Multiple layers of rhythmic sounds created a cacophony in the air. The squeak of trainers against a slick floor here, a grunt there. Metal on metal as weights dropped from suspension and strain into their proper position. Most of the surfaces in the gym were hard and unforgiving, creating a tinny echo from even the smallest of noises.
Louis looked around as he let his ears adjust to the din. His warped reflection stared back at him from the far wall that was covered in mirrors, reflecting the harsh lights of the energy efficient bulbs that hung down from the ceiling in stainless steel faux lanterns.
His first impression of Vitality Fitness was that they couldn’t decide whether they were a gym or a hipster café. Where normal gyms had shiny laminate light wood flooring, Vitality had much more homey dark flooring. It was probably still laminate for the durability and upkeep, but it actually contrasted nicely with the cream accents and created a calming atmosphere.
He really couldn’t wait for his younger sister Lottie to finish renovating her home and stop shoving his face in home décor magazines whenever he came to visit, then maybe he could stop analyzing the finishings everywhere he went.
The overall tranquility was why he had chosen this gym in the first place; their description had talked about a holistic approach to personal training, and they didn’t hock their own protein powder, or have big corporate sponsorship logos splashed across the equipment. That had been the first five gyms Louis had visited.
Louis took a deep breath and strode over to the reception desk that doubled as a juice and snack bar. The girl behind the desk had a delicate olive toned complexion with large, kind eyes.
“Hi, I’m Louis Tomlinson, I have a personal training appointment?” She beamed at him as she began to click around on her screen, presumably checking him in for his session.
“Hi, Louis. I’m Jade!” Her attitude was refreshing, so he answered her with his best charming smile. At the other gyms he had visited it had been lots of sullen, judgmental teenagers in skimpy clothing and trainers that looked like the wearers never actually did any training in them. “Is this your first visit to Vitality?”
“Yes it is. And hopefully not my last,” he responded, genuinely pleased with his treatment so far. Between Jade and his initial brief glance around, all of the staff looked to be around his own age, if not older. Maturity. Louis let out a sigh of relief. For that, he could forgive some of the more obvious hipster accents.
“We hope so, too! Your appointment today is with Liam, the owner. Going straight to the top,” Jade giggled to herself as the printer on the desk behind her whirred to life. “We have a few forms for you to fill out that we like to keep on file. A brief medical history, emergency contact, injury history, allergies. Normal stuff.” She handed over a clipboard with all the necessary paperwork and stepped from behind the desk to lead Louis towards a frosted glass door. She pulled an elastic key ring off her wrist and unlocked the small, but functional, consultation room.
There was a posh looking cabinet bolted to one wall with what looked like sheets and towels. A massage table was pushed close to the farthest wall, and there were two black leather chairs facing each other. Louis dropped his bag to the floor and sat in one of the chairs to concentrate on his paperwork.
“Liam will be done in just a few minutes. He’s finishing up with another client and then he’ll be in to start your consultation.” Jade smiled again as she pulled the door to without completely shutting it, giving him some privacy.
Louis stared down at the form in front of him. He had filled out forms like this a million times. As a teacher at the most expensive nursery school in Manchester, the children he looked after were the sons and daughters of footballers and titled old money, so he frequently needed to undergo rigorous background checks. Three basic questionnaires he could handle.
While he was double checking the information he had written, he heard a soft knock at the door.
“Come in,” he called out.
“Louis, right?” A taller, sturdy looking bloke with a kind expression pushed the door open all the way, and shut it behind him again. He was wearing a plain white tank top with the Vitality logo, tattoos clearly visible on both of his arms and partially on his chest. There was a Beckham look to his face. Louis didn’t hate it, in fact, he was kind of charmed by it. Was everyone here happy?
“Yeah, mate. That’s me.”
“Great! I’m Liam,” he held his hand out to introduce himself.
“Nice to meet you.”
“Same, same. Alright,” Liam clapped his hands together as a he fell back into the chair with a practised ease, “let’s get started. Before we begin actually training, I’d like to have a little chat about what you’re looking for, problem areas on your body that you know of, and then if we have time we’ll do some assessments. Sound good?”
“Sure,” Louis replied, for lack of a better response. He was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed by Liam’s eagerness.
“So, why did you decide to start a personal training regimen, Louis?”
There it was. Right out of the gate. The completely innocent question that made Louis’ chest tighten, and his mood darken. Liam didn’t know that this was the most difficult question he could have possibly led with, so Louis tried to breathe in and out a few times to calm his heart rate.
“That bad, huh?” Liam's face remained open and non-judgmental.
Louis huffed out a laugh, calming exercises derailed for now. “Yeah, actually. Long story short, it was a bad break up.”
He hated that phrase “bad break up.” It was so simple, as if the utterly devastating blackened hole in his chest could be tucked under the corner of the rug and forgotten until the next dusting.
“Bad” just didn’t seem like an adequate word, and “break up” made it sound like his four year committed relationship with Nick had snapped in half. In reality, somewhere, someone had made a small snag in their fabric and one of the two halves had pushed and pulled, straining the delicate threads of the other until it finally ripped through.
The final tear was named Ricardo, a twenty year old intern at the BBC where Nick did his morning radio show.
That day the water main outside the nursery had burst and everyone was sent home, so Louis had driven over to BBC headquarters with lunch from their favourite sandwich shop to surprise Nick. When Louis arrived, he had ignored a few odd looks from the occasional acquaintance he passed in the halls, and made his way to Nick’s office to wait for him to finish his post-show debrief.
Afterwards, he was amazed at the details he remembered.
If he tried to recall what exactly had been said by each person in the moment, he drew a blank. He did remember that the stainless steel of Nick’s door handle had felt cold in his palm, but it gave way like a knife through butter, completely unlocked. Louis remembered the light bouncing off the gel in Ricardo’s shiny quiff, and the tanned, delicate expanse of Ricardo’s back as he straddled Nick’s lap in the office chair, elegantly contrasting with the pale skin of Nick’s hands. Louis remembered the unmistakable moans, deep and desperate, the likes of which he hadn’t heard from Nick in months.
He remembered the slam of the door, and the whiplash he got from closing it so fast that he grazed his forehead against the pale wood. He remembered the burn behind his eyes as he rushed from the building. He remembered accidentally calling and hanging up on a few random people before he was able to both operate the lift buttons and accurately find his sister Lottie’s contact with his thumb, bringing the overheated screen of his mobile to his ear. He remembered an ad for Nick’s show playing in the lift, and that being the final straw as he let out a choked sob.
Lottie and her husband Tommy came over to help him pack up Nick’s belongings, and bribe the landlord into changing the locks.
He had some leave time saved up at work, and he took it, sitting around the slightly more empty flat for two weeks binging crap telly and getting his groceries delivered. He was glad the service rotated through delivery men so he could at least pretend they weren’t judging him for his multiple orders that only consisted of ice cream and family sized bags of crisps. Even before the break up, he hadn’t been particularly healthy, relying on a strong metabolism to counteract his addiction to junk food.
When it was time for him to go back to work, he forced himself out of bed and into a cold shower to wake himself up everyday, and did all he could to muster up a positive attitude for his babies and toddlers. Drained, at the end of each day he would collapse on the couch, fall asleep, wake up in the middle of the night, move to his bed for a few more restless hours, and repeat the process all over again.
Everything he did reminded him of Nick. That happened when two people built a life together, lived together, for more than four years. The reality was, Nick had cheated on him. Logically, he understood that, but Louis missed him. He missed the casual intimacy of having another person in his life, he missed the love they shared. A small glimmer of hope took root in his chest every once in awhile; maybe Nick would understand his mistake, maybe he would come crawling back.
It was one such moment of weakness that had him, at 3 am, standing in the hallway leading to his flat. There was a fire extinguisher box there, he and Nick had hidden their spare key on top of it since they moved in two years prior. Louis looked at the shiny new key in his hand that matched the shiny new locks on his door, and before he could think better of it, he tucked it on top. It didn’t actually mean anything, the landlord had made Nick give his key to the building’s front door back when Louis had requested Nick be removed from the lease. Nick could only use the spare key if he could get into the building. This wasn’t for Nick. It was for Louis, in case he locked himself out accidentally.
He went back to bed that night steeped in the knowledge that he was lying to himself, desperately, but he couldn’t deny the fact that sleep came just a tiny bit easier.
After weeks vacillating between anger, pining, and moping, he eventually began to notice his trousers were a little more snug than normal. That, paired with the constant post-break up sympathetic looks he had received from all his colleagues, had forced him to take a look at how he had been living.
Now he couldn’t stomach the idea of dating again, but he knew he would have to think about moving on eventually, so he had decided to be proactive about turning his life around. Maybe the endorphins would help motivate him to get off the couch, and he could improve his body in the process.
He couldn’t help but look in the mirror and compare his way-too-close-to-thirty year old body to the lithe, tanned back of a twenty year old that flashed across vision whenever he closed his eyes and let himself think.
If he happened to be nice and toned when Nick decided he wanted back in Louis’ life, what was the harm, really?
“I’m sorry, mate. That sucks.” Liam’s sympathetic noises jolted Louis out of his reverie. As he came back to himself, he remembered where he was.
“Yeah, well I decided I was done wallowing, and it was time to maybe make some improvements in my life.”
“Getting your life going again; that’s commendable,” Liam responded enthusiastically. “Let’s do it.” He clapped his hands together again, and proceeded to ask Louis every question he had already answered on the form.
The rest of the hour passed by quickly, and Louis was relieved that Liam was easy to talk to, if a little intense sometimes. At some point Louis had changed into his gym clothes and they had done some balance exercises so Liam could “evaluate his musculature,” whatever that meant.
After his session ended they were standing towards the side of the reception desk partially blocked by the industrial juicer, discussing their mutual love of United, and how Louis was totally starstruck the first few times any of the players would stop by to pick up their children from the nursery in the off season.
“It’s great, the office gets free tickets all the time, just let me know if you ever want to go to a match,” he offered, genuinely hoping Liam would take him up on it. Most of his coworkers weren’t all that interested in football so it would be nice to go with someone who appreciated the game.
“Sick, mate!” Liam’s back was to the entrance of the locker rooms, but Louis was facing them. If their positions had been reversed, Louis would have completely missed the most beautiful man in the world emerging from a door marked “Employees Only.”
He was tall and lanky, but solid. Oh, so solid. Louis’ eyes started at the top of his head, his chestnut curls were held back by a thin headband. The longest strands on the bottom just barely brushed his shoulders under his ears, while the pushed back shorter strands in front stuck out at all angles in a halo around his head, as if they didn’t know where to go if they weren’t caressing the angles of his face.
A vein stood out on his neck, just under his sharp jaw, and Louis wasn’t ashamed to admit he did some calculations to estimate just how long he would want to give it a little nibble and suck before he was completely satisfied. The man was wearing a Vitality logo t-shirt in a beautiful soft sage green that matched the colour of his eyes, but just barely showed off the strong curve of his shoulders underneath. Louis practically whimpered at the thought of him in a tank top like Liam’s, biceps on display.
Louis’ eyes continued their journey, noticing the ripples of the man’s abdominal muscles as his diaphragm stretched with his breathing. His gaze paused for much longer than was strictly polite on the large bulge in his athletic shorts, mentally cursing the mask the black fabric created. He had just started to study the odd elegance of the man’s legs when Liam realised he didn’t have Louis’ full attention anymore and glanced over his shoulder.
“Harry, man, you’re a little early.” Harry, Louis thought to himself.
Harry’s eyes flicked to Louis once, barely acknowledging him, “No, I’m not,” he said flatly. Louis’ hackles went up, finding Harry’s dismissive tone extremely rude.
Liam glanced at the clock to his right, “Oh, shit. Louis and I must’ve lost track of time. Louis, Harry. Harry, Louis is a new client.”
Louis grit his teeth and politely held out his hand, “I’m Louis.”
Harry gave him a slightly more thorough once over, and it made Louis squirm thinking about his clearly brand new, much too expensive, athletic wear – a drunk purchase late at night in the midst of his lifestyle revelation – and found himself wondering what Harry was seeing when he looked at him.
“I’ll be in the back warming up, Li.” Harry ground out before ignoring Louis’ outstretched hand and giving him a wide berth to enter the training floor.
“Well howdy do to you,” Louis sing-songed under his breath.
“I am so sorry about that. I don’t know what the hell has gotten into him.” Liam’s brow was furrowed as they both watched the muscles in Harry’s retreating back bunch underneath his T-shirt. He hopped on a treadmill facing the far wall to presumably begin his warm up.
“It’s alright, probably just having a bad day. Not a big deal.” Louis did his best to ease Liam’s conscience, though he was still a little offended. That wasn’t Liam’s fault though. It was entirely Harry’s fault. What the fuck was his problem, anyway? “He’s a staff member?”
“Yeah, normally a very pleasant one,” Liam still looked uneasy.
“You still train him, though?”
“Harry is on the amateur boxing circuit, and I’m his coach. He’s got a bout in a month or so that we’re getting ready for.”
Louis’ nose wrinkled in disgust. “Boxing?” He asked, incredulous. Which was, of course, when Harry looked back at them, clearly trying to imply with a look that Liam’s presence was required elsewhere.
As a rule, Louis was fairly anti-violence. He didn’t really understand enjoying anything that was essentially hand-to-hand combat with the intent of physically harming the opponent. All that did was incur injuries, which incurred resentment, and it was a vicious cycle.
Boxers were essentially playground bullies given a loose set of guidelines, a referee, and official merchandise. Compounded with Harry’s attitude? Whatever. Louis didn’t need that kind of negativity in his new life.
“I’ve got to go start the session. Same time next week, mate? Don’t forget, cardio in the meantime!” Liam called over his shoulder as he went to join Harry.
Louis groaned. “Sure thing. See you then.” He turned around to exit back down to street level, forcing himself not to look back at Harry again.
* * *
Harry squeezed his eyes shut as he concentrated on his breathing, feet pounding on the belt of the treadmill.
“What the hell was that?” Liam’s voice was much closer to his ear than he originally thought. His gait faltered, and when he reached his hand out to right himself, Liam’s was there decreasing the speed of the belt.
“Stop it, Liam.” Harry groused, knocking his boss’ hand away from the control panel. He knew he was acting like a petulant child, but he couldn’t really stop himself at this point.
“Alright, what is with this black cloud hanging over your head. Who are you and what have you done with my friend? You know? Harry?” Liam’s tone of voice was patronising and only served to further set Harry’s nerves on edge.
“Look, I’m sorry I was rude to that guy-”
“Louis. The new client. Who I happen to like, by the way.” Liam added.
“Right, just something about him rubs me the wrong way, I don’t know.” Harry attempted to explain, but it fell flat even to his own ears. Liam clearly agreed based on the unimpressed look he was serving in Harry’s direction.
If he was being honest with himself, Harry knew exactly what his problem was with Louis.
When he first came in for his session with Liam, Harry had seen Louis instantly.
Usually he liked meeting new clients. He loved working at Vitality, and Liam had done his best to foster a family-like environment; people said hello as they passed each other, all of the staff members were friendly. Plus, Harry just liked getting to know new people.
Louis had been bent over touching his toes, the crown of his head down, facing Harry. The balance exercises the trainers all did with new clients were easily identifiable even at a distance. Then, Harry happened to glance in the mirror behind Louis, and saw easily the most round and inviting arse he had ever seen.
He stood transfixed as Louis rolled his spine up to a standing position. His head was turned to the side, so Harry could only see his profile but it was beautiful. Strong jaw, cheekbones that could cut glass, tousled caramel fringe, icy blue eyes.
“Harry!” Jade had called his name - clearly not for the first time - holding out the juice he had asked for, but for the life of him he couldn’t remember what flavour it was supposed to be.
He had taken the juice but made no move to drink it, choosing instead to watch the new client interact with Liam. Liam checked the time, and must have told Louis the session was close to over, because they started to move back towards the reception desk. It was then that Harry started to overhear snippets of their conversation.
“...Oh yeah I’ve met…” and, “...He’s really chill…,” followed by the clincher, “...for sure I can get you United tickets…” wafted across the open reception area as they drew closer, and Harry felt his internal door slam shut. If there was one thing he couldn’t stand it was name droppers. This new client was trying to show off for Liam, clearly mentioning famous footballers and his connections to try and prove he was a mover and shaker.
Pretentious. Harry scoffed internally as he turned around and made his way to the employee locker room so he could get changed.
Harry had grown up in Holmes Chapel, a fairly quaint village in Cheshire, but through some distant relative’s influence he had gained a scholarship at an extremely posh private boarding school. His family had always had a comfortable life, they could easily be described as upper middle class, but it was nothing compared to his schoolmates.
There were boys in his year throwing away money on drugs and booze for weekend parties like it was actually growing on trees. Harry thanked his mother every day for teaching him and his sister the value of wealth before they were shipped off.
It was no secret in the dorms that he wasn’t as well to do as the boys he went to school with, and… well... boys will be boys. He made a fairly easy target.
After a certain age, he realised his classmates would have much more respect for him if he began defending himself instead of just trying to avoid a confrontation. Luckily, his fencing instructor was particularly observant and had taken him under his wing. Lucien had taught him the basics of the much grittier, certainly less posh, side of hand to hand combat.
Once they had all left school and his ridiculously pretentious schoolmates were off to places like Oxford and Cambridge trading on their family names, Harry really began to think about what he wanted to do with his life, and how much he really enjoyed boxing as a hobby. “Pugilism” as Lucien used to call it, using the old fashioned name.
Physiotherapy and kinesthesiology had always held an interest for him, so he found a program in Manchester where he could take all of his classes at night. He worked his way through school at one of the big impersonal work out chains with forty treadmills that were constantly in use, but it always felt temporary.
Thankfully, he found Liam in his very last class before graduation. Liam learned that Harry was already a personal trainer, and asked to take him out to lunch one day. During that lunch Liam had laid out his whole business plan that would eventually become Vitality Fitness. Harry thoroughly believed in Liam’s concept, one hundred percent, and agreed to work for him when he got everything up and running.
In the meantime they became fast friends, and one night at the pub after quite a few pints, Harry shared his dream of becoming a professional boxer. Liam had done absolutely everything in his power since then to make that dream a reality. He had learned how to coach Harry, the connections Harry needed to make to get on the amateur circuit, and had dedicated part of the workout floor at Vitality to boxing, turning it into a class and a money maker as well as a training facility for Harry.
Liam liked to say it was in exchange for Harry believing in him when no one else did, but Harry didn’t see how it could possibly be an even trade. He was forever indebted to Liam.
He tried not to think about it too often, but occasionally when he was going through a rough patch, he would think about how he had gotten into boxing in the first place; his need to defend himself against the rich tossers he had gone to school with. It made his skin crawl and his jaw clench all over again.
This new client reminded him of his classmates who judged everyone by what they could do for them, not who they were and what they believed in.
Which was why he didn’t need someone like Louis in his life.
* * *
For the first time in quite a few months, Louis stood staring at himself in the large floor length mirror in his bedroom. He pivoted his torso slightly, watching the light hit the rises and falls of his abdomen where he was actually developing some muscle definition. He trailed a finger across the elastic waistband of his briefs and followed the line of his thighs. The gym membership and pricey personal training sessions were definitely paying off.
After work he had come home to change before heading out again to his weekly session with Liam. They were developing a good routine for Louis, focusing on his general strength instead of focusing on one particular area each time. Louis was looking for something he could keep up on his own, evenly, so when he was at home it was easy for him to not lag behind.
He was certainly no gym rat with things like “lift day” or “leg day” what even were those? The general concept made sense in a way, but he wasn’t looking to build muscle or anything, just tone himself up a bit more. And it seemed like it was working.
Throwing his clothes on and grabbing his bag, Louis locked the door to his flat behind him. Vitality was a short distance away, and it was relatively nice out, so he decided to walk.
In general, he had noticed he was more confident and comfortable with his body since starting a fitness routine. Exercising made him want to eat a little healthier, and his clothes were definitely fitting better.
No matter how hard he tried, though, his arse hadn’t really lost any volume. According to Liam it probably wouldn’t because he was gaining muscle there, and that tended to show on the arse more than other parts of the body. It had taken quite a bit of pestering and bribery to get Liam to divulge that factoid.
“Lou! Do not ask me about your arse ever again if it only involves how well you can pull with it!” His indignation still made Louis chuckle a full week later.
Pushing through the front door of Vitality, he waved to Jade behind the counter, trusting her to check him in now that she recognized him from visiting so frequently, and made his way to the locker room.
When he approached the desk again after dropping his stuff, she looked a little strained.
“Hey Lou,” she breathed out in relief.
“What’s up, babes? You look a little rough around the edges today, is everything okay?”
“You’re lucky I know you actually mean that, and aren’t just saying I don’t look good,” she threw him a cheeky wink. “We’re just a little short staffed today because Liam had to go home. Food poisoning, if you ask me, he insists on keeping leftovers until they can walk out on their own.”
“Oh, Liam’s not here? Do I still have a session? Should I reschedule?” He asked, concerned about the strain on the small staff’s resources.
“No, don’t be silly, Lou. Harry’s come in on his day off to cover all of Liam’s afternoon appointments.” She continued on chatting cheerily, explaining how Liam was such a horrible patient when he was feeling poorly, but it all went in one ear and out the other.
Harry. Louis’ spine stiffened at the mention of the other trainer. Louis hadn’t forgotten how rude Harry was to him at his first appointment, without cause, if he did say so himself. Unfortunately, he also hadn’t forgotten how attractive Harry was.
Just then, the man in question came out of the small office and juice ingredient pantry behind Jade’s desk. He was juggling a few different apples, pausing occasionally to take a bite of the crisp bright red one. Louis chastised himself for admiring the casual strength in Harry’s hands, and his shiny red lips, swollen from taking large bites of the fruit. Louis watched as a small trail of juice dribbled down Harry’s chin, and was ashamed to admit that it made a throbbing heat pool in his groin. What would it be like to see his lips red and wet from something else entirely?
“Jadey-wadey! Who’s Liam’s next client?” Harry asked in a sing-song voice with a wide grin.
