I’ve been getting quite a few requests wanting to know how this happened, so I figured I’d just make a post with all of the pics from Liam the photographer. Basically, my original badass sign saying “Liam, take my phone #selfie #video” got lost somewhere in the stadium, and I was a bit bummed so during 5sos I went out, found a blank sheet and recreated it, thinking that it was better than nothing. I held up the sign several times for him, Zayn, and Harry and I think they all acknowledged it with like a glance or a smile but nothing. I did get a point and wave from Harry (which was great btw, very very cute) but I wanted my pic dammit. I knew my best chance was Little Things, so I prepped myself and the guard to not block my view (I was one seat away from the catwalk), and as Lima sat practically in front of me, I held the sign up and just waited. He got through his verse and I was like- yeah okay, maybe now- but ZAYN freaking reached back and interrupted what I was hoping would be my moment, and I flailed bc it’s ziam (at that point, Zayn and Liam had already given me a years worth of interaction. My babes were chatty and smiley :D) , so I just focused on recording that. AND THEN…
Liam got up, walked in front of me, grabbed a towel, gave it to a uard to give a fan, and then sat down and looked directly at me and asked me to give my phone to him. I pointed at the guard and said/gestured if I should hand it to him instead and he said no, and motioned for me to toss it. I always said I would never becuase if I break my phone, I’ll be so mad, but guess who caved when Liam Payne asked? ME. I’m so see through, lmao. I tossed it so damn quick and then a flurry of things happened. All the girls around me freaked out, 3 guards rolled up saying yelling about stepping back and then PADDY fucking PADDY jumps in front of me and yells “DONT DO THAT AGAIN” . I yelled back .”HE ASKED FOR IT, SOZ”. LMAO. The other guard was like- Liam’s the bigger so..
Anyway, I missed most of the picture taking bc of all that, but I saw Paddy pose for my camera and I choose to believe that’s his apology to me. Liam called him over and gave him my phone to bring it back to me and he handed it with an annoyed smile. SORRY , you gotta share Liam and Zayn Paddy. I don’t make the rules.
“Steal My Girl” was written by 1D’s Louis Tomlinson and Payne, with Ed Drewett, Wayne Hector, Julian Bunetta and John Ryan. It’s produced by Bunetta, Ryan and Paro Westerlund. In a news release, Columbia Records said the track features “cascading stadium piano chords.” x
Erin’s key gently slides into the door of Will’s apartment. Flipping the lock quietly to let her into the empty living room. The cold couch and unwatched TV welcome her warm tears and disheveled hair as she sinks down with a sniffle and stares at the wall. Throwing up her text conversation with Will.
"Will knows." Though her friend’s words are haunting her thoughts, she doesn’t believe he knows. He would’ve said something - he’s not one to hold things back.
Hey. What day are you coming home again? I miss you.
She feels gross typing the words. Does she really miss him? What does she even feel right now? Her body is numb from Harry’s words, still not processed in her head.
Will doesn’t answer within 30 seconds. Not within a minute, or even five. But Erin doesn’t notice. She sits there and stares at the wall with tears welling in her eyes, phone laid flat in her open palm. Time passing by while her mind replays the past few hours - especially all of Harry’s last words. I’m always here if you need anything, but we can’t work. We really can’t.
Erin needs something. Him. But she doubts that would be something he would term under the category of “anything.”
Her phone finally buzzes alive, Will’s name showing a reply from him. 3 days
She’s relieved that he doesn’t seem to know her secret, but she huffs in frustration, pounding her fist against her slim thigh as she weighs her options. Stay in Will’s apartment alone and wallow in misery. Or not stay in Will’s apartment alone and take her mind off things.
And that’s when the idea hits her.
"Now boarding flight 1440 to LAX," says the overhead speaker in the crowded airport.
Erin shuts her book and gathers the things at her feet - her small carry-on suitcase and shoulder bag - before heading over to the gate to wait in line for boarding.
As she stares out the window at the plane that’s about to take her 2800 miles across the country, a deep voice catches her attention. It catches her attention because he’s speaking to her. “Can’t wait to see some sunshine.”
Erin’s eyes travel to the man standing in front of her: tall, young, attractive features… Alone. She snaps into social mode - something that she’s forgotten how to do - and forces a smile. “This rain has been killing me.”
As the line moves up, Mr. Brown Eyes swipes his tongue along his bottom lip, cracking a perfect smile. “Doesn’t seem to be the only thing that’s killing you.”
