Monday, 4 June 2018

AFTER ROMANCE 2 Episode 6-10

My phone rings in the middle of the night but I ignore it. I hope Harry can sleep tonight. I wonder if that was all part of his plan, to make that whole thing up to make me feel closer to him. Somehow, I know it wasn't.
The next morning, I leave while my mom is at work. She told me she will call and force them to let me back into the dorms and she assures me it will be a different building, far from my old one.
By the time I get near campus, my mind is racing. I need to get my stuff from that apartment even though I have no where to take it. I will keep it in my car until I figure out where I will be going. I turn the car around and make my way to the apartment before I can change my mind. Harry should be at class anyway and if his car is in the lot, I will leave immediately.
When I get to the apartment I scan the lot for Harry's car, twice just to be sure he isn't here. Once I am sure he isn't, I park my car and hurry through the snowy parking lot to the door. The bottoms of my jeans are soaked and I am freezing when I get to the elevator. I try to think of anything except Harry but it is impossible. I had been so clueless just a week ago, taking this same elevator ride up to our new apartment.
Harry must have really hated me to go to this extreme to ruin my life, to have me move into an apartment with him just so he could win. He must be pretty proud of himself right now for the extent of the pain he has caused me. I don't understand why he keeps trying to get ahold of me, probably just to verify his winning. To remind me how stupid I was, to build his already overflowing ego.
I fumble with my keys before unlocking the door. A new wave, a tidal wave of pain crashes over me nearly knocking me the ground. When will it stop? Or at least decrease? I go straight to the room and grab my bags from the closet, hastily shoving all my clothes inside without folding them. I will fix them later. My eyes flicker to the bedside table. There is now a small frame with the picture of Harry and I before the wedding. We are both smiling and love genuinely happy. Too bad it was all fake. I reach across and grab it, throwing it against the concrete. It shatters into pieces and I reach down to grab the photo, ripping it into as many pieces as I can. I don't realize that I am sobbing until I choke on my own breath.
I grab my books and Harry's copy of Wuthering Heights, he won't miss it and honestly he owes it to me after what he has taken from me.
I stop by the kitchen on my way out and grab a glass of water. I sit down at the table and allow myself a few minutes to pretend that none of this happened. To pretend that Harry will be home from class anytime and smile at me when he walks through the door, that he will tell me he loves me and he missed me all day. He will lift me onto the counter and kiss me with longing and love. The clicking of the door startles me out of my pathetic daydream. I jump to my feet as Harry walks through the door.
"So this is it." He says and looks behind him. What?
My already broken heart shatters again when a brunette in a black sweater dress walks in behind him.
"It's nice." She smiles.
I am frozen as his eyes widen in shock at my standing in the kitchen holding my bags.
"Tess?" He says as if he's not sure if I am actually there.
.
.
"Tessa what are you doing here?" He asks and I wipe my eyes.
I know I look like hell, baggy jeans and sweatshirt, yesterday's smeared makeup and tangled hair. I look at the girl standing behind him and reach down to pick my bags up off the floor. Harry seems to remember the girl is there and turns around to face her.
"Can you give us a minute?" He asks her and she nods before exiting the apartment.
"I can't believe you are here." He says and walks into the kitchen. He removes his jacket revealing a plain white t-shirt.
"I..I was just leaving." I manage to say. He looks so perfect, so beautiful. Such a beautiful disaster.
"Please just let me explain myself." He begs. The dark circles under his eyes are even more prominent than mine.
"No."I reach for my bags again but he grabs them out of my hands and sits them back onto the floor.
"Two minutes, that's all I am asking for."
Two minutes is too long to be here with Harry but this is the closure I know I need so that I can move on with my life and never have to see him again.
I sigh and sit down, trying to hold back any noise that would betray my neutral expression. He is clearly surprised by me sitting down and he takes the seat across from me.
"You sure moved on fast." I say quietly.
"What?" Harry says then seems to remember the brunette.
"She works with me, well for the same publisher as I do, her husband is downstairs with their newborn daughter. She came to check out the apartment, they are looking for a new place so she wanted to see the layout of our.. the place." He explains.
"You're moving?" I ask.
"No, not if you will stay but I don't see the point in staying here when you aren't here. I am just going over my options here." He says.
I am slightly relieved but just because he isn't sleeping with her doesn't mean he won't be sleeping with someone else soon. I ignore the twinge of sorrow that comes along with Harry talking about moving out already, even though I won't be here.
"You think I would bring someone here to our apartment? It's only been two days, is that how you think of me?" He asks and I nod.
Pain flashes across his face and he sighs.
"Where did you stay last night? I went to my father's and you weren't there." He says.
"My mother's."
"Oh." He looks down at his hands.
"Did you guys work everything out?" He asks.
"That is none of your business." I snap and look directly into his eyes.
"I miss you so much." He says and I lose my breath again.
"Sure you do."
Despite the whirlwind of emotions that I feel inside, I will not allow myself to come undone any further in front of him.
"I do Tessa, I know I fucked up big time but I love you."
"Just stop Harry, save yourself the time and energy. You aren't fooling me, not anymore. Just stop. You got what you wanted so why not just stop?"
"Because I can't just stop., I love you. I need you to give me a chance to make this up to you. I need you Tessa. I need you. You need me too." He reaches for my hand but I jerk it away.
"No, I don't actually. I was fine before you came into my life."
"Fine isn't happy." He says.
"Happy? And what I am happy now?" I scoff. How dare him try to say he makes me happy.
"You were, and you could be again if you just give me another chance."
"You had more than enough chances Harry, I don't think you get the entirety of what you did to me. Zayn told me that you told them everything, every detail about everything we've ever done. I should have stayed away from you in the beginning. I won't make that mistake again."
"You can't sit here and tell me that you don't believe that I love you." He didn't deny that he told them everything. I already knew this but it doesn't make it hurt any less to have his confirmation.
"I know you don't, it was all a game to you. While I was falling in love with you, you were going behind my back."
"Let me prove to you that I love you, please. I will do anything Tessa. Anything." His eyes water.
"You already have proved enough to me Harry. The only reason I am even sitting here right now is because I owe it to myself to listen to what you have to say, so I can move on with my life."
