“Harry ! If you don’t get out of there I’m going to call 999 !” Niall snorts and grasps Harry’s ankles at the end of the bed. He tries pulling him out, but his friend is holding on to the edge of his bed and doesn’t intend to let go.
“I don’t care.” Harry mumbles in Louis’ hoodie, that somehow became his equivalent of a pillow.
“But look ! The sun is out, men are wearing shorts, and puppies are everywhere ! You need to get out and witness this day !” Niall insists as he tugs at the comforter Harry’s been hiding under. The latter just grunts, saying indescribable words muffled in the hoodie.
Niall isn’t the type to give up though.
This nineteen year old Irish genius was always first in school whilst being the class clown, entered one of the most renowned institutes of science at seventeen, won a medal for best gymnast in high school even though he couldn’t even lift any of his weight on his hands to do a cart wheel four months prior to the contest – he wanted to impress a girl who only dated athletes - and once waited five hours on the phone for customer service, just to complain about the wait for customer service.
So getting Harry out of bed after days of isolation ? Children’s play.
He climbs on the bed and lies entirely on his friend’s back. He had been working out all morning in his room, so he was sticky and hot, face still red and brown hair wet. He knows how much Harry hates contact with someone sweating – that is if you’re not a five foot and nine inches ball of sass – and could kill someone for daring putting all their weight on him – that is, again, if you’re not a five foot and nine inches ball of sass.
“If you don’t get off me within five seconds you’re gonna have to run for your life Mullingar.” Harry warns.
“Perfect then ! Should I let you put on some shorts before we get going ? Or is this onesie your fashion choice for everything now ?”
“Fine.” Harry sighs and Niall gets up, quickly followed by his friend. He takes that as a victory and starts cheering blissfully, until Harry steps out of his pyjamas to find himself completely naked before lying back down on his bed. “I dare you to lay down on me now.”
“You’re sick.” Niall says in disgust, throwing the pillow he takes from the floor on Harry’s head. “Ssssick !” He continues until he’s out of the bedroom.
Harry hadn’t been able to motivate himself to do anything. His days consisted of waking up, and waiting for the day to pass to fall back asleep. He only got out of bed to restock his bowl of gummy bears and grab more water. He had given Niall the exact recipe of the Tommo Treat, and his friend brought it to him once a day with a side of greens to not let his blood turn into plain sugar and gelatine.
The weekend at the hotel was starting the day after. He and Niall would take the train to Manchester and join his family at the old house before driving to the countryside together.
Harry still had to finish packing though, and needed to sort out his unshaved face – it was only an extremely light moustache and just a few hair on his chin, but still - and zombie eyes before scaring every guests.
He wasn’t even sure if he wanted to go anymore. He didn’t know if he would be able to just sit there, and watch everyone celebrate his pain.
So he spent the day in bed anyway, only getting up in the middle of the night to do what he had planned, not being able to sleep when he knew he’d see him again, and would have to pretend that man didn’t have his heart in his hands.
The Holbeck Ghyll Country House turned out to be even bigger than Harry thought.
They were driving through an alley of wild flowers and gigantic firs, and he was tilting his head out the window to let the crisp air caress his cheeks, a soothing smell of the leaves and the lakes relaxing his throbbing heart.
The hotel itself was sumptuous, breathing the rustic atmosphere and British traditions. The estate was overlooking the Lake Windermere, and the three sixty degree view resembled a painting.
Des and Jay had booked “The Imperial Wedding Suite” for themselves for after the wedding - staying in normal single rooms before that - a double room for Gemma and Harry, and a double one for Lottie and Louis. A few guests had also booked a room to enjoy the weekend without two long drives in one day, making it impossible to not run into family members during their stay.
As the tradition went in Jay’s family, the groom and bride couldn’t see each other the entire day before the wedding, until they’d meet again at the altar. Des had planned a golfing tournament with his four brothers and whomever wanted to come along to join or watch, and the hotel had offered Jay and her chosen guests a full spa experience before the big day.
When Gemma and Harry entered their room, it smelled like Harry’s new ‘Vanilla Bourbon’ Yankee Candle. The windows were giving a direct view on the flowers and trees, and the beds were begging to be used, mountains of pillows and thick comforters under the green and pink floral bedspreads. There was a living room area around a TV, and a small bench at the foot of each bed, all in a very chic old-fashioned vibe.
“Dibs !” Gemma yelled when she jumped on the bed next to the window.
“When is your first massage ?” Harry asks, not even paying attention to his sister getting the bed he’d normally fight for.
“In about…” Gemma starts but checks her watch before saying something wrong. “Fuck ! fifteen minutes !” She quickly gets up, switches her boots for fancy flip flops, and rushes out of the room before Harry can tell her to enjoy herself.
They hadn’t talked about it again. Gemma had spent the drive looking at him being silent while she chatted with Niall. She couldn’t look at him without pity and worry, so Harry had forbade her to look at him altogether until she’d stop saying so many ‘sorry’ with her eyes.
He hangs his tailored suit in the closet, and flops on his bed, his chest still as painful as it was when he woke up in the morning.
He was planning on skipping the golf extravaganza and hide from the few family members that were staying in the hotel. He’d watch a movie on the telly, raid the mini bar, and bury himself under the ten pillows until he forgot where or who he was.
But that was no plan when you had a Niall Horan on your floor.
“I’m coming !” Harry shouted when he heard the quick knocks on the door. Niall didn’t even wait for Harry to invite him in before crashing on his bed.
