Fixated


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13. 12

Chapter 12

(This is really long, just warning you…)

~Michael’s POV*

            I dialed her number for the twelfth time tonight, holding it up to my ear and hoping that she would pick up. But I got her voicemail each time.

            “Kate, please listen to me. I’m sorry, I’m so so so so sorry! I just- I didn’t know wha—” Frustration was beginning to take its toll, slurring my words and stopping myself from speaking coherently.
            “Just please pick up,” I murmured, banging my head against my palm. I gave up on speaking after that and hung up, glaring at the window across from me. It was night time; the moon was whole and bright, shadows danced across my room in a twisted sort of way. Nothing I could do could make Kate pick up the phone, but I was begging for it to happen. I just needed to talk to her. Explain things thoroughly. Make sure she knows that I didn’t do what I did to hurt her or to spite her.

            It may not be entirely what she wanted to hear, but I needed to get it out. She needed to understand.

            “Michael? Do you want something to eat?” A voice called from the other side of the locked door. I could hear the hesitation in Brigh’s voice; the concern.

            “No,” I sighed, too tired to raise my voice properly. The floor boards creaked under her weight as she shifted.

            “Um, o-okay.” She murmured. I listened to the sound of her feet tap down the stairs then threw my head into my pillow, groaning heavily. At one point I must have fell asleep because when I opened my eyes next, bright light was streaming from the windows. Slowly, I sat up, stretching my back and arms then stood up. Downstairs, I found the living room empty as well as the kitchen.

            “Brigh?” I yelled. Silence answered back. Just as I was about to go back upstairs, a note on the fridge caught my eye:

            Went to the shop.

 

                -Brigh

I sighed and crumbled it up, tossing it in the rubbish. Great. Instead of going upstairs as planning, I flopped on the couch, lazily surfing the channels for something decent to watch. About halfway through some reality show, I began to zone out, thinking of multiple ways to reach Kate with making her any angrier than she already is. So far, all the theories I put in my head end up with me getting slapped, maybe even punched.

            Fuck!

            “Stupid fucking shit. What the fuck am I thinking? I can’t just fucking—shit!” I muttered to myself, letting the words just roll of my tongue. I felt like screaming. So I did.  

            I snatched up a random pillow and threw it as hard as I could against the wall, barely missing the TV stand. I picked up the remote and flung it to the ground, yelling out in infuriation. I watched as the batteries pop out of the back as the remote hit the floor forcefully, rolling under the couch. An unexpected wave of annoyance hit me.

            “God dammit,” I groaned, getting down on my knees and hastily retrieving the fucking batteries.

+++

             If seemed as though just as I was about to fall asleep, someone was shaking me awake. The annoyance I felt earlier threatened to show again.

             “Brigh, go away. Please.” I murmured, voice cracking with sleep. The shaking didn’t stop.

             “Brigh! Please stop—” My eye lids flew open and what I saw was not what I expected to see. The words died on my tongue and my eyes widened to their extent. I let out a panicked yelp and jumped up, flinging my hand blindly for something to defend myself with.

             “Michael! Please! Put the candle down.” The stranger said quickly, but softly. I only tightened my grip on the candle, heart beating a mile a minute. I was sure it was going to jump out of my chest.

             “It’s me, Michael. Please, you can out the candle down. I’m not going to hurt you.” The stranger continued. I took in the brown curly hair, the green-eyes, the black jeans and shirt.

             “No,” I whispered, feeling alarmed and fucking terrified. My palm grew sweaty with panic and my whole body began to shake. But I didn’t put the candle down. “No.”

             “Michael,” he said my name softly, innocently. “Michael, I swear it’s me.”

             I locked eyes with his green ones; they looked familiar, but this cannot be Harry. It can’t. But as I looked into his sincere eyes and the honest-to-God expression on his face…

             My face must have changed because the stranger took a tentative step forward and I immediately sprung back, not ready to have him any closer.

             “I’m going crazy,” I whispered, rubbing my eyes with my free hand roughly. He was still there when I opened them again. Oh yeah, I’m going bat-shit crazy.

             “No you’re not,” he gave a small smile, exposing two dimples embedded into his cheeks.

