“Louis, you’re still coming to the Halloween party, aren’t you?”
Louis tried to hold back a sigh. It wasn’t like Liam had asked him about a thousand times already.
“Yes, Liam. And you know what? As it turns out, I am working on my Halloween costume right now.”
Liam sounded so excited that Louis suddenly didn’t have the courage to tell him he was joking. He was in fact NOT working on his Halloween costume. But he had every intention to do so.
No, right now, he was too engrossed in the new TV show he’d found on Netflix. He had been peacefully binge watching it until Liam had called.
“Yes, really,” Louis answered reluctantly, hoping he sounded convincing enough.
Liam, bless him, chuckled in delight. “Cool! Am I allowed to know what you’re dressing up for this time? I know you take this celebration very seriously.”
It was very true. Louis had always quite loved Halloween. When he was a child, he had always wanted to dress up. As any child would, you’d say. His mother would always oblige him. In fact, she even used to make Louis’ costumes herself. When Louis’ sisters were born, it all changed. Still, Jay had always made sure to buy at least a new costume every now and then.
When Louis was finally old enough to be able to fabricate his own costumes, it had become his personal duty, and challenge, to always top whatever costume he wore the previous year.
And this year was no exception.
“You’ll see at the party, Payno,” Louis answered through a smirk.
Liam groaned on the other line, and it only made Louis’ smirk grow even wider. “All right, I guess I’ll see. I gotta go, my fridge is empty and we need food.”
Liam, just like Louis, was attending college. Although it wasn’t the same one as Louis was attending. It was weird at first, not to go to school with Liam. They’d known each other for years, and had endured their secondary school years together. And now they were onto their final year at college, taking their A-Levels… They were going to become proper adults soon.
Louis was not looking forward to that.
“Like, really empty,” Liam added exaggeratedly, which made Louis scoff.
Liam was in collocation with Niall and Zayn, whom Louis considered as his friends, too. They had hung out together many nights, and they had gotten along as soon as they had been to the club the first day they met.
“All right, Payno, see you on Friday night!” It wasn’t that Louis was dismissing his friend, but he really needed to know what was going to happen next in his episode. Plus, Liam had to do grocery shopping.
“See you, Tommo. Looking forward to see what you’ve come up with.”
Louis smiled. He couldn’t lie, he really enjoyed Liam’s appreciation for Louis’ costume ideas over the years.
And if Louis was being honest, he was feeling pretty confident with this one.
The house was packed with people. That was the first thing Louis noticed as he was invited in by the host. It was some dude Liam knew, and the place was big enough, and, more importantly, isolated enough in a cool neighbourhood for everyone to party late into the night.
The foyer was directly linked to what looked like a dining room, and there were people standing around the huge table. Some people were bobbing their heads and moving their bodies to the rhythm of the music (Louis was pretty sure it was Avicii playing), while some stayed still on the spot, chatting happily while drinking their beverages. On the table, several empty or still filled drinking cups had been left abandoned.
It was only the beginning of the party, but Louis could see that some people were already pretty far into it. (He had spotted some guy resting against a tree with a stupid dopey smile on his face and a drowsy look in his eyes earlier.)
“Welcome to the party, man,” the host greeted Louis with a grin. He sounded perfectly sober as of right now. His dark blonde hair was tied back into a ponytail, and his Halloween costume consisted of a black attire. Only his face expressed anything, painted in black and white in order to make him look like a skeleton. He couldn’t have not chosen a simpler Halloween costume. “Name’s Andy.” He offered a hand.
“Oh, Liam has mentioned you a few times,” Louis replied with a polite smile, accepting the young man’s handshake. “It’s nice to meet you. I’m Louis.”
Andy’s face instantly lit up in recognition. He pointed a finger at Louis. “Of course! Liam never stops talking about you.”
Louis arched an eyebrow, huffing a snort. “Really?” He would be lying if he said he wasn’t scared of what Liam had said about him.
“Yeah, man! Okay, so the kitchen is over there,” he pointed at the end of the hallway on the right of the stairs. “And on the left there’s the living room. On the right you’ll find a door leading to the garage, where the main event is happening,” he finished with a wink. Louis wondered if Andy’s parents were aware of what was happening inside their house tonight, or if Andy’s parents were just that cool. (Don’t get him wrong, Louis’ parents were cool, but his house was way too small to host an event like this.)
He nodded at the explication. “Cool man, thanks for having me, by the way.”
“Of course!” Andy’s attention was drawn back to the entrance. “Gotta welcome my other guests, but feel free to wander.” He waved a hand. “Liam’s in the garage.” He started walking away, but then stop. He threw a look over his shoulder, a grin on his face. “Fucking sick costume, by the way. I am going to dream about you tonight.”
