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NOT MINE. I'm putting this on here so it's easier to read. Mature Content I will post all 56 chapters

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58. Chapter 55

Harry’s POV

“Girl fight!”

Niall perked up considerably, animatedly glancing around to see where the bitchy brawl was taking place. When unsuccessful he focused back on his beer in dissatisfaction. The lull in conversation didn’t last long, the vibrant blue earning inquisitiveness.

“Hey, mate, where’s Bo?” He asked a little perplexed.

I’d left her by the pool with Louis, insisting that he watch out for her while I was absent. I had hoped the time would give them an opportunity to talk. However, Louis’ state of intoxication would probably dictate a discussion more inclined to inform people on the colour of his socks than anything of great depth. He was even more of a menace than usual when offered a full glass.

Niall continued to stare, impatiently waiting for my answer. His eyebrows were raised in question, a prompt. It was a push that I neglected until a breathless male barged into the casual atmosphere. His hair was a mess and the shirt he was wearing appeared to be buttoned up in an odd order, the remains of a drink spilt down the front.

“Oi, come on, there’s some girls down the end of the garden going at it!”

The stranger retreated the way he had come, skidding haphazardly over the laminate flooring and out the double doors into the night.

Fuck.

Surely not, not Bo, she was the least likely person to ever participate in a fight. It couldn’t be her. But that reassurance didn’t stop me scrabbling up from the sofa and making a dash for the French doors at the back of the house. Niall was right behind me, sprinting across the decking and down the steps. The pool was to the back of the garden, the informer weaving between the small gatherings of partygoers, a path which we made our route almost as if tail-gating an emergency service vehicle.

“Bo!”

My heart plummeted as I identified the hard, protective stance Bo used to stand solidly by the side of Hayley. I’d experienced a comparable stature before, recollecting the time she had sheltered me against a wall when I could barely stand. A somewhat small but effective blockade preventing my body from receiving a continued onslaught of violence. She’d practically carried me back to her house that night. The night that I’d told her about my dad.

As we drew closer, it was plain to see the situation panning out. They were attracting an increasing crowd of thirsty onlookers, the three girls exchanging heated words. I was unable to put a name to the third girl, she stood taller but not by much, her height elevated by the heels she wobbled in. And even more so as she roughly lunged forward.

“Let go of her!” Hayley screeched.

A fist full of Bo’s hair was taken, yanking her in an attempt to divide her and Hayley’s concrete alliance. By the time I reached the surrounding ring of audience, scratchy nails had left marks on skin. I’d seen many catty fights on numerous nights out, but it never came down to blows; at best it was tingling pink with a slap to the face. And it was almost always caused by a cheating guy who thought he could get away with having it off with two girls at the same time.

It was all a little surreal, not quite sure of how something could escalate so furiously, especially with Bo in the middle; quite literally as her hair was clenched in the aggressive female’s fist. I fought through a compacted wall of people as shrieks were heard from the inside the temporary ring.

A hand that clasped to my shoulder was shrugged off, only for the force to be reapplied with more authority moments later. I soon discovered the owner of the unwanted constraint, shoving the arrogant twat away.

“Let them fight it out,” he complained, breath reeking of mixed drinks.

Of course he’d want a girl fight, nothings more entertaining to a gang of lads than having females potentially rip at each other’s clothes whilst screaming in competition.

“Back off,” I spat.

His stocky frame recoiled a little when he identified me. For the past couple of years it became something of a regularity to have people cower back in my presence. Word of mouth travels fast when you beat a jumped-up prick to the floor one night.

My battling endeavour to reach Bo continued, elbowing the hindrance of bodies out of my way. Hayley had struggled to remove the hold the girl had on Bo, but apparently she didn’t need help. My girl had raised her forearm to deflect the bitchy claws that intended to damage the skin of her neck. It proved as a valuable distraction, enough for Bo to screw her right hand into a fist and make a solid impact to the girl’s middle. She’d doubled over, clutching her belly before releasing the strands of dark hair from weakened fingers.

It sickened me as the boisterous gathering seemed to strongly react, cheering in encouragement. I’d had enough of this.

“Move!”

The last few wide-eyed faces had dispersed, enough for me to witnesses the aftermath of the girl taking a sharp kick to her shin. She moved forward to take a swipe at Bo’s face, but Hayley selflessly placed herself between them, taking the hit and staggering back.

