I wake up to my bed shaking and someone yelling. “Chloe wake up, wake up, wake upppp!”
“I’m honestly going to kill you if you don’t shut the fuck up!” I reluctantly open my tired eyes to find Harry bouncing up and down.
“She finally gets up.” He smiles.
I desperately want to be mad at him for waking me up, but that smile is making it hard to resist. I finally allow myself to give in after I get a good punch to his stomach.
“I deserved that.” He feigns hurt.
“Yes. Yes you did.” I laugh. “So tell me why you felt the need to wake me up at” —I look over to the clock on my side table—“nine in the morning?”
“Because we are going to the beach.”
“And why can’t we go later?”
“Because I am awake and bored now.” He flashes that damn dimpled smile again.
“Harry.” I groan and roll over so my face is buried in my pillow. “How about at noon?”
Maybe if we hadn’t stayed out so late last night I would be open to the idea. Not that I was complaining, last night was more fun than I’ve ever had, but I was exhausted after the baseball game.
“Chloe.” Harry mocked my groan, making me laugh.
“Fine! But you’re getting me coffee.”
“It’s a date.” He winks as he pulls me out of bed.
After our conversation yesterday, I was expecting things between us to get awkward, but it’s been completely the opposite. Especially since he was such an asshole the first couple of weeks I knew him, it’s been such a pleasant shock that we’ve become so close. I can count on him to lift my spirits.
Harry leaves me to get ready, so I head straight to my bathroom to brush my teeth and wash my face. I’ll skip the shower seeing as we’re going to be swimming. I go back into my closet and put on my bikini under my shorts and tank top. Then I grab my beach bag and shove a towel, some sunscreen, my sunglasses and my phone in.
I make my way to Harry’s room and don’t bother knocking. If he doesn’t have to knock on mine, then I don’t have to knock on his. “Ready?”
“Fuck Chlo, knock, would ya?” He says as he pulls on a plain white T-shirt.
“Oh, just like you knocked when you came into my room ten minutes ago to wake me up?” I challenge.
“I’m kidding, calm down. You know you don’t have to knock.” He laughs.
When we get to the beach, we find a spot on the hot sand to set our stuff down. I start to lay out my towel and take off my flip flops when Harry grabs me and tosses me over his shoulder.
“Harry! What the fuck!” I screech in surprise. He just laughs in response as he carries me toward the ocean. He’s lucky I took off my shorts and shirt. “Don’t go out to deep!”
“Is Chloe Hayes afraid?” He laughs even harder. The water is now at his knees.
“I just don’t want to get eaten by a shark or a dolphin or something.”
He slowly sets me down in the water as he laughs. The water reaches my waist, while it’s only mid-thigh for him. “A dolphin? Really Chlo?”
“I don’t know!” I laugh and splash water at him.
“No shark or dolphin will eat you, okay? I won’t let them.” He smiles and takes my hand. I nod and follow him as he slowly makes his way deeper into the water.
All of a sudden, he let’s go of my hand and disappears under water. A few seconds later, he appears right in front of me, his hair wonderfully slicked back from the water.
“I thought a dolphin was attacking you under there.” I tease.
“Nah, they’re afraid of me.” He smiles.
I laugh. “I’m sure.”
He grabs me by the waist and pulls me closer. “You don’t think so?” He raises his eyebrows.
I shake my head and try to hold back the laughter as his fingers dig into my hips.
“No?” He asks again. I shake my head again before he pulls me under the water.
“What about now?” He asks when we both resurface. I push the hair out of my face and spit the salt water in my mouth at him.
He laughs before tickling my hips again. “Okay, okay! They’re afraid of you!” I laugh as his long fingers continue to dig into me.
“That’s what I thought.” He smiles and stops tickling me.
His hands stay wrapped around my waist as we stand in the water that’s now up to my chest. I don’t know what is really happening, but neither of us are saying anything, we’re just looking into each other’s eyes.
My legs wrap around his waist and my arms move around his neck. Are noses are almost touching, and I feel like my heart is about to explode with the anticipation. But I know we can’t do this… friends don’t do this.
I will every fiber of my being not to close the gap between us to kiss Harry, and instead, I lean forward with my mouth close to his ear.
“Last one to our spot on the beach buys the winner lunch.”
I drop my legs and begin swimming away from him as fast as I can. The adrenaline from our close encounter definitely helps.
I don’t look back until my feet are on the sand, and I see him only a few feet behind me. When I successfully make it to our spot before him, I do a little happy dance and collapse on my towel.
“What’s for lunch?” I laugh breathlessly and lay back on my towel when he sits down on his.
“Oh no, you cheated.”
“Whatever, Styles. You’re just butt hurt about losing.”
He laughs as he lays down on his towel with his hands folded on his chest. “Next time, Hayes, you better watch your back.”
