Spring 2017 – London
Elise couldn’t help but consciously watch over her shoulder every time she went out in public, knowing Harry was lurking somewhere in the greater London area. She was scared. She was literally scared out of her mind to come face to face with him again. She didn’t know if she wanted to – ever.
A week had passed since she saw him staring down her taxi cab. It was a week of constant paranoia. She even took to the internet to see if she could place his whereabouts somehow to avoid him. But all she got was a sick feeling in her stomach after seeing his face plastered across her computer screen.
She knew couldn’t avoid the great outdoors for long. Her new job was starting and well, she needed to be an adult about everything, she supposed.
She was officially an intern at BBC Radio One on the Breakfast Show with Nick Grimshaw – which was located in downtown London. She was extremely excited to begin her new job. It was after all why she moved to London in the first place. She wanted to go into radio broadcasting. She never thought she would ever get the internship when she applied for it. But there she was, reporting for duty – meeting Mr. Grimshaw himself. He was a friendly bloke, which was pretty cool. She almost expected him to be a douche. But he wasn’t and she appreciated it.
On the first day, she got a crash course in what she was supposed to be doing on a day-to-day basis. It was rather overwhelming and by lunch, she just wanted to get out of that building. She had an hour, so she went out to get some fresh air. She took her lunch with me and sat on the edge of the water fountain out front of the building.
She relished in the fact that she was sitting mere inches away from the hustle and bustle of London life. She was actually doing something with herself and that was huge for her. She never had someone pushing her to do better – well not anyone since Harry left. He was always her inspiration. Even after her left, it still stuck with her – their drive and dedication. She knew she wasn’t going to get anywhere in life just sitting on her bum.
Elise worked her way through school for the past five years, finally landing a chance of a lifetime. She hoped and dreamed it would be her stepping stone into the industry. She knew it would look absolutely amazing on her resume even if it wasn’t her big break though.
The breeze was playful and calming as she sat on the small ledge watching the foot traffic on the sidewalk. She knew no one in London and it absolutely excited her. She could make a new life for herself. She could be whoever she wanted to be. She didn’t have to live under the shallow, suffocating walls of her parents anymore. She didn’t have anyone holding her back, telling her she wasn’t good enough. She was starting over.
She took a deep breath in as she stood up after finishing her lunch. She was ready to tackle whatever Nick Grimshaw and his peons threw at her. She was ready for anything.
Late winter 2009 – Holmes Chapel
“What do you want to do… like for a career when you get older?” Harry asked Elise as he lay on his bedroom floor.
“I don’t know. What do you want to do?” She asked lying with her head dangling upside down over the side of his small twin bed.
“Pssh, I’m not going to have a job. Not a real one anyway,” Harry said, smirking confidently at her.
“Oh, really? Then what are you going to do, hot shot?” Elise questioned, turning herself over onto her stomach, eyeing him.
“I haven’t really thought about it – but singing and acting would be fun,” he said with a shrug, causing Elise to giggle.
“You’re going to be an actor slash singer? And how are you going to do that?” Elise asked.
“I’m going to go on X-factor,” he said matter-of-factly.
Elise just looked at her best friend and smiled. He had big aspirations and she admired him for it.
“Alright then. Sing for me,” she told him.
“What? No,” he said, sitting up, crossing his legs inward like a pretzel.
“Harry! If you want to be a singer, you’re going to need to sing for an audience. I’ll be your audience,” she told him.
“Ellie, that’s weird,” he said, tucking his hands into his lap, looking at her bashfully.
“I’m your best friend, Harry. I’ll give you an honest opinion – whether you’ve got the chops or not,” she told him.
“Yeah, you’ll ridicule me and tell me how bad I suck even if I don’t suck,” he huffed, crossing his arms over his chest.
“I would not! Come on. I’ll turn on the radio. You can sing along to whatever song comes on,” she said, reaching for the dial of the boombox that sat perched on the table next to his bed.
“Ellie…” Harry sighed.
“Harry, stop being such a baby. You want to be rich and famous. Let me hear that beautiful voice of yours,” she said as the radio came on.
How perfect – John Mayer. Your Body is a Wonderland.
“I can’t sing to this!” Harry whined.
“What are you talking about!? This is perfect!” She said, holding her hand out at the radio to emphasize her point.
“But… it’s… a love song,” he said, pulling a face.
