"Isn't She Lovely?"

Harry Styles hasn't always made the best life decisions. When a tragic event results in him confronting his past, emotions stir and his life changes drastically. Follow Raegan, Harry's little secret, as she loses her mother and is forced to meet her father for the very first time. Read along as she learns to accept her life with her newly found father, and faces the complications and advantages of living with five young men.


21. Bruised



Chapter 21:




I wake up the next morning to find the bed empty beside me. There’s a Liam sized spot still imprinted in the sheets, so I know hasn’t been gone long. I smile softly to myself. Things with Liam have been happening so fast. From the moment he admitted his feelings for me, and vice versa, we’ve been practically inseparable. I stand, shaking my thoughts of Liam from my mind, but it doesn’t do me any good. He’s the only one who’s been there for me since I lost everything. From the day I showed up on their doorstep, to this very moment, Liam’s always been there. Sure, he was an ass for a couple weeks, but he had good intentions, I suppose. Regardless, I don’t know what I’d do without him. 

I stretch my arms up above my head and let out a deep yawn. I feel well rested despite the chaos that happened yesterday. Thunder sounds, making me jump, and light flashes across the room. I creep over to my window and peer out. Rain. Of course. When is it not raining here? Something’s different though. The rain is harsher. The skies are dark and the wind is howling. This is more than rain, this is a storm. I wrap my arms around my body, suddenly feeling cold. There’s something chilling about the air despite the 80 degree temperature that fills the room. I decide to shower before I make my way downstairs to face the house full of boys. 

As I’m rinsing the shampoo out of my hair, however, I hear a loud crash and a deep growling voice that follows. I can’t make out what the voice says, but it’s enough to scare me out of the shower and into the closest thing I can find. As I make my way down the stairs, wearing nothing but a jumper and some running shorts, the lighting flashes through the room again, this time taking the lights with it. It’s dark as I reach the bottom of the stairs, but that doesn’t seem to have any effect on the scene playing out in front of me. 

“Harry, calm down..” I hear a deep Irish accent warn.

“Get the fuck out,” what I can only assume to be Harry growls.


“OUT.” He interrupts. Harry’s voice is stern, but he’s not shouting. It’s menacing, really, how he manages to sound so angry without raising his voice.

I step forward confused. What could Niall have possibly done to have his best friend order him out of the house, into the harsh storm.

“Harry?” I begin to say, but my sound is drowned out by the intensity in the room. “What’s go—“ I’m cut off by a flash of lightening momentarily lighting the room. It is then I realize Harry is not yelling at Niall, but another one of his best friends: Liam.

My brow furrows as I try to make sense of the situation. With each flash of lightening I am able to decipher something new. First I notice Liam. He’s at the door, bags at his feet. A small ring of purple and brown line is left eye, and there are cuts on his lips. I swallow as I notice the broken glass on the floor only feet away from him; and I choke when I see matching cuts on Harry’s fist. 

“What the fuck?” I shout, though it comes out as a whisper. 

“Liam!” I try again, this time making my presence known. Lightening flashes again and I am hit with different colored stares from all around the room. My eyes first connect to Niall’s. His piercing blue eyes are cold; empty, broken, but alert. Next my eyes meet Harry’s. The usually soft, bright emerald color is now a dark forest green, not far from black. His expression is stern and when he looks at me he somehow seems to get angrier. His brow bone shadows his eyes, making them even harder to read. The look he’s giving me makes my skin crawl so I advert my eyes as fast as I can. Though I wish I wouldn’t have. 

Staring at a livid Harry is a dream compared to what I see next. My eyes finally land on what they were searching for all along. Shining, caramel colored eyes that can only belong to the boy I care so much about, but they are not what I expected to see. A hallow, haunting version of what Liam’s eyes once might have been lies under my gaze. Glossy, hopeless hints of brown. Regret, sorrow, and pain disfigure his face and the remaining warmth leaves my body. 

“Rae.. I am so sorry,” he mouths, but the ringing in my ears drowns out any sound that he may have made.

I stare blankly. Blinking through the tears that have began filling my eyes. “W-what’s going on?!” I scream, but I already know the answer.  

“I am so sorry,” he repeats, almost robotically. 

“You can’t do this is!” I sob, directing my attention to Harry. “It’s not his fault, it’s mine!” Harry doesn’t falter.

“I will not tell you again. Get the fuck out of my house,” he spits, ignoring me altogether.

The last thing I see is Liam nod in defeat, and step out into the hellish storm.

As the door clicks shut, I land on my knees, the sound of my bones hitting the hard wood floor imitating the claps of thunder heard outside. I scream, louder than I thought possible, out of both physical and emotional pain. I let the rest of my body follow my knees, and the next thing I know, I’m alone, lying face down on the floor, screaming his name.


