“So tell me again what we’re going to do this summer?”
Harry turns his head to stare at Niall over his sunglasses.
“Nothing. We’re doing absolutely nothing.”
“That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.” Niall smirks and leans back in his lounge chair.
Barbara huffs in disagreement. “We’ve been doing nothing for the past week and I’m positive I might be coming down with sunstroke.”
“Oh, don’t be so dramatic Barb, we just graduated less then a week ago. We deserve this.” Harry says as he reaches over to grab his drink from the table.
“Harry, please. We both know that by ‘doing nothing’ you mean sitting around the pool all day drinking your mojitos and ogling the new pool boy from a distance.”
The three of them turn their heads at the same time towards the mentioned person, who’s currently bending over with the skim net, trying to retrieve whatever fell and didn’t belong in the pool.
“He’s not even a pool boy - I mean, look at those tattoos. He’s a pool man. A fit pool man.” Harry says, not taking his eyes off of him.
His dad had hired Zayn two weeks prior when they finally took down the pool cover. Besides summer, the reason for uncovering the pool (the reason his father wasn’t aware of - Harry had told him that he wanted the pool uncovered and maintained because summer was about to begin and he wanted a few more weeks of relaxation before Uni) was the post-graduation party Harry threw and invited more than half of the people in his year.
A party which resulted with the damaging of their glass coffee table in the living room, the window in his father’s room, and a hole in the wall in the hallway downstairs.
Blame Harry for thinking he would be cool if he ‘went out with a bang’, as Niall had put it, so he threw the party when his father wasn’t home. As soon as he came home though, and saw the chaotic state his house was in, he immediately retired his promise to buy Harry a car if he gets into Uni.
“If you want a car, you’re going to have to find a job and save up, because after the stunt you pulled yesterday, I’m not going to give you a single penny this summer.” His father had told him when he sat him down in the kitchen as soon as he came home.
“What about Uni? How will I live in Salford if you don’t-“
“I will pay for your education and housing, but I will not encourage your rebellious behavior.”
Harry rolled his eyes at the expression. Honestly, with his good grades, perfect behavior (well, at least to his father’s knowledge), and the hours he’s spent studying instead of partying, he’s been a goody-two-shoes all his life.
So after a long lecture about why what Harry did was completely wrong, his father had announced that he’s leaving for a business trip to Paris in two days and that he should call his mother in case he wanted to go spend some time during the vacation at her home in Holmes Chapel.
And now here he is; sitting on a lounger with his best friends, sipping Mojitos (because apparently Zayn - even his name sounded good – also knew how to bartend and mix up a few drinks) and ogling the fit pool boy.
The last thing he wants is to get a job, but if he wants a car and money to go out with his friends at least once a week, he’s going to have to look for one soon.
“Harry, I think you’ve had too many mojitos. Do you even know how old he is?” Barbara questions, snapping him out of his thoughts.
“Um, like twenty-three or something like that.”
“That’s five years older than you.”
“I’m legal!” He protests, maybe a bit too loud because Zayn is turning his head to look at them curiously.
Harry buries his face in his hands and groans. Great, now he’s made a fool out of himself in front of Zayn too.
“Well, you were seventeen when you dated a twenty year old, so I don’t think you should be talking.” Niall says to Barbara, trying to defend Harry.
“Shut up already.”
“You shut up.”
“That’s a really mature comeback, when was the last time you used it, third grade?” She sarcastically asks Niall.
“Will the two just fuck and get it over with? The sexual tension is killing me.” Harry interrupts with a smirk, trying to mask his embarrassment.
When Niall and Barbara start to get annoying, Harry knows that the best way to shut them up is to hint that something sexual should happen between them.
All three of them know that it’s something that should have happened a long time ago, even though Niall and Barbara both deny any type of attraction they might feel for each other. And Harry’s pretty sure Niall feels a little more than just attraction for her, but he’s too stubborn to admit it.
It’s funny and at the same time sad to watch them pining over each other and being stubborn about what’s actually going on. Ever since Barbara broke up with Tom a year ago, her and Niall have been flirting/fighting/making innuendos non stop.
Sometimes Harry feels like the third wheel even though they’re not actually a couple and they constantly claim that the other one is annoying.
“When does your father get home?” Niall asks, trying to change the subject.
