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Driving On The Wrong Side, Thinking Of You

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The chill of the wind was absolutely biting. Louis pulled the collar of his winter coat up around his ears. He knew he shouldn’t have had his hair cut. Not before the Christmas holidays.

“Lou!”

Louis looked up at Todd. “Mrs. Shaw was proper pissed off you weren’t in drama.”

“Don’t care.”

Louis rolled his eyes and took a drag of his cigarette. In year ten, Louis was just the same. Indifferent. Disinterested. He realised, just in time, how important his GCSEs were. Still, unlike Todd, Louis had to study. Todd had turned up to, like, half his classes and still managed ten A stars.

Dickhead. Louis didn’t take much seriously, but he really wanted to act. He needed to get the grades for university, so he had to take sixth form seriously. Unlike the majority of his loser friends.

“Where’s Oli?” Todd asked.

“He stayed behind after his class to ‘ask a question’.”

“Let me guess. Biology?” Todd smirked. “Mate, he so fancies Miss Attwell.”

“No, I know. He saw her in the canteen yesterday and the flirting was fucking excruciating.”

“She might be up for it.”

Louis stubbed his cigarette out and grinned, shaking his head. “Nah. Why would she look twice at a scrote like Oli? Her boyfriend is a P.E. teacher at Lottie’s school. He’s really fit.”

Todd just scoffed. He followed Louis’ lead as he walked back into the school, leading them towards the sixth form common room. As they entered, Louis scanned the room. It was mostly full of boys. The girls didn’t tend to hang out in here at all.

He spotted someone and headed straight for him.

“Danny, hi.” Louis easily slid into the empty chair next to Danny and draped an arm around his shoulders. “So, am I coming over yours tonight, or what?”

“I told you, my mum’s home tonight.”

“So?” Louis murmured in Danny’s ear. “I can be quiet.”

“That’s not what Hugh told me.”

“I don’t like to be quiet, but I can be.”

“Lou, for God’s sake!” Todd called. “We’re supposed to be talking footie strategies.”

“Snapchat me later, won’t you?” Louis asked Danny. “See ya.”

Louis returned to Todd where he, Oli and Calvin were sitting in a circle on the beat-up armchairs.

“Come on then, you fuckers. Football.”

“Did you fuck that Brendon guy from last week’s visiting team?”

Louis glared. “That’s not a football question, Oli.”

“It is!”

“Dickhead.” Louis betrayed a smirk. “No, I bloody well didn’t. Just gave him a handjob behind the gym.”

The boys all jeered and whooped. Louis just rolled his eyes and shrugged.

“You know he’s got a girlfriend though, right?” Calvin asked.

Louis shook his head. “No. Not like I’ll see him again.”

Sometimes, the boys teased Louis about his conquests but really, he didn’t put himself about that much. In fact, he got far more action than the lot of them put together, so they were probably jealous.

Every Friday night, he would find one of the lads to drag with him to the local gay club. The whole lot of them had fake IDs and Louis was sure the bouncer knew he was only seventeen, but Louis was the kind of guy who charmed everyone he met. The bouncer and bar staff overlooked his age, his friends catered to his every whim, and he never had trouble with finding the hot, young men in the crowd.

It was a week until the Christmas holidays, and Louis couldn’t wait. On Christmas Eve, he would finally turn eighteen. He could retire his fake ID and go to more clubs, as well as getting more leeway from his mum. He was about to take his driving test, too, so freedom was most definitely on the horizon for him.

For now, though, his friends were happy to chauffeur him around. Oli dropped Louis off at the corner of his street and Louis started the walk to his house, muttering under his breath at having to walk at all in such cold. As he strutted down towards his house, he saw his neighbour, Marcel, just approaching his own house. Marcel lived across the road and was a year below Louis in school. Now, Louis would probably agree that he was the most popular boy in his year, but that didn’t mean that he thought he was better than everybody else. He wasn’t rude or mean to anyone, even if everybody else was to people like Marcel.

“Hi, Marcel!” he called over.

Marcel looked over his shoulder and pushed his glasses up his nose. He raised a hand in greeting before hurrying inside. Marcel was doing the drama A Level too, but in lower sixth, so he and Louis didn’t have the class together. Louis sort of drifted in and out of the after-school drama club, so he sometimes saw Marcel there. Marcel was also studying fashion and textiles, which earned him a great amount of teasing among his peers. Louis told his friends off when they started. He didn’t have any time for that straight people bullshit.

Louis headed straight to his room and unceremoniously threw his backpack to the floor, kicked off his shoes and collapsed onto his bed. He was exhausted. He had been up early for a bit of football practice with the lads and all he wanted to do was go to sleep. Maybe he should nap. Then he can go out later and find someone to have some fun with. There weren’t really many fit gay boys at Louis’ school, but Andrew from St. Edmund’s lived a couple of streets over and Louis was definitely interested in seeing him again. St. Edmund’s was known for its excellent rugby team and Andrew was the captain.

Louis took his nap, waking only when his mum called him to come down for dinner.

“Louis, will you stop texting at the dinner table?”

“One sec, Mum.”

‘Hi you :) Can I come round? X’

Louis put his phone down on the table and smiled sweetly at his glaring mother. He ate his dinner and listened to his four sisters all talking over each other about something he couldn’t even decipher. When he finished, he looked at his mum.

“I might pop out in a bit, just to borrow a textbook from Calvin. Is that okay?”

“As long as you’re back by ten. And I hope you’ve done some homework?”

“I did most of it during my free period.”

“Hm. Okay. Put your plate in the sink.”

Louis pocketed his phone and took his plate to the sink. As soon as he got into the hallway, he checked his phone.

‘Can’t we go for a drive instead? A x’

Louis sighed. ‘Fine. Pick me up in 20?”

He ran upstairs and took a quick shower, before wriggling into his skinny jeans and pulling on a t-shirt. He grabbed a jumper and pulled it on as he descended the stairs.

“Back soon, Mum!” he called.

“Is your phone charged, darling?”

“Yes.”

“Be good.”

Louis pulled his coat on and pushed his feet into his trainers. Andrew wasn’t here yet, so Louis walked up the road, out of view of his house, and lit a cigarette. He had barely taken his first drag when Andrew pulled up.

“Don’t smoke in my car,” Andrew deadpanned.

“Fine, God. I’ll put it out.” Louis tossed it into the gutter before climbing into the passenger seat. “Fuck, get the heating on, lad.”

“I just got in, give it time.”

Andrew drove them to the car park of the Tesco superstore just out of town. Not one to beat around the bush, Louis immediately unbuckled his seatbelt and went in for a kiss. Andrew relented, not even having chance to unbuckle his own belt first. He moaned softly against Louis’ mouth as Louis’ hand slid up his thigh.

“Louis!” Andrew giggled softly, shoving him.

“Why couldn’t I come to yours?” Louis whined softly. “There’s not really enough room in here for the things I want to do to you.”

“My little sister’s having a sleepover.”

Louis pouted and ran a fingertip over the slight bulge in Andrew’s jeans. “Hm, okay. We should move to the back seat.”

“That means you have to get out to pull the seat forward.”

“I can squeeze through!”

“Well, I can’t.”

Louis gave him a petulant look and started to wriggle through the gap between the seats. He came a bit stuck when trying to pull his arse through and Andrew laughed and slapped it.

“Ow!”

“Move the seat!”

Louis lifted the lever and pushed the passenger seat forward so that Andrew could join him. As soon as he did, Louis pushed him to sit down and straddled him, before slipping his coat off and dropping it to the floor.

“Fancy fucking me?”

Within minutes, they were both naked and Louis was gripping onto the headrests in front, moaning loudly as Andrew held his hips and thrust into him. Afterwards, Andrew drove Louis home, the air thick with the smell of sex.

“Don’t you have the same free period as me on Mondays?” Andrew asked. “Maybe we can go back to yours. Or mine, whatever.”

“Yeah, maybe.” They pulled up outside of Louis’ house and Louis did one last check that he was dressed properly and unbuckled his seatbelt. “Text me.”

-

“Lou, can I ask you a question?”

Louis gave no physical reaction. He was wearing sunglasses, his feet up on the chair next to him and his arms folded.

“Go on.”

“How many boys have you fucked?”

Louis rolled his eyes. “Well, my number is obviously higher than yours, Oli.”

“Let’s see…” Calvin said. “Two a week for the last… two years? That’s…”

“Two hundred and eight!” Todd said with a laugh.

“It’s nowhere near that,” Louis said. “Stop exaggerating.”

“You know when you’re with your gran in public and she’s always stopped for a chat because she knows everyone?” Calvin smirked. “That’s what it’s like with you, except it’s guys you’ve slept with.”

“Fuck off.”

“Come on, mate,” Oli said. “It’s true.”

“It’s not. I snog a lot of random guys when we go out, but when I have sex it’s with the same few guys. You lot are just jealous.”

“Shut up,” Oli grumbled.

The door to the common room banged open and all four boys turned their heads to see Marcel, who hesitated before walking into the room. He was followed by his friend, Jade, who he spent the majority of his time with.

“And speaking of desperate virgins…”

Jade gave Calvin such a sickening glare that Louis felt himself recoil slightly.

“Shut up, Calvin,” Louis said.

“Yeah!” Oli said with a smirk. “I mean, they’re probably fucking each other. Geeks stick together, innit?”

“Yeah right!” Todd scoffed. “You think a lad taking fashion is into women?”

“Uh, that’s enough,” Louis objected, standing up. “Shut your mouth, pal. Don’t go there.”

Todd fell silent, glaring at the arm of his chair.

“You know what?” Jade said, walking over to the circle of boys, to the clear mortification of Marcel. “He shouldn’t have to be scared to come into his own common room. He should be able to walk in here without fear of ridicule or homophobic comments. By the way? ‘Geeks’ carry the losers like you through life. Geeks made the phones and computers you rely on to do your work for you.”

“Oh, go back to Newcastle,” Todd replied to the amusement of Oli and Calvin.

“Good one,” Jade replied with a roll of her eyes.

Louis stood up and edged between Jade and the others. “They’re dickheads. I’ll talk to them.”

Jade blinked at him before rolling her eyes again. “Why do you even hang out with these guys?”

Louis didn’t respond, instead spinning around to face his friends.

“Out.”

The boys all stood up miserably, shouldering their bags and leaving the room. Louis turned back to Jade.

“They’re not homophobic.” He looked over at Marcel. “Honestly.”

“Okay, but what they said was homophobic,” Jade replied, clearly aggravated.

“I won’t stand for that crap from them, you saw that.”

Jade rolled her eyes yet again. “Even if they stop when you’re here, you think they won’t say that stuff when you’re not?”

Louis looked over at Marcel again. “I’m sorry.”

-

Louis felt uneasy for the rest of the day. Yes, his friends were shits. But they weren’t all bad. Maybe teasing Marcel was too much for them to resist, but Louis had to stop their comments about Marcel’s A level choices.

Okay, so maybe Louis was looking forward to finishing his A levels so he could leave this bloody area, find new friends who didn’t ask him ignorant sex questions all the time or find the stupidest things to tease people like Marcel with. He was looking forward to university a whole lot.

Christmas break finally came around and Louis spent the first morning off in bed. When he finally emerged, he found his sisters Lottie and Fizzy in the kitchen, making cupcakes.

“You two making a mess?”

“Go away, Louis.”

Louis leaned over Lottie’s shoulder and stuck his finger in the cake batter. The girls groaned loudly and pushed at him until he left the kitchen.

He could do with some breakfast, and he wouldn’t dare step foot back in the kitchen. He quickly threw on some clean sweats and his coat, grabbed his keys and left the house.

‘Who’s buying me mcdonalds then?’

The two ticks quickly turned blue, telling Louis all three of his friends had read the message.

‘Oli should drive us all there’

‘Yeah! Oli drive us there’

‘Fine ffs. But only if we take it back to Louis’ to eat it’

‘Ok, as long as you lot don’t piss off my sisters’

Louis smoked a cigarette and walked to Oli’s. As he arrived, Oli was just getting into his car.

“I thought I was picking you all up.”

“Well, you would’ve gone to Calvin first and then I would’ve ended up in the back seat with Todd.” Louis smirked. “I don’t get in the back seat for just anyone, you know.”

“Ugh.” Oli shut the door behind him and Louis climbed in the front passenger seat. “I don’t need details.”

Calvin seemed visibly disappointed that Louis already had the front seat. They picked up Todd and headed to the drive-thru McDonald’s. They all shouted their orders over each other and threw money at Oli and somehow, they all got the food they wanted and they headed back to Louis’. They gathered in the living room and turned on the TV, putting a music channel on to play in the background.

“Look, lads.” Louis commanded their attention, stilling them as they pulled food from the bags. “You’ve really got to give the gay jokes a rest.”

“What gay jokes?” Oli asked as he stuffed several chips into his mouth. “We don’t say anything to you.”

“Oh, you wouldn’t dare.” Louis rolled his eyes to himself. “No I mean to other people. Like to Marcel? Come on. Studying fashion doesn’t make him gay. Even if it did, there’s nothing wrong with being gay. The way you tease him makes it sound like there is, and I’m not having it. I’m gonna be really fucking pissed off if I hear you say that shit to him, or anyone else again. Okay?”

“Yeah.”

“Sorry, Lou.”

“We didn’t mean it like that.”

“We’re seventeen, eighteen, now,” Louis said. “We’re too old for that childish teasing. Some might even call it bullying.”

“It’s not bullying,” Todd replied. “It’s just a gentle bit of ribbing. Come on! He’s a total fucking geek.”

Louis rolled his eyes. “You might want to bear in mind, lad, that if I wasn’t your friend, you might be the one getting bullied. Do you want me to list the things people might bully you about?”

Todd glowered. “No.”

“Right. So pipe down.”

They ate their food in a slightly awkward silence, but Louis stirred up chatter about Christmas and the new year and university. The boys made a hasty retreat after Louis’ mum, Jay, came home.

“Who made this mess in the kitchen?” she said, exasperated.

“It wasn’t me!” Louis protested. “It was the girls.”

Jay muttered under her breath as she started to wipe the counters down. Louis turned to go to his room, but thought better of it and started the washing up.

“Thank you, darling,” Jay said with a sigh. “I meant to tell you. Anne is having a Christmas party on Sunday. I told her we would all go.”

“Do I have to?”

“Yes,” Jay replied. “Only for an hour or two. I’d ask either you or Lottie to take the girls home, so you can use that as your excuse if you want but I really would like you to come.”

Louis groaned. “Fine.”

“I’ll let you have a drink.”

Louis chuckled. “Okay, you’ve convinced me.”

-

Jay insisted they all dressed nicely and so Louis wore smart trousers with a black shirt tucked in, collar open. He reckoned he looked pretty good, and he resolved to find a hookup after he was permitted to leave the party. Maybe he should call Andrew, but then again, maybe it was too soon. He didn’t want either of them to get attached, or anything.

Anne’s house was a touch smaller than Louis’, but not by much. It was warm and heavily decorated, the smell of Christmas everywhere. Louis had always really liked Anne. Maybe this party wouldn’t be so bad.

There was, of course, the fact that Anne was Marcel’s mum, and so he was in Marcel’s house. He hadn’t seen him yet. He spotted Jade across the room, who looked very cute in a dress and a pink bow tie.

“Hello, Louis.”

“Hi, Anne!” Louis awkwardly let Anne kiss him on the cheek. “Thanks for the invite. Lovely party.”

“Thank you. I think Marcel is hiding in his room. He’ll probably emerge now that Jade’s here.”

“Um, okay.”

“There are some nibbles in the kitchen!” Anne said before hurrying off.

Louis headed to the kitchen. He stuffed his face with some mini sausage rolls before popping the top off of a beer.

“Hi, Louis.”

He looked over his shoulder and smiled. “Hi, Jade.”

“You seen Marcel?”

“No. His mum said he’s hiding in his room.”

“Oh.” Jade shifted her weight and folded her arms self consciously. “Um, thanks for the other day. At school.”

“Oh, I didn’t really do anything. Just…”

“Your friends are dickheads.”

Louis looked at the floor. “Um, yeah. Well, I talked to them and told them to grow up.”

“Marcel doesn’t deserve it, you know?”

“I mean, I don’t really know him. But… no. Nobody deserves it.”

“He’s a good person.” Jade sighed. “I’m gonna find him.”

Louis took a swig of his beer and went in search of his sisters. It was only 6pm, and there were quite a few kids at the party. He found his twin sisters eating cake in the dining room with some of their friends, and he decided to leave them be. He gave up trying to find anyone interesting and busied himself looking at the different Christmas decorations. The Christmas tree had ornaments on it of the initials A, M, G. Anne, Marcel, Gemma. Gemma was Marcel’s older sister who was away at university. She was probably around here somewhere. Louis didn’t know her very well but Lottie had always looked up to her, so she was probably pretty cool.

