Three's A Crowd
Requested: Yes (I had two that went together, so I hope it works!)
When Harry wakes up, he isn’t alone in his hotel bed and there’s a stale taste of tequila on his tongue. He shifts so he’s sitting, planting both feet on the floor and scrubs a hand over his face. When looks over his shoulder at the woman under his covers, he feels as if he may be sick when he realises it isn’t you. Harry sighs in disgust at himself and shakes his head. What the fuck has he done?
Harry makes his way to the shower, needing to scrub away the night before. Turning the water to near scalding, Harry scrubs at his skin and hair, his hungover mind racing as fast as it could. He knew how you felt about cheating, you’d had the discussion before you were even really dating… It wasn’t something you could live with; it was a total and complete violation of trust. For a moment, Harry entertains the idea of just not telling you. What was the point of doing so, even? He didn’t remember the girl’s name or even most of their night together… It meant absolutely nothing, so why ruin what the two of you have over something he can’t even remember when all it would do is hurt you?
When he exits the shower, Harry wipes at the foggy mirror to inspect his reflection. His eyes are bloodshot and there is a very obvious purple love bite on his chest. He’d felt the scratches down his back when the water had hit them and he silently curses himself. How in the hell was he going to explain this?
He dresses quickly and quietly, and paces the hotel room trying to come up with a plan of what to do. His phone chimes from the dresser and he picks it up to look at the screen. A picture of you pops up, the one he took at his mum’s last summer, and he unlocks his phone to read your text.
You: Hi, baby. How was your night? Not too hungover, I hope
H: Nope, just hungover enough xx
He leaves his response at that, hoping you don’t ask for too many details from last night and walks around the bed to the sleeping woman. She was pretty, even with last night’s makeup smeared on her face and pillow. Harry reaches to shake her shoulder.
“Hey,” he says quietly. “Hey, wake up.” The blonde cracks open one eye as she registers what’s happening. She groans and pushes her face into the pillow before rolling onto her back.
“What time is it?” Her voice is rough with sleep.
“Eight,” Harry says tightly. “Look, I don’t mean to rush you, but…”
“But you have a girlfriend, I know. You said that enough last night.” She sighs. “Okay, just gimme a second.” Harry nods once and turns away, giving her a moment of privacy. He can hear the sheets moving and when she shimmies into her skin tight dress. She bites her lip before asking, “do up my zip?” She turns slowly, as if giving him a show and holds up her hair. Harry is careful not to touch her skin as he pulls her dress closed. She turns to face him again and bats her eyes at him. “Thanks, sugar.” Her voice takes on a pinched tone just shy of a baby voice.
“I would appreciate it if,” Harry clears his throat. “If we could just keep this between us.”
The woman shrugs. “Sure. But no promises to tell you to bugger off when chat me up later. You’ve not yet seen what I’m wearing to the brunch.” His phone chimes again and when he looks at the screen, the woman in front of him leans forward to press a kiss to his cheek. The woman saunters away, quite like the cat who got the cream, with her ridiculously high heels in her hand. As soon as the door closes behind her, Harry rings Niall.
“Yeah?” Niall grunts. It’s muffled and Harry is 99% sure he woke him up.
“Mate, I’ve fucked up.” Is the first thing Harry says.
“What happened?” Niall asks, more alert after hearing the distress on his best friend’s voice.
“I slept with someone,” Harry is chewing on his lip, and starts pacing again.
“That woman from the pub, innit?” Niall says knowingly.
“Fuck, I dunno what I’m gonna do,” Harry can feel the anxiety creep into his veins and coil around his bones. “I’m such an idiot.”
“Not gonna lie, brother, it wasn’t the smartest thing you’ve done.” Niall agrees.
“D’ya think I have to tell her? I mean, it meant nothin’ an’ I don’t even remember her name.” Harry runs his hand through his hair as he talks.
“Kimber,” Niall responds. “And yeah, I think you have to tell her… Your girl deserves to know.”
“Fuckin’ hell.” Harry sighs. “I’m gonna lose her,” he predicts.
“Maybe,” Niall says and Harry can picture his friend shrugging. “But she’s gotta know.” There’s a light knock on Harry’s door and he thanks Niall and ends the call. He looks through the peephole and sees you standing on the other side. Harry opens the door and if he thought he felt bad before, that was nothing compared to how he feels when he’s face to face with you.
