Eucatastrophe ~ h.s.

This isn't how I planned any aspect of my life to occur.

The plan was simple: Finish university with a 4.0 GPA, Get a well-paying corporate job that's more intense than the assistant job I've now, Find a man that loves me for me, Get married at a gorgeous ceremony, Have beautiful children, Grow old with the man of my dreams and watch our kids mature right before our eyes, and Then fall deeper and deeper in love with our time together.

That Night wasn't supposed to happen. My life wasn't supposed to turn out like this.

*Contains: Language, mild sexual content, and a bit of violence. Content could be triggering for some.*

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19. ✗ eighteen ✗

HARRY

After painfully having to deal with a surprise trip to Australia and a meeting with the ever so talkative Niall Horan, I'm free for my evening with Shay.

We had left work in silence and it was present all throughout the drive that she was upset about the trip. When we stopped at her place to grab the last of her stuff she had said less then ten words to me.

It's physically killing me to see her in such way, but hopefully what I'm going to tell her during dinner will make her smile.

I don't want to leave her alone here; in fact I need her by my side. It's as if I depend on her, more than I have before. So I had made my decision final when I booked two first classes tickets to the sunny Sydney, Australia.

We were both getting ready to go, more so Shay than I, because I had finished about ten minutes ago and am now waiting on her. I stand before the mirror in the foyer of my home, fixing my tie for what seems like the fiftieth time since I put it on not thirty minutes ago. I'm nervous.

I've been on plenty of first dates in my lifetime, so I'm an old pro. Normally I wouldn't be so nervous though, but with Shay it's like I have to prove to her that I'm good enough. It sounds odd, but it's my fear.

The girls I've dated in the past have been nothing like Shay. They weren't as beautiful, as funny, and none of them made me feel the way Shay does. I'd take those girls out for a meal and then we'd head on over to a club, but then nothing after that. I couldn't find that one person that I've been looking for, until now it seems.

"Shay!" I call out over my shoulder, not wanting to rush her but also not wanting to be late for our reservation.

"I'm right here."

I'm startled as her voice wafts from the place right behind me and I spin around, immediately meeting eyes with her.

A gasp involuntarily leaves my lips as I look her up and down. She wears a gorgeous orange dress, which hangs somewhat loose over her front and looks delightful against her tan skin. The fabric falls just below her knees and she has paired the dress with some nude pumps. Her hair is pulled up into a bun, with a couple strands falling at the corners of her face. Shay holds her Michael Kors' handbag dear to her side like it's her lifeline, causing me to smile wider.

I couldn't picture anything more beautiful.

"Wow," I breathe out, not bothering to even sound remotely cool in the moment, I'm too taken away by her looks, "you look gorgeous." I compliment. Shay's cheeks redden immediately and she diverts her eyes from me, looking anywhere else around the room. "Don't be shy." I say, stepping towards her so that I'm standing right in front of her.

"I don't know why I'm so nervous." She admits.

"Don't worry, I feel the same way." Shay's eyes meet mine and I have to force myself not to lean down and press my lips against her lips. I've wanted to kiss her for so long and I just haven't been able to. Maybe tonight will finally be the night. "I mean it, you look very beautiful."

"Thanks." She mutters, again blushing. Her eyes scan my body and I try my hardest not to make a witty remark, tonight is to be romantic not me saying some cheesy line that I'd normal say. Shay isn't like other girls so I can't treat her that way. "You look really good too." I quirk up the side of my mouth and thank her lightly. "For a second I thought you were going to be standing here in that God awful Gucci suit." I don't know what it is about that suit that makes her so annoyed, but it's quite humorous.

"I can go change if you'd like."

"No!" She yells, laughing afterwards. "God, no. You look perfect."

"No, love, that's you." I respond, smiling down at her. Shay darts her tongue out of her mouth to wet her lips and shakes her head lightly. "Shall we?" I ask, extending an arm out for her to grab. She hesitantly takes it, wrapping her hand around my bicep before standing tall.

"We shall."

&&&

"Thank you." I say to the waiter as he disappears out of sight with our orders.

I've brought Shay to one of the nicest restaurants in the city, one of her personal favourites as well. I took the liberty of making the reservation on the other side of town as well, just to insure that Shay's parents wouldn't show up expectantly. The restaurant is quaint and quiet, the sounds of soft music and chatter from other patrons the only thing that echoes around us.

