niall horans

Eight Months (part II).

You had been with Harry for two years when things started to go wrong. Like all normal couples, you had petty arguments and they usually ended with the both of you apologising profusely to each other and buying each other small gifts for forgiveness, but that was it. It never went any further than that, until the night you broke up.

You knew things had been wrong for a while, even though it hurt to admit it. Although you accepted Harry’s career, it was hard to be apart for months at a time. You both struggled to fit time around each other because of work and studying commitments, but you could both decided that you could and would handle anything life threw at you. Skype and FaceTime were your life savers and you used them whenever and wherever you could.

But in time, Harry became distant. He forgot little details about you; he forgot the smell of your perfume, he forgot about the little strands of hair that you could never tie back properly, and it was like he forgot how much he loved you. He soon started to forget about events that were taking place. Whilst you knew and understood that he couldn’t attend such events including your swimming gala and dancing competition because of the tour, he never bothered asking how they went. Instead, conversations that were once filled with passion and love, both interested and eager to learn about each other’s days, soon turned into silence down the phone, the occasional murmur here and there, before hanging up.

*

The clock ticked and the kitchen tap dripped and the rain pattered against the window. The tears rolling down your cheeks however, were silent, and the only noise your body could muster up was the occasional snuffle.

To say you were upset was an understatement. It was your birthday, and whilst it had never bothered you before dating Harry, you were now absolutely gutted that it coincided with London Fashion Week. Celebrities from all around the world had flown in and much to your dismay, that included Kendall, who attended with Harry.

When you had awoke that same morning, you thought maybe Harry was playing a trick on you, and that he was only pretending to have forgotten your birthday and would soon surprised you, but nothing. You had searched the apartment from top to bottom but to no avail, you found no hidden presents or anything that indicated a surprise for you. If you were honest, you didn’t really care for gifts or surprises; to spend the day with Harry was enough for you. But here you were, sat alone in the kitchen, whilst he was being paid to spend his precious time with another woman.

*

“It was a bit of a dick move, mate” Louis tells his best friend.

Harry sighs and shakes his head. “You think I don’t know that?!” he exclaims as he leaves the shop with the flowers he had placed on order as soon as he realised he’d fucked up. “These are alright, yeah? They’re all her favourites combined” he adds, gesturing to the beautiful bunch.

“H, I think it’s going to take more than a bunch of roses and lilies and whatever else is in there to make it up to her this time. She doesn’t expect a lot from you, you know that. She’s the least high maintenance chick I know. Hell, even Eleanor expects more from me than what (Y/N) does from you! I take El away for her birthday every year, we always do something nice. I wouldn’t dream of spending it with another woman” Louis tells his friend firmly.

“Fuck off!” Harry spits. “Management are the ones paying me, not you!”

“Whatever mate, but it’s your funeral. Didn’t you spend an evening with Cara a few weeks ago, when it was supposed to be a date night for you and (Y/N)? If you’re not careful, you’re going to lose her. Someone else will come along and treat her the way that you should be doing it now. Is that really what you want?” he asks.

*

“I don’t know how many more times I can apologise, baby” Harry begins, but you quickly hold up your hand in protest to stop him.

“Don’t!” you warn firmly.

Harry throws the flowers down on the table after your refusal to accept them. He shrugs his shoulders at your harsh tone. “What do you mean, ‘don’t’” he asks, quoting you.

You let out a sarcastic laugh. “Baby? You really think that by calling me pet names that I’m going to run into your arms and forgive you for forgetting my birthday, and worse, spending it with Kendall, of all people! How many other girls are you calling ‘baby?’”

“Oh don’t be so ridiculous, (Y/N)! I’m in a relationship with you, not anyone else!” Harry exclaims. “I’ve apologised, what more do you want me to do? Get on my knees and beg for your forgiveness?”

“There’s more than just us two in this relationship, Harry, and you know it. Me, you, management, Cara, Kendall. And that’s just to name a few! You’ve let me down so much the past couple of months. Do you even love me anymore?” you ask, dreading the answer as you softly chew your lip.