Louis let out a chuckle, having not expected this kind of compliment. He threw a thumbs-up in response. He was quite proud of his attire, yeah.
With a grin plastered to his face, he made his way to the garage.
“Oi, oi,” Louis exclaimed in greeting when he found his group of friends, who were occupying a few chairs.
A few heads turned towards him, but Louis was honestly paying attention to his friends only. Though he couldn’t lie, he was revelling in the way people were looking at him. He always loved to make a good entrance, and leave an impression on people.
“Holy shit!” Niall was the first one to react, his mouth open so wide Louis feared his jaw might just come off. Niall was wearing a blue jumpsuit and a green shirt, and Louis realised that he was dressed as Luigi. He even had the green cap on his brown hair. Without surprise, he burst into laughter. It was audible, even with the music playing boisterously in the background.
“Oh my God, that’s fucking cool," Liam approved, eyeing Louis up and down with a huge, amused smile. He shook his head in disbelief. “Can’t believe you’ve fucking done that.”
Louis grinned and pretended to bow. “You’re not too bad yourself, Liam Wayne.” Because of course Liam had gone for Batman. He hadn’t done that in years. (Last time he did, he was seven. He had forced Louis to dress up as Catwoman.)
Louis turned his attention to Zayn, waiting for his verbal reaction. He was, obviously, dressed up as The Joker. Louis knew Zayn was going for that costume. Zayn had sent many photos. Louis had to admit, the boy had done a damn good job. He had dyed his hair green, and he was rubbing his white chin with his hand, taking Louis in. Just for the show, Louis swirled on himself. “Well?”
Zayn was visibly trying to hold back a laugh as well, but the impressed look on his face said everything. “You’ve really outdone yourself on this one, Lou.”
Louis nodded, pleased with the feedbacks from his friends.
“That’s a really good one, I would have never thought of that,” Liam admitted.
Louis winked at him, smirking. “And that’s why I did it, Payno.”
If Louis had to give credit to someone, it was actually his sisters. The idea for this costume had entirely been because of the movie choice the girls had made a few weeks ago. It was a Sunday, and he had been doing his homework, listening to some Codplay songs at the same, when his sister Félicité had barged in his room.
“We’re going to watch a movie. Wanna join?” She stood in the doorway, hand still gripping the door handle. She was also giving Louis the puppy face. How could he say no? Mathematics be damned.
And so he had joined them, but of course he had no choice in choosing what movie to watch. The girls opted for Shrek, and that was it.
Louis had gone for an original, but ludicrous and crazy idea. He had decided to dress up as Shrek. And by dress up, he wanted the whole package. Which meant: Green paint he bought, as well as some green construction paper, glue and stapler. He also had managed to find clothes that would look quite close to what Shrek would wear: A tan t-shirt, brown pants with a brown belt.
It had taken him some time to prepare himself, especially when it came to the makeup. He was thankful that Lottie had borne with him. In the end, he looked fucking amazing. Sure, he was green from head to toe, but he looked fabulous.
“Hey man,” someone spoke from behind Louis.
He turned around and was faced with a guy dressed up as Superman. (Why was everyone obsessed with superheroes this year?) He was clearly admiring Louis’ work, and he let out a whistle once he was done. “That’s hilarious, well done!”
Louis couldn’t stop grinning, feeling proud. “Thank you, mate!”
It was only the beginning of a shower of compliments. But Louis was more than ready to receive them.
Louis was back in the kitchen, in search for some more alcohol. His eyes were automatically drawn to the large bowl. A red, pink-ish liquid was in it. Punch it was, then.
He was not really focused on the people around him, though the kitchen was miraculously not crowded unlike the other rooms. He didn’t intend to stay anyway, he just wanted his cocktail. He was focused on not making a mess, using the ladle available to serve himself, when someone raised his voice above the music.
Louis looked up, and spotted a short-haired girl smiling at him. She was dressed as Catwoman, it seemed. Her whole black outfit fitted her, and she looked cute with the cat headpiece. (She definitely looked better than what Louis had looked like when he was seven years old.)
She sent him a thumbs-up. “Nice one!”
He smiled, putting the ladle back into the bowl. “Thanks.”
The girl next to the one who addressed Louis leaned closer to observe Louis. She was dressed as an angel, with a dress too short if you asked Louis. The duo was such a contrast, and it was funny that the opposite of an angel was dressed in black, but was not a devil. A Catwoman and an angel… Yes, a funny duo.
