KNOCKOUT - A Harry Styles FanFiction

This is the sequel to Dark by H28 from onedirectionfanfictions.com

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5. Chapter 5

The car practically rocks as I slam the door, hurling my bag to the passenger seat whilst unsuccessfully prodding at the ignition with my keys. He’s shouting and the roar unnerves me. I’d be useless as a getaway driver.

“Bo!”

The engines splutters, complaining as I jerkily shove the gear stick into first. My belt prevents me from shooting through the roof in fright as a palm claps to the driver’s window. It’s enough of a shock to have me press the universal lock on the doors. I don’t bother indicating out of the space because the street is quiet at this time of night and I have no desire to hang around. The hand smacks against the window again with more urgency this time. As I pull away the glass is streaked with hopeful fingertips, smudges that blemish any promises made.

I fail to shift into second gear because my brain has apparently disconnected from my feet and the mechanics of the car groan under my misguided pressure. The vehicle jolts and I’m left panting for breath in a stationary car. My hands come up to instinctively cover my face, using the philosophy of “if I can’t see it, it’s not there”. I haven’t quite mustered up to crying, so I sit here sobbing parched of tears.

The hand-break is yanked on and I cautiously swivel my head to check my blind spot. He’s not there. It’s not until I’ve unbuckled my belt and carefully vacate the car that I see him. Harry’s sat on the curb just out of range from the street lamp’s halo of light. Crowded in of himself, knees to his chest and head tilted down. All folded up, you’d never know the extent of his size.

It’s with a heavy heart I walk to him, sitting down to his right; just far enough away for us to look like strangers if anyone should pass us by. Harry’s head rises as if he can feel the air my body has displaced. He doesn’t look at me. The space between us is slowly being filled with all the things I can’t say. I’m afraid that any movement or vocal interaction will have Harry curl back up into his hedgehog position. We can’t sit here all night.

“I’m sorry,” I breathe.

The buzz of the world has fallen silent as if we’re the summit of existence. And it slowly kills me as Harry drags out the distance between spoken words. Please say something.

“For what?” he asks, as if there’s million things I could possibly be apologising for. There probably is.

“It was wrong of me to run. I shouldn’t have.”

He gently nods and I’m not sure whether it’s in confirmation that’s he’s heard me or if he agrees it was wrong of me to flee. I’m just happy for any sort of response as I delegate all concentration into observing the movement of his jaw, taking his lower lip to nibble between his teeth. A side profile is the best I’m offered.

“Are you –“ I begin, but my question is cut short.

“Why are you here?”

Even though the enquiry is addressed to the pavement, my crumbling exterior takes the brunt of it.

“I’m not really sure,” I admit.

Morbid curiosity I think, a lack of discipline and not possessing the strength to say, “enough, that’s enough”. I should never have returned.

“Bo, this isn’t the best of places during the day.”

Momentarily I glance down the road to see a few giggling women trip up the curb, handbags swing from their forearms, ignorant to the two us. They continue out of sight. Truth be told, I’m a little put out that that’s all he’s concerned with. I’m sat beside him and all he can think of to say is that I shouldn’t be here in the dark. Screw him.

“I’ve been before,” I reply offhandedly, rubbing the sweat from my palms to my jeans.

“I know,” Harry grits.

His disgruntled tone turns my head and I’m surprised to see him unfurl from vulnerability. I’m not fooled into thinking he’s opening up, despite his body language displaying confidence and certainty within the situation. Straighten up, look big, take charge. Bullshit. It’s a front that he seems to have perfected.

“I didn’t do it to upset you.”

“No, you came to have a good gawp like everybody else, right? Was it worth it?”

He’s almost gathered the courage to look at me, but bails out before making any progress. There’s an edge to his words that jaggedly rips through whatever courteous veil shrouds the situation.

“What are you talking about? I just –“

“What?” he interrupts once again.

“I wanted to see that you were all right.”

“Well, fuck,” Harry bites. “Does it look like I’m all right?”

Sarcasm embeds itself within his rhetorical question and I’m doing my best to keep up with this new attitude he’s sporting. It’s a whirlwind of curt responses and snide remarks that further convince me this certainly isn’t the boy I’ve reminisced about. Harry’s back is to me as he stands and strides away.

“You’re being unfair. Stop being a dick and talk to me.”

I follow after him, seeking out his hand as it swings back and whilst words fly between us. My fingers barely have hold of his and the spark I expect to feel has been extinguished long before this moment. There’s not much left to salvage.

“No, you – don’t be cruel,” Harry fumbles over words through distaste as I attempt to pivot him around. I imagine a deep frown of disapproval as he rips his hand away from mine. “You don’t get to do that,” he almost spits.

It’s horrifically painful to think he can’t actually look at me. His hands wedge deep into his pockets, a defence against me.

“When you leave me here,” he shakes his head. “Bo, I won’t be able to…just please - just don’t touch me.”

