Pick Me Up
It had been three days. Three whole damn days.
Three days since Percy last spoke to Harry, three days since their kiss, three days since their cuddle movie time. She was growing paranoid. She had gotten an e-mail from him, but it was just the schedule for next week. Why wouldn’t he text her back? Not that she over loaded his phone with texts, just 4, but still, she thought there was something there and she hoped she wasn’t wrong.
It all came into view in the middle of her maths class, she didn’t turn her phone on silent just in case he texted, she didn’t want to miss, and boy, she didn’t miss it. Her phone was so loud it made the teacher stop what he was doing and stare at her along with the rest of the class. She quickly turned the volume off and gave it a glance, hoping she would like what she saw. She did, it was from Harry.
To: Percy Appleyard
From: Harry Styles
You did not fully prepare me for this TV show. You said it was good, but this is bloody brilliant. Does it say something about me that I aspire to be as sure about something as Dexter is about serial killing? Looking forward to a full-blown conversation and debate about this black hole you sucked me into.
Percy laughed to herself, and texted back almost instantly.
To: Harry Styles
From: Percy Appleyard
I told you! You can never doubt me ever again.
To: Percy Appleyard
From: Harry Styles
I guess I can’t now, can I? I’ll see you at work later tonight; I switched shifts with Ashton so we can talk this all out. I have several theories.
To: Harry Styles
From: Percy Appleyard
I guarantee you that all your theories are wrong, sir.
To: Percy Appleyard
From: Harry Styles
We shall see, madam. We. Shall. See.
That was it. She was done for the rest of the day; even though she had one more class left today, her mind was elsewhere. Her concentration had faltered; all she was looking forward to was her 5pm to close shift with Harry. Luckily the time went by fast and she walked briskly to the coffee shop. It was virtually empty. She saw Harry walking around with his clipboard doing inventory, she tried not to get a stupid grin on her face after seeing him. She had two ways she could play thins, calm and collected, or giggle like a schoolgirl. Making her choice, she walked right past him, not even a glance in his direction, into the back, set down her stuff and went to help Ashton with the 2 remaining customers in line.
After Percy was done helping Ashton, he grabbed his stuff and bid both her and Harry a farewell, giving the quickest wink ever. She barely even noticed, and hopefully Harry didn’t at all. She stayed quiet, working on tasks that needed to be done; cleaning, organizing, and stalking for the next day. She let Harry have his manager space, leaving him alone while he was in the back office, even though she was a bundle or nerves. Harry finally emerged from the back an hour later looking way less stressed than when she first came in.
“Finish up what you needed to do boss man?” she asked playfully. She couldn’t believe she just called him ‘boss man’. He probably thought she sounded like an idiot, but he let out a chuckle.
“Yeah, I’m yours for the rest of the night.” Now he felt stupid, he didn’t mean for it to come out the way he did. He just meant that they could talk and hang out while throwing in a bit of work here and there. Although, he had thought about having her for a night after their movie cuddle session. “Sooooo… about Dexter.”
“Right!” she said, perking up, eyes wide with a smile. “How far along are you?”
“I’ve finished.” He said, proudly.
“Yeah, binge watched the entire show.” He jumped up on the coffee counter while Percy leaned against the espresso machine. “It was like slipping into a warped fairy tale. I loved it.”
“Okay, here is the real question… Rita or Hannah?” Percy grabbed one the granola bars on the counter and started eating slowly.
“Hannah. Hannah all the way.” He was very sure in his answer. Percy almost choked on her food.
“No way! Hannah had no reason to kill… Dexter did. She was way out of line.” She argued.
“Hannah and Dexter were the perfect couple, ridding the world of ass holes one at a time.”
“You’re mental.” She shook her head at him in disbelief.
“You know what’s mental… the damn ending. It was complete bullshit. So annoyed! It’s like when Harry broke the elder wand instead of using it to mend his own wand… ridiculous.” Percy couldn’t help it, she busted into a full on laugh.
“Nerd!” she finally got out between breaths. “Such a nerd…”
“HEY!” he retorted, “At least I don’t have my nose stuck in some American drama novel.”