“Later today. He called me before he boarded the plane an hour ago, so we’ve got a few more hours.”
“A few more hours of doing nothing. What a relief.” Barbara says.
“If you don’t like spending your time like this, then what are you still doing here?”
Harry rolls his eyes.
Here they go again.
“I’m going to ask Zayn for another mojito.” He announces and gets up from the lounger. Zayn has finished cleaning the pool by now and has gone inside, probably to change into his normal clothes and leave for the day.
“Fuck off.” He says and flips Niall off.
He finds Zayn in the kitchen, leaning against the island counter as he types on his phone.
“Can you make me another mojito before you leave?”
Zayn looks up and Harry is once again in awe of how inhumanly beautiful he can be.
“Well, now that I know you’re legal, you can have as many mojitos as you’d like.” Zayn teases and Harry might be wrong, but - is Zayn flirting with him? Or does he just like to tease?
Harry sits down in a chair and watches Zayn go through the cabinets to find the proper ingredients. Apparently he isn’t planning on going outside and prepare it at the pool bar.
“So, are you in Uni right now or?”
“Yes.” Zayn answers without looking at him.
“You’re twenty-three though.”
“Then why’d you ask?”
“Just curious to see why you’d need a pool boy job.”
Who the fuck says that??
“I used to be an English major but decided to change to Arts two years ago because I just wasn’t feeling it. And I need this job because it actually pays better than dealing -um, what they paid me at my last job at the restaurant.”
“My dad likes to overspend sometimes.”
“I’m not complaining.” Zayn laughs and Harry is pretty sure it might be the best thing he’s ever heard. “What about you?”
“What about me?”
“You’re going to Uni in a couple of months.”
“Yeah, in Salford. ‘m gonna study law.”
“Shit, that’s a lot of work.”
“I know.” Harry says, almost whining. He knows it’s a lot to learn but it’s going to be worth it; at least his father says so. He always says “Harry, I come from a family that didn’t have a penny to their name, but I studied hard for what I wanted and look at me now.” Then he’d gesture towards the nearest thing that would point out the fact that he’s a successful international lawyer with a lot of money.
“Why not Oxford though?”
“I didn’t get in.” Harry tells him, a bit ashamed. It’s true; his scores weren’t enough for him to get in, but he’s lowkey glad about it because going there would mean suicide for his already lacking social life.
Zayn doesn’t say anything after Harry’s information. He finishes the mojito a minute later and hands the glass to Harry.
“Try to tone down the alcohol, though.” He suggests.
“Thanks. I’ll keep that in mind.” Harry smiles.
Zayn then tells him that he’s going to head home and that he’ll be back tomorrow as usual.
When Harry gets back outside, Niall and Barbara are arguing about where she should have her birthday. It’s a tie between her own house and some pub a few blocks away.
“Why am I even arguing with you anyway? It’s my birthday so I get to make the decision.”
Harry sighs and sits down, facing them.
“It’s still a month away, so I don’t think you need to argue about that right now.”
“Do what you want. I’m going in the pool, it’s getting too hot.” Niall says and stands up before he runs towards the pool and jumps in.
“What an idiot.” Barbara huffs and reaches for her magazine.
Harry throws Barbara a knowing look that she pretends not to see, and then engrosses himself in his phone. He’s not sure when - although he hopes it’s going to be soon because it’s getting annoyingly obvious – Niall and Barbara will drop the frenemies act, but once they will, he’ll make sure to give them hell for it after all the fights he’s had to put up with.
His father gets home three hours later in a happy mood, which is unusual and means he either has good news that concern him, or bad news that concern Harry.
“I got you a job.” Is the first thing he says when he sees Harry sitting on the couch in the living room with his laptop perched on his lap.
Barbara and Niall left an hour ago, so it’s just him, a cup of lemonade, and their Manchester Terrier, Ernie.
“Hello to you too.” Harry sarcastically tells his dad as he watches him pull on his tie.
“Don’t be a smartarse.”
Getting straight to the point is always the best option when his father starts to actually get into the father role he knows he’s supposed to be playing, but usually fails at.
“So today I had to do a bit of legal work in Paris for the manager at Manchester United, and we got to talking. As you know, the Premiere League is starting in over a month, so they’ve transferred a player from Saint-Germain to Manchester United. But that’s beside the point.”
