The Moment I Knew ✦ Tom Holland
Summary: Things haven't been going great between you and Tom. When he misses your birthday, you come to a realisation.
Pairing: Tom Holland x Reader
Content: angst, that's it, just pain, swearing
Word count: 4.8k
A/N: I rediscovered The Moment I Knew by Taylor Swift recently and it led to me writing this. Italics are lyrics from the song.
Feedback is always appreciated.
TOM MASTERLIST ✦ HARRY MASTERLIST
Today was your birthday. You had lunch with the Hollands, your family only getting into town later that day. Well, all the Hollands except for your boyfriend, Tom. He was supposed to fly home the previous night, so that he could be there to spend the day with you. But, he’d called you two days ago to say that he had a meeting on the day his flight was originally booked and that he’d take an early one the following day and be there for the party in the evening. Naturally, you hadn’t exactly been happy when he told you that but you didn’t say anything, at least he would be there to celebrate with both your families and most of your friends. You hadn’t heard anything from him since last night when he was back in his hotel room after having dinner saying he’d see you the next day. You tried calling him a few times, so did Harry, but neither of you managed to get a hold of him. He can’t pick up if he’s on the plane, that’s what you kept repeating to yourself. He was supposed to land at 7:30pm, giving him enough time to quickly go home and get changed before joining you, only missing the first hour or so of the celebration.
You spent the first part of the afternoon with Harry and Sam and drove back to your place after 4 when your family let you know they were almost there. You took a bit of time to catch up and then slowly got ready. You spent the entire day checking your phone every two minutes, hoping it was Tom whenever you got a text or your phone rang, but it was never him. You made your way to the small venue you’d booked for the event in the early evening, making sure all the bits were ready for when people would arrive. Your family and Tom’s helped with the last-minute preparations. You looked at your phone one last time before the guests started walking in, group after group. After greeting the majority of them, you took another look at your phone: no text, no call from your boyfriend, and it was now 7:55pm. Something wasn’t right. You were about to call him when some family members arrived, calling your name.
“Harry” you called the youngest twin who was a few feet away from you.
“What’s up?” he asked, joining you.
“Can you try calling Tom? His plane should have landed by now.”
“Yeah, sure” he said.
“Thanks” you said, turning back to greet your new guests.
You were in the middle of a conversation with some of your cousins when you saw Harry coming back inside. He saw you looking at him expectantly and simply shook his head, letting you know his attempt had been unsuccessful.
You should've been there, should've burst through the door with that 'baby I'm right here' smile. And it would've felt like a million little shining stars had just aligned. And I would've been so happy.
An hour turned into two and there was still no sign of Tom. You kept looking at the door, hoping he’d walk through it any minute. But he never did. You were trying your best to talk to people even though your mind was elsewhere. He’d told you he’d be here by now. You checked the flight when you had a moment earlier and there was no delay on his, it had even landed five minutes early. So where was he? You were starting to worry, maybe something had happened to him. But you were also sad, sad that you had to spend your birthday without him next to you. Anger was also starting to grow inside of you: if he’d come home as planned and pushed that meeting, he would have been there when you woke up this morning, for lunch and by your side now. But he was nowhere to be seen and no one had heard from him.
I've got my eye on the door, just waiting for you to walk in, but the time is ticking. People ask me how I've been as I comb back through my memory, how you said you'd be here, you said you'd be here.
You tried to speak with everyone, thanking them for coming and catching up with some people you hadn’t seen in a while. But your heart wasn’t in it. You were exhausted, exhausted because of the same thoughts running through your brain and because of the act you were putting up, smiling and laughing with guests. You no longer felt like seeing anyone, you wanted to be alone. It was past 11 by now, you would be opening some of your presents in a bit. If you wanted to have a moment to breathe, it was now or never. You finished the conversation you were having and excused yourself. You walked out of the main room and down the hall, making your way to the restroom. You’d just walked in and took a look at yourself in the mirror when there was a knock on the door before it was opened, the twins walking in. You were fighting your tears back really hard and seeing them there, worrying about you almost brought you to your breaking point.
