The next few weeks went by in a blur. It rained every single day, the sky was always gray and I couldn’t take three steps without getting soaked. Nick and I walked together to Starbucks and then to class after we’d meet up with Natalia and go for lunch. But every day ended up the same way, me in my apartment lying in bed watching movies and waiting on a phone call from Ashton.
It was now Thursday night, the sky was dark with gray clouds and a cold gust of wind blew through the open window of my bedroom. I was lying in bed with my computer on my lap just checking Facebook, my ongoing exploding Twitter and just having the dilemma of which movie to watch next. Ashton hadn’t called me in all week and he’d ignored my last texts. I knew he was still pissed off about what happened on Tuesday but he also needed to understand I wasn’t ready for a public relationship just yet. It had been hard enough dating Harry and every single fan sending death threats or not being able to go out on a quiet date without being spotted; our breakup had been all over the internet and pictures of me going out with my guy friends on the first few months of this year circulated the internet with crazy captions. Most of the articles that accompanied the pictures were about how desperate I was to get Harry back that I was dating any guy I could snatch to make him jealous. Now after the radio interview pictures of me and Ashton from our date last week, our walk in Montmartre and even from the day we had lunch with Niall and Harry started to surface and the hate I was getting was worse than ever. People still tweeted me how desperate I was that I now trying to snatch Ashton so Harry would see us together and want to get back together with me. People couldn’t stop reminding me that I was hurting Ash’s career because he wasn’t getting along with Harry because of me and they said I was a soulless bitch that only cared for herself. All of these mean comments couldn’t be further from the truth and I needed someone to talk too. Nick was good for talking but he couldn’t possibly understand what I was going through. I’d spoken with Niall a few times about it but he just told me to sweat it off. The only two people that could possibly comfort me were the ones being affected by this problem as well and those were Harry and Ashton. Harry and I were now on a clean break and I didn’t need to pop back into his life for comfort and Ashton was really angry with me so he wasn’t in the mood for talking.
Scrolling down my Twitter I had an enlightening moment, I needed to get out from Paris and see Ashton myself. He’d had to talk to me; he would have to tell me what’s really bothering him and I can finally tell him why I left him and how I felt.
I picked up my phone in less than a heartbeat and dialed Niall’s number. They were leaving for Switzerland today and I could only hope they weren’t on the place right now. The phone rang for a solid minute when Niall finally picked up.
“Hele hey, are you feeling better?” Niall asked with concern in his voice.
I smiled shyly at nothing with glee before speaking again. “I’ve been better, but I didn’t call to talk about my feelings.” I stated.
“What do you need?” Niall asked.
“Are you with the 5SOS boys?” My voice was about two octaves higher than usual and I prayed that he wasn’t with them.
“No, they’ll meet us in Switzerland tomorrow why?” His voice sounded on edge he knew I was up to something but I wasn’t doing a good job hiding it either.
“Are you guys staying at the same hotel?” I could tell Niall was having a kick out of my interrogation because he was giggling and whispering something to someone whom I assumed was Liam.
“You’re starting to creep me out Hele, get to the point before I start to think you’re some kind of stalker.” Niall teased.
I chuckled and answered. “Have you seen my tweets before I met you guys? I am a stalker but that’s beside the point. I need to make a reservation at the hotel you’re staying in Berne, Ashton won’t answer my calls and I need to talk to him and I miss him and I want to make it up to him.” The words came out of my mouth like word vomit and I could hear Niall giggling.
“You are a stalker. But I’ll help you surprise Ash don’t worry. Management will do the reservation for you but we’re staying at a different hotel. We should go out for lunch though after you and Ash fix things.” Niall suggested.
My hell from last week was starting to disappear as Niall opened for me the gates to salvation. “I’d love that, and thank you so much now all I have to do is book the flight. How long are you staying in Berne?”
