The event changed everything, but a story can't have a central theme unless there are walls to support it, roads that take you there and on, because I can't just give you a fact and you understand it fully until I explain it. So here it is; I love Harry Styles, but the roads that I take you on to understand may not be one's that you really want to travel, so heed the signs on the barren roadsides, and understand. I'll tell you about the days, thirty before and thirty after, encompassing Harry's attempted suicide.
A/N: This was started before I was even aware of Suicide Awareness Week (which ends today) and when I found out about it, I decided to put a lot more heart into it. It's the longest one shot I have ever written, and my favorite. I hope you enjoy it and I hope you find something that speaks to you in it. That's my job, as a writer, after all, and it doesn't matter what I'm writing.
I hope you enjoy it.
Harry tried to commit suicide the night of my birthday.
I'm not sure at first about his reasoning behind it, if maybe he didn't want anything else good to happen, that he just wanted to go, but I feel so stupid now. While I was sleeping blissfully in a hotel bed, he was downing a bottle of pills.
I wasn't sure who was more selfish.
Harry, for trying to remove himself from our lives without any explanation, or me, for wishing that he could have just waited a little bit longer for me to wake, so I could help him quicker.
But I guess that defeats the purpose of suicide, doesn't it?
However, we did have a warning flare before The Night. There was an instance where we should have known, but we simply assumed that he would get better.
30 Days Before
Liam calls, habitually at seven thirty, as the sky turns over the shades of light to dark, as the bustle of people outside become muted, and as Harry eats his customary pop tart.
"How's he doing?" Liam asks, trying for nonchalance but we all know Liam couldn't even pretend to not care.
"Awful," I answer. I can lie, unlike Liam, but I wouldn't lie about this.
Harry's head shoots up at my response and his face contorts into a troubled frown.
"The movie," I say to him, and he nods once before taking another small bite of his food. I can't lie about the situation to anyone but him. For me to look at him and tell him how bad he is would make it that much worse. I didn't want to hold up a mirror for him to see what he had done.
"Yes, the movie," Liam agrees distractedly. "Has the movie explained itself?"
I look over at Harry, at how the bones of him seem to jut out, trying to burst from his skin as if they don't want to hide there with all the secrets he has taken to keeping, at his hollow face and the dark smudges beneath his eyes.
"Not even a little." Harry looks up, so I continue. "The movie could have been a thousand times better."
"Right, well. I'll call again tomorrow."
"Yes I know," I say, and I feel my face turn up with the faintest of smiles.
As I hang up the phone, Harry gets up and turns the TV on, changing it to a sports channel I doubt he will even pay attention to.
"Is this really what you want to watch?" I ask him, genuinely curious.
"I prefer it to people talking about me to our friends and acting like I don't understand," he says, not angrily, but simply, like what had happened had happened and he couldn't really care, he was just commenting.
"I'm sorry," I say, but I think I was beyond sorry as he coughed lightly and put the remaining half of the pop tart away, and I knew he wouldn't finish it.
29 Days Before
Harry has taken to sleeping in, but I can't say that there is much difference in him, awake or asleep. The best part about him being asleep is that the childish confusion is drained away and replaced by drowsy contentment. The worst part is I'm scared of him waking up to find that I've left him, so I decide to sleep in his room. At a distance, of course. People learned to approach wounded animals slowly, and that's what Harry had become, through events he refused to even speak of.
Twenty-nine days before it happened, I awoke in his room, sitting upright in my chair, and found a blanket draped over me.
As I move into the kitchen, I find him making breakfast, whistling half-heartedly. Eggs sizzle in the pan and, just as I enter, toast springs from the toaster. The whole smell of the room makes my mouth water.
"Good morning," Harry says, not looking up. "Did you sleep well?"
"I slept alright," I answer, taking in the brightness of the kitchen with narrowed eyes. Harry looks nice, a bit of color returning to his cheeks, and I wonder why he looks so happy. I also think that he looks particularly cute with messy hair and baggy pajama pants. The shirt he is wearing is stretched and stained with paint. It must have been older.
"You can sleep in my bed from now on, you know," he says, breaking me away from my thoughts. "I hate to think of how uncomfortable that chair is."
When I don't answer, he continues, "I won't bite you. And cutting isn't contagious," he tries to joke, waving a hand in the air; his small wrist is thoroughly bandaged with white gauze. Shoved over it is his hospital bracelet he was ordered to keep on until they decided to take the stitches out.
The joke falls flat between us and he shifts uncomfortably.
"Harry please tell us what happened. That's what friends are for. We want to –"
"No," Harry cuts me off, shaking his head. "I'm sorry, Lou, but it's not anything I want to talk about any time soon."
So we didn't.
28 Days Before:
Harry does not speak much, but instead watches me, observant, curious, and for the first time since his hospitalization, I feel like I am the wounded animal. I swear there is something close to despair in his sunken eyes, but I try to avoid that, and how much I wish he trusted me enough to tell me what had happened.
27 Days Before:
I am watching an old movie, set in black and white, when Harry sneaks up behind me and places his chin on the top of my head. I let him have his moment, though I smelled his cologne as he approached. He likes to think he is a subtle being though, a cat more than a bumbling dog, so I give a little theatrical jump, because I am starting to learn that you must treat the injured in the way they need to be, and I believe Harry needs moments like these.
"You scared me," I say, but I'm suddenly awash in memories, of his stark face framed against the glowing porcelain of the bathtub, his eyes heavy and face beaded with sweat. And there is blood, spattering and sluggishly spreading out from his right hand.
Then him, nestled in a cleaner, crisper white of hospital sheets, his face still twisted with a deep agony that was more than bodily wounds, his eyes watching me distantly as I speak.
"You scared me," I had told him, and then I had begun to sob.
"Louis?" he asks me presently, concerned for my momentary silence, and yet he had been far less concerned for the almost permanent one he indulged himself in.
"I'm fine," I say, relaxing so that he does not worry.
I feel his sigh ruffling my air, and I catch a wisp of the peppermints he has taken to nibbling on when he refuses to eat anything else.
"Me too," he says, and I want to believe him so bad but he had said it a million times before he had cut into himself deeply, and now I can't trust him with those particular words, which saddens me immensely. Before, I would trust Harry on anything.
26 Days Before:
A part of me notices that Harry is trying desperately to improve on himself, though we do not mention The Day. The Day it happened, the day I found him and reached out to grab him, only to pull my hand away and see it drenched in blood.
I never knew how warm blood was, and how cold Harry could feel as I gripped him, tried to shake a little life back into him.
Perhaps I don't sit and think about how lucky I am all the time, but I do now. How lucky it was that Liam was there, that he heard the screams I was making. I didn't think they belonged to me.
But Harry is awake and his curls are gleaming and freshly washed, his smile is wide, and I can see something close to sincerity there.
"You look great, Hazza," I say, and my voice is quiet and soft with genuine affection.
"You do too, Lou," he says, and he winks.
For the rest of the day we were not strained under the tragedy, not lost together but maybe a little bit found. I didn't have to try as hard to laugh and Harry didn't seem to have to try very hard to be happy.
It's five days after he left the hospital, and Harry wants to go out, wants to find something. I don't know what he is looking for, but I indulge him and follow behind, like a puppy, as he pokes his head into various stores and looks around briefly before shaking his head and leaving.
"What are we doing?" I ask him.
Maybe he finally notices my mounting confusion, because he spins around to face me and walks backwards, throwing his arms out and smiling.
"Living," he says.
24 Days Before:
The trip to town yesterday has not satisfied Harry, but I want him to rest today, so I force him onto the couch and promise him we can watch a new movie, though I don't know if he is pleased by my choice.
"Brave?" he asks, one eyebrow quirked up and a skeptical frown on his face. "This doesn't look like a movie either of us will enjoy."
We have to both force ourselves to watch it at first, but after the first ten minutes we are both leaning in a little, mouths hanging open slightly as we are focused, into the movie and waiting to know what will happen next.
"I like Merida," Harry says. "She's tough."
"I think I do too," I admit. "But I have a thing for curly haired people."
He does a double take before laughing. As he does so, he pulls his blanket closer and snuggles in my lap, sighing.
"I always thought so," he says, a little breathlessly.
23 Days Before:
Zayn shows up to help me get Harry to the hospital, to take his stitches out, and when he takes a single look at Harry, I am relieved to know I have not imagined his improvement.
"He looks great," Zayn murmurs to me as Harry is escorted into a room by a nurse.
"Do you want your brother to come back with you?" she stops and asks him.
"Friend," he corrects. "Can they both come back?"
"Just one," she says, looking around as if already bored with the conversation. I bet she regrets starting it in the first place.
"I'll wait," Zayn says, pulling his phone out and starting a game up.
I almost protest; I honestly don't want to see that wound again, but Harry fixes his wide eyes on me and I think I see fear flickering in the depths of him. I follow.
The doctor guesses I am squeamish, but I don't bother to correct him by saying it's just the idea of a Harry that has been torn apart by himself that makes him sick. The doctor, a kind old man with an accent I can't place, tries to make quick work of taking out all the stitches, but it wasn't exactly the type of thing people could rush through.
Harry grasps my hand as the doctor cuts each one of the black threads, and as I take in the sight of the wound, I want to vomit.
"Are you okay?" Harry asks. I should tell him to shut up and stop worrying about me when this is what he had done to himself, that he was the one with the weight on his heart, but I simply say, "I'm fine."
22 Days Before:
Harry is distant and seems to be sadder than he has been for a while. I feel blindsided by the sudden mood change, but I don't feel up to asking him about it, because all that my mind can hone in on his right wrist, now fully exposed, his hospital bracelet but off. The jagged line seemed to glare at me, the red, irritated flesh, and the painful realization that I had not grabbed him while he was drowning, had not even noticed that he was going under filled me.
