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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25. ✗ twenty-four ✗

SHAY

“Damian, get that photo off the screen!” Harry yells, running to the spot where I had curled up in a terrified ball of screams and tears. “Now!”

I’m rocking back and forth on my bum, shivering and shaking, crying and screaming. Flashbacks of the night, before he knocked me out, flood my memory; his beady eyes staring deep into my soul, haunting me from the inside out, whilst his laughter and voice floods my ears. My eardrums seem to be ringing and I can no longer hear anything around me except for his voice.

“Stop screaming!”

His loud voice is echoing around me, bouncing off the walls of the buildings surrounding the alleyway. I’m pulled against his broad chest, his arms snaking around me and squeezing until I feel like I’m cannot move an inch, though I struggle and try to escape. His grip is strong and his scent stronger. His hand begins to roam lower on my body, meeting the fabric of my black dress. The fabric is tight, but not tight enough as he begins to pull the dress upwards.

“No!” I scream, my voice muffled by the force of his other hand clenched around my lips and cheeks.

“I said shut up!”

His arms released me and harshly flung me downwards onto the concrete. My knees and hands scrap the surface before the rest of my body makes contact, as if every movement I make is in slow motion. The scraped skin begins to sting as the realization of freedom from his filthy hands begins to sink in.

But when I turn I see him much closer than before, with an evil smile on his chapped and reddened lips. There is no help, as I had hoped, and I too frozen in fear to move. Even if I tried I know I won’t make it far. I feel as if my body cannot function, my screams cannot be produced, and my tears are being held back.

He slowly kneels down, his movements distorted by the effect of something in the air… fear and pollution. His fingers toy with the tattered belt around his waist, undoing the clasp and beginning to reach for the button.

“I don’t think you have it in you to stay silent, so say goodnight.”

The urge to scream is ever present now, but I don’t get a chance before he raises his fist high in the air and it comes into contact with the side of my head. My limp and half-conscious body falling down towards the ground, awaiting contact any moment.

The last thing I hear: the cackling of this sinister man and the pain at the back of my head.

“Shay!” My eyes are glued shut as I thrash round, screaming and hitting anything that comes into contact with me. Two hands grab at my hands, trying to contain the flying fists before they make contact with their body. Another set of arms snakes round my waist and tugs my back against their front, my bum coming into contact with their lap as they shush me. “Damian, I got her.” I thrash around more, screaming out and sobbing heavily. “You need to calm down. You’re going to hurt yourself. You’re going to hurt the baby!”

All of a sudden, my strength gives out and I fall limply back against the firm body holding me tight. My head falls onto his shoulder as loud sobs leave my lips. My eyes are still glued shut, afraid to open and experience the world around me. I’m afraid if I do I won’t be happy with the outcome.

“Shhh, you’re okay. Everything is okay, Shay. It’s over. He’s gone.” Harry coos into my ear as he rocks me back and forth. “Let it out, it’s okay. I’m here.” I sob and reach down, gripping Harry’s jacket sleeve in my hand and covering my wet eyes with my other hand.

“She’s pregnant?” I hear Damian question over my sobs from somewhere above Harry and I. Harry is shushing me, but nods his head, his curls brushing against the side of my face. “I’m going to call my contacts, right now.” And with that, we’re left in a room where my crying is the only thing heard.

To anyone unknown to the situation they would think somebody is getting murdered in here. I’m a loud crier, my sobs echoing throughout the mostly silent house surrounding us. I never in a million years pictured myself in this very situation. I had been preparing myself for the moment when I would see his face again. I thought I would stare crying quietly, tears streaking down my cheeks, as I nod to Damian that that in fact was my attacker. I had no idea the reaction I’m having would occur. It’s like I can’t control my body, especially in that split second from the chair to somehow ending up on the floor.

“Shhh, Shay, I’m here. It’s okay, everything is okay.” I mumble a moan out of my lips before turning in Harry’s embrace so that I’m sitting sideways on his lap. I wrap my arms around his neck and burying my face in the crook of his neck, crying quietly now, embarrassed by my outburst. “He can’t get to you, not now not ever. I won’t let him.” I nod my head in response, but continue to cry. “You’re okay. Let it all out.” Harry pulls his head from mine and places a kiss to my hair, wrapping his arms tightly around me. “I won’t let anything happen to you.”

I pull my face from Harry’s neck after a few more minutes of light sobbing and trying everything in my power to calm down. I stare down at the neckline of Harry’s shirt so that I don’t have to look him in the eyes. My entire body is shivering with fright and trembling from my previous state. Harry’s hand slides out from around my waist and cups my chin, tilting my face up to look at him finally.

“There are those beautiful eyes.” He whispers, wiping the stray tears on my cheeks away with the pad of his thumb. I swivel around in his lap so that my legs are on either side of his waist and grip his shirt in my hands as I continue to look at him. “How are you feeling now?”

“I don’t know.” I mumble, barely moving my lips because of my lack of energy.

