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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24. ✗ twenty-three ✗

SHAY

Harry and I are quiet on our drive home. His focus is on the road, but I can tell his mind is elsewhere; as my focus is on the ultrasound photos in my hands. I have thankfully stopped crying, but just seeing the pictures I hold is something that can tear me apart in an instant. We have yet to talk about the appointment, our brains taking time to process all the information Dr. Surrey gave us.

Baby is at perfect development for this far along.

I’m going to need you to gain at least 13 kilograms throughout this process, for the health of your child. You’ll want to gain at least 3 kilograms by your next appointment.

I’ll see you in another four weeks to check the progression of his or her growth.

“Shit.” I jump out of my trance and turn my attention to Harry who is fumbling with his trousers.

“What’s wrong?”

He bites his lip as he tries to dig into the front pocket of his skinny jeans for something unheard.

“Nothing, my phone is buzzing. Can you answer it?” He asks when he finally gets it free from his constricting pants. I nod and reach across the console, taking the device in my hand.

The caller id is saved into the phone, but I’ve never heard of a person called “Damian”. He could be an old friend of Harry’s from home for all I know, I don’t know many of his friends.

“Hello, Harry Styles’ phone.” I answer, setting the ultrasound pictures down onto my lap.

The person on the other line clears his throat, sounding quite surprised.

“Ah, is Harry there?” I glance to Harry, seeing him peek over at me whilst trying to keep his eyes on the road.

I sigh and wave him off, pointing towards the road. I am still his secretary. Answering the phone for Harry is still my job.

“Um, he’s currently driving. Can I help you?” The man clears his throat again.

“Just tell Harry that I’ve found something on the case of Nichols that I need to share with him before I take it to the police.” I swallow hard, a lump growing in my throat. My throat feels as if it’s tightening up as it grows extremely dry.

Case of Nichols.

I can only imagine what this is pertaining to and without the background information, I feel as if I might boil over in anger. “Ma’am?” The man questions with a slight cough, awaiting my response though I can hardly give him one. I clear my throat, my eyes set on the road before us.

“Thank you for calling,” I say as Harry pulls onto the road in which his house is located. “I’ll be sure to let him know.”

With that said, I hang the phone up and clutch it tightly in my hand. I swallow down the urge to blow at him and take deep calming breathes. I don’t know the whole story; I can’t jump to conclusions.

“Who was that?” Harry asks, slipping his phone from the clutches of my hand as he pulls over beside the curb. I glare over at him, my jaw set in anger and tears welling. I shake my head at him as two tears streak down from my eyes. “What? What’s wrong?” I exhale deeply and roll my eyes, throwing the door open as I unbuckle the belt holding me securely.

I storm, with purpose, to the door of Harry’s house, only to find it locked and the only key between the two of us in Harry’s hands. He’s calling my name from behind me, his voice growing closer in distance as I rest my fist against the door.

I don’t know why I’m so mad, but I can’t help it. First he tells Louis, which I don’t really mind because it’s his best friend and I know he won’t tell anyone. But he tells someone else, someone I’ve never met and that person has been working on something pertaining to the ongoing investigation into what happened that night. I believe I have a right to fume after he’s kept it from me for two months.

“Shay, what’s wrong?” Harry questions, taking my arm in his large hand. I shrug the appendage off me and point to the door, angry tears streaming down my cheeks.

“Just open the door.” I order, my voice low and almost a growl.

He told somebody. He’s been keeping something from me this entire time. He’s been lying to me, to my face, for two whole months. 8 weeks.

“Tell me what’s wrong first. You’re fine one second and then now you’re royally pissed. Who was on the phone and what did they say that made you so angry?”

“Oh, like you don’t know!” I seethe, angrily pointing at the door as the tears cascade heavily. “Open the fucking door before I open it myself.”

