Spring 2017 – London
Louis hung out with Harry at his flat that night. They ordered pizza and drank beer, hanging out like old times – back before their lives got so busy. It was nice to have Louis there, since Harry didn’t want to be alone. He felt incredibly depressed now that Ellie was back in his life – and what depressed him the most was that she really wasn’t back in his life and he wanted her to be so badly.
“I need to find her, Louis,” Harry said as his body sat lax on his couch, holding a beer in his hand.
“What you need to do is quit drinking,” Louis smirked, eyeing his beer.
“This is only my second one!” Harry protested.
“Try sixth,” Louis said, cocking an eyebrow at him.
“Who’s counting?” Harry scoffed, taking a sip of the beer in question.
“Well, I am. That was the point of saying it was your sixth one,” Louis laughed.
“Shut up, mate. You don’t need to babysit me. I’m in the confines of my own flat,” Harry said, his words slurring a bit.
“I just don’t want you to get stupid over this. I mean, yeah… it’s a big thing that we saw her. But it’s been five years, mate. Maybe it’s better to just leave it alone,” Louis told him.
“That’s your big advice? That!? That I should leave it alone? I CAN’T leave it alone, Louis. Do you even understand how badly I regret what I did to her?” Harry scowled at his ignorance.
“Then why did you do it?” Louis asked.
Everything was so black and white with him. Nothing is ever black and white – there was always a whole bunch of gray. And well, Harry has been living in the gray for five years.
“Because I was a fucking idiot. Because I thought it was for the best. Because we never saw each other,” Harry said, listing off his reasons – which absolutely meant shit to him now.
“Okay. So why, when you finally realized this, didn’t you go to her and apologize?” Louis asked.
“BECAUSE I WAS STUPID!” Harry yelled, working himself up.
“You are stupid,” Louis said plainly.
“I know it,” Harry grumbled, taking another swig of the beer.
“So how are you going to find her?” Louis asked, finally bringing the conversation in the direction Harry wanted it to go.
“I don’t know,” he sighed.
“Nice game plan,” Louis said, rolling his eyes at his best mate.
“I don’t know, okay. Where… where did you see her? You said it was in a lift. Where? What lift?” Harry asked, trying to squeeze some information out of him. He was going to have to go full-on detective.
“Uh, at… uh… shit. What’s that building?” Louis said, snapping his fingers together.
“Are you kidding me right now?” Harry asked dryly.
“It’s in London,” Louis offered.
“Thanks. I’ll just search all the building in all of London for her,” Harry said, oozing sarcasm.
“Why are you getting angry at me?” Louis asked incredulously.
“I’m just frustrated,” Harry sighed.
“Hey! It’s… it’s… uh, it’s where Grimmy works! The building Radio 1 is in,” Louis said, looking as if he was having an epiphany. Their first clue. One Direction did many radio interviews in that building.
Spring 2013 – London
“So Harry – I hear it’s your lovely girlfriend’s birthday today,” Nick Grimshaw said over the airwaves.
“Yes. Yes it is,” Harry said, with a wide smile.
“What are you doing here, mate?” Grimmy chuckled.
“I know, right,” Harry laughed.
“You’re going to pay dearly for not being with her,” Grimmy pointed out.
“Nah, she’s very understanding with my hectic schedule,” Harry said, smiling with pride. He had the best girlfriend.
“What’s her name again?” Grimmy asked.
“Elise,” Harry told him.
“Elise. Right. And how old is she today?” Grimmy asked.
“She, uh… she just turned nineteen,” Harry told him.
“So she’s an older woman, huh? You’re eighteen, right?” He chuckled.
“Yeah, yeah. But she’s only older than me by less than a month,” Harry laughed.
“She never lets you forget it, huh?” Grimmy asked.
“She doesn’t,” Harry laughed and Nick laughed too.
“Well, Harry. We’ve got a little surprise for you… which is kind of weird since it’s her birthday,” Grimmy said.
“What?” He asked confused.
“We’ve got Elise on the line. She’s waiting for her boyfriend to serenade her over the airwaves,” Grimmy told him.
“Ah, putting me on the spot,” Harry chuckled.
“Elise, are you there, love?” Nick asked.
“Hi,” Ellie’s voice came over the headphones in Harry’s ear, causing him to immediately smile.
“We’ve got your boyfriend here in the studio, Elise,” Grimmy told her.
“That’s what I hear,” Elise giggled.