“Harry doll, you’ll be training Louis here,” she turned to the side and twirled her wrist to show Harry that Louis was there waiting for him.
It was almost physically painful to watch the smile fade off of Harry’s face, the brightness behind his eyes dimming immediately.
“Oh. Hello.” He gave Louis a curt nod.
So that was how it was going to be? “Hello,” he responded, equally as terse in tone. This session was going to be wonderful, he could already tell.
“Let me just load your routine on the tablet, go get on a treadmill,” Harry said breaking eye contact with Louis.
Louis almost never used the treadmill because he had dreadful shin splints from his footie days, so he hopped on a cross-trainer instead to begin his warm up. He had been on for a few minutes before Harry reappeared.
“Rather bouncy for a treadmill, don’t you think?” Harry asked, his deep voice laced with skepticism and condescension. If there was one thing Louis’ couldn’t stand, it was being patronized.
“Well, if you had bothered to look at the sessions you would be covering ahead of time, you would have seen that I can’t use the treadmill. It’s too high impact.” He knew he was being snippy, and that it would in no way diffuse the building tension between them, but since when was that his job? He was the client. He was paying the money to be here, Harry could damn well give him a little wiggle room. It wasn’t Louis’ fault that Harry didn’t like him.
“Like I had time for that,” Harry rolled his eyes.
“I don’t fucking care. Let’s just move on.” The session had just started, and already Louis’ felt like he was completely spent. He fought three year olds all day, was it too much to ask for an adult conversation?
“Fine.” Harry abruptly increased the resistance on Louis’ climb, and turned his back on the machine to go set something up. Louis tried to focus on his breathing and center himself using the rotations of his legs on the machine.
Push. Pull. Push. Pull.
He glanced at Harry out of the corner of his eye. What the hell was he setting up? There was some kind of plastic apparatus on the floor, and in his hands Harry was carrying some pads. On the bench next to him were some boxing gloves.
Louis hopped off the machine.
“There’s no way I’m fucking boxing.” He knew Harry was a boxer, or was trying to be one, but he wanted nothing to do with it.
“What’s your problem with boxing?” Harry sneered at him. That was it.
“It’s none of your fucking business what my problem is with boxing, but I’m your client, I’m paying good money for this, so I should have some say in what exercises I do or do not participate in. Didn’t you say you loaded my routine on the tablet? Liam’s always fiddling with that thing, why aren’t we doing any of those exercises?” Louis crossed his hands over his chest, waiting for the rebuttal that was surely coming.
Harry took a deep breath and squeezed the bridge of his nose before rounding on Louis, eyes blazing. “The routine you do with Liam is about your whole body, yeah?” It sounded like a question but when Louis opened his mouth to respond, Harry just bulldozed right over him. “These boxing exercises work almost all of the muscle groups in an efficient manner. I just thought I would vary your routine. Silly me,” he tacked on.
“That’s bullshit, boxing only uses your arms, you’re just trying to push your own hobby on everyone who walks through the front door.”
“Don’t fucking talk to me like you have been doing this for more than a few months, which you haven’t. Boxing uses everything. It uses your core to control your legs, and allow you to pivot. This,” he pointed to the unidentified apparatus, “is a balance board that makes it more difficult to maintain your posture, therefore working different parts of your body harder than they normally would be affected, and finally, the least important part, is your arms, which have to be controlled and precise.” At this point Harry had moved closer, and they were very much in each others’ personal space, neither one backing down.
“It’s fucking violent, and I won’t do it. I’ll lift or press anything you want me to, but I will not do this.” Louis wasn’t sure why he was being so unreasonable about this. He hated violence as a rule, and didn’t like boxing matches , but there was nothing wrong with doing it in this context, with no opponent in a controlled environment. Nevertheless, he stood his ground against Harry. Something about the trainer got under his skin and burrowed there, making him itch all over.
Louis watched Harry’s eyes flash with fire one last time before he threw the pads on his hands towards an equipment pile, and stormed away. As Louis watched the muscles in his back and arse flex with his long strides, he couldn’t help but think about what those beautiful legs would look like wrapped around his waist. Fucking hell. He wanted to wreck him.
At the same time, something akin to panic thrummed violently against the walls of his chest when he thought about the argument they had just had. He felt like the seams on his skin were going to burst apart at any moment and he was going to combust, like he couldn’t control his own temperament, because he knew that Harry would hate him no matter what he said.
Harry stopped at the desk, said a few quick words to Jade and kept walking towards the staff locker room he had exited the first time Louis had ever seen him. Before any of this hostility. Jade shot Louis a nervous look and beckoned him over.
He picked his away around the various pieces of equipment and met her at the far end of her desk behind the juicer.
“Louis, I am so sorry. I really don’t know what has gotten into him. Are you alright? All he said was that he was done with the session.” Even though Louis had known that was coming, he still felt a twinge of disappointment.
“It’s fine, darling, I promise,” he pasted on his best charming smile.
“Would you like to stay? I can give you one of the staff tablets so you can work through your normal routine?” She looked hopeful, and he really had been looking forward to a workout.
She smiled gratefully, “We’ll apply your money from this session to a future session. Or a massage! Do you want a free massage?”
That sounded promising, maybe something good would come of this after all. “Perfect!”
“Great, here you go,” she handed him the tablet with his client information, “and I’ll call you sometime next week to schedule the appointment, yeah? Maybe after your next session with Liam?”
“Done.” Louis was truly impressed with everyone he had interacted with at Vitality, and was glad he had been so picky trying out different facilities before his search had finally led him to their small community.
Well, impressed with almost everyone he had met at Vitality.
Louis was getting really fucking sick of Harry Styles. Every time he turned around, he was there. Where before he hadn’t ever been in the building during his and Liam’s training sessions, now, he was everywhere. He was grunting while he lifted weights next to where Louis was silently doing his planks with Liam’s encouragement. He was on a treadmill, heavy feet pounding the belt while Louis tried to maintain his breathing and not sync up his crunches with Harry’s footfalls. Louis could not escape.
It was like Harry couldn’t just let Louis be, he had to insert himself too. He would interrupt to ask Liam’s questions, or he would scoff and roll his eyes in response to Louis and Liam’s conversations, but the only constant was that Harry would completely ignore Louis. He wouldn’t even make eye contact.
If Harry could only stop making his presence known while simultaneously ignoring Louis, that would be bliss. Louis knew he would snap at some point, it was inevitable, so when it actually happened he wasn’t all that surprised.
He was scheduled for a session with Liam that afternoon, but he had been late leaving the nursery because a student had lost their lunch all down his front while he was accompanying them to the school nurse. That led to a shower at his place before his workout, which seemed pointless, but he couldn’t stand the smell of sick for one more minute. He hated feeling rushed, and was definitely five minutes late for his appointment.
On top of everything, he had found one of Nick’s jumpers at the back of his closet the night before. The loneliness had consumed him, washed over him like a tsunami, before he could even think about preventing it. He hadn’t gotten much sleep after that, pulling the soft jumper over his head in a moment of weakness, before tossing and turning for the rest of the night.
His mood was not at an all time high when he arrived at the gym. All it took was a few scoffs and eye rolls from Harry, while Louis was doing squats and telling Liam about a party he had gone to with his younger sister, before he couldn’t stand it any more.
“What the actual fuck is your problem, mate?” He ground out just a bit too loudly for a common workout space. Shoving Liam to the side, he rounded on Harry who was standing cockily by a punching bag glaring down his nose at Louis.
Harry’s eyes blazed to life the same way they had when they attempted to train with each other. “I don’t have a problem, I’m just standing here getting ready for my workout.”
“Well, kindly keep your commentary to yourself, Harold. I’m trying to have a private conversation.” Louis didn’t need Harry or the restless volatility that ran through his veins whenever the other man was around.
“That’s not my fucking name, and I didn’t fucking say anything.” The argument was weak, and Harry knew it.
“You know, you’re right. You never fucking say anything. You just stand around here while I’m trying to train, and scoff, roll your eyes, judge me. I don’t remember asking you! What is it? Why are you always here? Surely there are other hours in the day when you can be on the floor, are you stalking me or something? What did I do to you?” Louis watched as Harry’s face shuttered, a blank expression taking over. The heat in his eyes was gone, and the abrupt change had given Louis whiplash.
“Boys, boys, maybe we should take this somewhere else, yeah?” Liam finally intervened, and Louis became aware of the lack of movement and noise around them. He had let red cloud his vision, and completely forgotten the rest of the world. Shame washed over him, he rarely ever lost his temper like that.
Harry and Louis continued to stare at each other for a moment, both silently daring the other to speak first.
“No need, Liam. I’ll get out of the way so you two can finish your session.” Harry steadied the still swinging bag, picked up his discarded gloves and walked away.
Technically, Louis thought, he had won their staring contest, argument, pissing contest, whatever it was. But it didn’t really feel like winning.
* * *
A few days after his blow out argument with Louis, if it could even be classified as an argument, Harry was still kicking himself for letting it get so out of hand.
The problem was, Louis had a point. He shouldn’t have been around during their workouts. There were many other hours in the day when he could have done his own training. He hadn’t really needed to be there at the same time as Liam and Louis.
He just… was having trouble staying away.
Harry really didn’t know what the hell his issue with Louis was. Louis was attractive, but it’s not like he had never successfully interacted with an attractive man before, hell it wasn’t even the first time they had a ridiculously attractive client.
There was just something about Louis that made Harry want to fly off the handle. Louis infuriated Harry with his smug selfishness and his silly stories, his easy way of talking to Liam, becoming such fast friends with him. How could Liam even stand him?
Maybe that was it. Harry had never, as far as he could remember, been physically attracted to someone that also made him want to rip his own hair out and never speak to them ever again.
Louis made his blood boil, but every time they saw each other Harry couldn’t help himself, he became overwhelmed with the desire to drop to his knees in front of him. He had never felt this way about someone before, it was like his lust for Louis filled his lungs, suffocating him, and he had no idea how to escape it.
He punched the key code into the front door of Vitality, they weren’t officially open yet for the day, and waved to Jade as he kept going to drop his stuff.
“Hey, Harry?” Uh oh. This was not going to be good.
“Yes, Jadey-wadey?” He knew what was coming. Jade only ever got that tone when she needed him to cover something. Maybe one of Liam’s clients again, maybe something else.
Because of the depth of his study, he was a jack of all trades around the place. He could teach a spin class, give a massage, run a personal training session, lead a nutrition consultation. Anything they needed really.
“Would you mind doing a massage this morning at ten?” Jade really did sound apologetic, at least.
He had gotten certified as a massage therapist a few years ago. It wasn’t that he didn’t like doing massages, they just weren’t his primary focus at Vitality. Their regular massage therapist, Rachel, sometimes needed coverage.
“Sure babes, is everything alright?”
Jade smiled at him widely in thanks, “Yeah, not a huge deal, Rachel just needs to take her puppy to the vet this morning. Evidently he swallowed something he shouldn’t have.” Harry nodded and kept moving towards the employee locker room.
“Oh Harry, one more thing. It’s not really important but the massage client is Louis. Okay, cool,” she rushed out before turning around to busy herself with her opening routine.
“What?! Jade, are you mad?”
“Oh come on, Harry! It’ll be fine. Seriously. He’ll be face down, you won’t even have to say anything to each other. Please, please, please!” She looked up at him so earnestly with her big brown puppy dog eyes.
“Alright, fine, but you have to get him situated and ask him the usual questions before he even lays on the table. Then tell me, I’ll do it, and he’ll never even know it’s me,” Harry demanded.
“Deal.” She nodded.
“Fine.” Harry stalked off into the office behind the desk to wait for the all clear.
* * *
As a general rule Louis hated waking up early. Especially on the weekend when he could have a bit of a lie in, but today he had a free massage, and he would do a lot for a free massage. It wasn’t actually free, he had paid money for the session that had gone awry before, but it was still a nice bonus.
He smiled at Jade when he walked in the front door, “Do they ever give you time off, love? I feel like you’re always here.”
“Of course, Lou. I promise. I’m so excited for your massage today!” She did seem more chipper than usual, which was saying something, and her smile held a little cheek to it.
“Why? Are you having one with me?” He winked at her. Thankfully, she had quickly figured out where his sexuality dial pointed, so she knew he wasn’t actively trying to pull, it was just some harmless platonic flirting.
“Nope!” she responded popping the “p” at the end loudly, “Just excited.”
“Alright, then, where am I going?”
“Right through here,” Jade led him towards the consultation room he had met Liam in during his first visit, and he remembered the massage table that had taken up half the room. This time, when she led him in the lights were dimmed almost all the way down, the table was centered in the middle of the room, and it was draped with clean, inviting looking sheets. Candles sprinkled around the room let off a mixture of citrus, lavender, and eucalyptus scents. Very relaxing.
Jade handed him a soft, fluffy white towel, “Alright, Lou, feel free to drop your bag in one of the chairs, get completely undressed, then lay on your stomach with your face in the opening. You can leave your clothes in the chair or on the rack as well. Are there any problem areas you’d like the masseuse to focus on?”
“Well, I guess my lower back, you know bending over to help the kiddos all the time at work. But, shouldn’t I be discussing this with the masseuse?”
“Oh, no, well, yes, but he’s running a little late, he just asked me to get you settled. Plus, he’s a little shy. Won’t talk much, just so you know.” She looked almost nervous, and was getting a little breathless as she kept talking.
“Ooh, strong and silent! I like it. Is he single?”
Jade let out another nervous laugh, this one even more pained than the one before. “Um, enjoy the massage, Louis!”
“Thanks!” he called after her as she slammed the door shut.
Louis stripped down to his briefs and folded his clothes on top of his duffle bag in one of the consultation chairs. What the hell, he thought, and pulled his briefs off as well. It was a little odd to think that at any moment his masseuse would walk in, and Jade had said it was a man. A little thrill zipped through him at the thought, he was surprising himself with his own exhibitionism.
He grabbed the fluffy towel, it was a little small, wasn’t it? Hopefully it would cover his bum. There were definitely larger towels she could have given him, he thought, eyeing the rack in the corner.
Hopping up on the table, and making sure he was correctly lined up with the opening for his face, he laid down, reaching around himself to cover all his bits. He didn’t feel any unnatural drafts, so he should be all set on that front.
Just as he finished situating and let out a deep sigh to try and calm his heartbeat, there was a soft knock at the door.
“Come in, I’m decent!” He called out, loud enough so the person could hear him. The door clicked shut, and he heard footsteps come around the side of the table. He didn’t lift his head, content to just relax and feel. The masseuse turned on some kind of sound system that started to play some relaxing acoustic songs. That was nice! He had expected ridiculous rainforest noises, instead he was getting John Mayer’s cover of “Free Falling.”
He hummed contentedly and let his eyes slip shut. Faintly, he heard the pump of what was most likely massage oil, and the masseuse rubbed their hands together. The very next sensation he felt was one of large, very large, warm hands slicked up and firmly rubbing between his shoulder blades.
Oh God. It had been ten seconds and he was already reevaluating his weekly budget. Maybe he should give up the personal training sessions, and just switch to having massages once a week. This was incredible.
For the next thirty minutes Louis was in a state of pure bliss. Bliss wasn’t even the right word for it, he was euphoric, he had ascended to another plane of existence. The hands that rubbed him were so strong, they were getting into every single muscle he had, but at the same time they were gentle. Louis knew he would feel the effects the next day, but nothing had been painful so far.
The hands attached to the mystery masseuse would periodically lift away from his body and return covered in more oil. This time when they came back, Louis felt the towel lifting slightly up off of his bum. Woah, there.
He relaxed immediately when it was clear the person was just moving the edge of it as far down as possible while still maintaining proper coverage. Vaguely, he remembered asking Jade to tell the person to concentrate on his lower back, and that was just what he began to do.
The muscles in his back twinged as the masseuse began to work them over. At this point, Louis was so relaxed he was worried he would melt into goo and slide down off the table, and the warm atmosphere in the room was stifling in a pleasant way. Every time the masseuse walked by the end of the table where his head was resting Louis could smell his heady scent, and it just served to heighten his already very pleasureable experience.
He loved that musky man smell on anyone. Louis had hated when Nick would wear cologne, he thought it interfered with his natural, comforting smell, but Nick had loved it and wore it to work almost every day. On the weekends though, when they were just lounging about at home, there was nothing that led to discarded clothes all over the living room faster than when they were just cuddling and Louis could bask in the comfort of him.
Thoughts of his old lazy Sunday routine with Nick and his definite lack of a partner for the last few months, coupled with strong hands rubbing him down for half an hour, were beginning to affect Louis. He could feel the tug of arousal in his abdomen as he began to stiffen up against the soft cotton sheet covering the table.
Do not get hard. Do not get hard.
He repeated the mantra to himself over and over again, unfortunately bringing back some of the tension in his muscles that had dissipated.
The universe was working against him, because next thing he knew the masseuse was teasing his fingers under the edge of his towel, towards Louis’ glutes. All Louis’ traitorous body registered was: big hands on arse.
Louis bit down on his lip to keep from moaning. The strong fingers fanned outward across the tops of his cheeks, just teasing the edge of his crack, but not really going anywhere near it. The masseuse was being strictly professional. Louis however, was not, and was now completely hard, his cock uncomfortably trapped between his body and the table.
Surely the session was almost done. The masseuse would leave, and Louis could recover enough to go home and have a long, leisurely wank in the shower.
The hands left his lower back and Louis let out a little sigh. He didn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable, and he knew it wasn’t sexual, but that had still been the most attention his arse had received in months. A guy could dream. Literally. He had been having sex dreams from not getting enough action.
Louis finally opened his eyes, staring at the carpet on the floor. He blinked a few times while he heard a stool being dragged over.
Suddenly, within his line of vision (that was severely limited by the padding of the opening), he saw bright fuchsia trainers. He had seen those before. Just last week he had commented to Liam how ridiculous they looked on Harry.
Harry. Fuck. Harry was the only man he knew that wore fuchsia trainers and worked at Vitality. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Harry had been his masseuse this whole time. That’s why he hadn’t spoken. That’s why Jade was nervous. It all made sense now.
Harry laid his humongous hands flat, as spread out as they could be on Louis’ shoulders near his neck. Louis twitched against the table, and he could feel a bead of moisture on the head of his cock where it was pressed up against his leg.
Fuck. He was still fucking hard. Louis thought about the rub down he was still in the process of receiving, and how it had been Harry’s teasing fingertips pushing their way underneath the towel towards his hole a few minutes before.
This time he couldn’t help it when a soft moan escaped.
Oh, God. Who the hell moaned when someone was massaging their shoulders? Harry must think he was some kind of freak.
Now that Louis had a picture in his head, his fantasies were running wild; all he could see was Harry removing the towel, using his thumbs to softly caress his hole and pull his arse apart, leaning down, teasing, using his tongue. Fucking hell. There was a very strong possibility Louis would not make it home in this state. He could feel himself throbbing against his leg, but he was immobile. There was no way he could start grinding into the table to get some friction, Harry would know exactly what he was doing. Louis could not give him the satisfaction of knowing he had affected him so greatly.
After what felt like another hour entirely, but was probably only a few minutes, Louis felt Harry press his palms down flat against his shoulder blades. The message was clear: his appointment was over. The stool was pulled away, and Louis heard the door slip open and closed almost immediately. He was alone.
Louis wasted no time in throwing the towel off his arse and onto the floor, flipping his body over carefully with his head fully rested on the table.
Licking a stripe across his palm he quickly got his fist around the base of his cock, knowing he had a limited amount time. He tugged once, twice, feeling the ghost of Harry’s fingers on his arse cheeks, thinking about what it would feel like to flip their roles and get Harry laid out on the table, his arms and legs tied down so he couldn't move, ready for anything Louis decided to give to him.
A shout ripped from deep within his chest but he managed to cover his mouth with his other hand to block the sound as he spilled across his stomach. His orgasm was so forceful his ears were still ringing and his rib cage was heaving with his heavy breaths.
He sat up, head spinning from both the loss of equilibrium from the massage, and his ridiculously intense release. Locating a box of tissues, he wiped himself down and stuffed them in the pocket of his duffle, not wanting to leave any evidence of his indiscretion behind.
* * *
Harry could practically feel his knuckles bruising with how hard he was pounding the bag, Liam was behind it to spot him, and Harry had practically bowled him over with his force.
“Woah, mate. You’ve been hitting it pretty hard this week, and you really should calm down. You’ve got the matchup on Saturday night. You have to save your strength.”
Harry heard all of what Liam was saying, he really did, but he had so much nervous energy built up inside him, it had to come out somehow.
“Yeah, Li. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, H, but I’ve never seen you like this before.” Liam looked concerned, which only made Harry feel worse.
The problem was, Harry knew exactly where it was coming from. Louis Tomlinson. The massage Harry had given him over the weekend had been an otherworldly experience. That perfect body, curvy and golden, laid out on a table in front of him slicked up from Harry’s own hands. Harry had gotten half hard as soon as he felt Louis’ warm skin under his finger tips, and it hadn’t really flagged since then. Not to mention the breathy little moans that had spilled out of his mouth that Harry thought were involuntary, and then a much louder one towards the end. That single moan would stay lodged in Harry’s memory forever.
He needed to get laid. As soon as possible. But, if he was going to, it had to be now because Liam didn’t like it if it was too close to a match up.
Later that night, Harry was dressed in tight jeans and a simple button down top, he was trying to pull so he left the first three or so unbuttoned, showing off the edges of his tattoos. He knew he looked good like this. It was for a purpose. Utilitarian.
Between his bout on Saturday, trying to watch what he put into his body, and having to work in the morning, he chose not to drink. All he had to do was find someone else who wasn’t as drunk who was up for reciprocal blow jobs in the toilets. That would help him take the edge off.
He spent about an hour scanning the crowd, trying to find a possibility. Finally, he made contact with someone at the end of the bar. He was medium height, cheekbones for days, with olive skin, dark hair, and a dark brooding look to him. The mystery guy shot Harry a smirk, making sure he had his attention and then nodded towards the entrance of the toilets.
