Twenty-six days ago Louis Tomlinson lost her pet bird.
Mind you, it’s not actually alive but still. Its absence is a heavy weight in her heart. Or soul. Or chest, or. Whatever. Something in her body is missing since Aubrey is missing. (When she remembers that he’s missing, that is.)
Aubrey was neither expensive nor emotionally valuable. He was the undecided colour of clay covered in a white-ish glaze that had slowly turned green over the months he was sitting on top of her shelf. His eyes were simple holes – one bigger than the other just like one wing was smaller than the other. A few feathers of his tail had fallen off in his previous life. The life before Louis found him sitting on a bench in a well looked after park forty minutes away from Niall’s apartment. The life that must’ve been either extremely boring or extremely adventurous because Louis believes that either boredom or excitement will make one shed one’s feathers. (Sometimes it’s also sadness and anger and love and passion and being afraid to walk to the fridge at night because there might be a pumpkin king hiding in the cupboard.) Aubrey was about the size of a Shampoo Bottle and equally as interesting to stare at.
What set Aubrey apart from most birds –, in fact, most things - was his ability to be forgotten the second one stopped looking at him. You’d let your gaze sweep across the books in Louis’ shelf, notice a lot of –ons and –iths (names she will eventually know by heart, she will); if you knew your lesbian writers you’d notice them on the spines too; you’d see the crumpled wrapping papers and torn bills and yellow bus tickets tossed in an ugly bowl – and then you’d see Aubrey’s clay butt melting into the wood because apparently bird’s feet are hard to form out of lumpy wet dirt, maybe you’d even find his eyes weirdly unsettling, but. Oh! You’d see the cute family picture of eight smiles that are still shining and one that’s faded, you’d think the little toddlers absolutely adorable and Louis herself so very different, wearing a light dress and donning shiny hair that brushes her shoulders. Occasionally, and on the same days you’d catch her eating nothing but Zayn’s healthy cereal, the gel she forgets to put away after styling her fringe in the morning will stay wedged in-between a Gorillaz album and Abbas’ greatest hits. The wall behind the shelf, its texture inconsistent, is –
Ah. Yeah, well, so Louis lost Aubrey and how she lost him slipped from her mind.
However the moment she detects the emotional loss of him is much more interesting. On this particular monday afternoon she is forced to look at the patterned top of the person standing in front of her in the tube. Everyone is either on their way home or to a café or to a park or to a bookshop or to a vegan supermarket to buy overpriced avocados to put them on bread, or to do anything else people get up to in early spring. All over sighs and groans are heard because the tube decided to stop working. The wall she is leaning up against is in half shadow, her compartment is stuck in a tunnel but still far enough towards the exit that a few very stubborn sunrays force their way through the scratched windows. So the colourful parrots on this stranger’s shirt are a bit muted but nevertheless distinguishable.
“Aubrey!”, escapes her lips. She’s not sure how loud it was because Hayley Kiyoko is whispering in her ears, yet, it is loud enough for the stranger to look up from a pink-cased phone and smile at her.
“I can be your Aubrey if you want.”
The headphones plop when she removes them. “Does your arse melt when you sit down?”
“I.. I don’t think so, no. Maybe in summer when it’s hot.”
“That must be so fucking annoying, dude, I’m so sorry.”
Stranger’s face strains. “Thanks.” They turn away.
A backpack nearly knocks into her nose.
Aubrey’s loss has left a legless-bird shaped hole in her upper body (if and only if she thinks about him) and a tired voice via the speakers just announced that it will be at least another fifteen minutes till they’re allowed to keep going. Somewhere in the city an avocado that was waiting in a weaved bucket just screamed at the prospect of having to wait the quarter of an hour longer to be mashed into a smoothie or be spread on some seed-bread.
“What do you do when you lose something that’s not very important to you but you still kinda wanna build a tiny gravestone for it?”
Zayn hums and rests her chin on her naked knee. “Would you put a yellow or a blue headband on a chicken?” Their moms had always said that from staring at a screen too long your pupils would become square. Zayn’s glasses are green, big and very square. (And entirely for show.)
“I dunno, depends on what kinda chicken it is?”
“It’s a Sumatra Chicken. I feel deeply connected to it. It looks like batman.”
Louis leans over her shoulder to look at the laptop that’s taking up most of the space on of their tiny kitchen table. “Oh shit, yeah. Yellow then, right?”
Again, Zayn hums. “They have black bones.”
“No fucking way??”
“You gonna buy one?”, she pulls softly on the other’s black braid and straightens her own back. A few places down the road a lovely couple keeps chickens in their backyard, tiny wooden house and high fences and all, and because Greg and Ali are as sweet as the marmalade they give out every may they let Zayn keep two of her own feathery friends among their herd. Flock? Gang? Rock band?
“No! You know damn well that I can’t keep up with DC!” Zayn frowns and closes the laptop with a snap. “Maybe after I finish The Comic.”
Getting rid of her jumper hides Louis’ eye roll. The Comic. The Comic is a bit like the account for spotify she meant to create weeks ago - only that Zayn doesn’t consume The Comic she creates it. When she feels up to it.
The conversation drifts towards superhero movies and then Daisy Ridley’s arms and then the idiot at the gym and then to the tube breaking down and then Daisy Ridley’s face and then the great thing that is the invention of frosted peas.
All in all it’s a pleasant evening. Tomorrow she has one of her favourite lectures with a professor who manages to smuggle in a Simpsons remark in every time, she’ll meet up with Niall at an ice cream parlour, and call her siblings for the weekly debate on football stickers and the best way to eat pasta. A regular, sunny Tuesday.
This is not a regular, sunny Tuesday.
That is what she would write in a bubble if she’d have the skills to draw and create a graphic novel about it. But the only times her fingers are capable of creating something beautiful is when she makes a girl come, so.
First of all, it’s fucking cloudy. Niall insists of ice-cream tasting even better in the shade because one can pretend it’s the apocalypse and that makes everything sweeter, doesn’t it? But Niall also thinks humanity will perish in a rain storm whereas Louis knows the cause will be a comet, so once again in her life Louis proves superiority by listlessly licking at Bubble Gum. (It tastes shit but her tongue is blue, so suck it.)
Secondly, she received a message from Lottie (the second eldest) telling her the lot of them won’t be able to call today because they’re going to the theatre to watch Peter Pan. Without Louis.
“Have you noticed an acceleration of strangeness in your life?” Niall wears an impeccable tied tie today. “Is your melting ice-cream a sign for your normality vanishing? Is it revealing a soupy, disgusting weirdness?”
Louis thinks long and hard. “Nah.”
“Ah, shit. Was worth a try, though. I’m playing detective lately, if ya haven’t noticed.” They tap on the notepad peeking out of their breast-pocket.
“Obviously I have, you have that air around you.”
“I appreciate that, sunshine. I’ve already found a woman’s cat, my motivation for the essay on Marx, and a box of paperclips.”
Lightning strikes through Louis’ body. “Niall!!”
“Yes?”, they say equally as enthusiastic, leaning forward in their purple plastic chair.
“Would you find something for me?”
“I’d do anything for you, Tommo.”
“Don’t lie! Just ten minutes ago you didn’t give me your jacket when I’m freezing my elbows off now!” That’s a lie, too – there are not even goose bumps on her arms and a venting shaft from the ice-parlour seems to end right behind their table. A steady blow of used up, warm air is blowing against her back.
“I can’t take off the blazer, Louis! I’d be wearing white on blue! I’m not walking around like I’m studying economics, fuck off.”
The paisley would clash with her stripes anyway. “Alright, okay. But you will find anything I want?”
Niall stops scraping at the bottom of their cup, ignores the sad puddles of chocolate and looks deeply into Louis’ eyes, biting their lip. “Louis…”
“Is this about a girlfriend again? Because, babe, you have to overcome your commitment phobia first. I’m not leading you and the girl of your dreams into a Pirates of the Caribbean Four when it could be the Original. A mess, Louis, I’m not leading you into a mess.”
They’re not finished with their sentence before Louis starts protesting, violently shaking her head: “I defeated those phobias months ago, don’t you remember that lunch we had? You had a Panini. Anyway, I’m not talking about a girlfriend – I’ll find her on my own, thank you very much – I’m talking about, uh..”
Five tables to the left a family of four arrived. The one mom is leading two toddlers towards the counter, while a third child calls after them, demanding two waffles and sprinkles, ignoring the gentle persuasions of the other mom who is trying to look stern but has the biggest heart eyes since that vine of the dude rhyming things with ‘surprise’. They’re all wearing matching socks.
She sighs. “Niall, I want a girlfriend.”
“You really won’t find me one?”
They take out the notepad and flip it open elegantly. “I can find you a good vibrator.”
“I don’t want another vibrator, I want someone who will fuck me hard and tell me about something fun while kissing down my neck.”
“You still sleep with that girl in your Friday class?”