“Who cares?” She asked, looking at him funny.
“But… I’m singing it to you,” he said.
“No, you’re singing it to your audience,” she corrected him.
Elise shrugged off the fact that Harry felt uncomfortable singing a love song to her, because frankly she didn’t care. They weren’t in love – they were best friends.
“Fine,” he scoffed, giving in.
“Yay!” She said, clapping her hands together.
“’You want love? We’ll make it. Swim in a deep sea of blankets. Take all your big plans and break ‘em. This is bound to be a while. Your body is a wonderland,’” Harry sang along with the radio, blowing what Elise thought he would sound like out of the water. His voice was… amazing.
“Okay. I’m done,” he said as the rest of the song played on.
“Wow, I’m impressed,” she said, looking at him wide-eyed.
“What’s so impressing?” He chuckled.
“You. Your voice. Harry…” She said and he rolled his eyes at her.
“Harry! I’m serious!” She yelped.
“Whatever. What do you want to be when you grow up?” He asked, changing the subject, putting the focus on her.
“I want to be in radio,” she told him just as the DJ came on the radio station.
“You’re just saying that because the radio is on,” he said, pointing to the boombox.
“Nah-uh. I’ve always wanted to,” she told him.
“Let me hear your best radio voice,” he said.
“What?” El laughed.
“Your best radio voice. Let’s hear it,” he said, quirking his eyebrow at her.
“Harry, this is my voice. I’m not going to change it to be on the radio. If I’m on the air, this is how I am going to sound,” she told him.
“Well then, what’s your identifying slogan going to be?” He asked.
“My what?” She asked.
“Your identifier. You should go with something like ‘Swell El’. Swell El in the morning,” he laughed.
“Harry! No! That’s ridiculous,” she laughed.
“I think it sounds cool,” he laughed.
“You’re a dork,” Elisa laughed, rolling her eyes.
“You know what the best part is, El?” Harry asked, coming to sit next to her on the bed.
“What?” She asked, looking at him oddly because of the sheer closeness he chose to sit to her.
“When you’re a DJ and I’m a rock star, you’ll get to play my music,” he said with a wide smile. Elise laughed out loud.
“I will! I can’t wait,” she said joyfully, smiling widely at him.
“I can’t wait either,” he said, smiling back at her.
Elise shook the memory from her mind as she walked toward the lifts of the building after her first shift was over. She would go into a different genre of music to not have to play Harry’s music if she had to. She got onto the lift, which was not surprisingly packed with people already. She squeezed her way into the front before the doors closed. When it reached the third floor, the lift came to a stop and the doors slowly opened.
She felt the crowd inside the lift shift, automatically sensing that people were making their move to get off on that floor. Without hesitation, El moved out of the way to let them off, suddenly realizing that most of the people were in fact getting off on that floor.
“Elise?” She heard her name, startling her out of her thought.
“Elise is that you?” She heard again.
Her eyes finally met the culprit who was saying her name. It was none other than Louis Tomlinson – the infamous best friend and bandmate of the boy who broke her heart. Elise’s whole body went into panic mode as she stood frozen looking into his amused blue eyes. She was in the lift still, while he stood on the landing of the third floor about to load on.
“Wow. It’s really you,” he said, letting out a chuckle.
Words were lost on her. Her mind kept screaming “run, run, run”, but she had nowhere to run to. What were the odds? Was the universe trying to play games with her? There were 8.5 million people in London alone and so far in the span of a week she saw two people she spent the last five years running away from.
“Ellie. I can’t believe this,” Louis said reaching his hand out to stop the lift doors from closing.
“Ahem,” they heard a man cough from behind Elise. Louis was holding up the lift and he was about to piss a lot of people off.
Seconds later, Louis stepped onto the lift next to Elise.
“What are you doing in London?” He asked, turning his body to face her.
“Uh, a job. I have a job,” she stammered.
“Brilliant. So you live here then?” He asked and she nodded, suddenly feeling the dryness in her throat.
“How long?” He asked.
“A… a week. I just moved here,” she said.
“That’s amazing. Who knew you and I would ever end up seeing each other again – clear across the country no less. It’s crazy,” he laughed.
“Yeah. Crazy,” Elise said awkwardly.
“You know. I should give you my number – so we can get together,” he said, with a sideways smile. Sorry, Louis Tomlinson. That was the last thing she wanted to do.
