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


1. Prologue

Christmas 2012


“What do you mean you’re not coming?” Louis asked Harry, standing in the doorway of his dorm room.

“Well, I mean… I’m coming. But, just… I got a later flight,” Harry shrugged, sitting at his computer desk.

“What? Why?” Louis scoffed, giving him an odd look.

“I, uh… I have this stupid paper that needs to be turned in for English Lit. I’m just way behind,” Harry lied through his teeth.

“So write that shit at home and email it,” Louis scoffed again.

“I can’t. I just need to hand it in personally. My professor’s a real dick, dude,” Harry said, shrugging his shoulders passively.

“Shay’s going to be pissed,” Louis said, giving Harry a knowing look.

“She’ll understand. It’s school work,” Harry said, swallowing hard at the thought of his beautiful girlfriend.

Harry couldn’t wait to see her face. He really couldn’t. But he knew he didn’t deserve the satisfaction.

“Well, when is your flight?” Louis asked, resigning to the fact that his best friend wouldn’t be traveling with him.

“In two days,” Harry said quietly.

“WHAT!?” Louis said incredulously.

“I… that’s the only flight I could get, Louis. It’s fucking Christmas,” Harry told him.

“Just, wow. Whatever, dude. Have fun explaining that to my sister,” Louis said, scratching the back of his neck.

“Shay will understand, man,” Harry told him with a sigh.

“You better hope she does,” Louis chuckled.

Although she would be understandably disappointed, Shay wouldn’t be mad. Harry could almost guarantee it. He just really wish he could say the same about other things.

“Well, I guess I’ll see you when you get home,” Louis said, giving a passive shrug.

“Yeah, man. See you,” Harry said, giving him a small wave before he left, closing his dorm room door behind him.

Harry sat forward in his chair, digging his elbows into the tops of his legs as he blew out a large breath into his hands. Shay most definitely would be mad and he knew it.

Harry received a phone call from Shay that night when Louis arrived home without him. She was worried about him, wondering why he’d let something as trivial as a paper hold him back when he was usually so good about doing his school work. Harry hated lying to her. He really did. But it helped postpone having to tell the truth. And that’s what he was dreading.

He was certain when he saw her face he was going to crumble. He would crumble straight into her arms and not be able to get out what he needed to say. He was trying to prepare himself. He was trying to go over it all in his head.

He loved her so much and he felt sick knowing he would hurt her.


“You’re sticking around for the Holiday’s, too?” Harry heard a girl’s voice from behind him as he ate his breakfast in the almost deserted cafeteria at the University.

He looked up to see Christy Parsons, a girl that was in his English Lit class, standing in front of him. Harry sighed at the sight of her as his cheeks began to burn. She was an amazingly beautiful girl. She had long brown hair that she always had curled or styled perfectly. And she had a gorgeous body – one that guys took notice of whether or not they had a girlfriend back home.

“Uh, no. I, uh… I’m leaving tomorrow,” he told her as he went back to shoveling cereal into his mouth.

“Oh. Do you mind if I sit here with you?” She asked, giving him a small smile through her perfect white teeth.

Harry let out a semblance of a grunt as he chewed the cereal in his mouth. He would rather not sit with her, but he wasn’t going to be rude. Eventually she would get the hint. At least he hoped she would.

“Are you excited to see your family?” She asked, sounding cheerful as she opened her milk and poured it over her dry cereal.

“Yeah. And my girlfriend,” Harry said, looking up at her through his eyelashes, hoping she’d take the hint.

“Oh,” she said quietly, looking over at him. Harry just chewed on his cereal as he stared back at her.

“I, uh… I didn’t know you had a girlfriend,” she said, finally breaking her eye contact.

“Yeah. I do,” Harry told her, sounding short on purpose.

She nodded her head slightly and he watched the blush creep up her cheeks. She was feeling exactly what he was feeling and he knew it. Except, what he was feeling was much worse.

They ate the rest of their breakfast in silence. And when he was done, he stood up, said a quick goodbye before walking away from the table.

