The sound of glass breaking from the kitchen startled Grace awake. She turned and looked at the clock beside her bed. Barely 2 hours have passed since she had finished reading a fanfiction to present to Claire and had gone to sleep. Grace’s tiredness tried to pull her back, but another crash in the kitchen reminded her why she woke up in the first place.
Nervously making her way to the door of her bedroom, Grace reached to open the door before pausing, just a hair away from the door handle. She was home alone, so just blindly going out could be dangerous. Especially if whoever or whatever is in the kitchen is aware she is home.
After a few seconds, Grace decided to call Claire. Tiptoeing back to her bedside table, Grace dialed her favorite co-host. Claire picked up after a few rings and groggily answered, “hello?”
“Claire!” Grace whispered into the phone, “someone is in my house! I need you to come over and take care of it.”
The line was silent and Grace worried the Claire fell back asleep. “Claire?”
”Why are you calling me!? Call the police!”
”I can’t!” Grace was shocked Claire would ask that of her.
”Why not?!” Claire yelled back.
The line went silent again, but this time Grace’s worry was that Claire hung up on her.
Grace heard a loud sigh and then, “Is this a prank?”
”Why would I lie about this?!”
”Alright alright!” Grace heard some rustling indicating Claire was getting out of bed. “I’m on my way, just stay in your room.”
They stayed on the phone together Claire’s entire drive over. “Ok, I just parked out front. Are you sure the guy is still there?”
Grace leaned her ear towards the door. “Yes,” she responded, “I still hear movement.”
”Ok, stay put.” And with that, Claire hung up.
Listening to her best friend, Grace waited in her room. She didn’t know what she was waiting for, but she trusted Claire to come up with a good plan. After a minute or so, Grace heard a loud scream, crash, and then silence.
Grace practically leaped out of the room. “DON’T YOU DARE TOUCH MY BEST FRIEND!” She yelled making her way to the kitchen, before pausing in the door way.
The kitchen had an overwhelming smell of alcohol and showed Claire, holding what looked like the top of a glass bottle, standing above a passed-out man dressed in a black shirt. He was soaking wet and surrounded by shards of glass.
“Claire... what’s going on?” Grace slowly asked.
”I brought a handle of whiskey from my house, snuck in through the window, and knocked him out with it.” Claire proclaimed proudly.
”Ok... now what?”
Claire moved towards the man and began to tie his wrists and ankles together with rope that seemingly appeared out of nowhere. She then flipped him over to show-
”Is that Harry Styles?” Claire said with a shock.
Grace examined the body. She looked at Harry’s face, his hair, his clothes, his tattoos, his piercings. “That’s not any Harry Styles... that’s After Harry Styles...”
Claire turned to Grace, confused. “That’s not possible.”
A groan indicated to the 2 that Harry was waking up. They turned towards him and were ready to get some answers.
”What... who... what’s happening?” Harry slurred out.
”We’ll be asking the questions here!” Grace proclaimed loudly. “Now, what the hell are you doing in my house?!”
”Your house?” Harry looked around confused before realization overtook him. “Oh, I remember. I came here to ask you to take down all your After episodes.”
”No! Fuck you those are hilarious!” Claire yelled.
”You don’t understand! Every time someone listens to it, I’m forced to reenact the same stupid routine with...” Harry’s face contorted to a grimace. “Tessa.”
”I thought you loved Tessa?” Grace asked confused. “It says so in the story.”
“That’s the problem! The story tells me I have to love her! But we’re so obviously forced together! I can’t take it anymore!”
Harry looked frustrated to the verge of tears. The 2 hosts glanced at each other before nodding.
”We’ll take them down, I’m sorry we contributed to your suffering.” Claire said with a hand of Harry’s shoulder. A single tear escaped his eyes as he began to glow.
”Thank you.” Harry whispered as he faded away.
The room was silent as Grace and Claire looked at the space that was once occupied by After Harry Styles. Breaking the silence, Grace asked, “So... we were definitely lying about taking the episodes down, right?”
”Obviously! The episodes have some of our funniest moments! Besides, if audio quality didn’t stop us from deleting them, a fake Harry certainly won’t!”
The two laughed before remembering the mess in the kitchen. They then spent the rest of the night cleaning while cursing After Harry’s name.