As far as injuries go, this honestly isn’t the worst thing that could've happened. Nothing’s broken or torn or fractured or even sprained. Liam's pulled muscles before and he's gotten through it fine. It's just, well, the timing really isn't ideal.
"Two weeks," Louis groans. He's pacing around Liam's living room, hands pulling nervously at his hair. Liam's a bit worried he's going to burn a hole right through his expensive, plush carpet. "Two weeks before we're set to leave for the French Open, Liam. Two weeks."
"How long was that, Lou? Don't think I caught you the first time."
It's hard for Liam to keep the dryness out of his voice. He can feel the familiar itch of irritation building underneath his skin, and it's getting harder and harder to control. Louis’s just worried, and Liam knows that, but Liam’s worried too. Liam’s never been good with worry - he can’t make it disappear by hitting balls across the court the same way he can do with frustration or anger.
Louis immediately stops in his tracks, glaring at Liam icily. “Is this really the time for sarcasm, Liam?”
"It’s not really the time to throw around blame either," Liam snaps back, crossing his arms. Almost at once pain shoots through his shoulder, sharp and insistent. Liam winces, rubbing the muscles gingerly.
Louis's expression softens a bit and he looks at Liam in concern, anger disappearing quickly. "Do you need more painkillers? Ice? Anything?"
Liam shakes his head. This is so stupid. There’s no use getting in a row with Louis, not when he’s done nothing wrong. Liam pats the seat next to him, and Louis takes the hint, plopping down on the couch with a sigh.
"I just want to get better before the first match," Liam says, voice coming out smaller than he means it to.
The thought of all his hard work and training going to waste over one lousy serve twists Liam’s stomach into knots. He’s spent so much time preparing for this tournament. Months. Years.
His whole career.
"I know, I know," Louis says. "And I wasn’t blaming you. It’s not your fault."
“It sort of is, isn’t it?” Liam shrugs with a bitter smile. “I was the one to make that serve, not you.”
“Yeah, but I’m your trainer -”
“And your training’s been just fine,” Liam says firmly. “We just need to figure out our next step.”
"I already set up your physio with Sophia,” Louis says quickly.
Liam rubs at his shoulder again a bit absentmindedly, kneading the muscles under his palm. "There's not much else we can do, is there?"
Louis shakes his head. He's got his nails at his mouth, surely chewing them down to ragged stubs. His brow is furrowed, though, face screwed up in a look Liam’s seen plenty of times both on and off the court.
"What if you did some other type of therapy as well," Louis says slowly, like he's working something out in his mind.
"Like what exactly?"
Louis doesn't answer, instead pulling out his phone and sending a quick text.
"Louis, what - ?"
Louis shushes him before he can finish, typing quickly on his phone when he gets a reply. Liam’s not sure what to make of it all, and he sits in curiosity until Louis’s beaming after a few more texts come in.
"Are you going to explain what's happening or will I have to guess?" Liam asks dryly.
"Right. Alternate therapy," Louis says with one of his usual sharp grins. "Have you ever done yoga, Liam?"
Liam's already worried about where this is going.
"Is this guy actually legit?" Liam asks with a bit of concern. He’s staring at his phone again, information for the yoga instructor Louis recommended pulled up.
"I swear he's top of the line," Niall insists, stretching out on Liam's bed. "He's the one that helped me after the operation with me knee. Absolutely brilliant."
Harry Styles is about a year younger than Liam, but he seems to have the kind of credentials that come with years of experience. The picture of him on his website also shows that he's got quite a lovely smile and the prettiest dimples Liam's ever seen, though he supposes that's rather irrelevant.
"You know Louis's already scheduled an appointment for you, right? Dunno how he did it. Harry's nearly impossible to get a hold of these days," Niall says with a grin.
The pain in Liam's shoulder has been getting worse, and he supposes that yoga therapy really isn't the worst thing he could try. Sophia had said it was an excellent idea during his last physio meeting, and as much as Liam trusts and values Niall and Louis's opinions, there's something to be said about having an actual professional backing them up.
"Niall we're so close to the Roland-Garros. What if I can't play?" Liam says softly.
"You'll get to play." Niall says it like it's a fact. "Whole tournament will be too easy for me if you don't. Need some actual competition out there on the courts, don't I?"
Liam cracks a small smile, lying down beside Niall. "French Open. Can you believe? Feels like it was just yesterday we were playing in the juniors.”