The Angel girl was looking at him thoroughly. He appreciated the scrutinisation, but was curious as to why she was frowning at him like that. Then the corner of her mouth lifted, and she looked into his eyes. “Are you and that other person matching? Because that’s actually really cool,” she laughed. Her expression was genuinely curious, and she was batting her long, fake eyelashes at him.
Louis blinked. “Excuse me?” he said, taking a sip of his beverage.
“Yeah, I saw a Fiona in the living room,” she informed, pointing a finger towards the designed room next to the kitchen.
Louis followed her gaze, but there were too many people there. A lot of bodies were dancing close, though the music was not nearly as loud as it was in the garage. Then he registered her words. “You what?” He swore he did not shriek. (Shrek, shriek. Pun intended.)
“Yeah,” the angel girl said casually, glancing between her friend and Louis. (He realised she had an arm wrapped around Catwoman’s waist, so maybe they were more than friends.) “Pretty sure they were dressed as an Ogress!Fiona. I didn’t take a good look, but it was recognisable. You and that person are matching.” She turned to her girlfriend with a smirk. “See darling, we should have done that.”
Catwoman rolled her eyes but there was fondness written all over her face as she glared at her angel. “Matching costumes are overrated. Jeez, some couples are sickening,” she said it jokingly, sending a wink at Louis.
He coughed into his cup. “I— We are not matching.”
“Sure you aren’t,” Catwoman smirked.
Louis gulped down the rest of his punch.
Angel girl narrowed her eyes at Louis a few seconds, her gaze thoughtful. “Judging by his reaction, he didn’t know,” she said to her girlfriend.
Catwoman looked between her and Louis. She pushed her bottom lip out. “Really?”
Louis shook his head.
There was another person… Dressed as a character… From Shrek? Parading around as Fiona? How was that possible? What was the odds?
Sure, Shrek was iconic, but the idea had crossed Louis’ mind only because he had watched the movie with his sisters. He hadn’t thought someone would ever entertain the same idea.
Louis had to investigate.
When Louis went back to his friends, they were still occupying the chairs, with the exception of Zayn. Niall was looking ludicrous in his costume, and a bit of his hair was plastered against his forehead. Clearly he had been dancing and was sweating more than ever. When he saw Louis walk towards him, his face lit up like the Fourth of July. “Louis! I saw a Fiona!”
Liam frowned at him, slumped in his chair still. “You what?”
Louis stood in front of them, crossing his arms over his chest. He had no chair to seat on, he did not want to dance, and there was a Fiona wandering around. Everything was going great. “Yeah, there’s someone dressed up as Fiona, apparently,” he said slowly. “Some girls thought we were matching.”
“Oh, but you are matching!” Niall looked way too excited at that realisation. “Oh, and it was a boy,” he informed, his eyes crossing as he tried to remove his hair from his forehead. “I know because I was surprised when I heard him talk.” He gave up trying to look presentable and glanced at Louis. “And I swore I thought he looked like a girl with all that makeup on. It conceals his face a lot.”
Louis mumbled under his breath. He caught Liam’s amused glance. Liam knew how much Louis liked to stand out from everyone else. So he knew Louis wasn’t entirely pleased.
“Hey Shrek, did you lose your Princess?” someone called out as they walked past Louis to, visibly, go to the kitchen. It was some dude dressed as Jon Snow, because obviously.
Louis threw him a tight smile but internally glared at the boy. But Jon Snow’s friend, who was dressed as some pirate, had to chime in as well. “Yeah, man! Go save your Princess in her tower!” He laughed at his own remark, high-fiving his friend.
Louis did not answer as they walked away, and, if these boys were going to serve themselves some punch, Louis prayed in his head that the bowl was now empty. Serve them right.
He really had to investigate.
But then a new song came on, and it was Green Day, and shit, he needed to dance.
He lost count of how many times someone looked at him and said something about another person matching him.
“Okay, where is that person?” he cracked after getting another compliment about ‘the originality of their choice of pairing’.
Liam burped besides him, and Louis scrunched his nose in disgust. They were in the living room now, leaning against the wall. Niall was in the middle of a Twister game. Zayn had gone upstairs, to the bathroom. Liam raised his cup. Louis did know not why. “Who cares? Niall is losing,” he laughed, his crinkled eyes enjoying the embarrassment Niall was currently displaying in full force.
Louis was about to argue that he cared, when Zayn caught his attention as he walked to them.
“I saw your partner, Lou. He was upstairs. He looked fab.”
Louis straightened up and pushed himself the wall. He narrowed his eyes, debating whether he should throw his drink at Zayn or keep watching Niall make a fool of himself, or…
“I need to go to the bathroom,” he announced.
