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a trail of honey through it all

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“Mum, honestly, it’s fine. I have the GPS, and thankfully I’m not totally inept,” Louis insisted, his phone pressed between his ear and his shoulder as he lugged his last suitcase up into the trunk of his car. He slammed the door shut, rounding the side to slide into the drivers seat.

“I know, love, I just worry about you,” Louis’s mum said gently through the receiver. She meant well, and Louis knew that much, but it still aggravated him a bit that his parents always seemed to think that he couldn’t do anything on his own. He could.

He’d moved all the way across the ocean to another country to go to university on a full ride scholarship to one of the best art and design schools in the United States. He thought was doing pretty well on his own, thank you very much. Driving the few hundred miles on the open road down to Florida to meet them for their summer vacation shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. He’d done it multiple times before.

He plugged his phone in as the sound converted from the phone’s speaker to the speaker system within the car. He heard his mother’s soft sigh. “Remember the cottage we’ve had for the past few years? We’re renting the same one, so I sent the address to you. Call me if you have any problems finding it, okay? We’ll be waiting on you to start dinner.”

Louis held back a laugh at the word cottage, because in reality, the house that they rented in Amelia Island wasn’t anything short of a mansion. It easily slept twenty-five people, and the beachfront property was more than accommodating for their rather large family. Once Louis had accepted his scholarship to SCAD’s Atlanta campus, his family had decided they’d make it a tradition to rent out a beach house down in Florida for the entire summer each year to make it easier for him to visit. He definitely wasn’t going to complain about two months of a free vacation. Seeing his family was a bonus too, of course.

Louis typed in the address to his GPS, and let the route load. He grabbed his Gucci sunglasses from the hidden compartment above the rearview mirror and slid them on. “I’ll be fine, mum. Love you, tell the girls and Ernie, too. I’ll see you soon.”

It was eighteen miles from the Florida border when Louis’s car made an unpleasant clunking sound that was so loud that even his music couldn’t cover it up. The noise prompted him to quickly pause the song, listening for the sound again. It took about five seconds before he heard it again, and he didn’t even make it two more miles before he felt an unnatural pull in the wheel, and realized his car was slowing down on its own even though he had been practically flooring it. “Fuck,” he muttered to himself, signaling before safely pulling off to the side of the deserted road and parking on the shoulder of the highway. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.”

Panic set in quickly. He was in a strange area, surrounded by nothing but fields of cows and trees, and he had no idea what to do. With a shaking hand, he reached for his phone, his first thought to look up a tow company or something, anything that could help him get him out of here safely in one piece.

Of course, he pulled the internet browser up and it wouldn’t load. No texts would go through, and no calls would complete. He was in the middle of nowhere, Georgia, and he didn’t have a phone signal.

He wasn’t sure how long it was before he finally saw a car. Well, more accurately, he heard it first. And it sounded like it was about to explode. The rumbling was heard long before the truck was seen, and when it finally came into view, Louis almost wished it wouldn’t stop for him. It was old, and looked like it was about two trips away from breaking down on the spot. It looked exactly like the same kind of truck that he’d seen in Texas Chainsaw Massacre. And he could do without being made into a skin suit today, thanks.

The rickety old truck swerved over in his direction, veering across the empty lanes of the deserted highway, pulling to a stop right behind Louis’s car. He felt his heart rate speed up, his hands becoming clammy as he tried to accept that this was the way he was going to die. Murdered. On the side of the road. By a field. In the middle of no where.

He gripped the steering wheel tighter as he saw someone in a baseball cap approaching him through the side mirror. The inevitable tap of their knuckles on the window next to Louis made him jump, even though he’d been expecting it. The glare from the sun made it impossible to distinguish any of the stranger’s features, and really, he was running out of options here. With shaking hands, he opened the door to his car just enough to hear the stranger ask in a sweet Southern voice, “Sweet pea, are you stuck?”

Glancing up, he squinted a bit as the sun behind them practically blinded him. The woman came into focus eventually, and Louis had to smile at the threadbare t-shirt she was wearing, showing off different types of flowers. Her hat looked like it used to be red, but due to wear and tear it was now closer to a dull shade of pink. The brim was frayed, and there was a big black G embroidered in the middle, which Louis knew signified the University of Georgia. She had kind eyes, sun-kissed skin, and a bright smile, all framed by dark, full hair. Louis let out a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.

Louis nodded. “I think my car died. I’m not sure what’s wrong. I’m shit with this kind of thing.”

The woman’s friendly demeanor morphed into one of sympathy. “Oh baby, I know the best mechanic in town. We’ll have you fixed up in no time,” she said with a genuine smile, and Louis was inclined to believe her. She reached her hand out for him to shake. “I’m Anne Styles, but don’t you dare call me Mrs. Styles. I’m not old enough for that just yet.”

 

It didn’t take long for the tow truck to get there, and Anne was generous enough to let Louis ride in the car with her instead of in the tow truck that apparently lacked AC.

Louis soon found out that Anne’s beaten old truck didn’t have air conditioning either, but he still considered enduring the trip with her rather than the overly friendly tow truck driver with three teeth somewhat of a win. The ride to the repair shop was shorter than he expected, but then again he had no idea where the hell he actually was.

The drive was a filled with a series of fields filled with various farmlife or cotton, and further down the road Louis thought he could see an orchard or two. They pulled off the main road suddenly and turned down a dirt path that looked like it was made from years of driving back and forth over the same place. He was jostled dramatically as they rumbled over the rocky dirt road, and he scrambled frantically for the grab handle above the window only to find that it wasn’t there anymore.

“Lookin’ for the Oh Shit handle?” Anne said with a happy laugh.

Louis forced himself to smile, feeling a bit ashamed that she’d noticed him reaching for it. “The road’s a bit bumpy, is all,” he explained sheepishly. All he got in return from her was a hum and a toothy grin.

They pulled up in front of the garage, and before Anne even had the chance to put the car in park, a hefty yellow lab was bounding up to them, barking happily. Anne dropped to her knees the second she got out of the truck, letting the dog lick enthusiastically at her face and hands. “Baby Beau, how’s my beautiful boy?” she said in that special dog voice everyone seemed to have, laughing as he barked in response. “Where’s Daddy, huh? Where’s your Daddy?”

Louis looked on fondly, albeit a bit impatiently. He was ready to get his car fixed and get the hell out of this armpit of a town, if a series of fields and the occasional house could even be called that. Anne stood up, brushing herself off and waved Louis over. “Come on right over here, baby, and Harry will get you all fixed up. My boy’s the best mechanic in South Georgia, swear on the Bible and I don’t do that lightly.” She pointed a finger accusingly at Louis as if he’d dare to protest. He smiled back, and promised he trusted her, because strangely enough he kind of did.

“Here he is,” Anne said by way of introduction, and Louis looked up and nearly tripped over his own feet.

The boy in front of him, well really, the man in front of him, was like something out of a confusing wet dream. Built, tall, tan and muscular, Louis had to physically stop himself from gasping. His skin glistened with sweat after a long day of working outdoors with his hands, and the muscles in his arms bulged just enough for Louis to be confident that if this Harry guy needed to, he could pick him up without hesitation. He was wearing a cut up old American football shirt from what was sure to be his high school, the bottom hem was torn and the sleeves were cut off to the point where the t-shirt was really just a loose tank top. The shorts he had on had clearly been full length jeans at one point, and were now just crudely cut off above the knee. His white socks were pulled up too high on his calves, and the brown work boots he had on were old as fuck, the leather peeling along the edges of the soles. Curly brown hair stuck out from the edges of his backwards snapback, and there was a smudge of grease wiped along his brow bone. The smattering of hair along his jaw proved that he hadn’t shaved in a week or two, the hair growing in thicker across his upper lip and around his chin. His sinfully bowed mouth was pink and plump, and Louis was suddenly hyper-focused on the way that he chewed at the toothpick stuck between his lips. He looked like he needed a shower. Louis wanted to lick him.

“This is Harry,” Anne said with a smile in her voice, clearly not noticing Louis having a crisis next to her. “Harry, baby, Louis’ car broke down near Mr. Miller’s place and I brought him right on over to you. Knew you could fix this thing up, isn’t that right?”

Harry nodded with a smirk, eyes lingering on Louis for a beat too long before looking back over to Anne. “I’ll do my best, Momma.”

She left with a quick kiss to Harry’s cheek, then kissing Louis’s cheek as well, promising them both that she’d be back in a bit with lunch. Beau, the yellow lab Anne had greeted when they’d first arrived to the shop, bounded over to Louis once Anne drove off. He licked a wet stripe along Louis’s calf, and Louis looked down, smiling softly at the pup. He could only hold off for so long when those big brown eyes were looking up at him. Louis bent down closer to Beau’s level, scratching him behind the ears, which seemed to sate the dog for now.

“Louis, right?” Harry asked, nodding in the direction of where his G-Wagon was now parked inside the work garage. “That your G-Class?”

Louis let out a bitter laugh, his arms instinctively crossing over his chest as he stood back up from his crouch. “Have you had another car brought to you in the last twenty minutes? Yes, that’s mine,” he snapped, not even bothering to feel bad about his tone. He was beyond over today and this entire situation. The Georgia heat was sticking to him like a second skin, and at this point he wasn’t sure if he was sweating from the humidity or because of the man in front of him.

Despite the attitude Louis was giving him, Harry smiled. “Took a quick look at it the exterior before you got here. I know that in this model the engine’s got advanced biturbo. You can go zero to sixty in five seconds in that thing. Four hundred and sixteen horsepower. Eight cylinder engine. Beautiful foreign car. You’ve got a mighty fine vehicle on your hands.”

“Yeah, I’m well aware of that, thanks,” Louis clipped. “Have you figured out what’s wrong yet?”

Harry shook his head. “Not yet. Haven’t had a chance to get inside her yet.”

Louis raised his brow at the phrasing, not bothering to respond. He was wildly unimpressed, and he wanted to make sure that Harry knew that.

Harry let out a low appreciative whistle as he rounded the front of the G-Wagon like it was his first time seeing it, patting the hood rather roughly. Louis made a sound of protest, eyes widening a bit. Harry had just slammed his hand down on the front of a car that cost more than this entire building. More than this entire town.

“Mind if I pop the hood?” Harry’s low voice interrupted Louis’s train of thought, and he immediately directed his attention back to the mechanic.

“Go ahead,” Louis said, crossing his arms.

Harry raised the hood and got right to it. He worked in silence for some time, and Louis couldn’t help but watch the way that the muscles in his back rippled as he moved. His entire body glistened with a thin sheen of sweat that Louis was sure by now he was covered in too, probably due to the extreme humidity. Random swipes of grease were wiped in streaks across the back of his jean shorts, as if Harry had absentmindedly wiped off a tool on the denim before returning to work. There was a loud metallic clang, and then Harry stood up, grabbing the bandana from his back pocket and wiping his hands off with it. “See if you can start it now.”

Louis slid into the drivers seat and cranked the ignition. Nothing happened except for a few small clicks, and Harry waved for him to stop. He looked back down at the engine, and fiddled with something briefly before wiping his forehead with the back of his hand. “I think we might need to order a few new parts for you. Since she’s foreign, it might take a good bit for them to come in, but I can make it happen. Doesn’t look like anything I can fix today.”

Louis huffed out a sigh and came around the front of the car to stand next to Harry, and Beau trotted closely behind him, seeming to have taken a liking to him during his short visit. The happy dog plopped down next to him, and Louis looked where Harry’s line of sight was directed, and honestly, the engine looked fine to him. But, he also could barely change batteries in a remote properly without there being some kind of issue. So. There’s that.

“You’re not from around here, are you?” Harry said with a small smirk, fingers toying with the toothpick sticking out of the side of his mouth.

Louis couldn’t help but roll his eyes. He was well aware that he typically stuck out like a sore thumb no matter where he was from his accent alone. But, he was sure that here, along the Georgia Florida line in this godforsaken town, he might as well have a neon sign on his forehead blinking brightly like a beacon reading out I’m not from here. “Oh no, what ever gave it away?” he deadpanned. He really didn’t have time for this.

Harry’s eyes flickered up above his face, and his smirk grew just a bit. “Your hair,” he said with a small shrug before turning back to inspect the car.

Louis bristled, right hand immediately darting up to finger his fringe. His haircut wasn’t anything unusual. It was just cut shorter on the sides, leaving the top longer and piecey. The front was long enough to swoop across his forehead in a stylishly disheveled fashion, and Louis thought his haircut looked amazing, thank you very much.

“What the fuck is wrong with my hair?” he asked defensively.

Harry turned towards him, letting out a clearly amused chuckle and shrugged. “Nothing’s wrong with it. Just a little different, that’s all.”

Louis huffed. His hand dropped to his side, and he did his best not to glare. He wasn’t sure this hick would know anything about fashion trends in the first place, so he was trying his best not to be offended. Even if the remarks did sting a little, he figured his ego could stand to be taken down a few notches.

“How long is this going to take?” Louis asked, though he was sure Harry had already told him that at some point.

Harry contemplated for a moment before hocking up a glob of spit and spitting it off to the side, landing in the grass. “A week, maybe two.”

“Jesus Christ,” Louis said to himself, already pulling up his mum’s contact. He gave Harry another look before turning his back to him, holding the phone up to his ear as it rang.

Just when he thought the call would be sent to voicemail, he heard the lilting voice of his mother as she picked up. “Hello, my love.”

“Mum, you alright?” He turned back to shoot another glance towards Harry, who was now hunched over, rubbing Beau’s ears and speaking softly to him.

“Fine, babe. Where are you? You should be close by now.”

“Yeah,” he agreed softly, his voice dropping. “Something’s actually come up. I’m having a bit of car issues, and apparently I need a few new parts to be ordered in for it to be fixed. I’m in Quitman, Georgia. A little outside of Valdosta. I’m still a few hours away.”

His mother tutted, obviously annoyed with the inconvenience, but she didn’t seem mad for any reason other than the fact that this was delaying his visit. “We’ll send a car for you and a blank check to the mechanic. Give Andre two hours, okay? He’ll be right to you, it won’t be a problem.”

Louis’s voice caught in his throat, because, well. He was twenty-five. He was in his last year of his graduate program at university, and for his entire life, he depended on the security of his family’s money. In the past, whenever any kind of inconvenience or issue appeared in his life, it was immediately taken care of. And while he appreciated that infinitely, he knew that he’d never done anything financially on his own. He always leaned heavily on his parents for that kind of support, and he thought for once, maybe he should try to handle something on his own. Maybe it was time to try to be independent. This wasn’t as big as fully supporting himself or something as extreme as that, but it was a start.

“Actually, Mum? I think I’ll stay and figure it out myself. I’ll just pull some of my savings from work and get a hotel room or something. The warranty should cover the parts, but we’ll see.” He nervously glanced back over his shoulder and noticed Harry wasn’t paying him any attention. It loosened the knot in his chest just a little.

It took almost an hour to talk her down, but Louis’s mother eventually agreed to his plan of staying in Quitman for the time being, even though she considered it to be insane and unnecessary. In just a few hours he could be settled with his ass in the sand and a drink in his hand, surrounded by his family. Instead he was choosing to wait for the parts to come in and do this on his own. For the first time in his life.

It was nerve-racking to say the least. But it was something Louis felt like he had to do.

 

By the time Louis finally convinced his mother that no, he would not get murdered out here and yes, he would keep her updated every step of the way, Anne had returned back with sandwiches and tea for the both of them. He hung up the call and pocketed his phone, thanking her graciously. “You really didn’t need to,” Louis insisted.

Anne looked at him as if he’d just spontaneously grown another head. “Well baby, of course I did. You hadn’t eaten and as far as I’m concerned, we’re the ones taking care of you right now. Besides, it wasn’t any trouble at all. I always make extra. Harry’s practically a bottomless pit when it comes to food.” She glanced over at Harry fondly, an amused glint in her eyes. He blushed, his eyes quickly darting from Louis’s face down to the sandwich in his hand.

Louis hadn’t noticed how parched he actually was until he’d taken the tea from Anne, and he guzzled down at least half of it in one go, resisting the urge to spit it back out once he realized that it was sweetened iced tea. Harry must’ve mistaken the twist of Louis’s mouth for a smile, because he smiled back. “Momma makes the best sweet tea,” Harry said with a confident nod, and Anne batted at his arm and adoringly told him to hush up, you. They finished up their lunch quickly, both boys hungrier than they’d realized.

