Back to the Start || Harry Styles AU

Leaving Shay when Louis told Harry to was his worst mistake. Up until this point. Two years pass after Harry drops a bombshell on Shay. It’s been two years that they’ve spent apart. But when Shay heads off to the same college as Harry and Louis, she soon realizes she can’t hide from Harry or the things he’s done.

How many nights does it take to count the stars? That’s the time it would take to fix my heart.

Sequel to Stars in Your Eyes

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2. Chapter One


August 2014

“I think your father and I should tag along,” Jay said to her daughter as Louis packed up his car with their belongings for school.

“What? No way,” Shay told her.

“Not with you guys. But you know, in our car… following you,” she suggested.

“We will be fine, Mom. I promise. Louis and I can handle it,” Shay said, rolling her eyes.

“But you’re leaving for college. My baby girl is leaving home for the first time,” Johannah said, grabbing Shay into her arms.

“Oh my god, Mom. She’s eighteen years old. She’ll be fine. Plus, she’ll have me and Harry to watch over her like we always planned,” Louis said, bringing the last bag out and shoving it in the trunk.

With the mentioning of Harry, Shay’s stomach plummeted.

How were things with her and Harry? Well, things were pretty much non-existent. After what happened when Shay ended their relationship, Harry went back to school for the next five months. They shared a few conversations over the phone, here and there. But things kind of died off between them. And then just before summer hit, Shay started dating a boy named Chris, much to Harry’s dismay.

June 2013

“Who’s the guy?” Harry asked Shay after Chris left her house that night.

“Uh, Chris,” Shay breathed, feeling awkward that he was standing there.

Harry was invited over for dinner that evening, but when Jay told her about it, she already had plans to hang out with her boyfriend. And a part of her was more than a little relieved that she didn’t have to sit through the awkwardness of having dinner with her ex.

But now, Harry stood leaning against the door frame in the doorway of her room, watching her.

“He’s your boyfriend?” Harry asked curiously.

“Uh... yeah,” Shay said, swallowing hard, feeling sick in the pit of her stomach.

There was no real reason for her to feel that way. Why should she feel bad for moving on after Harry cheated on her? She shouldn’t. But she still did.

“Louis told me you two just started seeing each other,” Harry pointed out.

“Yeah. About a month ago,” she said quietly, letting her eyes drop down to her hands.

“A lot can happen in a month,” Harry said cryptically. Shay’s eyes shot up to his, because she knew he was referring to everything they did with one another in their first month together.

“Things are different,” she told him. She didn’t know why she felt the need to justify herself to him. But it was Harry and she just did.

“Things are most definitely different,” he said as his green eyes penetrated hers.

“Harry,” Shay sighed, letting her vision drop again.

“Who is he?” Harry asked, prying further into her life.

“I don’t know. Just… just a friend from school,” she said with a shrug. She didn’t know what else to say. She knew Chris from school. It was that simple.

“I don’t remember him,” he said, quirking his head.

“Well, he’s from school,” she said, feeling a little annoyed that he was being so inquisitive.

“And you just decided to start dating him? Right before I came home for the summer?” Harry asked, causing Shay to scoff as she looked at him incredulously.

“Seems a little convenient,” Harry said as he pursed his lips, looking around her room nonchalantly.

“A little convenient? What is that supposed to mean?” She shot at him. He had quite the audacity to come at her like that.

Harry looked over at her, his eyes serious and a bit challenging.

“That you’re scared,” he said confidently.

“Scared of what? Of you?” She scoffed impatiently.

“I don’t know. Of something. It’s like you’re trying to punish me for what I did, or something, by dating some guy when I come home from school,” he said arrogantly.

She nearly dropped her mouth open in awe. Was he serious? Did he think her entire life revolved around him?

“News flash, Harry. Not everything is about you,” she shot at him. He chuckled lightly with a smug smirk on his lips.

“I just… I thought it’d be different,” Harry told her with a shrug of his shoulders.

“Yeah. You thought I was just gonna sit here pining for you, just waiting to take you back, after you cheated on me!?” She shot at him, letting her bitterness out.

His eyes shot straight to hers and she could see the anger and pain in them because of her words.