“We’re staying till the 5th but you can come with us to Turin so you can spend time with Ashton. Before you start nagging at me it’s on the weekend so you won’t miss class.” I could practically see his eyes roll after that last bit.
“Fine but only if Ashton and I are good by then.” I mumbled.
Niall laughed on the other end. “See you this weekend then.”
I made my way to the Charles de Gaulle airport early the next morning. My wallet still hurt because I’d gotten the tickets a little too last minute and I knew my mother would kill me as soon as she saw my credit card extract. The morning was unusually dark but the airport was filled with people from all around the world. I made my way to the check in counter got my ticket and went through security and sat patiently at the gate to wait for boarding time.
The flight was smooth I slept through most of it and wasn’t disturbed by turbulence or anything. I arrived in Berne at around ten in the morning. Switzerland was a beautiful country, lush green trees and the snow-topped mountains. Despite the blazing sunlight the cold was unbearable but the day was nice. I took a cab from the airport to the hotel and saw a few fans waiting outside. Before stepping out I put my sunglasses on and made my way to the lobby without calling the attention.
The lady at the lobby was really nice and had a welcoming smile, she was skeptical when I told her who I was and who’d made the reservation for me. I had to call Niall and he convinced her that it really was me and that I wasn’t a creepy tech savvy fan. Check in wasn’t until three so I left my little suitcase in the reception and went out for a walk. I called Niall to see if him and Liam were available so maybe we could go grab early lunch.
“Hele hey!” Niall exclaimed. “Did everything go smoothly checking in?”
“Yeah but check in isn’t until three so I was wandering if we could hang out for a bit? You, me and Liam?” I suggested.
“Sure we’re just hanging by the pool, come over.” Niall replied. I could practically hear his smile.
“Please tell me we’re eating as well, I’m starving I didn’t have time for breakfast this morning.” At the thought of food my stomach began to growl.
“I’ll order some French toast of whatever while you get here. Your hotel is literally five minutes away from ours.” Niall pointed out.
I wasn’t in the mood for walking but I couldn’t waste my money paying a one-minute taxi drive. “I’ll be there in five then.” I hung up the phone and made my way to Niall’s hotel.
The sun was blazing when I stepped out to the pool. The reflection of the water hurt my eyes despite the fact I was wearing sunglasses. I scanned the pool for a glimpse of Niall’s blond hair or Liam’s toned abs. I saw a flash of blond hair at my side so I turned and saw Niall, I gave him a little wave and he waved back.
“Aren’t you hot wearing that?” Niall said eyeing my jeans and sweater instead of saying hello.
“It was cold when I got here okay?” I defended myself as I stripped off my sweater revealing my loyal cropped top. “Where’s my food by the way?” I asked.
“I had to save it for you because Niall was tempted to eat it.” Liam said from behind me.
I turned around and gave him a tight hug. “Oh thank you so much, I’m starving.” I said as he handed me a plate with French toast, berries and powdered sugar. “This looks like heaven.” I said as I sat down on one of the chairs and began to devour my brunch.
“Don’t eat to fast you’ll get fat.” Niall teased.
“Then I can’t explain how you’re not overweight.” I shot back and the three of us started to laugh. “Where’re the rest of the boys?” I asked in order to make conversation and not talk about only my problems.
“Harry is out with Lou and Zayn, Louis is out sight seeing with Eleanor.” Niall said.
“I haven’t talked with Eleanor in ages, I love her so much.” I said remembering how we’d been really good friends last year and now we didn’t even speak.
“On the bright side Louis doesn’t hate you anymore.” Liam cut in.
“Really?” I asked and a gleam of hope appeared in my eyes.
“Well Harry told us what you talked about when you last saw each other. He looked better and Louis said that he would make an effort and be nice to you if he saw you again.” Liam explained.
“Well I guess that’s something.” I shrugged.
I continued eating my toast without a word I was just enjoying the sun burning my back, I was really white I needed some sort of tan. Niall and Liam told me about the tour and how they’d enjoyed most of the cities they’d visited on the past few weeks. We continued making small talk until Niall reminded me of the inevitable.