Harry scoffs. “Of course I fucking love you! I wouldn’t be standing here having this argument with you if I didn’t.” He closes his eyes and pinches the bridge of his nose. “I don’t know what you want me to do or say, (Y/N).”

“It’s never going to change, Harry! Things will always be the same! You ‘forgot’ my birthday and you spent the day with Kendall. You ‘forgot’ our date night and you spent the evening with Cara. I know it’s what the media want and expect from you, and I know management want you to do this, but I think you want to as well” you sigh, the words you had held for so long in your mouth now finally spilling out.

“You’re joking, right? That was a joke? You seriously think I want to spend any spare time I have with Kendall or Cara over you? Management need me to do this, if I don’t, I can kiss goodbye to my pay cheque! Half the things I do in this job is for you! How the fuck else would you get the latest handbags and purses and shoes?! Who else is going to pay for your education? Because I don’t see you or your family offering to cough up!” he spits almost bitterly.

You gasp in shock at his words. He knew your financial situation at home and that your parent’s worked so bloody hard to provide for you, but it just wasn’t enough. Your future career depended on your qualifications, and those qualifications could only be acquired in higher education in which Harry had offered to pay for, before he knew anything about the money side of things.

“Really, Harry? That’s how you feel? You think I’m with you for the money? I don’t give a damn about the shoes or bags and purses or latest fashion trends. I love you because you’re my boyfriend and I see myself living the rest of my life with you. I don’t love you because you’re Harry Styles from One Direction!” you spit back, your words truthful.

“I’ve heard that one before” he tells you, his eyes averting to the floor.

“So now you’ve got trust issues with me? Other girls may have treated you like that in the past, but I’m not like other girls, Harry. Two years we’ve been together and you really think that of me? When you guys broke up as a band, and you didn’t know what was going to happen to your music career, who was the one sitting up with you every night holding you whilst you cried? Other girls would have run a mile because of the uncertainty of your future. I love you even if you have nothing!” you shout at him.

Harry shrugs his shoulders and bites his lip. “Look, it’s not even just this causing arguments. They’ve been going on for a while and maybe having Kendall and Cara as friends is something you can’t handle. But I can’t live my life like this anymore. I’m done arguing with you all the time” he tells you softly.

“You’re making it sound like I don’t want you having friends, which isn’t true. I want you to put me first, like you did at the start of our relationship. You would have done anything back then for me, Harry. I hate arguing with you too. Maybe if we arrange some sort of schedule and arrange dates in advance to see each other?” you suggest.

Harry shakes his head. “I think it’s too little too late, (Y/N).”

You frown, your bottom lip beginning to quiver as you ask the dreaded question. “Are you breaking up with me?”

Harry’s eyes avert to the floor once more and the silence between you both speaks more volumes than words ever could.

*

The first few months after the break up had been tough to say the least. You continued to work and study for the first couple, managing to get by. Once you finished work, you would go home and tuck yourself into bed and shut yourself away from the rest of the world. You neither needed or wanted any social interaction with anyone. You only wanted your own company, reminiscing over the fun times with Harry, overthinking each night what could have been done differently so as you wouldn’t be in this situation. Unfortunately, you could never answer that question. Nothing could have been done differently. You would have always ended up here.

A few months passed and life was getting a little easier, but the beauty of social media portrayed it to be a lot better than what it actually was. You were able to deceive your followers and the public that your life was good again because you were taking selfies at nightclubs and you were going out and having more fun. But you were still going back home to an empty bed with only a teddy bear to hold at night, whilst thoughts of Harry plagued your mind.

Within four months, you met someone new; Tom. You both met through mutual friends and instantly clicked. Whilst there was no original intention there, you quickly became friends. You took a few selfies, posting them onto social media sites, happier with your life. Tom was lovely; he was a young, handsome man, studying Law at the same university as you. He had ambition, as well as being fun, kind and caring, and within five months of the messy break up with Harry, you were officially dating Tom. Coffee dates, pumpkin picking, country walks, the typical couple dates that you would go on together, sharing your memories online.