"I don't want you to move on." He says. I want to believe him, I want to forgive him but I can't. I can't keep making mistake after mistake with him.
"You said you would never leave me." His voice cracks. I don't trust myself when he is like this.
"I told you I wouldn't leave you if you didn't give me a reason to, and you did." Now it makes perfect sense to me why he was always worried about me leaving, he knew once I found out I would.
"We can't do this anymore, I can't do this. I trusted you. Harry I trusted you with every fiber of my being. I depended on you, I loved you and you were using me all along. Do you have any idea how that makes me feel? That everyone around me was mocking me and laughing behind my back, including you, the person I trusted the most."
"I know Tessa, I know. I can't begin to tell you how sorry I am. I don't know what the fuck was wrong with me when I brought up the bet in the first place, I thought it would be easy. I thought you would sleep with me and that would be the end of it. But you were so head strong and so.. intriguing that I found myself thinking of you when you weren't around. I would sit in my room and try to plot ways that I could see you, even if it was just to fight with you. I knew it wasn't just a bet anymore after that day at the stream but I couldn't bring myself to admit it. I was battling with myself and I was worried about my reputation, I know that's fucked up but I am just being honest. And when I told everyone about the things we did I didn't tell them what we were actually doing.. I couldn't do that to you, even in the beginning. I would just make up shit that didn't actually happen and they bought it." He explains.
A few tears fall from my eyes and he reaches across to wipe them. I don't move away fast enough and his touch burns my skin. It takes everything in me to not lean into his palm.
"I hate to see you this way." He mutters.
I close my eyes and reopen them, desperate for the tears to stop.
I stay quiet and he continues.
"I swear, I started telling Niall and Louis about the stream but I found myself getting irritated, jealous even, over the idea of them knowing what I did to you.. how I made you feel so I told them that you gave me.. well I just made shit up."
I don't know if him lying about us doing things is any better but for some reason it is a relief to know that Harry and I are the only people who really know what happened between us, well the details at least. But then again, he is probably lying right now and here I am already quick to believe him. What the hell is wrong with me?
"Even if I believed you, I can't forgive you." I tell him. I blink away my tears and he puts his head in his hands.
"You don't love me?" He asks and looks at me between his hands.
"Yes. I do." I admit.
"Then why can't you forgive me?"
"Because this is unforgivable, you didn't just lie. You took my virginity to win a bet and showed people my blood on the sheets. That is not something I can ever forget."
"I took your virginity because I love you." He says and I shake my head.
"I don't know who I am without you anymore." He looks into my eyes again but I look away.
'This wasn't going to work anyway, we both know that." I tell him in hopes to make myself feel better. It is hard to sit across from him and watch him in pain but at the same time seeing him in pain eases mine.
"Why wouldn't we? We were doing great."
"Everything we had was based on a lie. Let's just both be glad that it ended now instead of later when we had more invested. Look at you and look at me." I say even though I don't mean it. I have a sudden confidence from his pain. The look on his face when I use his biggest insecurity about our relationship against him kills me but he deserves it.
"Is this about Noah? You saw him didn't you?" Harry asks and my mouth falls open at his audacity.
"Yes I did see him but that has nothing to do with why I won't forgive you. That's your problem is that you go around doing whatever the hell you want to people, not caring about the outcome and you expect everyone to just be okay with it!" I shout and stand up from the table.
"No I don't Tessa!" He raises his voice and I roll my eyes.
"Okay so maybe I do, but this time I care about the outcome." He stands.
"You should have thought about that when you were bragging about your conquest!" I yell at him.
"My conquest? Are you fucking serious right now? You are not a conquest of mine, you are everything to me! You are my breath, my pain, my heart, my life!" He screams and takes a step toward me. Even though he is screaming at me it is still the most touching thing he has ever said to me.
"Well it's a little too late for that!" I scream back.
"You think you can just.." I begin to yell again.
He catches me off guard by wrapping his hand around the back of my neck and puling me to him, crashing his lips to mine.
The familiar warmth and taste of his mouth nearly brings me to my knees. My tongue is moving along with his before my mind catches up to what is happening. He moans in relief and I try to push him away. He grabs my wrists in one hand and holds them on his chest as he continues to kiss me, I keep struggling to get out of his grip but my mouth is still moving along with his. He backs up and moves me with him until his back is against the counter. His other hand is on the side of my neck, holding me still. All of the pain and heartache inside me begins to dissolve and I relax my hands in his. This wrong but so right. But wrong. I pull away and he tries to reconnect our lips but I turn my head.
"No." I say and his eyes soften.
"Please." He begs.
"No, Harry. I need to go." I say and he lets go of my wrists.
"Go where?"
"I.. I don't know yet. My mother is trying to get me back into a dorm." I tell him.
"No..no.." He shakes his head. "You live here, don't go back into the dorms." His voice is frantic.
"I can't stay here."
"Yes you can. I will go if anyone should. Just please stay here so I know where you are." He runs his hands over his hair.
"You don't need to know where I am." I weakly respond.
"I have to go." I say when he doesn't respond.
"Stay." He repeats.
If I am being completely honest with myself, I want to stay with him. I want to tell him that I love him more than breathing but I can't. I refuse to get pulled back in and be that girl who lets guys do whatever the hell they want to them.
I pick up my bags and say the only thing that will keep him from following, I hope at least. It could also send him flying down the stairs after me to cause an even bigger scene.
"Noah and my mother are waiting, I have to go." I lie and walk out of the door. He doesn't follow and I don't let myself turn around to see the pain I know I have caused.

When I get to my car I don't cry like I had assumed I would. I just sit and stare out the window. The snow sticks to my windshield, blanketing me inside the space of my car. I can't believe that Harry came here while I was here, I had hoped to not see him. It did help though, not the pain but the situation in general. At least now I can try to move on from this disastrous time in my life. I want to believe him and that he does love me but I got into this situation by believing him. He could just be acting like this because he knows he doesn't have control over me anymore. Even if he does love me what would that change? It wouldn't take back everything he did, it wouldn't take back all the jokes, the terrible bragging about the things we did, or the lies.