Of course Harry knows the Premiere League is starting on the 8th of August. He’s been watching it ever since he was five and his father actually made time to bring him to games. He knew the manager quite well (what with being his attorney and all) so they always had the best seats.
That was until he turned fourteen and his parents got divorced, which caused his father to bury himself into his work, and his mother to move back to her hometown. His sister Gemma didn’t really mind and wasn’t affected by it too much because that was the year she left to study in Sheffield.
“Anyway, once all the paperwork for the transfer were done, Van Gaal asked me about you and Gemma. One thing led to another and he propositioned me a job for you at his club.”
“Wait. You want me to work for Manchester United?” Harry asks. This might be the first time in years he wanted to hug his father.
“Louis Van Gaal told me that they could offer you a job as the water boy for the summer since they’re going to be training nearly every day. Your job starts on Monday. That is, if you want to do this.”
“Wha- of course I do!” Harry exclaims.
“Great. I’ll email you the details of your work schedule that Louis sent me after I order takeout. Do you want Chinese or pizza? Or something else?”
“Chinese is fine.”
His father turns to leave when Harry stops him.
“Wait. Who’s the player they’re transferring? And who are they replacing?”
“They’re replacing Jones with Tomlinson.”
“Tomlinson who?” Harry dumbly asks.
“You haven’t heard about Louis Tomlinson? He scored the goal that won them the French Cup. They’re saying that it might be the best acquisition for the team since Rooney.”
“I doubt that.”
“Look him up, he’s quite impressive. I met him today in Paris for the paperwork.” His father tells him before he completely disappears out of the living room.
Harry frowns but opens a new Safari window on his laptop so he can look up the new transfer. He types ‘louis tomlinson’ into the search bar, and is immediately surprised by the suggestions.
Louis Tomlinson height
Louis Tomlinson age
Louis Tomlinson sexual orientation
Louis Tomlinson Instagram
Louis Tomlinson net worth
He clicks on the first result, which is a Wikipedia page. The picture on the side isn’t half bad, Harry notices. It’s a picture of Louis in a football jacket, smiling for the camera at what seems to be a press conference.
Louis William Tomlinson (born Louis Troy Austin; 24 December 1991) is an English professional footballer who plays for Paris Saint-Germain. He has played most of his career as a midfielder, but he has also been used as a striker on several occasions.
Okay, so Louis is five years older than him and incredibly fit. Harry reads a bit more about him; about how he started playing for the Doncaster Rovers when he was seventeen - the youngest on their team, and then quickly made history when he became the youngest person under 20 to score the most goals in a match. He got transferred to Paris Saint-Germain when he was eighteen, and has played there ever since. His salary at Paris Saint-Germain was 13 million Euros a year. Impressive.
Harry moves on to the News column and sees a few articles about the transfer and how Louis is called ‘probably the best acquisition since Rooney’ just as his father had put it. It’s estimated that his value for the transfer is almost thirty-seven million pounds. Further articles are about him being out and about at clubs and leaving with different girls, and articles speculating his sexuality after some blurry images with him and some bloke emerged. Apparently he’s quite popular in football, and Harry wonders how come he’s never heard of him.
So he calls Niall.
“Hi, Harry, what’s up?”
“Have you ever heard of Louis Tomlinson?“
“Louis Tomlinson! Yeah, he’s being transferred to Manchester United. What a legend.”
“How come I’ve never heard of him?”
“Probably because you watch more TLC than ESPN.”
“Why the question, though?”
Harry shifts the laptop on his thighs. “Van Gaal told my father I could have a job as a water boy for the team.”
“Are you fucking serious? Ugh! You’re so lucky to have a dad who’s a lawyer! The best thing that comes from my mother’s job is an employee discount at Burberry.” Niall groans.
“And you know I love you for that.”
“When do you start?”
“In three days.”
“You need to get me in somehow! Do you think you’ll get some kind of free access to the best seats at all their games? That would be fuckin’ amazing!”
Harry rolls his eyes and after a few more minutes of talking about the new job and going out to celebrate next week, he hangs up to creep a bit more.
He finds a press conference video with Louis and Van Gaal about the transfer that was posted two days ago and watches it. Louis’ voice is higher than expected, and Harry finds it extremely appealing for some reason.
