I had barely made it home, shedding my hoody and bag by the door. My emotions had calmed slightly, still a bit shaken but nothing compared to when I had fled. I had no desire to face anyone, opting to walk home instead of getting the crowded bus. The soft breeze had seemed to settle my nerves, drying the wet streaks that trickled down my cheeks. As I helplessly mulled over what had and hadn’t been said, I bent down, fumbling with the laces on my boots. All I craved was to crawl into bed and lose consciousness, anything to ease the ache my heart was weighted with. But my actions abruptly ceased. The loud thumping knock was unexpected, taking me by surprise and jolting my body. Harry.
I desperately fumbled with the catch, yanking the door open. But as I peered up, it wasn’t who I had hoped. Tom stood in front of me, he was panting, sweat droplets glistening on his forehead. His expression was something of desperation and fear.
“Tom? What’s wrong?” I asked with concern.
A hand grabbed at my arm.
“You need to come with me.” He gushed.
“Why, what’s going on? Where’s Harry?”
My voice displayed signs of distress, cracking as the last question was expelled in a panicked breath. Oh god, Harry.
“Come with me, I’ll explain on the way.”
I didn’t bother with my hoody, instead grabbing my keys from my bag, slamming the door and sprinting after Tom to the vehicle that had been left running. I hastily entered, taking a place in the passenger seat. The car was in motion before I had a chance to put on my belt, anxiously looking to Tom for some sort of explanation to his sudden arrival.
“Bo, he’s lost it, Harry went out looking for Scott.”
My stomach dropped, fingers tightly gripping the fabric of the seat with the rushed words.
“Tom.” I attempted to encourage him.
“He found him.”
I had never experienced a car ride like it. My heart was in my mouth, pulse thumping as Tom practically floored it. We came to a screeching halt just on the outskirts of town. I don’t think I had ever moved so fast, stumbling from the car and running to the unfamiliar pub Tom had informed me Harry was in attendance. The amount of fights that had taken place in the presence of alcohol was enough to put me off of drinking for life.
My palms shoved at the heavy door, forcing it to comply and tripping into the busy inside of the social environment. My gaze desperately scanned the area for my curly haired lover. At that moment in time I didn’t care that my words hadn’t been reciprocated by Harry. All I desired was find him, stop him from doing something stupid.
That’s when my wide eyes fell upon two males. I knew it was Harry. Despite his soft curls being hidden from view under a hood, his lean frame was something I had become very intimate with. Expansive hands gripped Scott’s shirt, fisting it and forcing him up against the wall down the corridor for the toilets. They were of equal height, stature much the same. But Scott was nothing in comparison to the beauty of the man currently pinning him with an icy glare.
My body jolted as Harry tugged Scott from his leaning position, only to aggressively slam him back into the wall. A hand on my shoulder yanked my vision away from the terrifying sight. Tom peered down at me, following my line of sight to witness his friend uncompromisingly drag the large man down the darkened passage. I ran to catch up, both men unaware they were being pursued by Tom and myself. It was happening again. Harry was going to lose control, just like he had in his mum’s back garden and how he had in the boxing ring.
The fire exit door was swung wide open, the cool night air infiltrating the pub. I followed after Tom who had taken the lead. I had barely made it outside before Harry delivered a hefty punch to Scott’s stomach, his body crumpling over.
“You’re a waste of space.” Harry spat. “What kind of man hits a woman?!”
Tom attempted to guide me back inside, repeating to himself that he should never have brought me. I refused to move, unable to stray from the image in front of me. Harry’s hand constricted on Scott’s shoulder, holding him in place as he sharply raised his knee, roughly impacting his stomach once more.
“Please, Tom. Stop him.”
I stood shivering in fright as I witnessed a boy I knew could be caring and gentle, repetitively strike the male who had marked my skin. Scott had appeared so powerful when confronting me. But now he was unrecognisable, stumbling to the floor, incapable of standing as Harry’s fist impacted his jaw.
Tom had complied to my pleading request, grabbing hold of Harry’s shoulders, tugging him. I could only watch on as Harry carelessly shoved his friend away, he was too absorbed in inflicting pain to realise who it was. This time Scott received a kick to the shoulder, roughly crying out in agony. I wouldn’t be surprised if he walked away with a few broken bones, if he could walk away at all. The way Harry was laying into him was something quite horrific.
This was going to go too far. I attempted to move forwards to the three males, desperate to do something, anything. But I ceased as Tom halted me with his hand, mouthing for me to stay put.
“I’ll fucking end you!” Harry bellowed.
My hand clamped over my mouth to smother the sobs. The rage Harry displayed caused my body to tingle with goose bumps. Tom was more determined this time.
“Stop. Harry stop, you’re frightening Bo.”
The familiar green of desperate eyes flashed to me as Tom used his strength to force Harry turn in my direction. He looked completely lost for a second before his features hardened once more.
“Take her away. I don’t want her to see this.”
I frantically shook my head, dark waves clouding my vision before I swept them back.
“You’re going to lose her. Harry, you’re going to lose the best thing that’s happened to you if you don’t stop!”