Harry stayed in his room for the rest of the day watching the pure shit that cable television had to offer. He only had cable in his room because of his roommate. He was some sort of techno genius and somehow was able to pirate it from the community lounge or some shit like that. Either way, it beat the hell out of watching whatever public television had to offer. There were only so many infomercials he could tolerate before he wanted to slit his own throat.


Harry drug his suitcase slowly through the terminal at the airport. Everyone around him was in such a rush, but not him. He dreaded the homecoming. He dreaded seeing Shay’s smiling face and trusting eyes. As much as he wanted to see them, he knew he shouldn’t place too much hope in them making him feel better.

As he sat on the plane, he thought of last Christmas. The happiness of that time seemed so far away from what he was feeling as he sat alone on the plane. Shay gave herself to him – the one thing she had left to give. And he took it greedily. She gave him herself and less than a month later he ripped her happiness away from her. He should have stuck up for her, for them when Louis gave him that stupid fucking ultimatum. What the hell did it matter anyway? Look at how it turned out. Louis was perfectly content with him dating his sister. Once he saw them together, saw that they were truly happy, he took it for what it was. And Harry was happy. Shay made him so god damn happy. She still did. She still gave him butterflies and happy thoughts and all of that stuff. Everything people were supposed to feel in a healthy committed relationship, he felt for her and vice versa. They were the Ken and Barbie of high school sweethearts. Everything she did, everything she was, made him fall even more in love with her. She literally was everything he wanted.

Harry squeezed his eyes shut tightly, trying to break his thoughts away. It was making him sick to his stomach. Shoving his headphones in his ears, he put on his iPod and tried to drown out the thoughts with music.

When his eyes fluttered open, he felt a hand on his shoulder. He looked up to see the flight attendant trying to get his attention. He pulled out his ear buds quickly, sitting up in his seat.

“Sir, we’re preparing to land. If you could buckle your seatbelt,” she said, smiling politely.

“Uh, yeah. Sure,” Harry said doing as she asked.

He stowed away his iPod in his backpack as he waited to be thrust upon the New Jersey soil. Home.

Harry was grateful his luggage was one of the last off the plane. Baggage claim was nearly dead by the time his tiny black suitcase shot down onto the carousel. Sighing, he grabbed it off and pulled up the handle. His family – whoever they sent to pick him up – was probably already waiting for him outside of the airport. It was Christmas Eve. Mom was probably at home preparing dinner for everyone. She probably sent Gemma.

Preparing to see his older sister waiting for him in the old Jeep Cherokee, he was rather dumbfounded when he saw his sixteen year old brother Damien sitting behind the wheel.

“I got my license!” Damien said, smiling widely at him as Harry piled in the passenger seat.

“I-I can see that,” Harry said, looking at him wide-eyed.

“It’s sweet,” Damien chuckled.

“Congrats, man,” Harry said, his voice sounding slightly monotone.

“It took a lot to convince mom to let me pick you up. But Gemma’s got her new boyfriend over and she didn’t want to. So here I am,” Damien said as he drove through the crowded pick up area.

“Uh, maybe you should concentrate on driving instead of talking,” Harry said, feeling sick to his stomach as Damien swerved in and out of the cars.

“I’m a good driver,” he laughed.

“Prove it,” Harry challenged, causing Damien to scoff, but it got him to shut up.

As Damien drove, Harry sat in the passenger seat, the very seat where Shay sat so many times. He could almost feel her. He could almost hear her laughter. He could almost feel her body pressed against his like it did so many times laying in that backseat.

Harry let out a sigh and looked out the window, watching the snowy scenery of the city.

“What’s up with you, man?” Damien asked.

“Nothing. Why?” Harry asked.

“You seem depressed or something,” he said, looking over at his older brother.

“Nah,” he lied. He seemed to be good at the little white lies lately – the ones that were so easy to tell that he could almost convince himself they were the truth.

“Are you missing Shay?” He asked.

“Always,” Harry sighed.

“You’re all she can talk about,” Damien said, causing Harry’s head to snap in his direction.