I grappled Hayley around the waist and unwillingly persuaded her to me before securing my fingers to the material of Bo’s cardigan. She desperately tried to resist my attempts to drag her to me, struggling at the strength we both exerted. Her stubborn nature was being displayed quite vividly, frustrated that she was stunted in progressing in the situation.

“Bo.”

When I got a good hold on the clothing I tugged a little harden, knocking Bo off balance for her body to lurch back towards me. The opportunity arose and I grasped at it, almost losing Hayley in the process as I wrestled Bo into my right side. It was optimistic of me.

“Get off!” She screamed.

Fingers clawed at my skin, frantic with thoughts of escape. I’d seen her fraught with emotion before, but that event had been mixed with sniffs and trickles of tears. This was different, she was angry.

“Bo, calm down.”

An arm was tightly coiled around both of the girl’s middles. It became more difficult to contain the situation as the pair were determined to shake off my hold to launch at the female opposite. I didn’t recognise the guy who had stepped in, but I presumed it was her boyfriend detaining her in a similar manner.

We were going to end up in a heap on the floor if the tug of war continued.

“Niall, I can’t hold both of them!”

He was wide eyed, unsure of what to do as the crowd he’d just emerged from continued to press. He’d never been one for confrontation, always with a smile on his face and a stupid anecdote to make the people in his presence laugh. But not tonight.

I was grateful as Tom quickly stepped in, taking Hayley from me and lessening the burden. But I had neglected my attention concerning my other reluctant hostage.

Bo’s POV

Bitch. She was still smirking at me. Uninvited bitch.

My fists clenched once again, ready to smack the smug look off her face. Hayley had gone, but I knew she was safe. I wasn’t completely certain who had taken it upon themselves to break up our scuffle, as most were more than content to watch. However, judging by the feel of the body pressed up to my back, it was a male. His right arm strong, but the restraint far from exerting his full potential.

A slip of fingers was all it took to bargain release. An “omff” breathily puffed out behind me, most likely the referee of our fight becoming situated with a thump to the grass. Seconds was all it took to shuttle forward and plant my hands to my competitor’s shoulders. The look of utter astonishment flashed over her eyes, replacing what previously flooded them, something of arrogant reassurance. I didn’t hit her, instead opted for a path that some might say was childish, but I really didn’t like her dress. It was strangely satisfying to watch my perilous efforts be rewarded.

Both her and the boyfriend became submerged in the pool. They resurfaced dazed and spluttering water from their mouths. Streaked eye makeup painted her cheeks with black smudges and I grinned from the pool edge.

Upon turning I was greeted with a barrage of noise, people hollering and congratulating me for some odd reason. Entertainment apparently. My high didn’t last as long as I’d hoped, attentiveness diverted to a single person.

Harry was on the floor, panting wildly and looking more bewildered than I had ever seen him. It rivalled the time when I confessed my love for him and then fled.

His snapback was taken from his head, his hair pushed back to be replaced once more. The laces from his grey Nikes had come loose from where they had been snuggly tucked into his trainers. Sat on his bum, knees bent, hands supporting his weight behind him.

On my approach I offered my hand which he took almost immediately. I felt like a disobedient child as Harry disapprovingly glared. The hand yet to be freed was used in guidance that linked us, both our arms stretched at optimum length as Harry decided on where to hold our impending conversation. He came by a somewhat enclosed, paved area, perfect for laying into me with words to scold.

“What the hell happened?”

The first accusation hit the hardest, implying that I had a choice in the matter. I didn’t, it’s what anyone else would have done.

“She was being horrible to Hayley, I wasn’t going to let her mouth-off. She wasn’t even invited and when Hayley asked her to leave, she nearly pushed her to the floor, Harry.”

He wasn’t convinced, thumb and index pinching the bridge of his nose as he listened to my recital. I was aware of the likeness it portrayed to a playground dispute; he said, she said, a quarrel over who sprinted to the swings first.

“So you hit her?”

“She started it!” I nearly shouted at the risk of sounding like a spoilt brat.

His head shook in disregard to my objection.

“You should have called me if there was a problem,” he exasperated.

A crinkle formed between his eyebrows, but it wasn’t a symptom of vexation, but of disquiet. His eyes softened, lowering his head to address me in a more intimate manner than he had before.

“You’re not going to be there all the time, I have to do some things on my own,” I explained.

My hand was delicately taken, thumb rubbing soothingly over the back.

“I understand that, but I don’t want you fighting anyone.”

“That’s a bit hypocritical, don’t you think?”

