Home is warm and familiar, home is comfortable and safe, and like the cliche says, home is where the heart is.
But Louis Tomlinson hadn’t been ‘home’ in far too long, and his new home didn’t feel much like what a home should feel like. Sure he had his friends to keep him company, but they weren’t the same as family. Then again, even his family wasn’t the family that it had once been, and so even ‘home’ didn’t feel like home anymore. Louis’s heart wasn’t really anywhere, only drifting around in a city that called him stranger.
He couldn’t really be bothered to fully care about his lack of a home though, because, well, Louis had stopped caring about most things a long time ago.
These days, Louis could be found in the back rooms of clubs or back alleys making payments that were always far too late. He couldn’t really pinpoint when exactly things had spiraled down so badly, but the spiral happened, and now rock bottom felt quite comfortable.
The thing about Louis though is that he’s never been the kind of guy to disappoint people. All his life he was the exemplary son, friend, student. He knew how to please people, how to make them smile and laugh, how to take care of them. But he was never very good at taking care of himself. And so he allowed the spiral to happen, and with the spiral came disappointment. It was his friends who watched him waste away, his two best mates who found him in the back room of Paradise one night after things had gone too far. Well, it was Liam who found him, and Niall who was waiting at home worried sick.
Louis hated disappointing people.
Sometimes it’s hard having Liam Payne as a best friend because he just has a way of making you feel like shit when you do something wrong and he doesn’t even know he’s doing it because he’s just too damn good. He’ll just sigh in disappointment, but he wont say anything, he wont pass judgement, but you still feel like shit because you know you fucked up and you just sometimes wish he’ll yell at you for being such an arse because yelling is better than those sad eyes and sighs.
That’s how Louis Tomlinson was feeling on the day Liam found him high in the back room of the club. Liam didn’t say anything. He didn’t comment on the stench that clung to Louis’s clothes. He didn’t comment on the half naked women that were sprawled across the room. He didn’t comment on the other guys that were with Louis, eyes bloodshot and noses red. Liam didn’t say a word. He simply took Louis, throwing his arms over his shoulder for support and walked him to the car. Not a word was spoken on the car ride home. Nothing was said as they pulled up to the gate of their apartment complex. Liam offered no explanation to worried Niall, and nothing was said as Louis collapsed into bed.
Louis had fucked up. He’d been fucking up for the past few months. If he really wanted to put a time frame on it, the spiral happened somewhere between December and March when he’d gotten himself involved in the wrong crowed. It had probably been a bad idea to take up a job working at the club with Liam. Liam could handle working at Paradise since he never drank or smoked or did anything. But Louis was far worse at dealing with temptation.
“What happened? What’s wrong with him?” Louis could hear Niall asking from the other room in hushed whispers.
“What do you think happened, Niall?” Liam said in a low voice.
“Shit, so we were right? He’s been doing drugs?”
Liam let out a sigh, and Louis guessed he must have been nodding his head in response.
“What are we going to do?”
“Right now,” Liam said, his voice getting closer to the bedroom, “we’re going to keep him hydrated and let him rest. Later, we’ll have to talk to him.”
The door swung open and a blurry looking Liam crossed the room with a tray in his hands piled with an assortment of things that Louis figured Liam would use to ‘nurse him’ back to health. Admittedly, Louis could not remember anything that happened after Liam set the tray down. He woke up in a cold sweat some many hours later, his head pounding and the apartment dark and quiet.
Louis stumbled out of bed and shuffled out the door and into the hallway. There was a bluish glow coming from the living room. Liam sat up at the sound of footsteps, looking away from the TV to see Louis emerging from the darkness.
“Hey, Louis,” Liam said as cheerfully as he could muster.
Louis didn’t say anything back, but turned to look at the clock. It read 7:10. “How long have I been sleeping?” he croaked. His throat was dry and his voice raspy.
“About 18 hours. You’ve been in and out actually. I think you woke up sometime around 2 in the after noon to go to the bathroom.”
“I don’t remember that,” Louis murmured, rubbing his head. How high had he been? How much had he really taken last night if he’d fallen asleep for nearly a whole day? That wasn’t natural. It wasn’t right. Louis tried to think, tried to remember anything about the previous day, but his head hurt too much and he just wanted to get out, out of the apartment and away from Liam and those sad eyes.
