Chapter Two

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The stares didn't occur very much in class. Computer Science 101 didn't allow many stares unless it was at screens. As well as she had only boys in her class today, and either they didn't know or they didn't care. Wherever the rest of the girls were, they didn't usually show up, so that left her in the grips of the teacher and the boys. Everyone stared at their computers, working on a program.

"So, Meredith," said a male beside her, "Prince Harry?"

Meredith's eyes slid over to him, annoyed. He interrupted her while she was in her mood for code writing.

"Is he, you know," the boy blushed, "good in bed?"

Meredith arched an eyebrow.

"Come on, I mean he's hot. I'd do him."

She went back to staring at her computer. "This makes me cry."

"Prince Harry?" he asked. "Oh, the paparazzi, right?"

"No." She sighed. "Computer science. What the hell are we doing?"

The boy sat back, laughing nervously.

Meredith waited and waited, and finally this painful experience of computer science was over for the day. However as soon as Meredith stepped outside the Swenson Hall, she was immediately pounded by another painful experience. Meredith stared forward again, half-hidden behind her sunglasses, as she pushed through the paparazzi and now the college students that walked around, all gawking at her. She kept going.

Upon reaching her dormitory, it was fab involved as she dangled the electronic in front of the lock until it buzzed her in. The paparazzi and everyone else was left outside. The hallway was clear with the building just being one hallway, stacked on top of each other three times. Meredith bounded herself up the stairs and then jammed the key into the lock of her door. Glancing down the hallway, it was clear, both ways. Another thing to be thankful for, Crownhart, her dormitory, was quiet usually. Meredith ducked into her room, locking the door behind her.

Meredith pulled out her cell phone again and texted Harry. While waiting for a response, Meredith placed a blanket at the bottom of her door, blocking any sound from coming out. She checked her windows, closing the shades, so no one could see in. A beep came from her phone and Meredith ran over, but it was not Harry; it was Meredith's boss, wondering what the hell was going on; Meredith ignored it. Lastly, she turned on music, just to drown out any sound that came if Meredith decided to start screaming or crying.

She knew she was shaking, and she couldn't stop. Meredith knew it had been coming since she first saw the paparazzi this morning. It almost happened several times in class. Now that she was alone, there was no one to stop it and there was no way to stop it. Her eyes burned.

Looking up at the ceiling, Meredith tried to keep from the tears spilling out of her eyes. "No," she said aloud. "My makeup is too pretty." Tears ran down the side of her face; she dabbed it away. "No, Mere, you're stronger than this. You're not weak." Turning to the mirror, Meredith stared herself in the eyes. "I'm not weak. I'm not weak. I'm not weak."

Suddenly Meredith's phone was blaring, and she knew exactly who it was, but Meredith couldn't allow him to see her like this. She looked defeated and sad. Meredith knew she was better than this. Smiling, she held this face for five seconds, and then she placed the phone in front of her.

"Hello," Meredith said as she answered. "How are you?"

"Mere." Harry gave her quite the serious look. "How are you?"

"There are people following me."

"I did text you a many times this morning, but you chose not to respond to them."

"You only text me that many times when it's bad, so yeah, I ignored it."

"And was it bad?"

Meredith stilled. Yes. "No."

It didn't matter how good a liar Meredith was because she wasn't a good liar. He also knew how other people felt in this situation. Harry also knew Meredith very, very, very well. "Mere."

"I don't," her voice cracked. "We knew this day was coming. It's here."

"Mere--"

"No." Meredith swallowed, pushing everything back down inside. "Not now, okay? I have an hour before my next class and then I have another class. Later, I can... express myself. We can talk more then. As for now, I need you to distract me from what lies outside." She cleared her throat. "How has your day been?"

Harry pursed his lips. "You know it hasn't been good."

Meredith eyes flashed up. "Why?"

"You said you didn't want to talk about it."

"Explain now."

"Mere, it's more about you."

"The paparazzi were after you today. You had an event, and the paparazzi went hard on you, didn't they?"

"Mere, they know about you, so yes." He swallowed. "They'll say anything to get on my nerves, especially about you."

"You had other girlfriends that you cared about and that the paparazzi knew about."

"I've never cared about anyone as much as you, and they know."

"So," Meredith flipped her hair back, "the paparazzi are going to come at me with all they got. They're going to say whatever they can to get on my nerves." She paused. "Is this how it feels before going into war?"

Harry stopped. "I wouldn't know."

She arched an eyebrow.

"I was in war, but I've always grown up with this, Mere. Most girls that I dated, whoever they were, they didn't didn't have the luxury of time. Paparazzi followed them, and we always assumed they were there." He paused. "With you, we had blessed time. We weren't followed, as much, so now they come after you."

"Looking forward to it." Meredith checked the time. "I feel like I have to prepare for war."

"Mere, you don't have to go through this alone."

"I won't be going through this alone. You're not the one who got me into this." Meredith checked the time again. All she wanted was get to class, get out of class, go to her next class, and then go back to her room to hide from the world. "How bad will it get?"

"Terrible," he responded.

Meredith sighed and put on more lipstick. "Let's get this shit started."

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