“Rae! Jesus Christ! Raegan!” My name echoes in the back of my ears, getting louder, clearer by the second. “Raegan, for God’s sake, wake up!” My eyes open and immediately connect with familiar caramel ones. Liam’s staring down at me, eyes wide and lips parted. Worry covers his face and he looks as if he doesn’t recognize me. 

“Liam?” I gasp, almost choking on the words.

“Who the hell else would it be?” He looks back, concerned. His muscles are tense. I can see a vein pulsing from his neck, strained from clenching his jaw. He has one hand on my arm and though I feel like he’s about to break it, it’s comforting. 

“Oh thank God..” I exhale, wiping a mess of sweat and tears from my face. I sit up and wrap my arms tightly around Liam, but he doesn’t hug me back. 

“What the fuck was that, Raegan?” he asks, frightened. He hasn’t moved from his initial position and some other emotion seems to be lining his voice. But what? Sorrow? Anger?

I swallow and think about what I’m going to say. If I tell him the details of the dream he’ll think I’m still obsessing over the possibility of Harry finding out about us. Which, I totally am, but it’ll just stress Liam out more if he thinks I’m having doubts and we both have enough to stress about right now. “Bad dream is all. I’m okay now.” I tighten my grip around him, speaking into his neck. He still does’t move.

I pull back momentarily to look at him. His left brow rises, the rest of his face remaining unchanged. “Care to share?” 

He continues to stare in disbelief as I look for an answer. I shake my head. “I rather not relive it. Don’t worry about it.”

"Don’t worry about it?!” he coughs. Yep, now he’s angry.  I remove myself from him as he raises his voice. “You almost gave me a heart attack! You almost had a heart attack! What exactly should I not be worried about?” 

“It was a bad dream, Liam.” I defend myself. “A-about my mom.” I lie. “You know I have those sometimes. I told you, I don’t want to talk about it.” 

He softens immediately as the word “mom” escapes my lips. “O-oh. I’m sorry. I d-didn’t mean to-“

“It’s okay,” I say, relieved he’s dropped the subject. “Now will you hug me back?” 

He nods, still shaken up and folds his arms around me tight. “Are you okay?” he whispers after a few moments.

“Yeah, I’m great now,” I say as I hold on to him tighter.

I feel him exhale, relieved that I’m okay. 

Minutes pass and I don’t let him go. I just sit in his arms, inhaling his scent and listening to him breathe. I can feel his abdominal muscles contracting every time he breathes in, constantly reminding me that he’s still here. He doesn’t seem to mind because he hasn’t made any attempt to move or say anything. 


"Raegan? Rae, I got to go. Sun’s coming up,” I hear a deep, yet incredibly soft voice say. 

“Hmm?” I mumble, unsure of where I am. 

“Sun’s almost up. Harry wakes up early. I’ve got to go back to my room.”

My eyes open unwillingly and I immediately see Liam’s staring back at me. I’m lying on top of him, his arms still around me. I realize that I must have fallen asleep in his grip. I frown as realization hits. “Don’t go.” 

He mirrors my frown. “I don’t want to. Believe me, I don’t want to. But if for some reason Harry needs me and I’m not in my room, he’ll be suspicious. Or if he needs you and I am in your room…well--”

“I know,” I whine, burying my face in his t-shirt. I feel his hand across my back softly running up and down. 

“Please don’t make this any harder than it has to be,” he laughs softly as if he’s whispering. 

I say nothing, pulling myself up further, wrapping my arms around his neck and hiding my face in-between his shoulder and neck. I curl my legs up underneath me, until I’m practically a ball on Liam’s chest. 

“Raegan…” he whines because he doesn’t want to leave. 

“Five more minutes,” I whisper, and Liam stops resisting and holds me tight. 

“You make leaving impossible,” he whispers after awhile. 

I smile against his skin, and say nothing, enjoying the few minutes I have left with him. However, time passes too quickly.

“Okay, times up. I have to go.”

“That was not five minutes,” I frown, not moving. 

“You’re right. It was six. Now let me go.” 

I lift my head, staring him directly in the face as I continue to frown. He just smiles and apologizes some more. I’m finally about to release him when a hand reaches the back of my head and brings me down for a kiss. His lips are so soft, it’s almost painful to stop. So I don’t. As he begins to pull back, I kiss him again, just as softly and before I know it neither of us are pulling back. Minutes go by without falter and it isn’t until we hear footsteps in the hallway that finally tears us apart. 

We pull back simultaneously and stare at each other, panicked. 