“Nah, she’s in a relationship now. He’s very nice, once gave me a chocolate bar he originally bought for her. I want someone who doesn’t give me the chocolate bars she bought for me.”
It’s probably because Niall has been in a committed relationship with Zayn since they competed against each other in a fashion contest that they look so pitying, not because Louis’ voice came out whiney and sullen. “You will find her. Soon. My Powers detect a tingling around you. For now I’ll send you a recipe to make granola bars yourself and you’ll come to the party Liam is hosting on Saturday, ‘kay? Also, what will most definitely help is if you give my Baby a kiss from me.”
The first mom bought her son three waffles, rainbow sprinkles and somehow got the employee to top everything off with a swirly design out of cherry sauce. Oh wait, no. That one is for her wife.
“Alright. But I want chocolate.”
“Of course. Now please eat your blue mud so we can get away from this farting air vent.”
When she comes home, Zayn lies asleep on the kitchen table, has a pencil in her hand, grey lines on a white sheet, and nothing there to fill up the empty spaces.
It’s only later at night in bed, Louis desperately misses cuddling her siblings, hearing their tales of school-yards and sport camps, going through her favourite birthday memories of them, and almost forgets the sound of screeching in the morning, that she sees the gap on her shelf.
Because Louis learns to look after herself, she is taking a walk the next day. The sun has decided to honour the city with its majesty and is brightly reflecting on the lake that is lapping at her shoes. Small waves dampen the fabric of her trainers. She’s not sure if they’ll withstand the water much longer. Ducks paddle around a few feet away from her, expecting bread crumps or other snacks, but nuh-uh, she is not here to poison them. With a good-bye she steps away.
Her mind is filled with assignments that are due, unpleasant phone calls she has to make, the longing for a girl to evoke a blossoming of affection within her, the dishes waiting in the sink, Zayn not having left the apartment for nearly two weeks, and two lines from a commentary on today’s football game. “A mistake was made that I’m absolutely delighted with!” and “The smile of an angel on the face of a toad!”
It’s no surprise that she isn’t seeing the person sitting in the shadow of a tree.
So she walks right past, down the grainy trail, along the blooming trees, and dozens of dogs escaping from their owners. Some of them are so lively and happy it makes her want to hop through the grass and join them. She does actually make her steps a bit more bouncy, smiles brightly at the old man staring at her and feels a surge of cheerfulness about never having to please one of those later in life. Nah, she’ll have her wife and they’ll please each other. Till that soulmate of hers arrives she might just has to cope with Niall’s recipe of oatmeal, nuts, honey, chocolate flakes, and orgasms.
She starts with that last part as soon as she’s in the apartment and locked in her room, emerges two hours later to fill up her glass of water and wash her vibrator, sees Zayn slowly stirring in a pot and plummets down in one of their creaky chairs to steal a bit of tomato soup. Her legs are still shaky, but that’s alright because Zayn wouldn’t notice it even if her thighs were wrapped around her shoulders. (Yes, she has imagined that and she knows Zayn has imagined the two of them having sex, because they talk about that sorta thing. Niall suggested a threesome not long ago.)
“You had some nice moments today?” She asks, drained.
Zayn’s glasses are fogged. It makes her look like a dragon-fly. “I finally understood why I like the colour green so much.”
“Oh, you did? And why is that? Can I get some of your soup?”
She watches as this very slow dragon-fly reaches up to get two bowls and sets them on the table, watches the dragon-fly nod, adjust its wings. “It’s unnatural.”
Louis glances towards the plants standing on the windowsill. “Are.. you sure?”
“Yes. It’s because it’s unnatural, that I like it so much. We have to appreciate the unnatural things, or at least the ones we perceive as unnatural, because one day we might realize they’ve been bonding us all along.”
She just agrees. There’s no point in arguing with artists, they are Gods after all.
Dinner is splendid, her body content, her mind occupied with understanding Zayn’s explanation of her train of thoughts, the sunset is sending beautiful messages across the skies to sway hopeless dreamers into fantasy worlds.
“I thought about your question. And I think.. I think, Louis, when we lose something we lose something from ourselves. You need to find yourself to find what you seek.”
Thus Louis visits the park again. Where else would she find herself than among the pollen that make her nose itch, the grass spots that seem sturdy but are, in fact, soggy and muddy, the maze that are the bushes behind the lake?
A sweaty changing room? Her Mom’s bed? The uncomfortable seat of her favourite lecture hall? The escalator in the tube station nearby? In the pages of books that have been read, half read, admired from afar? In the memories of kisses and intimate words? Underneath the pale lights of the supermarket at the corner? Hah!
Aubrey’s butt melts into the splintered, rotting wood of an ordinary bench.
Louis stares at him and his eyes stare through her. Next to him sits a person that looks vaguely familiar, that has a leather-bound book in a strong hold and is writing hastily. She sits down, Aubrey now in the middle. Where he belongs. Silly boy.
Out of the corner of her vision she has to take the bruising blow of not being acknowledged at all. Not even a flicker of a gaze.
Her right hand is itching to take her bird with her, put it on her shelf and peacefully forget about him again. What even is this, a bird stealer going around the city, looking beautiful, unfazed by the world, pouring out words in a dramatic manner?
“I have a friend who’s a detective, you know.” The pen – it’s glittery – stops moving. “They can have you busted for theft within a few hours.”
The cheeks that, before, were dusted with nothing but a slight tan and a few lonely moles turn red. “I – I don’t -. I’m not -. That was months ago, I’m, I’m sorry, I didn’t think someone would -. How.. how do you know about that?”
“So you’re not only a thief of birds, you’ve committed other crimes, too?”
Finally her persistent glare gets met. All she can think is: Zayn will love your eyes. “Bird thief?”
Louis swallows and silently points to Aubrey.
“I found her on a bench in this park!”
“Birdy’s real name.”
“Birdy…” Fuck. Oh, Fuck. Niall is gonna be so smug.
“Yeah, the singer.”
Louis can’t believe this. She didn’t even have time to make the granola bars! “You found Aubrey on a bench, took him with you and gave him a new name?”
The instance the memory of the train ride flashes up in those green, green, green eyes, she has to hold onto the bench to stop herself from reaching out and whispering: Would you wear matching socks with me?
“Aubrey… so this is who Aubrey is? That’s why you asked me if my butt would melt!”
“And then you turned away and decapitated me with your backpack.”
“I don’t like being called, uhm, dude and all that stuff, and, and. You did. Call me that,” it’s said quietly, comes along with a fiddle of the glitter pen.
Oh. “I’m really sorry. It won't happen again, promise. What kinda nicknames do you like?”
Air balls up in her chest as the question is greeted with a smile, a smile that unveils a dimple, a smile that feels like dozens and dozens and dozens of happy dogs running past her. “Maybe we should start with names first?”, they shake hands, very formal, very proper, very heart-rate-increasing, “’m Harry.”
“Louis. And this is Aubrey.”
She picks up the bird and places it on Harry’s closed journal.
“Can Aubrey be called Jasmine as a middle name? I like it so much, it’s so magical.”
“Plus, one of the best Disney Princesses, so yeah, yeah, I accept your offer, Harry.” Hundreds of dogs prancing past them, full of light and love.
In the span of the few seconds that are filled with wide smiles, she allows herself to let go of that pretty face and sneak a look at the rest of Harry’s appearance. Another printed button-up, purple flowers all over it and silvery half-moon cufflinks adorning the sleeves, at least three buttons opened, collar falling to the side over a set of very nice swallows, and hinting at something lacy underneath. It, too, seems to be in floral design and is the same colour as her nails, which are coated in a light pink. Her fingers wrap around Aubrey as he threatens to wobble and fall down into the grass. “That’s what I always say! Aladdin is one of the best Disney Movies.”
“True, but Big Hero 6 is my favourite.”
“Oh, fuck, yes!” when she nods, a curl of brown hair falls from her bun. “Haven’t watched that in too long.”
“My flatmate and I watch it every month, it’s kind of a tradition. It’s actually scheduled for this Sunday.”
It is. Zayn has this wonderful state of mind when she watches a movie, the usual dreaminess gone and replaced by intense devotion. If one only thinks to voice something whether it’d be a comment on the plot or simply the need to pee, one will get smacked with a pillow. And the pillows on Zayn’s bed – which is the place to watch movies, of course – are either very velvety or fringey and leave annoying fluff in one’s mouth. Louis might have to make snarky remarks all throughout the second half, just to shake her up, maybe get her to buy groceries, take her sketchbook with her, leave the house in any way. (And if it’s just to take out the trash.)
When she pulls herself out of an imaginary argument with Zayn where the latter gloomily pulls close the apartment door behind her, Harry’s expression is curious. “Will you take Aubrey with you?” She’s not asking if she can keep Aubrey or if Louis is going to steal him back, she almost looks as though she’ll simply sit and wait, observe what Louis is going to do. “Because… I think I’ll miss him very much.”
