KNOCKOUT - A Harry Styles FanFiction

This is the sequel to Dark by H28 from


3. Chapter 3

“When does he fight?” I pryingly enquire.

I’ve accepted a drink, non-alcoholic, what with the long drive back home. Mack’s giving me odd looks as I return my devotion to him after scanning the room for the third time. It’s precautionary. I know Harry’s gone; an abrupt exit with a stunned crowd and an unconscious competitor was pretty conclusive. But I still keep my wits about me.

“Huh?” he strains over the noise.

“Harry, when does he normally fight?”

“Most weekends, occasionally during the week,” Mack almost shouts in reply. “Come through to the back, it’s quieter.”

I shuffle along behind him, dodging people who can’t seem to keep their drink steady. I feel oddly privileged to follow Mack through the door label, “PRIVATE”. It was used as an entrance and exit for the fighters a little while before and yet again I’m overcome with a sense that I’m trespassing. A short walk down the corridor leads us to an office at the back. It’s not overly big, but the space is used well, desk, computer, filing cabinet, and a not so well hidden safe.

“Look, if you want to meet him, I can arrange something, Bo.”

My head turns so quickly I think I’ve jarred my neck. I rub at the nape trying to ease the discomfort. Mack’s sat at the desk, riffling through paperwork in order to retrieve his phone which has just pinged with a text.

“With Harry?” I ask, my eyebrows shooting up.

He doesn’t look up, instead rummages in the furniture’s drawers.

“Yeah, I mean, it might be a bit difficult,” he pauses with a grimace. “He’s not really a people person.  But even I know that he must have something going for him. Since he’s been here, the amount of women turning up on his fight nights have increased.”

 “No, that’s ok,” I shake my head.

“Sure? I can tell him you’re a fan. I know the - urr..” he gestures in the general area of his face, leaving me puzzled before continuing. “It’s a bit intimidating, but he’s alright.”

“No, thanks.”

I can tell he’s about to nose further into my fascination with one of his fighters, so I quickly change the subject.

“What’s that?”

Of the paper collection on his desk, the one I pick up is handwritten. Words and occasionally whole sentences have been scribbled out. By the crumpled appearance, it’s obvious this single sheet has been given more attention than the others. It’s taken from me before I can decipher the recipient. 

“A letter,” Mack curtly replies.

“Who are you writing to?”

A heavy sigh exhales as he slouches back in his computer chair and I pull out the seat opposite him.

“My girlfriend.”

It’s spoken with a little unease.

“Is it a love letter?” I ask, smiling more than I probably should.

He shakes his head with a flush colouring his cheeks. It’s kind of cute.

“She’s been reading these God-awful books where the characters confess their love for each other through the written word.”

His nose turns up as though the sentence spoken disgusts him. Romance is often as foreign to some people as a different language, so I don’t make any snide remarks.

“It’s not like I don’t talk to her on the phone every day. She wants me to write down my feelings and send them to her.”

“I think it’s sweet.”

A feeling of joy bubbles up, happy to hear that love exists outside of my perilous experiences. He taps away at his phone as I sit quietly and observe. There’s a couple of framed pictures, a pin board littered with calendar dates and a small potted plant that could do with a water.

“Of course you do,” he rolls his eyes.

I’m fully acquainted with sarcasm, living with the likes of Tiff. His putdown won’t dampen my spirits.

“Where is she?”

“Studying up in Manchester.”

His eyes drift over to the phone he’s recently found and I know the constant buzzing is messages from her by the smile he wears.

“I could help you if you want.”

Mack’s torn away from the screen, latching instead onto our conversation, which apparently has taken an interesting turn.

“What do you mean?”

I shift forward to the edge of the seat, repositioning the pathetic cushion used to combat the heavy wood of the chair.

“With the composition. If you’re struggling, I could give you a woman’s perspective.”

“You’d do that?” he asks, slightly amazed.

“Sure, if you let me sit in on the fights.”

I hope it’s casual enough to not raise suspicion, but I’m not sure if the silence we’re currently swimming in is him contemplating the offer, or if he’s trying to work out if I’m bit of a crazy groupie. I give him a soft smile which I hope doesn’t come off as odd.


