Chapter 1: Part one: Louis
Louis loved this little theatre. He had no idea how it was still afloat, considering that more times than not he was the only person sitting in the audience during screenings, but still he was glad it was. Med school was crazy, especially with exams coming up, so being able to get away from a crazy schedule and a frantic Liam - who was neurotic on the best of days and straight up psychotic at the end of the term - was essential.
He walked through the heavy door, dim lights welcoming him upon his entrance, and walked as always to the cashier's desk, an old-school round cube.
‘Hi Mary.’ He smiled at the cashier.
‘Good evening Lou.’ She replied.
‘One for Grease, please.’ He requested, taking out his wallet from his back pocket and paying for the ticket. Before putting it back into his pocket he moved to the snack booth and ordered some nachos, some M&M’s, and a coke, and happily looked at how his arms could barely hold the amount of junk food he was carrying.
He went inside the little screening room and noticed that just as always he was alone, so he happily plopped down at the back row, taking off his shoes and starting on the popcorn while some commercials were playing on the screen. Just as the movie was starting, one more person walked in. Louis only noticed because he was afraid for a second that they were going to sit in front of him and obscure his view. He was small, you see (not that he would ever admit it) and usually if someone sat in front of him in the movie theatre all he could see was the top half of their head.
Thankfully the stranger was respectful enough to sit at the very front and a little bit to the left, so that Louis could only see them if he deliberately looked, which he didn’t, not with Stockard Channing belting out There are worse things I could do on the screen. That bit always got to him.
As always, movies helped. After the screen went blank and his popcorn bowl was only filled with an empty M&M’s wrapper, he stood up from his seat completely relaxed, ready to face the toughest anatomy questions and an undoubtedly freaked out Liam back home. He moved outside leisurely, waving at Mary and promising her to be back in a few days.
‘You better!’ She yelled after him. ‘We have a Twilight marathon in a few weeks!’
He just laughed in response and pushed the door open, the sun hitting his eyes and making him flinch. He was just about to put on his sunglasses when he felt a hand on his elbow.
‘I think this is yours.’ He heard an impossibly deep and slow tone of voice, and he looked up to meet two green eyes boring into him. They were narrowed, probably to protect themselves from the sunlight. Louis’ eyes trailed lower to full lips that looked bitten raw and a trace of stubble on the stranger’s cheeks. He must have been staring for a while because in front of his eyes, the cheeks hollowed showing two perfectly shaped and incredibly deep dimples. Without thinking, Louis reached out and placed his index finger in the one closest to him, prompting the stranger to let out a pearly jovial laugh that finally snapped Louis back to reality.
‘Shit!’ He exclaimed and stumbled backward, trying to put some distance between him and the stranger. ‘Fuck, I'm so sorry. I have no idea what’s wrong with me, I’m just incredibly sleep deprived.’ He tried to excuse himself, feeling his cheeks reddening.
‘It’s okay.’ The stranger said, a hint of amusement visible in his voice.
‘No, really I’m so sorry. I should… um… I should go.’ Louis added. He tried to turn around and leave, but the stranger's hand caught him again.
‘Wait.’ The stranger laughed. ‘I think this fell out of your pocket.‘ He said and this time Louis looked down at what the stranger was showing him and saw his wallet, the telltale metal arm with a red star on it catching his eye.
‘Oh! Thank you!’ He said, reaching for the wallet and blushing for the second time in a span of five minutes.
‘Winter soldier, eh?’ The stranger said smiling softly at the wallet that now both of them were holding since he refused to let it go. ‘I’m more of a Captain America man myself.’ He added teasingly, like he was having a grand old time making Louis squirm, which. No. Louis was not easily squirmed.
‘Well, me too. Hence the Winter Soldier wallet.’ He said raising an eyebrow, curious whether the stranger would get it.
‘Well in that case, you should have an Iron Man wallet.’ The stranger grinned like he
anticipated the look of utter outrage on Louis’ face.
‘You’re a Stony shipper?’ Louis gritted through his teeth, making the stranger giggle again.
‘Nah, just wanted to see your reaction.’ He said with a self-satisfied smirk, which suddenly made Louis feel like he knew him from somewhere.
‘Sorry, have we met before?’ He asked, not even realising how it sounded completely like a cliche pickup line, but apparently the stranger didn’t realise it either since his face fell and he let go of the wallet.
‘No, I don’t think so.’ He smiled weakly before turning on his heel and disappearing from view.
Louis walked home deep in thought. Contrary to what the guy probably thought, Louis was not trying to pick him up. Well, okay. He was. But definitely not with that line. He was more creative than this. He just really had a deep profound feeling that he had met him before, but he couldn’t quite place him and it was making his overachieving brain go into overload.
He sat at the tube station lost in thought, staring at a poster hung on the opposite wall, before it came into full focus and he realised what he has been staring at. It was the cinema guy’s face. In high definition, covering the three quarters of the tunnel. He was looking off camera and looked very pensive, but even without dimples it was the cinema guy. Louis looked over the whole poster and a comical gasp escaped his lips.
He went inside the train and rode home with the same dumbfounded look on his face before he stepped into the apartment he shared with Liam and finally spoke up, interrupting Liam’s rant about disappearing for hours and not answering his phone in the middle of midterms.
‘I think I met Harry Styles.’ He said and that shut Liam right up. If he thought that was an option to shut up Liam, he would have tracked the curly haired motherfucker years ago.
‘WHAT?!’ Liam exclaimed and nearly jumped at Louis.
‘Yeah, I think I saw him in the cinema today.’ Louis shrugged, delighted at how much this was pushing Liam’s buttons.
‘OH MY GOD DID YOU GET HIS AUTOGRAPH?!’ Liam yelled and Louis couldn’t hold it any longer, starting to giggle uncontrollably.
See, Liam had about five posters of Harry Styles hung on his wall, mostly because he was a huge comic nerd whose favourite superhero was Deadpool - mostly due to their shared sexual orientation. So when they announced that Deadpool 3 would be featuring Spideypool, Liam absolutely lost his shit. And then they introduced Harry Styles - a young actor who before that had only played a few very small theatre roles, and let’s just say seeing him and Ryan Reynolds on the screen together gaying away was too much for Liam’s tender heart to handle. He spend hours ranting about how brave that was of Harry, especially since now he was on the constant gay watch (you gotta love the main stream media) and he also was at risk of type casting, since his first big role playing an lgbtq+ superhero could put him in the box of playing only queer characters.
‘You’re joking.’ Liam whined, resigned, and his mouth tilted downwards, his eyes revealing a look of betrayal, and Louis immediately felt like a jackass. There was a downside of having a best friend who looked like an actual puppy.
‘No, no! Li! I’m not joking. I did meet him, but I didn’t realise it was him until I was halfway home. So sorry, I don’t have an autograph.’ He added sheepishly and moved to hug his best friend, who would undeniably take the news harshly.
‘It’s okay.’ Liam mumbled against Louis’ shirt. They used to hug like that when they were little, when Louis was captain of the footie team, leading actor in the drama club, and a ball of energy bouncing off of everyone and Liam was his quiet best friend who preferred spending his lunch breaks reading books, and sometimes got teased for it by other kids. Louis was always there to yell at anyone who dared to upset his best friend and then hug him, usually when no one was around because Liam wasn’t a person who enjoyed vulnerability in front of strangers. Liam had been shorter then, always ending up with his face on Louis’ chest, but over the years he bulked up and got taller - which didn’t change the way they were hugging each other, just made the angle more awkward.
‘You talked to him?’ Liam asked into Louis’ shirt.
‘Yeah, for a second. Then I said that I thought I knew him from somewhere and he disappeared in a puff of smoke.’ Louis said, a little sad.
‘What did he say?’ Liam asked despite the awkward hugging position, not keen on moving anytime soon.
‘He gave me back my wallet, it fell out of my pocket.’ Louis shrugged.
‘Oh. That’s it?’ Liam inquired.
‘I may have poked his dimple.’ Louis mumbled, his cheeks reddening at the memory, already anticipating Liam’s reaction. In over 20 years of friendship he never quite learned the trick of not telling Liam the whole truth, all truth, and nothing but the truth. And right on schedule as soon as the words left his mouth, Liam erupted in a fit of giggles.
‘You poked his dimple?!’ He wheezed out in laughter. ‘You are living the dream my friend, half of the nation wants to poke those dimples.’ Liam finished, still laughing.
“Well maybe that’s why he’s been hiding in my cinema in the middle of the day.’ Louis quipped, rolling his eyes and moving to the kitchen to get some cramming session friendly snacks. ‘Hey man do you want some ice cream?’
‘Next!’ Louis yelled at the huge line of people and looked up, dead in the eyes, to ask about the next customer’s order.
‘A grande extra hot soy with extra foam, split shot with a half squirt of sugar-free vanilla and a half squirt of sugar-free cinnamon, and a half packet of splenda.’ The girl recited from memory which made Louis only blink at her, too tired to even get outraged over this.
‘Shouldn’t you be writing this down?’ She asked pointedly.
‘A grande extra hot soy with extra foam, split shot with a half squirt of sugar-free vanilla and a half squirt of sugar-free cinnamon, and a half packet of splenda.’ He recited back to her with a condescending smirk. ‘I think I got it.’ The utterly shocked look on her face did make him feel a bit better. Good bless med school.
He rolled his eyes, catching the eye of his coworker, Perrie, who was currently cleaning the back room. He moved towards the machine and started to make the pretentious coffee, trying not to curse about pretentious hipsters ordering their pretentious drinks in the coffee shop he had to work in.
He gave the girl her drink and stopped himself from snarling the usual ‘we appreciate your business’ remark, his smile at the end of every shift turning straight up psychotic.
Thankfully the afternoon rush was all but done. The last few people were walking out in the rain and Louis started to clean up the counter while Perrie handled the tables to get ready for college students stopping for a cram session after class.