I look up at Harry’s face, which falls immediately when he sees that I’m not playing around. His Adam’s apple bobs quickly before he steps beside me and unlocks the door, keeping his eyes on me the whole time.

“You have to talk to me and tell me what’s happened.”

“Well apparently you don’t tell me everything so what makes you think I should share everything with you?” I hiss, opening the door the rest of the way and jogging inside.

Harry calls after me as I dart up the stairs and straight into the bedroom we’ve been sharing for two weeks. A bedroom in which I’ve been sharing with a person that keeps secrets from me… important secrets.

I slam the door shut and go for the lock, only to find the lock not there. I curse loudly and kick my flat against the door before throwing my purse down in the middle of the floor and stomping into the bathroom. I shut and lock this door, sliding down the expanse of the wood and crying loudly.

I sob loudly, not caring that Harry, and probably the entire neighborhood, can hear me. I let everything out, my anger, the stress of the day, and the frustration over the fact that I will have to talk to Harry to get information on what I have just bound into.

I curl my knees up to my chest and hide my face away from the world around me as I sob, enjoying the small ball I’ve made myself into. And for a while the ball works by separating myself from the outside world, until it doesn’t.

“Shay.” Harry calls lightly through the wood of the door.

“Go away.” I sob, my voice muffled by my arms and legs. I cry a bit harder just knowing that Harry is so close.

“I can’t do that.”

I usually run to him in situations like these. He holds me close, whispering sweet nothings into my ear whilst rubbing my back and kissing the top of my head. His scent is overly soothing and calming. I feel safe in his arms and cared for. But now I can’t run to him, now I have no one to help me through this breakdown.

“I don’t want to see you right now.”

“Then you don’t have to.” I pull my face from its cocoon and stare straight ahead, furrowing my eyebrows at his response. “You don’t have to see me right now Shay, but that doesn’t mean you can’t talk to me.”

We’re silent for a moment, neither of us speaking. I hear him rustling around before the sound of him sliding down the other side of the door is sounded. “Please just talk to me Shay.” He pleads, his voice cracking at the end.

My chest is rising and falling quickly as I cry silently, my breathing shaky and my cheeks damp. My bottom lip is quivering like a small child’s and my hands are shaking. I want more than anything just to have Harry hold me, but I can’t just run into his arms and have everything be forgotten. I would be so stupid if I were to forgive him before he explains. What he’s done, or whatever it is, is wrong and I can’t crawl back to him.

“Whatever I’ve done, I’m sorry.” He mumbles and I can almost hear the undesirable tone of a hurt man on the other side of our wooden barrier. “Shay, I’m really, really sorry. I’m sure if you tell me what I’ve done I can fix it, make it right.” I sigh and rest my head back against the door, tears still streaming down my cheeks.

“Who’s Damian?” I finally croak out, my voice incredibly hoarse and weak.

For a minute there’s nothing but silence to be heard from the other side of the door, but there is finally a soft sigh that I faintly hear.

“I think we should have this conversation face to face.” He breathes out, his voice soft. I shake my head and resist the urge to scream.

“No, just answer the question Harry.”

“Shay, I really think-“

“Harry!” I spit, slamming my palms against the cold tiles beneath me. “Please!”

“He’s a PI!” Harry spits back and I feel myself freeze. My throat has that same lump in it again and my chest feels tight.

A PI?

“You hired a PI for…?”

“I hired a PI to help with your case, okay?” He yells and I cower on my side of the door.

I have never once experienced Harry raise his voice. He’s always just so calm, even in the most stressful of times. Whenever Harry’s lost his cool at work it would usually entail a harsher, deep tone, but never has he yelled… ever. I’m not going to lie it’s quite frightening.

“We all know that the police in this city won’t do shit. They’ll stick your case at the bottom of the pile, getting to it whenever another woman is beaten and ravaged by this monster. They will wait until his DNA is found on another girl, they will not take this case anywhere. I can’t have that. I cannot stand by and wait for him to strike again on another poor girl, Shay. You were lucky that he didn’t kill you, but what if the next girl isn’t so lucky? You lost a lot of blood that night Shay and you crawled your way to my place. What if the next girl can’t crawl? Can’t run? Can’t scream out for help?”

