In Transit || Harry Styles AU

When Mason meets a mysterious guy at a club and goes home with him, she doesn’t ever expect to see him again. But when their paths cross again two years later, they both instantly feel the undeniable force between them. Mason is desperate to forget the demons of her past, while Harry lives a life fighting off his own. But after a life-changing revelation, he is determined to free them once and for all, and hopes he can help Mason in the same way she has helped him.

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18. Eighteen

He was really there. Her uncle Brian, the man who raped her, stood in front of her in the doorway of her apartment. This place was her safe haven. He was not supposed to be there. He was not allowed there. Why the hell was he there?

“Mason, I just… I wanted to talk. I-I… I have so much to apologize for,” he said with a sigh as his eyes shamefully looked down at the floor. 

Mason’s eyes quickly darted around her surroundings, looking for something, anything she could possibly defend herself with if need be, but she came up with nothing. And then he was looking back up at her again. Her head felt distorted from the sleeping pills and she was wobbly on her feet, but she stood her ground. She wasn’t going to show any signs of weakness.

“I’m, uh… I’m in AA. You know, Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s, uh… it’s really helped a lot. Made me into a better man, you know,” he started to explain. And Mason wasn’t sure why she stood there listening. Maybe it was because she was too afraid to move, to speak.

“And, uh… they have these steps – twelve steps,” he said as his eyes looked up into hers again. Her skin crawled with his eyes on her and she never wanted to flee from anything so badly in her life.

“I’ve, uh… I’ve gone through eight of them already. And the eighth one – well, that one has me make a list of all the people I have harmed and I’m supposed to make amends with them. And Mason, you’re number one on that list,” he told her, pursing his lips together in sort of a sad pout.

Mason’s stomach stirred intensely at the thought of everything that happened between them, at the thought of the person she became after what he did to her. Make amends? She didn’t know if that would ever be possible. 

“Number nine states: make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others,” he said, sounding as if he memorized it word-for-word from the AA handbook. 

Except when to do so would injure them. All Mason could think was, did emotional instability count? Because she was sure she couldn’t really handle any of this.

“I’m sorry, Mason. I’m sorry for what I did. You can never begin to comprehend the state I was in when… when it happened,” he said, sounding like he was making an excuse for himself. He couldn’t even say the words out loud. He couldn’t even admit he raped her.

“It was… it was a dark time. Things… it was just dark. And I can’t even…” He paused when his voice cracked with emotions. Mason’s eyes narrowed at the man in front of her, feeling her whole body being lit up with uncontrolled rage.

“I-I took advantage of the situation. I was messed up in the head and the alcohol clouded everything. I just lost my sister—your mother. She was… she was my best friend in the whole world…” He whimpered as he began to get choked up, but every word he said only infuriated her more.

“You ‘took advantage’? You raped me. And you came back and almost did it a second time. You would have if I didn’t fight you off me,” Mason snapped, resentment heavy in her words as she relived both nights in her head.

The anger that radiated through her caused her body to tremble as she stood in front of him. She felt out of control having him back in her world, like her life was not her own, like any second he would attack her. And in that moment she knew by ridding herself of the nightmares of him, it didn’t mean she would ever be rid of him. He was always going to be there in the back of her mind. He was always going to haunt her. He was always going to be able to find her.

“I’m so sorry, Mason. What can I do?” He said, hanging his head sheepishly, unable to look her in the eye.

What could he do? Nothing. Nothing would ever fix it. Nothing in the whole entire world could turn back time to before it happened. He could do nothing. Not a damn thing.

“I want you to admit it. I want you to say the words out loud. I don’t want you to mask them. I want you to admit what you did to me,” she told him.

Her words were angry and resentful, and she almost didn’t recognize her own voice. Where the nerve came from, she had no idea.

“Mason…” He breathed, finally looking up into her eyes as his eyebrows furrowed, like it pained him to have to say it out loud. And she hoped it did. She hoped he felt even a tiny bit of the destruction he brought upon her world.

“I am your sister’s daughter. I am all that’s left of her. And what you did to me—say it,” she seethed through clenched teeth, gripping her hands together into tight fists at her sides.

“I-I’m sorry,” he said quietly, hanging his head once again, and she could hear the emotions in his words, but she didn’t care.