I was ready to yank my hand from his. Harry kept his voice steady, unprepared to raise it. It amazed me at how well he was doing at reigning in emotions that could have gotten the better of the circumstance.

“I’m trained to give and receive hits. It’s part of my job, not yours.”

“You were the one that taught me how to do that,” I gestured to the area in which the ruckus had taken place, “to defend myself.”

It appeared the state of uncivilised affairs had calmed, people going back to drink and conversations of a more casual nature.

“Bo, you punched her in the stomach,” Harry almost sighed.

Shit. I couldn’t really proclaim that was in self-defence, a fact I had been replying on to prop-up my case. I had kicked her in the shin as well, I hoped it would bruise.

“I didn’t know that you’d seen that,” I shifted uncomfortably on my toes. “But hey, I remembered to keep my thumb outside my fist, like you showed me.”

The inside of my cheek was bitten as I shyly looked to Harry. He was fighting a smile, and when it burst, my stomach flipped. It surprised me to hear his rough laughter, catching in his throat as he reeled me into a squashed hug.

“Good girl,” he praised, kissing the top of my head. “You’re something else, Bo.”

My right cheek flattened to his chest, welcoming the sound of his low humming voice and thumping of a vital organ. He’d told me countless times of my standing in the shares of his heart, not bought but given. The left side was mine; he’d said he could make do and survive with the smaller right half, just so long as I kept it safe.

I don’t think he realised just how little I was living on. A tiny piece of my heart was for me, the rest for him, under Harry’s guard. I trusted him.

“You do know that I’d take the hits for you, I’ll stand in front and take whatever comes,” he stated.

I wanted to tell him he didn’t need to; I didn’t want to be locked away like a princess in a tower, protected by a one-man army. I’d stand with him, hold his hand and we could battle the dragons together.

“You wouldn’t feel a thing.” Harry admitted in a breathless, promised whisper.

The prodigious comfort felt after those words was like no other. I’d never met anyone that held my safety and contentment above their own, apart from my parents. And Harry continued to go beyond any expectation I had.

A staggered movement into nearby bushes caused me to raise my head from his chest. The hand that wincingly clapped to my shoulder took me somewhat by surprise, and had Harry glaring at the mystery person before shoving their drunken contact from my body.

“You’ve just sky-rocketed up in my expectations,” Louis energetically admitted, “fuck me, that was awesome!”

Once in my view, the drunk male grinned so large I thought it might split his face. He had an undeniable happy spirit about him, something that could make you smile in any situation. Well, maybe not in Harry’s case.

“Louis,” Harry pinched threw gritted teeth, “you were supposed to be keeping an eye.”

“I did,” he gestured with his beer, “I was cheering her on and she was doing brilliantly, did you see Bo slog her one in the gut?”

The liquid that escaped from the bottle Louis swung around narrowly missed Harry’s trainers as he took a side step into me. Instinct had me consequently taking his arm in balance.

“Bloody hell Lou, how much have you had?”

“He told me you set fire to a car,” I intervened.

“Jesus,” Harry pained, eyes clenching closed and continuing to curse under his breath.

“And that he covered it up,” I pointed.

Louis sheepishly chortled, his awareness of the situation settling a little more as Harry zeroed in; but the lad couldn’t seem to keep his mouth shut.

“Don’t worry mate, I didn’t tell her about those quad-bikes we tested out over the golf course.”

Harry nearly fell over himself as he shuttled forward to plant a hand solidly over Louis’ mouth.

“Why don’t you come with an off button?” He grumbled.

His palm slipped away as Louis muffled a “sorry” into the smothering hand.

“You had a quad-bike?” I asked in appreciative surprise.

“Umm,” Harry toed the gravel beneath his feet as Louis made an uncoordinated escape, bouncing off the hedge and scampering away. “They err, they weren’t actually ours.”

“You stole them?”

I was becoming more and more aware that is wasn’t just aggressive teenage confrontations Harry had participated in. It sounded like delinquent behaviour. Vandalism, stealing, fights; you name it, apparently Harry had been there, done that.

“Nah, I’d say borrowed…without permission. But Louis kind of crashed his, so we couldn’t take’em back.”

He looked to me for a reaction, squeezing the back of his neck to release the tension the conversation was consequently creating. I’d read somewhere that it was a characteristic of a male feeling uncomfortable in the situation.

“Wow,” I breathily proclaimed. “Not much you haven’t incinerated or destroyed. Tell me, why did you burn that car?”

