Stripped

Bite into me harder. Sink your teeth into my flesh. Hold me up against the wall, give it till i beg, give me some more …

Promise that you wont forget we had it all. I love you, my Kitten. - H xx

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4. Four

 

Niall

“Stop pushing yourself so hard mate.” Damien’s voice echoed through my ears as I took a swig of water. My chest heavily rose and fell at an uneasy pace. I dropped down on the grass, the shards cool against my exposed legs. There was a light drizzle, small dashes of water grazing my cheeks.
I rose from my spot on the grass pulling up my socks while I lightly jogged over to the team in the centre of the field.
“Niall go and sit down! That knee of yours is no good.”
I shot a glare over at my team-mate informing him I wasn’t giving into a small injury. I focused on the coaches instructions regarding our friendly against the previous school team. I was ecstatic about the match; it would be my first after my knee operation.
My parents were wary about me returning to the field but I assured them as did the doctors that the exercise would be best. Keep myself moving.
“Lads you need to start passing to one another, this is a team sport for god sakes!” coach bellowed.
He shot a sharp stare at George who nodded. His jaw was tensed, cheeks slightly tinged pink at his embarrassment settled in. I chuckled under my breath at our team captain. He was a great player but his cockiness heightened the moment he scored a goal.
We settled into a fitness routine; jogging, sprinting, passing and tackling. Coach Harris blew his whistle hard.
“Alright ladies that’ll do it for today.”
 The team fell back to help our assistant coach collect all of the equipment we had tossed around the field. To say we were clean skilled players, we always managed to make a mess of the playing field.
I picked up my bottle off of the ground, taking another long sip. The cool liquid slipped down my throat. I wiped away the sweat beading along my forehead while licking my lips removing the small droplets that had fallen there. I sighed jogging over to Damien who was almost half way down the field.
He nudged his head forwards giving Louis a cheeky nod as he passed.
“Going to kick your arse Horan.” He joked taking hold of my hand.
“In your dreams Tommo.” I jokingly bit back.
“Alright Day’s.” Louis shook on my cousin’s hand as we bantered on about the upcoming match.
Louis intimidated me a little, being the eldest of our little group. Our school seemed oblivious to my interactions with the lads, I often wondered what they would say about them. Harry mostly.
I shook off my thoughts focusing back on Louis’ teasing. In theory he was a better player than all of our team put together. He possessed skills the players only dreamed of.
Damien and myself greeted Louis along with some of the other past students, some looking well over 25. I smirked nudging Damien's shoulder as I noticed the lack of fitness in some of the well build lads dragging themselves around the field.
“Fucking alcohol.” I heard someone curse in the distance.
Louis laughed as the cursing comments kept slipping out of the player’s mouths. He nodded his head upwards smiling slyly assuming his position with the other guys jogging around the field. Both Damien and myself watched for a few moments as Louis’ graceful strides proved him as fitter player as he always had been.
“C’mon mate best get cleaned up.”
I followed Damien back to the changing rooms. The weather suddenly changed as I climbed into the shower. The water steamed up over the curtain in what looked like large puffs of stream engine smoke as the rain clattered against the tin roof top. I shut the water off and climbed out to grab my towel. A cool breeze swirled around my exposed entirety when the door swung open and closed from numerous bodies collecting things from their lockers. I patted the droplets off of my skin which looked a similar shade of white to the towel. I heard Damien chuckle as I examined the colour of my skin in comparison to the crisp white towel.
“Ghost!” he called out.
I flung the towel over to him, hitting him flat against his face. He grumbled words inside his throat making them concealed to only his ears. I slipped both legs into the holes in my Calvin Klein boxers sliding them up my thighs. I took another white towel from my bag to rid my hair of any water.  When I was satisfied with the dampness of my hair and hoping I wouldn’t catch a cold due to the weather, I jumped into a fresh pair of jeans and a hooded jacket. I slipped my feet into my Hi-Tops.
“Catch you in English mate.” I greeted Damien before shooting out of the changing room.
The air inside the corridor was icy against my warm skin, sending small shivers throughout my body. I clambered down the busy hall, trying my best to block myself from any form of human touch possible as I slowly breathed my closterphobia back into my chest. I nodded at the few people who smiled, some making the effort to stop and talk. I nodded politely as one girl spoke softly; her words seemed to confuse me as I wasn’t completely sure what she was talking about.
They were muddled and it seemed to me she was confusing herself as she spoke. I wasn’t sure what she wanted to tell me but I couldn’t breathe inside the tightly packed corridor.
“I'm sorry.” I muttered making my retreat up the stairs.
“Ow!” A soft voice squeaked stumbling backwards.
I turned my head at the sound finding a dark haired girl rubbing her shoulder. i moved forwards, taking her hand in mine as I examined the girls shoulder. I raised my eyes to look at her when I noticed the pinkish colour tips of her brown waves. I sighed slowly remembering where I had seen the girl before.
“I'm Niall.” The words stumbled out of my mouth, words slipping before my brain processed exactly what I wanted to say. Her shocked expression gently developed into a soft smile as she peered up into my eyes. I let go of a sigh, hint of nervousness visible as she nodded.
“Dacey…” she said breathlessly.
I smiled as I wandered past her through the door of English class. Damien was already sitting at his desk fiddling with the zip on his pencil case. His tongue was poking out of the right corner of his mouth, something he had done without knowing since he was little.
“Nice meeting you.” I shot a glance back at Dacey giving her a small nudge of my head.
I noticed a slight blush creep onto her cheeks as she dropped her head, clasping the notebook tighter to her chest. She wandered out still with her head dropped.
“And that face?” Damien tried to imitate it as I sat beside him. He was now wearing grey joggers and a hoodie branded with the school logo.
“This face is none of your business.” I joked nudging his shoulder.
“Niall!” Mrs King’s voice caused my head to jolt forwards in her direction. I grunted as she waved her arm around frantically.
“Up! Get up!” she screamed through her teeth. “Over there, go on!”
I let go of a throaty groan before lifting up my bag and already packed out books off of the desk. I shifted to the desk she was pointing at on the left side of the classroom. Damien’s laugh could be heard over the slamming of my books against the wood of the desk. Mrs King knew all too well I disliked her, using it to her advantage also knowing one complaint would get me kicked off the team.
“Sorry Miss.” I smirked.
She returned my smirk with a raised eyebrow, a small smile slightly showing. She loved this game we played.