Harry pushed through the crowd to get to him. When he made it to his position at the other end of the bar, the stranger leaned in close, “What’s your name?” All Harry could feel was the guy’s hot breath on his ear, combined with the sickly smell of the alcohol he was drinking.
“John.” Pleasantries out of the way, John leaned up to cover Harry’s lips with his. The kiss was… fine. It was a kiss. Means to an end. This wasn’t about feelings or passion, or getting under his skin, Harry just needed another warm body to help obliterate his thoughts for a little while.
Harry brushed his hand down John’s arm, grabbing his hand and leading him towards the toilets. The music had gotten even louder, so he looked back at him and quirked his eyebrows to make sure John was okay with the plan. John just nodded, and Harry turned back around to clear a path through the crowd.
As soon as they got through the door of the loo, John was on Harry. His lips were wet and tasted sticky sweet from his drink. Harry chased the taste with his tongue, demanding entry into John’s mouth. John opened up for him and Harry’s eyes slipped closed.
Tan skin. Soft fringe. Blue eyes. Fuck. Harry pulled back abruptly.
“What’s wrong?” John asked hurriedly, panting against Harry’s jaw, sliding his lips to Harry’s neck.
“Nothing, nothing,” Harry rushed out, concentrating on the feeling of John’s fingers against his waistband. He quickly pulled Harry’s trousers open, wasting no time in getting his mouth around Harry. Lack of action made Harry sensitive to any attention on his cock, but he was having a difficult time concentrating.
He leaned his head back against the cool tile of the wall squeezing his eyes shut as his cock was enveloped in the tight wet heat of John’s mouth.
“Fuck, you’re huge.”
Harry chuckled. “Thanks?” John went back to drawing him in as deep as he could go. Harry felt his muscles work around him and felt his tip his the back of John’s throat. The guy was precise and efficient, but Harry felt his mind wandering.
Round arse cheeks, supple under his fingertips. Curvy hips. Tan skin. Blue eyes. Sharp with anger. Disappointment in Harry’s behaviour. Dainty hands holding him down.
The mouth pulled off his cock and Harry felt one, two sharp twists of a hand, before his orgasm ripped through him.
“Oh, God. Louis.”
Harry’s eyes shot open as the movement on his cock stopped.
“Who the fuck is Louis?” John stood up abruptly, leaving Harry with his rapidly softening cock hanging out of his fly exposed to the chilly air of the loo.
“No one. Do you want me to…?” He trailed off, nodding at the fly of John’s trousers, reaching for him once again, but he pulled away.
“Nah, mate. Kind of a buzzkill,” he glared at Harry but seemed to be expecting him to say something else. What was he supposed to say? He knew he had fucked that up. When Harry remained silent, John rolled his eyes, unlocked the door and slammed it behind him.
The sound echoed flatly in the small space. Harry tucked himself back into his pants, zipped his trousers, and leaned over to splash some cool water on his face.
How could he have said Louis’ name? He had finally gotten off, sure. But no part of him felt satisfied in any way.
* * *
Over the handful of months Louis had been going to Vitality he and Liam had become pretty good friends. They chatted during their sessions, exchanged numbers so they could easily coordinate their schedules for training, and had started talking a bit outside of their planning conversations.
Which was why, at some point Louis took the plunge and invited Liam to the pub in his neighbourhood to watch the United match. He and Niall, an old friend from his uni days that worked with him at the nursery, liked to watch the matches there occasionally so that they had a reason to get off of Louis’ couch and not be lazy slobs.
“Come on Lima bean, come out with us! You’ll love Niall, he’s great.” Louis was having trouble getting his sentences out as he concentrated on keeping his core tight during a wall sit. His thighs were burning, but he had been holding the position for forty five seconds. They used to start burning almost immediately. He snuck a peek down at his legs, admiring his own muscle definition, feeling quite proud of himself.
“I would love to mate, but I can’t. Harry has a bout that could be really big for him.”
Louis rolled his eyes. For fucks sake. Harry. They had been successfully avoiding each other for a few weeks after the massage incident. Harry obviously knew that it was Louis on the table. He definitely knew what he was doing when he flirted with the edges of what was appropriate for a professional massage. Did he know that Louis knew he was the masseuse? He rolled his eyes as Phoebe from Friends ran on a loop in his head.
“It’s cool, I guess,” he pouted, playing it up. Liam shoved his shoulder, knocking him out of position against the wall, sending him to the ground in a fit of giggles. “Liam! Such abuse! How very dare you!”
Liam held his hand out to help Louis off the floor, “Get up Lou, you’re fine.”
Louis huffed once again making a show of dusting himself off.
“Hey, I know you’re not the biggest fan of boxing, but Harry’s bout is in the afternoon. Maybe you could come with to watch and then we could head to the pub afterwards.”
Louis raised his eyebrows, “Really? Me? Watch a boxing match?”
“I know, I know, but maybe it’ll help you understand why me and Harry like it so much. It’s not that far away from your neighbourhood, I promise.”
“Liam. Don’t be ridiculous. Me not liking boxing is just the tip of the iceberg.”
Liam’s expression was pained, but determined. “Come on, I’m sure it will go a long way to show that you’re trying to understand.”
“What makes you so sure that I want him to like me. I am perfectly content with how things are. Chilly indifference is my wheelhouse, mate. Totally comfortable.”
All Liam did was point to the medicine ball with an unimpressed glance. Louis knew what that meant, it just irked him that Liam knew he knew what it meant. He rolled his eyes again.
Attend one of Harry’s matches? Could he really do that?
Why not? Liam, his friend, was inviting him somewhere. Who cared if it made Harry uncomfortable? That wasn’t Louis’ problem.
“Fuck it, I’ll go.” Liam’s eyes lit up erasing any second thoughts Louis could even think about having. Liam was just a giant puppy dog and doing this clearly would make him happy.
“That’s great, Louis! Still have to do your squats, though.”
Exposed brick lined the doorway of the small gym tucked away off a busy street in Manchester. It really wasn’t far away from Louis’ flat, Liam was right.
He made his way to the front of the queue for tickets, it moved quickly for how many people there were.
“Name?” The girl behind the counter looked a bit bored.
“Tomlinson? But actually, I think I have to buy-”
“Here it is, have fun,” she shoved a plain white envelope into his hand, “Next!”
Louis stepped away from the front of the queue and studied the ticket. It looked like he would be a few rows back from the ring, but there was twenty quid he wouldn’t have to pay. He made a note to thank Liam later.
When he followed the corridor down it opened up into a much more cavernous space. Bright lights hung down over the ring but the seats themselves were dark. Just like in the movies, he mused. There was already a fight going on as he made his way to his seat. Liam had told him that Harry’s would be last, and gave him a general idea of when to be there, telling him that he didn’t have to watch all of the smaller matches leading up to the main event. Which apparently was Harry.
Louis found his seat, and he was indeed about four rows back. He was kind of glad he was in the darker section instead of right up on the ring where Harry would be able to see him. He wasn’t sure if Harry even knew he was supposed to be there.
There was a small press box on one section of the ring, and a roped off area where they could move as the match did to take pictures of the athletes.
Louis winced as the two boys who couldn’t be older than eighteen went after each other, gloved fists flying. The violence increased with the accompanying rapid shutter clicks as it became clear, even to Louis’ untrained eye, that one of the boys was getting more punches in than the other.
One of the boys finally had enough and went down with a well placed sucker punch to the ribs.
Nausea overwhelmed Louis for a moment when he thought about the internal injuries that could give a person. His mother was a nurse and he had six younger siblings, so he knew all about what the human body could and could not endure.
They presented the winner with a medal and everyone got up to stretch and move around as they set up for the final match. Harry’s.
No, not Harry’s. Liam’s.
Well, technically it was Harry’s, but he was here for Liam. As a friend. A supportive friend.
Just then, the lights lowered again and the music that had been softly playing during the break changed - it really was just like the movies. Liam had said that Harry was pretty close to going pro, but this actually felt pro to Louis.
Harry’s opponent came out of the hallway leading from the back of the gym and entered the ring. He looked less tall and lanky than Harry, but that was because he looked like a fucking tank. The nausea that had settled deep in his gut before when he was watching the younger kids had abated, but now it was back in full force. How was Harry supposed to face a guy like this?
There had been a fair bit of cheering for the other guy, but all of a sudden the crowd went mad. Louis looked up and his heart stopped.
Liam was leading Harry out of the hallway this time, but every time Harry’s body swayed into Louis’ line of vision, his pulse jumped. Louis had always thought Harry was attractive, but that attractiveness hadn’t done enough to mask his cold and standoffish personality for Louis’ taste.
At that moment, Louis wasn’t even sure he could spell standoffish.
Harry ducked under the ropes, abs crunching against the wide waistband of his shorts that were sitting high at his natural waist. When he stood up fully in the center of the ring, Louis’ brain finally connected back to the rest of his body and he whipped his mobile out to take a picture.
As soon as he had, he studied the smaller more pixelated Harry for a moment. Had he really just done that?
It was just… He needed to remember what Harry looked like right now. Because… well it seemed like an important moment. Everyone else was taking pictures...
And fucking hell would he wank to this picture for years to come.
Somehow, Harry was completely slicked up like he had been dipped in the massage oil he had rubbed all over Louis a few weeks back. The light bounced off the shine of each little dip and curve of his musculature.
He knew Harry had tattoos, they covered one of his arms, but he had never seen the giant butterfly on his chest before. There were also two swallows up under his collar bone, and Louis wanted to trace them with his tongue. Bite down on his shoulder while he pounded into him from above.
He needed to sit down.
The crowd around him had calmed down and were also beginning to take their seats again. Louis felt his body fall heavily back down into the leather of the seat underneath him.
Liam held Harry’s gloves as Harry pulled his hair up out of his face. He reached for the elastic around his wrist and made a neat little bun, a few tiny baby curls falling out at the nape of his neck immediately.
Like he hadn’t had enough to deal with. Harry’s soft silky curls were distracting, but when he pulled it back, his jawline was positively devastating.
What had he done to deserve this?
He had been so preoccupied with Harry, he missed Liam exiting the ring and the official blowing his whistle. All of a sudden Harry and his opponent were bouncing up and down on the balls of their feet, assessing each other.
When his opponent finally moved Harry began to reciprocate, and Louis quickly lost track of the action. He didn’t understand the difference between types of punches and jabs or anything, but he watched Harry’s expressions. He tried to maintain a blank, stony expression but every once in awhile he would flinch hard enough that Louis could see it a few rows away.
Liam was much more expressive and a good guide as to how Harry was doing, but Louis couldn’t bring himself to tear his eyes away from Harry’s lithe form for a long enough period of time to really gauge.
Louis had no idea what constituted a win at one of these things, but as they continued to go after each other the crowd got more and more agitated.
While the opponent had sheer strength on his side, Harry seemed to have speed.
He managed to avoid any real force, until the very end. The pressure he was putting on his opponent was intense, and Louis was finally beginning to understand what it meant to have someone “up against the ropes,” but at the last second, the guy surged forward landing a massive punch below Harry’s sternum. Right where he could get the wind knocked out of him.
Louis watched, horrified, as Harry stumbled back a few paces. His chest rose and fell rapidly a few times before he launched himself right back, giving his opponent a few alternating jabs to his jaw, effectively sending him careening back into the ropes again.
The official whistled and Liam leaped up stretching the ropes out so he could get his arms around Harry in celebration. Harry involuntarily recoiled noticeably enough that Liam pulled back quickly and began to check him over.
Louis watched as Harry shook his head and nodded in the direction of the official. The message was clear “We’ll talk about it later.” If Harry really was hurt, he should not put off getting checked out.
The official brought out the shiny belt Harry was due for his win and present the two fighters at the middle of the ring. The crowd cheered wildly - he was clearly the favorite - and Harry smiled, dimples on full display.
Louis may not have seen it if he hadn’t been paying such close attention, but he was, and he saw the grimace as clear as day when Harry’s hand was lifted high above his head. Harry involuntarily flinched and went to pull his elbow back into his body, but the official didn’t let go of his wrist for another few seconds.
Harry went back over to Liam and they both exited the ring; when they landed back on the floor Liam began searching around frantically as he led Harry back the way he had come. Louis figured Liam was probably looking for him, so he texted him quickly.
Louis: Don’t worry about me - get Harry checked out. He’s def in pain.
Liam: Will do. Come back into the room we cn talk here. Give ur name.
Room? What room? Louis shrugged and started walking down that same hallway.
There was a fierce looking woman with a clipboard at the end of the corridor.
“You Louis?” she asked, definitely the kind of person who had too much to do to use full sentences.
“His room is that way,” she pointed her thumb behind her where there were at least five nondescript doors. Louis turned around to ask her which one it was but she was already gone.
The first two had no indication of what was in them, but as he made his way farther down, he saw one with a sign taped to it with Harry’s name.
He knocked, and Liam shouted for him to enter. Harry was sitting at the end of a table which was one of the only pieces of furniture in the sparse room. There were a few chairs and the remnants of a fruit platter at the other end of the table.
Liam was bent over running his fingers along Harry’s ribs, and it took every ounce of willpower Louis had to not reach out and slap his hand away. He had no idea where this instinct was coming from.
“What the hell is he doing here?” Harry rasped out as Liam did something to his side.
Louis’ entire body tensed. He hadn’t even said anything yet.
“Be nice. Louis and I are going to the pub after this. Or we were going to until you went got one of your ribs broken.”
“It’s not broken.”
“If it’ll make you feel better I’ll get it checked out tomorrow.”
“You’re getting it checked out now.”
Louis finally saw his opening, “There’s an NHS walk-in place not too far away.”
Harry’s head snapped up and he leveled Louis with a glare.
“That settles it then, I’ll take you there,” Liam said with finality. “Louis, I’m so sorry about the United match, mate.”
“Nah, it’s cool. I get it.” Louis waved him off.
“I’m gonna take this stuff out to the car, I’ll let you know when I’m pulled around front.” The door fell shut behind Liam with a deafening click.
This was the first time, aside from the massage, that Louis and Harry had ever been alone in the same room together.
The awkward silence festered while Louis tried to come up with something to say. He opened his mouth to congratulate him on his win when Harry interrupted him before he could.
“I’m not a child, you know. You didn’t have to talk about me like I wasn’t here.”
Louis scoffed. “Could have fooled me.”
Harry’s knuckles whitened where he gripped the table next to his thighs. His long legs dangled off the end but even as long as they were, his feet still didn’t reach the floor.
“My rib isn’t broken.”
“That’s great, I’m sure it’s not. But until you develop x-ray vision, you should still be safe and get it checked out.”
“Why are you even here?”
“Liam invited me, before the pub. I live around the corner.” Louis hadn’t realised it, but he had been moving closer and closer towards where Harry was perched on the table. He could reach out his hand and brush his knee if he wanted to. But he didn’t. Want to.
“No,” Harry said, voice fierce where it hadn’t been before. “Why are you here.”
His eyes blazed with frustration that Louis recognized. It was the same frustration Louis felt when Harry would lurk during his training sessions, or when he was alone at home and just had to get a hand on himself in the shower thinking about Harry’s sinfully plush lips, or when he and Harry fought in the middle of the gym floor at Vitality.
He knew what Harry was feeling, even if neither one of them could put it into words.
The need to feed that frustration back to Harry overtook Louis. He reached out, getting a hand around the back of Harry’s neck, slotted himself between Harry’s splayed thighs and brought their lips together.
Harry was holding himself stiffly at first but Louis wanted more. He dragged his tongue across the seam of Harry’s lips. Let me in. When Harry finally did, Louis licked into his mouth and got his first real taste of pure decadence.
Then, the most amazing thing happened, as soon as the kiss deepened, Louis felt Harry become completely pliant under his hands. He was letting Louis guide him through the kiss, take control, and Louis’ mind was reeling.
Harry’s skin was still slick from before, and a light citrusy scent mixed with the sharp edge of sweat emanated from the warm skin underneath Louis’ hand. He pulled one hand away briefly, and began to trail the tips of his fingers down the center of Harry’s still very bare torso.
Despite the beating it had just taken, the skin was satiny smooth, a brand new texture Louis had never felt before, and all he wanted to do was run his hand over every inch of it.
The ringtone of Harry’s mobile startled both of them enough that Harry finally loosened the death grip he still had on the edge of the table and Louis had backed up a nice, safe, non-kissable distance away.
“Yeah, Li.” Harry’s voice was rough from disuse. Or the kissing. Louis tried to look anywhere but the shiny blush of his lips, but was having a hard time. He did that. Those lips were swollen because he kissed Harry.
He kissed Harry.
“I’ll come outside,” Harry replied once more and hung up the mobile. Wincing, he started to slide off the table, and once he was completely on his feet he began to reach for his bag.
“Are you mad? Let me get that for you,” Louis protested, grabbing the strap of the brown leather bag. “Do you want a jacket or something?”
“It’s a warm night. I’ll be fine.”
Louis wanted to push the issue - Harry was still shirtless - but the air was thick with tension and he had no idea what to do about it. Before five minutes ago they still hated each other, and it wasn’t as though a kiss could erase how rude Harry had been to him over the last few months.
Harry led the way through the maze out of the gym out of the back door into an alleyway where Liam had the car idling. Louis opened up the boot and threw Harry’s bag in while Harry climbed in then came around to Liam’s window. He gave him some brief directions to the walk-in clinic and before he knew it he was staring at red tail lights in the diminishing daylight.
What just happened?
* * *
Harry hadn’t intentionally started showing up to the gym during Louis’ sessions again. He just stopped checking the schedule to actively avoid them. It was really for both of their sakes. They had to figure out a way to coexist without going at each other’s throats.
They were both friends with Liam and neither one of them wanted to put Liam in the middle of whatever this was.
Well, Harry definitely didn’t. He had no idea how Louis felt, because he hadn’t actually spoken to him since the match. The kiss.
Louis kissed with such strength, control. Arrogance. It was arrogance, Harry told himself resolutely. It didn’t matter that Louis having his hands on Harry had made him feel safe and comfortable enough to lose himself in the taste of his mouth. It was Louis being cocky.
Harry watched his feet hit the belt of the treadmill in the mirror instead of looking at his face. He knew that if he looked himself in the eye it would be admitting to himself how weak his own argument was.
“Harry!” Liam’s voice called from across the gym, there weren’t many people there yet - there was always a lull between the lunch hour and when everyone got off of work around five.
Harry quickly lowered the speed on his machine and hopped off to cross the floor to the reception desk.
Liam and Jade had their heads bent close together whispering about something.
“What’s up, Li?” Harry asked as he approached the two. Them conspiring was never good. A bunch of old biddies they were.
“I have an emergency,” Liam said without any inflection. Harry waited for an explanation, but Liam just stood there staring at him with wide eyes.
“I’m sorry?” Harry watched as Jade elbowed Liam in the gut.
“My car broke down this morning. And I have to get it fixed now. So I have to go. And you have to take my appointments.”
“Liam it’s three o’clock in the afternoon. You didn’t think to handle this earlier when you were counting strawberries in the fridge because you were so bored?” Harry was incredulous. Was he kidding?
“Uhh… nope. Gotta go now. Emergency and all.” Jade had been watching Liam expectantly but rolled her eyes at him when his lie still hadn’t gotten any better.
Harry had known Liam for too long. He knew when Liam was lying mostly because Liam was horrible at it.
When he looked back at Liam, his valiant boss, all he could see was Liam rushing around the side of the counter making his escape.
“So, Jadey-wadey. Who is his first client?”
“Yeah. About that.” She didn’t finish the sentence. She didn’t need to. At least she had the decency to look guilty this time.
“It’s Louis, isn’t it.”
“Yeah he’ll be here in fifteen minutes. Have fun, bye!” Jade escaped into the back room. Cowards. Both of them.
Fifteen minutes later Harry watched as Louis stepped off the lift tapping away at his mobile. If Louis was trying so hard to make his lifestyle more active maybe he should take the stairs.
Jade was still in the back so Harry was manning the front desk, and Louis didn’t even bother to look up from his mobile for a brief second to acknowledge the fact that he was checking in.
“Aren’t you going to check in?” Harry asked to Louis’ back after he made it a good ten steps past the front desk.
Louis froze and turned around to face him. “You’re not Jade.”
“What gave it away?”
“Jade usually just checks me in and then I come back and we chat when I’m done changing,” Louis spoke slowly as if he was swallowing his own annoyance. “That is why I didn’t say hello. Also I was in the middle of a conversation that I need to continue. So if you will please check me in, I’ll be back momentarily when it’s time to see Liam.”
Harry opened his mouth to tell him about the change in schedule, but Louis rolled his eyes and turned back to the door of the locker room. The longer Harry waited to tell Louis, the less time he would have to get used to the idea, maximizing his discomfort. Win-win. Harry smiled for the first time all afternoon.
Ten minutes into Louis’ training appointment, Harry wrapped his fingers around Louis’ wrist and pulled him into the small employee locker room, slamming the door shut behind him.
Louis was satisfyingly disgruntled when he had learned that Harry was his trainer for the afternoon, so it hadn’t taken long for them to start bickering again. Their argument had escalated enough, and Harry was frustrated enough, that he had decided to take it off the gym floor.
“What is your problem with me?” He watched as Louis’ eyebrows climbed up towards his hairline.
“My problem? With you?” the incredulity in his voice was surprising.
“Yeah, your problem with me! Are you just going to repeat everything I say?”
“You- fuckin- Are you fucking kidding me?” Louis’ barely contained rage had finally rendered him speechless. Harry would be amused if he wasn’t so fucking frustrated.
“You’ve fought me on everything from day one,” Harry blurted out. That seemed to unlock something in Louis.
“Yeah, Harry. I have. Do you want to know why? Because day one, you walked out of this locker room, took one look at me, and it was like the North fucking Pole. You never even gave me the chance to introduce myself before you were turning your nose up like I was a piece of dog shit on the bottom of your shoe. Excuse me if I got a little defensive.”
