"We are currently forty-seven minutes late due to heavy snowfall," a kind voice echoed through the coach. "Next stop is Luton."
Harry raised a brow and looked out of the window into the dark night, only illuminated by the bright and thick snowflakes falling from the sky. They stuck to the window, covered the slowly passing landscape in a clean, white sheet.
Harry turned his head, looking at a girl about his age standing in the aisle. She held a bright pink handbag and her orange hair, covered by a Mickey Mouse hat, fanned out over a matching pink, woollen shawl. Her coat was black and buttoned up to her neck.
"Is that seat taken?" she asked, pointing at the guitar case occupying the seat next to Harry.
Harry automatically scanned the coach, noticing it had suddenly filled with people. When he had got onto the train, it had still been almost empty. He smiled at the girl now, grabbing his guitar case. “Taken, yes, but I think it’s actually meant for people to sit on, so…” He trailed off, shrugging.
The girl smiled too, taking a step back to make room when Harry hurriedly got up to lift the guitar case and store it on the rack above their heads.
He spotted a suitcase next to her and pointed at it. "Want a hand with that?"
"That's nice. Thank you." She smiled again, taking a step aside to let Harry pick up the suitcase.
Once Harry had settled back down in his seat, she dropped into the one next to him, puffing a tired sigh. Harry glanced over at her, and she caught him, a smile spreading over her face, blue eyes sparkling.
"I'm not really fat," she said. "The coat only makes me look like it."
Harry frowned. Had he looked at her too sceptical? "I wasn't thinking you're fat."
Giving him a knowing look, she unbuttoned the coat and shrugged it off her shoulders. Underneath, she wore a green jumper two sizes too big on her, swallowing up her hands.
"Well," Harry commented. "Maybe it's because your clothes are all a few sizes too big on you."
"Nah," she answered. "Boyfriend look. It's considered cute."
"Is that your boyfriend’s jumper then?" Harry asked.
"Are you not-so-subtly trying to hit on me?" she shot back. Her orange hair was glowing in the dim light of the coach.
Harry snorted, shaking his head. "Is there a way to answer this without looking like a dick?"
She beamed again, extending her hand. "I'm Perrie, and afraid I've got a boyfriend."
Harry didn't hesitate to shake it. "Harry," he supplied. "And I'm afraid I don't have a boyfriend."
"You've got a guitar, though," Perrie noted.
"Always proved to be the wiser choice," Harry agreed. "My guitar's always faithful to me."
Crossing her legs, Perrie gave him a curious look. "Must be a bit dull, though."
Harry tilted his head in question.
"Like, it can only say whatever you make it say." She shrugged. "That's dull, isn't it?"
"I guess," Harry hummed. "I can't complain so far."
Perrie fell silent, digging through her huge, pink handbag, and Harry turned to watch the snow falling outside of the window again. It slowly painted the glass white, shrinking Harry's view of the landscape. That was somehow a characteristic streak Harry had come to associate with snow; covering up and blurring his view. It was one of the reasons he didn't like snow.
A loud start of music to his right made him jump slightly, turning his head back to Perrie. She gave him an apologetic look, while she pulled out her mobile that was playing a pop song -- Harry had heard it on the radio before.
"Hi, babes," she answered cheerfully. "I'm on the last train now, yes."
Harry watched her worrying her lip and wondered what the person on the other end was saying that made a shadow fall over her face.
"I'm sorry," Perrie mumbled. "I know it is. It's because of the snow, apparently. I'll just take a cab, don't worry about it." She paused. "I get it. See you later."
When she cut the connection, Harry lifted a brow. Obviously her boyfriend would not pick her up, that much he had understood from the bit he could had heard. What a dick, Harry thought as he opened his rucksack to pull out two packages of biscuits.
"Biscuit?" he asked, holding up both packages.
Perrie turned her face to him, blinking. "Yeah," she answered eventually. "Sure."
"Custard Cream or Bourbon?"
"Actually," Perrie said, pointing from the yellow to the violet package, "you have to eat them together, like a---"
"Sandwich," Harry ended her sentence, beaming. "It's how I eat them too!"
"Tastes so much better than each of them individually," she agreed.
Harry grinned and handed her two biscuits, then took two for himself and placed the packages between them.
"So," Perrie asked, munching on her biscuits, crumbles garnishing her pink shawl. "What are you headed for London for?"
Harry shrugged. "I'm moving there."
"Oh? Where are you from, then?" Perrie propped her elbow onto the armrest between them, her hand supporting her chin.
"Cheshire," Harry answered, tilting his upper body a little closer to the window. "How about you?"
"I'm from London," Perrie stated.
"Doesn't sound like it."
She grinned. "True. Grew up in Shields, not too far from Newcastle," she explained. "It's where I've been. Visiting my parents."
"Spent Christmas at home, then?" Harry inquired.
Perrie nodded. "And what are you going to do in London?"
"Music," Harry mumbled his answer. "I'm a musician, and people don’t actually discover a new pop sensation in a village in Cheshire. So I'm moving to London. Much more chances to get into the music industry here, to meet the right people and finally make it work."
"Cool," she beamed. "What kind of music do you play? Sing something for me?"
Harry frowned. "Not on the train."
"Uh," Perrie hissed, making a face. "That's not the spirit. Being embarrassed to sing in front of people will not get you into the charts, love."
"'M not embarrassed," Harry argued, feeling a pout tugging on his lips. "I just don't want to disturb people."
Perrie grinned widely, and Harry noticed her nose wrinkling and cheeks dimpling slightly. "You're cute."
"Who's hitting on whom now?" He felt his cheeks flush, and turned his face to look out of the window again, but only faced a white wall. "But, thanks, I guess."
"Look at that," Perrie pointed out, pressing a hand against the glass. "Is the train even still driving?"
"Feels like it," Harry said. "I hope so."
Suddenly, Perrie gripped his arm, and looked at Harry with huge, worried eyes. Harry automatically jolted, his arm going a little tense under her touch. "You have a place to stay, don't you? Like, you already have a flat?"
Harry’s tension eased and he laughed gently. "I don't have my own flat yet, no."
"What?" She gaped at him. "You can stay at mine for the night. You'll freeze your ass off in this weather."
"That's kind," Harry answered. It really was. As far as Harry was concerned, they were complete strangers, so having Perrie offer him a bed for the night was a very generous gesture.
"Colin wouldn't mind," she added.
"Your boyfriend?" Harry guessed.