“Brilliant,” I grin, leaning over the paper peppered desk to shake his hand. “Just please don’t tell him.”

“About what?”

“About me.”


Apparently I’m not competent enough to take command of the trolley, so I’m stuck walking alongside like a child as Tiff points out items on the shelf. We’d brought Rob on our food shopping expedition after discovering he’d eaten pot noddle for breakfast and lunch. He’d scowled as we’d tried to explain that the “food” had about as much nutrition as water sodden cardboard.

“You’re going home again?”

I place tins of sweetcorn amongst our swelling food supply.


The trolley screeches to a halt, an old lady tutting behind before steering around us. Tiff’s brown eyes are swarming me with disappointment, brows furrowing as she continues to push forward.

“Why? We were meant to go to the cinema. You remember? I have that voucher for Saturday night, I can’t use it any other day.”

“Shit. I’m really sorry,” I shake my head with genuine regret.

“Ugh,” Tiff grumbles, throwing a box of cereal into our shared trolley. “Oh God, I’ll have to take Rob instead.”

“Take me where?” Rob pops up, mouth full of grapes and arms full of rubbish microwave meals. “Are we going on a date, Tiff?”

He suggestively nudges her with his shoulder, eyebrows dancing around in a supposedly flirty way.

“You wish,” she bites back, helping unload the items from his clutches.

“You’re supposed to pay before you start eating the shopping,” I point out, taking the nearly empty bag of fruit and placing it on top.

I’m not surprised that they ignore my scolding in favour of racing down the frozen aisle to see what’s on offer. We’ll divide it between us if the food goes towards a main meal. But if it’s ice-cream, it’s none negotiable, there will be no sharing, just stomach aches after eating a full tub to ourselves.

“Well, Bo was supposed to come with me to the flicks, but now she can’t, so I’m taking you.”

“Brilliant! What are we seeing?”


“Well, what do you want to tell her?”

The point of my pen digs deeper into the page and I’ve resorted to doodling in the margin. I’m working on a full meadow of flowers, complete with bumble bees and butterflies. We’ve been sitting on Mack’s side of the desk for near forty minutes, still deliberating as to how his heartfelt letter should begin. I imagine that somewhere around now, Rob is hassling Tiff to share her popcorn, and they’ve already argued over who gets the middle armrest.

“I want her to know that I miss her.”

“Well, that’s a start,” I say, ripping off my mindless illustrations and starting a new page. “What do you miss?”


I force back the urge to coo at him, because I know it will put him off and we won’t be any further forward. To combat the pins and needles tingling in my right foot, I shift it out from under my left thigh and rearrange myself again. Mack’s been up and down like a yo-yo during our time together, and I’m coming to realise his attention span is probably the hindering factor in his inability to complete the letter. Wide brimmed glasses are propped on the end of his nose and I can’t help but liken him to James and their mutual distaste at having to wear them. James keeps them safely tucked away in his bag, only recovering them when it’s absolutely necessary to see the TV. The fact that his lashes are long enough to brush the inside of the lenses always fascinates me.

I pen a star into the margin of the lined paper, readying myself for the flurry of bullet point ideas I hope will follow. It’s probably a bit optimistic as Mack has taken to riffling through a diary of appointments in his lap.

“Mack!” a shout echoes from outside.

His head instantly snaps up, eyes boomeranging from me to the door.

“It’s Harry.”

His voice is low, enough to warn me, but not to draw attention to the fact that he has company in the office. I release the chewed up end of the pen from my teeth, hearing it clatter to the desk and roll to the floor. I’ve no idea where it lands because I’m consumed with the need to hide.

“He’s early,” I hiss.

The easy tread of footsteps outside in the corridor sound like thunder to my ears, heart in my mouth and I’m crawling to the impossibly small space between the filing cabinet and safe. My hands feel dirty and my denim covered knees are probably filthy with dust from the neglected floor. It’s not the best hiding place by any means, but it serves a desperate purpose as I squeeze and wriggle back to relative safety. I knock my head on the worktop that runs above the safe, but the curse is bitten down in favour of keeping my whereabouts unknown. From where I’m wedged in I can see Mack’s legs from knee down as he gathers the paper we’d been working on before slamming the evidence into a drawer. My stomach feels as though it’s fallen out of my arse and I silently reprimand myself for the packet of bourbons I’d shared with James on Thursday night. I can hardly breathe and I don’t want to now that the office door has been opened.

