Spring 2017 – London
Elise was nervous to see Harry. She couldn’t shake the sickening feeling that plagued her since she woke up that morning. She would have to endure listening to Harry talk about his feelings – about how he felt when he ended their relationship. She didn’t know if she could. Everything inside of her told her that it was a bad idea – that the moment she let him speak his side, she was going to cave like there was no tomorrow. Harry Styles was her kryptonite. He made her weak – weaker than she’d ever been. And she knew it. She was painfully aware of it.
Her dreams since he came back into her life were full of his face. For the past two nights, all she thought about consciously and unconsciously was Harry. It meant something. It meant something she didn’t want to admit to herself – something she sure as hell didn’t want to admit to him.
She was still hung up on him. She knew she was. She’d been lying to herself for the past five years, hoping it would go away. She wanted it to go away. With everything inside of her, she wanted to put her feelings for Harry Styles aside and live her life. But it wasn’t that easy. And it sure as hell wasn’t getting any easier with him waltzing back into her life out of the fucking blue. She should have stayed in Holmes Chapel. She should have told Nick Grimshaw’s people to shove it when she got the call back for the internship. Her aspirations brought her there, and now her aspirations were fucking up her life.
Without being consciously aware of it, she dolled herself up for her meeting with Harry. It was an impulse – to want to look good for him. She couldn’t fight it – it just happened.
She took her time getting out of the car once she arrived at the Starbucks. Harry waited five years for their meeting, he could wait a little longer. A little longer so her stomach would settle, so she didn’t end up puking on his shoes. He was wrecking her, mentally and physically. Fucking Harry Styles.
When she finally walked into the door she scanned cautiously for his long curly hair. When her eyes met with his, an unnerving tingle enveloped her entire body. When they dated, she thought Harry was sexy – but that was five years ago. He was eighteen then. He was twenty-three now. He was absolutely mouth-watering. Elise really couldn’t even deal with her raging libido as she stood in front of him. It pissed her off. She hated it. She hated it more than she could even describe.
Late Spring 2013 – Holmes Chapel
“You hair… it’s getting so long,” Elise said as she ran her fingers through his curly hair.
“Hmm, yeah. I need a haircut,” he said, smiling at her through half-lidded eyes.
They lay together in her bed, having just reunited after being apart for over a month. She was lying in her camisole and underwear. Harry was just in his boxer briefs. She loved being so intimate with him. She loved these little moments. Sex was fun, but it wasn’t necessary. Just being with each other felt amazing. And it was something Elise missed way too much while he was away.
“Have I told you lately that I love you?” El breathed in his ear as she twirled a piece of his hair around her forefinger.
“Have I told you lately that I love you…” Harry sang out obnoxiously.
“Shhh. You’re a dork,” she giggled.
“That’s a song, isn’t it?” He asked, smirking at me.
“I think so. If not, you just made it into one,” she laughed.
“I am a singer,” he pointed out.
“Oh. I didn’t realize. Could have fooled me,” she joked.
“Elise!” Harry said, jumping on top of her, digging his face in the crook of her neck trying to bite her.
“Harry!” She screeched.
His hands gripped tightly against her hips as she squirmed and squealed underneath him.
“Harry. Stop. My parents are going to hear,” she said, swatting at him. After all, it was past midnight.
“You’re lucky,” Harry said, stopping the torture immediately.
“You’re lucky to have me,” she quipped.
“I am,” he said, hovering above her, staring into her eyes contently.
“I love you so much, Harry,” she told him.
“I love you so much, Elise,” he replied, before he leaned down to kiss her lips.
Elisa tried her best to expel the long lost memory that just so happened to plague her mind just by being in his presence again. Memories like that were not helping the situation at hand. She needed to stand her ground.
“Can I get you something?” Harry offered, pointing at the front counter of the Starbucks they were in.
“Can we just… can we just get this over with?” She requested.
