Chapter Four

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Meredith ate dinner at the same time every night, except for Thursdays. If there was anything the paparazzi knew for a fact, it was that Meredith ate dinner at 5:15 every night. Tabitha came by to pick her up five minutes prior, and Meredith put a blanket jacket on this time. Delaina stood beside her roommate, giving a wink and smile. Meredith knew neither Tabitha or Delaina were going to say a thing to anyone, but it didn't make her less nervous.

Now that had it started to grow dark when afternoon hit, Meredith couldn't hide behind the sunglasses. However, with the darkness, the bright flashing lights from the cameras became so much worse.

Stepping outside, Meredith was immediately blinded. Tabitha grabbed her friend's arm, leading her through. The flashes came from every direction. The bodies crammed together made everything so warm. Colorful dots danced in Meredith's vision, causing her to almost stumble. It made her go dizzy. Her mind became fuzzy. Tabitha pulled Meredith along, hoping her friend didn't fall.

Once inside the union, Meredith found her complete footing again, walking toward the cafeteria. Meredith chose the table they sat at carefully, a booth where she couldn't be seen by the paparazzi or by most. Meredith kept herself hidden behind a wall. When Giorgi came, she said nothing but gave a nice smile.

She couldn't eat, even as her friends came back with plates of food. Looking at them, it almost made her sick to her stomach, wanting to vomit all over them. However, Meredith needed all the friends she could get right now.

"Meredith," Tabitha whispered, "try to look more natural."

Meredith took the advice and moved to look more natural

"Nope, try again."

Meredith moved slightly.

"One more time."

Meredith moved again.

"That's as good as you're going to get." Tabitha went back to eating.

When dinner was over, Meredith was thankful to get out of there. She wasn't thankful to go outside and be pounded by paparazzi. The paparazzi did just that. Tabitha held a hold of Meredith, going through the people. Meredith ended up having to glance down to keep from falling over.

"What are you going to do tonight?" Tabitha asked.

"Ignore the world," Meredith said, unlocking the door, "and have fun watching Supernatural. One of them is probably going to die again."

Tabitha nodded. "As long as it's Dean."

Meredith closed and locked the door, placing a blanket at the base. Checking her phone, it was a little past midnight in London. Harry said he would call at midnight; he was late, again. Wringing her hands, Meredith paced back and forth, waiting for him. Perhaps he forgot, Meredith thought, but she really hoped he didn't. She had homework to do tonight, but Meredith doubted that was happening. She couldn't focus.

A few minutes later, he called her. Laying back on her bed, Meredith grabbed the tissues and answered, "Hello."

"Prepared much," he said.

"Someone has to be." She breathed deeply. "I didn't speak to the paparazzi after you told me not to."

"You thought about it."

"I'm still probably going to speak to them."

"The more you speak to them, the harder they'll hit. Don't engage with them," Harry pleaded. "They'll come after you."

"They're already after me." Anger flared within Meredith. "No matter what I do, here on out, they'll follow me. So I might as well keep doing me, and I'm not exactly a nice person, so why start now?"

"You are a nice person, Mere."

"I won't be when I'm done with them." Already one day in and Meredith hated everything and everyone. Harry grew up in this, and he had to be somehow immune. Meredith only had thick skin some places. Other places, she was flimsy glass, ready to be broken. "Harry, I'm not like the rest of the girls. I know you, so I don't think I'm going anywhere."

"You aren't going anywhere," he promised.

"But I won't change."

"Don't engage."

"I have to."

"I know." His blue eyes shined. "And I love you for it, and I'll stand by you."

Meredith smiled. "Thanks."

"Any time." Harry opened his mouth but closed it. There was something he wanted to say, and Meredith knew it was promises. But he knew, truthfully, he might not be able to keep them. This was the first day, and he wasn't sure what came next. At least with the other girls, he could keep them close. With Meredith, she was on her own, across the world. She had to do this by herself.

"The natural enemy for paparazzi is coming," Meredith said, a smile hurting her face, though it felt good. She felt more human now. "The cold is coming."

"It can't get that cold."

Meredith laughed. "You've been to the North Pole. It's a bit chilly."

"It doesn't get that cold where you're from."

"They say it's going to be a terrible winter, and it may not get North Pole cold but I severely doubt the paps are ready for the damn cold."

"Couldn't they go by a jacket?"

Meredith laughed again, shaking her head. "Buying a jacket can only help so much. You have to be a hearty person to live in this cold. We are not weak people."

"I'm well aware." Harry smiled, which made Meredith's grin only grow.

She found herself at ease with him, like they were back in Scotland. After Jack, it had been difficult, but they went back to their old patterns. As for now, talking on the phone, like they had been doing for the past three months, this was the old pattern. It now appeared there were more important things to talk about, but it was just Harry and Meredith. It was better this way, when everything outside was forgotten.

"It will get better," Meredith said. She couldn't know for sure, but with Harry on her side, she didn't think it could get worse. "It has to get better."

Harry smiled sweetly, but something painful lurked behind his blue eyes. He was sad inside. He lost something too today with the news coming out. This was privacy, and then all of it was taken away. This affected his life too. Wherever he went and whatever he did now would be dictated by questions about Meredith and his love life.

"I love you, Mere."

Meredith blushed. "Go get some sleep. You're obviously tired."

"Or maybe it's true."

She shook her head.

"Are you're okay?"

"Life will continue to go on."

Harry didn't believe her. "What are you doing tonight?"

"I have an office hour in an hour, and I have plenty of homework to do." Meredith swallowed. "And you need sleep. You got to be on your game for tomorrow."

"So do you."

Meredith laughed. "Trust me, I'm ready." She was.

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