We barely talked.
21 Days Before:
Like a rubber ball, he bounces back with an abundance of energy I have almost never known him to possess. He wants to go to the mall today, but I'm not feeling up to it. I almost feel feverish, but I don't want to compare a raise in temperature to the sickness that has crept into his very bones.
I wish I could fix him.
20 Days Before:
"Your birthday is in twenty one days," he announces, and I'm actually glad he has said something because my birthday is the last thing on my mind; I have all but forgotten it.
"It is," I agree.
"Do you want a party?"
"I don't think so."
I look up from the breakfast I'm making for the both of us.
"Do YOU want me to have a party?"
He nods slowly, placing his chin in his hand.
"I think you need one. You looked stressed, Lou. We can have it here, if you want. Make it a small ordeal."
"Alright," I agree, secretly thinking ahead, to how Harry will deal with everything. "I'll tell Niall to bring the drinks."
Harry grins, a smile that transforms him into a happier person, and I think that his cheeks are recovering their flush of pink, almost as if the red from his wound is being transferred there. His cheek bones are no longer alarming in their prominence.
"I'll invite everyone," he declares, and I know he has already changed his mind about it being a small affair.
21 Days Before:
And so Harry begins the plans, and though I try to tell him it's too early, he waves me off and insists that 'you don't plan a wedding in just a month', so I suppose my party will have the extravagance of a full blown wedding party, though I'm not sure how our apartment is going to contain everyone until he tells me that the party is being moved to a hotel.
"But Hazza, aren't we going overboard?"
"No," he says, smiling. "You're turning 23. That's an important number."
His eyes shadow over slightly, and my chest clenches in a dark remembrance of his expression on The Day, how scared and tired and absolutely done he looked with life. But I don't know if his death was what he wanted from the razor, and I don't know what he's thinking now until he says, "It's been five years since we met."
I wish I knew the significance that the number held for him, but I don't feel quite up to asking, so I instead I move into the living room to play video games.
20 Days Before:
"If you had a chance to change your fate, would you?" Harry asks me randomly from across the living room, and I don't know what he means exactly until I remember watching Brave with him.
"I might," I reply after a moment of thought. "But I'm really happy with life right now. How about you?"
I don't expect anything, not even a shrug, from the question, but he pauses before sitting next to me on the couch and saying, "I haven't been for a long time but I think it's getting better. Slowly, of course, but I'm just glad it's happening. I've been pretty scared."
"Of what?" I ask, and I am dazed by the admissions he is making when The Day has been shrouded in mystery from the get-go.
"Of you leaving me," he says, and right after he does so he turns alarmingly pink, and he ducks his head as if weighed down by embarrassment.
I decided that if it's honesty hour, I must admit my own fears.
"I'm not the one who tried to walk away," I answer, and as I do so I brush my fingers across his hand. His face flushes as little darker at my touch, but I'm not asking for affection. Instead, I am grazing my fingers over the wound, now scabbed heavily over, a harsh reminder, over and over that I failed him in some way but not knowing.
How could I not know?
I feel, though, that I need to know what I've done before I can overcome it. I can't cross a bridge I refuse to acknowledge.
"I'm not going anywhere now," he says, smiling reluctantly. "I wasn't trying to take my life or anything."
"Do you swear?" I ask, because I just need to know. I can't keep going without knowing.
"I just thought it would make things better. Maybe I wouldn't so much inside if I hurt myself of the outside."
And just like that, the conversation is over. He gets up and moves away from me, and I opt to give him personal space.
19 Days Before:
When I was younger, I had a friend who broke his nose. He cried a lot, of course, as most people do when they break something, but what fascinated me was the doctor's decision on fixing it.
"They have to break it again to set it right?" I had asked, incredulous, because the whole thing did seem really preposterous, like if you stubbed your toe you certainly weren't going to stub it again to make it better. It was just twice the pain.
"It has set wrong," my mother explained. "They waited too long and it hasn't healed properly."
Harry might have laughed at me comparing our relationship to a broken nose, but that's the best way to describe it. He had been broken and I couldn't let him heal wrong. I didn't want him to ever be like this again, so I did my best to keep him in good spirits. I think my plans works, to an extent. I see his smile more and more often, and I feel like my life has been covered in clouds but the sun has decided to come back.
And I still fall more and more in love with him, but I know now is not the time to confess such a thing. It might not ever be.
18 Days Before
Since breaking up with Eleanor, the press has been searching for any girl that I have so much breathed in the same room with to declare as my new fling. I don't know what they expect, really, but I'm not looking for anything. Harry is annoyed at their treatment on the matter, and becomes infuriated when the story of me and a girl named Jenny appears on the news networks.
"Have you ever even talked to her?" he sulks, irritated.
I look up from my book and take in her face on the TV; round and childish with big brown eyes and short black hair.
"Yes. We talked briefly at a party. She's nice."
Harry blinks, taken a back, but he shrugs roughly before turning away.
"You can do better than that, mate."
I think he says it as more of a question, but I can't be too sure.
17 Days Before
"What is he doing?" Niall asks, flipping through a folder with party plans I am not allowed to look at.
"It looks like he's balancing shit on his head," Zayn remarks, texting and not even bothering to look up at the spectacle.
"They're going to fall," Liam warns, but Harry laughs and lifts his hands up to place another book on his head.
This makes four, and even though we all know it is going to end with the books falling and probably landing on his bare foot, we don't stop him because it's nice to see him doing something crazy.
"Have you decided on what cake you want?" Niall asks, watching the books waver as Harry reaches for another paperback.
"Of course not. It' more than two weeks away."
"Make up your mind," Harry says, teetering to keep the books in place.
"I want a One Direction cake," I decide. "With all our faces on it. It will be just like teenage girl's birthday party!"
The books fall in the single instance that we are all not watching, but Harry doesn't seem upset. Instead, he shrugs and flops down on the couch beside Liam, yawning.
"I need a new game," he says, sounding almost insultingly bored. Maybe the five of us were so used to being with one another by now it didn't even count as hanging out.
"We'll have drinking games!" Niall declares suddenly, furiously scribbling on a piece of paper, which I suppose I am also not allowed to look at it.
"This will be the best day of your life," Harry says, watching me carefully, his eyes flitting over the planes of my face until he decides to meet my eyes.
There is something darker in his tone, but it is swept away as Zayn challenges Liam to a contest to see who can stack more books on top of their heads, and they ask Niall to judge.
The moment is forgotten as soon as it occurred.
16 Days Before
Simon calls. He has spoken to the doctor that attended to Harry in the emergency room, and he has taken a guess from experience and warned that Harry may be suffering from both depression and a bipolar disorder, which makes sense in every way because as I am talking on the phone, Harry is huddled beneath blankets on the couch and glaring at the wall.
"What should we do?" I ask, trying to keep my voice steady and my back turned to Harry. He can't see me panicking, or he might start as well.
"Get him help. Maybe some medication. I wasn't prepared for this Louis."
"None of us were," I reply, and Harry glares at me again.
When I get off the phone, he gripes, "You and that Jenny girl are all over the news. Did you hang out?"
"Yeah?" I tip my head to the side, trying to place the accusation in his voice and what emotion it has stemmed from. "Simon likes the publicity and she isn't so bad. Just a talker, you know?"
"You like her?" Harry sits up, letting the blankets fall away from his shoulders. Despite the impending fight I feel, I can't help but to note that he seems to have the little life he regained yesterday sucked away again. How does he switch faces so quickly? He was fast becoming a blur of his former self and I hated it.
"Have you eaten today?" I demand.
"Yes," he almost shouts back. "Three peppermints and a pop tart. Do you like her?" he persists.
"I'll tell you if you eat one decent meal."
"Fine," he snaps back, and he follows me into the kitchen where he sits, fuming, in the closest chair to the stove. I feel his glare scorching my back as I cook for him. He scarfs down the macaroni in record time and throws his fork down, face sour.
"No, Harry. Of course I don't like her. I told Simon I wouldn't be dating for a while."
Instead of calming him, my words seem to piss him off more, and he jumps up and races to the bathroom, where I hear him retching.
15 Days Before:
"Depression in its darkest form," Liam says. We are sitting outside the studio, watching Niall skate board and Zayn try to walk on his hands. Harry is at home with a specialist that has flown in to speak with him and prescribe some pills to help him.
"I don't know what to do," I admit, looking at my feet instead of focusing on Liam's pity. I'm sick of pity. I want a solution. "It's like he has everything that can be possibly wrong with him happening at once."
"You don't think he's suicidal?" Liam whispers, as if he is scared to place the idea out in the open, though we all know it has been cycling in our minds since The Day.
"He told me that wasn't what he was trying to do then. He just wanted to ease his pain I guess. God, I don't really know. He's lost it and none of us can really help him, you know? There isn't anything to be done about it."
Zayn shrieks as he lands with a thump; Niall finds this hilarious. He falls to the concrete, laughing, and this serves irritates Zayn. A wrestling match quickly ensues.
"I don't know, either, Louis," Liam continues, merely shaking his head at the pair of them. "But things have to get worse before they can get better. When you get home, treat him better than you ever have before."
And I have every intention to do so, but when I get home, Harry is fast asleep in his bed and a note from the doctor is waiting for me, with instructions on when he should take which pills, and signs I should watch for. As I go into his room, the first thing I notice is the army of medicine bottles lined up on his dresser, but the first thing that makes me smile is Harry, splayed out on his bed, his mouth hanging open.
I crawl in next to him, careful not to wake him, and I quickly fall asleep, hardly caring that I have not changed, or have even removed my shoes.
14 Days Before:
He's hesitant to take the pills, again becoming the untrusting, wounded animal.
