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Off The Record

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There are very few reasons why Harry's boss would be calling him on the one day this month he has off, and even fewer reasons why he’d be calling only to ask Harry to come into the office on said day without any further instructions. This couldn't be good.

The sun was beating down on Harry as if he was already under the interrogation lights, he should probably put the top up on his BMW, but he was enjoying the rare gusts of wind that California was so kindly providing. As he nervously drove the congested L.A. roads, Harry racked his brain for all the potential reasons he was about to get reamed.

It couldn’t have been last week’s event with that little child star; her mom had sent them a lovely Edible Arrangement that they devoured in minutes. There was also no way it was—well, quite frankly, anything, Harry prided himself in his job, and knew he’s handled every recent event flawlessly.

By the time he drove down Wilshire Boulevard, he came to the conclusion that he was about to be falsely accused of something. 

The parking garage was lively; Harry spotted the familiar white Audi his boss drove as he pulled into an empty spot. He cleared his throat and fixed his hair in the rearview mirror as the top of his convertible rose back into position. He’d just about paid the damn thing off he couldn’t get fired now.

Swiping himself into the building he headed to the elevators and repeated a few potential sentences to himself that could save his butt. He also sent to a text to his best friend, and co-worker, Liam, letting him know his office might be cleared come Monday.

Harry quickly said hello to some of the junior publicists and interns who sit in the cubicles that make up the center of the office, most were too busy on the phone or typing away on their computers to acknowledge him as he walks to furthest end of the building.
He raps lightly on the dark wooden door to his boss’ office, “You needed to see me, sir?” Harry asked politely as he waited for the okay to pass over the threshold into the expansive room.

“Ah, yes, have seat, Harry,” he says gesturing to one of the two identical grey leather chairs in front of his desk. He didn’t look up for him laptop for a few more beats, enough time for the sweat to start soaking through Harry’s shirt.

“Is there a problem, sir? Whatever it is I c—“ Harry was cut off by his boss letting out a small chuckle.

“Oh god no, Harry,” he laughs, “you’re one of my best, that’s why you’re here. There is a problem, just not with you,” he says smiling at Harry over his computer.

Harry has always respected Mr. Azoff and his business, and grateful that he was ever offered a position at the firm with only two internships and one junior position under his belt — granted they were at two of the most well respected publicity firms in the nation, but still he was a newbie compared to some people who have been there for decades, and he was only going on his fifth year — but at least him and Liam got to share an office instead of sitting in cubicles.

He felt like a deflating balloon in the best way possible when he realized that he wasn’t in trouble. He loosened up his posture after feeling like his bones were cement and nodded at his boss to continue.

“I know you’re used to working with teens and younger children, you have some of the youngest clients in the whole firm with all those Disney kids and such, but I’m actually wondering if you wouldn’t mind letting Jonny and Mel take your clients, just temporarily.” Mr. Azoff paused to gauge Harry and swallows. Jonny and Mel were part of the junior staff, and granted they were capable of taking on Harry's kids, he wasn't going to give them up that easily.

“May I ask why?” Harry inquires trying not to overstep his position or sound too intrusive. If anyone could juggle more clients, it was Harry. From raising someone's profile, to creating new campaigns and promoting movies, Harry could do it all. In fact he thrived under pressure, he didn't want to give up his clientele, especially since he's worked so hard at securing relationships with their managers. Granted he wasn't at the stage yet where he could pick and choose his clients, but he has been lucky to be given some pretty great kids — and some of the most successful in the teen market.

“I’m being rather vague, I apologize,” he says pausing again, but this time to take a sip of his coffee. “I was asked a favor by a close friend who works on the show Magnolia, I’m sure you’ve heard of it (Harry had not), and they’re having an issue with one of their stars.”

“And they need a new publicist? I don’t see why I need to let go of my clients to add one more person if that’s what you’re asking, sir, I can definitely handle 11 people,” Harry says confidently as he straightens up in the chair. Sure one more person means that much more time on the clock instead of at home. But Harry lived to work; his job was his number one priority. He lived, breathed and ate his work — his BlackBerry and iPhone were surgically attached to him at all times.

“That’s not exactly what I’m asking of you, Harry,” Azoff says closing his laptop and removing his glasses. “In the five years that you’ve been working here, five and a half if we include your assistant position, you have shown so much dedication, drive and your sheer tolerance level for menacing children is astounding. So,” he huffs a breath almost as a laugh, “if you’re willing, I have a proposition for you to switch up your role a little.”

“Um, okay?” Harry says confused. He just wishes his boss would get to the point; he always has a habit of being dramatic.

“It would require your undivided attention for an undisclosed time, but you'll be getting paid under the table — on top of your current salary, so less taxes. Like I said, one of the stars of the show is having a very tough time at the moment and he needs someone to put him in line again, get him back on track. His team has put an offer on the table that I can’t refuse, one I unfortunately cannot discuss with you, but when I was asked if I had an employee who could do the job, I knew it would be you, Harry. You’re one of the smartest in the firm and I know you would be exactly what they need.”

“So, I won’t be acting as his publicist then?” Harry asks. He has a million and one questions running through his mind, but he’s too filled with pride to coherently ask them all. If he agrees to taking this account it could definitely make him be seen in a new light.

“You’d be more of a handler as they call them, but I also need you to do what you do best and help his image. Just keep him out of trouble, motivating him to be better, coaching him to make better life choices. He's been through three handlers already this month. And I think he might resonate better with you, listen to you more as you are closer in age. You’re always the one encouraging the office to stick to their diets, or the one solving a crisis almost faster than some of the veterans. Payne is too much of a pushover — there’s no way he could do it, I need your help, Harry.”

Harry thought for a moment, it didn’t seem like it would be that drastic as a change, although if he had to hand over all of his other clients to focus on this one, it very well could be a nightmare. But he'd be making more money, which was always good no matter what, and it seemed like a fun challenge. It could also be what he needs in order to get promoted.

“I’m in,” Harry says standing up and extending his hand, “I won’t disappoint you,” he beams a huge grin and firmly shakes his boss’ hand.

“Great, because they need you on set in about an hour,” Azoff says getting to his feet and grabbing his coffee mug. “WB Studio 12.”

Well, fuck. Harry wasn’t sure what to expect if it was that urgent that they needed him now. Usually they meet with the client and their manager to discuss their options and what mold they want to be. This kid must really be off the rails if they're bypassing all of the formalities and throwing Harry onto the frontline. Harry bets his mom is one of those awful stage parents who forced their child into acting — he wonders who will be worse to handle as he hastily exits his boss’ office.

One hour later...
Harry was confused the second he stepped foot into the studio — his heart started racing as he realized he must have made a dire mistake and walked into studio 11, instead of 12. There were absolutely no children on this set, in fact, it sort of looked like a high school classroom was set up in front of him. He didn't even have time to prep himself on the show or anything since he had to spend the hour before arriving on set emailing and calling his current clients to let them know of the temporary change.

Harry's already feeling a little stressed, his Type A personality is having none of this unpreparedness. Usually he'd have an email and print out the goals and campaign highlights that should have been done for the meeting that is obviously never happening despite how much he's hoping.

A figure hitting his shoulder pulls Harry out of his confusion as he watches a tall, lanky, well-dressed man briskly run past him screaming, “Louis get the hell back here you’re ruining your hair!”

Harry turns his attention to where he’s yelling to, to see a shorter guy, dressed in a navy and maroon school uniform blazer and khaki pants, running around the studio… and are those grapes he’s throwing? Yes, he is pelting grapes at the innocent camera crew while being scolded at to get back into makeup.

“You must be Harry Styles?” A soft, but stern voice comes from his left. Harry turns to see a woman in a black dress holding an iPad, “I’m Glenne, and I’m the publicist for a few of the actors here.” Harry shakes her left hand that's adorned with a shiny, big diamond and smiles. “Welcome to Magnolia, home of Magnolia High, and one, very, very rambunctious Louis Tomlinson.” She says nodding to where the taller man from earlier is giving said Louis a piggyback ride back to what must be the hair and makeup room.

“I was under the impression I was working with a child,” Harry laughs self-consciously.

“Oh, my dear,” Glenne snickers patting Harry on the shoulder, “you are. Be back in a jiffy.” With that she turns on her heels and is on her way.

Harry stood in a corner for about 30 minutes watching a scene unfold with the actors. He’d been on plenty of sets in the last few years and found them quite boring, and not knowing anything about this show, he was completely lost. Usually he'd have no business on set, he was only needed for appearances and interviews, but as per Azoff's request and the terms of his new title, he was to be on set almost daily.

To keep his hands busy, Harry helped himself to a bottle of water at craft services and picked at the label as he stood in his spot. He was basically the only person not moving, Glenne ran past him multiple times, paying no mind to him, as did the rest of the crew who were barking out orders or muttering about the lighting. Harry was starting to feel a little out of place — it’s been awhile since no one on set knew who he was.

At the moment a group of four actors, Louis, a blonde boy and two blonde girls were standing at the prop desks in the fake classroom. They barely could get through any lines without the director stopping them.

“Louis, Christ, do that again…little more emotion maybe?” He bellows.

Harry had missed the lines, so he zeroed in on the group and tried to listen.

“Gracie, everything will be okay, he’ll come back,” Louis say in what had to be the most monotone voice Harry has ever heard. Harry is no actor, but he’s imaging there should be some more depth to his words if someone they know has gone missing.

“Again!” the director shouted, “actually take 10 everyone, go over your lines and come back.”

Minutes later, Glenne appears out of thin air next to Harry and ushers him toward a set of doors down a hall toward more doors that were dressing rooms. “Let me introduce you, better time than any,” she sighs tapping on the door, while opening it at the same time.

“Jesus Christ, what did I say about smoking in the studio?” Glenne barks in Louis’ direction. She snatches the lit cigarette out his hands and plops it into Harry’s open water bottle. He was definitely finished with it anyway.

Harry watches Louis grab for the opened pack of cigarettes for a split second, but retracted his hand when Glenne raises her arm as if she was going to slap him upside the head with her iPad.

“Louis, I want you to meet Harry, Harry Styles, he was sent here from Elite PR, going to be joining the Magnolia family for a while,” she says in a chipper voice three octaves too high.

“Nice to meet you,” Harry says extending his hand. He leaves it there for a quarter of a minute until he realizes Louis would rather scratch his junk instead of shaking his hand.

“Right, well I better practice my lines, privacy please?” Louis says removing his hand from his pants and shooing them with his fingers.

Glenne rolls her eyes and grabs Harry by the elbow and sees them out of the room. The door slams shut a second later, the gust of air cold on Harry’s neck.

“Well, let me quickly introduce you to the others.”

The others consisted of Niall, the blonde boy. He was a pleasant 20-something who even offered Harry some of his burrito. And next were Daisy and Cara, the two main actresses. She also introduced Harry to the director, Matt, and some of the crew.

“What about me?” A man says from across the room, “not good enough?”

Glenne laughs, “of course, Nick, of course, Harry this is Nick, he does hair and makeup,” she says and the tall guy Harry first saw comes waltzing over to them. “Nick, Harry from Elite PR, he's going to be helping with Louis.”

“Pleasure! Glad to have you,” he says shaking Harry’s hand, “if you ever need anything…don’t come to me — joking!” he smiles with a rumbling laugh. “Your hair is fantastic by the way, those curls, my god, gorgeous!”

So far, Nick was Harry’s favorite on set.

Harry rarely interacted with anyone else for the rest of the day while on set, and did his best to stay out of everyone's way. Glenne hadn't given him too much direction or instructions, so he was still running blind. Louis refused to eat with the cast during lunch when Harry was supposed to get to know him better. Crafties didn't sound too appetizing anyway, so he went to the Starbucks on the lot, instead.

He uses the free WiFi to text his sort-of assistant, Max (more like intern who has the biggest crush ever on Harry and he uses it to his advantage), to email him everything he can find about one Louis Tomlinson. He knows he's going to have to go back to his college days and pull and all-nighter studying up on his client.

By the time he climbs the stairs up to his apartment around 9 p.m., he was drained and he hadn't even done much. This definitely called for wise words from his best friend.

While he catches Liam up on his new assignment, he scrolls through his On Demand to find Magnolia. He was astonished to learn it was in its fifth season already.

“Sounds like a pretty good gig though,” Liam says after Harry explains it all. “Hang out on set, go out with him on weekends, you're like an escort — is he hot?”

“Liam!” Harry yells into the receiver, “I actually can't remember what he looks like, I was too distracted by his ridiculously rude behavior on set. But that's so far from the point. Since it seems like I won't be in the office as much, don't set our office on fire, or steal my pens, just keep an eye on Mel and Jonny please so they don't ruin my relationships. Also probably going to have to cancel our guys' weekend at the end of the month since I'll be preoccupied.”

Liam lets out a disappointed sigh, but says he understands. “Must get back to m'lady, text me tomorrow sweet cheeks.”

Harry agrees and sets his phone down next to him on the couch and presses play on his controller and grabs his laptop to go through Max's email — all 32 pages of the attached PDF file with dozens of headlines and press releases and photos of his new client.

When 17 of 25 headlines are basically calling Louis a washed-up mess, Harry knows he's really going to have to work his magic. But this is the type of thing he lives for: completely changing the public perception of a celebrity is his forte. He's the Houdini of it at the firm with the way he can manipulate opinions and shape images flawlessly.

After three beers, a bag of popcorn and some questionable old BBQ takeout, Harry manages to watch two full seasons of the show and has read up enough about Louis to know he's in for a tough time.

At 29, Harry wouldn't say it's something he'd go out of his way to watch, or DVR the latest episode, but he could see why Magnolia was a hit and rated so well with the teen demographic at least.

Louis' character was anything but the glimpse of the person he briefly met with this afternoon. He played a freshman (he assumes in the newest episodes he's a senior by now) named Gavin who is an artsy, mysterious hipster type of kid who befriends the cheerleader/football player couple and their quasi-lesbian friend—who turns out to be cheerleader girl's sister.

Apparently it's common for someone to go missing on the show as Harry thinks back to the lines they were running today compared to the theme of the first two seasons. They already had three friends missing since the start of the season.

Plot aside, Harry is mostly in awe of how great of an actor Louis is. He was questioning why anyone would be obsessed with him, but even Harry found himself rooting for his character. Louis was the star, Harry understood why his help was so dire to the network in order to keep the ratings up on a show that has already been so lucky with the amount of seasons it had.

As with any client, Harry needs to research Louis' mannerism before he starts actually working. And since Glenne deemed it unnecessary to provide Harry with the suitable information, he took to his good friends Google and YouTube and kept Max's email in mind.

One more beer later and about five YouTube interviews, Harry was even more confused. The guy paused on his Macbook was not the same one he had encountered today. He was charming, sweet and even joked around and flirted with the interviewers. It wasn't until Harry clicked on a recent interview from Sundance Film Festival that he saw a drastic change in Louis' demeanor. He was closed off, with crossed arms and a ever-present pout as he gave brief, useless answers to everything asked of him. He even left while one reporter was mid-sentence claiming he was late for his own film and fled.

Harry's seen this before, even with his firm's clients (not his own of course, he'd never let it happen). They crash and burn before they even make it close to the top. The pressure of fame too much to handle because they had this false illusion that acting was easy and could make them rich quickly without putting effort into their job. Harry found it pathetic to be honest, and if this was the case with Louis, he wanted out.

Four days later...
Right as Harry was pulling into the studio, Glenne calls him in a frantic, yet pissed off tone urging him to go drag Louis from his house and get him to set because he has yet to show up and was not answering her calls.

With a long sigh, Harry types in the Hollywood Hills address into his GPS that she rattles off to him and pulls back out of the parking garage. It was literally less than 10 minutes away, but Harry found himself slightly annoyed.

He parks on the road and double checks the house number and presses the intercom next to the large industrial doors. The outside of Louis' house was quite amazing, Harry was awed. From what he could tell, it was a giant circle — probably to take advantage of the hills, the views had to be amazing.
“Uh, who is it?” Louis voices echoes through the speaker a minute later taking Harry from his thoughts.

“Hey, it's Harry...Styles,” Harry says back and it goes silent. He thinks for a moment that Louis is going to leave him outside, but then he hears click of a lock so he pushes the gate and it gives way.

When Louis doesn't come to the door Harry tries the handle and sees that it's open and let's himself in.

“Damn,” he whispers looking around the room. As suspected, it's all round and he's greeted with a massive fireplace in the center of the room with bright blue glass coals in the pit, which was surrounded by a dark granite mantle and grey stone floors accentuate the crisp, white couch that can easily fit 10 or so people. It's not hospital sterile, but it's not a disaster zone either — Harry is pleasantly surprised.

He takes a second to look around the front room that doubles as the dining room and living room. There's a glass table held up by a huge piece of dark driftwood and five sleek, black leather chairs are set around it. He's sort of obsessed with the styling design and almost forgets why he's there. His publicist mind already thinking Architecture Digest would be a great fit for his mansion — they could do a four-page spread with tons of photos and a interview — the works. He makes a mental note to make some calls to set it up.

“Louis? Um, you're supposed to be at the studio, wanna head down?” Harry calls out from his spot in front of the door. He takes a step forward to look up the black winding staircase to his right for any movement, but just hears music — he decides to follow it hoping that's where Louis is.

“knock, knock,” Harry taps on the open door of the first room. He really shouldn't be surprised when he sees Louis sitting at one of those racing games he used to play at the arcade when he was younger. He looks around this room and it's exactly what he'd expect Louis to own even after only knowing less than a week. There are two life-sized Spider-Man and Iron Man figures against one wall, a neon jukebox sits to Harry's right, a pool table just in front of where he's standing, some trampoline-looking game or something against another wall and two arcade racing games — one occupied by Louis.

“Louis,” Harry says trying to get his attention as he curses the computer driver he's racing. “I need to get you to the studio, you're late, man.”

“I quite liked the last one,” Louis says thirty seconds later.

“The last what?” Harry inquires as he steps into the room more and walks to where Louis will be able to see him.

“My last babysitter,” he scoffs.

“I'm not here to babysit you, just helping you out.”

“Ah,” Louis hums turning to look at Harry for the first time. His hair is swept across his face and a little poofy, leading Harry to believe he recently got out of the shower. He was wearing baggy, light blue sweatpants with an over-sized white tank that were probably his pajamas even though it was almost noon. “I know your business cards are probably fancy and give you a nice title, but let's be real, you're a glorified babysitter. And I don't think I need any help, but thanks.” He turns back to his game with a clenched jaw.

“Not to be blunt, but two days ago you peed in a mop bucket for Christ's sake and then when you realized you were being filmed, you peed on the pap.” Harry says sternly. He was not about to take shit from this kid.

“That's what he gets for filming me while I take a piss. Could have shot him in the eye,” Louis says taking one hand off the toy steering wheel and Harry follows it down to where he starts grabbing onto his junk. “I have incredible aim.”

When Harry looks up, Louis smirks and winks before going back to his game. This was going to be harder than Harry anticipated.

He walks over to one of the giant tan beanbag chairs catty-corner to the jukebox and plops down with his phone and scrolls through some of the recent headlines with Louis' name —because yes, he has a habit of making headlines every god damned day. His reputation wasn't tarnished, it was a mess. One giant, steaming pile of shit. And it was up to Harry to fix it before Louis did anything to completely ruin his career. He wasn't going to do it for Louis' sake, he was going to do it to prove to his boss that he was the best and deserved a promotion — he could give two shits about what happened to Louis after he did his job.

“I suggest if you wanna keep your job, you'll get to the studio. You're holding everyone up,” Harry says almost maliciously from where he's sitting.

“They can wait, I won't get fired, I make that show,” Louis snarls as he mumbles to his game.

“The rate you're going this is going to be your first and last gig, and you'll be washed up before you're 25.” Harry sighs as he struggles to get up from the bean bag. He's glad Louis is preoccupied with his game to see him stumble not-so-gracefully out of his seat.

Apparently that struck a nerve because the music and honking from Louis' game instantly stops and Louis' feet pound on the dark hardwood floor as he swiftly exits the room yelling at Harry to “fuck off and get a real job.” But at least he got him up. Progress.

“Listen,” Harry says after following Louis out and across the hall to the shut door that he went into. “I probably want to be here just as much as you want me here, and I'm not babysitting you or trying to emasculate you or anything. I just really hate to see talent wasted, so just let me help you. I'm only here because they think I need to be, so if you show them you don't need me, then I'll disappear and we can both get what we want.”

He may not have meant every single word of that, but Harry is already starting to understand the type of guy Louis is. It wasn't a secret that he has a problem with authority and being told what to do, so Harry wanted to try a different angle. He also wanted to get the hell out of Louis' life as fast as possible and it seemed like a compromise was the only way to get this to happen.

After what seems like a lifetime, Louis emerges from the bedroom in a pair of tight jeans and a black shirt with a pair of aviators perched on his now coiffed hair. Harry is taken aback for a moment because Louis actually look really good for getting ready without the usual team celebs always have around them. It's rare that Harry really sees him out of his costumes from set or, like this morning, in sweats looking like he just rolled out of bed. And he'd be lying if he denied the slightest attraction to the man in front of him. Louis was obviously attractive, he was an actor with a large teen following — it was pretty much required to be good looking. But he was also a world-class idiot who was making them even later to arrive on set and Harry's annoyance was getting the best of him.

What Harry lastly notices even more than that is his eyes and the cerulean color of them, he hasn't really been face-to-face with Louis yet and had, now, only just noticed the small constellation of freckles on his nose and how nice his eyes were even if something was hiding behind them. Such a shame he was an asshole and way too young for Harry anyway. Plus, any sort of relationship beyond a professional one was the biggest no-no in the business and would not only lose Harry his job, but he'd have to completely switch careers — and probably create an alias. Mr. Azoff clearly wasn't the only dramatic one. Thankfully, there was nothing more than a superficial attraction to Louis and Harry didn't have to worry about falling for someone as vapid as him. He always stayed far away from actors, musicians and anyone else bitten by the fame bug.

“Did you at least bring me coffee?” Louis asks cocking his head to the side and snapping Harry's gaze from him to the wall, “Glenne must have given you a list right?” Louis' smiling at Harry, but he doesn't sense too much friendliness in the gesture, more like the gears in his brain are coming to life.

Harry raises a brow, “can we get it on the way?” he reasons wondering what said list is.

“Oh? I don't have to drive myself? Sweet.” Louis says pushing past Harry and walking towards the stairs with a little pep in his step. So far Harry has patted himself on the back twice, this must have been record time to get Louis to do something.

Louis had been cooperative on the ride, he only made fun of Harry's car once and took his feet off the dash on the third plea. Harry thought he was actually getting somewhere with him, finally. But he knew this was only the beginning and there was sure to be way more work to do.

Later that night...

The blaring sound of Harry's phone snaps him out of a rather pleasant dream that involved one very wet David Beckham. He grumbles and blindly reaches for his cell, knocking over any and everything that's next to it.

“Harry, pal!” Louis' voice is loud and chipper on the other end. Harry blinks and pulls the phone from his ear, his eyes focus on the 1:43 time at the top and he groans and put the phone back to his ear. “Emergency of sorts, can you be here soon and bring some Cheetos, a pint of Ben & Jerry's and a pen and 8 x 11 off-white paper.”

The line goes dead and Harry is fairly convinced he had just dreamt that entire conversation, he did have Indian last night, and that always gives him the wackiest dreams. He plops his head back on the pillow begging his mind to get back to where his dream left off, but ten minutes later his phone rings again.

“Are you almost here? You live like 10 minutes away, technically you should be ringing the door in...” Louis says as if he's waiting to hear the buzzer.

“How do you know where I live?” Harry asks groggily.

“Checked out your shit Glenne has stored on her iPad when she was busy doing something. Impressive resume, but you clearly failed English class since the word emergency is not in your vocabulary.”

Harry yawns as he throws the covers off his body and shuffles to turn his light on. He hisses at the brightness, “yeah, yeah, be there in a minute, are you okay?”

“Emergency Harry, E-mer-gen-cy,” Louis articulates. The phone beeps again and Harry tosses it on his bed. He curses reminding himself to just go with it in hopes it softens Louis some more. At least there was a mini-mart down the block that was open.

“I'm not your personal assistant you know,” Harry says once he gets there and Louis lets him in and he shoves the bag into his hands. “I'm your publicist.”

“I know that,” Louis smiles a devilish grin patting Harry in the middle of his chest as he takes the bag, “but look at you personally assisting me,” he says looking in the bag and pulling out the Cheetos. I also know that my PA turns his phone on silent at night, and clearly, you don't. Waiting for a booty call or something?” Louis says turning on his heels and scurrying over to his sofa and plopping down. Harry swears he sees a puff of orange dust soar into the air when Louis opens the bag. He's amazed that couch is as clean as it looks.

“Uh, no, I'm not,” Harry rolls his eyes and goes to leave. He managed to pull on a pair of grey sweats and a loose, holey white tee, not exactly how he wants a new client to see him — especially since his hair isn't done and curls are sticking out into every direction.

“Might as well stay the night since you need to be here in like five hours anyway,” Louis chuckles a menacing laugh. Harry definitely senses that Louis is somehow keeping score: so far, as much as Harry thought differently, it's about 40 Louis/-5 Harry.

“Thanks but no thanks, so what was this emergency anyway?” He asks with a tight jaw.

“Uh, I was hungry?” Louis says putting his feet up on the table. Harry follows his ankles as they plop next to what looks like an orange blimp that's definitely from a kids' award show.

“And playing with awards at 2 in the morning makes you hungry enough to make me come all the way here?” He nods his head toward the blimp.

Louis barks out a loud laugh and rubs his cheesy fingers on his blue shirt and reaches for the award. “Bro, I made a bowl out of this thing,” he says reaching for the lighter that was next to it and bringing both up toward his mouth. Harry instinctively sniffs, and yeah, there is quite the presence of weed lingering in the air.

The scene from Mean Girls where Cady launches herself over the lunch table to beat up Regina flashes in Harry's head as he feels the urge to do the same thing to Louis this very moment.

Instead, he grits his teeth and yells terrible things in his mind at him. “And the paper and pen were for?”

“Oh, I don't even remember, guess I wanted to see if you'd really bring 'em.” Louis looks up to him and extends the award slash bowl, “wanna hit?”

Harry doesn't even respond and turns around and wrenches open the front door and slams it shut. Fuck this kid.

Since he was a professional, who was making a ridiculous amount of money, Harry went into work that morning with a smile on his face, and caffeine pumping through his veins to combat his lack of and interrupted sleep (and dream, god dammit).

He donned a crème colored shirt under a black and white speckled blazer and straight-legged black trousers. If he was going to be taken seriously, he was going to look the part. There would not be a sequel to last night's bullshit.

Thankfully he didn't have to interact with Louis too much that day since they were filming two episodes back to back. He spent his time emailing the co-workers who took over his other clients just to check in on them and make sure they weren't ruining his roster, seeing as he might be back to his normal duties sooner rather than later. He also spent some time coming up with a few campaigns for Louis to get him back into better light.

Since he has friends in just about every area of business, it didn't take too much convincing to at least secure Louis with one apparel deal and one app deal. Harry may owe people a few drinks for the next year, but hey, that's what friends do in this business. Since Glenne was putting a hold on interviews, at least in-person ones, Harry crafted some Louis-esque answers for a few Q&As for various sites like Buzzfeed and Entertainment Weekly that he knew would garner some much needed positive attention.

He keeps to himself at a table when everyone went to lunch and only looked up when a shadow caught his eye and a drop of water hits his knuckle. Harry glances to the cold can of Coke then to the fingers attached to it and then up the arm until he was looking at Louis.

“You seem like a Coke guy,” he says pushing it toward Harry. If this was some sort of peace offering, Harry was having none of it.

“I don't drink soda actually,” Harry responds using the tip of his pointer finger to push it back to Louis as if he was about to contract something from the mere sight of the can.

“Hm,” Louis hums grabbing the can and switching it out for a blue and green box that Harry recognized as a Vita Coco, “truthfully you pegged me as the stuck-up healthy type.” Louis uninvitedly sits down and pops the tab of the Coke open and it hisses as he brings it to his lips. Harry ignores the comment and goes back to typing on his phone, leaving the drink untouched.

“Really shouldn't be watching porn at work, not very professional,” Louis cautions.

“I'm actually helping your fucking career,” Harry barks as he shoots his head up and stares at Louis.

“Whoa, chill just trying to make a joke,” Louis rolls his eyes and sips his drink. “Get me interviews with those dumb tween magazines? Because no fucking thanks.”

“Actually I got you a six month deal with Adidas and a four month deal with Snapchat, all you have to do is wear the free clothes they send you and the other, just post photos, which knowing your work ethic, myself or someone else will just do it for you.” Harry specifies as he internally laughs at Louis' stunned face.

“Wait...really? Why?” Louis asks bringing the can gently down to the table.

“Because you need to get your name out there more and need people backing you so they forget about the dumb shit you've been doing and I can get on with my life. Also saw the Adidas shopping bag in your game room and just took a wild guess. As for Snapchat, they were offering a better deal than Vine — which is on its way out anyway and not as popular.” Harry says it all in just about one breath and then decides to crack open the coconut water, “cheers.”

“I meant why—“

“Lou, need you on set,” Glenne's voice interrupts and both guys turn to where it's coming from.

Louis gets up without even a second of complaining, finishes his drink, softly belches and turns back to Harry, “thanks.”

“Don't thank me, this is what I get paid for,” Harry responds.

“Right, yeah,” Louis' lips go thin as he tosses his can in the trash and follows Glenne back inside.

Later that evening...

Harry should have taken a hint from Louis' personal assistant and turned his phone off the second the sun went down. Unfortunately, he cares far too much about missing an important call from his boss and left it on.

But at least it was Friday, which meant Harry allowed himself to stay up a little later than normal, and he was still in civilian clothes when his phone starts vibrating on his chest while he watches T.V.

In typical Louis fashion, he starts talking before either one of them say hello.
“Because of the papers I signed, I'm obligated to tell you that I'm going out, so surprise I'm out,” Louis hums into the phone. “Now I need you to come pick me up.”

Harry sighs and sits up from the couch and plants his feet on the floor, “don't you have a driver to do this?” he asks.

“I do have a driver, but I'm slightly intoxicated and there are camera people outside and I don't want my picture taken,” Louis contests. “They know my car, they don't know yours, so if you come around the back of STK, I can hop in and they'll still think I'm inside the restaurant.”

Harry wonders why for one he wasn't out with his cast mates down the block, and two why Louis' even somewhere as fancy as that, it definitely is not anywhere close to where Harry would assume he'd like to spend his night — especially after seeing pap shots of him stumbling out of grungier locations. He wonders if he even owns the proper clothes to be at STK in the first place.

“Please Harry,” Louis' voice strains with his request and Harry's heart lurches slightly as if a long-time friend was in need of his assistance.

“Yeah, yeah, I'll call when I'm almost there,” he hangs up while getting to his feet, searching the floor for his shoes.

Louis wasn't lying, there were quite a few photographers at the front of the building, and none of them took a second (or first) glance at Harry's car as he drove around to the side. A few minutes after letting Louis know he was there, Harry saw a figure slightly swaying toward the car. Harry instinctively hops out and jogs over to him. He lets Louis balance himself on his side and guides him to the awaiting car.

His body was warm where it presses against Harry's side — it was hard not to notice how the curve of Louis' side fit into Harry's so well. And he didn't reek of alcohol, but a nice steak actually with a hint of floral, although it was evident he was drinking a little too much. All things Harry definitely shouldn't be noticing.

“In ya go,” Harry whispers as he holds Louis with one hand and opens the passenger door for him with the other. Louis doesn't move until the hand Harry is holding him with gently pushes him forward. He waits until Louis is seated and shuts the door and rounds the front of the car to the driver's seat.

Harry turns the car around and lets himself laugh as he watches Louis flick off the still waiting paps as they drive by. Thankfully his windows are tinted and none of them saw.

“Hope I didn't interrupt anything,” Louis mumbles as he leans his head against the window. Harry looks over and sees he's clenching his stomach and his eyes are closed.

“Puke in my car and you're walking home,” Harry says semi-sternly. “And no, just me and Gordon, no big deal.”

“Oh, roommate? Boyfriend or?”

“Ramsey...” Harry corrects as he stops at a light and listens to Louis laugh out an “oh”. “Thanks for sparing me from cleaning this shit up in the morning,” Harry says clearing his throat. “Saved me a massive headache.”

“Wish I could say the fuckin' same,” Louis lurches forward to put his face in front of the vent. Harry clicks the air on a little higher and Louis sighs into it.

“Well, that's what you get for drinking so much, what'd that tab run ya $500?”

“Fuck, I left my card there,” Louis groans as he slams his head back into the headrest, Harry adds it to the list of things he needs to do tomorrow and rolls his eyes. “Also if you didn't notice I tried, went to a fancy place to look more serious or whatever. Just drank too much.” Louis retorts.

“Should have just got press with the rest of your cast, they looked like they had a good time and it was sanctioned with the firm, so no one got belligerent...”

“No fucking thanks,” Louis says with heat to his words. Harry just shakes his head at his stubbornness.

Harry pulls onto the side of the road by Louis' house and kills the engine. He briefly looks through his windshield to make sure no one is hiding out in front of the house, “did you remember your key?”

Louis shuffles in his seat and digs his hand into the front pocket of his black jeans and pulls out a key fob and hands it to Harry.

“Don't do anything stupid,” Harry says to him as he opens his door and walks across the street and presses the fob to the gate and the red light turns green. He clicks it open and pushes a rock against the steel to hold it open.

When he walks back to the car and goes to the passenger side, Louis has the door open and he's sitting sideways with his feet to the pavement and head down. “Can you walk?” Harry asks with his hand on the hood of the car above Louis' head. Louis nods yes and pushes himself out of the seat. He falters enough that Harry reaches out to steady him and Louis grabs his wrists and squeezes.

“I'm fine,” he affirms and takes a few steps forward. Harry moves out of the way and shuts the door and follows Louis across the street, through the gate and to the front door.

“Fuck,” Louis groans.

“Now what?” Harry asks facing Louis as he unlocks the door. The second he does, Louis doubles over and vomits across Harry's boots. Harry freezes with his hand on the doorknob and tightens his jaw. If he lifts his knee right now he could give Louis a bloody nose, but he unfortunately prides himself in being a little more docile than that.

Louis starts coughing as he stays bent over, wiping his hand across his mouth then down his jeans. Harry stands there shocked and fuming, the blood boiling in his veins.
Louis looks up with furrowed brows and a light tinge of red crosses his cheeks, “least it wasn't your car?” Harry blankly stares at him and grits his teeth. He hasn't felt anger like this in a very, very long time. His fingers prickle and his heart's beating in his ears — if he was a cartoon character there'd be steam pumping out of them right now.

“Looks like I’m still cleaning up your messes after all,” Harry says shaking his head in disappointment as he's not finding Louis' comment amusing. He carefully pulls his feet out of his boots and grabs them from the top and chucks them in the bin on the side of Louis’ house. He doesn’t even wait for Louis to say anything before him and his black socks trek back over to his car.

Chapter Text

Saturday night...

An unknown number flashes on the screen of Harry's work phone while he's FaceTiming with his sister. “I'll have to call you back, Gem, this could be important,” Harry sighs as he picks up his phone.

“Hello?”

“Is this Harry Styles?” A deep man's voice yells, there's noise in the background and Harry can hardly hear anything.

“Yes, yes it is,” Harry says straightening his posture.

“Great. This is Mark from The Nice Guy, got one of your clients here, Louis Tomlinson. I need you to come get him, he's causing a scene.” Mark yells. “Tell Glenne he's not welcomed here anymore. Deal's off.”

Harry presses his fingers to his eyes and huffs out a breath, “Terribly sorry, be there shortly.”

“Fucking Christ!” Harry yells after hanging up — this was getting ridiculous.

Harry was mad for a few reasons, one the little time he gets to catch up with his sister was cut off and he'd have to reschedule and two he does not understand how Louis can get into this much trouble in such a short time span.

Harry arrives to a scene of photographers and random people at the front of the restaurant, he pushes his way up and tells the bouncer who he is, the man lets him in and points a coworker to his direction. A tall, bald man signals for Harry to follow him toward the back where a scene is unfolding in front of him.

Louis is yelling at what appears to be a waiter, there's a pizza face down on the floor and empty glasses and bottles strewn across the table where a girl is sitting with the same ashamed look Harry is currently sporting as he watches Louis curse out the poor man.

“You Harry?” the girl asks looking up at him between Louis' shouts. Harry nods his head. “Good, grab him.”

“Who are you might I ask?” Harry inquires to the dark-haired woman.

“Chelsea, friend of sorts,” she says getting up and pulling down her skirt to cover her thighs. “You're lucky cameras and phones aren't allowed in here. He's a mess. My ride's here, have fun with this one.” she says pointing at Louis rounding the table toward the exit.

“Louis!” Harry shouts as he steps over the pizza and toward him, “let's go before the cops are called on you, please.” He demands grabbing for Louis' arm.

“Not until this piece of shit apologizes,” Louis shouts swinging his hand toward the waiter.

“No one needs to apologize except for you, so shut up and let's go.”

Louis doesn't budge so Harry does the only thing he can and grants the bouncers permission to man handle him to the back exit where valet parked his car.

On the walk through the kitchen (where Louis is flailing like a fish out of water in the men's arms) the man Harry was on the phone with follows them outside. Harry spots Louis' driver and directs the men to him so they can get him inside the car. He can already hear the stomping of feet making their way over with their cameras. Thankfully, Louis is inside the locked car before a single flash goes off.

“I'm really sorry for what happened, I'm supposed to be notified whenever he goes out and obviously I wasn't. We'll pay for all damages.” Harry says to Mark.

“Of course you will, should be arrested that asshole. Tried to cut him off and he went ape shit,” Mark says.

“I understand, I'll have a check for you Monday morning, I just ask that no one on your staff talks to the press about this,” Harry solicits.

“Yeah, don't need my business getting a bad name, he's just banned now.”

Harry shakes his hand and apologizes again. The last thing he needed was for this story to get out, especially after the endorsements he'd just gotten Louis. Harry always imagined hell on earth was going to be L.A. traffic in the dead of summer with a busted AC, but this, this has got to be worse.

Harry kissed his Sunday leisure goodbye and spends his day doing damage control for the world's worst client. Because what's a few more dozen phone calls and emails to keep his name out of the weekend's headlines?! He was only one week in and could feel his hair greying and the wrinkles embedding themselves on his face. He almost hates himself for being so eager to please his boss, and wonders why he even thought Harry was the man for the job. Clearly he wasn't if Louis seemed more out of control than ever before. He had to get to the bottom of this, figure out what was fueling the fire that was about to destroy this kid's entire career... and more importantly, Harry's income and reputation.

Having to brief Glenne Monday morning about the weekend felt like Harry's death march. It was not only angering to tell her, Harry was also incredibly embarrassed to inform her that he still had no control over Louis. He started with the good news about the endorsements and online coverage that had been taken well by the public, and then went into the shit show and how he has already sent out fluff articles to cover anything that may have been reported about Louis' behavior. Apparently he did an okay job, because she didn't yell at him or fire him, and told him she'd handle the money situation to the restaurant. Harry was both relieved and disappointed to still have his job.

As someone who was always master at the game of Clue and dressed as Sherlock Holmes for eight consecutive Halloweens, Harry needed to investigate Louis a little more than what he's been given thus far. He had to figure out what made him tick, what ticked him off (spoiler: everything!), and what made him into the menacing 23-year-old he was today.

So on Wednesday, instead of taking his usual position at the back of the set, Harry did what he did best and got to know the crew of the show. Equipped with a pen and a little black notebook, Harry went forth and investigated.

He began with Craft Services and chatted with Sarah, she's been working on the show since the start and let Harry know that Louis was the last thing from healthy. Saying she's never seen him touch any of the veggies, always opting for the baked or fried food instead — chicken was his favorite and the only fruit he liked were peaches and strawberries (with a giant side of whipped cream). They had a fun quick second laughing about the reason Louis' pissed off all the time is because he probably hasn't taken a shit in a year from all the bad food he eats, and while probably true, Harry doesn't think Louis' bowel movements are to blame. Harry definitely liked Sarah and he got on her good side by complimenting the food she makes and always coming back for seconds of her quiche.

Wardrobe was next after Harry talked to some other crew members who all either were too scared to say anything, or just pretended that Louis didn't exist. Harry became familiar with one of the assistants, Trey. They'd only been there a short time, but came in right when Louis was at his worst. “He would purposefully stain the clothes, which would cause a delay in shooting, thus upsetting everyone on set,” Trey told Harry. One time on the last day of shooting, they had to custom design an outfit in thirty minutes for Louis because he had refused to wear what was being given to him. Trey seemed to be the least fond of Louis out of everyone.

He really wanted to talk to his cast mates because they spent the most time with Louis, and after his off-handed comment about not joining them on a night out, really interested Harry. He senses some animosity between them, but was unsure of where it stemmed from.

“You look like you're thinking really hard,” Nick laughs as he takes the seat across from Harry at one of the wooden tables. “Enjoying it here?”

Harry looks up from his notebook and sighs, “it's uh, interesting,” he laughs shutting the book and pushing it to the side.

“I'm honestly surprised you're still here, they've been going through handlers like crazy,” Nick notes as he scratches his face.

“I'm used to working with spoiled children every day, Louis' not much different.”

“Or taller,” Nick laughs and Harry snorts in reply. “I've seen you talking to everyone about him, and I think I can help.”

“Yeah?” Harry raises an eyebrow. He felt like he was partaking in some sort of illegal activity with the way Nick was talking so quietly.

Nick stands up and motions for the door, “step into my office, let me get my hands on that head of hair and I'll tell you everything.”

If someone was standing on the outside of the door listening in, they'd probably think someone was having a quickie with the way Nick was talking about Harry's hair.

“God, this is perfect, how do you do it?” he says with his fingers in Harry's hair. Harry laughs and shrugs and says he doesn't do anything. “Do you mind if I?” Nick asks holding up a pair of scissors. “I can accentuate the curls without losing the length, assuming you like it this long?”

“Go for it, I haven't cut it in years,” Harry replies pulling on a piece of his almost shoulder length hair. Nick beams and sprays Harry's hair with a water bottle and tousles it around.

“Alright so,” Nick says grabbing pieces of his hair and snipping, “Louis started this show when he was 17 going on 18, he was shy as hell, but had this aura to him that just drew everyone to his presence,” Nick starts as Harry watches his hair fall in the mirror. Nick's talking with his hands and he's only slightly nervous that he's going to poke himself in the eye with the scissors with his sweeping hand gestures. “He was a great kid, delivered his lines perfectly, wasn't fussy in my chair, chatted like crazy, a doll — I wouldn't say we hit it off right away, but he was always lovely to talk. Not so much anymore, he doesn't talk to anyone here really. But he likes me the best out of anyone else who works here. We're definitely friends, which spares me from his antics.”

“That sounds like a completely different person,” Harry chimes in. “Do you know what happened?”

“He shot to fame quickly, I don't think he was expecting the show to take off, and it's not even that highly rated across the board, only within the network, but Louis has this huge social media presence that no one foresaw happening.” Nick moves to Harry's other side and tugs on a curl and smiles in the mirror and continues talking. “People who don't even watch the show are fans of him, which is something we really haven't experienced with anyone on the network.”

Nick shakes Harry's hair, changes his part and squeezes some product into his hands and runs his fingers through his curls. “There, just an improvement on your already amazing head of hair,” Nick smiles pointing to the mirror.

“Wow, thanks,” Harry smiles touching his hair, he definitely felt a little more confident and a tad better looking.

“Anytime, honestly, I get so bored when they don't need me to touch anyone up now that there's like four or five assistants to do it,” Nick says grabbing a broom.

“So what do the others in the cast think about his behavior?” Harry addresses what seems to be like the giant elephant in the room.

“I think they just see him as a joke now, I mean Niall doesn't care, he's got the lead in the movie, so Louis' not really competition anymore.”

“Wait, movie? What movie?” Harry inquires as he suddenly stands up from the chair. There was no mention of a movie in anything Glenne or Max had told him.

“Oh shit, yeah keep forgetting you're new. Well, Chris, the show's director, is directing this movie Seeker, heard of it?” Harry shakes his head no, “Louis was promised the part, then his Sundance film bombed, not to mention he was an ass to everyone on the carpet, so Chris cast Niall instead.”

Why no one had mentioned this sooner to Harry and why he had to find out from the show's hair and makeup artist was baffling to him. Things made so much more sense with this new information. Granted it wasn't the key to fixing Louis' behavior, it was the biggest missing piece he needed and now he could understand Louis more. He had to mend a self-esteem on top of a career because Louis had a vendetta against two huge people on this show — no wonder he was a nightmare for everyone to work with.

“I could kiss you right now, thank you for all that Nick,” Harry smiles.

“I wouldn't be opposed to that,” Nick winks and Harry opts for a hug and laughs.

There was no way Harry was just going to bring it up to Louis, figuring he might knock a tooth out if he even mentions it. But Harry felt like he had the upper hand now, and that was something he could work with.

As everyone was packing up and getting ready to leave for the night, Harry noticed Louis lingering when he'd normally be the first one out the door — especially after a day of him getting yelled at by Glenne behind (thin) closed doors.

“Hey, Harry?” Louis asks as Harry throws his satchel over his shoulder. Harry turns, crosses his arms and quirks his brow. “Sorry about uh the other night,” he mutters, “Let me make it up to ya,” he says walking over and extending his hand. Harry notices a folded piece of paper and grabs it from Louis. “Nice hair by the way.”

Louis walks out the back exit before Harry can say thanks. He stands with his hip cocked to the side and opens the paper. My house 11 pm — wear black.

Harry reads it again and shoves the paper in his pocket. Either Louis wasn't aware they had a 8 am call time or he just didn't give a shit and wanted to stay out all night. Either way, Harry was obliged to go and keep Louis out of trouble.

No one had to know that Harry took a nap the second he got home at 8 pm until a little after 10 — he was getting way too old to go out this late. He pulled on a pair of black skinny jeans and a black silky button up that was rolled at the elbows and chugged some water and went out the door.

Louis was waiting outside when Harry pulled up, he barely noticed him and Harry jumps a little when Louis taps on the hood of his car.

“4216 Melrose Ave please and thanks,” Louis says hopping in the passenger seat, putting his feet on the dash and pulling a flask out of his jacket and begins drinking from it.

“Feet off and where exactly are we going?” Harry says putting the car in drive. “Don't spill that.”

“Did I not just give you an address? Onward, let's go, already started,” he presses sipping from the flask again.

Harry doesn't ask any more questions as he drives, he's not really sure how this is going to make up for what Louis did, because the last place Harry wants to be is out this late at night.

He pulls up to a smallish white building that has no real distinguishing name out front. Louis tells him to get valet as he pulls a $100 bill out of his wallet.

“Um, don't you pay after?” Harry says waiting in the queue of cars.

“Only if you want to wait forever to get the car later,” Louis says hopping out. Harry watches him run up to one of the men. It was actually interesting to see Louis interact with the stranger, it almost seemed like he was flirting as he points to Harry's car and slips him the money into the man's front pocket and walks back over to the car.

Louis ushers them to the front of the building and pulls more money from his wallet and hands it to the bouncer and he pulls the door open for them. Harry gets hit by a wave of bass and smoke as the rather quietness of outside is drowned out by music and laser lights.

“Enjoy!” Louis yells to Harry and he makes a b-line through the crowd. By the time Harry realizes that Louis is out of his sight, it's far too late and he's left standing there alone staring at a throng of bodies.

“Fuuuck,” Harry mumbles in frustration at what just happened, seriously Louis needed a fucking leash. He takes a second to look around at his surroundings. The first thing he notices is a giant florescent pink neon light in the shape of a cock on the wall that goes from flaccid to hard and, oh yes, of course it even comes.

He looks at the people who are bumping into him and notices that every single person there is a man. And on top of that, majority of them are wearing bondage gear. Harry sighs and rubs his eyes, Louis fucking brought him to a BDSM club and left him alone nonetheless. He sort of wants to punch himself in the face for even thinking for a second Louis was actually going to apologize to him and not have something up his sleeve that will take Harry weeks to clean up.

His frustration is interrupted by a hand on his lower back, “Hey sexy, wanna dance?” Harry turns to see a tall, buff and half-naked man who's twice his age staring at him with hungry eyes.

“Um, no, no thanks,” Harry says as he peels himself away from the man and quickly walks toward the bar.

Even though it's completely against his morals of drinking while at work, Harry orders himself
a beer and sits on a bar stool. And as useless as it might be, he texts Louis with a plea to meet him at the bar. He then texts Liam complaining about what just happens and all he gets back is, “have fun!” He's coming to terms with the fact that he's about to become a convicted felon after murdering two people.

Harry's not a prude by any means, he's hosted some pretty wild parties and has done some things that would make his mother blush for years, but this was a different situation: he was at work, and his and Louis' reputations were on the line. All he could think about were the possible headlines tomorrow: “T.V. Star Louis Tomlinson spotted at skeezy L.A. club,” “Louis Tomlinson is off the rails again as he's spotted taking shots out of a penis-shaped shot glass.” Harry's life was going to become a nightmare if even one photo saw the light of day and all his hard work to secure endorsement deals would vanish by noon.

Although Harry has thankfully warded off men looking to score tonight, he still felt like he was completely drenched in old men's come just by the looks he was getting and he was not about to continue to be the eye candy for this over 40 crowd — hell no. This had to end now. He wanted to be in bed (alone) and out of this grimy bar in the next 30 minutes.

Either the universe was being a bitch, or Harry needed one more curveball thrown at him. His eyes zeroed in on the “go-go boys” who were dancing in front of screens that were playing graphic porn not too far from where he was sitting.

“He's fucking dead,” Harry yells, but it might as well been a whisper with how loud it was in there. Louis is on the platform, cigarette between his teeth, and a skinny, underwear-clad dark-skinned man grinds into Louis' crotch as he puts money into his underwear.

Harry gets up and pushes his way through the sweaty bodies who are dancing or hollering at Louis and the actual dancer. Half of them are yelling at Louis to take his shirt off and Harry keeps repeating “please don't, please don't, please—fuck I hate you,” in his head the second the bare skin of Louis' chest is revealed. Already covered in sweat and alcohol, Harry pushes his hair out of his face and tries to get Louis' attention over the thumping bass.

“Louis! Louis! Get the fuck off there!” Harry yells waving at him, but Louis ignores his screams and continues to dance.

“Your boyfriend is a wild one,” a stranger leans into Harry's ear to say.

“Not my boyfriend,” Harry replies through gritted teeth as he continues to try and get his attention.

