Harry had taken a seat beside me on the table I usually sat on while he helped people train. I would often bring a book to read as I waited for him to finish work. Tom had joined us a few minutes prior and I had continued to indulge in my novel while they talked boxing. But my wandering mind was hauled back to reality as something in their conversation sparked my interest. A fight. My book was placed beside me. Harry had noticed my sudden diverted attention, my eyes looking questioningly at him. Their conversation paused as he took my hand.
“I’ve got a fight.” He told me.
His touch withdrew and he turned to go back to talking to Tom.
“Wait, what?” I shook my head. “You said you didn’t fight.”
“I know, but something has been sorted out for Friday night.”
They continued to converse with me sat to the side of them. I looked down at my hands, fiddling with my fingers, remembering Harry had told me he punched above his weight. It would be a danger for his competitor. I frowned, gripping Harry’s shoulder. He looked a little surprised at my interruption.
“Is he in your weight class?” I abruptly asked.
He hesitated, staring at me. It appeared he was having an internal battle, not sure if it was best to divulge that certain detail.
“Harry.” My tone demanding.
My fingertips dug into his skin. But I grew more frustrated as a smirk spread on his beautiful face.
“You’re cute when you’re angry.”
I flinched away when his hand came up to brush against my cheek. Harry was trying to distract me and his plan succeeded for a couple of seconds before I realised what he was up to.
“Stop it and answer the question.” I bit back.
Eyebrows were raised at my less than pleased tone. He gave me a cheeky grin, dimples popping in his cheeks. He looked so young.
Harry’s head tilted to the side, smiling as he waited to see my reaction.
“No?” I asked, creasing my forehead.
“He’s in the next class up.” Harry stated.
Tom had been intently watching our interaction. Clearly surprised with my tone towards Harry. My vision flicked to him to get his input on the situation.
“Bo, don’t worry about it. Haz will take him out easy.”
Tom lightly punched Harry on the shoulder as they laughed.
“D-Don’t encourage him! T-The guy you’ll be fighting, he’ll be bigger than you. This is dangerous, Harry.”
I grew increasingly anxious. I didn’t want to see Harry hurt. My mind then flickered to where it was going to be held. The gym where the two boys worked would never allow him to fight, let alone against someone in a different weight class. That’s when I realised he hadn’t told them.
“This fight isn’t legal, is it?” My voice was quiet.
Harry’s tongue swiped over his full lips. Green eyes intensely peering into mine.
“Oh my god. Harry you can’t do this.” I spoke desperately grabbing his hand.
“Tom, will you give us a minute?” Harry asked.
“Sure.” He smiled, standing and walking away.
Harry’s attention then diverted to me. He took my hand, guiding me to him before walking us toward the front of the gym where the changing rooms were. Harry’s frame stood squarely in front of me, height towering above. I sighed as long fingers brushed stands of hair from my face.
“Bo, I’m going to fight.” His raspy voice sternly told me.
I could tell he was frustrated at the interruption of his phone ringing from inside the changing rooms. I already knew our usual routine, me having to wait while he took the call. He didn’t say anything, just left me standing on my own as he disappeared through the doorway. I grew angrier, left to dwell on my own thoughts. My head shook before I strode at a determined pace into the male changing rooms after him. My presence startled a few men, but they quickly exited as I spotted Harry. His t shirt had been stripped off and he stood pacing back and forth in only his shorts.
“Look, I’m already having enough trouble with Bo, without you starting on.”
Why on Earth was he going to fight someone? I balled my fists by my sides. Boys and their stupid egos. He was going to get hurt because of his bravado and lack of any sense to know when to back down. My chest rose up, taking in a heavy breath.
“I’ve already told you, it isn’t up to you.” He grumbled into the speaker. “I can do what I like.” He added sharply.
I’d had enough of this. My anger boiled over as I stomped forward grabbing the phone from his ear.
“Will you get off the fucking phone, Harry!”
I ended the call, throwing it into his open duffle bag. Before I could take another breath my wrists were taken hostage in his large hands. I winced as my back slammed against the wall of lockers. Heavy puffs of air forced from his parted lips as he yanked my arms above my head. He was furious. Bare chest heaving up and down. I desperately tried to struggle from his grip, but his strength was far superior to mine. I had never seen such darkness in his eyes as he pinned me with his hard gaze. His nose was millimetres away from mine. Breath trembled from my mouth, but I forced my fear to the back of my mind.
