Ever Since New York

"I've been praying, I never did before.... Understand I'm talking to the walls... And I've been praying ever since New York."

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8. Not An Ex

We were back in the States on another tour. A year has passed, and it was no surprised we’d be on the road again. Again, our stop was in New York. I haven’t spoken with Vanessa since that night the guys and I went to the pub, nor has she tried to call me within the last year to talk about her certain ‘company.’

We were walking around near the area of our hotel when I spotted Vanessa, except she wasn’t alone. She was with a guy, specifically Zayn Malik. Now, Zayn had left One Direction a few years ago to pursued a solo career. Of course, the four of us had pursued solo careers as well. It was only recently were we back together again. We never minded working together. It was nice having to write and record what we wanted.

Vanessa had never talked about her ex that much, except she stayed with him at the apartment for two years before he moved out. I could tell she saw me because she had a surprised look on her face. Zayn used to be close with the rest of us. He had chosen to go solo, and it was a decision that we all respected. “Harry? You’re back?”

I was only surprised to see her with Zayn. I didn’t want to assume anything just yet. I nodded and said we were back in New York for the tour. “Why—Oh, uh… you know, Zayn?” She motioned over to him. She had completely changed the subject. She was going to ask me why I hadn’t called. I might as well ask her the same question.

“Yeah, of course.” I said.

The six of us stood quietly on the sidewalk. No one knew what to say or talk about. “We are late. Uhm… see you around then.” said she. Then the two of them walked away in the direction we had just come from. Did that encounter just happen? Sure it was silent, but it was also awkward.

The guys and I stopped by a place to eat before heading to the hotel. We all sat down at a table and ordered. “Do you think they’re dating?” asked Niall. It wouldn’t be a surprised if they were, but Vanessa wouldn’t be the kind of person to keep secrets. Though, I didn’t know her all that well. I was starting to feel like there were a million other things she could be keeping from me. What business did she have with Zayn that I didn’t know about? What were they late for? 

While the guys were eating, I was too deep in thought about the short encounter with Vanessa and Zayn. I had many doubts that the two of them were together. We finished our meals. I finished what I could before heading back to the hotel. “Don’t let her get to you. She’ll explain everything.” said Liam. I secretly wished that he was right.

Something just didn’t feel like it was. Being back in New York, only reminded me of the day I met Vanessa. I wish I had flown to see her more often. Maybe things would’ve been different if I did. The next morning, we went to our rehearsal  at Madison Square Garden. I remember the first time we performed her.

It was so overwhelming for us. We sang our setlist. Now singing the song about Vanessa affected more now than it did then. Guess it was just seeing her with Zayn. Just shortly after rehearsal, my phone rang. I picked up to answer. “Hey, it’s Vanessa. Do you want to meet me at this coffee shop? I’ll text you the address.” said she.

I agreed to meet with her before hanging up. As soon as I did, her text message had gone through. I told the guys that I was meeting Vanessa and would catch up with them later. I called for a taxi to take me to the address. When I arrived, Vanessa was sitting outside. This time she was alone. No Zayn in sight.

I couldn’t say that I was exactly relieved to see her without him. I know I should be. I approached her table. She smiled when she saw me. “I ordered you coffee.” Vanessa motioned towards the cup when I sat down. It wasn’t necessary, but I thanked her anyway for the cup. I sat in silence, only wanting her to speak up about what had happened yesterday.

“I know you have some questions to ask about Zayn.  I met him a few months ago, and we’ve only been talking. I should’ve told you sooner, but I don’t know how you’d feel about me talking with an ex-band member."

“Only talking? You and I haven’t talked for almost a year.” Vanessa could tell that I was hurt. Of course I was. I couldn’t deal with her lying to me straight to my face. I could see it in her eyes that she was holding something back. Also, her smile wasn’t the same, or wasn’t the way I remembered it. Vanessa sighed, “Harry, I wish I told you."

“You like him, don’t you?"

“He has a girlfriend. There’s not a chance that—"

“I don’t believe this.” I interrupted. I started to stand up , but she reached out to stop me. I turned to face her. Something was on her mind. Something she didn’t want to tell me. “Vanessa, I don’t have—"

“Harry,” There was a short pause. A few people were looking at us. I didn’t really care at  that moment. I just wanted to leave. “I’m engaged.” I stared at her blankly. She was sitting, looking up at me. She was waiting for my response. I didn't know what to say but decided to sit back down in my seat. She was serious? She looked serious. She also looked sad.

"I... Congrats." I said. She gave a half-smile before thanking me. It was then we stayed for a few more minutes just talking. She talked about how Zayn was a guy she had met when she was in college. She was on her Spring Break, and the two of them were in the same city. She said that Zayn did have a girlfriend at the time, but they had broken up.

"It was just a casual run in. I should've said something about it. Then he and I moved in together. The reason my parents didn't know about it was because I know what they'd say. He just... he looks like he's the kind to start trouble. I mean that's what my dad would say. Why do you think it was hard to keep my relationship about Zayn a secret?

"Look, my parents adored you. They called me after you left. I had to tell them the truth, but they wished that we were together instead. Though, a few months ago when Zayn came back to New York, he stopped by my office. He saw me at work, which was something I wasn't expecting for him to do. He apologized for everything.

"At first we were just talking, then yesterday I saw you with the guys. I didn't want to tell you in front of them. Harry, I'm sorry that you had to hear it from me like this. At least you heard it from me and not read it online or something." I took a sip of my coffee, letting what she had said sink in. So Zayn was her fiancé.

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