Louis will never admit it but he actually thinks Aiden and Matt are adorable, and not just because Aiden’s much less of an intense ball of angst now he’s getting laid by a hot guy on a regular basis.
But that doesn’t mean Aiden can get away with abandoning their sacred Brat Pack nights because his boyfriend has an impromptu gig.
“It’s The Breakfast Club,” Louis says desperately, holding the DVD up to Aiden’s face. “It’s your favourite.”
“I’m sorry!” Aiden says, eyes wide and sincere, and damn his stupid earnest face. “It’s just it’s at a new venue and Matt’s really nervous.”
“You’re trying to make me feel guilty, aren’t you?” Louis glares, and Aiden bites his lip. “Fine, fine, go be a good boyfriend. I don’t care.”
“We can watch the film tomorrow,” Aiden says, grabbing one of his endless supply of emo scarves from the back of his desk chair and shrugging apologetically.
“No,” Louis says, petulantly. “I don’t want to anymore.”
Aiden just rolls his eyes and gives him a fond nudge as he passes and then Louis’ standing alone, and he thinks Aiden may have actually forgotten that this is his house.
“Oh, hi Louis,” Joanna says as she walks past with a basket of sheets, completely unfazed.
“Hey Mrs G.”
Louis’ sort of tempted to throw all of Aiden’s things around in spite but he settles for just rearranging his records because that’s not actually harmful but it’ll piss Aiden off anyway, and then wanders slowly back to the bus stop, kicking his feet hard enough against the curb that he almost doesn’t realise his phone’s ringing.
“Hey,” Liam says when Louis picks us. “I know tonight’s Louis and Aiden Time but I just wanted to see if you had the notes from Media yesterday? I think Niall may have stolen mine.”
“Yeah,” Louis says, “you can come pick them up if you want? I’ll be home in about twenty. I got stood up.”
“Oh,” Liam says, “uh, yeah, sure. See you in a bit.”
Louis gets back in time to see Liam walking down from the other end of the street, and leaves the front door open while he puts the kettle on.
“Hey,” Liam says, unwrapping his scarf and hanging it neatly over the back of a chair. It’s not actually a surprise that Louis’ mum loves Liam the best. Everybody’s mum loves Liam the best.
“So what happened?” Liam asks as Louis hands him his tea, and Louis shrugs as he puts the milk away.
“Matt,” Louis says.
“Sorry,” Liam says, and Louis’ not entirely sure why Liam feels the need to apologise for everything these day so he just shakes his head.
“Whatever,” he says. “It’s not like we don’t get to see Aiden all day every day. I’m pretty sure Matt’s entitled to his evenings or something. Maybe we should write up a contract.”
“That would just make it seem like Aiden’s a child of divorce,” Liam points out.
“True, and we don’t want to make him all sad face again.”
Liam nods. “Aiden’s sad face does sort of bring down the mood of the entire world.”
“Also,” Louis says, “I’m pretty sure that if we ever make him cry we’ll have to hide from Matt for the rest of our lives.”
“There’s that,” Liam agrees.
“Anyway, now I’m actually going to have to study or something,” Louis says, and he must look sufficiently disgusted with the idea because Liam sighs and takes off his shoes.
“I can watch the film with you,” he says, rolling his eyes, and Louis cheers and then flings his arms around his shoulders.
“I love you,” he says, giving Liam a loud, smacking kiss on the cheek and laughing when Liam blushes and ducks away.
“Yeah, yeah,” Liam says. “Love you too.”
“People are going to start thinking you’ve got a skin condition,” Louis says when Aiden finally slips into his seat five seconds before the bell.
Aiden shrugs happily. “Please,” he says, “they’re just jealous they don’t have stubble burn.”
“I’m not,” Zayn says, and Aiden sticks his tongue out childishly.
“Don’t lie,” he says, “you totally are.”
Zayn glares at him and then sighs. “Fine.”
Miss Jeffrey’s ushers in the rest of the class and then does a double-take when she sees Aiden, and Louis realises that the stubble burn is actually the least revealing thing about him right now, way down there below how his shirt is not only buttoned up wrong but also possibly missing buttons altogether, and the giant love bite that isn’t quite covered by his scarf.
“Mr Grimshaw,” she says, and Louis thinks she might actually be blushing. “Do you really think that’s an appropriate way to come to class?”
Aiden shrugs, and Louis isn’t surprised when Miss Jeffrey’s eyes widen even more because this is not the Aiden that people know, at least not until two months ago, and it’s sort of hilarious.