Before leaving, Harry had Louis fill out some mandatory paperwork, writing down his insurance information and all the contact information in case he wasn’t immediately available for pick up. Louis jotted down his mum’s name and number in the blank spot next to emergency contact before filling out whatever else was necessary.

“Thanks for your help. Really,” Louis finally said, shoving his hands deep into the pockets of his joggers, fishing out his phone. “You’ll give me a call when it’s all fixed up then, yeah?”

Harry nodded, wiped his hands off on the bandana he’d shoved back into his back pocket. “‘Course I will. I’ll let you know straight away—”

“Where are you stayin’, honey? Do you have somewhere to go?” Anne butted in as if Harry hadn’t been in the middle of his slowly spoken sentence. Her brow was creased in concern as she gathered up the containers that she’d brought lunch over in.

Louis shrugged, scrolling on the browser page open on his phone, searching nearby hotels. It was slim pickings, to say the least. “Not sure. Probably a hotel? I don’t really know the area, so I figured I’d find whatever was closest.”

Anne scoffed, and shook her head. “Oh no, that won’t do. You’ll stay with us, you hear? We have plenty of spare rooms, and you can make yourself right at home.” Louis started to protest but she wouldn’t hear it. “That way you’ll be right across the field from the shop and can check up on your car whenever you want. You don’t want to have to get a cab all the way from town, it’d take you half an hour. No. You can take Harry’s old room.”

Louis couldn’t hide the shock on his face. He’d never been offered such hospitality so easily, and the friendliness of it all was a drastic difference from the cool indifference his world usually showed him. He tried to shake his head and started with an, “I—” but Anne held her hand up to stop him.

“Harry, grab his suitcase from the car,” she said, which drained any fight that was left in Louis. The tone of her voice left no room for argument. It was final. He’d be staying with them for the time being. He resisted the urge to shudder at the thought of staying in a farmhouse for an extended period of time. Hopefully he’d be out of here sooner rather than later. He couldn’t imagine anything in this town worth sticking around for.

 

“Couldn’t fit it all into one, huh?” Harry mused minutes later, yanking the last of Louis’s luggage out of the trunk.

Louis had the decency to blush, shuffling his feet in the dirt. “I packed for the whole summer.”

Harry laughed loudly. “And they don’t have a washing machine where you’re going?”

Louis rolled his eyes, trudging off ahead of Harry in the direction of Anne’s house, leaving his suitcases behind for Harry to take care of.

It took Louis an embarrassing amount of time to make his way across the field to Anne’s. Harry stayed a few steps behind him the entire time, a silent yet not unsettling presence. By the time they reached the front porch, it looked like Harry hadn’t even broken much of a sweat while carrying all of the luggage Louis had packed along with him. Louis did his best not to stare at the way Harry’s loose shirt had started to cling to his back.

The inside of the Styles home was cozy, and anything but extravagant. It looked like someone was going for the rustic cottage aesthetic, but instead of high quality furniture and decor, it had all been handed down and well used. Louis for some reason found that he didn’t mind. Everything felt loved, and the air smelled like peach cobbler, which Anne informed him she’d just finished baking.

“Your room is right through here,” she said, ushering him through the side hallway into the room that used to be Harry’s. The bedspread was camouflage, and there was a large Georgia Bulldogs banner hung up over the bed that almost took up the entire wall. Besides the offending decorations, the room was spotless. The carpet looked to be freshly cleaned and vacuumed, and there wasn’t a speck of dust in sight. Anne patted Louis on the shoulder with a bright smile. “Make yourself at home, baby. I’ll be in the kitchen if you need me.”

He settled in and washed up, changing into artistically ripped up jeans and a cropped Gucci shirt just to get out of his travel clothes.

“Anything I could help with?” Louis felt obligated to ask as he walked into the kitchen, shoving his hands deep in his pockets.

Anne shook her head, popping the oven open to check on something cooking inside. “Absolutely not. Want some more sweet tea? A beer? You can help yourself to anything in the fridge.”

Louis stayed frozen in place, eyes darting to the fridge and then back to Anne. He felt awkward making himself at home the way Anne wanted to, but she kept insisting that he was their guest and that he was welcome to anything at all. He grabbed a beer just as Harry came in through the garage door. “Grab me one, will ya?” Harry said, walking over to press a kiss to Anne’s cheek. “Hey, momma. What’s for dinner?”

“Fried chicken,” she said, stirring something in a pot on the stove. “Greens, and mac’n cheese. Got some cornbread cookin’ for you too.”

Louis passed Harry a beer, and he promptly twisted off the top and took a sip. “Think I’m meeting the boys up at Mulligan’s later,” Harry said to Anne. Louis took a seat on one of the barstools that lined the other side of the kitchen counter and sipped at his beer silently.

“Harry,” Anne immediately chastised. “Where are your manners?”

Harry looked ashamed, glancing over at Louis apologetically with a smile. “You should come.”

Louis gestured to himself even though it was clear that Harry was talking to him. “You want me to come where?”

“There’s a bar in town my friend owns,” Harry said, drinking some more of the cold beer. “It’s probably not what you’re used to, but it’s a good time. And you should come.”

Louis stared at Harry, then looked over to Anne, who gave him an encouraging nod. “I—” he began, but he couldn’t come up with an excuse not to go. He held back a sigh and smiled a little instead, ignoring the twist in his gut as he tried to imagine the kind of bar that would be in this tiny little town. “Yeah, alright.”

Louis looked at the truck in front of him, and really who was he kidding. He’d have to climb up into the thing. It was tall, jacked up on too big tires and altered to sit higher than the factory model typically would. Though not one single bit of it suited Louis’s taste, he could tell that it was a newer model, released sometime within the last five years. He wouldn’t be surprised if it was one of the nicest things that Harry owned. His eyes settled once more on the tires, which were unnecessarily big, and took bitter notice that the vehicle itself was lifted just to the point where Louis would have to actually pull himself up into the truck. This had to be some kind of sick joke.

Harry rounded the side just at that moment, clearly seeing Louis’s predicament. “Need a boost?” he asked, and before Louis could even answer, Harry’s hands were wrapped almost completely around his waist and he was being lifted easily into the air and helped up into the truck. He sat there, stunned for a second, only registering Harry saying, “Watch your feet,” as he closed the door for him.

The drive into Valdosta was a blur of pastures and green, Louis not really getting a chance to take in the views of the countryside thanks to how fast Harry was flying down the country roads. He expertly swerved around corners, and sped up at the exact moment he could, navigating the roads like he’d be able to do it with his eyes closed. Harry’s posture made it seem like he didn’t have a care in the world, leaning back leisurely in his seat with one hand draped over the truck’s large steering wheel.

Eventually, he started fumbling around with his phone, the truck soon after filled with the familiar opening notes of a song Louis had grown to secretly love since his move to Georgia. A sweet, lilting voice filled the space singing about working nine to five. Louis couldn’t help but to laugh.

Harry immediately reached over to turn down the music just a bit. “Now don’t tell me you have something against my girl Dolly,” he said, his mouth curving in a playful smile, daring Louis to say otherwise.

Louis raised his hands in defeat. “I actually really love this song,” he admitted.

Harry’s smile grew. “Is this your favorite song of hers?”

Louis shook his head. “Obviously I’m partial to Jolene.”

“Well, obviously,” Harry nodded sternly, his expression far too serious for the conversation. Louis couldn’t help the giggle that bubbled up from inside of him as Harry’s lips quirked up into a smile.

The song switched halfway through, quick strumming taking it’s place, and Louis situated himself in his seat to physically prepare himself to belt it out. Harry let out a pleased, shocked laugh when he realized Louis was singing along to every single word.

“Hey, you’re a good singer!” Harry shouted over the words to the song and the beating of the wind coming in through the open windows. Summer sun warmed Louis’s arm when he hung it out the side window, hand grasping fruitlessly at the air as they drove by. Louis just smiled back and continued singing, ignoring the unfamiliar tug in his belly.

 

When they pulled up at the bar, Louis took one look and immediately decided he didn’t want a drink anymore. Actually, he did need another drink after everything that had happened today, but definitely not here. Somewhere far, far, away from here.

The bar, if it could really be called that, was on it’s own little street separate from the main road, the entire strip made up of what looked to be old houses. The one they pulled up in front of was called Mulligan’s and claimed to be a sports grill and Irish pub, though Louis had some extreme doubts of its authenticity considering that they were in the middle of Valdosta, Georgia.

“I’ll grab the door for you,” Harry said after killing the ignition.

“What?” Louis said, unbuckling his seatbelt and watching as Harry hastily made his way over to the passenger side to open the door for Louis.

Harry grinned at him, his height not far off from Louis’s while he was sitting in his lifted truck. “Need help gettin’ down?”

Louis blushed brightly, but his lips turned down at the edges. “I think I can manage,” he said, and he was right for the most part. He made it out of the truck with minimal fumbling.

The entrance to the bar was a a wooden ramp that looked like it’d seen better days. One wrong move would probably result in a foot straight through the painted green wood that looked like it was beginning to rot. Even though it was only seven in the evening, there was already a bouncer outside checking ID’s. He stared at Louis’s ID card so hard he looked like he was going to pop a blood vessel, his eyes repeatedly darting between the card and Louis’s face.

“Liam, he’s with me,” Harry said, walking up behind him. Liam the bouncer seemed to relax, handing Louis back his ID before opening the door for them to go inside. Louis gave him a look before brushing past him, making his way into the bar. The atmosphere was what one would pretty much expect of a dive bar in the middle of South Georgia, and so was the smell. Even though the air was perfumed with stale beer and cigarettes, everyone inside radiated an infectiously happy energy.

Everything looked like it could use a good wiping down, and the people seated around the bar looked like they were regulars, all chatting as if they’d known each other for years. Louis figured they probably had. Dollar bills were stapled all around the bar, which was built into the middle of the house so that it was the first thing anyone encountered the second they walked inside.

Out of everything, the most shocking thing about the establishment was that the man behind the bar counter greeted him with a thick Irish accent. Louis froze in his tracks, and looked at Harry for an explanation. The bartender, Louis, and Harry all exchanged confused glances. Harry was the first to break the silence. “This is Niall,” he said, confused by Louis’s obvious confusion. “The owner.”

Niall smiled warmly at Louis. “Doing okay? Look like you’ve seen a ghost, or summat,” Niall said with a laugh.

Louis laughed. “Just a little shocked you’re actually Irish, is all.”

“Born and bred. Came over here through a Uni exchange program, and never left.”

Louis smiled politely in return, thinking to himself that he couldn’t possibly imagine why anyone would want to stay in a place like this.

 

Pretty soon after they’d opened a tab, the two of them were seated in an uncomfortably stiff wooden booth that was shoved off into the corner of the bar by the dart boards. Harry poured them each a beer from the pitcher they’d ordered, passing a full plastic solo cup to Louis.

“Is there someone else joining us?” Louis asked, beer in hand, gesturing to the third cup Harry had grabbed.

Harry shook his head, reaching in his back pocket and pulling out a can of chewing tobacco. He took a pinch and packed a wad of dip in his bottom lip, grabbing the extra cup. “Spit cup,” Harry explained.

Louis stared and nodded silently. He sipped slowly at his watery beer.

A few of Harry’s friends eventually did come over, asking both the boys to join them for a game of darts. Harry enthusiastically agreed while Louis said he’d be better off on the sidelines.

“Completely useless at it. Would only hold you boys up,” Louis promised. Harry shrugged, turning away, but Louis caught his shoulder before he could walk over to the dartboard. “Where’re the toilets?”

Harry nodded to the far wall. “The bathrooms are right through there. Guys to the left.”

Louis took one look at the doorway. The wood panelling around the entryway to the restrooms was cracked and the paint was peeling. The door itself looked like the second you pushed your hand against it, it would fall off of its hinges. He scoffed, looking back at Harry disbelievingly. “You can’t be serious. I think I’d get hepatitis just looking at the urinal.”

“You can piss outside if you want,” Harry suggested simply, sipping his beer.

Louis glared at him. Harry smiled over the brim of his plastic cup. “I suppose I’ll take my chances in the bathroom, then.”

Hesitantly, Louis made his way inside the restroom. The walls were paneled and painted green much like the rest of the bar. Years of scribbled messages were written all over the door, walls, and stalls, and Louis noticed some people had even gone as far as to carve their words directly into the wood. He walked over to the urinal, which was actually just a galvanized feeding trough that had a drain to the internal plumbing. The door behind him burst open, a tree of a man stumbling into the restroom. He leaned heavily against the doorframe, giving Louis a thorough once-over. Louis was sure that this guy was trying to figure out what a guy that looked like him and was dressed like that was doing in a place like this.

“You some kinda fag or something?” were the first words to come out of the man’s mouth. Louis bristled automatically, his back stiffening as he tucked himself back into his jeans and made his way over to the sink. This was far from his first run-in with someone willing to casually throw around a slur since he moved to the South, but he was always sure to be cautious. Especially when they were twice his size, and belligerently drunk.

Louis looked up in the mirror, meeting the man’s blurry gaze through the reflection. “That’s charming, truly.”

Louis’s words didn’t seem to phase him as he came up behind Louis and bracketed him against the porcelain sink jutting from the wall. “You must be a queer to come in here dressed like that. Looks like you’re asking for it.”

Louis’s fight or flight instincts were kicking in and he resisted the strong urge to stomp down on the man’s foot to try to create some kind of diversion. There were too many ways for that plan to go wrong, and Louis didn’t think yelling for help would go over too well, either. Imagined scenarios of his head smashing against the mirror or the edge of the sink from one overly aggressive word directed at this man plagued Louis’s thoughts, and he did his best to hold in the tears that were now threatening to spill from his eyes. This truly was an armpit of a town.

“Never fucked a guy before,” the stranger grunted out, his words hot against Louis’s throat.

“And at this rate, you never will,” Louis said, turning his head away from the man’s foul breath.

Louis made a small sound in his throat as he felt the man’s lips brush his skin, and he practically jumped out of his skin as the door flew open once again. Liam walked in, his expression confused before one brow arched quizzically. “Everything okay in here?” he asked, and it was clear that the question was directed towards Louis.

Using the distraction of Liam’s entrance to squeeze past the man, Louis nodded hastily, wiping the now sweaty palms of his hands on the front of his jeans. “Great, yeah. Everything’s fine.” His eyes darted to the guy, who was watching him with a predatory gaze. “Nice to meet you,” Louis mumbled quickly as he exited back out into the main bar area.

The brightness of the bar made him realize just how poorly lit the bathrooms really were, and he blinked to readjust his vision to his surroundings. He spotted the booth he’d been in with Harry, but with an unwelcome twist of his gut he realized that the spot he’d occupied was now taken. By a girl.

Figuring it was best to move out of the doorway in case the stranger came out of the bathroom sooner rather than later, he walked over to the bar. Niall looked up from whatever it was he was doing and shot Louis a friendly grin. “Need something?”

Louis nodded, glancing back behind him to look over the beers on tap. Almost all of them were watered down and domestic, so he just picked the one he was most familiar with.

“You okay?” Niall pressed curiously.

Louis nodded again. “Yeah, mate. I’m fine. Just needed this,” he said with a little nod towards his beer. His fingers pressed into the plastic of the cup as he played with the rim of it nervously. Louis could only imagine how frazzled he looked due to the events in the bathroom, and he dared a glance over towards the booth Harry still occupied.

Whoever the girl was that had taken his spot had wasted no time cozying up to Harry. Her hand rested on his thigh, the other twirling her fingers around the stray curls that escaped from beneath his backwards cap. She laughed at something he’d said, leaning closer to him, her breasts pressed flush against his arm. Louis exhaled shakily, unsure of whether or not the sudden pit in his stomach was from anxiety or even worse, jealousy.

“Kacey,” Niall said, by way of explanation.

“Sorry?” Louis asked, his attention turning back to the Irish man behind the bar.

