Inside the Outside

Same story. Different Name. Better content.

When Natalie Carter moves to a new school, she's instantly noticed by the schools biggest bad boy, Harry Styles. He hooks up with girls, then there gone the next day, he rides a motorbike and barely shows up to class. Harry thinks Natalie's just another toy in his game. Natalie thinks he's her worst nightmare, but opposites attract right?

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6. Chapter Six

***Harry***

The moment my bike rolled to a stop Natalie practically flew of it, desperate to evade both me and the rumbling motor beneath me. I cut the engine, turning towards her just in time to witness her legs give way beneath her and her body crumple to the floor. This wasn’t the first time I’d witness this happen to her, she had reacted the exact same way when she rode behind me the first time, the only difference was she hadn’t thrown up this time.

They way her body trembled as she curled up on the ground made it pretty obvious that she didn’t enjoy the adrenaline that came with zooming down streets on the back of a motorcycle. I frowned a little as I hopped of the bike, my feet quickly touching the ground as I moved to stand. Natalie looked more than just a little upset but I figured that was because Adam had succeeded in breaking into my house and that really fucked me off. Next time I see him I’m going to smash his face in.

I have no idea about what he intended to do once he reached us but I was pretty sure it was Natalie he was after. I don’t know why but I have this strange desire to protect her and I’ve never felt that towards any girl before. It kind of freaks me out because she makes me feel things I haven’t felt in a long time and that scares the shit out of me because I never wanted to feel them again because it always ends badly. Natalie had this weird power over me which makes me do things I never intended to do and it was like I’d lost my whole fucking mind. I never intended to kiss her, especially not the way I did but that’s not the problem. The problem was that I wanted to do it again.

Shaking the stupid thoughts out of my head I moved forward, peering down at the brunette girl quivering below me. I stooped down slightly, hooking one arm under her knees, the other around her back before I scooped her up in my arms. Natalie squirmed uncomfortably in my arms, attempting to break free but I refused to grant her that pleasure. My arms tightened around her as I began to walk towards her house. She wasn’t difficult to carry despite her squirming, I found her as light as a feather and her attempts to break free were that of a baby mouse.

I navigated my way around the back of her house where I had caught her trying to make a break for it in an attempt to evade me. I didn’t blame her for trying to run away from me, I was an asshole and I obviously scared the shit out of her. There’s something about her that keeps me coming back, maybe it’s the fact she’s a challenge and that I get kicks out of perusing someone who hates me rather than an easy girl who will probably sleep with ten other guys in the same night.

I can’t do this anymore though, Natalie isn’t going to give in to me, she’s not going to sleep with me and I know if I try any harder then I’m going to end up in a place where I vowed never to fall into again. I’ll leave her alone now, I know that’s what she wants but I’m not doing it for her benefit, I’m doing it for my own because that’s the sick bastard I am.

When I reached the back door the first thing I noticed was it was still slightly ajar after I practically kidnapped her, though technically speaking I borrowed her since I did bring her back. Using my foot I kicked the swayable object, watching as it swung open on its hinges revealing the interior area of the house. I stepped inside, once again using my foot to move the door, this time pushing it shut. I didn’t bother with the lock as I knew I would be leaving in a few minutes. I had to get out of here before I let her innocence tempt me back into wanting to have her because I know I can’t. Natalie isn’t stupid enough to fall into my trap.

“Put me down.” Natalie snapped. “I have legs, I can walk.”

A chuckle rumbled from deep within my chest as her feisty side came back and the fragile girl crumpled in a heap disappeared. This was what I liked about her, she was so fucking innocent but she wasn’t afraid to attempt to put me in my place.

I shook my head, ignoring her pleas as I carried her up the fourteen stepped flight up to the next floor. I took a left, my mind backtracking to the first day I came to her house, remembering her room was the second door on the right. I smirked to myself as the doorframe I walked through led into the room she had thrown several books at me within, praising my memory.

I gently settled her down on top of her unmade bed, laughing as rolled onto her stomach before burying her face in the disarray of pillows lying against the headboard. Carefully I sat down on the edge of the bed, unsure of what to do or say. I was contemplating whether or not to leave when she finally spoke.

“I hate motorbikes.” Natalie groaned.

“I don’t.” I paused. “But I’m sorry you had to get on mine.”

Who the fuck am I? I haven’t been acting like myself since what happened at the club last night. I’ve been acting like some stupid sap and that is not me! This is why I need to stop chasing her, I don’t want to turn into some pathetic bastard, I vowed never to go down that road and I’m not letting myself fucking do that.

“I’ve got to go.” I hastily added.

My body jolted upright, eager to get out of here before something else stupid came out of my mouth or I kissed her like a normal person would rather than the player I am. I made a beeline for the exit, my breath heavy as I willed myself not to look back at her. I could almost imagine the confused expression on her face, an expression that would probably change into one of relief the moment was gone.

A sudden thought crossed my mind making me falter in my track as I reached the first step in which I would have to descend to reach the ground floor. If I left that meant I was giving up, if I gave up that meant I lost and I never lose. That’s always my problem when I start playing stupid games like the one I started with Natalie.

I always have to win.

“Wait! Harry?” Natalie called after me.

The sound of her bare feet padding across the floor as she chased after me echoed throughout the deadly silence. I turned back towards her room to see her slim figure skid across the wooden floor, almost slipping in the process. My eyes raked up and down her body, admiring the way my clothes hung of her frame. She looked hot in anything but seeing her wearing just my clothes could easily get me hard.

I licked my lips as she stumbled down the dimly lit hall, her hand pressing to the wall to steady herself. Pink was flushed lightly across her cheeks, embarrassed by the desperate fluster she had been in only moments ago. I watched Natalie carefully as she moved towards me, studying every aspect of the beautiful girl; the way her mess of tangled waves fell in her face; the way her green eyes seemed to hold a deep mysteriousness; the way her long legs moved beneath her as she walked.

My stomach twisted in a strange way as Natalie’s cool fingers caught hold of my bicep, digging slightly into my skin as if her light hold could keep me in place. Her eyelashes fluttered lightly as she peeked up at me through them, a look of fear was edged into the stormy green and it wasn’t hard for me to decipher that she was afraid.

“Please don’t go.” Her voice came out in a strained whisper. “I-I’m afraid.”

The compelling feeling to protect her once again overwhelmed me. Natalie stared at me through a haze of oncoming tears. I didn’t blame her for being frightened, loneliness is probably the most painful and terrifying feeling. After being harassed by Adam, then watching me beat him almost to nonexistence and finally to have him break into my house whilst she was there would be scary for her. But for me this was almost an everyday thing minus the whole Adam breaking into my house thing.

I gave Natalie a small reassuring smile as my hand gently slid down her spine before it came to rest on her lower back. Gently I guided her back in the direction of her bedroom. She huddled close to me as we walked, her body pressing firmly into my side. The proximity between us made it difficult not to notice the erratic beat of her heart and the sight trembling of her body.

Once we were safely back inside the confines of her bedroom I pulled the crème sheets back almost laughing at how vastly our bedding contrasted. Hers were light and mine were dark. It amazed me how even the smallest things like the colour of someone’s sheets reflect on the person.

I helped her into bed, watching as ninety percent of her body disappeared beneath the covers leaving only her head poking out. I soon followed, yanking the duvet cover over myself before shuffling closer to Natalie. She made no attempt to remove my arm as I carefully draped it over her waist, tucking my legs up behind hers, molding us together like a pair of spoons.