“Try not to look quite so much like you’ve just rolled out of bed in the future,” she says eventually and then blushes when Harry starts choking and she realises what she’s just implied.
“Yes Miss,” Aiden grins happily.
Louis is willing to admit he’s sort of jealous of Aiden’s life.
Liam’s actually agreed to sit through a Gilmore Girls marathon, even though it’s pretty much extreme watching with Louis who is perfectly aware he gets overly invested and shouts at the screen, and Louis’ sort of hoping to shut the door and start the DVD and sit on him or something so he can’t run away when he realises what he’s let himself in for, but before he can Aiden appears.
“Hey,” he says, handing Louis his Music textbook, “I just wanted to give this back.”
“I’m going to go make snacks,” Liam says, shooting strange looks between the two of them and then disappearing.
“What’s up with him?” Aiden asks, frowning.
“No idea,” Louis says. “So, did you get your essay done?”
Aiden pulls one of his many ridiculous faces and shrugs. “Yeah, but it sucks. I’m pretty sure I’m going to fail everything and not get into Uni and then Matt will realise he’s dating a failure so he’ll dump me for someone a lot cooler.”
“Oh please,” Louis says, waving his hand distractedly. “At least you’re having sex. You don’t get to complain.”
“Um,” Aiden says, ducking his head and pulling at his ear and Louis’ mouth drops open.
“Wait,” he says, “you are having sex right?”
“No,” Aiden says, blushing. “Matt’s being weird about it; I think he’s pretty much got used to the fact that he’s dating a teenager, but he refuses to actually sleep with me until I’ve finished school.”
“You mean all those smiles made of rainbows and glitter and unicorns are just from kissing?” Louis asks, and he probably looks like an idiot, but seriously.
“Matt’s a good kisser,” Aiden shrugs, embarrassed, and then cuts Louis off before his mouth is even open. “You’re not making out with my boyfriend Louis.”
“But if he’s that good there should be, like, scientific tests and things.”
“Fine,” Louis pouts, “be selfish.”
“I will be,” Aiden says, and the grins, big and bright. “Now I’m off to the cinema with my boyfriend to watch the lamest film showing and make out through it. Have a good night!”
“I hate you!” Louis shouts at his receding back and chooses to ignore the fact that he can hear Aiden laughing all the way to the front door.
“You alright?” Liam says, returning with a huge bowl of microwave popcorn and a bottle of coke.
“No,” Louis says. “Did you know Aiden and Matt aren’t even having sex? That Aiden’s happy face is just because of kissing?”
“Oh,” Liam says, frowning. “That’s, um. I’m sorry.”
“I know,” Louis sighs, shaking his head. “Our lives are so hard.”
Liam looks confused for a moment before wrapping an arm around Louis’ shoulders and pulling him close.
“There, there,” he says, and Louis isn’t entirely sure why he’s getting comforting noises and cuddles right now but they’re nice, so what the hell.
“Come on,” Liam says, “put the disc in and I’ll let you tell me exactly why Jess is Rory’s soulmate.”
“Okay,” Louis says, grinning into Liam’s collarbone. “Also, you’re my favourite.”
“I know,” Liam says, and Louis may be imagining it but he thinks he sounds a little sad. “You’re my favourite too.”
Louis is fully ready to admit that he’s questioned his sexuality before – more than questioned even - but sitting in McDonald’s watching Matt and Aiden attempting to break some kind of world record for "longest time spent ignoring your friends and kissing in the most obscene way possible without drawing a breath" is a whole other thing entirely. Louis has been Aiden's friend for years but there are still some things you don't want to have to watch your friend doing, and having his mouth assaulted by his admittedly hot older boyfriend is one of them.
Louis winces and leans over to steal their fries; neither of them notice.
“I can’t believe you’re not having sex,” he says unthinkingly when they’ve still not surfaced five minutes later, and Niall chokes on a mouthful of Coke while Matt pulls away, eyes wide.
“Um,” Matt says, and then turns to glare at Aiden who’s trying his hardest to look innocent and failing.
“Well it’s your rule,” Aiden points out when no one seems to be buying it.
“Wow,” Niall says when he’s managed to catch his breath. “Do you just survive on cold showers or what?”
“I’m not talking about this,” Matt says, and Louis’ pretty sure he’s just realised the full implications of spending his time with a bunch of teenagers.
“So, wait,” Zayn asks, “how far have you gone?”
