From the outside, the building had looked abandoned. Harry had kept a very close hold on me as we entered, arm protectively slung round my shoulder. I was surprised by the number of people that were present; some coming up to Harry to wish him good luck, show support.
I didn’t like the surrounding inside. It was cold. The grubby white walls refusing to give off any comfort as I sat in the room Harry and his group had commandeered in the lead up to the fight. I had remained quiet on the car ride to the horrible building, my voice unable to speak any words that would be of help to Harry. I thought it best to say nothing at all rather than continue to express my worry, which I knew was beginning to wear on the beautiful curly-haired guy. I had changed out of my work clothes in the back of his car, the tinted windows providing somewhat of a shield from onlookers. Any other time Harry would have probably had a cheeky peek, but he had diverted his gaze to his phone as he waited.
I was sat on the table in the corner, legs dangling off the edge as I observed the movements round the room. A few of Harry’s friends were scattered, taking a seat on the battered sofa over by the wall. Harry had kept glancing over to me as he talked to an older man before he excused himself. My eyes studied him as he walked closer. He curiously peered at me before calling over to Tom. He was quickly by his side, flicking his gaze from Harry to myself.
“Keep an eye on her.” Harry spoke warily to Tom.
I frowned as my temporary seat became occupied by another body. I didn’t need to be babysat. Harry’s possessiveness was almost suffocating. I was eighteen for goodness sake. I jumped when someone called out the match would be starting in fifteen minutes. Harry disappeared, probably going to have a last minute pep talk, so I was left with Tom.
“He’s going to be alright, Bo.”
I turned to face him.
“H-How do you know? I can’t believe you let him do this!”
Tom didn’t have time to reply as a few more guys entered the room. Their playful banter filled the small space. I shuffled off the table, walking over to the far side. Tom’s attention diverted away from his friends to me.
“Where are you going?” He asked.
“To get some water.”
He nodded at me, following my movements round to the water machine. I tugged out a plastic cup, placing it under the nozzle and pulling down the small leaver. The cool liquid filled the transparent container and I turned to Tom. His eyes were still curiously on me, I gave him a weak smile, raising the water to my lips. He seemed satisfied before turning back to the guys. I stood for a few seconds making sure he was completely distracted from my presence.
My full plastic cup was left on the side, taking the opportunity to slip out the door to my right. I darted my head from side to side down the corridor. I had no idea where I was going, the layout of the building completely new to me. My mind raced before quickly deciding to take a left.
I didn’t have to walk far before I passed an open door, loud voices echoing round the room. It was him, the guy who Harry was fighting, it had to be. I didn’t knock, just strode right in. A few of the men’s faces looked a little shocked at my interruption.
“Miss, you can’t be in here.”
I ignored the irritated voice, focusing on the largely built guy in front of me. He was sat down, taking a swig of water from the bottle as he stared at me. His dark hair was closely shaved to his head, tattoos decorating his skin down one arm. But my exploration abruptly ceased as he addressed me.
“What can I do for you, Love?” He smiled.
The facial expression was far from comforting.
“Call off the fight.” I demanded.
He brushed off my request, now grinning at me. My eyes widened slightly as he got to his feet. His height was much the same as Harry’s, towering over me. But I refused to let him know he was intimidating me, despite what I had heard of his reputation with women. I stood my ground.
“And what’s your name?”
He was patronising me, speaking to me like he would a little girl. I gulped as he bent down slightly. My fright mixed with anger, he obviously didn’t take me seriously.
“Just call off the fight!” I raised my voice.
His eyebrows rose with my tone as he stared at me.
“Well, aren’t we feisty.” He teasingly spoke.
My head turned swiftly with the sound of Harry’s raspy voice. Even from down the corridor he could still be heard.
“Where the fuck is Bo!?”
Amused laughing brought my attention back to the man I was confronting.
“Are you Bo? Because I don’t think Harry is very happy with you.” He smirked. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m about to get ready beat the shit out of your boyfriend.” His voice holding an eerie darkness.