“Good morning, sunshine” you chuckle when you note his red eyes and the dark circles under them. You hand him a coffee - an Americano, black with three sugars- and kiss the corner of his mouth.
“Bless you,” Harry says jokingly. Harry looks at you over the lid of his coffee. “You look beautiful.” Your dress is a swirl of pastel blues and purples and reminds you of a watercolor painting.
“Thank you. You don’t look bad yourself,” you respond. Harry is in his standard back trousers and boots, and his shirt is a light blue, with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He’s done up more buttons than normal, and you tease him about becoming more modest.
“I jus’ don’t want the bride to look at me and realize what a mistake she’s making by marrying Trevor,” Harry explains.
“That would be quite the revelation, considering you’re cousins,” you tease.
“Third cousins!” Harry exclaims. “Not closely related enough to be too gross.” You roll your eyes and he grins at you.
The champagne brunch was to be in celebration of Harry’s cousin Rachel and her fiancé, as part of their wedding weekend. Harry grabs your hand and kisses the back of it, leading you to the elevator.
“Hey,” you say in an teasingly accusatory tone and turn to him. “You’ve not kissed me properly today.” Your fingers play with his shirt and you think you see a flash of panic in his face before he bends to press his lips to yours. It’s short and sweet, but there’s something missing. “Is everything alright?” You ask.
“Yeah, fine, why?” He looks away from you then, staring straight ahead and clenches and releases his jaw. There’s a wall between you two for some unknown reason and it’s frustrating you. Everything seemed fine in his room… Maybe he seemed a little anxious, but you’d not thought it was anything too severe. What you don’t know, what he hadn’t said, is that he feels too guilty to properly kiss you. How can he kiss you when he can still feel someone else’s lips on his? He feels like you’ll be able to tell that something is off because you know him so well, and of course he’s right. The elevator doors slide open and you’re met with loads of people. A harpist sits in the centre of the room, plucking at the strings and weaving a piece of music that is beautiful and complicated. There are cloth covered tables behind her and a buffet set up to the side. Harry’s hand rests warm and reassuring on the small of your back as he leads you to your table. He kisses his mother hello and so do you, and she winks at the both of you. She murmurs something that sounds like “So glad they’re here”, but you can’t be sure.
It doesn’t take long for the tables to fill up, yours included. Harry sits on one side of you, and Niall on the other. He’s brought someone as well and you try to put a name to her face. Anne’s sat next to Harry, with Robin beside her. The rest of the boys and their dates are sat around the table and make small talk amongst themselves while waiting for the festivities to begin. A pretty blonde and her date sit across from you, taking the two empty seats at the table, and you smile politely at them. Harry’s posture stiffens and the hand he has on your knee is moved to the top of the table.
“Hi, all. I’m Kimber, and this is Dax.” The blonde says when she sits down. Her voice is sugar sweet and sets you on edge. After everyone at the table makes the proper introductions, she addresses Harry. “Super nice to meet you,” she gushes, ignoring everyone else at the table. Harry gives her a tight smile and leans over to his mother to whisper something you can’t hear. Kimber’s eyes stay on Harry, and you can tell she’s undressing him in her mind. You’re used to people looking at him like they’d love nothing more than to get him naked, but they’re usually more subtle than that. You clear your throat loudly and look pointedly at her. She meets your eyes, completely unapologetic. Harry pays no mind, but you reach for his hand anyway.
“Babe,” he gently chastises when your fingers touch his. He pulls his hand away and turns from you again. Kimber looks at you smugly and you narrow your eyes. The rejection stings and your heart wrenches. You can’t remember the last time you’d sat next to him without some part of him touching you.
“Can I talk to you?” You ask him quietly.
“Can it wait? We’re with everyone,” he responds.
“No,” you huff. “It can’t. If you prefer, we can have the discussion right here.” You’re not trying to be rude, really you’re not, but something is wrong and you need to figure it out.
Harry sighs. “Excuse us,” he says, standing. You follow suit and walk with him out to the cobblestone courtyard.
You sit on the lip of the stone fountain and pat the space next to you. Harry sits and looks at you expectantly.