His laughter rings easily. “You just look a bit troubled, doubt the rain’s completely responsible for that.”
"Who are you to judge?" Erin questions, bothered by this man’s sudden intrusion into her personal life. She was all for having a casual conversation with a stranger at the airport, but now he just seems nosy.
Stepping up to the woman at the gate, he hands her his passport, using his now empty hands to gesture a sign of innocence. “No judgements here.” He takes his passport back and waits for Erin to get through as well. “I’m just saying you look like you could use someone to talk to.”
"Well I don’t, okay?" Erin pushes past him, but he doesn’t get the hint.
Following after her as if he’s on a mission. Into the plane without shutting up. “Look, you’re clearly in a bad mood. I know I didn’t cause it - maybe brought it back from the dead, but you’re certainly mad about something. I’m almost a certified psychologist, so I just wanted to offer my services to a pretty girl like yourself.”
Erin counts the rows of seats, finding hers just as the stranger stops talking. Taking a seat, he laughs. “What are the chances we’re sitting next to each other?”
"Are you serious?" she half-mutters to herself, but he hears as he plops down on the seat next to her.
"Looks like it!" he smiles, showing her his boarding pass - and sure enough, he’s in the right seat. "We’re supposed to be friends!"
She buckles the lap belt slowly, using all of her focus on the simple task instead of talking to the man seated next to her. “I don’t think that’s how it works,” she finally answers, turning her head toward him as he cracks a smile.
"Okay, fine, we don’t have to be friends. But, I’m a very social person and I won’t be able to make the flight without talking, so looks like you’ll have to hold a conversation with me or just listen to me talk for two hours.
She gives up with the stubborn attitude, seeing no reason why she can’t talk to a stranger for a few hours and forget about it all five minutes later. “So why are you going to California?” she purses her lips, finding him with a full-blown grin.
"Headed home, actually. Yourself?"
"Sort of the same," she replies, watching the last few people file into the aircraft. "I live here, but I’m going home to my parents for a bit."
He - who has yet to have a name - runs his fingers through his short hair. “Any reason?”
Erin grits her teeth, thinking about how nosy he is. Though it’s a little annoying, she almost likes it. He cares for some reason. “Yeah, there is a reason.” She smiles while he pushes out an unamused laugh. “I also don’t know your name.”
"And I don’t know yours, so what’s your point?"
She raises her hands in innocence just as he had done before. “Alright, no names.” She shuts her phone off so she doesn’t forget and throws it in her bag. “So you said you’re almost a psychologist?”
"Nah," he laughs, "I was just trying to get you to talk to me."
She rolls her eyes, wondering when the last time someone worked so hard to get her attention. She would usually just give it without a question. “Well I am…so this is sort of awkward.”
"Just finished my third year. Tell me your problems," she smiles. And it feels good.
The flight attendants begin their standard safety precautions, Erin and her new friend cracking jokes all the while. Until they’re up in the air, talking the whole time, and before they know it, they’re back on the ground.
"That was the fastest flight I’ve ever been on," he remarks, getting Erin’s carry-on down for her.
"Thanks," she takes it from him. Suddenly feeling quiet because, although they’ve actively talked for the last few hours, she’s not sure how this is going to end.
He gestures for her to go in front of him and the two of them make the trek out of the airplane. “Think you’re gonna want some time away from your family while you’re visiting?” he asks.
Erin quietly contemplates his question. He wants to see her. “It’s a possibility…”
"So how about you give me your number and I’ll find a way to give you a distraction?" He cracks a smile, knowing she’ll take him up on his offer.
The past few hours have been fun - they clearly enjoy each other’s company.
"Cheeky," Erin lets out, covering her mouth quickly as she realizes "cheeky" isn’t in a normal American’s vocabulary.
He stops when they reach the end of the ramp, neither of them needing to go to baggage claim. “Bit of European, yeah?” he asks clearly in a posh British accent.
Erin blushes and pushes the handle of her suitcase down. “I… Um, my, um… Friend, um, is British,” she stutters.
"Uh-huh," he grins. "I may not be a psychologist, but I’m pretty good at reading people." When she blushes again and stares at her feet, he drops it. "So how about that number?"
Erin shakes her head, clenching her teeth through a smile. He’s pushy, but she secretly loves it. She flips her palm out, letting him slap his phone down so she can put her number in.
"Nice sitting next to you, Erin,” he smirks before rolling his suitcase away, sure to put an emphasis on her name because he knows hers…but she doesn’t know his.
As Erin waits for her driver to show up, she texts Will. After all, he’s part of the reason she’s here.