"Always knew you'd make it," Niall says sincerely.
"Never doubted you either," Liam insists.
Niall grins, laughing. "I guess I'm alright as well."
Liam pokes at Niall’s side, making him giggle harder. He wonders what Sky Sports would say about them if they got to see this. It’d probably stop the headlines about on-court rivalries and broken childhood friendships that everyone’s been so obsessed with ever since it’d been announced Liam and Niall would be playing against each other at the Opens. It’s all been rather ridiculous. Liam doesn’t know anyone who’s ever been more supportive of him than Niall - except maybe Louis.
"What's this Harry guy like, then?" Liam asks, looking closely at the picture of him on his phone. It’s a pretty standard picture for something like this, Liam supposes, but Harry’s face seems naturally bright and open, and it makes Liam feel a bit better about the whole situation.
"Funny. Fit. Kind of weird. But I was quite fond of him if I'm being honest," Niall shrugs.
"What kind of weird?"
"Well how do you feel about naked yoga?"
Liam's face heats up, and he smacks a cackling Niall in the face with a pillow while trying to ignore the strange lurch in his belly.
Harry Styles appears at Liam's door promptly at eleven in the morning, just as Louis said he would.
"Hello," Liam says, blinking a few times in surprise when he opens the door and finds Harry standing on the other side. It’s hard to say why he’s so shocked when he’s been expecting Harry all morning, but he can’t seem to shake the sudden fogginess in his head.
Harry grins wide in response, flashing Liam the same dimpled smile that's pictured on his webpage. It really is a pretty smile.
"Hi, you must be Liam," he says, stepping inside and looking around him curiously. Liam’s place is really nothing fancy, but that doesn’t stop Harry from surveying everything with wide, fascinated eyes.
Liam, in turn, gives himself a second to take Harry in as well, because, well, he's sort of a lot. Harry's a bit taller than Liam but just as broad. His hair is pulled back in a tight bun and his strayaway curls are pushed back with the same thin headbands Louis uses during training. The most distracting part of him, however, are most definitely his tight leggings that hug and highlight the curves of his thighs and perky bum quite nicely.
"Right, uh, it's nice to meet you, Harry," Liam says quickly, holding out his hand when he realizes that Harry's now staring at him in expectation.
"So, where are we doing this?"
Liam manages a small smile and leads Harry downstairs where he's got a space set up in his in-home gym. It's not really much, just a treadmill and a few weights, but it's always been enough to keep Liam active when he hasn't got training going on. The middle's been cleared out for the therapy, hopefully giving them more than enough room for whatever it is that Harry's got planned for the two of them today.
"Have you ever done yoga before, Liam?" Harry asks. He's got two yoga mats swung across his back and he starts to unroll them both, laying them side by side in the middle of the room.
Liam shakes his head when Harry glances over at him. "Never really felt the need to, I suppose."
Harry nods, like he expected this, but then smiles widely. "Well, we'll start with some basic poses then, yeah? It'll help you erm loosen up."
"Sounds good,” Liam says, trying to keep his voice steady. Harry’s cheeky grin makes Liam feel a warmth in his belly that’s slowly spreading through the rest of him the more he thinks about what Harry’s said.
"I want you to tell me if and when you feel any sort of pain or discomfort," Harry mentions more seriously. "We don't want you to overwork yourself and it'll also help me to finalize the routine that we'll have to go through."
Liam nods. There's a different feeling in his belly suddenly, a familiar clench that he usually only feels when he thinks he hasn’t prepared as well as he could have for a match.
"It'll be okay, Liam," Harry says, gripping Liam's good shoulder in comfort. His palm is large, his fingers long, spidering out across Liam's shoulder. "I'm here to help, okay? We'll get you back on the court in no time."
Liam manages a small smile.
"Okay," Harry says, stepping onto his yoga mat. "We're gonna start with Mountain Pose."
Harry leads Liam through a set of simple poses, demonstrating them first himself, and then watching Liam intently while he imitates them. For a couple of them Harry comes up behind Liam, adjusting his limbs, pressing one of his large, strong hands against the small of his back to fix his posture. Liam’s never had a thing for hands, but he likes Harry’s and how they make him feel comforted with their confidence and encouragement.
"How, um, flexible are you, Liam?" Harry asks, another sly smirk spreading across his face like he can't help it.
