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.


16. Sixteen

“Hi,” Reese said, taking a step into the apartment and Mason knew she couldn’t avoid him.

She looked up just in time to see Harry cringe as he ran his fingers through his hair quickly, looking guilty, like he knew he just gave her away to his brother.

“Hi,” Mason croaked as she awkwardly stood on her feet.

“You must be… you must be Mason,” he said, walking closer to her.

“Yeah,” she said quietly as she slowly met him in the middle of the room and took his awaiting hand, shaking it formally.

“Yeah, uh. Reese, this is Mason. Mason, this is my brother Reese,” Harry said awkwardly, stepping up next to the two of them.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you. I’ve heard… well, I can’t really say I’ve heard much about you – other than the fact that my brother chose you to go across the country with him, which must mean there is a pretty big level of trust between the two of you,” Reese said, looking between them as they both stood there looking guilty.

“Am I right?” Reese asked, his eyes catching his brother’s.

Mason didn’t know if he was trying to act aggrieved over the fact that his big brother didn’t tell him about the girl he’d been friends with for two years, but he was sure doing a good job of it. Even Mason felt guilty.

“What does it matter?” Harry asked him, his eyes narrowing slightly.

“It doesn’t matter. It just… I don’t know. Sometimes I feel like you and I aren’t as close as we used to be and it bothers me,” Reese told him honestly and it made Mason’s heart nearly break.

“Harry and I have known each other for a few years. I’m sorry he’s never mentioned me, but that was by my request,” Mason chimed in, trying her hardest to take the pressure off of Harry.

“Your request?” Reese asked, turning his questioning gaze on her.

“Casey and I never got along. She would have killed one of us if she knew Harry and I—” Mason stammered, only cutting herself off when she noticed the wide, questioning eyes Harry was giving her.

“That you and Harry, what?” Reese asked, looking between the two of them. Mason was quite sure he saw the face Harry was giving her and it only added to his suspicions.

“What is going on?” Reese asked, taking a step back from them.

Mason’s heart beat wildly in her chest thinking she might have stepped out of line by telling Harry’s brother anything. Her intentions were never to upset Harry – or his brother for that matter, but she seemed to be doing a fantastic job of both.

“Nothing is going on,” Harry said, shrugging his shoulders, trying to act as passive as possible.

Nothing? It’s nearly eleven o’clock at night and she’s at your place, sitting on your bed after the two of you just spent the past ten days together. I’m not stupid,” Reese said to Harry, sounding as if he were getting more and more offended as the conversation progressed.

“Reese,” Harry sighed as he shook his head.

“What? You can’t tell me – your best friend, your brother? What is it you think you can’t you tell me?” Reese asked him quickly.

“You wouldn’t understand,” Harry sighed.

“The fact that you think I wouldn’t understand just makes me even more upset,” Reese said through clenched teeth as his eyes narrowed dangerously.

“There is so much you don’t know,” Harry said, running his hands down his face.

Mason’s whole body tensed because she knew the conversation was about to escalate quickly and she wasn’t sure she was ready for any of the emotions that came with it. Harry’s mother was the only person who knew the circumstances of Harry’s trip to New Mexico. He told everyone else in his life that he needed to get away and he was visiting some relatives in Phoenix. That was it – plain and simple. Reese knew next to nothing and now it was all destined to come out as they stood tensely in the middle of Harry’s tiny apartment.

“You can tell me. What makes you think you can’t tell me?” Reese’s voice came out less hostile, nearly pleading with his brother. Mason could hear the emotion in his words and it tugged at her.

She watched as Harry hesitated, looking absolutely conflicted. She hated this. She hated that he felt this way. It was her fault. He was holding back because of her, she knew it. 

When Harry’s eyes looked up into Mason’s, she nodded, essentially giving him permission to tell his brother about the two of them. She knew Reese wasn’t going to leave without getting some sort of answer and she knew Harry may not be ready to expose the whole truth of his paternity to anyone just yet.

But of course, Harry always kept her on her toes.

“Dad isn’t my dad,” Harry blurted out, catching Mason completely off guard, her eyes widening as her head snapped up to look at him.

“What?” Reese choked, his eyebrows immediately furrowing in question.

“Mom cheated on dad and he isn’t my father,” Harry said, sounding surprisingly apathetic about the whole thing.

What!?” Reese said again, trying to comprehend just what his brother was saying.

“I’m not kidding. I’m not making it up. I just found out on mom and dad’s anniversary. That’s why I needed your car. That’s why I went to New Mexico,” Harry’s words came out quickly and Mason was certain he was only confusing Reese worse.