‘Hi, can I have an iced coffee with extra whipped cream?’ The voice behind him asked and Louis’ head snapped up because he remembered that voice.
He turned around with a small smile, not sure how to handle the situation. Harry Styles probably didn’t even remember him. So it was kind of stupid of him to hope for some kind of recognition.
‘It’s you!’ Harry then said, a small confused smile coloring his face. ‘You’re the dimple guy.’ He added.
‘The dimple guy?’ Louis snorted, still a bit embarrassed about the situation. ‘Don’t I deserve a name?’ He quipped teasingly.
‘Nah I don’t think so.’ Harry mused, leaning on the counter. ‘I think names may ruin this.’ He added, dimpling in full force and tilting his head to the side as Louis felt his stomach squeeze uncomfortably.
‘I’m Louis.’ He said quietly. ‘And the reason I’m ruining this is because I put two and two together on my way home. I mean, my roommate has enough of your posters all around our flat for me to know who you are. I would probably have realised on the spot if I wasn’t so sleep deprived.’ He said looking down at his fingers, ending his speech with a little self deprecating smile.
‘Oh.’ Harry’s face fell.
‘Yeah.’ Louis nodded. ‘So um, iced coffee with extra cream coming right up.’ He said with faux cheer and moved to make the drink.
He handed it to Harry after a few minutes and took a deep breath before blurting out, ‘Okay I know that me asking for your autograph will kind of make you think I’m like a deranged fan who pretended not to know who you are or, good lord, maybe even followed you to the cinema or whatever, even though I was there first. But my best friend, he really admires you and I felt like a jackass for not getting your autograph the first time because he gave me those puppy eyes and boy he is good at that and I love him way more than I care what you think of me even though I kind of care, god knows why, so what I want to say is please could you just give me an autograph for Liam?’ He ended, running out of breath.
‘I can’t decide whether you’re a really good friend or your name is Liam.’ Harry said, squinting his eyes at Louis.
‘I can show you my ID.’ Louis rolled his eyes.
‘Wouldn’t a good stalker have a fake ID prepared for this very moment?’ Harry teased.
‘Well since you are the one following me all the time, I’ll let you answer that question for yourself.’ Louis smirked.
Harry assessed him for a second before shaking his head with disbelieving laugh and asking Louis for his phone.
‘Why do you need my phone for?’ Louis asked, his heart beating wildly in his chest.
‘I think Liam would appreciate a video message more than an autograph.’ Harry said with a raised eyebrow and Louis jumped in the air with excitement, thinking about the look on Liam’s face when he sees it, and handed Harry the phone. The small pang of disappointment upon realising that Harry didn’t want his number - even if that was ridiculous - was completely forgotten.
‘Come ooon!’ Louis grunted, trying to fit his bum into the checkered trousers that were on sale.
He refused to believe that he had gained any fat at all on his ass. He had always been this size and he would not be buying the bigger one. Just as they finally snapped in place and a look of utter victory graced his face, he was being pushed against the wall of the stall with a huge hand covering his mouth. He was just about to scream and kick when he realised that it was Harry holding him.
He looked at Harry’s face and noticed that the confusion upon seeing who he grabbed was replaced with a pleading face expression. Louis tried to put two and two together when he heard it. There was a loud high pitched shriek that haunted his dreams - growing up with six younger siblings will do that to you - and the sound was getting closer.
‘I’m telling you, he went this way!’ One of the girls yelled.
‘What are we supposed to do, Tiffany, just go inside every changing room?!’ Some boy asked.
‘Look at the shoes! He was wearing those Chelsea boots, look at the shoes!’ Some other girl yelled and there was no time to think about it. Louis and Harry only had time to exchange terrified glances before Louis snapped into motion and his hands moved to grab Harry’s thighs, putting him up against the wall and wrapping his long legs around his waist, making Harry squeal in surprise.
‘What was that?’ The girl - Tiffany - asked threateningly and Louis had to make a decision with his mouth, now free of Harry’s hand since he lost his hold while Louis pinned him to the wall.
‘Can’t a guy have a fucking cough? What the fuck are you looking for?’ He yelled, trying to appear more threatening than he was, his northern accent tuning thicker.
‘Sir did you see a tall guy with curly hair going in here?’ One of the girls asked politely.
‘No, I didn’t! But I’m not surprised he’s running away from the lots of you. Mama didn’t teach you it’s impolite to follow someone to the dressing room?’ He yelled back, his tone getting snappy and throaty like he was a 50 year old gun enthusiast, making Harry giggle in his arms. ‘SCRAM!’ He delivered his final punch and heard the footsteps slowly going away from the dressing room.
Harry opened his mouth to speak but Louis put a finger on his lips and leaned back a bit, still between Harry’s legs as he peeked through the curtain.
‘They’re gone.’ He whispered reluctantly and stepped away from Harry, setting him gently on the ground after a bit of just acknowledging what kind of position he had found himself in, with Harry’s muscular thighs hugging his waist tightly, his chest rising and falling rapidly, nearly touching Louis’. ‘You’re shopping in Primark?’ He asked incredulously.
‘No.’ Harry shook his head. ‘They spotted me on the street and I went in here ‘cause I thought I’d lose them, but they went inside and they were rounding up on me and I kind of had no other option. I’m so sorry!’ Harry let out in one breath.
‘It’s fine.’ Louis said, feeling his throat constrict. Jesus Christ, having to invade a stranger’s changing stall just to escape from the mob of teenagers was demeaning, and he had no idea how Harry put up with that.
‘I um… I should go then.’ Harry said, wrongly interpreting Louis’ short answer.
‘You can’t go now, they are probably waiting up front.’ Louis said, rolling his eyes and sitting Harry down at the small stool in the corner of the changing room. ‘Come on, at least wear this.’ He said, handing Harry his beanie.
‘I can’t just take your hat.’ Harry protested.
‘It’s just a beanie, Harold, I’ll live.’ Louis rolled his eyes. ‘Put it on and I’ll go get a manager, he’ll sneak you out back.’ Louis said, turning around to leave the changing room.
‘Louis?’ He heard behind himself and turned around to look at Harry again.
‘Yeah?’ He asked, a little breathless upon seeing the look of utter genuinity on Harry’s face. Harry opened his mouth and stopped for a second before closing it again, like he wanted to say something but changed his mind midway.
‘Did Liam like his video?’ He asked instead, a beautiful smile overtaking his face.
Louis snorted at the question and shook his head at the ground: ‘You have no idea.’
Who had told him this was a good idea again? Because he was standing alone at the bar, Nick had disappeared hours ago probably chasing ass, and he didn’t know anyone. Why had he let Nick talk him into this again? God, they weren’t even sleeping with each other anymore so it’s not like Nick had anything to offer in return. But no, Louis had to fall for what was obvious and blatant ass kissing with Nick’s ‘Come on Lou, I have to have someone hot on my arm, and you’re the hottest I know’. Bastard. That. fucking. Bastard.
He decided that it was enough humiliation for one fucking day, no one was talking to him. And he looked amazing, okay? Wasn’t this the sort of party supposed to attract all the closet cases? If he had known it was going to be so dead in here, he wouldn’t have put on these pants. He moved around with a glass of champagne in tow in order to find Nick and let him know that he was leaving and also that he should start his grovelling right about now because Louis was pissed.
‘Nicolas.’ He said when he spotted Grimmy with his arm looped around some model’s waist.
‘Lou! Where were you?!’ Nick exclaimed, his eyes unfocused.
‘Well, the better question would be, where were you?’ Louis huffed. ‘I’m going home Grim, I have work tomorrow.’ He said, trying to contain his anger. Being pissed at Nick didn’t mean he wanted to make a spectacle of himself in front of everyone.
‘No, Lou! Come on, stay a second!’ Nick said, letting go of the model and turning fully towards Louis.
‘Nick, you disappeared two hours ago. I doubt you’ll miss me. Have fun, we’ll talk about this later.’ He said and moved toward the exit, totally done with that shit. He rounded the corner, paparazzi completely uninterested with his presence. Huh, Louis snorted inwardly. That seemed to be the theme this evening. He put his hands in his pockets and felt something hard hitting his front. He looked up and burst out with laughter.
‘Honestly, mate we have to stop meeting like this.’ He giggled.
‘Louis.’ Harry smiled, his hand still looped around Louis’ waist where they had landed when he instinctively tried to steady him. ‘This one is clearly not my fault.’ He defended himself.
‘Congratulations, just this once I followed you to your turf.’ Louis teased. ‘Contrary to the previous three times you were stalking me, including but not limited to peeking at the goodies in my changing stall.’ He added, prompting Harry to laugh happily.
‘Shame you didn’t wear those pants today, they were doing glorious things to your backside.’ Harry smirked cheekily, like he knew Louis was going to be outraged at that.
‘Oh, you mean to say that these don’t?’ Louis said, raising an eyebrow.
‘They do. They are just not as… daring.’ Harry smirked.
‘Lou!’ They heard before Louis had a chance to answer and saw Grimmy running towards them, Harry’s hand leaving Louis’ waist.
‘I’m so sorry!’ He yelled again, rounding up on them. Harry was looking at Grimmy confused. ‘What do I have to do for you to forgive me?!’ Nick exclaimed, attracting some unwanted attention from a few paps.
‘First of all stop the scene, drama queen.’ Louis rolled his eyes and whispered quietly.
‘I LAY AT YOUR FEET! MY ONLY LOVE! THE AIR I BREATHE IN! MY REASON TO LIVE! I BEG YOUR FORGIVENESS!’ Nick responded and threw himself on his knees in front of Louis with a knowing smirk on his face, knowing full well Louis would forgive him just to make him stop.
‘Jesus, Grimshaw, shut up.’ Louis giggled, trying to keep a straight face. ‘Just go inside, we’re fine.’ He added, trying to pick Grimmy up from the floor.