“That’s not really important now; it was a long time ago,” he skilfully averted. “What we should be focusing on is how hot that was.”

His change in body language had me hopelessly clawing to keep up. A hand placed on the small of my back anchored me to him, pressing the flat plane of his stomach to my torso. With nothing to back me up into, I fretted for a second that we would end up in the hedge; a blockade that appeared to have a collection of drunken body shaped holes pressed into the leaves (a collection that was gradually being added to).

“What was?”

From previous experience, I had noted seemingly insignificant ticks and habits Harry exhibited when aroused. The way his jaw rippled with a flicker of muscle, an indication of either anger or vivification of a darker hunger. And by the way the pads of his fingers pressed desirably into the hold, apparently it was the latter.

“You laying into that girl,” Harry responded lowly.

“You liked that?” I tilted my head up.

My hands slipped down his clothed back, before becoming situated in the back pockets of his jeans. I’d never really thought of myself as being all that fascinated with backsides, they were just something you sat on. But apparently I had a thing for Harry’s. He roughly tittered as my hands decided to squeeze.

“Fuck yeah.” The obscene language made the reply sound even dirtier, especially coupled with the implying tone. “Maybe we could try it?”

His suggestion drained the lust building my clouded emotions. What did he think we were going to do?

“Harry, I’m not hitting you.”

I swallowed thickly as he maintained our contact, eyes seeking mine.

“No, I didn’t mean it like that. I thought maybe in the bedroom we could…you know.”

He left the sentence hanging in mid-air between us, and it looked as though I was supposed to fill in the mystery blanks. Being on the spot had never really prompted my most intelligible answers, so I kept quiet, not wanting to blurt out something that could cause embarrassment.

“I want you to dominate me,” he finally spoke, saving me the chore of guessing.

To say the admittance surprised me, was a major understatement. My fingers clutched at his shoulders as he wickedly smirked. I was having visible trouble processing the information as he continued to play out the fantasy and press into my composure.

“Pin me down,” he sighed, “tie me up. I want you to pull on my hair, tell me how good I’m being for you.”

The space between us was almost non-existent, Harry so consumed with the imagined scene and desiring every part of my body to be pressed to his. I’d never thought he want anything like that, let alone be able actually act it out, he was so domineering. I couldn’t seem to find my voice.

“And then when I’m begging, desperate for you; you’ll let me have a taste from your fingers.”

My knees almost gave way with the proposition; the image of Harry so uttering wrecked with arousal and desire was playing dangerously with a deep want which was clawing its way into significance.

“I’d do anything you tell me to,” he submissively spoke.

My mind fuzzed up, consumed with unimaginable erotic thoughts. I was clinging to him, his larger protective frame embodying everything I craved in a male partner. His athletic build proved to be some incarnation of an idolised god, strong, muscled, and determined to render me completely powerless to his advances. Damn it, if he wanted me to tie him up, I was practically unarmed to deny his wishes.

The fabric of my cardigan was trapped in fists that had no intention of freeing me. And I had no inclination to that freedom, if it meant Harry would remain holding me like his life depended on it. When the words “fuck you with my tongue”, dripped from his pretty mouth, I had become dependent on his stature.

“Oh my…”

“Talk dirty to me,” he thickly encouraged.

“I’ve never done that before,” I admitted with a flush.

His smile was easy, clouded with thirst and just for me.

“Just tell me what you want to do to me, or me to you,” Harry explained. “What do you like?”

Before my mind had caught up, my mouth was forming words on it’s own accord.

“Biting,” I blurted.

He lightly laughed, squeezing my waist and turning us slightly so his body blocked my view of irrelevant people, just like a building obscuring the sun (only, this darkness was much more enviable.)

“Where?”

“On your hips.”

“Mine?” Harry smugly stated. “Why?”

“I want to mark you.”

His hips were something of wonder, tight, with a set of v-lines sunken into the soft, firm flesh. I wanted to leave crescent shaped scores into his skin with my nails before mouthing over the area to create blurred bruises in soft colours.

“I wanna shag you so bad,” Harry admitted breathlessly. “Come with me.” Were the words spoken before he took my hand and led me up the garden.

Intoxication was high amongst the crowd I was dragged through, Harry’s hand held a certain authority as it firmly linked us. My eyes were absorbing everything they could before we came across the stairs and continued to discover a less explored area of the house.

“Move.”

