“I did something.”
Harry’s angered expression faded away, his face falling at my words. I could have sworn fear had flickered for a moment in his eyes. The man stood before me looked weak, so exhausted from all of this. His shoulders were hunched, dark circles under his eyes. His form was slouched with such pale skin. This is what I’ve done to him.
“Let’s go inside,” he murmured, grasping my side and squeezing it weakly.
I nodded, feeling his arm slip around my waist to guide me into the building. I rested my head onto his broad shoulder, my arm limp around him. Harry unlocked the gate before letting us into the club. He swung the door open, slipping his arm from me to allow me in first. A mixed scent of sweat and plastic filled my head, but brought a smile to my face nonetheless. I loved this place. It was the only place me and Harry could have our own space, do what we want. Yes we had the flat, but here it’s more secluded, away from everyone else. It was our second, almost secret, home.
“You’re soaked,” Harry stated from behind me.
I turned around to find Harry’s eyes wandering up and down my damp body, a concerned expression morphed on his face. His hand crept into mine, pulling me closer to him. He wiped the lingering rain drops from my forehead, his eyes locking with mine.
“Let’s find you something else to wear.”
The moment quickly passed, Harry tugging me into the changing room. I silently let him guide me, trying to keep up with his large strides. His large hand slammed into the door, shoving it open. Again, he let me in first, his hand pressed to my back as I stepped in. I loitered around the benches as Harry slid into the side room to his left in search of some clothes. I perched on the wooden bench, paced up and down the room, lingered in the doorway of the side room Harry was in. I couldn’t relax, knowing I’d have to eventually tell Harry about the news report.
I watched in silence as he bent over, rifling through a low locker for some clothes. Lockers filled three walls of the room, a wooden table standing in the middle, holding several piles of paper and a whistle. Harry grumbled quietly to himself, bending his knees to crouch down. I leaned against the door frame, feeling a soft smile warm up my face as I watched this man I could call my boyfriend. Lines of concentration covered Harry’s forehead as he searched the locker, his tongue poking out from the corner of his mouth. All of a sudden I felt a heavy pressure pushing behind my eyes, a hard lump lodged in my throat. Could I really leave him? Could I give into Samuel’s orders and kill him?
“Got it,” Harry said, pulling out a pile of clothing.
I blinked back the tears, coughing harshly into my fist. I forced a smile upon my face as Harry stood up, slowly approaching me. His tired gaze remained on the clothes in his hands, his slim, shaking legs carrying him over to me. His curls fell around his face, stopping me from taking in his beauty.
The clothes were thrust into my chest, Harry’s head still bowed. I gently took the tracksuit bottoms and clean t-shirt from him, our fingertips brushing softly.
His head gradually lifted, our fingers still touching. The corner of his mouth flickered slightly, his hand slipping over mine on the side of the pile of clothes between us. He captured my wrist in his fingers, gently pulling me into the room. His cheeky grin was slowly returning on his lips, a hand reaching past my head to slam the door shut behind me.
The clothes were taken from me again, Harry placing them on the wooden table just behind him. I stood before him, my shivering form damp and shaking. I watched as Harry reached out, swiping the dripping hair from my forehead. His fingertips skimmed down my face before landing under my chin, tilting my head up to him. His mouth pressed a warm kiss to my lips before quickly withdrawing, both hands now at the hem of my shirt. My gaze lowered to his hands, my breath held in my lungs. Harry’s head craned down to catch my gaze, whispering my name with his raspy tone. I looked back up at him, his plump lips spread across his face in reassurance.
I felt the clinging material peel from my skin, Harry gently pulling my shirt up my torso. His eyes lit up, wiping away the tired look deep in his eyes. He kept my gaze, slowly revealing my stomach and chest. His tongue glided over his parted lips, love sparkling in his orbs. For a moment I felt like we had just met again. I savoured this moment, sensing we wouldn’t get many more of these times.