I jump off Liam and head for the door, pulling it open just enough to see who’s out there. Thankfully the doors here are all new enough that they don’t squeak. I peer into the hallway and catch the tip of Louis’s head as he makes his way down the stairs. Quietly I shut the door and sigh in relief, looking back at the mortified Liam on the bed.

“It’s okay. It was only Louis.” I exhale, relieved. 

Liam closes his eyes momentarily to gather himself and jumps up, heading for the door. 

He says nothing as he passes by me, just looks at me on his way out. Emotions of all kind play out across his face. Frustration, fear, adoration, and… something I’m not quite sure of. His eyes are hooded as he looks at me one final time and leaves the room. 

I stand by the door staring at it for a quite some time before I run a hand through my hair and decide to go back to bed. My stomach flutters as I think about kissing Liam and before I know it, I’m asleep and it’s all I’m dreaming about.


I don’t officially wake up until almost noon. I surprise myself at how well I slept for being woken up so many times this morning. I yawn and stretch as I reach for my phone, where I find many texts from none other than Liam. I scroll through, smiling at the thought of him.

9:07 AM “Good morning :)

9:32 AM “You going to get up today?”

9:45 AM “Wake up. I miss your face.”

10:24 AM “Everything okay up there? Still alive, right?”

11:30 AM “IM SO BORED”

11:52 ":( please wake up”

I smile and roll my eyes, and text him back.

11:57 AM “I am awake and alive. I miss your face too. But I don’t want go get up.” He texts back almost instantaneously. 

11:57 AM “But I miss you so much.”

11:58 AM “I miss you too. But I also am very warm and comfortable. Why don’t you come upstairs?”

12:00 PM “Sorry, Niall was rambling about football. I would love to, but wouldn’t that be suspicious?”

12:02 PM “Yes, very. But I just want to stay here and watch Netflix.”

12:02 PM “Currently imagining laying in bed with you all day and watching Netflix and it makes my chest hurt.”

12:02 PM “=)”

Minutes pass as I consider going downstairs, but every time I think I’m ready to get up, I get more comfortable. Nope. Not yet. 

12:06 PM “I can’t stop thinking about kissing you this morning.”

I blush. 

12:08 PM “Me either”

12:09 PM “I want to do it again”

My cheeks get even redder. 12:10 PM “Me too.”

12:15 PM “So are you ever coming down here?”

12:17 PM “I GUESS. I’ll be down in a minute.”

12:18 “:D”

I set my phone down and sigh loudly as I force myself out of bed. I run my fingers through my hair and pull a jumper over my t-shirt and decide that pajama pants are fine for today. Unwillingly I make my way downstairs and plop down on the couch. I’m greeted with a cheerful, Irish, “Good morning, lazy-ass!” and a bright “thank you for finally dragging yourself down here” smile from Liam. I glare at both of them and say nothing.

“Nice pants.” Niall smirks staring at my pajama pants that happen to be covered in different kinds of dogs.

“Thanks,” I reply dryly. “Nice face.”

Niall laughs, and Liam follows. Both of them seem to find my lazy demeanor hilarious. 

“So..” I say expectantly.

“So…?” Niall repeats and Liam looks at me confused.

“Entertain me.” I say staring back with tired eyes.

Niall laughs again and nods. “Okay. Well what do you want to do? The footie match is almost over, and then I’m yours.”

“Hmm. Wonderful.” I say sarcastically. "What is there to do? I ask pessimistically. "All we ever do is watch 'footie’.” I mock.

“I see no problem with that!” Niall fires back. I roll my eyes, and Liam is all smiles. He is in a really good mood for some reason. 

“I’ve got an idea.” Niall eventually states. I look at him expectantly, but instead of telling me, he turns to Liam and whispers in his ear. 

“Hey now, no secrets.” I grumble, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, but they just ignore me.

“Could be fun,” Liam shrugs. “Should we invite the others?”

“Invite? Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Do I look like I’m in any shape to leave the house?”

Liam grins wider, and Niall chuckles. “Looks like you better hit the showers, love.” Liam says, fondly. 

I groan, starring at them for a significant period of time. “Really guys?” I say exasperated. 

“You better hurry,” Niall smirks. “We’ll leave without you.”

“What a shame,” I groan, and drag myself up the stairs and toward my room. 


I return from upstairs, freshly showered, wearing a pair of jean shorts and an oversized flannel, a loose tank tucked underneath it. Just the right amount of warm, and cool to satisfy the unpredictable London weather. I never know if I’m going to get wet or sunburnt. When I jump off the bottom step, I see all fiv-er..-four boys sitting in the living room.

“No Zayn?” I ask, approaching them.

