Gotta Be You

I know how they both feel and now all that’s left to do is to find out how I feel.

And right now, my heart is stuck in the middle of a tug-o-war. Niall pulling hard on one side and Harry pulling just as hard on the other.

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41. Fresh Start

Isla’s POV

 

I took one last look at the side mirror and saw the “Welcome to Presteigne” sign getting smaller and smaller behind us. The only thing that I was going to miss about the small town was Trine and Sophie. Everything else, I was happy to leave behind.

We spent about over an hour catching up, talking about random things and even playing a round of “I Spy”.

Soon, silence filled the car except for the radio that was on at a low volume. I snuck a quick glance at Harry and saw him concentrating on the road. I looked at the side mirror again to look at Louis who was sitting directly behind me and saw him making goofy faces at me through the reflection. I burst out laughing and Harry looked at me with confusion. I pointed behind me and he looked at the rearview mirror before smiling and shaking his head.

“So, how’s the band going? Have you made any new music?” I asked, trying to strike up a conversation with them.

“Good, yeah, we’ve been in the studio lately but we have a week off right now,” Harry explained, looking back on the road again.

“Yeah, you should come and listen to some of the demos when we get home,” Louis said.

“I would love to,” I said, smiling. “Oh, by the way, how’s El doing? I missed her so much.”

“She’s doing great,” Louis replied. “She’s still in school but she spends most of her free time with me, the boys and the other girls. She’s missed you like crazy. She cried for three nights straight after you left.”

Guilt washed through me as I frowned after I heard those words. Tears started forming in my eyes as I saw Louis glance at me through the side mirror. Then, I felt his presence right beside me and I turned my head to see him leaning towards me.

“Hey, don’t be upset,” Louis said reassuringly. “She just missed her best friend.” I smiled a little bit but still felt horrible inside. “She’s absolutely ecstatic now that we’re bringing you home. Her and the other girls are getting our place ready for a little get-together, just us. It’ll be fun and take your mind off of things for a while.” He gave me a warm smile before patting my arm and going back to his seat.

“That sounds fun,” I said. “I can’t wait to finally see the girls again.”

Silence filled the car again and I looked over at Harry, who had been quiet most of the car ride. He looked like he was deep in thought until he looked over at me and shock filled his features. He quickly recovered and gave me a smile, I returned it with one of my own.

Then, I saw him take out his phone and started texting.

“Hey, focus on the road, Styles,” I scolded. He grinned at me before putting his phone away. Curiosity grew inside of me, wondering who was so important that he needed to text and drive. I was snapped out of my thoughts as I heard Louis’ phone chime as he got a text. I furrowed my eyebrows at Harry and he just gave me a blank expression before looking back at the road.

“Hey, I’m gonna be listening to my music so just let me know if you need anything,” Louis said. I turned around and looked at him. “I probably won’t be able to hear you.” He emphasized ‘hear’ and without waiting for a response, he put his headphones into his ears.

I looked back at Harry, raising my eyebrows at him.

He shrugged his shoulders. “What?”

“Harry,” I said, “did you just text Louis to listen to music?”

He grinned at me. “Maybe. Maybe not.”

“Harry!” I whined, lightly slapping him on his arm.

He laughed. “Okay, okay, I did. But only because I wanted to talk to you without him hearing.”

He smiled at me and I just looked at him with a frown. I felt bad enough that I took his seat, now I felt horrible that he had to do this.

I looked warily at Louis but he just gave me a goofy smile.

“He said he’s okay with it,” Harry said. I turned my attention to him again. “He even offered to sit in the other car but I know you wouldn’t let him.”

I sighed and settled back in my seat. “You’re right.”

Silence.

“So, what’d you want to talk about?” I asked. I leaned against the door so I could look at him more comfortably. He suddenly got nervous and he tensed up.

“Um…I wanted to talk…about…us,” he said. I froze in my spot but quickly recovered as I saw him fidgeting.

“Okay,” I said. Surprise replaced the nervousness written on his face as he looked at me. “So, what exactly about us?” I asked.

He faced the road again as I waited for his answer.

He shrugged. “I don’t know. I mean, basically, I want to know how things are between us. I don’t want to put you on the spot but I also don’t want to drag things along not knowing how exactly things are.”