Liam feels his face heat up a bit under Harry's gaze. "Um, dunno. Pretty flexible, I think."
"Excellent," Harry says. "This one's not really that hard, but it does involve a bit more flexibility than the others we've done so far. It's called Downward Dog."
Without much preamble, Harry bends forward, his back elongating as he sticks his bum in the air and presses his palms flat against the floor. He holds the position for about thirty seconds, and Liam feels it's probably a bit inappropriate just how distracted he is by the long lines and curves of Harry’s body.
Harry picks his body up with just as much ease as he did going down, shaking a few loose curls out of his face after doing so. "Think you'll be okay with doing that, Liam?"
“I can try,” Liam says with a small shrug. It must be the right thing to say, because Harry’s face brightens up in response, his smile pushing his dimples deep into his cheeks.
Liam doesn’t feel nearly as graceful as Harry looked when he bends forward. His whole body feels big and clunky, his bad shoulder straining at the effort of supporting his weight.
“Don’t think I like that one much,” Liam admits, feeling a bit light-headed when he’s upright again. He hates that he can’t hold the position for the ten seconds Harry recommended for everything they try that day.
Harry gives a small hum, helping Liam stretch out the soreness in his shoulder. “You won’t be able to do everything, but that’s okay, yeah? I think I know what we’ll need to work on the next couple days. You’re doing fantastic, Liam, really.”
Harry sounds sincere enough that Liam nearly believes him.
Physio with Sophia always leaves Liam sore and tired, but for once he doesn’t mind. He can already feel the pain in his shoulder subsiding, and for the first time since his injury, he feels like maybe he will make it to the Open with no problem after all.
Louis’s waiting for him after his session, greeting him with a big grin when Liam comes out of Sophia’s office kneading the familiar ache of training out of his shoulder.
“Feeling good, Payno?” he asks.
Liam nods, because he really does. “Starving though. We have time for lunch?”
There’s a small restaurant Liam frequents just down the street from Sophia’s, so the two of them head there, barely having to wait before they’re seated at Liam’s favorite table outside. It’s a beautiful day, cool and breezy and surprisingly sunny. Liam loves it, feels like it reflects the lovely mood he’s been in ever since he realized he could follow Harry through all his stretches and poses without worrying too much about the pain.
Liam’s come here often enough that he doesn’t have to look at the menu, and it’s probably the only reason he notices Louis peering over Liam’s shoulder, squinting with curiosity.
“Isn’t that the yoga guy, Liam?” Louis asks, motioning to someone behind Liam.
Liam turns around quickly, a smile spreading across his face as he spots a now-familiar head of curly hair and long limbs. “Harry!”
Harry looks up from where he’s got his head buried in his phone, face brightening and waving enthusiastically when he sees Liam.
Harry looks good out of his work clothes. He’s wearing a button up top with the first few buttons undone and revealing the wings of two matching swallows tattooed on his chest. His jeans are tight, hugging his legs almost as closely as his leggings do, and his hair is loose and falling in soft curls around his shoulders and down his back. Not for the first time, Liam tries to ignore the way his mouth dries up a little at the sight of him.
“Liam! How are you today?” Harry asks brightly. He’s got some kind of green smoothie in his hand that, admittedly, looks very unappealing.
“Good, just got out of physio,” Liam says. “No clients today?”
Harry shakes his head. “Just finished with my last one of the day.”
He knows that Harry hasn’t said anything that funny, or even anything remotely interesting at all, but Liam can’t help but smile. There’s a funny feeling in his chest that he’s come to associate with sessions with Harry. Before he thought that maybe it was just nerves or worry about his training, but he wonders now if it’s just something about Harry in general.
Louis clears his throat loudly, kicking Liam under the table lightly. “Are you going to introduce me, Payno?”
Liam startles. “Oh, right. Harry this is my trainer and friend, Louis Tomlinson. Lou this is Harry.”
“Oh yeah, we spoke on the phone. You were very insistent about setting up these sessions,” Harry says with a small laugh. “Nice to finally meet you.”
“Same to you. Join us for lunch?” Louis asks.
“Oh, no,” Liam says, eyes widening in surprise. “I’m sure Harry’s really busy -”
“I’d love to,” Harry interrupts easily, pulling up a chair from an empty table.