“I like my books.” She got up, walked over and pushed him a little.
“And I like my nerd movies.” He grabbed hold of the edge, trying not to fall off the counter; he ended up pushing himself forward so his face was close to Percy’s. He felt it, the electricity between them, like two magnets. What he would give to kiss her right then and there, he was about to when the bell rang, indicating a customer had just entered.
“We’ve got company.” Said Percy, walking away towards the register. She felt the same thing Harry had, but wasn’t sure if she would have let him kiss her.
“Damn.” Harry said under his breath, hopping down to go help her. If only the person could have ended 30 seconds later, if only…
The rest of work went by as usual, except for the longing glances, accidently rubbing up against each other, and inappropriate thoughts going through both their minds. Harry offered her a ride, once again. Maybe she would convince him to come back up a second time.
“Thanks for the ride.” Said Percy, waiting for her chance to give him an invite.
“No problem. Anytime.” He said, as the car stayed on, rumbling. Harry was fiddling with the keys. She took her chance.
“What to come up and have another movie night?” She asked, sheepishly. If he said yes, he was into her, if he said no, they were just friends. Maybe not even friends, co-workers. Harry looked at the time on his phone. He had to be in glad early tomorrow, but he couldn’t pass up another chance to be in Percy’s bed.
“I’ve got some time.” He answered with a smile.
Harry parked and they made their way to the dorm, up the stairs, and into the room. Once again Donna was at her desk on her laptop. But this time she wasn’t doing homework. It looked like she was on tumblr, scrolling through lots of fancy clothes and jewelry, which she probably already owned.
“Hiya.” Said Percy as they walked in. She threw her coat on the floor along with her book bag, and kicked off her shoes. Harry took her lead and did the same.
“Hi.” Said Donna, with out looking. But out of her peripheral vision, she noticed another person. She swung around almost instantly with a dirty scowl look on her face. “What is HE doing here, again?” she asked, rather rudely.
“We are going to watch another movie…” said Percy, sitting on her bed Indian style, getting out her laptop. Harry squeezed in next to her, he wanted to say hi or something, anything, but he just let Percy and Donna talk.
“You can’t just bring people over with out asking… it’s rude.” Donna’s eyes we narrowing, she was growing angrier.
“This is my room too, I can do whatever I want on my side… you have your side so make up your own rules over there.” Percy felt like she might have been instigating a bit, but, all she needed was one fight to get one of them transferred out and she would get a different room mate.
“I’m trying to study.” Donna lied.
“No you aren’t.” Harry chimed in. “You’re on tumblr.” Percy held in a giggle, well, she didn’t hold it in very well at all. She beamed up at Harry, like he was her knight in shining armor. Donna slammed her laptop shut and scoffed. She picked up her backpack, laptop under her arm and ran out of the room, slamming the door. Percy was finally free to laugh.
“I need to bring you around more often, especially if you can clear her out of here so quickly. You’re like a Donna bug repellent.” She said, knocking their shoulders together. “So what movie shall we watch tonight?” She scooted over, stretched out her legs, and let Harry lay next to her.
“A classic of some kind…” He kicked off his boots, put his arms behinds his head, and began to relax.
“I’ve got the perfect thing…” Percy loaded up her computer and brought up ‘Hook’ with Robin Williams. They both became engulfed in the movie and how close they were to each other. About half way through, Percy put her head on his chest, while he draped an arm over her. It was like they were asleep on the couch again. He could smell her, hear her breathing, and feel her heart pumping just as fast as his. And somehow, they both really did fall asleep.
They were woken up with a jolt. It was Donna, pushing on Percy’s bed with her foot. Neither of them wanted to get up, it was too comfortable and just warm enough.
“Come on Percy… He has to leave. It’s nearly 1…” said Donna, continuing to wake them up.
“Fuck off Donna.” She said absentmindedly, turning over, away from both Harry and Donna.
“No, it’s alright.” Said Harry, stretching and getting up. “I’m up”. He grabbed his backpack, put on his shoes and coat, then began to walk out. But. Before he did, he quietly tiptoed back over to Percy’s bed and kissed her on the head, before she went back to being dead to the world. “See you later, Princess.” He lightly chuckled as she just groaned and turned over.
