Silence grew thick in the room as Samuel and his men marched into the changing room, leaving me and Harry alone for the first time. I hung my head, quietly sobbing to myself as I sat heavily in the corner, feeling the tears slowly run down my cheeks. I ached all over, but I could faintly feel myself heal, my muscles tingling with warmth as they mended. The bare light bulb above dimly lit the boxing ring, casting shadows of the bars of the cage above us on the boxing ring floor.
My eyes eventually flickered over to Harry, his head hung heavily on his chest, his chest jerking painfully with every breath. Blood dripped from his nose onto his lap, his hair in a messy tangle on his head as his unconscious body was heavily sat on the floor. My bottom lip quivered at the sight. I pulled my legs up to my chest, resting my forehead on my knees. I sobbed quietly, my wrists tightly bound to the rope.
A groggy murmur eventually interrupted my thoughts. My head shot up, watching Harry’s head roll around on his neck.
“Rosie,” he groaned softly.
Harry lifted his head, revealing his bloody, bruised face. A sob burst from my chest and out my mouth at the sight, tears swelling in my eyes.
“Rosie, don’t cry. Please,” he muttered, slowly shaking his head at me.
I lowered my gaze as I let the tears escape heavily, my weeping echoing in the room. I noticed Harry struggling weakly against the rope, my name leaving his lips in desperate cries as I sobbed louder, all the emotions building up inside for the past few hours exploding out of me.
“I’m going to die, aren’t I?” I eventually sobbed, staring straight into Harry’s green orbs.
He seemed to be getting his energy back. Anger flickered in his eyes, his fists clenching. “I won’t let that happen, Rosie,” he said sternly.
“For fuck sake, Harry!” I yelled, leaning forward as far as I could before my bonds stopped me. “Didn’t you listen to them? They’re going to kill me tomorrow. Once I’m gone, you’re all theirs. They own you. You’ll be one of them...one of me,” I spat, tears running down my face.
“Rosie, listen to me. We can fight Samuel and his men…”
“You just don’t understand, do you?!” I screamed at him, my anger getting out of control. “You don’t know what it’s like to be something like me, to hold all this strength. You have no idea what powers we possess!”
Hurt spread over Harry’s battered face. Silence grew awkward in the room as anger coursed through my veins.
“I understand a lot more than you think, Rosie,” he eventually grumbled, gazing at me across the ring. I kept my mouth shut, guilt crashing into me suddenly. I bit my cut lip, staring across the ring to Harry.
“This is what Samuel wants, Harry,” I eventually mumbled, trying to find anyone to blame but myself. “He wants us to go against each other, to hate one another. I don’t want that.”
“Well, maybe I do.”
I stared at him, seeing angry tears glistening in his green orbs. His words really stung me. “Harry, don’t say that,” I sobbed.
Harry stayed silent, lowering his head back down until his chin rested on his chest. “Maybe Samuel didn’t do this to us. Maybe you did,” he mumbled down to his lap. “Maybe I’m getting fed up of not being able to touch you without provoking whatever you are. Maybe it’s getting boring being the one that always has to help you and look after you…”
“Maybe I want someone different, someone…normal!”
He glanced at me, his face falling once the words fell from his mouth. I stared at him, my tears turning him into a blurry figure. I waited for him to apologise, to take it all back. But he just lowered his gaze again, staring back down at his lap. My lips parted as tears silently ran down my sore face. I let out a shaky sigh, finally realising that Samuel’s won. He’s beaten us.
Silence grew thick like fog in the ring as we processed what was just said. I finally understood.
“Did you ever love me?” I whispered.
I watched as Harry slowly lifted his chin back up, tears running down his own face.
“Did you?” I asked, sniffling quietly as I forced back the sobs threatening to escape.
“Yes, I did,” he muttered. “And I still do, Rosie.”
I shook my head at him, knowing exactly what it’s like to put my full trust into someone before they threw it back in my face. I cursed myself for falling for Harry. I should have never stopped pushing him away. I should have just kept running.
“I wish I’d never met you that night,” I sobbed, narrowing my puffy eyes towards Harry. “I stupidly trusted you with everything. I thought I’d finally found someone who would accept me for who I was, but I was clearly wrong.”
“I’m sorry, Rosie. You know I didn’t mean it.”
Harry got onto his knees, shuffling as far forward as he could. His arms bent back as his wrists were tied to the rope of the ring. I pressed myself tight against the padding, wanting the space between us as large as possible. Harry could only shuffle a foot forward before his bonds stopped him, but I felt isolated. I bent my legs in front of my chest, wrists still bound to the rope. I blocked out Harry’s apologies, his voice shaking as he sobbed. I buried my face in my knees, mumbling my nursery rhyme over and over as Harry tried getting my attention.