Louis stopped his tirade to run a hand over his face and dig his fingers into his fringe. Harry knew he wasn’t blameless and should probably come to terms with the fact that he did do everything Louis was accusing him of, but he couldn’t get past the vision of all of the smarmy boys he had gone to school with and Louis’ name dropping to impress Liam. It was something that always hung at the back of his consciousness, through the haze of lust that seemed to overtake him every time he and Louis were within ten feet of each other.
“What like you were entitled to a good first impression? Listen, I’m not Liam. I heard you that day dropping United players’ names like it was your job. I wasn’t immediately impressed by free tickets and a charming smile, so sue me,” Harry spat out.
Louis stood there staring at him in shock for a moment before he shook his head to clear it. “Ignoring the fact that the conversation you overheard was private, your perception of it was also entirely wrong.”
Louis’ entire body drained of the tension they had built up during their appointment and subsequent argument. His demeanor changed as he leaned up against the lockers and crossed his arms, clearly becoming aware that he was the one that had control of this conversation. “I receive free tickets from my job, that’s true. Unfortunately for you, I also know that I would never ‘drop a name’ as you put it because I could get sacked from said job. I work at a nursery and most of the players that have kids enroll them there. If I betrayed their privacy that would be it for me. I would never be able to work in childcare, a job that I love more than anything, ever again. If you want to blame me for offering those tickets to the first person I’ve met in more than a year that had the potential to be a new friend and was also over the age of three, then I am not the issue here.”
His hips rolled languidly as he pushed himself off the lockers and began moving towards Harry, Harry felt pinned. Like prey. His mind ran a million a miles an hour and he felt ashamed of how he had acted. God. He felt scolded. Chastened. All of it. He could feel his cheeks heat up with his embarrassment.
“You know what I think?” Louis continued to advance cautiously.
“What?” Harry rasped out.
“I think the way you react to me scares you, so you’ve been lashing out at me,” Louis was just outside Harry’s personal space. Harry knew, instinctively, that if he brought an end to this right now Louis would walk away. Everything in him screamed to say something. Leave the room. Cut the invisible string he could feel tethering him to Louis. Just do it.
But he couldn’t make his brain connect to his mouth, and it remained shut.
When Harry didn’t say anything Louis waited another beat, making sure, before he closed the distance. “There were two of us there in that room when we kissed. I felt you melt, and it was amazing. Why won’t you let yourself enjoy it?” Louis’ eyes searched Harry’s for answers. It was difficult for Harry to maintain eye contact, all he wanted to do was run and hide, but he couldn’t back down. “What would have happened if we hadn’t been interrupted?” Louis asked the questions like he already knew the answer.
Harry hadn’t forgotten the taste of Louis’ lips on his, the overwhelming way Louis had held him close.
All of a sudden he and Louis were sharing a breath, Harry must have moved forward unconsciously. Louis exhaled and Harry could feel it dance across his jawline.
“Harry, if you want it, you’re going to have to take it this time.”
He surged forward bringing their mouths together and pinning Louis against the lockers. The doors rattled on their hinges, metal scraping metal.
Harry kissed him with desperation until his lungs began to ache. Louis’ hand came up and buried in Harry’s curls at the base of his neck. When they were in the back room at his match, Louis had rested his hand on the back of his neck and it had been overwhelming. This touch was rougher, like Louis had been holding himself back before and was finally letting himself go.
The grip on his hair tightened as Louis used it to tug Harry’s head backwards away from his so they could both refill their lungs.
“This conversation isn’t over,” Louis warned before he was pulling Harry back in once more. From there it was like a switch had been flipped. Harry had to ask for it, sure, but now that he had given in Louis began to take , quickly switching their positions so the cool metal of the grates on the lockers dug into Harry’s shoulder blades.
Louis reached down and his fingers circled around both of Harry’s wrists, an echo of how Harry had touched him earlier. Before . Next thing he knew, Louis had both of his arms completely pinned above his head. They both knew that Harry was much stronger than Louis and could have thrown him off with the twitch of his arms. This wasn’t about strength.
Louis let up just a bit and breathed into his mouth, “Do you like that?”
Harry could only nod as Louis immediately licked into his mouth again. He was drowning as he felt his blood rush south. He had been so focused on standing his ground during their argument, he hadn’t even been paying attention to the fact that he was now painfully hard in his shorts.
Louis pulled his mouth off of Harry’s and peppered kisses across his cheekbone before grazing his teeth across the sensitive skin just below his ear. He continued to nip his way down the tendon in Harry’s neck, finally letting his mouth hover over the juncture where his neck met his shoulder.
Harry held his breath as Louis stilled for a moment before he finally latched on and sucked at his skin. Hard. The pinch of pain shot through Harry like lightning turning his knees to jelly. He let himself go and slipped a little increasing the stretch in his arms.
Louis moved his body in closer to hold Harry in place, and the slight change in position brought the front of their bodies together. Harry let out a whimper at the friction.
“So hard for me, Hazza.” Louis had never used the nickname before, no one had ever called Harry that, and something about the idea of it slipping out unconsciously made his thoughts get a little bit fuzzier. It had to have been sitting on the tip of Louis’ tongue this whole time. Just waiting to come out. Waiting for this. “Must be painful.” Louis’ hand reached down and cupped him over his shorts.
The pressure ripped a whine out of the back of Harry’s throat.
“I’ll take care of you,” Louis breathed out against his jaw, “I promise.” He took advantage of Harry’s slackened mouth and brought their lips together once more as his fingers finally released Harry’s wrists. His hands trailed down Harry’s torso, the same path they had begun to take across bare skin when they first kissed, but this time Louis reached his destination. He gathered the hem of Harry’s shirt in his hands and pulled, freeing Harry of the stifling fabric tossing it to the side. Harry brought his arms down as the blood began to flow into them again.
Louis began to kiss down Harry’s torso, taking the time to touch each and every tattoo he found with his tongue. When he reached Harry’s nipple his lips closed around the bud, already drawn tight in the open air.
“Louis,” he begged, not quite sure what he was asking for. He brought his hands up to Louis shoulders to try and ground himself.
Louis tutted, “Ah, ah. Hands behind your back.” Harry had no idea why, but he complied, crossing his wrists at the small of his back and then leaning his weight back on them to keep them in place. He was used to having to go after what he wanted, no one had ever given him directives like this before, but at some point his instincts had taken over and he was just blindly following them. Giving himself over to Louis. He didn’t understand it but it felt like he was the hardest he had ever been in his life.
Harry heard a whimper as the weight of Louis’ body moved off of his. It took him a moment to realise that the high pitched noises were coming from him and it pulled him out of the moment. How could he be this desperate for a man he had barely had a civil conversation with? What made Louis so breathtaking that he managed to drag Harry under with a mere sentence and brush of his hand?
He was just about to unclench his arms from behind his back when Louis dropped to his knees and laid a bruising kiss to his abdomen at the base of his butterfly tattoo. His vision went hazy around the edges again as he watched Louis nuzzle the waistband of his shorts before teasing the area around his laurel tattoos along his v-lines leading towards his trapped cock.
“What are these, hmm? Didn’t see them the other day.” Louis continued to lay kisses along Harry’s right hip. When he pulled back a bit, Harry shifted his hips to chase the warmth of his mouth.
“Stay still for me.” Louis’ voice was steely and brooked no argument and Harry gasped in response.
Without any other warning, Louis quickly jerked the fabric of Harry’s shorts and pants down his hips and Harry’s cock bobbed in the cool air of the small locker room. Louis wrapped his hand around the backs of Harry’s thighs teasing the thinner skin above the backs of his knees.
“Fuck. Louis.” Harry still had no idea what he was asking for, but all he could feel was Louis’ hot, damp breath on the head of his cock and he needed something, anything or he was going to combust.
When Louis still didn’t do anything more than tease him with his breath, Harry took a chance and looked down his body, and for the love of God was there anything more beautiful than Louis’ crystal blue eyes meeting Harry’s from down on his knees.
The image was too much, too overwhelming, he was so hard it hurt and all he needed for relief was Louis to move forward an inch and take him in his mouth. His hips bucked again before he could stop himself and the sensitive skin of his dick barely brushed across the stubble on Louis’ jaw. The rough sensation sent shivers racing through his body, settling at the base of his spine.
“Holy shit,” Harry breathed out.
“I thought I told you to stay still.” Removing his hands from where they were pulling him forward, Louis cupped Harry’s hips and pushed them back, making the metal of the lockers clamor against each other again, forcing Harry’s back to arch even further around where his own hands were still trapped.
Finally Louis leaned in and took Harry as far down his throat as he could, all in one go. Harry was drowning in the wet heat of his mouth as his vision completely blacked out.
Through the white noise in his brain, he felt the pressure ease on one of his hips and a few moments later, he could feel the rhythmic movement of Louis’ hand as he began to jerk himself off between Harry’s legs.
Harry moaned as Louis continued to work his mouth up and down, the overwhelming sensation becoming too much to bear.
“Lou, I’m- I have to-”
Louis pulled off him and panted for a moment, nudging his nose against the soft hair at the base of Harry’s cock, “Don’t come.”
The command made Harry keen and he whimpered again, but forced himself to back away from the ledge.
“Good boy,” Louis’ murmured as he lightly teased one finger around Harry’s balls. Jesus. The effect on Harry’s body was immediate. His skin ran hot and then cold before he began to shake with the effort of trying not to come. To be good. For Louis.
Louis pulled off Harry completely as the shivers continued to wrack his body and he waited to see if Harry was going to be able to hold it together. Harry dragged in a few calming breaths before slamming his head back against the door of the locker. Pre-come leaked out of his cock in a practically continuous stream, and he was so hard he could cut glass, but he managed to stave off his orgasm.
“That was the hottest thing I’ve ever seen.”
Harry glanced back down to where Louis still had a firm grip on the base of his own cock, and all he could see was awe in his eyes but it was laced with determination. They made eye contact briefly and that seemed to strengthen Louis’ resolve. He looked back at Harry’s cock before swallowing him back down.
It had taken a lot more effort at first for him to not come, but he had reached the point where it didn’t even matter, and just about anything could set him off.
Anything ended up being Louis dragging a single finger up his inner thighs and petting him lightly across his dry rim paired with his scratchy fucked out airy voice barely managing to say “Come,” before he drew back dragging his tongue across Harry’s slit.
Harry stiffened, keeping his hips in check, as he spilled into Louis waiting mouth. After a few moments he realised his lungs were burning with lack of oxygen and heaved in a deep breath as his body buzzed with satisfaction.
Slightly higher pitched moans pierced through his blissed out conscience and he opened his eyes in time to watch Louis’ orgasm, the white stripes of come stark against the dark hardwood of the floor.
Louis rested his forehead against Harry’s hip bone trying to catch his own breath before he spoke, disrupting the satisfied silence.
“I’ve wanted to do that since the second I met you.”
With that simple confession, it all came flooding back. They hadn’t been doing this since the day they met because Harry had been an absolute prick to Louis for no real reason. Shame flooded his body. He shouldn’t have jumped to so many conclusions so early on, but… But Louis had been just as much of a prick in response.
Harry concentrated on taking deep even breaths. Louis was sitting there on the floor casually wrapping his hand around Harry’s ankle as he continued to lean against him, not really waiting for Harry to respond.
He was just assuming that everything was forgiven between the two of them because of one blowjob? A fucking fantastic blowjob, but still. What gave him the right to just erase the nasty barbs they had thrown at each other. Even if it was Harry’s fault that it started, Louis perpetuated it. It wasn’t Louis’ job to decide when they cleared the slate.
Embarrassment of an entirely different kind began to creep in the edges of Harry’s thoughts. Maybe Louis assumed all was forgiven because Harry had been gagging for it. God, when he thought about what he said and did. All Louis had done was tell him he was good and he melted. Who did that? What the hell?
Panic began to claw at his chest. This wasn’t who he was. He was the one who led like he had with the guy at the club a few weeks ago. When he said Louis’ name as he came. Fuck. But why had this felt a thousand times better than that one? There was a mouth and a cock, it shouldn’t be rocket science, but for some reason with Louis it felt like Harry was on an entirely new level of pleasure that he couldn’t even fathom.
Streams of consciousness were all leading down the same path and Harry couldn’t handle it any longer.
“Maybe you shouldn’t have been such a dick then,” Harry bit out. He reached down and pulled up his shorts, dragging his body away from the lockers and tearing out of the room so quickly Louis didn’t even have time to respond.
You said, "let me try you on"
So I let you try me on
That's the moment that we fell in deep
Oh, baby. I said, "just a little bit"
Then I got a taste of it
Now you got me fallin' at your feet
Louis stared down into his pint as he rubbed his fingers across a deep groove in the worn wood of the table. The pub was surprisingly quiet for there being a United match on, but Niall and Liam who were finally meeting for the first time, were chattering away, getting along like a house on fire.
He was glad Liam was there and getting along with Niall. That was great. Really great.
Except that it sucked.
Liam reminded him of Harry. And Harry? Harry was avoiding him. Had been for the past two weeks.
Technically, they had seen each other, but friendly dismissive nods at Vitality were a far cry from Louis making him fall apart beneath his hands and savoring the taste of his come.
Based on how they left things in the locker room, or how Harry left things in the locker room, Louis honestly didn’t even expect the friendly nods - he half expected Harry to completely disappear again like he had before. But apparently not.
The bottom line was that Louis was confused. He didn’t know what he had - or hadn’t - done to make Harry react to him that way. Clearly, the blow job had gone too far, but Louis could have sworn he hadn’t pressured Harry, and had given him every opportunity to escape. The radio silence from Harry had made him begin to doubt himself, though. The idea that he had forced Harry into anything made him want to vomit.
If this were anyone else he would just chalk it up to some good head, if he did say so himself, and move on. But it was Harry, who was friends with Liam, and worked at Louis’ gym, and who he was drawn to in an inexplicable way that he had never felt before, even in four years with Nick.
Niall’s harsh yell in his ear snapped him out of his reverie and he jumped in his seat almost knocking over his pint.
“Fucks sake Niall! What?!”
“I said your name three times, Lou.” Niall gave him an unimpressed look over the mouth of his own pint. “Where’s your head at? Nick again?”
Niall was his best friend at work and in life in general, and he had been there for the entire saga of Louis and Nick’s break up. He had helped Louis pick up the pieces, had watched Louis in his depression, and did everything he could to help him crawl back out of that black hole.
He must look really morose if Niall’s immediate reaction is to guess that he was thinking about Nick.
“No, no. Nothing like that.” Louis waved him away as the pub cheered. Something must have happened on the screens but Louis couldn’t even come close to guessing what minute they were at in the game.
“What’s on your mind, then?”
“Nothing, Ni. It’s fine.”
“I bet I know what it is.” Liam waggled his eyebrows at Louis like he was the town yenta who knew everyone’s deepest darkest secrets.
The bitch of it was, he did kind of know Louis’ deepest darkest secrets.
“What! What do you know?” Niall turned excitedly towards Liam stuffing a few chips in his mouth.
“I bet it’s about Harry. He’s been sulking around the gym all day every day.” Louis felt his cheeks heat up as Liam looked smug as ever.
Niall tried to gasp around the bite he had taken, but hadn’t completely swallowed them so he ended up choking on them a bit. Good, Louis thought. Maybe if Niall suffocated the two of them would stop bothering him.
As soon as he recovered Niall rounded on him, “Who the hell is Harry?”
“What do you mean who is Harry?” Louis asked. It was a shit way to derail the conversation but he was desperate.
“You haven’t told him about Harry?” Liam asked accusingly as though he needed to defend Harry’s honor.
“There’s nothing to tell.” Louis swept his fringe to the side and picked up his pint. He drew his attention to the screen to make it at least look like he was trying to concentrate on the game.
“Well now I know that’s a lie, so now you must tell me everything.”
Louis sputtered. “How do you know that’s a lie? And also you sound worse than the twins, honestly. Sometimes I could swear you’re really a thirteen year old girl, Ni.”
“You messed with your fringe, Lou. That’s your tell.” Niall flicked his finger out to play with the bit near his own temple.
“Ooh, I’ll have to let Harry know.” Liam looked positively giddy.
“No!” Dear God, the last thing he needed was Liam reporting back to Harry when he was the one avoiding Louis.
Honestly, Louis vacillated between being confused and furious with Harry. Most of the time it was a strange combination of the two. He hated Harry for making him second guess the entire encounter. He hated Harry for basically making it a fuck-and-run kind of situation.
The only person that had ever made him feel that cheap and used was Nick when he had discovered the cheating, and he had sworn he would never feel like that again, but here he was.
“Wait a second,” Niall’s brow furrowed, “Liam... Harry… Oh my God! I thought I recognized you! I just couldn’t figure out what it was from, though. You’re Harry Styles’ coach.”
Louis gaped at his friend. “How do you know who Harry is?”
“Lou, he’s crazy famous on the amateur boxing circuit. I can’t believe you’ve known him for this long and haven’t told me before!”
“Nice to officially meet a fan,” Liam beamed at Niall as they held out their hands for an exaggerated shake. Honestly, he was friends with a bunch of dorks.
Thankfully, Niall let him be about Harry for the rest of the evening, but it was clear he didn’t want to, and Louis figured he would definitely be hearing about it at work on Monday.
He was right.
“Yes, Niall,” Louis replied matching his formal tone.
“What’s the deal with you and Harry Styles, boxing’s Next Big Thing?” His voice took on the timbre of an American radio DJ, paired with his paper towel roll microphone, the whole picture was quite hilarious.
Louis shoved him away as he continued to putter around neatening everything up before the children began arriving at eight.
It had taken years for Louis to fully acclimate himself to the nursery schedule. He had a routine down now, but even though he managed, in his deepest of hearts he still wasn’t a morning person.
“There’s nothing going on with me and Harry.”
“Come on, Lou. It’s me. You can tell me.” Niall hit him with his puppy dog eyes, and all of sudden Louis was tired. He was tired of being confused, frustrated, angry, everything he always was around Harry. Maybe it was finally time to get an outsider’s perspective.
“Alright, fine.” And he unloaded. He started from their very first encounter and told Niall the entire thing as they continued to get ready. They had to stop talking during check-in, but as soon as the first snack time hit, he picked up where he left off.
“And he just left you there? After having sucked his dick?”
“Shhhh, Niall. The children!”
“Oh, they can’t hear me.”
Louis rolled his eyes. “Yeah, so he just left me there. Obviously he doesn’t want it to continue, and I don’t think I could at this point. The fucking nerve. He came after me for being a dick - he did it first. I was responding to how he treated me, and I thought we had settled the score. I’m just good enough to fuck, not for anything else.” That sounded macabre even to his own ears.
“Woah, man. Stop right there,” Niall turned him around forcefully and held his shoulder, looking him straight on, “That is so far from the truth. I know the stuff with Nick messed you up, but you are absolutely worth more than that, and those are heavier thoughts than early morning gossip requires. Banish the thought right now.”
Louis gave him a small smile as he dug into his bag of crisps, “Thanks, mate.”
“The real question, though, is do you want it to continue with Harry?”
Louis didn’t have an answer ready, and it didn’t seem like Niall really expected one, so he let the thought sit with him for the rest of the day.
The children all left around mid-afternoon, and he and Niall were packing up the toys, straightening out and wiping the mats from nap time when he heard it.
Someone cleared his throat from the direction of the doorway behind him, and he knew that sound anywhere. He used to do it when he came home to Louis dancing around the kitchen in his pants while he waited for leftovers to heat up in the microwave.
Louis had heard the phantom of that noise so many times since they broke up. Well, since Louis left him.
Niall looked up from where he was restacking the mats and blanched. “Nick.” Louis had never heard his friend sound so harsh before. He squeezed his eyes shut before turning around to face his ex-boyfriend.
Taking a moment to very obviously look him up and down like he was a piece of gunk on the pavement, he finally made eye contact with him, “What do you want?” Perfect. He could do this, he could stay strong.
Having the decency to look at least a little abashed Nick ignored Niall, gaze never wavering from Louis. “I was hoping we could talk.”
Louis stood his ground. “Does the conversation still end with you having cheated on me?”
“No, you know what, Nick? I don’t have time for this. Please leave.” Tear ducts burning in anticipation, Louis turned back around while he tried to keep himself together. Niall was still frozen glancing back and forth between the two of them.
“Look, if you want to talk I’ll be out in my car,” when Louis didn’t immediately react, Nick gave a put upon sigh, “and I would really love it if you gave me a chance to talk to you.”
Louis had never concentrated harder on sanitizing a toddler mat in his life, but he was rubbing the mat with the Clorox wipe so vigorously, the material was beginning to tear. But he didn’t turn around.
This was everything he ever wanted. This was why he was going to the gym, this was why he had left the spare key out, this was why he was sleeping in Nick’s left behind jumper, this was why he was turning his life around. So when Nick came back he would be impressed and jealous and full of regret for what he had walked out on.
But now that he was here, Louis had no idea what to do. He felt a little lost. He really wanted to remain strong. That was what everyone said you needed to do to “win the break up” but who decided that?
“You’re going to go talk to him, aren’t you.” It wasn’t a question, but until Niall said it out loud, Louis hadn’t realised that he had already made his decision.
“Yeah, I am.”
Niall sighed and ran a hand down his face, “Alright, Lou. Whatever you want, but just remember that he cheated on you and made you feel worthless and not a single soul on earth is worth that.”
He forced himself to finish his closing routine before making his way down to Nick’s car in the car park. When he didn’t recognize any except his own, he began to think that Nick really had given up, but soon the front lights of a lithe sports car flashed at him. Of course. Leave it to Nick to throw his wealth around. He definitely made money, and should enjoy it, but the opulence always made Louis uncomfortable when he drove around with him in such a working class city.
Sliding into the passenger seat, he arranged his work bag carefully before turning to Nick and leveling him with a blank stare.
“Lou,” Nick started, and the pain was immediate.
“No. You don’t get to call me that any more.”
“No. If we’re having this conversation it’s by my rules.”
“Alright, alright. Calm down.” Nick said, some of the snark leaking back into his voice when before it had been all groveling. Louis let the car settle into an uncomfortable silence, not offering Nick any kind of boon whatsoever. “Louis, the whole reason I’m here today, is, well, this is a bit awkward and sounds like I’ve been keeping tabs on you, which I haven’t.”
