I was running. Again. Running so far. He was chasing me, never stopping to rest, constantly at my heels. My legs were slowly giving in, heavy breathing emanating from behind me. Blackness surrounded me, blinding me of where I was going. His words encircled me, making my body grow cold with fright.
“Don’t worry. I’ll make sure he suffers.”
My eyes shot open, fixing onto a shadowy figure leaning over me. He cradled my head in his hands, his thumbs rubbing at my cheeks. Harry perched on the edge of the sofa, gazing intently down to me. My upper body shot up from the sofa suddenly. Harry’s ruffled locks adorned his head, stray curls flopping over his forehead. Anxiety filled his green orbs, his hands cupping either side of my neck.
“W-what happened?” I croaked, rubbing my forehead with my hand.
“You collapsed,” he said worryingly. “Lay back. Get some rest.”
“But what about…?” My gaze shot around the room, the brightly lit room only consisting of me and Harry. He was gone.
“What?” Harry asked, trying to catch my gaze once again. My eyes flickered back to lock with his as I nibbled at my bottom lip. I need to tell him. He was in danger. If I didn’t kill him, then Samuel surely would.
A sob burst from my mouth as I wound my fingers in his dark locks, fisting them at the back of his head. I pulled him in for a tight hug, burying my face into his shoulder, tears streaming down my face. He wrapped his arms round me as I played with the curls on his head, twirling them around my finger. Visions of what Samuel made me imagine flashed in my throbbing head as I nestled into his shoulder. The fire, the pleading to be let out. It hurt so much.
“N-nothing,” I eventually muttered against his warm skin. I pulled back, wiping away the tears. My thoughts spun with ways to avoid all this, to have Harry to myself. No danger, no threats. Just us two. Forever. I tore my gaze from his, the love sparkling in his eyes for me too unbearable. What do I do? Choose to fight for love or give in, killing Harry myself? I didn’t know.
“Let’s go back to bed,” Harry finally murmured. I nodded silently as I was helped off of the sofa. Harry wrapped an arm around me, holding my body tight to his as he pulled my arm to drape over his shoulder, leading me back into the bedroom.
I laid under the covers, Harry’s head lying on my chest. His curls tickled at my skin as he shifted, an arm snaking around my front. He tugged me closer, holding me as if scared to lose me. I stared up at the ceiling, silently crying to myself. I bit at my bottom lip to suppress the sobs threatening to burst from me.
What do I do?
“Focus, Rosie,” Harry ordered sternly, holding his boxing gloves up in front of his face in defence.
I nodded weakly, my muscles groaning in pain. I blinked rapidly, trying to stay focused on our training. We walked around in a circle in the ring, Harry teaching me new defence techniques, but I was barely listening, my mind constantly on last night. I shivered at the memories, my head filled with these thoughts.
Suddenly the sound of plastic hitting plastic echoed around us. I shook my head, Harry slapping his gloves together to get me to focus again.
“What’s wrong with you today?” he asked, a hint of annoyance in his voice. I mumbled an apology before he continued teaching me. “Right, this is the jab. Lift your hands up like this.” He brought his gloves up in front of his head, his elbows in as he stood with one foot behind the other. I tried copying him, my hands hovering in front of my chin. “Higher, Rosie.” Harry pushed against my elbows, forcing my arms up higher. “Turn to the side for more balance.”
I stumbled around, my feet ignoring my commands. Harry sighed and rolled his eyes before stomping around to stand behind me. He kicked at the inside of my foot to spread my legs wider. He wrapped his arms around me, lifting my arms higher until my face was covered with my gloves.
He walked back around me, making me feel dizzy on the spot. Once he was stood before me, I suddenly stumbled backwards, a weak whimper falling through my lips. Harry quickly reached out, grabbing my arms to stop me from collapsing. He pulled me towards him, shaking me slightly. He gazed into my eyes, lines of concern covering his forehead.
“What’s wrong Rosie?” His voice was softer now, leaking anxiety for me.
“N-nothing,” I mumbled, my eyelids drooping as I shook my head. “I’m fine.”
“Are you sure? You look exhausted.”
“Yes, I’m fine. Can we just focus on the training now?”
