“Harry, I can’t do this. This is so stupid.” I threw a picture down onto the floor of the studio and kicked my foot, scattering some of the other delicately placed pictures around the floor. I turned to Harry and placed my hands on my hips exasperatedly, watching him and waiting for him to encourage me once more as he sat at the computer and printed out pictures for me. He clicked the mouse a few times more and then reclined in the chair with his hands behind his head. He rubbed the back of his neck and scratched under one of his armpits.
What. A. Babe.
“Seriously, we’ve been trying to figure out this freakin’ portfolio all damn day and we’re not getting anywhere. Maybe this is a sign that I’m just not supposed to be at Wentz.”
Harry jolted up from his chair. “Woah now, you promised-“
“I know,” I interrupted, holding up my hands in front of me defensively. “Dammit, I know I promised.” I hadn’t realized that over the past few weeks I had taken so many pictures, but what irritated me the most is that they were all shit. All day I had been looking at shitty picture after shitty picture and I was just done with being disappointed with each print. There was no way that I could turn any of this in. I was mentally thrown off from seeing my father too and all that went down in front of Therese’s. I had been trying to spend as much time as I could away from the apartment, even if I knew Therese was working at the hospital. I couldn’t stand to see her or any of her filthy friends.
Harry’s face softened as he looked at his watch. “It’s 4:30. Just take a break, Scotty. You’ve been trying to organize for hours. Just go take a walk and clear your head.” He glanced around at the piles of photos on the floor that I had just scattered all around. “I’ll clean up here and print the last few shots and then we can go get dinner. Just go take your time. Clear your head.”
I sighed and nodded. Harry kissed my forehead gently before I slipped on my Keds and stepped outside into the cool air. I crossed the street and walked toward the much taller buildings in the busy city.
I was too busy observing all of the people I passed to notice how far I really walked. I loved listening to the fast-taking, fast-walking business men who would speed past me and spit fire at some poor intern over their expensive cell phones. I loved picking out the tourists and watching them take pictures of all of the buildings and with different people. I loved watching people get flustered when they couldn’t get a taxi. I made it to Central Park before turning around. I would have taken a stroll through the park, but I realized I had never been to Central Park without Harry and didn’t want to mess up what we had going. Central Park was our place to make memories. What if he proposed to me there? I giggled when I felt my face flush at the thought. Him on his knee… all dressed up in a suit – no wait – no suit. Just jeans and a tee. Laid-back Harry was my favorite. Suits reminded me too much of the clubs. Would I even marry Harry? Were we ready for that? Was I ready for that?
The fresh air definitely cleared my head, especially as the sun went down and the night got cooler. However, I realized that I had no money and forgot my phone at the studio, and my heart leapt as I realized that the people walking past me all had their heads down and were much quieter now. I quickened my pace as I got closer to the studio, remembering that the studio was near a few different dark alleys. I tried not to look down the alleys as I scurried across the street and then sprinted through the small parking lot to the studio, slamming into the door, ripping it open, and spinning into the studio.
“Holy shit,” I laughed as my heart pounded in my chest. “Okay,” I said out loud. “We either need to invest in a light for the parking lot or maybe just a new studio with a better location…” I looked at some of the peeling paint on the wall near the door. “… and nicer walls…”
I peered down the hallway and saw that my office light was on. I walked down to the office as I heard papers rustling. “Harry?” I peered around the corner of the door and saw Zayn. He held a half-smoked blunt between two fingers and scribbled on some paper with his other hand. Liam stood behind him and grinned when he saw me.
“Hey, you.” Liam greeted me, hugging me tightly.
“Hey guys, what’s up?”
Zayn slid four slips of paper and a pen across my desk to me. “I know Anna usually takes care of our checks, but since she’s not here…”
I slapped my forehead. “Guys, I’m so sorry. I totally didn’t even think about paying you.” I leaned on the desk and scribbled my signature on Zayn, Liam, Louis, and Niall’s checks.
Liam laughed. “Not your fault, Love. It’s all good.”
Zayn hugged me too and took a drag on his blunt. “Quite the mess you’ve got going on in the studio.”
I frowned. “My pictures? Is Harry not there? He was supposed to help me clean up.” Liam and Zayn followed me to the actual studio and stood in the doorway as I observed the mess. I frowned and stepped over the pictures, more scattered and crinkled than they were when I left. “Was Harry gone when you all got here? I thought I saw the Celica outside just now.” I dug under some photos on the computer desk and searched around for my phone, but I couldn’t find it.