“So what are you going to do about your little situation with Ash?” He asked.
I glanced over at him and the reflection of the sun was so bright I had to squint my eyes. “I have no idea, I’m going to apologize for leaving him alone and go from there.” I said.
Liam looked over at Niall and then at me. “I feel like you guys are speaking in code. What’s wrong with you and Ashton?” His voice was a mix between confused and annoyed. “I want to be in on it too, its rude to talk exclude people you know.” He laughed.
I summarized everything that had been going on and I tried to hold back the tears. “I don’t understand why he’s avoiding me though, I apologized and he has to understand that’s hard for me too.” I finished off.
Liam and Niall stared at each other and none of the, said anything.
“So you really think he’s right?” I asked.
“Look he’s exaggerating a little bit. He should tell you how he’s feeling and not make you feel worse about something you guys can’t change.” Liam said. He wrapped an arm around me and hugged me tight, I loved Liam he was always the voice of reason and he’d be truthful no matter what.
We changed subject quickly after that and we had a good laugh. I finished eating my toast and they ordered a fruit salad for everyone. Despite me being satisfied I ate it because my stomach was in knots and I needed to distract it somehow. The sun was now burning on my back and I was pretty sure 5SOS was already at the hotel.
“I think I’ll leave now. I’ll text you guys and tell you how it goes.” I said standing up and grabbing my purse.
Liam stood up and gave me a tight hug. “It will be fine, Ash is crazy for you so it will be alright.” He assured me. I smiled at him and gave him thanks.
“If things go wrong you can always come with us to Turin.” Niall joked. I gave him dagger eyes and he laughed. “It will be fine relax.” With that being said I hugged him goodbye and left.
My heart was pounding hard against my ribcage and I could feel the blood boiling through my veins. I entered the lobby and made my way to my room. I changed into a bathing suit, which I had no idea why I’d decided to pack but now I was thankful for my impulsive decision. I took in a deep breath and went out the door again and took the elevator down to the pool. The sun was scorching hot and I threw my stuff down in a chair and jumped in the pool. The contrast of the cold water against my burning skin felt heavenly. I closed my eyes and went under a few times to cool myself down. I had no idea why I was so nervous, Ashton had had enough time to cool off and get over me not being at the radio thing and he’d be happy to see me. In the worst case scenario I could just make him forgive me by kissing him and luring him to bed with me, I was in a bikini it wouldn’t be that hard.
I pushed my head out of the water and opened my eyes. My stare soon fell upon Calum, Luke and Ashton. They were in the far end of the pool laughing and joking around. I pulled myself underwater again and swam the opposite way. I was praying they wouldn’t have seen me so I could slip away and go back to my room to pull myself together. I’d made it to the other end without any problems but just as I got out of the pool I bumped into Michael and he didn’t make an effort to keep his voice down.
“Hele what are you doing here?” He half asked half screamed.
I did my best to give him a smile but I failed epically and managed to look annoyed. “I’m just um visiting.” It wasn’t a lie but it wasn’t the truth either. I turned around and saw Luke, Calum and Ashton were staring at us. I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath. I wasn’t ready to have this conversation and Ashton being shirtless was going to make things so much harder.
“Oh cool.” He replied awkwardly. For a moment I thought he was about to walk away and let me be but instead he took my wrist and dragged me over to where the boys were.
When I was standing right in front of them I felt like a deer caught in headlights. I was frozen and I had no idea what to do or say. “Hi.” I croaked, I swallowed dry and looked away.
“Hey.” Luke replied and looked back and forth between Ashton and me. I peeked a little and saw that Ashton’s face was hard as stone and he was avoiding my eye. I needed to talk to him, I needed to get the weight lifted off my chest, and we needed to move past this.
“Ash can we talk for a second?” I asked in a small voice. My heart was thumping and the beating was so loud it zoned out every other sound.
