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Cameras and Balls

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“Oh come on!” two girls whined pulling the curly haired boy by the arms. “We can’t go alone, it’ll be too obvious!”

He shook his head, curls flopping down on his face, already knowing he will soon surrender as he really was the type of person wanting to please everyone around him.

“I don’t like football” he replied, having always found the sport dull and the general fascination with it not logical.

 “Neither do I, but we’re not gonna watch football” says the redhead smirking dirtily. She always was a fan of sports players, rather than sports, a thought he actually agreed with.

“Do you ever think of anything else?” he asked chuckling as she shook her head. The brunette kissed his cheek with a loud sound, puppy eyes in place, and if anyone could pull off such a look, adorned with a pout, it was her. It was really unfair of his friends to be so persuasive, to always drag him to places he would in the end enjoy, but right now he really wasn’t feeling too ‘sociable’.

 “Yeah, you’re finally gonna get laid!” the redhead smiled, smacking him on the bum and making him groan.

 “Excuse me, how about Monday?” he said, seeming offended.

“Doesn’t count”, the brunette replied surely, “you were drunk and he was sooo easy”

He just rolled his eyes.  How the hell did he end up with such annoyingly endearing friends he had no idea. Tam and Mill were crazy, no way around it, the girls always dragging him to the most ridiculous parties, making him film stupid videos, dressing him up as a girl and so on, and so forth. Yet, he knew that deep down they always noticed when he got into one of his moods, cranky and cut off from the world. They were just looking out for him and he had to admit it was nice that he had someone like that.

He left the girls to change, or more like put on some clothes since he was just in his underwear, and take off all of his horrid make up. He never got why they put so much make up on him when he does a photo shoot, it made no sense, since he knows he looks good either way, if the tent in the photographer’s trousers is anything to go by. He smirked to himself knowing the effect he has on people, using it to his advantage most of the time, although at times it does tend to get annoying, having people swarm you like flies wherever you went.

He was just pulling on his worn out boots when the door opened to the same girl from the shoot, still in her lacy underwear wearing a dark smokey eye.

“Hey, Harry” she smiled seductively sitting next to him and crossing her legs.

“Hey, Cara” He replied hastily, trying to end this as soon as possible before the dynamic duo returned.

“I thought that maybe we could continue this photo shoot somewhere more private” she said touching his arm. He looked her up and down, although he did swing both ways, he usually preferred men, who were less delicate and didn’t need a cuddle after certain activities. Also he really needed to go.

“Sorry, I keep my private and work life separate, nice working with you, though” he winked just for good measure and went out.

Tam and Mill were laughing like rabid hyenas, imitating his voice with stupid facial expressions.

“Harry Styles trying to be professional” Mil said wiping imaginary tears from the corner of her eye.

“It wouldn’t be funny if you weren’t such a slag” Tam added, coughing from laughing so hard. Give it up to her to choke on air, the only person he knew clumsier than himself.

 “Don’t offend me or you’ll have to hang out with Zayn instead.” He teased knowing that there was no way that the girls would be able to convince his best friend to watch a sports game with them. He despised sport and generally leaving the house on a gloomy weekend. He was probably at home painting, making a right mess out of their living room. But Harry never minded, loved having the company, the flat they shared way too big for one person anyways.

The girls both start whining exaggeratedly, as if they just stepped out of a highschool movie.

“Noooooooo, you’re our GBF!” they said in unison, which sounded creepy even though he was used to it by now.

“I’m not gay, I’m bi, and I am not your best friend, I hate you” he replied, fake glaring at them, not meaning the last part of course.

“You love us, you know you do” they both hugged him briefly before pulling away, forcing a smile on his otherwise expressionless face.

“And now I’m gonna get all of ya laid!” the redhead pronounced loudly, being random as usual, her train of thought unknown to those around her. Both heads snapped at her speaking heatedly one after the other. “Tam, you’re not getting anyone laid, you’re horrible at it!”, “Stop setting people up!” “And stop spying and plotting!”

 

“Fine” she stormed off, playing offended.

“I always told her to stay in drama, but for some reason she thinks that modeling is more for her.” Mill declares, putting on her sunglasses as they go outside to Harry’s car snatching his keys yelling “Thank you come again” in an Indian accent (they may have had a Harold and Kumar marathon two days ago) as she flees.

As Harry catches up with them they are both already sitting in his Ferrari, blasting loud music and backing out. He jumps in the back seat yelling something about his brand new paint job, custom parts and bad parking skills. Ignoring him, as always, Mill goes swiftly to The Crib, the place where the two girls live, a lovely new yet old looking building, their flat on the highest level, a bit smaller than his and Zayn’s but somehow cozier. Their couch felt much better than Harry’s own, having spent so many nights crashing there after a particularly rousing party.

“Pick us up at 6, the match starts at 8, we got VIP tickets, closest to the field” Mill declared as Tam added “Closest to the players you mean?”

“Don’t be late, again” he warned, sitting back to his usual spot, frowning when he sees it’s moved so he can hardly fit his legs. No one understood how hard it was to be so tall, his gangly legs rarely fitting anywhere.

 

=

 

He went to his flat, to a massive mess waiting for him, as always, frowning at what appears to be wet paint on the floor.

“Zaaaaaaaaaaayn” he yelled. An equally messy figure came into view, somehow maintaining his perfect quiff, defying gravity, the rules of nature, rational thinking, such things.

“I’ll clean it up Hazza, I promise, I was suddenly inspired”. One glance at the pictures of a good looking girl told him everything he needed to know.

 “What must have inspired you Zaynie, it can’t be the blonde that just moved in next door?”

Zayn just stared at him and replied “How’d ya know?”

 “Saw her on my way to work, I say go for it” he said smirking, picking up some of the mess on the living room floor, or as Z calls it “The Atelier” since he always uses it for his art, the reasons not really known to Harry, something about feng shui, the way the light falls naturally through the windows and other nonsense.

“Plus, you have the place to yourself, I’m going off to a ManU game” he proudly said, wondering  what he should wear. What was appropriate attire for a football game anyways?

“Since when do you like football?” Zayn asked going behind the counter separating the kitchen and the living room turning on the espresso machine he got for his birthday from the girls. It really made a difference in their lives since Zayn without his morning coffee really wasn’t a person anyone wanted to deal with. At least now it was faster to get him out of bed, some days he even made coffee for himself.

“I don’t, but the devils are dragging me, something about fit blokes in tiny shorts, how could I possibly say no” he smiled innocently.

“Always on the pray” Zayn replied laughing while searching for the mugs.

“I’ll text you if we go to a party of some sorts after”

 “A party with those wackos? Well I’m not drinking, that’s for sure. The last time I got wasted I woke up barefoot with a banana glued to my chest, in suspenders, on the fountain in the university square, the paps fucking filmed me like that!” Zayn screeched, almost girl like, the big question on his mind always being what the hell happened that night he was foolish enough to play a drinking game with people whose capacities for alcohol were much higher than his own.

“That’s what you get for challenging them to a drinking contest, you know how well they hold their liquor.” Harry said going in to grab some coffee for himself, not that he liked the taste, but he was feeling slightly tired, having had a restless night.

“How was the photoshoot for that fragrance?” Zayn asked sipping on the hot coffee.

“Not bad”

“Who’d ya work with?”

“Cara…”

“Oh, she’s hot” Zayn exclaims “But a bit crazy”

“I know, that’s why I turned her down, we don’t need another Taylor anytime soon”

“Damn, that girl was creepy” Zayn shook his head, remembering the letters he found in front of their door. He had no idea who even sent letters in the 21st century but the contents of those made him shiver, the texts raging from explicit to threats and curses. Harry always was a heart breaker, but some people just took it harder than others.

“Tell me about it. Anyway, speaking of creepy the guy who filmed us had a fancy name, like Alexander or some sorts” Harry rolled his eyes at the memory of the too-scruffy-to-be-considered-hip photographer.

“Oh I don’t like him, always gives me the creepy eyes when I’m in my underwear”

“That’s cause he’s a creep, and also gay.”

“Oh…”

“Your gaydar is as bad as always I see”

“Well, I haven’t figured you out until I found you making out with Nick on that party at Niall’s. He’s sooo old Harry, I still don’t know what came over you” Zayn said remembering the radio presenter, with a quiff not even dignified to be compared to his.

 “I was bored, and everyone was sooo straight it hurt my eyes” Harry exclaimed, putting the mug in the sink, having finished it. “I gotta get ready, clean this mess” he said going into his room, jumping over the pile on the floor.

 

 =

 

He pulled up to the apartment complex while putting on some descent music for a change (it’s not his fault everyone around him listens to pop). Putting the speed dial on 4 and seeing that yet again the names in his phone had been changed, the name now reading Bloom with a picture of the fairy named the same way (he might have caved in one night when Zayn was stoned and wanted to watch 10 episodes of Winx with the girls). “We’ll be down in 5 care bear” Tam yelled and hung up.

It was more like 20, but they’re down, in jeans, sequined tops and flats for a change, but carrying a big bag, a change of outfit he presumes. The girls hopped into his sleek car, not one yelling shot gun, sitting in the back as they like to be together all the time (girls and their antics). Harry shook his head as he drove off with practiced ease, always being the designated driver of the group. 

 

Upon arrival, they saw a massive crowd, all going to this match, or was it called a game? Harry wasn’t quite sure, but then again he really couldn’t care less. As they exit the car, both girls hooked their arms around his (they always played up the whole Hugh Hefner posing with his bunnies look that the paps loved). After passing through the crowd they entered the stadium, a tall guy wearing all black escorted them to their seats, through a lonely passageway. Their seats were directly in front of the field, signaling that this was going to be a fun evening.

Half an hour later, the players were coming out, running to the field in their lovely attire. As they take their positions and the crowd chants, Harry hears someone whispering in his ear “We need your skills” Mill says smiling innocently to hide her dirty thoughts.

As the game started, Harry stared at all the guys passing them, saying gay, straight, in denial and so on. As one particular guy passed him he licked his lips, a devilish smirk forming as he slowly and deeper than usual said “Gay”. The guy is short, and curvy, somehow tiny but still adorned with thick thighs and just the right amount of muscle. He has striking blue eyes, and the softest feathery caramel hair. But that isn’t what Harry notices first, oh no. Not even the huge number 17 is what catches his eye, nope. It’s the way he leans for a ball that just went out of the field, picking it up, his ass sticking out right in front of Harry’s face, the most amazing ass he’s seen on a man, plump and round. Harry feels caught in some wet dream, imagining things which are far from descent. As the attractive man throws the ball, he looks behind himself for a second, seeing Harry’s hungry gaze, his blue eyes sinking into Harry’s emerald orbs. 

 He can’t seem to look away until someone yells “Tomlinson” and he hurries off after the ball.

“Tomlinson” rolls of Harry’s tongue, his night seeming much more interesting now. He loved a conquest, and he had just acquired his target. He was determined to have a companion with him tonight, someone whose eyes matched the bedding in his room. Someone who looked like he was loud in bed.

=

 

Louis heard the whistle of the judge indicating it was half time. Scurrying off to their room the players swiftly changed their already sweaty clothes. As Louis was putting a fresh shirt on, a wet sticky piece of fabric hit him on the back.

“Staaaan” Louis whined, already knowing he was the one behind the shenanigans.

“Shut it Tommo, we have some important stuff to discuss” Stan said placing the wet shirt on his shoulders, staring at Louis without even blinking.

“Such as…?” Louis asks finally dressed.

“Such as our guests” he exclaimed, and at Louis’ confused face continues “the models sitting in front row?”

“Oh really” Louis says nonchalantly, trying to hide how intrigued he was by those deep green eyes that stared him down. He felt almost naked under the intense gaze, like the man was waiting to just eat him up.

“Yeah, you have to know who Harry Styles is” he says frantically moving his hands as to gesture how big of a deal this was “he is one of the best male models in Britain, has contracts with the top designers, mostly models in his underwear”.

“And who are the birds next to him?” Josh jumps in, showing Stan that everyone has his full attention.

“Also models, his best friends, Tamara and Millie, both single. I heard Tam, the redhead, is a big fan of sports players” Stan says seeing the excitement of the guys raise, hoping no one would question how he knew all that, gossip magazines being his guilty pleasure. Looking at Louis again he exclaims:

“He’s bi by the way”. As soon as the words are out of his mouth Louis’ head snaps with such an intensity he could actually hear his neck crack. His best friend had a tendency of trying to hook him up with a lot of guys, most of which he disliked, but this one really was the most attractive man he had ever seen. Although Louis was always wary of the attractive guys, knowing full well that they mostly had the worse character.

“Party tonight then?” George says smiling widely, pinching Louis by the bum and running off outside.

“Get a move on ladies!” coach Paul yelled and they all rushed out the door before he went in and wreaked havoc on the locker room.

=

 

Two whistles sounded, signaling the game was over. The score is 3:2 for Manchester United, a solid win as they were in the lead for the past half hour. The crowd went wild with cheers and boos respectively, but the three friends had other things on their mind.

“So whose turn is it?” says Harry staring at the girls. They always did this, invited themselves to exclusive parties, events and such. It wasn’t really so much as inviting yourself as it was flirting a bit with someone ‘till they invited you. It was a well practiced art among the friend group.

“Um, I guess it’s mine” said Millie, and just as she was about to stand up, a cheeky guy approached them.

He has deer brown eyes, high cheekbones and curly hair, similar to Harry’s. He leans forward and says to them “We’re having a party at Sin tonight to celebrate, I hope you can join us” he winks and hurries off after his team.

The trio just looked at each other and smiled, Harry sending a short text to Zayn. His phone flashing the name Diego and a picture of a tiger from Ice Age looking scared of the water. He had to laugh, that was a good one.

=

They arrive to the club, having changed shoes and fixed hairstyles. He might be a guy, but if Harry’s learned anything in the modeling business it’s that appearance is key, and he always keeps to his good looks.

Zayn is already standing outside, dark jeans and a black shirt on, leaning on the wall smoking a cigarette. Upon seeing the group he puts it out, approaching the car opening the door for the girls. “Have you been waiting long?” Mill asked, ever the polite one.

“Nope, just arrived.” He lied, as to not seem so desperate, he was really looking forward to going out.

They enter the half full club, jumping the line as soon as Harry shakes the bouncer’s hand.

“How do you know so many people?” Tam asked eyes darting to a nicely located table in the middle of the club, easy for spotting anyone going in, dancing or going to the bathroom. As a blonde starts walking to the table, Tam grabs Zayn by the arm pulling him with full force to the table smiling at the bad copy of a Barbie doll in front of her. She makes an angry face, careful not to ruin the three tons of make up on her face as she goes to a different table.

“Territorial, much?” Harry exclaims laughing.

“I like this table” she says letting a shocked Zayn go. “Needed a human shield, just in case” she says to Zayn smiling wickedly.

The waiter comes by, to take their orders. Before they even get to say a thing Mill whispers to the waiter “Red wine, your best, and tequila. They don’t know what’s good for them”. He just laughs and goes off.

“If you ordered vodka again I’m leaving this instant” says Zayn, half joking, half serious, remembering the incident. The waiter springs by opening the bottles, handing them their glasses and winking at Mill as he goes back to the bar.

“Tequila shots!” jumps Tam pouring them each a glass, making sure not to spill anything and still spilling a lot. “To sexy football players” says Harry lifting his glass “and hot girls” adds Zayn and they all drink a shot.

Next round they drink to themselves, to stay fabulous of course. Then to their careers and dreams. Somehow they end up drinking to Mill’s cat back home, a Korean series, pizza and their otps. Just as they were starting to feel delightfully buzzed, the door opens and in come the players. Harry waiting for that one player that intrigued him the most.

He looks edible, tight black pants hugging perfectly to his lovely ass, a tight white shirt and TOMS on his feet. His hair in the perfect quiff, strong jaw line and cheekbones prominent under the flashing lights of the club. A guy’s arm on his shoulders, a friend Harry supposes, he doesn’t look nearly as good enough for his new conquest.

Harry excuses himself, sits on a stool at the bar where he has a better look of the curvy guy he will soon mark as his own.

 

“Looks like kitty found a mouse to play with” said Tam to Zayn signaling to Harry staring directly at a very good-looking guy, definitely his type. Harry loved put together guys, a bit shy, shorter than him and with nice smiles. This one seemed to possess every trait required.

“He always does” replied Zayn amused by Harry’s behavior.

As they weren’t looking they don’t notice the guy that just came over and is talking to Mill. Tam turns and eyes the guy head to toe. He has tight brown pants, a half-unbuttoned shirt, boots on his feet, and side swept hair. She pulls Mill by the arm whispering into her ear “I bring you to a place full of athletes and you go for an artistic guy, again? I thought we talked about this?!” she just smiles, shrugs and is off to dance with said guy.

“Seems like it’s just you and me Z” she says seeming defeated.

“What’s wrong with artistic guys?” he asks his smile now barely visible.

“Oh don’t take it to heart, I just always tell her to get an athlete, they’re just…” she drifts off, signaling something with her hand..

“Anyways, how’s your art going?” at this Zayn’s spirits lift

“Great, I have a meeting with some gallery owner on Thursday, hope I do well.”

“That’s amazing Zaynie” she tells him, stroking his arm. He melts into the touch, loving the attention.

“Hahaha, thanks” Zayn nods and continues “And your designs?”

“Oh, I forgot to tell you, I have a new contract, gonna make some shit for some fancy stores stuff like that” she says as if it’s not a big deal.

“Told you, you were good! “ Zayn says seeing that she isn’t listening. Instead Tam was exchanging looks with a very muscular guy across the room, no doubt a football player.

“Make yourself scarce”

“What?”

“Go Zayn, we’ll talk later” she smiles, as the guy slowly approaches the table.

 

=

 

“He’s been staring at you for a while” Liam said to Louis sounding worried. Liam was one of Louis’ best friends, his trainer, who is also a boxer. He was always worried about Louis protecting him like a guard dog.

“I’ve noticed” expressed Louis looking back at the tall curly haired guy, dressed completely in black, his lips filthily around a bottle of dark liquid, sitting in the shadows of the bar. His green eyes shining brightly, making him look like a black cat lurking at night, stalking its prey.

“You should stay away from him Lou” Liam warned, sounding like a worried mother. “I see him at the gym all the time, he changes partners faster than socks. He’s such a player. And I heard he gets like really territorial and violent”. He didn’t want to see his friend get hurt again, and he knew this type of guys. Guys who went after whoever they wanted until they got them, growing tired a second later, and finding someone new to seduce.

Not taking his eyes off Harry, Louis answered: “Don’t worry mom, I’m not an idiot. I’ve learned my lesson the last time.” Louis cringes as he finishes the sentence, not wanting to think about his past experiences.

 

=

  

Zayn left the table and went to sit by Harry at the bar. He ordered three of the strongest drinks they have, receiving a confused look by Harry as he actually took notice of his presence, something he rarely does during his mating dance. Harry took seduction as a very serious sport, and he definitely was a professional at it.

“Everything fine Z?” he asked as Zayn downed three shots in quick succession.

“Yeah, I’m fine, just looking for a nice girl to fuck” he answered his words slightly slurred, his throat aching from the burning sensation he just ingested. He rarely talked in such a way, rarely being the type to just not care, but sometimes he needed a release. He needed to stop thinking altogether.

“Usually those girls aren’t nice Zaynie boy” Harry replied laughing. “10 o’clock, an 8 by my estimate, looks desperate”.

Zayn barely looked up answering with a not very enthusiastic “Yeah, I’ll get right to it”.

As Harry turns his head before Zayn’s answer, he spots a guy going in his prey’s direction. He sends him a look of warning, claiming his territory as the guy backs off. Harry jumps off the stool and goes slowly towards the man who hasn’t taken his eyes off him for what feels like hours.

“…and I don’t know what to do…Harry?” Zayn continues turning in his stool seeing Harry had decided to take action. He stands up, fed up with his “friends” leaving him like that, their ‘love lives’ always more important. Every time they went out the same thing happened, everyone scouring off to different side of the same club. He huffs before going over to the blonde girl standing at a nearby table.

 =

 

Harry stands in front of the much shorter man as he puts his drink down slowly looking at Harry slightly shy and taken aback by the sudden approach, his eyes seeming even more blue in the club lights. Without a word Harry grabs his hand dragging him to the dance floor passing his two best friends dancing together with some guys, barely noticing anything but the small hand in his, feeling the boy follow him without any restraint. Louis is confused, not used to such a sudden approach, someone so openly into him. He never thought himself unattractive per se, but he wasn’t in his eyes a man who got much attention. He was too small and delicate, snarky and surrounded by too much drama.

This is just too easy” Harry said to himself, smirking as he turned around suddenly, letting go of the curvy guy’s hand, who bumped into him unready for such sudden movement.

Harry catches him, keeping his hands on the boy’s waist, pinning him close and starts dancing. The shorter guy freezes, and then starts slowly moving with Harry, his heart beating violently where it’s pressed to Harry’s strong chest. Harry’s head goes slowly down to his ear, his lips brushing it lightly. “Harry”.

Louis shudders at the deep voice resonating in his ear, the tingling sensations travelling from his ear to where the long slim fingers are holding him in place. The movement of Harry’s hips grinding slowly down on Louis’ groin. He feels so hot, like he’s on fire, his senses in overdrive. He inhales deeply trying to breathe normally after holding his breath for so long, breathing in the scent of pure lust.

“Louis” he manages to say. He has no idea how he even remembered his own name. All he can think is lips and fingers, and hips and those piercing green eyes, his mind screaming Harry over and over again. Louis’s not sure if it’s a warning or a plea. His lips feel so dry, like a gallon of water wouldn’t be enough to clench his thirst. He feels intoxicated by the stranger, who despite Liam’s warnings seems way too appealing to get away from. It’s not often he feels so mesmerized by someone, but then again this Harry didn’t really fit into a mould. He seemed unique, which was odd since Louis basically only knew his name.

“Louis” Harry repeats in his ear, practically moaning out his name. “Oh how good that would sound in bed” Louis thinks, picturing those long fingers pinning him down, his breath on his face, their bodies melting together in heat, and sweat.

He feels one of Harry’s hands going slowly up his torso, touching his chin, lifting it up slowly. Under the lights he sees just how beautiful his hunter looks. White pale skin, radiating in the dark that surrounds him, piercing green eyes, staring at him, his pupils mildly dilated. His slightly crooked smile leaving dimples on his cheeks, also showing off a bright row of teeth. But his lips are what pulls him in the most, so plump, and red, as if he was wearing lipgloss, the colour inhumanely beautiful. Lips made for sin, lips made for kisses and blowjobs, made for leaving marks in their wake. Harry bites his lip, loving the attention Louis was paying to his mouth, loving how responsive the man was.

Harry’s gaze drifts down, tracing Louis’ beautiful facial features. His finger slowly goes over Louis’ bottom lip. As it rests back on Louis’ chin, Louis licks his lips involuntarily. He sees Harry going closer, seconds seem like minutes as their lips touch sending electricity through their bodies. Harry’s lips are barely there, just resting on Louis’. They begin to move, adding more pressure, a tongue poking at Louis’ awaiting mouth tracing it slowly. Harry’s tongue rubs Louis’ in the most soothing way, his hand increasing its hold around his waist. The other traveling to his hair pulling him back slightly to plant a hot kiss to his neck, along his jaw and just below his ear where he sucks lightly, biting the tanned skin.

Louis gasps shuddering, feeling his blood boil. He jumps from Harry’s almost painful grip blurting out “I have to go” and walks so quickly he might as well be running outside, his legs barely working, feeling constricted in his pants. He needed to stop, whatever this was and however hot he felt, he knew not to trust someone like that. Knew not to fall head first into a bed he will be kicked out of before the sun rises.

Harry just stares amused at the fleeing figure, knowing this is not the last time he sees the brunette he marked as his own.

“Louis” he whispers to himself.

 

 =

 

Harry pulled up in front of The Bachelor Pad, grabbed his things and entered the flat. As soon as he got in he heard very loud girlish moans. Going to the bathroom he passed the sounds, the screams sounding more like words, actually only one word. On his way back he heard “You’re amazing” so he had to of course scream as loud as he could “Amazayn!” and went to his room.

The screams continued for quite a while so in the end he put on his headphones and played some no name indie song from his phone. After about half an hour his phone rang signaling that a Blowfish was calling him. “blowfish” he thought and chuckled answering it.

“Knew you’d love that one!” says Mill, he knows she’s smirking even through her voice. “Wait, aren’t you supposed to be doing some of those Canadian sex positions we talked about, right about now?”

“I was tired so I went home” he lied.

“Mhm” the answer came, Mill had obviously known the reason, but knew not to press further. She noticed the fascination Harry had with a certain someone, how he was obviously very much into the man who walked out on him. So she let it go. Harry, when he doesn’t get what he wants, he can be really, well, childlike, toddlers and tiara’s child like.

“Sooo, we wanted you and Z to come to ours after work tomorrow – we’re hosting The Triathlon

“I’m not in the mood” says Harry while pouting.

“Come on Haz, if you agree you’re gonna get a prize, and trust me it will be one you like a lot”

“Okay fine”

“Yeeeeah, night care bear”

“Night” he says shortly and hangs up not believing he agreed to one of these, and agreed to dragging Zayn with him. Zayn definitely wasn’t in his element. Actually as Harry thinks of it he really wasn’t in his element. He mostly just didn’t care about anything happening around him, he rarely got so moody and…

Harry’s phone vibrated. He received a new message from princess Ariel.

It read “You owe me one Curly! :P” and next to it was a number. He knew exactly whose number it was, it had to be him. She really did love setting people up, which is sort of strange because she always says that she doesn’t do love, whatever that meant.

He saved the number, pondering whether he should send a message. After about 15 minutes of pondering he slapped himself thinking “Harry, you’re not a 13-year-old girl, what’s wrong with you?” sending a short “No fair, Cinderella left a shoe, and I got nothing” (rechecking the sentence three times).

 

He smiled thinking of the man, hardly able to wait until he finished what he started. He heard the door to the apartment close and then he was fast asleep.

 

=

 “Why do you keep checking your phone, it’s not gonna make time pass any faster” Zayn said rather cranky. They were sitting on the couch waiting for a photographer to call them. Zayn was feeling too hot in his leather jacket even though he had nothing underneath.

“I’m not” Harry answers putting his phone down. He was wearing a very deep v-neck and same black jeans as Zayn, they were doing some sort of sexy rock style shoot and were waiting for the set to be ready. Honestly it was all the same to him, the various photoshoots and faces all melting into one.

“Come on guys” said Alexander, eyeing them and smiling his creepy smile. There was a car in the middle of the shoot, bright red, in front of a black screen.

“So guys remember we are trying to sell a Eau de toilette” he said in a bad French accent.  “It’s all about sexy dark guys leaning on sexy cars, it’s going to look fierce!”

They both roll their eyes taking their positions, leaning on the car, switching poses.

“Okay, now I want to see some heat, flirting, touching, the lot” he says sounding a bit out of breath.

Zayn looks at Harry confused. Harry gives him back an I-got-this look as he leans towards him, looking down into his lips, biting his own. The photographer just keeps snapping at an alarming speed.

Zayn gets fed up with Harry thinking he’s top dog, and pushes him on the hood of the car, grabbing his arms pinning them above his head. He whispers into Harry’s ear “You’re not as hot as you think Styles”. Alexander makes an inhumane sound as he says heavily breathing: “Yeah, just like that, look like you’re seconds from having sex on the car”.

At this the boys exchange a look and Zayn lets Harry go. He hops off the hood and they smile curtly to the now red photographer. “I think that’s enough.” Harry exclaims and they leave the set.

=

“Well that was… interesting” Zayn says awkwardly staring at his phone.

“Yeah, didn’t know you had it in you. I’d totally do you if you weren’t straight” Harry says with a laugh as he drives along the busy streets passing their building.

“Haha, very funny Harry” Zayn raises his head and realizes that Harry wasn’t taking him home.

“Haz where are we going?”

“I’m kidnapping you, just be a quiet pretty girl or I’ll make you quiet” he says a devilish grin on his face. Zayn knows exactly where his dragging him off to, as he sees the familiar vintage looking building. “Damn”

=

As Harry unlocks and opens the door they are met with loud Korean music and the girls dancing in their shorts and tops, doing some strange choreography not even noticing their presence. They exchange a look, approach the girls from behind and each grab them by the hips yelling “Boo!”. Both the girls scream, terrified, thinking they were home alone. The boys flee before they get hit on the head with something hard and heavy. It had happened once already, Harry remembering the bump on his head when he stupidly scared Mill who was in the kitchen making her meal, effectively making her almost cut her finger off. He was lucky she didn’t use the knife, instead opting for a rolling pin.

“It’s time to start The Triathlon” Tam says hitting the gong Harry got them as a present 2 years ago (and still regrets it every day).

The Triathlon is a game the girls invented, it consists of three separate but equally important parts:

1. Karaoke - everyone must sing with everyone in pairs of 2, the best performance is picked through mutual agreement (mostly fighting).

2. Just Dance – played in groups of four

3. FIFA

The winner of the challenge gets to not drink since this is a drinking game in which the losers drink (a lot).

The karaoke part goes smoothly, Mill and Tam winning for their glorious reenactment of the song ‘You Can’t Stop The Beat’. They make the boys drink way too much, laughing at their faces when they try the concoction Tam had cooked up, a mixture of ten different drinks. They are all having fun and enjoying themselves, just trying to relax and distance themselves from their usual ‘work mode’. They all worked together which was both a blessing and a curse. Their conversations almost always drifted to work, even their night outs were partly work-related, as they were paid to attend parties, photographs were essential, and getting your name in the papers meant getting more gigs.

As they start preparing for Just Dance Zayn seems really reluctant. “Come on Zayn it’ll be fun” Mill says grabbing his arm. “I don’t dance” he replies shyly knowing just how bad he is.

“And you think this idiot can dance, he’s got like two left feet” Mill answers pointing at Harry.

 “Three to be exact” he replies smirking, enjoying the banter. He sees these people as more than just his friends. They almost feel like siblings, the way they tease each other but will protect each other immensely if anyone outside the group were to do the same,

Everyone whines as Tam comes to Zayn kissing him on the cheek “Please Zaynie, do it for me? Come on, I’ve seen you dance, you ain’t bad at all”

“O..Okay” he replies standing at his position and trying his best not to make a complete fool of himself and desperately failing.

FIFA was uneventful and they started getting really bored. The slight buzz in their veins making them want to do something, anything really.

“Let’s play Truth Or Dare” Harry chirped.

“Let’s just play truth, I’m too tired for dares” Zayn says not wanting to get up from his spot on the fluffy carpet, not quite sleepy but definitely relaxed.

“Since you suggested it, you’re first. Have you ever bottomed?” Tam asks.

Harry seems a bit reluctant to answer and then says silently “Damn going for the hard questions I see” he chuckles “Yeah, I um have” and hurries off before anyone can comment “Did you sleep with that guy I saw you with last night?” he says turning to Mill.

“Nah” she smiled, making all of them nod as if they already knew the answer. Mill wasn’t a saint but she did like taking things a bit slower, liked having a connection with someone, getting to know them. She never went beyond kisses with guys she had no real interest in. She never judged those who did, it just wasn’t really her. She was a bit old-fashioned in that sense, although none of them thought that was a flaw. They admired her greatly for being always lady-like, always put together and classy.

“Tam, who do you think is hotter between the boys?” asks Millie already knowing the answer since the girls had discussed the subject many a time, but wanting to see if the girl would lie. She sometimes liked causing just a bit of trouble, just to see what would happen. Tam looked up from where she was glued to her phone obviously texting someone for the past ten minutes.

“Um, well, I think Zayn’s like more beautiful, and Harry is more hot. I don’t know.” She blurts out., feeling put on the spot. Thankfully neither of the boys feels offended and she can calm down. She send Mill a quick look, one that says ‘How dare you’ since Mill knew every detail of her life. They were friends for years, ever since the beginning of highschool and of course Tam had told her how she thought Zayn was the most gorgeous man she had ever seen, the night that Harry introduced  them. Her admission wasn’t laced with desire for the man, but just general shock as to how someone can look so perfect. They had quickly become friends, Tam’s statement being a constatation they all shared, objectively.

“Haz, he didn’t answer, did he?” she asks just as Harry was putting his phone back.  “No” he says seeming irritated. Not wanting to talk about Louis at the moment. He knew he’d get what he wants, but it seems almost hopeless given the man was ignoring him. Harry would never chase after someone who wasn’t interested. He wasn’t a predator, wasn’t someone who would make a person uncomfortable because he wanted a thing they didn’t. But he could tell Louis was into him, it was as obvious as it was delightful and he was determined to get him into his bed.

“Zayn, what’s your problem lately, you’ve been acting strange?” he decides to ask, since he was worried about his friend, the man acting different than usual for some time, irritable and distant. He seemed off and Harry couldn’t figure out why because Zayn was a rather private person, much like himself. That was the reason they clicked so easily in the beginning, one not forcing the other to spit all their secrets out.

“I don’t have any problems you are worthy of knowing” Zayn snorts rudely which was very uncharacteristic of him.

“What did I ever do to you?” Harry says sounding offended. He had never fought with Zayn before, both being too chill for such things and he couldn’t understand why Zayn was suddenly angry at him. It hurt somewhere deep in his gut but he pushed that feeling down. Much like he always did.

“Been a shitty friend that’s what!” Zayn yells “You’re always off in Harry world and when I finally get the guts to tell you how I’m feeling you don’t even listen!” he is referring to the moment at the club when he stupidly drunk three shots in a row and really wanted to tell Harry. Maybe not exactly what was bothering him, but just that he was bothered. He needed a comforting hand, a hug, a shoulder to cry on. He needed that, but Harry had already left, in the middle of his sentence.

“Well, tell me now!” Harry says devoid of emotion, feeling as if he swallowed rocks, his stomach uncomfortably churning.

“Just leave me alone, Mr. My Life Is So Fucking Perfect,”

“Excuse me?!”

“You always get what you want Harry, so you don’t know how it’s like to know something’s missing and not be able to do anything about that.”

“You don’t know what my life is like” Harry tells him, thinking how his life was as far from perfect as could be. His life was one of those lives people would write in books, a story they would attach to a troubled character, one with too many issues and too little solutions.

“You’re right I don’t” Zayn sighed. “I’ve known you for five freaking years and I still have no clue who you are” he isn’t angry at Harry, that’s the thing. Instead he is angry at the situation. He is angry that he feels too hopeless to do anything and he feels like nobody has his back, like he can’t tell his best friend what is going on, because it’s too delicate, too easy to turn everything into a colossal mess. 

“And will you stop with the fucking texting it’s really annoying” he spits at Tam, who looks at him with big scared eyes. Three seconds later he’s out the door, leaving them in shock.

 

=

 “Sooooo, tell me everything. You two seemed awfully chummy last night” George says while kicking the ball back and forth with Louis, their usual warm up before actual practice.

“Um, nothing happened really.” Louis says shyly, not one for discussing his private life with his teammates, although George was lovely, the human version of a fawn, he still felt uncomfortable. Being the only gay guy in the team meant you had to listen to too many disgusting stories, and not say anything about your own love life, since you don’t really want to gross people out.

“Yeah right, you fucking snogged the hottest guy in Britain.You guys should totally hook up!” George chirps wanting Louis to be happy, enjoying the visual as well. He wasn’t gay, but he would have been a liar if he said he wasn’t the least bit curious.

“No, George, I was drunk and that was it” total lie, Louis had only drank one beer. He wish he had more, it would make it easier to erase the hot stranger from his mind. Howehever electrified he made him feel he needed to stay away from him. He wasn’t ready to be hurt, and Louis had always been too clingy of a person. One to want relationships and families, a white picket fence and at least two dogs. He was pathetic really.“And stop speaking like you’re in a bad rendition of High School Musical”.

“So… He’s available?” George says slowly seeming hopeful. Louis has the urge to hit him, always suspecting that George wasn’t 100% straight, but never saying a thing. He remembers those soft plump lips and that devilish smile, and those eyes, and hips and fingers that left a burn all through his body. He touches his pocket forgetting that his phone is in the locker room. A simple, yet effective message flashing before his eyes. He remembers the dark surrounding him, the danger he once ventured and didn’t dare venture again. He remembers the pain. His heart is screaming No,No,No as it just wants to keep Harry to himself, wants him to be only his even though he doesn’t even know him. He always thought that someone who is trying to woo him should only focus his energy on him, seeing as when you are really drawn to a person you don’t try to seduce others while waiting for their response. But then again, in this world he knew his line of thinking was rare.

“Yes, he’s available” he answers with a foul taste in his mouth, knowing it’s for the better.

Chapter Text

The three friends just sit in silence. The girls looked cautiously at Harry who looked really distraught. He was staring at the ground, shoulders hung low.

“Hazz?” Mill asked quietly. He looked up. He was on the verge of tears. The girls advanced towards him and hugged him tight from both sides. “It’s gonna be ok.” Tam murmured.

“Something’s bothering him and he took it out on you” Mill continued.

“He hates me” Hazz said voice barely above a whisper.

“He loves you, you’re his best friend” Tam says. “How about you sleep here tonight, you can stay in my room”

“But, where will..” “Someone has to check up on him” she cuts him off.

“This is my mess, you don’t have to…”

“I do, he’s my best friend too.”

“Ok, I’ll stay here” he finally agrees. “Here, borrow my car” he says handing her his keys. The girls just stare at him. He must be really distraught. To offer his car, his baby. She shakily takes the keys and goes to change her clothes.

 “How about we watch a film, does that sound good Hazzie?” Mill says, combing his hair with her fingers. He just nods.

“Want me to make you some hot coco?” He nods again purring like a little kitten. He sits on the couch and puts The Titanic on. Tam exits her room wearing some jeggings and a crop top. “Don’t let M see ya or she’ll kill ya” she laughs. “You know how much we both hate the Titanic”

“But I like it” he pouts, puppy eyes in place, his curls fell to his face. “Fine, watch it”.

After a minute of silence Tam approached him giving him a kiss on the forehead “Everything’s going to be fine, I’ll talk to him”. He smiled at her, hoping she was right and then she yelled a “Bye dolls, don’t wait up” and was out the door.

A few moments passed as Mill finished the hot coco and gave it to Harry, picking up a blanket from the armchair and throwing it over the curly haired boy. It’s fascinating how Harry mostly looked older. But at times like this, he resembled a small child yearning for affection. She always wondered what made him grow up so fast, but Harry didn’t like talking about his past. Not even with Zayn. It wasn’t his thing. After much avoidance of questions on his behalf, they just stopped asking altogether. Nonetheless, Harry was an amazing friend, who treated his best friends like family. He was extremely protective and often got into trouble because he didn’t let anyone treat his friends badly. Zayn and him have known each other for so long and it was really sad to see them fight like this.

After the film had ended Mill put Harry to bed, making sure he wasn’t just laying on it, thinking about the fight. After she could hear quiet snoring she closed the door completely and sent Tam a short message “Princess is asleep, hope everything’s fine there.”. Then she went to sleep as well.

 

=

Tam’s POV

I pulled up in front of the Bachelor Pad parking Harry’s car carefully. I know Zayn has to be here, he always paints when he’s upset.

As I reach the 4th floor I take out my keys, a distinctive blue key on my keychain. We have all exchanged keys two years ago deciding it’s much easier. Of course, some rules were made as to not intrude on each other’s privacy – but it was nice knowing that Mill and I weren’t completely alone in a country so foreign for us without our families and anyone to protect us.

I unlock the door slowly. I notice that the living room was lit up, but the lights seemed too weak. I took of my shoes and proceeded slowly into the room noticing about 30 candles lighting it up. Zayn was standing on the side where his easel stood. The candlelight illuminating his face, making his features softer and little specks of green and brown show. He was painting slowly and deliberately, his hand gliding over the canvas. He looks almost peaceful.

I approach him slowly and start to see the picture that was forming on the canvas – mostly there were eyes, deep green with flecks of brown. They were in the center of the painting, probably meant for a portrait. They looked so alive, so vivid. It was strange to say the least, as this kind of reality is hard to achieve without a live model, or at least a picture. To draw from memory means you have had to stare for hours and hours into ones to remember every detail.

I place my arms slowly around Zayn’s back, hugging his waist. My head rested on his shoulder. He dropped his pallet and brush immediately and gasped. He turned around swiftly panic edging his features, looking at the picture and then me.

I just smile at him pulling him slowly to the couch. I sit down and pull his body towards mine. He puts his head in my lap and curls himself. I start humming a soothing song as I place one hand in his hair and the other rubs his upper back soothingly.

“Zaynie, you know I’m always here for you, right?” I ask cautiously. He just nods.

“Do you want to tell me what’s bothering you?” He looks up at me, his stare burning deep into my eyes. After a minute of silence he puts his head down, averting his gaze as he shakes his head.

“Okay, you don’t have to sweetie, I understand.” I feel his body jerk and realize that he’s breathing heavily. Faint sobs can be heard as he burries his head in my lap. His hands clutching my thighs. He pulls his knees further towards his head, curling up even more. I have never seen him cry, no one has. He is really strong and doesn’t like showing his emotions. To see him so broken makes me think just how much pain he must be in. His usually angelic features contorted as he tries to release all the pain he’d been holding in. I sing softly for only him to hear, as the candles slowly burn off. One by one. The shaking stops, sobs turning into muffles and his breathing slows down. I kiss his cheek and he faintly smiles before drifting off to sleep. I watch his tired face, light flickering over it as the room gets darker and darker. I vow to make him feel better. The last candle is out and I close my eyes, leaning into the couch as I fall asleep, my hands wrapped around the desperate boy clutching me.

 

=

 

Harry woke up in a big comfy bed, smelling vanilla and chocolate and warmth and autumn. It smelt so homely, so lovely he never wanted to get up. He dug his head into the pillow thanking the thick brown curtains for blocking the sun. After about an hour and a desperate need to wee he got out of bed, putting on his clothes. Sometimes he missed this, being tucked in  a bed, taken care of, loved.

He shakes his head as he proceeds to the bathroom, hearing the irritated noises his friend was making from the kitchen. As soon as he finishes he’s in the kitchen seeing Mill desperately trying to make waffles.

“I never cook, only Tam knows how to cook, and I wanted to make you waffles, I know they’re your favourite and now I’ve fucked it up and …” she starts seeming dazzled, flower in her hair.

“It’s okay love, I can make us a mean batch now” he states visibly cheered up, and takes the pan from her. “How about you make us some tea. “

After eating Harry puts on his shoes. “I’m gonna go home, make sure the place is still standing, plus I gotta catch up on my work.” He goes for the door then turns around enveloping Mill into a bear hug “Thank you so much, you girls are like family to me”.

“We know that darling” she replies smiling as he goes out the door.

 

=

 

He arrived at the place, unlocking the door slowly. He sees two solitary figures on the couch. Tam was protectively holding Zayn in her arms, his head on her lap. He looked so vulnerable, Harry had never seen him like this. But Harry could never get Zayn to open up like this, because then he would have to open up himself, and that he didn’t wish.

He walked quietly to his room snatching his laptop, changing his outfit and fixing his hair. He decided to go to the small coffee shop near the park, they had the most amazing vanilla latte and fresh cupcakes and cozy sofas.

As he entered the café he sat on his favourite spot in the corner. He ordered his favourite and started up his rundown laptop. He didn’t have the heart to buy a new one. He entered his password (IluuuvD!CK) he had to change on a previous game of truth or dare and lightly chuckled. He opened up his schedule sipping on his latte. He had a commercial to film, a music video to starr in, and a fitting for a fashion show. He checked his email seeing that his manager sent him information about a group he needs to teach how to pose in pictures in two days. It sounds utterly boring, but it keeps the money rolling in, and Harry definitely enjoys the perks.

He answers some fan mail – mostly aspiring models and creepy horny people who love staring at him in his underwear – and updates his twitter “FriendZ xx”. Just as he is contemplating whether or not he should order a strawberry cupcake someone stands in front of him.

“Hi” the guy says. He has the same hair as Harry but his cheekbones are more defined and his eyes are dark brown. He seems familiar.

“Hey” Harry replies smiling politely. “Um, we met at the game two days ago, I, um, asked you to come to our party” the boy says smiling widely. “George, by the way” he offers his hand.

“Of course, it’s Harry” Harry swiftly shakes his hand, noticing how small it is in his own.

“So, um, I don’t wanna bother you while you work, and I know this seems kinda blunt but would you maybe consider going out to dinner with me?” the boy asks nervously picking on a loose thread on his shirt.

Harry thinks of the small curvy guy he had in his arms, soft lips on his, a faint stubble scratching his chin. But that guy was just a one night stand, not even that, and he should stop thinking about him, this is a great opportunity to do just that.

“Sure, he’s my number so just text me the details” Harry hands him a card from his pocket.

“Okay, um, see ya” he smiles as he goes out of the little café, bumping into the waiter accidentaly. 

Chapter Text

Zayn opened his eyes slowly, blinking at the harsh sunlight surrounding him. “Why hadn’t I closed the covers last night” he thinks then realizes he’s in the living room. His head is on something soft, softer than a pillow. He feels a faint hand in his hair and one wrapping his body. He slowly lifts his head seeing red hair sprawled over the couch, a solitary figure holding him. She had the most peaceful of expressions even though she was lying quite uncomfortably, at a weird angle, her feet dangling from the sofa. He stared for what felt like hours until she opened her eyes, a bright green enveloping him.

“Morning” she says groggily, eyeing him warily. “Morning” he answers. They just sit in silence.

“How are you feeling?” she asks. “Been better” he shrugs. Tam circles her head, her neck cracking as she does so, a look of pain etching her features. Zayn swiftly gets up, and she stretches out her body, trying to calm the ache in her back.

“Thank you” he says looking at the ground. “I’m so sorry you were so uncomfortable, you should have just woken me up and…”

“Zayn it’s not a big deal, I’m fine.” Tam stands up, arching her back. She feels two hands gripping her shoulders unsurely. “Let me help” Zayn says slowly rubbing her shoulder pads, digging into the skin. He massaged weakly, unsure about how much she can take. He started running his fingers up and down Tam’s spine, sending sparks through her.

“Zayn go harder, I’m not gonna break, just give it to me.” She says sighing as he increases his strength. He blushes a deep crimson red, cursing his brain for being so perverted. He takes one of her arms rotating her shoulder smiling as he hears her gasp with satisfaction. Then he repeats the step with the other arm. He finishes off by stretching her arms and neck out.

She just stays there breathing slowly. “Zayn that was… thank you” she says as she turns around. Zayn shyly replies “Don’t worry about it” and realizing how close they were looks at the ground. The awkward silence is broken by Tam’s phone ringing. She grabs it and goes to Harry’s room to talk.

Zayn goes to make some coffee, hoping to get rid of that dreadful feeling from his gut. He hates mornings so much. As he’s drinking his coffee he decides to put the unfinished canvas in his room. When he returns to the living room, Tam is on the couch looking at an episode of Toddlers and Tiaras, a show she might have become addicted to (and everyone around her consequentially, but Zayn will never admit to staring at the screen with Harry, eating tortillas and anxiously waiting to see who’s going to win the ultimate grand supreme).

He sits next to her, looking far less interested in the screen (only ‘cause he’s already seen this episode, twice). She turns to him during commercial break. “Zayn, can you please talk to Harry?” she says out of the blue.

“Um, I…” he mumbles not knowing what to say. “Look, I know he isn’t the reason you’re upset, and he was beyond broken after the things you’ve told him”.

“Oh come on, I just had a moment, why would he take it seriously?” he exclaims adding “He never takes anything seriously”

“Yes he does, and he is convinced you hate him now”

“I’ve put up with him all these years and that idiot still thinks I can hate him?” Zayn chuckles. She just smiles fondly. She gets up and puts on her shoes. “I gotta go now but promise me you’ll talk”

“Ok, I promise” he says smiling as she kisses his cheek. He just stays there staring at the screen, hearing the sound of the door closing faint in his mind.

 

=

 

Upon finishing up with his work Harry calls up his manager to discuss the following week. Two strawberry cupcakes and a half hour long and quite unentertaining conversation later he leaves the small café. He decides on taking the longer route home, through the park. It is a peaceful late summer day and the sun feels good on his skin. He walks through the park, mostly vacant at this time. His legs automatically take him to his favourite place – a narrow dirt path surrounded on both sides by colourful flowers off all kinds. It’s so peaceful and quiet in the morning. He walks slowly admiring the beautiful flowers, his every step holding a certain bounce. His dimples shining brightly in the morning sun.

Footsteps, very loud ones can be heard. Harry gazes in front of himself, returning to his usual behavior. He makes an irritated uninterested face clinging his bag and walking twice as fast – as if he just got lost in the beautiful path and wanted to get out as soon as possible.

A masculine boy appears – obviously a morning jogger. He has a buzz cut and big brown eyes. He almost freezes as he senses Harry’s presence eyeing him slowly. He looks at Harry from head to toe, slightly frowning and the two seconds of eye contact they had is broken as he jogs away.

Although the boy seemed awfully familiar, Harry didn’t really care that much. He just wanted to go home. He didn’t like people invading on the rare moments of privacy he had.

 

Twenty minutes later he was home. He walked in to see Zayn watching TV. He just stood in the doorway of the big living room, waiting. He wasn’t sure what exactly he was waiting for, but he didn’t want to enter just like that. Zayn’s head rose and moved in the faintest of nods. Taking this as a sign Harry put his bag on the nearby cabinet and sat on the opposite end of the couch, leaving a nice amount of space in between them.

They just sit in silence for 10 seconds before they both say at the same time “I’m sorry”. Laughing it off, they looked at each other, sincerity showing.

“I’m sorry I’ve been a shitty friend, of course I care about your problems Zayn, you’re like a brother to me.” Harry said fumbling with his bracelets.

“It’s fine Hazz, I overreacted. I’m sorry about insulting you like that”

“’S Fine” Harry replied and then started laughing.

“What’s so funny?” a now laughing Zayn said.

“We’re... Like… A.. Bunch… Of… PMSing… Girls…” Harry said through laughter, holding his stomach as tears spilled from his eyes. Zayn started coughing from how loud he was laughing and Harry actually managed to fall off the couch, causing another burst of laughter. Eventually the laughter subsided and the boys settled into a comforting silence.

“What do you say to some pizza, beer and Castle?” Curly said, his face hurting from how much he was smiling. “Yes, I’ll marry you” Zayn replied smiling.

 

=

 

“My place, six o’clock? I’m a great cook I promise :P . George x” Harry’s message read.

“Better not leave me hungry. Haz x” he replied smiling.

“Of course not, you’ll even get dessert! ;)”

“I look forward to that. ;)” Harry replied and received the address of the boy, putting the details into his phone, he really didn’t want to get lost, again.

After taking a long shower Harry went to his room, and chose a shirt and dark jeans. He unbuttoned half of the buttons as usual and put on some cologne. As he walked out of the room, his wallet, phone and keys in his hands a loud wolf whistle could be heard. “Someone’s getting laid tonight” Zayn teased.

“Hopefully” Harry replied smirking. “Sooo…. Dish” Zayn said, shifting on the sofa to sit Turkish style, his legs bent underneath him. Before starting the story Harry has to roll his eyes at his friend’s crazy antics.

“Soo… I like met him at the game we went to, and then I saw him in Florence (the café on the corner).  And he asked me to dinner” Harry smirked as Zayn laughed. “At his place” his smirk grew.  “Woo, someone’s desperate” .

“Just the way I like” a devilish smile spread on his face as he winked and went off.

=

“Oh hey Niall, tonight? Well, sure, I have nothing better to do anyways. Is it okay if I bring a friend?” Liam says. “See ya then” he finishes smiling. “So, we’re going to a party” he says to the boy sitting in front of him looking bored. His expression changes to one of excitement.

“Whose?” he asks. “Niall’s, the Irish guy I met at the bar last week, really funny bloke, you’ll love him, guaranteed.” The boy smiles and nods, thinking of an outfit to wear, he wanted to feel fierce.

 

=

 

Bing. The elevator stopped and out came Harry approaching the only door on the floor. He rang once and was immediately met with brown eyes half hidden by a fluffy fringe. “Hey, come in” George said.

He was wearing a nice shirt and tight jeans. Harry eyed him slowly, happy to have agreed – this guy is quite hot. The place was huge, much like The Bachelor Pad. The color scheme was black, white and red, modern pictures hanging on the wall.  There is a large white sofa leaning on the wall, a big glass table in front of it. On the opposite wall there’s a big flat screen TV that’s currently turned off. The lights are slightly dimmed creating a nice atmosphere. George motions him to the dining room where he set up the table. Everything looks really classy and nice. Too nice, Harry thinks, watching the innocent looking boy, with deer eyes. I can’t wait to ruin him.

“I hope you like red wine?” George says bringing a very expensive bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon. “I do” Harry smiles as the boy pours them two glasses. Harry sits comfortably watching the boy with hungry eyes, enjoying the look of him squirming.

George goes to the kitchen quickly serving up the Beef Wellington on their dishes. He can’t believe he’s doing this, he can hardly control his growing hard on as he thinks of the attractive model sitting at his table. He breathes out and goes out carrying the meals.

“This is really nice” Harry says after trying the superb meal. “I’m glad you like it, I know you like to cook, so I wanted to show you my cooking skills” the boy says coyly.

“How do you know that?” Harry smirks.

“Um… I…” he started getting red “I kinda, googled you.”

Harry just smiles eating another bite, sipping on more wine, before he continues “And what did you find out?”

“Well, you, um, you are actually younger than me” George says. Harry can’t believe it, the guy looked so much like a child next to Harry. “Hah, only on paper babe” he winks. George gulps and drinks half of his glass at once, suddenly feeling very hot.

“You’re cute” Harry exclaims and takes another bite. “You look so… innocent” he smiles devilishly.

“I’m not as innocent as I look” George says finally hitting into his usual confident mood.

“Oh, really? Can’t wait to see that other side of you” Harry quiets down, eating obnoxiously slowly. George has already finished and just stared at the sexy guy, hoping his boner will disappear soon, he really wanted to show Harry he isn’t a boy. Harry finally finishes and George takes their plates to the kitchen.

“Nice little tush” he thinks, remembering the plump ass that was staring at him in the field. “Stop it” he screams in his thoughts. He can’t wait any more, he can’t get rid of these thoughts. He swiftly goes up and walks to the kitchen silently. The boy is putting the dishes in the sink. He stands behind him, pushing his hips forward, placing his hands on the boy’s waist.

“Oh” George says, his erection now reaching its full potential. “I couldn’t wait for dessert” he whispers biting the boy’s ear. George spins around, pushing his hands into Harry’s hair, pulling him closer. Their lips meet hastily, tongues enveloping each other. Harry’s hands slide down to the boys ass, pushing him further into his own hard on. George breaks the kiss pulling Harry with him as he walks into a large room with a king-sized bed on it.  Harry pushes him on the bed unbuttoning his shirt, revealing his tanned tattooed body. George’s eyes rake over the flesh being shown to him. He grabs Harry as soon as the shirt is off pulling off his own shirt. Harry lands on top of him, and he kisses the boy once more hips rolling into George’s. George flips them, now being on top of Harry and starts kissing his jawline, his Adam’s apple down his chest and belly button. He kisses down his happy trail, opening his jeans expertly with his mouth.

He kisses Harry’s erection through his boxers, making sure to get them nice and wet. Harry doesn’t make a sound, just puts his hands in George’s hair as he proceeds on taking off the rest of Harry’s clothes. He kisses down Harry’s navel and then kitten licks the head of his now leaking cock. Harry starts panting as the boy licks a long stripe from the base of his cock to the head, flicking his tongue. He engulfs Harry taking half of his cock in one swift motion.

Harry’s phone starts ringing. “Damn” he says staring at the head bobbing up and down his cock, working him expertly “I have to get this, they’ll just bother me more” he says shifting a bit making George swallow more. He grabs the phone from his jeans seeing it’s princess Ariel.

“Hey” he says staring at the boy. “Hey, Hazz, Niall just called, there’s a party tonight at his club, can you pick us up in like an hour?” she asks loud music blasting in the background.

“Um, ahh” he gasps as George engulfs his entire cock. “Harry did you just answer me during… Oh my god” she starts laughing. “We’ll meet you there, I know you’ll be late” he nods unable to talk. “And don’t think about that ass blessed footie player you snogged.” She hangs up.

Harry throws his phone and looks at the boy who now looks straight into his eyes. But instead of blue he only sees brown, and he doesn’t want brown. He pulls the boy towards him sliding their cocks together and kissing him hungrily. He flips them over and holds the boys hips as he roughly jerks his hips. “Oh god” George gasps, reaching inside the drawer and handing him some lube and a condom. Harry slowly takes it spreading George’s legs further.

=

He’s lying on the bed breathing heavily, sweat covering his body. Next to him is a wide eyed boy, with disheveled hair and cum over his stomach. He can’t even remember much of what just happened, the only thoughts he had screaming Louis, Louis, Louis like a mantra. Blue eyes and small hands and firm thighs and plump ass.

“You’re awfully quiet” George chirps kissing his lips slowly. He groans kissing back trying to get the boy out of his mind. “Damn, let a guy rest” he smiles. George laughs and puts a duvet over them.

“That was amazing” he says seeming really happy and satisfied. He absent-mindedly traces the outline of Harry’s abs.  “Yeah” Harry replies half-heartedly with closed eyes.

After about 15 minutes of silence George speaks up “Um, Harry” he sounds a bit worried.

“Hm?” Harry replies slowly opening his eyes. “I kind of haven’t really told anyone…” “Um…”

“I get it kid, you don’t want people to know you’re gay, it’s fine, I won’t tell anyone.”

“I don’t really know what I am?” he says staring at his hands. Harry really didn’t have the strength to discuss someone’s sexuality problems, seriously. “Well, at least you had your little experiment” he says seeming offended, maybe that’s the easiest way to leave this boy as soon as possible.

“No, I… You weren’t an experiment. I really like you Harry, I…” He starts sounding frazzled.

“Please spare me” he says standing up and getting dressed. “Please don’t leave” George says pleadingly.

“This was just sex kid, please stop acting like a girl” Harry says putting on his shoes.

“I just, can’t we just talk?” he pleads, his eyes starting to fill with tears.

“I don’t talk, I just do, talk to your friends” he turns around smiling at the boy. “If you ever want a repeat you can always call, you were really good kid, made my day” then he turns around heading for the door.

“But Harry you were… “

The door closes.

 

 

“My first” he finishes, tears streaming down his face. 

Chapter Text

“Uh Louis, come on we’re late” Liam whines, pressing on the intercom for the 3rd time in 15 minutes. “Fashionably late” Louis says finally exiting the building. He wore the tightest jeans he owned – a deep burgundy colour and a tight fitting light blue shirt that made his eyes pop and biceps show. Liam eyed him slowly “You’re just looking for trouble in an outfit like that”.

“Oh, come on Liam, live a little” Louis chirps, unbuttoning Liam’s shirt a bit and rolling his sleeves. “There, maybe now you’ll actually get a bird”

“Excuse me, I can get one if I want to, I am just not as much of a slut as some people I know”. For this he receives an if-thoughts-could-kill-you’d-be-dead-right-now glare. They go in a cab (It’s safer, in case we drink, Liam always says even though he never touches a drop of alcohol) and soon arrive in front of a huge club. The outside of the club is completely green and there are spotlights everywhere. The name Karma is written in big, cursive silver letters glowing in the dark that surrounds it.

They approach the club seeing a line of about 10 people in front. Louis pulls Liam’s hand as he goes to the bouncer completely skipping the line. Liam feels petrified as the bouncer eyes them slowly “Name?” he asks.

“Liam Payne” Louis says, noticing Liam’s lack of reaction. The bouncer checks the list and moves away from the door. “Mr. Horan is waiting for you at the seats next to the DJ, you will easily notice them.” He says and the boys exchange a look as they go in. The club is even more massive from the inside, lots of tables and stools standing in the centre. There is a long bar on the right, filled with every alcohol there is, lit up by strong green lights.

The dance floor is on the left, a number of people dancing already. Above it is the DJ, busting some amazing music. The music is loud enough to dance, but quiet enough to be able to talk and not get a hearing problem.

Next to the DJ is a large booth, in it a solitary figure sitting. A blond Irish man, approached by everyone as he shakes their hand. He spots Liam and motions for him to come over. “I must say Liam, I’m proud” Louis says pulling him towards the booth. Liam follows Louis ignoring the group of guys that were already eyeing them. “Louis and his stupid outfit” Liam thinks cursing the short boy swiveling his hips. 

“Liam my man” Niall yells, hugging Liam with one hand, a pint of beer in the other. “Hey Niall, this is…”

“Louis Tomlinson” says Louis interrupting Liam, earning him a snort.

“Nice to meet you Lou” he says, automatically picking his favourite nickname. “You too Nialler” he laughs patting the boy on the back. Niall motions for the waiter to come, and says “So, what are you having guys?”

“Vodka” “Coke”

“Okay, and beer for me” he finishes the order and the waiter goes off. “You still refuse to drink, I thought you were joking at the bar.” Niall asks turning to Liam.

“He doesn’t drink, boring as hell if you ask me” Louis says, Liam pinching him on the bum. Raising his glass and laughing like an idiot Niall says “A toast to…”

“Nialler, you’ve started without us” says a brunette girl pulling an attractive boy and a redhead on his side towards the table.

“Well, took you lot a long time to come here” Niall answers their drinks still in the air. The waiter comes bringing another bottle of vodka and some green energy drinks. He mixed up their drinks without a word and smiled as one of the girls winked at him. They all raise their drinks and Niall finishes his toast.

“A toast to new, and old, friendships”. Everyone downs their drink, except for Liam who is sipping on his coke. 

“So guys these are my best buds in the world, minus one” he says to Louis and Liam “This is Mill” he points to the pretty brunette, Liam noticed. Her blue eyes shining strongly in the spotlight.

“This is Tam” he points to the redhead who was quite attractive. She smiles, looking at Louis. She looked as if she was thinking of something and then finally realized it.

“And, this is Zach” Niall mocks. “It’s Zayn” Zayn corrects smiling. Louis notices his high cheekbones, his perfect jawline, dark complexion, hair and eyes. He was definitely hot.

“And guys, this is Liam” he puts an arm over Liam’s shoulder. They all stare at him. His shirt although not very tight showing off his figure perfectly. Since his sleeves were rolled up they could see his tattooed arm.

“And this is Louis” Niall finishes, downing another pint, exhausted by all of the talk and going off to the direction of the bar. Louis just smirks and nods at the group. There is a moment of silence before Tam says: “So what do you guys do for a living?”

“I’m a football player” Louis says as proud as ever. Liam adds a little shyly “I’m a boxer”

Tam bumps Mill’s hip hard giving her a you-better-not-mess-this-up look. “Oh really, Mill here loves athletes” earning her a questioning look from both parties on her side. Louis just chuckles realizing what the girl is thinking, deciding that he likes her blunt nature, it’s much like his own.

“And what do you do?” Liam asks politely, looking at Mill. “Well, we’re all models” she answers smiling coyly as well.

“Well, I should have deducted that before, you look beautiful” Liam said causing Louis’ head to turn 180 degrees as he was turned around getting his drink. However he didn’t miss the slight blush spreading on Liam’s cheeks or the satisfied smirk of the redhead. “Thank you” the brunette smiles sipping on her straw looking at him.

Liam choked up and Louis decided that this was his moment to shine.

“So Zayn, how hard is it to be a straight guy in such a gay industry?”

Liam now started literally choking on his drink, Tam laughed out loud, and Mill and Zayn just remained silent.

“Um, how did you know I was straight?” Zayn finally talked.

“Well, if you weren’t I would have pounced you by now” Louis winks and yelps as Liam not-so-subtly hits him in the ribs.  Everyone is silent except from Tam who is still laughing. “I like you, a toast for Louis” she raises her glass and they all drink quite awkwardly.

A guy approaches them. The easiest way to describe him is emo.  He is smiling wide carrying a drink in his hand. He eyes them all and suddenly his smile falls considerably. “Hey, Michael.” Mill says. “Hey” he replies curtly, nodding to the group of friends standing on the left. He starts to leave then turns around eyeing Liam and then looking at Louis for at least 10 seconds seeing his tight outfit and muscles. He scoffs and turns around dramatically leaving.

“What’s his problem?” Louis says in full bitch mode.

“It’s complicated” Tam says obviously amused by what’s happening. The group talks a bit more until another man comes over looking at Louis. He pats him on the shoulder slowly and waits for Louis’ attention to turn to him. “Hi, I’m Max.” “Louis” Louis replies sipping on his drink staring at the guy. He is attractive, but he isn’t really Louis’ type. He is missing some long legs, and endless torso, and dimples, and plump lips and curls. Louis groans in his mind as Max says:

“Would your boyfriend mind if I took you to dance?” he points his head to Liam. “I don’t have a boyfriend” Louis replies smiling seductively. He downs another glass of vodka and lets Max pull him to the dance floor.

Tam puts her glass down, seeming irritated as she goes off somewhere. Liam just seems confused and continues to talk with Mill while Zayn absent-mindedly drinks.

 

=

 

Tam passes the dance floor staring not-so-subtly at the pair in the middle. Louis is grinding his hips on Max, his back pressed to Max’s chest and his arms around Max’s neck.  The boy is holding Louis’ hips and whispering something in Louis’ ear.

Tam hurries as she frantically looks for someone. She spots him sitting at a table with two hot girls. He is laughing and having a good time. “Nialler” she says, maybe a bit too aggressively, but he doesn’t notice.

“Hey Tam” he stands up still smiling. “I’ve just realized that you haven’t given Louis the grand tour of the club, he was just saying how cool it looks” she says.

“You’re right!” he chirps and sends a nod to the girls as he starts going in the direction of the booth. “Dance floor” Tam yells smirking.

“Sorry girls, I’ll send him back later” she winks at the two now-not-so-offended girls and proceeds to the booth, just in time to see a very pissed off Max and Louis being dragged by Niall.

“We don’t call him Niall Cockblock Horan without a reason.” Tam thinks. She returns to the booth to a laughing Mill as she stares in the direction of the dance floor. “You are the devil” she says. Tam shrugs noticing the way Liam keeps staring at Mill. She suddenly grabs Zayn by the arm, almost spilling his drink and says: “Let’s dance Zaynie”

Zayn looks bewildered and is reluctant to move. She pulls him a bit harder sending him a glare and motioning towards the pair now standing alone at the table. He puts the pieces together, leaves his drink knowing he doesn’t have another choice and follows her.

“Well, that was really obvious” Liam says laughing. “She always is” Mill says already used to her friend’s behavior. “How about you have a real drink now?” Mill says touching his hand as she lowers the third bottle of coke nearing his lips.

“But, I don’t drink.” Liam says a bit flustered, staring at their hands.

“Too bad” she replies sounding disappointed. “I love it when a man drinks”

Liam seems a bit distressed as he reaches for the bottle of vodka and pours himself a full glass, downing it all in one big gulp. It burns like hell and he somehow manages not to cough.

“Wow” she replies smiling. She finishes her drink and tells him “Let me make you a real drink” she mixes up the vodka with the energy juice and some orange juice he didn’t even know was there. She hands him one drink and takes the other. He tries not to seem fazed as he already feels the effects of the alcohol. They drink it as well and he feels proud.

“I love this song” Mill says swaying from left to right. “Let’s dance” Liam says overly jolly, feeling a sudden bolt of confidence. He takes her hand and goes to the dance floor stumbling a bit.

=

 

“Seriously Zayn put your hands on my hips, you look ridiculous” Tam says laughing as Zayn swayed uncomfortably in front of her. “They look cute together, don’t they” she motions to the pair dancing on the other side of the dance floor.

“Yeah” he replies going closer, putting his hands on her hips staring at her. She puts her arms around his neck and says “Soo… Is everything fine now?”

“Yeah” he grins. His hand reaches and moves a piece of hair that has fallen on her face behind her ear.

“Oh yeah, did I tell you? I went on a date today, it was so good….” She starts talking as they sway to the music.

 

=

 

Harry parks his car and swiftly walks to the club. The bouncer shakes his hand, leaving a single key in it. They wink at each other and then Harry walks in going to their usual spot.

He notices that there are only two people in the booth. He nods to the DJ and goes in the booth his smile spreading wide.

“Hazza, where are you man?” Niall jumps on Harry. Harry holds him with one hand as he isn’t at all surprised. “Oh yeah… Harry this is…”

“We’ve met, hello Louis” Harry stretches out his name, staring at the boy with a loop-sided grin.

“Hi Harry” Louis replies cursing the whole world. Why can’t he avoid this sexy stranger? He looks at Harry noticing just how good he looks. His unbuttoned shirt revealed the ink on his chest. He had legs that went on for miles. He was just… perfect. Perfectly bad.

Niall is staring between them and then says to Harry “Seriously Harry, is there a person in this town you haven’t fucked?” Harry just shrugs and replies “Don’t you have someone waiting for you?”

“Oh yeah” Niall says and Louis watches him go off. He jumps as he turns his head and sees that Harry is right in front of him. “You look nice” Harry says eyeing Louis in the filthiest way possible. He puts his hand on Louis’ hip and winks at him.

“Um, thanks” Louis replies going backwards and hitting the wall. Harry moves his hand on the wall next to Louis’ head. “You know, it’s not nice to ignore people” Harry says going even closer to the boy. Louis realizes just how bigger Harry is than himself as he crowds around his small frame. “Maybe it’s because I’m not interested” Louis replies trying to sound sassy, probably failing. It wasn’t his fault, Harry’s gaze was burning a hole in him, his entire body felt like it was going to melt.

“I don’t believe you” Harry said biting his lip, noticing how Louis eyes follow the movement of his plump lips. “You're teasing me. You know what I want and I got what you need “ he says going even closer his other hand now firm on Louis’ waist, slightly squeezing him.

Louis is at loss with words, he can feel his arousal growing, he knows he can’t resist for much longer, but he has to. “I’m not sure you do, to be honest” he smirks.

“Oh, you think I’m not going to rock your world?” he goes even closer.

“Well, I’m not like all the other people in this town.”  Louis replies not knowing how he even has the strength to speak with Harry’s hand slowly circling his hip, reaching underneath his shirt.

“I’ve noticed, but I promise you will enjoy it very much” he pulls on Louis T-shirt with his teeth, staring at him, his pupils blown.

“You expect me to just let you” Louis gulps as Harry’s thigh goes painfully close to his growing erection. “But I won’t”

“Why are you resisting when you know you want to” Harry replies kissing his neck.

“I’m not easy” Louis tries to convince himself rather than Harry.

“You’re not, you’re hard” he lowers his hand grazing it over Louis’ evident bulge. “Very hard”

“Oh god” . Harry hooks his hands on Louis belt loops and pulls him so that their erections are touching.

“And so am I” he says before dipping in and pressing a chaste kiss to Louis’ lips. Louis can’t take it anymore. He puts his hands on Harry’s small ass as he pushes him into Louis, trapping his lips with his own. Harry doesn’t let his guard down as he takes dominance of the kiss, pressing his tongue in Louis mouth, kissing his lower lip and squeezing his plump ass.

They break apart minutes later. Harry grabs the bottle of Vodka and takes a long swig before giving it to Louis, holding his head as he dips the cool liquid into the boy’s awaiting mouth. A drop escapes Louis’ mouth and Harry happily laps it up.

Then he takes Louis’ hand and leads him to a corridor with three rooms. Two are bathrooms and the third has a sign which says employees only. He takes a key out of his pocket, unlocks it and goes in. Louis doesn’t even question how Harry has the key, he just knew he had to get his hands on the curly-haired boy as soon as possible.

Harry locks the door and is met by firm hands pushing him to the door. Louis kisses Harry’s mouth with passion, the taste of vodka still strong on his tongue. Harry turns them around pushing the smaller boy to the wall never breaking the kiss. He grabs the boy’s hands and pins them above his head with one hand. “His fingers are huge” Louis thinks.

His other hand reaches for Louis zipper, unbuttoning his pants and pulling them down to his thighs. “Harry” Louis moans as he feels a firm hand on his painfully-hard member. “Be a good boy for me, Lou” Harry says letting go of his hands as he goes down on his knees. Louis can’t believe what’s happening, he can barely move.

He closes his eyes as he feels a mouth wrap around him. He feels a strong squeeze on his hips and opens his eyes, seeing a satisfied Harry. He looked amazing like this. His curls sticking to his face, his green eyes big under his long eyelashes. Cheeks flush and lips pink and stretched. Louis grabs Harry’s hair and jerks his hips, unable to control himself. Harry moans around him, sending shivers down his spine.

So Louis does it again, this time deeper. He continues with his movements using Harry’s perfect mouth to get himself off, loving the way his tongue moves tracing Louis’ cock perfectly, and how his deep voice resonates around it. He feels himself getting close as he moans Harry, Harry, Harry over and over again. He pushes one last time, balls deep, and comes with a shudder as he hears the younger boy gag, swallowing him entirely.

Harry goes up, his eyes a little watery and kisses Louis passionately. He moans as he rubs a little on Louis, he is so painfully hard. Louis’ phone rings suddenly just as he reaches for Harry’s very prominent erection.

Louis pulls up his pants reaching into the pocket and answering seeing as Liam is calling him.

“Heyyyaaaa” he is yelling really loud, he sounds drunk out of his mind.

“Um, Liam are you ok?” Lou replies trying to ignore the way Harry is rutting up against him, obviously desperate.

“Mhgm, where are you? I wanna get into a dance battle, I want you to be my partner.”

“Oh god Liam, just stay there, I’m taking you home.”

“No, I wanna stay, I played a drinking game Louis, it was so fun, but everyone is gone”

“What do you mean everyone’s gone?”

“Well, I can’t see anyone, it’s so dark here, and it smells bad.”

“Jesus Liam, stay where you are, I’m coming to get you” Louis says pushing Harry off as he buttons up his jeans and fixes his shirt. He unlocks the door and feels a tug on his hand.

“I’m sorry Harry, but I have to go” he says. He smiles at Harry and adds “You were really good kid, made my day” and he exits the room leaving a very upset and sexually frustrated Harry behind.

Chapter Text

 

It was the worst day Louis Tomlinson had in a while.

He was tired as hell – he hadn’t slept all night. After rushing out of the club, he found a very drunk Liam sitting on the concrete, leaning on the wall of an alley behind the club. He was singing as loud as he could “I believe I can fly”. Louis needed half an hour to put him in a cab and drag him to his place, plus spending a lot of money so the cab driver even lets them in.

After they arrived he had to strip Liam, and give him a cold shower. He forced him to drink some water and pills. Liam then started bugging Louis heavily refusing to lie down until he found out Mill’s number.

“She’s so pretty Lou” Liam says, barely forming a sentence, burping at the same time. “Yeah she is Li, now come on” Louis tries pulling him to the bed.

“But” Liam hiccupped refusing to lie down “I didn’t, her number”

“We’ll ask Niall” at this Liam finally lets go and falls on the bed. He closes his eyes and then says “I’m, feel, butterflies”

“Great Li, great” Louis says going for more water and a bucket.

“It hurts” he says staring frantically at Louis.

“Are you feeling sick baby?” Louis says patting Liam’s head. The boy faintly nods and he makes a pained expression. The shorter boy quickly maneuvers Liam on his side, just in time as he starts vomiting. Louis brings a washcloth and more water for the boy standing by his side, until he is finally asleep. He decided that it’s best to watch over him in case he gets sick again. So he pulls over a chair, sitting by the bed. He hardly even sleeps, and when he is finally awake he feels cramped.

Liam is still asleep and Louis goes to make coffee, the strongest kind and cuts up some bananas. He takes more pain killers and goes over to Liam seeing the boy awake, holding his head firmly.

Louis hands him the pills and water. Then he gives him the coffee and gives him the banana. He doesn’t say a word, knowing it’s too early. He showers slowly, trying to ease the ache in his back, and put some energy in his body. He looks at himself in the mirror, noticing deep circles underneath his eyes. His hair is also a mess, but he doesn’t care.

He puts on some sweats and a simple T-shirt, and goes to pack his bag. He has practice today, and he really doesn’t want to be late.

“Lou, what happened last night?” Liam comes in, stumbling a bit, but looking better.

“You got drunk out of your mind Li. Just don’t do too much, I have practice now, but I can buy us lunch on my way home.” Liam smiles at his friend and looks red as he chokes out “’m sorry”

“Don’t be, you gotta live a little mate” Louis replies nodding to the boy as he leaves the flat.

His car is of course out of gas, and of course there is a jam on the road. And of course it starts raining when Louis doesn’t have an umbrella.

He stumbles into the locker room, completely wet and 20 minutes late. He changes quickly and goes to the field. As soon as he’s out he hears coach yell “Tomlinson, how many times have I told you not to be late!” “I’m sorry sir, but…”

“No buts, go run 10 times around the field” Paul seems really pissed off.

“But coach please”

“Make that 15 for whining like a little girl.” Louis sighs and goes off. He feels his body complain as he runs, his legs giving in. After 11 laps, and sincere hope that Paul didn’t count he returns to the group.

“Tomlinson, have you seen George?” Paul asks obviously discussing something with the boys.

“Um, no”

“Well, he hasn’t turned up for practice, and he is your partner on the field, we have a match this week for fuck’s sakes. And you are all irresponsible.” Louis just stands there, not knowing what to say, wondering if George was ok.

“I’ve tried calling him. He isn’t answering his phone. And since Josh is at his sister’s wedding I have no idea what’s going on. “Try contacting him, I need him here tomorrow, you got that Louis?” Louis nods.

“Now ladies, tomorrow you need to come at 10 am here, we shall round up and go together somewhere. I expect you to look nice. We will not be practicing, but this is very important for our sponsorships so you better all show up. That includes George as well” he finishes looking intensely at Louis.

They continue training. Louis hardly has any strength to move, let alone run. But he manages somehow.

An hour later a whistle is blown and coach says “See you tomorrow lads”. Louis goes inside, showering quickly. He comes to his locker only in his boxers and hears a wolf whistle on his right. He turns and sees Stan smiling like an idiot.

“Someone got lucky last night” Stan says winking at him. Everyone of course crowds around. Sometimes Louis wonders how most of these guys were straight, they acted so girlish at times.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about Stan” Louis says nonchalantly.

Stan motions with his head towards Louis’ hips. “And what’s this then”. And then Louis sees them – marks on his hips, finger prints, deep blue resting on his tanned skin. He suddenly feels hot. He remembers the boy kneeling before him making him cum like never in his life. He gets dressed quickly avoiding Stan’s menacing questions.

He jumps into his car and puts his phone into handsfree. He dials George and goes in the direction of Mc Donald’s. 

After 6 rings George finally answers “Hello?”

“Hey  Shells, what’s up” Louis tries to keep it light. “Um, nothing” George answers obviously not in a good mood.

“Is something wrong George, want me to come over?”

“No, no, I’m fine, just feeling a bit of a headache, so I decided to skip today” George never misses practice, ever so Louis knows there’s something else going on, but Louis also knows he can’t argue with George.

“If you say so Shells, but if you need anything just gimme a call. Oh and by the way, we have some shit tomorrow, coach said to look nice, meet up is at 10.”

“Thanks Lou, see ya then”

“Take care, bye” Louis says and George hangs up. Tomorrow he’ll interrogate him.

 

=

 

Louis enters the flat taking off his muddy shoes and shaking his wet hair. He leaves the big bag of Mc Donald’s on the kitchen counter. It is remarkably dry as he protected it with his body.

He goes into the study (everyone always laughed at him for even having one) and sees Liam on the computer staring at his Facebook. He hears Louis and starts rambling in his usual worried tone.

“Lou, 20 people added me, scratch that 21. What the fuck did I do last night?!” he gulps.

“I don’t know Liam, calm down man” he laughs.

“Why don’t you know, you were fucking there?” Liam seems desperate.

“Um, well I wasn’t by your side the whole time Li” he lies shamelessly.

Liam goes to the kitchen to take a bite to eat and Louis of course sits on the computer logging into his own Facebook. He sees a friend request from Tam. He gladly accepts going into her pictures immediately. If Niall  knows him and her maybe they know each other  Louis thinks as he goes into an album called Live While We’re Young.

He sees tons of curls and dimpled smiles and bright green eyes. There were lots of pictures of them going out, Harry looking sexy as hell. But also, there were pictures of Harry with pigtails. Then one where he is wearing a sombrero and sitting Turkish style. Then one where he is above a smashed cake, with frosting all over his face. Then some really happy looking pics of the strange group of four at a park, sitting in a circle, Harry holding a guitar, a flower crown resting on his mop of curls. Then of course a bit of duck faces and peace signs. Then one of Harry covered by a cute apron holding a fresh batch of delicious looking cupcakes. Louis starts smiling at the wonderful pictures, seeing this boy as more than just dark and hot. He was actually cute, and adorable, and bubbly. He hears the door and swiftly logs off.

“I wanna get her number” Liam said seeming determined, obviously he had a debate whilst on the toilet, ah the wisdom we find in such tranquil moments.

“So let’s call Niall” Louis says grabbing Liam’s phone. Liam dials the number and Louis puts it on speakerphone. The answer is almost immediate and too loud for Liam’s hangover and Louis’ lack of sleep.

“Heya, Liam, whatcha doin’ mate? How’s it going? Last night was crazy man.”  Niall chirps laughing, his mouth obviously stuffed.

“Um, I’m fine, a bit hung over.”

“Haha, that’s what happens when you drink with the pros” Niall laughs even louder.

“Um, what happened last night anyways?” Liam asks trying not to sound distressed.

“Aww, sorry mate, second rule of the drinking game: What happens while drinking stays while drinking”

“That makes absolutely no sense”

“What’s the first rule?” Louis buts in.

“Once you’re in, you can’t go out” Niall says his mouth full again. “Damn, it’s like the fucking mafia”

“Oh yeah, we’re really dangerous” Niall answers.

“So, um, could you like, maybe, give me Mill’s number” Liam says, sounding nervous.

“Sure mate, I’ll send it now” there is a silence for a minute and Liam receives a message. “Better treat her right mate, she has some really protective friends”

Liam laughs and replies “Don’t worry, I’m nothing but a gentleman.”

“Good to know” Niall slurps loudly on his drink and says “Hey Lou?”

“Yeah Niall” Louis perks up. “What happened between you and Harry in the end?”

“Um, I have no idea what you’re talking about Nialler.” Louis answers feeling Liam’s gaze on his face.

“Oh, I know you know each other from before and I saw the way he looks at you Lou, I’m not blind.” Niall answers while still slurping on his drink.

“Please, it was a drunken snog once” Louis rolls his eyes, realizing he has been lying too much today.

“Oh, and then you snogged again, dry humped in the booth and went to The Room.” Louis looks like he’d been caught jerking off by his parents. “Um, Niall, heh I gotta go” he hangs up and starts getting up from the couch. Liam pulls him back, overpowering him with his strength.

“What the hell is wrong with you? I told you he was bad. Why don’t you listen to me? I’m your best friend?!” Liam starts yelling.

“He’s not that bad” Louis says, his voice small.

“Oh really” Liam turns on the laptop again googling Harry Styles. A ton of articles pop up, some were about awards and formal outings, others were about his raging sex life and multiple partners he’s had – both sexes included. Some of them were quite famous. For example there was a country/pop singer Louis sometimes listened to. And a radio host. And basketball player. And actor. And… Damn, that’s a lot of people.

“Stay away from him, or I’ll beat both of you up. I will not be bailing you out of jail again, you got that?” Liam sounds serious.

“Okay, I will I promise. It wasn’t my fault I was drunk, and Liam he is sooo hot, like the hottest person I’ve ever seen” Louis sighs and grabs the laptop clicking on images “See” he points to the pictures that pop up featuring Harry shirtless and in underwear, his muscles showing, his tattoos prominent.

“I don’t care if he’s fucking Adonis” “Oh he is” Louis adds and Liam just glares at him.

“He’s trouble and you will stay away from him, are we clear?” Liam stares at Lou intensely.

“We’re clear” Lou sighs as he turns off his computer.

 

=

Meanwhile…

 

Harry wakes up, realizing he’s lying on the floor. Next to him is the couch he obviously fell off sometime during the night. He notices Zayn on the other couch snoring like a wild animal. He stretches feeling his body crack. He curses silently as he sees that everyone’s asleep. He has never been this frustrated in his life. He just wants to touch the curvy boy again. He can still feel him over his body.

He goes into the kitchen and starts making some coffee, tea and hot chocolate. He decides that a nice breakfast will be comforting and begins work on some chocolate muffins. He makes the dough and puts it in the oven. He pours himself a cup of tea and just smells the wonderful apple and cinnamon.

He hears footsteps and a very sleepy looking Tam walks in, wearing her pajamas. He pours her a cup of hot chocolate and she nods. They both go outside on the terrace. They sit in comfortable silence sipping on their hot drinks. Harry goes up and brings the freshly baked muffins outside. Before he can say a word Tam has already stuffed her face with one, screeching as the hot treat touches her tongue. They both laugh.

They continue their comfortable silence, their cups in their hands as heavy rain starts to pour outside. It sends the most wonderful fragrances in the air and makes the street look even cozier, with brightly coloured umbrellas popping up everywhere.

“I’ll never get used to this weather” Tam says.

“Don’t you ever miss home?” Harry asks tentatively looking up from his tea.

“Yes and no. I miss my family. And long walks down the city centre and through the fortress. Eating ice-cream and popcorn in the park. But I do have Milly here, and I do all of that with her. Plus I have you two fools I adore.” She smiles. “Do you ever miss it?” she asks verily. She knows how much he hates talking about his past. All she knows is that he isn’t from Manchester, that something bad obviously happened and that he isn’t in contact with his family at all.

“Sometimes, but then I remember certain things and realize I’d be better off without it.” He sighs.

“Why don’t you call her?”

“Because I don’t want to” he snaps and then looses his tension noticing that he’d scared her for a second.

“Anyways, um, what happened last night?” She asks obviously interested.

“Nothing, he ran out on me again, I’m beginning to lose my mind.” Harry sighs.

“At least you’re having fun”

“Look who’s talking, Miss I-Have-A-Boyfriend-Again-And-Did-Not-Warn-My-BFF-About-Who-He-Is-Gonna-Have-To-Beat-Up.” He smirks.

“You’re not beating anyone up Harry” she says with a warning.

“Not until you leave him driving him crazy so he follows you around and threatens both you and people around you” . “That won’t happen” . “It happens every fucking time Tam. So now I have a new technique, I’m gonna scare him in advance, I’ll be like your scary older brother”

“You’re younger than me Hazz” she smiles. “Thank you” she sips on her hot chocolate “for last time”

“Any time Tam, I’ve always said I’d come in the middle of the night if you needed me”

“I don’t know what would have happened if you hadn’t found me” she sighs staring at her mug, concentrating on the sound of rain drops.

 “I don’t even want to think about it” Harry says gripping his cup tightly worry etching his features.

“But Harry, you got arrested, because of me” she looks at him guiltily.

‘I don’t give a damn, I needed to protect you, I don’t care about the police. Besides, now no one wants to mess with me, everyone thinks I’m dangerous. “ They both laugh and eat a muffin.

“Come here kiddo” he motions towards her extending his arm. She goes closer, the tension leaving her body as she cuddles into him, his strong arm wrapping around her fragile frame. He kisses the top of her head.

Inside comes Mill a sad expression on her face “Cuddle session, without me?” Harry goes up, kisses her on the cheek and comes back a minute later with another mug of hot chocolate. He sits in the middle, wrapping his arms around the girls feeling at home. The scent of rain, and tea, and chocolate muffins filling his senses.

Tam looks at  Mill and says “Soooooo?”

“So what?” she answers nonchalantly, eating a muffin.

“Oh, fuck off, what happened?!”

“Nothing really, we just danced and flirted, we haven’t even kissed and he didn’t get my phone number.”

“That’s cause he was drunk out of his mind. I can’t believe he agreed to play the drinking game with you and Niall” Tam laughs.

“He’s an idiot” Harry adds laughing.

“Oh, he’s such a sweet guy Harry, he’s a boxer, by the way.”

“Ohh… You go girl!” They all start laughing at Harry’s girl impression. Suddenly a very sleepy Zayn comes in, a cup of coffee in his hand. He yawns and says thanks to Harry, motioning to his coffee.

He sits on the couch joining the cuddle session. He blinks slowly and snuggles into the warmth of his best friends.

“This is home” Harry says.

Chapter Text

Louis woke up and slowly got out of bed. For the first time he felt alone in the empty flat. He enjoyed his solitude most of the time, but now he just needed a warm body next to his, a gentle reminder that he is in fact loved. He sighed and went to the kitchen in his boxers. He put the kettle on and smiled as he saw the basket of chocolate muffins his mother had sent him yesterday. He put three in the oven and went for a quick shower.

He got out of the shower smelling like peaches and vanilla. He wrapped a towel around his wet body, not bothering to dry himself and went to the kitchen. He took out some tea – his favourite apple and cinnamon and put the muffins on a plate. He switched on the TV and watched an episode of Castle while enjoying his perfect breakfast. He put the TV on a high volume hoping it will kill the silence that sounded so loud – he hated hearing his every step and movement.

=

A fitted white shirt with a deep scoop neckline showing off his tattoo he got at the age of 19 – It Is What It Is and black skinny jeans. He looks in the mirror one last time fixing his fluffy hair and goes outside.

=

“Coach, where are you taking us?” Louis says smiling as he sits with Stan. In front of them is an oddly quiet George and his best friend Josh. They are sitting in their special team bus. “You’ll see Tommo.” Paul answers him telling the driver where to turn. Half an hour later they arrive in front of a fancy looking building with a rotating M on the top. In front of it stood a large fountain surrounded by a couple of topiaries. It looked peaceful.

They get out and approach the tall glass door which opens automatically. Two people are stood by the door, wearing black suits and earpieces. Louis has to comment “Like we’re at the CIA” earning him a glare from Paul which clearly said behave yourself.

Paul reaches the desk followed by the group of guys. The secretary notices them and stands up greeting Paul with a typical air kiss meeting. Paul just frowns at this making Louis laugh. “Welcome Mr. Higgins, it is a pleasure to work with you sir. I shall escort you to the area. Please follow me.”

“The pleasure is all mine” Paul says looking at the beautiful secretary as he motions for the boys to follow them. They reach a vintage looking lift with a smartly dressed man inside. She nods to him saying the number 17. Everyone here looks so pretty, even the service, how is that even possible? Louis thinks.

They reach the 17th floor and pass through the corridor to another glass door. Behind it they can hear thousands of noises, mostly people talking, walking etc. The door opens and they see lots of people running around, some in casual clothes, others in suits, sports clothes, swimwear… The woman instructs them to wait as she goes off to find someone.

She returns followed by a man. Louis’ heart literally stops as he for the first time sees the mysterious stranger that keeps haunting him, in broad daylight. His emerald eyes immediately meet Louis’ sapphire ones as his face contorts into the most beautiful smile Louis has ever seen, his cheeks decorated by a pair of adorable dimples.

“Welcome to Modest Modeling” he says to the group. He shakes Paul’s hand.

“Thank you” Paul replies satisfied with the normal greeting. “Mr. Higgins if you don’t mind I would like to work with your boys alone. My manager also wants to talk to you about certain business things I don’t really have a clue about” Harry chuckles, and smiles wider hearing Louis laugh.

“Sure Mr. Styles”

“Veronica will lead you to him” Harry says motioning for the woman who nods and proceeds back to the lift. “So, follow me, it’s a bit hectic here, so it’s best if we went to the conference room” Harry turns around going forward at a quick pace, or maybe it was quick for Louis since he didn’t have legs that went for miles.

They enter a big room, in the middle of which sat an oval mahogany desk surrounded by a number of chairs. Harry sits in the large chair at the head of the table and motions for the boys to enter. They all seem confused as they sit down. All of them, that is, apart from a bewildered Louis and twitching George.

Behind Harry is a huge collage of pictures featuring himself. Underneath the collage are the words “Model of the Year”. The pictures range from sad to happy to dark and classy.

 

 

Louis knew Harry was good at his job, but these pictures proved just how amazing he is. Louis must have been admiring the pictures for too long because when he bounces back to reality he notices Harry talking and everyone listening.

“So, now that you know why I’m here we can begin” Why is he here Louis wonders.

“The advertisements you will be doing are due for next week meaning I have a very small time frame to actually help you. But I will do my best”

“And what exactly do we need help about? The only point of modeling is to look pretty. Any idiot can do it” Jay says laughing like an idiot followed by two guys on his sides. Louis just rolls his eyes at the typical jerk he had to share air with at times. He honestly did not expect what happened next.

“If you wish to disrespect my profession the door is there.  This is a serious business and seeing that this sponsorship deal is worth 250 million pounds I expect you to take it seriously.” Harry said very slowly and professionally, his voice calm. Everyone gasps at the high number suddenly falling silent. Jay lowers his head and nods slowly. Louis had never seen him this obedient before, not even with the coach.

“Let’s continue, I do not have all day” Harry says just as the door opens and in comes Veronica “Harry do you or your guests need anything to drink?”

 “Sparkling water for me” Harry says looking at the boys. Suddenly they all seem very shy in front of this stranger even though he is younger than them. Louis chirps “I’d like some too, if it isn’t a problem”

Veronica nods and returns a minute later handing both of them the water and crystal glasses. “As I was saying, I’ve already met up with your sponsor, Nike. We have researched their previous advertisements and noticed a pattern.” He opens a file sitting on the desk taking out some pictures.  “They always pick athletes to present them. The pictures are taken at the field, court, etc. You can notice two types of poses – one is your typical pose, and the other involves playing the sport” he leaves the pictures as he pours himself some water. He sips a little before continuing. Louis had to slap himself mentally and try to concentrate on anything that wasn’t those sinful lips.

“As we have often seen here, most athletes have a problem with typical modeling poses and that’s  mostly what I’ll help you with. The point is to understand each personality and based on that choose an appropriate pose. Rarely who can make any kind of pose and look good”

“Anyone but you” Louis says, his thoughts escaping his brain. He curses mentally screaming at himself.

“That’s why I got the award” Harry says smiling widely nodding towards the wall behind him “Thanks for the compliment Louis”. Everyone stares at the exchange. He continues as if nothing happened.

“This is why I have asked your coach for your records. So I can get an idea of what you are like. I love that he actually wrote comments on every one of them.” Harry laughs a little taking a few sheets of paper in his hand. Everyone seems nervous as they look at Harry, wondering what Paul might have written. Louis knew his was the worst, it had to be, he made a shit load of mess wherever they went.

“Today I will show you around so that you get a basic feel of things, we shall also take a couple pictures of you just to grasp who has a natural talent towards this and who doesn’t. You should also get really comfortable with wearing makeup and having your hair done” he finishes slowly glancing at everyone noticing that a lot of guys looked too scruffy, with bad hairstyles and facial hair which needed to be styled.