He was taking pleasure in my desperation. I knew, knew that he wouldn’t back down, neither would Harry. But I still clung onto that tiny shred of hope that this would all end. Harry would walk away and we could forget. But that was a wish I realised would never come true. Tears sprung in my eyes. He turned as I tried to reach out to him, gripping his wrist.
“Please..call off the fight.” I weakly pleaded.
It was then I felt a strong arm wrap round my waist from behind. My feet left the ground as I was hoisted up and removed from the room. Harry’s heavy breathing could be felt on the back of my neck. We got to about half way down the corridor before I was placed back on my feet and sharply spun round. He looked furious.
“Are you fucking crazy? Bo, I told you to stay with Tom.” He fumed. “You know what that guy has done and yet you still go and confront him. What were you thinking?”
I couldn’t reply, speechless as I dropped my head. Harry’s surprise was evident as I flung my arms round his neck, clinging to him as I cried.
“P-Please don’t do this.” I sobbed quietly into his chest, my despairing tears wetting his t shirt.
I heard him heavily sigh, wrapping me protectively within his embrace. His chin rested on the top of my head, his breathing beginning to balance out. We stood for a moment before I jumped upon someone shouting Harry’s name. He tried to encourage me to walk with him down the hall, but I only tighten my grip. My legs were knocked out from beneath me, Harry holding me to the warmth of his chest as I nuzzled my face into his neck.
He was silent as he carried me back to the room in which I had evaded Tom’s watchful eye.
“We’ll see you out there, mate.” Tom spoke.
He turned to me, flicking his head in indication for me to follow after him.
“She stays with me.” Harry confirmed.
There were a few seconds of quiet before Tom nodded and reluctantly left the room. I was sat on the table at the back once again, Harry’s green gaze locking with mine before he swiftly removed his top. I numbly watched as he tugged down his jeans, which he replaced with his pair of navy shorts.
He strolled over to me, a small smile on his face. I allowed him to part my knees, Harry’s body standing comfortably between my thighs. Large hands were placed round my lower back, sliding me forward slightly. Harry’s dark curls tickled lightly at my skin as he dipped his head, plump lips going to my ear.
“I promise I’ll make it out alive.” He half-heartedly joked.
The spot just below my ear received a small kiss when I gave him little response. Obviously aware that I was in no mood to have him joke. He drew back, astonishing green eyes burning into my blue ones. I quickly turned my head as Harry leant in to my lips. He appeared shocked by my rejection, refusing him as I have done on our first date. His nose nudged at my cheek, willing me to accept his affection.
“Don’t I get a kiss?” He whispered.
My eyes squeezed closed with the hurt lacing his voice. Fingers tightly gripped the edge of the table.
“For good luck.”
My silence caused his head to drop, gently prying my grasp from the table ledge. His touch was careful as he played with the tips of my fingers. My body seemed to tense as his lips made contact with my cheek whilst raising my hand to leave a kiss to the back.
Breath trembled from my mouth as he released me, leaving me cold and alone in the corner of the now seemingly frightening room. I watched as he picked up his gloves before making his way over to the door. He didn’t look round as he exited. My heart was thumping wildly in my chest.
My head shook, I couldn’t let him leave, not like this. I didn’t want him worrying about me, especially as he was about to step into the boxing ring. He needed to focus on that, not me. I hastily scrabbled down from the table top, stumbling over to the door. My anxious gaze fell upon Harry’s naked back as he walked barefoot down the narrow corridor.
He swiftly turned at the sound of my voice, his eyes wide with concern as I ran to him. My hand grasped the back of his neck, tugging him down to forcefully press my lips to his. The gloves were dropped to the floor as strong arms held me tightly, our mouths savouring the feel of each other. When we drew back we were both heavily breathing, foreheads pressed together.
“I’m sorry.” I whispered.
Harry softly smiled before fiddling with the paper plane pendant he had retrieved from where it was hidden below the material of my neckline. He brought my hand up to his chest, pressing it closely to the bare, tanned skin.