I wish I could afford that apartment on my own, I would stay there and make Harry leave. I don't want to go back to the dorms and get a new roommate, I don't want a community shower. The woman that came to look at the apartment will love it and I am happy for her. I try to tell myself. She looked at me like I was insane as I rushed by her in the hallway but I could not care less. I know that Harry can't make any official decisions about the apartment without my permission because my name is on the lease but I have no choice than to agree to whatever he decides. I can't live there on my own and I most certainly can't live there with Harry. Why did he have to mess everything up? We could be inside that apartment right now, laughing on the couch or kissing in the bedroom. But instead, I am in my car alone with no where to go.
I am glad that Harry didn't follow me down but I feel a little guilty for saying Noah was with me, I know that had to hurt him even if he doesn't love me the way he claims. It hurt his ego at least.
When I finally start my car, my hands are frozen. Couldn't I be homeless in the summer? I feel like Catherine again, only not my usual Wuthering Heights Catherine. This time Catherine in Northanger Abbey is whom I relate to, shocked and forced to make a long journey alone. Granted, I am not making a seventy mile journey but still, I feel her pain. I cannot decide who Harry would be this time. On one hand he is like Henry, smart and witty with a knowledge of novels as great as mine. However, Henry is much kinder than Harry and that's where Harry is more like John, arrogant and rude.
As I drive through town with no where to go I realize that Harry's words had a bigger impact on me than I would like to admit. Him begging me to stay almost put the pieces back together just to break them again. I am sure he just wanted me to stay to prove that he could. My phone hasn't rang since I drove away fifteen minutes ago and I cant decide how I feel about that.
I find myself a block away from Vance, it's only five in the evening. I don't want to take advantage of Liam by asking him to stay at Ken's house again. I know he wouldn't mind, but its not fair of me to put Harry's family in the middle of this and honestly that house holds too many memories. I couldn't stand it. I pass a street full of hotels and pull into one of the nicer looking hotels and park my car. I have never stayed at a hotel before but I don't have another option right now.
I find the red blinking "office" sign and rush inside. The short man behind the counter looks friendly enough as he smiles at me and asks for my drivers license. Getting a hotel room is much easier than I thought it would be, a little expensive but I don't want to stay at a cheap hotel and risk my safety. He gives me a key card and smiles.
"Down the sidewalk and make a left." He instructs. I am glad this hotel has the rooms on the outside so I can come and go in peace.
I thank him and go back into the blistering cold. I move my car to the spot next to my room so I don't have to carry my bags. This is what I have come to because of him, I am staying in a hotel, alone with all my belongings stuffed into bags. I was too frantic earlier to even fold them so I can't imagine how my clothes look now. I grab my bags and lock my car, my car is junk compared to the BMW parked next to me. Just as I think my day could not get any worse, I lose my grip on one of my bags and drop it onto the snowy sidewalk. My clothes and a few books topple out. I am afraid to see which books they are, I don't think I can take my favorite possessions being ruined along with me, not today,
"Here let me help you miss." A man's voice says as a hand reaches down to help me.
"Tessa?" He says when I look up to see blue eyes. Trevor.
"Trevor?" I say even though I know it is him.
"What are you doing here?" I ask and look around.
"I'd ask you the same thing." He smiles.
"Well.. I am .. " I take my bottom lip between my teeth.
"My plumbing went haywire at my place so here I am." He saves me from having to explain myself. I am grateful.
"Oh, that doesn't sound fun." I say.
He hands me a soaked copy of Wuthering Heights and I bite my cheek so I don't scream.
"Wuthering Heights?" He raises his brow.
"Here.. this one is in bad shape." He hands me Pride and Prejudice. The universe is playing a sick joke on me.
"I somehow knew you would be into the classics." He tells me with a friendly smile.
He takes the bags from me and I thank him before sliding the key card through and opening the door. The room is freezing so I walk over to the heater immediately and turn it all the way up.
"You would think for how much they charge here they wouldn't worry about their electric bill." Trevor says and sits my bags on the floor.
I smile and nod in agreement.
I grab the clothes that fell onto the snow and put them over the heater. Trevor must be staying here because it is so close to Vance.
"Is your apartment close?" I ask to break the silence. Surprisingly enough, it is not uncomfortable silence.
"House. But yea, its only about a mile away. I like to be close to work so I know I won't ever be late." He smiles.
"That's a good idea." I agree. That sounds like something I would do. He looks so different in causal clothes. I have only seen him in suits and right now he is wearing a pair of snug blue jeans and a red sweatshirt, his hair is messy where it is usually perfectly gelled.
"I think so too. So are you alone?" He asks and looks at the ground, obviously uncomfortable prying.
"Yea, I am alone." I mean that in more ways than he knows.
"I'm not trying to be nosey, I was just asking because your boyfriend doesn't seem to like me much." He half laughs and moves his black hair from his forehead.
"Oh, Harry doesn't like anyone. Don't take it personally. He isn't my boyfriend though." I tell him and pick at my nails.
"Oh, sorry. I just assumed he was."
"He was, sort of." Was he even my boyfriend? He said he was, but then again Harry said a lot of things.
"Oh, sorry again. I just keep saying all the wrong things." He laughs.
"It's okay. I don't mind." I tell him and unpack the rest of my bags.
"Do you want me to go? I don't mean to intrude." His tone is genuine.
"No, you can stay. If you want of course. You don't have to." I say too quickly. What is wrong with me?
"It's settled then, I'll stay." He says and sits down on the chair next to the desk in the spacious room.
"So how are you liking Vance so far?" He asks, his fingers tracing patterns on the wooden desk.
"I love it, it's so much more than I ever expected. It's literally my dream job, I hope to get hired on after I graduate."
"Oh I think you'll be offered a job well before that. Christian is very fond of you, that manuscript you turned in last week was all I heard about at lunch the other day. He says you have a good eye and from him that's a huge compliment."
"Really? He said that?" I can't help but smile.
"Yea, why else would he invite you to the conference? Only the four of us are going, he chose you over all the other employees. "
"Four of us?" I ask.
"Yea me, you, Christian and Kim."
"Oh, I didn't know Kim was going." I hope desperately that Christian didn't only invite me because he feels obligated due to my relationship with Harry, his best friend's son.
"He wouldn't be able to go a weekend without her." Trevor teases.