Perrie nodded. "He's got a huge flat. You can sleep on the sofa."
"Thanks. I'm already crashing at a friend's place, though."
"Is that so?"
"My best friend from school." Harry pursed his lips, taking another biscuit. "He went to London after we finished sixth form. Doing media studies at university."
"What did you do, then?" Perrie asked. "After school?"
Harry shrugged a shoulder. "Went to Manchester, started studying music engineering, but I'm not too much into the theory. I need to write songs and play them. It's what I want."
"I get you," she said, nibbling on another biscuit sandwich, too. "London's the place to make it."
"You're doing music too?"
Perrie shook her head. "Nah. I'm in Arts school. Doing fashion and design."
Harry sat up, turning to her. "That's cool. You design clothes and do fashion shows and all that?"
"Sometimes," she answered with a shy smile. "I'm not really good."
Harry shook his head. "Don't put yourself down. I'm sure you're really good."
Perrie laughed. "How would you know that? You don't even know me."
"I know people," Harry stated. "And you're the kind of person who is good with fashion. You certainly look like it."
"Thank you," she mumbled quietly.
"So, your boyfriend's a designer, as well? Or even better," Harry guessed excitedly. "He's your model?"
Fidgeting with the sleeves of her oversized jumper, Perrie chuckled an embarrassed laugh. "Nah. He's really not into it. Doesn't have much interest in arts and design and fashion."
Harry frowned. "What’s he doing, then?"
"He's finished studying and works in a law firm. He'll be a really good solicitor."
"Fancy," Harry commented.
"He's really good," Perrie assured him. He wondered whom she was really trying to convince.
"Has to be a good bloke," Harry agreed, nudging her shoulder. "He's made quite a good catch, after all."
"Do you flirt so shamelessly with all the girls?" Perrie asked, a smirk tucked into the corners of her mouth.
"And the boys," Harry answered, grinning back.
More than an hour too late, the train finally rolled into Clapham Junction Station. Harry blinked in confusion when a friendly voice informed them through the speakers about possible destinations and apologised for the delay.
Perrie got up from her seat. "This is where I have to get off."
"Same," Harry said. "Those few hours literally flew by."
Perrie smirked, putting on her coat. "True. Time's flying by when you're having fun, eh?"
Harry nodded, grabbing his guitar case and the rucksack.
"Is that all you have?" Perrie asked, carrying her enormous handbag and the suitcase, as they approached the doors.
"Just me and my guitar," Harry hummed.
Outside the train, Perrie pulled the Mickey Mouse hat over her orange hair. "Well, I hope your friend has some clothes for you, then."
Harry laughed. "I've sent those ahead."
"It was nice meeting you, Harry," she said, extending her hand. "Never had such a fun train ride."
"Likewise," Harry agreed, gripping her hand, not too tightly. Her fingers were thin and delicate. "How are you getting home? Is Colin picking you up?"
"I'll take the tube," Perrie answered. "It's just a few stations."
"I could bring you home," Harry offered. "It's late."
Perrie smiled, stepping forwards to rise to her toes and press a short kiss to Harry's cheek. "You're a true gentleman, Harry. But I take the tube every night. I'm used to it."
Which didn't mean that it was okay. But, well, Harry didn't want to come across as if he was stereotyping women. If Perrie said she'd be fine, he had to trust her judgement. "Alright. Take care."
"And you!" She waved when she walked off.
Harry remained on the platform, waving back, watching her disappear into the crowd. When he couldn't see her anymore, he suddenly felt an emptiness overcome his chest, squeezing his heart, and for the first time since Perrie had sat down next to him, Harry felt anxious again.
For a moment, he just stood there, looking left and right, as if he was expecting someone to come his way, say his name. Someone who had been waiting for him to arrive.
Niall was waiting, he told himself. Niall was here, and he was excited for Harry to move to London, even when Harry was still wary about that decision.
However, Harry couldn't make his decisions based on a mistake of his past for the rest of his life. London was big, and there was no way he would see even a trace of that past here.
Taking a deep breath, Harry looked for the exit when someone ran into him and threw him an angry look, mumbling something about "move, prick." Welcome to London, Harry thought biting his lip. He adjusted his guitar case, straightened out his jacket and moved left, walking down the platform crowded by a sea of strangers.
A pale street light hit him when he reached the top of the stairs that were leading out of the station, and the first sight of London that hit him was a billboard across the street, displaying an ad for some gum. Bright blue, green and pink coloured the poster, made it an immediate eye catcher.
What made it even more of an eye catcher were the three boys posing for the ad. Harry stopped again and took in the faces, saw long lashes and high cheekbones, a gentle look and broad muscles. Feathery hair and stunning, blue eyes. Three perfectly polished smiles, baring white teeth. For a moment, all Harry could do was stare before he turned with a stern frown, looking down.
This was what he had expected London to be like. Bubblegum Pop on the surface. Hopefully, there was more underneath, something different, more raw and genuine. Something Harry wanted to be.
He wouldn't end up pretending to be someone he wasn't.
Harry found himself hauled into a warm embrace, big hands pressing against his back, thick hair rubbing against his cheek.
"Hi, Niall," he said, hugging his friend back.
"Man, you're late. I was afraid you weren't coming, after all." Niall stepped back, blond hair in a mess, wearing a winter jumper and jogging bottoms. "It's after midnight!"
"Gave up my flat in Manchester and moved out from my Mum's," Harry reminded him. "I didn't have a choice but to come here. The snow didn't make that an easy task, though."
"This is so sick," Niall cheered, turning around to lead Harry into the flat. "You being here. Did you find a job yet?"
Harry laughed, because Niall made it all sound so very easy. "Still looking. As soon as I’ll find one, I will try to spend as much time as possible on selling my music."
"Babs?" Niall suddenly yelled, poking his head into one of the rooms. "Harry's here!"
A girl appeared from the room, long, dark hair tied up in a tail, eyes bright blue. Harry had seen pictures of her -- Niall had sent him millions over the past year they had been dating -- but she was definitely even more stunning in person. Right now, she was literally drowning in a maroon cardigan, feet covered by huge frog slippers. "Oh, hi! I'm Barbara," she greeted Harry, going straight for a hug. "Niall's told me so much about you."
Harry patted her back slightly. "Thanks for letting me stay."
"No big deal, love," she told him. "Niall's friends are always welcome."
"Alright, Harry must be knackered," Niall said. "We can talk over breakfast tomorrow morning."