He headed out of the house and lit a cigarette. The street was completely clear of traffic, so he wandered from pavement to pavement, wondering if he should just go inside his house. He sat on the wall in front of his next door neighbour’s house and as he glanced up at Anne’s house, he saw Marcel in the upstairs window. He quickly retreated, and Louis laughed to himself.

When Louis went back inside, Marcel was downstairs and leaning against a wall in the hallway, talking to Jade. He looked sort of hunched in on himself and he was wearing a Christmas jumper that made him look about a hundred years old. Louis rolled his eyes to the ceiling. Marcel didn’t exactly help himself.

“Hiya,” Louis said as he passed the two of them. “Merry Christmas.”

He turned to walk away but Anne accosted him, putting an arm around his shoulders and steering him back towards Marcel.

“Jade,” Anne said. “Your mother is looking for you. Marcel, darling, why don’t you take Louis to your room and play on your computer?”

Louis’ heart sunk. He would defend Marcel from an infinite amount of gay jokes but it didn’t mean he wanted to spend time with him. They didn’t exactly have anything in common.

“Um, okay,” Marcel said, sounding as reluctant as Louis and slightly miserable. “If- if you want to.”

“Sure.”

Louis sighed inwardly and followed Marcel up the stairs, throwing a glance back at Anne. He had been here for barbecues and parties before - their mothers were good friends, after all - and he had been upstairs to use the toilet but he had never been in Marcel’s bedroom. The two of them barely ever spoke unless they were forced to.

“So…” Louis said as they entered Marcel’s room. It was meticulously tidy, apart from his desk which was littered with what looked like sketches of clothing. “Do you have FIFA?”

“Um… no.”

“Grand Theft Auto?”

“No…”

“What about Mario Kart?”

“Oh, yeah. It came with the console.”

“Great!”

Marcel frowned. “But, um… I only have one controller. Jade’s not really into computer games, so…”

“Oh.” Louis sighed. He kicked his shoes off and threw himself down on Marcel’s bed. “So why did your mum say we should play?”

Marcel shrugged. “Dunno. Sorry.”

“No worries,” Louis said cheerfully, standing up and pushing his feet back into his shoes. “I’ll run across the road and get one of mine. How does that sound?”

“Yeah.”

Louis made his way downstairs and towards the door. As he pulled his open, someone cleared their throat behind him. It was his mum.

“And where do you think you’re going?”

Louis rolled his eyes and turned around. “Anne banished me and Marcel to his room for some reason, telling us to play computer games but he’s only got one controller. I’m popping home to get one. I’m socialising, Mother.”

“Alright. I’ll get Lottie to take the girls home in a bit, then.”

Louis pouted. He had lost his get out of jail free card. Still, at least he could annihilate Marcel at Mario Kart instead of trying to act like a grown up in front of adults. He trotted across the street and when he returned with the controller, Marcel was playing Mario Kart against the computer, chewing his lip in concentration.

“It’s set up,” he said as he came eleventh. He had taken his jumper off and was in a plain white t-shirt. Louis was surprised to notice Marcel was trim. He couldn’t exactly picture him in a gym. “Who do you like to play as?”

“Toad. Always Toad. You?”

“Um. I don’t play much but I…” Marcel darted his eyes away from Louis’ and blushed. “Um. Mario.”

“You’re lying!” Louis said, amused. “Go on. Tell me.”

“No.”

Louis smirked and folded his arms. “Come on.”

“Princess Peach.”

“Aww.” Louis grinned. “And… what? You thought I was going to call you gay, or something? You do realise I’m gay? Everybody knows.”

“You’ll tell your friends,” Marcel said quietly. “And they’ll call me gay.”

Louis frowned and sat on the bed next to Marcel.

“Look, I’ve sorted it. If they ever call you gay or make gay jokes to you again, you come to me. Okay? I’ll be fucking livid.”

“Okay.”

Louis sighed, kicking his shoes off again and leaning back on his palms. “But gay isn’t an insult. I mean, obviously they’re intending it as an insult, but there’s nothing wrong with being gay. So, I hope you’re not actually offended when they say that.”

Marcel just shook his head as he stared adamantly at the TV screen.

They started a game, picked their characters and started their race. Louis easily pulled ahead from the start. He watched as Marcel slipped into sixth, seventh, eighth place. Louis would have thought that with all the time Marcel must spend alone in his room, he would have got good at the game.

“Damn!” Marcel muttered as he finally crossed the finishing line, finishing ninth.

“Better luck next time, mate,” Louis said, concealing a smirk. He had come second. “I’ll go easy on you.”

Marcel cleared his throat. “No need.”

Louis chuckled good naturedly as the next race started. It played out much the same as the first one. Louis sped into first place and Marcel slipped behind. Marcel sighed heavily as the race ended and he found himself in seventh place.

“Right,” Marcel said with a nod. “I’ll win this time.”

Louis smiled as the race started. It started as normal, until Marcel started to pull ahead. All of a sudden, he surged right up to first place, knocking Louis back. Louis became distracted and hit one of the computer-controlled characters and spun into eighth place. He managed to clamber back into sixth place before the race ended.

“What the fuck was that?!”

Marcel sniffed. “I got lucky.”

“Bullshit.” Louis started to feel irritated and cracked his knuckles in preparation for the fourth and last race. “There’s no way I’m letting you win.”

“Why? Is that what you did last time?”

“Shut up!”

The race started and Marcel immediately darted into first place. Louis was determined to beat him. He found himself on his feet, moving closer to the TV in a weird desperation. He finally caught up and even overtook Marcel and just when he thought he was going to beat him, Marcel shot a shell at him and he spun out of control and ended the game in dead last.

“You fucking hustled me!”

“I did not,” Marcel said, pushing his glasses up. “As I said, I got lucky.”

Louis smirked, despite himself. “You’re devious. I like that.”

Marcel was trying to keep an expression of innocence but Louis saw a very tiny smile.

“I guess I’m better than I thought.”

“Well, I’m not playing with you again.”

Marcel smiled, but there was something behind it. Disappointment? Sadness? Inevitability?

“Oh. Are you going home?”

Louis felt a pang of conscience in his heart. He wasn’t having the worst time, and he knew for a fact Marcel didn’t have many friends.

“No, I don’t have to. So, what do you usually do for fun in here, on your own?”

Louis thought he saw a little blush on Marcel’s cheeks.

“Um. Well, I work on some designs, but you don’t wanna hear about all that. I’ve learned some magic tricks.”

“Really? Show me.”

Louis saw a reluctance but Marcel nodded and pulled a pack of cards from his bedside table and faced Louis.

“Okay.” He shuffled the cards before fanning them. “Pick a card. Memorise it but don’t show it to me.”

Louis did as instructed, looking at his card while Marcel shuffled the rest of the deck and divided it into three piles. He told Louis to place his card on whichever pile he liked, and he did so.

“Just gonna… cut the piles.” Marcel shuffled all the cards around and started to deal the cards into more piles, face up. “I bet you think card tricks are lame.”

“That’s not true.”

Marcel scoffed as he continued to deal the cards. “Yeah, right. Have you seen your card?”

“Yeah.”

“Great. Okay.” Marcel brought all the cards together. “Your card is…”

Marcel cut the pack and showed Louis the five of hearts.

“Um, no.”

“No?” Marcel pouted. “Okay, what about… this one?”

Seven of clubs. “No, Marcel.”

“Shit. I messed up. What was your card?”

Louis sighed. “Ten of diamonds.”

“Ten of diamonds?” Marcel scratched his head. “Hmm. Okay. Let’s see.”

Marcel started dealing out cards and spelling Louis’ card out, laying cards face down for each letter.

“T-E-N… O-F… D-I-A-M-O-N-D-S.” He flipped over the next card. “Ten of diamonds.”

Louis’ card was staring up at him, clear as day. He frowned, trying to work out how Marcel did it.

“God!” Louis exclaimed. “Alright, that was impressive.”

Marcel raised his eyebrows as he gathered the desk and bound them together with an old hairband. “I bet you loved it when you thought I messed up.”

“I didn’t love it. I was endeared.”

“Hm. Yeah.”

“Seriously. Very impressive.”

“Nah,” Marcel said with a sigh as he folded his body up in a defensive gesture, cuddling his knees to his chest. “It’s a basic trick. I’m not good enough for the complicated ones.”

“That’s what practice is for.” Louis nudged him. “When you learn more, come show me, yeah?”

Marcel nodded and gave Louis a small smile. “Okay. Thanks.”

Louis’ phone vibrated in his pocket and he pulled it out to a Snapchat from Andrew. He glanced at Marcel, who was scratching his thumbnail over a loose thread in the knee of his trousers. He opened the snap and widened his eyes.

‘Family out for the evening…’ the caption read over a very graphic and enticing photo.

“Ugh, sorry. I have to go.” Louis rolled his eyes, hamming it up while trying not to smile or let his dick react in any way. “I had fun.”

“Oh. Okay. Thanks for hanging out with me. And humouring me.”

Louis scoffed. “Yeah, okay. Thanks for hustling me.” He shoved Marcel gently. “See you soon. Merry Christmas.”

-

Louis was starting to wonder if he was a sex addict. Whenever he was sitting around doing nothing, he considered it a waste of time.

“You’re not an addict, you’re just a teenager,” Oli told him. “We’d all be doing it if we had the opportunity. I don’t know how you find so many gay guys around here.”

“They’re not all gay, and anyway, I’m discreet and trustworthy. And you just need to know where to look.”

Louis hated that his birthday was on Christmas Eve. He wished he could go out, get pissed and snog as many guys as possible. Find the fittest lad he could and go home with him. Instead, everything was closed, and he had to settle for either a night in with the family or sitting in one of the lads’ cars. And a quick birthday blowjob from Derek in the alley behind Costa did the trick just fine, anyway.

When he got home, his mum was just about to head to bed.

“Oh, darling. Anne dropped something off for you.”

“Anne?” Louis asked as he hung his keys on the hook. “For my birthday?”

Jay poked her head around the wall at the top of the stairs. “Apparently, it’s from Marcel. It’s on the kitchen table. Goodnight, Lou. Don’t stay up late. The girls will get us up at the crack of dawn.”

“Alright. Night, Mum.”

Louis headed into the kitchen, where he immediately spotted a squashy looking present wrapped in green and red paper. Louis tore it open and found a grey jumper inside. He unfolded it and it had a slightly odd looking polar bear on the front wearing a scarf and hat. The hat’s bobble was a real bobble attached to the jumper and Louis groaned with a smile.

“For God’s sake,” he muttered to himself with a laugh.

-

Louis stayed in for Christmas Day, but now that he was eighteen he needed to go to the pub for his first legal drink. He rounded up the lads and off they went. Louis thought he should probably wear the jumper Marcel gave him, even if this was the only time ever.

“Nice jumper!” Calvin laughed as Louis took his coat off in the pub. “Who the fuck bought you that?”

Louis laughed with a roll of his eyes. “It was- um…” He stopped himself telling the truth. The boys didn’t need to know that Marcel was responsible for such a ridiculous gift and they certainly didn’t need to know that Louis and Marcel had hung out. “It was my mum.”

“Bless. I suppose you have to wear it, don’t you? Just once.”

The boys spent the majority of the time talking about New Year’s Eve. House parties were Louis’ favourite new year activity, but it didn’t sound like there would be any good ones this year. All the pubs and clubs were likely to be full to the brim and they didn’t know what to do.

“Maybe we should just drink in the street.”

“That’s boring. And we might get arrested.”

Louis rolled his eyes. “Why don’t we just have a quiet one at Calvin’s, or something?”

Todd looked at him suspiciously. “You’ve changed since you turned eighteen.”

“Fuck off!” Louis laughed. “I just think the four of us having a laugh is better than being stuck with hundreds of randoms and not being able to even talk to each other.”

“And there will be three of us when you inevitably decide to go and find someone to fuck.”

“Oi!” Louis protested, knowing full well it was true. “Look, I know we can’t have a party but why don’t you guys just invite a few people so there’s, like… twelve of us, or something?”

Calvin reluctantly agreed, even though they all kind of acknowledged that so many things could go wrong. Louis insisted he would use his influence to stop it getting out of hand, whatever that meant.

Louis walked home and when he approached his house, he couldn’t help but glance up at Marcel’s window. Maybe it was because he knew he was being watched.

Marcel looked embarrassed to get caught, but he didn’t hide this time. Louis turned around and unzipped his coat to show Marcel that he was wearing the jumper. Marcel’s huge grin was evident and Louis smiled back, waving as he turned to go inside his house.

-

Louis knocked on the door and shifted his weight from one foot to the other. The door opened and he smiled.

“Hi, Anne. Is Marcel in?”

“Hello, Louis! Yes, he’s up in his room. Would you like to head up?”

“Sure. Thanks.”

Louis crept up the stairs, feeling a little uneasy about the fact Marcel wasn’t expecting him. Shouldn’t Anne have called up to him? Louis reached the landing and knocked tentatively on Marcel’s door, which was slightly ajar.

“Come in.”

Louis pushed the door open and Marcel was sitting cross legged on his bed, flicking through a magazine. He looked up and his eyes widened in shock.

“Oh! Louis.” He quickly shoved the magazine under his pillow. “This is a surprise.”

“I really just wanted to come round and say thank you for my birthday present. It was very sweet of you.”

“Oh, you’re welcome.” Marcel looked down at his hands. “It was also sort of a thank you for being nice to me. I know it’s a risk to your reputation.”

Louis snorted, kicking his trainers off and sitting at the foot of Marcel’s bed. “My reputation? The only reputation I have is a very sleazy, sexual one.”

“That isn’t what I meant.” Marcel took a deep breath and sighed. “I can’t believe the captain of the football team is in my room. Again.”

“Oh, stop it,” Louis said, trying not to grin. “It’s not like I’m popular or anything. I’m just assertive. People follow assertive people, for better or for worse.”

“Well, you’ve proved to me you’re a good guy.” Marcel sniffed. “So far.”

“Hey, come on. We’re friends, now. Okay?” Louis draped his arm around Marcel’s shoulder, but quickly dropped it when Marcel stiffened. “If you want.”

“Um, okay.”

“Look, we’re having a little new year gathering at Calvin’s house. If you wanna come… I’ll stay with you all night. But I know you probably won’t want to.”

“Nah, it’s alright.” Marcel smiled. “Mum and I always spend New Year’s Eve together. But thanks for inviting me. I don’t think the others would exactly want me there, anyway.”

“Yeah, well. They do as I say.”

Marcel let out a little laugh and it made Louis smile.

“So…” Louis glanced at the pillow. “What were you reading? You hid it pretty quickly when I walked in.”

“Oh, oh… nothing. Nothing.”

“Marcel Edward Styles, if I reach my hand under that pillow and pull out a dirty magazine…”

“No! Gosh.” Marcel sighed, rolling his eyes as he reached under the pillow and pulled out a thick magazine. “Alright. It’s a wedding magazine.”

“Ooh!” Louis grinned, snatching the magazine from his hands. “Planning on proposing to Jade?”

“We’re just friends,” Marcel said quickly.

“I was only joking.”

“I’m just really into wedding attire, especially dresses.” Marcel snatched the magazine back and held it against his chest. “I’m thinking of designing them for a living.”

“That’s so cool!”

Marcel’s lips twisted as he laid the magazine on the bed. “Louis, why are you being so nice to me?”

“I told you. We’re friends.”

“I don’t need your pity, you know.”

“Well, I like you.” Louis placed a hand on Marcel’s arm. “And I’m not gonna ignore you at school. I know you probably think I’ll act like I don’t know you, but I won’t.”

Marcel nodded, absently flicking through his magazine. “Okay.”

-

Twenty minutes after midnight, and Louis was restless.

He flicked through his contacts. He would really like to see Andrew - he was a fantastic fuck - but they had seen each other too much recently and he was worried Andrew was getting ideas. Derek only topped and Louis was in the mood to top tonight. And who the fuck was Kai?

Ah. Kai. Louis met him in a club a couple of weeks ago and he had told Louis to call him when he was eighteen. Worth a try.

‘Hi gorgeous! It’s Louis, I’m 18 and looking to celebrate! Wanna come to a small gathering on Middleton Road? ;) x’

‘Fuck, I’m like three roads away! What number x’

‘15 x’

“What’s that, then?” Calvin asked. “Running off for a fuck?”

“No. I invited him here.”

“Oh, great! You’re inviting a stranger into my house for a bit of anal.”