“Makeup?” Jay says. “We’re not girls” he adds.

“It’s just so you do not look as pale or squinty eyed in photographs as you do in real life” he says an obvious attitude lying underneath his voice. Damn, there’s nothing Louis loved more than a sassy remark. He suddenly felt hot, he liked this professional demanding Harry. He could just imagine him pushing Louis over a table pounding into him, punishing him for being a bad boy. Louis suddenly reached for the water, almost knocking it over as he drank an entire glass in one big gulp thinking of his grandmother, and dead people, and that one time he tried having sex with his girlfriend, when he believed he was straight. Anything to lower his growing erection.

“So, do you have any questions, meaningful I hope?” Harry asks his gaze going from one end of the table to the other noticing Louis’ slightly red cheeks. No one answered so Harry got up and waited for them to follow suit.

“Before a photo shoot the first thing you do is pick an outfit, usually it’s picked for you, but sometimes you have multiple choices” Harry says as he leads them to a dressing room which is conveniently empty. A frantic girl goes in, pushing a long rack of clothes shouting “Get out of my way”. They all move, some checking out the girl quite obviously, amateurs.

“Heya Hazza” the girl says kissing his cheek wiping of the purple she left there. “Hey Pezza, meet the boys, they are players of…”

“Manchester United, duh, I’m a huge fan” the girl says nodding to the boys “My name’s Perrie, but everyone calls me Pezza, I’m in charge of clothing” she smiles at the boys and then adds “Or, lack of which in Hazza’s case” she winks at Harry and walks past the door on the opposite side of the room.

Harry just rolls his eyes smiling and leads them out of the room. “Next is hair and makeup” Harry says leading them to a different room. The wall is covered with full length mirrors. There are sinks and make up equipment everywhere. A single person is sitting at the long counter, a blonde woman finishing his quiff. The woman leaves her station and goes over to Harry smiling widely.

“Hazza bear” she says kissing him on both cheeks. “Lou Lou” he answers imitating her girly voice and they both laugh. “Guys, this is Lou, she will be doing your hair and makeup from now on”

She eyes the boys and looks a bit worried but then smiles. “I’ll do my best”

“You always do” Harry answers looking behind her. The dark boy has got up from his chair and gave Harry a shake then hug. “I gotta go finish this shoot and then I have that meeting. So, see ya home, please buy groceries, I’m dying for a home cooked dinner” he says. “Oh, hey Louis” he notices the curvy boy.

“Hey Zayn” he answers maybe too cheerfully.   He was trying to hide the bolt of jealousy that went through his body as he thought of the two boys living together. Harry probably went around naked, and in towels, and he cooked, and made sweets, and tea. Who wouldn’t jump that?

Zayn is straight, straight as an arrow – Louis’ mind chants wondering why he was suddenly feeling jealousy over a boy he hardly knew. Louis’ eyes go from a now leaving Zayn to a smirking Harry looking in his direction.

“And last, but certainly not least, we have the photo shoot. There is a number of sets here, I will lead you to the simplest one so you don’t get overwhelmed.” He smiles opening a door entering a very large room with a single screen around which are different lights. In front of it is a familiar face Louis can’t even pin a name to. He turns from his camera as he hears footsteps approaching him.

“Heeeey, Harrrrrryyyyy” he says crazily cheerful fixing his hair. “Hi” Harry answers curtly. “This is Michael he’ll be your photographer” he says to the boys. Michael doesn’t even avert his gaze from very clearly checking Harry out. Louis feels like he’s going to explode.

Harry doesn’t even acknowledge the boy and he holds the sheets reading something from them. “Seeing as you were very eager to speak today I reckon you will be just as eager to model first, Jay”

Jay looks frozen as he looks at Harry. “Come on, it’s easy, you don’t need my advice at all, just look pretty” Harry pushes him to the screen and Michael positions himself behind his camera, not at all staring at Harry’s ass, not at all. Jay just stays there feeling really uncomfortable and not knowing where to look. Michael waits for the guy to make a pose, look at him, basically do anything, but he just looks lost. Harry is not paying attention at all, he is just scrolling through the papers laughing when he reads “really irresponsible, quirky and loud personality, flamboyant, nice at times, but mostly an idiot”.

“H…H…Harry” Jay says. Harry looks up seeming bored. “What is it? Are you finished?”

“No, I” Jay starts then sighs as he says his voice small “Can you help me?”

“What did you say?” Harry repeats pretending not to hear him.

“Can you help me?” Jay says this time more determined.

“Of course” Harry smiles “Just look natural, if you don’t like staring at the camera just look in the distance, it can be quite effective. Also, don’t be stuck up, make a pose that is most comfortable for you. For example, imagine waiting for your girlfriend on the street. And you’re slightly bored, but still want to look good when she comes down.” Jay nods and poses simply the camera flashing a couple of times.

“That’ll be enough, we will do more later, I just need these to get a general idea of what types of models you are and your individual styles” he nods to Jay. Jay goes back, and Harry announces the next player to step up. “You can go home now, we shall continue this tomorrow.”

Most of the guys have finished up. Josh was just finishing and George was next. George looks really nervous and is jumping from foot to foot, his face flush. He looks as if he’s going to cry any second. Louis decides to go over, but sees that Harry has already done so. “Let’s take 5” he says to Michael pulling George with him towards a room on the left. He closes the door, and Louis is left alone with Michael in the big room.

“You’re not as hot as you think, Louis” Michael says after a minute or two of silence.

“Excuse me?” Louis says, his sass mode completely on. How does he even know his name? Harry hadn’t said a word about him since they entered the room.

“You heard me. Stay away” Michael says “He can do so much better than you”

“Well, I didn’t hear him complain when he gave me a blow” Louis says sassily feeling really pissed off.  Michael just gulps and looks bedazzled. At that precise moment the door opens and they both look at a slightly calmer George and a bit worried Harry.

“Okay George, you’re adorable so just play at that, puppy eyes always work, just imagine wanting something really badly and asking your mom to give it to you” Harry says standing behind Michael.

George stares deep into Harry’s eyes and makes the best puppy eyes Louis has ever seen. He fails to notice the slash of guiltiness that flashes through Harry as he regains his composure really fast. George finishes and says goodbye. It’s just Harry, Louis and Michael in the room.

“I have a feeling I don’t have to tell you anything Lou” Harry says as Louis positions himself.

“Is it because I’m talented?” Louis says winking at Harry. He hates when people attack him, and now he is going to show this Michael guy just how hot he can be.

“Nah, mostly it’s ‘cause you’re pretty” Harry says winking back.

“I believe the correct word is handsome” Louis says smirking.

“Handsome, rugged…” Harry trails off biting his insanely plump and pink lips.

“Guys, try to be professional, I have another shoot in 10 minutes” Michael says sounding really pissed off. They both ignore him, but they shut up, instead just staring at each other. Louis poses a couple of times.

“Follow me Lou, there’s one place I haven’t showed you” Harry says going in the direction of the door, Michael stands up abruptly going towards him “Don’t you have a photo shoot to get to Mark?” Louis says jumping insanely close to Harry.

“It’s Michael” he answers and looks even angrier, red in the face as he goes out the other door.

The two boys walk to a big open space overlooking the city. It is a large terrace with a bench in the middle and a cherry tree creating a wonderful shade. Harry sits on the bench and looks at Louis waiting for him to sit. Louis obliges, feeling drawn to the boy.

Although the view is amazing, Harry obviously likes to look at Louis more. Louis turns his head his eyes meeting the wonderful emerald. “You have really pretty eyes” Harry says smiling.

“Thanks, you too” Louis says feeling himself blush. He never blushed, he felt so stupid. They sit in silence staring at each other.  

“Why do you keep running away from me?” Harry says, sounding insecure, for the first time since Louis has spoken to him. And for the first time Louis doesn’t know why.

“I just, we, we don’t want the same things Harry” Louis says staring at his hands, the emerald being too strong for him, making his heart flutter like never before.

“But, why don’t you just give me a chance?”

“I can’t, I… I can’t Harry” . They sit in silence again, Harry this time staring at the view instead of Louis.

“I won’t give up you know” Harry says finally.

“Huh?”

“I promise you that by the end of this week I will have convinced you to go out with me” Harry smiles and gets up “See you tomorrow Louis” he says before exiting the room.

 

=

 

Zayn is frantic as he cleans the last bits of his room. The gallery owners have decided to swing by his place instead of meeting him at the gallery like they have discussed. He hears the door ring and they come in, two men dressed, well, kind of like Harry (Zayn never really understood hipsters that much).

He greets them and shows them the work he put in the living room, his specialty were portraits but he also had tons of scenery and even cartoons. They seem satisfied as they look at a picture featuring a beautiful view of the city from above. “Excuse me, can you tell me the location of the bathroom” one of the men, Calum says. “Of course, that hallway, the door on the far left” he points trying to ease his nervousness.

Luke continues to stare at the pictures “Which technique did you use?” he asks staring at a picture of a street in autumn, red, orange, and yellow taking the majority of the picture. “Oil and acrylic paint” he answers finally feeling relieved when the man seems satisfied by his answer.

“Why have you been hiding these, this is amazing” Calum says coming in, holding about 10 different canvases under his arms. Oh no, Zayn thinks. He had left those pictures on the bed when he was separating them.

“Wow, those eyes look so vivid. And the hair, you just want to reach out and touch it” Luke says as they stare at the pictures. “Um, those are private” Zayn says feeling blush creeping up on him. The guys exchange a knowing look and both look at Zayn. “Oh, don’t worry we’ll take good care of them, these are absolutely perfect, how you show the different aspects of the same person with such precision and care. I have never seen anything like it.”

“But I” Zayn starts. “No buts, these will definitely represent what our gallery stands for. They will be the main display. And before you start to argue I have to remind you we do have a contract.” Zayn just gives up, feeling crazily distressed. He has no idea what to do. When people see this, they’ll know, everyone will know, and Zayn kept this secret for so long, no one can know. What is he going to do? As if he was reading his mind Luke says : “You’ll think of something mate, the opening is in a month” . They grab the paintings and nod to Zayn as they leave the flat.

 

=

 

Louis receives a message with a picture attached and he opens it not even bothering to look at the number.

Told you, you don’t need my help at all ;) xx 

 

Chapter Text

“Sooo, what are you going to wear?” Tam asked taking a freshly baked pizza out of the oven. It smelled wonderful.

“For what?” Mill asked confused, pouring them two more glasses of their drug- Coca Cola.

“For your date with loverboy.” Tam said emphasizing the last word. She cut the pizza into perfect triangles. She was very fussy when it came to food.

“What… How do you know about it?” Mill said, she had just made plans 15 minutes ago before she came home from work.

“Louis told me” Tam said smiling devilishly. She gave Mill her plate and proceeded to the living room with hers. Mill stood bewildered for a couple of seconds before grabbing her food and sitting next to Tam on the couch. She was in the middle of eating.

“How?” Mill just said not knowing which question to ask first, knowing Tam will answer all of them on her own.

“We chat on Facebook” Tam says as if it’s not a big deal biting on her pizza.

“Um, and you didn’t even think to tell me that?” Mill says beginning to eat her pizza.

“Thought I told you” Tam says and adds “So, after we met him I added him”

“But you never ever add anyone” Mill declares and they both start to sing “We are never ever ever getting back together”

“Hahaha, that girl was such an idiot.” Tam says laughing. “I can’t believe she wrote a song about Harry, like seriously” Mill chokes on her pizza. She quickly drank more coke, hoping to calm her throat down.

 “Where were we?” Mill says.

“Well, yeah, as I said I added Louis, and he of course accepted me. And before you ask, I wanted him to look at Harry’s photos, you know he keeps them hidden” Mill looked even more confused.

“Why would he look at Harry’s pics?”

“Cause Harry has been flirting with him for some time now. Damn girl, sometimes you don’t notice anything”

“Some time?”

“Oh, yeah, they’ve seen each other a couple of times, but Louis doesn’t want anything with him. Honestly, I think Harry really likes him, but he’ll never admit it.”

“You think that Harry actually likes someone? Wow.”

“Poor thing deserves someone really, and I think Louis is great for him” Tam says smiling.

“So, you decided to play cupid again. Maybe you should let them figure it out on their own” Mill says carefully.

“I’m not doing anything. I just wanna make sure that Louis’s right for our boy, you know the trust issues Harry has” they just exchange looks and fall into a comfortable silence.

“Jeans, wedges and a nice shirt. And can you do my hair, I want some loose curls?” Mill asks.

“Of course, I’ll do your makeup as well, I have to go in an hour so come on let’s get going.” Tam stands up pulling Mill on her feet and pushing her to the beautiful bathroom. The wall is hand painted on little tiles in a form of mosaic (Tam needed months to finish it, she got Zayn to help out at certain parts she had trouble reaching). A long full-length mirror decorates the wall. On the opposite side there is a wide space with two sinks and magnifying mirrors. There are tons of sockets specially designed for their many hair straighteners and curlers. But their favourite part of the bathroom is the large Jacuzzi which can easily fit two people (and four if they bend their knees, they’ve tried it of course). There is also a shower with special massage functions. The amount of products in the bathroom is crazy, from shower gels to shampoos, conditioners, hair and face masks, peals, scrubs, sponges, salts and so on… The girls were class act goo hoarders.

“Get showered woman” Tam says turning on the sound system they installed in the bathroom – blasting some boybandish music they both love to sing to while in the shower.

After about 15 minutes Mill comes out of a wonderful smelling bathroom in her fluffy blue bathrobe, Tam of course has a matching pink one. Tam is sitting on Mill’s bed surrounded by a mountain of makeup and extremely close to a very hot hair curler.

Mill goes to her walk-in closet, grabbing a green shirt which is cute and hot at the same time and her black skinny jeans. She puts on her clothes and over them an oversized hoody, one they stole from Zayn a long time ago, and always wore when getting ready, so that they don’t ruin their clothes with makeup. Accidents happen, quite often actually.

Tam starts curling Mill’s hair as she asks “So, where is loverboy taking you?”

“He said it’s a surprise, somewhere outside” Mill says trying not to sound too excited, but something about him made her feel like a school girl again.

“I like him. I think he’s great for you. And also, a date during the day, somewhere outside, on a day like this? That’s just so nice and wonderful” Tam says.

“But I don’t want nice” Mill says whining.

“Darling, you just say that you don’t, but you do. Plus, maybe this one won’t be such a wimp. I mean, he is a boxer after all.” Tam finishes her hair and moves forward to put on her makeup.

“And how’s it going between you and Robert?” Mill asks trying not to move her face too much as Tam was applying her foundation.

“It’s great. He’s a fun guy, plus have you seen his muscles, ahh” Tam smiles. That really wasn’t the answer Mill was pushing for, but she knew she isn’t going to get a better one anyways.

“All done, have fun love, I have to go like, 5 minutes ago” Tam rushes to put on her shoes.

“Wait, where are you going anyway?” Mill asks taking off the hoody and examining herself in the mirror.

“I have a meeting with Management, don’t know why, Johnny just called me.” Tam answers and goes out the door yelling a goodbye.

 

=

 

The intercom rings three very precise times. Mill goes down, examining herself one more time in the mirror, fixing a loose strand of hair. She suddenly feels just a tiny bit nervous, but her nerves settle as she sees a solitary figure standing in the lobby of their building. He is wearing a plaid shirt unbuttoned on the top with his sleeves neatly rolled up. He is also holding a single flower which is a nice shade of peach – a lily.

He greets her with a dazzling smile, fidgeting a bit on his feet. “You look so beautiful” he says gaping at her and then remembers the flower in his hand. “This is for you” Liam gives her the flower.

“Thank you” Mill says coyly kissing him on the cheek. A blush suddenly creeps out on the place where her lips met Liam’s skin. He takes her hand and leads her to his car – a beautiful expensive looking black car (that’s the way Mill would describe it, she really couldn’t care less about cars). “I cheated I admit it. I found out your favourite flower” Liam says sounding guilty as he opens her door.

“I mean, I didn’t snoop or anything. I was just at the florist’s and on the phone with Louis’ and I said I want to get you a rose, and he started yelling at me saying that you hate roses, and I should get you a lily” Liam buckled up.

“It’s fine really, you still chose a wonderful shade.” Mill says smelling the fresh flower.

“So, you have meddlesome friends as well?” Mill asks Liam as he starts driving to the direction of the highway.

“You too? I thought I was the only one.” Liam laughs. “You want me to put on some music?” Mill nods and he turns on the CD player, Bye Bye Bye blasting loud. Liam starts getting red, and fidgets to change it fast, but Mill slaps his hand away and starts singing to the song “I love NSync!”

“I wanted to play something manly, and here I am listening to a boyband that doesn’t even exist anymore” Liam says humming the song.

“They’re coming back! And plus, boybands are cool!”

=

They finally arrive at the location, it is a half hour drive from Manchester. There is a lake surrounded by trees and a plain green field. A small cabin is next to the field, it looks cozy and warm. Liam pulls over, next to the cabin opening Mill’s door. He goes to the trunk and picks up a large basket covered by a blanket. Taking out a key from his pocket Liam unlocks the door to the cabin. He puts his keys inside, along with his phone and Mill’s purse. He grabs her hand and leads her to the field. Liam spreads the blanket and offers her his hand as she sits down on it.

“You didn’t bring me here to kill me, did you?” Mill says laughing as she sees his frightened expression.

“I wanted to bring you here because it is so beautiful, just like you” Liam says smiling at her as he takes out some champagne.

“So cheesy, I like it” Mill laughs helping him by taking out two glasses. Liam opens the champagne very professionally in a matter of seconds. The truth is that he opened ten different bottles with Louis’ expert advice and he finally learned how to do it properly. He poured their glasses and sat a bit closer to her, slowly stretching his arm and putting it around her back.

“This is my uncle’s house. I used to come here when I was little, now I come even more often. I think it’s amazing when you want to escape the big city, I’m from a small town, I sometimes miss the solitude and piece” he says gazing at the pond.

“It’s wonderful, and I know what you mean, I used to live in a tiny little town, basically everyone was your neighbor, people were open and warm.” They clink their glasses and drink a small sip.

“So, can I ask you something?” Mill said looking at him.

“Sure”

“You seem really nice and humble. So why did you decide to become a boxer?”

“Well, I…” he started and then choked a bit. “Um, I actually wanted to be a professional marathon runner, but at the age of 15 I injured myself and had a knee surgery, so long story short, they basically told me I could never run again.”

“Oh god, that’s so sad, I’m sorry I asked” Mill says staring at the puppy eyed boy next to her.

“It’s ok. And then… I sort of thought boxing was great for me. I started boxing because I was bullied a lot and I wanted to fight back – but later it became my true calling. I realized I was really good, I started winning awards and people stopped bullying me. But I still have that protective streak in me, since no one came to my rescue, I always see myself as someone who needs to rescue people.”

“That’s amazing Liam, really” she says and realizes that she might just be falling for this boy, for something far more than his looks.

“When I was little I always wanted to be a superhero” Liam said. “Specifically, Batman”

“Well, maybe you don’t have fancy gadgets and a butler to serve you, but I’m certain you’ve done your share of rescuing people. Sometimes people just need someone to stand up for them and help them through all the bad stuff” Mill smiles putting down her empty glass. Liam does the same very slowly and then turns a bit so he’s right in front of her.

“You’re perfect” he says with an intimate voice. Although the nature around them is wonderful, they both can’t seem to take their eyes off each other.

“So are you” Mill reciprocated. He lent in closer his hand touching her jaw. “Can I kiss you now?” he inquired his face getting closer.

“You didn’t even have to ask” Mill answers closing her eyes and feeling a soft pair of lips touch her own. Goosebumps rose on their skin as their lips moved in perfect sync with one another, tender touches exchanged. Liam’s tongue slowly traced her lips waiting for them to part. She gasped as he pulled her closer, embracing her body with his strong hands, their tongues touching in the fairest of touches.

She put her hands around his neck pulling him towards her, and they landed on the blanket, making out slowly and passionately. He broke the kiss for half a second to whisper “Will you be my girlfriend?”

“That question usually goes first” she answers adding “Of course” and kisses his worry away.

 

=

 

Meanwhile…

Zayn started walking into Harry’s room when he heard a loud bang from his door and saw Harry stomping out, grabbing his bag and leaving the flat with not even a nod. He goes slowly into the room seeing Harry’s laptop on his bed. He opens it, convincing himself it’s not snooping if it’s for a good cause. Opera is open, with four different tabs – his Facebook, Twitter, YouTube which started blasting one of his indie songs and an article from the Mirror.

Zayn clicked on the article entitled “Harry Loves Balls”. He starts reading.

“Harry Styles, internationally famous playboy, has obviously decided to step up to greener fields. He has, as of late, been seen hanging out with football players of Manchester United. Our reports said that he even works for them to “help them with their modeling for their new campaign”. He must really love working on such close contact with a group of athletic guys. Our resources at the company tell us that Harry gladly gives them individual sessions which always leave them pleased. Have the boys paid for something more? After all, the Premier League is just around the corner, they probably needed some relaxation. The only thing we wonder is whether Harry also joined in on the game, preferably as the ball. We all know how he loves being passed around.”

  Zayn closes the computer shut, feeling pissed off. The media was always horrible to Harry, but this was beyond every line.

 

=

 

The football players stood waiting on the 17th floor, as Harry still hadn’t arrived. They see him coming, this time dressed in sweats and a t-shirt which was sticking to his wet body. His hair was pulled back by a bandana, and he was wearing sneakers. Over his shoulder was a typical sports bag.

“Sorry guys I’m late, I was at the gym” He apologizes wiping off his sweaty forehead with his shirt, showing off his perfect abs. Louis literally chocked up unable to breathe. He knew Harry was hot, and he saw the pictures, but seeing this in real life was too much for him. “Come on, let’s get you all a makeover.” He chirps going into the room with mirrors.

“Okay guys, now I’ll be doing your hair so whoever I say is okay can go out and wait until I finish with the others” Lou says eyeing them all.

Harry leaves them as she pronounces four names – George, Josh, Robert and Louis.

Louis goes outside the room trying to realize where Harry went, he decides to go into the changing room, as he opens the door he is not prepared for what he sees. Harry is standing in his tiny boxers searching the racks for a shirt. He goes to his bag picking up a pair of those insanely tight jeans he loves to wear. He starts putting them on, and it isn’t easy, resulting in him jumping a bit and making weird poses causing his muscles to pop and Louis’ dick to twitch. Louis without thinking goes inside the room closing the door behind him. Harry jumps at the sound and smiles realizing it’s only Louis.

“Those look hard to put on” Louis blurts.

“They’re easier to take off” Harry winks at him. Louis comes closer to Harry and hooks his fingers to Harry’s belt loops. His zipper is still undone and Louis can see his deep V lines clearly. He brushes a finger over one of them and hears Harry shutter.

“You’re doing this on purpose” Louis declares “You’re fucking trying to seduce me with your amazing body and it’s so unfair” he says tracing his finger along the fine lines of Harry’s abs.

“Well, stop trying to resist” Harry says his hand moving to Louis’ waist pulling him closer to Harry’s slightly sweaty lean shirtless body. His hand travels to Louis’ ass kneading it slowly but intensely.

“I’ve wanted to touch this since I met you” Harry whispers in his ear, kissing the outer shell. “The wonders my fingers would do to that plump ass of yours” he groans filthily in Louis’ ear making him moan. He rolls his body, their dicks touching very subtly, but enough to drive them both mad.

Suddenly the door opens and both boys look in the direction of the door, a familiar redhead standing at it not even looking where she’s going. She looks lost and distressed with tears in her eyes.

“Harry, I…” she stops seeing Harry’s unbuttoned jeans, the positions of their hands, their obvious hard-ons. “Um, never mind” she starts to leave, but Harry quickly grabs her hand and says quietly “What is it darling?”

Louis takes this as his cue to leave, but remains eavesdropping at the door.

“I, I don’t know what to do” she breaks into sobs in her best friend’s strong arms.  

Chapter Text

“Tam, tell me what happened.” Harry said squeezing her as tight as he could. He had only seen her cry once, that awful night. She wasn’t the type of girl to break down like this – something serious must be going on, and Harry felt his gut rise to his throat at the mere sight of the broken girl in his arms. She was trying to speak but she couldn’t.

“Do you want some water?” Harry asked tentatively. She nodded slowly and he slipped out going to the freezer not even noticing Louis standing just outside the door. Zayn saw Harry on the way to the kitchen and walked up to him deciding to talk to him about the article – Harry seemed even more distressed than before.

“Hazz…” he started but Harry cut him off “Tam’s upset, come with me” and Zayn immediately started following him.

In the meantime, Louis saw Robert playing Temple Run on his phone. He came up to him and said slowly “What’s wrong with your girlfriend?”

“What?” Robert answered Louis putting his phone away. “I just saw her crying in the dressing room” Louis declared nonchalantly and was bewildered when Robert rushed in that direction, he had never even seen a hint of emotion on his face, let alone actual care. This is why Louis decided to continue his spying and went closer to the door as it closed after Robert.

Two minutes later he saw Harry and Zayn coming back, holding some water and chocolates. They opened the door and then he could hear it.

“What the fuck are you doing here?” Harry yelled.

“I’m making sure my girlfriend is ok, what does that have to do with you?!” Robert yelled just as loud.

He could then hear Zayn speak softly “Quiet down, you’re scaring her”. Louis peeked through the door and saw Zayn hugging Tam rocking her from side to side. Harry was looking very intensely at Robert and upon hearing Tam gulp, took his hand and shook it very strongly making him wince. “We’ll talk about this later, now get out” Robert looked at Tam unwilling to move from her side, but she raised her head and looked at him with her teary eyes, the tears making them appear even more green. She nodded slowly and he went out without a word. He passes Louis and looks at him raising an eyebrow, but Louis just shrugs resuming his previous spying position.

Harry handed Tam the water and she drinks it slowly. Zayn moves behind her and continues hugging her as Harry crouches down in front of her and whispers “Tell us what’s wrong? Who made those tears fall princess? I’m going to kill them, and Zayn will be my accomplice – we will be the Deadly Lovers”

“Hey, why do we have to be lovers? Why can’t we be the Deadly Mates?” Zayn protests.

“It sounds better. Plus look at us, that story would sell like hell” at this Tam laughs along with the boys feeling slightly relaxed. She starts telling the story:

Earlier

Tam walked into the office slightly nervous. She doesn’t really like meeting up with management, they are just a bunch of money hungry sharks that rarely look out for them.

“Hello Tamy, please sit down” Johnny, the chief executive says. He is sitting in the middle of the large table, on his left is his wife Brenda, a stuck up blonde who always sported sharp black glasses and a tight bun on her head, overly neat and with a serious case of stick-up-her-ass. On his right was Roger, the serious junior executive, a major freak who loved going to their photo-shoots and changing rooms staring at the girls in their underwear. He may have on several occasions told Tam quite inappropriate things which she just tried to ignore.

“So, we have been reviewing your work so far” Brenda starts looking at the papers in her hand. “And you were amazing” Roger said staring at Tam in a very filthy way. Brenda glares at him and continues “As I was saying, your previous employers were all extremely satisfied and your fan base is rapidly growing. You have increased our sales in the undergarments department and many people have started equating you to our new line, stating that you are…” Brenda is cut off yet again by Roger as he finishes her sentence the word rolling off his tongue in a dirty manner “sexy”.

Johnny finally speaks up “This is why we have decided to book you a new job which will make you even more famous and also further enhance your image. This is a serious step for us and we believe it will result in more male attention to our company, since at the moment, they aren’t as well acquainted with it.”

“We were thrilled when we received the call, and of course gave our immediate consent, we believe you will do the same” Brenda says. Tam just wonders what the hell they are talking about and what is going on. She is getting really nervous because of the long introduction.

“You will be shooting for Playboy” Roger states smiling wide.

“What?!” Tam glares at them disbelief evident in her voice. “I spoke to Hugh two hours ago, the deal has been made” Johnny claims.

“But, I can’t do that. Are you c… I can’t. I am a model, not some sleazy bimbo who films porn!” she states getting really upset.

“This will be good for your carrier, think about it as modeling, just with less clothes.” Roger scans her body, envisioning her naked.

“No way am I doing this, I have respect for my body and I’m not taking my clothes off for anyone.”

“You can have all the respect you want darling, but we have the rights to your body and you will do what we tell you to” Brenda says smirking.

“You can’t make me do that. I’ve had enough of people objectifying me; I will not present myself for even more of it just because you want to make a couple of bucks.”

“This is a job you chose, it is natural for certain types of models to pose naked” Johnny states.

“Well, I am not that type of model. There is no way I am doing this! You have all gone completely insane.”

“I’ll break it down to you so that your pretty little brain can understand” Brenda leans closer to her. “The shoot is in two days, you will either show up or you’re fired”

“What?! But, you can’t do that.” Tam is already on the verge of tears but there is no way she will let them see her that fragile.

“We can do whatever we want, we own you. And if you don’t behave like a nice little puppet like we want you to, we’ll make sure you won’t work in this industry again. We have lots of friends in high places”

“Why would you do that?! If I can’t find a job…” Tam starts shaking.

“Then you’ll lose your visa” Brenda finishes for her seeing the girl freeze. “As I said, we own you”

“I will be there to make sure everything goes ok, I’ll send you the details on your phone.” Roger declares looking her up and down as she stands up her legs weak and wobbly. “See you there darling” Brenda says as Tam exits without a word tears spilling from her eyes.

=

“I am going to fucking kill those bastards!” Zayn says murder in his voice, making both of his friends flinch. They weren’t very used to a dramatic Zayn, and lately he’s been nothing but dramatic.

“I’ll gladly join you Zayn, but I don’t think it will help” Harry states calmly, feeling the anger ignite his insides and knowing he won’t have control for much longer, he needed to calm down.

“We won’t let them do this to you, understand?” Harry promises lifting Tam’s jaw and looking her straight in the eyes. “We have more power than they think, and we will all stand up to them.” Zayn continues.

“I basically made this company famous, and I can take them down just as easily. Everyone here is on our side, we will take them down” Harry sounds even more determined.

“If everything fails, I’ll pose for them, they’ve been asking me for years to do that” Zayn tells her nuzzling his face into her neck. “You can’t do that guys, you can’t risk your jobs, or offer such things.” Tam answers feeling even sadder as she realizes just how much her friends would do for her.

“We can and we will, anything for you” Zayn says again hugging her tighter. Harry moves forward and hugs her as well. They sit there for some time until they feel her breathing return to normal.

“I have to go now, but I’ll be done in an hour or two. And then we will think of a plan.” Harry states.

“I will stay here with her, I am done for the day” Zayn adds.

“Okay, I’ll come by as soon as I’m finished. If you wanna go home here are my keys” Harry says digging through his bag and handing them the keys to his car. “See you, everything’s going to be alright” he assures glancing one last time at Zayn exchanging a worried look. He grabs his bag and exits the room closing it softly. Robert is standing next to Louis right in front of the door. He frowns deeply at the sight of Zayn hugging Tam.

“What are you looking at?” Harry glares. “He’s her best friend and he will hug her whenever he wants to” he spits out going into the bathroom. He takes out his bottle from the bag and takes one pill. He washes his face and tries to calm himself down, he hasn’t felt this bad in a while. He goes out to the boys as most of them were in the hallway. “Are you all finished?” he asks sternly. “No, um, there are two more guys left” one of the guys answers, his voice weak. “Oh god, it’s like none of you have ever been to the hairdressers before” he stomps off.

“Well, someone got their period” Jay barks laughing making Louis frown. “Maybe he’s just upset because of the article” Josh says. “What article?” Louis asks.

“Well it’s in the Mirror, wait” Josh takes out his phone quickly googling Harry Styles finding the article. Jay grabs his phone and reads the text out loud laughing like an idiot. “Sorry Tommo, looks like he isn’t only fucking you” He exclaims staring at Louis. Louis glares at the boy. “I knew he was a slut, but damn, you think he’d really be with all of us at the same time?” Jay continues earning him a few more laughs. “You’d just love to know that Jay. I thought you were straight? Something you forgot to tell me?” Louis says making everyone gasp. “Oh, Tommo don’t go there. Just because you love taking it in the ass doesn’t mean that everybody does.” “What I do with my ass is none of your business you homophobic freak!” Louis yells at him. “Please, I’ve seen the way you stare at him, you want his dick inside it badly” Jay replies loving a riled up Louis. “Well, at least he would want to touch me, unlike you!” “Please if I wanted to I’d have him in a second.”

“You couldn’t handle a man like me Jay, now lets fucking go already” Harry says behind him making him jump. He places his hand on Jay’s shoulder, squeezing tight crowding him with his height. Jay gulps but doesn’t intend to back down. “Please, you would so be my bitch, begging for it” Jay hits a nerve in Harry making his memories flood his mind.

He pushes Jay against the wall, pressing his body into his, staring at him with a look he had long mastered – a look of pure lust, his lips plumper and redder, his pupils slightly dilated. He runs his tongue slowly teasingly on his lip noticing Jay’s eyes following it. He dips his head breathing into the squirming boys neck. He feels a bulge pressing into his jean clad thigh. He brushes his lips on the boy’s ear and whispers “I have turned guys far straighter than you. Don’t provoke me”.

He breaks off the contact feeling much better and walks in the direction of the set “Come on, follow me” he yells. Louis goes next to him and Harry tells him “Thanks for standing up for me”.

“Oh you, you heard that” Louis quietly answers staring at the boy next to him – his eyes were greener than he had ever seen them and his expression calm and tentative. Louis can’t believe what just happened, he can’t believe the amount of confidence Harry had. He had never even had the strength to stand up to Jay, he had done it a couple of times, but it was usually just a snarky remark. This was the first time he ever actually yelled at him, and it was mostly because of Harry. He shivered and repeated the words he promised himself 4 years ago “Don’t fall in love again”.

 

Harry slowly blinked staring at the blue eyes in front of him, thinking about the boy who was much better than him. A boy whose attention he doesn’t deserve. Harry was very aware of that. He wasn’t meant to be in love, he was a guy who people liked having fun with, he was just a good-looking guy with a bad past and even worse issues. And the boy standing before him was beautiful, and tender, and caring, and amazing. He was everything Harry wasn’t – he was a good person. He hadn’t done all the bad things Harry had done, he hadn’t run away from his problems and tried to forget them in the worst possible way. Harry knew he doesn’t deserve the boy, he knew, but he had to try. He had to give his best to make this boy his, even though he knew he was selfish. “You will just hurt him” a voice resonated in his mind, but Harry ignored it, suppressing all the pain he felt. He can do this, this is just a game, like all the previous ones, this is nothing more. Harry learned a long time ago that emotions shouldn’t be shown, they should be kept inside, behind closed doors. His pain should be only his. He could still hear the voice beaming through the locked door, anger and disgust evident in his voice “You are worthless, nobody will ever love you”

Chapter Text

“So guys, today we’re doing something different.” Harry says walking into a larger set with a lot of people running around, adjusting the lights and scenery. “I have a photoshoot to do, so you’re gonna watch and maybe learn something” he smirks feeling a bit better. The weight on his chest feels slightly less heavy, it’s obviously working.

He goes to the photographer nodding to him and positions himself in front of the large green screen. Next to him is a bench and the scenery would be later added by the computer. He honestly thought that photos today lost their touch. He was a sucker for natural photography, if the old-fashioned camera lying about in his room is anything to go by. He hated special effects and artificial light and backgrounds – there is nothing prettier than the sun illuminating one’s features making their eyes seem different, their cheekbones defined and their hair shine. Pictures that aren’t tweaked or staged were those that Harry loved – he had a whole collection of these in his withered diary covered in leather. He sighs and positions himself waiting for Alexander to give him instructions. He felt a sudden jolt in his gut. Something he never felt before, it was as if he was slightly scared, or embarrassed. There’s nothing he wanted more than to impress the bystanders on his side, maybe one in particular. He just wanted to be good. Not good, the best.

Louis stands as he watches the large torso and broad shoulders walking away from him. He stares in awe at the professional set which looked much more complicated than he imagined it to be. There were a multitude of people fumbling around, and way too much equipment, it was almost intimidating. He couldn’t imagine how Harry felt, surrounded by this array and clutter, all the direction pointed towards him. Louis felt slightly nauseous just from envisioning it.

“Okay Harry, first we need just an ordinary guy next door look.” The photographer says, positioning himself. “Please, we all know I’m not ordinary.” Harry cheekily replies sitting on the back of the bench. His long fingers comb his hair, making the curls stick out more, giving him a cuter look. He spreads his legs a bit, placing his huge hands on his skinny knees. Louis watched the hot dark man turn into a cute boy as dimples appeared on his cheeks.

Harry’s smile is wide and infatuating. His eyes glimmer under the strong lights trapping every person around him – reeling them in with an invisible rod. He switches positions lying down on the bench, his legs bent as they are way too long. His arms rest under his head, making his biceps pop. He closes his wonderful eyes, looking peaceful. Louis is a bit bothered by the constant flashes and murmur – they make it hard for him to appreciate the perfect boy before him. He looked as if all the worries of the world had fallen from his shoulders – switching positions that were all so casual and natural.

“Okay Harrieh” Alexander says pronouncing his name in a weird accent. “Now, I need sad. Really sad, like you’ve reached the bottom and feel hopeless”. Alexander’s words send a chill through Louis, but Harry seems unfazed, this must be a common request. He positions himself to sit on the end of the bench leaving plenty of space beside him. He lowers his head placing it in his hands, his curls falling over the delicate white fingers. He looks desperate, as if he’s crying – Louis is quite impressed, never seeing such a fast change before, and he used to be an actor, drama was something he was quite familiar with.

Louis’ breath is literally pulled out of his lungs as he sees the boy raise his head. His eyes look sadder than he’s ever seen them, a subtle frown standing on his forehead. His expression is one of true sadness, something Louis knows can’t be staged. He looks as if there is a million worries hanging on the back of his mind and he had just let them resurface. Louis wonders what must bother this perfect-looking boy.

Harry finishes the shoot and comes up to Louis smiling wide. “You like it?” he asks pinching Louis’ hip where his shirt had risen up a bit.  Louis gulps suddenly feeling hot all over. “Meh, I’ve seen better” he answers Harry raising his eyebrow. Harry pouts trying to look offended causing Louis to laugh. He pats Harry’s head and adds “You were great”.

“Oy, loverboys break it off, we don’t have all day” Jay says seeming extremely irritated. Harry’s eyes loose their softness as he frowns deeply at Jay. He regains his domineering stance and leads them off to the conference room.

“Tomorrow I’ll come over to your training with the crew. We will get you done up and then take pictures of you while you practice” Harry announces. The boys exchange looks, uncertain about how this is going to happen. He nods them off as they exit one by one. Louis moves up to exit from his seat closest to Harry, but isn’t quick enough. Harry jumps up closing the door and locking it. Louis just stares at Harry unsure of how to react.

Harry approaches Louis and pecks him lightly, so light that Louis almost misses it. He stares into Harry’s cute expression, he was actually slightly pink and his eyes were shining bright. Suddenly Louis’ stomach starts fluttering, he can’t breathe properly. He feels his hands get sweaty as he wipes them on his tight jeans.

“How did you get here?” Harry asks, his hands on Louis’ hips. “Um, Stan drove me, he’s actually waiting for me so I should go.” Louis answers trying to break from Harry’s grip. He failed miserably, or maybe he really didn’t try that hard.

“Come on, I’ll drive you home” Harry answers pecking him again. Louis feels his cheeks burn and his tongue twist – he nods, unable to say no to this perfect guy. He follows Harry to the dressing room noticing it’s empty. On the table are Harry’s keys along with a neatly written note that said “Went by cab, no one’s driving your death machine. Z”

Harry laughs picking up his key knowing this would be the outcome. At Louis’ questioning gaze he explains “Zayn hates driving, and Tam never drives when she isn’t feeling well, it makes her nervous.” Louis nods and follows Harry out the door. They enter the lift, Harry exchanging a curt nod with the man working there. Before the doors close a figure runs in after them, going in the last second.

“Oh, I’ve made it” she says in her strong accent laughing loudly. Her blonde hair is decorated with a pink bow which matched her lips. “Heya Hazz, how ya doin?” She asks popping a balloon from her bubble gum. “Great, Pezza, great.” He answers laughing at the girls crazy antics as the lift slowly descends.

“Oy, is something wrong with Zayn? He looked upset when I saw him?” she asks. Louis studies her face noticing that the girl was desperately trying to look casual. “Nah, he’s fine. He’s just worried.” Harry answers her nonchalantly. “About what?” she asks popping her gum again. “Um, Tam’s got some problems, so yeah” Harry replies again obviously bothered by her constant questioning, thinking that it wasn’t up to him to speak about his friend’s problems. Perrie seems a bit irritated and doesn’t answer him after that. They reach the lobby and she goes off into the opposite direction of the floor – to a door Louis hadn’t even noticed before.

As they exit the building Louis notices Stan waiting at the parking lot. He smiles seeing that Louis was finally down. “Took you long” he yells, overly expressive as always. “Um, Stan…” Louis starts to say but is cut off by Harry “I’m taking him home”. Stan just looks a bit shocked and then nods winking at Louis as Harry turns his head. He follows Harry to his spot noticing the most amazing car he’s ever seen. He gapes at the red Ferrari, with beige seats, the roof down. Harry smirks seeing the reaction he hoped would happen. He sits on his seat and ignites the engine sending a look to Louis. Louis goes to his side and jumps over the door landing on the seat. Harry just smiles, not bothered by the fact that Louis probably left marks all over his car. Obviously rules change, when he has a hot boy sitting next to him.

“I have to buy groceries first” he says as he backs off. “I knew this was a trap” Louis answers him, mimicking his wide smile. “Someone needs to push the trolley, I thought I could put those strong arms into good use” Harry winks at him before speeding off onto the road.

“These, they are just for show” Louis mocks flexing his biceps. “Oh, I think they can be quite useful for certain things” Harry replies smiling dirtily not taking his eyes off the road. “Everything that comes out of your mouth is dirty” Louis realizes out loud. “Said I had a dirty mouth, but he kissed me like he meant it”

Harry sings more to himself causing Louis to hum, admiring his raspy deep voice. They arrive to the supermarket in no time, Harry expertly parking his car, barely slowing down. If Louis had done that he would have probably damaged his and three other cars.  They walk in, Louis grabbing a trolley and running in front of Harry with it, gaining enough speed to jump on it as it rolls off into the distance. Harry chases after him yelling a combination of “Louis, slow down!” “You’re insane” “You’re gonna hurt yourself”. He finally catches up to Louis as he barely misses a stack of soda cans and turns a corner. Seeing no other way to stop him he jumps on the other end of the trolley causing it to slow down. Louis mock frowns as he pushes them off making them speed again, passing by a grumpy middle-aged woman who was obviously judging them. They both laugh and finally come to a stop. It wasn’t a very nice brake, they actually just hit a stack of toilet paper which fell on top of them, but broke their fall. After about 10 minutes of hysterical laughter they get up grabbing the trolley and going in the direction of the vegetables.

“You’re a menace” Harry says laughing as he takes a piece of paper stuck in Louis’ fluffy hair. He didn’t expect his hair to be so soft, his hand lingers just a tiny bit, hoping that the boy didn’t notice.

“Takes one to know one” Louis answers grabbing a large box of Oreos from the nearby rack. “What? You owe me anyways” he retorted seeing Harry’s questioning gaze. They reach the vegetable section and Harry grabs some greens, carrots and parsley. He then goes to the meat container taking some chicken. Louis was about to question him on what he was buying but then notices the direction they were heading in. Harry finally grabs some noodles and puts them into the trolley laughing as he sees a matching bear set sitting in the middle.

“I need a toy, and this way you get one too” Louis says hoping he doesn’t sound too chirpy. Harry smiles as he looks  at the matching toys. They near the cashier and Harry takes two lollypops from a box, choosing his favourite cherry flavor. He pays for the bill with his credit card and they are out the door, Louis picking through the bag to get his lollypop. They sit in the car Louis giving Harry directions to his house. He looks at Harry noticing the lollypop in his mouth, his cheeks hollowed as he sucks on it. Louis’ thoughts go downward from there and he quickly questions “Why are you making chicken soup?”

Harry takes the lollypop out with a pop as he answers “It’s Tam’s favourite, when she’s upset she always eats soup, it soothes her”.

“You really care about her, don’t you?” Louis asks remembering just how distressed Harry was from seeing his friend wasn’t feeling well.

“She’s like family to me. Zayn and Mill as well. We stick together” he explains curtly, obviously not willing to dive into the complexity of their group.

“Oh, yeah, that reminds me. What’s with Perrie and Zayn. I love me some gossip” Louis chirps.

“Well, they used to date. Ever since I met him she was by his side. They were together for three years and it was getting really serious. And then all of a sudden he left her, two years ago. I don’t know why, he just told me that it wasn’t working out. Zayn doesn’t really show his emotions that much.” Harry explains. Louis stays silent wondering what might have happened. He was a sucker for mysteries and this was one he would love to solve.

Louis’ phone rings and he answers it seeing it’s Liam. “Hey mate, aren’t you supposed to be on a date?” he says laughing at his ability to rime. “I’m in the bathroom right now, it’s going great Louis! She said yes, and we kissed, and everything. We’re staying over at the cottage so don’t wait up” Liam hastily says, the sound of running water mixing up with his words. “Okay, you big doofus, go now. And use protection” he yells as he hears his friend fumble with his phone and the line go off. He can already imagine how red Liam must be. He hopes he made him at least slightly uncomfortable.

“I think they’re cute together” Louis says as Harry pulls up in front of his building. “Who?” Harry asks.

“Liam and Mill” Louis answers thinking it was obvious. “Who’s Liam?”

“My best friend, duhh… “ Louis says grabbing his Oreos from the bag. He takes one of the bears in his other hand. “Oh, our best friends are dating?” Harry smiles looking at the bear in Louis’ hand. “We should double date then” Harry insists smiling wide.

“I don’t think that would be a good idea Harry” Louis answers remembering Liam’s words and his disapproval of everything involving Harry. Harry frowns just a little unexpectedly pecking Louis before he exits the car. Louis doesn’t know what to think of the tender kisses. He can handle a hot Harry, but this cute version of him is just so hard to deny. A voice in his head whispers “He’s only doing this to get in your pants. He’s not nice Louis. All of them play nice to get what they want.”  

“See you tomorrow. Can’t wait to see you running in those tight shorts.” Harry says.

“I’ve always had a fantasy of doing it in the locker room. Maybe you can help me fulfill it” He admits and winks at Louis speeding off.

Twenty minutes later he enters the flat to a very loud Irishman laughing. He sets everything on the counter, being careful with the teddy bear. He comes into the living room seeing Tam and Zayn spread out on one couch covered by a blanket and Niall on the other eating a big bowl of popcorn.

He glances questioningly at Zayn who divulges “I think we found a way to get those bastards”  

Chapter Text

“What, how?” Harry says bedazzled. He sits on the couch next to Niall clearing off some popcorn Niall had dropped on the couch. He used to flinch whenever any of them made a mess, but he somehow got used to it.

“Well, I’ve taken advantage of Niall’s expertise.” Zayn answers not revealing a thing. He wanted Harry to ask him questions because once he wasn’t the savior. Zayn needed to do this and he couldn’t remember the last time he was so proud of himself.

“Niall’s?” Harry asks unbelieving. It was a weird concept. Niall and he went way back, he loved him like a brother, but that boy was mostly one they had fun with, he is very carefree and loving. But in serious situations he’s not really useful.

“Oy, don’t sound so surprised mate, I can be serious” Niall scoffs at him before laughing like an idiot, or mostly laughing like Niall, and planting himself in the bowl of popcorn, eating like a crazy dog. His face reappears, chin covered in butter. He loves such fattening foods; all of them envied him on his crazy metabolism.

“Yeah, Niall’s got a few tricks up his sleeve.” Zayn says again shifting a bit and Harry notices that one of his hands is on Tam’s back moving slowly in circles before the blanket falls over them again. He continues “Niall knows basically everyone in this town, so we managed to track a guy who specializes in finding about other people’s secrets”

“Oh… That’s actually a great idea!” Harry compliments him smiling at Zayn’s proud face. “And did you find some dirt?” he asks sounding like a child on Christmas jumping a bit on the sofa. Zayn just smirks and throws him a parcel that was standing next to him on the table. Harry opens the parcel and stares at the contents inside. “Wow, this will be great, nice job Zayn” Harry says, and after hearing a very loud cough adds “And Niall”

Tam’s phone rings and she shifts from her comfy position and looks at it. She just sees the name and presses silent, obviously avoiding the call. “Since when do you not take calls?” Niall asks his mouth full.

“It’s Mill, she’s on a date, and I don’t want to ruin it for her. She’ll know I have a problem just from hearing my voice and she’ll get worried and come over. So I’m ignoring her, we can talk tomorrow.” Tam says speaking up for the first time since Harry waltzed in.

“Damn, you obviously think the guy is special, since you’re not calling her up the second you have a problem” Harry says, knowing how close the girls are. “I do, and friends support each other’s love lives.” She points out. Harry says “Ahm” “And they tell each other everything” “Of course” Harry adds not seeing the look on Zayn’s face that could literally be read as “Stop man, it’s a trap”.

“So… Why aren’t you performing your duties, than, best friend?” she inquires, emphasizing the last two words for effect.

“What?” Harry answers confused.

“First, you yell at my boyfriend, twice, and now you’re hiding stuff from us.” She says raising an eyebrow. She’s always been a bit, well, difficult. She gets angry easy, and can turn from kitten to tiger in mere seconds. So Harry knew he was totally screwed.

“Um, well, first I didn’t know he was your boyfriend, I thought someone was bothering you while you’re upset.” He starts seeing no change in her demeanor. “And, um, basically, I didn’t like the way he was spying on you, he looked so jealous”

“Jealous? Of what?” she asks confused. “Of Zayn hugging you” Harry declares hoping to steer the attention away from himself. “Haha, he’s even crazier than me” she laughs nudging her head into Zayn, until he shifts appropriately, and she places her head in the crook of his neck. “Seriously, me and Zayn, that’s just… Oh my god.” She says laughing. Zayn responds with a little chuckle.

“Anyways, I’m not done with you mister” she points at Harry. “What’s going on with you two?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about” Harry says and yelps as Niall hits him on the head with his greasy hand. “Don’t be stupid” he tells him, his mouth yet again full.

“Okay, fine” he settles, wiping off his hair. “Nothing’s going on. Absolutely nothing” he says his chirpy mood declining. Upon seeing his friends looking at him in a you’re-fucking-kidding-right-now kind of way he continues. “Yeah, we’ve snogged quite a bit, and did… Um, other stuff” he says too embarrassed to admit he got nothing from the boy while he gladly got on his knees for him, something he rarely did, his pride was still hurt from that. “But, well, he still won’t even answer my texts, and he kind of turns me down every single second, and I’m just…” he puts his head down messing up his hair, flipping it to shape the perfect Harry Styles look.

“Oh, come on Harry” Niall pats him on the back with his still greasy hand and Harry flinches – he was wearing a white shirt for god’s sake. “Yeah man, you never back down from anything” Zayn says staring at him. “I never pictured you a quitter” Tam adds.

“I’m not a quitter” Harry says seeming a bit irritated. “Well, you’re acting like a pussy right now” Zayn says.

“Excuse me?!” Harry looks as if he’s going to lunge at Zayn any second now. Niall stands up leaving the now empty bucket on the coffee table and backing away a bit till he reaches the other couch. Once in a safe distance he says “Seriously mate, grow some balls”. Harry literally jumps at that, but doesn’t go in Niall’s direction. His eyes are black and his face red. He is huffing out air like a rabid bull and clenching his fists by his side. “I am not a fucking pussy, and I’m gonna get him one way or another” he says in one breath, speaking faster than ever before. He sends them a scowling look and stomps off to his bedroom, slamming the door as hard as he could. He should really tone it down a bit; they had already replaced that door four times. Then blasting music could be heard.

“Well, that worked well” Tam said a couple of moments later. They have all finally settled down, the fear leaving their bodies. Her sentence breaks the uncomfortable atmosphere. “Knew that would work” Zayn says smiling. They all knew Harry doesn’t hold a grudge for too long and he’ll thank them later anyways.

“I was convinced he was gonna punch me” Niall says laughing awkwardly.

 

=

 

“Oh, you’re back early” Louis says packing his bag for the day. He was just getting ready to leave for practice.

“We woke up early” Liam explains taking off the shirt he wore yesterday revealing his toned body. “I just came here to check up on you” Liam proceeds to take a shirt from the dresser. He had a drawer just for him since he didn’t feel comfortable wearing Louis’ clothes, mostly because they were too tight on him.

“No, you came here to see if I had a tall, dark and hot guy in my bed. The answer is no Liam, I don’t” Louis puts on his sneakers and digs through his messy closet in search of his favourite cap.

“Okay, okay” Liam says, obviously relieved. He eyes the boy carefully looking for any signs. Obviously satisfied with what he sees he backs away going into the bathroom. “Do you need any clothes washed?” he yells. “Yes please” Louis answers throwing a bunch of his clothes on Liam, a pair of underwear landing on his face. Liam makes an inhumane sound as he jumps away. “I won’t do your laundry anymore if you continue this Louis!” Liam says half-joking. He couldn’t let Louis do this by himself, he would probably flood and burn the entire building. At the same time. This is why Louis just laughs at his statement and proceeds to the door yelling an “I’ll be home for lunch mum!”

 

=

 

Louis arrives at the field looking as crowded as never before. There were a ton of people walking around, setting up equipment, yelling incoherent things. Louis sees Paul talking to someone and he goes in his direction. He realizes that was obviously a mistake when the figure turns revealing an award winning smile. “Hello, Louis” he says eyeing him up and down. Louis suddenly feels very insecure, his sweats hanging low on his hips, and a snapback covering his hair. “Hi, Harry. Hello Paul” he nods to both of them. “I, um, better go change” he starts walking the other way and of course he hears footsteps behind him, in two long strides Harry reaches him whispering in his ear “You look hot dressed like that”

Louis just laughs it off, entering the locker room seeing all of the boys were already there. “Good thing you showed up Tommo” Stan yells putting on his shirt. “We couldn’t start without the captain” Josh says from his left. Most of the guys had already changed into their kits.

“Guys, you can go there, Lou and her team are waiting for you.” Harry points them in the direction of a different room. They all run off bumping into each other on purpose.

“Aren’t you gonna go?” Louis asks Harry already knowing the answer.

“Nope, don’t wanna miss the show” Harry says sitting on the bench staring at him. Louis scoffs going to his locker. He peels off the sweats and quickly pulls over his white shorts feeling Harry’s gaze on his bum. He takes off his shirt slowly reaching into his bag and pulling out his brand new red jersey. (x)

He pulls it over his body feeling electrified from the look Harry was giving him. Taking out the rest of his kit he closes the locker and sits next to Harry. He adjusts his shin pads and pulls on the long socks reaching his knees, finishing it off by putting on his football boots. He already misses his old ones, but they had to change their kit every time they changed sponsors. He gets up and leaves in the direction of the room leaving a very aroused Harry behind.

=

Harry goes into the field noticing that the boys have already started. He sees Stan coming to him, a shirt in his hand. “We made one for you. Thanks for your help Harry”. He smiles and runs back to the center of the field. Harry smiles as he sees a black and white jersey with his name on it and changes into it. Going into the direction of the boys he smiles at their reaction fixing his hair. (x)

 “Damn, you could totally pass off as a famous footie player” Josh compliments him patting him on the back. “Please I have two left feet” he laughs and continues “Can you split into two teams and play against each other, just dribble the ball and what not. Don’t worry about the cameras. Michael will do the rest”

They nod at him and proceed to play the game. Harry goes on the side taking his treasured camera from his bag. He points it at the field taking pictures for his private collection. Most of the pictures being of Louis, although he doesn’t dare admit it. He goes around the field staring in awe at the large and empty stadium. It looks dazzling under the sun, sending shade to certain parts making them stand out. He doesn’t notice the ball going in his direction until it hits him square in the head with full force, making him almost fall down his vision blurry. He feels a hand on his back and through the loud buzzing in his ears hears a faint voice say “Oh my god, Harry, I’m sooo sorry. I didn’t see you there. Are you ok?”

He nods blinking wildly trying to get the blackness disappear. He sees the deer eyed boy in front of him. “Oh, god, I will kill myself if you get a concussion. Here sit down” George says directing him to the bench. He gives him a bottle of water. Harry drinks from it and says laughing “Damn, you can kick hard”.

“Heh, that’s why I’m in offence.” he smiles, still a bit worried. Upon seeing Harry nodding at him again he grabs the ball yelling another “Sorry” as he runs back to the waiting team. Harry finally feels better and decides to go near the team cautiously, careful to not get hit again, his head was still throbbing.

“Maybe you could take turns kicking at the net, as if it was a penalty shot.” Harry suggests igniting a couple of cheers. Louis is last as it is his job to score goals – he was a centre forward, one with the most precision and strength when it comes to hitting the ball, and he was very good at it. 

He smiles happy to show off, and he hits the ball a couple of times, each hit sending it flying into the net. (x)

They all cheer, even the goalie. He turns around seeing Harry smile. For some reason he felt more proud than he had in years of his career.

They have finished up with the shoot and most of the guys had gone away except Louis and George who Paul wanted to chat with about the upcoming game. Harry wanders around inside, taking a few pictures of the various rooms containing equipment and showers. He waves his team  off as he goes back into the locker room placing the camera carefully in his bag near the door. Suddenly the door opens revealing a very sweaty George.

George looks at him for at least a minute, obviously contemplating something. He exhales deeply and goes over to Harry shyly. He puts his hands on Harry’s thin hips and stares into his eyes. “You told me, if I ever wanted a repeat…” He absentmindedly states running his hand down Harry’s torso reaching the top of his jeans and trailing over the button. “I want a repeat” he whispers his eyes completely black.

Harry’s mind goes hazy, he’s been so uptight for days, feeling as if he was going to burst from the sexual frustration. He wets his lips feeling his member instantly grow. George starts palming him through his jeans and continues his whispers “You made me come so hard Harry, I need it. I want you to fill me up with that big, fat, cock of yours.” He pops open Harry’s button and pulls down his zipper kissing him through his tight Calvin Klein boxers. Harry just nods feeling his blood boil.

 

=

 

Louis finally finishes his talk with coach, something about responsibilities, and the upcoming game. He feels tired and sweaty his hair sticking to his face. He can’t wait to go home and have a nice long shower alone. He feels his muscles ache as he wasn’t use to practice lasting so long.

He walks into the locker room and  freezes at the sight before him. George was pressed against the locker his legs wrapped around Harry’s waist. Harry’s strong arms were holding him as his jean clad hips jerked forward hard and fast ruining the boy. His back was enveloped by George’s hands gripping him like a lifeline. He was glistening with sweat. Loud moans were erupting from George’s mouth, a  look of pure bliss on his face. Louis’ mind went crazy remembering what happened.

=

Flashback

There was a large snow storm coming, which is why the team opted for leaving two days early as they didn’t want to get caught up in it on the road. He unlocked the door jumping from excitement. He couldn’t wait to surprise him, he even stopped by to buy some Nandos on the way – his favourite. Louis entered the flat which seemed empty. “Maybe he’s sleeping” Louis thought and went into the direction of the bedroom swinging the door open. He dropped the bag in his hand gasping at the site before him.

Greg, his Greg, was pounding into some thin white boy with red hair. They didn’t even notice Louis’ presence. They were just going at it. Just…

He had always imagined that in such situations he would scream, throw things, throw punches. He imagined himself as a person who would flip out, angry as hell. But instead, he just felt his heart stop. He didn’t even realize he was crying until a tear fell on his hand. He felt lower than ever. The sadness flooding his mind turning all that is bright into dark, turning every happy memory into a nightmare.

He sniffled turning around stumbling to the door, unable to see from the tears flooding his bright eyes. He could faintly hear someone yell “Louis, it’s not what you think, Louis” unable to decipher the words from the pounding of his broken heart in his ears.

=

He shakes as he pushes a bag on his left hearing a loud crack as it hits the ground. He leaves not even bothering to take his stuff, one thought hanging in his head.

I am done with him.

Chapter Text

“I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world” Zayn’s phone rings loud. He runs fast to it and answers it almost immediately. “Hello?”

“Hey Z!” Mill responds on the other line.

“You okay?” Zayn asks fixing his hair in the mirror.

“Yeah, just wondering where Tam is? She with you?”

“Yeah” he says looking in the direction of his room. “Is she ok Z, I’m worried for her?” Mill inquires.

“Yeah, we’ve solved everything” He goes in the direction of the room looking at the peaceful figure sleeping.

“Good, we have a fitting in an hour, she awake?”

“Um, no.” Zayn says quietly.

“You have to wake her up” Mill orders “See ya there, bye Z” she hangs up before he can complain. No one wanted to wake Tam up, she had the most horrible temper in the mornings. Even worse than Zayn’s.

Zayn shudders as he proceeds into his room on his toes careful not to make a sound. He slowly sits on the bed and caresses Tam’s face softly whispering “Wake up darling, you have work to do”. A loud groan could be heard as she rolls over to the other side mumbling “No, comfy, bed, sleep”

“Come on princess, please wake up” he cautiously pats her head, running his fingers through her hair. She rolls back into his lap opening her eyes slightly and yawning like a kitten. “Yew” is all she says.

“What?” Zayn asks confused as he continues to touch her with care.

“You stink, cigarettes, morning, yucky” she says looking at him now with a very sleepy expression. His on the other hand remains blank as he lifts her up to a sitting position. “Come on, get dressed, we have to go” he tells her kissing her on the forehead. He opens one of his drawers pulling out a nice cream shirt with a low neckline. Then he takes the shirt along with the neatly folded jeans and puts them in front of Tam.

“You have a fitting today and I have a meeting so we need to hurry up a bit” he starts saying as he fixes his quiff in the mirror putting a bit more hairspray in, just in case. He returns back to the room “And we…” he stops in his tracks as he sees Tam in the middle of the room in her lacy underwear picking up the jeans. “Um, I, um, I’m just gonna… Yeah” he mumbles exiting the room his face a deep red.

She exits the room 10 minutes later, fully dressed with a bit of make up on and her bag in her hand. “Hail a cab Zaynie” she instructs smiling at him as she puts on her favourite wedges. Zayn responds by saying the cab will be there in 5, and fixes his hair one more time picking up the parcel on the way. They enter the lift and Tam eyes him up and retorts “Someone’s looking hot today, who’s the lucky lady?” she pinches his waist. “No one” he replies coyly looking at the ground.

=

Harry buttons up his jeans and picks up the shirt he received from the team putting it on slowly feeling George’s eyes on him. For some reason he just wants to go away already, he couldn’t stand the look the boy was giving him, pure adoration in his eyes. To make matters worse George comes up to him kissing him slowly and as he pulls off he exclaims “Harry, you are by far, the hottest and sexiest guy I have ever seen. I’m just… Thanks” he pecks him one more time proceeding to the showers to clean himself off.

Harry groans inwardly feeling guilt race through his body, unbeknownst to the reason why. He makes a note to exit before the boy returns, thus going to his bag. As soon as he saw his bag sprawled out on the marble floor his heart began to race. His breath suddenly hitched as he picked up the bag, a loud chinking noise resonating from its insides. He drops to his knees hardly breathing and opens his bag feeling his stomach churn at the sight before him. His beloved camera smashed into tiny pieces.

He feels his heart about to burst as he stares at the remains of one of his rare memories from home. He had bought the camera at the age of 14, having saved enough money to buy one he liked. His main inspiration was the need to picture that which is beautiful to counteract all the bad surrounding him. Staring at those pictures in his worn-out diary gave him strength to endure. He had always managed to save it, to protect it from his hands which broke anything they came in touch with being it metal or flesh.

His heart is beating rapidly as he suddenly feels so alone. When he had gone he had only brought a couple of things with him – some clothes which he had long overgrown, his phone which he had long replaced and his precious camera and diary. Usually he didn’t mind, being away, without touch. But now he felt so small and insignificant – the shattered remains reminding him just how much he wasn’t needed or loved.

“Harry, are you okay?” George’s voice resonates behind him causing him to panic. He had forgotten that he wasn’t alone. No one should see him in this state, he let his guard down and now he couldn’t bring it back up. “Harry?” George repeats advancing towards him. Harry feels his lungs constrict leaving him in a lack of air. He frantically searches through his bag, feeling light-headed his chest hurting. George reaches his back putting a hand on it feeling the boy’s shallow breaths through his now damp T-shirt. “Harry, are you having a panic attack?” he asks much more frantically not knowing what to do. Harry grabs his inhaler taking in a couple of deep breaths. His heart gradually slows down letting the oxygen enter his lungs.

“Harry, I, Harry, are you, are you ok?” George asks his voice shaking. He had never seen a person go through one of these attacks. “Just… Let… Me… Breathe” Harry huffs out, speaking between pants. George backs away giving him some space. Harry closes his eyes concentrating on his breaths trying to picture a happy memory. Louis’ and his shenanigans in the supermarket invade his mind making him calm down. He gets up grabbing his bag and proceeds to the door not even bothering to look at the deer-eyed boy behind him as he exits the locker room.

=

 Louis enters his flat happy to see it empty. He could only imagine the questions Liam would ask:

“Louis why are you in your kit?”

“Louis where is your bag?”

“Louis why are you upset?”

“Louis why are you holding that knife?”

“Louis, don’t, NOOO”

He shakes his head proceeding to the bathroom stripping off. He enters the scalding hot shower wiping off all of his sweat and worries, wiping off all of the feelings he may have felt for the curly-haired boy.

=

“Hey guys, looking fierce” Mill says smiling at her friends who just entered the floor, dressed fashionably both sporting a pair of Ray Bans. “You know it” Tam retorts as she hugs her friend tightly. “Missed you, they stink” Tam whispers in her ear as they start laughing. Zayn just shrugs saluting them as he goes back to the direction of the lift his mind set on showing Management he means business.

“Sooo?” Tam asks Mill as they enter a frantic room filled with lots of models and clothes racks – fittings were always a bore. “It was lovely, we drank champagne and ate strawberries covered in chocolate, and he gave me a lily, and we slept in front of a fireplace in his cabin”

“Ooooh” Tam chirps sending a bitchy look to one of the blonde models trying to listen in on their conversation.

“Yeah, he’s pretty great” Mill says sighing.

“Buuut?” Her friend asks knowing that tone.

“He’s just sooo nice Tam, like super nice. I just… He asked for permission all the time and he was so fidgety and even if he disagreed on something he didn’t say a thing. Why can’t he be a bit more… You know?”

“A jerk? Darling, the boy likes you, he was probably nervous. And plus, you should be with a nice guy, he’ll treat you right.” Tam explains to her picking out a black studded top.

“Look who’s talking. Have you ever been with a nice guy?” Mill raises an eyebrow.

“Well, no. But we’re different. I just don’t like nice guys.” Tam answers.

“No, you’re just too afraid you’ll find someone you actually like, and maybe even fall in love” the brunette hits the point as she smiles at her friend.

“Please… That’s… Not true.” Tam answers franticly as she goes in the direction of a different rack.

A girl appears before them telling them which clothes to try on. “Seriously girls could your boobs be any bigger?” She exclaims laughing a bit as they come out in quite revealing shirts. They were average, not even above, but in the modeling world in which every girl was flat from both sides they could attract a lot of attention. Which could easily be noticed as a couple of other models scoffed as they stared in their direction.

“Oh, come on Perr, it’s not our fault, genetics and all that” Tam teases her twirling around.

“I think it looks better but don’t ever tell the anorexics” she half-whispers to the girls laughing alongside with them. Then Zayn comes in, attracting all the attention to him. It wasn’t uncommon for male and female models to prance around each other in underwear, it was basically the norm, but a majority of girls had crushes on either him, or Harry, or both. He was smiling wide as he came towards the girls, not even noticing Perrie standing on his right. He blurts out “I did it!” looking like a proud child as they finish a sand castle.

“So?” Tam asks her voice going high from the exhilaration.

“They won’t bother you anymore” he smiles at her his smile deepening as she throws herself at him enveloping him in a tight hug. He twirls them around and after a couple of moments lets her go, unbeknownst to Perrie’s deep frown.

=

Knock knock

Louis had no intention of getting up from his place on the couch. So what if he was moping and wanted to be alone? So what if he broke his mandatory diet to eat a whole tub of Ben and Jerry’s. He’s an adult and he can do as he pleases.

“Louis?” he hears a voice through the door cringing as he realizes who the voice belongs to.

“Louis, I know you’re here. The old lady from 3rd floor told me she saw you come in.” Louis still doesn’t react praying the universe that the boy would just leave already.

“Louis, come on, you forgot your stuff at practice, I just came here to give it back.” He speaks through the thick wooden door. Louis knows that the boy won’t go anytime soon so he just yells sternly “Just leave my stuff by the door George”.

“But…” George suddenly sounds insecure. “What, are you angry with me Louis?” he asks sounding like a washed up puppy.

 “Just leave my stuff and go” Louis yells again getting irrationally angry. Of course he was angry, he was angry as soon as that deer-eyed prick dared lay eyes on his kitten. Kitten? Oh my god, he must be going insane.

“But…” George starts his voice sounding teary. Louis, however, cuts him off sternly “I am your captain and if I tell you to do something you do it, got that?!”

He couldn’t even hear a response and sometime later he goes to retrieve his discarded bag.  He digs through it as he makes himself some microwave popcorn. He takes out his phone finding a couple messages on it – Liam, his sister, Eleanor and… Him. Of course.

He opens the message stuffing his face in the cheesy popcorn. “Forgot to tell you how amazing you looked in those tiny shorts today. Also, I can tell you’re really talented with balls. ;)”

His anger only increases as he types out a reply.

=

Harry squeaks as he receives a message, a reply for the first time ever. He feels his heart race as he opens the message only for it to sink back down as he reads it, and rereads  it, and checks to see if it was really from Louis, checking the number he now knows by heart.

“Are you going to stop bothering me or do I have to change my number?”

Have you ever felt really down? Like you are drowning in a bottomless pit of your own sorrow? Those are times when Harry Styles did the stupidest things he could imagine. He made mistakes just to try and ease the pain. He tried everything and realized that the easiest way was to try to turn everything around which is why he went in the shower. After a long hot shower he put on his best outfit and went out, hoping to drain his sorrows in alcohol and pleasure.

After downing two drinks in a row with Ed and Niall on his side he feels suddenly better. Then he sees him, as bright as day. Tight maroon shirt, dark skinny jeans and perfect hair in a swirl. Niall jumps as he goes over to him and Stan dragging them both to their booth ignoring Louis’ obvious resistance.

Harry instinctively puts a hand on the shorter boys hip dragging him to his side. Louis doesn’t move, but definitely doesn’t return the gesture. He downs his drink winking at a boy he sees coming in his direction.

“Max, what the hell do you want? Get lost.” Harry says his voice obviously irritated.

“I’m not here for you, Styles, I’m here to finish what I started. Dance?” he looks at Louis presenting his hand. Louis tries to get out of Harry’s grip which only makes it harder.

“Harry why don’t you shove that hand somewhere else, I have something better to do” he tells him, his voice spitting venom as he pushes himself off grabbing Mark’s hand.

“But Louis…” Harry starts frazzled.

“Can’t hear you, maybe if you took your shirt off people would actually listen to you. It’s not like you’re good for anything else, love” Louis smiles at him and laughs along with Max as they proceed to the dance floor, tangling their limbs as they dance dirtily.

Harry ignores the looks the remaining boys were giving him and proceeds to the toilet, not even noticing Stan following him. After taking a longer time than usual mostly to calm himself down, he exits the room hearing a voice next to his ear. He then hears it again.

“So, what did Styles do to you, hmmm?” Max’s voice resonates from the door on his right.

“Just gave me a blow, nothing special” Louis’ responds.

“Really? That’s something he rarely does. I bet I can make you feel even better.” This statement is followed by a loud whimper which makes Harry’s face contort. Stan notices more than just anger on the curly lad’s face. He looked generally upset, and hurt, maybe just for a second, before he stomped off towards the exit of the club, people getting out of his way seeing the mood he was in. Stan watched as the boy disappeared through the door.

Chapter Text

“Where is everybody?” Tam asks as she enters the changing room looking for the rest of her friends.

“Here am I!” Mill jumps from the bathroom laughing at Tam’s shocked expression. “Damn, almost called the Winchesters to exorcise you” Tam responds between pants.

“Someone’s hooked!” Mill pokes her.

“You made me watch it!” Tam replies.

“And you loved every part of it!” Mill smirks as they both exit the room. Looking around they notice only Perrie waving to them, seeing nothing better to do they approach her.

“Hey girls, lost your boys, huh?” Perrie asks as she arranges some outfits for the following Fashion Week.

“Yeah, seem to be missing today” Mill answers.

“Hey Perr?” Tam chirps. “What?” she responds smiling wide.

“Wanna go out with us tonight?” “ Just a girl’s night out” she adds seeing the blondes worried expression.

“Sure” she is happy to oblige. “I’ll come around yours at 10?”

“Make it 9, see ya there” Mill tells her as they both turn to the direction of the boy coming through the door. As always he looked like perfection, his hair in a neat quiff. Tight joggers hung low on his hips, a patch of skin revealed underneath his top. He reaches them saying a quick “Hey” to no one in particular.

“I’m gonna go finish this then” Perrie announces smiling coyly at Zayn as she goes off.

“Someone’s been at the gym” Mill starts skeptically. “You’ve been going quite often lately” Tam continues. “And we know you hate it” Mill adds. “Soo…”

“You like someone” they both say at the same time, in that weird way no one quite understood.

“No, I don’t” he replies his face holding the same indifference it always does.

“Hey, where’s Harry?” Tam ends the stare off, as Mill tries to break him.

“Um, hell if I know, he didn’t come home yesterday.”  Zayn shrugs nonchalantly since this is a regular occurrence.

“Wait, what’s that?” he asks Tam suddenly grabbing her hand staring at an expensive looking bracelet.

“Um, Robert bought me this and a dress, for our date yesterday. Wanted me to look nice when he presents me to the world” she says her smile not quite reaching her eyes.

“You already look nice, what’s wrong with the things you have?” He starts looking irritated his hand tightening it’s grip on her thin wrist.

“It was a nice gesture Zayn, don’t worry.” she replies calmly looking at his dark eyes.

“He should be happy with what he has” he says under his breath and lets go of her wrist. Mill’s eyes are darting between them her lower lip in between her teeth. The moment is broken by a figure emerging from the tall glass doors.

“What did you do this time?!” Zayn yells going towards him, accompanied by the girls.

“Don’t yell, headache” Harry slowly says his voice slightly hoarse. He’s wearing the same clothes as yesterday, his shirt slightly crumpled. His hair is laying flat on his head framing the dark sunglasses he has on. His neck is decorated with a series of love bites and he smells strongly of cigarettes.

Zayn takes off his glasses caringly knowing exactly what Harry had been up to. Underneath the beautiful green eyes are deep dark circles. “Did you get any sleep at all?” Zayn tentatively asks him leading him to the bathroom the girls following in tow, trying not to intrude.

“A little, I think, I… I don’t know. I don’t remember.” Harry says looking frustrated. He washes his face, water dripping from his enormous hands. Zayn hands him a pain killer and he drinks it without even a sip of water. His gaze rises from his wet hands as it follows the length of his body lingering on his neck and face.

“I look like shit” he croaks out.

“No you don’t. You just look a bit roughed up. Come on” he takes him to the beauty room sending Lou a look as she seats Harry down covering his dark spots, no questions asked. Zayn exits the room looking worriedly at the girls. “It’s been so long since the last time he did this, I don’t get it” Zayn says puffing out air. His voice shakes a bit, he needs a cigarette badly.

“Maybe something happened last night?” Mill suggest and looks at Tam prepared to tell her something but she’s already got her phone out.

“Well, one person must know what happened” she exclaims leading them to an empty room putting the phone on speakerphone. “Oy” Niall answers.

“Heya boy, whatcha doin’?” Tam asks him masking the worry in her voice.

“Nothing, just making breakfast. Wait, is Harry there?” he asks worriedly which is quite strange.

“Yeah, he’s here.” She replies not understanding the tone in his voice.

“Good, I was worried, he just sorta disappeared last night…” He explains the last words hanging a bit in the air.

“After what Niall?” Tam asks demanding.

“It was nothing really, probably has nothing to do with it.” Niall’s voice rumbles.

“Niall, what happened?” Zayn demands which obviously does the trick for Niall.

“Well, Louis sort of snapped at him” Niall says, his voice small. He hates arguments and fears his testimony might cause one.

“Sort of?” Mill buts in.

“Well, he kind of ditched Harry for Max, and Harry tried to stop him so Louis said...” he rumbles the next couple of words, completely undecipherable.

“He said what?”

“Um, he told Harry to take his shirt off, that people might listen to him then, because he’s not worth for anything else anyways.” Niall says in one breath.

“Fuckin’ bastard” Zayn says through gritted teeth. Tam thanks Niall for the information and quickly hangs up just as Harry emerges through the door looking better apart from the frown on his forehead.

“Have you quite finished snooping?” he looks at his friends accusingly. They all nod watching him. His delicate fingers go to his lower lip rolling it between his thumb and index finger. Lou comes in asking him whether he’ll be driving with them or on his own already expecting his answer. He goes to the kitchen making himself a cup of tea ready to burst from the worried looks his friends were giving him.

“Where are you going?” Mill asks softly after about 15 minutes of silence. He isn’t made of porcelain and he hates when people treat him that way.

“London, the boys have a match, we have to go and film them, for the commercial.” he says dumping some leftover lukewarm tea in the sink then proceeds to the door grabbing his keys from his pocket.

“There’s no way you’re driving there, you haven’t slept all night!” Zayn grabs his keys getting in the lift with him followed by the girls. “Already cleared our schedule, we’re going with you.” Mill says putting her phone back in the Desigual bag she adores.

“But…” Harry tries to argue. “No buts, I’m driving, you’re gonna sleep” Zayn informs him as they descend down the remaining floors. Approaching the car Harry goes for the passenger seat but is cut off by a running Mill as she jumps in. He grunts going back with Tam. The girls exchange a knowing look obviously communicating. Zayn sometimes thought they had super powers - or at least telepathy. He tried not to think too much about it as he starts the car putting the coordinates in the GPS and  navigating the car on the freeway. He glances back after about half an hour. Harry’s spread on the seats, his long legs bent in a fetal position and his head in Tam’s lap. She is absent-mindedly combing his hair soon joining him in the land of sleep. His eyes dart back to the road, his shoulders tensing slightly. Mill notices but doesn’t say anything. After about two hours of silence he talks softly

“So, how you’ve been?”

“Fine Zayn, unlike all of you.” she replies glumly obviously not happy about her friend’s lack of happiness.

“What?” he starts thinking, realizing why Harry’s unhappy, and Zayn was rarely very happy so…

“Wait, what’s bothering her?” he asks his grip on the steering wheel tightening.

“The hate, being objectified. Apparently her boyfriend has quite the fanbase.” She sounds irritated. “Of course, she’d never tell me that. I just know. Saw her on Twitter.” Zayn remains silent driving on, his gaze fixed on the road.

They finally arrive. Harry’s mood is better and he is obviously rested. They instruct his co passengers where to sit in the front row as he goes inside smiling to them, hoping they take it as an apology for his bad attitude this morning.

“Come on boys put your kit on so the team can work on you” he says slightly glum. They all stare at him used to him being a bit more happy. “How are you gonna film the game, won’t the cameras get in the way?” George asks his smile hopeful. “From the sidelines” Harry’s reply is curt, his eyes not replicating any warmth. He calls each of them as it’s their turn on the chair - the team working hastily finishing a person in mere minutes.

“Tomlinson” he calls out his voice deep. This raises literally every head and Jay can’t keep his mouth shut. “Looks like the boyfriends are in a fight!” he laughs.

“We’re not boyfriends” Both Harry and Louis reply their voices filled with venom.

“Yeah right” Josh says playfully winking at them.

“If you don’t believe us why don’t you ask George?!” Louis snorts and exits the room going to get his hair ready. All eyes are on a now-reddening George his eyes even wider than usual. “Break it off, play nice, we’ll be watching.” Harry tells them. “We?” Robert asks from his corner, his voice hopeful.

“Yeah, your girlfriend’s here” he answers him his eyes squinting in an intimidating look he hoped meant “Hurt her and I’ll snap your neck in half”. Then he exits the locker room joining his friends as they debate everyone’s choice of attire. The home team enters the stadium eliciting numerous chants and approving screams. However, when the opposing team entered the situation was entirely different. Louis led the team going up front as the captain ignoring the ruckus he’s mostly gotten used to. The whole crowd booed, the boos sounded like a roar of thunder and it wouldn’t stop. As they shook hands Louis could hear people yell all sorts of bad names - most of them different variations of the word faggot. He stood tall as he went to his side of the field. The whistle signalled the beginning of the game and 15 minutes later the ball landed near George who pushed it in Louis’ direction. Harry had literally no knowledge of the game but he knew that there wasn’t a chance Louis could make it to the goal, he was surrounded by three defensive players who blocked his path. The offensive slurs grew stronger as Louis turned around navigating away from one of the players jumping over the leg of the other one who went in trying to send him flying to the ground. His small body looked so fragile among the strong large men guarding the goal, Harry could literally feel himself flinch as Louis barely avoids getting crushed by them obviously risking more than he’s ever seen anyone do in a game. Finally he lifts off the ground his right leg sending the ball shooting in the net, the goalie standing no chance of catching it.

Everyone starts cheering, although the boos sound just a tad bit louder than the cheers. His actions earn him a couple of pats on the back and angry glances from the opposing team. The game continues and Louis manages to strike again, working alone or on the right side, no intention in passing the ball to his left where George stood. It’s halftime and Paul is just giving Louis the lecture he expected.

“What the hell is going on with your head Louis?! You could have gotten injured?!”

“Well, I didn’t” he sighs drinking some water.

“Your left is open so you have to send the ball to George, and no risky stuff like that, we have a hefty advantage now and I need you not to be hurt!” he tells him seriously.

The game continues quite uneventful. They receive a goal from the opposing team and they give Louis a bad time, cornering him from all sides. He mostly gets away, sending the ball to the wings. But then he goes close to the goal and it happens in less then a second - a player goes behind him hitting him hard sending him flying to the grass. The game suddenly stops the spectator coming in his direction. He tries to get up ignoring the yells barely making out the sentence being chanted “Serves you right faggot”. His legs fail him and it takes him a couple of seconds to get up, pain on his face as he can barely stand on his two legs. The offender receives a red card and Louis’s subbed out, unable to play from how sick and hurt he’s feeling. He curses under his breath as Stan helps him to the bench his eyes catching Harry’s worried look which quickly disappeared as he noticed Louis looking.

The game finishes and the girls remember the conversation they had venturing behind the scenes at half-time.

“Please, I beg of you help me.” Stan pleads the two girls trying his best to get the frowns off their faces.

“Why would we? He offended Harry!” they answer him obviously hung up on the information they obtained in the morning.

“I know, but he likes him a lot, I can tell. I know Louis very well and I can tell he cares for Harry, and I think the feeling is mutual. I just want them to talk. They both seem unhappy.”

“If he offends Harry again I won’t hesitate to hurt both of you” Mill warns her voice wary.

“I promise he won’t. They just need to talk it through. Thank you so much. I promise you won’t regret it.” he hugs the girls rushing off to the locker room.

“Zayn wait by the car, we’ll be back in 15” Tam whispers to Zayn careful not to be overheard. He nods not really caring about it. The girls grab Harry from both sides going in the direction of an equipment room.

“What exactly do you want Stan?” Louis asks resting on one of the benches holding a bag of ice on his bandaged knee. “Just wanted to see if you’re okay” Stan replies hearing the ruckus in front of the door jumping to it.

“I’ve already met your boyfriend Tam” Harry says not resisting but failing to see the point of being dragged here now. “Well, you haven’t been introduced properly” she replies opening the door as both girls push him through it. He’s ready to turn around and yell at them, but is surprised by the tanned boy sitting on the bench in front of him a bag of ice thrown on the floor in front of his strong legs.

His brain regains function as he hears the door click - obviously being locked from the outside. “Stan, what the fuck are you playing at, open the door!” Louis yells.

“Not until you settle your differences! You’re not going anywhere!” Stan responds equally loud.

They avoid looking at each other for at least ten minutes before Louis says “Let’s just talk I don’t have all day and my knee’s really starting to hurt”

“I have nothing to say to you” Harry’s voice is cold, anger underlying it.

“Why’s that?” Louis says looking at him his face expressionless.

“You pretty much said what you think of me darling, no need to hear it again.” Harry spits out.

“It’s not my fault I’m the only one that tells you the truth.” Louis responds grabbing the bag of ice putting it back on his throbbing knee. After about a minute of silence Harry talks.

“What did I ever do to you?! Did you really need to offend me like that?!” his voice breaks in the end of the sentence making Louis flinch. He regains his composure remembering the events that led to his words.

“You fucked him!” Louis yells standing up, ignoring the pain. “You spent all this time convincing me you like me and then you just go on and fuck the first opportunity you get!”

“George? This is about fucking George?! Are you crazy?” Harry is yelling too. “It was just fucking sex! It’s not like you and I were in a relationship anyway! Or even close…” he finishes his voice lowering.

“Why did you do it?! Was I not enough, or did you just love pulling my leg?” Louis’ voice is lower as well.

“What? Why would I do that?” Harry asks staring at Louis. “I just needed to feel wanted” he finally says thoroughly examining the floor tiles.

“What?” Louis asks his voice going softer.

“I keep running after you, and you never give anything back. I send you messages you never answer me, I kiss you first you never give it back. I do everything I can and you still tell me no every single time. Sorry if I felt really bad and unattractive so I thought it would help. The worst part is it didn’t even help.” He runs his hands through his hair, untangling his dark curls, sighing deeply.

Louis goes closer suddenly feeling the need to explain himself.

“Harry I… I was really hurt. I was in a relationship that left me shattered and changed my life for the worse in so many ways. I’m just afraid to venture into something like that again. I don’t want to get hurt, I can’t break apart again, I can’t” he feels tears pricking on the corners of his eyes.

Harry wants to promise him that he would never hurt him, but he knows he can’t. He hurt enough people in his life, none of them being as fragile as the feathery boy standing before him. None of them he cared for so much. The mere thought of a broken Louis makes him swallow hard. He could never do that to  him, he’d much rather see him happy, even if it meant happy by someone else’s side. Someone who deserves him. Someone who isn’t an insensitive jerk with a ton of baggage laying on his shoulders. Someone who hasn’t already hurt him, doing what he thought was normal. Someone who could be with him unconditionally, be his rock against the cold hard world. Harry could hardly be that for himself.

“I…” He starts but his voice suddenly sounds small. Clearing his throat he continues “I understand. I’ll leave you alone. I would never want to hurt you” he comes close to Louis looking him in the eyes. “I’m sorry I’m not what you’re looking for” he strokes Louis’ feathery hair noticing it’s slight dampness.

“I’m not…” Louis starts but doesn’t know how to finish that sentence. Harry pats his hair one more time before lowering his hand a bit, cupping Louis angular jaw. “Can I just ask for one last kiss?” he whispers going in closer basically feeling the heat radiating from the curvy boy’s sun kissed skin. Louis nods slowly staring into Harry’s deep green eyes.

Harry goes closer his gaze never leaving Louis’. He presses a soft kiss on Louis’ thin lips just resting them on each other, breathing in his scent. His eyes finally close as his other hand gently touches Louis’ side, moving in a non-sexual manner, just leaving goosebumps on the heated skin. His fingers press in gently massaging as he moves his lips to Louis’ upper lip sucking on it lightly before doing the same to the lower one. His tongue moves over Louis’ lips which part immediately. The moment their tongues touch Louis feels his entire body erupt, warmth spreading to his toes. His arms move around Harry’s neck his small fingers gripping the lovely curls. He’s never felt the same, no words in existence could explain how he felt. Their kiss isn’t violent, it’s slow and deliberate. There is no fight for dominance, their tongues moving in perfect sync. After some time Harry pulls away slowly pressing one last kiss on Louis’ eager lips.

“I like you” Louis blurts out.

“I like you too” Harry answers holding him close. He never found it so hard to leave someone, but somehow he found the strength. A voice could be heard from the door yelling at Stan, something about opening the door this instant. Harry untangles his hands from Louis staring into those sparkling blue eyes.

“I hope you find someone who’s worth you” Harry tells him as he turns around and slips out of the door as soon as it’s open, a frantic Liam jumping in. Louis can’t comprehend the words Liam’s saying, the only thing he can understand is that he let the boy go. And that maybe, it was the worse decision he’d ever made.

 

 

Chapter Text

Harry reaches the parking lot spotting his friends instantly. They were near his car, surrounded by a couple of people taking pictures with them. Mill was leaning on the side of the car and Zayn was standing in front of her taking a picture with a short teen with wide hips and an even wider smile. He walks slowly towards them and then the group of girls notice him. This, of course, results in many screams of his name, the teens rushing and arguing, trying hard to get his attention. He finishes up quickly and notices a person approaching them- definitely not a fan. He was tall with a receding hairline and a big belly. In his hand a tape recorder appears, the location from which he spawned it something Harry didn’t need to know.

“Harry, would you mind if I asked you a few questions?” he starts politely, his smile wide.

“Make it quick” he answers looking around. He hopes Tam will come soon.

“Why are you here in London?”

“We were attending a game, filming a commercial and rooting for our team.” Harry answers his voice cold, his absolute hatred of the press evident.

“So, business and pleasure then?” the reporter jokes searching Harry’s expression. Upon getting no response he continues “We’ve heard you get on quite well with the team” Harry still remains speechless lifting his eyebrows.

“So, come on, between you and me, how many of them have you hooked up with?” the reporter whispers getting into Harry’s face smiling wickedly. Harry’s expression grows colder, his balled-up fist twitching.

“Hey guys, let’s get a move on” Tam quirps behind him, snapping him out of his moment. Mill swiftly sits in the passenger seat, Harry offering to drive, needing to clear his head.

“So, what happened?!” Mill asks turning the music off just as they back off, exiting the parking lot.

“Um, first, that was not nice, pushing me into a trap like that.” “And, second, thanks, I needed that”

For this he receives a wet smack on his cheek from a leaping Tam on the back seat. “We know what you need baby” she tells him. “What? What’s going on?” Zayn asks confused pulling Tam to his chest, hugging her, his face scrunched up at the strong masculine cologne her skin absorbed.

“We made the love birds talk” Tam tells him, laughing as his light touch tickles her skin. “So, does someone have a boyfriend to tell us about?” she smirks.

Harry’s grip on the steering wheel increases as he croaks out a barely audible “No”.

Mill accidentally turns up the music, Taylor Swift blowing through the speakers. She swiftly turns it down, staring at Harry, her mouth agape.

“It’s nothing really. I’m done. It’s for the best” Harry manages to say, ignoring their worried glances. “And before you ask, it was his decision. And I respect it. Ok?” he slows down noticing that he had breached the speed limit quite a bit. They stay silent and he turns the music back on. He would lie if he said he felt ok. But in a way, he felt contempt. At least now he knew there was nothing he could do to change the boy's mind. The problem wasn't so much in him. And yes, he would jump to the opportunity to be with the shorter boy, but he couldn't bare the thought of hurting him. This was for the best, and even though he knows it will take time to forget him, he knows that he will eventually succeed, now knowing that the boy was never his to begin with.

He wakes up the girls as they arrive in front of The Crib. Tam pries herself from Zayn’s strong hold, succeeding in not waking him up. They both wave at Harry, noticing his tired expression.

=

“Come in!” Perrie hears a loud scream through the door she was currently standing in front of, a bottle of red wine in her hands. She enters seeing the living room barely lit, two girls jumping on the couch singing out of tune on the top off their lungs. She locks the door, taking her shoes off. Upon emerging in the room the girls pull her into a hug, almost knocking the bottle from her grip. She notices the TV which is connected to Mill’s laptop, playing a song by Avril Lavigne. Mill fills up their glasses lifting one and singing with the song “Here’s to never growing up”

Perrie drinks a sip bedazzled as the girls downed theirs in one big gulp. “You bring your stuff?” Tam asks her flopping down on the couch searching through the playlist. Demi blears out and Perrie needs to yell her answer “Yeah, even brought pyjamas and everything”

“Heh, you’ll be in Tam’s room” Mill tells her offering her a plate of chocolate chip cookies. The blonde ate the entire plate quickly, apologizing for it right away. “It’s okay Perr, we’ve eaten already” Tam tells her pouring them more drinks. “So, what are you wearing?” she asks her, already digging through her bag. “Woah” she comments seeing the hot pink dress and turquoise heels. “I say we straighten your hair” she suggests motioning for Mill to join in on the serious discussion. “I don’t know, I rarely wear it straight” Perrie answers uneasy from the way the girls were eyeing her. “Trust me, come on” Mill pulls her hand leading her to her room. An ironing board is spread in the center, she turns the iron on and tells her to go down on her knees. This of course earns her a fit of giggles from a certain perverted redhead.

“Why? You can’t straighten my hair with that?!” Perrie is shocked. She had gone out with the girls before but this is the first time they’re getting ready together, and she was seriously considering running away. “Trust me darling, it’s gonna look fab” Tam tells her pushing her slightly. After about 10 minutes and countless “Don’t burn me”s her hair is perfectly straight and only slightly warm. She stares at her reflection in the mirror, not believing the effects the iron had. “Old school is best doll” Mill tells her as she reaches the bathroom, getting one of their favourite purple curling irons which Harry always referred to as the “hair dildo”. They all get dressed, and Tam starts working on their make up as Mill curls her red hair. They finish in record time, taking pictures, tweeting and playing a drinking game involving cotton balls. It is already quite late so they head out, hailing a cab to a new hip club in the center of town.

 

=

“Fifteen men on a dead man's chest ! Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! Drink and the devil be done for the rest!  Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! “

Zayn groaned unable to fall asleep. He felt so tired after the long drive today and just wanted to rest. His eyes closed, but the song continued, along with strong laughter and the clinking of glass. He got up, feeling grumpier than ever going in the direction of the three boys sitting on the couch.

“Fifteen men of ‘em stiff and stark! Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum! Ten of the crew had the murder mark! Yo ho ho and…” the singing stopped as they all took in Zayn’s expression.

“I’m trying to sleep here, seriously!” he scoffs, his gaze burning a hole through Harry’s head. He looked at Ed, hoping he will at least have some sense. He was still playing the chords over and over again, erupting in a fit of giggles, followed by the two boys. “Come on mate, chill out, have a pint” Niall offers him a jug. He notices the amount of empty bottles surrounding the boys. Harry, for one, seems quite content and is smiling wider than Zayn had seen him in days. Maybe, he’ll let this one pass. Maybe. He goes back to his room, changing his clothes and heads out the door.