I feel physically and mentally drained after the events of today. Harry nods his head and wipes the remaining tears away with both thumbs, allowing his hands to caress my skin softly, calming me even further. I flutter my eyes shut and feel Harry pull me to him so that my head is resting on his shoulder.

“Hey.” I jump a little at the sound of Damian’s voice beside Harry now and turn my head slightly so that I can see the man. He extends a hand, which contains a water bottle, allowing Harry to take it. Harry opens it for me before handing it over and allowing me to sip slowly. “I just talked to my buddies and this case is now at the top of their priority list, meaning drop everything and focus on catching this guy. They’re going to review the evidence I’ve sent in and then are going to go pick this guy up.” My grip on Harry’s shirt tightens. “Um,” Damian’s eyes flash to Harry, “I gave my buddy, Chris, you’re number and he’ll give you a call when they get him. Him and his partner will need the two of you to show in the morning to, uh,” Damian swallows hard and glances to me.

“What?” I croak out, gripping onto the water bottle a tad tighter. “What will they need from me?” I manage to ask, my voice weak and scratchy.

“They’re going to need you to point him out in a line-up.” I intake a breath sharply and drop the bottle onto the ground, feeling the same overwhelming feeling I had just gotten rid of. “But, hey Shay, you don’t even have to see him and he won’t see you. He’ll be behind two-way glass so you can see him but he can’t see you. After that, it’ll all be coming to a close and you can move on. I promise.” Damian assures me, picking the water bottle up off the ground before handing it back to me.

“Thank you.” I whisper, sending Damian a small head nod in appreciation.

“No problem was a pleasure, really.”

“Thank you.” Harry says, his chest vibrating as he spoke. “Thank you so much. I owe you.” Damian smirks and holds his hand out for Harry to shake. Harry awkwardly shakes his hand whilst with me on his lap before straightening out.

“I’ve got some paperwork to finish up.” Damian says, standing tall. “Feel free to stay as long as you two need.” I pull my head up from Harry’s shoulder and look him in the eye. He stares at me for a split second, reading my emotions before gazing up at Damian.

“I think we’re just going to go on home, we’ve had enough excitement for one day.”

&&&

I make Harry stand outside the bedroom as I change into my pajamas. I move slowly, like a sloth, delicately removing my leggings and top before sliding on a pair of shorts and a paired tee over my torso. I throw my wavy, brown hair up into a messy bun, rubbing at my eyes as I take my hands down from my head.

Harry is patient, completely silent from the other side of the door, already ready for bed. It’s only seven-thirty, but we’re both so exhausted from today’s events and the lingering jetlag still looming up above.

I can’t seem to shake what happened about an hour ago, the reaction that had occurred. I’ve read about PTSD before, most cases seen in soldiers whom have returned from active duty. They react to sounds of guns, fireworks, or anything that really takes their memory back to those hard days on the battlefield. I honestly thought it wasn’t possible to get PTSD without serving time or being involved in a horrid car accident or something like that. For some reason I shove the incident deep in my brain, telling myself what happened isn’t a serious situation like returning home from combat or being involved in a car accident. But it’s very serious and I do have PTSD tendencies when I’m faced with the events from that night.

After my reaction to seeing a photograph of my attacker, his damn mug shot, I can only imagine the response I’ll display when I have to point him out of a line of men. I won’t be in a small, techy room with Harry and the PI that quite possibly is going to be the reason I can sleep at night. There’s going to be more people tomorrow. There’s going to be a precinct full of people, waiting on me and watching me with sorrowful, pity filled eyes. I don’t know if I’m going to be able to keep my reactions under control. I don’t know if I can do it, any of it.

“Can I come in now, Shay?” Harry mumbles from the other side of the closed door.

I sigh, tossing my dirty clothes into the hamper before going to the door and pulling it wide. I don’t wait for Harry to enter before turning to the bed and climbing underneath the covers. Harry says nothing as he shuts off the lights, all except for his lamp, and climbs into bed with me. He lays down on his back, holding something in his hands. I scoot closer to him, needing to feel his body heat mine and protect me like he always does.

“Stop thinking about everything for a moment,” He mutters, flipping through the items in his hand, “and just focus all of your energy on these.”

Harry slides the ultrasound photographs from today into my hands and it feels like years since I’ve seen them last. I hold them in my shaking hands and flip through them, one by one. There are five and in each the baby seems to be in a different position or angle. I run my fingertips over the small little bean on the photograph before placing my hand over my stomach.

“I can’t believe I’m actually growing this little bean into a baby.” I hum lowly, running my hand across the expanse of my abdomen. I’m two months along, but there’s nothing really to show for it yet.

Harry scoots even closer to me, if humanly possible, and wraps his arm around my shoulders so that I’m being pulled into his side.

“Do you think it’s a boy or a girl?” He asks, lips barely moving and voice no louder than a whisper. I shrug, continuing to rub the non-existent bump.