“Fuck, those beds are so soft...” Niall moaned, and Harry got the impression he was third-wheeling right now. “Ready to golf ?”
“Hmm, I think I’ll pass…”
“Harry !” Niall scolded and threw a pillow at him. “Have you seen him yet ?”
“Then why are you so depressing already ?! Come with me, let’s mess around with the golf kart while the old men try to show off their skills, and then let’s show them how it’s done !” Niall insists, moving his arms and legs on the bed as if to make a snow angel.
“I don’t feel like it. You can go without me though…I think Matt is going.” Harry mutters and starts undoing his jeans.
“Nononono. You’re coming with me…” Niall gets up and pushes Harry towards the door, hands on his back as Harry tries digging his feet in the carpet to resist Niall’s push. “…and we’re going to take your mind off of things !”
“But what if I run into him ? I don’t know what to tell him !” Harry whines.
“What do you mean you don’t know wh-…You’ve spent days on your phone or laptop talking to the guy, you didn’t run out of things to say for one second to let me sleep ! I think you’ll manage something. Now come on !”
“But that was when we were still…us. Now I don’t even know if I should shake his hand or just wave hello.” Harry struggles but finally lets Niall drag him out of the room.
They make their way to the lobby, and Harry already regrets giving in to his friend, because the first person they run into is a Tomlinson. Not the one Harry was afraid to see, but still.
“Harry !” Lottie exclaims and runs into his arms to hug him. He lifts her up the floor a bit and sways them whilst resting his head on her shoulder, glad to see his little sister again.
“How’s the fairest of them all doing ?” Harry sticks his tongue out and Lottie rolls her eyes, because she’s apparently too cool for that.
“I’m so excited ! I heard about the golfing tournament ! Am I allowed to go ?” Lottie asks, eyes glimmering with hope.
"You like to golf ?” Niall raises a brow, as if a teenage girl couldn’t appreciate the sport.
“Yes. Is that a problem ?” Lottie brings her hands on her hips as she looks up and down Niall, and Harry wonders if Jay is as sassy as her kids.
“No, no, not at all…s’just …different…” Niall stutters.
“Lottie that’s Niall, my best mate.” Harry tries to save him.
“Nice to meet you.” Niall smiles, suddenly very shy.
“Oh, alright…Nice to meet you too.”
There’s a brief silence and Harry sees Niall’s cheeks turn red, so he figures they should probably get going before people start asking if he’s classified as a fruit or a vegetable.
He doesn’t get the chance to though, because Jay is walking towards them, and he can’t speak the second he spots a classy quiff in a navy blue jumper and white denims rolled up at the bottom to show glorious ankles above Tommy Hilfiger moccasins in the same shade as the jumper.
“Darling ! How are you ?! It’s so good to see you again !” Jay hugs Harry and kisses his cheek before looking over at Niall. “And you should be Niall…I’m Jay.”
“I know. I mean, great place ! I mean, no, it’s a hotel, not your place, but I meant great choice of place…” Niall sighs. “Hi.” He finally says and takes her hand to kiss it and make up for being a bit socially awkward. But Jay grins and doesn’t seem to mind.
“Hi mate, I’m Louis.” Niall shakes the rich looking model’s hand and smiles politely, nudging Harry next to him to make his friend act like they’re not mortal enemies. He’s standing on the opposite side of him, and he’s keeping his eyes on the room rather than anywhere on his right.
“Niall. Great shoes !”
“I was on my way to the spa, but you have fun. And don’t forget the dinner in the reception room ! I have a very strict schedule to not risk bumping into your father, so I might not be there tonight, but I’ll see you around.” Jay chuckles. “Enjoy the day kids !”
When Jay is gone, the atmosphere is slightly more uncomfortable. Harry doesn’t dare turn to even look at him for a second, clenching his jaw and letting Lottie and Niall chat while he’s trying to not glance at the man he wants to stare at the most.
“I didn’t know you were Irish, I have a friend who lives in Dublin and she’s always begging me to come visit.” Lottie is trying to make conversation, but Niall is even more of a mess than usual.
He’s always had issues keeping calm when around girls he fancied. He would giggle even more than usual, turn into a tomato, cross his arms on his chest and bite his nails whilst looking like he’s trying to not jump on her, doing his best not to accidentally propose. He even had a code red ritual so Harry could help him out, and his friend was already preparing himself to hear the word “help” in Klingon.
And Lottie was indeed very stunning right now, even more than usual anyway. She was wearing a nicely fitted short sleeves trapeze white dress with a light blue round collar, bringing out her eyes and her ballet flats in the same color.
She had tied her hair in a stylishly messy ponytail with a few hair sticking out on each side, and braided a lock that was wrapped around as a hair tie. She’d gone for a very simple yet effective make up, only showing rosy cheeks and light mascara, living her lips with a sheer lip gloss and her nails natural.
So Niall looked a bit awestruck and not ready to hear she had some sort of Irish knowledge.
“Luigi !” A young man called behind them. He skipped towards Louis and hooked his arm around his shoulders before introducing himself. “Hi ! I’m Stan, Louis’ friend.”
Niall shook his hand while saying his name, and Harry leaned to politely do the same.
“Harry ? You’re the groom’s son, huh ? How happy are you to have this guy as your brother ?!” He meant to be nice and funny, but he was just saying all the wrong things and asking the wrong question.
When Harry didn’t respond and didn’t even glance at him as he looked elsewhere, Stan cleared his throat and turned to only speak to Niall.
“Are you guys going to the tournament ?”
