A.N. hiiii I just wanted to clear a few things up and say that first of all this story takes place in the 50s for all of you asking because' that was a time where mental institutions were very harsh and they had awful punishments and stuff (and I know they don't talk/act like theyre from the 50s but it would sound weird if I did that and im obviously not from the 50s so yeah). By the way I usually post late Sunday night for those of you wondering :) I also wanted to say thank you all sooo much for your reads/comments/votes and I love every single one of you (even if I don't reply to some comments it doesn't mean I don't read them and they make my day so feel free to comment and vote)! :D oh and please follow me on twitter @larryfeelssigh :)
I entered the cafeteria of Wickendale with thoughts even more confusing than usual, my mind swirling in a mass of James and Harry. Spending time with James had been perfect and so had our kiss, so why had I envisioned meeting Harry's lips instead? Why couldn't I just spend time with James without constantly thinking about him? All of these questions were swirling around in my mind and I couldn't grasp a single thought from the whirlwind. An internal battle of sorts seemed to be taking place, as one side of me wanted to be good and the other yearned to stand alongside the evil.
And the fact that I was even considering the second option scared me; a lot. But Harry held an essence that blurred any logical and moral view I once possessed and took over my every thought. He was like an infection, spreading throughout my mind and refusing to leave.
Speak of the devil, there he was as I walked in to the large cafeteria. He already had a seat at our table, his dark hair in a disheveled tangle of curls pushed back to reveal breathtaking features, his cherry-red lips wrapped around a diminishing cigarette.
"You're here early," I greeted, taking a seat next to him.
"Yeah, we got let out of our group therapy shit sooner than usual because Janise had a meltdown and tried to choke a guard. It was really funny, actually," he smirked, puffing a smoke ring into the air.
"Is everyone okay?" I asked.
"Yes, unfortunately. It's too bad though, I would've liked to see some action around here for a change."
I rolled my eyes but couldn't help but grin at his cynical humor. Subconsciously I looked around to see if any of the usual guards were missing due to the incident Harry described, but the guards scattered around the lunch room seemed to be alright. Including James, who met my eyes as my gaze shifted over to him. He flashed me an adorable smile and I returned it, waving at him, before my eyes shifted back over to Harry. I found him him looking between the two of us, an almost humorous expression of disgust playing out over his features.
"You know, Rose, I know I can't control who you spend your time with, but can you please not make googly eyes at the person I despise right in front of me?"
"Despise? That seems a little strong of a word, doesn't it?"
Harry just shrugged, still irritated.
"You already know James is innocent. If he didn't murder anyone, why do you hate him so much?"
"Just do," he said simply, leaning back in his chair to remove his cigarette and exhale a breath of curling smoke. "So you guys went to the fair yesterday, right?"
"Yeah," I said apprehensively, afraid of the conversation lying ahead. I suddenly felt a pang of guilt in the memory of kissing James, but I immediately shoved away the thought. I should be able to kiss whoever I wanted, it's not like I had some obligation to Harry.
"How was it?" he wondered, trying to sound casual.
"Fine," I said simply.
"Rose, you can tell me. I'm just trying to make conversation," he said, shrugging again. He was trying to act indifferent to the whole situation, but I could tell that he wanted to know.
I sighed, realizing him there was no harm in telling him the details of our "date." Should I tell him about the kiss, too? I dreaded his reaction but for some reason I just felt like he should know. And part of me wanted him to know.
This may sound stupid, but my relationship with James was the only thing I had on Harry. He could so easily provoke a vulnerable or flustered reaction from me, even just by a glide of his fingertips or a whisper of his raspy voice against my ear. But I had nothing to fight back with. Except this. This thing with James, whatever it was, had been my only secret weapon to get Harry worked up. And the thought of his jaw becoming prominent as he clenched it tight, his tense muscles flexed under his smooth skin, was more than appealing. Dumb and kind of selfish, I know, but I couldn't help it.
"Well, we carved pumpkins," I started.
"Fun," Harry snorted, though his tone was playful.
"Shut up," I grinned. "We went on the ferris wheel, too. And we, uh . . . we kissed," I said, the words harder to get out than they should've been. I looked up at Harry to see that my wish had been more than granted as his whole body tensed, eyes growing a slightly darker shade of emerald than before.
"Oh," was all he said. I knew that deep down Harry still had a slight intuition that James was the murderer, even though that possibility was highly unlikely. This suspicion was probably the reason he didn't want me with James, but there was something else there, too that I couldn't decipher. If I didn't know any better I would say he was . . . jealous.
"Did anything else happen?" he asked.
I shook my head. "No, we went on a few more rides and then he drove me home."
Harry just nodded, those tiny lines still etched between his eyebrows. He didn't take up the opportunity of our silence to continue the conversation, and I didn't know what else to say. So we stayed quiet. The only noise to be heard was that of the other patients, the most clear of them being a woman sitting a few tables away from us quietly repeating, "I gotta get out, I gotta get out, I gotta get out."
I didn't think much of her incessant ranting with it being common with patients here. So instead I tried to bring up a new subject.
