“Hey Mrs Potter, is Louis in?” Louis’s mum is short, she comes up to my nose and even in heels she struggles to be taller than me.
“Kate!” She grins and I can’t help but grin back, every bit as enthusiastic as her. “He’s popped out. He left out some time ago so he should be back soon. Do you want to wait upstairs in his room honey?”
“Sure, Mrs Potter,” I throw her one last smile before descending up their red, carpeted stairs. I’ve been to Louis’s house countless times, I could manoeuvre my way around it like it was my own home.
When I had reached Louis’s bedroom door adjacent to his sister’s yellow one decorated with colourful 'get out' signs I gently nudge it open. His room is bigger than mine but not by that much, and yet it looks smaller because of his large bed, mini TV, computer desk and wardrobe. His floor is spotless apart from a book lying haphazardly beside his bed and two of his hoodies are lying precariously on the edge of his computer chair. All in all, it’s most likely the cleanest boy’s room I’ve ever seen. Louis can sometimes be OCD- especially when he’s stressed out and he needs something to do with his hands. It would scare me slightly whenever he would frantically brush his hair over and over, doing the same spot at least a thousand times before moving on to the next, or when he would wash his hands until his fingers bled, or when he would polish the floor until he was sweating in the middle of winter with no heating on and the windows open. But it was how he coped, his only way to gain control over his own life when it felt as though all of his power was slowly being drained from him and gathering into someone else's greedy fingers.
I sat on his made up bed beside his laptop, I couldn’t help but glimpse at the screen. He was on Facebook even though he always said that he hated it, that he was thinking about deleting his account. He was on someone else’s profile where someone had shared a video with him, there was a list of other comments below it but that wasn’t what I was focusing on.
Something told me to look away, to ignore the curiosity coursing through me and wait patiently for Lillian to show up and Louis to return. But it was deemed too hard a task for me to complete. I pressed play.
Jimmy had his back to the camera, holding Louis up against the wall. I could hear Ed snickering, “Bill, watch this,” he muttered, his voice coming crystal clear through the speaker. Jimmy whispered something in Louis’s ear; it must have been something awful because he scrunched his nose in disgust as he narrowed his green eyes at not Jimmy but Ed, his quiet guffawing making me clench my fist. What did he do?
I didn’t have time to ponder, to twist all of the reasons into an answer because seconds later Jimmy had pulled back his fist and shoved it straight into Louis’s stomach with such force that I swear I could almost feel it. Louis doubled over, sliding down to the floor. “Did you see that Bill?!” Ed screamed; that might have been the last thing I heard because I went deaf afterwards.
My senses somehow tuned out, all of them except sight. Yet I wished that they had, I wished that I had the power to close the laptop screen but I couldn’t- it was so awful that I had to look away yet once again my curiosity took control of me and it was like I had no choice but to watch it. Watch as Jimmy kicked him in the stomach again and again, as he stomped on his ankle, as he attacked his face with reigns of slaps so hard that I was sure his cheeks must have been bleeding. If not by the intensity of his slaps then by the gold ring Jimmy wore on his index finger.
I was so out of tune to everything except the video that I hadn’t even heard footsteps outside of his door, hadn’t even seen Louis walk in and drop the plastic bag beside me, not even heard him speak directly at me. Not until the video finished and he slammed the top down making me jump. “You shouldn’t have seen that.” He muttered, but I had, and now I was more determined than ever to help him. To save him.