As I closed my eyes I had to remind myself that I was nothing to her but a simple comfort after the events that took place tonight.

That I was still alone.

 

***NATALIE***

When I woke the next morning I was greeted with bright rays of sunlight peeking through the crack between my curtains. Squinting at the retina burning light I rolled over only to discover that the curly haired male was no longer lying beside me. All that was left as a reminder that he had been here was a bunch of scrunched up sheets and the faint scent of his cologne lingering on the pillow he had laid is head upon last night.

Letting out a small groan I flopped back against my pillows and closed my eyes again hoping to fall back into much needed sleep. I was exhausted after the events of last night and quite frankly terrified of the very thought of Adam. He scared the living daylights out of me and the fact he had gone as far as breaking into Harry’s house was petrifying. Last night had been strange with Harry, he seemed different under that thick layer of asshole. I don’t really know how I feel about him or what to make of him but after what happened I don’t hate him quite as much. Harry protected me last night and he stayed with me last night because I was frightened, I think there’s more to him than meets the eye.

I was almost asleep when my phone went off. I jolted upright in fright before quickly realizing it was the annoying object that constantly seemed to piss me off. I awkwardly shuffled to the edge of my bed before reaching down to grab the stupid iPhone off the floor. It took a moment for me to brush the sleep from my eyes so I could read the name flashing across the screen.

Amy.

My thumb quickly swiped across the screen, answering the call.

“Hello.”

“Hey, are you alright?! Why aren’t you at school?! Are you still coming over tonight?!” I was immediately hit in the face by Amy’s usual blundering speech that gushed from her mouth so quickly.

I ran my fingers through the tangled waves atop of my head in panic as I realised it was almost midday and I was meant to be at school. With everything that happened last night I school had been the least of my problems and staying over at Harry’s hadn’t been intended. With all the chaos and exhaustion when we arrived here I had forgotten to set my alarm.

Maybe it was a good thing that I had forgotten because I was still pretty shaken up and I don’t think I would have been able to manage the walk to school alone. I still wasn’t very familiar with the area and having thoughts of Adam creeping in the back of my mind wouldn’t have been good mix as I’d probably end up lost and panic-stricken.

“Something happened last night and I’m not really feeling up to going to school today.” I briefly explained. “I’m alright though.”

Amy released a huge sigh from the other end of the line, she’d obviously been holding her breath. It was nice to know I’d actually made some friends here and even though I hadn’t known them that long they seemed to genuinely care about me.

“Thank god! I thought you were going to say you were dying or something.” She released a light chuckle. “Are you still up for sleepover night with the girls though?”

This sleepover had been arranged earlier this week, Amy wouldn’t shut up about it, her excitement clearly shining through. I thought it was hilarious as she literally hadn’t shut up about the last few days as she really wanted me to come. She called it my inanition into their group. I could help but feel sort of enthusiastic about the whole event myself as the sleepovers I had attended were generally with two stinky boys who snored. The rare sleepover I had been to with girls was kind of intriguing because we watched chick flicks rather than the horror movies Jai and Mitchell loved to pick. The pricks showed me one of those bloody ‘Saw’ movies and I had nightmares for weeks, it completely grossed me out.

I wasn’t about to disappoint Amy after all her excitement over the upcoming even and in all honesty I did really want to go. The fact I’d be sleeping in a house with more than one person was an added bonus as I’m really not enjoying being alone right now. This house creeps me out when it’s just me all on my lonesome, it’s just so quiet that I have resorted to putting the T.V on just so I don’t feel quite so alone.

“Of course! I wouldn’t want to crush your dreams.” I laughed.

“Good, because I was ready to drag your sorry arse out your front door.”

I found myself imagining the small blonde bursting into my room, grabbing me by the ankles and yanking me down the stairs, down the hall and finally out the front door. The thought was rather amusing as I knew she was probably quite capable of doing so.

“Thank god I agreed, I don’t really want to smack my chin on every step you’d have to drag me down.” I joked.

Amy’s bright laugh erupted through the speaker, bringing a grin to my own face. She was such a bright, bubbly person and there was very little you could do to prevent yourself smiling whenever she spoke to you, she was just a fun-loving person who could brighten almost anyone’s day.

“I gotta go to class now.” She spoke. “See you later, little wagger.”

“See you later, little nerd.” I joked, catching her chuckle before the line went dead.

There was no point in trying to go back to sleep considering I now felt wide awake so I decided to get up and have breakfast instead. I set my phone down on the bedside table before pulling the covers back, immediately regretting it as the cool air wrapped around me. I hated the cold but there was no point in staying cuddled up in the cosy confines of my bed for forever, I was going to get bored eventually. Swinging my legs over the side of the bed, I got to my feet, stumbling a little as my vision went white due to the fact I stood up too quickly.

A moment past before I regained the gift of sight and was able to proceed on my journey downstairs to the kitchen.

The floorboards creaked beneath my feet as I descended the stairs and that eerie feeling surrounded me. Even though I wasn’t on the best terms with my mother I missed her presence, her happy aura made this house seem less daunting when she was within it. The emptiness of the house was almost depressing, it was just me and the hollow walls and creaky floorboards.

Back in Doncaster I would have been fine by myself as there was plenty to do on our farm and with all the animals there I really wasn’t ever alone. I didn’t have to worry about any creepy dudes back there either considering I was friends with ninety percent of them whilst here there were more jerks than stars in the sky. I swear almost all of them just pry on women and try and take them home or in my case practically kidnap them.

I hate it here with every bone in my body.

The quiet padding of my feet was the only sound audible as I quietly walked across the wooden kitchen floor. I sighed loudly as I pulled the pantry doors open, letting my eyes skim along the shelf lined with various breakfast cereals. None of them looked very appetizing to me this morning so I decided I’d just settle with a piece of fruit.

The pantry doors banger shut as I turned towards the fruit bowl but before my eyes got the chance to find it they landed on another object. I cocked my head to the side as I peered at the simple white piece of paper lying flat against the counter. Curiously I took a couple of steps forward, my eyes remaining on the object I knew I had not left there. When I was close enough, I noticed it wasn’t in fact blank but it had a number of words messily scrawled across it in black ink. I reached out, quickly taking hold of the paper without a second though, pinching either edge between a thumb and forefinger. The note hadn’t clearly been addressed to me but I did however presume it was for me to read as I was the only one currently living in this damn spooky house so I read it.

Hey, I didn’t want to wake you when I left this morning so I left you this note ;) Sorry about last night I should never have taken you to that club. I know you probably still hate me but can you like text me so I know you’re not dead. Yeah, whatever, bye.

-Harry

I don’t know why but I found myself smiling at the short message Harry had left me. It was almost cute the way he tried to make it sound as if he didn’t care though it was pretty obvious hey did but unfortunately he was Harry Styles and ‘cute’ was not a word anyone would ever associate with him. I did however get that strange feeling of butterflies erupting in my stomach along with a strange tug of a small liking to the asshole. These feelings were ones I was rather unaccustomed to and as much as I hated to admit it I knew I felt a small liking towards him.

It was my curiosity’s fault that I felt this way because Harry was a mysterious guy and I was the type of girl that took great pleasure in digging up the truth. My curious nature was one of my major faults whilst also being one of my greatest successes. Once I’m hooked, I keep hunting until I discover the truth but the truth comes with a price.

