Check, please.

“I knew it was your month to pay the bills, so I made sure to use a lot of hot water.” I watched as he used the towel to dry between his legs and his torso, admiring his cleanly shaven male parts when the towel flicked up just high enough. “And your hair looks fine, Miss Over-Dramatic.” I bit my lip as I looked up and down at the bare and glistening body in front of me. “Been working out?”

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3. chapter 3

I liked Gravity a little better than most of the clubs that we went to because it was so mature – more of a lounge I suppose. Some nights, I enjoyed dirty, sweaty grinding on strangers until I could feel them get hard beneath their pants but other times I just liked to sit and talk to people. I hadn’t been able to clear my mind of the memories of my mother since Mr. Kyrie called us all “young things” and really needed to get my mind off of her tragic death, so sitting and talking to sexy men about their successful lives would hopefully take my mind off of things. I tried not to look too much like a slut, just curling my hair enough for some loose, blonde waves and slipping into another small black dress, but a little less fitted and a little less revealing than the one I wore the night before. I kept my shoes black and grabbed my red handbag, which matched the red toenails that peeked out of the open fronts of my heels.

“You look niiiice,” Harry dragged out as we both exited our bedrooms and faced each other in the hallway. Sensing my indifference, he leaned forward slightly and kissed me on the forehead. “Help me fix my tie?”

I adjusted his black tie beneath his black suit. I could see his eyes studying me as I pursed my lips and twisted the fabric until it was knotted nicely and laid flat.

“Are you sure you want to go out? We’ve been out the last 6 nights. We can always stay in and watch Wreck-It Ralph!” He cupped my chin and grinned at me. I couldn’t help but crack a smile as he suggested we watch my favorite movie. Harry was always so good about recognizing a problem but not mentioning it. I wasn’t the kind of person who wanted to talk about things, and Harry learned to just not ask over the years, which I loved about him. I would talk if I wanted to, but until I wanted to he would wait patiently.

I shook my head. “I want to go out. It’ll be good for me. Plus, I know you’ll be a pain in the ass if you don’t get laid tonight,” I added, poking him in his dimple.

He grabbed my waist gently and his grin widened. “You know… we could always just do each other…”

I laughed as he got closer and closer to my face. “Harry… Harry stop! Really, now Harry.” I put my finger to his lips as he puckered them. “I’m not feeling it tonight.”

He shrugged and slapped my rear before turning down the hallway to the kitchen. “Your call, my lovely love bug.”

I giggled and shook my head as he turned and searched the counter in the kitchen for his keys. Once he found them, he opened the front door for me and locked it behind us.

The other thing I liked about Gravity was the fact that I could hear myself think. In most of the clubs that we would go to, the bass would be so loud that you would lose all control of your senses and if you stayed too long you would get a thumping headache that lasted for a week after you left. Gravity played the music just low enough for you to feel the bass in your chest but still be able to talk to people at the same volume that you would if you were in the lobby of a hotel. I took Harry’s elbow as we walked into the open room and allowed my eyes to adjust for a moment to the dim, purple lighting. I glanced around at the bar, taking in all of the single men and women that were looking for a one-night stand. I also looked around at the black cushioned chairs and small round tabled that were spread out around the floor that was lowered in the center of the room. It wasn’t as busy as usual but there was still a good crowd.

Harry lead me through the tables to the back where we usually hung out. There was a large round booth that we both scooted into and looked around the room, watching strangers converse about their current successes in life, trying to impress one-another until they decided whether or not it was okay to go home and sleep with one another. This was my favorite thing to do. Harry and I were people-watchers. We just liked to look at people and try to figure out who or what they were based on their posture, their clothes, their facial expressions, and so on. If we were struggling or just couldn’t agree about what we each thought for one person, we would make up a life for that person.

Harry leaned in toward me after studying a middle-aged man seated at a table with a young girl directly across the room from us. “Business man? Maybe a little higher up on the business ladder, but not the boss.”

