f i f t e e n

111 3 3

Harry called sometime later

Oops! This image does not follow our content guidelines. To continue publishing, please remove it or upload a different image.

Harry called sometime later. River let the phone slide to voicemail, not sure she was ready to face anyone. She'd been driving aimlessly around for almost an hour. Mostly she'd just ended up going around in circles, transitioning between allowing herself to sob violently and steeling herself angrily.

She was so mad. She wasn't sure she'd ever been so mad in her entire life, but more than that she felt even more heartbroken than she had when Jasmine had been dead. She felt betrayed and hurt, and the fact that running away had been a better idea to Jasmine than just confiding in her, her twin sister, made her feel physical pain in her heart.

She knew she should be relieved, ecstatic even, but she wasn't. In fact, after about another hour of driving around she wasn't sure she really felt anything anymore. It was like a switch had flipped and she just felt hollow and empty.

She pulled into the parking garage of her building, making her way upstairs and knocking on her apartment's locked door. Harry appeared a second later looking concerned. River stepped past him without a word, her eyes not connecting with his.


His voice was soft and she could hear his socked feet following her as she went to the bedroom. She still didn't say a word, stripping out of her clothes from the day and pulling on some pajamas. She curled up in the fluffy chair in the corner of the room and he sat on the edge of the bed, looking at her intensely.

"Are you okay?" he asked, and she choked out a scoff. He shook his head. "Of course you're not, but... is there anything you want to talk about?"

"Why did you respond to the first message I sent you?" she asked him, and he looked at her like that was the absolute last thing he'd expected.

"Because you stuck out to me... I felt bad and you seemed like you needed a friend."

"Was it because you felt bad my sister was dead or was it because you felt bad that I was sad and actually wanted to be my friend?" she asked, unable to stop thinking about Jasmine bringing up the fact that she was essentially responsible for River and Harry's relationship. She'd all but convinced herself the only reason he'd even started speaking to her was because she had a dead sister.

"Of course it was because I felt bad and actually wanted to be your friend, Riv."

"Was it, though? Was it really? I have a really hard time believing you would've responded to me if I hadn't mentioned Jasmine," she said, and she knew her tone was harsh. She wasn't sure why she was suddenly so mad at him, but she was. Harry blinked hard, seemingly not sure what to say.

"I... I would've. You can believe that or not, but I would've," he said, and he sounded hurt.

"I think you should go, Harry," she told him, and his eyes went as wide as the moon. Shock crossed his features and he blinked hard again.

"What?" he asked, and she shrugged.

"I... Our relationship started based on my dead sister and now... now, she's not dead and I don't really know who I am now that I know that information. I might... I might be someone you don't even know," she told him, and the thought flashed in the back of her head that pushing him away was irrational.

She knew that Jasmine being alive didn't really change anything between them, but suddenly she was just completely terrified of the potential pain of losing him. She wasn't sure she could handle that pain she'd felt when she'd lost Jasmine all over again, and the completely irrational part of her brain that she was working off of could only come up with the solution of ending things herself so that he couldn't, and while she was already in so much pain that losing him on top of it wouldn't feel like such a blow.

He stared at her, his mouth hanging open just slightly.

"River, I... no. You don't have to push me away. This... this isn't how it has to go," he told her, and she nodded.

"No, I think it is. I think... I think this is best," she said, and even she could hear the uncertainty in her voice.

Harry reached for her, shaking his head. She shrugged him off, stepping away.

"River, please. Just listen to me," he said, and his voice was small and sounded wounded. She shook her head, turning away.

"Just go, Harry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."

She could feel him staring at her back and desperately wanted to turn to him. Somehow, though, she stopped herself from doing so and eventually she heard him moving around the apartment gathering his things. He stepped quietly past her, shutting the door behind him with much more composure than she deserved.

She stood and stared at the door for a long time after he left, wishing immediately that he'd come back. Her brain was so jumbled and mixed up that she didn't even really know what she wanted. She was confused and sad and she had absolutely no idea whether what she'd just done had been the right thing or not, but the giant feeling of emptiness in her heart told her it probably wasn't.

Fireproof • {Harry Styles}Where stories live. Discover now