 

Bella

I could pick out Megan's fiery hair from across the large conference room. She was stood chatting with some associates of our fathers, which seemed more like flirting as I got closer. I pleasantly smiled up at a number of faces before I reached Megan. I cleared my throat causing her to turn on her heels. She politely nodded towards the man she was conversing with before lightly rubbing her palm flat against his shoulder. He seemed very much out of her usual type. Similar height to her, broad shoulders, defined features, marine style hair cut wearing an all-black suit. i could feel him staring at me from the corner of his eye. I lowered my gaze slightly tucking a stray strand of hair behind my ear. A blush made itself visible as he continued to eye me. I pressed my teeth into my bottom lip lightly.
“Ready?” Megan's voice torn me from my shyness.
I looked up into her brown eyes nodding as I released my lip from under my teeth. I shot a glance up at the guy stood beside Megan, learning his name was Kenneth. He returned my glance with a smile, quickly scanning my body.
Megan linked her arm through mine, smiling at numerous people as we walked back through the crowded room.
We walked silently down the buildings stairs to the carpark. Megan's Mercedes was parked in a reserved spot far away from any other car. The air was cold in the concrete room, bouncing off of the mental of the cars surrounding. Screeching and tyres burning could be heard, as loud as if it were happening in front of me. The unlocking of the silver car tore my attention from the noises around me. Megan smiled softly as she slipped into the driver’s side. A few short moments passed as I waited for the door to open. I quickly jumped in as I heard another loud screech. It felt closer this time. I shook off my thoughts when I felt Megan's eyes on me. I weakly smiled in hopes of forcing Megan's focus off of me.
“We’re just stopping off at the gym, daddy asked me to pick something up from Phil.” She spoke softly against the rawring of the engine.