That’s what happened for the rest of the week; Harry would purposely schedule himself and Percy to close together. They would go to her dorm room, Donna and her would yell for about 5 minutes until Donna left, leaving them alone to watch their movie and cuddle up. That’s all the happened, cuddling. He felt the urge to kiss her more than once, but he didn’t want to make assumptions. So he settled for a long good night hug and a peck on the cheek. Every time he walked away he damned himself for not kissing her good-bye. Harry didn’t even realize the weekend had come and gone until he got home on Sunday morning, around 2:30, where he found both Louis and Liam drunkenly were making breakfast.
“Where have you been?” asked Louis, sitting at the counter, stuffing his face with sausage.
“Out.” Harry said, very non-specifically. He set his stuff down on the couch and flopped down next to it. He was knackered, he had to admit he would have loved to spend the night next to Percy, but he didn’t want another screaming match with her roommate. He yawned loudly, grabbed a couch pillow and laid down.
“Not out with us…” chimed in Liam, eating his egg over easy right next to Louis. “You’ve actually been MIA for the last few nights.” Louis and Liam raised eyebrows at each other, knowing something was up.
“Been at work.” Harry answered with his eyes closed, trying not to fall asleep. He was remembering the lingering feeling of Percy on his chest with he arm around it. It was calming.
“The coffee shop closes at 10 on Saturday nights.” Said Liam.
“School, studying.” He answered again. One word at a time was all he could get out. His brain was getting fuzzy and he desperately needed sleep.
“Library is closed at 5 on Saturdays.” Liam was breaking down his defense of where he had been. This got on his nerves right away. He shot up from the couch, tired and upset.
“I don’t ask you about California girl, you don’t have to ask me about where I’ve been.” He shouted, letting a bit of his anger out from his jar that was building up. “Deal?” He shot both Liam and Louis and angry look and laid back down.
“Sorry man.” Apologized Louis, “No need to get your knickers in a twist.” Harry slowly got put, took his things, and walked down the hall to his room, slamming the door. He didn’t know why he was so angry. Sometimes it would just happen like this. Someone would say one tiny word and it would get him off. Maybe he was mad at himself for not making a move and kissing Percy. Maybe he was mad that is was 2:45 in the morning and he had to get up in a little less than 4 hours to go open up the store. His last thought before he passed out was that he was going to kiss her tomorrow.
But, he didn’t kiss her the next day, or the day after that, or even the day after that. School and work just over loaded them both. They didn’t even get to really talk until Thursday night, which was Niall’s Thirsty Thursday. They would find all the remaining liquor in the house, pour it into a large container, and threw in juice or soda, or whatever they could find. And they would all sit in the den and watch a movie, play pool and just have a laugh together. It was always the calm before the party storm that would be Friday and Saturday night. It was just a place for friends, no strangers.
Percy was feeling confused that night, she walked in with Jo and right when her eyes landed on Harry, her heart started beating faster. They had shared several nights on her tiny twin bed, watching movies, and cuddling. She had waited for Harry to make the move to kiss her, but it never came. It made her question everything, like whether or not she was sending out the right signals or if he just didn’t have the same feelings for her. All the doubts would run though her head and get to her in the worst ways. So when Harry hugged Jo and just gave Percy a smile, it vindicated all she thought.
She grabbed a drink from Zayn, who the offered her a toke, and she took it. Might as well get fucked up since that’s was she had convinced herself that Harry saw in her.
“You alright love?” asked Zayn, at some very very late point in the night. He threw his arm around her shoulder and brought her into a bear hug.
“Yeah.” She answered, half drunk, half high. “’M fine.”
“You sure?” he asked, “You seem elsewhere tonight.”
“It’s this weed you’ve got me on, just spacing out.” She lied.
“That’s the best part.” Said Zayn, smiling while taking another hit. “Zombie weed, I call it.”
“Great name.” She forced a smile and laugh. She was not feeling well, not in the sense that she drank or smoked too much, just that she didn’t feel like herself. She felt like a shell. All these people around who claim to be her friends, but no one was seeing how much she was hurting and beating herself up over a boy who didn’t even like her three weeks ago.