"Can we make a deal tonight?" Shay says out of the blue. She's become more comfortable since first seeing each other tonight and I only have my charm to thank. Kidding.

"What might that be?" I ask, leaning towards the table so that I could be in closer proximity to her. She sighs and looks around the restaurant, a slight smile on her lips.

"Promise me that tonight is about us." I start to nod but Shay continues. "We aren't going to talk about work and we're not going to talk about the baby. I want this to be like a normal first date, one where we get to know each other's likes and dislikes. How does that sound?" She asks.

I can't help but smile over at her. Sure I've got one thing to discuss about work, but it can wait until later tonight.

"I think that's a wonderful plan." Shay lets out a sigh and nods her head, picking up her water glass and taking a smile sip. "Because I want to know you, really know you." She eyes me from above her water and I sense the wheels turning in her mind. "I want to know your hopes and your dreams, what makes you mad and what makes you happy. I want to get to know the real you, so tell me about yourself Shay. I want to know everything."

Shay giggles lightly and sets her glass back down on the table before leaning forward and resting her elbows on the table's surface. Other girls wouldn't dare sit unladylike, but Shay isn't other girls. She's better.

"Where to start? I come from a rather wealthy family. My parents are art collectors and they make their money trading and selling art. My mum spends her time buying pieces of art in auctions whilst my father trades off what they already have, it's quite sick actually." She mutters the last part, clearly not liking the subject we've landed on.

"Anyway, I grew up in prestigious schools with good grades and with rich children like myself. All the other kids in school were just like me, living with parents who could care less about us. Sixth form was especially hard. My parents didn't know where I was half the time and when they did they were prepping me to be the best bachelorette they could." She looks pained admitting that she comes from money. "It's a funny story actually, how I got to where I am today."

"I want to hear it." Shay rolls her eyes playfully. "You said it yourself, let's get to know each other."

"When I was to get my certificate for finishing sixth form I would also become the wife to another rich family's eldest son." I turn up my nose just thinking about Shay being with some rich snob. I'm definitely not far off from rich, but I'm not a snob. "His name was Tom and he had never worked a day in his life. On the day of my eighteenth birthday we were to be engaged. Now I hadn't spent more than an hour alone with this guy and I already knew I wanted nothing to do with him. Let's just say I ditched out on the engagement party, left the ring and my parents behind and attended uni. They had no idea I had even applied."

"What a little rebel." I cut in, causing Shay to laugh.

"You know the rest then. I got my internship with you that fall when I began at uni and I've been working with you and attending uni ever since."

I smile, remembering Shay's first day. She had been a nervous wreck and tried not to let it show, but I could definitely see it. From that day forward I saw potential and I knew she would grow to do wonders.

"Whatever happened to Tom?" She laughs again and shakes her head, leaning back in her chair.

"I think he's married to some bimbo with fake breasts and no work ethic." I laugh and shake my head at the thought. I can't imagine Shay ever going down that road. "How about you? What was life like growing up?" I sigh and lean back in my chair.

"My parents divorced when I was young and I lived with my mum and sister. Dad was always busy with the company, as you can imagine," Shay nods, knowing the exact feeling. "But I would visit often and play around the building like the rebel I was. I'd spend my weekends with him in the office playing games and gazing out the window. I was basically raised in the building I work in today."

Shay nods her head silently and smiles, showing me she's listening. She's always been a great listener.

"I attended a prestigious sixth form and university as well, but never got to finish uni. My father died when I was nineteen and I took over the business full-time."

"I'm so sorry." I shake my head at her.

I miss my father dearly, but pity isn't going to bring him back. He raised me right and has given me everything I could possibly need for a secure future, not to mention the best job in the world. 

"That was a year and a half before you started your internship with me and the rest they say is history."

"Oh come on, I can't have that exciting story and you just tell me what I already know!" Shay exclaims, giggling lightly. "I want the juicy stuff. What about your mum?"

"What about my mum?"

"I mean, what does she do? I never hear much about your mum." She admits.

It's true. I don't share much of my family life with anyone, but I'm also not very secretive about them. My office is covered in photos of my family members, friends, and I. I'm not hiding anything, I just don't ever get asked about them.