“Elise,” Harry sighed, looking disappointed in her attitude.
He had another thing coming if he thought things were going to be fine and dandy with them. Because they weren’t. They never would be again.
“You say my name like it’s going to change things, Harry. It’s not going to change a god damn thing, okay,” Elisa said, giving it to him straight.
“Can we sit? Will you just sit, please?” He asked.
“Fine,” she conceded as she took a seat across from him at the small table.
“I don’t even know where to start,” Harry said, seeming flustered.
She stared at him and pursed her lips. She was annoyed. This was annoying. She wanted to be anywhere but there with anyone but him.
“Look, can you please just stop looking at me like you want to murder me? I get it, okay. What I did was fucked up – how I ended things with you, alright,” Harry said, getting annoyed right back.
He had no idea how fucked up it was. He had no idea what it did to her. He had no fucking idea.
“Just… god. I’ve spent the last five years trying to make myself into a better person. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never forgive myself for breaking your heart. That will always haunt me. You deserved so much more from me – so much better than what I gave you… than how I left you. That’s something that will never leave me. But now I’m… I’m here, Ellie. I’m here begging for your forgiveness. I just… I want to make this right,” Harry pleaded, and she could hear all the raw emotion in his voice. She knew he was being sincere.
Elise couldn’t look at him. His words were ripping a hole right through her. She bit her lip trying desperately to hold back the tears. She could feel the walls around her heart crumbling.
“I-I… I can’t do this here, Harry. I can’t,” she said, standing up abruptly.
“Then let’s go somewhere,” he offered.
“Let’s not. I can’t deal with this. Not right now,” she told him as she wiped at the stray tear that fell from her eyes.
“Ellie, I can’t let you go…” He breathed, grabbing her arm.
His touch – the feel of his skin against hers after five years was like an electrical shock.
“Harry, please,” she said as a sob ripped through her.
“Elise,” he breathed, with the saddest eyes in the universe.
“I’ve got to get out of here,” she said, looking around them, seeing that a few of the patrons were now looking at them, wondering what was going on.
Elise pulled her arm out of his grasp and took off toward the door. She didn’t realize that Harry was right behind her until she broke free of the double doors.
“Elise, why can’t you just stop and listen to me? Why are you making this so hard?” Harry growled, grabbing her wrist, spinning her toward him.
“Because, Harry! Because it is hard! It’s something I… something I don’t want to fucking deal with!” Elise yelled, ripping out of his grasp again.
“You’re not being fair,” he said as he stalked after her on her pursuit to her car.
“I’M NOT BEING FAIR! Ha! FUCK YOU!” She yelled, spinning to glare at him.
Harry looked taken aback at her sudden outburst. She took the opportunity to continue on toward her car when he didn’t say anything.
“Elise! This is fucking stupid! Why are you so stubborn!? I’m not asking for forgiveness. I’m just asking for you to let me apologize – to let me explain! You won’t even LISTEN TO ME!” He yelled.
“I don’t have to,” she growled.
“But you should!” He yelled.
“Why!?” She asked incredulously, turning to face him again.
“Because we loved each other. Because we were best friends. Because it’s a fucking tragedy that we lost that – that we lost who we were,” Harry said, looking incredibly pained as he spoke the words.
“You just… I— god!” She yelled in frustration.
“Elise, please,” Harry pleaded.
“You were my best friend, Harry. You were. But you left me when I needed you the most. You have no idea… you just have no fucking idea,” Elise cried.
“Tell me. Tell me about it, El,” he pleaded.
“It’s too late,” she said, shaking her head.
“IT’S NOT TOO LATE!” Harry growled angrily. Elise scoffed and stalked the rest of the way to her car.
“We’re not done here, Elise. You can leave right now, but we’re not done,” Harry warned.
She ignored him and got into her car. She drove away, not even bothering to look in her rear-view mirror. Driving through traffic was a nightmare with the cascade of tears plaguing her eyes. But she made it home, finally. Once she closed the door behind her, she could finally breathe normally again. She felt safe. The panic subsided.