When his laptop warns him about the low battery percentage, he lets Ernie out in the back garden, and then walks upstairs to his room.
Later that night when he browses his Instagram, he finds himself looking up Louis’ name. The first hit is a verified account with over five million followers, louist91, so Harry clicks on it. There are some pictures of Louis in clubs, with his mates, pictures of his food, and of him playing football.
He likes a couple of them (all of them), follows him, and then goes to sleep.
Niall: TAKE PICTURES OF EVERYTHING YOU SEE
Barbara: ask de Gea if his single pls!!!
Niall: shut up he has a girlfriend
Niall: a blonde one
Niall: ARE YOU THERE YET
Barbara: fuck off
Niall: TAKE PICTURES OF EVERYTHING YOU SEE
Harry shakes his head and exits WhatsApp - who thought it would be a good idea to make a group with Niall and Barbara? He texts his father to let him know he just arrived at the training complex.
He’s not sure how everything is supposed to go down. Where does he enter? What does he say? Where does he go? What does he do?
He enters the building and walks up to the reception. “Hi, I’m, uh, Harry Styles? I’m here for my job?”
The lady behind the desk looks up from her computer to look him up and down. “What job?”
“As the new water boy?”
“Hold on, I’ll get Mr. Van Gaal on the line for you.”
She types a number on the phone at her desk before putting it up to her ear. “Yes. There’s someone here for Mr. Van Gaal. A Harry Styles? Okay, I’ll hold.”
She checks her nails as she waits, and looks up when she gets an answer. “Good morning, Mr. Van Gaal. Harry Styles is here to start his new job? Alright. Thank you.”
She hangs up and looks at Harry. “He’s in his office on the first floor. Third door to the left. You can take the stairs there or the elevator.”
Harry thanks her with a nod, and then walks towards the stairs.
His father’s friend is in his office, talking to someone on the phone. When he sees Harry, he ends the conversation and smiles at him. It’s weird to see him smiling, because every time Harry has seen his favorite team’s manager on TV and at games were accompanied by a frown.
“Nice to see you, Harry, have a seat.”
Harry obliges and sits down on one of the chairs in front of his desk.
“We’re starting training in a couple of hours, but we have a meeting with the whole team in ten minutes upstairs. I’m going to need to get their coffee orders and anything else they might need from the coffee shop down the street.”
Harry waits for him to continue when Van Gaal looks for something in his desk drawer.
“Here’s your job contract. You should read through it while I take a call and then tell me if there’s something you don’t agree with.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Oh, none of that. Your father and I have known each other for too long for you to be calling me sir. You can call me Louis. Same for the players, there’s no need to call them by their last names.”
Like Harry would ever do that. It’s too weird and he knows he’s just too polite. He’s always going to think of him as Van Gaal.
While Van Gaal talks on the phone, Harry reads through his two-page contract. There aren’t that many rules to follow; he just has to agree to be at the training grounds and at the matches on time and when he’s solicited, he must call in if he’s ever going to miss a day or if something comes up, and under no circumstances is he to talk about confidential information that might be discussed or overheard in the conference room, the locker rooms, or on the pitch.
His job description is simple: be ready to hand water, towels, and anything else the players might need if requested for the next three months.
The contract is signed by the time Van Gaal finishes the conversation.
“No questions?” he asks as he takes the paper out of Harry’s hands and places it back in the desk drawer.
“No si- Louis.”
“Great. We should be heading to the conference room now, my guys have already arrived.”
They take the elevator to the next floor and Van Gaal opens the door to a room made out of glass windows.
Harry thinks he might faint because every single player of his favorite football team is seated around a long marble table in their training equipment. Ryan Giggs is also there. He feels intimidated by the fact that everyone is staring at him, probably wondering what this barely legal boy must be doing in their conference room.
“Before we start, I’d like everyone to meet Harry Styles, our new water boy.”
“We have a agua boy? Incredíble!” De Gea exclaims and stands up to shake his hand. Harry’s always liked him the most.
“Introductions can be made later, let’s get to business right now. Where’s Tomlinson?” Van Gaal asks and sits down at the end of the table.
“He’s on his way.” Herrera says.
As if on cue, the glass door opens and Louis Tomlinson steps in with an apologetic look on his face.