“That’s Kacey,” Niall said with a nod towards the girl in the booth. “She and Harry used to be a thing. Well,” he paused, trying to come up with the most delicate phrasing. “I guess there aren’t many people Harry hasn’t had a thing with at this point. The man couldn’t keep it in his pants if his life depended on it,” Niall laughed fondly, but Louis couldn’t find it in himself to join.

An unwelcome feeling churned in Louis’s stomach, and Niall seemed to notice the tension in his shoulders and the way his jaw was set. “You look like you need a shot,” Niall said, already beginning to mix something up for him.

Louis laughed at that and couldn’t help but agree. “I’d say that I need at least two.”

Niall looked up with bright eyes and a shining smile. “Now that’s more like it, Tommo.”

Whatever Niall had mixed up for him tasted like a mixture of six different liquors with a dash of death, but Louis didn’t question it. He threw each one back like it was water, even though his face would automatically scrunch with displeasure and his spine would shake with the aftertaste. He figured the haziness that accompanied it was worth it.

 

The night sky seemed to settle on a dusty purple, the edges of the horizon tinged in a faint pink which was mostly blocked by tall trees and short buildings. Cotton candy clouds floated by at a leisurely pace, and Louis counted them as they passed over the front deck area he was seated on outside. The street lights were beginning to flicker on in the darkness, lighting the path outside of the bars. His fourth beer was warmer by now, but he didn’t mind. The room temperature beverage reminded him of home, of his actual home. England. Somewhere where the summer nights weren’t quite so humid, and the people weren’t quite so vile. Loud laughter interrupted his train of thought, and suddenly he felt a presence at his back.

He turned around only to be greeted with the sight of the same man from the bathroom. His eyes never strayed from Louis as he sat down on the opposite side of the picnic table that Louis was settled at.

“Why’d you run off?” the man asked, and if Louis hadn’t known better, he’d say the guy looked hurt.

“I—” Louis began, but the words seemed to catch in his throat. “I just—needed some air. I needed some air,” he explained.

The guy grunted in response, nodding shortly. “I’m Tripp,” he said, eyes dropping their unsettling focus from Louis’s eyes to his lips, and then back up again. Louis swallowed.

“That’s nice,” he said. Wasn’t sure what else there was to say, but the last thing he wanted to do right now was give Tripp his name. Louis moved quickly to stand up and go back inside, but Tripp’s hand caught his, yanking him back harshly, causing his hip to slam into the side of the table. Louis shouted at the movement, more out of shock than anything else, but it was apparently loud enough to get the attention of some people inside.

Hands landed on his shoulders from behind him, and he started to struggle from the grasp until he was interrupted by Harry’s familiar drawl. “S’goin’ on out here?” He was hanging halfway out the door, holding onto Louis protectively and his voice didn’t leave any room for hesitation. His eyes were dark, and he looked like he was about ten seconds away from absolutely losing it.

“Having a friendly chat,” Tripp explained with a rotten smile, his grip on Louis’s hand tightening as if to say go along with it. Louis responded by glaring, and trying his best to pull his hand from Tripp’s grip. He failed miserably.

Harry’s gaze flitted back and forth between Louis and Tripp. Though Harry spoke slow and played the part of the sweet Southern boy, it was clear that he was more observant than he let on. “Let go of him,” he said to Tripp, his voice like ice as he stepped out onto the deck.

Tripp pretended to think about it for a second as he stood to his full height. Louis’s eyes widened as he realized he stood a good half a foot or more over Harry’s already tall stature. “I don’t think I will,” Tripp replied, tone equally as cool. His words were dismissive and his hold on Louis was tight. It happened so quickly that Louis almost didn’t see it when Harry’s fist first connected with Tripp’s jaw, but he definitely heard it. The loud crunch that accompanied the assault was more than enough to turn heads.

Tripp was so caught off guard that he let Louis’s hand fall without a second thought, giving Louis the opportunity to scramble backwards out of the way of the two brawling boys. Loud shouts and muffled words filled the air as the two continued to fight, the occasional swing landing in the exact way to throw the other backwards or completely off of their feet. Louis’s hands flew up to cover his mouth in shock as Tripp slammed Harry directly in the nose, a splatter of blood painting Harry’s face as Tripp punched him.

“That’s enough!” Liam said as he and Niall barreled out of the building, pulling Harry and Tripp apart.

Liam fussed with Harry, making sure his nose wasn’t broken and that he could still see out of his bruised eye. “Tripp, get the fuck out,” Niall said, no room for argument. The taller man sulked out, stumbling on his way, and Louis had the feeling that the man would hardly remember the night’s events the next morning. Niall shouted after him, “I’m running your card for your tab and tipping fifty percent!” Tripp shot a thumbs up in Niall’s general direction from the sidewalk.

Incredulously, Louis turned back to Harry. “What the fuck were you thinking?” he asked as he stepped closer, pulling Harry’s hand away from where he was shielding his face. Harry winced, causing Louis to give him a small, “Sorry.”

“He was botherin’ you, right?” Harry asked, hand pressing the paper towel that Liam had fetched for him to his rapidly bleeding nose. Louis nodded, still confused. Harry looked at him like he was crazy. “Well, that ain’t okay. You can’t just go around bein’ a fuckin’ dickhead for no reason,” Harry said, gesturing wildly with his other hand. His Southern accent and lack of grammar usage seemed to have thicken and slacken with each beer he’d pounded inside. Louis tried not to smile at the realization.

“Well, thank you,” he said shyly. He moved closer, helping Harry hold the paper towel firmly against his face. It was wildly unnecessary and wasn’t doing anything at all, but it made Harry smile and Louis feel like he was helping. “How are we getting home?”

“Sterling will drive the truck, and then Liam will take him home from Momma’s,” Harry said, and the explanation was so quick that Louis guessed this wasn’t the first time they’d done this sort of thing. He simply nodded, and clung tight to Harry’s side as they made their way to the truck.

 

Harry’s brother-in-law, Sterling, drove them back out to the property in Quitman. The drive was overall quiet but not unpleasant, the large truck filled with the soft sounds of country music playing on the radio. They pulled into the driveway and he quickly killed the lights, tossing the keys to Harry before giving them a quick farewell. He waved to Louis awkwardly as he jumped in the car with Liam, the both of them driving off in the direction of their homes. Up close, Louis could see that Harry’s trailer was nicer than he’d originally thought. It was white, and looked like it was a refurbished vintage trailer, all rounded edges and smooth surfaces. There was a little built in fire pit in the middle of a table outside surrounded by mismatched lawn chairs, barrels used as planters that held tall sunflowers were placed by the stairs. Everything was lived in and loved. Christmas lights were strung up between the front of the trailer and a large oak, making everything feel warm and welcoming.

Louis helped Harry inside, the two of them greeted happily by Beau’s delighted barking and fervent kisses. Harry did his best to squat to his level to love on him a little, but eventually decided he needed to assess the damage done to his body in the fight. He peeled off his shirt which was now drenched in sweat and blood, tossing it to the side. Louis did his absolute best to remain calm. He looked anywhere but at Harry’s half-dressed figure. Glancing around the space, he noticed the cleanliness of the area, the muted, earthy colors and the subtle patterns scattered throughout. Plants decorated every windowsill, happy and green and glowing. Harry stood shirtless in the midst of it all, looking like some kind of rugged god.

There was clearly tension set in Harry’s shoulders from the way he refused—or was unable—to relax his upper body. A groan of relief was pushed from Harry as he rolled his shoulders back, and Louis shifted in his seat as he watched how the muscles in Harry’s back seemed to come alive under the movement. What the fuck. How was it legal for anyone to have that many back muscles? Louis honestly didn’t even think it was possible, because what work outs could he possibly be doing to even create muscles like that and—

“Louis?” Harry said again, ripping Louis from his thoughts.

Louis blinked. “Yes?”

Harry’s forehead creased in pain. “Can you see if there’s any bruising or cuts on my back? I might need help cleaning ‘em.”

At that, Louis sprung into action. “Yeah, of course.” Harry gestured to where the first aid kit was. Louis gathered it quickly and made his way back over to Harry. “I think we should focus on your front first,” he said, examining the cuts to Harry’s brow and cheek bone. “These could get nasty if not treated soon.” Harry just nodded.

Louis took his time cleaning and dressing each of Harry’s wounds, tending to them each with cautious care, stopping immediately each time Harry so much as flinched. Harry always told to keep going anyway, so he did. The ones on Harry’s hands were the trickiest to bandage since he relied heavily on his hands for work. “I need you to take extra care of these,” Louis said softly as he wove the gauze around Harry’s knuckles.

“Or what?” Harry said with a lilt in his voice, and Louis looked up to see him smiling for the first time since they left Mulligan’s.

Louis smiled back, ignoring the heat that pooled in his stomach. “Or it’ll get infected. Obviously,” he said matter of factly, continuing his work.

Harry hummed, shifting closer. Louis paused, looking up from his hand to see Harry’s eyes directed at his mouth. Harry licked his lips, the plump skin an unfair shade of pink that Louis couldn’t seem to look away from.

“You think so?” Harry teased. Their eyes met as he said, “I think I’ll be alright. Been in a lot worse shape and I still turned out okay.”

Louis rolled his eyes. “Well, don’t go getting into any more fights on my account. I can handle myself just fine.”

Harry chuckled, knocking his knee against Louis’s. “Was just defending your honor, baby. Not going to let people talk to you like that.”

Baby. Louis’s stomach flipped at the word. He promptly ignored it.

“I appreciate it, but,” he emphasized his word by tapping his finger against Harry’s freshly wrapped hand. “This was stupid. And you won’t need to do it again.” Stupid, but hot. Hot as fuck, watching how Harry had immediately punched Tripp without a second thought, just at the mere idea that he was disrespecting Louis, who was a practical stranger. It all felt a bit cliche; the hot, rugged stranger coming to his rescue. Cliche as fuck. But still hot.

He wouldn’t be admitting that out loud to Harry anytime soon.

The South Georgia heat beat down on Louis’s back with a vengeance, and the trek across the field to Harry’s shop felt like eighteen miles, when in reality it was really only about five-hundred yards. By the time he made it there, he was drenched in sweat and gasping for water, which Harry happily provided for him. “Thank you,” Louis croaked. He downed half of it, slamming the half-empty bottle down on the front counter. Harry looked beyond amused at his dramatics, and honestly Louis couldn’t blame him.

“Speaking of thank you’s,” Louis continued, suddenly shy. “I never got the chance to properly thank you for—for defending me yesterday. Last night. So, thank you.” He looked up at Harry beneath his lashes, and was unsurprised to find Harry already smiling at him.

Harry wiped off some grease from his hands with a bandana, careful to avoid his bandages, then shoving the cloth into the back pocket of his jeans. “You’re welcome,” he said with a grin, even though the word came out sounding a bit more like yer. Louis smiled back. Harry’s eyes flickered to Louis’s mouth before continuing, “I’d do it again, if I had to. You shouldn’t be treated like that, ever. By anyone. For any reason. You know?”

Louis nodded a little, understanding what Harry was maybe trying to say. “You mean because I’m gay.”

Harry’s brow furrowed as he nodded. “I wasn’t gonna assume nothing, but you being gay don’t change anything. That doesn’t mean he can touch you like that, or be disrespectful.”

While Louis appreciated what Harry was saying, he had managed to, in true Louis fashion, hyper-focus on one specific part of Harry’s statement. “How’d you know?” Louis prodded. The that I was gay was heavily implied, and Harry shrugged a little.

“I didn’t,” Harry said, looking completely unbothered by the subject. It wasn’t what Louis expected of anyone raised in this area of the country, very aware of the stigma around homosexuality in the South. “I like guys, too,” he blurted out, and Louis raised his brow in sudden shock.

Given what Niall had told him the night before, Louis wasn’t expecting that. When Niall had said that he guessed there weren’t many people Harry hadn’t had a thing with at this point, Louis’s mind had immediately replaced people with girls, unable to fathom anything else. Guilt seeped into his bones as he realized that while he had been so worried about being stereotyped by the people here, that he had managed to stereotype them in return. Louis blew out a tiny little, “Oh,” finding himself suddenly out of breath. The energy between them seemed to have shift at this revelation, and without having realized it, they’d both shuffled their bodies closer together. Almost close enough to touch.

Harry was the first to break, stepping back and clearing his throat. “I just finished up here, about to head over to Mrs. Johnson’s place and fix up her yard and garden.” He unclipped the keys from the carabiner hanging from his belt loop, dangling them for a second before grabbing the key fob and unlocking the doors to his truck. “Wanna come?”

 

And that’s how Louis found himself doing yard work with Harry. Well. Not yard work, exactly. He’d impulsively gone over to Mrs. Johnson’s place with him, not taking into account what accompanying him to work in the yard actually entailed. Once Dottie Johnson and Louis met, he knew he’d found an instant friend, despite the fact that she was at least fifty years his senior.

“Oh, darling boy,” she’d said the second she’d heard his thick English accent. “You’re so far from home. Harry!” she snapped, looking at him judgingly. “You’d make this sweet summer child work with you? Bless your heart, baby, no, you can come right over here and sit with me on the porch while Harry works.” Harry began to object with a laugh, but Dottie would hear nothing of the sort. “You get to workin’, now,” she said with a tiny playful push to Harry’s side. “I’ll have an Arnold Palmer out for you shortly.”

Louis never knew how complicated it apparently was to make the “perfect” Arnold Palmer, but Dottie had it down to a science. She made her lemonade and sweet tea from scratch, which she explained is a key factor. The mixture was absurd, Louis thought, but he smiled and nodded as she explained thoroughly how to portion each bit of each drink. “My secret is that I add a little bit of unsweet tea to it. Now baby, that’s just a dash of it, don’t overdue it. There you go, just like that,” she encouraged as Louis followed her direction. “Harry’s crazy about my peanut butter cookies, so I made a batch of those too,” she said, her aged hand reaching for the tin by the stove. She smiled warmly up at Louis as he offered his arm to her, helping her shuffle back out onto the porch and into her worn, wooden rocking chair.

She sighed happily at the first sip. Louis hummed in agreement. “It’s good isn’t it?” she asked, not waiting for an answer.

“It really is,” Louis replied anyway, genuinely surprised at how much he was enjoying the drink. How much he was enjoying all of this, actually. He grabbed his sunglasses perched on his head and slid them over his eyes as he leaned back.

“This is the best part,” Dottie said, leaning over to him conspiratorially. Louis’s gave her a confused look at first, but the hum of the lawn mower grew louder as Harry rounded the corner of her house, and suddenly Louis knew exactly what she was talking about.

Harry had explained to Louis earlier that he had his own equipment that he’d haul around in the bed of his truck when he was doing yard work. He sat on the riding lawn mower he’d brought over, the machine almost the same color green as the grass he was tending too. It roared as he drove by, and he waved with a smile. Louis almost spit out his drink. The heat was unforgiving, and Harry had managed to rid himself of his t-shirt, having rolled it up and tied it around his head as a makeshift bandana. His sun kissed skin glistened with sweat, the tops of his shoulders and his upper chest just a little pink from overexposure to the sun. Everything about him was big, from his curls, to his eyes, to his smile, to his muscles. Louis was suddenly glad that his eyes were shielded by his designer sunglasses, because he was staring so fucking hard.

Dottie’s giggle interrupted his train of thought just as he was beginning to image how it’d feel to have Harry’s calloused hands gripping his waist as hard as he was gripping the steering column of that lawn mower. “I sure do love when he works in my yard,” she sighed with a smile, taking another sip of her drink.

I am so fucked, Louis wanted to say. Instead he smiled back. “Yeah, definitely,” he managed to croak, embarrassed of his suddenly dry voice, obviously affected by the view of Harry in front of them. Dottie just chuckled, like she was in on a secret Louis didn’t yet know.

 

After a little over week, Louis realized the days were starting to go by faster than he’d anticipated. He’d kept his mum up to date with any news of his parts shipping over from Europe, but other than that, his time is filled with a combination of watching Harry work, laying out by the Styles’ above ground pool, karaoke or darts at Mulligan’s, and Anne’s home cooking. He even accompanied Harry back over to Dottie’s a week later to help plant some flowers she’d bought that weekend. Well, Harry planted the flowers. Louis supervised on the porch with Dottie, to Harry’s delight.