Spring 2017 – London
That was the absolute opposite of how he wanted the day to go. Watching Elise’s tail-lights fade into the distance tore through his insides. It was the same feeling he felt when he watched her cab drive off – but this was so much worse. She was intentionally running away from him. And she was right – god damn it, she was right. He deserved this – he deserved to know how it felt to lose her like she lost him. He deserved everything he got. That fact did nothing to ease the pain though – it only made it worse.
When he got back to his flat, he was angry. He slammed his door shut, which startled Stella. She whimpered as she stood across the room staring at him from her kennel.
“STUBBORN!” Harry growled as he threw his keys on the kitchen counter.
How was he ever going to get through to her if she kept running away like that? Harry’s phone rang as he collapsed down on the couch in a huff. He pulled it out of his pocket, seeing Louis’ picture come across the screen.
“’Ello,” Harry said, answering it.
“So, how’d it go?” Louis asked.
“Absolutely terrible,” Harry grumbled.
“Why? What happened?” Louis asked, sounding concerned.
“From the get go, she had an attitude. And she wouldn’t listen to me. I was pouring out my heart and then she just stood up and refused to listen anymore. She stormed out of the place,” he explained.
“You know what that means?” Louis asked.
“What? That’s she’s the most stubborn person on earth?” Harry scoffed.
“That you still affect her, Harry,” Louis pointed out.
Harry hadn’t thought about it that way. She would always affect him. He guessed she would always be affected by him too. He should have rectified it years ago while he had the chance. He shouldn’t have let so much time pass.
Fall 2015 – Holmes Chapel
One Direction was back in the UK momentarily. They had some press planned, but for the rest of the time they were able to spend with family.
Being back in the neighborhood messed with Harry’s head. There were so many memories. So much he couldn’t handle. Elise was everywhere – in every memory that crossed his mind. He couldn’t even step foot in his old room without her face invading his mind. He was almost sure he could even smell her in there. But he knew it was just his mind playing tricks on him.
“Where are you going?” His mother asked as he started going out the front door.
“There’s something I have to do,” he told her, letting his eyes plead with her so he didn’t have to admit to her what he was really doing. She nodded, knowing full well where he was going. His mother was a very perceptive person and she knew her son pretty well.
It didn’t take long for his feet to bring him to his destination. He saw her house as he rounded the corner. It sent his nerves into overdrive. Stopping in his tracks, hidden behind a tree, he scoped out the old house. He didn’t know what he would say when he saw her, but he knew he had to say something. He knew living without her wasn’t an option anymore. He missed his friend – his best friend.
He walked slowly to the side of the house, prepared to tap on her window like he did so many times before. But just as he reached it, he saw movement from the corner of his eye. His breathing hitched as he saw her walk toward one of the chairs on the back patio and sit down. She had a book in her hands and she careful opened it, finding her marked page.
Harry’s heart squeezed tightly in his chest as he hid behind the bush by her window. She looked content. It was almost three years since he saw her last. He stood there watching her longer than he probably should have. Just as he was about to make his move – to walk up to her, a small smile made its way across her lips. It stopped him in his tracks, realizing that once she saw his face her smile would fade into a frown. And his heart broke just thinking about it. He couldn’t. He couldn’t bear to see the sadness on her face again. So he didn’t. He turned and disappeared. She would never know he was even there.
“Harry, are you there?” He heard Louis’ voice over the phone.
“Yeah. I’m here,” he breathed.
“Are you okay, mate?” He asked.
“Uh…” Harry started, but just before he was going to say no, his call waiting beeped in his ear. He pulled the phone away from his ear to look at it.
“Louis, I’ve gotta go!” Harry said quickly, pressing the button to switch the calls. His stomach twisted and turned inside his body.
“El…” Harry answered, his voice breathless.