He quickly arrives to the girl’s place, seeing it empty. “They must have gone out” he thinks, judging by the mess left in the living room. The couch was covered in make up, a ton of cotton balls, crumbs, and clothes. He laughs as he unplugs the curling iron. After cleaning for about 10 minutes, he spreads the couch wanting to have as much space as possible. He grabs his favourite pillow which smelt of their lavender fabric softener and laid down, covered by a fluffy purple blanket, marveling in the peace and quiet.

=

“Bed rest for two weeks”

“It’s not so bad mum, I promise” Louis says through the phone. He was sitting on his couch, his right leg elevated on a tabouret. His knee was covered by thin white material. It hurt, quite a lot, but he had no intention of getting his mother worried.

“Like I remember what the doctor said. I don’t care. It’s getting better, I promise, no need to worry.” he sighs flipping through the channels, settling on a tennis match between Nadal and Djokovic.

“No, there’s no need for you to come. Seriously” he tells her reaching for another piece of pizza. An hour ago he felt too hungry to wait for Liam so he ordered a family pizza, with extra cheese and anchovies. He has already eaten half of the pizza, and he intends to eat more.

“Mum, I’m a grown man I can take care of myself” he is getting irritated just by the idea of her coming. Then he would have to clean the place, and he is currently on a cleaning strike.

“Love you too. Please don’t cry. Why are you crying?” he asks his expression changing. He lowers the pizza, and brings the phone closer to his ear. “I’m not hurt that bad” he reassures her. He can hardly make out her answer as her sobs increase.

“I know what they said mum. Just ignore it. They are just a bunch of ignorant idiots.” at this point he isn’t sure if he’s calming her or himself down.

“Look, of course it bothers me. But they all know I’m the best player on the field. They’re just trying to make me slip. It’s only that. I promise. No one is giving me a hard time.”

“Okay now, don’t cry again.” he suddenly isn’t so hungry.

“Love you too, bye. Send my love to the girls” he manages to hang up before the tears start rolling down his face. He knows he shouldn’t be upset. But after all this time. After four years, Louis thought that the stories and booing would decrease. He still cursed the day his secret became known. But he is who he is, and he is still the best, and doing better, pushing harder, and training more than any straight player he knows. Because he has something to prove.

=

It has only been about 45 minutes, but Perrie feels drunker than ever, swaying to the music, laughing with the girls as they get their picture taken. Another fishbowl filled with blue liquid arrived at their table, the waiter pointing to a different group of guys each time the drinks arrive. “Do you always get this much attention?” Perrie asks Tam and she nods sipping through a straw. An attractive guy reaches them, whispering something into Tam’s ear and she goes to the dance floor, swaying her hips.

Slow down comes on and Perrie is dancing with Mill staring at the pair feeling anger burn her insides. She says without thinking “Why does she crave every guy’s attention?”. Mill halts her movement, looking confused. She follows Perrie’s gaze and sees Tam dancing seductively, but with a hefty distance from the guy. Several other guys were watching, but she was just having fun, not really caring about anything going on around her. Perrie brings her back from her thoughts when she says “Isn’t it enough that she gets all the attention from one guy?”

“Well, Perr, she’s just having fun. And Robert’s great, but she hates it when someone tries to take her freedom away.” she explains drinking a bit more. Mill hated that she could hardly get drunk. Some people may consider it an advantage, but she just saw it as a nuisance.  Usually everyone around her was wasted, and she had to pick up the pieces, guide them back home, make them take a shower, eat, go to sleep, and handle their hangovers.

“Who’s Robert?” Perrie confusedly asks.

“Um, Tam’s boyfriend. Who were you referring to?”

“Ah, heh, I didn’t know his name.” Perrie laughs it off, excusing herself to go to the bathroom.

=

“Shhhhhhhh” Tam yells as they enter the silent flat. Mill whacks her on the head, pushing her to the bathroom carrying her shoes in one hand. Perrie goes to Tam’s room and flops down on the bed, fully dressed, almost instantly falling asleep. Mill comes in brushing her teeth as Tam’s finishing up her shower. She puts on her underwear and presses a wet smack on Mill’s cheek, saying good night, her words slightly slurred.

The couch seems quite appetizing, even though she can hardly see it in the dark. She lies down, happy that the couch is already set, noting a thank you should be said in the morning. She curls into the pillow, noticing something firm behind her arching into it, without giving it much thought. A minute later and she’s off to sleep.

=

“You’re such an idiot” Stan tells him for the third time in the last five minutes. They are watching a film by Louis’ request. Mean Girls. Stan didn’t even put much of a fight, seeing as Louis was bandaged and for some reason depressed. At least now he knew why.

“I don’t know Stan. What if… You know, what if it didn’t work out? And then, if…” Louis starts fumbling with his beer.

“I’m gonna stop you right there Louis. You don’t know what can happen. But you can’t live in fear like this. You’re young, and talented, and famous, and attractive. What’s holding you back from having fun?”

“I just. I can’t do it again. I… Last time I almost…” he drinks trying to drown the lump forming in his throat. It was a bit unusual for him to drink at 11 am, but he was restless, and in a bad mood. He had hardly had any sleep, and if anyone asked it was because of the pain, in his knee. Yeah, it was because of the pain. Not because of the dreams he had, or the things he felt, plump lips on his own. Nope, just his knee.

“Louis, I have had enough of this. Not every guy is Greg!” Stan almost yells, frustrated as hell. “You haven’t been in a relationship or had sex in 4 years! Four years Louis! That’s fucking crazy!”

“I can’t Stan. I need to trust the person I’m with.” he tells him finishing the bottle, trying hard to concentrate on the TV screen.

“How can you? When you don’t even want to get close to anyone?” Stan turns him around staring into his eyes. “I’ve seen all the things that boy did for you. Why didn’t you at least try?”

“I don’t know Stan, I’m not sure. I just, I’m scared okay?” he finally admits stuffing his face with the fresh bakery goods Stan had brought over.

“Well, I know for a fact you’re a fearless bastard. No one jumps in front of players twice their size like you do. You don’t even for a fragment of a second picture a scenario in which you get hurt. You have to use that force in your life as well.” he strokes Louis’ back, feeling protective over the boy he’d known for years. After everything he deserved to be loved, and he needed someone. And Stan knew just who that someone is.

“Life is not a football game” Louis states smiling a bit through his sad expression.

“Yeah it is. And currently you’re too afraid to attack. And that’s not the Louis I know.” he reassures him, smiling as the fragile boy looks up at him.

“But, I, I told him off. There’s nothing I can do anymore. The game is over” he sighs.

“Ah, that’s what penalty shots are for” Stan winks at him. “Just think about it, I know for a fact, that if you gave him just the tiniest bit of attention he’d be more than willing to reciprocate”

“How can you be sure?” Louis’ expression is one of uncertainty and worry.

“Because, he let you go. For your own good. And if that isn’t a sign of true care and affection than I don’t know what is”

Chapter Text

*CRASH*

Mill rushes into the living room and is flabbergasted by the scene she sees. Perrie is standing by the bookshelf, her face filled with an amount of rage Mill had only seen in movies. In front of her feet is a broken vase, one which Tam illustrated a few years back. Mill followed Perrie’s eyes seeing the mass of limbs on the couch.

Zayn barely shrugged at the sound, not much able to wake him up, and especially not much that can make him jump or even open his eyes. He sighs, marvelling in the silence, and warmth. Everything around him was soft, and smelt nice, of coconut and vanilla - a scent he knew very well. He almost fell back asleep, but then he felt something stir - someone to be exact. He snaps his eyes open and his heart literally stops beating in his chest, his limbs, which he now notices are wrapped around her smooth body, completely paralyzed. He tries to breathe, but no air enters his constricted lungs.

He is met by a sleepy expression as Tam opens her eyes, yawning like a kitten. Her hands are still holding his narrow waist, her fingers digging into his spine. She looks slowly down noticing their attire, both of them sporting only a pair of underwear, their bodies incredibly close. Her eyes go back up again as she looks at Zayn’s petrified features. Two seconds later she bursts into a fit of hysterical laughter, bringing Zayn out of his crazy state.

“Your face” she laughs. “Oh, Zayn, your fucking face”. Her hands leave his waist to cover her mouth as she can’t keep the laughter down. Zayn somehow manages a weak “What?” and looks between them as well, his face suddenly turning a deep red, shifting his body so it isn’t as tightly pressed against hers.

“We went out last night, I just crashed on the couch, I was soo wasted” she giggled, her drunken state usually prolonging to the next morning. “When did you come here anyways?”

“While you were out, Harry brought the twins over, I had trouble falling asleep.” his arms are still wrapped around her back, the tips of his fingers tickled by her hair. “Wait, why did you sleep on the couch?”

“Because Perrie was in my bed, duh” she says her tone resembling one a person uses when speaking to a child.

“Perrie?!” Zayn is startled as his eyes widen.

“Yes, Perrie” a voice further away says, a voice he knows too well. He jumps instantly feeling guilty for no good reason. Feeling as if he’d just been caught stealing, or killing someone. He feels the need to cover himself, a need the blonde obviously senses as she comments “No need to do that, nothing I haven’t already seen”. He hears a faint “Zayn, it’s okay, it was just a misunderstanding” while he rushes to the bathroom feeling vomit rise in his throat.

=

“So, what did the lot of you get up to last night?” Harry asks as everyone piled up in his car. He was wearing a pair of Ray Bans and looked stylish as always, in a dark green shirt clinging to his body and even tighter pants. Zayn sat silently next to him, looking far less perfect than he usually does.

“We went out and Zayn crashed at ours since you were making too much of a ruckus” Mill informs him.

“Oh, and Tam and Zayn slept together” Perrie adds, sounding cheerful and smiling way too wide for this time in the morning. She may have drunk a nice cup of coffee, but it did nothing to soothe her raging headache. Or maybe it had something to do with a short conversation consisting of “Here you go darling, I made you coffee just the way you like it, nice and strong. Are you feeling ok?” and “Yeah, I’m fine, thanks Tam” and maybe followe by a kiss on the cheek. She knew she would regret going out, probably because of the amount of alcohol her body managed to keep down. Probably.

“What?!” Harry shrieks, making Mill bark out a comment, something about his gay showing.

“It’s nothing really” Tam says, sharing a significant look with Harry, one he knew meant “we’ll tell you everything later, when we’re alone”. Perrie yells to turn up a song she adores. It’s Demi’s Really Don’t Care. If she looks at Zayn in a specific way while singing certain parts of the song, everyone fails to notice.

=

“Sorry for the vase, I accidently pushed it” Perrie tells Tam once the girls are left alone. “Nah, it’s fine” she replies, her tone not as cheerful as usual.

“Oh, and the awkwardness. Between me and Zayn. I just thought that after all this time we could hold a decent conversation” she stares at the ground, rocking from foot to foot.

“Hey, we didn’t even know he was coming” Mill says patting her on the back.

“Plus, Zayn’s always awkward.” Tam simply replies making the blonde raise her head with a silent “What?”

“Well, you know. You talk to him and he just gets lost. Or you ask him something three times, and after a minute he reacts with ‘What’. And he sometimes stares at you for minutes at a time, his mind obviously somewhere else. That’s just Zayn.” she explains.

“Ahm…” Perrie replies her expression remaining emotionless. She hugs the girls in a rushed goodbye as she dashes for the wardrobe.

=

It hurts like hell. Louis’ eyes are gradually getting wetter from the pain in his knee. He doesn’t let his tears fall, knowing that he will be mocked, more than the others. His hold on his clutches increases as he exits the lift followed by Stan who had already been yelled at for trying to help the injured boy. They enter the conference room, just a tad bit late, mostly due to Louis’ inability to exit the car.

Harry’s eyes catch sight of him before he’s even fully entered the room. He jumps to his feet, dashing to Louis helping him stand as his leg gives out and he lunges towards the ground. Stan rushes behind them smiling wide as he sits on a chair, having no intention of helping the pair. “Th… Thanks” Louis croaks, his eyes in level of Harry’s as he’s lifted off slightly from the ground. Their lips mere inches apart, the strong scent of a fragrance he could only describe as Harry lingering between them. Harry’s hands remain on his waist, holding the shorter boy with much ease as his emerald eyes leave the sapphire ones, gradually scanning his body. His eyes linger on the clutches, and obvious bulge underneath his jeans, right where his knee must be. They drift back into place, a worried look spreading on the younger boy’s face as his eyes rake over the deep circles resting on Louis’ face. He just wants to cuddle and kiss Louis, protect him from the world. Keep him locked in a safe room, surrounded by kittens, fluffy pillows and sunshine. He wants to make him wear Harry’s sweaters, too long for his small body, hanging off his arms and covering his hands. His hair feathery and soft, smelling of autumn, leaves and chestnuts. The faint sound of rain dripping on the window outside, a contrast to his lovely laughter. A warm mug of tea in his hands, steaming hot over his rosy face. Harry shakes himself out of the tranquil thoughts, trying not to read too much into the fact that his fantasies aren’t the least bit sexual.

“I didn’t know you were so hurt. You shouldn’t have come. Until you feel better” he half-whispers, knowing fully well they’re on a tight schedule. He also knew if he wanted something he got it. Well, most of the time.

“I’m fine Harry. Not my first time being hurt, don’t worry” Louis reassures him his hands firm on Harry’s chest, feeling the heart underneath his small fingers beating rapidly, knowing his wasn’t much better. He moves to raise a hand to Harry’s face, maybe stroke his pale cheek or touch his unruly curls, abruptly stopping when he remembers the words he said to Harry. The agreement they’ve basically made. The deal he was definitely regretting, but remained unsure of what to do.

“Are you sure?” Harry asks him, a pure look of worry on his face which doesn’t disappear even as Louis nods. He hears a rather loud cough behind him suddenly feeling embarrassed. His cheeks flush, a similar shade to Louis’ as they enter the room fully, his arm firmly on Louis’ lower back as he guides him to a chair nearest to him, unbeknownst to exactly why the boys left it empty. He sits down, feeling on the spotlight as everyone’s stares alternate between Louis’ who’s trying hard not to look in his direction, and him, who’s also trying hard not to look at Louis. He inhales and exhales deeply trying hard to calm down and make the heat disappear from his red cheeks.

“Now that the reunion is over, care to continue?” Jay exclaims leaning on his chair.

“Um…” Harry is in a loss of words, something which happens often when Louis is around.

“Something about finishing up, headshots?” Josh suggests, a look of pity on his face.

“Get your head out of the gutter, we all know you two bang each other. Can we move on, please?!” Jay adds laughing as he sees Louis’ expression of sheer horror as he starts choking on the gulp of water he took hoping to relieve himself of the tension and awkwardness.

“We’re not… We…” Harry gulps. “Um, basically, you’re gonna get ready and we’ll do some headshots of you. And then we’re finished. In a couple of days I will call you up for you to see the finished product, and that’s it. Sound okay?”

“Why does it take so long to do that?” a quiet boy next to George asks.

“Um, well basically, we need to retouch the photos, choose the best ones out of hundreds, plant the logo, make the commercial, choose the best music, scenes, slogan and get in touch with your sponsor.” he slowly explains feeling his blush finally die down.

=

Jaymi looks around the studio trying to find his friend. He sees a group of boys dressed in football kit on set, lingering a bit as he stares at their fit bodies. Brushing off he proceeds to the balcony where he immediately spots the girl, who’s arguing on the phone. “It was just dancing, seriously. I can go out whenever I want to. No, I have no intention of speaking about this any further. Bye” she hangs up abruptly without waiting for the person on the other line to speak. Turning around, she spots Jamie her frown instantly replaced with a smile. “Jaymi!” she squeaks kissing the air on both sides of his cheeks. “So glad you made it, you know how much your opinion means to me” he puts an arm out angling it she could hook on to it.

“Well, you’re gonna be a hotshot designer just like me soon. I can feel it.” he smiles as they exit the building waving at Mill as she was at the parking lot making smoochy faces with Liam.

=

“Who was that?” Liam asks her as he drives towards the city centre, planning on taking her to a nice brunch at this place by the lake. “Who? Oh, that was Jaymi” she tells him as if he should for some reason know just from that tiny bit of information.

“Um, so?” he says politely.

“Oh, sorry, thought you knew who he was! He’s a fashion designer, works a lot with our company.”

“And your friend and him?” he starts hoping she’ll finish the sentence.

“Well, she’s always wanted to be a designer, so they’ve always met eye to eye. She’s taking him to see her knew collection at Harvey Nichols, so his expert eye can judge it. She’s not allowing any of us to see it, until she’s sure it’s good. Don’t know why she’s being sceptical, the designs looked great on paper.”

“She wants to be a designer?” Liam asks intrigued, a picture of the girl as anything but a model hard for him to believe.

“We all want something Liam, I like to write, I’m just finishing a book for which I hope I’ll find a publisher, and Zayn loves art, he’s having a show at a gallery in like, two weeks, I think?”

“Woah” he says impressed. “And Harry?”

“Harry loves photography, has a fancy camera and everything. Also, he’s a great singer, but is too shy to ever perform so yeah” she tells him as they drive further. An information his brain can’t process. Harry Styles shy? The ultimate playboy, life of the party, sex idol, Harry Styles? His face must portray his astonishment as he hears the brunette say “Why is that so strange? Harry is not as bad as you think Liam.”

“I don’t think he’s bad?” he replies, his tone mimicking a question rather an answer. “Yes, you do, and all I’m saying is you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.” Maybe that was true, but this book was practically ripped and black ooze was pouring from its insides, he’d much rather not touch it.

He is thankful for the ringing that fills the car, unable to form any sentence that wouldn’t lead her to believe he doesn’t like her friend. Upon spotting the very usual Louis on his screen he hits accept.

“Hey, what’s up?” he cheerfully answers.

“Hey, Li, I’m bored. My doctor’s is in an hour and half and I have nothing to do. I wanna go shopping.” Louis whines on the other line.

“Lou your leg is hurt, can you even stand?”

“Yes, I can. And I want to go buy new clothes, autumn is coming Li, I hardly have anything to wear”

“Oh come on, you have more clothes in your closet than a department store. I can’t go, I’m on a date” he tells the boy as he looks at Mill smiling wide.

“Oh, ever since someone got married he has no time for his best friend. Thanks a lot”

“Please don’t go drama queen on my ass seriously. Why don’t you call Stan or someone from the team?”

“Um, because they have practice, which I should be having, if it weren’t for my stupid fucking knee” Louis sounds frustrated. Liam knows how much he hates missing practice. How it leaves him cranky and full of energy. How he is sometimes afraid that they will choose someone else to lead them, someone better, stronger, straighter. He knows that Louis is falling into a bottomless pit of despair so he quickly suggests “How about Niall? He’s always free. Throw in a meal, and he’ll be up for it in no time”. For this he receives a faint “Ok” as the phone call ends.

=

“Oh, I love these” Jaymi tells Tam as he eyes the red jeans. He picks out ten more pieces of clothing, just because he likes them. She of course thinks it has everything to do with them being friends. She sighs in need of an objective judge. They wander around the large store, searching for the changing room, just as they near it, they see a short man with a clutch underneath his right arm, stumbling as he tries to balance holding himself with the right hand, and holding a ton of clothes in the left. Tam grabs a few shirts as they fall from the pile, noticing the design and smiling. The boy turns around to mouth a simple thank you, but freezes as he sees his saviour. His smile grows wider, the redhead a person he instantly had a connection with.

“Louis, why are you alone? Is your leg okay?” she asks him tentatively adding a “Love the clutch by the way” noticing that he had picked a bright yellow one and drew smileys on it, in hopes of cheering himself up.

“Actually, I came here with Niall, but he took too long eating, so I came here myself. And for the leg, I’ve felt better but yeah, I need to refresh my closet, you know what I mean” he winks smiling. He notices a boy behind her and questions “Hey, who’s your friend over there?”

“Oh yeah, Louis, meet Jaymi.” she introduces them. “Jaymi is a designer, a good friend of mine” she explains “And Louis is…” she starts but is cut off by Jaymi’s ushered “Oh I know who he is! I’m a huge fan, really, you’re amazing!” he fangirls jumping up and down a bit.

“Oh, thank you so much” Louis replies. “Hey, try those on, I want to see how they look, come on!” the girl pushes Louis into one of the stalls. She waits in front as Jaymi also walks in to one of the stalls, for the tenth time, to try on the jeans, choosing a green colour instead of the initial red, red being too bold for his taste. Louis comes out sporting a different shirt, white with blue writing that said “I can’t change”. The other shirt he tries on suits him even better, a scoop neck shirt which looks vintage, long sleeved and a deep green colour. Then he tries a maroon button-up. Every time he waltzes out he earns himself a small applause and praise, feeling like he finally found the perfect shopping buddy. He has trouble putting on the jeans, because they are too tight. He finally manages, and stares at himself in the mirror, he looked smashing. Never has a pair of jeans fitted him so well in the bum, without it hanging off on other parts of his body. He walks out holding on to the door hearing a “Woo Hoo” behind him followed by an apology of “Sorry I don’t know how to whistle”. He praises the designs as he goes back and puts his regular clothes on. He asks the girl why she hadn’t bought anything to which she replied with a simple shrug saying she had already done her shopping. He doesn’t even flinch at the high price the pile of clothes accumulated, presenting his gold visa.

“We should meet up for coffee or lunch soon” he tells Tam as they are standing in front of the store intending to go on in different directions. “I’m looking forward to it Lou, chat you up on Facebook” she smiles at him ignoring a couple of photographers snapping pictures of the odd trio. He smiles at her and just as he turns around he hears her say “Check the tags!” and scurry off in the direction of a cafe. He opens the bag, curiosity beating him in an instant and sees an autograph on every single one of his purchases, smiling as he reads the name spelled in neat cursive - Tamara.

=

“What’s with the fangirl moments? Seriously Jaymi, that was embarassing” she pokes the boy as they sit down at a table near the corner, ordering two large, fruity alcohol-free cocktails.

“Well I’m a fan. I can’t believe you know him, oh my god” he is literally jumping in his chair.

“Seriously Jaymi, stop it, act normal for once”

“Oh come on, he was always my idol.” he smiles as the waiter brings the drinks, a mixture of yellow, orange and red accompanied with two long straws and ice.

“Never pictured you a footie fan” she starts sipping on her drink.

“I’m not. But damn, everyone knows who he is”

“I mean he’s good, but still.” she shrugs.

“Not because of that silly.” Something clicks in his head his eyes widening. “What?” she asks in a confused manner.

“You don’t know, oh my god, you fucking don’t know the biggest scandal ever to happen. Like seriously!” he shrieks.

“Um, you know I don’t look into those or gossip. Harry has banned us from googling someone and so on seeing the things that come up whenever his name is mentioned. He doesn’t want us to judge someone by what the press says. Which is what we all live by basically.”

“Yeah, they can be harsh, I’ve read the article today saying horrible stuff about you. Are you ok love?” he asks her gently caressing her hand. “Yeah, I don’t look into it that much. So tell me. What’s so big about this boy?”

“Well, he is basically the first ever football player to come out, this early in his career, people usually do it when they’re retiring or something.” he explains. Seeing her uninterested reaction he adds “And he didn’t come out by choice”

“Wait, what? What happened?” she leans closer to him resembling an animal in heat.

“Well, basically. Let me explain the part I know. He was this major young star striker thing. Played for Doncaster. He was on the beginning of his career, I think he was 19, and was just put on the transfer list, several clubs fighting over him, bidding enormous amounts of money. Then all of a sudden, a picture of him was leaked.” he makes a dramatic pause. “And oh my, the amount of times I’ve masturbated to that picture” he breathes deeply closing his eyes.

“JAYMI!”

“Sorry. We’ll basically, he even had a girlfriend at the time. And everyone thought he was straight, like everyone. He was a popular guy you know, girls throwing themselves at him. And then the picture came out. Basically it is really racy”

“Oh come on Jaymi, we always speak details. I want details!” she shrieks.

“Well, I’ll send you a link, don’t want to ruin it for you. I’m just gonna say it shows pretty well that he is in fact, not straight. Clubs started forfeiting their offers, his price having fallen dramatically. He admitted to being gay, there was nothing else he could do. He was so broken Tam. Like seriously, someone must have betrayed him deeply. In the end only Manchester United wanted him, and bought him for a funny price, which is ironic seeing as he’s one of the best strikers in England. He basically beat every single club that rejected him when they found out about his sexuality. So, yeah, he’s my role model for succeeding, even against all odds.”

“Wow, I never would have imagined.” she says quietly.

=

“The doctor will see you in 15 minutes, I hope you don’t mind Mr Tomlinson.” a nurse speaks.

“It’s fine, I’ll just read this exquisite literature” he smiles at her grabbing a gossip magazine, carefully avoiding one with Harry’s name on the cover. He gets bored after 10 minutes, having read everything he wanted to, and done a test called “Which Jonas member is your perfect match?” and “Do you know how to please a man?”. He lifts his head just in time to see a figure exiting the office of his orthopedic doctor. He recognizes the face and jumps as he sees it. “Max” he calls out towards the boy.

Upon seeing him his face shows fear as he tries to run away, but is blocked by Louis.

“Max, what happened to you?!” Louis asks seeing the boys black eye, which was starting to fade, now a colour between purple and green. His nose was scraped, looking as if it were broken. His arm is bound to his chest covered in a splint from his elbow to his fingers. Louis also didn’t fail to notice the slight limp he had, relying mostly on his right foot.

“Um, nothing, look I have to go” he tries to usher Louis, frantically looking around, as if afraid someone’s going to jump him from every corner of the room. “It doesn’t look like nothing”Louis says noticing the boy also had trouble breathing properly - his experience telling him that such behaviour is usual for a broken rib.

“Look, Louis, please let me go. I can’t talk to you anymore” his face is now between a thin line of fear and utter panic.

“But, why are you so afraid?” Louis asks him tentatively reaching for the boys healthy arm only to have him jump back. “Just let me go! I can’t be seen around you!” Max is officially panicking now.

“Is your hand broken?” Louis asks, his tone calm. “No” Max mutters finally pushing him out of the way. “But, and I quote, it will be if I ever go near you again” he rushes out of the building leaving a shocked Louis behind.

 

Chapter Text

Liam held Mill’s hand as he walked her to the lift. His arm went around her waist, waiting for her to turn around. A wide smile etching his features as their gazes met. “I’ve had a wonderful time” he tells her, slowly rubbing the small of her back.

“Me too” she answers, mimicking his smile. “I’ll see you later then” he tells her as he leans in for a kiss, pecking her lips. Her hands snake up his body, pulling his neck as she deepens the kiss, her tongue meeting his with ease. After about a minute their lips separate. She looks at a now very flustered Liam and smiles wickedly exclaiming “See you later, then” and walking off to the lift. If Liam halters just a little bit longer than necessary, well, nobody needs to now.

Mill walks into the flat throwing off her shoes and peeling off the thin sweater she put on, still not used to the temperature changes which led her to freeze in the morning, and boil in the afternoon. Immediately spotting Tam she sits next to her on the white couch, grabbing a decorative red pillow and putting it in her lap as she crosses her legs Indian style. Tam notices something is off, which is why she temporarily discards the laptop in her lap, opting to shift and look at her distraught friend. She doesn’t say a word, just waits for her to spill.

“Why is he so… Ugh!” her hands move frantically as she sighs. Tam raises an eyebrow and Mill continues. “He’s so nice. He’s too nice. It’s irritating!”

“Like, he doesn’t ever contradict me, I see he doesn’t like Harry so I try defending him, and he just backs out. If I don’t like a song on the radio, he turns it off the same second. Like seriously? And now, he brings me to my door basically and is too shy to even kiss me properly! Ugh!”

“Maybe he’s…”

“No, why do I always get the overly nice mama’s boys?! I don’t want that. He’s a boxer for fuck’s sake, but he acts like a kitten” she digs her head in the pillow.

“Why don’t you just talk to him, explain that he should treat you normally. Maybe he just has a specific treatment for you. I mean, have you seen him argue with anyone else?” Tam suggests feeling sorry for the doe-eyed boy.

“Well, yeah” Mill remembers the conversation Liam and Louis had. “But if I tell him, he’ll just do what I want, and I don’t want that.”

“You want him to do what you want, but without you having to tell him that?” Tam suggests.

“Well, kind of” Mill replies, realizing that maybe she’s asking for too much, and not really caring. “I just, I don’t know if this is going to work” she stares at her hands.

“You wouldn’t be upset if you didn’t like the boy at all. Just give it some time.” Tam pats her leg as the brunette sighs. “Is it one of those days?” she asks her tentatively receiving a nod.

“Well, I have a perfect remedy for you” she smirks. She grabs her laptop. “You know, shopping with Jaymi. And guess who we bumped into” Mill just raises her shoulders, feeling too down to answer.

“Louis”. The word is followed by a quick shuffle as Mill comes closer to Tam staring at the laptop.

“And our Jaymi boy, knows a lot about him. Proper fangirl” she smiles as Mill’s curiosity grows. She quickly explains the story Jaymi had told her earlier today. “So, when is he going to send the link already?!” the brunette starts jumping from her spot on the couch.

“Oh, he already has” Tam explains and seeing Mill’s shocked face quickly adds “I was waiting for you”

“You let me speak all about my stupid love life with all of this shit going on?! You really know how to win my heart!”

“Of course I do”

“Maybe we should just be together, less trouble”

“Yeah, but our undying love for carrots might come in the way” the redhead laughs.

“We should marry each other, and use men for the only two reasons they’re good for...”

“Carrying things and sex!” Tam finishes the sentence giggling as they share a quick high five.

“Speaking of men, let’s see the picture. Fuck, I need something sweet, it’s so unfair. I hate Hell Week.” Mill whines. “I know, I hate it so much.” Tam adds and their attention is again drawn to the screen. She clicks on the link and they both stop breathing. After about five minutes of complete silence Mill manages a weak “I really need something sweet”.

They are so engrossed in the picture that they fail to hear the door unlock and two figures emerge in the flat in mere seconds. The darker one goes into the bathroom, in a desperate need of a wee, while the other goes near the girls,  noticing their blank expressions. Only when his shadow falls upon them do they realize his presence. They both jump hard, slamming the laptop shut. Tam throws it to Mill who proceeds to sit on it. If Harry hadn’t been suspicious before he definitely was now. He tries pushing the girls, but they don’t let him off easy. They fight like hell, but Harry manages to snatch the laptop from them as a sound distracts them, a loud groan as Zayn’s probably hit himself for the thousandth time on the cupboard above the sink.

He opens the laptop before the girls can snatch it from him and almost falls down as he sees the picture. Zayn comes out and notices Harry standing in the middle of the room, a laptop in his hands, his face completely red. The girls resemble his look as they sit on the couch staring at him, worry on their faces. Zayn approaches Harry and looks behind his shoulder at the laptop, trying to figure out what the fuss is about. He freezes gasping as he sees the photo.

A man is laying on the bed on his stomach. His hair is longer than now, his face younger as well. His head is lying sideways, half of it squished into a pillow. The other half is angelic. His eyes are closed, his mouth slightly open, his cheeks rosy, strands of hair sticking to his face, damp and sweaty. His tanned neck has a drop or two of white  mostly on the inner side, along with a rather large love bite. His glistening back is covered with red scratches, the left shoulder blade also sporting a love bite, this one not as purple, obviously fresher. The thing that comes into view next (or mostly first) is his glorious bottom. It is sticking a bit in the air, perfect tanned curves. The right cheek is red, imprinted by a hand mark. The left is held by the opposite hand, obviously a male one. It is squeezing the meaty flesh, spreading the cheeks further apart. Between them is a trail of cum, starting from the lower back, some dripping from the spread red hole in the middle.

Zayn manages to retrieve the laptop from Harry’s unsteady hands, turns it off and places it on the nearby table. He pushes Harry on the couch, making him sit down, ignoring his dazed look, red cheeks and obvious erection. He finds his voice a minute later and looks at the girls asking a simple “How?”

Mill tells them the story, from beginning to end as Tam goes into the kitchen, taking out a secret stack of chocolate fudge they have lying around. She comes back with the container saying “Fuck it” and eats a big piece passing the fudge around, each of them taking a square.  Harry seems to have calmed down after he’s stuffed himself with the chocolaty goodness, the heat from his face gone, but remaining on other parts of his body, which he now becomes horribly aware of, quickly grabbing a pillow and placing it on his lap.

=

It’s been three days since Louis has actually done some exercise, or even gone out, and the tension in his muscles is making him fidgety and really ill-tempered. Which is why Liam is almost killed as he wakes a sleeping Louis up at 7 am. He tries to speak avoiding the flying projectiles of pillows, alarm clocks and phones “Louis, come on, you have a doctor’s appointment, and if all goes well we can go for a run, it’s time you start putting pressure on that knee”

“I don’t wanna!” Louis whines while putting the duvet over his head, trying to block out Liam’s voice and the sunlight which is peeking through the now open curtains. The duvet is ripped from his grip, a cold air brushing over his naked body. Liam gulps, pulling Louis up, trying to ignore the feeling of the boy’s half-hard member on his thigh. He directs him to the bathroom and pushes him in the shower which is set to really hot, filling the room with dense steam. Louis’ eyes finally open as the warm water hits his tense back. He hears the door close and gives a sigh of relief as he passes his hair through the stream, making it stick to his face. Blindly reaching the shampoo bottle he pours a generous amount and starts rubbing it in, enjoying the freshness of the baby shampoo he got used to after he had tried it once while bathing his sisters. It made his hair soft and smelt of peaches and summer. Rinsing off his hair he proceeds to rub his body with his newest shower gel - a vow he made to himself to buy a different one every time paying off, as this one was divine. Just as his hand reached lower did he come to terms with his arousal. He hisses as his hand reaches for the stiff member between his thighs, coaxing it into complete hardness in mere seconds. He bites his lip, trying to hold back a moan, as he remembers the dream he had, one from which Liam had to wake him up. Envisioning the pale boy with dark curls, bouncing next to his face, his lips plump and abused, his eyes dark with lust, hot air puffing on Louis’ face as the boy moans his name over and over again.  

=

“Li, I can’t go anymore, I’m tired, and my knee’s starting to really hurt!” Louis says stopping in a narrow dirt path surrounded by flowers, hunching over himself, moving his right leg in little circles. Liam turns around knowing well that Louis hates admitting defeat. He would endure any pain he had to if it meant not having to surrender. Over the years he had managed to shake this habit off, mostly just in front of Liam. Which is very convenient seeing the fact that Liam as his trainer must know if Louis isn’t feeling well. He rushes towards the boy, helping him up noticing a wet drop that hit him on the head. He glances up seeing the darkened morning sky and rushes Louis to a nearby cafe. “Florence” he thinks smiling. It sounds rather nice, and the warm antique exterior gives it a cozy look.

They enter the cafe, and surprisingly don’t look off in their shorts and running shoes covered in dirt. There are a couple of business men sipping their morning tea or coffee. Then an old lady with a nice smile reading a book, a cupcake next to her. A teenage girl with short ginger hair and braces patting her dog as they watch the downpour which was now outside. And a boyish figure, sitting at one of the couches in his socks, his boots on the floor as he reads a newspaper, his other hand occupied by a large steaming mug covered in autumn colours. His laptop lays on the table, open but obviously forgotten. They can only make out the green beanie he has on and a few stray curls which fall from it.

They start walking in the direction of a corner table, one next to the boy, with a similar orange couch and dark wood chairs. Louis immediately stops as the boy lowers his newspaper, and he gets to see the face behind it. “Louis, ...?” Liam starts, but stops speaking as the boy raises his gaze, obviously hearing the name of the person he couldn’t get out of his head. He smiles sheepishly at the boy, his dimples showing. Louis knows he shouldn’t but he has no control of his body as it sits next to Harry on the couch. “Hi” he tells him, snatching the newspaper from his long white fingers. “Hey, that’s rude” Harry laughs pushing Louis playfully.

Liam reluctantly sits on the chair opposite of Harry, his gaze smouldering, his nostrils flaring as he puffs out air angrily. Harry looks at him as he hears the chair moving over the thick light-brown carpet, noticing Liam just now. He tries ignoring Liam’s obvious state and offers him a “Hello, I’m Harry” alongside his famous dimpled smile. His angelic morning features and overall soft kitten-like look seem to have no effect towards the older boy as his face remains stone cold. He manages a stern “I know who you are” before Harry’s gaze lowers, obviously feeling uncomfortable.

“Sorry, Liam here” he emphasizes the name “is just being cranky” Louis tells him, handing him back the newspaper, seeing as it’s not one of the gossip pages he usually reads, politics and economy not something that spark his interest. “Do you come here often?” he asks politely, suddenly feeling shy.

“Yeah, I do. It’s my favourite place.” Harry replies feeling self-conscious of his comfortable clothes, beanie and polka-dotted socks.

“Then, you know what’s good. Come on, give us a recommendation.” Louis tries to bring the boy out of his shell, finding the younger boy’s shyness and overall fidgetiness awfully cute.

“Um, well, the tea is great, they have tons of flavours. And also, I love the vanilla latte, but here it isn’t actually a latte, it’s more like hot chocolate made from vanilla. They put whipped cream on top, or ice cream in the summer - it’s really good. And if you want to eat something - the cupcakes are the best, my favourite are definitely the strawberry ones. The only thing here that isn’t really good is coffee, at least that’s what Zayn told me, I don’t really like coffee.” he explains, realizing just how many words he managed to blurt out, his usual slowness disappearing as his nerves settle in.

“Zayn…?” Liam asks his expression still cold and somewhat hopeful.

“My roommate and best friend.” Harry divulges knowing full well what the boy was implying.

“And you and him?” he continues, ignoring Louis’ obvious stop-it-now look.

“He’s straight if you haven’t noticed. I’m sorry if that screwed with some of your plans” Harry bites back feeling anger pour from his insides. Before Liam gets a chance to answer the waiter comes over, a cute guy with blonde hair and a nice smile “Sorry, would’ve come earlier, but I’m not used to you being here with someone” he tells Harry smiling wide, making Louis’ stomach churn. “So what can I get you guys?”

“I’ll have a vanilla latte, and a strawberry cupcake.” he tells the waiter smiling wider than him, trying to show him just how big of a smile Harry gets. “Oh, Harry’s favourite” the waiter comments as he writes down the order, smirking as Louis’ smile falters. “Just a coffee for me” Liam tells him.

“And do you want anything else?” the waiter asks Harry leaning slowly towards him, taking the empty mug from his hands, his fingers ‘accidentally’ brushing over Harry’s. “Um, I just wanted a tea. But maybe I can use something sweet this morning” he looks at Louis from beneath his curls “So, a vanilla latte as well”

The waiter smiles adding a “I’ll make that extra cream, just the way you like” winking at Harry as he goes off. Louis feels angrier than he has been in a while, suddenly extremely territorial over the boy who seemed clueless at the advances.

“So what are you doing here so early?” he asks Harry. “Just catching up on work” Harry answers smiling, feeling happy that Louis asked, even if it’s just for the sake of being nice.

“Work, pff” Liam says from his seat, rolling his eyes.

“Yes, work” Harry is getting irritated again.

“I thought your ‘work’ was to just look pretty” Liam snarks out a comment as he grabs the newspaper surprised to see it opened at the politics section.

“I have to book meetings, organize my schedule, talk to advertisers, designers and coworkers. I also have to have a chat with my manager, and answer my fans.” he replies coldly , taking his laptop, and checking his schedule one last time before turning it off.

“That reminds me, we have a meeting at 2, today. I talked to Paul, but I guess he didn’t come around to tell you that yet” he turns to Louis, while packing his laptop in a brown over-the-shoulder bag.

“He was probably afraid to wake me up” Louis says as his eyes go over the stray curls peeking out of the cozy beanie. The waiter comes by handing Liam his coffee, Louis his latte and cupcake, and Harry his latte which had twice the cream in it. Louis immediately feels territorial as his finger instantly dips in the foam swimming on top of the curly boy’s drink. He pushes the cream covered finger slowly  into his mouth, closing his eyes and sucking it while hollowing out his cheeks, lightly humming around it. He feels triumphant as he notices the boy squirm, his gaze lingering on Louis’ mouth even after the finger had left it. “Now that drink’s mine” he tells the boy licking his lips to get a stray creamy spot on the corner of his mouth.

“I don’t mind where you dip your finger Louis” Harry tells him his voice resembling one of a pornstar, deeper and huskier than usual. Liam hisses gaining the attention of the remaining three people apologizing with a “Burnt my tongue”. The waiter leaves them, fidgety with his tray as he drags his feet along the cafe.

Louis sucks on his straw looking at Harry from underneath his long lashes. Harry does the same with his getting a bit of cream just above his upper lip. Liam has never looked angrier as his eyes go between the pair.

“How’s your knee?” Harry asks Louis lightly patting his cold, naked leg, covered by tiny running shorts.

“It’s better” Louis shudders. Harry lets go of his drink sinking down under the table, a deviant smile on his face, as Louis’ breath hitches. He retrieves a blanket from a box underneath the table and spreads it over Louis. It’s nice, and fresh, and really warm.

Louis thanks him, smiling wide as he grabs onto the cupcake, needing something in his mouth immediately. It’s wonderful, and creamy, and just the right temperature. He eats half of it, handing the other half to Harry offering it to him.

“Um, no thanks, I’d love to. But I can’t”

“Why not?” a frown appears on Louis’ face.

“Um, it’s Hell Week. The week before Fashion Week. I’m not supposed to eat anything. Well, maybe an occasional salad, but that’s it.”

“Harry, you can’t possibly live off of a salad for a week” Louis tells him, worried. He notices the way Harry watches the cupcake, how much his eyes seem hungry. He wants to buy him dozens and feed him. He feels as if Harry’s a stranded puppy on the sidewalk.

“Yeah, I can. And it’s two weeks. On Fashion Week there isn’t any food anyways.” he explains, looking away from the cupcake, trying to ignore the grumble of his stomach.

“What?!” Liam butts in, although he was pretending not to listen.

“Well, yeah. It might seem fun to outsiders, but it’s a period we hate the most” he looks at his hands suddenly feeling fidgety. “Basically, you have work for at least 14-16 hours, before you have to go to a party for 4 more. And if you’re lucky the rest of the time you can actually sleep.”

“Like you need to go to a party” Liam huffs drinking his awful-tasting coffee.

“Yes, you do. It’s business. That’s where you get contracts, and meet designers, and companies that want to hire you. Then it’s key for you to leave a good impression - while starving and sleep defied.”

“You, leave a good impression? Hah” Liam chuckles putting down his empty mug.

“Yes, I’m good at what I do” Harry tells him, finishing his drink. Louis reaches for him wiping off the creamy spot above his upper lip trying to calm the boy down. He felt so angry with Liam, the boy being nothing but rude, not even giving Harry a benefit of a doubt.

“I bet you are” Liam says in a tone which is highly unpleasant. Harry looks at his mobile and seeing the  time puts on his boots and grabs his bag sliding it on his sweater- covered shoulders. “Thanks for joining me, it’s been a pleasure, but I have a shooting to do soon. So I best be going” He goes up trying to mask the uncomfort he felt around the buzz-cut man. “I’ll see you Lou later” he tells Louis staring into the sparkling blue eyes, noticing the smile that spread on Louis’ face as his nickname was used.

Opening up his wallet he pays the waiter standing by the bar, without even giving Louis’ protesting glance a chance. He goes off towards the door, turning once just to look at Louis’ face which is glued to Harry’s direction. He quickly stares at the floor, almost hitting the glass door as he exits.

“What was that about Liam?!” Louis attacks him, eating the rest of his cupcake.

“He’s trouble, and you didn’t listen to me” Liam answers him calmly.

“He’s not trouble, you don’t even know him!” Louis  almost screams.

“I don’t need to know him, to know his type. He’ll just end up hurting you”

“You don’t know that!”

“Yes I do. You need a nice guy”

“Greg was a nice guy, and look how he fucked me over” Louis manages to say before stomping off to the bathroom, avoiding a dead body on his hands.

Chapter Text

Harry walked into the studio looking really uptight. Everyone around him decided to leave him alone. Lou went into the conference room dropping a file silently on the desk he was sitting in front of. The file hit the massive amount of papers that were scattered on his table, a couple of them crumpled from his steaming mug. He nods to the girl finishing up on a conversation with Henry. He sighs running his hair through the fine locks and drinking up half of his tea exits the room. He sits in the little room him and his friends prefer to the big common room everyone shares. The room is small, a large black couch in the middle, and two armchairs on its sides. It’s simple, and nice, just them. He sits down sighing again as he closes his eyes and starts massaging his throbbing head. Not long after he hears someone come in, and doesn’t automatically recognize the identity of the person because the usual thick smell of smoke isn’t what follows him.

“Hey Z” he nods to the boy and closes his eyes again. “Hazza” Zayn simply replies sitting next to him. He can see that something is bothering the boy but is unsure how to react. “You okay?” Zayn asks him nonchalantly. Harry shrugs with a sigh. “What’s bothering you?” Zayn tries again, moving closer to the boy. “It’s just…” Another sigh.

“Come here” Zayn spreads his hands beckoning the curly boy over, enveloping him in a nice comforting hug and digging the boy’s head underneath his own. His hand rubs Harry’s back as he places a gentle kiss to the top of his head. He waits for the soothing motions to calm Harry enough to speak about his problems.

After about five minutes, the boy finally gives in with yet another sigh. It’s easier for him to speak without any eye contact. “How do you do that?” his voice seems small.

“Do what?”

“The whole being in a relationship/love thing, I don’t know” he breathes deeply.

“Well, you do it. You know it’s hard, but yeah, you can. You just need to find a right person.” Zayn answers him.

“I don’t get it. I’m just so confused.” Harry tries to ignore Zayn’s twitching hands.

“About what?”

“I don’t think I can do that. I’m just not…”

“Not what?”

“Boyfriend material. I’m just a good shag.” he says, realisation hitting him hard.

“Hey, Hazza,don’t you dare put yourself down.”

“Well, it’s true. Everyone just wants to fuck me. I get offers all the time, but it’s not like anyone wants to stick around”

“Hey, people have wanted that. But you didn’t let them in. You always turn everyone down” Zayn answers and upon hearing Harry’s loud puff adds “But it’s not a bad thing Harry. You just like to have fun, you’re not a relationship person.”

After a long silence Harry answers him in a whisper “Maybe I want to be a relationship person”. Zayn can’t believe what he’s hearing, the only person he knew hated anything to do with relationships suddenly saying something like that? It literally made Zayn gasp.

“I just want someone to care for me” Harry goes on, feeling his bottled-up emotions pour from his insides, the words leaving his mouth before he can fully process what he’s saying. “All of you have someone. And I’m just alone. There is no use in being rich and famous if you don’t have anyone to share your success with. And people, they judge you a lot. I mean, people don’t even know me, they just assume stuff about me based on what they’ve read. And I’m sick of it” a groan escapes his mouth.

“You have us” Zayn tries to reassure him, but knows it’s far from what Harry would like. “Look, if you want to find someone, you can Harry. You’re a real catch, anyone would want you. And I mean apart from wanting you in a sexual manner, people genuinely like you when they get to know you better, you’re quirky and loud, and caring, and protective, you love to fool around and when you care for someone you would rip your heart out the second they ask. You’re much more than just a good shag.”

“But, not everyone wants me.”

“Is this about Louis?”

“Maybe…” He feels Harry fumbling with the fine rings on his hands that are laying in Zayn’s lap.

“I thought you said everything was over, and that you’re fine with it”

“Well, it’s a bit harder than I expected.”

“Are you sure that he doesn’t want to be with you, I mean I’ve seen the way you two act around each other.”

“I’m sure, he said it. Thinks I’ll hurt him. I don’t blame him, I’d think the same if I was in his shoes.”

“Harry, are you sure? Have you seen him after that?” upon feeling Harry nod he continues his interrogation “And, how did he act?”

“Normal” Harry replies.

“Was it completely like before?”

“Um, no, not really”

“See. I’m certain that there’s potential there. We just need to…”

“No, I promised not to intervene anymore and I won’t. It’s his decision to make, and I’m not going to push him.”

“But”

“But nothing” Harry sternly replies.

“But you would be with him if he wanted to be with you?” Zayn asks calmly.

“In the off chance that that possibility is actually true?” Harry chuckles. “Yeah, I think I would. But, I’d be scared”

“Why?”

“I don’t want to hurt him.”

“Well, then don’t. It’s easy as that.”

“No, it’s not Zayn. You were always one for not hurting people, and look at Perrie, you broke her heart.”

“No, I, It’s, Um, complicated”

“Well, all I know is that the girl thought she was on the verge of being engaged, and ended up being single. She still hasn’t got over that.”

“Yeah she has. We’re okay now” Zayn replies, a deep frown on his face.

“That’s what you may think. But damn, she is definitely not over you. Trust me I can tell”

“No, then she wouldn’t…” Zayn suddenly gulps and gets off the couch. “I have a commercial to do. Um, trust me everything is going to be okay.” he goes to the door and turns around once more “And Harry”

“What?”

“Don’t be stupid. If you want something fight for it. Before it’s too late and all you can do is dream” he leaves a perplexed Harry behind. He goes off in the direction of the dressing room but is stopped by the devils. “Zaynie!” they yell overly dramatic, because they just felt like it.  He just nods, his mind set on something else.

“Hey, you’re wearing my shirt” Tam smiles staring at the white shirt with a large picture on it, Ariel and her tattooed sailor boyfriend. Very hip, very now, as Jaymi would put it. “Yeah, it’s great” Zayn smiles and seeing a head poking through the door remembers what he needs to do. “I gotta go. See ya tonight.” he winks and hurries into the dressing room.

=

Louis is a bit early, I mean, it’s because of the weather of course. He was just strolling in the neighbourhood, exercising his knee you know, when all of a sudden the sky started getting a bit greyish. Being the reasonable man that he is, he decided to seek shelter in case of any rain, or strong wind that might ruin his perfectly styled hair and much too tight jeans for the early afternoon. If that shelter happens to be a certain tall glass building, that’s merely a coincidence.

As he walks in two people almost knock him down. Those two people happen to be crazy girls who are running to the parking lot yelling something about their outfits, emergencies, and bags that were left in their car. He goes forward, nodding to Veronica as he piles up in the crowded elevator. He sees a few obvious skinny models, a man with a beret, ‘who even wears those anymore’ crossing his mind. There are also two artsy guys, wearing matching red jeans and blue sweaters. The thick smell of a cologne fills the elevator as it stops on every single floor, people flooding in and out, After what seemed like a century of holding his breath as to not inhale the strong scent of cologne he finally arrives at the top floor. He greets some people, a girl desperately begging for his autograph because her sister is a massive fan. He smiles, still feeling down about the fact that he has more female fans than male, something which is quite normal in most professions, but not in football.

He proceeds down the path avoiding the flailing limbs of half-naked models running around, and long stacks of clothing. The clutter which can be heard is deafening. He distinctly hears someone yell as he passes the dressing room, then sees a ton of people getting their makeup and hair done, the usually smiling crew looking as tired and cranky as the people they are working on.

Seeing nowhere smart to go, he opts for a small wooden door, which is slightly ajar, just enough so he can hear a faint noise. He goes closer hearing the strums of a guitar, and then a beautiful rough voice singing one of his favourite songs.

“Step one – you say, "We need to talk." He walks, you say, "Sit down. It's just a talk." He smiles politely back at you. You stare politely right on through.

Louis walks closer, peeking through the gap between the door and doorframe. He is amazed at what he sees. Harry is sitting on a couch, a guitar in his hands. His long fingers trace over the strings as he sings from the bottom of his heart. His angelic features amplified by the sheer strength of his song. He seems taken by it, not really seeing his surroundings. His mind concentrated on singing. Louis has never seen anything so beautiful in his life. And now that he does see it, he doesn’t ever want to stop looking or listening for that matter.

“He’s amazing isn’t he” a voice whispers behind Louis making him jump. Turning around he is met with deep blue eyes, similar to his own. “Yeah” he looks at the ground, suddenly feeling ashamed for staring at Harry for so long. Mill just smiles nodding to him and leaving him to continue his spying. She somehow managed to hide the huge smirk pulling the ends of her mouth as she rushes towards the make-up studio.

=

“So guys, this is it. We’ve finished our fun, or for some people horrible, work” he smiles and turns on the slideshow on his computer, effectively making the pictures pop behind him on a large screen. He looks back at the boys sitting in front of him, all staring at him strangely. He quirks an eyebrow, a silent question. One which is answered by George’s “Your, um, face” he is confused for a second but then remembers.

“Oh, haha, sorry, we were trying out looks for the fashion show, after all it is tomorrow. I completely forgot to take it off” he chuckles to himself.

“Don’t ever take that off” Louis thinks “Or take something else off”. He is  suddenly aroused beyond compare as he stares at the green eyes he has dreamed of plenty of times, this time rimmed by dark black. Harry was wearing eyeliner, and a quiff, and his tattoos were showing. And it made Louis want to jump over the table and grab him right then and there. He is the sexiest thing Louis has ever seen and he has no idea how he’s even managing any ounce of self-control when that is looking at him, just a metre away. He was obviously worse at keeping his control as Stan not-so-subtly kicks him on more than one eye-gazing, mouth-falling, saliva-dripping, breath-exhaling moment. When he finally manages to breathe Harry has finished the intro and is answering some questions and praise.

“Maybe, I don’t know. But if you have a new commercial coming up, be sure to give me a call.”

“Yeah, why not. I don’t really like football, but…” Harry’s statement is followed by loud grouns of ‘How can you not like football?!” and he adds “But, yeah, I’ll come when I can.”

“Thanks again, I wish you guys all the best and we’ll see each other around. Hope you win the championship or whatever this year”

“Or whatever?! Styles, you’re something else” Stan tells him. Louis is amazed at how Harry has grown on all the boys. His charming and witty nature winning them over in an instant. He is even more amazed at how much Harry has grown on him. As everyone piles out of the room, he sticks behind, already seeing the smirk on Stan’s face and trying to ignore it. It wasn’t his fault that he had trouble saying goodbye. He feared never seeing the boy again, saying goodbye was easier, when he knew Harry was right there in case he ever needed them. In case he changed his mind. But now? Now, everything is uncertain and Louis feels a lump forming in his throat as he goes over to the boy who looks probably the same as Louis does. Louis can tell the heaviness and nervousness of the moment, the air thicker, making it hard for him to breathe.

“I… It’s been a pleasure” Harry says, trying to sound professional, trying really hard to turn his emotions off.

“Yeah… It has” Louis smiles.He goes closer to the boy seeing his hand twitch as Louis accidentally grazes it with his own. “Big week tomorrow, huh?” he fixes a stray curl, putting it behind Harry’s ear.

“Yeah…” Harry can hardly breathe let alone speak.

“Too bad you’ll be all the way in London. Who will annoy me when you’re not here?”

“Heh, I don’t know. Stan” he replies smiling, feeling awfully flattered by Louis’ words.

“Are you doing something tonight?” Louis asks trying to be nonchalant, trying to hide the fact that all he wants to hear is a “No”.

“Um, yeah, we’re going out tonight. We do it every year, you know before the fashion week.” Harry replies oblivious to Louis’ intentions.

“Oh” Louis smiles even though he doesn’t feel like smiling. “Well, I’ll see you around then”

“Yeah” Harry still has no clue what to say. This is what Louis wanted, why is he suddenly looking so sad?

“Um, look, I have to go, but don’t be a stranger, yeah?” Louis tells him, his hand suddenly rubbing Harry’s side.
“Yeah, you too” Harry replies.

“Maybe I’ll see you around, sometime?” Louis’s yet again hopeful, praying that Harry will say something, anything.

“Yeah” is all that comes out once again. Louis want to ask him, wants to take him somewhere, or do something, anything. But all the willpower he had was drained out upon finding out Harry was busy.

“Okay, um, see you then” Louis says staring into the deep green eyes he is know realizing he really really likes. “See you” Harry replies staring back noticing just how close they were. If he were just to lean a bit he would… “No” he thinks, that is not what Louis wants.

Louis breathes in Harry’s wonderful scent, probably for the last time. No, definitely not, no way, right? His brain is going into overdrive telling him to run and to kiss, and run and kiss, and run and… This results in him doing both at the same time, effectively almost knocking Harry down as he stumbles into him, his head hitting Harry’s chest. Harry gazes at him a questioning look on his face, and Louis just smiles pushing him a bit. Trying to play it out as a playful gesture, rather than a horribly failed attempt of a kiss. He feels horrible as he quickly nods to Harry, going on his tippy-toes and kissing the boy’s cheek softly. He winks and says goodbye, somehow managing to leave the room cursing at himself for having no self-esteem.

Chapter Text

“Fuck, fuck, fuck” Louis mouthed in the car. “Are you going to tell me what the hell happened in there? And if it was sex, damn, I thought he had more endurance.” Stan laughs as he drives towards Louis’ place.

“Yeah right” Louis stares at his not-so-white TOMS rubbing them on each other. After a minute of serious contemplating he takes out his phone quickly dialling a number before he can change his mind.

“Hey, wanna go out tonight?” he speaks, his voice suddenly uneasy.

“Well, I’ll meet you there. Bye” he hangs up smiling wide.

=

“Seriously Harry, how much do you intend on drinking tonight?!” Zayn is shocked as Harry piles up another bottle of Tequila in the trolley. “You don’t understand, I neeeeeed it!” Harry whines and pulls out a perfect pair of puppy dog eyes. “Fine, get as much as you want you big alcoholic baby!” he yells, sending a glare to an old lady who was obviously disapproving, he is pretty sure he heard something on the lines of “Stupid gays” as she moves away.

“Why are you so thirsty all of a sudden?” Zayn eyes Harry as they go near the cashier.

“I’m just sooo….” he starts saying as they pile all the alcohol on the conveyor belt.

“Horny?” Zayn suggests wiggling his eyebrows. Upon seeing Harry’s confused face he clarifies “Please, I’ve caught you jerking off more times in the past couple of days than in the past year” He hears  someone gasp and they both raise their heads to the boy working at the counter.

“Oh, um…” Harry starts seeing a familiar face, but not able to connect it to a name. “Ashton, the waiter from Florence.” he offers a wide smile. “Oh yeah, never got your name” Harry answers smiling his usual charming smile. “Why are you working here, anyways?”

“Heh Harry, not everyone’s rich. Some of us need to work two jobs. I’m trying to start a career, it’s a bit hard.” he smiles sheepishly putting the fifth bottle in a bag. He notices Zayn’s peculiar stare so he quickly changes the subject  “Are you guys havin’ a party?” he asks finishing up with the bags. Harry hands him his credit card answering “Meh, just a friendly get-together” he pushes in his pin and waits for the receipt to pop out of the machine “Was nice talking to you” Ashton tells Harry as he puts the receipt in one of the bags handing it to Harry, his hand lingering on Harry’s. Harry nods saying a quick goodbye and ignoring Zayn’s expression.

=

“Harry’s totally gettin’ hit on by the cute waiter boy!” Zayn says as soon as they enter the girl’s flat, everyone already present, waiting for them to return with the booze. “Cute?!” Ed starts laughing from his place in the circle the friends have formed.

“Hey, that’s how the girls call him” Zayn defends himself grabbing the bags before Harry can break all the bottles in them. He goes into the kitchen meeting Niall as he unloads the bottles. “You realize I own a bar right?” Niall laughs at the amount of alcohol which Zayn was currently loading in the freezer. He bites into the next piece of pizza Harry had made for their lucky friends who could actually eat.

“Oy, Z, don’t let him eat it all!” Jaymi yells from his place as he keeps texting someone. Zayn grabs  the pizza and puts it in the middle of the large living room manhandling an Irish monkey who was literally hanging on his back. He returns to the kitchen, wondering where the girls were, they were probably finishing up their makeup, he could tell by the loud music coming from Mill’s room.

He takes out the last bottle and just as he goes to throw away the bag he notices the receipt fall to the floor. He picks it up along with the bag and notices something. Letting go of everything he examines the receipt thoroughly and literally runs to the living room. Just as he goes in so do the girls. Mill’s in a white dress with peculiar beading and lace covering the arms, while Tam’s wearing a seductive red dress which shows off her figure, their hair and makeup perfectly done as always, this time in an old Hollywood style, perfect eyeliner, red lips and loose curls. He is numb for a moment forgetting why he ran to the living room.

“How do we look?” the girls ask in unison striking an immediate pose.

“We’re gonna have to get a repellant cause you’re gonna attract so many guys tonight” Jaymi says winking.

“Beautiful” Zayn half whispers sitting down in the circle tearing his eyes away from the sight. “Yeyyy!” the girls high five sitting opposite of Zayn, on either side of Harry, who had just returned from the kitchen with a bottle, realizing that Zayn was of no use at all.

“What’s that?” Tam points to Zayn’s hand. After shaking his head a bit he remembers the receipt. “A receipt, from Ashton” he says grinning. “Cute waiter boy?” Mill asks. Zayn immediately points to her rapidly moving his hands, trying to convey to the others where he got the nickname from. “Yeah, he apparently left a little something for Harry here” he smirks. “What?” Jaymi jumps in loving some good gossip. “Here ya go” Zayn hands him the receipt and he reads it out loud. “07700 900056 Call me. x”

“Oh my god!” Mill exclaims as Jaymi squeals. Harry on the other hand doesn’t seem fazed at all. “Damn, I thought he was straight!” Tam hits herself pretending to be upset. “Seriously? He couldn’t be gayer if he wanted to” Zayn laughed. “Hey, a girl can dream.” she answers directing her attention to Harry “So, you’ve got yet another admirer. What’re you gonna do?” she smiles as Ed hands her a glass. “Nothing” he replies raising his glass as they all clink before downing it in a second.

“But, he’s cute waiter boy!” Jaymi waves the receipt in the air.

“It’s cause Harry wants to do it with someone else” Mill teases, poking Harry in the ribs. Tam joins the poking knowing full well just how ticklish the boy is. He starts jumping and laughing like an idiot almost knocking them all with his long flailing limbs. “Stop it, he almost knocked my drink outta my hand!” Niall says with a full mouth. “With who?” Jaymi asks again, since the group hadn’t heard him the first time.

“Louis” Tam says smiling wide ignoring Harry’s “Stop it!”

“Tomlinson” she adds pouring another glass for everyone. She smirks as she sees Jaymi’s face “You’re doing it with Louis Tomlinson?!”

“I’m not. We’re… It’s complicated” he stares into his glass before downing it first. Jaymi sends a look to Tam which she reciprocates by shaking her head frantically, everyone else has the same reaction. The door suddenly rings breaking the awkward silence. “Who’s that?” Jaymi asks. Tam smiles answering “Zaynie, can you open the door please?”

He jumps to it going to the door opening it with a gasp. “Hey Zaynie” a loud high-pitched voice could be heard. Harry looks shocked at Tam his face accusing. “Hey guys!” Perrie waves to the group sitting next to Tam as she kisses both the girls on the cheek. “Hi, I’m Perrie” she introduces herself to Ed. “Ed, nice to meet ya!” he smiles oblivious to the situation. They start drinking again, the awkward atmosphere disappearing after a while. Once Perrie went to the bathroom Zayn basically cornered Tam until she admitted that the girl sounded lonely so she invited her to join them. He was definitely unhappy, but he couldn’t stay mad at her for long. However, there was someone who he was mad at, and his face depicted it perfectly as Perrie came back in. They continued drinking and were properly half-drunk and drunk, depending on the person, when they decided to leave for the club.

“I’m just gonna go grab my purse and we can go.” Tam slurs a bit, going in the direction of Mill’s room. Suddenly a scream could be heard and Zayn literally ran into the room, followed by a slightly slower Mill and Harry. They saw Tam sitting on the bed grabbing her foot, the hair dildo on the floor. “Watch it” she warns them, and they realize a second before they could step on it. It’s spread on the middle, right after the doorway. “I thought we turned it off” Mill grabs the cord, turning the curler off, and safely storing it aside, where they always put it. “I thought too” Tam puffs out air “But we obviously didn’t” she gulps as Zayn gives her a cold wet cloth soothing her burn. “It isn’t that bad, I pulled my foot off immediately, the contact just, hurt, like a lot” she gasps as Mill comes with some strange cream and rubs it all over her foot. “My mom’s a pharmacist, I know what I’m doing” she explains as everyone piles up in the room. Mill grabs her foot spreading it out and slowly places a white long bandage on the sole laughing as she hears “Stop staring at my underwear Ed!” and a shriek from the before mentioned guy as someone hits him on the head. She helps Tam get up and they test the waters. She can walk perfectly fine and everyone is pleased as they go back to the living room, pulling on their shoes and eventually piling up into two cabs.

=

“So, why the sudden need to go out?” Stan asks Louis as they get into a car with a couple of guys from the team. “Why not? It’s a Sunday, nice day  for going out” he answers fixing his quiff in the rearview mirror. “So why do you keep on fixing your hair then?” he tries again, his face mocking. Louis abandons his hair, swiftly placing his small hands in his lap. “I’m not.” he sighs. Stan comes closer and whispers in his ear so that no one else can hear “You look great, he won’t be able to resist” he smiles knowingly to his friend patting his thigh reassuringly.

When they enter the club they are unprepared for what they see. Firstly, the line in front should have tipped them off since it basically spread towards the end of the street. While they were passing the bouncers they nodded to Louis and quickly explained the situation to Stan as they said a simple “Models”.

Inside, the amount of people was huge, every table but the one reserved for them taken. They stood around the table glancing at their surroundings. They notice a large group of people surrounding the dancefloor which was quite close to their table. The group widens just enough so he can see curly hair jumping around along with other people. He moves from his place on the side, finding the perfect spot to stare at the group of friends which are currently dancing in a circle connected together by their hands. He recognizes everyone in the group including the boy he met with Tam, J something. He frowns as he sees the boy’s hand holding Harry’s hip tightly as the entire group sways with their drunk movements. Niall has somewhere in the process lost his shirt and Ed was wearing one upside down. He also noticed a blonde girl which stood between Tam and Mill, obviously staring at a very drunk Zayn who could hardly stand on his two feet let alone dance. People were coming and going in their direction, each of them having been turned down by someone from the group. However, this did not take away Louis’ worry even after Harry had turned down a very good-looking guy, and a really well-endowed blonde. He was still bothered by the hand which was holding the boy still as his lanky legs barely held him up.

“Damn, is that Harry?” One of the guys comments.

“They look smashed” the other one laughs just as the waiter comes by. Louis waves his hand signalling for Stan to order for him as he continues staring at the boy. The J boy is laughing like an idiot at something Harry said. Probably a really stupid pun. He loves those. And Harry is laughing as well, leaning on the boy as he grabs another drink from a passing waiter. Louis feels a spark run through his body as he stares at the boy, his tall slim body enveloped in the tightest jeans Louis had ever seen and a tight blue shirt with white hearts, one which fits him too well. The two top buttons had already been undone, probably something to do with his current state of drunkenness. He is so enthralled in the boy that he almost fails to notice someone coming up to the other one, obviously trying to buy him a drink. The boy pulls off of Harry and says a simple no. After five minutes the man still doesn’t leave and the boy does something unexpected, he raises his left hand, and for a moment Louis thinks the boy will hit his wooer, but then he turns it and presents it to the man who stares at it for a minute before apologizing profusely and going off.

“He’s engaged!” Louis says overly ecstatic, forgetting his surroundings. “What?” one of his friends answers and he waves them off drinking his double vodka.

Louis feels happy as he stares at Harry who looks amazing and all so taken. He can’t believe the amount of people Harry keeps turning down, and he somehow feels proud. That is until he sees a tall older guy with a quiff approaching Harry. He knows the man from somewhere but he isn’t sure from where. “That’s Nick! The BBC radio guy!” Stan tells him as he is staring at the group as well. Louis instantly remembers the guy from a show when he talked about a game his team had, it was a hard game against the city rivals and Nick had the nerve to say “Ooh Stacey got out the wrong side of bed this morning” obviously talking about Louis. Louis’ hatred only grew when he saw Nick placing his pale hands on Harry’s slim exposed waist as his shirt had risen from all the dancing. He enveloped the younger boy from behind speaking into his ear, pressing himself against Harry in a very intimate way. Louis drank the glass Stan pushed into his hands as he continued to stare. The conversation lasted for some time, and Harry was obviously feeling uncomfortable. At one point he responded shocked and a minute later went into the direction of the bathroom leaving Nick to his friends, who did not seem happy. Tam and Mill dragged him away into a corner, out of Louis’ sight. He huffed out a large chunk of air, feeling relieved.

=

Meanwhile

The group of friends were dancing without a care in the world. Harry was feeling quite happy and overly drunk. It was a perfect night out, one they didn’t have in a long time. That is until he came by. Harry felt hands enveloping his waist, pulling him close, his ass pressed to someone’s front. He proceeds to turn around but stops as he recognizes the voice which was speaking quite loudly in his ear, loud enough for his friends to hear. “Why didn’t you call me?” Nick said breathing into his ear, his hands increasing their hold. Harry felt extremely embarrassed, imagining what his hands must think of him now. And what Louis thinks of him. He saw him at one point, contemplated whether or not to go say hi, but decided not to, respecting the curvy boy’s wishes.

“I know you’re a busy man Harry. But I was kind of hoping we could do that again” Upon hearing Harry’s small “Do what?” he continues.

“You know fully well what” Nick answers him rolling his hips slightly.

“We… We did that?” Harry can’t believe what he’s hearing.

“Yeah, oh come on you can’t tell me you don’t remember. We did it three times in a row for fuck’s sake!” Harry is speechless, he can’t remember a night he was so drunk to forget whatever had happened, except…

“I found you next to Sin, you were beating some guy up. I had to tear you off him so you don’t kill the poor fella. It was by far the hottest thing I’ve seen, you were all bloody, and mad, and your muscles were tense and umm…” Nick bites his ear.

“Who? Who was I?” Harry is starting to feel horribly uncomfortable. He feels violated knowing full well just how drunk he had been that night.

“Some almost bald guy, shorter, green eyes. I think he’s a dancer.” Nick says nonchalantly.

“Max?!” Harry gasps almost instantly pulling away. No, no, no he thinks. He knows one reason he would have to beat up Max. Max is a bastard, was always one and will always be one. But he didn’t deserve to be hit like that. Harry knew how violent he could get, but he could usually control his anger. But, something about Louis made him lose control in every single way, and now he was feeling horrible. What would Louis think of him if he knew? Harry didn’t want Louis to think of him as a violent jerk. This was horrible news, absolutely horrible, and he needed a moment to recollect so he quickly dashed towards the bathroom.

The girls immediately grabbed Nick dragging him to a corner of the club. “Stay away from him” Tam warned him his voice filled with venom. “Why would I do that?” he answered nonchalantly his smile evil.

“You used him!” Mill is furious. “You saw how drunk he was and you used him! You think we don’t know how many times you’ve tried getting into his pants. And he denied you every time. So the first moment you had, you used him!”

“Please girls we can do this nicely. No need for you to be so angry.” he says calmly. “Listen here, he doesn’t want you! You get away from him or else!” Tam tells him anger deep in her voice. “Or else what?” he grins.

“You don’t wanna know” Mill finishes a wide smile on her face, pure evil seeping through her warm blue eyes. She nods to security and looks at Nick intently until she sees him go out on his own politely telling the security he’ll leave.

Chapter Text

“So, are you going to go talk to him or not?” Stan asks Louis as he sips on his whisky. Louis just shrugs. He has no idea how to approach the boy, or what to say. He had never considered himself a coward, up until now.

“Pussy” Stan told him smirking as he hands Louis another glass of clear liquid, his fourth one. “What did you call me?!” Louis snaps at him, grabbing his drink. Stan just shrugs, the smirk still evident on his face. He turns around and the smirk is instantly wiped off as someone approaches them. A girl comes to their table slowly, swaying her hips as she goes. She is wearing a seductive red dress with a low neckline. Her hair is perfect, her lips stained the colour of blood. She greets Louis with a slow air kiss smiling as she says her hello. “Hey Lou, where you’ve been?” she asks him tentatively ignoring the rest of the table who keep gawking at her. “Around. What’s up? I see you guys have been celebrating quite a lot” he smiles at her sipping on his drink. “Well, we have to rock it out before our busy week.” she curls a strand of hair around her finger, a worried look on her face as she glances around the room. “What’s wrong?” Louis asks her. “I just wanted a cocktail, but the bar is so crowded, I’ll just get pushed around and never get one” she bites her lips staring at the ground. Louis is amazed as his friends literally dash towards the bar, all of them at once. As soon as they’re gone Tam smiles wickedly commenting a “This was way to easy”.

“You know you could have bought a drink for yourself” Louis replies, trying to sound accusing but failing miserably.

“I never buy a drink for myself. I’m a model. I need to be taken care of.” she replicates the lost expression she had a minute ago, laughing after it. She was obviously having a blast, using all the stereotypes instead of going against them, like Louis often did. His friends return all of them holding two glasses of colourful liquid. “We didn’t know which one you want, so we just…” Josh says, rambling as they set the glasses down on the table. She smiles curtly eyeing the glasses while bending down a bit, all of their eyes glued to her chest. She takes one glass which is a mixture of green and blue and hands it to Louis. She then takes a different one red, orange and yellow and grabs Louis’ hand with her free hand. “You boys won’t mind if I steal him for a bit, would you?” she asks the group. They all start shaking their heads and she raises her drink to them, tilting her head slightly as she turns around pulling Louis alongside her. “Where are we going?” he asks her as he absentmindedly examines the liquid in his glass, cocktails something he wasn’t really used to. She stops next to the DJ and Louis looks up to see a cage. “What the…?” he starts asking as she pulls him to the back opening said cage and pushing him inside. She goes along with him closing the little door they came through. “We’re gonna dance, duh” she smiles again regaining her crazy nature. The cage is a tight fit and they aren’t exactly touching but are quite close. “Don’t you think Bobbie would mind if you...?” he asks, concern in his voice, he wasn’t really close friends with the guy, but didn’t want to stand in the way of their relationship, or whatever it is they had.

“Meh, first of all, I don’t care. Second, you’re gay Lou, it’s not like we’re flirting.” she smiles at him raising her drink. He finds her words quite logical, or it may be the vodka thinking for him. “To us” she exclaims and he repeats her words as their glasses clink and the liquid goes swiftly down their throats. He enjoys the sweet and bitter taste downing it quickly. “This is really good!” he comments hiccuping. “Of course! Why wouldn’t it be?” she smiles at him as her hand moves in the direction of someone behind his back. A waiter comes by nodding to her as he takes their glasses. “I’ve never really tried a cocktail before” he admits smiling wide, feeling heat rise all over his body, the stale smell of cigarettes and sweat numbing him. “Well darling, someone needs to teach you how to live!” she smiles and squeals as a song she really loves comes next. Lady Gaga is someone Louis admires as well so they quickly get into a rhythm swaying their hips in the cage. If it were a different time and place Louis might not have had the guts to do this, but now he was feeling happy and giddy all over. They were dancing and grinding and he was shaking his ass and hips more and more as new drinks started to arrive, everytime a different colour. He always loved dancing, but after everything that happened he did not really like the attention he gained when exposed like this. He was always labeled as the gay one, and anything he did, which was not remotely as manly, was judged. He usually resorted to “straight” male behaviour, drinking strong drinks, rarely dancing and mostly talking about football, trying to hide his fascination with television series and pop music. He also kept his barely existent love life down low, not needing to give the massive amount of football fans an eyeful of what they obviously hated, if their words were anything to go by. Right now he was dancing and feeling better and more free than he had felt in a while, always feeling trapped and judged amongst his usual crowd.

=

“Look at Tommo go. Didn’t know he had it in him.” one of the guys said as he was talking to Stan, their third friend having left them to talk with some girl. Stan smiled feeling happy for his friend, knowing just how free and outgoing he used to be, always the center of attention. That is, before all the judgement started, and even though he had always been tough the harsh words broke him, making him tone down his usual behaviour. Making him believe that what he is, and who he choses to be with is a sin, abnormal and unwanted. He was happy to see his best friend having fun, so he just nodded and continued his dispute about whether or not Barcelona has what it takes to beat Real Madrid in the upcoming match.

=

Harry and Zayn were currently sitting at their table, with a clear view of the cage. To say they were drunk, that would probably be a euphemism, because they were laughing like crazy at nothing, having shared a staring contest with a passed out Jaymi on the couch in front of them. First they took his shirt off and wrote on his chest with one of the girl’s lipsticks as secretly as they could. Worst of all, their handwriting was shit as they kept giggling like little schoolgirls and laughing as they misspelled the word husband. They have finished the look with an eyeliner moustache and some blush, quickly taking a picture and spreading it online, posting it on his twitter feed, along with a selfie of the pair with a passed out Jaymi and an empty bottle of Tequila they were kissing. Mill swiftly reached the table grabbing their phones and telling them something along the lines of “You’re too drunk. I’m denying you the ability to embarrass yourselves.” as she goes back to Niall and Ed who she was having yet another drinking contest with, and winning. She passed Perrie who was obviously flirting with one of the football players, quite obviously to be exact. Almost as if she wanted to be seen, by a certain someone she was staring at. Too bad his stare wasn’t directed at her as he looked at the cage having a “quiet” conversation with Harry (the boys often thought their talk was very quiet when they were drunk, even though they apparently yelled).

“Soo, your boy seems awfully comfortable out there” he exclaims as he eyes the pair grinding filthily in the metal cage, their backs pressed tightly to one another, their glorious behinds moving in sync as they go low then back up again.

“Yeah” Harry sighs as he stares at the pair, obviously having the time of their lives. “I just hoped he’d come over and say hi or something, I don’t know. It’s stupid” he said quickly, fumbling with his drink as usual.

“You know he keeps looking at you, right?” Zayn tells him downing yet another drink his gaze never leaving the pair. Harry just shrugs continuing to drink. Someone comes over to their table, a tall tanned man with blonde hair and bright eyes. His accent is thick and strong, if Harry were to guess he would say Australian, as he says a simple “Hi, I’m James” extending his hand to Harry. “Harry” he answers still a bit down as he shakes hands with the boy.

“Well, Harry, I wanted to buy you a really fancy drink, all of that. But I see you already have lots of those” James points to the table smiling wide, a bright set of teeth flashing. “So, I can only ask you to dance, if you’ll have me”. Harry looks uncertain and is about to decline when Zayn basically pushes him forward saying a quick “Go on, don’t worry about me, pumpkin” and laughing to himself. “Your friend’s nice” James tells him as he puts his hand on Harry’s lower back guiding him to the centre of the dance floor, right in front of the cage, but with enough distance, so that it’s impossible to hear the words being exchanged between them. He pulls Harry towards him slowly asking a quick “Is this okay?” as he starts to dance with him, nothing too filthy, just simple dancing, hands around his waist. Harry feels better as he’s usually used to people grinding on him before they even get to know his name. He places his hands on the boy’s waist smiling slightly through his drunk haze. “You’re a model right? I saw you on a billboard today.” the boy tells him his hands rubbing soothing circles on Harry’s waist and lower back. “Heh, yeah. And you?” Harry answers trying to be polite. “Exchange student, came here for my master’s degree in biochemistry”. Harry raises his eyebrows and the boy starts explaining to him something about macromolecules, ions and nucleic acids. Harry had no idea what the boy was talking about, but had fun listening to his story, and even more fun looking discretely at a certain curvy boy who was staring in his direction, his eyes skimming over James who was getting even closer to Harry, his hands going underneath Harry’s shirt on his lower back.

“Oh god, why did I talk for hours about this. I’m so… Sorry, um, I just kind of get nervous when I’m talking to someone as hot as you” he tells Harry as his gaze goes a bit up, the slight height difference not stopping him from staring at Harry’s eyes. “No need to be nervous, I’m just flesh and blood like everyone else” Harry smiles at the boy, loving the compliment. “You know, I haven’t hooked up with anyone since I came here, it’s been like a month, I have all of this pent up energy” James tells him lightly trailing Harry’s arm with his fingertips. “Oh really” Harry answers him getting even closer, if that were possible. “I was hoping you could help me with that” James smirks at him as his hand goes to Harry’s jaw tilting it slightly down, so that they’re at the same level. His eyes close and he goes forward but is suddenly jolted, opening his eyes. Someone had grabbed Harry, his hand firm on Harry’s bicep and turned him around smashing his lips with his own, earning a muffled whimper from the tall lanky boy. James had never been so confused as he stared at the pair, and obviously getting absolutely no attention went in the direction of the bathroom.

Harry felt completely blissed out as the familiar thin lips kissed his, a small hand gripping his bicep tightly. This kiss was much different than the last one, much more decisive, with very clear intentions and much more filthy. Louis hands enveloped Harry’s back as he pushed the boy into the nearby wall, feeling satisfaction rise in his throat as he could do whatever he wanted to the boy, even though he was twice his size. His leg immediately went between Harry’s thighs as his hands trailed the boys sides, going up and gripping his luscious curls. His tongue was attacking Harry’s mouth as Harry gasped at the pleasure overtaking his body, his hair always being a sensitive spot. Louis grabbed even tighter, loving the little whines coming from Harry’s mouth. Harry’s hands went to Louis’ ass kneading it with care, examining every part of the fleshy muscle, his dick getting harder and harder as Louis started grinding on him, his thigh pressing Harry’s groin in such a pleasing way. Louis pulls off of his mouth and kisses his neck and Harry says “Louis what is…” but is cut off as a sudden rush of pleasure goes through him, the older boy having bitten hard, definitely leaving a mark on Harry’s pale neck. He is then grabbed by small decisive hands as they guide him to the direction of the room they both have fond memories of. Unfortunately, they hear strong sounds coming from the room, someone obviously occupying it. Louis doesn’t even bother worrying about it as he pushes Harry into the male bathroom grabbing his small ass as he does so. They stumble in, and are met with a pair of shocked eyes from none other than James. Louis sends him a death glare as he yet again pushes Harry into one of the stalls going inside with him, and locking the door.

Their snogging continues, this time followed by heavy grinding. Louis’ hand palms Harry’s hard-on which was becoming quite obvious. He turned around pressing Harry to the door as he quickly undid the buttons of Harry’s tight jeans. Harry gasped as cold air hit his overheated skin, boxers something he didn’t want to wear that night. Louis looked amazed as his small smooth hands grabbed Harry’s dick obviously admiring it. “Wow, you’re massive” he tells Harry as his hand touches the skin, with as little pressure as possible, just feeling it out. Harry gulps as pleasure rushes through his body, making his entire skin pink and flushed. “You look so good like this” Louis tells him as he kisses the boy, his thumb tracing Harry’s flushed head, already a little wet from the excitement rushing through his body.

“Louis, ah, as much as I love this what are we…” Harry tries to ask but Louis cuts him off yet again quickly dropping to his knees and placing kisses all over Harry’s hard member. He then licks the entire length with just the tip of his tongue, twisting it beneath the head, loving the whimper escaping curly boy’s sinful mouth. He looks into Harry’s eyes, his mouth a milimetre from Harry’s slit as he says a quick “I have a favour to return” and goes down, engulfing just the head, sucking and licking it, making Harry come apart. He goes lower, bopping his head up and down, his gaze never leaving Harry’s as he can’t take his eyes of from the moaning boy. He hummed around Harry’s big cock loving how the boy started shaking from want. Harry felt the back of Louis’ throat repeatedly and was seconds from blowing. He managed a “I’m gonna come Lou” through the hot haze blurring his vision. Louis took him out immediately, his hand working swiftly along Harry’s length as he licks the top of it, his tongue dipping in the slit. Harry looks at the boy one more time, feeling on cloud nine as hot pleasure surges through his body his panting breath letting out a series of moans and Louis’. His cum falls all over Louis’ perfect angular face, some of it getting into his hair, his face painted with white, as he licks around his lips, opening his eyes, revealing that he even has cum on his eyelashes. Harry grabs the boy kissing him ferociously, tasting himself on the boy’s tongue, and thinking it was the hottest thing he had ever felt. His hand trailed down to Louis’ cock and he felt it softening, his mind confused, he pressed more into Louis’ groin, noticing the dampness of it. “He came, just from sucking me off” Harry repeated over and over in his head, unbelieving it as he started licking the boy’s face getting every last bit of cum off, even sucking on the ends of his feathery hair. Louis made a motion to grab him right after that, kissing him even more, sucking the remaining cum off of Harry’s tongue. He then slightly pushed Harry out of the way, opening the door just enough so he can get out.

Harry quickly grabbed his jeans pulling them up and buttoning them, before he jumped out, seeing Louis’ washing his face a bit, and fixing his hair. He goes over to the boy, pressing him into the counter from behind as he whispers in his ear “You were amazing”. He kisses the boy’s neck staring at their reflection in the mirror looking at just how well they fit together. Louis turned around and looked Harry deep in the eyes. The drunkness of the moment was gone, it was obvious they were both quite sober, and clear-minded.  “Um, Lou, what is this? What does this mea…” Harry tries yet again and Louis just grabs him by the collar kissing him tenderly before he pulls off. He slides between Harry’s arms and quickly exits the bathroom. Harry goes after him after a second and sees him going towards the exit. He goes through the mass of the ton of people, trying to get through to the boy, but when he finally managed to get to the exit, he was too late, the boy had already disappeared.

Chapter Text

Stan stares at the scene unraveling before his eyes. He sees Louis frantically exiting the club, quickly followed by Harry who is obviously trying to get his attention. Inevitably Louis disappears and the curly haired boy just stares at the door. When he turns around Stan can see confusion and maybe even a dash of hurt on his face. He doesn’t have to think long before sending Louis a quick ‘What the hell did you do this time?’

He continues his snooping, ignoring his friend who was obviously talking to him. He sees Harry go to his friends, who look drunk as hell. Mill seems the most conscious as she looks worriedly at Harry pulling him down to sit, while the others keep wolf-whistling and patting him on the back, giving him failed high-fives that missed his face in mere inches. Zayn obviously notices something is wrong, but just looks at the two talking, his hand slowly caressing Tam’s  thigh who was asleep in his lap, her head resting on his shoulder. As he watches the friends exchange words, Stan wonders what they are talking about, but deems it unimportant, as one thing was quite obvious- Harry looked genuinely upset.

=

Louis wakes up to the worst headache he’s had in months, feeling his insides about to burst. He feels a strange weight on his chest and for a moment he wonders if he’s having a heart attack. However, he quickly finds out the truth as searing pain erupts in his head as loud girlish screams fill his room. He opens his eyes and sees two girls smirking between themselves, sitting on his bed, one perched mostly on his chest and stomach. “Knew that’d wake you up you drunk idiot” the older one tells him. Upon receiving a questioning look she adds “Please, you stink like a bar”.

“Lottie, that’s enough, leave your brother alone” a different voice speaks. He smiles wide spreading out his arms and earning him a hug from his mum and his younger sister. “I’m not hugging you until you shower” Lottie rolls her eyes, and Louis feels angry and proud at the same time - she was obnoxious, but she reminded him so much of himself. He sits up blinking harshly as his mother pulls the curtains enveloping the room in bright light. “How about we leave you to get dressed” Jay suggests staring at his exposed torso and being completely right about the amount of clothes he currently had on. “And I’ll make you some nice Yorkshire tea, just the way you like it” she kisses the top of Louis’ head and proceeds to the door, hailing the girls with her. He goes up putting on a pair of trackies before he proceeds to the bathroom, having a quick shower, and brushing his teeth. His hair is damp but he has no intention of drying it, eager to get to his family he hadn’t even realised he missed dearly.

“Morning sunshine, it’s just 1pm” Lottie teases him again while she fumbles with the remote control. “Seriously, how many channels do you have on this thing?” she groans pressing the buttons. “I’m still waiting for my hug” he says obscuring her view of the TV screen. “Fine” she rolls her eyes yet again, but smiles as she faces her brother, hugging him tightly. He whispers in her ear “You missed me I know it”. “Yeah right” she replies but hugs him tighter. He sits down next to his younger sister who’s holding something in her hands and is quiet as usual. She looks at him and coyly hands him the paper she’d been holding, it’s a leaflet for a school play, his former school to be exact. He reads the title, A Midsummer’s Night Dream, remembering when he used to star in it. He reads the names of the actors and feels pride rise in his gut as he reads “Felicite Tomlinson as Helena”. Not only is his sister acting in a play, she has a main role. He just stares at her, bowing his head to overlook the paper once more, and memorizing the date, just a week away. “I was hoping you could maybe come? I mean if you’re not busy with football and stuff” she shyly asks staring at him with the perfect puppy eyes.

“Of course I’ll come, I’ll talk to coach, get everything sorted out. I’m so proud of you!” he hugs her tight. Upon letting her go he looks at her and speaks “Do you need any help at all? I may not have played the part, but I know all the roles by heart.” She smiles and curls into him as she answers him “That would be nice. This old-english is kind of hard. And I’m a bit afraid of performing, I’m not really that confident” she sighs. “Darling, this is a great exercise to boost your confidence, trust me. Why did you take the leading role if you’re afraid?” he rubs her arm tentatively placing the leaflet carefully on the coffee table. “I wanted you to be proud.” she mumbles. His eyes tear up as he stares at his sister, his heart aching as he can’t be with his family most of the time. He sees his mum with tears in her eyes as she approaches him silently putting a cup of tea on the table, far away from the leaflet.

“I’m always proud of you baby. You’re my princess, you know that” he kisses the top of her head.

“I miss you so much” she nuzzles into his neck, his head raised to fit on hers. He tries to hide his emotions as he answers quietly “I miss you too, I miss all of you”. His mother sits on his other side hugging him loosely with one arm. “We had to visit you, I’m sad that I couldn’t bring the twins but they are home with chicken pox, Mark is taking care of them.” she tells him, looking at Lottie who was paying no attention at all. “Ignore her, she’s just in those years when it’s normal. Kind of reminds me of you” she smiles at him. “How is your leg darling?” she pats his knee. “Fine, it’s healing pretty fast” he answers her, kissing her hand.

“Found it finally!” Lottie exclaims from her place on the couch and puts the volume up on the television. “Lottie’s got a new obsession” Jay says smiling. “It’s not an obsession” she groans. “With what?” Louis laughs looking at his mother. “Apparently, she’s fangirling over some famous boy” Jay laughs with her son as Lottie protests “He’s not just some famous boy, he’s a hot famous boy”.

“They always are” Louis comments raveling in the domestic atmosphere. “And plus, you said yourself that he’s really pretty!” Lottie exclaims at her mum. “Well he is, I’ve got to tell you that. You have good taste. Even Fizz likes him” . Fizzie just blushes as she stares at the screen. “Well, I must see who are you all fangirling over, I’m practically drowning in your hormones” he smiles looking at the screen. It’s showing a red carpet, the females around him obviously waiting for someone to show.

“Oh, there he is!”  Lottie yells making the TV even louder. He feels dread go over him as he sees a group of four friends going forwards, their hands linked together behind their backs, identical sunglasses on their faces. Lights are flashing around them as they pose for a couple of pictures. Louis just stares at the TV repeating in his mind a “please don’t let it be him” like a mantra. “Oh he looks so good. I mean, leopard print. Who can pull that off?” Lottie exclaims staring at the screen with wide eyes  and Louis’ stomach flips. “I hope he takes his sunglasses off, I love his eyes” Fizzie says as she stares as well, but a bit embarrassed. “Oh, he’s taking them off” his mother adds and he just wants to die. He can’t believe that of all the people in the world they can fangirl over they chose him. He looks at the TV as the boy’s beautiful green eyes stare into the camera. Sometimes he can’t even contemplate just how pretty the boy is, it feels almost unreal.

“You’re awfully quiet. What’s the point in having a gay brother if you don’t fangirl with me!” Lottie smacks him on the arm and quickly quiets down as she hears the reporters yell a million questions to the group. No one seems to react and they start turning around towards the entrance, but stop quickly as the boy stands like grozen hearing a very clear and loud question “Harry, what’s going on with you and Louis Tomlinson?!”. Louis feels himself gasping, Harry’s reaction resembling his. He feels three pairs of eyes glued to his head as he stares at the boy, hoping to hear something, anything. “Um, I have no idea what you’re talking about” Harry says a bit dazzled, obviously planning to leave the next second when he’s cut off by the insistent reporter as he says “And how would you explain these then?” handing him some pictures. Harry stares wide eyed at them and the screen splits into two screens, an article popping up. “Apparently last night things got a bit out of control with our favourite playboy and the gay football player we all know. Here we have a picture of them kissing intensely and one in which Tomlinson obviously drags Harry in the direction of the bathroom, from which some noises could be heard afterwards *khm* *khm*.” and beneath the text the two described pictures clear as day. There was no way to deny this, it was so obvious.

Harry breaks out of his daze saying a quick “A gentleman never tells” and goes off, a bit faster than necessary, his face a bit red. Louis’ must be much worse as he wishes for the ground to disappear beneath him. The TV is turned off as everyone stares at Louis, Lottie’s mouth hanging obnoxiously low. After about five minutes of complete silence she pats his back “Damn, good one, I can’t believe my brother is dating Harry Fucking Styles! Oh my god, I have to call all my friends!” she smiles wide. Jay looks at him cautiously, noticing his deep red face. “Why didn’t you tell us you have a boyfriend?” He gulps contemplating whether or not he’d be able to survive the jump from his balcony.

“Um,he isn’t exactly my boyfriend” he mumbles and feels everyone shift closer to him. “How do you mean he’s not…” Jay starts but realisation flashes before her eyes “You…” she stares at him a deep frown on her face. “You fucking slag” Lottie says eyeing him dazedly. “Lottie!” Jay scorns her.

“Explain yourself now” she tells her son, kicking into protective mother mode. “Um, there’s nothing to explain mum, I’m almost 24 I can do what I want” he tells her, his voice uneasy. “I’m your mother and you are to answer my question, I can still ground you if I want to, even if you’re 80.” Jay tells him sternly and he nods.

“Now, did you sleep with that boy?” she asks him.

“Um, not really”

“So, nothing happened?”

“Um,not really” he tells her yet again, feeling like he’s going to vomit.

“What does that mean?” she says confused and Lottie cuts in “Everything except sex mum, you know “other things”. She emphasizes the last two words, and Louis actually feels all blood leave his face as his mother realises what’s going on. “Louis those things are risky, did you use protection?” she asks him and he actually hears Fizzy squeak, her ears too young for this conversation.

“Um, I, mum please I can’t talk about this. Not now.” he looks at Fizzy and she continues frowning as she says a quick “Fine”.

=

“How the hell did they get those pictures?” Harry curses under his breath as Lou is putting on his makeup and fixing his hair. Mill speaks in the chair next to him. “I gave them the pictures” she says nonchalantly. All heads turn to her as she doesn’t understand why this is such a shock.