“Best news I've heard all night, his ass was made for my cock,” the guys winks and Harry feels like he's about to vomit. He could deal with men hitting on him, but someone this much older than Louis talking like this about his body bothered Harry and he wasn't going to allow it to continue.

The part Harry doesn't understand is that it actually looks like Louis is enjoying himself and not completely doing this in spite of him. In all of his research, Harry couldn't come to a conclusion about Louis' sexuality, and not that it mattered, but if he was a closeted actor, well that could potentially explain more of his behavior and why his boss thought Harry was right for the job.

“Hiiii Harrrry!” Out of nowhere Louis' face is inches from Harry's and his breath poignantly smells of vodka and nicotine. “You found me...damn,” he smiles drunkenly as he squats on the platform in front of Harry and flicks something round between his teeth then back into his mouth.

“Louis, please get down and let's go, you made your point,” Harry demands. “And spit out whatever that is in your mouth for fuck's sake.”

Louis stares at him and takes a drag of his cigarette and blows it just past Harry's face. “You're no fun, I thought you'd be fun,” Louis pouts. Louis' face softens as he reaches his free hand out and pushes the sweaty hair out of Harry's face, “Nick really did a number on your hair, but I guess we were wrong about your preferences,” he laughs looking Harry up and down. Harry couldn't help but to push into Louis' touch, he’d rather just blame it on the bodies moving around him, but he would be lying to himself. His hair was always a weak spot.

Louis stands up, but not like a normal human, no, he does a full body roll, which would have Harry panting under normal circumstance. But there was nothing normal about this. What it does do is elicit screams and cat calls from the surrounding men — and a few dollar bills thrown on the platform.

Harry snaps and jumps from the ground to the platform and physically removes Louis from the stage. Boos fill the room and Harry's being hit with plastic cups as he pulls Louis to the floor. “We're leaving, do you fucking understand what this can do to your image?” he hisses as he tightens his grip on Louis' biceps. He's too drunk and high on something to resist Harry and goes easily as Harry fights their way to the door ignoring the rude things some men are yelling at him.

The cool air hits Harry's and he takes his first deep breath all night. He's soaked in other people's sweat and can't even image how bad he smells. Before he even gets a chance to walk to valet, he spots a pap and pulls Louis back inside.

“You fucking move from this spot and I will personally castrate you,” Harry says sternly. Louis eyes are pretty glazed over and he doesn't respond other than teetering a little and reaching forward to tug on the front of Harry's shirt so that he stumbles closer to Louis. They stay close for a beat, Harry's breath hitches when Louis' palm cups his cheek, until he's pulling it back and lightly slapping Harry and giggling.

Harry steps back and walks outside and talks to the bouncer, explaining who he and Louis are and tries to see if he can shake the pap. Luckily the man, Fran, as it's embroidered on his black polo, agrees. Once he gets the OK, he pulls Louis to valet, ducking behind a few bushes as they wait the minute or two until Harry's silver BMW appears — he's quietly thankful for the money Louis slipped him earlier. Louis is humming to himself, blissfuly unaware of everything going on around him as Harry shoves him into the passenger seat.

Now all Harry has to do is worry about grainy iPhone photos that will inevitably show up — he hopes since majority of the men in there were twice their age, they'll have no idea who Louis even was and thus have no reason to post a photo online. His mind pushes away the other perverted reasons any of them took his photo.

When they're safely on the road, Harry steals a glance at Louis who's curled against the door, his sweaty hair streaking the window and bare chest and arms are splotchy, and a little scratched. At a red light, Harry reaches behind him until he feels fabric and tugs a grey sweater from the floor and hands it to Louis.

“Put this on, you're shivering,” Harry says watching Louis' skin grow goosebumps even though the AC was low. “Are you going to puke?”

Louis shakes his head no and pulls the jacket over his head. “Class of 2007?” he mutters looking down at the design. “Me too.”

“You did not graduate college in 2007...” Harry replies turning his eyes back to the road when the light changes.

“You're right, caught me,” Louis sing-says.

“Do I need to take you to a hospital? What pills did you take?”

“Nothing,” Louis huffs as he stretches his now shoeless feet onto the dash. Harry is too tired to argue with him to take them off.

“I don't believe you,” Harry says looking over at him and then the clock. It's half past two, there's no way Louis is going to be presentable in six hours. He was definitely high on something, Harry just didn't know what.

“None of my other babysitters asked so many questions. Plus, I'm an adult, if I wanna do drugs I can, thanks officer,” Louis spits back with a two finger salute.

“For the last time—forget it, let's just get you inside,” Harry says as he pulls up to Louis' house.

“One tablet's not gonna kill me,” Louis continues and Harry shakes his head in disappointment. Dealing with clients on drugs wasn't a new phenomenon for Harry, he just tried to stay away from anyone who was like that. He had a pretty high no-tolerance level and had enough say in the firm to get said clients dropped immediately. Drug scandals were some of the hardest to bounce back from and the scrutiny and financial strain it put on the firm wasn't worth it. He's pretty positive Azoff had no idea Louis dabbled in drugs or there was no way he would have agreed to this.

As Harry gets himself out of the car, he can hear the splatter of Louis' vomit hitting the pavement. Deja vu was a fucking cunt. He turns back to the driver's side and reaches into his backseat and pulls out a half-empty bottle of water and carefully steps around the car avoiding the puke and shoves the bottle in Louis' face. “Drink this, now,” he demands. Louis grabs it and sucks it down and drops the bottle on the ground. “Gimme your key and whatever you're keeping your pills in.”

“I dunno where it is,” Louis says a few seconds later.

“For fuck's sake, you're a fucking disgrace, seriously,” Harry groans as he grabs Louis by the right arm and pulls him out of the car. He presses his hands down the front of Louis' thigh and feels the fob and reaches in his pocket to retrieve it, then finds a small container in Louis' back pocket and puts it on the dash of his car. “Inside.”

The front of Harry's sweater that Louis is wearing is wet and he checks off another item of his ruined by Louis' puke. He unlocks the door and shoves Louis in as he stumbles over the threshold.

“You can go, I'm fine,” Louis says as Harry's back is turned to him while he shuts the door.

“Let me at least get you upstairs so I know you're not going to fall and crack your skull open, I'm not good with blood,” Harry says flicking a light on.

“I said I'm fucking fine, Harry,” Louis shouts as he turns to face him. His cheeks are puffy and red and his sweaty hair is sticking out all over the place, he looks like a child and Harry pities his pathetic appearance.

“Alright, so be it. I'll leave you alone, hope tonight was worth whatever it is you were trying to accomplish.” Harry says opening the door again then slamming it shut behind him. As he's walking away from Louis' house he hears a smash and momentarily wants to turn back to make sure everything is alright, but his feet keep walking forward.

Thursday morning...
Instead of meeting at the studio in the morning, Harry's in his boss' office. His pride wasn't worth as much as his sanity.

“What's this?” his boss says poking the small container with the tip of his pen.

“Louis' into pills or some drug, caught him with it last night,” Harry says smugly. This would be the deal breaker that would get Harry off this account and back to his normal life.

Azoff clears his throat and grabs the container and flips the lid open. He pokes his pen around the dozens of small round tablets and brings the tin to his nose.

“Harry, these are mints,” he says closing it and putting it back on his desk with a disappointed exhale.

Harry can't control his jaw as it drops and he quickly grabs the container and looks for himself spilling some in the process, “no, can't be, I saw him take one and then his eyes got glassy,” he says quickly as he inspects the white tablets. “This is all he had on him, he must have gotten drugs from a stranger.” Harry was embarrassed and pissed that Louis had played him so easily in front of his boss. He was usually more on his game and wanted to scream with frustration that Louis had gotten the upper hand again.

“If you were doing what was asked of you, you wouldn't have to be guessing, nor would Louis be in such a situations where drugs could be present,” Azoff laments. “Should I be regretting my decision to put you on this account? Shall I call in Malik to do the job instead?

Fuck no. Harry was not letting Zayn of all fucking people take away this account. He was not going to get the satisfaction of gloating and stealing Harry's account, even if it was someone like Louis who he despised.

Zayn Malik has been Harry's less than favorite person ever since they both started at Elite together. For some reason Azoff was blissfully unaware of Zayn sucking up to him whenever he could, and he lived to take away clients from Harry. He was the type of person who made everyone do his work for him and then take the credit, Harry hated him. And the fact he could potentially take away this account from Harry made him want to work even harder even though he was about to throw in the towel.

“No sir, I apologize, he must have thrown one over on me. I'm sorry for wasting your time,” Harry says as he recomposes himself and shuts the container. “I won't let it happen again.”

“Good. And Harry?” Azoff asks over his glasses and Harry nods, “probably not the best idea to agree to bring him to a gay club.” He turns his computer around to an email with a few photos attached of Louis grinding on the dancer. “Don't worry, we already paid them off,” he says reading Harry's thoughts. “Next time it's coming from your paycheck.”

“Got it sir, I'm so sorry,” Harry's face is reddening and he knows he is quickly losing his composure again so he stands up and sees himself out.

“Faultline, eh?” Zayn's voice comes from across the room as Harry is on his way to the elevator. “Wouldn't be my first pick for exposure for someone with a teen girl following.”

“Fuck off, Malik,” Harry grits between his teeth as he slams his finger onto the down arrow.

Harry marches straight past the set and through the double doors and barges into Louis' dressing room where he looks to be in the middle of getting dressed since he's shirtless and his pants are halfway up his legs.

“You had your week of fun, congratulations, you got me,” Harry yells at Louis not even caring who can hear. He rips the cigarette from Louis mouth and snubs it out in a glass ashtray on his desk. “Now it's time to understand who you're really fucking dealing with. You pull another stunt like you did last night and I will personally see the end to your sorry excuse for an acting career. You go out one night this week, you're done, finished, you'll be working at the fucking Gap come Monday. You have contracts to oblige by and if you even think about fucking up one little clause I will make sure the companies sue you for every last penny and you won't have a fucking pot to piss in. You hear me?” Harry doesn't even know where this is coming from, but the rage out of his voice is even frightening him and he can tell Louis is speechless by the way he's just staring at him, not bothering to fix the pants that are hanging off of his hips.

“I swear to god you do not want to keep pissing off the only person who seems to want to actually save your career.” For dramatic effect Harry grabs a banana from the desk to his left and squeezes it in front of Louis' face. “I can ruin you Louis and I will if I have to. Your life has not even the slightest fucking significance to mine. You are just dollar signs, I do not give a fuck about whatever it is you're dealing with unless they are paying me. So grow a pair and do your fucking job. Get your ass dressed and on that fucking sound stage in the next five minutes.”

Harry's heart is beating in his chest as he stands there with the banana gripped in his hand and pointed at Louis' still bare chest. He must have been squeezing the poor banana too hard as he can feel the mush in between his fingers. Harry grabs the shirt dangling from Louis' fingers and wipes his own on it before throwing it back to Louis who misses it completely. He hasn't so much as blinked after the terror Harry just unleashed. Harry turns on his heels toward the door and back to set.

Exactly 90 seconds later, Louis is on his marker, dressed and repeating lines. And while Harry is keeping tabs on social media, that afternoon, he notices that Louis has been posting to his Snapchat regularly throughout the day and actually tweeted back some fans.

Chapter Text

Harry went into the Monday of his third week with a smile on his face. Louis had been surprisingly cooperative for fourteen straight days — Harry thinks it could be a record.

“Harry! Hey!” Nick shouts when Harry walks onto set. He's literally a walking caffeine pill with amazing hair. “My lab at lunch today, be there or be square.” he sing-says pointing two fingers at Harry and flicking them towards his face.

“Lab now? No more office?” Harry laughs blowing into his coffee. “I'll be there, bro.”

Harry makes his way to Louis' dressing room and taps two knuckles on the door.

“Sup?” Louis bellows from behind the door and Harry announces himself. “Come in.”

Harry jiggles the handle and opens the door. Louis is sitting on his light blue couch smoking a cigarette while another sits behind his ear. He's only half-wearing his costume, with his button up shirt open across his chest and his black Nike shorts are low enough that Harry can read the band of his Calvin Klein underwear.

“Don't get photographed wearing those,” Harry nods to Louis' shorts. “You'll be out a few grand, if so.”

'Yeah, yeah,” Louis says sitting up more from his slouched position and snubbing out the cigarette into an ashtray. “Hand me those pants?” He asks pointing behind Harry.

Harry turns and grabs the khaki pants he has seen Louis in a hundred times now and tosses them to Louis. Although he should have know it was coming (Louis didn't seem to have any concept of boundaries around Harry or any of the crew for that matter), Harry didn't realize that Louis was going to strip off his shorts and pull on the rest of his costume as he tried not to gawk at the dark ink across Louis' hips

“Tat—tattoos?” Harry mutters completely letting his thoughts be said aloud.

“Is that a question or like?” Louis asks looking at him with a raised brow as he pulls his pants over his hips and zips them.

Harry coughs and puts his cup of coffee on the vanity and tries to compose himself, “No, uh, just, didn't know—“

“Wanna see 'em?” Louis smiles wickedly as he goes to unbutton his pants again to show Harry what looks like feathers sitting above each hipbone.

“Louis, need you on set,” Glenne yells from the doorway and Harry jumps a little at her presence.

“Ah, maybe next time,” Louis winks and walks past Harry as he begins buttoning up his shirt.

Harry grabs Louis' arm and notices his breathing cut off for a split second as he reaches his fingers to Louis' face. He grabs the cigarette from behind Louis' ear, “don't want that on camera now do we?”

“Yeah, right.” Louis says pulling away and shuffling out of the room.

Harry breaks the cigarette and half and tosses it in the bin then grabs his cup from the vanity and makes his way to the set.

 

He's starving once everyone breaks for lunch and grabs his paper bag from the set intern who went out for the crew and heads to Nick's.

“Knock, knock,” Harry says.

“Password!” Nick shouts.

“Um, Nick is the bestest?”

“You may enter,” Nick says in his deepest scary voice and Harry laughs and opens the door.

“What'd you bring me?” Nick smiles as he sits on the counter of his makeshift salon and pulls his legs against his chest. His purple and yellow striped socks are a bright contrast against his black loafers and black pants.

“Piss off, this is my burrito,” Harry says clutching his bag to his chest.

“Fine, I'll just wither away as I eat my delicious kale salad,” Nick sighs opening a Tupperware container that did contain a very sad looking salad. He pokes his fork around with a frown until finally eating a bite.

Harry sits in one of the swivel salon-style chairs and pulls the tin foiled burrito out of the bag and rips it open. Every bite he takes warrants another sigh from Nick until Harry is shoving half of his burrito into Nick's face and yelling at him to shut up and eat.

“Your burrito is so thick and juicy Harry,” Nick moans and Harry shakes his head as he bites, “soooo good.”

“Oh my god, shut up or I'm never offering you food again,” Harry mock yells as he finishes his portion and crumples up the foil.

“I gotta hand it to you Styles, Louis' been tame the past few weeks, I'm impressed,” Nick says wiping his face with a napkin, “be interesting how he is in the coming month.”

“Why's that?” Harry asks reaching for his water. He'd been making it a habit to hang out with Nick at least at lunch, he seemed to be the only person who Harry had really connected with right away and Nick has really taken a liking to Harry so he was always grateful to have someone to talk to.

“Well apparently the show is going on hiatus while Niall and Matt film Seeker, so he's gonna be bored and pissed as hell, and well, as you've quickly learned, that's never a good mix. Especially for Louis.” Harry watches Nick jump off the counter and sit in one of the other empty chairs, spinning himself in a circle for a good 10 seconds or so.

“Is this confirmed? I'm sure they'd have told me,” Harry asks frustrated.

“They tend to just spring things on the staff, which is why I always have a plan B set up here,” Nick wiggles his eyebrows and spins in his chair again. “Come over this way,” he pats the arm of the chair and Harry obeys and switches seats once Nick hops up and grabs some bottles from further down the vanity counter.

“Does it need to be cut again?” Harry inquires.

“Nah, just wanna try some stuff, if that's cool?”

“Yeah sure, we have like 20 minutes, knock yourself out.”

When Nick finishes and turns Harry around to face the long rectangle mirror, he's basically got a Shirley Temple set of curls atop his head and him and Nick are both grinning.

“Too much?” Nick asks fingering Harry's hair.

“No way! My hair hasn't been this curly since I was a kid,” he smiles tugging on his hair and shaking it.

Nick adds a few spritz of something to loosen up the ringlets a little and smiles at his masterpiece.

“If this publicist thing fails, you're always welcome to become my hair model.”

“Deal.”

Harry got some stares walking back to set with his new 'do, but as usual most people just ignored him and carried on with their job. He made it his mission to find Niall during the next break just to clarify if the rumor was true.

Until then, he had actual work to do so he pulled up two chairs, one for his feet and one to sit in and grabbed his laptop. Although intern Max was doing a good job at keeping Harry up to speed on any headlines concerning Louis, Harry wanted to dig deeper. He needed to figure out where Louis stood with his current fanbase before he could figure out how to market him to a wider audience. 

From three hours of research, and one sore ass, Harry had found out that Louis' following mostly ranged from girls in their late teens to early 20s and actually had hundreds of blogs dedicated to him. Sifting through what seemed to be a few of the biggest blogs, it seemed the fans were practically begging for Louis' old social media presence back. It was pretty unanimous that they missed his "adorable" selfies and his lack of a filter on Twitter. Harry checked Louis' Instagram and Twitter accounts to see that he hadn't posted in months on the first and nothing but scheduled reminders about new episodes on the second. He barely even used the Snapchat account that Harry specifically set up for him as part of his new promo deal.

Since he had access to the show's own Instagram, he took two behind the scenes shots that were Louis-centric and posted them — they garnered more likes and comments between the two than the the previous 10 combined. The network really was not using Louis to his fullest potential. They were sitting on a goldmine and either intentionally ignoring it because of his behavior or just that out of tune with audience demands. He obviously strongly assumed the former.

He left a sticky note on Louis' phone asking him to be more active on his social media accounts. Hopefully the smiley face and dollar signs at the bottom would be motivation enough.

He got his chance to try and talk to Niall right before their final scene of the day when a few lighting fixtures had to be rearranged. He wasn't sure how much time he had so he cut straight to the point.

“Hey Niall, what's this I hear about your movie filming soon?” he asks trying to keep up with Niall's strides as he walks toward his dressing room.

“What's it matter to you? You're not comin',” he scoffs unlocking his door and walking in. Harry takes a step forward, standing his ground in the doorway until Niall realizes he's not moving. “Think I leave in a week or so if you must know.” He shuts the door to his room in Harry's face and Harry feels like punching a hole through it, but decides against it.

Louis may have an attitude, but Niall just seemed like a straight up jerk and he was starting to understand Louis' aversion to him and his role in this entire mess.

Harry's only other option is to go straight to Louis and find out exactly what's going on. He grabs him before Louis heads inside his car for the night, and Harry's relieved he's stopping to talk.

“I know the day's over and no more business shit, but quick question.” Louis doesn't really seem bothered by Harry stopping him, he's leaning against his car with his hands shoved in the pockets of his track pants and tilting his head to signal Harry to continue.

“Rumor has it the show is going on hiatus because of a movie Niall and Matt are filming...true or false?”

Louis' body visibly tenses at Harry's words so he takes a step back and loosens his own posture to reflect how casual he's trying to sound.

“True and finally gives me a break from this stupid show. I’ve been here too long.” Louis squints through the sun that's setting behind Harry. Despite the angsty way he was annunciating his words, his candidness for his distaste of the show was welcoming news to Harry.

“Do you have something else lined up in the meantime? I'm more than happy to help if not...I have a few ideas.”

“Been actively looking, yeah,” Louis answers as he scratches the barely visible hair on his chin then moves his hand to make a visor over his eyes, “not really sure where to start after being replac—” the laugh that cuts off his words is short and airy, but Harry knows that he's talking about the role he lost to Niall and it's anything but a joke to him. He won't mention it since Louis' doesn't know he knows, but hopes, in time, Louis will tell him.

“Maybe we should have a little chitchat with Glenne tomorrow, figure this all out? Sound good?”

Louis' eyes quickly widen in response to Harry's offer and he basically leaps off from where he's leaning against his car as if Harry had just granted him unlimited access to a theme park, “Wai—wait, really? That'd be, wow, yeah, great, I mean...that'd be really awesome, Harry. Thank you.”

This is probably the first time Harry has seen Louis so serious and genuine. There isn't a hint of sarcasm or joking in his tone and Harry is starting to regret judging him as a lazy star. Maybe he is just more hurt and unsure of how to expand his acting career than he cares to admit. 

“Great, I'll let her know and we'll meet first thing in the morning so there's no excuse to change or cancel it,” Harry smiles, “have a good night.”

“You too,” Louis says opening the door and getting into his car. Harry watches him pull away and he stops for a second in front of him and opens his window, “Harry?”

“Yeah?”

“Fly's undone, by the way...that entire time...just...wide open, see ya!” Louis pulls away and Harry can hear his muffled laugh as the tinted window goes back up.

Harry quickly looks down and zips his pants and definitely doesn't wonder for a second why that was something Louis was focusing on while they talked.

The next day...
“Ready for the meeting, Harry?” Glenne asks as Harry walks into her view and he followers her to another room. Harry nods his head and tightens his grip on his satchel. Usually when he goes into meetings the James Bond theme song plays in head head, today though, it was Mission Impossible.

He walks into a stark white room with black office chairs lined around a long white desk and takes a seat at the head of the table while Glenne sits on the left side. “Louis'll be here in a moment,” she says while tapping on her Blackberry.

Louis walks in a minute later dressed down, as usual, in black Adidas track pants and a hoodie. Harry recognizes the clothes from the products he advised the company to send. At least he was fulfilling half of his endorsement deals. Harry really needed to drill in the social media half. Which still struck him as odd since most people Louis' age were addicted to their phones. Come to think of it, Harry barely saw Louis on his device like the rest of the cast, and even himself.

“Alright, so since we sort of did this backwards, I wanted to explain exactly what I plan on doing while working for you,” Harry says getting to his feet and going into publicist mode. “I know my position isn't technically your publicist, but, I'd like to throw out some suggestions on that front,” he says looking at Glenne. She nods unenthused and Harry carries on.

“We can all agree that your public perception isn't ideal, let's not lie to ourselves. This can have a direct effect on what you're getting cast in for future projects because casting directors, producers and directors will have this falsely created image in their mind of you and it can be difficult to change that. You're just going to need a little push to be seen in a new light—”

“I don't think Louis is really looking to go anywhere else at the moment,” Glenne interrupts.

Harry furrows his brows and directs his attention to Louis, “Louis? Do you not have any immediate plans to expand yourself or is Magnolia it for you? What about movies? Commercials even?”

“Harry I just—”

“Glenne, I was talking to Louis, please,” Harry says sternly as he keeps his body positioned facing Louis.

Louis looks a little stunned that Harry is directing his attention to him or even caring about his opinion and it takes him a beat to reply.

“I, uh, yeah, I mean I want to find different characters to play and new roles, I can't be in high school forever.”

“But your contract,” Glenne says just as sternly as Harry's last statement. Louis ignores her and straightens up in his chair as he makes eye contact with Harry.

“I've been doing this since I was a teenager, we're five seasons in, and I've only done a few independent films, all with the same role, same bootleg moody Dylan O'Brien character — I'm already being pigeonholed.”

“I can definitely, we, Elite PR, can definitely change your image if that's what you want,” Harry says setting his folder down on the white table.

“Harry, this isn't what this meeting was about,” Glenne says getting to her feet, “I'm his publicist—”

“With all due respect, Glenne, you're not doing a very good job at it,” Harry says sliding the folder to her. He can here the snort from Louis and he tries to keep a straight face. He knows she knows what's in there, every national and international headline and clipping of Louis' behavior from the past year or so — Harry made sure to have all 102 of them printed — including the previous 32 Max had sent him.

“Glenne, I think I'd much rather have this conversation with Harry...alone, if you don't mind,” Louis says rolling his chair back to the door and opening it. “Please.”

“This isn't part of the deal,” Glenne reminds Harry in a hushed tone as she obeys and walks toward the door, “this isn't your job. His agent will assist me with all of this.”

“Why are you pretending that Louis has to be ignorant to what goes on behind the scenes? Yeah I'm here to keep an eye on him, but why can't I also do what I'm actually good at which is getting press, good, long-lasting press that will make a difference for his career?” Harry says frustrated with the woman. Even the actual children he was used to working with didn't get treated this childishly.

Glenne doesn't respond before exiting the room.

“Holy shit, I've never seen anyone stand up to her before,” Louis shouts after slamming the door behind Glenne. “Fuck, she's gonna kill you.”

“Whatever,” Harry sighs pulling at the fabric against his thighs so that he could position himself to sit on the table and face Louis. “I can tell you want out of this place, I get it, and like I was saying we can definitely get better control on how the public sees you. They're pretty simple steps, but you have to be willing to do them. The Snapchat and Adidas thing was a start, but it'll take more. And the hard part is rebooting public perception...having them basically Men in Black forget who you were prior to the new Louis. That could take months if not a year or so. Your coverage is pretty extraordinary, even though most of it is bad — you're still on the positive side with your demographic, it's really the media that hates you.”

“This shit wasn't supposed to last past season three, but the ratings were insanely good — have been, I guess,” Louis says shuffling in his seat. “I just want—”

“To be mainstream, but keep your indie cred?” Harry chimes in and Louis sort of lights up at that as he nods. “We all know why I'm here, just let me go out of my job duties to do this for you, okay?”

“But, why? I mean you're getting paid the same,” Louis says.

And although he's correct, if Harry can successfully rebrand Louis it'll look amazing to his boss and other firms, other bigger and better ones. Because just like Louis, Harry doesn't plan on staying with Elite forever, he wants to be representing bigger A-list names soon and he knows this will put him leaps and bounds ahead of others. But he also wants to get a higher position at Elite, and he knows he's in the running to be there, even ahead of some of the veterans.

“I feel like the less miserable you are, the less miserable we all will be, right? So who's your idol, who's career are you trying to emulate?”

“I'm not...I'm not trying to be someone I'm not, but I've always admired Leo, of course, but maybe I could actually win an Oscar one day,” Louis laughs as he scratches the back of his neck.

“Well I know a few Victoria Secret models I could probably hook you up with.”

Louis snorts out a laugh as he rolls around the room in his chair, “oh, you're being serious?” he says when Harry doesn't mirror his own laughter and stares at him blankly.

“It'll get you into a new demo for sure, but let's not worry about that just yet, we have work to do but looks like you are need on set soon,” Harry says glancing at his watch, “I'll email you some roles I have in mind and hopefully we can get this moving soon. I just really need your cooperation this time.”

“Yeah, sure, yeah, great — thanks,” Louis says jumping to his feet. Harry senses that he was going to shake his hand but shoves it in his pocket instead and uses the other to reach for the door.

Later that night...
After officially agreeing to basically work overtime, Harry had even less free time. Which is completely fine, except for the fact that he almost forgot he had a date tonight.

And like who goes on a date on a Tuesday anyway? Boring old people that's who. And well Harry almost definitely fell into that category as 30 was rapidly approaching and his hairline was receding faster than what this drought was doing to all of the water in the state.

But the secret to keeping his sanity lied with being able to have a seemingly normal life that involved a swanky dimly lit restaurant and a cold beer — and the attention of a very attractive man by the name of Douglas Bay, who Harry met two years ago at a Sony event in New York; where Douglas lives and works. They've talked off and on for about as long and always catch up when the other is visiting their state.

“I was beginning to think you forgot about tonight,” Douglas laughs into his beer as the lines form around his eyes. “Only 15 minutes late, not too bad.”

“Sorry, work is,” Harry waves his hand around in the air and sighs, “you know.”

“Yes, I do, although please, I'd gladly trade you my pop stars for your sitcom actors,” he says stretching his legs out to bump against Harry's. “I could use the break.”

Besides his gorgeous dark eyes, perfectly tousled brown hair and tan buff body, Douglas has one glaring flaw: he was cocky as fuck and not in the way Harry wants him to be. Every time they talked he'd always manage to get in how much more experienced he was, that he repped “real” celebrities with millions and millions of fans and Harry had it easy. But Douglas was really easy on the eyes and Harry tried not to talk about work — that was the whole reason he even dated.

Harry gives a noncommittal, “yeah, totally,” and gulps down a quarter of his beer and tried to suppress his yawn.

“Ever think of leaving behind desperate L.A. and coming to N.Y.C.? Could probably get you a job,” he asks Harry as their food comes.

“Shit weather over there, no thanks. Pass the ketchup,” Harry says moving around the fries on his plate.

“Offer is always open.”

It takes two more beers for them to finally stop talking about work and upcoming events and to start talking about normal things like the baseball game that's on the T.V. across from them and Douglas' dog, Pepper, who is very fond of him and humps his shin every time he greets the white and brown bulldog — but then again, that's a pretty common activity around his apartment when Harry is present.

“Still can't believe you advertise organic whiskey over here,” Douglas laughs as he walks back to their table with two glasses in hand, “seriously, who wants organic fucking whiskey? You know what would happen to me if I asked for organic whiskey in New York?” he sets the glasses on the table and slides one to Harry, “they'd cut my dick off, cheers,” he clicks his glass against Harry's and they both take their shot.

“I highly doubt that,” Harry says wiping his lower lip and setting his glass down quieter than Douglas had done.

“Oh, you're getting that look again, getting offended,” he slides out of the seat across from Harry and scoots in under Harry's arm. “I'm sorry. L.A. is nice and stuff,” he mutters into Harry's ear then kisses his jaw. “Wanna go?”

Before Harry can answer, his Blackberry buzzes in his pocket. He shuffles around and pulls it out, “I need to take this, sorry...” he motions for Douglas to move so he can get out of the booth and into a quieter area of the restaurant.

“Can you get me into the Capitol Hill premiere tomorrow night?” Louis' voice asks through the phone.

“Like on the red carpet? Yeah, definitely, you actually want to attend an event? Wait...what are you planning?”

Louis' laugh is loud on the other end and Harry smiles at his seemingly innocent request, “nothing! I swear, but Chris Pratt's in it, and I wanna meet him,” Louis laughs. “I need a suit right?”

“Yeah, well just something nice, I can set that all up tonight probably, if you want?”

“Please, I hate the designers Glenne pulls for me, shit sucks,” Louis laughs. “Plus you're easily replaceable so if you fuck up it won't matter.” Harry can almost sense the smile on the other end, but he's not one-hundred percent sure.

“Just send me your measurements in a text and I'll make some calls in a bit.”

Harry hangs up and walks back to his table where Douglas is sitting at the end of the seat scrolling on his phone, “sorry, client on the phone, last minute event I need to set up for tomorrow. Raincheck?”

He sighs and sets his phone down and pulls at Harry's legs so he stumbles between his knees. Douglas puts his face below Harry's navel and sighs again. “Can't spare like an hour?” he asks into Harry's buttoned up shirt, his breath warming his skin through the fabric. “Can make the calls at my hotel, it's around the block, closer than your apartment — probably bigger too.”

Harry's phone buzzes again in his pocket signaling Louis' text with his measurements.

“I have to be up at 6 tomorrow, I really shouldn't, you're here for what? A week? We'll get together before you leave,” Harry compromises as much as his brain and dick are begging for him to shut up.

Harry's pushed back a little by Douglas standing up and stretching his arms above his head, “whatever, fine, let me get my Amex,” he says sliding past Harry and going to the bar to get the waitress' attention.

As Harry's walking toward the door he catches a familiar face out of the corner of his eye, “hey, Cara,” he says with a wave to Louis' cast mate and the girl waves back with a huge smile. “see you tomorrow.”

Harry feels a hand on his lower back moments later and he sends another smile back to Cara and she goes back to talking to her group and tapping on her phone.

“Valet?” Harry nods and they walk to the young guy in a black polo shirt and hands them their tickets. “Does your last minute event happen to be the movie premiere tomorrow?”

“Yeah, see you there? Can have a little deja vu of last summer,” Harry laughs.

“Probably no rooftop access, but I'm down for the blowie,” Douglas winks as his rental Mercedes comes into view. “Let me know when you get there.”

Harry agrees as he's pulled into a quick kiss and Douglas walks arounds the front of the silver car and hands the boy a bill that's no less than a $50. He sends one more wave and then his car screeches out of the parking lot and Harry waits for his.

“Hey Michelle, Harry Styles from Elite PR,” Harry says with the phone between his ear and shoulder as  he drops his work pants and grabs a pair of shorts out of his dresser, “Need a last minute outfit for Louis Tomlinson for a premiere tomorrow, can you help?”

“Yeah, sure, anything in particular?” the woman's springy voice asks over the other end even though it's nearing midnight. Harry's thankful he has so many close friends in the business that can do things like this.

“Can we swing that ombre suede leather jacket from the new collection, the uh, that grey v-neck, think it was summer right? Yeah, and just the dark denim in a 34 and tops in a small. Shoes? I trust you whatever is available in a 8.5 — thanks Meech, love you.”

After Harry gives her Louis' address and hangs up, he's finally able to relax now that it's out of the way. But his mind starts going over what needs to be done in preparation for the carpet and interviews and he has to notify the correct people that Louis will be present. He jumps back off his bed and grabs his phone to send out the necessary emails.

Wednesday night...
Louis insisted that Harry arrive at the event with him and Harry thought it was a wise idea so he could keep him from getting the scent of smoke into his borrowed clothes or spilling a drink on them or worse... him just deciding he doesn't want to attend anymore.

Louis looks the part of a movie star when the sedan door opens for Harry. Even though he's sitting, Harry can tell the clothes fit him perfectly, and Harry sighs that Michelle read his mind and picked the black oxfords he was thinking of.

“Hey, you look great,” Harry says clearing his throat and getting into the car, “it all fit and everything?”

“Yeah, perfect, thank you Harry,” Louis says handing him a bottle of beer. Harry usually swears off drinking while he's on the job, but the ride to the premiere is fairly short so he accepts the bottle and takes a small sip then sets it into the cup holder on the door. “This fits my style perfectly...and I see someone else likes feathers,” he smiles opening his jacket and pointing to the blue and green feathers adorning the shirt like a harness.

Harry repositions himself closer to the door and tucks his left ankle under his right. “Ha, yeah, just thought it'd, uh, yeah,” he takes a sip of his drink and looks out the window trying to calm the blush spreading across his cheeks.

“You don't look too shabby yourself,” Louis smiles as he glances up and down Harry's body. “Going to steal the spotlight if I don't watch out.”

Harry swallows hard and chuckles with a shake to his head, “nah, I'll just be in the background making sure the interviews flow as they should. Which speaking of, you got my talking points this morning and went over them I hope?”

“Yeah, thanks, I'll try not to fuck up, some of those reporters are assholes,” Louis says grabbing his bottle a little more violently and drinking it for a dozen seconds or so.

“I'll step in if there's a problem, that's my job...well not technically for you, but for tonight it is.” Harry was surprised Glenne never reached out to Harry to attend instead of him, it was a little strange, and he was so busy that he never got around to telling her.

They arrive at the venue with no warning as the door is swung open and Harry is brought out of whatever weird daze he was currently in while looking at Louis.

Harry leaves the car and when he turns to shut the door, Louis is surprisingly right behind him instead of waiting for someone to open his door. They're close, like too close and Harry should be taking a step or fifty back but his feet stay right where they are six inches from Louis' body as they stare at each other, and Louis has this stupid grin that's lighting up his whole face and it's paired perfectly with his slightly-messy hair that brushed over to the right side of his forehead. Okay, Harry really needs to collect himself right this second and get him on the carpet.

“Louis, Louis right this way!” a man's voice yells from behind them. Harry shakes his head and glances behind him to see a frazzled looking man who must be directing the talent to the carpet.

Harry unclenches his fists not even aware of the crescent-shaped marks in his palms as he finally takes a much needed step back and introduces himself to the man.

“Okay, you ready?” Harry gives him a (professional) once over to make sure he's camera ready and doesn't have any lint or stray hairs on his clothes. The last thing he needs is for Louis to end up on the worst dressed list.

“Born ready,” he smiles and Harry fixes his jacket once more so everything falls just right and then escorts him to the carpet.

It's been awhile since Harry was on a carpet for such a big premiere, usually it's family films and smaller movies, but this was a national blockbuster and he couldn't have felt more proud. Guiding Louis through the hundreds of hungry reporters, picking and choosing the best outlets in mere seconds took a skill Harry forgot he even had. Usually he let his clients talk to whomever since they were young adults or children and were rising to celebrity, but Louis had already landed himself a pretty comfy seat on the fame train.

So far, Louis has handled each reporter with grace and politeness, it was a completely new side of him, one that even the press were a little taken aback by as they talked to him.

“The elusive Louis Tomlinson, making his first red carpet debut since Sundance,” a peppy woman's voice echoes, “what brings you here tonight?”

“I'm a huge fan of the actors in this film and heard there was free boo—” he looks at Harry when Harry casually coughs, “free popcorn — can't say no to that, right?” he laughs.

“While I have you here,” she says touching his arm and Louis pulls back just enough for Harry to take notice. “Hows the love life been, seems quiet...”

Harry steps forward, but just as he's about to cut in, Louis moves to his left to block him, “right to the chase,” he laughs, “yeah, got my eye on someone....taller than me, but what can I say? I'm a legs kinda guy.”

“That's all thank you,” Harry finally says to the woman and pulls Louis from the press line and toward the door into the theater. “Thought we said no love life talk yet,” Harry says between gritted teeth.

“You're the one saying you're hooking me up with a model, plus I barely said anything, it's fine.”

They take their seats, and although Harry usually doesn't stay to watch the film, Louis wanted to watch since he really was a big fan...there also was, indeed, free popcorn.

About halfway through the film Harry's phone buzzes and he takes it out of his pocket and covers the screen so the light doesn't disturb anyone — Louis still throws popcorn at him and says he's being disturbed and will call security. Harry stifles a laugh and reads the text.

Forgot to text meeee
sorry carpet was crazy...in theater 12...you?
11 take a “bathroom” break
See you in sec

“I'll be right back, that beer from the car is finally hitting me,” Harry whispers as he shuffles out of his seat and Louis moves his legs to let him through. Harry adjusts his clothes and fixes his hair as he walks out of the theater. There's people milling about and he spots Douglas not too far away at the makeshift bar.

“Hey,” Harry says nodding his head to greet him.

“Only red wine left...that okay?” Harry takes the small plastic glass and sips the wine. “Come over tonight, you can't possibly be busy,” Douglas says as he pulls Harry by the elbow away from the small crowd.

“Sure, yeah,” Harry smiles, “you clean up well,” he jokes tugging on the black blazer Douglas is wearing.

“Good, I missed you,” Harry's quickly pulled into a wet kiss that's more tongue than anything. Although slightly nice for a few minutes, Harry pulls away before it goes any further.

“Piss break has probably lasted too long,” Harry declares as he steps back from their position. “Find ya after?”

“Yes, please,” Douglas says a few octaves higher than his usual deep voice.

They part ways and Harry walks back to the theater where he awkwardly slides past Louis' knees to his seat.

“Stopped for more booze and you yelled at me?” Louis scoffs. Harry forgot to throw his half-full glass out and hands it to Louis.

“Finish it,” Harry says, “and I didn't yell...I coughed.”

Their fingers brush slightly as Louis takes the plastic cup and finishes the wine in a second and Harry wishes this thing would just end.

Since Louis insisted that they stayed for then entirety of the film, whereas most celebrities left long ago, their theater empties with four other theaters and the lobby is a bit chaotic. And on top of that, there are non-business folk clamoring to either ask Louis or other straggling celebrities for photos.

Harry lets him take a few just to save face, but pulls him away once a line starts to form. He's grateful that Louis has fans, it means they both still have a job, but he also wants to get Louis to his car before this strangely good night turns south — as things tend to do when Louis gets bored.

“Harry!” A deep voice yells once they're outside and waiting for the car.

Harry and Louis both turn to see Douglas walking toward them, and fuck, he is so god damn good-looking in this light.

“Hey, Douglas nice to see ya, this is my client Louis Tomlinson, Louis, Douglas Bay, he's part of Sony's team...reps a lot of their popular musicians.”

“Pleasure,” Louis smiles as he extends his hand to shake Douglas' and he reiterates the greeting. Harry silently laughs to himself that both guys seem to straighten their posture and throw back their shoulders after shaking hands. Gotta love those alpha male types.

“Change of plans, there's an after party at Château and you're more than welcome to join...both of you,” he adds a second later.

“Oh yeah, great! It'll be good for you to network, can maybe see if anyone's casting,” Harry advises to Louis.

"H, let the kid relax a little, doesn't always need to be on his mark, right?” Douglas says with a smirk and elbow jab to Louis.

“Uh, yeah, right, but it's probably past my bedtime,” Louis says condescendingly and turning when he hears his driver's voice.

“Lou—Louis,” Harry groans turning on his heels toward him. “It really would be great for you to talk to people and schmooze, I know it sucks—”

“Nah, I'm sure you can kiss ass pretty well for me,” Louis' voice is harsh as he opens the passenger door and climbs in. “Have a great time with gramps over there, though.”

Harry lets out a frustrated sigh and presses the pad of his palm to his right eyebrow. He should have known better than to expect tonight to go off without a hitch. “This is such a great opportunity for you to get your name out to more people, especially at Sony. You can stay for an hour then go home.”

Louis answers by hitting Harry's thigh with the door and scraping it past his leg and slamming it shut and Harry's left inhaling exhaust fumes.

“Kids these days just expect it all to be handed to them,” Douglas says from behind him.

“He's not a child, he's 23,” Harry says turning around and rubbing the bridge of his nose. “Let's go.”

The after party wasn't terrible, Harry did spent a decent amount of time introducing himself to people who didn't know him and caught up with a few industry friends, too. He also did get a few promising leads that could really help Louis in the future.

“Stop working and have some fun,” Douglas says into the back of Harry's neck as he wraps his arms around his waist, “Loosen up, always working 24/7 aren't you?”

“Well this is a work event,” Harry says wiggling out of his grasp, “I like to be professional at events.”

“Everyone is three sheets to the wind, they probably won't even remember whatever it was they promised you. Come on, take the jacket off, unbutton a few of these,” he says grabbing for Harry's chest and popping the top button under his skinny black tie then pulling the shirt out from where it's tucked into his trousers. He leaves a hand on his waist and sways into Harry and Harry smiles and presses back.

“Yeah, yeah, alright, get me a drink will ya?”

While Harry waits for him to come back, he texts Louis just to say thanks for being great on the carpet and he's excited to read the upcoming articles.

“Off the Blackberry, Styles!”

“Okay, okay!” Harry shoves the phone in his pocket then takes the cold glass and sips on the icy beer.

Early morning Thursday...
“Ow, fuck, where's the light switch?” Harry groans as he stumbles through the door of the hotel room with lips attached to his neck and his shirt hanging off his shoulders. The door thuds loudly against the wall and Harry's pushed deeper into the room before he can find the switch. By the clinking of his shoes, they're on a wood floor as he's blindly being walked backwards trying his hardest not to fall while his legs turn to jelly from the way he's being handled.

“Shit, couch, sorry, thought it was a little further back,” Douglas whisper laughs into his skin. Harry falls back against the plush cotton taking the other body with him over his lap and wriggles his way out of his dress shirt, unsure of when and where his jacket and tie disappeared to.

“You're going to rip a fucking hole in your pants,” Harry laughs as he feels the front of Douglas' trousers.

“Then do something about it,” Douglas hisses into Harry's neck as he presses forward into Harry's touch as his fingers feel for the zipper.

Harry's having flashbacks of every other time they've hooked up. And although he doesn't make a habit of it, it almost always is the result of some sort of industry party and too much to drink. There's also the looming fact that he has work tomorrow and the couch he's currently being straddled on is a trek from his apartment, and even the studio if he were to stay over. But then he'd have to go home first and change because he can't be seen in this at the studio, so that gives him a 4:30 or 5 am wake-up call to get a cab or Uber and it's probably already 1 or 2.

“Harry, Harry?” Douglas' stern voice takes him out of his thoughts and back to the present time, and oh yeah, his hand was doing something. He's been incredibly distracted lately which is unusual...especially when it involves things of this nature.

“Sorry, was thinking,” Harry apologizes by leaning forward and grabbing his lip between his teeth and tugging him closer and making his grip firmer.

By the time Harry does leave (despite dozens of pleas to stay over) it's closer to 2 am and he's still a little tipsy from the party. He can already hear his own annoyed voice yelling at himself for his unprofessionalism tonight and knows the morning is going to be absolute hell.

Six hours later...
The blaring sound of a train is annoyingly interrupting Harry's sleep and he groggily wonders why he can even hear a train — there's no trains in L.A., must be a dream. He curls back into his sheets and digs his head deeper into his soft pillow away from the bright light of the sun and loud horn.

Shit that's my alarm

Harry jolts out of bed and lunges across the room to his desk where his phone is playing the most annoying ringtone ever — one that's meant to get his ass out of bed when he's exhausted. Except this isn't his first alarm — it's been snoozing on and off for over an hour and he needs to be to work in thirty minutes.

There's no time for a shower and Harry can only try and get rid of the cotton mouth he's currently tasting and splash some water on his face and rush to coordinate an outfit.

His stomach is still lurching from the drinks he had which reminds him that he probably needs to wear a scarf or a high-collared shirt to cover the marks on his neck so he rushes back to his wardrobe and loses another 45 seconds.

By the time he's on the road, he has 15 minutes, which means he's already late. Since every day so far, he's been on set by now.

He also planned on having enough time in the morning to read and print out recent headlines after the premiere, and even his call to Max to do just that is going to cost him another ten minutes as he pulls up to his office, barely slowing down enough to grab the folder from Max as he keeps his foot on the pedal and speeds down the road toward the studios.

Exhausted and out of breath, Harry jogs onto set barely masking his panting and the sweat that's accumulated on his forehead.

“Rough night?” Nick asks from behind him with a pat to his back, “Glenne's looking for you in her office.”

“Fuck, yeah, you could say that,” Harry pants as he stands up straight and composes himself and gets his mind back into business mode.

“Hold on,” Nick says grabbing his arm and reaching for his hair. He combs through it quickly. Harry notices a subtle smirk spread across Nick's face as he stills his hand in his hair.

“What?” Harry raises a brow.

“Just got your joke,” he says clicking his tongue to the roof of his mouth on the last syllable. Harry watches him extend his pointer finger into his neck and begins laughing.

“Ow...not a word.”

“Yes sir,” Nick laughs and pushes Harry's shoulder. "Or are you more of a dadd—"

"Shut up," Harry says sternly.

Harry walks down the corridor to the trailer outside that's technically supposed to be his office too, but Glenne has yet to say anything about that, which is why he usually just takes up residency somewhere on set. He knocks twice and waits for her to answer before walking in.

“Why wasn't I told about the premiere? You can't just go doing things behind my back, you work for me,” Glenne says behind a stack of papers. And even though her voice isn't malicious, it's stern enough that it annoys Harry enough to do more than sit in silence.

“Nothing but good press came out of that, and I have over two dozen articles to back it up,” Harry says dropping the folder on her desk.”

“I'm already aware of what's been written about my client, Harry, I appreciate you help, really, but this isn't what you're here to do,” she says elongating her posture and putting down her pen.

“I understand that, but Louis wants my help, it was his suggestion to go and he did phenomenal on the carpet.”

Harry takes a seat in one of the brown chairs opposite her desk and puts his right ankle on his left knee. He's not sure why he feels so strongly about defending Louis all of a sudden, but after the way he acted last night, how poised and confident he was, Harry knew he was being screwed by this show and the people who worked for him.

“If you just let me do more than be his minder, I think I could really make a difference in his career and help launch it to where he wants it to be.”

“I'm all for you helping, Harry, I just felt a little attacked at your meeting the other day,” Glenne admits. She flips through the folder Harry had given her and looks as if she's thinking about something before speaking again.

“Truce?” she asks standing up and extending her hand. Harry happily accepts and shakes it. “I'm honestly surprised you've lasted this long.”

“Yeah, me too,” Harry laughs.

“Also,” she says moving away from her desk and closer to the door. “What's this about Louis' latest crush or person of interest?” she inquires as they walk out and toward set.

“I'm really not sure. I briefly mentioned I could hook him up with one of the few models I know, get him in an older demo, might have just been playing off of that.”

“That might be a little challenging,” she laughs as they arrive on the sound stage.

“He seemed up for it,” Harry argues. “Doesn't have to be anything serious, dinner or something like he did at The Nice Guy — minus the tantrum. Or we just leave it at what it is.”

“Speaking of...where the hell is Louis?” Glenne raises her voice at the last part of her sentence and looks around the room at the cast and crew and then to Harry.

Harry embarrassingly shrugs his shoulders because he has no idea since he'd barely just gotten there himself and she knows it. He checks his phones, but there's no texts or missed calls.

“No one has seen him? Is his car at least on the lot?” She asks the group of people, a few nodding what looks like a yes. “This is why I need you here on time.” She directs to Harry with a sigh.

“I'll go check his dressing room,” Harry volunteers as he walks away from her.

As he's swiftly walking toward Louis' dressing room, Harry sees Louis exiting and sighs in relief that he's at least on set and not home asleep...like he was 20 minutes ago.

“Filming is starting, wondering where you were,” Harry says with a relieved smiled. Louis doesn't acknowledge him and just walks past Harry paying no mind as he taps on his thighs to whatever music is blasting through the headphones over his ears.

Harry turns on his heels and follows Louis. For such a short guy his strides are quite large right now and Harry finds himself almost jogging to keep up with him. He planned on letting him know about the few projects he could get him an audition for, but it looks like it'll have to wait until lunch since he's already late to set and apparently eager to get there.

It's thankfully a pretty easy day and Harry spends most of it away from set and paying more attention to his computer with the flood of emails he's receiving. Just from one appearance, interest in Louis has grown and people are coming back out of the woodworks to try and score an interview with him. Unfortunately, so far there hasn't been an outlet yet that's really caught Harry's eye. Especially after their meeting the other day, he's being extra particular about who Louis should be talking with in the midst of a rebrand.

Harry pulls up his iCal and browses all of the pink, green, orange and blue boxes that are scattered across the month with all of his appointments and reminders. The summer premiere of Magnolia begins the first week of July, so he's already a little behind on getting Louis into any monthly magazines that are working on their summer issue since June had just started. He might be able to squeeze him into Teen Vogue if he hasn't missed their deadline dates, but he's assuming either Cara and Daisy or Niall may have already done an interview (he makes a mental note to ask). Plus something tells Harry that Louis' appearance in the teen mag was a one-time-only occurrence. He does admit though that the shoot and cover he did for them two years ago was spectacular and sold very well — but a guy in a soaking wet white T-shirt tends to sell just as well as a woman in one.