“I’ll fuck him on your bed if you don’t shut up.”

Kai arrived, and he was drunk and probably on something. They danced to the music coming from Calvin’s tinny television and started to kiss. Kai was very eager, breaking only to ask Louis for some ID.

“Are you fucking kidding?” Louis asked, giggling as Kai’s mouth moved to his neck. “For fuck’s sake.”

Louis, with some difficulty, pulled his wallet from his back pocket and pulled out his provisional licence. Kai seemed happy enough with that and unzipped Louis’ jeans before pushing his hand inside.

“Fucking hell,” Louis muttered.

“Oi!” Calvin cried and crossed the room. “No. None of that in here.”

Louis turned his head to smile sweetly at Calvin. Calvin sighed.

“Don’t get any come on my bed. Or lube!”

-

The first day back to school, Louis was falling asleep at his desk.

“Too much dick?” Oli murmured to him.

“Huh?” Louis jerked awake and quickly wiped dribble from his cheek. Their teacher didn’t seem to have noticed. “No. just a late night. For your information, I haven’t had sex in ages.”

“You had sex less than a week ago, at Calvin’s.”

“I know. I’m so fucking horny.” Louis sighed. “Kai was huge though, I thought I needed a break after that.”

“That’s really too much information.”

“I didn’t really wanna bottom that night, but his dick was so pretty.”

“Lou-”

“I’m such a sucker for a pretty dick. I just wanted it in me, but it was deceptively big.”

“Stop!” Oli whined.

“Oliver!” the teacher called. “Be quiet.”

Louis giggled, satisfied. When their class was finished, Louis had a free period and he headed straight for the common room, where he found Marcel concentrating on some sketches.

“Hello, mate.”

“Hi, Louis. Free period?”

“Yup.”

“Me too. Just carrying on my assignment for Fashion. Did you know the skirt is the second oldest piece of clothing? It’s outdated only by the loincloth.”

“I didn’t know. I suppose a skirt is basically a loincloth.”

“Oh, your controller is still at mine. I meant to bring it in.”

“That’s okay.” Louis waved a hand dismissively. “I’ll pop round after school to get it.”

“Great, and if you-”

Marcel fell silent as the door opened and Todd walked in, raising an eyebrow at the two of them and smirking.

“What’s this then? Some kind of-” Todd fell silent when Louis glared at him in warning. “Lou, you wanna come sit over here with me?”

“I’m in the middle of a conversation, lad, can’t you see?”

Todd rolled his eyes. “Fine. Fucking hell.”

Marcel watched Todd walk away. “You can go and sit with him. If you want.”

“So, what’s your favourite style of wedding dress?”

Marcel stared at him before letting out a laugh. “Um. Well, I mean, it all depends on the body shape and colouring of the subject. But, if I had to choose in general…. I really like a strapless dress, maybe a sweetheart neckline. I love A line shapes.”

“What’s your opinion on shorter dresses?”

“Eh… I’m too traditional for that.”

“Really,” Louis said with a smirk.

“Don’t laugh at me.”

Louis smiled placatingly. “I’m not laughing! It’s just nice to hear you talk passionately.”

Marcel blinked, picking up his pencil and continuing to sketch.

-

Lunchtime the next day, Marcel walked into the common room and Louis was sitting on a chair in the corner of the room, legs up on Calvin’s lap. The boys all said nothing as Louis waved a greeting to him.

“What the fuck are we gonna do for food?”

“Oli!” Louis called to Oli, who was on the other side of the room, looking out the window. “Go get us some food.”

“Maybe two of us should go,” Calvin mused. “Let’s draw straws.”

“First of all, none of us have any bloody straws. Secondly, you’re all cunts, so you lot should go. I’ll stay here.”

“Bagsy not going!” Calvin said.

Oli grumbled. “Fine. Where even is Todd?”

“In the corridor, talking to some girl on the phone.”

“I’ll drag him with me. What do you want?”

“Go to Gregg’s, lad. Surprise me.”

Louis watched Oli leave and then turned his head to smirk at Calvin.

“You take advantage of him,” Calvin scolded gently.

“Stop it. I take advantage of all of you.” Louis stood up. “I’m going for a wee.”

Louis headed out to the toilet, had a wee, washed his hands. When he returned, Calvin had got up and was sitting atop a table, and…

“Oi!” Louis said indignantly. “You stole my seat.”

Marcel grinned at him. “You left the room.”

“I went for a fucking wee!” Louis scoffed. “Get up.”

“No.”

Louis let out a laugh and walked over. He cocked an eyebrow at Marcel before turning and sitting down on his lap.

Marcel froze beneath him and let out a little squeak. Louis wiggled his bum.

“Ah. Very comfy.”

“Get off me!” Marcel protested. “You stink.”

“No I don’t!”

“You smell like teenage boy.”

Louis turned his body so he could look at Marcel. “You realise you’re a teenage boy, too?”

“I take showers.”

Louis tutted and stood up. He glared at Marcel. “You’re rude.”

He walked over to where Calvin was sitting on the table, and pulled up a chair.

“What the fuck was that?” Calvin whispered.

“What the fuck was what?”

Calvin glanced over at Marcel. “You just fucking sat on his lap.”

“Me and Marcel are friends now. I would’ve done the same to any of you.”

“Friends?” Calvin looked at Marcel again and let out a laugh. “Seriously?”

“Yeah. We’re neighbours. We got talking. In fact…” Louis looked at Marcel then raised his eyebrows at Calvin. “I don’t think I’ll come round Todd’s tonight, like we planned. Yeah, I think I’m gonna play Mario Kart with Marcel, instead.”

“You have lost the plot, Lou.”

-

Louis and Marcel had drama club after school, so they walked home together.

“I meant to ask you earlier. Do you wanna stay for dinner? My mum made me ask.”

“Yeah, sure.”

When they got inside, they headed straight up to Marcel’s room and Louis curled up in a ball in front of the radiator.

“The temperature outside is inhumane.”

Marcel grinned at him. “It’s not that bad.”

“Ugh.” Louis stood up, slipped his coat off and dashed for Marcel’s bed. He wriggled under the covers before looking up at Marcel. “Sorry. I’ve probably just crossed a boundary.”

“Yes.” Marcel sighed as he sat down at his desk. “You have.”

“Then again, it’s not every day you have the captain of the football team in your bed, is it?”

Marcel blushed furiously. “No, that’s true.” He looked at Louis fleetingly. “You being in my house is becoming a more regular occurrence, though.”

“Believe it or not, Marcel, I enjoy your company.”

They looked at each other for a second before Marcel stood up and gestured for Louis to shuffle up. He sat on the edge of the bed.

“Can I tell you something?”

Louis sat up, the duvet pooling in his lap. “Of course.”

Marcel took a deep breath. “You can’t tell anyone. You really can’t. Your friends, you can’t tell them.”

“Okay, of course. I get it. I tell them jack shit anyway.”

“I’m trusting you.”

“I know, Marcel. I won’t tell anyone. I swear.”

Marcel’s bottom lip wobbled. He tugged his glasses off his face and pinched the bridge of his nose.

“Well, I wanted to tell you that I am gay.”

“Oh.” Louis raised his eyebrows and nodded. “Alright. Okay.”

“I kind of just wanted you to know, since you are too, and… yeah.” Marcel looked up at him. He looked startlingly different without his glasses on, or maybe it was because he was laying himself bare. “Jade and my family know, but that’s it.”

“Your secret is one hundred percent safe with me. I promise.”

“I believe you.” Marcel slipped his glasses back on and returned to his desk. “Thank you.”

Louis scrambled to his feet, walked behind Marcel’s desk and hugged him from behind.

“What are you doing?”

“I know you don’t like being touched, but I had to give you a quick cuddle.”

“Oh, that’s okay. I don’t mind.”

“Thank you for telling me. And trusting me.”

-

From then on, Louis found himself spending more and more time in Marcel’s company. It wasn’t charity, or anything like that. He didn’t hang out with Marcel just because he had almost no friends, or because Marcel needed a gay friend. No, he hung out with Marcel because it was easy and enjoyable.

And maybe Louis needed a gay friend.

The more time he spent with Marcel, the more intolerant he felt towards the lads. The teasing about his sex life. Making fun of people. The elitism from being popular. Marcel was kind to everyone - even those who weren’t kind to him - and it was refreshing.

Louis brought Marcel round to his for the first time, and it was amazing how well his sisters took to him. It took them half an hour to even make it to Louis’ room. When they did, Marcel scrunched up his nose and physically recoiled.

“Lou, it stinks in here.”

“It smells fine.”

“You never believe me when I tell you you smell.”

“I don’t smell!” Louis protested.

“You should tidy up,” Marcel told him as he sat on the edge of the unmade bed. “Wow, this bed is huge.”

“King size.”

Marcel shook his head. “So, you get everything you want at home, too?”

“No! It’s my mum’s old bed frame, but with a new mattress.” Louis looked at Marcel. “And I only got it after months of begging and a sale at John Lewis. Along with my mum’s friend’s staff discount.”

“Okay.” Marcel sniffed. “I’ll accept your excuse.”

“Don’t sass me.”

Marcel leaned back on the bed. “I would have thought somebody who entertained as often as you do would have a much tidier room.”

“Yeah, I don’t really bring a lot of guys here. Too many sisters.” Louis threw himself down on the bed and frowned at Marcel. “Do you really think I’m a pig?”

“You are messy…” Marcel said. “But, I mean, you’re a teenage boy.”

“And do you think I’m a slut?”

Marcel peered at him through his glasses. “Hm, well… you are, by your own admission, rather promiscuous.”

“But, like… do you look down on me for it?” Louis chewed his bottom lip. “Is it offputting?”

“Um…” Marcel frowned and scratched the back of his head. “I wouldn’t say so. I suppose that the only thing might be that… gay guys of our age might not have a lot of experience and your unusual amount of experience might intimidate somebody.”

“Oh.”

“Are you referring to finding a relationship? Offputting in that sense?”

“Oh… I don’t know.” Louis waved his hand dismissively. “I just wonder sometimes if I’ll regret it, you know, later on.”

“Maybe. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with sex between two consenting adults, as long as it’s healthy.”

Louis looked at Marcel. “Can I ask you a question?”

Marcel widened his eyes and looked away. “No.”

“Oh.” Louis smiled, mostly to himself since Marcel was refusing to look in his direction. “You don’t want to talk about sex?”

“I’m a private person. So, what unis have you applied for?”

Louis laid on his front, letting his shoulder press against Marcel’s ribs. “We don’t have to talk about that stuff. Not on a personal level.”

“Actually, I think I should go home.”

Marcel stood to his feet and Louis quickly grabbed his hand and pulled him back.

“I’m sorry. I’ve applied to loads of unis, but I hope I get into York. I love the look of their Theatre degree.”

“Oh, yeah, York would be great.”

“You thought much about uni?”

Marcel sighed. “Not really. It seems so far away. I mean, I’m starting to think about it but it feels weird to think about it at sixteen.”

“Oh, my God!” Louis gasped. “I forget you’re still sixteen. When do you turn seventeen?”

“Just over a week. First of February.”

“Ah! Big day.”

“Not really,” Marcel mumbled.

“Got any plans?”

Marcel just rolled his eyes, exaggerated and petulant. “What do you think?”

“Alright, okay. Alright. Me, you, Jade. What shall we do?”

-

Marcel chose Nando’s for his birthday meal, which was neither here nor there. It wouldn’t have been Louis’ restaurant of choice, but Marcel seemed excited, and that was what mattered.

Louis wouldn’t lie, he put a lot of thought into his outfit. He decided to go for casual: black skinny jeans, ripped at the knees and tight around the arse. Sheer white long-sleeved top with the wide neck, and his new pair of Vans. Louis wasn’t arrogant enough to consider himself as a trophy for Marcel - especially since Marcel wasn’t out - but he knew it wouldn’t hurt to look nice. He knew full well that he could pull in a second in this outfit.

But this was Marcel’s day, and Louis wouldn’t run off and leave just for a hookup.

Louis ran across the road to Marcel’s. He knocked on the door, holding the hood of his coat from falling off. It was snowing, which was cute for Marcel on his birthday but fucking annoying for everybody else.

“Hi, Louis!” Anne beamed as she stood aside to let him in. “Marcel’s nearly ready.”

Anne had been very happy about Louis and Marcel’s budding friendship. Marcel had told him that Jade’s parents didn’t allow her to come round very much, so he didn’t have many friends over before Louis.

“Would you like a drink?”

“No, thank you.”

“Let me just go and let Marcel know you’re here.”

Louis sat down on the sofa to wait, placing the gift bag on the floor next to him. The living room was full of family photos, which was endearing. They had moved here when Marcel was twelve, and Louis could tell that he was close to that age in some of the photos. Louis’ heart panged with shame when he remembered being thirteen and calling Marcel names. A real fucking whole lot of shame.

He started to feel encompassed by it. He hung his head. Okay, he had only been thirteen, barely a person, but it was inexcusable.

“He’ll be down in a sec!” Anne said cheerfully as she re-entered the room. “I assume you’re going to Nando’s? Is Jade meeting you there?”

“Um… yeah.”

“I don’t know why he’s obsessed with Nando’s, he always orders it plain anyway. Never could handle any kind of spice. Ooh, he’s coming.”

Marcel hit the bottom of the stairs and walked into the living room. Louis stood up and took a look at him. He was dressed smart, far too smart for Nando’s. Pressed trousers with a belt and a crisp, purple shirt, neatly tucked in. Louis raised his eyebrows. Marcel was never one for showing off his figure, which turned out to be perfectly nice. Still, he folded his arms and returned to his usual hunched posture.

“I’m dressed too smartly, aren’t I?”

Louis smiled. “Babe, it’s your birthday. You can dress however you want.”

“Okay.” Marcel broke a smile. “You look really nice.”

“So do you. Come on, let’s go.”

They said goodbye to Anne as Marcel bundled up in his winter layers, wrapping his scarf around his face. When they got out onto the street, Louis stopped Marcel.

“Hey.”

“Huh?”

“Happy birthday.” Louis stood on his tippy toes, pulled Marcel’s scarf down with his finger and kissed him on the cheek. “I’m really happy we became friends.”

Marcel sighed. “Me too.”

They walked through the light snowfall to Nando’s, where Jade was inside waiting.

“I thought you’d got snowed in!” she joked.

“It’s just that, Marcel is so vain, we had to drag him out of the bathroom.”

“That’s obviously not true!” Marcel giggled. Jade rolled her eyes. “You look nice, Jade.”

“Thanks. You two certainly clean up well.”

Marcel winked at her. “I know. Can you believe Louis had a shower today? He doesn’t stink or anything!”

“Look, I’ve had enough of this!” Louis said with a laugh.

-

Jade had to go home afterwards to look after her little sister, so Louis walked Marcel home. The snow had stopped, leaving just a light dusting on the roofs and the bare branches of the trees.

“I wish my birthday was in the summer,” Marcel mused. “Don’t you?”

“No! I love my winter birthday. Hot chocolate, big jumpers, cuddles… imagine sweating like a pig on your birthday.”

“That’s fair.” Marcel’s mouth twisted into a frown. “I sweat quite profusely.”

“I’d say I don’t, but you’ll just make another joke about me stinking.”

Marcel just laughed. They turned onto their street and Marcel turned to Louis.

“You coming in?”

“Sure, why not. It’s early.”

“We can watch a film, or something.”

They headed straight up to Marcel’s room, Louis following him up the stairs.

“Marcel, you really should do something about your posture.”

“What do you mean?” Marcel asked as they reached the top of the stairs.

“Just… come.” Louis steered him into the bathroom, where a full length mirror was attached to the wall. Louis placed him in front of it. “You walk so hunched over.”

Marcel frowned, standing up straight and then returning to his usual form.

“It feels weird.”

Louis smiled at him in the mirror.

“You just need to break the habit.” Louis put his hands on Marcel’s back. “I can show you, but, um… I know you don’t like being touched.”

“It’s okay.” Marcel turned his head to look at Louis, and his face was alarmingly close. “I don’t mind.”

“Um. Alright, so you need to straighten your spine a bit.” Louis pulled Marcel’s torso up straight. “And bring your shoulders back. You’re hunching them forward.”

Marcel was staring at him in the mirror until Louis broke their eye contact to drop his gaze.

“You need to fix your hips, too.” Louis looked at Marcel to check for signs of discomfort before placing his hands either side of Marcel’s hips. “You’re tilting.”

They stared at each other in the mirror for a few seconds before Marcel finally blinked.

“How do you know all this, anyway?”

“I’m not just a drama geek, you know. I take P.E. too. I am, after all, the captain of the football team. Remember.”