“Okay, that’s it,” Matt says, physically lifting Aiden off his lap and depositing him back on the seat while Aiden fails to look remotely upset at being manhandled. “I’m going to hang out with Nicolo and Rebecca.”
“See you later,” Aiden says, leaning up to catch Matt’s mouth once more, and Matt only looks put out for a second before he’s leaning into it.
“Remind me again how you’re the one dating a hot, older guy?” Louis says, and Aiden’s grin is pure self-satisfaction.
“Because I’m not as co-dependant as the rest of you,” he says, and, yeah, okay, Louis has to give him that one.
The thing about having an openly gay friend in a serious relationship with absolutely no understanding of things that should not be public is that it sort of makes you think about things. And, okay, yes, so some of those things involve the privacy of Louis’ room, but mostly they’re about the way Aiden will check his phone in the middle of the day and get this small, secret smile on his face that lasts for hours, or the way he’s stopped caring what anyone thinks of him because he has someone who thinks the world of him, and Louis- Well, yeah, he’s willing to admit that he might be kind of jealous.
He probably shouldn’t have said that aloud though.
“Mate,” Harry says, “I think we should maybe cut you off.”
Louis rolls his eyes, crumpling the empty beer can in his hand and reaching for another one.
“Shut up,” he says, “it’s totally normal to be jealous.”
“No,” Zayn says, shaking his head, “not really.”
“Besides,” Niall grins, scooting over so Harry can rest his head on his legs, “you’ve got us.”
“I know,” Louis says, “but it’s not the same.”
“Oh cheers!” Harry says, throwing a cushion at Louis’ head.
“You know what I mean.”
Liam shifts slightly next to him and Louis’ head drops onto his shoulder.
“You understand, don’t you Liam?” he says, batting his eyelashes and giving him his best pout.
“Yeah,” Liam says, looking away, “yeah, I understand.”
Louis smiles but he has the distinct impression he’s missing something.
Liam’s ignoring him.
He’s being reasonably subtle about it; he’s still around when it’s all of them, he’s just making damn sure he’s not alone with Louis. Which is frustrating and stupid and horrible.
“What’s up?” Aiden asks, cornering him outside the library.
“Your face,” Louis says automatically, ignoring the way Aiden rolls his eyes. “Shut up. Just because you’re all mature now you’re dating an older man doesn’t mean we all have to be.”
“Sure,” Aiden says, “which is a good thing really; have they diagnosed your Peter Pan complex officially or are they still hoping for a fairy dust inspired miracle?”
“Bite me,” Louis says, though he can’t fight the smile that’s pulling at the corner of his mouth.
Aiden grins. “Nope, my boyfriend would get jealous.”
“Ugh,” Louis groans. “Go away. Shoo. Take your sickening happiness and leave me with my loneliness.”
“Okay,” Aiden agrees cheerfully, “but only after you tell me what’s got you walking around like they cancelled Glee.”
“Liam’s ignoring me,” Louis says, and it sounds as stupid aloud as it does in his head.
“Right,” Aiden says, frowning, “are you sure? I mean, maybe he’s just busy.”
“No,” Louis sighs. “This is a cold shoulder of Antarctic proportions. I just don’t know why.”
“You haven’t posted pictures of him in his underwear on Facebook again, have you?”
“That was once!” Louis says, “And he wasn’t that upset; he mostly just had to fend off a bunch of year nine girls for a week.”
“Maybe you should ask him?” Aiden says, nodding at where Liam’s rounded the corner, a pile of books balanced precariously in his arms. “Hey Liam.”
Liam looks up in surprise and Louis winces as the books tip and drop to the floor.
“Shit,” Liam says, and it could be the lighting but Louis thinks he might be blushing.
“Here,” Louis says, kneeling down to help.
“Thanks,” Liam says quietly, hair falling in his eyes, and Louis tries not to notice how his heart speeds up a little as their fingers brush. “Uh.”
“Right,” Louis says, passing the textbooks back.
“Oh my God,” Aiden says, biting his lip to stop himself laughing. “This is actually hilarious.”
“What?” Louis says while Liam just looks strangely panicked.
“No, seriously,” Aiden says. “How are you more pathetic than me?”
“No one’s more pathetic than you,” Louis says, and then: “but seriously, what?”
“I need to go,” Liam says, eyes darting down the corridor. “I have class.”
Louis frowns as he rushes away. “Doesn’t he have a free now?”
Aiden starts laughing and doesn’t stop even when Louis kicks him for not explaining why.