He'll have to concentrate on weekly magazines then, which will also be good to get some candids of him into — get people used to his face again — his sober face that is. Stars they're just like you...and get shit-faced at clubs he thinks to himself with a chuckle.

He types out almost identical emails with specific personal spins to acquaintances at a few major weekly magazines.

Caroline,

Hope all is well, how's little Sasha and Cleo? They're getting so big! If you have a free second I'd love to discuss my newest client, Louis Tomlinson, with you? Think he'd be a good fit into your July or August issue...

Even though Harry does genuinely care about the lives of some of his work friends, everything really is business, but it doesn't hurt to make an attempt at small talk.

His next step is to get Louis photographed more, which is one of his biggest struggles because Louis hates the paparazzi and usually refuses to play along if even for a moment. This means his only option is to play slightly dirty.

“Al, hey, Harry here,” his voice is light and airy trickled with a hint of innocence. “I need you to forward me all of Louis' weekly appointments and scheduling for at least the next two weeks please,” he asks the personal assistant on the other line. “Nothing too personal just when you know he's going out shopping, out to dinner, and all that...gotta keep a closer eye on him, y'know?” the two men laugh and Harry thanks him for his cooperation and hangs up. Moments later Louis' schedule is synched to Harry's phone.

“Let's see here,” he says to himself looking though the days until his eyes widen at a lunch appointment two days from now with Chelsea and an appointment he has down on Melrose. “perfect.”

He makes another phone call to get a photographer at the restaurant around the time Louis should show up and reiterates the fact that he needs to just get some shots and leave and not to rile Louis up. Again, it's good that Harry usually works with younger kids and he knows which agencies will obey his requests.

Although a few photos here and there won't necessarily promote him as much as an interview, it'll be a good start to get his face in at least the random front of book pages of magazines that teenagers don't read.

Saturday afternoon...
Harry's home with his feet up on his couch wearing his comfiest sweats and favorite faded Rolling Stones T-shirt that his dad got at their concert in the early 70's. He's dedicated the day to pampering himself to normal people activities — sleeping in until at least 9:30, staying in his pajamas all day, eating sweets for breakfast and even watching a bit of trashy television.

He sighs when he logs onto his deserted Facebook account so he can live vicariously through Liam and two of their other friends who are all on the guys' weekend in Vegas that Harry should have been on, but couldn't with work. Although he enjoyed the many drunken phone calls and blurry photos that were texted to him, it would have been nice to unwind for three days with his friends.

He can't really remember the last time he took a vacation, it was probably last year's guys' weekend when they went to Florida and paraded around Disney in sequin Minnie ears and ate ginormous turkey legs. Harry remembers being teased endlessly by the guys for flirting with Peter Pan, but he was hot and in tights, Harry couldn't help it.

Although he could have technically flown out last night and spent the weekend with them, he had a feeling he was needed here, and was under the impression that he was on Louis surveillance 24/7 — which luckily, he's had the first thirteen hours of today to himself.

As if the mighty god above, who Harry didn't believe in, was spiting him, Harry's work phone starts buzzing on the cushion next to him and he puts his popcorn down, wiping his hands on a paper towel and answers it.

“Mind telling me who set up the pap walk?” Louis hisses on the other end. “A welcoming committee of flashes isn't really my idea of a good time while I'm trying to have a private lunch.”

Harry rubs a hand down his face and grabs the laptop next to him and types in his password. “I did, and I knew if I told you, you'd stay in your Bat Cave all afternoon and cancel. Your face needs to be disseminated more, it was a few harmless photos,” Harry rationalizes as he types in a web address.

“How the hell did you know where I was going? Stalking me now or what? Stole my phone and looked at my calendar?” Harry knew Louis was going to be upset, but sometimes celebrities need to do things they don't want to do and he'd just have to get over it. As a publicist, there are worse things Harry could make him do.

“Louis, chill, it was just some photos to make up for the lack of promo over the last few months. And plus,” he says scrolling through Just Jared until he sees a dozen or so photos of Louis in a black Adidas shirt and slim-fitting jeans with slightly-tousled hair and a pair of RayBans perched on his nose, “you look good, and relaxed, not like a teenager — especially walking into Joe's, it's trendy and cool but not annoyingly so, good choice.”

“Why does everything with you need to be fucking business and have some sort of ulterior motive? Why can't I just have a weekend to myself without work?” Louis yells.

“You were just telling me you want to get out of the teen market and get new work, this requires you to be seen more and get people to recognize you and pay attention to you. It might not seem like a lot, but just a few photos can accompany new little blurbs about you, ones sanctioned by me, that updates everyone on what you've been up to, about your show and maybe some news about you possibly in line for a new role or two.”

“But I'm not lined up for any, you can't just lie like that,” Louis huffs. Harry can hear muffled noise through the phone as he tries to picture if Louis' at his house or somewhere else.

“I'm not lying. I...what did you say...kissed some ass for you the other night while you sulked off back to your house. Got some people — the right people — interested in you. But I'll gladly decline...”

The line is quiet, Harry checks the phone to see the seconds still changing. He pushes his computer off his lap, standing up and walking over to the sliding glass door in the living room. “You there?” he opens the door and steps out, the heat hitting him hard, the sun already causing his forehead to perspire.

“Yeah,” the brashness of Louis' voice gone and replaced by a softer tone.

“Was trying to get you alone Thursday and Friday to tell you, but you kept walking away every time I tried, or just avoided me.” Harry explains draped over the balcony. He looks down to see a few women sun bathing by the pool.

“Oh...okay, you didn't—I'm...”

“Apology accepted,” Harry smiles into the phone, “I wasn't lying either when I said I wanted to help...you got talent kid, could make you a star,” he mocks the voice of an old Hollywood director or what he thinks one would sound like with this weird twangy accent. Hopefully Louis' seen enough old movies to get the joke.

“Please don't ever talk like that again, and don't call me kid.”

“Sorry, sorry, and I apologize on behalf of Douglas the other night when he said that, I know it upset you. He's got that douchey New Yorker thing down pat.”

“For my sake, please tell me his ass wasn't one that had to be kissed for me to get an audition? Because the answer is no, not working for gramps..”

Harry tugs at the collar of his shirt, his ears prickle with heat as he huffs out a breathy laugh at Louis' innocent joke, “no, no, he only works with bratty pop stars, not actors...and he's only 37, that's not that old.”

“Did you just call me bratty?” Louis' question rings in Harry's ear at higher octave.

“Are you saying you're not? Because—”

“Fine, fine, I'm a tad bratty I guess. So uh, when do I get these scripts?”

“I can swing by today? Unless you're busy with uh, Chelsea, or something?”

“Sure, bring your bathing suit, come over whenever.”


Harry arrives at Louis' house around 3 pm, there's another car parked on the road and he's assuming it's Chelsea's. He's glad, he'd like to get to know her a little more if she's involved with Louis in any way.

The living room is empty after Harry pushes the already ajar gate and front door open and there are wet footprints on the stone floor when he steps further inside. Harry follows them through the kitchen and out a heavy metal door until he's met with Louis' backyard. He immediately sees a steep concrete staircase at his feet that leads down to a deck with five white chaises, one occupied by Chelsea and her huge blonde bun that's perched on the top of her head. The deck sits about two feet above the oblong pool where Louis is currently floating on what looks to be a pizza pool float and there are about five or six other floats in the pool, one that Harry can make out as a flamingo, another which looks like a pirate ship and then possibly, if his eyesight is as good as he thinks it is, a toilet seat. Harry also probably couldn't even come close to guessing the amount of times Louis' probably sat at the edge pretending to pee at one of the five or so streams of water that cascades over the sides of the pool  — although, if he was being honest, he'd assume it's half the reason he bought the house.

The backyard itself is decorated with tall grasses, palm trees, shrubs and stone Buddha statues in varying sizes, which is ironic considering Louis is the least zen-like person he's ever met. But the view he had could put anyone at peace. His house was on one of the higher of the Hollywood Hills and overlooked a gorgeous landscape, that was unfortunately dry and brown thanks to the drought and brutal summer heat. There was barely another house in site save for a sliver of a roof — other than that it was completely private.

“No swim suit?” Louis yells from down in the pool. Harry shakes the bag in his hand and Louis points over to a small white free-standing building to Harry's left.
Harry walks over to it and pulls the door open, it's a small changing station with a few white towels perched in a wicker basket and a dark mahogany built-in bench lines the wall of the room. It would look pretty modern and sophisticated if it wasn't for the three or so Nerf water guns on the ground.

Harry takes his trunks out of his bag, reaching both hands to the shoulders of his shirt and tugs it off his body, then shimmies out of his pants and underwear. It's not completely abnormal to spend time with clients at their houses swimming, playing basketball or at a BBQ, he's done it plenty of times, but he wasn't expecting Louis to be so hospitable all of a sudden. he'd be cautious for sure, if he has learned anything from Louis, it's that he always has something up his sleeve.

After rubbing sunscreen on himself, Harry neatly folds all of his clothes back into his bag and puts the two scripts on top of them and grabs a towel and walks back out with his aviators on.

“Those are wicked cute Harry,” Chelsea yips when he walks down the two dozen or so steps, “Nick'll steal 'em if he ever sees you in them. Are those Turtles?”

“Yeah, they are! You know Nick?” Harry asks as he sets his bag and phone down on the chaise next to her.

“He's my brother, so yeah, unfortunately, I do know him,” She laughs adjusting her large black sunglasses and goes back to her Kindle.

“Oh! Wow that makes sense,” Harry exclaims higher-pitched than he intended, “he's cool with you guys dating?”

Chelsea barks out a laugh that's louder than anything Harry's ever heard and his cheeks heat up in embarrassment as he sits on the edge of the chair and moves his bag around.

“Oh lord no, us dating, ha! Nick and I are both far from straight — although, I mean, Louis could turn me, I think,” she looks over her sunglasses and wiggles her eyebrows down at Louis who's made his way off of his float, out of the pool and stands at the ledge under them.

Since Harry is a human with perfectly functioning eyes, he can't help but stare at Louis with his dark blue and what looks like orange dotted shorts sticking to his legs about five inches above his knees. There's also the matter of the very large and visible feather tattoos that make a u-shape over each of Louis' hips. He's trying his hardest not to follow each individual water droplet that rolls off the ink as Louis moves to grab his towel and dry himself off.

“Chelsea is my escort, the only woman I can stand to be seen out in public with,” Louis laughs as he trades his towel for a half-filled beer. Harry can't really tell if he's joking or not but let's a chuckle escape his lips. Louis walks over to a small charcoal chaise and grabs the pack of cigarettes sitting there and puts one to his lips. “You mind?” Harry shakes his head and Louis lights it, sucks in and blows smoke out a beat later, then drinks his beer.

“You can't replace me with a Victoria's Secret model, it'll kill my ego and make me starve myself,” she giggles grabbing the cup on the small round table next to her.

“You don't look taller than him,” Harry states as he plays with the strap on his bag. When Chelsea gives him a puzzled look, Harry goes to answer, but Louis cuts him off.

“Nothing, just something I said in an interview, you'll just have to wear those Loubs more often,” Louis says putting his cigarette back to his lips.

“My perfect man...knows his designers. Too bad we're—not compatible,” Chelsea stutters then takes a quick sip of her drink. 

“Right, so, the water isn't acid, you can swim you know,” Louis directs his attention to Harry through his cigarette.

“Yeah, yeah, just didn't know when you wanted to look at these scripts?” Harry says standing up and extending the papers down to Louis. He watches Louis' gaze as he moves, his eyes following Harry's movements.

Louis reaches out to grab them and flips through the first one quickly and then the second, “Dale and David,” these writers aren't really too creative with names, huh?”

“They can always change,” Harry says walking to the set of four steps so that he can be on the same level as Louis. “What's important is content. One's based off of a sci-fi novel, which I already ordered for you, should be here Monday, and the other is horror. They're not big blockbusters, but, the directors are well known and I think, from what they described, the characters will be good for you.”

Harry can't get a read on Louis really. He's quietly flipping through one of the scripts, his cigarette dangling from his lips on the verge of falling out. It's almost cute how concentrated he is on reading the lines, with his furrowed brows and tight, tense lips barely clutching the forgotten cigarette. There was really no huge reason why Louis would have an issue with either role, they're leaps and bounds better than his Magnolia role — Harry made sure of it.

“Sex scene?” Louis clears his throat and folds back the page, his eyes widening as he reads the scene. 

“You wanted more mature,” Harry reminds Louis, “but if you're not comfortable...”

“No it's cool, I'm totally cool with it, plus, not like I have the part yet,” he says pulling his attention away from the script and back to his cigarette before stubbing it out into a stone bowl on the small table by one of the chairs. “I, uh, I'll give them a look over later. Thank you, Harry.”

"Hey Harry, your phone's going off," Chelsea interrupts from where she's still perched with her tablet. "From one panting face emoji, initials DB then water squir—"

"Thanks, thanks, I got it," Harry says spinning his body around and reaching for the outstretched phone in Chelsea's hand and muting the sound. And although he was probably supposed to miss the raised brow Chelsea was sending behind him to Louis, Harry definitely saw the look that passed between him as he managed to stub his toe on one of chairs in his haste to silence his phone. 

He sets his phone back down on top of his towel and tries not to pretend he's not completely embarrassed by Douglas' name in his contact list. He turns to see Louis' hand script-free and extended to him, "thanks again, Harry" Louis says softly as they shake hands, just before he is immediately pulled forward. Caught off guard, his arms flail as him and Louis go tumbling into the cool water.

Bubbles cascade around Harry's face as he begins to laugh and push his way back up to the surface. “You ass!” he laughs brushing his wet hair out of his eyes and mouth. He grabs the closest float and catches his breath as his heart rate goes back to normal. 

“What? You're in a swimsuit.” Louis shrugs with a grin then dives back under water.

Harry shakes his head and tries not to smile too big as he pushes himself and the toilet-shaped float toward one end of the pool. He could get used to this relaxed and playful side of Louis. One that doesn't have him chasing him around a club at odd hours of the night or making house calls with junk food and random office supplies at 3 a.m. 

The next hour or so was split between soaking up the sun, listening to Chelsea and Louis trade embarrassing stories about a few of Nick's failed hair experiments in his younger years, and childish water fights. After completely soaking the deck of the pool, Louis finally yells for a truce. Harry leaned against the side of the pool to catch his breath, as Louis swims up close to him. Leaning in close to Harry so that he can practically taste the Corona Louis was drinking, he drops his voice to a whisper, "on my mark, we go for Chelsea. She hates getting her hair wet." Harry chuckles quietly and nods his understanding as he tries and fails to suppress the shudder that ran through him at Louis' voice in his ear. And either Louis didn't notice, or he really was that good of an actor. Harry's previous chuckle quickly turns into full blown laughter as the two of them sneak up on the unsuspecting Chelsea and she squeaks about the cold water and the state of her hair. They managed to soak her enough that she was forced to join them in the water for a little revenge.

"Sooo," Louis sighs as the three of them relax on separate plastic floats, "how does one decide to get into such an annoying line of work such as public relations?" He's switched from sitting on his pizza float to a giant starfighter one — that unfortunately had a water gun attached to it and both Harry and Chelsea fell victim to it's water blast already.

The float squeaks as Harry adjusts his position on it and tries to turn the object so he's facing the pair across from him. "Well I flunked out of dental school and the PR classes were the only thing available at such a short notice—"

"Wait really...dental school?" Louis asks pausing his water attack on Chelsea. He looks like a child sitting atop his neon green and gray intergalactic blow up toy that's most definitely meant for small children and not grown adults.

"No, I was kidding," Harry laughs, "I wish I was even remotely smart enough to go to dental school. But I did randomly sign up for a PR class sophomore year, you were probably in high school, and I was just a natural at it." 

Louis doesn't talk for a minute or so which leads Harry to believe that he's not content with Harry's half-assed story. And not that he really needs to completely divulge his entire biography to basically strangers, Harry decides he might as well tell Louis a bit more about himself in hopes that it leads him to do the same.

"I uh, I graduated at the top of my class," Harry says continuing with one hand skimming the top of the water, the other resting on his stomach. "Immediately got an internship after. I originally wanted to work in music, but after doing two internships at firms that dealt with television I just decided to stay in that. Fast forward a few years and I've been with Elite since I was 25, so four years."

"You basically get the perks of fame without being famous," Chelsea chimes in from the bright pink flamingo.

"I guess, I mean I like being behind the scenes, and the benefits and traveling is great, but I don't really make a habit of hanging out in celebrities' pools."

Harry hears a scoff from where Louis is sitting so he kicks his foot out to splash water in his vicinity, "what? Too cool to consider yourself a celebrity?"

"No...nothing, so what's your family life like? Parents? Siblings?"

Harry's taken back by Louis' forwardness and curiosity. And as bad as it sounds, he's not sure if he's planning on using this information against him or genuinely wants to know about his life. Maybe it's protocol for him and he actually cares. He did mention something about a housekeeper named Rita and how he was sending her son, Ricky, a birthday present later this week. Or maybe he's going to kidnap his little sister and hold her hostage until Harry carries through with some ridiculous request.

"Mom, dad, sister," Harry answers splashing water onto his too-hot arms and legs. He was beginning to stick to the plastic, but figured the second he went underwater their conversation would be over and he wouldn't have the chance to ask the same questions. "Parents run a bakery together, mom does the bookkeeping and such, and my sister is in retail and runs a blog — she wants to oversee models and stuff when she gets out of college."

"Cool," the other two echo together.

"Also, speaking of, well not really, can you post some social stuff, you're lagging," Harry suggests pointing to the chaises where their phones are resting. 

"Are you on 24/7 or what?" Louis asks with a slight snip to his words. He nose dives off of his ship and into the water, emerging a moment later a few feet in front of Harry.

"Either that or wanna let me interrogate you?" Harry suggests. "Or is Wikipedia that accurate?"

Louis pulls himself out of the pool from the ledge while Harry's still talking. For being a fairly sedentary guy, the muscles in Louis' arms and back are more prominent as he'd imagine as he watches them work to lift Louis' body out of the water. 

Harry's not sure if Chelsea's perfectly timed cough is directed at his not-so-subtle staring, but he takes it as a sign to cool down and swim to the bottom of the pool for a moment. It's something he used to do as a child when there was too much going on around him. Sometimes the bottom of a pool felt the safest.

"Sports broadcasting," Louis says while Harry watches him type on his phone after he emerges from underwater and gets back on the raft.

"Huh?"

"I did musical theater, but it wasn't worth the torment. And I wanted to get into sports broadcasting when I was in high school. Played soccer, then got hurt basically at the beginning of freshman year so I started making Youtube videos highlighting games, but then it just turned into videos about whatever," Louis continues. he snaps a photo of himself sticking out his tongue, never looking over at Harry and just continuing to update his hundreds of thousands of followers. Harry could only imagine the insanity that would be his Instagram once he posted the photo — hell, his own brain was screaming things at him as he experienced all this in person.

"So where does Magnolia fall into this?"

"Matt saw my videos, and thought I'd be good on his new show, the rest is history or so they say." Louis sets his phone down and reaches for his cigarettes, but changes his mind the last second and grabs one of the scripts from the chair where Harry's stuff laid.

Harry jumps down from where he's sat, the water making a splash with his movement. He pulls himself out of the water and grabs one of the white towels. "I should probably head out, I have some reports to write up and shit to look at," he says drying himself off. "Take your time reading those over and we can discuss any issues, gimme a buzz whenever you're done."

Louis puts his pointer finger to a spot on the page and looks up at Harry. He takes a deep breath in, his smile reaching up his face to his crinkly eyes and relaxed brows. Even in the few hours today, Louis was surprising Harry with his attitude and demeanor. "Yeah, I will, thanks again."

 

 

 

Chapter Text

"That's a wrap!" Chris' voice echoes from his spot in front of the woodsy set in the studio. "We are finished filming!" A burst of cheers and screams start pinging off the walls around Harry as he looks up from the work he was doing on his computer. "Wrap party will be held at 208 Rodeo, we rented out the whole place so bring whoever you want, starts at 10 and dress casual."

"There will be a photographer there for a little," Glenne's voice comes next and it's more warning than casual. "So act accordingly until they leave," she adds with a small chuckle and everyone (including Harry) instinctively looks in Louis' direction.

"Piss off!" His tone is light, but still has a little kick to it.

Later that evening... 

Harry arrives at the restaurant around 10:20 after being stuck in traffic in an already 50 minute commute from his apartment. He couldn't wait to get inside and get himself a drink to combat the headache he's had from screaming at the stagnate cars on the freeway. Since he technically wasn't working, Harry gave himself a four drink rule for the night, that way he could still look professional and keep and eye on Louis in case he decided to scale the side of the building or set something on fire.

He can hear the thumping of music coming from the building as he makes his way up the forty or so steps, passing the photographer who is busy packing up his camera for the night. There's a woman dressed in all black with her hair pulled back so tightly Harry thinks her skin is going to rip off the bones in her face.

"Harry Styles," he says looking down at the metal clipboard in her palms. He watches her eye down the list then highlight his name and give him a yellow wristband then grants him access to the already full patio.

He recognizes most of the people there, and the ones he doesn't he assumes are significant others or friends. Inside the building, the lights are dim and all of the usual tables and chairs have been taken out of the small area and replaced with a few long tables garnished with an array of food. Waiters are walking around with trays of drinks and Harry grabs a fluke of champagne that has a slice of strawberry in it to start. It's probably a waste of a first drink, but he drinks it with a smile as the bubbles tickle his throat.

He walks over to one table and considers his food choices: there's a large colorful salad with heaps of veggies and what looks like quinoa, some crab beignets lay on a white plate next to it and a huge bowl of tortellini finishes off at the end of the table. Everything smells absolutely amazing as he starts filling a plate.

"They're filled with short rib and truffled butter," Louis' voice comes from behind Harry as he's mid-scoop in the tortellini.

The metal spoon clinks against the ceramic bowl as Harry's startled by Louis' presence. He lies it down gently and readjusts the small plate in his hand and grabs his glass. "Sounds delicious."

"Sir, can I take your coat?" a man's voice asks from Harry's right. He turns to see another waiter dressed in all black holding a hanger, "it gets warm in here quickly."

Harry nods and sets his food down on the edge of the table and shrugs off his black jacket. It's not like he's necessarily meaning to watch Louis' reaction, but he doesn't miss the way his eyes quickly scan from the hem of Harry's shirt up to the collar. 

"Too casual?" he asks adjusting the shirt better on his chest. He usually doesn't wear super-sheer things out, but it is L.A. and the middle of June, so he was pretty limited on clothing options.

"Um, no—not, no not at all," Louis replies immediately before taking a long swig of his drink.

"Cool, well I'm gonna go eat, so stay outta trouble," Harry smiles with a nudge to Louis' shoulder with his own and heading outside.

Nick—who must not have gotten the casual memo because he's dressed in a dark purple velvet jacket and paisley pants-finds Harry shortly after he's just finished clearing his plate and sets a beer down in front of him, "congrats!"

Harry quirks a brow at him and reaches for the cold glass and clinks it against Nick's raised one.

"You've survived until the hiatus, it's a great feat and I am proud," Nick smiles as he takes a gulp. "Also we're celebrating me!"

"Why's that? I thought this was about me?" Harry teases as the gold liquid reaches his lips. 

"NxG will be on Sephora store shelves within the next year," Nick says giddily. "Remember I said I had a plan B? I've been creating my own hair product line and it actually got picked up!"

"Holy shit that's amazing, Nick!" Harry says lunging across his chair and hugging him. "I will buy everything...no, I will buy five of everything!"

"As long as it's not the straightening stuff, can't lose those curls!" the man begs flicking a piece of Harry's hair.

Harry now understands why Nick has been calling his space in the studio his "lab" and he laughs to himself at his quirkiness. "If you're looking for a publicist..." Harry semi-jokes as they both continue to people watch and drink. He honestly would trade all of his current clients to work with Nick, he'd have way more fun.

"Aww how sweet of you," Nick says batting his eyelashes, "and here I was thinking I had to offer up sexual favors to get on your roster."

Harry barks out a loud laugh and covers his mouth with his hand. "Well in that case," he jokes pretending to unzip his pants. 

Nick laughs almost as loud as Harry previously did, causing a few partygoers to stare, "glad to know I was right."

"About?"

"Oh just—" Nick waves his hand up and down in front of Harry. 

"Ah, I know...Louis spilled the beans while I was trying to convince him not to start stripping for a bunch of gays," Harry chuckles. "I'm only slightly flattered that my sexuality is a hot topic."

"No, no, no, it's not like that," Nick says quickly and Harry's never seen his face look so upset and relieves Nick of his troubles.

"Ha— it's cool, really, just giving you a hard time."

"Speaking of hard times..."

"Oh lord."

Harry watches Nick's phone illuminate and his finger slides down the numbers for his passcode. "I've been getting sent dick pics and need a third opinion."

Before Harry can even protest or ask who the second opinion came from, he's met with a photo of a very large dick and a just-as-large hand wrapped around it. He puts his hand over the side of the phone to shield it from prying eyes and laughs, "I mean, it's impressive..."

"But doesn't it almost look like an eggplant? Like it's also all for show and has no purpose," Nick huffs reaching over and sliding the screen to the next photo, "now this one, oh boy, I like him."

"May I ask..." Harry says looking up from the second photo—which yes, was a far prettier dick than the first—"is this just for sex or?"

"100%, I mean, I'm not much of the relationship type. I thought you were going to ask why I have dick pics saved on my phone."

"Don't we all?" Harry states matter-of-factly as he grabs his glass to finish off his beer. He burps quietly and hovers his thumb above the phone screen.

"You clearly need to own up to this statement now. Let me see!" Nick yells grabbing Harry's phone off the table.

Harry watches Nick frown as he realizes Harry's phone is locked. "Second guy for sure," Harry says grabbing his phone and giving Nick his. "You can last more than a round."

"Are you insinuating I bottom?" Nick huffs. "Aren't we a little more confident when we've been drinking Mr. Styles."

Harry smirks as he flicks his thumb quickly over the numbers 3-5-7-8, "I wasn't insinuating or assuming anything, just from experience, it takes bigger guys a little longer for the next round."

"Sureee. Now hand 'em over, wha'd'we have?"

Harry definitely isn't the type to save X-rated photos to his phone, he just has yet to clean up his camera roll...or something like that.

"My. My. Who is this and is he single still?" Nick says licking his lips once Harry gives him his phone. Nick immediately uses his thumb and first finger to zoom in and out.

"He is single, but lives in New York," Harry replies. "He's a dick though."

"Well with a dick like that, I mean, who cares about personality."

"I really should introduce you two," Harry says only half-kidding. "That's all she wrote, I don't have a folder like you."

"I'll have you know..." Nick starts but is cut off by the clinking of a knife against a glass and the music abruptly stopping.

"Could we get everyone out here please?" Chris shouts to the people who are already outside.

Harry watches more people shuffle out to the already small and crowded area. Him and Nick stand up to make some more room for others. He scans the area to make sure Louis hadn't disappeared but sees him next to Cara and Glenne.

"I just wanted to thank everyone for their hard work and dedication on Magnolia, I know that the hiatus was sort of last minute, but everyone pulled through," Chris says with a smile as he raises his glass higher. "As most of you know, I was honored with directing the film Seeker, which our very own Niall Horan will star in!" A thunder of applause engulfs the patio and people holler and raise their glasses to the two men and Harry watches Niall get pushed up to the front with Chris.

"Very excited to film this, and finally get out of that fucking uniform," Niall laughs loudly and others follow. 

"It's always a pleasure to have everyone on set, and I wish everyone well until we come back — hopefully!" Chris says, "cheers, now let's get drunk!"

An hour or so after Chris' speech Harry's riding a pretty good buzz from whatever concoction Nick handed him after Harry told him about his four drink rule. He vaguely remembers Nick saying something about, "you never said how big or strong the drinks had to be." 

To get rid of the slightly foul taste in his mouth, Harry heads for the bar to get a glass of water when he notices Louis and Niall talking, for a second he's glad to see them engaging in conversation, but the minute that thought crosses his mind, Louis stomps off from where he's standing and heads in the same direction as Harry: to the bar.

While Harry orders a water with lime, he watches Louis grab a shot of something dark from the bartender and throw into to the back of his throat, "cheers," Louis says putting the glass down and pushing away from the bar and toward the patio. 

Harry doesn't follow Louis, he feels like he's been taking good care of himself all night, so Harry has tried to make it a point to ease up on constantly checking in. Louis deserved a night of just fun. But he is a little worried with how tense Louis looked and hoped whatever was going on wouldn't escalate anymore.

It's not until he hears Louis' distinctive voice bellowing from a corner of the patio that Harry takes action to see what's going on. Just from the past 30 or so minutes Louis looks increasingly more intoxicated than when Harry last saw him. His shirt is untucked from his pants and there's a wet spot on the left side of his chest. He's yelling at an otherwise timid Cara who's holding an empty glass in her left hand.

"Okay, you've had enough," Harry yells as he pushes his way toward the pair. "Time to go home." Louis only fights Harry a little, struggling to get out of the hold he has on his biceps. "The fuck is wrong with you?"

"It's fine." Louis and Cara say one after another.

"Either way, you're done, let's walk down the steps without breaking our necks okay?" Harry wanted to get Louis out of any sort of compromising situation since he had an audition is a few days. Even though he worked with these people every day, he didn't want to risk a photo or video coming out of Louis being a jerk. Plus he wanted to get home too and this was a perfect excuse to leave. He really was turning into an old man.

He doesn't want to press while they walk down the steep steps and Louis gives up on resisting Harry after about the 15th step. Harry bites his tongue from scolding him knowing it could only make things worse. He's upset with Louis not because he started something again, but because he gives Harry so much hope that his reputation was just a fluke, that people were exaggerating his behavior. Harry has seen Louis happy and normal, and he didn't like seeing this Louis, and part of him thought, Louis didn't like this version either.

"You sure that you're okay?" Harry asks as Louis gets into the cab. Louis just nods and pops a "yep" and Harry decides not to press any further — it just wasn't worth it. He knows Louis' still a little sensitive about Niall getting the movie role. He can hardly imagine how he must felt watching him with Chris when it could have been himself. "Get some water when you get home and just sleep all day, I'll take care of everything here."

One night later...

Harry starts to get nervous after he hasn't heard from Louis for the past day. He knows the show is on hiatus, but he'll usually get some sort of snarky text or updates on his whereabouts from other sources. Since getting him in a cab at the party, Harry hasn't heard a word.

He decides to give in and be the overbearing mother type and give him a call hoping that he answers.

"I was just thinking, did you wanna go over your script before your audition on Friday?" Harry asks Louis after they exchange greetings. He's a little surprised that Louis even answered the phone in the first place. "I can come over in like an hour?"

Louis' silent for a beat until his casual tone let's Harry know that might be a little tough, "I'm in San Fran actually."

"What the hell are you doing in San Fran? You have an audition in two days!" Harry yells into the phone all regards for being calm thrown out the window. He can instantly feel his blood pressure more than double as he becomes more furious as the seconds tick by. Granted it wasn't that far away, but Harry had no idea how long Louis planned on staying there.

"I was craving oysters," Louis says as if it's completely okay for him to go that far for food.

"Do you plan on coming back anytime soon?" Harrys tries to ask calmly, but he's still yelling. He's already put the phone between his ear and shoulder and Googling potential hotels in that Louis could be at.

"I dunno," Louis says and then the line goes dead.

"Son of a bitch!" Harry screams, his throat scratching as he jumps off his couch and throws his cell onto the cushion. He could not deal with Louis being this unpredictable — it had become a never ending cycle and he sort of understood why some people couldn't handle the job. But Harry wasn't like everyone else, he didn't give up and he wasn't about to let Louis take him on this stupid cat and mouse chase. He blames himself for getting too comfortable around Louis, let him feel like it was easy to play him. Harry had to forget any small sliver of friendship and make sure Louis realized he was in charge. 

Harry's narrowed it down to four hotels that he thinks Louis would be at and he's called all of them with either no luck or the worker couldn't divulge the information. He realizes his mistake as he calls Vitale for the second time.

A peppy woman's voice answers this time, and Harry's glad that it sounds like a different woman than when he first called, "Hotel Vitale, this is Alanea speaking how may I help you?" 

"Hi, um...my uh, my boyfriend was supposed to check in already today, could I see if that happened yet?"

"Of course sir, could I have the name on the reservation?"

"It's," Harry lets out a short laugh through his nose as he eyes his stack of DVDs and the imaginary lightbulb goes off above his head, "Dawson, Jack Dawson." 

He hears the woman's nails clicking on the keyboard of the computer not even recognizing the name, "Ah yes, he checked into a terrace studio very early this morning. Does that all sound correct and would you like me to forward the call to the room?"

"Sounds right, and that won't be necessary, I'll be there shortly." 

If Harry wasn't so pissed off at Louis he'd laugh about his alias, he'd be sure to make fun of him for it at the appropriate time. In the meantime, he had to pack a bag and get his ass on the next flight to San Fransisco. 

11 am the next morning...

Harry manages to get on a 9:30 am plane the next morning and is in San Fransisco in a little over an hour, granted this wasn't the biggest deal, but he knew if he didn't go get Louis he would most certainly miss his audition tomorrow. He composes himself enough by the time he sees the front of the hotel and is confident in bullshitting his way into Louis' room.

He walks up to the desk, smiling fondly at the dark woman behind the long desk who greets him with a hello.

"I talked to a lovely girl yesterday, Alanea, she was helping me surprise my boyfriend," Harry smiles through his lie. "Would I be able to get a key to his room?"

She hesitates for a beat so Harry gives her his best smile and a wink until she finally asks the name again. Three minutes later Harry's riding in the elevator to the seventh floor with a room key tucked into the back pocket of his denim shorts.

Since he's not a complete asshole, Harry knocks a few times on the door and waits. He repeats his actions again and is met with silence. He deems it okay to use the key after five minutes pass.

Harry's a little surprised that Louis opted for one of the more modest of the hotel's room selections, and was glad he didn't walk in on him sleeping — he imagined Louis would have thrown something very heavy at his head resulting in a hospital bill. There was a king size bed against the wall — it was made, which let Harry assume his room had already been cleaned because lord knows Louis didn't make it. Four white chairs sat in front of it on a raised dark oak platform and a large floor to ceiling window that overlooked the bay provided a soft glow across the whole room. 

He dropped his bag on one of the chairs and slumped down onto another. He didn't really have a game plan and honestly assumed Louis would be here and he would just drag his ass back to L.A. with or without him kicking and screaming. Now he just had to wait and hope that Louis would return soon. It's not like he could really go out looking for Louis. There were myriad places he could be and calling him would be useless. So waiting was definitely his best option — it also gave him plenty of time to think about how he would handle this without making Louis lose it on him.

After what felt like seven hours of waiting (it was maybe 45 minutes to an hour), Harry got bored and fidgety and needed to do something, anything. Against his better judgement, he decided to snoop. It really just started with the bathroom when he went to pee, he peered into the small black leather bag on the counter that held a few products like face wash, floss and a 1.7 oz bottle of Grey Vetiver — which Harry clearly had to smell and then put back just as he had found it.

When he exited the bathroom, Harry noticed Louis' weekender was sitting at the end of the bed and it was sort of just wide open and the script was right on top—honestly, he just wanted to look at the script to see if Louis had made any notes or had and questions so he could be prepared to play the role of Louis' agent and work things out with the director. 

But when he grabs the script something else catches his eye, "oh shit!" Harry yips squeezing his eyes shut. He can feel the heat of embarrassment creep up his neck to his cheeks as he tries to pretend that he didn't just see what he thinks he saw. He cautiously peeks one eye open while the other one clenches the script — undoubtedly wrinkling it.

"Yep, yep, that's totally, yep, fuck," Harry says shutting his eyes again and putting the script back inside Louis' bag. He takes about 50 deep breaths as he tries to get his heartbeat back to a normal pace and wills his brain to forget everything from the past 20 seconds.

He now had an even bigger problem on his hands: How was he supposed to confront Louis about running off to San Fran when all he could think about were the fucking lilac lace panties he had just seen in his bag?! This was so not good, like not good for anyone involved whatsoever. Harry curses himself for snooping and tries to put everything back as if he didn't get the urge to go through Louis' things. That was so wrong of him and he knows karma just had to bite him in the ass. Speaking of asses, Louis ass probably looks amazing in—stop.

Sitting alone in a hotel room that wasn't his Harry had just come to the realization that he most definitely wanted to see Louis in those, and no part of him wasn't even rationalizing with what he saw — he had no doubts that they were absolutely one-hundred percent his. He sighs into the comfy chair and rubs his eyes with the knuckles of his thumbs trying to get the image out of his head. He'd barely been there a few hours and he's already made things a mess. Just when he was going to get up and leave as if he never stepped foot into the room, the door clicks open.

Louis' humming a song to himself and takes about ten steps into the room before he realizes he's not alone.

"Jesus fucking Christ!" Louis yells jumping back when he notices Harry's presence in the room, "what the fuck are you doing here?"

"I"m sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," Harry says slowly getting to his feet. He's being cautious the way you would if you'd just seen a venomous snake a meter away from you, he even instinctively put his hands out as he stood, not trying to make any sudden movement that would provoke the angry man in front of him.

"You don't just barge into someone's room uninvited," Louis yells throwing his wallet and phone onto the bed with one hand while his other rakes through his hair. He's wearing heather grey shorts, the bow of the strings is lopsided and loose, and the grey v-neck from the movie premiere Harry had picked out for him—it was only a borrowed piece, and Harry is praying Louis didn't accidentally steal it.

"You don't just fuck off to San Fran when you have an audition in," Harry looks at his watch, "27 hours. The hell were you thinking?" Harry says exasperated. Every time he thought he was getting ahead, Louis pulled him back 20 steps. It's like no matter what he tried, no matter how happy Louis seemed, he was always going to manage to make things difficult. Harry couldn't decide if it was self-sabotage or what.

"So I'm under house arrest now?" Louis yells kicking off his black Vans and stalking off to the mini fridge where he takes out a bottle of water. "I have to stay confined to my fucking house and can't fucking take a day to travel somewhere?"

"You can't seriously have come all the way here for food," Harry sighs adjusting his shirt as he stay planted in his spot. "I know that's not why you ran away."

"So now I'm a runaway?" Louis huffs an amused breath through his nose and rolls his eyes, "what am I 12?"

Harry watches Louis walk closer to him and sit on the furthest white chair. He pops his left ankle over his right knee bouncing his leg and drinks from the bottle. He doesn't make eye contact with Harry, but Harry keeps his gaze on him.

"Actually from experience, you're acting more like a moody 15-year-old," Harry says lightly to help clear some of the tension. He watches the corners of Louis' lips turn up slightly as he takes another sip of water.

"How the hell you'd get in here anyway? How'd you find me?"

"Well, Jack, it was pretty easy," Harry laughs with a cocky grin plastered on his face as if he had just cracked the DaVinci Code. Louis' cheeks immediately turn a light shade of pink and his eyes dart down to the creme carpet. "I thought it was actually kinda endearing that you use that name," Harry says with a softer tone to his voice when he realizes Louis' actually embarrassed that Harry figured it out.  

Louis gets to his feet without looking at Harry and walks to the sliding door and onto the small terrace. Harry feels a rush of warm air hit his bare legs and he scratches the hair as the scent of nicotine quickly fills his nose. He planned on changing out of his shorts and plain tee into a more professional outfit before seeing Louis, but the timing obviously didn't work out. Not like Louis would have taken him any more seriously if he sat on the chair in a suit. He probably would have been more annoyed if that happened.

"So you wanna talk about it? Or do you usually just... I dunno, smoke and drink away your problems?" It wasn't meant to come out as a jab and Harry hopes Louis didn't take it as such, he couldn't tell from where he was sitting if his body was still tense. "Do you need a hug?"

Louis laughs through the words "Don't fucking touch me" when Harry decides to get up and invade Louis' personal space. Clearly playing bad cop was not working out for him as much as he'd like it to.

"Oh come on," Harry laughs pulling Louis into him. Louis remains stiff with his hands by his sides and Harry cackles out a laugh as he squeezes him, "Louis, this is a hug, okay? And this is when you hug somebody—"

"Are you quoting Boy Meets World?" Louis interrupts.

"I might be," Harry says releasing Louis so he can resume smoking and sulking, but he has a small smile on his face and Harry pokes his bicep with his pointer finger. "I see that smile," he sing-says and Louis rolls his eyes for the second time and turns away from Harry to lean against the railing and blow out smoke. His hip is cocked out just enough that Harry thinks he's intentionally wanting Harry to stare — he does, but quick enough that Louis hopefully doesn't get the satisfaction to know it.

"Still mad at you," Louis mumbles as he stubs out his cigarette. "Scared the shit outta me."

"I'm the one who should be mad. I had to come all the way out here to get you. Coulda spent my day relaxing at home ya know," Harry retorts. He really isn't terribly upset, just annoyed that Louis is still running off and still hasn't opened up to Harry especially when all he's been trying to do is help him.

Harry follows Louis back inside and shuts the glass door. He takes his seat back on the chair and Louis does the same as he picks at the label on his water bottle. "Niall was a fucking prick last night and I guess it just got to me," Louis finally says. Harry puts his full attention on Louis, nodding for him to continue if he wanted.

"He somehow heard about the audition...just got in my head I guess and then Cara said some shit, but not in a mean way, I dunno, it was dumb. I haven't auditioned for something in over a year," Louis gives up on the label and sets the bottle in his lap and slouches down into the chair. "I needed to clear my head, and I dunno, figure shit out. Didn't want to embarrass anyone."

"Who would you embarrass? You're a great actor, this audition will be cake," Harry encourages. Louis still hasn't figured out that Harry picked these two roles for a reason.

"But what if it's not? Then I make us both look bad, after everything you did." Louis looks up at Harry from where he's staring and he has a legitimate frown on his face. It almost takes everything in him not to leap out of his chair and hug Louis again — this would definitely result in bodily harm.

"The only way you could ever embarrass me or anybody else at your audition is by not showing up," Harry corrects him. And it's true, not showing up is a million times worse than completely bombing the audition — something Harry is confident that Louis won't do. "You know, I was offered about six roles for you, but only these two screamed your name and I'm no agent, but I'm pretty sure you're exactly what they're looking for."

Louis' face remains unbroken and Harry couldn't get a read on him as he went back to playing with his water bottle. He gets up moments later, Harry follows his with his eyes as he goes to his bag. Harry's heart jumps for a brief second as Louis rifles through his belongings, "I'm gonna smoke, you're more than welcome to stay...or go," Louis says pulling out a cosmetics bag like the one in the bathroom then pulling a tupperware container out of it.

"I'm not like a prude you know," Harry says defensively. "But I do need to get you on a plane tonight, so don't spend the whole day getting high." Harry gets to his feet and grabs his own bag. "Can I use your shower?"

"Don't have your own room?"

"No reason to. It's fine I'll just wait till we get—"

"Go ahead, I'll be outside." Louis grabs the container (and the script) and walks back to the door and Harry walks in the opposite direction to the shower. He doesn't really need to take one, but he has the feeling Louis doesn't really want him around at the moment and thought it best to distance himself, but not enough that Louis'll run off.

After he gets out of the shower, Harry uses his phone to book their returning flight back to L.A. — it costs him an arm and a leg, but he has no other choice.  At least that much has been taken care of, all that's left is getting Louis to the airport. At this point he'd honestly just rent a car and shove Louis in the trunk for the five hour drive — he's willing to do it if he won't go to the airport on his own free will.

"We fly out at 11 tonight," Harry says sticking his head outside the glass door. Louis' got his feet up on a small wooden table and he's slouched low in a matching wooden chair — all Harry can really see is the top of his head and smoke rising up.

The strong smell takes Harry back to college and the random times Liam wanted to look cool and impress people by pulling out his stash. He was far from being anti-drug and drug-free, not really minding if the people he worked with or knew used — as long as they showed up on time and did their job, he didn't really care what they did in their free time. He was more impressed that Louis had the balls to travel with it and even get it past security. 

Harry takes a seat in the chair next to Louis and props his legs up on the table to match his posture. He pulls his wet hair into a sloppy bun at the crown of his head and presses his back into the chair. "Have you memorized your lines?" he asks after a few moments of silence.

"You're not going to believe me, but this is a time machine," Louis replies. "Not as cool as the Tardis, though."

Harry looks over to him with a pleased smile, "is this Dave or Dale?"

"Dale, he's sort of a pussy in the beginning," Louis extends the hand holding his spliff and Harry takes it and puts it to his lips. "He does get more awesome though and way more badass."

"The first movie always does that, gotta get to know the character," Harry takes another hit after his first then gives it back to Louis who has a confused look on his face. "Don't you read any of my emails? Timeflies is scheduled to have two parts — as long as the first movie does well of course. Also..." Harry says the last word loudly as if he was offended, "I'd be a pussy too if I had just found out the necklace my granddad gave me could transport me to different eras, messing with time is tricky, you could like bring back the dinosaurs," Harry deadpans.

Louis lets out a deep belly laugh like a hyena and Harry swears he even hears a snort, too. Looking at him makes it even worse and Louis' almost crying he's laughing so hard as his face reddens the less air he's taking in.

"What?" Harry asks watching him, he lets out his own chuckle as a result of how contagious Louis' laugh is to his ears. He's already feeling the effect of the weed after not smoking in so long and he's enjoying the fluttery feeling in his stomach that it's bringing him.

"You...just...dinosaurs..." Louis tries to say, but he's laughing too hard. "You sounded so fucking serious about bringing back dinosaurs," he finally gets out in one breath and continues to laugh loudly.

"Have you not seen Jurassic Park? Don't fuck with them man," Harry grins as Louis passes him the shrinking spliff and Harry takes the final hit after asking Louis if he was sure he didn't want it.

"I like a looser you," Louis smiles.

"Bro, I'm always loose, you running away just gives me agita." This elicits another cackle from Louis and Harry shakes his head at his absurdity. He's coming to the conclusion that Louis does this all on purpose, just to piss him off and he's actually a really nice guy deep down. "You want me to leave so you can gather your thoughts? I'll go grab food or something."

"Munchies, eh?"

"Maybe," Harry says shyly. He also hasn't eaten since the previous night and it was nearing 2 pm, but details, who needed those?!

"If you insist, grab me a burger or something," Louis says sitting up in his chair and going back into his container.

"You're more than welcomed to join, just figured I've been up your ass this whole time," Harry silently laughs at his wording and doesn't miss Louis' quick brow raise as he licks a paper. Harry shakes his head and rolls his eyes as he gets out of the chair. 

Twenty minutes later, Harry knocks on the door lightly but Louis doesn't answer so he uses his stolen key. He hopes Louis likes Taco Bell because that was the closest and quickest to the hotel, he basically bought the entire menu so they had enough to choose from. He can hear the shower running as he steps in further and sets the bag on the desk against the wall. He almost drops his Baja Blast when his ears pick up the sounds coming from the bathroom. He sets it down gently on the table and takes a breath, pointing his head toward the closed bathroom door to listen better.

Harry shakes his head assuming he's just hearing things when the only sound is the water, but then another unmistakable groan ricochets off the white tile and through the door to where Harry is standing stunned.

"Shit," Harry says the same time Louis lets out a soft, "fucck."

He grabs the bags and drink again and retreats toward the door, his feet stumbling back as the "uh, uh, uh, tsss," grow louder and irregular. Harry can hear his ears burning as he digests the sounds.

He's not sure how to feel right now, on one hand he's absolutely mortified that he's witnessing this especially since Louis is his client, but on another hand, he wants to drop everything and bust through the bathroom door and shove Louis up against the wall and give him a hand or two. It must still be the weed he tries to defend his thoughts as he quietly steps outside the hotel room and slide down to sit next to the door.

He waits a safe ten minutes before knocking on the door. This time Louis answers, his hair is still wet, but at least he has clothes on. He grabs a bag from Harry and brings it to his nose breathing in, "fuck yes, eating all of this." He turns on his feet and walks over to the table and starts taking the food out. "You know," Louis says looking up at Harry while he sips his drink in the doorway. "You really should learn to use coasters," he smirks. Harry's eyes dart down to where Louis is wiping a wet spot off of the table with the side of his hand. "The water pressure on that shower is insane though, right?" Harry's drink most definitely almost slips entirely out of his hand this time.

Harry doesn't say anything and just gulps, trying to erase the redness creeping up his neck and cheeks, the color rising as he watches Louis open his mouth and take a bite of what looks like the chicken burrito he bought. Louis was making such a show out of biting into it that Harry almost thinks he meant to get caught. Now yet again, Harry found himself in the middle of one of Louis' twisted games.

That night...

Harry feels himself drifting off to sleep the moment he sits down on the plane and he's pretty sure he passes out before they even went over the safety instructions. But he could basically repeat it verbatim. Blah, blah, blah exits in rows 13, put your mask on before those around you, life vest under your seat, etcetera. He was pretty certain anyway that Louis would drown him to survive if it came to it so none of this really mattered.

Almost instantaneously, there's warm breath on his neck and a hand creeping up his thigh under the blanket draped across him and Harry curves his body in closer, "follow my lead," Louis voice whispers into his hair. Harry feels him squeeze his thigh then slide out of his seat and walk toward the bathroom. Harry stretches and covertly walks in the same direction and taps on the locked door with two knuckles.

He's quickly pulled inside the small area and Louis' lips are on his while he's being pushed to sit on the seat of the toilet. Harry grabs Louis' hips and pulls him onto his lap, his fingers making their way to the top of his sweatpants. Louis groans in approval and Harry's hand disappear under the soft material where he feels the rougher texture of lace.

"Wearing them for me?" Harry whispers into Louis' collarbone, biting down hard into his tan skin, "wanna see."

"Patience baby," Louis nudges Harry's head up so they can kiss, it's warm and wet and Harry presses his tongue into Louis' mouth feverishly. "Don't have much time," Harry pants in rebuttal.

Harry quickly lifts off from where he's sitting and turns so Louis can sit and he drops to the ground pulling down Louis' pants in the process. Louis puts his hands in Harry's hair and shoves his face down, Harry licks his lips and listens to Louis say his name.

"Harry, Harry...."

"HARRY!"

Harry's body jolts from its position curled up in his seat and he slams his head into the little T.V. on the back of the chair in front of him. 

"We landed like ten minutes ago. Only ones left on the damn plane," Louis says straddling Harry's calves and pushing himself over Harry's body into the aisle.

Harry blinks the sleep out of his eyes and wipes the spit from his mouth trying to get back to reality. It takes him all but a minute to realize exactly what had just happened and he quickly tries to surreptitiously sneak a peek at what's going on below his belt.

