A vague uneasiness settles in Harry's stomach as he sits and watches Louis from across the kitchen counter. The blue eyed beauty is sipping on the cup of lukewarm tea he had made himself and Harry only a few minutes prior.
He looks stunning.
The uneasiness is something Harry has been getting a lot lately - and only when he's with Louis. It's something unfamiliar - yet, in a way Harry knows it.
It's past two in the morning, the only sound that can be heard is the tick,tick,tick of the clock besides the fridge.
They don't speak.
And it's not like the silence is awkward or anything. On the contrary actually. It's comfortable. It's the kind of silence that makes you smile. Harry likes it. Because he had realized soon enough that sometimes he and Louis don't need words.
It's been a week since these late night meetings has become an official thing and Harry knows that he should be sleeping, knows that in less than few hours they're playing their first and only show in Brussels. He knows that instead of just watching Louis watch him, he should rest -
But with they way Louis is looking at him - softly with a little smile on his lips - he doesn't think sleep could be better than this.
He clears his throat. " So..."
Louis sets his cup of tea down, dainty hands resting on top of the counter. His cup is halfway done now. Harry's still untouched and resting in front of him. " So?"
They make eye contact. Louis' eyes look happy, in a way. Harry wonders why.
Harry looks to the clock then to a cupboard past Louis' head and then to the fridge before he finally settles on Louis' eyes. "Planning to do something in Brussels?"
Louis shrugs. " Dunno. We're staying at the hotel until the day after tomorrow, right?" Harry nods at him before Louis continues. "Might prank Liam or someone. Haven't done that in a while."
" Why have you pranked almost everybody except me?" Harry wonders. It's probably not a good idea to ask because Louis might get ideas to prank him and...well, Louis' pranks usually end up with somebody either crying or covered in something. Not something Harry wants.
The corner of Louis' lips lift upwards as he looks to Harry through his dark lashes. " Oh, Harry. You don't need me to publicly embarrass you. You manage that pretty much all on your own with the way you trip over everything." He says playfully.
" Heyyy," Harry says mock offended. He's not even angry because it's mostly true. Yesterday he tripped over a rock, which would've been okay if he were alone. He wasn't.
Louis picks up his cup of tea again. Harry's cup still stands untouched before him. They settle into a silence again before Louis clears his throat. Harry looks at him, he looks uncomfortable and refuses to make eye contact when speaking. " Can I ask you something?"
Harry lifts one eyebrow, having no idea why Louis would be uncomfortable with asking him something. " Sure."
" Okay," Louis says and takes the last sip of tea before placing the cup on the counter. " I know your management team are a bunch of dicks that only care about themselves," Harry smiles at that- Louis has started to dislike their management just as much as they themselves do. " And like, obviously you're bisexual. But, like, I can't picture them being cool with that. And you're out, so how is that possible?"
Harry thinks back to the day that he came out. It wasn't on purpose, actually. It was about a year and half ago, when they were touring in America and the crew had decided that they should go out one night after a show and Harry had agreed, because why the hell not? Turns out, Harry is a very touchy drunk. As soon as he had took his fourth shot, there was a pretty boy under his arm and Harry had found himself kissing the boy pretty soon.
People had obviously taken pictures of it, because woah Harry Styles is kissing a boy, and when Harry had woken up the next day- he didn't only have a massive hangover but also about a thousand articles written about him, questioning his sexuality.
His management had obviously been furious and had already planned the story they would've spinned for the media ( the boy had taken advantage of a drunk Harry, was what they were going to say) but it turned out that, instead of losing fans, Harry had only gained new ones. The LGBT community had reacted so greatly to it, that Mr. Johnson himself had told Harry that he could come out. Harry had been delighted.
Harry tells this to Louis who looks at him then smiles. " That's actually nice of them."
" Not really," Harry says while playing with the handle of his cup that's still filled with his tea. " Like you said, they only care about themselves. If people would've reacted badly to that, there's no way I would have been sitting here openly Bi."
Louis' nose scrunch up a bit when he hears that. " Fuck, I don't like them."
The laugh that Harry lets out is loud - so loud that he has to cover his mouth with his hands to stop himself from waking the other people on the bus. " You're not the only one, Lou."
Louis tilts his head to the side and lifts his right eyebrow while looking at Harry. "Lou?" He questions.
" It's cute." Harry shrugs.
A small smirk appears on Louis' face when he looks at him. " Okay, Haz."
They sit in silence for a few moments before Harry thinks of something. He thinks he and Louis are cool enough with each other, so he asks the question he's been wondering since meeting Louis. " Why don't you like being touched?"
