Dreams Unwind

[s i x t e e n]

The cold breeze whips around me, slipping icy tendrils down the collar of my jacket, and I shiver when the light misting turns abruptly to a steady drizzle. My cheeks have long gone numb, though it really isn’t surprising considering I have been stood outside in the dreary mid-February weather for the last hour and a half. The fence rattles with a particularly strong gust of wind; I tug my jacket more securely around me and hunch into myself. The girl next to me gives me a dirty look and steps away, as if the fact that I’m not smiling and laughing like she and her friends is a sign that I’m a horrible person. Little does she know...

Eventually, after my toes have lost all feeling and I have begun to wonder if my blood has actually frozen in my veins, the door opens with a resounding clank, and my spine straightens instinctively. Rain splatters against my cheeks, drips from my hair into my eyes, but I ignore it. My attention is solely on the man walking out of the building, laughing and talking with his friends and crew. The sight of his dimpled smile, so achingly familiar, nearly breaks my heart in two. That could’ve still been mine, the vicious part of my brain reminds me to drive that stab of pain further into my being. The clusters of fans around me scream, though the roar of my pulse is deafening in my ears, blocking out the sound. I link my fingers in the fence, calling his name.

Harry’s face lights up once he sees me, and I stupidly hope this can only mean good things. Within a second, that hope is dashed, shattered into a million pieces, when I see that happiness disappear suddenly as if shutters came down to cover his expression. I know he is thinking about how we left it, the way I ended us so absolutely. I force a small smile in an attempt to convey how remorseful I am. I nearly vomit on my shoes when he pointedly yanks his gaze away, as he climbs onto his tour bus, as the doors shut behind him. Finding out that I’ve lost my chance isn’t that shocking, if I’m being honest - it would be more surprising if there had been any other outcome to this.

The girl stares at me with wide eyes, no longer acting as if I am a blight on the earth but maybe someone she wants to know - simply because of who I am. The light of recognition fills her eyes, and her mouth opens as if to say something. Her friend stops her with a shake of his head; anyone who knows of me, who knows who I am in relation to Harry, knows that we broke up. Why should they give me the time of day now that I’m nothing to him?

I let go of the fence, turning away from the bus and the chance at happiness that I gave up. Sniffling, I wipe the rain and tears from my cheeks and slowly head toward my car. I’m stopped by the sound of my name coming from behind me. The man who stands there isn’t one I recognise, but anyone can look at his dark shirt and jeans and know he’s part of the security team. My knees tremble under me, my whole body alternating between freezing cold numbness and the heat of a fragile hope, and my stomach heaves as I follow the man to the door of the bus. He disappears once we’ve boarded.

Harry stares at his hands, knuckles white as his fingers clench tightly around each other. There is no other sign that he notices my presence beyond the tension in his hands and shoulders; he steadfastly avoids eye contact with me. I shift my weight awkwardly but don’t speak. Now that I’m here, I have no idea what to say. He takes that decision away from me by sighing heavily. A dim, desperate wish flutters weakly; maybe this can be fixed.

“Why are you here?”

Time freezes at the hoarse voice, the abrupt question that doesn’t invite easy conversation. My mouth moves, but no words come. Finally, I manage to swallow the lump in my throat. “I... this looks weird, doesn’t it?”

“A bit like you’re a stalker, yeah.” His jaw tics, and I know he’s not amused. It wasn’t meant as a joke.

“I’m so sorry.” The dam breaks, words flowing from me without conscious thought or permission. My hands ache to touch him, to feel the warmth of his skin on mine. My heart beats painfully beneath my ribs, and I choke on my voice. “I just, god, Harry, I-I can’t even put into words how sorry I am. It wasn’t fair to you for me to do that. You were so amazing and wonderful, and I threw that all out the window for such dumb fucking reasons. And it isn’t... it’s not a good enough explanation, I know it isn’t, and I certainly don’t expect you to just forgive me like it never happened. I was just so terrified of losing you that I pushed you away before you could leave me, all in a foolish attempt to spare myself that pain.” I scoff and swipe the sleeve of my jacket over my face, scuffing my toe on the floor. “Surprise, surprise, it didn’t help. It still hurt like fucking Hell. And, and I regret it. So much.”

He doesn’t say anything after I fall silent; the only sounds in the area come from our breathing and raindrops lashing at the windows. The nausea I’ve been fighting against increases, and I wonder if I can make it off the bus before I puke. He might as well be a statue with how still he sits, only the rise and fall of his chest as he breathes giving evidence to the fact that he’s very much human. My eyes burn with even more tears, and my breath rattles when I inhale unsteadily.

“I, uh, I’ll go now. I just wanted to give you this.”

Harry still hasn’t looked at me once, and he doesn’t reach for the letter I pull from my bag. The paper crinkles in my grip, my fingers spasming around the edges of the letter. With a sharp exhale, I set it on the couch next to him and turn toward the door. His shoulders are slumped forward, something reminiscent of defeat in his posture, when I look back at him. My heart screams for me to stay, to fight, to make everything I’ve done wrong right, but I don’t want to make this harder on him. I lost the right to be selfish like that, so I step off the bus and ignore the sound of my world crumbling further with each step I take.