Ashton looked at me and for a moment I saw sympathy in his face but that disappeared quickly only to be replaced by nothing. “Sure.” He replied. He walked over to the edge of the pool and used his broad arms to push himself out.
He was by my side and walked over with me to where my stuff was. I could feel the boys staring at us but I didn’t want to react in a way that would give too much away. I sat down on one end of the pool chair and Ashton sat on the other, our knees were touching but other than that he felt like a thousand miles away from me.
“I don’t understand why you’re so mad at me. I apologized for leaving, I’ve done nothing but feel terrible for leaving you alone like that and I’ve texted you this a million times. I was a coward and I shouldn’t have left.” I was out of breath by the end of my statement and Ashton seemed unmoved.
“I know. You shouldn’t have left, can you even imagine how much it hurt to have him say to me that I wasn’t only after 1D’s fame but also liked their sloppy seconds? Do you have any idea of all the hate I got from their fans? You have no idea what’s like to be under the spotlight all the time. People only know you because of the guys you’re with.” Ouch. His words made my blood boiled and I pressed my nails hard against the palm of my hands. I couldn’t believe what he’d just said, angry tears started to roll down my face and I looked away. “They’ll forget about you once we’re not together, if it’s the attention you don’t want then stop messing around with the people who get it.” His words were like the final blow on a sword fight and I couldn’t take him insulting me any longer.
“I’m sorry okay? I’m sorry for not understanding what’s it like to be under the spotlight all the fucking time. I’m sorry for not being famous and I’m fucking sorry that you think so low of me!” I screamed. People around us were starting to stare and I could feel the boys coming closer.
“If you were going to whore around you might as well have done a better job hiding it! Why didn’t you tell me you’d seen Harry the night before I left for Amsterdam? After that interview the picture of you two hugging on your doorstep was all over my Twitter. How do I know you didn’t fuck him?” His voice was just as tortured and enraged as mine. I could see the tears pilling up at the rim of his eyes.
I took in a deep breath resolved not to scream anymore to avoid any unwanted attention. The other boys were only a few steps away and I didn’t want them to hear it all. “You should trust me, nothing happened. But I don’t give a fuck now because I’ve never been so insulted in my life. One thing is being called a whore and a groupie by jealous fans and another is being called a whore by you.” I lifted my hand and threatened to strike him but instead I struck the pool chair beside me. I took my purse and stomped away towards the elevator.
I got back to the hotel after sightseeing and having a few beers with Lou only to find Niall and Liam whispering. They hadn’t noticed I’d arrived so I decided to creep on the conversation. I couldn’t hear anything other than I feel really bad for her and Harry can’t know about this. The last bit got my attention and I decided to interfere.
“Harry can’t know about what?” I asked with a smirk plastered onto my face.
Niall and Liam turned around at the same time looking as if they’d seen a ghost. “Nothing.” They said in unison.
“I wasn’t born yesterday tell me.” I urged them as I took a seat beside Niall.
“Helena is here.” Liam blurted out and I saw Niall kick him softly. “I’m sorry but he has the right to know.” He apologized.
I didn’t see that coming. My blood ran cold and my mind flashed back to when I last saw her. She told me she still cared for me, she basically begged me to hold her in my arms one last time and I could see clear in her eyes that she still loved me. I realized my eyes might be giving too much away so I shifted my expression to emotionless. Nobody knew about us seeing each other that night, except after that damned radio interview in which Ashton was forced to confess he was seeing her and then a picture of us hugging at her doorstep came to the surface. Ashton was so pissed at me he almost threatened to fight me, but Calum had calmed him down and I was avoiding the 5SOS lads as much as I could.
“You don’t seem faced at all.” Niall said in surprise.
“It’s non of my business to know why she’s here.” I said dryly hoping the expression in my eyes didn’t give away the fact that I wanted to see her. “So why do you guys feel bad for her what happened?” I asked trying to sound as uninterested as I could.