Turns out, him and Louis are not cool enough with each other because as soon as the words leave his mouth, Louis' face goes blank and his body stiffens. His eyes dart everywhere- except to Harry.
" I-I," Louis stutters, " I just...I don't," his hands are shaking and when he notices he closes them to form fist and then he clenches them, making his knuckles turn white. " I just...It makes me uncomfortable." He finally says, without looking at Harry.
He looks so small while saying it. He looks almost like the time Harry had found him in the bathroom- vulnerable. Harry instantly regrets asking it. Instantly regrets making Louis feel like this.
" I'm sorry." He breathes.
Louis looks him in the eye and smiles a weak smile- it's fake. Like the one he wears during the day when he's not around Harry. " It's okay."
It's not. It's really not okay.
Harry shouldn't have ever brought it up, because now they sit in awkward silence- not looking at each other. Louis clears his throat. "Right, well. Big day tomorrow. So I'm going to bed."
Harry doesn't say anything as he watches Louis- who looks possibly smaller than usual- walk out of the kitchen into the darkness that is known as the bunk bed area.
He doesn't turn around.
Harry realizes that unfamiliar uneasiness in his stomach is Louis. He doesn't know it, but somehow he does. And the best part is that it's the best kind of uneasiness.
Louis is the best kind of uneasiness. The best kind of confusing.
Harry finally takes a sip of his tea.
Louis doesn't come to them with soundcheck. It doesn't bother Harry.
Except, it does.
He knows it's because of him. He knows Louis is ignoring him, because as soon as they got to the hotel this morning he avoided even saying hello to Harry. And Harry feels like shit.
He doesn't know if it's the fact that Louis is ignoring him or if he upset him.
Harry hasn't felt this way in years.
Harry's not stupid- far from it. He knows he likes Louis. He knows that he likes the gorgeous boy more than he's suppose to because, well...
Harry's not scared, per se. He's cautious. People tend to hurt each other when they're in love, whether they're aware of it or not.
Like his parents. They were happy and then one day, everything just went downhill. They started fighting and ignoring each other and eventually when he was 8, they had a divorce. Harry had been confused at the time.
" If you love each other, then why aren't you married to each other anymore?" He had asked his mother one day when she was sitting on the couch playing with his hair.
She had smiled sadly at him and ran her fingers through his- then flat- hair before speaking. "Sometimes love isn't enough."
The divorced had finalized two days before that.
And now, at age 21, he had convinced himself that he doesn't believe in love. Even after his mother had found a wonderful man. Even when his friends had found wonderful partners- like Liam and Sophia.
So he's not in love with Louis. He is, however, in like with him. But he's not suppose to be. At all.
They stay at the stadium rehearsing the entire day. When the support band is on the stage practicing their songs, Harry finds himself in the dressing room.
" Ye' alright, mate?" Niall asks, setting down a can of soda he had been devouring, on the table. He face is a bit red- probably from laughing at Josh, who had slipped on water a few minutes ago.
Harry nods. " Yeah. I'm nervous, 's all."
Niall smirks at him. He looks a bit wolfish. "Nervous because your good luck charm isn't here?" Harry looks at him, tilting his head to the side and lifting his eyebrows. Niall continues. " Don't think I haven't noticed the way Louis always stands behind the curtain throwing you a thumbs up."
Harry swallows. " We're friends, Niall."
" Friends don't look at each other the way you and Louis look at each other...but," Niall picks up his forgotten can of soda off the table, bringing it to his lips and while taking a sip he looks at Harry through his lashes before he continues. " That's none of my business."
Harry's speechless. They look at other differently? Harry hasn't noticed. He doesn't think anybody's noticed, except Niall- who is slightly obsessed with him and Louis together.
He must look confused because pretty soon Niall speaks again. " By the way. The kitchen light on the bus is way too bright at arse o'clock in the morning."
Niall winks at him before turning around and walking towards Liam, who's choosing his outfit for tonight.
All Harry can do is stare.
The show that night isn't one of Harry's favorites. He keeps forgetting his words and he finds himself looking towards the curtain every few minutes, looking to see if a certain brunette would be there looking back at him.
He's met with disappointment every time.
When they get back to the hotel, Dan suggest they go clubbing and most of the crew agrees, seeing as they don't have a show tomorrow.
Harry, however, plans on sitting in his room the entire night watching movies or something. That is until Liam comes storming through his room, with Louis hot on his heels.
They don't make eye contact.
" Harry!" Liam says with panic lacing his voice." Can I barrow a fedora?"