“We don’t have to, Rosie. We can leave it for today…”
“No!” I shouted, his close proximity making me feel queasy. I stepped back, slamming my gloved hands into his shoulders. I watched as he staggered backwards, a hurt expression on his sweaty face. My chest heaved as the air escaped my mouth in sharp puffs. Harry stared at me a few feet away, his face still as he waited for my response to what I’ve just done. I raised my arms back up, hiding my face behind my gloves in a defensive position.
“Is this right?” I mumbled, peering through the gap between my two gloves. Harry lowered his gaze, nodding slightly at me. Guilt washed over me as Harry silently positioned himself the same as me.
“Now, this is the most common move you’ll come across,” he mumbled, avoiding my gaze. “When I punch towards you’re head, you need to block the jab with the side of your glove, meeting my attack with a quick movement.”
I nodded, feeling the awkward atmosphere that was thick between us.
“Ready?” Harry finally murmured. His arms were raised back up in a starting position, his gloves up high to hide the emotion swimming in his orbs. He quickly glanced up to meet my eyes before lowering his gaze again. I nodded, rocking from foot to foot.
Harry quickly took a blow. I instinctively reacted, connecting the side of my right glove with the front of his left. A smile flickered on Harry’s face for a moment before fading away again. “Again,” he ordered, his face holding a stern frown once more. He punched towards my head again, making me react by blocking it.
After several more tries, Harry pulled back, beads of sweat lingering on his forehead. He shook his arms, head lowering to his chest as if he didn’t want to look at me. I slowly lowered my arms back down, trying to catch Harry’s gaze.
“Harry, I’m really sorry…” I started.
His head quickly snapped up, but his eyes still refused to meet mine. The realisation slammed into me with brute force. Harry was scared of me. “Defend yourself at all times,” he ordered lowly.
“Never leave yourself open like that, Rosalie.”
My heart sunk in my chest as he called me by my full first name.
“Sorry,” I mumbled.
I raised my arms back up, knowing he wasn’t going to forgive me any time soon. I told myself I’d make it up to him.
“Now for slipping,” he continued. “When I throw a jab, you slip to the side. Got it?”
“I think, but...”
Harry suddenly punched out, taking me by surprise. I jumped to the side, narrowly avoiding a glove to the face.
“No. Try again,” Harry ordered, pointing to my original spot I was stood in.
I shuffled back, fists up to defend myself once again. As Harry positioned himself once more my mind instantly shot back to last night. A cold shiver ran down my spine, tears brimming over my eyes as my thoughts refused to change, to remind me of something, anything rather than this. But I wasn’t in control of my mind. Samuel was. I could hear Harry’s croaky voice echoing in my skull as he called out my name in pure pain, the fire blazing in the room with him.
Finally my thoughts were cut short by a whisper surrounding me, so quiet it was barely audible. But I could still hear it. It was calling my name, trying to get my attention. My eyes shot past Harry’s shoulder. A tall figure lingered in the shadows in the corner of the room cast by the dim light bulb. Dark eyes illuminated in the shadow, staring straight at me. I wanted to look away, grab Harry and get out of here, to somewhere safe, but the impenetrable eyes wouldn’t release me. I let out a small whimper, feeling my body begin to tremble madly. I felt my heart race inside my chest, Harry’s voice sounding so far away. I could sense Samuel’s smirk spread across his dark features in the shadow, enjoying my fright towards his presence.
Harry’s voice finally caught my attention. His large hands were on my shoulders, shaking m violently. "What’s wrong with you today?!
My skin tingled madly by Harry’s touch, my mind spinning uncontrollably.
“D-don’t touch me,” I stuttered, sounding harsher than I wanted to. I wrenched my arm from Harry’s grip, shuffling back from him.
“Let me help you, Rosie. Whatever’s going on I can help you,” Harry said, reaching down to me again.
“I don’t want your help,” I spat. A dejected look fell over Harry’s face. I rubbed my forehead with the side of my glove, using the little strength I had to stop myself from collapsing. “All I want is some space, Harry,” I muttered, finally connecting my gaze with his.
“I don’t want you on your own when you’re like this,” Harry said, taking a step towards me. His voice grew deep as his movement made me feel isolated, almost trapped. “Look, let’s go back home so you can get some rest.”