I grabbed an apple before heading back up to my room where I flopped back against the headboard. My phone was retrieved for the second time today but this time I intended to message Harry. I fumbled with the object for a moment, attempting to unlock it left handed whilst I took a bite out of the apple using my right. The task appeared to be harder than I had first thought as my thumb kept hitting the wrong number and I had to start again.

Eventually I managed to unlock my phone, releasing a small cry of success as the lock screen disappeared and the message screen popped up. It’s kind of sad how I get excited by small unimportant things such as unlocking my phone with my left hand but I can’t help it, small achievements are still a success! Smiling proudly to myself I opened a new message and began the even harder mission of composing a message with my left thumb.

To: Harry

I got your note and I am still alive in case you were actually worried

I took another bite from my apple as I pressed send before dropping the other apple device beside me on the bed. Almost immediately after it had hit the mattress it buzzed, signaling I had just received a message.         

From: Harry

Good, because I want to take you out tonight ;) xx

~

To: Harry

I’ve already got plans

~

From; Harry

I’m offended by your excuses, I thought we were friends :,( xx

~

To: Harry

I’m not making excuses, I’m going to Amy’s

~

From: Harry

So you would want to go out with me if you didn’t have plans? Xx

~

To: Harry

I don’t know. Maybe if you weren’t such an asshole

~

From: Harry

Ouch

~

To: Harry

Tomorrow then? x

~

From: Harry

Was that an x or am I imagining things? Xx

~

To: Harry

You’re imagining things x

~

From: Harry

Whatever you say, babe. I’ll drive you to the bitchy blondes place, pick you up at four xx

 

I was about to text him back and tell him I was perfectly capable of getting there myself but I decided against it as I actually wasn’t. I had Amy’s address but I didn’t have the foggiest idea of how I was supposed to get there. I could have asked Lara as she lived just next door but I imagine Lara, Lily and Jodie will all just go straight from school to Amy’s place so there goes that idea.

I guess it wouldn’t hurt if I agreed on letting Harry to take me there, I mean I did just agree to going out with him tomorrow night. I won’t get lost if he takes me so I guess it’s alright.

To: Harry

Fine. You’re the only bitch I know ;) x

With that I dropped my phone and scrambled off the bed. I knew hanging out with Harry wasn’t the best idea but I found myself liking him more and more every time we spoke or texted. He’s a dick, I know but he doesn’t really seem to be as bad as I had first thought. I’ve got to be careful though because he sure as hell is dangerous though I don’t think he’d hurt me but being in his presence is just as bad considering what happened last night.

Harry is unpredictable and I swear he’s bipolar because one second he’s acting almost like a normal person then the next he’s back to being a full blown jerk. I’m going to have to watch my back and keep my guard up because he is still a player and a violent one at that. I had looked after myself my whole life so what made now any different.

My apple core was tossed in the bin and my sticky hands washed in the sink before I hopped in the shower deciding I might as well do something productive before Harry gets here even though that’s hours away.

 

+++

 

My nose was buried deep within a book as I waited for Harry to arrive. I tore my eyes away from the words dancing on the pages within Brisinger to briefly glance at the clock. It had just gone four meaning he would be here any minute now and that I had very little time left with Saphira, Eragon and Roran. I quickly divulged myself in the book again, determine to cram in as many words into my head as I could before Harry got here.

It was getting close to twenty past when he finally arrived but I was so lost in my book that I didn’t hear him knock the first couple of times. The third time he knocked the sound was louder and this time caught my ear. I bolted to my feet, mentally cursing the book for being so damn good that I completely zoned the real world out. Hurriedly I grabbed my overnight bag, slinging it over my shoulder before sprinting downstairs.

By now Harry was probably pissed off and assuming I was avoiding him the exact same way I had been last night. I felt a little guilty for unintentionally doing this but blame it on Christopher Paolini it’s his fault for writing Brisinger. I paused momentarily as I got to the front door, taking a deep breath in preparation for anything Harry was about to throw at me before I twisted the handle and pulled open the front door.

He stood on the doorstep, his head slightly bowed, causing his mess of chocolate coloured curls to flop in front of his face as he stared down at his phone. I was pretty sure he was searching for my name in his contacts about to call me because he was fed up waiting for the girl who he presumed hated him with a burning passion. I bit my lips nervously as he looked up at me, his eyebrows knitted together in a deep frown.

“Hey.” I spoke quietly, afraid he would snap at me.

My heart was racing a million miles per hour as he looked me up and down, his scowl only appearing to deepen. I hadn’t meant to keep him waiting or to make him think I was deliberately avoiding him but he didn’t know that because his angry expression had me tongue tied. Unable to speak I quietly waited for him to say something, anything though I would prefer it if he didn’t go angry Harry on me.

My heart was in my mouth as his glowering, green gaze finally reached my face, his angry expression softened as he took in my fearful features. I watched as he shoved his phone in the back pocket of his black jeans as I nervously shifted my weight from foot to foot, making my discomfort obvious.

When harry looked to me again, I was relieved to see his scowl had completely disappeared and in its place was a cheeky smile. I liked his smile, it was warm and friendly and made him look less like some demonic creature from a horror movie and more like a regular teenage guy. I was sure to treasure that single, genuine smile as I knew I wasn’t going to see it very often. Usually I was greeted with a frightful smirk or an angry scowl, neither of which I took pleasure in being given.

“What took you so long?” Harry asked. “I was beginning to think you were playing hide and seek with me again.”

“Reading.” I replied. “I didn’t hear you knock.”

“You must have been real caught up in that book.” He teased. “What were you reading? Fifty shades of Grey?”

I felt a warm blush creep up my neck causing a pale pink to flush across my cheeks, clearly displaying my embarrassment. This obviously amused Harry as a chuckle rumbled from deep within his chest and a satisfied grin curled at his lips. I on the other hand was less than please, my hand playfully swatting at his shoulder as he continued to laugh at me. This only seemed to make him laugh harder. I crossed my arms over my chest in embarrassed annoyance, hating how easy it was to distinguish the pink blush on my pale cheeks every time I was caused embarrassment.

“Shut up.”

I rolled my eyes at him, quietly humphing as his loud laughter continued. In the short few minutes Harry and I had been standing here I had quickly come to realise that when he wasn’t being a pure bred asshole he was teasing me and laughing at the embarrassment his immature comments evoked. I felt like an idiot standing in front of him as he practically died of laughter which I almost hoped he did. It was pretty obvious he loved making me feel awkward and uncomfortable and this was only confirmed by his boisterous laughter.

I was fighting the urge to punch him in the face or to slap him silly when he finally started to calm down. Heavy breaths were taken past his lips as his chest rose and fell quickly gradually slowing as his breathing began to even out. I was slightly offended by how much of a laughingstock I appeared to be in his eyes. I know I’m a bit of a klutz but seriously?!

“Let’s go.” I muttered, mentally adding ‘before you start laughing at me again’.

I lightly pushed past him, deliberately bumping my shoulder against his as I brushed past. It was chilly outside, the cool wind raising goosebumps on my bare skin. I had regrettably forgotten to bring a sweatshirt, but I wasn’t about to go back so Harry could laugh at me some more so I trudged on, trying to hide my shivers from his ever watchful eyes.

My legs carried me across the front yard, feet trampling the green grass as I stomped towards his sleek back car, bag slung over my shoulder. I was well aware of Harry’s presence only a couple of steps behind me and I was almost certain he had a smug look written all over is face as his green eyes absorbed every inch of my body from behind. He really knew how to make a girl uncomfortable and this wasn’t going to help him get on my good side any time soon.