“I don’t know.” I say honestly. “Part of me feels that it’s a girl and the other part of me feels that it’s a boy. You know whenever I dream about seeing the baby for the first time I always picture her as a girl, but I don’t want to assume. I’ll be happy either way though.” I smile to myself as I set the photographs over on my bedside table before snuggling into Harry.

If the baby is a boy, I’ll be beyond ecstatic. I never had a brother or really any guy that I’ve been close with, aside from Harry of course. I’ll teach him how to be a gentleman and never to be scared and that it’s okay to cry. I won’t push him in any direction, urging him to do something he’s not passionate about. He’ll be smart and raised the right way, not like my parents raised me. He won’t be spoiled and he’ll learn to be kind to others. He’ll be raised to be an all around good guy, like Harry.

I will love him.

If the baby is a girl, I’ll teach her how to dream and how to be happy. I’ll protect her from the mistakes that I made in my past, but I won’t hold her back from making her own choices and faults. She’ll be beautiful, so beautiful that it’s going to take everything in me to keep the boys away. I’ll be her mother and her friend. I’ll show her how to be herself and not take crap from anyone about her appearance, her clothes, her likes and dislikes. We’ll fight, but at the end of the day we’ll always come back to each other.

I will love her.

“You’re crying.” Harry says, pulling me from my aspirations and dreams of what this kid will hopefully be like. I bring my hand up to my eyes, feeling the dampness there. I’m surprised I even have tears left to cry today. I dab them away and smile over at Harry.

“I’m just thinking about him or her.” I explain, turning onto my side after placing the photos on the bedside table.

I rest my hand on Harry’s bare chest, tracing my fingertips along the ink on the middle of his torso. There’s a butterfly tattoo there, for what reason I have no clue, but I quite like it. Harry shutters underneath my hold, my fingertips tickling him slightly. I apologize and freeze my motions, resting my head against his chest. “I’m sort of scared.” I admit in a mere whisper.

“Scared of what?”

“I don’t know, bringing a child into the world, raising said child. What if I’m a bad mother?” I wonder, fumbling with my fingers in front of my face so that I have something other than Harry’s concerned gaze to focus on. “I mean I won’t know until I actually start trying, that’s the hardest thing. You can prepare all you possibly can, but you won’t actually know how you’ll do until you’ve got the child in your arms.”

“Hey, shhh,” Harry mutters, pressing a couple kisses to the top of my head, “Shay, you are going to be the best mum in the entire world.”

“How do you know?” I utter, turning onto my front so that I can rest my chin against Harry’s chest. “How can anybody know that?”

“I see it. I know you. You are kind and smart. You can do anything and you’re not going to be in this alone.” I witness in Harry’s eyes, something glimmer, but I’m not sure of what. He smiles down at me, running his hand up and down the expanse of my back. “I will be by your side every step of the way. I’m in this with you, Shay, from now until forever.” I gulp heavily as I see the truth in his eyes.

I’ve only ever seen this type of commitment in the movies. I haven’t been able to watch a bond between two people blossom before; my parents’ not great examples, of course. I don’t take commitment lightly. If you are to promise something to a person, you should keep that promise. 

I promised Harry that I would do any and everything in my power to smooth his tension and help ease his stress when I accepted the job at Styles Corp. I’ve kept that promise to the best of my ability.

Promises are not meant to be taken lightly, children may use them, but they are far from child’s play.

I can’t help but shiver at the thought of this meaning that Harry might care for me more than I think, that me might care for me to a whole ‘nother level. I know he cares for me with ever fiber in his body, but this is a different type of caring. This is… this may be love.

Is this love?

How can somebody so beautiful and kind and precious love somebody like me? I’m a broken woman, with mood swings the size of a typhoon. One minute I’m all happy and giggly and the next I’m either yelling or sobbing. Somebody took my happiness from me, stole it away in the night. And I always push people away, even before that night. I’ve never been able to love, never experienced it before. I don’t know what it’s supposed to feel like. I don’t know how to reciprocate.

Too many feelings are flooding my body and the next thing I know I’m crying again, crying like a baby missing its mother. I’m crying because I’m scared. I’m crying because I’m stressed. I’m crying because I’m overly emotional and pregnant. I’m crying because I feel a jolt of happiness in me that I haven’t been able to truly feel in a long time.

“Thank you.” I cry out, clutching onto Harry as if he’s the lifejacket to my swimmer. He wraps his arms around me tightly, pulling me up closer to his face. I pull my face from his chest and look him directly in the eyes. “Thank you for everything.”

Harry cuts me off from saying anything else by attaching our lips immediately. I’m caught off guard momentarily, but quickly regain composure and kiss him back. His hand comes to my cheek, wiping the tears with his thumb as he tilts my head to the side.

Our lips dance together for quite some time, all the stress of the day leaving my body and seeping into the air around us. My tears dry up immediately, forgotten.

The only thing that matters to me is lying underneath my body, radiating heat from his bare chest to my clothed body and kissing me so passionately it physically strains my heart to a whole new existent. It is in this moment that realization clicks.

Harry loves me.

And I love Harry.

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