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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26. ✗ twenty-five ✗

SHAY

17 June

“Harry, I don’t think I can do this.” I admit, clutching onto my bag that rest on my lap as I stare raptly outside the vehicle.

We’d been sitting here twenty minutes already, all the while I spent convincing myself that I can walk in there and be strong. That I can walk in there, point the man out of a line up and be completely done with him for the rest of my entirety. Everything could finally be put in the past. But alas, I’m too chicken to even gather the courage to open the car door and walk inside the precinct.

My entire body feels numb and tingly. My heart is racing in my chest and a cool sweat has broken out above my brow. My hands are the only appendages that actually work, grasping onto my bag and shaking rigidly. I can’t even find it in me to cry anymore; yesterday was for that. Today I’m just frozen.

“You can, Shay.” Harry’s hand on my thigh causes me to jump lightly. I stare down at the large palm on my thigh and immediately clutch it in one of my hands. “You can do anything.” I breathe deeply and close my eyes.

I’m going to do this. I’m going to get out of the car. I’m going to march in there, point him out, and then get the hell out of there. I can and will do this.

“Please don’t leave me.” I plead, making a move to reach for the handle of the door. I know Harry will never in a million years leave me there by myself, but I just have to be sure. Harry nods furiously and opens his mouth to speak, but I only continue. “Please, just don’t leave my side. I want you there with me the entire time. Please.” Harry flips his hand over in mine and laces our fingers together.

“I won’t even let go of you from now on.” Harry promises, giving my hand a squeeze before bringing it up to his lips and kissing the skin. “Well, except to get out of the car.” He smiles and I find myself, somehow, smiling lightly back at him. “Are you ready?” Harry asks lightly, giving my hand another squeeze. I glance down at our joined hands, then outside to the precinct within close distance.

“I suppose.” I murmur, gazing to Harry. He nods his head and shuts the vehicle off, bringing my hand up to his lips.

“Wait here.”

Harry quickly detaches our hands before getting out of the vehicle. He jogs around the front of his car, hair blowing back in the breeze, and opens my door for me. I thank him silently as I unbuckle myself and grasp his outstretched hand. Once out of the vehicle the nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach gets worse, and it continues to worsen as we get closer and closer to the doors. “Shay, you’re going to be just fine.”

I simply nod my head, adjusting the hat on my head as we walk into the building. We both freeze once we’re inside, unsure of where to go or whom to speak to. People are walking every which way with determined looks on their faces and clad in professional attire. There are officers guiding men, and some women, in handcuffs towards rooms off to the sides. Even though there are many people around, not one person seems to notice our presence.

“Ah, are you Harry Styles?”

I take that back.

My grip in Harry’s hand tightens as my other hand comes up and clutches his bicep. We both turn in the direction of the voice. A younger man, around Harry’s age, stands tall in dark jeans and a long sleeve t-shirt. There’s a badge on his belt and a gun in his holster. He’s carrying a file folder in his hands as he approaches.

“Yes, sir. Harry, pleasure to meet you.” Harry says, introducing himself the person who had addressed him. The two shake hands as I stay silent to the side, clutching Harry and my bag.

“That would make you Miss. Shay Nichols?” I nod and detach my hand from Harry’s long enough to shake the man’s hand, but not a minute longer. Just that split second of no contact made me feel worse inside. I’m beginning to think that I really cannot do this. I might as well just run back out to the car and lock myself in there with nothing to show for. “I’m Detective Chris Briar, nice to meet the two of you. Would you follow me right this way?” Harry looks down at me as if asking for permission to follow the detective.

As much as I want to stay put and not go, I make the first step.

Detective Briar leads us to a room down the hall from the main bustle of the precinct and holds the door open for both of us. By the desk and chairs and Detective Briar’s name on the door, I understand this to be his private office and not the place where I would be pointing out my attacker. It eases my nervously beating heart only slightly.

“Take a seat, I only have a few questions before we get this done.” He motions to the two seats across from where he stands and Harry and I take them with ease. My hand is still clutching Harry’s as if he may be pulled from me any second, which I won’t allow to occur. “May I offer either one of you a drink?”