“Rosie, please. I’ve always loved you. Listen to me, Rosie!”
His voice cracked as he spoke. The pain and aching in my chest was hurting me, my muscles groaning inside as my emotions provoked this beast in me. I locked my fists, but the burning sensation in my muscles grew by the second. I hissed through my teeth, hot, sharp tingles running through my body. Harry continued to call my name, telling me that I could trust him, that he loved me, but his voice was drowned out by the deep growling in my mind, telling me the beast was near to the surface.
My muscles began to rip, my head throbbing as I slowly let this monster out. My body shook uncontrollably as I rocked myself back and forth. My fists clenched and unclenched as I tried fighting it off.
“Rosie, what’s happening?” Harry asked worriedly.
My head shot up from my knees, my teeth ripping out of my gums, my pupils dilated. The colour drained from Harry’s cheeks, his swollen eyes widening as he stared at me from across the ring. He sat back on his heels, his lips parting in shock. I growled angrily, a strong hand clasped around my heart.
“I can’t fight it anymore,” I spat, scrunching my face up. “I’m going to hurt you, Harry.” I tilted my head back, opening my mouth as I screamed out in agony.
“Rosie, listen to me. Calm down!”
His voice was drowned out by my screams, my strength growing uncontrollably. The beast was fighting its way out of my body, tearing apart my muscles and ripping through my flesh. I had to stop. I was going to kill Harry.
Pain shot out at all different angles of my body. I hissed through my teeth, bowing my head as I tried to hide the fact that I was in pure agony.
I suddenly gasped. A claw enveloped my heart, squeezing tight as the beast tried ripping through my flesh. My chest jerked as I whined excruciatingly, slowly simmering to a sob. My whole face scrunched up, my eyes squeezed shut as Samuel’s laughter rang in my ears. I shook my head vigorously, the heat from my muscles exploding suddenly. I felt like I was on fire, every part of me burning beyond belief.
“H-Harry,” I whimpered. “Make it stop.”
I suddenly flung my head back, smashing into the padding behind with a thump, but I barely felt it. My teeth ripped out of my gums. I was slowly giving into the beast, his thoughts overpowering mine. The familiar smell of Harry’s blood encircled me as I lashed out, the rope tearing apart around my wrists.
Harry fell silent as I got to my feet in a matter of seconds, my strength too strong for me to handle. I strode over to Harry, towering over him. I knew I’d made the wrong decision. But I couldn’t stop. His face grew pale as I reached out, fisting the front of his t-shirt tight between my fingers. With one swift movement, the ropes ripped from Harry’s wrists, his feeble body hanging in the air by his shirt I had hold of. I tilted my head up to him, my vision so strong I could make out every pore in his skin, sweat trickling out of them in fear. Of me.
His hands were wrapped around mine gripping his shirt, his body squirming about as he attempted to free himself. Tears swelled in his green sparkling orbs as he shook violently. I slowly brought him down, his face millimetres from mine as his feet hung a few inches from the ground. I could tell he was holding his breath, refusing to look me in the eye.
The smell, that smell. It was engulfing me, screaming at me to taste it. I slowly brought my spare hand up, cupping one side of Harry’s neck. His pulse beat hard against my thumb, his breaths escaping his mouth in short puffs.
Tears silently ran down Harry’s bruised cheeks, his gaze finally meeting mine. I stared at him, his shaky breath fanning over my lips. His nose brushed against mine, warmth striking my body suddenly. His hands were still gripping hold of mine, his breath slowly steadying, his chest calming. His lips barely moved as he tried speaking, swallowing the hard lump in his throat.
“I love you,” he whispered.
I suddenly let go of him, stumbling back in fright. Harry landed on his feet, but he was still weak, his body crumpling to the floor. He coughed and spluttered as he used the little strength he had to pull his upper body from the floor of the ring. I staggered back, heat tingling from my fingertips. What was I doing? Harry was right. I didn’t have the control I needed to do this. His words had warmed my heart, easing the claw around my organ ever so slightly. He still loved me. After everything we’ve been through he’s still here for me. And I’d just tried to kill him.
I could feel the beast fighting violently inside me as I fought sternly against it. I screamed up to the ceiling before collapsing to my knees, loud, painful sobs bursting from my lips. This was getting too much. But if I gave up fighting Harry would be dead. The pain was so unbearable.
I finally managed to tilt my heavy head up, my pained screams bouncing off of the four walls. My mind was black, darkness staring straight back at me. The tingling grew inside me, scorching my organs until I could barely breathe. I flung my arms around my front, bowing my head. I let a breath hiss through my gritted teeth, pain encircling my body. I bent my back over, the top of my head grazing the floor as I screamed out.