"Why are you going?" I ask and then mentally slap myself.
"I mean why are you going, you work in finance don't you?" I explain myself.
"No I get it, you bookies don't need the human calculator around." He rolls his eyes and I laugh, really laugh for what feels like the first time in ages.
"He is opening a second publishing house in Seattle within the next few months and we are going to a meeting with a potential investor. Also, we will be scouting lactations while we are there so he needs me to make sure we get a good deal."
"Are you into real estate too?" I ask and take a seat on the bed. The room is finally warm so I take my shoes off.
"No, not at all but I am good with numbers." He brags and I smile again.
"It will be a good time though. Seattle is a beautiful city. Have you been?" He asks.
"Yea, Seattle is my favorite city. Not that I have a lot to choose from." I tell him.
"Me either, I am from Ohio so I haven't seen much. Compared to Ohio, Seattle is New York City."
"What made you come to Washington?" I find myself genuinely interested in knowing more.
"Well my mother passed away my senior year of high school and I just had to go. I knew I didn't want to live in that small town forever, there is just so much more to see,. You know? So I promised her right before she died that I wouldn't die in that dreadful town. The day I got accepted to WSU was the best and worst day of my life."
"Worst?" I ask.
"She passed away that same day. Ironic isn't it?" He smiles. The way only half of his mouth turns up when he smiles is lovely.
"I'm sorry."
"No, don't be. She was one of those people that didn't belong here with the rest of us, she was too good, you know? We got to more time with her than we deserved and I wouldn't change a thing." He says.
"Are you going to stay here forever?" He asks.
"No, I always wanted to move to Seattle but lately I have been thinking of going even further." I admit.
"You should, you should travel and see everything you possibly can. A woman like you shouldn't be kept in a box." He says and I smile again.
"Sorry.. I just mean you could do so much more." The blue eyed man says.
Something about the way he called me a woman makes me happy, with Harry I always feel like a child because he treats me like one. Trevor is only a friend, a new friend but I am really enjoying his company on this terrible day.
"Have you had dinner?" I ask him.
"No, not yet. I was debating whether or not to order a pizza so I don't have to go back into that blizzard." He laughs.
"We could split one?" I offer.
"Deal." He grins.
....
Harry's POV.
"If she shows up here you better call me." I growl at my father as he stands in his doorway.
"She isn't going to come here Harry, she knows you will find her." My father says and I fight the urge to knock his teeth down his throat.
"Well I don't know where else she could be!" I yell and rake my fingers through my hair.
I flinch slightly when my knuckles strain. The cuts are deeper than usual this time. Punching the brick wall of the apartment did more damage to my hands than I thought it would. It's nothing compared to how I feel inside. I never knew this type of pain existed, its so much worse than any physical pain I could cause myself.
"Son, I really think you should consider giving her some space." He says to me.
Who the fuck does he think he is?
"Space? She doesn't need space! She needs to come home." I yell. The old woman next door turns to look at us and I raise my arms at her.
"Don't be rude to my neighbors." My dad warns me.
"Then tell your neighbors to mind their own damn business!" I yell loud enough for the gray haired woman to hear me.
"Goodbye Harry." He says and closes his door with a sigh.
"Fuck!" I yell at myself and pace back and forth on the porch before getting back into my car.
Where the hell is she? As pissed off as I am, I am worried as hell about her. Is she alone or afraid? Knowing Tessa she isn't afraid at all, she is probably going over the reasons she hates me. Actually, she is probably writing them down. Her stupid lists used to drive me crazy but now I long to see her scribbling the most irrelevant things, her need to be in control of everything in full swing. I would give anything to see the way she would chew on her full bottom lip and an adorable scowl would take over her sweet face, even one more time. Now that she is with Noah and her mother, the small chance I thought I had is gone. Once she is reminded why he is better for her than me she will be his again. I need her to be mine, only mine. I don't give a shit what I have to do to Noah to get him out of the picture, she is mine.
I call her again but her phone goes straight to voicemail for the twentieth time. God damn it, I am such a fucking idiot. After driving around for an hour to every library, every book store, I decide to go back to the apartment. Maybe she will show up? I know she won't but what if she did? I need to clean up the huge mess I made, and buy some new dishes to replace the ones that I smashed against the walls, just in case she comes home.

Harry's POV.
"Where are you Styles?" The man's voice booms.
"I saw him leave the bar I know he is here." Another man says.
The floor is cold when I climb out of bed to see who is there. At first I thought it was Daddy and his friends but now I don't think it is.
"Come out, come out where ever you are!" The deepest voice yells and there is a crash.
"He isn't here." My mummy says when I reach the bottom of the stairs.
"Ohhh, look what we have here. Who knew Styles had such a bangin' wife." The tall man says and grabs my mum by her arm to pull her off the couch.
"Please.. he isn't here. If he owes you money I will give you all I have. You can take anything in the house, the television even." My mum tells a man with a big ouchy on his head.
"A television? I don't want a damn television."
"I have some jewelry, not much but please.." She says.
"Shut the fuck up!" He says and smacks mummy.
"Mum!" I yell and run into the living room.
"Harry.. go upstairs!" She tells me but I am not leaving my mummy with these mean men.
"Get out of here you little shit." One of them tells me.
"See bitch, the problem is that your husband did this." He points to his ouchy. "And since he isn't here, you will do." He smiles and she kicks her legs at him.
"Harry, baby go upstairs.. Now!" She yells at me. Why is mummy mad at me?
"I think he wants to watch." The tall man says and pushes her onto the couch.
I jolt awake and sit up. Fuck. They keep coming, every night worse than the last. I got so used to them not coming, I got to sleep. Because of her, it was all because of her. But here I am at four in the damn morning with bloody sheets from my busted knuckles and a killer headache from my nightmare and lack of sleep.
I will deal with the sheets later, right now I want to close my eyes and pretend that she is here and hope that sleep will come.
.................................................................................................
"Tess, baby wake up." Harry's voice whispers in my ear as he touches his lips to the skin just under my ear.
"You look so beautiful when you wake up." He compliments and I smile, pulling him by his hair to meet my eyes.
I brush my nose against his and he chuckles. "I love you." He says and presses his lips to mine, only I can't feel them.
"Harry?" I question as he fades.