And the hours pass by, now I just wanna be alone but your close friends always seem to know when there's something really wrong, so they follow me down the hall. And there in the bathroom, I try not to fall apart, and the sinking feeling starts as I say hopelessly "He said he'd be here."
“You okay?” Sam asked, knowing the answer but not knowing what else to say.
“He said he’d be here” you answered, voice low, almost breaking.
“I know” Harry said, checking his phone but finding no notification from his older brother.
“Come on, they’re going to want you to make a speech and open a few presents” Sam said, trying to lift your spirits up even the tiniest bit. You usually loved receiving gifts.
“Okay” you said, taking in a deep breath before following them out of the restroom.
Standing there in my party dress, in red lipstick, with no one to impress. And they're all standing around me singing "Happy birthday to you", but there was one thing missing, and that was the moment I knew.
Everyone’s attention was on you when you walked back into the main room. You put on your best fake smile and walked towards the table in the centre, clearing your throat. You don’t know how you did it but you managed to thank everyone for being there and spending the evening with you without breaking down. You knew that most of the guests had noticed your boyfriend wasn’t there but no one dared mentioning it to you, no doubt knowing it was a touchy subject. Some of your guests insisted on you opening their gifts so you did, letting them grab them from the pile of wrapped boxes on the table.
You should've been here and I would've been so happy.
You placed the gifts next to the unopened ones. Everyone’s eyes were still on you but yours were on one of the wrapped boxes still on the table. You recognised the handwriting on the label right away. It was from Tom. You turned to Sam who was standing next to you.
“What’s that?” you asked, voice barely above a whisper, pointing to the present.
“It’s Tom’s, he gave it to Harry before he left yesterday.”
It was just a simple answer, a simple action but the meaning of it hit you like a brick wall and broke your heart. Why give the gift to his brother when he was supposed to be home anyway to give it to you in person? Maybe because he knew he wasn’t going to make it, that he wasn’t going to be there. You felt a lump in your throat and your eyes watering. Before you knew it, tears were rolling down your face in front of your family and friends, not being able to hold them in anymore.
What do you say when tears are streaming down your face in front of everyone you know?
And what do you do when the one who means the most to you is the one who didn't show?
All these people were here for you, to celebrate your special day but somehow it didn’t mean anything as the one you really wanted to be there wasn’t. You felt guilty for feeling that way, ungrateful, but you couldn’t help it. You didn’t care for the big party and the many gifts. All you’d wanted was for Tom, your boyfriend, to be home for this day, to celebrate with you. But he wasn’t there.
And now, here you were, crying because of him in front of everyone you knew. Your family and close friends seemed sad to see you like this, others had looks of pity on their face. You couldn’t stand seeing that. You hated to cry in front of people and now you were sobbing in front of all of them. You mumbled a ‘sorry’ before leaving the room and going out into the small garden at the back. Once you were sure you were alone and at a far enough distance from the guests, you let it all out, crying heavily. You were hurt, really hurt but also more and more angry. How could he do this to you? He didn’t call you, didn’t even text you to wish you a ‘happy birthday’. You had no idea where he was or what he was doing. All you knew is that he wasn’t here, where he said he would be. And you had just made a fool of yourself in front of everyone you cared about. You heard footsteps coming towards you but didn’t look up. The person stopped right in front of you and wrapped their arms around you, hugging you close to their chest. This only made you cry more, holding on to them for dear life. No word was said, it was just you and your tears. You don’t know how long you stayed like that but you eventually calmed down a bit.
“Why are you here?” you asked, pulling away.
“Huh?” he asked, not understanding what you meant.
“Why could you make it back in time and he couldn’t?” you asked, wiping the tears from your cheeks. You must have looked like a mess by now.
“I don’t know” was all Harry said.
“He was supposed to be here, he promised he’d be back for the party.”
“I know” he answered. “I’m sorry.”
“You have nothing to be sorry for. You’ve literally been there for me all day, you and your family.”
“Sorry on behalf of Tom” he clarified, though he was cursing his brother as well for screwing this up.
“Sorry’s not gonna cut it this time.”