“Look, Lou––Hey, where are you going?” Liam rose from the sofa following Louis as he crossed the room to the door.
“I’m going out.”
“What? After what happened last night?” Now Liam’s voice was rising. Good. Finally some sort of reaction.
“Oh please. It’s not like you didn’t know. I heard you and Niall last night, talking about me. You both knew. It’s not like last night was the first time. Just stop worrying about me, I can take care of myself.” Louis yanked the front door open, turning to face Liam once more, his eyes flickering up angrily.
“What the hell has happened to you?” Liam said, his voice once again calm and full of disappointment. “You’re not the Louis I know. What happened to the fun loving, happy guy who used to be my best mate?”
“Looks like he’s gone,” Louis coolly.
They held each other’s gaze for a few seconds, and then Louis turned away and stalked out the door. “And get out of my apartment, yeah?” And then he was gone. Walking and walking, putting as much distance between himself and Liam. He was at the end of the corridor now and punching his fingers against the button for the lift. Then he was going down, down to the first floor. And then he was walking and walking on the cold sidewalk, with no real destination in mind.
Louis knew he shouldn’t have left. He knew Liam only wanted to help. And he knew that Liam was right, he was losing himself. He hadn’t been happy in a long while, and he really did need help. He needed someone to save him but he wouldn’t let himself be saved. That was Louis’s fatal flaw, he was good at piecing together other people, but when it came to himself, he was lost and alone. It didn’t help that his family had become so broken over the past few years, to the point where he barely ever visited anymore. Nothing was okay anymore, but he could never tell anyone how he really felt. He could never tell Liam or Niall how he would get high every night for weeks. Or how before the drugs started, it had been alcohol. He couldn’t tell them that he had dropped out of uni last semester. And he could never, ever tell them all the shit he had to do to pay off his debts.
Louis Tomlinson had been broken for some time now, and he was in desperate need of fixing.
It was 7:10 on a Sunday and Harry Styles sat idly tugging on a loose string on his frayed, old quilt. The quilt was all patches, full of color, bright, happy. But it was old, perhaps one of the oldest things Harry owned. The quilt was one of those nostalgic things that meant too much to ever get rid of. The quilt was warm and familiar and comfortable and safe. In a way that silly little quilt was home.
Harry was getting too caught up in his thoughts, thinking too much about things that he ought not be thinking of, when Zayn strolled in, naked and wet, snapping his attention back to reality.
“You seen my black t-shirt anywhere?” Zayn asked rummaging through a pile of clothes on the floor.
“Think I saw it in the other room. Over the heater,” Harry said quickly.
Zayn nodded. “Thanks.” He disappeared into the next room and returned with the shirt. “You working tonight?” he asked as he slipped the black shirt over his head.
“Aren’t I always working,” Harry said with a smirk. “You?”
“I have a shoot night. A few scenes here and there. Then I’m going down to Paradise for some drinks.”
Harry laughed. “Oh Zayn, you’re living the dream. Look at you, big time actor. I remember back when you were an amateur like me.”
“Haa. Big time porn actor. And I think you’re far more pro than me. You probably get it more in a night than I do all week.”
Harry rolled his eyes. “But you’re a star,” he said dramatically. “Wayne MaLick.” Harry chuckled.
Zayn shoved him playfully and then finished getting dressed. “I gotta go. I’ll catch you later,” Zayn said as he departed.
When Harry was sure Zayn was probably down the block, he let out a loud sigh. He really didn’t want to go to work today. He was still sore from last night and he hadn’t slept properly in the past two days. Plus tonight was a night with Steven, and Steven was always his hardest costumer to please. Steven was also usually high half the time, and would push Harry to get high too, even if he didn’t want to. But he had to do it because Steven was his best customer and he needed the money. He always needed the money.
Grudgingly Harry got up and showered and changed. He grabbed some pain killers and threw them down his throat swallowing hard before leaving his apartment and jogging down the two flights of stairs until he was out on the sidewalk, walking towards Babylon, the club where Steven would pick him up at.