His voice cracks and I can almost hear him crying on the other side. “What he did to you is inexcusable and unforgiveable. He should be punished for his wrongdoings.”

I stay silent for his entire speech, bringing myself up to my feet slowly. I turn to the mirror and shake my head.

How can I be so stupid as to believe that he was hiding something bad? How could I not trust him? He’s done everything in his power to help me and I push the blame onto him when he makes one measly mistake.

I sigh, stepping forward towards the mirror and wiping the mascara marks from my cheeks. With a deep breath I walk to the door and unlock it. I slowly pull the door open and peer out.

Harry is sitting on the floor beside the door, his head in his hands and his chest rising and falling heavily. I lick my dry lips and open the door all the way, stepping out and taking a seat beside him on the ground. I don’t say anything, unsure if I should apologize now or press for more information. He glances over at my knee when I sit down, my legging clad leg brushing up against his leg, but doesn’t make a move to fully look at me.

“Damian is the best PI in the entire city of London and I will not apologize for hiring him on.” Harry utters lowly, the heels of his hands digging into the sockets around his eyes. I nod my head though he can’t see me and place a hand on top of Harry’s thigh.

“Don’t apologize.” I whisper. “I should apologize.” Harry pulls his head from his hands and shakes his head. “No, I should. I jump to conclusions.” Harry’s full lips part before his hand comes down and connects with mine on his lap. “I’m sorry.”

“And I’m sorry I kept it from you. I should’ve told you as soon as you began staying with me.” He sighs out. I nod my head and softly lower it down to rest against his shoulder. “Um, what did Damian say?” I pop my head up quickly, my jaw dropping. “What?” I snap my head in his direction.

“Give me your phone.” I order, my entire body shaking with realization of what Damian had told me: I’ve found something on the case of Nichols that I need to share with him before I take it to the police. “He found something. Damian said he found something and that he needs to talk with you before he goes to the police.”

Harry’s movements to get his phone from his pocket speeds up at my words. He snatches his phone from his pocket and stands to his feet, dialing the number as he tugs me to my feet.

“Damian!” He exclaims into the receiver. “Yeah, what’d you find?” Harry asks, pulling the phone from his ear and switching it to speaker mode.

“I think I might’ve just solved this one, actually.” I lose my breath and it’s like the air from my lungs has been taken from me.

Solved it?

“Excuse me?”

Harry and I both freeze in the middle of the room, my hands shaking at my sides. Harry notices my hand shaking within his large one and gives it a squeeze as he waits for Damian to continue.

“I think I found the guy. Listen, I need proof though. I don’t have actual proof. All I had to go off of was the sketch from the police artist and the location of the rape.” I cringe at the word, leaning into Harry for support. “I spent days staking out the locations, going off of the description Miss Nichols gave the police that her attacker was most likely homeless. These guys don’t like to change things up and it seems to be that neither does Miss Nichols’ attacker. There’s this one man that is in the general vicinity of the crime scene that fits this description. What I’m saying is that I really need significant proof or the police are just going to take my information into consideration, they won’t roll with it.”

“What do you need from me?”

“I need her. I need the girl to look at the pictures and give me a yes or no answer as to the identity of this possible suspect.”

“Oh my God.” I utter out, my free hand connecting with my mouth to conceal the scream. Harry turns to me so that he’s standing directly in front of me.

“Are you okay?” Harry asks in a low voice, detaching our hands and bringing his up to my cheek. I shrug my shoulders, my entire body numb with the information just received. “Shay, I know this is a lot to ask, but do you think you can-“

“Yes.” I answer before he can finish. “I can do it. If it means that he’ll be behind bars for the rest of his life than I do anything.”