“Couldn’t get his lazy ass out of bed,” Niall comments.

I nod. Typical. I briefly wonder if Eleanor is up there with him, and that’s the reason he won’t leave. My body starts heating up, but I shake it off. Not now, Rae. Not now. “So… where are we going?” 

All four boys smile and stand. Each of them head toward the door, saying nothing. Niall waits, making sure I get out the door behind them. “After you.” He smirks.

For what feels like the 50th time, I roll my eyes and groan, not actually minding where we go. Knowing, however, that Niall gets a kick out of my frustration. Once all piled into the Audi— Niall driving, Harry passenger, and me stuck between Liam and Louis — Niall mentions it’ll be about 30 minutes through London traffic to get to our destination. I complain some more, humoring them, but it isn’t long before conversation picks up in the car.

“Wait. Wait. Wait. I have questions about this whole boy band thing.” I say after Louis shares a funny memory from a past tour.  

“Fire away.” Louis challenges me.

I think, choosing my questions wisely. I decide to go with the questions that make the least sense to me. “Okay, so… to be honest I was doing some research. Ya know, seeing what dirt I could find on you guys, when the name Larry Stylinson kept showing up. Who is this Larry guy? And why is he so important?” 

Without missing a beat, the car erupts in different emotions. Niall falls into a fit of laughter that is so intense I can see him closing his eyes in the rearview mirror. Liam about chokes on the question and Louis pales instantly. I see Harry stiffen in the front seat, but no one says anything at all. 

“Interesting,” I mutter after a minute passes and no one tries to speak up. Niall’s laughter has finally ceased and Liam has fully recovered from his coughing fit. Most everyone seems to still be uncomfortable, aside from Niall who is prompting the question. 

“Yeah guys. Who is Larry?” Niall chuckles some more. "And why we're at it, what’s a Ziam?” Niall about cries, holding back his intense laughter. 

“Niall, you fucker,” Liam curses, and I look around confused.

Liam sighs, and begins to speak. “Right well, Larry—“ he starts, but Louis cuts him off.

“Larry is some bullshit story fans made up where me and Harry were…I don’t know, together or something.” I see Louis and Harry make eye contact briefly through the rearview mirror and you can tell they both do not want to talk about the subject. 

“Wait, so people thought you and Harry were.. dating? Like for real?” I push. 

“Mhmm.” Harry mumbles uncomfortably. “We weren’t though,” he clarifies. 

“Uh.. okay..” I say, confused and uncomfortable. “And …Ziam?” I say, looking at Liam, catching onto the names.

“Yeah.. me and Zayn,” Liam sighs. “Also not true, for future reference. The fans just thought that--or I guess, wanted us to all have some kind of secret relationship with each other. There were name's for all of us. Larry, Lirry, Ziall, Ziam, Niam? hell I don't know. Entertained them I guess.” 

I nod. “Oh. Sorry for asking. I had no idea what it meant, let alone the effect it had on each of you.” I apologize looking at the floor.

“S’okay.” Louis responds casually, though there is fire in his eyes. “Not a big deal, we’re just tired of hearing about it at this point. Shit, it’s probably still talked about today.” 

“Crazy, what peoples imaginations can come up with,” I say, trying to relieve some of the tension. 

“Yeah, crazy.” Niall chuckles sinisterly to himself. 

I look up into the rearview mirror, only to see Louis glaring at Niall, Niall looking guilty as ever.

The next few minutes are spent in silence, though it is quickly broken, Harry finally speaking up.

“So… how far exactly did you get into that Larry stuff, before you stopped and decided to ask us?…” he asks cautiously. Something else lines his voice… panic? Maybe?

“Hmm.. not far. Why?”

Almost simultaneously every one in the car sighs in relief, as if they were holding their breath all this time.

“Don’t worry about it. Just never look into it, ever again.”

“Okay, but—“



It’s not but five minutes later when we reach our destination. Louis had started on another funny memory they shared on tour, and I’m glad for he seems far less stressed talking about the shit he got into with Zayn and Liam, compared to answering my unsettling questions.  

“--and then it just became this massive war. Gatorade everywhere. Liam and I were both soaked to shit. I think-yeah- I think we were both wearing white too. It was a bloody fucking mess.” Louis breaks into a huge grin, finishing his story. 

“Fun times,” Liam smiles, fond of the memory. I actually love listening to them talk about their times on tour. They tell these stories like they just happened yesterday, and they haven't aged a bit. 

“Well, we’re here.” Niall says, a moment later.

I look up to see “London Zoo” in big green letters.

“A zoo?” I say, no sign of excitement in my voice.

“The London Zoo.” Liam smiles.