“Why would you do that?! Why would you sell me out to the press like that?!” Harry asks desperate feeling really embarrassed about the photos and claims that go with them.

“First, I didn’t sell you out, I just anonymously sent two pictures. It’s not my fault they got the right conclusion out of them” She responds innocently staring at her nails which were currently drying. He just stares at her his mouth agape as he can’t decide whether to be angry or hurt. He starts to reply but she continues her sentence. “And, I didn’t initially plan on this, but it had to be done”

“How do you mean you didn’t plan this?!” Harry exclaims anger in his voice.

“I took the pictures so I can tease you later, and show them to you, thought you’d be too drunk to remember” she smiles to herself, but bitterly as she continues “But when you came back all upset and hurt I got angry and used them for a different purpose.”

“What fucking purpose does it serve to leak pictures of me?!” Lou stops working on his hair as she backs off, his hands flying by his sides. He feels grateful that no one was in the room by them.

“So, he can’t avoid you again. I don’t care what issues the boy has, I’m not letting him play you Hazz. You were hurt yesterday and don’t even try to deny it” she cuts him off as he began to protest.

“And if he thinks he can pretend yet again that nothing happened he has another thing coming.” she puffs out air as she folds her arms staring at him.

“Why do you suddenly care about what he’s doing?! He’s just like everyone else, I just judged him badly and that’s fucking it.” Harry runs his hand through his hair.

“What do you mean he’s just like everyone else?” she asks a bit confused.

“Maybe I was just trying to convince myself he was interested when deep down he just wanted to fuck me. He got what he wanted, and he left. So that’s it, it’s over, and there’s nothing else to talk about”

“But Harry…” she starts wanting to explain to him that that really wasn’t the case.

“But nothing, I don’t like when people use me and fuck me over. I have no intention of talking further about him, okay?”

“Harry, he’s just confused, he likes you” Tam speaks from her place on the chair.

“No he doesn’t. And I’m done with it, I’ve spent far too much time on it anyways. And don’t you dare plot behind my back again!” his voice rises a bit making his friends flinch, he was quite intimidating when angry. They heard the door close as Lou left the room, leaving the friends, not wanting to intrude. The friends looks at him innocently and confused and he continues on.

“Please, what do you think, that I’m stupid? It’s soo obvious when you try to fix me up like that, and I’m mostly used to her doing it” he points to Tam “but you two, I thought you’d have more sense than that.”

“What the hell does that mean?!” Tam asks him feeling insulted.

“That you always have to plot, and go behind people’s backs and it’s fucking annoying!”

“Don’t talk to her like that!” Zayn yells at him speaking for the first time.

“And you, you used to be my best friend, remember? Why aren’t you ever on my fucking side!”

“Harry, you’re upset but stop trying to insult us just so you can go somewhere off to sulk and pretend that no one loves you. Just so you know, we all care about you and you can’t get rid of us that easy” Mill tells him slowly, remaining calm.

“I just want you to stop obsessing over him for fuck’s sake! Just leave me be, I don’t even know what got into my head when I spent so much time on him, I feel so stupid right now, and you are only making it worse.”

“Harry, it’s not stupid to like someone.” Zayn tells him slowly.

“Yes it is. And I now remember exactly why I didn’t want any of it. Nothing good ever comes out of it” his eyes go back to their usual dullness, the one they were all happy to see gone. That empty look of despair that for some reason was lifted during the short amount of time he spent with the before mentioned boy. The only reason why they were so invested in their relationship, determined to make it work. Determined to prove to Harry that not everyone in the world saw him as just something to be owned, boasted upon and used. To show him that people do in fact care about him, that he can be loved. For some reason he never believed in the possibility of finding love, the aspect completely unknown to him. And for a brief moment his covers were lifted up a bit of light seeping into the dark that layed in his heart, only to be swept down in even bigger darkness, as hurt and disappointment made his walls even thicker.

“I just, I can’t do any of this anymore, I’m done trying” he bows his head as he takes out his phone swiftly blocking Louis’ number, not that he thought the boy would ever contact him, but just in case. He knew the drill that went with it, the endless messages of “I’m sorry”, flimsy excuses and utter lies. Slowly getting out of his chair he put his phone back in his pocket, a flash of despair etching his features before they became perfectly still, portraying no emotion at all, the usual thick porcelain wall that hid the storm underneath to the point of breaking. In the last period of time, Harry had showed more emotions than they have seen in years, and now he bottled them all up, adding more hurt and pain to the endless hole in his heart. His friends looked at him with sad eyes as he exited the room, looking perfectly fine to the outside world.

After a period of complete silence they exchanged a worried look feeling absolutely down about the way things happened.

“I really thought he would be good for him, I didn’t mean to cause such damage.” Tam looked at her lap while speaking.

“This is not your fault, it’s neither of our faults, we just have to let things be.” Mill pats her knee.

“I honestly believe that there is something there, but now I don’t think it will be possible to put the pieces back together. You know how Harry gets when someone hurts him ,and Louis doesn’t seem to me like someone who would do everything to make it up to him. He acts without thinking, believing that Harry won’t be hurt by his actions. And then, later on he realises what he’s done, but it is too late now.” Mill goes up determined to find Lou so that she can finish them up, they were after all on a tight schedule.

“You never know, maybe it will all turn around” Tam says hopeful, her friend’s not having the heart to tell her that life rarely works that way.

=

Louis felt horrible after the most awkward conversation he’s had in his life. Fizzy had left to help his mum with lunch, leaving him alone with Lottie who was staring at him, a look on her face which made her look much older and wiser.

“Lou, do you like Harry?” she asks him slowly her eyes connecting with his, making it impossible for him to lie.

“Um, I think I do” he says unsure, feeling uncomfortable and scared at the same time, realisation hitting him.

“Lou, I don’t know how much you know him, but… From what I’ve seen he doesn’t seem like someone who you could have a relationship with”

“Honestly, I think he is. And that’s the worst part” he looks sad, Lottie notices.

“How do you mean? Did he hurt you?”

“No, it’s the either way around.” he sighs and she looks at him unbelieving his words, her brother always being someone who would never hurt anyone intentionally, especially not after what happened to him. “I just, I tried so hard to push him away, even when he said that he wanted to be with me. I just wanted to make him into a fling, even though he wanted so much more. I’m such a horrible person I can’t even express in words how shitty I feel.” his shoulders slump and Lottie goes closer to him hugging him tightly. He couldn’t believe that of all the people he could talk to about his desperate situation with Harry, he’s younger sister was definitely the best choice.

“Why did you do that Lou?” she whispers in his ear.

“I just, I was just so scared.” he sighs.

“Are you still scared now?” she asks him slowly.

“Yeah, but somehow I think. I think I shouldn’t have let fear take over me, I was just so concentrated on the bad that I didn’t even think about the god. And there’s so much good Lotts, so much good. “

“Tell me about him” she hugs him tighter.

“He’s just so caring, and protective, you can see it when he’s with his friends how much he doesn’t let anyone touch them, wary of any strangers entering their lives. And he is so proud of himself, not letting anyone put him down whether it be because of his job, the way he lives his life, or his sexuality. He’s just so confident, but at the same time a bit unsure and just shy, and he looks so cute, he actually blushes. He’s really talented and not only for modeling, he’s a great photographer and you should hear him sing, it’s the most beautiful thing I’ve heard in my entire life. He cooks and makes cupcakes and dinner for everyone, and he drives his friends around all the time. And he is nice, and thoughtful as long as you treat him right, but if you don’t he becomes really distant and angry, he just doesn’t let anyone do so, and it’s so respectable really. He craves attention, I know he does, but mostly because he feels unwanted, and unsure, which makes me believe that he rarely did feel loved, and it makes my heart break in two, because he seems like someone who loved everyone and was always nice, I just have a feeling. I think he had a dark past, from what I can tell, and he sometimes looks so fragile I just want to take all the pain away”

Lottie just listens nodding her head. She waits for a minute before she speaks.

“So, what are you going to do then?”

“I don’t know. I have a feeling I fucked everything up Lotts, I just behaved like a selfish bastard without even explaining myself, without even apologizing. I basically left him there at the club without a single word. He tried talking to me, tried asking me what it all means, and I was just so stupid and I just left him there.”

“Lou, what you did wasn’t right. But, you do like this boy, a lot I can tell, and I see why. So I think he’s worth fighting for” she smiles at him.

“But, how can you be so sure?” his voice is uneasy.

“Because I’ve never heard you speak about someone like that” she looks into his eyes and he just knows she’s right.

=

“Yeah mum, are you watching?” Liam sounds excited as he talks to his mother on the phone sitting in his neat flat, watching TV. “I’ll tell you which one, don’t worry” he smiles as peaceful music comes up, and he stares at the tv, waiting to see…

“Oh, here she is!” he chirps. “Yes mum, the brunette with pretty eyes.” he smiles even wider as he hears his sister yell over the phone “She’s beautiful Liam”.

“I know, she’s just so… Amazing” he gazes as he watches the runway looking at his girlfriend walking, feeling proud beyond compare.

“Don’t worry. You’ll meet her soon, I hope. I really like her mum” “Yeah, she’s just perfect, and funny, and caring, and just, I don’t want to do anything to ruin what we have” “Of course I’m being a gentleman mum, wouldn’t want people to think you’ve raised me badly.” “Oh stop calling me perfect mum, it’s embarrassing.” “I’m hanging up now, I love you too, send my love to Ruth and Nicky, bye”

 

=

“Why is all of my wardrobe late, how the hell am I going to get dressed in time?!” Tam panics, looking through the racks and racks of clothing, her own missing. Jaymi came in carrying a hangar and earning him a strong hug. “Oh thank god, thank you Jaymi, thank you so much. Where was it?” she says as she starts putting the clothes on. “Somewhere in the stockroom for Thursday, I have no idea what it was doing there.” she couldn’t believe what was happening.

“And the shoes?” she’s basically jumping, Mill eyeing her as she is already in line, the show about to start in a minute, Tam supposed to lead it. “Pezza’s looking for them” Jaymi says just as Perrie comes in handing her the tall black pumps. She kisses Perrie’s cheek muttering a thank you, as she puts them on. “Damn, these are so unstable, where the fuck did you order these Jaymi?”

“I thought they were good, no one else complained?” he looks a bit hurt. She’s about to answer but hears music come up, and swiftly goes to the front of the line.

=

Louis goes into his room, deciding that it may be time to check his phone. He grabs it from the place he tossed it during the night when it started to ring while he was trying to sleep. His phone is of course off, and weirdly missing a dent or cracked screen. He turns it on, squinting as the strong light feels too harsh on his tired eyes. He forgot to take his contacts out last night, leaving him squinting, and uncomfortable. The phone hasn’t even properly turned on, and is already bombarding him with notifications, tons of notifications. Messages from Stan, Liam, Eleanor, his mum probably telling him they’re coming over, then some friend’s from Doncaster, his entire team, a lot of unknown numbers and even Simon. He feels dreadful looking at his phone, notification after notification popping up. He hears his sister laughing like crazy, calling for him “Louis, Louis, come you HAVE to see this!” and he gladly discards his phone.

He goes into the living room sitting beside Lottie as she stares at the screen, a runway showing. The host says that they have to play that again, laughing a bit. He watches intently as he sees Tam walking down the runway in a long robe, resembling a kimono. Suddenly she topples over falling face first onto the floor, a loud gasp escaping the audience’s mouth. She stays on the ground for a second looking down, and he can only imagine how it must be feeling, the whispers echoing through the vast area. He looks at his sister who is still laughing.

“Why are you laughing, that’s not funny!” he feels upset for the girl as she gets up, a smile on her face as she kicks of her shoes, and showcases the heel that  broke off from one of them shrugging her shoulders. The music has stopped and she says “Well, shit happens” giggling like a schoolgirl as she carries her shoes, going forward and posing like she normally should. At one point she opens her robe, sending a wink to the camera, sexy expensive looking lingerie underneath.  She might seem confident and unfazed, but to Louis it seems too staged, knowing how she acts normally.

“Why not? I don’t like her anyways.” Lottie says eating from his bowl of sweets. Yes, he has an always full bowl of sweets on his coffee table, and he’s proud of it.

“Why don’t you like her?”

“She’s just so full of herself. And looks way too easy, you know how many guys she’s dated Louis?”

“She isn’t, she’s very down to earth and funny, and honestly I think it takes a lot to get into her pants”

“You know her too? Seriously?”

“Yeah, we’re friends” he says nonchalantly.

“How many of Harry’s friends do you actually know?” Lottie eyes him suspiciously.

“Um, quite a lot now that I think about it” he tries to calculate the numbers in his head.

“Oh, so you know Zayn? He’s so beautiful. And Niall, he’s just the cutest thing ever! Is he single Louis? I think he is, you could totally set us up!”

“I’m not setting you up with Niall!” Louis snaps.

“Fine, I’ll steal his number from your phone!” she runs to his room grabbing his phone but stops as it rings in her hand “Oh, Simon’s calling you”. He takes the phone carefully, feeling worried as to why the owner of his club would be calling him right now. He answers the phone and listens for a minute before saying “Yes Sir, I’ll come to your office at 3. Of course. Goodbye, Sir.”  and hangs up.

“Are you in trouble?” Fizzy asks him emerging from the kitchen.

“I’m not sure, but Simon doesn’t call me in for meetings that often so it can’t be good.” he sighs going into the kitchen and telling his mother he can’t stay for lunch, and that she save up some of it for when he comes back. She sends him an understanding look before he goes to his room to get ready.

 

=

“Is it so hard to find normal fucking shoes?!!! What the hell is this shit?!” Tam yells as she emerges inside the room throwing the heels towards the wall, everyone ducking out of the way watching her with shocked expressions. Mill is about to ask what’s wrong but it’s her turn to get out, and she has to leave.

“Love, what happened?” Jaymi asks her compassionately.

“The fucking heel broke off!” she screams as tears fill her eyes. Jaymi tries going over to her, Perrie going forwards as well but she just stomps off in the direction of the corridor with many, many rooms.

=

“Where is she?” Zayn comes frantically searching for Tam as Mill is getting changed out of her outfit. “I don’t know Zayn” she tells him slowly. As he goes forward she grabs his arm “Let her be, she doesn’t like being with other people when she’s upset, she’ll just hide her emotions and feel ten times worse.” He nods a bit unwillingly and goes in the direction of the other runway, fidgeting with his fingers. She goes to the shoe that was thrown, still lying on the floor alongside the fallen heel. She examines it noticing a layer of glue on the bottom of the shoe and top of the heel. It looks fresh and definitely not as if it was done with the precision which is used to make these expensive shoes. She studies the heel feeling angry as she puts the pieces together.

=

“Hello Louis” Simon greets Louis from his large insert-really-expensive-tree desk hanging up his phone. Louis sits down in front of him a bit startled. “So, I think you know why you’re here” Simon tells him calmly pulling his sleeves up a bit, revealing the gold watch on his right wrist.

“Um, is it have something to do with yesterday?” he answers coyly as he feels intimidated in the spacious office.

“Yes. Our PR service is going crazy, the amount of calls they’ve received is enormous. You’ve stirred up quite a storm” Simon looks at him without any clear expression.

“I’m sorry Sir, I didn’t know I was being photographed, I…” Louis starts, his face red.

“Don’t apologize. Any publicity is good publicity. Our Twitter account has skyrocketed, and your follower count has increased by 5 million.” Louis is flabbergasted staring at Simon with wide eyes.

“And honestly I don’t think it’s my right to ask, but I have to. What is your situation with Harry Styles? I’ve been hearing things from the rest of the team” Simon eyes him slowly, and he can’t believe how many people are asking him to define what he and Harry have, or don’t have at the moment.

“Um, well, we were sort of flirting and stuff. I don’t know honestly, I hope that maybe there’s more, but I’m not sure. I think he’s upset with me”

“Oh, so anything we release to the press won’t be good” Simon frowns. “Maybe you could just say that I have no comment on the matter?” Louis suggests.

“But they will eat you alive” Simon looks worried.

“I know, but I’m used to the feeling” Louis answers him, determined.

 

=

Harry declined the call unbelieving that she found his number yet again. He pressed with sad eyes End Call staring at the name flashing on his screen. He needed some space so he went down the hall searching for a room.

 

=

“Hey Liam” Mill says smiling as she talks on her phone, a one hour break allowing everyone to chill out.

“Hey beautiful, how are you doing?” Liam asks on the other line.

“I’m fine, a bit tired.” she answers as she drinks her water sitting in her shorts and oversized T-shirt.

“Oh, is your friend okay, I saw on the telly…”

“I don’t know, I hope so” she sighs.

“Hey it’s gonna be alright” Liam comforts her “Want me to tell you something to cheer you up darling?”

“Sure, why not” she takes a big sip of water.

“My mom and sisters say you’re wonderful. They can’t wait to meet you!” she spits out her water as Liam chirps on the other line.

“Oh, heh, that’s. Wow. Great really.” Mill answers him, feeling her heartbeat rise, her ears buzzing. “Um, I eh, I have to go. It was lovely talking to you” she politely tells Liam.

“Goodbye princess” he finishes hanging up.

=

“If you are looking for a place to cry, this one is already occupied.” Tam tells Harry as she sits on the floor, her back against the wall in a small room occupied by a armoire.

“I think it can hold two people” he replies to her sighing, closing the door behind him and sitting beside her.

“Are you okay?” he asks her.

“No. Are you okay?” she asks back.

“No.”

“Then we’re both perfect. Put on some depressing music” she sadly smiles at him as he plays a Lana Del Ray song. They sit in silence listening to music for 10 minutes before she says “I’m still upset” and sighs.

“Me too” he answers. “Maybe we could cheer ourselves up?” he suggest sadness in his voice.

“The usual way?” she asks looking at him.

“Ahm” he replies before going closer and kissing her slowly, without any passion or feelings, just slow movements that bring them both comfort. He can feel her tears on his face, his starting to fall as well as they continue their slow movement for a couple of minutes until they’ve both stopped crying their eyes out. They look at each other sad as hell just as the door opens Mill standing at the doorway looking distressed.

Tam looks at her calling her up with a single head movement, the player switching to Ed Sheeran. And she enters the room slomping against the wall on Tam’s side sighing deeply. This week was definitely not going as planned.

Chapter Text

 

Louis exits the office and almost screams as ten guys pile on top of him toppling him over.

“What the…?” he asks staring at his team, all carrying bags, slightly damp and smelling of fresh grass.

“We missed you captain, and we had to congratulate you” Josh winks at him as he pulls him by the arm going in the direction of the exit. Louis freezes as he sees the amount of people piled in front of the building. “Oh, they’ve been there for some time. Apparently all you have to do to become a celebrity is shag a model” Jay comments earning him a death glare from Louis. Louis takes a deep breath as Stan comes to his other side and they all exit the building together, the team surrounding their captain providing him shelter from the roaring hyenas adorned with expensive cameras and foul-speaking tongues.

Shortly after the team arrives into their favourite restaurant, a casual place with big enough booths to seat all of them. Louis sits in the corner, for once not enjoying being in the centre of attention. Stan sits next to him, frowning unlike the rest of the team, as they bark out order after order of the kind of food Paul and Liam would kill them if they ever found out they ate. Louis looks at his other side and is surprised to see Robert sit next to him, actually smiling at him. He never really had a row with him before, but they never seemed to agree on anything, their personalities too much unalike, both used to being in charge, and only one being the captain. The team are still ordering when Louis feels Robert actually nudge  his knee. Louis looks at him raising an eyebrow which is answered by a slight nudge of the head towards the bathroom. Louis gets up, quickly followed by his teammate as he enters the vast bathroom.

“Um, so…” Robert speaks and Louis feels more confused than he’s felt in a while. “I wanted to thank you Louis” Scratch that, now Louis was confused. “Um, for what?”

“For taking care of my girl. I heard you were dancing with her the entire night, and I’m so happy that you would do that for me.” he looks at Louis smiling, and Louis does everything he can not to look as if he was hit by a 50-metre wave.

“She’s um, she’s different you know? She just loves to have fun, and to be in the centre of attention. And guy’s they, um, they buy her drinks and dance with her all the time. And I hate it so much.” Robert sighs as he flops down on the counter. Louis has no idea what to do, it was hard to console someone he hadn’t actually talked to, ever. He goes closer to the boy who was taller than him even sitting down and placed a hand on his broad shoulder.

“I just, don’t get it, you know? But whenever I try talking to her about it, she just cuts me off, and tells me she can live her life the way she wants to.” he looks at Louis and his expression is sad. Louis stares at the boy noticing just how beautiful he is, tall, tanned, with bright eyes and dark hair, perfectly built. Louis didn’t know much of him personally, but never thought of the boy as a bad person. “I like her, damn, I like her a lot. But, honestly, I have a feeling like she couldn’t care less about me”. Louis is dumbfounded not knowing what to say, he settles for a simple lie “Of course she cares for you. She asks me about you all the time”.

“Really?” Robert beams as if he’s won the lottery and Louis feels guilty, not wanting to shatter the boy’s illusions, he knew he was way over his head. “Of course Bobbie, don’t worry, she’s just a bit closed off.” he pats his back. “And don’t worry about other guys, she’s not the cheating type. She couldn’t care less about them, she just likes getting free drinks”

“I’m not worried about all guys, just one” Robbert sighs going up as he examines his hair in the mirror. After the short pause and Louis’ questioning gaze he easily answers “Zayn, I don’t like him”

“Why?” Louis asks feeling confused, Zayn didn’t seem like the type to do anything worthy of hate.

“He just, looks at her… I can’t explain it, I just have this feeling in my gut.” he bites on his lip and looks at Louis, an idea obviously forming in his brain. Louis stares at him, trying to forget the time he got really drunk and flirted with the lad back when he didn’t even know all the team members, it was rather embarrassing.  “Could you, maybe, keep a look out for him please? I mean, you don’t have to do anything, just tell me if you see something suspicious?” he looks at Louis with an unsure and hopeful expression to which Louis can only respond with a nod. He felt sorry for the boy, and was already thinking about trying to figure out more about their situation, but from what he deducted so far it didn’t look too promising.

Their moment was interrupted as someone stumbled into the bathroom knocking over the ugly statue that stood by the bathroom door. “Nice talking to you Lou, I’d better order my food” Robert quickly says going out, leaving Louis with a person he still didn’t want to see - George.

=

 

“Where is everybody?” Zayn thinks  as he wanders the set. He bumps into someone and feels dread in his body as he realizes who he almost toppled over. “Zayn” Perrie breathes out beaming at him. “Um, hey” he speaks barely, disappointment in his voice. He’d been planning to ignore the girl the entire day and he’d already failed. “So whatcha up to? Want me to sneak you some food” she winks at him. “No thanks, I have to, um, go, you know, um, get ready?” he says even though she knows his break lasts for another 45 minutes. She just frowns at him for a mere second before smiling again “Suit yourself” she shrugs a little too forcefully as she exits the room quite noisily.

“Why you dated her I’ll never understand” Cara speaks behind him and he feels anger in his blood.

“She’s an amazing girl.” he says simply, seemingly unbothered.

“Not so amazing since you left her so ceremoniously.” Cara snickers going off in one of the many directions in this maze of a venue. Zayn gulps feeling guilty yet again.

=

Cameras were following them everywhere, to film some backstage scenes, which of course all of the models absolutely hated - it mostly meant that their perfection would have to extend even while off stage, meaning more makeup, fake smiles and hair products. Harry forgot about one of these particular cameras as he was standing in his underwear waiting for the designer to give him the jeans he prefered. At this very moment Roger came in eyeing him slowly. “Have you gained weight?” he asked him accusingly pinching his already narrow hip. Harry looked at him in disbelief as he said a quick “Of course not”. “Hmm, your hips look wider” his boss examined him and actually pulled out a chart from the briefcase he was carrying, along with a measuring tape. Harry huffed under his breath a silent “You’ve got to be kidding me” staring at Roger in disbelief, the same look on the designer’s face. Roger placed the tape around his hips and upon reading the number compared it to the chart. “I knew it, your hips are wider.” he frowned as he wrote the number on the chart. Harry looked at the chart from above, since he was much taller than the evil leprechaun as they were long accustomed to calling the junior executive. He saw the number 85.5cm was struck out and 86.3 stood in it’s place.

“That’s not even a full centimetre.” Harry protested. “Centimetre by centimetre, and then you don’t fit in our clothes”. He groans staring at Harry. “We can always find some young 15 year old to run the show Harry, you’re a professional, be one and take care of your body more” Roger goes off in the direction of a different room, probably off to kill someone else, slightly glancing over Zayn who was standing in the doorway with an expression which mostly said ‘don’t you even dare’. Harry sighs looking at himself in the mirror as the designer gives him a pair of bright blue jeans staring intensely at his exposed body, as if trying to figure out just how ‘big’ Harry had gotten. He exits without a word and Zayn glares at the cameraman, making him go out as he closes the door leaving only them in the room. “So where were you all, couldn’t find you for a while?” he tries with a simple question. Harry seems to not even realize his presence as he stares at his expression running his hands over his perfectly toned body pinching his hip, his fat hip.

“Harry, you look amazing, ignore what they say” Zayn goes over to him putting a hand on his shoulders. Harry just looks at the ground sighing as he proceeds to put on the overly-tight pants. Or maybe just normal pants, suddenly they felt so tight, too small on his big body.

“Harry, listen to me, you are the most attractive model they have. They are just pushing you too much, because basically they depend on you. It’s not the other way around, without you, they’re nothing. They shouldn’t treat you like this” Zayn spins Harry around tearing his eyes from examining his stomach in the mirror. Harry just finishes with the pants, zipping them up and nods at Zayn saying a simple “Don’t worry, I’m fine”. Zayn just looks at him, with this thorough examining look he has long mastered, a look that devours your soul, a look that enables him to see every crack, every hole in your posture, in your smile, everything that’s wrong. Before he gets a chance to speak, a couple of people rush in the room frantic to get ready as the show was starting up again pretty soon. Harry manages to disappear in the mess of skinny bodies, perfume and adrenaline leaving a worried Zayn behind.

 

=

“Louis can we talk?” George says and Louis doesn’t know what has gone into people but he did not enjoy being the object of everyone’s interest. “Please?” George says looking at him with his typical puppy eyes. Louis just rolls his eyes saying “What do you want George?” in an annoyed manner.

“Well, I just wanted to apologize, for everything” Louis thinks he’s going to get wrinkles after the amount of times he’s raised his eyebrows today. George speaks, words flying out in a rushed ramble “I thought you and Harry weren’t a thing since you told me… Nevermind. I just I’m sorry for sleeping with him, I just presumed he told you about both the times, is this why you’re so angry with me? Please don’t be angry, it didn’t mean anything, I promise? Hell, we never spoke more than a couple of sentences. I could tell his mind was somewhere else. And I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t tell anyone about it, because I can’t come out Louis, I can’t. I’m not even sure if I’m gay. And please don’t be angry with me because you are the only one I can talk to about this. Please, I really need a friend right now, I’m just so fucked up, I haven’t slept in days!” George frantically moves his hands as he talks. After a minute of silence Louis speaks up:

“Both times? Both?” Louis speaks, his anger suddenly rising. George couldn’t believe that after all he’d said Louis would concentrate on such an unimportant thing. “You mean you fucked him more than once?!” Louis almost yells furious, and George backs up a little, his hand gripping the door handle in case he needs to escape.

“Louis, it doesn’t matter.” he tries slowly.

“Oh hell it doesn’t matter. I can’t believe this.” Louis groans pulling the ends of his quite long hair (he should really get a haircut soon). “When?” he asks spitting venom. “Um, right after we met him, it was like, Thursday I think” George shrugs, still afraid. Louis thinks a bit recalling the day and he thought he was angry before, but now he was fuming. “The same day as… This is too good to be true” he chuckles darkly.

“Sorry, I’m really sorry Louis. Please don’t kill me. I didn’t know you were dating until now”. Louis softens at this sending George a frown which was slightly less deep than the previous one.

“We aren’t dating” he simply says looking at the ground.

“Then why do you care so much?” George asks him, hoping his question won’t get him punched in the face. Louis contemplates the question, raging jealousy still streaming in his veins.He never wanted anyone to touch Harry. Anyone but him. He pushed a scared George out of the way, having realized something and quickly exited the bathroom. He rushed to the table ignoring everyone’s words as he grabbed his phone from his discarded jacket, and went off in the direction of a fountain on the other side of the restaurant. He sat down on the ledge, careful not to get his tight red jeans wet, and searched through his contacts for the simple Curly. He typed out a message, then deleted it. Then repeated the process about ten times until he settled just for a simple “Saw you on TV. I’m just gonna say the teen and mature females have a keenest interest in you ;)” hoping it won’t be weird that this was the first time he’d ever sent Harry a message (apart from the angry one which he still felt a bit bad for). He checked his phone and noticed the message hadn’t been received, so he tried sending it again, and again. He cursed his phone mustering up all the courage he had as he pressed the call button. He gasps as he hears a robotic sounding voice telling him “The person you are trying to reach has blocked your number.” He lowers his phone slowly as he hears loud beeps in his ear, indicating the call had ended. The next minute he spends just staring at his phone before he gets up, going back to the boys, plastering on the fakest of expressions he can muster. He’d obviously done a good job, since no one suspected a thing, and they soon began eating their oversized burgers, meat loafs, and pies.

The team start asking Louis questions, questions that he obviously did not want to answer. The whole conversation started with “I knew you were shagging each other, it was so obvious!” Josh chirped as he slurped on his extra large coke. “Guys, please just leave it be yeah” Louis said after five minutes of comments such as “You go captain” “You may be gay, but you’re sticking to the norm - models all the way” “He shoots and he scores” etc. The rest of the team stares at him, having stopped their feast as they like to call it.

“What’s crawled up your ass?!” one of the guys say, disbelief in his voice. The team was used to boasting about their accomplishments in bed, something Louis never quite understood, but then again he wasn’t really the ‘straight’ role model.

“Harry!” Jay yells, his mouth full, and the entire team breaks out into a roar of laughter. Louis just stares at his food, trying to finish it as fast as he could. He feels Stan’s hand on his thigh, patting him reassuringly.

“I’ve gotta go, my mum’s in town with the sisters, can’t keep them waiting much longer” Louis says after he’s finished his meal, relieved that he finally thought up an excuse to go.

“Oh, say hi to Jay for me!” George pipes next to him, still a little wary from their previous conversation. Stan gets up as well saying he’ll drive Louis home. Once they’re securely in Stan’s car the conversation begins.

“So, will you tell me what happened? Or am I supposed to play dumb like the rest of them?” Stan speaks, a bit of hurt in his voice.

“I always tell you everything you know that” Louis looks at him with a frown.

“I called you like ten times.” Stan begins driving and Louis can feel his hurt, Stan always hated being ignored. “I’m  sorry, the family threw me off. And the hangover.”

“And the sex” Stan chuckles.

“We didn’t have sex. We…” Louis pauses sighing “I fucked up Stan, I fucked up so badly”. He then proceeded to speak about his problems and Stan listened like the good friend that he is. After he finished Stan asked him the simple question everyone seems to think is so easy to answer, “So, what are you going to do?”

“I’ve tried calling him ,he blocked my number” Louis seems frantic, and Stan is delighted to see the boy actually care for someone in that way, even though it wasn’t going so well. “Maybe you should call Tam? I’m sure she’d be more than willing to help” Stan suggests and Louis has to kiss him loud on the cheek before he grabs his phone dialling the number.

 

=

“Where’s Harry?” Mill asks from her position on the couch, watching TV, her legs covered by her friend’s legs as she was sprawled on the couch loudly eating ice cubes, a habit she picked up on when she tried finding a replacement for food in these horrible times. She just shrugs, jumping a bit as she hears her ringtone yelling “Braiiiiiiiiiiiiiins”. She looks at the phone not too surprised to see Louis’ name flashing on the screen.

“Hey Lou” she answers cheerful, even though they were all a bit tired. Upon her answer Mill muted the sound, and even Zayn shuffled closer. Mill mouthed to her “speakerphone” and she set it on, placing the phone in front of her, an equal distance from all the friends.

“Hey Tam, how are you?”

“I’m fine, and you? Hungover?” Tam chuckles as she hears his laugh as well.

“A bit… Look, um, I know this is a lot to ask but… Oh shut it Stan” he yells at someone “Heh, sorry about that. Um, could you maybe help me?”

“Help you, with what?” Tam sounds confused but is smiling.

“Um, Harry? He kind of… We… It’s… Ugh…” he sounds frustrated.

“I know what happened Louis, no need to explain.” she tells him calmly.

“Well, I think he’s sort of, I mean he definitely is. Angry at me?” his tone is softer, a bit questioning.

“Yeah, he is.” Tam answers him a bit cold, she was angry as well.

“Look, I know what I did was wrong, I know. But, please, I just want to talk to him. I’ve tried calling him, he blocked my number.” he sighed on the other end and the friends exchanged a look.

“Lou, I can’t help you” Tam tells him defeated.

“But, why?” he sounds almost desperate.

“He’s already angry at me for everything I’ve done. I just, I can’t meddle any more, you’ll have to figure this out on your own”

“But, please, you’re my only hope!” Louis is definitely desperate, and he hates the feeling so much, having to beg. Mill looks compassionate as she nods to the girl holding the phone pointing at herself. Both her friends look at her in disbelief as if asking if she’s sure and she nods.

“Look, I can’t.” Tam tells him, and can already hear his groan. “But, Mill will. I’ll send you her number”

“Oh thank you so much!” he sounds relieved as they quickly say goodbye and he receives the number on his phone. Mill shakes her head not believing what she got herself into. She sends Louis a quick message “Just so you know, I’m not doing this for you, I’m doing this for him. He is pretty upset, and I want him to be happy. Fuck that up and I will not be so kind” and goes off to do yet another show.

=

“Damn, she’s scary” Stan laughs as he backs into the parking space. “Yeah, quite scary.” Louis sighs but sounds happier than he’s been in a while. “Wanna come up? Mom’s missed you” he smiles. “No thanks, I’ll leave you to your bonding, I’ll come tomorrow. I want detailed reports on your situation. Also, Liam’s called me like 50 times. I think you should call him.” Louis just shrugs leaving the room.

“So, what do you think I should do?” he sends a message to Mill, and checks his phone every 5 minutes until his mother scorns him pushing him out of the kitchen and making him watch TV. He looks at the screen, still of the same channel, showing some behind the scenes action. He sees Harry standing in his underwear talking to someone and immediately puts the volume up, hoping he isn’t too obvious, and trying to ignore Lottie’s snicker.

“We can always find some young 15 year old to run the show Harry, you’re a professional, be one and take care of your body more” the man says, and Louis actually flinches at Harry’s fallen expression, as he stares at his body in the mirror, before it goes off to a different scene. He feels disgusted by the whole scene, not believing the way Harry’s being treated, feeling the need to protect the younger boy at all costs. A couple of usual scenes flash, make up, clothes, hair flying everywhere and then he sees a particular scene where the venue is presented, the camera showing different rooms and stopping in a particular room - a gym. He stares at the screen noticing someone there, as the camera zooms in on him, obviously not wanting to intrude directly, rather spying on him. It was of course Harry, his muscles contracting wildly as he did pull ups with his entire body, dressed in shorts and sneakers. He looked absolutely breathtaking, his body slightly flush and wet from all the training. Louis was amazed when the boy continued his excercise with only one hand as he grabbed his phone from his pocket checking a message and putting it back. He then pulled himself up completely, as if he was made from air, hooking his knees to the bar and hanging upside down. His body started contracting again as he lifted it to his knees, doing some sort of upside-down sit ups. The scene faded and Louis remained silent along with his sister, the scene incredibly awkward - being aroused around his family was never a good thing.

He was relieved to receive a message, and he read all the instructions, memorizing them by heart and putting his phone in his pocket marching off to his room, ignoring his sisters’ gazes. He was on a mission, and it was high time he started it.

 

=

“Well, today was definitely not fun.” Zayn groaned as he jumped on the bed of their shared room. The boys were accustomed to staying together, and even when they had an option to use a single, they decided on a double room, not liking the idea of staying alone. Harry opened the door before even hearing the knock, knowing that the girls were coming over. They smiled enveloping him in a strange hug since their hands were occupied by different bags containing clothes and makeup. He grabbed their bags going to the living room to set them down on one of the sofas. They heard a loud bang and a gasp coming from the area and went in to see what was going on. Harry was standing dumbfounded in the room, completely surrounded by delicate roses, the colours altering between pink and lavender. The roses filled the entire room, all put together in groups of eleven. Harry who was one that loved meanings behind such quirky things knew what those things represented. Lavender roses meant ‘love at first sight’ while pink ones meant ‘appreciation, gentleness and admiration’. Groups of eleven indicated true and deep love. These were of course things not many people knew about so he just pushed those thoughts aside, trying not to think too much about the ‘meaning’ of the hundred and counting roses in the room. His friends stare at him as he goes further into the dimly-lit  garden-dressed area which smelt amazing. He notices a card standing in the middle, placed delicately on the table. It is a deep emerald colour, one which perfectly matched Harry’s wide eyes. He opens the envelope taking out a simple card, made from thick, slightly shimmering white paper. On it he can see fine narrow handwriting, obviously done with precision as to seem as neat as possible. He holds up the card as his eyes skim over the words.


 

I know that you probably don’t want to talk to me right now. I wouldn’t either. I behaved horribly, there is no excuse behind it, and I’m awfully sorry. Still, it doesn’t mean I will give up. You deserve better Harry, and I will do my best to show you just how much you deserve. I sound so sappy right now, don’t I? Heh. I miss you, I hope you’re doing well there and you’re not under too much stress. Saw you on the telly, by the way, you looked amazing as always, definitely the best looking one there ;) This card is getting a bit long isn’t it? I wanted to say something smart, but I forgot what. I’ll just keep on trying Harry, remember what you told me? “I won’t give up you know”.  -xx Lou

P.S. I researched all the meanings of the flowers, hope I did them right. The florist’s thought I was crazy with all my demands.  


 

Harry stared at the card for a couple of seconds before putting it down and proceeding to his room, cursing and shutting the door.

“You told him to do this?” Tam whispered in awe as she lightly stroked one of the lavender roses.

“I just told him to start with an apology, maybe flowers, or something similar. I didn’t really think he’d go… Overboard. This is amazing.” Mill smelt one of the roses, a flower she didn’t particularly like but was still mesmerised by their delicacy, their petals wide, their stems smooth, rid of thorns, the colours bright. “Oh, what’s in the card” Tam says excited, grabbing the lovely envelope. Zayn grabbed her hand softly shaking his head. She looks at him confused as he takes the card from her hand placing it back on the table. “It’s private.” he says simply and she is about to protest but his look tells her not to. Maybe it was supposed to be private, a confession, or apology written just for Harry’s eyes.

Harry doesn’t say  a word after that, just emerges half an hour later from his room in a dashing outfit, his hair perfectly done, and smile painted on. He finds his friends completely ready as well, Mill typing on the phone and for some reason hiding it as soon as he enters the living room. He looks at them nodding towards the door, his look not once falling on the delicate flowers. They follow him, as they exit the room and go towards the limo which will take them to the party at Kew Gardens - or the Royal Botanic Gardens as the officials call it. It is a wonderful area of gardens and botanical greenhouses, housing some amazing attractions and museums. It is quite unique and is used for special occasions such as fashion week parties. The venue is considered to be quite classy which is why the group is dressed impeccably choosing a color scheme of green and purple, Harry and Mill wearing strong emerald accents while Tam and Zayn chose the deep purple ones, making their entire group blend in with the wonderful nature that surrounded them.

After having their picture taken the group emerges in one of the many gardens and Harry is quickly swept away as a group of older investors call his name “Harold, care to join us?” they call and are delighted at his nod, saying a simple “Splendid” as he reaches them.

“Why does he get on so well with them?” Mill asks confused looking at Harry who was currently deep in conversation, his eyes shining bright as he sips on his brandy.

“Because he’s posh. Old people love posh.” Zayn states simply.

“Harry’s not posh.” Tam comments just as she sees someone eying her, Roger coming in their direction.

“Oh, he is posh, he loves everything posh people love. He golfs, plays tennis, listens to old folk music, plays the piano, speaks French and collects antiques. Basically he has more in common with them than with us young people” Zayn frowns as Roger reaches them.

“You’re right. It’s like he’s royalty.” Mill chuckles.

“Come on people, I need you to mingle. We need new investors. Speaking of which, Tam, we have a new one coming from America, he’s young and not married, I think he will be delighted by your charm.” he sends her a wink pointing her at the direction of a 30-something man who was standing near the topiary obviously looking at the group. She smiles at Roger, although not so cheerfully as she goes in the direction of the man, slightly lifting off her long purple gown.

“I’ll find someone for you two.” Roger looks around and notices a group of young guys dressed in quirky outfits with oversized glasses on their faces. “They look artsy, Zayn you should talk to them. And Mill you can come with me, I need someone to woo a writer, I know you’ll find ways to entertain him.” he breaks off the group completely dragging Mill with him. Zayn just sighs going in the direction of the two “artsy” guys noticing the group was quite familiar to him.

“Zayn!” One of them says nodding his head, his arm holding his friend’s (?) waist. “We can not wait for the gallery opening, we’ve been boasting to everyone we know. It is going to be huge” Calum speaks. The man next to him, Luke, places his arm on Calum’s shoulders and asks him “Have you figured out your problem yet?” Zayn just shakes his head and continues their chat, mostly concerning the many galleries they owned.

Harry goes from person to person, feeling exhausted from all the talking, and slightly dizzy from the alcohol and lack of food. He is currently sitting on a bench surrounded by flowers trying hard to push a man’s hand of his thigh, without it looking rude. He flirts a bit, leaving everything at open promises which meant nothing, just as he has long learned. The man slipped him his card, his phone number, and hotel room written on it. Harry just smiled saying that he has to talk to his boss as it was getting late and left the creepy 40-year old man.

Zayn was finally done with talking, he had wooed too many heiresses and was ready to have his four hours of sleep. He searched around noticing that Tam was still occupied by the same man, they were sitting at on of the high chairs rounding a table, his hand circling her waist as he was saying something into her ear, her laughter loud and girly as she held her drink with one hand, the other on his shoulder. Zayn saw Harry and went to him, interrupting a group of young women who were obviously swooning over the lad. “I’m heading out, are you coming with?” he asks, and Harry simply shakes his head. Zayn just shrugs noticing just how vulture-y the women looked, circling Harry as if he was their prey. At the exit he met up with Mill and they went home together, too tired to even speak amongst themselves.

=

Louis went to take a shower, feeling nervous about the outcome of his gift/gesture. After half an hour of scalding hot water and some embarassing singing he jumped out, pulling on a pair of comfy sweats and an oversized T-shirt. He emerged from the bathroom, his family long asleep, and almost jumped as he saw someone sitting on his sofa, the TV on, but muted. The man was fumbling with something in his hands and Louis stepped closer into the dark room grabbing a heavy vase. He was just about to hit him square on the head when he noticed his hairstyle, and tattoos, and the shirt he borrowed from him several times. He put down the vase, sighing in relief as he went closer to the boy. 

"Liam, I'm sorry I haven't called, I was just so busy today..." he starts explaining but the boy cuts him off looking up from his hands.

"What the hell is going on and why are you plotting with my girlfriend?" he asks overly calm, the kind of calm that psycho killers possess before they skin their victims. Louis felt terrified, noticing the thing Liam was fumbling with was Louis' phone, the messages flashing open.

=

Almost an hour later Harry arrived at his room, dark and silent. He took of his shoes and pulled off his suit jacket. He turned on the light in the kitchen drinking a large glass of ice cold water. The light illuminated the path to the living room so he slowly went in the direction of it, feeling drawn to the dark room. He turned on one of the chandeliers in the room, which sent a nice glow over all of the flowers. He sat down on the floor in the middle of the room looking at them, his eyes bright. His hand reached out for the card and he read it once more, holding it delicately with his long pale fingers. His mind wandered as his gaze went from one corner of the room to the other. He let out a single tear, overwhelmed, happy, sad, he couldn’t even define how this gesture made him feel. No one had ever done something in this manner for Harry, and he had no idea how to act. He could only stare, late at night, in the dimly lit room, alone.

Chapter Text

Jay Tomlinson’s POV

I was always a light sleeper, which Louis of course knew about, which is why I had no idea why my son was yelling in this ungodly hour. I got up, pulling on my slippers as I exited one of the two guest rooms in the flat. I followed the hallway and realized that he wasn’t alone, two voices were yelling and I had no idea what was going on. Deciding to be sneaky I went on my tippy toes to the living room, leaning from the corner in order to see what was going on. I could see Louis standing pressed to a wall, a taller man in front of him. Unsure of how to act I listened in on their conversation.

“I tell you to stay away from him and not only do you not do that, but you involve my girlfriend into all of this?!” the other man yells.

“She offered to help, Liam!” Louis speaks back, not yelling as loudly. I finally know who’s standing in front of my son, but I can not contemplate that he is acting in this way, it is quite unusual for him – the boy is always so polite and nice I can’t even think of something that would make him this upset.

“You probably guilt tripped her into it. She would never do it, but you probably called her up and started begging and saying ‘I’m your boyfriend’s best friend”

“I did no such thing” Louis answers sounding offended, and I know exactly why – if there was one thing he hated it was to beg.

“Yeah right.” Liam scoffs. “Like she would go behind my back for no good reason at all”

“She has a good reason – she wants to help both me and Harry.”

“Harry, Harry, Harry, you can’t stop yapping about that lad. I don’t know what I have to do for you to understand some things Louis”

“There’s nothing to understand Liam”

“What happened last night?” Liam asks him overly calm.

“That’s none of your business!”

“Oh, yes it is. You fucked him didn’t you? In a stingy bathroom Louis, I thought higher of you” Liam speaks with such disgust in his voice I flinch.

“No, I didn’t fuck him!” Louis yells this time sounding angrier than Liam. After a muffle coming from Liam in the form of “Yeah right” Louis continues but I can’t quite hear what he says as it’s whispered.

“You blew him?! Just like that? What is wrong with you? It’s like you want a guy who will treat you like crap, you deserve so much better!” Liam continues his yelling. I feel as if it’s my turn to move, in need of a serious explanation of  all this, just as soon as I get my blush to die down.

“It was my choice, and he treats me…” Louis starts but upon seeing me freezes completely. Liam senses something is wrong and turning around resembles Louis’ shocked expression.

“I’m so sorry mum, I told him to be quiet, he wouldn’t listen. Just go back to sleep, we won’t yell anymore I promise” Louis starts apologizing profusely to me, but my wish to talk to them isn’t any bit lessened. “Do you want me to make you some tea? It’ll help you fall asleep.” He offers and I nod. He goes into the kitchen and I stand there looking at Liam.

“I’m really sorry Mrs. Tomlinson, I didn’t know you were visiting, I would have otherwise been quiet.” Liam speaks, an embarrassed expression on his face. “Come” I simply reply, going into the kitchen as well, Liam quickly following suit. Once in I sit them down at the table, closing the door behind me. I sit opposite of the two boys sitting next to each other.

“Now, I would like to know what happened in there. Why did you boys argue?” I ask and add “Liam”

“The problem is that I do not approve of Louis’ choice of people” he tries to say it as appropriately and politely as he can.

“Not approve? You basically told me you’d beat us both up. Oh, and you were horribly bad towards him” Louis snaps from his place.

“It would do you good. Get some sense into that thick head of yours” Liam snaps back, obviously forgetting my presence.

“I have more sense than you. You keep judging someone you don’t even know” Louis breathes out, his fringe fluttering from his breath, and crosses his arms – things he does when upset. “Liam is this true?” I ask the boy.

“Well, I mean it is in a way. But I know what he does. He isn’t good for Louis, he’ll just hurt him”

“Why do you think that?” I ask, feeling worried for my son.

“Well, firstly he’s basically never been in a relationship, he’s only slept around with a huge number of people. He goes out almost every day and gets drunk all the time. Oh, and he’s extremely violent” Liam says smiling as he sees my shocked expression.

“That’s not true! He’s funny, and he’s caring, and smart. And the only reason he hasn’t been in a relationship is because people tend to judge him and treat him like crap” Louis defends the boy that still sounds horrid in my mind, but seems to make him so protective and it drives me even more worried.

“Boo, I have a bit more experience with these things, can I maybe give you some advice when it comes to boys?” I ask him carefully.

“I don’t need advice. I know what I’m doing, I’m not stupid” he replies, which is mostly what I expected.

“Baby, everything you’re doing is normal. I’ve seen it a million times, it’s just, he’s a bad boy, and of course you’re attracted to him, but he’s not going to change because of you” I say, sadness overflowing me.

“He’s different mom. I know he is!”

“I thought the same thing Louis, but you’re just fooling yourself.”

“I don’t know what dumb-ass guy broke your heart but Harry isn’t like that” Louis answers, offended as always.

“Your father” I tell him, my voice barely a whisper. Louis’ shocked face is accompanied by the kettle, as the water has boiled. “Your father was the typical bad boy, he was hot, and funny, and charming, and every single girl wanted him, but he wanted me. It was a dream come true, and everything was going great until it got a bit more complicated.” I look at him sad, but still smiling. No matter how much his birth changed my life, I would never do anything different and I am grateful to this day for having him.

“So, he left me. Just like that, on my own to take care of a baby.” I can see that Louis’ eyes are starting to tear up, but I have to tell him this story, he has to know the full story, I would hate him to make the same mistake I made. “He lied to you Louis. He never once called, or sent a card, or congratulated you on your birthday. He only started taking interest in you when you became a famous football player.” Louis looks at me shocked and I continue, trying not to cry as I continue my confession. “I didn’t want to tell you the truth. You were so happy when he contacted you. He told you so many lies, and excuses for not being there, when honestly he just didn’t want to be there. And I’m sorry Lou, I really am, I know I should have been smarter at the time, and found someone better to have a child with, you could have had a wonderful father who loved you more than anything. But I chose so badly Lou, and I know that you sometimes wish you had a real father, I know” I see Liam with tears in his eyes and mine start to fall as well, unable to hold them in any longer. “But he isn’t going to be that for you. He is just trying to use you. And you shouldn’t let a bastard like him take advantage of you. He is your father only by blood do you understand me? He hasn’t seen you grow up, he hasn’t taken you to your first football game, he hasn’t been there when you first had a girlfriend, although that didn’t turn out well, did it?” I joke and am relieved to hear his slight chuckle. “He wasn’t there when all that horrible drama happened, and he still isn’t here when you need someone. You got injured, he never called, I presume.” His slight nod makes me even sadder. “He’s just a massive jerk, and I was too blind to notice it, and now my child is suffering because of it, and do you know how horrible that makes me feel? People don’t change darling, and that’s something you need to know”

“I know, everything I’ve said is horrible to you now, I know baby. But I just want to show you what it’s like to have someone not right for you in your life. I don’t want you to have a relationship with someone who is going to break your heart when you least expect it” I finish, wiping my eyes. Louis remains his usual tough self as he sits there expressionless.

“Just think about all I’ve said, please. It is your life, and I know I can’t influence you into doing anything, I just want you to think about it really hard.” I get up kissing his forehead, before hugging him tight. I pour myself some tea and kiss Liam on the cheek before going to bed, my worries lessened just a little bit, feeling a weight being lifted off my shoulders, as I know I’ve postponed this conversation for so long, but the timing is right. I saw my baby be hurt once, and I honestly don’t know if he has the strength in him to go through that again.

=

Harry was never a person of bad manners, so he carefully contemplated whether or not a thank you would be appropriate for the given situation. He gazed once again over the room and decided that yes, this gesture definitely deserved one. Taking out his phone he quickly unblocked Louis’ number and typed out a message “Thank you, no one’s ever done something similar for me.” He contemplated a while whether or not to put a smiley beside the text and decided on a sun emoji. He reread the message a couple of times, realizing how open it was, how vulnerable he felt for admitting something so severe, at least in his head. However, for some reason he didn’t feel suffocated by the admission, he felt freed.

=

“Louis, do you want to…” Liam started asking, but before he finished Louis suddenly got up.

“I’m fine Liam, I’m just going to sleep. Feel free to sleep on the couch if you don’t want to go home.” Louis said, overly polite as he went in the direction of his room, his legs moving automatically, unable to form a complete connection with his fumbled thoughts.

“Lou, are you sure? I can keep you company, we don’t need to talk…” Liam suggests, feeling extremely sorry for the boy.

“Yes, I’m sure. Goodnight Liam.” Louis says with a weak voice as he enters his room, closing and locking the door. Liam stays by the door, waiting to make sure, hoping that he wouldn’t hear anything from the room. After about five minutes of strenuous listening he senses a sound, a tiny little, barely audible sound, then he hears it again, a soft whimper, and the thought breaks his heart, knowing his friend’s in massive pain, pain that he can do nothing to lessen. He retreats to the bathroom, washing off his face with cold water, hoping to make his own tears stop their decent, and finally lays down, unable to sleep.

=

Louis tried hard, he really did, he collected all of the strength in his body, but he couldn’t stop the tears from falling. He hated the feeling, hated the feeling of being so weak that he couldn’t even control his own body. He hated every time he let his tears fall, which he could count on one hand. His eyes hurt and his lips were dry, he felt as if his lungs would explode, his head was pounding. He pushed his head deeper in the pillow, trying to suffocate himself, to do anything just to make the pain stop. A million questions ran through is fuzzled thoughts – Why? Am I not good enough? If my own father doesn’t want me, how can I expect anyone else to?...

He hears his phone vibrate, and snatches it, hoping it will provide him with any form of distraction. The name he saw was not one he was expecting to see. He didn’t even think about the answer typing the first thing that popped into his head, anything to make his glum thoughts disappear.

I told you - you deserve only the best. He added a little raindrop next to it, imagining it to be a tear.  He was astonished as the answer came in mere seconds.

No, I don’t. But thank you for thinking that. And a picture of a rainbow.

I don’t know if you’re trying to declare your gayness, cause that train has long passed. Or is it that you combined our emojis. :P Louis replied chuckling a bit.

Hah, you got it! :D

You were kind of wrong there though. Louis replied to him, having no idea why he was doing this, going with his gut.

Why?

That wasn’t a raindrop. Louis sent, and sighed, his tears having lessened just a little bit, still falling over his face, but not making him gag like before. He dropped his phone, taking a tissue and blowing his nose, and wiping his face. Finally he turned off the light, somehow feeling safer away from the reality of the world. He felt a stronger vibration in his close vicinity, and his heart jumped as he saw who the caller was. No one other than Harry. He again started to think, but quickly answered the phone.

“What’s going on? Why are you sad?” Harry asked, worry in his voice.

“I’m not sad…” Louis trailed off.

“Don’t lie to me.” Harry warned him. “Now, tell me what’s going on”

“I’m just…” Louis sighed. “Why do you even care, I thought you were angry at me” Louis continued his voice small.

“I still am. But that’s not the point. I want to make sure you’re fine.”

“Well, I’m not.”

“Why?”

“I’m just not, ok?” Louis sounded irritated, but really he wanted Harry to push him, push him hard enough until he could have enough strength to let all of his pain out, out in the open, something he hated doing.

“Come on Louis, you can tell me.”

“Why you of all people?”

“Cause I won’t judge you” Harry simply replied, and somehow Louis knew it was true.

“I’ve just had an upsetting conversation with my mom”

“What about?”

“It’s not important.”

“Seeing as it makes you upset, I believe it is important.”

“It’s just… Something… I… It’s about my father.” Louis finally said, and he could actually hear Harry sigh.

“What’s wrong? Come on, trust me, it can’t be that bad.”

“Yeah right”

“I’m serious Louis”

“Oh really, what’s your relationship with your father ‘cause mine was never fucking there for me, he left my mom when she was pregnant and never once contacted me until he needed something!” Louis yelled, flinching at the strength of his own voice.

After a long pause Harry spoke.

“I don’t really talk to my father… Or the rest of my family for that matter.” Harry said, thinking that Louis would maybe feel better if he knew that someone had it worse than him, he just wasn’t sure how much he was willing to share. Louis’ train of glum thoughts stopped as he contemplated Harry’s words, not knowing what to think.

“Why?” he asked in a shaky voice hoping that Harry would tell him, at least a bit of information, suddenly he was more intrigued than anything, his tears completely stopped.

“Um, well…” Harry sighed not knowing what to say. The slight change in Louis’ voice, his even breath, in the silence that lasted for almost a minute, helped him make the decision. “It was rough. I… I couldn’t take it anymore, so I um… I ran away from home.” Harry said voice barely above a whisper, his eyes suddenly stinging, he had never told anyone this fact, people presumed a lot, but never has he admitted it, his heart suddenly hurting from all the bad memories that haunted his past.

“Harry, that’s…” Louis said unable to even form a complete sentence. “How old were you?” he asked the boy hoping to hear a high number, hoping for anything bright, anything really.

“Fifteen” Harry barely said his eyes hurting as he tried hard not to cry.

“Harry, baby, are you ok? Please, oh god, now I’ve made you sad. I didn’t mean to, really, I just… I never expected… Please don’t be sad, ok?” Louis frantically started speaking his voice wobbly as he tried to comfort the boy.

“It’s fine, I’m just a bit… It’s been a while since I’ve talked about this, I’ll be fine” Harry said with a sniffle, smiling slightly at Louis’ antics.

“Why did you? What made you run away?” Louis asked hoping that he wasn’t intruding too much, desperately wanting to help.

“I think that’s a question for a different time and place.” Harry replied in a perplexing way, leaving Louis wanting more, but definitely not wanting to push him, when he sensed that even that confession was too much for the boy.

“Okay, sorry.” Louis quickly apologized.

“’s fine. How are you feeling, better?”

“Better” Louis replied simply.

“I think that you shouldn’t focus on the people that don’t care about you, focus on the ones that do.”

“Where do you get your wisdom from seriously?” Louis smiled.

“I have my resources” Harry smiled as well.

“Well, I must say they’re good.” Louis responded and contemplated a bit before saying “Are you sure?”

“I am. People who don’t make your life better do not deserve to be a part of it.” He simply said, and in a way Louis understood exactly what the boy was trying to say.

“Thank you Harry. This means a lot to me… I think you’re supposed to be sleeping now”

“Right back at ya”

“Well, I’m not as busy as you” Louis mocked.

“Still, you need your beauty sleep.” Harry mocked back.

“No I don’t. I’m manly and rugged. I don’t need beauty sleep.” He replied and smiled hearing Harry laugh loudly.

“Darling, you are the definition of a twink, so just shut up”

“How dare you? Me a twink?! That’s it, next time I’ll send you frogs instead of flowers.

“Why frogs?”

“Cause you look like one, with those big eyes” Louis replied and they both started laughing.

“I look forward to receiving them from you… Or you know, anything else” Harry replied, for some reason blushing.

“Well, stay tuned, cause you ain’t seen nothing yet” Louis joked, blushing as well.

“Go to sleep Lou” Harry said in a way that didn’t sound endeared at all. No, not even a bit.

“Go to sleep Styles, you’ve gotta be good tomorrow, my sisters are expecting an A+ performance.”

“Your sisters?” Harry answered shocked.

“Oh, yeah, basically 12 year olds want to have sex with you. Happy world ain’t it?”

“Oh my god” Harry started laughing.

“Good night, Mr. world famous model” Louis finished up, smiling.

“Good night, Mr. world famous bootie” Harry replied and laughed.

“Oh, fuck you” Louis mocked, smiling.

“You wish you could” Harry mocked back.

“I’m cutting you off Curly”

“I’m cutting you off first.” Harry replied, and it turns out neither of them wanted to push the end call button, having fallen asleep to the sounds of each other’s steady breathing.

=

Mill woke up early as per usual, her alarm ringing in the empty room. She reached out, turning it off, noticing that the other bed was empty. Getting up she yawned as she entered the living room noticing her friend lounging on the couch, covered by a blanket, her hands tight over a hot cup of tea.

“What are you doing up?” Mill asked going towards a very tired looking Tam.

“Felt like it” She answers and shrieks as Mill sits next to her on the couch.

“What, what’s wrong?!” Mill jumps immediately and looks at the blanket pulling it up. She notices Tam’s ankle obviously covered by a bag of ice. She reaches forward lifting the bag, gasping as she sees the girl’s swollen ankle.

“Oh, god, that looks so painful” She remarks as she gently touches the swollen area, Tam’s breath hitching.

“It’s fine” Tam tries to say, but it’s obvious that she’s in a lot of pain. “It’s probably from the fall, I’ll just put some ice on it”

“No, you need to see a doctor, how the hell are you going to walk the runway with this?” Mill places the ice back, patting Tam’s thigh, a worried look on her face. “I’ll be fine” Tam replies.

“I’m gonna call Harry, he knows these kinds of things” Mill states, and rushes out the door before Tam can even reply.

=

Harry groans as he hears his alarm ringing loudly in his ear. He quickly turns it off, yawning with a tiny little whimper at the end. He felt exhausted, but at the same time warm and somehow at peace. He wipes his eyes, getting accustomed to the harsh sunlight that filled his room. He could almost hear breathing and was that a slight chuckle? Harry had no idea what was happening, looking frantically around the room, yawning yet again, he really shouldn’t have gone to sleep so late. He notices the source of the sound taking his phone and gazing at the screen remembering last night’s long and obviously never-ending conversation.

“Hello?” he whispers, just in case Louis’s sleeping, although he has a feeling that he isn’t. His breaths aren’t as deep as when he sleeps, and there are no tiny noises as if the boy is dreaming, Harry deducts, and realization hits him – he probably knows too much about a certain boy he can’t get out of his head.

“Hey gorgeous, you sound so cute when you wake up” Louis replies whispering as well, it was right for the early morning, the sun just having risen. Harry feels heat on his cheeks, cursing his body for reacting this way, trying to cover up just how much those words hit him. He recollects himself, standing up as he goes into the kitchen, discarding his stupid shirt (he didn’t want to do it yesterday, his mind fully focused on the conversation, it was a miracle he was even able to get his pants off).

“Um, thanks, I… Did I wake you up?” Harry fumbled with his words, his body still half asleep. He put the kettle on to make himself some morning tea, as well as some coffee for Zayn. Upon speaking he actually heard Louis gasp and chuckle yet again.

“Your voice it’s so…” he can hear Louis shuffling on the bed obviously making himself more comfortable, oh how Harry wished he was there. Wait, what? Harry scorned his thoughts yet again, not knowing why this lad affected him so much. “It’s soo deep in the morning, and groggy, oh god” Louis suddenly feels very much awake as that voice drove him crazy, made him too aroused for such an early morning and such an early conversation.

“Heh, you really are something Louis” Harry chuckled a bit, gripping his cup of tea tightly and looking through the window, the weather was starting to change, it was colder by the day, the green of the trees long forgotten, and some already missing their leaves, winter was coming, and Harry never liked winter, never.

“What are you thinking about?” Louis asks overly cheerful.

“Winter” Harry replies simply sipping on his tea.

“Oh, I love winter!” Louis replies and Harry groans. “You don’t like it, why not?”

“It’s just a time for you know being home, families, Christmas trees, that sort of thing.” Harry says sighing a bit, hating the fact that he spent every Christmas alone, his friends rushing over to their families for the holidays. He was always invited, but always declined, not wanting to intrude, and not bearing the sight of happy families all around him.

“Well, there’s always room for something else there Harry, it’s not all about family”

“Like what?”

“Like…. Birthday parties!” Louis yells laughing.

“When’s yours then Mr. Cheerful?” He can hear Louis chuckling as he answers “On Christmas Eve.”

“No way! That’s rubbish” Harry replies smiling. “Why’d you think that?”

“Cause you only get one present!” Harry continues sipping on his tea enjoying the easy conversation.

“That’s a bummer, I must say.”

“You know what else is a ‘bummer’?” Harry asks chuckling in advance. Upon hearing Louis’ “what” he finishes the sentence “You” and he can actually hear Louis groan and laugh at the same time, he hadn’t even known such a thing was possible.

“That was by far the worst joke, or whatever you call it, I have ever heard!” Louis responds still laughing.

“Please, I have even better ones.”

“You’ll have to tell me those sometime” he hears Louis say, his voice unusually soft. His stomach feels weird all of a sudden, probably from the lack of food these past few days.

“We’ll see…” Harry trails off, smiling so much it physically pains him.

“You’ve got to go to work?”

“Yeah”

“Well, have a nice day”

“You too”

“And don’t make any stupid puns”

“Nope, they’re all for you” Harry replies, suddenly blushing yet again. What was going on with him?!

“That’s good to know. Bye Curly” Louis says, his voice soft as an angels. How the hell do you know what an angel sounds like? Get it together Harry, get it together.

“Bye Lou” he says and this time they actually hang up. He turns around and almost shrieks as he sees Mill standing before him, with the biggest smirk on her face.

“Don’t you dare” he says, trying to get his blush to die down.

“I’m not saying anything” she replies looking at him, a smile still on her face.

“It’s nothing, we just we were talking that’s all” he tries to explain himself, hating her smirk so much. She just shrugged exiting the kitchen. He follows after her not even noticing Zayn who had just woken up.

“And we fell asleep talking so we, you know, talked a bit in the morning” he replies and her smirk is still there. “I’m not saying anything, nope” she replies popping the “p” in the word. She exits the room and Zayn is definitely intrigued enough with the conversation to follow them to the girls’ room, but extremely slow.

“It’s just he sounded upset over the messages and I wanted to know if he was okay” Harry was frantic trying to explain not only to her, but himself that this was nothing. She was smiling so wide, Harry wondered how her cheeks didn’t rip apart. She entered the living room sitting on the armchair, Harry stood in the middle of the room, ignoring Tam’s confused face as he continues.

“And the only reason we were texting is because I wanted to thank him for the flowers, that was it. Nothing else. It was nothing” Harry finishes crossing his arms. He sees Zayn sitting next to Tam as he listens in on the conversation as well.

“Of course Harry, I believe you” Mill replies in an overly fake voice, her smile obviously permanently plastered on her face.

“What’s so cold in here?” Zayn gasps as he started pulling the comfy blanket on himself as well. He lifts it up and notices Tam’s injured leg. He slowly lifts her leg placing it in his lap. “Are you okay? Are you going to be able to walk? Do you need someone to carry you? Maybe I should replace your ice, this one has almost melted? And some pain medication, you should definitely take some pain medication. But with it you need food, so yeah. I’ve got a hidden candy bar, I can bring it to you? Do you want me to speak with management, you need to rest, how could you possibly work with this?” He shoots out, question after question, his eyes a bit frantic. His friends just stare at him as if he was possessed.

“Um Zaynie, I’m fine. Just give me that chocolate bar, and pain meds. The swelling is starting to subside, I just need to put ice on it regularly and it will be fine. As for not working, that’s a big no. Maybe just tonight, I hope they wouldn’t mind if I skipped the party.” She sighed. Zayn got up rushing to get everything passing between Harry and Mill who were still holding a staring contest.

=

“I’m guessing you’re feeling better?” Liam asks from his place on the table, where they were all currently eating breakfast. “As I said before, I’m fine” Louis simply replied his stomach already hurting from how much his mother insisted he eat.

“I heard you laughing last night, and now. Were you talking to someone?” Liam asked happy that his friend’s fine, temporarily deciding not to nag him about a certain boy he didn’t like.

“Yeah. Stan and I talked about some high school stuff” came a simple reply, a complete lie, but there was no way in hell he was going to let his morning be ruined by Liam’s and his mother’s obsessions with his life.

“That’s great. I haven’t seen you this happy, especially in the morning in god knows how long” Liam replies smiling.

“Girls, how about I take you shopping today?” Louis asks and is delighted by their squeals.

“I’ll drop you guys off, I have to go to the gym anyways, have to get ready, tomorrow’s a big match.” Liam offers.

=

Louis and the girl’s arrive at the shopping centre about an hour later, mostly because it took them a long time to get ready (when saying “them” it mostly means Louis – it took him forever to style his hair). He hooked his arms around each of their elbows, standing in the middle as they went up the path to the entrance. He was trying hard to ignore the massive amount of photographers who were standing there taking pictures of him and, worst of all his sisters. He was always extremely protective of his siblings never once letting anyone get near them. He quickly led them in, taking off his aviators and hooking them to his shirt as they rounded the corner, heading in the direction of their favourite stores. After all of their shopping Louis was definitely a poor man, as he liked to joke, but he might have still had enough on him to take them for some ice-cream.

“Thanks Boo” Fizz said as he handed her the ice-cream, sitting in one of the comfy chairs they have chosen. “Aww, someone’s missed us” Lottie mocked grabbing her ice-cream as well, starting to devour the cold chocolaty goodness.

“Yeah, actually I have” he replies with a fond smile as he eats his own, strawberry and mint.

“Oh, yeah, I almost forgot, what did you do with your problem?” Lottie asks and Fizz immediately butts in. “What problem?” she looks concerned, worried for her brother.

“Oh, it’s nothing serious Fizz don’t worry.” Louis comforts her at once smiling as he sees her relief.

“Louis like a bo-oy” Lottie tells her sister, obviously mocking. “You do? Who?” Fizz is intrigued, leaving her ice-cream on the table.

“Eat that up, or it’ll melt.” Louis warns her and adds. “Yeah I like a boy. You know who” he suggestively smiles and she figures it out.

“Ooooh” she replies and he has to laugh. When he was with his sisters he always felt so young, and free. “Yeah, he was angry with me, I kind of hurt him, but I think it’s getting better” he explains.

“What did you do?” the older girl asked.

“I sent him flowers, roses to be exact” he says, opting for a pause before he adds “121 rose to be exact” he smirks as he sees his sisters gasp.

“You did? Oh my god! That’s beautiful!” Fizzie replies.

“Never thought you had it in you, you sap. Like in the movies. That really is nice Louis, I’ve raised you well” Lottie comments and their usual banter continues, followed by occasional laughs as they eat, Louis feeling pleased as he remembers what Harry had told him :

“I think that you shouldn’t focus on the people that don’t care about you, focus on the ones that do.”

=

The day was pretty uneventful, apart from Zayn talking to Roger who agreed to let Tam off for a night without even a question, it was very weird but he didn’t look into it too much.

Also, Harry was on the other end of merciless teasing from his friends as they were watching the TV during their break. A gossip part of the news came up and just as he was about to change the channel he saw him. Louis was there, his hands hooked around what appear to be his younger sisters. He looked dashing, his hair perfectly styled, his face decorated by a pair of brown aviators, and his body looking amazing in tight white pants and a navy blue shirt with a blazer on top. He looked as if he had just walked out from a magazine and Harry couldn’t stop gawking.

“Oh there’s your boyfriend Harry!” Mill joked and Harry sent her the biggest death glare he could muster, the words attracting unwanted attention from people around him.

“Damn Harry, your boyfriend could totally pull off being a model. I mean, he looks better than you!” Tam jokes, slightly dazed from all the pain medication she was taking, she had no idea how he survived the day, but it was nearing its end, and she was grateful for that. They heard someone behind them groan at the words and turned around seeing Michael sitting on one of the armchairs, his eyes trained on the screen with a look that could burn the entire TV to the ground.

“Something wrong Mikey?” Tam jokes.

“Nothing, it’s just…. No one looks better than Harry, that’s a fact” he replies irritated fixing his hair.

“Well, if I was smarter I would deduct that you have a little crush on our here Harry boy, now do you Mikey?” Mill mocked. Sometimes the girls got like this, desperate to jump on everybody’s heads. This was one of those times.

“Don’t be silly” Harry says, changing the channel as they’re new obsession – the series Las Vegas – was about to start. “Michael is just speaking the truth” he adds, groaning as he’s hit on the head by Zayn, along with some mumbled words which resembled “stop being so arrogant, twat”.

Also, Zayn carrying Tam through the halls as he didn’t let her walk on her own also looked quite funny, the endless remarks of “Prince Charming” going his way. He was so concerned that he didn’t even notice someone intensely staring at the pair, the gesture obviously bothering them.

=

The friends were getting ready to go out all in the girl’s room so that Tam didn’t feel alone. She was a bit down, because, well everyone knew just how much of a party animal she was. However she felt better as she did Mill’s makeup, and sang to all of the songs Harry played on their TV, connecting his phone to it, and turning on his karaoke app. They were almost heading off, when Harry remembered he had forgotten his cell phone in his room. He went back to it, and saw the light in the living room turned on, it was strange to him, so he entered the living room noticing a box on the table.

He took the box, carefully unwrapping the bright bow, and opening it up. Inside was a small house, toy house that is. It was a typical suburban house, made of little bricks and a nice roof. It looked antique, nothing alike any house he’s ever seen in toy stores before, the material was delicate, and the house was made with meticulous detail. Harry opened the little white door noticing two figurines inside. One was of a frog, and the other of a – homeless person? Why would there be a figurine of a… Harry realized it laughing like crazy, remembering that in England they often call homeless people bums, he couldn’t believe it.

He noticed something on the bottom of the house, and lifted it to read the simple fine text, it was definitely Louis’ handwriting. It said “Home is where the heart is”. This was too much for Harry a present so lovely he couldn’t even explain how it made him feel. The meaning behind it, the message, the figurines, the Christmas tree that was inside the house… It was so thoughtful that Harry had no idea what to say or do. He heard Zayn shouting for him to “hurry the hell up, man!” and he put down the house going in the direction of the door, in a desperate need for a drink before his thoughts got the best of him.

=

Tam was lounging about, contemplating which show to watch when she heard a knock on her door. She got up slowly jumping towards the door and was astonished when she found Roger standing there.

“Hello. I don’t have much time to talk. The man you talked to yesterday? He was very intrigued by you, wanted to take you out to dinner today, but considering you’re a bit hurt, I thought up an even better idea. He’s coming over here in 15 minutes, make yourself presentable. I have hired a personal chef just for the evening who will make you both whatever you like.” He finished up moving a bit so that two workers of the hotel can come in setting up the dining room table. Tam stood there dumbfounded not knowing what to say.

“I don’t feel comfortable with inviting a man into my hotel room, alone” she said simply, dread going over her.

“I don’t care, he’s already invested millions, and to hell, I’d do anything to get him to invest more!” Roger smiled and went closer to her. “Do everything you can to keep the man pleased, got it?” he smiled devilishly and she gulped.

“I have a boyfriend. And I don’t want  anyone in my room” he didn’t notice just how frantic her eyes were.

“Sorry, it’s already done. Wear something… Nice” he finished exiting the room along with the crew. She groaned going in the direction of the bathroom, her hands were suddenly shaking, but she continued trying to style her hair a bit, and put on some light make up. She then went through a shock of pain as she changed out of her comfortable clothes and into some shorts and a nice, but not revealing shirt. She was just putting on some perfume, cursing the world, cursing Roger, cursing basically everything as she heard the knock on her door. She went to open it, greeting the man before her, who gave her a bucket of flowers and was carrying a little gift bag. She said a clumsy thanks, still shaking a bit. He grabbed her arm helping her walk to the table.

“How is your leg? Roger told me you were hurt.” He said simply, obviously not really concerned.

“Fine” she replied curtly snatching her arm away as she sat down, placing the flowers in the vase, not bothering to even look at them properly. She felt as if she was going to vomit. Soon the chef came in and the man ordered for both of them, something she hated without a doubt, she loved to cook, and loved to pick her own food.

“I’ve never met a woman like you, you know” he said, taking out the wine and pouring them generous amounts of it. She tried to sip only a little, knowing she shouldn’t mix alcohol with her pain medication. “You’re so… unique. Never had a woman tell me ‘no’ before, it’s kind of refreshing” he smirked as the meals arrived, clinking their glasses.

“You obviously haven’t met the right people then” she replied simply, overly quiet, her thoughts spinning wildly as she looked at where the door is, contemplated how she could escape if she needed to, where her phone was if she needed to call for help, and so on… She was frantic, it was obvious, and the man was definitely seeing it.

“I’ve got you something” he said handing her a little blue box. She opened it surprised to see a pair of earrings, ones which looked like they cost a lost. She was speechless, hating the fact that every man around her was trying to ‘buy’ her. She wasn’t for sale.

“You shouldn’t have.” She answered not in a pleased but in a distressed kind of way.

“Babe, I make millions, it’s hardly a dent in my finances” he boasted, and she wanted to roll her eyes so badly. He got up to her taking the box and slowly putting the earrings on her, breathing down her neck, and obviously trying to stare at her cleavage, which was completely covered by her shirt.

“So beautiful” he commented, actually sniffing her. What the hell was wrong with this man? Tam started shaking her legs uncontrollably definitely wanting the man out now. She couldn’t take it anymore, but somehow she calmed down. The conversation was light after that, just a couple of boasts from him, not a single question directed towards her, basically the usual ordeal. She was just praying it will be over soon, or that her friends would be coming back, or that a fire alarm would go off, anything at this point. He got up after he finally decided to leave, putting his expensive coat back on. He went to the door, waiting for her to see him out.

“It was a pleasure having dinner with such a beautiful and attractive woman, I must say” he told her as she reached the door, trying hard to even out her breath.

“I will be seeing you more.” He simply stated, not asked. He leaned closer to her and she turned her head his kiss landing on her cheek. “Oh, come on, I take you to dinner, I bring you flowers and wine, I but you expensive jewelry, the least I could get is a kiss” she frowned, her breath definitely going faster. “No, I… I have a boyfriend.” She simply stated, feeling as if she was going to run out of the room, contemplating how far she would go before he caught up on her. Not far with the stupid injured leg. He leaned in closer yet again “I could give you more than he ever could. I could build you a mansion, buy you a nice car, some designer clothes whatever your heart desires” he whispered into her ear.

“I don’t desire anything. Thank you, now bye” she replied going closer to the door, shaking a bit. He pinned her to the door, using his overpowering strength as he planted his lips on hers, kissing her passionately, pressing her into the door hard, her body unable to move at all. She felt a tightness in her chest, her breaths not able to even out, unable to steady her breathing. He pulled himself off of her, staring at her with hunger in his eyes, loving the way the girl was struggling against him.

“Until next time” he simply said, exiting the room. As soon as he was gone she locked the door and fell on the floor shaking uncontrollably trying to breathe as hard as she could.

=

Zayn was looking around the busy club trying to find his friends although Harry was easy to spot. He saw Mill at the bar talking to some indie musician who was leaning dangerously close in her direction. He decided to interweene as he went closer, noticing that the affections weren’t one sided. She had her hand on his bicep, and was smiling at him in a very seductive manner, flipping her hair. Zayn came to her saying a quick “Mill, come here with me for a sec”. She raised her eyebrows excusing herself from the boy and turning around going to Zayn, far away that he couldn’t hear.

“What the hell are you doing? You have a boyfriend” he reminded her, as if she didn’t already know.

“Yeah” she replied sadly.

“Um, what’s wrong?” he asked and then added. “Wait, I know that look, you’re leaving him aren’t you?”

“Um, not yet, when we come back… I can’t Zayn he’s too much for me honestly” she replied looking at the ground.

“Are you sure?” Zayn sighed, thinking the boy was just right for his friend.

“Yeah, I’m sure. I’m not ready for that right now” she replies going in the direction of the boy she was previously talking to.

 

 

Chapter Text

“Remind me again why we let him drink so much?” Zayn asked Mill as they supported Harry’s half dead body through the hallways. He could walk on his own, but he kept falling down and tripping on his own feet, it was way easier for them to just support his body, his gangly arms on their shoulders.

“Because we’re idiots. Should have left him there” Mill answered, clutching her bag underneath her armpit as she tried holding the boy’s arm. They reached the room after what seemed like hours of strenuous activity. Mill opened the door as Zayn leaned Harry on the wall, staring into  his slightly sad face. He never understood why the boy had a tendency to become overly depressed when drunk.

“Got it” Mill exclaimed as the lock clicked. She went up to help Zayn as they carried Harry to his bed, letting him fall on it with a loud thud. They took off his shoes and then started taking off his shirt. They heard him mumble something, but it was hard to understand.

“Don’t. I don’t want…” he mumbled again obviously not fully certain of his surroundings. They looked between themselves shrugging as Mill unbuttoned his shirt and Zayn started undoing his belt.

“Please don’t. I’m really not in the mood… Later” Harry replied almost sounding as if he was begging and they stopped having no idea what had gotten into the boy. They had never heard him like this. They saw him roll over slowly and curl into himself, shirtless and still in his jeans, his zipper undone. Zayn brought a hand to Harry’s back trying to soothe him and quickly retracted it as he saw the boy flinch.

“I’ll do it later. Just let me sleep.” Harry mumbled shaking a bit. The friends looked at each other confused. “What should we do?” Mill whispered for the first time unsure of the way to act. Zayn whispered back, equally worried “Nothing, let’s just let him sleep” Harry must have heard them as his slow voice resonated in the small room.

“We’ll have sex later, please, I’m tired” They silently put a blanket on him and exited the room leaving the boy on his own. They walked over the hall to the girl’s room, wanting to check up on Tam. “What was that about Z?” Mill asked him as they neared the door.

“I have no idea” he sighed, having a feeling this wasn’t the first time Harry had to say such things. As soon as they entered the room they noticed something was off. All the lights are on, which is a bit strange since it’s 4 am, and they believed Tam would be fast asleep by now. First going into the kitchen they noticed the table which was completely set, the empty vase and a gift box. They also notice empty wine glasses, and realize everything is set up for two instead of one. They follow a trail of ripped flowers to the living room where the TV was on, but silent. Silently going around the couch they notice a sleeping figure. The girl looked fragile and completely broken. She was dressed in a fancy shirt and shorts, which still made absolutely no sense. Her makeup was smeared, thick black traces of what used to be mascara underneath her eyes. She was desperately clutching something in one arm, the other hanging from the couch. They neared her noticing that the thing she was clutching was an empty bottle of what appeared to be wine. Mill frowned knowing full well that the girl shouldn’t drink when on her medication. She pulled her arm trying to snatch the bottle and was surprised at how strong the hold was, her body completely frozen and unmoving, her breaths extremely slow. She shook the girl cautiously. “Tam, darling, wake up” she started saying shaking her slightly. Zayn suddenly snapped out of his trance as he grabbed the sleeping girl from behind pulling her up and shaking her a bit harder “Tam, wake up, wake up” he started saying louder and louder, the sound obviously not helping, the girl still stiff in his arms. Mill gritted her teeth, scrunching her eyebrows as she contemplated for a minute before sending a hard slap on the girl’s unsuspecting face. She finally moved, mimicking Zayn’s current expression, both their mouths perfectly o-shaped. The girl was blinking wildly and then her head started to spin, her expression worsening. Mill signaled to Zayn as he carried Tam into the bathroom gently placing her above the sink as she started to vomit. They stroked her back as they exchanged a look of pure worry. She turned on the water her shoulders slumping as she began cleaning the sink.

“No, darling I’ll do that you don’t need to…” Mill starts saying but Tam shakes her head, barely able to speak. She washes her mouth and continues scrubbing the sink as she mutters “It’s to make up for those two times” Tam said guiltily and Mill can’t believe than in such a state she can even remember such things, let alone worry about them. She finishes in a minute and goes on wobbly legs to the girls’ joined bedroom sitting slowly on her bed and leaning against the wall it was pressed to.

“What happened?” Mill asked slowly as she sat on her own bed, opposite of Tam. Zayn remained silent sitting next to the wobbly girl, giving her space but still being there. “Did someone come here?” he asked slowly. She nodded looking at the ground.

“Who?”

“Roger made me… Have a date with … That rich guy” Tam replied, her head throbbing.

“Here, alone?” Mill questioned already knowing the answer her insides slowly fuming. Tam nodded.

“Did he hurt you?” Zayn asked swallowing hard. She shook her head and after a minute added “He kissed me. I didn’t want to, he just pushed me on the door and started kissing me. I couldn’t move, he was holding me, I couldn’t move…” she said frantically, shivering. Zayn quickly enveloped her in a hug, Mill following suit. “Shh… We’re here, I’m not going to let anyone hurt you” Zayn said staring into her eyes.

“I tried calling you, all of you, none of you answered” Tam tells them as she puts her hair behind her ears. Harry had been dead drunk and they were frantic to take him out of there, and get him to his hotel room, the whole process taking up at least 45 minutes of their time, she must have called right in the middle of it.  “And I was so… I had to make that feeling go away… So I just took that stupid wine and drank it”

“Don’t you ever do anything like that again” Zayn scorned. “You got us so worried”

“I won’t. I promise” she answers feeling her eyelids slowly fall down. Mill noticed and offered “ How about I help you get dressed and Zayn could get you some nice cold water?” Tam nodded and sighed from relief as her friends were finally there. The room not so vacant any more.

Zayn came back in five minutes, as he went to check up on Harry as well, he was sound asleep, the worried look on his face finally gone. He went in to the room turning off the living room light as he placed the cold water on the coffee table noticing both the girls were in their respective beds, both turned with her front towards the opposite walls. He heard a tiny “Zaynie” and lent down to the redheaded girl.

“What is it?” he said softly.

“Please stay” she simply stated, her voice weak, with just a tiny bit of fear at the end. Before he knew what he was doing he took off his shoes and jeans, feeling a bit uncomfortable as he didn’t have any sweats to put on top of his boxer shorts. He climbed into the bed pulling the duvet over himself as he hugged the girl from behind, pulling her incredibly closer and putting a leg over her legs.

“Go to sleep, I’ll protect you” he mumbled into her ear as his head rested on her shoulder, his nose in her hair. Thankfully after a couple of minutes she actually did fall asleep, feeling safe.

=

Harry woke up with one of the worst headaches in his life. He sighed noticing he was still in his jeans, slowly peeling them off his sweat covered body. He definitely needed a shower. He navigated his tired body into the shower stall turning the water on high and hissing as it burned his skin. He noticed he had forgotten to take off his underwear and lent down slowly peeling off the wet shorts that stuck to his slowly pinkening skin. Dipping his head under the water he tried to recall what happened last night, trying to piece together the foggy memories. This is what he remembered.

 

He was cold, definitely really cold, and he had no idea why. Maybe it was because he was sitting in some alley, probably? Where was everyone anyways? He looked around not finding any of the people he knew. Then he saw a tall figure coming towards him, lifting him from the ground. He was yelling something, but Harry could only make out “idiot” from all the words. The voice was familiar, but it couldn’t have been his friend, he didn’t smell of smoke like he usually would. Yes, that’s why he was here, he knew Zayn would come out to smoke eventually, and find him, take him home. He was done, not wanting anymore from the crowd inside, lurking, staring, trying to touch him, it was disgusting.

 

Harry sighed trying to remember more, and making a mental note to thank his friend later, wondering where the hell the boy had gone to. He finished up washing his hair, and started washing his body flinching as he felt slight pain over his right peck, just below his collarbone. He dipped his head trying to see what was causing the pain, almost blacking out as he did so. Bad idea Harry – he thought to himself. Quickly finishing with the shower, and feeling like at least  1/8th of a human being he stepped out reaching for a towel and drying his body, wet drops from his hair dripping on his face and neck. Then he dried his hair a bit, not bothering too much about it, they were, after all, going to Lou in the morning so she could fix up their hair. He stood in front of the mid-length mirror, staring at his reflection. His eyes looked tired yet again, his skin paler than usual, from all the lack of sleep these last couple of days. Deciding to brush his teeth he grabbed his toothbrush and brushed for three whole minutes, just like his mother had thought him. He rolled his eyes at the thought of his mother. Why must he think of such things in the early morning? He rinsed his mouth and cleaned his face with a face scrub, hoping to get some blood flowing in it. It helped a bit, making him look less tired. Just as he was about to leave to drink some tea with generous amounts of ginger (the best aid for a hangover – as Niall had thought him) he remembered the spot which caused him pain. He glanced in the mirror, going a bit closer and noticed a rather large bruise forming there, resembling, a hickie? Another memory flashed on him.

“I didn’t know you could sing that well” a blonde girl who looked oddly familiar said as she eyed him up and down, dancing seductively in front of him.

“Yeah, I can” he replied starring in the distance, his eyes not once meeting hers.

“I’ve missed you. Haven’t played with you in a long, long time.” She continues popping open one of the buttons on his shirt. Upon hearing no reply she speaks again “You know I’ve come here, just to see you. I’m a busy girl, touring and stuff, but I have to find time for, hm, fun” she winks as she moves closer to him, her hands wrapping around his neck. She goes closer kissing him, and he responds, or at least he thinks he does, not moving too much, just drifting off somewhere else as the girl started kissing him harder and harder. She pulls him somewhere, he’s not sure where, as she closes the door behind them smirking. She unzips her dress and Harry doesn’t even bother to look, it’s not like he hasn’t seen this a million times before. She goes back to him, stepping out of the dress and whispers in his ear “I love it when you’re drunk, you look so hot then, and you get so… animalistic” she bites his ear, going down and kissing his jaw. Finally she goes lower biting down right underneath his collar bone, sucking the skin harshly as her hands go lower trying to undo his belt.

He jolts at the movement, feeling the same feeling he’s always felt, just being there, taking whatever people gave him, never caring, never being in the moment, watching his life as if from a third person view, and accepting it, accepting everything that was going on around him. Suddenly, he felt the urge not to accept, not to let someone use him for the thousandth time, he just didn’t want it. He deserved better, maybe, he wasn’t sure, but somehow he thought that maybe it was true. It was as if someone had told him that, as if he could hear a voice saying these exact same words. He moved away from the girl taking in her frantic look as she stared at him. She tried kissing him again but he just moved his head, turning around towards the door.

“Harry, where are you going, we were just getting started?!” she asks grabbing his arm, digging her nails into his bicep. He groaned pulling off his hand “I can’t do this anymore” he said, almost running out of the room and stumbling as he tried finding a different place, going through a door and outside, sitting down on the cold hard ground. He had never had a problem with his lifestyle before, he couldn’t understand what was bothering him so much now. Nothing has changed. And yet, oddly, it has.

=

Louis was smiling wide as he reread the texts from last night for the tenth time. He was pissed off first when the texts woke him up at about 3 am in the morning, but when he saw who the sender was, he was quite glad to receive them, especially since the boy was obviously drunk, which made it all the more fun.

y d I thnk abt u al d tyme?

Cause I’m awesome! J are you ok? You sound a bit… under the influence ;)

M GUD. I dnt get y u lyk me

Why wouldn’t I like you? x

Cz I dnt evn lyk me

That’s ridiculous. You’re amazing, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Xx

M noT.i hv 2 go, zen say

You tell Zen I said hi. Good night xx

i lyk u 2 zz

And that was the last of the messages, the last one still bothering him. He knew what Harry meant by it, but the boy was obviously drunk and probably won’t even remember the messages they exchanged. And even if he did, maybe he didn’t mean it, he could hardly spell anyways. Louis didn’t know what to think but he knew one thing – Harry had messaged him when drunk, instead of just going at it with someone like he normally would, he sent him message after message (with a long delay in between, but Louis couldn’t blame him, he was hardly a fast typer after a couple of pints).  He felt oddly warm just thinking about it, hoping that just maybe he was getting the boy to warm up to him. His inner sense of trying to fix everything emerging, vowing to himself that he will help this boy, help him with all the inner daemons he’s obviously struggling with.

Lottie made him look up as the TV was turned up, a report from last night’s party taking place. It wasn’t really too high end, just a bunch of pictures, with short commentary, the reporters obviously needing more time to think of elaborate schemes. Louis concentrated on the pictures knowing full well there was bound to be some of Harry. He saw a picture of Mill dancing with a guy in the middle of the dancefloor, looking really close, his hands on her hips, and her arms around his neck. He was just about to curse at the TV, when luckily a new scene popped up, this time a short video in which Nick was obviously pulling Harry by the hip trying to get close into his personal space. Louis dreaded what would happen next, but he laughed as he saw Harry push the guy and tell him to “Leave me alone” leaving him there as he went somewhere else.  He then saw two pictures which weren’t even from the party, they were obviously from the hotel. You could see an open hotel door, a man who was standing with his back to the camera, holding flowers and gift bag and a girl opening it to him, a girl he knew very well. The next picture shows him exiting at what the person reported “early hours of the morning” his hands empty. Louis had no idea what happened last night with the group of friends but everything just seemed weird to him. He then saw a picture of Harry kissing a girl who is yet to be named, and felt his insides burn. You are not together, he can kiss whoever he wants. You have to wait. It’s okay. A voice in his head said, as he tried not to show any emotion, especially since he could feel his mother’s gaze, a look which obviously meant ‘I told you so’.

The report said that they saved the best for last and Louis was definitely done with everything so he wasn’t really looking forward to seeing what they were going to show. He was confused as a video started, showing the stage which was part of the huge club, a band standing there. A band he actually recognized but hadn’t heard from in a while.

“Thank you for your lovely applause.” Patrick said. “I just wanted to do something special for the end and thank a good friend of mine. Has anyone seen Harry by any chance?” the crowd cheered as the camera zoomed in on Harry who was currently sitting at the bar slowly drinking some green liquid. He put his glass down staring at the stage and smiled as he got up from the stool. “Oh there he is. Come here you weirdo” Harry slowly goes to the stage, climbing on the little stairs at the back of it. He nodded to all of the members of the band before reaching Patrick.

“Well guys, I just wanted to say a big thank you to Harry Styles, who has helped us with some of our songs on this last album when we were all in America. It was really fun, and he’s a great guy” Patrick said as his arm rested on Harry’s shoulders. “And I hope he’s going to say yes because I would love him to sing this last song with us” Harry remained expressionless as he stared slightly at the ground. “I, um, I don’t really like singing in public” he says, but the people in front start cheering his name loudly, telling him to sing. Harry looks a bit lost, but a bit drunk and he finally nods sheepishly as Patrick smiles for the first time that night, handing Harry a microphone. “This one is Harry’s favourite if I recall correctly” the man says as the band starts to play and Harry takes a deep breath. Louis can already sense the boy was cursing under his breath. The song started and Harry started to sing next to his friend, loosening up a bit as the first few beats of the song had passed.

(song)

He continued singing, at one point singing completely alone, which he obviously didn’t notice. Louis could only stare, as the boy looked and sounded perfect. His hand gripping the microphone tightly, his eyes trained forward, a fire in them Louis had never even seen. His shirt was rising a bit every time he raised his hand. He was the definition of hot, and perfect, and dark, and everything Louis loved. He was by far the most entrancing thing Louis had ever seen. His body moving in perfect little motions as he sang his heart out, his skin glistening as he finished the final verse.  His voice was the perfect mix of deep and rough, sending shivers through Louis’ body. The audience from the dance floor erupted in a roar and Louis couldn’t help but feel proud at the smiling boy up on that stage, who was obviously very happy  to be there, and also looked strangely sheepish. He said a quick thank you, giving a one armed hug to his friend as he hoped off the stage, going into the direction of the bathroom. The report finished and Louis sat there still amazed with Harry, not knowing what to say. He somehow managed to remember that he should be leaving so he quickly put on his shoes and left, giving a quick kiss to both the girls and his mom, all of whom were still a bit dazzled from what they have just seen.