"Happens to the best of us, no one's looking...but me of course, now hurry up, I have an audition in," Louis looks at his wrist where this is no watch,  "12 hours," Louis gives a half-suppressed laugh as he grabs his bag from the overhead compartment and makes his way to the front of the plane.

Harry lets out a defeated groan adjusting his dick enough that it's not entirely offending anyone and grabs his bag from under the seat. He mutters a "have a good night" to the attendant and jogs off the plane to catch up with Louis.

Liamliamliamliam Harry types as he makes his way down the tarmac.

Its almost 1 this btter be good

remember the pact we made to not humiliate each other when we have embarrassing things to say??

mhm...what happened?

i just got a stiffy on a plane w/a client

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH

fuck u

"I parked if you just want me to drop you?" Harry offers to Louis once he caught up to him. The terminal is mostly empty and it's eerily quiet except for the sounds of shoes and suitcases rolling on the linoleum.

"Sure, sounds great. Gonna take a piss real quick," Louis says walking toward the bathroom. Harry looks back at his phone to see a new text from Liam.

I'm sorry u woke me up i had 2 laugh. was it louis bc HAHA 

yeah unfortunately. He was also the reason it happened

Harry's phone rings a second later.

"What?" Liam yells on the other end and he sounds pretty alert for just being woken up.

"It just sort of happened, it was only a dream," Harry whispers as he glances nervously around himself. "I had to tell someone."

"I knew it, you totally like him," Liam hollers. "Rule number one though."

"Rule number one doesn't apply. It was just a dream. I gotta go he's coming out of the bathroom."

Harry hangs up and stuffs his phone in his pocket as Louis walks out of the bathroom, wiping his hands on his shorts.

Thankfully, the drive to Louis' isn't as awkward as it should be since Louis immediately fell back to sleep once getting in the car and he was too out of it when Harry pulled into his driveway to even start harassing Harry about what happened.

That afternoon...

Harry feels more nervous than Louis as they make their way to his audition. While Louis is cool, calm and collected sitting in the passenger's seat of Harry's car, Harry is vigorously tapping on the steering wheel and fidgeting in his seat like he has ants in his pants.

It's even worse when Louis is brought into the room with the casting directors. Harry stood right outside the door, pacing the hallway talking to himself. Completely giving up on distracting himself with music or his Blackberry. He probably looks more like a worried dad than an A-list publicist. He just wanted Louis to land this role — he deserved it.

The door opens and Harry's heart almost jumps out of his chest. Louis doesn't emerge yet, but the woman looks around and calls for one of the other actors who Harry had seen earlier. Once he's been found, that guy walks into the room and the door is shut again.

Finally, after maybe thirty minutes, Louis emerges from the room, with no telling signs on his face about what had happened. Harry doesn't ask as they walk back to his car, Louis only says he thinks it went well and they settle into their seats.

Five minutes later Louis' phone rings.

"Harry, stop the car," Louis yells once he hangs up, "stop the god damn car!"

Harry looks in his mirrors and pulls over, a few cars honking at him as he does it, "what? What?" Harry yells back when Louis practically flings himself out of the rolling car. Harry turns the engine off and jumps out, making sure not to get hit by any oncoming traffic.

"I got the fucking part, I got it, that was, that was— I got it!" Louis screams as he jumps up and down and pummels Harry with a hug. Harry laughs and hugs back as they stumble across the shoulder of the road.

"Fuck yes!" Harry yells over the sounds of the zooming cars, "I knew it!"

"They didn't want to audition anyone else, fuck, I got it!" Louis says stunned, his jaw basically sweeping the asphalt. "Thank you, this is all thanks to you, fuck thank you."

Harry wants to say it's my job, but he decides on, "you're welcome, and it was all you, Louis," instead.

Harry knew from this moment on, everything would be different — this role was a game changer.

Two weeks later...

“So you've gotten quite a few magazine spread offers, we can definitely do all of them if you want, but if there's one or two you want to do more than the others, I'm more than happy to just focus on those.”

Louis' looking at the printed paper that Harry handed him of the long list of proposals. They range from publications like Cosmopolitan to Entertainment Weekly.

Ever since he landed the role in Timeflies all eyes in the entertainment industry have been on him. Even though the movie won't come out until late next year, the buzz had already been growing — which was amazing. Apparently it was still controversial for one of the leads in a movie to be gay and everyone wanted to pick Louis' brain to see how he was preparing for the role. If Harry had a dollar for every time he got an email from an editor asking for a quote, he could retire to Cabo by now.

“Out Magazine,” Louis says handing the page back. “They'll get the better exclusives, whatever they need.”

Harry smiles and folds the paper up, sticking it in his leather case. “I'll let the editor know today, they'll be stoked. Ready for your first photo shoot in what? A year?”

“I better start that juice cleanse,” Louis winks getting up from his seat. The restaurant they were at was starting to get busy for the lunch rush and it was probably better that they left before anyone spotted Louis.

“I think you should also do the one-pager for GQ entertainment and the Buzzfeed video — it'll be like two minutes max, just a goofy interview,” Harry adds as he grabs his card back from the waitress.

“Sure, I'm down,” Louis smiles. "I trust your judgement."

 

The day of the shoot starts at 7 am — or should have started that early, but it too almost an hour and a half to wake Louis up. Thankfully they didn't have to be at the venue until 9:30 so when they roll up in a black SUV at 9:20, the photographer and editor are still all smiles.

The studio they're in is one Harry's never been to before, but he already likes the vibe. It's very industrial, and not as stuffy as most of the ones he's been in. He also likes that there isn't a staff of fifty people who are catering to them — and Louis also didn't want another fifty showing up with the two of them. Louis immediately greets everyone on set and asks how they're doing, and Harry follows.

The editor, Luke, is a taller guy with dark brown hair and square black glasses and a cigarette tucked behind his ear (Harry is certain it's just for show). “I'll take you over to wardrobe, we want to do like four or five looks and then we can break between for the interview or do it after.”

“I'd say after,” Harry says, “better to just do the photos first, but feel free to chat between, I'll let you know what's on and off the record.”

They follow Luke to the back of the studio where there are five racks of clothes lined up. Harry had already approved a few broad looks prior to the day while giving them his measurements, but Louis had told him that he was game for anything and wanted to be surprised.

“So since it's a sci-fi film we wanted to do one futuristic look, but then everything else can be pretty laid back,” the stylist whose name Harry didn't catch says.

“Like a sexy Doctor Who?” Louis laughs trying out his best blue steel pout. "You must have read the script."

“Definitely like that,” she laughs grabbing a few things off the rack.

Harry watches Louis grab a pair of blue patent leather Vans and quickly kicks off his own shoes, “these for sure,” he says sliding his bare feet in. “These are fuckin' sick.”

“There's literally a $1,200 pair of Givenchy boots and you choose the $60 Vans,” the stylist laughs. “We'll work around the shoes then.”

“H...any choices?” Louis asks. Harry looks up from his Blackberry and cocks his head to the side.

“Oh, um,” Harry is thrown off by Louis wanting to include him in his wardrobe. “How about the John Varvatos sweater?”

Harry watches Louis' fingers dance over the hangers, “two to the right,” Harry laughs when Louis' unsure of what he's talking about. “The blue long sleeve one.” Louis grabs it and pulls it out, putting it to his chest and gives Harry a thumbs up.

“Oh! This will go perfectly with the Gucci striped suit, and the Vans just add that laid-back cool vibe. Amazing,” the stylish squeals grabbing the clothes. “Follow me.”

Louis comes out about thirty minutes later dressed with his hair and makeup done and the clothes fit him like a glove. It's almost unbelievable to see him dressed so nicely since Harry is used to his uniform of sweats and bare feet.

He walks a few paces behind Louis, the stylist and the editor just so he can take everything in. And by everything he most certainly means the way the trousers are hugging Louis' body. It was quite the sight.

The part of the studio they're in now is meant to resemble the motherboard of a computer, they've brought in tons of wires and computer parts with blinking lights and scrolling marquees filled with ones and zeros.

Before Louis steps onto the set, he plugs his personal phone into to speakers and music fills the room as he dances his way (even adding a spin) to the x on the floor that marks where he should stand first.

Harry has yet to see Louis in this setting and he's blown away how he quickly changes from his usual self into a model. He's heard of famous people being able to turn on and off their star quality, vividly remembering Marilyn Monroe's famous video doing just that. But this was something else. Harry literally blinks and the guy in front of him completely transforms from the Louis he knows into Louis Tomlinson The Actor/Model. He's now smirking into the lens sending a coy smile that will make every reader sweat just a little bit more.

Harry doesn't feel his own shirt sticking to his back until Louis takes the striped jacket off — the thin cashmere sweater is just sheer enough that when the photographer's shutter snaps, he can see the skin of Louis' chest poking through the blue fabric on the computer screen to his right where every photo pops up.

The song changes, and Louis moves around the set and picks up some of the props and poses like he's been in front of the camera his whole life. He's given more in this past hour than Harry's seen from him on set of his show the past few months. Harry was so happy to see Louis like this, and he had a feeling Louis was just as excited to not be seen as a teenager.

Harry helps himself to one of the two dozen bottles of Evian on the table and drinks most of the bottle in a handful of seconds as he takes a break to sit. He lets Luke casually chat to Louis and goes back to the work he was doing on his phone. He has dozens of inquiries about various editors getting time to talk to Louis. Those that only require an email interview, Harry types out himself in his best Louis-esque tone and carries on with the next email.

It was nice that his phone was actually blowing up with emails and calls, usually he has to reach out to the publications to beg for time. He knew he was doing his job correctly—and well—when it started happening the other way around. This was such a good sign. Harry was determined to use his new star power to secure his career, rather than only capitalizing on short-lived proposals while he was the current "it guy" — he was going to make this long-lasting for Louis, as well as his own career.

“We're going to move into one of the other rooms,” the photographer directs his words to Harry, “there's a really cool wall in there covered in stickers that I want to shoot him against.”

Harry gets up from his spot and when he looks up, he almost chokes on his spit when he sees the second look Louis' been put in.

He's barefoot and wearing very, very revealing short white shorts that are cuffed to fall barely a quarter down his thick thighs and a women's Alexander McQueen sweater that only lands right above his belly button. Harry scrubs his left hand down his right cheek and mouth and quietly screams, “oh my god” into his palm when Louis stands a few inches from the wall and lifts his left arm to rest his fingers into his perfectly tousled hair showing off his entire belly. Harry's eyes are glued firstly to the dark ink of his hip tattoos that starkly contrast against his tan skin and the whiteness of the shorts — he doesn't dare to let his eyes fall even further down. Harry wills his eyes to move up Louis' faintly defined abs where he catches him staring into the camera with his best bedroom eyes. After a few clicks of the flash, Louis darts his gaze over the photographer's shoulder and smirks at Harry with a quick, but effective bite to his lip. The temperature in the room most definitely just went up about ten degrees.

“I love how confident you are, Louis,” the photographer gushes as he directs Louis to straddle a chair that's back is facing forward and lean over it with his hands in a "come here" position. “It usually takes way longer for most actors to feel this comfortable knowing the audience of this magazine.”

Louis lets out a chuckle and gets up to go back to the sticker-covered wall, pressing his back against it while tucking one thumb into the shorts and biting his lower lip. He pulls them down about half an inch and Harry's about 90% sure he's not going to make it out of this shoot alive.

“Can I post a behind-the-scenes photo on my Instagram?” Louis directs his next question in a giddy tone to Luke who nods that he can. “Harry take a photo and post it please.”

It takes Harry a little to reorganize himself and fumble with his phone and log into Louis' account. Louis throws up two thumbs ups and a huge smile as Harry snaps the photo. Louis takes the phone and types out his caption and posts it. When Harry refreshes the feed, it already has 15,000 likes and, “who wears short shorts?!” is captioned underneath with a wink emoji and the magazine's tagged.

Harry laughs to suppress anything else that wants to come out of the back of his throat, “these comments are so racy,” he says reading the words of girls and guys alike. Louis grabs the phone back and a smile spreads across his face as his eyes scroll up and down the screen.

“Alright let's move outside for the next look,” the photographer interrupts.

For this one, they're in a gated off parking lot where a black 1958 Corvette sits shining in the California sun. Louis' wearing charcoal tweed straight-leg pants, a crisp white shirt rolled to the elbows with the first two buttons undone, and a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses sit casually in the pocket of the shirt. The suede brogues that crunch against the bits of asphalt tie the entire look together. His hair's slicked back, one piece effortlessly drapes across his left eyes looking like a real heartthrob — but not the teenage kind or the blatantly risqué sexy last look . More in the, "what's going on in my pants, oh he's hot and I hope he takes me home" kind of way most men feel when reading this magazine.

Harry tries to concentrate on his emails, but can't pull his eyes away from where Louis is leaning against the side of the car with crossed ankles and a million dollar smile covers his face when the photographer says something funny.

“Is he ready?” Luke asks Harry. “To be the next big thing?”

Harry smiles at the editor's positive remark, “In his own words: he was born ready."

“Would have been a waste if not, he's got it all. It takes a lot of talent to act, model and be personable,” Luke says as they both watch Louis climb into the driver's seat and beg to take it for a spin. “Also, you're very lucky to have someone like him.”

Harry agrees silently, Louis hasn't complained once about any of the shots and Harry's glad he seems to be in a great mood. He's already getting tired now that they've crossed the four hour mark and all he's been doing is staring at his phone. And drooling...a little. “Yeah, I guess I am. He's a great client.”

Luke scrunches his eyebrows together and laughs hysterically and pats Harry on the shoulder about four times, “right...yeah. That's what I meant.”

When it's time for the interview, Louis is changed back into the clothes he arrived in and his hair has a little more volume to it from all of the product and teasing. He gets himself comfortable in a plush cream-colored chair, tucking his knees up and wrapping an arm around them while his other hand is busy bringing a bottle of water to his lips. Luke sits across from Louis with a notepad and a recorder and Harry grabs an empty spot on the couch a few feet away from them.

They start with the usual actor/reporter chitchat about the shoot and how they've been. Harry's only job now is to listen and interject if things get uncomfortable for Louis. Otherwise, he doesn't exist and uses his time to satisfy his grumbling stomach once an intern brings everyone's lunches.

Luke falls into his first few warm up questions about the movie, ones Harry know are only there to appease him so that he can ask more hard-hitting things about Louis' life. Louis flows right into his answers, never giving too much away about the film, but saying enough to hook readers so that they feel compelled to go see it.

“Harry what about you?” Harry's caught so off-guard by Louis directing a question to him that some of his balsamic vinegar dribbles down his chin and onto his jeans.

“What about me? Sorry?” he asks wiping the stain with his palm.

“Time travel, where'd you go?” Louis asks and Harry can see him roll his eyes at the question he's bound to be asked three thousand times within the next year. He better get used to it now.

“Um, I quite like life at the moment, so nowhere I suppose,” Harry says quickly so that they go back to their interview and Louis stops talking to him. 

“He's scared of dinosaurs,” Louis laughs. “That's why he said that.”

Harry shoots him a death glare and tilts his head to urge him to pay attention to Luke even though his insides are melting a little at Louis remembering their conversation in San Francisco.

They carry on and Harry finishes eating and daydreaming about whatever.

“I don't really believe in this whole feminine vs masculine way of thinking,” Louis' words draw Harry out of his own mundane thoughts about his plans for the week and he turns his body to listen. “I grew up being really into music and musical theater — a lot of people don't know that that's where I started — but I'm also a sports fanatic and wanted to play professional baseball. I know people already call me androgynous and stuff, and like cool, that's awesome, I'll take that over other things I've been called. If I appeal to men, women and everyone who identifies as someone else, that's totally fine with me — I'll gladly help your wet dreams.” Louis laughs and sips his water. "Isn't that right Harry?"

Harry freezes in his seat, panic overtaking his entire body as he tries not to let his trepidation show. "I have no idea what you're talking about," Harry says quickly as his cheeks warm up with each passing second. "You wish, Tomlinson," he adds confidently to try and one up Louis even though he's pretty certain he just had a minor heart attack. If he had even muttered Louis' name on the plane, he was fucking screwed — and not in the good way.

“And this role, did you know it wasn't a typical role when you auditioned?” Luke asks moving on as he eyes the two of them. At this point Harry has scooted to the other end of the couch that's closest to the two men.

“Typical as in straight?” Louis asks and Luke nods his head. “I was drawn to the character first and foremost thanks to Harry over here, and because he seemed like a cool guy and the storyline was sick, his sexuality has no effect on how he does his job. The fact that it's this day in age and people are still saying that a gay character is controversial or not the norm is baffling — or that people only choose those roles to look good to the Academy or whoever. I hope that when people watch this film, they just see him as Dale, a kick-ass guy trying to fix time — I'm not trying to win an Oscar here, nor should this warrant any sort of special recognition. I mean who cares? Why does that make it any more interesting or atypical if a character is anything but straight? We all go to the cinema to watch people get their heads chopped off and beaten to death, but the sight of two dudes making out for 10 seconds in a film is making you squirm? I mean...really? Sorry, totally got off track,” Louis laughs raking his hand through his hair and rearranging himself on the chair. "What was the question?"

“So two dudes make out in the movie is what you're telling me?” Luke laughs.

“You'll have to watch the movie then, huh?' Louis sends Luke a wink and Harry laughs quietly.

By the time the almost hour interview is over, Harry has lost count of how many times Louis has paused to include him in the questions or sent him a private smile or thrown him a funny face. Louis' mannerisms made it seem like he didn't want to only include Luke in the stories about his life and interests, but Harry as well and Harry wasn't sure what to think of that. He had Luke in the palm of his hand though, telling him all sorts of funny stories and being just charming enough that he knew he wouldn't be asked anything that would change the mood of the interview.

Louis was so endearingly modest when they were packing up to go and a few interns had come out of the woodworks to ask for photos and autographs. Louis agreed of course and after, politely thanked each member of the staff for their time and effort. He even asked if he could do anything to help clean up — Harry was floored.

Harry exchanges the last bit of business talk with Luke and the photographer and then the two of them are finally met with the leather seats of the SUV. Louis lets out a loud yawn and settles down into the seat and spreads his legs to take up as much room as possible, his knee knocking against Harry's.

“Can I treat you to dinner, or are you sick of seeing me for the past ten hours?” Louis asks through another yawn perching his sunglasses onto his nose even though the sun is setting.

“Sure, unless you feel like you'll pass out and drown in your soup.”

“I'll make sure to get steak then.”

They pull up to The Grill, a restaurant Harry personally loves but hasn't been to in ages. The dinner crowd was in full swing and the two of them are easily whisked away to one of the semi-private tables. They both order drinks before their butts hit the seats and by the time Harry gets less than a quarter of the way down his menu, his beer is in front of him.

“Know what you're ordering?” Louis asks looking over his menu.

“I always tell myself I'll get something different when I come here, but I usually settle on the New York steak.”

“I prefer the filet, it's the best — with the truffle butter.”

“You're so pretentious,” Harry rolls his eyes. Louis kicks him under the table while he tries to drink his beer and burps just then to void Harry's dig.

"Do you want another one? I'll go to the bar."

"Sure, whatever you want, surprise me." Harry replies pushing his glass away from him.

"I'll remember that," Louis smirks as he slides out of the booth.

Harry fell right into that one. He didn't even try to counter Louis' words and shrunk against the cushion behind him while watching Louis out of the corner of his eye.

“So tell me, Harry, what goes on in that brain of yours on the weekend? What d'you do for fun?” Louis asks when he returns with two glasses.

Put on the spot, Harry blurts out that he loves his job and focuses on that, warranting a deadpan stare from Louis. “What? It's great, and I'm never not working." When Louis still stares, Harry tries to continue. "Okay, when I can, I like to go see concerts, or like—“

“Last show you saw?” Louis asks as he shoves a piece of Ahi tuna sashimi into his mouth that the waiter had just placed onto the table.

Harry tries to think back quickly, he hadn't really gone to a concert in awhile, unless the Disney band he represents counts, but then saying that really won't impress Louis. But wait, he has no reason to impress him in the first place.

“I uh, I saw Maroon 5 a few months ago,” he settles on. It wasn't a complete lie, they were just the musical guest on a talk show that he had a client on.

“Did this happen to be when they were on Late Night?” Busted.

Harry tries to control the blush on his cheeks by hiding it behind his glass.

Two hours later, Harry is full and pleasantly buzzed off a few pairs of beers. They had actually started talking more about real things, getting to know the other and their lives. Harry asked Louis about his family, he learns Louis is an only child and his dad is a sports writer for the local tribune while his mom runs the local theater. He moved into an apartment alone when the show got picked up and always sends his parents money even though they never ask for any. This was another layer of Louis that Harry had never known, and he was interested in knowing more.

Harry tells Louis about his parents and younger sister, how he's surprised his parents are still married despite owning a bakery together. Louis then demands that he takes him to said establishment one time to feed him — Harry agrees that he will as long as he stays on his best behavior.

It wasn't helping that Harry could literally feel Louis' eyes on him. Moving across his face, stopping at his mouth then back up to his eyes. Harry watches him lick his tongue across his lips pushing his words out, punctuating each syllable as he spoke to him. His throat was dry even though he's been regularly sipping beers and his palms were wet from sweat. He was somehow feeling nervous knowing all of Louis' attention was on him, and had been this entire time. He doesn't think Louis' looked away from him once. His eyes alone had Harry coming apart at the seams.

Harry then does the only thing he knew to do when he feels like this: He began to giggle uncontrollably. Louis scrunches his nose at him as he starts to look like the biggest dork ever and thankfully lets out his own laugh even though Harry is certain that there is no reason they should be laughing.

Louis reaches over and taps the top of Harry's hand as if to tell him to settle down. But it's unlike any sort of friendly pat that Liam or one of his other friends would do. Instead, Louis' thumb is stroking the skin between Harry's thumb and first knuckle and his other fingertips are gently pressing up and down above his knuckles. And there are sparks. Real life flashing, hot sparks. Harry's the first to admit he rolls his eyes at the notion of 'sparks flying,' but with each drag of Louis' fingertips Harry feels lightening bolts digging into the skin on his hand. Sparks. Sparks. Sparks.

“I'm glad I can amuse you. I think I'm mildly entertaining,” Louis says fondly with his hand still rubbing Harry's. “You're also quite the spectacle,” he laughs.

“I'm a little crazy, sorry,” Harry replies once his laughter subsides. “I lose control sometimes.”

“Cheers to me finding all the ways to make you lose control then,” Louis says lifting what's left in his glass and clinking it against the one that still rests on the table.

Before Harry had a chance to respond to that statement or Louis' less-than-subtle wink, he feels a presence behind him.

“Hi, are you— sorry to bother you,” a young woman's voice says. “Louis? You're Louis Tomlinson?”

Louis blushes, his fingers long gone from Harry's hand and he nods and stands up, “I am, what can I do for you?”

He quickly takes a photo with the girl and her friend and they apologize profusely and then leave the two of them alone. Their little interruption gave Harry time to come back down to earth and sober up enough to know that they should probably leave. 

 

The next Monday, three days after the Out shoot (which wouldn't be in print for another month), Harry is gathering all the recent news clippings of Louis — he'd sent him on a media whirlwind this weekend so that he'd be one everyone's lips Monday morning. He talked with mostly smaller sites, just enough to get people interested. He was mostly excited to read the GQ Q&A, and knew it'd be the main source others linked back to. A photographer went to Louis' house Saturday to take a few shots for the site. Harry was unable to attend the shoot thanks to a stupid cold he's had all weekend, but Glenne went in his place so he hoped it went well. Judging by the texts he received, it had.

As discussed, the article was one of the top three links on the homepage. Its headline reads: Louis Tomlinson: The Comeback Kid. The photo they had used was of Louis in a black and white striped shirt and tight black jeans — his eyes crinkling with a smile. Harry presses the link (and maybe opens another browser to do it again just to add clicks for the site) and he's met with another photo of Louis in the same outfit, but laying down on what has to be his driveway. The shirt is bunched around his shoulders and up to his ribs, his hands clasped above his head and his stomach and tattoos are on full display. Harry lets out a huge puff of air as he looks at it then scrolls down.

It's a light Q&A, with enough editorializing to put the reader right in the middle of Louis' living room with him and the editor. it opens as a scenery description, sprinkled with a small backstory about Magnolia and then segues into his Timeflies role then dives right into the interview.

Louis' candid, talking openly about how he feels with his teen heartthrob status and how he's trying to grow, but not dissing the title — Harry made sure Louis didn't scoff at his teen following, and he's happy Louis listened. He talks about the future, the new movie and of course his style, which he describes as "effortlessly awesome with a side of frat boy chic." Harry chuckles and keeps reading. It moves on, bringing up 'the elephant in the room' that was his behavior over the past year. Louis professionally explains that he felt like he was being taken advantage of while getting nothing in return and lashed out — the editor added a note saying, "Tomlinson sent me a little wink after I'd asked if we'd see anymore of his trademark crazy behavior in the future..." Harry made a note to only yell at him slightly for that.

Overall, Harry was please and knew Glenne wouldn't let it be published if it wasn't perfect. It was a solid interview, and Harry was glad that there was no explicit mention of Seeker, he didn't want Niall's movie getting more attention than Louis' — nor did he want any beef they had with each other overshadow his movie — he left that nonsense to the Taylors and Katys of the business.

Harry grabs his phone and calls Louis to congratulate him — it was well deserved.

"Loved the GQ article, it was great, your media training has paid off," Harry says as he stares at the screen of his computer. "Let's keep them all this good from here on out, please."

"Why thank you, it was fun. Did you like the photos?"

"Y—yeah, yeah, they were great." Harry says tugging his shirt down from his collar. He seriously should not be getting flustered right now.

"I heard from an unnamed source that your inspiration folder was severely lacking," Louis laughs on the other end.

"Screw you Tomlinson," Harry whines shutting his laptop with more force than necessary.

"I'm free tomorrow Styles." 

 

Chapter Text

By the time the first of October rolls around, Harry feels like he's working with a completely different person than when he first accepted this position. And although there were many involved in the task, Harry can say he's almost single handily transformed Louis from network actor to Hollywood hotshot. He was no Leo, yet, but his name was splashed inside every weekly magazine and usually never missing from online entertainment sites. It also filled Harry with pride to see him guest star on a few shows that helped introduce him to a new demographic — yeah, Harry could practically taste that corner office and new title.

For now though, Harry was working remotely while Louis was off filming Timeflies in Atlanta. Since Louis has had a record-breaking four months of good behavior, his own boss thought it necessary for Harry to take back some of his old roster and focus on them for the time being. Leaving Harry stuck in L.A. back to his daily routine of pimping out children to teen magazines. It was a little more relaxing to be back with "his kids", but it just wasn't the same.

He felt like it was his place to be with Louis since he was the one who used his connections to get him where he is today — and part of him hoped Louis agreed. But after a 15-minute screaming match with Azoff, Harry backed off, not wanting to risk his job and possible promotion. He was still the main contact if anything was to happen, and as terrible and counter-productive as it was, he sometimes almost wished he'd wake up to a story about a drunken Louis so that he could get on the first flight to Georgia.

It's not like they had no contact though, they'd text when Louis took a break from filming, or he'd Snapchat Harry funny selfies or parts of the "ridiculously huge" set with a stupid caption and Harry would reply with his own dumb photos in return. It took him almost a month to realize very few of their conversations had been business talk related at all. It got to the point that when Harry would completely miss something someone said to him because he was too busy being consumed by a text. He had to lock his personal phone in his office after that and concentrate on his real work.

Two days later...

Just as he does everything other day, Harry logs online to peruse the day's entertainment headlines to see how all of his clients are doing. Since the weather has finally gotten bearable, he's decided to sit on the balcony attached to his room in a pair of "should have been donated three years ago" black Nike shorts, no shirt and a cup of coffee.

There isn't much on most of his kids, but his Google alerts for Louis have a video at the top from out.com and he clicks on that first, not recalling ever signing off on it — it must have been something Glenne was involved in. He was happy to see that the magazine was still further promoting him.

When the Out issue had hit stands, life began to get even more insane. Louis was basically catapulted into the spotlight, everyone from E! News to Michael & Kelly had something to say about the shoot and interview. Louis' follower counts had gone up by the thousands, and even though the demographic of the magazine was notoriously gay men, thanks to sites like Tumblr and Twitter, Louis' shoot was disseminated to a much wider audience. The new photos also kept his dedicated long-time fans happy and interested — it was basically a win-win for everyone involved and Harry felt even prouder to have done a job well done and impressed his boss.

Harry's prediction about chatter on Louis' sexuality came to light quickly once this printed — and once people found out more about his movie character . So far, it only seemed like talk within his fan group, most notable news outlets only gushed about how good he looked and how he was the "one to watch" in the upcoming year. It was a little strange that not even one of them had anything to say about it, but he wasn't going to worry about it.

Harry was actually surprised though that the topic of how Louis wanted to go about dealing with rumors had never been brought up. Even when he was working closer with Glenne she had never mentioned it other than a one off comment about how Louis does who and what he pleases. He still figured this whole time that Louis wasn't hiding who he was, but not about to publicize his preference — it's not like Harry had either even if they were leading two very different lives.

It came as no surprise then that when Harry pressed play on the new video, he already felt like he was watching the opening dialogue of a bad gay porn. The first few second of the video shows Louis pushing out of a directors chair laughing wildly with the guy across from him while Louis' hands are planted in his long hair. The screen flashes with white noise and a three second countdown then back to a calmer looking pair facing forward.

The same interviewer from the shoot, Luke, starts by saying they're on set and then starts introducing Louis and the other guy, Miles, he says, and how they're in the new movie Timeflies together that will be out next year. Harry doesn't remember ever looking into his co-star and jots down his name so he can reach out to his rep and team.

It only takes less than a minute of watching the five-minute video for Harry to start feeling irrationally angry at this guy. With his long sun-kissed hair and insane jaw line. Not mention his hand is looking a little too comfortable on Louis' upper thigh every time he goes to pat it. Biting at the nail on his ring finger, Harry continues watching. They talk about the costumes they're in now, which isn't all that different than what Harry normally sees Louis in (he's assuming they're filming present-day scenes), the only difference is he has tons of new tattoos on his arms that Harry wishes didn't look so good on him.

I: So was the chemistry instant, or did you have to audition together more than once? Luke asks the pair.

M: It was pretty instant right? Think we got along right away. They had us do a a few chemistry reads with other people, but I guess they liked us the best.

L: Yeah, definitely. We uh, we connected pretty quickly. I was nervous about a model trying to act though. Such divas those models.

Harry watches Miles slap Louis' thigh and send him a quick smile that Louis reciprocates. Harry rolls his eyes, grabbing his coffee and sipping on the hot liquid, the slurping drowning out the voices on the screen.

M: They hired me solely because of my hair actually, it's...timeless.

L: That was the worst pun, fire him now! But it is just so luscious. Hold on, I just need to...

This is when Louis scoots his chair closer and attacks Miles' hair with his fingers. The two laugh for what seems like eons, and Harry feels his blood boil despite the cool air that's blowing against his bare chest. There was definitely something weird going on, Louis has never been this handsy or rambunctious in any of his interviews, it almost seems like he was told to be a little more exuberant in this.

L: Look at that shine people! Louis shouts while tugging a few strands. He finally removes his fingers after Miles yells at him and places his hands on the armrests, tapping the plastic with his fingertips. Harry subconsciously touches his own hair and pulls it into a bun at the top of his head and rolls his eyes for the fiftieth time.

After the video ends, Harry sends a quick email to Glenne to ask her about it, and why he wasn't aware it was something that was going to be published. The little voice in the back of his head yells at him as a reminder that he's technically not Louis' publicist, but he hits the send button nonetheless and then heads back inside with his empty mug and computer.

That night, he forces Liam to pry himself away from his girlfriend and go out with him so that he can forget whatever is going on in his brain. From his decade plus of drinking, Harry has learned that alcohol really is the cure all to any ailment that has ever plagued him. He had moped around his apartment for most of the day, trying to keep himself busy by cleaning, which mainly involved just moving some things around and dusting. He had no motivation to actually go out and be productive, even though it was one of the only days he had to himself to actually be a functioning member of society instead of the robot workaholic he usually was.

“So glad you didn't have to go to Georgia, I'd never survive alone,” Liam shouts over the music in the bar. “Glad you're back in the office.”

“If only we could ship Malik off somewhere, can't stand being around him again so much,” Harry laughs as he turns from the bar and hands Liam his beer. He's feeling particularly old around this crowd, full of college-aged trust fund babies who probably don't have to take four Advils before heading out for the night and another two afterwards.

He decided to go super casual and not at all "try-hard" for his outfit tonight, focusing more on hanging with his best friend instead of trying to hook up with someone. Not usually one to wear white to a bar, he was extra careful not to spill anything on his shirt, one he found in the back of his wardrobe that he'd completely forgotten about. He assumed it was probably his choice of jeans that was resulting in the bartender sliding him a free shot the second time he made his way to the crowded counter.

They drink, Harry forcing Liam to dance when he's getting tired of being bumped into. He's happy he has a friend like Liam who doesn't mind getting hit on by men if it means showing Harry a good time. He makes sure the flirting is harmless and doesn't let Liam get into an situation that'll make him uncomfortable, but sometimes, if he didn't know any better, he'd say Liam loved the attention — attention his girlfriend has been more than okay with and finds absolutely entertaining when they all go out together. When his phone buzzes in his pocket, Harry doesn't notice Liam looking over to see the text until he grabs it out of his hand.

“Is he insinuating something about his ass? Did you sleep with him?” Liam shouts in a fury jabbing his pointer finger on the photo.

Harry lets out a wild laugh and shakes his head, “no! I didn't!” he takes his phone, his glassy eyes try to focus on the incriminating photo at hand before it disappears.

Harry laughs even harder to hide his cheeks heating up in the dark bar, “I think he is insinuating that, Payno. But it is Georgia, they're known for their peaches." Harry pops the last word as he watches the photo disappear.

“You are not going to reply to that, he's a client,” Liam says trying to grab Harry's phone from him. He knows it's useless since Harry is stronger than him even though he's drank more than Liam tonight, but it's cute to see him try. “Do I even want to know why you're friends on social media. This isn't how we do things.”

Harry groans, Liam has always been strict about mixing his business and personal life, but it's easy for him, since he's been with his girlfriend for like ever and all his clients are under the age of 21. It's the obvious unspoken rule in their line of work, to never get involved with a client, but that's the last thing on Harry's mind right now. All he's thinking about is payback. Since day one him and Louis have been in a constant game, and Harry's sick of always losing. 

“Let me take a picture of your ass,” Harry pleas trying to scoot behind his friend while he's screaming no at him. “Please Liam!” Liam refuses over and over again, while basically reading their signed contract verbatim to him — as if some legality issues are going to stop him from fucking with Louis over Snapchat. 

It takes Harry buying Liam another beer for him to agree to being pulled into this, “whatever weird sexual tension you guys have going on, you need to sort it out. You're acting like a teenager,” Liam groans as he lifts his shirt up for Harry to take the photo. "You need to call up your pal DB again and get laid or something, this is embarrassing, Harry."

“There's nothing going on,” Harry huffs as he types out his reply. “Just takin' the piss outta him. He deserves it.” Liam rolls his eyes and Harry sticks his tongue out at him — as if that totally doesn't justify Liam's teenager comment. He also decides not to comment on his last part, because Harry was very much aware that he hasn't been laid in quite some time and didn't need Liam to remind him. Not like everyone was gifted with a significant other who was at their beck and call for sex whenever it was wanted.

Harry sees that Louis opens his reply immediately, but doesn't respond. Harry giggles a triumphant laugh and clinks his bottle against Liam's, shoving his phone back into his pocket, drinking to a job well done. He figures that should shut Louis up for awhile. It's about time Harry finally had the upper hand. He wasn't completely sure what Louis was playing at or how this factored into one of his stupid games, but Harry couldn't help beaming knowing that he caught Louis off guard for once even though they're thousands of miles away.

He decides to gear his attention to a cute guy that's been staring at him for the past half hour and score one last free drink, even though Brown Eyes is at least five years younger than him if not more, but hey, whatever least it'll get Liam off his back.

Proving their age, Harry and Liam head out around 11:30, yawning as they wait for their Uber to show up. Harry fixes his tangled hair into a bun and stretches his arms above his head. “Thanks, Li,” he hugs his friend with one hand with a false sense of gratitude before he's leaning forward to tap his crotch then runs when Liam starts throwing swings.

Part of Harry feels uneasy after taking a quick shower to clean off the smell of smoke, sweat and beer. Now that he's a little more sober, he's not sure if he went too far with the photo of Liam. They've danced around innuendos for months, making good fun of it. Harry hopes he didn't push the envelope. A voice in the back of his head is telling him that Liam is right, they are taking things a little too far, but a much louder voice is urging him to continue. He settles in his bed, the sheets almost icy against his damp, hot skin, and he sends one last photo. He figures if Louis ignores it or sends him something random, then he'll stop whatever it is that's going on and call a one-sided truce.

 

The next morning...

Harry almost wishes he hadn't checked his phone before getting up to start his day. He wanted to relax for a few hours and then catch up on some work, not wanting to be tempted by social media of any sort. But instead, a small notification had piqued his curiosity, and it wasn't the few texts from various friends. He put his phone down on the bed, clicking it dark and got up, pressing his feet into his soft slippers.

He could be stronger than the want to see Louis' response. After all, like Liam said, he was acting like a teenager — and teenagers were most certainly tech obsessed. He didn't want to think about what this meant, and pushed any thoughts away with a huge cup of coffee and some Raisin Bran. Last night had really put into perspective how much him and Louis were talking—and getting along—compared to anyone else Harry's ever worked with. He justifies it with Louis' age, that he's closer to Harry's than anyone else on his roster. He justifies it by convincing himself that Louis is trying to corner him and beat him at something — Harry's just waiting for the other shoe to drop, or for him to get embarrassed somehow. This is just typical Louis behavior, and Harry, although good, is no match at his games and he knows when to throw in the proverbial towel.

It's not until noon, after he's done three-quarters of his work, that Harry finally checks the almost 8-hour old reply. He's glad he's finished his remaining coffee because his phone lands perfectly in his coffee cup as he lets out a canine-like yelp.

"Shit," he sighs grabbing his phone and wiping it on his jeans, "God dammit." Harry is now 100% certain Louis was teasing him on purpose — there was no doubt about it. He also hated the part of him that thought for a split second to screenshot the photo, thankfully the common sense part of his brain was alert enough to tell his fingers not to do it and just watch it disappear, instead. He'd blame his rapid heartbeat and now sweaty palms on the four cups of coffee he had that day, even though the caffeine has never affected him, but usually made him function better and less jittery. If denial was a river in Egypt, Harry had a waterfront property on the riverbank.

Instead of responding and annoying himself with what had just happened, Harry puts his dishes in the sink, thinking of a quick distraction that won't lead him down the hall to his room. He decides his best bet is to go into the office even though he's not required to work from there today. He'll focus better there and it'll serve as a good excuse to not check his phone.

Harry's never been one to believe in bad auras or any of that crap, but the second he walks into his office, things seem off. The slow and steady strum of fingers on keyboards is almost eery the deeper he walks into the room. 

"Harry, come in for a second," Harry's boss' voice jolts Harry's head up and he freezes with his laptop half opened and his butt almost in his chair.

Harry leaves his belongings as they are, and adjusts his less-than-crisp shirt and walks toward the open door. "Sir?" Harry takes a seat in one of the armchairs, a place he's sat hundreds of times before, but somehow, this time felt different. It may have been that there was another body in the identical chair next to him, a guy, around his age who's he's never seen before, but still seemed oddly familiar to Harry. 

"Harry, I want you to meet Jeff, he's going to be working with Louis as well now that his career has shifted," his boss says motioning to the man next to him. He extends his hand and shakes it offering a friendly smile. "He's in need of an image consultant, and Jeff will be taking on the role."

"Pleasure to meet you Harry, I've heard a ton about you," Jeff smiles at Harry's less than amused face.

His confusion must be visible because Azoff moves out from behind his desk to sit on the edge closer to the two men, "We presented Louis with an offer to join Elite, and brought Glenne in from his old team since they've been together since day one, he quickly accepted. He's now part of the family and we're so glad to have him, he's a money machine."

"Oh," is all Harry can say while opening and closing his mouth like a fish, he must look ridiculous because the two other men chuckle at the same time. He quickly pulls himself together and turns himself toward his boss, "image consultant? Like a stylist?"

"No, no, I guess we haven't really used one with your kids since they're so young, Jeff is uh, how do I..."

"I'm here to make him appeal less gay," Jeff says bluntly. "He's one fucking mishap away from joining the cast of Glee," he sniggers.

"Wait, what?" Harry doesn't mean to yell, but the words are out faster and louder than he has time to think them through. "You're literally the one who told me Out was a good opportunity for him," Harry yells at his boss. "He's literally playing a gay man in his first feature film!"

"It is a good outlet, it all goes with the story with the film and how he'll be marketed, it gets us on their side," Azoff says getting up and rounding his desk again, taking his seat. "We just need him to still be marketable to a wider audience."

"Their?" Harry hisses, "as in what? 'the gays'" he air quotes, "you're just using all this to make money, but don't actually want him to be gay? Am I hearing this correctly?"

Harry has always respected his boss and the way he went about his business with integrity. He's not new to the game, he knows it's all about manipulation, lying and presentation, but he never thought his own boss would stoop this low. He loved Elite because it wasn't like other firms, or at least he thought it wasn't. Now, though, his heart sunk with the realization that his boss wasn't much different than anyone else.

"Are you sure he's one of your best?" Jeff asks pointing to Harry, "seems like he's missing a few screws."

"You know what—Nope, just not even..." Harry says before stopping himself. His shirt is sticking to his back and he's leaving sweat marks on the armchair from his fingers. "Does Louis know this is what you're doing, because I have a hard time—"

"Louis signed a contract," Jeff interjects. "He barely thought it over if I remember correctly."

"Why wasn't I notified before? Why am I just finding out now?" Harry pushes out of the chair in anger and stalks about the room. He's well aware he's causing a scene and anyone within a few feet of the office can hear him. He finds it hard to believe that Louis, someone who hates being told what to do, would so willingly sign a contract that had some sort of image clause like this in it. "You tricked him didn't you?"

"There was no deception, Harry," Azoff says with a hint of agitation to his voice, "as I told you when you first accepted this position, it was never meant to be permanent, so I had no need to include you on indefinite business negotiations. You did your job, you did it flawlessly and you turned hopeless Louis Tomlinson into someone we can work with and represent. Might I also remind you that you yourself signed contracts upon working here that explicitly state that you cannot let personal opinions sway, alter or affect your job."

"And you made my job a hell of a lot easier," Jeff adds, "thanks."

If Harry wasn't in his boss' office right now, he'd punch this kid. Instead, he takes a deep breath and sits back down, his left leg bouncing against the hard wood.

"So I'm done then, that's it?" Harry asks with anger spitting from his mouth, "my job was just to polish the shit and make it presentable so that you can do whatever you'd like now because you knew I wouldn't go along with it if I found out from the start?"

"I'd be more than happy to keep you on his contact sheet, but if your personal pref—"

"Regardless of me being gay this is absolutely uncalled for," Harry yells once more. "This is bullshit and you know it, it's fucking 2015, and you're trying to force someone not to be himself?!"

"Harry if you can't calm down I'm going to have you escorted out," His boss says calmly with one hand on the black landline phone on his desk. 

Harry had never felt so angry in his entire life, he could feel his heart beating, his chest clenched tightly around his ribs and the buzzing in his ears made it almost impossible to hear anything that was going on. All he knew that he had just been fucking used by his boss who didn't bat an eye at it, like it was something he did on the daily. 

"What makes this guy so fit for the job? I worked my ass off and he just waltzes in and I go back to what I was doing with no proper recognition," Harry rubs his sweaty hands down his jeans and tries to compose himself.

"There's perks of being the boss' son and the publicist's fiancé," Jeff says in a cocky attitude as he stretches his legs out to tap against the large wooden desk. "But I do have a degree if that's what you wanted to hear."

Harry almost loses it after that when a vision of the first time he met Glenne with a large diamond on her finger pops up behind his eyelids, and everything sort of clicks. "You've got to be fucking kidding me. A pawn. I'm a fucking pawn after all the time I've been here, wow."

"Team player, Harry," Azoff corrects. "I knew you were the best person to help Louis, you share a lot in common: you both have a insane drive about you that I've never seen with anyone else and I knew he'd get his act together around someone like you — you're bossy, but patient and it doesn't help that you're a good looking guy. It was the perfect mix and what was missing from all of Glenne's other failed attempts with him."

Harry was baffled, angry and confused to say the least. He was embarrassed that he was manipulated by his own boss for the company's gain. He had thought that he was respected enough to not be lied to and used the way he was. And Louis, as annoying as he was most of the time, he was being used, and Harry would not believe for a second that he would be okay with all of this. There was more to this, he wasn't about to believe that someone like him would go along with it.

"The only difference is Louis knows when to put his personal life aside in order to succeed and further his career," Jeff butts in as if reading Harry's last thoughts. "If you want a job in this industry, I'd suggest you do the same, but what do I know?"

"No really, what do you know, Jeff? Cause it seems to me you're only here because of daddy," Harry spits. he knows it's childish and unprofessional, but fuck all of that right now, he was pissed. "Actually, don't waste your breath because I really don't give a shit...also, I quit."

With that, Harry pushes out his chair and grabs his ID card from his pocket and throws it on his boss' desk and makes his way to the door. He can tell people were listening by the way they quickly start shuffling around and talking louder than usual. he stalks over to his desk and grabs his half-opened computer and slams it shut, sticking it under his arm and starts grabbing photos off his desk and shoving them into a reusable bag he keeps under it. The stares from eyes can be felt the longer he takes and he just wants to get the hell out of there, luckily, like some sort of guardian angel, Intern Max pops up behind him.

"I'll get it for you and send it with Liam," he whispers, "go."

Harry sends him a sympathetic smile, but turns and gives him a smack to his cheek instead, "thanks, for everything" he says watching the spot he kissed light up a dark red. He really did owe a lot to him and planned on sending him a thank you gift of sorts.

It's not until Harry is in his car that the reality of what just happens sinks in: he just quit his job at his dream firm and was now unemployed and probably never going to work in this business again if Azoff had anything to do with it. Harry's reputation had been in his hands just as much as all of their clients' and he was definitely never getting a much-needed and necessary recommendation from him either.

"Fuck," Harry sighs banging his head against the steering wheel, "fuck, fuck fuck!"

Luckily Harry has planned for this sort of thing, not necessarily quitting, but if he was to ever lose his job, he at least had enough saved to live off of for a year. The hard part would be telling Liam what had happened, granted he's sure by the time he got back home and calmed down from that afternoon, he'd already know.

"You're an idiot with morals," Liam says once Harry calls him. "I love you for that. I'm not quitting too though if you're about to ask."

"I know, I'm not asking you to," Harry sighs from where he's spread out on his couch. "Just sort of feel stupid getting played. I dunno what to do now, I have to call all of my clients and tell them, fuck, there's so much to do. It's going to kill them."

"Look, I'll help you with that, you make some calls, I bet you'll have a new job by Monday," Liam says with a pep to his voice.

"Li, tomorrow is Monday," Harry groans.

"Precisely my point! I believe in you. People would be stupid not to hire you, even if you can't get the okay from Azoff."

"Thanks, really, for everything," Harry smiles for the first time in a few hours, "Fuck I can't believe I did that."

"Proud of you, but no moping, get off your ass and figure things out like you always do. This is what you're good at, why people hire you in the first place, crisis control and management, I have total faith man. Get in somewhere before rumors start, because you know they will."

They hang up and Harry stays on his couch for exactly eleven more minutes before peeling himself off and going into his room to concentrate and make a plan.

His plan first consists of making a B-line to the kitchen to get a cup of coffee, thankfully the Keurig only takes a couple minutes and he's back on the path to his room. A dozen or so phone calls and twice as many emails later, Harry feels defeated and deflated. Despite being complimented on his work and the success he's had with Louis, no one was taking the bait. Either Azoff had sent out a chain email warning every firm in the L.A. area, or Harry wasn't as good as he thought he was.

He shuts his computer down and abandons his phone on his desk after placing a takeout order. The stress of the day had him too exhausted to even think about cooking, so he uses one of his five allowed takeout orders tonight, giving him three more for the year. He never wanted to turn into someone who only orders in, so making a rule about it kept him honest with himself and turned him into a better chef slash healthier eater — usually.

The rest of the night passes with a blur, and it's only before he's retiring to his bed that Harry remembers he never wrote Louis back. He didn't want it to make Louis falsely think he's one upped him, but he also is refusing to engage in anything more with him after what he found out today.

He snaps a photo of his dark room and quickly types out a passive aggressive message thanking Louis for giving him a heads up about his new and improved contract and sends it without a second thought then puts his phone on do not disturb.

The next morning...

It took Harry almost an hour of going through his usual morning routine to realize he had absolutely nowhere to be and no one to answer to. He panicked for a solid ten minutes when he couldn't find his work phone only to remember he had turned it in the day before. It had felt like he was missing an arm, and he couldn't get used to not checking it. Rewiring his brain wasn't going to be easy, he didn't know anything other than constantly working. Downtime was not in his vocabulary.

Despite Liam saying he'd take care of the business end of him quitting, Harry still felt like he owed so much to the kids he just deserted. To cure his boredom, he spend the next few hours on sites like Toys R Us and Pottery Barn Kids, picking and choosing personalized items for each of his clients and shipping them to their respective houses with a handwritten card that would follow. It made him feel a little better, but everything still sucked and he was antsy as hell. He really had believed Liam when he said he'd find a new job in a day. Which hinted at what Liam does best in their line of work: kiss ass.

Luckily for Liam and their friendship, Harry received a call late that afternoon that would basically solve all of his problems.

"Liam, I got a job," Harry beams from where he's sitting across from his friend, "it's temporary, but better than nothing."

"Harry, that's fucking amazing! Where? With who? Tell me, tell me!" Liam yells, his hands lightly pounding the table causing the silverware to bounce and clink.

They're at Liam's favorite restaurant , per Harry's request, because he knew Liam wouldn't cause a scene in fear of getting banned and never eating their fingerling potatoes ever again.

"Um," Harry hesitates for a minute, suddenly feeling very nervous to tell Liam, "SixtySeven, erm yeah, but I don't have to go to New York though," he says the last bit in a rush to soften the blow to Liam.

Liam's eyes widen and his jaw drops, if he'd had been drinking his wine, he'd have spit it out onto Harry's face. "You're working with Douglas?"