“Yeah ! We should probably go now, or I tell yah what, they’re gonna be saying we were chickens !” Niall says and starts walking next to Stan to talk about the last time he played at The Grove in London, attracting not only Louis’ friend’s jealousy, but also his sister’s.
They started walking towards the gardens, and Harry found himself walking next to Louis, completely ignored by the others.
They don’t look at each other, don’t talk to each other, keep a two-people-could-fit-in-there gap between them, and walk as fast as they can to keep up with the sprinters in front of them.
When they reach the small crowd watching Des and his brothers play, Harry quickly places himself next to Niall while Louis goes next to Stan on the opposite side.
The tournament had already started, so no possibility to join, but it was still nice to watch. They all sat on a bench among other guests, and Harry stayed silent the whole time, not really interested in the score for once.
Niall and Lottie were however deep into a life changing conversation by the looks of it, and Louis was chatting with his friend. It was a friend Harry had never even heard of, but it wasn’t his problem anymore. In theory.
When he leaned back against the bench to just enjoy the fresh air and his little cousins cheering their dad, he decided to took one glimpse. Just one glimpse and that’d be it.
He turned his head discretely and saw Louis laughing with his crinkly eyes, bringing his hand to his mouth to contain himself as Stan told something seemingly hilarious. His friend wasn’t just making casual jokes for everyone to enjoy though, he had his arm resting behind Louis’ back on the bench, and was whispering the said jokes.
But that wasn’t Harry’s problem. He wasn’t supposed to be affected by that now, so he turned back and kept watching his dad sway his hips and drop on his knees in victory for getting the golf ball in the hole, overreacting as per usual.
They stayed there until everyone left, waiting for the grass to be emptied out and ready to have their go.
Niall was about to go first, already wiggling his eyebrows and stretching his arms, but Lottie quickly positioned herself next to the tee with her club in hand, not bothered at all by the way her dress was flowing in the wind.
She wasn’t too bad at all. She was enjoying herself and seemed to know what she was doing. But she apparently lacked posture, because Niall was quick to forget his social anxiety for golf lessons purposes, and went to stand behind her to give a few tips. He placed a light hand on her hip and used the other to show the way she should swing the club, and stepped aside to let her try.
When she managed to master Niall’s technique within seconds, the latter gave her a high five and looked like the proudest teacher, cheering her as if he weren’t originally competing against her.
Harry watched his friend help his sister out for a moment, and then got a bit lost in Louis and Stan’s direction. The friend kept standing close enough to him to whisper, making him laugh too loud, and kept smacking his bum when he walked past him – which…No.
“Okay, so you’re doing very good, just don’t forget to swing in one go.” Niall warned Lottie.
He must’ve noticed her wrong feet position after that though, and decided to go back to tell her, but she was already swinging and knocked Niall right in the stomach with her elbow.
She dropped her club and hid her face in her hands whilst gasping in horror, and Niall was slowly crumbling, choking words as he tried to breathe. Lottie immediately approached him to check on his chest with a hand on his back and a concerned voice, but it apparently made it worst because he looked like he was two seconds away from talking to God.
As soon as he recovered and Lottie kept checking if he was behind her or not, they all kept taking turns and full advantage of the course before the time arrived to get to the reception room for dinner. Louis and Stan weren’t that interested, but they still tried and kept laughing at how bad they were. And no, Harry didn’t enjoy seeing that. Louis didn't look that comfortable and happy either, trying to fake smiles just as much as him.
The hotel had managed to decorate the large main room with carefully picked white button roses and lilacs placed in the middle of every table. The band they had booked for the actual wedding had agreed to perform for the night, so the guests were chatting as jazzy melodies filled the conversations.
“That lamb is killing me.” Niall said as if in panic, overwhelmed by the perfection of the meat. Lottie giggled and surprised Niall, blushing so much he was starting to get the shade of the slice of ham in his plate.
“That’s such a messed up thing to say. He was actually the one murdered here.” Stan remarked and Niall looked at him like he had just ruined his childhood saying Santa Claus wasn’t real.
“Stan is a vegetarian and animal defender.” Louis said as if to excuse his friend’s contemptuous tone.
“Why not vegan ?” Harry asked, speaking for the first time since they had left the golf course.
“I can’t live without dairy and eggs mate, and no harm is done there, so why bother.” Stan shrugged.
“Then I think you should let my friend enjoy his meat, since he doesn’t comment on you consuming the product of animal rape and calling it harmless.” Harry frowned and went back to his plate while Stan stayed agape.
“What’s your problem ?” Louis scowled, and no, that wasn’t what Harry had imagined his first words to be.
“I don’t have a problem. He, however, shouldn’t call himself an animal defender to excuse being rude to my friend, especially if he himself only does half the job.” Harry didn’t care that much about starting a debate, but he had just found a way to keep Stan quiet, and was glad because he was just talking too much and pissing him off being so damn close to Louis.
“It’s okay, dear.” Stan dared squeezing the back of Louis’ neck and Harry saw red, and maybe that lamb would have some company pretty soon.
Louis looked extremely uneasy, shifting position in his seat to get more distance and never looking up at Harry across the table.
“Anyway…” Niall decided to jump in the almost disaster. “I like your hair dye Lottie…” He sounded like he hadn’t meant to say this, like he was thinking about common chit chats but then had to say what had been on his mind the whole day.
“Oh, thanks…” Lottie started blushing just as much as Niall and, even if Harry was about to ignore them and talk, he could still hear his sister and his best friend shamelessly flirt without even noticing.
