Eventually We Find Our Way.
Pairing: Narry, side Lilo and a tiny bit of Zarry.
A/N: This was supposed to be a one shot but I accidentally wrote 4,500 words and it’s not even close to being finished so I’m splitting it into parts lol. Based off the book “Audrey, Wait!”
If Harry had known this was going to happen, he wouldn’t have broken up with Zayn that day. He would’ve waited and then this whole thing wouldn’t have happened and everything would be normal and exactly what he was used to.
Harry’s not a complete douche bag, contrary to popular belief. It’s not like he woke up that morning and decided it would be a good laugh to break up with his boyfriend before his typical Friday night concert. It took him a lot of thought and he almost chickened out until Louis shoved a piece of paper into his face with the intention of Harry making a list of the pros and cons of this relationship. Louis’ big on lists like that; he has a huge folder full of them with titles such as ‘100 People Whose Butt I Would Like to Touch’ and ‘50 People I Wouldn’t Save if They Were on Fire.’ (Zayn has apparently moved up from #79 to numero uno.)
When Harry asks for a second piece of paper to finish writing the cons, Louis gives him a look that says that in itself answers the question. There were only 4 things on the ‘pros’ list.
Zayn didn’t cry. Harry didn’t expect him to.
“Do you think we could still be friends?” He asks.
Yes Harry thinks. Friends were good. Friends didn’t tell stories of their sexual endeavours to other people in the locker room. Friends drifted apart.
“Definitely,” Harry says, with more enthusiasm than he actually feels.
An uncomfortable silence ensues.
“Are you still coming tonight?” Zayn finally asks. He’s in a band, and compared to others in town, they don’t suck. (#1 on Harry’s ‘pros’ list.)
“If you want me to.” Harry hopes he doesn’t.
“Ok.” Zayn pulls his guitar closer to him and strums a few chords. That guitar has gotten more action than Harry has. (#35 on the ‘cons’ list.) After a few more minutes of silence he says “You sure you want to do this?”
“Yeah,” Harry looks Zayn right in the eyes for the first time since he came over and can see the hurt there. “I’m sorry.” And he means it.
Zayn doesn’t reply and Harry gets up to leave. “I’m going now.”
Harry walks as quickly as he can down the stairs without running when he hears Zayn call “Harry, wait!” down the stairs but he doesn’t turn around.
“Will you come with me for moral support?” Harry says to Louis over the phone later.
“Don’t I always?”
Zayn’s band has played at the same small club in town every Friday for the last 4 months. They play the same songs in the same order every single Friday and yet no one is sick of it yet. Except maybe Harry.
Louis’ boyfriend Liam drives them because Harry and Louis blew out the speakers in Harry’s car. Again. And Liam’s car has a really nice stereo that he rarely ever uses.
They’ve been at the club for 30 minutes and Louis’ ingested 4 Diet Cokes and the caffeine is literally seeping out of his skin. Harry doesn’t even know what he’s talking about anymore. He swirls the ice in the bottom of his empty cranberry juice and stares up at the stage, Louis’ voice background noise. He hears him take a break to swallow the last of his Coke.
“That stuff can kill you, y’know.”
“Shut up Harry. So can the sun. Anyway…”
Harry tunes him out again, spotting Liam making his way through the crowd with a refill of Harry’s cranberry juice and Louis’ Diet Coke. Before Liam can even put the drinks down, Louis has grabbed the soda out of his hand and starts gesturing wildly.
“See! This is what I was just saying. Zayn would have never noticed that you were thirsty, much less that I was.”
Harry rolls his eyes and grabs the drink. “Thanks Liam.”
“No thanks from you, Louis?” Liam teases.
“Tanks Leeyum,” Louis says in an sarcastically sweet voice, leaning into Liam. He’s so much shorter than him that his head fits right under his chin
Harry downs the glass of juice and wishes it has a kick to it. The only one of them whose legal is Louis, but he won’t drink with Liam here. He sighs and looks away from the cuddlefest going on right in front of him. It’s not like he’s missing Zayn or anything, it’s just nice to know that someone’s there. On stage, the drummer coughs into the microphone and starts the soundcheck.
“Space.” Louis says, and pulls Harry up so they’re right in front of the speakers.
Soon the rest of the band is on stage and Zayn’s eyes scan the crowd and Harry hopes he’s not looking for him.
“Alright,” Zayn says into the microphone. “One more song.”
One more song, Harry thinks. One more song and he can get out of here and drive around with Louis and Liam blasting music until Liam’s curfew.