The sun hadn’t slipped through the cracks in the brown curtains in Harry’s childhood bedroom yet, and Louis rolled over in bed, suddenly restless. A soft thump coming from the closet had him jolting up immediately, reaching for the lamp as a weapon. At that moment, the light he was holding flickered on, momentarily blinding him.

“What the fuck,” Louis mumbled, brain still addled with sleep.

He fumbled a little as he placed the lamp back on the bedside table, and his eyes eventually adjusted to see Harry looking smug, finger still on the lightswitch by the door. “Sorry,” he said, sounding anything but apologetic.

Louis scowled, looking at his phone for the time. “It’s five thirty in the morning, Harry,” he said, as if Harry might be unaware.

Harry nodded. “Perfect time for fishin’. Not too hot yet. We’ll have a few hours before it gets unbearable.”

“We?” Louis replied, monotone.

“We,” Harry confirmed with a little smile, pulling a fishing rod from behind his back like a magician. “Came over to make sure my old one was still in the closet. It was.” He presented it to Louis like he’d have any idea what to do with it.

Harry laughed at Louis’s expression, which Louis was sure was an unappealing mixture of bemusement and sleep. “I’ll load a line on her while you get dressed. Meet you at truck?” Harry winked as he left, shutting the door behind him. Louis sat staring at the place Harry had just stood for a few moments before sighing, stretching his body out the best that he could before standing up and getting himself ready for the day.

 

The thing is, when Louis had agreed to go fishing with Harry, he didn’t realize you couldn’t be loud. Or fidgety. And he also didn’t realize they’d be in a rickety old boat that he probably could’ve made himself in a woodshop. “Are you sure this thing will hold us both?” Louis asked for the fifteenth time that hour.

“I’m sure,” Harry replied for the fifteenth time, amusement never leaving his voice. He tossed the rod back, flicking his wrist to cast out the line, slowly reeling it back in. Louis did his best to mimic his form, but ended up with his line tangling and knotting, and the hook somehow lodging itself in his hand.

“This is hopeless,” Louis whined, unable to get comfortable on the stiff wooden plank of the boat.

“Probably because you won’t stop movin’. The ripples are disturbing the fish,” Harry explained, his words slow like he was explaining the situation to a five year old, instead of a twenty-five year old. Louis stared blankly back at him, wholly unimpressed. He managed to stay still for the better part of an hour before he started fidgeting again, causing Harry to groan in frustration.

“You got fuckin’ ants in your pants, or something? Sit still,” he said, his voice lowering just a little bit as Harry reached out, grabbing Louis’s knee. Louis paused. Both of them stared at the hand holding on to Louis’s knee like they didn’t know where to go from here. Harry slowly relaxed his hand, patting Louis’s thigh lightly before returning his grip back to his fishing rod. His attention was suddenly very much on the pond they were floating in, and very much not on the boy seated directly across from him.

Louis jerked away, and Harry thought it might’ve been because of him, or maybe he’d just gotten antsy again. He was seconds away from chastising him, reaching for him, anything, when he realized that Louis was moving in sudden, stunted movements because he’d snagged something on his hook, and it was pulling. “Reel it in!” Harry urged, a proud warmth bubbling in his chest as he watched Louis frantically reign in the line.

Louis let out a loud yelp as the bass burst through the surface of the water, flinging water on the both of them as it thrashed in the air. “I did it! I got one!” Louis yelled, uncaring of the fact that his jostling could easily tip over their boat. Harry found that didn’t care either. He helped Louis unhook the fish, and demonstrated how to properly grip the fish in the mouth, insisting that he got a picture of him with his first catch. Louis beamed happily, allowing Harry to snap a few pictures of him before he screamed as the bass began wiggling in his hold once more.

“Here, let me help,” Harry said through his laughter, helping Louis lower the fish carefully back into the water and let it go. Harry smiled at Louis, thrilled that the morning hadn’t been a complete bust. He nudged his knee against Louis’s, praising him again for how well he handled it. He didn’t even bother to hide the fondness in his voice as he said softly, “You did it.”

 

It had become a bit of a tradition at this point, Louis would say, to go to Mulligan’s. Though it’d only been a couple of weeks, Louis found himself already comfortable there, having made his own friends amongst the regulars, and was greeted by name just as Harry was. Niall welcomed them with more enthusiasm than Louis thought possible, and honestly, the energy was infectious. He smiled back, ordering a pitcher of beer and heading over to the booth he’d now dubbed their regular spot.

“Pour one for me, will ya?” Harry said, smacking Louis playfully on the ass as he walked past him on the way to the bathroom. Louis spun around, mouth open in a shocked smile, a little speechless. Harry just laughed and winked.

“Play darts with me?” Harry asked when he returned, knocking his knee against Louis’s to guarantee his attention. His brows raised a little in expectation.

“Okay Styles, but prepare to lose.” Not to sound cocky or anything, but Louis’s dart game had improved rapidly from all the playing he’d done during his time here.

Harry laughed, amused at Louis’s confidence. “Want to make it interesting?” Harry asked, rolling one of the brightly colored darts between his thumb and index finger.

Louis was intrigued. “How so?”

Harry hummed, mulling it over. “Loser has to take a Four Horsemen.”

Louis’s face scrunched in disgust, a full body shiver wracking his body as he thought back to the shots Niall had made for him on his first night here. “Okay, fine,” he agreed anyway. “And what does the winner get?”

Harry worried his bottom lip between his teeth in thought, his eyes darting down to Louis’s lips, his tongue wetting the reddened skin of his mouth instinctively. He looked back to Louis’s eyes, blue meeting green. The intensity of it had Louis fighting the urge to look away.

“They get whatever they want,” Harry said finally, taking a sip of his beer.

“Okay,” Louis breathed out, chest tight in anticipation. Harry waggled his brows playfully, like he was trying his best to lessen the tension crackling in the air between them. He went over to the dart board, sliding some spare change into the machine before selecting the game for them to play.

A low whistle from across the table shocked Louis out of his thoughts, causing him to jump and bang his leg against the table. “Fuck,” he muttered, rubbing at his knee. He looked over to see Niall sitting in the booth across from him.

“You two were about ten seconds away from fucking in this booth,” Niall said with a huge grin, looking incredulously between Louis and Harry.

“We were not,” Louis mumbled, cheeks flaring red.

“You totally were,” Niall insisted. “Holy shit, are y’all sleeping together?”

“No!” Louis said, and Harry looked back over to the booth, the volume of Louis’s voice grabbing his attention. Louis smiled nervously and then looked back to Niall. “No,” he repeated, softer this time.

“I give it a week,” Niall said, leaning back and smugly crossing his arms over his chest.

“Fuck off,” Louis said with a barely contained smile, flipping him the bird as he got up for his turn at the dart board.

 

They ended up splitting the pitcher with Niall, who drank more than his share, not that either of the other boys truly minded. Louis was just rounding the corner with a fresh pitcher of beer when he froze in his tracks. Kacey was cozied up to Harry in the corner, talking closely with him. Harry had a friendly smile on his face, his mouth moving slowly in unheard words directed towards her. Her hand found his way to his thigh, and he draped his arm casually across the back of the booth behind her. Louis’s stomach tightened, suddenly nauseous. Niall looked over just at that moment, eyes big and sympathetic as he swatted at Harry’s arm, gesturing over to Louis. Harry practically threw Kacey out of the booth as he hurried to get up. Louis had already put the pitcher back down on the bar and had quickly made his way outside.

“Louis, wait!” Harry called after him, but Louis didn’t break stride as he walked off into the night in the direction of Harry’s truck. Harry rounded the passenger side in no time, crowding Louis into the side of the truck. “What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

Louis fought his way out of Harry’s hold. “I’m fine. I want to go home.”

Confusion dotted Harry’s brow. “But we were havin’ a good time?”

Louis laughed, the sound void of humor. “Oh, were we? We looked pretty comfortable in the booth with Kacey.”

“What, are you jealous?” Harry asked, and Louis looked away. He couldn’t do this honestly, it was just all too much. He was never meant to end up here, in this tiny town, having any kind of feelings for this boy. Somehow he’d managed to do both of those things, and the humiliation of it all was catching up to him.

“No,” Louis said, turning his head away and crossing his arms. He refused to look at Harry. Absolutely refused.

Harry pressed his fingers gently under Louis’s chin, turning his head back so that he was looking directly at him. “Louis,” he said, voice soft and sweet. “You don’t have anything to be jealous of. Nothin’. I promise.”

Louis looked down at his feet, the gravel beneath them suddenly fascinating. “I don’t?” he asked, voice equally as soft.

“No,” Harry said with a gentle laugh. It wasn’t teasing at all. He sounded happy, maybe even relieved, and Louis glanced up at that. “I was actually talking to her about you.”

“You were?” Louis pressed.

Harry stepped closer, both his hands pressed against the truck on either side of Louis’s head, bracketing him in. “Yeah, I was.”

Louis looked up at him, and became all too aware of the difference in their size. Harry hovered over him, around him, taking up all the space that Louis didn’t fill. Harry’s hand came to rest on Louis’s cheek, brushing his thumb gently against the soft skin, and Louis leaned into it without thinking. “What about me?” Louis dared to ask.

Harry smiled a little. “About how much I like you,” he admitted between them. “About how lately, you’re all I’ve been thinking about. About how you’re the most frustrating person to fish with, but I wouldn’t want to go with anyone else. About how the blue of the sky matches the blue of your eyes, so that even when you’re not around I still always have a little piece of you with me. About how I see the way you look at me, and wonder if maybe you’ve been feeling the same thing, too.” His voice dropped a little as he said, “About how you stumbled into my life on accident and that I’m afraid of what’s gonna happen when you have to leave.”

Louis’s breath caught in his throat, and he fought the urge to allow his eyes to well up with emotion, instead biting down on his bottom lip and nodding. “I do. I do feel that,” he said, a little choked up by it all. He wasn’t sure he could manage much else, but Harry seemed to have heard enough anyway.

“Can I kiss you?” Harry asked hesitantly, eyes darting between Louis’s, like he was afraid the whispered words would ruin the moment.

“Please,” Louis said, and before he knew it, he was pressing himself up on his toes as Harry leaned down, their lips meeting in what should’ve been a sweet kiss. Their lips parted almost immediately, soft bites and breaths shared between them. Everything felt urgent, all thoughts of sweetness gone from Louis’s mind as their tongues slid together in a clash of heat. Louis’s hands fisted in the front of Harry’s shirt, pulling him impossibly closer, their hips pressing together enough for Louis to feel Harry’s cock as it began to perk up and take interest in the situation.

Harry pulled away, leaning back in quickly for another kiss. Slower this time, giving Louis the sweet little peck he’d initially craved. Louis let out a low whine at the loss, and Harry chuckled, pressing his forehead to Louis’s. “Let’s get you home, baby.”

 

About thirty seconds after they’d pulled up to Harry’s trailer and he’d managed to put the truck in park, Louis’s hands were on him. His chest, his face, his lips, his waist, anything he could reach. Harry did his best to slow him, lacing his fingers through Louis’s to keep his frantic movements at bay until they could get themselves in a better position than Louis craning his body across the console. Their lips moved together like they’d been doing it for years, plush and pink and pushing, Harry’s tongue sliding teasingly across Louis’s lower lip before biting down on it playfully. It earned him a low groan, and then his lips were pressed to Louis’s once more, moving faster and more desperately against each other than before.

Everything was hot. The air around them, Harry’s hands on Louis’s hips, the breath on his throat, and Louis was dizzy with it. His shirt was pulled off and tossed somewhere in the backseat, and then Harry’s hold on his hips tightened and he was suddenly pulled out of the passenger seat and up over into his lap. Harry maneuvered him how he wanted; their hips pressed together with Louis’s knees digging into the seat on either side of his waist. Louis’s back hit the steering wheel and he breathlessly moaned as Harry’s mouth attached to his nipple, his tongue relentless as he teased and sucked. “Fuck,” Louis whined, his voice cracking as his hips bucked into Harry’s in search of friction. A tiny gasp escaped him when Harry seemed to read his mind, beginning to palm at the now obvious tent in his shorts.

“Up,” Harry commanded gently with a tap on Louis’s hip, his mouth moving up to focus on the side of Louis’s throat, leaving blooming bruises in his wake.

Louis lifted up on his knees quickly, frantic to feel Harry’s touch, and promptly slammed his head into the roof of the truck. “Fucking fuck, that fucking hurt, holy shit—”

He heard an unattractive snort come from Harry, and by the time Louis was looking at him, he was shaking with silent laughter. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I’m not laughing at you.”

“You damn well are,” Louis mumbled, rubbing at the spot where he was sure to have a knot on his head in the morning. “Maybe we should move to the backseat.”

Harry raised his brow in surprise. “Still up for it?”

Louis looked down at the space between them, how his cock hadn’t flagged at all even with the pain, and pushed his hips into Harry’s, earning a deep groan from the man beneath him. “Still up for it if you are.”

Harry didn’t even need to answer, already scrambling to get them both safely into the backseat, being sure to move Louis carefully to avoid banging him up any further. They arranged themselves in a position similar to the one they had in the driver’s seat, Louis straddling Harry. Except now they’d managed to rid themselves of the remainder of their clothes.

Harry’s mouth met Louis’s in a bruising kiss, verging on frenzied as he grasped at any part of him he could reach. Louis moaned into the movement, tongue swiping against Harry’s wetly. “You taste so sweet,” Harry murmured into the silence of the truck, and Louis didn’t think it was possible to get any more turned on than he already was. “Been wanting this for so long now. You’re fuckin’ addicting.”

Louis hummed happily at the praise, reaching down to wrap his hand around Harry’s hardening length. He looked down at it, his hand gripping his cock, and marveled at how his fingers couldn’t manage to meet around the impressive girth. “And you’re fucking big,” Louis said, working Harry’s cock the way he’d normally touch his own. It was wrong, too dry and too slow, but Harry was breathing heavily, eyes drooping shut and mouth pulling up at the edges like he’d never felt anything better.

“Want you inside of me,” he said as an afterthought, and Harry groaned at that, heading thunking back against the headrest. Without jostling him too much, Harry reached down to grab his jeans and began fumbling around in his pockets, eventually pulling out a few packets of lube and a long strand of condoms.

Louis made a sound of protest, and Harry didn’t even have the decency to look ashamed. “Bit presumptuous, don’t you think?” he huffed.

Harry smirked, ripping open one of the packets of lube as he buried his face back in Louis’s neck to suck over an already existing mark there. “But I was right, wasn’t I?”

Louis didn’t even have time to pretend to be offended before Harry’s fingers circled his rim, slowly pushing one inside of him. His mouth dropped open in an obscene moan, and Harry looked on in awe as he watched Louis take his finger with practiced ease. He took his time with it. Working Louis open gently, waiting until Louis was fucking himself down on three fingers eagerly, still hungry for more.

Harry almost laughed at Louis’s frown, at the way his brow knit together in a silent objection, when Harry pulled his fingers out of him. “Easy, baby,” Harry said soothingly, his free hand running down the length of Louis’s curved back as his other rolled the condom down over his cock and slicked himself up. “I’ll give you what you want.”

Louis wasted no time. Once he knew Harry was ready, he reached behind him to take Harry’s cock in hand and moved him until the bulbous tip of Harry’s cock was nudging against his hole. His breath caught in his throat as he took in the first few inches, pausing to breathe. Harry’s thumbs rubbed small circles into his hipbones, resisting the urge to push his hips up and sheath himself completely into the tight warmth of Louis’s little body. Whenever Louis seemed to regain his courage, he allowed himself to slide down the rest of the way until his ass was seated firmly against Harry’s hips. They both groaned into the silence, and it didn’t take long until the truck was filled with the sounds of skin meeting skin and Louis’s string of ah, ah, ah’s that Harry’s cock pushed out of him each time he fucked up into him.

Harry’s hands moved from Louis’s hips to his waist, helping him bounce enthusiastically on his cock. “It’s like you were made for this,” Harry couldn’t help but pant out. Louis responded by dipping his head down to suck at Harry’s clavicle, tongue lapping at the sweat that had gathered there. The tight clench of Louis’s body around him had Harry fighting the urge to come right then, but suddenly Louis was slowing. Pressing their hips together and moving languid, with purpose. Louis swiveled his hips at a torturously slow pace, but Harry couldn’t help but to be entranced by the view. Louis’s hazy eyes met his, and Louis bit down on the gentle swell of his own bottom lip as he reached behind himself, fingers spreading around the place where their bodies met to feel them moving together.

