Spring 2017 – London
Harry had no idea that Elise had the power to make him so angry. He never thought he would storm out of her flat after just finding her again. The fearful feelings of possibly never finding her again didn’t even hinder him as he stalked away from her flat to his car. He knew Elise was a runner and if she felt cornered enough, she wouldn’t hesitate to flee. But somehow Harry knew she wouldn’t this time. Somehow he knew that her job would keep her grounded in London. She wouldn’t ruin her future over him. And if she did flee, he knew in the back of his mind that maybe it wasn’t worth chasing her anymore. Why chase after someone who didn’t want to be caught?
On one hand Harry wanted to just stop and go back, apologize for blowing up on her. But he knew she wouldn’t learn anything if he did. She needed to realize that she was hurting him by playing games. She needed to realize that they were more to each other than just memories. She needed to realize it and he knew if he gave her space, she might actually come to terms with it.
Winter 2012 – Holmes Chapel
“Hey,” Harry said quietly, nonchalantly.
“Hey,” Elise said back, eyeing him curiously.
It was Christmas Eve and Elise came over to spend the holiday with his family. Her Gran was usually in town for Christmas, but this year she couldn’t make it. Elise’s parents only celebrated the holiday because of her Grandmother and with her not showing this year, the holiday spirit was pretty bleak at the Graves house. Of course Harry’s Mum invited Elise over to spend it with them – Christmas morning and everything. Harry would have invited her if his Mum had given him the chance. She was his girlfriend after all.
But things were a little weird for them right now. It was only two days ago that they’d gone to the winter dance together. It was also only two days ago that they lost their virginities to one another. And to top it all off, they hadn’t spoken to one another since it happened. They weren’t purposely avoiding each other though. Or at least Harry hadn’t been avoiding her. He was just out of town celebrating Christmas with some family in Manchester. But there they were, sitting in the TV room with both Gemma and their cousin Gavin, with everything feeling exceptionally weird between them.
“Come here,” Harry said grabbing her hand, pulling her up from the couch with him.
“Where are you going?” Gavin asked.
“Away,” Harry told him as he pulled Elise with him to his room. He closed the door behind them, smiling at her once they were alone together.
“I missed you,” Harry breathed, pulling her into his arms.
“I missed you,” Elise replied immediately.
Harry took the opportunity to lean down to kiss her lips – lips that he missed so much in the past two days.
“Do you… do you want to talk about the other night?” Harry offered.
“Not particularly. Do you?” She asked.
“Well, I don’t know. I mean, it was big. It was… it was a big deal,” he reminded her.
“It was,” she agreed.
“You don’t have anything you want to say about it?” He asked.
“I did it because I love you, Harry. That’s all that matters,” she told him.
“I love you too,” he told her immediately.
“I did it because I wanted my first time to be with you. I-I don’t regret it,” she reassured him.
“I don’t either. I liked it,” he told her.
“I liked it too,” she said, smiling up at him.
“Well, then,” he smiled back.
“Yeah,” she said as he wrapped his arms around her tightly, feeling closer to her now than he ever had before.
Harry smiled at the memory as he drove himself home. He was reminded of how in sync they used to be. He longed for that. He wanted that again with her. Because he knew, as adults, they could make it so much better. They could have it all, if only she would open her heart up to the possibilities.
Harry’s night passed by slowly, with only one thing on his mind – Elise.
He was feeling pretty down about how he left things, but he knew that calling her and apologizing for it wouldn’t be the best for their situation. So he didn’t. He was mindlessly watching TV when his phone started ringing from the kitchen counter. Walking over to it, he saw Elise’s name flash across the screen. His stomach turned violently and he wasn’t sure if it was butterflies or just fearful nerves that were plaguing him.
“Hello,” Harry answered, feeling his heartbeat in his throat.
“Harry,” he heard Elise’s tiny voice come through the receiver.
There was a distinct sound of music in the background and he knew she must have been out in a public setting – possibly a club.
“Elise, where are you?” He asked.
“Harry. I-I need you,” she whimpered.
Something inside his gut cringed at the sound of her voice. He waited to hear her say those words, but not in that way. There was something wrong. Seconds later, he could hear her begin to sob.
“Elise, where are you? What’s the matter?” He asked as he began to panic.
“I-I don’t know where I am,” she cried.
“Look around. What do you see?” He asked.
“I don’t know. I’m at a club. A…a night club. I don’t know though… I don’t know where,” she cried.
“Are there people around?” He asked.
“I-I’m by the bathroom,” she told him.