"Sounds lovely," Harry agreed, feeling the tiredness of a day spent travelling weighing on his bones.
"I'll make up the sofa for you," Barbara offered, disappearing into another room.
"Kitchen's right here," Niall pointed to his left. "And the bathroom's over there," he added. "If you need anything, let me know."
"I'm fine, Ni," Harry assured him. "Really, thanks for letting me stay here. I'll start looking for a flat as soon as I get a job."
"I know, Haz, don't worry." Niall beamed at him before he dove in again. "It's so good to have you here," he mumbled, hugging Harry tightly. "I missed you."
"I missed you too," Harry immediately answered. "Home hasn't been the same without--" his breath hitched a little, and Harry closed his eyes. "You," he finally said.
Niall pulled back, holding on to Harry's arms. "None of us could stay there forever, Harry."
Harry shrugged. "I guess."
"Are you going to, like---"
"It's London, Niall," Harry reminded him. "Too big to find a single person."
"That particular person wouldn't be so hard to find, I think." Niall lifted a brow.
"That's not what I came here for," Harry simply answered. "I'm here for me."
Smiling, Niall squeezed his arms. "You'll make it, Haz."
"Your bed is ready, Harry," Barbara said from behind them. "Would you like tea before you go to bed?"
"He would," Niall answered for Harry.
"I'll prepare you a cuppa." Barbara disappeared into the kitchen.
"Good night, Hazza," Niall said, following her, and Harry turned to grab his rucksack.
He locked the bathroom door behind himself and stripped out of his jeans and jumper, changing into comfortable tracksuit bottoms and a loose t-shirt. His reflection in the mirror showed a pale face, dark circles beneath his eyes and greasy hair.
Slowly, Harry lifted his arm and traced a finger over the two letters inked into the underside. He stared at the short word, hadn't even thought of it in such a long time. It felt as if it was burning a hole in his skin now.
Shaking his head, Harry lowered his arm, covered the tattoo up with the sleeve and rummaged through his rucksack for his toothbrush. He took his time, washing his face thoroughly, and let the warm water heat up his cold fingers.
The flat was quiet and dark when he came back from the bathroom and Harry stumbled twice on his way back to the living room. He slid beneath the heavy duvet, curling up and reached out for the cup of tea on the table.
Yorkshire tea, Harry thought, biting his lip as the hot tea burned his tongue. Stubbornly, he gulped down more, ignored the feverish heat it left in his throat. He wouldn't lose, wouldn't back away this time.
Taking a deep breath, he turned off the small light next to the sofa and closed his eyes.
For his first day, Harry was actually pretty satisfied with himself. Right after breakfast, he had taken off, going to coffee shops, clothes stores, bakeries, kindergartens and schools. He had been to several shops, handing in applications, and he hadn't allowed himself any distractions from that task throughout the whole day.
He could only hope at least one place would call back sometime soon.
When he had left the last place, he had found a message from Niall on his phone, telling him to come to the pub for dinner, an address attached to it. It wasn't hard finding that particular pub -- it wasn't too far from Niall's flat and located in High Street.
Harry stopped in front of the building, checking on the bold, washed-out golden letters above the heavy-looking, wooden door. The Anchor’s Rope. This was it, then, Harry decided, remembering Niall’s message.
Opening the door, Harry left behind the chilly air of January and entered the pub. The lights were low, radio music was playing quietly from somewhere above Harry's head and every table was empty. Just about the place he had been looking for, really. After spending hours being stuck in underground trains squeezed between strangers and wandering streets filled with people and their chatter, Harry really did appreciate the quiet of the pub.
With no other customer around, he could only guess that the place wasn't really good, but he didn't care too much. He just needed a warm meal, maybe a cup of tea or a coke, and he preferably needed them for less than ten quid.
Niall had texted back that he would be there in twenty, so Harry decided that instead of wandering around, he could just as well wait here.
Dropping onto a chair, he pushed his hair out of his face and stared over to the bar, at the shelf that displayed all kinds of liquors. He had chosen a table in the corner, out of view. It was unnecessary in a completely empty pub, but Harry felt more comfortable and warm in the corner. There was a fireplace on the other side of the room, and for a moment Harry was wishing it were on. He'd definitely sit by the fire and get out his pocketbook.
"Oh," he heard a startled voice say then. "Welcome!"
Harry turned his head to look back at the bar, where a girl had appeared, and he blinked twice before he tilted his head, because -- he knew her. Orange hair, a pretty face, blue eyes framed in black eyeliner. Harry could only stare at her.
"Is something wrong with my face?" Perrie asked.
"Um..." Harry bit his lip. This was awkward. "We met on the train yesterday?"
"Did we?" she shot back, frowning.
Blushing, Harry averted his gaze. "Actually---"
"I'm just joking, Harry," she barked out then, laughing loudly. "Should have seen your face!"
Harry answered her with a pout.
"What are you doing here? I didn't think I'd see you again." She leaned onto the counter. "Not that I'm complaining about it."
"The friend I told you about? He lives close. Told me to meet him here," Harry explained.
"We're not open yet," Perrie said, rounding the counter.
"Oh, sorry." Harry gathered his jacket and rucksack, getting up from his chair. "I didn't notice."
"That's alright," she answered, coming over to his table and plopping down on the chair across from Harry's. "Stay. It's not like we could afford sending any customers away."
"I can leave, if it gets you into trouble," Harry offered.
"Nah." She smiled, her lips a fascinating shade of purple. "It's nice to have some company. Until ten I usually just sit behind the bar and do my nails."
Harry grinned. "Does your boss know about that?"
"I'm afraid he does, yes." She shrugged, crossing her legs. She wore an orange skirt patterned with blue dots and brown tights. "So, what would you like?"
"Tea? And, do you serve food?"
"The kitchen isn't open yet, but in thirty minutes I can have Phil make you something." She got up. "Tea coming right up."
"Thank you," Harry said politely and folded his hands over the tabletop.
While preparing the tea, Perrie kept chattering away cheerfully. "So, how did it go so far? Sold any records yet?"
Harry laughed. "Obviously not. I've been job hunting today."
"Oi," Perrie said, pointing at him as she came back over, setting down the cup in front of Harry. "Can you even pay the tea?"
"Of course," Harry growled. "Anyway, you said I could stay."
She smiled, leaning in to pat his hand gently. "And I meant it. I actually really do like chatting to guests. I meet some rather interesting people here."