“You have my heart, keep it safe.” He whispered.
My lips parted with Harry’s quiet words, staring up at him. I leaned into his body, placing a kiss to where my hand previously rested.
One last sweet peck was shared between us before he reluctantly moved away, picking up the disregarded gloves. I was left with the feel of Harry on my lips as I hopelessly watched him walk away.
His head twisted, curls flopping over his forehead.
“Kick his arse.”
I heard him laugh, strolling away down the hall.
I was dirty, cold in the vast room. A high ceiling above us, boxing ring in the centre. It made me wonder if this had once been a gym, all be it a very long time ago. But I could see the potential. It was nothing like the gym in which Harry and Tom worked, left abandoned and to ruin.
Word must have spread about the looming fight, any number of people talking as they stood or sat round the ring. How long had people been waiting for this showdown? An uneasy feeling washed through me, knowing that there were stakes held against each of the fighters, someone had to lose. There was money going to be made out of the victor. The thought made me feel nauseous.
I was soon distracted from my gradually increasing level of anxiety. Hayley stood to my side giving me a weak smile. It was because of her, this whole situation had stemmed from Hayley. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it. I knew she detected my uncertainty towards her, a warm hand quickly grasping mine. But before she could speak both Harry and his opponent had entered the ring. The audience was loud and I found it difficult to distinguish the words being spoken. Hayley tugged me a little closer.
“I didn’t ask him to, I-I didn’t want him to do this, Bo.” She desperately spoke. “Harry’s just so stubborn.” She breathed.
I stared at her for a second, sincerity in her voice. She looked a little relieved as I squeezed her hand. I didn’t desire for her to feel any worse about the current situation. I knew only too well how determined and driven Harry could become once he set his mind to something. There was no stopping him.
Her hand remained in mine as we turned our nervous gazes to the raised platform, all eyes on the ring as the guys got ready. Harry’s orbs seemed to take my breath away as he stared at me. I had never seen him like that before, he looked intense, uncompromising, powerful, almost as if he was looking straight through me. But his vision swiftly averted as Tom placed the gum shield into Harry’s mouth, giving him a pat on the back. Tom exited the ring leaving Harry to stand alone, bare feet moving forward. I quickly came to learn that his opponent’s name was Scott, numerous people shouting at him for support. We watched as they courteously knocked fists, signally both opponents were ready.
As soon as the bell rung out Harry’s fist landed a solid hit on Scott’s face. Numerous punches were thrown, both men receiving blows that made me wince. I knew Harry was good at what he did. But I never imagined him to fair so well against someone in a heavier weight class. His skill astounded me as we observed both opponents blocking hooks that would have done some serious damage. Harry was quick, quicker than his competitor. Maybe that was what made him excel, that and his obvious anger behind every hit.
I don’t know how long had played out, but my grip soon began to tighten on Hayley’s hand as Harry took a heavy blow to the left side of his chest. The punches Harry was receiving exceeded that of what he was producing. Why was he slowing down? His forearms seem to be continuously raised in defence. I desperately looked to Hayley. Tom was on her other side as he shouted out to Harry.
“Wha..” I couldn’t finish.
“It’s fine, Bo. He’s trying to find Scott’s weak spot.” She informed me.
“I don’t understand.” I shook my head, frowning.
“Everyone has some sort of flaw; Harry needs to find it in order to take him down.”
“Well can’t he do a bit more than just stand and take the hits?” I cried.
My mind whirled as I thought about what Hayley said. Harry appeared to have no physical flaws, none that I could see anyway.
"W-What’s Harry’s weakness?" I stuttered.
Her eyes fell on me, a small smile spreading on her lips.
"You." She whispered.
My heart swelled, beating rapidly in my chest. The more I pondered over it, I came to believe that he was also my weakness, the tall, curly-haired guy that had, quite literally, forced his way into my life. And now I never wanted him to leave.
