16: Distance and Despair

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C H A P T E R S I X T E E N

Distance and Despair

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                  LOUIS STARTLED AWAKE around three o'clock in the morning, a nervous tremor seemingly vibrating his body until he sat up and rubbed his hands over his face.  He tried to remember what woke him, what he'd been dreaming about.  He couldn't' remember.

                  Through the dark, he spotted his phone on his nightstand and reached for it.  The only notification on it was of a message from Lottie wishing him a good night and that she'd be home sometime around noon tomorrow – or later today, Louis supposed.  He didn't text her back yet because he didn't want her to know he'd been awake at this hour and instead went to look at his messages with Harry.  Something was bothering him.

                  "Cheekbones like anchors," Louis whispered to himself, thinking.  "And if I don't cut your ropes...  You're going to ruin me." 

                  That was it.  That was what had awakened him.  He hadn't realized that that new line to the poem, the ending Louis' been waiting to read since he met Harry, has been eating at him since he finally got to lay eyes on it.  The poem was about Louis, wasn't it?  Hasn't that already been established?  Then what was this ending supposed to mean?  That if Harry didn't cut ties, get out of here, then Louis would end up ruining him?

                  Louis swallowed.  He knew he was capable of a lot of things, but was he capable of ruining someone like Harry?  Was he already doing that?  And did that mean that Harry was leaving now and he wasn't going to come back?

                  This was too much to think about so early in the morning.  Louis dropped his phone and pressed his fists to his eyes.  His head was throbbing; he was overheating...  This was too much.  He needed to sleep through it.  Later.  Later he could think about it again. 

                  But what if later was too late?  What if Harry was gone by the time he woke up and that was it – Louis would never see him again.  He didn't know where Harry lived.  North.  That's all he knew.  North where?  The possibilities are endless and Louis would never find him.  He wouldn't ruin him.  He had to make sure Harry knew that so he'd come back.  If he could be sure of that, that Harry would return to London, then Louis could sleep.

                  He picked up his phone and sent a text message.  "Harry?"

                  In less time Louis thought he'd have to wait, he got a response.  "Louis, what are you doing awake already?  You've got to work today, go back to sleep."

                  Louis' brow furrowed.  "Have you left yet?"

                  "I board in about an hour.  What's going on?"

                 He hoped Harry wouldn't think he was overreacting, but he just...he had to be sure.  "You're coming back?  Thursday?  For sure?"

                  "Of course I'm coming back, hopefully by Thursday, yes.  I'm shooting for Thursday.  Why are you worried?  Should I call, or...?"

                  "No, please don't call.  I just wanted to make sure, you know.  Just in case."

                  "Just in case what, Lou?"

                  Louis closed his eyes, sighing to himself.  He felt stupid.  He should have never texted him.  Now Harry's all worried about it, and Louis doesn't know if he wants to talk about any of this yet.  "It doesn't matter.  Be safe (: "

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