The car stopped in a deserted tarmac area across from the local gym. From the outside it looked old and run down but as I strolled closer I could see the décor of the inside. It was modern, new and smelt fresh and clean. Nothing like the other gym’s around town. I wandered if it was purposely made to look that way, to keep out newcomers and unwanted guests. From experience, living with my father wasn’t easy. I missed my mum, missed her presence and how she would excel in keeping us all safe and unharmed. How she would keep my father in line.
I groaned shaking my head realising that Megan wasn’t by my side anymore. A wave of panic washed through my body, I hated being lost. I swallowed hard, spinning my head in all directions. Her sharp laughter calmed me as I noticed it coming from where the treadmills were situated. I breathed in and out slowly, trying to calm myself.
Another laugh sounded around me, that of a male. As I turned the corner I saw two guys talking to her. One, shirt off with very prominent curls and defined dimples and the other dark hair perfectly combed into a quiff showing off the blondish striek flowing from his hair line back into the quiff. His muscles from his face down to his visible torso were well defined and his lower half covered in black joggers resting on his hips. He held what looked like strike pads in his hands with his profile towards the curly haired boy. I could see Megan eyeing him up and he seemed to enjoy her examination of his eyes, lips, neck, torso and elongated legs.
I cleared my throat like I had back at the office. Megan quickly turned, her cheeks flushed red.
“Zayn any chance you know where Phil is?” she sounded annoyed I had intervened with her conversation.
“Yeah, hes probably over there with the boxing lads.” Zayn grinned at her before lifting up his pads in front of his chest.
“C’mon Styles. Hit me with your best shot.” He cheekily spoke raising an eyebrow playfully.
The curly haired boy hit against the pads hard, his biceps bulging up before flexing back.
“Show off!” Zayn shouted still in a playful tone.
I smiled at both boys in turn before following Megan down the passage.
“Are they fighters Meg?”
I looked back over my shoulder, Zayn was now the one throwing the punches.
“Yes, it’s similar to the UFC league but they don’t exactly fight legally.”
“So how do they-”My sentence was cut short as Phil’s voice echoed throw his office door.
Megan hugged him lightly as they spoke under their breaths. I could tell the subject of the conversation wasn’t for my ears. I turned, scuffing my trainers against the vinyl floor walking into the passage. I could still see the two boys pounding against the strike pads. I wondered what it was they fort for and why, I was always full of questions and both of them intrigued my thoughts.
A few short seconds past before another very well build guy showed up, immediately wandering over to the boys. They greeted each other as friends did but I could see a tension between them, like something had happened among their group.
God sakes Bella! My subconscious thoughts screamed at me. I let go of a disappointed sigh as Megan's heels clopped against the flooring.
“Cheers Phil.”
both of us once again walked to the car in silence. My thoughts wandered over the mystery behind the fighters still throwing punches in the gym.

 