"Will they even help?" he asks, sounding immensely tired in a way that makes me depressed.
"We can try, Hazz. That's the point. Now come on."
His eyes focus on the bottle unhappily.
"Doc said they would make me hungry and tired at the same time," he says when he is finished with a lengthy yawn. "They'll make me fat before long."
Taking them from me grudgingly, he shakes out the amount needed before shoving the bottle back to me.
"But I bet that was your plan all along. Get Harry fat."
I am almost unable to form an answer around the shock of the attempted joke, but I do manage to stutter out, "Y-yes. You caught me!"
Cracking the lightest of smiles, he knocks the pills back dry before snatching the remote and turning it to a music channel for him to fall asleep to.
13 Days Before:
Harry spends the day sleeping and waking up around ten, like the pills have instantly inverted his sleeping pattern. I call and ask if this is normal, and the specialist insists that depression is entirely unpredictable with some people and the pills can only increase the randomness of it sometimes. I am told to just make sure Harry is well, and this means I'll have to start sleeping during the day as well.
Tonight, I will sleep for a long while and then I can try and adjust myself to the nocturnal lifestyle Harry has instantly taken up.
He seems happier at night, more graceful and quiet and peaceful, so I do not complain.
12 Days Before:
As I sit on the couch beside him, blinking sleep from my eyes, he watches me with amusement.
"You don't have to imitate me, you know."
"But I do. I want to be an owl," I try to joke, but I'm so tired it sounds monotonous.
"You don't have to follow me everywhere, you know," he laughs again, but it sounds distant. Has someone stuffed my ears with cotton balls?
No-I'm just that tired.
"But I do," I answer after a delayed pause, and I look again to the clock. He's been going to bed at around five A.M.; seven more hours.
11 Days Before:
The others arrive to speak about the party just as we are waking up, me feeling more refreshed and Harry looking the absolute best he has since The Day.
Even Niall notices, clapping him in the back, and we all laugh more than we have in a long while.
"So I was thinking," Zayn interrupted, smiling, "that everyone should have a hotel room. Pair up with your lover and what not. Think of all the guests! Think of how grateful everyone will be."
"Everyone will be having sex!" Harry cried, but he began laughing hysterically like sex was the funniest thing that could ever happen to a person; Niall turned a brilliant red.
"Zayn, are you crazy! We don't want Louis's birthday to be the day a bunch of kids lose their virginities. I can guarantee if you offer them a room, they'll go for it," he says, turning redder and redder.
"It will be great," Zayn declared, and I think he sound a bit too eager, but I don't press him about it.
10 Days Before:
Niall is constantly on the phone, making arrangements and confirming that people are coming.
"How many guests do I have so far?" I dare to ask.
"Almost a hundred," Niall responds quickly before saying into his cell, "Hello, this is Niall Horan. I was calling about Louis Tomlinson's birthday. You can make it? Excellent! Bring a date. Hotel rooms are being offered for everyone, but it will save us money if you couple up!"
Despite the urge to laugh at him for sounding like a secretary, I also note that he sounds enthusiastic more so than he did yesterday.
"Niall? Is something going on with you?" I say as he hangs up and scribbles on a list.
"Hm? What do you mean?"
I think carefully, wondering what I'm missing before I managed to form my question.
"I mean, do you have a girlfriend?"
"What?" he squeaks, flushing pink, and I have my answer, though he does his best to cover up the mistake.
"No, absolutely not. What makes you think that? Did someone tell you?"
"Tell me what?" I ask slyly, because he has just given himself away.
"How's Harry today?" he asks, scrabbling for another topic. I wish he had chosen a better one, but I'm not too upset, because I can report, "He's doing amazing. Was skipping around singing an hour or so ago."
Niall sounds relieved in more ways than one, and I make a mental note to pursue his love life later.
9 Days Before:
Liam is away, finalizing a few plans, and I am alone in the living room with Harry pressed close to me, feeling his laughter shaking my body along with his, and everything feels just as it should. Zayn and Niall whisper in the kitchen, and I already guess that Zayn knows something about Niall's love life, but Niall has just slowly come to trust Zayn the way I trust Harry. For the most part anyway.
Harry sighs, leaning into me even more, and I begin to feel bolder.
"Things are really looking up," I say, waiting for his answer.
"They are," he agrees, and I nearly cry with relief. "I really messed up, Lou, but I'll make everything up to you, I swear."
And I start to believe him.
8 Days Before:
Niall takes Harry out for the day, so me, Zayn, and Liam have a day at the house, chatting and eating through mine and Harry's stock of ice cream. Liam watches the both of us carefully, but his talk is normal so we relax into it, and I wonder if Harry is doing okay.
That's all I wonder anymore, I suppose. If Harry is okay. What he's thinking. What he isn't thinking. I'm so scared he's going to whip away again, and the backlash is driving me crazy. But this is a forever deal, I knew that from the very first time I met him, and I know this is something that must be met one day at a time.
"He does look better, right?" I ask them, just to assure that I'm not crazy, that I haven't lost my mind since The Day, when he cut that awful jagged line, had collapsed in the empty bathtub. "Please tell me I'm not imagining this?"
I close my eyes.
"Or better yet, tell me I am."
"You're not, mate," Niall says sympathetically. "But he's getting better all the time. He'll talk about it more when he's ready and then we can help him even more."
"We are all here for him," Liam interjects, his voice of such calm that I relax against the couch and I begin to anticipate Harry coming home even more, so that I can be sure that he is absolutely happy.
7 Days Before:
Harry is moody today, but not for any alarming reasons.
"I search the whole stinking town and I can't find a single gift for you," he gripes, crossing his arm and turning his head away.
"I don't need a gift, Harry." I laugh. "This party is plenty I suppose. I'm sure I'll get a lot of thank-you cards from the kids that are going to ravage the hotel rooms."
"Oh that reminds me…"
Harry unfolds his arms and clasps his hands together in his lap. Biting his lip nervously, he looks up at me through his hair.
"Who are you going to stay with?"
I set aside the book I was reading and stare, more so because I haven't even begun to think about such a thing more than the fact that the question was asked.
"I'm not sure. What about you?"
"I suppose I can stay with one of you guys."
I study his nervous expression before something clicks.
"Oh! Yeah, we can share a room. Single lads forever, huh?"
I chuckle and pick up my book, as he nods and sinks into the cushions to sleep.
The moonlight that fills the room glints on the peppermint wrappers piled on the table close to him, and cast the length of him in shadow.
"You're beautiful," I blurt out, and I almost instinctively slap my hand over my mouth. I wasn't supposed to think things like that, much less say them aloud.
He sits up, his mouth parted slightly as he looks at me.
"Gorgeous," I agree after a pause, because it's kind of too late to cover up my blunder and I don't really care. I guess I had been treating him as an animal recently, that I had stopped thinking of him as a person. I feel as if my heart is swelling as I look at him, how he grins widely at my compliment, and the uneven thundering of my heartbeat tells me that it would be a shame to leave him alone on the couch, so I join him.
We envelope each other as we always have, but for the very first time, I feel something a lot more from his touch, from the burst of shivers it sends skittering across my skin like dandelions puffs in the wind, and I don't want to leave the island that we share in the dark.
"Thank you, Louis," he says softly, with such an earnest and fragile appreciation you would think that I had just pulled him from the edge of a cliff.
But maybe I kind of had.
6 Days Before:
I am left alone for the day as the boys decorate the hotel. When Harry gets dropped off, I feel almost nervous at seeing him, but excited. Things are abruptly different and I like it. When he steps through the door, I rush to him and grasp him in a hug.
"Did you think I was never coming back?" he laughs, clutching at me in return, kind of spinning us on the spot.
"You never know for sure," I say, honestly at that.
His expression darkens, but he doesn't comment.
5 Days Before:
Again, they go and work tirelessly on the bloody party when I would really prefer if we were all just sitting around throwing popcorn at each other and not really paying attention to whatever lame movie Liam had picked out.
The working on the party means that I have to fix the sleeping pattern that I have been set on, Harry as well, but he doesn't mind. He is thrilled when he arrives home, jumping into my lap and pressing me to him in perhaps the oddest hug I have ever partaken in and that truly says something, me being a member of One Direction.
"I missed you," I tell him, and he simply sighs.
"I know. And I'm so sorry."
With that, he leans further into me, but he doesn't elaborate.
4 Days Before:
Something has happened, an unperceivable shift of something, like a few grains of sand moving in the vast desert. I can't place how or why, but Harry is strange. The outline of him is darker, and his eyes are tired. He looks now like an animal that is being hunted, but when I ask with him to speak with me, he waves me off.
"I'll tell you everything soon," he insists, and I don't even know what 'everything' is, but I leave him alone.
3 Days Before:
I wake up to an empty house again. This really needs to stop. For the first time, I wish my birthday was over already. So we can focus on what needs to be focused on, like Harry getting better, and exploring the something that had happened a few days previously, the thing that has changed everything, that has suddenly made me think he might care for me in the same way I have cared for him for years.
I have started realizing that I have gone my life noticing Harry in ways that are more than just acknowledgments, but more so appreciations and longings.
Not that I could place why it had taken this for me to really see and act on it, but my heart still beat its sporadic rhythm when he was near, it was more like I finally started listening to it instead of turning a deaf ear.
"Zayn and Niall are staying in a room together" is the first thing he says when he shows up, and he looks excited and nervous and expectant and like he might be sick all at once.
"Okay," I reply hesitantly. "Do they want a medal?"
"I think they have something going on. You know…like…a relationship," he finishes eventually, like a relationship is something foreign and exciting.
"That's great," I exclaim sincerely. "We need to find out for sure before we start teasing them."
"If they can't walk straight the day after your birthday," Harry says, kicking of his shoes, "We will know."
