She knew something. She definitely knew something. Something was going on and I hated to not know what it was.
The day was just like the previous. We talked a lot and watched movies together and she finally relaxed a bit. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. She was so beautiful… so different. She was herself whenever I was around here; not like all the other girls, doing everything to get my and the boys attention. She wasn't wearing make up, which would only cover her natural beauty. She wasn't wearing fancy clothes or laughed at all my stupid jokes. She truly was Grace Miller, all the time. Grace, the girl I've been falling hard for, the moment Zayn and her sister told me something about her, the moment I first saw her, the moment I heard her voice and saw her beauty for the first time.
And of course I knew this was kind of… quick and maybe not a perfect plan, but I would go crazy without her, I knew it. I had to have her. I had to call her mine. It was like an inner urge, I couldn't do anything about it.
I lay in my room, in my bed, and tried to sleep, but my body didn't want to take a rest of all the stress I had with her and her family and Niall. With a sigh I reached out for my phone. 02:46 am.
I checked a few messages, replied shortly put it back to it’s old place again.
"Ugh" I groaned and closed my eyes.
Having Gracie in my arms right now would be the only thing to calm me down and let me slip into sweet dreams. But she wasn't ready and I had to give her time, even though I hated it.
"Time" was a big word. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, years, centuries. I didn't know how much she needed and I wanted to give her the world, she deserved it. But what if the time she needed turned out to be years? I couldn't wait that long. I would go crazy waiting for her. I needed a new plan.
I opened my eyes again and dialed Louis' number. After a few rings, he answered it.
"Hello?" he asked sleepily.
"Hey Lou, it's me" I said and he yawned.
"What's up, Harry?"
A second voice appeared. "Louis, it's almost 3 am, please tell him, he should be asleep…" it murmured.
"It's okay, El, go back to sleep" he said and I heard when sheets were moved and a door opened and closed.
"Why are you calling me at this time? Is everything okay?" Louis asked, sounding more awake now.
"Nothing's okay. I think I need your help, mate."
The next day I had to be very early at the studio. We had to record new songs for our fourth album, which should come out in a few weeks.
"Harry, you look awful" greeted Liam me as I entered the room.
"Geez, thanks" I said and took off my jacket. "It was a horrible night, my mom is still pretty sick and hearing her cough every minute doesn't help slipping into sleep."
Liam rolled his eyes and Louis said "Here's some coffee, you have to be fit, man."
He gave me a cup of hot content and I took a few sips, after I nodded into his direction as a "Thank you."
Zayn and Niall were also sitting around us; Zayn was at his phone all the time, probably texting Cassidy and Niall was doing nothing, except for playing with his hands. He didn't even eat something, even though a plate full of sweets and chips and all that stuff lay next to him.
I looked with narrowed eyes at him. Something was definitely going on. He bit his lip, rocked his foot to a non existing beat and this made me pretty nervous.
"What's wrong, Niall?" I asked and he looked up.
"Nothing, nothing… I'm just worried about some things" he said and smiled slightly.
"Mainly expectations. What people expect from me and what I expect from them. Or what I thought they were…" he said and his smile faded. He looked at me long and I took another sip of my coffee.
"Sounds pretty harsh" Liam said and patted Niall's shoulder. "But you’re getting over it."
Niall threw a last glance at me and then turned around to Liam. "Yeah, I hope so. It can't get any worse than it is right now."
I turned my back on them and put down my cup on a table. Then I took a few sheets with the lines of the track we were about to record. I've read trough my lines and the chorus, before I sang the scale.
I entered the recording booth after Liam and been told to start with the very first lines. I've waited for the music, rocked my foot with it and closed my eyes.
"There's a lightning in your eyes, I can't deny. Then there's me inside a sinking boat running out of time... Without you I'll never make it out alive, but I know, yes I know, we'll be alright" I sang with all my heart and as I started to sing the chorus, pictures of Gracie appeared in my mind.
The way she laughed as we tried to slide down the chute or when the picture of it was taken and Liam got mad. Or the moment she fell into my arms and smiled at me. The moment she woke up, the moment she screamed out my name. The way she smiled last night while dinner or when she blew foam into my face from the bathtub.
I smiled as I sang "This time I'm ready to run! Escape from the city and follow the sun! 'Cause I wanna be yours, don't you wanna be mine? I don't wanna get lost in the dark of the night... This time I'm ready to run! Wherever you are is the place I belong! 'Cause I wanna be free, and I wanna be young! I will never look back now, I'm ready to run! I'm ready to run!"