You stayed outside a few more minutes before going back in. You tried to fix your appearance as best as you could in the bathroom before joining your guests again. No one felt like dancing or celebrating anymore, some of them let you know they were going to leave shortly. You thanked everyone for coming again, apologizing for the turn of events and assuring them you were grateful for it all. None of them mentioned what happened when you said goodbye and you were glad about that, you didn’t feel like breaking down again. Your family were the last ones to leave. You hugged them, thanking them and apologizing once more. The venue was now empty, except for Harry and Sam who stayed behind to help start cleaning up. And so you started putting away left-over food, picking up glasses. The room was silent, except for the music playing at a very low volume in the background. You were gathering your presents and putting them in bags when your phone lit up, the sound of the ring resonating on the table. It was past midnight now. Tom. The photo of you with his arms around you and his mouth pressed to the side of your head broke your heart a bit more. The twins noticed the change in your attitude and looked down at the phone as well. You let it ring, until it finally stopped and the screen went black again. He tried a second time, and then a third, but you just stared at the screen. You had no intention of picking up, you didn’t want to talk to him. Another phone started ringing a few minutes later, Harry’s. Both you and Sam were looking at him when he put it up to his ear and starting speaking.
“Where the hell have you been?” was the first thing he said, not bothering with a hello.
You couldn’t hear what Tom was saying on the other end of the call but he spoke for quite some time, surely giving a stupid explanation for whatever his reasons were.
“No, don’t come here” Harry said, your eyes opening wide and your head shaking no. “The party’s over, everyone’s gone” he added. “Why?” he looked at you and you just shrugged, not caring about how he’d present things. “Maybe because y/n didn’t feel like celebrating anymore after you stood her up, bro.”
Sam had come closer to you, putting an arm around your shoulders, holding you, probably scared you’d fall apart any second. You were truly grateful for the two of them right now. Even though they were Tom’s brothers, they had had your back all day and still did now.
“She’s in front of me right now” Harry said, making you shake your head ‘no’ once more, anticipating Tom’s request to speak to you. “No, she doesn’t want to talk to you. Or see you. You screwed up, big time, just go home” He explained with a sigh. “Yeah, I’ll see you in a bit” he added before hanging up.
“So what’s his excuse?” you asked, needing to know.
“Got back to his hotel late last night and so missed his flight early this morning. He had to take a later one.”
“You’re fucking kidding me” you said, anger completely taking over the sadness. “That’s why he missed my damn birthday? Couldn’t he have called?”
“He didn’t take the time to in all the rush. He only landed half an hour ago.”
You had to hold back yelling at Harry as the anger spread through your body. It wasn’t his fault, he was only the messenger. You couldn’t believe that was it, that was the reason for your boyfriend missing the whole party.
“Can I ask you a question?” you looked at Harry, trying to sound as calm as possible.
“What was that meeting about anyway?”
“A small project he might be filming in LA next month” he answered, voice low as he knew you were not going to like this answer.
“Next month, uh? Wasn’t he supposed to be home next month?” you asked, though it was not really a question.
“Yeah, he was” Harry admitted, not seeing any reason to hide the truth.
“Just keeps getting better” you muttered.
You finished cleaning up and gathering your stuff before the three of you left. They drove you back home and helped you bring the bags into your apartment, wishing you goodnight after making sure you’d be okay. You left the gifts by the door, making your way to your bedroom. All you wanted was to sleep now so that your mind could finally be at ease for a few hours. Tom didn’t try calling you again but you had a few texts from him: finally a ‘happy birthday’ even though it was technically the next day, a few apologies and promises of making it back to you. You knew better than to believe those by now, they were just empty words. You got ready for bed and finally lay down under the covers.
You called me later, and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't make it.” And that was the moment I knew.
You got a few texts from Tom the next day, wondering if you could talk. You knew you had to but you didn’t feel like seeing him or talking to him so you just ignored them. He seemed to have got the message because he didn’t insist. You spent the day with your family before they left to drive home. Your eyes kept landing on Tom's gift, lying on top of other ones, a constant reminder of how your birthday had gone.
In the evening, you received another text from him. It was a simple question but it held so much meaning, there was so much behind it. You decided to answer it.
Tom: What about tomorrow?
You: I said I’ll be there so I will. Some of us actually keep their word.