Oh, damn, that complicates things. She can’t be responsible for someone missing something they newly acquired! “You found him on a bench..?”
“Yeah, not far away from here, actually. He was just sitting there and no one else was around – which, I didn’t take as an invite to, uh, take him with me, but I sat down next to him and wrote a bit and then after, like, two hours when no one came, I took him with me? I’m really sorry I stole him from you, I – why, why did you leave him there?”
“How did he get there then?”
Louis shrugs. “I have no idea.”
Harry’s gorgeous mouth parts to form a surprised exhale. “A mystery,” she whispers.
Her heart throws itself against her ribs. “Do you think we should solve it?”
On a slight hill five children are practicing tricks on boards and roller-skates, their cries of joy and frustration carrying over. Harry watches them, pen absently rolling between her fingers, brows pinched. The arch of her upper lip is quite pretty, if Louis may add. “I think we should see if it reveals itself to us on its own conditions.”
“Oh, very cool! How will I know if it has, tho, like, what if I can’t see a missing piece?”
“You will know.” Harry says turning back to her, serious. Then she laughs and hides her face, shaking her head, mumbling nonsense, and Louis joins in, laughs so suddenly her cheeks hurt.
It’s still mostly overcast, but the sun is peaky through some gaps in the billowy clouds, bringing out warm tones in Harry’s curls, luring in silliness, warming their laughter. Spring and Summer truly are on the way and their prospect gets immediately filled with images of them spending them together. Louis quiets down, looks at Aubrey and thinks I’m not going to leave you two behind.
So she does her best, pulls out the advice from all the YouTube videos on small talk she has ever watched, thinks about Niall’s charm and how to copy it, goes through every first meeting she ever had and picks out what worked and what didn’t. If it comes across as trying to hard that doesn’t matter at all because Harry is clearly doing the same. Questions about growing up, a rant on the school system, a bit of politics, the usual. When she asks about her day, Harry goes into so much detail it’s absolutely entrancing, and soon Louis senses a quiet fondness for the world in the other, a strange and calm pride that makes a regular day become a familiar day. They share a love for books, for words – only that Louis devours them whereas Harry spills them out. Even a few words out of that caressed journal find their way into the open: Nine hours ago, just before breakfast, Harry was hit with a peculiar sensation that made her gush about the squirrel she sees near her street every day and at the same time ponder about the fleeting moments on holidays we desperately try to remember. Louis can so deeply understand those thoughts she has to take a moment before she dares to comment on them, fearing her clogged throat would give her away.
While Harry is blushing and muttering Thank Yous and looking at her through thick eyelashes, she searches for something in return, to reflect this vulnerability.
“I’m so afraid of looking back and feeling like I’ve done too much, that I’ve never allowed myself to slow down and appreciate what I have,” she says.
Harry’s shoe presses against the side of her trainers that are still a bit damp from yesterday.
“Like watching a show in one day and at the end realizing you don’t know what happened in which episode?”
“Exactly,” forces a sigh from her tight chest. “I’ll look back and think I was going to all these theatre plays in Uni, when it was actually before that. I’ll look back and think I travelled across France in my third semester, when I haven’t even done that yet and most likely won’t ever get to it! I’ll look back and the numbers on the dates will turn around!”
Harry asks if she keeps a journal, too, and at Louis’ negative reply, insists of her having to start right away, this evening, when she gets home! Why won’t she? Why not? “Because I’ll be famous! Obviously! And I can’t bear the thought of my offspring showing these journals to the public once I’ve influenced enough people and die a tragic death. I don’t want anyone to know me!” The conversation with Niall pops into her head: “Err, okay, that’s not true. But people I don’t know knowing about my intimate thoughts… and I won’t even be able to explain, because I’m somewhere floating in the galaxy.”
To this, Harry has opinions, strong ones. She’s talking about perception and image and Romanization and how, anyway no one can really understand another, and she kind of sounds like Zayn but slightly more alive. (also looking less like a dazed insect.) Not once does she let go of Aubrey, who is safely cradled in her hands and patiently, yes, somewhat fondly observing the two of them through his empty eyes.
After Louis notices the darkness of their surroundings, her phone shows her it’s far later than they thought. So she asks if she can write down her number on a page of that pretty journal and Harry, immediately, says yes. That feels important, very big, because Louis just inscribed herself into Harry’s life, topped off with a drawing of a bird that’s more of a fish with a beak. “You can keep Aubrey,” she says and wraps her hand around Harry’s fingers, taps on his head with her thumb. “He gets fresh air with you, he looks much healthier.”
He doesn’t. He still has that pale, musty colour.
Harry twitches. “Are you sure?”
“Why, yes! Look at him, he’s so happy around you!”
Louis sees that Harry doesn’t look at him, because Harry looks at her and Louis is staring at Harry. She’d like to press kisses on those cheekbones one day, see if they feel as spectacular as they look. (She knows marvellous cheekbones, she’s got a pair of them herself.) Swiftly she let’s go, for she might’ve stayed that way till her butt would resemble Aubrey’s and that would just be a shame. Her withdrawal evokes a pause and then a rushed putting away of the bird, he and the journal and the pen disappear in the same backpack that was such a danger to her in the tube two days ago. “I, uhm, I don’t know how to thank you, I was really, really happy when I found him and it’s so kind of you to leave him to me, really, thank you much.” It’s said without a glance upwards.
“If I can see him again from time to time, I’m happy.”
“I understand”, Harry straightens her shoulders visibly, “You’ll have to come visit regularly, or else he’s going to miss you.”
“Or forget me!”
“No, no, he won’t. But, uhm, maybe we could.. I mean, if you want, not if you don’t want to – or have no time or energy, or..”
“Do you want to come with me to a party a friend is hosting? This Saturday. There’ll be others and you won’t have to speak to anyone you don’t like.”
And whoops! The shyness is gone again, there’s a grin.
“I’ll bring Aubrey with me.”
Zayn is not in the kitchen, but there’s colour-changing light seeping out under the door. She’s probably meditating. So Louis has to make do with writing FOUND A GIRL!! on a post-it, the same message she sends Niall just before she closes her eyes and forcefully starts thinking of Harry to make her appear in her dreams.
A warm body presses against her back.
“Mmmshsh,” comes out of her sleep-dry mouth.
“’s cold,” Zayn says in return and that’s the only conversation they have all morning.
Around midday, when the sun is directly shining into her face, she gets up and wanders into the kitchen where she slaps some fancy haselnut crème on toast and fills up a bowl of cereal for herself. It seems like Zayn doesn’t even open her eyes to eat her breakfast. Afterwards they both lie there until they decide to watch a TV show they started a few weeks ago and never finished. It’s one of those crime stories that come on in the afternoon, not particularly outstanding but featuring characters that are just enough interesting to make you keep going.
“We found the body”, the brunette, attractive detective says and the frame freezes dramatically, just as Zayn taps Louis’ wrist.
“Do you think it was a special connection that made you two find each other? Why’d you find the girl?”
“She was sitting on a bench in the park and we started talking.”
“Did you find yourself along the way?”
She lets those hours arise in her mind, rewinds sometimes, presses pause. Harry was so lovely, so lovely. Her laugh doesn’t exactly echo in her mind, but it’s there ghosting around. Pink nails and pink lips and pink lace. Shiny, brown hair. Glitter. “I think I was too focused on her to find myself.” Zayn looks so devastated, it makes Louis’ heart ache. “No worries, babe, I’ll find myself soon enough.”
The other simply adjusts her glasses, makes a raspy sound and shuffles down into the duvet. She softens a little, as their hips are mushed together more tightly. “What’s she do with her feet when she talks?”
Louis wiggles her toes. “I think she keeps them quite steady, but they either point inwards or.. or to one side, I think. But she moves her, like, knees a lot.”
“That’s good”, Zayn says slowly, tracking after the car chase that is taking place on the screen, “good sign for a good character.”
“Who says that?”
There’s some honking and squeaking of tiles on asphalt. “Experience.”
“Sounds awfully like that stupid.. ‘science’ stuff what’s it called, uh, phigmo-… physigm... like, the study of someone’s nose and facial structure and things.”
“Physiognomy. Nah, that’s some racist, anti-semitic bullshit.”
“So what’s the difference to saying something about someone’s character from their body language?”
The car chase is finished and the murderer cornered. Guns are drawn and bullets are shot and there’s a lot of ruckus for nothing. Zayn sighs, rubs over her left breast. “Because it shows stuff like bashfulness and confidence and amorousness.”
“Could just be a performance.”
“Everything is just a performance.”
Louis just shuts up and watches the show.
On her way to her friday morning seminar, she has an animated conversation with Niall. It starts off with concern about Zayn not having breathed fresh air for quite a time now, transforms to a debate on responsibilities as a Significant Other and the limits of them, still, just before she enters the building Harry comes up. Niall is as arrogant about it as anticipated. My detective skills are on fleek! And you didn’t even make the granola bars?? That’s the universe working for you!! Can’t wait to meet her!