She walked away from Zayn who was now in a debate with Kyle about marijuana legalization and how much money they could make with growing their own stuff, which clearly did not interest her.
She took her chance and wondered around Niall’s house, which she had only seen a fraction of. She left the den and headed upstairs, where there were at least 10 rooms. She peered into almost every one and would enjoy the architecture and all the fancy antique furniture his Nan probably picked out. She swore some of the paintings were watching her, like a Scooby-Doo cartoon. She half expected to see suits of armor around each corner, but none were there. She stopped at a huge tapestry depicting Niall’s family tree going very far back. She looked at the date, which was 949 AD.
“Hey.” Said a voice coming from behind her, and a hand on her shoulder.
Percy jumped a few feet in the air and tried her best not to scream. She turned around and noticed Harry. “Jesus Christ Harry, for fuck’s sake.” She said, grabbing her chest, trying to calm down.
“Sorry.” He said, trying not to laugh. “Sorry.”
“What do you want?” She asked almost defensively. Why would he seek her out when he had ignored her beforehand?
“This.” Was all he said, and a second later his lips her on hers. This was the kiss she was waiting for, and this was the kiss he had been planning in his head. Their lips moved fast, and their hands found each other. Harry tasted sweet to her, not too much like alcohol, a little like honey, when he slipped his tongue in her mouth. It was perfect, that’s all Harry was thinking while Percy just thought she was an easy target since the only other girl at the house was Jo and she was with Kyle. That thought immediately made her pull away.
“Stop.” She said, almost in tears.
“What?” He asked, a little shocked while she pulled away. “Why?”
“Because why?” He was a little hurt. He had been waiting and building himself up for this for almost two weeks now.
“Just.” Now she started crying. “I have to go.” She ran off down the hallway, down the stairs, past the den where she bumped into Jo. Seeing she was upset, she grabbed her arm and pulled her.
“Percy…” she said softly. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing my ass…” Her voice went from light to harsh. “Tell me.”
“I’m leaving.” She wiggled free and walked to the front door, slamming it behind her. Jo shook her head and then saw Harry running down the stairs after Percy.
“What the hell just happened Harry?” she asked angrily.
“I don’t know… really.” He said. “I was just talking to her and she freaked and left.”
“That can’t be it.” Jo knew Harry was hiding something. “Tell me now Styles or I will chop that lovely mop of hair off your bloody head.” Harry hesitated; he didn’t really want anyone knowing what had been going on the last few days. But it was Jo; she was going to find out eventually.
“I kissed her.”
“What?! You guys kissed? How? When?” Jo was shocked, Percy or Harry hadn’t even hinted at anything going thing on between them. As far as she knew, they still barely tolerated each other.
“We’ve been spending a lot of time together and…” Harry scratched the back of his head and avoided eye contact. He was also worried about Percy being drunk, high, and alone out at this time of night. “I thought it was a good idea. I thought we both wanted it…” Now Jo felt sorry for him, oh, he was going to go through hell if he really liked Percy, so she sympathized.
“Give her a little while. I’ll text her, make sure she is okay.”
“Are you sure?” He asked, “I can still go after her.”
“I’ll take care of it.” She assured him, squeezing his shoulder. “Send out Zayn, won’t you?” Harry shook his head yes and went back into the den.
She hadn’t shown up for work today, being a little late was normal, but Harry had an uneasy feeling in his gut when she just didn’t show up. He took a few minutes to himself and went out in the back alley, pulled out his phone and dialed Percy, no answer, just like the whole weekend. Desperate times called for desperate measures. He looked through his contacts and called Jo, she must know what’s going on. It rang about 4 times, but she picked up.
“Hiya.” Answered Jo, in her usual cheery voice.
“Hey Jo, it’s Harry…” he said into the receiver, scratching the back of his head, eyes darting around, not being able to focus on one thing. His mind was scattered and racing.
“That’s what the caller ID says when you call...” Jo let out a tiny laugh. “What can I do for you this fine day, shouldn’t you and Percy be making googley eyes at each other while working or something?”