Liam snorted into his drink. “No, you don’t.”
Louis ignored him and dashed upstairs instead.
He did not find the mysterious guy who matched his costume. He started thinking that the guy was actually a ghost. But he also was starting to get hot, and his face was itching. It really was taking everything in him not to reach for the makeup and stuff that were glued to his face. He really looked like a green dumbass, huh? Also, the pillow he had placed against his tummy was getting bothersome. And let’s not talk about the double chin he had created with his makeup. He just wanted to rip everything off. But then he remembered the praises he got throughout the evening, and he smiled to himself. He was climbing down the stairs when his eyes fell on the door ahead. Some air would do him good.
Outside, the grass on each sides of the slate path was green as fuck. The front of the house was illuminated well enough, but there were also the street lights. The neighbourhood was rather calm now it was rather late for the children to be out late, but Louis could hear some guys in the distance shouting just for fun. He could see the surrounding houses decorated with glowing pumpkins and other Halloween decorations.
Louis took a long, deep breath. The coolness of the night was more than welcomed, and with the music not blaring too loud, his ears felt better. He decided to sit on the front steps, allowing himself some quietness before he would get swallowed back by the party.
So he was slightly startled when the door opened behind him. He tried to look over his shoulder, but he felt like it would only knock his double chin.
“So you’re my other half,” someone said behind his back.
Louis wasted no time standing up, and came face-to-face with… What was indeed Fiona.
And it had definitely been a guy who spoke. His voice had been rather deep, and quite husky. He had talked with a tone ladened with amusement, and his eyes reflected the same emotion. Those were green eyes, Louis noticed. Unlike the make-up green skin (Niall hadn't been lying about the tons of make-up), the boy’s eyes were a darker green. More like the colour of the dress the boy was wearing. It was green, but like cucumber green. It definitely looked like the dress Fiona wore in the movies. Oh, and the boy was clearly wearing a wig. Long hair, that shined bright purple under the porch light.
They both definitely looked like quite a pair.
“Nice job, you did, mate,” Louis complimented in lieu of an answer.
The boy grinned, flashing perfect white teeth at him. “Thank you! Right back at you.” His voice was actually kinda sweet, Louis thought.
“I didn’t think anyone would have had the same idea,” Louis found himself saying.
The boy never stopped smiling.”Neither did I, if I am being honest. But when I see how great you look—” He stopped himself, his eyes slightly widening. “I mean, how great we both look, I think it was meant to be. We were meant to nail this look.”
Louis had no idea what his boy was saying, but he did not even care. He started smiling in spite of himself, and he bit his bottom lip to try to contain his grin a little. “People had kept telling me someone was matching me,” he said. He pretended to shrug casually. “I reckon most of them thought we did it on purpose.” He let out a small laugh, and the boy joined him, before he looked at Louis with a sudden expression of appal.
“Sorry, I forgot to introduce myself! I’m Harry.” He extended a green hand, the sleeve of the dress almost covering it. It made him oddly endearing.
Louis shook his hand, smiling still. “Nice to meet you, Fiona. I’m Shrek.”
The boy, Harry, laughed heartily at that. Louis decided he really had a nice smile. He wondered what this boy looked like without all this make-up. Wondered if his smile was even more charming. “I’m Louis,” he corrected himself with a small, satisfied smirk.
“Nice to meet you, Shrek,” Harry replied, returning the sly smile.
Louis decided he liked Harry.
But… You know that shiver that goes right through your entire body and it makes your whole body move like you’re possessed? That what was happened to Louis. He shivered, and Harry didn’t fail to notice it.
“Do you want my jacket?” Harry asked, pointing to the door behind him. He hadn’t even moved from the porch, Louis realised. “Or I can let you go on your way in,” Harry said after a thought, almost mumbling to himself. That made Louis smile. And he also realised he really, really did not want to go inside just yet. Not when the outside world allowed him to talk to Harry like that.
“A jacket would be nice,” he replied softly, smiling bashfully at Harry.
Harry was a charmer, and a gentleman.
The boy nodded. “Be right back.” He turned around, before facing Louis once again. “Do you want me to bring you a drink?”
Louis wanted to laugh with how kind and generous this boy was. “No, thank you, you don’t have to.” He had left his cup somewhere, but if he was being honest, he knew he was not going to find it again.
“You sure?” Harry checked. Bless him.
Louis slowly shook his head, biting down a smile. He was pretty sure that if Harry could see Louis’ cheeks, they would be tainted with a rosy colour instead of the drab olive colour currently covering his skin.