I found it difficult to watch as Harry repeatedly blocked the punches. There were sure to be a number of bruises all over his tanned skin once the match had ended. All I wanted was for him to make it out alive.
“There, there!” Hayley shouted.
She tugged me closer, stretching out her arm to point at Scott. I winced as Harry took another hit but it allowed us to see the twinge in Scott’s right shoulder. Hayley was screaming out the discovery, hoping to alert Harry. But I knew he had already found it. The small smirk on his face was confirmation. There was no time to act on it though, Scott’s right glove thumping hard into Harry’s stomach. My hand covered my mouth as I desperately looked on. Harry stumbled back against the ropes, his eyes squeezed closed attempting to focus, block out the pain he must have been feeling. Hayley’s hand remained tightly gripped in mine, fear in her brown eyes. Mine were widening as Scott approached Harry. I silently begged him to raise his arms to defend himself, but it surprised me when Scott didn’t take the obvious opportunity of the curly-haired guy in a weakened state. Instead he smirked, wrapping an arm round the top his shoulder, Harry’s bowed head pressed to his forehead.
Harry grimaced at the words being spoken between them. A deep frown in his brow, lips tightly pursed. The one sided conversation undetectable to our ears. The ref had come over to break it up but he dared not touch Scott to warn him. Harry’s gloves suddenly shoved against his opponent’s chest in anger, pushing him away as Scott laughed.
I gasped as Harry’s gaze travelled to me. Whatever Scott had said provoked the flare of darkness in Harry’s eyes. His jaw tight, breath increased. I knew he was fuming, the muscles in his stomach tensed as he stared at me.
“Come on, Styles!” Scott goaded.
Numerous cheers were heard at the fighting talk. But Harry’s focus possessively held mine as he forced himself away from the ropes. His forearm rose to harshly wipe away the scarlet streak dripping from the corner of his mouth. Scott had a challenging smile spread across his face, knowing that he had triggered something deep inside Harry. I had seen him angry before, but never like this. Scott glanced over to me, causing fear to strike through my body. I felt myself take an involuntary step back, tears springing in my eyes. Disgust filled my entirety as he winked at me, the gesture only enflaming Harry further as he aggressively walked forward.
I couldn’t watch anymore. I had to get out. The noise from the audience suddenly becoming overbearing, painful almost. My vision became blurry as I fought the tears brimming in my eyes.
“I-I can’t..” I spoke urgently to Hayley.
Her face was full of concern as I pried my fingers from her grasp. I turned, quickly shoving through the crowd to find an exit. Hayley and Tom could be heard as they shouted out my name, but I continued with my escape, fleeing from the vast room.
Almost twenty minutes had passed as I sat on some metal railings outside the back of the building. It was still mild in the night air, only a small breeze flowing through the length of my dark waves. The sound of cars starting their engines ignited my interest, the match had finished, people were going home. Worry trembled across my skin, goose bumps forming. It was over.
My face instantly drained, the thought of Harry sprawled out unconscious on the ring floor flooded my mind. The picture forced heavy tears down my cheeks. I don’t think I’d ever cried as much in one night. The ache in my heart frightened me a little, my feelings for Harry had begun to reach new heights that I never knew were possible. I didn’t know what to do, my sobbing making it difficult to rationally focus on anything.
I jumped as a hand was placed on my shoulder. My right arm swung round, fist pounding into the person’s stomach. The guy doubled over, wincing.
“Shit, Tom. I’m sorry.” I gushed.
My hand was placed on his back, bending down to peer at his face, making sure he was ok.
“You’ve got a pretty mean right hook on you, Bo.” He strained, joking.
I half-heartedly laughed, watching as he rose to his full height.
“Harry taught me.” I whispered.
He chuckled with my revelation.
“Trust Harry to teach you something like that.”
“Are you sure you’re alright?” I questioned.
He nodded, eyes connecting with mine. I gulped as the amusement disappeared from his face; the atmosphere suddenly becoming serious. I quickly wiped the moisture from my cheeks as I stared up at him.
“He wants to see you.”