“No, ummm… Percy didn’t show up for work today.”
“You sure she just isn’t late? You know her.”
“No, she was supposed to be here about 4 hours ago. I keep calling but it goes straight to voice mail. In fact, I haven’t heard from her all weekend.”
“That’s a bit odd.”
“Yeah. Well. The other odd this was I did get a text from her last night. It was really weird. She said that she didn’t know what she was doing anymore or where her life was going, and that she isn’t worth it. But, I didn’t see it until I woke up and I tried texting her back, but got no response” His voice sounded strained, like he was hurting. There was a long silence, about 10 seconds longer than there should have been.
“Harry. Listen to me, this is very important. I need you to leave work and go to Percy’s dorm room, now.” Her voice was dead serious.
“What? Why? I can’t leave. I’m the only one here…”
“Harry. You don’t understand, you have to go to her. Now.” Her voice was becoming more strained, like she was holding back tears. “I can’t, I’m all the way in Sheffield with Kyle’s family, otherwise I would. You have to go, you’re the only one that can go.”
“I-I don’t understand. Can’t you just call her roommate or something?”
“No. You aren’t listening. It’s super important that someone she cares about goes to her or she won’t snap out of it.”
“Out of what…?”
“I don’t have anymore time to explain. Go. Now. Call me when you get there and I’ll walk to you through it.”
Harry didn’t understand what was going on, but the sound in Jo’s voice scared him straight. He didn’t hesitate at the point. He shut everything off, ushered everyone out, locked up and ran to Percy’s dorm. He bound up the stairs, taking them two at a time, and finally reached her door that was luckily unlocked.
All the lights were off, the blinds were closed, it didn’t seem like any life was left in that tiny room. Donna clearly hadn’t been there for a few days. He could barely make out Percy’s silhouette in bed, covers hiding her.
“Percy?” said Harry softly, like if he spoke any louder something would break. There was no answer. He walked over to her bed and saw that she was, in fact, there. He sat down softly on the edge of the tiny mattress that they had shared so much in the past few weeks. Percy was laying down, her back to him, facing the wall. He lightly touched her arm and gave her a little shake, trying to wake her up, but when he leaned over and looked at her, her eyes were wide open and blank. They looked red and puffy, as if she had been crying for a very long time. “Hey, are you okay?”
Again, there was no answer, just her vacant eyes attached at the brick wall. Harry was beginning to get scared. He had never seen her so lifeless, she was always vibrant, happy, and talkative. Nothing could bring her down, but this was a different side of her, one extreme to another. He had never experienced anything like this with anyone he knew and he had no idea what to do. He hurriedly took out his phone and redialed Jo’s number. It only rang once before she picked up.
“Harry?” her voice sounded frantic.
“Is she there? Is she in her dorm?” He had never heard such panic in anyone’s voice before.
“She is. She is in bed. I-I can’t get her to move or talk or look at me. She is just staring at the wall.” Now Harry’s voice was strained, he was choking up.
“Okay. I need you took look around the room, are there any pill bottles or anything the seems out of the ordinary or empty?” Harry got up from the bed and turned on the overhead light, he immediately turned back to Percy, hoping that the light would evoke some movement or reaction, but nothing happened. She stayed in the same position, staring off into nothingness.
He paced around the room, looking on her desk, in her purse, in her drawer, and closet. Nothing out of the ordinary, same old room he recognized.
“No, I don’t see anything…” He kept looking around the back at Percy, having no clue what was happening. “Jo, what’s going on?”
“It’s good you don’t see anything.” There was a tiny trace of relief in Jo’s voice, but still not back to normal.
“I’m really getting freaked out right now…” Harry was stood in front of Percy’s bed, her back still to him. “Why is she like this?”
“She never told you, did she?”
“Told me what?”
“When she was 16, she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder by a counselor at school, but her parents, being who they are, decided not to get her on medication and to let her work it out herself…”
“Because, they don’t believe in western medicine, they think it’s all poison.” Jo sighed and continued. “She gets like this sometimes. She doesn’t talk, or eat, or sleep, or anything. It’s not as bad as it used to be, she would sometimes take pills to numb it all out or she tried to harm herself, that’s why I was so worried.”
