I walked along the cold streets, not feeling all too great on the way to work. It was chilly and snowy, like usual, but something else in the atmosphere caused me to feel sort of depressed and haggard. Maybe it was just one of those days.
Despite my crappy mood, though, I smiled when I remembered yesterday's walk home with James. He was such a gentleman, and he was really funny in his own cute way. I was beginning to like him more and more each minute I spent with him.
He was nothing like Harry. They were quite the opposite, actually. James was humble and sweet, where Harry was cocky and rude. James was clean-cut and worked hard, and Harry probably couldn't care less. And as I liked James more and more each second, my hatred for Harry grew each second as well. It was like my fondness of James was being countered with my loathe for Harry.
At the thought of the psychopath, a pang of an anonymous feeling washed over me. Whatever it was, I didn't like it. Maybe it was guilt or hatred, I don't know. Just thinking about him gives me a headache.
I shook my head, trying to get the image of his messy curls and cherry red lips out of my mind. I wouldn't waste my time thinking about it anymore.
As I drew nearer to the bland building of Wickendale, I noticed a nice car pull up to the stone steps. Man, I wish I had a car. I'm saving up and should get one soon, though, which would ease the annoyance of having to walk in the harsh weather everyday.
The front door was opened and a well-dressed women stepped out, clothed in a button-down beige coat and nice flats. Her shoulder-length hair was an auburn color as her face made her seem like she was in her mid-thirties.
I was wondering what a woman like that was doing at a place like this as she walked up the cobblestone steps. It was then that I noticed the large camera in her hand. She was a reporter.
I don't know why, but I felt a wave of annoyance at her being here. I know she was just doing her job but most reporters were too nosy and had a superior attitude, so I felt a general dislike towards them.
I stepped in the building a few feet behind her, gratefully welcomed by the heated air of the building. I was headed toward the nurses office but lingered to engage in the scene that played out before me. The reporter was stopped by an expressionless Ms. Hellman, who seemed unhappy as usual. It seemed as if she and the unnamed reporter were in an argument of some sort, but I couldn't decipher their words over the sound of mad shouting from somewhere down the hall. And then, with an angry look and a few more words from Ms. Hellman, the reporter stormed out of the building. What the hell was that all about?
I just ignored the thought, figuring that asking Ms. Hellman wouldn't be a good idea. So I decided on just heading towards the office when I noticed a tan, curvy figure walking in my direction. "Kelsey!" I exclaimed.
"Hey Rose! Where have you been?"
"Working," I replied with a shrug.
"Well they must be keeping us busy because I haven't seen you in forever."
"A few days, but yeah," I laughed. With Kelsey being occupied with her psychologist job in the counseling wing and me being on the opposite side monitoring the patients physical health, I didn't see her at work as much as I'd like. But this week the proximity between us was greater than usual, and I had barely seen her at all.
I eyed the clock towards the back of the hall, wondering if I had time to chat. I had come early so I guess I could spare a few minutes.
"So what have you been up to in the past couple days?" I asked.
"Not much," she said, though her eyes darted around for a moment as if she were worried about something. "How about you?" She wondered, changing subject.
I but my lower lip, wondering if I should say anything about Harry, though there wasn't much to tell. We had only talked a few times. But I told her anyway, explaining each conversation as best as I could remember. I decided to keep out the uncomfortable detail of Harry's hand wandering up my thigh. The memory sparked a burning desire through me, and I abruptly pushed the thought to the back of my mind.
"Wow," she said in exasperation when I was finished. "Well that's not fair!"
"Um, I wouldn't really consider myself lucky . . ."
"I would! I'd love to talk to him and get inside his mind, find out what he's thinking." She said, squinting her eyes as if trying to imagine his thoughts. She had this thing about the minds of he insane and wanting to know how they worked, what made them different from normal people and things like that.
"You haven't seen him in your office yet?" I wondered. Usually Kelsey sees all of the patients within a week after their arrival.
"Yeah, of course I've seen him. But he's smarter than the others, he thinks of me as just a shrink. He's all closed-off, but I would love to have a normal conversation with him and get him to open up. Just to be calm instead of having to basically interrogate him and take notes."
"So don't do that," I replied simply as Kelsey nodded in thought. "Alright, I'm gonna be late. I'l see you later."
"Wait, I have to tell you something." Kelsey said before I could even finish. "I um . . . I . . ." She started, looking me dead in the eye. But then she darted her eyes around again, as if worried of being watched.
