Set Her Free

Harry Styles has known something is wrong with him for most of his life. He's wicked smart and really nice, but people don't hang out with him. He gets called 'gay' on a daily basis, although he doesn't know what that means until third grade. He gets called 'weak' when he plays sports, because he's not good at them. He spends too much time looking at the cheerleaders. But it's not because he wants them. He wants to be one of them.


36. Harry

"Come in." She called up, her voice like steel in a blizzard. She wanted Louis to be sure that this conversation would not go lightly.


Louis came into her room, down her steps, with a big goddamn smile on his face like nothing in the world was wrong. That he was so happy to see her. That she was beautiful, that he'd missed her, that he'd like nothing more than to lay down with her and talk and talk and talk talk talk.


She'd never known a boy's smile could hide so many things.


"Hi babe." Louis smiled at her, turning midstep to collapse beside her on the bed. "Whatcha-"


He'd hardly finished talking when he noticed the video pulled up on her screen.


It was like watching one of those stop-motion movies. His face went from pale to red in a nanoseconds. It was like watching traffic lights switch, only much quicker.


"You have some explaining to do." Harriet replied, as soon as the video was finished.


"Harriet, you have to believe me, I didn't-"


"You didn't what? Seems to me like you didn't have enough balls to tell me! This video has been up for /days/, Louis! Do you see how many people have obviously seen it!?" She gestured to the comments and shares sections on the page.


"Harriet, you don't-"


"I don't? I don't what? What do I not?!"


"Maybe if you'd let me finish half the time!" Louis snapped, moved to anger himself now.


"Oh hell no, you don't get to be angry with me! Why didn't you tell me?!"




"Did you think I'd never see it?! Did you think that I'm stupid enough to not go on Facebook for this long?!"




"Well you're wrong! Why the hell didn't you tell me, you bastard?!"




"Don't you fucking shout at me! Fucking answer me, douchebag! You should have fucking told me! Does the whole school know about me now?!"


While Harriet ranted and raved on, she didn't notice how Louis seemed to be changing before her very eyes. His fists were clenching, his breath quickening. She would have seen how a vein was pulsing on his neck, she would have notice how his nostrils flared like an animal about to charge. She would have noticed his eyes.


How they were dark.


Darker than the inside of a chimney.


But she didn't see.


But finally, he did something to her. Something that would hurt her. Something that she would never, ever forget.




It was as swift as a kick to the crotch of a creepy old man. She felt her mouth go dry, her throat close up. She could no longer speak. She didn't move, she didn't breath. Only one thought was running grooves in her mind right now.


That's not my name.


That's not my name.














But Louis didn't seem to care that his own ranting and raving fell on deaf ears. The hand motions he was making in front of blind eyes. She was unfeeling, unmoving, unsensing.


He called her Harry.


When Louis realized that she was blank, unfeeling, he stopped talking. He stopped moving. He mirrored her perfectly.


At least until he pushed her down onto the bed.


She didn't fight as he got on top of her.


She didn't fight as his fists started to come down on her.


She didn't even blink when he started to cry. She felt like she'd swallowed her own tongue as soon as she'd heard that ugly name again. She had thought that she was rid of it. That it would never fall from his lips again.




She didn't look up when heartfelt apologies started spewing from his mouth like water from a hose in the summer. She didn't budge when she heard him tell her the real reason he'd never told her about that video.




She didn't feel the bruise begin to form on her cheek. The bruise he gave her. She didn't feel the blood slowly trace a path down her lips from where he'd bloodied her nose.




Harry Harry Harry.


She leveled her eyes up to meet Louis', and said only three words.


"Go to hell."

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