"Anyway, did you find out anything else on the whole Cynthia-might-have-been-a-science-test thing?" I asked.
Harry shook his head. "No, not really. I haven't looked much into yet, though. What about you?"
"Me neither," I said. "I don't even know where to start."
The woman began talking loudly and much quicker now. "I gotta get out of here!"
This time Harry took notice, too, looking over at the woman suspiciously. "Is she okay?" he wondered. And then, as if on cue, she stood up.
"I have to get out of here!" she screeched, everyone's attention turning to her. "I have to leave! Get me out!" Her voice was hoarse and laced with fear as she clenched her hands into fists. Harry sat forward in anticipation, either about to help or about to watch the excitement, I couldn't tell which.
The haggard-looking girl grabbed the chair she had been sitting in and threw it to the side, making everyone around her jump. "GET, ME, OUT!" she yelled, banging a fist on the table with each word. "I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE!"
In the other hand I realized she held something between her curled fingers, but I couldn't tell what. "GET ME OUT!" She screamed again, knocking her tray of food off the table.
"She needs to be sedated, she's gonna hurt someone," I said to nobody in particular, reluctantly standing from my chair and rushing over to her. Her dark hair hung in tangles and the way her big grey eyes looked at me made me nervous. I wouldn't be able to hold her down myself, especially with the way she was shaking and screaming.
"Somebody help me!" I demanded over her shouting, calling out to any of the guards who would listen. But surprisingly Harry was the first one to my side, grabbing the woman's thrashing arms and pulling them behind her back before she could react. She flailed and jerked in his grasp, but he was too strong.
I immediately reached into my pocket to remove the needle full of sedatives that I carried with me at all times but rarely used. Even in Harry's tight hold she was still moving too much for me to inject the drugs safely, though; I needed her still. So I was thankful when James and a guard who's name I couldn't remember finally rushed up, trying to help the situation.
"Let go, we've got it," the unfamiliar guard told Harry, pestering him as if he were a child doing something he shouldn't. It must've been odd for them, seeing a patient help to sedate another patient. But I think everyone had gotten it through their minds by now that Harry wasn't like the rest.
His bright eyes met mine, and for a brief moment I forgot where we were and the dangers of our situation, completely engulfed in their emerald color. He seemed to be asking permission with just his eyes, as if wondering if it was okay for him to let go. I nodded, knowing the guards could handle it.
"Harry, we've got it," the guard said again. Harry did as he was told and released her arms from his grasp so that they could take over. But before James and the other guard grabbed hold of her flailing body, she reached out with the arm holding the unknown object. She whipped and turned while the guards tried to grab her arms and regain Harry's previous control on her. But first, she raised her hand, screaming "GET ME OUT!" And it was then that I finally saw what it was she was holding; a large, rusty nail. In once swift motion she plunged it into Harry's chest when she turned, dragging it across the skin as it's tan color was split with the dark red of his blood. I gasped as Harry's face twisted in pain, while the guards were finally able to grab her hands. James ripped the nail from her grasp as it was now streaked with red, and through the makeshift weapon onto the ground. No matter how badly I wanted to tend to Harry, I knew I had to take care of the person who had inflicted his injury first.
They both had her hands behind her back like Harry had moments earlier, the two of them able to keep her from thrashing. With her being finally still enough, I was able to push the needle into her neck as the drug slipped into her bloodstream, immediately calming her down. Her breathing slowly steadied and she slumped back into James' arms. "Alright, take her to Lori," I instructed as calmly as possible.
The both of them nodded, but James lingered for a moment to meet my gaze. "You alright?" he asked.
"Yeah," I said, just a little shaken up. He nodded and they proceeded to drag her away towards the nurse's office. It was then that I could finally turn my attention to Harry. He had his hand on his bleeding chest, but didn't seem to be hurt too seriously.
"Are you okay?" I asked, walking over to inspect the wound.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he replied, his hoarse voice holding no fear or pain whatsoever. He was so strong, not only physically but mentally. He had been the first to my side during the brief but intense incident that had just occurred, staying calm and knowing exactly what to do. He was actually kind of amazing.
"Come on," I sighed. "Let's go get this cleaned up." I rested my hand on his lower back in comfort as I guided him towards the nurse's office, following not too far behind James and the two unnamed others. Hopefully there would be no more incidents in the cafeteria, and if there was I prayed that the few remaining guards would be able to handle it.
We arrived at the mini hospital within a minute, Lori's expression being one of surprise as the five of us entered.
"What happened?" She asked in a worried voice as she got up from her desk.
"There was a little . . . incident," I answered. Lori proceeded to ask me for every detail of the patient's previous breakdown, gathering all the details that she could.
The two guards then helped Lori lift the patient onto a hospital bed stationed near the back of the room before they were excused, heading back to the cafeteria.
"Alright, the drugs should keep her out until I get back. I need to address Ms. Hellman and the psychiatrist about this, can you take care of Harry?"
My eyes darted over to his tall figure standing beside me, his chest still unattended to. "Yeah, I'll take care of him," I nodded. Lori thanked me and then left the room, leaving Harry and I alone. Well, except for an unconscious Molly lying a few beds away.