Louis felt a slight pang when he said that. He had been keeping on tabs on Nick somewhat, but that was fairly easy when he was sitting in the same chair five days a week broadcasting on radio.
“But, a friend of mine from school has recently gotten into sports journalism, specifically right now she’s writing an article on amatuer boxing and she said she saw you at a bout. Obviously, I know how you feel about hand to hand sports like that, so I told her she had to be wrong.”
“That was me,” Louis interjected flatly.
“Well, yes, I know that now, but it was so out of character for you that it threw me for a loop. It made me realise that there is so much about your life now that I don’t know.” Nick let the end of his sentence float in the air between them as though he had made his point.
“What on earth are you talking about? Of course there are things about me you don’t know! You cheated on me. I left you. The end.”
“We were together for four years and I got so used to having you as a part of my life, and being a part of yours, and having you by my side.”
Louis scoffed, “What Ricardo doesn’t make good arm candy? Young? Italian?”
“An intern,” Nick joked without thinking.
“Right, had forgotten that part, thanks.”
“We actually broke up. It was too weird at work events because he couldn’t technically attend with me.”
“I’m so sorry.” The sarcasm in his voice was heavy and there was no way Nick missed it.
“I suppose I deserve that,” Nick replied, self-deprecating for the first time in his life. “Being with Ricardo made me realise why I was with him in the first place. I felt trapped in our relationship. It was so serious and I’m just not ready for that.”
“Nick, I’m almost thirty, you’re closer to forty than thirty by now, I was ready to settle down with you.”
“I hadn’t really intended to get into this deep of a conversation now-”
“You came here asking me to talk, what did you expect?”
“I definitely want to have the conversation, I was just hoping we could go out for dinner. I could explain myself a bit?”
Louis was taken aback. Nick really did want to get back together. He had suspected as much but to have his suspicions confirmed was jarring. Answers. That’s what Nick was offering. Answers.
“Coffee. We can get coffee. Try being friends again. Nothing more." Nick nodded.
It would be much more low key and much less like a date if they got coffee than if they got dinner. They had never gone out for coffee even when they were first dating, so it would be neutral, with no memories attached. That way Louis could get his head on straight about it and decide what he really wanted.
They set a time, and as Louis climbed out of the car and headed for his own, he was surprised by his own self restraint. If this had been four months ago before he started training at Vitality, he would have immediately jumped back into Nick’s arms after just that brief confession.
Something was holding him back now, but he didn’t know what it was. The unanswered question settled underneath his skin like an itch.
Everything was up in the air, nothing was settled with Nick or with Harry. It wasn’t even a classic love triangle, right now he didn’t particularly want to be with either one. Behind Door #1 was the one who had cheated on him and flushed their four year committed relationship down the drain. Behind Door #2 was the one he had massive amounts of sexual tension with, but had made him feel like a dirty one night stand by fucking him and leaving him. For fucks sake, this would be his problem.
He laid his head down on his forearm across the roof over his car door and banged it a few times for good measure. Ugh.
Maybe all he needed was to fuck Harry out of his system before he could really clear his head about what he was supposed to be doing with Nick. That was it. Some good old fashioned confrontational sex. That would wrap things up nicely. Harry had walked away from Louis on a sour note, and Louis was going to get his in return.
Harry seemed to have an affinity for his arse, and it was time to exploit that.
* * *
“Move” by Little Mix pounded in Harry’s ears as he pedaled the stationary bike. He let the fun beat propel him through a particularly difficult preset incline. Just as the song came to an end, Harry decided he was feeling that song so he would put it on repeat. Sometimes during an intense workout he liked to leave the same song on because it kept his heart rate consistent. He turned towards where his mobile was strapped to his bicep to turn on repeat when he saw him.
Harry had been kind of sort of avoiding him. A bit. He smiled and nodded politely when he saw him around the gym but never said anything more than that.
The way he had ended things between him that day - abandoning Louis in the employee locker room after insulting him - was beyond mortifying and Harry wasn’t sure he could cope with what Louis had to say to him. If he had been feisty and biting before, that was probably nothing on the tongue lashing Harry was set to receive after the stunt he had pulled.
For all he knew Louis could have told Liam and Harry would definitely be fired. For any number of things. Though if he had done that, Liam probably would have done it already.
The song kept playing in his ear as Louis made his way to the cross-trainers that were lined up about twenty feet in front of where Harry was. It was an odd hour, too early for the post work members, so there wasn’t a single occupied machine, but for some reason Louis chose the one directly in front of Harry so he had an unobstructed view.
He took his time putting his things down, messing with his water bottle and his headphones, and Harry wasn’t even sure if Louis knew he was there.
Just as the thought floated through his conscience Louis turned his icy gaze on Harry making direct eye contact with him for a few heartbeats. Through some miracle Harry managed to keep pedaling. Finally Louis lowered his lashes before turning back around and hopping on the machine.
One of the pedals stuck as Harry’s leg jerked awkwardly. Holy shit. Harry hadn’t noticed before, but Louis’ gym shorts were quite a bit tighter than his normal loose style. They were shorter as well, the kind that were designed more for runners than casual footie players like Louis.
His arse looked fucking phenomenal. Harry couldn’t help but reach down to adjust himself as his legs were lifting - in a now much more irregular rhythm - towards his torso and jostling his rapidly hardening dick.
For five excruciating minutes Harry watched Louis arse bounce up and down in his shorts. He did notice that because Louis had been training, his arse was just as full as it had been, but there was just a little bit less jiggle than there had been when he first started. He was developing more muscle.
Harry put in a valiant effort trying to prevent himself from thinking about what that would mean if Louis were to ever ride his dick, but he was unsuccessful. His own shorts were getting tighter and more uncomfortable and he very subtly changed the distance between his seat and the pedals so that his knees came up higher to hide his little -big- problem.
The sexy song in his ear (“Move” was still on repeat) was definitely not helping, but it matched Louis’ movements so well, creating a dirty little soundtrack, and he couldn’t really bring himself to turn it off.
Louis hopped off the machine, done with his warm up, and made sure to angle his body towards Harry as he wiped his neck with the towel he had brought out with him.
Harry whimpered, most likely audibly, he just hoped no one else was listening. There was nothing he wanted more right now than to lick the juncture between Louis’ neck and shoulder, he liked Louis sweaty and glistening.
Making his way over a few feet away from Harry still, Louis reached out and grabbed one of the yoga mats near the wall brought it back so that he was in Harry’s direct line of vision, laying it out on the floor.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with how it was placed, but Louis leaned down to adjust it anyway. Harry wanted to cry. His mouth began to water as he thought about all of the different ways he could eat his arse. He loved eating arse, and Louis’ was a particularly beautiful one. The most beautiful he had ever seen.
As he was studying Louis’ unnecessary mat maintenance, he noticed something. The curve of the athletic fabric around his bum was curvaceous and smooth. Too smooth, Harry thought to himself.
Oh God. Louis was going commando. Harry wanted to close his eyes to collect himself, but if he closed his eyes he wouldn’t be able to physically burn the image of Louis bare under a pair of short athletic shorts into his retinas like he had been attempting up until now.
The shorts were a navy blue colour with a white waistband that sat low on Louis’ hips, Harry wanted to bite that white band and drag the shorts off with his teeth.
Louis adjusted his stance so that his back was to Harry and his feet were a little wider than shoulder width apart. Casually, he looked back over his left shoulder, and as soon as their eyes met again, Harry realised it was to make sure he was still watching the show. Please, as if he could ever pay attention to anything else.
Like a knife to Harry’s heart, Louis kept his eyes on Harry and his back ramrod straight while he dropped into the deepest squat Harry had ever seen, putting every stripper in the city to shame. Seriously, if Louis started stripping he would put everyone else out of business.
If Harry had blinked - like he had done that in the last ten minutes - he would have missed it because Louis immediately dropped his knees down to the mat in front of him, and no one was the wiser. It was clear, his little show was for Harry.
Leaning forward on the mat, getting into child’s pose, Louis’ shirt began to ride up his back exposing - holy shit. Harry’s heart stuttered in his chest and he choked on a quick little involuntary intake of air.
Louis was not commando. Louis was wearing a thong. A turquoise lace thong.
Harry had long ago given up the pretense of pedaling the bike, but he couldn’t stand it anymore. He dismounted and stood up, practically running the distance between his bike and where Louis was on the floor.
“Get up,” Harry bit out. Jesus, he thought he was going to try and be nicer to him in their conversations.
“Well hello there, Harry! What a fine day it is today.” Louis smiled like the fucking sun up at Harry from the mat and it was such a direct echo to the last time they had been this close that Harry was struck completely dumb.
“Get up,” that seemed to be all Harry was capable of saying, but his dick was hard and he was at work, and Louis’ arse was right there, and he was practically salivating with the idea of eating him out in the consultation room - there were too many other employees in today to use the locker room again - around the fucking panties he was wearing, so Harry had pretty much maxed out his capacity for rational thought.
Louis stood up slowly and turned their bodies so the rest of the gym couldn’t see him before reaching out to cup Harry’s jaw and rub a thumb along his cheekbone. “No,” he said definitively in the same steely tone he had used in the locker room.
“Don’t get greedy. Let me finish my workout and then we’ll both get in our cars and you’ll follow me back to my place and we’ll have a nice chat. Hm?” He was clearly asking for some kind of approval, and it was odd for Harry to feel like he had a choice while clearly having no choice at all.
He nodded briefly before Louis really went in for the kill.
“Good boy,” he breathed out next to Harry’s ear before he pushed away from Harry’s body and crouched back down on the mat.
Harry spent the next three quarters of an hour watching Louis work out, and Louis knew it. He couldn’t take his eyes off his lithe form, it was like Louis had put him under a spell.
Giving up on his workout, and not having any appointments lined up, he went behind the front desk and stood with Jade to go through and update some of his clients’ regular routines in their system.
“Babes, you look like a serial killer. What are you staring at?” Jade asked, waving a hand in front of his face.
“Um…,” he replied, ducking his head to hide his blush.
“Are you staring at Louis?” her smirk was painted across her tone of voice. He didn’t bother looking up from what he was doing to see it too.
She gasped, “You are! Is something going on with you two?”
“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” He didn’t even sound convincing to himself, but thankfully Jade decided to leave him alone about it. Unfortunately, he didn’t think about what it would look like when he left at the same time as Louis.
Louis stopped to chat to Jade at the desk for a moment, like he always did, before turning to Harry, lifting his eyebrows, and disappearing into the regular client locker room.
“Jade,” he started with his back to her, his flaming cheeks poised to give him away, “I think I’m going to head out for the day.”
“Okay,” she chirped, suggestion heavy in her voice.
Harry avoided making eye contact with her as he clocked out and gathered up his things. By the time he was done, Louis still hadn’t emerged, so he decided to stand near his own car.
Leaning against the warm metal, he had a Louis-free moment to really consider what he was doing. This fling, or whatever it was, with Louis was satisfying, but where could it really go? He had no idea if Louis was still upset about his behaviour or not. They still had never had a civil conversation, or at least not one in which Harry was in his right mind and not out of his head with lust.
Finally, Louis emerged at the top of the steps outside the door to Vitality, his eyes searching until the landed on Harry. He sent him another scorching look before bounding down the steps and hopping into his own car.
They were really doing this, then.
Harry’s jitters continued the entire ride to Louis’ flat, which wasn’t even that far away. When they arrived, Harry slid into the open parking space next to Louis, and they silently climbed the two flights up to his flat.
“Make yourself at home, I’ll put the kettle on,” Louis called over his shoulder as he continued around the corner into the kitchen. Harry toed his shoes off in the foyer next to where Louis had removed his. The simple decor reminded Harry of Louis, but was a little sparser than he expected. Books were strewn about, and there was a plush rug in the middle of the floor with what looked like a child’s playchest next to it.
“Do you have kids?” Harry blurted out, rather rudely. Manners were apparently something he no longer possessed in any way when he was around Louis.
“Oh! No, those are for my siblings. The youngest twins are about six,” his voice echoed over the sound of cupboards opening and closing.
“That’s quite an age difference.”
Louis’ voice became more focused as he came back into Harry’s field of view.
“Yeah, well, my mum was young when she had me, so she had plenty of time to keep trying,” he smiled fondly as he set down two mugs on a side table. It was clear that family was important to Louis.
When he agreed to coming back to Louis’ flat back at the gym, he had been blinded by the desire to explore the sizzling heat between them. What he hadn’t counted on was the new and multifaceted portrait a glimpse into his real life would paint. Between what he had said the other day, and all of this new information, Harry was feeling buried under the weight of his own actions.
“Louis,” he needed to clear the air before anything could continue, “I have behaved terribly to you, and you have no idea how sorry I am. You were right the other day. I shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions about you, and I definitely shouldn’t have said what I did after… well,”
“After I sucked your dick?” Louis supplied. His expression was unreadable, but slowly melted into a smug grin, and Harry began to giggle.
“Yeah, um, after that. Which was amazing, by the way. That’s what- what I should have said.” The mug of tea was still warm when he reached for it, looking for something to do with his hands.
“Don’t worry, Curly, I know.”
Harry choked on his sip of tea, “Alright, hang on, no need for the ego.”
They lapsed into silence, but the tension was successfully broken, and even though the talk probably wasn’t what it should be, Harry was beginning to feel slightly less on edge with guilt.
Looking down at the tea in his hands, Harry fiddled with the rim of the mug for a moment, just for something to do. Not quite sure how to proceed.
Louis hadn’t said anything in a few minutes, so Harry chanced a look at him. He was staring at Harry intently, assessing. Assessing what, Harry wasn’t sure, but he was starting to become uncomfortable under the harsh scrutiny of his gaze.
“I think you should make it up to me,” he stated bluntly.
“Make it up to you?” Harry was confused. He had apologised, and sure they probably could have cleared the air a bit more, but Louis wasn’t entirely blameless in their past arguments, either.
Louis smoothly moved closer to him on the couch, gingerly reaching out to drag the tips of his fingers around the anchor tattoo on Harry’s wrist.
“Yeah, you made me feel a bit like a dirty one night stand.” Harry choked back another apology. Louis didn’t sound hurt in any way, it was more like he was laying the facts out in front of Harry, and it didn’t sound like he was anywhere near finished.
“I think you might need to be set straight. Let me use you for a bit.” Louis leaned in and nipped at the skin under his ear.
Harry inhaled sharply. The firm voice Louis had used with him a few times now seeped into his skin as all of his nerve endings flared up at once.
“Hmm?” Louis was looking for an answer, but Harry couldn’t bring himself to give in, so he nodded instead. “I need you to answer, Harry. I’m not comfortable doing this if you’re not comfortable.”
Harry squeezed his eyes shut. If he gave in to this temptation, to Louis, there was no turning back after.
Louis must have been able to sense his reservation, because he reached his hand up to cup Harry’s jaw, and kissed him deep and wet and filthy almost immediately.
The taste of Louis was addicting, and he was offering himself up on a silver platter. There was something about every time they got together that was electric, like nothing Harry had ever felt or experienced before. He was beginning to get addicted to it.
“Yes,” he murmured, “I’m ready.”
The change in Louis was immediate; he stood up from the couch and drew Harry’s body into his, bringing their lips together again, teasing the seam of Harry’s mouth with his tongue.
Harry could smell the faint lemongrass of Louis’ body wash from the shower he must have had at the gym before he left, and it clouded around him, clean and crisp. Louis’ delicate fingers dug into the hair at the base of his neck as they did each time they had kissed before.
Harry brought his hands up to Louis’ waist, and like he was drawn to it naturally, felt the dip where his hips began to flare away from his torso. As soon as he felt the heat of Louis skin underneath the soft cotton of his warm t-shirt, Harry realised he had never really had his hands on Louis. He hadn’t been able to touch until now.
Not willing to let the opportunity pass, he began to play with the hem of the t-shirt, itching to remove it and feel Louis’ body against his own. He managed to maneuver his hand under the thin layer of cloth at the small of Louis’ back, intent on following the path lower, before Louis stopped him.
The grip on Harry’s hair tightened and Louis’ lips left his own with a hollow popping noise.
“No, love. You first.”
“Come on, Lou, want to feel you,” Harry growled, desperate now that he had finally felt the soft silk that was Louis’ body.
“Well this isn’t about you right now, is it?” The persona Louis affected each time they did this was getting harder and harder to resist as it developed. Every fibre of Harry’s being screamed at him to give in. He nodded at Louis, not really sure what he was agreeing to, but the anticipation had him thickening in his shorts making the friction unbearable.
Louis turned their bodies and slowly began backing them towards the kitchen. He finally fully knocked Harry’s hands away and grabbed for his t-shirt instead, pulling it over Harry’s head. They kept moving until Harry felt the backs of his knees hit something hard and unforgiving, the cool surface on the seat of one of Louis’ kitchen chairs giving him a jolt on his sensitive skin.
Reaching down, Louis pulled Harry’s pants and shorts off all in one go, the same way he had that day in the locker room. Harry had not become immune to how hot the pure urgency and need was and it affected him just as much the second time around.
Putting pressure on Harry’s shoulder, Louis forced him to sit back against the wooden slats of the chair, the naked skin of his arse hitting the flat surface of the seat with a slap. Harry sat back in awe. Louis was a vision; lips red and swollen, joggers dipping down lower than they should be, the elastic of his turquoise panties that he had used to tease Harry contrasting against their soft grey. The trousers' low positioning was a direct result of Harry’s hands and his quest to finally feel the rounded muscles of Louis’ arse that had been off limits for so many months. The idea that he had done this to Louis, had mussed him up, made Harry ache to do it again.
Unable to resist, he lifted his hands towards that same dip in Louis’ waist he had found before. It was so soft and angled, Harry couldn’t wait to see it without the barrier of his shirt.
As soon as Harry's arms were visibly lifting up, Louis took another step back.
“Ah. I could’ve sworn I said that this wasn’t about you. Seems you need help following the rules.” His usually high raspy voice was getting lower and breathier by the moment. Dumbfounded, still not sure how to feel about the way this was going, Harry watched as Louis reached down to his wrist where he had wrapped his cotton headband around his wrist a few times. “This should do nicely.”
Do nicely for what? Before Harry could even think about voicing his question, Louis circled around to the back of the chair and pulled Harry’s hands around as well.
The bones of his wrists were rubbing together before Harry finally clued in to what he was doing. His cock, that had been fairly neglected so far, was rock hard angling up towards his stomach and twitched heavily against his abdomen as his vision began to get hazy around the edges.
Soft cotton tightened against his skin as Louis looped the headband around each wrist, and Harry’s skin pinched a bit as Louis tested the strength of his bonds.
Harry was so turned on it felt like the slightest brush of his cock would set him off.
Louis crooked a finger under his chin, lifting Harry’s jaw so he could look him in the eye. “Hazza,” his tone was soft and gentle, a distinct contrast from the one he had been using so far. “If we go any farther, we need a word.”
“A word?” he managed to get out.
“Yeah, love, a word. I don’t want to go too far.” The idea of that, of Louis even approaching too far, had Harry squirming against the chair, testing the new limits of the restrictive headband that he wore everyday. God, he was going to relive this every time he went to wear it. “Come on, a word, and then you can have your fun. Or, well, I can have my fun.” His devilish smirk curled at the corner of his mouth.
“Hazelnut,” Harry said.
“Good boy,” he replied, punctuating the praise with a chaste peck on the lips. Harry chased his lips, looking for a deeper kiss, but Louis removed his warmth completely.
He was still fully clothed when he stood back surveying Harry’s position in the chair. After he looked his fill for a moment he walked away into the living room ignoring Harry.
Harry tracked his movements as much as he could, watched him reach into his gym bag and pull out his mobile which still had his headphones attached to it from his workout. He unplugged them, and then popped the mobile onto a nice looking set of speakers and began to fiddle with the settings.
The idea of Louis not paying attention to the fact that he was still sitting there was doing something to Harry. He had this overwhelming need to get Louis’ attention again, craving every ounce of praise he provided, but at the same time, he didn’t understand why. All he understood was that he felt more turned on than he ever had before.
The excruciating slide of his pre-come slowly dripping down to the base of his cock added to the anticipation. His inability to do anything to relieve the ache forced him to focus on what his body was feeling. He had a newfound awareness of his body, and every inch of his own skin.
Soft music began to play from the speaker system, but Harry didn’t immediately recognize it, his gaze riveted on where Louis was slowly peeling off his clothing. He started with his shirt, lifting it to expose the soft little rise under his navel where he hadn’t been completely able to rid himself of a bit of pudge.
Harry wanted nothing more than to nibble it, presses kisses into the skin there, try and make it clear how unbelievably hot it was.
“Do you know, there are a few things you need to answer for tonight, Harry.” A few? What had he done? “Besides essentially fucking me and leaving me in the locker room, you were naughty before that, weren’t you?” Harry just stared.
“Come on, answer me, do you remember when you were naughty before that?” When Harry still didn’t answer, Louis pressed on; “I seem to remember getting one of the dirtiest massages of my life at Vitality a little while ago. You don’t know anything about that do you?”
Harry lowered his eyes in shame, “That was me,” he added.
“Oh I know, Hazza. I saw your fuschia trainers that day. You left me so hard and wanting, I had to get off right there on the table. By myself.” Images of Louis hard and desperate with his warm oiled up skin on the pure white sheets danced through Harry’s mind. “Was that a good thing to do?” he taunted.
“No,” Harry answered right away.
“No it wasn’t.” He paused for a moment, “Are you ready?”
Harry had been so intent on Louis’ confession, he had no idea what he was asking him about now. Louis stood in front of him, hard cock trapped in the thin fabric of the lace, giving him a questioning look.
Harry was not ready.
The song coming from the speakers began to get a little louder, surpassing the level of mood music, and Rihanna’s voice began to layer over the background.
Painstakingly slowly, Louis leaned down bringing his lips to Harry’s. He sucked Harry’s bottom lip between his teeth and gave a little tug while his delicate hands reached down to lay on Harry’s thighs. He pulled them apart as much as he could before slotting his body between Harry’s legs, never releasing his mouth, forcing Harry to crane his neck upwards to maintain the contact.