I shook my head vigorously, taking shaky steps back before my back crashed into the rope running around the ring.
“It’s not safe there,” I spoke, feeling each word growing louder. My breaths quickened as anger and stress took over my words, tears spilling from my eyes. “It’s not safe anywhere! He knows where I am all the time. I-I can’t get away from him. I’m trapped. He’s in my mind...never letting me go. I-I’m breaking down, Harry. I just can’t cope with this any longer!” I finally broke.
“Who, Rosie? Who knows where you are?” Harry strode over to me, ignoring my pleading for him to leave me alone.
“You’re not safe, Harry. One day you’ll understand why I’m doing this, I promise. I just don’t want you to get hurt.”
I spun around, my back to Harry as I gripped onto the rope, prising the top one up for me to climb through. As soon as my feet hit solid ground, I ripped off my gloves and ran. I could barely hear Harry calling after me as the noise of my heart pulsing in my chest exploded in my ears, the wild thumping of my heartbeat blocking out the world around me. Still in my training clothes, I burst through the door, the morning breeze slamming against my skin.
Sweat still poured out of my body as my legs ran. I couldn’t do this anymore. Samuel’s always with me, taunting and teasing me. Threatening me. I wanted to keep Harry safe. If I left then I would take Samuel with me. Harry would be safe. But I’d lose him. I’d never see him again. I swallowed hard at the thought, but I would do it. To save Harry.
I’d have to leave his town, visit the next one and start my life all over again. But I wasn’t leaving until I had what I carried around with me for years. The one thing I had left from my childhood.
Suddenly my ears picked up a distant humming sound coming from behind me. My head shot around as I focused on the noise. Harry’s bike sped around the corner, heading towards me. I grunted before letting my legs pick up speed. I quickly took a sharp corner, running faster than any human or bike as I headed straight for the flat.
I burst into the flat, darting towards the bedroom before Harry got here. I didn’t want him under any sort of threat, in any sort of danger. I needed to leave. I prayed he understood why I was doing this one day. I wrenched a bag from under the bed, dropping it quickly on the mattress. I grabbed my photo from the bedside table, sniffing loudly as I shoved the folded paper in my back pocket. But my body was slowly giving into these emotions lingering in me, ready to explode. I inhaled deeply, letting my eyes squeeze shut. My face scrunched up, my distraught state too overwhelming to hold in. The swirling emotions in my body made me feel dizzy.
I turned around and collapsed heavily onto the mattress, the gorgeous fragrance of Harry lingering in the air around me. I should be running from here, letting Harry continue his life without me. But I didn’t. I barely knew this tall, curly haired guy, but my love for him has matured, strengthened in the few weeks I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know him. I didn’t want to go.
My breathing was heavy, thick tears forming in my eyes. But the growing silence was cut short quickly. My upper body twisted around to the sound of the bedroom door slamming into the wall as it swung open. A gasp fell from my parted lips. I used the little strength I was clinging onto to jump up from the bed. I spun around fully, taking slow steps back until I crashed into the wall behind.
Harry’s rage filled eyes burned into me, his fists in tight balls by his sides. His dark frame took up most of the doorway as his anger boiled over, his muscles tense. I knew there and then I should have backed down. But I ignored my heart and agreed with my head instead.
I watched as Harry’s blazing eyes tore away from mine, glancing down to the empty, deflated bag lying on the end of the bed. My eyes never let go of Harry’s tall figure in the doorway, a mixture of anger and emotion contorting his face. I’d never experienced this side of Harry before, his eyes slowly darkening, the colour morphing into a deeper green. I suddenly grew vulnerable, even though my strength and abilities overpowered Harry’s easily. His gaze shot back up to me as he stepped into the room, kicking the door shut behind him with his foot.
I hid my emotions, my tears threatening to spill, and covered them with anger instead. I knew from past experiences that tears rarely stopped Rosie. So I used anger instead.
I stepped into the room, the door slamming shut by my foot. Rosie‘s eyes were distant and mysterious. I tried reading her face, her deep eyes, but they told me nothing. I didn’t know what to do next, my glare constant on Rosie‘s body pressed to the wall. The sight of the deflated bag on the bed made me feel the exact same as the object: emptiness, loneliness. I quickly blinked back the tears, concealing them with fury instead.