“The oldest scientific zoo in the world,” Harry adds. What a nerd.

“Fascinating,” I say, sounding less than thrilled, but actually really excited.

“It’ll be fun,” Liam grins, squinting his eyes, and I can’t resist any longer.

“Well, what are we waiting for?” I shrug.

The boys all make some kind of noise and pile out of the car. Who knew four thirty-something year old men could be this excited about the zoo?


The day is long, but incredibly entertaining. None of the boys can agree on one animal to start on so, consequently everyone breaks into separate groups. I start out with Niall and Louis, silently promising Liam I’ll catch up with him later. He and Harry head off in separate directions, and it’s then I realize it will be a long day, just trying to get them all back into the same place. Louis and Niall go straight to the monkeys without a second thought, both fascinated, though I’m sure they’ve seen every one of them a hundred times. I watch, gleefully, more entertained by Louis and Niall’s fascination than the monkeys themselves. After what seems like 40 different monkey exhibits, I see Harry walking around by the aquarium, and though I wouldn’t normally be willing to spend alone time with Harry, I’m desperate to get away from all of the monkeys.

He sees me approaching and instantly brightens up, as if my presence really means that much to him. I roll my eyes internally. 

“Hey! Having a good time?” he asks, and I nod. 

“I am, actually. I had to get away from those monkeys though, and I’m not just talking about Louis and Niall.” I smile.

Harry laughs genuinely at my sad attempt at a joke, which then makes me laugh a bit too. He tells me he’s just about to venture into the aquarium and asks me if I’d like to join. After a brief, and hopefully unnoticed glance around, I agree, seeing no Liam in sight. Surprisingly Harry and I end up walking through half the zoo together, laughing and making up background stories and situations for all the animals we see. By the time I see Liam, I am having such a good time that I actually have forgotten who I’m spending time with. However, when I do spot Liam, I am quick to break away. With a smile, and a “I’ll see you in a little while!” I leave Harry abruptly, and run off with Liam. The first 15 minutes Liam and I are reunited, I catch myself going on and on about the situations Harry and I made up for all the animals. Half the time not finishing what I’m saying because I’m laughing so hard. Liam nods along, intrigued, though I know I’m not making any sense. I know he’s just glad that I got along with Harry for so long, though he doesn’t say anything to suggest it, and I really appreciate it. 

We eventually find ourselves in ‘Butterfly Paradise’ which is apparently a super lame exhibit, judging by the fact that no one is here. There’s traces of a young boy and his mom who are a few yards in front of us, but seem to be moving quickly throughout the exhibit-- the boy bored with the butterflies. Personally, I think the exhibit is really pretty and I’m very thankful that no else seems interested in it. It’s the only silent part of the whole zoo and it gives me a chance to be completely alone with Liam. Once sure no one else is around, Liam and I join hands and slowly make our way through the surprisingly big exhibit. Who knew there were so many butterflies? We linger in each room, giving little thought to the butterflies themselves, but really just enjoying each other’s company. Half way through, we find a bench facing a large, green area, butterflies roaming freely. We stop and sit, Liam’s arm around my shoulders, and me leaning against his side. 

“Better than laying in bed all day?” He asks, leaning his head against mine. 

“Debatable,” I smile, and look up at him. “I wouldn’t be sweating this much in my air conditioned room.”

“So sorry, princess,” Liam mocks. “My how you have adjusted to the ‘high class life,’” he teases some more.

“Hate to break it to you, sweet heart, but us middle class folk have air conditioning too,” I roll my eyes, and he laughs. 

We sit laughing, wrapped in each others arms, before it’s silent and we can hear each other breathing. I look up at him once more, and he’s already making a move for my lips. Soon, I’m captured under his lips, showing no sign of stopping. The kiss is long, and slow, making every nerve on my body stand up. His tongue enters my mouth, exploring it like he’s never kissed me before, and I don’t think it’ll ever end. I don’t want it to. Eventually however, it does, and we make our way through the rest of the exhibits, hand in hand, when we can. 

The very last stop is the tiger exhibit — my favorite exhibit, and surprisingly enough everyone meets there at around the same time. We enjoy walking through the exhibit together, Harry and I still playing our silly games. We stop in the gift shop, briefly where Liam buys me a tiger stuffed animal, despite my refusal. He tells me it is my birthday present and that I cannot refuse or he will be emotionally wounded. I sigh in defeat, grateful for the kind gesture, knowing that whether my birthday was coming up, or not, Liam would have still given me the gift. I’m exhausted by the time we all pack in the car. We decide to grab dinner somewhere, just as it’s getting dark, and then head back. The restaurant Niall and Louis picked was a bit of a drive, so the journey home is even longer than before. I don’t mind however, because as expected, I am soon fast asleep, against Liam’s shoulder, my hand clasped tightly in his, hidden under the tiger he bought me.


