ACT II: CHAPTER TWELVE

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A/N: This is the first time I've included Beauchamp in the collage. Make of that what you will...


HARRY / PAST

Nothing was the same after Paris. Even when I wasn't thinking about what had happened, it was there, in my bones. I was a different person, a different animal. It had altered my DNA.

I never kissed Louis again. He wanted to but I always had some excuse why we shouldn't. At first I pretended I was sick, then when I was clearly depressed I told him I was homesick, then I just avoided him altogether. I left the dorm before he woke up in the morning and snuck back in after he'd already fallen asleep at night.

He was hanging out with the Zayn and Liam more and more. I didn't feel comfortable around guys, even guys my own age, so I spent a lot of time with Gigi and Eleanor. They knew intuitively that something had happened to me but they didn't push me to tell them. They listened when I told them how I was feeling, but most of the time they let me sit in their room and not speak at all. Gigi was very driven and would partner with me after class if I needed her to, and Eleanor had a car and drove me to my doctor's appointment at the free clinic, no questions asked.

The tests came back negative, thank God, but I hated myself for even having to take them. I had unprotected sex with a grown man. I was so dirty and disgusting. Who would ever want to be with a guy like me? Certainly not someone good like Louis.

Rehearsal for the winter showcase was the hardest part of my day. I had to be around Louis, who I cared about more than anything, and Beauchamp, who I hated more than anything.

Even though I'd completely shut him out for weeks, Louis was always there for me no matter what. He absolutely refused to give up on me. He saved me a spot at the barre every single day, brought me water and a towel.

My injury flared up again and he ran all the way across campus to the nurse's office to get an ice pack and medical wrap and ran all the way back.

"I can do it," I said as he fussed over me.

"I want to."

He wrapped my knee, tenderly holding my calf still. I had a really bad case of jumper's knee. I had to miss a week of class and rehearsal to recover. I still wasn't a hundred percent.

"What are you doing to yourself?" he scolded. "You can't put in the hours you do and expect your body to heal. You need to take it easy."

He placed the ice pack on top of my knee and I groaned with relief as pain gave way to numbness.

"I can handle it."

"I don't know what you're trying to prove. Overworking your body isn't going to make you a stronger dancer. It's only going to hurt you in the long run. And anyway, there are more important things than dancing," he said quietly.

"Like what?" I stood up and flexed my leg, wincing a little.

Louis' cheeks flushed. "Think about it."

Beauchamp swept into the studio with authority and effortless poise, his suit jacket slung over his shoulder like an old Hollywood movie star. Louis brightened. This was the hardest part of all. Louis still looked up to Beauchamp. He idolized him. It made me sick.

I didn't know how I would get through rehearsal with a weak knee but I was determined to try. I knew Beauchamp would be waiting for me to fuck up so he could come over and "correct" me, but I danced on my knee like it was fine. I would rather feel my kneecap shatter into a million pieces than feel his hands on me again.

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