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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12. Twelve

Louis

Flashback

School had been a rough one today, I had hardly been able to concentrate. Football practice hadn’t gone as smoothly as I’d hoped, the slippy field being a disadvantage due to the knee injury I had sustained when fighting Michael a few nights ago.
“Louis…”
I spun around on the spot at the sound of her voice, soft and sweet. I smiled weakly, only the corners of my mouth lifting a little. Thorne tilted her head with a grin on her face, quite a sight if I was being honest.
“Yes babe?” I answered questionably.
“Are you alright Lou?” she whispered dropping her head and twiddling her thumbs.
I picked up my kit bag and football boots from their place beside the bench before closing the little space between us. I lowered my head a little so it was in line with hers trying my best to catch her eye.
“I'm just fine, love.” I said as our eyes met.
“Great!” she purred.
I chuckled, she could be so adorable sometimes. Thorne wandered closely next to me as we both walked along the dirt path of the alley behind the school. She constantly looking over her shoulder, I assumed it was for Callum. He had never been happy that we were friends, and since he had left school he seemed to stalk her wherever she went.
Our conversation stopped immediately as we turned into my street. Thick black smoke was rising from the house that used to be mine. Two large fire engines were parked outside, blocking the road both ways and an ambulance just behind. I dropped my kit bag and boots when I spotted my mum and Dalia hugging Beth and Becka but as I stepped closer I realized Beth wasn’t engulfed in mum’s arms.
Dalia’s eyes quickly met mine, she glared at me over our mothers shoulder, tears trickling down her red cheeks.
“Dalia…” I weakly spoke dropping down next to our mum.
“Louis fuck off!” she shouted towards me.
“What the fuck Dalia?!” I shouted back, both of us standing.
“You see that?” she pointed to the house burning, our house. “That’s your fault. You couldn’t just let me deal with him, could you?”
“Who Dal?” I asked, my voice shaking as the slow realization that Michael was to blame, I was to blame, washed over me.
“You Louis! Bethany is gone because of you.” My sisters voice shattered as she spoke.
“Bethany, w-where is she?”
“She’s dead, Louis!” my mum shouted from the tarmac below us.
I searched my surroundings looking for my sister, she wasn’t anywhere. The little pieces of my body shattered as I realized she was really gone, spotting the body bag on a stretcher by the ambulance. I mentally kicked myself knowing now all of this, her death, my family’s pain, was my fault.
“I’m…s-sorry.” I breathlessly whispered.
“Lou.” Thorne shakily spoke from behind.
Before I could speak I felt her hand slide into mine, she pulled me away from my family. I saw my mum stand still holding Becka close to her chest, protecting her and keeping our eyes apart.
“Louis …we should go. Louis please…”
Thorne spoke but I blocked it out, the only thing in my view was my mum. My heart dropped as she denied my embrace, pushing me to the side.
“When your father left, I thought I could count on you. I know it was a big thing to ask but Louis, you’re almost 18 and doing what you did to Michael was big headed and stupid. Just look what it has done to us. Bethany is dead because of your stupidity, your big fat ego.” She spoke softly, breathing in and out trying to keep herself calm. “I don’t want you near us anymore, you might as well leave like your dad did.”
Her words cut right through my heart, comparing me to my dad of all people. I let go of the anger boiling up inside of me as I looked at her. She was broken due to her loss, the loss I could have prevented if I hadn’t let my fists cloud my judgment.
“Lou please…” Thorne said once again.
“You should listen to her Louis, she’s the only one you have.” Dalia said coldly.
With that she took our sobbing mothers hand wandering towards the ambulance. My lips started shaking as I watched them walking away, I felt terrible for what had happened and even worse for knowing who had ripped this void in my family.
I gave into Thorne’s tugging, falling back on my feet as she pulled me from my life. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but I knew, just from my mother’s words, that I would never see my family again. The little blonde haired blue eyed angel walking beside me was all I had left, and even her family disliked me.

