Chapter Eight

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When Meredith got into her room, she knew Harry waited for an update on her day. She would prefer to not say it, but Daniel had gone out of his way to say something. Meredith was thankful, but at the same time, there was a good chance Daniel made it worse. Meredith kept her mouth closed all day, and the one day she didn't open it, Daniel did it for her.

Harry called five minutes later. "It was all him," Meredith said after explaining the situation. Harry stared angrily, and it wasn't at her. She knew he was milling something over in his head, thinking of the best possible idea. "What?"

"Where is security? What about the police? Why haven't they put a stop to this?"

"Can they?" Meredith asked. "I don't remember any of your past girlfriends walking around London with a police presence."

"You don't remember any of my past girlfriends," he countered, and he was right. Meredith hadn't exactly paid much attention to Prince Harry throughout her life. "Those situations were different."

"How? Paparazzi still had proof that you dated them."

"Yes, but this is different because you're not in a big town. You're in northern Wisconsin," he said in her accent. Meredith was unimpressed. "You see the difference, right? I don't think police in Superior are dealing with terrorists attacks. What's the most dangerous thing in Superior?"

"Drunks," Meredith shrugged, "perhaps grizzly bears."

"Exactly."

"Well, that only helps if I go off campus, Harry. As long as I'm on campus, Campus Safety deals with me, but they don't have it in the budget. So unless you're going to buy me a security guard or something, I'm going to just have to grin and bear it." Her voice had gotten louder and louder, as anger boiled in her.

When Meredith walked through the crowds of paparazzi, she felt like she was drowning, slowly suffocating. She couldn't breathe and she couldn't see. It felt like she was stuck in a lightning storm with the constant flashes. The thunder became the voices. Wherever she went, she was stuck as the walls closed in around her. Sometimes it didn't bother her, but today, it felt like all of them pushed in more. This was only the third day, and her whole life was meant to be like this? It made Meredith shake.

"Mere?" Harry asked. "Don't keep it inside. Tell me about it."

"I feel like... I'm dying half the time, Harry. I'm stuck in a tunnel and I can't get out. And the light, it's cameras flashing. These things they say to me, Harry, they shouldn't bother me. And for some reason they do!" Meredith started to shake again. "I can't show any weakness in front of them, so I say something back. That's what I do. But they say those things to me, and I just want to give them the truth. Tell them no or yes. And then they say things about you, which you can only speak to, and I want to defend you but we can't, can we?" Meredith already knew the answer. "If I say anything personal about you, they'll know. And they'll come after me harder."

Harry waited patiently. "What else, Mere?"

Tears came from her eyes. "Is it always like this? Will I always feel hopeless and lost? Will I never be able to just once stand for myself and not get backlash?" she asked. "I went on Instagram this morning, because I was curious. I haven't been on any of my other social media accounts, and I didn't even read any of the comments. But I looked at my Instagram and then I had to put it down. Do you want to know why, Harry?"

"Yes."

"I have over two million followers on Instagram. I don't know two million people. Where the fuck did these people come from? Why are they following me? If it's just because I'm dating you then it's stupid, isn't it?" Meredith wiped her face with the back of her hand. "Is that it? Is that why?"

"Yes."

"It's stupid." Meredith looked to her window, but the shade was closed, like it always was now. Not once in the past three days could she open the shade and see outside with the fear that someone might see into her room on the second floor. "I can't do anything."

Harry swallowed harshly. All he wanted to do was hold her, and he couldn't do that. She was half the world away. Honestly, Harry wasn't sure Meredith would even allow herself to be comforted by him. He wanted to protect her, but he wasn't even sure if she would let him, let alone he could do it.

"Mere, if you could do anything right now, what would you do?"

She looked at him sincerely. "I would kiss you."

Harry blushed slightly.

"But I have ice cream, and it's good enough." Meredith left the frame, grabbed the ice cream and came back. "What?"

"I can be just replaced by ice cream?"

"If only my dog was here." Meredith missed Emmie so much. "But I would kiss you, and I probably wouldn't stop for a while."

Harry smiled. "Do you know what I want to be doing right now?"

"Sleep. It's midnight."

He shook his head.

"I'm sure something romantic and adorable." Meredith settled back. "Tell me all about it."

"I would honor you," he said, "in the best ways possible."

Meredith felt the heat rising, making her skin red. "You must be so lonely without me."

"I'm terribly lonely."

She smirked. "Continue."

"Well, I would--"

There was a knock at Meredith's door, and she stopped. "Of fucking course." Hushing him, Meredith went to her door. She took a deep breath, trying to look normal. Opening her door, one of her residents stood in front of her. Meredith smiled. "What can I help with?"

"Um... sorry to disturb you. I know you aren't on duty right now, but I smell weed down the hallway."

Internally, Meredith groaned. If the resident had called Campus Safety, then Meredith wouldn't be involved. She would be talking with Harry in private, talking about private things. Since the resident had come to RA Meredith, she got to deal with it. "Thank you. I'll be right there." Walking across the room, Meredith put a finger to her lips, whispering, "I'll be right back."

Meredith was only half way down the hallway when she smelt it. It was very strong. Like a dog sniffing, Meredith sniffed a crack of every door down the hallway until she reached the room. She smelt the rooms around it, just to be sure. Here it was, the same old room.

Going back to her dorm room, Meredith grabbed her notebook. "We'll talk tomorrow, I'm sure."

Harry smiled sadly. "Off to do a job?"

"Someone has to," she joked.

He pretended to be wounded. "I love you."

"See you later." Meredith ended the call and squared her shoulders, going off to be the bad guy.



**************

Hello, readers. I know we have gotten used to updates every day but that'll be coming to a close pretty soon. University is starting up again on Monday and this weekend I have jammed back with work training. I will update when possible.

Thank you,

S. Johnson

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