“This is normally where we go offstage and then come back for an encore, but we’re just going to skip that tonight.” He continues.
Louis, to his credit, is very smart in these situations. “Shit.” He mutters under his breath.
“Some of you may know, my boyfriend Harry broke up with me tonight.”
Harry can feel 200 pairs of eyes turn and stare at him.
“So I wrote this song, it’s called ‘Harry, Wait!’ I hope you guys like it.”
Harry’s not really sure what he’s expecting, maybe a song about their amazing sex or a sappy ballad or something but he’s 100% he wasn’t expecting a song about how Harry “crucified his heart” and walked out without even a second glance because ok that’s really not what happened.
The crowd around them is going crazy because Zayn’s band hasn’t played a new song the entire time they’ve performed here and the song is actually really, really good. If Harry had never met Zayn and this song wasn’t about him, he would be in the middle of it but right now he’s rooted to the spot and he keeps saying “Get me out of here” to Louis but he can’t hear over the music.
Three minutes and forty-seven seconds later (yes Harry counted), the song is done and the band is waving good night and it’s over. Louis grabs his hand, then Liams and they make a nice little train to get out of the crowd. People are yelling “Harry, wait!” and “Nice song man!” at him like he wrote it.
Later on, as an Arctic Monkeys CD is blasting through Liam’s speakers and Louis’ shoving fries from McDonald’s into his mouth, Liam turns to say:
“Don’t worry about it Harry, everyone will forget once school starts.”
“Listen to the wise man.” Louis says, while launching a fry at him.
Everyone knows what happens next, Zayn talks about it enough.
A record producer was there and after the band had fallen off stage, high off the crowd, he had offered them a record deal, telling them they were “amazing, man, a-fucking-mazing.” Of course they took it.
“Get ready,” He said, walking backwards down the hallway. “Your lives are about to change.”
Well no one had told Harry that his life was about to change too.
Liam was right, by the time school started again, everything with The Song had basically died down. No one was even talking about it on the first day because Eleanor Calder had thrown up 3 times before lunch and people were convinced she was pregnant or anorexic.
And the only time people called “Harry, wait!” down the hallway was when they actually needed him. He manages to make it through the first month of school with minimum drama.
“So it’s officially been a year since you met the Fucktard.” Louis says, walking into Harry’s room.
“You’re the most indelicate person I’ve ever met.” Harry says over the top of his laptop. “Did you let yourself in?”
Louis falls into Harry’s lap. “Are you going to do anything to commemorate this day? Light a Ken doll on fire? Get drunk?”
“I have work tonight.” Harry sighs. He works at an ice cream shop in the mall. If that wasn’t bad enough, it’s called, prepare yourself, Scooper Dooper.
“You should blow off work and come with me and Liam to see The Exorcist tonight.”
“Firstly, no because Liam would give me the disappointed puppy dog face for skipping and secondly, I don’t want to be a third wheel.”
“You’re not a third wheel!”
“Well I’m sorry you let us make out in front of you.” Louis curls deeper into Harry’s lap.
Going through a break up while your best friend is practically engaged is kind of the worst feeling in the world. It’s not like he’s doesn’t love Liam and Louis, or their relationship, but he’s just lonely.
“We need to get you a boyfriend.” Louis concludes, poking Harry’s cheek. “Go up to someone on Monday and just make out with him.”
“The options are limitless, I don’t know why I didn’t think of that sooner.”
“School is where I met Liam!”
Harry can see the wheels turning in Louis head and nope nothing good ever comes after that.
“What about Niall?” He says suddenly.
“Niall as in the Niall I work with?” Harry lets out a laugh. “Niall as in the Niall who takes scooping ice cream more seriously than anyone ever should ever? Niall as in the Niall who has a panic attack when the rainbow and chocolate sprinkles get mixed together? That Niall?”
“He has a nice work ethic.” Louis rolls off the bed. “And he’s cute.”
“I’m not 30, I don’t need a nice work ethic yet.” Harry says, closing his laptop. “And I’d like someone who can form a complete sentence.”
“He can! I’ve heard him say ‘Hello, welcome to Scooper Dooper what can I get you today?’ What’s more complete than that?!” Louis takes a dramatic pause. “And he’s cute.”
“Ok he’s a little cute.” Harry sighs, resigned.
The smirk Louis gives him is enough to make Harry want to kill himself.