Louis’ not sure if she believes in the universe doing nice things, but she’ll accept it as an answer to the recent events. In doing so, texting with Harry instead of listening or participating in class becomes very significant, very telling. She will stop studying and run away with her newly-found soulmate to live in a cottage on a mountain without snow. (Not really, she has plans, you know? Ambitions, and stuff. She’ll be famous, after all.) Harry’s a bit nervous about tomorrow’s party, she writes, but also really excited to see her again, compare her to the image of her in her head, can’t wait to meet Zayn. There are loads of kissy-faces and hearts, and dare Louis say flirting? Very much so. It makes her brave enough to send: Can’t wait to hug u! We didn’t get to do that and it made me sad :(
What comes back nearly makes her latch on to a student’s arm next to her: Same with me! Careful though, I might not let you go again.
I sure we can manage anyways *crown emoji*
Louis’ forehead feels warm. Her temples sweaty. But she won’t go to the bathroom and check if her face looks all shiny and weird, for she shan’t leave Harry’s side only to fetch drinks, drape her jacket on a hanger, or do other busy things that add to the charisma she amps up tonight. It’s not even the cocktails that are supposedly extremely strong (because as much as Liam is a health nut she enjoys some booze), it’s all this closeness and stumbling over words and stumbling of hearts. The little alcohol she had is adding to the heat in her body, but its effects are not nearly as extreme on her as they are on Harry. Harry’s had half a glass of something pink (decorated with straw and umbrella) and is now giggling at the sight of three guys playing the keyboard. She’s almost falling over the armrest of Liam’s pink sofa, she’s so keen on watching them.
Louis doesn’t mind not having her attention, it gives her a breather from exactly that. Because… Harry is intense. Like, focus all your own attention on her to keep up with the bursts of love declarations for pretty napkins, talented strangers, and glowing stickers -intense. Cope with the sudden quietness, minutes that go by when she will just look at you, smile and nod and softly touch your fingertips-intense. Sometimes she won’t say a word even when you’re being the funniest you, or the deepest you (Or the most helpless you. Advice on deciding whether to eat Pringles or Pombears? Only a swaying from left to right.) What’s also kinda hard to accept is that Louis is definitely not the only one who sees the loveliness in Harry. Here she was thinking she’d found it in herself to see a person in golden light, when in fact it’s not she who sees the light it’s Harry who emits it. True, for some it’s too bright – they will stay away and throw weird glances, but most who talked to her have left with a smile or energetic finger guns.
Liam full on adored Harry ten minutes after Louis introduced the two of them and if she wasn’t so sure of Liam hiding a sugar mommy, she’d be pulling her aside and telling her how much she adores that girl, how much she wants to date her. Just in case, she texts those desires to Niall. Who’s coming late, since they decided to get Zayn to tag along and will probably have to use some compelling arguments to be convincing.
“Why are they not taking turns? It sounds horrible like that!”
Harry tugs on her arm, Louis doesn’t tell her she can see the three pianists without needing directions. “Hmm. Group work?”
“They’d be better alone!”
“Maybe they don’t want to be better.”
The pink drink nearly slushes over as Harry turns around. “That’s very admirable.” Then she slurps forcefully at the chewed up straw.
Louis immediately imagines sitting on her face. Harry’s probably really good at giving head, on the other hand, even if she isn’t… her wet lips and tongue must feel amazing on their own. The very same tongue licks away a drop on plush lips so fast she might’ve imagined it, but Harry’s gaze is boring into her eyes when she looks up again. A rope tightens in her abdomen. There’ve been instances like this throughout the hours they’ve been here, a touch that lingered too long, catching of once-overs, words that have several meanings.
“True. Very inspirational. I only do things because they have a use.”
Harry’s teeth show as she smiles. “No you don’t, you’ve sat here with me for nearly half an hour now. And you had wet shoes when we met, what use was that?”
“Don’t insult me! Without wet shoes taking a walk is basically unnecessary! How else would you feel every stone under your feet, and every shard of glass? How else would you know when to go home, if your feet can’t get cold over time and remind you?”
“Still leaves you here on this sofa for thirty minutes, now.” She leans back, obviously satisfied. The expressions suits her.
“I want to sit next to you, don’t I?”
The expression flickers only for a second. “Ah, I see. You plan to go through with the not letting go?”
If this isn’t the opportunity to lay her fingers on Harry’s arm. “If you’ll allow me to.”
“We hugged hello and I let you go, I see how that contradicts my statement from yesterday, but please, Louis, this night will turn out horrible if you leave me.”
She has to inhale quite some air, to calm down her sparkling heart. With any luck, its beating won’t shake up her whole body. “I won’t.”
“Good,” Harry says quietly. The drink in her hand is hovering in mid-air, as if she intended to take a sip and forgot about it. Her lashes are coated in mascara and blinking rapidly, eyes wide, pulse on her neck visible in the dim light. A lace band is wrapped around it, instantly reminding Louis about the bralette she got glimpses of on Thursday, makes her wonder if it’s there underneath that white ruffled blouse, rubbing against Harry’s nipples when she moves. Louis’ own nipples must poke through her shirt when she takes another deep breath, they feel a bit tingly.
Louis is still touching Harry’s skin. She takes her hand back, but lets her body fall more firmly, consequently pressing their naked arms against each other. One of them trembles.
“You have beautiful collarbones,” Harry says. She’s staring at them. Or maybe at Louis’ tits, she’s not sure. (Has she mentioned that sparkling heart?)
“I broke one of them, once. When someone landed with his shoulder on me after he tackled me to the ground.”
It’s pure outrage, in that cry: “He what?? Why the fuck!”
“Football game, nothing serious. Though, maybe it was. He always went on about me being gay and that being the only reason I’m okay at football.”
At that Harry snorts. “I can’t believe stuff like that is still a thing. I’m really sorry you had to experience it, tho, what a fucking dick.”
“Liam made me speak to the trainer and he was kicked out’ve the team, so. He regretted it, I think.”
“And the worst I had is my Mom panicking when I say I want to fully transition one day.”
Louis’ sparkling heart splinters slightly. Parents being like that is a thousand times more painful than a doucheheadboy with confidence issues. She strokes Harry’s arm again, this time near her wrist. “That’s the worst, fuck, that must hurt so much.”
“I dunno, I’m still quite priv–“
“No, Harry, it fucking sucks, don’t play it down.”
“’s your mom doing stuff like that, too? Not listening?”
“Well, it’s a bit different because I never had to come out to her, but yeah, sometimes.”
This conversation continues. Louis shares quite a lot and it makes her think of declaring she doesn’t want strangers to know her the other day. But she doesn’t have to think long about why this is different. Besides, Harry shares equally as much, if not more. She has gone through stuff Louis never had to go through, never had to experience. Lighter subjects come up as more people arrive, as Liam sits down for a few minutes, as Louis greets a couple more people. They stay on the sofa next to each other, even have to cuddle up more tightly when someone joins them occasionally.
Harry moves her hands a lot when she talks. And she has big hands. Big, pretty hands with rings on almost each finger, looking heavy and expensive. Sometimes her fingers wrap around her own thighs, pull on the fringes at the holes above her knees, tug at the seam inside. If those fingers aren’t playing with her lips or gliding through her hair or tapping on the rim of the glass.
“If I request Mr. Brightsight, will you dance with me?”
“No”, Louis says, already standing up and extending her hand.
Harry beams, takes it and thrusts her drink into her face: “I can’t stand this anymore, will you finish it for me?”
There’s no other way than doing her this favour, so she downs the liquid in one go. Curiously she sucks on her own tongue. “There’s no alcohol in there.”
“Nope, I like my things sweet, without the disgusting taste of alcohol in them.”
“You’re not drunk?”
“Do I seem like I’m drunk?”
Louis sets the glass down on the floor. “A bit?”
“Well,” Harry draws out cheekily and seizes her hand, “you should feel flattered then, you make me feel at ease.”
Astonished she lets herself be pulled towards the dancefloor that’s only identifiable as such because disco lights are shining down from the living room lamp. “Not the pianists?”
“I’m quite smug now, you know.”
Around them, there are less than ten other people jumping, skipping or twirling on the carpet, swivelling with their arms like a rehearsed dance, knocking limbs against limbs. Near the speakers is enough space for them to orbit around each other, not too far away so people still realize they’re there together, but not too close either. Louis wants to push herself up against Harry, press her face against her neck to take in her smell – because that’s something she doesn’t know yet, she doesn’t know whether Harry smells as sweet as the pink drink or as lush as her laugh or entirely different perhaps, minty or spicy. It sucks. All she can smell is garlic bread in the oven and a bit of sweat.