I snap my eyes open as I am thrown back into reality. The room is pitch black and for a second I forget where I am. In a hotel room, alone. I grab my phone off the bedside table and it is only four am. I wipe the tears from the corners of my eyes and close my eyes to try to get back to Harry, even if it's only a dream.
When I finally wake up again, it's seven. I get in the shower and try to enjoy the hot water as it relaxes me. I blow dry my hair and do my makeup, today is the first day I feel like looking decent. I need to get out of this.. mess that is inside of me. I need to do as my mother would do, paint a perfect face on to mask what is inside. When I am finished, I look well rested somehow and actually really nice. I curl my hair and dig my white dress out of my bag and cringe. Good thing this room has an iron. It is cold, too cold for this dress that doesn't quite reach my knees, but I won't be outside long. I choose to wear plain black heels and pray that I don't slip on the ice outside. I sit the dress and heels on the bed.
Before I get dressed, I pack my bags again. I hope my mother calls with some good news about the dorms. If not, I will have to stay here until she does and that will drain the money I have, fast. Maybe I should just look into getting my own place. I could afford a small apartment close to Vance, away from campus. I need to take my work in to my professors after I leave work today, I almost forgot. My mind is jumbled lately. I haven't even written in my planner in two days. I need to turn my phone on to see if my mother has called but I am afraid to hear Harry's voice instead. It took everything in me to not stay yesterday and I need to keep moving forward, not backwards.
I grab my bags and open the door, the snow has mostly melted under the morning sun. Thank goodness. Just as I unlock my car door, Trevor walks out from his room two doors down from mine.
"I would have helped you get those." He greets me. He is wearing a black suit and a green tie, he looks so handsome.
Last night after we ate pizza, we watched a little television and shared stories of college. He had a lot more stories than me since he graduated and I really enjoyed hearing about what my college experience could have and should have been like. I shouldn't have been going to parties with people like Harry, I should have found myself a small but true group of friends. It would have been so different, so much better. He left around nine and I forced myself to sleep.
"Did you sleep well?" He asks me and pulls a set of keys out of his pocket. With a click, the BMW starts itself.
Of course he has a BMW. "Your car starts itself?" I laugh.
"Well this thing starts it." He holds up his key.
"Nice." I smile.
"Convenient." He counters.
"Extravagant?"
"A little." He laughs. "But still very convenient."
"You look lovely today, as usual." He compliments as I put my bags in the car.
Since Harry's reaction to me wearing this dress, it has become my favorite.
"Thank you, it's freezing out." I say and get into the driver's seat.
"See you at work." He says and climbs into his car as I start mine.
I turn the key and click..click..click..I try again and same thing.
"Can I get a freaking break!" I say aloud and hit my palms against the steering wheel.
I try to start my car for a third time but nothing happens, not even the clicking. I look over and thankfully Trevor is still sitting in his car. His window rolls down and I can't help but laugh at my own misfortune.
"Do you think you could give me a ride?" I ask and he nods.
"Of course I will. We are going the same place." He laughs and I climb out of my car.
I can't help but turn my phone on during the short drive to Vance. Surprisingly, I have no texts new texts from Harry. I have a few voicemails but I don't know if they are from him, or my mother.
I choose to not listen to them, instead I text my mother and ask her about the dorm. Trevor drops me off at the door so I don't have to walk in the cold. I thank him and wish him a good day before going inside.
"You look refreshed." Kimberly smiles as I grab a donut.
"I feel a little better. Sort of." I tell her and pour myself a cup of coffee.
"Are you ready for tomorrow? I can't wait to get out of here for the weekend, Seattle has amazing shopping and I know while Christian and Trevor have their meetings we will be able to find some stuff to do. Is uhm.. have you talked to Harry?" She asks.
"No, I moved my stuff out yesterday." I tell her and she frowns.
"I'm sorry girl. It will get easier as time goes by." She tells me and I hope she is right.
My day goes faster than expected and I finish this weeks manuscript early. I am excited to go to Seattle and I hope that I can get my mind off of Harry, even if it is only for a short period of time. Monday is my birthday and I am not looking forward to it at all. If things wouldn't have went downhill so quickly, I would be on my way to England with Harry on Tuesday. I don't really want to spend Christmas with my mother either, hopefully I will be back in the dorms by then so maybe I can think of a good enough reason to not show at my mothers. I know its Christmas and that is terrible of me but I am not exactly in the holiday mood. Hopefully after this weekend I will be though. My mom texts me as my day is winding down saying that she hasn't heard back about the dorm. Great. At least I only have one more night until the Seattle trip. Being homeless is not fun at all.
As I am getting ready to leave for the day I remember I didn't drive myself. I hope Trevor hasn't already left. I could walk back to the hotel if he did but it is awfully cold outside.
"See you tomorrow, we will meet here and Christian's driver will take us to Seattle." Kimberly tells me.
Christian has a driver? Of course he does, I am pretty sure he is a millionaire. If not, he is very close. Vance Publishing is very successful and keeps growing and growing. When I step off of the elevator Trevor is sitting on one of the black couches in the lobby, the contrast of the black couch, black suit, and his blue eyes is very appealing.
"I wasn't sure if you needed a ride or not and I didn't want to bother you in your office." He tells me.
"Thank you, I really appreciate it. I am going to call someone about my car when I get back to the hotel." It is slightly warmer than it was this morning but still freezing outside.
"I can wait with you if you want, my plumbing is fixed now so I wont be staying at the hotel again but I will wait with you if you.." He stops talking suddenly and his eyes go wide.
"What?" I ask and follow his eyes to see Harry standing by his car in the lot and staring angrily at Trevor and I.
The breath has been knocked out of me once again. How does it keep getting worse?
As much as it hurts to see him, I am pissed off. Why is he here?
"Harry what are you doing here?" I ask when he begins to walk towards us.
"Well you don't answer my calls so I didn't have much of a choice did I?" He yells.
"I didn't answer for a reason, you can't just show up to my job!" I yell back. Trevor looks uncomfortable and intimidated by Harry's presence but he stays next to me.
"Are you ready?" Trevor asks me.
"Ready for what?" Harry's eyes are wild.
"He is taking me back to the hotel, my car wouldn't start."