“Ashton and her are having some trouble so she came here to try and talk to him.” Liam explained and I saw Niall kick him under the table yet again.
“Do those to know about the existence of cell phones?” I teased. I found it highly unnecessary her being here trying to fix things when she could just call.
“Don’t be a dick. He’s been avoiding her.” Liam elaborated. Now I was interested.
“Is it because of the picture?” I asked, for some strange reason I didn’t feel bad about it at all.
“I think it is. But she has no idea, she’s been avoiding Twitter because fans are hating on her really hard right now.” When Niall said this I wanted to ask him where she was so I could comfort her. She always got sensitive when the fans hated on her but if she was at the point in which she wasn’t even checking her Instagram things were pretty bad.
“I see.” I said and we all fell quiet.
We stared awkwardly at each other for a few minutes when suddenly Niall’s phone started to ring. The caller ID flashed before my eyes and when I saw her name on the screen my heart sank. I looked over at Niall and I could tell he was hesitating to answer.
“What if it’s urgent?” Liam asked. “She said she’d call us after speaking with him.”
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to hear how good they were now, but I also didn’t want to miss the chance to hear her voice to hear her happy. “Answer it but don’t tell her I’m here.” I said not giving Niall much of a choice.
“Fine.” He huffed as he tapped on the screen. “Hele how did it go?” He asked in an overly excited voice.
I could only hear heavy breathing on the other end and I could tell she wasn’t okay.
“Hele talk to me what happened?” Niall urged. I looked at him and we both had the same worried expression in our eyes.
“Niall I….I don’t know….I…” She was sobbing and the words were struggling to come out of her mouth. I wanted to kill Ashton for making her hurt like she was right now. Anger coursed through my veins and made my blood boil. I had to take in deep breaths in order not to do something I’d regret.
“What do you mean what happened?” Niall asked again. Liam had a face full of concern and so did I.
“It was horrible. I’ve never been insulted like that in my life.” She sobbed.
We all stared at each other puzzled. What had Ashton said to her to crack her like that? She wasn’t an easy girl to break and I couldn’t hold back my anger. Liam squeezed my shoulder tight and gave me a sever look.
“Insulted? What did he say?” Liam cut in.
In between sobs, croaks and heaving Helena told us everything. I felt guilty because Ashton was pissed at her because of me but he had no right to call her a groupie or a whore, she was none of the above. Hearing her like this made my heart shatter into a million pieces. I wanted to run to her and hold her in my arms, I wanted to whisper in her ear how much I needed her and how good I’d make her feel. Hearing her cry was something I couldn’t bear and I wanted to break Ashton’s face badly.
“I’m going back to Paris tomorrow, I made a huge mistake coming here.” She finished off.
“Hele I’m sorry, I really thought he’d get over that shit. Give him time he’s just angry.” Niall said.
“I don’t know…I’ve never been so insulted in my life, I’d feel really bad forgiving him after what he said.” Her voice was still raspy and she let out a sob but I could tell she was better.
“It’s up to you but I know how he feels about you.” Niall insisted and I wanted to kill him for even suggesting her to give him a chance. “We have to go now so I’ll talk to you later.”
“Bye, thank you.” She said and hung up.
“I’m going to kill him!” I exclaimed as soon as Niall switched off his phone. “How dare he insult her that way?”
“Harry you told her the same thing last week, you have no right to be pissed.” Liam reminded me.
My face felt hot with shame because he was right. Hele had been hurt badly by the two people she cares about the most and she didn’t deserve it. “I’ll make it up to her.” I mumbled.
“How?” Niall asked skeptically.
“I’ll talk to Ashton, I’ll help her have him.” I said even though the words felt like acid on my mouth.
“What? Why?” Liam asked raising his eyebrow and laughing in amusement.