And these few lines gave me hope and I opened my eyes as I noticed how simple everything was now. Grace and I could start a brand new life wherever we wanted to. I didn't have to be Harry Styles my whole life long, she didn't have to be Grace Miller or even Grace Styles.
Gracie was right; she could cut her hair and I would do that too. It was so simple. We could just leave. I had enough money for a pretty good life for both of us together.
I smiled as I sang my lines again and again when our producer wasn't happy with my job. But it didn't matter to me; I had a plan and it was about to get pretty serious tonight.
As I got home, the first thing I did was opening her door.
"Hey there, love" I said as I spotted her at her desk, flicking trough a few magazines.
"Finally you're home!" she said, closed the magazines and smiled slightly at me. "It's really boring without another person around here and well, scary too."
I was surprised at how… calm she was. It was like she was finally getting used to the circumstances in our relationship.
"Don't worry about this anymore, I'm here now" I said and smiled at her. "Um, so, I ordered pizza. Get ready, they'll be here in about a half hour."
She nodded and got up. Slowly she got her bag, walked around me and into the bathroom. With every step closer to me, my heartbeat got faster. This girl was truly driving me insane.
I took a quick shower and was brushing my hair when I heard the sound of the doorbell and Harry opened the door. I started blow drying my hair and when it was almost dry, I made a bun and put my brush back into my bag. Then I took it and opened my door.
The moment I stepped out, I bumped into someone.
"This is going to be our thing now, huh?" I asked and a little laugh escaped my lips.
"Oh, really?" someone asked and I looked up.
I didn't bump into Harry. I bumped into Liam. Liam.
Liam Payne was standing in the hallway, slightly smiling at me. He was standing in the hallway of the house I had to life and he really was here! But maybe I was still dreaming? Maybe I had gone crazy. But maybe...
Without thinking, I hugged him tightly and whispered "Oh my God, what are you doing here?"
He felt real. His muscles and his body heat were the proofs. We parted again and he wanted to say something, but I shook my head.
"Doesn't matter! The main thing is to get out again! Come on!" I said and grabbed his hand, pulling him into the direction of the door. A laugh echoed behind us and I turned around.
"Stop fooling around, dinner's ready" Louis said and I tore my eyes.
He stood next to the kitchen and next to Harry's dark room. I blinked and he still was standing there, smiling, waiting.
"You're also here?! Come on, quick!" I said and beckoned him over, but he stayed where he was.
Harry walked out of his dark room with a slight smile and said "We're eating in the living room again, love. We're not going out."
I looked up to Liam and he shook his head. I let go of his hand and tried to wipe off his touch on my clothes. Liam ignored my doings, laid his now free hand on my back and shoved me to the big table at the window.
"I can walk alone" I snapped and got away from his touch. I sat down on one of the chairs and dropped the bag on the floor. Then I crossed my arms and looked out of the window.
"Oh, she's grumpy" Louis joked and I snorted. "What's up, love? Haven't seen you quite a long time" he added and I looked back to him. He was sitting across of me and had a questioning look on his face.
"Are you serious?" I asked and he looked like he wasn't comfortable with the whole situation anymore.
"Well, lately I've been kidnapped by Mr. Harry Styles after a, hm, I don't know, freaking tumor operation and now I'm sitting with his crazy friends at a table and we're about to eat pizza, because we're all besties and I've missed you guys so incredibly much. What do you think?!" I said and Harry laughed.
"At least she hasn't lost her humor" Liam mumbled, dropping himself next to Louis and I send him a death glare.
Harry sat down next to me, taking my plate.
"What do you want to eat?" he asked and I looked at him.
"I'm not hungry. I'm pretty disgusted right now" I said and first looked him, then Liam and finally Louis explicitly in the eye.
Louis raised an eyebrow and looked back at Harry.
"Grace…" Harry said warningly. I looked back at him and he had also raised an eyebrow.
"No, thanks" I said and took my plate back.
He sighed and now the boys each took pizza slices and began to eat. All I could do was listen to their chewing and looking out of the window. They talked about their new album and how great life was and completely ignored reality. Finally, I had enough and got up.
"Where do you think are you going?" Harry asked without looking up.
"I'm going to my room. I have enough of this theatre."
"Uh, we're not finished eating, Grace" Louis said. "Sit down again and wait."