“Was that someone else telling you how stupid this is?” I asked rather harshly. “Because you should listen to them, Harry.”
The anger fell away from his eyes.
“That’s what they said about you.” Harry spoke quietly.
My arms were released down to my sides, but I wasn’t free for long. Harry’s body pressing into mine, trapping me. I was left a little confused by his statement, but before I could question him any further on the subject his gaze hardened on me once again, shaking his head of the thought.
“What is it with you bloody women?” He asked rhetorically. “This is my decision, I don’t care if you don’t like it!” Harry shouted.
I wasn’t sure if he noticed but while he was yelling he had subconsciously taken my left forearm in his large hand. His grip progressively tightening with every word. I winced, cowering back in his strong hold. My body was trembling, pain shooting up my arm. Small sounds of distress escaped my parted lips.
“You’re hurting me.” I whimpered.
Harry’s face instantly paled, his hand falling away as he stumbled back. I held my injured arm to my chest, his intense grip having felt a feeling of burning against the skin. It was then I remembered those were the exact words his sister had told her boyfriend before Harry beat him, nearly to death, in their back garden. I realised just how dangerous Harry was. I’d tried to look past his aggressive behaviour, but when it came down to it he still had problems controlling his anger. And that frightened me.
“Bo.” He attempted to move forward.
My eyes widened in fear, back desperately pressing to the lockers to try and increase the distance between us. But I couldn’t. I was petrified he would cause me harm again.
“Oh god, no please…..not again.” Harry frantically pleaded.
The pain in his eyes was heart breaking, but I was too afraid to do anything. He dropped to his knees in front of me. My terrified gaze stayed locked ahead, not looking down. I jumped, gasping as Harry’s strong arms wrapped round the back of my thighs. His head rested on my stomach and he clutched me tighter when he felt my reluctance towards his touch. I was shaking.
“Bo, please. I-I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to hurt you. That’s the last thing I’d want to do….I’m sorry.”
I closed my eyes as tears rolled down my cheeks. Harry’s body was warm against my own. I wanted to comfort him but I didn’t know how, my entirety still frozen to the spot. He was like a little boy, lost and alone as he searched for some kind of love.
I didn’t want him to be alone.
“Please.” He whispered.
With tears still falling from my eyes, I hesitantly placed my hand on the back of Harry’s head, soothingly stroking his dark curls as he clung to me. Our breathing seemed to slow down as I showed Harry some comfort. I knew he had never intended to hurt me. One of his arms moved round to my front. I glanced down to see his eyes squeeze close in pain as I flinched at his contact with my injured forearm. His moist lips softly trailed kisses over the redden skin, desperately attempting to lift away the fear.
I’m so sorry, Baby.” He mumbled quietly against my skin.
“It’s alright….it’s alright, Harry.” I whispered repeatedly.
I bravely caught hold of his chin, angling it up to my face. Small tears stung in his eyes as he desperately looked to me. His arm loosened round my body as I slid down to the floor. The situation had calmed as I sat astride Harry’s kneeling position. His head rested near my shoulder as I continued to stroke his curls.
“I didn’t mean to.” He quietly told me.
I drew in a sharp breath as he nuzzle his face into the crook of my neck. We stayed wrapped in each other, my lips leaving kisses to his cheek every now and then.
“I care about you, Harry. I don’t want to see you get hurt…I-I’m just worried about you.”
He nodded in understanding. Curls tickling against my skin.
“Bo, I’m still going to fight.” His raspy voice echoed.
His words brought pain to my chest. But I decided not to press it any further. I didn’t want things to escalate again.
“Will you stay?”
It was strange watching Harry train. This time he was the one taking powerful swings at the strike pads. He looked strong, in control; his complete focus on the task in front of him. Channelling his anger into something he was skilled at. The guy with him was struggling slightly as Harry’s gloves continually beat against the strike pads. But I couldn’t shake the horrible feeling.
“He’ll be alright you know.” Tom spoke up.
I glanced to him sat beside me, my book lay forgotten in my lap.
“Did he tell you who he was fighting?”
I shook my head. I didn’t really want to know who Harry was going up against. The thought churned my stomach. Images of him laid unconscious on the boxing ring floor flooded my mind.
“The guy is a bastard.” Tom shook his head in disgust before he continued. “It’s well known he beats the shit out of which ever girl he happens to be seeing that week.”
My hand rose up to my mouth in shock.