“So, do I get one of those kisses you texted me.” Harry spoke coyly from beside me where his head of curls had magically appeared.

I turned to look at him, narrowing my eyes as I set him with a cold, hard glare. I watched in dismay as his plump, pink lips curled up at the corners as the formed a smirk. I wasn’t putting my lips anywhere near Harry’s anytime soon, well at least not by choice. He quite enjoyed stealing kisses that he didn’t deserve and catching me off guard when I was least expecting those soft lips to come anywhere remotely close to mine. I don’t understand why he even decided I would be a fun victim to target because quite honestly I’m not.

If I were him I probably would have given up on me by now because I already know I’m stubborn, snarky and danger prone. I’m not even that likeable! I’m not beautiful or sexy. I am literally a narrow hipped tree who can do very little about her weight as my body refuses to gain any! I know almost every girl thinks being stick thin is beautiful and the perfect size but quite honestly I wish I had curves. There’s no such thing is perfection but so many people make stereotypical judgments and try to define perfection when in reality it doesn’t exist and ends up making millions of people feel awful about themselves.

“Dream on, Styles.” I laughed.

Harry just shook his head, tousling his curls a little before brushing them to the side, very unoffended by my comment. I was pretty sure he didn’t have feelings because he never seemed to be hurt by my harsher comments, not even a little bit. I’ve said some pretty nasty shit to his face which he doesn’t give a damn about when it should make him hate me but only appears to amuse him. Or maybe his skull is so thick that nothing really settles in, hence the reason he is still here.

I pushed all thoughts to the back of my mind as I clambered in the passenger seat of Harry’s car and tossed my bag into the back seat. Twisting my body back around to face forward, I sat down, leaning out of the car slightly so I could catch hold of the handle. In one swift movement the door was pulled shut, a satisfying thump sounding which confirmed the door had been closed.

I sighed to myself as I pushed a couple of strands of dark hair from my face, brushing them back behind my ear. A moment later I was joined inside the close confines of the car, Harry’s body stooping slightly as he ducked inside. A gust of wind slipped in with him, chilling my bones and causing a shiver to run down my spine. This small motion didn’t go unnoticed by Harry however. A small crease formed on his forehead as he frowned at me, watching for a moment as I rubbed my hands over my goosebump ridden arms in an attempt to warm myself.

“You’re cold.” Harry stated the obvious.

I opened my mouth to say I was fine, but before I could object, Harry was already tugging his hoodie up over his head. I quietly watched as the black material fell away from his body, only to reveal more black, though this time it was his simple black t-shirt. I felt my heart beat quicken a tiny bit as the comfy looking fabric was offered to me. Holy shit! Is Harry Styles actually doing something nice?!

I blinked up at him in confusion, unsure of where the random act of kindness had come from or if it were actually real. Harry’s emerald gaze met with mine and for the first time since we met I could actually see some form of kindness in those usually harsh, unforgiving green eyes. Behind those twinkling orbs was something more, something undiscovered and hidden from the world. Harry possessed a dark secret and though I didn’t know what I was I became fascinated with the whole aspect of him. He was a dark, deadly, dangerous man who obtained something more.

“Here, take it.” Harry thrust it closer to me.

I bit my lip nervously as I took hold of the warm fabric, watching as Harry’s grip on it loosened and it was left delicately in the palms of my hands.

“Thank-you.” I quietly spoke my gratitude.

Carefully I slipped the hoodie on, allowing it to cascade around my body, enveloping me in warmth. It was too big for me and I knew if I were to stand up that it would and awkwardly off my shoulders. I didn’t mind though because it felt almost as if I was receiving a warm cuddle and as I deeply inhaled I realised it smelt like him and I liked that.

“So...” Harry broke the thick layer of silence that had gradually built up between us as I snuggled down into his warm clothing. “Where does Blondie live?”

 

+++

 

The trip to Amy’s house hadn’t been half as bad as I had expected it to be. Much to my surprise, Harry had shown very few signs of being his normal jerk self and I only called him an asshole a couple of times which I thought was quite impressive considering it was a twenty minute drive. Usually I called him an asshole about ten times in thirty seconds so there was somewhat of an improvement in his attitude.

Despite the better mood he appeared to be in today I still felt nervous around him. I was afraid this might just be some bullshit façade that he had put on to trick me into thinking he was actually a decent guy. If that was his aim I wasn’t about to be fooled into believing him because it was already obvious that he was not a decent guy. The fact he had practically kidnapped me yesterday, kissed me against my will, thinks he can control me, sleeps around and does god knows what else I think it’s safe to say Harry is not an entirely good person.

However, when he stopped Adam yesterday I realised that there was a small part of him that was good, even if it was smaller than an atom. When I spoke to Tori yesterday she also helped me come to terms with that as Harry had done the exact same thing for her as he had done for me. I don’t think I would have been convinced that there was even the tiniest sliver of good in him if Tori hadn’t of told me that, I probably would of thought he was simply marking me as his and that meant no one was allowed to touch me, including the vile creature Adam was.

I fumbled nervously with my fingers as the car gradually rolled to a stop in front of a small, two story house with a huge front yard. My chest tightened a little with nerves as I continued to gaze at the house that I figured was Amy’s but my anxiousness wasn’t towards the looming house but towards the curly haired male sitting in the driver’s seat. I wasn’t quite sure how to thank him for offering to drive me here even though he didn’t ask but more so commanded. Either way I didn’t really care because he had actually been alright today minus the laughing fit he had almost died from. I was still unsure of the way I felt towards him, it was somewhere between liking him and hating him but where exactly I wasn’t so sure of.

“Do you need me to give you a ride home tomorrow?” Harry broke the uncomfortable silence that had gradually been building awkward tension between us.

My lower lip was caught between my teeth as I nervously gnawed at it. With some reluctance I finally turned towards him before shaking my head. I didn’t want to be a pain in the backside and make him drive half an hour to get from his place to here again. It would be much easier if I asked Lara to give me a lift home as we lived on the same street. Harry didn’t need to put himself out for me, I don’t understand why he would even bother. All we seem to do is piss each other off.

“I can just get a lift home with Lara.” I replied. “She lives on my street.”

“Okay, but if you’re trying to avoid me again I think you should know I’m still coming over tomorrow night and I’m taking you out.”

I cracked a grin.

“I know. You’ll probably break my door down if I disagree.”

Harry let out a chuckle, nodding his head in agreement. There was no doubt in my mind that he would do exactly that if I decided I didn’t want to be anywhere near him. He was ruthless and would do everything in his power to get his own way and that was probably what hated about him the most. He thought he could control me and everyone else around him and when someone stood up to him he got pissed off. No wonder everyone dislikes him so much.

I’ve already witnessed people back down in his presence, afraid that if they make one wrong move that he’ll rip their throat out. There is a dark, menacing aura that seems to linger around him and it doesn’t really surprise me when I see fear in the eyes of innocent people standing around him. Harry feeds off the fear he causes and he uses that fear to his advantage, gaining power over other by evoking fear in them. He thinks he can push people around and before I showed up that was all he ever did and no one stood up to him because they were too afraid. Since I’ve been here I’ve done everything I can not to let him see my fear and to rebel against him but that can be difficult because of how forceful and ruthless he is. I don’t plan on letting him win me over just so he can put me beneath him and obtain complete power over me. I am not mentally weak but he does frighten me…

And that’s what makes me strong.

