In Transit

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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3. Three

January 2018

 

“Hi, friend,” Mason heard as she wiped down the countertop at the small café where she worked.

She looked up to see April beaming a smile at her, her golden hair flowing in waves down her shoulder. She looked exceptionally perky for someone who was out of her mind hammered the night before at the New Year’s Eve party.

“Do you practice witch-craft, or what?” Mason asked dryly, throwing the rag into the sanitizing bucket.

“What?” She asked, furrowing her eyebrows and crinkling her nose in question.

“You’re not hung-over after last night?” Mason elaborated.

Oh, I am. I totally need some coffee,” she said, widening her eyes, letting out a sigh before she giggled.

“I figured… since you’re here on your day off,” Mason told her.

“I’m meeting Casey here. She said she needed to talk to me about something,” April said, shrugging her shoulders as the bell on the door rang with Casey’s entrance.

“Speaking of the devil,” Mason mumbled under her breath as she walked to the small sink and washed her hands.

“Oh my god, Ape. I have a huge dilemma!” Casey gushed dramatically.

“What is it?” April asked her, concern in her tone.

Oh. Hi, Mason,” Casey said as her smiled faded, finally noticing her.

Casey didn’t like Mason much and Mason was certain it was because she didn’t buy into all her peppy bullshit. And she was also certain Casey really wouldn’t like her if she knew the truth about her and her boyfriend.

“Come on. Let’s get some coffee and talk,” April told Casey.

“Just grab a table. I’ll be right over to get your order,” Mason told them as she handed April a set of menus.

Mason tried to ignore them the best she could as they talked about Casey’s so-called dilemma, not far away from the front counter where she worked. But when she heard Harry’s name, it started to pique her interest. She grabbed a rag and began to wipe down tables for the sheer purpose of eavesdropping.

“I don’t know. He just seems really distant lately. Like, we… we haven’t even had sex in like two weeks,” Casey whined to April.

“Are you serious?” April gasped.

“Well, it’s not like we’ve had a whole lot of it lately anyway. He like, closes himself off and he’s just not the same person he used to be,” Casey said sadly.

“Have you asked him about it?” April chimed in. Good luck with that. Harry wasn’t much of a sharer – especially when it came to feelings.

Mason stopped listening and walked back to the front counter, not really too concerned with anything they were saying. Bottom line, either Harry was really slipping when it came to masking his darkness, or Casey was just finally realizing the boy she had been with for the past two years wasn’t who she thought he was.

“Hey,” April said, startling Mason out of her thoughts.

“Hey,” she said back, her eyes focusing on the blonde standing in front of her at the counter.

“Do you want to go down to Times Square with us to see the aftermath from last night? Casey just kind of needs a day out – just the girls,” April asked.

“I don’t know…” Mason began to hesitate. The last thing she wanted to do was spend a day with Casey Chase.

“Oh, come on. When’s the last time you even got out for a girls day?” April asked, pursing her lips skeptically at Mason.

“I don’t think Casey even likes me, April,” Mason told her honestly.

“What are you talking about? Come on. It’ll be fun. Who doesn’t love Times Square?” She pressed on.

“Alright, fine,” Mason told her finally.

“You get off in like twenty, right?” She asked, looking at the clock on the wall.

“Yeah,” Mason told her.

“We’ll be waiting,” April said in a sing-song tone and spun on her heels to go back to Casey. 

The thought of a girl’s day actually made Mason want to bathe in a vat of acid, but she didn’t have anything else to do and it always interested her to see Times Square after the New Year’s celebration. The fact that so many people shoved themselves into that tiny space on one of the coldest Holiday’s ever, boggled her mind. She was certain it had to take bulldozers to get the streets clean after something like that.

Less than an hour later, the three of them were walking down 42nd Street from the Port Authority Bus Terminal on their way to Times Square. Mason walked behind April and Casey as they talked and giggled. She didn’t have anything to contribute to the conversation, so she didn’t. The more and more she thought about it, the more she regretted her decision to join them. She could have been doing just about anything else. She could have been sleeping – unconscious to the world, where she actually enjoyed her life when she was able to keep the nightmares at bay.

But there she was, walking the insanely littered streets of Broadway and 7th. There were sanitation workers and garbage trucks coming and going up and down the street as people went about their day, sightseeing and whatnot. Mason was bundled in her jacket and a wool scarf and she could still feel the wind whipping through her.

“Come on. Let’s get some coffee to warm up,” April suggested with a smile as they slipped into the nearest Starbucks.

Afterward, they went back outside to people-watch on the TKTS bleachers in the heart of Times Square. Mason’s eyes were focused on the people dressed up in random costumes who walked around asking people for money. What a job. You literally didn’t have to do anything and people gave you money to take pictures with them. Seriously, it was ingenious.

Mason was startled out of her thoughts as April let out a nearly ear-splitting screech. 

“Oh my god! Hot, it’s hot! Holy crap!” She stood on her feet, trying to cool off the lap of hot coffee she had.

“Are you okay, Ape?” Casey shrieked as her and Mason both stood to try to help her.

Oooh. Okay, okay. It’s cooling down. Holy crap,” she said as she danced a little in place.

“Hey, look at the bright side – at least your boyfriend isn’t cheating on you,” Casey snickered to April, causing Mason to choke on the gulp of hot chocolate she just took.

“W-hhat?” Mason choked out, looking at Casey wide-eyed.

“Are you okay?” April asked, looking over at Mason alarmed as she coughed and sputtered, trying to catch her breath.

“What did you just say?” Mason asked Casey again.

“Oh, Casey thinks Harry’s cheating on her,” April said, waving her hand through the air nonchalantly.

“Are you—are you serious?” Mason asked, her eyes still as wide as saucers.