Harry’s eyes finally tore from mine, taking in my newly exposed skin. I raised my arms above my head, eyes falling closed as the clingy material was tugged over my head, long breaths falling from Harry’s mouth. Once the shirt was taken off, I saw Harry’s eyes were still fixed on my body, my arms lowering back to my sides. He dropped the shirt to the floor by our feet, Harry’s hands clasping my sides. My instant reaction was to fling my arms over my stomach, but Harry knew this. He quickly gripped hold of my forearms, guiding them back to my sides once more. His eyes flickered up to me, his grip pinning my arms to my sides.
“Let me see you.”
His gaze lowered again, a deep breath taken in through his nose. He squeezed my forearms before letting them go, his touch landing on my stomach. Fingertips brushed up and down my skin, letting off explosions of warmth through my veins. Just this little touch could make me feel loved and cared about. My gaze lowered as well, watching his palm gently press into my chest.
“You’re heart’s beating fast,” he murmured, eyes looking back up at me.
I lifted mine, locking our eyes instantly. His smile let off one of mine, a smile deepened the corners of my mouth. I placed my hand over his, squeezing it softly. Harry stepped closer to me, his head dipping down for his lips to leave kisses to my collar bone. I tried swallowing back the soft groans, but they soon tumbled through my lips. My head rolled back with pleasure as Harry’s curls tickled at my neck, my eyes falling closed to savour these few seconds before the usual feelings shot through my body. His kisses trailed up to my neck, his teeth nipping softly at the skin.
He moaned deeply, his spare hand clasping my side. Plump lips pressed to the skin below my ear, making my legs feel weak under me. He pulled me closer to him, taking control of my vulnerable body. But this action caused the eruptions of tingles to spread out across my body, starting from my stomach.
I pressed my hands into his chest, pulling myself from his embrace. His lips left my skin, his touch leaving me making me feel damp and shivering once more. A heavy sigh fell from Harry’s lips as I stopped him from going any further. I knew he wanted more, but I couldn’t give it to him. Not yet.
“Harry, I’m sor-”
“No, it’s fine,” he murmured, his slightly damp curls bouncing as he shook his head. “It’s my fault.”
He turned around and shuffled over to the table, his hands shakily fiddling with the piles of paper stacked up on the top of it. He mumbled to himself, shaking his head every so often. Even with his back to me, I knew he was crying.
I silently walked over to him and gripped hold of his upper arms, gently turning him back around. He let me, brushing the tears from his cheeks. His face displayed such exhaustion, dark circles under his eyes. He mustn’t have slept at all last night.
My hands left his arms to cup his head, lifting it from his chest. I wiped his damp cheeks with my thumbs, trying to catch his gaze.
“Soon, Harry,” I murmured. “I promise.”
Tears filled his eyes once more, this sight stinging my heart. I’ve never seen Harry break down so much. He’s always so strong. I missed that.
He nodded solemnly, his gaze shifting to my upper body.
“Yeah, soon,” he murmured.
I tilted his head back up, forcing him to meet my gaze. His features scrunched up as he stopped himself from crying.
“I love you, Harry. You know that, don’t you?” I asked, feeling tears prick behind my eyes.
“Yeah, I do,” he whispered. “I love you too.”
We just stood there in the room, making the most of this intimate moment. Tears brimmed over Harry’s eyes, silently trickling down his pale cheeks. But he smiled through his emotions nonetheless. He truly was amazing.
The moment didn’t last long, the main door of the club suddenly slamming shut. An eruption of chatter filled the building, loud footsteps breaking the silence. The kids were here for their lesson. I finally took a step back, feeling the growing tingles under my skin disappear as Harry’s touch left me. His eyes stared into mine as if trying to block everyone else out, ignoring the visitors flooding into the building.
“I’d better get dressed,” I mumbled, using my arms to cover my torso.
A deep, tired sigh was forced from Harry’s lips, taking a step to the side for me to reach for the pile of clothes on the table. I grabbed the clean t-shirt, swiftly tugging it over my head. I quickly slipped out of the tight jeans, my fingers trembling as I tugged the warm trackies up my legs.