Elise gave him a small half smile as the lift doors opened up to the lobby of the building – their destination. Everyone loaded off the lift, including Elise and Louis.
“Do you have a cell phone?” He asked and she nodded.
“Of course you have a cell phone. Here, hand it over,” he said, moving his hand impatiently to signify that he wanted it. Reluctantly, she pulled out her iPhone from her purse. She watched as he quickly went to messing with the buttons, adding in his phone number. Moments later, he handed it back to her.
“There. Now you have my number. Use it,” he told her.
“O-okay,” she stammered, knowing she never would.
“God, Elise. It was really good to see you. You look amazing,” he said, smiling brightly at her.
“Yeah. You too,” she said, sounding robotic – giving him what he wanted to hear.
“Seriously, call me or text,” he told her.
“Mm-hmm,” she nodded.
“I’ve… I’ve got to get going. You need a ride somewhere?” He asked.
“I’ve got a car,” she told him.
“Cool,” he said, taking a moment out to just smile at her, which was freaking her out.
“I’ll see you, Ellie,” he said with a wave before he walked off toward the big glass doors leading outside.
“Bye,” she said quietly as she turned on her heels, heading for the doors that would lead her to the parking garage where her car awaited.
Spring 2017 - London
“Let me up,” Louis Tomlinson’s voice came through the intercom at Harry’s flat.
“What are you doing here?” Harry called back into the speaker.
“LET ME UP,” he growled playfully. With that, Harry pushed the door to buzz him in.
Harry unlocked his door and made his way back into the kitchen where he just made himself a sandwich. He waited for Louis to come waltzing in the door – wondering why on earth he would show up there in the middle of the day on a Monday.
Without a knock, Louis pushed open Harry’s flat door. Stella, Harry’s sister Gemma’s dog immediately barked at the intruder.
“Stella, no bark,” Harry scolded the dog.
As Louis entered he looked happy – like weirdly happy.
“What the hell is up with you?” Harry asked as he took a bite of his sandwich.
“You will never guess what happened today,” he said with a smirk on his face.
Harry tried to think back in recent memory at the last time Louis had ever been that excited over something and honestly, he couldn’t come up with anything. He was completely confusing Harry.
“What happened?” Harry asked, through his mouthful of food.
“You’ll never guess who I saw,” Louis said as his eyes lit up even more.
“Who did you see?” Harry asked after he swallowed.
“It’s going to blow your mind,” Louis said, drawing it out unnecessarily.
“Will you just fucking tell me already? God,” Harry said annoyed.
“Elise! I saw Elise!” Louis beamed excitedly at his best friend.
Harry’s stomach jerked and clenched and turned and wobbled. Elise. He saw Elise. Harry hadn’t imagined her after all. He spent the last week of his life trying to convince himself she hadn’t been real – that he just imagined her. But there Louis was confirming that Elise was indeed in London and he saw her as well.
“What?” Harry choked out.
“Elise! I saw her today – on a lift,” Louis explained.
“You saw her?” Harry asked, feeling sick to his stomach.
“Yeah. I talked to her,” Louis told him.
“You talked to her!?” Harry asked wide-eyed.
His heart clenched painfully in his chest. She was real – she was really there.
“Yeah. I was in shock – but I think she was too. She didn’t say much,” Louis smiled brightly.
“What did she say?” Harry questioned.
“Not much, seriously,” Louis said racking his brain for the answer to Harry’s question.
“What did you say?” Harry countered.
“I gave her my number and told her we need to get together,” Louis said.
“Did you get her number?” Harry asked quickly, feeling a glimmer of hope pass through his system.
“No. But she has mine. She’ll call,” Louis said, extinguishing Harry’s hope just as fast as it appeared.
“Did she seem like she was going to call?” Harry asked with a sigh.
“What?” Louis asked, looking at him confused.
“Are you sure she’s going to call you?” Harry rephrased his question.
“She’ll call,” Louis said, convinced that she would. Harry wasn’t so sure.
Harry abandoned his sandwich on the counter top and walked to his living room, plopping down on the couch. He put his face in his hands momentarily before he ran both his hands through his hair.
“I saw her too,” Harry told Louis when he walked toward him.
“You did? When?” Louis asked, sitting down next to him.