Curious, Harry tilted his head. "What kind of people?"
"There is this guy who comes to play here every Friday night," she answered. "He's great. Not very outspoken, really quiet, but when he starts singing -- woah!" She held her palms up. "And he is really nice."
"A musician?" Harry felt it tickle his interest. "So he'll play today?"
"Yes," Perrie agreed. "And then there is this old lady who comes in every now and then. She's almost ninety, but swears it's Gaymer's Pear Cider that keeps her young. She is so lovely."
Harry smiled. "Sounds like."
"Hey Perrie," someone demanded from the bar and Harry looked up to see a man with thin, brown hair lean over the counter. "I could use a hand in the kitchen."
"Coming," Perrie replied cheerfully, before she turned back to Harry. "You enjoy your tea. I'll have Phil make something good for you."
"Thank you," Harry said and watched her leave for the kitchen.
Silence engulfed him, just a faint clatter from the kitchen every now and then cutting through, and Harry smiled slightly. He nipped his tea, as he watched the snow outside start falling in thick flakes, painting the street in blurry grey.
He'd have a quiet one, Harry decided. Just a drink with Niall, a warm meal and a nice chat, before they'd head home and Harry would catch up on some sleep.
Harry briefly remembered that plan when he emptied another pint glass several hours later. It was dark outside and the pub was buzzing with life.
The light was still dim, but now it seemed golden, warm and welcoming. Perrie was behind the counter, chatting away with the blokes sitting on bar stools, downing beer or whiskey. She was glowing, actually, and Harry found himself staring at her more often than not.
It wasn't that he was attracted. That part had been clear from the beginning -- had been clear ever since Harry had been sixteen and had fallen in love with the captain of the school's football team. The thing was, even though Harry was gay, he knew to appreciate a pretty girl. And Perrie certainly was very pretty. She had an honest smile, wasn't fake, and seemed to be unbothered by judging eyes.
In Harry's mind, those traits made a person interesting regardless of their gender.
"Someone's got a crush," Josh cooed. He poked Harry's side and giggled.
Harry turned to him with a frown. Josh was one of the regulars, too, as far as Harry had found out. He worked at an oil company, something about environment and resources had been in the job description. Harry couldn't quite remember.
But Josh was nice, and rather funny. He had a nice sense of humour and he was also paying for Harry's drinks, which was even nicer.
"A crush?" Harry remembered what he had said, picking up on it.
"You," Josh pointed out. "You're totally into Perrie."
Harry laughed dryly. "Yeah, no. I'm really not. She's great, though."
"Come on, kiddo," Josh teased him. "You can tell me. I see the looks you're giving her."
"I'm really not into her," Harry protested.
"She's got a boyfriend anyway." Niall interfered, setting down his pint. "But I bet she already told you. She can't quite shut up about him."
Harry frowned. It had been rather surprising to find that Niall and Perrie knew each other. Then again, Niall was a regular at the pub, so obviously they knew each other. "Yeah, she mentioned him a few times. Still, I'm not interested. She's, like, really pretty and I see why all the guys at the bar hit on her. But," he added and nodded his chin into the direction of the ginger boy playing the guitar left to the bar. He had a round face and pale skin, his lashes were so light, they were only visible when he looked down. "I'm more interested in that guy."
Josh raised a brow. "So you're one of those."
Harry shrugged. "One of those?"
"Should I put in a good word for you with Ed?" Josh winked. "I'm not sure he's into boys, though."
"Ed, is it?" Harry hummed, as he looked over at the boy playing his guitar. One of those, he repeated in his head and tried to ignore the negative connotation. He didn't think outing himself as gay at this moment would be very wise. Niall knew, of course, that was probably the reason he was just quiet right now, but Josh would most likely freak out a bit -- he didn't seem like the intolerant type, but maybe it would be a bit too much personal information to share on a first meeting. "Thanks, but I'm not interested in him like that. I'm interested in his music."
"Well," Josh mused. "I can put a good word in for you anyway. I take it you're a musician yourself?" He gestured at Niall across from them. "Since you're friends with this one here."
Harry nodded. "He's pretty good. I'd like to hear more of his stuff."
"He'll be delighted to play it to you," Niall assured him. "And will demand to hear some of yours in return. Why don't you play something now?"
Lowering his head, Harry laughed gently. "Nah. He's on right now. I quite enjoy him playing."
"I'll ask him to join us," Josh just pointed out and got up from his chair. "And then you guys can just play together."
"No, I really..." Harry fell silent, as Josh rolled his eyes and walked off. He watched Josh chatting to the boy with ginger hair -- Ed, Harry corrected himself in his head -- while he tuned his guitar. Ed smiled at him, greeted him with a handshake and they laughed about something. Then Ed put down his guitar and got up, giving a short hand sign to Perrie, which she answered with a nod and a wink.
"Make that four, love," Josh said loudly and pointed at their table, when he came back. "Ed, that's Harry. He only came to London yesterday."
"Hi," Ed said, sitting down in the chair next to Harry. "How did you end up here of all places?"
"Don't know anyone in London besides Niall," Harry shrugged slightly, shoving his curls from his face. "Not as busy here; not as expensive."
"Well," Ed agreed. "It's not Primrose Hill."
Niall snorted. A group of people from a corner by the window left through the door with loud noises, shouting words back and forth between each other. When the door closed behind them, it was suddenly a lot quieter in the pub. Harry looked around and noticed that only them and the three old men at the bar were left.
"There'd be a bigger audience in Primrose Hill pubs, though," Niall argued.
"Don't think they'd appreciate my music." Ed shrugged and leaned back in his chair. "I'm not exactly singing about their life style."
Harry hummed, folding his hands on the table top. "I don't think those people can't identify with loss and fear, or love and happiness, just because they have more money to spend than others."
For a moment Ed was silent, then he smiled. "That's probably right."
"There you go!" Perrie came to their table and set down five pints, before she dropped into the chair next to Josh.
"Is Phil going to cut that off your wages?" Niall asked with a raised brow.
Perrie grinned. "No, it's on you." She held out her hand. "Gotta pay those four anyway. What's one more?"
Niall shook his head, but put two notes into her palm anyways. "You're a cheeky one. Don't know how you got a boyfriend in the first place."
"Colin thinks I'm cute," Perrie told him, before she gulped down a huge part of her pint. Harry frowned slightly, because it really shouldn't be as cute, seeing a girl drink. Somehow it just fit Perrie, though.