"Hotel!" Harry practically screams.
"Oh god, not like that. We stayed at the same hotel last night." I tell him and realize that doesn't sound any better. Before I can stop him, Harry has his hands on Trevor, gripping the collar of suit as he slams him against a red truck.
"Harry! Stop! Let him go! We weren't in the same hotel room!" I explain. Why I am explaining myself to him is beyond me but I don't want him to hurt Trevor.
Harry lets go of Trevor's clothing but he is still in his face.
"Back off of him, please." I grab Harry's shoulder and he relaxes slightly.
"Stay away from her." He spits. His face only inches from Trevor's.
Trevor looks pale and once again I have brought someone else into this mess that doesn't deserve to be.
"I'm so sorry." I tell Trevor.
"It's okay, do you still need a ride?" He asks.
"No, she doesn't." Harry answers for me.
I weigh my options and I know that if I get into Trevor's car Harry will surely drag one of us out, probably me.
"I'm fine, thank you though." I sigh and walk angrily towards Harry's car.

I get into his car and try not to notice the familiar scent of Harry that fills the small space. He climbs in the drivers seat beside me and starts the car.
"Are you cold?" He asks.
"Yea." I answer and he turns up the heat.
"You have no right coming here." I tell him, reminding myself that I shouldn't be in the car with him.
"You weren't going to talk to me any other way." He says like his reasoning isn't completely insane. I keep my eyes focused out of window.
"Like I said, I am avoiding you for a reason Harry."
"I know baby, I miss you so much."
My heart flutters at the word "baby" but I ignore it.
"You just saw me yesterday, and stop calling me that. Turn here, the hotel is right on the corner."
"I can't believe you are staying at a hotel." He runs his hand over his hair.
"Yea.. neither can I."
"You can stay at the apartment, I will stay back at the frat house or something."
"No." As much as I would love to stay there, I am not backtracking. I have been so strong, well stronger than I knew I could be and I am not ruining it now.
"Stop being so difficult."
"Difficult? You aren't serious! I shouldn't even be talking to you right now! I shouldn't be anywhere near you!" I raise my voice.
"Would you just calm down? Now, what's wrong with your car? And why was he staying here?"
"I don't know what's wrong with my car." I groan. I am not answering him about Trevor, it's none of his business.
"I will take a look at it." He states and parks his car next to mine.
"No, I will call someone. Just go." I climb out of the car. I am sure that he could detect the problem and fix it easily but I don't want him to. He is acting like nothing happened and it's infuriating.
"No, I said I am going to look at it." He rudely replies and I roll my eyes. I am trying to focus on one emotion with him, anger. If I am not angry then I will be sad and I don't want to be a sobbing mess in front of him. Not again.
He gets out of the car and I walk to the office to book the room for another night. Of course I hear Harry's boot slushing through the remainder of snow on the ground. When I pull the door open a bell rings, clearly startling the small man behind the desk.
"Another night?" He asks as Harry walks in behind me.
"Tessa, you don't need to stay here again. I wont stay at the apartment, just stay there and I will stay somewhere else." Harry says.
I ignore Harry and the clerk looks back and forth between the two of us.
"Yes, another night." I answer and hand him my bank card.
Harry grabs it from my hand but I snatch it back before he can do anything with it. I can tell the clerk is uncomfortable watching our exchange, he tries to look anywhere except us.
"Would you just stop." I growl and Harry rolls his eyes.
"Is this some sort of game to you, to see how miserable you can make me?" I ask him and he takes a step back as if I pushed him. I don't want to cause a scene in a hotel lobby but I will if I have to.
"No, that's not what I am doing, how could you even think that after everything I have done?"
"Exactly, I do think that because of everything you have done." I say almost laughing at his choice of words.
"Well, that's not my intention here. I just want you to talk to me. I know we can work this out." He tells me. I don't know what to say because I can't tell if he is telling the truth. He has played so many mind games with me since the beginning that I can't tell what is real.
"Here you go." The clerk says and hands me my receipt and a new key card.
"Thank you." I say as politely as I can manage.
"I know you miss me too." Harry says when we get back outside. His words stop me in my tracks.
"Is that what you want to hear? That I miss you? Of course I miss you, I miss you every second of every day but you know what? It's not actually you that I miss, it's who I thought you were and now that I know who you really are, I want nothing to do with you!" I yell.
"You've always known who I really am! I've been me all along, you know that!" He shouts back.
Why cant we ever just talk without yelling at each other? He makes me crazy, that's why.
"No I don't know that, if I knew that I.." I stop myself before I admit that I want to forgive him. What I want to do and what I know I should do are two totally different things.
"You what?" He asks. Of course he would.
"Nothing, you need to go."
"Tess, you don't know what its been like the last few days for me. I can't sleep, I can't even function without you. I need to know there is a chance we could..."
I interrupt him before he can finish.
"What it's been like for you? How can you be so selfish? What do you think its been like for me Harry? Imagine how it feels to have your life completely ripped apart within hours! Imagine how it feels to be so in love with someone that you give them everything only to find out it was all a game, a bet! How do you think that feels!" I take a step toward him.
"How do you think it feels to lose my relationship with my mother over someone who could give a shit less about me!! How do you think it feels to be staying in a god damn hotel room alone when just a few days ago I had my dream apartment with someone who I trusted! How do you think if it feels to try to move on from this when you keep showing up everywhere! You just don't know when to stop!"
He doesn't say anything so I continue my rant. Part of me feels like I am being too harsh on him but he betrayed me in the worst way possible and the worst thing about it all is that I still love him more than breathing.
"So don't you sit here and tell me that it's been hard for you because you did this! You fucking ruined everything! Just like you always do, so you know what I don't feel sorry for you... actually I do. I feel sorry for you because you will never be happy. You will never find anyone to love you the way I did, I would have given you everything.. even more than I did. I would have done anything for you and you ruined that. You will be alone for the rest of your life, and for that I feel sorry for you. I will move on, find a nice man who will treat me the way you should have, and we will get married and have children, I will be happy. " I am out of breath after my long speech and Harry is looking at me with red eyes and an open mouth.