“So fucking full,” Louis slurred, his words as slow as his hips as he continued to gently toy with his puckered rim, his fingers bracketing where Harry’s cock pushed inside of him. “So fucking big.”

A high-pitched, desperate little noise was pushed from Louis’s body as Harry shifted beneath him, changing the angle just enough to reach the spot he’d been searching for. “Right there,” Louis moaned as Harry’s hand slid up his body, his long fingers curved around Louis’s throat. Louis bent his head down just enough to suck Harry’s thumb into his mouth, causing Harry to smile.

“You’re something else,” Harry huffed out, mouth dropping open in a silent groan as Louis’s tongue swirled around his thumb. “Definitely made for this.”

Louis hummed in agreement as his hips picked up the pace once more. Now that he’d found the angle he’d needed, he rode Harry with a purpose, seemingly desperate to get them both off as soon as possible without ever touching his own cock. Harry’s orgasm was barreling towards him, warmth spreading throughout every inch of his body as his stomach tightened in warning. His free hand gripped Louis’s waist, repeatedly fucking him down roughly onto his cock, and Louis screamed as his orgasm took him by surprise, shooting streaks of come up Harry’s tensed stomach. At this point, both of Harry’s hands were gripping Louis’s hips, and it only took two more thrusts into his tight body before he felt himself spill into the condom.

Louis groaned softly, body slumping against Harry’s chest. Harry laughed softly, breathlessly, and trailed his fingers up and down Louis’s back as they both came down from their orgasms.

“Not going to be able to walk tomorrow,” Louis muttered, doing his best to sound annoyed. Harry didn’t miss the way it sounded like he said the words through a smile.

Harry laughed again. “We’ll take it easy tomorrow. Lay by the pool, or something.”

Louis mumbled something back that sounded a lot like, If I can even make it that far, and Harry tried not to laugh even harder. They helped clean each other of lube and come, slowly redressing between even slower kisses.

Harry insisted on helping Louis from the truck, which Louis agreed to albeit stubbornly, even when he proved Harry right by standing on shaking legs. Harry resisted the urge to bend Louis over the side of the truck and go for round two, even though every fibre of his being was pushing him to do so. He found himself wanting to be enveloped in him always. Touching him in any way that he could, even a brush of fingers against skin. Unable to help himself, Harry pulled Louis against him before they made it up to the house, kissing him under the starlight. In the night, Louis’s eyes looked deeper than they normally did. An almost navy blue that Harry wanted to dive into and drown in forever.

This close, Harry could see the dusting of freckles across the bridge of Louis’s nose that their days in the sun had created. He kissed each one, eliciting a happy giggle from Louis. Their fingers intertwined as Harry walked Louis up to the front porch of his mom’s house, and they each found it hard to part after their night.

“Don’t want you to go,” Louis admitted softly, looking down at his feet.

Harry’s finger pressed underneath Louis’s chin, gently shifting his gaze until it was directed at him. “I’ll be right over there,” Harry promised, nodding his head in the general direction of his trailer. “Not goin’ anywhere, baby. You’ll see me first thing.” Louis made a sad little sound that Harry quickly kissed away before ushering him inside.

Harry found himself smiling the entire walk back to his home, and everything felt new and bright, like his body was suddenly a livewire, lit up from the inside. Beau greeted him happily, and they both tucked in for the night. Harry crawled into bed with a smile, and he was asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow.

Louis woke up to kisses. Harry had crawled onto the bed with him and was peppering his face with tiny kisses, his fingers prodding at his sides to see if he was ticklish. Louis did his best to squirm away, but eventually gave up, surrendering to the attack. He giggled, swatting Harry’s hands away so that he could drape his arms around Harry’s neck and kiss him properly, morning breath be damned.

“Hi,” Louis said, spreading his legs a little wider to accommodate Harry’s size.

“Hi,” Harry said, smiling and pecking another kiss to Louis’s nose. “Get dressed,” he said with a quick tap to Louis’s hip.

Louis sat up, his eyes darting around the room to follow Harry’s movements as he began digging around in Louis’s suitcase until he found a swimsuit for him. He tossed it over, the bathing suit landing in Louis’s lap. He ran back over before he left, pressing one last kiss to Louis’s lips, unable to resist himself. “See you out there,” Louis promised with a little smile.

It was still early in the day, but the Styles family was already bustling around the house like they’d been awake for hours. Louis preened under the newly found familiarity of it all, moving along with them in the routine they’d created together. Anne greeted him with a kiss on the cheek, then shifted towards him, looking down at the little girl she was balancing on her hip. “This here is Daisy Grace,” she said to Louis, though she was looking at the little girl proudly. “My first and so far only grand baby.” Harry scoffed from across the kitchen at that as he pulled open the fridge, and Anne quickly shot back, “I’m waiting on your slow ass to catch up.”

“I’m taking my time, Momma,” Harry said, pulling out some milk for cereal and winked over at Louis. Louis tried not to let it go to his head.

Daisy Grace snuggled shyly into Anne’s side, peeking out at Louis from beneath her unfairly long eyelashes. Louis hunched down a little so that he was more on her level and smiled with a little wave. “Hi, Daisy Grace. I’m Louis. I really like your pink polka dot bathing suit.”

Anne shifted her up a bit to keep from slipping since she’d gone slack in her hold. “What do you say, Flower?” Anne prompted gently to Daisy Grace.

“Hi,” the little girl responded, managing to turn her head towards Louis just to immediately burrow her face in Anne’s collarbones, giggling shyly.

“We’re working on that,” Anne said with a fond roll of her eyes. “Hey, Daisy Grace, can you tell Louis here how old you are?”

That seemed to be the magic question, because Daisy Grace shot up, looking at Louis excitedly, holding up four fingers. “I’m this many!”

Anne let out a laugh as Harry rounded the counter, helpfully lowering one of his niece’s fingers. “Flower, you’re three. You’re this many,” he explained gently, holding up three fingers to show her what was correct.

She concentrated on her fingers for a beat before looking back at Louis, thrusting her hand in his face again to show him her age. “This many,” she decided, now holding up three fingers.

“Wow, you’re so big,” Louis said, impressed. “I don’t have enough fingers to show you how many I am,” he explained sadly with a shrug. Daisy Grace scrunched her face at that, sticking out her tongue and wiggling wildly in Anne’s hold. Anne took the hint and lowered her to the ground, the little girl promptly running off out the back door to find her parents.

Harry slid the bowl of cereal over to Louis after Anne followed Daisy Grace outside, and poured some of the fresh milk over it for him. Louis thanked him and they munched quietly on their breakfast, Louis helping Harry with the rest of the dishes once they were through. “Should we talk about last night?” Harry asked casually, though Louis could tell from the tense set of his shoulders that this was anything but.

Louis shrugged, scrubbing at one of the plates left in the sink. “Do we need to talk about it?” he asked hesitantly, his stomach twisting.“Wasn’t it…wasn’t it something good?”

Harry’s plate almost slipped from his hand, but he caught it before it fell. “No, no, it was amazing. I just,” his green eyes widened a little in panic, trying to backtrack as quickly as he could. “I wanted to make sure we were on the same page, and all that. I didn’t want to assume this was anything more if it was just a quick fuck for you.”

Louis placed the plates over to dry on the rack, sighing. “It’s more than a quick fuck for me, Harry. You’re more than that.”

“You’re more than that to me too, you know,” Harry said, coming up behind him and wrapping his arms around Louis’s waist to pull him close. “I know this is new. Maybe even too fast for some,” and that had Louis trying to turn around and protest, but Harry stilled him with soft kisses to his temple. “But it’s not too fast for me. You already mean something. This means something,” he said, punctuating his sentence with a gentle squeeze and another kiss.

Louis allowed himself to relax. “Does your mom know?”

“Not yet, but we can tell her if you want. Today, if you’re ready.”

Louis hesitated. “Maybe we can wait a few days? I don’t want to throw that on anyone quite yet. Might be a bit of a shock.”

Harry hummed, smacking Louis’s bum gently before heading into the laundry room, grabbing them both a couple of pool towels. He came back out with a smile, offering one to Louis as he said, “She might not be as shocked as you’d think.”

 

Laying by the pool, as Harry had suggested the night before, had somehow turned into a full blown pool day. Harry was shirtless, working the grill like a pro, flipping burgers for everyone while sipping away at his beer. Louis leaned back in his chair, wiggling happy as the sun peaked out from behind a tiny cloud to bask everyone in her warm rays, enjoying the view. Anne flitted around the pool, doing her best to keep up with her energetic granddaughter while Gemma, Harry’s sister and Daisy Grace’s mother, fanned herself off on the back porch while watching Anne chase her daughter around with a smile. Harry prepared everyone’s plates himself, delivering each one with care.

Daisy Grace shrieked happily, yelling something about not wanting to wear her bathing suit anymore as she ran past them all in a streak of pink and white. Anne chased closely behind, shouting her protests through a fit of laughter.

A large shadow suddenly blocked the sun’s rays from kissing Louis’s skin. He looked up, affronted, only to see Harry towering over where he was splayed out on the unfolded beach chair.

“When’d you get that?” Harry asked while Louis was mid-bite of his burger, nodding down to Louis’s stomach. He didn’t even need to look to see what he was referring to.

“When I was eighteen,” Louis said after swallowing, holding his hand up to his forehead like a visor to further shield his eyes from the glare of the sun behind him.

Harry wasn’t even shy about staring, having pushed his sunglasses up onto his head to get a better look at the tiny, silver, curved ring that was pierced through Louis’s navel. “Must’ve been so dark last night that I didn’t notice,” he said quietly.

Louis hummed. “Maybe. Or maybe you were just a little too distracted to focus on my belly ring.”

Harry’s mouth tightened into a straight line, brow furrowing in thought. His gaze flickered from the piercing up to Louis’s eyes. “Won’t be too distracted next time,” he promised with a small smile before walking back over to the grill to finish cleaning up.

Next time. The promise thrummed underneath Louis’s skin, and he did his best to ignore the fact that just those two words had managed to make his cock perk up in interest.

 

Across the yard, Harry heard his niece shriek with glee, and he turned just in time to see her making grabby hands up at the little plastic container his mom was holding out for her.

Anne knelt down to her level, offering her a small piece of the honeycomb. Daisy Grace took it immediately, taking as big of a bite of it as she could with her tiny mouth, her movements slowing suddenly as it became difficult to chew. She grabbed another piece and darted over to Louis, smacking her sticky hand down against his stomach to grab his attention.

Harry snorted when Louis flailed awake in shock, moving his sunglasses out of the way and gently smiling at the three year old beside him.

“Hey, you,” Louis said, glancing at the waxy substance in Daisy Grace’s hand hesitantly. “What d’you have there?”

Daisy Grace hummed happily as she took another bite, offering the fresh piece to Louis. “Honeycomb,” she tried to say, but the stickiness glazed across her mouth made it come out more like garbled nonsense. Louis smiled. She thrust the remainder of the sticky snack into Louis’s hands, which he reluctantly accepted. Eyeing the waxy cluster, he wavered slightly before taking a bite of his own. Sugary sweet flavor burst across his tastebuds, raw honey coating the inside of his mouth and the top of his tongue, making it difficult to speak.

Mmm!” Daisy Grace exclaimed dramatically, nodding in encouragement as Louis started to chew. Harry did his best not to laugh as he watched Louis resist the urge to spit out the beeswax.

“It’s so good,” Louis assured her with a forced smile, chewing slowly with his face scrunched in displeasure.

Harry decided it was a good time to intervene, making his way over and scooping his niece up from behind, tossing her over his shoulder. She screamed in delight, bursting into a the kind of laughter that only a three year old can muster. He smiled along with her, tickling her ribs as she thrashed, putting her down once she began to beat her tiny fists against his lower back. “Alright, alright,” he soothed, lowering her back to the ground. “Take it easy, little Flower.”

“I’m not little!” She said, stomping her foot.

He looked down at Louis just as he looked up, wiping a bit of honey from the corner of his mouth and sucking it off his finger. Louis smiled up at him, completely unaware of how much his innocent gesture was effecting Harry.

“Of course you’re not,” Harry agreed with Daisy Grace quickly. “Hey, uh, Louis, could I show you something real quick? Inside?”

Louis furrowed his brow in confusion, looking from Harry to Daisy Grace with a shrug. “Sure?” he said as he stood up, brushing off his swim shorts. Harry shifted from foot to foot, trying his best not to reach out and touch when they were surrounded by the entirety of his immediate family.

The second the door was closed and they were inside, Harry crowded Louis against the wall, licking into his mouth, hands touching every exposed inch of skin that he could reach. Louis moaned in surprise, eyes fluttering shut and body turning lax underneath Harry’s touch.

“What was that for?” Louis gasped out, mouth slick with spit and chest flushed from both sun and arousal.

Harry licked his lips. “You taste like honey.”

“That was because I taste like honey?” Louis asked with a little upward quirk of his lips.

Harry laughed, shaking his head. “No. Sorry. Just been staring at you all day and couldn’t wait another second to get my hands on you. Sorry.”

“You don’t need to apologize,” Louis said, hands resting on Harry’s biceps. “It’s nice. Being wanted by you.”

Harry hummed softly, leaning in for another quick kiss before saying, “Want to do something for you tonight. That okay?”

Louis was nodding before he’d even finished asking his question. “Yes. Yes, more than okay.”

A happy smile spread across Harry’s lips. “Meet me at my place at seven?”

Louis nodded again just as the back door swung open, nearly hitting them. “Jesus,” Harry muttered as Daisy Grace darted inside.

“Lou,” she said sternly, glaring up at him. He dropped his hands from Harry’s arms, feeling chastised. By a three year old.

“Yes, Flower?” he replied, crouching down until he was on her level.

“Where did you go?” she asked, suddenly shy, head angled down to her pigeon-toed feet.

Louis smiled, dipping his head down to catch her gaze, making her burst into giggles. “Uncle Harry just needed to ask me something really quick.”

Daisy Grace looked up at Harry with a silly smile. “Did he ask you to make him a princess dress?”

Louis laughed loudly, covering his mouth with his hand, surprised by the question. “No, love, he didn’t. But I have the feeling you’re about to.”

She smiled, nodding. “You make me one instead? Uncle Harry is too big, anyway.”

Hey,” Harry protested in a playfully indignant tone.

Louis turned to look up at him over his shoulder with a snort. “Uncle Harry’s a little big, but anyone can be a princess, Flower. But, sure. I’ll get your mum in here and we can take down your measurements, okay?”

Daisy Grace nodded, brow furrowed in concentration. She yanked open the back door, leaning out of it just a bit, shouting across the yard, “Mommy! Lou take my measurements!” Gemma turned her head quickly to look in the direction of her daughter’s voice, looking as confused as ever.

“Perfect,” Louis muttered as he stood back up. Harry rubbed his hand soothingly up his back, kissing the side of his head as he walked past into the kitchen, laughing softly.

Four hours, one princess dress, two spills of glitter over the carpet, and one thorough shower later, Louis was ready. He looked at himself in the mirror, fussing over his fringe for the millionth time, but for some reason tonight it wasn’t falling as perfectly as it typically did. Anxiety thrummed through his body, and honestly this weirdly felt like a first date. Which — he guessed it kind of was. He and Harry had gone out together plenty of times, but only ever to Mulligan’s where they met up with friends. Never like this, one on one, in a private setting. He wasn’t even sure what the plans were for tonight, but from what Harry said earlier, it sounded like it’d be more intimate than it typically was. He ran his hands down the front of his shirt, unsure if the shark collared black and white tie-up shirt from YSL’s spring collection was fitting enough for the night Harry had planned for them, or if it was too much. Or even worse, if it wasn’t nice enough.

He felt like he was going to throw up.