“New Mexico? I thought you went to Arizona,” Reese said immediately.

“No, we went to New Mexico,” Harry said, looking up at Mason for a split second before he looked back at Reese.

“Why? Why did you go to New Mexico?” Reese asked, looking between the two of them again.

“To find my father,” Harry told him matter-of-factly.

“Oh,” Reese said quietly, staggering backward slightly, looking as if his mind was completely reeling.

Harry looked up at Mason again tentatively and her skin tingled with an array of goosebumps. She wanted to reach out to him, but she knew the situation they were in forbade it.

“Is that why… is that why dad never… he never treated you…” Reese stammered, coming to a huge realization about their childhood.

“That he used to beat me and belittle me every chance he got?” Harry questioned incredulously.

“He… he did?” Reese choked, looking at Harry like a deer in headlights.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t be laying this all on you like this,” Harry sighed, taking a step back as he washed his hands down his face.

Mason stood back, quiet as a mouse, trying to control her breathing as she watched Harry completely let go of himself and finally let someone in – someone who wasn’t her. It was a big moment, whether Harry chose to acknowledge it or not.

“I asked, Harry. I want to know. I’ve always wanted to know the truth,” Reese said firmly.

“I’m sorry. I just… I’ve kept everything— I didn’t want to ruin your world. You’re my baby brother,” Harry said, his voice cracking slightly with emotion.

“And you’re my big brother,” Reese said softly.

“I know, man. I know,” Harry sighed, looking down at the floor.

The three of them were silent for a few contemplative moments and Mason didn’t know what to do. She felt so uncomfortable being there, in their moment. She wanted to run, but she knew she couldn’t.

“And where do you fit into all of this?” Reese asked, his eyes turning to her and it took her a few seconds to realize it was her who he was talking to. Mason’s mouth fell open, but no words came out, just a puff of dry air eradicating from her lungs.

Harry’s eyes widened once again as he looked over at her and Mason took it as him wanting her to keep her mouth shut, so she did. She felt her whole body heat up as the pressure of it all came down on her.

“Obviously something is going on if both of you look like you’ve just seen a ghost,” Reese scoffed, but they both stayed quiet.

“Really? You can tell me something as life-changing as dad not being your dad, but you can’t answer this?” Reese looked over at Harry incredulously.

“It’s complicated,” Harry said, looking away from Mason like he was ashamed of it all, which only twisted her gut even more.

She felt the tears sting her eyes almost immediately as her vision fell to the floor. She didn’t want to look at either of them.

“Is it really that hard to explain?” Reese asked, sounding rather annoyed.

“We help each other,” Harry replied finally.

“You help each other? With what? Is this like a sex thing?” Reese asked, looking between the two of them once again. Mason just kept her eyes lowered, hoping Harry was going to get them out of this, but Harry stayed just as silent as she did.

“It’s a sex thing?” Reese gathered from their lack of reaction and in another second of confirming silence, he was privy to the life they tried to hide from everyone.

“How long?” Reese pressed, focusing his attention on Harry.

“A long time,” Harry admitted quietly.

“A few months?” Reese questioned pointedly.

“A few years,” Harry confessed, his eyes finally meeting his brothers.

“Whoa,” Reese breathed, taking another step back, looking between the two of them again.

“All throughout your relationship with Casey?” Reese asked Harry quietly.

“Since before,” Harry told him, his jaw tensing as he spoke.

“And this was okay with you – to be with a guy who had a girlfriend?” Reese turned his questioning on Mason.

“Just… leave her out of this,” Harry’s voice came out a little harsher than maybe even he expected.

“’Leave her out’—Jesus, Harry. This… you cheated on Casey for your whole entire relationship? Who does that? Why even be with her?” Reese asked quickly, sounding almost offended that his brother would do something of that nature.

“I… I was only with Casey to appease you, mom, and Gemma,” Harry snapped at him.

“What? What are you even talking about?” Reese narrowed his gaze on Harry.

“It was always a constant humming in my ear from you three – are you doing okay, Harry? Do you wanna talk about it, Harry? Have you thought about going to see a therapist? How about medication? Casey was the one thing that made me seem normal to any of you… so I went with it,” Harry blurted out in a string of snarky imitations.

“So, why not just date Mason then? Why put on a show? If you two were banging the whole time…” Reese snapped back, bringing Mason back into the conversation that was turning into some sort of battle of right and wrong between the two siblings.

“It wasn’t like that with me and Mason! We didn’t have that kind of relationship!” Harry growled as the two of them talked about her like she wasn’t there.