“Are you guys dating ?” Harry asked casually, wanting to know why this guy was allowed to call Louis his ‘dear’ and rub his neck.
“I was thinking about dying it black…but I don’t know.” Niall says to Lottie.
“Not that it concerns you…but-“ Stan started.
“Yes.” Louis quickly took over, and Harry felt it the worst way. That…he couldn’t really swallow.
“I’m not sure if you can call that dating.” Stan chuckled. “Maybe, like, having fun, yeah…”
“I think blond would suit you better.” Lottie smiled.
“Planning on having fun tonight then ?” Harry asked, pulling a straight face as he looked at Louis, waiting for the universe to hurt him even more.
“I don’t know, depends on Luigi !” Stan smirked towards Louis. The latter was looking at Harry straight in the eyes, daring him to say something.
“Oh. And what has Luigi decided ?”
The tension rose faster then Harry could have expected. They’re fixing each other for more than two seconds for the first time, and Harry is daring Louis to answer while Louis is daring him to react.
“I don’t think it concerns you, mate.” Stan raised huffed.
“You’re right…It fucking doesn’t.” Harry spat and threw his cutlery on the table before walking outside, anger taking over him like a fire spreading in a dry forest.
He practically runs to his room to lock himself in and never come out again, never face anyone until he can no longer feel anything anymore, staying away from everything reminding him how much he’s hurting right now.
He can feel tears building up and rip his chest. He can hear is heart beating in his head, and can see pain in his eyes as he climbs the stairs two steps at a time.
He runs into a few guests but ignore them calling for him, ignore them as they become part of the walls when Harry runs between them to get to a place where he’s alone and safe from all the broken around him, far from everything God gave him only to take far away.
“Harry !” He can hear Louis running after him, and he’s convinced he’s just imagining it, convinced his mind finally turned against him as well. “Harry stop !”
He keeps walking towards his room, but he’s suddenly pulled in a small corridor and pushed against the wall. He’s crying and he knows his face is red and veins are swollen all over, but he can’t bring himself to open his eyes. He can’t bring himself to look at the reason he’s falling apart, can’t look at the one thing he had and lost, the one thing he wants more than anything, but can't have.
“Harry !” Louis closes his fists on the collar of Harry’s creamy white shirt, shaking him against the wall to make him open his eyes and talk.
“Go away !” Harry shouts, sobs choking the words.
Louis doesn’t say anything back and just drags Harry behind them before closing a door and locking it, hearing a few guests walking around near them.
Harry finally opens his eyes to see they’re in a sort of spacious closet with all the extra supplies of pillows, blankets, cashews and other commodities. There’s a dim light from a bulb above them, and the carpet somehow smells like a Sunday roast. Shelves are covering the walls all around and a few trays are hidden in the corner.
“What do you want to tell me ?!” Harry cries. “You don’t need my permission to go fuck this twat !”
“I don’t want to fuck him !” Louis says in disbelief, as if it were the most absurd idea Harry could come up with.
“Then why did you bring him ?! Why did you bring a fucking date if not to ‘have fun’ ?!”
“He’s not my date ! That’s the guy-“ Louis stops to bite his lip, probably trying to not say the wrong thing. “We’ve been friends since the second year of uni…” He lowers his voice.
“Oh wow, even better.” Harry chuckles, but he’s far from being amused. “So you go to weddings with your fuck buddy ?”
“We’re just friends now.”
“Then why the fuck would you say you were dating ?!” Harry goes back to shouting, even more upset that Louis would try to just hurt him.
“Because…I don’t know ! I just wanted to get to you somehow…I don’t know !” Louis is walking back with his face in his hands, surely even more confused by himself than Harry.
“Well, you got what you wanted. Are you happy now ?”
“Happy ?” Louis looks up with a frown. “You think hurting you would make me happy ?!”
“You tell me ! Isn’t that what you’ve been trying to do all day ?!” Harry is starting to feel dizzy with all the rage storming inside of him.
“Isn’t that what you’ve been trying to do all week ?!” Louis yells back, making Harry stay silent.
“One day, it’s ‘forget about them’ and then the other it’s ‘forget about us’. And I can’t keep going like this ! I tell myself that you’re right, I look at my mom and tell myself I can’t do that to her…but then I look at myself, Harry ! I look at myself, and I’m asking…but what about me ?!” Louis’ eyes are starting to water and Harry is unable to say one word and risk breaking him.
“For the first time, I asked myself why should I always be the one hurting to make others happy, why should I be the one putting my feelings aside, suck it up and let everyone else enjoy their lives while I’m dying on the inside ! I love my mom, and I love my sister, but who’s the one to love me ?!” Louis’ lips are trembling. He’s punching his own chest as if to make his heart stop beating so loud, and he’s never looked so vulnerable, sincere, and broken.
“I don’t want to pretend, Harry. I don’t want to pretend none of it happened. I don’t want to forget the best memories I’ve ever had. I can’t forget all the things we said to each other, and all the things we did. And I don’t care if it makes me selfish, I don’t care if it makes me look like the bad guy, I can’t pretend that-”
“Please don’t say it…” Harry sobs, shaking his head as he begs Louis to not say the words that’d hurt him even more.
Louis takes a few steps closer to him, forcing him to walk back until he’s standing against the closet wall. He doesn’t want to hear it, doesn’t want to have the memory of what it sounds like, doesn’t want to have that memory crushed when he’ll step outside.
