Save Your Heart
It was past midnight and I had pretty much eaten my entire weight in the ‘secret’ stash of junk food my mom kept in the back of the pantry. She tried to act like she was all organic and natural, but I knew at 2 AM when she said she was going to the bathroom or getting a bottle of water, she was going to find the box of Cheez-Its she had hidden. I should go to sleep, but I wasn’t tired. I was wide awake actually. Turning on the TV, I tried to care about the reruns of America’s Next Top Model, but I couldn’t focus. I shuffled into the kitchen, turning on the stove and putting the tea kettle on. If one thing about living in London had stuck with me, it’s the habit of drinking tea every night. I was just pulling a mug out of the cabinet when the phone rang.
Who the hell would be calling at 12:45 AM?!
“Hello?” I could only assume it was my mom, she was just about the only person who called.
“Good Evening, Miss. Hollis. This is Thomas, the doorman downstairs. I’m so sorry to bother you so late, but there’s a gentleman here saying that he knows you. he seems pretty persistent. I asked him to come back tomorrow but he’s insisting to see you now. And he seems very intoxicated.”
“Wait- What?! Who- I mean-”
“TELL HER IT’S ME, SHE’LL FUCKING KNOW. SHE’S GOT TO LET ME UP- ANNA! ANNA, BABE- IT’S ME. IT’S ME-”
“Should I call the police?”
I was required to make a split second decision, one that I could very easily regret in about 5 minutes. But I didn’t have a choice; “No, no it’s okay. Um, I’ll, I guess I’ll be right down.”
Oh my god, this could not be happening. There was no possible way that Harry was downstairs, at my building.
But when I got down there, still wearing a pair of pajama shorts and a t-shirt;
There he was.
“Oh my god.”
“Baby, baby- Anna, babe-” He slurred, stumbling towards me. “I need to talk to you.” He was about to fall on top of me before I grabbed him by his shoulders, holding all of his weight up.
This was like a dream. Well, more like a nightmare. I hadn’t seen him in months, but i’ve thought about him every day. I was always wondering what he was doing, or if he was thinking about me, or if he cared at all. I thought about what it would be like to see him and talk to him.
And now, here he was; and he was drunk.
“Do you need any assistance, Miss. Hollis? I can just call a cab and-”
“NO, NO, I NEED TO FUCKING TALK TO HER. WHY DO YOU THINK I’M HERE?!” He yelled, trying to stand up straight and address Thomas.
“It’s okay, Thomas. I’ll just, take him upstairs and- um, I can handle it. Thank you.” My mind was racing almost as fast as my heart. I had no idea what to do in a situation like this.
“Harry-” I said sharply, lifting his head to look at him. His face, even with glassy eyes and disheveled curls, was still the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. “You need to stand up and get upstairs with me. Okay?!”
“Yes, yes, okay...” He said, his voice lowering to almost a whisper. He leaned into me, the smell of alcohol filling the space between us. But before he could get any closer, I pushed him back up into a standing position.
Five minutes later, after a more than awkward elevator ride up to our Penthouse, we were alone. Me and Harry, were actually alone.
But he was still drunk.
“What the hell are you doing here Harry?” I exclaimed, leaning against the kitchen counter. He slumped into one of the tall Island stools, his head in his palms and his shoulders slumped.
“It’s stupid- so, so stupid. I needed to see you, I had to. I can’t take it any more, Anna. I hate myself. And you must hate me too, but not as much as I hate me. And I had all these things that I wanted to tell you, and, and now I can’t think of any of them.” He stopped himself from saying something else, I wondered what it might be.
“You’re drunk, Harry. You’re not making sense-”
“No! I AM making sense. For the first time in months, I’m actually being fucking honest with myself!” His head flew up, his green eyes, completely dilated, boring right into mine. I felt my heart skip a beat with just that one simple look.
“I was... um, just making some tea. Do you want some?” I should be screaming at him, yelling, saying all the terrible things i’ve thought about saying. I should be asking for him to explain himself. But I knew that now wasn’t the time
“That’s all you can say; Do you want some bloody tea?” His voice rose a bit, the anger coming back.
“What do you want me to say Harry?” I looked at him, seeing sadness in the eyes of a broken boy. And for a second, I could visualize myself just forgiving him, and forgetting everything that happened.
“I want you to tell me the fucking truth! I want you to talk to me, or yell at me, or hit me, or something. ANYTHING is better than this!”
“I don’t want to even attempt to have a normal conversation with you when you’re like this. We both know that when you’re drunk you're not yourself, and you never remember what happened the next day. So what’s the point really? If we did talk tonight, it would all be pointless in the morning.” I was surprised by how calm I was being, like a real grown up or something.
