Chapter 68

Carly’s POV:

 

            The boys have been here for two weeks now, and the Unicef Snowflake Ball was tomorrow night. I had done whatever I could to ignore and avoid Harry. Of course, I was busy with some interviews and other things concerning my next album. I had been announced it to be released in a week, and fans were going crazy. They were so excited for the second album, probably more than I was.

 

            I was currently in my dressing room way at a radio interview with Radio Disney, and was really excited because of I was gonna perform my new single A Year Without Rain. Yeah, the song has to do with Harry, and he’s the reason I wrote it, but I’m not gonna think about it while I sing it. He’s gonna be out of sight and out of mind. All I have to focus on is promoting my new album and sing my new song.

 

            As I sat in my dressing room, Kristen looks at me. “Marissa and Carter are gonna be at your place by six thirty to get you ready for the ball,” she informs me, looking down at her Blackberry Bold. “And then the limo will come around seven fifteen to take you to the event.”

 

            I nod, licking my red lips. “Alright,” I heave a breath.

 

            Kristen looks at me, narrowing her eyes. “Are you nervous to perform, Carls?” she asks. I give a one shoulder shrug, and she gives me a small smile. “Don’t think about him, babe. Just think about the millions of fans that are so excited for your album, and love and support you. You’re gonna be fine.”

 

            “Thanks, Kris,” I smile gratefully at her.

 

            A guy comes in, letting me know that it’s time for me to go on. I stand up and walk down the hall to where my band was already set up. As I walked in, I was greeted by Jake, the host, as he grinned at me. “It’s great to have you, Carly.”    

 

            “It’s great to be here, Jake,” I smile back, sitting down on the stool. There was a microphone in front of me, ready to go, as the cameras started rolling.

 

            “Hey guys, it’s Jake!” he grins at the camera. “Today we have a special musical guest with us, Carly McKinley!”

 

            I grin and wave at the camera. “Hey!”

 

            I fix my black and white scarf as Jake says to me, “The floor is yours,” and walks away.

 

            I chuckle looking at the camera. “This is my first single off of my second album, A Year Without Rain,” I say.

 

            My band starts playing, and I tap my knee to the beat of the song. “Ooh ooh ooh. Ooh ooh ooh,” I begin with a smile. “Can you feel me when I think about you? With every breath I take. Every minute, no matter what I do. My world is an empty place.”

 

            Images of Harry flash through my mind as I try to push them back, continuing to sing. “Like I’ve been wandering the desert for a thousand days, oh. Don’t know if it’s a mirage but I always see your face, babe.”

 

            I pause for a second, smiling at the camera as my eyes close and I sing the chorus. “I’m missing you so much. Can’t help it, I’m in love. A day without you is like a year without rain. I need you by my side, don’t know how I’ll survive. A day without you is like a year without rain, oh whoa. Whoa, ohh, whoa.”

 

            How this long distance was too much for me, how I missed him every single damn day that went by.

 

            “The stars are burning, I hear your voice in my mind. Can’t you hear me calling? My heart is yearning like the ocean that’s running dry. Catch me I’m falling. It’s like the ground is crumbling underneath my feet. Won’t you save me? There’s gonna be a monsoon when you get back to me, ohh, baby.”

 

            How I had been so happy to finally be with him again; like I felt totally and utterly complete.

 

            “I’m missing you so much. Can’t help it, I’m in love. A day without you is like a year without rain. I need you by my side, don’t know how I’ll survive. A day without you is like a year without rain, oh whoa. Whoa, ohh, whoa.”

 

            I paused for a minute as the band made the effect of a thunder storm. Once they were done, I took a breath before singing. “So let this drought come to an end, and make this desert flower again. I’m so glad you found me, stick around me. Baby baby baby, ooh.” I smiled involuntarily as I thought of Harry. Bloody hell. “It’s a world of wonder with you in my life. So hurry, baby, don’t waste no more time. I need you here, I can’t explain but a day without you is like a year without rain, oh, whoa.”

 

            I looked at the camera as I sung the chorus for the last time. “I’m missing you so much. Can’t help it, I’m in love. A day without you is like a year without rain. I need you by my side, don’t know how I’ll survive. A day without you is like a year without rain, oh whoa. Whoa, ohh, whoa. Ooh ooh ooh. Ooh ooh ooh.”

 

            Once I finished, I smile at the camera as Jake claps, coming into view. “That was an amazing song, Carly!”