Say it,” she growled, thinking maybe if he admitted to what he did, she could get back some of the dignity he stole from her.

His head slowly moved back up, linking their vision again. It felt like time stopped as they stared each other down. Fear spread through her at the thought of angering him to the point of violence, or worse. She regretted her decision to call him out almost immediately as she saw the raw emotion ripple through his eyes. She held her breath until his shoulders slumped and he let out an unmistakable sigh. 

“I-I… raped you. I’m so sorry,” he admitted quietly, looking into her eyes as his tears streaked down his cheeks.

Mason’s breathing hitched in her throat and she knew then and there that hearing him finally admit to it wasn’t ever going to make any of it better. She would still never be the same girl she used to be. She would still be irrevocably fucked up because of him.

“I don’t forgive you. I can’t,” she choked out, finally looking away from him.

“Mason, I’m so sorry,” he said as a strangled sob fell from his lips.

“Leave. Please. And… and don’t ever come back here,” she managed to tell him through her tears. Her whole body was shaking, but she wasn’t going to let him see how much he affected her.

“I’m sorry,” he said again and she noticed out of the corner of her eye that he took a step back and it was a relief.

“I don’t ever want to see you again. Don’t ever try to contact me again,” she told him, her voice low and resentful.

“Mason…” He pleaded.

“Ever,” she said with a bitter finality in her tone, looking up into his eyes to show she meant it.

He stared back at her for a few moments before he nodded his head slightly and took another step back. With one last look in her direction, he disappeared down the hallway, toward the stairs. As soon as he was out of sight, Mason took in a liberated breath, slammed her door shut and locked the deadbolt tightly. 

Her heart was nearly beating out of her chest as her back pressed up against the door. Her breathing became ragged and she was certain she was having a full-blown panic attack. Her chest burned with tightness and she couldn’t catch her breath. Her whole world was out of control and she could do absolutely nothing to center herself. She didn’t have the ability. 

Her mind cut straight to Harry and it only aggravated the panic attack further. He had the power to calm her, to center her, but she couldn’t – she wouldn’t let herself go back down that road.

She slid down the door, her body pooling onto the hardwood floor, pulling her legs to her chest as it heaved with ragged breaths. Her tears were relentless as fear settled within her. He stood in her doorway. He knew where she lived. He knew where she went to sleep at night. It was one thing for him to find her in her dreams, but for him to be able to find her in real life was absolutely terrifying. She no longer felt safe in her own home.

Mason scrambled to her feet, her fear guiding her. She couldn’t stay in her apartment – not tonight. She couldn’t live in a constant state of hyper-vigilance. Not when he could come back at any moment. 

She pulled a hoodie from her closet and threw it over her head before she grabbed her purse and slung it over her shoulder. She had no idea where she was going to go, but she knew staying there was not an option. As soon as she stepped foot outside, she took extra care to check her surroundings just in case her uncle was still lurking around. When the coast seemed to be clear, she walked quickly toward the nearest subway inlet to get out of the open. Her only thought was to get a good distance away from her apartment, and that was what she did.

Mason found herself on a train in the middle of the night, riding around aimlessly, up and down the island before she got off at the Grand Central Station terminal. It was the same spot she was able to center herself after seeing her uncle for the first time in many years just after the New Year. And now she was hoping to maybe find some solace there again. But her mind was much too scrambled for any type of relief or peace. The tightness in her chest never left, and once her tears started up again, she found herself in the bathroom trying to come down from another severe panic attack.

She hated herself for not being able to control her emotions. She hated herself for not being a stronger person, then and now. She hated herself for pushing away the one person who understood her the best, the only person who could make her feel better.

Her tears were relentless as she stood in front of the large mirror in the women’s bathroom trying to wipe them away. And when the door opened, she quickly slipped into a stall, holding her hand over her mouth to stifle her cries. She waited patiently for the one other soul in the bathroom to leave before she let out a choked sob, hating herself even more because she couldn’t stop crying.

She was so stupid. How did she allow her life get so derailed? Why couldn’t she just be normal?

The anger welled inside of her and she smashed her fist into the metal stall door, regretting the decision almost immediately. Pain shot straight through the extremity and she let out a yelp before a string of curse words spilled from her mouth. 