It might have sounded pitiful but you didn’t care. You were dreading the next day. Tom had been invited to a brand event months ago and you’d agreed to go with him. Your presence there had been made official, your outfit already planned. Everyone knew you were going to come and were expecting you along with him. So there was really no way for you to get out of it. You could’ve pretended to be sick and unable to attend but you didn’t want to let people down. That simply wasn't who you were. You had no other choice than to see him and have to pretend to be perfectly happy and in love.
The next day, you took your time to drive to the hotel where hair and make-up were waiting for you to get you ready for the event. You took a deep breath before getting out of your car and made your way to the room. The second you walked in, Tom jumped to his feet. You’d usually run into his arms, kiss him and hold him close after being apart, but not today. You hadn’t seen him in five weeks and yet you didn’t feel happy seeing him stand in front of you. If anything, the sight of him made you sad and angry.
“Darling, I-“ he started but you cut him off.
“Don’t” you couldn’t take his lame apologies and stupid nicknames right now. “I don’t want to hear it. The only reason I’m here is because I told everyone I would come and I don’t want people to start speculating on whatever’s going on.”
You greeted the people who were there to help you. It took a little over an hour. Neither you or Tom said a word to each other, only making small talk with whoever was getting you ready. Once they were done, you were left alone in the room waiting until the car was there to pick you up. You were sitting in an armchair, scrolling on your phone. Tom was standing against the wall opposite you, eyes on you.
“We’re gonna have to talk at some point” he said breaking the silence.
“Can we not do this now?” you mumbled.
“At least I know you can’t walk away or avoid me, so we’re going to talk. Now” he said determined.
“You don’t get to demand anything from me after what you did” you said, looking up at him.
“I said I was sorry, multiple times.”
“Sorry is not gonna do it this time, Tom” you answered, crossing your arms over your chest.
“Well I don’t know what else to tell you” he answered, getting defensive because of the tone in your voice.
“Exactly! There’s nothing you can say that’s going to make any of this better. You missed my fucking birthday. I didn’t say anything when you told me you were coming home later than originally planned. But missing the party? And because of what? I spent the entire night hoping to get a text from you or to see you walking through the damn door, but you didn’t. Instead, I made a fool of myself in front of both our families and friends. Once more, you said you’d be here but you weren’t.”
“Once more?” he asked, jaw tensing at the implication.
“That’s all you’ve been doing lately, making empty promises and letting me down. And by the looks of it that meeting which prevented you from coming back in time is also going to prevent you from being home with me when you were supposed to have a break.”
“I’m home now, for the next two weeks.”
“Oh, two weeks? How lucky I am to have you for so long” you answered, sarcasm dripping from your voice.
“Stop it” he said, not liking your tone. “You’re the one avoiding me and putting up a fight when we can spend time together.”
“What did you just say?” you asked in disbelief. “It’s not because you’re home for a limited number of days that everything should be fine and I should be running into your arms, Tom. You don’t get to blame anyone but yourself. And this is not us spending time together, it’s you working. Again.”
“You’re not being fair” he said, getting just as annoyed as you.
“I’m not being fair?”
“You knew what you were getting into from the start, it’s my job. I can’t be home every night and I probably never will be.”
“It’s not your job the problem, it’s you” you said, voice getting louder.
“Now what’s that supposed to mean?”
“You don’t make time for me, not like you used to. A year ago, you’d never have missed such a special day and you’d never have made plans during the five or six weeks you get to spend home. Now, I’m expected to be okay with it all and just wait home for you to show up for a few days before leaving me again.”
“I do the best I can, y/n. But there are people counting on me, money being spent, I can’t drop it all because you’re feeling neglected or whatever.”
“Fuck you, Tom” you said, full on angry by now.
You were about to add more when there was a knock on the door, no doubt letting you know the car was waiting for you outside. You moved to the side and he went to open it. You checked how you looked in the mirror before grabbing your purse and leaving the room. Tom walked in front of you, not looking back once. He got in the car before you, when he usually let you get in first. You rolled your eyes and got in. You each sat next to the doors, a space left between you two. Not a word was spoken during the ride, the tension obvious between you. Yet, in just a few minutes, you’ll have to pretend like everything was fine and you were madly in love for the cameras.