We’re backpedalling so fast it’s a challenge to overcome. He doesn’t wait for any sort of acceptance before continuing to part from me. Pretty soon there’s a whole road’s width between us. I stand in isolation staring at my hands as if they hold the answer as to why Harry couldn’t bear me touching him with them. But they’re just hands, lines marked into the palms like tributaries in a river. They won’t hurt him.

I think about leaving him there. Not giving him any more of my futile time. I pray for rain, drench him.

Despite my wishes of carelessness, I find myself gravitating to him once again. I don’t make the mistake of reaching out to him, my body couldn’t take another onslaught of enemy fire. I’m greeted by the back of him.

“Where’s your car?” I ask quietly as not to startle him. “I’ll take you to it.”

“I don’t have one.”

“I’ll take you home then,” I press further. “Or I can drop you off at someone else’s, I –“

“Home.” Harry replies solemnly. 

“Ok.”

It feels a little strange to have him steadily follow after me, especially after the exchange we’ve just had. It’s all terribly familiar as he passes me my bag from the passenger seat and buckles in. Harry folds his hands into his lap as I pull away from the curb a little more gracefully than my previous attempt. I don’t want to drown his existence out with the sound of the radio so it remains off. He picks at the fray of jeans where it’s ripped at the knee and I have to stem the part of me that wants to motherly scold him.

“Where are we going?”

His voice pries away at the silence rhythmically interspersed with the car’s indicator tick. We’re turning right at a junction. It doesn’t matter much that we’ve paused as there’s no-one behind us to press their horn.

“I’m going to take you home, to your flat.”

Jittery fingers continuously rotate the silver band on his index and then on his middle.

“I don’t live there anymore.”

I flick the indicator off.

“Where do you live?”

***

I climb from the car to be greeted by the menacing sight of three large blocks of flats. The moon peeks through the gap between the first and second, almost relieved when it’s granted shelter to hide behind the passing cloud. Friendly and approachable are two words absent from the list of descriptors I would use to advertise property here.

Harry’s lingering by the car, head cast down in toil of what comes next. I take the pressure from him.

“I’ll come in if you want me to.”

“Yeah,” he says without pause.

I’m shoving my keys back into my bag as he strides across the road with me trailing him. A few paces in front and he realises I’m lagging behind, forgotten that he used to be considerate of my shorter legs and fall in step beside me.

The entrance door to block number two is held open and I thank Harry as he allows me through first. It smells a little damp in the lobby and I account it to the mismatch patches of colour upon the ceiling in the corner. There’s no buzz-in so individuals can walk in and out freely.

“I’ll just be a minute,” Harry softly states. “Rent needs paying.”

He’s gone through a heavy fire door and I’m left to amble around the lobby on my own. A light on the flaky wall flickers, a glassy click every few seconds to accompany music blaring obnoxiously from a boy racer car outside. We’d passed them on the way in but I hadn’t taken much notice, instead choosing to stick close to Harry and pray for anonymity. I have the urge to validate the security of my car; they’re probably stealing parts of the engine by now or messing with the brakes.

The entrance door we used surges open and I’m surprised the handle hasn’t become a permanent fixture in the wall vulnerable to its swing range. My assessment concludes two males and one female. Their conversation aborts when they eye me.

 “You live here?” the woman with scraped back hair asks.

I’m not quite sure what the right answer should be because my mind summons the same image of me being preyed upon regardless of a “yes” or “no”. A brief decision is hastily reached.

 “No.”

One of the men steps forward, shorter than the woman and with a shock a honey coloured hair. Despite his jeans being belted, they still hang low on his stocky frame.

“You lost then?”

“No,” I repeat.

The uncomfortable feeling digging away at my stomach intensifies as a sly smile is unified between them. In a conscious effort to become less of a target I’ve shifted conveniently over to the door leading further into the building.

“My friend went off this way, I’m gunna see if I can find him.”

My forearms press to the wood in a misplaced sense of hygiene inappropriate for the current circumstance. It’s the least of my worries now that one of them has followed. I can tell because I’m yet to hear the door close behind me.

“And which floor is your friend on?”

I peer down one of the corridors stemming off from the main route and then down the one opposite. It’s a fucking maze.

“I don’t know, he didn’t say.”

My reply is sharp as I turn to face them once again. The woman and one of the men are present in the hall with me; the other is hanging from the doorframe with a knowing grin. The way amusement slips from his mouth is almost comical and I’m the last to understand why as the three of them pale.

“She doesn’t want what you’re selling,” Harry’s voice echoes.

The woman is caught in headlights as the men retreat back. I can feel Harry stood behind me, along with an odd sense of superiority at having people cower away. “It’s twenty-eight, it’s twenty-eight,” is background mumbles to the sudden chill in the atmosphere. She draws her head down in submission, following after the others who have abandoned her.

I watch the door after they’ve gone and only twist around upon hearing Harry step away. It seems I spend most of my time conversing with the back of him.

“What were they selling?”

I receive a humoured hum as we continue to play a low spirited version of follow the leader. The doors to the lift ping open just as Harry takes another door which I presume leads to the stairs. I don’t know how high we’re going up, but even the graffiti scratched interior of the lift beats climbing the stairs.