Louis was greeted with the sight of happy chaos when he walked into the living room, Daisy Grace prancing around in her brand new dress, courtesy of Louis himself. Gemma and Anne hadn’t stopped thanking him since that afternoon, and each time he insisted it was no trouble at all. And, it wasn’t. He’d loved every second of it, and the pure joy on Daisy Grace’s face once he finished was worth every second.

“Goodbye Princess Lou!” Daisy Grace shouted from where she was standing up on the back of a recliner. Anne turned around, scrambling to grab her granddaughter, holding her close and chastising her gently for the dangerous act. Daisy Grace ignored her, waving Louis goodbye with a smile.

Anne finally gave up, turning to Louis. “Have a good night, sweetie,” she said, shooting him a wink. Louis cleared his throat nervously and did his best to match her smile, a fresh wave of nerves washing over him as he said his goodbyes.

Soon enough, he was knocking on Harry’s door. He fidgeted with the knot on the front of his shirt, regretting this fit already. It was too much. Or maybe it wasn’t enough. Oh, God, what if Harry was dressed nicer than he was

The door to the trailer opened.

Harry walked out, cupping Louis’s face in his hands to greet him with a kiss. “Hey,” he said.

“Hey,” Louis said, exhaling a breath he hadn’t even realized he’d been holding in.

Turns out, Harry wasn’t dressed nicer than him, but he still looked good. He traded in his normally worn and faded boot-cut jeans for a newer, nicer pair. He’d even managed to put on a collared button down shirt, tucking it into his jeans. His hair was combed but naturally unruly with waves, a few stray curls falling into his face. The light from his Christmas lights reflected off of the large buckle on his belt, and Louis smiled when he realized the only thing he hadn’t dressed up were his well-loved brown work boots.

“Ready to go?” Harry asked, taking Louis’s hand in his.

Louis nodded. “Where are we going?”

“That’s for me to know,” Harry said, leading him down the porch steps, pausing to pluck one of the bright sunflowers from the potted barrel next to the railing. He held it out to Louis, his dimple popping out as he smiled. “And for you to find out.”

 

They drove ten minutes down the road, Harry insisting that everything they needed was already packed in the back of the truck. It looked like Harry had already been here earlier having placed a large blanket out on the open field for them, draping soft, twinkling battery-powered lights around the area. A little cooler and a picnic basket with what Louis assumed contained their dinner were placed on the corner of the blanket. Harry backed the truck up next to it, throwing it in park before coming around to Louis’s side, insisting on opening the door for him and helping him down.

“Is it okay?” Harry asked hesitantly next to him.

Louis’s could actually feel his heart skip a beat. “It’s perfect,” he said, looking at the area for their little picnic dinner date. And he meant it.

Harry had grilled steaks for them, along with a few sides with the help of his momma, as he told Louis. “I’m not too good with the sides,” he admitted.

After they finished up, they packed everything up, throwing the cooler in the back seat. Louis moved to climb back into the passenger seat when he felt Harry touch his waist. “Night’s not over, yet. There’s a reason I brought you out here.”

“Not to wine and dine me?” Louis asked, genuinely confused, hiccuping on cue. He was far from tipsy, only one glass of red in, but wine always seemed to do that to him.

Harry shook his head with a smile. “There’s no light pollution out here. Not even a street lamp. Figured we could look at the stars? Maybe.”

Louis let go of the door handle, immediately crowding Harry’s space. “You’re so cute.”

“The cutest?” Harry asked, thumbs pressing gently against Louis’s hipbones.

“Oh, without a doubt,” Louis assured, pressing up on his tiptoes to kiss him.

They lost themselves in it for a minute before Harry steered them to the back of the truck. “Climb up,” he encouraged. “Blew up an air mattress and brought some blankets along for us to lay on. Could even spend the night out here if we wanted.”

Louis raised his brows, placing a delicate hand to his chest. “Harry Styles. Are you trying to get in my pants?”

Harry honked out a laugh as he clambered up behind him. “Well, that depends. Is it working?”

Louis dropped the act, breaking into a big smile as he reached out to fist his hands in the material of Harry’s shirt, pulling him close. “You have no idea.”

Before either of them knew it, they’d each managed to strip each other of their clothes, stars be damned. They were both sprawled out, fully bare on the air mattress in the bed of Harry’s truck, sharing languid kisses. It was all great, it was all good, as it always seemed to be with Harry, but the thing was, Louis really wanted to get off. Like, right now. And Harry was taking his sweet time with it, kissing him like he could do this for hours. He probably could if Louis didn’t stop him.

“Could we hurry this up?” Louis said, a tinge of annoyance lacing his words. He squirmed as Harry kissed at his neck, and tried to reach for his own throbbing cock, but Harry slapped his hand away.

“Want to take my time with you,” Harry explained, nipping playfully at his collarbone. “That okay?”

Louis scoffed, blood-filled cock verging on painful at this point. “No.”

“Mm, are we fuckin’ or fightin’, baby?” Harry asked gently against the sweat slick skin of Louis’s stomach. He mouthed around his belly button, toying with the belly ring there for a moment before sucking a mark just adjacent. “I think I prefer fuckin’, at the moment. What d’you say?” He said it so casually, so conversationally, that Louis couldn’t help but let out a desperate little sound at it, the fight leaving his body. Harry grinned into his skin as he look ahold of Louis’s cock, pumping it twice before letting it slap against his stomach.

Without warning, he slid his hands underneath Louis’s legs and grabbed ahold of the backs of his thighs, pushing his knees up until they were touching his stomach, practically folding him in half. “Been missing this,” he murmured, his thumb circling slowly around the tight ring of Louis’s hole. By this point, Louis was already writhing around, his chest and neck flushed prettily with arousal. Harry couldn’t help himself as he dipped down to kiss Louis, his tongue sliding against his, his teeth sinking into the soft skin of his bottom lip. He hummed to himself as he sat back and got a good look at the boy beneath him. Louis’s lips were bitten pink, parted in small little gasps as Harry continued to tease him, gently applying pressure to his hole every so often. Pressing Louis’s knees back to his chest, he made quick eye contact with Louis before looking back down at his hole, spitting on it, his thumb quickly pushing the natural lubricant inside. Louis moaned at that, finding relief in Harry finally sliding something inside of him.

“It’s been like, a day,” Louis muttered stubbornly, though he internally preened at the fact that Harry had missed him in any way, but especially like this. It helped to know that he wasn’t the only one so affected by whatever this was between them, that he wasn’t the only one that felt touch starved as he went so much as a minute without Harry’s hands on some part of his body. He squirmed as Harry hooked his thumb in his hole, tugging just enough to cause a pleasurable burn to his rim.

It didn’t take long for him to want more, need more, because it had been what felt like hours and Harry’s cock still wasn’t inside of him. The sharp snick of the travel sized bottle of lube brought him out of his haze as Harry slicked up his fingers and drizzled a bit more over Louis’s hole for good measure. Louis gasped at the sudden assault of cold lube dripping over his exposed hole, but the gasp turned to a moan very quickly as Harry worked the first finger inside. Harry had scooted down the length of the mattress, settling so that he could work his finger inside of Louis at a languid pace, like he had all night to do it. He mouthed lazily at the inside of Louis’s thighs, kissing there and scattering marks along the tanned skin of Louis’s legs as he pushed another finger into his body.

Harry’s mouth moved back to the crease of his thigh, sucking a deep bruise into the skin, causing Louis to hiss and squirm away. “Fuck, Harry, get on with it,” he demanded, his words meaning to come out harsh but instead sounding more like a whine.

“So fucking desperate for it, aren’t you?” Harry mused, gently removing his fingers from Louis’s hole, gripping his full hips and flipping him over on his stomach before Louis could even say a word in response. Still holding him by the hips, he lifted Louis until his knees hit the mattress, his ass positioned in the air, his shoulders pressed to the sheets. Harry groaned at the sight. Louis’s hole was wet with lube and his own spit, the puckered rim flushed a slightly darker shade than it had been when he began playing with him. “So beautiful,” he admired as he pulled his cheeks apart to spit on his hole once more, bringing his hand down harshly to slap at the meaty flesh of Louis’s ass. Louis moaned just as prettily as he’d expected him too, and Harry felt the vocal reaction rush straight to his cock.

Without warning, he shoved two of his fingers back inside of Louis, pushing a loud moan from him. He arched into it, pushing his hips back to meet the curling thrusts of Harry’s fingers inside of him. “Want you so bad,” Louis admitted, never slowing the movement of his hips, fucking himself back onto Harry’s fingers. “Need you.”

“I know, baby,” Harry soothed, free hand running gently down the expanse of Louis’s curves. “Gonna give you what you want.” He bent down, and Louis stilled as he felt Harry’s warm breath blow against his worked open hole. “Eventually,” Harry admitted before flicking his tongue against Louis’s rim.

A broken sob ripped from Louis’s chest, his arms folded in front of him, face buried into the blow up mattress as his sounds echoed into the open night air. Harry chuckled softly before latching his mouth over Louis’s hole, fingers beginning to work their way inside of him while his tongue laved over the pink, ridged skin. “Fuck,” Louis whined, his words watery as overwhelmed tears brimmed his eyes. He was unsure of how much time had passed with Harry teasing him, sucking on him, pushing his tongue into him. Just the thought of the warm wetness of Harry’s lips and tongue against his most delicate area was enough to push him to the edge of orgasm, and he felt it twist tighter in his stomach, tingling underneath his skin. “Harry, please, I’m so close, oh my god—” he begged, just as Harry pulled his fingers out of him.

Louis felt like he could scream. He was suddenly empty, hole clenching helplessly around nothing while he was practically gagging for it and it wasn’t fair. Faintly, he heard the ripping of a condom wrapper and he pushed his hips back blindly, searching for some kind of friction, anything to fill him up, when he felt the rounded tip of Harry’s cock nudge against his hole. He whined.

Harry draped himself over Louis’s back, sucking gently into the skin just below his ear. “You’re not coming until I’m inside of you,” he said just as he pushed the first few inches inside.

Louis’s eyes rolled back as Harry sheathed himself completely inside of him, pausing a moment to give him a second to adjust. Louis didn’t want it, instead reaching back to grab onto Harry’s hip and urge him to thrust forward.

Harry obliged easily, hands settling on Louis’s waist as he quickly set a pace, thrusts unforgiving and rough, just the way Louis wanted it. A symphony of desperate whines and low moans spilled into the night from their lips as Harry’s cock brushed repeatedly over Louis’s prostate with each plunge of his cock. It wasn’t long before Louis’s body began to shake, hole clenching like a vice around Harry’s cock as his own cock spilled beneath his body.

Harry’s hips slowed, working him through his orgasm with each slow pump of his cock. Though the relief was sweet, it wasn’t long lasting, his hole starting to feel sore with overuse as his cock already began to fatten up again. Teetering just on the edge of too painful with Harry working his big cock in and out of him, hands gripping his waist and surely leaving bruises behind, Louis found himself feeling better than he ever had before.

“Wanna see you,” Louis mumbled into the crook of his arm as he came back to himself, already half out of his mind with the need to come again.

“Yeah, baby,” Harry agreed, pulling out gently and helping Louis flip onto his back. Louis reached down, pulling his knees up to his chest and spreading his legs, groaning desperately as Harry pushed back inside in one swift movement. Harry stilled, pressing his forehead against Louis’s, kissing at his nose, his cheeks, over his closed eye lids. Anywhere his lips could touch, he kissed, as he began to fuck back into his boy. Once their lips met, Harry groaned into it, tongue slipping against Louis’s, teeth biting against skin. “You feel so fucking good. Always feel so fucking good for me,” Harry said between kisses, thrusting deep at this angle.

Louis squirmed a little, the position he was holding beginning to settle a sweet burn into the muscles of his thighs. He released his legs, wrapping them around Harry, his hand settling on his lower stomach at one particularly deep thrust. “I can feel you,” he gasps out, biting down on his lower lip as his fingers run over the tiny bulge in his abdomen from the tip of Harry’s cock slamming inside of him. “Here. I can feel you in my stomach.”

Fuck,” Harry groans out, stilling inside of him, swiveling his hips just a bit. Just enough to nudge over Louis’s sensitive prostate and settle there, the constant pressure making his eyes flutter shut. “Never going to get enough of you,” Harry breathed into Louis’s mouth.

Louis tensed at that, eyes squeezing shut and mouth dropping open as he came untouched for the second time, shooting streaks of pearly come up his taut belly. It wasn’t long after that Harry followed suit, pushing in as deep as he possibly could with a loud moan, spilling into the condom.

They collapsed next to each other, chests still heaving. Harry was the first to move, reaching over for some wipes he brought along to clean Louis and himself up before settling back into the surprisingly comfortable mattress. Louis didn’t even have the chance to complain about the sudden rush of cool breeze before Harry was reaching down for the plush comforter he’d brought along, pulling it up over their bodies.

“Why’d we drive so far out?” Louis asked out of curiosity, still mostly out of breath.

“Didn’t want my mom to overhear you getting finger blasted in the backyard,” Harry said, not skipping a beat. He rolled onto his side, draping a hand over Louis’s waist and tugging him closer, kissing him gently.

Louis snorted. “Please never say ‘finger blasted’ again.”

“Finger blasted,” Harry said with a sleepy smile, eyes already shut. “You’re pretty loud, you know.”

Louis make a small sound of protest, shoving his hand against Harry’s shoulder. “Hey. I’ve never heard you complaining about it.”

Harry hummed softly, pulling Louis impossibly close. They were practically breathing each other’s air, and it gave Louis the opportunity to lean in and kiss Harry, biting playfully at his lower lip. Harry grunted with a smile. “Would never dream to complain about you, Lou. You’re a dream. Tiny little dream.”

“I’m not tiny.”

“You are,” Harry said, fingers tracing indistinguishable words and symbols into his back. “Tiny and mine. Just wanted to do something nice for my tiny guy. Figured dinner and sleeping under the stars sounded romantic, don’t you think?”

“Romantic,” Louis repeated with a warm laugh, fingertip outlining the irresistible shape of Harry’s lips. “It is, actually,” he admitted softly, and it was true. Everything about that night, from the dinner Harry had prepared from scratch; the “expensive” bottle of wine he splurged on, (“Anything over twelve dollars for a bottle of wine is expensive, Lou. It ain’t even worth it, it all tastes the same;”) the atmosphere of the empty field; the blown up mattress that was taking up the bed of his truck, and the dimly lit lantern Harry had brought to light their way; the carefully packed snacks he’d prepared for them for when they’d get hungry; the extra blankets he brought because he knew that even though it was almost summer, Louis would get cold when the temperature would drop slightly at night. All of it, wrapped together, created the perfect romantic evening.

Louis kissed Harry’s nose. He couldn’t help it. Harry kissed his back. A familiar feeling of euphoria and dread swirled in his stomach, and he knew that everything after this wouldn’t be the same. He knew that he was falling, quick and hard, for Harry. He knew that there would be a time when he would have to leave, and that he wouldn’t come out of this unscathed. But for now, he pushed those thoughts to the side. Instead, he snuggled closer into Harry, fingers brushing over the dusting of hair smattered in the center of his broad chest, closing his eyes and drifting off to the deep and steady sounds of Harry’s breathing.

Without having realized it, Louis had fallen into a comfortable routine. Over the past couple of weeks, he’d found himself sleeping over at Harry’s trailer more than in the Styles’ home, but no one seemed to have minded. Anne maneuvered around him in the kitchen, working on the lunch he was told to take over to Harry’s shop. She worked quietly, humming along softly to the music playing over the radio.

“Here you are,” she said, handing him over a couple of tupperware containers. “Tell him to heat the chicken up for two minutes, okay? Flip it over after one. Don’t forget that part.”

“I won’t,” he assured her with a nod, holding the containers with two hands just to be safe. He grabbed the tervis tumbler of sweet tea she’d made for him, taking a sip before tucking it into the crook of his arm. We wouldn’t admit it out loud, but his time living in the Styles household had made him partial to sweet, iced tea. It was now a secret shame of his, considering it ethically and morally went against everything he stood for as a Brit. Tea should never be iced.

Unless it’s a jug of Lipton tea, sweetened with enough sugar to kill a grown man. Then Louis supposed, it was okay.

Just as he was making his way to the garage door, he heard from behind him, “You’ve been sleeping over at Harry’s a lot lately.”