=

“Wow Harry that was… Wow!” Mill said as she patted Harry on the back, all of the friends bundled up in front of the TV watching the report, just to see in how much trouble they will be getting in.

“I can’t believe I sang there. And everyone’s going to see that” Harry spoke, his tone desperate.

“Hey, this is a good thing, you sound amazing Harry” Tam assured him.

“No, it’s not. I don’t… I don’t like singing in front of people” he confessed looking at the floor.

“No one can make you, it was great, and that’s all that matters. Even if it was a onetime thing” Zayn told Harry exactly what he wanted to hear, and Harry calmed down after that.

“Why are you using the trick?” Tam asked Mill all of a sudden and the boys were confused.

“Cause it’s the best way” Mill answered.

“Oh come on. Don’t you like him?”

“I do. But not the way he likes me. It’s better this way”

“You know you’re going to hurt him?”

“I know, but I’ll hurt him even more if we break up later, and I can’t keep pretending this is all right”

Harry got fed up with the conversation and had to butt in “What is the trick?”

“It’s when you purposely piss your boyfriend off, make it look like you are cheating on him, or something similar, so he can confront you and leave you or you can say something along the lines ‘I can’t be in a relationship without trust’ and leave him” Tam explains to Harry, sometimes forgetting that the boys don’t know a lot of their handy relationship tricks.

“But, why would you do that?”

“So that he doesn’t mope around, pleading for you to take him back. And if he broke up with you it’s even easier. He’ll get over you faster when he’s angry than when he’s sad” Mill explained the rest and couldn’t understand why the boys were looking at her as if she was a mad scientist.

“Girls are strange” Zayn commented simply.

“So you flirted with that guy, knowing you would be filmed so that your boyfriend gets pissed off and hopefully leaves you?” Harry tried to connect everything together.

“Yeah, pretty much” she simply replied shrugging.

=

“Hey Li, good luck on your match” Louis said as he hugged his friend who was already in his boxing shorts and was currently warming up.

“Thanks Lou, glad you could come and watch” he replied flexing his left hand.

“Li, um, did you see the report about that party?” Louis tried slowly, knowing he sucks in these kinds of conversations but trying to help his friend.

“Yeah, I did” the boy replied bluntly, traces of emotions in his voice.

“And? Are you upset?”

“Why would I be upset?” Liam asked as he hit the large punching bag with a huge amount of force.

“Just you know, it’s your girlfriend and a guy, and I just thought you know. Have you talked to her?” Louis realized he was absolutely rubbish at this, and that he was only getting the boy more upset.

“No I haven’t. And I won’t. It was just dancing, I trust her, I know she wouldn’t cheat on me. If she wants to talk about it she can, but I do not intend to push it.” He replied kicking the bag once before proceeding to pull off his gloves and adjust them a bit better, his trainer coming in and putting in his mouthguard telling him he has to be in the ring in a minute. He nods to Louis clapping with his glove-covered hands indicating Louis to cheer for him as he exits the practice area.

Louis goes in the stands, along with a couple of team members, and cheers as the fight starts noticing just how aggressive Liam was. Usually he was all about the technique winning with his cunningness and not relying as much on his strength. Now, he was making hit after hit to the opponents body, with such a force Louis didn’t understand how the man was even on his feet, he was already quite bloody and bruised, while Liam seemed perfectly fine, sitting in between rounds sipping on his water. It was the worst thing ever to everyone watching as most of the people were cheering for his opponent, someone who was higher up the rank, and looked way more dangerous than deer-eyed Liam. Oh how wrong they were.

It was no surprise when midway through the 7th round Liam hit the man so hard, he fell down, not going up for the next 30 seconds, winning Liam a victory by a knock out. He didn’t portray any emotion as his hand was grabbed by the referee announcing his victory. He nodded to the audience which was mostly speechless and went out. Louis knew from what he just saw that Liam was far from upset, and very very far from okay.

Chapter Text

“You know what I don’t get?” Tam asks suddenly, her feet dangling from the couch.

“What?” Harry asks from his room still trying to figure out where his phone was.

“How the hell did they even get those pictures of me? I mean, aren’t only our people allowed in the hotel?” she asks as she lazily switches the channels, dreading the next hour when they’ll have to work until late into the night, Mill and Zayn offering to get the two hung-over bodies some coffee – the good kind.

“I don’t know. Maybe, it was someone from the inside.” Harry replies simply lifting his mattress and checking underneath. He had no idea where he put the damned thing. “Can you call me, I can’t find my phone anywhere” he requests. Tam nods, grabbing her own phone ignoring the three missed calls from Robert, she had too big of a headache to have that conversation right now. As the phone started ringing Harry aimlessly followed the sound, until he came to the kitchen. He could hear it but it was nowhere in sight. He listened again, more carefully and realised in disbelief. It couldn’t be. He opened the fridge finding the phone next to his sparking water, casually placed on the shelf.

“Damn you were really out of it last night” Tam told him laughing as she was watching him.

“Yeah, I guess” he sighs, trying to make the stupid phone turn on. The cold must have messed with it a bit. “Just let it get warm, it will work like a charm” Tam advises him just as the two friends emerge in the room, carrying trays of hot coffee, wrapped up in thick scarves and coats.

“It’s getting cold outside” Zayn simply comments as he undresses passing the coffee among everyone.

“Do you think someone leaked those pictures of me on purpose?” Tam asked Mill as she sat down next to her, radiating the cold from outside. “You know, I was thinking the same thing. Highly unlikely it was someone from the outside. It’s probably even someone from our floor”

“But why would anyone want to do that to me? I mean I can be a pain in the ass, but not that much of a pain in the ass, at least I hope not” Tam jokes sipping on the foul tasting liquid. She was never a fan of coffee but she knew it would make her feel better. And they had a lot of work lined up for today.

“I don’t know who it could be” Mill replied to her, grabbing the remote and switching to MTV, hoping it won’t be one of those reality show series yet again. Of course it was so she switched to VH1 instead, noticing Zayn’s face of realisation.

“Either that coffee brought you closer to god, or you just realised something” she tells him joking, but a bit suspicious.

“It’s nothing” he replies silently, finishing his coffee quite fast.

=

“That was a great match Liam. Didn’t know you could be so… aggressive.” Louis commented as Liam joined the guys in the car, they had practice later during the day, but had just enough time to celebrate over some good food. “Thanks” he simply replies sitting next to Louis in the passenger seat looking ahead as Louis drove the bunch to Nandos. “I still don’t get why we couldn’t go to a proper restaurant Louis” Stan comments and Louis shushes him quickly “Well, because you don’t have unlimited drinks and spicy as hell food in proper restaurants, Stan”. He expects Liam to join in as they bicker, usually one to tell them to cut it out, but he remains expressionless. It was quite odd, and unnerving. Louis parks the car, treading a bit on the line, but it wasn’t too much of a big deal for him.

 

“Ummm… I take that back, this was a good idea after all. Who would’ve thought you could make good decisions?” Stan mocked him, as he nibbled on his umpteenth piece of chicken. “I have no idea. I mean, I decided to be friends with you. What was I thinking?!” Louis dramatically answered laughing as Stan flicked some chips at him. Again, there was no comment to stop behaving like children. Louis was starting to get really worried. George nudged his shoulder as he sheepishly pointed towards the TV screen, of course showing on FashionTV, could Louis ever escape it? A runway was shown, a new designer being introduced, the name vaguely familiar to Louis. Guys started walking the runway, all dressed smart in tight fitting clothes, most of which Louis would wear. Louis wondered whether or not he would be among them, hoping the boy wasn’t too hung-over.

As if on cue, a tall figure emerged dressed in perfect shades of black and grey, his long limbs accentuated by the slightly sheer material of the dress pants. His feet oddly in a pair of sparkling dark boots which would have looked ridiculous on anyone else, but on him they were almost usual, like he was meant to wear such things. His tattoos were completely covered by the white button-up all the buttons done, unlike his usual tendency to keep almost half of the buttons open. His broad shoulders were covered by a matching blazer. He looked absolutely amazing, there was something about it that Louis couldn’t pinpoint. Something about seeing Harry covered up made him want to slowly take each item off, and reveal the skin it hides. Slide the blazer as they kiss lazily, still standing in the doorway, and let it fall to the ground.  Open every button of the shirt slowly, pressing his fingers to the slightly shaking chest, wanting, trembling with anticipation. Press small kisses to every one of his tattoos, taking extra long on the one closest to his heart. Trail his hands lower reaching the bulge which was forming under his appreciative kisses, the little whimpers giving away just how much he was enjoying the slow gestures. His hand slowly touching over it as he moves back for another kiss, this time even slower, one which should portray all the words he wants to say “You’re so beautiful. All the time. You don’t need to show your body to be appreciated. You are so amazing. People want to listen to you. Even with your shirt on. I’m sorry I said that. I never meant it.” He would murmur into the soft skin of Harry’s porcelain cheek. His hand rubbing the boy slowly, lovingly… Louis!

He snaps out of it seeing Liam with an angry expression. He must have dazed off a bit too much. “I don’t want to know what you were thinking. Just…” he sounded frustrated, but as if he was giving up on the whole Harry drama. “I asked if you were good enough for practice today, the doctor said you could. But not too overdo it.”

“Sure, I’m, um, I’m fine” he replies feeling slightly embarrassed as George gives him an understanding wink.

He decides to check his phone, not surprised at the lack of messages, he was after all texting with a very busy person. He puts it down then picks it up again unable to contain himself typing a message and pressing send, hoping he doesn’t sound like he has a high school crush.

He almost dies as someone claps him on the shoulder hard, a loud shriek bringing him from his current flustered state. “Louiiisssss” Niall exclaims as his greasy hand starts grabbing his hair. Louis has to push his hair away not even bothering to scorn the blonde haired boy. “Niallers” he replies smiling fondly as the boy pulls up a chair right next to Louis, pushing Josh out of the way and not even noticing. He turns around and smiles at the group as he introduces himself as an Irish good luck charm. Louis really couldn’t believe the happiness that radiated through this boy, he was always so cheerful.

“Funny meeting you lot here, thought you’d be eating healthy and all that shit” he exclaims as the worker brings him enough food to feed a small army. He starts munching on it, speaking with a full mouth. “Saw the match, you were wicked Liam. If Harry’s not available I’m definitely calling you up when I’m in trouble.” He jokes, his smile faltering as he notices the boy’s slight glare at the mention of the name. However being the polite lad that he is, Liam quickly thanks the boy and proceeds to the bathroom, his food still remaining barely touched. Niall obviously doesn’t notice as he starts telling the story about last night. There was a party at his club and apparently it got so wild that at one point there were two rabbits dancing on the dance floor while five shirtless guys threw glitter on them and girls were dancing on the bar. The story went even weirder than that later on, so weird that Louis still can’t believe the things Niall does in his club, definitely loving the atmosphere more the crazier it gets. The group quickly settle into a nice chat, as all the boys finish their meals, Liam still in the bathroom.

=

Liam couldn’t even explain the feeling. He felt as if his whole life was out of his control. He was so used to holding all the strings that now as they all pull at the same time he feels himself fall, hitting his head on the cold surface of realization. He really can’t keep anything together. He can’t understand anything. Why is Louis acting up over a boy he barely knows? He still can’t grasp this question correctly, he can’t understand. How could Louis just take so many chances? Put his heart on the line for something so insecure, things that could shatter any minute. How could he have so much faith in a man who hardly has faith in himself? Liam presses his back to the cold surface of the tiled wall, sighing as he puts his head in his hands, the previous match doing nothing to lessen his distress. And on top of all that, he has a horrid feeling deep in his gut that something was wrong when it came to Mill. And he can’t understand why. He was a great boyfriend, perfect even, and yet this happened way too often. Every girl he’s been with leaves him after some time, all saying they don’t deserve him, that he’s too good to be true and so on. Why is it that when guys act like massive dicks that girls seem to adore them, yet Liam always draws the short straw? His head was pulsing from everything, maybe he was imagining things. Maybe it will all be ok…?

He took out his phone quickly dialing the girl (he may have put her on his speed dial but that’s a secret he would be mocked for immensely). He feels his heart beating in his chest as he wonders whether he’s making a mistake. However he quickly stops worrying as the voice answers.

“Hey, how are you?” Liam asked her, opting for a polite conversation. He just needed to make sure things were fine between them, nothing else.

“Good, it’s hectic out here. How about you?” she answers, her tone not as warm as he hoped it would be.

“I’m ok. I… um… I miss you” he says cursing at himself, he was trying to play it cool.

“It won’t be long ‘till I come back” he notices the lack of ‘I miss you too’ his heart swelling. “Um, I have to go now, another show is about to start”

“Oh okay, talk to you later?” he questions, hopefully.

“Yeah… Later. Bye” she quickly ends the conversation.

“B…” Liam starts to say but is cut off as the phone call finishes. He feels so empty; he knows something is wrong, he knows it. And he has no idea what. Maybe he wasn’t good enough, or hot enough, or just interesting enough. He can be quite boring, the guys tease him about it all the time. He didn’t know whether to cry or punch a wall. He knew this girl was right for him, he just knew, there was this distinct feeling he felt, ever since he laid eyes on her, the feeling he still gets whenever he thinks about her. There’s something there, and he just wants to fix all that needs to be fixed as to not lose her over something minute. If he tried to explain it he couldn’t. He just knew that when all the bad passes, they will be perfect, the way she’s treating him now is not one she will be treating him, after some time passes, and whatever her issues our disintegrate. He just has to hold on and do everything in his power not to let her leave.

 

=

 

Mill just finished the conversation and was leaving the room when she heard a beeping sound. She goes back finding Harry’s phone on the radiator, it having finally turned on. She notices there’s a new message from Louis, smiling as she feels happy for her friend, having finally found someone worthwhile. She snatches the phone going back to the show, hoping to see Harry so she can hand it to him. When she emerges she can only see Tam sitting on the armchair, a pained expression on her face as she puts on yet another pair of extremely high heels. She goes closer, her friend not noticing. From up close she can hear the tiny whimpers as the girl tries yet again to tie the little belts around her ankle. Mill goes forward before Tam can react and grabs her foot inspecting it, noticing the blue and purple tones covering the pained spot. Tam just looks at her guiltily, not wanting to say a thing.

“It’s worse than you told us, isn’t it?” Mill asked her slowly stroking the spot noticing just how hard the girl was trying to keep a straight face. However, she gives up her act, nodding with a little wince. Mill gave her a worried look just as Harry entered the room, dressed in tight little boxers, obviously preparing for a show. He stops in front of them frowning. Just as he was about to ask what was going on Brenda came in pushing him with “No time to loose, we have a show to do, come on” hitting him on the bum. He growled going forward, giving the girls a sympathetic look.

=

The day passed on quickly, Louis starting to worry why Harry hadn’t answered him yet. He was hardly paying attention to his mother as she went on about how they can’t stay much longer, maybe a day or two, however Liam wasn’t listening either, so he didn’t feel as rude. He had offered for both Liam and Stan to come to his place, his mother dying to see them. She had made an abnormal amount of food for the boys, especially since she was happy that Louis was getting better (the fact that he just ran on practice is one that he kept well hidden from her worrying gaze). Liam went out to the terrace at one point, Stan sending Louis a confused look. He quickly got up and followed the boy outside, shivering a bit from the cold air. He stood next to Liam, who was currently looking over the city, his hands stiff on the railing. After some silence Louis spoke.

“Li… Please tell me what’s wrong”

“Nothing” he replies slowly not averting his gaze.

“Don’t lie to me. I know something is up. What is it?” Louis patted the boy on the back.

“Why do you suddenly care? Aren’t you off in Harry world?” Liam gritted his teeth.

“Hey, don’t be like that. Of course I care, you are my best friend I…” Louis started speaking but was cut off.

“You are my best friend? Hah… Priceless” Liam replied. “That’s why you don’t listen to me, and you lie to me, and go behind my back. All because of some guy?!”

“Li, it’s not like that” Louis tries to reason with the boy, knowing he was at fault here, but also knowing that his opinion wasn’t going to change.

“Yes it is. And I’ve been here for you for four fucking years. And I’ve seen you at your worst, and I’ve helped you, and I’ve always been on your side. But suddenly someone comes up, and here I am, nothing to you.” He can practically hear the hurt in the boy’s voice. “Everything I do, I do because I worry about you. Because I don’t want to see you hurt again. And you just deny everything I say, why? Because all you care about is other people’s needs. And you want to help fix what’s broken, I know you do.” He finally looks at Louis, his eyes sad. “But you can never admit to yourself that you’re broken as well Louis. And sometimes you just need to back away from things.”

“Liam, I love you like a brother, but come on?! What kind of life is that? To always back away from everything, not taking any chances, just because you might get hurt, people might say something?” Louis looks away too pained to speak directly into Liam’s watchful gaze. “I’ve been living like that for as long as I can remember. I loved drama, but later I quit because I was afraid people would think I’m gay. I’ve wanted to kiss a boy for so long, but never had the guts to do it. Finally I did something I wanted to, and it all turned to shit. Yes, it was horrible, but you know what, I’d still relive it. Because when I was with Greg, I was doing what I want and not what everyone wants me to do. I felt alive, and in control of my life. And ever since, I hadn’t had the feeling. If anything it’s even worse than before. I can hardly even speak back to people, because they then call me sassy. I can’t wear a certain type or colour of shirt, I can’t drink what I like, I can’t dance at clubs, and I can’t even listen to the music I want to. Because whenever I do something I want to do people judge me more, I get more hate, more people chanting my name on games next to offensive words. It never stops Liam, and you tell me to just back away? What should I do, find a wife and kids, make everyone happy then? I want this, I need this.”

“I understand that you do, but I just want you to be happy, and he’s going to hurt you.”

“Probably, but it’s better to feel pain than to not feel anything at all”

“I just… I don’t understand Louis”

“I’m not asking you to understand, I’m asking you to support me as a friend, as my best friend. Please”

“I’m sorry, but you’re making a mistake” Liam looks at the ground, feeling bad that he can’t do what his friend is asking, but he can’t lie, he can’t pretend.

“I’m not telling you that you’re making a mistake” Louis answers him, his voice smaller than usual.

“About what?”

“I know you’re unhappy. And I know it’s not only because of me. You like her, obviously, but she is hurting you. If I were to act like you I’d tell you to end it. But, as your best friend I am telling you that if you feel it’s right then it’s right, and some good will come from it, if not you will learn your lesson and I will let you cry on my shoulder and we’ll eat ice-cream. I am not going to tell you what to do, unless you specifically ask for my advice. Because that’s what friends do.” Louis tries to explain.

“So you’re telling me I’m not a good friend to you?” Liam asks obviously offended.

“Li, that’s not what I me…”

“After all we’ve been through together? Suddenly I’m no good.” Liam turns around anger in his voice.

“Li you’re my best…”

“Save it Louis. I’ve had enough. Go find better friends then” Liam tells him calmly as he exits the terrace, Louis quickly following suit. Liam was already in the living room saying a quick goodbye to his mother and sisters, completely polite and calm, as if nothing was going on.

“We shall be in touch of course Jay. I best be going now, thank you for a wonderful meal” he finishes heading for the door. Louis grabs his arm gaining him a couple of confused looks.

“Li, come on, you know I love you like a brother” Louis tells him, feeling sadness overflow his heart. Liam just pulls his arm back turning around and exiting the flat, leaving a heavy silence in the room. Louis ignores the stares going into the kitchen and grabbing his ice-cream, going into his room and locking the door. He was so upset, he didn’t even think about just how stereotypical he was being.

=

 

After a very long and very tiring day, in which the group of friend’s hardly saw each other, it was time for yet another party. This one, however would be media free, which is at least a slight plus. The party was held at a venue owned by the son of famous guitarist Ronnie Wood. This fact was known to everyone since Harry wouldn’t shut up about it, constantly talking about the Rolling Stones as they got ready. Roger sent them all a strange request, there was a dress code, all black. They had no idea why, but who are you to argue with the boss.

As the night passed, somehow the group got quite tipsy, but not actually drunk, too sick from last night’s escapades. Harry was happily talking to Zayn when someone pulled him back by his arm. He turned around coming face to face with Nick. “Hey…” he told the man not to keen to speak to him.

“Hey Harry, fancy seeing you here. You looked great on the runway today, especially the underwear bit, real nice” Nick told him, eyeing the boy just like he did when he was sitting in the frow, as they like to call it, or front row, for those who aren’t posh enough to speak such lingo.

“Thanks” Harry simply replies, looking like he want to get out of there. Suddenly someone else grabbed his arm, making him turn slightly.

“Get lost Grimmers, he’s mine for tonight” the blonde told him, her fingers digging into Harry’s exposed bicep.

“Taylor, you’ve had him yesterday, it’s my turn now” he tells her, as if they’re talking about an object, and not a human being that was standing between both of their grabbing hands.

“Well, I didn’t get any yesterday, so now I need it” she told him back grabbing Harry harder.

“No, I need it more” he tells her grabbing him equally as hard.

“Stop”  Harry said angrily yanking his arms back to freedom. “Neither of you is getting anything from me. Just leave me alone”

“But…” they exchange confused looks as they stare at Harry. He just turns around and goes in the direction of the bar where Zayn had moved, obviously equally (if not more) pissed because of the situation.

“What’s gotten into him lately? Yesterday we were basically about to have sex and he just bailed on me” Taylor complains to Nick, obviously frustrated.

“I think it’s… It’s because of that guy.”Nick replies, his voice slightly angry.

“What guy?”

“That stupid football player who he’s been with a couple of times”

“Like… In a relationship?” she asks wonder in her voice.

“No… More like sex. Please, he wouldn’t last a day of being committed to someone.” Nick jokes and Taylor laughs as well, both knowing the boy inside and out. They sit at a booth, trying to figure out what to do.

=

“Well that was fascinating” Zayn tells Harry as he sips on his drink never once moving his gaze from where the girls were dancing, making sure no one is bothering them. Harry just shrugs falling into a comfortable silence with his friend. He sees Mill coming up to them, sitting on the stool, obviously exhausted. “Can someone take over for a bit, I need to cool off, she really wants to dance, and the guys here are like hawks” she tells the boys and before she even finishes the sentence Harry is off, going through the crowd and coming up to the girl who was currently trying to get rid of a rather creepy looking guy. Mill sat next to Zayn grabbing a drink and watching the pair as Harry put his hand on the girl’s hip telling the guy off. Quickly they were left to their own devices, and they started dancing like crazy to the fast rockish songs, laughing their asses off. Soon after a large skull was delivered to their table, filled with a red cocktail and two straws. This earned even more giggles as they sipped on the drink holding it between them, both trying to make the sexiest face possible as they sucked on the straws, hollowing their cheeks.

“How can they be like that all the time?” Zayn questioned.

“Sometimes the people with the biggest smiles are the ones that suffer the most” she replies to him in the same manner he usually uses.

=

“Everyone’s looking at us” Tam tells Harry through yet another fit of giggles as they were dancing.

“Indeed they are. Let’s give them something to look at shall we?” he tells her wiggling his eyebrows and she knocks him on the head before turning around and starting to slowly sway her hips, not really grinding on him, but to curious onlookers it definitely looked like it. He put his hands on her hips as they started up a rhythm dancing as sexually as they possibly could.

After some time they got bored of the whole sexual act and fled to different sides, Tam going to the bathroom and Harry sitting next to Zayn at the bar. Zayn was now turned with his front to the bar, four empty shot glasses in front of him, and one full in his hand. He doesn’t even bother to look at Harry as he drinks his drink.

“Why are you getting drunk?” Harry asks him puzzled.

“I’m not questioning your life choices, aren’t I?” Zayn replies stiffly as he gets up and disappears in the crowd.

“Tough, here’s a drink, it’ll make it hurt less” a guy next to Harry tells him sliding him a green misty drink. He was about mid twenties with perfect hair, and a perfect face and perfect teeth, the typical perfect people Harry was used to meeting.

“What hurt?” Harry asks confused not reaching for the drink.

“Your friend ditching you like that – wasn’t very nice if you ask me” the guy simply replies, shrugging and taking a big gulp of his own drink, not too interested in the conversation. Harry doesn’t want to be rude, seeing as the guy didn’t give him a drink because of the usual I-want-to-get-into-your-pants reasons. “Thanks” he mutters, drinking the strong alcohol.

“It would be nice if you knew people’s names before you’ve accepted a drink from them. I could have easily drugged you now” the guy jokes. Harry has to chuckle a little, still vary of the man.

“Okay, what’s your name then?” he asks taking another gulp.

“Aaron” he replies putting out his hand “Harry” comes the reply, the lads shaking hands.

“Well Harry nice to meet you.” Harry smiles lifting his glass in a small toast.

“So… Harry, what do you do? Wait, let me guess… You’re a singer?” the guy asks.

“Nah… Model” Harry mutters, hating to tell people who don’t already know. If people treated him normally at all, it was until they found out about his profession. You see, models have a certain reputation amongst people.

“Cool… I could never do that, have two left legs, would probably fall right off of that thing you walk on” the blue-eyed boy replies and Harry has to smile to that. It was nice having a normal conversation with a stranger every once in a while. “I’m a host, thanks for asking”

“Sorry… That’s cool” Harry says finishing his drink.

“Fast drinker, hm?” he comments noticing Harry’s empty glass and downing his own. “You shouldn’t sit while you’re drinking, it’ll make you drunk faster”

“Well, what do you suggest I do then?” Harry asks stroking his glass.

“Dance, come on” the guy gets up. Harry eyes him suspicious of his intentions. “Stop looking at me like that, I’m not going to bite your arm off”

“Okay… ” Harry replies going up and entering the crowd and finding a nice spot. The guy stood in front of him dancing to the song and singing his heart out, not even trying to go closer to Harry. Harry started to dance as well, having fun. After some time the man excused himself to go to the bathroom, saying to Harry that he owes him a drink (No freebies Harry, you’re not a girl).

=

“What are you playing at Az?” Nick asked the man as he entered the bathroom.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about Grimmy” he smiles a wicked smile.

“You’re not going to get him you know” Nick tells him washing off his hands.

“Just cause you can’t doesn’t mean I won’t. You’ll see” he smiles flashing him his bright set of teeth.

“I doubt it”

“Well, I have techniques of my own” Aaron fixes his hair and adjusts his shirt.

“Yeah right”

“Wanna bet?” he replies quirking an eyebrow.

=

Tam and Mill were dancing right after Tam came back from her snooping.

“Why do you insist on listening in on other people’s conversations?” Mill asks her friend as they set into a rhythm.

“I’m just looking out for him” she replies eyeing Harry who was currently at the bar ordering drinks. Zayn was out of sight for quite some time, probably gone off for a smoke or something.

=

“What monstrosity did you buy me, seriously?” Aaron joked grabbing the purple drink.

“It sounded fancy” Harry replies smiling as he sips on his own purple drink. It was quite strong, and tasted of berries. They sit at the bar talking about random things and laughing along the way. Harry was feeling more and more exhausted from the long day, and he soon started yawning.

“You look tired” Aaron comments looking at Harry with a worried expression.

“I’m fine. Just been a busy day…” Harry says slowly, a bit drunk from all the alcohol in his system and lack of sleep.

“Come on, I’ll take you to your hotel” Aaron gets up pulling Harry along with him.

“No… I can go on my own.” Harry replies, snatching his arm back.

“For the thousandth time I’m not trying anything. You just seem like you need help, that’s all” Aaron grabs him again as Harry starts to stumble.

“No, I can… My friends can take me.” Harry tries to look around but all the lights make him dizzy.

“They’ve already left. Come on” Aaron pulls him through the back door putting him in the cab. Harry was feeling slightly better from the fresh air. “What floor?” he asks Harry as they enter the luxurious hotel. “Twelve… Here” Harry tells him giving him his key card, Aaron inserting it in the lift so he can even get to the higher floors. They exit and Harry leads him to his room, not stumbling as much, able to walk on his own. Aaron opens the door for him and stands outside not even looking inside.

“Thanks” Harry says standing in the doorway.

“My pleasure, it was nice being in your company” Aaron tells him smiling at the ground sheepishly.

“Thanks, um, I feel the same” Harry replies not quite wanting to close the door.

“I’ll see you again sometime, yeah?”

“Yeah” Harry answers and the man turns around going forward into the hallway, then turning back looking at Harry and biting his lip. “Um, Harry” he mutters.

“Yeah?” Harry is intrigued by his behavior.

“Can I maybe, um, kiss you?” he asked going a bit closer to Harry, still not in his space, looking from his eyes to his lips. Harry feels flattered by how insecure the man was, how he was fearing Harry would reject him, how he wanted to ask, hopeful for a kiss. Harry didn’t even realize it but he was nodding, the man soon going closer and pressing their lips together in a slow and tender kiss. He went back staring into his eyes, before he came in again kissing him with more passion. Harry was feeling just a tiny bit better than before, he was feeling alive, and it was a nice feeling, even though he knew  every time he had done this it destroyed him somehow he couldn’t back away from the sparks running through his body whenever he felt wanted. He pulled the boy towards him the door pressing shut as they stumbled through the living area and into Harry’s room, falling on the bed as the man explored his body with wanting hands, slowly and deliberately, the whole time muttering in his ear just how beautiful and amazing he was. It felt refreshing and soon after Harry had fallen asleep, too exhausted to see his guest out.

 

=

 

Louis woke up from a restless night, too tired and too grumpy to get up and block some of the sunlight creeping into the room. He was still upset about the whole situation with Liam and had no idea what to do. Above all that Harry hadn’t replied to his text at all which drove him kind of crazy. Taking his phone he opened the Twitter app going through his dash and noticing that Harry’s name was trending. It was strange for him, but then again the boy did have a lot of followers. He clicked on the name and noticed that everyone kept reblogging the same tweet by a certain Aaron Devine.

someone owes me £50 and a lap dance @grimmers

And to it a picture was attached of a wild haired Harry, on his side, his naked upper body exposed as he lay in bed sleeping.  Something dropped in Louis’ stomach, unable to process just how close to home this felt. He was certain that Harry didn’t know of this picture, he looked sound asleep. Louis paid close attention to the text, frowning as he noticed what they were talking about. Were they betting on Harry? Seriously, who does that?! Louis was extremely angry at this, feeling as if Harry must be betrayed and horrid, sending him a message to ask him if he was ok, and if he wanted to talk perhaps.

=

“This is bad, this is really bad” Tam commented as she looked at her phone.

“What?” Mill asked her and she quickly caught the phone looking at the tweet. It was bad but she didn’t understand why her friend looked so worried. “I mean, it is bad. But it’s not like people haven’t done similar stuff to Harry before”

“But this guy was different” Tam told her and Mill remembered that she was snooping so she must know something.

“Different how?” Mill asked.

“He was nice” she replied looking at the ground. Just as they finished the conversation Harry emerged from his room fully dressed and with his guitar. Today they had the morning off and Zayn had already disappeared off to somewhere. Mill deciding to go on a walk, and Tam feeling too tired and pained to do anything but sit around.

“Hey Harry” Mill called him before he could exit the room, his face perfectly expressionless, almost too perfectly.

“Hey, I saw that you put my phone on the counter, thanks, I totally forgot about it” he said, obviously trying to look cheerful.

“Harry, why don’t you talk to us?”

“There’s nothing to talk about” he swiftly replied.

“Do you know where Z is?” Mill swiftly asks hoping to start a conversation since this obviously wasn’t working.

“Probably painting, he’s been doing it a lot lately, don’t know what’s gotten into him, he’ll paint for an entire day” Harry roles his eyes and notices their stares.

“What?” he snapped.

“That guy, what he did…” Tam started but he spoke before she can finish.

“I had it coming, it’s fine. It’s not like anyone treats me differently. They’re all the same” he sighs going to the door.

“They’re not all the same” Mill tells him looking sad. He chuckles darkly leaving the room.

 

=

 

Zayn was painting slowly in the common room just having finished the outer brown curls working in to make some stand out more and some less. He opted for a slightly different technique, one which he quite enjoyed. He noticed someone entering the room, and looked up to see Tam standing in front of him, dressed in comfortable clothes, no make up, her hair secured with a clasp – his favourite look on her, effortless yet perfect and natural.

She came up to him a saddened expression on her face.

“You’ve been avoiding me lately. Why?” she asked going close to him admiring the painting.

“I… I haven’t. I’ve just been busy, that’s all” he replies his movements not as smooth as before.

“This is my favourite technique. So fun to do” she responds, obviously ignoring his excuses. She goes behind his back dipping her fingers into one of the many mixing trays standing on the table. She then turns around her hand going between Zayn’s arm and his side, pressing firm dots on the canvas, small specks of blue, ideal for a background. She starts running her fingers more deliberately pressing more and more into the canvas, gradually darkening the colour. Zayn trembled as he continued doing the green of the eyes, making tiny lines with his fingers.

“Did I do something wrong?” Tam asks him dipping into the purple adding some on the edges, making the blue pop out more, still standing behind Zayn, her front sticking to his back.

“No, of course not” he replies simply, his voice a bit unsteady. He felt a hand on his shoulder, one which is not coloured with paint and turned around noticing her worried expression.

“So you’re not angry at me now?” she asks him standing close.

“No… Why would I be angry at you now?” he asks her a bit confused.

“Good” she replies a small smile creeping onto her face. “Because you will be angry when I do this” she says and before he can even contemplate what is going on her paint covered hand comes to his face pressing thick lines of it on his cheek. He shrieks grabbing her hand with an utter disbelief. He lifts his own hand pressing it into her white shirt leaving a nice green imprint. She pushes him a bit planting some paint on his shirt as well. He goes to the trays dipping his entire hand in the blue colour and goes towards her.

“Oh no you won’t!” she shrieks trying to get out of the way. He grabs her waist with the other hand nearing her face with the blue which was dripping from his hand. She stumbled backwards placing a hand on his cheek leaving a nice matching imprint on that side of his face. She tried pushing his head away and going backwards at the same time. Suddenly she lost her balance toppling over, pulling Zayn with her with a loud thump. He hovered above her, his hand still firmly on her waist the other dangling next to her face, their faces inches apart. Her hands were still on his cheeks, her eyes burning holes into Zayn as they looked utterly shocked but amused by the whole business.

Zayn’s eyes went frantic, his throat suddenly dry as he stared into the girl beneath him. He was obviously lost in his own thoughts when he heard someone speak.

“What are you two doing?” He noticed the voice belonged to Jaymi.

“Um… Painting” he replies quickly getting up and saying an even quicker “I’ve gotta go” not even bothering to look at the girl as he leaves the common room feeling her saddened gaze on his back.

 


 

Two more days have passed. The Fashion Week having ended. And Louis still didn’t get a reply on his phone. He had a feeling everything went downhill, and he had no idea why…

 

 

Chapter Text

“Zayn, can we talk?” Mill asks the boy as they sit outside finally enjoying their days off, the other pair playing a horrendous game of Frisbee, which they were both horrible at, clumsy as they are. Zayn just looks at her, a silent question in his gaze as he curls his feet more on the bench, both sitting on its back instead of the seat.

“Look, I don’t know what’s bothering you, and you don’t have to tell me” she gives him an appreciative look “Tam and I can take it, it’s fine. But can you please tone it down a bit with Harry?” her gaze falls on the boy currently running after a Frisbee which has flown way past him. “You haven’t spoken properly to him in days, and he… He’s sensitive… The boy has no family, we’re all he has Z, and these kind of things affect him a lot” she sighs remembering just how saddened Harry looked when he asked Zayn to join him in the tattoo parlour, which was something they always did together and Zayn just said he was busy. Zayn nods, knowing that he may have pushed it too far, he just… needed space. Mill smiles at him patting his back and pushes him the next moment, almost toppling him over, face-first into the hard wooden bench, his head stopping centimetres from it. He’s about to say words his mother would scold him for immensely when he feels something fly above his head, grazing the ends of his spikey quiff.

“Sorry, are you alright?” Tam yells as she goes closer picking up the deadly yellow weapon which currently lay behind Zayn. “Yeah” he replies stiffly, adjusting his hair. Harry comes by as well, running towards them, which was a feat in itself, considering the tightness of his jeans. “Well, that concludes it, I am shite at this game” he speaks chuckling a bit, his laugh somewhat nervous, afraid of Zayn’s wrath. Upon hearing no angry words Harry continues, his voice a bit unsure as he bounces from one foot to the other, his long body looking smaller, almost childlike with the movement. “Niall called, asked if we wanted to go to laser tag later?” it was obvious that the question was directed towards Zayn. Zayn contemplates for a minute, before nodding and smiling as the boy beams going closer and placing a wet kiss on Zayn’s cheek, running off in the direction of the water fountain.

“He’s such a kid sometimes” Tam comments fondly, watching the boy with his beanie and overly long wobbly legs resembling a baby dear. Albeit the silence, it is obvious they all agree.

 

=

 

“Okay, we need to split up into two teams” Niall declares watching the group, his tone awfully serious as he pretends to be some sort of spy or who knows what else. “Girls against boys” Jaymi says going to the two girls and saluting them with his weapon. “Please, I’m practically a girl” he adds sticking his tongue out at the remaining three, leaving Harry, Zayn and Niall in the other group. “The match starts in five minutes, be ready to die!” Niall laughs loudly grabbing the boys and dragging them to his corner.

“So, let’s think up a strategy” Jaymi suggests and the girls nod. “I’m a great shot so I’ll find a good spot and hit them off” Mill suggests. Jaymi says he’ll cover Tam’s back as she rushes towards their flag, being the fastest and best at sudden encounters, her aim not so good from a long way back.

“You know we’re screwed, right?” Harry comments as the boys stare at the place. “I know, they’re like psycho killers” Niall replies laughing. Zayn heads off to a nearby wall crouching behind it, adjusting his gun and Harry follows him motioning for Niall to go to the other side. They sit in silence, waiting for the bell to ring, Harry worriedly looking at Zayn, both with their backs towards a wall, opposite of each other, the hallway in between. The bell rings and there’s complete silence, Harry’s senses heightened as he tries to listen for their footsteps. He nods to Zayn meaning that he’s going and goes forward on the outer part of the wall hoping Zayn will keep the flag safe.

“Come out, come out, wherever you are” Mill sing-songs to herself as she looks around, gun in hand, trying to spot any of the boys from her high point. She climbed one of the walls, laying on her front so as to not be seen, her weight resting on her elbows as she points the gun around, waiting for someone to move. She thought of seeing movement moving her head a bit trying to figure out whether someone was there. Jaymi noticed her movement following her eyesight to the location on the far left. He quickly made loud walking noises, right near their location and silently fled the scene, going to cover Tam as this will prove as a perfect distraction for the opposing team. Mill laughed to herself as she saw the figure moving towards where the noise was, crouching down. She was unable to take a clear shot, but it was just a matter of moments before they’re out in the open.

Niall could have sworn he heard someone move and he advanced toward the spot, mindful of being as sneaky as possible. Just when he was nearing the corner he noticed something, something firm on the ground. Moving closer he realised the object looked awfully like shoes, just the tips of them, barely visible, and by the looks of it, they were Jaymi’s. He prepared his gun, knowing he had to be fast, and precise, deciding that a sudden attack would be best. Three… two… one… He jumped aiming the gun but was bedazzled as there was no one there, even more startled by hearing his target go off, obviously being shot in the back. He groaned turning around, not seeing anyone. Turning back around he noticed the shoes standing solely on the corner. Those little fuckers, this was a trap! He couldn’t believe it, cursing to himself, throwing his gun to the ground and jumping on it, pissed at the world.

 Harry was startled by the noise, someone was obviously shot and he had no idea who, but if he were to guess it was probably someone from his team. He cursed under his breath as he approached their base, going through the middle rather than the edges they’ve been expecting. He reaches an open space, estimating whether or not it would be too risky to run over it. Making his decision he grabs the gun holding it tightly and crouches a bit ready to run the short distance. He counts in his head and runs for dear life hearing a shot near him, missing him by an inch. He evades it by jumping the last bit, landing on his side as he looks around sprawled on the floor, trying to find who was shooting him. It takes him some time squinting through the darkness of the arena but eventually he notices it – a figure lying on top of the wall, turned to face his direction. He had to think this through and aim perfectly in a matter of seconds. He was definitely close enough to take the shot, and he had one advantage, whoever it was wasn’t aware that he knows their location. He gripped the gun putting his finger on the trigger. Jumping up he took the best shot that he could hearing the immediate sound of his target ringing. He felt down until he realised the person stood up muttering something, and noticed that they were also flashing red. Did they actually manage to shoot each other? Harry had to laugh, lowering his gun and going in their direction.

“You sneaky bastard” Harry tells Mill helping her get off of the wall. She just smirks going down into his arms laughing as she answers “Well, at least I got two of you, should have seen Niall’s face, priceless”

“You don’t play very fair” he comments as they go to the exit.

“You know I don’t” she replies smiling at him.

=

“Shh… stay close” Tam tells Jaymi as they walk slowly towards their enemy’s base. She looks slightly over the corner and sees no one. “I know that they’re out there, I know it” she says holding her gun.

“Why?” Jaymi replies not making a single noise since he was in his socks.

“Zayn always stays to protect the flag, he’s here somewhere, lurking” she whispers and immediately shuts up as she hears a shuffling. She pulls Jaymi down just in time as a shot goes above them, the sound ringing in their ears. Motioning to Jaymi she grabs her gun and dashes over the corner right into Zayn who was crouching near the wall. Jaymi comes with her as well, both pointing the gun towards Zayn.

“It’s over now, two against one, you have a choice surrender now or face the consequences” Tam speaks enjoying this way too much. Zayn contemplates a bit before putting down the gun, Tam kicking it away with her foot. She nods to Jaymi who goes to find the flag.

“Good boy” Tam comments a wicked smile as she points her gun to Zayn, who was now full on sitting on the floor. “Too bad you have to die” she is just about to pull the trigger when the boy brought his foot up, kicking the gun out of her hand. She gasps loud too shocked for a moment, before she jumps down to reach the gun, Zayn trying to reach it as well. They were pressing each other to the floor, neither able to reach the gun.

Jaymi was just about to snatch the flag when he heard a gasp and loud thumping noises. He went back and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. Two of his friends were literally fighting over a plastic gun, rolling all over the floor. “I’m not letting you kill me!” Zayn screamed at her as he pried the gun from her hold. Jaymi looked between the two, not able to take a clear shot.

“Go! Get the flag! I can handle this!” Tam yells at him as she grabs Zayn’s head with her legs, a grip so tight the thought of it made Jaymi’s neck hurt. He can still hear Zayn shouting “I’m not gonna let you shoot me in the fucking heart!” and another gasp. He runs off grabbing the flag and returns just to see it. A disheveled Zayn sitting on top of Tam, gun in hand and shooting her right in the face. He shakily grabs his gun, a bit afraid of this Zayn, but the boy just goes up, not even bothering to shoot him. Jaymi pulls the trigger finishing the game.

“Damn Zaynie, you scared me for a bit” Tam tells Zayn as she goes up all of them going in the direction of the exit, Zayn weirdly silent, Jaymi picking up his shoes in the process. The manager of the place greets them with praise, saying they are all the weirdest, most into it group he has ever seen, and that he’s got it all on tape, if they don’t mind him showing it to others, just to give them some ideas.  Mill negotiates with him earning them a free play whenever they want to – in exchange. They are changing their clothes Mill telling them the terms she negotiated and Niall laughing about Jaymi’s ingenious idea to plant his shoes as bait. Just as they were exiting, in a heavy debate over where to eat, a loud voice disrupts them.

 

“Harry!”

They all turn around Harry going slowly knowing exactly who it was, just by the sound of his voice. There was Louis standing before him, his head adorned with a velvet beanie, the fringe sticking out in the front, his body covered by a low tank showing off his tattoos – way too revealing for such cold weather. He was carrying a sports bag on his shoulder, obviously done with his work out. Harry’s brain didn’t function as it sent signals to his body to move. Before he knew it  he was an inch from the boy, his head slightly dipped so he can stare into the sharp features properly, the warm blue eyes enveloping him. He felt a pang in his chest, a feeling so strong he could hardly breathe as he in one fraction of a second split his arms enveloping the boy in a tight hug, feeling his immediate response, warm small hands on his hips.

“Guys, what?” Niall starts to speak staring at the pair holding each other in a tight hug, looking absolutely ridiculous in a way. One tall, sleek, dressed in a tight elegant creamy coloured sweater, skinny jeans and heeled boots; the other petite, with sneakers, a shirt that even puts Niall’s shirts to shame and a sports bag to add to the general appeal. Yet somehow they oddly fit together, like two pieces of a puzzle. Niall was contemplating whether or not to take a picture of the pair when he felt a pull on his arm dragging him away. Tam was hissing at them all to ‘get the fuck out of here, give them some privacy’ and Niall obliged especially at the promise of food which was used to bribe him.

Harry couldn’t even describe the feeling, it felt like he was about to throw up, but he wasn’t so sure if he felt sick. He could hardly breathe, or think or hear. The only sound he heard was the thrumming of his own heart as it pounded hard against his eardrums. He felt tingles running through his body, like tiny electric shocks that heightened every touch. He could feel the strong arms holding his waist, slender fingers dipping into his spine. He could feel the slight brush of his fringe, from where it touched his neck and chest, a feather light touch. The smell of grass, and chocolate bars, lemons and a musky aftershave, all mixed together to create the perfect scent which Harry gladly inhaled, breathing deep, not letting the boy out of his sight. He let out a small noise, a tiny little ‘Lou’ out of nowhere and ducked his head down, hoping the boy hadn’t heard. After a while they both let go, with flushed faces, both staring at the ground, unable to explain the force in which this hug hit them.

“Um… Sorry. Don’t know what got into me” Harry speaks shyly, his eyes still set on the ground, the curly fringe covering his face. He feels embarrassed and very vulnerable, and Louis can tell.

“Hey, it’s okay” Louis comments extending his hand, placing it on Harry’s chin, slowly lifting his head and moving the curls so he can look at the boy who was pliant in his hold, never once showing any restraint. He notices the blush that was creeping on Harry’s face, making him look oddly innocent, like a porcelain doll.  “I’ve missed you too”

Louis’ answer hits Harry like a wave, even more warmth seeping through his bones, making him feel more alive than he’s felt in a long, long time. He studies the smile on Louis’ face, not looking so much at his upturned mouth, but his eyes which shined strongly, little crinkles on their sides. He looked happy, and that made Harry feel happy too, smiling as well, his cheeks hollowing to reveal a set of dimples.

“I still can’t believe you have dimples, so cute” Louis comments pressing a finger into Harry’s dimple, another wave of electricity hitting him. Suddenly Louis steps away from him, turning around and Harry feels dread wash over him just by thinking the boy will leave.

“Follow me Styles, I’m hungry, and you could use some food. Good place, just a block away, one of my favourites” Louis says turning his head around. “But my f…” Harry starts but turning around notices none of his friends were there.

“You can be with them later, come on”

Harry moved slowly going to the boy who was missing a bit of his usual crazy energy. They walked side by side in silence, Harry’s head exploding with millions of thoughts the most common one being He missed me? Harry just couldn’t grasp why someone would. What was there so special to miss? He isn’t funny like Louis, or wise like Zayn, or charmingly endearing like Niall. He isn’t open or trustworthy. He isn’t even interesting. He’s just a boy with a cute face and descent body who people find way too boring way too fast.

“I can basically hear you thinking up there” Louis comments rounding the corner, his bag bouncing as he walks. Harry stopped thinking, as if he was too afraid Louis would read his thoughts. Maybe he just didn’t know yet, maybe it’s just taking him more time to realise what everyone around him already knows, maybe he just wants to properly get in his pants, since they haven’t really done that yet. Maybe he’ll suggest it soon, so he can leave sooner, it must be tiring for him to listen to Harry’s stupid rambles.

Harry feels a pinch on his cheek and gasps looking at the small boy who was smiling devilishly. “Had to stop ya before you burn your brain” Louis explains as he stops, a restaurant on his left, the name written in fine cursive writing, something Italian. He opened the door but didn’t step in, holding it for Harry. Harry just stood there in shock and slowly moved inside, Louis following him. “Thanks” muttered Harry receiving an immediate response of “Please, I’m nothing but a gentleman”.

The hostess comes and Louis speaks before she can even ask “Table for two, somewhere nice, don’t you give me one next to the bathroom” and Harry can’t believe the way he spoke with the woman, a teasing tone and a wide grin on his face. “Of course Louis, you don’t have to remind me every time” she replies smiling as well guiding them to their table. On the way there Harry had to speak, muttering to Louis as large portions of food passed by them “I’m not very hungry”

“Nonsense, have you even had lunch?” Louis asks him, his face suspicious. Harry shakes his head unable to lie and Louis comments “Then you’re eating… Nuh uh, don’t even try and get out of it, you’ve lost weight, I can tell” he finishes the statement by expecting Harry, giving his hips a good pinch, not even able to grasp the skin properly. “I don’t know” Harry mutters again feeling his resolve break, the place did smell wonderful, maybe he could just get something low fat?

“You look wonderful, and you’ll look even better when you’re properly fed” Louis tells him softly noticing the hostess had stopped by their table which is fairly big and in the corner, illuminated by the tall stained glass window. It was spacious yet secluded. Upon seeing Harry’s slightly uneasy face Louis pulled him towards himself and asked the girl “Carly, doesn’t he look amazing?” Carly just smiled nodding quickly “Of course he does, look at him. I just don’t get why he’s wasting his time on you” she winked at Louis sticking her tongue out, as he did the same. She nodded to the table leaving them there. Louis pulled out a chair, motioning for Harry to sit down which he easily did. Louis sat opposite of him, dumping his bag on the floor and taking off his beanie. In a desperate need to make his hair look at least descent he put his head down messing it up with his fingers, and went back up, adjusting it properly. It made Harry smile, reminding him of all the times he did that. One lonely strand was sitting askew, and Harry had to reach out and slowly move it so it rested with the rest of Louis’ fluffy fringe. He noted just how soft Louis’ hair is.

“Sorry if I’m a mess, just been to the gym” Louis tells him as the waiter arrives, wordlessly handing them their menus, nodding at Louis.

“You look great” Harry commented taking the menu, and hiding behind it as he sped through the pages trying to find something which didn’t sound like a family of four would eat it. He heard Louis slouch down a little probably a bit tired.

“Um, you come here often then?” Harry asks Louis, trying hard to sound unfazed by the way their knees were brushing together.

“Yeah, great food, even better service. Everyone here basically knows me” he tells Harry smiling at him. Harry suddenly feels very stupid for acting so coy, he was never coy, what had gotten into him? He puts down the menu, looking at Louis with one of his famous smirks as he comments “So, this is where you take all your dates to, huh?”

Louis seems unfazed by Harry’s sudden change in demeanour answering simply “No, just you”. Harry immediately feels his shell crack, no way in hell he could reply to something like that in any form which wasn’t 100% true. He was beginning to feel as if the way he usually acted was just that, an act, and that maybe it wasn’t always what he wanted to do. However, that debate was way too complicated for the given time so Harry just answered Louis with a smile, one which wasn’t incredibly wide or bright, but somehow it was one Louis cherished the most.

“So, what are you ordering?” Louis asks him grabbing his menu. And placing both on the table.

“Um, I’ll just have the salad and some water” Harry replies staring at the table, waiting for Louis to criticize him, just like everyone else did. Louis is just silent looking at Harry with an unreadable expression. The waiter comes by and Louis orders something in Italian, the salad and a pitcher of lemonade. After the waiter had left Louis looked at Harry cautiously and began to speak.

“Listen love, the portions here are pretty big, and I can never finish one on my own, so you’re going to eat some of mine, as much as you want, I’m not going to make you eat, it would just be nice if you helped me out. Plus, I also need to eat more veggies, since I always try to avoid them, so I’m going to steal some from you. Is that okay?”

“As much as I want?” Harry asks, his voice small.

“You don’t have to eat it at all if you don’t want to, it would just be nice if you helped me out, that’s all” Louis explained, his voice incredibly soft.

“Okay. I’m okay with that” Harry replies hoping he won’t disappoint the boy.

“Let’s seal the agreement” Louis sparks up to his usual self presenting his hand to the curly boy, who immediately obliged. After a firm handshake Louis placed their joined hands down on the table, not letting go of Harry’s delicate yet incredibly big hand.

“Also, lemonade here is to die for, and I’ve kind of run out of mine, and I always drink it after practice, electrolytes and all that”

“I like lemonade too, it’s fine Louis” Harry reassures them, loving the pressure of Louis’ small hand in his. After a short silence Harry speaks again. “How do you know all that stuff?”

“Coach teaches me all the time. He can’t be around always, so I have to make sure everyone is well, and on their feet you know, as captain.”

“Wow, that’s a lot of responsibility” Harry answers in awe and is there a slight glint of pride there, or is Louis imagining things?

“Yeah, but I like it. And also the pay check’s nice.” Louis smiles.

“And you have Liam to help you with it, right?” Harry tries, hoping that he wasn’t still on the boy’s blacklist.

“Um, yeah, huh” Louis replies suddenly awkward and Harry senses something is wrong but just as he was about to ask the food arrives. Louis pushes their plates closer together explaining to Harry just what his favourite meal is. “Chicken stuffed with mozzarella, wrapped in Parma ham, and of course a side of mashed potatoes and gravy”

Harry pours them some lemonade, and they clink glasses, smiling at each other. It’s time to eat so they sadly disentangle their hands, suddenly feeling very cold without the touch. Harry slowly pics up the various bits of vegetables, before putting them in his mouth, his eyes never leaving Louis who was currently cutting up all of the chicken into small pieces. He was right, the portions here are gigantic.

Louis starts to eat his food, grabbing a piece of lettuce from Harry’s plate grinning at him. Harry smiles picking a piece of chicken, just a small bite, to try, just so Louis doesn’t get disappointed. He eats it, and the flavor is amazing as he predicted it would be, Louis does have good taste. Louis grabs some more vegetables and Harry grabs a couple of chicken bites, making sure to take off the ham before eating them, hoping the boy wouldn’t mind, he just thinks it contains too much fat. Louis doesn’t react at all letting the boy eat whatever he wants to, gladly sharing his food.

“Why are you avoiding the carrots?” Harry asks him, happily munching on his food, trying hard to balance out the meal.

“Oh god, I just hate them so much” Louis replies, his mouth slightly full. He swallows the food and continues.

“You see, I had this interview thingy, back when I was still in high school just before I was about to get signed to play here. And they were asking me football related questions, when out of the blue they ask me what type of girls I like. And I was trying hard to think of an answer which would be ‘straight’, you know, I wasn’t really expecting the question. So I started speaking and I said ‘I like girls who’ and made a pause. I thought it would sound stupid that I made such a pause for nothing so I just dealt with it the Tommo way, made a complete joke out of it. I said ‘I like girls who eat carrots’ and ever since I’ve been sent an enormous amount of carrots, girls even came in carrot costumes to some games. It’s just horrible, I never knew anyone would take it seriously”

“Well, just so you know, I like carrots, a lot” Harry replies to him a devilish smile on his face.

“Oh really” Louis joked back putting another bite in his mouth, chewing happily.

“Yeah, there’s nothing better than a nice, big c…arrot” Harry smirks as he says, his voice not too loud. Louis almost chokes on his food, quickly grabbing his glass and chugging the cold lemonade. Harry was smiling wide when Louis looked at him.

“You are so easy to rile up, pervert” He comments snatching some of Louis’ mashed potatoes, carefully avoiding the gravy.

“I’m not a pervert. You just have a dirty mouth” Louis comments back smacking Harry a bit on the hand. They finish their meal in silence, exchanging lingering looks, both trying to make it seem as if they weren’t staring. The waiter goes with their food and Harry speaks about something that’s been bothering him, not that something, he wasn’t ready to discuss it yet.

“Why were you alone today?”

“How do you mean alone?” Louis replies, a bit confused.

“You usually go back from practice or the gym with your friends” Harry points out.

“Well, Stan’s feeling a bit ill” Louis answers hoping Harry wouldn’t ask more.

“And Liam?” Harry asks, and Louis sighs.

“We aren’t exactly on… speaking terms” He explains.

“Why?” Harry asks, feeling sympathy as something was definitely wrong with his best friend as well, but at least they were talking, sort of.

“We just had a fight, that’s all. It’ll pass” Louis answers him and adds a barely audible “I hope”

“What about?” Harry asks him, grabbing Louis’ hand in his again, putting small pressure on it, noticing just how upset Louis looked, although he was doing a good job of hiding it.

“It’s not important” Louis answered but upon seeing Harry’s strong penetrating gaze he continued “About you”

“Louis, your friendship is important, I don’t want to stand in the way of it” Harry tells him sadly, knowing just how much his friends meant to him, he can’t just ask for someone to put him in front of their friends.

“It’s not your fault Harry. He just worries about me. But he’s taking it too far. He’s even worse than my mother, she at least didn’t yell at me when she heard” Louis blurts out before he can stop himself and can see the hurt on Harry’s face.

“So your mother doesn’t like me as well” Harry says in a weak voice, his hand stopping its movement on Louis’ wrist. Louis turns the actions around, reassuringly touching Harry’s hand. As if he can read Louis’ mind Harry speaks, beating the boy to the punch. “It’s okay Louis, they’re right. I’m no good for you anyways” he tells the boy his gaze falling on the table, his hand slipping out of Louis’.

“Yes you are. They just don’t know you like I do”

“Maybe they just see who I really am” Harry tells the boy just as the waiter comes by, asking if their meal was okay, Harry smiling wide as he answers, the sudden change making Louis’ flinch, he had never seen someone able to switch between alarmingly sad and cheerful within a moment. The bill arrives Louis paying with his card before Harry even got his wallet out.

“That’s not who you are Harry” Louis continues as if the conversation was never interrupted.

“Yes it is Louis. And I… I don’t want to hurt you” he tells the boy ducking his head yet again.

“Is that why you’ve been avoiding me?” Louis asks the boy and feels sadness rush over him as the boy nods.

“I’m not a relationship person Louis. People treat me… Differently. And it’s really hard for me to just avoid the entire world” Harry admits the thoughts that were swirling in his head.

“Harry, I know how people treat you and I’ve also seen you doing a good job in showing them not to treat you that way”

“Yeah, until someone nice comes along”

“Is this about that Aaron guy? Was he nice to you?” Louis asks the boy and feels so protective over the boy, he just wants to surround him with tons of blankets and pillows, shield him from the world.

“Yeah he was, acting like it anyways” Harry comments standing up.

“Harry…” Louis starts standing up as well and grabbing his bag, and pulling the beanie on his head.

“That’s how people treat me. Everyone just wants something from me, and when they get it they leave” Harry speaks as they exit the restaurant, Louis nodding to the hostess. “And the point is it hurts, it hurts like fucking hell. But it… It would hurt even more if the person who left me was… someone I like” Harry admits looking forward as they walk in the direction of Louis’ home which was in the neighbourhood.

“Harry, I wouldn’t leave, I’m not like all those other people” Louis tells the boy touching his arm slowly, reassuringly.

“How can I trust you? How do I know you’re not just being nice to me so you can use me?” Harry asks. And wow, that hurt, Louis literally felt as if someone stabbed him right in the chest. But he understood, understood just how unsure Harry must feel, used and betrayed countless times. He has a need to help him, a selfless need to be someone for the boy, someone that he can trust.

“Because, although I do find you extremely attractive, and you are definitely amazing in bed, I also think of you as a friend, a friend I want to be there for. Even if it means just being friends” Louis knows he’s going to regret this, but he has to do whatever he can, before Harry runs off yet again.

“Just friends?” Harry asks him, his eyes wide.

“If you need me, I’m here Harry. I understand if you’re not ready for a relationship. I’ll just be your friend, and if you ever change your mind, well you can always tell me”

“Just like that? You’re not going to try and convince me otherwise?”

“Harry, I don’t want to force anything on you. I’m trying to do what’s best for you”

“For me?” Harry asks wide eyed and Louis nods. Harry can’t believe someone would put him first. He knows how Louis feels about him and yet he is willing to go past all of that for Harry’s sake. Harry feels overwhelmed. He has to say something but is unsure what exactly until he notices Louis shiver slightly.

“Why are you wearing so little clothes, you’ll get a cold” he asks the boy touching his cold arm.

“I left my jumper at the gym, forgot” Louis tells him, trembling slightly, but rather from Harry’s soft touch than the cold. Harry immediately takes off his sweater revealing a blue shirt which was completely buttoned up. He pulls the sweater closer to Louis until the boy extends his arms and Harry puts it, the big sweater enveloping the boy’s small body, the sleeves too long, covering his hands, the length going to mid thigh. Harry leaves a lingering touch on Louis’ arms before retracting his hands flying to his own shirt. Before he can do anything Louis grabs his hands and comments “Leave it unbuttoned, you look great like that”

“Really?” Harry stares at him as if he was crazy.

“Yeah, I’ve watched you on the runway. You know what outfit I liked the most?” Louis asks the boy smiling, looking adorable in his oversized sweater. Harry shakes his head, knowing the answer to that question was always the same – underw...

“The black suit, white shirt. So smart, so elegant. You looked really nice” Louis tells him as he continues walking, their previous pause coming to an end.

“You really think so?” Harry asks him not believing this boy was real.

“Yeah, I do. You look good covered up like that. Not everything has to be on display, you know” Louis smiles at the boy, wrapping his cold hands in the creamy sweater.

“Maybe I’ll take your advice. Thanks” Harry replies feeling happier than he’s felt in a long while. This he can do, this doesn’t scare him. This is okay. They reach Louis’ apartment pretty quickly, joking on the way about what they’ve been up to, Harry telling him his experiences from Fashion week, and the previous laser tag game, and Louis sharing embarrassing moments from practice, Stan’s inability to hit on a girl and his latest lunch with Niall. It was fun and light, nothing too deep, but maybe it was for the best, at least for now. Louis knows Harry needs to trust him, the boy is just scared and damaged, it’s pretty obvious, and Louis is going to help him, he will.

“So, um, since we’re now friends” Harry tells Louis, although it sounded like a bit of a question, as if Harry still doesn’t believe all this could be real. “Can I like call you, maybe ask you to some of our stupid activities, you know, such as laser tag?”

“Of course, can’t wait” Louis says, and realises he sounds too eager, unable to help himself. Harry is not pushing him away and that’s all that matters.

“See you around Tommo, I had a wonderful time” Harry tells him moving forward and placing a soft kiss on his cheek. Louis feels flustered.

“Um, yeah, me too. See you around” he smiles as the boy turns around and enters a nearby taxi, probably going home. Louis goes in the building and upon looking at himself in the mirror remembers Harry’s sweater.  He swears to himself not believing he forgot to give back the stupid thing. Stupid cuddly, warm, orchid smelling thing. His neighbour looks at him as if he was possessed and he realises he’s petting his own arm. Damn I’m pathetic.

He enters his flat the lingering smell still there, and he knows he should take it off, but he can’t. He pulls off his jeans, leaving him only in the sweater and a pair of boxers, which couldn’t be seen from the long sweater. He lies down in bed, utterly exhausted from the tough work out, and even more from his time with Harry. This is going to be so hard. He thinks to himself, pulling the covers over his slightly cold body lifting up part of the sweater and placing it over his nose and mouth. Breathing in the sweet scent of Harry. He curls into himself, small and cute, letting the sweater cover up a huge amount of his body. He sighs placing his arms underneath his head, nuzzling into them as he slowly falls to sleep one thought lingering.

How did I get into this mess?

 

 I

Chapter Text

“Are you going golfing?” Tam asks, happily munching on a chocolate as the girls are yet again crashing the Bachelor Pad.

“Nope” Harry innocently replied rummaging through his clothes.

“Oh yes you are, that’s where you keep those white pants of yours” Mill comments on his side, making him jump, he did not notice her presence.

“No, I’m just reorganizing my things” he tries, hoping it will work.

“We’re going with you!” Mill tells him smiling wide.

“Um, no, just me, maybe Niall. Nice little game, please…” he begs hating when any of his friends came with him. They had no appreciation for the sport. They were loud, irritating, and made his life a living hell. He then hears a phone call.

“Hey, Zaynie, while you’re out, stop by ours, get us the cool golf clothes we have, to make fun of Hazza. Also, if you didn’t deduct already we’re going golfing yeyy!” Tam says into the phone.

“Sure, as long as you don’t make me put on a hat, again” Zayn comments on the other line, the phone obviously on the speaker.

“But you look so good with it” she teases, and after hearing his grunt, finishes the phone call.

Harry exits his room, white pants and a purple polo in his hand, cursing them both. “Why must you make my life a living hell?” he exclaims. They both take on the poshest of accents as they reply to him.

“Indeed, it was not our intention to rid you of such an exquisite afternoon activity” Tam starts.

“However, it is our duty to provide you with only the finest of experiences, one which shall be documented for further generations” Mill continues.

“Stop it! No one talks like that!” Harry contemplates throwing something at them, but the clothes in his hand are too expensive to be thrown around.

“I’ll have you know kind Sir, that every proud British citizen does indeed speak in such tone” Mill replies to him and he grunts loudly shutting himself in the bathroom.

=

“Here comes the sun, here comes the rain standing in the eye of the hurricane” the song blares out of Louis’ speakers as he jumps around his flat, still adorned in the comfy sweater. He had woken up feeling fuzzy, his insides twitching. So normally he ate a shitload of sweets and was currently full of energy.  The only thing he could do was jump around to loud music, hoping his neighbours wouldn’t mind. He saw his phone light up and quickly jumped to it, noticing that his Harry was calling him. Not ‘your’ Harry, Lou, stop it – a voice in his head screamed. He turned down the music and answered the phone.

“Hey, what’s up?” He answered, hoping his answer was cool enough.

“Hi, not much. What are you doing?” Harry asked him, his voice loud over some background Korean (?) music.

“Um” Louis looked around himself, examining his messy living room, sitting in the middle of the couch in just Harry’s sweater, surrounded by candy wrappers. “Just hanging out”

“Hey, I know this probably sounds lame…” Harry hesitated “But um, I’m going golfing today, and seems like everyone else wants to come with, so I mean, if you like, you know, if you’re not busy, I’d like it if you came. To golf I mean” Louis had to smile, Harry sounded so nervous it was endearing.

“Why on Earth would you play golf?” Louis mocked.

“I like it. Why not?” Harry asked, and Louis could all but see his pout.

“It’s so boring seriously. But knowing the others I believe they’re not in it for the game”

“They’re basically going to jump on my head, and ride golf carts. And seeing as I’m a masochist I want to add more people on the ‘Torture Harry’ list”

“I knew you were kinky, those dimples can’t hide it” Louis mocks lying down on his belly.

“Takes one to know one” Harry replies, his voice deepening. Louis decides to ignore the comment for the sake of his own wellbeing.

“Sure, I’ll come. Where we meetin’ at?”

“Um, I can pick you up if you want. In half an hour?”

“Half an hour?! Give a girl time!” Louis shrieks laughing along with Harry.

“See you then Lou” Harry replies, his voice awfully soft.

“See you” Louis replies going to his closet. What the hell am I going to wear?!

 

=

Zayn starts to sit in the front when Harry all but kicks him out of the car. He goes in the back of the car, sitting besides the girls. “What did you do that for?” he asks hitting Harry on the head. Harry doesn’t reply, sending a message to Louis, telling him to wait in front of his building, and speeds off. The friends noticed he wasn’t driving in the direction of the golf court, thus exchanging curious glances.

Harry stops the car and is glad to see Louis standing there waiting for him. He looks amazing under the sunlight of the oddly warm autumn day, his golden skin glowing. His hair is perfectly styled, a fringe delicately placed on his forehead, seemingly effortless. His pants are snug on his body, black ones he managed to find, deciding that jeans on a golf court would just be tacky. His shirt is tight and plain white, a complete contrast to his exposed skin. He grins at the group jumping in the car, ignoring Harry’s hiss – why would he open the door properly when entering a convertible, that just seems like a waste of time.

“Hi guys!” Louis exclaims waving to the group. They all reply equally as cheerful. He sits snuggly in his passenger seat, adjusting his sunglasses and immediately going to adjust the music.

“Hey, no touching, my car, my music” Harry tells him batting his hand away as he starts up the car again, turning around expertly. Louis ignores the comment, switching it up, until he found a playlist named Karaoke. He put it on and heard Harry groan. Harry managed to say in a whisper “You have no idea what you just started”. The next second the music blared from the speakers, and immediately the group started jumping around in the car, singing loudly to the lyrics. Louis even joined in, loving himself a bit of Eminem. Fifteen minutes later they reached the golf course on the outskirts of Manchester, singing on the top of their voices, the song on shuffle being Sex Bomb. Niall was obviously waiting for them and smiled wide as he saw, or more heard, the approaching car.

“Aye, took you long enough” he yelled at the group enveloping them all in tight hugs as they all went out, Harry parking his baby.

“We had to make a detour” Tam answered smirking.

“Why are all of you dressed in proper gear?” Louis asked them, noticing their polo shirts, pants, and skirts for the girls.

“I like to play, so I bought mine. Those fuckers on the other hand got theirs for free” Niall answered pointing to the group.

“Free?! It was three days of shooting in these bloody clothes for that commercial, free is far from it” Mill comments just as Harry comes up, Louis not really paying attention anymore. He didn’t have a good look at the boy in the car, and he was glad he didn’t because he was now feeling like someone had dipped him in hot melting caramel. Harry was wearing white pants which accentuated his long legs, and were firm on both his ass and his groin, Louis wondering whether Harry was even wearing underwear.  His purple polo did wonders for his upper body, the sleeves rolled, making his biceps pop out. His hair was slicked back to not bother him and he even had a pair of gloves on. Louis never thought golf could be this interesting.

“Just try not to bother us too much, please” Harry said to the group as he and Niall carried their equipment inside, the others following close behind.

“Of course not. Wouldn’t want you to feel younger than 60” Louis replies making them all laugh. He was glad that he fit well here, not really sure if his presence would bother them. Harry just snorted, entering one of the golf carts with Niall, not bothering to check if the group were following him.

Louis jumped in with Zayn, letting the boy drive as he noticed Zayn’s shirt a thrilled sound escaping him. “Please tell me this isn’t one of those hipster things and you actually like Marvel?” he asked a confused Zayn who one-handedly maneuvered the golf cart.

“Of course I do, Marvel is like proper cool man” Zayn replies to Louis smiling from his glasses. Louis doesn’t remember Zayn wearing glasses, then again it suits him well.

“Oh really? What is your favourite Spiderman comic?” Louis asks him, the conversation quickly turning into a full blown discussion of different characters, scenes, comics, and so on. The girls yawned as they soaked up the sun, all of them sitting by one of the holes, enjoying the lazy atmosphere. Mill had had enough as she got up going over to Harry, who was currently sitting down enjoying a short break while Niall putters around with his clubs.

“Enjoying yourself?” Harry asks her, drinking up some water.

“A bit of a snooze fest, I feel like I’m at Comic Con or something” Mill tells him grabbing his water chugging from it.

“Why’s that?” Harry asks looking over at the group. Louis and Zayn were sitting on the grass, speaking frantically smiles on their faces. Tam was lying down close to them, her eyes closed, her mind obviously somewhere else.

“The two geeks over there are speaking about Marvel” Mill explains and Harry laughs knowing how passionate Zayn was about these things.

“Glad they’re getting along” Harry says simply and Mill eyes him slowly before asking.

“So, how come you invited Lou?”

“Um, we agreed I can invite him when I want him to come, and I wanted him to come” he clarifies.

“You agreed? Um, what even happened yesterday?” she asks, remembering how Harry refused to utter a word.

“Nothing we had a talk” he replies to her.

“And? Are you like…?” Mill doesn’t want to say anything exclusive, knowing Harry’s fear of serious relationship terms.

“We’re friends now” Harry tells her a smile on his face. She nods, not quite understanding how the pair were going to make this work.

 

=

 

“Told you this was boring” Louis says directly into Harry’s ear making him jump. He missed his shot, the ball flying off in a completely different direction, Niall jumping up and down. “Oops” Louis then said lightly chuckling, his face scrunched up and his eyes crinkled by the corners.

“Do you know how much you’ve put me behind now?” Harry asks the grinning boy smiling as well.

“Oh, come on, the game was getting boring anyways, come have fun with us” he grabs Harry’s hand dragging him to where the others stood, three golf carts lined up next to each other.

“Yey, you’ve come! We’re having a golf cart race!”Mill exclaimed and Harry sighed already expecting this.

“It’s all around the golf course, finishing in the last hole” Zayn says and Harry has to mutter “That’s what she said” making Louis laugh out loud, while everyone else just rolled their eyes, the usual.

“Okay, I’m going with Zayn so Harry and Lou can go together!” Niall said awfully excited eyeing the pair with heart-eyes. What the hell had gotten into him? They all sat, Harry letting Louis take the wheel hoping he wouldn’t be too reckless.

“Three, two, one… GO” the girls yelled, speeding off in front of them, always the most competitive.

“Watch out for the devils, they are crazy” Harry tells Louis and gasps as Louis speeds as well, going off the track, just as the girls went, not wanting to follow the long road opting to go on the grass. He came closer to the girls and was surprised as they swerved to their right, almost hitting him and making him hit the break. “Fucking hell” he mutters and Harry laughs, because of course Louis paid no attention to his warning.

“Niall fucking slow down!” they heard Zayn scream as their cart appeared out of thin air, rolling down the hill, propelled by the slope. They passed both the carts speeding off into the distance causing their opponents to become even more dedicated. The two carts drove beside each other, practically squeezing in the tight space between two hills. Louis had a look of determination on him which kind of scared Harry, and at the same time turned him on. Louis pushed his hair back, never once letting go of the gas pedal. They didn’t even see where the third cart was, probably in front of them somewhere, just focusing on each other, getting rid of the girls was his main priority right now. He was waiting for the opportunity and upon seeing it swiftly let go of the wheel saying a mere “Harry take over” as he leaned out the window. Harry seriously thought no one could be crazier than the people he knew, but Louis was definitely high ranked. Louis shirt lifted up exposing his lovely sun kissed back and Harry fought hard to keep his eyes up ahead. Louis reached for the girl’s cart and before they can even process it, grabbed their wheel turning it left, making them turn right into… the sandpit. Their cart flipped over digging into the sand and Harry had to laugh along with Louis directing them to the “finish line”. He felt oddly light, just enjoying the activity, the lovely day, the… company. He couldn’t really describe it, but it was a nice, fuzzy, marshmallow type of feeling, if marshmallow was a feeling that is.  They crossed the last hole laughing hard their heads spinning to each other, exchanging a high five.

They walked back to the friends seeing the girls trying to get sand off their clothes.

“I must say, that was brilliant” Tam congratulates Louis, causing both her friends to raise their eyebrows. She was a sour looser, and for her to congratulate someone, well, that was a first.

“Thanks” Louis replies shaking her hand. They all jumped as they heard a scream somewhere near them, one that sounded like a certain blonde they know. All their heads turned in the direction of the noise, and they all went in the direction, trudging lightly, feeling a bit unsure about what was going on.

They stared in disbelief at the sight before them. They can see Niall by the lake laying down, his eyes closed, laughing hard, completely wet. The cart was sinking slowly in the middle of the murky water, and Zayn was frantically moving in the water next to it. Harry ran swiftly to the lake, making Louis gasp. He was a fast runner, damn, and as the girls ran as well, Louis felt the odd need to run with them. He couldn’t even process what was going on as Harry jumped inside the lake, not once slowing down, reaching Zayn and quickly pulling him out. He placed him away from the lake, on the soft grass, Zayn’s body still clinging to Harry, as the boy shivered.

“Are you okay?” Harry asked, voice strained and worried, looking at his friend with such love and care. Zayn just nods bringing his knees to his face, curling up a bit. He could still feel the cold water which was enveloping his body, the drag of it on his feet, the way it held him, disabling his every attempt to flee…

“Niall what the fuck is wrong with you?!” Harry yelled, anger deep in his voice, a vein on his neck popping out. Niall looked frightened, like a deer caught in headlights, never once being on the other end of Harry’s protective anger, as they liked to call it. “You know he can’t swim, why didn’t you fucking help him?!” Harry was going furiously at Niall, his wet clothes dripping as he walked.

“I didn’t know!” Niall defended himself, suddenly advancing backwards, gulping as Harry neared him.

“How the hell didn’t you know?! You’ve known us for two years!”

“Never once did you say anything! We never went swimming together!” Niall looked extremely frightened, Louis wondering why he would be so frightened of one of his close friends. Then again, he didn’t know Harry that well, maybe he really wasn’t the type of person you want to be around with when he’s angry.

“Enough all of you. Niall learnt his lesson, he won’t do it again. Harry calm down” Mill said jumping between them knowing Harry would never hit a girl. Harry stopped still gritting his teeth and noticed Tam nearing Zayn who looked as if he couldn’t breathe. They all advanced towards the boy, but she stopped them. “Give him some space. If any of you cared more about his wellbeing than fighting you would have noticed that he’s having a panic attack” she told the group calmly, as to not stir Zayn, but her eyes were fiery and her look smoldering. She sat down behind the boy enveloping him in a tight hug, murmuring into his ear telling him to calm down, and helping him breathe.

“Okay Zaynie, come on, deep slow breaths okay, come on breathe with me, in… and out. Like that” she murmured squeezing him tighter, his body going completely rigid in her arms. “It’s okay now, you’re safe, you’re on land, you can feel the ground, it’s fine” she tells the boy rubbing her face in his neck. His breathing returned to normal, but his heart was beating strongly in his chest making her wonder why his heartbeat hadn’t gone down as well. She held him long until she was sure he was okay, all of their friends looking at their direction, completely silent.

“I’ll go bribe the staff, and grab the car, um see you up front” Harry mutters going off. Niall catches up with him saying he’ll bribe them, desperately trying to make up for what he did. Harry nods, still a bit angry, and worried, going to the parking lot. Louis stood awkwardly with Mill as Tam tried to get Zayn to stand up. After trying a couple of times, she just looked at the two, telling them to “Go, meet up with the boys, we’ll come soon” her body still firmly attached to his. They nodded and left. After about fifteen minutes of waiting, next to a very jumpy Harry and a strikingly quiet Niall, the two emerged, Zayn seemingly calm, led in the direction of the car by Tam’s reassuring hand on his back. They squeezed in, a tight fit since they had breached the seating limit. Harry however paid no attention to it, obviously deeming it common as he drove to the girl’s place, as they’ve requested, since it was closer, and Tam needed to go somewhere, in desperate need of changing her clothes. Also, Niall’s flat was just in the middle so it was easier to drop him off.

 

=

“Are you sure you’re fine?” she asked for the thirtieth time as she put on her expensive earrings, finishing up her dressy casual look.

“Yes, thanks” Zayn said, ducking his head a bit, feeling warmth on his cheeks from the care. After he had regained his power of speech he was thanking Harry, making sure Niall was okay, and thanking Tam until they all told him to shut up, forcing him to eat a ton of soup (Tam’s weird ‘soup is comforting’ thing must have been rubbing off on them).

There was a doorbell ringing and Tam motioned for Zayn to open it as she entered the bathroom. He went to the door, passing the group who was currently sat at the couch studying their dvd collection.

Zayn opened it and even though he kind of had the feeling who it would be, it still hit him in the gut when he was facing Robert.

“What are you doing here?” was the first thing he said, staring down at Zayn who was wearing loose clothes, Harry’s leftover shirt and a pair of shorts, as his clothes dried.  His hair was soft on his head, having mostly dried off, but still looked a bit wet making him look like he had just taken a shower.

“This is basically my second home, so yeah, I’m here often” Zayn comments giving him the same look. He hated when someone talked to him like that.

“Maybe if you actually had a girl to go to you wouldn’t be staying with my girlfriend” Robert replies his voice thick and Harry raises his head not hearing the conversation but the tone which was not pleasant at all.

“If I wanted to have a girlfriend, I could” Zayn simply tells him leaning on the doorframe, knowing exactly how attractive he looked when he struck such a pose. Robert comes closer his face in Zayn’s face.

“Still, you wouldn’t have the one you want” Robert smirks as he answers and just then makes a pleasant smile creep in, smiling wide as Tam approached them. He grabbed her hand pulling her towards himself as he gave her a very sensual, tongue involving kiss, right in Zayn’s face.

“What was that for?” she giggled regaining her balance.

“Missed you” he tells her smiling sweetly. His hand finds its way around her waist pulling her with him as they went off. Her head spun as she said “Bye Zaynie” sending him a kiss. He felt his insides burn and he knew one thing – he was done playing nice. No one gets to treat him that way, and he would show that prick exactly how close he and Tam could be. The worst part was that he really was trying to maintain a distance, for the sake of her relationship, but it was definitely eating him apart, and now that the guilt was gone there was nothing stopping him.

“Everything okay?” Louis asked as he was passing by, noticing for a fraction of a second just how angry Zayn looked. However the boy quickly recomposed himself muttering a “perfect” before heading in the direction of the kitchen. Louis had a feeling Robert was to blame, and knowing the boy’s previous accusations he could tell why. He wanted to have a chat with him, but had no idea how to do so without causing a fight.

 

=

“So, this is all of the silly videos you have?” Louis is transfixed as they show him the folder with tons of cds, labeled Halloween, Truth or Dare and so on. Harry nods his curls bouncing and Louis smiles wide at the boy. “Why is there a ‘Zayn-Beyonce’ one?” Louis laughs taking it out and placing it in the player. The video starts, Zayn on top of the table, obviously drunk, dancing to the rhythm of Single Ladies, dressed in a sequined leotard with feathers at the bottom, a large feather piece on his head, blonde luscious locks underneath it.

“What the hell?” Louis asked laughing and laughed even louder as Harry came in the scene dressed like what appears to be Rihanna. His entire body was much tanner, his hair straight and black as it fell to his face. He had red lipstick on and his upper body was covered by a blazer, almost completely open, stars stuck to his nipples. He even had a short skirt and heels. It looked ridiculous and hot in a disturbing way.

“It was Halloween, and we have a themed party every year at our place. The theme is that you have to dress as the opposite gender”  Harry explains laughing as his documented self pushes Zayn off the table jumping on it saying ‘who’s the queen now’ as Where Have You Been started playing.

“It was my idea, it got rid of all the skanks who would otherwise come dressed as kittens or who knows what other ‘animal’” Mill proudly says as they continue to watch the ridiculous video Zayn coming in to view just in time to see himself on the TV making out with Jay Z – Jay Z being a girl, more importantly Jay Z being Perrie who he was at the time in a relationship with and who insisted they had a ‘couple’s costume’.

“Hey, I know her” Louis comments staring at the screen. “She’s the girl that works with you guys” he says proudly and then adds “I didn’t know you were together?”

“They dated for more than two years before he just left her out of the blue” Harry explains to Louis grunting as Zayn throws himself on him tickling the boy for being so open about his life. He knew how much Harry hated being tickled.

“Why did you leave her?” Louis asked, careful, ignoring Harry’s screams.

“I just… I didn’t love her anymore” Zayn sighs flopping down on the couch.

=

“So, let’s go to the Pad, get some drink on, and go out” Mill says silencing her phone which was currently ringing. Louis noticed the caller, frowning a bit, it was Liam.

“Good idea” Harry grinned. Zayn shrugged muttering why the hell not.

“I’ll just call Tam, ask her what she wants to wear, so we can bring it with us, no need for her to come back here” Zayn offers, smiling wide as he grabs his phone.

=

Tam was currently at a restaurant, the film at the cinema having ended, as they retreated for some food. She was a bit bored, romantic films not something she particularly liked.

“So, did you like the film?” Robert asked caressing her hand.

“Um, it was okay I guess” she replies smiling as her phone rang. It was the X - Men theme. “Zayn! What’s up? Are H and L finally doing the deed?” she asked before he can utter a word.

“Nope, they’re still in the denial phase” he replies back.

“Shame when two people don’t see they’re obviously made for each other” she comments and Zayn says a simple “Shame”. There is a short silence before he remembers why he called.

“We’re going out tonight. What clothes do you want to wear?” he asks, not bothering to ask if she wanted to come, he knew the answer.

“Oh great! Um… the leopard shorts and that black shirt that goes with it. Black pumps, and tell Mill to grab the makeup and not to forget the red lipstick”

“Sure. Nice choice if I say so myself” Zayn responds.

“Pff… You know I always look good” she replies smirking, not noticing her boyfriend almost knocking over a glass with how strongly his hand twitched.

“Indeed. See you when you get here. And to answer your question yes, we will start drinking without you”

“You bastards” she replies smiling. “I’ll be there, buy some good Vodka”

“Only the best” Zayn replies and says “Over”

“Over and out” she replies hanging up the phone. Robert looks up from his plate, as he was eating.

“So… You are going out tonight?” he asks eyeing her slowly, his expression void of emotions he was feeling.

“Yeah, it’s gonna be great” she replies happily munching on her chicken.

“I was kind of hoping you would want to come over to mine tonight” he sighs looking back at his plate.

“Um, I’m not really um, up for that yet” she replies to him, stiffly.

“Okay, I can wait” he smiles touching her hand, every single swear word known to man going through his head.

 

=

“So, since I don’t want anyone to die tonight, what do you guys want for dinner?” Harry asks, just as they got into the Bachelor Pad, stopping on the way so that Louis could pick up some clothes, Mill thrilled when he asked her for help in choosing an outfit.

“Let Louis choose” Zayn smiles from his place, admiring a comic Louis brought with him since he had two copies – one he bought from himself, and one from Eleanor, so he figured the boy might appreciate it.

“I don’t know. Cook whatever you want, I’ll eat anything” Louis comments biting his lip. He was currently wearing Harry’s clothes because Harry insisted he can not spend the entire night in his dressy outfit, those white pants could get dirty so fast.

“Okay, carrot soup it is” Harry replies smirking at Louis’ disbelief.

“How dare you exploit my weakness” Louis replies flicking him on the head. Harry smiles going into the kitchen knowing exactly what he’s going to stir up.

An hour later they are all sat at the table, after ten minutes of convincing Zayn to let go of the comic. Harry gives them their plates, completely served to the very last detail. Louis smiled fondly at the meal looking at Harry and his food. It was chicken stuffed with mozzarella, wrapped in Parma ham, with a side of mashed potatoes and gravy. He even served up a mixed salad for everyone, Louis’ salad bowl the only one not containing any carrots. Mill and Zayn dug in, Louis and Harry however were still staring at each other, dazed expressions that spoke the words neither wanted to say. Finally Louis bit his lip, just as Mill asked “Where did you get this idea from? This is amazing”

Harry smiled, not breaking eye contact with Louis as he told her “That’s a secret” and Louis had to look down feeling his cheeks blush. He started eating not believing that Harry somehow managed to make it even better.

After finishing their meal Louis insisted he helped Harry clean it up. He imagined the endless teasing he would endure for this, not being one to clean, ever.

“Did you like it?” Harry asked him as he loaded the last of the plates Louis gave him in the dishwasher.

“Loved it. How can you cook like that, I can’t even make myself some proper toast” he tells Harry retrieving the cutlery.

“Well, maybe I can teach you” Harry turns around smiling, their bodies really close, basically breathing each other’s air. “Okay, yeah, that would be great” Louis replies to the boy closing the dishwasher, Harry turning it on without even looking.

 

=

“I had a great time, thanks” Tam tells Robert, standing in front of the door, ready to join her friends, who she could hear turned up some music.

“Me too, I’ll call you” he tells her wrapping an arm around her kissing her slowly. The kiss turned deeper soon, his insistent hands pushing her on the door. She gasped as the boy dug his tongue into her mouth, his body pressed flush against hers, his bulge pressing into her. Suddenly the door opened making Tam almost fall, if Zayn didn’t catch her just in time.

“I thought I heard you here” he says smiling as he helped her raise herself properly, holding her around the waist, not letting go even as she stood perfectly on her own.

“See you” Tam told Robert who was smiling wide at her, the smile not quite reaching his eyes. He pecked her once muttering a “Have fun, see you babe” before going off, not even acknowledging Zayn’s existence.

 

=

Louis was drunk. It was ten o’clock and Louis was already drunk. And they haven’t even gone out yet. He could hear Harry laughing as he told him that “It will wear off, we still have to go out you know”. They were playing a drinking game, one which involved a certain series called Supernatural, one which he was not familiar with. Basically he drank whenever someone did something according to the rules. He knew one of the rules was drink whenever someone dies, and every two seconds people seem to die. This was an awful drinking game, he will die as well.

Zayn was surprisingly okay, toning it down with the drinks, so when he finished his own hair, Louis only deemed it safer for Zayn to style his quiff. The boy obviously knew how to do it, and Louis had a hard time seeing straight. Zayn was thrilled as he took him to his room. An amazing space, the wall completely covered in graffiti, a large mirror covering part of it. He sat on the comfortable red bed as Zayn took out his equipment, and damn he had a lot of equipment. He even had two of the same hairbrush.

=

“Just try to look your best and don’t worry about them okay?” Harry told Louis as they were in the cab by themselves, the girls going with Zayn. Harry looked stunning in a Burberry shirt adorned with hearts, completely buttoned up. He listened to Louis’ advice. Louis leaned in a bit fixing Harry’s stray curl. His alcohol level was finally lowered, and he only felt giddy.

“I like that shirt, it looks good on you” Louis tells Harry, his mind obviously still a bit fuzzy.

“Thanks. You know Victoria Beckham has the same one, but long sleeved, huh” Harry replies smiling at the boy.

“Ooh, I love David Beckham, he’s like my idol you know”

“Fine, you’ll be Becks and I’ll be Posh” Harry grins at him exiting the cab and opening the door for Louis. He noticed as he was getting out, that a lot of people were staring at them. And by a lot of people he meant a lot of cameras. How come he never noticed these when he went out last time?

“Harry Harry Harry” the camera men chanted and Harry posed with Louis by his side, his hand on Louis’ hip. Louis felt oddly exposed, the cameras flashing everywhere around him. Not that he wasn’t used to it at all, but he wasn’t really one to receive this much attention. And even when he did it was because of only bad things.

“Is that Louis Tomlinson?” one of the reporters said and the other said even louder “Louis, are you two sleeping together?” Louis just ignored the reporter, going behind Harry as they entered Karma.

 

=

“I’ll go get us another round” Tam said from her spot as the group finished yet another set of drinks. Louis couldn’t believe their lifestyle. Casual outings, going out every other night, the attention people gave them. It was weird to be in their little circle, noticing how everyone seemed to treat them differently. And the pictures, they loved taking pictures, he guessed it just came natural to them, and they were good at it, all of them posing for the club photographer who positioned himself without even asking, their love for photography obviously a well known fact.

“Don’t you need help carrying those?” Louis asked from his spot on the couch, currently he was taking a breather, the dancing getting to his still healing knee. Tam just smirked as she went in the direction of the bar. A minute later he saw her coming back followed by the bartender himself who was carrying all of their drinks, her not moving a muscle.

“Thank you so much JJ” she tells him as he carefully places each of the glasses on the table.

“Oh, no need to thank me Tam, I told you, anytime you need something” he smiles at her.

“I just hate troubling you, I mean, you have work to do” she tells him looking under her eyelashes, not breaking character even as the boy squirmed.

“You’re never troubling me” he tells her and asks if she wants anything else.

“No, I’ve already been too much of a bother” she says staring at the ground.
“No not at all… No – o” his breath hitches as he touches his bicep just light enough to make his skin crawl.  “Thanks again JJ” she tells him and turns around sitting down. He stands there a minute longer before remembering he has a bar to run and scurrying off.

“So… How long has he been trying to get in your pants?” Louis asks Tam, laughing a bit.

“I don’t even know, it’s been a while. It’s so funny I swear to god” she tells him and Louis kind of feels sorry for the boy, she obviously does not.

“If someone were to just explain to the boy that she doesn’t do ‘help’ this would all be over soon” Harry speaks from his spot next to Louis, their thighs brushing.

“Help?”

“Tam likes a successful man, not a bartender” Mill comments and Tam growls.

“You’re making me sound like a gold digger for fuck’s sake. I just like it when a guy is ambitious Jesus” she replies lifting up her glass, toasting to all the poor people who are crushing on them, obviously the number is big since they all agree.

 

=

 

“Where have you been? All my li- life al my li-life” The song blasted through the speakers the friends dancing again, but the only person Harry could look at was Louis. Louis with his perfect bum, wrapped in those tight white pants, sinfully grinding the air, making it bounce and stick out, his back arching a bit, creating the perfect curve as he swiveled his hips in a circular motion bouncing in the air as if he were bouncing on a dick.

“You know Harold, usually when a man looks at me like that I get a drink” Louis tells Harry his voice teasing as he continues to dance, biting his lip.

“Haven’t you had enough to drink?” Harry asks him not bothering to deny how transfixed he was with Louis’ sinful dancing.

“Pff… I’ll find someone else to buy me a drink then” Louis told him with a smirk as he turned to Tam and all but dragged her to the dance floor, knowing who was the best partner for getting drinks, although he could have taken Mill as well, but he didn’t really want guys flirting with her, his loyalty to Liam still present, even though they weren’t speaking.

They started up a rhythm so perfectly, leaving Harry breathless as he stared at Louis. He willed himself to stop, going to the opposite side of the dance floor, dancing with a blonde girl whose name he had no interest in, trying hard not to look too interested in every guy that approached Louis that night.

Louis was having the time of his life, never once feeling judged or bad. He felt at home, dancing the night away, drinking brightly coloured drinks that made him feel fuzzy. At one point Tam even showed him her tattoo, one he didn’t even know she had, dipping her shorts to reveal it, him getting on his knees to have a better look at the exposed skin next to the hip, it was a simple infinity symbol, adorned with the word life. It was perfect and he was happy for the girl for having it done, even happier when he heard Zayn was there the entire time holding her hand. Also, he didn’t miss the look Harry gave him as he went down on his knees.

The night was nearing its end, and the DJ was soon to play the last song. Harry was passing by the dancing pair, returning from a deep snogging session with that girl, happy that the guy who was grinding on Louis not five minutes ago had left. Louis grabbed his hand, obviously drunk out of his mind, and pulled him in, just in time as Zayn asked Tam to ‘let the fairies have fun, dance with me’. Harry grunted as his chest collided with Louis’. Both of them had unbuttoned their shirts, Harry just now noticed how similarly they were dressed, both shirts fancy, short-sleeved, and buttoned to the top, well, not anymore. He grabbed Louis’ hips dancing with him happy to have the boy all to himself. Louis turned around pressing his back to Harry’s front and his hands around his neck, grinding that luscious bum slowly and deliberately on Harry. Harry’s tipsy state only making it easier for him to not even bother trying to play it cool, moaning a second later. They danced like that until the DJ announced the night was over, wishing everyone a good night and stepping off. The lights were being turned on, but they weren’t as harsh as it usually is whenever Louis goes out. He almost remembers Niall telling him how much he hates those lights coming on, making everyone blind, and look like shit. This must be why there’s a strange green light enveloping them all. He heard Harry say into his ear “I think it’s time to leave”

“Too bad, I haven’t even showed you all I can do yet” Louis sighed detangling himself from Harry, smirking as Harry adjusted himself, obviously hard.