Zayn shook his head. “That’s my car. You know we both have black cars.”
I nodded. “Uh… okay… well do you mind giving me a lift to my apartment I guess?”
I borrowed Liam’s phone as we drove back to the apartment. The phone rang and rang, but Harry never answered. Liam and Zayn talked and laughed about different things but I kept quiet. I wanted to tell Zayn to step on it. Hurry up. I relaxed a little bit when I saw that the Celica was in the driveway, but then I got angry. What the hell was Harry doing?
“Thanks for the ride…” I said absentmindedly as I climbed out of the car. Zayn asked me a question as I ran to the garage and up the stairs but I didn’t hear him. I pushed open the door and adjusted my eyes to all of the lights in the apartment. It seemed like all of them were on.
His shoes were off by the couch and his keys were laying on the island.
“Harry?” I called a little more loudly. I heard a crash come from down the hallway. The light to my room was on but my door was closed. Officially furious at this point, I stomped down the hallway and threw open the door.
Therese and Harry were both struggling on my bed. Therese had nothing on but some lacy red underwear and was straddling Harry, whose hands were tied to my bedpost and feet were tangled up in his jeans. The lamp that usually sat beside my bed was shattered on the floor. Before taking even a second to analyze the situation further, I stomped over to the bed, grabbed Therese by her thick, black hair, and yanked her off of the bed. She fell to the floor and squealed, slapping my hands and legs, but I didn’t let go of her. I dragged her by the hair down the hallway, her bare legs screeching against the hard wood. She finally got her feet under her as we got to the front door and stood up, and twisted away from me. Her attempted punch in my direction missed because of all of the hair in her face. I slammed her sideways into the wall, not batting an eye when the *thud* that her head made against the wall echoed against each wall of the room. I opened the front door and threw her out of it, watching as she caught herself and then slumped against the railing of the stairs. She struggled to get to her feet, but when she finally did, she stood up tall – or as tall as she could get. Part of her hair was clinging to the bloody gash on her cheek. For as much as I hated her – and I mean HATED with a fiery passion – I admired her willpower. After someone slammed me in a wall like I just did to her, I probably would have stayed down.
“You are a pathetic bitch,” she spat, blood flicking off of her lips. “You are alone in this world. No one loves you. Not your father. Not your mother after you killed her. Not even Harry.”
I brought my hand around and slapped Therese across her face as hard as I could. She stumbled sideways and then fell down the steps, flipping every four steps and landing on her head, then her back, then her neck, and finally her face. I could see bruises forming on her bare back already. I waited a split second to make sure she was still alive and then stepped back into the apartment and slammed the door. I took a deep breath and looked around at the apartment, all sorts of emotions hitting me from every angle. A wave of heat took over my body as I looked at the wall where I slammed Therese’s head, where there was a curve in the wall, a small crack in the middle of it all. You should have done it harder. Should have broken the wall open with her stupid, fucking head.
Another wave of anger took over me and I threw my fist into the wall. Harry made it look so effortless and didn’t even wince when he did it. It was much more painful than I thought it might be. I felt my knuckles scratch against the cinderblock under the drywall and shivered. I could feel the blood flowing from my skin already. I pulled my fist out of the cracked wall and admired the color of my fresh blood for a minute, almost calm, until I heard a soft… “Scotlan?”
I walked slowly down the hall to my room. When I peered into the room, I saw Harry still tied to the bed, his pants around his ankles and his privates hanging out. His eyes were wide. I looked at him once more still laying on the bed and laughed loudly. He looked so helpless tied up like that.
I stepped toward the bed. “You son… of… a… BITCH!” I grabbed the messed up covers and ripped them off of the bed.
“Scotlan please just listen-“
“Anyone in the world!! You could have fucked anyone in the world and you picked her?! How fucking dare you!” I threw one of my heels into my makeup mirror, shattering it into a million pieces.
Harry jumped and tried to sit up. “Scotlan please just listen!”
“No YOU listen! Tell me how FUCKED UP this sounds! You tell me you’re going to help me with an important project and then send me away so you can just waltz home for a few and have kinky, fucked-up sex with that bitch across the street?? ON MY BED??” I clutched my head before picking up another heel and throwing it into the wall.
“Goddammit, Scotlan, would you please just untie me??” Harry shouted and squirmed on the bed. I stood on the bed and tore off the bandana that Therese used to tie Harry’s hands. When his hands were free, I shoved him as hard as I could off of my bed. He groaned when he hit the ground but jumped up and put his pants on quickly, shouting at me as he did.