I sit up and search my bag for my sunscreen to reapply. Harry looks like he’s sleeping when I look over at him. It worries me when I envision myself waking him up with a kiss. What am i doing?
I force myself to look away and immediately spot a familiar face a few yards away, jogging along the shore.
I stand up and run over to catch up with Hayden, one of Brynn’s friends from school.
“Chloe! Hey, what are you doing here?” He stops and pulls out his earbud when he notices me. I must say, he’s a sight for sore eyes. His shirt is tucked into the back of his athletic shorts, his chest sparkling with perspiration, and his short blonde hair messy from his jog.
“I was just here with a friend.” I smile. “How are you?”
“I’m good. It’s fucking hot though.” He laughs breathlessly.
“Yeah,” I laugh with him. “So do you usually run on this beach?” I ask, desperate to pick up some type of conversation. This is a little awkward right now.
“Yeah, I live just a few miles away.” He smiles and pulls his shirt from his back pocket to wipe his forehead of sweat. “So are you staying here the rest of the day?”
"I don’t think so, we’re probably leaving soon.”
“Maybe we could hang later? Brynn said she was having some people.”
“Oh, sure. That sounds fun.” I smile.
“Cool. I can pick you up later? If you wanted to go home and change first.”
“Yeah, sounds good.”
“Is around two good?”
I give him my address and he promises to be at my house by four. I can’t deny the butterflies in my stomach as he jogs away, but my conscience also mocks me and reminds me that they aren’t even close to what I feel with Harry.
“Thanks for ditching me.” Harry says when I return. His eyes are still closed, so it startles me a little.
“I thought you fell asleep.” I laugh. “Sorry, I saw Hayden. I went to say hi.”
“Cool.” He finally sits up. “You ready to go?”
“Yeah, I need to shower. I’m going to Brynn’s later. Hayden’s picking me up at two.”
He nods as he stands up to put his shirt back on. He doesn’t say another word as he rids his towel of sand and slips his shoes back on. I want to ask him what’s changed his attitude, but decide against it and pack up my things in silence as well.
I start to get anxious when he doesn’t talk the whole way home either. We just sit in silence in the car. It reminds me of the Harry I met the night I moved here. What went wrong?
“Harry?” I force myself to speak.
He keeps his eyes on the road as he drives. “Yeah?”
“Did I do something?”
“What are you talking about?” He snaps.
“I don’t know… you haven’t said anything to me since we left.”
“I’m tired, that’s all.”
I sigh knowing there’s something more that I don’t know about. “Okay…”
When we get home, Harry goes straight to his room without another word. I’m left wondering what the hell his problem is as I shower and get ready before Hayden comes to pick me up. I feel guilty thinking he’s mad that I pulled away before we kissed, but he seemed fine after that. His mood didn’t change until after I came back from talking to Hayden. He can’t be mad that I was talking to him, could he?
All of my thoughts are pushed to the back of my mind when Hayden texts me saying he’s outside. I text him back saying the front door is open and he can just come upstairs to my room because I’m still getting ready.
I curl the last few pieces of my hair in the bathroom and go back to my room to find him sitting in the desk chair.
“There you are.” He smiles.
“Sorry, I had to finish my hair.”
“Well you look great. You ready?” He smiles.
I blush at his compliment as I grab my purse from my desk. “Yeah, let’s go.” I flip off the light in my room and lead him out.
I stop when Hayden takes my hand and pulls me back into the room.
"I thought we were leaving?”
“Not yet. Come here, babe.”
I try to pull away, but he’s too strong. Yeah, Hayden’s attractive, but I hardly know him, and he wants to hook up?
“Hayden, we should get going…”
“Not yet, we have something to take care of first.”
I begin to protest, but he covers my mouth with his and pushes me onto the bed. I try to push his crushing weight off of me with my arms, but he grabs my wrists again and holds them above my head. I feel helpless, scared, and confused.
“Hayden, why are you doing this?” I pant when he pulls away.
He doesn’t say anything before he kisses me again. I don’t know why he would enjoy this seeing as my mouth is unwilling to kiss him back.
“Get off me!” I yell when I get the chance.
“Chloe, kiss me back.” He pleads and thrusts his pelvis against me, indicating his clear arousal. I want to cry in disgust.
The door busts open and I silently thank God when I see Harry is standing there. “What the fuck are you doing?” He looks at Hayden
Hayden is quick to get off me and back away, but it’s not soon enough. Harry pushes him against the wall and has his arm across his chest to hold him there.
“Who the fuck do you think you are, huh?” Harry spits in his face. “Chloe get out.” He demands without taking his eyes off Hayden.
“Harry, please.” I cry. I know Hayden probably deserves to get his ass handed to him, but Harry’s anger at the moment looks lethal.