She shouldn’t complain, it’s still so much fun. Neither of them have outstanding moves or any grace about them, so they just wiggle and swirl hips, stretch their arms, bend their knees, make that weird head movement where they press their nose against their shoulders and pretend like they dance for themselves. Harry looks hot as fuck. With the rainbow lights making her blouse nearly translucent, another lacy bralette becomes visible: floral, red, delicate. A big thing with wings is tattooed on her stomach and Louis has trouble not staring at it, watching how it shifts when she moves to the beat. Mr. Brightside isn’t playing, but no one needs the concept of nostalgia when you never want to leave the here and now.
Just as Harry stumbles into her, Niall’s voice sounds over the music. As much as she wants Harry all over her, she needs to know if they got Zayn to come, and strains her neck to see. The space around the door is a bit crowded, but green glasses are hard to hide. She feels a grin emerge.
“Niall and Zayn are here!” She says into Harry’s ear. “You okay with saying hello?”
Harry looks a bit disappointed, but nods nevertheless, takes her hand. Louis squeezes it.
Niall is currently clutching the back of Zayn’s jumper. They’re wearing so much glitter, it falls into the collar of their button-down. “Look, it’s a face you know! You’ll be okay, Baby.”
Zayn pales two shades and doesn’t react when Louis says hello.
“I’m really happy you came, Zaynie. This is the wonderful, dearest Harry I talked so much about,” she swings their arms back and forth.
“You are indeed beautiful!”, Niall exclaims, extending their hand, scattering sparkles everywhere.
“You’re glittering!”, Harry has love in her eyes, “I love that! It goes great with the suit!”
“Thank you! I know! This is Zayn, she’s very soft, please be kind.”
Zayn blinks. Agrees wordlessly. Tumbles a bit into her Significant Other.
“I will. I’m really happy to meet you both, it’s so wonderful, Louis was so kind and took me here and told me so much about you and now you’re here!”
“You are!” Louis repeats, hugging the pair impulsively. Their heads all knock together and Harry’s swept up in the middle because they’re still holding hands. As they dislodge, Zayn relaxes a bit. Her cheeks look rosy again. “Is that garlic bread?” she wonders and their new mission is set.
Together they sit in the kitchen, sharing a delicious baguette, sitting opposite each other, as if a mirror had been arranged on the long side of the table. (A mirror that needs repair. Its reflections don’t even show what they deeply desire. Inacceptable.) Music booms in from down the hall, indistinguishable conversations, a few loud exclamations, dull thuds of feet colliding with the carpet as more people decide to dance. There are lights pinned to one wall, hung in half-moons that glow in red, purple, blue, yellow like gay Christmas markets. If she’s bringing out the stubborn side in her, Louis can even pretend the steam on the window is a result from freezing temperatures outside.
She doesn’t ask how Zayn found it in herself to leave the apartment, she only demands to know about Niall’s day, how they got all that glitter to stick to their face, how long they’ll stay and if they can be driven home in their car. Harry’s not at all quiet, she asks questions herself, hands still in Louis’. She even gets into a little argument when the topic of ancient cultures comes up, passionately defending herself as Niall uses words no one understands. After they declare Harry a sunshine, they kick Louis’ shin and send a hidden thumbs up her way. Even Zayn shows no more signs of discomfort around Harry than the situation pulls out of her anyway, no furrowed brows, no pouty lips, only her curled up position on the kitchen seat. Liam flings herself into a chair just before midnight, sweaty hair in a ponytail, breathing heavily.
“You been drinking, Payno?”
“What’d you think, we’ve been playing beer pong and I got my arse beaten.”
Liam squints her eyes at Louis. “I do, actually. You offering?”
Harry’s watching them, so: “Sorry, Baby, I already have a Date.” Now Harry’s blushing violently. And tightens their hold. Louis is grinning so hard. “Besides, I thought you have a Mommy?”
“Shut the fuck up, oh my god, Tommo,” Liam slams her forehead against the table.
Niall can’t hold in their laughter any longer and slumps into Zayn, who’s smiling faintly. It has been ages since they got to sit together among other friends, had the time to enjoy each other’s company at home – and now they even have a fifth person with them! Success all around!
“Zayn, I got that action figure of Poe a few days ago, you wanna see it? It’s in my room.” That addition must have sounded like sweet seduction to Zayn’s ears, since she kisses Niall’s cheek and takes Liam’s extended hand to follow her out of the kitchen. Somehow they manage not to bump in to anyone, even though a group of Liam’s workout friends tumbles inside to search for drinks. They bring clutter and noise into the small room, messing with the bottles and clinking glasses. It’s probably the nudge they needed, because Louis’ bum has been smarting for the last minutes and now they got a reason to abandon the last bread crumbs, leave the rainbow moons behind, and enter the world of the ordinary again.
The three of them manage to reclaim the spot on the sofa, arranged together neatly, Louis squeezed in the middle with Niall’s bony elbow digging into her side. On the floor a few people have either gathered pillows or simply sit on the wooden boards, most of them huddled in small groups, some odd ones simply gazing at the dancing lights on the ceiling.
Harry’s arm lies heavy on her shoulders. “Do you know all of them?”
“Nah, most of ‘em are Liam’s friends. And some are probably just here because they saw the post she made on her Instagram.”
“She just posts her address on Instagram?? She’s not worried a complete dickhead will ruin her party or someone stealing something?”
Niall’s laugh makes their elbow even pointier: “That is why we firmly believe she hides a sponsor somewhere who buys her everything she wants. How on earth would she get those tasteful art prints if not from a sugar mommy?”
The tasteful art prints are of vaginas, naturally. But they’re not the ones you’d find on any straight dude’s tumblr, no honey dripping or sugar glistening, it’s an interesting style portraying all different kinds of pussies, hair and weird shapes and diverse colours. “Liam definitely does not have the eye for that kinda thing,” Louis agrees. “And that Star Wars action figure she talked about? Is it one of those cheap kid’s ones, or like, giant and stuff? It probably cost a fortune.”
“You should find out, I thought you were a detective!”
Harry’s arm slips off, before she leans over Louis to throw a sunny smile at Niall: “Oh!! You’re the detective!” It brings her neck directly into Louis’ view, the heap of curls brushed over to one side and revealing soft, unmarked skin. The white ruffles look beautiful against it, but she’d love to take that blouse off and kiss down Harry’s spine with no barrier between them.
“I am, indeed! In training. Self-training. I started a week ago and I’m extremely talented at it, I got so much better at reading people. And at sneaking past a security camera.”
Now Harry’s supporting herself on Louis’ thighs, elbows digging into her muscles, elbows that feel much nicer than Niall’s, elbows that are probably very smooth because she applies lotion regularly. Oh, God. Harry’s hands are so soft, the rest of her body must feel like velvet! Or satin!
“Why’d you have to sneak past a camera?”
Due to Harry bending over so much, the waistband of her jeans sticks up a bit and Louis’ fingers almost sting with the urge to stroke along the small of her back and dance above that gap, get permission to find out for herself if Harry’s wearing matching panties to her bralette, to see if Harry would sit up and kiss her if she’d tap on her hip, to see if Harry would climb on her lap if she’d peck her cheek and they would make out right here and in this room not caring if anyone is watching not bothered because no one would see only experiencing one another tasting the garlic bread and pink drink and the one beer she had earlier and nervously roaming their hands over each other’s bodies that would feel hot and strong and soft and moving to their own pace instead to the music completely in their bubble just kissing kissing kissing
Niall is telling a story about nursing homes and missing dental plates and spicy food and Harry is laughing and giggling and wondering aloud in a pleased, breathy voice. Louis’ butt is melting into the fabric of the sofa.
She must’ve twitched or tensed, because Harry sits up and looks at her with worry, pets her thighs with one big, ring decorated hand, not especially high up but it still shoots a beam of heat to her groin. “Fuck, ‘m sorry, for digging into your legs like that!”
“That’s alright,” she says, swallowing. “I didn’t mind.”
“Really?” It’s said with such a bold grin, Louis fears the desire must be painted all over her face.
“I mean, if you wanna be closer to Niall you could just swing your legs over mine.”
Niall fucking laughs again, but Harry doesn’t because Harry is nice Harry is into Louis, Harry hides her smile by pinching her own lip and puts both her legs over Louis’ left one. She’s actually further away from Niall like that, back against the armrest, hollows of her knees where her elbows where a moment before. But she doesn’t seem to mind, in fact, takes Louis’ hands in hers and thanks her earnestly, she’s so much more comfortable now, what a great idea that was! “You’ll tell me if it’s too heavy, right?”
“I will,” Louis lies and twists a particulary sparkly ring on her middle finger.
“How long is looking at a Poe figure going to take?” Niall muses, rubbing on their temple and sending dusts of sparkle into the air. “You don’t think Zayn just wrapped herself in Liam’s blanket and fell asleep?”
“You should check.”
Niall flicks her ear. “I will, but now that you so obviously want to get rid of me, I’ll stay bit longer.”
Harry’s knee bumps into Louis’ tummy. She ignores the outbursts of excitement in there. “A detective who can’t take a hint, huh?”