Surprise!! I’m in LA :)
Clicking her phone off to catch a girl staring, she bites her lip.
Remembering the past week’s events… All of it crashing back onto her.
There’s a term in psychology known as suppression. It’s a defense mechanism in which a person completely removes unwanted memories from their conscious mind. All of this happens unconsciously - the memories are just gone without the person being aware.
Erin had read about it many times in books, but never thought it could actually happen to any normal person. Until now.
That was stupid. I’m swamped with work.
The driver pulls up as Erin slips in, not even giving the driver a simple smile. Simply because she can’t. Harry doesn’t want her. Will doesn’t want her. The only person who wants her is some random guy. Whose name she doesn’t even know.
Hi. Sorry this is so long overdue. I’m sure no one really cares anymore haha. I have this and chapter 28 completely written. I’m gonna try to finish 29, 30, and a possible epilogue sometime in the near future. I’m REALLY gonna try. Hope everyone’s well x
Erin’s face goes white. Whiter than white. Her heart sinks - not into her stomach, but to her feet.
"What." She swallows. Her eyes trailing around to her three friends who all don’t know what to say. Taryn looks mortified because she didn’t want Erin to find out to blatantly. Amanda’s afraid Erin’s going to rip Becca’s head off… And Becca’s just mad.
"He called me," Becca finally speaks up, her stomach lurching. The tension making the air thick and hot - uncomfortable.
Erin grits her teeth together, not sure whether to cry or scream. Becca’s lying. She has to be. She’s saying this so that it scares Erin into telling the truth. “No, he didn’t.”
Becca scoffs. “Why would I lie about something like that?!”
"Because you’re mad you have to keep my secret," Erin pushes out, her tone rising, making her more threatening. "You’re mad you have to be a good friend. That you can’t go gossip to all your friends about who I’m dating. That’s just pathetic."
She bites the inside of her lip and turns out of the room, Taryn calling her name after her.
"Erin! Erin, come back here!" Taryn yells in predetermined disappointment.
Harry sits up on the couch, peaking his head over with questioning brows. His face slowly pulling in when he sees Erin wipe a tear away. “What’s going on?”
"We’re leaving," she sniffs, "come on."
"Erin! Please talk to me!" Taryn begs, finally catching up. Neither of the other girls even trying.
Harry gets up, looking between the two girls in confusion. Stretching his long arms behind his back slowly as Erin stands motionless in front of him. “Er?”
She holds her ground. “I said we’re going.”
Taryn sighs loudly as Harry pulls the door open, holding it open for Erin and gives Taryn an apologetic glance. He’s confused beyond belief, yet still feels the need to apologize for Erin’s behavior.
He only gives up when Taryn waves him off. “Nice to meet you,” she mumbles as she turns away. Completely dismissing any of his questions.
Erin’s already out the door and down the hall, strolling unconsciously. All of her thoughts focused in her head. Harry watches her hit the button for the lift, standing there with her arms folded stubbornly across her chest and no care of his whereabouts. “Erin…”
She sniffs but makes no remark, the doors pulling open. She steps inside and hits the button for the ground floor. Harry jumping in just in the nick of time.
"Babe, what happened?"
"Nothing," she sniffs. "It’s fine. Let’s just go back to the hotel."
He knows better than to continue to ask questions. He knows egging her on will only result in an argument, and this trip has been so good so far - he doesn’t want to screw that up in any way. So he leans against the wall and waits till they hit the ground floor. Gets in the cab on the way back to the hotel and stays quiet. Watches her battling with herself while they make it to the hotel room.
He closes the door quietly, pressing a hand flat against it while it clicks shut. Turning around to Erin sat on the white couch, phone clutched in her hand tightly. She’s staring at it so intently… As if her life depended on it.
And that’s when it dawns on him. She’s still getting the threatening texts. Meaning she’s still with him.
"Fuck," Harry swears under his breath, his heart nearly collapsing in on itself. That strong pang of disappointment and heartbreak all beating against his head. How could he be so stupid? How could it have taken this long to realize?
He rubs his palms into his eyes as his brain scans for a course of action. He knows he can’t get mad at her for this. He can’t tell her he knows. She needs to tell him on her own time because otherwise, she’ll be gone. He can’t lose her.
"Fuck," he mutters again. The weight of how screwed up this is. She’s been with him… While convincing Harry she wouldn’t be with anyone else. Does he really want to be with someone like that?
Gritting his teeth, Harry pushes his weight from the door. Letting his feet hit the light carpet with precision. Each step carving his path to a big decision.