“I-I… never did anything with her. I talked to her about it. We never did anything,” Harry stammered, looking a bit shell-shocked. Shay gulped with his words, feeling bad that she threw it in his face.

“It doesn’t change things though, Harry,” she sighed, looking away from him again.

“I wish it did,” he said quietly. She felt the sting of tears in her eyes, knowing she wished the same.

“I miss you, Shay,” he breathed sadly.

Shay nodded her head but she couldn’t look up at him and she couldn’t say it back. He would see the tears and he would know her feelings for him never changed. And she knew she couldn’t let that happen, because she would just go through the pain of losing him all over again in two months. She wouldn’t allow herself to be put through that again. She couldn’t.

Shay and Christopher dated for the majority of her senior year before she found out he actually did cheat on her. She was literally zero for three on the dating front. All three of her boyfriends fucking her over in the end and she wasn’t sure if it was her or what. She was the common denominator in each scenario after all. It had to be something she was doing. Or maybe, it was because she picked boys that were no good.

Except, she knew that wasn’t true. Because Harry was good. And she was sure he still was. It was the hardest decision she ever had to make when she ended their relationship. And now, they weren’t anything to each other. Two years came and went, and they barely spoke or saw each other. They weren’t friends, much less lovers.

But now there they were, about to head off to the same college together. It was her plan ever since Harry got his acceptance letter. She was going to go to Penn State along with her older brother and the boy she loved. Somewhere deep down inside of her, she knew she never changed the plan in the past two years because she was still hung up on Harry. And she didn’t really care if she was. A love like that didn’t just go away. At least not for her. Even after Harry went back to school, Shay still thought of him every day. It took a long time for her to feel okay again. And when Louis finally found out she broke up with Harry nearly two months later, she had to relive it all over again.

February 2013

“What the hell, Shay?” Louis snapped at her as she answered his call.

“What?” Shay asked, making a face of utter annoyance. What could he possibly be mad at her for? He’d been gone at school for months.

“You broke up with Harry?” He scoffed loudly.

“Oh,” she said, letting her end of the line go silent.

“Oh? Is that all you’re going to say?” Louis snapped impatiently.

“What do you want me to say?” She asked evenly.

“You are so stupid!” He spat at her.

“Screw you, Louis,” Shay yelled at him.

“You were apparently so heartbroken when you two weren’t together, when I didn’t want you to be together. And now, what? You just don’t care?” Louis asked, his voice still angry.

“It’s not like I don’t care…” Shay said quietly.

“It doesn’t seem like it!” Louis yelled at her.

“Jesus, Louis. Stop yelling at me!” She screamed back.

“You broke up with him at Christmas?” He asked.

“It’s complicated,” she said quietly. She didn’t know how else to explain it.

“It’s not. You’re just selfish!” Louis snapped at her.

“Louis…” Shay said quietly.

“You’re just getting back at him for breaking up with you because of me,” he told her.

“Way to make it all about you, Louis,” Shay scoffed.

“This isn’t about me. This is about how you’re treating Harry. He loves you, Shay,” Louis told her.

It tore at her heart, but it also pissed her off because it was coming from Louis. He didn’t have a right to have an opinion about their relationship. Not when he worked so hard to destroy it before.

“You have no idea what you’re even talking about, Louis!” Shay yelled as her tears stung the back of her eyes.

“You’re selfish, Shay,” Louis said finally before hanging up on her.

“Gahhh…” Shay groaned before throwing her phone on her bed. What an asshole!

Shay paced around her room for a bit to dispel the anger she was feeling toward Louis. How dare he call her and accuse her of anything. He had no idea! Maybe she should have told him the truth, since Harry obviously didn’t have the balls to.

Shay threw herself onto her bed and curled up with one of her pillows, feeling a bit self-loathing. Maybe Louis was right. Maybe she was being selfish. But she didn’t think she could trust Harry anymore. How could she possibly be so far away from him for so long and pretend like everything would be okay? They wouldn’t. She and Harry were better off as friends. It was just too complicated.

“We’ve got to go pick up Harry,” Louis announced to his parents, breaking Shay out of her thoughts.

“You’ll tell him we say hello, right? We miss that boy around here,” Jay said, hugging Louis.

“I will,” Louis said, as he pulled out of his mom’s arms and hugged his dad.