The heavy down pour of rain hitting against the bonnet tore me from my thoughts and, in turn made it difficult to drive safely through the twisted streets of London. I had chosen to take the back roads, a path less traveled by the boys and me, memories flooding back with every turn. A quick right turn brought me into Hayden Drive, brick walls towering above the trees shadowing the street with an eerie darkness.
My fingers tightened around the steering wheel as I pulled up on the curb a few houses down from my destination. I gently inhaled hoping to calm myself while I stepped out into the wet street. Droplets of water splashed against my coat and onto the exposed parts of my skin as I walked.
It had been at least 5 or 6 months since myself, or any of the boys had been anywhere near Jasper’s house. Zayn had kept brief contact with his childhood friend, a text here and there but never a get together like this one. I had promised him to meet up here, a quick drink and catch up with Jasper; not that I particularly wanted to as the boy disgusted me.
My thoughts were scattered, a mixture of the pain and anger circulated through my veins as my mind wandered back in time to the night my sister had died; a good 6 months ago tonight.
I missed my mum and sisters, the image of them slowly slipping from my thoughts on a daily basis. I could remember a few memories but none were as clear as I’d liked.
I was once again ripped from my thoughts, this time by a squeak and a bump to my left arm.
“Oh shit, I’m really sor-”
My sentence was cut short as I lifted my head. A small framed girl stood opposite me, brunette bob and large sparkling brown eyes.
“Lilly…” I barely whispered.
The girl dropped her head, her hair curtaining over her cheek coving her face before trying to escape my eyes. I raised a hand to her upper arm stopping her from her retreat.
“Louis!” she said sharply after a long second.
A playful smile spread across my lips as she quickly remembered me, knowing I wouldn’t let her go until she admitted to distinguish who I was.
“Alright Lilly.” I said smugly.
“I have to go, Louis. Nice seeing you.”
She quickly removed herself from my hold scampering off a little way down the dark pavement. I chuckled as she had clearly forgotten the speed I held in my legs; a few quick strides forward before I was strolling next to her.
“What you doing so far out of town?” I asked, a little worried.
“I was…I was with …Michael.”
I stopped in my tracks, realizing the man I had been wishing to come into contact with for months was right inside the building behind me. I balled my fists, blood quickly pumped furiously around my body as my breathing staggered out of my mouth in white puffs of air.
“He isn’t there anymore, Louis.” She hastily spoke, noting my increasing speed back up the pavement.
“Did he hurt you?” I said through gritted teeth.
“N-no he didn’t.” her voice was shaking like she was scared of me.
I demanded to know why she was scared of me, before realizing why. My tone was hard, my hands were tightly balled ready to hit. “Sorry Lilly.” I whispered.
I didn’t turn around to face her, instead I just listened to the clopping of her heels against the tar echoing around the area surrounding us. I waited, a little part of me praying she’d turn around and we’d be like we were before Bethany died.
Thinking back, I had loathed Lilly for choosing Dalia over me, choosing my family over me. But, as she had said many times over the years before we really broke you; I always had Thorne.

I approached the large wooden front door of Jasper’s house. Memories haunted me as I stepped inside like ghosts circling my soul, trapping it in a cage and making it suffer.
“Aye, Tomlinson!”
The Irish accent snatched me from my thoughts, many of which I had tonight. I was grateful though. I escaped the crowed hall way retreating into the kitchen. In our what used to be usual spot sat my friends. A little smile played on my lips when I saw Thorne jump up from Harry’s side. She left a peck on my cheek before returning. I nodded toward Harry, thanking him for at least letting her move. I knew he was protective over herm which was good but he was sometimes a little too much. Especially after what he did, he had hardly any right to keep her on such a tight leash. He knew I was still incredibly angry and disappointed with him, and it would take more than a kiss and a fancy dinner to convince me he was right for her. I shook my head, straying from my thoughts again and bringing my attention back to the people before me.
“Alright mate.” I smiled shaking Niall’s hand before sitting down next to Zayn.
He pulled out a cigarette, lighting it immediately and inhaling a large amount of smoke. Large “o” shapes emitted from his parted lips before he inhaled again. The smoke wasn’t as thick as it normally was, a hint of menthol lingering in place of the usual Tabaco scent.
An unusual hand passed me a beer from behind, various coloured tattoos coating his pale white skin from the wrist up. I looked over my shoulder to find a quirky looking ginger haired male ginning down at me.
“Jasper.” Liam whispered in disgust.
I darted my eyes back towards Liam, his arms were crossed over his chest and his expression showed just as much disgust as his tone of voice.
“Oi, oi lads. What’s crackin’?”
Jasper seemed a lot more excited than I remember. His smile was cheeky and playful and his muscles had buffed up.
“Nothing really mate, you know.” Zayn quickly stepped in trying to laugh off Liam’s clear disapproval.
He pulled up a chair next to Zayn, playfully pulling him to his chest, tapping his shoulder and sharing what I assumed were inside jokes. Liam didn’t look at all pleased, he didn’t even react to Selena’s attempts to tear away his attention.
Our evening seemed to be going well, my thoughts often wondered back to a place I found it hard to return from and Zayn seemed happy to be catching up with an old friend, all in all pretty good chilled night. Well, that’s what we assumed…