“So, it was just sex then? You two just fuck to get off?” Reese spat out angrily.

“It’s not like that either!” Harry yelled.

Mason wrapped her arms around herself, trying to retreat, trying to just leave the present and think of other things – anything else. Everything they said made the panic rise in her chest. Her breathing was nearly out of control as she stood there gasping for air.

“Mason. Mason, it’s okay. Hey, hey – Mase,” Harry cooed, trying to get her attention. When she finally looked up, she noticed he was standing in front of her, his hands on her arms.

“Just breathe. Just—breathe,” Harry said, sucking in a deep breath to show her how.

“I’m sorry,” she heard Reese say sheepishly.

“It’s not as dirty as you’re making it out to be,” Harry snapped back at him, still holding onto Mason’s arms.

“I’m sorry,” Reese said again.

“Are you okay, Mason?” Harry asked her again, looking deep into her eyes.

Her breathing evened out, but all she could do was nod her head. She still wanted to flee more than anything, but her feet never moved. 

“So, you two help each other?” Reese asked, sounding as though he was beginning to understand or at least trying to.

“I told you it was complicated,” Harry said as he wrapped his arms fully around Mason, pressing her against his chest.

“I don’t want to be left out anymore, Harry. I just… I want to know you. I want to be able to help any way I can without completely alienating you,” Reese said, his words softer and more understanding.

“I know, Reese,” Harry sighed, looking over at him as Mason pulled out of his arms.

“You okay?” Harry asked her quietly and she nodded at him again.

“I’m gonna go. I’m gonna leave you two…” Reese said, letting his words trail off as he turned to leave.

“Hey, man,” Harry called to him and Mason watched as Reese swiveled back on his heels to look at his brother.

“It’s good to see you,” Harry offered and Reese nodded his head.

“You too,” Reese replied as his lips turned up with a hint of a smile.

And with that, Reese Styles walked out of his brother’s apartment, leaving the two of them alone with each other.

“Mase…” Harry breathed. She heard him say her name, but she felt like she was miles away.

“Mason, are you alright?” He said again and she finally turned her head to look at him, her eyes frozen open in a wide stare.

“I’m sorry… about that,” Harry said, reaching out to her, but let his hand fall back down before he touched her.

She could feel her eyes fighting tears, trying to wet themselves as they stayed glued open. All she could think of was the overwhelming panic in her chest as their well-kept secret began to unravel.

“I’m sorry, Mason. I tried my best—” Harry said and she felt the twinge in her heart as the emotion overwhelmed him.

She was sure it was what snapped her out of her nearly catatonic state – Harry’s emotional well-being.

“I tried my best to keep you… to keep you safe,” Harry broke down, his tears welling in his eyes.

“Harry,” Mason whimpered as her hand clamped around the back of his neck, bringing their foreheads together.

“Harry, don’t cry,” she breathed as her own tears threatened to spill.

“I didn’t mean for anything—he shouldn’t have… this isn’t your fault,” Harry stammered as he reached up to wipe at his eyes.

“This isn’t your fault,” she reminded him.

His eyes connected with hers as his hands fell away from his face. His look was one of wonder or like he was truly questioning everything that just happened. They stood there for a long moment before either of them even made a move. Harry shifted his weight as he sucked in a sniffle and it made Mason break eye contact. And the second she looked back into his eyes, he pressed forward, connecting their lips in a hardened kiss, helping subdue the tightness in her chest. 

Harry’s hands held her face gently and their lips never moved one single muscle. It lasted longer than a kiss like that should last, but neither of them pulled back right away. When Harry finally did, they just stared into each other’s eyes. Mason’s hands coming up to hold his wrists so she didn’t feel so out of control as he held her.

She didn’t know how the episode with his brother would affect the relationship they created. All she knew was she felt extremely uncomfortable that someone knew about them. Her gut was tied in painful knots and she knew things would need to change between the two of them, but it didn’t mean she wanted them to.

“Lay with me,” Mason offered, grabbing his hand in hers.

She pulled him with her to the bed and he came willingly, lying down next to her, face-to-face. They were both quiet, unsure of what to say and do. Their eyes searched one another’s and it made Mason wonder what he saw in hers. Could he sense the pain in her gut and chest? Was he that adept at reading her? Because she knew she could sense the pain he was feeling and it only added to the burden placed upon her.

So she did what she knew how to do best. She leaned forward, connecting their lips. She wanted him to feel better. She wanted his aching to go away – at least for the moment. She would do her best to help him.