A couple of guys making conversation on the dark carpeted steps were shoved to the side, apparently not dividing quickly enough for Harry. I gave them a rushed “I’m sorry”. But the gesture produced was more of a squeak, my feet leaving the floor as I was readily lifted over the boy star-fishing on the rug at the top of the stairs.

“Drink some water,” I humorously suggested, receiving a shaky thumb-ups seconds later.

Harry had checked a few of the doors along the darkened landing, most were occupied by people doing a pretty sloppy job of snogging, all teeth and wet lips. It was then I fully understood the rather repulsive terminology of a ‘tongue bath’.

When we reached the second to last door down the quieter hall, we stroke luck; one of the many guest bedrooms that Hayley had listed off when I enquired about the number of rooms the house possessed. Our connection broke, the door closed and Harry ventured into the depths of the encompassing dark.

“Harry?”

“I’m still here, just need to..”

A small lamp flickered on, providing the space with a warm comfort. It was a good size, a modern looking room with a vast window and adjoining bathroom. The bed held plush decoration pillows, tying in with the colour scheme of cream and plum. Large strides ensured Harry was within my less than concerned personal space almost instantly. He held me closely, lips ascertaining the curve where neck met shoulder. His hands were everywhere imaginable, squeezing and negotiating their way under the limited clothes I had on, mine mirroring enthusiasm.

The heavy thump of base could still be heard and felt through the floor, rhythmic drumming most likely being the support that guided the timing of hip thrusts, and eventual end. Especially for the first couple we had unfortunately stumbled upon, they hadn’t even made it to the bed.

“Wait.”

Harry’s mouth paused with my objection, concerned eyes finding mine. My digits were wound into the hair at his nape, providing control if I desired to tease and tug, an aspect of play that Harry had brought to my attention in a new light.

“What’s wrong?” He panted.

“I really love this song.”

Tight lips burst into a smile before diving back in to continue the attack. A sharp groan was released, my fingers gently yanking in response to Harry’s teeth grazing skin.

“Good,” he almost mouthed, “because I’m gunna fuck you to it.”

“I don’t want to do it on someone else’s sheets, Harry.”

It wasn’t my intention to sound whiny or inconsiderate of the situation, but I fretted that’s how my statement came across. However, Harry didn’t give the impression that he was all that worried, still with his hands shoved up my top and his snapback doing an awful job of keeping his hair at bay.

“Good job I wasn’t thinking of using the mattress then,” he disclosed in playful threat. “I’m going to take you up against the wall.”

It seemed the promise of my previously discussed dominance, wasn’t going to be held in regard tonight. But I did reserve the right of stripping him from his plaid shirt and none too gently unbuckling his belt; something which he was more than happy to oblige to.

His jeans were unceremoniously dropped, groping at my shorts and bikini bottoms whilst I attended to the condom he handed me from his wallet. I was hoisted up between Harry’s firm body and the wall, breath emitted in small laboured gasps.

“No,” I blurted, “keep the hat on.”

He chortled with my suggestion, right hand straightening out the back to front snapback, previously raised to knock it from his head. Harry nuzzled into my shoulder before delivering the first heavy thrust of his hips, a welcomed impact of relief.

***

Louis’ POV

“Harry!”

I’d been calling after the fleeing couple as they ascended the stairs, apparently entirely oblivious to Harry’s requirement on my team for the football match being organised for later. I needed him to balance out the drunkenness on our side; the probability of me face-planting was quite high if I didn’t sober up in time. If it wasn’t for the high-staked bet, I would have waved it off, but the possibility of winning a round of drinks at the pub was too good to pass up.

After disturbing a couple that were going at it like rabbits, I’d made it to the end of the hall, unscathed but probably traumatised for the rest of my life. Once concluding that Harry and Bo were indeed, not hiding behind the massive house plant, I decided to search elsewhere.

But I didn’t get far, just to the next closed door. I pressed my ear to the wood until I could decipher the whimpering, the name being mewed sounding remarkably familiar.

“Haz,” I spoke to the inanimate barrier. I grinned knowingly as the movement ceased behind the door. “Mate, I know you’re in there. I’m pretty sure Bo’s with you too.”

Silence.

My hand went to turn the handle, still possessing that clunky drunken behaviour and a liquid confidence I wouldn’t encompass otherwise.

“Fuck off, Louis! We’ll be out in a minute,” a disgruntled voice echoed through the door.

It was definitely Harry.

“A minute?” I laughed. “Give her more than a minute, mate!”

“Fuck you!”