 Niall

I excused myself from the boys as I felt a soft buzzing against my thigh. I maneuvered myself around the table as I got the lucky seat right in the corner.
“Keep it clean laddy.” Harry chuckled as I passed.
“As if I’m going to take advice from you Styles.” I winked.
I stepped over Harry’s foot before scampering out the back door. I yanked the phone from my pocket on its last ring, catching the call just in time. Relief swept through my body as I slid the bar across the screen moving it to my ear.
“Ello, gorgeous.” I answered with a large grin plastered across my face.
“Hello.” Dacey squeaked.
“How are you, lovely?”
“I'm alright…how are you?”
Dacey didn’t sound much like herself, she had an uncertain glaze over her voice. I immediately started to worry about where she was, who she was with – if anyone, and most of all, if she was genuinely alright.
“Yeah, I’m great. Listen, Dace…”
“I’m okay, just home alone.” She quickly spat out cutting me off.
Another sigh of relief escaped my lips and the fast thumping of my heart slowed knowing she was safe at home.
“Just not used to it really, you know…being alone.”
“I know, I know. Just stay inside for me okay?”
I could feel the nod she gave before asking where exactly I was when loud laughter sounded from the patio above me. I scuffed my feet against the grass uncovering the mud as we spoke. A smile appeared on my lips again, staying there as I explained to the girl on the other end of the phone why I received a red card in my last footy match.
“Piss off Haz!”
A loud scream echoed from inside and I immediately knew the voice wasn’t from Thorne or Selena. I looked towards Zayn who had his eyes on me nudging his head towards the back door.
“W-what was that?” Dacey asked, clearly worried.
“Nothing, babe. Look love I have to go but I will give you a ring the moment I get home, alright?”
“Alright.” She hummed.
“Stay safe, lovely.”
I hung up, shoving the phone back into my pocket before darting up the steps to the back door. A very drunk Zayn waited for me to open the door, clearly unable to do so himself.
“Where is he Harry? Where?” another scream from the same voice shouted once again at Harry.
The two of us rushed through the door, Jasper and a few of the other guys sitting outside following behind. I quickly put a face to the yelling voice; Jessica.
Thorne was stood behind Harry holding tightly onto his hand as Jessica screamed in his face. She was furious, the most furious I’ve ever seen her.
“Jessica.” Zayn slurred from beside me.
The brunette girl spun around on her toes, desperately searching the room for where Zayn’s voice had come from. The moment she spotted us among the crowd she pushed through the interested bodies, all of which knew who she was, before she was stood in front of myself and Zayn. Her eyes locked with Zayn’s, burning with fury.
“What do you want?”
“What do I want? What the fuck do you think I want you arsehole?!” she spat pushing her palm against his shoulder.
“Jess, calm down.” I said in a gentle tone.
Blazing eyes connected with mine along with the many in the room. The other boys stood silently by the table, not able to do anything.
“Don’t you dare tell me to calm down, Niall.”
“What the hell do you want then?” I shouted towards her.
“I want your drunken twat of a mate to explain to me why he raped Bella?”
Jessica’s use of words shook me as did it the whole room, gasps escaping their mouths along with judgmental muttering.
“Fuck off did he rape anyone!” Liam shouted over the crowd.
“He raped her, alright. I wouldn’t lie about something so serious.” She scolded.
“No Jess, you would take someones story and twist it the way you want just so you can get another fight out of it. Who is it this time? Marco, Jake or is it her brother, Callum?”
Zayn seemed to have sobered up knowing he was being accused of raping a girl none of us knew. As he said Callum’s name Thorne shuddered behind Harry.
“Jessica…”
A desperate voice shouted through the crowd of people who had become more bunched together as the shouting between us commenced.
“Bella get back in the car!” Jessica shot the girl a look as she emerged from the sea of people.
“No Jess, he didn’t do anything to me.”
The blonde girl wedged herself between the two bodies, Zayn’s hands quickly finding hers.
“Bella I told you to go back to the car. If your dad hears about this he’ll-”
“Jess, don’t tell him…please. He’ll have my head.”
A few glances were shared between Jessica and Zayn, she still wasn’t convinced although she knew from the past that Zayn wasn’t capable of such an act. Bella, the girl we now all knew Zayn had spent the night with still stood between the two.
“Fine! I believe you.” She said in defeat. “Now for god sakes, get in the fucking car.” The pair held one another’s eyes as Bella walked out of the house. “You’ll fucking pay for this, Malik.”
The soft mutters from the drunken people in the kitchen soon subsided, all of them wandering back off to where they came from when Jessica exited the building. Zayn dropped his tired body down on the bench running his fingers roughly through his hair. He sighed, anger and sadness in his exhaled breath.
“Niall, mate take the girls upstairs.” Harry said holding my gaze.
I nodded towards both girls who, without question followed me up to one of the spare rooms.
“It’ll be alright, the boys have it covered…right Nialler…”
I could tell Thorne was as scared as the rest of us but she put up her wall almost casing Selena inside it as well.
“Yes, love. Everything will be alright.”
I wasn’t sure how convincing the shakiness of my voice was but it seemed to sooth Selena’s thoughts, at least for now. I remembered how she had hidden behind Liam the last time one of the monsters from our past had returned, questions swamping her mind but none of which she could find the words to ask. I didn’t want that for Dacey, or any of the girls for that matter. Bella’s expression when protecting Zayn popped into my head, I’d never seen someone from that side of the tracks defending one of us before. To them, all we were was runners, messengers, the ones that took the beatings.
I smiled, hoping to reassure Thorne things would work out but all she did was nod, she was smarter than that. I clambered back down the stairs to the kitchen, the boys had already started talking about what had happened and I felt sorry for Zayn having to expose all that had happened between him and Bella, something that was supposed to remain private.