“Elise, did somebody hurt you? Are you alright?” He asked, trying to fight back the fear he was feeling.
“I-I was with some people, but… but they’re gone now,” she told him.
“Who? What people?” Harry asked impatiently.
“I don’t know. Some people I met at another club,” she told him.
“Elise,” Harry sighed, running his fingers through his hair. She was making irresponsible choices and there was nothing he could do to stop her.
“Are you drunk?” He asked.
“I-I guess. Yeah,” she said.
“You just… you were just with some people you don’t know, getting drunk and then you end up some place else?” Harry questioned.
“I don’t know where I am, Harry,” she whined as she started crying again into the phone.
“Elise, calm down,” he told her.
“Can you come get me? Please, Harry,” she cried.
“I don’t know where you are. Can you find out where you are?” He asked.
“Just come get me,” she cried obnoxiously into the phone.
“Ellie, Ellie. Calm down,” he said, trying to think of how he was going to get to her when he didn’t have the first clue of where to find her. Then it hit him.
“Elise, your phone. You have an iPhone, right?” He asked.
“Yeah,” she sniffled.
“You’re coordinates. Your phone had coordinates,” he said.
“Okay,” she said.
Harry explained how to find her phone coordinates – which really helped out. Thank you, Apple. He was able to plug them into the GPS in his Range Rover and find the club she was at. But the hardest part in finding her was wading through the crowds of people in the club. He made it up to the bar and looked around, finding Elise down at the end talking to a group of guys. Harry made his way down feeling a streak of jealousy rip through him. Who they hell were they?
“Elise, let’s go,” Harry said, gritting his teeth together as he walked up to her.
“Harry,” she said, looking over at him wide-eyed.
“Come on,” he said, grabbing her arm.
“Excuse me,” one of the guys said, putting his hand on Harry’s chest to stop him from taking her.
“Get your hand off of me,” Harry told the guy through clenched teeth.
“Harry, this is Randy,” Elise said, smiling at him, introducing to the guy in his face.
“Come on, Elise. I’m not play games. Let’s go,” Harry told her, ignoring the introduction all together.
“She’s just fine. Relax,” Randy told him.
“Listen. She called me to come get her. Now we’re leaving, Elise,” Harry said, pulling her toward him.
“She’s not ready to leave,” Randy said, grabbing on to her other arm.
“Don’t touch her,” Harry growled.
“What are you going to do about it, ponytail?” Randy chuckled, making fun of Harry’s hair.
“Elise,” Harry growled.
“It was nice meeting you, Randy… and guy whose name I can’t remember,” Elise giggled, waving to the guys.
“Are you okay?” Randy asked Elise.
“She’s fine,” Harry snapped.
“This is Harry. Harry would never hurt me,” Elise said to Randy. That was when Harry realized just how drunk she was. She was giggly and goofy and it was so unlike Elise, it was blowing his mind.
Harry pulled her with him out of the club and she stumbled the whole way.
“Harry, Harry, Harry,” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck, practically singing his name.
“What were you thinking, Elise? You can’t do that. You can’t just do that,” Harry growled, pulling her arms away from his neck. He couldn’t hide the fact that he was upset with her.
“I can’t do what?” She asked, looking at him oddly.
“You can just get pissed at a club, by yourself. There are bad guys out there, okay. There are people that will hurt you, okay,” he said, grabbing her arm again to lead her toward his Range Rover.
“I know all about people hurting me, Harry,” she said, angrily ripping her arm from his grasp.
Harry looked at her through knit eyebrows, knowing she was taking a huge dig at him with her words. She went from airy and carefree, to hostile and angry in a matter of seconds.
“Just get me out of here,” she scowled, stalking ahead on the sidewalk.
“Elise, you’re going the wrong way,” Harry called to her.
She stopped in her tracks and stumbled back toward him, bypassing him without question.
“Elise, you don’t even know where you’re going. Just slow down,” Harry said, jogging to catch up with her.
He led her to the vehicle, getting her inside. By the time he got in himself, her mood already changed.
“Don’t bring me home, Harry. I don’t want to go home,” she said, looking at him sadly.
“Okay,” was all he could say.
It wasn’t long after they got back to his flat when Elise got sick. Harry spent an hour with her in the bathroom holding her hair back as she vomited and cried. It wasn’t too often that he got to see Elise’s vulnerable side and despite the fact that she was puking her guts out, he kind of like seeing her this way. It made him miss her so much more than he already did.