Tonight was a cold night, Harry noted, as he walked along. He thought back to last year and how he would have probably been huddled under a bridge somewhere, trying to stay warm on a night like tonight. He was glad he’d found Zayn. He was glad that Zayn was good at making porn. He was glad that together they just managed to make enough money to scrape by month by month. Everything was quite alright for the time being. Life was better than it had been in a while. Well, maybe not. But it was nothing Harry couldn’t handle. He was fine, really.
By now Louis knew where he was walking to. He knew where he was going, he knew what he had to do. He had to meet up with them. He needed another hit. He needed something, anything, in his system. He could see the bright lights of the club getting closer and closer. He could smell the smoke and alcohol in the air. Instead of entering through the front door he turned down an alley off to the side of the club. There were a few people farther down, standing by the side door that led into the back of the club.
“Look who it is!” called one guy from the pack. “It’s Tommo!”
“What happened to you last night? Why’d that twat take you away?” asked one of the girls.
Louis ignored them all and asked a question of his own. “What’ve you got on you? I––I need something.” Louis’s voice faltered. Two of the guys were looking at him with less than pleasant glares.
“You owe us, Tommo. You owe us a lot of money.”
“I––I’m sorry. I’ll get it to you soon, I promise.”
“Yeah, that’s what you’ve been saying. We’re starting to think these ‘promises’ of yours are empty.”
The group began to close in around Louis.
“Really sorry about this,” said the bigger of the two guys. And before Louis could react, the wind was knocked out of him with a punch. Louis fell to the ground and then he felt another blow travel across his body as a foot collided with his ribs. He was gasping for air now and suddenly, looking up and into the distance he could see a figure climbing over the gate at the end of the alley and walking towards them. Through tearful eyes the streetlights overheard blurred around the figure and he looked almost like an angel. Then another kick sent his vision into a whirl and he shut his eyes, a strangled cry escaping his lips.
“Hey!” a new voice called, echoing down the alley. “Stop it! Allen! Carlos! Fuck off!”
“Oh look, if it isn’t the fairy princess whore,” Allen guffawed. “Come to save the day, Styles?”
“Fuck off,” the rescuer scoffed. “Jeff wont be too happy if he finds out you’re using his club to deal drugs…again.”
“Is that a threat, Princess?”
“Tell you what, you guys fuck off and I’ll give you a freebie.”
“Alright, Styles. Bring your pornstar friend with you, yeah?”
Louis opened his eyes now, and saw that the boy was standing much closer than before. Directly under the streetlight. The boy stood there with a smug expression, a dimpled smile, and a mess of curly hair.
Allen and Carlos where backing off, saying something to the boy but Louis wasn’t paying attention. He was only vaguely aware that he was bleeding. And even less aware that his body was aching and that bones were probably broken. He was too busy watching the light dance around the mysterious boy, and it didn’t ever register when the boy began to move closer to Louis, or even when he was hovering right in front of his face. In fact, it wasn’t until the boy touched him that he noticed time had passed at all. The touch was gentle, just a little shake to rouse him from his thoughts, but it sent an electric current through his veins. He jumped at the touch and his eyes flicked up to meet big, luminous green ones.
“You alright?” said the boy, his voice low and raspy.
Louis tried to speak but the only sound that escaped his lips was a loud groan.
“Here, let me help,” the boy held out his hand and Louis clasped it. The boy’s other arm wrapped around Louis’s shoulder, pulling him up into sitting position. He propped Louis up against the alley wall. “What the hell is a pretty boy like you doing hanging around scum like Allen and Carlos?” He kind of twisted his face into a smile, but his eyes were questioning, searching. Louis swallowed hard. It was kind of like the way Liam would stare at him. Disappointed. But why would this stranger be disappointed in him? Louis shook his head and simply shrugged.
The boy looked down the alley and sighed. Louis followed his line of vision and saw a car parked on the curb in front of the alley, headlights on. He turned away from the car quickly and threw Louis’s arm over his shoulder. “Come on, let’s get out of here.”
Harry was fucked. Steven was waiting at the end of the alley in his car. Harry knew he was watching, he knew those eyes were staring at him, furiously, as he scooped up the pretty boy and turned in the opposite direction, carrying him over to the fence.
“What’s you’re name?” Harry asked quietly, trying to distract himself.