“I remember.” Marcel smiled. “And you’re not a geek.”

Louis smiled back. “Neither are you.”

He moved forward ever so slightly, pressing his chest into Marcel’s back and leaning the side of his head against his in a sort of embrace. Louis dug his fingers into Marcel’s hips.

“We, um, should go watch that film.”

Louis moved away quickly and found himself breathless. He needed a fucking drink, if he was honest. He hurried into Marcel’s room and sat on the bed cross-legged.

“What film-”

It was then that Louis realised Marcel wasn’t behind him and the bathroom door was slamming shut. Louis let out a breath, glad to have at least a few seconds alone to compose himself. For God’s sake. Anyone would think Louis had never touched a guy before.

He heard the toilet flush, the water run, and then Marcel emerged.

“Sorry. Needed to go.”

Louis nodded, and all of a sudden he felt something he hadn’t felt in a long time. He felt insecure. He grabbed Marcel’s pillow and cuddled it close, before he realised it probably looked like he was hiding something.

“What film are we watching?” he asked.

Marcel shrugged and sat next to Louis. “Let’s just flick through the movie channels until we find something.”

“Cool.”

Louis straightened his legs out and crossed them at the ankle. He felt significantly confused. He had slept with a lot of guys and yes, he had liked some more than others, but he had never felt unsure and hesitant like he did right now. He never expected this to happen. Not with Marcel, of all people.

“Actually…” Louis cleared his throat and swung his legs off of the bed. “I should go for a wee before we start a film.”

Louis moved slowly with the process. He wanted to buy himself some time, although what for, he didn’t know. He washed and dried his hands thoroughly, looking at himself in the mirror uncertainly. When he returned, Marcel was standing by his desk.

“When did you put this here?” he asked with a smile.

Marcel was standing next to the gift bag that Louis had brought his present over in.

“Oh! God, I left it in the living room. Your mum must’ve brought it up.”

“Can I open it?”

Louis grinned. “Yeah. Of course.”

Marcel smiled as he pushed his hand into the bag and pulled out the present, which was wrapped in tissue paper. He pulled the paper aside.

“Um…” Louis started. “Me and my mum were in a charity shop and I saw this and thought you might like it. I don’t know. Maybe you won’t. But I hope you do.”

Marcel gazed down at the slightly battered, thick book in his hands. It was a photo book of Royal Family’s attire throughout history, with what seemed like a main focus on dresses.

“This is amazing!” Marcel gasped and clutched the book to his chest. “It’s perfect. I can’t wait to look through it.”

Louis smiled and stepped forward. As tight as Marcel was holding the book, he let go easily when Louis pulled it out of his arms and laid it on the desk.

“Look through it tomorrow, yeah?”

Marcel nodded before launching himself at Louis and pulling him into a hug.

“You are lovely,” Marcel murmured.

Making Marcel this happy felt just wonderful for Louis. He squeezed him tighter and sighed. It felt like more than a hug to him, and he had a sneaky suspicion it might have felt that way for Marcel, too.

“Thank you for giving me a birthday I’ll never forget,” Marcel whispered.

Louis didn’t really know what Marcel meant. After all, they only went to Nando’s. Maybe Louis could make it more memorable, though. He took a deep breath, threw caution to the wind and turned his head to press his lips against Marcel’s neck.

Marcel froze, and so Louis stilled. Louis could tell the difference by now between Marcel feeling uncomfortable and feeling nervous and, since Marcel made no move to pull away, Louis pursed his lips slightly to kiss Marcel’s skin. His neck smelt slightly of the citrussy aftershave he had applied earlier in the evening, and Louis closed his eyes as he brought one hand up to the back of Marcel’s head.

Marcel’s breathing was laboured, but he had relaxed ever so slightly in Louis’ arms and became more pliant still as Louis moved his head to place a kiss on his earlobe.

“W- Why are you doing this?” Marcel asked in a small voice. “Is it a dare? A bet?”

“I know you don’t believe that,” Louis responded. He kissed Marcel’s jaw. “I wouldn’t do that to you.”

“But… but, you’re the-”

“I’m the captain of the football team, yeah.” Louis pulled back to look into Marcel’s eyes. “Can I kiss you?”

“Why?”

Louis rolled his eyes and moved his face closer to Marcel’s. He bumped the tip of his nose against Marcel’s.

“Can I?” he whispered.

Marcel looked terrified, but closed his eyes and gave a barely perceptible nod. Louis closed the space and kissed Marcel, who went rather limp and didn’t seem to know what to do. Louis took the lead, moving his hands to grab Marcel’s face as he kissed him, gentle yet firm. He pulled back and released Marcel’s face.

“Fuck!” Marcel mumbled. “Fuck, fuck.”

Louis giggled softly and draped his arms around Marcel’s shoulders. Their bodies were flush and he could feel Marcel poking him fairly prominently in his lower stomach.

“Should we, um, sit down?”

Marcel looked at the bed with wide eyes, but Louis took his hand and smiled at him reassuringly.

“It’s okay,” Louis whispered.

So Marcel nodded, and they walked over to the bed. Marcel laid down, trying his best to discreetly conceal his crotch. Louis smiled down at him, keeping eye contact as best he good as he pulled his top up over his head and dropped it to the floor.

Marcel’s mouth dropped open. “God, you’re so fit.”

“Oh?” Louis grinned and put his hands on his hips. “You reckon?”

“Um, will you lock the door?”

Louis nodded and dashed to the door. They key turned stiffly in the lock and clunked. He hurried back to the bed and laid down.

“Is all this okay?”

Marcel swallowed. “I don’t know what I’m doing.”

Louis placed a hand on Marcel’s waist. “Hey. It’s okay. I’m gonna look after you.”

“Okay.”

“We don’t have to do anything you don’t want to.”

Marcel hesitated before skating his fingertips over Louis’ ribs. His touch was electric and it took all of Louis’ strength not to surge forward and kiss him. Pull their bodies flush. Behave in a way that he knew Marcel wasn’t ready for.

Marcel moved in and initiated a kiss, which pleased Louis. He felt reluctant and eager all at once, shuffling in close to Louis but keeping their crotches apart, kissing Louis with such enthusiasm that his teeth kept bumping into Louis’ and Louis wasn’t even sure what he was doing with his tongue.

“Marcel.” Louis pulled away slightly.

“Fuck, I’m sorry.” Marcel clenched his eyes shut. “I’m crap at kissing.”

“Babe, you just need to relax. Why don’t you just follow my lead?”

Louis started off by kissing him slowly, gently, before upping the pace to something hotter. He slipped his tongue into Marcel’s mouth, making him groan and his body tense slightly. Marcel tentatively moved his tongue, too, teasing the tip over Louis’ bottom lip. Louis rewarded him with an encouraging moan.

They were in the swing of things, now. Louis relaxed and he felt Marcel loosen somewhat. He was breathing heavily through his nose and when Louis dared to place a hand on Marcel’s thigh, he started to whine. Louis squeezed gently at Marcel’s thigh before sliding his hand up and all of a sudden, Marcel was trembling and moaning before he completely froze. Louis stilled, too, pulling away to look at him.

“Are you, um… okay?”

“No!” Marcel whined and flipped onto his back, covering his face with his hands. “Shit, shit, no!”

Louis sighed inwardly. Marcel couldn’t catch a break and, to make it worse, he beat himself up constantly. Marcel scrambled to his feet and turned away from Louis.

“Um, maybe you should go home.”

Louis frowned, climbing to his feet. He placed his hands on Marcel’s shoulders.

“Hey. Please don’t be embarrassed.” Louis kissed the back of his head. “Will you please turn around?”

Marcel spun around and his hands went to his face again. His shoulders were trembling and Louis’ heart hurt.

“Oh, Marcel. Please don’t cry.” Louis carefully wrapped his fingers around Marcel’s wrists. “Look at me? Please.”

Marcel let Louis pull his hands away from his face. His cheeks were red and damp with tears, and his bottom lip was wobbling.

“Look, why don’t you go to the bathroom and clean yourself up? I’ll still be here when you come out, and we can have a lovely cuddle. Or whatever you want to do.” Louis ran the back of his finger over Marcel’s cheek. “I will go home if that’s what you want.”

“I’m… so embarrassed.”

“You don’t need to be. We’ve all come in our pants once or twice.”

Marcel whined again. “Fuck.”

“Do you want me to go?”

“No.” Marcel sighed shakily. “I wanna carry on.”

“You sure?”

“Wait. Be right back.”

Louis watched Marcel head to the bathroom and he sighed. He busied himself with straightening the duvet. He wasn’t sure why. Maybe to stop himself from thinking.

Marcel returned and locked the door behind him.

“So. Where were we?”

Louis smiled tentatively. “Are you sure about this?”

“Let’s just do it.”

Louis sat down on the edge of the bed. “You’re ready?”

Marcel blinked. “I don’t want to lose the opportunity.”

Louis frowned and shuffled back onto the bed. Marcel joined him.

“What do you mean, lose the opportunity?”

“I know you move on quickly, and, just… I want to seize this chance.”

Louis’ heart sunk and he scoffed.

“Do you actually think this is just a hookup for me?” Louis shook his head. “Marcel. Come on.”

“Well…”

“No. Look, I’m nervous, too. Also, I’m not being funny, but don’t need to spend months building up to a hookup. Is it really that hard for you to believe that I like you?”

Marcel blinked. “Yes.”

Louis scoffed again. “Alright. You’re witty. You’re talented. You’re passionate. You’re hard working.”

Marcel rolled his eyes. “Mm.”

“And also… hello? You’re gorgeous.” Louis sighed and stood up. He grabbed Marcel’s hand and pulled him up, too. “These broad shoulders? This narrow waist? Your beautiful eyes.”

Louis pulled Marcel’s glasses off and placed them on the desk.

“Um…” Marcel whispered. “I can’t see.”

“Sorry.” Louis picked up the glasses and put them back on Marcel. “Better?”

“Yeah, because, um, I need to see you. Because you’re- you’re sexy.”

“Am I?” Louis grinned in amusement. “Not as sexy as you.”

“Too much. It’s not believable.”

“Shut up!” Louis giggled. “Look at this jawline of yours. I’m telling you, by the time you get to uni, you’ll have guys all over you like ants at a fucking picnic.”

“Can you kiss me?”

“Yes, I will.” Louis stepped forward and slipped his fingers in the hair at the back of Marcel’s head. “Please don’t rush into anything you’re not ready for. I’ll be back tomorrow, and the next day. Maybe even the day after that.”

“Fine.”

They began to kiss, and Marcel pulled them both towards the bed. When they laid down, he couldn’t keep his hands off Louis’ chest, seeming delighted when Louis’ breath caught as Marcel moved his hand over his nipple. Marcel broke the kiss and kissed down Louis’ chest before sucking gently at his nipple.

“Oh, Jesus fucking Christ.” Louis groaned.

Louis quickly realised that Marcel responded well to that kind of encouragement. Before Louis knew what was going on, Marcel had straddled his hips and was unbuttoning his own shirt. Louis ran his hands up Marcel’s torso and over his nipples, just to see his reaction. Marcel bit his lip and threw his head back, groaning loudly. Louis was taken by surprise.

“Fuck, you’re amazing.”

Marcel was rolling his hips slightly, probably because he had sat his bum straight over Louis’ cock. Louis felt like he was on fire. Marcel was hard, prominently tenting his trousers and Louis really, really wanted to touch him. He settled for placing his hands on Marcel’s thighs.

Louis could barely believe this was happening. Here he was, desperately wanting to fuck Marcel. He would never have believed it, but then again, he didn’t know Marcel a few months ago. Not really. He had never given him a chance.

Marcel rolled off of him and Louis was disappointed until Marcel moved his hands down to Louis’ jeans and started to unbutton them. He pushed his hands in between Louis’ jeans and boxers and groaned.

“God… uh, Marcel…” Louis took a breath to steady himself. “Are you sure about this?”

“It might not be the best hand job you’ve ever received, but if there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s this.”

“Not what I meant.”

“I really wanna do this.”

So Louis lifted his hips to help Marcel pull down his jeans and pants, and Marcel wrapped his fingers around Louis’ shaft. He started off tentative before building up to a confident rhythm. Louis writhed slightly as he moaned. He never knew that something as simple as a hand job could feel so gratifying, but then again, he had never done anything like this with someone he had feelings for.

“Marcel, baby. Feels so good.” Louis looked at his face, and he was staring down at Louis’ cock, watching as he tugged at it. “Kiss me.”

Marcel did as he was told, before moving down to take Louis’ nipple in his mouth again. Marcel continued to kiss down his body, and he took Louis by complete surprise by licking over the tip of his cock.

Louis swore and balled his fists in the duvet below him. “Marcel, come here.”

Louis grabbed hold of the back of Marcel’s head and kissed him, keeping his grip on Marcel as he started to swell and crest. He kept eye contact with a slightly overwhelmed Marcel as he came, a loud groan bubbling in his throat before he cried out and spurted onto his stomach and Marcel’s hand. He released his grip and fell limp against the bed.

“Oh my God.”

Marcel was just as out of breath as Louis. He rested his sweaty forehead on Louis’ shoulder and panted.

“Wow.” He unwrapped his fingers from Louis’ cock.

“I know.”

Marcel turned over and stood up, his legs dangerously wobbly as he walked towards the door. He thought better of leaving his bedroom, instead pulling a tissue from the box on his desk and wiping his hand. He pulled a couple more out and returned to Louis.

His own cock was straining against his trousers and Louis knew what he needed to do. He laid still while Marcel wiped the come from his stomach and once he had disposed of the tissues, Louis gestured him over.

“Thank you,” Louis said and kissed him.

Marcel couldn’t stop smiling. “I nearly came just watching you come. Fuck, that was amazing!”

Louis chuckled and licked his lips. “If you think that was amazing, I’m gonna blow your mind.”

Marcel’s smile melted away and his eyes grew dark. “Um, what do you mean?”

Louis started to unbuckle Marcel’s belt. “Well, if you’ll let me, I’d very much like to suck you off.”

Marcel’s breath caught in his throat. “Um, but… I’ll come really fast, Lou.”

“Doesn’t matter.”

Louis tugged Marcel’s trousers down and stared at his tattered, dulled white boxers. They were soaked through, and Louis’ eyes widened at the size of Marcel’s bulge. It hadn’t looked quite so big through his trousers.

“Ugh.” Marcel covered his face with his hands. “Sorry.”

Louis tore his eyes away to look up at Marcel’s face. “For what?”

“It’s stupidly big, it’s really annoying.”

Louis laughed before catching himself. “Darling, are you really apologising for having a big dick?”

Marcel just groaned awkwardly. Louis pulled his boxers down and assessed the situation. Well. It was a very nice cock, and Louis could have a lot of fun with it. He would be a bit nervous about it going into him, but he was willing to give it a go.

He jerked himself back into the moment and crawled down the bed. If Marcel was going to come within seconds, there wasn’t much point on a slow buildup so he went straight in, sucking wetly at his tip before sinking down and taking half of it in at once. Marcel cried out loudly before he started to tremble. Louis pressed his tongue against the underside and licked, twisting his hand up and down the base and Marcel shuddered and came, shooting only a little into Louis’ mouth but with force. When Louis pulled off, he looked down at Marcel who was just laying there, trembling.

He kissed him on the cheek. “You okay?”

Marcel, yet again, hid his face behind his hands. “It was… God. Incredible. But over far too soon.”

“Marcel, Marcel, Marcel,” Louis said with a contented sigh. “It’s gonna get better. And bigger. There’s so much we can do.”

Marcel gave him a small smile. “Should I buy some, um, condoms? And lube?”

“No, no. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of all that stuff.”

“Thank you.” A wide grin spread across Marcel’s face. “I can’t believe all that just happened.”

“Well, happy birthday.”

They cuddled for an hour before Louis reluctantly decided to go home. Anne had been on a late shift and when she came home, Louis had just finished putting his clothes back on and he carefully unlocked the door, both of them hoping she couldn’t hear.

“Bye,” Louis said quietly, kissing Marcel before leaving the room.

He casually trotted down the stairs, breezily saying goodbye to Anne as he left. When he got to his own front door, he looked up at Marcel’s window, which was thrown open wide. Good move. It probably reeked of sex in there.

-

The next morning was a Sunday and Louis intended to stay in bed well into the afternoon. His plans were thwarted before 10am when his mother knocked on his door and said there was a girl at the door for him.

He crawled out of bed, pulling his dressing gown on and made his way downstairs. Jade was standing just inside the doorway, arms folded awkwardly.

“Jade? What the heck are you doing here at the crack of dawn?”

She scoffed. “It’s not the crack of bloody dawn. Can we talk?”