It was a good thing Harry left Louis on his own for a moment, so that Louis could get his shit together. Maybe it was also a good thing he didn’t accept the offer. Perhaps he had enough drinks for now. He sat down on the steps, waiting. It was starting to feel chilly.
Harry came back a few seconds later with a jacket hanging from his arm, true to his words. It was a denim jacket with fur. Louis gratefully accepted it with a smile, though it quickly turned into a frown. “Aren’t you cold though?” he asked, eyeing Harry’s costume as he slipped the jacket on. (It smelled good, but Louis tried not to dwell on that.)
Harry simply was wearing his dress. The night was quite chilly, especially once you stayed outside for more than a few minutes. But the boy shrugged his shoulder, throwing a smile at Louis as he shook his head. “I’m fine for now.”
Louis would have to make sure that, as soon as he’d see Harry shiver, they would have to get back inside as soon as possible. There was still a party happening after all. Louis briefly wondered if the boys were looking for him.
As if on cue, a reminder that they weren’t really alone, the front door opened, the music growing louder a few seconds before fading back. A few people came outside. It was two boys and one girl. They were all dressed in a red jumpsuit, a Salvador Dali mask pushed back on their head. They briefly glanced at Louis and Harry in acknowledgment before walking away. They were leaving the party, then.
“I still haven’t watched that show,” Harry said when the three friends were walking further into the street.
Louis’ head snapped towards Harry in surprise. “Seriously!?” he exclaimed, raising his eyebrows. “How have you not? I mean, it’s been all over the Netflix homepage. And people won’t shut up about it,” he added with a roll of his eyes. Don’t get him wrong, he liked the show, but it wasn’t on his top five TV shows list.
Harry finally joined him on the stairs, and it was funny to witness him sit with his long dress. “I know, what a crime,” he joked. He even mirrored Louis’ eyes movement.
Louis hid his smile behind Harry’s jacket. He nodded at Harry. “So how did you end up like this?” he asked, knowing that Harry will understand what he was inevitably referring to.
Harry grinned, and shit, he had dimples. Louis hadn’t been sure earlier, but now he could see them, clear as day. It was weird to see Fiona with dimples.
“I wish I could tell you an entertaining anecdote,” Harry started to answer, and Louis only noticed now how Harry was taking his time to speak. He did not know if it was because of the alcohol, or if it was his usual way of talking, but he found himself enjoying it anyway. “But alas, I have to admit it was simply because I was googling ‘Funny Halloween Costume Ideas’.” He shrugged, looking self-conscious.
“I’d probably would have done the same thing,” Louis replied, nudging his shoulder with Harry’s.
Harry’s purse lips turned into another one of his big and joyful smiles. He nudged Louis’ shoulder back. “What was your motive, then?”
Louis looked away, suddenly looking at his feet. He had managed to find some old brown shoes that somehow looked like it was going to be enough for his attire. “It’s actually because of my sisters. They wanted to watch a movie, and we ended up watching Shrek. It had been a long time since I’ve watched it.” He shrugged as he observed the street bathed in artificial lights. Then he looked back at Harry, who was watching him with an affable smile. “And the idea just kinda struck.” He shrugged. “Funny, innit?”
“And cute,” Harry added, one eyebrow shooting up. “Makes my story kinda lame compared to yours,” he grinned.
Louis chuckled a little, and raised his chin proudly. “Yeah, well… At least your costume is lit.”
Harry’s grin widened, if it wasn’t even possible. “So is yours.”
That was the second time Harry had complimented, right?
Louis rubbed his ear as he smiled. “Thanks… So… You go to the same uni as Andy?” he asked. If yes, it meant he was attending Liam’s establishment as well.
“Yes, actually,” Harry replied cheerfully. "You know Andy?”
“Not really, but my best friend’s one of his mates. Liam Payne?”
Harry’s face lit up with recognition. “Oh, of course! You must be the Louis he mentions sometimes.”
Louis really did not know Liam talked that much about him. “Didn’t know my best friend had a crush on me,” he joked.
Harry laughed, as if Louis had told the best joke ever. “We share a few classes. I haven’t talked to him much, but he did mention you one time.”
Louis scrunched his nose. “I hope he wasn’t painting me in bad light.”
Harry didn’t immediately answer, and Louis caught the look of fake-thoughtfulness on his face. Louis smirked and resisted the urge to knock his shoulder against Harry’s again.
Harry laughed at the fake indignation crossing Louis’ face. He shrugged and shook his head. “No, don’t worry. It was some story of how you guys once broke into… Erm, Universal Orlando, was it?”