Thorne

I watched as Freddie gazed at the sunset resting across the city from the tree house. A smile crept on my face knowing he always found comfort up there even when it was raining. My dad had never really approved of things like tree houses and blow-up swimming pools but something always seemed to change when my mum smiled at him, almost begging him.
The relationship they had wasn’t easy, everyone that knew them saw it and most probably so did other people around the city. But their relationship held more love and passion than most peoples ever did, that was also visible to the naked eye.
I smiled at my thoughts, craving a love like theirs, as I climbed the ladder of the wooden box my brother called home. I handed him the bottle of coke I had brought up. He took a long lasting sip, sighing in awe as he placed the top back on the bottle. I giggled at his actions, he was always one to prolong a simple gesture.
“Looks like it’s going to rain.” He murmured.
“It’s lovely up here when it rains, especially when the three of us are up here.” I looked up at him through my eyelashes.
Since he and Chanel had been engaged everything between Selena, Freddie and myself also had. He was no longer like he used to be, no longer like Louis. I missed my brother and I never wanted him to leave the confines of our house in the suburbs of outside London.  
“Thorne…” he whispered knowing how my thoughts were unfolding.
I didn’t speak, I just stared at him through my lashes. He seemed unable to look me in the eyes. Freddie let his short wavy black hair fall over his shoulders. He crossed his legs up placing his arms around his knees.
“I'm leaving in two weeks.” He whispered softer.
Tears swelled in my eyes as I wrestled to keep them from falling. I swallowed hard. It burned against my throat. I couldn’t explain to him or myself why my eyes filled with tears and my heart raced as if I had just lost someone. But a familiar burning sensation ached against my covered wrist explaining my feelings for me.
“Bye then.” I said coldly.
I looked at him in disgust, another feeling I wasn’t quite sure of. Why was I acting like this? I asked myself as I stormed back to the house.
I rocked back and forth on my bed, every noise around me heightened as my thoughts jumbled around in my mind. I held a well-known friend in my hand. Cold at the slightest touch and deadly when pressed into flesh. The air around my body was warmish, the slight breeze it had tickled against my exposed thigh. A dim light shone through my window cascading over my skin. I beamed down at my thigh running my finger across the broken skin before shooting a look to my wrist. It was just as broken, but everything was deeper. The tears I had been holding back fell uncontrollably onto my skin without touching my cheeks for a second. I clamped my eyes shut at the sound of my ringtone beeping next to me, it was slow and soothing. Ed Sheeran seemed to have that effect on me. Always popping up when I needed him most.
I sniffled smudging my tears across my cheeks as I slid the unlock bar of my phone to answer the call. A small smile crossed my lips as I heard Liam’s voice as I hadn’t taken much notice looking at the caller I.D.
“Thorne...you alright babe?” he asked curious obviously noticing my sniffles through the speaker.
“Yeah Liam, I'm alright.” I lied. Something I had become good at, which scared me. How convincing I am… my subconscious seemed to dwell on my weaknesses, mocking me the moment I did something wrong. Even when I did something relatively good.
“Only if you're sure.” He paused for a second, hoping id spill why I was as upset as I was. Truth was, I wasn’t sure myself and I didn’t want to lie to him further. “Well we’re at a party down town, 21 Club. Do you want to come?”
I looked down at my situation. I nodded silently to myself, knowing going out would do me the world of good. It would at least subside my suicidal thought for tonight.
I ended the call sounding a little cheerier than I had when answering. Liam seemed a little happier with my mood also, which made me smile. He was always one to make me smile.
as I changed I thought about Freddie and his words, he was leaving. I questioned his wording, leaving …but he was only moving out of town, a little way into the country.
My thoughts scattered once again before shifting over to Liam and Louis. both of them worked together in protecting me, Louis being like he always had been and Liam almost falling in the place of Freddie. Maybe this isn’t so bad? I questioned.
I grunted at my thoughts, they always consumed more of my time than anything else. I focused solely on finishing up.
I gazed over myself in the long mirror, once again feeling myself judging my appearance. I scowled the thought immediately. I picked up my biker jacket from the stool, swinging it over my shoulders. I placed my hands in the pockets as I walked out of the front door. My fingers fished out a small piece of paper, folded perfectly into a square. I unravelled the small piece revealing a phone number, signed Haz x.
I grinned down at the paper, the curly haired boy popping right into my thoughts. My body prickled with Goosebumps as his name grazed my lips. I had text Harry a few times, nothing too special which made it all the more special for me.
a short while passed before I reached the club Liam had mentioned. A line of different looking people filled the street before the entrance guarded by two large men dressing in all black. Before I could reach the back of the line I heard my name being shouted. I turned to find Liam and Louis stood waving. I grinned as I walked quickly over to them. The handed what looked like a slip of some kind, nothing I had seen the people in the line holding. I shook my head, my hair falling down over my shoulders. The music pumped hard against my chest as we entered.
Louis lowered himself to my ear asking if I wanted a drink which I agreed to. The club was packed, not a single space open for anyone to hide but I felt safe, safer than I did in my room.
“You know I don’t particularly want to take you home drunk again!” Louis joked tossing back another shooter.
“Oh shut it Tommo!” I poked my tongue out of the corner of my mouth, biting down on it softly.
Liam seemed content with his glass or lemonade slowly bobbing and swaying to the piercing music. I wandered why he didn’t drink, nor touch alcohol. I opened my mouth to speak, but my action was cut short by a certain dimpled smile peering at me through the darkness. He strolled over, eyes locked on mine until he positioned himself next to Liam.