He froze, turning around slowly to see a smug Anne with her hip propped against the side of the fridge. Her arms were crossed across her chest, and she seemed to be fighting off a smile.

Louis simply shrugged, though he was positive his face gave him away. “Yeah, the, uh. Uh.” Normally he was so good at this, at finessing an answer on the spot, but he was currently braindead. Nothing was coming to him. He was currently what? Fucking her son? Yes. Could he say that to her? No.

“Good for you,” she said, allowing herself to full on smile. “It’s about time you two figured all that out. Was almost embarrassing watching you two flirt constantly and do nothing about it.”

Oh, God. This was hell. Louis had somehow died and gone to hell, he was sure of it. He fish mouthed for a second, no words or thoughts coming to him. Anne laughed, waving him off. “I’m happy for you two. Now go take that boy his food, I’m sure he’s starving.”

Louis got it together enough to stammer out a thank you before quickly turning and leaving.

 

He didn’t even bother knocking on Harry’s trailer door before entering.

“Harry, I brought you over some—oh.” Louis’s voice died in his throat as he took in the scene before him. Harry was sprawled out on his mattress, completely naked save for his socks.

Louis’s eyes were immediately drawn to his slightly curved cock in his hand, stiff, thick, and long. Harry lazily turned his head towards Louis, his lips bitten red and his eyes heavy with arousal. His hand moved lazily along his cock, jerking himself slowly as a drool of pre-come dripped from the tip down onto his tensed stomach.

“Am I interrupting something?” Louis asked casually, though his voice was pitched a bit higher than he’d anticipated. A sudden pool of heat swirled in his stomach as he continued to watch Harry touch himself.

Harry hummed. “Not at all. Came at a great time, I reckon,” he said, his words dipped sinfully in honey. His eyes flickered away, focusing back on his cock as he continued to move his hand slowly along his shaft. “You can help if you want.”

“Yeah,” Louis breathed, already moving to slam the door shut and lock it behind him, placing the food as quickly as he could in the fridge, already removing his shirt and throwing it off to the side haphazardly as if it didn’t cost more than this trailer had initially. Louis faltered for just a moment, watching Harry through the stand mirror propped up against the wall near his bed. A rush of heat pooled low in his gut as he watched Harry and his reflection both tease the tip of their cocks, eyes on Louis the entire time. Louis’s fingertips tingled as he undid his jeans as quickly as humanly possible. Actually, every inch of Louis tingled in anticipation as he continued to watch Harry through the mirror, eyes returning to the real Harry splayed out on the bed as he hurried over and plopped down on the mattress next to him, finally free of all his clothes.

“Do you do this during your lunch breaks often?” Louis asked, swatting Harry’s hand away and replacing it with his own. The glide was already slick with lube, helping Louis to easily corkscrew his hand along the impressive length.

Harry groaned lowly, tipping his head back as his abs twitched. “Fuck baby, you know how to work with your hands.”

Louis paused his movements, ever petulant. “Answer me.”

Harry blinked, dazed. He licked at his lips, his eyes unable to settle as they darted frantically between Louis’s frozen hand wrapped around his throbbing cock, Louis’s pink lips, and his blue eyes. Harry punched his hips up a little bit, urging Louis to continue. “Whenever it’s been a long mornin’, yeah.”

Louis began to move his hand once more, slower than he had been before. Harry’s brow scrunched, his stomach tensing tighter as Louis’s small hand began to focus on playing with the swollen head of his cock. Louis bit his own lip as his hand worked languidly up and down Harry’s length, swollen, pink, and wet. The sight was too tempting to resist.

Bending down, propping himself up on his elbows with his ass stuck up in the air, he kitten licked the tip. From the broken noise that Harry made, Louis thought that Harry was close to coming on the spot. Harry began breathing deeply, evenly, trying to regain his composure as Louis parted his lips and took the crown of his cock into his mouth, tonguing at the tip.

“Lou, your fuckin’ mouth,” Harry groaned, his hips pushing his cock a little further in. Louis hummed around his cock and began using his hands to work along what he couldn’t take in. His pace picked up quickly, going from long, teasing strokes of his tongue, sucking tightly with his mouth, to soon having his face fucked roughly. His throat was already raw with use, and he knew he’d have a hard time talking tomorrow, but seeing Harry like this, so vulnerable and out of control, was beyond worth it.

Harry’s hand fisted his hair, yanking his head up suddenly. Louis knew what that meant, and he jerked Harry’s cock hungrily, opening his mouth as he looked up at Harry through his lashes. “Shit, baby,” Harry moaned, throwing his head back as he finally came, spurting long strands of come across Louis’s lashes, face, and tongue.

Louis hummed happily, licking some of the come from the corner of his mouth. “You taste good,” he mused, running a finger through one of the streaks painting his cheek, popping the finger in his mouth and sucking. Harry looked like he was about to break.

“My turn,” Harry said, grabbing Louis by the hips and flipping him over. Louis couldn’t even ask what he meant before Harry’s tongue was pressing urgently against his hole, breaching it just a little before his lips closed around it and he sucked.

“Oh my fucking god,” Louis panted into the threadbare sheets, his already hard cock red and weeping onto the bed beneath him as Harry worked him open with his tongue. He wasn’t sure how much time passed before Harry finally slid a lubed finger inside of him, but it felt like a thousand years. The fill of Harry’s finger was enough to ease the ache inside of him, but he craved the stretch of Harry’s cock, desperate to feel the weight inside of him.

Harry licked around his hole as he quirked his finger to brush against his prostate, then shoving another finger inside of him, the sudden stretch just on the right side of too much.

“We need a condom?” Harry asked, his fingers still moving in and out of Louis and it was hard to think.

Harry crooked his fingers up at that exact moment, and Louis’s thoughts whited out for a second. “What?” he asked, somewhat dazed.

“You clean?” Harry asked, adding another finger before pushing them in deeper, beginning to scissor them and really open Louis up.

The dizzying heat of arousal had Louis nodding without thought, mumbling a little yeah into the faded sheets him. Harry hummed in approval, pulling his fingers out of Louis. Just the thought of Harry fucking him bare and being able to come inside him had Louis giddy as fuck. Before Louis could turn around to see what he was doing, the thick push of Harry’s cock breaching his hole had Louis’s body tensing. “Relax, baby, I got you,” Harry said softly, his fingers rubbing soothing circles into his hips, just as he’s done before. Somewhere between soft kisses pressed into his spine, and mumbled words spoken into his feathery soft hair, Louis felt his muscles slacken. He quickly became pliant under Harry’s touch, letting him move him exactly how he wanted. A large hand pressed into his upper back, pushing him down so that his chest was flat against the mattress, ass presented prettily in the air as Harry pounded his thick cock into him.

Fuck,” Louis moaned loudly the first time Harry spanked him. It stung more than he expected, and he turned around just enough to see Harry do it again. He noticed that at some point Harry must’ve turned the initial rings he always wore around to face his palm. Louis moaned again as he realized Harry was spanking him hard enough to leave imprints of his own initials in the plush skin of Louis’s ass. He imagined seeing the bruised indentation of HS in the skin of his ass the next day, moaning loudly as a dribble of precome dripped from the tip of his cock at the thought. The heavy sac of Harry’s balls slapped loudly against Louis’s pink bum with each thrust, and Louis let out another muffled moan as Harry’s ringed hand smacked his freshly bruised ass in the exact same place he had before.

Louis was on the verge of tears when Harry reached down to wrap his hand around Louis’s throat. He pulled him up like that, using only the grip around the front of his neck as leverage to maneuver Louis until his back was pressed firmly against Harry’s chest. Louis’s head lolled back, submitting completely to the overwhelming push and pull of Harry’s heavy length inside of him. Harry’s hips didn’t slow at all, hammering his cock into Louis’s hole relentlessly. “Harry,” Louis breathed out softly, and Harry’s hold around his throat tightened infinitesimally.

“Yeah, baby? You like that?” Harry rasped, his lips sucking bruises into Louis’s throat. “Like the way I fuck you?”

Louis couldn’t do anything but whine and nod, panting out sharp breaths and tiny moans with each brutal, slick thrust. His entire body spasmed as he spurted helplessly, come shooting out over his tummy and dripping down the sides of his spent cock.

Before he could even process what was happening, Louis suddenly found himself in the air, being moved around like a rag doll. Harry gave him no time to recover from his orgasm and scooped him up from behind like he weighed nothing, eliciting a tiny yelp from Louis. His hands looped behind Louis’s thighs, suspending him and spreading him out. He muttered a quiet, “Fuck,” into the back of Louis’s neck as he transferred both of his legs to drape over one arm. With his free hand, Harry guided his cock beneath him, sliding back inside of Louis with one swift motion. Louis didn’t even have time to think about the fact that Harry was holding his entire body weight up with one arm as he was quickly spread back open, each of his legs draped over each of Harry’s arms once again. The sight reflected back infront of him in the standing mirror propped up by the bed was enough to take his breath away, watching Harry’s bare, slicked up cock disappear with ease inside of him repeatedly. Harry’s hot breath fanned across his neck as he panted against him, letting out the occasional grunt as his thrusts sped up.

“Fuck. Fuck, Louis,” Harry groaned loudly as Louis clenched helplessly around him. Louis was at his complete mercy to the relentless pounding, the curve of Harry’s cock guaranteeing that his exceptional length brushed over Louis’s prostate with each stroke. He looked back at himself in the mirror, and it was like something out of a movie. He was resting his head back on Harry’s shoulder, mouth dropped open, soft moans and breathy words spilling from his lips as Harry moved him up and down on his cock. His back was pressed firmly to Harry’s chest, and Harry looked like he was holding him close, as if he were something precious, but the rigorous fucking he was receiving proved that Harry was working his hardest to fuck his second orgasm out of him as quickly as he could. He was really good at doing that. So, so good.

As quickly as he’d been picked up, Harry pulled out of him and dropped him back onto the bed, yanking him back to the edge of the mattress, making sure his back was arched and his ass was high. Harry moved him around easily, positioning him exactly how he wanted him before sliding back inside. Louis gripped the sheets for dear life as Harry fucked into him, his hands gripping his hips hard enough to leave fingertip sized bruises along Louis’s sides.

He pulled his body back to meet each thrust, and Louis’s vision went white as he came again, practically screaming into the sheets as Harry fucked his orgasm out of him. He followed close behind, a deep, satisfied groan rumbling from his chest as he came inside of Louis.

“Fucking hell, baby.” Harry said with a gentle slap to Louis’s ass, laying down beside him. “Never met someone that can take dick like you,” Harry huffed out a laugh, rolling over on top of Louis to kiss him.

“Thank you, I think?” Louis quipped, spreading his legs instinctively, and he almost thought they were going to go again when Harry pulled back, pressing a little kiss to his nose as he sat up to grab his t-shirt that had been draped unceremoniously over the back of a chair.

“Need to get back to work,” Harry explained as he got dressed. “Want to come with for a bit? We can eat lunch together.”

“Yeah,” Louis said with a nod as he redressed himself. He crawled over to straddle Harry’s lap, unwilling to let him go just yet.

“Baby,” Harry warned lowly just as Louis shifted his hips forward, brushing their clothed cocks together.

“Yes?” Louis asked innocently, arms draped over Harry’s shoulders, fingers tangled in the stray curls around the nape of his neck.

Harry’s hands brushed up and down Louis’s hips before settling on his waist, lifting him up and plopping him down on the bed. He reached over him, grabbing his baseball cap, putting it on backwards as he stood up and made his way to the door. “Need to get back to work, little one,” he said with a wink, nodding towards the door. “Still coming?”

“Yes,” Louis said with a roll of his eyes. Harry just smiled, dimple out full force. It was an unfair advantage, truly.

Even though he’d acted annoyed by it, his heart fluttered as Harry took his hand and walked side by side with him over to the repair shop. Once they made it to the garage and sat down for lunch, Louis let his eyes wander around the space during a break in conversation. There had been a couple new cars brought in that week, he knew because Harry told him, and it got him thinking.

“How’s my car coming along?” he asked Harry, and it felt weird. He’d almost forgotten the entire reason that he was here in the first place. To get his car fixed. To get it repaired as quickly as possible and then make his way down to Florida to see his family for his summer vacation. That was literally the point of all of this and he’d managed to let that slip his mind over the past few weeks. Getting lost in all of this, in Southern Georgia, in peach cobbler, in princess dresses, and lazy days by the pond. He’d managed to get lost in Harry, and he wasn’t sure how he felt about it.

Harry choked on his bite of food, sputtering a bit before getting it together. “It’s good,” he croaked out, reaching for the bottle of water they were sharing. He swallowed down a large sip, clearing his throat. “It’s good,” he repeated, flashing Louis a tight smile. Something about it didn’t sit right with him, but he didn’t push, instead continuing to finish up their lunch.

“Want to stick around a bit? Shouldn’t take me long to finish with this Honda. Then maybe we can go for a swim?” Harry said, wrapping his long arms around Louis’s middle and pressing a sweet kiss to his temple.

Louis hummed, shifting back against into his hold. “Sounds great, love. I’ll be in your office? Air conditioning’s better in there.”

Harry chuckled, slapping gently at his ass before he could walk away.

 

Harry’s office wasn’t anything special. A wooden desk, rolling chair, and old upholstered arm chairs placed in front were pretty much the only things in here that looks semi-professional. The signed University of Georgia football banner framed on the wall made it hard to forget that this was Harry’s space. Louis settled in the cracked leather of the rolling chair behind the desk, situating himself until he was comfortable. He considered trying to fuck around on the computer, but instead chose to peak in some of the drawers of the desk. In the very bottom most drawer, Louis laughed when he saw that there was a half-full bottle of whiskey in there, along with a few clean shot glasses. Honestly, he hadn’t expected any less.

It wasn’t until he made his way to the top left that he paused. The drawer was locked, but it was pretty easy to find the key hidden under the desktop’s keyboard. Opening it was…underwhelming, to say the least. It was just a but of manila folders, labeled and filed in order of use. One of the many tabs read In Progress, while another read Completed. Louis grabbed that one, curiosity getting the best of him.

The folder fell open in front of him, and he froze. His name was there at the top, printed in Harry’s block handwriting. He scanned the paperwork quickly, and there, stamped right at the end in big, bold, red letters it said: COMPLETED.

His hands shook a little as he closed the file and slid it back in its place, locking the drawer behind him. Mind racing a million miles a minute, he tried his best to rationally piece together this new information. The work on his car was completed, and according to that paperwork, the part needed to fix his G-series had been installed weeks ago. Harry never even bothered to mention it had arrived. Louis had missed weeks, precious weeks, of spending time with his family whom he only ever sees for a month or two out of the year, all because Harry was too selfish to let him know that his car had been finished. Maybe he was being dramatic, but it felt a lot like betrayal. It felt a lot like a lie.

Louis’s demeanor was alarmingly calm as he walked from the office into the main work area of the garage. The loud rock’n roll music Harry had blasting through the speaker system was enough to drown out his thoughts, but not enough to drown his rage. He slammed his hand against the stereo, effectively silencing the deafening music.

“What the hell, baby?” Harry said, head banging against the hood of the car he was working on as he stood quickly to figure out the reason for the sudden silence.

Louis clenched his fists by his sides. “Don’t call me baby. And give me the keys to my fucking car.”

Harry wiped the back of his hand across his forehead, further smudging some of the car grease that was blotched across his skin. “What?”

Louis felt a bubble of panic rising rapidly in his chest and it was all he could do not to laugh in frustration. “I said, give me the keys to my fucking car—”

“How did you find out?” Harry cut him off, shoving the bandana in his back pocket, looking defeated. Ashamed. Embarrassed. Louis didn’t care.

“Fine,” Louis said, realizing Harry wasn’t going to just let them go that easily. “I’ll find them myself.”

“Louis, wait!” Harry called after him as Louis spun around, throwing doors to storage closets and drawers of work spaces open until he found where Harry stored the keys of the cars currently in shop. He recognized his immediately, grabbing them and making his way over to where his car was parked.

“Louis, please, just let me explain—”

“Don’t,” Louis said, and his words sounded cold and distant even to himself. “Don’t explain anything. Don’t speak at all. I don’t want to hear it.” He started the car, not even bothering to glance over at Harry. “I never want to see you again.”