Three hours later, Harry’s leaving for work with a “get it in!” from Louis and strict orders from his mother to buy some Coffee Dream ice cream. Scooper Dooper is empty, just like Harry thought it would be. Who wants ice cream the last day of October?
“I already cleaned out the water wells and reorganized the overstock.” Niall says as Harry ties the stupid apron around his waist.
“Hello to you too.” Harry replies sarcastically, flipping his curls out of his eyes.
“We’re almost out of waffle cones so I left a note for the manager to get some more on Monday.” He continues.
“What a relief, I was really freaking out.” The sarcasm is seeping through Harry’s words but it doesn’t register for Niall.
“I know, you know how the customers are about waffle cones.”
“It’s one of the greatest injustices of my life that I do know, Niall.”
The hurt that flashes through the blonde’s eyes is enough to make Harry want to take the words back and he doesn’t know why. Niall’s not even a bad guy. He’s actually a really nice guy who always makes funny faces at crying babies and gives kids who’ve dropped their ice cream another one for free and speaks extra loud into old people’s ear pieces. He’s just so awkward with Harry. When Harry first got the job, he tried to pick Niall’s brain with questions about movies and music but all he got in reply was a bunch of stammering and a “I think we need more butter pecan.”
What was he supposed to do with that.
Niall was skinny too. Like really skinny with unexpected biceps. One time Harry saw him running to class and he thought Niall’s legs were going to shatter underneath him. Harry feels bad because he doesn’t think Niall has any friends. If he didn’t work with him he wouldn’t even know who he was.
But really. “Butter pecan” wasn’t a lot to build a relationship off of.
So when they work together, they pick their strengths. Harry picks the music and Niall does everything else. They’re allowed to play the radio, but it’s supposed to be on a “adult contemporary” or “smooth jazz” station. Harry ignores that rule and switches it to a station that a bunch of Uni students run who play actual good music.
He switches the station as soon as he puts his hat on and he can see Niall twitching from the rule breaking but he doesn’t say anything.
There are only 15 minutes left until the mall closes when a huge group of people walk in. Harry’s sure everyone waits until the last possible second to annoy him and make sure he has to spend even more time here then he wants to. Niall’s already reaching for the cones while Harry opens his mouth to ask them what they want as the song on the radio ends and the DJ comes on.
“Ok, someone just put this in my hand, I’ve never heard it before. Call in and tell me if you love it or if you hate it, this one’s called ‘Harry, Wait!’.”
The ice cream scoop falls out of Harry’s hands and hits the floor so hard the handle breaks. He decides that hearing The Song for the first time last summer wasn’t the worst moment of his life, this was.
Niall gives him a weird look as he hands him the scooper that was in his hand. “Scoop now, think later.”
“Are you hearing this though?” Harry sputters out. “Do you know what this is?!”
“No? Just scoop now, think later.” Niall repeats himself like he’s the goddamn Dalai Lama of shitty ice cream chains or something.
Harry turns back around and through gritted teeth asks what they want again. It’s this moment where he understands why people bring guns to work.
When the song is over, the crowd is almost halfway served. Harry’s phone is ringing in the breakroom-Louis’ ringtone, he would know it anywhere. (Mostly because Louis changed it to “Me So Horny” as a joke so he could embarrass Harry in public and he never changed it back.) Niall apparently can tell Harry’s about to have some type of breakdown, so he jumps in and helps the rest of the crowd. Once everyone’s out the door, Harry decides he’s going to take up heroin and hard liquor.
“Did you hear that?” He says to Niall, throwing his hat down in frustration.
“I thought it sounded pretty good.” Niall replies. “That’s cool that it has your name in it. There’s no song with ‘Niall’ in it, but I think it’d sound du-”
“It’s not just my name, it’s about me!” (Harry will deny to this day that that wasn’t a shriek.)
Someone walks in but Harry’s whips around and glares at them so they walk out again. Wise move.
“It’s on the radio,” Harry says to himself.
“Do you think you should, like, sit down or something? Do you want me to get you water?” Niall asks.
“I could murder someone right now, I don’t think sitting or water is going to help me Niall.”
“It could be worse, the song could be horrible.”
“How many people were listening, do you think? A thousand? Ten thousand?” Harry thinks he’s starting to sound hysterical.
“Maybe fifteen thousand? It’s a popular show.”
Niall winces. “Maybe less, I don’t know.”
Across the mall and through the glass doors, Louis is falling out of Liam’s car and sprinting towards them. “Harry!” He screams and the security guard glares at him.