“Chloe get the fuck out!” He yells.
“No, Harry please stop! I’m okay!” No, I’m really not.
“The fuck you are!” He finally looks at me, but quickly returns his attention to Hayden who looks scared out of his mind. I would be too. “What makes you think you can come up here and force yourself on her? Huh? What’s your problem?” Harry has his arm against his neck.
“I’m sorry man, I wasn’t forcing her, I thought that’s what she wanted, honest.”
“Then why the hell was she screaming for you to get off her?” Harry yells in his face. “Give me one good reason I shouldn't murder your ass right now?”
“I’ll leave, I’m sorry, just let me go.” Hayden says frantically.
“Damn right you will.” Harry seethes before pulling his arm back and punching him. “Get the fuck out of my house.”
Hayden holds his nose that’s dripping blood and practically sprints out of my room. Seconds later I hear the front door slam shut, and I let out a deep breathe I didn’t even know I was holding.
What the hell just happened?
The tears freely fall down my cheeks as Harry just stands there. I don’t know what to do, what to say… I’m astonished at how Harry reacted… Yes, I’m immensely grateful, but he got so angry…
“Don’t.” He cuts me off harshly. He takes a deep breathe and lets it out. “Are you okay?”
I nod, not being able to speak.
He nods once and then he just leaves. Leaves my room, leaves my mind confused.
I guess Brynn’s isn’t happening tonight.
A week has gone by since the Hayden incident, and everything has seemed to fall apart. Harry is still as distant as he was the first week I knew him; hardly acknowledging me and snapping at me when I ask him what’s wrong. Hayden came to school the Monday after he forced himself on me with a broken nose and tried apologizing. I forgave him but told him we couldn’t be friends. What he had done was not going to happen again.
I had cried that entire night after Harry left my room, and decided maybe Harry’s sudden mood change was for the best; I knew I couldn’t keep hiding my feelings for him, so it was best we distance ourselves. I spent the rest of the week focusing solely on school to distract myself from all the shit going on at home. It didn’t help as much as I had hoped.
It was Saturday when I finally decided to go out with Brynn. I had told her about the whole situation with Hayden, and she had promised me he didn’t mean any harm by it. I told her I didn’t want to talk about it anymore, so she invited me to her family barbecue.
Even though I had been a little confused with the men in my life, I was having a good time getting to know Brynn’s cousin, Christian. She introduced me to him, and he seemed like a decent guy. I wasn’t looking for anything serious for obvious reasons, but it was nice to talk to a guy who wasn’t as bipolar as Harry or as frightening as Hayden.
I accepted Christian's ride home after a few hours at the barbecue, and even invited him inside. I was still scarred from the situation with Hayden last week, but I needed this. I needed to get over it all.
I was a little reluctant to bring him into my room with the memory of what Hayden had done to me in here, but I knew Christian wouldn't do anything like that to me. Christian sat in the desk chair while I excused myself to use the bathroom. He’s already proven to be much more of a gentlemen than Hayden.
“Sorry about that.” I apologize when I return to my room.
He laughs and stands up to walk over to me. “It’s okay.” His hand moves to my face and his thumb wipes under my eyes. “Sorry, you just had a little mascara on your cheek.” He smiles.
“Oh God! That’s so embarrassing.” I giggle. “I’m probably such a mess right now, it’s just so hot outside!” I don’t even want to think about how frizzy my hair is.
“You’re not a mess, Chloe. Not even close.”
“Thanks.” I blush.
“Chloe.” I turn my head to see Harry standing at my door.
“My mum is downstairs, you probably shouldn’t be doing this right now.” He says with a serious face.
“Do what?” I ask, confused.
“You should go.” Harry looks at Christian.
Christian looks at me then back at Harry before nodding. “Yeah, um, I’ll call you Chloe?”
“Wait, you don’t need to go.” I continue to look at Harry.
“No, it’s getting pretty late anyway. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” Christian kisses me on the cheek before sliding past Harry to leave.
Harry begins to go back to his room before I grab his arm. I don’t know what his deal is, but I’m furious now realizing what he was hinting at. Christian and I weren’t even hooking up yet, but I know Harry’s game.
“What the hell is your problem?” I snap at him.
Harry looks at me shocked before raising an eyebrow in question.
“Is this going to be a pattern? You not letting me hook up with guys?” I challenge. I try to keep my voice down so Anne won’t hear.
“Hayden practically raped you, Chlo!”
“Well Christian isn't Hayden! He's a nice guy and we weren’t even hooking up for fuck’s sake!” I seethe. “So what about this time, Harry? Maybe I wanted to hook up with him.”
“Well maybe I didn’t want you to.” He said before turning and slamming his bedroom door shut behind him once he was inside.