‘Yeah, mate you sure you don’t need some coffee? Or you know sleep it off?’ Harry asked, looking at Nick like he was crazy.
‘NO SIR I WILL NOT YIELD UNTIL THIS SWEET CREATURE FORGIVES ME!’ Nick yelled toward Harry, pointing an accusatory finger at his face and stumbling slightly with too much champagne. Harry reached out to steady him by his arm.
‘Mate, you should really sleep it off.’ He murmured, quite amused. ‘I’ll make sure that the sweet creature gets home okay.’ He finished.
‘Thanks mate.’ Nick smiled widely. ‘But really, Lou are we good?’ He asked more seriously, looking up at Louis through his eyelashes.
‘Yes, we’re good asshole. I’m leaving.’ He said with an eyeroll. He turned on his heel and walked away, still hearing Nick yelling some poetry at his back. Only after a few seconds he realised Harry was following him.
‘You’re not going to the party?’ He asked with a raised eyebrow.
‘Nah.’ Harry shook his head. ‘I did promise I’d get you home.’ Harry said.
‘Yeah, I’m not a child, Harold. I’m cool with getting home on my own.’ Louis snapped without any real bite behind his words.
‘Come on!’ Harry whined. ‘Can you let me get away with this? I don’t really want to go there.’ He said, his tone teasing but his face dead serious.
‘Well, I can’t blame you. There was absolutely no one to chat up.’ He tried to joke.
‘I actually have a date.’ Harry said quietly.
‘Oh.’ Louis said, despite himself a little disappointed. He knew that technically Harry was seen with women. A lot of them. But he got a bit of a vibe from him. But since he was taken, even if he was into guys too, it still meant that Louis made it all up. Which, well, didn’t feel too good.
‘So um… they won’t mind you standing them up?’ Louis asked consciously.
‘Nah, I told her before that I may not be coming. Felt a bit naughty tonight.’ Harry grinned and Louis smiled softly. Harry sounded like a kid who wanted to steal some candy from the cupboard without anyone knowing. It was adorable.
‘I saw your movie.’ Louis said in lieu of changing the subject.
‘Yeah?’ Harry’s eyes lit up. ‘Which one?’
‘Both.’ Louis said. ‘Deadpool about hundred of times probably. Liam is obsessed.’ He added smiling.
‘Did you like it?’ Harry asked quietly.
‘Yeah. I really did.’ Louis nodded. ‘And I know my shit, I was drama major before I switched to pre-med.’ He added with a small smile.
‘You just really wanted to slip that pre-med thing into the conversation, didn’t you?’ Harry laughed.
‘Well I couldn’t have you thinking I was a barista when I really am almost a doctor.’ Louis huffed.
‘Rub it in my face, why don’t you, huh?’ Harry laughed. ‘I’m a shallow hollywood star and you’re a Mother Theresa.’
‘Hollywood star, huh? Conceited much?’ Louis teased.
‘Just stating the fact.’ Harry shrugged coyly.
‘You’re the worst.’ Louis bit around the smile, slowing his step down. There was a small lull in the conversation before he stopped and turned around to face Harry. ‘That’s me.’ He said, pointing towards the door to his building.
‘That was a short walk.’ Harry noted.
‘Not enough to get your mind off of whatever is troubling you?’ Louis smiled softly.
‘It’s um. It has to do for now.’ Harry replied.
‘I hope you figure it out.’ Louis said softly. ‘Good night, Harry.’
‘Good night, Louis.’
‘WHAT THE FUCK, ASSHOLE?’ Louis was woken up by a screaming Liam and a swat to his head with what seemed like a rolled up paper.
‘What the fuck, me?! What the fuck, you?!’ Louis groaned, sitting up and and massaging his head.
‘WHAT THE FUCK, LOU.’ Liam said with a panicked expression on his face and he pointed towards the assault weapon he had used on Louis’ head. Louis picked up the magazine and nearly choked on air upon seeing his face on the front page.
‘What the fuck…’ He mumbled and looked at the front page where a blurry picture of what he realised after a second was him, Harry, and Grimmy on his knees was gracing the front page with high definition pics of Nick and Harry with his facebook profile picture between and two broken hearts. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?
He frantically opened a magazine to page thirteen and saw a crappy pun - ‘Queer as a three(way) dollar bill?’. He rolled his eyes. Really? How long had someone thought about that one? He went through the entire article and realised that they had his name, where he was studying, his work address, and tons of pictures. There was a picture of him and Harry from five months ago in front of the cinema when they bumped into each other the first time. Louis’ hand was touching Harry’s face and Harry was smiling down on him, amused. The picture had ‘the first date’ written underneath. The second picture was a collage of Harry stepping out of the coffee shop and Louis stepping out of there in uniform and the scribbling underneath read ‘visiting the boyfriend at work’. Then it went to the detailed description of their Primark changing room steaming hook up with alleged witnesses’ statements complete with a picture of Louis going inside the Primark wearing a beanie and Harry leaving with it over an hour later.
Louis looked at it, his mouth hanging open, especially when he got to the paragraph about him and Nick. ‘But apparently Harry has a better luck with his on screen romances than his off screen ones. Our reporters found out that even though a handsome med student seems to be perfect for our Hazza, he still isn’t over his previous famous fling. Just at the last BBC Radio 1 party, the three of them could be seen causing a major scene in front of the building, with Louis’ ex boyfriend - Nick Grimshaw (33) - even dropping to his knees in order to win him back. We have to wonder though, how did this noticeable, pretty, and intelligent, but otherwise regular boy capture both of these famous stars’ attention? Is there a chance that was his plan all along? Is it possible that the med student figured preying on the closeted star would be an easier livelihood than the tough career of a doctor?’ He read out loud and felt like puking, racing to the bathroom and heaving into the toilet.
‘So um… you really are not dating Harry?’ Liam asked quietly, handing Louis a glass of water some minutes later.
‘Do I fucking look like I’m dating bloody Harry Styles?!’ Louis exclaimed, outraged.
‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry!’ Liam said, holding his hands up. ‘I mean they were half right about Grimmy so like, I just… I wasn’t sure, ‘cause you are meeting him quite a lot… and like those pictures.’ Liam started to babble.
‘Oh god.’ Louis groaned ‘If you believe it, you just know everyone else will.’ He added, banging his head against the wall. ‘These are literally the only times I’ve seen the guy! It is not the way it fucking happened!’ He whined. ‘Oh god.’ He said suddenly, standing up. ‘They have my fucking personal information. Who the fuck knows what they found out. Jesus, should I like... Call my lawyer?’ Louis asked, looking to Liam.
‘You don’t have a lawyer.’ Liam noted.
‘Should I get one, then?!’ Louis exclaimed.
‘Okay Lou, ease up. I mean people talk shit all the time. No one is going to like, take it seriously. It’s going to be big news for few days but then they will realise you don’t actually know the guy and it will go away.’ Liam soothed. ‘For now, just go to work. You can’t afford to lose that one.’
After few minutes, Louis let Liam pick him up, help him clean up, and get dressed. Feeling sufficiently better, but still a bit pissed off he went outside…
… only to be greeted with a wall of paparazzi and flashes shooting at his face.
‘Louis, Louis, here!’ ‘Louis, over here!’ ‘Louis, where did you meet Harry?!’ ‘Did you cheat on him with Grimmy?’ ‘Who’s better in bed Louis?’
The sheer crudeness of the question took Louis’ breath away even more than the initial impact. He was just about to blurt out how completely invasive and offensive that question was when a guy with a heavy irish accent stopped at the curb and yelled out ‘An uber for Louis! Come here, I don’t have a whole bloody day now, don’t I?!’
Louis was too relieved at this sudden rescue to even figure out the possible dangers of getting into an uber you didn’t order.
‘What the fuck was that?’ He breathed after pushing through the mob, jumping at the passenger’s seat and the guy driving away.
‘Your first time?’ He laughed jovially. ‘Welcome to my world.’ He added and Louis realised that he had just gotten inside a car with a complete stranger.
‘Who are you?’ He asked tentatively.
‘Chill out, mate. I’m Niall. I’m Harry’s best friend’s boyfriend.’ He said and upon seeing Louis’ confused expression, he clarified, ‘You know, it doesn’t matter. Harry sent me. He couldn’t exactly come by himself. It would just make it worse. But call him, here, he’s under Harry.’ Niall said, handing Louis his phone.
‘Creative.’ Louis snarled, not really in a good mood that fine evening. He pressed the green button and put the phone to his head.
‘What the fuck?!’ He screamed into the phone when he heard a frantic. ‘Niall, do you got him?’ on the other side.
‘Louis! I’m... fuck. I’m so, so sorry. Just… fuck. I prepared this apology, could you just. Can you let Niall bring you here? Please?’ Harry pleaded and Louis’ initial rage subsided a little.
‘I have to fucking work, Harry!’ He exclaimed. It had subsided a little. Not all the way, though. ‘I have fucking bills to pay. Can you just fucking tell them to leave ?!’ He knew it wasn’t fair of him to blame it all on Harry, but fuck, if he wanted his name plastered around mainstream media he would join a Geordie shore, wouldn't he?
‘They will probably be at your work too.’ Harry whispered, like he was afraid of Louis’ reaction. ‘I’m sorry.’ He sighed. ‘I am going to stop this, okay, can you just call your work and come here?’
Louis sighed and rubbed his eyes tiredly. ‘We’ll drive to the coffee shop. IF. If there are paps there, I’ll call in sick and come see you. IF not, I am going about my life and you are fucking fixing this.’ He threatened.
‘I will. I swear I will.’ Harry said dotingly and Louis hung up, but before he even had a chance to tell Niall where to go, his phone rang. He picked up only to hear his boss telling him a bit confused that maybe he could stay home today because there were around a hundred people waiting for him.