“You and Shay have been hanging out?” Harry asked and Damien laughed out loud.

“Yeah. We’re friends,” he chuckled, shrugging passively.

“Yeah,” Harry sighed, letting himself calm down.

“Why was that such a surprise?” He asked.

“I don’t know. I guess I forgot,” Harry said, shrugging his shoulders.

“Don’t worry. She’s all yours. I’ve, uh… I’ve got a girlfriend,” Damien said smirking.

“What? Really?” Harry asked, feeling slightly happy for his little bro.

“Yeah. Her name is Becca,” Damien said as a blush crept up his face.

“Good for you, man,” Harry told him genuinely.

“Yeah. I like her,” He smiled. Harry nodded, knowing exactly how he felt.


“My baby, my baby boy!” Harry’s mother Anne yelped as he walked in the door, throwing her arms around him before he could even put his bags down.

“Hi, Mom,” Harry sighed as she kissed his cheeks.

“Harry, you look good. Have you been eating enough? I’ve got so much food cooking right now. Are you hungry?” She spoke a mile a minute.

“Mom, calm down,” Harry laughed.

“Anne, honey. Give the boy some space. He just got home. Luckily in one piece,” Harry’s dad Des said, ruffling Damien’s hair.

“Hey! I’m a good driver! Ask Harry,” Damien said, looking to his older brother for some back-up.

“Yeah, when he’s not chattering on like a little girl,” Harry smirked.

“Hey! I resent that,” Damien said.

“Harry,” Des said, smiling at him as he shook his hand.

“Hi, Dad,” Harry said as Des pulled him into a hug.

He really was glad to be back home with his family. He really missed them while he was away. He missed their closeness and the love they all possessed for each other. He couldn’t have asked for a better family.

“Dinner is almost done, baby. Why don’t you get settled and then come back down,” Anne told him.

“Alright,” he nodded, picking his bags back up before he headed up the stairs.

When he walked into his room, he let out a sigh. Everything reminded him of Shay. Everything. It was the room almost exactly a year ago where he really felt her for the first time, where he fell in love with her harder than ever, where he held her and loved her and kissed her.

“Hey, you,” Harry heard.

He swore it was his mind playing tricks on him. When he turned around, there she was. She was standing in his doorway like a little blonde angel. She was smiling and she was beautiful and everything he ever wanted.

“Shay,” he breathed.

“Harry!” She said, running into his arms.

“Hi, babe,” he said quietly as he held her in his arms, breathing in her scent.

“I missed you so much, Harry. God, so much,” she said, bringing her hands up to his face before she kissed him over and over again.

He could feel himself melting into her. He knew it would happen. He wanted it to happen so badly. He loved her so much.

“Ahem,” they heard someone clear their throat from behind them.

Harry and Shay pulled apart and looked to the direction of his open door. His seven year old sister Jackie stood there with her arms crossed over her chest.

“Baby girl!” Harry said excitedly, pulling out of Shay’s arms completely.

“Hi, Harry,” she smiled as he grabbed her in his arms for a hug.

“Sorry, I missed your birthday, Jacks,” Harry told her.

“It’s okay. You missed Damien’s too. And Gemma’s,” Jackie pointed out.

“I did, didn’t I?” Harry smirked.

“Yeah,” she nodded.

“How old are you now? 21? 22?” Harry asked.

“No!” She shouted, crossing her arms over her chest again.

“Well, jeez. How old are you then?” He asked her playfully.

“SEVEN!” She said, giggling.

“Ohhh! Seven,” Harry nodded and he could hear Shay giggling from behind him.

“You knew that!” She told him.

“I think I did,” Harry laughed.

“Harry! Dinner!” They heard Gemma shout from the stairs.

“Dinner!” Jackie said, running out of his room. Harry turned to find Shay smiling at him.

“Are you here for dinner?” He asked her.

“Of course,” she smiled sweetly at him.

“But what about your family? You always have Christmas Eve dinner with your family,” Harry pointed out.

