Harry doesn’t bother going back to the living room to join the boys. In fact, he’s stood frozen in place for the past ten minutes, staring at the door Y/N’s walked out through with the excuse of being late for a date she had never once mentioned before. Harry didn’t even think she was dating, let alone actually seeing someone already.
It’s all come as a bit of a shock to him if he’s being honest. He likes to think they had something special going on, but maybe it was just all in his head. Or maybe he should’ve said something to her, proper admitted his feelings and all. But what if she didn’t like him back? Harry’s always been a sort of risk taker when it came to getting what he wanted. But he always thought risking their friendship was too much. If she liked him…that would be amazing. But…what if she didn’t.
If he told her how he’s stayed awake more times than he can count thinking of her. How he’s watched her sleep next to him and wanted to kiss away the frown she gets when she’s having a bad dream. He wants to jokingly tell her how the boys tease him for being so whipped, and have her laugh because they both know it’s true. He wants to tell her that he loves that he gets along with Gemma and his mum. That they adore her because she’s everything they want for him. He wants to tell her she’s everything he wants for him. He just wants to explain to her, or at least try to because it’s very hard to find the words for it, how she makes him feel…whole. How he misses her when she’s not with him, and only falls harder when she is.
So no, Harry doesn’t bother going back to the living room. Walks up the stairs of his home instead, body slumped and heart wrenching. He thinks he’s lucky that he’s made it down the hallway and to his bedroom with out breaking down. Managed to somehow drag his feet and supported his heavy body…heavy heart, through his bedroom doors and to the bed. He stares at it for a short minute, thinking about how he’s going to have to sleep on his own tonight. How he’s going to be denied of Y/N’s warmth tonight. He’s not going to have anyone to wrap his arms around, to breathe their scent, to smile into their hair when he wakes up in the middle of the night reminded that he’s not alone. And he sits on the edge of his too big a bed, feet firm on the cold floor, the heels of his hands digging at his eyes because surely this is all a dream..a nightmare. Thinking about it, he doesn’t remember ever being this…this…gutted? Jealous? Empty? Broken? All of the above, and more!
Walking down the streets of anywhere hasn’t been much of a hassle for him since the band’s break. He’s able to walk through roads and into shops with no problem. The paps have been nice enough to keep a distance when taking photos, and he’s grateful for that. So in all honesty, now he’s only ever just a tad tense when Y/N’s with him. But it’s not a bad thing, no, he loves having someone to go around town with, rather just feels the need to protect her a bit more on their outings.
So he keeps an arm around her shoulder, body tucked close to his, guiding her as they walk down the busy street, pulling her closer when he thinks someone passing by might bump into her. And she doesn’t complain. Tonight’s temperature’s dropped rather low, and the heat emitting from Harry’s body keeps her warmer than she thinks her own coat does. Y/N thinks it’s nice. Loves when Harry’s close to her. Loves the fact that his scent will linger on her clothes for days until she finally brings herself to put them in the washer.
They come to a stop by a hot dog cart, tummies grumbling because they hadn’t eaten anything since brunch, and even then Y/N hadn’t felt well enough to eat more than half of what was on her plate. So as per usual when that happened, Harry had to finish her meal, too, not that he had complained.
Now he’s standing in front of her, hands rubbing at her arms to heat her up as he offers to buy her a hotdog because “ye’ need t’ eat somethin’, kitten. Can’t have ye’ gettin’ sick, now.”
So she nods her head yes and tells him she’ll be waiting for him inside of the bakery they’re stood in front because “s'too cold outside. And I caught a whiff of the goodies! Gonna head in and get us a table.” Harry can’t help but smile down at her, and before he’s able to say anything, she leans up to whisper in his ear, “I know…you used to be a baker.” The sound of her giggle tickles at his ear, his smile only stretching more, and now he understands what the boys meant. He gives a light chuckle, kissing the top of her head before whispering a low, “I’ll jus’ be a minute.”
Y/N never needed to tell Harry how she liked her food, it’s fair to say they know each other well enough not to get the other’s orders wrong. And as simple as that thought might be, it makes them both happier than the other will ever know to know that type of stuff.
Harry never thought he’d feel such happiness looking at someone either. When his mum used to give him talks about girls and how important it is to treat them like princesses, Harry would wave the comments away. He was old enough to know that yes, his mother did raise him to be a proper gentleman. But he never thought, or at least not at the time because he was so young, that he’d have someone making him feel the way Y/N does. Only ever wished.
But now he’s looking at a beautiful woman standing in a bakery. Her eyes fixed on the displays because he sure knows she’s got a sweet tooth.
“Tell me wha’ ye’ wan’ and I’ll get it for ye’.”
Harry’s whispered words have Y/N turning around swiftly, smiling up at him because Harry’s never short on getting her anything and everything. Not that she ever asked for much.
