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No One Does It Better

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He holds his breath, completely still, in the vain hope that he’ll become invisible to the other, as if Louis were a snake, and Harry stiffly thinks he could be. His small frame could surely allow his bite to strike at twice his body length to sink venomous words into Harry’s core.

“Mate? I said, will you be havin’ another?” Green met blue, heavy met light, dark, thunderous clouds met clear, calm ocean tides, and it’s all too much.

Harry averts his eyes quickly and gulps down the remaining drink in his glass because he can’t reply, he can’t breathe, he can’t breathe with those eyes so close to him, looking at him with such level disinterest. He stands quickly, ignoring his shaking hands, and reaches into his pocket for his wallet. “No,” he says quietly, almost too quietly to be heard over the drunken Journey sing-along happening at the opposite end of the bar. He drops cash on the counter and turns without another glance to the man behind it.

The stark cold of London’s Autumn Thursday cuts into his skin with another aching reminder of his emptiness. Stuffing his still quaking hands into his pocket, Harry begins the short walk back to his flat. His blank expression completely betrays his inner turmoil. Fragmented thoughts bounce with jagged edges against his skull, and, after quickly unlocking his door, he’s reaching for his liquor cabinet, opening the closest bottle of vodka and drinking it straight. His throat nearly wants to protest the scorching heat, but, at this point, his body accepts the vice as vital.

When the need for air tugs at his lungs, Harry pulls the bottle from his lips and slams it to the counter with a tight grip and clenched eyes. When he can stand to open them again, he stares coldly at his phone where it lays next to his keys on the counter, and it’s with solemn resignation that he grabs at it, quickly unlocking it and going to the only voicemail he’s got; the only one he could never bring himself to delete two years over. His thumb hovers over the small button that would, without fail, push him right over the edge of this night. His right hand seeks out the bottle before him, and, with his poison, he aids his pain.

“Hello, love! I am quite offended by your not answering my call, but I suppose I’ll let you get away with it because you’re cute. Anyway, I do hope you got my note this morning. Not sure how you couldn’t have since it was posted to your forehead and all. I’m so sorry, again, for not being there when you woke up. I had to run some very important errands. Just remember to be ready by 5, baby. We have reservations for 6 at our place. Okay? Call me back when you get this. Happy anniversary, Harry. I love you so much.” Click.

About halfway through the message, Harry found himself sinking to the floor, and as silence falls, sneaking into the long-forgotten crevices tucked away in the darkest corners of his too-big flat, he holds his breath, as if Louis were a snake and Harry stiffly thinks he is. His small frame can stand to strike a grown man to his knees and sink venomous words into Harry’s heart.

Releasing his captive breath like a man brought back to life, Harry slams back the bottle, his antivenin, with a white-knuckled grip and he wishes for his nothingness to blank him.