I marched over to the bed, gripping the bag tight in my fist. I screamed out, flinging the bag to my left towards the desk. Anger coursed through my veins, the mere thought of never seeing Rosie again releasing this angry side to me that no one’s ever seen before. I couldn’t control it, my hands gripping hold of anything they could, the bed covers and pillows flying across the room in a mad frenzy. The room quickly filled with my angry grunts, Rosie pressing herself tight to the wall. Her shouting to tell me to stop was muffled by my screams of rage. My lamp fell to the ground, the bedside table on its side by my feet. My breathing was erratic, my eyes locked harshly with Rosie’s. I could tell she didn’t know how to react, her jaw moving up and down in confusion.
I quickly climbed over the exposed bed, landing heavily on my feet the other side. I marched up to Rosie, my chest crashing into hers as I stared down to her, my tall figure shadowing her body. I gripped hold of her wrists, pinning them tightly to the wall beside her head.
“You are not leaving me, Rosalie,” I ordered down to her.
I could tell my words had hit a nerve, knowing that Rosie always craved to be in control. She hated being told what to do. Rage flickered in her orbs. My fingers subconsciously tightened around her wrist, my strong body pressed against hers. I glared down to him, silently challenging her abilities, knowing all too well I’d lose. But I’d do anything to stop her from leaving me.
Rosie hissed out through her teeth. I could almost see her muscles ripping inside her, the beast fighting its way out of her body. I released my grip of her wrists, finally taking a step back from her. I knew I’d gone too far, freeing this monster living under Rosie’s skin.
Before I could react, Rosie grabbed me by the neck, spinning me around to slam me up against the wall. The back of my head smashed into the wall, my vision blurry and spinning. But one thing was still sharp in my vision. Rosie‘s eyes were black, her pupils dilated. She terrified me.
“No one tells me what to do,” she growled.
My eyes widened, lips parting further as her fingertips dug into the sides of my neck, lifting me from the ground. My toes grazed the floor beneath as she raised my body up the wall, tilting her head to stare up at me. I placed my hands over hers on my neck, attempting to pry her fingers from my neck.
“Rosie,” I croaked, squeezing my eyes shut in pain.
The air was quickly being cut off by his grip. I gasped for air, pained tears swelling behind my closed eyes. My head felt faint, the lack of air having this effect on me. I could feel it, this dark shadow casting over my mind. I was weak, my fingers slowly giving up on tearing Rosie‘s finger from around my neck. I tried fighting off this swirling feeling, the back of my throat dry for air. I took one last gasp, letting the final words fall from my lips in a croaky whisper.
“I trust you.”
I was suddenly released, my knees buckling under me. I crumpled to the floor, gasping frantically for air. Tears escaped my eyes, running quickly down my cheeks. The shock of it all had me trembling, heart racing in my chest. I coughed weakly as I slowly rolled onto my back, my chest rising and falling heavily as I cherished the taste, the feeling of air in my lungs. Each breath I took was less painful than the previous. I groaned as I reached up, brushing the tears from my cheeks.
As I stared up at the ceiling, all my thoughts came crashing down on me at once. She could have killed me just then. She wanted to kill me. And her eyes. So dark, so full of evil. I’ve never seen that side to her before.
I soon realised the lack of noise in the room around me, the deafening silence unnerving. I bolted up, my gaze darting about the room.
“Rosie,” I called, my voice cracking slightly. I weakly pulled myself up from the floor, using the wall for support. Groans tumbled through my lips as I got to my feet, leaning heavily against the wall. I let out a deep sigh, trying to control my trembling body.
Suddenly a small whimper caught my attention. My eyes fell upon a shaky figure crouched in the corner of the room, rocking back and forth. Rosie’s face was buried in her knees, hands fisting her hair to tug on it roughly. My heart ached as shaky whimpers escaped her. I wanted to touch her, hold her in my arms. I took a step towards her, but Rosie sensed it. Her body curled up tighter, hands falling from her hair to run her sharp fingernails up and down her legs, her skin cutting open by their touch. But they soon healed back over again like nothing had happened. I knew she could heal quickly, but actually seeing it reminded me of the beast that lives within Rosie, the one that would have been content to kill me.