Harry raises his eyebrow from where he's sitting on the bed- laptop in his lap, already warming up. " Why?"
Liam begins to pace back and forth, a worried expression on his face. " Because, I have no idea what to wear and I think if I have a fedora I might get inspired."
From where he's standing against the wall, Louis sighs. " Mate, just go in those clothes. Didn't you only wear them for the last two songs?"
Liam snaps his head towards Louis as he glares at the boy. " Mate, I sweated all night. I think a change of clothes will be much appreciated."
Louis only shrugs at him then. Liam continues to pace and then all of a sudden it looks like a lightbulb went off in his head- he snaps his fingers in the air as his face lights up. " I know!" Reaching into his backpocket he retrieves his phone, "I'll just call Zayn. He'll help me, unlike you traitors."
Liam's out of the room within a matter of seconds. Harry looks to Louis, who's looking at him. He clears his throat. " Are you going out tonight?"
Louis nods and then walks to the door which has been left open by Liam. He's just about to walk out when he stops and looks over his shoulder at Harry. " You should come."
And that's how Harry finds himself sitting in a too loud club, with too loud people and too much booze which he wasn't planning on drinking.
He's sitting in a booth with Liam sitting across from him. They're the only two who's not planning to drink anything tonight.
Liam, wearing black skinny jeans and a blue flannel ( 'Zayn's so stylish' Liam had said when he stepped out of the elevator, unaware of the fact that everybody had been waiting for him) looks around the club and when his eyes land on something he get a small smile on his face. " Would you look at that?"
Harry turns to the bar, where he's met with the sight of Niall currently downing shot after shot and Louis, who looks just as drunk, is cheering him on. He shakes his head. " Would hate to be them tomorrow."
" I would hate to be anybody besides you or I tomorrow," Liam says while taking a sip of the water he ordered himself. " So why aren't you drinking, H?"
Harry turns to face Liam again and pulls his shoulders up a bit." Don't feel like it. You?"
" Well somebody has to get all those drunk arsses back to the hotel. Who knows what would've happened if I decided to drink too and you didn't come out? One of us might've been kidnapped. Or get lost."
Harry only half smiles at that before he looks toward the bar again. Louis is standing with a beer bottle in his hand and a big smile on his face. A bigger smile than Harry's ever seen him wear. And it's real.
And he's so beautiful.
Even when drunk, Louis still looks absolutely amazing. He's wearing black skinny jeans and a black shirt that says ' Love Will Tear Us Apart '. His hair is swept into a fringe and his eyes sparkle. So beautiful.
As the night ( morning ) proceeds, Harry watches as his friends get more drunk, occasionally buying himself a Coke or something. It's past one AM when he talks to Liam for only what he swears is a minute and when he looks back to the dance floor, his eyes can't find Louis. He feels a wave of panic wash over him, mumbling a quick 'excuse me' to Liam, and then he makes his way over to where Niall is dancing, at least ten other people surrounding the bubbly blonde.
" Niall!" He shouts over the sound of the music. " Niall! Where's Louis?"
Niall looks at him then before he too shouts back at Harry." What?"
" Where's Louis?" He shouts a bit louder.
Niall looks confused. " Who's Louis?"
Harry sighs and rubs his fingers over his temple. It's kind of difficult to find Louis when Niall forgot who he is. Suddenly, he gets an idea. " Niall, where's Larry?"
At that, Niall beams. He looks to Harry. " I love Larry too!"
" Yes, Niall. I know! But where's Larry?"
" Oh!" Niall throws his head back and a loud laugh escapes his mouth. " In the bathroom!" He grabs a random girl and throws an arm around her neck, " Do you love Larry too?" The girl, obviously too drunk to know what's going on around her just nods and when Niall sees this he kisses her. " Me too!"
Harry just shakes his head and turns around to walk towards the bathroom. After a lot of squeezing through sweaty bodies, he finally makes it to the mens room.
Upon entering, he smells vomit. It reeks and Harry just wants to get Louis and get out. There are 5 stalls and 2 of them are closed. The second one and the last one.
Harry searches through the open ones first and when he doesn't find Louis in them he goes to the second one. It's not locked.
When he opens the door, he's met with the sigh of Louis- who's breathing heavy with his head on the toilet seat. It's obvious he'd thrown up.
" Oh, Louis," Harry says softly, while getting on his knees to crawl over to the boy. He doesn't know how to comfort Louis- so he simply just softly pets his hair. " Why on earth did you drink so much, love?"