“Hey, Ellie,” Harry said into the microphone.
“Hi, Harry,” she said.
“Aww, he called her Ellie. How adorable,” Nick cooed and Harry rolled his eyes.
“Happy Birthday, babe,” Harry told her.
“Thank you,” she giggled.
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY, EL!” Louis and Niall chimed in.
“Yeah, happy birthday!” Liam said.
“Happy Birthday, Elise,” Zayn added in finally.
“Thanks, guys!” Elise said excitedly.
“Listen Elise, I’m going to get Harry to sing you happy birthday,” Nick said and Harry chuckled awkwardly.
“Aww, that would be sweet,” she said over the phone line.
“Alright, alright. Ahem,” Harry said, readying his voice.
“Happy birthday… to you. Happy birthday… to you. Happy birthday… my dear Elise. Happy birthday… to you,” Harry sang sultry and slow. Everyone in the studio clapped and cheered once he finished.
“Aww thank you, baby,” Elise cooed.
“You’re welcome. Happy birthday. I wish I could be home with you,” Harry told her.
“You do your thing, baby. You can see me anytime,” she told him.
“Aww, she is supportive,” Grimmy cooed.
“She is. She’s great,” Harry said, nodding proudly.
“Alright, Elise. I hope you enjoy your day. And I’m glad I could connect you with your boy on your birthday,” Grimmy said.
“Thank you so much,” Elise said.
“We’ll talk to you later,” Grimmy said.
“Love you, baby!” Harry called out before she was disconnected.
“Aww,” everyone cooed.
“Love you, too,” she said and then she was gone.
“The Broadcasting House?” Harry questioned.
“YES!” Louis said excitedly.
“Okay. Okay. Awesome. That’s a start, right. That’s a start,” Harry said, trying to build back up his confidence.
“She said she moved to London because of a job. Maybe she works in the building,” Louis pointed out. Harry’s eyes went wide with his words.
“What?” Louis asked.
“Radio 1,” Harry gasped.
“What about it?” Louis questioned.
“Ellie always wanted to go into radio. What if… what if she works there… at Radio 1!?” Harry asked, sitting up straight on the couch, placing his beer on the table in front of him.
“You think?” Louis asked.
“She’s not going to just move down here for some shithole job. OH MY GOD! I have to… oh my god. I have to go down there!” Harry said, standing up on his feet.
“Harry, it’s eleven o’clock at night. You’re drunk. No one will even be there. Sit down,” Louis said, speaking logically.
“I have to go tomorrow,” Harry told him as he took a seat again, grabbing his beer.
“We can go together,” Louis offered.
“No. I need to do this,” Harry told him.
“Alright,” Louis nodded.
Harry woke up in the morning with a pain working its way around his brain. He was fully clothed, lying face down on his still made bed. He pulled himself up on his forearms and looked around. Everything was still. He didn’t remember much after Louis left. He just remembered finishing off the rest of his twelve pack of beer. And there he was waking up like a shitbag, half drunk and hungover all in one.
He groaned as he pulled himself out of bed and made his way to the kitchen. Maybe some tea would help. As he made his way toward the kettle, he stepped in a nice puddle of dog piss on his kitchen floor.
“Fucking shit! Stella,” he growled.
As gross as it was to wake up to that, he couldn’t really be mad at the dog. He was the idiot who got pissed last night and didn’t bother taking out the dog to go to the bathroom. He brought it on himself. Harry skipped the tea after cleaning up the mess. He took Stella out and then took a shower to wash the stench off of himself. As he walked out of his bathroom in his towel, his text tone went off on his phone. It was a text from Louis.
L: Did you go see Ellie yet?
HOLY SHIT. How could he forget? Harry dressed quickly, forgetting completely to text Louis back. As he brushed his teeth at a rapid pace, he started getting sick to his stomach thinking about actually seeing Elise again.
“Oh my god,” he whined, doubling over his sink, trying not to throw up. He took a few deep breaths before he composed himself and walked confidently out of the bathroom.
He was a jittery mess as he drove to the Broadcasting House. He couldn’t stop tapping the steering wheel in his Range Rover. And the ache in his stomach hadn’t gone away from his mini panic attack in the bathroom. He needed to find her.
Harry found himself riding the lift up to the floor where Radio 1 had its studio. He wore a knit cap and sunglasses, trying not to be seen – he didn’t need to be bombarded by fans when he was on a mission. He was stopped as soon as he got into the offices, but only by the staff wondering why on earth one of the members of One Direction was standing in front of them when there was no interview scheduled.