             “But you died!” I blurted out, heart still racing irrationally. His smile dropped instantly, replaced with a longing sort of look, distant and far-away.

             “I didn’t. T-that’s why I came here. I need to tell you something,” Harry’s eyes pleaded with mine, ringed with nervousness and fear. I stayed where I was, just looking at the hollowness of his cheeks, the jutting of his cheekbones and jaw, the deep heavy bags under his eyes wearily. This didn’t make any sense.

             “Why didn’t you come back sooner?” I heard myself ask. Somewhere, somehow, I believed that this was Harry and he was telling the truth. I don’t think I needed to say the ‘to Brigh’ part because his eyes glazed over with tears.

             “Can we talk? I’ll explain everything, I promise.” His voice was shaky now. I lowered the candle a fraction, my guard still up. Finally, I put the candle down and walked over to him. I surprised myself, as well as Harry, when I embraced him in a bear hug.

             An emotional rope tugged at my heart, a lump rising in my throat.

             “Why didn’t you come back? Why did you pretend to be dead?” I asked as soon as we pulled apart, sitting on the couch. Harry plopped down beside me, rubbing his thin face. He wasn’t exactly dirty, per say, but he didn’t look completely clean either. His clothes were crinkled and stained with various substances; his hair was long and greasy, down to his shoulders in a complete curly mess. His hands had black marks and rough patches of skin all over.

             “I couldn’t come back. Not yet at least. I-there are things, Michael, which you don’t know. That Brigh doesn’t know. A-and I’m not proud of what I have done in the past-”

             “What did you do?” I asked hesitantly. Harry sighed deeply, placing his chin on his hands and tilting his head to look at me.

             “You know a while ago when this ‘Copy-cat killer’ stuff was happening?”

             “How could I not?” I scoffed, remembering they day Harry, Brigh, and Kate went into Witness Protection.

             “Well, I-I, uh, I did it.” Harry muttered so lowly, I barely caught it.

             “What did you say?”

             “I said that I, um, I was the one who k-killed those women,” Harry whispered nervously. My eyes widened again and my whole body froze.

             “You? You killed those women?” I questioned, frowning deeply. Harry nodded shamefully, full of sorrow. I fell quiet, thinking, praying, of something to say, something to say so I wouldn’t freak the fuck out.

             “I always knew there was something strange about you,” I said instead, nailing myself in the head with a bat mentally. Yeah, when in doubt, just say that!

             Harry didn’t smile. “But you have to understand, I didn’t want to do any of that. I swear! He was threatening to kill everyone I ever cared about if I didn’t do his bidding.”

             “Who’s he?” I asked quietly.

             “Zayn Malik,” Harry spit dangerously. “He’s the one that controlled me like a fucking string puppet for nearly five years. He was the one that said I had to get Brigh for him, but I didn’t want to!” He added quickly at the horrified look on my face.

             My heart lurched in my chest at the thought of Brigh dead.

             “Believe me; I never wanted to hurt Brigh. Never. I wanted to get out of his control, so he took things into his own hands.” Harry explained, sounding exhausted. “He has this…urge to kill. It’s like he can’t control himself at times and when he gets like that, it’s dangerous. He’s dangerous. I was terrified to be around him when he saw something he wanted. So fucking terrified, but I had to put on a brave face because if he got a glimpse of the fear on my face, my family would be dead the following morning.”

             I felt uneasy with the words coming out of his mouth, but I didn’t want him to stop.

             “I tried to stay on his good side for so long, but it was just after I met Brigh that Zayn already had his eye on her. I just—I couldn’t let her die in his hands. In nobody’s hands. So I tried to stall him as much as I could, tried to take his mind off of her. That went on for about two weeks. He got fed up with me and sent me to get Brigh for him, saying how she was special and he needed her.” During this time, I didn’t utter a word. I didn’t know what I could possibly say to this.

             “That afternoon, I went to Brigh’s apartment and waited until she came out. It was dark then and she was alone. I knew I couldn’t let her go too easily and tell Zayn she got away so I thought the best way was to jump her. Just enough to surprise her, then I would leave. I made sure to not accidently hurt her in any way and when she ‘got away’,” he made air quotes, “I made a slash across my chest, not deep, but enough to convince Zayn she had a knife on her and she got away. It worked.”