"My mum, Anne, is a philanthropist. She works for the Believe in Magic charity here in England, along with a few others. She's a wonderful woman, I think you'd really like her." Shay ducks her head low and I can see her trying to fight off a large smile. "She married Robin three years ago and they've been steady ever since. He's like another dad to me, so that's pleasant."

"She does sound like a lovely woman. I'd love to meet her sometime."

"Well I hope so." We both laugh lightly and fall into a comfortable silence together. "No siblings for you then?"

"Nope, my parents thought one daughter was enough, apparently I was too much for the nanny to handle." Shay laughs and holds onto her water glass, running her pointer finger along the top of the glass.

We didn't grow up all too differently. We both came from money, but her parents were more dependent on it than mine. After the divorce settled, my mum got a good chunk of money and dad always made sure she was taken care of, until she remarried that is. But my father was never like her parents.

"In a way I'm happy they didn't have another child, because that poor kid would most likely be stuck at home with them right about now. It's truly a miracle I'm normal."

"You're far from normal." I say with a smirk. Shay rolls her eyes and sticks her tongue out at me before giggling lightly and focusing on the tabletop.

"What about you, just your sister?"

"Yep, just Gemma and I. She's a journalist here in London, writing for one of the papers. We don't get to see much of each other though because I'm always working and so is she." I admit. The last time I saw Gemma had to be my birthday, back in February. I'm sure I'll be seeing more of her soon though when they find out about Shay. "You're quite similar, Gem and you. Both smart, beautiful women."

"You must be an amazing brother." Shay compliments.

I laugh loudly and shake my head. If only she knew how much we fought as kids or how much Gemma hated when her kid brother tagged along with her friend group.

"I was a brat, still am." Shay giggles and narrows her eyes at me. "She'll tell you that first hand when you meet her."

"So I'm meeting your family, am I? This is a fast moving first date." She jokes.

I'm glad she's finally started to relax around me. I had fears that this date would be awkward if she continued to be timid and shy.

"Well we are living together, aren't we?" I joke. Shay nods and sighs loudly.

"That's right. Man, it's going to be awkward meeting your family. They have no idea what's happened to me and we're going to show up at their door one day and I'll be pregnant, they're going to think you've made one massive mistake." I raise a brow at Shay and laugh.

"What happened to not talking about that?"

"Damn, I forgot."

"Well, that's good because I kind of have something to talk to you about work anyways." Shay groans and leans back in her chair. It's clear as day that she doesn't want to even think about work right about now, but hopefully what I'm about to say will cheer her up. "I have to go to Sydney and I leave tomorrow afternoon." Shay's smile fades completely from her lips and her eyes immediately find the table's surface.

"I knew it." She mutters before I even have time to finish. "Harry, I'm going to sound like a clingy child but I just... I'm scared that if you go something bad will happen. If you leave I'll be all alone and it's already giving me anxiety thinking about it."

"Shay-"

"No, Harry. I know you have to go, it's just stupid."

"Hey," I reach across the table and take Shay's hand, which is trembling on the surface of the table. Her palm is a bit sweaty from thinking too much and worrying herself, but other than that it's perfectly fine and soft in my hand. I give it a squeeze and run my thumb across the expanse of her palm, "you never let me finish." Her head is down but I can hear her sniffling so I know she's on the verge of crying. "You're coming with me."

"What?" Her head snaps up to look at me in the moment and I see the tears pooling at the bottom of her lids.

"I can't stand the thought of leaving you here alone either, so I bought you a ticket too. Besides, I need you by my side so I don't lose it on anyone whilst I'm there." Shay sniffles again and dabs at her eyes with the back of her free hand. "I hate seeing you cry, please don't cry."

"I'm sorry, I'm just so emotional all the time."

"You can't help it."

"I need to work on it though so I don't jump to conclusions or start crying in the middle of work or something." I sigh and scoot closer to the table so I can comfortably hold her hand without stretching too far.

"Besides, there's no way I'd get any sleep without you by my side." She sends me a closed smile and shakes her head, clearly thinking about something.

"That's not normal, you know."

"What about this is normal?" Shay laughs lightly and dabs the last of the tears away. She shrugs her slender shoulders and takes a deep breath.

"You have a valid point Mr. Styles."

"Of course I do, I am the boss." Shay shakes her head at me and turns her hand over in mine. Her gaze is focused on our hands, just holding on. Everything around me doesn't matter anymore, the building could be on fire and I wouldn't notice. All I see is Shay. "I want to know your dream."