“Okay,” Louis says, bursting into Liam’s room without knocking, “enough is enough.” And then: “Dude, is that- Are you listening to Taylor Swift?”
“Shut up,” Liam says, scrambling to reach his iPod and cutting Teardrops On My Guitar off mid-chorus. “What are you doing here?”
Louis shakes his head, making a mental note to mock Liam in the near future, and takes a deep breath.
“You’ve been ignoring me,” he says, “why?”
“I haven’t,” Liam says, but he’s looking at the carpet, fingers playing with the hem of his t-shirt.
“Liar,” Louis says. “You’ve been ignoring me and hanging out with everyone else and it sucks. No one else will watch Dawson’s Creek with me and not even mind when I shout abuse at James Van Der Beek.”
“It’s not Dawson’s fault Joey belongs with Pacey,” Liam says automatically like he’s done so many times before, and Louis grins.
“See?” he says. “No one else gets me like you do.”
Liam shuts his eyes and groans. “You can’t say things like that,” he says, and Louis frowns.
“What,” he says, “why?”
“Because it’s not fair,” Liam says, sounding surprisingly angry.
“Look,” Louis says, “clearly I’m missing something, so if you’d just explain-”
“Fine,” Liam says, standing up quickly, “fine. It’s not fair because you like Aiden and you can’t keep doing this to me.”
“Doing what?” Louis asks, flailing his hands; he has absolutely no idea what’s going on right now and he’s starting to get annoyed, especially as Liam’s looking at him like he’s betrayed him or something. “Liam, I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
Liam makes a frustrated noise like he’s biting back a scream and then grabs Louis’ shoulder, pulling him forward and crashing their lips together. It’s not really a kiss, not when Liam’s shaking like he’s resisting the urge to cry and Louis is too busy standing stock-still in surprise, and it’s only a couple of seconds before Liam pulls away, his face clouded in embarrassment.
Louis’ pretty sure he’s gaping at him like an idiot, all words lost somewhere between his brain and his mouth, and he wants to say something, or maybe just to pull Liam back because it’s really, really unfair to spring something like that on a guy and not give him time to collect himself, only Liam’s running out of the room.
Louis hears the front door slam a couple of seconds later and wonders why he’s always the one left standing around like a twat in someone else’s house.
Louis has no idea why his legs have decided that walking all the way across town in his Toms and ringing the doorbell to a house he’s never even been inside is a good idea and he’d probably laugh at Matt’s surprised face if he weren’t feeling so miserable.
“Hi,” Louis says, “can I come in? It’s either that or I go jump in the river, so-”
Matt raises an eyebrow and holds the door open, pointing towards the front room.
“So, what’s up?” Matt asks, and Louis can’t help it, he just opens his mouth and the whole story spills out, complete with added hand waving and the occasional dry sob.
“Now he thinks I don’t like him,” Louis wails eventually, and Matt actually looks terrified.
“Um,” he says, “hang on. I’ll call Aiden.”
“Aiden won’t care. Aiden’s got you now; I have become wholly irrelevant and I might as well die because nobody needs me.”
“When did this become my life?” Matt mutters, sitting down next to Louis on the sofa and bringing a hand up to his forehead.
“You stole my best friend,” Louis says. “Well, one of them. You don’t get to talk.”
“I did not steal your best friend,” Matt says, “because I’m not an angst-ridden teenager.”
“No,” Louis says, “you’re just dating one.”
“Yes,” Matt says, “but apparently he’s less angst-ridden than you so I lucked out.”
Louis buries his head in a cushion that smells faintly of lavender and washing powder and decides that it would be so much easier to just live here from now on. He’s sure Matt’s mum would actually like him better anyway.
“So,” Matt says after a while when it becomes obvious that Louis has absolutely no intention of leaving. “Do you think you should maybe talk to Liam? Explain that it’s all a big misunderstanding?”
“It’s not that easy,” Louis says, “because I think it’s actually mostly about how I’m jealous of you.”
There’s a pause, and Louis’ almost tempted to look up just to make sure that Matt’s even still in the room.
“Oh,” Matt says. “Right.”
“Sorry,” Louis says, “I like you really.”
“Sure,” Matt says, rubbing a hand across the back of his neck.
Louis sighs. “Sorry I ranted at you, I just needed to get it out and you’re the only person I know who wouldn’t record the entire conversation to blackmail me with later. Or are Liam.”
They both sit there for a moment and it’s kind of weird but not necessarily uncomfortable; Louis really needs to actually hang out with Matt sometime. Once Matt’s forgotten this conversation ever happened, obviously.
