Sunday, 20 May 2018

AFTER ROMANCE Episode 16-20

"Dare" Harry answers before I even ask him.
What should I dare him to do? I know he will do whatever it is just because that is how is he. "I.. hmm. I dare you to .."
"To what?" He says impatiently. I almost dare him to say something nice about each person in the group but I decide against it, however amusing it would have been.
"Take your shirt off and keep it off the entire game" Molly says for me and I am glad. Not because Harry will be taking his shirt off of course, but because I couldn't think of anything to have him do.
"How juvenile" He says but lifts his shirt over his head. My eyes go directly to his long torso. The way black ink of the tattoos is painted across his surprisingly tan skin is somehow appealing. Under his swallows he has a butterfly tattoo on his stomach, it looks much better than a butterfly should on a guy. His arms have many more tattoos than I expected, small seemingly random tattoos are scattered along his shoulders and hips. Steph nudges me and I tear my eyes away from him praying that no one saw me staring. The game continues and Molly kisses Tristan and Zayn, Steph tells us about her first time having sex and Niall and the new girl kiss. How did I find myself in the middle of this group of hormonal college students?
"Tessa, truth or dare?" Tristan asks.
"Why even ask? We know she will say truth" Harry interrupts.
"Dare" I say, surprising them and myself.
"Hmm.. Tessa, I dare you to.. take a shot of vodka" Tristan smiles.
"I don't drink"
"That's the point"
"Look, if you don't want to do it.." Niall starts to say and I look over at Harry and Molly sharing a laugh at my expense.
"Fine, one shot" I say and Harry's eyes meet mine. He gives me a strange look.
Seconds later I am handed the clear bottle of vodka. I mistakenly put my nose against the top, smelling the foul liquid. It burns my nostrils and I scrunch my nose, trying to ignore the chuckles behind me. I try not to think of all the mouths that have been on the top of the bottle before I tilt it back and take a drink. The vodka feels hot and burns my tongue all the way down to my stomach but I manage to swallow it. It tastes horrible. The group claps and laughs a little, except Harry. If I didn't know him any better I would think he was mad or disappointed? He is so strange. I can feel the heat in my cheeks and the small amount of alcohol in my veins that grows with each round that I am dared to take another. I oblige, I have to admit I am pretty relaxed for once, I feel good.
"Same dare" Zayn laughs and takes a drink of the vodka before handing me the bottle for the fifth time. I don't even remember the dares and truths that have been happening around me for the last few rounds. This time I take two big drinks of the vodka before it is ripped from my grasp.
"I think you've had enough" Harry says and hands the bottle to Niall, who takes a drink. Who the hell is Harry to tell me when I have had enough? Everyone else is still drinking so I can too. I grab the bottle back from Niall and take a drink again, making sure to give Harry a smirk as the bottle touches my lips.
"I can't believe you have never been drunk before, its fun right?" Zayn asks and I giggle. Thoughts of irresponsibility flood my mind but I push them back. It's only one night.
"Harry, truth or dare?" Molly asks. He answers "dare" of course.
"I dare you to kiss Tessa" she says and gives a fake smile. Harry's eyes go wide and I want to run away.
"No, I have a boyfriend" I tell them, making them laugh at me for the hundredth time tonight. Why am I even hanging around these people who keep laughing at me?
"So.. it is just a dare. Just do it" Molly pressures me.
"No, I am not kissing anyone" I snap and stand up. Harry just takes a drink from his cup. I hope he is offended, actually I don't care if he is. He hates me and is rude anyway. As I get to my feet, the full effect of the vodka hits me. I wobble but pull myself together and walk away from them. Through the crowd, I manage to find the front door. As soon as it opens, the fall breeze hits me. I close my eyes and breath in the fresh air before going to sit on the familiar stone wall. Before I realize what I am doing, my phone is in my hands, dialing Noah.
"Hello?" He says, the familiarity of his voice makes me miss him more.