Harry almost hadn’t heard him from the faintness of his voice. “Harry,” he replied simply.
They’d reached the fence. It wasn’t too high, and Harry helped Louis get over. He then jumped over too, and ran as fast as he could with Louis’s weight leaning against him.
“Why–are…we running?” Louis asked, quickly running out of breath.
“Because I’m blowing off a very important customer to save your life and you better appreciate it because I might be dead tomorrow.”
Louis let out a barking laugh. He had no idea what this Harry kid was talking about but suddenly everything seemed funny.
Harry smirked. “No, I’m serious. This guy is a dick. I wouldn’t be surprised if he got roid rage and sent someone after me.”
Louis paled, eyes widening.
“Oh my god, I’m kidding!” Harry said whirling them around in a circle. It was oddly comical. It was like they were dancing at a ball or something. He stopped though when Louis began clutching his head, looking ill.
“Okay, you need to lay down asap. My place is just around the corner, will you live til we get there?”
“I think so,” Louis grinned faintly, nodding through half lidded eyes.
He did make it. Thank god. And then he threw up on the door step.
Harry crinkled his nose. Louis began apologizing profusely.
“It’s alright. It’s alright. It’s not the first time someone’s thrown up here, and it definitely won’t be the last.” Harry opened the door wider and ushered Louis inside, telling him to lie down on the sofa. Meanwhile, Harry got some paper towels and cleaning product to take care of the mess in front of the door.
Louis stumbled over to the sofa and laid down, his arm draping over his eyes as he groaned again in pain. Harry did the best he could with the mess, but to be honest he was more concerned with the boy laying in pain. “Is anything broken?” he asked strolling into the small living room, eyes flickering up and down Louis’s body quickly.
“I don’t think so. But everything just––hurts.”
Harry nodded. “Alright, I’ll get some ice and painkillers and then I’ll make you some tea, yeah?”
Louis removed his arm from his eyes and suddenly Harry was taken aback by the intense blue that stared up at him. In the dark alley his eyes had looked almost clear, but now they were bright and shocking blue. He didn’t realized Louis had spoken until the boy was repeating himself.
“Really, you don’t need to do anything for me,” Louis said again.
“What? No it’s fine,” Harry said quickly. “You just got the shit beat out of you, I think you’re well deserving of a bit of pampering,” Harry smiled turning into the kitchen and opening up the freezer for the ice. He went to work grabbing one of the last few tea bags in the cupboard and hoped Louis liked Yorkshire tea because that was all they had.
“So,” Harry said awkwardly, setting the tea down and handing Louis the ice and painkillers. “What did you do to set off Allen and Carlos?”
Louis huffed out a sigh. He could either make something up, lie as he was used to doing these days, or he could tell this stranger the truth. For some reason he chose the latter. “I owe them money,” he said simply, keeping his eyes on Harry, waiting for his reaction.
But Harry didn’t react the way he had expected. Harry only nodded, and there was a look in his eyes that Louis couldn’t quite place. It looked a bit like disappointment again. Even strangers were disappointed of Louis. Louis turned away, eyes flickering down in shame.
“Hey, it’s alright,” Harry said, sensing Louis’s feelings. “Everyone has their ups and downs.”
“It’s gotten really bad,” Louis whispered, and he didn’t know why he was telling the other boy this, but he was, and it didn’t feel so bad. “I’ve totally fucked things up.”
Harry watched him, those green eyes completely unreadable. “It’s okay.” And then there was another spark of electricity shooting up though Louis’s veins and it felt better than any drug. Harry squeezed his hand reassuringly, and it was just a simple touch, just a friendly touch, but Louis was gone, he wanted more touches. He shook himself as soon as the thought registered.What was he thinking? But his rescuer was looking at him with those big eyes, and his lips were so red, and he had a really nice smile, and dimples, and a mess of curly hair. Louis should have felt some sort of shock as he admired a boy, but he couldn’t really feel much of anything in that moment. His head was pounding and his breathes were coming out ragged and his body still ached in pain, but Harry was still holding is gaze, and things really didn’t feel so bad in that moment.