“You got that right.” Harry chuckled. “I’ll pick you up at eight.”

I nodded my head in agreement before unbuckling my seat belt and reaching over into the back seat to grab my bag. My fingers caught hold of the strap, tightly wrapping around the thick material as I yanked the Country Road branded bag between the two seats. This proved to be somewhat of a struggle for me as I managed to get the stupid thing wedged between the gap between the front seats. I felt my cheeks warm with embracement as I realised I was probably going to get laughed at once again. I was such a klutz a times, and the degree of idiocy varied from dropping my keys to tripping up stairs. Up Stairs?! I mean who does that? Generally people slip down them.

I almost released a sigh of relief as Harry’s large hands wrapped around either side of the bag. With one rough pull the bag came free and was suddenly resting in my lap. I couldn’t help but be a little surprised as I realised that for the first time Harry hadn’t laughed at my clumsiness but instead he had helped me. Kind was not a word I would use to describe Harry but today he had shown a certain degree of that trait in which I had never expected him to show, like ever. He didn’t come off as a friendly person so that sort of completely ruled out all the nice traits when I had first met him but today he had surprised me and I couldn’t help but feel very much caught off guard.

I wasn’t sure how to respond to this kind of thing coming from Harry. Usually he was a controlling prick so would simply snap and snarl at him with whatever witty comeback that sprung to mind. I wasn’t exactly a people person myself, I was a closed book who revealed her pages to no one and that was generally something that warded people off. I wasn’t always like this though but traumatic events change people and I was twisted from the bright, energetic girl I used to be and into a girl who hid herself away and closed herself off. No one really knows what goes on inside my head.

Avoiding Harry’s gaze I turned towards the door, pushing it open before scrambling out trying to hold onto whatever dignity I had left. I almost decided to just walk straight up to Amy’s place without saying goodbye or even thanking Harry for the lift but I changed my mind and thought against the idea. Abruptly I dropped my bag, turning back towards the car before ducking my head to crawl back in. My hands pressed against the leather seating as leverage whilst I leant in and that was when I did something completely unexpected.

One of my hands shifted from the centre of the seat over to the edge closest to Harry, fingers curling around the corner as the movement brought me further forward. I could feel my heart pounding against my ribs and hear my pulse drumming frantically in my ear, so loud I was almost certain the erratic beating could be heard from a mile away. My eyes fluttered closed as I gently pressed my lips to the soft expanse of his cheek as a gesture of gratitude. The quick peck only lasted a second but it felt like time had slowed making the motion seem to take a billion times longer.

Slowly I moved back, absorbing the look of surprise on Harry’s face. His lips were slightly parted, emerald green eyes twinkling with both confusion and surprise. I quietly praised myself for catching him off guard despite feeling my cheeks heat with embarrassment.

 “There’s your kiss.”

A wide grin spread across Harry’s face as he caught onto what I was referring to, his look of surprise disappearing as his eyelid dropped in a cheeky wink. Without further ado I promptly stepped back escaping the close confines of his car and stepping out into the open, mumbling a soft goodbye before closing the door and recollecting both my bag and myself.

As I journeyed towards the front door, the hairs on the back of my neck prickled, indicating Harry was watching my every move. I tried to ignore the uncomfortable feeling of his green gaze on my back as I raised my hand to knock on the solid front door. As I waited for someone to answer it I stole a quick glance back at the sleek black car to see Harry was still watching, making sure I got inside okay. I turned back when the door creaked open, revealing an ecstatic Amy. At the same moment I heard an engine start but when I glanced back Harry was gone.

 “Hey.” I grinned, turning back towards Amy again.

“Who was that missy?” She asked teasingly, raising an eyebrow in question. “And whose sweatshirt are you wearing.”

I looked down at the black sweatshirt in which practically consumed my body as I felt my cheeks warm with embarrassment as I realised I’d forgotten to return his sweatshirt before I left. Any stupid lie about who was in the car would probably pass marginally but I was almost certain she would sniff out my bullshit if I attempted to make some excuse up about wearing Harry’s sweatshirt. God damn it! Why didn’t I give it back? The sweatshirt was a dead giveaway, there was no denying that I had been with Harry as he was the only male who I hung around, unwillingly might I add. Amy wasn’t stupid, she knew this and there was no point in making something up because I had already been caught red handed or black sweatshirted.

I bit down on my lower lip worriedly, I knew the four girls I’d befriended hated Harry, Jodie especially and I wasn’t sure how they would react. They had warned me about him and told me to stay well clear of him which I had tried to do. However, it was difficult to evade the demon once you were being hunted. I don’t really know why I had willingly let him drive me here today but something ha compelled me and there was no going back now because what’s done has been done.

“The answer to both your question is Harry.” I answered honestly.

I received a quizzical look from the curious blonde, one of which I presumed meant she wanted me to continue and answer he silently sked question. Unfortunately I had already figured the moment I stepped inside with the other three girls I was going to receive a million questions all thrown in my face at once. Rather than explaining to just Amy I decided I’d wait until I got inside so I would only have to spill the beans once.

“So you were with Harry all day?” Amy asked suspiciously as she stepped to the side, granting me access into her humble abode.

“No.” I shook my head

“Oh my god!” She suddenly exclaimed. “He’s what happened last night! You two totally fucked!”

I felt my cheeks burn a bright tomato shade of red as Amy clamped her hand over her mouth glancing left and right as if checking her parents weren’t anyone to scold her for having such a foul tongue. It was kind of amusing how she looked like such an innocent girl yet when she opened her mouth a hell of a lot of crap came out. She was crazy! The good type of crazy.

I covered my face with my hands in embarrassment, wishing I could disappear and avoid any further teasing or false accusations which could heat my pale cheeks with a burning flare of red. I can’t believe Amy would think I was naive enough to sleep with Harry! I’m a virgin for goodness sake, I’m not going to give myself to anyone anytime soon, especially not someone I’ve known for such a short time and goes by the name Harry. I may be clumsy and act before I think but I am not dumb enough to be sucked in by Harry’s good looks.

“Hell no! Are you crazy!?” I yelped in horror. “I haven’t ever had a proper boyfriend!”

Removing her hand from her mouth slowly, Amy let out a sigh of relief. The small sound made me relax a little as I realised she wasn’t accusing me but she had just jumped to conclusions. I was glad I didn’t look like I was easy because I sure as hell didn’t want to come off that way.

“Thank god! I totally freaked.” She breathes out. “You gotta tell us what happened though because Lily has been muttering ‘rape’ under her breath all day and we’ve been so worried.”

I nodded my head in agreement, slightly freaked out by just how close Lily’s guess was as to what happened last night.

I followed Amy up a flight of stairs, lugging my bag along with me as we ascended. Her blonde hair bobbed lightly with every step she took, her happy, care free attitude clearly displayed by the fact she had a bounce in her step. I envied her, she was a happy-go-lucky girl, one of which I used to be before everything changed. She didn’t seem to have any problems or issues she had to deal with and even if she did, she didn’t seem to care and I hated the fact I’d lost that way of life. I couldn’t hate her for it though, she was much too nice for anyone to hate.