"Hey.. babe" I say and laugh. We do not call each other ridiculous pet names.
"Tessa, are you drunk?" His voice is full of judgment. I shouldn't have called him.
"No.. of course not" I lie and hang up the phone. I press my finger down on the power button, I don't want him to call back. He is ruining the good feeling from the vodka.
I stumble back inside, ignoring whistles and crude comments from drunk frat guys. I grab a bottle of brown liquor off the counter in the kitchen and take a drink, too big of a drink. It tastes worse than the vodka and burns even worse. My hands fumble for a cup of anything to get the taste out of my mouth. I end up opening the cabinet and using a real glass to pour some water from the sink, making sure to put the glass in the sink afterwards.
"Excuse me," a blonde with an attitude pushes past me and tosses an empty cup into the sink.
The water helps the burn a little, but not much. The group of my "friends" are still sitting in a circle playing their stupid game. Are they my friends? I don't think they are. They only want me around so they can laugh at my inexperience. How dare Molly tell Harry to kiss me, she knows that I have a boyfriend. Unlike her, I don't go around kissing everyone. I have only kissed two boys in my life, Noah and Johnny, a freckle faced kid in third grade who kicked me in the shin afterwards. Would Harry have went along with it? I doubt it. His lips are so pink and full, my head plays an image of Harry leaning over to kiss me and my pulse begins to race.
What the hell? Why am I thinking about kissing him? I am never drinking again. Minutes later, the room begins to spin and I feel dizzy. My feet lead me upstairs to the bathroom and I sit in front of the toilet, expecting to throw up. Nothing happens. I groan and pull myself up. I am ready to go back to the dorms but I know Steph won't be ready for hours.
Before I can stop myself, my hand is turning the knob on Harry's bedroom door. It looks the same as before only this time the room is moving around beneath my feet. The copy of Wuthering Heights is missing from the shelf where it was but I find it on the bedside table, next to Pride and Prejudice. Harry's comments about the novel replay through my mind. He has obviously read it before, and understood it which is rare for our age group. Maybe he had to read it for class before, that's why. But why is this copy of Wuthering Heights out? I grab it and sit on the bed, opening the book halfway through. My eyes scan the pages and the room stops spinning.
I am so lost in the world of Catherine and Heathcliff, that when the door opens, I don't hear it.
"What part of no one can come in my room did you not understand last time?" Harry booms. His angry expression surprises but humors me at the same time.
"S..sorry. I ."
"Get out" he spits and I glare at him. The vodka is still fresh in my system, too fresh to let Harry yell at me.
"You don't have to be such a jerk!' My voice coming out much louder than I had intended.
"You are in my room, again after I told you not to be. So get out!" He yells, stepping closer to me.
"Why don't you like me?" I am not sure what possessed me to ask him this. I don't think my already wounded ego can take the answer.

"Why are you asking me this?" He glares right back.
"I don't know.. because I have been nothing but nice to you and you are always rude. I thought we could be friends" How stupid does that sound. my hand pinches the bridge of my nose and I wait for his answer.
"Us? Friends?" He laughs. "Isn't it obvious why we can't be friends?"
"Not to me"
"Well for starters you are too uptight, you probably grew up in some perfect little model home that looks like every other house on the block, your parents probably bought you everything you wanted and you never had to want for anything. With your stupid pleated skirts, I mean honestly who dresses like that at 18?" He says and my mouth falls open.
"You know nothing about me! My life is nothing like that! My alcoholic dad left us when I was ten and my mom worked her ass off to make sure I could go to college, I got my own job as soon I turned 16 to help with bills and I happen to like my clothes, sorry if I don't dress like a slut like all the girls around you! For someone who tries to hard to stand out and be different, you sure are judgmental" I scream and he balls his fists. I feel the tears prick my eyes and turn around to wipe them before we notices.
"You know what, I don't want to be friends with you anyway Harry" I tell him and reach for the door handle. The vodka has made me brave causing me to scream at Harry.