We finally get home around 11:00, with me waking up just five minutes before we enter the driveway. I rub my eyes, and look up at Liam, who couldn’t be more excited to be home. We both have had a great day, but I know he is just excited that we finally get to just lay in bed and be together again. I find myself being equally excited and tell the boys that I’ve had a long day and that I’m going straight to bed. They don’t argue and before long, I’m safely tucked away under my covers. Waiting. Just over an hour passes before my door opens and Liam enters the room.

“Sorry, wanted to make sure everyone was done with me tonight.” 

“Done with you?” I ask.

“Yeah. Told ‘em I was exhausted and that if anyone of them needed me for anything than they better wait until morning or they wouldn’t be happy with me.”

I laugh. “Well done.” Liam smiles and makes his way over to my bed.

“So, are you actually tired or do you want to lay around and watch something?”

"Honestly, I’m exhausted, but I would love to just lay here and binge-watch Netflix with you. Just don’t be mad if I fall asleep.”

“Deal.” he smiles. 

I pick up my computer off the nightstand and click through shows and shows before we finally agree on Friends. We both have seen every episode at least a thousand times so we agreed it’s a good show to fall asleep to. At least then we won’t miss anything. I get comfortable and Liam does the same, laying behind me and wrapping his arms around my waist. He presses a gentle kiss to the back of my neck and I realize why he was so excited to come to bed. My stomach flutters, but I decide to ignore it. Instead we end up watching four episodes of Friends, making me reach ultimate exhaustion. The fifth episode begins playing and I think Liam’s finally fell asleep when I feel lips press to the back of my neck. I smile, getting ready to turn around when they don’t stop. Repeatedly Liam presses his lips to my skin, lingering a little longer each time. He works his way up to my jaw, and back down to my collarbone. I’m completely relaxed and yet frozen at the same time. Sucking face with Brent Richardson never went this direction. My stomach’s doing flips and though something is telling me to stop him, I don’t. It feels… well, amazing. Liam’s hand roams up and down my side as he continues to kiss my neck. He suddenly stops in one place and when I open my mouth to tell him not to stop, he begins sucking. My eyes roll back into my head, never having felt this way before, and a moan escapes my mouth. I jump, surprising myself and cover my mouth embarrassed. I turn my body, facing Liam, red as a brick. Liam smiles softly, his eyes hooded like they were this morning. 

“It’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed. That’s a good sound.”

I stare at him wide eyed, feeling as if I’m going to explode. The heat, not only in my cheeks, but suddenly all over my body is making me melt and all I can do is look at him, embarrassed.

“Really, it’s okay,” he says, removing my hand from my mouth and resting it at my side. I nod, trying to calm down, but it doesn’t seem to be working. “I want to hear it again,” he says and again my body is fire.

In one motion he pulls me close and attaches himself to my neck. His tongue circles the area before he begins sucking and when he does… I’m gone. Soft whimpers and subtle moans begin falling out of my mouth and with each one Liam seems to make it feel better. I close my eyes and when I open them again, I see a worried Liam.

“Fuck.” He grits his teeth, staring at my neck.

“W-what?” I panic. “Did I do something wrong?”

He shakes his head angrily. “No, I did. I left a mark.”

I stare at him confused. “You what?”

“I left a mark. On your neck. I was trying to be gentle enough not too, but I got carried away and— fuck. Rae, I gave you a hickey.” 

A hickey?! I’m instantly reminded of high school back in Colorado. Janet Sanders always had hickeys covering her neck. Everyone called her a slut. I jump up and flick on the light, temporarily blinding Liam and stare in the mirror. My eyes go wide as I stare at a big purple mark right in the center of my neck. Oh God no.

I look at Liam, panicking. “How am I supposed to hide this?!”

Liam winces at the tone of my voice. “I-I don’t know, Rae. I fucked up. I’m sorry.”

“Sorry? It’s been like what? Two days since we agreed to let this—“ I point to Liam and then myself - “happen and you’ve already exposed us!” 

His frown deepens. He can tell I’m pissed. “Just tell them it was your curling iron or something.”

I laugh mockingly. “Good plan, Liam. Except I don’t curl my hair. It is naturally curly! And plus, no curling iron, or straightener for that matter, could burn me this big, especially to the point of turning purple, without it looking intentional! This is obviously a hickey!”

“Okay, okay! Look, I”m sorry! I just got caught up. I should have known better. We can figure something out. Please don’t be mad at me..”