 

            I grin, standing up from the stool. “Thanks, Jake,” I chuckle.

 

            “So when’s the new album coming out?” he asks, rubbing his hands together.

 

            “Exactly one week,” I grin. “I’m really excited for everyone to hear it.”

 

            Jake asks a couple of more questions until it’s time to wrap this whole interview up. “To watch the clip of Carly performing, go on Radio Disney dot com for more clips. We’ll see you all later!”

 

            “Bye!” I wave at the camera, smiling. Once the cameras stop rolling, my band stands up to pack up the gear as I smile at Jake. “Thanks for having me, Jake.”

 

            “Thanks for coming,” he grins.

 

            I say goodbye to him and then I walked back to my dressing room. “Ready?” Kristen asks, standing up.

 

            I nod, grabbing my bag. “Yup,” I smile. “Let’s get ready for the ball.”

 

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

 

            I was getting ready for the Unicef Snowflake Ball in my room while Marissa and Carter prepped me up. Ashley was playing with Coco in her room to keep him company while I got ready. Carter had my hair slightly curled but pinned back, so you could see my face clearly. Marissa had applied some baby pink lip stick, black eyeliner and mascara, and grey and black eye shadow along with some blush splashed across my cheeks.

 

            My dress was black, and a vintage Dolce & Gabanna one. It had a wonderful design going down and around my chest and neck, and the dress’s length was down till my feet, and my back was exposed. I had on ruby earrings along with a matching ring, black heels, and my nails were also done a red color. Once Marissa and Carter had finished doing my hair, I slipped on the dress and grabbed my clutch bag.

 

            “There, you look gorg,” Marissa grins, once she finishes the touch ups.

 

            I grin as I stand up, grabbing my phone. “The limo should be here any minute.”

 

            “You ready, Carls?” Kristen’s voice comes. I turn and see her standing by the door. The whole event was a black and white tie event. Kristen was wearing a simply black, full sleeved dress that went to her knees and white platform pumps. Her hair was tied into a bun with blonde strands coming out.

 

            I smile, nodding. “Yeah,” I say. “When do we leave?”

 

            “The limo should be here in about three minutes,” she says. “Come on, let’s wait out.”

 

            I nod and bid goodbye to Marissa and Carter. Once I say goodbye to Ashley, I walk outside with Kristen just in time for the limo to arrive. We slide in and we immediately depart to the event. We got to the event venue in less than fifteen minutes, and once we got out, cameras flashed suddenly as the paparazzi noticed me arrive. I walked on to the red carpet, smiling and posing for the pictures.

 

            “Carly! Carly!”

 

            “Smile, Carly!”

 

            “Carly, over here!”

 

            Hundreds of demands were thrown at me, and I posed for as many as possible, smiling for the camera. I even met a woman who I later learned was the master behind this entire event, and took a picture with her too. I then followed Kristen inside the big building where I saw fancy tables and chairs set up, with celebrity names on it so we know where we’re sitting. As I’m walking, I hear someone call my name.

 

            “Carly!” the female voice says.

 

            I turn around and my eyes slightly widen when I see that it’s Katy Perry. “Hi, Katy!” I grin.

 

            “Phew,” she chuckles. “I’ve been wanting to finally meet you for such a long time,” she says.

 

            I was taken aback. “Really?” I ask.

 

            She nods, her blue eyes sparkling. “For a new artist, you’re so professional and really talented. I’ve downloaded your first album, and I love all of your songs.”

 

            My jaw drops. “Wow, thank you so much,” I grin. “That means a lot; specially coming from you.”

 

            She waves her hand dismissively. “Come on, let’s take a picture.” A photographer comes by as Katy and I stand next to each other, grinning for it. Once the picture is taken, Katy smiles at me. “It was nice officially meeting you,” she says. “I’ll see you on the dance floor.”

 

            She gives me a wink before walking away. I chuckle as I look for the table where I’m supposed to be sitting at. When I finally find it, I stop short. I swear, someone is after me. I have to share my table with none other than One Direction themselves.

 

            “Carly?” a voice asks.

 

            I bite the inside of my cheek, knowing exactly who it is. I turn around to see Harry standing there. Honestly, he looks really good. He was wearing a black tux with a black bow tie, his curls sweeping to the side as he looks incredibly dashing. “Hi, Harry,” I force a smile.       

 

            “I’m guessing we’re sharing a table?” he asks, looking past me and at the table.