“You’ll find a way out,” Harry said, tearing Louis from his thoughts. Only a few moments had passed between Harry’s reassuring squeeze and his following words. Louis noted that Harry didn’t say something like ‘it’ll be okay, everything will be fine.’ He said you’ll find a way out. As if he were in a maze, and eventually, somehow, he’d get out, but not without a struggle, not without some wrong turns and dead ends. But eventually he’d get out of the mess he was in. Louis liked Harry’s wording. He liked that Harry wasn’t telling him all sorts of empty words of sympathy.
“I hope so,” Louis croaked. “I really do want to get out,” he said, and he felt his eyes sting a little, and he hoped he wasn’t crying, but he couldn’t really tell anymore. His head was a mess. Louis asked the question without really thinking, but Louis was too naive to think anything of it. “How do you know those guys?” he said it quietly, not passing any judgment, just––curious.
Harry chose that moment to shuffle over to the coffee table and replace Louis’s half melted ice. “Oh, well everyone knows everyone around here,” Harry said casually, as he walked toward the kitchen.
Now it was Harry who was wondering whether to tell Louis the truth or lie easily. And for some reason Harry chose the former when Louis inquired again.
“They were kinda shitty to you,” Louis said. “Kinda pathetic though. Grown men like them and they resorted to name calling.” And then Louis laughed a little at the memory. “‘Fairy princess whore?’”
Harry smiled a little and then rolled his eyes. “It’s because of what I do for a living,” Harry said sitting back down, and suddenly he was looking smug and more––sexy.
“And what’s that?” Louis asked innocently, because through the headache and painkillers he couldn’t do much thinking of his own.
Harry’s lips curled into a smirk, “I’m a hustler.”
And those green eyes didn’t shine anymore. They grew dark, guarded. Waiting for Louis’s reaction.
But Louis didn’t react how he expected. Because Louis’s brain was all muddled, and so he cocked his head to the side and asked, “Hustler?” in a voice that sounded very much like a child’s.
Harry couldn’t help letting out a barking laugh. He shook his head and swept his curls to the side. “A prostitute?” he tried again.
And then it was Louis who was laughing. “No really, what do you do for a living?”
Harry flicked his eyes away for a second, swallowing hard. “No, I’m serious,” he said a bit quieter than before. He could feel Louis’s eyes on him. Those intense blue eyes. And then Louis was nodding slowly. “Oh. Well that’s, er, interesting.”
But it made sense Louis thought. The whole thing in the alley made sense now.
“It’s not bad,” Harry said, and then his smile was back on his face and his eyes were dark and almost seductive. “It’s actually quite fun.”
Just then Louis thought of something else. “You said you left a customer…?”
Harry rolled his eyes. “Steven. Dick.”
Steven. “You’re gay?” Louis hadn’t meant to be so blunt about it but, well it came out that way nonetheless.
Harry laughed. “That’s where the ‘fairy princess’ part comes in.”
Louis couldn’t explain why he suddenly felt really happy. He felt a warmth rush through his body, and then he realized Harry had moved and was sitting beside him, arm resting against Louis’s leg. And then Louis felt his eyes begin to droop and he cursed the painkillers for making him tired. He tried to fight off the sleep, but with in minutes he was out. He dreamed of green eyes and curls and awoke quite confused when he realized he was not in his bed, but on a couch tucked under a few thin blankets.
The first thing Louis saw after he initially opened his eyes and remembered Harry and the previous night, was a naked man.
He was about Louis’s age, and he was standing in the kitchen, dripping wet, a towel pooled at his feet.
“Oh hello,” the guy said, looking up from the stove and waving casually at Louis.
Louis blinked and rubbed his head. “Hi….”
“Harry’s in the shower. He should be out soon.”
“Mhmm,” Louis groaned, still a bit in shock at the strangers naked body. He was fit Louis had to admit, but still, this was not quite how he had expected to wake up.
“Zayn by the way,” the guy said.
“Louis.” He slumped back down on the couch, head too heavy to stay up any longer.
“Want some breakfast, Louis?” Zayn called, as if they hadn’t just met. “Oh shit! I’m naked.”
“Really? I hadn’t noticed,” said Louis.
“Fuck, sorry mate. I tend to forget. I’m honestly naked more than I’m not.”