My vans padded quietly along the floor as she led me along a narrow corridor lined with a number of pictures strung from the wall. I took a quick glance at one of the pictures, noticing a group of five. A male and two females. One of them was Amy and I figured that the younger of the two remaining women must have been Amy’s older sister. They looked almost identical, though her sister appeared to be a little taller and her eyes seemed older. Beside Amy’s sister stood a tall male who I could only guess was there brother, he was the odd one out, dark, short cropped hair adorned his head, much the opposite to his two platinum blonde sisters though it was obvious they were related because they all had that warm glow to their eyes and matching grins.

“I didn’t know you had any siblings.” I spoke.

Amy faltered in her tracks, turning back towards me with a wide grin on her face. It was obvious she loved her older siblings and I found myself wishing I had a brother or a girly sister so my mum would get off my back and go fuss over her and let me be. If I had a sibling then maybe I wouldn’t be so lonely here and maybe an older brother would have been able to kick Harry’s ass before my cursed curiosity could’ve set in. But unfortunately that was impossible as I was the first born child and my mother was single and hell do I hope it stays that way,

“Joey and Kim.” She announced their names. “Joeys in the army if you hadn’t already guessed after seeing that ugly buzz cut and Kimberly is at Uni. Both the assholes left me here with the mum and dad.”

I let out a chuckle, amused by the sisterly affection she had for her brother and sister and found myself wishing even more that I had one. It would be way cooler than being a boring only child whose mum works all the time leaving the already lonely kid on her on making the loneliness even lonelier. Wow, I referred to lonely a lot.

“Come on you, hurry your ass up.”

Amy grabbed me by the wrist, practically dragging me the rest of the way down the hall. A series of voices could be heard as we moved further and with every step they only seemed to grow louder. At the end of the hall we took an abrupt left turn and I found myself standing in the middle of Amy’s bedroom in the presence of the rest of the gang.

“Holy shit, she’s alive!” Lily exclaims, leaping up of the purple beanbag she had been sitting on in mock surprise.

Across the room, Jodie was sprawled out across Amy’s queen sized bed, rolling her eyes at Lily. I was almost tackled by the overjoyed girl as she practically threw herself at me, knocking me back slightly and almost causing me to trip over Lara who was lying quite contently on the floor. This action earned Lily another roll of the eyes from Jodie. I awkwardly patted her on the back as she nuzzled her face in the crook of my neck. I glanced at Jodie from across the room her proceeded in crossing her eyes and lifting her index finger, letting it hover beside her ear as it was moved in a circular motion.

I let out a small laugh, disguised as a cough when Lily glanced between the pair of us in confusion, oblivious to our silent exchange. A moment later I was released from Lily’s bear hug and giving the freedom of movement once again.

“Excuse Lily’s crazy, she forgot to take her loopy pills at lunch.” Jodie teased before receiving a punch to the shoulder.

“Shut up.”

A chorus of laughter burst throughout the room creating a friendly atmosphere. Lara was writhing on the ground, clutching her stomach in pure amusement as Jodie and Lily playfully wrestled on the bed. The two girls were a tangle of arms and legs, all sticking out at awkward angles as there play fighting continued.

My chest rose and fell at a rapid pace, breath tumbling from my lips in uncontrollable chuckles before I gasped for more oxygen before the cycle was repeated all over again, breathing becoming more and more difficult with every passing moment. My legs gave way beneath me as I slumped down against a wall beside a grinning poster of Ed Sheeran stuck to the wall.

Eventually our laughter died down as Lily and Jodie’s small wrestling session ceased. Lily sat up on the end of the bed, patting her messed up hair down and straightening out her skewwhiff shirt. Jodie on the other hand didn’t appear to be bothered by her disheveled look and resumed her previous position, sprawled out lazily across the surface of Amy’s rather comfy looking bed.

“So what happened last night?” Amy eagerly asked, almost desperate to know what event had occurred in which had prevented me from attending school today.

“You better tell us before Lily goes caveman again and attacks you.” Lara joked.

Lara received a glare from Lily, followed by a cushion to the face which was tossed across the room very accurately must I say. I bit down on my lips nervously as I tucked a strand of loose hair back behind my ear. My knees were brought up to my chest, arms wrapping around them in an attempt to comfort myself as four pairs of eyes intensely stared at me. The way they were all looking at me made me feel as though I had done something bad although I knew I hadn’t because I was merely the victim but there was something so intimidating about being put on the spot and forced to spill your guts out.

Putting on a brave face I opened my mouth and began to explain everything that had happened to me over the last twenty-four hours, surrendering every little detail.

A thick tension lingered in the room once I was quiet. The atmosphere had shifted considerably from when I first arrived to once I had finished explaining what happened last night. The expressions on the faces of my four friends were all ones of shock apart from Jodie’s who was set in a deep scowl and looked as though she was just about ready to slaughter the entire male population. Out of the four girls it was her reaction that worried me most because she appeared to be the most mature of the group and she hated anyone remotely similar to Harry and Adam with a burning passion.

There was silence between us for some time, the only sound audible was our heavy breathing. The air was thick and heavy and I found myself struggling a little to breath. My chest felt as though it were carrying a huge weight as I weighted uncomfortably for one of them, any of them to respond. Their silence frightened me as I knew Harry was clearly disliked throughout the entire group and I had spoken of him possibly being not as bad as we had first thought. I was afraid they might reject me from the group, push me out just because I had seen there was something more to Harry than the harsh, unforgiving exterior displayed though then again I could be wrong.

“Shit, someone needs to get you a bodyguard.”

I was surprised when Jodie broke the silence, her comment somewhat lightening the mood. I hadn’t expected her to be the first to speak or to crack a subtle joke to release some of the pent up tension in the atmosphere. I had almost expected her to snap at me for getting myself into the number of situations I had with Harry or to threaten to rip out both his and Adam’s throat. I was slightly stunned by her reaction, my eyes widening in shock and my mouth falling open a little as I gaped at her before quickly recovering a second later.

“I just can’t believe Harry was going to sleep on the couch.” Lily spoke quietly.

“I think he likes you.” Amy cooed.

Tori had said the exact same thing to me the other night though I had refused to believe it but now that I’d heard it from a second person, a person who despised Harry I was beginning to think twice. Considering they’d lived here much longer than me and knew what Harry did and how he acted around girls that maybe with me he was different and that was both petrifying and exhilarating because I still wasn’t sure what to think of him.

“Maybe.” I reply in little more than a whisper. “He was really weird last night and this afternoon, like borderline nice.”

There was another moment of silence between us but this time it was a thoughtful silence. We all seemed to be thinking the same thing, eyes darting between each other as if reading the others mind was as simple as breathing.

“Maybe the badboy’s finally letting down his guard.” Lara spoke for the first time, speaking the exact same thought in which had been playing on each of our minds.

 

+++

 

“Movie time!” Amy shrieked, doing a weird little chicken dance crossed with the hula.

In the past couple of hours we’d eaten dinner kindly prepared by Amy’s mother and finished conversing about my eventful last night. I was glad to have the subject finally switched from me and Harry, I didn’t enjoy being the centre of attention, never have and never will. This is meant to be a fun girl’s night where I can forget about Adam and Harry and the damn date I agreed to tomorrow night. I just want to have fun with my new found friends whilst I have the chance.

We’d all agreed on watching ‘Skyfall’ as Jodie felt like punching Adam square in the face and I really wasn’t in the mood for a chick flick or a horror as I was already petrified enough in real life. The latest 007 movie had been selected by Lily after we had decided that Lara was James bond and Lara Crofts love child hence her name ‘Lara Bond’. We had suggested she was secretly adopted and though she did laugh long with us I think we may have freaked her out a little. As the opening music began to play Amy collapsed down on the couch beside me loudly announcing that Daniel Craig was hot for an old guy.