“No thank you.” I mutter out, keeping my eyes trained on the file folder that Detective Briar drops onto his neat desk.

There is not a pen or paper out of place on his desk, a huge switch up compared to Harry’s desk, which is always cluttered. I try and tell him to clean it, that he’ll be more efficient, but he always leaves it. I think he does it to bother me.

“I’m sorry, I don’t mean to be rude, but do you think we can get this over with as soon as possible, Detective Briar?” I clamp my mouth shut and shift my eyes up to the detective’s face, surprised that I even spoke.

“Please, call me Chris.” He says with a soft smile. “And I will try to make this process as smooth as possible for you Miss Nichols. I just need to ask you a few questions, then we’ll do the identification, and end with some light paperwork, then you’ll be on your way.” I nod my head, tapping my foot impatiently against the ground softly.

In the car I wanted to span the length of time from the present moment to the identification as long as humanly possible. But now that I’m sitting in the detective’s office, knowing that my attacker is in this building somewhere, I just want to get this over with as soon as possible.

“Miss Nichols, I’ve been informed that this,” he paused, looking me in the eyes, which I quickly divert contact out of intimidation. His presence alone is enough to intimidate a professional footballer, let alone me, “incident resulted in pregnancy.”

“That’s correct.” I breathe heavily and give Harry’s hand a squeeze. I look up at him and he gives me a small, reassuring smile. I know that without him here I’d never be able to survive this.

“How is your health otherwise, mental and physical?” I blink in response to his question.

I didn’t know I’d be receiving a physic evaluation today of all days.

“My health is fine.” I answer, giving Harry a sideways glance. He just shakes his head lightly, motioning for me not to start anything. We don’t need this day to be more stressful than it already is. I look back at Chris to see him jotting notes down on a sheet of paper located within the file.

“I’m sorry for being blunt Miss Nichols, it’s just that now that there is a child involved we need to be extra cautious.”

“And I apologize for being moody, I’m just not in the mood to conduct this interview at this time.” I bite back, barely moving my lips. I have grown extremely tense in a matter of seconds. Chris is eyeing me once again, his pen not moving anymore. I avoid eye contact and subtly placing my hand on my stomach as if to shield my child from this tense moment. Harry notices the placement of my other hand and clears his throat as he shifts in his chair.

“Chris, do you think that we could possibly speed this process up? It’s a lot for Shay to take in during a time like this. When she’s stressed she gets easily ill and it’s not good for the baby.” Chris nods slightly, eyes shifting to Harry.

“What’s your relationship to Miss Nichols, Mr. Styles?” Harry and I instinctively meet eyes, my throat growing dry.

What are we? We know that there are significant feelings for each other that are most definitely mutual. I know he cares for me in such a way that warms my heart. I know that I love him, not that I can actually admit it aloud, but I’m not sure that he feels the exact same, even though I would have no evidence that suggests otherwise. So are we just dating or are we an actual thing? According to the hospital’s records he’s my fiancé, which might actually be a crime or at least it’s morally wrong to lie.

“Boyfriend.” I blurt, feeling as if this bought of silence has lasted long enough. “Harry is my boyfriend.” I say, directly my attention at Chris. As soon as the words leave my mouth I immediately relax. Harry’s my boyfriend. “And if you don’t mind, Chris, could we please hurry this process up. I’m feeling very ill.” I lie.

Yes, I feel sick being here in the same building as the man that took from me what I held so dearly and violated me to extents. I feel ill just thinking about the man, a man that should be in no one’s thoughts; a man that deserves to be locked away for the rest of his life and be forgotten totally. I know that as soon as I’m through with this investigation I will try my very best to forget he ever existed. And yes, I do feel sick to the point where I actually may vomit, but that is because I’m pregnant and the amount of smells in this precinct is sickening. So I haven’t completely lied to the dear detective.

“Of course.” Chris stiffened out and stood from his chair. “I will go and make sure that everything is set to go so that after the identification we can get you out of here as soon as possible. Would you like a glass of water Miss?”