“Fine, tea, whatever.” He mumbled.
Without a word, I took another mug out of the cabinet, pouring boiling water into both of them. After letting the tea bags sit for a minute or two, I added milk and sugar, setting the cup in front of Harry, who was staring at the marble countertop like it was the most interesting thing he had ever seen.
“You remember how I take my tea.” He looked up at me again, the corner of his mouth turning upwards for a moment. And I felt my stomach flip, a knot forming. He hadn’t said it as a question, just an observation. So I didn’t respond. I wouldn’t know what to say even if I wanted to.
“How...have...you been?” His words were drawn out, like he was really thinking about everything he said.
“Fine, I guess.” I lied. “How about you? Seems like things are going well.”
“Yeah, they’re alright.” He took a sip of his tea, his large hands dwarfing the dainty teacup. After he had finished it, he set the cup next to him, lying his head down on the counter, his face turned towards me. “I’m so tired, Anna...”
“I’m sure you are, you should just sleep this off.”
“No, that’s not what I mean...” His words were slurring together so it took some concentration to understand what he was saying in his drunken state.
“I’m so fucking tired... of all of it. I’m pretending to be happy... and i’m not. I’m not happy at all. I haven’t been happy since- since I left you. I need you. I need you....” His words felt like knives stabbing my in the chest, one after another. because it was all i’ve wanted to hear for months, but not like this. Because i knew he would never say it if he was sober.
“You can sleep in the guest room. Come on.” I stood up, helping him to get onto his feet. He struggled a little, stumbling over himself. I held him up the best I could, his height compared ot mine making it a bit difficult. Once I got him down the hall and into the guest bedroom, I wasn't sure what to do with him. But he took the lead, pulling off his t shirt, undoing his buckle, and sliding out of his jeans and shoes, leaving him in nothing but a pair of white Topman boxer briefs. I tried not to watch as he fell onto the bed, his long limbs almost reaching the end.
“But, we’re gonna talk in the morning, yeah?”
“Sure.” I said, not sure what the morning would actually bring.
“I really, really wanna talk. Because, I have a lot to say. And i’ve been thinking about it for a long time, and i’ve planned it all out in my head. So I really just wanna say it to you, babe. I need to, you, I need you, I mean... I have to talk to you.... tomorrow..yeah?” He wasn’t making any sense, his words falling over each other into incoherent sentences. I pulled the blanket over him, turning the lights off.
“G’nite Anna. I love you.”
***...So do you forgive me?” Her eyes were gleaming at me, the way they used to. Her hand reached for my face, cupping my cheek. She had a small smile on her face.
“Of course I do.” She said quietly. I took a step closer to her, our bodies almost touching. I leaned down until our foreheads were touching, our lips just centimeters apart.
“I love you, I never stopped loving you.” I said in a whisper.
“I love you too.” She lifted her head up so our lips touched gently. Then, more intensely. My hands instinctively went around her waist, pulling her even closer to me. I wanted her as close as possible. I wanted all of her, I needed her.
“I missed you so much, I hated these past few months.” I said through kisses, my breathing heavy.
“Just kiss me, Harry. I need you.” She grabbed my shoulders, standing on her toes to reach my lips. My hands were roaming all over her body, hand nails trailing down my arms and up my chest, pulling at my shirt, and.... ***
Waking up from a dream, I heard the buzzing of my phone, my eyes hesitantly opening. I was completely confused as to where I was for a minute, looking around at a room i’ve never been in before. My memories from last night were fragmented; I remembered the club, the shots, Liam yelling at me.... I’m pretty sure I punched him at one point... and then, what? I had wanted to go and see Anna, but I can’t imagine that I actually ended up making it there. But, where else could I be? Sitting up, I noticed my clothes strewn on the floor. I was forced to get up to find my phone in the pocket of my jeans.
I had 17 new messages.
“What the fuck, Harry! It’s 3 AM, you’re still not back. I don’t even want to think about the shit you've managed to get yourself into. I’m not calling to help you, i’m calling because we’ve got rehearsal at noon tomorrow so you better get your arse to the venue in time, or management's gonna be pissed.” Liam sounded angry, and from what I can recall about last night, he should be. But he was my second priority at the moment. Anna was my first.
Getting up and dressed was an event within itself, one that required the brain energy and capacity that I didn’t really have along at the moment, it seemed ot have been traded in for this massive hangover. Stepping outside into the hall, I felt like I was intruding, walking around someone else’s house. I managed to find Anna’s room, which was empty. So was the kitchen, the living room, and every other room in her flat. I was baffled, where the hell could she have gone?