I shook my head. “His suit is too big for him and he hasn’t had a haircut in a while. I don’t think he’s as successful as he might seem at first.”

Harry tilted his head as he looked at the man a little longer. “You’re probably right. He looks uncomfortable in the suit. Perhaps he doesn’t wear one often?”

“So do you think that’s a rental suit? For the night?”

Harry shook his head. “It’s probably just an old one that he’s had for a while. I would guess he actually does something like construction or maybe… ehh I don’t know.”

We watched as the man laughed at something his date said and then reached into his pocket. He pulled out his phone under the table and glanced quickly at the screen to see who was calling him. For a moment, he looked worried, but then hit ignore and continued to talk to the young girl across the table from him. Harry and I gasped dramatically at the same time.

“Married?!” I lowered my voice but sounded appalled.

“His wife isn’t giving him what he wants, so he came here hoping for a one-night stand!” Harry concluded, chuckling and shaking his head. He stopped laughing when he realized I wasn’t chuckling along with him. Realizing why, he began to apologize. “Scotty, I’m so-“

“It’s okay. It’s okay Harry, really.”

I glared up at the man and watched him as he pulled his phone from his pocket and hit the ignore button again. I wanted to jump up and scream at him. The one thing that I hated the most in life was cheaters, and I had my father to thank for that. There were a few memories that I prayed to God I could forget, and one of them was the day my mom came home and told me that daddy would no longer be living with us. I watched my mother break down and cry. She laid in bed for days. Each night, she called my father wherever he was and begged for him to come back. For the longest time, I thought she was stupid for begging him to come back. He cheated on her and ran off to marry some bitch who had no respect for our family. But as I grew up, I realized that she begged him to come back because she loved him. She loved him so much that she was willing to forget what he did and continue forward with their lives together.

I jumped in my seat when a waitress behind me interrupted my angry thoughts about my father. “Can I get you something to drink?” She looked down at me and then to Harry, her eyes immediately beginning to twinkle and her smile becoming a little more flirtatious.

“Two Shirley Temples, please,” Harry said, folding his hands on top of the table and blinking up at the waitress.

She frowned. “Two…”

“Shirley Temples?” Harry repeated. “It’s basically like club soda with cherry flavoring in it. Oh and if you could add a little umbrella to mine – Do you want one Scotlan?” I nodded. “-and a umbrella to hers that would be great.”

The waitress still looked confused as she stood and blinked down at the both of us. Her face strained as she tried to keep from asking if we wanted alcohol, but finally she turned away from us and walked to the bar to get our drinks. Before long, I spotted Liam, Louis, Niall, and Zayn all walking from the entrance toward us. The booth filled up with their handsome bodies and laughter, instantly making me relax and begin to forget about my mother and father.

“Oooooh look at youuu…” Louis said, standing on his toes over Liam and looking down the front of my dress, which wasn’t really as easy as it usually was. I laughed and shoved his face away from me.

“You’re not the only one looking at her, Louis,” Harry nudged me and nodded toward another corner of the room where a man was sitting on the outside of a small group, looking smugly in my direction. We made eye contact and he ran his hand smoothly across the top of his short blonde buzz-cut. I took a sip of the Shirley Temple that the waitress placed in front of Harry and myself and looked down at my hands. I wasn’t really in the mood for making out or sex, let alone flirting.

To my dismay, the man stood up, taking our stares as an invite to leave his group and join ours. He casually hung one hand in the pocket of his tight suit as he strutted confidently over to our group, carrying a drink in his other hand. His sultry smile grew as he got closer.

Louis stuck out his hand as he leaned back against the side of the booth. “Evening. I’m Tommo, this is Niall, Zayn, Harry, Scotlan, and Payne-o,” he pointed as he went around the table. Liam looked proud of his new nick-name. The man nodded at everyone, his eyes lingering on me the longest.