“No, thank you.” Chris sends us both a curt nod before picking up the file folder and exiting the office, leaving the door closed. I sigh heavily once he’s gone and slouch lightly in my chair, my hand falling from my stomach. “Was I the only one who thought he was annoying as hell?” I breathe out. Harry says nothing and I glance at him after a bought of silence. I look over to see him smiling. “What?”

“You just told off a detective.” I smile lightly and shrug.

“Getting people to do what I want is one of my specialties.” I answer.

Harry smiles wider and leans over, pressing his lips to mine briefly. He pulls back completely, gazing down at our joined hands and watching as his thumb caresses my skin. I can see the wheels turning in his head, so I wait in silence trying to guess what is to be said next between us.

“Did you really mean what you said about me being your boyfriend?” Harry asks, peeking up at me. I bite my lip and look him directly in the eyes. It’s not exactly how I wanted this relationship to progress, but at least the truth is out.

“Well, I was going to wait for you to ask, but…”

“Shay.” Harry interrupts, standing up before kneeling before me. He takes both my hands in his causing me to giggle lightly and roll my eyes, completely forgetting everything that I should be worrying and stressing about. “Shay, will you be my girlfriend?” He stops and shakes his head. “No, that sounds so cliché and elementary. I didn’t mean it to sound like that, I just-“

Seeing him flustered brings a bigger smile to my lips. Here I thought he was going to be smooth for once.

“Harry, shut up.” I say playfully. Harry clamps his lips together, green eyes meeting mine. I stare at his beautiful face for a moment, just taking it all in. I didn’t imagine it to happen this way, in the office of a London detective, but I couldn’t have asked for anything better. This relationship isn’t typical so why should the big questions? “I thought you would never ask.” I kid, smiling the biggest I think I’ve ever smiled.

Harry cupped my face in his hands almost immediately, as if relieved of my answer (as if he really thought I would say no), bringing our lips together. They mold perfectly, fitting together like puzzle pieces. I bring my hands up, resting on his shoulders whilst we deepen the kiss, both of us tilting our heads to gain leverage. We savor the kiss for as long as possible, until a gut feeling tells me the detective will be back any minute and I end the kiss.

As soon as we separate and Harry stands, our hands still joined, Chris enters his office, cuddling the folder to his chest. He gives us both a nod before speaking.

“They’re ready for us.”

There’s no turning back now.

&&&

“Okay, Miss Nichols, all you need to do is step into this room with us and point out the man that assaulted you.” Chris said, hand resting on the closed door before us. Harry clutches onto my hand as I stare dead ahead at the aged wood. “Whenever you’re ready.”

With a quick glance up at Harry and a reassuring squeeze of the hand, I nod.

I’m done overthinking everything. I just need to get this done so I can go on with my life.

“Okay, I’m ready.” I answer, my voice sounding small, like a child.

Chris turns the handle and enters the room before Harry and I. He holds the door open for us, his eyes never leaving me. I feel nervous with his authority and professionalism. I only feel comfortable around Harry anymore. I lean against Harry and cast my gaze down to the floor as we enter the room. Chris shuts the door behind us before leading me towards a large window.

My eyes are still glued to the floor, not wanting to have to look up and be met with the eyes of the man that singlehandedly put my life on hold and lives to terrorize my sanity. Harry wraps his arm around my shoulders and pulls my body into his, placing his lips on the side of my head in the process.

“Are you ready?” Chris asks.

I nod slightly and sigh heavily as I slowly bring my gaze from the floor to the two-way mirror on the wall before me. The sight takes me aback, only to see an empty room. I open my mouth to ask but the door in the other room soon opens.

An officer steps in first, walking all the way to the far wall, a trail of men following in suit. The first man wears a plaid shirt and walks all the way to the far wall and turns towards the glass. His face is completely blank of emotion as he stands still, another man coming to a stop beside him. The next man looks similar to the first, greying hair and a slight scruff of a beard. He has his jaw clenched, but it isn’t the man I’m forever terrified of. The next man stands looking bored with ripped jeans and a plain t-shirt. I have half a mind that the rest of these men work here and are standing undercover.