"Where are you going?" He asks. He is so unpredictable and moody.
"I am going to the bus stop so I can go back to my room and never, ever come back here again. I am done trying to be friends with any of you"
"It's too late to take the bus alone"
"You are not seriously trying to act like you care if something happened to me" I laugh. I can't keep up with him.
"I am not saying I do.. I am just warning you. It is a bad idea"
"Well Harry, I don't have any other options. Everyone is drunk, including myself" I say and the tears come. I am humiliated that Harry out of all people, is seeing my cry, again.
"Do you always cry at parties?" He asks with a small smile.
"Apparently, since these are the only parties I have ever attended," I reach the door again and open it.
"Theresa" He says so soft that I almost don't hear him. His face is unreadable. The room starts to spin again and I grab onto the dresser next to his door. "You okay?" He asks. I nod even though I feel nauseous. "Why don't you just sit down for a few minutes, then you can go to the bus station"
I nod again. I walk back out and once again he calls my name. "You can sit in here.. I guess" he says and lets out a deep breath.
"I thought no one was allowed in your room?' I ask him and sit on the floor.
"It won't happen again" he snaps. So he is back to himself. I hiccup and a small smile plays on his lips. "If you throw up in my room.." he warns.
"I think I just need some water" I say and move to stand up.
"Here" he says, handing me his red cup. I roll my eyes and push it away.
"I said water, not beer"
"It is water, I don't drink" he says. A noise between a gasp and a laugh. There is no way Harry doesn't drink. I don't remember him taking a drink from the bottle of vodka, but still? "Surprised?" He asks and I nod.
"You're not going to sit here and babysit are you?" I really just want to be alone in my drunken state. I am starting to feel guilty for yelling at Harry. "You bring out the worst in me" I say aloud, not meaning to.
"That's harsh." He says, his tone serious. "And yes, I am going to sit here and babysit you. You are drunk for the first time in your life, and you have a habit of touching my things when I am not around." he says and takes a seat on his bed. I grab the cup of water and take a drink, I can taste a hint of mint on the rim and can't help but think about how Harry's mouth would taste. God, I am never drinking again. I remind myself as I sit back down on the floor.

After minutes of silence Harry finally speaks up. "Can I ask you a question?"
The look on his face tells me I should say no but I can't help but say, "Sure"
"What do you want to do after college?" He asks and I laugh. That is the last thing I thought he would ask. I assumed he would ask why I am a virgin or why I don't drink.
"Well, I want to be an author or a publisher, whichever comes first." I probably shouldn't have been honest with him, he will just make fun of me. Feeling brave, I ask him the same question earning an eye roll from him but no answer. "Are those your books?" I ask him, even though he probably won't give me answer.
"They are" he mumbles.
"Which is your favorite?"
"I don't have a favorite"
I sigh and pick at a small fray on my jeans. There shouldn't be a fray already, they are new but I will worry about that later. "Does Mr. Roger's know you're at a party again?" He smirks.
"Mr. Rogers?" I don't get it.
"Your boyfriend. He is the biggest square I have even seen"
"Don't talk about him like that, he is.. he is..nice" I stutter. Harry laughs and I stand up. He doesn't know Noah at all. "You could only dream of being as nice as he is" I snap.
"Nice? That's the first word that comes to your mind when talking about your boyfriend? Nice is your 'nice' way of calling him boring."
"He isn't boring, you don't know him"
"I know that he is boring. I could tell by his cardigan and loafers" Harry's head rolls back in laughter and I can't ignore his dimples.
"He doesn't wear loafers" I say and cover my mouth so I don't laugh with him at my boyfriend's expense. I grab the water and take a drink.
"Well he has been dating you for two years and hasn't fucked you yet, I would say he is a square." he says and I spit the water back into the cup.
"What the hell did you just say?" Just when I think we can get along he says something like that.
"You heard me Theresa" he smiles.