Louis gestured towards the kitchen and led Jade in. Jay was wiping down the worktop, but made herself scarce when the two of them walked in. Louis gestured for Jade to sit down, yawning as he grabbed a mug.

“You want tea?”

“I’m alright, thanks.”

“So, what’s up?”

Jade sighed. “Well, obviously, it’s about Marcel.”

Louis walked over to shut the kitchen door. “You’ve spoken to him?”

“He seems to think the pair of you are…” Jade shrugged. “An item? Or something.”

Louis poured himself a cup of tea from the teapot. “I see.”

“Well?”

Louis turned around to raise an eyebrow at Jade as he made his way to the fridge.

“Okay, look. Something happened between us last night, but we didn’t exactly talk about what we are or where we’re going from here.”

Jade growled in frustration. “Oh, Louis! He’s so chipper this morning, thinking that he’s got a chance with you, you know. You’re gonna have to go and speak to him. And today.”

“Woah, woah.” Louis held his hands up defensively. “You’re misunderstanding me.”

Jade rolled her eyes and leaned back against the chair. Louis stirred his tea and sat down opposite her.

“We didn’t really talk about where we are going from here, but I did make sure he knows that he wasn’t just a one night stand to me. I do care about him, Jade.”

Jade sighed and rested her chin on her palm. “Don’t hurt him, Louis. He’s such a good person.”

“I know.” Louis mirrored Jade’s position and grinned. “So. What did he say about me?”

“Whatever you did to him, it’s made him bloody ecstatic.”

Louis shrugged and sipped at his tea. “Well, so am I.”

“So, um…” Jade chewed at her bottom lip. “Did you really have sex?”

“You should ask Marcel that.”

“Well, he told me no.”

“There’s your answer, then.”

Jade nodded. “Will you?”

“If he wants to, then… probably.” Louis scratched the back of his neck. “I hope so.”

“Oh.”

Louis raised an eyebrow. The atmosphere felt slightly off, and Louis wondered if maybe he shouldn’t be talking about this.

“Um, is that… like… are you okay? With it?”

“Yeah, I just…” Jade looked up at Louis and widened her eyes. “Oh, no, no… it’s not like that. I’m not jealous or anything, it’s just that I don’t want him to get hurt. And, honestly, I just didn’t really expect him to get to this kind of milestone before he finished school.”

“I don’t think anyone expected this, to be honest.”

-

After Sunday lunch, Louis went round to Marcel’s, laid on top of him and snogged him until they were both breathless. As they cuddled, Louis was thinking about his conversation with Jade. And how, with Marcel, it was probably important that they talk, and they talk a lot.

“Have you thought much about things you might like to do?”

“Uh, do?” Marcel asked.

“Well… let’s start simple. When you’ve fantasised about having sex, were you on top or bottom?”

“I, um…” Marcel buried his face in Louis’ neck. “This is embarrassing.”

“You don’t have to be embarrassed around me, okay? I mean, don’t forget. I sucked your dick yesterday.”

“Shh!” Marcel giggled. “Okay, um. Bottom.”

“Okay, good. Do you watch porn?”

“No!” Marcel protested. “Okay… maybe I’ve seen a few videos.”

“Did you see anything you might like to try?”

Marcel hummed as he thought about it and Louis felt a warm, fuzzy feeling inside of him. When he started to sleep with loads of guys, started to have a lot of sex, he had reckoned he was grown up. But holding someone close, someone he cared about, and practicing healthy communication… this felt far more grown up.

“I suppose I…” Marcel laughed nervously. “I kind of like the idea of doing stuff in public. Like, in secret, not, not… with people watching.”

Louis smirked and felt a small stirring in his crotch. “Oh, yeah? Like the risk of getting caught?”

Marcel shrugged. “I guess? But not really.”

“Okay.” Louis cuddled him tighter. “I think I get what you mean. Anything else? What about being restrained?”

Marcel paused. “Not sure.”

“That kind of thing requires a lot of trust.” He placed a kiss to Marcel’s head. “Completely giving up control to somebody else like that.”

Marcel nodded frantically. “Yeah. Um, doing it in the shower seems like it would be fun, but doesn’t seem overly safe.”

“Mm, yeah. All wet and soapy. It’s great if you’re careful not to slip and break your neck.”

“Have you done everything?” Marcel asked quietly. “Like, everything?”

“Oh, no, babe. There’s loads of stuff I haven’t done. Don’t worry.”

“What kind of stuff do you like?” Marcel asked him.

Louis was taken by surprise somewhat. “Gosh. Let me think. I enjoy teasing a little bit, you know, making you beg for it.”

Marcel let out a muffled groan into Louis’ shoulder and writhed slightly. Louis smirked to himself.

“I really, really love giving blow jobs. Wet and deep. And, just so you know, I always swallow.”

Marcel huffed out a breath and turned his body slightly so he could press his semi against Louis’ thigh. Louis shifted himself.

“What else?” Marcel whispered.

“I don’t mind being tied up myself, actually. Giving up all my control, submitting completely to someone.”

“That’s, um. That’s interesting.”

“You think so?”

Marcel nodded. Louis could feel Marcel’s cock pressing into his thigh and wondered where he should lead him. He really wanted to fuck him, wanted to move inside of him and take him completely apart, but it just wasn’t time yet.

“You think about me last night?” Louis asked quietly, sliding down the bed slightly to face Marcel. “After I went home?”

Marcel closed his eyes. “Yes. Touched myself.”

“Oh, you did?” Louis cooed. “That’s sexy, baby.”

“Lou, I fancied you for ages,” Marcel confessed. “And I- I hated it.”

Louis’ heart plummeted. “Because I was so mean to you?”

Marcel shifted in Louis’ arms and turned over to face away from him. Louis buried his nose in Marcel’s neck and pressed a gentle, encouraging kiss to his skin.

“No. You had stopped by then, and I guess that was probably what made me like you.” He scoffed. “That’s stupid, I know.”

“Go on.”

“You became indifferent towards me, which was sad. But… you were a confident gay lad and I admired that. Not to mention you were so fit.”

Louis let out a quiet, breathy laugh. “Oh? Were?”

“You’re really fit,” Marcel relented. “Anyway, when I found out you were sleeping around, it was painful for me. I’d see some of those boys in class and it just… it was horrible.”

Louis sighed. “Oh, love.”

Marcel flipped back over to face Louis. He had taken his glasses off at some point, and his face was open, yet pained.

“And then you started to be nice to me, which…” Marcel shook his head. “Again, I think it made it worse. I just wanted to cuddle you. And kiss you.”

Louis pulled him closer and kissed him.

“I never would have guessed we’d become friends let alone…” Marcel gave a small smile. “This.”

“I know. I wouldn’t have ever thought about this, either.” Louis placed his hand at the small of Marcel’s back and pressed their crotches together. “Did Jade tell you she came to see me?”

“No,” Marcel said, a little indignant. “Oh, God, what did she say?”

Louis chuckled softly. “She gave me a lecture. I think she thought I was only interested in fucking you. Which is a fair enough assumption.”

Marcel stared at Louis before swallowing. “I want you to fuck me.”

Louis broke into a grin. “I will. When the time is right.”

“Will you get bored of me afterwards?”

Louis shook his head. “Nope.”

Marcel surged forward to kiss him and quickly rolled on top of him. He was getting more confident, which pleased Louis. They kissed and touched and Marcel ground down on Louis with such enthusiasm that he came in his pants, not stopping until Louis did, too.

-

Louis stared across the circle. He couldn’t help himself. Marcel was sitting opposite him, feet turned inwards and body hunched. Seeing Marcel in the stark contrast of school, walking around as his completely normal, slightly dorky self… it was actually a turn on for Louis. Nobody knew that they had writhed and panted and come together. Marcel looked up at their drama club teacher as she spoke, before catching Louis’ eye and blushing.

“So, I’d like you to get into pairs,” the teacher said. “We’ll do a little exercise.”

Louis leapt to his feet. Several boys and girls turned to him, obviously hoping for him to be their partner but he made a beeline for Marcel.

“Hi, Marcel. I was wondering if you would like to be my partner.”

“Um, sure.”

Louis glanced around. People were watching them curiously.

“Let’s find a space to work.” Louis led Marcel into the corner of the room and, when they were out of earshot, Louis smirked. “So, I’m trying to think of a way I can touch you in front of the entire class without anybody realising.”

“Aw, don’t tease me like that,” Marcel said with a groan. “Seriously. I’ll get hard.”

“God. I’d love to kiss you in front of everyone. Really give something for them all to stare at.”

Marcel chewed on his bottom lip and looked around the room nervously.

“I take back what I said. It’s too much of a risk. I’ll get hard, and...”

“You can touch me, if you want.”

“Lou!”

“What if you just put your hand on my chest? That won’t look that suspicious. And if you catch a nipple between your fingers…”

Louis grinned at Marcel as he unzipped his hoodie and threw it onto the floor. Marcel whined.

“So,” he said, his voice trembling slightly as he pressed a palm to Louis’ chest. “What are we gonna do for this performance?”

“What did she say again?” Louis asked, grabbing Marcel’s wrist and moving his hand down slightly to correct his positioning. “I was too busy staring at you to listen.”

Marcel stifled a smile. “A thirty-second scene based off a fruit or a vegetable.”

“Okay, um.” Louis rolled his eyes. “Fuck, I can’t not think of dirty things. Can’t we just do a scene where I think you’re really happy to see me but it’s just a cucumber in your pocket?”

“What do you think?” Marcel brought his fore and middle fingers together to squeeze Louis’ nipple. Louis grunted. “We could do a scene where we’re neighbours and an apple falls off my tree into your garden. You know, who does the apple belong to, and all that.”

“And we could argue?” Louis said hopefully. “And I can, like, pin you against the wall?”

Marcel removed his hand from Louis’ chest and shook his head with a small smile.

“That’s it. I’m asking for a new partner.”

He turned to walk off and Louis grabbed his arm and pulled him back, giggling.

“Sorry, sorry. I’ve got an idea.”

Louis finally managed to focus, and everybody found their little scene funny. Marcel played a model, being photographed by Louis whilst holding a melon. It turned out the photographer just needed someone to hold a melon for him to photograph. Marcel was quite a good actor with a good instinct for humour, and Louis told him so as they walked home.

“Oh, thanks.” Marcel giggled awkwardly and fixed his glasses. “It’s just a hobby, really.”

“I know. You have a passion for fashion.”

Marcel rolled his eyes at the rhyme. “Yeah.”

Louis wished he could reach out and take Marcel’s hand, but he wouldn’t. It wasn’t just about keeping their secret, or preventing Marcel from being the centre of attention. It was easy to think that everybody at school would be cool about Marcel being gay since nobody had ever given Louis any grief, but it didn’t work like that. Nobody would dare bully Louis about anything, but when it came to kids like Marcel, any little excuse was enough.

They arrived at Marcel’s and headed to his room. As Louis kicked his shoes off, he turned to look at Marcel.

“What do you think you’ll do at uni?” he asked. “Like, do you think you’ll be out?”

Marcel scrunched his nose. “Like, clubbing?”

Louis grinned. “No, I mean out of the closet.”

“Oh! Probably.” He shrugged. “It would be weird not to be if I’m studying fashion, no? I’d be the odd one out if I pretended to be straight.”

“No, babe. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about your private life. Also, don’t generalise.”

“Sorry. You’re right. I do think I’d be happier, though. If I was out. No one judging me or teasing me for it.”

“I do think you’d enjoy the uni experience better, that way.”

“Well. It’s ages away for me.”

Marcel still had his second year of A levels to go, but Louis would be leaving in a few months. He hoped Marcel would be okay. But for now, while they were still living opposite each other, Louis intended to take full advantage of that.

Marcel unpacked his school bag and made a pile of homework he needed to do, but Louis started undressing. When Marcel turned around to say something, his knees buckled and he nearly fell over.

“Oh my God.” Marcel looked him up and down, fixating on his cock. “I- I have homework.”

“I promise I’ll let you do your homework.” He placed his hands on his hips and walked over to Marcel. “We’ve not even seen each other naked, do you realise that?”

“Yes.”

“Are you shy?”

“Yes!”

Louis grinned as he came to a stop in front of Marcel. Marcel took a humongous breath before starting to unbutton his own shirt.

“Good boy,” Louis cooed.

Marcel smiled, despite himself. His hands were shaking but he quickly unfastened all his buttons and let his shirt drop to the floor.

“Will you take my trousers off?” Marcel asked quietly. “I want you to do it.”

“Course.”

Louis looked into Marcel’s eyes as he unfastened his trousers. He pushed them so they fell to the floor with a soft thud. Louis dropped to his knees and grabbed hold of Marcel’s hips. Marcel startled at the touch.

Louis pulled down Marcel’s briefs and Marcel covered his cock with his hands in an instinctual move. Louis gently took them and moved them.

“You’re gorgeous, my love.”

Marcel let out a little whine. “Can I… get under the covers, or…”

Louis pressed a kiss to his hips before standing up and grabbing Marcel’s face.

“So… I’d like to suck you off, then leave you to do your homework in peace. How does that sound?”

“Y- yeah. Okay.”

Louis took a step backwards and took in the sight of Marcel. Marcel rolled his eyes and sighed, taking his glasses off.

“I’m still wearing socks,” he said awkwardly.

“Babe, I’m not looking at your feet. Give me a twirl?”

“Louis!” Marcel sighed again, shuffling around in a circle before he was facing Louis. “Happy?”

“You look wonderful,” Louis said, trying his best to convey his sincerity. “Hey, I’ve got an idea. Can I get you a t-shirt?”

“Now you’re gonna dress me?” Marcel shrugged. “Second drawer down.”

Louis pulled a tank top from the drawer, partly because it was the first one and partly because he wanted to see Marcel in a tank top. He pulled it over Marcel’s head.

“How about…” Louis turned a slightly reluctant Marcel towards the window. The window sill reached about two inches above Marcel’s belly button. “You stand here and I suck your dick.”

“Um… people will see me.”

“They won’t see me.”

“Fuck.” Marcel almost choked on his own spit and he blushed red. “Oh, I don’t know, Louis.”

“It’s a great, risk-free way to be a little bit of an exhibitionist.”

Marcel smiled at him nervously. “Um, okay.”

Louis dropped to his knees dramatically and crawled to the window on all fours. He could feel Marcel staring at him as he went. He positioned himself on his knees, facing Marcel, ready to receive him. Marcel walked over and braced himself against the window sill. Louis took charge, then, grabbing Marcel’s cock and sliding it into his mouth. Marcel gasped loudly, fixatedly staring out to the street below. If Louis had been in his room right now, he would have been able to see Marcel so clearly.

“Fuck, Louis,” Marcel grunted through gritted teeth.

Louis grabbed hold of Marcel’s hips, moving him in and out as he bobbed his head. He tentatively moved his hands round to Marcel’s bum and was rewarded with an appreciative groan.

Marcel’s breathing became laboured and he cried out a soft oh before he started to tremble, coming into Louis’ mouth with a stifled yet enthusiastic moan.

Louis swallowed and dropped his head back to the wall. He grinned up at Marcel, pointedly licking his lips.

“Well, that was short and sweet.” Louis wiped the corner of his mouth. “Enjoy?”

Marcel’s eyes were glassy as he dropped to his knees to face Louis.

“Fuck.” He laughed. “Yes, it was great. But just before I came, I saw Oli.”

“What?!”

“He’s at your front door.”

Louis peeked over the window sill. “Ugh. He’s probably wondering where I’m always disappearing to these days. So, um… did Oli make you come?”

“No! What? No!”

“Relax, babe. I’m kidding.”

“I mean… That actually might be the case. I think maybe I thought that if he happened to look up, he’d figure it out. It was… kind of exciting.”

“There we go!” Louis said happily.

Louis got dressed and tried to leave Marcel three times, each time failing in favour of snogging him like their lives depended on it. When he finally managed to leave, he dashed home and shut himself in his room.

“Darling?”

Louis sighed. “Yes, mum?”

“Can I come in?”

Louis put his phone down on the bed. So what if he was already texting Marcel?

“Yeah.”

Jay opened the door and poked her head around it. She smiled placatingly.

“Oli popped round. He tells me you’ve been a bit distant recently.”

“Oh.”

“I just wanted to check in, see if everything was okay with you.”

Louis shrugged. “Everything’s fine. I dunno, I think I’m outgrowing the lads a bit.” Louis chewed his bottom lip. He thought that maybe Anne suspected that something was going on between him and Marcel, and he wondered how much Anne had told his mum. “I mean, I’ve been spending more time with Marcel, and he’s much better company. More mature, even though he’s younger. You know?”