"I decided what I want to give you. I hope you like it."
He doesn't stay to be comforted or questioned, but instead slips away to take his medicine. I wish he would have stayed.
2 Days Before:
We are sitting in a coffee shop when he looks up and says, "I'm scared."
I meet his gaze, troubled.
He doesn't answer, instead swiveling his head around to take in the people before turning back to me.
"I was having a really hard time, Louis. I didn't mean for all of this to happen."
My eyes involuntarily follow his thumb as it glides over the stretched, pink skin over the healing cut. It almost shines in the lights.
"I know, Harry. It's okay."
The urge to do something that surmounts simple words possesses me, but I must wrestle with the urge to do anything. If I were to try anything-hell, even a kiss-I might terrify him. I couldn't chase him back into a dark place. I couldn't be any more responsible for this than I already was.
"I'm always here, you know," I say, and his shoulders sag and he seems to crumble in on himself, the absolute last reaction I was expecting. Almost all of the happy Harry I have slowly come to know again has crumbled like a long dead flower, and I flinch away from the comparison in my mind.
"I know, Lou," he says miserably. "But you shouldn't have to be."
The conversation is over as quickly as it came, like a hurricane gusting past, and I can see the damage more in his eyes than anywhere else.
1 Day Before:
The boys stay out late to make sure everything is perfect. Harry is even more energetic than Niall, and yesterday is forgotten easily. I tease him about what my present must be, but he doesn't seem very eager to speak of it, so I let it go as quickly as I grabbed it, and instead we watch Brave again.
He asks me once more.
Once more before The Day.
"If you had a chance to change your fate, would you?"
I look at him, and I wonder why the question is so important.
"Yes," I answer, hardly pausing to acknowledge my answer is different today than it was before. "I might change a lot of things. Wouldn't you?"
Silence falls heavy and thick between us, and I hate how it tends to settle there since The Day.
Instead of moving closer to me like he has been recently, he moves away, head down, mouth turned down.
"I would change absolutely everything."
My birthday is a hit with everyone. With the press and with Twitter and with my guests and most of all with Harry, who has taken the whole ordeal as his own masterpiece, and he jokingly denies that Liam, Zayn, and Niall helped at all.
"Two of whom were too busy kissing," he jokes, and Niall turns red.
"I thought we weren't going to joke until we knew for sure!" I exclaim, and Liam whips his head around to make sure no guests are paying attention before rolling his eyes.
"I knew a month ago. You and Harry are just slow."
"Hey!" we cry together, and Liam laughs.
The hotel is brilliant, almost blinding in its white. White walls, white furniture, white beds, but I enjoy it. It's clean. A fresh start.
From here on out, Harry would be okay.
My birthday cake features the five of us as action figures, standing among pink icing.
"This is quite a girly cake," Harry laughs, snapping a picture of it with his phone. "It's Tweet worthy."
"Must we tweet all the pictures of every cake we get?" I ask tiredly.
"This one is the best," Niall says, sticking his pinkie finger into the icing; Zayn snatches his hands and licks it off before Niall can indulge himself, and soon they are chasing one another around the giant ball room. The guests laugh and snap pictures.
When I am sung to, Harry sings close to my ear, and my mind hones in on his voice, like it's a ship lost at sea, and I can't help but to think about how sweet he sounds, like the words are a promise. I do hope it's a happy birthday.
My favorite part of my birthday was the sole unplanned event. There is a split second where, after everyone is dismissed to their rooms (Zayn sprints away, tugging a blushing Niall along) that I don't think anything will happen.
I figure we will treat the hotel room just as we treat our apartment and lounge about a bit before we fall asleep. Instead, as I turn to close the door to our suite, I find Harry standing close behind me, his breath ghosting against my neck.
I drop the keys, but the door is shut and locked, so what does it matter?
"Happy birthday, Lou," he says, with such an infinite softness I feel almost as if it's suffocating me.
"Thanks," I manage, and I don't know why the birthday wish is different on his lips, but I'm sick of questions and mysteries, and I want to know why every word that falls from his mouth elicits such emotions from me, so I turn to find out, forgetting that I need to take things slowly before I admit anything to him. I can't wait anymore.
There is no pause where he does not kiss back, or where he lips do not move with mine instantly.
We are a river, prematurely disturbed, but the dam that held us back was breaking fast.
"Louis," he almost warns, and he sounds pained, but I'm sick of pain as well. I'm sick of him hurting and I'm sick of waiting for an answer that will never be given.
"Do you mind?" I ask, my eyes still closed, my lips still against him.
"Not at all," he answers shakily, and we resume instantly.
I don't know at what point the kiss breaks, but I do know that my clothes are near as suffocating as the tenderness in his eyes. I tug his shirt off, brushing my lips against the first spot of available skin, and he gasps.
"Not fair," he says, but he sounds dizzy and like he doesn't exactly mean it, so I don't bother stopping until his hand are insistent at the hem of my own shirt. I take it off impatiently, and he seems momentarily satisfied as I continue my assault on his chest. He is impossibly warm, maybe from the hot tub water (Liam insisted on that event), or maybe from the moment, but I do know that pressing my lips against him is like putting my face close to a fire. I don't want to be burned, but if I move away from him, I will surely freeze.
There is a soft tug and I am surprised to find his fingers in my hair. I don't remember them being there, but it feels as though they have been for a long time. I don't really know how we ended up in this situation in the first place, but I can't complain.
It is hard to say, but I think he has gotten taller, because I must rock onto my tiptoes a little to move back into our kiss. He surely must have been leaning down earlier.
I feel his groan against my mouth as my hands slid down his sides, my fingers moving across his ribs and gripping his hips. The groan almost sends me over the edge, but I keep myself in check. I let my heels fall back as I kiss a trail down his chest. He stretches his neck upwards, offering up more skin, more of a chance to feel.
I don't remember falling onto the bed, but I more so am aware of how much easier it is to press more of me to him, to straddle him and tug at his pants. I hear his shoes hit the floor and then his jeans, and I decide it is best that mine follow before they get in the way.
"This is going to hurt," I warn him, and I feel my face turn warm at my own words, because, as far as I know, neither of us have ever done this before and I'm not entirely sure what it's doing. And hadn't I told myself that I would stop letting Harry hurt?
"I don't mind," he whispers beneath me, and his green eyes are shadowed with lust, hooded with expectation. His breath is short of coming as I rock towards him, against his erection I feel beneath me. I kiss and suck at his neck, leaving a mark there, and I find that I like that very much, a piece of me there, a new mark that can draw my eyes away from his wrist. A mark of love instead of hate.
I dip down again, letting my kisses and tongue glide over him, and I hear him begging but I know they are merely echoes of my own wants and I try to tune them out because if I were to follow his pleas, I would not be able to gentle with him and I had to be.
At his the top of his boxers, I pause, and my mouth is so close to him that I don't know what I'm waiting for until I feel his shudder, racing against my own flesh and I feel a savage need to do exactly as he asks without hesitation.
When I pull of his underwear, I yank mine off as well, because I don't want any more interruptions. I just want him and I could have all of him and I didn't want any part of me saying any different.
He can't even form another 'please' before I take all of him in my mouth, letting my tongue wrap around him, letting my teeth graze against the sensitive area to the slightest of degrees. Beneath me, he jerks and nearly convulses, so I must place a hand on his hip to keep him down. My touch does not calm him as intended it to, but instead sends him over the edge, and I nearly choke on him and come everywhere as he lets out a desperate, low, scream.
I think that the whole hotel must hear it, because it rings in my ears and I need him instantly. The blowjob is short lived in my mind, but it might have lasted longer than I thought. I bob up and down, taking all of him, breathing against the head of his cock, and sealing my lips firmly around him as he comes.
I just want to be inside him, to make him cry again and again.
Thoughts in synch with mine, he rolls, hardly disrupting me, and I find my eyes sweeping down the length of his back, to his butt and his legs and the way that he is just waiting. Waiting for me to make him happy, and I can finally do that without any restriction. I have nothing to ease the pain I will inflict but my spit, so I decided it will have to do.
I might have begun to consider going and asking Zayn or Niall if they cared to share any lube (Niall would have insisted on that one), but I think they must be just as occupied as we are. With my hands on his hips, I position myself. I'm scared of doing something wrong, and I don't know if this is how it's supposed to work or not but I do know that me and Harry belong together in every way so it's okay if I mess up because we can make and amend our mistakes together.
With all the doubts thrown away, I press into him, slowly, and his head falls against the bed with that same cry.
"Louis," he groans, and I don't know if I will have the self-control to continue at such a slow pace, but I must remember that he trusts me, and I press deeper, letting him adjust while I revel in the feeling of the feeling of being in him, of the way that I am driving him insane.
"Faster," he demands, with the faintest hint of ferocity, and I comply, pulling out slightly before easing back in, though not as slow, and I repeat, picking up the rhythm, enjoying the sounds that slip from him lips, of the way his face twists with undefinable pleasure.
"Don't stop," he begs, and I don't think I could if I tried.
We are rocking the bed slightly, and I know without a doubt that someone, somewhere, in this hotel is now highly aware that I am fucking Harry Styles and I honestly can't care, because, hey, I'm fucking Harry Styles. He screams my name louder as the tempo of movement increases.
I can't even warn him as I come, and he doesn't even say another word as he does for the second time. Instead, we groan, then sigh. I pull out, but keep my hands on him. I don't know if I'll ever be able to move them again.
We lay together, and now that I have relished in what we have did, I can say it is the best birthday I have ever had and maybe ever will have.
I think he is asleep against my chest, and I am thinking I will soon follow, when his eyelashes flutter against me like butterflies, and he sits up.
