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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15. Fifteen


March 2018

 

“Pizza or Chinese?” Harry asked looking down at Mason.

“Chinese,” she said, smiling up at him with a seductive look in her eyes. There was no question what she was craving in that moment and it wasn’t food.

“Mmm. Good choice,” he hummed, walking toward the dresser to grab his phone before ordering.

It felt like no time had passed before someone knocked on their hotel room door signifying their food arrived. Mason was still only wearing her oversized t-shirt and nothing else. Harry finished dressing, throwing on a shirt to compliment his jeans. And yet when the knock on the door startled them, it was Mason who answered it, despite her choice of attire.

“Uh, Harry…” Mason gasped, staring at the person who held the bag of Chinese food in front of her.

“Yeah, what?” Harry asked, turning toward the door. His eyes widened and his jaw dropped open.

Mason only saw him in pictures before. But now, standing in front of them, she knew it was the man Harry called ‘dad’ for the past twenty-four years – the man who tormented and beat him as a child and even tried to as a man.

“What are you doing here?” Harry spat at him, his voice sounding cold and distant.

“We’re all here. And we know what you’ve been doing,” his father said confidently, turning his head to look behind him.

When Mason’s eyes adjusted to the bright sun streaming into the room, she looked out and saw a handful of people behind him. As her eyes scanned their faces, her skin prickled with fear. Standing behind him, like some sort of army of nightmares was Harry’s real father Victor, his mother, his sister Gemma, his brother Reese, his ex-girlfriend Casey, Casey’s best friend April, Mason’s grandmother, and none other than her Uncle Brian. It seemed to be all the people they disappointed the most in the world – or who disappointed them.

“We know what you two have been doing,” Harry’s faux father’s startling voice seethed, chilling Mason to the bone.

Her skin crawled with the realization they were all there for some sort of fucked-up intervention because of what she and Harry were doing with one another behind everyone’s backs. 

“We know what you’ve been doing and you need to stop,” his faux father’s menacing voice shook Mason out of the trance she was in as she stared at her uncle from a distance. Why would he be there? Why would he think he ever had a say in what she did with her life?

“Mason,” she heard Harry’s voice from beside of her, but she still couldn’t shake off the fact that the man she feared for so long was standing right there, trying to ruin her happiness once again.

“Mason, look at me,” Harry’s voice came out more sternly, and her head finally turned to find him. Their eyes connected; his eyes troubled and concerned.

“Mason, don’t pay attention to them. Don’t look at them,” Harry said quickly as her eyes darted away from him again.

“Look at me. Only at me,” Harry said as his hands came up to hold her face. Her eyes found his again.

“They don’t matter. They don’t. Stay with me. Stay here. We can shut the door. We can shut them out. They don’t matter anymore,” Harry said confidently.

“Why are they here, Harry? Why do they think this is so wrong?” Mason whimpered, trying her hardest not turn her head to look at the trouble standing in front of them.

“It’s not wrong, Mason. It’s not wrong. All you have to do is just close the door and we can be happy,” Harry told her.

“But… but your mother, and your sister and brother. My grandmother…” Mason stammered.

“They’re conflicted. They don’t know. They don’t understand right now. But we can make them understand, Mason. We can show them. Just choose me. Choose me right now, and we can be happy,” Harry offered.  

The desperation in his voice matched what she felt deep within her. The thought of being taken away from Harry was worse than any other feeling she ever felt.

“Choose me,” he breathed.

Mason took a deep breath and a step back from him. His eyebrows furrowed as he watched her back away from him further.

“Mason,” he croaked, looking pained.

She turned to see everyone staring back at her, waiting for what she was about to do. Her uncle stood farther back than anyone with his arms folded across his chest, a smug look on his face, like he knew what she would do. Like he expected her to run and never look back – not at Harry, not at any of them. And more than just a small part of her wanted to. It would be so much easier. She took a deep breath and let it out raggedly before she looked away from her uncle’s taunting eyes.

“I’m done,” Mason said confidently.

“Mason,” Harry whimpered from behind her, and she turned to look back at him and his thunderstorm eyes.