"Um, for...actually," Harry chirps. "It was my only offer, I'd be working here if I didn't accept...no offense," Harry directs the last part to their waitress who had just been in earshot and she shrugs and refills their water glasses and asks if they'd like another round of drinks.

"I just, are you sure? Like sure sure, Harry?" Liam asks scrubbing his hand down his face. He sips his half-filled wine glass and Harry flinches in fear that he will throw it at him, but he just sets it back down on the wooden table. 

"Yeah, like I—I already told him I'd do it, it's not as much money, but..."

"Free blowjobs to compensate?" Liam lets out a rushed laugh and shakes his head disapprovingly.

"No...I was going to say, it's a job and it's a job with a different market and talent which will come in handy. Although I won't say no to a blowjob...shit, sorry again!" Harry laughs when the same waitress brings their food with a chuckle this time.

"I mean that's great," Liam sighs, "you don't have to go to New York and can work remotely, I'm happy for you, see took a day, what'd I say?" Liam has a genuine smile on his face now, but it could just be because he's about to dig into his meal.

Harry could rest easy now knowing he secured a job in 24 hours, it may not be ideal, but it was better than no job and he was thankful for the opportunity. 

He FaceTimes with Douglas later that night, strictly for business, although come to think of it, everything he was being told — contacts, duties, spare office location if needed, and clients — could have easily been emailed to him. He didn't go into detail of why he left Elite, just that there was a falling out and he felt like it was time to move on. He saw right through it, but Harry tried to steer the conversation away from that.

"So your boy Louis' getting big, seen him on the pages next to some of my people," Douglas says and Harry can hear the sound of magazine pages being flipped although out of eyesight. 

"Not my boy, but yeah, cleaned him up and such speaking of...did you cut your hair?" Harry's not in the mood to talk about Louis, especially not with Douglas so he decides to change the subject to Douglas' favorite: himself. 

"I did, gets caught in scarves and shit in the winter, too much of a hassle, you like?" Douglas shakes his shorter hair around and flashes a smile.

"I do, wait...is that...is that a grey?" Harry shrieks earning a pout and he starts to laugh even harder. "Sorry, had to. Your face though!"

"You're not too far behind me, watch your mouth," his pout is quickly exchanged for a yawn and Harry checks the time on his computer, it's 9 in L.A. so midnight in New York. "Ah fuck, getting old blows though, that's for sure."

"You're telling me, get some sleep old man, I'll talk to you tomorrow I'm sure," Harry sticks his tongue out then flashes a grin. Whatever they had going on for all these years was the least complicated thing ever and he hoped working together wouldn't ruin it. Harry didn't have many friends, so he tried to keep them even if they got on his nerves more times than not.

"You know, I could be woken up very easily..." Douglas winks and wiggles his eyebrows. Harry doesn't miss the way he tries to casually flash Harry his abs when he pretends to scratch his stomach.

"Aren't you my boss now? Isn't that sort of thing illegal?" Harry says readjusting his position on his bed so he was laying flat on his stomach.

"Only if you get caught right? And you're like freelance, so you're technically not adhering to the same rules and regulations," Douglass counters. "I mean either way I'm probably getting myself off to you after this, so it's just a matter of you being present for it or not."

"Wow...romantic," Harry laughs shaking his head. "Shakespeare has nothing on DB."

"You know I don't do romance babe, so?"

"Oh my god, no, I'm so not in the mood! I just quit my job for fuck's sake!" Harry shrieks when he watches Douglas sit up and pull his shorts down enough that the dark hair on his pelvis pokes above his shorts.

"You know if I was there it'd be a different story. I could come this weekend, or you could fly out here...can put it on the company's card even," he says gruffly.

"Raincheck? Now go give DB junior some lovin' and I'll talk to you later sicko," Harry exhales. He'd clearly be lying to himself if he said just the sight of Douglas' lower half didn't perk him up just a tad, but his mind was running a mile a minute and he knew it'd be more of a chore than anything.

"Fine," he whines pulling his shorts back up above his hips, "ho-hum Harry, with no emphasis on the ho."

"You really know how to charm a guy. Honestly, how are you single? Goodnight!"

Harry closes out of the video chat before he gets a reply and shuts down his computer and slides it out of reach. Having nothing to do with Douglas, Harry makes himself comfortable in his bed and slips his hand under the cool sheets. One lousy orgasm and quick rinse later, Harry's in bed before 9:30 completely done with the past few days. And instead of doing anything with the dick pic he'd just been sent, he forwards it along to Nick, hoping to make his night. He instantly gets a "My New York Dick I missed you <33333" reply back and Harry laughs loudly and sends him back some emojis. He makes a mental note to catch up with him soon.

One week later...

Harry's first few days with his new job were nothing to get excited about, he was thankful he was actually trusted to attend press events with clients he would meet day of. One was a perfume launch with Estee Lauder and a singer who had a contract with them. The overwhelming floral scent had him popping far too many Advils in a three-hour period. Luckily, she wasn't a diva and it all went smoothly and Harry got to be invisible in the background and paid to snack on mini hamburgers and drink champagne. The second event had him on set of Extra with a Disney darling turned B-list singer who bitched and moaned more than anyone Harry's ever met — at one point a black Louboutin was chucked at his head because he knocked on her dressing room door too early. He later found out that it was payback for last week's refusal to have Skype sex. 

All in all, Harry's life was far less hectic than it previously had been. He literally had so much time on his hands that he reorganized his wardrobe, moved furniture around just to put it back where it was and decided that he'd take up juicing — which turned his kitchen into a tie-dye mess of fruit and veggies more than it actually produced stuff he wanted to drink. It did give him enough time to at least start a plan when he decided to actually start his own firm. It was an idea he'd toyed around with for a few years, but wanted much more experience before branching out and doing it. There were already so many established firms that it was almost stupid to think about adding one more to the mix. 

But he promised himself to at least try and stay connected with all of his dozens and dozens of contacts, he never knew when they'd come in handy again.

If anyone was to ask, Harry was completely happy and keeping himself busy. 

"I'm completely happy and keeping myself busy," Nick nods at him curiously as he digs his hand into the giant bag of popcorn between them when Harry answers his question. Even though Harry's not working with actors anymore, he's still kept close  to the right people and can still score free movie tickets whenever he wants.

He'd caught up with Nick sooner rather than later after word got around that he had gone AWOL, and Nick wanted to thank him for the super hot dick pic that kept him busy on more than one occasion. So Harry treated him to a free movie as long as he bought the $10 popcorn. They were seeing some cheesy romance movie based off a Nicolas Sparks book and it was the most awful thing Harry's seen in quite some time — straight people were just so cringe-worthy. But they were the only ones in the theater at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday, so it was basically background noise.

"That's why you're at a movie with your dear pal on a Tuesday instead of at an office?" He jabs his finger into Harry's cheek and his dimple forms around the indent. "Well unlike you, I've been quite busy."

"Yeah?"

"Yep, so busy that NxG is already in production and will be out by the end of the year," Nick says with an extra pep to his voice — if that was even possible.

"No shit? Wow, that's amazing!" Harry turns to give Nick an awkward hug smooshing the popcorn bag between them spilling some all over the floor and his lap. "I can't wait to try everything out!"

"Funny you should say that...there's this thing..."

Harry ditches any last effort to follow the storyline of the movie and direct all of his attention to Nick, "a thing? What kind of thing?" Harry draws out the g with a laugh.

"I'm going to have the launch party around Halloween — but no costumes, my 'people'" he air quotes, "want it to be classy and sophisticated."

"Um, have they met you though?" Harry laughs taking a handful of popcorn. "This very second you're literally wearing a pastel green sweater and neon yellow pants. Fuck classy, it should definitely be a skeezy costume party — that is way more you!"

"This is why I need you Harry! I will make them change it, it's settled," Nick leans over and smacks a wet kiss to Harry's cheek and they both laugh wildly. "So will you come?"

"Of fucking course, put me down on the guest list!"

"You need a date though, like everyone must bring a date no exceptions," Nick explains and Harry hasn't seen him so serious before.

"Okay, no problem," Harry replies knowing he's going to have to convince Liam to tag along. Although free booze and food will win him over faster than anything else he can think of to persuade him. "And if you ever need new 'people' call me, hopefully by the time you get sick of them, I'll have my own firm going."

They don't even realize the movie is over until the lights start to flicker back on and a worker comes in with a broom. Harry grabs their half-eaten bag while Nick apologizes for the floor being so sticky. Harry does his best to hold in his laughter when the teenage boy makes a vomiting sound with his mouth.

"Glad we both got out of there, even though you weren't stuck with that lot for nearly as long as I was," Nick says as they exit the theater, both hissing at the bright sun. "Hiatus smiatus, that show is totally cancelled."

"I didn't so much get out as I did leave kicking and screaming, but yeah, I mean, everyone who was smart enough to have other shit lined up will do great," Harry says kicking a rock across the parking lot.

"Speaking of, have you talked to Louis as of late? I've only gotten a few empty texts myself," Nick asks pushing his sunglasses onto his nose.

"I haven't, no, got in a bit of a fight I guess when I confronted him about his new contract," Harry sighs fishing for his keys in his pocket. "Haven't talked since. He's a hotshot now, too busy for us plain folk."

"Oh?" Harry spends a quick ten minutes giving Nick a condensed version of what he had heard through the grapevine so to speak, and exactly what Azoff had told him about Louis' new contract. It leaves Nick with the same fishy expression on his face that Harry had when Azoff told him. "So that's why you're available on a Tuesday."

"Yeah, but anyway...send me the details of the party when you get it organized," Harry says waving his phone in his hand. "Gotta go write some shit up for my new job, don't be a stranger."

"Never! Keep sending me dick pics, though!" Nick yells, which in turn causes the few older movie-goers to stare. "They keep me young!" They quickly hug and then part to their separate cars — well, car and Vespa, and then Harry's once again alone and bored until he decides to type up the press releases he's be so gratefully assigned.

Three nights before the party...

"What do you mean you can't come anymore?" Harry whines while walking circles in his living room. "Liam, the party is in three friggin days!"

"Harry I'm sorry, but I gotta take the cast to Orlando now for press, they moved it, I can't not go," Liam says on the other end. "Ask Max, he'll go! Or Malik — ha."

"I swear to fucking god I'm going to reach through this phone and strangle you," Harry fumes kicking the foot of his couch. He hisses at the pain and wobbles to the kitchen to grab a beer. "Definitely telling Soph about that dude you kissed at the bar last year."

"Yo man, you swore! This totally doesn't warrant that," Liam says strictly. "Ask fucking Douglas, I dunno, he'd hop on a plane for you in a second."

Harry mulls over Liam's words for about five seconds before hanging up and throwing his phone against the back of the couch where it bounces off and hits the beer he'd place on the table knocking it over as it dumps across the glass, "motherfucker."

When Max declines because of a previous engagement, Harry goes to his last resort and opens his texts:

Fancy a fun costume-themed launch party on Halloween? Free drinks/food and hair products... 

Hmmmmmm little short notice...flights'll be a bitch

"use the company credit card" ; )

Using my own words against me I see. And what'll your costume be? Sexy nurse? Leopard?

Hilarious...no. Told specifically to 'come dressed to the nines and your costume attire will be presented upon arrival'

I suppose I could skip Bey and Jay's party for....hair products was it?

Fucking christ I'll find someone else ya snob

I'll be there...you owe me big time though.

I promise that there will be loads of Halloween sex in your future.

Deal. I'll fly in the day before...your calendar is clear : )

Perks of sleeping with the boss I suppose.

Don't tell HR 

  

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

The night of the party...

Harry was slightly bummed that he had to trade in his planned tacky costume for a gold Chantilly Lace velvet jacket and satin shirt, but he was at least happy that he could play with textures and prints for the party. Nick had notified him that his team was against a typical costume party and wanted the launch to be fancy, but there was wiggle room for a more grown-up costume aspect to the event. Harry was excited to find out exactly what that entailed — knowing Nick it'd probably be good. He tried to figure it out based on the calligraphy and colors used on the invite, but his guesses were only that.

'Well, don't you look dashing," Douglas says coming up behind Harry and tugging on the end of his jacket and squeezing his ass afterwards. He gives a kiss to the back of Harry's head and keeps his hands firmly planted on his backside. They'd gotten ready at the hotel Douglas booked because Harry's apartment was "too small and out of the way" which was usually the excuse given every time he came to L.A., but Harry didn't mind, he didn't really like having him at his apartment anyway.

"Paws off," Harry spins around out of reach and readjusts his trousers and hair. "And you look...boring." Harry steps back and looks the man in front of him up and down and sighs. There was no way he'd be caught in this outfit to the A-list parties he insists on bragging about and yet here he is for the most important night of his friend's life dressed like he's going to a business meeting.

"Hey, rude! It's got dots...not boring."

"The invite specifically says patterns or embellishments. This..." Harry says grabbing the end of Douglas' grey jacket, "is neither."

"Well it was short notice and I'm here for the booze and promised sex. Which thank you for fulfilling last night, but since you specified Halloween, well..."

"You're a teenager I swear! Alcohol and sex, all that's ever on your mind," Harry laughs checking the time on his watch. "Let's go, don't wanna be late." he slips his feet into his shoes and double checks he has their invite, his wallet, phone and keys.

It's drizzling slightly as they drive to the party, Harry can practically hear the ground and trees gulping up the much needed water. The drought has been rough enough and any sort of perspiration was much needed and welcomed. Although, rain in general in L.A. was basically unheard of the amount of rain that was expected for tonight caused the government to flip its shit when it happened. No amount of rain would keep him from attending, especially not what was hitting his windows now, he could pee harder than this rain.

Thankfully the hotel hosting the event has a garage so they don't have to run through rain to get inside and more importantly, it kept their expensive suits clean. Harry only lets himself beam slightly when he feels his hand being interlocked as they walk into the entrance and make their way to the elevator. He could see his mother now, fawning over them and praising Harry for his good taste. Douglas definitely checked off every box on his mother's soulmate checklist: handsome, successful, hard-working and rich as fuck — although Mrs. Anne would never, ever use that terminology. "Thank you for coming, DB, you're not such a bad guy after all," Harry smiles and tucks himself under his arm and kisses his wrist.

"Haven't come yet," he hip checks Harry as the door bings.

Harry rolls his eyes with a short laugh, the daydream above his head dissipating quickly and he steps into the huge room, "I take all of that back, I hate you."

In front of them is a large, thick board decorated with dark red and gold filigree designs reading: Nick Grimshaw welcomes you to his NxG launch. Please find your name below  — do not open your bag until you've proceeded to the designated room number. Harry looks down to the long table filled with silk bags, gold name tags attached to each.

He finds his near the end of the table, the number two is artfully written in perfect calligraphy and it almost feels entirely weightless, "I'm in room two. You?"

"Four, am I seriously going to lose you and have to socialize with strangers?" Douglas sighs opening the bag.

"No opening yet!" Harry says smacking the bag and pulling the two strings tightly to shut it again, "go to your room, I'm sure it's just part of the act, we'll find each other," Harry leans forward and pecks Douglas to comfort him. He's quickly pulled in and given a deeper kiss that tastes of peppermint gum.

"Better be worth it," is mumbled into his mouth until Harry pulls away and sends a wave over his shoulder as he walks toward his room.

There's a woman dressed in a leather bustier and full tulle skirt at the door, "Open your bag before entering," she says with tight lips. Harry pulls the bag open and reaches in to reveal a gorgeously detailed black leather raven mask. "Please put on your mask then proceed inside," she says pushing the dark wooden door open once Harry's tied his mask on his face.

He must admit, Nick went above and beyond his expectations for this event, and now he was so thrilled it wasn't an ordinary costume party. He should have known Nick would pull out the theatrics for his launch — people were going to talk about this for weeks — which was practically decades when it came to Hollywood.

In the room, there was music playing and about fifteen to twenty people who were all wearing different leather masks. Around the room, there were full-length Victorian mirrors and vanities with stylists busy touching up people's hair with Nick's products. He grabs a flute of champagne from a waiter and makes his way to one of the empty chairs.

The woman explains the products, ones Harry's actually familiar with from when Nick first showed them all to him. But it was amazing to see them in their final packaging: the straightening products were all in sleek, rectangular-shaped black bottles and silver writing that had a touch of glitter to make it stand out from what was normally on shelves. For what was being used on him, the curly products, took on the shape of spiral pasta and were silver with black writing — Harry loved the concept. She sprays his hair and pushes any loose strands off of his forehead working around the mask and motioning to the mirror when she's finished.

He walks around the rest of the room, the walls were covered in dark, blood red crushed velvet and he couldn't help but to run his hands over the fabric. He sets his empty glass down on a tall dark red oak table and finishes his lap around the area. An eery remix of Lana Del Ray and Amy Winehouse songs play through the speakers, the vocals being omitted, but Harry hums along nonetheless.

After about ten minutes, the doors he walked through open, and Harry wanders forward to see that four other doors have opened at the same time. A man's voice bellows from somewhere in the building, "please make your way to the grand ballroom," and bodies start shuffling out toward the main room.

The ballroom itself was absolutely stunning: Long crystal strings hung from the painted ceiling and white balloons attached to the end making it look like clouds were hanging above the guests. The lights were dim, but candles flickered from almost every available surface. Before Harry can spend more time looking around, the music abruptly cuts off and a light shines on one of the dozen or so opera balconies.

A man in a dark red suit comes into view, and Harry instantly knows it's Nick. "I would like to welcome you all to the launch of NxG. Thank you for coming and sharing in this monumental event! There's information around the room about the products and I'll be more than happy to discuss them with you. Please eat, drink, and socialize — but be warned, if you remove your mask or yell to find the partner you arrived with, you'll be asked to leave. And please, no cell phone use or photos. Now let's party!" He shouts the end and everyone starts clapping. Servers emerge from every corner of the room with trays of food and Harry looks around to the partygoers in his immediate space.

He can't really recognize anyone, but starts shuffling around and exploring the space. He knows it's at least a good mix of industry people and close friends, and Harry was pretty versatile and could talk business and pleasure. He's yet to see anyone else wear such an intricately designed mask as his, most are small lace-detailed ones in red or silver. Finding a small group of people who look friendly enough, Harry decided to start up a conversation, only excusing himself when he starts to choke on a pomegranate seed that was in one of the hors d'oeuvres.

To not cause himself any more embarrassment, Harry settles himself at one of the standing tables that looks over the whole of the party. He uses it as well to try and find Douglas in the mass of people, knowing he's probably either complaining or boasting to anyone who'll listen — although he's sure it's the latter and it's best to let him be.

While he hums along to the music, a tall lanky figure comes up to his right and grabs a chalice of wine from the nearby bar, "pretty sweet party, best launch I've been to in awhile," he says behind his mask. Harry feels like he recognizes the voice, but there are so many people here that he probably knows, he can't be completely sure who it is.

"Leave it to Nick to demand you bring a date only to separate you and create a game out of it," Harry laughs with a slight annoyance to his voice. He's not necessarily mad, but it would have been a lot more fun not having to search for people he knew — especially knowing Douglas is going to whine about it once they find each other.

"How do you know him?" The man asks leaning against the tall table Harry is resting his elbow on.

"We worked together for a brief time on Magnolia  and I was his guinea pig for some of these products actually," Harry laughs and sips his drink trying not to stare too much at the person in front of him as he tries to identify him. All he can see are hazel eyes and a perfect Monroe freckle.

"Really? My date worked on that show as well, you probably know him then...Louis?"

Harry's heart lurches up into his throat and the hairs on his neck instantaneously stick out at the name, "oh yeah, um, I was his minder for about four months," he settles on telling him — his brain wracking through people to figure out who he's talking to. Out of the dozens and dozens of people here, Harry cannot believe he gets stuck talking to Louis' date.

"Wait, are you Harry? I've totally heard a ton about you," he yells extending his hand to shake Harry's. "I'm Miles, his co-star, heard you got him the part! He never shuts up about you."

If Harry could apparate to anywhere but this table with Miles, he would do it in a second and he quickly looks around the room for a way out of his current conversation: There was a small group to his right and the bathrooms had to be close, he could easily fake an upset stomach.

"Oh my god, please tell me the horror you faced with him, he said he wasn't that bad but I don't believe him," Miles asks with a sugary smile and Harry abandons all hope of making a getaway. "I keep thinking he's gonna like steal all my clothes from my trailer or something."

If this is Harry's chance to slightly throw Louis under the bus and talk some shit to get even, well he'd take that opportunity. "Oh god," he laughs thinking of where he could even begin, "One time he decided to go swimming in the fountain at Grand Park, actually he also put fucking bubbles in it if I recall and I had to fish him out while begging the police not to press chargers."

"Holy shit!" Miles grabs two more glasses of red wine from a passing waiter and hands Harry one. He thanks him with a clink of their glasses and sips the alcohol slowly.

"It gets better...or worse I suppose. My like third or fourth week there, he came in early, which I should have known it meant he was up to something, and turns out he had bought half a dozen raw chickens and put them all over the set and it stunk up the place for at least a month. God it was gross."

Miles' mouth drops open, his usual pearly whites, stained red, and he lets out the loudest, unattractive laugh. Harry winces at it but giggles along with him because even with wanting nothing more than to kill Louis at the time, it was sort of hilarious. In hindsight, he could have been dealing with a druggie douchebag instead of an immature douchebag. Despite a few close calls with the law, Louis was just more of an annoyance than anything.

"I'm so scared to get on his bad side this last month of filming! I better watch my ba—"

"Ah, I found you!" a voice comes from Harry's side and he's quickly pulled into a one armed hug. "Glad you wore this ridiculous jacket after all. Hi, I'm Douglas." He extends his hand to Miles and shakes it, then positions himself behind Harry wrapping an arm around his middle. Harry laughs to himself because he always has to assert his male dominance around him and it's got to be one of the single most entertaining things ever. Harry's glad to see that he's kept his mask on, he assumed two minutes in he'd forfeit and leave. 

"Miles, pleasure," he smiles.

"Miles? Miles, I know you..." Douglas hums around the words. As he tries to place the name, he rubs his knuckles under Harry's jacket against his shirt. "Did you ever date a singer by any chance? Have I had to create a diversion for you?"

"Um, not date. I've fucked a few on the down low, but, I work with your boyfriend's old co-worker."

"Oh god no, not my boyfriend!" Harry interjects loudly almost offended. "Friends. Only and ever friends."

"Friends with lots and lots of benefits," Douglas chuckles in a sing song leaning his head over to plant kisses on Harry's cheek, the smell of peppermint has been replaced by pine, notably from the gin he's sure was consumed. He not so subtly runs his hand from Harry's side down the front of his trousers squeezing him through the material. Thankfully, for the most part, the long black silky tablecloth keeps the movement hidden. Harry does his best to wiggle out of it and move Douglas' hand back to his side. 

"Shit, sorry! You should totally date though, you'd be a super hot couple," Miles smiles grabbing another chalice from a waiter and Douglas does the same. Harry sort of wants to punch both of them since he was the one driving home and he's reached his drink limit.

"Lord, don't give this one any ideas," Douglas laughs reaching his hand down to cup Harry's ass and give it a pat. 

"I literally just said I would never...never mind. Anyway, Miles is Louis' co-star," Harry sighs.

"You two sort of look alike even behind the masks," Douglas says paying no mind to what Harry had said. "Although, he has a way better hairline."

"He's also probably a decade younger than me and under far less stress. What are you...18? 19?" Harry asks nodding toward Miles. He wants to inconspicuously fix his hair, but he knows it won't work with the damn mask on. He settles on tugging at the hair tie on his wrist under his jacket and snapping it against his skin.

"22 actually. Baby face though, I know. I get it all the time," he laughs around his glass and burps quietly. "You could totally play my double in the movie! We could pull pranks on Lou!" Harry really wants to hate him and his screeching voice, but offers a laugh and nod because he was raised to be polite even when people were annoying the shit out of him. He does the more grown up version of kicking someone under the table and presses his ass into Douglas' crotch knowing it'll signal to him that he wants to step away.

"I suppose we should go mingle with other guests? What do you say not boyfriend?" Douglas says on cue. "Lovely meeting you Harry jr., give my best to Louis, I'm quite the fan."

"You hate Louis," Harry says after he's said goodbye and the two of them are walking toward the other side of the venue.

Douglas shrugs and presses their sides together as they walk, "he might be one of those actors that thinks he can sing and then need a new publicist, gotta stay on his good side right? I could use the money. Also they're totally fucking...by the way."

"You're the worst," Harry shakes his head and tightens his grip around Douglas' waist. "And how can you tell? You talked for like ten minutes and he barely said anything." Not that he really cares, because he really doesn't.

Douglas smiles over at him and shrugs, "so were you just rubbing on me to get away from him or can we finally leave and do something a little more fun with far less clothes?" he asks instead of answering Harry's question. 

Before Harry gets to answer, Nick reappears on the same balcony and everyone almost instantaneously quiets down at the same time. 

"Wow, that made me feel very powerful," Nick laughs. he lifts his hands and everyone knows to yell and he lowers them and they go quiet and he laughs loudly. "Dinner is going to be served in ten minutes in the adjoining room, if you'd like to start shuffling that way after one last dance." Just as fast as he appeared, Nick was gone with the fading spotlight.

"I need to go congratulate Nick, let's go find him," Harry says dragging them across the room toward where the balcony stairs are. Harry watches Douglas whip his mask off quickly and replaces it with the glass he had grabbed from a passing waiter. He doesn't protest, but just drags him faster and picks up another drink for him after he finishes that one. Drunk Douglas was far easier to handle than a sober one even if his narcissism wanted to take center stage. 

Harry waits until Nick is done talking to three women who are gushing over him and then he pounces, attacking him from the back, "my Nicky poo, congrats baby!"

Nick spins around laughing and embraces Harry in a warm hug. He smells like wine and patchouli and Harry gives him a kiss on the cheek over his mask. "Harry! My muse! Everyone this is my inspiration," he yells to anyone who will listen within their few feet radius. "So glad you're here!" Nick smiles touching the leather feathers of Harry's mask, "I picked this one just for you."

"Oh really? Why's that? I hate birds," Harry says adjusting the mask on his face. 

Nick smiles fondly at him with a little gleam in his brassy eyes and winks like he's got a secret. "Anyway...oh my who is this? I would totally kick you out right now for breaking the rules, but you are too damn good looking." He says hitting their shoulders together when he realizes Harry hadn't come alone to talk to him.

Harry introduces them and he gives Nick another hug so that he can whisper, "your New York dick," into his ear without Douglas hearing him. After that, Nick takes a very keen interest in Douglas who surprisingly flirts right back with him as Nick endless compliments him.

"Can we trade places tonight? Please Harry! It could be your congratulatory gift to me," Nick yips into Harry's ear when he excuses them for a second to dance. "God I want him to destroy me."

Harry laughs into Nick's neck as they wiggle around not too far from Douglas, "be my guest, no exclusivity here."

"I will take you up on that, don't tempt me!" he yells.

"Tempted to do what exactly?" Douglas says coming up behind Harry and grabbing at his jacket, pulling him out of Nick's grasp. For being a not boyfriend, he sure got jealous a lot when Harry wasn't giving him his undivided attention. It'd be cute if Harry was drunk or even tipsy, but it's actually rather annoying.

"Nick wants to fuck you is all," Harry laughs pulling himself the rest of the way out of Nick's arms. "I said have at it."

Nick surprisingly doesn't go red nor shy away, but quirks an eyebrow up at Douglas and smiles. Harry could actually see the two of them getting along well and makes a mental note to maybe have them all get together at some point in time.

"I have a feeling your date might get mad. You're the guest of honor and all," Douglas says diplomatically. Harry has no doubt that he probably would fuck Nick, but might actually be trying to act like a gentleman for once in his life.

"Thankfully I'm not a mother fucker, so I don't think she'll care at all!" Nick bats his eyelashes and Harry lets out a wild laugh. Another guests quickly piques Nick's interest and he turns to give them his attention, muttering a "one sec" to the two of them.

"He's quite the character," Douglas laughs pulling Harry into his chest to sway to the now upbeat music that's replaced the funeral tunes from earlier. 

"You're dancing," Harry grins clasping his arms around his neck. "I'm impressed."

"I'm drunk. I have no control over my movements. Don't get used to it."

"I've learned not to get used to anything you do or say," Harry laughs as he receives a peck on his covered nose.

"Can you take this ridiculous mask off already?" Douglas asks Harry, his hand sliding into his pulled back hair. "It's freaking me out."

"Please don't untie it," Harry whines letting go of his neck to hold the mask on, "means a lot to him for me to keep it on." He's met with a sigh and half eye roll, but he listens to Harry and gives him a chaste kiss. 

A gentle cough pulls the two of them out of their light bickering and Harry's once again met with Miles, who's tapping someone on his right — Harry doesn't need him to turn his head to know it's Louis.

"Sorry to bother you, just thought you'd wanna say hi," Miles innocently says to Harry. Louis focuses his attention from the person he was talking to on the pair of men in front of him. Whether subconsciously or not, Harry feels himself untangling his arms from Douglas and putting a foot or so of space between them.

Harry can read Louis well enough to know Miles didn't tell him who he was bringing them over to see, his eyes widened just enough in the split second that they make eye contact to know he was caught off guard to see Harry in front of him. But that surprise was quickly replace by what looks like resentment, and Harry already feels like he needed to defend himself from whatever thoughts were racing through Louis' mind about him.

It takes Harry approximately fourteen seconds to take in how Louis looks in his tailored suit and shirt. The double breasted McQueen jacket hugs his torso perfectly, the second beaded medallion rests on his right hip and Harry's eyes follow it up where the material accentuates his natural curves — it's exactly what he would have chosen for Louis to wear for this event. Even with the dark red and orange of the mask he's wearing, the blue in his eyes mirror the same intensity of his shirt. Harry swallows the uncomfortable lodge in his throat as the seconds tick without a single word being said.

"Louis! Hey buddy," Douglas whoops placing his hand on Louis' shoulder giving him a little shake. Louis' lips thin as he swats the man's hand off of him.

Harry tries to suck the awkwardness out of the room with an intake of breath, failing miserably, he whispers a hello that gets drowned out by the music. It's only been twenty or so days, not like he's counting, since they'd last interacted. Harry's insides start to heat up, the anger over how he felt that day in Azoff's office resurfaces the longer he stands there.

"Figured you wanted to catch up or something, since we haven't been in L.A. in forever," Miles states blissfully unaware or uncaring of the tension that hangs over the four of them. Part of Harry does want to catch up, see how Louis' brand new closeted life is treating him. He wonders if he had something to do with Nick's no photo policy since now he can't be spotted near a man, let alone dance with his date. He wants to ask him if it's been worth it, if he's already realized his mistake even though the blood is still wet on the paper.

"I think I'm good actually, Miles," Louis says brutishly. "About ready to go actually." Louis turns, tugging on Miles' wrist, not giving either of them a second glance and they disappear into the drove of bodies who are too lost enjoying themselves in their own bliss to care about how harshly they're being shoved out of the way.

Douglas mutters, "prick" under his breath and some part of Harry decides this is not where and how their friendship, or whatever they had, would end. He pushes himself through the sea of people, trying to follow the same path the other two men took, looking to his right and left.

When he spots them walking up a small set of stairs toward the exit Harry yells Louis' name, watching his head cock slightly, but not turning toward the sound. He waits as Miles embraces him in a short hug, keys dangle from his right hand, his lips press softly to Louis' cheek, and Harry knows for some reason that it's in spite of him when Louis turns his face so that they're kissing mouth to mouth in almost the empty center of the room that first welcomed guests.

Harry's feet start moving by their own accord, even though his heart is tagging behind after it plummets from his chest. He knows full well his stomping can be heard over the quieter buzz of the music from the main hall. 

"I don't want to talk to you," Louis says with his back turned toward Harry, his own keys in his hand. Miles had exited the party first, a classic move that's been around for decades despite there being no photographers outside.

Harry can't argue fast enough because Louis' storming out the door in a blink of an eye, acting like a child throwing a temper tantrum. He follows for some stupid reason and pushes through the doors into the night. The roar of thunder and bright, white strike of lightening startles Harry as he jogs toward where he could see Louis' figure make way for his parked car.

Before Harry could even try and shout to Louis, he watches him get in his car. Harry whips off his mask and jacket, patting his pocket for his keys and runs to his own car and starts it up. Cursing to himself, throws his stuff in the backseat and flicks his wipers on full speed and pulls out with a screech and squints through the rain.

Another clap of thunder jolts Harry and he presses down harder on the gas, Louis has to be doing at least 60 miles an hour and Harry is pushing 50. Luckily it's late and they seem to be the only ones on the road — that or the state government was really serious about the flash flood warnings and the severity of this freak storm.

“I'm gonna fucking kill him if he doesn't kill himself in this,” Harry mumbles to himself as he blows through a stop sign and catches up to Louis. He wasn't really sure why he was chasing him, but he knew it'd probably be his last chance to get through to him.

He pulls into the lane next to Louis and despite his brain's plea, he opens his passenger window in hopes to get Louis' attention. The rain pours into his car, pelting the leather seat and soaking everything within a few feet of the window. “Louis!” Harry screams taking his eyes off the road and focusing on the tinted glass of Louis' car. His knuckles are white as they grasp the steering wheel — he knows one swerve could be fatal.

Calling Louis is useless but he does it anyway and is met with voicemail. The only other thing he can think of is laying on his horn until Louis deems it annoying enough to pull over. After that doesn't work and Louis inches further away from Harry, he spots a water bottle on his passenger seat and decides his last option is to chuck it at Louis' car — his baseball background will hopefully come in handy despite knowing if physics will even be on his side.

“Fuck!” Harry yells dropping the water bottle in his hand and grabbing the steering wheel. He hadn't noticed just how deep the water had been in his lane and could feel himself losing control of his car. He instinctively slams on the brakes, which is probably the worst thing he could do when hydro-planing, and his small convertible spins out of control. “fuck, fuck fuck,” Harry shouts, his heart racing as he loses all steering power and he's left helplessly waiting for his car to come to a stop. 

Luckily, after what seems like a lifetime, Harry regains control four lanes over facing the wrong direction. His heart is pounding in his ears as he sits breathlessly in his car. His shaky hand shuts off the engine and he undos his seatbelt and sits breathing heavily thanking a god he doesn't believe for his life. Moments later, he opens his door and weakly pulls himself out into the pouring rain, the cold drops a good indicator that he's indeed still alive. His legs are unstable under him as he uses his car as support to keep his shaking legs standing.

“Are you okay? Fuck!” A voice screams from somewhere behind, or maybe in front of him, he's not sure, he feels like he's upside down and spinning in circles. “Harry?”

Harry looks around him to see Louis about 10 feet away from him, just as soaking wet, only a dim lamplight keeps him from being just a shadow.

“What the fuck were you thinking running off like that?” Harry screams over the storm. “You could have gotten yourself killed! Stop running away every time you don't like something!” Harry leans harder against his car as he's still shaken up and runs his hand through his soaking wet hair, trying to untangle it.

Louis steps closer, his shoulders bounce when a crack of thunder strikes, but his body stays firm as he comes face to face with Harry. “You fucking left! Why are you here — what the hell are you doing chasing me like that?” He yells back at Harry, the rain bouncing off his lips as he speaks.

“What the fuck are you talking about? I left? Left what? You just fucking stormed out when I wanted to talk!" Harry spits back.

“You just fucking quit and left me with those—those fucking assholes,” Louis says with heat as his arms flail in every direction. "You just fucking bailed on me."

Harry pushes off his car kicking a foot into the ground. He's fuming and freezing, his outfit and shoes probably ruined forever and all he wants is to get the hell out of there before he pushes Louis into oncoming traffic for the shit he's been pulling.

“If you cared, we wouldn't be here right now,” Louis continues turning back toward his parked car. His most-likely borrowed suit is soaked through too, and Harry knows getting the dirt out of the pant legs will be a bitch — not that it's his issue to deal with anymore.

Harry lunges forward and grabs Louis' arm and pulls him to a stop just as the closest bolt of lightening strikes. “Is that what they told you? That I quit because I hated you and didn't care what happened to you?” he pauses, “Louis, I left because I wouldn't go along with keeping you closeted, apparently something you agreed on and signed for,” he yells looking directly at Louis through his squinted eyes. “I have no idea why I gave up my job for you, not like you've given me a reason to care right? When you're constantly making me chase after you and you go along with bullshit like this to be famous. God forbid I actually fucking give a shit about y—“

Harry's cut off by Louis' lips pressed against his own — a second later, the feeling is gone. Harry's not even sure if he just imagined it or if it actually happened, but he touches his lips for the answer.

“Harry, shut up,” Louis whispers through the rain drops, his eyes down casted toward the ground. “Did you hit your head or something?”

“No, I didn't,” Harry says pulling Louis into a kiss, a real one. One that Louis effortlessly opens up to with no indication that he wants to pull away. Harry swears the lightening is generating from his very being the moment Louis' lips part just enough for him. “I didn't feel right staying, I didn't abandon you. I was told it's what you wanted,” Harry murmurs against his lips, the rain making it hard to gain any sort of traction against his skin.

"I—I signed under the impression you were going to be the one with me, and everything would be the same," Louis replies softly, his teeth knocking against Harry's. "I did it because I trusted you..." Harry pulls Louis closer to him as his back digs into the side of his car. His hands moving to Louis' wet cheeks, holding him steady as he kisses him, trying to transmit whatever atonement he can muster through his lips and tongue.

They both jump back at one more thunder strike and Louis suggests through wet, chapped lips that they should probably get indoors before they both get struck. Harry agrees, pulling away from him and they move his car to an empty parking lot. He knows it'll probably get towed, but he doesn't really care right now. Not when Louis is looking at him with this soft look Harry's only caught glimpses of before.

“You can dry off at mine and I'll get you home,” Louis says once they're in his car. Harry tries not to stare as Louis unbuttons and peels his sopping wet shirt off his chest and tosses it into the backseat and grabs his dry jacket to put over himself. If Harry had the strength right now, he'd pull them both back there, but instead his wet clothes stay stuck to the leather seat.

Thankfully they have the music to fill the silence as they drive to Louis' house, Harry isn't sure what to say or if he should say anything at all. But Louis doesn't look tense when Harry catches glances of him out of the corner of his eye. His mouth just keeps making a popping “o” face, Harry assumes he wants to say something, but changes his mind. He doesn't press, and only leans his head against the window and watches the rain beat down onto the glass.

He pulls his phone out of his pocket, surprised it even still works, there's a text from Douglas, saying he got a cab back to the hotel and he'll leave a key at the front desk if Harry feels inclined to use it. He doesn't respond just clicking his phone off.

He's freezing by the time they pull into Louis' garage and his shivering only intensifies as Louis strips himself of his trousers and socks and stands in his wet briefs. “Up the stairs and to the right for the shower just use whatever towels,” Louis says holding his wet clothes and motioning toward the stairs. Harry nods, assuming Louis wants him clothed and not following his lead by taking his suit off, then wills his feet to move away from Louis and up the steps.

The warm spray of the water is welcoming to Harry's cold skin, the steam encompassing him like a blanket is all too comforting as the glass fogs and the dark black granite around him deepens in color.

Harry snaps out of his clouded thoughts by Louis clearing his throat, “I, uh...some clothes, I'll put them over here,” Louis says from the other side of the glass.

Harry turns so that he's looking at Louis, “hey, Louis?” he asks softly.

“Yeah?” Louis asks with a hitch to his breathing.

Harry rubs his hand on the glass and presses his face against it puffing out his cheeks and slides his mouth down the door. Louis barks out a laughs and calls Harry ridiculous then exits the bathroom taking bits of tension with him.

When Harry is dressed, he walks toward a light assuming Louis is in there. He finds himself in a room with a giant projection screen hanging from the ceiling and Louis, in now dried clothes, is against the far wall with his back toward him.

“Could probably use this after tonight,” Louis says turning and handing Harry a glass with light brown liquid and ice in it. Harry accepts it with shaky hands and sips the welcoming alcohol.

“Vanilla-y,” Harry smiles taking another sip, “not really a bourbon guy, but this is nice,” he says following Louis to a grey horseshoe-shaped couch.

“Yeah, it's good, don't spill it, hard to find,” Louis laughs settling on the couch next to Harry and sipping from his own glass. They're not close enough to touch, but Harry's determined to change that and hopes Louis is, too.

“Thanks for the clothes,” Harry says tugging on the too-small shirt he's wearing as Louis fiddles with the remote.

“Of course,” Louis replies hitting a button and the screen flashes an image. He puts the controller down and throws back the rest of his drink and sets his glass on the table behind the couch. “Are you going to continue sitting a mile away from me the whole night? Cause I dunno about you, but I'm still freezing.”

“Refill first?” Harry asks tipping his now empty glass. He feels like a coward, but he needs to use the next two minutes to sort out his thoughts. Louis nods unaffected and hands him his cup. Harry assumes they're not going to talk about what had happened and what was said, and Harry's not going to force it, maybe Louis'll explain more to him tomorrow. He deserves at least that.

Whatever movie Louis put on bangs in the background as Harry pours the alcohol into their glasses. It might be because he hasn't really eaten all day, but he's already starting to feel the effects of the first glass, and it's the second that allows him to slide into Louis' side and rest his trembling hand on his thigh.

“You smell good,” Louis whispers pressing his face into Harry's hair pecking his lips under his left ear. They're warm and soft and Harry's eyes flutter closed as he tries to concentrate on the feeling of Louis's mouth against him. He feels like any movement from him will cause Louis to vanish, so he tries to stay as still as possible, his heart beating high up in his throat. "It's kind of driving me crazy that you smell like my soap."

“Made my hair fluffy,” Harry says back shakily. 

Harry can feel Louis' smile as he scoots closer and puts his arm behind Harry's head and scoots into his side. Louis squeezes his shoulder, rubbing his knuckles against the soft material of his shirt and Harry sighs. He starts to trace random shapes onto the leg that's pressed against his own. Louis responds by looping it over Harry's thigh rubbing his toes against his calf.

It's just so hard for him to stay calm while Louis starts haphazardly playing with his hair. Harry's not even sure Louis realizes he's doing it with how lightly and sporadically he's weaving his fingers and the gentle scratching of his nails on his scalp, but Harry curls into every movement nonetheless.

To keep his fingers from trembling, Harry busies his hands with the glass and sips the liquid slowly. When he's about to take his fifth sip in under two minutes, Harry feels the glass stop mid air. Louis grabs it, reaching over Harry to set it on the table keeping his body in Harry's space.

“Hey,” Louis whispers. “It's just me.”

“Hi,” Harry looks down sheepishly then back up, licking his lips trying to focus his eyes on Louis' face. He's so close that his features are blurred, but he can feel his warm breath and smell the sweet alcohol.

He'd be surprised if Louis couldn't hear how fast his heart was beating right now, it was completely out of control. He tries to take inconspicuous deep breaths to slow it down, but it just makes them more jagged and obvious making the attempt utterly useless.

In a movement more graceful than anything Harry could probably muster right now, Louis' in his lap, feeling weightless and Harry's not even certain it's real. Not because he's drunk — he's only slightly tipsy, but because it's so quick and Louis' hands are gentle and soft where they now lay on either side of his jaw. A wave of excited anxiety washes over Harry from the top of his head to his toes, as he gently and slowly crawls his fingers up Louis' legs, letting them land on the outside of his thighs.

“This movie sort of sucks,” Louis laughs softly with a smile, his thumbs rubbing Harry's cheeks. As Harry opens his mouth to speak, Louis' lips are there, and instead of words, Harry sucks in a staggered breath replacing anything he's about to say with his tongue against Louis'.

Moving faster than he has so far, Harry pulls Louis' body into him so that they're chest to chest, the quick movement causing both of them to let out a loud huff, but they promptly synchronize their movements again, Louis rocking into Harry, and Harry pressing his chest forward into Louis' body.

Louis tastes sweet from the bourbon, the heat of his mouth warms up Harry's entire body, reminding him of the feeling of sinking all the way down into a bathtub. But he doesn't feel like he's drowning, his head feels more clear than it has in weeks. He allows himself to smile into the kiss, knowing full well that Louis can feel his cheeks stretching against his fingertips.

Louis pushes his hands to wrap around Harry's neck jerking him forward, pieces of hair tangle between fingers and being pulled every so often when Louis' body shifts or he tilts his head more to let Harry into his mouth better. It should feel more rushed and feverous, but what they're doing has such a natural rhythm to it, as if they've known each other's mouths their entire lives. It's not even that their kissing is leading to anything else, it's actually quite slow and sensual, the way you kiss someone when you know there is nowhere to be.

Harry wants to touch every single inch of Louis' body right now, his fingertips aching to explore the body he's come to admire, but he keeps them plastered to his thighs, squeezing the skin with every pass of Louis' tongue against his own. For now he's going to live in this moment and get completely lost in the way Louis' mouth tastes and the way his heart is beating through his own chest as if Harry now had two hearts in his possession. 

Harry's so content, more than that even, overcome with the feeling of Louis' lips with their bits of chapped skin and smooth spots as they press closer to his own. He only lets out a short breathy groan when Louis moves to bite on his lower lip, pulling it away from his mouth and sucking slowly before pressing his tongue back against Harry's.

Louis is surprisingly breathing heavier than him when he drags his lips from Harry's mouth across his cheek to suck in a much needed gasp of air, his chest pressing hard against Harry's: up, down, up, down. Harry thinks Louis' going to talk, but he moves his lips to the left side of Harry's neck and starts off slowly, pecking the damp skin with light kisses. Harry tilts his head, unashamed of wanting, needing, Louis to continue. The tenderness suddenly changes to roughness as his teeth feel like a searing piece of metal against his skin digging deeply into his flesh.

“Ah, Lou,” Harry's hoarse voice sighs, he shifts his body around, hands still plastered to Louis' steady legs. Louis replies by licking where he'd just bitten, gliding his tongue up the length of his neck to his ear, sucking gently on the lobe.

“You just taste too good,” Louis murmurs wetly into Harry's ear. “God, so good.”

For the first time since they started, Harry's chest tightens, a heat radiates in his belly so hot he feels like he's now been placed in a furnace. Louis' borrowed shirt is sticking to his body, and when Harry finally decides to move his hands, Louis' skin is on fire, too. He drags what nails he has down the taunt skin of Louis' back under his shirt, each scratch warranting a harder bite from Louis. Harry can't help but to snap his neck forward on one particular stinging pinch, his own face landing in the dip of Louis' shoulder.

He instinctively breathes Louis in, the smell of his shirt and the light scent of the sweat that has pooled in the area: it's intoxicating. He sinks his own teeth into the sensitive skin and fabric there, Louis' body jolting just slightly at the touch.

Harry already feels like he hasn't tasted Louis enough, and rips his neck from Louis' teeth, hissing at the pain and presses their lips back together — getting even more drunk on his kiss and the way their bodies just fit so perfect against one another. He can't believe how steady Louis is hovering above his lap with only their chests fused together. Harry wants to guide Louis down, let him settle in his lap so he can relax his muscles, but he doesn't even have to look or touch to know why Louis chooses not to — it's difficult enough feeling Louis hard against his stomach, his cock shifting against Harry's body each time he moves. It'd be too much too soon and too intimate already for Louis to feel Harry pressed against him if he sat, so Harry does his best to hold all of Louis' weight on his body, his quivering hands doing their best to keep him still.

He's not sure who stops first, or when they slow down, but it's gradual and natural. The deep kisses becomes less frequent, Harry uses it to start kissing the corners of Louis' mouth and his Cupid's bow. He hums an approved sigh so Harry bids farewell to the swell of Louis' lips and moves his mouth to his jaw, nipping at the skin and stubble traced along the sharp line. He thinks back to what Louis said to him, how good he tastes, and he feels the same. Louis' skin is the color of warm honey and it tastes just as sweet. Harry relishes in it by nudging Louis' chin up just enough that he can kiss entirely up his throat, not missing a single inch of skin until he's back to Louis' lips, where he's again met with his tongue as he lazily runs it inside Harry's awaiting mouth.

When Harry starts lightly tracing his fingertips under Louis' shirt against his ribs, Louis flinches with a laugh quickly nuzzling his face into Harry's neck and gently nipping at his exposed collarbone. Harry continues until Louis' giggling multiplies, the innocent sound welcoming to the thick air that surrounds them. A quick pass of his thumb over Louis' nipple has him faltering out of Harry's lap back onto the couch. Harry mirrors Louis' chuckle with his own as he watches him splayed out against the couch, his shirt riding up just over his bellybutton.

Harry moves forward to help Louis back up into a sitting position, muttering an apology that's reciprocated with a quick, wet kiss. When they part, Harry can still feel the pulse and rigidness of Louis' mouth on his lips and neck, his whole body is buzzing with the memory of what had just happened. And as if Louis knew how worked up he was, he goes back to settling under Harry's arm and playing with his hair. Harry's fists unclench slowly, his heartbeat finally smoothing out and goes back to normal as he get's comfortable once again pressed against Louis' side. They sit like that for awhile, not talking, but just being there: lightly touring the other's arms and legs with barely there touches and quick kisses.

Harry's brought back into the present moment a quarter of an hour later with the sudden absent feeling of Louis' fingers not moving anymore. Harry looks to his left to see Louis with his eyes closed, breathing softly against his shoulder. Harry smiles to himself and gently pulls away as he checks the time on his phone and yawns. He'd feel weird invading Louis' room even if it's just to put him to bed, so he positions Louis onto the couch and pulls the dark blue throw blanket that's draped over the back onto his body.

He scribbles out a note after calling a cab and places it on the pillow that he didn't put under Louis' head. With gentle fingers, he pushes Louis' hair back, smiling at him and kisses his forehead. He reads the note over once more before heading outside: Had fun last night even though it was a bit of a roller coaster. We need to talk though, I just...I can't do casual with you. Call me. - H

Early the next morning...

Harry doesn't know how long it's happening for, but all he knows is that his eyes are shooting open on their own accord as his brain starts to register the insanely loud and annoying banging coming from down the hall. He panics for a second, thinking someone is about to murder him, but then realizes his security alarm would have been blaring already.

He murmurs to himself as he throws the covers off and wipes his eyes. The pounding on the door is only growing louder once he checks to see it's only 5:30 in the morning. He pulls on his discarded pair of pajama pants and wipes the sleep out of his eyes trying to regain balance and semblance after being in such a deep sleep.

He goes to the door not even bothering looking through the peephole, he figures if someone wanted to kill him they wouldn't make their presence known.

When the door swings open, he's met with two hands shoving him inside his apartment and the door slamming shut a second later.

“Louis?” Harry asks confused at his company, the heels of his feet slipping and stumbling on the tile as he's being lead further away from the door.

Louis doesn't talk, but tackles Harry to the floor — only being able to because Harry is still out of it from being woken up. Three seconds later, Harry's pants are around his ankles and Louis' mouth is on him.