“I can see it.”

“He’s studious. And I really need to keep my grades up. I won’t do that if I’m pratting around with those three idiots.”

Jay smiled. “Okay, love. That’s good to hear.” She kissed him on the top of his head. “Love you, darling.”

“Love you, Mum.”

-

On Saturday, Louis had a football match. Marcel insisted on coming to watch, trying to be discreet when sitting on the crappy little stands but he stuck out like a sore thumb.

“Anyone else notice Marcel sitting at the back?” Calvin snorted in amusement. “Lou, mate, I think he’s got a bit of a crush on you, if I’m gonna be honest.”

“I’m not being funny, lad, but if you’d paid attention to the match instead of the spectators we might have won the bloody thing.”

“Yeah, Cal!” Todd laughed. “Why are you so obsessed with Marcel?”

Louis sighed to himself as he pulled his captain’s shirt off. He would only wear it a handful of times more before he left this school forever. As he caught Marcel’s name in the rowdy hum of conversation his teammates were having, he got a wave of urgency to leave this place. To leave school. To leave this town.

“I swear to God,” Louis snapped. “If I hear Marcel’s name one more time from any of you lot I’m gonna lose my fucking shit.”

“What the hell’s the matter with you?” Oli scoffed. “And since when were you so defensive of Marcel? No one made any gay jokes-”

“What did I just say?!” Louis slammed his locker shut and grabbed his towel from the bench. “You lot are such arseholes.”

He stormed off into the showers and rolled his eyes. He knew he shouldn’t make such a big deal about it, especially when he knew they would question such a harsh reaction. But he couldn’t bear it anymore. He didn’t want to become one of those people who only hang out with their partner, but he really did just find himself with no desire to be around these guys anymore.

Nobody else came into the showers. Most of the guys tended to just head straight home and shower there, but even the ones who usually showered were nowhere to be seen. Louis must’ve scared them off. He didn’t care. He washed off the sweat and dirt, and then he washed off the irritation and when he emerged into an empty locker room, he felt a lot better. He checked his phone and he had four messages from Marcel.

‘Hey I’ll wait at the gates for you :)’

‘Where are you?’

‘If you’re busy let me know I’ll head home x’

‘Hellooo? I’ll head home, text me later :)’

“Shit,” Louis muttered. He ignored whatever other messages he had from the lads and checked the timestamp on Marcel’s last text. Two minutes.

‘So sorry babe, I lost track of time in the shower. Not like that! ;) Are you still here? Would love to walk home with you x’

Louis quickly dried off and pulled on some joggers. After that, he took his time getting ready to go home. He was willing to admit that he was holding out hope for a reply from Marcel. Louis had to laugh at himself. He was so whipped.

‘Hey, I’ll turn around! Not far :)’

‘Awwww thanks sweetheart!’

Louis grinned to himself as he shoved his towel into his bag and zipped it up. He threw it over his shoulder and left the locker room. By the time he reached the front gates, Marcel was waiting.

“Do you think it’s safe enough for a kiss?”

“No,” Marcel said flatly. “Just think it.”

“Think a kiss?”

“Yes.”

Louis giggled softly. “You wanna do something tonight?”

Marcel frowned. “Isn’t tonight your driving test?”

“No.” Louis sighed. “That’s tomorrow.”

“Oh. My mistake.”

Louis was pretty sure he would pass his driving test but he was nervous as fuck anyway. Okay, so he didn’t have a car, but he was going to borrow Oli’s and take Marcel somewhere nice for Valentine’s Day. If he passed. And so, obviously, it was very important.

On the way home, Louis told Marcel what happened in the locker room and Marcel frowned, concerned.

“Be careful, Lou.”

“Oh, don’t worry. Everyone knows I can get hot headed. I don’t think they’re suspicious.” Louis raised his eyebrows. “I’m not sure they even actually think you’re gay.”

Marcel let out a disapproving grunt. “Hm, well.”

“I’ll take you out on a wonderful date for Valentine’s Day. Where do you think we should go?” Louis pouted in thought. “Actually, I should pick somewhere and book a table.”

“Surprise me,” Marcel said with a warm smile. “Just remember I don’t eat shellfish.”

“Now, are you allergic, or you just find it gross?”

“It makes me sick, so I can’t eat it, but it doesn’t have to be a seafood free restaurant.”

“Alright.”

“Thank you, Louis.” Marcel stopped him, looked around and grabbed his hand. “You’re the sweetest.”

“Oh, I’m not.” Louis squeezed his hand and dropped it. “But I hate that we can’t go out.”

“Hey. How come you don’t wanna be friends with those guys anymore, but you’ll be borrowing Oli’s car?”

Louis glared at him. “It’s the least any of them can do for being such arseholes.” Louis paused before sighing. “I know you think I won’t cut them off.”

“It’s not that.”

“It’s complicated. We’ve been friends for so long, you know? Our families are friends and stuff. I don’t know how they grew up into such dickheads.” Louis sighed. “And, yes, I’m fully aware I was one for a while, too.”

“Hm, well maybe they just need their own geek to steal their heart. Their own virgin to deflower.”

Louis cackled loudly. “Ew. Don’t say that. Do you consider yourself deflowered then, or not?”

“I don’t know, really.” Marcel turned to look at Louis over the top of his glasses. “When can we do it?”

Louis grinned. “Soon, darling. We don’t wanna overplan and overtalk and overthink about it. That’s when it gets awkward and doesn’t work properly.”

Marcel’s lips twisted and he looked a bit worried. Louis wished he could kiss all the worry and stress away, but it was natural for him to overthink about his first time. He was glad he would be there to ease any post-sex worries that Marcel might have in terms of their relationship or in himself. Marcel had been prepared to have sex with Louis and watch Louis walk away afterwards, and that stung a bit, knowing that Marcel was that eager to get it over and done with. Louis was determined to make it special.

Louis reluctantly dropped Marcel off and headed home. They arranged for Marcel to come to Louis’ for dinner that night but for now, Louis had a driving test to revise for. His theory test had been done for a couple of months but this was the nerve-wracking one. Once he read revision books until his eyes crossed, he stood up and went to his window.

Marcel’s curtains were drawn.

‘Come to the window’

It was annoying, the fact that their houses weren’t directly opposite each other. If they were, Louis could have put on quite the show for Marcel.

‘I’m helping my mum in the garden’

Louis pouted and threw his phone on the bed.

-

Louis booked them a table at an Indian restaurant in nearby Barnsley, which was twenty minutes down the Doncaster Road. Louis spent all week trying to decide on an outfit.

“Should I wear nice, casuals? Or should I go all out and wear, like, a shirt? Or even a suit, maybe?”

Louis’ reflection was no help.

“Wear a suit.”

Louis spun around to see that Lottie was watching him in the hallway. He rolled his eyes.

“Are you eavesdropping on me?”

“Are you talking to yourself?”

Louis glared at her. “I might have been.”

“Who are you going on a date with? Where you taking him?”

“None of your business, Lots.”

Lottie sighed and walked into Louis’ room. She stared at him in the reflection of the mirror.

“You almost never wear a suit, and I think that’s a good reason to wear one. Don’t you? It’s Valentine’s Day. Show him a Louis he’s never seen before. It’s more special that way. He doesn’t need to see you in skinny jeans and a t-shirt. That’s what you always wear.”

Louis smiled at her mockingly before shrugging. “You’re right. How’d you get so smart?”

“I’ve always been smart.”

“Well, not many eleven year olds have an eye for fashion. You know, um. Marcel across the road is studying fashion.”

“I know?” Lottie rolled her eyes. “Whenever you bring him over, it’s all we talk about.”

Louis smiled softly. “Yeah? How come I didn’t know that?”

“Dunno. Why don’t you ask him about it on your date?”

Louis felt himself blush. Louis never blushed.

“How did you know?!”

“I’m smart!” She rolled her eyes again. “It’s written all over your face when you look at him.”

Louis felt a bit shy - another unfamiliar emotion - before bursting into laughter.

“Thanks, Lots. Now, what should I get him? A present? Flowers?”

-

When Louis came back from picking up Oli’s car, he parked outside Marcel’s house and crossed to his own house. He dressed in his dark grey suit and combed and waxed his hair into place. He looked very prim and proper, and he wasn’t sure if he felt like himself.

But Lottie was right. Marcel didn’t need to see him in the same clothes he was always in, even if they were the best versions. He got together everything he needed for the evening, bundled it all up in his arms and dumped it in the back seat of the car. He retrieved Marcel’s gifts and approached the door.

Anne couldn’t stop smirking when she opened the door. Oh, well. Louis guessed the secret was probably out. Louis waited in the hallway for Marcel to come down and when he did-

Okay, so maybe Louis overdressed a little. But at the same time, they were on an even footing. Marcel usually dressed in smart trousers and crisp shirts, but he walked down the stairs in skinny jeans, pointy boots and a pinkish floral shirt that was a little too big for him.

“Gosh,” was all Louis could say. “You look different.”

“Yeah, I…” Marcel shrugged. “Since we’re going out of town, I wanted to be a different me. Just for tonight.”

Louis smiled softly and nodded. “Yeah. Um, me too.”

“You look really nice,” Marcel said, rubbing his eyes. “I’m trying out contacts for tonight, but it’s probably not the best time to give them a go.”

“Well, you look fantastic. Strange not to see you hiding behind your glasses.”

Marcel rolled his slightly watery eyes. “I feel a bit self conscious without them.”

“You look sexy,” Louis murmured, delighting in the blush that coloured Marcel’s cheeks. “So, anyway… I was really nervous about what to get you. I probably shouldn’t say this, but Lottie helped me, like, a lot.”

“You didn’t need to get me anything.”

“Ah, but I wanted to.” Louis held out the small potted plant. “She told me to get you a plant instead of flowers, ‘cause it’ll last longer.”

“Aww.”

“It’s, um.” Louis sighed and grinned stupidly. “It’ll hopefully last for a long time, just like us,” he recited. “And it’ll need a little love and care and work, just like our relationship. But it’ll blossom and stay beautiful.”

“God,” Marcel scoffed with a smile. “Have you finished?”

“Shut up! I’m trying to be romantic.”

Marcel glanced towards the kitchen as if he knew his mother was in there, listening.

“Why don’t we take it up to my room?”

They headed upstairs and Marcel placed the pink African violet on his windowsill.

“It matches you!” Louis said. “Um, I also got you this.”

Marcel took the flat package from Louis and laid it on the bed. He pulled the wrapping paper off and smiled softly.

“A sketch book.”

“Lottie says you get through a lot of these.”

“Yeah, yeah, I do.” Marcel frowned slightly as he ran his fingers over the leather cover. “But this is an expensive one. I use cheap ones.”

“I thought you might like a nice one. Draw special things in it.”

“It’s really lovely. Thank you.”

Louis walked over, wrapped his arms around Marcel from behind and placed a kiss to the back of his neck.

“You’re welcome.”

“I wanted to ask you a question about something you said downstairs.”

Louis let go of him and they sat next to each other on the bed.

“When you were saying your little cheesy lines about the plant-”

“Hey!”

“...You said, ‘our relationship’.”

Louis grimaced. “Sorry. I was just trying to be cute.”

“Oh. Well, I was going to ask if you consider us boyfriends.”

“Hmm.” Louis looked at Marcel with a glint in his eye before straddling him. The balance was all wrong and Marcel fell backwards onto the bed and Louis leaned down to kiss him. “We’ve made nothing official, have we?”

“No.”

“Well…” Louis rolled his eyes exaggeratedly. “Will you be my boyfriend, please, pretty please?”

“I think we should see how tonight goes.”

“Oi!”

“I’ll let you know at the end of our date.” Marcel shoved Louis off with surprising force, stood to his feet and casually reached into his jeans to adjust his semi. “Shall we go?”

Every time Marcel showed a boost in his confidence or assertiveness, it turned Louis on. He couldn’t help it. However, Louis was one to give as good as he got so he stood up and quickly pushed Marcel against his closed bedroom door, pinned him in with his body and kissed him with such fervour that when he pulled away, they were both gasping for breath. Marcel whined, palming at his growing erection and glaring at Louis.

“You’re a dick.”

“Mmm, I’ll be giving you dick later.”

Marcel scoffed and took Louis’ hand. “Let’s just go?”

-

Marcel insisted - insisted - on trying something spicy, and Louis took great delight in seeing him suffer.

“I told you to start small. You didn’t need to try something with three chilis next to it on the menu.” Louis sat back in his chair and checked his nails, all the while trying not to grin. “Anyway, you’ll need to lay off the spice if you are going to be in a sexual relationship.”

“How come?”

Louis sat up and took a sip of his Coke. “I’ll let you work that out.”

They chatted easily through their meal. It was a lovely change to be out with him, being in public where they couldn’t just fall back on sex. It felt like they were just friends again, except the giddiness Louis was feeling was brand new and delicious. And out here, in Barnsley, they weren’t the captain of the football team and that fashion geek. They were just a good looking couple, having a meal on Valentine’s Day.

“These lenses are killing me!” Marcel complained.

“Don’t rub your eyes, lad. You’ll be sorry.”

He blinked a few times before smiling at Louis. “So, you think I’m sexy without my glasses, yeah?”

“I think you’re sexy with or without them.”

Marcel just smiled and Louis watched him as he picked up the dessert menu and pondered it.

“Hmm. Mango and coconut brûlée cheesecake. Wanna share one?”

When their dessert came, Louis shuffled his chair around and they sat close, side by side as they shared the cheesecake. Louis slid his hand onto Marcel’s thigh and as it crept up, he hesitated before kissing him.

Kissing Marcel in public felt wonderful and, as Louis’ little finger grazed his cock, Marcel’s breath hitched and he groaned quietly against Louis’ mouth.

“Thank you so much for tonight,” Marcel whispered. “This has meant so much.”

“To me, too. I’m gonna get a car and we can go on dates all the time.”

Marcel smiled, pleased, and his eyes fluttered closed as Louis slid his hand up even further.

“God,” he muttered, strained. “Take me home?”

-

Driving Marcel around was a lovely novelty, although it was lost on the both of them on the way home. Whether it was the fact they were able to act like a proper couple in public, or due to Louis’ public touching, they were both very distracted by each other. Louis spent the first five minutes with his hand squeezing Marcel’s thigh, until he decided he really needed both hands on the wheel. When Marcel started to rub his own thighs and palm at himself, Louis nearly lost the plot.

“Fuck. Babe, I’m gonna crash.”

Marcel smirked before reaching over and cupping Louis’ half hard cock. Louis nearly jumped out of his skin and immediately indicated left, pulling into the lay by. He quickly switched the engine off, unbuckled his seatbelt and lunged for Marcel. Their lips crashed together and they scrambled to touch each other as best they could in the confines of Oli’s crappy car. Louis palmed at Marcel before frantically trying to pull his cock out of his skinny jeans. He tugged, watching Marcel’s eyes glaze over and his cheeks flush a pretty pink. It wasn’t enough. As much as he wanted to stay like this, gaze into Marcel’s eyes as he came, it wasn’t enough.

Marcel cried out indignantly when Louis released him and returned to the driver’s seat, but soon choked on his own sounds as Louis contorted himself to be able to lower his head to Marcel’s lap and take him in his mouth.

Marcel’s hands immediately flew to Louis’ hair and balled up in it. The slight pain of the hair pulling intensified Louis’ desire and he bobbed his head as eagerly as he could manage. Marcel gurgled out all sorts of sounds and every time a car flew past them in the dark, Marcel let out another groan.

“Fuck, I…” Marcel pushed slightly at Louis’ head. “I’m so glad it’s you, I’m s-so glad…”

Louis hummed appreciatively and that was the final push Marcel needed. He came with a shout, a really fucking loud shout, and Louis felt himself tremble and… was that…

“Oh, baby. Fuck.” Louis let out a breathless laugh. “I think I came.”

“You? Came in your pants?” Marcel asked, out of breath, too. “Yes!”

“Shut up,” Louis laughed as he sat up. He leaned in to kiss Marcel, who grimaced and moved away. “Oh, come on. Gimme a kiss.”

Marcel was hesitant but he pecked Louis on the lips. Louis nodded, satisfied, before sitting up properly and groaning.

“Ugh. I’m a mess, now.”

“Happens to the best of us.”

They drove home in near silence, but energy was still thrumming under his skin. He was always like this. Some nights, one guy wasn’t enough for him. He had moments of being absolutely insatiable. Except now, it was for one person, and one person only. It had never been like that for him.

They finally got home and Marcel’s mum seemed to have made herself scarce, which was nice, and also a little bit creepy and embarrassing. Still, Louis appreciated it very much, even if Marcel did refuse to even kiss him until they were safely locked in his room.