"You're an asshole Harry" I growl and throw the half empty cup of water at his face. His reaction is exactly what I hoped for. Complete shock, His large hand wipes off the excess water as I storm out of the room. He is so infuriating, decent one minute and completely crude the next. I push my way through the crowd and find the kitchen again. The anger I feel has overcome my nausea and all I want is another drink. I have to get Harry's dimpled smirk out of my head. I spot Zayn's black hair through the crowd and walk towards him. He is sitting with a cute preppy boy who happens to be holding a bottle of liquor.
"Hey Tessa, this is my friend Louis." Zayn says, introducing us. Louis smiles at me and I return it. Louis must notice my eyes on the bottle because he holds it out. "Want some?" He asks and passes it to me. The familiar burn feels good, it ignites my body again and I momentarily forget about Harry.
"Have you seen Steph?" I ask Zayn and he shakes his head.
"I think her and Tristan may have left" She left? What the hell? I should care more but the vodka skews my judgment and I find myself thinking Steph and Tristan would make a cute couple. A few drinks later, I feel amazing. This must be why people drink all the time. I vaguely remember promising myself that I will never drink again but it's not so bad.
Fifteen minutes later, Zayn and Louis have me laughing so hard that my stomach hurts. They are much better company than Harry. "You know Harry is a real ass" I tell them and they laugh.
"Yea, he can be sometimes." Zayn agrees and snakes his arm around me. I want to move it but I don't want to make it awkward because I know he doesn't mean anything by it. Minutes turn to hours and I haven't seen Harry or Steoh. The crowd starts to die down and I start to feel tired. It dawns on me that I have no way to get back to the dorms.
"Do the buses run all night?" I slur. Zayn shrugs and says he doesn't know. "Ill be back in a minute" I tell them and stand up. Once again the effects of the vodka hit me as I stand up. "Ugh, just who I wanted to see" I groan as Harry's mop of curls appears in front of me.
"You and Zayn then?" Harry's voice is thick with an emotion that I can't quite register.
"You are so obnoxious! I am trying to find out about the bus" I push past him and he grabs my arm. He has no boundaries. "Let go of me Harry" I look for another cup to toss in his face.
"Chill out.. its three am. There isn't a bus. You're stuck staying here again" His smile is so mocking that it makes me want to smack him. "Unless you want to go home with Zayn" he lets go of my arm and I go back to the couch with Zayn and Louis. I hope that same room from last weekend is empty I should probably find out soon. I tell Zayn about my plan and he offers to walk me upstairs to find out.

We find the room that Steph and I stayed in last week, unfortuanlty one of the beds is occupied by a snoring drunk guy. "At least that bed is empty" Zayn laughs and I giggle. "I am going to walk back to my place, if you want to come? I have a couch you could sleep on" he offers. I need to think clearly for a second, Zayn, like Harry, hooks up with a lot of different girls. If I agree to this it could mean I am offering to kiss him.. well I have a feeling with those good looks it is easy for Zayn to get girls to do more than kiss.
"I think I will just stay here in case Steph comes back" His face falls a little but he gives me an understanding smile. He tells me to be careful, giving me a hug goodbye. The door closes as he leaves and I can't help but lock it. Who knows who will come in? I look over at the comatose snoring man, I don't think he is waking up anytime soon. The tiredness I felt downstairs has somehow faded, my mind going back to Harry and his comment about how Noah hasn't slept with me yet. It may seem strange to Harry, who sleeps with a different girl every weekend, but Noah is a gentleman. We don't need to have sex, we have fun together doing other things like.. well.. we go to the movies and go for walks. This is why I promised not to drink again because my mind doesn't work correctly. I find myself staring at the ceiling, counting the tiles to try to sleep. The moment my eyes close I hear the drunk guy rustling around on the other bed. I ignore it and begin to drift off.