Louis did not expect that. “Oh my God,” he exclaimed, a chuckle escaping his mouth. Harry followed quickly. “That was quite a story,” Louis admitted through a smile.
He and Liam were like, fourteen years old. Their families had organised a trip to America, and they had stayed at Liam’s aunt’s house. The woman lived quite close to the studios. Liam’s cousin had told them he and his best friend had found a backdoor, and if you pulled hard enough, you could actually sneak in.
So of course, Louis and Liam had joined their adventures.
“Naturally, you did,” Harry chuckled when Louis was done with the story, though it wasn’t the first time Harry had heard it. He didn’t seem to mind.
“What about you?” Louis inquired, squinting his eyes at Harry playfully. “I’m sure you’re a dark horse.”
Harry laughed gleefully. “I think the most rebel thing I did was put my mother’s bra on my head when she told me not to.”
Once again, Louis did not expect that. He almost choked when he swallowed, imagining a little boy with some hot pink bra on his head. “Wow, you little rebel.”
Harry pushed his bottom lip in a pout, and Louis never thought he’d be endeared by an Ogress pouting at him one day. “Hey now. Little me felt very rebellious at the same.”
Louis shook his head with another amused chuckle. “You’re full of surprises.”
Harry grinned proudly. He was adorable.
Louis did not know how long they actually stayed outside. He just knew they covered a few random topics, and that Louis laughed a lot. Harry was easy to talk to, and very funny. He was also very charming, and captivating. When they found themselves talking about serious subjects and deep topics, Louis found himself entranced by the way Harry talked. It was truly something to witness.
When Harry’s lips started shivering, Louis immediately pushed off the ground. “Come on, let’s head inside before you catch something.”
Harry didn’t argue. It was such a call back to reality, when they stepped inside the house. People were still very much dancing and singing. While they were outside, they had seen a few more people who had left the party, but the house still looked crowded. Louis wouldn’t have minded some more time alone with Harry outside.
He shook his head and remembered he had Harry’s jacket on him, so he swiftly stripped it off. “Thanks for the jacket,” he told Harry, a timid smile playing at his lips.
The boy took it with another one of his cute smiles, a dimple appearing. Not for the first time tonight, Louis wished he could see what Harry looked like without this disguise. “Hey,” he started saying before he could even think about it. “We should exchange our instagram.” Harry had mentioned the application earlier, and had even admitted it was one of his favourites. Louis did not really share the sentiment. He posted a few pictures now and then, but that was it. He could have asked for Harry’s facebook, but Harry had also shared with Louis his passion about photography. So… Louis was curious, okay.
“Oh, yes,” Harry replied cheerfully. “I left my phone at home, but my username is ‘hstyles94’.”
Louis had left his phone in Liam’s bag when he had arrived. “I’ll remember it.” He’d better.
They were still standing in the entrance, and two people stumbled down the stairs, interrupting their conversation as they shoved in between the two of them. Louis almost glared, but thought better of it. These people were clearly wasted, if the way they were laughing boisterously was anything to go by.
“Cool,” Harry replied with another smile. He hadn't been that bothered, unlike Louis. It was as if nothing had happened. He looked hesitant for a second. “I, erm, I actually have to go… Promised my mom I wouldn’t come home late.”
“Oh,” Louis couldn’t help but reply, and he hoped the disappointment wasn’t too clear in his voice, or too obvious on his green face. As a distraction, he blurted out, “You live nearby?”
When Harry slipped on his own jacket, Louis tried not to think of Harry’s smell. (The jacket really smelled good, all right? Don’t judge him.) “Yes, actually. Just a few blocks away. Gotta walk.”
“I can drive you home, if you want?” Louis suggested. “I got here with me car, and I think I drunk two cups of punch at the beginning but that’s it. I have an alcoholic test in my car, if you want.”
Harry frowned, looking like he didn’t want to bother Louis at all. “You sure? You don’t wanna stay with your friends?”
Friends that Louis kind of ditched tonight? No.
Louis shrugged. “I don’t mind driving.” He actually loved driving. Even more if it could allow him some more time with a nice, charming person.
Harry bit his lips and did not say anything for a few seconds. Then he smiled shyly. “If you don’t mind… I’d appreciate it.”
“Of course! I wouldn’t want you to go home all alone, in the dark. There could be monsters…”
Harry giggled. Louis swore it was a giggle.
“I’m gonna warn me friends,” he informed Harry, before he blurted something he’d regret. Like, ‘Fuck, you’re the cutest Ogress I’ve ever seen in my entire life.’
Harry nodded, leaning against the staircases. “I’ll be waiting for you.”
Yes, please, you can wait for me forever if you want , Louis thought.