‘FUCK!’ He yelled before hitting his head on the console table.
‘Hey.’ Niall said softly, looking at him for a split second before turning back to the road. ‘It will die down in a few days. It’s not always this crazy. I mean, you should’ve seen them when me and Zayn went public.’ Niall smiled.
‘I’m not even fucking dating him! What the fuck?! I literally met him three times and now I’m being called a fucking gold digger! What a fucking asshole!’ Louis yelled, feeling like he was falling from the very top building, the situation he found himself in so ridiculous and scary that he had no idea how to handle it.
‘Hey!’ Niall exclaimed threateningly, stomping on the brakes and stopping in the middle of the road. ‘This is not his fault, you asshole! Did you ever for a second think how it is for him?! He is the one that has been followed for over a year now! You are welcome to feel scared and trapped, but don’t you dare blame him! He will probably let you because he’s wonderful like that, but I sure as hell am not.’ He added, fuming, and Louis felt his stomach tying up in knots. He looked down at his knees in shame. ‘Shit. Sorry.’ Niall sighed after a pause. ‘Just… I know it’s awful for you, okay? But don’t put this on him. He feels bad already.’
‘I’m sorry.’ Louis said, turning red.
‘No... I’m sorry, I shouldn’t blow up on you like that. I’m just a bit protective about him.’ Niall laughed. ‘We’re all good man. If it makes you feel better, today was the first time I heard Harry scream at his publicist and manager. He was literally shouting.’ Niall giggled. ‘They were terrified, Harry is usually a very calm person so they are taking care of it.’
‘This is really fucking weird.’ Louis said after a second, shaking his head like he wanted to wake up from a very bad dream.
‘Hey.’ Niall said, squeezing his arm briefly. ‘I promise it will get better. I mean, bottom line is they don’t care if you’re not famous. They stopped writing about me after a few weeks and I actually was dating the guy.’ He laughed. ‘Just lay low for a few days. Harry will take care of it.’
“Wait…’ Louis said, finally taking a closer look at the lad, taking in his easy smile, his dyed blonde hair, and an impressive ring on his finger. ‘Should I know who you are?’
‘Nah.’ Niall laughed easily. ‘You may know my fiance though. He’s a singer.’ He added with a proud look on his face that strangely resembled the look Louis’ mom was always giving him while introducing him to her friends and saying ‘he’s in med school’. ‘Zayn?’ He added, wrongly interpreting Louis’ silence.
‘Shit! You’re dating Zayn?’ Louis asked, snapping out of his thoughts. He wasn’t easily starstruck, rubbing elbows with semi famous people for years now ever since he met Grimmy but… Zayn.
‘Engaged, actually.’ Niall smiled again, waving the huge ring in front of Louis’ face.
‘You’re the ‘very private veterinarian fiancee’!’ Louis exclaimed, recalling reading an article about Zayn’s engagement. ‘Hey dude, I’m in med school!’
‘No shit! That’s awesome!’ Niall exclaimed, raising a hand for a high five, both men feeling a camaraderie that could only come after both living through hell that med school was. ‘What’s your specialty?’
‘Not sure yet. I’m quite torn between surgery and psychology.’ Louis said not even realising that Niall had just managed to effectively change the subject and ease his nerves substantially.
‘Shit, I tell you mate, whatever you choose you’re in for a ride.’ Niall whistled.
‘I know…’ Louis whined. ‘Psychology is so fascinating, you know? And I love the idea of working with the lgbtq+ community, like being able to actually help, not just donate money, you know? But on the other hand, being a surgeon and still being able to help people but also the rush of it. You did surgical rotation, right?’
‘Course. Med school.’ Niall nodded like it was obvious.
‘I’ve never felt such a rush. I only got to stand in the operating room, they didn’t even let us close enough to a patient to look inside but still. Man… I get what Grey’s Anatomy is all about.’ He chuckled.
‘I thought it was about how annoying Meredith could be?’ Niall laughed, making Louis giggle and almost miss how the car came into a stop in front of a hotel. ‘Harry is staying here for a while. His house is mostly safe but that pap was following him for over a year, the fuck we know what he actually found out.’ Niall sighed, making Louis’ stomach twist again. ‘Come on, let’s go inside.’ He chirped happily at the end and skipped out of the car, leaving Louis no other choice but to follow him.
They went inside a posh lobby of a hotel Louis vaguely remembered once checking in with Grimmy when they started to fool around for a day of champagne and fun, and he smirked at the memory. Oh, simpler times!
They went by the reception, the hotel staff just nodding at Niall with acknowledgment. They stepped into the elevator chatting lightly about med school and Louis couldn’t believe how composed he felt. He almost forgot about the fact that he was just chased by the paparazzi in front of his house and that he needed to be at uni and work tomorrow and he had no idea whether or not he would be able to.
They stopped in front of room #1618 and Niall just went inside with a loud, ‘Honey I’m home!’ making Louis roll his eyes and still smile a little at a worn out joke as he saw his favourite singer rise from the couch with wild hair and beam at his face upon hearing his fiancee’s voice.
‘Louis!’ He turned around abruptly and saw Harry making his way to him with wide eyes and rosy cheeks and Louis felt the last ounces of anger seeping out of his body as he saw how tired Harry looked.
‘God, Harry did you sleep at all?’ He groaned, reaching out to touch the bags under Harry’s eyes, not shying away this time when he touched the milky skin that had turned slightly gray, only making his eyes greener.
‘I got a phone call about the article around 1 am.’ Harry admitted, looking down at his feet. ‘I’m so sorry.’ He said, looking at Louis with so much sadness in his eyes that Louis barely stopped himself from curling him up and putting him inside his pocket.
‘It’s not your fault.’ Louis shook his head. ‘I mean as long as you actually weren’t stalking me like I always assumed.’ He added teasingly, making Harry smile a little, tilting his head to the side.
Only the clearing of someone’s throat behind him made him step back away from Harry and realise that he had been holding his cheek all that time.
‘Nice to meet you, mate. Sorry that it’s under such a sucky circumstances.’ Zayn said, thrusting his hand to Louis with a small smile that was neither his smouldering or mysterious one. Damn. ‘I’m Zayn.’ He added as Louis took his hand reverently.
‘I may never wash this hand ever again.’ Louis whispered, only a little jokingly. ‘I’m Louis. Shit… mate, I’m honestly a huge fan.’ He gushed, still shaking Zayn’s hand.
‘I’m getting jealous over here.’ Harry murmured.
‘Yeah, me too.’ Niall mocked, making everyone giggle happily.
They stopped to look at each other, all four of them, before the laughter died in their throats as they remembered why all of them were there in the first place and an awkward silence enveloped the room.
‘So… um… could we order some food?’ Niall asked, breaking the tension.
‘Order for everyone?’ Harry asked, leading Louis to the couch. ‘Okay, so I should probably explain what is going on.’ He said, sighing heavily as he sat down and running a hand over his face.
‘Hey,’ Louis said softly even though he was dying to know. ‘You don’t need to like... Tell me everything everything. Like I really only need to know how we’re getting my life back to normal.’ He said softly.
Obviously he was curious. He knew Harry Styles was the hottest name in the industry right now. He knew he had three movies coming out that very year and that there was talk about a possible Golden Globe nomination. He knew that his big break involved a lot of making out with Ryan Reynolds and quite a few graphic scenes. But all of that didn’t explain how someone could be that paranoid and sure about outing him to follow him for over a year, doing it so thoroughly that they managed to investigate Louis who was nothing more but a cute story you can tell on the radio how you bumped into the same person four times in a row. So he knew there was a possibility that Harry might not be straight. There was also a possibility of some kind of ‘evidence’ circling out there that made the pap go through all that trouble. The thought alone made him sick to the stomach.
‘Lou. I’m gay.’ Harry deadpanned softly. ‘I think it’s safe to say that the cat is out of the bag.’ He added bitterly and Louis felt a strong urge to find the asshole who wrote the article and pummel him into the wall. Repeatedly. Face first.
‘Woo-hoo!’ He yelled suddenly, a great idea entering his head. ‘CONGRATULATIONS!’ He exclaimed again, standing up and pulling Harry up by his hands, trying to jump around with him, his eyes crinkling from his smile.
‘What… what are you doing?’ Harry asked, a little confused.
‘We’re having a coming out party.’ Louis grinned devilishly.
‘Louis, I don’t think this is the time…’ Harry started before Louis brought a finger to his mouth only realising after he felt his lips on his skin that there were so many ways to make him stop talking without touching. He should probably look into that later.
‘Nah, fuck it. Am I understanding the situation correctly that I can’t go out and neither can you for at least 24 hours, right?’ Louis asked authoritatively.
‘Jeff said he’ll take care of this until tomorrow morning.’ Zayn said, stepping inside the room with Niall in tow.
‘The food will be here in a few.’ Niall added.
‘Great, order some liquor too.’ Louis beamed at Niall, deciding that the questions like ‘who’s Jeff?’ and ‘how?’ could wait until morning and was pleased to notice that the blonde skipped outside without a moment of hesitation.’We have absolutely nothing to do, Harry, and fuck him for doing this to you, and for the record fuck him for doing this to me too.’ He laughed. ‘So we’re having a coming out party. Because it should be a great memory for you, okay? Not a shitty one. I know how it is, okay? I may never have thought about how it would be to come out to the entire world, but I still had to come out to everyone in my life, and I know how incredible it may feel. So just celebrate with us.’ He added, seeing Harry’s dimples pop.
‘Yeah… yeah. Okay.’ Harry nodded, his smile slowly spreading on his face.
‘I like this one.’ Zayn said, looking at Louis approvingly.
‘Don’t get my hopes up, you are engaged!’ Louis huffed teasingly, making Niall moonwalk back into the room and kiss Zayn all over his face possessively. ‘I just have to call my mom and Liam real quick, because they are probably freaking out already and I’ll be back.’