"I need to take my medicine," he explains, and instead of the fact that he must do such a thing ruining the moment, it is undermined by the fact that Harry is mine and he is smiling down at me, and I can sweep my eyes across his still-naked body and think about all the things we can do now.
"Happy birthday, Louis," he says, barely audible, and I don't question the expression on his face, the weirdness, the reluctance the pain the sorrow, or even the pitiful love that I see. All those emotions flash through his features, but I don't read into them. My mind feels sluggish.
He disappears into the bathroom and shuts the door.
I doze off.
When I finally draw my eyes open, I find myself alone in the bed still, and this unsettles me. My phone is vibrating on the floor, still in my pants pocket. I know they are birthday wishes and such, but thankfully the clock hanging above the TV says I only have about forty minutes left in my birthday. The best one I've had.
"Harry?" I call, and I don't know what I expect, but it isn't the silence.
I sit up, my sights focusing on the cracked bathroom door, and my stomach does a flip.
"Harry!" I call again, more demanding this time, like he is just being childish. I must calm myself with the fact that I don't even know that he is in here, if maybe he left to talk to one of the others. Still, I slide off the bed and pull on my boxers and my pants. If he isn't in the bathroom I have every intention to go find him. Maybe he will be smiling that half-smile. Maybe he will want to pick up where we left off. We still have all night. We have forever.
And this is what I am thinking when I press against the door, and find him on the floor.
1 Day After:
Liam says I ran from the room, screaming for them, but I don't remember it. He says I clung to Harry until they had to wrench me away to place him on the stretcher. I do remember that. Liam also says I split my head open on the corner of the sink, when I was fighting them.
"That's why you're head hurts," he explains, and I don't bother telling him that I feel pain everywhere in the exact same ways. The absolute terror hasn't spared a single cell of me, and I could be set on fire for all I care.
I feel no sense of anything. I don't even think I blink.
My mind is running through, trying to piece together the instance I saw him, and how my feet slid over the pills scattered on the tiled floor, how some were crushed, how some still lay in his hands. I flinched away from the image. I never wanted to remember it.
Niall sits to the right of me, one hand wrapped in Zayn's, and I numbly think, "Well good for them. I'm glad their night didn't end up like ours."
Liam coughs lightly. There are tears in his eyes, but the three of them watch me like I am a bull waiting to charge, so I say nothing, lest I panic them.
There isn't much to say as we wait, isn't much to do but remind each other every hour or so that we are here. The clock is surely stopped. The batteries aren't working. Oh-never mind. It has moved by a minute. Or maybe that makes another hour.
I suppose it wasn't technically a full day ago, but my brain wants to put a gap in my memory from the event, so I decide to count this as Day One After, even though the slow-motion clock says it has been five hours since we arrived. How long will this take?
"It's going to be okay," Zayn says hollowly, and I don't know who he is speaking to, but we all shift a little at his cracked voice. It sounds odd after the lengthy silence.
"Is he still alive?"
I am glad someone asks, and I wait for the answer until I realize the question has slipped from me.
The others share a sad look before Liam answers.
"He was barely breathing when he got here. But he must be hanging on now. Otherwise they would have told us."
The world suddenly cuts to black and I'm scared I have passed out until I realized my eyelids have closed on their own accord. I can't bear this anymore.
Two hours later, a nurse stops by to talk to us.
"Stabilized, but no visitors until we can get everything out of his system. He's incredibly lucky."
She left it at that and advised us to go home, but Liam was the only one to move.
"I'm going to get our things," he says grimly. "We might be here for a long while."
2 Days After:
I don't question whether it is legal or not, but we have literally set up a tent in the waiting room, after a brief rearranging of the furniture of course. The nurses say nothing, so we don't either, as if we are on strike to see Harry and they are calling our bluff.
The press is excited. Everyone knows it was attempted suicide, but they can't get our feelings on anything because they are not allowed in the vicinity.
We sit in our tent, playing cards, laying close to each other, and waiting.
3 Days After:
Anne stops by to give me news I don't want to hear.
"He left you a note, dear," she says, arms crossed, cupping her elbows as she bites her lip. "He left it on the table, in an envelope."
At that, she tugs the thing from her purse. I stare at it like it contains a snake.
"I don't want it."
Her lips turn up, almost amused.
"If you don't read it, someone else will."
I take the letter, but I don't intend to read it anytime soon.
4 Days After:
They still have nothing to say about the tent, though I thought they would throw us out by now. We have all sensibly guessed someone who we work with has been paying them to keep their mouths shut, but I wish they would just let us see Harry.
On the fourth day, while we were sitting in our tent playing cards, a nurse scratches her fingernails against the fabric of our tent. Zayn unzips the front and sticks his head out.
"What?" he snaps, because we are done waiting and our time hear has made us short-tempered.
"You may see Mr. Styles now, but the visit must be kept short."
The words are barely out before we are scrambling over each other like puppies, clambering to the elevator. It can't come fast enough. Anne is standing outside his room when we get there, talking quietly in the phone.
She takes it away and says, "One at a time, boys."
The others don't hesitate before they take a step back, volunteering me, and I find that I am nervous. How do I talk to him? What will he say? But what will I even say?
As I step in, I see him in a much worse way than I did before.
When he cut that deep gash in his wrist, he was still alive, still alert as he watched me trying to save him. I knew that he would be okay because bad things just didn't happen to us like that. Disasters were for other people, and I think most people thought the same way until tragedy got sick of their arrogance and came back to kick them in the teeth.
Harry looks dead. In fact, I stagger back a step, prepared to run and get help until his head slowly turns towards me. The hairs on the back of my neck prickle. Even at his lowest low after The Day, he did not look this badly. His eyes were-for lack of no other word to describe it-dead. Entirely empty and blank as he stares at me.
"Hello," he says, and his voice is raspy and shallow. "Here to ask me the same questions as everyone else?"
"What have they been asking you?"
"Why I did it."
He turns away, and I know he doesn't want to talk anymore, and I must say that after days of wishing to be close to him, I want to be very far away from this Harry that is not broken, but absolutely empty.
"Why would you try to leave me like that?" I say, and my tone does not come out accusing as I intend, but instead breaks half-way through.
There is a pause before he looks up at me again, and I hate that I see pity in his expression, like I'm the messed up one in the scenario.
"Because I can't do this anymore, Lou. I can't handle the press and the media and the waiting for something good to happen when it just won't-"
"What about the other night?" I all but scream at him.
The skin on his cheeks turns the faintest of pinks, but all I can see is how the rest of his skin is sallow, almost tinged yellow in the harsh lights.
"It was amazing," he says breathlessly, "but it couldn't happen again. You were going to wake up and realize that you made a mistake, that you just felt sorry for me-"
"Don't tell me how I feel!" I am certainly shouting now, and all I think is that this reunion should have gone better.
"Because you have pitied me for over thirty days now," he goes on, raising his dry voice over mine. "And I can't take it anymore. I thought you would understand after you read the note, but I suppose not. I've been in love with you for almost five years and you never cared so much until I did this!"
He waved he hand in the air, wrist up.
"I just wanted one time with you. One time and then I wouldn't bother you anymore."
Abruptly, he sags back against the bed, his expression surpassing miserable in a heartbreaking devastation that drains away all my anger far more quickly than I would have liked, honestly.
"Just one time," he repeats. "And then I would go. I still want to go," he says wretchedly.
"Then I'll follow," I answer, simple and precise, and I don't know where the words come but I do like the sound of them and I mean them.
There is a pause where he thinks that through before he lifts his head up slowly, as if it weighs a thousand pounds.
"Don't ever take your life," he says, voice soft with an anger that seems to shake him.
"I wouldn't," I reply honestly. "But you know a part of me is always going to go where you are."
I am out of things to say, and I want him to think it through, so I spin on my heel and leave, but I do turn once and say, "I'm in love you," before I go.
Just to let him know that saying 'I love you' wasn't enough.
I was in love with Harry, and he loved me back, but I think he was far more in love with the idea of an escape, with the romanticism of a love doomed by nothing but his own pessimistic thoughts.
I had always loved him, but the words we never shared, despite the countless opportunities, almost silenced him forever.
5 Days After:
I take the elevator alone and crawl back into my tent, straight to my corner of our temporary residence, and take up the letter. The desire to read it isn't strong, but I feel like I need to know what's going on.
The tear of the paper is inaudible, and as I unfold the notebook page, I can see his scrawled, hurried handwriting, blurred in some places, like he had cried. Reading it is like pressing my hand against a hot stove, but I know I will hate myself more tomorrow if I don't read it today.
By now, I should be dead, and I hope this is read by no one but you. You're the only one who will really understand the reasoning I have. Or at least, I hope so. I thought a long time about what I should get you as a present and decided that this was it, Lou. I will give you peace of mind, some rest that I know you deserve. I will give you freedom by removing myself from this place. I know you may be upset at first, but I think you will see it's for the better over time, and I know my gift will be worth it when you get over the initial shock.
So I will give you everything I have.
I know I was selfish tonight, by attacking you like that, but I think we fit together nicely in the end. I think this, more than anything else, will upset you the most, but I can't stay here and hurt you anymore, Lou. I can't make you baby-sit me. I won't be getting better. And I can't take you down with me.
I love you Louis. More than you ever know and I'm so sorry for it.
Maybe if I was a stronger person I wouldn't have to do this.
The words swim behind my eyes, and though I want to tear the note up and throw it away, I neatly fold it and place it back in the envelope.
Then I curl up and force myself away from reality and into dreams, where me and Harry are on the white hotel bed, and he is smiling and we are wrapped in one another in nothing but bliss.
And he is fully alive.
6 Days After:
The boys have left me by myself to get food. My phone says it's early in the morning, but I don't care. I wonder what Harry talked to them about. What he told his mother.