“Did you hear that Damian?” Harry asks, keeping his eyes locked with mine.

“Yeah, I heard her.”

“We’ll be at your office in twenty.” And with that Harry hangs up, shoving his phone deep into his pocket. “Come here.” He motions, pulling me into his chest and hugging me tightly.

“I can’t believe this.” I utter in complete shock. “I thought that they’d never find him and that I would have to live in fear forever.” I admit, clinging to Harry like he’s a lifeline, which in a way he is. There was nothing definite about this case before, but now I feel as if there’s a chance. “We need to go, right now. I can’t wait any longer.” I feel as if I’m hyped up on adrenaline and nothing can stop me.

“Okay.” Harry agrees, a larger than life smile on his lips. I smile to him as I bend down and grab my bag. We get two steps closer to the door when I freeze, biting my lip. “What?” I hold up a finger and shove my bag into his hands.

“Go to the car, I just have to wee and possibly vomit really quick.”

&&&

“This is Damian’s office?” I question, staring up at the modernized exterior of a townhome located in central London. The top half of the exterior is brick and the bottom a sophisticated white brick with a black door. The front has a black metal gate around it, which is easily pushed open by Harry.

“Well, home and office.” Harry corrects, taking my hand in his and dragging me to the front door, knocking as soon as he’s close enough. Not two seconds later, the door swings open to a nerdy looking guy with glasses. He may look nerdy from his face, but he’s quite muscular as well, lose the glasses and you might have a field agent from some MI6 assignment.

“Harry, Miss Nichols.” He greets with a straight face, opening the door wide for us to step in. “Pleasure to meet you.” He states, his face solid and straight. I don’t even catch a hint of a smile anywhere. He must be a serious man. As soon as we enter Damian closes the door. “This way.” Harry rests his hand on the small of my back as we follow in silent pursuit to Damian’s office.

Harry and I step foot into a room that’s a tech-savvy’s dream come true. There are multiple monitors hanging on the far wall, security camera footage from some busy street in town displayed. Below is a large desktop computer with sticky notes lining the outer screen. There’s some contraption in the center of the room with a screen showing up to the sky. As Damian passes he moves a couple virtual files around on the touch screen. My eyebrows are raised in shock as my eyes find the wall to my left. I take a step closer to Harry at the sight. The entire wall has different handguns of all sizes and shapes, neatly organized to Damian’s likings.

“Holy shit.” I mumble, eyeing the bulletproof vests, clips, magazines, and anything else a PI could ever hope for. But, I’m quite put off by his arsenal. Usually PI’s carry one weapon in case of compromise, they usually don’t have an arsenal fit for a military man or security team member. Plus, hand guns are illegal in the UK. “Where did you get all of that?” I find myself asking, admiring the lengths Damian has gone to.

“Ex-CIA.” Damian mumbles, turning on his heels. For the first time since meeting him face to face I see a smirk on his lips. “But let’s keep that between you and I, eh?” I nod quickly and peer up at Harry. He’s smiling down at me and shrugging as he leans up against the touchscreen console in the center of the room.

“How do you know him?” I whisper to Harry as Damian travels around the room, gathering file folders, a camera, an iPad, and a few other things. He’s rushing around too much to notice us chatting quietly.

“He’s an old friend of mine from Cheshire, well not technically the UK if you can gather from his accent.” It’s true. Damian sounds like he’s from the States. “I only hire the best and Damian is the definition of best in his field.” Harry mutters, glancing around the room. “Granted I didn’t know he was ex-CIA when I first brought him on, it was just an added bonus I suppose.” I nod my head and smile around the room.

Growing up, I used to play spies with my imaginary friends and my nannies when my mother was too busy dealing art to keep an eye on me. When I got to a certain age, I didn’t even invite my nannies to play along, they were just another “bad guy” that I had to spy on to save my country. I grew out of the age when my mother found me spying on the maids and boy did she scream. She screamed so loud that I thought for sure she might send me away for boarding school. That was the last time I ever did play spy.