“I figured I’d change up the tradition this year. I am going with your family to church tonight too. Like you came with mine last year,” she smiled at him as she intertwined her fingers with his.

“Right,” Harry breathed as she leaned in to kiss him.

“Come on,” Harry said, leading her out of his bedroom and downstairs for dinner.


Harry was almost afraid to be alone with Shay. He knew he would get caught up in seeing her again. When they got back home from church, he coaxed her down to the TV room to watch a Christmas movie with his siblings. They didn’t need to go up to his room. That could wait.

“College has made you so serious,” Shay said, running her finger down his nose as she curled up next to him on the couch.

“What? No,” he said, shaking his head lightly.

“You’ve hardly cracked a smile all night,” she said, leaning her head against the back of the couch.

“I’m just tired,” he said, leaning his head against it too, to look at her.

“Maybe you should go to sleep,” she sighed.

He knew that was the last thing she wanted him to do, that she wanted to spend as much time with him as she could, but she gave him the perfect excuse to call it a night and he took it.

“Maybe I should,” he said, stretching his arms up over his head.

Harry pulled himself up off of the couch and held out his hand for her to take. When she did, he helped her off of the couch.

“I’ll take you home,” he told her.

“I’ve, uh… I’ve got my own car,” she told him.

“Oh, that’s right. Then I’ll walk you out,” he told her.

“Okay,” she smiled, leaning up to kiss him.

It was cold out – probably sitting somewhere below freezing. The snow hadn’t held off this year like it did last year. There were piles of it all around, covering just about everything. Shay’s car sat in the street and they walked hand-in-hand down the driveway toward it.

“I want to get together tomorrow night, Harry. I want to hold you and touch you and love you. Like last year. I want it to be special. It’ll be, you know… the first time since you went away,” she said, stopping in front of him.

His heart didn’t know what it wanted to do – either explode from excitement or implode from misery.

“Can we get together, Harry?” She asked, looking up into his eyes with her big beautiful ones. And he couldn’t say no. He could never say no to her.

“Yeah, we can get together,” he told her quietly.

Shay wrapped her arms around him, pulling him close, kissing his lips. He wanted to live like that forever. Just forever wrapped up in her arms.

“I love you, Harry,” she breathed against his lips.

“I love you too, Shaylynn,” he told her honestly.

“I’ll see you tomorrow night?” She asked as she pulled away.

“Yeah,” he nodded, watching her lips as a smile turned them upward.

“Bye,” she waved and got into her car.

Harry watched and waited as she drove off. He almost wanted to just collapse into the snow bank and leave himself there to die. It would be easier.


Harry almost forgot about everything all throughout Christmas Day with his family. Having a seven year old around on Christmas morning sure made it a lot more fun than it would be with a bunch of teenagers. They got to really get into the Christmas spirit. And really, the best part was that they still got presents from Santa because of Jackie.

They spent the afternoon at his grandparent’s house with his mom’s side of the family. They spent last year out of town with his dad’s side, so it was a New Jersey Christmas this time. Harry really loved hanging out with his aunts and uncles and all of his cousins. They had fun fooling around and playing board games and stuff like that. It wasn’t until he received a text from Shay early into the evening that he was reminded about their rendezvous. She told him she was going to sneak him into her room like old times. Only this time, it would be a lot more difficult since he hadn’t been invited to sleepover. Those days were long gone. When he did sleepover throughout the summer, Louis kept firm tabs on him at all times. And there wasn’t much he or Shay could do about it. But this time, she had plans to sneak him in, like he snuck her to his house last Christmas. She was trying so hard and he loved her for it. He just hated himself more.

Harry stood hovering on her front step at midnight waiting for her to come let him in. It was fucking freezing – a fact that he couldn’t get away from as his teeth chattered and his body shook with tremors. When she pulled open the door, he couldn’t have been happier to see her.

“Did you walk here?” She asked, looking out to the road.

“Yeah. And it’s freezing out,” he shivered as she let him in the door.

“Oh, baby,” she said quietly, running her hands up and down his cold arms.