Suddenly that all too familiar warmth struck me once again, a comforting hand on my back. I tried shaking him off, but he was persistent, slipping his arm around my back as he crouched beside me. He still didn’t get it. I was going to kill him.
I shot up, my back straight as Harry pulled away from me. I could hear his heartbeat, the mad pounding blasting in my ears, spinning around in my mind. My head shot to the side, my eyes staring deep into Harry’s orbs. Fear sparkled in his eyes as I gripped harshly onto his shoulders, pinning him down to the ground. He crashed onto his back, gasping as I quickly straddled him, my speed out of control.
I stared down at him, his trembling body between my thighs. I moved my hands from his shoulders, gripping hold of his wrists to pin them to either side of his head. I watched as Harry’s lips parted in shock, venom spitting from my mouth. My throat was dry, craving that one taste that would take all this pain away. I slowly bent down, my sharp teeth grazing his ear.
“I’m sorry,” I shakily whispered, tears running from my eyes. I sobbed quietly, the ends of my teeth digging slowly into his skin of his neck.
“Rosie…Rosie, stop. You’re hurting me!” Harry cried. Niall’s exact words before I killed him. The memories hurt. My head ached with all the pressure forced upon me over the years. I could still see the pain in Niall’s eyes when I killed him. It was reflected in Harry’s orbs. He was terrified of me. Like all my victims were.
That’s when realisation hit me. I suddenly let out a pained sob, my muscles grew weak, feeble as I buried my tear stained face into Harry’s neck. A shaky breath fell from my dry lips as my body grew heavy on top of Harry’s, my forehead pressed to the soft skin of his neck.
Harry sighed with relief as I eventually released my grip on his wrists, weeping quietly into his neck. My whole body shook as the tingling subsided in my muscles, the rips throughout my skin healing quickly. Harry’s chest rose and fell deeply under me, his body trembling against mine. I pressed my lips to his neck, trailing soppy, wet kisses up and down the skin.
“I’m so sorry,” I sobbed, caressing the small teeth marks I had made on his skin. I was so close to tasting the liquid, to feel it trickling down my throat.
“Rosie,” Harry muttered, nudging my head to get a response.
“I’m sorry. I would never hurt you,” I continued, pressing my plump lips to his jawline. My tears made Harry’s skin damp as I tried healing what I had done.
“Rosie,” he said sterner, tilting his head down.
I finally pulled back, gazing deeply into his teary eyes. Our noses grazed each other as his shaky breaths puffed onto my lips. He rubbed his nose against mine, a smile breaking out on his marked face.
“I forgive you,” he muttered.
I squeezed my eyes tightly shut, pressing my forehead hard against his. A mixture of sobs and chuckles fell from my mouth as Harry’s arms protectively wrapped around my neck. I could feel his teeth lightly nibbling at my bottom lip, tugging lightly at it. I felt my muscles one by one slowly soften, the rips healing quickly. The burning under my skin fizzled away, my teeth shrinking in my mouth. A smile played on Harry’s lips as my body grew weaker, resting heavily onto the padding behind me. My fists unclenched as I let out a shaky sigh, my eyelids drooping in exhaustion, my body shaking violently. The shadow in my mind was fading away, but Samuel’s grin was forever there, reminding me I can only push this beast away, but never escape it.
I smiled sheepishly as Harry removed his arms from around my neck. He captured my hands in his, guiding them back down to pin them either side of his head. I slid my fingers between his, giving them a soft squeeze.
I soon shifted on top of him to get comfortable, causing a sudden gasp to emit from his mouth. He scrunched his gorgeous face up as I realised I was digging my knee into his side. I pulled back quickly, slipping my fingers out from between his. I carefully began climbing off of him, but my hands were suddenly gripped once again, Harry tugging on them like a child.
“No, don’t,” he muttered up to me, forcing a smile on his face. “Lie on me…just be careful.”
I nodded shyly down to him, lying flat on top of him. “I’m sorry, Harry,” I murmured, sinking my teeth into my bottom lip to stop it from quivering. “I don’t want to fight. If this is our last night together, I want it to be perfect, well as perfect as it can get.”
“Rosie, don’t speak like that. I promised you I’d protect you. I’ll do whatever I can to stop that man from hurting you.”
I opened my mouth to retaliate, to shout at him for believing that I’ll still be alive in 24 hours. But Harry interrupted me.
“I told you I’d fight for us. And that’s exactly what I’m gonna do, Rosie. God, I love you so much,” he groaned. “And I won’t let anything happen to you.”
All my emotions erupted out of me at once. I rolled off of him and Harry’s nose soon nudged my cheek, tilting my head to the side. My lips parted, allowing a steady sigh to fall from my mouth as he brushed his plump lips on my neck. His arm wrapped protectively around my torso, tugging me closer to him. He left a trail of kisses over my skin, his hot breath making me shiver with warmth. I could feel he was being cautious, his lips barely grazing my ear as he spoke.
