Look

Kay lives on the streets, addicted and broken, she gave up on doing anything with her life years ago. Until she meets a stranger, a stranger called Harry, who is the first person to look inside.
(contains swearing and drug use)

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3. Insulted

As soon as we're off the main street he stops and turns towards me. It's hard to glare at someone who just saved your sorry arse from the police, but I attempt it anyway. He pulls a tissue from his pocket and places one hand on my shoulder, using the other to start mopping up the mess of blood on my face. I let him.

"God, what did you do, walk into a wall?"

Blood is stuck in my hair too, from where I had fallen on it, quickly drying and matting the strands together into clumps. "Close enough," I mutter. 

"So, are you going to tell me why I just had to pay for that hat?" As he asks he's not frowning or glaring, just smiling slightly as he continues to wipe at my face, the tissue becoming increasingly blood-soaked. "It wasn't even very nice. I mean, pink?"

I laugh, then instantly regret it as more crimson liquid spurts from my nose and I choke a little, some of it running down the back of my throat and filling my mouth with the coppery flavour. "It's getting cold and hats are warm. Plus, I heard pink scares away badgers."

Harry tips my head forward a little with his hand, warm against the back of my neck. "Badgers are an ever-growing threat in suburban England, I hear," he says with mock seriousness.

"You'd be surprised," I grin.

With a snort, he draws back and observes my face. “Yep, mostly gone. You’re gonna need to wash though, it’s all in your hair.” Reaching into his pocket once more, he hands me another tissue. “It’s probably going to keep bleeding for a while.”

“Thanks.” I take the tissue, holding it up to my nose. “Y’know, for everything. Paying for the hat and cleaning me up.” My face is turned to the ground as I speak, shuffling my feet and playing with my fingers. When you're unused to ever receiving kindness for a while, it’s hard to say thank you, after not needing to for such a long time.

We’re now just standing at the edge of the pavement, a few shoppers taking a shortcut through the side-street, but otherwise alone. “No problem. But I don’t see why you couldn’t have used the money I gave you.” I remember the bundle of notes I’d found when waking up, now stuffed at the bottom of my rucksack.

“Thanks for that too, I didn’t need it though. I was, uh, gonna use that for something else.” The trip I’d planned for later today, to be precise. That was somewhere, and someone, that I would never be able to steal from, without having to leave the country and never return.

Still acting remarkable patiently, he puts his hands in his jeans and smiling. “What?”

“You don’t want to know.”

“I kind of do, now that you won’t tell me.”

I turn away, starting to walk away. “Just leave it,” I call behind me, but Harry grabs my arm and pulls me back towards him.

“Okay, I won’t ask, sorry. I can give you some more though, so you won’t have to nick anything else.” Bringing out his wallet, he rifles through the cluster of notes tucked in the back. My jaw drops at the sight of so much money, at least five hundred quid inside. At least.

“What the fuck do you need with all that money?” I burst out in shock, gawping at it.

A slightly puzzled expression fills his face as he looks down his wallet, up at me, then back down. Almost like a small child. “Is this a lot of money?”

“Fucking hell, you must be rich,” I mutter, more to myself than him.

He shrugs awkwardly. “Take some then.”

“I don’t take hand-outs.”

With raised eyebrows, he attempts to push the money into my hand, but I shove his arm away roughly. “Not that I know better than you, but it might be a good idea to start, as it’s hard to get much lower than homeless and sleeping with stray cats. Except being a drug addict, I guess. Hard to top that.” Harry grins, clearly expecting a laugh.

Tears begin to sting in my eyes at his remark. It's funny how he doesn't even realise what he's said, yet I really don't want to tell him why it hurt so much. What an unlucky guess of his.

I'm not an addict, anyway. I just need it.

“Leave me fuck alone!” I shout, pushing him backwards and running down the street, tears flooding down my face, cursing myself for being so stupidly useless and pathetic.


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