“Just… I just want to be warm,” Harry said, kicking off his shoes.

Shay shoved them in the closet, just in case Louis or her parents woke up in the middle of the night.

“My bed is warm,” she smiled suggestively at him.

“I bet it is,” he retorted. She giggled lightly as he followed her quietly up the stairs to her room.

The only light on was the soft glow of candles burning all around the room.

“Whoa,” he said, looking around.

“Do you like it?” She asked, closing her bedroom door softly.

“As long as it doesn’t burn the house down,” he smirked at her as he took off his jacket and threw it on her chair.

“Shut up,” she said, lightly smacking his arm. He chuckled at her.

“Are you still cold?” She asked.

“Freezing,” he told her. She smiled as she moved her body toward his.

“Your hair. It’s longer than before,” she breathed, running her fingers through the tuft at the front.

“Yeah. I uh… I need a haircut,” he told her, looking up at what he could see of it.

“I like it,” she breathed as her arms wrapped around him and her lips pressed against his, warming him instantly.

He wanted to stop her. He really did. He wanted to talk. He needed to say what he hadn’t yet been able to. But her lips were so soft and he couldn’t pry himself away. Shay was just so inviting. She felt like home and he just wanted to wrap up with her. He wanted to feel what he’d been missing for so long.

As he crawled up her body on the bed, his brain lost all other trains of thought. He had his blinders on and all he could see was Shay.

“Remember last year?” She smiled up at him.

“How could I forget?” He breathed.

“I will never regret it, Harry,” she told him.

Harry leaned down pressing his lips firmly to hers as his hands explored her curves. Her body was just so amazing and he couldn’t stop himself. He pulled her shirt over her head and let his hands fall over her bare chest.

Mm,” she moaned. And it was like kryptonite, weakening him further.

Oh, god. He wanted her.

His lips came down, kissing her heated flesh, trailing straight down her body until he got to the waistband of her pajama pants. His fingers gripped onto the hem and pulled them down her legs, coming straight back up for her panties. But she giggled as she sat up, stopping him.

“My turn,” she smiled at him, grabbing for the bottom of his shirt.

Harry smirked at her as she pulled his gray sweater and t-shirt over his head.

“I’ve missed this, Harry. I’ve missed being with you,” she said. Harry leaned down to kiss her lips.

“I’ve missed it too,” he told her sincerely.

Her fingers found the waistband of his sweatpants and pushed them down, along with his underwear. He stepped out of them and toed off his socks before he focused back on her.

“Do you have—” He started to ask.

“I do,” she said, reaching over to her nightstand drawer, pulling out a condom.

“I’m still on the birth control too,” she reminded him.

“Alright,” he said, grabbing the condom from her and putting it on himself.

His fingers grabbed onto the sides of her underwear and pulled them down her legs in one sweeping motion.

“Move up,” he told her and watched as she wiggled her body up her bed. He crawled up onto the mattress and hovered over her body.

“I love you, Harry Edward Styles,” she smiled up at him.

“I love you so much, Shaylynn Johannah Tomlinson,” he told her, leaving a kiss on her lips as he pushed inside of her. She gasped against his mouth and it shot a pleasing sensation through his body.

“I’ve missed you,” she said again as he began his movements.

“You have no idea,” he breathed.

It almost felt too good to be true. He really did miss this. And not just the sex. The intimacy too. Being that close with someone. He missed it all.

Harry felt sort of bad when he finished before Shay could even have a chance. It had been so long, he was lucky to have lasted as long as he did. Shay didn’t seem to mind though. She just held him against her naked body as their breathing returned to normal.

Harry started feeling extremely guilty that he let things progress so fast, when he knew there was something he needed to get off of his chest. It wasn’t fair to Shay at all. Harry sat up, pulling away from her.

“Where are you going?” Shay asked, sitting up slightly.

Harry pulled himself off of the bed, replacing his underwear back on his body, but then sat back down on the edge of the bed with his head in his hands.

“Harry, what’s the matter?” Shay asked, concern in her voice.