She knew what she needed to do. Her hand gripped onto the opened door, and with one powerful swipe of her arm, she slammed the door in the face of all of their trouble.

“I’m done with them,” Mason told Harry, looking back into his surprised eyes.

“Oh, Mason,” Harry sighed, sounding relieved.

“I choose you,” she said, her voice shaking as the adrenaline wired her entire body.

“I choose you,” he said, grabbing her tightly in his arms before planting a hardened want-filled kiss on her lips.

 

 

 

“Mason…” She heard Harry breathe in her ear as she came back to consciousness.

“Mason, wake up,” his ragged morning voice caused a smile to turn up her lips. She found it so… attractive.

“I’m awake,” she croaked, unable to open her eyes yet because she could already see the brightness of the morning shining through her eyelids.

The dream was still fresh in her mind; the feelings still lingering inside of her. If only things were that easy in real life. She wished she could throw a door closed on all of her problems, but it was never that easy. And one of her biggest problems, which was less of a nightmare scenario and more of a bucket full of unrelenting nerves, was currently waiting for her to roll over and face him.

Mason’s eyes reluctantly opened to find Harry smiling down at her in the hotel bed they shared for the last two nights, and the last hotel bed they would share during their trip. Today was the day they would finally make it back to New York, despite how badly neither of them wanted it to happen. It was going to happen. They couldn’t put it off any longer.

“Time to get up,” he sighed as she felt his hand rub across her abdomen which was covered only by a thin sheet.

They went to bed last night after a lust-filled romp, which was not uncommon for them, and now Mason was waking up naked with him once again. Yet, as consciousness began to seep in more and more, she noticed Harry was not naked at all. In all actuality, he was fully clothed.

“Are we leaving?” She asked, quickly sitting up on the bed, holding the sheet against her bare chest.

“Not this second, but soon enough. It’s nearly check-out time,” Harry told her.

“Oh,” she said, running a hand through her tousled hair.

“Take your time, though. There really isn’t that big of a rush, Mase,” Harry said as he stood up from the bed.

“No. I can get up,” she said quietly as she pulled her legs over the side of the bed.

“Just, uh… shower or whatever. I’m gonna… I’m gonna go for a quick run,” Harry said, but didn’t move from the side of the bed.

“Okay,” she said quietly as her eyes looked up at him, noticing he indeed was wearing running clothes.

“I’ll see you in a little bit,” he said, giving her a half-smirk before he turned to exit the hotel door.

The door shut hard behind him, making a loud thud that resonated through her. Even if she chose Harry in her dream – and he chose her, how would it ever end up like that in real life? She didn’t even know how to act around him, even though they’d been sleeping together for two years. What made her unconscious mind ever believe a boy like Harry would ever want a girl as fucked up as her? She knew Harry had his problems too, but there was definitely nothing anti-social about Harry – but then there was Mason, who couldn’t even breathe without making it awkward between the two of them.

By the time she got out of the shower, Harry was back in the room. He was sweaty and his hair was an absolute mess, but everything about him was attractive to her, and she couldn’t help it as she snuck watchful glances at him from the corner of her eye before he finally sauntered into the bathroom, ready to take a shower.

Mason dressed in clothing she already wore, sans underwear, because she was left with absolutely no option of clean clothes. Even Harry stepped out of the bathroom fully dressed in clothes she remembered him wearing early on in the trip. They both knew it was time to go back, but it didn’t mean they were necessarily prepared for it.

The two of them walked out to the car in silence, packing it up one last time before they got inside and left another hotel in their wake. This was it. Four and a half more hours and they would be crossing back into their normal lives once again – except she was sure Harry’s would never be normal again. He still had so much to work through on his arrival back home. Things most likely would not be settled in his life for a long while.

Mason caught a glimpse of him from across the cab of the car as it barreled down the highway. The sunlight was streaming in and Harry had on a pair of silver aviators to block it out as best as he could. He looked like he was in deep thought, and it made her wonder what was on his mind.