He tried to talk to his mom as quick as he could, but apparently there were paparazzi at his house, which made Louis almost run out of the hotel and drive to Doncaster before his mom assured him that she had called the police already and they took care of it. He explained what happened and answered ‘I’m okay’ to each one of hundreds of concerned versions of the same ‘Are you okay?’ question. And then it was another conversation with Liam who was a hundred times more the mother hen his actual mom was. When he finally wrapped it up and stepped inside the hotel suite there were trays of food and liquor on every possible flat surface like coke in ‘80. Louis would probably be the first to say that it was a bit overboard, but on the other hand after the crazy morning he had, he deserved it.
They sat around in the living room, Louis plugging in his phone to the speakers and blasting some Liza Minelli because no coming out party was complete without her. Zayn took out some weed grinning at Louis widely and wiggling his eyebrows when Louis beamed back. They smoked up, ate over half of the food, and then Nicki Minaj started to blast from the speakers making Louis think he could rap to ‘Anaconda,’ which prompted Harry to nearly die out of laughter.
But obviously it couldn’t last forever. His phone dinged, and he looked at it, curious what it was. After the crazy flood of tweets, he had turned off his notifications only leaving a few of his friends on the list and noticed that Grimmy posted something on twitter and tagged him and Harry in it.
Louis clicked on the link dreading whatever was in there, knowing how little fucks Nick had to give, and when he read it he first barked out with laughter and then realised he was one hundred percent right.
‘Your friend really isn’t helping.’ Harry murmured, sounding disappointed as he was looking down on his phone.
‘Oh come on! He’s obviously taking the piss out of it. That’s how he is.’ Louis shrugged, a little irked over the fact that Harry was criticising Nick cause he didn’t have a fucking excessive media training.
‘Yeah, but still it will fuel more buzz about it and I thought that’s the opposite of what you wanted.’ Harry noted calmly. Louis had to admit he saw a point to that.
‘What you talking about?’ Zayn asked, exhaling smoke and passing the joint to Louis, his hand softly caressing Niall’s back who was plastered all over his chest.
‘Grimmy tweeted a link to Gold Digger and tagged us in it with a bunch of crying laughing emojis.’ Louis smiled, making Niall guffaw, and Harry shake his head. ‘Oh come on, Curls.’ Louis said leisurely, weed making him relaxed enough to slip in the pet name. ‘Admit it. You laughed a little. On the inside.’ He added scrunching his nose at Harry and putting his feet in his lap, feeling completely at ease, which was a popular occurrence when he was this high.
‘Fine. Maybe a little on the inside.’ Harry allowed with a small smile, circling Louis’ ankle with his hand absently.
They reached the point of sobering up. There were still joints being passed around, smoke swirling in the air and an occasional giggle attack but mostly they were coming down, just chilling on the couches as Louis plugged in some of The Fray on his phone.
‘So. What’s happening now?’ Louis asked finally over a bite of a little pizza cupcake. He didn’t know pizza cupcakes were a thing and his life had been meaningless before he met them.
‘Jeff is calling in favours with journalists to bury this and make it sound utterly ridiculous. He tried to pay off the guy who wrote the story but apparently The Sun paid more.’ Harry shrugged. ‘The good thing is it is The Sun so half of the people expect it to be an overreaction already.’
‘He’s um... how ridiculous is he making it exactly?’ Louis asked massaging the back of his neck, his stomach squeezing uncomfortably at how easily he could see someone ridiculing the notion that he could land someone like Harry
‘He told me that he’ll just go for sympathy. With this whole ‘Harry knew he would have to sacrifice his personal life to follow his dreams, but he hates that a regular person got mixed up in all of it’, he’ll say that you and Grimmy are old friends and that I just bumped into both of you and that I stopped to talk ‘cause I knew Grimmy from around and he was just having a laugh. That kind of staff. Denying it without really denying my sexuality.’
‘Oh.’ Louis sighed, laughing breathily, not knowing why he was so relieved to hear that. ‘So… you’re not denying it?’
‘Nah.’ Harry shook his head. ‘I mean I was supposed to come out either way. Not anywhere near now but the coming out was in the cards. I had this wild fantasy of coming out while accepting my first Oscar.’ He giggled. ‘But well, in that case I could wait forever and fuck that, I don’t want to deny it. I was fine with just not talking about it and letting them think whatever, but I don’t want to deny it.’
‘I’m really happy for you.’ Louis smiled. ‘I know we barely know each other but nonetheless - I’m really happy for you.’
‘I’m sorry you went through all of that.’ Harry said quietly, noticing Zayn and Niall dozing on on the couch next to them. Louis discreetly looked out of the window and, baffled, noticed that it was already pitch dark outside. He had no idea where the day went.
‘It’s fine.’ Louis smiled. ‘I mean, not that I would choose it if I could.’ He laughed softly. ‘But a little craziness never killed anyone.’
‘You really are… just a great person to kind of like just sit and admire what you’re like.’ Harry whispered, his hands still playing with Louis’ ankles.
‘And you really must be very stoned.’ Louis whispered back conspiratorially, fighting the blush spreading on his cheeks.
‘No, I mean it.’ Harry said, softly squeezing his shin. ‘You’re in med school. You care about your friends, and you help complete strangers. However you can.’ Harry said seriously. ‘Like you know, putting them up against the wall or checking into a fancy hotel to eat, drink, and smoke Britain’s finest.’ He added teasingly, taking a bit of the edge from the mood.
‘Well, didn’t you hear? Famous dudes paying for all my shit is what I enjoy the most.’ Louis quipped back, both of them laughing softly.
They spent the rest of the evening not talking about anything serious, talking a bit more about Louis’ school, pretending Louis didn’t notice how Harry changed the subject every time the topic of his career popped in. They drank some more, and Louis didn’t even notice when he fell asleep on the couch, only being woken up by someone tugging on his arm.
‘Louis?’ He heard a voice he couldn’t quite place. He opened his eyes and saw kind brown eyes looking down at him. ‘Sorry, for the rude awakening. I figured you’d like to hear the news. I’m Jeff.’ He added, and Louis shot out of his seat, making the guy smile softly and move on to shake Harry awake.
‘It’s done. Tomorrow you will have tons of articles coming out about how ridiculous The Sun was being, making all kinds of grand statements about journalist integrity and all that shit. Like those vultures ever heard a fucking word.’ Jeff snarled addressing them quietly, still wary of Zayn and Niall sleeping on the couch. ‘Some articles are already out in the US on some blogs. In a few days, no one will remember your name.’ He added, looking to Louis softly.
‘Thank you.’ Louis whispered serenely, happy to be done with the entire thing.
‘It may still be some attention for a few days, but it would be best for you to just go about your life normally and whatever you do, and that’s very important - do not engage with them, they will say anything to get a reaction out of you. Don’t give it to them. Just ignore everything, and…’ Jeff rubbed the back of his hand, looking uncomfortable.
‘What is it?’ Louis urged.
‘You can’t be talking about Harry. To anyone. You never know who they may talk to afterwards, who may overhear you...’ He started.
‘Jeff!’ Harry interrupted, his face one of pure horror. ‘Cut it out.’ He said with a stern expression and Louis seriously had no idea someone so cute could look so threatening.
‘No, Harry.’ Louis contradicted, holding Harry’s arm. ‘It’s fine. Do you need me to sign a NDA?’ He asked, looking to Jeff.
‘Louis, no...’ Harry started to protest.
‘Yeah.’ Jeff nodded at the same time.
‘It’s fine. Do you have it on you?’ Louis asked and saw Jeff reaching into his briefcase.
‘Louis! This really isn’t necessary!’ Harry exclaimed loudly, making Zayn and Niall stir in their sleep a little.
‘Haz, I dated Grimshaw. It’s not my first time signing an NDA.’ Louis rolled his eyes. ‘I really don’t mind.’ He shrugged and reached for the pen and a paper Jeff was handing him, going through the words.
‘I don’t want to ask you to do that.’ Harry pouted.
‘You’re not.’ Louis shrugged simply and scanned the NDA more carefully, making sure he wasn’t signing something horrible, even though he found himself trusting Harry’s judgment in manager choices. He hummed to himself and signed at the dotted line.
He gave it back to Jeff and started to stand up slowly. ‘Guess I should get going.’ He said, looking at Harry warmly. ‘I have classes in the morning and work after that.’
‘I’ll drive you.’ Harry offered immediately.
‘Not the best idea, there’ll still be some paps at his house. I’ll drop him off on the way to the office.’ Jeff said. ‘I’ll wait outside.’ He added and walked out of the suite.
‘It was great partying with you so don’t get me wrong, but maybe let’s not do this again.’ Louis smiled, making Harry laugh a bit.
‘I’ll try not to stalk you.’ Harry promised solemnly.
‘But you can’t make any promises ‘cause I’m so bloody irresistible, right?’ Louis teased.
‘Yeah, you are.’ Harry nodded.
They both smiled at the floor, a bit of a lull to their stance, but Louis finally broke the silence before it could get uncomfortable.
‘Say bye to Niall and Zayn for me, okay?’ He said quietly and with one last squeeze to Harry’s hand he flew out of the room before he could do something incredibly stupid like kiss him.
Jeff was leaning against the wall outside of the room, typing away on his phone, and he nodded at Louis when he appeared in the hall.
‘Let’s go then.’ He said, motioning for Louis to get into the elevator.
They made a bit of a small talk on the way to Louis’ house, Zayn’s song playing on the radio, making Louis sing under his breath a bit, too tired to even care at this point. After a few minutes, Jeff stopped in front of Louis’ building.
‘Thank you for being so cool about this.’ Jeff said when Louis’ hand was already on the door handle.
‘No worries.’ He smiled.
‘I hope you know he would never make you sign that NDA.’ Jeff added then, looking like a lost puppy. How this guy was supposed to be this hot shot shark hollywood manager with that face - Louis had no idea.