"You can just take a seat right there," I said, motioning towards the bed next to me covered in white sheets. He sat down on the edge of the thin mattress as I pulled Lori's chair from her desk and placed it in front of him.
"You have to um, pull down your . . . yeah," I said, motioning towards his blue jumper. His plump lips tugged up in a smirk as his long fingers started to unbutton the front of his uniform. Oh shit.
I turned towards the drawers of supplies, gathering the materials to clean his wound so that I didn't have to watch the fabric slowly slip off of his upper body; I wouldn't be able to bear it. So I grabbed the stitches, disinfectant, wipes, and anything else I could possible need to avoid seeing his angelic body.
But I knew that I would eventually have to witness yet more of his beauty, no matter how much it would torture me. When I finally faced him again I had to hold in a gasp at the lack of fabric his body usually adorned, the jumper pooling below his waist and leaving everything above his stomach bare and exposed. The slash in his skin did little to distract me from his mouthwatering body. He had a set of prominent collarbones that protruded under tan skin, and under that a strong, broad chest. His abs were perfectly toned, the curve of each muscle shaping into his long torso beautifully. And maybe my favorite feature was his deep v-line that curved in from his hips and disappeared into his clothing. If that wasn't enough to make me go weak on the spot, his shoulders and arms also seemed to be crafted by angels, the taut muscles rippling under his skin. He was almost god-like.
I cleared my throat in attempts to bring me out of the lustful thoughts that were beginning to take place. I walked over to him and sat on the chair directly in front of where he sat, setting the supplies on the ground next to me. Harry watched me with a smug grin, taking note of my staring.
"Alright, I'm just gonna clean this up a bit," I informed him, trying to remain as professional as possible. "This may sting a little."
I poured some disinfectant on a cleansing towelette and pressed it to his blood-streaked skin. He sucked in a sharp breath and winced, squeezing his eyes shut.
"Sorry, sorry, I know it stings, just give it a few seconds."
He nodded and slowly his eyes fluttered open, sighing as the pain gradually subsided. "I need a cigarette," he said, reaching into his uniform and pulling out the item. I honestly don't know why patients and employees are allowed to smoke in the building, the scent repulses me. I dabbed the cloth along the cut and felt his chest steadily rise and fell under my touch while he lit his cigarette.
"That was amazing what you did," Harry said, catching me off guard with his statement.
"Me?" I asked. "That was nothing. But thanks."
"No, I mean it. You weren't scared and handled it really well. Way better than James did, that pussy."
"Hey!" I protested, hitting his arm while he chuckled. "He helped . . . eventually."
"I guess," Harry shrugged while a dimpled smile remained on his face. "But honestly, that was amazing."
I looked up from his chest to meet his bright eyes, which were dancing with adoration. I grinned at him while that damn blush crept up onto my cheeks yet again. I looked down and continued cleaning his wound, not able to stare into his beautiful eyes any longer.
"You were pretty amazing yourself," I told him. "I don't know many serial killers who would help out like you did," I half-joked.
"Yeah," Harry said, looking down at the progress I had made on his torn chest. "About that . . . it's been well over a month, Rose."
My eyes darted up to his, my eyebrows coming together in confusion. "What?"
"I mean times up. You know me well enough; what's your verdict?" he asked, the corner of his mouth tugging up in a slight smile. It was then that I finally remembered our conversation from what seemed like many weeks ago. He had asked me whether or not I thought he was guilty, then gave me a month to make a final decision. And this, I realized, was my time to decide.
I was aware that Harry could easily lie once I told him what I thought he was, but for some reason I knew he wouldn't. I felt like he wanted someone to know the truth.
The obvious choice would be to say that he's guilty. He's in a mental institution for the criminally insane, for God's sake. A room full of jury members had decided his fate, and it was wise to trust them. He was insouciant and calm about everything going on, as if he knew how each situation would play out. He was intelligent and held a dark persona that led you to believe he was up to no good. On sight one could peg him as guilty and capable of murder.
But I had seen more of him than that. I had seen the light in his eyes while he talked, I had seen the dimples of his smile as he laughed, I had seen the care and concern in his expression while he had rescued me from Norman and when he had helped me with Molly. He wasn't insane, or at least not in the stereotypical way most would think.
I looked over his figure as I pieced together my final decision. I had always kept myself from believing he could be innocent, always assumed that the court was right.
But sitting here now, I took in his tousled curls, his rosy pouty lips, and his glossy emerald eyes which blazed like coiling flames. I saw the usual cigarette dangling from his parted lips, tendrils of smoke curling around the air. I also saw the usual sense of power, eyes holding a certain knowledge and wisdom much too great for someone like him to hold in the palm of his hand. He was dark, yes, as was he intimidating. He scared even the most malicious of patients, seeming manipulative and frighteningly determined. Harry may have been all of these things, a dangerous combination.
But he was no murderer.
"You're innocent," I finally spoke. And as I said the words, I realized part of me had known it all along.