“I shouldn’t have let that happen,” he said, feeling even worse than before.

“What do you mean? What are you talking about, Harry?” Shay asked.

“I just shouldn’t have,” he said.

“Is this… is this because you’re in college now and I’m still in high school?” She asked.

“N-no. Not that. No,” he said, shaking his head.

“Then what? Harry, you’re freaking me out, right now,” she said, coming to sit next to him.

“Shay, I have something to tell you,” he said, looking up into her eyes.

“Yeah. Anything,” she said, looking at him concerned.

He had to look away from her. He couldn’t face her forgiving face.

“I, uh…” he breathed.

“What is it, Harry?” She asked, rubbing his back with her hand.

“Can you just… can you please stop that?” He asked, wiggling his back slightly.

“Yeah. I’m sorry,” she breathed, pulling her hand back.

“Please, don’t apologize to me, Shay. You have nothing to be sorry for,” he said, looking back into her eyes.

“Harry, what is going on?” She asked more sternly this time.

Harry took in a deep breath and let it out as he focused his attention on his hands in his lap.

“I started partying a lot at school. I, uh… just at the end of this semester. I went to a lot of parties. I started drinking a lot. Like… like a lot,” he told her.

“Okay,” she said.

“And, uh… sometimes I would get so drunk I’d wake up in my bed and not remember how I got there and forget things that happened the night before,” he kept going.

“Okay,” she said again.

“And, uh… last weekend I, uh… I went to this frat party thing. It was this stupid ugly Christmas sweater party, where everyone dresses in the most hideous Christmas sweater they can find,” Harry explained.

“I know what an ugly Christmas sweater party is, Harry,” Shay told him.

“Alright. Okay. That’s irrelevant anyway,” he said, waving his hand through the air.

“Why don’t you get to the relevant part then?” She said, sounding a bit annoyed.

“Yeah,” he said, taking a deep breath. Shay shifted on the bed next to him, waiting for him to hurry the fuck up.

“So, I got really blitzed at this party. Like black-out drunk. I didn’t have a clue where I was, what I was doing. Nothing,” he said.

“Uh-huh,” she said impatiently.

“And I, uh… I woke up in my bed the next morning,” he said, looking up at her. She was staring back at him, waiting. He cut his vision away.

“But I… I wasn’t alone,” he told her.

“What do you mean?” She asked.

“There was a girl,” he said. Harry heard Shay take a sharp intake of breath.

“And… and we were… we were only wearing our underwear,” he confessed.

Shay was frozen next to him. She wasn’t moving, she wasn’t saying anything. She was just there.

“I-I don’t remember anything that happened or didn’t happen. I-I… she was just there and I was there and I don’t remember, Shay,” Harry said, feeling absolutely horrible.

“You just don’t remember?” She choked out.

“I really don’t. And I didn’t talk to the girl after. I just… I panicked and I left her there. I just… when I went back to my room, she was gone. And I didn’t talk to her about it. I just don’t know. And I’ve felt so horrible over it. I don’t remember. You’ve got to believe me, Shay, if I was in my right mind, there would be no way in hell that I would ever end up like that. I love you so much. You mean everything to me,” Harry explained, cringing at how bad it all sounded.

“If you were in your right mind?” She choked out, pulling the blanket up her body.

She was retreating from him. He could feel it. He dreaded the moment when she told him to fuck off forever.

“I mean, I just… I guess I don’t really have an excuse because I let myself get like that. I let it happen… if anything happened,” he said.

“If anything happened? Obviously something happened, Harry. You don’t just end up in a bed in your underwear with another person without something happening,” she shot at him. And she was probably right. He was so fucking stupid.

“I’m so sorry,” he cringed.

“God!” She growled.

“I’m so sorry, Shay. I’ve been so depressed over it. I don’t know how I could let it happen. You mean everything to me. I swear,” he pleaded.

“You—” She choked out as her tears started.

“Shay, I’m sorry,” he said again.

“I… I think you should go, Harry,” she breathed quietly.