"Harry?" Erin bites down on her lip as she looks at him. Her eyes big and innocent - and that’s when he melts in her hands again. Under her power without a choice.
"Yeah, babe?" His voice falters for a second - and with an easy clearing of his throat, all his anger towards her is cleared from his head.
She hesitates, biting the inside of her lip, staring at her small hands in her lap as she mulls over a thought. “Can I have a hug?”
His brows knit together as he finishes crossing the room easily, sliding onto the tan couch and pulling her easily into his arms. Pushing his hands against her as her head finds its spot on his shoulder. She starts crying, and he rubs her back with comforting words.
"Shh, it’s okay, love," he insists, eyes focused on the white ceiling. "It’s okay." When really, it’s far from it.
She clutches to the back of his thin t-shirt. Shaking her head into him, more tears pouring out. “It’s not,” she sobs. Her voice a translation of all her fears falling into one sound.
Harry finds no advantage in asking her to explain why. He knows why. And isn’t sure she’d divulge that information anyway. He agrees - it’s not okay. “It’s okay,” he whispers against his best judgement, letting her tears bleed through his thin t-shirt.
"If I can get myself to stop crying, will you kiss me?" Erin eventually gets out, a sob racking her bones.
Pulling in his lips and breathing through his nose, Harry gives up. He can’t keep holding onto this girl if she won’t give all of herself to him. He doesn’t want the lying and manipulation. The secrets and hiding.
Bringing her face to his slowly, he closes his eyes and places his lips against hers. Breathing in the way she relaxes at his touch. The smooth of her skin. How her lips naturally part and fit against his perfectly.
How he’ll never feel them again.
She breathes in one big sob as she pulls away, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand. “I’m sorry.”
"You know we can’t be together, yeah?" he murmurs quietly.
Her eyelids close slowly as she blinks into the shame. She knew he would find out eventually, just didn’t know how long it would take. “Yeah.”
Harry’s eyes trace up and down her face, frantically trying to memorize every part of her that he possibly can. Though he desperately wants to hold her tight and keep her forever, he can’t. He needs to do what’s right - and staying with her while she’s engaged is not the right thing to do.
"I thought…" he starts, slapping his hand against the couch in frustration when he can’t make the right words come out. He licks his lips and forces them to the surface. "When we were together before, well if things hadn’t happened like they did, I don’t think it would’ve worked out. We weren’t mature enough to handle the kind of relationship we had. And I thought maybe we would be now that we’re older…but maybe we’re not."
Erin’s eyes scrutinize. “What do you mean by mature?”
Biting his lip carefully, Harry scrounges up the best explanation he can. This has been brewing in his mind for a while, waiting to come to the surface. “What you and I have, it’s very similar to a married couple. We’ve never had that honeymoon phase where we can’t keep our hands off each other, and that’s okay. It’s not saying we don’t have a connection because we do. But at our age, it’s not normal. I’ve talked with my mum about it before because I’ve thought about it loads. She thinks what we have is something married couples need to have. We have healthy fights and periods of hating each other and loving each other. But we’re not at a point in our lives where we can handle that. I mean, shit, you’re engaged! And you couldn’t tell me. Doesn’t that say something? You cheated on him with me - and I didn’t know.” He raises his hand to silence her before she can protest. “Don’t get mad at me for saying it, it’s done. But that’s not good. It’s not healthy, yeah? Just think about what I’ve said. It’ll make sense. I want you to stay happy and healthy and be with that guy you’re with because I think he’ll be what you need, okay? I’m always here if you need anything, but we can’t work. We really can’t.”
Harry slowly slides up from the couch, not sure where he’s going when they’re in his room, but he’ll need to leave if she doesn’t.
Erin stays frozen for a second, wondering if the tears will come now or later. He’s right, she doesn’t want to accept it, but she has to. He seems pretty set in his ways. “Well, thank you. We can be friends…right?”
Harry gulps down her word. Friends.
He doesn’t think he could ever see her as a friend, as someone who isn’t physically attractive to him, who could get him on his knees if she asked. But he nods and goes with it. A mutual understanding that nothing will ever be the same.
Erin rises to her feet. “I guess I better go.”
Showing her to the door, Harry collapses to the ground, pushing his face into his knees. Wondering how things could’ve gone from amazing to shit in less than an hour. Crying into the knees of his jeans until they’re soaking wet with tears. Picking up his phone with a sob and calling the only person in this country that he knows will listen to him and help him out.