‘I know.’ Louis sighed tiredly, turning fully towards Jeff. ‘And don’t get me wrong… it’s great, because I know myself and it’s amazing to have him give me the benefit of the doubt but… don’t let him trust strangers like that.’ Louis said worryingly, Grimmy having provided him with enough Hollywood horror stories to make him worry. Because what if Jeff wasn’t there to stop Harry from being so trusting and wonderful to someone whose intentions were anything but noble?
‘I won’t.’ Jeff promised, smiling softly.
‘It was nice to meet you, Jeff.’ Louis grinned, tilting his head to the side a bit.
‘You too, Louis. Surprisingly so.’ He answered chuckling a bit, making Louis giggle as he jumped out of the car.
He went inside, his apartment quiet, Liam not expecting Louis until the next day. He went to his roommate's’ bedroom and saw Liam hugging tightly the comfort pillow he called Ryan that Louis bought for him once as a gag joke. Right.
He kissed his forehead quickly and jumped to bed too tired to even brush his teeth, falling asleep in seconds.
He woke up the sun hitting his eyes as he stretched on the bed completely at ease, even though he slept maybe three hours tops. The first thing he thought about was Harry, thinking, very reasonably that he should probably ask him how he was doing. He turned around on his bed with a small smile, smirking to his thoughts while he typed the message in. He pressed send and started to type Harry’s name before he realised… they had never exchanged phone numbers.
He furrowed his eyebrows at his screen, the clever and a bit flirty pun mocking him. He sighed heavily, trying to ignore how his stomach was twisting with dread when he had to acknowledge one obvious fact.
He had no way of contacting Harry. None. He had no idea where he lived, no contact to any of his friends, and the hope that they would bump into each other again was frankly ridiculous. So there was a huge chance that he would never see him again.
His breath hitched and his heart, he swore skipped a beat at the thought.
He would never see him again.
So he got up and went to classes.
Chapter 2: Part two: Harry
‘This is ridiculous!’ Jeff exclaimed, punching his fist on the table. ‘We just got the media off of that stupid rumour about the Harry, Louis, and Grimmy love triangle and now you want Harry to go on The Breakfast Show and make fucking jokes about it?’ He added looking sternly at the wall of studio executives.
‘I’ll do it.’ Harry piped in tiredly. Jeff and the assholes had been going at it for over an hour now and he was tired. Grimmy was fun, Harry enjoyed his show and it was actually over two weeks since Louis’ name had been last mentioned in the media so he was safe, and they hadn’t seen each other since, so…
Yeah, okay, not a good moment to remind himself about that fact. Some things were better left untouched especially since they had no way of not blowing up in Harry’s face.
‘See? He knows how to cooperate.’ One of the douchebags Harry never bothered to learn the name of said, smirking.
‘I’ll go and I’ll talk to him but I won’t be doing your fucking talking points okay. I won’t be saying some homophobic classist bullshit about how ridiculous it is to think I would date him.’
‘Harry, we’re just saying that it might be better if you just drop a name or two… like what about Cara, huh? People already think that you’re dating. All we ask is to not deny it.’ Another douchebag tried to convince him as Harry leveled him with unamused stare.
‘People are thinking that she is cheating on her girlfriend with me because of the rumours you’ve been spreading.’ Harry snarled. ‘I’m coming out. My management and I have a plan and you actually don’t have any say in the matter. Again, we made sure of that when we signed the contract.’ He grinned at them. ‘Let Jeff know when I’m doing the Breakfast Show.’ He added, standing up and moving towards the door, opening it angrily and racing to the elevator before his emotions got the better of him.
He punched in the ground floor button and as soon as the door closed behind him, he punched the wall next to himself, feeling his palm bruise. He put it down and took a deep breath.
He was a calm and collected person, he was nice and accommodating and he rarely fought with people because he just didn’t believe it could help any matters, but those people in there never ceased to challenge his character.
They were making him out to be this huge lothario and he didn’t question it because well, he wasn’t stupid. He knew that in order to act he needed to play a game and it seemed harmless enough. Thanks to being friends with Zayn who got signed years before Harry did, Harry knew how to operate around studio executives to not be stuck in the unwinnable situation where a few middle aged suits can control your entire life. But still, he knew that he needed to give them something in order for them to even bother.
And it worked like that, but boy did he want to sometimes pick them up and throw them out of the window.
He stepped outside and jumped inside his car, his driver nodding in the rearview mirror and asking where to go.
‘To Zayn’s please.’ Harry smiled and felt the vibrations in his pocket as the car went into motion.
You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to. I can take care of it.
Reading the text from Jeff made Harry smile.
Naah. I’ll do it. Just talk to Grimmy? Let’s make the interview about something more than just Louis, okay?
Will do H. Did you talk to Louis at all?
The last text read and Harry looked at it, starting to feel nauseous . He stared at it for a few minutes before putting the phone back to his pocket and letting it go unanswered.
He rested his forehead on the window, enjoying the usual British weather, dark clouds hanging low in the sky. He would miss it in a few weeks when he was going to be in Barbados shooting his next movie. The usual excitement about it was replaced yet again with this strange feeling that he didn’t want to admit had everything to do with Louis.
He convinced himself that all of the reasons he had against asking Louis out wouldn’t matter if they would just bump into each other one last time. And maybe it was hopeless and romantic to think like that, but was it really that hopeless? They had bumped into each other randomly more times than was rational, so Harry wanted to believe that if it was meant to be it would happen again.
Before he knew it they were driving past the Natural History Museum and stopping in front of Zayn and Niall’s apartment building.
‘Thanks Matty, I’ll find my own way home okay? But pick me up tomorrow at 9 am, okay?’
‘Sure Harry.’ Matty smiled.
He punched in the code to the building and got to the elevator where he punched in another one to get into Zayn and Niall’s penthouse.
He was welcome by their dog Justin (in honour of Justin Timberlake - one of Zayn’s favourite musicians and Justin Bieber - Niall’s absolute favourite). He was petting the puppy behind his ears when Zayn stepped out of the bedroom, wearing only grey sweatpants hanging lowly on his hips, his chest littered with lovebites and his hair a complete mess.
‘Your daddies have been doing some nasty stuff, huh?’ He cooed at the puppy when he took in his best friend’s appearance. ‘Thank god I didn’t pop in earlier, isn’t that right?’ He added, cuddling the animal to his chest.
‘If you’re popping in unannounced, we are not held responsible for what you stumble onto.’ Zayn shrugged smiling, pleased.
‘Hiatus is working for you, huh?’ Harry laughed, moving to greet Zayn and kissing him on the cheek.
‘It is. Especially since Niall took some time off.’ Zayn grinned dreamily. ‘We are having a week of intensive wedding planning. Coffee?’ He asked, showing Harry a coffee pod he used to pour himself a cup.
‘Tea please.’ Harry corrected. ‘Wedding planning, yeah.’ He noted sarcastically.
‘What can I say…’ Zayn quipped coyly. ‘Niall is very passionate about the flower arrangements.’
‘Just because you want to use fucking roses.’ Niall’s voice interrupted him, the boy wearing Zayn’s shirt, barely covering his boxer briefs. ‘We’re better than that.’ He added, kissing Harry’s head as a greeting. ‘Make me some coffee too.’ He murmured into Zayn’s neck, coming behind him and looping an arm around his waist and his chin on his shoulder.
‘Of course, love.’ Zayn answered softly, Harry not even knowing what he was agreeing to. Probably both and everything - everyone knew Zayn was whipped.
‘How was the meeting?’ Niall asked, opening the fridge and taking out some food.
‘Was fine.’ Harry shrugged. ‘I’m gonna have an interview with Grimmy.’ He added, looking tentatively at his friends, gauging their reaction.
‘Why?’ Zayn asked carefully, furrowing his eyebrows.
‘Well, what they want is me laughing off the idea that I might not be straight. And that even if I was gay I wouldn’t date Louis.’ Harry grimaced.
‘Why do they fucking care about Louis of it all so much?’ Niall asked, his mouth twisted in disgust.
‘Well it seems like media gave up on that idea but my fans didn’t. It turns out me and Louis have quite a shipping fandom. They love him. Handsome med student. Who fucking wouldn’t.’ Harry explained sipping on his tea, trying to cover up his facial expression with a tea mug.
‘But you’re not really dating Louis.’ Zayn stated cruelly, looking at Harry in challenge. ‘Why is that again?’
‘You know why is that again!’ Harry whined. ‘How can I bring him into this circus, huh?’
‘Don’t you think you should let him decide on his own whether he wants to be brought in this circus?’ Niall said quietly, pushing a plate with a peanut butter sandwich on it towards Harry.
‘Oh, don’t give me that! He can’t make a conscious decision because he has no idea how crazy this can be! It’s better this way, okay.’
‘Yeah it’s that or you’re just a stubborn tit.’ Zayn concluded with a grin, making Harry roll his eyes.
‘Oh give me a break. We’re watching it or not?’
Harry, Zayn, and Niall had made plans of watching Sofia Coppola’s greatest hits since Harry had an audition for her upcoming movie in a few weeks. They cuddled on the sofa together, Niall ending up in the middle just like he always preferred and put on the first one.
They were halfway through Marie Antoinette and Harry had just barely started to feel like himself again when his phone vibrated again in his pocket.
You’re going on Grimmy’s show first thing in the morning. I already cancelled Matty, I’ll pick you up. You at home or at Zayn and Niall’s?
Harry swallowed loudly and cuddled further into Niall who without the word tugged him in closer and started to play with his hair.
‘You want to stay tonight?’ Niall murmured into his curls, noticing how tense Harry became after receiving the text.
‘Yeah.’ Harry nodded.
‘Any special requests for breakfast?’ He added, smile evident in his voice.