“Shay…” He started.

But really, he had nothing to say. He said it all. He really didn’t deserve her forgiveness. She trusted him and he broke that trust. He let her down.

“Please, Harry. Just go,” she said, slightly turning away from him.

“I’m so sorry,” he told her.

“Just…” She said, holding up her hand.

Quietly, he pulled on his clothes and replaced his jacket.

“I love you, Shay. I really do. I always will,” he told her.

Fuck,” she grumbled under her breath as she bit her lip, trying to hold back her tears.

Harry paused at her door for a few lingering moments, looking at the beautiful girl he loved, but broke so easily.

“I’m so sorry,” he told her one last time before he pulled open her door and snuck out it.


Harry woke up the next morning from a knock on his bedroom door.

“Come in,” he croaked out as he sat up in bed. The door slowly opened, revealing Shay’s beautiful face.

“Shay,” Harry breathed, looking at her wide-eyed.

And he almost confused himself into think the night before didn’t happened. That he didn’t tell her all about his fuck-up with Christy Parsons back at school.

“Hi,” she said quietly, looking down at the ground as she stood in front of his bed.

But he knew by the distance she kept from him, that he told her. If he didn’t, she would have crawled straight in bed with him without a word.

“Listen, Shay. I’m sorry. I-I… I wish I didn’t… I wish this never happened. I would take it back in a heartbeat if I could,” he told her, pulling his legs up to rest his arms on them.

“I know,” she said quietly.

“You know?” He asked puzzled.

“Look, Harry. I believe it was a mistake, okay. I believe it with all my heart because I know how you feel about me, about us,” she said.

“I love you so much, Shay. I really fucking do,” he told her.

“I know,” she said again.

His heart was sputtering and fluttering in his chest. Would it be that easy? Could he hope for her forgiveness that fast?

“I know if something happened between you and whoever she was, that it didn’t mean anything. And honestly, I believe in my heart you’d never take it all the way with someone else. I may be naïve in saying and thinking that, but you’re not a bad guy, Harry,” she explained.

Tears formed in his eyes with her words. She was the most amazing girl he ever set his sights on. He was so god damn in love with her, he almost couldn’t breathe.

“But with that being said, I can’t even begin to tell you how badly this kills me, Harry – how badly my heart hurts right now. The fact that something like this happened, literally makes me sick, okay. And I just think… I think we’re just… we’re in over our heads,” she said.

His heart was slowly crumbling in his chest cavity.

“Shay…” He breathed as the tears blurred his eyes.

“The distance… it’s too hard. It’s too much. If something like this can happen in the first few months of you being gone, then I don’t think I can handle the next two years, Harry,” she said as she too began to cry.

“Shay, no. Shay, please,” Harry cried.

“I just… I can’t sit here wondering if you’re thinking about me. If I matter enough for you to think twice before you do something so stupid,” she said.

“Shay, my god,” he said, letting his head drop into his hands.

“I can’t do this, Harry,” she breathed.

“Please, don’t,” he said, getting up and scrambling off the bed toward her.

“Please, just please. It won’t ever happen again. I promise you on my life,” he told her.

“You can’t promise that, Harry,” she said, shaking her head.

“I can and I will,” he said, wiping her tears away with the pads of his thumbs.

“No,” she said, squeezing her eyes shut.

“Shay, I love you. I love you,” he said desperately, pressing his lips to hers quickly.

“I love you too, Harry. But I think it’s for the best. It will be better in the long run,” she said.

“No! It won’t!” He protested.

“I’m sorry,” she said, grabbing onto his wrists, pulling them away from her face.

“Shay, don’t do this,” he pleaded.

“It’s for the best,” she said again, taking a step back.

“No,” he said, reaching out for her, only to grab onto thin air.

She moved quickly toward his bedroom door.

“Be great, Harry, like I know you will be,” she told him before she slipped out of his bedroom door.

He stood in awe of what just happened. As much as he deserved it, he couldn’t even fathom the possibility of really actually losing her. But the painful realization hit.

She was gone.

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