Seeing her curled up like this made my heart ache, but she needed space. I walked backwards until my legs hit the end of the bed. I sat down heavily, watching intently as Rosie tried calming herself. I sighed as I eventually laid back, my upper body bouncing on the bare mattress. I let my eyelids close, pulling back the tousled curls resting on my forehead. I ached all over, but I never showed it, not wanting to make Rosie feel guilty. I knew she didn’t mean too. The beast overpowers her body, her abilities. I felt cruel for thinking that Rosie was about to kill me. It wasn’t her. Once this beast was coaxed out, Rosie disappeared, but her heart showed today. My words stopped her from hurting me. I understood how much that word meant to her: trust. And every word was true. I did trust her.
Rosie’s heavy breathing could still be heard from the corner, making me wince at the pain in the sound. But I couldn’t do anything. I just had to wait until it was over. Her words earlier flashed behind my closed eyelids, those words containing so much meaning, so much depth that my skin crawled at the thought. She was purely scared of something, or someone.
“He knows where I am all the time.”
Who? My eyes shot open, frantically scanning the room as the feeling of being watched by piercing eyes making my skin tingle. A cold shiver ran down my spine. But it was just me and Rosie, her heavy breathing now pained grunts. I screwed my eyes shut, letting my thoughts drift to the events over the past few days. None of it made sense, like there was something missing in my mind, a piece to finish this complicated jigsaw. But what?
I didn’t know how long I laid there, but exhaustion soon commandeered my body, My chest calmed, but the sharp pain emitting from my neck made me shudder, stopping me from sleeping.
I gasped suddenly when the inside of my thighs were rubbed. My eyes shot open, my upper body rising from the mattress. Rosie was stood between my legs, her head bowed in shame. She mumbled an apology, tears dripping from her face. I softly slipped my hands into hers, rubbing the back of them with my thumbs. Her skin was hot against mine, but I squeezed them nonetheless. I tugged her close to me, widening my legs further. Rosie’s head gradually lifted back up, her puffy eyes locking with mine.
“Rosie, what’s wrong? You’ve been acting weird all day.”
She nibbled at her bottom lip, lowering her gaze.
“You can speak to me, Rosie,” I said softly, bringing her left hand up to my mouth. I pressed my lips to the back of her hand, gazing up at her through my eyelashes. “Who’s hurt you?”
Rosie’s eyes found mine, her teeth playing havoc with her bottom lip. The pure fright sparkling in her eyes shocked me. I’d seen her scared before, like whenever she looked at herself in the mirror. I’d caught her a few times in the bathroom. She’d catch her reflection and her cheeks would drain of colour. Her lips would part, tears brimming over his eyes before she quickly looked away again. She was so frightened of herself. But this was different, a lot different. Then it clicked.
The name spat from my mouth as if it carried a disgusting taste, a deadly disease. It made my blood boil.
Rosie nodded. Her body started to shake between my legs at the name. A number of swear words left my mouth in pure rage, my hands automatically squeezing Rosie’s until I realised I was crushing it. I quickly pulled back, softly letting my hands wander down her waist to her hips. I let a smile commandeer my face as Rosie wore my clothes. My skin tingled as I felt over the muscle in her stomach gradually appearing from the training. She really didn’t know how beautiful she was.
Rosie bowed his head, watching my hands brush over her stomach. I finally pressed my palm into her chest, closing my eyes to focus on her heartbeat. Her breaths were quick and unsteady. I gazed up at her, watching Rosie’s eyes shine with fear.
I kept my hand on her chest as I reached up with my other hand, cupping the back of her neck. I brought her head down to mine, pressing our foreheads together. A grin spread across my features as her heartbeat slowly steadied against my palm, her breaths calm against my lips. I stared deep into Rosie’s eyes, sending shots of warmth through my veins.
“I’ll keep you safe,” I murmured up to her.
A smile broke out on her face, placing her warm hand over mine on his chest. I pulled my other hand from her neck, snaking my arm around her back. I tugged her into me further, closing my thighs around her legs.