“Wait—what the fuck? What are you doing, Lou?” Harry yells as he squirms on the floor, suddenly becoming very awake as Louis' starts licking around his cock.

Again, Louis shows no sign of answering or acknowledgment to his words and just takes Harry further into his mouth, his cock responding by lengthening quickly to the feeling of Louis' tongue all over him. Harry lets out a satisfied moan despite being confused about their current situation.

“For fuck's sake...stop Louis...shit,” Harry groans pushing up into Louis' mouth. “Why?”

He feels Louis lick from the base of his cock up to the tip and sucks for a moment before popping off.

“Do you really want me to stop, cause I will?” His voice is husky and dark, each syllable producing a puff of breath that ghosts over Harry's length.

“Fuck, no—“

Before Harry can even finish, Louis' mouth is back on him taking him down deeper than before. “Oh my god that's so good,” Harry cries feeling Louis smiling against him, his lips vibrating slightly, which made Harry's reflexes jolt his hips up. He lets go after that, succumbing to Louis' mouth and the way his tongue is working him. He feels no shame sputtering out choppy groans as Louis sucks and licks him.

Louis' tongue makes another pass all the way up his cock, dragging painfully slow as if he was trying to taste every inch. Harry buried his fingers in Louis' hair, the only thing that was in arm's reach to grab onto. He gives a passionate moan at the mixed feeling of Louis' warm, wet mouth and the rough scratch of his stubble against the bare skin of his pelvis.

Harry knew he was getting close when points of lights started dancing around his eyes. He moves his hand from Louis's hair, searching for the hand that's been planted on his belly holding him still, “Fuck—I'm gonna—Lou, shit so close,” he cries scratching what nails he has on the back of Louis' hand.

“Up, up, up,” Harry yells not a second later, trying to pull Louis' head up, but he's not giving up until the very last second. He comes chanting Louis' name, rocking his hips up, the inside of his eyes a mix of exploding colors. And then he feels Louis' mouth back on him while the last wave of his orgasms hits. Harry moans even louder knowing Louis wanted to taste him.

He comes back down hard, confused and panting, still feeling the warmth of Louis pressed to his thigh, nipping lightly at the inside of his unsteady leg.

“What...what the fuck was that for?” Harry breathes uneasily trying to catch his breath. He opens his eyes for the first time to see chunks of Louis' hair streaked with his come.

“I had to make sure you liked me,” Louis says like it was obvious. He continues planting kisses to Harry's trembling thigh, never bothering to look up and Harry.

“Of course I fucking like you, you idiot!” Harry doesn't mean to scream it, but he does and his own voice echos in the otherwise silent room around them. “Now get the hell out of my house!”

“What?” Louis gasps pushing himself back from Harry's body and making eye contact finally. “What about me?”

Harry starts laughing wildly, regaining his strength enough to move forward and press against Louis' chest, “No, get out.” He pushes Louis again, enough to where he stands up and Harry follows, his hands pressing hard against Louis' shirt. It's taking everything in him to not destroy Louis right then and there. He could easily drag him to the couch and have him screaming his own name in seconds, but Harry doesn't do that. He's quite enjoying the shock on Louis' face right now. He knows this face will be far more rare than any other one he'd be seeing any time soon.

“You've got to be kidding me,” Louis says astounded by Harry's words. Harry doesn't say anything back and just pushes Louis back toward the door while his pants are wrapped around his ankles.

“I'm one-hundred percent serious. You're going to have to wine and dine me if you want me to go anywhere near that," Harry says sternly, with barely an undertone of a giggle as he points to Louis' crotch, "get out.”  He can't help but laugh hysterically to himself at Louis' stunned face. He wasn't going to give in this easily to Louis, not after all the shit he's put him through and the shit he's gotten himself into. No, he was going to suffer, long and hard before Harry gave him what he wants. Or at least that was the badass plan he had up his sleeve.

Harry pulls up his pants enough that they're hanging loosely on his hips as he gets the door open and Louis out into the early morning air. Since Harry has the upper hand at the moment, he uses it to position Louis against the concrete of his apartment wall and leans in as close as possible without touching him.

He can feel Louis' heart beating, breath warm against his own naked skin.

“You, uh, you got a little something,” he whispers as hotly as he can muster. He touches a wet spot on Louis' hair, thumbing at his come and dragging it down Louis' cheek swiping it across his pouting lips with a laugh and a quick kiss. He pushes away from Louis and shakes his fingers at him in a wave and slams his front door shut.

It's then, away from Louis' prying eyes that Harry can slide down the door letting out the longest breath of air as he presses his hand down the front of his pants, still feeling the ghost of Louis' mouth.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Since Harry was already up, unable to go back to sleep after Louis had so graciously interrupted him, he decided he should just shower and start his day at six am. He knew he had to start by apologizing to DB for leaving him stranded last night, especially since he was doing him a favor. There was also the matter of getting his car, and in the cab ride to where he thinks he left it, he crosses his fingers for it still to be there. Thankfully it is, the storm last night must have kept everyone preoccupied. 

Last night flashed before his eyes when his fingers pressed against the wet door handle: the downpour, the chase, his car spinning out of control. When he looked at the road in daylight, he realizes just how lucky he is that no one else was on the road and that he was alive and not in the hospital...or dead.

He takes caution driving to the hotel, still shaken up from everything that has gone on in less than twenty-four hours. His entire world now upside down and disorganized as if someone had taken out a drawer and dumped it all over the floor. Even though he was anything but hungover, his head was a scattered, throbbing mess and he needed to get everything straightened out.

He was handed the awaiting room key that was meant for last night and made his way into the elevator up to the tenth floor. Douglas was usually an early riser, something Harry loathed after a night out, so he was assuming he'd be at least up and moving about when Harry walked in. Except when he opened the door he was met with mostly darkness and silence. Tiptoeing over to the bed, with intentions to wake him up, Harry stopped right before saying his name because he'd realized there was more than one body in the bed and both look to be not entirely dressed judging from what he can tell by the different clothes around his feet and the...tie...on the headboard...

Harry squints at the top of the other head trying to figure it out, and it's not until said person shifts in their sleep under Douglas' arm that he has to hold back a gasp. He quickly slaps his hands over his mouth to prevent himself from waking them up and quietly runs back toward the door and slips out. He loses all control and starts laughing his face off there in the hallway, tears rolling down his cheeks as he tries to gasp for breath through his high-pitched squealing.

He wasn't going to let either of them live this down for as long as they lived. No way was Douglas or Nick getting out of this one easily. Hell. Fucking. No.

When he regains control of himself after a few guests give him glares when they push their room service out their doors, it strikes an idea in his head. He hurries back downstairs to talk with the concierge desk to arrange breakfast for the room — it's the least he could do. He asks for a piece of paper and pen and jots a notes for the lovebirds to accompany their meals: Courtesy of your neighborhood Cupid...enjoy your sausage xoxoxo Harry 

When Harry's phone rings about two hours later at nine with DB's name, he barks out a loud laugh and answers, "good morning sunshine. Sleep well?"

"Screw you. Thanks for leaving me alone by the way," he yawns into the phone.

"Well, you technically weren't alone. Shouldn't have left me a key. I think it's cute."

"Whatever, he's a good lay and we were both drunk. Breakfast was great though, dick."

"You're welcome," Harry smiles. "So yeah, sorry again. Things got a little crazy and I wanted to apologize since I knew you were doing me a favor and I abandoned you."

"How's Louis? You guys sort your shit out or what?"

"How do you figure there was shit to be sort—"

"Harry...please. You ran after him like a fucking crazy person and I've know you forever. You two have been gagging for each other for months. Did you finally fuck it out?"

"No," Harry says shyly, almost embarrassed that basically everyone could tell what was going on. "I mean...we kissed and stuff."

"And stuff," he repeats with a laugh. "Listen it's fine. That's why we have no label or strings or that shit. You still think we can work together or will it be weird?"

"No, it's fine. Thanks for being cool about all this. Knew I liked you for a reason," Harry says genuinely because he knew it would be messy with anyone else and not a clean break. "So tell me all about Nick — oh my god!"

"I will not. Go fuck yourself," he laughs. "One time thing will never happen again."

"Mhm. Sure. So really you're like okay with this...like us...ending or whatever?"

"Harry...I'm not some helpless sap waiting around to get my dick wet by you, I have plenty of new guys to call once I get back home, which I leave in a few hours so I should get ready. I'll send you some work stuff tomorrow. And no special attention now that you're no longer sleeping with the boss ya hear?"

"I wouldn't expect it any other way. Before you go, I have a question..."

"Let me guess. Why'd I say Louis and Miles were sleeping together?"

"Yes."

"Just had to make sure you really liked him, and you faltered enough to prove it to me. Fucking don't get that sappy shit. Okay I gotta go."

He hangs up before Harry can protest and he's left with his phone beeping in his ear and a smile on his face.

Two nights later...

Louis texted him the day before to clear his schedule for the following night. Harry didn't ask questions, and said he was free. They hadn't really talked about what happened that other morning, but nothing seemed strange and they seamlessly fell back into their regular texting habits that Harry had missed so much. He even managed to squeeze a few quick phone calls out of Louis yesterday and early today to get more information about tonight.

Louis decided that they'd have their wine and dine night set for this evening and all he would tell Harry is to dress nice, but not gala evening wear nice. There are about 12,000 restaurants in L.A., and Harry had eaten at about 230 of them and was hoping Louis'd at least take him to one that was in his top 20.

He buzzes the front gate when he arrives and the doors unlock quickly for him, the front door is ajar and he can hear the soft hum of music coming from inside.

“Hey,” Harry nervously coughs walking in and shutting the door behind him. He's instantly overtaken by the smell of teriyaki with a hint of sweetness he can't place yet. He bites his lower lip and smiles to himself: they weren't going out after all.

“Hi,” Louis says walking in from the kitchen. Harry takes a gulp of breath watching him waltz over to where he's standing, and he still forgets that he doesn't need to shy his eyes away anymore and pretend he's not watching the way his hips move with each step. “You look absolutely amazing.” Louis invades Harry's space in the best way possible, his hand sliding softly across his hip as he pushes up on the balls of his feet to peck Harry on the lips.

“You taste amazing,” Harry purrs into Louis' mouth before they part. “I'm going to take a wild guess and say we're not going out to eat.”

“I didn't want to have to fuss with traffic and then having to make reservations and worrying if someone would see us, this was just easier. But curse you and your damn punctuality — I'm not ready!” Louis fake yells at him. “Close your damn eyes and wait in the living room until I come get you.”

There is no way cooking an entire meal for someone was anywhere close to easy, but he went along with it as a small bubbly happiness roared in his stomach and he couldn't help but smile. “Can I help?”

“No! You stay here, get comfy and I'll come ge—“

“Please! I wanna help,” Harry cuts Louis off as he makes a b-line for the kitchen.

“No, please don't open the door...ugh!”

The kitchen is only slightly a disaster zone, there are pans on just about every surface and a mix of potent smells flood his nose when he walks in further, “Lou, please I wanna help, it'll be fun! What can I do? Oh pineapple!” Harry says grabbing a diced piece of the fruit from a bowl and popping it into his mouth.

“You know it really doesn't matter to me if you slaved away all day preparing this or if you bought it already made from Whole Foods. It's the thought that counts,” Harry says before pressing his lips to Louis' forehead.

“Well I'll have you know it was the former,” Louis scoffs pulling away from Harry and grabbing dirty mixing bowls. Harry laughs and follows him, wrapping his arms around Louis' waist while he stands at the sink. He tries to wiggle free, but Harry's grip is too tight and too strong for him to get out of it.

Louis' mumbling obscenities under his breath and Harry would be mad at the names he's being called if Louis didn't look so cute as he stormed over to the fridge once he got out of Harry's grip. “Since you're one of those weird health nuts, I figured this would be good. Salmon's got like...good shit in it and stuff,” he says waving is hand in the air.

“Yes, I hear they have the best shit,” Harry jokes coming up behind Louis and wrapping his arms around his waist again. He pouts when Louis immediately smacks his hands away while he yells that he needs to deal with a very hot cast iron skillet. Harry watches him place the marinated salmon filets into the pan, “What can I do?” he asks in a soft voice, his eyes following the curve of Louis' body as he bends down to open the oven and place the skillet in.

“If you're so inclined, there's scallions on the counter that need to be chopped and the peppers, if you want your salsa to be spicy...I wasn't sure.”

“Yes, chef,” he smiles basically pouncing toward Louis for a kiss. He makes his way over to one of the empty spots on the counter and grabs a knife from the bamboo block in front of him and starts chopping.

“Don't get anything on your outfit, I would feel so bad,” Louis says coming up on his right and looking over at his work. The oven timer beeps two minutes later and Louis presses a kiss to Harry's shoulder before turning back around to get their food.

The smell is absolutely amazing and Harry turns to catch a glimpse of the salmon, but his eyes land on the Louis' oven mitts and he laughs wildly.

“Those are amazing, how did I not notice them before?”

“My dad got them for me,” he laughs setting the pan down then taking them off. “Can you grab two plates from that shelf, he points across the kitchen and Harry walks over.

When he comes back, he sees Louis' uncovered a pot with rice and broccoli, he really went all out for tonight, Harry wishes he knew so he could have brought a bottle of wine or dessert. He already feels terrible that Louis spent so much time preparing, while he just assumed they were going out.

“Will you at least go sit down and pretend to be surprised?” Louis asks looking over at him. “I'm just going to run upstairs quickly.”

“Whatever makes you happy.” Harry does as he's told as Louis exits the space. He sees the table is set with a few small unlit candles and a lighter, so he decides to at least help set the table and lights them.

A few minutes later, Louis comes back into the room muttering an apology, but Harry doesn't hear it over the sound of his heartbeat in his ears. Louis had changed into a colorful splatter shirt that's been rolled at the elbows and tight, form-fitting black trousers. He can tell Louis quickly put some sort of texturizing product in his hair because it was no longer the fluffy bedhead he's used to seeing and he can smell the light scent of whatever cologne he sprayed moments before.

“You literally look like a masterpiece in five minutes,” Harry purrs getting up from his seat and meeting Louis. “Wow.”

Louis cheeks flush as he shakes his head and looks down, “shut up, go sit.” Harry lifts his chin and gently kisses him, not wanting to break apart, but knows the food'll get cold if he doesn't.

Louis walks with him to the table and even pulls out the chair and motion for him to sit in it. Harry shrugs off his jacket, placing it on the back of the chair and sits down. “What a gentleman.”

“Quality service here, make sure to rate me on Yelp,” Louis laughs when he comes back with their food reveling a gorgeously seared salmon and the side dish. He then pours Harry and himself a glass of wine, as he finally takes his seat across from him.

“We should cheers!” he smiles says raising his glass, there's a glint of something in his eyes and Harry can't place it yet. “To um, wining and dining so Louis can get a blowjob.”

“Honestly what can't you do? Act, model, cook, write toasts,” Harry winks at him as their glasses clink. “Cheers.”

Dinner is really good and Harry tries not to eat every single bite in five minutes. He settles on distracting himself by watching the way Louis presses his fork curve side toward him and biting the food with the bump facing up — which is, from what Harry has learned from dozens of galas and events, the correct way to use a fork.

He paces himself by endlessly complimenting Louis on his secret chef skills that were unknown until tonight, Louis cheekily smiles at him with every word. They each take breaks to refill their glasses and toast to whatever comes to the top of their heads.

“So,” Harry hums a nervous breath after a sip of wine, “You and Miles...”

“Aren't anything,” Louis quickly says. “Never were anything.”

“But you kissed him.”

“Because I wanted to make you jealous,” Louis chuckles. “Pissing you off is my hobby. It was all an act.”

“Flattered,” Harry frowns which makes Louis reach his hand across the table to stroke his thumb over of the top of his hand and he blows him a kiss. 

“What about gramps?”

“Nothing. Can even ask Miles,” Harry replies. “Had a good chat with him at Nick's party.”

“Yeah, I heard. He was smitten with you and wanted me to give him your number.”

“Damn, coulda—“

“Do not finish that sentence unless you want the rest of my food in your lap,” Louis says darkly, but there's a hint of humor buried in his words, but Harry eases his worries by saying he was only kidding. “When was the last time you guys had sex?”

Harry barks out a laugh and grabs his drink before answering, “does it matter?”

“That's exactly what people who have recently had sex say,” Louis winks taking a bite of his food. “Not gonna make me mad, just curious.”

Harry pauses a second before speaking, “day before Halloween,” he mumbles, a sinking feeling of regret hits him and it's not like they were involved in any way so he shouldn't actually feel badly, but he does.

“And he's okay with this...us?” Louis asks motioning between them, his face stoic as he stares across the table. And he was right, he doesn't look mad or upset, but his face is serious, and coming from Louis, that said a lot.

“Hundred percent. We've never been more than friends.”

“Friends who fuck.”

“Who used to. Past tense.”

“Yeah?”

“Promise. But I do work for him temporarily...if that bothers you.”

“No, you live across the country from him, it's whatever.”

“Okay.”

Harry's going to fire the question back to Louis, but decides not to and continues eating, instead. His stomach in a flurry now that Louis confirmed he was single...that they were both very much single.

"Um, should we like...you wanna do this right?"

"What? Us?"

Louis breaks eye contact and looks down at his plate a small grin is barely visible from what Harry can see, "yeah...us."

"I already told you I can't do casual with you. We don't have to like label it right away per se, but be exclusive...that's literally all I want, Louis."

Louis looks back up, his features are so soft that Harry is taken aback by his lack of rowdiness that usually follows him wherever he goes. "Me too. I know I'm like the least serious person you've ever met, and you can definitely do better and like more mature and you know how fucking dumb I get. But I won't fuck you over. I really like you."

"And I really like you too. Which honestly I never thought I'd ever say that and my past self is probably on his way here right now to kick my ass. But yeah, I wanna do this...us. It just...you know we can't just waltz around holding hands though right?"

Louis' smiles drops and some of his light fades at Harry's words. He reaches his hand forward and holds Louis' in his to help reignite the spark even if just a little, "besides your contract legally forbidding it, it would look bad for both of us right now and people will talk. So are you sure?"

"Are you trying to talk me out of it?" Louis asks defensively and Harry automatically shakes his head no fast enough to give him whiplash. "Fuck, I'm so sorry, I messed all this up. I just I never thought you'd ever want to actually date me after everything I did to you. But I get it, we couldn't possibly just tell the world."

"We can figure it out, as long as we're both positive about this since it's not going to be easy. It's a fucking PR nightmare waiting to happen," Harry laughs to diffuse some of the built up tension. "I'm not going to ruin your career right as it's gaining all this momentum, that's not fair to you."

"Always on 24/7," Louis jokes in a nicer tone than the last time he said that to Harry. "This is my decision too, so if for some reason it gets out, I'll take the brute force of it. There's always the Gap, right?" He squeezes Harry's hand a few times and Harry mirrors it.

"You said you trust me right? So trust me on this...we can do it."

"Then it's settled. Now let's stop talking about this serious shit and finish eating before it gets cold."

They somehow go through the entire bottle of wine with their meal and Harry's head is pleasantly foggy and he just can't help beaming like an idiot when they've both finished eating.

“What's going on in that little head of yours Smiley Styles?” Louis asks hopping down from his chair to reach for their dishes.

Harry stops his hand mid-reach and jumps down from the chair and pulls Louis into him. He doesn't even wait for Louis to open his mouth all of the way as he slides his tongue between his lips. Louis lets out a content sigh when their tongues meet and Harry thinks the rest of the night could go just like this and he'd be perfectly satisfied.

“How about we open a new bottle of wine and go have dessert on the balcony?” Harry smiles with his hands now pressed on each of Louis' hips. He couldn't help but to constantly touch him, he never wanted to take his hands off his body. Louis nods in agreement and lets Harry know where he can get another bottle as he deals with putting the dishes in the sink.

Harry uses the alone time to quickly preen himself and check his breath, taking a sip of wine to try and mask any of the leftover pepper taste from the salsa that garnished the salmon.

“I clearly made these from scratch,” Louis laughs presenting Harry with a small plate of treats. “YouTube video taught me.”

“Lemon meringue? My favorite! How'd you know?” Harry beams when he smells the citrus from the tartlets.

“Oh you know,” Louis replies waving a noncommittal hand in the air as he takes a seat next to Harry on the wicker love seat and grabs for his fresh glass of wine.

“Wait...” Harry says examining the desserts closer. Each one is topped with a caramelized slice of lemon and a flake of gold leaf. A signature garish he'd know anywhere. “You sneaky little bastard. You didn't!” Harry yells as he tackles Louis against the side of the couch and kisses him harder than he has all night. Louis yips at the sudden new weight against him, but quickly readjusts so he can kiss Harry better.

“No idea what you're getting at Styles,” Louis tries to say between kisses. “Just got them at this little bakery in San Diego.”

“I cannot believe it,” Harry says as he practically climbs on top of Louis to get to his mouth better. “You...” kiss, “went to my...” kiss, “parents' bakery,” kiss.

“Oh yeah, right, I guess I did. I mean technically my PA did that, but...”

Harry shuts him up by kissing him deeper and Louis' words turn into happy sighs and moans as they continue to kiss.

“I’m really enjoying this but it’s sort of weirding me out that your parents’ baked goods turn you on,” Louis says breathlessly as Harry's essentially grinding against him.

“Shut up and kiss me,” Harry growls into the side of Louis' face where he's nipping at the skin.

Harry was surprised by his reaction, but he was overcome by something that just made him attack Louis like this. The fact that he had to look up the bakery and then have someone travel all the way to San Diego to get fucking food from his parents' made his heart burst into a million pieces in the best way possible. Not to mention he somehow figured out these were his favorite, and his heart lurches again at the image of Louis conversing with his parents —there is no other way he would know. He just couldn't believe how deep down inside, Louis was actually a really kind person and he was continuously surprised by it.

“Is it blowjob time?” Louis laughs into Harry neck after Harry had recently positioned himself on top of Louis more so that now he's straddling him.

“Not yet, all this talk about my parents got me soft,” Harry teases pulling himself off of Louis and back to a sitting position.

“Um hello, I'm not soft. You can't just start kissing me like that and expect no reaction.”

“Sorry,” Harry leans over and plants a kiss mostly on his upper lip right under his nose.

The lemon meringues are just how Harry remembers them. It's been awhile since he'd been home, but each bite flashes a different memory behind his eyelids: waking up at 5am to help make bread and pastries for the morning rush; dropping a 64-case of eggs on the floor when he was 15 and spending all day cleaning them up; sneaking his middle school crush an extra Linzer tart cookie in hopes that he'd ask Harry out. They all made him a little teary-eyed and he hopes Louis didn't notice him wiping his eyes after he'd finished his treat. He made mental note to call his parents tomorrow, he really needed to catch up with them.

“Did you talk to them, to figure out what dessert I liked?” Harry asks cuddling under Louis' arm, his head resting on his chest.

“I'm not sure if you want me to say yes or no to that, but the answer is no. Just asked to find out the most popular thing and hoped you ate it. I'm not even the one who called...sorry,” Louis sulks and his grip on Harry's shoulder loosen.

“No, no, no! It's fine, god no...I'm relieved,” Harry laughs looking up and Louis. “Thank god.”

Louis sighs and tightens his grip again as Harry runs the fingers of his left hand up and down Louis' thigh. The skin twitches every so often under the tight material, and Harry sneaks a peek below the belt and smirks to himself.

“So about that blowjob,” Harry grins squeezing Louis' thigh.

“You are not required to give me head because I cooked for you,” Louis says seriously, “that's not what tonight was about.”

Harry positions himself to sit up better so that he can face Louis. He drapes a leg over his knee and presses his hand to rest on Louis' stomach.

“I know,” he smiles pulling Louis' shirt out from where it's tucked into his pants, his fingers hovering over his slim black belt. “But I feel like if we toasted to a blowjob and you don't receive it, it's like ten years bad luck...just a decade of shitty blowjobs.”

Louis snorts an uneven laugh between his lips as Harry's fingers start pulling his belt out of the loop and the quiet sound of the metal clinks under his fingers. “Can't have that I suppose...” Louis whispers the words slowly. Harry leans his face into Louis' neck and shakes it, “no”. He kisses the warm skin lightly, Louis quickly lolls his head to the side extending the whole of his neck for Harry.

Harry's heart is beating quickly where it's pressed against Louis' arm and shoulder, he's almost glad Louis can feel the unsteady beat, so that he knows this isn't just something he's doing just to do. That he's actually scared shitless thinking about getting his hands and mouth on him.

He easily wiggles Louis' button free, and the skin that's against Harry's knuckles jumps as his fingers brush Louis' stomach. When Harry starts to ease the zipper down, Louis turns his head; his hand now firm on Harry's cheek and he kisses him slowly and gently.

Harry doesn't mean to grunt into Louis' mouth when he slides his hand between fabric and skin, but even with the semi-awkward angle, touching Louis shot a bolt of electricity up Harry's body and he needed to relay his own satisfaction to the man under him.

He takes a selfish second in Louis' favor to stroke the length of his entire cock, the sound of Louis' soft groans echo around them until he's biting on Harry's lip when his pace quickens. Harry's trying to ignore the way his own dick is already beginning to press hard against his pants, he wants to solely focus on Louis and honestly knows the second he starts letting loose, he's done for as well. His mind quickly flashes back to San Francisco and the shower mishap he's been trying to forget, but the way Louis sounded then, is nothing compared to now...especially knowing Harry's the reason for it this time.

"Wanna wiggle out of these for me?" Harry asks against Louis' lips with his hand now tugging on Louis' trousers. He pulls back a little, keeping one hand on Louis' belly as he lifts his bottom up and pulls down everything. "Shit," Harry licks his lips as his eyes follow Louis' movement. He's fucking gorgeous and Harry lets Louis know that quicker than his own brain can process the words tumbling out of his mouth.

Since the outdoor couch they're on isn't large enough for Louis to lie down on, Harry moves to the ground and settles between his legs; pulling his hips toward the edge of the seat, "Harry you really don't..."

"Shh. God I've never heard anyone refuse this much. I swear I'm good," he laughs looking up at Louis and licking his lips again. And like not to boast, but he was pretty fucking good at giving head if he did say so himself, and he's never been so ready or so excited to get his mouth on someone like he is about Louis — so he knows it's going to be good no matter what. And from the pure look of lust in Louis' eyes, Harry has the feeling he knew it was going to be good too.

The second Harry's tongue touches him, Louis arches off his seat so violently that Harry has to slam his body back down against the cushion. Harry begins again, starting at the base of Louis' cock and licking up, his tongue dancing around each inch of skin as he guides it up Louis' length, then bringing him down entirely. Louis is still jerking slightly, but Harry takes it as a compliment.

"Oh god, Harry...shit," Louis groans, his hands tightening quickly in Harry's hair; reflexively bringing him down deeper into Harry's mouth. Hearing Louis like this made Harry smile inwardly as he took everything in: his moans, how hard he was, the way he filled his mouth so perfectly. It's exactly where he wanted Louis. The sound of him was possibly the greatest thing Harry's ever heard in his entire existence.

Louis moans again, beginning to lose it as Harry licks around his head; his tongue touching all the right places in time with where his fingers are exploring Louis' body. "Harry," Louis whispers, drawing out his name for what seemed like hours. Harry pulls back letting his teeth graze Louis' skin with a gentle pressure before he's leaning over him again and taking his cock down, burying Louis' length in his mouth.

"You taste like heaven," Harry's voice comes out husky when he takes a moment to pull off of Louis and use his hands to stroke him teasingly. "Unbelievable." He looks up at Louis, his eyes are half as wide as the way his mouth is dropped into a "o" shape. 

"You look obscene," Louis croaks looking down at him, his thumb sliding against the wetness of Harry's plumped up pink lips before pressing the pad of his finger against Harry's tongue. Harry instinctively wraps his mouth around the finger and sucks; his cheeks concaving with the motion. He feels Louis' cock press against his chin before he sees his body spasm upwards. "Absolutely gorgeous."

Harry wetly slides his mouth off Louis' finger biting the tip quickly before smirking up at him and pressing his face back down over his cock. Louis reacted so well to every touch and every stroke and nip. Harry could tell he was getting there, the way his hips jerked more and how hard he had been pulling at Harry's hair; the strands knotted around his fingers.

"Harry...Fuck, I'm going to....mmmm, up, up," he says breathlessly trying to be a gentleman and do what he had done for Louis and pull him off. But the thing was, Harry didn't want him to...and that was never the case. Harry pauses only to say, "I know," and drops his head back down; with one hand planted firmly on Louis' stomach so he can't wiggle out of the way. The other hand spends a moment touching the slickness of the base of Louis' cock before moving down to touch wherever he could reach.

Harry could feel Louis reaching his orgasm before he could taste it, his body tenses for only a second, his constant stream of moans cutting off until Harry's name starts pouring from his lips like a prayer. It was loud at first, his own name echoing in his ears before it got softer. Harry didn't want to miss this for anything and shot his eyes up to watch Louis' face. His eyes scrunched shut and brows furrowed, until they slowly softened as he came. Louis must have unbuttoned his shirt at some point, because part of his chest lay bare pushing up and down as his orgasm took over his entire body.

Harry releases Louis from his mouth, kissing him softly. His knees ache as he stretches his body up to leave kisses above his pelvis, under his belly button, then on each tattoo. Louis' hands are delicate as they come to rest on each arm, his fingers brushing Harry's warm skin. Harry undos the remaining buttons of his shirt and kisses the newly exposed skin on Louis' chest; ghosting his mouth quickly over his nipples. He's in Louis' lap by now, straddling his legs while Louis' hands firmly placed on his ass and thighs; his mouth migrating up the column of Louis' neck finding home in his favorite spot under Louis' ear.

"Fucking hell, Harry, that was amazing," he finally says.

"I'm glad you thought so," Harry agrees snuggling into his body as best as he can.

They sit like that for a moment, just their breathing and the still soft hum of the music Louis had on early breaks any silence. Then Louis' snickering brings Harry out of his own thoughts and he leans back to look at him; his head cocked to the side.

"Sorry, I was just thinking. Remember that one time you barged into my dressing room and basically said you don't care about me unless it's making you money?" his words aren't hurtful, but Harry's not sure where he's going so all he does is nod yes. "It was just really fucking hot the way you did that. I think that's when I officially fell for you."

Harry sheepishly laughs thinking back to that day. He could barely keep his temper and then seeing Louis half dressed while he scolded him made it even worse to sound menacing toward him. When all he really wanted to do was push him onto that couch and get his hands on his body.

"Sorry if anything I ever said upset you," Harry says settling himself better in Louis' lap. He may be taller, but he decided that he liked to curl into Louis like this. 

"Not really, I mean, you know...it stung, but I quickly understood later," Louis sighs rubbing Harry's back. He leans forward to kiss his cheek and blow a raspberry there; making Harry giggle. "C'mon, lemme get my pants up and return the favor, you're stabbing my stomach."

Harry almost argues for a moment, but decides not to and instead just moves his body forward so Louis could really feel him against his skin. They made out like teenagers, kissing and caressing each other until Louis had Harry on his back and his head between his legs. It was even better than the first time, probably due to the fact that Harry was actually fully conscious this time around and not at all confused by Louis' actions. And there was no awkwardness after when they made their way inside with the rest of the food and wine, off to the bathroom to clean up before settling on Louis' couch in borrowed sweats to kiss and drink some more.

"You staying over?" Louis asks setting the next empty bottle down.

"Probably should, I can get a cab too if needed."

"I wouldn't have asked if I didn't want you to," Louis says jabbing Harry in the side with his finger. "You can even sleep in my bed if you want. I promise no funny business."

Harry turns; his leg draped over Louis' lap and he smiles over at him, "hmmm, maybe I like your funny business though." Louis grins back with semi-stained teeth and his million dollar smile. Harry thinks his lips are going to fall off when Louis leans forward to kiss him, he's lost track of how much time they've spent mouth to mouth — not like he's complaining. He almost forgot how much fun just kissing could be, how you can learn so much about someone just by the way their lips and tongue move. He even quickly learned that Louis has specific yips and groans for the different things Harry did with his own mouth. He cataloged each one, wanting to memorize everything about the way Louis worked...the way Harry made him work like this.

This was the first time Harry had been in Louis' room and it was stunning. The dark grey wood flooring and almost black walls didn't make the area look small thanks to the huge floor to ceiling windows against the back side of the entire room. A long glass desk sat by the windows and another projection screen hung from the center of the room. He was even more in love with the open floor plan of the bathroom and sinks, there were no doors, just the free standing shower and it was massive.

"Toilet is in the one you used the other night, I had it removed from here so that I could make the shower bigger instead," Louis says pushing Harry's body into the room more. "I have extra toothbrushes around here somewhere." He walks over to the raised platform of the bathroom and digs around in a basket, revealing a package, "ah, here's one. Purple okay?" Harry nods and follows Louis to the sink and they brush their teeth in silence.

Louis' snuggled into his bed when Harry returns from the other bathroom, and he looks cute as hell with the sheets pulled up to his chin. Harry gets a short running start as he sprints over to the bed and jumps onto it, "umphing" as he lands on the cool material.

"Such a child," Louis laughs latching himself to Harry's middle. He's shirtless, skin soft and warm and so inviting.

"Hey, I thought no funny business, move those hands where I can see them." Harry jokes and Louis scoffs then pulls away. Harry whines and pulls him back so they're facing each other and his hand is wrapped around Louis' waist just where he likes it.

"My bed, my rules. No snoring and no hogging covers or you're banned to another room."

"Got it. What about spooning?"

"Allowed. I'm big spoon though. No exceptions."

"Well I'm always the little spoon, so it works," Harry says rolling over so his back is pressed against Louis' front."

"Forgot one more thing..."

"What's that?" Harry asks smiling into his pillow.

"You're wearing far too many clothes to be in my bed. Off with something."

Harry laughs loudly and sits up to remove his shirt and tosses it over Louis onto the ground. He leans over, his hand making its way to rest on the top of Louis' ass and he gives him a kiss that he's quickly pulled into. He slides his legs between Louis' not meaning to rut against him, but he feels too far away from him and wants to get closer.

"A sucker for my funny business I see," Louis whispers into Harry's neck where he's sucking what's probably going to be one hell of a mark from the way it's stinging.

"Said I liked it," Harry pants, pressing his front into Louis' leg.

"Okay horn dog, let's get some sleep, tomorrow is a new day. Turn around."

Harry sighs and rolls over, his smile happily returning to his face when Louis presses up against his back. A flush spread across Harry's body like an L.A. sunset when he felt Louis' cock against his ass. It took every single thing in him to resist himself from pushing back into the slight hardness he felt between the thin material of their shorts. He almost would have guessed that Louis was purposefully a little restless at first so that he could press up against him.

"Harry?"

"Mhm..." 

"Stance on pet names?"

"Seriously?" He laughs with a long yawn. "You sappy shit. But I'm all for them. You?"

"Same sugarplum."

"Oh god...I take it back."

"Too late pumpkin," Louis pops the first letter as he squeezes Harry's middle. "Sweet dreams babycakes."

"I'm going to kill you. Unhand me so I can strangle you."

Louis restrains Harry more as he flails under him and they both laugh hysterically until Harry finally gives up after Louis starts kissing his shoulder and back, basically sending him into a tranquilized state. He doesn't really remember their final words or who falls asleep first, but that night with Louis wrapped around him, he fell into the best sleep he's had in years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“We can't go if I don't have my fucking I.D.,” Louis yells grabbing handfuls of crinkled clothes on his floor and throwing them all over his room. Harry couldn't help but laugh at how angry Louis was, but when he looked down at his watch he became more anxious than anything.

It was the last week of the fall festival that was taking place right outside of L.A. and Harry had been looking forward to going — it was the one time California pretended to have more than one season.

Even though it was November 5th, it had felt like the middle of July and Harry wanted nothing more than at least a few hours of pretending he lived somewhere where leaves changed and crunched under his feet.

“But we're gonna miss all the good stuff,” Harry whines looking at the giant piles of clothes Louis is searching through. “You don't need it!”

“Just help me and we'll find it faster. Look over there,” he says pointing to the side of his dresser where a weekender bag sits and about twenty other random items. “It might have fallen off my wardrobe onto all that shit.”

Harry sighs as he kneels down and starts sifting through Louis' things. Only he would lose his wallet when time is of the essence. Everyone knew who he was anyway, it's not like he necessarily had to prove he was the famous Louis Tomlinson to buy a friggin candy apple, but alas.

When he gets about halfway through the pile of stuff, a bit of purple catches his eye and a memory flashes before his eyes. He doesn't realize he gasps audibly until Louis is asking happily if he found it.

“No, no, not that...” Harry says pushing the underwear back into the bag. It just dawned on him that it was the same bag from where he found himself in the same position months earlier.

“Oh...haha oops,” Louis laughs when he made his way over and definitely saw what Harry was looking at. “Remember when I fucked off to SanFran?” Louis says reaching down and pulling the underwear out from Harry's sad attempt to hide them — not embarrassed in the least. “Well it wasn't just to be annoying. One of my artist/painter friends was doing a shoot and I volunteered to help her. The collection of photos were basically showing the beauty in breaking gender norms. Hence the purple lace,” he laughs stretching the material in his hand. “It's just shot from like my belly button down so I didn't mind it being on display at her school. Tattoos can be debated.”

Harry folds the material of the shirt he has in his hand and places it on the ground and stands up with a sigh, “I bet they came out good since you were the model,” he smiles with a wink. He was further being surprised by Louis' actions and his involvement in things.

“I can show you?”

Harry nods quickly, “Only if you want, since we are in a hurry.” Who was he kidding, even if he was in the biggest hurry of his life, Harry would pause everything to see these photos.

Louis walks over to his bed and grabs his phone, his finger scrolls quickly over the screen until he turns the device to face Harry and he sees the first photo.

Louis' standing on an all white background holding a single purple peony against his thigh that's a shade lighter than the lingerie across his front. The photo is saturated enough and shot in such lighting that Louis' skin is milky white and delicate, unlike the usual tan skin he flaunts daily.

“Wow...really gorgeous,” Harry smiles biting his lip. A small burst of jealousy rumbles in his chest knowing that strangers would be seeing this much of Louis. The tight see-through lace hardly left anything to the imagination, and yet it was anything but sexual even with hard line of his cock against the material.

“It was insanely difficult to stay hard,” Louis laughs scrolling to the next photo which was identical to the first but with no flower and the third was a shot of Louis from the back — the underwear cut just enough that the swell of each cheek hangs out from the delicate material. “And your Insta was giving me nothing to work with so I had to resort to visualizing you in those stupid swim shorts you wore to my house.”

Harry barks out a loud laugh that echoes in the room and looks away shyly and hands Louis his phone back.

“Sorry tmi?” Louis asks pocketing his phone and grabbing for Harry's waist. “Are you grossed out?”

“No, not at all. That'd be a little hypocritical of me to say that,” Harry admits pressing into Louis' grasp.

“Ah! Damn...I'm $100 poorer.”

“Wait what?” Harry asks pulling his chest away from Louis' and looking at him with a confused frown.

“Oh...made a bet with Chelsea many months ago and now I have to pay up. Although she's not present to hear this so maybe I can get out of it.”

“You bet on whether I got off to you?” Harry raises an eyebrow. “I dunno if I'm more shocked about that or that you didn't think I did.”

“Wait..got off? As in no longer becau—”

Harry kisses Louis to shut him up so he stops embarrassing them both and mostly because it's been like an hour since they've kissed and he already missed the way he tasted. It's hot, but not leading to anything else and Harry gets a handful of fun groans out of Louis' mouth with the way he's kissing back.

“We should probably head out if you wanna see everything,” Louis hums against Harry's skin. “I think my license is actually in my car come to think of it.”

 

Four hours later...

“Oh my god, we are so gross!” Harry whines tugging on his mud-splattered shirt. “This has got to be the worst idea you've ever had.”

“To be fair, you're the one who said you wanted to go to the harvest festival bullshit before it ended,” Louis states, stripping his just as muddy shirt over his head. It lands on the bathroom's dark stone floor with a splat.

“Yes, but I'm not the one who insisted on wanting to get a behind-the-scenes tour of the petting zoo, which then involved you chasing around a poor pig, thus falling into mud and grabbing my leg and taking me down with you,” Harry says in one breath. “And then we got kicked out, leaving no time to get clean and had to stink up my car — which, Jesus Christ if that smell doesn—“

Louis' lips are on his quickly and despite the giddiness he still feels every time they touch, Harry's not going to succumb to it and tries to continue scolding Louis as his tongue tries to dart into his mouth.

You know we are in my bathroom, and it just so happens to have this lovely shower,” Louis says hovering over Harry's lips while pointing up at the shower head. He takes a step back and turns the knob so water starts gushing out. Louis doesn't say anything else, but goes about finishing taking off the remainder of his soiled clothes and Harry's left there with a dry throat gawking like an idiot still completely dressed.

And like he's seen Louis naked, bits and pieces, but this is the first time he's been one-hundred percent in the nude and in such a close proximity to him. Harry's eyes follow the curve of his spine down to his ass as Louis faces his back toward him trying to fidget with the handles. Even with the dirt and mud covering him, Harry wants nothing more than to press his lips to every square inch of tan skin.

“I'm not sure if watching people shower is like a kink of yours or something, but you're more than welcome to join me,” Louis hums spinning around and rubbing his hands across his wet torso, the water mixing with the mud make light brown drops that bead down his body. Harry follows the droplets over his tattoos, to his belly button and then his eyes shoot back up to Louis' face where his eyes are now closed, head thrown back into the water, and he's humming lightly to himself.

Harry swallows loudly and strips his clothes off as fast as he could, hoping Louis didn't see his big toe get caught against his shorts causing him to grab the wooden counter that held two sinks. His heart is beating fast again and he's lucky there's water to mask his sweating hands. “That's better,” Louis smiles reaching up on his toes to plant a wet kiss to Harry's lips.

“Um...where's your soap?” Harry asks looking above Louis' shoulder concentrating on the stone wall.

“I'm literally naked and soaking wet in front of you and you're asking me where the soap is?” Louis asks unbelievably. “Behind you to your left in that little crevice if you must know.” Harry's cheeks heat up and he looks behind himself to see a dug out space with four bottles nestled in it and turns to reach the eucalyptus-scented body wash.

“If this makes you uncomfortable...” Louis sighs as the water cuts off.

“No!” Harry yells spinning around to face Louis and taking a step to get back in his space. “God, no,” he reaches over Louis' shoulder to turn on the knob again and freezing cold water pelts down on them, “oh shit, fuck!”

Louis yelps and jumps to his left swatting Harry's hands away and pushes another knob so steaming hot water pours down instead. He lets out an amused laugh and Harry grabs his wrists and pulls them back under the hot water. “I'm sorry, fuck, I'm like...I'm really nervous,” he huffs a breath out and tries not to make eye contact with Louis.

“It's just me,” Louis whispers planting a kiss above Harry's rapidly beating heart.

That's always what you say, but that's what makes me like this, you're so... you.”

“Eloquent, really,” Louis chuckles against his skin as his hands run up Harry's wet thighs to his hips.

Harry knocks his forehead against Louis' and presses his lips to the skin between his brows, “I just don't wanna fuck this up.”

“Then don't,” he replies rubbing his hands down Harry's ass squeezing the skin with a tug. Harry stumbles closer to Louis, their bodies mold together from chest to thighs and Harry doesn't hold back the groan in the back of his throat at the feeling of Louis' cock pressed against his. He reaches his hands from where they were hanging lifelessly and holds onto Louis' cheeks, maneuvering them so he has better access to his mouth.

They kiss like they've been starved of it, Harry working his tongue into Louis' mouth fast and hard, his stomach flips when Louis lets out a satisfied groan after Harry guides him back against the cool stone and shifts himself to get a leg between his thighs. Something about being wet makes them both more sensitive: His hips jerk forward when Louis pinches the skin there, hissing at the quick sting. And Louis keens loudly when Harry lowers his mouth to his throat and sucks on the taunt skin as his Adam's apple bobs up and down.

“We really should wash off, if we're going to continue,” Louis pants with his mouth against the front of Harry's shoulder. “We are pretty stinky.”

“Oh now look who wants the damn soap,” Harry teases pulling himself from Louis' body and lunging back to grab the wash. He's thankful for his long limbs so he doesn't have to completely lose contact with Louis' skin.

They steal kisses as they clean themselves and Louis lets Harry wash his front because he knows he's been dying to get his hands on his tattoos. Harry mumbles something about wanting to leave bruises on them, not realizing Louis would be able to hear him over the flow of the water, but his high-pitched, “ please ” lets Harry know otherwise and he puts it in his mental catalog for later.

“Will you kiss me properly now?” Louis pouts kicking the plastic bottle of the soap across the shower floor.

Harry wants to argue and remind him what they were just doing, but instead he drops down to the ground pushing Louis' body hard against the back of the shower and flattens his tongue against his cock.

Fuck—Harry,” Louis moans loudly, his hands quickly securing themselves in Harry's damp hair. Harry takes Louis down as far as he can, Louis' cock twitches between his lips when he traces his tongue near the base. “Oh my god, shit.”

Harry can't help but to laugh, he loves that he can reduce Louis to one-syllable words with just the flick of his tongue. He grabs his hips tighter, his thumbs pressing hard into Louis' tattoos to keep him from bucking forward like he's attempting to do. To thank Louis for pulling his hair out of his eyes and face, Harry leans back and licks from base to tip, sucking gentle on his head and back down. Louis moans again, panting through the soft gurgling sound from the shower water in his mouth.

He moves one hand down Louis' hips, giving a soft touch to the base of his cock, then squeezes his balls before pressing his pointer finger under Louis' ass. Louis spreads his legs instantly, “please, please, please,” tumbles out of his lips and he shifts his lower half for Harry.

Harry shakily swipes his thumb against Louis' hole and they both give identical shivers. He's not sure what comes over him, but Harry needs to touch Louis and this angle is not cutting it. He pops off his cock and quickly stands up, grabbing Louis by the waist pushing him toward the edge of the counter, “hop up,” he commands and Louis does as he's told, hissing when his wet back touches the cold white ceramic of the basin sink. Harry turns behind him to switch off the shower — they're in drought and everything after all, then focuses his attention back to Louis.

Louis spreads his legs wide and Harry gives him a once over from his big, blue eyes, down his wet chest, to the thick patch of hair on his pelvis, his cock slightly curved toward his belly on display for him.

“If you—,” Louis' voice is hoarse and barely there, “by my bed, the wooden...” Harry leans forward and kisses him deeply and nods. He steps off the raised platform, leaving wet foot prints in his path as he crosses to the left side of the room and pulls open the drawer and grabs what he needs.

“You look fucking amazing,” Harry mews stepping back up and over to where Louis is still sprawled out for him. Louis scoot himself forward and down so that half of his ass is hanging off of the counter, and Harry finds himself once again commending his strong thighs for not quivering the way his would in this position. He slicks up a few fingers on his right hand and leans forward, his left hand steadying Louis' waist, he kisses Louis at the same time he presses his middle finger against his hole, and Louis gasps into Harry's mouth, biting roughly onto his bottom lip.

“Slow,” Louis whines, “been awhile.” Embarrassed, he downcasts his face against Harry's cheek and Harry nudges him to look at him and gives him another kiss.

Louis spreads his legs wider when the last syllable of “kick me if you want me to stop” comes from Harry's mouth. Harry kisses Louis again, nipping at his lip when he puts pressure on his hole.

With each thrust of his wetted finger, Louis gasps louder and louder, his hand shoots to Harry's shoulder and he throws his head back, “more, fuck...please.”

Harry obeys and his middle finger presses all the way inside Louis. He lets out his own groan, his cock pressed hard against the edge of the counter. Sliding his finger slowly, Harry starts to move around inside Louis, curving his knuckle here and there to give him the most pleasure. 

“You feel so good, you okay?” Harry asks kissing Louis' cheek. He nods quickly, with a hot burst of air against Harry's cheek. “Gonna do another, okay?” Louis nods again and Harry lifts his pointer finger and joins it with his middle. Louis' left leg knocks harshly into Harry's hip so Harry stop moving and looks at Louis.

“No, no, keep going, just a fucking spasm. Fuck, please stay in me,” Louis whines pressing his hips down onto Harry's fingers. Harry smiles, kissing Louis' agape mouth and twists his two fingers inside him. He's really not sure why he hasn't come all over Louis' sink yet, just the feeling of being in him was enough to take him over the edge. He wanted nothing more than to give Louis exactly what he wanted and if Louis came untouched with just Harry's fingers, then he'd do whatever it took to make it his best orgasm.

Harry uses his free hand to scoot Louis forward again, and drops to his knees, slipping his finger back in further. He wets his lips and kitten licks where his fingers meet Louis' hole, “fucking christ—oh my god,” Louis yells, his heels digging into Harry's shoulders. “Do not—don't stop.” They've yet to ever be this intimate, and Harry's an anxious wreck, but Louis' opening up so much for him that he couldn't help himself.

Harry's mesmerized not by the way Louis sounds but how his fingers push in and out of him and he's so close to coming just by watching Louis' body respond to him. He runs his fingers up the inside of Louis, experimenting with turning them either left or right. Louis' body shakes then stills after one pass and Harry tries his best to find that same spot again until his name is being yelled in a mantra-like chant.

Harry, Harry, Harry, fuck—I need—shit,” Louis groans while Harry's mouth is pressed against the inside of his thigh his now three fingers are working him into this state. “I want you.”

“You have me,” he kisses the skin there in sequence with his fingers thrusting inside Louis.

“I mean...fuck, god right there...so fucking good,” Louis moans, “want you in me like...for real,” he gets out over his panting breath.

Oh .

Harry slowly drags his fingers from Louis' entrance and stands up slowly, hovering over his body. There is nothing more he wants right now either, he's dreamt about this day, ruined countless sheets over what it would feel like to really be inside Louis. Now here he was granted the opportunity to do it. He had to hold his cock from not exploding over Louis right then and there.

“One-hundred percent?” Harry asks softly.

“One hundred fifty,” Louis smiles up at him, “but my back is fucking killing me, could we turn the water back on and you can fuck me against the wall instead?”

Harry could have broken some sort of record with how fast he pulled Louis off of the counter and back under the shower, where he let Louis turn the switches this time and they're met again with the warm spray.

Louis gives Harry's cock a bit of attention, stroking him lighting with his fingers then teasingly leaning down to suck at his head. “Please stop or I'm going to come,” Harry asks between gritted teeth. He was already too close and he wanted to be in Louis longer than fifteen seconds.

Louis giggles and walks over to grab the lube, “you didn't even grab a condom...” he grumbles turning to Harry.

“I didn't want to be presumptuous...” Harry offers with hunched shoulders.