“A detective who knows when they’re getting manipulated.”
“Zayn might get the idea to continue The Comic in there and you won’t witness it. She might have the idea of her life! She’ll get famous for it and all you did was looking handsome on a couch without a trace of guilt for being so rude towards my date. And me! You said you’d do anything for me! Lies! All lies!”
Again, at the word date, Harry blushes and her fingers go so slack in Louis’ hold, she accidentally slips off a ring. She puts it on her thumb. (Wouldn’t fit anywhere else, which does all sorts of things to her pussy). Niall sighs deeply, brushes over their lapels, stands up and bows. More glitter tumbles down. “Forgive me, Tommo, I’ll look for my girlfriend now and leave you two alone.” They wind their way through the limbs and heads and minds that are scattered across the floor, leaving a trail behind them as they go fetch their future wife.
Louis doesn’t move over to make more room, she waits until Harry looks her in the eyes, prepares herself, takes deep breaths - but can’t even form the words before Harry grasps her hand again and says: “I’ll kiss you now.”
It tastes like garlic. Not a hint of pink fruits or soft drinks or even citrusy beer. A bit of oily bread, maybe. They both laugh with startled expressions, which makes it even harder to align their mouths properly, but it also feels very warm, very peaceful, very human once they get it right. It’s a bit tentative, Louis’ trying to figure out if the tightening of Harry’s body is a positive sign, if the noise she gets from sucking on her lips is a pleased one. Neither of them pull away, though, and eventually she closes her eyes properly, concentrates so hard the music transforms into a distant, endless noise. Her shoulder blades smart after minutes of turning and leaning forwards. As she goes to pull away, Harry puts a hand on the back of her neck and keeps her there, tongue swiping over her lower lip.
“Can you –“, Louis gasps out, “you wanna sit on my lap?”
Without an answer and without letting go, yes, maybe even without opening her eyes, Harry lands on her thighs, hunched over and hands now in Louis’ hair. She stares up at her and follows the dance of the rainbow lights flickering over her cheekbones, over the golden liner along her lashes, the lonely curls that are tangled in the ruffles of her blouse. They kiss again, and her fingers find those ruffles, follow them down over Harry’s chest, to her stomach, then glide along her waistband to her hips. The touch makes Harry writhe, almost rotate on the spot, makes her screw down hard as Louis pushes a bit firmer into her love handles. Their tongues are now repeatedly flicking on another, coy, teasing. Her heart hammers on and on, sending thousands of beats down her body where they gather in her pants, pulsating, she’s getting wet as Harry keeps up the twisting, the tightening and releasing of her hair, lets out desperate moans that aren’t even audible only evident as breaths against Louis’ skin.
Abruptly, Harry’s head falls to Louis’ shoulder, tip of a cold nose pressing into her neck. Laughter overcomes them again. Her hair is undoubtedly sticking up, is still catching on the edges of Harry’s rings. She fully loops both arms around her, draws her in, which forces her face from her neck but her groin against Louis. They freeze. Her chin rests just under Harry’s collarbones and from here she can see the anxious look in her face.
“You made me really giddy,” Louis declares. It’s not exactly what she wants to say, but it’s a bit soon for the full on dirty talk, especially with a few people watching them discreetly. And it makes Harry scrunch up her nose in delight.
“You make me really giddy every time you look at me like that!”
Louis intensifies her look. Harry squeezes her cheek like she’s cute, like she’s adorable, and hops off. “I need water. What’ve you done to me. You want some?”
“Yes, please, Darling.”
She watches her pull and tug on her jeans, answers the peck on her lips, and sinks back into the sofa as Harry’s figure disappears into the kitchen. Actually, she lets herself sink down further, slips off to the floor where she lands on her arse. Someone, one of the ceiling gazers, smirks at her and she beams back.
Once Harry comes back, the kissing carries on. Not as passionate, mind you, but now that the garlic taste is mostly gone neither of them can resist leaning forward here and there after saying something funny, or when the beat get so fast and sensual everyone else stands up and dances. Occasionally they join in, too, swing around to two or three songs, but in the end they always end up on or in front of the sofa. Liam has returned to greet off some guests, though, neither Niall nor Zayn reappear. They’re probably having a conversation about being the only sensible souls in the whole building.
Niall does take them home, four hours later. They say it’s because they want to drive Zayn to make sure she doesn’t get lost in the tube station with Louis and Harry hanging on each other’s lips, but they won’t stop pestering them about trivial things such as sleep. “Promise me, you all will stay in bed as long as you can tomorrow… well, today. But don’t forget to eat healthily, okay? I don’t want to hear about headaches or dehydration.” That were four times, only four times Zayn and Louis had called them crying for nurture.
Niall’s also fussing over Harry barely keeping her eyes open. “Sunshine, it’ll take at least fourty minutes ‘til I’m at yours. Are you sure you can stay awake ‘til then?”
Harry smiles into Louis’ neck. She can feel her lips on her skin and it’s making her all dizzy and woozy and alive again. “Sunshine… yeah.. yeah I, uhm.. I can.” She yawns so loudly it’s kind of disgusting so near her ear, but Louis simply squeezes her knee. “You could sleep at ours? I have a very soft duvet.” Niall’s look in the rear view mirror is so fucking smug.
“Would you let me, Louis?” Harry asks into her neck. “That’d be so… so kind. So nice. I even, I even have a spare toothbrush in ‘m backpack.”
They’ve known each other for two days. Aren’t parks a beautiful construction?
“Of course! We can cuddle and eat waffles in the morning, like we’re supposed to.” She slips the ring she’s been carrying on her thumb for a while over Harry’s finger.
Zayn, sitting in the passenger seat and not having said more than seven words all night, sighs and speaks sluggishly: “Waffles are like the self. Dimensional.”
“And they have holes in them, like some hearts do,” Niall says, stopping at a red light, kissing Zayn’s knuckles.
“And they’re warm and crunchy,” Louis agrees.
Harry giggles. “Cronchy.”
They nearly forget Harry’s backpack, they’re so intent on getting Zayn up the stairs. She’s even sleepier than Harry, completely relying on Louis to hold her up, and sinking against the doorframe as soon as they’re inside. Going out must’ve been a shock to her system.
“My room’s over there and the bathroom’s here, would you, ah, just do whatever you want for five minutes while I tuck this one into bed?”, apologetically she looks up at Harry from her position on the floor where she’s untangling the laces of Zayn’s boots.
Harry’s gaze is fond. “I will. Can I drink some water from the tab?”
“You can take anything you want, Babe. If you need clothes, just ignore the mess in my closet and choose a shirt, yeah?”
“Okay, thank you.”
She walks straight into Louis’ room after saying good night and waves before closing the door. She left her shoes neatly in front of the welcome mat. “Zayn,” Louis says while stripping her out of her sweaty jumper, “Zayn, isn’t she lovely?”
Because she knows she’ll be cold, she forces the sleepy dragon-fly into a long-sleeved, silky pyjama. Hundreds of eyes are printed along its seams. “Life is a stage and your play is exquisitely cast, Louis.”
“I know, right?”
“Yes. It’s good that you know, Louis.”
Together, they get Zayn’s head on a velvety pillow. Without her glasses on, she seems breakable, as if she’d splinter if Louis poked her too harsh.
“Fascinating dreams, Louis.”
“You too”, she says and turns off the light, “don’t wake us up, tomorrow, please. Love you.”
There’s only a snore breaking the quiet.
Before entering her room, Louis drinks a glass of water, brushes her teeth intensely, washes up a bit, checks her nails and plucks a hair from her brow. She doesn’t expect them to have sex tonight, Harry’s probably too tired for that, but she still wants to feel nice when they’ll lie next to each other. Maybe, possibly kiss? That will most likely happen, after all they only stopped doing it because Niall wouldn’t shut up. It must’ve been such a wonderful night for the stars to shine upon.
Harry’s sitting on Louis’ bed. Harry’s wearing no jeans, only a shirt that’s too tight on her. Her nipples are a dusty pink through the white cotton, small and pointy. Louis’ upper body tremors. (Her vagina has something to announce, too.)
“Won’t you be cold in that?”
“I thought we’d cuddle?”
“Yeah, but... alright. Alright. Okay.”
Harry grins. “I can put something on if you want.”
“Not if you don’t want to, I don’t. Mind.”
“Are you sure?”
“Hmm,” the door clicks shut. “I mighty die of a pounding heart, but don’t worry about me.”
The shirt rides up over her red panties, as Harry flops down into the pillows. It’s as lacy as the bralette that’s currently lying on top of a pile of clothes on the floor. “Please don’t, not before we’ve kissed s’more, okay?”