“No. I will.” Louis walks even closer, barely leaving a gap between their faces. “I won’t shut up. Because I can’t pretend that…” He takes a deep breath and squints his eyes before looking straight into Harry’s eyes. “I can’t pretend that I’m not completely in love with you.”
Harry’s cheek are too hot, his chest feels too tight, and he’s incapable of doing anything. Louis’ staring at him and waiting for him to just say something back, anything, just something instead of looking at him like this, lips sealed and expression unreadable.
“It was established that, we live in a temporal dimension pointing towards the expansion of the universe.” Harry starts as Louis frowns with a quizzical look. “As the universe expands, what we call the arrow of time only goes one way. The state of disorder can therefore only increase and so…if you drop a bowl and it shatters on the floor, the pieces won’t come back together. It won’t be in order again.”
Anyone would have either run out that closet or punched Harry in the face for choosing this moment to talk about science, but Louis didn’t. Instead, he took a step back, and listened, determined to hear everything till the end.
“Whether the universe started in a state of high order, or complete disorder…everything seems to lead to chaos as time goes forward. And, we observed that, it is more likely for disorders to increase when the starting point is in perfect order, since, you know, there’re more chances to mess up than to get it right when you start with perfection. And, because we can only remember the past and not the future, there really is no way to assure that order will reappear after the chaos.”
Harry takes a breath and steps closer to Louis. He brings his hands to take his face between them, and rubs a thumb on his cheek as he looks right into his eyes.
“What I’m trying to say is that, I don’t know the future, and, I’m not the best at dealing with the past, but…I know that, no matter how fucked up it may seem for others, how much of a disaster it might be for everyone else…To me, you’re the only chaos that brought the broken pieces of my heart back together.”
Harry leans closer to Louis’ face and tries hard not to sob the next words.
“And if I can’t do it here…then I’ll take you to the Moon…and I’ll scream to the universe just how much I love you.”
Louis has parted his lips and widened his eyes, and Harry’s not too sure if he’s breathing or dying. He leans in anyway, erasing the painful gap between them to press their lips together, and proves Stephen Hawking wrong when he shows that a disordered state is not the only possible condition towards the expansion of the universe.
He takes his time kissing Louis as if it were the first time. He only strokes his lips and inhales the perfume of daisies he thought he’d never be able to drown in again. He gets closer so their chests collide and he does no longer need to pretend they don’t share one heart.
Louis brings his fingertips to Harry’s chin and kisses him back like he never had. He slowly stands on his tip toes and gives the best peck he’s ever given, barely applying any pressure as he brushes his lips against Harry’s.
The latter pulls him gently even closer by his hips, and slides his thumbs under his jumper and white tee underneath to feel his skin burning, giving him goosebumps as he slow dances with Louis’ tongue.
He runs his fingers higher, feeling Louis’ sides up to his ribs, until the latter lifts his arms so Harry can take the clothes off.
They start kissing again in silence, slower than they ever had, softer than they’d ever been.
Louis takes a lifetime to unbutton Harry’s shirt, delicately sliding it off his back so it flies to the floor. He drags his fingers along Harry’s torso, just stroking with a light touch only to go back up behind his neck.
He rubs small circles there as their mouth move in sync, and twirls a few curls around his finger, enjoying the way Harry rests his hands over his to feel him play with it.
When their hands move to their sides, Louis lowers himself to reach Harry’s neck, only to kiss him gently before doing the same all the way along his collarbones. He lets his hands wander on his chest and flow to the waistband of his jeans like drops of water slowly streaming down his skin.
He undoes Harry’s belt and unbuttons his pants, unzipping the crotch cautiously before sliding the jeans down when Harry steps out of his shoes.
Harry mimics Louis and kisses his neck, takes an eternity to explore his collarbones, and brushes his large hands on Louis’ waist before unbuttoning his white pants and hanging them on the edge of the shelf next to them once he takes his shoes off.
They then come back closer and start breathing heavily as they palm each other, hands light and confident whilst caressing each other over their boxers, and kissing as slowly as they possibly can.
When Louis pulls away, Harry feels every parts of him fight their way back to him. It’s like there’s not a cell in him trying to hold him back anymore, there’s not a single reason for him to keep his distance, and not a single wish that it’d be any different.
Louis grabs a comforter behind them and drops it to the floor before taking one pillow and let it land on the blanket. He then tends a hand with a soft smile, and Harry lets him bring them to the floor, lying on the clean sheet in the incredibly warm closet.
They keep kissing and caressing each other as if they’re only now discovering every corner of their bodies. They’re swaying against the white cover and breathing in each other, and it feels like it’s the vey first time they’ve touched.
Louis is lying on top of Harry between his legs, and both are jerking each other off as carefully as they can manage. They’re both hard and moaning between each other’s lips, and the room might be hot, they’re skin are only burning when they come in contact.
“I don’t have any…um…” Harry tries to speak but he’s a bit overwhelmed by Louis’ thumb on the tip of his cock.
He watches as Louis turns around and scans the shelves, until his eyes land on a carton box on his right with ‘Cupboard Supplies’ written on it. He pulls it off the shelf to the floor, not leaving the gap between Harry’s raised knees.
“Knew it.” He mutters as he seems to choose something before getting out a small net bag with roses on it. “They usually put it in the wedding suites.”
Louis takes out a bottle of lube and a condom, but frowns.
“It won’t fit…” He sighs, taking the lube to put it beside him before looking again in the box to find the right size.
“Hey…” Harry whispers, making Louis turn around to face him. “You don’t have to…”
“You sure ?”
