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.

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23. Party: Part 1

She was here.

Oh God.

She didn't think her heart could beat this fast, but there it was. She felt really faint. She should have eaten something a bit more. Well. Maybe not, then she'd need to puke. Either way, she was freaking the fuck out and she hoped that it would stop.

But at the same time, it was wonderful. Finally she didn't feel like she was hiding. Because she wasn't. She was there for everybody to see, to glimpse, to observe.

To judge.

Before she could think any more negatives thoughts, she parked her car and got out. She encountered nobody on her walk up to the door.

It was an old, decrepit building. Broken windows, moldy wood. Looked like the place people would want to explore on a different Halloween. Kinda creepy, if it hadn't been for the pulsating music and all the lights, loads of people dancing and grinding and all of that. Classic high school party.

Ugh.

She went inside.

It was loud as hell, and her eyes already hurt. There were so many people. Sweaty people who'd come to dance, people laughing and talking, people drunk off their arses, and still a few more people huddled off into corners, either passed out or making out. Sick to watch.

But Harriet wasn't being read.

Everybody else was so busy with the party that they didn't notice her. She hadn't tried to make herself striking, she'd tried to make herself normal. And it seemed like it worked. That one guy staring her up and down had to be checking her out, right? Those girls whispering to each other and pointing at her had to be jealous, right?

'Thump-thump' went her heart. 'Thump-thump, thump-thump'.

She glided around in search of her friends, crossing her fingers on both hands that she could find them and not be recognized, just like Louis had asked.

She made her way to the rickety staircase, that she was afraid to put her weight on. It looked like it could collapse at any moment. She still climbed up it, though, peeking in various rooms. Some of the things she didn't want to see, but the couples on the bed didn't pay her any mind. She found Liam in one of those, and decided that now was not the time to say hi.

'Thump-thump'.

She went back down the stairs and searched for the drinks table, getting herself one plastic cup. Just one wouldn't hurt. Niall, Zayn, nor Louis were there. Wait, no, Niall was there. He looked to be off his rocker, completely shit-faced. He was chatting to someone in his thick Irish accent, and the girl seemed to want him to stop talking. Her hand was nearing his crotch, after all.

She figured Zayn probably didn't come after all and gave up her search for him.

Now for Louis.

'Thump-thump.'

He'd be dancing, drinking, or chatting with somebody. Knowing that crazy boy.

Besides, he hadn't been in any of those bedrooms, and for that she was grateful.

Not at the drinks table.

She searched around, not daring to ask anyone. Her voice would certainly give her away. As much as she'd practiced, she just couldn't get it right.

"Tranny." Someone spat. Harriet looked over her shoulder, a poker face firmly in place. Surely they weren't talking about her. No, nope. Not her.

'Thump-thump.'

"Gross fag."

Not for her.

"He-she freak."

Someone else.

"Someone needs some mental help."

Not her not her not her.

'Thump-thump-thump.'

Louis, at last!

She'd found him sitting by himself, drinking happily. His costume looked pretty disheveled, and he appeared to be all sweaty. Probably taking a break from dancing. She waved, and he waved back.

"Hiya, sweetheart!" He said, a bit loud from his drunkenness.

'Thump-thump.'

"Hi." She smiled, and found that what she'd thought was wrong. Or at least Louis was too drunk to notice. Whichever, she was pleased. Louis gestured for her to sit next to him, and she did.

"M'Louis." He smiled in that charming way of his.

"Harriet." She smiled back sweetly.

'Thump-thump'.

"Wild party, isn't it, love?" He chuckled, curling his arm around her waist.

That was quick.

No matter. She leaned into him just the same.

'Thump-thump.'

"It sure is." She giggled, agreeing.

"S'not the only thing that's wild." He smirked, and her heart fluttered. Her mind was screaming, 'Is he serious?'

"Oh, it isn't?" She raised an eyebrow at him.

"Oh, no." He moved over to let his lips just barely touch her ear. His filthy, warm breath flooded her ear, and she gave a light shiver.

"Would you like me to show you what else is wild, sweetheart?"

'Thumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthumpthump.'

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