“Aren’t we taking the lift?” I call through the gradually diminishing gap of the closing door.

I can see the back of Harry through the tiny window as he pauses on the first step.His head turns slightly to address me and I’m not of commendable fitness to stop the dented lift doors from uniting.

“I wouldn’t,” he replies. “There are kids on level six that like to jam it. There’s no guarantee we’d make it to three alive.”

I’m certainly not spending my night trapped in a metal box hanging over probable death just to give some children a few giggles. Jogging after Harry I find him to have proceeded up the first bend of staircase. It’s a grotty ascent to level three.

“The people downstairs, when they saw you they said twenty-eight. What does that mean?”

We pass the same washed-out green doors whilst travelling the length of the deserted corridor. Noise from TV sets can be heard from some flats, others are deathly silent.

“Er, I live at number twenty-eight,” Harry tentatively concludes.

We stop outside an identical door and Harry roots around in his pocket for keys. It’s only as the corridor lights time out and the passageway progressively darkens that he allows us in. And my first thought is that this isn’t his home. The front entrance enters straight into the living room. It’s cramped. I presume the only natural source of light the room receives is from the window at the back, which happens to be the kitchen. Although with the grime masking the glass it’s probably not of any benefit.

Harry stands to the side of the sofa, head marginally bowed and he looks out of place in his own home.

“It looks nice, Harry,” I offer kindly.

“You don’t have to be polite,” he weakly laughs. “My mum and sister won’t even visit me here, and I don’t want them to. I know it’s a shit hole.”

I’m at a loss for words so instead busy myself with looking around. The telly is much smaller, there’s no trace of any games console and the lamp on the side needs a new bulb. It’s as my eyes wander over the leaflet stuffed sofa that my snooping comes to a heady halt on the baseball bat propped up on the arm.

“I got broken into a while ago,” he tries to explain. “Haven’t been back since.”

“Shit,” is my immediate response.

Harry’s boots are toed off before he ambles to the kitchen. As if attached by a string, I make my way over. I watch him lean up to retrieve a tall glass from the cupboard.

“Do you want a drink?”

I approach from his right. My hand faintly brushes his side upon stepping closer and he reacts in a way I’m unaccustomed. Just like before, Harry creates distance to centre himself. White knuckles grip the glass and I’m a little worried as to pressure it can successfully sustain.

“I’m fine,” I answer.

The kitchen tap is levered on, water swirling around the plughole as Harry waits for it to cool. He’s crumbling, I can see it happening. Hand trembles and increased rate of breath. He grips the counter top to steady himself.

“It’s ok,” I tell him. “I’ll bring it to you.”

The glass is placed upon the worktop, a move to avoid accidental touch.

“I’m gunna go lie down,” Harry nods at himself.

“All right.”

I track his wavering walk until he disappears through to the bedroom. My jacket and bag are slung onto the sofa before I return to the kitchen. I think of getting him something to eat but my exploration of his fridge condemns Harry to a left over Chinese food and out of date milk. I would throw it away but I don’t want to interfere and I can’t help but think that he hasn’t been looking after himself. Just the water then.

There’s a smoky aroma that clings to the space as I enter the bedroom. The bed is vacant and I discover Harry fiddling with objects strewn across the top of his drawers. I’m fairly sure my advance is anything but frightful, however the alarm Harry moves with creates bit of a mess. He rounds so quickly from fright that the glass is knocked from my hand, smashing to the floor in an eruption of shards and water.

 “Bo, Bo, I’m sorry,” he desperately tells me. “I didn’t – I didn’t see you.”

It’s in a fluster that I’m blessed with a clear view to his face and it nearly knocks me flat. When I reach for him Harry understands the mistake he’s made. I take hold of his chin before he has a chance to stop me.

“Don’t,” he lightly protests. “Bo, stop.”

My other hand cups the side of his face. Harry freezes as my thumb skims the scar, the connection taking me back to earlier with the persistent woman and how we’d approached Harry. “It doesn’t bother me,” she’d said, and the statement hadn’t made sense until now. His eyes are closed and there’s no mistaking the healed wound cutting almost diagonally through his eyebrow and across his left lid. It’s not a smooth line, the top is somewhat jagged and it makes my stomach plummet.

“Open them.”

Harry no longer fears my touch, it’s just stubbornness now.

“Open them,” I demand.

My hands fall like dead weight, body backing away. I’m unable to despise my response because the rest of me is going into shock.

“Yeah, I tend to get that reaction,” he bitterly states.

The pupil has been damaged, no longer perfectly aligned and leaking slightly into the iris, which is an angry combination of dark green and blue. The whole eye is lightly clouded in a milky white and it feels like the bottom has dropped out of my world.

“I don’t…”

Harry’s still, allowing me to process what’s in front of me.

“Partially sighted.”

He weakly smiles.

I shake my head and try to catch the breath that’s escaped my lungs.

“I don’t understand.”

His vision flickers down before mustering the courage to fully engage me for the first time.

 

“Bo, I’m half blind in my left eye.”

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