Once I was fully clothed, I turned to face Harry, his head bowed, playing with his fingers by his stomach. I quickly caught his attention, gripping the hem of his damp shirt. I began pulling up the material, but Harry’s whole body suddenly jumped back, away from me.
My face fell at his response. Harry quickly turned around, pacing over to the furthest wall. He kept his back to me, hastily yanking his shirt from his body. That’s when I remembered. The scratch marks. He was hiding them from me.
He bunched his shirt up, doing his best to hide the scratch marks I’d inflicted on him. The bruises I’d left were also printed on his waist, making my heart knot painfully in my chest. Harry pressed the shirt to his body before turning around, striding over to the open locker.
“Harry, you don’t have to do that.”
I followed him, grasping his shoulder before he crouched down. His muscles were tense under my hand; a scared, childlike whimper escaped him by my touch as if he was frightened of me. He thought I was going to hurt him again. I quickly pulled back, never witnessing that reaction before. It shocked me. It hurt me.
Harry’s head quickly shot around, trying to attempt a reassuring smile, realising what he’d done. I took another shaky step back, crashing into the table behind. A pile of paper fell to the floor, my body trembling. He was scared of me. He was scared of my touch. He thinks I’m a monster, like I’m going to hurt him again. I’ve ruined everything again. I’ve broken us. I felt my heart shattering in my chest. I can’t be here anymore. I’ll hurt him. I won’t do that to him again.
I turned around, darting over to the door. Tears clouded my vision as my shaky hands clumsily found the door handle.
“Rosie,” Harry called.
I pulled the door handle down with such force, grunting as I did so. I swung it open, the smell of sweat hitting me strongly. I tried blinking back the stinging tears as I stepped out of the room, Harry’s voice calling after me from behind.
“I-I didn’t mean to, Rosie. It just…slipped out. I’m sorry…”
I ignored his excuses and ran out of the changing rooms. All the heads turned to look at me in the club, parents dropping off their kids for the lesson. They all stared as I sped past them, my emotions close to exploding from me. I bolted for the door. I was running. Again. That’s all I ever do. Run.
Suddenly my body crashed into someone, a grunt forced from me. A pair of arms flung around my waist, squeezing me tightly.
“Rosalie!” Joe cried, his chin resting on my stomach, his small face gazing up at me. The rush of adrenaline I was feeling had faded now. My muscles gradually softened in his tight hold as I wrapped my arms around his skinny body.
“Hey, little man,” I spoke quietly, rubbing his back.
He pressed his ear against my stomach, tightening his arms around me. I stared at the door a few feet in front of me. I needed to leave. What if I hurt Joe?
“Are you not staying, Rosalie?” Joe asked, his head tilted back up.
“No, mate. I can’t,” I said, placing my hand to the back of his head to ruffle his hair
His features fell at my words. “Oh,” he mumbled, hanging his head. “B-but can’t you just stay for warm ups?”
“Joe, I can’t…”
“Please, Rosie,” he pleaded, locking his arms back around me. “Stay.”
“Yeah, Rosie,” a soft voice spoke from behind me. A warm hand was pressed into my back, Joe’s gaze shifting to look over my shoulder. “Stay.”
My head turned, finding Harry’s face inches from mine. Warm breath fanned over my lips, Harry’s hand sneaking up to the nape of my neck. He leaned into me, lips brushing at my ear.
“Please stay. For me,” he whispered.
My head turned back, my gaze falling upon Joe. He beamed up at me, bouncing up and down on the spot. He stared up at me for an answer, Harry’s hand softly rubbing at my back.
“Okay,” I finally breathed.
Joe’s face lit up, jumping madly on the spot, my body still constricted in his embrace.
“Thank you,” Harry whispered.
I nodded slowly, feeling a smile creep onto my face. Joe’s arms unwrapped from me, fists up in the air in front of him.
“Look, Rosalie. Look what Harry taught me.”