Louis needs to get out of this top. She starts with her trousers tho, they both can play this game. Her socks come off, too, and she doesn’t turn around, not when her breasts are stinging from the cool air, not when Harry’s openly staring at them, not when she brushes through her hair to get rid of the gel. This morning she had shaved all but a thin stripe above her pussy (and her calves, she can never be arsed to look after those), and Harry lingers there, too, rubbing her own fingers. The rings are neatly arranged in a line on the bedside table. After Louis pulls on a nightgown, they both laugh a bit, breaking up the tension.
“I didn’t think you’d wear nightgowns,” Harry says, crawling under the duvet. Her curls are a lovely contrast against the grey sheets.
“Why not? They make me feel like a princess, I love it.”
“I love feeling like that, too.”
“You are a princess! The glow around you is proof. Do you want a second blanket?”
The blush on her cheeks is so pretty. (a bit splotchy, too, but eh). “No, I… this’ll work.”
Harry’s breath is minty like Louis’ toothpaste, but the rest of her smells exactly like her hands feel in Louis’. Warm. A bit sweaty from the night, a bit sweet from the cologne she must be wearing. They’re facing each other. Nothing except their fingers are touching. “Harry.. can I. Can I ask you something that I’m afraid might be a bit too forward?”
“Is it a sex question?”
Immediately, a ray of sparkles shoots down Louis’ spine. She nods. Harry inhales deeply, but clutches her hands more tightly. The blinds aren’t fully drawn and the light of the streetlamps, mixed with a bit of moonbeams throws spots against the walls, against Harry’s cheekbones. The mascara from her lashes is gone, but they’re still dark and without the extra weight looking delicate and fluttery. Her lips are a bit swollen in the corners, reddened.
“You do want to have sex with me, right?”
A laugh: “I think I’ve made that clear by now.”
“I just.. I wanted to make sure, and also don’t want to ask about what you like before asking if you even want the sex with me.”
“I do want the sex with you, Louis,” Harry kisses her swiftly. “And I like loads of things. But could you tell me what you like, too? First, maybe?”
So she does. They don’t change positions and her mouth gets a bit dry because there are so many great things to talk about, and some not so fun things, too. Harry’s a bit bashful when it comes to certain parts, she’s careful with how she names things. Louis gets that. It took her some time ‘till she figured out what she likes, took some fumbling around, some reading up. Speaking about her own struggles visibly makes it easier for Harry, whose flush never fully disappears, might even expand when Louis tells her how she makes her feel. Once questions from both sides have decreased a bit, it’s getting rather.. early, if the brightening sky is indicator enough, and Louis’s eyelids droop from time to time, sentences becoming more and more difficult to build.
“You wanna sleep now?”
Harry smacks her lips. “Give me a good night’s kiss and then, yes?”
Slowly, with closed eyes, their lips glide against each other, soft pushes, even softer tugging. Then Harry’s mouth opens a bit too widely for it being intentional.
Louis throws her head back and laughs: “Did you just yawn?”
“Fuck, sorry, sorry”, even her neck is pink now, “I’m so tired, but I don’t want to stop kissing you.”
“It’s okay, it’s okay, we should sleep. And kiss tomorrow. Just wake me up in the morning, alright? And I’ll make those waffles.”
Harry pouts. “I wish I wouldn’t have to sleep, ever.”
“You can dream of me and we’ll have all sorts of adventures.”
“That’s not half as good”, she says and falls back on her side.
“Excuse me, dream-me is amazing.”
“Can’t be as amazing as the real you.”
Louis just smiles at her. (What can she say? It’s true.)
“You really are so amazing,” Harry mumbles and shuffles close, lays her head on Louis’ chest, curls in her face. She brushes them aside and doesn’t stop playing with them. Her other hand finds its way on a strong back, grabs the fabric there. “And to think we only met because you thought me a thief.”
She doesn’t say the line - The Line - but feels her heart doubling in size. “I’m glad I did.”
“Me too… Good night, Louis.”
“Good night, Love.”
A few minutes later, Harry’s body melts, her breaths become more even, a bit puffy. But Louis’ mind won’t stop spiralling. It’s not a bad spiralling, not really, but she can’t relax, can’t stop the images from coming up. A fantasy of that leads to a fantasy of this, ideas to even more whimsical concepts, until she has planned out their near future precisely. She needs to calm down. Maybe the universe isn’t doing this because it’s nice, maybe this’ll only last for a week. Maybe this will turn out to be a thing for a night. Maybe her heart will be broken -. Oh, what the hell! She will not let bad thoughts ruin this! No! Not now, not ever! She’s wearing a nightgown, for fucks sake, she’s a princess and princesses get what they want in the end. Didn’t Zayn say her life is exquisitely cast? And this sure as hell isn’t a tragedy!
Finally, she can close her eyes and sleep. Even if Harry’s body is hot against her own, even if her pants are damp, even if the pressure on her breast makes it all tingly again.
“I can’t fucking sleep.”
“You were sleeping a moment ago.”
“But I woke up again.” A few forceful heartbeats. “I can’t.. I can’t stop thinking about you being naked under that gown.”
She presses her hand against Harry’s side. “You wanna make out some more?”
“Yeah, but I can’t be on top or else I’ll collapse.”
Louis moves her leg, pushes it gently between her thighs, and Harry gasps. It’s the best sound. “Roll on your back.”
Harry does and soon enough, Louis’ towering on top of her, right elbow stemmed into the mattress, left hand put against her ribs over the cotton of her shirt. As she leans down, she doesn’t look away from her, catches every blink, every widening of those green eyes, she kisses her upper lip, licks against it and sees the quiet satisfaction taking over. Exhilaration makes Louis stop holding herself up quite as strongly, Harry’s nipple presses on the swell of her tit, so she lets most of her weight fall. By now her cunt feels so heated it takes her everything not to reach down. Harry’s fingers press against her neck, urging her to quicken the kisses, make them harder, until she wraps her legs around Louis’ hip.
“Lemme-“, Louis rises a bit, adjusts the duvet around them, “you good with this?”
“Fuck yes, come here.”
She can feel her against her pelvis, hot, pulsing, and so distracting she has to moves her hand a bit closer. It glides over Harry’s chest, down her stomach where she knows that wings-animal-thing is, moves in circles around it. “Is it a butterfly?”
“Can I see it?”
She gets an eager yes.
Instead of gathering up the shirt, Harry flings it above her head. Louis starts by looking at the tattoo, just as she asked, but let’s her gaze wander across the other ones, as well. There are the swallows, there are words and hearts and seemingly random doodles, just like the drawings on her own skin. And there are two laurels, stems pointing down into the panties. Those are the ones that make her mouth go dry and wet at the same time. Those are the ones that make her cunt throb.
“Stop me if I do something you don’t like.” She awaits a nod and begins kissing along the lines of the faint muscles visible under warm skin. It gets the sweetest reactions. Harry begins trembling just slightly, nearly unnoticeable, her back arches again, her fingers nudge softly against Louis’ shoulders.
“Can we – can we turn on the light? I want to see you.”
“Yes, yes, great idea.”
For that, Harry has to lower her legs, but it’s worth it seeing her cheeks and neck rosy, her pupils huge and glazy, her lips in-between her own teeth. “Can I eat you out?”
Louis lets out a slightly high-pitched giggle. “Would love that.”
“Still can’t be on top, though, my body’s jelly.”
They stare at each other. Then Louis has to sit down on Harry’s middle, run a hand through her own hair. “You make my heart all sparkly.”
“You make mine sparkly, too, but you’d make it sparklier if you’d sit on my face.”
She’s sure she’s dripping on Harry’s skin by now. Taking in huge breaths, she hobbles up, spreads her knees on the side of Harry’s face. In a second she changes her mind, wants to bend down and kiss her a bit more, but there’s already wet, warm pressure against her clit. “Fuck –“ Harry licks broadly over her hole and that feels even better, not as much intensity at once. The nightgown is bunching up over her thighs so she gets rid of it and immediately receives more pressure on her pussy, as Harry grabs her bum and pulls her close. Searching for balance she holds on to the headboard, moving along to the same rhythm Harry’s tongue is moving to over her folds, over her slit again, through the wetness leaking out of her.
“Fuck, you’re good at this”, Louis whines, closing her eyes. “Such pretty lips.”
Said lips suck on the skin just before her thigh, ghost over stubbles of hair, kiss tenderly. “Love doing it. Tastes so fucking nice. And, and you sound so - pretty.”
She gasps a bit louder, lets her mouth let out all the sounds that come up in her chest as she dares to press down a bit, gets encouraged by Harry’s hum, feels hot all over. As she puts her fingers on her clit to rub over it softly, she feels herself leaking heavily. It must be smeared all over Harry’s face, especially as she urges her tongue into Louis’ cunt, fucks in and out of her with such force it evokes a tightening in her thighs. They start quivering after a while, but she won’t move from this, won’t stop this, can’t, and is so glad she could cry as Harry grasps her more tightly, holds her up. She’d probably press her up against a wall with ease.