Ripping his lips away Louis immediately turned so that his back was to Harry, and his barely clothed arse, the subject of every single one of Harry’s frustrated wanks for the past few months, was right there in front of his face. He strained his bonds as he tried to press forward and get closer, but all that earned him was a slap on the thigh and a warning look over Louis’ shoulder. He didn't turn around though, leaving Harry with his gorgeous view.
Louis hips dropped down suddenly as the plush skin of his arse pressed against Harry’s pelvis trapping his cock between Louis’ arse and his own abdomen. The direct contact with heavy friction from the lace after so much neglect had Harry groaning low and deep.
“Oh God, Lou,” he pleaded. He needed more. More contact, more friction, he sympathized along with Rihanna as she sang, ‘more, more,’ over and over again into the living room.
For the first time almost all night, Louis gave him what he wanted, starting the slowest and dirtiest rotation of his hips that Harry had ever seen or felt. The feeling was torture. Slow, sensuous movements along his cock teased; both too much and not enough at the same time.
Probably sensing how he was torturing Harry, Louis lifted off of his lap, and turned back around, erection even more evident than it had been. He pulled off the thong and Harry finally got an unobstructed view of his cock. It was thick, thicker than Harry’s, but shorter, hanging between his legs.
Harry loved sucking cock, and he could practically feel it filling up his throat to the brim. Because of it’s thickness it would be a challenge for sure. Before Harry had the chance to get too far down that path, Louis was digging his hands into Harry’s hair to steady himself as he climbed fully onto Harry’s lap front to front this time, legs draped over Harry’s thighs hanging off the back of the chair.
The chair was short enough that he could use it for leverage and he began that same sensual rhythm except this time they were chest to chest, skin to skin, cock to cock. Every time Louis drew forward, their cocks would rub together and Harry’s tip would brush, wet with his pre-come, across the soft skin he had been admiring.
“Jesus Christ,” he breathed out as he dropped his head back, resting it against the seat back.
“Are you close, Hazza?”
“Yeah,” he moaned. Louis lifted a few inches off his lap, removing any contact between their cocks, and Harry whimpered in frustration.
“You don’t get to come until I say it’s okay,” he gave a little tug on Harry’s hair, “Are we clear?”
Harry nodded quickly, hoping that would speed up Louis return, but instead of closer he only got farther away. At some point, Harry wasn’t really sure when, he had stashed a small bottle of lube and a condom, and he made sure Harry saw them before flipping the cap of the lube open and coating his fingers.
Half expecting to be untied so Louis could fuck him, Harry keened when Louis climbed halfway back onto his lap and his hand disappeared behind himself. All Harry could see were his arm movements, but he could hear him and that was all that mattered. Because the soft breathy moans he had only heard hints of before, began to increase in both volume and frequency.
Helpless, Harry just sat there, watching, listening, as Louis opened himself up.
“Lou,” he begged.
“Patience,” he replied, disapproval heavy in his tone. The slight hitch of his voice in the middle of the word reminded Harry just what he was being patient for, and that caused a groan to rip from his throat. “Shh, I’ve got you,” Louis leaned closer into him and began kissing a line from his ear to his collarbone.
He reached down, finally getting a hand on Harry’s desperate leaking cock. The teasing touch he was using was nowhere close to the kind of relief he needed. Next thing he knew, Louis was ripping open the condom and rolling it down. Using his already lubed up hand - from fingering himself, holy shit - he spread the excess over Harry, and then reached for the bottle to add some more. Lining himself up, Louis took his time lowering himself down until he was fully seated in Harry’s lap.
All Harry could focus on was the warm wet heat he was trapped in; he never wanted to be anywhere else.
The music had switched to The Weeknd, but the beat was still slow and dirty. Vaguely, Harry realised Louis must have a playlist, and that was his last rational thought for awhile because Louis started to move.
Louis was rolling hips back and forth to the beat in the same lethargic exaggerated way he had before, and Harry’s dick began to slide in and out of him with his natural rhythm. Harry’s threshold for the hottest thing he had ever experienced had changed at least three times in the last hour, but he honestly didn’t think that anything would ever surpass this as long as he lived.
“God, Louis. Just like that,” he moaned.
The long smooth waves Louis was making started to get jerkier as he slammed down on Harry harder and harder, and as soon as he found his prostate, he started to moan into Harry’s ear. His right hand moved down to grip his own cock between their bodies.
“So good. Going so deep, just sitting there, letting me get off. Letting me use you-” he cut off with a whine on a particularly deep thrust. Covering Harry’s mouth with his, he let out one last cry before he was painting the skin of their torsos with his come, clenching tight around Harry where he was still buried inside him.
The perfect tight heat surrounding him, combined with the idea of letting Louis just use him for pleasure had Harry hurtling towards the edge. “Lou, I can’t- I’m gonna-” he pled for Louis to help him. He didn’t want to come. Not until Louis gave him permission.
“Not yet,” Louis forced out as he pulled off of Harry’s lap.
The lack of any kind of skin to skin contact made Harry distinctly aware of just how close he had been to his orgasm, and just how far away it now was again. Breathing in deeply, he held his breath for a moment, and exhaled in an attempt to steady his racing heart.
Louis watched his struggle, until it was clear he had held it together, and only then did he give him a small smile.
“Beautiful,” he reached up to card his fingers through Harry’s hair again. “Did such a good job. You deserve a reward. What would you like?”
Harry head felt like cotton and his brain couldn't retrieve a coherent response, he could only mumble.
“Words. You can’t have it if you can’t ask for it.” Louis waited.
“Please, Lou. Want to taste.” That was all he wanted.
“You want to suck my cock? I don’t think I’m ready for that quite yet.”
Harry cut him off shaking his head, “No, your arse. Please,” he ended on a moan.
“Hmm. I suppose I can give you that. But this is still a punishment,” Harry squirmed and had to take another deep breath, “So I still don’t think you should be allowed to touch.”
“Then how?” he wasn’t sure he would ever be able to form a full sentence ever again.
“Hold on. I’ve already warned you about patience.”
With that, Louis turned the chair, and as a result Harry with it, towards the kitchen table and pushed him right up to the edge it, hard cock straining, but now hidden from view under the table top. He paused to tug a bit on Harry’s hair and reach down over his shoulder to flick the hardened nub of Harry’s nipples. The frequent small touches on different parts of his body were keeping Harry in a constant state of need.
Louis then climbed up and adjusted himself on his hands and knees so his feet were draped over the edge on either side of Harry’s body. His arse was on display right in front of Harry’s face; his rim pink and stretched from Harry’s cock and the most beautiful sight Harry had ever seen.
Looking over his shoulder at Harry, Louis raised his eyebrows, “Well, go on then.”
He dove forward to kiss the smooth skin around Louis’ fingers where he was holding himself open.
“Always wanted to taste,” he breathed into the soft pale skin.
“Yeah, you like that? Thought about eating me out?” Louis taunted from somewhere in front of him.
“Yes,” he drew out on a moan before he fully pressed his face into the dip between Louis’ cheeks.
Tentatively, he licked out, barely grazing the skin of his rim. He tasted like lube and sweat and Louis and it made Harry keen before leaning back in to taste him with vigor.
Lost in the taste of him, Harry didn’t realise that the buzzing in his ears was actually Louis talking to him, whining out praise and encouragement as he continued to fall apart on Harry’s tongue.
When Louis couldn’t take it anymore he let go of his own arse where he was holding himself open, and gripped Harry’s hair again, driving his face deeper. He could barely breathe and Louis was completely hard again, so all Harry could do was go deeper. He started to fuck into Louis with his tongue, and that seemed to be all Louis needed to crash through his second orgasm.
Harry must have been making more noise than he thought because when Louis’ hole clenched around him all he could hear before his vision completely whited out was; “Come, Hazza. You can do it, been so fucking good.”
After being on edge for so long, the shudders that flowed through his body were powerful and agonizingly pleasurable as he came, cock still hidden under the hard surface of the table.
His pulse was still pounding in his ears as he only barely registered Louis climbing off the table and pulling him away from it. Everything was fuzzy as Louis released his wrists, and rubbed his hands over them to get the blood flowing again.
He wasn’t quite sure how they got there, but Louis laid him out on the couch, and draped his own body down on top of Harry’s. Louis laid his head on Harry’s shoulder as his head began to clear as their breathing began to regulate.
Holy shit. He wasn’t inexperienced when he met Louis, but he never knew anything could feel like that . Especially not after having fought each other tooth and nail for months. Call him naive, but he had kind of expected the sex to be that good with someone he was in love with, not necessarily someone random. Sure, Louis wasn’t exactly random, but they weren’t even in a relationship.
That thought finally broke Harry, and he couldn’t tamp down the giggle that bloomed in his chest. Louis looked alarmed at first, but soon he was fighting off giggles of his own.
“What the fuck was that?” he finally asked.
Harry wasn’t sure if he meant the sex or the laughter, but his answer was the same either way;“I have absolutely no idea.”
Louis laughed again, before leaning back to meet his eyes, “Do you want to talk about it?” he asked as he began to lightly play with the soft hair on Harry’s forearm.
“No,” he answered honestly, “but we probably should.”
“Probably,” Louis agreed. “Do you mind when I do that? Take control?” he swallowed audibly.
Harry barked out a laugh, “Um, no. I definitely don’t mind.”
“Yeah.” The silence sat heavy between them.
Louis broke first, “This doesn’t have to mean anything. We obviously both like it, we can just like get off together sometimes.”
Neither one of them moved as Louis continued to stroke his fingertips back and forth over Harry’s arm. Cuddling wasn’t exactly implied in the arrangement Louis had just laid out, but Harry’s chest clenched tight at the idea of letting go of him right now. Something about what they had just done was leaving Harry a bit vulnerable, and he was glad when Louis didn’t make any moves to go anywhere.
They drifted off like that, sun setting through the windows, bathing the living room in darkness.
I didn’t mean to fall in love
Took one hit, and I was gone
Gotta get my fix or I can't sleep
Oh, baby. You’re the one they warned about
Now I just can't do without
Baby, it's my appetite you feed
“Stop that,” Liam chided before hitting Louis in the face with an exercise band. Ouch.
“You know what,” Liam replied ominously before turning around and walking towards the cross-trainer.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Leemo.” It was a blatant lie, though. Louis had been staring at Harry’s junk flop around in his shorts while he jumped rope. So, sue him.
He and Harry had reached an equilibrium over the last few weeks. They were fairly civil to each other in person and around their friends, and then they got off occasionally. More than occasionally. Most of the time it was a quick hand job or blow job in the Vitality car park where Louis directed Harry how to get him off, or he teased Harry to oblivion crouched in the back seat. Sometimes they tried the employee locker room again, if they were feeling brave.
Louis had never been so fit; he was visiting the gym more and more often while he waited on Harry to be done with clients, or finish up his own training.
That first night, Harry had left his flat around eleven after they had woken up from their nap. Louis thought about just asking him to stay, but they had already crossed so many boundaries in their dynamic, he wasn’t sure he could stomach one more. Plus, he wouldn’t have been able to share the bed, that would have been too intimate, so he would have had to have taken the couch which would have been weird. It was easier all around if they just left sleepovers out of the equation.
Harry, thankfully, seemed to agree. They had a good thing going. They still argued a bit, but there was less heat behind it. Or rather, the heat had just transferred to something a little more productive.
He had no idea what got into him whenever he and Harry would hook up. This… persona - he didn’t want to go anywhere near the word dominant and all that it implied - was as new to him as it was to Harry.
Sex with Nick had been lovely. Vanilla, definitely, but he had always considered himself a pretty vanilla guy up until this point, so it had always been satisfying. Granted it wasn’t always like that; sometimes they switched it up, added a toy or two, Nick spanked him a few times, but it had never been anything like this.
No one had ever driven Louis to insanity with lust before. The build up had lasted so long, when he first decided to blow him in the locker room, he was so overwhelmed by actually having Harry standing there at his mercy, that he needed Harry to not touch him. His hands would have felt amazing, but they would have felt too amazing, and he needed to maintain control of the situation so that it didn’t end too quickly.
Then when he had teased Harry in return, he had already had a taste of what it meant to have him ready and willing at his mercy. Trusting Louis to take him apart and put him back together again.
As the weeks wore on with this odd friends with benefits balance, he found Harry trusting him more and more. Oddly enough, for all that they had gone after each other, when they were like that, skin to skin, Louis trusted Harry to know what was too much for him.
He was flying a little blind in all this. Out of his depth. The more and more they messed around the closer they got to having a power dynamic that you could label. With words. Big scary words. Like dominant. Submissive. Things that implied a partnership at the very least, and he was definitely not ready for that.
For now, they were coasting along heavier on the benefits part than the friends part, but the two of them, with Liam and Niall, were hanging out a bit more here and there. Niall had even started coming to Vitality. When it suited him.
If Liam and Niall knew what they were up to, they hadn’t said anything. So far. But if Liam really had caught him staring at Harry’s junk, the jig might be up.
“I’m glad you and Harry have at least started having civil conversations.” In the clear, then. If civil conversations was all Liam thought they were having.
“Yeah, I mean he knows he judged me too harshly, I know I got defensive. We’re… working it out.” That was fairly neutral ground, he nodded to himself, quite pleased. He flipped the cap on his water bottle as he watched Harry - now behind the front desk with Jade messing with the juicer - throw his head back and laugh.
“When are you going to ask him out?” Liam asked as he raised the resistance on the cross-trainer.
“What do you mean ‘Who?’ Harry, obviously.”
“Liam,” Louis puffed out, definitely panting now as he kept climbing higher and higher on the stupid devil machine, “it’s a pretty big leap from a few civil conversations to a date.”
“Not really,” he mused. He went to press another button on the dash but Louis slapped his hand away. “Ouch! I was going to lower it! Also, that’s what normal people do. They have a few civil conversations and then they go on a date. The end. Maybe it works out, maybe it doesn’t.”
“I know Liam, but I’ve just gotten out of a relationship-”
“-almost a year ago-” Liam interrupted.
“Well, still, it was a four year relationship, so I’m not looking for anything serious right now.”
“I get that, but who says it has to be anything serious with Harry? Why not just have some fun?” Liam looked up at him with his puppy dog eyes and Louis was having a tough time remembering why he couldn’t tell Liam that he was already having some fun with Harry.
Complicated. It would make everything way too complicated, and he told Liam as much.
“Whatever you say, Lou.” He didn’t seem to buy Louis’ excuses. Louis didn’t either. Which was why he was going to go see if Harry wanted to sneak into the client showers with him for a blowie. He was in the mood to watch Harry choke on his dick.
That, at least, wasn’t all that complicated.
Popcorn in hand, Louis tucked a bottle of water under his arm and wove his way through the seats so that he could find his way back to Niall.
Harry always had a while between skirmishes, but this time was even longer than usual. Liam, unfortunately, had told him that he couldn’t have sex the week before, which also meant that Louis wasn’t having any sex the week before.
Louis was very frustrated. It seemed that going from getting off every other day, to getting off no days wasn’t really his style.
He had tried to get around it by saying technically they weren’t having sex - they hadn’t since that night in Louis’ flat - they were just getting off. Harry had just given him a look and told him that the point remained.
There had been an awkward moment where Louis realised that Liam warning Harry off sex meant that Liam thought that he was having sex in the first place; either with Louis or with someone else. Something decidedly green and ugly had settled in Louis’ gut for a moment, not to mention panic at Liam finding out they were hooking up, before Harry had assured him that he meant it as a general warning.
Whatever. If Louis didn’t call it jealousy, it didn’t exist.
He shook his head just as Niall looked up and waved him over. Harry was aware of his presence at the match this time around, so his seats were considerably better and less hidden in the dark. Plus, it was more fun to attend with someone else.
Louis hadn’t actually planned on going to another match given how the last one had ended, but Niall had practically begged him to accept Liam’s offer of free tickets again. It was also different now that he and Harry were kissing for recreational purposes; if they kissed in his back room it would be a whole hell of a lot less awkward and surprising this time.
Louis just needed to get laid again.
He was beginning to crave more. More than the quick orgasms here and there. He had had a taste of what it was like to be with Harry, watch him fall apart, watch him go fuzzy from sheer pleasure. He wanted that again, more than anything.
Maybe he would work up to asking him over to his flat again. As long as it wasn’t awkward.
The lights lowered everywhere except the ring where they got brighter and brighter. Louis flushed as he remembered his dumbfounded reaction to Harry coming out all oiled up last time. Well that wouldn’t happen this time. He had seen his bare chest more often. Traced his tattoos with his tongue. He didn’t need to take a picture that he later transferred onto his computer in a password locked folder. Again.
Who was he kidding? He stared when Harry came out, trailing behind Liam. There was something about the shiny balm all over his torso that made his tattoos contrast against his skin even more starkly, like they were in high definition. Louis also knew what that balm smelled like from last time. All he wanted to do was taste the citrusy flavour, see if it sweetened the taste of his sweat-salty skin.
“Mate, you might want to wipe the floor,” Niall chuckled.
“Your drool. Probably a whole puddle of it now,” he smirked and waggled his eyebrows at Louis suggestively.
“Shove off,” Louis replied, giving him an accompanying shove.
“What’s going on with that anyway?”
“Nothing,” he answered, maybe a little too quickly. Niall didn’t say anything else as he turned to watch Harry enter the ring and get situated.
Before Harry began to ready himself, his eyes searched the first few rows of seats until he landed on where they were sitting. He gave Louis a small private smile - damn traitorous dimples popping - and a wink from his corner of the ring in front of the whole audience of at least a hundred people, then went back to his regular warm up routine.
Louis looked determinedly at the ring, refusing to meet Niall’s questioning gaze. He didn’t see it. He didn’t see it. He was looking at literally anything else in the room. He didn’t see it.
“So, uh, what was that?”
He saw it.
“Nothing. I told you.”
“You keep using that word-” Louis cut him off as quickly as he could, having been friends with him for too long.
“Niall, if you quote the Princess Bride to me right now, so help me I will sign you up to get in the ring and get pounded.”
Niall made a show of snapping his jaw shut and locking it up with a key, but his eyes remained fixed on Louis.
Louis felt the weight of his stare grow heavier and heavier as the boxers began to get closer and closer to starting the match.
“Alright fine. We slept together.”
“Yesssssss,” Niall dragged out the hiss of the ‘s,’ bringing his fist in towards himself in celebration. “Once? When did it happen? How did it happen? Why did it happen? Are you going to live happily ever after? Is Harry your Disney princess wife?”
“Oh my God, Niall! Keep your voice down,” Louis began hushing him, painfully aware of the fact that everyone in the room knew who Harry was. “I’m not answering any of your questions. But, no, it’s just sex. We’re not in any kind of relationship, we are definitely not having a happily ever after, and for fucks sake, Harry is not a Disney princess.”
Niall stared at him unblinkingly for a moment. “There’s just so much of that statement that I need to call bullshit on, I’m not sure where to start, to be honest.”
“You’ll call bullshit on none of it, because it’s none of your business.”
“Louieee, why won’t you tell me about it?”
“I just did! We get off together. That’s it. End of story. It’s not anything serious. I’m not looking for anything serious. Why does everyone keep asking me about this?” he finished, exasperated.
“Yeah, Liam too. I just got out of a long term relationship in a really horrible way. Plus Nick has now decided he’s keen on ‘understanding me better,’ whatever that means.” Niall was beginning to look alarmed at the mention of Nick so Louis was quick to continue, “I promise, we’re just trying out being friends. Nothing more. And with Harry it’s just friends with a little bit more, but not a lot more. I swear.”
Niall nodded but looked at him skeptically, “That seems pretty complicated for an uncomplicated situation.”
“It’s fine. Everything is fine,” he replied definitively, not sure if he was attempting to convince Niall or himself. He waved a hand up at Harry who was blocking a shot to his ribs; “I don’t even like the guy all that much.”
Niall lifted up his pint glass in celebration, “To Harry!” he exclaimed and Harry blushed as the four of them clinked their glasses together.
Even though his opponent had landed a few good blows, Harry had ended up winning his match. He had a few bruises blooming, but he did win.
This match wasn’t really anywhere near Louis’ flat like the last one, so they were in an unfamiliar pub. Harry had visibly blanched when Niall had suggested they all grab a pint to celebrate, looking at Louis darkly, but had agreed.
The adrenaline of the win must be getting to him, because he and Louis were in the booth, and he couldn’t sit still. He was squirming a bit and kept brushing his arm against Louis at every opportunity. Having Harry be so obvious about his need was getting Louis worked up as well.
Finally, Louis felt Harry’s hand begin to creep up onto his thigh and begin to trace lines over the fabric of his skinnies, inching higher and higher until he was close enough to brush his fingertips against Louis’ rapidly hardening dick.
The soft touch was a jolt to his system and he reached down to grab Harry’s wrist harshly to pull him off. “Calm down,” he murmured under his breath. He hooked his foot around Harry’s ankle under the table to try and ground him a bit in the sensation.
Harry’s body was practically vibrating, but he took his hand away and moved it under his body so that he was sitting on it, clearly trying to control himself.
“What did you say, Lou?” Liam asked from across the table.
“Nothing, Li. Just talking to Harry about his win.”
The beam that spread across Liam’s face was instantaneous. “Yeah, he did great.” Even though he and Harry hadn’t really worked out their issues, it was nice to see how close he and Liam were in Harry’s answering bashfulness and insistence that he couldn’t have done it without Liam.
As the night wore on, Louis half expected Harry’s desperation to ease, and it did a bit, but from his body language it was clear that Harry was following Louis’ orders. Louis had no idea how he could tell the difference, just that he could. Maybe it was in the way Harry sat, tense, ready, on edge. A far cry from his relaxed posture the last time they were all in a pub together, but Liam and Niall seemed to be none the wiser.
Harry remained tense through a second pint before Liam finally decided to head home. Louis had driven Niall to the match, but wasn’t ready to leave, not with Harry in this state.
“Lou, you ready to go?”