The Starbucks down the street was a godsend the morning after ‘The Incident’. I had woken up early (It was some sort of miracle), and I just wanted to get out of the house for a little while. After sitting there for a good 25 minutes, trying to figure out what to do next, I got an iced latte and an orange juice, knowing it was Harry’s go-to drink, since he didn’t drink coffee. I don’t know why I did it, it’s not like he deserved it. But here I was, unlocking my door and setting the two cups down on the kitchen counter.
I went down the hall, seeing that the guest bedroom door was slightly open. I pushed it open wider, seeing an empty room and a hastily attempt at a made bed. I would be lying if I said my heart didn’t plummet a little in my chest at the sight of a quick getaway. But that was when I noticed a piece of paper lying on the duvet. Written on the outside, in Harry’s unmistakable messy boyish handwriting; Anna. And then, on the inside;
i’m sorry about last night. i don’t know what i was thinking. i’m here for 6 more days. so if you feel like getting together, or talking or something, call me. my number’s still the same.
I felt so stupid to think he would actually stick around. Last night was nothing but a drunken mistake to him, and I had actually bought it. I was on idiot.
I was checking my phone every two minute,s hoping there would be a message or missed call from Anna. But each time, nothing. And I should probably try and focus, since I could tell people were getting progressively more irritated with my by the second.
“Harry!” I heard Paul yell from across the stage. “We’re leaving. We need to go out the back way. Fast.” I nodded once, slipping my phone into my pocket. After a long soundcheck for the show later today, I needed some food and Advil, anything really that could possibly help the throbbing pain in my head and sore throat.
“Yeah, Sorry Paul.” I felt bad, these people were working twice as hard as me, and their jobs depended on me doing well. Sometimes I think I forgot that.
The rest of the boys were waiting by the back exit. I felt a glare from Liam in my direction, while everyone else stayed quiet.
The ride to the hotel went pretty much the same way, everyone trying to act preoccupied by their phones or the scenery or whatever. But I knew what they were all thinking; They thought I was going to screw everything up.
“I know you’re all pissed, but I don’t know what to say to you to make anything better!” I finally said to Louis when we were in the hotel’s lounge.“Just fucking be honest, Harry! It really shouldn't be this hard. What the hell happened last night?! Liam wouldn’t say anything, but it’s so obvious that something happened. And I think we deserve to know what. Because if you’re going to sabotage this tour-”
“I’m not going to ruin the tour Lou! I know how important this is. I’m just- It’s being here- In New York. It’s so hard... And last night... I just snapped. I went to see her, and I was completely pissed.” I finally burst, the words falling out of my mouth before I could even second guess any of it. He didn’t say anything, so I decided to go on. “I can’t remember what happened, how she acted, or what I said. I just know that I was a complete arse, as usual, and left before I could run into her in the morning.”
“You SLEPT there?!”
“I don't even remember how I got there really! I slept in the guest room... and when I woke up, she was gone. So I left. I had to, if I wanted to make it to rehearsals in time...”
“Oh, god. Harry...”
“I left a note.” I don’t know why I said that, it wouldn’t make any of this better.
“Just- I was sorry. And asking her to call me. Which she hasn’t, in case you were wondering.”
“Did you really expect her to, after what seems like a complete disaster of an evening?”
“I guess not. I just hoped... that she would care.”
“Trust me, it’s obvious that you both care. That’s not the issue.”
I wasn’t going to call him. I wasn’t going to text him. I couldn't do it. All it would be doing was objectifying myself to more humiliation, which I wasn’t really interested in. So all I had to do now was not leave the house for the next 6 days. I think I could do that.
So, it turn’s out this isn’t really as easy as I thought. Because by 4:30 I was bored and hungry. So, I had no choice but to go out to the store and try to get at least a few things to put in the fridge. The one that currently held a bottle of lemon juice, an avocado, a jar of jelly, and approximately three eggs.
I made it a quick trip, in and out in under 15 minutes. I carried four bags back to my building, crossing the street hastily. It may be stupid to think that merely stepping outside was going to do something. Like he was stalking me or something. I was very aware that he did in fact have better things to do. But I was paranoid. So I just wanted to get back into the confines of my air conditioned apartment as soon as possible.
Which apparently, wasn’t soon enough. The second I had stepped foot onto my street, I heard;
“Anna!” I knew that voice. It was british. I immediately spun around, expecting to see Harry. But it wasn’t him;
It was Liam.