"You know what, never mind. I'll see you later." And with that she turned and hastily walked away.
That was really strange. Curiosity was eating up at me, eager to find out what she was going to say. But I didn't have time to follow her and ask or I would be late. And the only thing I hated more than not knowing things was not being on time.
Today had been a mix of boring and busy, the mood varying. I was still relieved, though, as I always was, when the clock struck noon and I was able to go to lunch. It was funny how I always seemed to be reluctant to see Harry, yet lunch was my favorite part of the day. It was much more interesting than gathering medical supplies and helping fill out paperwork.
As I stepped through the double doors of the large cafeteria, my eyes once again scanned for him. Usually his captivating appearance could be easily spotted among the haggard and ghastly looking crowd. But he was nowhere to be seen, so I snatched up a deck of cards from the game table and sat down in our usual spot to wait.
I twiddled my thumbs for a bit while I was waiting but that quickly became boring, as you could imagine. So I emptied the cards out onto the table, shifting through them. I organized them into piles by number, then shuffled them back up. After five more minutes of waiting I started laying the cards out in different patterns just trying to occupy myself. I've already been here ten minutes with no sign of him. Where could he be?
Just as the question surfaced my mind, Harry walked through the doors.
And it was like something from a movie. Almost as if a spotlight had suddenly illuminated him, holding captive the attention of everyone in the room. All eyes were drawn to his figure like he was famous. Except they didn't look at him with awe or adoration. Even the most malicious of the patients seemed afraid as they vigilantly watched, like they were worried he would lash out. But he didn't.
Instead he just licked his luscious lips and strolled over to me, oblivious to the stares. "Rose," he acknowledged as he sat down, and I was a little surprised he did so. After he got angry yesterday part of me thought he wouldn't come back.
And then there was silence. Not calm even, but awkward silence since Harry didn't break his stare away from me. I tried to ease the tension by starting to shuffle the deck of cards so that I wouldn't have to focus on what to say, trying to seem occupied. I jumped when Harry put his hand on mine to stop me; a surprisingly gentle touch.
"Stop, I don't want to play cards," he said. I was about to ask him what we could do instead, hoping he wouldn't say he just wanted to talk. Because even though there had only been a few of them, I didn't like where our conversations have ended up. But thankfully he stood up off of his chair and walked over to the game table. To my surprise he pulled out a board game, and I knew it was Clue by the deep green of the box. Almost the same color as Harry's eyes, just without the breathtaking gleam of vitality.
He came and sat back down with the box in hand, cards and game pieces making a noisy slushing sound as he set it on the table.
"Clue?" I asked to confirm his choice.
"Ironically, yes." He said as he started laying out the game pieces. The mood seemed to be much lighter today, which I welcomed gladly.
"Well that was a bad choice, because I"ll win no matter what," I told him.
"You sure?" He asked with a challenging grin.
"Yes, definitely. I've never lost a game. I played against my whole entire family five times and I still won every single time." I said, smiling at the memory.
"Well aren't you something special, I just wish I had your talents," he said with sarcasm lacing his voice. "And let me guess, this family of yours are just the happiest little bunch, the perfect filthy rich family, and all of you probably graduated from Harvard or medical school at the top of your class, am I right?"
His assumptions about my family provoked me a little, since what he said could not be more far from the truth.
"No, actually, you're wrong. My dad was a drunk and walked out on us when a was little, then my shot herself because she apparently couldn't deal with the pain of him leaving. So I lived with my broke grandparents for a while and we barely had enough food to live. I worked my arse off trying to get good grades which I did, then got my own place and a job here with money that I also worked my arse off for. So why don't you stop with your goddamn assumptions and mind your own business."
The look on his face was priceless. "I'm sorry Rose, I had no idea." He said. His eyes held regret and pity, but then I remembered that psychopaths are excellent at mimicking human emotion, so I didn't know whether to count the apology as sincere or not.
I huffed out an, "It's fine," anyway. "But since I just told you that, you have to tell me something about you."
"Alright," he shrugged. "What do you want to know?"
There was so much I wanted to find out about him, the words left my lips all at once. "Did you kill those women? And if you did, what was your motive? What happened to them, and be honest. Where did you grow up? Do yo still talk to your parents? How does your family feel about this whole thing? And where did you-"
"Woah," he chuckled, putting his hands up in defense. "Slow down love. I'll just answer one question for now."