Zayn came back into Louis’s vision but this time the towel was safely wrapped around him. “You a friend of Harry’s?”
“Or a customer? He doesn’t usually bring them by here though.”
“No, no,” Louis said quickly. “Just a friend I suppose.”
“Well, nice to meet you. I actually have to go. Crazy life of a pornstar!” And then Zayn was picking up some articles of clothing from the armchair in the corner of the room and changing right there in front of Louis. “Well I figure the damage is already done,” Zayn shrugged.
Then he was gone, and the tiny apartment was quite, only the soft hum of running water interrupting the silence. Louis had just eaten breakfast with a pornstar. He had slept on the couch of a prostitute. He had gotten the shit beat out of him by drug dealers. Liam and Niall and his apartment seemed worlds away right now. Nothing made sense anymore. But this was Louis’s life. This was were he’d fallen.
The water stopped. A few moments later Harry strolled into the living room, and Louis was caught off guard by his naked body. Harry didn’t notice Louis at first. He walked over to the armchair and rummaged around for a shirt and sweats. Louis couldn’t help but stare. His body was so––beautiful. Entrancing really. His torso was so long, stomach flat and skin tight over his muscles. His bum was toned and just, perfect. And his back. When he bent over to pick up a shirt that had fallen off the chair his back arched elegantly, his spine sticking out in an oddly arousing way. Harry’s eyes snapped up and locked with Louis’s. “God I didn’t know you were up,” Harry said, tensing a little before relaxing.
Louis decided right then and there that he really wanted to touch that body. Louis couldn’t form any words for Harry. He could only stare. And Harry was aware of the wandering eyes that were tracing over him. His chest rose and fell and then he broke the eye contact with Louis and slipped into his sweats and pulled the shirt over his head.
“Did you eat?” Harry asked, glancing over at the empty plate on the table.
“Yeah,” Louis said finally finding his voice. “You’re mate Zayn made something for me.”
“Good, good,” Harry muttered, crossing the room and grabbing his keys. “Look I don’t want to be a prick, but I have to go, I have––stuff to do, and well I’m gonna need to take you home.”
“Oh, yeah, yeah, that’s fine,” Louis said quickly sitting up, and hoping the disappointment wasn’t apparent in his voice. “I’ll just go then,” he said slipping into his shoes.
“I’ll walk you home, make sure you get back okay.”
“You don’t have to do that,” Louis said waving a hand. “I’ve already wasted enough of your time.”
“Stop it. Stop making yourself unimportant. If you’re going to fix yourself from whatever you’re going through then you have to actually care about yourself.”
Louis was a bit taken aback by the sudden serious words.
Harry wasn’t sure where the words had come from. He just hated seeing someone hate themselves, especially someone like Louis who had no reason to hate himself.
“Sorry. I don’t––Lets just go, okay?” Harry said opening the door.
Louis nodded and they walked down the corridor silently. Louis stopped at the elevator but Harry shook his head. “I can’t even remember the last time that thing worked.”
So they took the stairs instead. Louis hadn’t been in the right state the previous night so he hadn’t paid much attention to the building until now. Honestly it was unlike any other apartment building Louis had ever seen. First off, it was colorful. All the doors were a different color. Bright red, or light blue. Green, yellow, purple. The walls were all brick too. And they were painted all different colors as well. When they reached the ‘loby’ Louis was a bit surprised. The whole area had been transformed into some sort of big sitting room. There was an old tv on a coffee table and an assortment of cushions and furniture sprawled around the room. A big stereo was pressed up against one wall, and all sorts of games littered the floor. By the door there was a huge sign that read “Welcome to the Lego House.” Across the room a woman sat on one of the cushions, a little girl scooped up in her arms as she sang a song.
“Harry!” the little girl squealed at the sight of the boys coming down the stairs. The little girl ran out of the woman’s arms and wrapped her little arms around Harry’s legs.
“Hey, Lily,” Harry said squatting down so that he was level with her. Louis watched as Harry’s face transformed from the tired one of moments before to the lively one now, eyes light and wide, a genuine smile spreading across his face. “How are you?”
“Good!” Lily chorused. “Danielle is watching me while mama’s at work!”
“And where’s Karl?” Harry asked, his voice going up in the way it did when talking to children.