“You’ve met Hayley, right?” He questioned.
My mind raced with all the faces of people Harry had introduced me to. I gasped when she appeared in the forefront of my imagination. I had met her, one of the first nights Harry had taken me to a club. The night I had also met Jake. I cringed at the thought.
“Hayley is one of Harry’s friends.”
“I remember her.” I nodded.
She was beautiful, long black hair, dark skin. For the short time we talked she had seemed lovely. I didn’t understand what she had to do with this situation until I heard Tom speak once more.
“She has a scar on her forehead.”
I didn’t need Tom to carry on. Nausea swept through me, I knew exactly who had caused her the injury. That’s why Harry was so adamant on fighting this guy. He’d hurt one of Harry’s friends.
I glanced over to see the curly-haired guy staring directly at me. He’d stopped his training, gloves removed as he chugged down some water. Eyebrows came down in a frown as he took in my upset expression. I felt the table move as Tom got down, walking over to clear away some equipment. My focus fell back to my book as I heard bare feet pad across the floor to me. I refused to look up. He nudged his head into the crook of my neck, attempting to get a response.
“You’re mad at me.” He stated quietly, almost confirming to himself.
I wasn’t mad. I was just worried. His plump lips kissed my neck but I remained expressionless towards him, still slightly shaken from our previous encounter. I gasped slightly when his warm hand caught hold of my own, noticing him hesitate a little, remembering the pain he had caused me a short while ago. His eyes were closed briefly before he spoke.
“Come on. You’re going to be my motivation.”
I was gently tugged from my seat on the table and towed behind Harry to the blue practice mat. Harry stood tall in front of me, giving me a small smile.
“Lie down for me, Baby.”
I gave him a confused look before he nodded in encouragement. My eyes rolled as he took my hand, helping me down onto the springy mat. I was laid flat, staring up at the beautiful guy above me, not quite sure what his intentions were. Harry winked before positioning a knee either side of my waist. The large span of his hands spread both sides of my head. He shuffled slightly, straightening out his legs and arms. Harry’s body lowered on his flexed muscles, face centimetres from mine as he commenced with his first push-up. A small kiss was stolen from my lips before he straightened his arms, rising over me. I giggled as he sweetly rubbed his nose against mine and then pulled away again; obviously not wanting to push his luck. The events of the changing room still not forgotten. The third push-up was rewarded with a heavier kiss, Harry lingering as my hand reached up to grasp the nape of his neck.
He chuckled pulling away once more but was unable to complete a full press-up. My hand tugging him back down. Our lips forcefully pressed together as a low moan emitted from the back of his throat.
“Bo.” He laughed.
My touch released as I watched Harry increase the distance between us. I liked taking part in this sort of exercise. It required nothing on my part other than laying beneath Harry, rewarding him with every push-up completed. We only made it to fourteen before I wrapped a leg round his waist, urging him down to me. Harry willingly compiled.
“Hmm, I like training with you. I can’t really do this with Tom.” He teased.
I laughed at his comment.
“Good, because I don’t want to share you.”
A few more kisses were placed sporadically over my face before he withdrew. Harry intently observed me, noticing my change in mood.
“What’s wrong?” He questioned.
“I know why you’re fighting him…because of Hayley.” I spoke quietly.
The muscles in his arms seemed to tense further, still hovering over me.
“He’s a fucking waste of space. She didn’t deserve that, none of those girls do.” His tone was harsh.
Harry noticed my body tense beneath him and he quickly made an effort to try and calm down. My fingers reached up to caress his cheek. Jaw relaxing with my touch.
“He’s been boasting for long enough how he could take me. Now he’s got his chance.”
By this time there were only a few people milling around, packing things away, including Tom. I gently pushed my hands to Harry’s strong shoulders and he allowed me to roll him over. I laid on top of him, long fingers running up and down my spine.
“I still don’t want you to fight, but now I understand.” I spoke into his chest.
His torso steadily rose and fell beneath me. A large hand cautiously caught hold of my wrist, gently pulling my arm up. I couldn’t help but fist the fabric of his t shirt as I felt Harry place delicate kisses to the still redden skin. We both knew it would bruise, a reminder of his short temper upon my forearm.
“I’m so sorry, Bo.” He paused. “I want you to feel safe with me…I want to keep you safe.”
Plump lips and warm breath soothed the unintended injury as I lay upon Harry.
“Don’t do anything for me to fear you then.” I whispered.