“I’m… I’m looking for someone. She might work here,” Harry told the lady at the front desk.
“O-okay,” she stammered, staring at him wide-eyed.
“Elise. Elise Graves,” Harry said.
“I-I don’t think there is anyone by that name that works here,” the woman said, giving him an apologetic look.
“But… can you check. It’s important,” Harry insisted.
“Sure,” she said as she sat down in her seat and started scrolling through her computer.
“Harry Styles,” he heard the unmistakable voice of Nick Grimshaw from behind him.
Harry plastered a fake smile on his face as he turned around to greet the man he had been interviewed by since he was sixteen years old.
“Hey, mate,” Harry said, shaking his hand.
“What brings you here?” He asked, looking confused.
“I’m… I’m looking for someone who might work here,” Harry told him.
“Oh, yeah? Who?” He asked.
“Elise Graves,” Harry told him. Nick cocked his head, looking at Harry questioningly.
“Doesn’t ring a bell,” he said.
“She would have just started. She just moved to London,” Harry told him.
“An intern perhaps?” Grimmy asked.
“Yeah, yeah. Maybe,” Harry said, feeling incredibly happy to be getting somewhere.
“Rebecca, get me a roster of the new interns,” Grimmy said to the woman behind the desk.
“Right away, sir,” she said and busied herself with the task.
“Some interns just started yesterday. Maybe she is one of them,” Grimmy shrugged.
“I hope so,” Harry sighed. He didn’t care if he sounded desperate in front of him. He didn’t care much about anything.
“Elise Graves?” Harry heard Rebecca say.
“Yes. Yes, that’s her,” he said, moving toward the desk again.
“She started yesterday,” she informed him.
“Is she here… right now?” Harry asked desperately.
“She should be,” Rebecca said, nodding her head.
“Have someone bring her up,” Grimmy told Rebecca.
“Thank you so much,” Harry told both Nick and Rebecca.
Spring 2017 – London
“Mr. Grimshaw has requested to see you,” a lady, who Elise couldn’t remember her name, told her as she stacked boxes of merch in a tiny room.
“Me?” Elise questioned.
“Yes. You’re Elise Graves, aren’t you?” She asked.
“Y-yes,” she stammered.
“This way,” she said, waving her to follow.
Why on earth would Nick Grimshaw request to see her? She was so confused. Was she being let go on her second day? She didn’t think she did anything wrong. She was being led out to the main entry of the radio station, which was confusing because the offices were on the other side of the studio. Why would Mr. Grimshaw be requesting her presence out there? Elise walked through the door and was immediately bombarded with him – his voice, his laugh, his presence. She stopped in her tracks staring straight at him.
“Ah, is this Elise?” Nick asked.
“Yes,” Harry breathed, staring straight into her eyes.
“Wonderful. Tammy, why don’t you escort these two to the conference room. We’ll give you a little privacy,” Nick offered, smiling at the two of them.
“Will do,” Tammy, the woman who brought her out there, answered.
Elise couldn’t move. She couldn’t stop staring at him. She was in shock and she knew it.
“Ahem,” Tammy cleared her throat when neither of them moved to follow her. Nick chuckled as he watched them.
“Intense,” he commented.
Harry snapped out of it and moved toward Elise, which made her feel like throwing up. What the fuck was this? An ambush? Elise took a few steps back and ended up bumping into the door frame.
“Shit,” she grumbled, moving through the doorway. Harry was still closing in on her and her chest was caving in.
“El,” he breathed when they fell into step next to one another as they followed Tammy toward the conference room. Elise ignored him as best she could.
“Here we are,” Tammy said, showing them the door.
“Thank you,” Harry told her.
“Sure,” she said, smiling politely at him.
Harry stood aside to let Elise in first. She was reluctant. What was she going to say to him? She had nothing to say.
“Elise,” he said after he shut the door behind them.
She couldn’t look up at him. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t run. She couldn’t fall off the face of the earth. She couldn’t do anything she wanted to do. She was just stuck – in his presence. It was her very own tailor-made form of hell.
This reunion was so unlike ones of the past – ones when Elise and Harry were in love. When the world turned into a beautiful place when she was in his gravitational pull.