“Well, now that makes two of us.” Harry just stared at her, feeling so helpless to help this girl he was growing to care so much for. All he wanted to do was take away all the bad and just let in the good. The good that they had when they would talk and laugh, when she would accidentally brush against him and he would get volts of electricity running through his body and looking at her, knowing she was feeling the same. “Jo, what do I do?”
“Just stay there, be with her, talk to her. Bring her food or water or anything you can think of that will break her out of it. Stay if it takes all night. I’m on the first train back in the morning. Promise.” There was another long pause. “Harry, you have to take care of her until I get back, don’t leave her alone, okay? If you do, we don’t know what she’ll do.”
“I’m not leaving, I can’t leave her like this.” It was breaking his heart, but he knew that Percy was feeling worse. He had to put her needs in front of his own.
“Nope, neither can I. I hate to make light of this in anyway, but welcome to the club of loving Percy. You take the good, which is amazing and spectacular, with the bad, which is really bad, getting sucked into a black hole kind of bad. If you need me, call me okay?”
“Okay. I will.”
Harry set down his phone on Percy’s desk that was littered with books and notes, and her average mess of disorganization, which was one of her redeeming qualities to him. He sat with her the rest of the day, talking to her about anything that came to his mind. It was different, him being the one doing all the talking, he’d usually sit and listen while Percy rambled on and off about different things like lines from her favorite movies, or cute dogs she had seen on her walk to work. She still hadn’t acknowledged his existence by dinnertime.
Not wanting to leave her alone for any amount of time, he ordered take-a-way and got it delivered to her dorm room. He got it from the Italian place that he hated, but she loved their chicken carbanora. He tried teasing her, making jokes. Still nothing. It was getting later and later, Harry called her and himself out of work for the next day, now it was just a waiting game until Jo got there in the morning.
Harry’s eyes began to get heavy and he wanted to sleep. His first thought was to sleep on the floor or in Donna’s bed, but he made the choice to sleep next to Percy. He climbed into her bed awkwardly. He was so tall that his feet almost hung off the edge, but instead, he curled himself around her. His front to her back, and snuck and arm around her waste and pulled her in tightly to him. She still didn’t move or have any reaction to him being in bed with her, he couldn’t even tell if her eyes were open or shut, so, he just let himself drift off to sleep.
He woke up around 3 in the morning, but this time, instead of Percy facing the wall with her back to him, she had turned herself over and had her head resting on his chest, one leg draped over his, arm around his stomach, holding on very tightly. He slipped his arm around her head and shoulder, and pulled her in tighter to him. He felt good knowing that having him there had changed something, it may not have been talking to her or trying to get her to go and do things, just himself, quiet and patient helped her. And, in that moment, that tiny few minutes he was in between awake and asleep, he realized he loved her. Not as a friend, but as this strange girl who spoke to much, who was messy and always late, stole his heart and he was never going to get it back, not that he minded though, as far as he was concerned, his heart was hers for the taking.
Jo did end up coming home that next morning and went straight to Percy’s dorm. Much to her surprise, Percy was sitting up eating the left over take away Harry had ordered with a DVD in, Grandma’s Boy. They were on the bed together, smiling and laughing. Jo had never seen Percy recover quite this quickly.
“Alright you two, scoot over.” Demanded Jo, and so the squeeze another person on her tiny twin bed. Not even 15 minutes later, Zayn showed up, bong and beer in hand. All of them smoked, which was a rarity. Percy liked seeing Jo and Harry high, they both were just bug eyed and paranoid. It made her smile, knowing they were doing it just for her.
The dorm room was beginning to feel very tiny now, but none of it mattered. Percy was there with the three people she cared about the most in the world, and she knew they all felt the same. She couldn’t deny what Harry had done for her, someone who doesn’t care about you wouldn’t stay with you all night making sure you were okay until somebody else came. It just didn’t happen like that. He could have left when Jo showed up and then when Zayn did, but he stuck around. They were all so close together, but she scooted at much as she could towards Harry, feeling his warmth and holding his hand. Shit. They were both in for it.