“I told you to go on a walk and you were gone for three hours!! Three fucking hours, Scotlan! I tried to call you but you left your phone at the studio so I panicked!”
“Oh is that what the mess is at the studio then? My pictures are scattered everywhere and some are crinkled and torn – what the fuck is that? Did Therese meet you there and fuck you right on the floor too or something?”
Harry leapt at me. “I told you I PANICKED! I thought that you had gotten into some sort of trouble and blamed myself for telling you to go out alone at night! I stomped on some pictures and threw some around because I was angry at myself-”
“Quit blaming yourself for shit that I do, Harry! I’m fine now!!”
Harry fumed. “I just-“ He backed away from me and screamed. He clenched his fists. His shoulders heaved. “God, do you even realize how much I love you?”
I shot daggers at Harry with my eyes. “Is that why you were letting that bitch ride you-“
Harry growled. “I came home thinking maybe you had come here. She knocked on the door, asked for batteries, I knew you had some in your bed-side table. She followed me back here, grabbed my hands and tied me to the bed, forced my pants down… that’s what you saw.”
I gulped. I felt my face fall. My heart started to beat a little more slowly and I tried to relax my shoulders and arms. Suddenly my body was sore from being so tense for the last few minutes. I shook my head. “You think I’m a fucking idiot…”
Harry stepped toward me. “What? No, Scotlan, I don’t-“
I stepped back away from him and let a tear escape down my cheek. “She wanted… batteries?” I said softly. “Gosh, you have to think I’m stupid to believe that…”
Harry sighed. “Scotlan, please, it’s the truth. You have to believe me.”
I looked down at my feet and saw that I was standing on top of Therese’s red lacy bra. I groaned quietly and let another tear run down my cheek.
“I can’t do this right now.”
Harry looked up at me slowly. “Do what?”
“I just need… a… a break or something-“
“No,” Harry said, taking my shoulders in his hands. He bent down and moved his head all around to try and meet my gaze, but I kept looking away from him. I couldn’t stand to see his green eyes right now. “No, no, no, Scotlan please. I’m not lying to you, I could never lie to you. I love you.”
I shook my head. “No one loves me, honestly. You’ve been a good friend to pretend all of these years, but we can both stop pretending now, okay? I’m an adult, I can handle the truth.”
Harry shook his head more and more with each word. “Scotty, you can’t seriously believe that.”
“I do. Please, just come right out and say it. Even if the truth is going to hurt, we’re better off this way.” I waited for Harry to say something, but he didn’t. I pulled away from his grasp and grabbed my backpack. Harry watched me as I picked up all kinds of clothes from around my room and stuffed them into the bag. “Look Harry, I need psychological help. I am fucked up from things that happened in my past and it’s not your responsibility to keep me in line. Pretending like you love me and pretending to hate Therese… you just can’t keep this up anymore.”
Harry snatched my bag from me and threw it across the room. I finally looked up into his face and realized that he had been crying. His cheeks were soaked with tears. “Scotlan, how can you say things like that? You know that that is a shitty excuse for all of this. Your past has made you such a strong person. You’ve had a few bumps here and there but you got through them. And I’ve been here for you because I love you. I love you so much. I could never pretend that I loved you.”
I stared into his pleading eyes as he sputtered off anything positive, trying to convince me of… I didn’t even know what he was trying to convince me of anymore. I was so thrown off by seeing Therese straddling Harry that I didn’t know who or what to believe. Maybe all that I said really WAS an excuse to get away. For once, I didn’t want to hear what Harry had to say. I HAD to rid my mind of that memory and being around Harry wasn’t going to help me at all.
He grabbed my chin and quickly pressed his lips against mine forcefully. I pulled away from him and walked around his trembling body. I picked up the backpack that he had thrown and slung it over my shoulder before walking into the hallway and to the kitchen. I grabbed a water bottle from the fridge and walked to the front door.
“Where are you going?” Harry asked quietly.
“Please, Scotlan. Please just tell me. I won’t come looking for you, I promise.”
I sighed. “Probably Zayn’s.”
Harry nodded and looked at the ground. “Can I drive you?”
I shook my head. “No, thanks.”
Harry approached me and I was afraid he might try to kiss me again, but instead he simply held out my phone for me to take. I lifted it from his hand and stuck it in my pocket. After a second longer, I turned, grabbed the door handle and pulled the door open.
I glanced over my shoulder without turning around, scared that if I saw too much of him I would stay.
“I love you…” He croaked.
I squeezed my eyes shut, stepped through the door, and closed it behind me.