Fall 2012 – Holmes Chapel
“Elise… Elise Victoria Graves… wake up,” Harry breathed in her ear.
“Hmm…” She whimpered.
“Wake up, pretty girl. I’m home,” he cooed.
“Harry?” She questioned.
“Yes,” he said with a wide smile on his face.
Elise’s eyes fluttered open, seeing the bright sunshine face of her boyfriend. Her boyfriend that she missed uncontrollably while he was away for the summer touring.
“HARRY!” She said sitting up, wrapping her arms tightly around him.
“Did you miss me, baby girl?” He chuckled.
“I missed you so much!” She said as she felt the sting of tears in her eyes.
“I missed you too, El. So much,” he said, kissing her hard on the lips.
“How’d you get in here?” She asked him.
“I jimmied open your window,” he said, smiling mischievously at her.
“Burglar!” She laughed.
“I didn’t steal anything,” he laughed.
“Well, you stole my heart,” she smirked at him playfully.
“I didn’t need to steal that. You gave that up willingly,” he chuckled.
“Mm-hmm,” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck, kissing him. She pulled him down on the bed as they continued kissing.
Elise squeezed her eyes shut, trying not to play the rest of the memory in her mind – the rest of it where she took Harry right then and there in her bedroom with her disapproving parents right down the hallway.
“Elise,” he breathed again.
“STOP SAYING MY NAME!” She erupted, her ill feelings toward him over-flowing out of her like lava. Harry looked at her wide-eyed, like she just slapped him across the face.
“What the hell were you thinking?” Elise growled at him as her anger boiled inside of her.
“What do you mean?” He asked, looking like a deer in headlights.
“This is my job, Harry. Nick Grimshaw is my boss. And you just waltz in here and… and mess shit up,” she snapped as she began pacing back and forth.
“Elise, I needed to see you,” he told her.
“How the hell did you find me?” She asked, stopping her pacing to stare at him again.
“Louis… he told me he saw you here,” Harry stammered.
“Fuck,” she said, shaking her head.
“Elise, I saw you. I saw you last week. But you didn’t see me,” Harry told her. She sighed heavily.
“I saw you,” she said quietly.
“You saw me?” He asked.
“Yes,” she admitted.
“You saw me, but you still chose to run away from me?” He asked.
“How does it fucking feel?” She spat at him.
“Elise,” Harry sighed, looking incredibly remorseful.
“I didn’t see you until I was already in the cab. And quite frankly, Harry. I would have ran as fast as I could the other way if I met you face to face on the street,” she told him truthfully.
“I know you would have,” he sighed, hanging his head.
“The only reason I’m not running from you now is because this is my job,” she told him truthfully.
“I get it, okay,” he growled.
“I don’t think you do,” she said, shaking her head.
“I KNOW, ALRIGHT. I fucked up and now I’m a mess, Ellie,” he said.
“Oh, now you’re a mess?” She retorted bitterly.
“Do you think there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t wonder what my life would be like if I didn’t fuck up our relationship?” He said, narrowed his eyes at her.
“It seems like you’ve done pretty fucking well for yourself, Harry,” she spat at him.
“Elise,” he growled under his breath.
“I need to get back to work,” she told him, eyeing the door, trying to make a plan in her head how she could get passed him somehow.
“Elise, please. Just talk to me,” he pleaded.
“I have a job to do, Harry. And no matter how chummy you are with Nick Grimshaw, it doesn’t cancel out the fact that this looks really bad on me that my ex-boyfriend comes storming in here on my second day keeping me from doing what I am supposed to be doing,” she pointed out.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I just… I needed to find you,” he said, running his fingers through his hair.
“You found me. Now I need to go,” she told him, stepping toward the door.
“Elise,” Harry said, putting his hand on the door to stop her from opening it.
“Harry, I have to go,” she said impatiently.
“We… we need to get together and talk,” he told her.
“Harry. No,” she said, shaking her head.
“I will keep coming back here, Ellie,” he warned. It was her turn to narrow her eyes at him.
“Just give me your number,” he said.
“Harry…” Elise said quietly.
“Give me your number and you can go back to work,” he told her. Elise growled under her breath.
“Fine,” she conceded. She rattled off her number as Harry programmed it into his phone.
“I’ve got to go,” she told him, opening the door.
“Ellie!” Harry said quickly. She turned her head in his direction.
“You look good,” he said with a sideways smirk.
“Bye, Harry,” she said before she took off down the hallway.