His knuckles were dripping red. The colour symbolised danger. And that’s what everyone had told me. Harry was dangerous. He was void of emotion as he stared at me, holding my gaze captive. Tom’s words seemed to have formed some sort of barrier, preventing the next hit that would have probably knocked Scott unconscious. Whilst Harry’s attention was diverted he’d taken the opportunity to make a cowardly exit, staggering to his feet and running as best he could down the alley way towards the main road. Scott had remained silent through the whole ordeal, maybe it had occurred to him that he could never win. If it hadn’t been for Tom and myself he may have been leaving the alley in a body bag.
Harry was forcefully restrained from pursuing Scott; arms held with constricting tightness. I knew it would be agonising for him to just watch as Scott escaped; deprived of the chance to inflict the possibly fatal damage he desired. Even from my position I could hear my name being used as a calming incentive, an encouragement to prevent the anger from bubbling over once more.
I’d apprehensively waited as minutes passed; the resonating sound of Harry’s breathing being steadily controlled. Tom released him, Harry’s focus landing on me. I despised my own reaction as he moved forward, my feet instantly taking a step out of his reach. Harry worriedly looked to Tom who had come to stand by the side of me.
“I’ll take her home.” Harry spoke softly.
I instinctively shifted behind Tom, fearful of the male who was desperately staring at me. He looked hurt. Hurt that I was taking refuge with someone else instead of him.
“Best not mate; I think she’s still a bit shaken up.” Tom leant forward, squeezing his shoulder in reassurance.
A glimpse of fear sparked in the mossy green of his eyes, visibly swallowing.
“Let me say goodbye to her.” Harry instructed.
His vision darted up to Tom’s when I was still obstructed by his body. Harry frowned, his tone deepening, eyebrows knitting together.
“Tom, she’s still my girlfriend.”
I felt exposed as my defence left me standing on my own. My head dropped to the floor, feeling ill-prepared to come so close with the person who had inflicted furious anger minutes before. Threatening tears watered in my eyes as I caught a glimpse of Harry wiping the blood from his knuckles to his jeans. Moments later, a careful touch tilted my chin up.
I couldn’t understand, he looked like an angel. Sparkling eyes, pink pouted lips. How could such anger and hatred come from someone so breath-taking? I gently encouraged his warmth away from my face. My hand rose to carefully remove the grey material of his hood, allowing his soft curls to escape and tousle lightly in the wind. As I studied him, I came to alarmingly discover small flecks of red splashed onto his white top which his plaid shirt revealed.
I gulped as he cautiously leant down to me, my head turning ever so slightly. It wasn’t the first time I had denied his kiss. Harry paused; hurt lacing his beautiful features as his warm lips pressed to the corner of my mouth. He didn’t have to travel far before his laboured voice reached my ear.
“I love you, Bo.” Harry whispered.
My breath seemed to hitch, my cheek brushing with his as we became intimately close. His hushed statement dumbed my body. I’d never heard anyone admit anything with quite such raw emotion.
“Say it.” Harry quietly begged. “Please…tell me that you love me.”
My body flinched as he grabbed hold of my hand, smearing what was left of the blood onto my skin. I desperately looked to Tom who moved forward with my urgent gaze. Harry’s touch slipped from mine in defeat. Tom not being able to replace the empty feeling as he gently pulled me away from Harry. Brown eyes attempted to catch my attention that repeatedly wandered back to the bloodied angel.
“Go and wait by the door.”
I nodded, following his instructions. My feet carrying me around the corner, but I lingered, my back pressing to the cool brick as I listened covertly to the conversation.
“Fuck.” Harry cursed. “I’ve lost her.”
I intruded blindly to the words being exchanged.
“No, no, she’s just in shock. Don’t worry, she’ll come around.” Tom reassured.
“She’s scared of me, I could see it in her eyes. She didn’t want me to touch her.”
“Bo will be fine, she’s stronger than you give her credit for.”
There was a pause.
“I love her.”
I turned my body, fingers clasping the corner bricks to peer around. Harry’s head was hung until he brought it up to meet Tom’s focus. A sharp breath expelled from my body as Harry’s eyes instantly fell on me. He looked hurt, unsure of what to do.
“You’ll call me when she’s home safe.”
“Thanks, Tom…for everything.”
I watched as the two men said goodbye. Harry curiously observed me as I emerged from my sheltered position, drawing what little courage I had left. Tom met me half way, taking my hand in his, beginning to lead me down the alley.
“Come on, Bo.”
But I couldn’t leave, not like this. Harry had spent too long in search of something nobody had seemed brave enough to give him. Love. My fingers slipped away as Tom spoke my name in confusion.
My body ignored the sound, taking hesitant strides towards the tall figure left in the darkness. The hood had been tugged back up, concealing the ringlets I ached to run my fingers through. Bright eyes were intently watching my movements. There was no point in being timid now; my hand hooking around the back of Harry’s neck. A gasp escaped, my lips pressing a delicate kiss to the warmth of his cheek.
As quickly as it had happened I was walking away, back to a waiting Tom. He held his hand out with a smile, quickly accepting the gesture we made our way out towards the road. But not before allowing myself one last glance; my head twisting to witness the towering frame of a male emerge from the shadows.
“I love you.” I mouthed.
The unmistakeable curve to his full lips warmed my heart as he silently echoed my words.