I have every intention to stay in the tent until we are allowed another visit, and even then I don't think I want to go, but then again, I know I'm being selfish. Harry had been on his back, eyes glazed and blank, his body filled with an overdose of his sleeping pills, and I was scared that I would blink and see him like that again. The specialist had left me the note, had basically placed Harry in my care, and I had thought nothing of it.
Because why would anyone try to commit suicide after such an occasion?
"Harry would," I mumble, answering my own question. I don't understand his reasoning entirely, and I want to ask him about it, why he would think that he was a burden to me, but I just don't know what to do anymore.
What could have easily been anywhere from five minutes to an hour later, the front of the tent unzips slowly, and I sit up.
"About time," I say, and my stomach growls in agreement. None of us have been eating much, and it has certainly caught up to us.
However, it is not one of the lads that poke their heads through, but a little girl, her wide blue eyes blinking owlishly at me.
"I like your fort," she says, looking around. "My mommy never lets me get mine this messy though."
Laughing, I reach out a hand for her to shake.
"I'm Louis. What's your name?"
Blinking rapidly, she pulls her head back and huffs.
"I'm not supposed to speak to strangers." A millisecond of hesitation. "My name is Amy Lee. But I like Lee better than Amy."
"Do you?" I ask, and I am smiling, I can feel the muscles working on my face in a way they haven't in six days. "I like them both the same."
Crawling out, I join her in the official waiting room, where crayons are scattered on the floor, like she was coloring but had noticed the enormous tent and had gotten curious.
"You can't like both the same," she accuses, placing her small hands on her hips. "You like one better and that's that."
Nodding, I look around the room and find it empty.
"Where are your parents?"
"I don't have parents. Just a mommy. She's talking to the tall man about stuff."
She sticks her arms out and begins to spin in circles.
"I've been here for soooo long!" she exclaims, and I catch a glimpse of her hospital bracelet for the first time. "I want to go home but Mommy won't let me. She says I have to get better. So I visit with the other kids and read the stories. I can read on a fourth grade reading level even though I'm only eight!"
One topic to the next without any invitation for conversation; she doesn't waste time waiting for people's opinions and I instantly like her for it.
"And what grade are you in?" I ask her, genuinely interested.
"Second. But I'm smart. Mommy says I'm the smartest kid she has ever known, and she is a teacher!"
She tries to stop and raise her chin in pride, but instead she is thrown off balance, and falls to the floor, giggling. Something about her seems very small on the hospital floor, so I join her, lying on my stomach and placing my chin in my hands.
"Are you sick, too?" she asks.
"No, but my very special friend is."
I stumble over the word 'friend'. Me and Harry kind of skipped over that fence from the beginning.
Then, her childish face lights up with realization.
"You know Harry! I've wanted to meet his Louis since yesterday, but he said it wasn't a good idea. I'm going to keep this our secret, but just for now."
Jumping up, she ruffles my hair and scampers away, towards the elevator where a young nurse says, "Do you remember the floor for the child's wing, Amy?"
"Amy Lee," the little girl corrects cheerfully. "And of course I know! I even know how to multiply."
I don't know if she does or not, but I do know I like her and that I am grinning foolishly as the front doors slid open and Liam walks in carrying drinks. Niall and Zayn have a giant bag a piece.
"What are you so happy about?" Zayn asks curiously, and I intend to answer him but I really don't know.
7 Days After:
Harry is moved to another room where he will be monitored carefully before they determine what the next step will be. The tent is moved into his room, and I rather enjoy the fact that the nurses now only glare at us when they come in to give him his medicine.
Niall and Zayn spend a lot of the time down in the cafeteria, and Liam stays outside on the phone. I know he is handling the press and our Twitters, but I can't begin to thank him so I don't even try to initiate the conversation.
There is tension between me and Harry, but it is easing with every hour, and I think he is starting to trust my words again.
"They want to take you away. To get serious help."
"Might as well." He flips through a magazine, bored with the prospect.
"You won't get to stay with me," I protest, and some emotion floods his eyes.
"Do you really want me to?"
He looks up, almost hopeful, and I sense a breakthrough, though it is interrupted by Amy Lee bursting in.
"There you are!"
She glares at Harry.
"I thought you left here without saying goodbye."
"I would never!" Harry says dramatically, and I see something more in his face, a bit of worry and a lot of affection. From the emotions rolled over from our conversation, he almost looks happy.
Amy Lee takes a running jump and lands on his bed, still glaring, but not as harshly.
"Okay," she says, then catches sight of me. "Louis!"
Harry is surprised, but he covers it up and says, "Yep. We were just talking about stuff. Is your mom around?"
"No." Amy Lee pouts. "She left me here with my grandpa and he fell asleep."
As if on cue, and elderly man appears in the doorway, wheezing heavily.
"Amy Lee," he scolded, "Get back to your room and leave these poor people alone."
"She's no trouble," Harry says pleasantly, and the old man offers a smile before Amy Lee hops off the bed, waving at us wildly, and disappears down the hall, her ringing laughter filling the silence of the halls.
Her grandfather shakes his head and follows without another word.
"How do you know her?" Harry asks me after a moment.
"Met her in the lobby's waiting room." I shift in my chair. "She said she knew you before running off."
Harry sighs, and begins to say things I do not expect, "I've been selfish. I've been laying here thinking about how I wish I was dead when I had something pretty good going for me. She kind of shook me awake over the past few days, you know?"
"Harry, what are you talking about?" I ask, dumbfounded by both his the sincerity of the words and the unclearness of them all.
He looks at me, confused, and says, "She's dying, Lou."
At my stricken expression, he adds, "a brain tumor. I thought you must have known."
8 Days After:
Calm and yielding, Harry's immediate progress shocks the doctors, but I don't trust it. He was happy the night he almost-and I believe technically-died, and I fully expected another mood swing.
However, Amy Lee hung close to him, and he admitted to us that she had really changed everything. I don't trust in him miraculously being better though. His mental health had deteriorated and it couldn't be fixed, just like that. He may have been woken up by Amy Lee's situation, but he was still drowsy. Still unsure, so when Simon arrived and told us they wanted to take him to an institution for clinically depressed teenagers, and I gave my firm approval.
I expect him to look at me with a betrayed look, but instead, he nods and agrees.
"Thank you," he says.
9 Days After:
They send him off promptly, and we are allowed a phone call a day. Nothing more. I don't know if he wants to speak to me or not, so I don't call on the first day, but instead think of Amy Lee, how smart she is. I bet Harry will call her as well as us.
10 Days After:
Harry's attempted suicide has damaged us all. I know we were expected a miracle cure after his cutting incident, and we really thought we had one. I know Liam is trying to get it all figured out so he can tell me how it works.
He sits across from me, his laptop open, and types rapidly, keyboard clicking in the silence, only disturbed by the gentle talking of Louis and Zayn in the kitchen. I don't think he will be finding any answers.
11 Days After:
I sleep the entire day. The others are alarmed, as if I am following Harry's path, but I'm too sleepy to wake up and tell them to quit being stupid. Though I do know this; I am drained. I can't muster any energy to do much until I know about Harry. How he is, what they are doing to help him, and most importantly if he still loves me like he did the night of my birthday. I want him to come back and tell me I didn't ruin things, to tell me that he won't be trying to leave again, that he will stay with me.
I just want forever. But at this point I am more than willing to take a second.
12 Days After:
Harry calls me. His voice is brittle, but he manages to sound accusing all the same.
"You haven't called me!"
"I didn't know if you wanted me to!" I snap back, and he falls silent.
"I did," he finally answers, and I sit down on the arm of the couch, waiting for him to add something else, but he doesn't.
"Are you getting better?" I ask, timid.
"Every day," he replies softly, and the world doesn't feel so dark anymore.
13 Days After:
The next phone call I get is not from Harry, but from Amy Lee's mother. I am shocked, but I play along and greet her, asking about her day before she carries on to her reasons for calling.
"Amy Lee has been talking about you and Harry and she wants you to visit. Do you think you could…?"
"Absolutely," I say instantly, and I do mean it. I enjoyed little Amy Lee and staying with her for a while might lift his spirits.
She sat in her hospital bed, a coloring book in her lap and her thumb in her mouth. As she catches sight of me, she quickly removes it and beams.
"Louis! You came to see me!"
"Of course I did," I reply, her infectious enthusiasm brightening my tone.. "I missed you!"
It may be strange to miss someone you had only known for such a brief period, but when a person puts a mark on you, it's there forever, and Amy Lee had certainly done that. I love her energy and enthusiasm, and I can't even bear to remember what Harry had told me about her.
"How is Harry?" she asks, breaking into my thoughts.
"He's fine. Getting better all the time."
She let out a little puff of breath.
"I'm so glad. Come read to me!"
Just like that, she refused to dwell on the negative, refused to stop and think about the 'what ifs' and the 'whys' and she simply moved forward. I hate to think about death stopping her.
The book in her lap was Cinderella.
I didn't mind it in particular, so I read it, twice and then three times, sitting beside her on the bed, until she falls asleep on my shoulder.
14 Days After:
I go to see Amy Lee again, but her mother stops me in the hall and tells me it's not a good day to visit, that Amy Lee is doing badly.
"How long does she have?" I ask, and I want to take the words back instantly at the expression on her mother's face. The woman is petite and beautiful, but I think she is worn by this misfortune.
"They said any day now."
I wonder why a good thing must always be canceled out by a bad thing, but I suppose we should just take what we can get in such a terrible world.
15 Days After:
Simon calls. Harry is progressing magnificently. I don't believe that. Amy Lee's mother, Heather, calls. She's doing worse. That I can believe.
16 Days After:
I am sitting with my legs crossed in the playroom of the Children's wing of the hospital, watching Amy Lee build a castle out of Legos.
"I want to grow up to be a princess," she declares, and I chuckle.