“Sorry for being late lads. Got caught up in traffic.” He apologizes and sits down on the empty seat next to Van Gaal. He throws a short look in Harry’s direction before he turns his head to shake Van Gaal’s hand, and then Riggs’.
Louis Tomlinson is even more beautiful up close, Harry observes as he awkwardly stands next to De Gea’s seat.
“Before we get down to work, Harry’s going to take a quick trip to the coffee shop in case anyone wants anything.” Van Gaal says and motions for Harry to come over so he can hand him a notepad and a pen.
Harry takes them with shaky hands before he circles the table for orders. He gets to Louis’ order last.
“Youthberry tea for me, please.” Louis smiles, looking up at him. “Isn’t it going to be a bit difficult to carry twenty different drinks here?”
How fit can someone be???
“He’ll manage.” Van Gaal says. “You have a credit card waiting for you at the reception desk.”
Harry takes it as his cue to leave. There’s a Starbucks right down the street, and Harry feels proud of himself for maintaining his calm in the conference room as he struts down towards the shop with the credit card in his hand.
It takes about half an hour for everything to be done, and he spends it by texting Niall and Barbara about it.
The SQUAD (43 new messages)
He opens their group chat and doesn’t even bother to read through the argument Niall and Barbara were having while he was gone.
Harry: I’m at Starbucks to get them coffee and tea
Niall: HOW IS IT??? did u meet them????
Harry: yea all of them were in the conference room
Barbara: who orders tea from starbucks??
Niall: u do
Niall : all the time
Niall: Van Gaal drinks TEA?? Baaghhahaha
Harry : no, Tomlinson
Niall: oooh how is he?
Barbara: nice as in polite nice or as in I want him to fuck me into the sheets nice??
Niall: (innuendo emoji)(innuendo emoji)
Harry : stop it’ll never happen :))
Niall: never say never !!
Barbara: here he goes with his Bieber crap again
Harry locks his phone because he knows another argument is about to go down, and it’s just his luck that his long order is ready.
It’s really difficult to walk back to the complex with four drink carriers in hand, but he manages to also make it up the stairs and push the glass door to the conference room open with his shoulder without spilling anything.
He places the drinks on the table next to David (he feels slightly more comfortable around him now that they shook hands than with the other players), and starts handing out the cups.
Thank God he also said the names when he ordered, or else there would be chaos right now and he’d be fired.
“You’ve got big hands.” Louis observes in a hushed tone with a smirk playing on his lips as Van Gaal keeps talking about team strategy and how the Premiere League should go down.
“Uh… thanks.” Harry says, hoping that his cheeks didn’t turn red because they’re definitely heating up.
He’s not sure what he should do once he’s gotten rid of the trash, and thankfully Van Gaal motions for him to sit down on one of the empty chairs at the table.
For the rest of the meeting Harry thinks of Louis’ statement about his hands, and wonders if he was flirting with him. Probably not. Harry has a tendency to sometimes look too much into things and overthink, so it was probably nothing.
When the meeting finishes, Harry is snapped back to reality by Van Gaal’s voice telling him that they’re heading out on the field for a two-hour training session.
Harry follows the team like a lost dog, and stops right before the locker room, not sure if he’s allowed to enter.
“Why are you stopping?” Herrera asks him as he holds the door open.
“Uh, am I allowed inside? I mean, I don’t know how or what I’m supposed to do-“ Harry stutters, and wishes that the ground could just swallow him whole right now.
“Of course you are, come on! You’re technically part of the team.”
Harry feels a huge wave of relief as he follows him inside. Giggs tells him that the towels and water bottles are in a small closet next to his office.
It’s not hard to find the closet, because there are only two doors in the locker room; the one leading to the showers, and the one leading to the pitch. He finds two giant towel piles and a load of water bottles on the shelves, so he fills up a cart with both items and pushes it out the door.
The locker room is empty, which means that the players are already outside warming up.
Giggs and Van Gaal are having a chat by the benches, so he rolls the cart over there and stops next to them. He feels embarrassed asking, but he has to because his job is way too easy for him to be paid with 250 pounds a week.
“So, am I just supposed to hand them towels and water when they come over?”
The two men stop talking to look at him.
“Yes.” Van Gaal responds. “But make sure to write their names on the bottles so they don’t get mixed up.”