“About a week ago,” Harry said.
“Did you talk to her?” Louis asked.
“No. I was having lunch with Jonathan and I saw her. She was down the sidewalk a little ways and didn’t hear me calling for her. By the time I was anywhere near reaching her, she was getting into a cab,” Harry told him.
“That sucks,” Louis said quietly.
“It felt like I was losing her all over again,” Harry confessed.
“I hate to say it, Harry. You didn’t lose her – you left her. There is a big difference,” Louis pointed out.
“I know. Fuck. I know,” Harry grumbled, putting his face in his hands again.
“She’ll call,” Louis said again.
“She’s not going to call,” Harry said, shaking his head.
“What makes you say that?” Louis asked.
“You seem to forget how well I know her. She’s a runner. When things get tough, she runs away from them. She and I are alike in that sense,” Harry said, admitting it not only to Louis, but to himself as well.
“She’s gotta call,” Louis said, sounding as if he was losing hope in his words.
“She won’t call,” Harry told him again.
Spring 2012 – Holmes Chapel
Harry was on the high of his life as they drove out of the city back to their homes in Northern England. His body seemed to be buzzin’ – he couldn’t sit still. They were just interviewed by Scott Mills on BBC Radio 1. Harry couldn’t wait to get home and see Elise – to talk to her about it. As soon as they pulled into the driveway, he raced out of the van.
“Where are you going, Harry?” His dad’s stern voice stopped him in his tracked.
“I’ve got to go see Ellie,” Harry told him. He rolled his eyes and chuckled as he shut the driver side door.
“Is that okay?” Harry asked.
“Go ahead,” his step-father said, shooing him along.
Harry ran straight for her bike in the garage and hoped on it.
“SEE YOU LATER!” Harry yelled to his family as he sped quickly down the driveway.
It didn’t take him long to get to Elise’s house. They didn’t live far from each other. Without hesitation, he ran around her house to her bedroom window. He always went in through her bedroom window. Her dad was a prick and he hated Harry for some reason.
Harry knocked quickly on the pane of glass that was keeping him from his best friend. It took more time than he cared to wait before she pulled open her curtain. She smiled widely at him and he smiled just as wide back. Her window was up in a matter of moments and he was stumbling in.
“El! Did you hear us? Did you hear us on the radio?” Harry asked immediately.
“I heard you! You were AWESOME!” She beamed at him.
“Ahhh!” He screamed, grabbing her in his arms for a big, tight hug. He lifted her off of her feet and bounced her in his arms.
“Harry! Put me down!” She laughed.
“Uh, I am just so excited!” He said, putting her back on her feet.
“I am so excited for you. You have no idea!” She smiled, giving him a more modest hug.
“I have no one to thank but you!” He told her.
“Shut up! Whatever,” she said, swatting at his arm.
“Ellie, you’re my best friend,” he said seriously.
Elise’s smile dropped completely as they both felt the weight of the tension between them. Without another thought, his hand came up, cupping her cheek.
“Harry…” She breathed.
“El…” He said quietly.
Leaning in, he left a small kiss on her lips. When she didn’t completely pull away, he went in for another. Her hands came up, grasping onto the front of his t-shirt as they stood in the middle of her bedroom kissing. But out of nowhere, she pushed hard against his chest.
“What… what are we doing?” She asked, wiping at her lips.
“El…” He breathed, looking at her wide-eyed.
“Harry, we can’t,” she said, looking at him horrified.
“Why not?” He asked.
“Because! We can’t. We just can’t,” she said, moving toward the window.
“Ellie,” she sighed.
“It’s cool that you were on Radio One, Harry. I’m proud of you. But I think maybe you should go home and celebrate with your family,” she said, opening the window.
“Elise, I want to celebrate with you,” he said sadly.
“Harry,” she said, shaking her head.
“What’s so bad about us… kissing?” He asked, his mouth dry.
“Because we’re not supposed to, Harry. You’re my best friend, okay. Let’s just drop it,” she said, still looking absolutely freaked out.
“Okay,” he said quietly. He couldn’t force her to like him that way.
Harry quietly slipped out of her window and she shut it behind him.
Elise was a runner. She avoided Harry for three days after that kiss. It was only after he confronted her that they went back to being somewhat normal with each other. Ellie was a runner – she wouldn’t call. He knew her well enough to know that.