I glare at him saying nothing more. The once amazing feeling of Liam kissing my neck is replaced with a bruise that’s painful to the touch. And I can’t stop touching it. I flick the light of, put my computer away and crawl back into bed saying noting to Liam. He continues to apologize and tries to wrap himself around me, but I put my hand up, stopping him. He frowns, getting the message and leaves me alone the rest of the night. 


When I wake up the next morning, Liam is gone. The side of the bed he has recently taken to is cold, so I know he’s been gone for awhile. I wonder briefly if he’s been gone all night. I frown, but the tender spot on my neck reminds me that I’m mad at him. I glance at the clock to see that it’s still early. Considering how late I stayed up I am surprised I’m awake this early, however the stress of possibly being exposed makes it impossible for me to go back to sleep. I lay in my bed, staring at the ceiling, racking my brain for some possible explanation why I would have a big bruise on my neck, and how I would have gotten it between 12 AM and 8 AM. My options are limited. I consider admitting that it’s a hickey and creating some fake boyfriend of mine that I let in the house when everyone went to bed, but after minimal thought realize that that may be a worse idea than admitting it was Liam. —Actually no, there is no worse idea than admitting it was Liam. I sigh and decide to go take a shower. After 20 minutes or so of soaking in self pity, I decide to get out and try my best to cover the large bruise with make up. I silently hope that even if I can’t cover it up completely, that my long curls will provide me with enough camouflage to get through the day. An hour or so passes as I mess with make up and hairstyles that hide my neck, when finally I decide to just avoid everyone in the house as much as possible. However, as I come to this decision, my stomach growls and I realize I will have to face the kitchen at least two or three times today.  I inhale sharply, taking one last glance at my make-shift-hickey-camoflauge and walk out the door. No one’s in the hallway, so the first half of my adventure is painless. As I make my way downstairs, however I notice multiple bodies in the living room. I suck in, holding my breath as I silently creep into the kitchen without them noticing. Considering the couch faces away from the entry to the kitchen, my chances of going unnoticed are high. Successfully, I reach the kitchen, though as I’m releasing the breath I was holding, I choke, staring into two pairs of eyes. One pair green. One caramel.

“Raegan? Hey. Surprised to see you up this early.” Harry says lightly.

I have to force myself to break eye contact with Liam who is starring at me like a deer in the headlights—frightened and unsure. “What? Oh. Yeah. I’m a bit surprised myself.”

“It’s a good surprise.” Harry half-smiles, and I smile back, though the comment makes me uncomfortable. I think he can tell, for his smile disappears quicker than it normally would. Sorry Harry, we had a good day yesterday, but I’m still not your biggest fan. I look around the room quickly, trying to make a decision of what to grab before I make my escape back to my room. At this point I’m set on a granola bar and a bottle of water, when Harry interrupts my thoughts. “So, you hungry, then? I can make something, if you’d like.” I freeze. No, Harry. Please don’t do this. We were in a decent place yesterday, let's not get ahead of ourselves. I think to myself, but nothing comes out. 

“Uh..” is all I can come up with. I don’t want to eat with Harry—or Liam for that matter, I can't risk anyone seeing this awful bruise on my neck, but I wasn’t raised inconsiderate. I know Harry is trying, and as much as I hate him for everything he’s done — or I suppose I should say, hasn’t done in the past, he doesn’t deserve my built up wrath. Not now, anyway. I sigh.

“Or not… that’s okay. I was just—“

I cut him off. “No, no, that sounds great,” I say forcing a smile, but looking at the floor. When I look up I see Liam giving me a questioning look, a hint of fear, and unsteadiness still glowing in the back of his eyes. I give him no reaction and look to Harry who is smiling with delight. 

“O-oh. Okay, then.” He hops off the counter he was previously sitting on. “What would you like?”

“Anything at all,” I say, slightly brushing him off. “I’m gonna use the bathroom real quick, if you’ll excuse me. I’ll be right back.”

Harry nods, excitedly about his chance to do something productive. “Course, it’ll be about 10 minutes or so anyway, so take your time.” He grins again. Jesus, Harry. It’s breakfast. Quit smiling so much. I shake it off and make my way toward the downstairs bathroom. I need to make sure I can sit through a 20 minute breakfast without Harry looking at my neck. My hand has just grasped the doorknob when I feel a hand come down on my shoulder. I jump, turning around, not thinking anyone had followed me. I kick myself when I see who it is, however, thinking I should have expected it to be Liam. 

“S-sorry,” he mutters, taking a step back like he’s just poked a lion with a stick. “How are you this morning?” he asks carefully.