Louis comes back from the side of the room ripping open a packet and throwing the wrapper on the ground while mumbling, “it's the fucking soap all over again,” under his breath.

“I heard that,” Harry says grabbing Louis by the elbows and pulling him closer to his body.

“I meant for you to,” he sticks his tongue out and Harry catches it between his teeth when he starts to roll the condom down his cock.

Harry guides Louis to the wall under the shower and he helps lift his body around his waist, kissing him while he gets Louis situated above his cock. Before Harry can even get a centimeter near Louis' hole, his right foot slips on the wet stone and he stumbles backwards dropping Louis' entire weight onto his own body and they both thud to the ground with a wet smack — the pain shooting up from the bottom of his spine up to his neck.

“Ow, fuck!”

“You fucking idiot,” Louis laughs slapping Harry's chest with a wet smack, “ruin the mood why don't you!”

“It looks easier in porn, okay?” Harry laughs back, rubbing Louis' wet skin. “Get up, get up, before I go soft from laughing too hard.”

“Friggin fish outta water and we're in a damn shower,” Louis huffs. “yellin' at me about slippin' in damn mud.”

“Shut up and get your hands against the wall and bend it like Beckham,” Harry orders in a less-than-serious tone.

“Please don't ever say that again,” Louis pleads with a raised eyebrow and not amused face. He settles against the side of the shower and Harry slicks his cock up again with the lube while watching Louis' back muscles jump each time he moves his hands around.

Harry crowds up behind Louis, the head of his cock pressing lightly against his ass. He spreads his cheeks while Louis presses himself into it, his back arching obscenely.

Harry bites his bottom lip as he guides himself inside Louis, huffing out short breaths as he pushes in.

“Yeahhh, fuck,” Louis groans pressing his ass back quickly causing Harry to sink in faster than he intended.

“Shit...Lou...you feel so amazing,” Harry grumbles as he slowly retracts his hips and thrusts slowly into Louis again, still not in all of the way. He didn't want to rush, or  hurt Louis.

Louis lets out a string of “uhhs” when Harry starts moving his hips faster, and he tries to turn his head to look at Harry, which only makes Harry moan louder and fuck him harder. Bits of hair are plastered to his face, and his lip is puffy and red from biting it so hard. Harry wishes he was flexible enough to kiss and fuck him at the same time.

“Come on baby, not gonna break me,” Louis whines loudly, “fuck me god dammit.”

Harry grips Louis' hips tighter, knowing he'll leave marks against the dark ink of his tattoos. Pulling out he thrusts back in harder not giving Louis a second to even think about it before he's doing it again and again and again until his heart is beating so hard and fast he can hear it ringing in his ears.

“yes, yes, yes...fuck Harry, oh my god — fuck!” Louis screams at the top of his lungs. It's the first time his posture falters, Harry can feel his legs shaking the harder he continues to fuck him, his hands slide down the shower wall and Harry holds his hips changing his angle to make up for Louis' slouching.

“So fucking good, god...baby...so close,” Harry growls sinking his nails into Louis' skin. He felt like he was  on the brink of a heart attack in the best way possible. Sex had never felt this good before, he didn't even realize it could be this amazing.

Harry pulls back and looks down at where the head of his cock is inside Louis, he's stretched so lovely, the muscles constricting around his cock. That deep warm feeling starts to bubble in his stomach the longer he stares, knowing he's the one making Louis this way. He wants to make it so good for him, wants all of Hollywood to hear Louis shouting his name. He grabs the lube from where he put it in by the hair products and squirts some more onto his hand, rubbing it over himself again.

Louis sighs a shaky moan when Harry presses back in wet and warm, his chest draped over Louis' back and left arm wrapped around his middle. He uses his wet right hand to stroke Louis' cock to the pace of his hips; building Louis' orgasm. Louis' hands drop from the wall and move to reach for whatever part of Harry's body they can find, scratching and slapping at the skin.

"So good Lou, feels so good to be in you," Harry groans with a hard thrust of his hips.

“H—Harry,” Louis stutters moments later, his entire body spasming as he spills over Harry's hand. His hole clenches tightly around Harry's cock and he barely gets in a handful more thrusts before he's coming too, biting Louis' back with a loud grunt.

Breathing heavily, Harry peels himself off of Louis' back and slowly pulls out of him. He shuts the cool water off and sits down onto the floor, panting as he pulls the condom off and ties it. Louis follows, sliding into Harry's lap with his feet around each hip.

“That was absolutely fantastic, my god. Who knew you had it in you,” Louis teases breathlessly with a gentle smile. He kisses Harry's cheek, across his lips, and over to his other cheek. His hands push back his matted wet hair behind his ears, planting a firmer kiss to his lips.

“You're fucking perfect,” Harry huffs out of breath.

“yes, yes, I know. Praise me some other way.”

Harry shakes his head and pulls Louis closer to him, their eyes locking, “I'd spin out a thousand more cars if it meant keeping you. I could never regret that night, Lou.”

Louis' silent and Harry thinks he's done something wrong. He looks at him more clearly, and his eyes have a slight wet sheen to them, “don't,” Louis warns wiping under his eyes. “You didn't see that.”

“Okay,” Harry whispers pressing his lips to Louis' eye. “Let's get up my ass hurts from the floor.”

Your ass hurts?” Louis teases scooting off of Harry's lap and onto his feet with a wobble.

Harry follows with a chuckle, pulling Louis close to kiss again, the shivering a mix of the cooling water and the hands grabbing his ass.

“I say we don't even bother with getting dressed, just stay like this the rest of the day,” Harry whispers inches from Louis' mouth.

“I second that. I want you on my bed though, I need to get my mouth on you.”

“I don't bounce back as quickly as you young kids,” Harry laughs taking a step back and grabbing a towel to hand to Louis. “Gotta give me a like twenty minutes.”

“Never said I was sucking your cock,” Louis quips biting his lip and Harry almost slips again on the tile.

Not too long after, Louis' got Harry on his tummy, legs spread just stinging enough but not to hurt. Not that he can particularly feel the pain over the long, slow drawl of Louis' tongue. God and if Louis' actually going to spend the next twenty minutes building him up like this, Harry's pretty sure he's going to have a heart attack — he quickly wonders if it's too late to sign up for LifeAlert.

He started all innocent minutes prior, sitting on Harry's ass and massaging his shoulders and back; his thumbs digging into all the knots. He began kissing down his spine slowly rolling his hips each time he moved down; then he got to the dip in Harry' back and scooted off his ass to make room for his lips on every inch of skin there.

Harry sounded desperate groaning when Louis only spread him half an inch while his lips moved. He was a tease to say the least, and Harry absolutely hated it in the best way possible. And then his mouth was there with no warning pressed wetly against his hole, licking and nipping at whatever skin he could reach.

“Lou...fuck baby, god,” Harry moans into the sheets his fists balled up next to his head. His next screech comes out even louder when Louis tugs on his thighs so he's sitting up, exposing himself for Louis. This is not what he had in mind to be doing before round two, but he wasn't going to complain even if he felt a little self-conscious kneeling like this.

“Shh, relax. Just relax babe,” Louis says rubbing his hands up and down Harry's thighs. He presses his tongue against Harry again alternating between that and kissing wherever his lips could reach. Harry's legs trembled despite Louis moving so slowly and almost innocently around his skin. It was almost cute the way he was peppering kisses on him until he'd involuntarily clench when he felt Louis' breath over his hole. Harry concentrated on his breathing, realizing his face was probably bright red from holding his breath. This wasn't a position he found himself in on the regular, or really at all. But it was a little late to mention, oh hey, Louis, by the way...I might almost be thirty but this is the third time I've ever let someone do this...okay, cheers...carry on. But he trusted Louis with everything in him and it was absolutely crazy how comfortable Louis made him feel even in foreign territory. And he wanted it, god he wanted it; silently cursing his body's tenseness, Harry did his best to just get lost in the feeling of Louis' mouth on him.

Harry feels Louis press his hand in the middle of his back to signal him to lie back down. Now that Harry's cock had decided to wake back up, it was a little more difficult to do, but he maneuvered himself into a comfortable position. Seconds later Louis was in his space and a few inches from his face.

“Hey,” he whispers almost inaudibly. “You're like really tense...you okay?” His fingers trace over Harry's shoulder and upper arm, the skin jumping in his wake.

Harry looks past Louis' eyes and stares at the top of his ear instead, “Yeah. Y-yeah, I'm fine. Just not usually on the um...receiving end of this.”

Louis presses a few kisses to Harry's hand and wrist that's jutting out from under his chin. It settles Harry just enough to sigh and laugh, “sorry, no...continue really, I'm okay.”

“I don't mind just naked cuddling,” Louis says scooting closer with a leg draped over Harry's. Harry nods and sits up to readjust himself, letting Louis grab his water from the bedside table and settle in next to him. “Do you want me to brush my teeth?”

“Oh my god, no you're fine. It's fine. Come here.”

Louis swallows his water and closes his bottle and gets under the covers next to Harry, slotting his right leg between both of his and pressing a firm hand against Harry's chest.

“Naked cuddling is nice, too,” Harry shyly laughs digging his face into the pillow. “I'm so embarrassed.”

“You're practically a virgin, so cute,” Louis teases pressing in closer to Harry.

“Not even close, shut up.”

“You started it.”

Harry shushes Louis and uses their position to scratch lightly at his neck and back, his long arms reaching every available spot of warm skin. There was something so sensual about this, almost more than when they're actually touching each other to get one another to come. Harry felt his heart begin to race again as Louis traced random, gentle lines across his body, mirroring Harry's own actions.

“Whenever you're ready; whether tomorrow or a year from now, just say the word,” Louis says as his fingers trace down the length of Harry's side and swell of his ass.

“Most likely tomorrow,” Harry laughs cuddling closer. “I dunno what's wrong with me.”

“Nothing is. You're perfect.”

They stayed silent, just touching and scratching, a few small laughs here and there when the air in the room got a little too thick. Harry felt chilly goosebumps spread across his body despite feeling like his skin was baking in the sun.

His fingers eventually made their way between their bodies, gently stroking Louis with no intention to speed up. He just wanted to admire him, this body that's truthfully a work of art, and Louis' body reacts quicker than any of their languid movement over the past quarter of an hour. He mutters a sorry as if he knew Harry's intentions weren't to get him hard, but he doesn't pull away from where Harry's fingers press up and down his length.

“I just like the feeling of you...if that makes sense,” Harry's voice scratches. Louis nods, his leg moving from between Harry's to over his hip as he scoots himself fully into Harry's front. "Just like touching you."

“I like the way we feel together,” Louis says sleepily lolling his head back, “just sort of fit perfectly.”

Harry pushes his head forward to kiss Louis' throat, while their limbs are all sorts of tangled together. They probably look ridiculous, but Harry doesn't really care. He feels Louis snake his way between where Harry's hand is slowly still stroking him and he lets out a puff of air once Louis touches him. He has to maneuver his body again so Louis can get a better angle, but they somehow make it work without having to untangle themselves too much. Harry flutters his eyes closed and zones in on the feeling of Louis' hand against his cock. He roughly slides his thumb from tip to base, but it doesn't sting in a bad way, but it's a far cry from the light touches of his own hand.

“Want you again,” Louis murmurs into the quiet space between their faces. “Miss how you feel already.” He speeds his movements up just enough for Harry's chest to clench and his hips spasm forward an inch, which is enough for Louis to know his reply.

The room suddenly feels a lot smaller, and Harry's body is already starting to sweat. He moves his hand from Louis' cock to his ass, squeezing the skin hard and letting it go. He lets his fingers slide down until his pointer finger presses firmly against Louis' hole.

“Ride me?”

The clenching pressure against his finger is enough of an answer for Harry and he moves forward to attach their lips.

Everything moves in out of slow motion after that and they speed up, sloppily kissing and rutting against each other, starved for friction despite it barely being an hour since they had last had sex. Louis only breaks to get the lubricant and another condom, and Harry watches him slick his own fingers up to prep himself.

“Fuck, Louis, you can't do that without warning,” Harry huffs watching Louis kneel and press down onto his own fingers.

“Then close your eyes,” he hisses wiggling around.

“Never,” Harry grabs Louis waist and tugs him hard, pulling him closer so he straddles Harry's hips. Harry strokes himself as he watches Louis finger himself, knowing damn well this is plenty to get him off. It takes all his power to stop and just get the condom on and wet himself with the lube.

Whether Louis is fully ready or not, he removes his fingers and settles himself over Harry's cock. He clutches Harry's arms as he helps guide him, his wet hand slipping on his biceps as Harry presses his hips up.

“Oh..my..god, ah..fuck, so good,” Louis hisses settling on Harry.

Harry puts his hands on Louis' hips watching where his cock meets his hole, and he groans when Louis starts moving his hips in small circles. He's not even halfway inside Louis yet, but Harry's eyes are already rolling back at the feeling of being inside of him again.

“Move more, please,” Harry's aware he's begging, but this is absolute torture. “Feels so fucking good baby.”

Louis smiles down at Harry, but bites his lip and moans once he's dropped down flat against Harry's pelvis, letting his cock sink as deep as it can reach inside of him.

“Fuck...fuck, god, fuck,” Louis hisses trying to move again. He lifts his hips and slides back down, repeating the action over and over again as his starts panting for breath. Harry's hip jerk up every so often moving on their own accord.

Harry grabs the bottle of lube and wets his hand and reaches for Louis' bouncing cock. Louis' head falls back and he scratches at his own chest when Harry touches him.

“Can't wait to see you come all over my chest,” Harry moans as he strokes Louis, “want you to make a mess.”

“H-Harry, shit,” Louis says bouncing faster. Harry lets his hand just form a c-shape around his cock while his other hand latches back onto Louis' hip so he can help guide him. “So fucking close already.”

“You look so good,” Harry praises him as he thrusts up as Louis comes back down. He puts both hands on his hips now and fucks up into Louis as hard as he can. “Don't stop baby...so, so good.”

Louis' chest is glistening with sweat and a few droplets land onto Harry's wet chest when he falls forward to hold onto Harry's shoulders right before his orgasm hits. Harry does his best to quickly grab Louis' cock as he comes, the hot liquid shooting across his chest and neck as Louis yells his name.

Harry reaches between their moving bodies and holds onto the base of his cock, Louis' ass hitting his hand hard when he comes down, “lift up, lift up,” he says quickly and Louis moves as fast as he can post-orgasm.

Harry rips off the condom and vigorously strokes himself while not losing eye contact with Louis.

“You look so fucking hot right now,” Louis says crawling between Harry's spread legs and tugging hard on the skin of the inside of his thighs. “Even better with my come all over you.”

Harry looks down at his chest and swipes some off with his free thumb and brings it to his mouth, Louis' own mouth gapes open as Harry wraps his lips around his finger and sucks. The taste of Louis being enough for him to orgasm — and two seconds after he starts coming, he feels Louis' mouth against his cock and hand.

Louislouislouis—fuck,” he yells at the peak of his climax. His hand falls lax against his body and Louis takes him all the way in his mouth, licking around his softening cock while looking up at him.

“That's not exactly how I planned that going,” Louis says after pulling Harry out of his mouth, “but fuck...are you a sight.”

“You're one to speak. Should get your friend to photograph your orgasm face, I want it framed.”

“I could actually make that happen if you want...” Louis poses the statement as seriously as he can with a streak of come across his cheek.

Harry taps his chin and looks up as to think, “My birthday is in a few months.”

Louis shoves him and they laugh before getting off the bed and taking one more shower with no funny business this time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

A tickling feeling on the back of Harry's neck pulls him from the foggy dream he's having into the warm and comfortable early morning. He lightly moves his head around the indented pillow and tries to stay asleep. His body still tired from last night, the cement feeling of his bones an indicator that it's far too early to even be conscious.

It was either seconds or minutes, but Harry's dropped right back into the present when he feels fingertips scratching on his stomach, moving in a swaying back and forth motion across his skin. Louis' hand drops down further below his belly button, the slight sting from where his fingers tangle in the hair prick at Harry's spine like small needles. He does his best to stay still, his body's reaction time far less than what it should be. 

They're in the same position they fell asleep in, Harry's back against Louis' front, he vaguely remembers moving around in the night, but happy to know he ended up back like this somehow. Debating if he should send Louis a signal to know he's sort of awake, Harry lightly shifts his body to remove the small area of space that kept his back from completely being against Louis' skin.

"Morning," Louis whispers, his hand now fully cupping Harry, "sorry to wake you up," he pops the last consonant while tugging Harry's fattening cock.

Harry lets out a muffled sigh as he tries to find words in his dry mouth, "What're you doing up already?"

"Bullshit urgent meeting," Louis says gradually speeding up his movement. He plants a few kisses across Harry's neck, his eyelashes tickling the same spot that woke him up moments ago. "Have to go have a chat apparently."

"Are you in trouble?" Harry asks shifting his lower half and lightly pressing up into Louis' hand. He twitches under Louis' touch as he grips him with more purpose. He didn't even want to know what time it was, and was frankly surprised how quickly his body was responding.

"Probably," Louis says undaunted by whatever it is. Instead of having a care about what must be a serious meeting, Louis focuses on Harry...more specifically: getting Harry off.

Harry whines when Louis' too hot skin peels away from his back but smiles wide when Louis comes into his view as he rolls across to sit in front of him. Louis goes for a kiss, but Harry, embarrassed of morning breath, tilts his head so Louis' lips land on his jaw. Louis just shakes his head with a laugh and kisses him there, his hand stretched all the way to continue touching him.

Morning Louis is beyond gorgeous to Harry, his hair is a mess, eyes still baggy and tired, but his glow rivals the sun that's piercing through the glass to their left. He doesn't even blush when Louis catches him staring, lost in his beauty.

Louis suddenly disappears under the mess of sheets around Harry's waist, his naked chest now replaced with a moving comforter blob. He can only track Louis' progress down his body by the small nips he takes to his stomach, the top of his thigh, the inside of his thigh and finally right where he should be.

"Ah, Lou," Harry groans once he feels the wetness of Louis' mouth as it just barely touches the tip of his cock. A shot of excitement rips up his pelvis into his stomach and his hips wiggle in pleasure. "Please tell me this is always your morning routine," Harry tries to laugh, his heavy breathing and clenched fists selling him out.

No words come from below the sheets, just the quiet sound of Louis' lips and tongue against him, a swallow here and there, and Harry's own moans as he surrenders to Louis. 

Harry almost manically pushes the sheets out of the way so that he can get his hands on any part of Louis, but he opts for just digging his hands under them instead. A sigh of relief fills his chest when his fingers meet the familiar texture of Louis' hair and the warmth of his skin.

"Shit, that's so good," Harry cries, his body finally coming fully alive. He could feel Louis smiling against him as he took him down further. His movements alternating between gentle and almost maddening slow to quick, tight strokes and bobs that leave Harry gasping for more.

The push and pull, soft to hard was all beginning to become too much for Harry. Louis licks him from base to tip, swirling his tongue until he Harry felt himself at the back of his throat, "fucking hell, Lou," Harry groans tiredly, his hips unable to keep still for even a second as they jerk around the bed. Goosebumps covered his overheated skin, and Harry was so close he was going insane with the way Louis wasn't actually letting him come just yet. Everything he was doing was amazing, but they both knew it wasn't enough, and Louis was doing it on purpose.

Louis' phone rings in the background, the sound annoyingly trying to distract them, but neither Harry or Louis falter. Louis keeps his mouth firmly planted around Harry's cock and Harry's moans don't quiver except for when Louis' wet thumb brushes down his body to rest against his hole.

"Lou, Lou, Lou," Harry moans shifting around under Louis trying to reach his orgasm. The sheets and body heat finally too much for his already sweaty skin as he throws them off of the two of them. "If you want me to beg, I'm fucking begging you," he gasps as Louis' teeth graze his length and the pressure of his finger throbs. The air hits his wet cock as Louis' lips move up to just suck on the head, his hand only lightly working the base. Harry was so close, like right there, but he wasn't ready to see Louis' mouth leave him yet.

When Louis smirks up at him to make eye contact, Harry's face goes red from trying to resist his orgasm. He will not let Louis boast about this if he lets himself come from just a look. When Louis realizes this, too, he kisses Harry's cock and pulls his hips forward so Harry lies with his knees up. "Please," Harry whispers grabbing a discarded pillow moving it under his hips.

This time, Harry doesn't refuse Louis' mouth on him, and maybe his "tomorrow" comment wasn't supposed to be that literal, but all he cared about right now was continuing to feel this sense of blissed out nirvana. He thought Louis' tongue on his cock was amazing, it was nothing compared to this.

He was gentle and slow, cautious but dirty as he licked Harry's rim. He presses light pecks to the skin when Harry tenses his body. But any embarrassment and uncertainty melts away the longer Louis continues. This wasn't like his past experiences, it wasn't a means to an end. He felt a little crazy thinking Louis was doing this out of want and not need, that it was to make him feel good, not as solely prep. But fuck if Harry didn't want Louis in him right now. Just the thought of it makes a high-pitched groan echo in the room.

"So good baby, you're so relaxed," Louis' hoarse voice rings in Harry's ears for the first time all morning. It takes Harry a second to realize that after Louis speaks, his tongue breaches his hole momentarily then slides back out. The process repeated a few times as Harry's legs fall apart and open for Louis.

Harry darts his eyes to the right to judge whether or not he can reach for the drawer with the lubricant without disturbing the rhythm they have going on. He knows he's barely going to last another few minutes, but the urge to feel something else is growing strong in his belly.

Louis' phone rings again and this time he feels Louis' tongue falter, "for fuck's sake," he mutters against Harry's skin trying to get back into it.

"Pick it up, it's fine," Harry whines scooting himself back from Louis' face. The rush of his looming orgasm dissolving quickly with his annoyance.

Louis kisses Harry's thigh and gets up with a scowl, crawling up the bed and reaching across to the other bedside table and taps a button to turn the sound off, "fuckers."

"If you need to be somewhere, go. It's okay," Harry says sitting up now against the wall. "I'm not going anywhere. I'll be good and not move."

Louis' pissed off demeanor quickly changes as he sets his phone down and crawls back over to Harry, situating himself between his knees. The wheels inside his head are turning and Harry's quite interested to see what he's thinking up in that head of his.

"Promise to stay right here for me?" he whispers hotly against Harry's ear as his left hand runs up and down his cock. "No touching, just want you to wait."

"I promise," Harry says shakily. He was fucked if Louis talking like this was turning him on. "Could always tie me up if you don't believe me."

"Hmm, I like the sound of this," Louis says debating Harry's words. "But I don't want you to pee the bed, so," he laughs turning his face and kisses Harry off guard so he has no choice but to kiss him back, hoping Louis isn't completely appalled by the sour taste of his mouth, as he tries not to think where his mouth had just been.

"Gonna be so hard not to get myself off thinking about you though," Harry mews after licking in Louis' mouth. If they were going to play this game, Harry was all for it. "Just thinking about you in me gets me—"

"Fuck...how the fuck am I supposed to leave now?" Louis sighs scooting closer to Harry. His own cock very much awake and poking into Harry's stomach. "Want to so bad, I'll be right back," Louis assures Harry as Harry's hands roam all over Louis' body. He knows he's getting both of them equally worked up, but he can't help it, leaving his hands to himself is not an option right now.

"Okay," Harry whispers through another kiss, "go, I won't do anything I shouldn't." Despite what he wants, Harry pushes his hands against Louis' chest so he leans back. "Go. Before you get in more trouble."

Louis looks Harry up and down with a bite to his lip, contemplating his options and he's actually really surprised when Louis wills himself off the bed and toward the sink to brush his teeth.

He leaves Harry about ten minutes later, whispering dirty things to him as he leans in for a kiss before heading out the door.


"Louis," Jeff asks with a sigh, although his words are sharp, "what the fuck is this?"

Louis leans across the desk to squint at the iPad screen, "Looks like Harry Styles in a pumpkin patch Jeff. Pumpkins are these gourd things that grow—"

"I know what a fucking pumpkin is," he cuts him off with almost a growl, "I meant what the fuck are you doing next to him?"

"Looks like I'm helping pick a pumpkin, I have a great eye doctor if you—"

"Cut the shit Louis," he yells getting to his feet and clicking the iPad off. Louis sits back in his chair with a smirk enjoying the scene in front him far too much this early in the morning. "You realize this isn't a game, you're under contract and can be sued."

"I don't think I can be sued for pumpkin picking actually," Louis smiles up at the red-faced man in front of him. Oh yeah he was really enjoying this. "Unless there was some hidden clause in there, which with your track record..."

"I swear to god," Jeff mumbles under his breath. "If I get another email from my friends at People Magazine saying they had a source see you holding hands and kissing, I will fucking destroy you."

"Okay," Louis smiles unfazed as he gets up from the chair — it's not like he hasn't heard that exact statement before. "Can I go home now? I was in the middle of something."

"It's 8:30 am, I hardly think you have anything to do," he says annoyed as he shuffles papers around on his desk. "Don't forget to be on set tomorrow at 9, by the way. You still have filming this month."

"Ever heard of the saying, 'early bird catches the worm'?" Louis smirks in the doorway. "Ah, you'll figure it out," he winks when only an eyebrow is quipped up at him. He slams Jeff's door shut and walks to the elevator whistling a song.

He knew they weren't being that careful at the festival, but it was completely filled with families that no one even paid them any attention. At this point, he'd rather someone leak a photo of them together and just get it over with — he was never one for hiding. Everything just got messed up when Harry quit and he got stuck with douchelord and douchelord jr. Whatever, he wasn't going to stress about it now, not when he knew who he was driving home to.


Harry did actually end up falling back to sleep after cleaning himself up a little — which involved brushing his teeth twice, swipe on some deodorant and steal a razor from Louis so he could look a little more presentable. He only woke back up when the fifteen minute alarm he set went off. It gave him just enough time to smooth out the sheets and inconspicuously put the lube within arm's reach. He heard the front door open and close from downstairs and his stomach jumped with excitement. It was hardly possible now for them to keep their hands off each other while awake. Even if it was just quick brushes of their fingertips or full on frottage, neither him or Louis let the other go untouched for long.

He threw out any attempt to look sexy on the bed — it was harder than he thought and any position he tried just felt ridiculous. So instead, Harry just opts for looking casual while scrolling his phone despite wanting to rip all of Louis' clothes off the second he walks in. He see's Louis enter with his peripheral vision, but decides not to pay him any mind wanting to know how Louis would react to not getting attention. 

He learns Louis doesn't like that very much. He's in his space faster than Harry realizes, and he's tearing his iPhone out of his hand and tossing it behind him. It lands on the hardwood floor with a clank and Harry winces at the sound.

"I believe we were in the middle of something," Louis growls attacking Harry's mouth with his own. "I see you were good for me and stayed naked." Harry rises off the bed violently and grabs Louis by the cheeks and kisses him back harder. He tastes mostly like Juicy Fruit gum, but Harry tastes a hint of nicotine as well, which makes him think Louis' more stressed than he's letting on. Louis laps at him more forcefully and Harry moans in approval when his hand meets his cock.

Harry slips his arm around Louis' waist scooping him closer, his fingers tugging hard at the offending fabric, "off." Louis smiles into their heated kiss and pulls back to take his shirt off. Harry watches the fabric slide off his body, his fingertips brush over Louis' hips; squeezing him there.

"Hm. See you're prepared," Louis says nodding with his eyes focusing over Harry's shoulder to where he put the bottle. "Presumptuous."

"I have no intentions of doing anything else this morning, so you better fucking believe I'm being presumptuous," Harry spits back leaning forward to work the zipper on Louis' jeans. Louis hisses when Harry touches him, and Harry can feel Louis' excitement under his hand. Louis gets up to shed himself of his clothes and then Harry's looking across at him between his legs; the blue in his eyes darkening by the second. He won't ever tire of it: his brown hair across his forehead, the now tone, tight muscles of his stomach, the stretch of hair that led his eyes down to Harry's own personal heaven.

"If I recall, I was sort of like this," Louis says gliding his hand across Harry's cock then down to his hole. Harry hisses when he applies dry pressure, and Louis chuckles pressing harder. "Toss me that."

Harry quickly reaches for the bottle and rolls it down to Louis. With achingly slow movements, Louis uncaps the bottle, the liquid pouring out onto his fingers in almost slow motion. Harry breathes in heavily, almost gasping when Louis' hands wrap around his hips pulling him down roughly on the bed. He starts off working Harry slow and long, making his back arch off of the bed like a cat's.

HIs tongue feels even better this time around, he was still meticulous as ever, but with more purpose knowing there was nothing to interrupt them. Harry responded quickly, feeling his cock twitch as Louis licks him; his wet finger teasing him so badly. Harry couldn't help but to scratch at whatever part of Louis he could touch, alternating between pulling his hair to touching himself in order to relieve the build up of tension.

"You keep doing that I'm gonna have to do something about it," Louis says pausing and looking up between Harry's legs where he's gripping himself.

Harry just smirks and gives his cock one long stroke while keeping eye contact with Louis. Before he can even let himself enjoy it, Louis pushes away from him and his feet make a thud on the floor. Harry follows him with his eyes as he goes to his closet and comes back with a tie in his hand as he stands on the side of the bed.

"Wasn't kidding," Louis hisses ripping Harry's hand from his cock before he can stroke himself again and presses his left hand to the right. He wraps the black tie around his wrists four times and secures it in a sloppy bow. "There," he tugs and asks Harry if it's too tight, he shakes his head no and wiggles his wrists.

"Fuck," Harry breaths looking down at his bound wrists. This definitely elicited something else in him and couldn't wait for Louis to get back on him.

It was almost like without the distraction of his hands, Harry could feel every inch, every thrust of his tongue and every bite. His insides were on fire; he loved how hard Louis was pressing into him with only his tongue.

"Louis...fuck, Lou," Harry groans trying to press into it more. "More, more, fuck please...fingers," he begs his tied wrists pushing into his stomach aching to touch.

The bottle clicks open again; a second later a cooler wet pressure is hard against his hole as Louis' mouth covers his cock. "Let me know if you need me to stop," Louis says before occupying his mouth again. Harry mutters an, "okay" and then Louis' finger is slowly pressing into him, and Harry's whole body gets hot with lust and want.

"Oh my god...Louis...Louis, fuck...don't stop," Harry moans loudly craving the feeling of Louis inside him. He rocks his hips back and forth as best as he can, his restrained hands trying to pry out of their binding. "God, so good, right...fuck...right there."

Louis plunges a second finger in a minute or two after working the first inside Harry, bringing him closer over the edge already. And as if Louis knew this, he decides to only concentrate on his fingers instead of trying to suck him off. His free hand digging into Harry's hip, keeping him in place, not letting him go. His screams became wordless as Louis stroked a spot inside Harry that makes thousands of galaxies appear behind his eyes.

"Shit...don't stop, don't stop, Louis please," Harry shouts his body spasming under Louis' grasp as he twists his fingers. His arched back barely has time to meet the sheets again before he's orgasming with another deep moan. His body felt numb as he came, only the beating pressure of his heart dominates his chest.

"Jesus Christ," Louis pants, the pressure of his fingers now being felt on Harry's wet stomach when he stopped spasming. "you're a wreck."

Harry mirrors Louis' panting, although, ten times harder, as his eyes slowly open to watch Louis streak the come across his stomach. He's still incredibly worked up, having no desire to want any part of this to end. And Louis' still so hard when Harry's eyes are strong enough to focus on him. He licks his lips and darts his eyes up at Louis who's still looking at him.

"Want you," Harry croaks, his throat dry and scratchy. His fingers wiggle and try to stretch out to reach Louis despite being useless.

"Yeah? How?" Louis says dragging a come-soaked finger back down to Harry's entrance, a stinging sensation pricks his back as Louis presses against it.

"Want you inside me," Harry answers lifting his hips to meet Louis' touch. This moment feels totally surreal to him, but he is still so gone and needy for Louis — especially since he wants nothing more than for him to come, too.

"Could you come again?" Louis raises his eyebrow in amusement; his fingers still toying wetly against Harry's hole.

Harry nods quickly, "be a tease, it's worked so far," he laughs shakily. 

"I can do that," Louis says before dropping his head to kitten lick the head of Harry's softened cock. He moves forward to lick at a drop of come; dragging his tongue across Harry's skin while never losing eye contact.

"Fuck," Harry groans pulling at his still bound wrists, "wanna touch you."

Louis shakes his head, "be good," he winks; another pass of his tongue covers a larger pool of Harry's come and Louis lowers himself further down his body until his mouth is back on his hole.

Harry's toes curl the second Louis mouth is back on him. This was unlike anything he's ever felt or done before, and he was so incredibly turned on by the mix of pleasure and pain. He wills his body to respond how it should, knowing it could either go terribly wrong, or he really could bounce back quickly. Knowing so far how Louis operated, he had complete faith that he'd be able to bounce back soon.

"Tell me what you want me to do," Louis says pulling away from Harry's skin. 

"I...I did," Harry groans wiggling his hips impatiently.

"Nuhuh. You just said inside you, that doesn't tell me much," Louis purrs back. 

Harry takes a deep breath and stop trying to hold back like he's done so many times before. This was different. Louis was different.

"I want...I want to stay bound..fuck," he yips when Louis' tongue breaches his hole. "Want to be on my hands and kne—knees, shit...fuck," Louis continues to press his tongue in the more Harry talks and he's starting to understand how Louis' brain is working.

"Mhm," Louis hums the best he can, one hand cupping Harry's balls while he fucks him lazily with his tongue.

"Want you to pull my hair and fuck me so hard I bruise," Harry sputters amazed at what's coming out of his mouth. It must have been something Louis liked because Harry could hear a small groan from the end of the bed that consumed him long enough he barely felt the wet fingers slipping inside of him. 

Harry hisses at the sensation, his body more sensitive than before, but it felt so good regardless. His mouth waters with the prospect of Louis inside him, wanting to prove to him that he was good, that he could come again for Louis.

Louis' fingers move so precise and slow inside of him, as if he's trying to feel every inch of his body. "So warm baby, fuck so good," Louis groans when he's taken his mouth off of Harry's skin. "Want a better view."

They coordinate their movements for Harry to turn over while Louis can still touch him enough that he doesn't need to pull his fingers out all of the way, it probably looks hilarious, but they get it done and Harry's face down on the sweat-soaked sheets, his knees folded under him, arms moving from under his belly to stretch above his head so the muscles in his back pop.

"My heart loves the view," Louis giggles as he squirts lube over his fingers.

"Are you quoting High School Musical while fingering me?"

"Maybe," Louis says shoving his fingers in harder and anything Harry was about to say gets replaced by a scream.

"Fuc—fuck, Louis, oh my god," Harry yells as Louis forcefully pushes his fingers in and out of him. "Shit, shit shit!"

Harry rocks his hips back trying to meet Louis' thrusts, the heat already building it's way back up his body. There was so much he wanted to concentrate on; the stretch, Louis' fingertips grazing his prostate — which, fucking hell, he was sweating terribly because of that — the way his body reacts to Louis' touches, how his cock was already getting hard again as he ruts against the bed.

"Louis please, fuck, I'm good, just—please," Harry whines arching even more into Louis' touch. "Want it."

"Scoot up the bed, I need to reach the drawer and do not want to stop touching you," Louis says pushing Harry forward. 

Harry does his best to crawl up the bed far enough that Louis can keep his fingers inside of him while opening the drawer and pulling out a condom, "fucking talent right there," he mutters ripping the package open with his teeth and reaching for the bottle of lube.

Unlike the forcefulness of what Harry had just experienced with his fingers, Louis enters him with tenderness he's never experienced before. He positioned himself exactly where Harry needed him and he's pretty sure he stopped — they both stopped — breathing as Louis slides his cock into him, filling him.

Harry turns his head to catch a glimpse of Louis, his eyes trade their lustiness for joy as they meet Harry's. This feeling was beyond comprehension as Harry watched Louis's face change to elation as he slides into him. Louis held still for a moment, and Harry felt like the whole world had stopped it's orbit and Harry was just there, floating weightlessly in space.

Then Louis starts to move above him and he comes crashing back down to earth.

Rocking into Harry, Louis' hands gripping his hips; his breath puffing out in spurts as he went deeper. Harry rocks his hips slowly, but purposefully, timing it just right to get the most pleasure out of both of their motions.

"Mmm, Harry, so good, feels amazing," Louis groans rocking his hips forward. He pulls almost entirely out, then drives back in deeper filling Harry in a new way that leaves him already panting and weak, but begging for more.

Louis begins to say Harry's name, slow at first, then the chanting begins as his voice grows louder the faster he moves. Harry clenches down around him, the sensation almost too much, but also too good to ever want him to stop.

"Louis, Louis...fuck babe...god, keep going...I'm so fucking close baby," Harry whines trying to keep his knees steady on the bed where he's shaking already as Louis tugs on his hair.

Louis drives into him harder and faster as if to keep the promise of bruising him, his hands alternating between pulling his hair and digging into Harry's skin as his hips meet Harry's ass as hard as he can possibly muster. "Open your eyes Harry, look at me," Louis urges Harry over the sound of skin on skin. Harry does what he's asked of, craning his neck to look at Louis behind him and meeting his gaze.

Louis looked just as fucked as he is in this moment. His hair wet and messy against his forehead, face tinted pink and lips swollen. Harry wanted to reach out for him so badly but his wrists ached under their restraints. He felt tears pool up in his eyes at the frustration of not being able to touch Louis, as if it was the missing disconnect that would bring him to his orgasm.

"Louis, please take this off, I need to touch you," Harry begs pushing his hands above his head. "Please. I'm not even kidding."

Louis presses hard against Harry's ass, stopping his thrusts as he sprawls his sweaty chest over Harry's back and reaches for the tie. It takes about twenty seconds for his slippery hands to undo the binding, but once he does, Harry reaches for Louis and kisses his palm. "Thank you, fuck," Harry breathes running his fingers over Louis'.

He grabs ahold of Louis' thighs, pulling him deeper as he looks up at the man behind him, "come on now, 's that all you got?"

Louis smiles and shakes his head and quite literally fucks Harry senseless until there are stars dancing around his head like he's a cartoon character. He wants to shout from the rooftops about how amazing Louis is, how amazing he is in bed, he wants the whole world to know it. But he also wants this moment just for them, in their own little world, above all of L.A. as the city is just beginning to wake up around them.

With the sexiest groan Harry's ever heard, he watches Louis' furrow his brows and purse his lips as he shudders and comes inside him. His shaking and hotter than fuck moans drive Harry over the edge and he feels himself come, too, his own grunt mixing with the defeating sound of his heartbeat in his ears.

Louis collapses against Harry's back, wrapping his arms tightly around his middle and they fall onto a cool section of the sheets. His hands travel against Harry's body, finding all of his favorite places as both of their breathing begins to return to normal.

"I'm convinced I am in heaven," Harry's voice fills the room. "It's lovely."

"Does that make me God then?" Louis says without missing a beat.

"I seem to worship you on the daily, so I suppose it does," Harry says snuggling into Louis' touches unfazed by how disgusting he probably feels right now.

Harry's body aches, but he's not in pain; the euphoria of his orgasm masks any discomfort he should be feeling right now. He quite possibly just had the best sex of his life and it's not even 11 am yet.

"Where have you been my whole life?" Harry sighs minutes later as he's watching Louis strut across the room to the bathroom and turns on the shower.

"Off somewhere causing trouble so that we could meet I suppose," Louis says between a song he's humming. And okay, he's not technically wrong in that statement.

When he finally gets feeling back in his legs, Harry joins Louis in the shower — something they've agreed to never do alone anymore — and they sway along to the new song Louis' humming, one Harry can sing along to as they wash up and start their morning.

Three days later...

"I have serious work to do today Tomlinson," Harry says arranging himself on Louis' couch with his laptop. They'd eaten breakfast (eggs, toast and some dodgy looking strawberries from the back of the fridge that Harry's now regretting force feeding Louis), and Louis promised that he'd leave Harry to his work, but decided to strut around the living room in nothing but tiny black briefs that Harry would catch glimpses of every few seconds and cause him to mistype his press releases. "Don't you have filming or something?"

"In like an hour, why want me gone?" Louis pouts with his hip cocked and one hand on his waist. "Here I am trying to spend quality time with my boyfriend and he wants me out of the house. Sheesh. Fine."

Harry's fingers stop typing abruptly and he looks up with wide eyes from his Mac, "Say that again?"

"And he wants me out of the house..."

"No the other part."

"Sheesh. Fine."

"The other part, Louis."

"Oh," Louis smiles walking over to where Harry is sitting. He grabs Harry's laptop from him and slides it to the cushion, filling the empty space of Harry's lap with his own body. "My...boyfriend." The words hit Harry right in the gut, and paired with the soft look Louis' giving him while playing with his hair, he's pretty sure his heart has completely stopped beating.

"Say it again," Harry asks darkly.

"Boyfriend."

"Again."

Instead of speaking right away, Louis adjusts himself on Harry's lap and leans his mouth as close as he can to Harry's ear and whispers, "boy...friend," while tugging a little harder at the strands of Harry's hair. And it shouldn't turn him on, but given the circumstances and Louis' lack of clothing, Harry knows Louis can feel just how excited he is to be hearing that word. "You kinky shit," Louis' laugh is bubbly and loud in Harry's ear and he wraps his long arms around Louis' middle bringing him in closer.

"I love the way it sounds," Harry says leaning forward to kiss and bite at Louis' neck, his lips trembling slightly, "my boyfriend."

"Does have a nice ring to it," Louis quips sarcastically even though he's pressed hard against Harry's stomach. "Boyfriend, boyfriend, bo—oomph"

Harry cuts Louis off by pushing him back against the couch and kissing him wetly, his hips grinding down onto the barely-dressed man under him. His teeth gnawing into Louis' neck, sucking a mark the size of a quarter into the skin. He's already anticipating the text he's going to get from Louis later saying he had to stay in hair and makeup longer because of his vampire teeth.

One messy and quick blowjob later, Harry's wiping his mouth and bidding Louis goodbye and sending him off to one of his last days of filming while he actually does his damn work...finally. Not that he particularly enjoys what he's doing, but he's yet to hear back from the dozens of firms he's applied to, and is starting to feel a little defeated. He knew Azoff had basically froze him out of the industry, but he didn't think it would be this bad. He could not spend the rest of his career doing entry level work and getting a paycheck a quarter of the size he previously was getting. The only thing he has to look forward to is an email Douglas sent him asking him to attend the concert of one of the acts who are on a record label they work with. Harry agreed without a second thought because he hasn't been to an event in so long and he was hoping it would cheer him up a little.

Harry decides it would be even more fun if Louis could attend too, and since they'd spend majority of the concert backstage or in VIP, they could be a little more friendly with each other than if they were out on the floor.

Fancy going to a concert tomorrow? Be good press too (bc yes, I'm always "on")  

Who/where/when and do I get fancy VIP treatment? Think I only have a half day of filming tomorrow

Friend & Foe at HOB I have to be there at like 4 — you can come later if you want. And yes whole balcony your majesty, I'll even let you meet the band...granted it'll be my first time meeting them too

Louis doesn't reply for a beat and Harry watches the text bubble pop up and disappear about four times before sending a series of question marks.

Well I've technically met the band before...well not like the whole band more like just the bassist and by meet I mean umm

You slept with the bassist of the band I'm inviting you to see? LMAO this'll be fun!!!!!

I cant tell if this is sarcasm???? It was like a year ago..he wasn't even that good I hardly remember. are u mad?

No!! I'm honestly laughing. You don't have to come if it'll be awk

No it's fine I'd love to. I just didn't wanna put you in a weird position or jeopardize your job

haha thanks but it's OK. Let Jeff/Glenne know you're interested in going and we'll play dumb

Already told them they think it's "a great idea to expose myself to a new audience" they're worse than u

Watch it pal

:P you gonna be at my place when I get back??

Up to you don't wanna overstay my welcome although I should check my mail and water my plants

Didn't realize I was dating a granny...a hot granny...but still

STFU. I'll see you tomorrow enjoy the rest of your day

u too baby talk to you tonight I'm sure

 

The next day...

Harry briefed himself more on the band he was covering tonight; they were a indie-pop band from Brooklyn, and he was rather impressed by their music and large following — it was no Coldplay status, but they had about 300,000 followers and their record sales were great. He was also rather impressed by how ridiculously good looking, Casey, the bassist was with his million and one tattoos and lip and nose piercings, and silky black hair, but that's besides the point.

"I am not the jealous type, I am not the jealous type," Harry repeats to himself out loud as he emailed back a few journalists who would be interviewing the band before showtime. He was happy tonight would be fairly easy-going and he could just enjoy himself after coordinating the meet and greets and interviews. He was really looking forward to the free alcohol, too — always a bonus to have after work.

Not that he'd admit it...ever...but the dozens of images he scrolled through of this band may have had the slightest to do with the super tight black jeans he decided to squeeze into for the show tonight. And okay, it wasn't the most professional outfit ever, but he knew he'd probably never see these kids again so fuck it: he wanted to look good and fit in a little better. He threw his hair up into a bun and grabbed everything he needed and headed out.

Louis and him thought it best that they'd show up separately, just to really make it seem coincidental. Harry's controlling side was being tested to the extreme since he wasn't the one who had to notify the venue that a celebrity would be in appearance for the night, and just hoped Louis had the proper security and accommodations provided by his team and the venue. He texted Louis about a dozen times to make sure he wasn't experiencing any trouble, and it was absolutely killing him that Louis was only replying in one word answers or just not at all.

In person, the band was a far cry from the pristine teenagers he usually dealt with, but still more tame than Louis at his worst, so Harry considered it a win. They at least greeted him with handshakes and offered him a PBR — which he declined. Mostly because he wasn't a struggling college student and his palate had matured, but also because of his strict no alcohol while working rule. But boy did they enjoy their weed, and Harry had to physically stop himself from coughing up a lung while in the backstage area. He was eighty percent sure he was high by association by the time they finished with the last interview with AP Magazine and moved into the meet and greet.

Harry hung back with the band's tour manager, the label's publicist and one other label exec while the band met with fans, it wasn't until fifteen minutes after they were supposed to hit the stage that Harry faced an issue. He literally could not tell who it was because they all basically looked the same, but one of them ended up passing out in their green room after pregaming a little too hard. It was up to Harry and four other grown men to get this kid on his feet and on stage. When another fifteen minutes had passed with no progress, Harry went into publicist mode and decided to do things the 'Styles Way'.

"If he's not up in five minutes we're canceling the show," Harry says to the room of men. Protests and yelling filled the room at his words. He knew how much that would cost the band, but they couldn't keep the fans waiting. "You're also going to gift each fan...all two thousand of them with a shirt and poster. We can coordinate it with the ticketing site they bought it from and send them a coupon code to redeem it in your merch store."

"We make all our money from merch man, no way," Greg or John...Harry had no clue, said in protest.

"Well these kids spent forty bucks on a ticket and have been in there sweating their asses off waiting for you assholes to get on stage, so get the fuck over it," Harry says sternly. He walks to a cooler and grabs two bottles of ice water and without preamble dumps it on the passed out kid's head. Within seconds he jolts from his stupor and shouts profanities, swinging his arms toward Harry. "Get the fuck up you have a show to do."

As Harry's making his way from backstage to find Louis, a hand firmly grabs his shoulder, "I applaud the way you handed that young man." Harry turns to see a well-dressed man with a crooked nose and greying hair address him.

"Paul Stanley, I own the record label this band is signed to." Harry shakes his hand and smiles.

"Harry Styles, temp fill-in publicist of sorts for SixtySeven," he says with shy embarrassment. "I just don't deal well with spoiled brats."

"I hear ya," he laughs guiding them out of the dressing room and down a corridor. "From what I just witnessed you seem like a far more experienced publicist than the title you just told me."

"Yeah, well long story. Quit my job a few weeks ago—"

"Why and where at?"

"Elite PR. Um, didn't want to help closet one of their clients so I left."

"Ah, I'm very familiar with it and your boss...old boss," he says stopping before the set of stairs that'll lead them into the venue. "Well, if you're into music and looking for something a little more permanent, give me a call. Could use someone like you, Harry." He hands Harry his business card and Harry graciously accepts it. He frantically pats his pocket for his wallet and hands over his sleek black card to the man.

And it wasn't like the head of Universal was asking him to be his right-hand man, but Firefly Records had a great reputation and had amazing artists on their roster from what he discovered earlier that day. But at least they were in the Universal Music family, so it was a good start. Harry thanks the man and they walk out together toward the stairs for the balcony. 

Harry spots Louis a few tables away sipping on a drink and nodding to the music. It's dark and everyone else is focusing on the band that Harry finds it safe enough to bend over and wrap his arms around Louis and hurriedly kiss his neck. He jumps a little, but eases into the hug and mews a hello.

"Thought you were never going to make it," Louis says over the music. "Getting lonely."

"Sorry, got held up," Harry says nodding to the stage. "Got in okay and everything?"

"Yes babe," Louis laughs. "Everyone is very nice and waiting on me hand and foot."

As if on cue, a man dressed in all black comes up on Harry's side and promptly asks if he'd like a drink and is gone as fast as he came. He quickly comes back with a cold bottle that Harry's almost chugs and a brand new drink for Louis.

"You look hot as hell," Louis says directing all of his attention to Harry. "Are you sure you're my boyfriend? I've never seen my Harry dressed like this."

Harry tries to formulate a sarcastic response back, but all that's playing in his head are the words my Harry, and he completely throws all caution to the wind. He leans forward, grabbing Louis by the cheeks and kisses him, grazing his tongue across Louis', his hands pushing far too high up his thigh.

"And to think, if you play your cards right tonight, you get to take it off of me," Harry finally says over the music. 

"Pretty sure I'm all in already," Louis says pulling away with a wink. "Gotta good feeling about my hand."

Between songs when it's a little quieter, Harry tells Louis about the fiasco and promising job offer. His eyes widen and he squeezes Harry's thigh excitedly. Harry's chest bubbles with how proud Louis is and how happy he is for him. It was kind of insane how endearing Louis has been about all of this.

"Did you want to say hi after the show?" Harry asks watching the four guys run around on stage.

"Nah, no reason to. I texted him that I was here for work. Just so he didn't get any ideas that I was secretly here pining after him," Louis laughs sipping his Whiskey Sour. 

"Aw that'd be such a cute headline though," Harry jokes. "Kidding," he adds after Louis sends him a death glare. "So no babysitter today?"

"Nope, they had dinner plans already and figured I wouldn't cause any trouble at a concert. Someone back there is a bodyguard, not sure where he went," Louis says as the dim light of his phone illuminates his face.

Even in the darkness, Harry can see that familiar glint in Louis' eye: The one that says he's up to something. "Are you going to cause trouble?"