Mason shook her hand fiercely before surveying the damage. Her knuckles were dark pink and quickly starting to swell.

“Fuck,” she growled, letting out a deep sigh.

It was nights like this that made her wish she was dead. She hadn’t felt so strongly about it since she nearly did herself in with her grandmother’s pain meds. Unfortunately for her, she didn’t have the luxury of offing herself in a public bathroom, so she dragged her feet and her throbbing hand out to the terminal to find an empty bench to sit at. As the minutes and hours ticked by, Mason found herself slumping further down on the bench until she was eventually lying down with her purse as a pillow.

 

 

“I want you to leave. You need to get out. Now,” Mason roared at him as he stood in the doorway of her apartment.

“Leave? I don’t think so, Mason. You thought I was gone – out of your mind forever? You were so wrong,” her uncle Brian seethed, his eyes fixated on her as he took a step into her apartment.

“GET OUT!” Mason screamed.

“No one is going to hear you. No one,” he scowled at her as he closed the door behind himself, closing the gap between them.

The backs of her knees hit the mattress and she was tumbling backward onto it as vivid flashbacks of the first time filled her head. It was happening again. It was happening all over again, only this time it was worse because he was sober – he was in his right mind.

His body weighed her down and she couldn’t breathe. Her lungs fought for air as she struggled below him, his hands pawing at her clothing. She couldn’t scream. Her muscles felt so tight, almost to the point that she couldn’t move. It was like she was becoming incapacitated with every passing second. 

“What are you doing, Mason?” She heard another voice and her head immediately turned toward the sound.

Her eyes found Harry’s face almost immediately, and her heart fluttered at the sight of him.

“I can’t believe you would do this,” Harry said, shaking his head at her.

“Harry,” Mason squeaked as she tried to push up on her uncle. It felt like a ton of bricks were pressing down on her.

“I thought I meant something to you,” Harry continued, looking so disappointed.

“No, Harry,” she managed to say through the tears.

“What a disappointment,” Harry scoffed, taking a step back.

“Help me,” Mason croaked in one last ditch effort, trying to get through to him. 

But he turned and walked away, leaving her with the devil himself.

“No!” Mason cried, finally getting the strength to shake free.

Suddenly she was left thrashing alone in her bed, realizing she was all alone. Completely alone, and it was absolutely crippling.

There was no Brian in her life. But there was also no Harry.

 

 

Mason woke up in a cold sweat on the bench in Grand Central Station as people bustled all around her. Through the large windows, she could see it was morning, and the relief was real. Her hand throbbed as she pulled herself up on the bench and she remembered her little episode in the bathroom. She looked down to find her knuckles were black and blue, and she silently wondered if she broke anything. She paid it no mind though as she pulled her purse over her shoulder and got up off the bench. She caught the stares people gave her, judging her with every look, but she didn’t care. Nothing mattered. Absolutely nothing.

 

 

There was a knock on Mason’s door later that afternoon, and she felt absolute terror at the prospect of her uncle returning. As her feet carried her quietly to the door, she hoped with every fiber of her being that it was someone completely harmless – like a neighbor or the landlord. She didn’t think she could handle any more agitation or excitement.

She made sure to stay as silent as possible as she stood on her tiptoes to look into the peep-hole. When she saw Harry’s face, she sucked in a startled breath, dropping her heels back onto the ground. Her hand came up to clamp over her lips, realizing he probably heard her. 

“Can you please open the door, Mason?” She heard Harry say seconds later and it made her heart hurt to hear the pain in his voice. 

She took a few staggered breaths before her shaking hand came up to unlock the door and open it. Harry stood before her looking disheveled and sleep-deprived, but he was still as beautiful as ever. 

“Mason,” he breathed as his eyes washed up and down her body, taking in her entire being, like he was cataloging every moment, every inch of her. 

Mason didn’t know what to say or do, so she just stood there awkwardly, unsure if she should look away, so she kept her eyes on his.

“I can’t stop thinking about you,” he whispered, his voice slightly cracking.

She held her breath as painful emotions shot through her. She tried to let him go. It was a fight every single day and now there he was, and it would be so easy for her to just sink into him. But she knew she couldn’t, she shouldn’t. Casey’s distraught face flooded her mind – and then April’s disappointment. How selfish had she been with him? She didn’t think of anyone but herself.