“I believe I’ve met two of you before,” he said. His high-pitched voice struck something in my brain. I had seen him before… but where? Harry patted my leg under the table and I knew he was struggling to remember too.

Our silence and facial expressions must have given away our inability to remember because the man soon burst into a booming laugh that echoed above the buzz of the room. He took another sip of his drink and adjusted the collar of his polo. “Evan Tooman? From high school?”

Evan Tooman. The fifth boy I ever had sex with and the pot-head of the school. He was as sharp as a nail though and got multiple scholarships to all different universities and colleges around the country. In high school, he played pranks on teachers all the time, but never got caught. My favorite prank was when he set loose three pigs in the school, labeled 1, 2, and 4. The teachers spent hours trying to find number 3 only to discover that there wasn’t one.

“Oh,” Harry said slowly, his grip on my thigh tightening. “I didn’t recognize you there for a moment, mate.”

Evan Tooman additionally beat the shit out of Harry in the tenth grade. He was smoking in the boys locker room after soccer practice when Harry walked in. Harry still had a small circular scar on his thigh from where Evan burned him with the lit end of the blunt after Harry tried to take it from him and put it out.

“It took me a moment to recognize you two as well. You look… different.” Evan’s eyes burned into my skin as he looked me up and down. His gaze shifted to Harry. “Still fuck buddies, are you? Or is this your boyfriend here, Harry?” Evan pointed to Zayn. Everyone at the table tensed.

“These are my co-workers,” Harry said calmly, but I could tell he was beyond pissed.

“Oh yeaaah,” Evan said, looking around at each of the boys. “You’re all models. I’ve seen a few of your pictures in those fag-mags.”

“Fuck off, will you?” I blurted. In high school, we ignored his snide stabs, but at this point it was immature and irritating the shit out of me.

Evan’s eyes lit up. “Still got that pretty little tongue of yours, do you? It sure was pretty when it wrapped around my-“

“Look here, lad, we came here to sit and enjoy the company of our friends and you’re fucking it up,” Harry said, nearly leaping across the table at Evan. His fists were curled tightly into balls. I knew he was trapped behind the table between Zayn and Niall and myself and Liam, but I still grabbed his wrist and squeezed it.

Evan put his hands up as if to apologize, but the self-satisfied look that was plastered across his face gave away that he was far from sorry. “I just wanted to see if you two were coming to the reunion next week.”

I tugged lightly on Harry’s wrist until he sat back down in the booth. I rubbed my hand up and down his thigh to calm him. “What reunion?”

“5 year high school reunion? You should have gotten an email.”

I shook my head. “Well we didn’t.” I didn’t know that for sure. Anna usually checked my email for me, and something from a high school was probably in the junk pile. Harry just didn’t check his email at all.

“I’ll forward you the invite. What’s your email?”

I dug a pen out of my purse and scribbled my email down on a napkin. He smirked as I handed it to him and tucked it into the chest pocket of his light blue collared shirt. “Well I’d hate to leave so soon but this awkward silence is killing me. Sure you don’t want to talk about anything else? Families perhaps?” His eyes flickered to me and instantly memories of my mother flooded back into my mind. Great. Just as I was beginning to forget. I kept my cool, not wanting him to be any more satisfied with himself for the night.

“Not tonight, perhaps at the reunion – if you’re not being a little bitch then too,” I said calmly.

He laughed once more, gave me a thumbs up, and turned away from us. “See you all there!”

I waited for Harry’s rigid body to relax, but it didn’t. I knew that he was thinking about bad memories of high school since he barely talked for the rest of the night and his jaw was clenched the entire way home. The other boys tried to make light of the situation – they knew all about our past and the wretched dump of a high school that we came from – so they made jokes and tried to change the subject, but Harry wasn’t having any part of it. I really wasn’t either, but I at least pretended to have somewhat of a good time.