"Define trouble," Louis says turning his phone just enough that Harry can see Twitter on the screen.

"Louis!" Harry shrieks grabbing Louis' phone out of his hand, his PR instincts kicking into gear. "You can't just..."

"Why not?" Louis cuts him off grabbing his phone out of Harry's grip. "Just means I think the guy next to me is visually appealing. Plausible deniability...and you're welcome."

Harry pushes out of his chair and paces around behind where they're sitting. He had a point, but Harry knew damn well he had probably just caused Twitter to break and was treading on very thin ice. He assumed he'd go rogue, but Louis had to be careful. He could be sued for everything and more and Harry would not let that happen to him.

"They must have my notifications turned on," Louis laughs letting his phone ring. "Let's keep them squirming. Bout ready to go, too if you are."

"Yeah, yeah. Sure. I'll meet you at your house," Harry says taking the last swig of his drink.

"I didn't drive here, I can just come with you," Louis says getting out of his seat and stretching his arms above his head. 

"We can't risk you getting seen hopping into my car," Harry says grabbing his jacket off the back of his chair. Harry can tell he's said the wrong thing when Louis' jaw tenses and he turns his body away from Harry. 

He waits another minute, hoping Louis'll say something, but he doesn't.

"Fine. Here's my keys," Harry says dropping his hand over Louis' shoulder and letting go of them and Louis scrambles to catch them. "I'll follow in a couple minutes."

Louis silences his phone once more and turns on his heels, and hurriedly walks past Harry without glancing up at him. He's annoyed and Harry doesn't think he deserves to be annoyed because he's trying to save both of their asses right now and Louis' once again acting like a child who doesn't think of repercussions before taking action. As Louis moves toward the stairs, a large dark figure off in the corner, who must be the bodyguard, comes into his eyesight and follows Louis down the steps.

The ride back to Louis' is quiet and tense, Harry fills the silence with the sound of his thumbs drumming against the steering wheel in time with the low music.

"Are you doing this more for my image or yours?" Louis' voice asks angrily. 

Harry quickly looks over to Louis to gauge him, he's staring straight ahead with the same tense face he's had since they were at the concert and Harry's trying to figure out how big of a shitstorm they're about to get into. "I don't think that's very fair, Louis. You know I always have your best interest in mind."

Louis kicks the dash of Harry's car hard and huffs an annoyed laugh. "Can we cut the publicist bullshit for once? Fucking hell; that's what all of this is ever about every single fucking time. Every move I make has to be approved, every fucking word and tweet, how I stand and act. I get it enough from them, I really fucking hate still getting it from you, too. Also you didn't answer my question."

As his heart sinks, Harry stops tapping his fingers and lowers the music with the knob on his steering wheel. Definitely a category 5 shitstorm ahead. Harry takes a long breath in and collects his thoughts for about fifteen seconds before deciding to reply to Louis. They had such a great night, and the past few weeks have been nothing less than spectacular; he really doesn't want to tarnish what they have with a stupid fight.

"For both of us. And you can't call that selfish," he adds quickly knowing how Louis' brain works. "I've built up my repertoire and reputation for years okay? Like if this got out without a precise, controlled plan it would ruin both of us. I would be known as, 'the one who hooked up with Louis Tomlinson' and you'd be a laughing stock because you got with 'the help'. I don't know if you realize the magnitude of the situation. The tabloids would have a field day, and any news about you and your movie would get pushed aside for your romp with your old handler. That's not fair to you, after all your hard work to get higher up the friggin Hollywood ladder. My job is to get you news, not become news myself."

Harry swallows the lump in his throat and continues to drive. He waits for Louis to speak, but it's been silent since Harry last spoke and it's absolutely eating him up inside. "I want to be able to walk out of a god damn concert and hold your hand instead of sneaking around, and I wanna kiss you at brunch and fucking upload a damn photo of the two of us and make everyone jealous. You have to know that babe. You just can't make these rash decisions, there's unfortunately legal consequences and yeah it's unfair, but you signed and you have to abide by them as much as it blows. We just need to be a bit more careful, and I shouldn't have kissed you like I did at the concert, that wasn't right. We can figure out how this can work best for both of us, okay? Do you want that?"

They're sitting in front of Louis' house, the car idling because Harry's not sure yet if he's invited inside. He's never felt so nervous before; not even as nervous as he was moving to L.A. or stepping out on his first red carpet with a client. Those were cakewalks compared to the tight ache he was feeling in his chest right now. Everything was either going to be fine, or he was going to drive away for the last time.

"I want that more than anything," Louis finally whispers. "I'm sorry. I just..."

"Don't be sorry," Harry says taking off his seatbelt and shifting to turn toward Louis. He runs his hand up Louis' arm a few times and then links their fingers together. "I know you're frustrated, and I am too. We'll make it work somehow. I'm sure we can think of something."

Louis turns to look at Harry and his eyes are just the slightest watery as he blinks. Harry knows his eyes mirror Louis', and he leans across to kiss him; blinking away any tears.

"I have one question..."

"Shoot."

"How come I've never stayed your place?"

Harry laughs and pushes his lips forward for another kiss. "You were there once...sort of. And because it's like the size of your living room."

"So. Can we go?"

"Tonight?"

"Yeah. Please?"

"If you insist."

Harry can barely remember the state of his apartment, and he's relieved when he flips the light on to see that it's pretty clean and not as embarrassingly messy as he had thought it was going to be. "Uh, so this is it." Harry closes the door behind them and steps further into the room. "Just enough space for lonely old me."

Harry shows him around and then to his bedroom and the bathroom where Louis takes his bag to change. Harry does the same in his room before heading to the kitchen.

"Do you want something to drink?" Harry raises his voice when he hears the bathroom door click open.

"Water would be great."

Louis' concentrating on his phone when Harry walks into the bedroom and sets his glass down on a coaster. He scoots in next to him, snaking his arm behind Louis' head. "Anything interesting?"

Louis pulls his phone away from his face and clicks the home button so the screen blacks out. "Nothing as interesting or as important as you," he smiles curling into Harry's side.

"I'm not that important."

"Yes you are."

Harry thinks they've argued enough tonight and decides to respond by rubbing the nape of Louis' neck until he starts to slack more into his body. He's as close as he can be, but Harry still wants them to be touching more and smiles when Louis stretches to kiss his neck every so often. They lazily kiss, exerting just the right amount of effort to keep them comfortable. Harry turns on his side so he can pull Louis closer and tangle their bodies together. His lips are pulled toward Louis' skin like a magnet, settling on his jaw and down his neck where he nudges Louis' chin up so he can touch the warm skin there. He doesn't think anything would be strong enough right now to pull him away. He loves that they can just makeout with no intention of going any further, happy with what they have, consumed by the other's taste. Kissing Louis has become something better than words to Harry and he finds himself struggling to even remember what day it is when Louis' tongue dances around his mouth.

"I didn't mean for that to turn into a fight," Louis yawns against Harry's chest in the stillness of the room after they've exhausted themselves. His feet are wrapped around Harry's leg and his left arm is draped over the heather grey fabric of Harry's shirt. "I just get stupid around you. You make it easy not to think and just do."

"We've had enough sorrys for tonight. Hit your max, no more," Harry laughs rubbing his back. "Look at us old people, in bed so early."

"I'm so tired. I blame you. Before I met you I was like a kid who had an unlimited supply of Pixie Sticks at his disposal," Louis playfully punches Harry's stomach and Harry fakes a cry.

"Untangle me my koala I need to pee. You punched me right in my old man bladder."

Louis obliges, but not before tickling Harry to almost the brink of peeing the bed and he quickly runs to the bathroom screaming fond-filled obscenities at Louis. After brushing his teeth and doing his nightly routine (washing face, moisturizer and hand lotion), he steps back out into the bedroom. It was only a few minutes, but Louis' eyes are already closed and his chest is rising slowly and evenly under the covers.

Harry freezes this moment in his mind, almost not realizing he's looking at Louis from his own eyes. He doesn't know how he's gotten to be so lucky, how someone he swore he'd hate for all of eternity has now become someone he doesn't think he could ever live without.

The next morning...

Harry's been up for three hours by the time Louis emerges from his bedroom and into the living room. Harry's on the porch just hanging up from a call when he spots Louis looking around for him. "Out here babe," he says sticking his head through the opening of the sliding glass door.

"Good morning," Louis steps out onto the balcony and stretches his body. Harry marvels at the way he contorts with each movement and finds himself pulling Louis closer to him while-mid stretch. "Why hello there."

"Hi," Harry smiles bouncing quick kisses across Louis' face. He can't keep a straight face as he breaths Louis in and pecks his warm skin.

"Why are we so excited? Did you win lotto?"

 "No. I...," Harry pulls back from Louis and beams his biggest grin at him, "I got a new job! With that record label."

"No fucking way?! Congrats baby," Louis leaps forward and attacks Harry with a kiss, the cool peppermint stinging his lips. 

"I woke up and just said fuck it, and called the guy, and he hired me on the spot after talking for almost two hours. And that's not even the best news."

"Oh tell me more," Louis laughs hugging Harry. Harry sways them back and forth excited as a kid on Christmas day.

"Okay so you know how they're Universal? Well, one of the bands on the label are already in talks with having a song on the soundtrack to your movie. I totally didn't ask either, he just brought it up. Which means—"

"You can come to the premiere with little to no ulterior motives," Louis finishes.

"Exactly!"

"I think this calls for celebratory sex," Louis smiles up at Harry with a wink. "Lots of dirty, loud sex. I need to test out your bed if I'm gonna make a habit of sleeping in it."

"Loud, dirty sex seems to be our specialty," Harry's hip instinctively twitch forward at Louis' words and he already works on diving his hands between Louis' shorts and skin, pulling at each side of his ass. "Man after my own heart."

"I think it's already mine."

"Of course," Harry replies leaning down to kiss Louis. Unlike the night prior, this one was wet and sloppy, each pass of his tongue only a preview of what he could do with it. "Always."

"Bed...now, like right now," Louis pants and Harry walks them back inside, their bodies glued together and starving for more.

"Did I mention I have soundproof walls?" Harry says pushing Louis against the bed so hard he bounces a few inches before landing back on the mattress.

"How should we test them out then?" Louis offers to take his own shorts off, but Harry slaps his hand away and tugs quickly down his legs. He's already hard and Harry licks his lips at his cock.

"Thinking I want my mouth on you," Harry spreads Louis' legs apart to where his knees are almost touching the bed and he gives Louis' body a once — okay twice — over.

"Well get to it then, haven't got all day."

Harry wipes the grin off of Louis' face and replaces it with an o-shape when he drags his tongue across his entrance and then around his cock. If he wanted loud and dirty, he was going to get loud and fucking dirty.

Chapter Text

Harry and Louis spent the next two weeks devising a long-term plan and a few short-term plans in order to legally get Louis out of his contract. With Harry's new job and Louis spending the few weeks before the holidays to promote his movie, Harry knew they needed extra hands and Nick was almost too excited when Harry had called him to help them out.

"Can we, like, have code names?" Nick asks excitedly as he plops down onto Louis' couch.

Harry laughs as he grabs his laptop and sits next to Nick, "sure, whatever you want."

Louis' house has become their unofficial basecamp while an unexpected busted pipe left Harry's apartment out of commission, and a 24-roll of toilet paper became a $13 sponge...ugh. This also meant that Harry has been living with Louis for over a week and he was really starting to learn new things about him — both annoying and cute.

Things like how his mugs had to be in a specific order in the kitchen cabinet and even though Harry sucked his dick almost daily, their toothbrushes could not be touching because it was "gross". Louis also forgot things a lot. Like informing Harry that he had an alarm system put in and never told Harry the code so he had to explain who he was to the cops that showed up ten minutes after the alarm went off. Or that Louis' housekeeper comes on Tuesdays and Fridays at 9 in the morning and Harry shouldn't be walking around in the nude lest he wants to frighten the woman — which he did — twice.

But Harry absolutely loved spending this much time with Louis, even though it wasn't that much time given his ten to eleven hour work days. There was something so comforting about opening the front door and knowing someone else was there waiting for him. If by waiting he means sometimes barely realizing he walked in the door because he's too consumed with a video game until Harry blocks the T.V., well yeah. But he wouldn't have it any other way.

"So what'd you have in mind exactly?" Nick asks peering over to look at Harry's screen.

'Well, since we have to stay within the legal terms of Louis' contract, we decided to look for loopholes that wouldn't get him sued."

"Such as?"

"No part of my contract says I can't annoy the living shit out of them," Louis smiles his signature devilish grin. "I want to piss them off so badly that they have no choice but to want to drop me as a client."

"And how do you suppose you'll do that?"

"I'm insulted Nicky Poo — you out of all people should know that's my specialty." As if to prove himself, Louis ruffles Nick's hair — the one part of Nick no one is allowed near.

"You little shit!"

"Told you," Harry and Louis say in unison.

Nick groans and tries to fix his flattened quiff as Harry explains their rough plan.

"I can't believe I'm going to say this, but, Louis' going to have to be a brat once again in order for this to work. You'll have to think of yourself like an annoying gnat — no offense, babe."

"None taken. Yeah, so I just need to piss them off little by little until they reach their breaking point. Sabotage their lives until they get rid of me."

Nick leans back against the couch with a huge smile on his face, "and I know just where you can start." The pair look at him intrigued and his smile widens. "Glenne and Jeff have some wedding meetings this week. Dress fittings, cake tasting, all that fun stuff. It'd be a shame if someone were to...interfere."

Both Harry and Louis tackle Nick in a hug and plant kisses all over his cheeks, "fellas, fellas, while I'm all for a threesome—"

"Shut up," Harry laughs pulling away. "Get us the times of some of these meetings, and Louis can swoop in and call in a fake emergency or something. I could probably get some restaurant owner friends to fake a call saying you're causing a disturbance."

"I'm having deja vu," Louis says scooting onto the couch next to Harry and resting a leg over his knee, "feels like just yesterday you were using those big strong arms to get me home." His voice is mocking, but Harry lets it slide because of the orgasm Louis gave him a few hours ago.

Three days later...

Harry was happy he was far too old to believe in Santa, because if not, he knew for sure he'd be getting coal in his stocking three weeks from now. But as someone who firmly believes in karma, he hoped that what him, Louis, Nick and Chelsea were doing wasn't teetering too far off the revenge and vengeance scale into douchebag territory. Although, Harry liked to believe that karma would turn a blind eye to anything they'd be doing to Glenne and Jeff.

"Their appointment is at one," Nick's voice comes from the speaker on Harry's phone. "I, uh, stalled them by, uh, never mind, just go!"

"That's your cue," Harry says putting his phone down and nodding toward the door of the Starbucks they're sitting in. Louis grabs Chelsea's hand and smiles at her.

"Ready...dear?"

"Oh, but of course my little Jeffy poo," Chelsea mocks.

Harry snorts out a laugh kicks Louis in the shin, "Please put those acting classes to use and be believable."

Louis rolls his eyes, "text us if you see them," Louis winks and tugs Chelsea toward the door.


 

"So, are we still thinking traditional buttercream or?" The red-haired woman, Abby, asks the pair.

"I was thinking something a little more out there. Right babe?" Chelsea smiles before kissing the back of Louis' hand as it's intertwined with hers.

"Yeah, definitely. Like banana cream or like caramel bacon," Louis says cutting off a piece of the sample cake in front of them.

"Oh, I see you've had a change of heart since your email," Abby says sitting across from them. Louis straights up and scoots closer to Chelsea and grins back at the woman.

"We figured, you only get married once...well, usually. Might as well make it one to remember," Chelsea adds as she extends her fork in front of Louis and he takes a bite. 

"Now aren't you the cutest," Abby gushes. "So in love! Well I'll bring out some more samples from what you listed and then we can talk design."

Louis lets out a breath as the woman goes to the back and him and Chelsea try to contain their laughs.

"I'm pretty sure Glenne is mildly allergic to bananas. I vaguely remember her screaming at her assistant for putting them in her fruit salad. It won't like kill her...I don't think," Louis laughs. 

The woman comes back out with a binder and a sketch pad and sits across from them, "Now Glenne, I know you wrote that you wanted an all white cak—"

"No, no. That's what my mother wants. Ugh, you know how they get. I want flames — lots of them."

"Oh? Um, well. Okay, we can do that," Abby says wrinkling her brows and pulling a pen out of the pocket of her chef's jacket. "That's what you'd like too Jeff?"

"Of course, anything for my girl," Louis holds back a giggle by coughing. "If we could get the topper to spin, that would be fantastic!"


 

When Louis and Chelsea come back into the coffeeshop, Harry can just make out the horns growing from the top of their heads.

"Judging by those grins, I'd say it went well?"

"Let's just say that Jeff is going to be confused when he sees the charge on his card," Chelsea says taking a seat and resting her feet on Harry's knee.

"Is it illegal to impersonate someone?" Louis asks sitting down and grabbing Harry's coffee.

"Probably. Which is why Nick called the shop earlier to make sure she had her security cameras off. Didn't want to risk info leaking to the papers about such a high profile couple," Chelsea  says leaning back in her chair.

"Okay, enough almost illegal stuff, just want to piss them off, not get thrown in jail. What's next?"

"Chels and I have our own date later tonight," Louis says wiggling his eyebrows at her, "and I'm just going to reenact that Nice Guy tantrum, but this time minus the ban."

"Perfect. Alright let's leave the scene of the crime and get back to the house."

The three of them slink out of Starbucks and head back to Louis' to meet up with Nick.

"So how exactly did you stall them?" Harry asks Nick when they all get inside.

"Well, I know her assistant Marc very well—"

"Aka, he slept with him countless times," Chelsea chimes in and Nick sends her a look.

"Anyway, as I was saying, I just reminded him that they had already gone to their cake tasting, but they must have been so busy they forgot and he convinced Glenne that they had already gone. Easy."

"Nice one," Louis says cuddling into Harry's side. "Fucking shoulda gotten Abby to put little dicks all over the cake. That would have taught them a fucking lesson."

"Shh. I think you did enough," Harry coos kissing Louis' cheek. "Jeremy knows you guys are coming and has the back reserved for you and will be the only person you interact with. He'll call Glenne and pull her away from whatever she's doing and hopefully it'll piss her off."

The disastrous date goes exactly as planned, and Glenne is fuming by the time she makes it across town to the restaurant Louis and Chelsea are at. Harry shouldn’t feel this pleased listening to Louis tell them what happened, but it brought him one step closer to leaving Elite, and he would do just about anything that wouldn’t land him in jail to help Louis.

"So she just starts fucking screaming at me while she still has half her hair made up and I can't help but to start laughing at how ridiculous she looks," Louis recounts to the group as they sit around the fire pit. "She tells me it took her two months to get this hair appointment and then she had to leave mid-way to come get me. Her face was bright red it was fucking hilarious. I wish I could have taken a picture."

"You did," Chelsea chimes in. "She also didn't appreciate Louis pointing out how, uh, orange she looked. Guess Nina at L.A. Tan didn't know exactly what she was doing. Which only cost me $100, which hey...can you really put a price on embarrassing homophobes? I think not."

"Money well spent my friends," Nick says raising his beer.

Christmas Eve (Louis' birthday)...

"I have something for you," Louis mumbles into Harry's back as they lie tangled in the sheets of Louis' bed. It had only just turned to double digit hours and Harry stretches his legs out with a yawn.

"It's your birthday though, shouldn't I be giving you a gift?" he asks rustling the sheets as he turns to face Louis.

"I mean that midnight fuck was pretty spectacular," Louis smiles. He leans forward a few inches and kisses Harry's nose. "Still feeling it."

"Mmmm, well you should stay in your birthday suit," Harry giggles as he grabs Louis' waist and pulls him closer. "What'd you get me?"

"It requires me getting up..."

Harry pouts and lifts his arm from Louis' waist and watches him slide out of bed. He can still see the faint red marks from his nails across Louis' back and he bites his lip remembering the night before.

Louis comes back into bed moments later with a white box and plops it onto Harry's chest.

"Babe...what the hell is this?"

"Maybe open it?"

Harry scoots back and sits up and holds the box. He shakes it but doesn't here anything rattle and Louis nudges him to open it. Harry raises a brow at him and tears the paper top off the box. There's a stack of papers ripped in half and Harry tilts his head confused. He grabs half and flips it over. He reads a line before throwing the papers and pushing the box off of him and reaching for Louis.

"They did it? They fucking let you go?" Harry yells tackling Louis to the bed. "Oh my god babe!" Harry grabs Louis' face and kisses him hard, prying Louis' mouth open with his tongue until he settles into the kiss.

"Thought you didn't like making out before brushing," Louis says between kisses.

"Shh," Harry darts his tongue across Louis' as if to prove a point.

All of a sudden Harry starts crying and Louis pulls away to swipe his thumb under Harry's eyes, but the tears multiple too quickly for Louis to get them all and he grabs the sheet instead.

"Oh baby, don't cry, no," Louis pouts wiping his face.

"I'm just so happy for you," Harry sniffles. He wipes the back of his hand under his nose and tries to hold back the tears, but they continue to fall. "I know how much this meant to you. What this now means for you."

"I couldn't have done it without you Harry. I really couldn't. Jeff called me yesterday. That's where I was for most of the day when I said I was doing Christmas shopping," Louis explains holding Harry to his chest. "He screamed at me for like an hour straight for being useless and a disgrace to the company and to actors everywhere. Called me a faggot, but, in the end he nulled and voided my contract and ripped it up in front of me. I deserve an Oscar for my shocked face."

"I can't believe he called you that," Harry says frowning up at Louis. 

"I told him enjoy his wedding cake. He didn't understand, but he will next month," Louis laughs. "I'm a free man now. Just one more thing left to do."

"Come out?"

"Yeah. That and working out are my New Year's resolutions," Louis laughs pushing Harry's hair out of his face. 

"Well I'm really proud of you babe. For everything." Harry says squeezing Louis' naked chest. "We'll have to find the perfect publication to—"

"Harry?"

"Yeah?"

"All I want for my birthday is for you to turn off work mode and turn on horny boyfriend mode. K?"

Harry laughs and pushes Louis against the bed and positions himself in his lap. He runs his hands down Louis' chest, swiping his thumbs over his nipples and leans down to lick one after the other.

"That's much better," Louis sighs.

Summer of 2016...

"I can't believe today's the day," Louis sighs standing in front of the full-length mirror in their bedroom where he's adjusting the suspenders under his suit jacket. "Think people will like it?"

Harry laughs under his breath and looks Louis up and down from his spot behind him. he already looks like a perfect ten in Harry's eyes, and he doesn't see why he should even bother with hair and makeup when the suit's color brings out the blue in his eyes so much. He was definitely supposed to get dressed after hair and makeup, but Harry wanted to gawk at him in his suit all by himself before his glam squad got a hold of him.

The mirror reflects his intense gaze and Louis takes a step back so he bumps into Harry's front. As if on instinct, Harry pushes his hands under Louis' jacket, settling them on his waist and squeezes the soft fabric of his shirt. "It's already being called the movie of the summer. Entertainment Weekly gave it a great review, not to mention every other publication," Harry whispers pressing his face to the back of Louis' neck.

"Yeah, but will people like it. I don't care about the press," Louis laments as he relaxes into Harry's arms and adjust his bowtie.

"Yes. People will love it babe. You're in it, how could they not?"

Louis goes to protest, but Harry shushes him with a quick grab to the front of his pants. Harry hears Louis gasp and watches his face soften in the mirror, his head thrown back against Harry's cheek as he moves his hand. He smells like the stupidly expensive shampoo Louis bought solely because the bottle was cool, and much to Harry (and Nick's) dissent, he keeps it too proudly on display in front of all the other bottles. Harry takes a deep breath in, the short hair tickles his nose as he exhales, and he presses his lips firmly to Louis' skin while curving his hips forward into Louis' body. Louis' fingers pull away from where they hang and slide back to grab onto Harry's thighs. His fingers dig into the cotton against Harry's skin as he kisses his neck and rubs his cock.

While he's got Louis loosened up to his liking, Harry spins him around and guides Louis closer to the dresser, pushing him against the wood with his entire body. One hand stays planted on Louis' hip while the other wraps around his neck to pull him forward into a breathy, warm kiss. Louis' lips are soft, a change from his usual chapped ones, most likely due to the makeup artist who's waiting downstairs for Louis to finish getting ready when Harry pulled him away for, 'only a moment.'

"Baby," Louis breathes into Harry's mouth, his tongue is minty and Harry bites it to shut him up. Louis lets him for a moment, succumbing to Harry's own tongue, until Harry breaks for only a moment to suck in a gasp of air. "Baby, as much as I love this, Shane is probably wondering where the hell I went."

Harry ignores his words, kissing his freshly shaven jaw and down his neck that's tinted as tan as the rest of his body; a mix of his natural skin tone and fancy bronzer that insults the California sun outside. Harry's hands find their way to the top of Louis' trousers, the soft material of his white button down grazes his knuckles as he digs his hands between the two fabrics. Louis' pulse is beating in his throat and Harry can feel every beat against his mouth. He moves his lips back up, settling over Louis' left ear, teasing his tongue around the lobe.

"I promise you'll be down there in a second," Harry murmurs, his hand sliding down until he feels Louis hardness against his underwear. Louis' perfectly tailored shirt rubs against Harry's forearm as he presses his palm harder against his cock, and Louis groans with a jerk of his hips. 

Louis' hands are on Harry's ass a second later as he pushes his body closer to him, and nudges his face up so that they can kiss. As he's done so many times before, Harry quickly unclips the suspenders then unbuttons and unzips Louis' pants without looking and slides them down his legs. He presses his own hips against where his hand is touching Louis as if to show him how what this is doing to him too.

"Wrinkles babe," Louis whines as he bends slightly to pull his trousers up just a little. Harry laughs shaking his head and takes a step back. A wave of sadness washes over Louis' face, no doubt thinking Harry's mad and going to stop. Instead, Harry drops down to the ground and lifts Louis' left leg at the knee and carefully pulls it out of the pants and does the same with his right leg, then carefully sets his pants down on the floor making a show of smoothing each leg out. He extends his body so he's no longer hunched over and looks up at Louis while biting his lower lip. "Fuck," Louis runs his hand through his un-styled hair, then then down his neck, resting his palm against the dip between his collarbones.

Harry holds his gaze while grabbing the band of Louis' underwear and pulls them down to his knees. When Louis' mouth hangs open and the word, "please" is just forming on his lips, Harry breaks their gaze, cutting the tension that's hanging around them, and wraps his mouth around Louis' cock.

"Fuck, baby," Louis moans loudly, his hands fall quickly into Harry's hair as his tongue licks around him. Harry holds Louis' thighs, the muscles spasm under his palms each time he does something new with his mouth. Louis' gasping above him, tugging his hair like a lifeline. "God, so good Harry." Louis rolls his hips, his cock knocking into Harry's teeth and he sinks his face in closer to Louis' body, taking him all the way down before bobbing his head in a steady rhythm.

Harry moves his left hand off Louis' thigh to the base of his cock; feeling the wetness from his mouth and the hardness of Louis. He touches Louis everywhere after that, eliciting moans that course through his entire body as the chorus of sound above him multiplies and the staccato rhythm intensifies. 

"Harry...Harry...shit, baby—gonna come," Louis groans with a jerky thrust forward and Harry feels him in his throat a second later. "Oh—oh my god. Fuck," Louis pants loudly as his cock twitches in Harry's mouth and he sucks harder and swallows.

Harry lightly licks up Louis' length and wipes the corners of his mouth as he pulls off of him. He looks back up at Louis with the same face as before — just with a smug grin attached to his puffy lips. Louis' cheeks are blotchy and red, and the first two buttons of his shirt are now undone and his chest is beating hard against the crisp fabric.

"Louis! I need you down here, really! Cutting it close," Shane's voice comes from far behind the bedroom door.

"Fuck," Louis breathes a laugh and ruffles Harry's hair as he looks down at him.

Harry rises from the ground, pulling Louis' clothes up with him and zips him back up while just staring at his boyfriend. "No wrinkles and no stains, good as new," he smiles.

Louis only presses his hand to the front of Harry's pants and grips him tightly, "What are we gonna do about this though?"

"Well," Harry says pulling away from Louis and grabbing his wrist. He drags him closer to the bedroom door and rests his other hand on the handle. "I'll take care of that while you get your hair and makeup done. You can just think of me all spread out on our bed, gripping the sheets as I picture you inside me. Then, by the time you're done down there, I'll be finished up here and we can be on our way."

The redness that was subsiding from Louis' face came back rolling up his neck chiseling his cheeks. "God dammit Harry, fuck." Harry smiles and opens the door and pushes Louis out into the hallway.

"If Shane turns that music down just a little maybe you'll be able to hear me," Harry teases with a grin. He shuts and locks the door before Louis can say or do anything, and then he hears Louis' dress shoes clink against the stone floor and down the stairs.

When Harry comes downstairs in his own suit, Shane is just taking the cloth that was protecting Louis' clothes off him and handing him a mirror. Harry watches from the bottom step with a smile on his face, a hand on his hip and one behind his back holding a box.

"Could you excuse us for a moment?" Harry's voices echoes loudly over the lowered music. Both men's heads turn to where Harry's voice is coming from and Shane nods as he folds the cloth over his arm and heads to the front door.

"What's up baby?" Louis asks pulling himself out of the chair. Harry watches him grab his shirt from another chair and slide his arms in. He keeps it unbuttoned as Harry hops down from the step and toward him. He wants nothing more than to rip that shirt right back off, but he knows they're on a time constraint and have to get going. It's just so hard with Louis' perfect body staring right back at him and the couch mere feet away. 

He's so proud to call Louis his, and it's not just his recent orgasm talking. He's so happy he's part of Louis' journey, watching him grow over the past year has been nothing short of wonderful and amazing. Now, they're on the way to his movie premiere and Harry couldn't be happier.

"Just got you a little something," Harry says bringing his hand out from behind his back. Louis' eyes widen when he sees the box with a red bow attached.

"What? Harry, you didn't have to get me anything."

"I know. I wanted to. It's nothing crazy."

Louis takes the box and pulls at the satin bow and it falls off the side of the box so he can lift the top.

"Harry..."

"Do you like it?"

Louis drops the top of the box and pulls out a frame with his other hand and looks up at Harry, a wet sheen across his eyes.

"I thought you should have it framed. Being your first big time script and all. Even has the date of your audition and premiere date. Sorry, I'm really sentimental like that. I can get you som—"

"It's perfect. Harry, It's perfect." Louis closes the space between them and kisses Harry deeply. "Thank you."

"You're welcome. There's one more thing."

"Harry, no!" Louis sighs grabbing his wrist as Harry moves toward the front door.

"This one was free, I promise," he laughs opening the door to reveal Nick and Chelsea all dressed up with their own bows on their heads.

"Surprise!" They yell in unison and run toward Louis.

"Jesus Christ, I thought you guys were in Bali," Louis says squeezing them tightly. "What are you doing here?"

"We wouldn't miss this for the world," Nick yells scooping Louis into a hug. "We cut it short and flew back, no biggie."

"Oh my god. This means so much to me, thank you."

"Don't thank us," Chelsea smiles, "it was this one's idea and clever persuasion that did it."

Harry smiles at Louis and shrugs. "Gotta have your best friends with you at something like this."

"You're the absolute best," Louis untangles from his friends and walks over to Harry and kisses him again.

"We really need to go. Sorry to break this up," the driver's voice comes from the doorway.

Harry kisses Louis back once more before pulling away, "let's go, let's go!"

Since Harry technically was working at the premiere, he was dropped off a block away from the theater to meet up with the band he was working for. He wished so much he could walk the carpet with Louis, instead, but at least they could sit together in the theater.

Harry had been to dozens of movie premieres over his career, but nothing felt quite as surreal as this one. The red carpet seemed more vibrant than ever, the lights casting a glow over the space like a beacon instead of the blinding, sweat-inducing things he was used to. The giant posters lining the carpet that Harry usually ignored brought him a bubbly feeling in his chest that felt like champagne rising every time he looked at the movie posters. 

A film that was supposed to only gain some recognition, blew up over the spring with the press and fans to turn into the most anticipated movie of the summer. Something he knew Louis was astonished by every single day. He'd come home from the store or from the gym — because he apparently kept a New Year's resolution for once — bouncing around telling Harry that some random person recognized him and asked for a photo and gushed about how excited they were for the movie.

Every time Harry was at the checkout line at the grocery store, he couldn't help but to flip through the magazines, and in every single one, he'd see a familiar face staring back at him. What Louis had done in this past year, how much his popularity had grown, was mind-boggling. And Louis treasured it and didn't fall back into old ways. He actually interacted with fans more now than he did when Harry first met him. Not to mention, the scripts just kept coming. 

But tonight was all about that first one, the script Harry had presented Louis with all those months ago. It seemed like a totally different era, it was almost hard to imagine. He was just glad this new Louis was represented by a team of publicists and agents who weren't going to make him hide. They were almost more eager for his coming out than he was, and Harry was relieved they had found his perfect match with a lovely publicist whose wife Harry talked to and won over at the New Year's Eve party they went to.

Harry walked the carpet behind the band he represented, ghosting behind them unseen as he moved them from outlet to outlet. 

"Must feel pretty crazy right Harry?"

"Huh, what?" Harry says looking up from his phone to the woman who was talking to the band.

"You used to work with Louis when he was on his show, now he's a big time movie star. Must feel pretty surreal." she smiles. 

"Oh, yeah. Super crazy. Who knew he had it in him," Harry laughs and she laughs back.

"Have you seen him since the show was canceled?"

"Oh, um, here and there. Alright we gotta move along," he says quickly and points the group to the next reporter.

His heart sinks a little as he replays the words in his head. God, what he'd give to actually be able to talk about Louis like more than an old client. He wants nothing more than to completely gush about how fucking proud he is of Louis, about how hard he's worked to get here and make a name for himself. Or to stand by his side in photos while camera flash around them. There was a difference between having a private life, and being forced to be private. But Harry knew Louis was planning his official coming out now that he was out of his contract with Elite. And Harry couldn't wait to be by his side then.


 

"Congrats on the film Louis!" A nameless reporter shouts over the crowd around them. Louis smiles at her warmly and thanks her. "There's already rumors about a sequel, can you confirm that?"

"No one's seen the first one yet, how can we even make a second?" Louis laughs. "Everyone could hate it!"

Louis moves down the line like a professional, answering every question and taking photos. The lights are hot as hell, but he powers through it, thinking of the cold AC inside and the comfy theater chair that his ass is almost in.

He pauses his interviews to take photos with the whole cast. They joke around and laugh and Louis jumps on Miles' back and he runs around the carpet while flashes go off in every direction. He was tired as hell, but he wouldn't trade this for anything else. After the photographers got what they wanted, he moved back to the interview portion and there was only one more outlet to talk to before he could get inside.

"Louis! Good to see you!" A familiar voice yells and Louis smiles wide.

"Luke! Man, how are you?" Louis says leaning over the rope and hugging the Out editor. 

"I've been great! How are you? Fuck, I don't even need to ask huh?"

Him and Luke had stayed pretty close since his interview, they talked every now and then and followed each other on social media, and he's even been over a few times for dinner. He was probably one of the only reporters who Louis felt totally comfortable around and definitely the one editor he called before the premiere to work a deal out with — something Harry didn't know.

"So last time we talked Timeflies was just getting started, and there was all this buzz about your character being gay." Louis nods. "Is that a character you're looking forward to playing more in the future now that there's been such a great response?"

"I think, like I said last time we talked, I'm drawn to the character as a whole, and I'm not really concentrating on their sexuality. I would never turn a role down because of that. I'm open to playing any character no matter what they identify as. I would really actually love to go back to T.V. as well. I think that would be fun."

"Great! And before I let you go inside, are you here with anyone? Friends, family?"

"Yeah, yeah. My family is here and my two best friends. Also, uh," Louis bites his lip and moves closer to Luke's recorder so that the reporters squished next to him wouldn't hear, "my boyfriend is with me too. It's great to have all of their support. I just might have to cover some eyes during a few scenes."

"Well I think a congrats is in order then," Luke smiles and winks at Louis. He can tell the reporters next to him seem confused and he hears the word girlfriend a few times.

"Would you give me one second?" Louis asks the publicist who's by his side. She nods, warning him that he needs to get inside soon.

Louis jogs into the theater and scans the room, most people are too busy talking to recognize him, but a few congratulate him and chat to him. He pulls out his phone and texts Harry to meet him at the door.

A few minutes later Harry shows up and Louis' heart is beating out of his chest. He wipes his hands on his trousers and asks Harry to follow him back outside.

"Um, okay? Why?"

"Just for a second," Louis smiles.

They walk out and people start shouting for him again, "all of this," Louis gestures to the carpet and posters, "is because of him. This is Harry Styles, and he got me the role, and I can't thank him enough. He's been amazing through this whole thing," Louis looks at Harry as a flash goes off and Luke gives him a thumbs up and he knows he got his shot.

"Okay, Louis we need to get you inside," the woman says.

"What was that for?" Harry asks confused as they head back in.

"Just thought people should know," Louis says taking his seat next to Harry and his parents. He waves to a few people and settles in.

Before the movie starts, the director appears at the front of the packed theater with a mic.

"We usually only do this for screenings and not the premiere, but I wanted to take a second to thank everyone involved in this film, and especially our actors. You really captured the essence of the script and brought the novel to life." The room erupts into cheers and Louis feels hands pat his back. He looks at Harry, the only face he can see in this room of people, and his eyes are wet as he claps along with everyone else.

Louis' heart grows ten times its size as he looks at him fondly, undoubtedly confusing those around them. Then his phone buzzes in his pocket and he knows it's time. He breaks his gaze to pull it out and sees a text from Luke.

Posting in 5. Hope u know how much this means to so many kids.

He puts his phone back in his pocket and hops out of his chair and runs down the steps to the front of the auditorium. He knows it's only matter of seconds before the news spreads.

"Louis! This is a surprise," the director laughs as Louis grabs for the mic.

"Hey everyone!" The theater bursts into more clapping and yelling and Louis smiles. "Sorry, I know this is totally not what happens at these things, but I've never been one to follow rules." Everyone laughs on cue and Louis brings the mic back to his mouth.

"I know I thanked everyone at the wrap party, but I wanted to do it again," Louis says before listing a few key names. "I also want to thank my parents for everything; they're sitting right over there," he points and people turn around to look. "I also have one really special person to thank for all of this, because without him, none of this would have happened. Last summer, a script was given to me by one Mister Harry Styles, a man I tormented and whose life I made a living hell," Louis laughs and others follow. "For some reason or another, I trusted his judgment and went to the audition. I landed the role, and now we're about to watch that movie."

Claps fill the room again and Louis waves Harry to the floor and he shakes his head no until Nick is dragging him down there. Louis takes his arm and pulls him closer and takes a huge gulp of breath.

"If you've listened to the lovely ushers here, your phones should be off, but when you turn them on, there's probably going to be a headline about me that doesn't have much to do with this film," Louis says without a break in his voice. He can feel Harry's eyes on him and he looks over at him and smiles. Harry smiles back and Louis can see the flicker of comprehension in his eyes. "The person I am today would have never have happened without the man next to me. He's been my confidant, my biggest supporter and kicked my ass when I needed it — which was a lot because I was quite the asshole. I could not go through with promoting this movie and talking about my career without mentioning Harry. I owe him everything. With that," Louis smiles. "I've never been one for hiding anything, especially who I am, and from everything I've learned from this character to things I've learned in this industry, I could not go on with my career without being absolutely true to who I am." 

Louis slides his hand from Harry's elbow down to hold his hand and squeezes it and Harry squeezes back three times. He looks over to Harry once more and bites his lip and speaks into the mic while fixing his gaze on Harry's eyes.

"Harry is not only the person who helped shaped my career and gave me too many second chances and an opportunity to really prove myself to this industry, he's also the man I am absolutely head-over-heels in love with."

The sound of cheers fill Louis' ears, but they get completely drowned out by the sounds of Harry's voice whispering, "I love you too" to him. With tear-filled eyes and a cacophony around them, Louis turns and leans forward, the wetness of tears soak into his cheek as he kisses Harry.

“Luke got the exclusive, like we talked about, but I wanted to do it now instead of closer to award season,” Louis quickly whispers into Harry’s ear as they hug.

“I love you,” Harry laughs, “can’t get you to follow the damn rules, but I love you.”

Louis laughs and squeezes Harry harder, "rules are meant to be broken after all."

 

Chapter Text

September 2017...

"Will it all fit through the door?"

"Will all what fit through the door? I'm just holding a card Harry," Louis huffs slamming the door of the black SUV behind him.

"You, the card...and your new giant ego," Harry laughs running from Louis' swinging arm toward the front door.

Louis catches up to Harry before he gets the door unlocked. He pushes against Harry's back and grabs for his arms while yelling obscenities at him between his own laughs.

"Hey, that Emmy is taking the place of a photo of you on my nightstand if you don't watch it Styles," Louis threatens before kissing Harry in the doorway.

As the door swings open with their lips still attached, a thunderous clap and a cheering chorus of "surprise" rings in Harry's ears.

"I fucking hate you," Louis whispers against Harry's mouth.

"You fucking love me," he challenges, pulling Louis into a hug.

 

"I can't believe you almost forgot to thank Harry," Nick says. His feet are perched on the coffee table and he's alternating between drinking his wine and eating a piece of cake.

"I was really fucking nervous okay," Louis says defensively from where he's curled under Harry's arm. "I remembered at the last second, that's all that matters."

"I beg to differ," Harry jokes squeezing Louis' shoulder.

Harry was probably more excited than Louis was when he landed the lead in a new HBO series on the heels of his movie premier. The show was an instant hit and Louis received his first Emmy nod for his role as Kayden; a multi-billionaire dollar entrepreneur who ran an insanely complex social networking empire that monopolized every aspect of day-to-day life. Harry was hooked on the series, and not just because his boyfriend was the lead, it was a phenomenal show; and the Emmys took notice.

That very night, in a room full of T.V.'s best actors, directors and writers, Louis' name was called out twice in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: once as a nominee, and secondly as the winner.

Harry vaguely remembers anything after that. There were lots of tears (mostly from him...Louis was stone cold shocked), and lots of shaking. All he remembers is watching Louis on that stage in front of all those people and cameras looking like he had just climbed Mount Everest. Harry doesn't think he's ever seen Louis look as proud and completely full of bliss than in that very moment as he rattled off name after name and his gratitude could be felt from each corner of the huge theater. It made his heart swell, and tears streamed down his face. He only found himself laughing after Louis ran back to the mic to fumble out an embarrassing quick thank you to himself after he'd completely forgotten, in his own words, "The single most important person in my life..shit, sorry!"

They watch it played back on their DVR, Harry's face now buried in Louis' chest as the camera zooms in on his wet, blotchy face as Louis speaks about him.

Louis' parents sit close by, still dabbing their eyes after watching Louis' speech again. His mom still decked out in the dress Louis had specially made for the night, his dad has long but changed into comfier clothes than his custom-fitted suit. Other friends and family members, including Harry's own, are scattered around the large room drinking and talking, congratulating Louis over and over again.

Harry leaves Louis with them for a moment while he takes a cue from Mr. Tomlinson and changes out of his constricting suit and into some more casual clothes. He debates whether he should give Louis his gift in front of everyone or only between them. He chooses the latter and places the bag back in its hiding place.

When he comes downstairs, he can hear Louis talking animatedly about a cake and he laughs to himself even though he knows the story by heart.

"And then I get a fucking call..."

"This is after I send the photo," Nick chimes in.

"Right, right, so Nick sent me a photo of it since he was helping with hair, and I'm fucking dying," Louis goes on his voice raising about 10 decibels. "There's the fucking cake in all it's flame glory in the center of the room and Nick's giving me a play by play of the very moment they see it."

Harry settles back onto the couch, Louis' arms too preoccupied flying all over the place. He watches him with amusement as he retells the story of how he succeeded in ruining Jeff and Glenne's wedding.

"I literally covertly had to be FaceTiming Louis as it all went down. God bless those assholes for being idiots and not wanting to see the cake until the day of," Nick chuckles sinking a fork into his own cake.

"They immediately suspected foul play, of course," Louis smirks winking over at Chelsea, who was now sporting short brown locks instead of her signature long blonde hair. "And before you know it, Jeff's fucking number is flashing on my phone and you know what I did?"

"What?" everyone says as if they've rehearsed the line.

"I answer and just say—"

"Bon appetite, motherfucker," Harry interjects in his best Louis voice.

The entire room, regardless of who was paying attention to the story, erupts in a monstrous tidal wave of howling laughter. And Louis turns to hug Harry and kiss him; giggles tumble out of both their mouths.

The rest of the night goes by quickly and as midnight approaches, the elder sets of parents retire up to their rooms. Bidding everyone a farewell and a goodnight.

By the time Harry and Louis have said goodbye to the last lingering friends and stretch out into their own bed, Harry's phone is reading single digits.

"Congratulations again baby," Harry stretches on the cool sheets and turns to face where Louis will be laying down momentarily.

"Thank you. Really, I can't thank you enough. My whole speech should have just been to you."

"Nonsense. Plus, if you did that, they'd kill your character off and call you an ungrateful bastard."

Louis' laugh warms Harry's belly and he blinks his eyes shut a few times taking the sound deep into his core.

"What's this?" Harry's eyes open and he rolls his head forward to look where Louis is standing at the end of the bed with a bag in his hand.

"Oh, you know," Harry smiles and waves his hand in the air.

"No, I don't know. You didn't need to buy me a thing, Harry," Louis frowns holding the bag's handles over his first two fingers.

"Just open it. I can return it if you absolutely despise it, christ." he huffs out a laugh through his nose when he sees Louis' shoulder slump and his eyes look down at the bag.

"It's light," Louis says shaking it. "Is it breakable?"

"Not really." Harry sits up against his pillow and watches Louis intently, waiting.

The bag opens and Louis rips out the tissue paper discarding it over his arm and it falls to the hardwood floor. He pulls out a small black box and shakes it, but doesn't hear anything.

"You're not proposing to me are you? Because this is not how I want it to go down. You know I want a production."

"I'm not proposing to you. Just open the damn box," Harry says only slightly annoyed, but mostly endeared. 

He looks at Harry and Harry tilts his head urging him to open it. 

Louis does.

"Keys?" he tilts his head at his question. 

"The keys." Harry corrects.

He waits for just a hint of recognition on Louis' face. It only takes a moment.

"The keys! Holy fuck, the keys! Does that mean?" Louis yells leaping forward onto the bed and crawling up to sit between Harry's spread legs.

"Closed the deal two days ago, didn't want it to overshadow the award show," Harry smiles as he takes Louis' face in his hands. Louis reaches his hands to do the same, the coolness of the metal keys lightly brush against Harry's neck. "The papers are in your office, they just didn't look as pretty in the bag as just the keys." Harry says right before Louis' lips are on his.

They kiss and kiss and Harry pulls Louis into his lap more so that they're fused together with Louis' legs around his waist. The keys drop somewhere on the bed once Louis wants to get a better grip on Harry as he pushes Louis' back onto the bed. 

"I can't believe it," Louis sighs as Harry leaves a trail of kisses across his chest. "Do you think it's a bad idea?"

Harry stops abruptly and looks up at Louis, "you seriously cannot be having second thoughts."

"No, no. I'm just...scared I'll fuck it up."

Harry sighs and moves his body to hover over Louis. "A wise man once told me...then don't fuck it up."

"I love you," Louis beams and Harry sees that same sparkle in his eyes as he did while he was on stage.

"I love you," Harry returns the words.

Louis' lips meets Harry's halfway and they fall effortlessly into a rhythm that leads to tangled sheets, forgotten clothes and quiet, desperate moans.

The next morning...

"Harry and I have something to tell you," Louis announces to the group of parents and sole sibling around the kitchen table and spread of breakfast food.

"No, I didn't randomly propose last night," Harry says monotonously and he can hear the audible sighs.

"Sure sounded like it," Gemma mutters under her breath as she takes a sip of her coffee. Harry sends her a glare and she returns the look with her middle finger in only Harry's line of view.

Louis, unaware of the sibling bickering going on, pulls out the keys from last night and a stack of legal papers. He pushes over the plate of fruit and sets them down and smiles at the five people.

"Harry and I, mostly, I, am now the proud co-owners of Discover Films. It's an independent production company that I've been rambling about for like a year after being asked to partake in a documentary they did on gay culture in Hollywood and the politics surrounding it. And thanks to this one's negotiation skills, we are going to help run the company!"

They're congratulated and Louis explains it a little more to them and Harry can't help but get lost in his enthusiasm for it all. Even though Louis had to be present for the negotiations and all the paper signing, keeping the done deal a secret from him for even a few days was difficult. 

After his own premiere, Louis began expressing interest in wanting to own his own production company some day so that he could be more in control over releases and could give opportunity to actors who may have never gotten an audition from one of the heavy hitters. Harry admired Louis' selflessness to help others and his absolute drive to change the movie industry; even if it was on a smaller scale.

He knew he could change so many lives by being part of a company like this. And now, as an actor with recognition and a louder voice, Harry knew Louis was going to make a huge difference in the industry. Harry was hoping if all went well and they found a few scripts that were perfect fits, he could work full time at Discover. He'd moved up the ranks at his own job quickly, and was in talks of a promotion. And although he loved music, he loved what this opportunity meant, and was excited to see where it would lead.

"You're gonna be Hollywood's next power couple," Gemma jokes once they all settled back down into eating breakfast.

"Brangelina best watch their backs," Louis says around a mouthful of waffle.

"How many kids do they have? six? We'll adopt double," Harry laughs.

Louis turns to Harry after swallowing his food and smiles. The grin stretching across his whole face and up to his eyes. He leans over, his mouth against Harry's ear so only he can hear. "You know how much sex we're not going to have if we adopt twelve children?!"

Harry looks down away from his parents as a blush spreads across his cheeks at Louis words.

"Scratch that," Harry says to the group. "They can keep their small army of kids, I think we'll stick to plants and animals or maybe cars."

"Works for me," Louis says raising his glass and toasting the air.

"You clearly just need a big gay wedding to top them all," Harry's mom says with a wink.

"Nothing beats a big gay wedding," Gemma agrees.

"That sounds like a movie," Louis' dad says.

"You're thinking of that Greek Wedding movie," Louis' mom corrects him with a slap to his shoulder. 

"Too bad we're not Greek. We could have a big fat gay Greek wedding. Now that is a movie I would see," Louis sing says as he bites into a piece of bacon.

"This is getting out of hand," Harry says reaching across the table for the coffee.

 

One year later...

Nestled in a far too expensive villa facing the Mediterranean Sea, Harry drops to one knee and delivers five words he's been practicing for the better half of a year. 

"Can we get a dog?"