“Wow,” Niall says, “He’s on a mission.”
Louis tries to stop short but his TOMs slip on the floor and he crashes into the counter. “Did…did you…hear that?” He slams his hand down on the granite. “Fuckin’ hell. I tried calling you but you didn’t answer.”
“There was a bunch of people here, I couldn’t answer my phone.”
“I think the entire school’s heard it.”
“I’ve just gotten the el presidente of all parking spots.” Liam says, walking in. His face softens a little when he looks at Harry. “I’m sorry Harry, I told you all this would blow over.”
Liam would apologize for something he can’t control.
“Um Harry, we’re supposed to be closing soon, I don’t know if it’s ok for them-” Niall starts.
“Calm down blondie, we’re not here to steal the loot.” Louis interrupts. After Niall looks away again, Louis whispers out of the side of his mouth “Did you hear all those complete sentences?”
“You’re right Louis, now is a perfectly good time to pick up a boy.” Harry feigns amazement. “How’d you know everyone heard?”
“I got so many texts about it my phone basically exploded.” Louis puts his feet up on the table and Harry shoves them off, throwing a rag at him.
Louis wrinkles his nose up like he’s too good to wipe tables. When he was in the middle of the third table and Harry was counting the change in the register, The Song came on again. It’s only on for a few seconds before Niall reaches over and turns it off. The ensuing silence is louder.
“The second most exciting thing about today,” Louis starts, as the three of them are walking to their cars, “is Niall.”
“Niall?” Harry and Liam ask at the same time.
“Jinx! And yes. He was talking to you a lot. He can say he knew you before you were famous!”
“I’m not going to be famous, Louis. That dumb newspaper article about a hat being stuck in a tree is more famous me than me.”
“All I’m trying to say is he was looking at you the whole night.” He waggles his eyebrows suggestively.
“It was probably his lazy eye.”
“Did he talk to you out of his lazy eye too?”
Harry laughs despite himself. “When the song came on, he told me to ‘scoop now, think later.’”
“That should be on a bumper sticker.” Liam says.
“And a hand towel,” Louis adds. “Look at that, he’s chill, very Buddha.”
“He couldn’t be more Irish.” Harry points out.
“I meant Buddha in spirit. You can tell everyone Niall was the one who kept you humble.”
Harry watches Louis and Liam drive away; Louis coots closer to Liam and he throws an arm around his shoulder as they laugh at something.
The inside of Harry’s car is cold.
When he gets home, his mother looks at him expectantly and she only gives him that look when she knows he has something to tell her and Harry thinks he might throw up because if his mother knows.
Instead she holds a spoon and says, “Where’s my ice cream, Harry?”
The ice cream.
Harry doesn’t leave the house the entire weekend. He makes himself a “Suck it Up, Your Life isn’t That Bad” mix and plays it on repeat.
When he gets to school on Monday, Louis is already running towards him.
“You’re not going to believe this!” He yells.
“Based on the events of the last 48 hours, I think I could.” Harry replies, opening his locker.
“Wait, you didn’t answer any of my calls this weekend!” Louis yells as if he’s just remembered.
“I know, please get back to the point.”
“Right! So you know Matt Cardle?”
Harry hums in response, pulling out his Bio textbook.
“He said his brother, who goes to NYU, heard ‘Harry, Wait!’ on the college station.”
Harry thinks he might faint because not only is it playing in America, it’s playing in New York.
“And,” Louis continues, “there was an article about them and a picture of you.”
“How old do you have to be to have a heart attack?”
“At least 35.” Louis shuts Harry’s locker for him.
“I’m about to break that record.” Harry feels a bit dramatic grabbing at his chest, but he literally feels like he’s dying.
“Let’s skip class and go to the library, maybe we can find it online.” Louis says, walking backwards to class. “But only after third period, I have a quiz!”
Harry was going to make a comment about how missing a quiz never mattered to him before when Niall comes racing down the hallway. He had headphones on and was in the same red sweatshirt he always wore. Harry moves to wave or something, feels like he owes it to Niall for saving his ass with the ‘scoop now, think later’ thing, but Niall doesn’t even look his way. Harry wonders why he’s always alone, what he’s listening to, and why, out of all the people he didn’t know who said hi to him today, Niall hadn’t?
Harry isn’t able to sneak out with Louis, but he makes him swear on his secret stash of romance novels that he’ll go and try and find the article. What does happen is a girl in Harry’s second period Maths starts freaking out because he’s the Harry, “the Harry the songs about!” and in his fifth period English class, the kid everyone thought was mute turned around and asked Harry if he could give his bands demo to Zayn. He’s so speechless he can’t even correct him on the fact that they’re currently broken up.