He drove off before Harry could say another word.

Louis packed quickly. Well, he wasn’t really sure if you could consider throwing everything you own, unfolded and half hazard into suitcases packing, but for now it would have to do. He needed to get out of here, out of Harry’s home, out of Georgia in general. He wanted to get as far away as he could, as quickly as possible.

“Hun, what’s goin’ on?” he heard from the doorway, and looked up to see a concerned Anne standing in his room. Fuck. Harry’s room.

“I’m leaving,” he sniffled, ignoring the pressure building up behind his eyes. His voice came out watery and shaking as he said, “Car’s finally fixed.”

“Oh,” she said softly, leaning down to begin carefully folding the items he’d thrown in the suitcase. “Did something happen?” she prodded softly.

Louis let out a wet laugh. “You could say that.”

She frowned, the lines in her face deepening. “Well, you’re always welcome back here. You have my number, and Gemma’s. And Harry’s. Flower will miss you, but I understand. Your family probably misses you, too.”

Louis choked on a sob, falling back from his crouch to land flat on his ass. “Yeah, you could say that. They’ve been down in Florida, waiting on me for the first part of the bloody summer and I’ve just been doing fuck all here, acting like this was somewhere I could stay.”

Anne reached out, taking his hand in hers. “Baby, this is somewhere you could stay. Don’t doubt that.”

He shook his head, wiping at a few traitorous tears that had managed to slip down his cheeks. “Not anymore. Not after this. I don’t—I don’t trust him anymore. My car’s been fixed for a while now and I just found out today.”

Anne just nodded, quiet. She seemed to be looking for something in his expression, sighing when she came up short. “I had a feelin’ it was something like that. Harry’s never taken that long to fix anything in his life. He must’ve just been looking for a reason to keep you around.”

Louis huffed, exasperated. “If he had just told me then I could’ve made that decision myself. Instead he decided to keep that from me, and that’s—it’s just not okay, alright? It’s not. This isn’t okay,” he said, curling up. “None of this is okay.”

“Oh, honey,” she said, bundling her up in his arms. “He just doesn’t know how to handle what he feels for you. He’s very stubborn, that boy. Doesn’t know how to just talk about his feelings.” Louis breathed in the scent of the detergent she’d used to wash the laundry still lingering in the fibres of her shirt.

He wasn’t sure he could respond to that without crying harder. He sniffled, pulling away. “Thank you for letting me stay with you.”

Anne offered him a sympathetic smile. “I mean it when I say that you’re always welcome here.”

Louis nodded, wiping at his nose as he grabbed his suitcases. “I don’t know how to properly thank you for this. For everything.”

“Baby,” she started with a soft smile. “You don’t owe us anything, you hear? We’ll see you soon, okay?”

He huffed out a wet laugh, smiling a little. He doubted that.

 

Valdosta was only eighteen miles from the Florida border. Louis hadn’t even made it as far as the Welcome to Florida sign when he had to pull over onto the shoulder of the highway to cry. Harry had already called him four times, and it was just too much. All of this was just too much.

It was all probably an overreaction, sure, and maybe Anne was right. Maybe Harry had just been grasping at straws, desperately trying to find a way to keep Louis in town for a little bit longer. The thought made Louis’s heart clench.

“Fuck,” he muttered, sniffling again and gripping the hem of his shirt to wipe at his eyes. He seriously considered invoicing Harry for the price of the Fendi shirt he was currently wiping his tears away with, but decided against it. He exhaled shakily, throwing the car in drive.

He’d be fine.

The bed in their beach house was too big. That was a ridiculous thought, but. It was true. It was too big. Too comfortable. The sheets were too soft, and there was too much luxury surrounding him. He never thought he’d see the day when that would be something he would ever complain about. Something about it all just wasn’t right, and an ugly feeling settling in Louis’s gut as he stared at the ceiling.

He knew exactly what it was, of course. It wasn’t a standard sized mattress with threadbare jersey sheets on it. There wasn’t a camouflaged duvet thrown haphazardly over it, with a large dog curled up at the foot of the bed. And there wasn’t a six foot one, broad, Southern man draped over his back to keep him toasty warm. It’d been one week of spending time with his family, days in the sun with the attentive wait staff insuring that his drink in hand always remained full. One week without Harry. It shouldn’t feel like an entire lifetime. It had only been a week.

It was ridiculous. Truly. Harry had fucked up. He’d lied. There was absolutely no logical reason that Louis should be missing him as much as he did. But, that’s the thing. He did miss him. He reached over, grabbing his phone from the nightstand and and drafting a text to Harry before he could talk himself out of it.

> Maybe I miss you.

He sent it and waited a couple minutes, staring at the screen expectantly without receiving a response before sending another.

> I wish we were laying under the stars again.
> I miss your laugh.
> I miss your stupid face.
> I even miss your beard.
> God, you’re so stupid.

I’m so stupid, he wanted to say, but he’d never admit that out loud. Looking back on all of it, he should’ve just let Harry speak. Should’ve given him a chance to explain, but it was too late now. He’d burnt that bridge. Positive that he’d embarrassed himself enough for the night, he turned his phone off and tossed it across the bed, landing with a thud on the other side. He curled into himself, pulling the covers up over him as high as they’d go, and eventually drifted off into a fitful sleep.

 

Louis let another week go by before he even bothered turning on his phone again. It’s not like he even needed it. Everyone that would actually need to reach him was right here with him, in this house.

The sun was especially brutal that day, blaring down relentlessly, not a single cloud in the crystal blue sky. He positioned the large sunhat he’d been wearing directly over his face, refusing to allow his nose to gather any more freckles than it already had. It wasn’t long before he felt the presence of another, a body plopping down in the chair next to him.

“Go away,” he said, not even bothering to look and see who it was. Most likely it was Lottie, planning to tease him further about how much he’d been brooding over Harry ever since he arrived in Florida. “I’d like to mourn the loss of the best dick I’ve ever had in peace and quiet, thank you very much.”

The crack of a can being opened had his ears perking up, shifting his face a little towards the sound even though his view was blocked completely by the hat over his face.

“Best dick you’ve ever had, huh?” an all too familiar low, Southern drawl said. Louis’s skin prickled at the voice, and he ripped the hat away, practically falling out of his chair as he scrambled to get closer.

“Harry?” Louis said, eyes wide and disbelieving as he crawled into his lap.

Harry laughed, setting the Budlight he’d just opened off to the side, his hands finding Louis’s waist and squeezing gently. “Hey, baby.”

“How did you find me?” Louis asked, a little panicked.

“Your momma’s contact information was on the paperwork you filled out when you brought in your car. I gave her a call after you left like that. I was worried. I just—” he paused, probably worried Louis would think it was an invasion of privacy. “I just needed to make sure you were okay. She said she thought it’d be a good idea if I came down to see for myself. I’m sorry, I should’ve just asked you, but after those texts you sent I—”

Louis didn’t waste any time, surging forward, lips pressed firmly against Harry’s. His mouth slackened the moment Harry’s hand cupped the back of his neck, lips sliding sweetly against each other. “I missed you,” he said softly against his lips. “I’m sorry.”

Harry shook his head before resting his forehead against Louis’s. “No, baby, I’m sorry. I should’ve told you. I just didn’t want you to leave yet, but I shouldn’t have taken that choice away from you. It was so fuckin’ dumb. I’m so sorry, baby. I am.”

“I would’ve stayed,” Louis admitted, hips shifting up against Harry’s, already feeling his cock beginning to take interest in the tanned boy perched on top of him. “Wasn’t ready to leave you. Don’t know if I ever will be.”

Harry hummed in agreement, kissing him again. “I think I might be in love with you.” He said so casually, it like it was simple. Maybe it was.

Louis pulled back at that, staring at Harry, eyes meeting with honest emotion. “You are?”

Harry nodded, his hand sliding up into Louis’s hair. Louis choked out a tiny sob, overwhelmed. The validation that what he’d been feeling, that he hadn’t been the only one falling in love during his time in Quitman, was enough to make him cry.

“Your momma set me up in a hotel just a couple streets over,” Harry said, rubbing his right hand slowly up the expanse of Louis’s side. He shivered at the touch. “Said there weren’t enough beds in the house to spare one for me, but she wanted me to stay.”

“Oh, yeah?” Louis said, thinking of the eight empty bedrooms in the mansion they’d rented. He grinned, biting at his lip, silently thanking his mum for the privacy she’d ensured for the two of them. “We should go take a look at it, don’t you think?” he suggested, shifting his hips again, the thick length of Harry’s cock nudged against his ass.

Harry nodded quickly. “Yes. Yeah. Definitely.”

 

They stumbled into the hotel room in a tangle of limbs and heated kisses. Hands grasping at any part of them they could reach, quickly ridding each other of their clothes. In record time, Harry had Louis spread out beneath him on the plush bed, panting and whining as he fingered him open. “Feel good, baby?” he asked between teasing kisses to his throat.

Harry,” he whined, wiggling around. “Don’t mark up my neck. Don’t want my mum to see.”

Harry hummed into his collarbone, nipping at it playfully. “But I want everyone to know where I’ve been.”

Louis laughed a little despite himself. “Believe me, everyone’s going to know anyway. Everyone already knows,” he admitted, sucking in a breath as Harry’s tongue began playing with his belly ring. He dipped further, licking a long stripe along Louis’s cock, suckling at the head just enough to have Louis out of breath. “Fuck, Harry, please, need you inside me. Right now,” he begged, shifting his hips to try to fuck himself down on Harry’s fingers, aching to be filled further.

“Don’t worry, baby,” Harry assured him, sucking a bruise into Louis’s hipbone as he slowly pulled his fingers out, wiping them on the sheet. He slicked up his cock, grabbing Louis’s leg and pushing it up, splaying him open. Louis’s back arched off the bed as Harry pushed in, finally stretching him the way he’d craved for weeks. “Always feel so good. So tight for me,” Harry grunted, pushing Louis’s legs up to bend him in half, fucking into him completely.

Louis’s eyes rolled back, his mouth dropping open in a loud moan as the weight of Harry’s cock settled inside of him. He bit his bottom lip so hard he could taste blood as Harry shifted his hips back, shoving himself back in, setting a torturously slow pace. Harry’s wrapped his obnoxiously large hand around Louis’s cock, pumping him slowly. “Don’t,” Louis panted, pushing his hand away. “Want to come just from your cock.”

Harry groaned, dipping down to bury his face in Louis’s neck, mouthing wetly there for a beat before grunting out, “God, I love you.”

Louis tensed, legs shaking as his orgasm took him by surprise, mouth opened in a silent scream as his cock twitched helplessly, spilling onto his stomach. He gasped, feeling overworked and sensitive as Harry continued fucking into him, but he welcomed the ache, having gone too long without it. He took Harry’s face in his hands, kissing him tenderly, whispering “I love you too,” into his mouth. Harry groaned, hips pressing his cock in completely as he stilled. Louis hummed softly as he felt Harry’s cock throb inside of him, warmth seeping through him as Harry filled him with his come.

It took them a few moments, but Harry finally found the energy to pull out of him, Louis wincing only a little at the sudden loss. Always the gentleman, Harry hurried off to the bathroom, returning less than a minute later with a damp washcloth to clean them both off with. He threw it off to the side, cuddling Louis close, clingy after sex. “You love me,” Harry whispered into his shoulder.

“I love you,” Louis agreed easily, shifting so that they were face to face.

“Quitman isn’t that far from Atlanta. Only a four hour drive with traffic.”

“Thirty minute flight to Valdosta,” Louis thought out loud, thinking about how easy it would be to see Harry on the weekend, when they both had time free for each other.

Harry hummed, eyes growing heavy. “I want to give this a real chance, you know? Make it official. Boyfriends.” He drew a tiny heart into Louis’s back with his fingertip. “If you want.”

“I want,” Louis said. He didn’t even have to think about it. He wanted this. Badly. He wanted Harry to be his, and for everyone to know about it.

Harry smiled sleepily. “Mmm, you’re my boyfriend and I love you.”

Louis giggled, kissing the tip of his nose. “You’re my boyfriend and I love you,” he agreed, like it was the easiest thing in the world. Because honestly, it was.

 

It was almost shocking how easily Harry fit in with his family, the cultural differences noticeable but not enough to deter the bond growing between them all. They welcomed him easily, Harry charming his way into the hearts of his family with that sweet Southern drawl and his quirk of a smile.

“Turn around for me,” Louis said, motioning for him to spin. Harry obliged, holding out his arms to better display the outfit.

“How do I look?” Harry asked, glancing doubtfully down at the golfing ensemble Louis had carefully pieced together.

“You look—” Louis swallowed heavily, eyes raking over his boyfriend. He looked good enough to fucking eat, to be honest. The tight golf pants hugged his powerful thighs perfectly, and the horizontally striped shirt made him look even broader in the shoulders than normal. Louis was practically drooling. He cleared his throat. “You look good. Really good.”

“Yeah?” Harry asked with a smile, looking at his reflection in the mirror. “I look like a preppy asshole. Like I’d have a membership at a country club or some shit.”

“You look hot,” Louis corrected. And honestly, the thought of Harry having a membership at a country club one day was kind of sexy, but Louis thought it best to keep that to himself for now. Louis smiled as he said, “I’d let you do me.”

Harry hummed happily, bending over to smack a big kiss on Louis’s forehead. “Gonna take you up on that later if I survive this round of golf with your dad. Think he’s gonna drill me for info about us?”

The phrasing had a million different scenarios of Harry drilling him, fucking him from behind with his golf shirt rucked up around his chest, Louis riding him desperately with Harry’s clothes still on, pants only pulled down just enough to get his cock out. Louis shook himself from it enough to say, “I doubt it. Probably just wants to get to know you better, since we’re dating now, and all.”

Harry nodded, adjusting the new, embroidered UGA baseball cap Louis had given him a couple of days ago. “Well. Wish me luck, baby. Ain’t ever played golf in my life, so this might be a shit show.”

Louis giggled. “It’ll be fun, baby. You two will have a good time. Promise.”

 

Four and a half hours later, Louis’s dad and Harry got back to the house from their round. “Fucker’s better than me,” Louis’s dad grumbled as he set his clubs in the closet by the door.

Louis’s eyebrows shot up, giving Harry an impressed look. “Is he really?” he asked, a smile threatening his face at the thought of Harry kicking his dad’s ass during a round of golf.

Harry just shrugged, humble. “Beginner’s luck, probably.”

“Oh, I’m sure,” Louis said, trying not to laugh as his dad pushed past them both and immediately went for the liquor cart, pouring himself a hefty glass of gin.

Louis draped his arms over Harry’s shoulders, pressing up on his toes to kiss his boyfriend’s lips gently. “I think your dad might just be bad,” Harry whispered conspiratorially.

Louis snorted, shaking his head. “My dad was a professional golfer until he retired a couple of years ago.”

“Oh shit,” Harry mused, worrying his lip in thought. “Maybe I’m just a natural, then.”

Louis smiled, kissing him again. He couldn’t help it, too drawn to every little bit of Harry to ever be able to resist him. “Maybe you should go pro,” Louis with a laugh, and Harry joined in with him.

“Maybe,” he said with a little shrug before swinging the door of the fridge open, grabbing both of them a Budlight. At this point, Louis thought his face might crack in half from the size of his smile.

They made their way out to the back terrace, joining the rest of his family. “He was unbelievable,” Louis’s dad continued, gesturing wildly to Louis’s mother who was seated across from him. “The boy’s an expert already. First try, and he already had me beat. Me. A professional,” he said with a disbelieving laugh, taking another sip of his drink.

Louis’s mom glanced at the two of them standing in the doorway with an amused expression. “Seems like Harry will fit right in with us, then,” she said, a knowing smile sliding across her lips.

Harry tugged Louis a little closer into his side, squeezing gently at his hip. Louis looked up at Harry, snuggling closer into his hold, placing his hand on his chest. “Yeah,” Louis agreed, and Harry looked down at him just at that moment. Louis smiled, his heart full in knowing that this would all work out. That this was it for him. That Harry was it for him.

He smiled knowing that despite the differences in their worlds, this would work. “Yeah, I think he will.”