“Well?” He asks. He knows he’s hurting you with his tone, but he can’t seem to change it. It makes no sense, and Harry knows it, but he’s just so angry with himself.
“Harry, what’s going on? What’s wrong, love?” You trace your fingers down his face and he closes his eyes for a moment, as if savouring your touch.
“You’re right, we need to talk. I was hoping we could do this later, I didn’t want to… Ruin anything.” There’s a crease in between his eyebrows and he’s biting his lower lip.
“Okay…” You say cautiously. “You can tell me anything, love. What happened?” You try to catch his eye but he’s studying the stone beneath his feet. When he finally looks up at you, his eyes are glassy, and your stomach twists.
“You know I love you, yeah? And that i’d never hurt you on purpose?” He grasps your hand then, and you gladly let his fingers play with yours.
“Of course, I love you too,” you say with a nod.
“Something…” He clears his throat. “Something… happened last night. With Kimber.”
“What do you mean? What happened?” The twist in your stomach gets worse, and a painful ping radiates through your body.
Please, please, please don’t say what I think you’re going to you plead silently.
“I slept with her,” he says it quietly, and doesn’t look at you while he speaks.
“What?” You whisper. You didn’t hear him right, you couldn’t have.
“I was drunk, and it meant less than nothing,” he promises. You take your hand from his and stand.
“You slept with her? In our hotel room?” You’re eerily calm when you speak and cross your arms over your chest.
He nods. “Please, baby, I’m so sorry. I-” you hold up your hand and he stops speaking.
“You’re telling me that when I was holding Rachel’s hair back while she threw up for half the night, you were screwing some random woman?” You say, dumbfounded. Harry nods and closes his eyes.
“You should tell your mum.” You nod and begin to pace. “She’s been sending bridal catalogues to me ‘on accident’ for the past few months. She was convinced you were going to ask me to marry you.”
“Sweetheart-” Harry tries, but you silence him with a look.
“I’ll go back to London today, get my stuff from your flat and leave my key with Frank.” You’re numb, because if you let yourself feel this, really feel this, you’re not sure you’d survive it. Harry-your sweet, romantic, funny, kind Harry- fucked someone else. “I hope she was worth it,” you say, turning on your heel and walking back to the party. The stoicism is starting to fade as you fully realise what just happened and you do everything you can to not crumple to the floor.
Anne reads your face the second she sees you, standing when you approach.
“Everything alright, love?” She asks, wrapping her arms around your shoulders. You sniffle, but nod.
“Just got a bit of a headache,” you lie. “I’m going to head back up to the room for a tick.”
Anne makes a tsk sound and pouts at you before kissing you forehead. “Get some rest, yeah? I’ll send Harry up when he comes in.” You nod and bite your lip, willing your eyes to stay dry. You wave goodbye to the boys and very studiously avoid looking at Kimber because if you did, you may lunge across the table and strangle her.
It doesn’t take you long to pack, even through your tears, and soon you’re in a taxi on your way back to London. You hadn’t thought it would hurt this much, using your key to enter Harry’s flat, but it does. Oh, it does. The entire place screams comfort and warmth and joy, all things you’d associated with him until today. It wasn’t as if you properly lived with Harry, but you might as well have. There was evidence of your presence around the entire living space and as you collected your things one by one, you cried a little harder.
How could he do this? How could he just throw away everything you had? And for what? A fuck? Some piece of ass that he doesn’t even know?
You spot the picture of the two of you on Harry’s dresser and lift it high above your head before smashing it to the ground. Christ, it felt good to break something. You don’t bother to clean it up.
Once you’ve removed all evidence of yourself from the apartment, you allow yourself one more glance around. You’ll miss this place. You’ll miss Harry. Biting your lip, you carry the duffle bag containing your belongings and lock the door behind you. In the lobby of Harry’s building, you drop the key off to Frank, who looks at you with a pitying expression and you try to smile through your tears.
“I’ll see you later, Frank,” you tell him.
“I hope so, Miss.” He replies, but you both know how unlikely it is that it’ll happen. He waves down a taxi for you and the driver loads your bags. Telling the cabbie your address, you watch as Harry’s building and the life you almost had shrink until you can no longer see either.