“I got it!” Louis announces, shoving the crumpled printouts into Harry’s face. “And can you give me a ride today? Liam has track.”
Harry rips the papers out of Louis’ hands. “Ok. But I have to go home to get my work shirt.”
Louis jumps away before Harry can punch him.
Of course when he gets home, he can’t find his shirt under the piles of laundry. Louis’ laying on Harry’s bed, flipping through one of his sisters magazines.
“What kind of names are these? Pool? Grass?” He says, flipping the page dramatically. Harry’s phone starts ringing under Louis’ butt.
“Can you get that please?” Harry pushes a stack of CD’s off his chair.
“Hello, Harold’s phone,” Louis sing songs into the receiver.
“Dead to me,” Harry mutters, finding the nasty shirt under his backpack.
“Haz,” Louis says. “Harold,”
“What?” Harry turns around, arms all stuck together in his shirt.
“It’s a reporter!” Louis shoves the phone at Harry.
“No, I’m already late for work.” Harry backs away from the phone like it’s on fire.
“Whatever,” Harry grabs the phone out of Louis’ hands. “Hello?”
“Yes hello, is this Harry Styles?” A woman asks.
“That’s me,” Harry replies, trying to get his arm through the shirt.
“I’d like to interview you, my name is Isabella.” She says.
“Where’d you get this number?”
“Zayn’s press agent.”
Oh, Harry thinks. He has a press agent now.
“What do you want to know?”
“Firstly,” Harry hears her shuffling papers in the background, “what is it like to have a song written about you?”
“It’s great, I love being the center of attention.”
Isabella laughed. “Did Zayn talk to you about the song?”
“Nah, we’d broken up by then. He didn’t have the guts.” Harry doesn’t know where these words are coming from.
“What do your friends think of the song?”
“There is a lot of ‘Harry, wait!’s being screamed down the hallway. And everyone has a sudden interest in me.” Harry thinks about it for a second. “Someone told me the song is being played in New York.”
“It is,” Isabella says. “It’s making it’s way up lots of American stations.”
“Oh,” Harry thinks he might throw up. “Fantastic.”
“What is?” Louis grabs his arm.
“Any plusses to the attention?”
“All the sex.” Luckily, the interviewer laughs. “No, it’s just a song written about me by someone who didn’t really know me anymore.”
As he says the words, he starts to believe them
Niall, of course, was already behind the counter when Harry got there, only a minute late.
“Remind me to get some Coffee Dream for my mum, yeah?” Harry asks, shoving his hat on.
“Ok,” Niall takes a step back from where he was straightening the towers of sugar cones. “Do these look even?”
“Sure.” Harry doesn’t even look, fiddles with the cups for the free samples. “I saw you in the hallway today.”
“Yeah?” Niall looks over him.
“I tried to wave but you looked away so I was doing this awkward half wave thing.”
“I hate that.” Niall starts fiddling with the napkin dispensers and an awkward silence comes over them. Harry hates these even more.
“So what were you listening to?”
“Just a mix my brother made me.”
“Mate, you’re finally speaking my language!” Harry jumps up onto the counter. “I live for mix CDs. What was on it?”
“Just some of The Clash, y’know Bob Dylan and stuff. Standard mixtape music.”
“I didn’t expect you to like that kind of stuff.” To be honest, Harry thought Niall didn’t even listen to music.
“You don’t like it?”
“Don’t really listen to a lot of it.” Harry swung his feet so they hit against the cabinets.
“I can make you a mix if you want.” Niall looks like he shocked himself by saying that.
“Ok,” Harry smiles at him so he knows it’s fine. “What else do you like? Like new bands?”
“You mean like Zayn’s band?”
Harry thought he would never see the day that Niall Horan would make him blush. He feels his face heat up and wants to die. Thank God Louis wasn’t here or Harry might have to slam his face into a wall.
“I’m just giving you a hard time.” Niall says with a smile.
“Today’s been hard enough.”
Harry notices the back of Niall’s neck turns bright red. At least he’s not the only one blushing. But then Harry turns around and sees Cher Lloyd, looking up through her fake lashes at Niall and Niall’s blushing more and stumbling over words and Harry doesn’t know why his heart feels too big for his chest or why he’s even mad about this, it’s not like he has a crush.