"Like you are in a position to give me orders" I said and send him an acid look.
He laid down his pizza slice and said "Well, actually, you don't have anyone else except from us. Let me explain this: no one wants you except from Harry."
I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, so my family is quite happy without me, just like my friends and well, the whole world, right?"
Liam rubbed his neck and said "Well…"
Harry looked up at him and said "No, she's not ready for this…"
I wrinkled my forehead. What the hell was going on?
"Try me" I said and Harry sighed.
"She deserves to know" Louis said and I looked at him.
"What the hell are you talking about?" I finally asked and Harry turned around to face me.
"I think you should sit down, love" he said with his slow voice and somehow this time it was underlined with… a sorrowful tone? I swallowed and did what he said. Liam and Louis finally shut their mouths and Harry took my hand.
"Grace, um… You wondered why it was that easy for me... Kidnapping you and finding this house and all that stuff… Well, there's an easy explanation: I had help."
"Yeah, from those two idiots, I assume" I said bitterly and Louis said "Hey!"
Harry just shook his head and I kept looking into his green eyes.
"No. Well, yes, they also helped, but all of this wasn't alone my idea. It was…" He swallowed and it looked like he was fighting with himself, if he should tell me the truth or not. And then I watched as he made a decision.
"It was Cassie's and Xander's. They developed the plan, because… they were overwhelmed with your disease and had enough. They knew how much I liked and wanted you, so they talked me into it…"
I shook my head no. This couldn't be true.
I thought of my sister and my brother, how they always were there for me and helped me trough all my downs, when I wanted to give up and die. And now these two persons, the ones I thought I could trust forever, the ones I would've taken a thousands bullets for, these two betrayed me, sold me? This could not be true.
Not in a million years. Not on another planet. Not in another universe. Never.
"No" I whispered and tears welled up in my eyes.
"I'm so sorry, Gracie" Harry said and squeezed my hand. "I had to help them. They bagged me and well, I was in love with you. I did all this to help you. They would've left you for death in this hospital. I've told you that I'm always there for you, that I would always catch you, that I'm your future. I'm the only one who's left over for you, Grace."
"No. No. They- they would never do this" I insisted.
He bit his lip, running his free hand trough his hair.
"I'm so sorry, but it is" he said and I shook my head.
"Prove it to me. I want to hear it out of their mouths that they wanted to get rid off me" I said, even though if it was true, it would break my heart.
"A few days away, they were talking about it. They didn't know I was listening too" Louis said and I looked at him. "So, I- I made a video. Look."
He took out his phone, scrolled a bit and then gave it to me. Harry let go of my hand, so I could hold Louis' phone in my hands. I raised a finger and pressed play.
It looked like a kitchen at first. Then the view changed and showed Zayn and Cassie, sitting on a sofa in a flat I didn't know. A little sound of surprise escaped my lips when I recognized my sister.
It zoomed in, closer to them. Zayn smiled and Cas bit her lip.
"So, did you think we would ever make it?" Zayn asked and she shrugged her shoulders.
"Of course! It's like a goal we all wanted to reach. Like a main thing we all wanted to change. You guys were so sneaky, it really surprised me. It's better for all of us now and I can't thank you enough for giving me this chance." She laughed. "Wow, I sound crazy."
"You don't, Cas. But, um, don't you miss the old times?"
"Are you kidding me?" she asked and laughed. "Not a bit! I'm glad that it's finally over." She took his hand and he beamed a smile at her.
"There are other things I have to focus on" she said and he squeezed her hand. "Way more important things."
The video ended and tears made their way down my cheeks. I felt Harry's touch around my shoulders, but I couldn't react to it. I just stared at this phone and slowly the display turned dark.
"It's better for all of us now."
"I'm glad that it's finally over."
"There are other things I have to focus on."
"Way more important things."
These few lines whirled trough my mind. My tears made me blind, these lines ripped my heart apart and I felt like I would fall to pieces.
Someone took the phone away and I covered my face with my hands.
It couldn't be true. They… they… must have edited this video. But it seemed so real. It was my sister and it was Zayn. It really was her. That girl wore Cas' clothes, talked like her, acted like her. It was her and Zayn's voices, talking about how great life has become without me.
This… no. No way. Could it really be true? Until now I hadn't give up on the thought that someone would save me, if I wasn't able to save myself alone. But the chances of being saved – especially by my family – faded from minute to minute.