"Is Colin your boyfriend?" Ed asked.
Beaming, Perrie turned to him, and Niall groaned. "Wrong question, mate. She's not gonna stop talking about him now."
"Not true," Perrie complained, leaning over the table to smack Niall's arm. "Sorry that I'm the only person here who's actually happily in love and not just singing about it."
Niall gave her an indignant look, before he hid his expression behind his glass, taking a big swipe.
Harry frowned at Niall, wondering what exactly was wrong, but decided not to ask in front of all these people. "Did you come here to London with Colin?" Harry asked, because if Perrie liked talking about her boyfriend, he didn't mind. He rather had her talking than Josh asking him personal things.
"Not really," she answered. "He came here first. But being back home without him felt so lonely, so I followed him a few months ago."
"That's nice," Harry commented. "I mean, having someone you can't live without." He thought of the first day he had woken up in his bed all by himself, about how it had felt when he had realised that he would wake up by himself for the rest of his life -- that it wouldn't ever be the same, even if someday, someone else would be there by his side.
It still hurt.
"We don't see each other that much, though. What with him in his law firm, and me at Arts school. So we barely get to spend time together." Perrie pouted a bit.
"That's why we only ever get to hear about that bloke, but have never actually met him," Josh told Harry. "I personally think she's making it all up, and there actually is no boyfriend."
"Shut up, Josh." Perrie turned to him. "Colin's got better stuff to do than meeting regulars of the pub I'm working at."
Harry frowned. "Wait," he said slowly. "So he's not picking you up after your shift? How do you get home?"
Perrie looked a little confused. "I walk. Or take the tube."
"What's so surprising about that?" Perrie glanced at Niall, and Harry noticed he was simply smiling into his glass. "I'm a big girl, I don't need my boyfriend picking me up from work."
Harry looked at her for a moment, considering his words carefully. "I don't know. I just wouldn't let my girlfriend walk home alone at night. No matter how busy I was, I'd pick her up."
Perrie was stunned into silence, apparently, and Josh nudged her arm with his elbow. "Now you wish Harry was your boyfriend, don't you?"
"I haven't even known Harry for a day," Perrie shot back. "But his girl is quite lucky, I have to admit."
Harry lowered his gaze to the table and tried to hide the blush that heated up his cheeks.
"I reckon he doesn't have a girl," Ed commented lowly.
"I don't," Harry agreed, and it felt oddly okay that apparently, Ed seemed to look right through him. He had no idea how exactly Ed was doing it, but he seemed to understand, to grasp Harry's mind immediately.
"What?" Perrie gasped. "There really should be a girl profiting from how perfect boyfriend material you are."
"Perrie's gonna make it her mission to find you a girl now," Niall warned him and Harry bit his tongue.
"Good luck with that," Ed commented before he turned to Harry and pointed at the guitar case behind himself. "You play?"
Grateful for the distraction, Harry nodded. "Yeah. I play a bit."
"Cool." Ed tilted his head with a grin. "You're up for a bit of jamming?"
"Always," Harry answered, following Ed to the front, and leaving behind all talk about relationships and partners and perfect boyfriends.
"Boys," Perrie said, leaning against the bar counter, a bunch of keys dangling from a ring around her finger. "I have to lock the pub now."
Harry glanced at his watch and found that it was past midnight and the pub was completely empty, except for him, Niall and Ed sitting on bar stools, guitar on Niall's knee.
"Sorry, Pez," Ed mumbled and took his guitar case. "Kinda forgot the time."
"That's alright," Perrie told him. "How about you play together next Friday? Looked like you enjoyed it, Ed."
Ed shrugged and glanced at Harry. "I mean, it's nice playing with someone else for a change. If you have time?"
Harry nodded eagerly -- he knew he had to be looking like a complete idiot, embarrassingly eager to get a chance at properly playing with Ed. "I'd love to!"
"Brilliant!" Ed held his fist out and Harry swiftly bumped it with his own. "You have to show me the arrangement for your version of Sweet Disposition. It'd be proper cool if we could play that one together."
While shrugging on his jacket, Harry nodded. "Sure. I'd like that."
"Why is no one asking me?" Niall whined.
"You can be our special guest for one song," Harry allowed. He smirked, ruffling Niall's hair.
Perrie switched off all lights except the one above the bar counter and opened the door, waiting for them to catch up with her. Harry shouldered his rucksack before he headed out, Ed and Niall right behind him.
"How far do you live from here?" Harry asked Perrie, while she locked the door.
"It's about a twenty minutes walk from here." She pocketed the keys, adjusted her enormous handbag over her shoulder. Harry wondered what exactly she had in there -- why in general she needed that much stuff with her at all times. It was bigger than the one he had travelled with. And Harry had everything with him he essentially needed.
"That's quite far," he said.
"You'd feel better if we walked her home?" Ed asked, tone amused.
"If it's not too much of trouble for you? I can walk her by myself," Harry offered, looking from Ed to Niall.
"None of you has to walk me home," Perrie interfered. "I'm not a damsel in distress, Harry."
"Not saying you are. But it's dangerous for a pretty girl to walk dark streets all alone at night."
Perrie wrinkled her nose in an amused expression. "Aw, love, you're very pretty too. Thanks for the compliment."
"I'm serious," Harry protested. "I have nowhere to be anyway, so it's no problem for me to walk you to your flat."
"Whatever," she gave in. "If it makes you feel better."
Harry beamed and nodded, glancing at Ed.
"Come on then," Ed just said.
"I guess I'll head home, if it's okay. Babs is waiting," Niall said, shrugging slightly.
"I guess two boys is enough to get me home safely." Perrie hooked an arm under Harry's and waved at Niall.
"See you at home, Haz," Niall said, turning to walk the other direction.
Perrie laced her fingers over Harry's arm. "So, Harry," she mused. "Ed here says he can't live off anything else but making music. Are you the same?"
Smiling, Harry paced his steps to hers. "Unfortunately not."
"What's your job then?"
"Right now I am jobless," he answered.
"You came here, having no job in prospect?" Perrie frowned. "Love, they'll eat you alive."
"They won't," Harry assured her. "I've started job hunting today."
Perrie hummed before she stopped and pulled out her mobile phone. "Hey, give me your number? I'll see if I can find you something."
Harry glanced at Ed, who only shrugged. He dictated his number and Perrie strolled on, while typing it into her contacts. "Maybe some of my friends know something."