“Well, we’ll have to go out again then, won’t we?” Harry tells him leading him out right behind Zayn who was currently carrying a very giggling Tam in his arms, Mill holding her black heels.

“I think they’re cute together” Louis’ drunk mind says staring at the pair.

“Who?” Harry asked and upon seeing where Louis was looking at shrugged “Dunno, they do that all the time, she’s a shit walker when she’s drunk, proper falls down and shit” Harry explains it, not really catching what Louis had meant.

“Take me home” Louis tells Harry as they  are outside now.

“I was planning to anyways, seeing as you’re too drunk to even know your own address, come on” Harry tells him helping him get into a cab, Louis yelling a loud bye to the other friends, such nice people, really nice, he should buy them fruit baskets, lots and lots of fruit baskets. But he’ll fill them up with chocolates, and little Spiderman toys, and nerf guns…

 

=

Louis woke up to the sound of loud ringing, the sound burning in his brain. He groaned, feeling a headache of epic proportions erupting. He turned turning off the sound noticing a paper was stuck to it. He took the paper not being able to see in the dark room. He remembered just how out of it he was, hoping he didn’t make too much of a fool of himself. He lifted the covers just a tiny bit, wincing as the sunlight swept into the room. He noticed a glass of water and two pills by the bed, neatly placed there. He grabbed them and drank the entire water, feeling thirstier than ever before. His stomach hurt.

He grabbed the note once again smoothing it out and reading the fine handwriting.



Hope you are fine, had to carry you in, you passed out in the cab.

I left you some pills on the counter, that should help with the headache.

Also, you demanded I wash you, and I didn’t just so you know. Your virtue means a lot to me ;)

P.S. If you need food, bananas are great for hangovers xx

 


 

Louis groaned as he read the text, not believing how stupid he had acted. Alcohol was definitely not his friend. His phone rang again and Louis groaned until he realised why it was ringing. Fuck. He had practice, he had totally forgotten. He had to get dressed fast and run out the door, hoping he won’t throw up. His head was still hurting horribly and he had bags under his eyes he barely managed to cover.

=

“Damn, Tommo, you look like shit” Jay told him as he entered the locker room, promptly changing into his kit, wincing as his head throbbed.

“Ah, fuck off” he told him, his mood sour.

“Hungover huh?” Josh asked him patting his back. Louis just nodded and heard Robert ask “Who’d you go out with?”

“The models, it was fun” he tells the boys who were all listening in yet again. He really didn’t understand their fascination with his life, he wasn’t some alien, the only difference between their lives being that Louis liked cock. Sometimes it frustrated him, now, his head hurt too much to care.

Paul yelled at Louis several times, since he was a bit out of it today. However he was doing better on the other half of training.

=

Harry had to post it to twitter, he was entranced as the girls made him watch High School Musical, because of his ‘golf problem’. He didn’t know golf could be considered a a problem, but still. He posted a link to the video where Zac Efron sings at a golf court ‘Bet On It’ the name of the song. It was amazing, as soon as he saw the scene he managed to spill his drink. It was so funny, and bad, and good, in a strange way, and Zac looked so gay in it - priceless.

“I’m sad that it took me so long to find such a fine video” he tweeted. Immediately he had a thousand responses, responding to one which said ‘Zac is soo hot’ with “Yeah, he is, just my type”.

=

Louis woke up from his not-even-afternoon nap feeling much better than he did in the morning. He grabbed his phone checking his twitter noticing people constantly tweeting him things about Zac Efron. He had no idea what was going on.

He posted a tweet “What’s up with you guys and Zac Efron?” and waited a minute before reading the responses. He got a link to a picture that made him laugh. He then saw a tweet that said how he clearly is the same type of guy. Shorter, brunette, blue eyes. Then people were arguing about whether or not the tweet (whatever that meant) had anything to do with him. He found another link, going to Harry’s tweet about Zac and smiled as people kept responding that Louis is Harry’s type then as well. Apparently there were people arguing whether or not they were together, it was hilarious.

He tweeted “Zac and I – twins to say the least” in his usual sarcastic tone, and went to turn off his phone noticing that people were posting pictures of him and Harry from the day before, Harry picking him up, pictures from the golf course, from entering the club, and a non-hd one from exiting it, Louis wrapped protectively by Harry’s arms.

He had no idea people were so interested in his and Harry’s relationship. Or lack of which to be precise. He shook his head turning off the app, putting on some clothes, fixing his hair and going to the gym. He was feeling giddy all over happy with how yesterday turned out. He had loud sappy music blasting in his ears, feeling like he could walk on air. He felt even better when he saw Harry had texted him asking if he was alive.

He entered the gym going into the locker room, one which was private and was only for members of the football team. He went in not really expecting anyone to be there, since it was the middle of the afternoon. However he saw a figure hunched on the bench obviously crying. He went closer closing the door making his head rise. It was Liam, with red puffy eyes and a quivering lip. He immediately let go of his bag leaping to the boy asking what’s wrong. He saw the pain in Liam’s eyes as he inhaled sharply answering Louis.

“She left me”

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Earlier that day

The car slowly pulled up to the driveway, as Liam took a deep breath in a desperate attempt to calm himself down. His thoughts have never been so jumbled up before, but then again, he never had to face this disturbing feeling before, the feeling of something precious slipping out of his hands. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but for some reason worry settled in his mind days ago and it refused to leave. Like somehow his gut was telling him something in his life was off, way off. And then that text. It wasn’t unusual for him and Mill to text each other rather than have long conversations over the phone. They were both busy people, after all. Even so, it would hardly go a day without them talking to each other. Up until yesterday, that is. Yesterday he called times and times again, but she never picked up. Nor called him back. It was in the middle of the night when he got a simple text Brunch tomorrow. Have to see you. And he couldn’t shake the troublesome feeling that something bad is going to happen. You’re being paranoid- a voice in his head resonated-It’s a nice meal with your beautiful girlfriend. Stop making it into something that’s not. And he did, as soon as he saw Mill waving, waiting for him to pick her up, all of his worries faded away.

 

Mill waved cheerfully as she noticed Liam’s car approaching, reminding herself not to look so tormented, although she could barely hide how she actually felt. For nights she would stay awake contemplating the fate of her relationship with this sweet boy. And he was indeed sweet. So caring and gentle and kind and everything a girl could ever dream of. But she wasn’t that girl. She didn’t know how to handle dreams. And God knows she tried, prayed for it to work, made herself more tame, less awake. She can’t do it anymore. So she used every single trick in the book on him, hoping he would have enough of it and leave, break up. But he never did. Now she has to be the bad guy, for his sake, for both of their sakes.

 

Liam got out of the car and made several nervous steps towards Mill. He hesitated for a second before he grabbed her hand carefully and got lost in the depths of her blue eyes. They were dating for a while now, yet she still made him feel so unusually shy, almost timid. He acted so fragile around her, even though he never intended to. It’s just that he fell for her so hard so fast that he dreaded he might scare her off. He needed her to feel comfortable around him, needed her to know she’s safe with him, to know he is hers and hers alone. He wasn’t sure whether he should lean in for a kiss or not. He usually leaves it for her to decide, to make the move. And this time she gave him a long warm comforting hug which he was having a hard time to let go.

 

Mill could feel soothing warmth of Liam’s body slowly enveloping her and she felt so petty for what she was about to do. She quickly pulled off and headed for the passenger seat. In three short steps Liam was already there in time to hold the door for her. Always a gentleman-she thought and the bright smile on the boy’s face stabbed her heart like a million knives. He wasn’t at all aware of what was about to happen, of cruel actions she must take. She painfully mimicked his smile, letting him enjoy a couple more moments of happiness. He then swiftly made his way to driver’s seat and they were off.

“So, where do you want to go?” Liam asked, after several minutes of driving.

“You choose”, Mill answered, giving him a chance to finally take charge for once.

“I’m fine with wherever you want to go, honestly. A restaurant, cafe, drive-through. Take your pick”, he smiled.

“Don’t do that. Please”, she begged even though it sounded more like an order.

“Do what?”

“Let me decide.”

“But I always let you decide”, he said, not fully aware of what she meant by it.

“Exactly my point”, she hissed, grinding her teeth.

He kept quiet, eyes fixed on the road, not knowing what exactly to say or do. She never spoke to him in that tone, but then again, he never really saw her angry or even mildly upset before. He could tell something was bothering her, but he was too afraid to ask. He didn’t want to start a fight. Not with Mill, the girl he cared so deeply about. It seemed like arguing only tears people apart, hurts them, like it did with him and Louis and he would never do anything to hurt his precious little sunshine. He took a deep breath, carefully choosing words.

“We don’t have to go eat. It’s just, you told me we’ll have brunch, so I figured you’d like...” and the sentence slowly died out once he realized she wasn’t even paying attention.

 

He just keeps doing it-the thought resonated in Mill’s head as she stared through the window. He is always so damn good to her, trying to make her feel loved. Doesn’t he realize how annoying it is, overwhelming and smothering? Is he not able to see that it’s too much and she can’t put up with it anymore?

“Pull over”, she commanded and Liam stopped the car not too far from the road. He looked at his girlfriend with care and worry, as he reached out to hold her hand, but she harshly moved it away.

“Is something wrong?” he inquired cautiously, not taking his eyes off of her, not even for a second.

“You”, she whispered, before adding, “Me. Everything”.

 

And the horrible feeling in his gut was back. So many thoughts were piling up in his head and he couldn’t think straight. What on earth did he do wrong? He tried so hard to be perfect and yet he somehow managed to fuck it up. But he wasn’t just going to give up, no. She’ll tell him what to do and he’ll do it. He’ll fix whatever it is that’s broken.

“I’m sorry. If you’ll just tell me what to do, I’ll...”

“Stop”, she cut him off, “Stop being so...obedient”.

“I...” he started, but there weren’t really any words that could depict what was going on inside of him at this point. Whirlwind of confusion and anxiety and pain and everything.

“It’s like I’m dating my pet, not my boyfriend. You’re a boxer, for Christ’s sake! Act like it. Take charge. Defy me! Just do something!” she was now yelling. And he let her. It hit him now what she was asking him to do. Argue. She wants them to argue. There is no way he’ll make the same mistake he did with Louis. He is not going to lash out on her like he did on his friend. He is just not going to.

“We shouldn’t argue”, he simply stated, watching her body slowly relax.

“I don’t want us to”, her voice fit into her usual calm tone, “I want you to state your opinion, to disagree with me, to tell me I’m wrong. I can’t always be right, you know. I don’t want us to argue, but I need you to challenge me”.

“I can do that”, he assured her.

“No, you can’t”, she protested, “You’re afraid. Frightened your words might hurt me. You don’t believe I can handle you at your worst, so you’re being perfect, all the time. And I just... I can’t do this anymore”.

“You don’t mean...?”

“I’m breaking up with you.”

 

Liam could feel excruciating pain spreading through every inch of his body. His mind went completely numb, unable to focus on anything other than that sick sentence. And everything inside of him suddenly broke, shattered to millions of shards. He lost his breath and he had to gasp for air, even though he would rather just sit there and not breathe or move or live. His voice was weak and shaky as he recited his final plead: “I love you”.

It struck her like a lightning, straight to her very core and Mill was struggling to keep her cool as her mind hyperventilated. She didn’t need to hear those words, she couldn’t take hearing them. She felt her body shaking and she bit her lip, managing to maintain that cold, cruel upfront. And then, like bullets shot right after one another into her steady frame, a different sentence.

“Don’t you love me?”

She can't help it: she looks at Liam, just to see. It's a mistake. Liam looks lost, young and vulnerable and betrayed, and she feels a wrecking surge come over her, oh fuck, fuck, fuck.

“I care about you”, she explains, “Deeply. That’s why I’m breaking up. I’m not the one for you. I’m broken. And you deserve better”.

Tears were brimming in the corners of his eyes and Liam started blinking frantically to make them go away. It is agonizing, attempting to wrap his head around it and he just can’t understand. Why would she say things she did? She is not broken, she’s perfect. And he doesn’t need better, he doesn’t want better, he just wants her. Forever. He wants to scream and yell and break things. He wants to grab her, pull her towards him, wrap his arms around her and just make her stay. But he is not going to do that. So he clenched the steering wheel until his knuckles turned pale and bit his lower lip until he could taste warm drops of blood run out. They just sit there quietly. And time passes them by like ghosts. Finally, Mill gets out of the car, speechless and heads slowly down the road. Liam’s gaze follows her, waiting for her to turn around. But she never does. And he feels his blood boil with disappointment and resentment. Pure anger piles up inside of him, anger and pain. Mountains and mountains of devastating pain. So he yells her name and she turns around.

“I hate you!” Liam screams at her, sending words like darts, wishing they would hurt her like she hurt him.

She smiles painfully at him: “I know”.

You can kill a man with those words. No gun, no bullets, just words. And a girl.

 


 

Liam could barely make it through the story without entirely breaking apart in front of his friend. He had to pause several times just to regain steady breathing, but at least he didn’t have to hide his pain anymore, didn’t have to pretend to be stronger than he actually is. Still, it was a torture repeating every single detail of it out loud, but he wanted Louis to know, he needed him to know. Louis has gone through the same thing, he knows heartbreaks, he understands and that’s all Liam can ask. Louis could perfectly recognize the burning agony in Liam’s voice as his mind was overflowing with worry. He was desperately trying to figure out what to say or do to make Liam feel a bit better, but nothing came to mind. The truth was, Louis wasn’t really good at these sort of things. Yes, he was clever and sympathetic and sassy as hell, but he never really saw the point in consoling people. After all, nothing he says will make a difference. Words can’t erase pain. So he didn’t say anything. Instead he gave Liam the longest, tightest, most loving hug. And somehow, the small frame of his friend wrapped around him made Liam feel a little less broken. Then a seemingly insignificant fact crossed his mind and Liam wiggled out of the hug, asking confused: “But, aren’t you angry with me?”

“Sure I am”, Louis quipped, pouting, before adding: “But, angry or not, I’m still your friend”.

“Thanks”, Liam smiled through the shadows of devastation on his face and Louis patted his back playfully saying: “Promise you won’t punch me”.

“Why would I...”

“Just promise”, Louis cut him off and Liam nodded: “OK. I promise”.

“Did it possibly cross your mind that, maybe, it’s for the best? That perhaps she’s just not the one? That, you know, you deserve better?” Louis inquired, backing off a metre...or two, just in case.

And he was surprised to hear Liam’s calm answer: “Actually, it did”.

“Really?” Louis could not believe his ears: “And?”

“It is not for the best. I’m not even sure if I can explain it, Lou. She just... She makes me happy. Or made me happy.”

He didn’t really need to explain it. Not to Louis. Louis already gets it. Not many people see the world the same way we do, so when we find those rare ones that do, we might as well give it our best to hold onto them. It’s simple as that.

“So, what are you going to do about it?” Louis questioned, eager to help.

“There’s nothing I can do. It’s over.”

“You are not going to give up!” Louis ordered, not even sure why he suddenly had such urge to fix shattered love.

“What should I do, then?”

“You should...You could...Maybe...OK, I have no clue. But I’m sure we’ll figure it out...eventually”, he assured his friend still hopeful.

For a while they enjoyed the silence, putting their brains to work. Then, out of the blue, Liam dropped an apology on Louis: “I’m sorry”.

Louis was a bit thrown off by it. The two of them were not really the type to apologize, but when you think about it, they were not really the type to argue in the first place and, yet, they did. So, maybe this wasn’t so out of ordinary. Maybe Louis needs to apologize, too.

“Don’t get me wrong, though”, Liam continued, “I shouldn’t have told you how to live your life and I’m sorry, but it doesn’t mean I’ve changed my mind about Harry. I still don’t think he’s good for you, but then again, I thought Mill loved me, so yeah. I guess what I’m trying to say is I might not be the best judge of character”.

“Mate, you need some junk food and a sports channel and you need ‘em fast, before you go any more sappy on me”, Louis joked, though deep inside he was grateful and proud of his friend for admitting he might be wrong about things, more importantly, about Harry.

 

=

“What’s up?” Zayn asks Tam as they head to the new art gallery he invited her to visit. It was a small place filled with contemporary art of all sorts, but not the kind they always considered preschool drawings. His arm went around her thin waist, dragging her closer, as they made their way through the aisles of velvet mornings and turquoise valleys. Her smile was never fading as she leaned into the touch, her body pressing into his, feeling warm and protected. She adjusted his glasses, which accompanied his outfit seamlessly. Together they looked like a cover of a magazine, artsy and hip, with bold lettering, black and white colours and interesting fabrics lining their toned bodies.

“Nothing, feeling kind of strange all day” she replied to his question, one which he had already forgotten of, his mind busy with the way her hair reflected the light, the way her eyes changed colour turning greener as sunlight shone upon them.

“Why is that so?” he asked guiding her to one of his favourite artists, and hers as well, a little surprise, per se.

“I can’t tell, I feel like something is wrong” she mumbled, her sentence cut off as a gasp left her mouth, her body trembling against his. Her eyes widened as she saw him. “That’s...” she gasped yet again, always being one to be awestruck by people others would pass on the street, yet seemingly unaffected by ones who are considered famous. He pulled her still trembling body to the man currently admiring a painting which burst with colours, like a rainbow if the steady streams it consists of were to melt.

“Mr. Stanley, I hope we are not too much of a bother, we just wanted to say what huge fans we are of your work” Zayn stated confidently, knowing the girl would much rather dissolve into thin air than speak.

“Not at all” the man smiled. “These days people appreciate flashy works and bold lines. It is lovely to see a young couple such as yourselves admire my work” he replies extending a hand “Call me David please” Zayn shook his hand Tam quickly following suit, her composure better now.

“And what do you do, are you aspiring artists yourselves?” he calmly asked eyeing them both.

“Um, no, we’re actually models” Zayn answers a bit embarrassed.

“Zayn here loves to paint though, he has a gallery opening in three days” Tam adds proudly making the man smile wide and Zayn blush hard.

“Well, that is lovely, having the best of both trades I presume” David commented as if reminiscing of a distant past. “You do take care, I best be going, but thank you for this conversation” he adds before putting on his hat. They both smile, stilled in the moment.  “May I comment on something?” he asked as he put on his coat. The immediate response in the means of nodding ensued. “You are by far, the most put together couple I have ever seen, young love always inspires me, I can already picture an array of vibrant colours dancing together, complementing each other. Red and violet, maybe a dash of blue, that’s it” He finishes drifting off into space. Their response was a simple thank you, spoken at the same time, not feeling the need to defy his statement. As their companion left, his long coat threading behind him, Zayn’s hold remained firm, his hand feeling the prominent warm hip which was in his reach. At least he can pretend. Be it for a second or an hour, he can pretend that the girl in his arms was indeed his, that the feelings he has were returned, and that he has everything he ever needed. As she raised her head slightly, her eyes burning holes into Zayn’s bandaged up heart he knew. Even though this feeling could only last a moment, it was a moment long enough for him, for he did have what he needed, right here, right now, and he always will, even if it means never uttering a word because he could not live a day without that smile, those eyes, that voice. Not a single day without her.

 

=

“Harry love wake up, breakfast is ready, your favourite – pancakes! “ Harry could hear his mother yell, as he drifted in and out of consciousness. He could hear loud footsteps as a person neared his bed.

“Wake up sleepy head, breakfast’s getting cold, and you’re gonna be late for school” his sister teased him as she jumped on his bed, smiling down at his sleepy expression.

“I’m up, I’m up” he gritted through laughter as she started tickling him, the usual ordeal. He stood up putting on his shirt and tie, his pants and blazer. The strict uniform his school assigned, one that has been used for decades, the advantages of going to a private school. He smiles into the mirror, doing his best to fix the mess of curls atop his head.

“There you are honey” his mother exclaimed kissing him on both cheeks as he sat down at the table, Robin putting down his newspaper to look at the boy.”Couldn’t tame that mane could you now?” he asks ruffling up his hair. Harry shrugs sipping on his orange juice.

“Today is a special day, so you get your favourite” Anne beams at the boy as she loads his plate with a neat stack of pancakes, adorned with various fruit and whipped cream.

“What competition do you have again?” Gemma asks him already devouring her food.

“A psychology debate on social stratification” he tells her as he finishes his bite, not wanting to speak with a full mouth.

“I still can’t believe my brother is such a nerd, and yet everyone still loves him. How do you do that?” she wonders, pride in her voice.

“I don’t know. I’m just nice to people” he answers blushing slightly.

“And you’re cute. That’s got to be it. You know how many girls asked me for your number. I politely told them to shove it up…” “Gemma!” Anne scorned her. She had always been a bit problematic, a free spirit, outspoken, and smart, but not tamed, not like Harry.

Harry decided to ignore her comment, not really wanting to continue such a conversation. He knew people were interested, he just… he wasn’t the type of guy to be with anyone. He wanted to find someone special, someone who made him feel special.

“Are you coming home late?” Robin asked him as he rose from the table, not before complimenting his mother’s cooking. “Yes, I am. I have band practice” he spoke, voice distorted from a wide smile. He loved to sing, it was his passion and what made him feel whole. Just a few strums of a guitar his father had bought him and a few notes sung with perfection – just enough to make him feel above the clouds. His band, a simple one, was the talk of the town, which would make Harry feel squeamish up until the moment he stood on any of the makeshift stages designated just for him. A wedding was soon to commence, and it would be their first big performance, and Harry was nervous, he was pushing the boys extra hard, although they rarely took it to heart. He was after all not a person anyone could resent or hate. His smile spread as he finished getting ready saying goodbye to his perfect family and venturing to the nearby school grounds accompanied by his best friends. He waved to the old lady he would sometimes help during the weekends, working at the bakery, even though he was in no need of the pay. She waved back smiling wide. It was just one of those days, one in a million, for Harry, the perfect boy of Holmes Chapel.

 

Harry woke up from his afternoon nap gasping loud. He felt his heart beat wildly against his sweating chest, the solid thuds resonating in his ears. His eyes hurt from being pressed too hard, his brain fighting between the need to continue dreaming and not dreaming ever again. The rare dreams he had any recollection of were these. Dreams of a distant past that felt as if it wasn’t even his, as if watching a stranger’s life unravel before his eyes. He could not have possibly been so happy, so carefree, so… loved. That was a different Harry. Not this one. This Harry knew only hate and resentment. He tried his best to fix his hair, sighing because it never looks good, never looks as perfect as Zayn’s does. His always seems unkempt whatever he does with it, and he would shave it all off if he didn’t have a wide forehead and even wider nose. He sighed staring into the mirror, loathing his reflection. Nothing looked right, whatever shirt he wore made him feel fat, all those jeans just made his legs look short, his rings made him look too hippy. He tried on outfit after outfit, trying to find something that would at least look passable, but he couldn’t, feeling more dread wash over him as he stood yet again in his underwear, staring at the long mirror in front of him. He sighed examining his toned stomach, it could be better, he should work out more, get those abs more defined, he’s gotten soggy. And his hips, god, he hated his love handles, grabbing the little meat that still lay there and wanting to tear it off his body. He pulled on his hair groaning as he turned around throwing the duvet over the mirror, his reflection too haunting to look at. Once again redressing himself, he quickly made his way out, his hands shaking slightly as he noticed the new neighbour look him over, a pretty blonde girl. She was smiling, probably cause he looked funny as hell. He trudged as fast as he could, planting a wide smile on his face, even managing to wink at her. Sometimes he amazed himself with how well he could act. Not long after, he got into his car, swallowing two pills from the glove compartment before he headed off. Zayn was gone the entire day, and he needed company, although he wanted none of it, he knew deep inside that he needed someone, never trusting himself when he got into this kind of mood.

=

“I’m so glad we spent the day together Zaynie, I’ve missed this” Tam speaks while licking her ice-cream, snuggling into Zayn’s warm body as the wind started blowing.

“Me too” he replies, voice above a whisper looking at her. He had already finished his ice-cream while Tam was telling him an elaborate scheme of how to get Louis and Harry together, so now he decided to look at her fight with the large scoops, getting chocolate all over her cheek and hands. Watching her eat clumsily like a five year old was always amusing to him. And oddly endearing. His grip tightened on the girl noticing her shiver, and he cursed her for not being dressed well enough.

“You have been so distant lately, I don’t know what’s gotten into you” she sighs staring at the floor, her ice-cream finally eaten. Zayn clears some chocolate from her cheek, sucking it off his finger before he continues.

“I haven’t, I just… wanted to give you space”

“Why would I want space?” she replied confused.

“I just…” he sighed, this conversation too hard and intimate for a late afternoon stroll “I didn’t want your boyfriend to get the wrong idea” She stopped in her tracks spinning round to meet his face. She placed a hand on his cheek and told him reassuringly “Zayn, what happened, it… it isn’t your fault” He refused to look her in the eyes, afraid of the emotion that pooled out of the green orbs.

“I mean it. I wouldn’t change our relationship for anything in the world, I love having you as a friend and no one can stand in the way of that” she spoke, waiting for him to look up. He finally did giving her a small smile which she happily returned. They walked back to The Crib, Zayn dropping her off, handing her the food they picked up to go whilst eating at the Chinese restaurant they adored, on Tam’s assistance.

Tam walked in the flat feeling eerie, not used to the silence which roamed inside. She took off her shoes and beanie, leaving them in the already clustered hallway. They really should get rid of some of the things which stood there. The she placed the neatly packed Chinese food on the kitchen counter frowning at the little tell tale signs that someone was there. The glass which stood in the sink, the keys which were thrown in the little bowl, the scarf which hung on the wall, yet the silence was extremely odd.

Tam silently walked into one of the bedrooms, changing her clothes into some really comfortable pajamas, turning up the thermometer, the flat too cold for her liking, putting on some slippers as well. She had presumed her friend was asleep but upon hearing the slight buzz of a TV she advanced towards Mill’s room waltzing inside.

Mill was watching something on her laptop, lying on the bed, her feet covered by the duvet. She looked calm, almost too calm. Tam neared her saying a quick “Hey, did you miss me?” Mill nodded returning her attention to the screen. Tam frowned going closer to the girl.

“Where’ve you been?” Mill asked not averting her eyes.

“Went to a gallery opening and lunch, with Zayn” she told her sitting next to the girl, noticing her T-Shirt. “What have you been up to?”

Mill replied: “Not much”

“Aren’t you cold, it’s freezing in here” Tam spoke, touching Mill’s arm which was extremely cold, as if she were touching a dead body.

“Hm, haven’t noticed” Mill murmured still staring at the screen. Tam decided to sit by her and examine the video which was playing. She could sense something was wrong but knew there was not an easy way to approach the situation. Just then she heard a doorbell, excusing herself to see who it is. She was surprised to open the door to Harry.

“Hazz, you have a key, why’d you ring?” she told him as he got in, standing in the hallway.

“Didn’t want to intrude” he told her simply, a smile on his face.

“Oh” she huffed, thinking of her friend which really didn’t need people right now.

“What are you girls doing? Can I stay if you’re not busy?” he says, completely nonchalant, as if he has a million possibilities of were to be at this precise moment.

“Um, actually…” she lowers her voice, not wanting Mill to hear her. “Now’s not a good time, we have some things we need to sort out. You know, um, girl stuff” she tells him, not wanting to reveal anything about her friend. It was just a hunch, and if there was something wrong it was Mill’s choice who has the right to know.

“Oh, um, okay, I’ll just… Yeah” Harry replied turning around, his hands in his pockets. For a second she could have sworn he looked sad, now however there was a wide smile on his face “I’ll go meet up with Niall or somethin” he added turning towards the door.

“Harry?” she called, having him turn around “Are you… okay?” she asked examining him with a worried expression. He did not want this, he did not want worry, he is fine, he is just fine.

“Never better” he replies smiling again. Her expression remains neutral as she speaks “Zayn has probably returned home now, I’ve been with him today”

“He’s probably gonna sleep, you know Zayn… It’s fine really” he reassures her.

“I mean if you want you can stay? I mean, you know…” she wanted to say If you need someone, we’re here, you know that, but she knew that Harry didn’t respond well to such sentences. She was worried for the boy, his smile was too wide, his eyes somewhat dull. She cursed herself for not noticing this earlier, now it was too late to say anything, his guard up.

“Hey, you already said, girl stuff? It’s fine, I’ll be on my way then” he tells her grabbing the knob and turning it. He feels small arms embrace his body from behind, making a bit of warmth spread to him. He closed his eyes, savouring the hug before she pulled away, her eyes soft. “Call me later” she tells him knowing he wouldn’t.

He smiled replying with a simple “I will” before turning away and walking, his movements smooth and languid, much different from his innards.

Tam returns to the room, bringing a packet of popcorn with her, she settles next to Mill, squeezing in the bed and places a head on the girl’s shoulder. She can feel the tension in her shoulders, her strictly even breaths and meticulous posture. She wasn’t lying comfortably, sprawled out over the many pillows, it was quite the opposite, her body awake, and skin cold. She barely moved as they continued to watch the show, Mill explaining to her, after three episodes of it, what it was about. Tam didn’t question why it took the girl so long to speak, she already knew the answer. After some time she asked if Mill was hungry, a simple “No” being spoken afterwards, from a voice she could hardly recognize. At first she thought that Mill was just a bit off, going through one of her fazes, being a bit melodramatic. Now, she was really worried, because she could tell something was very, very wrong.

=

Harry could feel firm hands pulling him from the back touching his hips. A warm mouth on his neck. He could feel another mouth on his, insistent lips kissing him. He could hear murmurs, something about being hot, and sexy, although he could hardly make out the words. His entire body felt numb, his head spinning. How much did he drink? He had no idea, he had no recollection of even coming to this club. He could only remember calling Louis, his last desperate attempt to get his spirits up, but the call went to voicemail. The boy was probably busy, having found someone more interesting than Harry to spend his time on. Harry sighed, the person pressing into him misinterpreting it as a moan. He felt hopeless, as strong hands invaded his body from both sides, giving into the feeling, wanting to be wanted, wanting to feel like he was worth something, wanting to prove to himself that he wasn’t just a piece of gum on someone’s shoe. So he continued dancing, hardly breathing from the pressure surrounding him, as he gladly drank anything which was given to him, anything as not to think, his thoughts drowning him. He wanted to have fun. He desperately wanted to feel alive. 

Chapter Text

Louis finally managed to put Liam to bed, mostly by overdosing the boy in beer and greasy food. He definitely deserved an award, staying up till 4 am with his best friend doing everything he could to make him feel better. He even let him win a game of FIFA, and that was by far the hardest thing Louis had ever done.

Completely exhausted, he plopped down on his messy bed and immediately fell asleep, his thoughts jumbled as he settled into some weird dreams.

=

“I know what you’re trying to do” Mill finally spoke after countless hours of watching the same show. She settled the laptop on the nearby desk looking at her friend who seemed utterly exhausted.

“What?” Tam asked as she failed at covering up a yawn.

“You don’t need to be here, you’re tired, go to bed” Mill told the girl turning towards her.

“I am not tired” Tam shamelessly lied “I just wanna spend time with you, is that so wrong?” she innocently asks.

“Nope, but when you’re doing so just because you think I need it, that’s a different story”

“I am doing so, because you are my best friend, and I know you” Tam sighed “You can fool other people but not me, I know when you’re upset. And I know you’ll talk to me when you think you’re ready to let it out. I just don’t want you to be alone. I want you to know I’m always by your side, okay?” Tam gave up on hiding her intentions, instead opting for the full truth. After some silence Mill answered

“We’ll talk tomorrow, I promise. I just need some … alone time” The girl finally showed a speck of emotion, sadness firm on her face.

“Are you going to be ok?” Tam asked, going closer to the saddened girl.

“I don’t know” she simply replied, shrugging her shoulders. She wasn’t the least surprised upon receiving a firm hug. It was all too overwhelming, and she would have maybe cried if that was the kind of person she was. Instead she was the type to keep all her emotions bottled up, eventually bursting in never-ending spurts of sadness, spent in solitude. She did not wish to trouble anyone. Nor did she wish to show just how much certain things affected her. It was a problem she was well aware of, one that would be the end of her in the long run, but she just couldn’t bring herself to break the tough shell surrounding her. Not even for the one person she always knew stood by her side. She watched the ongoing storm outside as she heard the bedroom door close, cursing herself for being so stupid. So in need to be independent to the point where she needed no one in her life. But it wasn’t true, she needed people, she needed to feel love and care, she needed to feel someone take her sadness away. She needed all that, but she was never one to ask for such things. And the little people who offered them on their own, were those she pushed away the most. Just like she pushed away Liam, just like she tries to push away her friend. She groans flopping on the bed, closing her eyes, and thinking ‘till the morning light shone upon her, not once falling asleep.

=

Louis usually wasn’t such a light sleeper, but this night was somehow different, making him stir in bed, tangled in the sheets. He felt warm, too warm, peeling off his sweaty shirt and trying to fall asleep again. He could hear the heavy thud of rain through the window, followed by the occasional thunder. Just as his brain was becoming fuzzy he heard the doorbell ring. Confusedly checking the time, Louis frowned as he sprung out of bed at 8 am. He had no idea who could be so crazy to come to one’s door at such an early time, then again he did have some strange neighbours. Not bothering to check who it was Louis opened the door, shivering slightly as the cold air hit his exposed skin. The person he saw stood in front of him was not one he expected.

“Harry?” A question came in disbelief, eyes raking over the boy in front of him. To say he looked bad would be an understatement. His hair and clothes dripped water in a little pool underneath his soaked boots. His eyes looked dull, missing any spark or life they usually had, large circles underlining them. His whole appearance looked desperate, sad, lost.

“I was heading home… I… I don’t know how I ended up here… I” Harry sighed, running a hand through his wet hair. He looked so tired, more than just physically tired, mostly emotionally drained. “I’m sorry, I’m gonna go”

“No, no” Louis immediately interjected, not letting the boy go. “Come in, you must be freezing” Louis pulled the boy in, dragging him into the living room. He was acting strange, completely obedient, usually one to lead, now being led without any restraint, just listening to Louis. He almost seemed scared? But maybe Louis was looking too much into things.

“You are soaked, did you walk over here?” Louis’ voice rang, filled with worry, as he glanced outside, the storm still going strong. Harry nodded, making strands of his wet hair stick to his face. Louis could barely hear the little ‘Sorry’ Harry had uttered. Louis stood dumbfounded as he stared at the boy. Why was he acting this way?

“It’s okay Harry, just, you shouldn’t do that, it’s really bad outside” Louis could hear the care in his own voice, hoping Harry didn’t notice as well. He wasn’t exactly sure why, but he knew that Harry evoked his protective side, more often than not. Most of his thoughts lately were going in that direction, apart from some late night thoughts that he really shouldn’t be remembering right now. Louis shrugged, ridding himself of the image of Harry pressing him into a wall, biting his neck as he grinded heavily on him. He stepped closer to the boy whose head was still down, water dripping from the ends of his now straightened hair. He looked so young, reminding Louis that he was in fact three years older than him.

“Come on, let’s get these wet clothes off, shall we” he told him carefully, so that Harry doesn’t misinterpret his intentions.  Harry’s eyes were still focused on the floor, as he took off his expensive coat, handing it to Louis who then proceeded to hang it in the hallway. As he re-entered the room he had to stop just for a second, just to regain his thoughts. In front of him stood a very lost looking boy, who looked like anything but a boy. He was in tight black boxers, his muscles and tattoos completely on display. Some water must have passed through his clothes, which currently lay in a neat, folded pile on the floor, since his entire skin was glistening, reflecting the light Louis had turned on in the dark room. Harry finally looked at Louis, his expression timid, as he seemed unsure of himself. Louis stepped closer to the boy, slowly bending down in front of him to pick up the wet clothes.

“I’m just gonna put these to dry” he exclaimed, proceeding to the bathroom. Having second thoughts he turned speaking yet again “I have to say Harry, if I had a body like that I’d probably never even wear clothes”. He quickly exited the room, hoping Harry wouldn’t be offended by his words. Friends can complement each other, right? Having disappeared fast Louis failed to notice the blush which crept on Harry, the slight change of balance, from one foot to the other. Minor things, yet somehow important. He returned to the room, finding Harry at the exact same spot, obviously waiting to be given instructions.

“Do you want some clothes? I don’t know if any would fit you though, I may have like a baggy T-Shirt and some sweatpants lying about” Louis suggested, trying to remember where he had put his ‘I’m sick and I want to feel comfy’ clothes.

“No, it’s okay” Harry replied still staring at the boy. Louis just now realised that he was in fact, also in a pair of boxers, his, on the other hand, were pure white. He suddenly felt exposed, Harry’s eyes raking his body, every item on display, well, almost every. Harry looked at the couch then back at Louis, as if he were asking for permission. After he received a nod from Louis, Harry sat on the couch, leaning on one end, leaving perfectly enough room for Louis and two more people. Louis could see him shiver, could practically feel the goose bumps rising on the curly boy’s skin. Which is why he instinctively went into his room, grabbing a thin blanket and covering Harry with it. He sat next to the boy who was oddly fascinated by the blanket. At first Louis contemplated whether to sit on the other end of the couch before he decided that he needed to be close to Harry.

“I have the same one” Harry finally spoke, touching the blanket. “But mine is pink”

“Always knew you’d be the girl” Louis replied making Harry chuckle very lightly, but it was enough to make Louis smile. They sat in silence, their arms touching, and the material of the blanket brushing against Louis’ thighs. Harry looked him over once more before lifting the blanket and carefully placing it on both of them, neatly tucking it in place. Louis just smiled as he heard Harry’s explanation “Don’t want you to be cold”. The boy quickly took his eyes off Louis, staring at his hands who were twisting a bracelet he always seemed to wear.

“Thanks” Louis replied, letting the boy know it was okay. More than okay actually, the feeling of Harry’s skin so close to his was enough to keep him warm for days. He burst out of his ‘happy bubble’ upon noticing Harry’s tired face, and deep frown.

“Harry, do you want to talk to me?” he asked unsurely, not wanting to scare the boy off. He received a shake of the head as a response. He sighed speaking again. “I’m worried about you. Did you sleep at all? Were you out this whole time?” Harry nodded still fiddling with his bracelet.

“Where were you?” Louis asked him, noticing the boy hanging his head in shame, his neck exposed to Louis’ eyes, a lovebite very apparent on it.

“I went out, uhm, don’t remember much after” Harry sighed.

“Did you drink a lot?” he asked Harry. Harry nodded. “Why?”

“I just... I just needed to not feel anything” Harry honestly replied sighing yet again. Louis noticed there was more Harry needed to say so he remained silent, waiting for the statements to come. After a couple of minutes Harry spoke. “You know how hard I’ve worked to keep everything in, to not feel anything? It took me years Louis, years” Harry’s voice was strained, his eyes livid as he spoke. He finally looked at Louis, his eyes full of different emotions Louis couldn’t quite read. “And now it’s all crumbling down, all because of you” Louis couldn’t believe his words, why would he have any effect on the boy’s emotions he had no idea.

“Whenever I’m with you, I feel something” he tells Louis, soaking up the heat from his body, making his heart jump just a little. “This warmth spreading through my body” Harry stared at his hands, not being able to look Louis in the eye after his statement. Louis didn’t know what to do, feeling overwhelmed by the confession, his first need being to touch Harry, but unsure of whether to do it or not. He shimmied to the other end of the couch, noticing Harry’s fallen expression. Did I say something wrong, why did he move away from me? Harry thought, feeling saddened.

“Come here” Louis told Harry, patting his lap. He slowly guided Harry’s head into his lap, letting the boy lie down on the couch, his legs slightly bent, covered by the blanket. “It’s always easier for me to talk when I’m lying down. Also, this way you don’t have to look at me, but I’m here, okay?” he told Harry, a soft smile on his face as the boy looked him over before completely relaxing on him. Louis kept his hands to himself as he hummed quietly, waiting for Harry to be comfortable enough to speak. Finally the words came.

“I just, I feel different when I’m with you. A good different. But... The problem is that, I also feel everything else I’ve stopped feeling a long time ago, and it just hurts so much” Louis could hear the slight break in Harry’s voice, feel his shudder. He placed a hand into Harry’s hair stroking it lightly, reminding him he was there.

“I hate it, I hate it so fucking much. I have nightmares every single day. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. I feel like shit all the time” he tells Louis, not believing that he finally spoke to someone about this, not having told a single soul before.

“Harry, I, I don’t know what to say to make you feel better” Louis told him stroking his hair firmly. “But, you know I’m here for you, okay? If you want to tell me what’s bothering you, I’ll listen, I’ll try to help. If you don’t want to I’ll still be here, I’ll just put you up when you’re feeling down” Harry listened feeling overwhelmed from the care which oozed out of Louis. A care he was so unfamiliar with.

“Why are you so nice to me? I don’t understand” Harry asked the question that confused him the most.

“Let’s just say I know pain when I see it Harry. I’ve been through a lot of my own to know what that does to a person. I can tell past the masks people put on, and see who they really are” Louis explained. “You, for example, are a nice and caring person. But it’s buried deep underneath everything you’re trying to make yourself be”

Harry contemplated Louis’ words, feeling for the first time like he understood. He could never describe the state he was in or the person he was. Now, he couldn’t believe that the one person who would say something truer about himself than anyone’s ever said, is this boy he met not so long ago. A boy who pushed him, and who he pushed, and could now call him a friend. He couldn’t contemplate how someone can understand when he himself doesn’t know left from right when it comes to his fucked up brain. He couldn’t reply, he didn’t even know what to say. He opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. He closed his eyes relishing in all the little signs of care and attention. The warm little hand, playing with his curls, stroking his hair as if he were a cat. The smell of Louis’ skin, underneath his head, a mixture of different fruits, lovely and fresh, warm like the summer. His tiny breaths and slight hums, lulling Harry into a deep sleep very easily. For the first time in days, the sleep not interrupted by dreams he hated profusely.

Louis stared at the boy in his lap, contemplating how to help him. He knew the only way to help him was to know what his problems were, but he was unsure of whether Harry would ever tell him what haunt him at night. His thoughts were jumbled as he quickly descended into sleep, his grip never leaving Harry.

=

Louis woke up sometime during the morning, trying to remember everything that went down in the early hours of Harry’s visit. He stretched, noticing his body was covered by the blanket. He instantly panicked, hoping that when the day came, Harry didn’t regret his decision to come to Louis. Just as he was about to jump from the warmth of the blanket, to maybe, call Harry, he heard someone come into the room.

“Oh, you’re up. I’ve made you some tea” Harry told him placing a cup in front of the boy. He sat next to him, his own cup in his hands as he bent his knees as to fit on the couch. Louis felt instant relief as he drank the tea, the taste just how he liked it, amazed at Harry’s technique.

“Thanks” he told Harry, noticing he looked more rested, more alive. The frown on his face was gone, replaced by a little smile. “How are you feeling?” He asked the boy, still worried about him. Harry shrugged. And Louis took that as good.

“Do you maybe want to talk about it now?” Louis asked carefully, Harry cutting him off almost instantly with his own question. “Are you hungry, I’m hungry, how about I make you some pancakes. You like pancakes don’t you. I mean, everyone likes pancakes, except for Tam, but she’s strange. Yeah, I’m gonna make some pancakes” He mumbled, never talking as fast in his life, before he scurried off into the kitchen. Louis sighed noticing that Harry obviously had enough time to put his walls up again. He jumped up, tea in hand, as he walked into the kitchen seeing Harry bent down in front of the fridge, searching for the ingredients. It was good that Louis actually did some grocery shopping, so there was plenty of food there. He sneaked a little glance towards Harry’s bum, he’s human, okay? Before he jumped on the counter sipping on his tea. Harry turned around placing the eggs and milk on the counter opposite of Louis. He took out a frying pan, placing it on the stove. His eyes remained attached to Louis’ as he started breaking the eggs into the bowl.

“Why are you so good at cooking?” Louis asked him, trying to keep the conversation light.

“I’ve always liked it. But it’s mostly since I have been living so long on my own. I had to learn how to feed myself” Harry chuckled lightly, but the sentence was anything but light, reminding Louis that Harry was alone for a very long time.

“Glad you’re being useful” Harry joked, looking at Louis who seemed perfectly content with just looking at Harry, his tea finished.

“Fine, give me something to do, but it’s not my fault if I fuck it up” Louis spoke looking determined. Harry smiled giving him the bowl which contained the eggs and a contraption he didn’t know he possessed. He stared at the offensive metal thingy in his hand. Harry looked at him his eyebrows raised waiting for Louis to do something.

“Come on Louis, whisk it” Louis took the thingy in his hand placing it in the bowl, still confused as to what he was supposed to do with it. He tried moving it around but nothing happened. Why can’t he just use a spoon or something? He sighed looking at Harry before he asked “How do you whisk?”

Harry smiled, shaking his head at Louis’ antics before he went closer to Louis, standing in front of the counter he was sat at, and taking Louis’ hand in his, moving them both slowly as he tilted the bowl, moving in circular motions. Louis smiled as he saw the separate eggs joining, their hands working together. Harry maybe continued to whisk just a bit longer than necessary, loving the feeling of Louis’ hand in his, in a casual situation which meant nothing.

He took the bowl from Louis’ hands placing it on the other counter. He then asked “Where do you keep the flour?” Louis smiled pointing to the cupboard above his head. Harry moved closer, his legs in between Louis’ spread ones, his naked chest extremely close to Louis’. He reached up, opening the cupboard, and taking out a container. Closing the cupboard he looked at Louis noticing how they were now the exact same height, their eyes meeting. He stared at Louis a moment longer, biting his lip subconsciously, before placing the container next to Louis, his hands remaining by the boy’s sides. Louis stared at the boy in front of him, mesmerized by his close vicinity. He breathed in his air, loving the way Harry smelled. Harry leaned closer to the boy, his head turning slightly. Just as he was about to reach Louis’ lips his head turned, going to his ear instead whispering into it slowly. “How did you get flour in your hair?”

Louis could hardly breathe from the warm breath that hit his ear. He swallowed replying “Flour? Where?”

Harry smirked before saying “Here” and bringing a full hand of flour to the side of his head, covering his hair with the white substance. Louis gasped, not believing the nerve the boy had, he had no idea who he was playing with. He leaned closer to Harry, their noses touching, as his hand reached for Harry’s boxers pulling him closer by the thin material. Harry’s breathing quickened as Louis bit his lip, relishing in the way Harry’s eyes followed the movement.

“That wasn’t very nice Harry” he told the boy, his hand still holding the material. “You’ve been a naughty boy” he looked at him with a look he mastered as well, Harry wasn’t the only one that could be a tease. “And naughty boy’s need to get punished” he smirked before dipping his head to Harry’s feeling his ragged breath on his lips. A second later he heard a loud squeak as his other hand dipped a load of flour into Harry’s pants. Harry quickly regained himself grabbing more of the flour and rubbing it over Louis’ face, Louis in turn rubbing it on Harry’s hair. They continued this until there was hardly any flour left, Harry finally pushing Louis flat on the counter, grabbing both his hands with his hand and standing tall above him, Louis’ legs wrapping around his hips trying to make him release his hands. There was a moment of silence, filled with heavy breathing and a stare between the two boys. Both incredibly close. Both feeling unsure of what to do. Harry’s other hand went to Louis’ waist, spreading his fingers over the nicely formed abs and hipbones.

“Good morning” A voice could be heard behind them, slightly groggy, and a bit awkward. Harry turned around after hearing Louis squeak out a “Hi Liam” his voice higher than usual. Harry looked at the boy he knew hated his entire being, feeling suddenly uncomfortable and out of place. He said a quick “Hi” looking at his bracelet.

“Um, Lou, a word?” Liam asked heading to the living room. Louis looked at Harry, noticed his fallen expression and placed a hand on his bicep. “I’ll be back in a bit. Don’t worry, he’s not gonna be mean to you, I promise” Harry smiled at Louis’ before replying “I’ll just make scrambled eggs, no flour left for pancakes” he joked, before turning around, and turning the stove on. Louis exited the room, noticing Liam sitting on the couch.

“So, are you two like fucking now, or what?” Liam asked him cutting straight to the point.

“No, Li, we are not” Louis told him already annoyed by the question.

“Sure seems like it. Never imagined you to be one of those people turned on by food” he told him, remembering the scene from the kitchen, both boys covered by flour, looking minutes away from fucking on the kitchen counter.

“I just.. Would you leave it alone Liam” Louis plead.

“I just assumed you’d tell me if you were serious. You told me you were friends Lou”

“I would tell you. But nothing’s going on”

“Both you and I know that’s a lie Lou” Liam told him and Louis didn’t dare reply because he knew the boy was right.

=

Tam groaned as she heard someone puttering about the front door, very noisy and very uncoordinated. She sighed, checking the time, satisfied that she managed to sleep till noon. She stood up just in time to face a dishevelled Zayn rushing into her room, not expecting her to be so close to the door thus bumping his body into hers.

“Oh sorry” he muttered, trying not to stare at the sleepy half naked girl. “I just came because neither of you answered your phones”

Tam scratched her head running a hand over her eyes. She didn’t understand what was so important right now.

“Now, is he here?” Zayn frantically asked remembering what he came for. Tam raised an eyebrow as she asked “Who?”

“Harry!” Zayn answered pacing the room. “He still hasn’t returned and his phone is off. It’s not like him to get home so late. And I think he was a bit out of it yesterday. I went into his room, total mess, clothes everywhere, duvet on the mirror. Please tell me you know where he is?”

Tam sighed sitting on the bed, putting her head in her hands. Zayn could hear her muttering a steady line of ‘fuck’s. He placed a hand on her shoulder, a bit confused by her behaviour.

“This is all my fault. Oh god, what if he got hurt or something?” she asked head still in hands. Sitting next to her, Zayn quickly placed an arm over her shoulders, shaking her out of it.

“He came by here yesterday, and I told him Mill and I needed some time to ourselves, because she’s been feeling down. And he was sad, and I didn’t see it. And he just left” she groaned slumping her shoulders.

“Hey it’s okay. I know you can’t deal with two crazily depressed people at a time. We’ll find him, okay?” Zayn reassured her, rubbing his hand over her upper arm. “Have you called Niall?” she asks, still worried sick.

“Yeah, wasn’t at any of his clubs. Heard he went into one of those downtown, but he left them early in the morning. Can’t imagine where he went afterwards. Also, his car is here” They both sighed trying to think of a way they could find Harry, hoping he wasn’t in any trouble.

=

“So, um, I hope you like it” Harry told Louis and Liam as they sat at the kitchen table, both staring at their full plates. They looked like a piece of art, carefully made scrambled eggs, toast covered in a thin layer of sour crème, sprinkled on with some fresh herbs, some beans on the side accompanied by a little bacon, and a little salad bowl for each, filled with who knows what. Harry sat down looking at them nervously, wondering why they haven’t started eating yet.

“Harry, I thought you were just gonna make something simple, you didn’t have to go through so much trouble” Louis told him with a smile, noticing Liam’s shocked expression. Harry timidly smiled muttering something about how he wanted to make it up to Louis for the early morning. They started eating in silence, too hungry and too pleased with the food to speak. Louis noticed Harry had a considerably smaller amount of food in his plate, with no bacon, and much more salad. He almost forgot how careful Harry was with what he ate. He could see the nervousness in his eyes as he ate, trying hard not to think about how fattening all his food was. Reaching a foot under the table he tangled their ankles together, giving Harry a reassuring smile which kept him going.

Liam remained silent, eating his food and observing the two boys who were occasionally sneaking glances towards each other, small smiles on their faces. He had to admit the food Harry had made was amazing, and the fact he put so much effort into it made it all the much better. He didn’t understand how someone like Harry could even be capable of acting so domestic, and cute. It was odd to say the least, but that wasn’t the least of his worries. Closely examining Louis he noticed the little sparkle in his eyes as he watched Harry, noticed the way he carefully ate, much unlike his usual self, how his posture remained perfect, not slumped as he usually would be during breakfast. He also couldn’t help but notice the way he spoke to Harry using a different, softer tone. Liam had deemed this thing to nothing but a fling Louis needed to get out of his system, an itch to scratch. He understood in a way, Harry was attractive, young, popular, lived an interesting life, and was probably good in the sack. He also had that bad boy vibe, a lot of girls liked so he presumed guys fell for that as well? But seeing the way Louis acted around him Liam could easily see this was more than just a fling to Louis, he could actually see him developing feelings for that boy, and that was just a recipe for disaster.

After finishing up their breakfast, Liam suggested he clean it all up, wanting to leave the boys alone as he heard Harry say he should be heading home soon. He started collecting the dishes, noticing that the flour which decorated the countertop not so long ago wasn’t there, obviously cleaned. He shook his head, still confused about the entire situation slowly scraping the little bit of food left on Harry’s plate as he sneakily glanced towards the living room noticing neither were there. Louis quickly dressed himself, fixing his longer hair as best as he could as he pulled on a denim jacket over his white T-Shirt with a print in middle. He grabbed his keys and phone going into the living room just in time to see Harry stumble out of the bathroom. He looked perfect in his striped yellow shirt, always one to look dashing and fashionable. Harry raised his eyebrows, noticing Louis’ appearance.

“Going somewhere?” Harry asked him pulling on his boots, who looked fine considering the amount of rain they walked through the previous day.

“Yeah, I’m giving you a ride home” Louis told him grabbing his coat from the hook handing it to him.

“You don’t have to” Harry told him putting on his coat glancing at Louis.

“I don’t. But I want to. Come on” he exited the flat yelling to Liam he’d be back soon. Harry remained quiet while he followed Louis to his car, sitting next to him and buckling his belt.

“Can you take me to the girl’s place? I think I left my car there” Harry asked Louis as Louis backed out of the garage. He nodded proceeding in the direction of the apartment building.

“Can I ask you something?” Harry spoke. Louis nodded saying a ‘sure’ turning down the radio volume a bit.

“Is everything okay with Liam? He seemed kind of off, and he was sleeping at your place?” Harry asked hoping he wasn’t intruding. Louis understood where the questions came from, but he just assumed Harry knew.

“Well, he’s upset because Mill broke up with him” Louis told him, gritting his teeth, he wasn’t really happy with the whole situation to say the least.

“What, why?” Harry asked, concern in his voice.

“I don’t know Harry, she’s your friend, not mine!” Louis jumpily replied turning a corner. He saw Harry slump in his seat a bit and sighed. “Look, I’m sorry, I just don’t like seeing him like this. He loves her Harry, and she doesn’t seem to care”

“I’m sure she does Lou, she’s just... She’s a bit difficult when it comes to this stuff” Harry tried defending his friend, realising now why the girls must have told him they needed space earlier.

“I want him to be happy Harry. And she obviously makes him happy. And I want to help, but I don’t know how” Louis sighed turning off the engine as he pulled up in front of the building. Harry reached a hand over and patted Louis’ shoulder.

“We’ll think of something, okay? I promise” Harry told him reassuring, and Louis nodded, feeling a bit brighter than before.

“Have a nice day Louis. And thanks for the ride... And uhm, everything else. I’m sorry for barging in like that, I was really out of it” Harry muttered staring at the floor.

“Hey, it’s fine. Whenever you need me” Louis told him smiling slightly at the boy. “Have a nice day Harry, see you soon” he received a nod from Harry who then quickly made his way out of the car. He held the door open a bit longer before he spoke once more "You have a great body Louis" 

Louis looked at the boy slightly confused and at the same time pleased with the statement.

"You told me if you had a body like mine you'd always be naked" Harry explained to him smiling at Louis' recognition. "I just wanted to say you have nothing to be ashamed of" he smiled at the boy, not waiting for his answer before heading inside the building.

=

“Harry motherfucking Styles! How dare you go missing like that! We were worried sick!” Tam yelled at Harry as he stepped inside the flat finding all three of his friends on their phones, calling different people, looking up rumours as to where he could be.

“Sorry, my phone must have turned off” he apologised, staring at Mill as to see how she was doing with the whole break up thing. For someone who pulled the trigger she didn’t seem very happy.

“Where the hell were you? It’s 1pm Harry! You’ve been gone for like 16 hours!” she continued to yell, making Harry smile. He loved that there were actually people caring about his wellbeing.

“I was out. And then I went to Louis’” he told the friends who instantly raised their heads staring at him.

“Before you go asking stupid questions, no I did not do anything with him sheesh...” he told them, before sitting on the couch opposite of Mill. “However I did find out something fascinating while I was there” he said earning him an interested glance and complete silence.

“Liam was there” he said looking at Mill, as to give her space to answer on her own about what had happened. However she didn’t speak, opting to listen to Harry. ”Louis told me you broke up with him. The poor lad looks like shit” Mill just frowned at him replying grumpily “I don’t want to talk about it”

They all studied her, and she had enough of it, standing up and locking herself into her room.

=

The Next Day

Harry arrived with the girls in tow, entering his own flat Zayn had kicked him out of about an hour earlier. They were all dressed up, but casually, a look they long mastered. As they entered the flat taking off their coats they all stood in awe, watching the living room. Every bit of space in the vast room was covered by paintings. The paintings looked wonderful, portraits done in different techniques. They approached the paintings watching Harry’s and Mill’s faces all in various moods and settings. Mill particularly loved one which was of her sitting on a swing, staring at the floor – it looked kind of emo, and very interesting. Harry’s favourite by far was one of him writing in his journal, probably writing a song, with his antique quill looking deep in thought. Tam touched one of the paintings feeling the rough texture of it, as her eyes went from one picture to the other. There was even two of Niall, and one of Jaymi and Ed, picturing them when Jaymi tried giving Ed a makeover – that scene was hilarious, seeing Ed in a tight button up and skinny jeans was extremely funny for all of them.

“These are beautiful” she told Zayn, pride in her voice and just a tiny tinsey bit of hurt in her words. She glanced over the paintings once more, noticing Harry staring at one in particular. It portrayed Harry and Louis hugging, a tight embrace in the middle of the street. It looked so beautiful, Zayn mixing in the colours, making Harry a fiery red, colliding with the cool blue that is Louis.

“Thank you” Zayn said timidly as he looked over his friends. “I wanted to show you guys these before we went to the gallery, it took me forever to do them, and I love each and every one of these. It’s just that the gallery owners chose different ones, and it seemed unfair for you only to see those” Zayn explained, hoping his story was believable.

“Oh, well can’t wait to see the other ones” Harry told him proudly, always one to be praising Zayn’s art. They showered him with compliments as they went into the car, since they were supposed to be at the gallery a bit before the opening, running tad late, of course. They stepped out of the car, Harry handing the keys to the valet, as they all posed for pictures. The interviewers aimed lots of questions as Zayn, asking him about his art, if he’s proud of his first gallery showing, will he be doing these more, and then diving into his private life, asking if he had a special someone coming to the opening that night. He cheekily remarked that he brought his special people signalling to the group who were taking pictures, answering only the questions about Zayn and telling the reporters just how proud they are of him. Finally finished with the questions they went in, immediately greeted by Calum and Luke who were wearing matching shirts – one white and one black. They greeted the group, quickly introducing themselves as they playfully scolded Zayn for not arriving on time. They told him that a lot of people are loving his art, and that he already has offers on several paintings, even though it’s only been about 15 minutes, since the show started. He soon parted with them, a smile on his face, noticing that Tam had been a bit more quiet than usual. He placed a hand on her shoulder whispering to her “I saved the best for last, but don’t tell them I said that” before he led her into the main part of the gallery where his collection hung. She instantly beamed seeing painting upon painting of herself.

“Zayn, I... I thought you didn’t do mine” She told him honestly staring at the first one of the pictures, seeing herself smiling sheepishly, part of her face covered by her hair, her eyes sparkly and alive. Zayn looked at her for a minute, taking in her amazement and astonishment, trying to remember why exactly he was so afraid of tonight. He then answered “How could you think that? It’s not my fault they snatched all of your portraits. That’s all on you babe” he told her hearing the fondness in his own voice. Damn, he was getting emotional watching these on display. She turned around, placing a careful kiss to his cheek, wiping off the excess lipstick afterwards. “Thank you, no one’s ever done something so nice for me” she told him watching the next painting, this one kind of badass, black and white, with dashes of red. Her favourite red leather jacket and a matching lipstick, standing outside. It looked as if taken from a comic book, but one of those dark comic books, futuristic.

He smiled at her, examining the photo as well, before he was engaged in conversation with what seems to be about ten people. Art critics and enthusiasts alike. He started speaking with them, seeing out of the corner of his eye that Tam was speaking to some people who approached her asking if that was her on the paintings. Harry and Mill emerged, after circling all the other hallways in the gallery, watching the different artists, slowly going to the centre. They saw Zayn in the centre of attention, not being shy at all as he spoke with a passion about his art. They saw the paintings, fascinated to say the least.

It was the best night of his life, Zayn felt like he was on top of the world, and he couldn’t have been happier.

=

 

“Seriously, this has got to stop. You are completely obsessed” The radio presenter said to Nick, sipping on his coffee as they were on their coffee break.

“I am not obsessed” Nick told him.

“You are pining over a kid Nick”

“He’s not a kid, he’s 21” Nick answered slightly offended.

“You should be finding something stable, a relationship, maybe even get married seriously?” his friend sighed “Look, I know you’ve told me a ton of times how you wanted to get in his pants, and you did. Will you just leave it to rest?”

“I have everything under control” Nick told him smirking as he remembered the job interview he held earlier, with one sole purpose.

“I’m surprised I got a call, I applied for this ages ago” the man spoke to Nick who was sitting opposite of him.

“I know, but now we have another opening for a radio presenter, and we were highly interested in you” Nick talked with a smile “Now, tell me... Are you from Doncaster?”

The man smiled quickly nodding his head.

“Then you must know something about Louis Tomlinson?” Nick asked him, hopeful yet nonchalant.

“Trust me, I know him better than you think” the man answered with a smirk.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“So, not that I don’t like hanging out, but why the sudden urge to see me?” Perrie asked, munching on one of the entrees that lay on the table of the expensive-looking café.

“I wanted to speak with you about something” Tam said, taking a sip of her brightly coloured drink.

“Hm… What about?” Perrie asked, suddenly looking a bit nervous.

“Um, it’s about Zayn” Tam told her, her eyes set firm on the girl.

“What about him?” Perrie asked relieved and confused.

“He has been really sad lately”

“What does that have to do with me?” Perrie asked, a bit angrier than she intended, immediately flashing a smile.

“Because the only time I remember seeing him truly happy was when he was with you”  Tam spoke, making Perrie speechless. She did not expect such a comment, especially not from her. “I want him to be happy, and I think you can help”

“But… How can I? We’re not getting back together, it’s obvious” Perrie said defeated.

“Why not? You still have feelings for him, and I bet he cares about you” Tam spoke as if it were the simplest thing in the world.

“It’s not that simple. He wouldn’t want to be with me”

“Why wouldn’t he? You’re a great girl Pezza” Tam tried reassuring her, giving her a sympathetic look.

“Because he likes someone else, okay?!” Perrie almost yelled too annoyed by the situation. How the hell can someone be so blind?

“What? Who?” Tam asked confused, trying to think of someone.

“It doesn’t matter” Perrie told her, knowing no good would come out of telling her the truth.

“But I… Please, you’ve got to help me. I just… Can you see? Maybe it’ll work out?” Tam pleaded, puppy eyes in tow.

“Fine.  What plan do you have this time?” Perrie agreed, knowing she would regret it. She listened as the girl explained, wondering that if the circumstances were different, whether they would be friends.

=

“This better be good” Harry spoke, stiffly sitting at a table, his expression cold.

Oh come on Harry, smile” Nick spoke smiling wide. Upon seeing no change in Harry’s behaviour he spoke again “Okay, I get why you may be a bit cross with me”

“A bit? Huh” Harry spat as he watched the man with fury in his eyes.

“Look, I asked you to come here because I… Well I want to apologise”

“Apologise, for what, being a major douchebag, cause I think you can’t change that.” Harry said in a calm voice, although his tone was somewhat intimidating.

“Look… Harry… I admit, I shouldn’t have come on to you like that. You told me a million times you didn’t want anything with me. It’s fine. It’s just hard seeing you with everyone else, and yet somehow I am the one you dislike, and I don’t get why” Nick sighed feeling a bit self-conscious.

“I don’t like older guys. I just don’t. It has nothing to do with you” Harry returned still feeling angry.

“Okay. I get it” Nick fumbled with his shirt, straightening up the sleeves. “I am sorry for not accepting your ‘no’ when you said it. I shouldn’t have done that, and it was wrong. I just think you are the most attractive man I have ever seen and sometimes I get carried away. I promise it won’t happen again” Harry scoffed not believing his words.

“Harry… We meet each other all the time. We go to the same parties, the same company greet-ups. I interview you a lot. I just don’t want there to be a hostile environment, okay? I don’t need you being angry at me all the time. I promise I’m backing off, okay?”

Harry contemplated his words, not sure whether to trust the man.

=

Louis sat on the bench, fidgety as he watched the team go out. He hated this feeling, not doing anything as he watched.

“Why couldn’t I have played? This is unfair” he sighs yet again, Paul trying to bring him up from his foul mood.

“You’ll play in the next one. I need you at your best, and these guys are brutes. I don’t want you hurting yourself until you’re 100% healed” Paul told the boy, feeling protective over him. Even though he often gave him a hard time he always had a soft spot for him. Louis’ shoulders slumped as he watched Robert shake hands with the opposing captain. He knew his boys had no chance without him – Liverpool was a tough team to beat, and their fans were considered one of the craziest.

The game progressed, Louis cringing every two seconds feeling frustrated at his team. No, their left was open! Fuck! Why didn’t George see that pass?! Never does a wing pass by Bobbie and now he lets him through, ugh! So on and so forth, his thoughts went, unable to do anything but think. As soon as halftime was over he rushed to the locker room along with the rest of the team who seemed defeated.

“Seriously, guys, what the hell are you doing out there?!” he groaned loudly making them all jump. It was funny how most of them felt intimidated by him at certain times, even though he was hardly a threat to them. Paul knew the choice he and Simon made was wise, Louis was the perfect captain – easy to get along with, fun and exciting, but at the same time hardworking and determined, pushing them all to their limits. It was a miracle the boy was so strong after all this time, after all the hate he received on a daily basis. Paul still remembers when they first brought him in, a scared 19 year old with a lot of worry in his heart, damaged and intimidated by everything around him. He remembers how Simon explicitly told him to watch over the boy, not let anyone tease him or give him a hard time. Yet, he never had to do so, Liam stepping up as soon as one of the boys started teasing Louis. Liam always had a protective streak in him so it was no surprise that he came to his rescue, telling anyone who had a problem with Louis would have a problem with him. It had miraculously worked, and now you could see a sense of respect that lingers in the locker room. He isn’t the little gay boy from Doncaster anymore. No, he is Louis Tomlinson, one of the best shooters they’ve all seen and it is an honour to stand by his side.

=

“Zayn, so glad you could make it!” The pair spoke, finishing each other’s sentence.

“Hey” Zayn greeted them, smiling as he sat down with them on the gallery floor. He had no idea why they were sitting there, but he went along with it.

“It’s perfect here. Look” Calum spoke pointing his finger towards the ceiling. Zayn looked up mesmerised at the large stained-glass window which covered the entire ceiling of this part of the gallery, perfectly dome shaped, adorned with various colours, illuminated by the strong sunlight.

“So” Luke broke the silence shifting on the floor slightly. “We’ve transferred all the money to your account and everything. Damn you earned us a lot!” He joked, trying to keep the conversation light, even though it was business associated. He could hear a simple “Thanks” from Zayn, always the modest one.

“Seriously, have you read the reviews? It’s absolutely amazing mate!” Calum complimented him as well. Zayn remembered yesterday, smiling to himself. The reviews had just gone up and he had decided beforehand not to read them, afraid of what they might say. Suddenly in his room burst three people he adored, a champagne bottle in hand, and every magazine/newspaper there is. They toasted to his success, taking turns in reading the reviews, pride in their voices. It felt very special and endearing, especially afterwards when he received a phone call from his mother, and the rest of his family, all calling to say just how proud of him they were.

Zayn came back from his pleasant memory nodding to the two boys. After a short silence Luke talked.

“You know, we wonder... How the hell did you explain all of that?” He absently swivels his hand as if to show something.

“Well... Um... I kind of painted, like 20-30 pics... Of all my friends. Said you picked only hers” He had no idea why he was admitting this to two men he hardly knew, but it was easier that way. It’s really hard speaking to people he knows about these things, when everyone he knows is in a tight little group.

“Woah... That’s a great idea, but damn, that must have taken ages to do! Why are you trying so hard to hide ... you know?” Calum asked him concerned.

“Because, it’s just... It’s better this way” Zayn stared at the ceiling, suddenly saddened. The pair looked between them before turning to Zayn.

“Let us tell you a little story” Luke spoke first, immediately followed by Calum. “We’ve known each other since we were little, went to the same school all that, besties for life” They both laughed at the term. “We told each other everything, shared weird experiences, gave each other dating advice... We came to the city together, along with our two friends, determined to do something we loved. We found a small gallery, started getting more and more attention. Everything was perfect except for one thing”

Luke continued the story “We both always felt like there’s something more we can accomplish, something more we can do. We pushed so hard to make ourselves successful, and it still left us unhappy. Then, about a year ago...” Luke took a breath, Calum’s hand sneaking into his own. Calum spoke instead of him. “Hemmo here, he told me he loved me, just like that. We were sitting right here, this place completely bare, thinking of plans for our new gallery, thinking how to makeover the old good-for-nothing area we bought, defeated and with no ideas, and he just turned to me, and told me he loved me. I remember how I finally realised just what I was missing all these years, pulling him closer to me and kissing him” Calum wavered a bit at the end, not sure if Zayn wanted to hear the details.

“And do you know how this idiot replied to me?” Luke smiled, unable to contain his grin. “We broke the kiss off and he calmly said ‘You know, we should put a stained-glass window here’” Zayn laughed along with the boys, mesmerized by their story, it was truly endearing. His mind wandered to what it would be like, if he’d have his story to tell as well, and what type of story it would be, sad and hurtful like he always assumed, or maybe happy? As if he was reading his thoughts Calum told him.

“You never know until you try”

 

=

“Explain to me again, why are we going?” Liam asked pulling on an old T-shirt, facing Louis in his bedroom.

“Because, coach said we have to practice during the weekend since the game ended so badly and Bobbie offered his summer house. It’s a nice day, a bit of barbecue, and what not. It’ll be fun” Louis expressed seeming too excited for a Saturday practice, but you never know with the boy.

Liam nodded, grabbing the top part of his tracksuit, in case it got colder. Louis eyed him before going to his closet and pulling out a simple white T-shirt, much tighter than the one Liam was wearing. “Put this on” He instructed the doe-eyed boy, giving him the shirt.

“Why?” Liam asked immediately changing, feeling too tired in the morning to argue.

“Because... It looks better” Louis spoke with an easy tone.

They quickly got in the car, Louis stopping at Costa Coffee to grab them some for the drive. He quickly went back into the car, the air still a bit cold since it was early morning, and drove towards the location which he inserted in his GPS. Liam yawned, drinking his coffee, not even bothering to look where they’re headed.

45 minutes later they arrived in front of a big house, completely alone on a hill, a forest on its far right. It was surrounded by large spaces of grass, a basketball hoop attached on one side, on the other a rustic looking barbecue, one of those made in stone and clay, perfect for the outdoors. A couple of cars stood parked as Louis backed into the same area on the far side of the house, quickly getting out, grabbing the bag he and Liam had packed together, just some essentials since they were staying the entire day. The sun shone brightly, and the air was a bit cold, but was bearable under the sun, waves of heat hitting their skin. Before they could even knock, the door to the house sprung open, Louis immediately engulfed by a blonde monkey, jumping on him unexpectedly.

“Ay, lads! So glad you can make it to me house! I always throw a shindig like this for the end of autumn, before it gets cold ya know? Reminds me of home. I had a wee house just like this one, when I still lived in Ireland” Niall talked very energetically peeling himself off from Liam who he was currently hugging. You could tell Liam wasn’t too pleased, but tried looking polite, sending Louis a look, a look he knew all too well.

“ Come on, follow me, let me show ya around” Niall grabbed their bag, trudging inside. The house looked cosy, lots of rugs, and armchairs basically everywhere, different coloured cushions on them, oddly complementary, as if taken from a page of a domestic style magazine. He led them to the kitchen where two girls were peeling potatoes, helped by two guys who were currently cutting up a huge batch of onions, tears in their eyes. They were all laughing about something, their laugh slowly dying down as the trio emerged inside.

“Here’s the kitchen, most important place in the house if you ask me” Niall explained smiling wide as he opened the fridge. “What can I get you boys? How about two beers?” He asked digging through the fridge, which was filled with drinks, and meat, all its other contents already on the table. He failed to see the uncomfortable look between Liam and the brunette, who immediately turned around, going to wash the rest of the potatoes. The redhead however seemed perfectly unconcerned, smiling wide as she said a ‘Hii’ to the boys. One of the guys came closer to them, wiping his hand off as he extended it to Liam “Don’t believe we’ve met, I’m Jaymi” he told him earning him a nice smile and a handshake, followed by Liam’s name, always the polite one. “Oh and this is my fiancé, Olly” he nodded his head towards the man whose side he had just left, smiling wide. The greetings were over rather quickly, but were definitely relaxing, especially since there were two cold bottles of Corona placed in their hands, the cold liquid soothing the tension which was previously there.

“Follow me” Niall chirped as he entered the main area, a living room of sorts, which looked very comfortable and homey. In there sat a group of people. A familiar curly-haired boy, next to which was a ginger one. On the other side of the large coffee table sat Zayn and Perrie, if Louis remembered her name correctly. Perrie was shuffling a deck of cards, as Harry was counting up their points on a rather large notepad. Ed was studying a guitar in his hands, and Zayn was just sitting there, minding his own business.

”Wow, this guitar is wicked. You really outdid yourself Harry. Not that you need a new one, but still” Ed complimented the boy who was currently adding up all of the numbers, doing so quite fast. He looked up, smiling wide at Ed.

“I hope you didn’t only bring that for show Harry” Louis spoke, making the boy’s head spin, dimples in tow. “Maybe, if you’re nice I’ll play something” he answered playing along.

“Me? I’m always nice. Go to church every Sunday, and all that” Louis replied, an overly innocent looking face in place.

 “I wonder how you can even get in church, considering you’re a little demon” Harry continued teasing him as Louis plopped down on the couch, right next to him, although there was plenty of room elsewhere. Liam followed Louis, his shoulders still tense as he sat next to Zayn, opposite of Louis.

“Why the hell are you wearing skinny jeans?” Louis asks dumbfounded, his eyes lingering slightly on Harry’s perfect body, tight in skinny jeans, while the rest of the group were all in comfortable tracksuits.

“It’s the only thing he wears” Niall teases, giving Harry a beer as well, grabbing the guitar from Ed’s hands.

“That’s just bloody stupid” Louis comments flicking Harry on the head.

“Oy, watch yourself. You don’t want me pinning you down” Harry warned, his body shifting towards Louis’.

“Maybe I want you pinning me down” Louis spoke, his voice a bit hushed, as he smirked at Harry, raising an eyebrow. Someone in the room coughed, breaking their little bubble of intense stares as Liam asked “What are you guys playing?”

Niall took it upon himself to answer, his face a bit irritated, as he was studying the boys, unhappy that their little stare off was broken “Uno. We’re playing the longest game of Uno ever. In this notepad are all of our points for like, I don’t even know how long”

“Who’s winning?” Liam continues to enquire. Harry shuffles through the massive notepad before answering.

“Mill... Damn, she’s beating the hell out of us” They all laugh after this statement followed by Perrie’s “You know what they say, who doesn’t have luck in love, has luck in cards” Niall confusedly looks between them before commenting

“What do you mean no luck in love? Liam and her are together” There is a long and utterly uncomfortable silence before Jaymi stumbles in speaking quite loudly “Come on, everyone outside... Now!” He instructs, grinning at the group, completely unaffected by their cold behaviour. They all stumble out, following Jaymi to the part of the green area in which the barbecue stood, next to a large wooden dining table. Mill and Tam were already lounging on two of the comfy lounge chairs, Olly getting the food sorted on the table. He turned to the group as he asked “Hazz, wanna take turns making the barbecue?” Harry eagerly nodded, putting on a pair of sunglasses which previously hung on his Ramones T-shirt, and going to the barbecue. He turned around for a second noticing the wood pile which was stood perfectly stacked in the corner.

“Liam, could you chop up the wood?” He asked, trying to include the boy in their activities, noticing that he was feeling a bit uncomfortable by the whole setting. Liam nodded, eagerly going to the wood and picking up the axe, his body swinging and strong biceps bulging as he cut up, piece by piece, not even breaking a sweat. He failed to notice two pairs of eyes on him as the girls spoke in hushed tones.

“Damn...” Tam commented, lowering her sunglasses, very obviously checking him out. She always appreciated a bit of muscle, especially when put to work. It really didn’t matter to her who the person in question was.

“I know” Mill replied, making Tam raise an eyebrow, not really expecting the girl to comment as well. They both jumped slightly as another voice was heard.

“He’s really hot” Perrie spoke, plopping down on the chair next to theirs, putting on a pair of sunglasses so she can ogle without being too obvious. The girls continued their staring as the guys noticed their behaviour.

“They’re worse than men!” Ed commented, laughing with the rest of the boys. Harry and Louis exchanged a knowing look, seemingly pleased about something.

“Is this enough?” Liam asked, turning around, his biceps twitching, as he held the axe, a large pile of chopped wood behind him.

“You can chop up some more, we may need it for the fireplace, in case it gets cold” Jaymi comments earning him an eyebrow raise from Louis. As soon as Liam turned back around Jaymi said “I’m engaged, not blind” making them all laugh.

-

Half an hour later, they were all bathing in the perfect sun, Harry having started up a nice fire, one which he will soon put out so that he can make the barbecue. Louis was absently rolling an old ball with his foot, jumping a bit as Niall appeared out of nowhere, asking him to show them some football tricks. Louis sighed, pretending to be irritated, when in fact he was flattered, especially since everyone wanted to see those, if their cheering was anything to go by.

Louis got up, picking up the ball by his feet, and going to the middle. He picked up the ball placing it on the ground where he wanted it, picking it up with his foot and bouncing it in various ways between his feet, gripping it with his calves, twisting it underneath his knees. His body looked insane as it curved perfectly when he kicked the ball above his head, gripping it with his other leg. He turned around, not sure if they’ve had enough noticing their dropped jaws, as they stared at him, especially the jaw of one specific person, who stood the farthest, mending the grill, yet not caring for half a second about the meat, focusing his attention on Louis. Louis smiled doing a couple more and finishing with a bow, earning him loud cheers and clapping, something he really needed, since he was feeling a bit down lately.

“That was great! You should see Harry, he can’t even kick a ball straight” Tam praised, raising her beer bottle as a form of cheers.

“Thanks. I’d love to see that, but I think he’s kind of busy over there”

“Come on Harry, my turn on the barbecue” Olly sprang up as if he was on fire, grabbing the barbecue fork from Harry’s hands and ushering him out of the way.

“What the hell?” Harry wondered, going to the rest of the guys.

“It’s your turn now” Louis told him, smirking as he handed him the ball. Harry raised both eyebrows backing out of Louis’ reach.

“No way”

“Come on Harry”

“No” Harry went even more back right until his back was on the wall, Louis pinning him to it.

“You are gonna play football Harry even if I have to make you” Louis’ eyes glinted, as his hand pressed on the wall, just on Harry’s side.

“No. I’m rubbish at it, no” Harry continued, knowing exactly how bad he was. He didn’t particularly mind looking absolutely ridiculous in front of his friends, but Louis... That was a different thing. He was so good at football, and Harry feared looking like a complete idiot in front of him. He had no idea why.

“Come on Hazza, I’ll teach you” Louis asked cocking his head to the side, looking at Harry underneath his fringe.

“I’m bad”

“I know you are. But I promise I’m just gonna teach you, no laughing” Louis continued, his voice softer, no one but Harry able to hear it.

“You’ll laugh at me” Harry put his head down, staring at his two left feet. He hated being so clumsy all the time, horrible at any sport he tried, besides ones who were more tactics than actual legwork. Louis’ hand reached for Harry, softly embracing his chin as he lifted it up, staring into his eyes.

“I promise I won’t” he told him, noticing how Harry’s eyes lingered longer on his lips, as if he wanted to see the words being formed rather than hear them. He could barely hear Harry’s “Okay” as he took the ball and went on the other side of the yard, away from the other people. He could hear the friends yelling “No fair Harry!” but none of them moved to join them. Louis smiled as he stood in front of Harry who placed the ball to the ground.

“Come on, pass it to me, and I’ll see what the problem is” Louis spoke softly, not wanting Harry to back out of this now. Harry sighed kicking the ball towards Louis, and it wasn’t exactly horrible, but it failed to go straight, going a bit to the left instead.

“Hmmm... I see” Louis knowingly nodded going closer to Harry and standing beside him. “Your legs are too stiff, you need to relax them. Don’t stand like that, stand like this” Louis showed him a more grounded stand, his knees slightly bent. Harry attempts to do so, but it just seems uncomfortable, so Louis stands behind him, putting his hands on Harry’s hips, guiding them downwards, making Harry completely putty and relaxed.

“There” he says, more to himself than to Harry. “Now, try shooting the ball with the tip of your foot, and extend it more backwards, it will give you more leverage. “Yeah, like that” he tells Harry, his hands still on Harry’s hips as the boy shoots, and actually manages to make the ball go in a perfect straight line. Harry turns around smiling wide like a little child, his dimples in full effect, his eyes glinting. Louis goes to the other side, continuing their practice as Harry looks happier than ever, just shooting the ball around.

After some time Louis goes closer to Harry, rolling the ball between his feet. He approaches the boy passing around him teasingly “Now, try to steal the ball from me” he tells him rolling the ball in front of Harry’s feet. Harry’s foot flies forward, Louis moving the ball before he can get to it. This is repeated a couple of times making Harry angry, as Louis goes in little circles around him, avoiding his unsuccessful ball grabs. “No fair…” Harry mutters, trying to get the ball again. “If you don’t give me the ball, I’m gonna use my method” he warns, smiling at the boy.

“I dare you” Louis puts his tongue out, still dribbling the ball. Suddenly he gasps, losing his balance, as Harry passed his foot over Louis’ feet completely shattering his footing and making him fall backwards. However, he didn’t expect Louis to grab him in the very last moment, sending them both to the slightly damp grass. They stare at each other for some time, bodies pressed together, the cold grass making Louis’ shiver slightly. Although his shiver was caused by more than just the cold.

“You know, that would be a foul” Louis speaks, before he does something stupid he’s going to regret. Harry smiles at that, not even trying to move, his eyes not leaving Louis’ eyes for a second.

“I’m cold. Your back is not on the stupid grass” Louis says again, his voice slightly higher as he can feel Harry’s heartbeat through his shirt. Or was it his own heartbeat? He couldn’t tell. Harry put his hands around Louis’ waist, holding him gently as he flip them over, his back now resting on the grass, Louis perfectly situated on him.

“This better?” He asked, not really sure why he didn’t just go up. He liked this pose, wanted to stay in it a while longer. He found no harm in it, learning from his friends that being touchy-feely was normal, right?

“Much better” Louis said smiling at the boy whose arms were still wrapped around him. He lowered his head, resting it on Harry’s chest, feeling the strong thuds of his heart.

“How’s our plan going?” Harry asked, his eyes set on the sky, noticing it wasn’t nearly as blue as Louis’ eyes.

“Horribly. They aren’t even talking” Louis replies, remembering the conversation he and Harry shared. He focused on that, rather than on Harry’s hands holding him, his heartbeat ringing in his ear, the smell of an Armani perfume, the slow breaths coming from Harry’s mouth.

The two have made a plan on how to get Liam and Mill back together. They based their plan on tactics Tam mostly uses, tweaking them to their liking. After receiving a call from Niall about the summer house, Harry had immediately called Louis. All they had to do was figure out how to get Liam to come. In came Louis’ ingenious idea about a football practice. It was foolproof. Now, all they had to figure out is how to exactly make them interact. The boys lied there, for some time, enjoying the peaceful silence, until they heard yelling, something about water. They both got up, confusedly approaching the other side of the yard.

Perrie was running alongside Mill, both carrying empty buckets of water which Niall was filling, Jaymi and Olly helping to extinguish the fire as Ed and Liam carried the full buckets to them. It was utter chaos as high fire rose from the barbecue. It wouldn’t be so funny if Tam and Zayn weren’t lying down on the lounge chairs, looking at the friends in mild interest as they listened to some music, sharing a pair of earphones.

“Oh there you are, could you um, take over, uhm yeah” Olly spoke, looking at Harry apologetically.

“What happened?” Louis asked coming behind Harry, going to inspect the damage.

“Um, well I wanted to help a little and um, I kind of accidentally dripped some oil on top of the fire” Mill said, not looking too sorry, but feeling a bit like an idiot for causing a fire, again.

“I told you not to go near any open flames or appliances, you never listen” Harry tells her endeared as he moves closer. He notices her staring at his back as he passes her, her head then turning to Louis’ back, which was hunched over the now extinguished barbecue.

“What the hell did you two do? Roll in the grass?” she enquired, making all of their heads turn.

“Uhm, kind of” Louis replied smiling as he went inside with Liam, helping him carry the buckets, and hose to their place. All eyes were on Harry waiting for an explanation, one he was obviously not willing to give.

“What?” he asked, cleaning the grill from the charred meat, and making it shine before carefully placing some chicken on it.

“Making out, rolling in the grass, or…?” Perrie asks, suddenly interested. It was really easy to get sucked into the void which is Harry and Louis.

“What? Noo…” he replied confused, not really sure why everyone kept pushing their relationship to be something it isn’t. He continued to prepare the food, cutting up the rest of the meat, ignoring weird glances from his friends.

-

“Well, glad you’re having fun” Liam said, half bitter, half pleased, it was really hard to tell.

“I am, and so should you”

“How can I have fun, when she is here?” Liam asks, knowing that Louis had the best intentions but still feeling irritated from being lied to.

“Just. Let it go, okay” Louis told him, patting him on the back, noticing someone going inside as well. He turned around going in the opposite direction. Leaving them alone.

Liam entered the bathroom, placing the buckets where they previously stood, and washing his hands a bit, since they were dirty from the murky water. He opened the door of the bathroom, noticing Mill was in front of it, obviously waiting for it to be empty. He stepped out trying to control his emotions as he wanted to scream at her. He instead chose to look at the ground. She went to the sink, getting her hands wet, and rubbing some soap on them, noticing that Liam’s eyes were set on her.

“This is really unfair” Liam said before he could cut himself off. Fuck.

“What is unfair?” she asked, finishing with her hands.

“You. This. Everything” he says, feeling down. “I just… How am I supposed to get over you when I see you all the time”

“Liam, I know it’s hard…” she starts, drying off her hands.

“No, you don’t know anything!” he growls, balling his hands into fists.

“I’m sorry, but my mind isn’t going to change” she tells him going forward, trying to move out of the bathroom but his body was blocking the way.

“Because. This…” she points between them “Obviously isn’t going to work”

He sighs, running a hand through his hair. “Why am I not good enough for you, why?” he felt pathetic for even asking, but had to do so.

“No, that’s not true” she tells him, never once wanting to make him feel sad or unworthy. She moves forward, running a hand through his hair, gently pushing him out of the way. “One day you’ll find someone worthy of you, that someone just isn’t me” she goes towards the door, feeling a hand grabbing her, not too harshly, but strong enough to hold her.

“Please, just… Don’t” He speaks, feeling like an absolute idiot, yet unable to let her go.

“Liam, please…” she looks at him pleading, not able to break his heart. Doing so once took a toll on her, and she didn’t have the heart to do so, for so many times. It’s just much easier to be hated, than to be pleaded. She couldn’t do this.

“I know you like me” he tells her looking at her with his best puppy eyes, which he does unintentionally, that way making them even more adorable.

“Liam, just let me go” she spoke, meaning so in more than one way. She just needed him to hate her, to stop speaking to her, anything, but this.

“You didn’t deny it” he presses further, his body going closer to hers. “Please, just… Give me another chance”

“Liam, I can’t…” she feels horrible, as if she was the worst person on the planet. But she knew it was for the best. He didn’t let her go, pleadingly staring into her eyes, sadness flowing through his, making her feel like her entire soul was on fire.

“Just… No” she tells him, pulling her arm away hastily heading once again towards the door, her chest beating wildly.

“Why do you have to be such a bitch?! Why?!” he yells after her as she doesn’t even look back, opening the door, and swiftly walking outside, heading towards the little creak which was about a 5 minute walk from the house, needing to clear her head. She could still hear his yelling as he screamed once again “You’ll regret this!”. She was sure his words were true, but what else could she do? Tell him to stay, break his heart once again, after she grows bored of the same routine? Tail him along, telling him he’ll get his chance, never giving it to him? What other option was there? Was there even an option that didn’t include hurting a guy she definitely cared for, no use in denying it, she cared for him. Deeper and stronger than for anyone she’d met before. She’d been in this situation before, a guy chasing her, trying to change her mind. But now? It felt a million times worse, her head pounding in time with her heart, for the first time in a long, long time, not knowing what to do…

-

The day was dragging along, as nothing out of the ordinary happened. They all sat at the table, having a nice meal, and chatting. People noticed something was off between a couple of people, not really knowing what was going on, but trying not to say anything.

For once, Mill and Liam were fairly easy to deduct, since they did share a history, but one thing no one understood was Zayn. He seemed really irritated, on edge, cranky. They weren’t really used to seeing him like that, his behaviour either chill, or excited and giddy. No one knew what to do, everyone looking at Tam, as if she had a solution for his troubles. She shook her head, indicating the problem was unknown to her as well. She noticed how Perrie’s hand ‘accidently’ nudged Zayn’s as she ate, making him look even more pissed off. Whatever it was, it seemed as if it wouldn’t take him long before he burst out, frying them all with the heat of his anger, frustration, whatever it was.

They finish their meal, all listening to Louis, as he retold a story about a man who appeared on their football practice for a month, no one noticing him, as he trained with the subs, up until Paul found out he was just a massive fan, and managed to somehow get a pass. It was hilarious, Simon even deciding to let him off the hook, if he promised not to speak about the experience with the press.

“I’m going for a nap” Tam proclaims getting up, rubbing off her fingers, which were currently sticky from the chicken she was eating. “Wanna come?” she asked calmly, placing a hand on Zayn’s shoulder. She could feel the tension in his body, the ball of energy emitting from it. She was so concerned for him that she didn’t even see his nod as he got up, going inside the house. She could see Harry nodding his head to her in a means of ‘thanks, figure out what’s going on’, and she nodded back, going into the upstairs bedroom, the only one in the house. It contained a large, king size bed, with comfortable sheets, and too many pillows. She could see Zayn’s body underneath the covers, turned towards the wall on the right side. She pushed away the pillows, taking off her shoes as she joined him, crawling under the covers and placing an arm around his waist, being the big spoon. She could feel him relax as her hands remained on his stomach her hair tickling his neck.

“I don’t want you inviting her anymore” Zayn murmured.

“Who?” she asked, placing her leg between Zayn’s legs.

“You know who. I don’t want her around me. And I especially don’t want her around you” his voice roared, the strong energy back.

“Why? She’s a nice girl” she asks confused, as her hands rub circles on his toned stomach, trying to calm him down.

“She’s only nice until you fuck her over” Zayn continued, his mouth forming a thin line, his breathing quickening.

“What are you talking about Zayn? Did she do something?”

Zayn breathes deeply before replying “Let’s just say I don’t want her around anymore”

“Okay” Tam reciprocated. She wouldn’t have let it go so easily if it weren’t for Zayn’s harsh tone which clearly indicated he was being 100% serious.

Zayn rolled over, hugging Tam, shielding her frame with his own, as if he were protecting her. He still couldn’t believe the ‘deal’ Perrie proposed to him. He would do whatever it takes not to let her get hurt. He will protect her, and if there’s a hair missing from her head. Someone is going to pay. And by someone he means a pink-haired girl with blue eyes.

-

Two days later

 

Louis was in his room, tired from the day as he had extra practice, his muscles aching, slightly helped by the warm shower he just had. He lay down in his bed, taking off the towel which covered his body. His hand sneaked slowly down his stomach, his mind going towards his thoughts in the shower. Harry’s body on top of his, long and strong, covering him. His delicate fingers gripping Louis’ waist, as if to pin him down, since his body was shaking too much from the pleasure. Hot air being puffed on his face, as Harry’s eyes closed, soft grunts leaving his lips as he continuously slammed his length inside of Louis, making him moan loud, hitting his prostate dead on. He was pretty sure Harry’s name had fallen from his lips on more than one occasion, his hands gripping Harry’s broad back as he rocked back into Harry, meeting him with every thrust, making him utter a strained “Oh fuck, Louis” as he sped up his movements chasing his own release, which was close to come.

*Versace, Versace, Versace* Louis’ phone rang, making him still his rapid movements on his now hard, leaking cock. He wanted to groan in frustration, feeling so close. His other  hand went to his phone , seeing Harry’s name. He answered it, taking a deep breath, trying to make himself less horny.

“Hey Lou” Harry spoke, his voice a bit hoarse, and damn it sounded like the best thing Louis had ever heard.

“Hey” he replied, sticking to a simple answer, afraid he’ll say something on the lines of “Come here, and let me suck your dick” if he continued to speak.

“So, what are you doing?” Harry asks, clearing his throat. “Sorry, my throat’s a bit dry, too many Long Island Ice Teas last night” he could hear Harry gurgling some liquid before very loudly swallowing it. This was complete torture, his thoughts immediately racing to dirty thought of Harry swallowing his cum, remembering when he actually did so. Fuck.

“Go out last night?” he asked, hoping he managed to make a proper question. He could feel his dick twitch as Harry continued the conversation.

“Nah. Tam bought new cocktail glasses, and we all decided to celebrate. We’re idiots” he could hear Harry chuckle, his voice resonating in Louis’ room.

“You still owe me a song” Louis remembered, desperate to hear Harry’s voice.

“Now?” Harry asked, and  Louis could practically hear his smile, see his dimples. If he aimed just right he could come right on those, oh god, why?!

“No time better than the present” Louis gulped, putting a hand around himself, pressing the base of his cock, trying to relieve some pressure. He felt instant relief, going to move his hand away, but stopped as he heard Harry’s voice through the phone, strong and raspy and oh so good. Louis closed his eyes, listening to Harry as his hand moved, but instead of moving away it started going up and down on its own accord, Louis not able to stop, the pleasure he was feeling too great. His hand sped up as Harry finished the song, failing to notice the little grunts which were leaving Louis’ mouth as he put the phone on speaker, placing it on the night table, hoping Harry couldn’t hear the silent noises from there. He felt dirty, yet he couldn’t stop, his mind wild with images of Harry.