“We should talk, okay. I’m… I’m sorry for leaving like that,” she said sounding agitated, but she didn’t sound angry. A smile spread across Harry’s face and tears welled in his eyes. Her words were golden.
“Okay,” he said as his voice quivered with emotion.
“I-I… just… give me a few days, okay. I just… I need time to deal with all of this, Harry. It’s been five years and it’s hard to process all of these feelings I’ve spent a lot of energy trying to bury,” she told him.
“Okay, okay. Whatever you want, Ellie. I’ll wait,” he told her, unable to keep the excitement out of his tone.
“I’ll… I’ll give you a call in a few days,” she told him.
“Yeah, okay,” Harry said, feeling absolutely elated.
“Okay… bye,” she said awkwardly.
“Bye,” Harry said quietly, not entirely sure it was real life.
He sat in shock for a few moments, replaying their teeny tiny conversation in his head.
“YES! Fuck yes!” He said, jumping up from the couch. Stella looked up at him wondering what was going on.
“Oh my god,” he said, placing his hand over his mouth, unable to hold back his smile.
Harry and Ellie would meet up in a few days. It was on her terms – her decision. This was the start. Elise was warming up to him and he couldn’t be any happier about that fact.
It wasn’t until three days later that he received the call from Elise that he’d been waiting for. He was starting to get worried, thinking he would have to hunt her down at the radio station again, but she surprised him, again. He had been out all day with Louis, Niall and Liam, as they started to write for their next album.
“Harry, can we meet?” Her words were quiet and incredibly timid. He knew it was a struggle for her say the words, but he appreciated it so much.
“Yes. When? Where?” He asked.
“Are you free now?” She asked.
Harry looked around at the guys that were sitting around the studio. They worked for the past six hours, but planned on being there for a little while longer. Either way, there were things in Harry’s life that were much more important to him.
“I can be,” he told her.
“If you’re not, we can do it another day,” she told him.
“No. I’m free. I’ll meet you,” he assured her.
“Where? I don’t know London that well,” she asked.
“Uh…” He stammered, trying to rack his brain for somewhere for them to go.
He knew he needed to go home to let Stella outside – she would probably explode in her kennel if he didn’t. And Gemma would probably kill him for neglecting her dog while she was away. He had a dilemma. He needed to get home to her – but he needed to meet Elise. That’s when it hit him – there was a restaurant in his flat building. They could meet there.
“Are you hungry?” Harry asked.
“Uh… I guess,” she said. Harry gave her directions to the restaurant and told her he would meet her there in a half an hour. She agreed.
“I’ve got to go. Something came up,” he told everyone.
“What about this song?” Liam asked.
“It’ll be waiting for me tomorrow. I think I might have some musical inspiration about to come my way,” Harry said, grabbing up his jacket, pulling it onto his shoulders.
“You better!” Niall called out to him as he dipped out the studio doors.
Harry practically ran to his Range Rover and raced home. He was impatient as the lift took him up to his floor, but when it opened, he ran down the hallway to his flat.
“Come on, Stell. We’ve got to make this potty break quick, girl,” he said, strapping the leash on her.
Harry took her down the elevator and out to the dog area so she could take care of business before he brought her back upstairs. Of course she was reluctant to go back into her kennel, giving Harry the saddest eyes ever.
“I’m sorry, girl. I’m sorry. If you knew how close I was to making things right with the love of my life, you’d understand, okay,” Harry told the dog as he locked up her kennel door. He could hear her whimpers as he jet into his bathroom to freshen up.
“Stella, you gotta stop whining. I’m sorry!” Harry said, stepping out of the bathroom as he brushed his teeth quickly, looking over at her in the kennel.
Harry quickly finished brushing his teeth before he pulled off his t-shirt, putting fresh deodorant and a fresh shirt on, spritzing himself with his cologne. He was ready. He was ready to see Elise.