 

            I nod. “Yup,” I say.

 

            We were suddenly interrupted when a photographer comes up to us. “Let’s have a picture of you two, yeah?” he asks, getting his camera ready.

 

            I freeze, not knowing how to respond. I glance at Harry who licks his lips. “Um, sure,” he says hesitantly.

 

            I let out a small, quiet sigh as I stand next to Harry. I put on my best fake smile as I pose for the picture. I feel Harry’s arm slide around my waist as I tense, but then force myself to relax. The two of us smile for the guy, and once he takes the picture and walks away, I move away from Harry.

 

            “Carly, can we not be awkward around each other?” Harry asks me, his tone slightly annoyed. “At least not in public?”

 

            I glare at Harry as other celebrities walk around us. “How about we try and not be around each other at all?” I snap.

 

            “That’s kind of not possible, don’t ya think?” Harry smirks. Good lord. “I mean, we’re at the same table for the night. Might as well get used to each other.”

 

            My glare doesn’t waver. “It’s only for tonight. After this, I’ll hopefully never have to see you again.” I watch as his face slightly drops, and relax myslef. “Where are the other boys?”

 

            “Around here somewhere,” he shrugs. He looks around until he looks back at me. “So what exactly happens around here?”

 

            I let out an annoyed sigh, rolling my eyes. “We’re here to support all of the children of the world who don’t have the things they need to survive and live life the way they should,” I explain. “We help children around the world, mostly around Africa because of how everyone’s starving. My management and I always donate money to Unicef whenever we can, and I try to take part in as many events as I can.”

 

            Harry looks at me, surprise in his eyes. “How come I never knew about that?” he asks in awe.

 

            I shrug. “I guess I never talked about it,” I say. “They’re gonna announce the ambassadors for Unicef tonight, and I’m actually really excited. I wanna see who gets it.”

 

            “Carly, hi!” I hear Zayn explain.

 

            I turn around to see the rest of the boys walking towards us, all dressed in tuxes. “Hey, boys,” I grin. “You look great.”

 

            “We try,” Niall winks.

 

            It was that point where everyone was finally here and it was time for us to sit at our seats. I sit in between Louis and Niall as the event begins. We start it off by having Bonnie Stern, the President and CEO of Unicef come up on the stage and welcome everyone here. She then goes into great detail about how much of a pleasure it is to have everyone here, and how she’s excited for the new projects that are gonna take place. We all listen quietly as she speaks, talking about helping all of the children that need our help.

 

            “Now, before we get to the dance,” Bonnie says into the microphone. “It’s time to announce the ambassador for Unicef.” Everyone waits as she smiles. “This young artist has just come into the music industry, but she has always been a part of Unicef. We're very pleased to have her join the Unicrf family, as a long time supporter, she will continue to capture and engage and audience of millions of young people to help ensure the health, education, equality and protection of every child.” She looks at the crowd and grins. “Our new ambassador for Unicef is not only a big help, but the youngest ambassador we’ve ever had. We welcome Carly McKinley to the Unicef family.”

 

            My jaw drops and eyes widen, processing her words as everyone erupts into applause. The boys all cheer and clap, sending me grins – even Harry. I’m frozen in my spot, until Louis gives me a slight nudge. “Go on,” he whispers.

 

            With a shocked smile, I get up from my seat as everyone continues to clap, and walk on to the stage. Once I’m on, Bonnie gives me a tight hug. “Congratulations, darling,” she whispers, sending me off to the podium.

 

            I wait for the applause to die down, smiling. “I honestly wasn’t expecting this,” I let out a chuckle of disbelief. “It’s honestly the biggest surprise ever.” I tuck a strand of loose hair behind my ear before continuing. “Every day 25,000 children die from preventable causes. I stand with Unicef in the belief that we can change that number from 25,000 to zero. I know we can achieve this because every moment, Unicef is on the ground providing children with the lifesaving assistance needed to ensure zero becomes a reality.”

 

            I smile as everyone erupts into applause once again as I walk off the stage, giving Bonnie a last hug, before heading back to my table. I sit down back in my seat as the boys all grin at me. “Congrats, Carls,” Liam grins.

 

            “Thanks, guys,” I smile, chuckling slightly.

 

            “Please, everyone,” Bonnie’s voice catches our attention. “Let the rest of your night be fun and joyous. Go have fun on the dance floor, or go and check out the buffet we have set up in the back.”