My heart was shattered. My family had betrayed me – no, obviously I was a pain they had to live with.
Maybe they had hoped that I would die during the operation? And when I didn't, they needed a back up plan, a new solution. Were they really that cruel? What happened to my beloved family?
But somehow... somehow I could understand them. Our family wasn't the same anymore, when the tumor was spotted; I barely saw my parents, Xander and Cassidy took care of me… and somehow trough this hard task I had destroyed their lives.
Obviously I was blind and stupid all the time. I hadn't seen what they were seeing. I needed to die. Maybe all of this was my faith… Now, after the "gift" of life was given to me and I achieved a brand new chance to start again and be normal, I didn't deserve it, right? I had become so selfish trough my illness.
I cried in my hands. Deep sobs were shaking me and Harry pulled me into a hug.
"I'm so, so sorry" he whispered and I hugged him too, resting my face on his chest.
"Why didn't they just let me die?" I asked and sobbed again.
Harry obviously didn't know an answer; he just hugged me tighter and said "I'm glad they didn't."
Maybe I was blind.
Harry tried his best to comfort me, to give me a good life and I pushed him away, again and again. But I didn't know what he knew. He knew the whole story, the background information, while I sill believed in what I wanted to be real.
I had been selfish for trying to get away from him, because I thought someone was waiting for me. Because I thought I needed them in my life, while they did everything to get rid off me.
But had I become selfish now for reconsidering to take the chance Harry offered me? If I would take it... I knew he would try his best to make me happy, smile, laugh and feel loved again.
But I couldn't think about him right now. I felt dead and I wished this feeling was real. I wished the surgeon's had made a mistake and killed me accidentally. I wished the tumor had killed me. I wished somebody would release me from this pain.
"Can I go to my room now, please?" I asked.
"Of course. I guide you" Harry said and helped me standing up.
We walked to my room, but it was more like he carried me. He sat me down on my bed and slowly I took my arms from him. He gave me a box of handkerchiefs, which lay on my nightstand, and I took them gratefully. When he turned to go, I grabbed his hand and he turned around surprised.
"Please stay" I begged him and a slight smile appeared on his lips.
"I only want to throw out Liam and Louis and make us tea. I'll hurry, okay?" he said and I nodded.
I let go of him and when he left my room, I blew my nose. I could hardly breathe and more and more tears seem to fall.
Harry hurried and when he entered my room again, he carried a tray with steaming cups and crackers. I sobbed again and with quick steps, he placed the tray on my nightstand and sat next to me. He put an arm around me and pulled me to him. I leaned on him and he kissed my forehead.
Harry didn't say a word; he just sat there, his arm wrapped around me and listened to me crying. He stroked my shoulder and handed me one of the cups. At first, I didn't want to drink anything, but he told me I had to, otherwise I would dehydrate. I sighed and took a few sips. The hot content made me feel a little better, but tea couldn't repair a broken heart.
Long time no one said anything. I wasn't able to. I was so hurt and dumb and selfish and awful.
"You're wasting your time on me" I said with a broken voice and looked at Harry.
His eyebrows rose up and he said "What? How- how do you mean that?"
"I will never be good enough for you, Harry" I whispered, truly believing into my words.
I wasn't good enough for my family, I wasn't good enough for anyone and especially not for Harry.
His face took on a bitter expression and he bit his lip.
"Oh, Grace..." he started, but I shook my head.
"No, Harry, it's the truth. I don't deserve this. I don't deserve you... all I deserve is to die."
"Love, I'm sorry, but you're talking crap." A slight smile crept onto his face. "I made mistakes and so did you, so what? Mistakes don't define us. Our actions do. I worship you and no, you are perfectly enough for me. The truth is, I don't deserve you and don't you ever say again that you want to die. Because if you die, there is no meaning in life for me anymore. If you die, I die. Please don't ever say that again."
I began to cry again and now he also wrapped his other arm around me, pulling me closer to him.
"I don't deserve you" he said, kissing my head.
"I will never deserve you" he corrected himself, kissing my head again.
"I'm not good enough for you." Kiss.
"You are my everything." Kiss.
"I don't want anyone else." Kiss.
"I will try to trust you." Kiss.
I looked up and had to look awful after all the tears I had shed, but he still looked at me like I was the best thing that ever happened to him.
"Thank you" I said and cuddled up to him.
"Always" he said and kissed my head again.