I stare at him a moment, thinking about what I’m going to say. I am still mad at him, but I can’t really be that mad at him. I didn’t stop him from attacking my neck. “Alive,” is all I come up with. 

“Uh.. well, that’s always good,” he makes an effort to smile softly. I nod. “Y-you’re neck looks good,” he says, lowering his voice to almost a whisper. “I’m really, really sorry,” he mouths. 

“I know. Forget about it. I’m trying to.” 

Liam nods, frowning a bit. “Right. So will you forgive me?” he pauses. "I can’t promise it will never happen again, but I will definitely be more careful.” 

The thought of Liam’s lips on my neck again send shivers down my spine, and I kick myself for thinking that way when the consequence is this awful bruise. His lips, though. They’re just so soft. I’m melting in my thoughts, when Liam speaks up.

“Rae? Forgive me? Please?” I nod, not being able to bear Liam’s deer like eyes any longer.

“Yeah, forgiven. Just keep those lips away from me for awhile.” I say, trying to stand my ground. He frowns. “At least for the day,” I clarify, knowing that I could never keep Liam away too long. He nods, and steps closer as if he’s going to hug me. With a quick glance around the hallway, I let him, sinking into his touch. What has this boy done to me?

Minutes pass, and though my eyes are flicking up and down the hallway like a watch dog, I’m butter in Liam’s arms. For just being mad at him, less than five minutes ago, I never want him to let me go. I do, however, knowing that I’ve ‘been in the bathroom’ long enough and that Harry’s going to wonder what’s going on. I check with Liam one last time to make sure my bruise is covered up well enough and head back to the kitchen, giving Liam a minute head start. 

Stepping into the kitchen, my nose is filled with an array of different smells. From bacon and eggs, to pancakes, and what I assume to be hash browns? My senses are overwhelmed. My eyes wander to all the different types of food Harry has made and I can’t keep from rolling my eyes.

“You could have just made toast,” I mutter, not thinking. I catch Harry’s face beginning to fall out of the corner of my eye. “I-I mean. Thanks, Harry. This is great.” He smiles softly, and nods. 

“It was my pleasure. Now dig in!” 


To my surprise, breakfast with Harry and Liam is really nice. It’s informal compared to the nightly dinner at the table. We all just stand around in the kitchen, shoving toast piled with all sorts of things into our mouths between words. Harry makes minimal conversation with me, asking briefly if I’m excited for my birthday in just two short days, and if I had anything in mind that I wanted. My chest warms, thinking that someone actually wants to get me a present for my birthday. Outside of my mom, and my three friends, no one has ever given my birthday a second thought. Of course, I deny all attempts made at getting me a gift. The last thing I need is for Harry to have leverage. You may have one birthday Styles, but what about the last 16? Where were you then? I do my best to put my built-up frustration toward Harry aside. It’s been a good morning, and so far, no one has noticed my new accessory, so I force my best behavior. It isn’t long before the expected happens, and a loud Irishmen storms into the kitchen, looking offended as ever. 

“And where was my invitation to this feast?” Niall bellows, a look of astonishment clear across his face. The three of us can’t help but chuckle at his angry demeanor, considering Niall is almost never angry. 

“It was a private meeting,” Liam says, mouthful of who knows what. “We’re plotting against the Irish.”

“Liam!” I yelp. “You can’t just tell him what we were talking about! That’s what private means!” 

At this point Harry is bent over, laughing, and even Niall can’t hold his smile back, though he tries. 

“Sorry, sorry! I’m shit at this secrecy thing. I warned you.” 

I roll my eyes, and Liam and I join in on the fits of laughter. Before long Niall’s joined us entirely, eating the food and filling us in on Derby’s chances of winning the championship football title this year. 

Liam seems moderately interested, but it’s clear that Harry and I are paying no attention. I swear a half an hour passes before Niall finishes, though really it’s only about ten minutes. I help the three men clean up the dishes, and start toward the stairs. I don’t even make it to the first step when the three of them stop me. 

“Where ya goin?” They almost all say in unison.

“Uh.. upstairs. To my room?” I respond, confused why they all decided to follow me to the stairs.

“Don’t be such a loner, Rae. Hang out with the family!” Niall belts.

I shutter at the word family. Regardless of how close I’ve gotten to Niall and Liam, none of them could know what family means to me. “I spent the day with all of you, yesterday.” I state, simply.

“Well what’s that supposed to mean?” he spits back as if I’ve just kicked his dog. “You can’t be around us for more than one day at a time?”

“Well..” I start and Harry snorts, holding in his laughter, trying to remain supportive of Niall.

“Come on!” Niall says, taking my arm and dragging me toward the living room. “I promise, no more footie!”

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