He smiled at Harry and turned on the spot, heading towards the kitchen. He swore he could feel Harry’s gaze on his back. When he took a turn and reached the garage, he noticed there was a dance off going on. People were cheering loudly. Louis did not spot his friends right away, but then he saw Liam standing by some empty chairs, smiling wide at the show in front of him. He seemed sober. Louis had seen him sip only one beer. Which meant Niall was a proper mess and Zayn was probably not far from it, if Liam was the responsible one tonight.
“Liam, hey,” he called out, walking towards him. “I’m gonna drop off Harry. You wanna stay a bit or should we head home?”
Since Louis had driven from his own flat, he didn’t intend on doing the journey back. Liam had offered Louis to crash at the shared flat. His reaction at Louis’ words was unexpectedly funny. “Harry Styles?” he asked, looking shocked that Louis could ever know the boy.
“Yeah,” Louis replied. “He was my other half.” At Liam’s confused frown, Louis elaborated, “You know, people kept saying I was matching that other person?”
“It was Harry?” Liam asked, grinning. “Wait, I gotta see him.”
Louis shook his head with a roll of the eyes, smiling despite himself. “Come then, he’s waiting for me.”
“Interesting,” Liam mumbled, but loud enough for Louis to hear him.
“What is?” he asked, half-laughing in amusement and confusion at his friend’s comment.
Liam shook his head and hummed. “Nothing. Lead the way.”
Harry had been discussing with some girl dressed as Tinkerbell, but she left when the boys arrived. When Harry spotted Liam with Louis, his face morphed into delight. “Hey, Liam!”
“Hello, Styles,” Liam greeted, making a show of eyeing Harry from head to toe. “Very nice costume.”
Harry looked down at himself, as if he had almost forgotten what he was wearing tonight. Or what he looked like. “Oh, thanks! Pretty sure all the makeup must be gone by now. I must look like a proper mess.”
Harry looked good, but Louis was not going to say it. He hadn’t seen his own face in a mirror, and he wondered in what state he was in. “Is all my makeup gone?” he asked Liam distractedly.
“You’re fine,” Liam instantly replied, and Louis was sure he heard the roll of his eyes. “Louis is driving you home, then?”
“Yeah,” Harry replied, glancing at Louis with a smile. “It’s very nice of him.”
“Of course,” Louis replied automatically, returning the smile.
“That it is," Liam said, and there was something in his tone that Louis did not like. He tried his best to ignore it.
“Well then, we better be on our way,” he said. “Liam, I’ll be back in a few.”
Liam nodded. “Sure. I’ll try to gather the boys in the meantime.” He took a look at his watch on his wrist. It was funny he had kept it, but he was Billionaire Bruce Wayne. Liam looked up suddenly, eyes wide. “Oh wait, I need to take a picture first!” And before Louis or Harry could say anything, Liam was gone in a flash. Seriously, he might have well been dressed up as The Flash rather than Batman with how fast he went to fetch his phone. “Okay, you two, come on, strike a pose,” he ordered, grinning from ear to ear.
Louis and Harry exchanged a smile, though Louis threw a scowl at Liam. (If he was being honest, he’d probably thank Liam for this later.)
“Cheese,” Liam said too cheerfully, holding his phone for way too long. Louis wondered how many pictures he had snapped. “Okay, we’re good!”
“Could you thank Andy for me, please?” Harry asked him, balancing on his feet like an adorable kid. “Tried to find him, but without success.”
Liam nodded and clapped Harry on the shoulder. “Sure. See you, mate.” At Louis, he said, “Later, Lou. Be careful on the road.”
“Always am,” Louis replied, almost reaching for Harry’s elbow when the boy walked to the door and almost stumbled because of some plastic cup on the ground.
Poor Andy would have a lot of cleaning to do after the hurricane.
But for now, Louis was to deal with his own hurricane inside himself. Its name was Harry.
For a brief moment, Louis got embarrassed because of the mess in his car. Then he remembered he was dressed as an Ogre. So he reckoned the groundwork had been pretty thoroughly laid for acceptance. Harry did not show any sign of discomfort as he sat in the passenger seat. He looked happy to be here, just like Louis was.
Fuck, he was gone for him already, huh?
“It’s the street on the right,” Harry informed, and Louis turned the wheel. There was The Script playing the background, because no matter how many times Louis had listened to that album, he cherished it. “I love The Script, too,” Harry said, eyes on the player.
Louis smiled but kept his gaze on the road. “Yeah, they’re sick.” Throughout the night, they had both discovered they shared some similar tastes and opinions in diverse topics. Louis had also found himself feeling sad that he did not attend the same college as Harry. They’d be good friends. He hoped tonight wouldn’t be the last time he’d hear of Harry.