“Do… do you remember what you told me the… the night you stayed with me at my parent’s house?” He began to speak lowly and it made goosebumps raise on her skin. 

She could do nothing but stare back at him, frozen in her own body like a statue.

“You said… you told me the shape of a heart… it’s—it’s shape comes from two human hearts being tethered together – that it might mean love, right, Mason?” Harry’s eyes stared into hers like he was really looking for an answer, but she couldn’t speak. She couldn’t even breathe.

“Our hearts, Mason—they’re tethered together, okay,” he said with a burst of confidence.

“They’re not,” she breathed, dropping her eyes away from him.

“They are, Mason—whether you like it or not. Our hearts are tethered together and it is love. I know you love me, Mason. I know you do,” he argued.

Mason bit her lip hard, trying to stifle the tears that blurred her eyes, but it was no use. He was calling her out again and all she could do was struggle to try to tell herself she didn’t love him, when she knew she did.

“You’ve told me things you’ve never told a soul. And you know things about me I’ve never told anyone either. We’re connected in a way you may not want to acknowledge. But we are. You said so yourself. Do you remember?” Harry said exasperatedly. But Mason couldn’t move, she couldn’t look up at him and she couldn’t respond.

“I know we’re fucked up. I know this is fucked up. Everything is fucked up. But can’t we just be fucked up together?” He explained with a passion in his voice that was more than she ever felt. Her eyes looked up into his pained ones and she almost regretted it, because she could feel herself being pulled to him.

“I just want to be fucked up with you,” he breathed, his voice nearly whimpering as he looked at her with big round pleading eyes.

Mason felt the pain of the situation all over – in her heart and her mind, in her soul. But she knew they were wrong. How can anything be right when they were always wrong?

“I look at you and all I can feel is guilt,” Mason croaked, finally finding her voice. 

Harry’s facial features contorted into a look of agony before they evened out again.

“There was one person I had in this world who put up with my shit, who liked me for me, and that was April. Now I have no one,” Mason continued, dropping her eyes away from his.

“You have me, Mason. Why can’t you see that?” He pointed out.

“I don’t have you. I can’t have you. Why can’t you see that?” Mason growled, feeling nothing but frustration because he seemed to forget everything when he was in her presence.

For years, he forgot he had a girlfriend when he was with her. Now he was conveniently forgetting what happened four nights ago when Casey and April found them together.

“You’re making it harder than it has to be, Mason. I want to make your life better. I want to make you happy. I know you were happy with me. I know I made you happy, Mason. Just—” He spoke fast and desperate, and it only helped to spike her blood pressure.

“No, Harry. No. I just—I can’t go there with you anymore. I can’t—we can’t,” she snapped in a clipped tone as she wiped frantically at her tears.

“I love you, Mason. I’m in love with you,” he choked out and it made her stop as her breath caught in her throat.

“I love you,” he whispered, his own breath getting caught.

“You don’t love me, Harry. I’m unlovable,” she told him.

“You’re not. Mason—” Harry said, ready to argue once again, but she had no fight left in her and she stopped him before he could start.

“Maybe someday, Harry. But not now,” she managed to say.

She knew hope hung on every word and she also knew she couldn’t promise what her words meant, but she couldn’t bear to hurt him any more than she already was.

“Please, Mason,” he whimpered, his green eyes pleading with her.

“I can’t. I cannot, Harry. I just… I can’t. Can you just, please—I’m trying so hard here. I just… I can’t do this,” Mason cried, her tears welling in her eyes again.

“Mason,” he croaked.

“I can’t,” she whimpered, feeling absolutely drained from everything that was piling on top of her at once.

Mason closed her eyes tightly as her face dropped into her hands. Her whole body shook with uncontrolled sobs. She could do nothing to stop them. 

“I’m sorry, Mason. I’m sorry,” she heard Harry say. Her cries only hastened with his words.

“Mase…” He said quietly and she felt his hand on her back as he tried to comfort her.

“Please, I can’t,” she cried, quickly shaking him off.

“Okay,” he said quietly.

She wasn’t sure how long he stood there watching her fall apart. She wasn’t sure of anything. Because the next thing she remembered was waking up in her bed alone. Harry was gone and it felt so final. Like the dream she had the night before. He was gone and she was completely alone.

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