“Fuck, fuck,” Louis pants again, pressing against her clit in rapid motions, clamps down. Harry’s curls tickle, then she’s strongly losing control over her limbs she seizes up so hard it must be muting all the sounds for Harry, who moans loudly, breath hot. It makes Louis come, arms shaking, thighs shaking, cunt pulsing as Harry continues to lick into her.
And she doesn’t stop. Louis gets no time to recover, just gets hoisted up as she slips down a bit, gets more pressure against her folds. Harry’s tongue prods against her fingers that stroke loosely through her pubic hair, and Louis dares to look down properly.
Harry is looking right back, her face glistening, full of awe. It makes her exhale a tiny laugh. “You look like you’re happy.”
“I am,” and more licking, more sucking on heated skin. “Make yourself come another time?”
“Yeah,” she says and this time she doesn’t look away, not when she starts to touch herself again, not when Harry pushes her tongue inside her, fucks into her, not when she comes with a choked-off cry.
Chest heaving, she falls into the mattress. She must be looking spent, exhausted and she feels that way, and Harry’s still staring at her, playing with her own lips, twitching. The warm light of the bedside lamp makes stars dance in her eyes. “You’re so lovely, I can’t stop thinking that”, Louis murmurs and kisses her, tastes herself, buries her hands in tangled curls.
Harry mumbles something unintelligible and strokes over Louis’ spine. Her pulse is visibly pounding again, so Louis does what she has been wanting to do all night and starts pecking down her neck, sucks here and there, before she settles just below her ear and bites down tenderly, licks, kisses, sucks some more. Harry bucks against Louis’ thigh, so she presses down, feels her pulsate under the lacy panties, feels her solid and warm.
She moves her mouth down, caresses the swallows, then plays with Harry’s nipples a lot since she’s getting those raspy moans out of it. Switching it up between them, she twists the one with her fingers while licking the other, making them wet with spit.
“Wanna take off the slip,” Harry says, bends and strains a bit, while Louis sits back and doesn’t help because she’s too caught up in watching her desperate expression. She gets pulled down again, lips locking into each other.
“You okay with me getting you off?”
“How’d you want it?”
Tiny hairs on their skin brush, as their noses nudge each other, their cheeks align. Harry swallows. “Rub me? Like, with three of your fingers”
Louis does. Not before getting her fingers nice and wet, though, dampening them with saliva while sitting up and settling on Harry’s legs. They start quivering as soon as she’s stroking, softly tugging on the hair in-between them, pressing against all the sweet spots she detects while never letting her gaze leave Harry’s face. At first she needs a bit of help, lets Harry direct her wrist where she wants it to be, but soon she takes over again. A particularly hard rub evokes a long moan. Harry begins grasping the bedsheet, clutching her own stomach, twisting her nipples, twisting her whole body. “Please don’t stop,” she gasps.
“Wouldn’t think of it”, Louis replies and gets faster, slouches down to make everything wetter with her spit. “Do you want me to add lube?”
“Yes, yes do you have any?”
The bottle is in a drawer of the bedside table and is open in an instant. The added gel makes Harry bite down on her knuckles. Hard. Louis remembers what she had mumbled earlier and carefully sorts out her thoughts. “You’re so beautiful, so, so beautiful. You said you like the way I sound, right? But you sound just breath-taking, wanna hear you like that again and again.” Harry whines. “Yeah, like that, such a pretty voice. Tell me how it feels?”
“It – I-..,“ she lessens the pressure a bit. “Feels so, so good.”
“You want me to play with your nipples some more?”
Awaiting the nod, she reaches up with her free hand and rubs over one nub, circles around it, fascinated by tiny shivers that sway through Harry’s body. “You okay, Babe?”
“Kiss me again?”
Harry is barely moving her lips, lets Louis suck on them, meets her exploring tongue with pleased huffs. All of a sudden her nails drill into Louis’ bum, more she breathes, more. “So hot, Harry, your body is incredible, you’re already so dear to me, I’m so happy we met, yes, that’s so good, Baby, you’re doing so good,” and Harry comes as Louis speeds up both her hands, rubbing her, twisting her nipple, everything wet and smelling of clean sweat. Their faces are hovering few centimetres apart, both pant into drawn-out kisses, interrupted by smiles and shaky breaths.
“Amazing,” Harry echoes, stretches out. Her hair is falling over her brow, all messed up from tossing around. “You knew exactly what to do, oh my God.”
“Because we talked about it. Don’t flatter me without me deserving it.”
“Oh, you definitely deserve it. I’m so exhausted, I could sleep all week.”
“Are you calling me boring,” but Louis laughs, kisses her again, hugs her close.
“No, I’m calling you so stunning you make me all dreamy.”
More kisses. More smiling. They’re both sweaty and sticky even after cleaning up with a tissue, Louis’ thighs feel kinda yucky. That’s alright, they’ll just shower in the morning. (Not together because there’s not enough space, but still.) For now she pulls them close together, back against chest this time, and secures a cocoon around them. The sun is most definitely rising before they’re asleep.
Knocking against her bedroom door. It won’t stop.
“Zaynie, I told you not to wake us,” she calls.
“You’ve been up for at least an hour. I can hear your devotions of tenderness.”
Harry hides her face in a pillow. “Fuck.”
“What do you want?” Louis yells.
“I made waffles.”
Livid, she rises and let’s go of Harry’s nipples. “I wanted to make waffles! That’s my job!”
“Your waffles are wobbly. Please join me. Before they get cold.”
With an apology ready on her bruised lips she looks down, but Harry’s already sitting up. “I don’t wanna keep her waiting. We could, uhm, we could just continue this, after?”
Louis knows when she’s been defeated. “Alright. I’m putting your waffles on your plate, tho.”
Zayn has already set the table and arranged a neat stack of waffles on each plate. But Louis can’t be cross. There are napkins with plant patterns that make Harry declare an ode to Zayn’s artistic vision, which makes Zayn pale but also beam, so. They drink tea out of the delicate china cups she only pulls out on special occasions, and she doesn’t talk more than last night, but looks at them with such a sweet look, it’s urging Louis to grab Harry’s knee under the table. The sleepy dragon-fly is fond.
Afterwards, they disappear into Louis’ room for nearly three hours, both having some orgasms, both emerging sweaty and skipping to the bathroom to take long showers. There’s a bit of a Talk. About the sex, but also about.. gasp! A relationship!
They want to try to date, visit a cat café, take walks in the park, maybe go roller skating. There are some events at Harry’s university she’d love Louis to come to, something with theatre and writing and creating stuff, which may become a bit uncomfortable, but there’ll be friends of Harry’s she’d love to meet. They also want to do more of this, do more of staying in a room and making each other come and cuddle and stare at the walls and Louis’ shelf and asking questions and learning about each other in close proximity.
When it’s getting dark, Zayn asks if they’re gonna watch Big Hero 6. She peeps through the gap in the door and doesn’t react when she realises neither of them wear more than underwear. Harry’s immediately starting to push Louis out of bed. “Yes, yes, let’s!” Then she hesitates. “If I can stay.”
Zayn’s green glasses slide down her nose. “You’re a protagonist.”
Clearly confused, Harry looks at Louis. She’s so naked and beautiful, it takes a bit to reply. “Of course you’ll stay.”
“Thank you”, Harry whispers, kissing her. They rise, move the duvet aside, start to get up.
Zayn is still standing there. Zayn is staring at Harry’s backpack. Zayn is staring at something sticking out of Harry’s backpack.
“Oh, look. It’s Bunbury.”
Harry understands first: “That’s Aubrey Jasmine.”
“No. No, it’s Bunbury, he told me so.”
The bird is barely visible, only its head peeking out, empty eyes directed at the ceiling.
Zayn opens the door fully. “Louis. Did you find yourself?”
She can’t stand to be the reason for distress in that startled, passionate face, but she can’t lie either. “It’s been only a few days, Love, that’ll take some time.”
To her surprise, maybe even shock, Zayn’s marvel doesn’t disappear. “When did he get back?”
“I… found him?,” Harry bends down, picks him up and gives him to her, pulling Louis’ shirt on, after. “I found him, uhm. In the park. And then I took him with me every time I went there and then Louis saw me with him and that’s how we met.”
Zayn, dressed in a woollen jumper and chequered skirt, blinks down at him. “He had been so unmoved by the world.”
“Yes. That is why I set him free a month ago. And –“
“Stop!” Louis’s voice has risen quite a lot. “You threw him out of the apartment?”
A piercing look through square glasses makes her freeze. “No. I freed him. He was sad. But now… he has returned, Louis. He is back. And he’s so happy. He was never particularly feeling anything and now he is… he is happy.”
Harry, expression soft and patient, pets the bird’s head: “I bet he’s glad to be home again.”
Louis falls backwards into the bed, grinning so hard it hurts her cheeks, heart sparkling just like the particles of glitter they found on their skin not long ago, chest feeling as light as a cloud.
Aubrey Jasmine Bunbury is no longer missing.