Fists & Knives - Chapter 33
This time, Harry wasn’t calling my name.
I gulped and blinked slowly up at him. For the first time in weeks, there was a shade of gray in his eyes and a certain emotion that I could not for the life of me read. As his brow furrowed, so did mine.
"That’s really great, Kennedy,” Liam said sincerely from the living room behind us. Not being able to look at Harry anymore, I turned and smiled faintly Liam’s way. Louis was scowling over my shoulder at his best friend. Niall exhaled a little too obviously and hugged Jenna to his body while Zayn walked to me and pulled me into his own embrace. Liam joined us and smiled so wide that I thought I was going to burst. Zayn smiled at me. Jenna smiled at me from under Niall’s arm. I’m sure Louis would have smiled at me was he not glaring at Harry.
“You gonna say something, mate?” Louis asked abruptly.
It was the most difficult thing for me to do - turn and look at Harry again. We all did. In my mind, I couldn’t help but think that if I had been the one to tell him and there weren’t five other people around, he would have taken the news much better.
“That’s what the test said,” I replied, trying to hold back the sudden anger that was rising up in me. Why was he reacting like this? Not minutes ago, he was talking about how exciting a baby was for Jenna and Niall.
“But how?” He asked, more wrinkles forming in the skin of his forehead.
I felt my face harden more too. "We had sex, what do you mean ‘how’?“
"I…” Harry began to shake his head.
“Harry…” Louis started. Liam and Zayn’s grips around my shoulders both tightened. A tear streamed down my face.
When Harry saw the tear, his frown became even more apparent. He was looking at me the same way he looked at Marcus before his tournament match. It tore me appart that suddenly, I was an enemy, and I had absolutely no idea why.
“How could you let this happen?” Harry breathed, looking down at his feet. Whether he was talking to me or himself, I couldn’t tell.
Louis’ eyes looked as if they might pop out of his head. I covered my face with my hands and sobbed into them, not hesitating to lean into Liam and Zayn as they comforted me. We all jumped when Louis started yelling. “What the hell is wrong with you?"
"I-” Harry ran his hand through his hair, still refusing to look at me. “I- I-”
“I didn’t know this was going to fucking happen! I wasn’t prepared!” Harry bellowed. Liam seemed to push me behind him protectively and I could even see Niall shielding Jenna across the room.
Louis grabbed Harry by the shoulders and slammed him into the wall by the kitchen. "Do you think Kennedy was prepared? Does she look like she was fucking planning on this?“ Louis growled at Harry. He grabbed Harry’s face and forced Harry to look my way. An angry tear escaped from the corner of Harry’s eye as he took in my brokenhearted stance and puffy eyes. He threw Louis off of him and started to leave the room. Louis grabbed his arm.
"Aren’t you going to say anything to Kennedy? The woman who is carrying your fucking child?”
Harry halted his steps but didn’t turn around immediately. I took my lip between my teeth and bit it so hard that I could nearly taste blood as I watched his back heave up and down and up and down. On his shoulders, I could see small red scratch marks forming from where I had just dug my fingers into his skin as he was making rough love to me on the counter. How was that only ten minutes ago? After what felt like an eternity, Harry spun and marched toward me. Zayn and Liam instantly stepped out of his way and stood behind me a few feet.
Harry reached out to me - for my shoulder first, and then my hand, and then he allowed his hand to hover over my not-yet-existent baby bump before dropping his hand to his side. His eyes scanned my body before hesitantly meeting my own eyes, in which he quickly glanced away again. "I lov… I- Kennedy… I’m sor…“ The corner of his mouth twitched as he struggled to form words. A part of me wanted to reach up and touch his face, pull him to me, kiss his lips, massage out the wrinkles in his forehead, push his hair back with my fingers, hold his head to my chest, whisper that everything was going to be all right… but from the strange way Harry was acting now, I wasn’t sure it was going to be.
Harry gave up trying to tell me anything and turned on his heel to leave again.
”Harry,“ Louis spat through his teeth as I began to cry again. He grabbed Harry’s wrist as Harry passed, but no sooner had Louis’ fingers brushed Harry’s skin did he spin and nail Louis in the face with his fist.
"HARRY!” I screamed as Louis collapsed to the floor and covered his nose, already beginning to bleed. Harry didn’t stop. He didn’t even glance over his shoulder at me. He walked down the hallway into the gym and slammed the door. Even through the door, I could hear his fists slapping against the punching bag.
No one around me was breathing. They were each waiting for a reaction that I wasn’t going to have. My mind was dead. I was physically incapable of thinking or feeling anything at that moment. I couldn’t stop the tears from leaking out of my eyes though. It was the strangest thing. "I’m going out,“ I said quietly after a moment of listening to Harry’s angry punches.