He thinks he’s got more money than he knows what to do with, so he’s always more than willing to get Y/N anything she pleased. But that’s the thing about her, she doesn’t ask for much. Give her cuddles and your time and she’s more than happy. That’s how Harry knows she’s meant for him. She’s simple, and Harry loves simple. Harry loves her.
Harry can’t quite recall at around what time he’s been falling asleep at nights. After that first night, he only knows he’s been falling asleep to memories of Y/N.
During the days he stares at the TV mindlessly, jumping at the sound of his phone in hopes it would be Y/N. And he’d be lying if he said he wasn’t disappointed to see it was Louis, or Niall, or Liam. On occasion his mum who by some reason or another knew what was going on. Don’t get him wrong, he loves talking to his mum, he just rather wishes it were Y/N.
“Harry, sweetheart-” and he could hear the hurt in her voice. That tone a mother gets when they know nothing they say or do can help a suffering child. “-don’ give up, baby. You fight for her, you hear me.” And Harry will pinch at his lower lip in an attempt to keep his voice steady before assuring his mother that “I won’t mum. I love her."
The boys come around as often as they did before. And after asking why Y/N wasn’t around anymore, Harry told them "she’s apparently datin’ some bloke. I’ve not heard from her. Won’t return m'calls.”
He’s tried to reach out to her plenty of times. He’s called, texted, stopped by her place, all to no avail.
And Louis doesn’t remember seeing Harry this down over a girl. “Tha’s shit, mate. She spends every wakin’ moment with ye’ and somehow still meets someone? Reckon ye’ would’ve taken notice, ehh?"
"Cheryl thinks there’s something else going on,” Liam adds, “says a woman knows when a friend has feelings for a guy. And she says Y/N never quiet looked at you as just a friend.”
Harry would much rather believe this than keep thinking about Y/N doing what she did with Harry with someone else. But he pushes the thought to the back of his mind, because if by any chance she did like him, she wouldn’t have left him.
And it’s awful knowing he doesn’t know when he’ll see her again. All he knows, is that he’s not giving up.
After sulking around for what feels like an eternity, Harry’s gathered up enough strength to pull himself out of where he was staying and into the busy city that is NYC.
He’s arrived here only a few days ago for business, hasn’t even told Y/N seeing as she won’t answer his calls.
So he pushes thoughts of her to the back of his mind, or at least tries to. And thankfully, the fans he’s just recently met did a good job of distracting him. But only for a moment when he was interacting and taking photos with them.
And it’s times like these that he doesn’t take for granted. He loves making his fans happy. Loves getting to thank them personally. And though he’s able to keep all thoughts focused on who he’s talking with, the second he walks away to get on with his night and readjusts the scarf she gifted him two Christmas’ ago, is the moment he feels his eyebrows knit in focus, recalling another memory.
If there’s ever any situation for Harry to be protective, it’s now! He doesn’t know how he’s ended up at the park near Y/N’s. Doesn’t remember if he walked or drove. All he knows is that he was lying about in his room when he got a call from her. And hearing her frantic voice going on about how she thought she was being followed had him running out the door before she could tell him where she was.
“Just please, Harry. Stay on the phone with me.” She was whispering and stuttering and her voice was shaky and Harry. Was. Scared.
Like hell he was gonna just stay put.
So now here he is, phone still to his ear whispering words of comfort. “Where are ye’?” “S'okay, poppet, you’re g'na be okay.” “I promise.”
And then suddenly the worst thing that could happen. He’s got no idea what’s going on, but the rush has him forgetting he’s wearing nothing but sweats and a thin tee in below freezing weather.
He tucks his phone in his pocket.There’s no point, their phone call got cut and all he heard before it did was a man’s voice and her muffled one.
He’s running. Where to, he’s got no clue.
It’s not until he hears a cut scream that he knows exactly where she is. Now. He’s angry.
“Get the fook of a'her!"
The guy doesn’t even get a chance to turn around and look at him before Harry’s big hands collide with the stranger’s back, gripping at his shirt and yanking him back and to the ground.
He looks at Y/N only for a second, still tucked into the corner the bloke had her in, eyes full of fright.
And honest Harry doesn’t train for these type of situations, but he must admit the boxing sessions are useful in this precise moment. All it took was a right hook to the guy’s face. That was enough to have him falling to the ground again, this time a mouth full of blood. And Harry knows. Y/N knows. He’s gonna have the outline of Harry’s rings imprinted on the side of his face for a while.
Within seconds Harry’s attention was back on Y/N. Fingers ghosting over her face because he doesn’t know if she’s hurt. But she wraps her arms around his torso and clenches at the fabric of his shirt, face tucked into his neck. Harry exhales into her hair and wraps his arms around her shoulders, holding her against his body as he closes his eyes.
"M'here. I’ll always be here.” He whispers.
And Harry knows he can’t ever let this happen again. He won’t.
But how can he protect her when she won’t let him?
How can he, when the first time he sees her since that night is by the hand of someone else.
And…what is she doing in New York?