His stomach tied in knots as he jogged back to the lift, taking it down to the lobby, making his way to the entrance of the restaurant. He walked in and scanned the faces, his eyes settling on Ellie’s. She was seated in a back booth, with her eyes concentrated on her fingers that she was picking at. Harry smiled to himself as he made his way over.
“El,” he breathed as she looked up.
“Hi,” she choked out. Harry sat down across from her in the booth, his eyes never leaving hers.
“I’m glad you called,” Harry said, smiling widely at her.
“Yeah,” she said quietly, fidgeting in her seat.
“Listen, there’s so much I need to say to you,” Harry said, getting down to business right away. But he was interrupted by their server.
“Well, hey there stranger. Bringing a pretty lady in here with you today, huh?” Sarah, the restaurant owner’s daughter, said smiling widely at Harry.
“Hey, yeah,” he said, smiling politely at her. Elise cocked her eyebrow at him curiously.
“Can I get you guys anything to drink right away?” Sarah asked as she set menus down in front of them.
“I’ll just have a water. El?” Harry said, looking over at her.
“Same,” she said, giving Sarah a small smile.
“Alright. I’ll be right back with those,” Sarah smiled, punching Harry’s shoulder lightly as she walked past him.
“You know her?” Elise asked, looking up at him through her long eyelashes.
“Uh… I guess you could say I’m a regular,” Harry said with a shrug.
“’I guess you could say’?” She asked, looking at him oddly.
“I live upstairs,” he admitted.
“Oh,” she said quietly.
“I only asked you to come here because I really needed to let out Gemma’s dog before I met you. She’s been in the kennel all day…” He started explaining.
“Gemma has a dog?” She asked, sounding interested.
“Yeah. Her name is Stella,” he said, smiling at her.
“I miss Gemma,” Elise said quietly, looking sad.
“She misses you too. So does my mom,” Harry told her truthfully.
“Oh,” Elise said quietly as her cheeks pinked.
It made him sad that they didn’t know each other like they used to. He wanted to know her and he wanted her to know him.
“So do you… did you let her out? Does she need to go out?” El asked, showing concern for Stella.
“I let her out. She’s all good. Except for the fact that she whined when she had to go back in the kennel,” Harry smirked at her.
“Poor baby,” Elise said with a small smile.
“Here you go,” Sarah said as she set down their waters on the table.
“Thank you,” Harry said quietly.
“Have you thought about what you’re going to order?” Sarah asked curiously.
“Can you give us a minute?” Harry asked her and she nodded before walking away.
Sarah was a lovely girl and she was just doing her job, but Harry just really wanted her to go away – far away so he could have this painstaking conversation with Elise in peace.
“I’m not very hungry,” Elise said once Sarah was gone.
“We don’t have to eat,” Harry told her and she nodded.
They sat in silence for a bit. Harry just stared at her as she looked down at her hands once again.
“Harry, this is awkward,” she said quietly and he nodded because it was just as awkward for him.
“I just… I-I… the moment I get in your presence my mind is a mess. You overwhelm me. And… and being interrupted by people…” She started to explain. Her eyes met with his tentatively.
“We could go up to your place… to talk. Strictly to talk,” she offered.
Harry stared at her in disbelief. Was she serious? Did she just say that? Never in a million years did he think that would be an option.
“Uh…” He stammered.
“Unless… unless you don’t want me up there,” she said, pulling her gaze away from his.
“No, no. It’s just… I never imagined something like that to come out of your mouth. I mean, especially with the way you left last time,” he told her.
“I just… Harry… I just need some sort of closure, okay,” she said, looking into his eyes once again. She looked so sad, so helpless.
“Ellie…” He sighed, feeling the pain of her words.
She was there to make this the end – to get his side of the story and to move on. That was the opposite of what he wanted. He wanted a new beginning. Harry sighed noticeably.
“Harry…” She said quietly, eyeing him.
“Yeah, we can go up to my place,” he told her.