"We could take the train to the outskirts and then stay the night in one of the motels there."


"We're getting out of here." Heavy thuds sounded as Harry dragged the leather suitcase down the steps.

"No, no. Harry, wait." I pressed my fingers to my temples as I walked over to him.

"What now? Lia, you know we have to do this-"

"We need to think. I need to think. I can't rush into this, Harry. I've barely had time to breathe." I told him as I grabbed his wrist.

"Fine. Breathe." He said sharply and released his grip on the suitcase. It landed on the floor with a deafening clunk, startling me.

"You're really stressed out." I observed. "I'm sure we have time,  Harry. We don't have to leave tonight. Where would we even go? We haven't got anything planned." I stressed, hoping he would realise that he wasn't being logical right now. "And I can't just leave my family." I added quietly, and his eyes flashed to mine.

"You're not staying in this shithole, Thalia. I'll drag you out if I must."

"Harry, step into my shoes for a moment. My mum and brother are dependant on Darren for money, and we both know how much he can be trusted. Maybe you would get a sense of serenity leaving this town but I won't as long as I know that." I said to him, pushing the hair out of my face as I looked down.

Harry was silent for a few long moments, only breaking it when I heard him sigh as he pulled me toward him.

"I understand." He said into my hair, and I puffed out a sigh of relief as I rested my head against him. "Fuck, this is mind boggling." He muttered, and I chuckled lightly in agreement. I took notice of his racing heartbeat, fierce thuds against my ears and his skin was glazed with sweat - clear indications that he was nervous.

I drew back and laced my fingers through his, gripping tightly. Harry narrowed his eyebrows as I tugged him along the hallway, guiding him to the kitchen. "Slow down." He said with a hint of amusement.

"Is it just me or have you gotten stronger?" He questioned as I reached to flick open the lights in the kitchen.

"Sit." I told him, releasing his hand. 

"More bossy, too." The edge of his lips tipped up as he took a seat on a stool at the counter.

I marched over to the refrigerator, pulling open the door. The sudden blow of cold air scoured my cheeks, and I was reminded of the hospital room I woke up in. Now it seemed like a dream I'd just woken up from. But the bruises were still etched onto my skin - a persistent reminder that it had not, in fact, been a dream. 

"You're supposed to be resting." I heard Harry say behind me as I pushed milk cartons and clear boxes of fruit aside, digging until those cake pops came into view. Harry's mansion was never in short supply of the treats, and I was the only one he let know of his obsession with them.

"What are you even doing?" Harry was clearly growing impatient. I turned around with just what I was trying to find and I could swear that his face lit up merely at the sight of them.

"To calm your nerves." I said, handing him a stick.

"You know me too well." He wagged his head slightly, twisting the stick between his fingers as he peered at the red-coated cake mounted on top of it. Just then I felt the muscles of my abdomen begin to ache again so I rested on a stool beside him and leaned over the counter. My body clearly couldn't handle these brisk movements yet.

"Aren't you having one?" He asked as he began tearing the cake apart with his teeth, and I bit my lip to refrain from laughing. I could sense his nerves go slack almost instantly.

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