“Hope you like it” Harry spoke once he finished, his voice suddenly small, since Louis wasn’t making any comment on his singing.

“I like it a lot” Louis replied, his breathing erratic.

“You think I’m good?” Harry asked, self-conscious, yet wanting recognition from Louis.

“Reallllly good” Louis replied, feeling really close as his other hand moved to touch his nipple, rolling it between his fingers making him hiss.

“Thank you” Harry replied, happiness strong in his voice “Anyways, I called because… I wanted to ask if you wanna come with me to this company party we’re having tomorrow. We are all going, and everyone can bring a guest if they like. And since the whole gang will be there, I wondered if you wanted to go?” Harry hopefully asked, still unaware of the moan which spilled from Louis’ lips. Louis quickly bit on his bottom lip trying to stop the sounds as his hand moved even faster. He replied to Harry with a long, drawn out ‘Yesss…’

“So, you’re gonna come then?” He could practically see Harry jumping like a little kid.

“Yeah, I’m gonna come” Louis replied before biting as hard as he possibly could on his bicep, his hips lifting from the bed as hot white pleasure went through his body, his entire body shaking as streak after streak of come painted his stomach. As if on cue, Harry’s endless ‘Louis, Louis, Louis’ filled the room, since Louis was silent for too long. This only made Louis’ orgasm last longer, imagining the boy saying those exact words, as Louis’ muscles tightened around him, making it impossible for him to hold on, spilling inside of Louis.

After a moment Louis began breathing again, picking up the phone with his non-sticky hand.

“Hey” he said, sounding out of breath.

“What up there, you were silent for like two minutes?” Harry asked concerned. He actually thought something had happened to Louis.

“I um… I just got a call on my other line, sorry, it was my mom” Louis instantly lied, hoping Harry didn’t check his phone since he would have seen that he in fact wasn’t on waiting.

“Oh, is everything okay?”

“Yeah, everything’s fine. Just wished her a good night”

“Good. I’ll pick you up tomorrow then? Uhm, wear something fancy, people usually go in suits and stuff” 

“Sure, see ya then. Goodnight Harry” Louis said suddenly tired.

“Goodnight Lou” Harry replied hanging up. Louis placed his phone on the bedside table, his hand digging in the drawer as he took some wipes, wiping off his stomach and hand in shame. He never knew he could get so low, secretly masturbating while having a phone call with the person he was imagining. He chucked the wipes in the bin, turning to his side, and fell asleep, the post-orgasmic faze making him extremely sleepy.

=

“You look good” Harry said into Louis’ ear, his hand on Louis’ lower back as he led him inside, paparazzi yet again taking tons and tons of pictures, Louis and Harry being the main attention of the crowd. Louis smiled turning around and whispering back into Harry’s ear “You don’t look so bad yourself”, secretly enjoying the cameras which were taking picture after picture of them. Even if he couldn’t have Harry all to himself, he still enjoyed the fact that everyone else thought something was going on between them.

Harry’s hand remained on his back as he led him deeper into the room, introducing him to couple of people, making him even happier that he wasn’t using any labels to describe him, just telling people “This is Louis”. Harry decided to bring them drinks, handing Louis something quite strong, as he happily drank it, afterwards dragging Harry to the dancefloor, grabbing his sides as they started dancing to the music. It felt freeing, just dancing in Harry’s arms, dressed in a suit, which was a perfect match to Harry’s, as if they coordinated their clothing. It felt liberating, especially since Harry hadn’t bothered to pay attention to anyone else but him.

The music changed to a song they didn’t quite know so they stopped, moving from the dance floor and chatting away in a corner, Harry’s hand still on Louis’ back, when someone approached them, Louis gulping strongly as he tried to make his heartbeat slow down.

“Hey Harry” Nick said, smiling a wide grin, his hand raised as he held a glass of pink liquid, typical.

“Hey Nick” Harry replied, not really hostile, but not too friendly.

“I wanted you to meet our new radio host” Nick said pointing to the man next to him. The man approached him, putting out a hand and smiling wide. He seemed awfully nice, as he introduced himself. “Greg James, nice to meet you” He spoke, his hand firm on Harry’s as his smile widened even more when he turned towards Louis, who appeared to be at least two shades lighter, saying a “Hello Louis” his eyes glinting. Harry could barely hear Louis answer, but he was sure he heard a tiny little “Hello” as Louis completely tensed, Harry feeling it in the way his back stood, straight and stiff. He looked at Louis, concerned, not really getting why the boy was acting this way.

“Lou, is everything okay?” Harry asked, whispering into his ear, not noticing the death glare from ‘Mr. Overly Nice Guy’.

“Yeah, um, I just… I need to go to the bathroom” Louis said, detaching himself from Harry’s hold, suddenly feeling cold without his touch. He shook himself, as he quickly walked into the bathroom, glad to see it empty. He went in front of the mirror, sighing as he placed his hands on the counter, trying to control his breathing. Why is he here? He can’t be here. I can’t see him. I… Louis’ thoughts rumbled.

“Hey babe” a voice resonated next to him, making him jump. He glared at the man, feeling every bad feeling he ever had seeping through his veins. All the pain… All the hurt… “I am not your ‘babe’” he responded through gritted teeth.

“Hm, didn’t mind when I called you that in bed” the man continued, making Louis see red, his breath hitching. He decided to leave, but was swiftly pulled back by the much stronger guy, who then blocked the door of the bathroom.

“Okay, listen, you can’t still be mad because of all that” he spoke, looking Louis in the eyes. “Come on, aren’t you happy to see me, it’s been, what? Almost four years since you’ve been avoiding me”

“Mad? I’m not mad. I’m fucking angry to the point that I’ll kill you if you don’t get the fuck out of my way!” Louis yelled unable to control his emotions.

“Louis, come on, talk to me… Please… You know I love you. And if I recall correctly you love me too” the man spoke, not making any intentions of moving.

“I stopped loving you a long time ago…” Louis sighed, feeling the anger slowly leaving his body, and being replaced with hurt, and betrayal. “I don’t know what you’re doing here, and what kind of sick plot of yours this is, but you’ve already ruined my life once. Just, leave me alone”

“Oh come on Louis, I didn’t ruin your life. You always were a drama queen. Want me to calm you down like I always did” the man purred, his leg going forwards, his knee rubbing circles in Louis’ crotch.

“Stop it!” Louis yelled going backwards, and away from the very familiar touch. It’s been years, and still he remembers every single touch, whimper and broken promise.

“Remember when I met you, in a bathroom much like this one. Remember how you blew me in the toilets, how desperate you were for a nice good cock to destroy you” Greg started speaking, a devilish smirk on his face as he went closer to Louis who stood like a statue, unable to move. “Mmm, you loved it, didn’t you? That feeling of being dirty, being a bad, bad boy. Mhm, and you loved getting punished for it. Who’s been a bad boy and needs daddy to punish him, hm?” The man speaks, his words immediately going to Louis’ groin, image after image popping in his head of their times together. He shook himself, pushing him away before going to the door. He turned the handle looking at the ex-love-of-his-life before saying “Don’t speak to me again” and going out the door.

He noticed Harry still talking to Nick, who had the biggest smile painted on. That bastard, surely he had something to do with all of this Louis thought as he went to Harry, feeling too drained, and upset, and just everything was too much. He came to Harry, the arm Harry placed around him feeling foreign and just wrong. He shimmied out of his touch, his eyes set on the ground. He didn’t notice Harry’s fallen expression as the boy put his hands behind his own back, swinging back and forth on his feet.

“I think I’m gonna head home. I’m not feeling well” Louis said, before shuffling backwards, his shoulders hung low.

“Wait, do you want me to go with you? We can share a cab?” Harry sprang towards him, wanting desperately to help. He could tell something was wrong and he had no idea what was going on. What did I do wrong? Should I have not brought him here?

“No, stay, have fun with your friends. I’ll see ya” Louis said before turning around and leaving, leaving Harry alone. He wasn’t technically alone, in the sea of people, but somehow he never felt so lonely. Maybe this was too serious. I shouldn’t have brought him as my date. Stupid. I’m so stupid.

 =

A day later, around the same time

It was time, he had no idea why, it just was. It was time for Zayn to do what he’d been fearing to do for so long. He remembered the story the gallery owners told him. He remembered all the happy memories they’ve had. He remembered all the times she was there for him. He remembered her smile. He remembered the way she curls into him when they sleep. He remembered the way she hates her feet and the little bit of stomach she has. He remembered the times she told him he was perfect. He remembered every time she made him smile. He remembered every single moment they shared, bad or good, happy or sad, crazy or relaxed, comforting or infuriating.  He touched his jacket pocket, in it for months stood a note with fine cursive handwriting.


 

 I wish you only one thing – for you to be happy. Everything else doesn’t matter.

Lots of love to my favourite person ever, Tam

 


 

“I want to be happy” he whispered. He took a deep breath, unlocking the door to the flat with his key, taking off his shoes and jacket. He went to her room, the door closed, hoping she wasn’t sleeping since it was at least 2 am. He pulled the door handle, feeling his chest about to burst from how hard his heart was beating as he opened the door.

Chapter Text

Zayn opened the door, immediately freezing at the view in front of him. The room was dimly lit, only by the oriental lamp which stood on the bedside table – a lamp he had helped Tam find agreeing to a trip to Camden in London, exploring antique stores and exotic little art shops until they found the perfect one – a mixture of bamboo and wood, orange and brown in colour. It was much easier for Zayn to focus on the lamp, rather than the major part of the room which was the bed currently occupied by two people. Two very underdressed people who were completely unaware of his presence.

Robert lay on the bed, dressed only in his briefs, his eyes glued to Tam who sat atop him clad in a matching lace set – bra and panties, in a sophisticated yet sexy black colour. His hands were roaming her perfect body as he expertly unclasped her bra, helping her take it off. Zayn gasped unintentionally making both people jump. He felt his cheeks redden as he stared at anything but Tam’s exposed body. Her complete lack of reaction made it even worse as she made no move in covering herself.

“What the hell?!” Robert said, visibly annoyed by the whole affair. Zayn fumbled with his words “Sorry…I…” he gulped feeling lightheaded, his heart pounding fast, making him hear only have thuds in his ears, accompanied by a dim hum. “I didn’t know you were…. I’ll just leave… Sorry” he mumbled turning around. He ignored Tam’s “Zayn?” as he exited the room.

His legs quickly gave out, his body plopping down on the couch, unable to move. He tried to calm his breathing but was unable to do so, his breaths coming out erratically. Shuffling could be heard from the room and Zayn had never wanted to disappear more – he was practically on the other side of the while the girl he loved made love to someone else. He could feel his eyes start to tear up and would have probably got up if his legs hadn’t completely disobeyed, failing to keep him up. Suddenly, the door burst open making Zayn jump. Out of it sprang a very pissed looking Robert fully dressed, his muscles bulging from the intensity of his movements, his face filled with rage and hate as he looked at Zayn in a way which was really easy to read – you are going to pay for this – his eyes said as he put on his shoes, Tam emerging from the room in an oversized band T-shirt, barefoot and looking soft. She came to Robert, his angry posture immediately turning into a sweet smile. Damn he’s good – Zayn thought.

“It’s okay love, I’m not mad. Another time” Robert spoke In a sweet tone, pecking her before leaving. Really good.

Tam turned around sitting on the couch beside Zayn who’s face turned from a fiery red to a ghost-white, paler than she’d ever seen it. “Before you say anything. It’s fine. I could see it was serious, You rarely barge in at 2 am” she explained sitting Indian style, tucking her feet underneath her thighs, the shirt barely covering her, her long tanned legs on full display.  Zayn just now noticed that the shirt she was wearing was his. It made him gulp even more, the only reason why his arousal wasn’t obvious being the fear that shook his body.

“Come on Zayn, look at me. It’s not like you haven’t seen me naked before” she tried to get rid of some tension, sensing his discomfort. His head remained bowed down. He had seen her naked before, each time reacting the same way. He must seem pathetic, like he had never seen a female body before – behaving like a prepubescent teen. It wasn’t his fault, he’s mind often got fuzzy in her presence.

“Zaynie, darling, are you with me?” she asked, bringing him out of his thoughts. He nodded, albeit meekly, still feeling too embarrassed and scared to speak. This was a bad, bad idea. Why the hell did he even decide to come here?

“There’s no need to be embarrassed. It’s just me” she took his chin lifting it up and looking deep into his eyes. He could feel the intensity of her stare – her eyes looking for the reason of his distress. He started squirming, hoping his emotions were hidden deep within.

“What’s gotten into you? You never act this way” she asked patting his head. He shook his head as if to portray he’s fine “I’m … Okay” he managed to get out, sounding unconvincing even to his own ears. She clambered out of her current pose, reaching him and taking his hands into hers. “Please talk  to me…”  she pleaded, worry in her voice. She could tell something was wrong, desperately wanting to help, not knowing how.

“Zayn please. Just tell me…” she pleaded yet again going even closer, breathing the same air as him, her eyes shining with emotion. She waited, her hands firm on Zayn’s, her thumbs tracing patterns on the backs of his hands. He tried controlling his breathing, he could do this, he could. She cared for him, it was obvious. In the way she acted, always outing him first, making him feel special all the time. He closed his eyes, focusing on the steady touch of her hands. The grounding sound of her deep breathing. The ever present scent of Burberry which emitted from her body. He focused on the present, forgetting both bad and hood possibilities of the future. He opened his mouth, swallowing hard. His lips were dry, slightly chapped from having been bitten on for the millionth time. He looked at their joined hands, unable to look her in the eyes as he spoke.

“I love…”

=

Louis groaned for the 5th time blocking a phonecall. He contemplated changing his phone number just to get rid of the nagging he endured since the night he saw him. He was just about to turn off his phone, a message flashing on his screen. Harry. He couldn’t even think of Harry right now – his mind completely preoccupied by the man he took years to get over and obviously failed at it – his emotions all over the place. He sighed, marking the message as read. He just couldn’t deal with it right now – Harry had to wait.

Louis adjusted his fringe, laying back on the couch and clicking the remote, making the TV flash. He was in the mood for another episode of Celebrity Big Brother, bundled up in a blanket with a nice cup of tea on his side. He considered eating dinner, but the mere thought of food made him nauseous. He had always had a problem with eating when upset.

No Louis, you are not upset. You just… are overwhelmed that’s all. His brain tells him, as if trying to make the situation better. He had no idea what to do. He had never really anticipated this to happen. He moved out of Doncaster. That was it. It should have been over. Yet, there he was sitting on his couch watching new episodes of a mildly interesting TV show, debating everything that happened years ago. It was unfair, and he wanted this feeling to stop. He remembered the weakness he once felt, the amount of times during the day he wanted to just slide down a door, and cry. He couldn’t become that person. Not again. He needed to feel better. He cursed his brain for thinking this way. A way which was really hard to explain. It wasn’t that he wanted to be with Greg. Hell, he’d rather bite his own arm off. But when you’ve loved someone for so long, shared so many things with them , experiences, unspoken secrets, it’s really hard to just shut your brain off. And although most of the love and care has turned into hate and resentment, there is still a small part of you which wonders – would it be any different. It’s strange not having someone around who you were used to seeing all the time. It makes your thoughts long for that person, for their touch, the intimacy you had with no one but them. I mean, it is normal.

Louis at least hopes it is normal, because his head is starting to pound from all the thoughts. It was hard just thinking of the man, of everything he’d been through with him. He was after all the first, and only person he slept with. And the first and only one he had ever truly loved.

=

“I love you” Zayn said with an unsure tone, freezing in spot and shivering all over. This was it… Now he’d either be the happiest man in the world or the saddest one yet. This was the moment he would find out once and…

“I love you too Zaynie, now what’s this about? Come on, you’re getting me worried” Tam spoke, squeezing his hands tighter. She was worried for him, afraid of the things that had been bothering him for some time. Zayn, on the other hand, was speechless. A million scenarios passed through his head, not one being this. It was hard for him to even breathe at this point. He had no idea on what to do. He didn’t want this. He wanted anything but the miserable mess his life has become.

“You…. You don’t understand. I…” Zayn started, but couldn’t finish, gulping air. His lungs constricted, making him feel like a fish on dry land. His head was spinning, his heart beating, and his entire body sweating. He had never felt so unattractive in his life. He just wanted all of this to be over.

Suddenly Tam’s phone rang, and she rushed to get it from her room, the loud sound echoing throughout the otherwise silent flat. Zayn could hear her speak “I’ve told you once before, leave me alone. No, I am not interested. Just leave me alone. Don’t you even try! I will fucking call the cops on you!” she roared, abruptly ending the conversation and throwing her phone at the nearby wall.

Zayn jumped from the loud sound, going to her uneasy frame.

“What was that?” he asked, his voice slightly tougher than he wanted it to be. He must still be shaken up.

“Please don’t get mad…” she tells him, not even bothering to pick up the cracked phone. He remains silent, not wanting to promise anything, waiting for an answer. “I um… you remember that guy from Fashion Week?” Zayn nodded, feeling confused and antsy at the same time.

“He um, he sort of got my number. I don’t know how.  He told me someone from the company gave it to him. But it’s against company rules, and I don’t get it” she sounds frustrated, and a bit worried herself. “And he’s been calling me, for like the past two days, and I just didn’t want to bother any of you, so I just kept quiet about it”

“What do you mean bother us? Tam you have a history with bad guys like this one, you know what they’re like. You should have called me” he finished and added “Or, you know, Harry”.

 “Harry is off in Louis’ land, and I see his having it tough as it is, with all of the mixed feelings and worries, and so on and so forth. And you haven’t been yourself in a while. Also, Mill’s obviously not over Liam, I heard them shouting at each other at the barbecue. And all of you are just not in the right place to be worrying about me, you have enough on your plate” Zayn was speechless, standing there and observing her with that deep look they all loved from him. He stared deep into her soul and saw how worried she was, for everyone, and maybe just a little for herself. He could see under the quirky shell, and could see the cold inside. Sometimes it worried him too much, just the thought of what she held inside, she was after all, a mess, and sometimes they all forgot about that and focused on themselves.

“I wouldn’t even tell you this if I wasn’t really… I don’t know. He told me he could get my address. That the same person who gave him the number would give him the address. And…” she gulped “What if he comes in here, and I’m alone and I…” she gulped again trying to calm her breathing. She could feel strong hands enveloping her, her head placed delicately on a firm chest, the solid beating of a heart calming her down.

“I’m not going to let that happen” Zayn said, in a tone which was much more than just protective. It was extremely serious, as if the voice of a warrior going into battle. He could feel her relax, her head rubbing his chest, her kitten like persona taking over. Whenever she felt threatened by the bad around her, she would turn needy, and small. She would want to be patted, and nurtured. She would become a frightened little stray kitten, found on the side of the road.

“How do you always get yourself into these messes, hm?” Zayn asked, his finger slowly twirling her hair, the fine wavy strands dancing between them.

“I don’t know. Those kind of guys find me appealing” she responds, her hands trailing Zayn’s sides.

“Lots of guys find you appealing, yet you always seem to end up with the douchebags” He tells her.

“No they don’t. Don’t you get it? I know what guys see me as – a pretty girl with a good body. Not like anyone’s wanted me for a different reason.” She replies, making his eyebrows shoot up. How could she possibly think such a thing. She is absolutely perfect, in every single way, and her looks, although dashing, are not even on the top ten things Zayn would say about her. He was just about to speak, to prove her wrong when she continued.

“And those who say they like me for something else are liars. I know how men think. They all think the same. It’s just a matter of their possibilities. Some can’t really find the hottest chicks, so they settle for less, but should they have any chance of hooking up with someone else, someone hotter, or just new, just for the fun of it, they would take that chance without hesitation. Do you know how many taken guys have flirted with me? Don’t even get me started on the married ones. I don’t need that in my life, I don’t need a man who will leave me after he’s found somebody better to fuck. I don’t want someone to break my heart. I don’t want anyone to spend half a lifetime with, before they decide to fuck some stupid gold-digger, or classless whore. I don’t need a man, any kind. So yes Zayn, I would rather be with replaceable douchebags, who are good in the sack than with a ‘good, nice guy’ who would fuck me over, first time he got a chance. “she said with a cold tone Zayn had heard only a couple of times before.

The words he was about to say died on his tongue, her previous statement making him rethink everything he was about to do. The way she spoke, her lines, half a lifetime, Zayn knew exactly who she was speaking about. This wasn’t just about being scared to commit. This was about her father, a man whose actions she resents to this day. A man who hurt her numerous times. Zayn had seen her cry, two or three times tops, and only once the reason wasn’t him. Lately she refused to talk about it, claiming she couldn’t be bothered by him anymore. All he did was call her phone, and complain about how she never visited, how she never took care of his own children, because her gold-digger of a step-mom was a completely incompetent mother. He complained how she never cooks for him, or takes care of him, always expecting that to be her job, a job her mother once did before he left her for a woman who isn’t even a fraction of the personality her mother is. Imagine growing up, seeing a man leave his wife for a woman who is far less than her in every way. Her opinion of her stepmother had nothing to do with being bias. They had all met her stepmother once, when she dragged Tam’s father from her own birthday celebration because her children were hungry, and she had accidentally forgotten to bring them their baby food. He remembered how Tam just stood there, not telling her father not to go, but obviously wanting to do so. He left, with not even an apology, and after being asked by her friends why she didn’t ask him to stay she simply replied “He would just yell at me. After all, the missus comes first” looking sadder than anyone should ever look on their birthday.

She grew up watching a man who should have cared for her the most, lose interest in her from day to day. She grew up seeing him with a woman who’s entire being was scorched and black. She grew up next to a mother who was everything she is – smart, lovely, caring, funny, gorgeous – and she watched her live all alone, with a broken heart.

Once he had rethought all of the above, he realised – Tam didn’t trust any man. And why would he suddenly be any different in her eyes. The one thing he was afraid of seeing was her unbothered expression, completely uninterested in the person she’s with. And that’s just the expression she had for any man who had crossed her path.

 

=

 

Loud music played in the flat as Harry sang along to it. It was a playlist of different rock and punk tunes, with strong beats and guitar solos. It would have been bad ass, if Harry wasn’t wearing an apron, his hair held back by a matching headband, violently mixing ingredients in a ball. He was alone, Zayn never coming back home, after he ditched in the middle of the night. He felt uneasy and unusually antsy, so to calm himself down he decided on making cupcakes, and muffins, and some pie, and pizza. It wasn’t his fault, he just couldn’t control himself. He kind of wanted to talk to someone. Not really, he just wanted some company. And he could have just called, but it seemed wrong. He wished for someone to call him instead, but no one did. No one he wanted to see anyways. Although the list of people he wanted to see wasn’t really that long.

He poured the mixture into one of the many trays laid out on the table, and placed it in the oven. Having nothing to do, he started sweeping the floors, and sweeping the dust. Whatever he did, it still left him too energized, on edge. Which is why he decided to go play a nice game of tennis, placing all of the baked goodies neatly on the counter. He contemplated taking one of the sinful cupcakes, but knowing what he had put in there, well, he wasn’t crazy to eat that much sugar (and calories).

=

Louis groggily drove to practice, a cup of lukewarm tea in his hand. He felt on edge, his muscles aching and his head pounding in time with the cheesy pop song which played on the radio. Having contemplated whether or not he should go to practice he concluded that nothing can stop him from doing what he loves, not even a restless night, an ex lover who kept calling him all the time, or the fact his stomach was completely empty. After pulling up in front of the stadium, he quickly bolted out, not even bothering to check his appearance in the mirror, it just wasn’t one of those days.

He walked into the too loud, too cheery locker room, filled with the scent of ten different colognes, and the familiar musk of damp socks. His eyes scanned the room, his mouth probably uttering a meek “Hello” as he ascended to his locker. Opening up the locker he could notice eyes on him, accompanied by stifled giggles which almost made him turn around and yell at them all to just leave him alone. However, he quickly noticed what the fuss was about. The inside of his locker was decorated with a long, full length poster of Harry in his underwear, winking at him. He couldn’t even bother to roll his eyes, taking out his stuff and closing the locker, moving on to untie his sneakers. The team was obviously displeased by his lack of reaction, having believed that he would make a scene upon seeing the poster, yet he remained drama-less, very different from the Louis they are used to. Louis didn’t even usher them outside, instead walking out on his own onto the fresh grass, nodding his head towards Paul and Liam who stood side by side, waiting for the team to come out.

Practice picked up rather fast, Louis wasting no time in fooling around with the team, or even talking to them. They could all tell something was wrong, but no one knew what it was, pointedly looking at Stan and Liam, as if they knew the answer. Paul told them to pair up, and just pass the ball around, nothing too major, so Louis stood with George, as per usual. He could notice the stares on his back the entire practice and he hated the feeling. It reminded him so much of the time he first came to Manchester. The hushed whispers behind his back, the pain he felt from being betrayed, the torture of being all alone in a foreign place with people judging him everywhere he went.

Quickly shaking his head he continued practice, noticing a hushed conversation on his left. He listened in, trying to steer his thoughts away from the glumness which currently occupied them.

“Why the fuck are you so tense Bobbie?” Jay asked.

“Maybe because I haven’t gotten laid in forever, ugh” the man spoke with a frustrated voice Louis knew too well. It was the voice of someone who could hardly keep his hands off himself, and still failed to ever feel satisfied enough.

“Why? I mean you’ve got a smashing girlfriend. If I had a girl like that I’d probably be banging her every second of the day”

“Well, she’s all ‘wanting to wait’” Robert spoke, rolling his eyes, followed by a scoff from Jay. “Honestly, with her looking the way she looks, and her reputation? I thought she’d be on her knees by now” Louis cringed at his sentence, trying hard not to stare at the men so he can continue eavesdropping.

“Damn man, that must be tough” Jay comments as if Robert was in prison, or had a broken leg. “So, you gonna find some whore while you wait, or?” Louis felt anger in his body, waiting for the man to answer so he can just explode already. He needed to explode, desperately needed a reason. And someone being such a douchebag, well what better reason is there?

“I don’t think so. I think she’s done waiting honestly… But… There’s a different problem I’m worried about”

“What?”

“Him. Her ‘best friend’ aka obsessed guy who keeps fucking standing in my way” Robert sighs kicking the ball a bit harder than expected. Jay was about to answer but the statement clearly wasn’t over “You know what that bastard did?! He fucking walked into the room, all gloomy-like, right when we were about to… And she fucking kicked me out, just like that. Because ‘Zayn looks really down, it must be important’” Robert mimicked a female voice with so much venom it made Jay twitch.

“Damn, she’s really driving you crazy isn’t she?”  Jay asked with a chuckle, but Louis could sense the seriousness in his tone.

“Yeah she is. And as for him. First time I see him I swear to god I will bash his stupid model face in”

Jay laughed before answering “Won’t she be mad though?”

Robert’s eyes glinted as he replied “Who says she ever has to know”

=

Louis sighed, finally wrapping a towel around himself, after a not nearly as relaxing shower as he hoped it would be. He walked into the locker room, noticing some of the boys who were still there huddled around a laptop, laughing out loud at a video.

“Oy, Lou, come here, you gotta see this. This guy is fucking hilarious” Josh said, laughing as he spoke. Louis went closer, grabbing his shirt in the process and pulling it on his barely covered body. The guys all laughed playing a different video, Louis hearing the first beats of a Taylor Swift song. He rolled his eyes, getting ready to leave, when he saw his face.

“He’s the new radio host, isn’t he funny?” George commented smiling.

“He’s much better than Grimmy that’s for sure” Josh continued, Jay butting in “I heard he’s really nice. My sister met him, said he was too nice to even be in this town”

Louis felt like he was going to be sick. No, not this again, anything but this. He hated this feeling. Why could the one person he hated the most be the most pleasant person to everyone else? How could he even tell anyone when people would just assume that Louis with his attitude, and short temper was probably the reason for their split, and not the ‘angel boy’ currently looking at him adorably from the screen.

He quickly put on his jeans, placing a beanie atop his messy hair and draped a denim jacket over his shoulders wishing to just be able to fall asleep until all this was over. After having grabbed his things Louis exited the room, saying a goodbye to all the boys. He froze in his tracks upon seeing the man in front of him.

=

Tam left for her Zumba lessons, quickly pecking Zayn on the cheek and waving to Mill as she ran out of the flat, late as per usual. Mill remained standing in the living room, her eyes set on the door before they turned to Zayn.

“You know, the sound of a banging door woke me up last night” she said, staring at him, his body slightly frozen not really willing to talk about the events which occurred the previous night.

“So I managed to hear quite a lot” Mill stated going closer to Zayn. “And I think it’s time we talked”

Zayn gulped looking slightly scared as she pointed him to the couch, sitting next to him.

=

“Lou, why didn’t you return my calls?”

“I… I’m not going to return your calls anymore” Louis shivered, scrunching up his body slightly. The man was flabbergasted as he stared at him, eyes wide and mouth open.

“Why not?”

“Because I don’t want to talk to you anymore” he told him staring at his sneakers.

“But, I am your dad” the man spoke, louder, more authoritative than he had been before.

“No, you are just a man who fucked my mother now please don’t call me again” Louis groaned, trying to go past the man, who immediately stood in his way.

“What kind of language is that?!” he asked, grabbing Louis’ tiny wrist.

“That’s just how I was raised. Not that you would know anything about it, now would you?” Louis spoke with anger in his voice, snatching his hand away.

“Louis…”the man’s voice softened, his expression calm. “I know I haven’t really been there for you…”

“No you haven’t! You are not my dad, you are not my anything! Just because you are my blood doesn’t mean you are my family! So just, fucking leave me alone!” Louis screamed unaware of the attention he gained, the boys having just left the locker room themselves.

“Louis, what has gotten into you? You were so happy to see me, and now you are looking at me like I’m some sort of villain. What did I do wrong?” His father questioned, his voice much lower than Louis’.

“You did everything wrong. Now just stop calling me okay?” he sighed, feeling defeated.

“Louis I want to be there for you, and I’m sorry that I wasn’t. But I’m here for you now. I am your dad, and I love you…”

“I only have one dad and it sure as hell isn’t you” Louis said, his tone cold. “I’ll write you a cheque for you to just leave me alone” he grabs his bag, searching in it before pulling out a cheque book and a pen. He wrote a rather large number, with lots of zeroes and signed it. “There, now you have what you came here for. Now you can leave me the hell alone” he pushed the paper in the man’s hands going in the direction of the car.

“Louis, wait! I… Your sister, she wants to meet you” he said going towards  Louis and trying to stop his departure. Seeing as Louis wasn’t slowing down he continued “Louis, I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you. I couldn’t be a father, I was stupid and young, and I’m sorry”

Louis turned on the engine, putting the seat belt on. He turned to face the man once again, feeling tired and defeated, his heart hurting.

“You could have been a father. You just couldn’t be one for me” he said before backing up and speeding off, leaving the man once and for all.

 

=

“Hey kiddo, what’s up?” Mark’s voice rang through the laptop.

“Nothing, just wanted to hear from you” Louis spoke from his place on the couch, dressed in the comfortable beige sweater he practically stole from Harry.

“I’m so glad to hear that! How you’ve been?” Mark asked, smiling at the boy as he moved the webcam a bit, trying to get a better angle of himself since Louis currently saw just his nose.

“Hm… I’ve been better, I guess”

“Are you upset?” Mark’s face was finally shown, his forehead in a deep frown.

“No, I’m… I’m just tired of it all I guess” Louis sighed, curling his hands in the sweater.

“Please don’t be upset about us. I promise you everything will be fine. I know a divorce can be tough on you kids but…”

“What divorce?” Louis cuts him off, eyes wide.

“Hasn’t your mother spoken to you when she was there?”

“Um… No…” Louis replied, suddenly feeling worried. Maybe he misunderstood, it can’t be…

“Your mother and I are getting divorced. But trust me it’s for the best really. I promise it won’t affect our relationship Louis”

Louis stared at the screen, feeling too many emotions running through his head. He loved Mark. He was his father, always had been. And now, there’s no reason for him to even look at Louis anymore. Who is he now? Just the son of his ex-wife. Nothing else. Just someone unimportant in his life.

“Boo, I adopted you, remember? I’m not going to abandon you just because of this. You are my son”

Louis could feel tears welling up in his eyes. These past two days were too much for him to bear. He could feel himself getting sadder and sadder with each breath, his heart aching and head pounding. He needed to stop the conversation, before it got out of hand. Before he started crying, and drove the man even further away. He made an indifferent face as he replied.

“It’s fine, really. We’ll, um, we’ll talk later, okay?”

“Louis, are you sure, we can talk now?” Mark asked worried, knowing full well the character Louis was. He never let anyone see the pain inside him, always keeping it to himself. His tears were reserved for solitude, his emotions pushed aside in front of other people. He tried so hard not to be weak that he subsequently broke himself even more.

“It’s fine. Bye”

“Bye  Lou, love you” Mark said, met with a black screen, the call having ended.

 

Louis curled up in a ball, his knees pressed to his chest, his small, sweater covered arms enveloping them. He placed his head on his knees, his fringe covering his eyes. He sighed deeply, his shoulders falling. The feeling of loneliness crawled up on him, the dark of the flat enveloping his small hunched up frame. The abyss spoke to him, the silence, the dark, it felt almost freeing, the idea of not feeling anything, not feeling the pain which screamed from every inch of his broken body.

He wanted to cry, wanted to let it all out, to pour the emotions out in long tear streaks and ragged breaths. But he couldn’t, his body refusing to do what was so unnatural to it, so uncommon. Tears were not a substance he often came across, they were quite rare, like a diamond, yet much less cherished.

He heard a doorbell ring, somewhere in his head probably, or maybe outside his own door. It sounded all the same to him. He didn’t care, why would he? Nothing mattered at this point. It was all just one disaster after the other, he much rather wouldn’t do anything, in fear of something else happening. Although now that he thought of it, what else could possibly happen to him? It was as if his entire life was falling apart right before his eyes.

Ring. Ring. Stupid doorbell, why won’t you let me drown in self pity and despair?! Louis’ mind wondered. He got up, just wanting whoever it was at the door to leave. He opened the door, shocked at who was standing in front

“Harry?”

“Hey Lou” Harry spoke back, looking worried, and concerned. Louis couldn’t do this now, he just couldn’t. He had enough to deal with on his plate, to have to think about his feelings for Harry or the fact that the boy in front of him, however better he looked now, was much more broken than himself.

“Harry, I… I can’t do this now” he said, staring at the floor. “Please, just… Another time” Harry moved on to speak, but Louis continued after a drawn out sigh “I know I’ve said I’d be there for you. And I will, I promise. Just not today, okay, anything but today, please” Louis ran a hand through his hair, hoping Harry wouldn’t be offended. He knew how sensitive the boy was, but had no way of sucking it up. He just needed a break, from everyone, and everything.

“I didn’t come because of me” Harry said showing him the paper bags he was carrying. “I had a feeling you were down, so I brought some wine, and homemade chocolate ice-cream, and even some ingredients to cook you dinner in case you weren’t eating anything” Harry said blushing a bit, noticing how obsessive-compulsive that must sound. He really never knew when to stop when it came to taking care of someone.

“But, why? Why would you do that? For me?” Louis spoke with a weak voice staring at the curly haired lad.

“Louis, when I was feeling down you were there for me. Now I’m here for you. Let me help you” Harry said, a sympathetic look on his perfect features. Louis’ heart swelled, never once feeling this cared for, this nurtured. He never knew he needed this until it came along, and it scared him to hell how dependant he’d become. If anyone else stood at his door, Louis would have long told them to leave, yet this situation was different.

“O…Okay. Come in” Louis told Harry, moving away from the door and letting him through. He grabbed the groceries taking them to the kitchen as Harry undressed himself in the hallway. Louis placed the bag on the counter, carefully taking out its contents. A bottle of red wine, judging by the brand and year quite expensive. A pack of red meat, organic, perfect for a steak. Some potatoes and raspberries. A clove of garlic, and some green herbs Louis probably couldn’t pronounce. At the bottom of the bag stood the large plastic tub of ice-cream, a note neatly placed on it “I hope this makes you feel better”. Louis took the note, staring at it, just in time as Harry showed up in the room.

“I thought you’d make me leave, just wanted you to get my message” he spoke in a soft tone. Louis noticed the boy was wearing the same sweater, just a shade lighter, almost white. It looked magnificent on his pale skin, making his eyes that much greener. Harry moved closer to him examining the groceries.

“How about I make us something to eat, hm?” he asks, smiling at Louis as he picks up the pack of meat. Louis shrugged, adjusting his fringe, his face not decorated with a smile, but not sporting a frown anymore.

“How about you pour us some nice wine and sit there and look pretty” Harry tells him turning around and grabbing the saucepan from where it was chucked with the rest of Louis’ never used kitchen utensils. Louis could feel himself blush as he took the wine, taking out the bottle opener and carefully exerting the corkscrew. Harry turned around smiling as Louis was already pouring them large amounts of wine.

“I was just about to offer you some help, but it seems like you already know this stuff, ha?”

“Mamma loves her wine” Louis commented with a still slightly glum face, almost smiling as he heard Harry’s loud snort/chuckle which he quickly covered up with his hand.

 

=

After being properly fed, Louis was sitting down on the couch, head resting on Harry’s chest, as Harry pulled him closer to himself, Louis’ body slightly resting on his as they watched The Brides of Beverly Hills, Harry laughing at Louis’ colourful commentary of the not really that smart, indecisive brides.

The commercials came along, Harry’s face contorting as he hug Louis’ tighter placing his head on top of Louis’ shaggy hair. “Now, how about you tell me what’s bothering you?” Harry asked caressing Louis’ hair with his nose.

“Harry… I can’t” Louis says, never once sharing his feelings with someone other than the four walls of his room, if those even count. Harry maneuvered Louis’ small body so Louis was now laying sprawled out on the couch, his head neatly placed in Harry’s lap.

Louis looked at Harry with wide eyes, bluer than the depths of the ocean. Harry stroked his hair, rotating Louis’ head so that he wasn’t looking at Harry. He could hear his protest in the form of a quiet little groan, very kitten-like.

“Now, now… Remember?” Harry murmured, his other hand on Louis’ side.  “It’s always easier to talk when you’re lying down” Harry recited Louis’ words, feeling the boy visibly relax.

“Now, I’m just going to sit here and wait, until you are ready to talk to me” Harry said, continuing his petting, loving how pliant Louis had gotten. He knew it was just a matter of time before Louis spoke.

 

 

Chapter Text

The Previous Night

 

“What do you want to talk about?” Zayn asked nervously, stuttering a bit. It wasn’t his fault he felt trapped and his breathing was out of control. He twisted his hands which lay in his lap, getting wetter and wetter by the minute.

“I think it’s pretty obvious” Mill stated calmly. She had no intention of startling Zayn, she just needed to try and help as best as she could. After noticing his lack of response, apart from the trembling of his lover lip she spoke softly “I had enough time to think about all of this, and I… I’ve come to a conclusion. But I’m hoping you will tell me on your own”

Zayn kept quiet, staring at the floor, unable to arrange his feet in a comfortable position, instead moving them around, pressing the left one on the right, then pushing them both forward, straightening out his legs.

“Zayn…” Mill huffed, trying hard to think of what to say. “I want to help you, I really do. But I can’t if you don’t let me in. I know this seems hopeless, but trust me it’s…”

“No! It’s not going to get better!” Zayn suddenly shouts, his voice unusually high. His head instinctively dunked into his hands, effectively hiding his face from Mill’s eyes.

“I know how you feel Zayn” her hand reaches out to pat his back.

“You know how I feel? You have no idea about how I feel! Nobody does! I feel like… I can’t even explain it!” he looks at her with pleading eyes and for the first time she sees the emotion which was there for so long. The sadness deep inside his heart, the hopelessness he felt.

“How long?” she asks, trying to make his thoughts swim from the abyss they were currently diving into.

“How long, what?” he asks confused, his body overcome by rage, sadness, a mix of emotions which he could hardly comprehend.

“How long have you been in love with her?” Mill finally asked, maintaining eye contact and a soft tone.

“I… You… You can’t tell her! Please, no one, no one can know. Please!” he hurriedly speaks, his expression frantic, panic reaching his already constricted lungs, making him gasp like a fish on dry land.

“Zayn, calm down please” she tells him, going closer and placing a hand on his shoulder. She noticed how he didn’t fall into the touch, a little smile on his face, like he did when he was with her. It was so fucking obvious and she hated herself for not noticing earlier.

“I’m not going to tell anyone. This is between you and me” she says reassuringly, feeling him relax, letting out a shuddery breath. “Can you talk to me now, please? Just lay it on me, it’ll be easier for you if you let it all out, I promise”

“But… I… I can’t” he says, almost automatically, his brain already set to never revealing his secret. He had lived so long hiding it, it was easier to just deny than actually voice his problems. However, after taking a moment to recompose himself he managed to let out “It’s been a while”

He stared at his hands, trying hard to think of an exact moment, exact date which would divide the timeline of his life to before and after her. It all seemed to grow into one, every moment they shared treasured and cherished. He sighed, leaning into the hand which cupped his shoulder. He wished his life were simple, much unlike its state now.

“I just… I think I… I loved her since the beginning” He had to take a breath, the first time uttering the words. It felt as if a part of the weight pressing down on his chest was lifted, air flowing through his lungs. “But I only realised it when it was, um, too late”

“How do you mean too late?” Mill asked her expression sympathetic, feeling sorry for the broken boy beside her.

“I should have stopped this. I never should have felt this way. I ruined everything” he sighed, his voice strained.

“Z, what are you talking about? You didn’t ruin anything” she patted his back, smiling fondly at him.

“I fucked up with the one person that gets me the most. She and I, we just… Get along. I can’t even explain it, she just understands me. And instead of being happy with just being her friend, I go and develop these stupid… feelings”

“Feelings aren’t stupid, it’s perfectly okay. I kind of thought something would happen between you earlier, you were both so – cute” she told him mimicking the smile which crept on his face.

“Maybe if I actually had the guts, maybe something could have happened, but now?” he chuckled “Now I don’t have a chance”

“Maybe…” Mill paused “Maybe it’s better you waited” she tells him, his eyebrows shooting up in confusion. He sat more comfortably resting his head on Mill’s shoulder, enjoying the glide of her fingers on his bare arm, soothing him.

“You know what happens when a guy tells her how he feels. She just runs away from that kind of thing. But now? You’ve been her best friend for a long time, she has feelings for you. Maybe she wouldn’t mind being more than friends”

“I tried telling her” he states, completely defeated.

“I know, I heard you” she tells him.

“But, she didn’t, you know, get it?”

“I think…” Mill pauses, thinking of what to say. She was always the one people went to for advice, and sometimes it was really hard to give them exactly what they need. “I think she um, she doesn’t really believe in love? Like the romantic kind. You know she just assumes that guys are lying to her, or are unsure of what they really feel. And she only believes that we love her because we are her friends. So she probably thought you meant it in a, a platonic way, you know?”

Zayn sighed, looking at his wrist and twirling the bracelet he had on.

“Remember, when you all wanted to go out, but I wasn’t in the mood?” he asked. After seeing Mill’s nod he continued “And even though she wanted to go Tam stayed with me so that I’m not alone?” he looked up at Mill and smiled when he saw the fond in her eyes “And we made food, and then we painted something together, and we were all dirty from a paint fight so we put the clothes to wash and played video games in our underwear. Then we watched a movie, a really cool Marvel one I’ve seen a million times, but was happy to watch it with her and explain everything that was going on. We fell asleep on the couch, and I remember waking up to the sound of Harry coming back home, knocking stuff over, tipsy and clumsy, a wonderful combination” he chuckled. “And she got startled in her sleep and looked at me through half closed eyes, digging her head more into my chest and yawning like a kitten. And…” he took a deep breath “Then I felt such an urge to kiss her, I can’t even explain it, I just wanted to do so, so badly. And she fell back asleep and my heart was racing, my mind as well, and I couldn’t sleep the entire night”

He adjusted himself a bit and continued, his voice no longer happy “So, I talked to Perrie the following day and left her. I just couldn’t do it, I knew I loved someone else, and to keep her by my side, just so that I’m not alone? That would have been the most selfish thing I have ever done. So I left her, and I felt so bad, and she was crying, and begging me not to do so. But I couldn’t, it wasn’t fair towards her. And I couldn’t tell her, because then she would have been so angry. She’s a sweet person, but when she feels angry she can get manic, and there’s no saying what she could do. So I just left her without an explanation, only telling her that I stopped loving her. Which I think was true, in a way. There is hardly any space in my heart to love someone else when I love her so much”

Mill remained silent, thinking over Zayn’s words. She held him tighter, placing her own head on his, rubbing soothing circles into his back.

“I’m going to fix this. I am going to help you the best I can” she tells him slowly, suddenly feeling both sorry for and protective of the boy.

“How? Why?” he asked confused.

“Because you deserve to be happy. And she deserves to be happy too, even if she’s too stiff to see that sometimes. You are the best thing that’s happened to her, I can tell you that, and if you think I’m not going to help with that, than you mistake me for a fool” she tells him suddenly determined.

“Thank you” he replies, his voice weak. Curling in one himself. They remain seated in the comfortable position for some time, limbs tangled, heads atop one another. They hear the silent sound of the door unlocking Tam stepping inside. She entered the room a minute later, dressed in casual work-out clothes, her hair in a high ponytail. Untying her hair, and throwing the rubber band somewhere on a table she stepped towards the pair sitting on the couch.

“Cuddle session without me guys? How rude” she stated before flopping down on both of them, making them squeal as she shimmied to make herself comfortable between the two, creating a barrier so that their bodies no longer touched. She began telling them the event of her day, not noticing Mill’s smirk as she stared at her friend.

=

“Are you gonna talk to me now?” Harry asked after 15 minutes of silence. Louis dug his head further into Harry’s lap, shaking it from left to right. Harry was about to talk when Louis’ phone rang just once, as if he had just received a message. He took the phone from the table sitting by the couch handing it to Louis who watched the offensive item with dismay.

“Come on now, read it” Harry tells him, wanting the boy to act normal, hoping that the message will somehow cheer him up. He watched as Louis opened the message, not quite seeing what was written on it, but from his perspective it all just seemed like a mess of numbers. Suddenly Louis tensed from his spot on Harry, turning his face away from him and throwing his phone as hard as he could towards the unoccupied wall. Harry gasped as he saw the boy curl in on himself, his head hung low and breathing erratic.

“Lou?” Harry tried, bringing a hand to Louis’ hair, the other going to his waist and pulling him closer. Louis didn’t respond, breathing even more harshly, obviously struggling.

“Lou, please, tell me what’s going on?” Harry asked the boy again, trying hard to soothe him. Louis dug his head into Harry’s lap, his entire body scrunched up in the smallest ball possible, barely taking up any space. After trying to breathe he spoke with a week, tiny voice:

“I saw my dad today. My –sniffle–  real dad”

“Oh” Harry said, finally realizing what was going on. “So, that’s the cause of your troubles, love?” he tells him, trying hard not to flinch at the pet name which escaped his mouth.

“How’d you guess?” Louis asked with a chuckle that was anything but light.

“No one can fuck you up like your family” Harry responds lowly. Louis dares look at him, his eyes shining even brighter, probably from the tears he tried hard to push away.

“Harry, what did they…” Louis started to ask but was cut off by Harry.

“This is about you, not me. What happened with your dad? Did he offend you? Was he mean to you?” Harry asked with a voice so protective and so concerned it made chills run through Louis’ body as he quickly uttered a response.

“No, he… I just told him I didn’t want to see him anymore. And he wouldn’t let me go. So I gave him a cheque, told him I knew that’s why he came to me in the first place and drove off”

Harry sat in silence, observing Louis’ posture, how small he looked, how sad. He took Louis’ hand, enveloping it with his own, squeezing tightly as he asked.

“Did he cash it in?”

The look on Louis face said it all, the slight tremble of his lip, the fallen expression. His eyes suddenly looked much wetter than before, his body instantly turning to the other side so Harry couldn’t see his face.

“Oh Lou”  Harry said in a much calmer tone, bringing his arms around Louis and slightly lifting him up so he can lay beside the boy on the couch. Ha pushed Louis towards the back of the couch, his body not objecting even a little. Then he wrapped his arms around Louis’ waist, dipping his head so it lay on the boy’s shoulder, his entire body pressed flush to Louis’ back.

The close proximity of both Harry and the couch, leaving him barely any space to breathe, should have been terrifying and yet it was the most soothing thing he had ever experienced. To just feel surrounded by warmth, stuffed into a small space, heat and energy around his beaten-up soul. He had no idea how Harry knew that this was just what Louis needed, his entire body aching for it. He didn’t need to talk, he didn’t need to listen. He desperately needed not to feel alone.

=

“I just hope he won’t make us leave” Liam spoke in a hushed voice, as he and Stan stood in the hallway.

“I hope so too. He needs company, even if he doesn’t want it” Stan spoke sniffling a bit, his cold was still bothering him which is why he went  home rather quickly after practice the previous day.

“So, the boys told you his dad was there?” Liam asked, once more to be sure. He had noticed Louis’ foul mood as well, but the origin of it was completely a mystery to him.

“Yeah, apparently Louis told him to leave him alone for good” Stan spoke as Liam silently unlocked the door. They both stepped in, being quiet as to not wake the sleeping queen. If he even slept at all, that is. Taking off their shoes and thick coats they entered the living area, immediately freezing at the site of the two boys lying on the couch, Louis’ tiny body completely covered by a long and lean one, shielding him from the world. Stan poked Liam’s shoulder signaling towards the kitchen and walking in that direction, Liam in tow.

Liam stood expressionless as Stan closed the door, his eyes raking over the kitchen which looked different. He just couldn’t quite get why. He went closer to the sink, skimming the surfaces until he realised there was a neat stack of plates, cutlery, two glasses, and a pan freshly cleaned, and drying on the rack. He turned to Liam with a dazed expression pointing at the display.

“I knew something was different. Someone cooked in here, and I betcha it wasn’t Lou” he spoke with a smile. Liam examined the view, before scoffing. Stan raised an eyebrow, speaking in a strong Northern accent which always came out when he was slightly annoyed.

“What’s y’r problem?”

 “I don’t have a problem”

“Ye’ sure look like y’ ‘ave a stick up y’r ass”

Liam just made a face, opting not to argue with Stan. Stan was obviously not having any of it.

“This about Harry, isn’t it?”

“I don’t like that guy”

“You and I both know that Lou wouldn’t have let anyone else here last night. He actually ate something and had some sleep. That’s good enough for me; the lad obviously cheers him up.” Stan said, eyeing Liam as he leaned on the counter.

“Oh so you think he’s emotionally stable enough to actually be with Lou?” Liam asked pointedly.

“Well… Um… He’s… He’s got some issues but, maybe…”

”Maybe what? He’s totally fucked in the head, and Lou deserves someone normal. Someone who can actually take care of him”

“But Louis likes him, and I think the feeling is mutual” Stan said, not as determined as before.

“Louis only likes him because he still believes in the possibility of him changing. But he’ll soon give up on him and move on to someone else. And then he’ll pretend like Harry Styles never even existed”

“You don’t know that’s what’ll happen” Stan responded, suddenly saddened. He really liked Harry, but this possibility did sound plausible.

“Well, that’s what happened with his ex” Liam finished, looking at Stan with a face which spoke gravely of his certainty.

=

Harry stood by the door, his expression sad. He had previously been woken up by the shuffling which came from the hallway. He was always a light sleeper, and once waken had trouble going back to sleep. Deciding on a cup of tea for himself, and maybe one for Louis, he got up, untangling from Louis followed by a little whine from the still sound asleep boy, and walked towards the kitchen. He stopped once he heard voices coming from the kitchen, both of them familiar.

Harry was never one to eavesdrop, but upon hearing his own name, he couldn’t help but listen to the conversation. Now he wished he hadn’t. He thought about just how much he was fooling himself, thinking that someone might actually like him. He raked a hand through his slightly tousled hair as he went to the door, not even bothering to look at Louis. He put on his boots and left silently, feeling a heaviness in his heart which was really hard to explain.

=

Louis woke up, feeling ten times better than he had felt the previous day. He yawned, stretching out his body. He was covered by a nice clean blanket, tucked in. He smiled thinking of Harry who probably woke up before him and didn’t want him to feel cold, especially on his feet “You can’t go to bed without socks in this weather, you’ll catch a cold” he had told him last night, like a concerned mother, enveloping his tiny feet with his own yeti ones, just before singing a song which lulled Louis to sleep.

Louis could feel heat going through his body at the thought, deciding to get up before he turned into a mushy pile of pudding. He walked towards the kitchen where various sounds could be heard. He opened the door whilst speaking “Seriously, I’m still full from dinner Harry, I can’t eat ag-” he spoke cheerfully before stopping, looking at his two best friends in the kitchen. “Oh…” he added, looking like a deer caught in headlights.

“Sorry, I thought you were… Have you, uh, seen Harry? Preferably been nice to him?” he asked, adding the last part whilst looking at Liam, still not trusting his promise to butt out of his personal life.

“No. We thought he was with you. We saw you guys sleeping so we just went here” Stan answered, ignoring the looks the other two friends were sharing. “Want some eggs?” Stan had asked, hopeful.

“’M not hungry” Lou had replied going to the fridge and taking out the half eaten tub of ice-cream. He suddenly felt saddened, he was after all looking forward to spending the morning with Harry. Rather than these two who looked at him as if he was going to break any second.

“Lou, we were wondering if you maybe wanted to talk?” Liam asked, concerned. He was concerned, but not the right type of concerned. He had no idea what Louis was going through. He had a perfect tight-knit family. Louis had never had that. He even felt slightly angry at Liam, just because he had never had to go through any shit which Louis went through. Liam has one serious breakup and can’t get over it, but he can’t comprehend that Louis needed time to heal from all the shit that had been going on with him. He wanted compassion. He wanted love. He didn’t want anyone’s pity.

“No. I guess you heard, no need for me to explain it. I want to be alone” Louis said stiffly, grabbing a large spoon to eat his ice-cream with. He didn’t need company, he didn’t want it, and both his friends looking at him like that only made him feel worse. He went to his room ignoring whatever the boys were saying and locked himself. He hated feeling like a teenager again, having to physically shut people out, because they never agreed to leaving on their own. This is his flat, his life, and he needed no one looking at him with sad eyes, trying hard to justify their care and figure out what’s wrong with him . He laid down on his bed, his thoughts jumping to a different subject, wondering why Harry had left.

=

Later

I never should have gone to practice – Louis thinks as he contemplates whether or not to hit the boy standing in front of him.

“Louis, I just wanted to say I’m sorry man” Jay had said after practice, pulling him into a corner.

“For what?” He had answered, not really in the mood to argue.

“I know I’ve been teasing you a lot. Like ever since I met you and I… I’m sorry, I just couldn’t realise why any self-respecting guy would want to take a dick up their arse. But now I get it. I never knew you grew up without a dad, and you have like four sisters, right? And living with only girls you didn’t like have a male role model so I guess it’s normal to have issues you know? So now I get what went wrong with you and I’m sorry”

“You’ve got to be kidding me” Louis had replied, and was now standing there staring wide eyed at the boy who apparently thought he had said nothing wrong.

“Seriously man, I mean it, I’m sorry” Jay had spoken again and Louis was this close to kicking him as hard as he possibly could. He tried channeling his rage, knowing he could get suspended for any violent act with one of the players.

“Just shut your mouth. And don’t speak to me, unless you have to”

“But Louis…?”

“Enough” Louis groaned moving to his things and grabbing his bag, not even bothering to change out of his kit. He went outside, feeling the harsh wind and a slight dribble of rain starting to pour down. He groaned remembering he had taken a cab to here, not having the patience to ring one up and wait. He walked down the street, cursing under his breath as heavier dollops started hitting his head. Deciding to shorten his path he went through an alleyway he rarely used surprised at what he saw.

“Zayn?” he asked cautiously going closer to the man who was leaning against the wall, sitting on the pavement, his head down. Louis could recognize that quiff anywhere, and he was wearing the same shirt Louis’ had once seen, slightly covered by his jacket, and stained from something. “Zayn, what are you doing sitting in a snicket?” he went closer, finally identifying the stain and quickly dropping to his knees.

“Zayn? Are you alright?” he asked much louder this time, somewhat panicky. He lifted the boy’s head noticing he was passed out, dried blood on his nose. “Bloody hell” Louis muttered under his breath grabbing the boy and lifting him up with some difficulty. He examined him, not noticing anything else which stood out on his body. He looked down, seeing a wicked looking skateboard, painted in various designs, broken in half. Not knowing its significance to the unconscious boy he picked it up, placing the pieces in his large sports bag, before slinging it over his shoulder and resting Zayn’s body on him. He sent a message to a taxi, waiting five minutes in the downpour before maneuvering Zayn’s body inside, telling the driver his address. He had arrived rather quickly, somehow managing to help Zayn into his flat. This would have been much easier if he had help, but he wasn’t sure whether Zayn would really want someone seeing him like this. He had examined him once more closely noticing a bump on the back of his head, nothing too serious but definitely enough to knock him out cold. He placed Zayn on the couch, still decorated with the blanket before going to the bathroom, grabbing a wet flannel and some pills. He cleaned Zayn’s face, noticing his nose was scraped, and slightly bruised. He then poured a glass of water and even made some coffee, knowing it was the boy’s favourite before sitting down on the armchair next to him and waiting for his awakening. About fifteen minutes later, Louis had tried placing the coffee underneath the boy’s nose, hoping the strong smell would wake him up. He smiled in victory as the boy started to stir.

“Wha - ? Lou? Wha’ happ’n’d?” Zayn asked, sounding groggy.

“I found you in a sn- sorry alley, you were on the ground unconscious” Louis explained going to his bag. He heard Zayn groan as he tried sitting upright. Louis went to help the boy, rearranging the pillows so that Zayn could lift his upper body a bit.

“’M head hurts” Zayn spoke, slightly dizzy from the movement. Louis handed him two pills and the water, making sure the boy had them before going back to his bag and digging out the broken skateboard.

“Um, I found this underneath you” he presented the pieces to Zayn.

“No…” Zayn had said, instantly grabbing the wood. He turned it over, examining the fine writing on the bottom which was now torn in two. “All I remember is riding my skateboard, and then I felt pain, so much pain at the back of my head, like something hit me? And then everything went black”

“Does your nose hurt, I think you banged it up a bit when you fell” Louis asked, worried. Zayn touched his nose, wincing a bit “Not a lot, stings a little”

“I’ve seen enough injuries in my life to now it’s not broken, so that’s a good thing, right?” Louis tried cheering him up, trying to hand him the coffee.

“Couldn’t say the same for my skateboard” Zayn said, refusing to let go, even though the sweet smelling coffee was right in his reach.

“You really like that skateboard, don’t you?” Louis had asked.

“It was a gift” Zayn simply replied.

“Maybe it broke in the fall” Louis suggested, trying to understand.

“I don’t think it did. Do you know how many times I fell off this thing and it never even scraped? This was no accident” Zayn said simply, finally pushing the pieces away and taking his coffee.

“You think someone could have done this to you?”

“Hit me on the head, kicked me while I was unconscious…” Zayn nodded at Louis’ questioning gaze, it was hard to ignore the pain he felt from his side, right where his ribs were “…and broke my skateboard? Hardly a coincidence if you ask me. I just don’t know who could have done such a thing” Zayn spoke defeated rubbing his hands on the warm surface of the mug. Louis stood staring at Zayn, remembering the conversation he had overheard just a day ago.

=

Harry sat on the bridge, kicking his feet a bit, as his arms wrapped around the rails tightly. He was shivering slightly from the cold which crept into his bones but he kind of liked it. He liked the fact that he was actually feeling something, something other than the burning he had felt this morning when he woke, a feeling so unfamiliar to him. The heavy downpour was beating strong on his body yet he made no move in shielding himself from the rain. He sighed finally standing up after what felt like hours and walking silently over the bridge no one ever noticed. It wasn’t the prettiest of bridges, nor was it the most useful one, but it held a certain appeal to Harry. It was special. It was different but not in a flashy way. It was subtly different. Just lying there, no one ever bothering visit it, make it feel useful, nobody, that is, except for a curly haired boy.

=

“How are you feeling?” Louis asked, switching to the next film on the list.

“Better” Zayn replied taking off the pack of frozen peas from his face. The swelling on both his head and nose had died down.

“You don’t seem better” Louis simply replied grabbing some popcorn from the bowl which stood in Zayn’s lap.

“I just need a break” Zayn replied, letting Louis steal his popcorn. The heavy tune of a movie intro roaring through the room.

“A break?” Louis asked, munching on the food.

“You know when shit just keeps happening to you? Why can’t something nice happen for a change?” Zayn spoke defeated.

“I know how you feel” Louis replied with a heavy heart.

=

Liam’s finger hovered over the call button. He contemplated whether or not to call her, whether he should open that wall he’d been trying to build yet again. His eyes raked over the messages they exchanged, the inside jokes, the stupid stories, the poems she had sent him. She had so much talent it sometimes made him speechless. She would read him her poems while they lay on the bed watching the stars. He had listened to her words, a smile on his face, or tears in his eyes. She could translate emotion perfectly into each syllable. Which is why it was so hard for him to understand how she could be so emotionless now. Was it just an act? Did she in fact feel something but was terrified of what she felt? Was there a way to show her that there’s nothing to be afraid of?

“Payne, your turn” a man spoke, bringing him out of his daze. He sighed, locking the phone and placing it on the bench. He put on his gloves, before going to the man, hitting as hard as he could. He needed to get some of his emotion out. And from an early age he realised the easiest way to do so was rage.

=

“Can, you, um… Please not tell anyone, about you know…?” Zayn asked, after the film had ended, his throat still stung a bit from laughing so hard he managed to start choking on some popcorn. Louis had effectively hit him on the back, making him breathe again.

“Don’t you wanna find out who did this to you?” Louis asked confused.

“Whoever did this was a coward, which means they won’t do it again. I don’t want to get them worried. Harry would probably kill half the town if he knew”

“He’s really protective, isn’t he?” Louis asked starring at the bottle of beer in his hand.

“Yup. He’d stop at nothing to protect someone he cares for” Zayn replied, smiling at the question.

“Is that why he got arrested?” Louis asked, the question bugging him ever since he found out about it. Zayn nodded so he asked again “What happened?”

“He…” Zayn started but stopped himself. “Look, I shouldn’t be the one telling you this. If you really want to know what happened, ask Tam”

“Did someone hurt her?” Louis asked shocked. Zayn kept his mouth shut, his fingernails scraping the label of the bottle. However he didn’t need to speak, his expression said it all.

=

Louis walked home after having Zayn treat him to dinner. He had insisted saying he was too much of a bother today and wanted to make it up. Louis would complain but he had never tasted anything better in his life. He was just rounding the corner to his apartment complex when a voice spoke behind him, sounding unsure.

“Louis?”

He turned around, eyeing the man in front of him in distaste.

“Please don’t go, I just wanna talk to you” the figure had spoken. Louis stared, wanting to leave, but at the same time not wanting to go.

“Why would I listen to you?” he replied, his voice not nearly as snappy as he hoped it would sound.

“Please” the man responded desperately.

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

“Please” he asked, his entire appearance disgruntled, his hair wet and eyes sad.

“Not here” Louis replied defeated looking around the deserted street. Seeing as his life lately was the topic of many newspapers he did not really wish people to hear this conversation. He turned around heading towards the apartment complex just across the street. The man trudged along, completely silent, as if afraid that another word would set Louis off. They entered the lift, Louis immediately turning his back to the man and staring at his reflection in the mirror. He sighed, the past raining down on him much harder than the downpour which hit his skin earlier. He could feel his heart beating fast, his brain working in overdrive, trying to tell if this is what he should be doing. If he just should have said no. But, he needed closure. He needed to just hear him out before throwing him away for good.

He stepped into the flat, quickly locking the door and taking off his heavy jacket. It was getting quite chilly outside, yet he believed his skin crawled for a different reason. He sat on the armchair facing the sofa, waiting.

The man sat down, contemplating for long what to say. He settled for “Nice place you’ve got here. Cozy but luxurious”

“Thanks” Louis crudely replied, just wanting this to be over as soon as possible.

“Look - Louis – I – Fuck - Um – I wanted to say I’m sorry” the man spoke staring deep into Louis’ eyes, as if to show him he meant it.

“Sorry doesn’t mean a thing Greg. Sorry doesn’t change anything” Louis replied weirdly calm. Sometimes when he was just overflowed with emotions he tended to close up, not showing any at all.

“I know, but – but I still love you Lou. I’ve loved you for all this time. I’ve loved you since you were 16 and I still fucking love you more than anything” Greg speaks, his voice cracking. He’s eyes were pleading, his posture slumped, hair messy.

Louis sat stunned, not really expecting Greg to act like this. He was convinced this would be just a regular, what-I-did-wasn’t-wrong kind of thing. He never expected Greg to be so broken and desperate. It kind of hurt Louis to watch him like this, even though the man made him feel ten times worse.

“I am sorry for being a complete twat. I am sorry for not appreciating what I had until I lost it. I am sorry for hurting you in more ways than I can count. I am so, so sorry” Greg said again, biting his lip before running a hand through his hair, making it even more messy. Louis still remained silent, not knowing what to say. He just wanted to hear Greg out. Maybe once and for all find out why he wasn’t enough for the man. He has his flaws, he’s fully aware of them, but he never thought of himself as someone who can be so unimportant in his lover’s eyes.

“You are fucking perfect and I spent all this time trying to find someone like you. But guess what?” Greg chuckled lowly “There’s only one Louis Tomlinson. Only one boy I can call my boobear. Only one boy I can watch musicals with. Only one boy I want to wake up next to when his parents are away. Only one boy I want to be with” Greg said with tears in his eyes, suddenly grabbing Louis’ hand and enveloping it with his own two hands. Louis tried hard to breathe, this was all too much. He had always felt ordinary, not special in any way. Greg showed him that in a lovely way, and Harry, well, Harry was a whole different story when it came to making Louis feel special.

“Then why’d you cheat on me? If I’m so ‘fucking perfect’?” Louis asked, suddenly angry. You can’t just proclaim your adoration for someone you betrayed. You can’t just say things like that, when you should have shown them instead.

“I was an idiot, a dumb, stupid idiot” Greg replied, his voice disappointed, but not in Louis, himself. Louis was pleased with his answer, he is an idiot, the biggest douche on the planet. “I felt so intimidated by you. I was so scared, and confused, and I was trying to get ready…” Greg continued, having a hard time speaking. Luis contemplated his answer before responding.

“Get ready for what?”

“For you leaving me” Greg answered as if it were the most obvious thing ever. Louis looked at him as if he were insane, which made him instantly add “Please, we both knew it was gonna happen”

“Why the hell would I leave you? I love – loved you” Louis replied confused.

“You were becoming a star Lou. Everyone could tell. We’d talk at night and I’d tell you how I actually got one caller on the stupid radio and you’d tell me how you talked to three different clubs wanting to purchase you. You were bound to leave stupid Doncaster, and I was stuck there. I was 25 years old, with a dead-end job and no way of going anywhere with a 19 year old boyfriend who was more successful than I’d ever be. You know I tried applying for radio presenter positions anywhere you thought you’d might like to play?”

Louis contemplated his words never once thinking the man had made any plans for their future. He had just thought Greg was unconcerned and couldn’t care less about what happened. He never knew Greg had given this so much thought, the man always being so supportive of his career, always pushing him forward, and Louis never once asked how his was doing. He just assumed Greg was happy with the radio in Doncaster. It might be a small one, but everyone loved him to bits, and he was considered in a way a local celebrity. He never knew the man strived for more, nor that he actually tried getting more, for both their sakes.

“I didn’t know any of that” Louis replied honestly.

“Well, I kept it a secret. Didn’t want to pressure you into choosing a club just to be closer to me. I wanted to surprise you, tell you I’d be there when you move. But of course I got rejected. Of course I failed. Of course I wasn’t good enough. And the day when I got the stupid letters, all nice and condescending, I needed you so badly. I had never felt so unwanted in my life. As if all the years of education, and experience, and everything never paid off. I was watching all of my dreams bite the dust while you were fulfilling yours. It made me feel so bad, the way I envied you. I wanted so much to just be happy for you and not be sad for myself. And I needed you so badly then, because I’ve finally hit rock bottom. But you were of course on a football match, and I was so angry and sad, and I went to a pub and got absolutely shitfaced. Brought someone home. Fucked up the one good thing I had going for me. I really am dumb, so fucking dumb” Greg finished, his breath hitching at the end. He looked as if he was holding back tears.

“I never meant to hurt you Lou. I never ever wanted to do so. And I am so, so sorry. I’m sorry for not treating you like you deserve. You deserve so much better” Greg finally finished looking at his lap, shielding his face from Louis.

Louis was quiet, looking at the broken man in front of him, his brain working in overdrive. These are all things he wanted to hear. He wanted to be treated nicely. He wanted to feel special. But the problem was he wanted it from someone else.  Someone who’d probably never speak to him like Greg just did, open, honest and emotional.

“I wanted to show you how much I am sorry. I tried talking to you. I tried apologizing, but you just wouldn’t hear me out. And then I found out you were about to leave. And I realised I’ll never get the chance to show you how I feel. And I panicked. I knew how much you wanted us to be a secret, because of your career, so I thought if they found out you were gay, they’d drop the contract and you’d stay. And I’d somehow make it all better. It was such a stupid thing to do. I was so selfish. I destroyed your life just so I can have you”

Louis sat in silence before responding “That picture was private Greg. You had no right to just expose me like that. You know how embarrassed I was? How much hate I got for it? How hurt I was by it? Betrayed? How people started treating me like utter shit because of it?” Louis spoke irritated. He hated the reaction he got. He hated the picture itself. He hated the things he has to deal with 24/7.

“I had no right to do so. I betrayed you in more ways than one. And that makes me a horrible human being. But the way people treated you isn’t my fault Lou. It’s theirs. You don’t deserve hate just because you are gay. If there was a naked picture of you with a girl no one would blink an eye. People are fucking hypocrites, homophobic arseholes. You are much better than any of them will ever be. I still can’t believe they treat you like that after all this time”

“Maybe they treat me like shit because someone outed me like it was fucking nothing!” Louis replied suddenly angry. He wasn’t only angry at Greg. He was angry at the world for being so judgmental.

“At least you don’t have to hide anymore. You can actually be who you are. I know it bothered you having to hide your sexuality Lou. I could tell you hated it so much” Greg told him while rubbing a finger over his hand. Louis had forgotten it was even in the man’s hands.

“See. You’re living a perfect life. With a supermodel by your side. What more could you possibly need?” Greg asked slightly bitter.

“I’m not – we’re not…” Louis started to explain but stopped.

“You know what made me come here? I was scared to see you. Scared to admit all my faults and lay my heart on the table. But seeing you with someone else. Realising you have found someone to replace me? Someone to love you more than I did? I always deemed it impossible, I always thought we’d end up together again. That I’d get to pamper you, and love you, and show you off to the world like I would have done when we were together if I could have. I’d make you  breakfast, and lunch and dinner, and see all of your football games, and cheer louder than anyone in the crowd. I’d love you to bits, and one day propose to you. Have a family together. Raise your children. I love you Louis Tomlinson, and just the possibility of you doing those things with someone else makes me want to die”

Louis stared at the man, his mouth agape. He had a hard time thinking, breathing, listening. This was all too much. Too much emotion fit into one conversation. Too much to think about. He needed to be alone right now. He needed to be able to breathe.

“I know you can’t tell me anything now. I know I should have said this a long time ago. I know I should have fought for you in ways which wouldn’t hurt you. I know I should have been better to you. But I promise you, if you even consider taking me back, I will love you more than any man can. I can promise you that” Greg finished, taking Louis’ hand and kissing it slowly.

“I’m gonna go now. Let you breathe. If you ever change your mind, I’ll be waiting. I won’t bother you anymore. You have my number. I’ll wait forever if I have to. Bye Lou” he tells Louis, running a hand through Louis’ hair. Such a familiar touch made him feel so young again. Made him feel as if none of the shit happened. Just one touch made him feel loved again. And he hated the feeling. Because it shouldn’t be that easy. He closed his eyes, hearing the man close the door and leave the flat.

Louis had no idea how to deal with this. If times were different he would have jumped into Greg’s arms, without a second thought. But now, too many doubts flashed through his head. He was uncertain of Greg’s intentions, whether the man truly wanted him or just wanted him not to be with someone else. Wanted to be the only man Louis ever loved. Wanted Louis to pine over him like he did for years, terrified of ever being in a relationship. His excuses were valid, but after all they were just excuses. No matter the situation it is not acceptable to cheat on someone. Someone who’d do anything for you. Someone who lied to everyone he knows just to be with you. No, after all the shit Louis’s been through, Greg should have been able to deal with his own. If the roles were reversed, Louis would have held on. He would bear through his own troubles, being sure to make Greg happy.

Although his brain was giving him strong arguments, his heart was beating in a different direction. The warm feeling overflowing his body from Greg’s touch, still heating him. The words he said, admissions of love which he hadn’t heard in what seems like forever. A mention of a future, a life filled with care. He couldn’t help but wonder if. If maybe he was just looking for someone to replace the gap Greg had left in him all those years ago. If maybe Greg was the only one who could do so.

He realised that this wasn’t just a choice between being with Greg and letting Greg go. This was a choice between Greg and Harry.

Harry. Louis thought huffing. Harry makes him feel, special, cared for, warm. But then again he also makes him feel so empty inside, at the times he just runs away. He keeps doing that, keeps leaving him. Just randomly disappearing and reappearing in his life. The fact that he can just up and leave, as if Louis didn’t matter at all, made him feel hurt. Even though he’d never admit it, it hurt not seeing Harry in the morning that he woke. It hurt not looking in those piercing green eyes, smiling down at him. It hurt because Louis was starting to develop feelings for the boy. For someone who probably can’t develop feelings of his own. And he is stuck between a man who wants him and loves him (probably) and a man he likes more than he’s willing to admit, who he still can’t quite figure out.

Louis only knows one thing. He won’t let himself be broken again. Whatever path he chooses he must take one which doesn’t end in him being hurt. For this he needs time. Because this might be toughest decision he will ever make.

=

He’s going to approach this academically. Scientifically. He is going to be organized. He is going to approach this Liam style. That were his thoughts as he sat on the fluffy carpet, a notepad and pen in hand. He will analyze every aspect of the problem, weigh out the pros and cons. Make graphs, and complicated calculations.

How he ended up with the strangest list known to mankind he has no idea. He realised this was leading nowhere once he put dick sizes in the list. This is just plain stupid. He thought, laying down on the carpet and sighing. He threw the notepad away, keeping the pen and drawing a smiley on his wrist. He knew there was no way in proving what the ideal choice was. He has to dig in, observe, and collect information. He doesn’t need to be a mad scientist. He has to be a detective. Sherlock Holmes. An idea flashed through his head, grabbing his phone before he could even process what he was doing.

=

Harry sat on his bed, laptop discarded haphazardly next to him as he slowly strummed the guitar. He played a melancholic tune, soft and harmonic. It was kind of poetic, putting your thoughts into melodies. He could almost feel the sadness escaping his body as he continued to play, but was quickly interrupted by the sound of his phone ringing.

He took the phone staring at the name which was written across its screen “Pixie Boyfriend”. He sighed, thinking of scolding his friends for once again changing the name. The picture, he had to admit was cute; Louis and him sat on a bench, pressed tightly together, sun on their bodies. The memory of the barbecue still fresh on his mind.

“Hey” he answered, unsurely, every feeling he had rushing over again.

“Hey Haz” Louis replied cheerfully. Harry immediately sat up, as if Louis could see him slumped and highly unattractive. “What you up to?” Louis asked, probably being polite. Still, Harry appreciated the gesture.

“Just playing the guitar, not much. You?” Harry replied, almost hitting himself on the head. Couldn’t he have thought of something cooler to say?

“Laying on a carpet” Louis simply responded chuckling at Harry’s scoff.

“That’s disgusting” Harry commented, putting the guitar aside and flopping down on the bed “You know how many germs are on the floor?”

“Please, I keep my place clean” Louis answered, his voice menacing.

“Well you do have that French maid vibe” Harry replied laughing at Louis’ offended snort.

“I’ll have you know I have people that do that for me” he told Harry, ignoring his comment which was on the line of ‘spoiled snob’ “Plus, French maid? So overrated. I think of myself as more of a sexy teacher”

“Oh really” Harry said with a smirk “The nice kind, or the hit your bum with a ruler kind?”

“Please, have I ever been nice Harry?” Louis replied cheekily. “Plus boys like you need to be punished”

Harry laughed suddenly feeling hot. He had a hard time processing all the things Louis had said. If he had known better he’d call this flat out flirting, but he was certain that Louis didn’t like him in that way.

“Anyways” Louis broke his line of thoughts. “I wanted to ask you something and I understand if you can’t I just um… Wanted to know if you’d like to come to one of my games? Like there’s one tomorrow, and it’s like, you know really important, city derby and all that. But I know you’re busy and if you can’t come you don’t need to, I’d just really like you there” Louis said, all in one breath, obviously nervous. Harry bit his lip, contemplating everything that has happened recently.

“Um, I – I’ll try to come. I have some things I need to take care of, but I think I’ll make it?” Harry ended the answer like a question sounding unsure. He didn’t want to say no, but at the same time he was scared of coming. He was scared of even seeing Louis after the tingling he felt.

“I get it yeah. Busy man” Louis replied, sounding way too cheerful. Almost as if he were hiding his disappointment. “Anyways, I’ll tell the crew you may be coming, so you can go to my seats if you do”

“You don’t need to do that, I can pay for my own ticket you know?” Harry asked, suddenly feeling guilty.

“I know rockstar. But my seats are mine to give, no cost at all. So don’t worry. You’ll repay me with some food after I’ve won”

“What makes you so certain you’ll win?” Harry asked, proud of Louis’ confidence.

“Please, if there’s one thing that’s certain in life it’s that pizza is yummy and Man U always wins a derby” Louis replied completely serious.

“Well, good to know” Harry replied chuckling. He somehow felt airy, as if he was floating slightly off the bed. He had no idea how a conversation could do that to him.

“See ya then Haz. Or um, not if you can’t make it and stuff” Louis replied suddenly less cheery.

“See you Lou. And good luck. I know you’re gonna beat them” Harry told him sweetly before hanging up the phone. He grumpily put the phone away. Extending his body so he can close the laptop which currently displayed an article entitled “Louis Tomlinson seen with new man, friends or…?”

Harry felt guilty, knowing he probably won’t go to the game. He just couldn’t. The thought of seeing Louis, seeing his friends, made his heart swell up. He couldn’t handle the little hum which spread through his body. First from the morning when he discovered he was just a passing point to Louis, someone who he’d easily get bored of. Then the hum only increased turning into a full blown creek from seeing Louis with someone. Someone who Louis already reacted to once. Maybe he was just sleeping with the man, and felt uncomfortable when he had seen him, in public, with Harry of all people. Maybe all this time Louis actually had someone, and Harry was, Harry was just someone to have fun with. Maybe that is why Louis left him in that bathroom. Maybe, it’s because he crossed the line. Maybe he’s just trying to make this guy jealous. Maybe Harry’s just a pawn in his game. Maybe, maybe, maybe.

Harry had always been a creative child. His thoughts highly suggest that he has never changed, at least in that department. His imagination ran like crazy, every scenario worse than the other. He tried calming himself down, trying to think of a rational explanation, but he just couldn’t. Whenever something like this happened his brain tended to get really confused. Tended to just jump to the bad, and focus on the worst parts, ignoring the good. He could hardly think straight, especially once he tried remembering why any of this mattered to him so much. Why he was suddenly upset with Louis being with someone else. He didn’t have feelings for Louis. There was no reason for him to be upset. He doesn’t like Louis. He’s just a friend. Just a friend. Just a…

Harry jumped off the bed so hard his head started to spin. His pupils were dilated, and his breathing was harsh. He went on shaky legs to the couch, mostly running to it. He felt as if he was going to throw up.

“Harry what is – “ Mill tried asking immediately jumping as Harry stumbled into the room looking like a deer caught in headlights.

“I like him” he said, out of breath.

“What do you mean you… Oh” Mill replied realizing the meaning of his words. “Well, that’s nice” she said, smiling to him.

“No, I… I shouldn’t. He’s just… Friend” he spoke, speech mumbled, running a hand through his hair.

“You’ll figure it out” she told him simply.

“No, I should – I should stay away. I’m not good for him. I’m –“

“Listen up here Styles. You are a great person. You are nice, and caring, and lovely. You are smart and decisive. You are rich and successful. Plus you are basically a walking, talking Adonis. So yeah, don’t you dare put yourself down” Mill spoke sternly.

“I just… I just want to be his friend not… Not anything else”

“Then do that” Mill replies simply again, wanting the boy not to give up on Louis. She knew how scared he got. She knew how he ran away with every chance he got. She was not going to let him run away.

“But, how can I… If I?” He spoke, without much sense, yet she oddly knew what he meant.

“Maybe you don’t really like him. Maybe you’re just possessive, or horny. I don’t know. Just because you think someone is hot, doesn’t mean you have to have babies with the person. Seriously Haz, calm down”

Harry tried to breathe, thinking that this was precisely the problem. Imagining himself with Louis contained hardly any nakedness, and much more sleepiness, days spent inside, wrapped up with a man in his arms. These were thoughts Harry had never had before, and they made his throat itch.

“Harry, just be his friend. Act normal. If anything other than that happens, then be it” Mill finally tells him. She sighs, trying to think of a way to help him. Recently all she did was talk her friends through the mess that is their lives, trying her best to help.

“He invited me to a game” Harry admitted, his body swinging as he balanced between two feet, hands firmly clasped behind his back.

“Then go. He needs someone cheering for him” She tells him, a firm expression on her face.

“Why would he want me there?” he asked, confused, slightly scared of the implications.

“Maybe you mean to him more than you think. Have you ever thought of that?” she tells him trying hard not to smile. She liked that the boys were getting serious. If this could be counted as serious that is. Harry sighed, plopping down on the couch and looking straight at Mill.

“Thanks” he said shortly, and silently.

“I have to tell you sometimes when you’re being an idiot, so don’t worry”

He chuckles, leaning on to her, and asking her to increase the volume, even though he hardly knew a word of Japanese.

After about two hours of watching an anime about two girls collecting hearts, Mill paused the DVD player and turned to Harry “Harry can I ask you something?”

“You just did” he replied chuckling. For this he received a blow to the head, his complete lack of talent when it came to being funny somehow being endearing to everyone. “Sorry, fine, ask away” he said, more serious now, but not as serious as he had been before. A good sign, she thought, his mood must have improved.

“Why do you keep running away?” she asked the one question which always bothered her.

“What do you mean running away?” he replied, slightly confused, but mostly just playing dumb.

“Running as soon as you feel something? Or running as soon as you get with someone? What are you scared of?” she asks him calmly, in a way she knows won’t offend him.

“I’m not scared of anything” he replied, firmly. It was in a way true, his nightmares never had anything to do with romantic relationships.

“Why then?” she asks, pushing a bit, desperate to know.

“I just – sigh – I just don’t want that in my life” he replied to her honestly staring at his hands.

“Why not?” she asks with a pitiful expression, taking his hand.

“I’m not that type of person” any more, his brain added, the thought shut inside of him.

“I have a feeling that you actually are that type of person” she tells him, ruffling his hair. It has gotten really long lately.

“I’m not. I don’t want that” he speaks as if speaking of a plague.

“You don’t want someone to love you, care for you, treat you like the princess we all know you are?” she asks, trying to make him smile.

“You don’t know if that would happen” he tells her honestly, his voice unusually quiet.

“How could you know if you don’t take a chance?” she asks, raising her eyebrows.

“Chances are for people like you guys, strong people. I – I can’t risk that” he tells her, for the first time admitting how weak he felt amongst his friends who seemed to pull through anything.

“Harry the worst thing that could happen is that you get your heart broken” she pats the shaggy hair, untangling the curls by his ear. He leans into the touch, the big cat that he is.

Harry remains silent, thinking over her words. His fear wasn’t getting his heart broken. That was in a way inevitable, Harry had long made peace with his own lack of luck, and the things which always happened to him. However he was afraid that once broken, his heart would never be able to come back together. He had succeeded in fixing himself once, and still it left scars in him so deep he sometimes can’t even sleep. To do so again, just seemed impossible. He had the will to make himself better before. He wanted to make himself feel worthy and good, he finally felt free from the constant terror, and yet he still had a hard time coping. Everything he does, everything that he is, was carefully sculpted as he fought his own inner battles, trying hard to masquerade from the world just how broken he truly was. He knows that deep down, if the same were to happen to him know, he would just give up.

=

“Zayn, I’ve seen you flirt before. Every single girl we’ve met falls for you. Just use that to your advantage. Use your ZEN magic”

“But I can’t flirt with her, it’s strange”

“Just be like yourself, and give her some extra attention. Do things you know she loves and try being at least a little bit less friendly and more romantic. If you know what I mean?”

“No, I do not know what you mean”

“Just, imagine what couples do, what you’d do with her if she was your girlfriend and do that”

“I – I’ll try”

“Atta boy”

Zayn rolled the conversation through his head as he took out the candles from a cupboard. Vanilla, he read, knowing he had bought them for a specific reason. He put them on the opposite sides of the couch lighting them up. He was wearing a tight long-sleeved shirt that made his body look insane, the clerk in the store almost giving him 50 extra pounds just from being flustered. He was feeling confident, his hair high and cologne just right. He can do this, he is Zayn Malik after all. He’s been acting like a school boy and it would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

During his pep talk Zayn didn’t notice someone entering the room.

“Z! What’s going on, are you doin’ like a satanic ritual or somethin’?” Niall loudly proclaimed , flopping down on the couch right next to Zayn, placing his feet in Zayn’s lap. “Or maybe you’re having a bird over, hmm? Everyone out and about, am I breaking your booty call? I’d never do that. Bro code n’ all that”

Just as Zayn was about to reply the door opened yet again, in stumbling a girl wrapped up in a coat which is way too light for the cold weather.

“Heey” she smiled at the boys, waving “I hope you don’t mind I invited Niall over. Since we’re having a film marathon and he practically begged to come, plus he promised to bring the food. ” she tells Zayn smiling wide. He nods, saying something on the lines of ‘it’s fine’, trying hard not to look too disappointed.  He wanted to say that he had already got the food, one which isn’t just cheap pizza. Or that he even got her favourite wine. And no he did not go to that fancy stupid store Harry goes to so he could buy some roasted sweet chestnuts, and Italian gelato. No, he will absolutely not do any of that. He fails to capture the look Niall pointed at him, as he got up and went to the kitchen.

He made quick work of getting rid of everything. He knew this was a bad idea, he knew something had to go wrong, it always does. He sighed, a plastic bag filled with various things successfully having been stuffed in an empty cupboard no one uses. He came back into the living room just to see Tam sit on the couch, shaking a bit, and staring at her surroundings. If Tam was a normal person she would have asked why there were candles in the room, strategically placed to create a nice glow. However, she does not really fall under the category of ‘normal’.

“Scary movies, watched in candlelight? Fuck you are a genius Zayn!” she exclaims giddy and slightly tired, the way she always is when she comes from an intense work out session. She had been pushing herself more than usual lately, the reason why unknown to him.

“We can even make a salt circle around the sofa, but I think Harry would kill us” he joked plopping down on the couch, immediately struck by the familiar scent of her shower gel. Why the hell does he even know what scent that is? He hears a chuckle, making his entire body warm up, instantly freezing as cold little hands envelop his sides, sneaking under his shirt and resting there.

“You’re warm” she tells him, curling up to his body, sharing, or mostly taking his body heat. But at this rate he doubted his body could ever get cold, a very persistent little creature sitting almost in his lap.

=

“How do I look?” Harry asked, nervously fiddling with his shirt. This would be easier if Zayn was here, but he had been staying at the girls’ place lately, leaving Harry alone with Mill, who wasn’t an expert on hair, and clothes, and accessories.

“You look great, and you looked great in the previous three shirts you tried on” Mill replied, feeling glad that Harry was slightly nervous, which he rarely got. It mostly meant to her that he cared.

“But, which one looks the best?” he asked, pulling on the hem of the shirt.

“How about you wear all black, and take your new coat? You’ll look fashionable but fierce. Plus it stands out in a crowd” she tells him smiling wide. He nods, and hurries off to change. She shakes her head, certain that he would wear anything she tells him to at this point. It’s oddly endearing.

“Or you could go shirtless and I can paint a big number 17 on your chest” she has to add making Harry chuckle and loosen up a bit.

“Perfect” she tells him as he walks in, checking himself out in the long mirror.

“Thanks” he replies, looking at her uncertainly before wrapping her up in a hug. He lets go quickly enough, because he was already on the verge of being late.

“Don’t forget to cheer, you’re not just there to look pretty” she yells after him as he goes to the door.

“Omg, for realz?” he asked in a fake valley girl accent making her double over in laughter. He leaves feeling slightly better.

 

=

Louis was standing in the dark corner, shielded from the audience, but able to see the field. He jumped as someone came behind him.

“What are you doin’ here?” Stan asked loudly, looking at the same direction as Louis. He stared at the seats reserved for Louis and George. Louis’ empty per usual, and George’s occupied by his sister. The rest of the spectators were slowly pouring in, the game about to start soon. He noticed Louis’ shrug, as he turned away and started walking back towards the locker room.

“Waiting for someone?” Stan asked again, noticing the difference in Louis’ behaviour. How he suddenly looked smaller, less confident and jumpy, his head hung lower than usual and stance unsure. Minute gestures that spoke a lot.

“No. No one” Louis replied stiffly, going to Paul to discuss strategies before the beginning of the game. And to clear his head a bit. He had always been told to leave his emotions away from the field.

They were soon ushered to the field, Louis going first, followed by his team. He walked towards the centre of the field, where the opposing team stood. He reached his hand, ready to shake the head of the opposing captain but suddenly froze. He stared at his seats. In which now sat a perfect looking boy with a wide smile waving at him with practiced ease. He felt his face tear up into a huge grin, unable to control how it affected him. His gaze fell back upon the opposing captain who looked at him in a silent question, waiting with his outstretched hand. Louis quickly took it, squeezing firmly and confidently. He felt energy run through his body, pure determination. He needed to win. He needed to be the best that he can be. Harry came, against all odds. It would be awfully tacky not to give him a good show.

The game started off with Louis taking the ball and passing it around with George. As much as he wanted to just sprint and shoot, the opposing team was difficult, and a good tactic was an important factor. Which is why he waited, going further and further in, dribbling around the defense, evading their tackles. The problem with playing a team you played a million times is that they know your technique. They know how you play, which players go front, which are the shooters and which are the passers. This mostly meant that Louis was surrounded by three players at the moment, all trying to block him, knowing he was the most risky out of all the offence. He looked at George indicating to him to play as they’ve rehearsed, going quickly backwards, and catching the ball, then sprinting forward with it, passing it to Stan. He reached the goal rather quickly this way, pushing slightly backwards to confuse the defense, as just one player stood between Louis and the goalie. He was looking intently at Stan who sent the ball flying off into the air at a high speed, just ideal for Louis’ favourite shot. He jumped into the air, body rolling backwards in the air as he performed a scissor kick, sending the ball into the net with such a speed that no goalie would be able to save it. He heard the crowd roar, his teammates enveloping him for managing such a difficult shot, but his ears only heard one thing. The distinct roar of Harry, who chanted his name, clapping loudly. He looked at the boy, who wasn’t that far away considering the captain’s seats were in the front row, closest to the goal. Harry was mimicking his wide smile, around his perfect outfit Louis noticed something stand out. A camera, which was wrapped around his neck, a different one to that Harry usually carried. He felt a sensation running through his body, thinking of Harry paying attention, taking pictures and even cheering his name.

=

It was halftime, the game going exceptionally well. There were three more attempts at a goal, which unfortunately failed, and a lot of defensive actions. The boys have just retreated from the field, going to refresh themselves and negotiate an appropriate tactic.

“Hey, um” the girl next to Harry spoke, somewhat sheepishly. She looked oddly familiar, as if he had met her somewhere.

“Yeah?” Harry asked, his eyes drifting from the camera he was currently examining.

“I, um, I watched a lot of your runways and I’m a big fan” she told him, almost hitting herself on the head as she continued “How rude of me, I’m Harriet, Shelley. I’m George’s sister if you know who he is” she tells him politely, still slightly nervous. Harry swallows a lump in his throat, thinking yes, I do know who he is.

“Yeah I know him. Nice to meet you. I’m Harry” he tells her, shaking her hand as she adds an I know.

“Harry, I can’t believe you’re here. It’s nice that Louis finally has someone to watch him” she smiles at him.

“How do you mean finally?” he asks, slightly confused.

“Well, sometimes his family comes over. But Jay’s a busy woman, and with the twins, it’s hard to make time” she answers.

“But doesn’t he have friends over?” he asks, in his usual slow voice.

“Not that I know of. I think you’re the first person he invited” she tells him, her voice soft, and eyes twinkly. He just stares at her, blinking wildly, his mind on overdrive. He tries to picture it in his mind, the statement hard to process, impossible to believe. How could he be that special? Special enough that someone would want him there, want him to be the first to look at him. The first to sit in his seat. The first person who doesn’t have to be there, but wants to. Wants to because he would come to the moon if Louis asked nicely. He almost jumped, realizing the path of his thoughts. He tried soothing himself, tried letting the calm take over, not analyzing things too much. Maybe… His mind went black. He huffed cursing at his brain. Strange scenarios seemed to always pop up in his mind, but now he couldn’t think of one.

“You guys are cute, you know” Harriet spoke, breaking him out of the whirlwind of his thoughts.

He was unsure of how to respond. Should he correct her, knowing what she obviously meant? Or should he agree. Or should he just keep quiet?

“Thanks” he spoke without processing, staring at his shoes, his cheeks suddenly burning. He had never reacted this way before.

The half time was over. Thank god. Harry thought, sitting back comfortably and staring at the field, noticing a pair of cerulean blue eyes looking at him, a smile painted on Louis’ face, small and cute. Harry put his hands in front of him, showing off his thumbs, silently wishing Louis good luck. If he was the first to do this he had to make it count. He noticed Louis’ smile widen, his own widening at the thought.

The game progressed slowly, both teams being very persistent. He watched as every player gave 100%, pushing hard. The first big event was when Jay hit the opposing player, in an attempt to steal his ball, earning the opposing team a free kick.