“Are you going to be okay riding in a car with Harry for four hours?” Jay asked, speaking quietly to her daughter as they said their goodbyes.

“Oh. Yeah. I’ll be fine. I mean, it’s been two years. I’m completely over it,” Shay said, waving her hand through the air, giving her a quick nod.

“Shaylynn, you don’t have to pretend with me,” Jay said, giving her a look of bullshit.

“It’s just Harry, Mom. I’m fine,” she told her, lying through her teeth.

In reality, her insides were being slashed and torn up at the thought of spending any amount of time with Harry in the awkward phase they’d reached with one another.

Shay…” She eyed her.

“I’m fine. We’re adults. We’re completely okay. I’ve got bigger things to worry about,” she told her.

“Like starting college,” Johannah pointed out, smiling proudly at her daughter, seeming to drop the whole Harry conversation.

“Like starting college,” Shay repeated with a nod.

“I’m so proud of you!” Jay said, throwing her arms around her.

“Mom. My god, Mother. I’ll only be four hours away. You were never this weepy when Louis left for college,” Shay said, trying to pry herself from her grasp.

“That’s because I actually got to bring him to college. And besides, you’re the baby. You’re my last little birdy leaving the nest,” she said, pulling away to look at her daughter.

“Oh, lord,” Shay said, rolling her eyes playfully.

“I just love you so much,” Jay gushed.

“Mom, seriously. We’ve got to go,” Louis called over impatiently, rolling his eyes.

“I know, I know,” Jay said, hugging Shay again quickly before she pulled back.

“I love you, Mom,” Shay told her.

“I love you too, baby,” Jay cooed, smiling at her with a sad look in her eyes.

Shay blew her a kiss as she walked toward her dad, and Jay blew one back.

“Daddy,” Shay murmured, smiling at him.

“Shaylynn,” Mark said, pulling her into a hug.

“I love you,” she told him.

“I love you too. Now, be good,” Mark told her firmly.

“I’ll be great,” she retorted, smiling wildly at him.

“That’s all I ask,” he chuckled, letting her go.

“I love you, Daddy,” she said, walking toward the passenger seat of Louis’ car.

“I love you, Peanut,” Mark told her, using the nickname he used to call her as a girl.

Shay and Louis both waved off their parents before he pulled out of the driveway, headed to the Styles house. The second they were out of view of their parents, Shay’s anxiety kicked in again. Her heart was beating so hard in her chest thinking about having to see Harry. He was away most of the summer in New York doing some sort of internship – or so she heard from Louis. So he didn’t come around very often. A fact she did not either like or dislike. Things were so complicated and only destined to complicate further.

Shay swallowed hard when they arrived at the Styles house and the entire family was waiting in the driveway. Her eyes locked on Harry right away. Her mouth was dry and her nerves were frayed. The fact that he could still affect her like that was not lost on her. She was blindingly aware of it.

Shay and Louis both got out of the vehicle to greet the entire clan. It had been so long. She missed them all so much. She did a round of hugs, saying hello to all of them, before she was left standing in front of Harry. Suddenly he wasn’t the boy she knew – he was a man. A very handsomely striking twenty-year-old man. And all she could do was stand there staring at him.

“Hi, Shay,” he breathed with a smile on his lips.

“Uh, hi,” she said as they very awkwardly hugged one another.

“Congratulations on getting into Penn State,” he said, smirking at her.

“Yeah. Uh, yeah. Thanks,” she said, taking a step back, feeling as if they were just too close.

“Glad to hear Louis and I will be able to protect you like we always planned,” he chuckled lightly.

“Yeah,” she breathed with a small smile.

His voice was pleasant and friendly. And there was something in his tone of voice that told her he was saying these things for his family’s sake. Because his eyes were telling her another story – that there was so much unfinished business between the two of them that still needed to be addressed. Silly things said around the dinner table long ago were nothing of his real concern. And honestly, Shay was scared shitless to even entertain the idea of talking to Harry in private. It was enough to make her want to curl up into the fetal position and ignore everything and everyone.

But then she remembered how it used to be between them and she wondered how on earth she let herself be frightened of that boy at all. He may have grown up, but he was still Harry. And if she could have it all back, wouldn’t she want that?

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