The songs on the radio filled the silent space between them, making it not so awkward or boring. Mason’s mind only seemed to be on Harry, and how unrealistic her feelings for him were becoming. It was entirely implausible for them to ever have a normal relationship. They knew too much darkness about each other. They knew each other’s biggest fears and deepest secrets. And she never wanted anyone to ever have a chance of holding those against her. All relationships were ticking time bombs. And that was why she knew she and Harry were not good for each other.

 

 

After they stopped for gas near the Pennsylvania/New Jersey border, Harry seemed a bit less introverted. He spoke to his brother again and seemed kind of okay to be going home, which seemed a little odd to Mason. But then again, she never knew what Harry was thinking… ever. Maybe he accepted what was going on in his life and was finally ready to get it all straightened out. She didn’t know, and she was too afraid to ask.

As they set off again to complete the last tiny leg of their journey, Mason was bombarded with the constant aching questions about what this whole trip meant for them, and for the standing relationship they created over the years. Would it be the same? Was she still going to be able to go to him when she needed to be centered? Would he still be the one who could center her? After the last question formed in her brain, she immediately knew the answer – Harry would always be the only one who could center her. There was no doubt about it.

“I love this song,” Harry said as he turned up the volume on the radio, snapping her out of the spiraling mess of questions in her brain. 

Mason immediately registered the song as Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars, and couldn’t help but smirk as Harry began to sing along.

“Never had much faith in love or miracles. Never wanna put my heart on the line. But swimming in your world is something spiritual. I’m born again every time you spend the night,” Harry sang, and all Mason could do was listen.

Her cheeks blushed as she relished in the sound of his voice. It was so smooth and just really fucking good. It always caught her off guard when he sang, because it made her realize there was still so much about him she didn’t know, and she wanted to know so badly. 

“Cause your sex takes me to paradise. Yeah, your sex takes me to paradise. And it shows, yeah, yeah, yeah…” Harry sang as he turned his head to look directly at Mason. She could do nothing but hold her breath as his stare penetrated her.

“Cause you make feel like... I’ve been locked out of heaven... for too long. For too long…” He continued singing and somehow, some way she let a smile turn up on her face, and it made him smile right back at her. 

The moment seemed just right on. Harry continued singing until the song ended. And it was one of those kinds of moments you remember for the rest of your life. 

At least Mason knew she would.

 

 

Mason’s stomach was in knots as they neared the city. They were so close to home; so close to the road trip being over. And to be perfectly honest, she didn’t know how to feel. It felt all wrong being back. Both of them went through a lot during the nine days they were gone, and they both exercised some demons along the way, but it felt like there was still much more to say and do. And now they were forced to regress to their old lives, away from who they had become with each other. 

“Are we going to talk about things?” Harry asked, looking over at Mason as he drove through the Holland Tunnel into Manhattan.

“What things?” She asked, unsettling feelings hitting her already.

“Like what’s going to happen once we get home… I don’t know… with our situation…” He said with a casual shrug.

“What is there to talk about?” Mason asked quietly, swallowing the metaphorical brick that was in her throat. Harry looked at her impatiently and her stomach started doing unnerving flips.

“I don’t know what you mean,” she said quietly, breaking her gaze from his.

He sighed as his vision went back to the road. He didn’t say anything else on the subject and she didn’t say anything because she was certain the conversation he wanted to have was one she was not ready for.

 

 

As soon as Harry turned onto Mason’s street she felt sick to her stomach. This was it. Her building was in her line of sight and soon Harry would be driving away without her and they literally weren’t any closer to knowing where they stood with each other. Mason would never understand how she continued to live with her self-sabotaging ways. There was so much she wanted to say to him. So many words that could have been said, but she said nothing. She couldn’t even come up with any encouraging words to help him face what he needed to face now that he was home. She just stayed silent.

“Thanks for coming, Mason. I would have never gotten through it without you,” Harry said quietly from the driver seat as the car idled in front of her building.

“No problem,” she said even quieter, unable to look in his direction.

“Nothing changes between us, okay,” he told her, placing his hand on her knee momentarily.

What he didn’t know was she was painfully aware of how nothing would change between them. Nothing would ever change because she was too destructive, too shattered to ever be able to fix herself. They were destined to go down the same path with one another over and over again, because of her self-destructive ways.