After the Celica zipped into the driveway in the garage under our apartment, Harry angrily yanked the keys out of the ignition and bailed out of the car. In all of his anger, he still opened my door for me and carried my heels and purse inside for me. When we got inside, he slapped the light switches on in the kitchen and the hall as we passed. He yanked at his tie after throwing off his suit jacket, creating a knot around his neck. I watched from behind him as he yanked again and groaned. He spun on his heel in front of our rooms and bent down toward me. I reached up and pulled at either side of the knot until the tie came loose.

I pulled gently at one side of the tie and let the other side slip through Harry’s collar and fall to the floor. I reached up and unbuttoned the front of his shirt. I was surprised at myself for being so calm, but it usually worked this way. If we were mad about the same thing, one of us would become more mad and would eventually be calmed by the other. In this instance, I suppose Harry had more of a reason to hate and be angry with Evan than I did, so I let him be angry for the night instead of me.

There was only one instance where Harry and I both became so mad that it became physical. I punched Harry’s chest over and over and when he finally reached his boiling point, he nearly slapped me, but he stopped himself. That was the same night my mother died.

I finally lifted my eyes to meet Harry’s. He was studying me as I finished unbuttoning his shirt, his eyes a little less fierce than they were moments before. I raised my eyebrows slightly at him.

He shook his head. “He just brings back bad memories… you know?”

I nodded. “I was in high school with him too, remember?” I turned around and lifted my hair up so that it wouldn’t get caught in my dress zipper as Harry pulled it down. I stepped out of the dress and into my room, slipping out of my bra as well. I threw on one of Harry’s old university hoodies that he gave to me and looked across the hall at him as he took off his pants and stood in the doorframe in his boxers.

“Do we have to go to the reunion?”

I shrugged my shoulders. “I don’t know. Part of me wants to go. I wanna show them how successful we’ve become, you know? Tell them all to go to hell. But then again, they wouldn’t know about my success unless I told them and showed them what I do. It’s not like my name is printed in the magazines. For you, it’s different. They actually see your face.”

As I turned to look at my room, Harry stepped into my room and slid his arms around my waist from behind. He put his chin on my head and turned us to face my mirror. “You could be a model Scotlan.”

I shook my head. “No Harry, I couldn’t.”

“You look a hundred times prettier than any girl I’ve ever worked with. Look at those legs-“ He reached down and slid his large hand up my thigh. I grimaced as I watched it jiggle.

“I don’t trust models,” I said, turning around and pushing on his bare chest. “At least not girls.”

He laughed and caught my hand. “Well why not?”

I tried to pull my hand away from him but he tugged me toward his body and caught me in a tight embrace. I grunted. “Anyone who is that confident with their body – I’m convinced - just can’t be trusted.”

Harry laughed again and kissed my forehead. “Well if you ever decide you want to be a little less behind-the-scenes and a little more front-page, I’m sure I can talk to my people.” He winked and I raised my eyebrows.

“Oh YOUR people? You have people you can talk to for ME?” I pushed him.

He grinned goofily and caught my hand again, pulling me toward him as he hummed.

“HARRRY-“ I grumbled into his chest as he began to sway with my head squeezed to his body. “Harry if you don’t let me go I will kill you.”

He kissed my temple and slapped me on the bum as he scurried out of the room. “Let’s cuddle,” he called from the hall. “We can decide on your modeling future and the reunion later.”

I rolled my eyes and walked into the hall. Before I could reach the kitchen, Harry jumped out of the bathroom and scooped me up into his arms. He plopped down onto the couch and grabbed the remote before flipping sideways behind me. I laid parallel to his body and rested my head on his arm as he pulled a blanket over us and flipped on the television. I couldn’t help but think about his nearly bare body pressed against mine, a little more uncomfortably in the lower region. I hadn’t had really good sex in a while, but that’s because Harry’s sex was practically unbeatable, and all the other men I had slept with in the last couple of weeks were just incomparable. I opened my mouth to ask him to climb on top of me and fuck me, but a yawn interrupted me and within the minute I was asleep in his arms.

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