" Sometimes," Louis slurs. " Sometimes I just want to forget. And the alcohol helps. But just now I remembered," he lifts his head from the toilet. When he looks at Harry, there are tears in his blur eyes. " I remembered but I wasn't suppose to. Why can't I forget, Harry?" There are tears running down his cheek now. Harry thinks he still looks lovely.
He doesn't understand what Louis is trying to say- Remembered what? He wants to ask- but he would rather have a sober Louis, who trust him enough to tell him on his own, say it to him than an over emotional drunk Louis. So instead he asks him, " Wanna go back to the hotel?"
Louis nods and then stands up- swaying a bit from left to right when he can't find his balance yet.
" Can I guide you out?" Harry asks. Seeing as it's the only way they'll get out of the club.
Louis' eyes go wide and he frantically shakes his head. " I don't like being touched."
A tired sigh escapes out of Harry's mouth. " Please? It's the only way we'll get back to the hotel," for an afterthought he adds. " I won't hurt you."
Louis' eyes, still wet from crying, looks at him. He looks vulnerable and fragile. It looks like he's thinking it over in his head before he slowly nods. " Okay...Okay. But, don't hurt me. Please don't hurt me."
It intrigues Harry. Who hurt Louis?
He sends Liam a text, saying that he and Louis are going back to the hotel and that they're safe.
He places his hand gently on Louis' back and guides him toward the exist of the club.
When they arrive back at the hotel 15 minutes later, Harry lets Louis sleep in his room considering he can't open the room Louis' sharing with Liam without the key. He lets Louis sleep on the bed and plumps himself down onto the hard couch with nothing but one pillow and a thin blanket.
In the morning when he wakes up, Louis is gone and Harry feels sad over that fact.
Considering the fact that they're only leaving tomorrow, some of the people go out exploring during the day. Harry stays in, hoping Louis would come and find him.
But he doesn't.
Not until the clock reads 01:34 AM and Harry hears a soft knock on his door.
He wasn't sleeping- thoughts too occupied with Louis- so when he opens the door to see Louis standing on the other side, with his arms around his middle and his too big jumper, a sigh of relief escapes his mouth.
" I'm sorry," is the first thing Louis says when they make eye contact with each other. " I'm sorry for ignoring you."
Harry only nods, his hand still on the door handle.
" Can," Louis starts. " Can I come in?"
Harry steps to the side to let the boy in. As Louis walks over to the couch, Harry closes the door and follows him. He takes a seat opposite Louis.
They sit in silence. It's not a comfortable one and it's not an uncomfortable one. Harry doesn't have that uneasiness settling in his stomach.
" I'm sorry for last night, too." Louis says after a while. Harry watches him. Sees how his hands are trembling underneath the length of the jumper. Sees how his leg bounces up and down. Sees how he bites his chapped lip.
They maintain eye contact.
Harry looks him over. They've known each other for weeks now and all Harry wants to do is figure Louis out. So he says. " I wanna know you Louis."
Louis looks confused. " You do know me."
" No," Harry shakes his head. " No. I want to know you Louis. The real you. The sad you."
Louis takes in a sharp breath- mouth slightly open, " I-I...I'm not sad."
It's a blatant lie. Obvious.
" You are, " he begins, " It's not obvious. I think I'm the only one who's noticed. But like, I can see it in your eyes. They're empty. Which sucks because they're so pretty and deserve to be full of life."
Louis looks at him in shock. His mouth is ajar and his eyes wide.
" I want to know you Louis," Harry says again. " And I don't care how long it's going to take me to get to know you but, like, I'm willing to wait to figure you out."
They look at each other. There are no words exchanged between them for at least two minutes.
Then Louis stands up from the couch. Harry thinks he's going to leave- like he'd done the previous night- but Louis is walking towards him and then he takes the seat to Harry's left. They're very close.
They stare at each other for awhile before Louis adverts his eyes to his arm. Harry's tattoos are on full display for Louis to look over and after awhile the small boy takes one of his small hands out of his lap to place it on Harry's arm. It's a careful touch.
" You can get to know me, " Louis softly whispers. His voice sounds small. " But not now. When the time is right."
Harry nods at that. He can wait. He will wait.
Louis begins to softly trace his hand over Harry's tattoos. It's a soft caress, so smooth. His hands go over the skull and the boat and both of the hearts and the -
" Can I stay?"
Louis's looking up at him through his lashes. His hand is still on his arm. All Harry can do is stare back.
He's not sure if Louis's reading the tattoo off his arm or if he's asking Harry if he can stay with him tonight, so Harry says the only thing on his mind.