“Goodbye, Harry,” she breathed as she grabbed for the door handle.

“Mase,” Harry said quickly, gripping onto her wrist. 

She turned to finally face him and his eyes looked despairingly back at her and it ripped at her heart. Without another word, he leaned across the car and left a soft kiss on her lips and pulled back to look at her again. She stared at him for a few moments before she dropped her gaze and pushed open the car door. She grabbed her bag from the back seat and closed the door on him.

She couldn’t even look back because she knew it would make her cry. So she just powered her way toward her front door. Once she unlocked the door to her apartment and pushed her way inside, she just stood there in the middle of the space feeling so entirely empty. And she was certain it had everything to do with being away from Harry.

She showered and dressed in clean clothing before hauling her dirty clothes down to the laundry room to wash them. When she came back up to her apartment, she tidied up the mess she left behind when she left so abruptly with Harry. And as she waited for her load of laundry to finish drying, she ate a quiet dinner in front of the television, feeling so incredibly alone. She couldn’t even handle it. Harry’s face kept flashing in her mind and she knew she was lonely for him. She was so used to having him by her side that it just felt foreign to be alone.

After retrieving her laundry from the dryer, she brought it back up to her apartment and began to fold it, noticing that one of Harry’s shirts was in the pile. 

She stood with it in her hands for far too long as she thought over her options. She could very well just hold on to it until she saw him again. Because she knew, even though things obviously changed between them, they would see each other again. And then it made her wonder how long it would be before she actually did see him again. How long would she be able to stand it? As the painful feeling grew in her chest, she knew she wouldn’t be able to wait very long at all.

Mason scoffed at herself, realizing just how pathetic she felt because of her new-found feelings. She was a stupid girl with a stupid crush – the kind of girl she never wanted to become – and she felt like she couldn’t go a minute without conjuring up his face in her mind.

She scoffed again when she finally made up her mind and threw on her jacket. 

As she rode the train to his apartment, Mason kept second-guessing her decision to see him. She felt more than pathetic – like a girl that needed a man in her life. But maybe she did. Maybe she needed Harry. Maybe she did all along. Would that be so bad? What if he needed her too? 

With one last huff, Mason took the stairs up to street level to get to his apartment. The wind was bitter cold and it made her long for the warm nights in the Southwest. The nerves inside of her ravaged her body, but she persevered and found herself standing in front of his door. What if he wasn’t even there? She hesitated once again, taking a step back from his door, but shook it off and knocked her knuckles against it before she had time to hesitate again.

It wasn’t long before the door was pulled open and Mason’s eyes aligned with Harry’s.

“Mason,” he breathed as a bashful smile pulled up his lips.

“Your shirt,” she said, awkwardly thrusting her arm out with the garment in her hand.

“Okay,” he said, smirking as he grabbed the shirt from her.

“It must have gotten in my bag somehow,” she told him, deterring her eyes away from his.

“You’ve already done laundry?” He smirked at her as he quickly sniffed it.

“I was bored,” she mumbled, timidly looking up into his eyes.

“Are you still bored?” He asked, cocking his eyebrow in question.

“Incredibly,” she sighed, slumping her shoulders slightly.

“Come in,” he said, opening the door wider without another word. Mason hesitated slightly, but nodded her head and silently walked passed him.

In most other circumstances, they would already be half-naked and pawing at each other. But this was completely different. They weren’t desperate to be freed for a night. It was just them and it seemed to cross a whole different line.

Mason felt like the most awkward person in the world as she stood in the middle of his tiny studio apartment, waiting for him to do or say anything.

“Are you thirsty? Or hungry?” Harry asked, pointing his thumb idly behind him toward his kitchen.

“I’ve eaten,” she said quietly as her eyes worked up and down the walls, noticing small little details she never had the time to before – like how he had a framed illustration of Pac Man on his wall which was surrounded by other pictures of him with friends and family. She had no idea what the significance of Pac Man was, or maybe he just liked it. She didn’t know. But she wanted to know all about it.