"You could be one. You have the sass."
Her tiny face scrunches as she shakes her head, her brown curls bouncing around her shoulders.
"No," she says thoughtfully. "You have more sass than me."
Funny. I don't remember having any 'sass' for a good two months.
"But it's not about who has more. I'm not going to be a princess, after all."
She looks up at me, and I see something strange behind her eyes, almost an expectancy, but she blinks and looks down, and the emotion is gone.
"You have everything to be a princess, Louis."
She places a little flag on top of the crude castle, which is a lovely assortment of green, red, and blue.
"But I don't. Little girls don't get to be princesses."
And just like that, I have an idea.
17 Days After:
Harry is doing well enough, and when I tell him the plan I hear the old stir of excitement in his voice.
"You're an angel, Louis," he says and my heart flutters.
Convincing Amy Lee's mom is just a little harder, but she does agree on the condition that she can come along, and I don't mind at all. I admire Heather, how she stays at the hospital night and day with her daughter. In this world, with all the sucky parents, she really glows with her love.
And this world really needs love.
18 Days After:
Heather begins to pack, and Harry comes home from the institution. When I first see him, I feel as if someone has punched me in my gut. His face is full of life and his cheeks glow pink with good health. The smile on his face is wide even though he has only just noticed me, standing somewhat behind Liam. I notice his scar has faded so considerably.
Liam steps aside, and nudges me forward.
I don't intend to, but I am running for him, and even though I fall into him, he catches me and for the first time I realize maybe he saved me as much as I saved him.
19 days After:
Amy Lee bounces up and down in her seat, pressing her face against the window of the airplane.
"We're flying!" she squeals, and Heather laughs.
"Have you never flown before?" Harry asks her, and my eyes snap to him, to the simple peace within his voice. I don't know what he found while he was away, but I hope maybe he will share it. I want to know about a place where a broken, finished man can go to and return as his former self.
Then I feel his fingers brush against mine purposely, and I must contradict myself.
A better self.
"I never got the chance to!" Amy Lee all but screams; the flight attendants glare at Heather, so she grabs her daughter's hands and whispers, "This isn't even the best part. We all have a big surprise for you! But you have to go to sleep first. When you wake up, maybe we will be there."
Amy Lee studies her mom's face and promptly falls against the window, emitting loud, theatrical snores that slip into real one's within minutes.
"Is this safe?" Harry whispers, once we know for sure she is out. "Louis told me they said any day…."
"Which is why we need to chase life before it leaves, instead of sitting and waiting for death to catch up to us," Heather replies solemnly, and we watch the clouds together in silence, and I still feel Harry's fingers rubbing against mine.
20 Days Later:
When Amy Lee sees the sign, she is ecstatic, grabbing onto her mom's hand, then opting to tackle me and Harry.
"You brought me to Disney World!" she shrieks, clinging onto us and laughing and sobbing at the same time. "You brought me to the princesses!"
"But you can't meet them in this," Harry says, kneeling down so that he can look her directly in the eye. He gestures to me and I pull a package from my backpack.
"Why don't you meet them in this?"
One look at the magnificent, miniature pink ball gown and she is howling; several heads turn in alarm, but she throws herself around Harry, kissing his cheeks and screaming 'thank you', over and over before grabbing me and dragging me down.
Before long, the four of us are enveloped in a group hug at Amy Lee's level, and when Heather cries, Amy Lee thinks it is because she is so happy for her daughter.
We don't have the heart to tell her it's only half true.
Amy Lee meets them all. She saves Cinderella for last, because I believe that princess has some special hold on her heart. My thoughts are confirmed when we find ourselves alone, Harry having convinced Heather to ride a rollercoaster after finding out that she had never ridden one.
I buy Amy Lee a pretzel and as we sat down I ask her what she liked most about Cinderella.
"Her life was awful," she replies without hesitation, like she had carefully thought it through "She had nothing and then one day her life is brilliant because her Fairy Godmother comes along and she just waves her wand and everything is really special. I wanted my life to be special before it's over."
Then she looks up at me, round face flushed with sincerity.
"You and Harry are my Fairy Godmothers!"
So I am naturally not surprised when she cries at the sight of Cinderella.
"I always wanted to be a princess," she sniffles. "And now I get to meet you!"
The girl who plays Cinderella must have heard this story a million times, but when she sees our faces, I think she detects something acutely abnormal about this. I'm not saying that she guessed what was going on, but maybe she had some idea, because her face is exceptionally kind as she bends down and says, "You are the most beautiful princess I have ever seen, and I am so honored to be in your presence."
We spend the entire day there, and whatever Amy Lee asks for, we give her. I know Heather may not want her daughter to be spoiled, but I don't think Amy Lee could ever be like that. Not ever. I think she wanted a piece of this world more than she wanted materialistic items, so we bought her a crown and a wand, a few stuffed animals, and a T-Shirt.
I think the biggest part of the magic for her is the picture we all take with Cinderella. She looks at this the most.
We get several copies, a wallet for me and Harry and a few bigger versions to share among the four of us.
"I want one by my bed at the hospital!" Amy Lee had demanded.
She rides the rides Heather thinks are safe, and we stay the night at a fancy hotel nearby. We have all day tomorrow to have more fun, and we have another dress for Amy Lee to wear. The magic doesn't have to stop here.
21 Days After:
Amy Lee wears a brilliant green dress today, and she revisits the princesses, clinging to Cinderella not as much, but taking even more interest in Tiana.
"You know what the difference between Cinderella and Tiana is?" she asks me and Harry while Heather is in line to buy balloons.
"What?" me and Harry asked together.
"Cinderella was really scared to do something crazy. Magic just kind of found her. I think Tiana found her own magic."
"Which do you like better?" I ask, chuckling, thinking for the millionth time that she really is smart for a girl so young.
"I'm not sure," she admits. "But I think I'm more like Cinderella, because Harry found me. But I found you, Louis, so maybe I'm Tiana."
Over the chatter of the park, over the brilliance of the day, I see Amy Lee as a girl who is fighting cancer with all her will, who hasn't even brought it up to us. She doesn't want us to feel sorry for her, and she doesn't want to stop and dwell on the fact that she is very, very sick.
She just wants a fairytale.
"But you're certainly a princess," Harry tells her, and she grins so widely, I notice for the first time she has a missing tooth near the back of her mouth, and I reminded how young she is, that her life has barely started. This little girl lost a tooth recently, and she probably won't live to have her adult tooth grow back in.
"Thank you for making my dreams come true," she tells us, hopping down from her seat and walking around the table for another hug, and I cherish this one like I have the countless she has given us since we have met.
Each one could be the last.
22 Days After:
On the airplane home, Amy Lee is quiet.
"I'm just sleepy," she tells us, clasping the picture of us with Cinderella in her hands.
"She has had a busy few days," Heathers says, but she looks worried as Amy Lee drift off. We don't exactly know a great deal about the woman, except that she is very kind and tough, so when she says, "I wish her father would have stayed," Harry and I can only stare at her, shocked.
"He didn't want to have child," she goes on, voice heavy. "But I wanted to keep her so badly. When we got the news about her illness…"
Heather swallows audibly.
"He decided he was right about having a child all along, that it would bring nothing but problems."
She falls silent, and Harry and I exchange troubled looks. I think we both want to comfort her, but what are we to say?
23 Days After:
After we drop Heather and Amy Lee off at the hospital, Harry returns to our house with me, to my immense surprise.
"I'm okay, Lou," he says, rolling his eyes. "I really am."
"Okay," I agree, but I am skeptical.
Liam, Niall, and Zayn stop by, and I know without asking that we have all agreed to assess Harry, to make sure he won't try anything crazy, but instead he is exactly the Harry that I met at the X-Factor house, the one who would rub my back to put me to sleep, the one who cooked for me, and the Harry who would wink at me and make loud, perverted jokes.
And better yet, he was the Harry I had met the night of my birthday. When the others were distracted, he places his chin on my shoulder and whispers, "You're beautiful," and he holds my hand for brief periods of time, for the reminder that I was there, I would guess.
"What happened while you were away to make you like this?" I ask him, and he grins crookedly.
"That's my little secret."
24 Days After:
Without any explanation, Harry tells me that he is moving back here, that he is done with his therapy for now and will only be seeing a doctor sparingly.
"What changed?" I ask after his announcement, and I am dazed.
"A lot of things."
He shrugs. "But I want to be here. With you."
Then, he bows his head, embarrassed, and says, "If you still want me after all this."
"You know I always will," I say without hesitation. "You will always be Harry, and I'm always going to want no one else but you."
Motivated by the fleeting possibilities that course through my mind, possibilities of the future I have dared not dream of, I step forward and loop my arms around his neck, and we share our first kiss that is does not lead to something intimidate, but is monumental all the same with its passion and assurance.
Harry is here.
25 Days After:
Heather calls and tells us that Amy Lee's condition is rapidly worsening. When she does so, and Harry and I are intertwined on the couch, laughing as Zayn tries to throw grapes into Liam's open mouth and Niall messes his aim up by tickling Zayn's sides.
The news shatters the peaceful moment, and I sit up, disturbing Harry.
"It's Amy Lee," I say, and his face twists in horror.
"She's getting worse," I explain quickly, before his mind jumps to any other conclusion.
"We need to go," Harry replies, and he moves fast, grabbing clothes for us, stuffing them into a bag, and pulling out two of his jackets from his closet, tossing one to me.
"What's going on?" Niall asks blankly, and I realize for the first time that they barely know what is happening with Amy Lee, and to stop and explain would be wasting time.
"We'll call and tell you later," Harry says hastily, and he grabs my hand and pulls me out the door.
For the first time, she is drained of energy, sunk in her sheets and her face pale instead of flush with excitement.