"I can drive you-"
"No,” I interrupted Liam, putting a hand on his chest and looking into his face. He looked hurt for me. So did Zayn. Louis was actually physically hurt for me - a bloody nose. Jenna’s eyes were watery as I passed her, tucked up in Niall’s arms. All of these people… all of the emotion… I just wasn’t used to it. I wanted to let them in and allow them to help me through this, but I was so used to being independent that I just couldn’t yet. It was overwhelming me completely.
I called for a taxi and sat on the front step until it came. I instructed the driver to take the long way through the city to the Starbucks that I used to sit in every morning when I was looking for a job. With all of the quick-paced drama and danger that I had found myself in the middle of in the last few weeks, I needed a little bit of familiarity and time to myself. Time to think. Maybe a little celebration coffee? I was going to be a mother. I giggled to myself thinking about a mini-me running around with an apron on or oversized boxing gloves. The baby had Harry’s eyes and my hair. Harry’s chin and my nose. Harry’s charm and my drive. Hopefully, neither Harry’s or my anger.
That was one thing that frightened me. Anger. There was no way in hell that I could allow myself to raise a child who hated parts of the world as much as I did. How could I convince a child not to be angry when the smallest things set me off? When the smallest things set his or her father off? I couldn’t begin to imagine how this child would see me or Harry if we got into a fight in front of him or her. Throwing knives and punching walls… that is, if Harry is still with me.
Speaking of anger, my sadness with Harry’s reaction had turned to anger. Why did he react like that? I didn’t understand it at all. I expected him to be surprised, of course. Who wouldn’t be surprised by a baby? But angry? Punching things and crying? What the hell?
I walked down the streets with my coffee a few blocks to get some fresh air. The sun was beginning to set in the city and the lights were coming on. Anyone who was touring the city wouldn’t have wanted to be on the streets I was on, but I grew up around these areas. There was really not too terribly much to be scared of or worried about. It was almost relaxing, being in the part of the city I was living in not even two full months ago. I walked until I was lost and called a cab. As I thought of Harry still, I felt the urge to go to the arena.
When the cab dropped me off, the arena was lit up like someone was there but there were no cars in the parking lot. I took my time getting up the multiple stairs to the front doors, which were open. The arena seemed much colder now that there wasn’t a rowdy crowd of spectators swarming around the stands. I stood at the top of the stands and stared down at the empty ring, imagining Harry and the multiple matches I had seen him fight within the ropes. Eventually, I made my way down the steps and hoisted myself onto the floor of the ring. Was I allowed to be here? I didn’t know. But no one had stopped me yet.
I spun and looked up at the top of the stands where a man was waving his hand.
“Do you work here?"
I shook my head.
I hesitated. My first impression was that the man was going to tell me to leave, but he seemed more like me, but lost. "Can I try and help you with something?” I asked, trying to make out the man’s face as he stood on the darker part of the stairs. He began down the steps toward the ring, his hands in the pockets of his jeans as he approached. He was wearing a gray v-neck sweater, and for a moment, I thought it was Harry. I had to do a double-take just to be sure it wasn’t him. The curly hair on this man was graying, his eyes were just as green and fierce as Harry’s, and his sharp jawline could carve ice. He was tall and lean, but not as built as Harry.
“I’m looking for a boxer named Harry Styles?”
My stomach plummeted as I realized who was standing on the floor in front of me. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him.
“Do you happen to know him?”
The more the stranger spoke, the more I could hear his accent. English. Like Harry.
I nodded slowly. “I’m his girlfriend,” I breathed. Typically, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sharing this information with people I didn’t know, but this was Harry’s father. Harry’s fucking father was standing in front of me. The resemblance was so strong that I didn’t have to ask. Maybe I was seeing things. Maybe I was imagining it. I could not take my eyes off of him.
The gentle-looking man raised his eyebrows slowly and looked me up and down before smiling ever so softly. "Girlfriend?“
He sighed. "You’re beautiful, my dear. Now that I think about it, I remember seeing you in magazines with him. He looks so happy in those pictures. I mean, as happy as I’ve ever seen him.”
I probably looked funny standing in the middle of the ring, not saying anything, but I was at a complete and utter loss for words.
“Is Harry here?”
I shook my head.
“Have you been dating him a while?”
I nodded. Not really a while, but I wasn’t really into sharing too many of the specific details of our relationship just yet.
Harry’s father spoke again. “Does he…. well.” He glanced down at his feet and ran his hands through his hair nervously. Exactly like Harry. Internally, I was screaming.
“Beat me?” The words fell out of my mouth before I could stop them.
The man lifted his eyes to meet mine. I shook my head. He let out a sigh of relief. "I beat his mother once. I beat her right in front of him and I watched him just sit there and cry. When I finally got sobered up a few years back, I reflected on those times and just prayed to God that Harry wouldn’t end up like me.“
I gulped at the thought. I was beginning to to convince myself that maybe this wasn’t Harry’s father. This couldn’t be him. That drunken man that tortured Harry in his sleep? The purely evil man that I had been saving Harry from in the dark of the night? The man standing before me was soft-spoken and almost seemed remorseful. "What are you doing here?” I asked.