“Thirsty?” He questioned again, and her vision snapped up to his.

“Um, sure,” she murmured, looking over at him again.

“I have… uh, water… or beer. You want a beer?” He asked, quickly looking in the refrigerator.

“Yes. Please,” she said quietly, thinking maybe a little alcohol would calm her nerves.

Harry pulled out a beer from the fridge, and casually popped the top with a bottle opener before handing it to her.

“Thank you,” she told him and immediately took a swig, watching as he retrieved his own beer.

“You’re welcome,” he said, sending her a slight smirk before taking a swig from his bottle.

“Can I take your jacket?” He asked, and she realized she was still standing in front of him wearing her fluffy winter parka.

“Sure,” she said, shrugging out of it carefully as she did her best not to spill her drink.

“Make yourself at home,” he told her as he walked toward the closet by his front door. She made a mental note of where to find her jacket when she needed to leave. And she knew how ridiculous she was to have an exit strategy, but she didn’t know how to shut off those kinds of thoughts. 

As Harry hung her coat, Mason took a few steps deeper into the apartment, scanning her eyes over his bed made of dark wood, topped with a dark blue bedspread. A bed she became very familiar with over the years. A bed she really lost her virginity in. If she completely shut out what her uncle did to her, then it was Harry. Harry was the one she let have it.

“Hey,” Harry said from behind her, standing closer than she thought, which completely startled her.

Jee-zus,” she gasped, holding her hand over her heart as it raced inside of her chest.

“Sorry,” he said, smirking at her.

“It’s okay,” she said, smiling bashfully as her eyes drop down to the floor.

“I love making you smile,” Harry said quietly, and Mason’s eyes shot back up to his – the smile completely wiped away.

A knock erupted on the apartment door, pulling Mason’s attention away from Harry and the perfect words he just spoke. Her eyes widened as the panic set inside of her. There really was nowhere for her to hide inside his small studio apartment, unless she made an ass out of herself by dashing into the bathroom.

“Sorry. My brother – he’s here for his car keys,” Harry said, giving her an uneasy look. She nodded as she tried to swallow back the anxiety.

“I’ll—just, I’ll be right back,” he said, making his way to the door.

Mason tried as calmly as she could to rein herself in, to not let the anxiety consume her. She took a deep breath and quietly sat down on the edge of Harry’s bed, watching as he slowly opened his door, sending her one last sympathetic look. This was really happening. His brother, Reese, who told Harry flat-out that he wanted to meet her was about to get his chance and she was terrified.

Mason was pretty sure sitting on Harry’s bed wasn’t going to send the best message. Maybe it was too intimate. Maybe it would imply too much to his brother about the lifestyle she and Harry were leading with one another for the past nine days – and the past two years before that. She didn’t know. She just knew she didn’t have time to move before the door was opening, and Harry’s younger brother stood in front of him.

Reese Styles was even more handsome in person than he was in any of the pictures Mason saw of him over the years. He was taller than Harry by a few inches and that was saying a lot since Harry stood nearly six feet tall. And although Harry and Reese turned out only to be half-brothers, Mason could still see the resemblance.

“Hey, man,” Reese greeted his older brother with a handshake, a half hug, and a pat on the back all in one quick motion.

“Hey. Here are the keys. Tanks full,” Harry said, dropping them into Reese’s awaiting hand.

Mason silently prayed Reese’s eyes never fell on her as she sat across the room. Like maybe if she didn’t move she could come out of this unscathed.

“Alright. Sounds good,” Reese said with a half-smile as he shifted on his feet. Just by looking at him Mason knew he wanted to say something to his brother but didn’t really know how.

“How are things? Are you okay?” Reese finally asked, his eyes narrowing into a look of compassion.

“Uh…” Harry hesitated as he rubbed the back of his neck, and turned to look back at Mason.

She cringed noticeably, knowing he just gave her presence away. And as soon as Reese’s eyes met hers, she sucked in a breath and held it. 

Ohh,” Reese said quietly as his eyebrow quirked slightly and his lips turned up into a smile. Mason’s anxiety was nearly crippling in that moment. And she knew she was doomed.

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