"I haven't seen you.. around here before" a deep voice slurs. I jump up and his head bumps my chin, causing me to bite my tongue, hard. He puts his hand on the bed, inches away from my thighs. His breathing is ragged and smells like vomit and liquor. "What's your name pretty girl? He breaths and I gag. My small arm flies up to push his shoulder, trying to get him away from me. It doesn't work, he just laughs.
"I'm not going to hurt you, I just want to have some fun." He says and licks his lips, leaving a string of saliva down his chin. My stomach turns and the only thing I can think to do is kick him, hard. He grabs his knee and stumbles back, giving me my chance to bolt. My shaky fingers fumble with the lock and finally it opens. The few people in the hallway give me odd stares as I rush past them. "Come on, come back here!" I hear the disgusting voice say and he is following me down the hall. I don't remember the hallway being this long before. The party goers don't seem to be phased by a girl being chased down the hall. He is now only a feet away from me, stumbling over his own feet giving me a few extra seconds. Where will I even go? My feet take me down the hall and to the left to the only place that I know in this damned fraternity house.
"Harry!! Harry please open the door!" I yell, one hand banging on the door and one trying to twist the locked door knob.
"Harry!!" I scream again and the door flies open. I don't know what made me come to his room out of all places but I would rather take Harry's verbal assault than the drunk guy trying to have his way with me any day.
"Tess?" Harry asks, seeming confused. He wipes his eyes with his hand. He is wearing only black boxer briefs, and his hair is sticking up all over. Ironically, I am more surprised by how good he looks than by the fact he called me 'Tess' insead of 'Theresa' for once.
"Harry, please can I come in? This guy.." I say and look behind me. Harry pushes past me and looks down the hall. His eyes meet the drunk guy and the creep changes from scary to frightened. He looks at me one more time before turning around and walking back down the hall. What the hell was that?
"Do you know him?" My voice is shaky and small.
"Yea, get inside" he says and pulls me by my arm into his room. I can't help but watch the way his muscles move under his inked skin as he walks back to his bed. His back has no tattoos on it, I find that strange since his chest, arms and stomach are covered. He rubs his eyes again. "Are you okay?" His voice is raspier than ever from just being woken up.
"Yea.. I am sorry for coming here and waking you up" Why am I apologizing to Harry? He should be apologizing to me, but he did just help me escape from the creep.
Harry's hand runs through his messy hair and he sighs. "Don't worry about it. Did he touch you?" he asks. There is no trace of sarcasm or humor in his expression.
"No, he tried though. I was stupid enough to lock myself in a room with a drunk stranger so I suppose it's my fault" the idea of him touching me makes me want to cry, again. Why am I so emotional every time I am at this house.
"It's not your fault that he did that. You aren't used to this type of.. situation" his voice is kind and totally opposite of his usual voice. I walk across the room towards his bed, silently asking him for permission. His hand pats the bed and I sit down with my hands in my lap.
"I have no plans on getting used to it. This really is the last time I am coming here, or to any parties for that matter. I don't know why I even tried. And that guy..he was just so.."
"Don't cry, Tess" Harry whispers. I hadn't realized I was. He brings his hand up and I fight the urge to flinch away, what is he doing? The pad of his thumb captures the tear before it rolls down my cheek. My lips part in surprise from his gentle touch. Who is this guy and where is the snarky, rude Harry? I look up to meet his green eyes and his pupils dilate. "I hadn't noticed how gray your eyes are" he says so low that I lean closer to hear him. His hand is still on my face, my mind is racing. He takes his lip ring between his teeth, pulling half of his bottom lip in his mouth. Harry removes his hand from my face and I look at his lips once more.  My conscious and my hormones are battling but my conscious loses at I crash my lips against his, catching him totally off guard.

As my lips touch Harry's I feel his sharp intake of breath. I have no idea what I am doing, but I can't stop. Harry's mouth tastes just like I had imagined, I can taste the faint hint of mint on his tongue as he opens his mouth and kisses me. Really kisses me. His warm tongue runs along mine and I can feel the cold metal of his lip ring on the corner of my mouth. My entire body feels like its been ignited, I have never felt like this before. He brings his hand to my face, cupping my flushed cheeks, before both of his hands go to my hips.
