It was harder than I thought. Knowing that I liked Harry and watching him flirt with my best friend. I wanted to be happy for her, but inside I felt like I was breaking every time he smiled at her when she wasn't even looking. The morning went by slowly and I tried to catch up on my work to distract myself from the budding romance happening before my eyes.
After third period, Harry and I waited for Taylor to come from Geography outside of the cafeteria, making small talk, me trying to ignore any feelings I had that weren't platonic toward him. I thought I was grateful when Louis came walking swiftly down the path toward us until I saw his face, his brow was furrowed and he was shaking his head.
"Mate, Kendall is back and someone told her that you followed through with what you said on Wednesday..." he said once he had reached us, "She's going mental, like I mean on another fucking level of fury... she's looking for you." He glanced at me, "Make your decision now mate because if she sees you two together that's it, it's going to split the lot of us in half... Obviously, you're my best mate so I have your back and I know a few others are sick of her being a controlling bitch... but I don't know how many mates you're prepared to lose over all this." Harry nodded and ran his hand through his hair and bit his bottom lip out of stress. He looked at Louis and then his eyes met mine for a second and his face hardened.
"I'm not backing down." He said firmly, breaking our gaze and looking back at Louis. I felt as though my heart skipped a beat as he continued, "She's a bitch and I'm not taking on her reputation for the sake of a few wankers that think what happened on Wednesday was funny. It's not worth it, I'm not like that." He sounded so sure of himself. He was about to put everything on the line to prove to other people that he was a good person who had gained a bad reputation from being around the wrong people. I think I felt my heart flutter and then fall as I remembered I was trying to just be his friend. Louis hesitated, then nodded and walked past us into the cafeteria.
Taylor arrived and we went in and got our food. We sat down with Louis at an empty table in the middle of the hall. The tension at the table was palpable, Louis and I were staring at the door just waiting to see the whirlwind of anger that Kendall was bound to bring with her, Harry was staring at his tray, not touching his food, clearly deep in thought, and Taylor, who had no idea about the conversation before, was just looking between the three of us in confusion.
"Am I missing something?" She said, breaking the silence.
"Uhm, Kendall is back and basically she's pissed." I said quietly, without taking my eyes off of the door. Something in the tone of my voice caught Harry's attention because his head snapped up and he looked at me.
"You don't have to sound so worried, she's not going to touch you." he said firmly, placing a reassuring hand on my shoulder and giving it a small squeeze. I knew he didn't feel it as well, but his hand sent electricity pulsing through me, it felt like he was transferring me some of the confidence he was overflowing with. But then it was over and he was looking at Taylor who's face had washed over with worry suddenly.
"Oh my god. What if she finds out-" She didn't get a chance to finish before Harry had reached across the table and placed his hand over hers gently.
"She won't." I saw a smile playing on his lips as Taylor pushed her hair behind her ear with her other hand as she always did when she was worried. He was thinking about how cute she was, I could tell.
"Harry." Louis muttered under his breath as I went back to looking at the door so I couldn't see them anymore and was instead was faced with the sight of Kendall and her two friends, who had threatened me the other day, walking in. She scanned the room and I could see the fire in her eyes when she spotted us. She started marching toward us and I felt everyone in the room's eyes following her, the noise dying down as they could tell something was about to happen.
She got to the table and stood glaring at Harry.
"So this is how you want it then?" She snarled, as she looked between the four of us. At 5 ft 10 she was towering over us, using it to her advantage to domineer over the table. Harry's face remained expressionless.
"I'm not getting into this with you here, you're causing a scene for attention and it's pathetic. You want to discuss something, we'll do it in private." He said, his tone calm, quiet and controlled, he broke their gaze in a way that showed her he had no intention of engaging any further. Her eyes flashed angrily, she was determined to have this out in public, here and now.
"Fine, have it your way! Be one of them." She spat, "You will have nothing without us though, believe me, Harry, I will your life a fucking misery! And theirs for that matter!" His muscles in his shoulders tensed slightly at that, it was almost unnoticeable, but I saw it and so did she. Without delay, she reached out her hand for the glass of water that sat on my tray and suddenly I was dripping wet as she had thrown it in my face and entire room gasped. Taylor immediately jumped up and came round to my side of the table with napkins to try and get me cleaned up as best as she could.
Harry's hands slammed down on the table and he stood so fast that his chair was propelled out from underneath him with such a force that it was knocked to the floor, his breathing ragged and his eyes reflecting the anger in hers. We both jumped and stopped dabbing at my clothes to look at Harry. She had done it. She had baited him into the scene that she wanted. Louis was standing as well now, his hand on Harry's chest, muttering to him to leave it and back off, that she wasn't worth it, but Harry had been pushed to the limit and there was no stopping him now. He swatted Louis's hand off his chest and pointed at Kendall.
"Walk away before I really fucking lose it with you!" He threatened through gritted teeth. Her eyes narrowed and she didn't move, "Fine Kendall, you want to have this out here, fuck it, let's have it!"
"I want you to come to your fucking senses-" she raised her voice at him but he raised his louder and interrupted her with a hysterical laughter, that seemed to shock even her momentarily.
"You want me to come to my senses? I already have darling, believe me, you've opened my eyes to the type of people our entire fucking group has become. People think I'm a bloody tosser because the reputation you have gotten yourself spread like a fucking poison onto the rest of us, my eyes are wide open to the intimidation tactics you use on people to boost yourself and it's a fucking disgrace and I'm not fucking having it anymore!" He lashed out, jabbing a finger at her as he spoke.
Taylor and I looked at one another, she looked terrified and I forgot this was the third time I had seen Harry angry and even though I had explained it to Taylor, I clearly couldn't portray his white-hot rage as it was in person.
"Oh don't make me laugh Harry!" She screamed at him, there was no hint of a laugh in her face at all though, "You've decided you don't like it after we've been together for three years and you've been benefitting from the fucking power that comes with those lower than you being intimidated! You don't get to suddenly take on the role as Mr. Fucking-Moral because like it or not you're reputation has come from your actions as well as mine!" She gestured around the room at the silent audience watching the exchange, "You think half of these people would have even noticed you if they didn't think you could ruin them?" Harry looked taken aback as he looked slowly at the mass of faces, and then at me and Taylor. The anger had instantly disappeared from his eyes to be replaced with one of a broken-hearted realisation, he pleaded with his eyes for us to deny what she was saying.
I wanted so badly to jump up and tell him it wasn't true, hug him close and tell him that he was a wonderful person, that everyone knew she was the bitch, but I couldn't say it and mean it. There had definitely been an element of fear that kept people caring who he was over the years even if he didn't want to admit it.
"So that's it, you play Mr. Protector-of-the-weak and get on your high horse looking down at us, but remember that's all it is, a pretense! You are just like the rest of us whether you like it or not!" she said, bitterly, before turning to leave, she knew she had won.
"I'm not like you." Harry spat after her indignantly, "I may have made other people feel like they need to be intimidated in the past, but the difference is I don't like it and I'm doing my best to make sure that changes, which makes me a hell of a lot better than you." She didn't get a chance to retort because Harry had picked up his bag, held his hand out Taylor who had taken it with a small smile and they were walking out the back door. No one else moved and the room was so silent you could have heard a pin drop. Kendall just stood there and glared after him.
After a few seconds, Louis grabbed his bag as well as my own and handed it to me as he jerked his towards the door. I nodded understanding, took my bag and followed him out the door same door Harry and Taylor had left through minutes before. I thought, as we left, about Harry's courage and couldn't help but feel a small pang of jealousy because I admired him right now more than I had ever admired anyone.
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