 

            “Buffet?!” Niall exclaims, wide eyed. As everyone stands up, Niall gets up and grabs Liam’s hand. “Come on, you’re coming with me,” he says, dragging Liam to the food.

 

            We laugh at him as Louis and Zayn stand up as well. “We’re gonna get some food as well,” Louis says. And before I could say anything, they leave. Great; now I’m stuck with Harry.

 

            He looks at me, his green eyes peircing into my brown ones. “You wanna dance?” he asks.

 

            “No, I’m fine,” I say, looking away from him and his eyes.

 

            “Come on, Carly,” he sighs. “It’s just a dance. It’s harmless.”

 

            I look at him and then at the boys by the food. They look like they aren’t coming back any time soon. I sigh, looking back at Harry. “Fine. Just one dance.”

 

            He grins and the two of us walk on to the dance floor. As if on cue, a slow song came on, and I internally groaned. Seriously? Harry turned to me, offering me his left hand. I bite the inside of my cheek as I hold it with my right one, immediately feeling tingles shoot through my arm. I would have pulled away, but Harry had a good grip on me. I felt his other arm slide around my waist as I put my left hand on his shoulder, the two of us dancing slowly along with the song.

 

            “Carly?” Harry asks.

 

            I look up at him. “Yes?”

 

            He bites his bottom lip, as if he was hesitant to say whatever he was about to. “Do you think we can ever go back as friends?”

 

            I bite the inside of my cheek as we sway to the music. “I don’t know, Harry,” I sigh. “I don’t even know if I can be here with you without just feeling hurt.”

 

            Hurt flashed through his green eyes, and I turned my head down and closed my eyes tightly. “You can’t even try?” he asks in a somewhat broken tone.

 

            I look up at him, my face hardening. “Why does it matter so much to you, anyway?” I hiss, making sure no one else heard us. “You’ve clearly moved on, so why are you bothering me about your past relationship?”

 

            Harry suddenly stops dancing and grips my hand, pulling me off the dancefloor. I was shocked as he dragged me to a corner. I was pushed against the wall as Harry cornered me, looking down at me. “I’m not giving up on us so easily, Carly,” he says firmly.

 

            “I did. You should too,” I clench my jaw.

 

            Harry looked shocked. “How can you say that?” he asks.

 

            “What are you talking about?” I raise an eyebrow. “You didn’t care either, Harry. You didn’t even hesitate on getting a new girlfriend.”

 

            “Could you just forget about Kate?” he snaps as quietly as he could without anyone hearing. “This is just about you and I,” he says. “Carly I loved you. Heck, I think I still love you. We can still make it work.”

 

            I look up at him, not bothering to hide the shock from my face. He still loved me? Why? How? I thought he had moved on with the help of Kate? I look up at Harry, his green eyes boring into mine. “We can’t, Harry,” my voice comes out as a whisper.

 

            “We can,” Harry’s voice is determined and a hint of anger laces it. “Carly, I know I still love you. Look at me in the eye and tell me you don’t love me.”

 

            My breath hitches as I hear his words. I can’t do that, because I know it’s not true. I can’t do it; but I have to. I love Harry, but I don’t want to. He hurt me, and I can’t just let that go. I’m not going to just forgive him and get back together – no matter how much I may want to. It’s not right. I gritted my teeth together, thinking over my next decision. I brought myself to look up and into Harry’s deep green eyes. My heart was hammering against my chest, my breathing becoming uneven. His green eyes bored into my brown ones, awaiting an answer.

 

            I can’t believe I was actually doing this.

 

            Looking into his eyes, I say in the coldest tone I could muster, “I don’t love you anymore.”

 

            I watched as Harry’s expression dropped, and I can hear the quiet gasp that escapes his lips. It’s quiet, almost inaudible, but I still manage to hear it because of our close proximity. Harry looked down at me as if I was a complete stranger; like he didn’t recognize me. His face held a look of betrayal, sadness, and anger. “Fine,” he says curtly, before turning around and walking away.

 

            My eyes trail after his figure as he disappears in the thick crowd of people, as I stay frozen on my spot. I suddenly felt as if I couldn’t even feel anything. Like there was no trace of any type of emotion in my body. All signs of happiness and joy have totally left my body, and it literally feels like I can never be happy again. But I also didn’t feel any type of sadness or anger; I couldn’t even cry or shed a single tear. My expression was totally blank, showing no emotion that my body couldn’t feel.

 

            I was numb.