He pulls back a little and plants a small kiss on lips, "Tess," he breaths and brings his mouth back to mine, his tongue sliding in once more.
My mind is no longer in charge, the sensation has taken over ever fiber of me. Harry pulls me by my hips closer to him as he lays back, never breaking the kiss. Unsure of what to do with my hands, I put them against his chest as I climb onto his torso. His skin is hot and his chest is moving up and down, from his rapid breathing. He pulls his mouth away from mine and I whimper at the loss of contact, before I can complain his mouth moves to my neck. I feel every swipe and lick his tongue makes, the feeling is incredible. He grabs ahold of my hair to keep my head just above his as he continues to kiss my neck. His teeth graze my collarbone and I moan, the feeling shoots down my whole body as he gently sucks on my skin. I would be embarrassed if I wasn't so intoxicated, by Harry and the alcohol. I have never kissed anyone like this, not even Noah. Noah!
"Harry.. Stop" I don't recognize my voice. Its low and husky and my mouth is incredibly dry. He doesn't stop. "Harry!" I say again, my voice clearer and he lets go of my hair. I look into his eyes, they are much darker yet softer and his lips are a deeper pink and swollen from kissing me. "We can't" I say, even though I really want to keep kissing him I know I can't.
The softness in his eyes disappears within seconds and he pulls himself up, knocking me off of him and onto the other side of the bed. What just happened? "I'm sorry" are the only words I can think of. My heart feels like it will explode any second.
"Sorry for what?" He says and walks over to his dresser. He pulls out a black t-shirt and pulls it over his head. My eyes go down to his boxers again and they are noticeable tighter in the front. I flush and look away.
"For.. stopping" Or for kissing him, I am not sure if I actually am so I don't want to apologize for that.
He seems uninterested. "Okay?"
"Or for kissing you.. I don't know why I did that" I tell him, avoiding eye contact.
"It was just a kiss, people kiss all the time." His words hurt my feelings for some reason. Not that I care if he didn't feel what I did. What did I feel? I know I don't actually like him, I am just drunk and he is attractive, It has been a long night and the alcohol made me kiss him, somewhere in the back of my mind, I fight down the thoughts of how much I wanted it to happen again. He was just being so nice that's why.
"Can we not make a big deal of it then?" I ask, I would be humiliated if he told anyone. This isn't me, I don't get drunk and cheat on my boyfriend at a party.
"Trust me, I don't want anyone to know about this either. Now stop talking about it." He snaps.
"Now you're back to yourself I see?" My tone harsh.
"I never was anyone else, don't think because you kissed me, basically against my will, we have some sort of bond now."
Ouch. Against his will? I can still feel the way his hand gripped in my hair, the way he pulled me on top of him, and the way his lips formed 'Tess' before kissing me again. "You could have stopped me" I say and stand up.
"Hardly" he scoffs and I feel like crying again. He makes me too emotional. I am humiliated and hurt by the way he is basically saying I forced him to kiss me. I bury my head in my hands and head for the door.
"You can stay in here tonight since you have no where else to go" he says quietly and I shake my head. I don't want to be anywhere near him. This is all part of his little game. He will offer me to stay in his room so I think he is a decent person, then he will probably catch the room on fire, or cut all my hair off when I am asleep.
"No thanks" I say and walk out of his room. When I reach the stairs, I think I hear him call my name but I keep going. The cool breeze feels wonderful against my skin, I sit on the familiar stone wall and turn my phone back on. Its almost four am. I should be waking up in ah hour to get an early shower and start studying, but instead I am sitting on this broken stone wall, alone and in the dark. I read through the text messages from Noah and my mother. Of course he told her. I can't even be upset with him, I just cheated on him. I type in the address of my dorm building into the navigation on my phone and start to walk.
To be continued

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