"My dream?" I nod.

"What was your dream, or is your dream, for the future?" I ask.

My dreams came to an abrupt halt when my father died. I always had my sight set on being a musician or songwriter. I don't mind what I'm doing now nor did I mind having to attend business school, I would have liked to become a musician if my father were still alive though, there's nothing wrong with that.

"You know, I always saw myself as a world traveler." She admits, looking to her left and out the window of the restaurant. Cars pass by silently and she watches them go. "I wanted, well still want, to see the world. I've only ever been around the UK. I've dreamed of going to the states, or France, hell even Australia." She smiles just at the thought and I have to contain my laughter. I love how open she is and unafraid of cursing. "Sure, I want a steady job and at some point I wanted a family, but traveling always just seemed like the perfect thing for me." I watch as Shay smiles widely out the window and I know she's thinking about traveling.

"If I had known that I would've given you more vacation time."

"You know I wouldn't have taken it even if you did." She reminds me. It is true. Over the course of a twelve-month period, every employee is allotted a week of vacation time and a few days personal time. I don't recall Shay ever using those days. "I don't know, maybe I just wasn't meant to travel until now. It's weird, I don't know. What about you?"

"I wanted to be a musician." I admit. I don't think I've ever told anyone that, not even Louis. Usually I keep my musical side to myself. No one's ever seen the at-home studio I built in the lower level of my house before because I keep it hidden away.

"Ah, do you play any instruments or sing? Please, tell me you can sing!" Shay pleads, squeezing my hand tightly. I shrug my shoulders and place my other hand on top of hers as well.

"I play guitar and a bit of piano and I think I'm a pretty good singer." Shay bites down on her lower lip and smiles largely. "You seem very happy to know that, are you attracted to musicians?"

"Maybe." She vaguely says, straying from having any form of eye contact with me. "I have a confession to make." She says slow, taking her other hand and drawing circles on top of my hand with her pointer finger.

"What might that be?"

"I kind of, maybe, sort of stumbled upon a certain room in your house a while back." She mumbles, avoiding eye contact with me.

I'll be damned.

I smile and slide my hand out from Shay as I bring it up to her chin. I raise her head so she's no longer staring at the table with her gorgeous blue, green eyes but now she's looking at me. She looks up at me through those thick eyelashes that are for some reason always coated with tears and breathes slowly.

"Did you now?" She nods and I can't help the urge I feel to lean forward and kiss her.

My eyes shift from her beautiful eyes and find her parted lips, silently begging me to bring my lips to them. They're so full and velvety. I've dreamed about kissing them for years and now, more than anything, I really want to.

"Shay." I mumble, slowly leaning in further and further over the table. Her eyes meet mine and a puff of air leaves her lips, fanning across my face that's in close proximity. I see a flash of worry in her eyes, making me freeze mid-kiss, but it dissipates as her pupils meet my own lips. I can't read her mind, but I know she wants this as badly as I do.

"Harry."

When she says my name through those full lips with a breathy voice I nearly lose my mind. She too begins to lean forward so that our lips are a mere centimeter apart and our eyes meet one last time. I see that flash of worry and fear again and it pains me.

"Don't be scared." I coax, my own voice breathy and soft.

The entire restaurant has fallen silent and all I see is the two of us, awkwardly leaning across a table from each other, preparing to kiss for the first time. I feel like I'm back in primary school, my stomach is doing flips and a cool sweat is beginning to break out across my forehead. With one last breath of fresh air our eyes begin to drift shut together as our bodies bring our lips so close they brush with ease. I smile at the ghost of a kiss and prepare to place my lips fully on hers when...

"Your meals!"

Shay and I snap apart quickly until we're both sitting straight in our chairs. My chest is rising and falling as if I just got done sucking a girl's face off. Shay looks equally as freaked out and perplexed as I, her hand is resting over her heart as it rises and falls. "The Chicken Parmesan for the man and the Chopped Chef's Salad for the Madame." The man places the dishes before us and sends us both a large, toothy grin. "Enjoy!"

I look to Shay as she looks to me before both of our gazes fall to the food. She looks back to me and purses her lips together before picking up her fork and falling into an undeniable silence. I too pick up my fork and take one last look at the girl of my dreams before digging in.

Fuck.

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xx

 
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