“Alright Haz.” Liam nodded taking hold of his hand.
His appearance always amazed me, the simplicity of a checked button up, tight black jeans with crisp white Convers. He nodded slightly up at Louis who was standing behind me leaning against the bar. I focused back on Harry, his jaw had tensed and I noticed his knuckles were grazed. My heart pounded at the realisation of how he received those marks but my heart craved his darkness. His green orbs pierced into mine as the corner of his mouth curved up letting his dimple carve a defined dent into his cheek.
Liam and Harry soon disappeared with Zayn and I was left with a tipsy Louis. he took another swig of his Jack Daniel’s before almost dropping the glass onto the wooden bar. I giggled as he stumbled up on the chair. He attempted ordering another drink before I stepped in.
“Just water.” I smiled.
Louis grunted unhappy with my choice of beverage. “What was it about taking me home drunk?”
“God dammit Thorne!” he whined at my words. His aggressive tone took my back a step, gasping as he snapped. As his eyes locked on mine, he softened his posture, slouching back into the stool.
“You won’t have to if you keep ordering me water.” His playful drunken tone had returned as did an apologetic smile. I nodded accepting it leaving a peck on his cheek. Louis lifted his chin looking pleased with himself.
“I’ll be right back, bathroom break.”
I left Louis alone at the bar, knowing when I returned he would have a few girls slung around his shoulders.
Finding my way to the bathroom seemed almost impossible in the crowded area. People were packed tighter together than fish fingers in a box. I lifted myself up on my tiptoes attempting to see over the sea of dancing bodies. I could pick out a light, different from the blue and green beams that shot in different directions around the dance floor. I pushed through the sweaty mess of people finally able to breath and relived I could see clearly.
I pressed forwards towards the ladies room when a mess of curls caught my attention. I smiled, biting on my bottom lip as I wandered to the small seating area in the lobby of the club. My heart dropped as I saw his lips attacking Megan’s neck. Her eyes were closed and her legs were around his hips, dressed half way up her waist.
a small whimper escaped my mouth as I watched. Again I wasn’t sure why my feelings suddenly cascaded down through my body, causing mixtures of disgust and hurt to fill my veins.
“Haz…” his name fell from my lips like it was the last time I was able to say it.
His head shot up, curls falling down the front of his face before swooping to the side as he swung his head over his shoulder. His expression was concerned and apologetic; he quickly stood removing Megan from him. She drunkenly fell back into the sofa giggling loudly, still oblivious to my presence. Harry attempted to move forwards with his arms slightly rising gesturing I fall into them. I stepped back before rushing out of the door. I walked quickly out onto the pavement, nodding at the two bouncers that greeted me with kind smiles.
I walked a few more steps keeping my head down before bumping into something.
“God I'm…sorry. I'm sorry.” I mumbled before lifting my head.
My whole body froze in the spot, I was cold and all the previous events didn’t seem to matter. A brown gaze held mine in place, smirking as he trailed his prying eyes down the length of my body in front of him.
“Don’t be sorry Thorne.” He laughed devilishly.
Callum stood almost a head above me, I hadn’t been alone with him for a while and even in a public place I felt unsafe because my feet seemed to glue themselves to the ground when all they should want to do is run away. His lustful staring scared me. Thoughts of his crude words flushed through my mind. I cringed. There was no doubt about his words, I knew he meant them and I knew he would execute them.
I quickly thought back to where I had left Louis, he was expecting me back but nothing would make me go back. Harry was still inside the building.
“No worries, Beautiful. I'm not here for you tonight.”
The skin on my cheek stung as a single tear rolled down. I looked back over my shoulder to who Callum was smirking at. Harry was stood, fists in balls, his jaw clenched, ready to pounce.
“Megan! Where is she?” Callum snapped pulling my chin back to face his. His eyes were on fire.
“I … I don’t k-know.” I stuttered.
after a long moment I felt hands tearing my shoulders back. My feet pealed from the tarmac.
“Cute.”  Callum chuckled.
I looked up at Harry from the corner of my eye. His green orbs we blackened and his full lips were together in a hard line.
“You need to leave.” Harry spoke as calmly as he could manage.
Callum darkly chuckled nudging against Harry’s shoulder as he pushed past.
“Not the end Styles. Not finished with her yet.”
Callum's serious words lingered in the air as he walked across the tarmac towards the club.
“He won’t hurt you Thorne, I promise.” Harry’s reassuring words brought me back to face him.
His eyes had returned to their usual emerald green and his expression was relaxed but still full of apology.
“Thank you.” I whispered tucking my hair behind my left ear.
“I mean what I say Tee.”
Harry pulled me into his hard chest, his arms engulfing me into a tight hug. The feeling of safety washed over me again, his warmth flowed into me making his promise more true. I never doubted his words, I would never put it past him that he would go back on them just like Louis or Liam.
As I felt myself falling deeper into his chest my subconscious took pleasure in ruining the moment. All memories from a few minutes ago were flushed back into my mind. I tore my body from Harry’s stumbling back into a car parked against the curb.
“Thorne?” his expression was filled with worry.
I kept my eyes locked with his as I walked backwards on the pavement.
“I'm … I cant just yet.” My words were muddled. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say. Harry wasn’t my boyfriend, nor were we involved in anyway. A few glances didn’t mean he was mine.
I spun around to face the darkened path leading back to my house, shooting one last look at the curly haired boy standing behind me, his face full of worry and regret.

 

 

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