"You know the worst part of all of this? Is that you warned me, you said you would ruin me and I didn't listen." I try desperately to stop my tears but I can't. They fall mercilessly down my face and my mascara runs,, burning my eyes.
"I'm..I'm sorry. I'll go." He says in a low voice. He looks completely and utterly defeated, the way I wanted him to look but it doesn't give me the satisfaction that I thought it would.
I could have forgiven him in the beginning if he would have told me, even after we slept together, but instead he hid it from me, offered people money, threatened and beat up Zayn, and tried to trap me by making me sign the lease with him. My first time being intimate with someone is something I will never forget, and thanks to him it will always be clouded by the terrible intentions behind his actions.
I stay silent as he gets into his car pulls out of the parking lot. I rush into the hotel room and slam the door behind me. I lean against the door and try to breath through my sobs, I give up and slide down the door and let the pain take back over.
By the time the sun goes down I force myself up off the floor and take a hot shower, too hot. The look on Harry's face as he backed away from me and got into his car is etched in the back of my mind. I see his beautiful yet tortured face every time I close my eyes. This is what I want though, I can't trust him and I won't be in a one sided relationship with him. I don't want to have to question everything he does or says.
My phone hasn't rang once since he left. I pack my bag for Seattle and make sure to cross everything off of my list. It would have been so nice to go to Seattle with Harry, if he would have came to the conference with me. I had this silly, naïve idea that we could work. That despite our differences and his temper.. well both of our tempers, we could make it work somehow. I'm not sure how I manage to fall asleep, but I do.
........................
When my alarm goes off at seven, I begin to panic. I forgot to call someone to fix my car. I look up the nearest mechanic to me and call them. I will probably have to pay them extra to keep my car for the weekend since I will be gone but that's the least of my worries right now. I get myself ready, curling my hair and putting on more makeup than usual. I choose to wear a navy blue dress that I haven't worn yet. I bought it because I knew Harry would love the way the thin material hung on my curves. The dress itself isn't revealing at all, the hem reaches just below my knees and the sleeves go half way down my arm but the way it fits is what makes it look almost sexy. I hate that everything makes me think of him, as I stand in front of the mirror I think about the way he would be looking at me in this dress, the way his pupils would dilate and he would lick his lips before pulling his lip ring between his teeth as he watched me check my hair and makeup one last time.
A knock on the door brings me back to reality and I hurry over to the door.
"Ms. Young?" A man in a blue mechanics uniform asks.
"That's me, let me grab my keys." I tell him and leave the door open slightly while I grab the keys from the desk.
"Here, its the white corolla." I tell him and he looks behind him.
"White corolla?" He asks. I open the door further and step outside. My car is gone.
"What the.. okay let me call the front desk and see if he had my car towed for leaving it here yesterday." I say. What a great way to start my day.
"Hello, this is Tessa Young I am in room thirty six, I think you had my car towed?" I am trying to be nice.
"No, I didn't." He says through the phone.
"Uh, well then my car must have been stolen or something.." My head is spinning. If someone stole my car I am beyond screwed. It is almost time for me to leave.
"No, your friend came and got it this morning."
"My friend?"
"Yea, the one with... all the tattoos and stuff." He says quietly as if Harry could actually hear him.
"What?" I know what he said but I cant help but ask again.
"Yea, he came with a tow truck this morning about two hours ago." He says.
"Thanks." I groan and hang up.
"I am so sorry, someone has already had my car taken to another mechanic. I didn't know, I'm sorry for wasting your time." I tell the man but he smiles and assures me that it's okay.
I want to call Harry and yell at him, now I have no way to get to work to meet everyone to leave for Seattle. Just as I am about to call Kimberly, a black car pulls in the lot and parks in front of my room. The window rolls down and I see Kimberly's blonde hair.
"Good morning!" She smiles and I sigh in relief. I know Harry must have called Mr. Vance to make sure I had a ride to work.. does that mean Harry knows I am going to Seattle? What if Harry is in the car? I begin to panic again. I grab my bag and open the car door. Luckily, it's only Kim, Christian, and Trevor inside the spacious town car. The driver gets out and puts my bag in the trunk for me.
"Ready for your weekend getaway?" Trevor smiles.
"More than you can imagine." I tell him with a smile.

"I love that dress on you." Kimberly says as the car pulls out of the hotel lot.
"Thank you, this is the first time I have worn it." I tell her and she smiles.
"So what happened with your car?" She asks.
Trevor and Christian are in what appears to be a deep conversation about price per square foot on a new building in Seattle.
"I have no idea, it wouldn't start yesterday morning so I called someone to fix it but Harry already had someone come get it." I explain and she smirks.
"Persistent isn't he?" She says.
"I guess so. I just wish he would give me a little time to process all of this." I sigh.
"Process what?" She asks. I forget that she doesn't know about the bet, she only knows that we broke up.
"I don't know, just everything. I have so much going on right now and I still don't have anywhere to live. I feel like he isn't taking this as seriously as he should. He thinks he can just play puppeteer with me and my life. He thinks he can just show up and say sorry and all will be forgiven but that's not how it works. Not anymore at least." I huff.
"Well I am happy you are standing up for yourself." She says. I am glad she isn't asking for details.
"Thank you. Me too." I tell her. I am proud of myself for standing up to him and not just giving in but at the same time I feel terrible for what I said to him today. I know he deserved it but I can't help but think what if he does care as much as he claims? I do know that somewhere deep down he cares for me, I just don't think its enough to ensure me that he won't hurt me again.
That's what he does, he hurts people.
"We should go out tonight night after the conference since Sunday those two will be in meetings all morning. We will do some shopping Sunday and go out tonight and maybe Saturday night too. What do you think?" She asks me.
"Go out where? I'm only eighteen." I laugh.
"That doesn't matter, Christian knows a lot of people in Seattle. If you are with him you can get in anywhere." She says. I love the way her eyes light up when she speaks of him even though he is right next to her.
"Okay." I tell her. I have never been out before. I have been to the few parties at the frat house but I haven't ever been to a nightclub or anything even close.
"It will be fun, don't worry." She assures me.
"You should wear that dress." She adds and I laugh.
The rest of the drive is spent talking about work and Trevor ends up falling asleep leaning against the window. He looks so young in his sleep.
Harry's POV.