“It’s the house— yes, just this one,” Harry said when Louis slowed down the car. He pulled over, and Harry unfastened his belt. He turned his head to look at Louis with a smile. “Thank you so much for the ride.”
“It was no problem,” Louis immediately reassured.
Harry’s hand slowly reached for the door, but he did not open it right away. He was still looking at Louis. His smile was small, almost shy. “It was very nice to meet you, Louis.”
Louis gulped, and masked his timidity with what he always did best: Humour. “It was nice to meet you indeed, Fiona.”
The corner of Harry’s mouth lifted, and he opened the door, gaze still anchored on Louis. “See you?”
“Instagram,” Louis replied dumbly. “I’ll follow you.”
“You better,” Harry replied. And then he winked, and got out of the car.
Louis waited till Harry made it home, and then waited a few more seconds in the car. He tried to contain his smile, but the pain in his cheeks told him he was doing a terrible job.
So with a stupid, dopey love smile on his face, he drove back to Andy’s.
What he did not know, was that Harry’s expression was matching his.
“So…” Liam drawled out. He was leaning against the very same tree that some dude had used to lean on as well earlier tonight. Liam was smoking a cigarette, watching Louis with a sly smile. “You and Harry hit off, huh?”
Louis stole his cigarette from his hand and took a few puffs. “He’s cool.”
“Mm-mmh,” Liam replied, snatching the cigarette back. His cheeks swallowed around it, and he was still watching Louis with that very annoying expression.
“What!?” Louis asked, huffing.
Liam was fully smirking now. “It’s just… I had every intention to set you guys up, but seems like fate did it for me.” He still looked very proud of himself somehow.
Louis gibbered as he tried to come up with something to say. Finally he settled for, “Fuck off.” That was lame, and Liam just started laughing.
“Seriously, you guys even had matching costumes!”
“It’s not like we did it on purpose!”
“Fate,” Liam repeated, his face pleased.
And maybe it was.
When Louis was finally out of his costume and got rid of his makeup, he felt like himself again. He had spent the rest of the party loosening up. He did not drink, but he did went crazy on the dance floor. When they left Andy’s house, people were still going.
But Louis was knackered now.
“Goodnight, Lou,” Liam said from above him. The boy hadn’t even bothered to slip under his sheets, and Louis could see his chest rising as he breathed. “Turn the light off, will you.”
Louis huffed a laugh, but reached for the lamp on the bedside table. He was sleeping on the mattress, that could very well be his mattress anyway because he had slept on it so many times over the years.
“By the way,” his friend said, voice muffled by his pillow. His face was turned towards the wall, so Louis cocked an ear to hear his next words. “You should check out my instagram. You’re welcome.”
Louis frowned and didn’t bother to ask. He grabbed his phone from the bedside table, and he almost knocked the lamp in the process. He unlocked his phone and was attacked by the brightness of his screen, and so he wasted no time lowering it. He followed Liam’s advice and opened the application.
The first pic that appeared on his timeline had been posted by Liam. It was the picture he had taken of Louis and Harry earlier. Louis could not believe he hadn’t felt Harry wrap his arm around his waist, because surely he could spot some fingers on his hip. Fiona hugging her Shrek… They looked quite a pair. They looked… So fucking horrendously great together.
Louis noticed that Liam had tagged the picture, and he wasn’t ashamed to admit that he had never clicked so fast on a profile. True to Harry’s words, there were a lot of pictures of random objects, dogs, cats and landscapes on his profile. But there, in the middle of this museum of art, stood out the most beautiful masterpiece ever. And Louis was not exaggerating it.
Harry had posted a picture of himself. It was clearly not a selfie taken with a cellphone, but more like with a professional camera. And Harry looked… Beautiful. He was spread out in grass, in the middle of some flowers. He was wearing a striped white and blue shirt. The sleeves were long, and one of his hands was covered by it as he was touching his forehead, concealing one of his eyes. The other one was closed. There were wrinkles by his eye as he sported a wide smile.
Louis had a hard time not pressing the like button. Not yet.
“I knew it,” he whispered to himself. Harry’s inside beauty also applied to the outside as well.
Louis hit the follow button, and went back to his timeline, where Liam’s post was staring at him. He smiled as he double tapped the picture.
“ Power couple ,” Liam had captioned it.
In the morning, when Louis woke up and saw he had a new message on instagram, he rushed to open it.
It was Harry, who had followed him back.
The message read, “ Hi, Shrek.”