I couldn’t supress the hiccupping amusement, cackling loudly in the empty, upstairs landing.

“I’ll see you when you’ve both finished.”

***

Bo’s POV

“Bloody hell,” I sighed in satisfaction.

He’d disposed of the condom, pulling up his trunks, followed by his jeans. I remained slumped against the wall, spent, a lazy smile on my face. Harry reciprocated my pleased expression, smugly aware of how tired I was from our activities.

“Wow.”

His nose sweetly rubbed mine, linking our hands. I watched as he removed his hat, placing it on my head before teasing out his sweaty curls and sweeping them back from his forehead.

“Come on, I’ll carry you.”

I didn’t object, secretly relieved to receive the help, and unsure if I’d have actually made it down the stairs with my rattled legs. Harry was unperturbed as I looped my arms around his neck, clambering onto his back. If I’d been more alert, I would have been quizzical about his lack of physical exertion. Perhaps it was the adrenaline of averting exposure to our covert romp, despite our interruption.

I wondered if Louis was as much a pain in the arse when he was sober?

Once we were down the stairs, Harry headed out towards the pool. My head rested on his shoulder, the shoulder I had bitten into about ten minutes prior to lessen the need to cry out in ecstasy. There were a few people milling around in the water. Louis was sat on the side, feet dipping in and excitedly splashing anyone in range. He looked a little less glassy-eyed but if the giggling was anything to go by, I’d have said he was still tipsy.

I slipped from Harry’s back to the grass, taking his hand and trailing over to the pool a trifle unsteady.

“I never took you for a “say my name, say my name” kinda guy, Haz,” was the first thing uttered out of Louis’ mouth.

Harry told him to fuck off, seconds later commencing in the removal of his clothes. The performance was nowhere near as hectic as before, but still held that sensual appeal, something to get your heart racing. By the time he was down to his swimming trunks, I was practically drooling. I hoped the affectionate love bites and pink scratches would go unnoticed.

“You getting in?”

I nodded, reaching to drag off my cardigan and drop it by the side of Harry’s discarded clothes. The button of my shorts was undone, shimming out of them a little self-consciously. They pooled at my now bare feet as Harry’s fingers reached for the hem of my t-shirt.

“Holy shit,” he breathed in appreciation.

A heated blush rose in my cheeks as I flustered and endured the burning of Harry’s loving gaze. The bikini was as much for Harry as it was for myself. And judging by the enamoured expression, I’d achieved my goal of impressing.

“You look phenomenal, but if any guy so much as looks at you, I’m gunna smash his face in.”

Typical Harry.

***

“I didn’t know Tom was coming,” I enquired with a smile.

Hayley and I floated near the shallow end, my hair now wet and sticking to my back.

“Oh, I invited him.”

She shyly glanced over to where the boys were messing around in the deeper water. Tom flashed a grin at her and she about liquidated into the clear blue surrounding us.

“Aww,” I teased.

“Shut up,” she retaliated.

I was about to torment some more, until I yelped in response to Harry surfacing in front of us. He seemed pleased with the reaction, beaming a full-watt smile.

“Ladies,” he nodded at both of us. “Do you want a lift?”

Hayley swam along the side of us, chatting to Harry whilst I settled on his back. My arms loosely banded his neck, almost floating as the drag of water propelled us forward. I watched the ripples of water wash by, my cheek wet to Harry’s shoulder.

“Liam’s here,” Louis spoke from his position on the edge of the pool.

“Really?”

“Yeah, he showed up while you were shagging each other’s brains out.”

Hayley burst out laughing as I wished the water to part and swallow me up. Why did he have to embarrass us? Jokes about our abrupt departure tittered around the group bobbing in the pool, the amusement held at mine and Harry’s expense. Thankfully, people began to swim away to participate in a game of catch with a blow up beach ball.

The tone didn’t stay light for long, a tense atmosphere chilling over Harry’s skin and consequently, mine. I remained resting against him.

“You should go talk to Liam. He’s heard some things, Haz.”

Louis was no longer upbeat, a frown commandeering his usual content features. It didn’t suit him.

“About what?”

“About the old neighbourhood. I mean, they could just be rumours, but he sounded quite convinced it was…”

Louis looked to me and I suddenly felt I shouldn’t have been a part of the conversation, or even present for the duration of it. My hands slipped from their position around Harry, but he refused to let me go, ensuring their security.

“He’s sure?”

“I dunno, it’s difficult to say. But you should still go and talk to him.”

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