfect with the pink hair. I grabbed a jacket to bring with me and we were off. Nick had text me that they would meet us at the studios. They were waiting in the lobby when we walked in.
“You look lovely,” he said as he hugged me and kissed my cheek.
“Thanks, you look wonderful yourself. You ready for this?”
“I should be asking you that. You cried sitting in the studio watching me hit play on his song for the first time and we were recording it in advance of when it aired. Are you ready?”
“Yes, I have tissues in my purse and Lou promised to touch my makeup up before we all go out tonight.” All of us piled into an elevator and headed up to find Harry. I walked into the dressing room and he was dressed for the start of the show in all black. A black suit and black shirt. My heart skipped a beat. There were hugs all around and small talk before everyone filed out to give Harry and I a moment alone together.
“You’re going to be amazing,” I said as I was sitting on his lap on the sofa.
“I’m so happy I have you hear with me.” He started to kiss my neck.
“I’d be nowhere else right now. In this moment there is only one place in the world I need to be and that’s with you.”
“I love you.”
“And I love you. You’re going to be great. No matter what happens tonight, you need to remember one thing.”
“That you’re proud of me?”
“Yes, I’m so proud of you. I feel lucky to have been able to be with you through this process. To see you go from being part of a band of five to a band of four to commanding the stage on your own has been a journey that I’ve been so lucky to witness. Thank you for choosing me to be in your life.”
“Thank you for finally saying yes to drinks. I will never in my life complain about a snowstorm again because if there hadn’t been a blizzard that weekend I don’t think I’d have you.”
“I know what you mean. Every time it snows I think about waking up snuggled up next to you in that old apartment under the quilt you gave me and how agreeing to drinks those night and one snowstorm changed my life.”
“It changed mine too.” He kissed me softly and sweetly. I didn't want to leave the dressing room. I just wanted to stay snuggled up to him in this moment forever. That’s when I heard the knock at the door.
“Annie, you need to go get your seat,” Jeff said.
“She’ll be out in a minute.” Harry rested his forehead against mine and looked straight into my eyes. “I love you more than the world.”
“And I love you. You’re going to do amazingly.” One final kiss and I stood up. I opened the door to see Jeff standing there. I hugged him. “Thank you. Thank you for believing in him and getting him here.”
“I had the easy job. He’s amazing and you know it.”
“Still, I’m grateful that you are who is helping him through this. Anyone else wouldn’t be capable of understanding him in the way you do. So thank you.”
“You’re welcome. You should go grab your seat. I have you with your Mom, Nick and his Mom in the front row.” I took off down the hallway and sat down in between my Mom and Nick.
“How is he?” Nick asked.
“As good as we could ask him to be considering what tonight is.” There was still time before the show started and I wanted to show off my dress because Harry kept going on about how he loved it when we were in together.
bookshopbirdie: All dressed up for a big night on the town.
“Live from New York, it’s Saturday Night!”
NotesFrom the moment they announced that Harry would be on SNL I knew I wanted to write that moment from Annie’s perspective. The pride of seeing him prepare for it and get to the night where he would have the biggest performance of his life. Yes, I know there’s a bit of a cliffhanger. Maybe someday I will write her basically bawling her eyes out as he performs. But for now, this is what I wanted to write.
I hope you all love it. I can’t wait to hear what you think.
Now it’s time to get back to work on In the Heat of Los Angeles! I miss being in Evie’s crazy brain.