See, the thing is – and Liam means this in completely the nicest way possible – Louis is an idiot. Not in the sense of course that he has zero intelligence, but rather that he does stupid, really stupid things without thinking.
Like outing himself, and by extension Liam (which really, is highly unfair in Liam's opinion, because he's quite sure he should have at least had a say in the matter of his public outing) in the middle of an incredibly busy shopping center. Just like that.
It's nothing spectacular, in fact on a scale of one to spectacular Liam thinks it's probably only a five, maybe a little less; there's not exactly a standard rating system for such things so he can't be sure. They're in Hollister, a shop Liam thinks they should probably just buy out when they're really rich (it's third on his list after: Support Family and Save the Dolphins - the latter was really Louis' addition, but Liam agreed to it while a little not-so-sober, which apparently is akin to it being contracted and written in blood in Louis' book, so he figures he's not getting out of it), when Louis takes his hand.
Liam hears the clickclickclick of the cameras, and he tries to pull his hand away but Louis has it in some sort of vice-grip, which okay, kind of hurts a little, and when Liam tries to flash him his best stern, Louis Tomlinson, stop what you're doing at once look, Louis looks entirely unfazed, his gaze fixed and determined. Liam tries to play it all off in his head, because well, they're a touchy-feely type of band, it's been all over the press. Everyone knows. So it's totally plausible that they can chalk this up to all the bromance that's been going around and carry on, on their merry way. Except he's pretty sure Louis has other plans.
Liam blinks against another flash of a camera and turns to Louis, in the middle of Hollister for the love of God, and says: "Louis, what are you doing?"
"I'm done," Louis says with a shrug and a smile, hand still plastered to Liam's.
"Right. Okay," Liam says, acutely aware of the watchful eyes on the two of them. "And what exactly does that mean?"
Louis takes a step, and suddenly he is a lot closer than is really socially acceptable right now. Liam frowns, eyes questioning, and Louis just fucking grins in that stupid, cheeky, unreserved way of his. Liam wants to hit him. With something metal and lethal.
"It means, Liam Payne," Louis says boldly and a little too-loud, "that I love you, and that I'm done hiding it."
Liam splutters and gesticulates wildly, and Louis laughs, like this is all incredibly hilarious, when it's really, really not. Because they definitely can't chalk this one up to bromance, and oh god, they are dead. They are so completely, absolutely, no-return dead. If the paps don't eat them alive, Simon will kill them, or banish them to an island in the middle of nowhere where they will have to kill to survive, and they'll eventually go crazy and end up trying to eat each other, Liam saw that in a movie once, it's completely plausible.
"No, listen," Louis says, his voice a little urgent and perhaps privy now to Liam's nervous breakdown. "I'm done, Liam, okay? I'm sick of having to pretend like it's all ‘just a bromance’, and I'm sick of being forced to tell people I'm single when I'm really, really not. I love you, and we're awesome together, I want everyone to know."
"But, Simon," Liam protests weakly. "I really don't want to have to eat your flesh for survival, Louis. Really. I can't and I won't. Oh my god, do you realize what you're doing right now?"
Louis kisses him then, close and intimate. Whether it's to shut him up or to calm him down, Liam cannot be entirely certain, and he stills, arms hanging awkwardly at his side. Then Louis' hands cup his face and well okay, they might as well dig the hole deeper – it can be the grave that they'll need when Simon gets a hold of them. So Liam kisses him back and tries hard not to think about tomorrow's headlines.
When they break apart Louis drags him to a slightly darker corner, by a very nice display of shirts – that Liam might consider adding to his basket if his whole life wasn’t crashing down – as if it really gives them any more cover from the onslaught of paparazzi filing in, and says: "You okay with this?"
Liam refrains from smacking him upside the head. "Am I okay with this?" He looks around briefly at the cameras still flashing, at the people ferociously scribbling their dialogue onto little notepads in black biro. "I don't really have much of a choice, Louis."
"Yeah, I. I'm sorry," Louis says, his face a little crestfallen. "It just seemed. I don't know. Right."
"Of course, why wouldn't it? Frankly I can't think of a better way we could have done this, or, well, maybe Topman instead of Hollister, I'm not sure this shop quite has the right vibe for GAY SCANDAL: spontaneous, public outing of two of five of One Direction. You could have oh I don’t know, consulted me."
"Okay, okay. It was stupid," Louis mumbles and his eyes look sad and suddenly Liam feels pretty terrible. "I'm sorry, I just want to stop hiding."
Liam sighs and then he smiles the brightest smile of reassurance he can actually manage right now and shrugs. "Yeah, well. It's a good job I love you too, really, isn't it?"
Louis kisses him again just for good measure.
Two days later.
Sugarscape: We're almost at the end of the interview and we figure we should really get this question in now, because we have had an influx of emails about this. So let's settle this, shall we? Tell us Louis, and don't break our hearts here, are you single?
Louis: Really, really not. Not single and very in love. Sorry! You might know my boyfriend though, Liam Payne. You know, Justin Bieber hair, sings in a band, um [pause] I can't remember their name. They're pretty good though.