I just nodded my head. “Well, I mean, I understand that you want to know but I guess…I’m not too sure myself.” I paused. “Will you promise to really think about what I have to say next? And let me explain everything first, okay?” He looked at me with worry before his features softened and nodded.

“Okay, so I’ve been thinking about how things are going to be once I get home,” I said. “I know things aren’t going to be the same anymore. And I feel like I need a fresh start. That means no relationships. For a while actually.” I saw hurt pass through his face. “That doesn’t mean I’m going to forget about you and me. But that also means that I need to remember what happened in the year that I forgot. Why we broke up. How me and Niall started going out. I need to remember because I don’t want to mess things up even more. I know this may hurt you to hear from me but there must’ve been a good reason for why we broke up. I remember being so in love with you that I never thought we would break up. It definitely came as a shock to me to hear that we did break up and even more when I found out that I was actually with Niall at the time of the accident. I can’t just leave things with Niall, either. I need to figure things out first before I start making decisions. I need you to understand how overwhelming this is for me. I left because I wanted to get away from it all and now that I’m going back, everything will be there waiting for me. And that’s where you and everyone else come in so you guys can help me remember and get me through it.” I paused. “So, to answer your question, I don’t know how things are between us right now and I don’t know how things are between me and Niall. We’ll have to take things one step at a time and eventually, we’ll get answers.”

Silence filled the car again as I watched Harry take in every word that I just said. After a few seconds, he looked at me while we were stopped at a red light.

“I totally understand,” he said, facing me. “I’m sorry if that put you on the spot, I just felt so happy to see you again. I know I shouldn’t have expected that we would be together again. It’s just…I love you so much. I always have.”

I sat frozen in the seat. I felt a huge lump in my throat as I tried to swallow, realizing how dry my mouth had gotten.

“Harry--”

“I know, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.” He looked away, looking frantic as he realized what he’d said.

I put my hand on his shoulder and felt him relax. “Don’t apologize, Harry. That’s how you feel. It just shocked me, is all.” I gave him a reassuring smile and he relaxed.

He started to drive as the light turned green.

“Can we just take things slow right now?” I asked. “I know that I only remember us when we were together but I’d like to try us being just friends right now.”

He looked at me warily. “How about you and Niall?”

I rolled my eyes. “Harry, that's between me and--”

“I just need to know,” he said. “I saw you two holding hands and hugging before we left.” Hurt filled his eyes. “Are you…do you like him?”

I felt my heart thump against my chest. I was getting irritated with him but I was also sympathizing. “No, Harry. I don’t like him like that. Right now, I see Niall as the person that I last remembered. My best friend. I held his hand because he was the closest person to me and I needed support. It could’ve been you if you were closer to me. Or Louis. Or Liam. Or Zayn. And I hugged him because he was upset that I didn’t get to ride in his car.” I took a deep breath as I felt myself getting agitated but it quickly softened once I saw the hurt and guilt written all over his face.

I rested my hand on his leg. “I’m sorry, Harry. I didn’t mean to get upset. I’m not angry with you. I swear. If it makes you feel better, I don’t like Niall in the way that you think I do. But none of us know what’s going to happen. I might, I might now. Same thing goes with you. I do love him, as a friend. And I’m not gonna lie and say that I don’t love you anymore. I still do but I can’t act on that with everything’s that’s happened.” I paused waiting for him to say something. “Do you understand, Harry?”

We stopped at another red light and he faced me. He gave me a weak smile. “I understand. Thank you, Isla. You’re amazing. And, again, I’m sorry.”

I put my hand that was resting on his leg and brought it up to his face to run my fingers through his hair. Hesitantly, I leaned forwards and kissed him on the cheek.

“It’s okay,” I said, leaning back to my seat. I brought my hand back and rested it on my lap. Suddenly, I found myself fidgeting my fingers as a thought came to my mind.

“I have a question for you, if you don’t mind,” I said, looking back it him while biting my lip.

Curiosity crossed his features as he looked at me before focusing on the road again and driving once the light turned green.

“What is it?” he asked.

I took several breaths. “Why exactly did we break up?”

I saw him tense up and his grip tightening on the wheel. But he soon started to relax but still didn’t say anything.