“Fuck” Harry muttered, completely into the game. Although he never took interest in the sport, or was good at it (the idea of Harry being good at any sport was ridiculous in itself) he definitely knew quite a lot about football. And getting a free kick? It could easily help the team even their scores. He watched intently as the players lined themselves up, forming a wall in front of the goal. He frowned as he saw Louis stand on the left side of the wall, along with players who are much bigger than him. Why would they even put him there? Isn’t the point of these walls to put really high, defensive players, so that the kicker has to shoot way too high and miss the goal? Harry’s mind buzzed as his eyes ran over the players who all stood high, heads up and groins covered by their hands. Louis however, had his head bowed down, looking even smaller than usual.

The kicker sent the ball flying in a direction Harry really didn’t expect. Instead of shooting at the goal, it seemed like he was shooting at…

Harry jumped watching Louis double over and fall to the grass from the intensity of the shot. He noticed the boy wave to his team to take the ball and attack, his knees still fresh on the grass. Why would he kick at Louis? Harry thought, still on his feet, his mouth stretched into a perfect little ‘o’. As if to answer his question the crowd started cheering the kicker’s name, soon badmouthing Louis on the lines of ‘You’re right where you belong. On your knees’. Harry was appalled. He stared at the crowd, not believing what they were saying. Not believing how Louis was struck down just like that. For no reason at all. He suddenly felt upset, reminded of the countless times he was beat down, just because of the gender he liked. This was horrible, this was beyond reason.

Louis ignored the usual slurs, going up to his feet, trying to ignore the pain in his stomach. He was used to it by now. However he wasn’t used to something else. He noticed Harry standing up, looking at him with wide eyes, an open mouth, and an expression raging from sad to angry. He looked at Harry, slowly nodding towards him, as if to tell him it’s okay. He could see Harry’s face was questioning so he pulled out a smile, one that wasn’t entirely pushed. The fact that the boy was so worried about him made him happy. Harry finally seemed to think Louis was okay since he sat down.  

“That happens to him a lot” Harriet commented, her expression sad.

“It does?” Harry asked clueless, wanting nothing more than for Louis not to feel any pain.

“Yeah. They players pick on him a lot. He gets hurt often” she tells Harry, patting his shoulder, noticing how this knowledge struck the boy.

“But why would anyone do that? Why does it matter if he’s gay?” Harry asked strained, quickly composing himself once again. He had a hard time believing things like this still happen.

“People are bad. And ignorant. There’s not much he can do” She tells him, feeling sorry for Louis. She had always been fond of the boy, ever since George introduced him. Also, Louis has always been an idol of George’s (though he’d never admit it) so he was often the subject of their many conversations.

Harry sighed, sitting straighter and finally looking back at the field where Louis was running full force.

=

“You know, I found this new restaurant. And would you maybe wanna check it out?” Zayn blurted out going into the living room where Tam was lazily looking through the channels. She perked up, making her glasses fall to the floor. She tried finding them, but was unable to see where they were, the red of the glasses perfectly blending with the carpet.

He jumped to her rescue, sitting on his knees on the lush carpet, reaching his hand toward the dropped object. At that point she reached as well, his hand enveloping hers as they took the glasses. He continued holding her hand not letting her move.

“So?” he asked again, voice gentle.

“Will you give me my glasses back?” she asked jokingly.

“Depends on your answer” he replied, smiling back at her.

“Fine. Let’s go. I’m starving anyways” she replied trying to pull away. She hated the feeling of being without her perfect vision when her glasses fell off, which is why she mostly wore contact lenses.

“It’s fancy. We can wear smart clothes, and pretend that we’re posh. We can even bother the waiters if you want” he suggested watching her smile grow wider.

“Can I dress you up?” she asked, shyly, her messy hair falling on her face.

“Maybe I’ll even let you touch my hair” he said, stroking her hand. She shrieked like a little animal falling down from the couch and landing down on Zayn. She hugged him, grabbing her eyeglasses and springing up, looking determined and frazzled at the same time.

“I need to get ready. We need to go now!” she exclaimed jumping like a child and going to the bathroom. He could soon hear the sound of the shower running. He remained sitting on the floor, hoping that for once his plans don’t backfire. He took out his phone, dialing the number of the restaurant.

“Aumbry restaurant, how may I help you” a woman answered on the phone.

“Hello, I need a table for two” Zayn simply replied.

“And for what date do you want it sir, I didn’t get your name?” the woman responded, flicking through some papers.

“Zayn Malik. Tonight, 9 o’clock” He could hear a pause.

“Um, sir you do know people book tables here a month in advance. There is no way I can… Zayn Malik?” she cut herself asking his name.

“Yes?” Zayn asked, already feeling irritated.

“Would you like an aisle or window table?” she asked, writing down fast.

“Window, thank you very much. Goodbye”

“Goodbye”

Tam emerged from the bathroom, covered by a fluffy white towel and smiled towards Zayn who was now sat on the couch, idly looking at the TV. She went into her room, coming back to the boy and nudging his shoulder. He turned around looking at her body dressed in skin coloured, lacy lingerie, one he knew she received as a gift from Mill. He tried hard not to stare, keeping his eyes up.

“Since I’m choosing your outfit, it’s only fair that you choose mine” Tam tells him, extending her hand for him to take. He stood up after a minute of silence following her to the closet filled with various clothes. He carefully rummaged through the closet, thinking of the choices. He knew exactly what she liked, and tried to incorporate himself into it. She waited in the room, sitting on the bed excitedly. He came out (of the closet, as Tam joked once seeing him, laughing loud) carrying three different hangers.

“Okay, hear me out” Zayn tells her, placing the clothes on the bed, carefully separating them.

“This one” he points to a baby pink dress, lacy and frilled “is if you wanna feel girly and ladylike” he explains the thoughts he had in mind when choosing.

“This one” he points to the long, sapphire coloured dress “is if you wanna feel fancy and like you are going to the Academy Awards”

“And, this one” he points to the mid thigh black dress, which has an open back, but is completely covered in the front, tight on the lover body and flowey on the top “is if you wanna feel – um – hot. I kind of thought you could pair it up with like a faux fur coat, you know make it dressier”

She beams at him, admiring his choices before going towards the black dress and picking it up.

“I love how much thought you put into this. And how you let me choose” she tells him, bending down to put the dress on. This time he wasn’t fast enough to catch on, his eyes landing on the bottom which was literally in front of his face. His jaw dropped, his eyes raking over the roundness, his hands clenching in fists.

“Zayn!” Tam spoke loudly, making him jump.

“Wha’?” he asked, feeling his face burn.

“I said, can you unhook my bra please” she repeats the sentence he must have missed. He muttered a positive response, before going closer and placing his hands on her back, the skin still slightly damp from the shower. He breathes through his nose, concentrating deeply. He managed to unhook it on the first try, using his thumb and index finger. Her hands were holding the bra on the front, but now where able to throw it on the bed. He stared at the bra, and then at her back, realizing that she was standing in front of him without a bra. Even though he could hardly see, it still made him feel anxious.

She turned around, the dress finally in place, her hands fitted in the long sleeves. She looked at his reddened face, ignoring his weird expression.

“So, what should I do with my hair – straightened, curled?” she asked, going to her vintage vanity table and sitting down. She pushed her hair back, and started applying her makeup. She was going for a softer, sophisticated look, with gold eyes, and warm tones, accompanied by a red lipstick. He watched her carefully place the makeup on her face before he spoke.

“Why don’t you just leave it like that”

“Natural? Are you sure?” she asked, not turning around, but looking at him through the mirror.

“It suits you” he simply replied.

After some time they arrived at The Bachelor Pad where Tam chose her outfit for Zayn. A simple black suit, very fitted, accompanied with a white collared shirt and a half untied bow. Zayn put on the clothes quickly, while she was in the bathroom, taking something from the shelves.

“Proper smart and all that” she told him smiling, before putting the hair mousse and comb on the table. He was starting to regret letting her touch his hair.

“Come on sit down” she points to the chair, and watches as he sits down nervously. She picks up the mouse and spreads a small amount all over his hair.

“I’ve always wondered how you look with your hair down” she tells him, as she combs through his hair.

“I don’t really like it when it’s down” he tells her, suddenly feeling shy.

“Trust me, we can make it work” she replies. After 15 minutes of complete concentration and silence Tam puts away all the utensils and stares at him with an unreadable expression.

“We can’t let you out in public looking like this” she tells him, frowning. He jumps up, nervous, going to see himself in the mirror.

“Because you look too damn good. I’m a genius” she adds, chuckling. He stares at his hair, the spiky, yet somehow soft texture reminding him of those manga characters. It was a strange feeling, he had to say, but he liked it.

“This is perfect, thank you” he tells her politely.

“Selfie time?” she asks, taking out her phone.

“Yeah” he replies going closer to her as they take a million selfies. Soon they finish, going to the restaurant in his car which he rarely uses. He even remembers to open the door like a true gentleman, his mother would be proud. They enter inside, the staff meeting them hastily, treating them better than any other guests. They raised quite a storm, everyone staring at them, making Zayn feel more confident than before, relishing in how good they looked together. He had to whisper in her ear how beautiful she looked. She smiled, returning the compliment. After being seated, Zayn ordered some expensive wine he knew Tam would like and they were currently looking through their menus.

“Have an idea on what you want?” he asked, smiling at her.

“Yeah” she replied, slightly overwhelmed by how formal this all was. She rarely felt so princess-like.

The waitress soon came, staring at Zayn in a way that would definitely make him run away if he could.

“May I take your order?” she asked.

“I was wondering are the vegetables you use organic?” he asked, hearing Tam almost snort, hiding her face in the menu. Bunch of children they were.

“Um, yes sir, we only use seasonal vegetables which aren’t treated with pesticides” she replies, slightly confused. She did not really expect for them to make such a fuss. But after all they were models, a very peculiar kind to restaurants.

“And are the animals treated fairly, not kept in cages?” Tam asked, smiling towards the girl. She could tell the waitress was getting more and more nervous.

“Um, I think so” she replied. Zayn raised an eyebrow adding “You think?”

“I know. Sorry. Yes they are” she replied, her hand twitching.

“Fine then” they both smiled ordering fancy dishes with both fish and chicken.

“None of these dishes have pork in them?” Zayn asked seriously.

“No” she replied.

“They aren’t cooked in pork grease?” Tam added, looking concerned.

“I think not… I will go check on it right now, and if they are I can tell the chef to make them in butter” she tells them, not knowing what to say anymore.

“Vegetable oil” Zayn corrected her and she nodded.

“Us models have to watch what we put in our bodies” Tam tells her eyeing her up and down, then handing her the menu. The waitress grabbed both of their menus, walking away fast.

“Is she gone?” Zayn asked, hardly containing a smile.

“Yeah” Tam responded, chuckling loudly.

“That was brilliant” Zayn said, laughing as well.. “We sounded so pretentious. Oh my god it’s obnoxious”

“I know” she replied taking her glass and toasting with Zayn to their silliness.

It was a good evening, a perfect meal. A good bottle of wine. There was even a candle on the table. Zayn had a hard time remembering when was the last time he felt so happy. And when the waitress asked for their picture to put on their wall, he smiled wide, his hand enveloping Tam’s back, loving the way her smile wasn’t staged but genuine. They just fit, he knew it. He just had to make her see for herself just how perfect they were for each other.

=

The game ended just as amazingly as it began, the score being 2-0 as Stan scored with Louis’ assistance. The team was cheering and jumping around, Harry clapping loudly, proud of the boys. He didn’t know much about football, but he could tell their team was good. The dynamic between the players is solid, and they are very rational, using different techniques and tactics, not just kicking the ball around.

The teams piled out of the stadium, Harry patiently waiting in his seat. Louis spread out from the boys, going closely to Harry and smiling at him, sweaty and dirty from grass. Harry mimics his smile.

“Hey” Louis tells him leaning towards the bleachers.

“Hey. You were great” Harry replies, not even noticing Harriet staring at them with wide eyes.

“Thanks. And thanks for coming” Louis replies, trying to move his hair away from his forehead. He knows that he looks like a mess, but honestly he doesn’t care.

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world” Harry smiles at him tilting his head. “So, how about that food I owe you?”

“That could be arranged” Louis replied, smiling as well.

“Okay. I’ll wait ‘till you make yourself look presentable” Harry eyes him in fake disgust waving a hand in the air as to get rid of the smell.

“Excuse me, I look amazing” Louis responded mock offended.

“You always do” Harry replies, lowering his voice, making Louis tilt his head down, his cheeks reddening. He turns around going towards the locker room.

Louis emerges with the rest of the team, everyone questioning why he looked so giddy. He noticed Harry standing in the hallway, leaning on a wall, using his phone, looking like he just walked out of a magazine. He perked up hearing them coming, and put his phone back into his pocket. He came up to the boys who were all starting to catch up.

“Nice game lads” he said simply, putting an arm on Louis’ shoulders. Louis felt so nice, and small, his tired body enveloped by Harry.

“Harry” a few of them replied, smiling, and all sending looks to Louis. Jay decided to speak first “So, that’s why you were so happy today” looking at Louis. Louis smiled, ignoring their words, noticing Harry beaming next to him.

“We have a celebratory going out tonight, so you return our Louis before he turns into a pumpkin” Josh added happy for the boys.

“Will do” Harry replied, ignoring the way they were all trying to make Louis embarrassed. He had enough friends who loved doing that to him to know when to ignore such comments.

“So where shall I take you?” Harry asked, after nodding towards the boys and going to the exit.

“Something lazy, casual. I’m a mess” Louis replied, beaming, his cheeks red.

“No you’re not” Harry honestly told him, loving how Louis could always look good when completely casual and relaxed, effortless perfection. “Want to eat some nice Italian pizza? It’s a cozy little thing, I go there sometimes?” Harry suggested, instantly deafened by the noise which was outside, as they opened the door, his hand squeezing Louis’ shoulder tighter. Louis stared at the crowd in front, dazzled.

It’s not the enormous amount of reporters, flashing their cameras that struck him. He was sort of used to them, although their number wasn’t usually in the double digits. The thing that surprised him the most is the amount of screaming girls, staring at them, chanting both their names. He couldn’t understand why so many girls would wait in front of the stadium. There were always some, big fans of a certain player, but never in this amount. He put a hand on Harry’s lower back and whispered into his ear

“Take me there. And do it fast. This is too much”

Harry nodded, ignoring the reporters, and waving towards the girls. He led Louis towards the car, but Louis suddenly stopped him as they walked away from the attention.

“Let’s walk” Louis told him, determined.

“It’s not that far away, but aren’t you tired?” Harry asked, putting the keys back into his pocket.

“I’m still hyped up, come on” he pulled Harry’s hand leading him away from the car park. Harry felt warmth spread through his body as he continued holding Louis’ hand, leading him towards the restaurant. They entered in haste, racing on the long street, ignoring the strange looks of random people on the street. Harry came quickly after Louis, Louis complementing him on the lines of “You may look ridiculous, but you sure can run fast”. Harry loved the compliment because it was definitely genuine, and it came from Louis.

They sat a booth, sharing a large pizza, with Louis eating more than Harry, and stealing away his crusts. It was casual and relaxed, just what Louis needed after a tiring game. He received a message on his phone, from none other than his sister “You’re trending on Twitter, I can’t be more proud” and one of those disgusted faces. He laughed, going to his Twitter just as Harry excused himself to go to the bathroom. He saw that his name was trending, tweet after tweet popping up in his mentions. He saw pictures from the game, and pictures of him and Harry in front of the stadium, looking like a proper couple. Everyone was going crazy, and he noticed that Harry tweeted as well. It was an instagram picture, with the added comment.

He clicked on the link, seeing the picture that was loaded picturing him doing the scissor kick.

 

It looked amazing and Louis couldn’t believe Harry tweeted that, so fast after the game. He smiled at Harry as he came out of the bathroom and sat back down, raising an eyebrow at Louis’ knowing face.

“Coolest thing you’ve ever seen?” Louis asked, not able to hide his smile.

“Oh you saw that” Harry replied, staring at the cutlery which lay on the table. “Well it was pretty cool” he added, looking at Louis through the curls which fell on his face.

“Thanks” Louis replied, standing up. Harry quickly paid the bill, putting on his coat and waiting for Louis to put on his jacket.

“How much did that thing cost?” Louis asked, touching Harry’s arm.

“Just working out every day. No cost at all” Harry mocked him, and fake yelped as Louis hit his arm.

“I meant the coat, bloody idiot” Louis told him, his eyes crinkling. Harry just shrugged, smiling devilishly and leading him out of the restaurant.

“Fine don’t tell” Louis replied offended, but after only a minute of silence looked at Harry and said “Walk me home”. He didn’t mean it to sound so bossy, but Harry was thrilled to do so, so all was well. They walked to the apartment complex, Harry’s hand on Louis’ back. They talked about the game, Louis using terms Harry could hardly understand. Harry talked about his newest contract with Burberry. He looked happy, relaxed. They talked about Halloween, Harry inviting Louis to his famous cross-dressing party. They talked about their friends, and how stupid they were for not getting together yet. They weren’t too far from the flat as heavy rain started pouring all of a sudden from the sky, showering them both and making them wince. Louis tried walking faster, but Harry pulled him back, his head facing the sky, letting the rain fall on his face. Louis stared at him wondering if the boy was even real.

“Don’t you just love the rain” Harry said walking slowly, letting it soak through their clothes and deliberately splashing Louis by stepping in a puddle.

“You did not just do that” Louis replied smiling before splashing Harry as well. They continued the walk to the flat, getting wetter and wetter by the minute, giggling like a bunch of children. They finally arrived at the entrance.

“I had a lot of fun” Louis told Harry and screeched as the boy shook his head, letting the wet drops hit Louis’ face.

“Me too” Harry replied from his position squeezed between Louis and the wall. It was a tight fit so that they don’t get wet from the rain. Although it didn’t really matter now, or they could have just walked inside, something about standing underneath a canopy had its charm.

“I’ll let you go to your party then” Harry told Louis, picking up a stray drop which was falling down Louis’ cheek.

“Right. See you” Louis told him, smiling at the boy. He looked at Harry’s eyes, staring at his lips as they said their goodbyes. They were so close, basically breathing the same air, wet and rosy-cheeked. At that moment there was only one thing Louis wanted to do.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Louis breathed the heavy air between them, staring at the way Harry’s curls were dripping small droplets of rain on his emerald coat. His eyes scanned Harry’s face, his cheekbones standing out from the pure white porcelain skin, dabbed in the pinkest of reds, the same shade as his lips, one of which was trapped by his teeth, biting on it ever so slightly. He truly was crafted by the gods. And he was just an inch away. Louis went closer, tilting his head slightly so it fit perfectly with Harry’s.

The building entrance suddenly opened, out stumbling a middle-aged woman, adorned with a heavy coat, large umbrella and even larger hat. Harry politely stepped out of the way, trying hard to ignore the frown which spread across her face as she squeezed her way between the boys.

“God, I hate that woman” Louis commented, as soon as she was out of earsight.

“I mean, she’s a bit rude, but still” Harry replied, absent-mindedly fixing the shoulder of his coat.

“A bit? She held a meeting for the entire building when I moved in, wanted to evict me out because ‘I’ll corrupt the youth’. The youth being her snot-nosed son who makes every-day passes at me” Louis replied, rolling his eyes. Harry tried hard to ignore the pang spreading through his chest at the mere thought of someone flirting with Louis. He smiled replying with ease:

“I can’t say I blame him”

Louis stood stunned watching Harry, trying to decipher if the statement was a joke, or if Harry actually complimented him in a very cheeky way. He couldn’t tell pass the practiced smile Harry could wip out at any moment. Harry used the silence, and slight confusion of the smaller boy as he came closer, tilting his chin and placing a hand on the boy’s hip. His lips slowly touched Louis’ cheek, the sweet texture and plumpness making Louis’ insides burn. Harry pulled back, eyes hidden underneath his long curls as he smiled yet again, this time different, small and cute.

“Bye Lou” Harry tells him, spinning on his heels and going away before he did something stupid.

=

“That wine was divine” Tam commented leaning her head on Zayn’s shoulder as they exited the restaurant. “Get it, wine – divine?” she continued giggling.

“You’re starting to talk like Harry” Zayn commented, chuckling as well. The wine indeed was good. Strong as well.

“We should go out” she told him, her face excited, as if she had thought of something really important.

“You think?” he questioned, leading her to the car. He contemplated not driving, but upon assessing his current state, he had about half an hour before the wine actually kicked in as he let Tam drink the most of the bottle, surprised to see her only slightly tipsy.

“Yeah, let’s call Mill” Tam said, digging through her small bag, trying to find her phone among the million other things she doesn’t need.

“Or… we can go alone” Zayn suggests, his usual nerves disappearing from the sweet liquid.

“You and me?” Tam asked, the rummaging having stopped.

“Why not? We can have fun without them” he told her, his hand slipping from her waist to her lower back. She looked deep in thought before nodding.

=

“Sooooooo?” Mill asked Harry as he came to the flat, dripping wet, but lacking the usual indifference which was accompanied with the state. Moreover, his cheeks where slightly flushed, his eyes shining.

“I had fun” he tells her, taking off his coat.

“Was it nice and relaxed?” she asks him, in her hands an unopened box.

“Yeah” he replies, pulling off his wet boots, and shook his curls, springing water over Mill, resembling a dog.

“See? No stress. Just don’t freak out over nothing, okay?” she asks him, her tone resembling one a parent would use on a child.

“I won’t” he answers, still unsure. “What’s that?” he asks, pointing to the box in her hands.

“This? The new juicer just arrived, I bought tons of fruit and I thought we could make some juices” she tells him smiling wide. He nods, pointing towards the bathroom, so he can take his dripping clothes off. She acknowledges his nod, going to the kitchen and setting up the machine.

 

 

"Maybe a bit of ginger?" Harry suggested tasting the orange substance.

"Good call" Mill agrees, grating some into the pitcher.

An hour later the doorbell rang. Harry opened the door, smiling wide, flushed and pink.

"Hey guys. What's up?" Jaymi asked, raising his eyebrows at the pair as Mill entered the hallway yielding a glass.

"The ceiling" Harry replied, giggling like a two year old.

"Are you two - drunk?" Jaymi asked unbelieving.

"We only made a little juice" Mill replied winking.

"And did this juice contain some alcochol?" Jaymi questioned, all knowing.

"A little bit" Mill replied mock innocent.

"It was my idea" Harry proudly stated.

"Good to know. We goin' out or what?"

"Yeah, we - we should" Harry replied. Mill nodded, dashing to the bedroom, putting on the clothes she already prepared.

"Where's Z, and Tam?" Jaymi interrogated Harry who also had no clue.

"They're having dinner" Mill yelled from her room, taking her makeup bag and sitting next to Harry on the couch, dressed in a simple black dress, her neck adorned with perls.

"Dinner just the two of them? Where?" Jaymi asked, intrigued.

"Aumbry" Mill simply replied, not noticing his eyebrows shoot up.

"Aumbry? But that's really expensive and fancy and the waiting list is huge. Olly and I barely got a reservation for our anniversary." Jaymi commented, making Harry perk up from where he was silently adjusting the collar of his white dress shirt. "Why are they going anyway?" Jaymi continued to ask, getting impatient as Mill slowly put on her bronzer.

"Zayn wanted to go, she said yes" Mill answered, missing her usual filter. She was feeling rather nice and bubbly, having no intention in making complicated lies.

"You mean like a date?" Jaymi asked propping on his knees on the couch, excited.

"A date? What? That's ridiculous" Harry finally spoke up, lightly chuckling.

Jaymi ignored Harry's comment, staring at Mill instead, browsing her reaction. She simply put on her mascara, put it back in the bag, and zipped the bag up.

"Don't be silly" she told Jaymi, a serious expression on her face as she exited the room. Going to fix her hair.

=

Zayn followed Tam into the dimly lit club, holding her hand firmly as to not get separated. They were being led by the hostess to a small booth in the VIP section, the perks of everyone knowing who they were in Manchester. Tam placed her bag on the table, and sat in the booth, shimmying so that Zayn could fit in next to her. The waiter came, quickly taking their orders and flashing them a perfect smile.

“It’s nice, wonder why we never went here” Tam commented observing the atmosphere.

“Probably ‘cause we’re always at Karma” Zayn tells her, dipping his head to whisper in her ear. The waiter arrived handing them their drinks, Tam took her colourful cocktail and Zayn took his whisky. They clinked glasses, slowly drinking the liquid and enjoying each other’s company.

“Let’s dance” Zayn insinuated, jumping up and extending his hand.

“Dance? But you – you don’t like dancing” Tam spoke, taking his hand and standing up.

“I do, I’m just really bad at it” Zayn winked at her leading her towards the dance floor. She started dancing, as he followed in front of her, loud music blasting through the speakers. He went closer placing his hands on her hips, searching her expression for any discomfort. Instead he found that the girl looked happy and completely in bliss, smiling wide and dancing even more seductively than seconds ago. He twirled the girl around pressing her back firmly to his front, shimmying to the rhythm, his veins pumping with alcochol and adrenaline. He could feel little droplets of sweat forming on his chest, some from the extreme temperature others from the situation itself, making his shirt stick to his torso, defining him even more. Oddly, his hair remained perfect.

 

=

Heavy techno music could be heard, the kind that makes your ears buzz for a couple of hours after you’ve come home. People were grinding on the dancefloor, enjoying the intimate setting of the club, the lights dimmed to almost complete darkness. Mill walked forward wedged between Harry and Jaymi who were guiding her to the booth. She was constantly looking around, trying to figure out the crowd and if there were people to say hi to, or more importantly, avoid. They sat down, observing their surroundings, and frolicking upon seeing why this party was the talk of the town. Apparently, it wasn’t an ordinary party, it was a foam party.

=

“Sooo, how was your date Tommo?” Josh asked, nudging Louis with his hip as they entered the packed club.

“Date? Please, I’m more of a marriage first, dates second, kind of gal” Louis replied in an overly feminine voice making them all laugh. It was easier to joke about these things. Telling the truth just made it seem all the more real. How does one explain to people that he’s seeing a guy who he almost slept with, but they are now friends, but he still likes him, and sometimes he wants to kiss him when it rains. Yup, it’s practically hopeless.

“Well, sorry to break your honeymoon, but we had to party. 8th win in a row? That must go in club history!” Robert spoke by Louis followed by the same enthusiasm from the rest of the team. Louis slightly chuckled, still remembering Zayn’s ‘little accident’.

They stood at a large table, big enough to accompany all 15 of them, without even needing to rub their shoulders and elbows on one another. Each ordered their drinks, followed by a meaningful conversation about all the ‘hot babes’ that were in the club that night. Louis was getting progressively bored. Not because he can’t stand the team, he spends most of his time with them, however you put it. But because it just misses a certain excitement. Standing around a table, drinking, and talking about football formations and boobs, isn’t ideally Louis’ idea of fun. He tries not to sigh, looking enthusiastic, and not failing to notice Stan’s little tap on the shoulder. As if to say, I know you’re bored, but it’s good for team chemistry.

“Lou, what’s our next match?”

“Well, we’re going to France to play”

Louis looked around the club noticing way too many people, in way too little clothes, and for some reason awfully wet. He had no idea what was going on. He continued speaking as he took in his surroundings.

“It’s against Paris Saint-Germain. And if we want to get qualified for the Championship we need to beat them with at least a 2 poin – “

Louis suddenly forgot how to speak. It wasn’t that he saw him, he kind of got used to the fact that wherever he went he’d be there as well. But it was the state in which he saw the boy that made his heart flutter. He recomposed himself, feeling slightly embarrassed because of the long pause.

“A 2 point difference, yeah” Louis finished, looking down at his feet. Did he look okay? He suddenly wondered, fixing his untamed fringe. For some reason he felt like he was never good enough, never perfect enough for the always perfect guys he seemed to be with. His utter disbelief in himself was definitely caused by Greg. Which is something that he should definitely add to his list.

“Hey” he heard a voice say, breaking him from his thoughts and making him jump slightly. “You’re cute when you’re startled. Like a kitten” Harry says smiling wide.

“I am not a kitten. I’m more of a lion” Louis replied, snarky and menacing. He tried telling himself not to look. “May I ask why you aren’t wearing a shirt?” he managed to grit out, his eyes trailing on their own over the endless torso, littered in tattoos, every muscle meticulously crafted by the gods, enhanced by the droplets of an unknown substance, sparkling in the artificial light.

“Well I’m not ruining my favourite shirt for this” Harry said, leaning on the wall next to him, one shoulder resting on the wall, body angled towards Louis.

“For what?” Louis asked still confused.

“This is a foam party, you’ve guessed so much, right?” Harry told him, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.

“Yeah” Louis replied, pretending to know, feeling slightly stupid from not realising it on his own.

“Plus I don’t think anyone minds. Someone once told me to take my shirt off, and you’re right, people do want to talk to me then” Harry told him, staring at the ground between them.

“Harry, I… I was pissed, you know I didn’t mean it”

“I’m joking. Water under the bridge, ‘kay?” Harry said, slicking back the wet curls which fell to his face.

“’Kay. You look cute when you’re wet, like baby Tarzan” Louis told him, smiling wider now that he knows Harry’s not upset.

“Thanks” Harry answers, both his dimples showing, and Louis could have sworn that his eyes twinkled.

“Um, I’ll leave you to your team. But I advise you to go in the foam, it’s really fun. If you need someone to help you make foam beards, you know where to find me” Harry finished off the conversation, extracting himself from the seductive position and standing firmly.

“I’d like that” Louis simply replied, grinning as the boy turned around and got devoured into the mess of people.

Louis turned to his team, noticing how every single one of them were staring at him, suddenly moving their gazes, making it even more obvious on how they were listening in on his conversation.

“You two are like highschoolers with a crush. Will you fucking do it already?” Robert commented, laughing with some of the guys.

“How d’ you? Nevermind” Louis wanted to ask if it was so obvious that Harry and him were anything but serious, especially in the sexual department.

“Liam told me” Robert answered his question nevertheless.

“Liam? When did you see him?” Louis asked worried, not seeing or hearing from the boy in a while.

“Um, three days ago, when I was coming back from my moms. Met him at a diner, 20 miles from here. Told me he’s going back to Wolverhampton for a bit, something to do with a girl breaking his heart. I don’t know, all seems dramatic if you ask me” Robert answered shrugging.

“He’s not dramatic. He’s just – Liam. He always goes to his family when he’s feeling down. I don’t know why I didn’t try and call him there” Louis contemplated, then remembered seeing Greg that night. Just when he was thinking of calling. Louis really was a shitty friend, always putting his troubles ahead of others. He suddenly felt guilty.

“He didn’t tell you where he was going?” Josh asked, suddenly concerned. Louis shook his head.

“Is it really that serious? Is he okay?” George asked, big eyes boring into Louis’ sunkissed skin.

“He’s fine. He’s – he’s not fine. But he’ll get there. I just really think he fell deep with this one” Louis commented simply, not wanting to share too much information.

“Has he tried fixing it?” Josh asked again, caring for the one guy he knew couldn’t hurt a fly. Which was definitely ironic for a boxer.

“Yeah. Nothing seems to work” Louis shrugged, staring at the glass in his hand.

“Have you tried fixing it?” Stan asked him suddenly, surprising Louis since he hadn’t spoken much since they came here.

“Me? How can I possibly help?” Louis asked, feeling accused.

“You’re friends with her. She’s Harry’s friend. You could at least talk to the girl” Stan mumbled, drinking from his glass.

Louis looked at the dancefloor, noticing Mill dancing with Jaymi. He could always go there and have a chat, what’s the harm in that, right? But first he needed to dance a bit, make his intentions a little less obvious.

“Fine. But I don’t think I can help” Louis answered, sighing and downing his drink.

“Please, girls love gays. She’ll listen to whatever you say” Jay said, clapping him on the back.

“If it were that simple, I would have already gotten all of you laid” Louis mockingly replied, turning around and going in the direction of the dancefloor.

=

Zayn was completely wet, this time not from the sweat covering his body. Tam had insisted that foam was a good idea, and who was he to complain. He was trailing his hand down Tam’s open back, completely covered in foam, picking some of it up and placing it in her hair.

She looked at him, a pouty expression on her face before grabbing some foam from her leg and rubbing it all over his face and hair, leaving her hands in it. They continued to dance, completely transfixed.

Zayn pressed her body close, his hands firm on her soft back, placing his head on her shoulder. That’s when he noticed someone looking at him. Someone who had an expression that could kill. Zayn remembered all of the moments they’ve shared. The utter rudeness and pompous behaviour the guy showed towards him. Instead of backing down like he normally would he decided to raise the heat.

Taking Tam’s hand he suddenly twirled her, making the girl shriek and laugh. He pressed his chest tightly to her back, making sure to leave no space to the imagination. His hands went on her hips, lightly moving up and down, caressing her sides. He was certain that the man not too far away was puffing out smoke from his ears.

Tam’s head was slightly leaning on his shoulder, leaning towards the left. She was moving her hips wildly, matching them with Zayn’s movement. Zayn’s mind wasn’t really working to its full capacity so his next action was purely on instinct.

He leaned his head down, pressing a kiss to her exposed neck, noticing the girl stretching to give him a better path to her neck. He bit down on the skin, slowly sucking, noticing the girl tremble. His eyes crossed paths with a pair of angry ones, and Zayn couldn’t help but raise a single finger towards the man. He was always polite, but when someone crossed the line he got pretty vengeful.

 

=

 

Robert comes up to Tam just as Zayn leaves to get their drinks. He tries to paint on a smile, rage fuming his insides.

“Hey” Tam tells him, pecking his lips. “Didn’t know you were here” she says, smiling wide, feeling floaty from the entire experience that was her perfect night.

“Hey” he responds, placing his hands on her hips “I could tell” he adds barely above a whisper.

“What was that?” she asks, slightly yelling, the music being too loud to talk.

“Nothing. Can we, um, talk?” he asks, pointing towards the hallway which lead to the club. She nodded, slightly confused. He placed a hand on her lower back leading her out of the noise and into the silence of the lone hallway.

“So, what’d you wanna talk about?” she asks, jumping on a table and kicking her feet back and forth. He came closer to her, spreading her legs so he could fit in between them, and leaning down to kiss her. His kiss was desperate, and demanding. As if he wanted her to feel it for hours on end, biting and licking into her mouth, making her squirm. He pulled back when it all got too heated, being determined not to let himself get sidetracked. He just felt too possessive not to kiss her.

“I didn’t want to say anything, but I can’t keep quiet anymore”

“Quiet about what?” she asks, slightly dizzy.

“About you and Zayn” he says, his smile disappearing.

“What about me and Zayn?” she asks, confusion written on her face.

“The way you always hang out with him and he sleeps at yours all the time. The way he painted an entire gallery worth of pictures just of you. The way he takes you out to dinner and you dance with him like that. He fucking sucked your neck!”

“I didn’t know this bothered you so much” she tells him concerned.

“I thought I was being crazy but babe it’s too much, people don’t do that with their best friends. You should do those things with me. I can take you wherever you want” he tells her stroking her sides.

“I understand. What Zayn and I have is – unusual but it’s how we’ve always been” she tells the boy staring at her hands which were placed in her lap.

“I know you’re used to that, but don’t you think he might be using your friendship?” he asks her, looking down at her with a worried expression.

“What do you mean by that?” she asks, feeling protective over Zayn. She always had a need to protect him.

“Well, seeing as he can’t get more, he’s pushing it in order to get at least some of what he wants. Like you touching him, dancing with him. He’s basically acting like you two are a couple” he tells her, taking her hands in his own.

“Zayn isn’t doing that” she tells him, offended at the mere thought of Zayn being like that.

“I’m just saying, can you please tone it down a bit? I am asking you this as your boyfriend?” Robert asked, trying to be nice, but still making the question sound more like a request than a plea.

“I understand. Do you want me to stop acting like that with Zayn, keeping a bit of distance?” she asks, knowingly. He nods, happy that she understands.

“Maybe even see him less, I mean I spend so much time with him” she continues, looking as if she deeply cared for Robert’s worries.

“That would be lovely, thank you for understanding” Robert smiles at her.

“I don’t even know if I want a friend like that. I mean if you say someone who I know like the back of my hand is using me, then you must be right. I mean you know me way better than him” she tells him, jumping off the table and standing right in front of Robert, their eyes meeting due to her high heels.

“Ugh, I…” Robert tried replying but she cut him off.

“And maybe while I’m at it I should stop being friends with Harry as well. I mean he likes girls, maybe he’s secretly in love with me. And while I’m at it, Mill’s suspicious too, I mean she could be a lesbian for all we know” she continues, a cheerful expression on her face.

“What more? Maybe I should stop dressing in revealing clothes? Stop going out? Stop doing hot photoshoots? Stop doing my job altogether?”

“Tam I didn’t mean it like that” Robert butts in, not believing how upset the girl was getting.

“If I wanted to be someone’s pretty little housewife, I would have been. I even had an offer to do so. But unfortunately I’m the type of girl that controls her own life” she speaks, venom in her voice. “Obviously I’ve been playing goodie two shoes for too fucking long, since you think you are justified to tell me what to do”

“Listen here. My friends are number one in my life and they always will be. You can either accept that or tell me you can’t handle this so we can get this over with” she tells him, dead serious.

“But I thought you like me, how can you just , throw me out like that, over a comment?” Robert asks, suddenly feeling upset.

“The worst part is that I do like you. But I know exactly what that was, and it wasn’t a comment. And I am not letting any man own me. My life, my rules. You’re either aboard the train or you’re out” she speaks harshly, surprising him. He hadn’t really given much thought as to how she’d be when upset.

“You like me?” he asks, smiling slightly and tilting his head.

“I do. So what?” she asks still angry.

“Well I like you too” he tells her, using his hands to maneuver her arms from where they were tightly pressed to her chest, and place them around his back. He then enveloped her back as well “I’m sorry I asked. It was none of my business” he tells her.

“Damn right” she mutters, looking at him curiously.

“Promise I won’t do it again” he tells her, pecking her lips softly. She sighs and he kisses her again. From that moment he knew that this girl wasn’t just a passing point to him, he actually felt really attached to her, and maybe he would have freaked out if she hadn’t told him that she liked him too.

They remained like that for a while, kissing in the empty hallway. He could tell she was still angry, so was determined to show her his support. He learned his lesson, realising that this was probably what Zayn was after. He knew that Robert would get jealous, any man would, seeing his girlfriend passionate with someone else. He probably knew just how Tam would react, how bothered she'd be. All this time he had mistaken Zayn for a woos. Now he knew just how determined the boy was in getting rid of him, which meant he's not going anywhere.

=

“What aren’t you telling me? Come on that was so obvio – “ Jaymi was talking to Mill when someone interrupted him.

“Hey love” Louis told Mill kissing her on the cheek. She grinned, happy to see him there.

“Hey J” he then said to Jaymi who waved at him, still acting a little bit like a fangirl. But he was getting better every day.

“I hope it’s not any bother if I dance a bit with you guys. Those” he pointed towards his table “Are a bore”

Mill laughed, nodding and continuing to dance, going closer to Jaymi, so Louis could stand at her front. She was in every girl’s heaven – dancing between two boys. To make matters better, both boys were gay.

They rocked to the music, having the time of their lives, Mill asking Louis if he’d gotten wet already. He shook his head, and she grabbed his hand, nodding towards Jaymi and leading the boy towards a large cannon, from which foam was falling out.

She pushed him underneath, following through. He felt like he was drowning, foam going in his nose, face, hair, sticking to his clothes. She pulled him out after a minute or two, completely covered in foam.

“You look like a snowman” she told him, laughing and cleaning his eyes, nose and mouth so he could function properly.

“That was intense” he replied, glad to be out, and smiling at her foam covered body, his not much different.

“And now we dance” she tells him grinning. They end up in the middle of the dancefloor, noticing a stranded looking Zayn standing there, holding two drinks and looking around.

“Is that Zayn? Didn’t know he was here” Louis commented, looking at the confused boy.

“Yeah. He’s just having fun of his own” she replies, grinning knowingly.

Louis commented on the great music, looking over at the DJ. He frowned seeing Harry at the DJ booth, earphones on his head, one pressed to his ear with one hand, the other hand mixing the music. Next to him stood an older man who he was talking to. Harry was smiling wide, enjoying the attention. Louis, however was not enjoying it.

“No need to be jealous Lou” Mill tells him.

“I’m not” Louis crudely replies.

“Your face is easy to read” she answers his silent question. Then continues “That’s Tom, Lou Teasdale’s husband. He’s a tattoo artist and DJ. Harry babysits their daughter all the time” she tells him just as Louis looked close to bursting, something to do with the man putting his arm on Harry’s shoulders.

“Oh” Louis replies, feeling embarrassed for immediately accusing Harry of hanging off yet another guy.

“Sometimes things aren’t like what they seem. You shouldn’t judge someone if you don’t know their story” she tells him simply, as if speaking in general, not referring to only this situation.

“I get it. Sorry” he says, smiling as Harry stuck his tongue out at Tom, the man reacting by hitting him playfully on the head. They were obviously close.

“Can we talk?” Louis asked.

“About?” Mill asked back, her eyes narrowing. She had a feeling about what this conversation would be.

“Stuff” Louis replied.

“If you ask me questions, then I can ask you questions too, just so you know” Mill stated, seeing how she could use this in her advantage.

“Fine” Louis said, agreeing to the terms.

“Follow me” she commanded, leading him away from the music into the hallway. However the hallway was far from empty.

The two people pressed tightly together paid no attention to them as they continued their intense snogging session. Tam was pressed tightly to the table, arms around Robert’s neck as he was leaning over her, grinding slightly on her as they kissed.

“Um, guys” Louis spoke, a bit louder than necessary, making them both jump.

“Oh, um, hi Lou” Tam told him, feeling slightly embarrassed. “Mill you’re here too?” she asked, thinking her friends weren’t at the club.

“Yeah. Zayn’s looking for you” Mill simply replied, staring at Robert who hadn’t said a word.

“Oh yeah. I forgot. Gotta go. See ya” she tells Robert pecking him once before rushing out.

Robert seems a bit cranky as he goes towards the door as well, leaning towards Louis and whispering in his ear “Cockblock. I’m gonna get you for this” in a half mocking-half serious tone.

He gets out, shutting the door harder than needed.

Mill rolls her eyes, sitting on the table. Louis jumping up as well, sitting next to her.

“Don’t like him?” Louis asked.

“Nope. But I never do. It’s none of my business, she can date whoever she wants” she spoke shrugging.

“If you were like Liam you’d probably lock Tam in her room and not let her see him” Louis replies, smiling a bit.

“Liam does that to you?” Mill asks, hardly believing that the sweet Liam she saw could be the same Liam who does that.

“Nah. Mostly threatens to beat me up. Yells at me. I’m used to it” Louis replies, hoping that doesn’t make his friend sound too bad. He had a feeling she needed to hear about his other side.

“Damn. I never would have guessed.” She replies, deep in thought.

“He misses you” Louis tells her, tapping his foot on the table.

“I know” she simply replies, leaving out the I miss him too.

“What’s so wrong with him, if I may ask? He’s not even blaming you, he’s blaming himself” Louis tells her, deciding to be 100% honest.

“Nothing’s wrong with him. This isn’t his fault. It’s just that I don’t… He’s too perfect” she answers, scratching her arm subconsciously.

“How can he be too perfect? I thought perfect is good?” Louis asked, slightly confused.

“Perfect makes you feel imperfect. When someone is always nice towards you, you have an obligation to be nice as well, even if sometimes you’re not feeling it. Everything bad that happens you’re the one to cause it. All the responsibility which goes from being in a relationship falls on your shoulders. It’s a really heavy weight to carry” she tells him honestly.

Louis listened realising that this was probably the only explanation to how he felt when he was with Greg. He made him happy. He was always perfect, always nice, always there. Louis was always the one to disappoint. The one who had to have a fake girlfriend. The one who had to stand him up on dates because of football. The one to burst from all the stress and raise his voice. It always made him feel like he was such a bad person. Like he didn’t deserve what he had. It was really hard to bare.

“Lou? You kind of got lost?” Mill asked worried noticing his expression.

“Sorry. I – Liam’s not perfect, you should know. He just tried treating you the best that he could” Louis told her, realising just now where the problem lay and thinking that yes, this was manageable.

“But, I don’t want special treatment. I want to be equal in a relationship”

“I know. Why don’t I talk to him a bit?” he asks hopeful.

“I don’t know Lou. I don’t want his hopes up. I can’t – I can’t take that pressure again” she tells him.

“I know. I’m going to make sure everything is far from perfect” Louis replies, nudging her shoulder with his own. She smiled at him, appreciating his concern. After a short pause she spoke.

“Can I ask a question now?”

“Sure” Louis replied enthusiastic.

“I don’t know how to put this, but. Where you hurt, by someone?” she asks, her blue eyes boring into his matching ones, face filled with concern.

“How – How’d you know?” Louis answered after a minute of silence.

“I’m good at reading people” Mill tells him tentatively. “It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it Lou” she adds, touching his forearm.

“No, it’s” he swallows “it’s fine”

“I – I was in a relationship. For a long time. Um, then people didn’t know I was gay. I had a girlfriend” Louis said looking at his hands. She tapped him on the back, encouraging him to go on.

“I never told anyone. Not my family. Not my best friend. I would just tell people different stories to where I’m going to and I’d go meet with Greg. And it was so shady” he tells her, his voice suggesting how bad he felt about that.

“Lou, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Most people try to hide it at first” she tells him reassuringly.

“But I hurt people in the process. Girls, both of my girlfriends, fell in love with me. And I broke their hearts. When the truth – came out – Eleanor was heartbroken, and humiliated” he sighed “I should have told her”

“Lou, I don’t want to offend you or anything. But if she didn’t notice that you’re kind of gay-ish than it’s partly her fault. I mean, maybe she was living in denial.”

“What do you mean gay-ish?” he asks, chuckling lowly from the sound of the word.

“I mean not generally in how you act or look. Because stereotyping is just dumb and pointless. But for example when you kissed. It’s really easy to tell if someone isn’t into it that much. You were probably closing your eyes so hard they’d fall out of your sockets” she jokes.

He laughs loudly, covering his mouth after. “It wasn’t that bad” he tells her. “I mean, I think I put my tongue in her mouth a couple of times” he continues with a sour face.

“Ewww. That sounds gross” she tells him playfully hitting his arm. “I presume you never slept with her?” she asks, still smiling. After seeing him shake his head she continued “And you’ve been together for …?”

“Roughly, two years”

“And you also had mysterious lovebites and looked quite satisfied even though you did nothing with her?” she asks knowingly.

“Um. Yeah. I never thought of it like that” he says, deep in thought.

“Oh honey, she knew” Mill tells him with a strange accent making him snort. “She probably thought she could turn you”

“Like a werewolf?” he asked, grinning.

“Nah. You’re more the vampire type” Mill answers him. He couldn’t express in words how nice it was to not feel so guilty about the whole mess he made of his life. He chuckled, feeling a weight being lifted of his shoulders

“Why did you come out then? Doesn’t seem like you wanted to do so?” she asked, already knowing the answer, but needing to understand Louis.

“I didn’t want to come out. I was scared” he says honestly “For my career mostly, but generally scared of what people might think. In the locker room, guys used to bash on someone calling them names, even though the guy wasn’t even gay. It was literally the equivalent of bad. Calling something gay” he admits, sighing.

“Those are just stupid guys, who are so terrified their heterosexuality will be stolen from them. When guys are confident in themselves, they don’t need the reassurance”

“Yeah. I know now. But then it was the scariest thing in the world”

“Lou” she says, holding his hand. And it feels cheesy and way too dramatic, but at the same time it’s what he needs. “What happened?”

“My” he gulped “Greg he cheated on me” she looks at him with sad eyes. But there was fire behind those eyes, something on the line of I’ll help bury his body if you need it.

“I came back earlier from a game, and he was there fucking a guy on the bed I slept in a million times and it – it literally broke me. I – I broke up with him. And he, he wanted me back and I was supposed to leave, get signed to a club, and he – he leaked a – a picture of me” Louis tells her, having a hard time forming his sentences.

“Lou. I’m so sorry” she tells him, squeezing his hand even firmer. After some silence he spoke again.

“He came to me. Begging for forgiveness. A couple days ago” he tells her sighing.

“Did you tell anyone?” she asks, knowing this crisis was better sorted by people who knew him longer.

“No. I didn’t want them to – to know”

“Why?” she asks, slightly confused.

“Cause then they could blame me, for everything. People always do” he mutters.

“Why would they blame you? That makes no sense”

“Because, once you meet him, you can honestly say he’s the sweetest guy you’ve ever met. And I being the ultimate sass queen bitch Louis, probably just drew him away” he speaks, his tone indicating that he actually believed the words that came out of his mouth.

She turned her body towards him, waiting until he looked into her eyes.

“Lou, I’m going to say this only once, so listen carefully” she says looking at him with a serious expression.

“The way people look in public, the way they act and present themselves – it’s just it, it’s an act. Some people are always genuine, but most are not. People who act nice towards everyone, even those who don’t deserve it, are usually at least one part fake. People who treat you nicely, all the time, may be gossiping about you behind your back. Just because someone seems nice, doesn’t mean they are nice. Some are nice if it gets them what they want, but if that fails, they turn sour, devious and are ready to chop your head off. And it goes the other way around as well. People put walls around them, so they are usually tough, and distant and sometimes seem bitchy. But inside they are sweethearts if you get to know them. You seem like a bitch to others, do I think you’re a bitch? No because I know you. Am I a bitch?” she asks and he shakes his head.

“See, whatever impression you leave on people shouldn’t be as important. If they don’t want to get to know you better, and just judge you first hand, then it’s their problem, not yours. Those people aren’t worth it”

“Lou, I am in no place to give you advice on your relationship with Greg. I don’t know you well enough or long enough to tell you anything worthvile. I suggest you talk to Liam, or Stan or your mother. But I am just going to say something general okay, and this is not coming from my very biased point of view, this is just a general truth. Usually if you’ve already broken up once with someone. It’s bound to happen again. Also, if someone cheats on you, how do you know it won’t repeat itself? And lastly, try giving him the idea that he’s being rejected, because only then will his true face come out, and you’ll see if he’s really nice, or nice because he wants you to take him back”

After a moment of silence he puts an arm around her shoulders and speaks “Thank you. I can defitinely see what Liam sees in you”

“And I can see what Harry sees in you” she answers smiling to him, and he suddenly bows his head down, cheeks lighting up.

“Lou?” she asks, quietly.

“Yeah” he answers looking at her.

“He – he has a problem showing his emotions okay? But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t fancy you. Just – give it time” she tells him honestly. He nods, understanding her words.

“Now, we’ve been cooped out here for too long. You deserve one last dance before the club closes. Go” she tells him smiling wide as he gingerly smiles and they once again enter the club.

=

Harry sits in his booth, drinking some fancy drink he received amongst the other thirty drinks on the table. He looks slightly sad, but is mostly hiding it well. Suddenly there’s someone in front of him. He sighs, thinking how he can’t have one moment of peace, every second someone coming to his table.

“Well that’s not the welcome I hoped for” a high-pitched voice says, and Harry beams. He apologises straight away and invites him to sit.

“That’s a lot of drinks for just you” Louis says, smiling at him.

“People keep bringing me drinks and asking me to dance. It’s exhausting”

“Poor princess Harry. Has too many suitors on her hand” Louis teases playfully ruffling Harry’s hair. He notices a key card on the table.

“You’re staying at a hotel?” he asks, twisting his eyebrows.

“No, why’d you think that?” Harry retorts following his eye of sight before realising. “Oh that. People sometimes leave me those. Tell me to come to their rooms if I want” he tells Louis, his expression ashamed.

“That’s just horrid. You aren’t some prostitute Harry” Louis tells him, throwing the key card in one of the many coloured drinks.

“It’s my fault for letting it get this far” Harry says in a quiet voice, making Louis’ insides hurt. It was horrible seeing Harry like this.

“No it’s not. Come here. Let’s dance. I’m gonna cheer you up” Louis tells him, pulling the boy to his feet. Harry follows behind him, still slightly glum.

Louis turns around dancing to the slow song, while reeling Harry in. Harry places his arms around Louis’ waist looking into his eyes as they sway slightly.

Louis sneaks up his arms around Harry’s neck, looking at him intently before speaking “If it means anything to you, I respect you Harry. A lot”

Harry blushes slightly before answering “It does, thank you” he tells him before dipping his head and placing it on Louis’ shoulder, feeling comfort wash over his body.

=

Tam lays down in bed, adorned with an oversized T-shirt of one of the boys, moving a bit so Zayn can fit beside her. He presses himself to her back, not minding the smell of cigarettes and sweat and general club scents which evaporated from her body. He puts his nose to her hair, lightly sniffing, before kissing her on the top of her head and murmuring a “Good night”

She doesn’t answer, and Zayn shrugs, the girl having probably fallen asleep. He settles in, dozing off in a second.

“Don’t you think he might be using your friendship?” the sentence runs through her head, just as Zayn’s body goes slack around her. She started to wonder, was this really what friends should be doing?

=

“Millie?” Tam called, walking through The Bachelor Pad.

“Tam?” Mill asked, her eyes half closed, her body slightly slumped. She was in the kitchen, making some tea to try and wake herself up. It was probably around 8 am.

Tam comes into the kitchen, looking completely awake, clothes, make up and hair all done to perfection.

“What are you doing here so early?” Mill asked, frowning confusedly.

“Couldn’t sleep” Tam muttered, playing with the hem of her baby blue sweater.

“What’s going on?” Mill asked, putting some milk to warm up.

“Can you – um – come back? I mean if you’re finished with your writing that is” Tam asks, feeling guilty for even asking. Mill had told her she felt more inspiration at the boy’s place, since they did have a big terrace, overlooking the city, which was covered by glass, from top to bottom, making it the ideal place to write. Zayn had offered to stay with Tam, so that she isn’t alone, while Mill finishes her book.

“Of course I can. But why do you want me back?” Mill asked, pouring powder into the milk and stirring until it boiled. She poured the hot chocolate into a mug just as Tam answered.

“Missed you”

Mill knew by her voice, that this wasn’t the truth. At least partly not. There was something else going on. She came to the table Tam was sitting at, and placed their separate mugs onto it. She sat across from the girl who had just muttered a ‘thanks’.

“Why couldn’t you sleep?” Mill asked, staring at her with kind eyes.

“I wasn’t comfortable” she answered, sighing. Mill’s brain worked hard on thinking up a sensible reason.

“Is this about Zayn?” Mill questioned.

“Maybe” Tam murmured, as she blew on the steaming cup before sipping from it. Mill waited until the girl started talking again “Do you think what Zayn and I have is strange?” she asks staring at the mug.

“Strange? Maybe. But I also think you’re strange, and Harry’s strange, and Zayn has a strange fetish for sniffing paint. We’re all strange. I don’t see how that’s bad” Mill tells her, her fears coming true before her eyes.

“But we – friends don’t act the way we do” Tam tells her.

“And who told you that?” Mill asked, knowing that Tam wouldn’t just pull that out of nowhere.

“Robert” she muttered.

“Well, he’s just jealous. What you and Zayn have is sweet, and I don’t see anything wrong with that” Mill told the girl, feeling guilty for lying to her.

“I don’t want it to get messy Mill, he – he means a lot to me” she tells her.

“It won’t. You mean a lot to him too” Mill tells her, sipping on her tea.

“It’s nice, having someone like that. I’m not used to it” Tam admits, warming her hands on the mug.

“Well you should be used to it” Mill tells her, happy that her plan is working.

“He feels like family to me, and I’m not really used to the male side of my family paying that much attention to me” Tam admits, shrugging.

“Not all guys are your dad, you know” Mill tells her, taking her hand. She could see Tam’s eyes shine slightly.

“I guess some aren’t. Some are really good friends who are always there for you” Tam tells her, still unbelieving that people like that existed.

“Maybe some can be your boyfriend who takes really good care of you?” Mill suggests.

Tam chuckles “Oh no, relationships are way too messy for that”

“What makes you think like that?” Mill asks her frowning.

“Because not every guy is Zayn. Guys are usually bastards” Tam tells her.

“Not really. But you’re right, not every guy is Zayn. He’s a great boyfriend” Mill suggests, yet again hopeful.

“Yup. He’s mister perfect. We just need to find him a miss perfect” Tam speaks, smiling.

“Why are you so intent on finding him a girlfriend?” Mill asked.

“He just – he deserves a nice girl” Tam tells her, sipping her hot chocolate slowly.

“He has a nice girl – he has you” Mill tells her.

“I’m not a nice girl” Tam answers, frowning.

“Why’d you think that?” Mill asks her, hating the waver in her voice.

”I’m just not that type of girl. I am messy, and a bit stupid when it comes to other people’s emotions. I am not compassionate and I hate romantic stuff. I have too many issues, and I am in desperate need to be in the centre of attention. Also, I flirt way too much and have way too much ‘fun’.”

Mill stares at her friend and sighs. Sometimes in the light of the morning sun Tam’s confidence wears down, and she just seems a tad bit lost.

“Love, you are perfect. And you need someone just as perfect”

“Like a perfect guy would ever want someone like me” Tam tells her sighing and slowly drinking the rest of the hot liquid. A clear signal that this conversation is over.

=

“Sooo” Tam said, flopping down next to Harry on the couch.

“So what?” Harry asked, amused.

“What’s going on? With you and Lou? Mill told me some wonderful things” she says smiling wide. Mill looks at her with a slightly stern smile, as if to remind her that she can’t be too pushy, since Harry gets easily startled from such things.

“Well, I went to a game. It was fun. And we danced a bit and yeah” Harry spoke softly, looking unusually young with the dimpled smile adorning his face, a halo of curls surrounding it, the thick white jumper just adding to the effect.

“I’m glad to see you happy Harry. You deserve it” Tam tells him sweetly, petting his hair.

He smiles, not answering her. His honest opinion was that they didn’t notice. However, just now he realised how worried for him his friends were.

There’s a light knock on the door, before Zayn comes in, looking slightly distraught.

“Zayn. Your hair? It’s so… wow” Harry said, staring in awe.

Zayn chuckles, the smile not really reaching his eyes. He sits by Tam, a worried expression on his face.

“Is everything okay?” he asks, not daring to touch her hand.

She nods, a bit stiffly, looking at Mill. Her friend nods, and Tam takes that as enough encouragement as she goes closer to Zayn, hugging him and whispering in his ear “I’m sorry I left”

He stiffs a bit before relaxing and patting her back. He whispers back “You got me worried. It’s fine”

=

“Hey Li” Louis speaks, finally having reached his friend.

“Hey” Liam replied, not sounding any better than he did before.

“I have some cheerful news” Louis tells him.

“If you and Harry are shagging please spare me the details” Liam answers, still sounding glum. Louis decides to ignore that comment and speaks.

“I talked to Millie. I think she still likes you. There’s just a couple of things we need to work on, and I think everything will be fine” Louis proudly says.

“Seriously? You – you did that for me?” Liam asks, smiling.

“What are best friends for” Louis tells him “Come back Li, I can’t help you from there”

“I will. We have practice on Monday” Liam tells him, and Louis can already hear a difference.

“I’m glad. See you there mate”

“Bye Lou” Liam tells him before hanging up.

=

“So all you need to do is…” Louis starts whispering into Liam’s ear as they sit in the locker room, Paul having sent them there to discuss strategies before they begin practice.

“Hey” Louis hears a meek voice say, seeming a bit startled as he didn’t expect anyone to be there.

“Harry, you’re here early. I don’t finish in an hour” Louis tells him smiling, patting the bench next to him signaling for Harry to sit. Harry looks unsure as his eyes rake over Liam, remembering the words he had heard from the boy’s mouth. He sits nevertheless, still not at ease.

“I came by foot, took me far less than I expected, plus I – “ Harry speaks, lowering his voice at the end, rushing out the next words “ – I wanted to see you practice”

Louis smiled, his eyes crinkling and Liam studied his friend’s expression. He did genuinely seem happy with the boy beside him.

“Oh yeah, before I forget” Harry added, looking finally relaxed. He dug through the leather cross-body bag, taking out a bundled up diary, the edges slightly torn. It looked like Harry had it for years. He opened it up carefully taking two envelopes from it, closing it up before either of the boys could see the writing inside. He put the heavy diary back, closing his bag. 

“These are two tickets for my Halloween party, so if you, you know, want to come. And you can bring a friend, or em, someone” Harry tells Louis almost throwing the envelopes in his hand. Louis opened one, studying the invitation. A combination of gold and black, the writing engraved in the fine card, a simple picture of a mask decorating it’s corner, the edge covered in what appears to be black lace. The card looked meticulous in every way. Louis read the words, before asking.

“The Sheridan Suite? I thought it was just gonna be at your place or something. Woah” Louis speaks in awe, capturing Liam’s attention who was reading the card as well.

“Um, there’s a lot of people coming, the Pad is too small. Plus, I kind of don’t want to find people on my bed, again” Harry says, smiling at Louis’ chuckle.

“Well, I think it’ll be great. Thanks for inviting me”

“Of course I invited you. Why wouldn’t I? Plus, I need someone on glitter duty” Harry joked.

“Throwing around glitter at random people? Count me in” Louis joked back.

“So you need the invites to get in, and of course a costume. Don’t forget the dress code” Harry tells him, smiling wide.

“How can I possibly forget the fact that I have to be a girl? Please, I’ve always wanted to wear a dress” Louis jokes, grinning at Harry’s sudden snort which ended up in Harry coughing loudly, Louis patting the boy on the back.

Suddenly Paul walks in looking ready to yell before he sees Louis laughing out loud, his hand on Harry’s back as the boy chuckles as well. His anger suddenly subsides, as he commands in a voice so unlike him, very soft and slow.

“Lou, Li, come back to practice. We need to discuss the strategy for Paris”

“Paris?” Harry asks, his eyes watery from the laughter.

“We have a game there in two days. We’ll be back just before your Halloween party, don’t worry” Louis tells him, patting the boy’s hair before standing up and placing the envelopes carefully into his bag. He then follows Liam out to the pitch. Paul lingers slightly looking at Harry before speaking “If you want to come watch, go ahead. After all, after the last game I’m thinking about keeping you as a mascot”

Harry beams standing up and following Paul to the sidelines.

=

The practice goes smoothly nothing in particular happening as Harry studies the movement of each player, his eyes lingering on one in particular. He stood by Paul, writing down the things Paul told him in a notepad the man always seemed to carry. Apparently Paul had thought that being there Harry could be useful in writing down all of his notes. He emphasized on the need to write everything he says, which resulted in Harry writing a lot of bad words, and swears he had never even heard of.

“What the hell is a Bombay Shitehawk?” Harry thinks as he jots down yet another scream.

Fifteen minutes later Paul speaks “Okay ladies, you’re done for the day. Payne, Tommo stay behind”

The boys all rush back, looking really tired from the intense three hour training. Harry goes to Paul handing him his notepad.

“Woah, I do say a lot” Paul chuckles, watching the pitch empty out except for the two boys.

=

Harry leans on the wall, standing in the corner, careful not to be a bother to any of the boys who were currently changing. He took out his phone posting a tweet before answering some fans. He retweeted a picture of his invitation along with the caption. It was an idea management had presented him, to have fans compete in order to get a ticket to his party; There were only five tickets, all including bringing a guest but it was lovely to see so many people interested. All they had to do was retweet the post. So far it had gotten to a huge number of retweets and Harry was glad that people had some interest in coming. They were also asking him questions on what he would be dressed like and who the guest would be, especially questions concerning Louis.

Harry was in the middle of replying to a girl whose twittername was LarryLover886 when someone startled him.

“Hey Harry” the doe eyed man spoke.

“Oh, hey George” Harry replied, putting the phone back in his pocket.

“Can we, um, talk? In private?” George asked, his face concerned, like a deer caught in headlights. Harry thought over the question, seeing no harm in talking to the boy, so he quickly followed him into one of the spare rooms, used for storing balls and such.

“So, um?” Harry asked, slightly awkward, not knowing what it was that George wanted.

“I just wanted to thank you Harry, for everything” George says smiling at the boy.

“Thank me? What did I do?” Harry asked, unsure.

“For helping me figure out who I am. And for not telling anyone. I know you spoke to my sister, thank you so much for keeping my secret” George told him, speaking as if Harry had done something amazing.

“Why would I tell anyone? It’s your secret to tell” Harry reassures the boy.

“I know, but people are so… I didn’t know who I can trust. So thank you. Who knows what would happen if people found out” George says, looking startled.

“Nothing major I presume. Louis’ holding up isn’t he?”

“Yes, but he’s the best. I’m – replaceable” George tells Harry making the younger boy scoff. Harry puts a hand on his shoulder. “You play for the first team of Manchester United, don’t sell yourself short”

George smiles at the boy, feeling slightly dizzy from the praise.

“Sometimes Harry I think you’re two different people trapped in one gorgeous body” George blurts out before he can stop himself, blushing when he realised what he said.

“I meant that you – you’re sometimes so nice, and caring and people love you and other times…”

“I’m a dick. I know. I’m sorry for hurting you then, I just really don’t want any attachments right now. I can be someone’s friend. I’m good at that”

“I’ve noticed. It’s fine, I’ve gotten over it. Should’ve realised it was just a one night stand to you” George mumbles, looking at the floor. Harry studies the boy’s expression before speaking.

“Did it mean something more to you?”

“No, it’s – I’m just – no” George blurts out, hating the way Harry’s eyes were studying him, waiting for a response.

“George?” Harry asks in a tone which spoke “Please answer me”

“It’s fine Harry really”

“George”

“Nothing to talk about”

“George”

“Fine, I – you were my first, okay? My first time with a guy” George finally tells him, boring his head into his hands.

“I was?” Harry asked, his eyes widening. “George, you should’ve told me. I – I wouldn’t have left you just like that”

“I didn’t want you to think of me as some inexperienced kid. I felt intimidated by you” George admitted.

“Why?”
“You knew what you wanted, and you did it. I was someone who contemplated for a long time before even asking a guy out”

“George, there’s nothing bad in that. You shouldn’t rush things”

“I just wanted to try it, see if I really am – “ George leaves the sentence unfinished.

“Gay? Bi? You shouldn’t have come on to me just because of that” Harry tells him slightly stern.

“I know, you didn’t want to be someone’s experiment, I’m sorry”

“Not because of that. Because you should have your first time with someone you love” Harry tells him simply, with firm words and a concerned expression. Out of all the words George had ever heard, these hit him the hardest. He never expected someone like Harry to say something like that.

“Did you – with someone you love?” George asked, not knowing if he’s stepping over the line.

“No” Harry simply replied, a glum expression on his face. He felt a sting in his chest, not believing that he became the person he once hated.

“I’m sorry” George tells him hugging the boy.

“It’s fine” Harry mutters. “You should just focus on finding someone. Someone just right for you. And don’t worry about what everyone else says”

“I want to find someone. Be like you and Lou” George tells him feeling Harry stiffen.

“Oh, come on, you two are perfect” George tells him. Eyes set on the boy’s as he speaks lowly, his arms still wrapped around Harry, their faces close.

“Just because you didn’t have luck before, doesn’t mean you can’t find someone to love”

Harry hears the door open and close loudly. He stares at the closed door wondering who could that have been.

Chapter Text

Louis rushes down the corridor, bumping someone on the shoulder. He heads to the bathroom, immediately entering a stall and closing the door. His mind goes in overdrive as he breathes heavily, trying to calm himself down.

“It’s probably nothing. You didn’t even see anything. They were just hugging.” Louis’ mind tells him.

Louis managed to lower the anger growing inside him. It was as if this was the only reaction he could have. As if whatever Harry did, he just had to get so worked up over it. The scene he witnessed only reminded him of previous events. Of things which hurt him more than he would dare say. But that wasn’t him anymore. That wasn’t what Harry deserved. He had to give him a benefit of a doubt. Harry told him his intention never was to hurt Louis. He knew Louis would be hurt by him being with someone else, especially George.

Putting two and two together Louis deducted that Harry didn’t do anything. And neither did George. George only did the things he did before he knew how they affected Louis. It was fine, everything was fine.

Louis sighed, hating that he had to run away for a bit. It’s just, he didn’t want to cause a scene. He didn’t want to act irrationally and do something stupid. Harry already has the feeling nobody trusts him, Louis doesn’t want to be taken off the list of the small number of those who do. He just needed a breather, just to feel okay again.

=

Liam frowns, trying to wrap his head around the boy rushing past him, completely unaware of his presence. Liam entered the room on his left, the same one Louis had just emerged from. It took his confused brain a second to connect the situation with the outcome quickly bursting out.

“What did you do this time?” he said in a tone which was far from pleasant.

Harry turned his head from the hushed conversation he and George had been having. His face contorted in confusion as he replied “I haven’t done a thing, what are you even - ?”

“You are in here with –George-“ Liam said in a disgusted voice accentuating George’s name as if he were a plague. “And my best friend looks upset, doesn’t take an idiot to connect the dots”

Harry stared at Liam not understanding how those two were connected. However he quickly stopped thinking about it as more urgent matters occupied his brain.

“Louis is upset? Why?” he asked, clearly worried. George remained silent by his side, looking between the two boys.

“Because you keep fucking George every chance you get and it’s driving him crazy” Liam told him getting angrier by the minute, his anger only amplified by his own problems.

“Fucki- what the- what are you talking about? I wasn’t doing anything!” Harry said in a pleading voice, hating the feeling of being attacked for something he didn’t even do.

“Harry please we all know what your reputation is, if I found you in a room with my grandfather, I’d be worried” Liam spoke, feeling a good sensation rushing through his body by the sheer discomfort and hurt painting Harry’s face.

“I am not – I didn’t – George and I – we aren’t…” Harry tried to say, feeling offended but even more wondering whether or not Louis believed the same things.

“Oh, so you deny it. You and George have never done anything before?” Liam teased, smiling. He had been angry for days, with no way of making his anger disappear. George looked at Liam with panicked eyes.

“This has nothing to do with you” Harry told Liam with a colder, lower tone, his voice holding a warning. No matter the situation Harry felt a need to protect the doe-eyed boy behind him.

“Oh please, it’s not like you’re being very ‘secretive’”

“Liam just stop” Harry told him seriously.

“Oh, sorry. If you keep fucking someone at least own up to it” Liam hissed back.

“Liam, I said stop, please” Harry added a plea, not wanting any type of conflict, trying even harder as he feels George’s ragged breath behind him.

“Why should I stop? Why would I give two cents about what you ask of me? Louis might be nice to you but I can see right through you. But you – “ Liam raised his voice turning his body towards George “I know you’re a smart kid George and yet you keep doing stupid things like this. Why do you keep having sex with him, what’s wrong with you?”

“Liam!” Harry suddenly yelled, looking towards the door. Somehow the small space of the cracked open door was filled with ten muscly guys, all staring at George as if he grew a second head. Liam however took no notice of their spectators continuing

“Seriously, how many times have you slept with him, two, three? Why on Earth do you stoop to that level?” Liam asks stopping his attack as he noticed George’s face going from a deep red to a bright white. He turned around noticing the team who all remained staring.

“George –“ Harry tried addressing the boy, hating how quiet he had gotten. George jumped, as if electrocuted by Harry’s light touch to the shoulder. “George –“ Harry tried again, noting the sheer panic written on George’s face as he makes eye contact with the team, mistaking their surprise with disgust. Suddenly George bolts out of the room, pushing his way through before anyone can stop him. Harry can hear Josh yell in the distance, going after his best friend.

The curly haired boy quickly turns to Liam, all forms of politeness gone from his mind, his veins filled with anger.

“What is your problem?! Look at what you’ve done” he yells at Liam, pointing towards the door from which George recently disappeared.

“What’s my problem? My problem is people like you who think they’re better than everyone else” Liam yells back, ravishing in the response which he finally managed to drag out of the boy. “All of you models, think you can just play people, manipulate them, make them like you before you hurt them” Liam continues, spitting venom at a rapid speed.

“I have no idea what you are on about, but I don’t do any of those things” Harry replied, his stance getting less protective and hunched back and more menacing. He straightened out his back, expanding his chest and shoulders. He will not back down from this, he will not let anyone treat him any less than he deserves.

“Please” Liam chuckles “You keep hurting Lou every chance you get and yet you claim to be the nice one here”

“I’m not hurting him. I’m his friend and I care about him”

“Friend? You two aren’t friends” Liam replied scoffing.

“Yes, we are” Harry replied, feeling stupid for even arguing about things like these.

“No, you’re just the guy he likes very much for whatever stupid reason. But you manage to hurt him quite a lot, so I doubt it will last much longer”

Harry stared at Liam, eyes bugging out of his head at the words. Neither did he assume Louis liked him as much, nor did he assume that he was in any way hurting the man.

“But if you think I’m going to let him get hurt again, you got another thing coming”

“Again?” Harry quietly added, intrigued for the time being.

“Yeah, I’m not going to let him get like that. He barely survived Greg, and you seem even worse” Liam spoke strongly narrowing his eyes. “He was so distressed he couldn’t even walk properly, let alone play football. He was sad, and vulnerable. Kept crying all the time. He’d not sleep for days and not eat even longer. He was a complete mess…” Liam told Harry, lowering his head, the pure state his friend was in hurting him in ways he couldn’t explain. Harry’s pupils grew at the surprise, a stinging feeling spreading through his chest. Surely that could not have been Louis. Louis who seems so strong all the time, who bares through anything with a sarcastic smile. Louis who can light up the world.

“So, if you really ‘care’ about him as you say you do, just let him be. Because I know you, and I know you aren’t ready for the things he wants. And it’d be better if you bailed out now before you really hurt him” Liam finished off, surprising himself with the calmness of his tone.

Harry remained silent for quite some time, jaw clenched, mimicking Liam’s uneasy stance. His brain was still stuck on the mental image Liam had painted for him.

“I won’t hurt him. And I’m not going anywhere” Harry spoke, surprising himself with the pure determination lacing his voice. Louis was different, different than any person he had met so far, and he wasn’t going to let that go.

“Please, have you ever even been in a relationship before?” Liam asked, scoffing.

Harry cringed at the mere mention of the word. Nobody said anything about relationships. Sure, he liked Louis. But being in a relationship? That just wasn’t something Harry wanted to do.

 “That’s what I thought” Liam replied, a smirk on his face. “You’re so insecure it’s horrid. I know people are sometimes afraid of commitment, but you” Liam whistles “You’re on a whole other level”

Harry remains silent, not wanting to talk about the subject longer. He just wanted to check on Louis, see if he’s okay, maybe explain some things to him. The last thing he wanted was Louis thinking something had happened in that room.

“What fucked you up so much anyways? Bad breakup isn’t it, since you haven’t even been with anyone. Hmm… Did mommy not love you enough?” Liam asked in a condescending voice. He could see Harry’s lip twitch slightly, indicating he was getting warmer.

“Or did daddy not love you enough?” Liam pressed on, getting closer to Harry. He was enjoying this way too much. The reason behind his joy was unknown to him. He wouldn’t ever consider himself a mean person, yet here he was bullying some kid he hardly knew, for no apparent reasons. In a way he wanted to stop. Also, he wanted to see the perfect resolve crumble before him. Maybe if he understood what Harry’s deal was, it would be easier. Everything would be easier.

“Leave me alone” Harry simply replied, voice much weaker than before. He made to move, going for the door, but Liam stopped him, kept his body where it was, pressed into the wall between Liam’s hands.

“I know. I have a feeling. It was your stepdad?” he spoke, staring into Harry’s eyes which started looking everywhere around him, as if the boy was starting to panic. “What? Wasn’t fooled by the dimples like everyone else?”

“I said…” Harry took in a deep breath, regaining his posture “Leave me alone. I’ve done nothing to you. Just stop it”

“Oh come on, poor you. Step-dad doesn’t treat you nice and that makes you a dirtbag your whole life? Damn, you’re sensitive” Liam chuckled, pushing Harry’s shoulder slightly. Harry remained silent, trying to even out his breath.

“Seriously you’re like a little girl” Liam spoke followed by a laugh and playful push. It was hardly threatening. Yet it awoke memories Harry had long tried to bury deep inside. He remembered hands pushing him, insulting him, calling him a girl. He remembered feeling hopeless. However, this time he wouldn’t back down, he couldn’t let anyone hurt him. He jumped forward, pushing Liam away from his body hard enough to make him fall down on his back. Liam gasped in shock, not believing how much of a reaction he managed to gauge. He quickly scrambled to his feet, angry at someone even trying to push him to the ground. Liam was having none of it. No one could do that to him.

“You do know what I do for a living, right?” Liam asked, snarky and unpleasant before he swung is fist full swing into Harry’s stomach, making him double over and try hard to catch the breath Liam just knocked out of him. Liam massaged his knuckles thinking how this should teach the boy a lesson. He might be nice most of the time, but no one gets to mess with him.

Harry raised back on his feet going closer to Liam. Although their height difference was substantial, he still looked down on the boy, pure anger in his even greener than usual eyes. Liam waited, knowing Harry would back down. Next thing he knew, there was a fist colliding with his chin. He grabbed a hold of his chin, hardly grasping the pain before his hand shot out as well. The beating continued, neither making a move to stop. Neither caring much about getting hurt, not even trying to block the other’s blows.

“Move out of the fucking way!” someone shouted, making the boys standing by the door move and let him in. “What the hell are you two doing?!” Louis yelled louder, noticing the two men currently rabidly hitting one another, and did Harry just bite Liam?

“Stop it!” Louis yelled louder, using all his strength to try and separate the two giants. He managed to somehow get them away from each other, far less with strength and far more with the simple touch which grounded them. As soon as they were separated both boys started realising just how much pain they were in. Not noticing it before, due to the sheer dedication of trying to ‘win’ if there even was a winner at such a game. Liam slid down the opposite wall of Harry, mimicking Harry’s slide, feeling an ache throughout his entire body. He was seeing spots in his vision, reminding him of one of the few fights he had to quit, before he got seriously injured. He had no idea how Harry managed to withstand so much.

“What happened here?” Louis asked in a calmer tone, squatting and going closer to Harry. He studied his face, the cut on his lip, the swelling on his jaw, the little blood underneath his nose. It made Louis feel sad, as if he hadn’t done a good job of protecting him. This was, in a way illogical. Louis had no reason to protect Harry. He didn’t even know what was going on.

Harry remained speechless, not daring to look into Louis’ eyes. Above all the hurt he was feeling, he mostly felt discomfort, not wanting to see Louis pitying him, or even worse being disappointed in him.

“Harry, please look at me” Louis tried again, putting a delicate hand on Harry’s bruised cheek. It should have hurt, should have made him yelp. Yet oddly it felt like the only thing he needed at this point. Harry raised his head, big green eyes staring into blue ones, a million emotions rushing through them – hurt, sadness, fear.

“What did you do to him?” Louis asked, suddenly turning towards Liam. He had a feeling this wasn’t Harry’s fault. Liam was his best friend, and Louis would never turn on him without reason. But Harry seemed far from okay, not just physically. The boy wouldn’t even dare speak.

“He pushed me! Why are you attacking me?!” Liam yelled, angry at his friend, for not choosing him, for going immediately to his ‘poor little Harry’. Louis could feel Harry cringe at the loud words, his hand rubbing the boy’s cheek slightly, shushing him, telling him in a way that it was all going to be fine.

“Why did he push you?” Louis asked, his voice hushed, as to not startle the boy more, but with much more venom than Liam had heard in a long time.

“I said some things so what? He’s the one who’s violent, not me” Liam simply replied, and Louis could notice how the boy was trying to convince more himself than Louis.

“You know what, I don’t care. Just” Louis sighed, noticing Harry move from his position. The boy was scrambling to his feet, which in this situation wasn’t the smartest thing to do. Louis immediately put a hand to support him, a scenario of Harry blacking out and falling to the cold marble floor blasting behind his eyelids.

“Harry – “ he tried reasoning, not even knowing what to say. He had no idea what was going on. Yet he could tell something in Harry was very off.

“I’m gonna go” Harry managed to speak, running a finger under his nose, picking up some of the stray blood which hadn’t already landed on his shirt.

“Wait. You can come to my place. I can make you – um, order you some food. And we can watch some movies…” Louis offered, desperate, not wanting Harry to go, not when he was hardly acting like himself.

“I’m just gonna go home” Harry replied, already moving towards the door, his slight limp not managing to slow him down.

“But- I’m leaving. Won’t be here for a week or so. I just want to spend some time with you, please?” Louis knew how desperate he sounded, how he must look right now. He couldn’t care less. His only concern was the boy standing in front of him. He needed to help him, he promised he would. Even if Harry didn’t want his help.

“Sorry. I – see you Louis” Harry simply replied, going through the door and slipping between the team members, who were still staring from their position, looking continuously between Harry’s back and Louis’ sad expression.

“What are you looking at? Get lost” Louis said in a tone which was more defeated than determined. He was hardly intimidating, yet the team knew when to leave him alone, and so they left, one by one until only one remained, leaning on the side of the door.

“Lou –“ Stan spoke.

“Stan I just, not now okay, not now” Louis simply replied, desperate.

“Okay” Stan nodded, turning around and moving towards the locker room.

=

 

“George please let me in” Josh spoke, tired of banging on the door of their shared flat. George had managed to rush in before him, deadbolting the door so that Josh would be unable to come in.

“Please. George, I’m your best friend, I’m not going to judge you” Josh spoke through the door. He heard the man slide down, his back on the door. Josh mimicked his position, sitting on the opposite side.

“I’m just a bit upset you kept this from me. You know I support you no matter what?”

“I mean we’ve been best friends forever. I don’t know why you had the need to hide. Hell, I could have covered for you if you wanted to get laid. I have no issues with such things”

“Do you think I’m judgmental? Do you think I’d kick you out?” Josh spoke with a pained voice.

“No. Josh you’re – it had nothing to do with you” George weakly replied.

“If you think I have an issue with this I don’t. I mean, not that I ever did anything with a guy, but you know, how bad can it be?” Josh can hear George sigh, but it seemed like he was feeling better. Suddenly the door opens, Josh falling down into the flat. George chuckled holding a hand and happing Josh up. He closed the door looking at his friend, face contort in worry.

“So, you’re okay with it?” George asked, looking at his feet.

 “George, I couldn’t care less” Josh told him, placing his hands reassuringly on Josh’s shoulders.

 

=

 

“Hey Haz” Zayn tells Harry who had just emerged from the door. Harry replies with a meek ‘hi’ before going in the direction of his room. Zayn knew something was wrong since he hadn’t bothered to take of his boots, something Harry never forgot. Zayn followed the boy as he flopped down on his bed, face pressed into the pillow. He frowned going closer to the boy. Harry’s breathing was deep, which was a sign of him trying to calm down. Yet Zayn didn’t have a clue what it was that upset Harry in the first place. He slowly sat down on the bed, hand going to Harry’s back as to soothe the boy. Harry instantly jumped, feeling the touch on his skin, his eyes filled with something Zayn had never seen, before he flopped back down, as if his mind had caught up, noticing Zayn’s worried expression.

“Before you ask. No I don’t want to talk” Harry said roughly, his words distorted from the pillow he was firmly crutching.

“You don’t have to” Zayn said, running his fingers through Harry’s hair. He rubbed Harry’s head, knowing how soothing it could be. Suddenly Harry gasped, just as Zayn’s fingers ran over a bump on the back of his head. He didn’t let Harry turn, probably to pretend it was nothing. Zayn held Harry’s head as he inspected the bump, knowing full well what it was.

“Who hit you on the head?” Zayn asked, his voice different. Zayn was the type of person to remain calm in most situations, and just burst out when people he cared for were concerned.

“It was an accident” Harry replied softly, still breathing into the pillow. Zayn carefully twisted Harry’s body, rolling him so that he lay on his back. Harry wasn’t one to protest but seemed to not want Zayn looking at him.

“Don’t lie to me Harry” Zayn spoke firmly. He then noticed Harry’s face which was slowly starting to swell up, bruises forming on the fine white. “Who did this to you?” he asked, in a voice which sounded ready to kill.

“It was my fault, just, please, don’t do anything” Harry pleaded, sounding different than what Zayn was used to. Usually he remained calm, not wanting Zayn to participate in his battles. Now he just sounded like a child begging their parent.

“Harry, I” Zayn started speaking, noticing Harry’s reactions were worse as his voice got harsher. So he deepened his voice, speaking softer. “Harry, I’m not mad. I’m just worried. Please tell me what happened. Cause any scenario I make in my head is going to be worse”

“It just got out of hand. I’m fine” Harry replied, drawing his knees closer to his chest, trying to breathe deeply.

“Harry, I know when you’re not fine. Please, talk to me” Zayn tried again, rubbing Harry’s arm.

“He was saying mean things, I pushed him. It escalated from there” Harry replied before turning towards the other side, facing the wall. It was obvious he didn’t want to speak more.

“Harry –“ Zayn tried again, brain raking over who Harry could be talking about.

“Please leave me alone. Please” Harry pleaded. He sounded tired, broken.

“Harry – “ Zayn tried again, worried beyond compare.

“Zayn! I want to be alone! I just want everyone to leave me alone! I’m fucking tired! I’m tired of everything!” Harry raised his voice, back still turned to Zayn. Zayn jumped, scared by the loud roar.

“Sorry. When you want to talk, you know where to find me” Zayn goes up heading towards the door. He can notice Harry starting to shake, still clad in a coat and boots, face dug into the pillow. He frowns, closing the door behind himself, a minute later hearing the lock.

=

“Zaynie, why is Harry in his room?” Tam asked from her position, her head laying on Zayn’s chest, arm around his waist. She had come in after a shoot which went badly, something about the schedule showing the wrong time. Mill was supposed to come soon as well, she was having tea with Ed, and was due to pick up some food on the way to The Bachelor Pad.

“I’m still trying to figure that out” Zayn replied, quieter than usual, raking his hand through her hair.

They could hear the door unlock in the distance, Mill soon calling out “Where’s everyone, I brought Thai food”

“Here” Tam yelled back, the girl soon coming to Zayn’s room, dressed in a sweater that probably belonged to Harry. Scratch that, definitely belonged to Harry.

“Oh” She commented, observing their tangled limbs. She smirked, just the tiniest bit before flopping down on the bed.

“Ed’s using three of my poems for his songs. He’s going to credit me and everything!” she spoke, obviously thrilled.

“Told you he’d love them” Tam replied, untangling herself from Zayn, throwing her loose limbs all over Mill. “So proud” she muttered.

“Someone’s affectionate” Mill joked, hugging her back. Tam hit her playfully on the head before plopping back down on the bed. After a minute of hardly trying to avoid any fondness showing as she stared at her two friends, who were again hugging, Mill spoke.

“Tam, can you please heat up the food. It’s gotten a bit cold, and I don’t want to burn down the kitchen” Mill asked, mimicking Zayn’s raised eyebrow. Tam gladly nodded, jumping up and hurrying out of the door, not before closing the door, a habit Mill had bestowed on all of them.

As soon as she was out, Mill sat Indian style, facing Zayn.

“Wha’?” Zayn asked, knowing she was up to something.

“It’s time for faze two” she tells him.

“What’s faze two?” he asks.

“Ignore her, make her feel unwanted and unneeded”

“Why the hell would I do that?” Zayn asked, looking at her as if she was a ghost.

“She’s gotten used to all the attention. She needs to not take it for granted. You need to show her how life would suck if she didn’t have you. You need to make her jealous” Mill tells him, her tone suggesting it was the most logical thing in the world.

“But – I – “ Zayn sighed, not liking the idea at all.

“I know you like the way you two are right now. But if you want to take it to the next level I suggest you do this” Mill tells him, patting his leg.

“Oh, and one more thing…”

=

 

Tam walked back into the room, having a hard time carrying all of the food. She stopped in her tracks as she looked at Mill laughing, Zayn’s hands on her shoulders as she sat in front of him. Tam shook herself before sitting on the bed, opposite of them, handing them the food.

“Mmm… This is perfect” Zayn commented after trying some of the Tom Yam Goong. “Thank you for bringing over some food. I thought I’d have to live off of cereal again” Zayn thanked Mill, smiling at her. She returned the smile, eating up the food.

“I made food for you fucking yesterday’ Tam thought, not understanding the sudden burst spreading through her body.

“So, did you guys figure Harry out?” she asked, nonchalantly as she put more noodles in her mouth with a tad bit more force than necessary.

“What about Harry?” Mill asked, thinking the boy hadn’t yet returned from his as Harry likes to call it ‘it’s not a date Mill, we’re just going for drinks, seriously”.

“He came back, an hour ago, got into his room, flopped down on the bed fully dressed, with boots on” both the girls gasped, knowing this was so unlike Harry.

“Why would he be upset, I thought things were going okay with them?” Mill sighed.

“With who?” Tam asked, both her and Zayn’s faces confused.

“With Louis. He was on a date, well not date, whatever, with Louis” Mill tells them thinking they had known. Harry had yet again called her up, asking which shirt to wear. It was adorable. She noticed the stares here friends exchanged “What?”

“He came back busted up. Like he’d been in a fight. And he was acting strange, scared and sad, and I don’t know” Zayn tried to explain. Mill’s eyes widened comically, her response stopped by a phone ringing.

“That’s mine” Zayn says, grabbing the phone and frowning at the number. He answered it nonetheless.

“Hey mate” Louis said on the other line, his tone suggesting this wasn’t one of those i-just-wanted-to-catch-up calls.

“Hello” Zayn replied, trying hard not to bombard Louis with a million questions.

“Um, I wanted to ask since he’s not answering – um – never mind. Is Harry okay?” Louis asked, obviously worried. Zayn however had no time for sympathy, he had no idea what happened, he just knew it had something to do with Louis.

“No, he’s not okay” Zayn spoke harshly.

“Oh god. I’m so sorry. I never thought he’d do something like this” Louis spoke again, a bit more frantic.

“Did you hurt him?” Zayn asked, not really believing it, but having to ask nonetheless.

“What?” Louis squeaked, the thought crazy. “I’d never hurt him. Plus he’s a giant compared to me, how on Earth could I overpower that?”

“Then, what happened?” Zayn asked, noticing the girls’ hand signals as he put the phone on speaker.

Louis told them most of the story he knew. After some time he managed to calm down enough to talk to Stan, and ask him what he heard. All he knew was that Liam had openly outed George, attacked Harry, said something about his family, called him a girl before Harry snapped, and then the beating started. The group of friends listened carefully before Zayn hurriedly hung up, telling Louis they’ll stay in touch.

“I’m going to kill that -  “ Zayn started, teeth gritted as he all but growled.

“No, Zayn there’s no use in violence” Mill told him, holding his arm which started to jump everywhere.

“You’re not getting hurt as well” Tam said from her place on the opposite side of the bed, looking at the boy who seemed so far away.

“I’ll talk to him” Mill spoke causing both her friends’ eyebrows to rise.

 

=

 

“Harry, do you want some food?” Tam spoke gently, knocking on Harry’s door. Zayn had decided to go for a walk, alone. Mill had went to ‘take care of business’ leaving Tam alone with the one person in a fouler mood than her. It was a dream come true.

After a minute passed and the girl was convinced Harry wouldn’t answer a meek “Not hungry” could be heard. She sighed, knowing there was no use in trying to persuade him. If he didn’t want to eat, she didn’t want to make it any worse by guilting him for it.

“I won’t bother you. I’ll be on the terrace reading a book. If you want to eat, I made you some tacos, they’ll be in the oven. There’s also freshly squeezed orange juice in the fridge. If you wanna talk or even better cuddle you know where I am. If you don’t it’s okay” she tells him, hoping she didn’t sound judgmental. Harry didn’t need anyone telling him how to act or feel.

She grabbed a book Mill had bought her and sat down on the fine cushions. Fifteen minutes later she could hear Harry emerge from his room. After some time she checked the kitchen, noticing that some orange juice had been drunk and about half a taco eaten. It was something.

Harry returned back to his room, the food sitting heavy in his stomach. He hadn’t felt hungry, but the insistent grumbling of his stomach made him come out. Plus, it really seemed like Tam was trying her hardest not to make him uncomfortable, and he wanted her not to feel bad.

He plopped down on the bed, wishing he could just fall asleep. His actions were slow, and mind slower, everything hazy around him. His eyes watered yet again for no apparent reason, as if the dam he built around himself had broken, letting all the tears he kept in for years out. He didn’t understand why he felt such a strong need to cry. He thought of his friends, how much of a burden he was. How he didn’t deserve it, how they shouldn’t worry. He thought of Louis, how his hand stroked Harry’s bruised cheek, his eyes looking into Harry’s soul, seeing him like this. Damaged. Imperfect. He showed Louis yet again how blind he is by wanting anything to do with Harry. Harry who’s not fit to even stop fucking crying. Harry swore on his brain as more thoughts emerged, causing more tears to spill.

=

Liam heard his doorbell ring. He frowned, confused as to who it may be. He removed the cold piece of steak from his face, placing it neatly in a plastic bag before he went to the door opening it before questioning who it was. The headache he was having obviously made him stupid as well.

“Millie, what are you - ?” he started asking as the girl entered his flat closing the door behind herself and locking it. He gulped, staring at what could only be described as a very pissed off woman.

“Just came by to have a little chat” Mill replied, flashing him with a set of pearly whites. Fuck.

“I – um – do you want to sit down?” he asks, not knowing how to act. He still feels riled up, his entire body in pain, but mostly trying to figure out why he acted the way he did. His actions were logical to him then, now, away from the mist of anger he can see clearly. He messed up.

“No, let’s skip the pleasantries please” Millie tells him still smiling. “Now” she switches the topic “How about you tell me about the times you were bullied”

“What? Why would I talk about that?” Liam asked shocked.

“Because I said so. Do you want me to add a pretty please on it?” Millie replied, her voice still calm, but Liam could tell she was getting angrier. “Now, how did you feel when you were bullied?”

“Like shit. Worthless, I don’t know” he replies, suddenly feeling vulnerable.

“And what did they do? Did they offend you? Harass you? Attack you until you snap so they can blame it on you?” she asks.

“Yes” he replied simply looking at his feet. He understood what she meant. It was obvious.

“So if you felt all of this on your skin why did you do it to somebody else?”

“Because I – I don’t know why – I – I don’t like him and I just wanted him to go away” he tells her knowing how stupid it sounds.

“And what did he ever do to you?”

“Nothing. He’s been rather nice actually” Liam replied staring again at his feet. He could feel her judgmental eyes on his face. “He’s the one who pushed me, why is everyone attacking me?” he asked, as a last resort. He knew it made no difference.

“He was feeling threatened by you. And especially your words. Why did you think he did it? To mess with you? Harry is not like that!” She gritted back, furious by now.

“Oh please, a little teasing and the guy goes bonkers” he replied snarky. He remembered just how angry she had made him, not knowing why he acted normally towards the girl in the first place.

“You – I can’t believe you! How can you just call talking about his insecurities and family and insulting him ‘a little teasing’?!” she growled back.

“Oh pleas