After she passed out in the bathroom, Harry carried her to his bed. He tucked her in, watching her momentarily as she slept. He knew she wasn’t going to be there when he woke up in the morning. He knew it would be too much for her to find herself asleep in his bed. She would leave as soon as she was conscious.
Spring 2017 – London
An irritating pain wrapped around Elise’s skull as she woke up, finding herself in a foreign bed. Who’s bed was it though? She racked her brain for some kind of inkling of where she might be – hating herself for running right back to the lifestyle she fled from in Cheshire. It wasn’t unlike her to go home with a random guy after a night out. It wasn’t something she was proud of. But somehow it curbed the pain and the guilt and she found herself doing it more and more. For months it went on like that – guy after guy. And then she got the phone call that would change her whole life – she was accepted into the intern program on the Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw. She knew she needed to stop what she was doing and start making better life decisions. Moving to London was a step in the right direction. But after her fight with Harry, she didn’t want to sit at home and let the memories of his last words linger in her mind. She decided to go out, and once again she found herself in the bed of a stranger.
She met the guy briefly at the first club she went to, before making out heavily in a corner booth. He invited her back to his place after plying her with drink after drink, ensuring her lowered inhibitions. After they had sex, being the gentleman he was – and she used the term gentleman as loosely as possible – he called a cab to take her home. Deciding she didn’t want to go home, Elise had the cabby drop her off at the first club she saw. And that’s where she called Harry from.
Elise sat up quickly in the bed and looked around, ignoring the spinning of her head. She was at Harry’s. Oh, God. What did she do? Elise put her hands over her face feeling the worst sense of embarrassment wash over her. She called Harry crying – no, she was sobbing. Oh, God. And he came to get her – ready to get into a fight with the guy she was talking to when he arrived. She couldn’t believe it. Oh, God.
The bed was empty next to her and she was still in her dress from the night before, which most likely meant she hadn’t thrown herself at him – which was a good thing. They didn’t need that again. They didn’t need things to get any more complicated than they already were.
Elise pulled the blanket off of her body and threw her legs over the side, feeling dizzy the second she moved. Every time she drank like that, she regretted it in the morning. She didn’t know why she did it. It was stupid. So fucking stupid. And there she was in the stupidest situation ever, taking advantage of someone she couldn’t stop from hurting no matter how badly she wanted to stop.
Once her head quit spinning, she stood up, steadying herself before she made anymore sudden movements. She quickly did a sweep of the perimeter with her eyes to try to find her purse, spotting it on the center island counter in the kitchen. She tip-toed over to it – disrupting the dog from her sleep in the process. Shit. Elise quietly hushed Stella from making any more noise, which was when she noticed that Harry was sleeping contently on the couch.
She found herself watching him, wishing that things were different. Wishing that he never left her. Wishing that they were happy together again – happy all along.
Early Spring 2013 – New York City
“Ah, you’re getting soap in my eyes,” Harry exclaimed.
“Well, stop moving. It’s got to be perfect,” Elise said, squishing her hands through his soapy hair, trying to style it into a large mohawk on his head.
“At the expense of my eyes burning out of their sockets from the soap?” Harry chuckled, rubbing at his eyes.
“Baby, you’re only going to make it worse by rubbing them. Stop,” Elise said, dipping her hands into the bath water to rinse the soap off of them.
“Hold still,” she said, wiping away the soap from his forehead and around his eyes.
“Better?” She asked.
“They’re still burning,” he whined.
“Maybe we need to get you baby shampoo,” she teased, smirking at him.
“Oh, you’re funny,” he said as sarcastically as possible.
“’No More Tears’ for Harry,” Elise said in a baby voice.
“Elise Victoria!” Harry said, tickling her under the water.
“Stop! Harry, stop!” She yelped as she squirmed around the Jacuzzi tub, in the amazing hotel room they were in.
“Are you done with my hair?” He asked.
“Almost. But now you messed it up,” she whined.
“Oh, well,” he said, running his fingers vigorously through his hair.
“You’re no fun!” Elise exclaimed, feigning offense. He just laughed at her as he dunked his head down into the water to rinse it.
“All clean,” he said, smiling over at her.
“Time to get dirty,” Elise smirked at him.
“You read my mind,” he said, swiftly moving toward her like a shark in the water.
Elise shook the memory from her mind as she watched Harry’s content inhale and exhale as he slept on the couch. Memories like that were too painful to dredge up at a time like this. She didn’t need to go down that road. She grabbed her purse and shoes and quietly slipped out of his flat door without another glance in his direction.