When you reached your destination, you both got out of the car. There was a crowd of people outside and you could see the flashes of the cameras just a few feet away from you. You took a deep breath before putting your hand in Tom’s outstretched one and walking alongside him. You stopped in front of the photographers and put on your best fake smile. The brunette put his arm around your waist, bringing you closer to him. All you wanted to do was get away from his touch but you couldn’t possibly do that now. Instead, you put your arm around him as well and smiled wider. You slightly changed your pose but maintained the same physical proximity. It felt like an eternity before Tom lifted his arm up to your shoulders and started walking towards the building. Once you were inside and hidden from the cameras, he quickly took his arm off of you and walked into the big room with the tables for all the guests, not even making sure you were following him. He sat down where his name was and you took your place next to him. Neither of you had said a word to the other since you’d left the hotel room.
As the hours went by, you were no longer angry but more and more sad. Tom was talking with different other guests at your table, leaving you all on your own. You were bored and you felt completely useless. You got up to go to the restroom and he didn’t even look at you or asked where you were going. Sure, you were the one who put up a fight earlier but he should’ve at least pretended to care about you being here. You locked yourself in the restroom, needing some time on your own. You stayed in longer than you should’ve, but you didn’t care at this point. All you wanted was to go home and be away from all these people. You’d never really felt like you fitted into this glamourous celebrity life, but at least usually you had Tom making you more comfortable. Tonight, you just felt like a complete outsider. Maybe you should’ve played the sick card after all.
After checking your make-up in the mirror, you walked out and back into the main room. Guests were starting to leave and you noticed Tom waiting for you. He didn’t say anything when he saw you and made his way outside towards the car. You followed him without saying a word either. The ride back to the hotel was silent, the tension still strong between you.
Once you were back into the room, you got out of your evening clothes and accessories. Everyone else left, leaving the two of you alone. Should you just leave as well, without saying anything? You knew you needed to talk, you needed to get everything off your chest but you were pushing back the moment you would. It wasn’t going to be easy and you had no idea what he was going to say. Tom looked at you, opening his mouth and closing it a few times before he spoke.
“So what happens now?” he asked, voice neutral.
“I just want to go home” you said, exhausted.
“I mean between us.”
“Is there even a ‘us’ anymore, Tom?” you answered, looking up at him.
“What do you mean?” he asked, not sure where you were going with this.
“We agreed that this” you said, pointing to the two of you “this could work if we made sure to make time for us. But I’m not so sure it works anymore” you concluded, your voice dropping.
“So what are you saying? What do you want to do?”
“I think maybe we should go our separate ways” you said, the words breaking your heart as they left your mouth. “At least for now” you added, tears in your eyes.
“Don’t” you stopped him. You needed to be strong now and his sweet words would only make this worse. “There’s nothing you can say that would change my mind. Lately I seem to be doing all the work for our relationship to even exist. I keep getting my hopes up only for you to let me down, again and again. It shouldn’t be that difficult and I shouldn’t be getting hurt over and over again. Then you come back with apologies, lovely words. Actions speak louder than words, Tom. You keep promising things but you never do them” you explained, wiping a tear from your cheek. “I’ve known that for some time now but I never admitted it to myself. But when you didn’t show up the other night, that was the moment I knew. I can’t keep going on like this.”
“So what? This is it?” he asked, his voice breaking.
“I guess it is” you answered, another tear rolling down your face.
There was nothing left for you to say. As much as it broke your heart to come to this realisation, it also lifted a weight off your shoulders. You loved Tom, more than anything, but you needed to put yourself first right now. You couldn’t keep going like this, you hadn’t been truly happy in a while. Being away from him was what was best for you, at least for some time. You didn’t know what the future would hold for the two of you but Tom couldn’t be in your life for now.
He watched you helplessly as you grabbed your purse and got out of the room. He would’ve fought for you and tried to convince you to stay but deep down he knew you were right. You didn’t deserve to be pushed to the side and taken for granted. You deserved to be someone’s priority and he couldn’t give that to you. So he watched you walk out of his life without saying another word.