“You never know!” he reasoned.

Louis tore himself away from Marcel long enough to pop to the bathroom and clean himself up. He was already well on his way to half hard, yet again, in mere anticipation of what was to come. When he returned, Marcel was sitting on the bed, wearing his glasses again, and worrying his fingertips into the knees of his jeans.

“You okay, babe?”

Marcel nodded. “Um, took my lenses out. Hope that’s okay.”

Louis was so endeared, he thought his heart might burst. “Darling, I don’t care what you wear. I’ll still want to fuck you senseless.”

A pleased blush crept onto Marcel’s face. “Are you, um, gonna fuck me?”

“If you want me to.”

“Yes.” Marcel sighed with what sounded like relief. “Please.”

Louis pulled a little bottle of lube and a condom from his trouser pocket. Marcel cocked an eyebrow before smirking.

“You always planned to tonight, didn’t you?”

“No! I saw it as a fairly realistic possibility. We couldn’t possibly be unprepared, could we?”

“You didn’t have it in your pocket at dinner?”

“No. It was in the car.”

Marcel started to laugh, and he leaned back on his elbows and watched Louis. Louis didn’t know if Marcel had changed these past few weeks or he had just let his guard down, but it was an absolute delight to see. A confident Marcel was a happy Marcel and, not only that, Louis was sure he was ready.

They both undressed, watching each other along the way, before Louis laid half on top of him and they kissed and writhed until they were both hard. Louis finally grabbed the bottle of lube and drizzled some on his fingers while a wide eyes Marcel looked on.

“Now.” Louis cleared his throat. “I’m gonna prep you, love. Have you ever fingered yourself?”

“No! No,” Marcel replied quickly.

“Alright. Some people like being fingered, and some people don’t. Either way, it’s gonna feel weird at first, okay? If you don’t like it, we can get it over with quickly but if you enjoy it, we can take our time and really explore. Alright?”

“Um, yeah.”

“Try to relax.” Louis kissed him on the shoulder. “If you don’t like it, that’s okay. It doesn’t feel the same as sex.”

Marcel nodded, blinking quickly before closing his eyes. Louis dropped his lips to Marcel’s skin again. In a way, he was glad this was about to be done, get the first time out of the way. Then again, he had a feeling he would want to relive this moment, over and over.

Marcel jumped when Louis’ fingertip stroked his rim but he was clearly very focused, and managed to relax enough to make it all fairly easy. He squirmed a bit when Louis’ finger breached him but after that, he did his utmost to enjoy it.

“How are you feeling?” Louis asked.

“It’s… it’s weird. Like you said.”

“Is it okay?”

Marcel nodded. “Keep going.”

“Can I add a second finger?”

Marcel nodded again and Louis slid his ring finger in beside his middle. He was avoiding even looking for his prostate in a bid not to overwhelm him, but Louis reckoned Marcel was enjoying it as it was. He started to squirm before finding and matching Louis’ rhythm. He was pushing back onto Louis’ fingers and he grinned to himself.

“Feel good, babe?”

“Yeah,” Marcel moaned. “It’s… it’s not enough.”

Louis scissored his fingers slightly and Marcel let out a choked noise. They had both started to sweat and Louis felt like he was losing his mind.

“Gonna give you another finger, darling,” Louis slurred. “Then I need to fuck you.”

“Yeah.”

They could explore further another time, but Louis was too desperate to wait any longer than necessary. He moved three fingers inside of Marcel efficiently, taking a moment to crook his fingers and stroke around. Marcel moaned, his voice trembling before he yelped as Louis found his prostate.

“Yeah?” Louis cooed. “That feel good?”

“Ohhh, fuck…” Marcel pushed down on Louis’ fingers and balled a fist in the duvet. “Can we… can you…”

Louis slowed his hand and carefully slid his fingers out of Marcel, who whined pitifully at the loss. His chest heaved as he watched Louis sit back on his heels and shakily open the condom packet.

“Nearly there, my love. Are you ready?”

“Hurry up.”

Louis laughed as he rolled the condom down his shaft. He drizzled a bit of lube onto his cock, smeared it and started to line himself up with Marcel’s hole. He hooked his right arm under Marcel’s leg and took a deep breath as he used his left hand to guide his cock. He pressed against Marcel’s hole and Marcel inhaled sharply.

“It’s okay, baby,” Louis murmured as he fluttered his eyes closed and concentrated on the feeling of Marcel enveloping him. “I’ll go slowly.”

Louis hooked his arm under Marcel’s other leg and pushed his knees towards his chest. He looked down and Marcel looked like a rabbit caught in headlights.

“You okay?”

“Yes.” Marcel swallowed. “I’m just- this is really happening. Feels different.”

“Make sure you tell me if anything’s wrong.” Louis brushed a curl from Marcel’s forehead. “I’m gonna push in further, now.”

Louis moved his hips, pushing in and watching Marcel’s face as Louis filled him, stretched him. Marcel linked his fingers behind Louis’ neck and stared into his eyes intensely as he started to build a rhythm, and when he bottomed out he paused before pulling out and thrusting back in.

“Relax, baby,” Louis said as he continued to move in and out. “You’re tense.”

“Sorry. It feels good. Really good, I swear.”

Louis kissed him and picked up his pace. Marcel seemed to try his hardest to relax, unscrunching his eyebrows, lifting his hips to move with Louis. The quenching of all of Louis’ sexual tension that had built since he had started seeing Marcel was delicious and, although he couldn’t really get any deeper, he wanted more and more of him.

Marcel really had relaxed, and he started to moan and whine liberally as the sounds of slapping skin mingled in the air. Louis started to feel himself growing desperate and he started to slam into Marcel with as much force as he thought he could take. Louis’ orgasm was building rapidly and he released Marcel’s legs, bracing himself against the mattress with his left hand while his right hand went to Marcel’s cock and started to tug.

“Fuck, fuck.” Marcel let out a throaty groan that almost didn’t sound like him. He ran his hands down to Louis’ shoulder blades and dug his nails in. “Lou, I…”

He started to babble incoherently, his voice building in volume until he started to pulse and come, yelping and crying out as he came. The sight was absolutely unreal, and coupled with Marcel twitching and fluttering around his cock it didn’t take Louis long to come, too, filling the condom and trembling so hard that Marcel’s eyebrows knitted together in slight concern.

Louis collapsed on top of a limp Marcel. When he mustered the energy, he turned his head to kiss Marcel on the cheek and was taken aback when it was wet.

“Marcel?” Louis lifted his head to look at him properly. “You crying, darling?”

Marcel closed his eyes and his bottom lip wobbled. He scrunched his face and turned it away from Louis.

“Um. I just…” He sniffed loudly.

Louis finally pulled out of him and laid on his side, looking down at Marcel in concern.

“Oh, love, I didn’t hurt you, did I?”

“No!” Marcel’s eyes flew open and he gazed at Louis with such a loving intensity that Louis almost had to look away. “It’s all a bit overwhelming.”

Louis’ face softened and he smiled. “Yeah.”

“It was perfect. I thought first times were supposed to be bad.”

“I suppose so. But I also think that if you really like the person, if you have a connection, it’s never gonna be that bad. And… it probably helps that, to quote you, I’ve had an intimidating amount of sex.”

“I didn’t say that! You’re paraphrasing.” Marcel sighed. “I don’t care about that, you know.”

“Well, I think you’ll benefit from my experience, lad.”

They laid together, Marcel happy to be the little spoon, until Anne texted Marcel to tell him she was on her way home. As Louis sat up and looked around the floor to locate his clothes, Marcel pulled something from under the bed and cleared his throat.

“Happy Valentine’s Day,” he said quietly.

Louis was taken by surprise, stopping what he was doing and he turned towards Marcel. He reached out for the very used looking Tesco carrier bag, but Marcel withdrew his hand and moved the gift out of reach. He slipped a hand into the bag and pulled out a shirt, which Louis all too easily recognised as a Doncaster Rovers football shirt. Louis already had one, but this one was from Marcel and that made it special.

Marcel shuffled a little closer and slipped the shirt over Louis’ head. It was a touching gesture, all in all, and Louis was about to give his thanks when Marcel stood up and took his hand. Louis got to his feet and Marcel led him to the mirror. Louis looked a sight, the football shirt barely covering his dick and his hair in disarray.

“I really hope you don’t think this is weird,” Marcel said.

“Um. Which part? You dressing me? Or putting me in front of a mirror?”

Marcel tutted and turned Louis’ back to the mirror. Louis looked over his shoulder and let out a little gasp.

“Like, I don’t mean to get super possessive or anything, and I know you can’t wear it outside, but…”

Louis let out a cackle before shaking his head. Marcel actually went out and bought a Donny Rovers shirt and got them to print Styles on the back. He didn’t find it weird. In fact, being ‘claimed’ like this made him want to fuck Marcel all over again.

“I absolutely love it,” he said, grinning at Marcel in the reflection. “I’m absolutely wearing this next time we fuck.”

They stood there in silence for a few seconds, Marcel completely naked and Louis only in the shirt. Louis admired their reflections. They looked really good together.

“Can I ask you something?” Marcel asked, leading Louis back to the bed. “Do you ever- I mean, what we just did was great. Really, it felt fantastic.”

Louis smiled. “But?”

“It’s not a but. I was wondering if you ever bottom.”

“Oh, yeah. I’m not bothered either way. Sometimes I might be in the mood for one or the other, but in general I’m happy to do both.” Louis broke into a grin. “Why? Fancy topping?”

“I’d like to give it a go. Is that okay?”

“I assume you don’t mean now,” Louis said with a grin as he pulled on his underwear. “But, yeah. Absolutely. Although I’m a bit scared about having that thing inside me.”

“Oh.” Marcel shrugged and waved his hand dismissively. “That’s okay, we don’t have to do it.”

“No, no, I didn’t mean it like that. I honestly can’t wait, love. But you might need to go a little easy on me.”

Marcel seemed satisfied, even pleased with that. Once Louis finally made it home, the two of them started to text and they continued like that until 2am, when Louis declared that he had to go to bed because his phone kept overheating. He went to sleep with a huge smile on his face, and he rather suspected Marcel was doing the same.

-

The following week was half term and, to Louis’ delight, his mum shipped all his siblings off to their grandparents, or some half term club, or friends’ houses so that Louis could have a quiet house in which to study. He did need to revise, but he was much more interested in studying Marcel.

Louis spent all morning tidying his room and Marcel came over at lunchtime. They ate sandwiches in front of the telly, watching crappy quiz shows and arguing over who got the most questions right. Marcel started to tickle him but eventually Louis overpowered him, straddling him and kissing him until all bickering and banter melted away and was replaced with desire.

Louis took Marcel’s hand and led him upstairs. Opening his bedroom door, he stood aside to let Marcel look at his hard work. He grinned proudly as Marcel raised his eyebrows and nodded.

“Wow. You went to an effort.”

“Only the best for you.”

Marcel hummed in amusement as he unbuttoned his cardigan and draped it on the back of Louis’ desk chair. He sat down on the bed, bouncing on it slightly to test it. His smile melted away slightly and it was replaced with the shadow of a frown.

“How many guys have you brought up here, then?”

“Not many.” Louis sat down on the bed next to him. “You’re the only one who matters, though. You know that?”

“You’re not… do you see other guys?”

“What?” Louis scoffed incredulously. “Now? Of course I don’t. Marcel, when I agreed to be your boyfriend, I thought exclusivity was sort of implied.”

Marcel frowned and held his head in his hands. “Ugh, I’m sorry. Of course. I- I’m so sorry, Louis. I just-”

Louis sighed and took his hand. “Look, I’m done with all that, now.” He nudged Marcel gently. “You said you didn’t care about that stuff.”

“I don’t. I don’t, I’m sorry. It was a stupid thing to say. Or think.”

“Is it that you don’t trust me? Or…”

“No!” Marcel sighed and turned his body towards Louis. “Maybe I’m insecure.”

“Just because I used to sleep around, it doesn’t mean I can’t control myself. You’re enough, I promise.”

“Okay.”

Louis felt unease churning inside of him. He knew Marcel was just unsure of the situation, but he felt a little put out by the accusation. Marcel must have been able to read him, because when he started to kiss Louis, it felt apologetic and desperate. He pushed Louis to the mattress and straddled him, scrambling for the button of his jeans.

“Marcel, Marce…” As much as it pained Louis to stop him, he couldn’t let Marcel think that he had to apologise in this way. “Calm down.”

“I wanna make it up to you. I’m sorry, I really am.”

Louis grabbed Marcel’s waist and threw him off, and Marcel let out a yelp as he fell to the mattress next to Louis.

“Don’t use sex as an apology,” Louis said with a sad smile. “Saying sorry is fine. Prove it with your actions. But don’t get me off as an apology.”

Marcel pushed his glasses up his nose and sighed. “Sorry. I’m crap at this relationship thing, I-”

“You’re not crap.” Louis rolled over and kissed him. “You’re just new to it. So am I.”

“Um… so…. Does this mean we’re not gonna have sex?”

Louis cackled delightedly. “No, no. Of course we can.”

They took their clothes off and Louis talked Marcel through fingering him open. Feeling Marcel’s long, delicate fingers stroke inside of him was delicious and maddening at the same time and he made sure to vocalise his feelings for Marcel’s benefit. By the time Marcel built up to a third finger, he seemed to be gaining confidence and Louis told him he was ready.

“You sure?”

“Feels so good. But I want you to fuck me. Please?”

Marcel started to mumble something under his breath as he pulled his fingers out and wiped them on the bed.

“Sorry,” he said distractedly as he found the condom Louis had placed on the nightstand. He fumbled with the wrapper before looking up at Louis. “Um, do you think you could do it for me?”

“Sure.” Louis sat up, wincing slightly as he shifted and took the condom from Marcel. “Let me show you. Squeeze the condom away from the corner, like this. That way you won’t accidentally tear it.”

Marcel was trying his best to concentrate, all the while tugging at his cock. Louis showed him how to make sure the condom was the right way up and that no air was trapped in it. He rolled it down Marcel’s shaft, grabbing some lube and smothering it. He wasn’t taking any chances.

“Is it okay if I’m on my front?” Louis asked. “I think it’ll be easier for me to take.”

“Yeah.” Marcel paused as he watched Louis get into position. “Are you sure about this?”

“Yes, absolutely.” Louis stuck his arse up. “Want you so much.”

Marcel pushed in hesitantly. Louis guided him through, telling him when it felt good and when it bordered on painful. Once Marcel got the hang of it, Louis just hung his head and took it, delighting in the angle and the way Marcel moved his hips. It seemed he had a good instinct, and soon enough Louis started to grow desperate and started to rock his hips back against Marcel. Louis felt Marcel begin to lose his rhythm, and he stopped his own movements and looked over his shoulder.

“Are you okay?”

“Legs are tired.”

“Pull out, baby. Hold the base of the condom.”

Marcel did as he was told. Louis flipped onto his back and pulled Marcel down in a heated kiss before turning on his side.

“Get behind me, love. Let’s try it like this.”

They fumbled for a few seconds before Marcel pushed back into Louis and immediately Louis knew this was the one. He had never had sex in this position but it felt so, so satisfying and when he felt Marcel’s hips flush against his arse, he was surprised by the lack of pain. Marcel must have liked it, too. He snapped his hips over and over, fucking into Louis until he came, stilling deep inside of Louis as he cried out, babbling and swearing before quieting to pant against Louis’ neck. He reached around and sloppily pulled Louis to orgasm. He cried out softly as Louis clenched around his cock, still buried deep.

“Was that okay?” Marcel asked. “Are you okay?”

“Oh, fuck.” Louis sighed and laughed. “Never bloody better.”

Louis gingerly moved away and Marcel held the base of the condom and pulled out. Louis flipped over to pull him close and kiss him.

“You wanna know something that’s gonna make you happy?”

“You make me happy!” Marcel grinned before nodding.

“I’ve never had sex in that position before. This was my first.”

“Really?” Marcel brightened. “It was amazing, right?”

“Oh, yes.” Louis nodded. “And that’s all yours. Something I’ve only ever shared with you.”

-

Louis was pretty sore after all. They managed to keep their clothes on the next day but by Wednesday, they were at it again. Louis didn’t know it was possible, but Marcel was becoming even more insatiable than him. Not only that, but the more they did it, the more confident Marcel got. He was constantly surprising Louis, from initiating dirty talk to the way he sat on Louis’ chest and fed his cock to him.

He surpassed himself completely when he turned up on Friday and wouldn’t stop smiling. He was doing it in such an irritating way that Louis couldn’t ignore it anymore.

“Alright, what’s got you so giddy?”