Having Harry at lunch is not as weird as Liam thought it might be. He meshes surprisingly well with Louis, the two of them gently teasing Liam and joking around like they’ve known each other for ages. It’s Liam that Harry keeps his focus on, though, always making sure that with every smile he throws in Louis’s direction, he has a loud laugh or soft touch reserved just for Liam. It feels nice, having Harry there like he’s a real constant in Liam’s life and not just someone he’s seen a few times during physical therapy sessions.
“So, is Liam absolutely awful at yoga?” Louis asks when him and Harry have argued exhaustively about the benefits of kale.
Liam pouts, about to defend himself when Harry says, “Oh no, he’s been a very good patient.”
Liam shoots him a grateful grin, sticking his tongue out childishly at Louis right afterward. “Honestly, Tommo. Thought you expected better of me.”
“I can hardly get him to sit still most days,” Louis says, shrugging. “Can’t imagine him like meditating or whatever.”
“I’m actually the same way, most of the time,” Harry says with a hum, “but yoga’s not really about meditation. Like it can be, but it’s also about strength and balance and flexibility.”
“Flexibility?” Louis asks, waggling his eyebrows with absolutely no subtlety. Liam resists the urge to cover his face in embarrassment.
“Oh, Liam is very flexible,” Harry says, dimpling cheekily. “Quite pliant. I was very impressed.”
Liam really does cover his face this time, grinning behind his hand as Louis cackles loudly.
“That’s enough then,” Liam says loudly, interrupting whatever it is that Louis’s about to ask next.
Harry for his part is just grinning smugly. His foot brushes against Liam’s slightly under the table, their legs pressing togethers for a second while he shifts in his seat. Liam’s sure it doesn’t mean anything, that it’s all just an accident, but he likes thinking that the way Harry’s smiling at him means something more.
“I assume you’re pretty good at handling balls?”
Liam straightens out quickly from where he’s trying to touch his toes, spluttering out an, “Excuse me?” The blood is rushing to his head, and he hopes Harry assumes it’s just from doing his stretches.
They’re at Harry’s house today in his downstairs studio that’s much fancier than Liam’s gym. Liam likes the feel of it, though. He thinks there’s something warm about the tapestry hung up on the far wall and the soft lighting and the vanilla scented candles that fill the room with a sweet smell.
“You’re a tennis player, right?” Harry asks, eyes wide with what would could pass as innocence on, well, anyone else really. “You’re around balls all the time.”
“Um, right,” Liam says slowly.
“How would you feel about handling my balls today, Liam? I think they’re a bit bigger than yours.”
Harry’s already turned away from Liam, heading towards the closet on the right of the tapestry. Liam sits cross-legged on his yoga mat, watching the broad expanse of his retreating back and trying to push the more inappropriate of his thoughts to the back of his head.
“I have no problem with big balls,” Liam says, shrugging. Harry lets out a loud bark of a laugh from the closet that makes Liam grin.
“Excellent,” Harry says, coming back to the center of the studio with a large, pink exercise ball held between his arms.
Harry sets the ball between the two of them, and without warning, promptly bends over backwards until his back is a long arch balancing across it. Liam chokes back a moan, heat flushing to his face so quickly that there’s no way he can pretend it’s because of exertion.
“We’ll just be doing some stretching and strength training today,” Harry says, voice clear and strong despite the fact he’s practically upside down. “We don’t want to tire out your muscles too much, yeah? I know you’re also doing training with your regular physio.”
Liam’s tongue feels like it’s about five times too big for his mouth, and his throat dries up watching the way Harry’s shirt rides up slightly, revealing two laurel wreaths tattooed across his hips. He just nods at first before he realizes Harry can’t see him.
“Right,” he manages to get out, swallowing thickly.
Harry stretches his legs out farther, makes his body look all long and lean, and god this is so inappropriate. Liam can’t be thinking like this, not when Harry is technically his doctor, but it’s so hard when Harry looks so lithe and pliable.
“Right,” Harry echoes, springing up. He perches on the ball, bouncing on it slightly and smirking like he knows Liam’s trying not to have a total meltdown in his studio.
It’s one of the hardest physio session Liam’s ever had. Physically, it’s a breeze, but even the simplest stretches are difficult when all Liam can think about is how ridiculously big Harry’s hands are and how they feel pressing on the small of his back or stretched out across his thigh, dangerously close to his dick.
“You’re very tense, Liam.”