“I love you, and I trust you, and I want to feel every part of you.” Harry says and Louis has the same look he had when he was talking about the arrow of time. He nods anyway, looking slightly nervous, and grabs the purple bottle to make things easier for him, and it seems very helpful right now, because Louis is definitely panicking.
“Lou ?” Harry can see him shaking and taking deep breaths as he settles back closer to him, and he looks so stressed out Harry fears he’s about to faint. “Mon coeur ?”
“I’m fine, I’m fine it’s just…No one’s ever trusted me like this so…just give me a sec.”
Harry smiles in adoration as Louis gives himself a pep talk. He looks adorably determined to make this right, and it warms Harry’s heart just a little bit more.
There was a time Harry thought the only way for him to reach highs was through rough thrusts and brutal tugs. There was a time when he thought someone had to pain him enough to please him.
But when Louis gently guides himself between his legs, and when he lies on top of him as carefully as a flower touching the grass, and when he places his elbows on each side of his head to look at him as he thrusts slowly and in the most caring way possible, swaying his hips to make sure Harry feels every inches…well, maybe Harry redefines how he actually likes it.
Louis tilts his head down to kiss him and, it might just be open mouths brushing against each other, it’s all he needs to tingle his insides. That, and the feeling of Louis’ cock gradually reaching his prostate the deeper it gets.
He digs his fingers in Louis’ back and wraps his legs around his waist when he speeds up slightly, moaning in Harry’s ear, sound echoing in his brain and getting him higher than he had ever been before.
He would have been flying on a cloud already, but then Louis starts stroking his leaking cock and stares at him as he does, keeping his lips parted to let out every sounds and every breaths.
As he does, he pushes Harry’s hair back with his free hand and keeps massaging lightly, whimpering louder as he hits Harry’s prostate in one firm thrust.
He keeps going like that for a while, making it last as he drags a delicate hand along Harry’s thigh around his hip, and kisses the tip of his nose and his plump lips curled in a heart shape, showing Harry what it means to be treated as an actual treasure and not a property.
It only takes a short while before Harry starts to feel Louis drip inside of him, and the look on his face when he tilts his head back with his fluttering eyelashes is all he needs to cum in his hand.
They try calming down enough to talk, but neither of them can even breathe properly. Louis straightened up to grab a towel, and was still panting when he cleaned the both of them before lying on the comforter and pulling Harry against his side.
Harry is glad to curl up against him, and smiles at the idea of falling asleep the only way he ever wants to: resting on Louis’ chest to hear how loud his heart is beating for him, a hand in his hair, and the words he’d never thought he’d hear whispered in his ear.
“I love you, baby.”
When Harry wakes up, he’s about as lost as he could possibly be.
He’s still clinging on Louis, both of them lying naked in the middle of an extra pillows and mini bar cashews closet in the hotel their entire family is staying at.
He gets up to stretch - since sleeping on the floor, even covered by a thick blanket, doesn’t equal the comfortable bed waiting for him at the end of the hallway – and grabs his jeans to get his phone in the back pocket to check the time.
“Fuck !” He exclaims and does his best to wake Louis up before they miss the wedding. “Lou ! Wake up ! It’s almost eight !”
“Hmmm…” Louis groans and turns around to bury his head in the pillow.
Harry stands up and gathers their clothes, throwing Louis’ white denims and tops at him and desperately looking for the sock that somehow escaped under a shelf.
The wedding is at ten. They have to get ready, join everyone, and drive all the way to the church. And Harry’s glad he had insisted to not be the best man and let Des’ brothers have a go, because there was no way he was going to look presentable enough to be looked at for hours.
When Harry’s dressed and Louis is still snoring, he grabs a bottle of water from the tray in the back and pours enough to make Louis gasp and sit up immediately.
“Wedding in two hours. Get up !”
“That is no way to start the morning…” Louis pouts but stands up to get dressed anyway, yawning and rubbing his tummy as he slides into his moccasins, without a care in the world, as if they weren’t about to miss their parents’ wedding.
They’re ready to go and right behind the door before Harry turns around, pecks Louis’ lips and tells him he loves him before opening the door and rushing through the hallway, both of them running in opposite directions to get to their room.
“Harry ! Finally ! Where the fuck where you ?!” Gemma shouts, hanging up the phone Harry reckons was about to make his mobile ring.
“I don’t care ! We don’t have time for this ! Go get ready ! Now !” She hurries him, entirely dressed up and ready to go when she walks outside the room.
Harry doesn’t waste anymore second and runs to the bathroom to take a shower. He has to focus not to spend hours in there, so he pushes back all the thoughts he’d normally take his time to analyze underwater, and dries himself off before styling his hair.
He gets dressed, getting into his navy blue suit with his lilac silk pocket square. He grabs his dress shoes and goes to sit on the bed to put them on, combing his hair one last time before checking the result in the mirror and going to Niall’s room.
He sees him, Stan and Gemma already heading downstairs, so he stops at another room instead.
“I’m ready !” Louis yells, even though he’s only half dressed when he opens the door to Harry.
“Louis ! The car is about to leave ! We have to go, now !”
“I’m ready, I’m ready !” Louis scurries around the room and takes his shoes in one hand before walking outside, stopping at any mirror to check his quiff.
“You look gorgeous…” Harry whispers when he stops at one more mirror. He stands behind him and kisses his the side of his head before walking towards the stairs again.
“How far away is the Moon ?”Louis asks as they run in the hallway.