"Thanks," Harry told her, matching their paces again. "You have lots of friends, don't you?"
Perrie pursed her lips, glancing at Ed strolling next to them. "Nah. I know a lot of people, but I only call a few of them my actual friends."
"Sounds like right out of a Hallmark card," Ed commented.
"Write a song about it, if you must," Perrie shot back.
For a while, they walked in silence and Harry started to hum quietly, watching the snow fall around them. He liked the silence, it was comfortable -- not like no one knew what to say, but more like all of them felt comfortable around each other, appreciating the winter night.
Suddenly, Perrie stopped, pointing up a building. "This is where I live."
Harry followed her pointing and looked at the building, its grey facade and dark windows. Some were lit up by yellow, pale light, a few had the blinds down.
“Looks nice,” Harry pointed out.
“It’s just temporary. I’m still looking for my own place. This is Colin’s.” Perrie shrugged, rubbing her hands a little.
Harry wanted to ask why it couldn’t be their place -- they were a couple after all. He barely knew Perrie, though, and that was probably not a question he was entitled to ask a stranger.
"Thanks for taking me," Perrie told them and hugged Ed, before she gave Harry a hug, too. "Come by the pub anytime, Harry."
"Well, I'll be back Friday," he said. "It was nice meeting you. Good night."
"You, too." She waved and disappeared into the building. Harry turned to Ed and saw him grin from ear to ear.
"You know, one could really think you fell head over heels for her," Ed teased him.
Harry pulled a face. "People often confuse politeness with flirting."
"I have a feeling that happens to you quite often."
"Sometimes," Harry answered with a shrug.
Ed resumed walking, not looking back if Harry followed him. "I'd think you were, if I wasn't so sure you came to London for the same reason Pez came here."
Still a few steps behind Ed, Harry asked, "What do you mean?"
"You came to run after a boy, too. Didn't you?"
That took Harry by surprise and he stopped in his tracks, staring at Ed's back. A million answers flooded his head and they all wanted out -- each of them a denial. "What makes you think that?" was what he asked instead.
"Just a feeling." Ed shrugged. "The songs you sing, and the fact that you came here without a concrete plan. You're chasing after someone."
Harry took a moment to let that sink in. "It could be a girl."
"Nah. You're not into girls." Ed pointed down a small road to their left. "I'll have to head that way. How about you?"
Not quite able to catch on, Harry looked down the road, frowning. "I'm not chasing after anyone."
"Alright, mate," Ed simply replied. "Was just my guess."
"I'm here to break into the music market," Harry added, just because he felt like he should.
Ed smiled, but didn't say anymore about it. "So? I'm headed that way. How about you?"
Harry blinked, realising that he had no idea where he should go. "I'm going right," he answered.
"Niall's got your number, right?" Ed lifted a hand to give him a wave. "I'll ring you up about Friday. Maybe we can go for a pint sometime next week."
"I'd like that, yes," Harry agreed, heading off in the other direction. "Take care."
Ed turned and walked off, and Harry gazed down the street ahead of himself before he started walking. It was bitterly cold, snowflakes quietly falling. His old jeans jacket lined with fur inside was enough to keep him warm, though.
Quietly, Harry strolled down the pavement, thinking about how lucky he had been to make friends already on his first evening. Having someone to turn to always made things a lot easier, made him feel a lot more secure in his skin.
Perrie was genuinely nice, and although Ed wasn't very talkative, he seemed just fine. Playing with him had been fun, too, and Harry was looking forward to repeating that. He wasn't quite sure, though, what to make of the comment Ed had made.
Was he really that obvious? It wasn't like Harry had come after him just to be with him -- like Perrie had come here to be with her boyfriend. Harry didn't have a boyfriend. Harry had come to London for his career, not to show up on anyone's doorstep and be a boyfriend.
Harry wanted more; wanted to make it big. And then, maybe then, he would meet him again, and he would be so much more, so much bigger than the boy he had been when they had parted.
And maybe he would understand then.
Harry stopped when he came past a small footie pitch, eyes instantly drawn to the rugged ball lying by one of the tiny goals. The pitch was surrounded by a high fence, painted in green. The gate stood open.
Carefully, Harry stepped closer, opened the gate wider to step inside. There was no grass, only hard soil. Two small booths on either side lined the field, and behind one of the goals was a huge billboard. It was illuminated at night, so Harry could see the ad clearly.
No Place To Hide, it read in bold letters, showing the cover of a CD. New Album Out Now. Harry kept staring at the billboard for a moment longer, studied the three boys shown in tight jeans and posh dress shirts, hair messy and yet perfectly styled, all of them looking mysterious and smart.
Turning around, Harry went over to one of the booths and sat down on a wooden bench. He watched the empty pitch covered in white snow in front of him, eyes darting back to the billboard every now and then.
No place to hide, he repeated in his head, his mind wandering off, thoughts running back to a time he hadn't thought of in a long, long while.
When Harry woke up, someone was pushing his shoulder, tentatively, a low voice saying words Harry couldn't quite grasp.
He blinked his eyes open, slowly sat up on the bench and stared at the person in front of him. An old lady, wrapped up in a big coat and a old-fashioned hat stared back at him. She was framed by a pale morning sun.
"Dear, it's really too cold to be sleeping outside," the lady said, eyes looking worried.
Harry looked around, spotted the pitch and the football. "Fu---" he started, but caught himself. "I must have fallen asleep."
"I saw you from my window," the little woman said. "You know there are a lot of shelters set up during winter. No one has to sleep on the street."
Harry laughed gently, rubbing his icy hands over his face. "I'm not homeless," he corrected her. "I just didn't make it home last night."
"Come on, then," she said, holding out a hand for him. "Have a tea to warm up properly before you go home."
"Thank you," Harry said softly, following her to the house behind the football pitch. "It's very nice of you to come down and check on me."
"I was just afraid you were dead." She shrugged.
Harry shuddered, as soon as they got into the house. The woman unlocked her door and went ahead, not looking back to check if Harry was following her.
"I'll make you a tea, my dear," she said, going to her kitchen and putting her coat over one of the chairs there. Harry remained standing in the door frame to the kitchen, watching her. "I'll have to be upstairs in a few minutes. Someone's coming to look at the flat."
"The flat?" Harry asked.
"I'm renting out the flats in this building," she explained. "Mr Hornington died last month, and now that his sons have finally gathered up all his personal belongings, I need to find a new tenant."