His skinny elbows were in, his gaze staring at me over the top of his small fists. He bounced from one foot to the other before quickly pulling his arm back, slamming his fist forward. It barely hit my stomach, his knuckles grazing my t-shirt, but I played along. I clutched my stomach dramatically, sinking to my knees.
“Argh, y-you got me, little man,” I croaked.
The corners of Joe’s mouth turned up, the sight bringing a smile to my own face. Harry stood over me, arms crossed over his chest as he watched with amusement. Joe bounced up and down, fists ready to blow again. He pulled his arm back again, chuckling at me.
“N-no,” I stuttered. “I surrender. Please don’t hurt me.”
My arms raised in surrender, my body cowering away in fright. Joe laughed down at me, a huge grin on his face. Suddenly a large pair of hands landed on Joe’s shoulders from behind, gently shaking the boy.
“Come on, son. Let Harry and Rosalie get ready for today,” his father spoke in Joe’s ear. Joe whined, but finally gave in. I watched as they walked off, joining the other parents around the ring.
“Do you need a hand?” Harry laughed.
My head tilted up, Harry offering me his hand. A warm smile illuminated my face as I silently took his hand. He hauled me back up to my feet, shaking his head at me, smiling down to the ground.
“You’re so good with kids,” Harry murmured, leaning into me.
“Harry, there’s kids around.” I smirked, pushing him away.
“Alright then,” he murmured. “We’ll continue this later.”
Heat rushed to my cheeks, my palms growing sweaty. I stared down at my feet in a weak attempt to mask it, Harry laughing softly at my reaction. I felt the tingles emanating from my muscles, spreading down to my toes. Luckily Harry spun back around, striding over to the crowd of kids and adults. I grinned over at him, but deep down knowing inside I’d have to tell him. My past’s coming back to haunt me.
I sat on the table pushed against the back wall, watching Harry instruct his lesson in the boxing ring. He wasn’t so active today, causing me to worry for him. He clearly hadn’t slept last night. But why?
He quickly paired the kids up, facing each other to practise defence strategies. I leaned back against the wall, arms crossed over my chest as I watched from across the room. Harry soon caught my gaze, his stern frown relaxing into a smile. Beads of sweat lingered on his forehead, damp curls adorning his head. He wore a white tank top and grey shorts, a sweat band pushing back his wet curls. My stomach flipped inside of me, bringing an affectionate smile to my face. Harry’s right eye dropped into a wink before turning back to his class. Once his eyes left mine, I let my smile fade away, my heart so heavy in my chest. I had so many thoughts spinning around in my mind: Samuel’s threats, Liam’s missing body, the mysterious phone calls and outings Harry’s been having. I was so confused.
I noticed Harry giving me worried glances, losing his focus on the kids around him.
“Alright, class,” he finally called. “Keep going. You’re doing well. Just remember turn to your side for balance, gloves high. Got it?”
“Yes, Harry,” the class spoke simultaneously.
He smiled before he jumped from the ring, quickly approaching me. I put on a false smile as Harry slid onto the table next to me. Silence grew like fog around us, the noises of loud smacking and kids chatting echoing in the room. A sigh finally left Harry’s mouth, his head bowed.
“We need to talk, don’t we?” he asked.
I stared at him, his curls falling around his face. I brushed his hair behind his ear, smiling weakly at the feeling of Harry’s curls on my skin.
“Yeah,” I mumbled.
A deep breath was taken through Harry’s nose before he sighed heavily, nodding in response.
“You said you did something,” he spoke, eyes glancing at me. “Earlier, outside here. What did you do, Rosie?”
I scrunched my eyes closed, images of Liam’s dead body in my arms making me whimper. His voice followed me when I ran, pleading to be saved. But I killed him. I could have saved his life, but there was blood. So much blood. I couldn’t stop myself. The taste, the smell. It was too overwhelming.
“Liam,” I finally whispered. “The man I…I…”
I took a deep breath, my fingers curling into balls on my lap.