“Oh…” Marcel pushed his hand into his pocket. “Nothing.”

He pulled his hand out of his pocket and Louis peered at it, frowning.

“What’s that? Is it…” Louis raised his eyebrows. “Is that your school tie?”

Marcel pulled the tie between his fingers, back and forth. “Yeah.”

Louis felt sweat bead on his forehead. “Um, why do you have it with you?”

“Dunno.” Marcel blinked at Louis through his glasses and pouted. “Thought it could come in handy.”

Louis reached over and slid his finger into Marcel’s loose fist. Marcel looked down at it. “Did you bring it because you want me to tie you up with it, darling?”

Marcel made eye contact with Louis and the glint in his eye told Louis all he needed to know.

“Nope,” Marcel replied.

Louis smiled and blinked rapidly, the way that had proved very popular with Marcel in the past. He held his wrists out in front of himself, pressed together.

“Do what you want with me.”

Marcel faltered but only for a moment. “Why don’t you take your clothes off and get on the bed?”

Louis quickly started to strip as Marcel leaned his bum against the desk and folded his arms. Louis bounced onto the bed, starfishing and looking up at Marcel expectantly.

“Very good.”

“I’ll always be good for you,” Louis replied innocently.

It had the desired effect. Marcel’s eyes darkened and glazed as he dropped his arms down to his sides. Louis arched his back and groaned, all the while staring at Marcel. Marcel jolted into action and moved to the bed, clutching his school tie tightly.

“Okay,” he began as he gently took Louis’ wrists. “So, we should have, like, a safe word. Right?”

Louis missed a breath. “Sure.”

“I’ve got the perfect word. It’s my absolute favourite French word. Pamplemousse.”

“Uh… what?”

“It’s French for grapefruit,” Marcel said as he tied Louis’ wrists carefully to the headboard. “Do you accept it as your safe word?”

Louis shrugged, relenting. “Fine. Okay.”

Marcel smiled, smug as he finished tying Louis to the bed. He pouted, examining his work.

“Can you move alright?”

“Erm…” Louis twisted his wrists about a bit. “Yeah it’s fine. If you wanna make a habit of this, though, we’ll need some proper restraints, ‘cause if I pull on this thing for long I’m gonna hurt myself.”

“Well, be careful.” Marcel took a few steps back to look at Louis, spread eagle on the bed. “You look fantastic.”

“Do you have any plans for me, then?” Louis arched his back again. “What do you want to do to me, eh?”

“Not really. The thought of tying you up turned me on.” Marcel sniffed and fixed his glasses. “But I like this. Being in charge. In control.”

“Oh, yeah?” Louis said with a smirk. “Why don’t you come over here and do something about it, then?”

“First of all, you need to be quiet.”

Louis squawked indignantly. “Pamplemousse.”

“You don’t play with the safe word, Louis,” Marcel scolded impatiently. “I’ll untie you right now.”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I won’t say it unless I mean it. And I’ll behave.”

Marcel nodded, pleased. “Good.”

Louis watched as Marcel got undressed, everything about his manner far more confident that it used to be. He strolled over and straddled Louis’ stomach.

“If I do anything you’re uncomfortable with, say the word.”

Louis nodded quickly. Marcel leaned down and kissed him, a filthy, indulgent kiss that lingered with Louis after Marcel had pulled away. Marcel kissed down his body, shuffling down to sit between his legs as his mouth made its way to his hip.

“I love the way you smell,” Marcel confessed on a sigh. “Is that weird to say?”

“No, baby. It’s lovely.”

Marcel kissed the base of Louis’ cock, moving his lips up the shaft until he reached the tip. He licked over it with the point of his tongue and Louis bucked his hips.

“Sorry. Sorry.”

Marcel licked a stripe up Louis’ cock before humming.

“I want to try something new. Can I?”

“Anything, babe.” Louis closed his eyes and sighed. “Anything.”

“Turn over.”

Louis did as he was told, with some difficulty. Once he managed to twist his wrists in the restraint, he laid on his front and kept trying to look over his shoulder. Marcel was sitting back on his heels and he grabbed Louis’ hips and lifted. Louis shuffled onto his knees, sticking his arse in the air.

“No peeking.”

Louis stared at his pillow for a few seconds before thinking better of it and closing his eyes. He felt Marcel’s clammy palms on his arse cheeks, felt as they started to squeeze and massage and pull his cheeks apart. He felt Marcel’s lips on his crack and groaned in surprise.

“Marcel, baby.” Louis squeaked out a whine. “Oh, my God.”

Marcel hummed as he kissed over Louis’ hole. Louis gasped. He couldn’t believe this was happening. Sure, he definitely had this on his agenda to try someday, but Marcel had taken it upon himself to initiate it and Louis thought that just maybe he was in fucking love.

Unsurprisingly, Marcel didn’t really have any kind of technique. He just licked and sucked and kissed when he saw fit, which was absolutely fine, in Louis’ books. Just as Louis was really getting into it - pushing back onto Marcel’s face, which he seemed to enjoy - Marcel was gone, and Louis couldn’t bring himself to look over his shoulder.

He heard lots of scrambling and shuffling and then the unmistakable snapping of the lid of a lube bottle. Louis’ anticipation heightened, and he braced for Marcel’s fingers, or his cock, but they never came. Instead, he heard the sounds of Marcel’s stifled moans. Louis looked over his shoulder but Marcel was mostly out of sight.  

“Turn over.”

Marcel’s voice was so gruff and needy, Louis almost didn’t recognise it. He did as he was told, wincing as the tie scraped his skin. Once he was on his back, he took a good look at Marcel. His glasses were gone, and his hair was sticking up in all directions, damp-looking and curling. His pupils were blown and his cheeks were flushed.

“I can’t get enough of you,” he said, wiping the smeared spit from his chin.

“Me neither,” Louis replied, and noticed Marcel holding a condom.

It dawned on him what Marcel was up to, but slowly. As Marcel rolled the condom down his shaft, lubed him up, straddled him, he realised that Marcel had been opening himself up.

He sunk down slowly on Louis’ cock, groaning loudly as he went. Louis clenched his fists. The urge to touch Marcel was almost unbearable, but bailing out didn’t even cross his mind. The deep desire, the need in him only served to heighten the pleasure he felt as Marcel rocked back and forth, taking his cock and riding it as if he had been doing it for years.

“Fuck, this…” Louis paused to cry out as Marcel shifted his weight forward and bounced his arse on his cock. “You should take control more often.”

Marcel moaned throatily as he shifted yet again, seeming to be chasing something he didn’t quite understand. He leaned back, his palms on the bed by Louis’ legs as he wound his hips upwards. He groaned loudly, relief toning his voice. His cock was slapping up against his stomach and seeing the pure rapture on Marcel’s face pushed Louis right to the edge. He started to buck up to meet Marcel’s movements as best he could, swearing louder and louder until he started to come, pulsing with what felt like considerable force inside of Marcel. Marcel let out a gravelly moan, slamming down onto Louis a few more times before slowing to grind on him, slow and deep.

“Ah, fuck.” Louis sighed loudly. “Marry me.”

Marcel just groaned again. He reached behind himself to hold the condom in place as he pulled off of Louis, and then shuffled up Louis’ body and held onto the headboard, body looming over Louis.

“Can I come on your face, Petal?”

Even in Louis’ blissed out state, he managed to raise an eyebrow and smirk at the nickname.

“Yes, but only if I’m allowed to have my mouth open.”

Marcel made a sort of desperate gurgling sound. He tugged at his cock, doing his best to point towards Louis’ waiting tongue. He came within seconds, whining and moaning as if the sight of squirting on Louis’ face was killing him in the most satisfying way. Louis closed his eyes and felt the heat splash onto his face and into his waiting mouth.

“Oh my God,” Marcel said with a sigh. Louis carefully opened his eyes just in time to see Marcel collapse on top of him. “It gets better every time, don’t you think?”

“Yeah.” Louis grinned. “Um, babe, do you think you could untie me?”

“Shit!”

Marcel jumped to his feet, wincing as he hobbled over to the headboard. He pulled the knots apart and, as soon as he was unshackled, Louis grabbed hold of Marcel’s face and gave him the deepest, most desperate kiss he had ever given. Marcel was taken by surprise and knocked off balance.

They both started to giggle, but Louis winced when Marcel touched the skin near his wrists and Marcel widened his eyes in absolute horror.

“Oh, my God. Lou, your wrists.”

His wrists weren’t just red, they were raw in places, and Louis grimaced.

“Ugh, yeah. We need to get some proper restraints. Because… we’re definitely doing that again.”

“Agreed,” Marcel said with a nod. He was still frowning. “What are you gonna tell everyone? What are you going to tell your mum?”

“It’s okay, I’ll just wear long sleeves for a bit.”

“Do you need me to do anything?”

Louis smiled softly. “Nah. If I remember anything from football… and other previous experiences with friction burn…” He smirked. “I think it just needs air. It’ll sting for a few days.”

They spent the afternoon watching Netflix, with Marcel constantly kissing over the unbroken bits of red skin.

“Can I ask you something?” Marcel said as the fourth episode in a row of the series they were watching came to an end. “We’re… in a relationship, yeah?”

“Yeah!”

Marcel’s lips twisted as he frowned. “What’s gonna happen when you go off to uni?”

Louis sighed and smiled placatingly. “Look, I always planned to go to uni nearby. I’ll have my own car by then, I’ll be back every weekend, if all goes according to plan.” Louis poked him in the chest. “It’ll be absolutely fine. Don’t worry. You’ll have to wean yourself off of daily sex, but apart from that…”

Marcel giggled softly. “Okay. Promise you won’t forget about me? Find a better looking geek to deflower?”

“I swear to God, if you say ‘deflower’ one more time, I will dump you.”

“Deflower, deflower, deflower!”

Louis smacked Marcel on the arse and Marcel groaned loudly. Louis filed that information away for another time.

-

Louis got into the University of York, much to the delight of both his family and Marcel. He would come back as much as he could to see them all, but in the meantime, he had to finish his exams - he still needed the grades to actually be accepted - and the summer lay ahead of him and Marcel.

Marcel spent a ridiculous amount of time on the internet, always obsessed with finding new, fun things for them to do in bed. Some felt great, some not so much. The best part about the constant experimentation was the bond they formed through it. Louis had never felt closer to Marcel, and Marcel…

Well, Marcel was a completely different person than he had been at the beginning of the school year. Louis would love him, even if he was the same, but the confidence that being with Louis gave him was blatantly visible. He walked with his back straight, head held high, a knowing smirk always on his face.

As their exams finished and spring gave way to summer, Marcel and Louis liked to sit out in Louis’ back garden. The sun caught it much better than Marcel’s, and they often sat out there eating ice lolly after ice lolly. One hot July afternoon, Marcel turned to Louis and took a breath.

“I have something to say.”

Louis had thought that something had been bothering him. He had seemed restless the past few days, and he often disappeared into a daydream. Louis had decided to leave him be, and wait for him to inevitably share his problem with Louis.

“Go on, love.”

“I think I’d like to come out at school.”

Louis was taken aback. Marcel had seemed to have pretty much decided to wait until he went to university before letting people know he was gay. That Louis was his boyfriend.

“Oh.”

“We can discuss it. It affects you too, obviously.” Marcel sighed. “I’m just… I think it will be okay, you know? I feel like I’m better equipped to handle it, and I also don’t want to hide our relationship any longer. When you come and visit, I want to be able to go out with you.”

“We can go out,” Louis countered. “I’ve got a car, now. We don’t have to stay around here.”

“I know that. I just feel like it’s time.”

Louis blinked at Marcel for a few seconds. He really had blossomed, and Louis’ heart fluttered in adoration.

“If that’s what you want, I’ll support you every step of the way.”

Marcel sighed in relief. “Okay. Thank you. It’s just school, really. All my family know, so.”

“I’m very proud of you, you know.”

-

Louis thought he might nod off at the wheel, and that was never good.

Still, he was nearly home. He was off the motorway, now, so it was only a matter of minutes until he would pull up outside his family home. Be able to fall asleep.

He hadn’t been home in four weeks and he felt gut-wrenchingly guilty about it. He had promised his mother, his siblings, Marcel, that he would be home every weekend. He had just been so busy getting settled and learning to adjust to the pace of university life that he hadn’t had chance.

He kept himself awake by thinking of the welcome he would get. His mum’s tea that nobody else could quite perfect. The roast dinner she would cook on Sunday. The loving cuddles of his family and boyfriend. He planned to go home first, have that cup of tea, before heading across the road to Marcel. Fuck, he couldn’t wait to see him. Even in the past few weeks, Louis couldn’t help but notice over Facetime and Snapchat that Marcel’s jaw had started to define, his face changing and sculpting as he hurtled towards eighteen. He was growing into himself and Louis wished he was there to witness it.

He pulled up outside his home and felt anticipation bubble inside of him. He leapt out, not bothering to bring any of his bags in right now, and hurried to the front door, pushing his key in and twisting.

He walked into the living room to cheers and bodies enveloping him from all sides. When his siblings all let him go, his mother pulled him into a hug.

“It’s wonderful to have you home.”

“It’s wonderful to be home.”

She pulled away and, standing behind her with his hands on his hips, was Marcel. He was grinning stupidly. Louis didn’t know if it was just the time spent apart but Marcel looked absolutely stunning. He was dressed in skinny jeans and an old t-shirt, and he was positively glowing.

“Hello, love.” Marcel smiled softly. “You’re back.”

Louis sighed and pulled him into a hug.

“You giving contact lenses another go, then?” Louis murmured into his ear, referring to Marcel’s lack of glasses.

“Haha, no.” They parted and Marcel shrugged. “You’ve been gone a long time, Louis. I got my eyes lasered.”

“You what?!”

“Yup. I decided my eyesight was a priority if I’m going to be a fashion designer, you know?”

“Well, I think you look lovely. Are your eyes alright? How’s it panning out?”

“Never better. It’s so great not to wear glasses anymore, honestly. They got in the way.” He smiled innocently. “Surely you remember.”

“Shh!” Louis said with a slight giggle. “I remember.”

Louis got reacquainted with his family, and then he and Marcel headed upstairs to his room. It looked nothing like he had left it. His mum had tidied, cleaned, organised, and freshened.

“Well,” Louis said, frowning. “Coming home after being away kind of loses its charm when your bedroom is unrecognisable.”

Marcel giggled and they collapsed on the clean, tidily made bed. They laid for ages, just talking quietly or silently enjoying each other’s company, Louis’ fingers firmly in Marcel’s curls.

“So, how’s school going?”

“Oh, yeah, it’s fine.”

“Anyone picking on you?”

Marcel shrugged. “No. People are being really nice to me, actually. That’s what happens when everybody knows you’re seeing the-”

“The captain of the football team, right.”

“Need I remind you that you’re not actually captain of the football team anymore?”

Louis chuckled. “Okay, so what were you gonna say?”

“The most attractive gay guy at the school in living memory.”

Louis scoffed as Marcel turned to kiss his cheek.

“I’m serious!” Marcel insisted. “People are always asking after you. I even had some guys congratulate me for managing to get you into a relationship.”

“Really?” Louis laughed and rolled his eyes. “Guys I slept with, I assume.”

Marcel hummed and rolled on top of Louis. He slipped his hands into Louis’ and pressed them into the bed either side of Louis’ head.

“The sooner I’m out of there, though, the better.” Marcel frowned. “I hate seeing guys you’ve fucked around the place.”

“Mm, there’s so many of them.”

“Shut up,” Marcel said lightly and moved his mouth to Louis’ neck. “You won’t like me when I’m jealous.”

“Oh, darling. I love you when you’re jealous.”

Marcel growled playfully and nibbled on Louis’ collarbones. Louis had been telling his new friends all about Marcel, constantly to the point where he could hear himself becoming boring. But he couldn’t help it. He was in love, and he wanted to shout and scream it.

They fucked, desperate and intimate, before they sheepishly ate dinner with Louis’ family. They went into town, hand in hand, to get some ice cream. Being out and about with Marcel was a tremendous rush for Louis and, when they went to bed that night, curled up together, Louis couldn’t believe how happy he felt.

“Don’t get any ideas, but you know how you’re obsessed with wedding dresses?”

Marcel breathed out a laugh against Louis’ neck. “Well… go on.”

Louis smiled to himself. “Have you ever put one on?”

“Have I- of course not.”

“What do you mean, of course not? I would so fuck you in a wedding dress. Or let you fuck me. I’d let you do whatever you want.”

“Louis!” Marcel groaned. “Can we talk about this in the morning?”

“Does that mean you’re open to the idea?”

Louis had some kind of sense that Marcel might have been smiling. “Maybe.”