“Well, the average distance from the centre of the Earth to the Moon is 384 400 kilometres, but it does vary with the orbit of-“ Harry answers but stops when he senses that might have been a rhetorical question.
“Quite far then, alright…”.
“It is…But it’s the closest astronomical object and people have been there before…” Harry reminds him as they skip down the stairs.
“Do you think we’d survive for long ?” Louis says when they reach the floor above and he hops on one foot to put a shoe on.
“I mean, the gravitational force might be tricky and the shortage of food and water might be a slight issue…but we can make it work ?” Harry grins and lets Louis lean on him to put the second shoe on.
They walk into the lobby already empty and nearly jog to the entrance. There’s a line of cars for Jay’s family and another one for the Styles. So when they get to the parking lot, they look at each other one last time before hopping into their respective ride.
On the drive to the church, Harry might have been looking a bit preoccupied, because Gemma takes his hand in hers, and lets him snuggle up to her whilst Niall rubs his knee.
The benches are all decorated with white and lilac flower wreaths and everyone respected the theme, filling the church with soft and pure shades of the brides’ favourite colors.
The children are all sat in their respective row near the altar, apart from Lottie who had been glad to be a bridesmaid. She was wearing the white and lilac dress her mom had chosen, hair half loose and tied at the top with a mini flower knot.
Des was standing there as if it was his very first wedding: nervous, trembling, and ready to fall in his brother’s arms.
Gemma didn’t say anything as she wrapped an arm around Harry as soon as Mendelssohn’s Wedding March made everyone turn. When he did like everyone else, he spotted Louis on the other side. Their eyes locked and they both gave each other a weak smile before turning to watch as Jay walked with her dad down the isle.
They had found a priest willing to remarry them in church despite a slight reluctance until the very end, so she looked a bit stressed out, but Harry imagined this moment should be quite overwhelming with everyone watching you as you’re getting ready to link a part of yourself to someone else.
The ceremony is quite nice, it’s extremely hot and everyone keeps fanning themselves and pretending they’re not melting, but other than that, it’s going well. For the guests at least.
Gemma wasn’t letting go of her brother. She was now holding his hand as the moment they were all waiting for arrived, and he squeezed it so hard she squeaked and whispered to Niall to take over.
Harry’s best friend rested his head on his shoulder and let him dig his nails in his skin, rubbing a thumb as he shed a tear when the priest said the part he wasn’t aware would break him a bit.
“Wilt thou have this woman to thy wedded wife, to live together after God’s ordinance in the holy estate of Matrimony? Wilt thou love her, comfort her, honour, and keep her, in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all other, keep thee only unto her, so long as ye both shall live?”
The priest’s medieval words were resonating and Harry watched as his dad took a deep breath and waited for almost a minute – a bloody excruciating long minute –before nodding and opening his mouth to say the two words a spouse wants to hear. Or almost.
The room was suddenly filled with gasps and whispering as Des dropped his head down and replaced the ring in Harry’s little cousin’s hand.
He looked at Jay who, surprisingly, didn’t even flinch. They both nodded to each other and held hands as they turned to face their friends and family.
“We know you’ve all come a long way to see a beautiful wedding, and we’re really sorry that we can’t give you that. We love each other dearly, and we’ve had the best time together, but…” Des looks at Jay as she gives him a soft smile and encourages him to carry on.
Harry doesn’t know what to do. Niall still has both hands on his mouth to hide how wide it is and Gemma shook her head no when Harry looked at her as if to ask if she had anything to do with that.
“…we are friends. We became best friends actually. But standing here in front of God, we can’t keep a lie. We were both in need of someone to rescue us, and we found that person. But we haven’t found the one we truly need more than anything, and we can’t keep pretending. Not after seeing what it means to really love someone.”
When Des is done talking and the priest has already fled to rant, everyone gets up and watches as they walk down the isle, still not married, and with no intention of changing that.
As everyone rushes to get to the cars and go back to the hotel, Harry is scanning the parking lot to find his dad, in vain. Gemma pulls him into their car so they can go back to the hotel, and he still hasn’t seen Louis since.
The second the car parks, Harry is already flying outside to find him. He doesn’t know if he should find his dad first or Louis, but he’s definitely looking for someone when he runs through the gardens.
The valet had told him he’d seen a bride and a man walk through an alley of dandelions, so Harry didn’t let him explain himself and just started to sprint towards the path.
He found them sitting on a bench facing the lake. They seemed more happy now than at the church, and Harry had to check twice to make sure he was really seeing them having a laugh while everyone else was confused.
“Dad !” Des turned to see his son standing behind them, a bit out of breath after running in a tailored suit.
“Harry…” Jay sighed.
“Mom !” Louis shouted from behind him, and he turned for a split second to see him as confused and shocked as he was.
“It’s great that you’re both here…” Des cleared his throat.
“Louis !” Lottie arrived right after, followed by Gemma, Niall and Des’ brother Simon.
“And now everyone’s here okay um…Please calm down.” Jay chuckles, very peaceful for a bride who just escaped a church.
“What happened in there Desmond ?!” Harry’s uncle looks more concerned than angry to be having the worst first best man experience.
“Look, as we said, we love each other…just not the way we thought we did.” Jay explains.
“And we thought it wasn’t fair to keep up a lie just to not be lonely. Because we’d…because it meant we’d be ruining a genuine love love.” Des adds.
“What are you talking about ?” Simon asks, looking as lost as ever. He wasn’t the brightest of the siblings, so this situation really didn’t help.