“The reason why I was running that night,” I continued, the one word refusing to leave my mouth: kill. That four letter word carried so much meaning, so much stress, anger. So much guilt. “After I’d done it in the alleyway, I ran and left his body there. But when I was alone in the flat earlier, the TV turned on. There was a news report about that night.”
Harry stared at me with concern, but a sudden cry of laughter cut through the air. Harry’s head shot around to glare over to the ring, much of the kids in fits of giggles.
“Just ‘cause I’m not with you doesn’t mean you can mess about,” he barked.
Cheeky glances were exchanged between the boys before they positioned themselves back in front of their partners.
“Sorry,” Harry murmured, shaking his head. His gaze lowered to my chest, staying silent in order for me to continue. His fingers were curled around the edge of the desk either side of his thighs, his back slouched.
“Umm…” I mumbled, rubbing my forehead roughly. Maybe I thought this action could erase the memories, the constant pictures of pain, blood, death. But I knew it wouldn’t. I would have to live with them for the rest of my life.
I hadn’t realised I’d been crying until I felt the back of Harry’s hand brush at my cheek, a sympathetic smile on his face. I caged my hand over his on my cheek, gently lowering it again. I placed it on his lap, giving it one final squeeze before I let it go. I really didn’t deserve him.
“The news report,” I finally continued. “It said that…that Liam’s body had gone missing.”
“Missing?” Harry repeated.
A sudden deep bellow came from the boxing ring, the same larger kid that was bullying Joe last time had shoved him. Joe fell back, landing heavily on the ring floor. Our eyes met for a brief second, Kyle taking a wary step back. I thought I had taught that kid a lesson last time, but right now I had other important things to worry about.
“Oi!” Harry yelled.
He jumped off of the table, running over to the ring. I hung my head, watching my tears suddenly blur my vision. Harry’s yelling made my body jump, cold shivers running down my spine. I let out a shaky sigh, my chin to my chest to hide the tears falling. I tried closing my eyes in a weak attempt to stop my trickling emotions, but it only brought images into my head. Liam’s body was growing weaker with each suck to his neck, the colour quickly draining from his cheeks.
I gasped as a large hand pressed into my back. My head shot up, coming face to face with a red faced Harry.
“That bloody Kyle,” Harry spoke, swinging himself back up onto the table beside me with one arm. “I’ll have to kick him out of class if this continues.”
Harry’s head turned back to the ring in front of us, an irritated sigh passed through his lips.
“Joe, remember quick stabs,” he called. “Kyle, gloves higher!”
I remained silent, staring at Harry, but not really staring at Harry. Liam’s dead eyes burnt behind my eyelids, eliciting uncomfortable whimpers from me. Harry’s eyes were full of warmth as they connected with mine, softening the cold eyes boring into me.
“Rosie…Rosie, what did you mean missing?”
His hand squeezed my shoulder, green eyes searching my own as if looking for the answers to all of this. But I didn’t have them either.
“The news reporter said that Liam has been missing and that the three men who’d attacked us were in questioning at the moment. And they’re looking for me next.”
“Shit,” Harry murmured.
I nodded weakly, feeling tear swell up in my already sore eyes.
“I-I left him in that alleyway. I’d killed him. I’d sucked his blood. So where is he?”
I realised my voice had grown, a few of the kids’ heads turned to stare at me wide-eyed. I hung my head once more, listening to Harry ordering them to continue.
“This is so messed up,” I mumbled. “I just don’t understand any of this. And on top of everything, the police are on the lookout for me. What the hell have I done, Harry?”
His muscled arms tightly held my shaking body. He pressed at the back of my head, encouraging my head to lower to his shoulder.
“We’ll find a way through this,” he murmured. “I promise.”
I wanted to believe him, I really did, but I knew I’d be found, I’d be done for murder. I knew I wouldn’t be able to control this beast living inside me, especially in a tiny, secluded cell. But the truth was I couldn’t run forever. I didn’t have a choice. I would have to take my punishment.
I lifted my head from Harry’s shoulder, staring seriously into his eyes.
“I’m gonna turn myself in.”