“Um, I think I may stick around, watch the end of that,” he gestured vaguely at the screens where there may have been a rugby game on, he had no idea.
“Okay, Liam do you mind dropping me round my flat?”
“Nah, mate. No problem. Lou, can you give Harry a ride home?”
Harry rolled his eyes, “Liam, I’m right here.”
“Yeah, no problem,” Louis told Liam, hoping his voice remained steady though he was about ready to jump out of his skin.
Suddenly, a quiet descended between them as they both sipped the last of their pints.
“So,” Louis started.
“Do you want to come back to my flat?” Harry asked at the same time.
Louis blinked for a moment trying to decide what to say. He absolutely wanted to go back to Harry’s flat and that scared him.
Before he could answer, his mobile vibrated on the table, Nick’s smirking grin illuminated in the dim light of the pub.
Harry deflated a bit, “Sorry, do you need to take that?”
Louis’ options were clear; a possibly emotional conversation with Nick that he really didn’t want to deal with, or a definitely satisfying night with Harry. He pressed the power button, letting the screen go black. “No, no. It’s all good, let’s go,” he assured him nodding towards the front of the pub.
“Who was it?” That definitely wasn’t any of Harry’s business, but his tone vaguely reminded Louis of the nausea he had felt when Liam implied Harry might be sleeping with someone before his match.
“Just my ex. Probably not important,” he added, studying Harry’s expression carefully. He didn’t give anything away aside from a small grimace.
“An ex, huh?” They began to make their way to the door.
“Yeah we’re just trying out being friends again, nothing serious.”
“Oh, okay,” he didn’t say anything else but the line of his shoulders loosened a bit as Louis followed him out into the night.
The door to Harry’s flat slammed behind Louis and Harry dropped immediately to his knees in front of him, reaching for the zip on his trousers.
Louis placed a hand on his shoulder and pushed him back, “Not yet. We have all night, and there are so many things I want to do to you, but you’ve been through a lot tonight, Hazza. The floor can’t be comfortable.” He reached his hands under Harry’s arms and helped him up.
Harry’s lips were bitten raw, most likely from his match, but it looked like they had already been kissing for awhile, so Louis couldn’t resist leaning in and having a taste.
He leaned back, forcing himself to follow his own advice and let Harry relax a bit. “Your couch looks comfortable, let’s start there, hmm?”
When Harry nodded, he turned around and led Louis by the hand to the couch. Instead of sitting down, Harry forced Louis backwards, and then straddled him, climbing on to his lap, getting comfortable.
His erection had flagged a bit between the pub and the flat, but it was back full force as soon as Harry settled his weight onto his lap. Even when they weren’t on the best of terms, Louis had always been attracted to Harry, painfully so, and having him spread out on top of him was mind blowing. He cleared his throat and reminded himself that he was the one who was supposed to be in control of the situation. They were finally getting a chance to explore each other, and he wasn’t going to let the opportunity pass by.
Last time it had been about punishment, starting the process of fucking Harry out of his system, this time it was about pure pleasure. And exploration.
Reaching his hands up to lightly rest them on either side of Harry’s waist, he let Harry lean in and have a taste of his mouth. Harry led the kiss for awhile, and this was nothing new. They had done plenty of making out over the last few weeks, so Louis let the familiar feeling wash over him.
He gently tucked his hands under the hem of Harry’s t-shirt, feeling the warm skin there. After his win, he had showered, and while Louis was a bit disappointed he still wouldn’t be able to enjoy him slicked up and sweaty, he appreciated how the rubbed in oil had made his skin extra soft.
Harry leaned his weight back, shifting more onto Louis’ knees as he removed his shirt, grabbing for Louis’ as well.
When he leaned back in, he met Louis’ lips again and a little whimpered emerged from the back of his throat. Louis took that as a sign to deepen the kiss, and his hands began to explore the rest of Harry’s body.
They continued kissing for awhile, finally having the luxury of privacy and time. There was heat behind it, and it was clearly leading somewhere, but neither one of them felt rushed at all.
It was surprising to Louis based on Harry’s behaviour at the pub, but at some point he must have begun to settle into his own knowledge that Louis wasn’t going anywhere until they were both satisfied.
Louis brought his hands back to Harry’s waist as he felt a nibble under his ear. Harry nipped him a bit with his teeth and Louis’ hands tightened instinctively.
Harry pulled off immediately, his whole body stiffening, and when Louis looked down at his hand he realised his thumb was pressed directly onto one of Harry’s new bruises. Immediately, Louis went to apologise, but Harry cut him off with a deep moan, and oh. Oh.
“Lou,” Harry's voice was high and thin like Louis had never heard it before.
His other hand reached up and brought Harry’s head back down to his so that he was breathing into his mouth, but not quite touching, “Did you like that, Hazza?” He slid the hand that had pressed on the bruise originally up a little bit to one higher up on his chest, a few inches under his nipples and pressed down a bit harder. Harry’s groan sounded like it had been unearthed from somewhere deep in his chest and he squirmed so violently he almost unseated himself from Louis’ lap. “Like the pain a bit, baby?”
He blanched a bit internally, but made sure to keep his expression in place. The ‘baby’ had come out completely unbidden, but thankfully Harry didn’t seem to notice.
Instead of answering, Harry moved as close to Louis as he could, bringing their chests together and dragging his cloth covered cock over Louis’ own, making them both moan a bit.
“Bedroom,” he ground out, demanding in the way he knew Harry liked.
When Harry went to climb off of him, his long, beautiful legs got a bit tangled up underneath him. Louis launched himself off the couch to try and steady him, “Watch those giraffe legs, baby,” he chided, not being able to stop with the pet name. Now that he had used it once, it had unlocked something inside of him, and he wasn’t sure he would ever be able to get it back.
The thought sent Louis into a momentary panic, and he stopped short. Harry looked at him questioningly, but he needed a second to try and pull himself together.
“Strip, and lay yourself out on the bed. Wait for me there. No touching.”
Pain. Pet names. Naked Harry. Louis’ thoughts were racing as he paced around Harry’s small kitchen. He could do this. This was what he wanted. Fuck Harry out of his system.
He took a few deep breaths and opened Harry’s fridge. Normally he would never be so rude but he was hoping he would have a water bottle or something.
He reached in to grab it, took a swig, and then made his way towards Harry’s bedroom. It was fairly obvious which door it was, thankfully, because Louis had sent him off without ever having been here before, and it would have been a pretty effective mood killer to have to ask for directions.
When he entered he had to grip the doorway to steady himself. Harry was there, laid out across his own bed, naked, just as Louis had asked. His hands were splayed out next to him and his fingers were tense, gripping the sheets attempting to not touch himself.
His cock stood up away from his body, flushed and hard, the tip glistening with pre-come.
Louis reached down to palm himself in his own shorts to relieve some of the ache he was feeling. Calmly, he made his way towards the bed and set the water down on the coaster already sitting on Harry’s nightstand.
Deliberately, Louis climbed up at the foot of the bed, spreading Harry’s legs so that he could settle between them. He crawled all the way up his body, careful to avoid his straining cock, so that he could bring their mouths together again. Harry squeezed his eyes shut and began to whine.
Keen on exploring Harry’s newfound interest in pain, Louis quickly moved on, pressing a kiss in each bruise he could find. When he thought about it, he realised that Harry was giving him the chance to reclaim his pain. This random man had his hands on Harry in a way, had marred his skin, and now Louis was using that for his pleasure.
Louis’ lips pressed harder and harder as he worked his way down the right side of his chest and up the left.
“Lou, oh my God, Louis, please-”
“Please what, Hazza?” Louis asked, goading Harry into telling him what he wanted.
“Fuck me, want to feel you, need to feel it,” he choked out as Louis began sucking a bruise of his own design just above one of his nipples. Only pulling away once it was nice and purple, Louis sat back on his haunches between Harry’s spread legs.
“Okay, baby. Do you have anything? Or do I need to get it.”
Harry blinked at him a few times before he swiveled his torso so that he could reach into the drawer of the nightstand where Louis had placed the bottle of water. When he pulled out a bottle of lube and a condom, he handed them quickly to Louis.
“Brand new? Quite optimistic,” he said derisively, deciding to trust his instincts. Internally he was pleased that Harry had thought ahead enough to buy lube specifically for his hypothetical visit. That meant Harry had always intended on having him over at some point, and it was comforting to know they were on the same page. He didn’t love teasing Harry this way for something he did actually appreciate, but it was all worth it when Harry’s cheeks bloomed a deeper crimson and his cock twitched against his torso. Add slight embarrassment to the list, he thought to himself.
Placing the lube and condoms left to Harry on the bed, Louis continued his quest to cover Harry’s chest with more concentrated bruises from his own mouth.
“Lou,” Harry pleaded asking for something, but this time Louis didn’t have any idea what he could be looking for.
“What, love. Tell me what you want,” he asked, rubbing small circles into Harry’s hipbone with his thumb.
“Want to suck you. Can I?” The way Harry asked was so soft and beautiful, Louis had to close his eyes against a wave of pleasure.
“Sure, but only a little bit. Need to fuck you,” he added. Harry nodded eagerly, as Louis climbed up to straddle his chest, knees tucked up under his arms. He kept his weight off Harry’s chest, and his cock well above his mouth so that he could make sure Harry was on the same page as him.
Harry’s eyes followed Louis’ cock and his tongue darted out to trace over his lips as he watched it sway back and forth. Louis could always tell when Harry was slipping a little too deep into his submissive role. Most of the time when they were just fooling around it was only surface level, following commands and such, but he had seen it that first time. After he came, his eyes looked a little too glazed, his responses a little too slow. One other time, Louis had fucked his face a little too hard after a training session with Liam, and there had been hints of it then. Louis loved that Harry could let go and allow Louis to make him feel good, but it was a little too much power for Louis to have when they still hadn’t really talked about it as much as they should have.
“Hazza. Focus.” At the command, Harry made eye contact with Louis once more. “What’s the word?”
“Hazelnut,” Harry replied quickly. Good. Louis let out a relieved breath, if this got too heady he needed to make sure Harry had an out.
“Good boy,” he replied running one of his hands through the front of Harry’s hair, making sure it was completely pushed back out of his face. Once he decided that Harry was ready, he lowered his body down a bit, trying to not put too much weight on his tender chest, and guided his cock into his mouth.
Harry’s eyelids fluttered a bit as they slid shut in pleasure. Every time he had sucked Louis off over the last few weeks he always did that. When Louis asked him about it, he admitted that he loved tasting Louis on his tongue, and feeling the weight of his cock in his mouth. His lips closed around Louis’ tip, and Louis could feel his tongue work around it inside his mouth.
Louis let Harry play with his cock for a few minutes, trying not to concentrate too much on how good it felt, needing to reign himself in so he didn’t come too early. When it was starting to get to be too much he pulled back as Harry chased him with his mouth.
Gripping Harry’s jaw, he pressed his head back into the pillow. “No more,” he insisted. Harry nodded, but whined a bit as Louis moved off of him. Returning to his place towards the foot of the bed, Louis tapped Harry’s hip, “Turn over for me, baby.”
His limbs flailed a bit as he turned over, but eventually managed to get settled on his stomach. He subtly began grinding down into the sheets, so Louis had to lift his hips up away from it.
“Here I am, ready to give you anything you want, let you get away with so much already, and you want to let the sheets touch you instead? Maybe I should just stop, not fuck you at all,” he did his best to keep his voice even and firm, expressing his disappointment. There was no way he was leaving this bed without having fucked the living daylights out of Harry, but Harry didn’t need to know that.
“No, Lou, I’m sorry, I’ll stop,” he stumbled over his words as he lifted his hips further up off the mattress.
“Alright, I believe you baby,” Louis replied, but he waited a beat for landing a solid slap on Harry’s right arse cheek, the sting in his hand probably nothing compared to how Harry felt. Louis could tell because Harry keened, and let his head fall back down face first into the pillow.
“Oh God,” he heard a muffled exclamation coming from the head of the bed.
“You alright up there?”
“Yeah, Lou, felt so good, hurt so good,” Harry’s words were beginning to slur a bit.
“See how good I make you feel? Only me, not the mattress, got it,” he began to caress the skin of Harry’s arse where a red hand print was beginning to show.
Harry nodded, “Yes, Lou.”
“Perfect,” he murmured before pressing kisses into the base of Harry’s spine. Harry was so responsive, it was beginning to get to Louis and he needed to be inside him soon before he completely lost it. “Remember, no touching, and no coming until I say.”
He reached for the lube and slicked up two of his fingers, dragging the tip of one across Harry’s rim. As soon as he breached his entrance Harry melted back down into the mattress out of his prone position. This time there was no need to punish him because he hadn’t let his cock get all the way down to the sheets, and he wasn’t actively trying to rub against it. He was just lying there in pure bliss, letting Louis take care of him.
Louis quickly opened Harry up, eventually adding a third finger in next to his first two. He wasn’t avoiding Harry’s prostate, or actively searching for it, but he let his fingers brush across it a few times, watching Harry’s body jump a bit in response.
Once Harry was stretched out enough, Louis reached for the condom and slicked himself up and he began to tease Harry’s rim with the head of his cock, giving himself a moment to get his bearings. This would be the first time he was inside Harry, and in the moment it felt monumental. Shaking his head to clear out those overwhelming thoughts, Louis pushed forward, sinking into Harry’s tight heat.
Harry’s arms stiffened to hold himself up, and Louis felt the vibration of his drawn out moan where they were connected.
“God, Lou, feel so good-” he cut off as Louis settled himself as deep as he could. Reaching up around Harry’s side, Louis made sure to press down on his skin with the heel of his palm as much as possible. He couldn’t see where the bruises were, so he made sure he would hit some at least accidentally. When his fingers finally found Harry’s nipple, he made sure to twist it sharply and hold it in that position.
Harry threw his head back in pleasure, whimpering, asking Louis to move, begging for some friction.
Still holding Harry’s nipple, Louis began to draw out of Harry’s body, almost completely. In quick succession he released his grip, and slammed his hips back down. Harry’s breathy noises of pleasure were almost constant now as Louis brought his hand back and barely scratched over the bud of the nipple with the side of his thumbnail.
A whine built in the back of Harry’s throat as Louis continued to pound into him with a steady rhythm.
“Right there, Lou,” Harry ground out as his elbows crumpled and he turned his head to the side, to avoid the pillow, his chest resting against the bed.
Louis stopped immediately. When Harry realised he wasn’t moving, he began to squirm on his cock, and Louis had to count backwards from ten to make sure he didn’t come too quickly. There was nothing like watching the muscles in Harry’s back expand and contract as he tried to get Louis to move again.
“You have to hold yourself up if you want it, baby,” he chided. Weakly, Harry got his hands underneath his shoulders so he could lift his upper body again. Once he held it for a few seconds, Louis was satisfied he had balanced himself and would stay up. “Good boy, so good for me, following directions,” he leaned down to croon in Harry’s ear.
He brought one of his hands up to dig in Harry’s curls and tug backwards, putting pressure on his scalp and forcing his neck into a slightly more awkward angle. Harry’s breath hitched and he moaned, completely out of it as Louis’ thrusts began to speed up.
“Louis, I’m gonna- have to-”
“No baby, not yet,” he whispered, “As soon as I come, you can, okay?”
“Yes, Lou- Oh, God-” he whined as Louis thrust particularly deep hitting his prostate.
Now that he knew Harry was taken care of, he let himself go, mindlessly fucking into Harry as his hole clenched around him. Finally, he couldn’t take it anymore, and with one hand holding himself up, he pulled Harry back by the hair towards his chest and latched onto his shoulder, first with his lips sucking a bruise, then digging his teeth into the lush skin there as he released into the condom.
“Fuck! Lou-” Harry began to scream in pleasure, before the sound cut off and he went completely silent and began to come, spilling onto the mattress below their bodies.
The strength went out of his arms, and Louis eased his body down flat, guiding him away from the wet spot. He pulled out of him completely, and Harry whimpered at the loss, but his eyes were shut and he didn’t seem to be paying attention to what was going on around him.
Louis quickly discarded the condom in the small bin he found, but when he climbed back on the bed next to Harry, he was relatively unresponsive. Spread out on his side and angelic looking, Harry looked exceedingly vulnerable, and Louis wasn’t quite sure what to do.
Earlier in the night, when he was desperately hoping they would be able to have sex again, he hadn’t planned on staying. It would be like last time; fuck, nap, leave - except this time he would do the leaving. But, as soon as the thought entered his head to get up and get dressed, he couldn’t bring himself to move.
He was facing Harry on his side and there was about a foot of space between them, but he watched as Harry’s brow furrowed and he began scooting towards Louis’ warmth. Louis wasn’t sure he was ready for something so intimate as face to face cuddling, but it seemed as though that’s what Harry was seeking out subconsciously.
“Harry?” Louis called his name gently, smoothing his hand down Harry’s side. Nothing. No response. “Hazza?” he switched to the nickname he found that he only really used when they were fooling around, and that seemed to spark something in Harry. A low hum began in the back of his throat, but it still wasn’t enough, and Louis was beginning to panic a bit.
“Hazza, look at me.” Harry’s eyelids fluttered, but not much else happened. “Please, baby, want to see your pretty eyes.”
That elicited a little bit more movement, and Louis continued to stroke the smooth skin of his hip, tracing over the laurel tattoo that he could reach, while he waited for Harry to reemerge.
“Lou?” Harry’s voice was groggy and sounded like his vocal chords had been run over by sandpaper a few times. Louis remembered the water bottle on the nightstand and pulled away to grab it. Harry made a small sound of protest.
“I’m here. Right here, just grabbing you some water.” Once he settled back on the bed, he pushed Harry’s left shoulder so that he was lying flat, twisted the cap off, and brought it to his lips letting him take a few small sips. When he got it put away again, he drew Harry to him back to chest this time, wrapping him up in his arms, skin to skin.
Soon he heard Harry’s breathing begin to even out, and if he hadn’t been listening so closely he would have missed the faintest whisper of “Stay,” coming from his lips.
He leaned down and placed a kiss over his unmarred shoulder. “Of course, Hazza.” With that reassurance, Harry finally began to breathe deeper, snoring lightly on each inhale.
Louis was glad Harry had relaxed because he was still in a full blown panic. None of his partners had ever reacted that way after they had sex. Granted, none of his partners had ever been like Harry, but still. His lack of response had been worrying, and Louis wasn’t sure he would be able to sleep not knowing if he was okay or not. He seemed alright, but who knew how that would change in the fresh light of the morning.
After forcing himself to work through the same breathing exercises he taught the kids at school before nap time to calm his pounding heart rate, Louis finally fell into a fitful sleep.
Louis woke up every few hours to check on Harry and make sure he was still there, but he needn’t have worried. Harry slept like the dead, snoring lightly, until sunrise had come and gone. He was afraid to stop holding him to try and find his mobile, but he hadn’t plugged it in before they fell asleep so it was probably well on dead by now.
If he had to guess he would say it was about nine in the morning when Harry finally stirred. There was a small clock on the other bedside table, but he couldn’t move much because he hadn’t wanted to disturb Harry, so he could only barely see the face of it through Harry’s curls.
Harry must not have been fully conscious when he burrowed back into Louis’ warmth before realizing there was something wrong. As soon as he did, his whole body stiffened, and despite how freaked out Louis still was, he didn’t want Harry to feel uncomfortable in any way so he tightened his arm where it was draped around Harry’s middle to make sure he knew it was okay that they were cuddled up like this.
There was a moment of silence, maybe two, before Harry tentatively asked, “Louis?”
“Yeah, Hazza, you awake?”
“Yeah,” he answered, still facing away from Louis towards the wall.
“I, uh, need to use the bathroom, do you mind if I borrow a toothbrush while I’m in there?” he didn’t actually have to use the bathroom, he just figured it was better than continuing to sit there in stifling awkwardness.
“Course. If there’s no extra in the drawer, you can just use mine.”
“Thanks.” He got up awkwardly, considering he was still completely naked, but decided to just go with it, and made his way to the hallway and into the bathroom.
After using the facilities and brushing his teeth for lack of anything better to do, he returned to the bedroom. Thankfully Harry was up and had put on a t-shirt and joggers. Louis found his pants on the floor and pulled them on. Before he could ask Harry for something to wear, he was already handing him his own pair of way too long joggers.
“Do you want some breakfast? I think I have everything for a fry up,” Harry asked.
“Um,” No he definitely did not want breakfast, he wanted to get the hell out of there for his own sanity, but Harry seemed just as uncomfortable, and this had gone on long enough. After last night they had to talk about what was going on between them. They just did. “Yeah, sure. Fry up sounds amazing.”
Harry nodded, and made his way out to the kitchen, stopping off in the bathroom first.
Louis waited as long as he could before he came out to the main part of the flat. Along the way he grabbed his dead mobile.
“Do you have a charger I could borrow?”
“Yeah, over by the couch,” Louis thanked him and went to sit down as he plugged it in, watching it come to life with messages. There were a few from his mum and sisters, and a voicemail from Nick. Must have been after the call he ignored at the pub. That felt like it was days ago, but it had only been about twelve hours, Louis thought to himself. His mind replaying everything that had happened since then.
He had only responded to a few of the messages before Harry was calling out to him that breakfast was ready.
Once he fixed his tea and they had both begun to eat, Louis knew it was time to say something but he really wasn’t sure how to start. Harry was pretty useless; he was staunchly avoiding making eye contact with Louis, and even though they were just across the table from each other, it felt like a deep ravine instead of breakfast food.
He cleared his throat, and Harry dug heartily into his eggs. “So,” he started, “You like pain, huh?”
Harry choked on his breakfast and Louis immediately reached out a hand to pat him on the back; he didn’t exactly recoil from Louis’ touch, but it definitely wasn’t welcome.
He maybe could have handled that a little better.
“Um, yeah I guess,” Harry was bright red, bashfully pushing his eggs around, thankfully not choking on them any more. He looked more uncomfortable than Louis had ever seen him before, and suddenly it occurred to Louis that he was ashamed of the fact that he had enjoyed it, which was the opposite of his goal when starting this conversation.