As I look to the next man over out of five, my breathing hitches entirely.

“Oh God.” I breathe out, my hand clenching Harry’s shirt in my fist. My other hand comes up and covers my mouth to hopefully keep the sickening feeling at bay.

The fourth man stands with purpose, arms at his side and toe tapping. His jeans are distressed and his plaid shirt wrinkled and torn in parts. His beard is long now, different from the stubble that had adorned the dead face. His hair is longer too, reaching just past his ears and the most disgusting thing of all; he wears a small grin on his lips. “The fourth one.” I blurt out, my grip on Harry’s shirt tightening. “It’s the fourth one.”

Chris walks up to a small box next to the mirror and presses one of the buttons.

“Number four.” His voice sounds in the other room and the two officers point to my attacker. He rolls his eyes, grin on his lips growing slightly before he takes a step forward. Chris takes a step away from the box and looks to me, though I keep my eyes at the two-way mirror. “Miss Nichols, is that the man that-“

“Yes.” I interrupt, almost screaming even. I release Harry’s shirt and push his arm off my shoulders. “That’s him. That’s the guy. I’m sorry, I can’t-” I cry out, turning on my heels and running out of the room.

I begin running down the hallway, hoping to make it to the toilets before I lose my breakfast. I almost run into a female officer and I grab her arm. “Where are the toilets?” I ask in a hurry, my hand still covering my mouth.

“First door on the right.” She says, staring oddly at me as he points down the hall.

I let go of her arm quickly and run towards the door she pointed to, all the while Harry shouting out my name and for me to stop. I don’t listen though, making it into the women’s toilets and into the first cubicle. I collapse on the ground before the toilet, vomiting immediately into the porcelain bowl.

“Shay.” I continue to empty my stomach, my throat already burning from the acid. Harry pulls my braid back and makes sure that my hat stays in place, as I get sick, his other hand rubbing my back soothingly. “You’re okay. Let it all out.” He coaxes me through it until I finish and fall onto my bum, leaning against the wall. “Are you done?” I let my eyes flutter closed before nodding. I hear Harry rummaging around before he wipes my lips with a piece of toilet tissue and then the sound of the toilet flushing sounds.

Now that we’re left in silence, I let all the tears out that have somehow managed to remain from the beginning of the day. I shake my head, pouting and sobbing as Harry pats my knee softly. I open my eyes and watch as Harry reaches out and takes my hands. He pulls me to my feet, leading me out of the cubicle and over to the sinks. He grabs ahold of my waist and picks me up, setting my bum down on the counter beside the sink.

“I want to go home.” I cry out, sniffling and wiping away the remaining tears.

I can’t seem to find it in me to cry anymore, too tired. Harry nods and grabs a tissue, wetting it before bringing it to my face.

“Let’s just get you cleaned up first and then we can go.” He assures me with a small smile. He begins to clean my face with the cool tissue, soaking up all the tears and smudged makeup. “You did so amazing in there, Shay.” He compliments, bending down and grabbing my purse off the floor that I hadn’t even realized had been tossed aside. He starts rummaging through it before finding a pack of gum. “Here.” I take the stick of gum from him and begin chewing it to try and mask the sick taste in my mouth. I need a shower and a toothbrush. “Ready?” I simply nod, hanging my head low as Harry helps me off the counter.

“Thanks.” I mutter, wrapping my arm around his as he leads me out of the bathroom. When we exit, Chris is standing next to the door, folder in his crossed arms.

“Are you alright?” He asks right away, pushing himself from the plaster.

I nod my head, casting my gaze to the floor again.

“I really need to get Shay home now.” Harry says.

“Yes, of course, I just need her to sign a few documents first.” I internally groan and rest my head against Harry’s arm as I reach out my free hand for the sheets of paper.

The quicker I get this done, the quicker I can go home. I sign the papers quickly, my signature looking sloppy because of my shaking hands, and thrust them into Chris’s hands.

“There.” I respond, my voice sounding dead. He looks them over briefly before looking over to me.

“We’ll be in touch.” 

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