Mason’s hand slid smoothly up his cheek as their mouths opened up to one another. Harry slowly eased his tongue in and tangled it with hers in a listless rhythm. To prevent her emotions from dampening her mood further, she hurried along the kiss, moving her tongue and lips faster against Harry’s and he adapted quickly. He gripped onto her hips, pulling her tightly against his body and an unbridled moan escaped her in the process.

“Harry,” Mason hummed, her head tipping back as his lips trailed down her throat.

He was advancing things between them at a rate that pleased her very much and she couldn’t hold herself back any further. She sat up next to him, breaking their contact, only to slip her leg over his body and pull herself up on top of him, her body sitting astride his middle.

The smile he led with was almost worth it all. He was so beautiful, so magnetic. It made Mason long for things she knew they could never have with each other. She had to press forward against him to prevent herself from letting those thoughts and feelings run wild inside of her. With Harry’s hands on her hips and her mouth on his lips, she felt okay with where they were. Because there was nowhere she would rather be.

“Mason…” Harry breathed against her lips.

Shh,” she hushed him, stifling his protest with her mouth and he went with it, tangling his tongue with hers again.

When she felt his hands slide inside of her shirt, against her warm flesh, she knew there would be no more talking that evening – not until they had their way with one another.

But even the best-laid plans often failed. There was a commotion from somewhere inside the small apartment. It was all a blur to Mason in those fleeting moments. And before she could comprehend it, Casey was stalking toward the bed, screaming at the two of them. She gripped tightly onto Mason’s ponytail, pulling her off of Harry’s startled body.

“Casey! Let go of her!” Harry yelled as he knelt on the bed, gripping onto Casey’s wrist.

“You’re a whore, Mason! You’re a whore!” Casey screamed at her as her grip seemed to tighten on her strands, nearly yanking them out by the roots. Nothing but squeaks and gasps came out of Mason’s mouth as her body knelt rigidly under Casey’s control.

“LET GO, GOD DAMN IT!” Harry’s voice boomed, which startled Casey enough to release Mason from her talons.

“How could you do this to me, Harry!? How could you do this!? With her!” Casey bellowed, tears welling in her eyes.

It was then Mason realized April was standing behind her friend, her mouth agape, watching the scene unfold as Mason sat motionless and numb next to Harry on the mattress.

“Casey—I just… I—” Harry stammered, unsure of how he could actually explain any of this to her that would make her understand – because truly, there would never be enough words in his vocabulary to explain this away.

“Fuck you, Harry! Two years! Two years! Does that mean anything to you… at all!? Casey cried, looking at Harry incredulously.

“Casey…” Harry said, but there was no emotion in his voice, no sympathy, and Mason knew he didn’t feel any. He wasn’t even trying to feign it anymore.

“And to think, I called you a friend!” Casey spat, turning to look at Mason with a vicious stare. Mason couldn’t remember a time Casey ever treated her like a friend, or vice-versa. But she wasn’t in the position to argue.

“Karma’s a bitch, you know. I hope it comes back and bites you – hard, you home-wrecker,” Casey snarled at her.

“That’s enough, Casey!” Harry bellowed. Casey’s attention immediately snapped back to Harry.

“You’re defending her? How cute,” she said with a sarcastic sneer, just before the tears overwhelmed her again.

“Just… go home, Casey,” Harry breathed lowly.

“Screw you,” she mewled as April came over to comfort her. But as soon as she did, Casey pushed out of her arms and ran out the door. Mason sat frozen, her gaze meeting with April’s disapproving eyes.

“How could you?” April breathed lowly. It affected Mason, only because April was actually her friend. Her opinion mattered.

“April…” Mason breathed, unsure of what she could even say to make her look at her the way she used to.

“I never thought you’d be this person, Mason,” she told her with a condemning look as she shook her head.

“It’s more complicated than… than you can ever fathom,” Mason told her, her voice taking on an almost pleading quality.

“I don’t think I want to know,” April said with so much finality in her tone, it shook Mason. 

As April spun on her heels to follow her friend out, Mason called her name, but she didn’t respond. The door slammed with her exit and Mason was left with Harry again, the silence deafening.

“The door… I didn’t lock it after Reese left,” Harry’s apologetic voice startled her.

“I have to go,” Mason said immediately as she scrambled off the bed.

“Mason,” Harry called, stopping her in her tracks, her back still to him.

“Don’t go,” he said hopefully. 

Mason took in a shuddered breath and she knew she couldn’t give in. They screwed up so much already.

“I can’t stay,” she retorted before her feet moved her the final distance to his door, quickly grabbing her jacket from the closet in the process. 

Harry called out her name one last time, but just like April’s exit, the closing of the door was as final as it would ever be.

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