Harry doesn’t dare looking at Louis. He doesn’t dare turning around and checking if he’s in the same state of half panic, half bliss.
“We’re not blind and dumb you know…” Des scolds. “And we thought you two were just bickering in that room every night. But these walls were paper thin and you clung to each other harder than we ever did.”
When the attention is brought on Harry and Louis, the both of them freeze, incapable of confirming anything until they’re sure they won’t be pushed in that lake.
“We know how much you two love each other. And we tried ignoring it, tried convincing each other it wasn’t what we thought…but then I heard you Louis. I heard you two trying to end things and I heard how hard you were crying when you hung up. And that was the sound a mother wishes to never hear.” Jay says, clearly trying not to sob at the memory of her son crushed on his bed.
“You heard me ?” Louis said with a weak voice. Jay nodded with her reddening eyes and Des rubbed her arm to comfort her as he spoke.
“I don’t know what you two have decided on your own but…we know you love each other, and we know we were an obstacle. And we’re just happy to not be anymore. So whether you want to keep things as they are, or want to be together. We’ll accept it. Yes it’ll be a change but, we both love you as our sons and that won’t change that, I guess ?”
Harry doesn’t know if it’s the idea that there’s finally nothing keeping them apart, or if it’s the fact that both the people they were fearing the most are accepting this, but it’s overwhelming, and it’s just too much not to let tears stream down his cheeks when he turns to look at him.
Louis’ face is red and his cheeks are just as wet. When his eyes meet Harry’s, they both smile, and he steps forward to intertwine their fingers in front of their parents for the first time.
“I’m sorry.” Louis tells his mom. Harry nods as if to say the same thing to both Jay and his dad.
“Do you love each other ?” Jay asks, tears flooding as she holds on to Des’ arms.
Harry and Louis turn to look at each other. And when Harry looks at that boy that made him lose his mind but somehow get it back, and when Louis looks at that boy who saw who he really was and made this hidden side spark, they just nod. It might just be a nod, but it really is what they’ve wanted to do all this time, and it’s a feeling they hadn’t expected to have that day.
“I think I need a drink.” Des’ brother mumbles, and they all laugh, because they’re still the most complicated family out there, but they’re a family nonetheless, and they all love each other…and two of them love each other just a little bit more.
The wedding reception turns into a regular party. With a lot of white.
Jay and Des celebrate as if they actually got married, cutting the cake and listening to modified toasts, and laughing at the situation as everyone slowly accepts the turn of event.
They even step forward in the reception room and slow dance to their chosen song, which is none other than the classic L.O.V.E by Nat King Cole.
They only dance for a short while before gesturing for everyone to join them.
Harry is leaning against a table, drinking a glass of champagne as he watches his dad embarrass himself in the middle of the room. He can see Niall going to ask Lottie to dance, and smirks to himself when she pulls him towards the dancing couples when he nervously rubs the back of his neck before asking anything.
Gemma is enjoying dancing with their uncle Simon, probably telling him everything he needs to know about what’s happening right now, and he’s just genuinely enjoying the scene in front of him.
“My dear…” Louis appears in front of him with a hand behind his back and another waiting to take his hand. He has his usual soft smile that makes his eyes small and his cheeks pink, and that’s the smile Harry can’t resist, no matter how bad of a dancer he thinks he is.
He bows and sets his drink on the table behind him before letting Louis guide him towards the dance floor.
Louis rests a hand on Harry’s shoulder and another one in his raised hand, and Harry places a hand on Louis’ hip as the other caresses the hand he had taken.
They start swaying to the melody of their childhood movie, words making them blush and turn into shy and giggling messes.
When the song changes to a rendition of John Legend and his All of Me sweetness to the ears, Harry removes his hand from Louis’ to wrap his arms around him and pull him closer. Louis hooks his arms tight around Harry’s neck, making him slouch a bit as they lock their foreheads and close their eyes and slow dance to their feelings in the speakers.
And it’s like the world doesn’t exist anymore.
There’re no more guests, no one dancing but them, no one here but them. So they lean in, and smile, kissing like no one’s watching, kissing like no one can stop them. Because for the first time, no one can.
“Is it the right time to tell you I got a job ?” Louis grins when he pulls away as Heartbeats by José Gonzales starts playing.
“What ?!” Harry beams. “When ? Where ? Is it for The Lowry ?”
“Um…It’s not in Manchester actually…” Louis chuckles, biting his bottom lip to stop from smiling to big. “My agent sent my audition tape for a musical and, well, let’s just say I got the lead role for a new production of Peter Pan...in the Playhouse theatre…you know, near Trafalgar Square ? I mean it's not the Moon but...”
Harry doesn’t say anything. He just shakes his head in disbelief, smiling like a mad man with his teeth out before pulling Louis tight against him, dancing as he enjoys the promises of the future.
As they keep half hugging and half dancing, Harry really does realize how fate likes to mock a bit, because they find themselves slow dancing to Carla Bruni, singing the words she had when Harry had his heart broken.
“Oh, I know that song !” Louis murmurs in Harry’s neck.
“What ? You do ?”
“Yeah, Liam suggested it to me. I love it. I have no clue what it’s about though…Care to translate ?”
“All you need to know is that…I love you still. And that it’s possible.” Harry giggles.
"Um…okay..." Louis frowns but doesn't insist much.
"I'm glad you kicked my legs that day you know…"
"And I may not be that annoyed by the way you always spread your legs…"
"You're such an idiot." Harry chuckles. “Now kiss me, you fool.”