I was still in a tight ball when the sunlight creeped into the room through the thin cloths I used for curtains. I managed to get some sleep but whenever I did, I would remember the night of my parents’ death, my mother dying in front of me.
I woke up in a cold sweat, my body damp and sticky under my thin blanket. I rolled onto my back, my body shaking violently. I ran my hands through my messy hair, holding balls of my hair tight in my fists. I pulled harshly onto the chunk, squeezing my swollen eyes shut. My chest rose and fell heavily, sobs escaping my mouth. Then there was a knock on my door.
I pulled my hands away and shot my head to the side, staring at the chipped wooden door, the hinges brown with rust. There was another knock, louder this time. I slowly pulled my body off of the mattress, hugging myself tightly as I stared at the door across the room. My blood ran cold as dread washed over me, thinking it was one of my neighbours, the one I owed money to. When I first found this flat I was squatting, hiding in here until I made some money. But one of the men living in the block found me after a few days. He told me that if I didn’t pay him money every month then he would rat me out to the police. I can’t get into trouble. I have to keep my head down, avoid drawing attention to myself. I’ve been trying to avoid him for days, but now he’s come to collect what I owe him.
I sighed heavily, knowing that I was going to get beaten again. I had just healed from last night and now I was going to have to suffer again. I spun around, glancing at the window behind me. I could climb out now, run away for a few hours…
No, I told myself. I’m fed up of running. I forced my weak legs to stumble to the door, already feeling his slaps over my body, his red, angry face so close to mine. I breathed out shakily before opening my door, tensing every muscle in my body as I prepared myself for my punishment.
I gasped as I stared at the person in front of me. My jaw dropped as his skinny but firm figure stood at my door, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. His familiar face was wrinkled with anxiety, setting off a surge of warmth through my body. His eyes shot up as I opened the door, his whole body lighting up as our eyes connected. He straightened his body, flicking his curly hair back quickly.
“H-Harry?” I stuttered, my eyes wandering up and down his body. My heart sunk slightly as a RAMONES t-shirt covered his muscular chest I longed to see again. I glanced back up at him, letting a smile appear on my face.
“Hey,” he said, trying to sound casual, but I could hear the slight tremor in his voice. Then his eyebrows drew together, glancing down at my body before my neck, then back down to my arms again. His eyes widened in confusion. “The bruises. Where are they?” he asked, his eyes scanning every part of my body. He took a step closer, his jaw dropping slightly as he stared. I wrapped my arms around myself, knowing that I couldn’t tell him the truth that I heal overnight. It’s just part of what I am.
“Look, what are you doing here?” I asked harshly, narrowing my eyes at him, hoping to distract him. I kept in my mind the words that I told myself last night: Don’t let him love you. His pained face hit me hard, but I continued to glare at him, faking my disgust towards him.
“I came here because I wanted to see you again,” he mumbled, lowering his gaze. He wrapped his arms over his chest protectively as he stared at the ground. I let my arms fall back down to my sides, wanting to reach out, touch him. But I didn’t.
“How did you even know where I lived?!” I said louder, wrapping one hand around the side of the door. I heard Harry mumbling something under his breath, his head still low. “What?” I asked, taking a step closer to him. I crossed my arms again. He finally lifted his chin back up, avoiding looking me in the eye.
“I had a look in your purse when you were passed out on my sofa,” he mumbled, biting his bottom lip again. I opened my mouth to shout at him, call him a weirdo, a pervert but he continued.
“Sorry, I forgot to give it back to you.”
He buried his shaking hand into his pocket, fumbling around until he gripped onto it. He finally looked into my eyes as he offered me my purse back. I suddenly felt embarrassed, my purse looking so shabby, so thin. I quickly took it from him. I coughed awkwardly, eyes dropping in embarrassment as I shoved the purse in my jeans pocket. The silence grew around us, feeling uncomfortable, awkward. Harry stared at his feet, putting a hand to the back of his neck and rubbing it awkwardly. I watched as he nibbled at his plump bottom lip again, making it sore. I wanted to do that, to have my lips captured by Harry’s. I quickly forced back the feeling, the pictures that it gave me, remembering those lips on mine, how they felt, tasted.
Eventually Harry spoke again, pulling my thoughts back to the doorstep. “Look, Rosalie. I-”
“What do you really want, Harry?” I interrupted. I couldn’t let my feeling grow for him. I had to push him away. “A reward for saving me last night? Well I don’t have any money so…”
“I-I don’t want money,” Harry replied quickly, shaking his head. His eyes connected with mine again, making my skin tingle. “I wanted to talk to you, to explain what happened last night. You can talk to me, Rosie, about what happened that night,” he said softly, reaching out and placing his warm hand on my arm, squeezing it softly.
I melted with his touch, my knees feeling weak under me. He stroked my skin with his thumb, smiling genuinely at me. I glanced down at his hand, long fingers clasping my arm with such warmth. It was such a simple touch that used nearly all my strength to make myself hate it.
I finally tore my arm from his grip, taking a shaky step back into the flat. I could still feel him, his scent lingering on my skin. I harshly rubbed at the skin he’d touched before hugging myself again tightly.
“I don’t want to talk about it. Not with you, not with anyone. Just leave me alone!” I spat, tears pricking behind my eyes. At the mere sight of Harry’s lips flattening out across his face made me want to coax it back, to touch him, to bring his smile back to life. Pain flickered in his pupils, a spark of loneliness flashing across his face. I was good at this, reading people so easily. He’s alone, just like me. The flat was empty last night, no sign of anyone else living there. It was just us two. I could tell he wanted someone to hold, to help guide him through life. He thought I was that person.
But I’m not. Deep down I knew that. I’d hurt him, tear him from life. And by pushing him away I was saving him, protecting him from me. I just hope he understood that someday.
His voice trembled, taking a step into the flat. He couldn’t come in; he couldn’t see what I am. I grabbed onto the side of the door again, trying to slam it shut. He pressed his hand into the wood of the door, his eyes never letting go of mine.
“I can help you, Rosalie. Please, let me,” he pleaded, tears glistening in his eyes.
I shook my head at him vigorously, not trusting my voice as I pushed the door against him. I kept my head down, Harry gradually letting me shut the door. He stepped out, lips parting as I pushed him out. Just as the door was close to closing, he rammed his foot against the bottom of the door, staring at me through the small gap through the door.
“I’m not giving up on you, Rosalie,” he stated.
Deep eyes penetrated mine, the determination in his stance building up his form. He kept hold of my gaze, never ceasing to blink. I swallowed back the whimper willing to tumble past my lips.
The claws of his gaze finally loosened around mine. He pulled his foot back, allowing me to close the final gap, slamming the door in his face.
I stood behind the door for what felt like hours, silent tears running down my face. I stared down at the door handle, knowing that I should go after him, explain everything to him. But I couldn’t, I just couldn’t.
I turned around, leaning heavily onto the door behind me. I shook violently as I slowly sunk down to the ground against the door. I pulled my legs up to my chest, hugging them tightly as I dug my fingernails into the sides of them. I buried my head into my knees, crying loudly into them. It hurt so much to pretend not care about him, but I couldn’t do it again, I couldn’t lose someone else that I loved. All of my neighbours could probably hear me sobbing, but I didn’t care. Letting these tears out lifted the heavy weight on my shoulders ever so slightly, but it would never stop the constant heartache I have, the constant longing to be loved by someone, to love them back without hurting them. I screamed into my knees. I hated being alone.