Liam’s lying back, legs straight with the ball underneath his feet and Harry standing straight in front of him, hands on his hips. Harry’s lips are pursed and his forehead is scrunched up, but he doesn’t seem angry. Liam’s pretty sure he’s trying not to laugh.
“You need to loosen up a little,” Harry insists, coming around to Liam’s side and squatting down next to him.
Before he can say anything, one of Harry’s hands is supporting Liam’s back, the other helping him relax the taut muscles of his thighs. Harry’s hand is warm through the thin material of Liam’s vest, and it’s making it harder for Liam to loosen his body up the way Harry wants him to.
“Liam, if you don’t relax -”
Suddenly, the ball slips from underneath Liam’s feet and two things happen as a result. First, Liam’s heels hit the ground with a painful thud, and second, Harry loses his balance trying to support Liam’s legs. Harry falls forward, luckily landing mostly on Liam’s chest and not his shoulder and, more unfortunately, knocking the wind out of him.
“You’re quite ungraceful when you’re not doing yoga, did you know that?” Liam huffs out.
Harry disentangles his long limbs from where he’s got them across and underneath Liam, instead propping himself up on one arm. Liam’s breath catches as Harry hovers above him, blowing a stray curl out of his face. He’s very, very close. Close enough that Liam sees a thin, pretty ring of gold around the inside of his green eyes.
“Excuse me, Liam, I’m very graceful,” Harry says gruffly.
Harry shifts a little above Liam, his other arm coming down so they’re both bracketing Liam in. Liam’s heart races a tiny bit faster at the way Harry’s looking at him, intense and and a bit inquisitive. He’s got quite the lovely mouth, Liam notices, not for the first time, naturally pink and pouty. Liam doesn’t think he’s ever wanted to kiss someone more.
There’s something like electricity in the air, and Liam squirms, his face moving towards Harry’s. They’re so close that their noses are almost brushing and Liam could kiss Harry right now if he wanted, if he thought that Harry wouldn’t mind.
But that’s the thought that has Liam pulling back and pushing gently on Harry’s chest until he’s rolled off onto his back. He doesn’t know if Harry wants to kiss him, what Harry really thinks of him. And even if he did, well, it wouldn’t be right kissing Harry, not when he’s technically Harry’s patient.
The smile Harry shoots Liam is uncharacteristically sheepish. He clears his throat loudly, giving his head a small shake before he says, “Um, so should we like move on then?”
Liam sits up and nods. It all feels a bit silly and ridiculous. He’s a patient falling for his doctor, just like he’s something out of one of the cheesy romance novels his older sisters would giggle about when they were younger. Liam pushes away all thoughts of Harry and his mouth and the feel of his strong body above him, and tries to calm his racing heart.
Three days before Liam has to leave for France, he finally has a day free from training, physio, and therapy. He calls Niall, asks him to pick up some beer, and finally takes a second to just relax and unwind and not worry.
“God, I needed this,” Niall moans, stretching his legs out in front of him.
They’re lazing in Liam’s backyard, splayed out across his deck chairs with the sun warm on their faces. Liam feels tired, but it’s the good sort of tired, the lazy sort of tired that comes with a cool drink and a nice day and good company. The pain in his shoulder’s all but subsided and, for the first time in nearly two weeks, he doesn’t feel too worried.
“Mark working you hard?” Liam asks.
Niall takes a large swallow of beer and nods. “Too hard. Afraid me knee’s going to give out before we get to France.”
“Don’t say that,” Liam says sternly, but the bit of tension that gathers in his shoulders seeps away when he sees Niall’s bright grin. “Oh.”
“Just exaggerating, Leemo,” Niall laughs. “Mark and I both know my limit, yeah? We’ll both make it to the Open in one piece, you and me, and we’ll both absolutely smash it.”
Liam rubs at his shoulder absent-mindedly, a habit he can’t seem to stop now the same way he can never get Niall and Louis to quit chewing on their fingernails before big games. Realizing that he believes Niall’s words comes as a bit of a shock to him. He’s going to the French Open.
“How’s your shoulder?” Niall asks, eyes resting on Liam’s hand.
“So much better,” Liam says. “Almost good as new.”
“And how’s Harry?” Niall continues with a smirk.
Liam feels his cheeks warm a little. He keeps playing his last day with Harry in a loop. Harry hovering above him, strong arms caging Liam in. The way Harry was so close, the way he smelled sweet and clean and boyish. The maybe-almost-kiss that’s got Liam wondering what Harry’s mouth would feel like against his own.