“Woah, hey, Harry, no- I didn’t mean- Okay, I need to start again ” He shook his head to clear his thoughts, and then collected them as best he could. “What I meant was, you seemed to really enjoy it last night. I did too, really, seriously, it was fucking mindblowing. And honestly the pain thing kind of explains the hair pulling thing, and now I’m rambling and I’m going to stop.”
Harry finally looked up to meet his eyes, and something like relief worked it’s way loose in Louis’ chest. “That’s, um, that’s good.” Harry opened and closed his mouth a few times before he continued, “It felt amazing, better than I’ve ever felt, but also a little weird. At the end.”
“Yeah,” Louis was incredibly grateful Harry brought it up first because otherwise he would have had no idea how, “It was a bit scary, I’m not going to lie.”
Harry looked confused, “Scary?” he asked like he genuinely had no idea that he had been so unresponsive.
“God, yeah, I mean eventually it was okay, but after you first, um, came, you were totally out of it, you wouldn’t even answer me.”
“Yeah, you don’t remember that?” Louis was astounded, but maybe it was like fainting or something?
“Oh, well, I actually felt really good. Like floaty and relaxed. Plus I can’t really explain it, but like I knew you were there, so it was okay.” He began to bite at his lip.
Louis blew out a breath. He was glad Harry hadn’t noticed that anything was wrong, he really was, but that still felt like a lot of responsibility, and he still didn’t really understand why it happened.
“I may have heard about something like this before,” Harry sounded tentative, but gained confidence as he spoke, “I think it might have been something called ‘subspace.’ I’d heard the term before, but never experienced it. It was probably, like, a combination of the orders,” his cheeks went a delicious shade of bright red but Louis didn’t let himself linger on it, “and the pain, I think.”
“Subspace?” he asked.
“Well, you know how I’m kind of, but not really, sometimes, when we’re together, I’m sort of your-”
“My sub?” Louis finished for him approaching the words he had been so scared of before head on. He had been scared of it in the past, but right now, in this moment, it was like he was absorbing Harry’s discomfort, and pushing away his own. Harry being comfortable with their arrangement was priority number one; his own reservations could be dealt with later. The idea of Harry being embarrassed or scared made him want to wrap him up in his arms and tell him it was all okay.
He tamped down that reaction as quickly as it came. No. That was a boyfriend thing. They were nowhere close to that stage. This was still just sex. It was. He was not in the market for a Disney princess.
“Yeah, well, I think that’s like a kind of normal sub reaction. Sometimes.”
“Maybe I should look into it a bit more?” he ventured. That was clearly the right answer because even though Harry tried to remain neutral his eyes lit up a bit, and his body language relaxed.
“That could be good. Maybe it will be less scary for you if we know how to control it?”
Louis nodded. “Definitely.”
The conversation died a bit as they finished their breakfast and drained their tea. It was getting on time for Louis to leave, but he wasn’t quite ready to yet.
“Do you want to watch a movie or something?”
“Sure, yeah, I should probably let my mobile charge a bit more too,” he added. As excuses to stay went it was pretty flimsy, but Harry at least looked like he bought it.
They cleared the dishes before Harry led the way to the living room and they settled a safe distance away from each other on the couch. Harry went to make another cup of tea, so he handed the remote to Louis and told him to just flip through the channels until he found something.
Louis did as he was told until he landed on a stupid documentary about a famous private college. There was nothing else interesting on so he left it, watching the stodgy announcer go on and on about dining halls. Honestly.
When Harry came back into the room he froze when he saw what was on the screen, before putting a tea down next to Louis and returning to his spot in the couch.
“Do you mind changing it?”
Louis didn’t so he reached for the remote again, “What, Hazza, don’t want to see how the other half lives?”
Harry shifted uncomfortably, “No, I uh, think I saw enough of it at the time.”
Wait. What? Harry who had come after him for being a stuck up jerk had been one of those boys?
“Um, what? You went to one of those schools?” He really didn’t want to sound accusatory, so he tried to approach his next question with care, “Didn’t you tell me off for being stuck up - even though I’m not,” he added as an aside and tried to inject as much joking tone into his voice as he could.
“Yeah, I don’t think I ever properly apologised for that. I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder about it. I was a scholarship kid.”
“Ahh, that makes a lot more sense given the fact that you have a normal job, and a normal flat,” he added.
“I mean, I still could have those things and buckets of money.”
“Do you?” Louis asked, intrigued.
“No,” he scoffed at Louis’ faux disappointed face. “That would have made life alot easier, believe me.”
“Rough, was it?”
“Yeah, let’s just say, the scholarship kid made a good target,” Harry added with a wry smile.
“Is that how you got into boxing? Needing to defend yourself?” Suddenly, everything clicked for Louis. It made a lot of sense. A young Harry was probably thin and gangly up against the bigger kids.
“Yeah pretty much,” he shrugged.
Violence perpetuated bullying which was the problem Louis had with boxing in the first place, but it sounded like Harry was going to have to face the violence one way or the other when he was a child, and he had taken those skills and done something productive with them. Niall loved to remind Louis how close to going pro he was.
“I’m sorry I came after you about it,” he said softly.
“That’s alright, you started to come around eventually.” Harry’s shy smile was back. “Speaking of, I really, um, liked having you at the match last night. You know, actually knowing you were there.”
“It ended up being fun, especially going with Niall, who is now your biggest fan,” Harry laughed and they settled into a more comfortable silence.
“The circuit is coming to an end for the season, and my win last night actually put me in the final. Do you- Would you want to come?”
“Sure, Hazza. Can I bring Niall again?”
Harry smiled, relieved, “Course.” Harry opened up his arms in invitation, and Louis couldn’t resist. He leaned forward and softly brushed his lips against Harry’s before settling in to keep flipping channels around.
They continued kissing and cuddling on and off for the rest of the afternoon like it was the most natural thing in the world for them. It felt like a step to Louis. A step that not too long ago would have scared the shit out of him, but something about Harry had burrowed into his chest, and he was having a hard time letting him go.
When it finally came time for Louis to leave Harry’s flat, he started up his car with such a giant grin on his face that he had to actively attempt to relax his facial muscles on the way. Harry didn’t live very far away from him; his own flat was about halfway between Harry’s and Vitality, so Harry’s commute probably wasn’t too bad.
Louis was in such a good mood that he didn’t see Nick’s car parked across the street from his building - the building they used to live in together - before Nick had already gotten out of the car and was calling out his name as he crossed the street.
He felt his mood deflate as he watched him coming closer.
“Louis, where were you?” God, he was such a prick.
“What do you mean?”
“I called you last night, left messages, and now it’s practically evening,” his tone was vaguely accusatory, and it made Louis want to laugh in his face.
Nick floundered for a moment, “What do you mean, ‘So’?”
“Where I am at any given moment is none of your business, Nick. What we’re doing right now? This friends thing? Friends don’t care about where the other one has been.”
“That’s such bullshit, Louis. We were never going to be just friends. This is obviously more!” Nick gestured back and forth between their bodies as Louis gaped at him.
“We were both sitting in that car when we said friends. That’s it. You fucking cheated on me, how could you think I would want to be with you again?” He could feel both his anger and his voice rising.
“You loved me for four years! How can you just throw that away?” They were definitely causing a scene at this point, but there was no way Louis was letting him come upstairs.
“I didn’t throw it away, Nick, you did.”
“Hey Louis!” A bright affable voice cut through the thick cloud of tension on the street, and Louis was mildly relieved until he saw who was calling out to him.
“Hey, Liam,” he forced himself to smile as Liam and an excessively large dog approached them. He needed to know how much of that conversation Liam heard, because the last thing he wanted was for Liam to report back to Harry. Not that he had done anything wrong. Or that he owed Harry anything. Because they weren’t together. And he wasn’t with Nick either.
“What’s going on?” he continued to smile as he drew within normal conversation range. Louis spared a glance at Nick who was shooting daggers in Liam’s direction.
“Oh nothing. Nick this is Liam, the owner at the gym I’m going to, Liam this is Nick.” He didn’t offer a qualifier for him.
“Hey mate,” Liam nodded but didn’t offer his hand, instead keeping his grip firmly on the dog’s lead. “This is Watson.”
Louis leaned down, thankful for something to do, “Good boy,” he crooned, giving him a scratch behind the ears.
Liam had clearly caught on to the fact that he was interrupting something, possibly recognizing his name from their discussion with Niall a few weeks ago in the pub, so he began to fidget. “We have our heart rate up,” he said waving his wrist adorned with a Fitbit around, “So we should keep going. Nice meeting you,” he nodded to Nick. “Louis I’ll see you on Tuesday for our appointment?”
“Yeah, Li, see you then.”
Nick waited until Liam was a safe distance away until he began to lay into Louis again, “New friends? The gym? You’re so different now, Lou.”
“What did I say about calling me that?” he ground out, quickly reaching the end of his patience. The nickname coming from someone that wasn’t Harry felt weird and wrong.
“Why are you fighting this still? Fighting me?” he paused, “Can I come upstairs?”
“No, for fucks sake. You cannot come upstairs. I’m 'fighting this' because it’s over and you don’t seem to get that. No friends. No something more. No nothing. Just leave me the fuck alone.” Suddenly, he was exhausted. He had a long night and a long rollercoaster of a day, and he just needed a minute. To process everything.
“Is that how you really feel, Louis?”
“YES! That is how I feel! For once in your life listen to me. It is over.”
Nick sighed. “Alright. I think you’re giving up the best thing that ever happened to you, but I’ll go. I won’t try to talk to you again.”
“Nick," he sighed, "what we had was great. It was. At the time. But you were the one that threw it away, not me.” With that Louis unlocked the front door of the building and slammed it behind him.
He didn’t really think Nick would try and force his way in, but he needed to make sure. Climbing the steps, he paused in front of the fire extinguisher with the extra key, and before he could overthink it, he took it down and brought it inside with him.
Locking himself in his flat, he leaned against his front door, giving up the effort to keep himself upright, and slid down it onto the floor. Without much warning, he burst into tears.
As awful as Nick had been downstairs, fully reinforcing why Louis would never get back together with him, Louis had still just slammed the door shut on four years of his life. Even though he had maintained that he would never take Nick back, there must have been a small part of himself that was clinging to some kernel of hope. He knew because he had just killed it.
Harry and Louis hadn’t had a chance to talk all week, and he didn’t think Harry was avoiding him again, but Harry might be avoiding him again. Maybe he was just paranoid about Liam, and what he thought he saw, but it was putting him on edge.
After he had collected himself on Sunday, pulling himself up off the floor, he called his mum and had a long talk with her about what Nick had said.
“Lou, baby, I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say because as a mum I want you to make your own decisions, but if it makes you feel better I think you made the right choice. You’ve just seemed a lot happier the last few months. Plus you look amazing.”
“Mum! It’s not about that,” he paused, “Okay, maybe it’s a little bit about that.” Her chuckle was thin and tinny over speaker but it warmed him up anyway.
“Lou, is there someone else?” she asked him point blank. She had hinted about it in some of their past conversations, it must have been a mum’s intuition, but he had always skirted around her questions before.
This time she caught him at the right moment and he ended up spilling the whole story.
“I know you say things are casual with him, but do you really want it to stay casual? It kind of sounds like you might want it to be more.”
“I don’t know, mum, I don’t know what he wants, what he’s comfortable with.”
“Well, the fact that you’re worried about that tells me your feelings are probably a lot more serious than you’re letting yourself believe.”
Louis twisted his body and laid down across the cushions of his couch propping his feet up on the opposite arm.
“You’re probably right, mum.”
“I usually am,” she replied haughtily.
“Alright, calm down.” He laughed, the anxiety in his chest feeling lighter than it had since waking up that morning with Harry in his arms. Where he belonged, his mind added before he could stop himself.
Here he was, the following Friday, still no closer to knowing what Harry wanted, if he wanted to try something more with Louis, or if he wanted to stick to the casual arrangement they had. But something was off.
He was sitting opposite Louis, but wasn’t paying much attention to him. Not that he needed Harry’s attention, but now that he had decided to try talk to Harry about maybe starting a real relationship things had changed for him. It was a little jarring when nothing had changed at all when they were together again. Liam and Niall were both there so it wasn’t like they could have a heart to heart anyway, but still.
“So, Lou. Who was that Nick guy I met on Sunday? Outside your flat?” Liam asked.
“What!” Niall yelled in Louis ear, “Nick was at your flat?”
“No! No he wasn’t,” Louis watched as Harry looked down at his hands fiddling with the coaster his pint glass had been resting on, but he didn’t look surprised. No doubt Liam had already told him what he had seen.
“Well, I saw him there.” Liam was starting to get defensive.
“Yes, he was there, but he didn’t actually come up to my flat,” he clarified.
Harry stood up from the table abruptly, “I’m gonna go to the loo, be back,” he mumbled.
“What are you doing, Louis, messing around with him?” Niall’s concern was broadcast clearly across his face.
“I was not messing around with him, he decided that ‘friends’ wasn’t working for him and he wanted to get back together. We got into a fight when I said no and he wouldn’t leave it alone. It ended when I told him it was over for good. No friends, no nothing. And then I went upstairs, alone,” he emphasized for Liam’s benefit. Liam at least had the decency to look a little sheepish. “Nick was freaking out because I hadn’t come home,” it was now or never and he really wanted Liam and Niall to be on his side. “I was coming from Harry’s.”
“Really?” Liam asked in exaggerated surprise. He really should never be an actor.
“Yes!” Niall started bouncing up and down in his seat. “Did you figure it out, are you boyfriends?”
“Niall, why do you always ask me that? If we were I would tell you, and I kind of thought we were on our way to that, but now I think he has the wrong idea about things.” He let the phrase land heavy on the table between them.
“Um,” Liam drew the ‘m’ out on a hum, “Yeah, he might be a little upset at the moment?”
“And why is that?” he asked.
“He might have gotten the wrong impression when I told him your ex-boyfriend was there when I saw you.”
Louis groaned and laid his forehead down on the table.
“It’s okay, Louis, you can work it out. It’ll be fine!”
Louis lifted his head up to say something, but Harry was making his way back to the table.
“I think I’m going to head home,” he said talking to Liam and Niall, avoiding Louis’ gaze, again. God, he hated this.
“Is everything okay, Hazza?” Louis asked, hoping to force him to acknowledge his presence. The nickname was a cheap shot, but he was desperate.
Harry did finally look at him and his gaze burned him where he sat - he knew what Louis was doing. “Fine,” he said curtly, before turning around and exiting the pub.
“That wasn’t good.”
“Yeah, thanks Niall.” Louis laid his head down again. That was easier.
It wasn’t until he got home and was changing into his pyjamas that he got the text message.
Harry: Maybe it’s not such a good idea for you to come to the final.
Louis’ heart clenched in his chest.
Louis: Don’t be silly, H. Want to be there to support you.
Harry: Really, it’s okay. Don’t come.
The last two words cut him to the quick, but he refused to give up. He just needed a plan.
Over the course of the next two weeks he kept trying to see Harry at Vitality but every time he came in the front door, Jade would look at him a little sadly and shake her head at him. Unfortunately with his work being the way it was, he couldn’t exactly vary when he was there to try and catch him.
He texted and called countless times, but all he was getting was radio silence. Time to bring in the big guns.
At his last appointment with Liam before the match, he cornered him. He would be strong. Firm. He would not back down.
“Liam, why won’t he talk to me?” he whined.
“I don’t know what to tell you, he won’t talk to me about it either. Just said he didn’t want you at the final.”
He decided to switch tactics. “Look, as his coach, it can’t be good for him to be this distracted. You have to let me come to the match.”
Liam looked as though he was seriously considering it for a moment, “No. If you’re there, he’ll be even more distracted. That won’t work.”
“Please, Liam, I’m begging. Let me into his warm up room beforehand, let me talk to him. We can work it out.”
“No, if it goes south, I don’t want him to be in even worse shape than he is now. At least now his mood is consistent.”
“I want to make it up to him. He needs to know how I feel about him.”
“I’m sorry, Louis. You’ll just have to figure it all out afterwards.”
Louis didn’t say anything else. He knew Liam was just trying to protect Harry, but Louis had to talk to him, he couldn’t let it sit another moment.
He did something rash. Very rash. He spent way too much money getting ringside seats for him and Niall.
Louis insisted they arrive an hour early, and Niall, wonderful Niall, indulged him. Now all he had to do was manage to get past security.
When they arrived Niall found their seats, and just as before, there were matches for other ages and weight classes happening first.
“I’m going to go look for him,” he murmured to Niall as the noise from the crowd picked up around them.
“Good luck!” Niall called after him.
When he finally found what he was looking for - the hallway the athletes would emerge from to enter the ring - he could see a woman at the end holding a clipboard. She was pretty and looked welcoming, but also kind of like she could drop kick him. He swallowed audibly.
Here goes nothing, he thought.
“Hello!” he smiled his most charming smile as he approached her.
“Hello, there. Name?”
“Well,” he stopped to read her name tag, “Jacky, I’m probably not on the list,” her demeanor immediately changed, her spine stiffened and the look she gave him said ‘Try me.’ “Here’s the thing, though. I have to talk to Harry. Harry Styles? It’s really important.”
“He’s getting ready. He can’t be disturbed right now.”
“I get that, but the thing is I’m in love with him, and it would be really great if I could tell him? Because he doesn’t know. And I just need him to know.” It was the first time he had said it out loud, and he didn’t even notice. It had just rolled off his tongue, as easy as can be.
She softened again, and did look truly sorry that she couldn’t help him. “I’m sorry, but I really can’t let you back here.”
“Can you get a message to him then?”
“Sure, what would you like it to say?” the hand that held her pen was poised in one of the margins of her check in sheet.
“Tell him, Louis is here, and he would really like to talk to him afterwards. So maybe wait for him?” She paused halfway through writing.
“Wait, what did you say your name was?”
“Well unless there’s another Louis Tomlinson connected to Harry Styles, your name is on the list,” she smiled at him.
Louis stared at her for a moment, unable to process the fact that there weren’t anymore barriers between him and Harry.
“Go on!” Jacky prodded his back with the end of her clipboard to get him to move. “Go, go! Down the hall on the left.”
“Thanks,” he said, weakly.
When he made it to Harry’s door, he took a deep breath and gave a light knock.
“Come on in, Li!” Harry’s response was muffled through the thick walls.
Louis slipped in and closed the door, but all he could see was Harry’s bare back.
“Have you seen my new roll of white tape? I know it’s in here somewhere, but I don’t know what I did with it. I don’t have enough of the old one,” he continued to rummage in his bag.
“Um, no, I haven’t seen it,” he replied. As soon as Harry heard his voice he turned around sharply. He didn’t say anything right away, just stared. Louis began to squirm the longer it went on, but he wanted Harry to say something first. See where his head was at, before he launched into confessions that couldn’t be taken back.
“Why are you here,” Harry asked breaking the silence.
“I needed to talk to you,” he replied.
“No. Why are you here,” he repeated with more force.
Suddenly, it clicked. Harry’s words were a direct echo of what he had said right before they kissed for the first time. The phrase gave away nothing but inexplicably gave him hope.
“I was never with Nick again. He tried, but I sent him away. He never even made it off the front steps. I think Liam gave you the wrong idea.”
Harry nodded, “That’s what he’s been trying to tell me.”
“You know when I first started at Vitality, it was so maybe I would turn my life around and Nick would come crawling back.” Harry rolled his lips together but didn’t say anything else. “Not my finest hour,” Louis chuckled.
“Then at some point along the way, before we started fooling around, he came to me and said he wanted to be friends again. I agreed. We were together for a long time, we had been friends before, why not? Everyone around me, my family, Niall, everybody thought it was stupid to let him back into my life.”
Harry shifted his weight but still didn’t give anything away.
“It wasn’t until later, after I left your house that morning, and he tried to insist that it was always going to be more between us, that I realised I had absolutely no problem trying to be his friend because there was no way it could be anything more. I didn’t want that with anyone except you. He was just background noise.”
Harry began to move closer to him and Louis’ spirits began to soar. When he was close enough, Harry brought his hand up to cup Louis’ jaw, giving him a light peck on the lips. He pulled back and pressed their foreheads together.
“Finally, you fucking idiot.”
Louis scoffed, and then threw his head back and laughed, safe wrapped in Harry’s arms. He drew his hands around Harry’s neck and kissed him deeply. Harry was in this with him, one hundred percent, but Louis couldn’t leave anything unsaid between them again.
“Harry, I’m falling in love with you. Just so you know.”
“I know, Lou, I’m falling in love with you too.”
There were a million other things that Harry should be doing, but Louis couldn’t find the will to let him go. They were curled up on the dingy couch in the corner of the room, kissing as if they had all the time in the world, when Liam finally found them.
“Harry, I have your new roll of- Oh God!” He immediately covered his eyes.
“Everyone is being perfectly appropriate, Liam,” Louis teased.
“Well,” Harry raised his eyebrows at Louis and squeezed his hands where they had been lightly resting on Louis’ bum.
“That’s enough out of you,” Louis scolded. He purposefully hardened his voice a bit, even though it was difficult with how light and airy he felt, “Good boys get ready,” he whispered, “and then they win their finals.”
Harry’s hands contracted one more time in Louis’ muscles before he planted a short kiss on his lips and forcibly removed himself from the couch.
“Okay! I’m going to pretend I didn’t hear that. Harry I need to tape up your hands and then you have to rub up.” Liam threw the new roll of tape at Harry.
“I volunteer for that part!” Louis piped up lecherously from where he was still sitting on the couch.
“Alright fine - but I’m supervising. We don’t have enough time for any funny business.”
“But Leeeyummm,” Louis whined.
“No. Not enough time.”
“Fine,” he huffed. When he looked over at Harry, he was smiling widely, dimple popping. Louis had to kiss him again. He launched himself into Harry’s arms dramatically. Harry caught him mid-laugh with both hands back on his bum.
“Don’t hurt him - we really need this win,” Liam complained loudly.
“He’ll be fine. Right, baby?”
Harry nodded, eyes sparkling. “Yeah, Lou, I’ll be just fine.”