Harry goes back inside to find a sharpie. He gets one from the receptionist who he’s pretty sure is already sick of his face.
He writes their last names on the water bottles, and then arranges them on the cart before he sits down on the bench and waits. Is he supposed to just watch? Isn’t it too awkward? He decides that for a thousand pounds a month it’s pretty worth it.
The SQUAD (20 new messages)
He scrolls through the messages without even bothering to read them.
Niall: Harry I c u reading the messages !! what r u doing?
Harry: watching the team warming up
Harry sighs and opens Snapchat. He pretends to take a selfie as he films the team doing jumping jacks over by the gate.
Niall responds with a thumbs up selfie in his bedroom, and Barbara with a hand over her mouth and the text ‘pls send me more of De Gea thx’.
After two more requested snaps Harry decides it’s enough risky business for the day so he checks his Instagram before pocketing his phone.
At Giggs’ request, he hands half of the players yellow vests so they can play in two different teams and see how they work together with a new player.
As far as Harry can see, they’re doing great and Louis is definitely a great asset to the team. Literally.
Harry hopes he isn’t being too obvious as he ogles Louis’ ass in his football kit. Who can blame him, really? It looks great when he stretches, or does squats. Especially when he runs with the ball in front of him.
He doesn’t realize he’s staring when Louis comes over with a breathless smirk on his face and stops a meter away from him.
“Hi.” Harry says, and he immediately wants to slap himself.
“Can I, um- help you?”
“You’re our water boy, right?”
The whole conversation is on a whole level of awkward. At least on Harry’s part; Louis seems to be having quite a laugh about him being flustered, judging by the smile on his face.
“Oh. Water. Shit. Sorry, right.” He stutters and stands up with flaming cheeks to hand him his bottle.
Louis doesn’t break their eye contact as he opens it and takes two long gulps, then closes the cap and puts it back on the cart. Harry doesn’t even know what he’s more focused on; the way Louis’ lips look around the bottle and how his cheeks hollow as he drinks, or the fact that Louis is almost a head shorter than him yet still incredibly intimidating.
“What did you say your name was?” Louis asks, startling him.
“Well, Harry, I’m glad you’re enjoying the view.”
Louis turns around without saying anything else, and Harry watches him with a gaped mouth. He’s pretty sure that all the self-respect he had left in his body just left him completely. Louis Tomlinson just caught him staring at his ass, what an embarrassment.
The training ends around three, and there’s talk about going out for drinks to celebrate Louis’ transfer while Harry throws the towels in the laundry basket and the empty bottles in the trash.
He makes himself busy with his phone after that, not sure how he’s supposed to leave. Does he just exit the locker room? Does he say goodbye and then exit? Does he wait for the whole team to leave? He probably has to, since some of them just took a shower and he’ll have to take care of those towels too.
Half an hour later, everyone is dressed up in their casual clothes, and Harry can’t help but look at Louis in his black skinny jeans that are cuffed around the ankles, and how good his back muscles look through the sheer shirt he’s wearing.
When he meets Louis’ eyes after a onceover, he knows he’s been caught. Again.
Fuck his life.
When he team leaves the locker room, he follows. He almost doesn’t see Louis walking up next to him as they exit the building.
“Did you enjoy your first day?” Louis casually asks as they follow the whole team down the street towards the first taxi station. They’re all going to get taxis to go to a pub while Harry will get one to go home and never leave his room again after today.
Conversation. Conversation is good, although he’s not sure how he’s going to come back from the way he’s embarrassed himself today.
“Definitely. Although I’m sure you enjoyed it more.”
“What do you mean?”
“I wasn’t the one trying to sneak a few photos of sweaty mean stretching.” Louis says nonchalantly before he stops in front of a taxi with two other teammates.
Harry can’t say anything; he just stares as Louis gets into the car with a short ‘See you tomorrow’. He’s still in shock when he gets into his own taxi and tells the driver his address.
When he gets home he lets himself fall face first into his bed with a groan.
Who thought this job would be a good idea? And why did his job description fail to mention that he has to put up with an incredibly attractive, out of bunds twenty-three year old who probably thinks he’s a pathetic teenager?
If he didn’t know it before, he definitely knows it now.
He’s so incredibly fucked. And not even in the good way.