He swallowed hard and shifted on his feet. "I’ve been here a few months. I heard about Harry’s fights and tracked him down. I wanted to see what my boy made of himself.“
"You made him this way, not him.”
“I know.” Harry’s father nodded slowly and looked at his feet again. "I’ve been waiting for the right time to come and see him. I couldn’t bring myself to come to any of the fights. Not even the finals.“
"Why would you want to see him?"
Harry’s father chuckled. "I want to apologize."
I lowered my gaze. "Why now?”
He sighed. "I’ve finally gotten my life together. I’ve been sober five years, got right with God, found myself a good family, a solid job.“
Your first family wasn’t good?I began to ask, but remained silent instead. While I did feel a certain hatred for this man, I didn’t want to seem like a little shit the first time we ever spoke.
"I feel like I need to be honest with you,” I said slowly, leaning down on one of the ropes and peering into Harry’s father’s eyes. I hated to do what I was about to do, but I literally didn’t know what else to say. There was no way in hell that I was taking Harry’s father to him. "When I first met Harry, your memory was haunting him. I mean, traumatic kind of stuff,“ I said softly, trying hard not to look away from the man. "He’s made so much progress over the last few weeks to forget about you and taking you to him would just-”
The man raised his hand and squeezed his eyes shut. "I know. I know… I just figured it was worth a shot…“
I pursed my lips and looked around the arena, allowing him to process what he needed to. I felt horrible for saying what I did, but it needed to be done. The last thing I would want for Harry would be to finally move past all of this mess and then have his father show up and blow all of his progress to pieces. For as much as I would love to witness some kind of prodigal son movie ending with forgiveness and luke-I-am-your-father business, that wasn’t going to happen. It couldn’t.
"Has he met your parents?” Harry’s father asked, pulling me from my thoughts.
I shook my head. "I don’t know my parents.“
Harry’s father chuckled lightly. "You two are going to be the best parents then. You know what it’s like to be abused and left all by yourself and you’re not going to want that for your child. You know all the ways NOT to raise your child.”
I frowned and held my hand over my stomach. "How did you know…?“
Harry’s father widened his eyes and looked at my stomach. "I just meant for the future… I didn’t know that you were…” He sighed. "You are? From Harry?“
I smiled softly and nodded.
"Does Harry know?"
My smiled faded and I nodded again. "He doesn’t seem very happy about it. He’s… furious… actually.”
“Not with you, though.”
I frowned. "I think so.“
"He’s not mad at you. He’s mad at himself. He’s probably terrified that he’s going to turn out like me. He’s terrified that he’s going to ruin his kid’s life like I ruined his."
Was Harry’s father right? He hadn’t seen Harry in years, so how could he know what his son was thinking? The more I considered what he said, the more it made sense. There was no other explaination, really.
"I’ve got to go,” I said, ducking under the ropes and sitting on the edge of the ring. Harry’s father reached out a hand to help me down, so I graciously took it. Standing in front of him, I could tell he wasn’t as tall as Harry but the resemblance was even stronger this close. It was honestly amazing.
“I’m sorry,” I found myself saying as I stared at the floor.
“Don’t apologize, my dear girl. I was pushing my luck by coming here. I’m just glad to know he’s okay… he’s got a family,” he chuckled. "My son has a family.“
God dammit. I had to leave. If I stayed another minute, I might have started to reconsider and taking Harry’s father to him. From what I had seen, he truly did get his shit together. Unfortunately, it was a little too late.
The man stood with me on the steps of the arena until my cab came. As I approached the yellow car, he gripped my shoulder. "Hey-”
“Kennedy,” I said, feeling bad that I didn’t tell him my name sooner.
“Kennedy. Hold on to this for me. If you ever feel like there is a right time or place for it, give it to Harry?” He stuck a piece of paper between my fingers and smiled gently at me, his eyes pleading with me.
My fingers unfolded the paper and I glanced down at it. "Mitch Styles" it said. Beneath his name was a phone number. I glanced back up at Harry’s father - Mitch - and nodded.
“My mailing address is on the back. Maybe if Harry felt like he could write me a letter… or if you wanted to send me pictures of the baby…"
Mitch sounded so hopeful that it was breaking my heart. "I don’t know,” I said, looking at the back of the paper.
Mitch covered the paper with his hand, being sure that I had a good grip on it. "Just keep it. Please.“
I sighed and nodded once more. It was the least I could do. Mitch held the door open for me and watched me closely as I clutched the paper in my hands and sat in my seat. He leaned into the front passenger window and passed the driver a bill. "Take her home safely, please."
The driver tipped an imaginary hat to Mitch who patted the car door and backed away from the cab. Before I had time to thank him or say goodbye, we pulled out of the arena parking lot and started the drive back to Harry.
okay I know this chapter might not be the most exciting but i hope it was still good! do you think mitch was right about harry? or was he mad for other reasonnnns perhapsssss?