‘I have to be at BBC Radio 1 around 7, so I don’t think you’ll be awake.’ Harry said, sending a quick text to Jeff where to pick him up from, very much aware of the concerned glances Zayn and Niall were just exchanging behind him.
‘You want us to come with you mate?’ Zayn asked carefully.
‘No, I’m fine.’ Harry shook his head and poked Niall with his head, trying to communicate that he wanted to stop talking about it.
‘Meet us for lunch after?’ Niall proposed.
‘I can’t.’ Harry whined hiding his face under Niall’s arm. ‘I have a photoshoot later.’
‘Okay. Well, we’ll be home tomorrow. So if you want to hang out, come by.’
Harry just nodded and buried himself into Niall’s lap, feeling Zayn’s hand in his hair now as well. He smiled to himself, usually getting annoyed at how both of them tried to baby him, but tonight he needed it.
They both kissed his head goodnight when he was already in bed a few hours later and when he woke up at 5:30 the next morning they were in the kitchen already, Zayn handing him a cup of coffee and Niall flipping pancakes at the stove. They both just grinned at him happily and ruffled his head in greeting.
‘Thanks for the food.’ Harry smiled, not really thanking for the food.
‘Don’t mention it.’ Zayn waved him off. ‘Do you need a ride at least?’
‘Nah. Jeff is picking me up in a few.’
‘You okay?’ Niall asked tentatively, like he already knew the answer.
‘I just want it to be over, you know? I just want to come out, have everyone know, and just be fucking done with this shit.’ He groaned, throwing his hands up.
‘I know, love.’ Zayn soothed. ‘I know.’ And those words would prompt a bitter laugh from Harry if they came from anyone other than Zayn. But he really did know because he went through it. More so even as he got signed when he was 16, at that time he would sign whatever they gave him with his own blood if that meant he would get to make music. And in his twenties he spent years in literal war with his management to break free from his contract.
So he took those words from Zayn and when Jeff called, he skipped downstairs knowing that it all was at least going in the right direction. Maybe he didn’t get to come out today but at least it was happening. Only few more articles, a few more rumours and he would be out.
‘Movie star!’ Grimmy cheered when he noticed Harry stepping inside the BBC Radio 1 building some minutes later, obviously having been waiting for him at the lobby.
‘Radio DJ!’ Harry cheered in the same exact tone of voice, making Nick guffaw.
‘It nice to meet you mate, while I’m actually sober.’ He said, shaking Harry’s hand vigorously.
‘Likewise.’ Harry smiled. ‘Not that I didn’t enjoy that performance! Oscar worthy.’ Harry quipped, feeling himself relax under how casual and warm Nick was.
‘That’s me. Always a diva!’ Nick quipped, popping his hip and flicking his wrist transparently, making Harry giggle. ‘I’m very honoured you agreed for this interview.’ He added after leading Harry deeper inside the building. ‘I really am a huge fan.’
‘Thank you. I enjoy your show, so it wasn’t such a hardship.’ Harry smiled.
‘About that… well, Louis is pretty fond of you and I’m very fond of him so… some of your team led me to believe you want to deny recent rumours rather harshly, and then your manager said something completely opposite. So I wanted to ask you, because if Louis likes you, I trust his judgment and I would hate to do you wrong - how do you want to proceed with that?’ Grimmy asked, leaning over Harry with a concerned facial expression.
‘Not denying anything.’ Harry stated firmly, making Nick’s eyes widen as he understood the rumours of his sexuality at least were true, but he hid it pretty well. ‘Denying Louis obviously, don’t want him getting mixed up in all of this. But other than that not denying. Teasing would be more accurate.’ Harry grinned at the end.
‘Well, my sweet, sweet boy - you’ll learn that no one does teasing quite like me.’ Nick grinned, looping an arm around Harry’s neck and bringing him into the studio.
Harry went around the room to greet everyone before he and Grimmy sat down opposite of each other and went on air.
‘So what we have tonight is a very special guest.’ Nick started. ‘England’s finest, our greatest export - Harry Styles himself everybody!’ He cheered.
‘Hi Grimmy.’ Harry greeted. ‘Happy to be here.’
‘You honour us, movie star.’ Nick laughed. ‘Speaking of which, how is that acting thing going, huh?’
‘Oh, you know.’ Harry played along. ‘Some gigs here and there.’ He grinned at Nick.
‘Yeah, I heard about your upcoming movie directed by… Christopher Nolan, was it? I mean you can never keep up with these new Hollywood names!’ He teased. ‘In all seriousness though, we are waiting at the edge of our seats for the premiere, especially after those teasers. How are you feeling about the movie?’
‘I’m excited. Shooting with Christopher Nolan… well that is a dream come true. Especially for someone so new in all of this. But that’s what’s great about Christoper, he doesn’t concern himself with A-list or B-list celebrity status or whatever, he chooses a range of people, some household names of acclaimed actors, but he also gives a chance to people like me, who are barely starting.’
‘Well some would have thought that you made quite an audition for yourself in Deadpool and Darkness. There is some talk about a Golden Globe nomination for the second one. Any comment on that?’
‘The only comment I have is that even having my name in the same sentence as Golden Globe is an honour. I would love to, of course I would love to, but I would rather stick to the fact than hear rumours.’
‘Well, you had a bad run of those recently…’ Nick trailed off.
‘So we’re addressing the elephant in the room, huh?’ Harry laughed, playing it off for the audience.
‘Well, I know you don’t really know Louis, but he would get really offended about comparing him to an elephant.’ Nick whispered conspiratorially, making Harry giggle.
‘I would never! From all my brief encounters with him I can say he’s rather lovely, not elephant-like in the slightest.’ Harry laughed.
‘He will be pleased to hear that.’ Nick smiled.
‘Yeah, he will definitely be very happy with you bringing him up in this interview, I think the poor lad went through enough.’ Harry deadpanned.
‘Oh yeah, having the entire world think he’s dating you must have been so awful.’ Nick laughed.
‘Well how do you know, maybe I’m not his type.’ Harry shot back, making Nick giggle. ‘To be honest though, that was the worst part of the entire situation. Because there was this person that I had met briefly a few times that suddenly had his life turned upside down because of me. I spent years daydreaming about being an actor, so I was prepared for all the negative stuff that comes with it, but someone not from the business? That’s why we made such a big deal out of it. There has to be a line journalists can’t cross even if they claim it’s only in pursuit of the truth.’
The entire studio cheered, making Harry shake his head with a smile.
‘Well with that out of the way, we send our best to Louis. We are very sorry that knowing stars like us made you a target.’ He said cheekily. ‘If you listen please don’t hate me!’ Nick sing-songed happily. ‘Now, one of Zayn’s classics as we miss him and he should just come back already! More Harry Styles after the break.’ He said to the microphone and Zayn’s sultry vocals filled the studio.
‘I kind of feel bad with wiping my mouth with his name.’ Harry said after a bit.
‘Mate, you have to acknowledge it. There were a lot of statements from your team, and with you radio silent people were wary of believing it. You did him a favour. He’ll recognize that.’
‘Yeah, just all of this feels fucking dirty, you know. I didn’t do this yet I still feel like I should spend at least few hours hugging myself in the shower.’ Harry deadpanned.
‘What an image.’ Nick said dreamily. ‘But really, you feel bad cause you’re a good person, but you didn’t do this. No one is blaming you, Harry.’ He added, squeezing his hand.
‘Why are you so nice to me?’ Harry asked quietly, looking around noticing that no one really paid any attention to them.
‘I told you. Louis likes you.’ Nick shrugged.
‘Does he…’ Harry started to ask the painful question to which the answer to he was dying to know but he stopped himself mid way terrified of the answer.
Nick seemed to know exactly what Harry wanted to ask, as he looked down grinning, amused. ‘He does.’ He assured Harry.
‘You didn’t even know what I wanted to ask.’ Harry mumbled, blushing.
‘Oh I do.’ Nick winked at him. ‘To all of you tuning in after the break we have Harry Styles in the studio with us tonight.’ He exclaimed to the microphone right after, making Harry switch to his professional mode once again.
The next few weeks were a blur. He was in a hundred places at once, or so it seemed. Jeff had him doing interviews, auditions, and photoshoots all over the place. He flew to Los Angeles for a few days to film some talk shows, articles about his sexual orientation were swirling around, and it was the time to finally record his coming out message.
He and Jeff had been wondering what would be the best way to do it for months now. Harry always leaned to the more personal approach rather than the cover story in some paper or rehearsed interview, and after some deliberation Jeff agreed it was best that Harry just recorded a video and posted it on his twitter for everyone to see. He said that the genuinity of it would probably sway some more skeptical fans.
The day he was supposed to do that, he woke up early and heard Niall and Zayn mingling about in his kitchen. He hadn’t invited them, but they came anyway, as they always seemed to know what he needed without him having to ask.
It was going to be the last calm day before the storm. After this, he would have about two months before the shooting of his new film would begin, but it will be all interviews and press after his coming out and for his new movie that was hitting the theaters in a few weeks. As he would be mostly busy with shooting, he and the director decided to pre-record some interviews while he was still available.
He stood up from his bed and went methodically about his morning routine before putting his clothes on and walking downstairs to meet an enthusiastic Niall and a calculating Zayn.
They maintained a bit of a small talk, Harry not really keen on talking about what he was about to do, before he finally sighed, feeling nerves hit his stomach and decided to face it head on. He was this close to the finish line.
‘I should record it I think.’ He said. ‘Jeff is suppose to text me when to post it but I want to have time to re-record it if I say something wrong.’ He added.
‘Sure babes, you want us to come with you?’ Zayn asked.
‘Nah just... Wait here.’
Zayn and Niall both just nodded and Harry went back to his bedroom. He sat on the bed, ran his hand over the duvet a few times before he shook his head and moved to the armchair near his window. He swung his legs over the side of it and opened his camera realising what an awkward angle his face was in now. A bit irritated, he stood up and went back to the living room, Zayn and Niall looking at him questioningly as he sat on the couch with a look of determination in his eyes.