We were about halfway through the movie when I felt my phone vibrate in my back pocket signaling I had just gotten a message. Awkwardly I wriggled around, struggling to retrieve the object whilst sharing the couch with Amy who was practically lying on top of me. With some difficulty I managed to yank it out, quickly unlocking my ever annoying iPhone and glancing over the message.

From: Harry

Wanna play twenty questions? xx

~

To: Harry

Uh… okay x

~

From: Harry

What’s your middle name? xx

Harry and I didn't really know a lot about each other but I hadn’t really expected him to ask me a question like this, not now and not ever. I was slightly stunned by his interest in little details like my middle name yet I found it sort of cute that he was wondering. I glanced up quickly, hoping none of the girls would mind if I was texting during the movie only to discover both Jodie and Lily had their eyes fixated on their mobile devices. Yeah, I don’t really think anyone’s gonna care.

To: Harry

Belle. What’s yours? x

~

From: Harry

Edward. Not as pretty as yours ;) xx

~

To: Harry

Flirt. When were you born?

~

From: Harry

1st of Feb 1994. You? Oh and I do try ;) xxxxx

~

To: Harry

Mines the 4th of August :P x

~

From: Harry

What’s your favourite colour? xx

The next half hour or so was spent with the back and forth, back and forth routine where we asked and answered each other’s questions. It was sort of interesting finding out about the little things that no one would really ask him or anyone would know. Like his favourite food sweet corn and he had an obsession with chocolate ice-cream, his favourite colour was green and “like your pretty eyes” was added to the end of the message. With every message that was exchanged I began to feel less hatred towards him and began to think that maybe the badboy was letting down his guard.

From: Harry

What kind of underwear have you got on? ;) Xx

For what felt like the billionth time today my cheeks warmed with embarrassment as my eyes skimmed over the latest message Harry had sent. Under no circumstance was I replying to that, I don’t even think I would reply to a question like that if I were married. It was only when my phone had vanished from my hands that I realised Amy had been peeking at my conversation with Harry the entire time and now she was off running with it tightly clasped in her dainty little fingers. A delayed yelp escaped my lips as I scrabbled to my feet, stumbling slightly as I chased after her. She cannot see that message!

Amy weaved in and out of various rooms with great expertise, her long hair swishing as her bright laugh rang out loudly through the entire house. I was hot on her heels, urgently chasing after her in hopes to catch her before she could reply to the inappropriate message in which Harry had sent. My heart thudded wildly against my chest, eyes widening in horror as Amy practically shoved Lara back into the bathroom that of which she had been exiting and slammed the door shut behind them.

My body slammed against the wooden barrier which stood between me and my phone, the impact knocking the breath from my chest. The sound of the lock clicking into place reached my ears as I desperately rattled the handle, soon discovering that I was a fraction of a second too late. Girly giggles could be heard from inside the bathroom as Amy undoubtedly showed Lara the message Harry had sent. I internally groaned as my hand slapped against the wooden surface of the door pleadingly.

“Please don’t text him back!” I called hopefully only to realised they were going to do much the opposite.

I only received more giggles in response.

For the past ten minutes all that I had heard from within the bathroom was hushed whispers and girly giggles. I had given up trying to convince them not to send anything but I already knew they had. I leant my head back against the wall staring up at the ceiling as I anxiously sat outside the bathroom door. After what felt like a lifetime the two giggly girls emerged from the confines of the bathroom, both wearing cheeky grins.

I used my hands as leverage as I pushed myself up off the floor before brushing myself off. An eyebrow was lifted in their direction as I folded my arms across my chest, waiting for one of them to give my phone back. Amy and Lara glanced at each other, giggling once more before Amy extended her arm, innocently dangling my iPhone between her thumb and forefinger as if she hadn’t done anything she shouldn’t have.

I stuck my tongue out before swiping the electronic device from her hand before the three of us scurried back into the lounge where the end credits were rolling. Lily and Jodie were still sprawled out on the couch texting two anonymous people though I wouldn’t be too surprised if they were actually texting each other. I slumped back down on the couch I had previously been sitting on, swiping my thumb across the screen and unlocking my phone. A gasp escaped my lips as I skimmed over the conversation from where it had been left off before my phone was stolen.

From: Harry

What kind of underwear have you got on? ;) Xx

~

To: Harry

Black lace ;) xxxxx

~

From: Harry

Fuck! Send me a pick, babe xxxxxxxxx

~

To: Harry

Can't right now. I'm with friends. Maybe later ;) xxxxx

~

From: Harry:

Aww :(

~

From: Harry

Wait, is this even Natalie?

“Oh my god! I can’t believe you guys.” I gasped in horror though I was slightly relived that he had worked out I wasn’t actually the one messaging him.

Lara and Amy were back to giggling again which seemed to have caught Jodie’s attention as she tore her eyes from the phone to glance between the three of us. She seemed to put two and two together seeing my pout as I peered down at the screen of my phone and their amused reactions which led me to the conclusion that this wasn’t a first time kind of thing. I watched as Jodie’s eyes lingered on me a moment, her head, subtly flicking in the Lara’s direction as if trying to send me some form of silent message telepathically transmitted.

Twisting my head towards the bright blue eyed, dark haired girl I tried to pinpoint the message Jodie was trying to portray. My eyebrows knitted together as my forehead furrowed into a frown. Nothing about Lara leapt out at me, I couldn’t see anything that was worth me using to my advantage and this only left me confused and quizzical. I looked back to Jodie again, shrugging my shoulders a little. This time she lifted her phone, giving it a little wiggle in mid-air before flicking her eyes back over in Lara’s direction and it was this time I understood.

I got to my feet, stuffing my own phone back into my pocket before I began my journey across the room in the direction Lara’s was seated in. I could barely contain the smirk desperately trying to break free as I grew nearer. To anyone else in the room it would initially look like I was just getting up to go to the bathroom all of them completely oblivious as to what I was going to do except Jodie. I forced myself not to look at her as I moved, knowing all too well that I would probably fall on the floor in a fit of laughter and that would just make everyone else suspicious. Instead I kept my eyes set upon the doorframe, making it look as though I was making a beeline for the exit. However, I was not.

As I passed the couch my fingers slid over the leather arm, subtly scooping up Lara’s mobile device lying unprotected on the black leather. Once the phone was safely in my grasp, I made a break for it, Jodie hot on my heels and Lara’s exclamation of surprise echoing after the pair of us. Together we slipped into the bathroom like the immature teenagers we were and locked the door preventing Lara from getting her phone back in the same way as she had done to me.

“We’re texting Zayn!!!” Jodie called loudly which was followed by Lara’s squeals of horror.

“Revenge is sweet.” I giggled.

 

+++

 

For the next hour Jodie and I sat side by side on the edge of the bath, our necks craning downwards as we peered down at Lara’s phone. For the past hour we’d been texting a guy name Zayn who according to Jodie was “The Love of Lara’s life.” Apparently she’s had a crush on him since she was fourteen but they’d been friends since pre-school. Judging on Jodie’s description of him I think I met him last night. I’m pretty sure he was the pretty guy with high gorgeous cheeks bones, tanned skin and that perfect quiff atop of his head. Honestly, I didn’t blame her for liking him, he was attractive and he seemed nice enough.