“Have a seat Miss Nichols.” Damian pulls out a desk chair and swivels it around so that it’s facing me. I thank him silently before taking the seat. He spins me around to face the desk and I’m immediately startled, but I settle when Harry comes and stands beside me. “You said that you would be willing to take a peek at some photos of the man that possibly did this to you.” I nod my head, swallowing the last bit of saliva left in my mouth down my throat. We were just jumping right in. “Okay, if at anytime you’re not comfortable, just let me know. I’ll explain everything first and then show you, okay?” I nod again and smile lightly over at him, before glancing up to Harry.

“Okay.”

“Alright, with the help of the facial reconstruction, recognition, and detection software that I wrote for the agency,” I raise my eyebrows up towards Harry, impressed by this nerdy, probably extremely tough, guy standing on my other side hunched over a keyboard, “I was able to enter in the sketch of your attacker and scan possible matches. Fortunately for us the software only spit out two possible matches for the area, these matches coming from our Emergency Services’ very own CCTV. After the software gave me the faces all I had to do was track down last known locations and then do a little stakeout work. In the end only one of the men stood out as the attacker. I then ran his information through the computers and read into his file.”

“Has he ever done this before?” Harry asks, giving my hand a squeeze.

“As far as his police record goes, no. His name is Anthony Morgan originally from Plymouth, and he has a pretty hefty record including: breaking and entering, grand theft auto, burglary, possession of a firearm, and assault. He spent three years in the jail there before being released in July of last year.”

“He’s only been out of prison for ten months?” I questions, my voice quiet compared to that of Damian’s authoritative speech.

He nods and sets his eyes back on the file, skimming the page once before setting it down and fumbling with a program on his computer. Once he’s finished he looks back to me.

“Are you ready?” Damian asks slowly.

Silence engulfs me as both of the men in the room stare me down. I open my mouth to respond, but nothing comes out. It seems as if I’ve forgotten how to speak; as if I don’t remember how to use my words or produce sound out of my voice box. And the overwhelming urge to cry is evident again. I had been confident before, but now I’m that same scared girl I was that April night. Damian notices my frozen state and pulls over a chair for himself, turning my chair so that our knees are almost touching.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of Miss Nichols. You only have to look for as long as you please, not a moment longer.”

“What happens if it’s the man?” I ask, my voice quivering. Harry places his hands on my shoulders and gives them a soft, reassuring squeeze.

“If it’s the man then I call my contacts in Scotland Yard and get the information over to them. My contacts in the department have come through before and they are the best. When I find something, they drop everything and they take my case at the top of the pile. So, I’ll let them know and then from there they’ll want you to come in. It may be tonight or tomorrow morning. I’ll be recording this for their evidence that way they have a statement on record of your answer. From there they’ll get this bastard off the streets and everything else will fall into place, you have my word.” I dart my tongue out and wet my incredibly chapped lips.

“It’s alright, love.” Harry mumbles, leaning down and pressing a kiss to the top of my head. Damian raises a brow at Harry’s affection before turning his attention back to me. “Whenever you’re ready.”

It’s now or never Shay. You only have to look long enough to identify this ass and then you never have to stare at another photograph of him. If you do this now then you can finally move on and live your life. You won’t have to live in another minute of fear. You can be truly happy again.

“Okay,” I breathe out, bringing my hand up to rest on top of Harry’s, “I’m ready.” Damian looks up to Harry as if asking permission before turning towards his multiple monitors. His focus is kept on his desktop as the mouse flies around, opening files and then suddenly there’s a mug shot of a man on the screen before me.

As soon as my eyes meet the dark chocolate irises of the man on the screen my heart races and I’m sobbing once again, screaming out and pushing myself away from the desk.

Damian found him. 

 

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