“Harry,” Mack greets a little uneasy, probably the fact that he’s allowing a stowaway to take refuge amongst his furniture.

I gulp down the bile rising in my throat.

“I’m gunna need my money,” Harry gruffly demands.

I press back further into my dark spot. There’s probably spiders lurking in here with me but there’s no way I’m going to be ousted out by creepy crawlies. I’m more uncomfortable with the thought of being out there.

“You already have it,” Mack replies, casually leaning back against his desk.

“Not for last night.”

I still can’t see him, he’s not walked any further into the room and I feel even more childish for concealing myself; hiding from my unaddressed issues instead of confronting them. This was a stupid idea. My flustered self didn’t really weigh up other options, there was no time. And now that I’m sat, wedged into a space not meant for a person approaching their twentieth birthday, I can’t help but plague myself with the question, would it really have been that bad if he’d have seen me?

I can’t come out now though, I’ll look like a crazy person for hiding.

A breathless squeak is supressed by the palm of my hand as Mack crouches down almost in front of me. For a horrific couple of seconds, I’m fraught with the worry that he’s going to rat me out. But he doesn’t. Eyes communicate words unspoken and he continues, attending to the number combination on the safe.

Notes are stuffed into a white envelope and he unfolds from his squat, kicking the door closed with his foot. It’s a short break from fear of blown cover.  

“Did you have a woman in here?” Harry asks.

My mouth dries and I have to supress the need to hack my guts up. I dabble in the unsavoury idea that he can smell me, like a predator with its prey. But we’re not playing cat and mouse, despite the fact that I’m holed up and out of sight.

“No,” Mack replies a little too quickly.

“Is this yours then?”

I duck my head down as far as I’m able, peering out at what is being discussed. My tube of lip balm is pinched between Harry’s thumb and index, looking stupidly small held in one of his bear paws. It makes me feel more vulnerable to discovery knowing that he’s holding something of mine that I’d used only ten minutes prior.

He’s too tall for me to see his face; my only view is of his lower body and half of his torso. Dressed all in black, I imagine him to come and go as he pleases during the hours after dusk, sinking back into the dark.

“Didn’t think it was your colour,” Harry jokes.

There’s no well-versed guidelines as to how I should be feeling; no blueprint to reassure that me being oddly comforted by the familiarity of his oversized feet is weird. That part is Harry. It’s the bitten tone that has me swaying between guarded and calm. He’s a concoction of what I once knew and something unnervingly different. Skinny jeans and long legs, Harry. The stern posture and unthinking clenched fist belong to someone I’ve never met before.

“Maybe it’s one of the girls behind the bar, a few of them were in here earlier for their wages.”

Even if I didn’t know the truth, I wouldn’t be convinced enough to believe Mack’s lie. He’s atrocious at acting, a five year old would have performed better.

“Look, it’s not my place to judge.”

“I’m not cheating on my girlfriend,” Mack states with solid conviction.

Now that I can believe.

The money changes hands and I’m more than thankful for the help Mack offers to free me. Harry’s gone and it’s probably time I left, too.

“What was all that about?”

I collect my bag and jacket from the drawer Mack stuffed them in before our ambush. A tiny stick of lip balm could be explained, anything else would have raised the red flag and then shoved it in Harry’s face.

“I told you, I don’t want him to know.”

“He probably wouldn’t have seen you anyway,” he says with irritation.

I wrestle my jacket on as Mack pinches the bridge of his nose.

“You not staying for the fight then?”

“No, but I’ll see you soon.”


He checks the situation outside the office, returning to escort me along to the fire escape at the end of the hall. Night air extinguishes the fiery flush coating my skin as I walk towards where the car is parked. James pops up on my phone screen and I take his call before driving home. 

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