“Josh took him to the park, I didn’t want to go because they wanted to play boy games so Danielle said she would stay with me and we could play girl games,” Lily explained.
“And are you being good for Danielle?”
“She’s been a very good girl,” the woman beamed, standing up.
Harry looked up from Lily and gave Danielle a warm smile. “And how are you?”
“I’m good, Harry,” she nodded. “You?”
“Who are you?” the little girl asked, looking up at Louis.
“Oh…um, I’m Louis,” he said looking down at the girl.
“Are you Harry’s boyfriend?”
Harry let out a choking noise, and Louis’s eyes widened a little. Did Harry have a boyfriend?Louis didn’t like that thought.
“No,” he said, “I’m just a, er, friend.”
“Oh,” Lily said. “Well, I think you should be his boyfriend because you’re cute and you look nice and our Harry needs someone nice because sometimes he––”
“Lily, why don’t we go back to our game and let the boys get on their way?” Danielle said placing her hands on Lily’s shoulders.
“But I want to talk to Harry and his friend!”
“You can talk to them later, come on,” Danielle said leading her back to the cushions.
Harry waved goodbye and they crossed the room and exited the building. They were quiet as they walked down the block but Louis kept thinking of the little girl and the sentence she never finished. What does he sometimes? ‘Sometimes he’ what? Louis wanted to be the nice guy Lily said Harry needed. His stomach churned at the thought. Louis wanted to be something to Harry? Something to the boy he’d just met. The boy who was perhaps more messed up than himself. One had to wonder, why on earth was a boy as charming and gorgeous as Harry mixed up in such a messy world. What happened to Harry Styles that caused his eyes to go dark and his smile to lie for him?
At some point during their walk Harry had started a conversation and Louis had carried it on, replying back to whatever they were talking about. But Louis couldn’t pay much attention to their words because their time was running out. His apartment was getting closer and closer. Closer to Liam. Closer to Niall. Closer to his world. Eventually they were back on his side of town and then they were on his street, and then they were at his gate. His apartment building was much different from Harry’s, and Harry’s expression was unreadable as he looked up at the fancy complex.
“Well this me,” Louis said lamely. He had to think of something to say. Something to keep Harry from disappearing from his life forever.
“Alright mate, well, good luck,” Harry said giving him a quick pat on the back.
No, no, no. “Bye,” Louis said.
“See you,” Harry replied with a tight smile. He turned away, a final wave over his shoulder, and then his hands jammed into this pockets, and the boy with the curls was walking away.
Louis wanted to shout after him. He wanted to give him his number, something, anything. But no words formed. Nothing was done. And just as quickly as he’d come into his life, Harry Styles had walked out.
Louis felt hollow inside as he entered the apartment complex. The elevator ride felt like it lasted a year. He wanted to fall asleep forever, because at least in his dreams he could still see Harry. Turning the key to his apartment Louis had sleep on his mind. But when he opened the door he found Liam standing up, Niall slumped on the sofa beside him. Louis groaned. “I told you to get out of my apartment.”
“Where the hell were you? You didn’t even take your phone!” Liam said tossing it at Louis. “We had no way of contacting you. Do you know how fucking worried we were? Do you even care?”
“Stop yelling. I have a massive headache.”
“So you’re still using? Fantastic. Fucking fantastic.”
Niall looked from Louis to Liam and back again, worry creasing his forehead.
“Who was that guy you were with?” Liam said quietly.
“We’ve been watching through the window all morning waiting for you to come back. Who’s the guy that walked you to the gate?”
“No one,” Louis said in a monotone, because he didn’t want to tell Liam about Harry. He wanted to keep Harry to himself. He wanted to keep Harry in a little world of their own.
“Is he you’re drug dealer?”
“Get out of my apartment.”
Liam smirked, and it looked all wrong on his face. “Fine. We’ll leave. If you don’t want to get help then there’s nothing we can do. Have fun destroying yourself.” Liam crossed the room and Niall stood up, looking at Louis for a long moment before his eyes fell in disappointment. “Come on, Niall.”
And then, just like that, they walked out too. And Louis was all alone in the maze with not a clue where to go next. How long could one sit in a maze before dying?