Damn it. He probably would have answered more if I didn't interrogate him all at once. I thought for a moment, not wanting to mess this up. I was about to choose the question on whether or not he was guilty, but part of me didn't want to know just yet. And I doubt he would tell me the truth.
"Okay, if I ask you do you promise to be honest?" I wondered.
He nodded and folded his hands together, looking into my eyes with a serious expression. I finally chose a question that would hopefully be easy for him to answer honestly, but would still be enough to give me more insight on the man that is Harry Styles.
"What's your biggest fear?" I finally asked. Harry didn't answer right away, instead his eyebrows scrunched together again as he pulled a cigarette and a lighter out of his shirt pocket. I hate to say it, but when he cupped is hands around the lighter and squinted his eyes as he inhaled, I was completely enthralled. He was drop dead sexy.
"Good question," he mumbled, cigarette sticking out of the corner of his mouth. I waited patiently while he readjusted himself and put the lighter back into his pocket, before meeting my eyes once more.
"You really want to know what I'm most afraid of?" He asked, exhaling a breath of coiling smoke.
I nodded, just hoping he would get on with it and stop talking so seductively slow. He looked around, as if someone were watching, and leaned in closer.
"My biggest fear is that I'll never make it out of this place. That I'll be stuck here for the rest of my life. I won't be able to have kids or my own house or my own job, or even my own clothes. I'll have to sit with these idiotic psychopaths, not being able to have a normal conversation with anyone but you. I have to be cramped up in a filthy cell, hearing screams and mumbling the whole night. I haven't gotten any sleep and I feel awful. This place itself is enough to make any person go mad. And what if I died here, Rose? What if this building is all I see for the next 50 years? Nothing will be left of me, because I have nothing left to give. Instead of a funeral there will be people walking past the building and saying, "I heard that maniac who skinned three women finally died in that institution last night," and they will be happy I'm gone, and that will be the last memory anyone has of me, the psycho who finally died. And the worst part about it is that the fear never goes away, because it's right under my feet."
I was taken back by his rant, I didn't expect him to divulge so much. And suddenly I felt pity. I knew I shouldn't, he deserves even worse than this, but I just couldn't imagine what it would be like to be him. Being cramped up in Wickendale for the rest of your life doesn't sound pleasant. And what if he is actually innocent? What if he had to go through all of this for nothing? I pushed the thought back, of course he's guilty. He has to be.
"That sounds rough, but I can't say I feel sorry for you," I told him. He just sighed and looked down as he pulled the cigarette out to exhale.
"You know, if you tried to make friends with the other patients it might not be so bad," I suggested. Harry just scoffed and shook his head.
"Yeah, no thanks."
"Why not?" I wondered.
"Are you kidding? Most of these people can barely form a coherent sentence."
"That's not true, a lot of the patients aren't as crazy as they seem. Have you even tried to talk to them?" I asked.
"No, and I have no intention to."
"Well that's stupid."
"Oh, come on Rose. Don't act like you would even go near these people of you were in my place. You'd avoid them at all costs and you know it."
Well that shut me up. He was right, I probably wouldn't want to become friends with anyone here if I were him.
I glanced at Harry to find that his eyes weren't to me, so I couldn't see what emotion they held. But suddenly he looked up, green eyes still unreadable behind his long lashes. His expression was serious when he opened his mouth as if he were about to speak.
"Can I be Mr. Green?" He asked.
I suddenly burst out laughing, looking down at the forgotten board game. I was excepting him to say something slightly more intense. "Sure."
"You've got a nice laugh," he said abruptly.
"I said you've got a nice laugh," he grinned while that damn blush crept up on my cheeks again. I hate it when that happens.
"Thanks," I muttered. I didn't want to dwell on his comment and deepen the redness on my face further, so I looked at the little action figures on the table and decided who to pick in attempts to occupy myself.
Just before I was about to grab Ms. Scarlett and start the game, however, a huge rumble of thunder shook the room. Harry and I simultaneously looked up, even though the sky was blocked from view by a grey ceiling.
A patient named Damian who's crimes were unknown to me stalked over to the small window in the dusty corner of the room. He stared out with wild eyes, seeming excited about whatever was to come.
"Woohoo!" He whistled in a hoarse voice, turning around and looking me in the eyes. The room became quiet, and everyone looked over to find the cause of the excitement. "There's a storm comin."