I popped the last bit of my SubWay sandwich into my mouth, taking another sip of beer. Zayn had filled us in on all the details from the other night. He began crying next to me, something that didn’t really happen a lot. He was normally quite good controlling his thoughts and emotions when he drank heavily.
A little part of me wished Liam was still here, he always knew what to say to bring back Zayn’s model smile. He kept tossing the shooters back before dropping his head drunkenly onto his arm placed on the table.
“It’ll be alright lad.” Jasper spoke comforting him.
I could see Zayn wasn’t convinced, Jessica had threatened Liam…and from experience we all knew she meant every word of her threat.
You’ll pay for this, Malik. The deep rasp of her whispered words shuddered through my entirety. A little part of Jessica still loved Liam, we all saw it while the rest of her was filled with revenge and hatred for whoever he was with.
Jasper’s house was rid of all the bodies from earlier. Most of them leaving after the commotion between Zayn and Jessica died down. Most feeling disappointed police hadn’t turned up or a fight hadn’t broke out. Everyone at the party knew Zayn as the bad boy from Bradford, but none of them knew him like we did. The months the five of us had spent together previously had brought out all of our true colours and Zayn wasn’t as threatening as he was made out to be.
My attention was brought back into the room as Harry shouted towards me, “You can kick a ball but can you catch one?” he joked tossing over a football I had been kicking about earlier.
“Question is, Styles…can you catch?” I shouted back as the ball came hurtling towards me. I jumped up a little, the ball bouncing off my forehead back towards where Harry was standing.
“Fuck sakes, Louis!”
I heard Harry’s playful tone turn into a more aggressive, protective one as Louis ripped the ball from his hands. Louis hadn’t been all that kind towards Harry since he cheated on Thorne, but we all understood and stayed out of their business.
“Don’t keep her waiting, Harry.” He coldly said taking his place back beside Zayn.
Harry soon disappeared upstairs leaving me with three drunk guys. Lovely, I thought.

A while passed, it was quiet in the house and outside for that matter. Louis was completely passed out on the sofa and Zayn had gone out for his fifth cigarette this hour. I gently kicked the football up from my foot to my knee waiting until Zayn was finished.
“Fuck!” Zayn shouted from outside.
The ball dropped immediately as I shot out the back door, hoping he had just tripped and studded a toe. Instead I found him standing, phone in hand with large tears rolling off his olive cheeks.
“Z-Zayn…” I whispered.
His appearance had changed drastically between the times he had lit up his fag til now. His eyes were blood shot, his body strong and assertive, muscles tensing. He looked ready to kill.
He darted up the patio steps throwing his beer down before almost walking through the back door. He hissed profanities under his breath as he stomped through the house. I followed, curiosity swallowing my fear.
“Louie.”
Louis awoke at the sound of Zayn’s hard whisper, squinting his eyes at the abrupt light coming from Zayn’s phone screen.
“Shit.” He breathed.
“Niall how fast can you drive?” The both said together.
“Why would I be driving in the first place, other than the fact you two are wasted?”
The boy before me handed over his phone. I could feel their eyes studying my actions while I slid the lock screen to reveal a text message;
You’re a little late, Liam’s already Torn.  – J xo

 

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