He took out his phone and flipped the camera so he could see his face and before he could talk himself out of it, he pressed record.
‘Hello everyone!’ He greeted with a big smile. ‘I wanted to talk to you about something and everything I wrote just seemed wrong and awkward so I figured this is as close to face to face as we can ever get. There were some rumours floating around my person recently. I’m sure if you follow this account you’ve heard about them.’ He smiled, looking down for a second. ‘And the reason I’m talking about it is because rumours are true. I am gay.’ He said, nearly hearing the bells going off in his head as he said the words.
‘But you were half right.’ Harry noted, his green eyes looking in the camera like he hoped he would be able to penetrate the glass. ‘I’m gay and I hope you're happy that another deviant like me won’t be able to hide.’ He snarled ironically before rubbing his eyes tiredly. ‘But I was never dating Louis. We just bumped into each other a few times.’ He shrugged. ‘ And I don’t think it’s fair for you to involve a person who never agreed to be a part of your circus. He is not my boyfriend. He is not a gold digger. He is just this cute guy I kept bumping into on the street over and over again and was trying to work up the courage to ask out. ‘ He laughed softly. ‘Thanks for ruining that too, I guess.’
‘Also thanks for ruining this experience for me - my coming out. As someone once told me, it should be happy one - to share who I am with my fans, people who actually care about me and who I care about. And you tainted that with stalking me for over a year.’ He said sternly, imagining the pap who wrote that first article.
‘I spent a lot of time thinking about how I should go about this. You put the story out there, so there was no pretending it never happened, and well, denying it was not an option for me. I never had to do it. My family, my friends, they knew about it ever since I was a child. And I figured… as a person who is blessed with such an enormous support system, I owe it to every lgbtq+ kid in the world to be brave. Not to deny it or strengthen the idea that this somehow, who we love, who we fuck even, is shameful. It’s not and I refuse to be shamed by you or by anyone else. And if this tanks my career, makes people not give me roles - that’s fine. Those are not the people I would want to work with anyway. At the end of the day I will get to be happy, somewhere down the line I will get to meet a guy that I’ll marry and I’ll wake up to him every morning. Compared to that: roles.. Movies.. Seems like a luxury - something I would love to have but can live without. Being true to myself on the other hand, that is something I was yearning for quite some time now, even keeping quiet about this has been taking its toll on me for the past few months, and today - I couldn’t be happier. To be standing in front of you as me - finally.’ He ended, smiling at the camera, some stray tears glistening in his eyes as he pressed stop and put down the phone, looking to Zayn and Niall who were embracing each other lovingly with Niall sobbing quietly into Zayn’s chest.
‘That…. That… was beautiful.’ He choked out finally, making Harry and Zayn burst into laughter.
It was like something broke in them and Zayn and Niall both hurried to Harry to embrace him and kiss him all over, making the younger man giggle and squirm away, claiming tickles.
‘You’re posting it now?’ Zayn asked.
‘I have to send it to Jeff first.’ Harry said, sending the video to his manager. They were all left staring at his phone for a few minutes before it binged with a text message from Jeff.
That's beautiful Harry. I’m so proud of you!!! You can post it whenever you like, everything is ready. Turn off your phone for today and celebrate, I’ll see you first thing in the morning. I’ll bring coffee xxx.
‘So…’ Niall trailed off, both of them reading over Harry’s shoulder.
‘So I’m posting it.’ Harry shrugged, hit tweet and turned off his phone.
This was Harry’s last week in London. He was in the car late in the afternoon after yet another interview where he had more often than not had to answer offensive questions about being gay. One asshole went as far as asking him whether he was a top or a bottom. He nearly choked him.
It was a few weeks after his coming out video and three after the Dunkirk premiere and to say that his schedule was crazy would be the understatement of the century. But tonight he had a night off and he got a word from the Make a Wish foundation that a very sick child wanted to meet him, so of course, he was on his way to the hospital right now.
To be completely honest, he needed to distract himself a bit. His coming out was a non-issue. It seemed he did hire the best team in the world since him coming out only made him receive double the offers he did before, and he was happy about it all. He was happy that he got to go to the gay club and not earn The Sun’s cover the next day.
Not that he was able to pick anyone in there up because they were either trolling to get on the news themselves or were way too preoccupied with calling him a hero to notice that at the end of the day, he was just a guy. Who, not to put it bluntly, needed a fuck once in a while. But that wasn’t that big of a problem. He realised that for the past few months he had less and less inkling for hook ups, mostly because every time he tried, the guys he took home were strangely resembling one person.
And Louis - as fate had it - was nowhere to be seen. Harry had long left the fickle notion of them bumping into each other somehow, and was leaning more into a practical approach of just knocking on Louis’ door but… he was scared. That maybe Louis had moved on, that maybe he had had a chance all those months ago when they were celebrating in the hotel room and now he had missed it. What if Louis had someone? What if he moved out? There were so many things that could go wrong and Harry didn’t want to be presumptuous and think that Louis spent all this time waiting around for Harry to get his life together.
He wouldn't say that he was in love with Louis, he barely knew him and for all the romantic that he was, he knew that you can’t be in love with someone you don’t even know. But he was infatuated with him, strongly. Strongly enough to be here in the back of his car months after meeting him and still craving more. Craving his smile and his witty comments so much that it hurt.
He wanted to get to know him and see if maybe there was something there, now that the media had calmed down a bit. Take it slow, take him to dinner, text to the late hours of the night, send him videos of unexpected animal friendships, whine about his awful day after 18 hours of shooting when Louis was barely out of bed due to the time difference.
It was terrifying how many things he wanted with him, and now was afraid he would never get to do.
Matty stopped at the hospital and assured Harry he’d wait for him before he stepped out of the car and moved towards the entrance where he could see Janice, the Make a Wish Foundation lady, waiting for him. They greeted each other and Janice showed him to Tammy’s room, a seven year old child who was obsessed with comic books and who cried seeing Harry enter their room.
His heart was breaking looking at Tammy who was showing him all kinds of comic books, mostly too tired to even turn the page. He sat behind them, and they perched on his chest and he helped them turn the page as they pointed towards random characters telling him what they liked about them the most.
He spent four heartbreaking and heartwarming hours in Tammy’s room until they fell asleep on his chest. He kissed their head, left his photo and a little handwritten message and sauntered outside where Janice was still waiting for him. He promised to come back and asked Janice to arrange something with Jeff as he had no idea how his schedule would be and kissed her cheek as a goodbye, emotionally drained after that visit.
It was always so beautiful and so awful all at once to visit kids in hospital. He was so happy to be able to give them happiness and some kind of relief even if it was fleeting and small, but seeing their weak little bodies, how they grasped for every breath, was heartbreaking.
He turned left, turning into a corridor he was pretty sure he had not passed on his way to Tammy’s room and rubbed his eyes looking up at the direction board to find the nearest exit. His eyes caught on the man standing by the snack machine with blue scrubs on him, next to another guy, who was taller and bulkier than him. His eyes were even bluer than Harry remembered, and it seemed he had changed his hairstyle all of it now longer, falling onto his arms and into his eyes. There was also a slight trace of stubble on his cheeks and he was standing with his legs crossed, his hip popped, laughing about something the other man said. The scrubs on him were stretching to accommodate the width of his arse and Harry felt his heart stammer and his dick waking up as well and he blushed at how animalistic that notion was.
He must have been staring for a long time before suddenly the boy turned his head towards him and his mouth opened widely in a perfect o before he closed it and smiled warmly at Harry. He walked away from the other guy without a word and both him and Harry moved towards each other in slow motion.
‘I thought we agreed to stop meeting like this.’ Louis smirked, echoing his words from the last time they bumped into each other in what seemed like a different world.
‘Well, I couldn’t help myself.’ Harry smiled, looking at Louis through his eyelashes ‘You’re just so bloody irresistible.’ He added, making Louis giggle.
‘I saw your tape.’ Louis said and just then Harry remembered just how candid he was in it.
‘Oh?’ He asked, blushing furiously.
‘You said things…’ Louis said, trailing off.
‘I did.’ Harry nodded.
‘Did you mean them?’ Louis asked, with a hint of uncertainty in his voice.
‘Do you mean them still?’ Louis inquired further.
‘Yeah.’ Harry breathed.
‘So…?’ Louis trailed off, like he was waiting for Harry to make some kind of a decision. Fool, didn’t know that the decision was made ever since Louis’ hand found his dimple that first time.
‘I still have your beanie.’ Harry piped in with a smile, seeing Louis’ confused facial expression. ‘I should probably give it back, right? You might… um … need it.’ He added, making Louis grinned suddenly as he understood where Harry was going.
‘Oh yes. Very important beanie. My most important beanie that I went without for far too long already.’ Louis teased, rolling his eyes.
‘Would you mind then, maybe giving me your number?’ Harry asked shyly. ‘For beanie giving purposes of course.’ He amended with a serious expression, handing Louis his phone.
‘Of course.’ Louis said in faux seriousness, typing his number in.
‘I’ll text you.’ Harry said around a smile, clutching his phone to his chest wanting to just give in and kiss him, or say all those things he had stopped himself from saying those past few weeks or months - he wasn’t even sure anymore. But… but Louis deserved more than that, and maybe Harry did too after what he went through. So he decided to wait and with one last look to Louis, he turned on his heel and started to walk away.
‘Hey Harry!’ He heard behind him and turned around to see Louis with a serious and a bit sad facial expression. ‘Don’t make me wait for another few months for a text.’ He said and it sounded like a warning, but Harry laughed nonetheless and looked down at his phone typing the message in and pressing send.
Louis’ phone vibrated in his pocket and he shot Harry a questioning look before opening a text message from the unknown number :
I won’t. xx