It was soon discovered that Zayn had feelings for Lara and ended up asking her out. So basically our whole payback idea backfired on us. When we handed her phone back she was basically bursting with ecstasy. It was obvious they both really liked each other judging on the texts exchanged between them and it only took two of Lara’s idiot friends to say she liked him. So the outcome of our potential payback turned into the beginning of what could be a beautiful relationship. In fact Lara was so ecstatic that Lily was just about ready to give her CPR when she started hyperventilating.

After an interesting night we had all finally settled down in the lounge, sprawled out on top of either a couch or an inflatable mattress. I snuggled down in my blankets beside Amy as we lay side by side on the airbed we were currently sharing. Lara and Jodie were positioned slightly higher up on a sofa each whilst Lily Lay on a second airbed placed parallel to ours. Tonight had been a pretty good night and I really liked hanging out with these girls. The whole situation here with them was a vast contrast to what it had been like in Doncaster where virtually all my friends were male with the exception of two girls, two! It was kind of nice to have a change. Different but nice.

“What a night.” Amy sighed in content as if she’d been thinking my mind. “We found out who Lara’s “real” parents are, Harry thinks Natalie wants him to take her to bed, Zayn asked Lara out and Lily, Jodie and I are still single.”

“Actually, I have a confession to make.” Jodie spoke quietly.

All heads turned in her direction, waiting with great anticipation to hear this so called confession. Even in the dim light I could just make out her nervous expression. She looked almost afraid to reveal this unknown truth. I knew how it felt to be suddenly put on the spot, almost expecting Amy to blurt out something stupid like “Oh my god, your pregnant!” However, this time Amy was quiet and I wasn’t sure if that was because she was all worn out or if she too were afraid of what her best friend might have to confess.

“You know how I’ve been acting a little off lately and haven’t been hanging out as much with you guys as I used to.”

A series of nods of agreement were given from the three girls around me, this situation suddenly making me feel very out of place. I had known these girls for a very short amount of time whereas they’d known each other for years and as they discussed Jodie’s strange behavior I felt very lost as I knew nothing about it.  I was almost tempted to leave as I knew this conversation was on really between Jodie, Lara, Lily and Amy but I thought against it as I would probably only make my discomfort three times as bad.

The feeling of being left out was something I hated about being the new girl. I know they aren’t doing it on purpose but the fact I’ve never been here in my life and know virtually nobody here puts me in a very clueless situation and I really hate it. I mean it’s bad enough having to find my way around this new area but then there’s the added socially lost aspect of things which makes things even worse. I despise the unknown and that is why I never wanted to move and I still wish we hadn’t.

“Well...” Jodie continued as everyone sat in anticipation. “I’m not single and I haven’t been for a while.”

There was a moment of silence as everyone processed this knew information, probably trying to figure out who Jodie was “not single” with. Me on the other hand, I was just waiting for her to blurt out some random name that I would have absolutely no clue as to who it belonged to because I was the New girl who knew nothing.

“I’ve been going out with Connor Jackson for two months now.”

“Connor Jackson!?” The girls exclaimed in unison.

“Who’s Connor Jackson?” I asked in confusion, feeling totally left out of the whole conversation.

I watched as Lara clamped a hand over Amy’s mouth as she opened it to speak, clearly already making the prediction that a mouthful of crazy was going to gush out. I think it’s funny how they can all sense when Amy’s going to say something silly, she’s so excitable, sort of like a little puppy when they meet someone knew. I think she secretly loves being crazy and out there, not many people have the guts to do that but those kind of people just make everyone smile because their just so unpredictable and damn fun to be around.

“He’s nineteen, left school last year.” Lara spoke, stile preventing Amy from speaking. “He’s not the kind of guy you would go up to by will because he’s a little bit intimidating. Tall, blonde and he’s got a lip ring an eyebrow piercing, used to freak me out.”

I nodded my head, pretending that her description totally helped me out even though I was still pretty clueless.

“He’s actually really nice. He walked me home when you guys left me stranded at that bloody party last term.” Jodie says in her defense. “I was totally wasted and he could have easily taken advantage of me.”

“He seems decent enough.” I shrugged.

“Yeah. I was thinking maybe under that layer of terror Harry might be decent too.”

Not long after we’d finished talking Lily and Lara dropped off, quiet snores tumbling from their lips as they lay in unconsciousness. Jodie was still awake, her phone light illuminating her face as she texted Connor presumably at two in the morning. Her eyelids drooped considerably as she battled desperately to stay awake however she soon joined the other two, phone slipping from her hand as she went out like a light.

That left only Amy and I awake, quietly discussing what it had been like for me living in Doncaster. For once she was quiet, scrolling through the multiple pictures on my phone occasionally whispering something along the lines of “whoa this guy is hot” or “can I steal your horses”. She was rather intrigued by both the guys and the animals that of which were the majority of my pictures along with some really unattractive selfies with Jai and Mitchell.

As Amy flicked through numerous photos, she hesitated on one that gave me that gut-wrenching feeling of sadness. The photo had been taken last year at the top of a waterfall my dad had found when he first purchased the farm land. Jai and Mitchell stood on either side of me, both my arms slung over a shouled of each of them. Both boys were shirtless whilst I stood in a floral bikini, all three of us grinning widely at the camera. As usual both boys looked flawless, whilst I stood between them looking like the mess I always was.

Jai stood on my left, water droplets dripping down his toned chest after just leaping down into pool of water below before sprinting back up just in time to make the photo. His dark brown hair was swept to the side, slightly plastered to his forehead whilst one of his muscular arms snaked round my waist. His warm brown eyes stared into the camera, smiling brightly as he flashed his pearly whites. Jai was my best friend, we had been born two months apart and had been friends since birth just as our fathers had been. Jai was always there for me as I was for him and after the accident he was almost like my life support helping me get through. Leaving my lifelong friend was one of the hardest parts of moving here and I missed Jai desperately.

My eyes shifted from Jai to the other boy in the photo, the one standing on my right, Mitchell. Mitchell wasn't quite as toned as Jai considering he hated the gym whereas Jai loved it. Generally he would go running with me which always ended up as a game of tag but I still guessed it counted as working out. He was just as handsome as Jai, his dark hair in a mess as usual as hairbrush unfortunately was not in his dictionary. His green eyes always had a cheeky look about them, his devilish grin one to match his eyes in this photo as he continuously poked me in the side as his arm wrapped round my tiny waist. Jai and I met Mitchell on our first day at school when the cheeky bastard crept up behind me and decided to empty his drink bottle over my head. However, I don’t think he expected me to do the same thing in return. We instantly became friends.

“Fuck your skinny.” She swore. “You have got to introduce me to these two beautiful creatures.

I smiled weakly at her as I rested my head back against the pillows, the effects of exhaustion beginning to take a toll. I was just beginning to doze off when a shriek escaped Amy’ lips causing me to bolt upright in shock.

“I thought you said you’d never had a boyfriend!” She giggled as she practically shoved the phone screen in my face.

Warmth flooded through my cheeks as I absorbed the image before me. It was an image of Mitch and I in a lip lock on the grass, poor awkward third wheel Jai’s photography. I internally groaned, wishing that image didn’t exist.

“I said I never had a proper boyfriend.” I groaned. “We went out for like a week but it got kind of weird because it felt more like I was kissing my brother and Jai was that awkward third wheel. We decided to stick to being friends.”

And with that very brief explanation, I fell asleep.

 

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