“I mean, I’m sure he’s not. It’s just… a theory,” Casey shrugged, looking uncomfortable that Mason even asked.

“Why? I mean, why is it… a theory… that you have?” Mason questioned awkwardly.

“I don’t know. What do you care?” Casey spat at her, giving her an odd look.

“I-I… don’t,” Mason said quietly, backing off completely.

“I’ll go find you some napkins,” Casey told April as she disappeared across the street into the McDonald’s.

“Sorry,” April told Mason, her cheeks turning red as she apologized for her friend’s behavior.

“It’s whatever,” Mason shrugged it off as she sat back down looking off into the distance at all the people around them.

“Harry’s been really distant with her lately. And he disappeared on New Year’s Eve without a word. And he just… he seems to disappear a lot. I don’t know,” April explained, what Mason imagined was Casey theory.

“Oh,” Mason said quietly, feeling her face heat up knowing her theory was the absolute truth.

“I don’t know. Harry’s always been different though. I’ve known him a long time. He hasn’t exactly had the best life,” April told her.

“What do you mean?” Mason asked, her head turning to look at her.

“I don’t know. Shitty home life, I guess. His dad – he’s a real asshole,” April said, sitting up straighter as her eyes looked at something behind her.

Mason turned to see Casey coming back with a handful of napkins and she knew April wasn’t going to say any more on the subject – and she so badly wanted her to.

“Here,” Casey said, throwing the napkins down in April’s lap as she sat on the opposite side of her, away from Mason.

They sat in silence for a while, even after April cleaned up her spill. Mason just wanted the day to be over already. She just wanted to go home.

“I think… I think I’m gonna go,” Mason told April after a while.

“Are you sure?” She asked, looking concerned.

“I need to go too. I should probably see what Harry’s up to,” Casey said as she stood on her feet.

“Alright,” April said as the three of them got up and made their way back down the stretch toward the bus terminal.

As they headed toward their gate through the station, none of them were talking. Mason just wanted to be home. She didn’t want to have to deal with getting on the train and waiting for her turn to get off, or walking the few blocks to her apartment from the subway. Her feet were dragging with exhaustion and she didn’t have the energy in her to pull her along the floor any faster.

And then out of nowhere, her eyes focused on a figure in the near distance. Her feet instantly glued themselves to the tiled floor beneath her as fear spread through her.

“Mason… Mase? Mason!” April called out from ahead of her, trying to get her attention when she noticed she was no longer following them. But she was frozen like a statue.

Standing only fifty feet away at another bus terminal window was the one person she spent years running from; the man from her nightmares.

“Mason, what is going on with you?” April asked, suddenly appearing in front of her, gripping onto her arms, trying to get her attention. Mason was dazed. She tried to focus on April face, but her mind was spiraling.

“Mason, what—you’re scaring me,” April said, her voice laced with concern as she gently shook her with both hands. Mason’s chest began to heave as a panic attack built inside of her.

“Casey – ohmygod. What should I do?” April turned to her friend when she couldn’t get Mason to respond.

She heard every word she said, but she couldn’t get herself to answer. She wanted to scream at her to shut up – to not draw attention to them, but she couldn’t.

“MASON,” she heard Casey snap in her face.

“There’s a bench over there. Let’s sit her down,” April said and Mason could feel them tugging her toward it.

Then suddenly she snapped out of it – the thought of him seeing her, of him talking to her was too much to handle. She needed to run. She needed to get out of there. She ripped her arms out of their grasp, causing April to gasp.

“I-I have to go. I can’t—” Mason whimpered as she turned and began to run the opposite way, hearing them shout after her.

Mason got on the first train she could, which wasn’t the right one to bring her home. It brought her to Grand Central Station, though. And she dropped down on a bench, sitting there for what felt like hours as people went about their daily business. She felt like she was falling apart, but she knew if she went home she’d really fall apart and she didn’t want that. She sat there until night crept through the terminal and the traffic died down. Then she slowly went to find the correct train that would bring her home and she got on it.

 

 

“Don’t scream. Just don’t scream,” his voice hissed in her ears, “I won’t tell if you won’t tell.”  

Mason awoke with a startle, her body drenched with sweat from the nightmare she just had. It was so vivid – like it was happening all over again; like she was losing control; like she was losing herself. Her heart beat wildly in her chest as she felt the tears bombard her, like they were building up in her all day. It had been a long time since she cried. It had been a long time since she felt the need to. But now, right now, she felt like she was spiraling out of control with no ground under her feet and she just couldn’t take it anymore.

She fumbled for the light on her nightstand as she carelessly grabbed for her cell phone, knocking it to the floor.

“Shit!” She cried out in frustration as her fingers knotted in her hair. 

Her chest heaved with anger as she unclenched her fingers and stretched her arms down at her sides, trying her best to calm herself down. She took a deep breath and let it out before she bent over the side of her bed and retrieved her phone. She found Harry’s name and sent him a quick text. She needed him more than ever.

 

Mason:

Are you alone?

 

Since it was the middle of the night it took him a while to text back and Mason grew impatient, finding solace in pacing her bedroom floor. When her phone chimed and his name flashed across the screen, the weight on her shoulders lessened almost immediately. 

 

Harry:

I’m alone.

Mason:

I need you. I’m coming over.

 

She dressed and ran out of her apartment not even five minutes later, not bothering to read his reply. She didn’t need to. He knew what she needed from her texts. He wouldn’t have told her he was alone if he wasn’t available.

She felt relief seeing his apartment when she climbed the subway stairs up to the street. She was so close to getting what she needed, it was right in her grasp.

As soon as she knocked on his apartment door, it swung open like he was waiting there for her. And with a pent up aggression, she gripped onto his face and connected their lips, his hand swiping the door closed with a loud boom.

She was safe.

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