You had plastered pictures of the two of you together all over social media by six months, but you weren’t portraying your life to be something it wasn’t. You were happy, genuinely happy, and whilst you weren’t in love with Tom, you loved him and could see yourself learning to be in love with him. The more time you spent with him, the more you learned about him, and the more you wanted to know him.

By the seventh month, things had changed. Tom had changed, and not for the better. You spent most of your time at his university flat with him, yet he still accused you of sneaking around behind his back, cheating on him. You would never cheat on anybody, it was against your principles and besides, you didn’t have the time to see anyone else between dating Tom, and going to work and studying. Small comments soon followed the accusations; he’d tell you that you needed to diet and join a gym, that you weren’t pretty enough or smart enough or good enough and that he could do better. Then he’d apologise and take you on a date and spoil you rotten. He would buy you flowers and gifts. “Please forgive me” he’d say. “I love you.” The next change was a push and shove here and there, moving you out of his way when he was angry. One night, he pushed you into a glass door. Your eyebrow split and you needed stitches. He vowed never to touch you like that again.

He lied.

Eight months into your relationship and Tom was putting his hands on you almost every night. No alcohol was involved, just his temper. Nothing warranted it, violence can never be condoned. Dinner wasn’t ready he got home? A slap across the face. His flat wasn’t tidy? A punch in the stomach. You went out with a friend? A black eye.

By this point, it was very difficult to maintain the lovely selfies you used to take. If you posted anything, it would be a cover up of how dreadful and controlled your life had become. You weren’t sure you could muster up the strength to even pretend that life was good anymore. Any bruises photographed would raise concerns and there would be unwanted comments posted on social media for the whole world to see, and you neither needed or wanted that. The less attention you drew to the situation, the better.

But tonight, nearing the end of eight months since breaking up with Harry, Tom had gone one step too far. The physical abuse was dreadful enough to experience and nothing condoned his disgusting behaviour, ever. Once your horrific ordeal was over, you ran. You refused to succumb to the darkness that had surrounded your limp body only moments ago. You ran as fast as your legs could carry you. You needed to get to a safe place. Somewhere close enough to get to, but safe all the same.

Harry.

He was all that was on your mind. How could he see you like this? Would he even be at home?  What if he was with another girl? Would he let you stay the night until things were sorted? Would he judge you? Would he pity you?

Oh, Harry.

You needed him. You weren’t sure that you could ever bring yourself to trust any other man in the world again, but Harry, you trust him with your life. He’s the only man you could ever trust, and your heart shattered into millions of pieces because the one man you really can trust, was also the same man who broke your heart eight months ago.

You pant hard, your heart threatening to pound out of your chest, but the adrenaline pumps around your body harder when you see the apartment alight. So close, so fucking close. As soon as you reach the door, there’s no hesitation in knocking hard and repeatedly. When there is nothing, you bang harder, your fists pounding at the door as tears stream down your face.

“Alright, I’m coming!” you hear his voice yell from inside the building and you know he’s getting closer to the door and your heart pounds harder and faster than ever before. He sounds angry, probably because it’s late and he’s probably working tomorrow but you need a safe space and right now, he’s the only person who can provide that for you.

It seems to take a lifetime, but the door is swung open and Harry’s demeanour changes within an instant. He goes from seemingly pissed off to looking like he’s about to vomit at the sight in front of him, with anger and pity and fear and worry evident in his eyes, emotions taking over his body.

“(Y/N)” he gasps out, catching your petite frame as you collapse into him. Wrapping his arms around you and embracing you tightly, he takes in your features, swallowing the lump formed in his throat. He know’s what’s happened to you and you know that he knows, and he knows that you know he knows, but for one split second as he holds you, no dialogue is needed.