“Who broke up with whom?” I asked. I already knew the answer but I needed confirmation.

Hurt filled his features as he kept his eyes on the road.

He cleared his throat. “You broke up with me,” he said, his voice cracking at the end of the sentence.

I knew that I had been the one to break things off or Harry wouldn’t be here telling me that he still loved me and he wouldn’t be worrying about how things were between us and between me and Niall.

A few seconds of silence filled the car before I spoke. “I’m sorry.” I don’t know what exactly I was sorry for but I just felt the need to say it.

“Don’t be sorry,” he said. “You weren’t in love with me anymore and you saw us better as friends. Yeah, it did break my heart but I couldn’t hold you back if you didn’t feel the same way that I felt for you. I was heartbroken but I understood how you were feeling. You told me that you didn’t feel sparks anymore and that you needed that in a relationship. I went on after the breakup hoping for another chance but you were already moving on.” He paused. “But I couldn’t. I never moved on.”

I looked at him with sad eyes but soon I looked at him with confusion. “Why would you tell me that?”

He looked back at me, mirroring my expression. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, why would you tell me all of these things about me not being in love with you anymore. Shouldn’t you be telling me things that will make me feel guilty for breaking up with you?”

He looked at me with a serious expression. “I would never tell you things to make you feel guilty. And you have the right to know the truth. You said you wanted to remember everything that happened in the year that you forgot, so I’m telling you exactly why we broke up.”

I felt my heart flutter at his sincerity and honesty. “Thank you, Harry. I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have been thinking that way. Thank you.” I smiled up at him and he smiled back at me.

I looked out the window when I saw Harry turning into a gas station.

“This is the halfway point,” he said, parking the car in a parking space. A second later, I saw Niall’s car pulling into the space beside ours.

I turned towards Harry and saw him already looking at me intently.

“Thank you,” he said. “For talking to me.”

“Thank you, too,” I said. I reached for his hand and held it. “There’s still a lot more that I would like to talk about but I glad that we got some things cleared up.”

He just nodded at me.

“I hope I didn’t make things worse with what I said,” I said, worry filling every word.

He shook his head. “Not at all. Don’t ever think that. I’m happy with what we talked about.”

A smiled in relief and locked my eyes onto his. I tried suppressing the butterflies that were going crazy in my stomach but I couldn’t help it. Looking into his green eyes reminded me of the many wonderful memories we had. Before the accident and after. One memory in particular flashed in my mind. The night before I found out the truth, when we were just lying down under the stars and he sang our song to me. I found myself leaning forwards, getting closer to Harry’s face. He was looking at me with so much love that I found my breath shaking. We were now a few inches away from each other and I saw him look at my lips.

“AHHH!!!”

Me and Harry jumped and instantly pulled back as we looked back at Louis.

“Sorry,” he said, “I thought…the-the car was moving.” I saw Harry glaring at him but his features instantly softened as he turned his attention onto me. I had a feeling that Louis wasn’t telling the truth and Harry seemed to feel the same way. I gave him a small smile before looking away.

What just happened? What was I about to do? How could I do that after everything I just told him? I was incredibly relieved that Louis stopped us but a small part of me wanted to kiss Harry so bad. However, I started mentally kicking myself for my actions once I realized the consequences that I would have to deal with if we did kiss.

“Um…I guess me and Zayn are switching now,” I said. I realized my voice was shaking in nervousness and I avoided his gaze. “Um, I’ll see you later.” I opened the door and started getting out of the car before I felt a hand grasp my wrist.

“Isla.”

I turned around and saw Harry looking at me with confusion and some other expression that I couldn’t put my finger on.

“We’ll talk later,” I said, giving him another small smile.

He stared at me for a few more seconds, his eyebrows furrowing. Finally, he nodded and let go of my wrist.

“Bye,” I said. I turned my head to look behind the seat at Louis. “I’ll see you later, Louis.”

He was looking at me with a disapproving look before replacing it with a smile and nodding.

“See you later, Isla.”

I nodded and closed the door. I turned around and froze as I saw the car beside me. It totally escaped my mind that Niall could’ve seen but I breathed in a breath of relief as I saw that he wasn't in the car. Liam was gone, too. I looked inside the store in front of us and saw them walking around.