Harry stared at her for a second. "You have a flat to let?"
She turned to him, holding out a cup. "Sit down and drink your tea, love. I'll be back in a few minutes."
And now she was about to leave a stranger alone in her flat? Harry couldn't quite grasp what was going on in the lady's head. She couldn't be a ordinary old lady.
"Actually," he said, holding the hot cup in his numb hands. His skin tickled, itched slightly from the sudden warmth. "I am looking for a flat."
She raised a brow, pulling off her hat and revealing white hair. "Dear, you said you're not homeless."
"I'm not," Harry assured her. "But I'm looking for a new flat. Did you let that one to someone already?"
She sighed. "Come on, then. Take your tea upstairs. You can have a look."
Harry beamed. "Thank you."
She waved a hand slightly and passed him to leave her flat again. Harry followed through the narrow corridor, taking in colourful pictures of cats on the walls. He quickly stepped outside and spilled some of his tea in the process.
"I'm Harry, by the way," he introduced himself as he followed her upstairs. "Harry Styles."
"Harry," she repeated. "That is a good name. I'm Glenda. What do you do for a living, Harry?"
Harry swallowed thickly. "I'm a musician."
"Does that pay you enough to afford a flat?"
"I do part-time jobs, too."
"Well, then." She opened a door, stepping aside to let Harry in first. “The flat’s seventy-five Pounds per week.”
It wasn't spacious. Harry took in a built-in kitchen, three doors, and the number echoed in his head. That was a sum he could definitely afford for a while.
"Bathroom's this one," Glenda said and pointed at the door furthest from them. "It's not too small. Even has a bathtub."
Harry peeked inside, finding a well-sized bathroom with a cupboard next to a bathtub, a sink and a toilet.
"There are two rooms," Glenda went on. "They're both the same size. The one facing the football pitch has always been a bedroom so far. It's quiet at night."
Harry followed her into the room, looked out of the window before they headed off for the other room.
"This one's the living room," Glenda explained. "What do you think?"
Harry turned to her, nodding quickly. "I like it!"
"And you're sure you can afford it?" She gave him a sceptical look.
Harry would have to use up his savings to pay the rent until he would find a job, but he could make it a solid three months on that basis. Until then, he would definitely have a job to pay the rent. "I can. I can pay the first instalment today, if you want me to."
Harry looked to the door, as well as Glenda who mumbled something under her breath and walked out of the room. When he followed her, he spotted Perrie by the front door, looking fresh and cheerful.
She blinked as soon as she saw Harry. "What are you doing here?"
"Renting this flat," Harry answered.
"What?" Perrie gaped at him. "You can't. I've meant to rent this one."
Harry frowned. "Since when are you looking for a flat? Aren't you living with Colin?"
She blushed, glancing at Glenda, who just stood by, looking from Perrie to Harry. "We decided that I'd stay at his place until I could afford one on my own."
Harry remembered her mentioning something along those lines when he had walked her home.
"You know each other?" Glenda asked into the ensuing silence.
"A little, yes," Harry answered.
"I'll take the place," Perrie suddenly said, stepping closer to Glenda. "As I said on the phone, I quite desperately need a place, and I can afford this one. I brought the first rent, actually."
Glenda laughed, pointing from Perrie to Harry, as he started to protest. "Calm down, lovelies."
"But---" Perrie started.
"Obviously," Glenda cut her down, "both of you are looking for a place that's not too expensive. And this one happens to be affordable for both of you." She looked between them, smiling. "And you seem to know each other. Why don't you just rent this flat together? It's only half the rent for each of you."
Harry blinked, letting that sink it. It was -- actually, brilliant. He turned to Perrie, and she looked at him with big eyes.
"You wouldn't raise the rent?" Harry asked, directed at Glenda.
"No. As long as you pay in time, there won't be a problem."
Perrie suddenly shrieked, and before Harry knew it, she had his hands in hers. "Harry, that's perfect! Let's do it!"
Harry laughed, shrugging, holding on to Perrie's hands, while she jumped up and down in excitement. "Okay. Yeah, okay."
"You can move in as soon as you like," Glenda said, a smile playing around her lips. "You'll have to sign a contract, and pay your first rent. After that, you can move in."
Perrie ran off to the living room, twirling around in the door frame. "I want this room, Harry. It gets more daylight than the other."
Harry shrugged. "Yeah. Fine."
"She's a lovely girl," Glenda said, winking at Harry as Perrie disappeared into her new room. "One you won't find just anywhere."
Harry smiled slightly. "I know." He didn't think he should comment on the fact that Glenda was obviously hoping she had just set them up for marriage now. "Thanks for letting us stay here."
"I like both of you," she decided. "And I like having decent people in my house. Don't disappoint me, Harry Styles."
Harry took her hand and brushed a soft kiss to the wrinkled skin. "I promise I won't."
"Mate, I thought you died on your way back home," Niall complained, groaning tiredly.
"I told you I fell asleep."
"But, in fucking January? It's too cold for a Yeti to sleep outside. How did you, Harry?!" Niall shook his head.
"I'm not that sensitive to the cold, Ni." Harry shrugged as he got out the key and held it in front of Niall's face. "Thanks for coming by so quickly."
Niall frowned. "What kind of key is that? And what have you been up to all day?"
Harry grinned, unlocking the door to the building. "I found a flat."
"Excuse me?" Niall gaped.
"It's my lucky day, really. I got this really amazing flat, and on top of that," Harry added as they reached the second floor, "I got a flatmate, too."
"A flatmate?" Niall followed Harry inside. "You don't know any--"
He stopped when he spotted Perrie coming from her room, wearing an old, plaid men’s dress shirt and baggy jeans.
"Hi Niall," she chirped happily. "Harry said you'd be over. Look at this. It's our new flat."
Niall turned to Harry, gaping. "Perrie?" he asked. "But, you... I thought-- in school you were-- What about Colin?"
Harry laughed. "We're flatmates, Niall. It's cheaper for both of us like this."
Niall apparently needed a moment, then he beamed at Harry. "It's great. You've got your own flat! So soon, Haz. I'm happy for you!"
"Hey guys!" Perrie yelled from her room, when Harry had just enveloped Niall in a hug. "Can you come and help me for a second?"
"Moving in with a girl," Niall stage-whispered to Harry. "It's a decision you'll come to regret."
Harry started moving into the direction of Perrie’s room, a sigh on his lips. He probably would -- after all, he was moving in not only with a girl, but with a complete stranger. Gender didn’t play a role, but the fact that they barely knew each other did.