"Harry and Louis are here," Heather whispers, nudging her daughter.
Amy Lee's eyes flick to us and she says, in a haughty voice, "I need to talk to Louis alone."
Harry and Heather are stunned, but they oblige quickly, shutting the door behind them. I don't know what this little girl has to tell me, but I want to hear it. I want to remember her voice as she screamed in delight at Disney World, and I want to remember her as she slips away. I just want to always remember Amy Lee.
So I sit down in the chair Heather had been at, leaning over the bed railing and grabbing her small hand. Her nails are painted a pale green.
"Do you like them?" she asks, following my eyes.
"I do. They're the color of Tiana's dress."
As I say that, he head nods approvingly.
"I was hoping you'd remember that. I decided I want to be Tiana. I want to go find magic instead of waiting for it. But I don't blame Cinderella. Some people just aren't strong enough to find it. Or they don't have the chance to."
"I have the chance. Mommy hasn't told me, but I know. She thinks I don't hear her crying."
"Are you scared?" I whisper.
"Oh no," she laughs, and I notice the very faint beginning of her missing tooth beginning to grow back. "I think there is magic everywhere. Maybe there will be even more wherever I go after I die, even more than at Disney World!"
Tears are sliding down my face, and I want to ask where she learned all this. She was just a child. She shouldn't know about death, shouldn't even have to know that it was coming back for her. Heather had said we should chase life, but we were running out of time, and Death was running faster.
"But I'm happy with our picture." She gestures to the framed photo of Cinderella by her bedside. "I really love it. And I wanted to tell you something. About Harry."
I wait expectantly, and when she is satisfied with my silence and attentiveness, she goes on.
"He's really scared of magic. He's scared to have something like that because he's scared it's going to go away and leave him. I think he is upset and worried that you might leave him alone like my dad did my mommy, just because Dad thought Mom made a mistake, and it's not fair."
She takes a deep breath.
"And Harry didn't want to know magic because then he would always want it. I think he had to come to the hospital because it drove him crazy, but he never told me for sure. But you can show him what magic is. I tried to. I sent him letters while he was away, and some coloring pages, so maybe he will get it. I just want you and Harry to live happily ever after if I can't."
I am hardly aware how hard I am crying until she reaches up and brushes her hands across my face. Just a little girl. I remember her age-eight year's old- and wonder again and again how she knows so much. Maybe death felt sorry for her and is whispering the secrets of life to her as It takes her away. I don't know. I don't want to know.
But I did say I wanted to remember Amy Lee, and I will always remember her last words to me, and mine to her.
"Live a Fairy tale for me," she says, her voice soft and shaking with something like sorrow and fear and joy and maybe even relief all rolled into one.
"I will," and I sit with her hand in both mine for a while, until she is dozing off. I kiss her on the forehead and leave the room to give Heather and Harry some time with her.
26 Days After:
Heather wakes me and Harry up. We had fallen asleep in the lobby, his head in my lap, my hand in his hair. We had fallen asleep under a stern nurse's stare, and I remember her vaguely as the nurse who had been working when me, Zayn, Niall, and Liam had set the tent up.
When Heather wakes us, we know.
She isn't sobbing, but not because she is being strong, nor is it because she is not sad. Instead, she is far beyond pain, transcending all emotions to a state of absolute agony that knows no words.
She asks us to help make funeral arrangements, and we agree in hollow voices.
27 Days After:
And just like that, Amy Lee's life is gone.
Like a candle burning brightly one day, then snuffed out the next, its smoke twisting towards the sky. I still think maybe I will see her there, but maybe I should look for her elsewhere. Maybe I should look for her in the magic she left us. I don't ask Harry what her last words to him were, and he doesn't offer, but I feel like me and him need to stop taking things for granted, and I know he must agree.
As we are trying on tuxes-we are to carry her coffin to the grave along with her grandfather and uncle-he studies me while I am straightening his tie.
"While I was away," he says with no preamble, "I started thinking about a little girl who was dying. She loved her life so much that she wanted to make it really something before she left the world. You know? She wanted to help others with their shallow problems. I had the world that night," he says, leaning into me, and I know he is talking about my birthday night, "and I was willing to throw it all away because I was scared."
And I know now that Amy Lee was right; Harry is scared of magic.
"But I kept thinking while I was gone how stupid that was. My therapist says that if I hadn't had met Amy Lee, it would have taken me a long time to make a break through. But she saved me by reminding me that every little thing is precious."
He kisses me tenderly.
"And the important things, like you, make life worth every hardship. I'm not saying I'm perfectly healed, that I still don't think awful things, but Louis, you and Amy Lee saved me."
Then, in a voice I barely hear, he adds,
28 Days After:
The funeral is small, but personal. All of One Direction attends. Amy Lee's father does not. Heather weeps into her father's shoulder, and Amy Lee's grandmother shakes her head like this isn't happening.
I hold onto Harry, to remind myself that he is here, he isn't leaving.
I hope that, wherever Amy Lee has gone, she has found magic that this world cannot yet handle. I hope she is relishing in it, and I hope she glows in death even brighter than she did in life.
That night, Harry and I sit on the roof for no other reason than we want to be close to the stars. His head is on my chest, but he eyes are glassy and distant, as if he is not right here, but a million miles away.
"What are you thinking?" I ask, though when he answers I wish I wouldn't have.
"I'm thinking that I don't deserve this. That Amy Lee deserves to live and don't. But I try to remember how badly she wanted us to just shut up and be alive."
I feel him smile, and I exhale in a bit of relief.
"We can take it a day at a time. And I think you should stop thinking about who deserves what," I huff. "We get what we get and we deal with it. Or love it," I add, and he looks at me upside down, and his eyes are glowing with appreciation and sadness.
"I know. Sorry."
29 Days After:
Heather tells us goodbye, but she leaves us with the Cinderella picture Amy Lee had kept by her bedside.
"But you should keep it!" I protest, and she shakes her head.
"She would want you to have it."
Sometime I'm not sure what Amy Lee really wanted, but I accept the picture, and I can see her fingerprints smudges on the glass. I wonder if she picked it up and studied it.
I wonder if she thought of us as much as we thought of her.
I wonder where she is now.
It would be too much to think of someone aw magnificent as her vanishing to nothingness, so I don't, and as Harry sleeps on my shoulder, I try to line my fingers to the smudges, try to imagine her holding the frame.
"Thank you," I tell the her picture, the girl in the pink dress who is smiling so wide that you can see she is missing a tooth. The girl who only lived eight years.
The girl whose last wish was not for herself, but for two men to live happily ever after with each other.
And I know that she has given me what I wanted more than anything.
30 Days After:
The smoke from the snuffed out candle clears, and pinpricks of light shine through. There is now talk of a new album for us. Funny, how I had begun to forget about my being in band and all. Niall and Zayn announce their engagement, though Simon says that should wait to be sure.
And, though they barely knew her, they too were marked by the death of Amy Lee, like she had been thunder that struck Harry and me and they had felt the aftershock.
"You should never wait for life to pass you by," Zayn says firmly, and Niall nods. I think they are beginning to understand what life is about, and as Harry smiled at me, I think maybe he is too.
I don't expect Harry to be entirely better. An attempted suicide is not something that one will bounce back from, no matter what. His eyes darken sometimes during the course of the day, but I am not scared. I think he had made up his mind to live, and I have made up my mind to always be here.
"I'm sorry about everything," he tells me that night, as we lay in bed together. "I swear I'm working on everything."
Fidgeting, he adds, "I made arrangements to see a therapist every now and then, just to make sure that I'm staying on the right track. But I'm going to be okay."
His eyes slide past me, to the picture of us at Disney World that sits on my nightstand, and I know what he is thinking, and more importantly what is not thinking.
So for once I fully and undoubtedly believe.
"Everything is going to be just fine," I agree.
Now and Forever:
So now you know. Harry and I could not have fallen in love if he had not fallen apart. Now you know how I tried to pick up the pieces, but I guess I missed a few. I think it took someone very special to find the parts that Harry needed most and that person was Amy Lee.
What people don't understand is that tragedies are not always about one or two people directly involved, but they spread out like ripples, disturbing fish that were distant away from the location of the impact on the surface of the waters. Amy Lee saved Harry just as much as I did, serving as a reminder for him. But she was so much more than that. She was a light that burned very bright in the darkness, and she warmed us.
She reminded us that we needed to appreciate every little second we have. I bet Amy Lee counted her breaths, and I bet she loved each and every one of them as a reminder of her being alive.
I think that people need to know that this story couldn't have ended happily if it hadn't ended sadly.
We don't speak much about his attempted suicide unless he is feeling particularly vulnerable.
There are days when he says, "I'm not feeling well," and I know where his thoughts are leading. But I hold onto him, and I light a candle to keep near his bedside when he refuses to get up. Not to make him feel guilty, but to remind him of Amy Lee.
He has told me that she reminded him of candle as well, but I think even more than that she was a raging inferno. She scorched us all, and the markers she left beneath our skin were not something that would scab over and heal, like Harry's scar had, but something that would be there after we were buried. We would always be marked by her.
I wish I could have asked her if she thought it okay that two princes were to be together instead of a princess and a prince, but I don't think she cared. I think she knew love and that any love held magic.
And I know that me and Harry have magic.
Maybe the fairytale we lived was not one that most people had in mind, but we had more than what most people would ever have or experience.
We had reminders; pictures and a scar and coloring pages that told us that someone full of life but surrounded by death had told us to chase forever. So we did.
Almost every night, after Harry falls asleep, I look at the picture from Disney World on my nightstand, and I want to ask Amy Lee if she knew that she was the Fairy Godmother.
I want to thank her for giving me Harry back.
I want to talk to her about the now.
And I want to thank her for my forever.