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.


18. The Humble And Accepting Wonder That Is Zayn Malik

Yes, you read that right.

Harriet came out to Zayn.

It hadn't really been intentional.

She'd invited him over so they could have a movie night, simply because she had nothing better to do and they were the only ones in their group that didn't have to work.

She'd just decided to do a quick little makeover, as she had two hours before Zayn was due to be there. But, well...what could she say? She got lost in the mirror sometimes, as cliche as that sounds. She liked looking at her real self, not the hologram she projected to her friends.

She had been wearing a practically painted-on pair of skinny jeans that happened to be a pretty light green. Her shirt was white and had little ruffles on the front. She was wearing a bra that had been filled out at the top. She already had her eye makeup on, and was just working on the other stuff to match her jeans. Her hair was still curly then.

Suddenly, there was the sound of the door opening.

Harriet nearly poked her eye out with the mascara brush. She didn't have anywhere to hide, except... the bathroom! She hurried towards it, but she spotted Zayn in the mirror.

Too late.

Her spine fused, and her eyes pricked with tears. She blinked them back furiously. She would not cry. She did not just spend fifteen minutes on her eyes to ruin them with tears. She stiffly turned around to face the black-haired boy.

He looked...well, he didn't look too freaked out. That was a good sign. After all, he'd been the one to react with the least negativity during that week. She took deep breaths, in through her nose and out through her mouth.

She could win acceptance.

Or she could lose all of her friends.

It was completely up to how Zayn reacted.

She had to give him some credit, as the boy didn't seem to be freaking out. Not much, anyway. He wasn't as good an actor as Louis was, so she could read his emotions clearly in his eyes. It was mostly just shock.

"Uh....Harry?" He finally spoke.

"Uhm....hi." She giggled nervously, biting her lip. "I, um....I suppose it's a little too late to tell you not to come in?"

Zayn rolled his eyes at her. Alright, it was a stupid joke.

"You want to tell me what this is all about?" He asked her, going over to sit on the couch in front of the beat-up TV.

"Not particularly. But I suppose I must." She answered, going to sit beside him carefully. She thanked God that he didn't flinch away, like she had feared.

It was silent for a long time. Zayn was very patient, and Harriet was having a hard time trying to find the words.

"I-I'm..." She hesitated, terrified. She shut her eyes and whispered the word she'd never said aloud until this moment.


"What?" He asked. He didn't sound disgusted or even shocked. He sounded like he needed to actually hear the word.

"T-transsexual." She said, a little bit louder. She opened her eyes again, just a bit, and peered at Zayn.

He was looking at her like he'd always looked at her, except there was something new in his eyes.

Oh no.

"So,'re a girl?" He asked, furrowing his eyebrows. "Sorry if that's offensive, I just don't really know much about this."

Harriet felt a tiny bit of weight lift from her chest.

She explained to him what being transsexual means, and he was quiet for a while. She'd been expecting that. Zayn was the type who took something you told him, and filtered it through his mind for a long time, like simmering something for a stew.

"You know....I'm not trying to be offensive..but that makes sense." He confided. "Like, I remember at a lot of your birthday parties you wanted girly things. And then this week, where you were that."

"I was testing the waters." She explained.

"Right. I the first person you've ever told?" He asked. Harriet nodded. Zayn looked so astonished she wanted to take a picture. Zayn was always carefully guarded with a lot of things, including his emotions, so this was quite refreshing.

"Really? I-wow, I Thank you, for trusting me so much." He said in this kind of hushed whisper. She smiled a little bit and shrugged one shoulder. She felt very lucky, now, that he was her friend. She didn't feel nearly as alone anymore.

" you want me to like, use 'she' and 'her' and stuff?"

"Not yet." She replied quickly. "Like, not in front of the others yet. M'not ready for that. And just so you know, I've chosen Harriet for my name."

"That's a little close, don'tcha think?"

"Maybe, but I don't mind. I think Harriet's a pretty name."

"I think you're pretty." He smiled, and she blushed.

She had to change back into boy role-Zayn kept his eyes covered, for her sake-because her parents were home. She hid everything, and then they proceeded to watch half of the entire 'Harry Potter' box set.

She felt so full of hope she worried she might explode. Though nobody she knew was as relaxed and accepting as Zayn, maybe Harriet could reveal herself and be accepted by the others too.

She was wrong.

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