“Do you regret moving in with a girl?” Harry asked.
Niall bumped his shoulder with his fist. “I moved in with my girlfriend, Haz. That’s different.”
When they stepped into Perrie's room, Harry was about to tease Niall further, but stopped in his tracks, staring at the huge poster she had hung right across from her door.
"Is it even?" Perrie asked.
Niall cleared his throat, obviously uncomfortable. "Yeah, looks alright."
"Escapade," Harry said quietly, staring at the three boys looking back at him from the huge poster. "You're a fan?"
"Absolutely!" Perrie beamed, positioning herself between Harry and Niall. "Colin says I'm childish, but I really like their music, boy band or not. They're lovely guys."
"They're pretty popular with the girls these days, aren't they?" Niall asked.
"These days? They're Britain's greatest act. They have made it worldwide," Perrie corrected him. "Broke every music market there is. It's fantastic."
Her voice sounded a little far away in Harry's ears. Made it, he recalled, broke every music market, worldwide. He blinked slowly. "Which one's your favourite?" he asked, ignoring all the other things he could be saying instead.
"Zayn," she answered promptly. "Everyone says he's really mysterious, but I think he's lovely. He's got an amazing voice." She quickly walked over to the poster, pointing at the boy with black hair and dark eyes. "He's so handsome, too. Can't deny it."
Niall laughed at that. Harry couldn't -- not through that lump in his throat.
"And Liam's quite great too," Perrie resumed. "He's very serious, and a bit short-tempered, but I like the way he talks. He seems sensible in his aims." She smiled at them, shrugging. "I just really enjoy their stuff. You don't think it's stupid, do you?"
"You can like whatever you want, babe," Niall told her, shrugging. Harry felt him glancing over, more than he actually saw it.
"Nothing's wrong with liking a boy band," Harry agreed. When Perrie turned with a huge smile, he frowned. "But, wait. What about the other one? You only talked about two of them?"
Perrie shrugged, looking back at the poster. "Ah, yeah. Louis."
Louis, the name echoed in Harry's head.
"He's alright," she said. "A prankster. But, to me, he is the actual mysterious one. Can't quite grasp him."
Harry choked on a laugh.
"What's so funny?" Perrie wanted to know.
"Nothing," Niall assured her. Harry felt the nervous look Niall threw him burn into his skin. "Harry's being quirky. Should we go get dinner? I'm starving."
Harry glanced at the poster again before he forced himself to turn and follow Niall out of the room.
Later that night, Harry found himself alone in the flat. The kitchen was still empty, missing a table and chairs, and his room was only occupied by his guitar and the suitcase full of clothes he had sent ahead from his mother's house.
He could have stayed at Niall's, but finally having his own place had got him so very excited, he had wanted to sleep in there. It wasn't too far from Niall's flat anyway, just about ten minutes. They'd still have breakfast together in the morning.
Perrie was staying with Colin until she'd have all of her stuff moved into the new flat.
Staring at the snow falling outside of the window, Harry couldn't quite believe how much had happened in only two days. He had moved to London, had found a flat, new friends, and hopefully a completely new path for himself.
He didn’t stay in his room, it felt too spacious and empty in there, so Harry had put a layer of blankets on the floor of the kitchen. There were no noises except from the rustling of the sheets when Harry moved, but he still couldn’t fall asleep.
His gaze kept shifting to Perrie’s door.
Leaving his bed he had set up on the floor, Harry strolled through the quiet flat, listening to his own breathing and the creaks of the floor. He stopped in the doorframe to Perrie's room, his gaze automatically shifting to the poster on the wall.
It knocked all breath out of him, his knees getting a bit weak. In the dim light of the night, he couldn't exactly make out the actual figures on the poster but Harry knew what he would look like.
He didn't need to see. Harry knew, had never forgotten a single line of that face.
It was snowing.
Thick flakes fell from a grey sky and Harry caught them on his palm, getting excited to figure out their structure before they would melt on his skin. His hands were freezing, fingers turning blue in the cold January air, but Harry couldn't care less.
He loved snow.
"You look like a five-year-old."
Harry looked up upon hearing that voice, turning his head. When he spotted Louis Tomlinson approaching him, his breath stopped for a second, getting caught in his throat.
Louis sat down next to him on the wooden bench in the booth, overlooking the football pitch. "What are you doing here?"
Watching you train, Harry thought but couldn't say it. Someone like Louis Tomlinson probably wouldn't even look twice his way. Still, he sat right next to Harry now. "I can sit here," Harry pointed out.
Louis snorted a laugh, pulling his beanie further over his ears. "It's freezing out here," he pointed out. "Why don't you go home?"
"Why don't you?" Harry asked.
Louis shrugged. "I probably don't want to."
Harry wanted to know why, wanted to ask Louis all the questions he had for him, but he clearly wasn't brave enough for that. "We can look at the snow together, then."
Louis was silent after that, just watching the snow fall quietly to their feet.
Harry gasped in surprise when he felt warm wool being draped around his neck after a few minutes spent in silence. He turned to look at Louis who had slid closer to Harry on the bench.
"You're going to catch a cold, if you're not even wearing a scarf in this weather," Louis told him. "I got this one from one of my sisters and it's longer than I am tall." He pointed at the red shawl that was now draped around both of them.
I'm not cold, Harry wanted to say. "That's much warmer," he said instead. It didn't matter that he wasn't cold. He had Louis sat by his side, smiling and close.
How often had he imagined to talk to Louis? To have the opportunity to sit next to him like this? In his imagination, it had never gone like this, though. Not even close. He had imagined chatting to Louis, eyes locking and souls clicking instantly.
Right now, they just sat close, watching the snow fall in silence. They probably clicked all the same.
Fingers brushed, snow gathered in Harry's hair, a small flake stuck to Louis' lashes when they both turned their faces at the same time, looking at each other. Their eyes locked and Louis stared back at Harry, face so close, Harry could see green sprinkles in the blue of Louis’ eyes.
It almost felt too close, for two strangers who had only just met. The feeling was warm, welcoming and familiar.
Snow gently falling around them, Harry felt happier than he had in forever.
Harry released his breath, blinked the memory away and stared into the dark room. Snow was quietly falling outside, and Louis' emotionless eyes stared at him from the poster.
Cold, impersonal, indifferent.
Turning around, Harry closed the door behind himself.