“I trust you, Rosie.”
His words possessed so much meaning, so much depth. A warm smile spread across my battered face, those four words making my heart flutter madly inside my chest.
But the memories of my past still haunted me. The word ‘trust’ has been a huge part of my life. But I wasn’t to be trusted, my episode a moment ago proving me right. My head shot to the side to face him, my face holding a stern frown.
“Well don’t, Harry,” I murmured harshly.
“Try and stop me,” he teased, his intense stare silently challenging me.
A weak smile broke out on my face. I rolled onto my side and buried my face into his neck, one arm draped over his side. Harry’s arm drew me closer into him. He held me so close, making the most of us able to touch each other. I guess my rage came out positive. We were free of the bonds tonight. We knew we’d have to tie ourselves back up before the morning, but we were making the most of our short time together.
“I never thought we’d touch again,” Harry whispered shakily into my ear.
I stayed silent, tightening my arm around him to draw him closer. I reached up, my hand travelling to his dark curls, tangling between my fingers as I comforted him with my touch.
“There’s so much needed to be said,” he sobbed into my shoulder. “Rosie, I…”
“Shh,” I whispered, letting his curls go to rub the back of his head in comfort. “We still have time.”
Harry pulled back from my grip, rubbing his eyes roughly until it hurt too much to do so.
“But Rosie, that’s the thing. I have so much to explain. I don’t think we have much longer together.”
His words stung. But I knew they were true. As soon as sunlight seeped through the small windows of the boxing club, I would be prepared to fight. And die.
“What do you wanna talk about then?”
Harry’s gaze lowered, staring down at my stomach. He pierced his teeth into his sore bottom lip, tears glistening in his orbs. I understood. Our pasts.
I laid back, encouraging him to rest his head on my chest. A small smile appeared on his face as he rested on his side, one arm wrapped around my torso as he laid his head on my chest. I tangled my fingers with Harry’s, our fingers laced on my stomach. Our thumbs wrestled, finally making Harry’s gorgeous chuckle appear once again. Harry gazed up at me, his head tilted as I smiled weakly down at him.
“When did your parents die, Rosie?” he suddenly asked. My lips parted, his question shocking me. I‘ve never been asked that so suddenly before. My head spun, images flashing in my head. I released my gaze from Harry’s, staring up at the ceiling through the metal bars. My fingers loosened between Harry’s, a long, heavy sigh falling from my mouth.
“Sorry, Rosie. I shouldn’t have asked,” Harry mumbled, pressing his ear back on my chest. Silence grew thick around us as my heart clenched in my chest. But Harry must have asked for a reason.
“17 years ago,” I replied quietly. Harry’s head tilted back up, staring up at me. I lowered my gaze, meeting his intense eyes.
“What day?” he whispered, tears swelling in his eyes. The question ached my heart, each year on that day being the worst.
“30th of December,” my voice trembled to reply. Harry’s whole face fell, despair swimming in his orbs. Tears rose to his eyes as he nibbled on his bottom lip, slowly nodding in response. “Why?” I asked, swallowing the large lump forming in my throat.
“I found my parent’s dead the morning after,” he mumbled.
His words brought sorrow and misery to my heart, making it heavier than ever in my chest. It was true then. Samuel had gone on a rampage, killing everyone he knew and loved. Both my parents and Harry’s.
“Bastard,” I hissed through my teeth. But somehow proving this was true brought us closer. I didn’t think I could trust and love Harry any more than I already do. But I was wrong.
We cuddled up in silence, Harry snuggling into my chest. He sobbed quietly, muffling his weeping with my shirt, but I could still hear him. I aimlessly combed my fingers through his thick, tousled curls, fisting them softly in comfort. His sobbing exploded out of him, screaming angrily into my chest. Tears threatened to escape me, knowing exactly how heartbroken Harry was feeling. This was the first time I’d really seen Harry break down this much about his past. He was always so strong.
Harry fisted my shirt at the front, pressing his face into my body. I wrapped both arms around him, tugging him closer to me. I kissed the top of his head, fiercely forcing back the sobs ready to burst from me as well.
I silently waited until he gradually calmed down, his grip on my shirt loosening slowly. I squeezed him lightly as to not hurt him. His chest jerked as he swallowed back the sobs. I watched as he slowly pulled his heavy head up from my body, staring up at me through his tear filled eyes.
“I loved them, Rosie,” he whispered shakily.
“I know,” I muttered, understanding what it feels to have someone ripped away from you suddenly. It’s a shock, even after seventeen years. “I know.”