“I should go,” he says eventually, “uh. Thanks for listening.”
“Sure,” Matt says, sounding distracted. “Bye.”
Louis really hopes Matt doesn’t actually think he’s a crazy person, but that’s probably too much to wish for.
Louis leaves seven messages on Liam’s voicemail just on the walk home; he probably would have left more if his phone hadn’t run out of battery and by the time he gets back he’s progressed to being mostly annoyed. They’d started out with him explaining how Aiden was just his “best friend you twat” and advanced to shouting about presumptions in a way he’s probably going to regret later.
He’s sulking in his room when the doorbell goes but he ignores it in favour of glaring at his wall.
If he’s honest, Liam’s the last person he’s expecting it to be.
“Hey,” Liam says, sheepishly, and Louis feels he’s totally justified in his snappish “What?”
“Um,” Liam says, “so apparently I’m an idiot?”
Louis scoffs. “I could have told you that.”
Liam sighs, walking across the room to sit carefully on the edge of Louis’ bed. “I’m sorry.”
“For jumping to conclusions about your relationship with Aiden. For not telling you what I was thinking. For ignoring you.”
Louis’ lips are twitching, and he kind of just wants to jump Liam with his stupid sincere face and wide eyes. “Good,” he says instead.
“Right,” Liam says, “I guess I’ll go then.”
He stands up, tugging at the bottom of his t-shirt where it’s ridden up, and Louis actually groans.
“Seriously,” he says, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed and cutting Liam off at the door. “You really are an idiot.”
Liam had surprised him last time and Louis refuses to accept a first kiss he’d barely had time to register. This time he curls his fingers around the back of Liam’s hair and kisses him properly, like he would have done last time if Liam hadn’t have run off before Louis knew what the hell was happening.
Liam makes a small, happy noise against his lips, bringing his hand up to rest against Louis’ hip, fingers slipping across skin, and Louis groans, sliding his tongue across Liam’s bottom lip.
Louis’ not entirely sure when this became the only thing he ever wanted to do, ever but now he has Liam in front of him and he’s sort of hoping breathing isn’t actually as necessary as everyone says.
“Okay,” Aiden says, barging into the room and looking upset. “Why did Matt just dump me and then say I should talk to you?”
“Ah,” Liam says. “That might be my fault.”
“Yeah,” Louis says, cringing, “and I don’t think I helped.”
“Guys, my boyfriend just broke up with me. Tell me what you said so I can fix it,” Aiden says, panicked, and Louis feels kind of guilty and would probably feel more so if Liam’s hand wasn’t still resting against his hip under his t-shirt.
“Matt may be under the impression you’re in love with Louis,” Liam says sheepishly, and Aiden frowns.
Liam cringes. “Because I told him so?”
Louis stares at Liam in surprise and Aiden looks worryingly like he’s about to strangle him with his bare hands, and, well, Louis’ only just persuaded Liam that kissing him is actually an awesome pastime so he can’t let him take all the blame.
“I may also have made Matt think that the feelings were mutual. Which I totally did not mean to do and also they’re not. Um.”
“Why do you guys hate me?” Aiden asks. “Seriously, what have I ever done to you?”
“We don’t hate you,” Louis says. “Except for right now. Right now I hate you a little bit.”
Aiden blinks, finally noticing what he’s walked in on. “Oh,” he says, “right,” and then: “about time.”
Louis glares half-heartedly. “Don’t you have a relationship to save?”
“Fuck,” Aiden says. “Fuck. Okay. I’m going to shout at you guys later, by the way. Um, and also, you know, congratulations?”
Liam buries his head in Louis’ shoulder as Aiden leaves, shaking with the effort of not laughing.
“Here’s hoping that Matt finally breaks his no sex rule and Aiden forgets all about being mad at us,” Louis says and Liam snorts.
“We’re all useless aren’t we?” Liam says, and Louis grins.
“Yep,” he says. “Also, can we be kissing again now? I’m feeling a bit cheated by the interruption.”
“Okay,” Liam says, blushing happily, and Louis grins.
“Liam,” he says, “you’re totally my Joey.”
Liam groans. “Oh God,” he says, “I am.”
“Hey, so do you think we’ll be able to out-do Matt and Aiden in the PDA department?” Louis asks, running his nails gently through Liam’s hair just for the way it makes him hum happily.
“You’re going to be insufferable, aren’t you?” Liam says, pressing his lips to Louis’ jaw.
Louis takes that as a yes.