"You will be alone for the rest of your life, and for that I feel sorry for you. I will move on, find a nice man who will treat me the way you should have, and we will get married and have children. I will be happy."
Her words keep playing over and over in my head. I know she is right but I don't want her to be. I had never minded being alone until now, now I know what I am missing.
"You in?" Jace's voice pushes breaks through my muddled thoughts.
"Uh, what?" I ask. I almost forgot that I was driving.
He rolls his eyes and takes a hit from his joint.
"I asked if you were in, were going to Zayn's." He repeats himself.
"I don't know.." I groan.
"Why not? You need to stop being such a pussy. You're moping around like a fucking baby." He tells me and I glare at him. If I had gotten any sleep last night I would reach across and choke him.
"I am not." I defend.
"You so are dude, you need to get wasted and laid tonight. I'm sure there will be some easy girls there."
"I don't need to get laid." I don't want anyone but her.
"Well come on, drive over to Zayn's. If you don't want to get laid then at least come have some drinks." He says.
"Don't you ever want to do more?" I ask and he looks over at me like I have grown horns.
"What?"
"You know, doesn't it get old just partying and hooking up with different girls all the time?"
"Woah woah.. this is worse than I thought. You got it bad man."
"No I don't. I'm just saying. Doing the same old shit all the time gets old." He doesn't know how enjoyable it is to lay in bed and make Tessa laugh, he doesn't know how fun it is to hear her ramble on about her favorite novels, to have her swat at me when I try to grope her. It is much better than any party that he has ever been or will ever go to.
"She really did a number on you. That's some shit isn't it?" He laughs.
"No she didn't." I lie.
"Sure.." He throws the remainder of his joint out of my car window.
"She's single though right?" He asks and I grip the wheel.
"I'm just fucking around." He laughs. "I just wanted to see how pissed you would get." He laughs even harder.
"Fuck off." I grumble and head to Zayn's.
Tessa's POV.
"Your room is right down the hall from our suite." Kimberly tells me when we arrive at the hotel.
The Four Seasons in Seattle is the nicest hotel I have ever seen. Kimberly practically drags me down the hall while I try to take in all the beautiful details.
"Here is your room, after you unpack we will meet in our suite to go over the itinerary for this weekend even though I already know you have. You should change because I really think you should wear that dress tonight when we go out." She winks and leaves me alone in my hotel room.
The differences between the hotel I have been staying in and this one are vast. One of the paintings in the lobby here probably cost more than the entire hotel where I stayed last night. The view from my window is incredible, Seattle is such a beautiful city. I can imagine myself living here, in a high rise apartment with a job at Seattle Publishing or even Vance Publishing now that they are opening an office here. That would be amazing. I wish I could fast forward.
I change into a black pencil skirt and a lilac purple shirt after I hang up my clothes for the weekend. I am excited for the conference this evening and tomorrow but nervous to go out. I know I need to have some fun but I still feel empty from the damage Harry has caused in my life.
By the time I get to Kimberly and Christian's suite, it is five o'clock. I know we have to be downstairs in the banquet room by six.
"This room is.. wow." I say as Kimberly leads me inside.
Their hotel suite has it's own living room and a separate sitting room. It looks bigger than my mother's entire house.
"It's okay." Christian laughs and pours himself a glass of what looks like water.
"We ordered some room service so we can all eat in here before we head downstairs, it should be here any minute." She says and I smile and thank her. I didn't realize how hungry I am until she mentioned food. I haven't eaten at all today.
"You ready to be bored out of your mind?" Trevor asks as he appears from the sitting room.
"It won't be boring to me." I smile and he laughs.
"I may not want to leave this place." I add and he smiles.
"Me either." He says.
"Same." Kim says and Christian shakes his head.
"That could be arranged love." He puts his hand on her back and I look away from the intimate gesture.
"We should just move the main office here and all move." Kimberly jokes, I think she is joking at least.
"Smith would love Seattle." Christian says.
"Smith?" I ask then I remember Christian has a son.
"My son, it's an odd name I know." He laughs and leans into Kimberly. It must be so nice to be in a loving, trusting relationship.
"It's lovely." I smile. It really is a nice name, different but not too crazy.
"We may just have to look into it." He tells her and she smiles before kissing him on the cheek.
Trevor has the same look of adoration on his face that I feel inside for them. I also envy Kimberly, a harmful envy but envy none the less. She has a man in her life that obviously cares for her and will do anything to make her happy. She is lucky.
After we eat we head downstairs and I am thrown into a large conference room full of people who love books, it's heaven. I meet a lot of interesting people and take a lot of notes.
"Network. Network. Network. It's all about networking." Christian tells me and introduces me to almost every single person in the room. The best part is that he doesn't introduce me as his intern and he treats me like an adult, they all do.
...
Harry's POV.
"Well well well, look who it is." Molly rolls her eyes when Jace and I walk into Zayn's apartment.
"Drunk already?" I say to her.
"So? It's past five." She says and I shake my head at her.
"Have a shot with me." She suggests and grabs a bottle of brown liquor off of the counter and two shot glasses.
"Fine. Only one." I groan and she smiles before filling the small glasses up.
Ten minutes later I find myself looking through the gallery on my phone. I wish I would have let her take more pictures of us together so I would have more to look at now. I do have it bad, like Jace said. I feel like I am slowly losing my mind over her and the most fucked up part is, I don't care how crazy I am being as long as it helps me get closer to her again.
"I will be happy." She said. I know I didn't make her happy but I could. At the same time, it isn't fair for her for me to keep bothering her. I got her car fixed for her because I didn't want her to have to worry about doing it herself. I am glad that I did because I wouldn't have known she was going to Seattle if I wouldn't have called Vance to make sure she would have a ride to work. Why wouldn't she tell me? That prick Trevor is with her right now when I should be. I know he likes her and I could see her falling for him. He is exactly what she needs, they are a lot alike. Unlike her and I. He could make her happy. The thought pisses me off and makes me want to slam his head through a window but maybe I need to give her space and give her a chance to be happy. She made it clear yesterday that she can't forgive me.
"Molly!" I call from the couch.
"What?"
"Bring me another shot." I tell her and she smiles.
(Hessa or Tressa?)

To be continued. .

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