“I want her to be happy that’s why and Ashton makes her happy. Besides I see how he feels about her too I’m not blind. I get how he feels he’s just pissed.” My voice sounded calm and calculating; the exact opposite from a few seconds ago.
“You’re mood swings are getting out of control Harry.” Niall teased.
I shoved him hard and he just laughed. “You’re supposed to say how great of a person I am, not be my psychologist.” I replied.
“Okay, you’re an amazing person. I hope you can get them together.” He said.
“I’m doing this for her and because she made it clear she wants nothing to do with me.” I responded and without waiting for an answer I left to my room to rest before the concert and my little talk with Ashton.
Backstage was just like usual; we were all messing around and pretty much being lads. I was lying on the sofa having a good laugh with Michael and Louis when I heard the door open. I sat up and turned my head in the direction of the door. As soon as my eyes laid on Ashton the whole room fell silent and the air was so thick you could cut it with a knife. Everyone stared at each other clueless of what to do. The silence lasted for a few minutes before I decided to break it.
“Can I talk to you for a moment?” I asked Ashton.
He seemed confused at first because he didn’t say anything. Instead he just looked around the room avoiding my eye. I raised an eyebrow and shot him a smirk. “Who me?” He finally asked.
“Yes you.” I replied dryly as I stood up and walked over to him. “In private.” I cleared.
We walked out of the room without even glancing at each other. The tension in the air was starting to weight on my shoulders as well and the sooner I got this conversation over with the better. As soon as I heard Ashton shut the door behind us and we were out in the hallway with no one on earshot I turned around to face him. The expression in his face caught me by surprise; his hazel eyes weren’t as vivacious as usual and for once he wasn’t smiling, the factions in his face looked somber and lifeless.
“Why did you say those things to her?” I couldn’t keep the edge out of my voice. But just the thought of her crying because of his words sent me through the roof.
“Did she call you for comfort?” He snapped at me; all of a sudden his eyes filled with resentment.
I rolled my eyes at him and took in a deep breath to calm myself down. “No, she called Niall and I was there. I’d never heard her so hurt before.” I added venom to that last bit to make him feel bad for what he said.
“I didn’t mean anything of what I said. Anger got the best of me.” He defended.
“That still doesn’t make it right. The fact that you were so quick to believe she’d come back to me makes me think that you really do think low of her. That could only explain why you went after her so fast.” I said.
His eyes became dilated and I knew I’d hot a nerve. “What? You think I went after her just for sex, she took long enough giving me a kiss, do you think if I only wanted sex from her I would’ve keep insisting on her going out with me? You really are sick man.” His voice was enraged and his face was turning bright red.
“Then don’t call her a whore or a gold digger because she’s none of that you understand? Oh and if you ever hurt her again I’ll break your face.” I threatened but at the same time smirked at him. “Just so you know, nothing happened between her and I that night. I just walked her home because I wasn’t going to let her walk by herself at three in the morning. I still care for her and you messed up so I suggest you apologize. Even though I doubt she’ll take you back.” I added and hoped the last part were true.
“Am I supposed to thank you or something?” He asked annoyed.
“No, in fact you can leave now.” I said.
Ashton turned around and opened the door to the dressing room. I simply kept walking down the hallway hoping he’d talk to her and hoping she were strong enough to at least refuse him.
My eyes fluttered open as soon as I heard pounding on my door. I rubbed at them and tried to sit up. My head was throbbing and my muscles were numb. When my eyes adjusted to the darkness I stood up and walked limply towards the door. I opened it slowly; letting the light from the hallway bathe my room, there was a person standing on the other side of the door. My heart sank and angry tears started flowing down my face.
“I don’t want to see you.” I croaked, my voice was exhausted and defeated and I didn’t have it in me to fight any more.
“Please hear me out okay?” Ashton pleaded. His hazel eyes were filled with sadness and regret and I willed myself to be strong and not to give in.
“Come in.” I said.
Ashton joined me into the darkness as I tried to prepare my weak mind for whatever he was about to say.