I headed towards the door and walked in. I walked up to them, keeping my eyes on Niall. He was laughing at something Liam had just said and I felt myself relaxing.

He didn’t see mine and Harry’s near-kiss. I smiled as they saw me and I walked up to them.

“Hey, how was the drive here?” I asked.

Niall chuckled. “Better than I thought, actually. Zayn fell asleep right away so there weren’t any annoying fights.”

I laughed.

“Fights between whom, may I ask?” Liam said, trying to sound innocent. Then, Liam walked down the aisle to look at the cookies.

Niall just laughed and shook his head before turning to me. “How about you?”

I suddenly got nervous but I quickly tried it hide it. “It was good. Me and Harry just had a talk.” I avoided his gaze but I could feel him staring at me. Thankfully, he did push further.

“Um, did you want anything?” he asked, grabbing a couple of bags of crisps.

“Um, yeah, just a bag of crisps will be fine,” I said. I grabbed one and continued to walk down the aisle.

“Are you sure?” I could hear him from behind me. “It’s still another two hours.”

I rolled my eyes and laughed as I turned around to face him. My action was so abrupt that Niall bumped into me. My eyes widened as his arms grabbed mine to steady me. I felt electricity running throughout my body but I quickly shook it off.

“Sorry,” I stuttered, looking down.

He chuckled as he let go of me. “It’s okay.”

I steadied my breath as I looked at him with his back now facing me as we walked to the counter.

“You got everything you need?” he asked.

“Yup,” I said, following him. I stood behind him in line waiting to pay for my food. When it was his turn, he quickly turned around and grabbed my food out of my hands and put it with his own on the counter.

“Hey!” I exclaimed. I walked up to him and went to grab my food but he quickly stopped me by holding onto me and then wrapping his arms around my waist from behind, trapping my arms at my side.

He put his lips near my ear. “It’s okay, Isla. I got it.” I felt shivers run down my spine and my breath caught in my throat as I felt Niall’s body against mine.

I tried squirming out of his grasp but he just held on tighter. I started laughing as Niall tickled my waist.

“Niall, stop!” I shrieked in between laughs. He just chuckled as he continued to tickle me.

“Only if you let me pay for you food,” he said.

“Okay! Okay! Just stop! Please!”

He stopped tickling me and loosened his hold on my waist allowing my arms to be free but he kept his around me.

“That’ll be €11.72,” said the cashier. Niall took one hand from my waist and reached into his pocket to take out a €20 bill and handing it to the cashier. The cashier gave him his change, which Niall put in his pocket and grabbed the two bags filled with our food.

“Thank you,” Niall said to the cashier before guiding me out of the store.

As we stepped out, I looked towards Harry’s car and saw Liam leaning into the passenger window talking to him and Louis. Harry looked over at us and his face fell when he saw us. Niall still had one of his arms around my waist. I subtly walked out of his arms pretending to look for something in my bag. Niall walked over to Liam and went to talk to Louis.

I walked over to Niall and Liam and looked inside the car. Harry was still looking at me and I quickly looked away.

“Shall we go?” Liam said. Everyone replied in agreement and Niall went over to his car and got into the driver’s seat. I saw Liam getting into the passenger seat of Harry’s car.

“I thought I was switching with Zayn,” I said.

“Yeah but he’s asleep and all of us are too scared to wake him up,” Liam explained.

I laughed. “Okay, so I’ll see you guys later.”

Liam waved to me and I snuck a glance at Harry. He smiled at me for the first time since I left his car and I couldn’t help but smile back.

“See you later, Isla,” he said.

With that, I turned around and walked over to my side and got into the car and sat beside Niall. I buckled my seatbelt as I saw Harry pulling out of the parking space. Niall waited for his turn and soon we were back on the road.

Before I had time to collect my thoughts, Niall spoke. “It’s a good thing Zayn’s sleeping. It’s the perfect time to talk.” He gave me a sweet smile and I returned it with one of mine.

However, inside, I felt nervousness creep into my whole body. I took a deep breath as I prepared myself mentally for another talk.

 

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Meh, I don't know how I feel about this chapter. I'm not sure it's exactly how I wanted it to go. But I'm still happy with it :)

What do you guys think? Did you like it? Do you hate it? Please let me know :)

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Love you guys <3

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