             The rest of his story went like that. He explained in full detail about everything. He explained how Zayn controlled him, how mentally unstable he was, how he held Harry and Brigh hostage. He said all the things that happened to them, things that Brigh was too scared to say. It would be a lie if his story didn’t make me cry. Because I did. Hard.

             But there was one last thing he forgot to explain.

             “Why did you pretend--?”

             “Because I needed to find Zayn and finish him off before he does any more damage,” Harry cut me off.

             “And did you?” I couldn’t stop the feeling of hope rising in my chest.

             “Not yet,” he sounded so disappointed in himself, “but I’m working on it. I want to come back. I want to come back to Brigh,” My stomach churned harshly as the image of us kissing filled my head. Nothing but guilt flooded me.

             “You don’t have to say it. I understand.” Harry shocked me by saying. Oh God.

             “You do?” I muttered, finding it hard to keep my stare so I dropped it. Harry hummed in agreement.

             “I know that Brigh needed someone needed to lean on, depend on. And that happened to be you. I knew that you had feelings for her long before any of this happened, by the way. You’re not very subtle either.” Harry chuckled, fixing a hand on my shoulder. I glanced up, somewhat mortified. I was glad he wasn’t mentioning Kate, or anything about her.

             “Oh,” I flushed with embarrassment.

             “I’m not mad, Michael. I understand that things were tough and she was just there,” Harry was laughing. How could he be laughing about this?

             “How is she?” He asked a bit later. I snapped out of my thoughts.

             “Um. She’s been doing better I guess. Honestly, she thinks she’s been losing her mind. She says she keeps seeing you.” I admitted. Harry turned to look at the ground.

             “I’m sorry about that. I-I just needed to see her,”

             “When you, ya know, kill Zayn,” I cleared my throat quickly, “are you gonna come back? For good?”

             When Harry didn’t answer, I carried on.

             “Are you going to tell Brigh any of this? I think she has the right to know,”

             “I know. I will, I promised myself that when this was all over, I would tell her everything. But I don’t know when that’ll be.” Harry groaned.

             “You know I have a lot more questions to ask, right?” I allowed a small grin on my lips. Harry grinned back.

             “I expected you too.” He chuckled and I joined in. “Hey, can I use your loo? I haven’t been to a proper restroom in ages!”    

             “Yeah,” I laughed, “that’s fine. Upstairs, fourth door on the right.” As soon as he disappeared, my mind began to whirl. What the hell is happening right now? Is this even real? Everything he said stuck to my brain like glue and while I believed him, I didn’t believe that he wasn’t mad that I kissed his girlfriend. Though, I’m not sure if they are together…? Or if they—

             “Michael! I’m back. I got pizza on the way, hope you don’t mind.”

             My heart leaped up to my throat. I felt like I could puke. Shitshitshitshitshitshitshit.

             “Brigh!” I yelled it loudly so Harry could hear from upstairs. “I’m in here!” Okay, okay, this is okay. I just need to keep her away from the stairs and front door. Okay. I can do this.

             “Alright, hold on! I just need to put my stuff in my room real quick.” She called back. Never mind, I can’t do this. I rushed out in the foyer, but she was already halfway up the stairs.

             “Hey! Um, Brigh, you shouldn’t go upstairs.” I smacked my head repeatedly in my mind. She stopped and gave me a confused look.

             “Why?”

             “U-uh, uh,” I went brain-dead. I couldn’t think of anything to say and she was already walking up the stairs. I heard the toilet flush and the lock turning. Next thing I knew, she was screaming. I bolted up the stairs to see her wide-eyed, open mouthed, and absolutely aghast. I could she her hands start to shake and her knees wobble.

             “Brigh!” Harry shouted just as she collapsed, head hitting the railing of the stairs. I reached forward to catch her fall, but she already tumbled on the floor. Harry glanced at me, panicked.

             “What do we do?” I asked, equally as panicked. Harry seemed at loss for words, but soon enough, he picked her up and rushed to her room, placing her gently on the bed.

             “She can’t know I was here, Michael.” Harry begged, staring down at the face we both loved.

             “I know,” I murmured sadly.

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