“Harry’s an excellent therapist,” Liam says, proud of how steady he manages to keep his voice.
“Is that all he’s excellent at, then?”
“Harry’s like, my doctor kinda,” Liam says sharply. “Nothing more, Niall.”
Niall’s still got a stupidly knowing grin on his face, and Liam takes a sip of his beer, looking out into the garden so he doesn’t have to see it.
“Right. Your doctor. From what Louis’s told me, Harry wouldn’t mind giving you a very thorough physical examination.” Niall says, nearly cackling with laughter.
Liam glares at Niall. “I dunno what Louis told you but nothing’s happening between me and Harry. He probably just didn’t realize Harry’s a naturally flirty person-”
“Mate, Harry never flirted with me,” Niall interrupts, eyebrow raised and mouth crooked in amusement.
“Oh. Um. He didn’t?” Liam asks. His heart is beating a bit faster than usual all of a sudden, his grip tightening around his beer bottle.
“Not once,” Niall says, shoulders shaking with the force of his laughter.
“Well, he’s still my doctor,” Liam says, frowning. “Even if he did like me, this would be wildly inappropriate.”
“Only your doctor until tomorrow, mate. You have no excuses after that.”
Liam just shakes his head, sinking lower into his chair. Flirting with Harry when he thought it was mainly for fun and just a little bit for real was one thing, but now, knowing Harry was possibly flirting back mainly for real and just a little bit for fun made everything feel different. The maybe-almost-kiss plays back in Liam’s mind for the thousandth time, Harry’s pink, plush mouth vivid in his memory. He wonders seriously for the first time if Harry really did want to kiss him back.
The last session with Harry, two days before Liam has to leave for France, is back at Liam’s house. There’s something different about the session, something weird and tense, and the tightness in Liam’s chest is unfamiliar and restricting like he’s just finished running suicides and he’s having trouble catching his breath.
Harry’s a bit more tentative with his touches today, still supportive but not as warm, like he’s holding back. His regular jokes are sparse and the only times he smiles at Liam is to encourage him through his stretches and poses.
Like always, they finish the session off with Child’s Pose, Liam stretching his arms out as far as they’ll go and trying to keep himself loose and to let the tension seep away from them. It feels a bit more strained than usual.
Harry’s still bent at the middle when Liam sits up, the back of his shirt riding up to reveal the softness of his hips around his leggings and and the dimples on his back. Liam lets himself stare until Harry sits up also, looking a lot more relaxed than Liam feels as he shakes loose curls away from his face.
“So, it’s our last day,” Harry says when he’s settled himself cross-legged on his yoga mat. “How do you feel now?”
“Amazing,” Liam says honestly. “This yoga therapy is probably one of the best ideas that Louis’s ever had.”
Between Sophia’s physio and Harry’s therapy, Liam’s felt better than he has in ages. His shoulder doesn’t just feel healed, it feels better than before, and it’s done wonders to boost Liam’s confidence for the tournament.
“Smart lad, that Louis,” Harry says. Liam nods in agreement.
Harry gathers his things in relative silence, rolling up his yoga mats and slinging them across his shoulder. Liam walks him through the house, up to the front door where Harry pauses, holding his hand out to Liam before he starts to put his shoes on.
“It’s been wonderful working with you, Liam,” Harry says, a small, genuine smile on his face.
Liam grabs Harry’s hand, remembering the first time he did the same thing, remembering how that hand felt elsewhere, on his back and legs and shoulders. He doesn’t want Harry to leave like this, doesn’t want this ending without knowing if there’s been something more going on. He doesn’t want this to be the last time he feels Harry’s hand in his.
“Have you been flirting with me?” Liam blurts out, wincing at his own bluntness and lack of subtlety. His face heats up immediately after the words leave his mouth, but they’re out now, and there’s no taking them back.
Harry’s eyes widen almost comically, a large, familiar grin on his face. “Liam, I asked if you wanted to handle my balls. I thought you realized we were flirting.”
Liam flushes deeper. “I just - um. I thought you were like that with everyone.”
“I definitely don’t let just anyone handle my balls,” Harry promises.
Liam laughs. His hand is still in Harry’s, awkwardly hanging there between the two of them. Liam glances down at them briefly before stepping forward, trying to close the distance between them.
“I’ve sort of been thinking about kissing you ever since we first met,” Liam admits. “Thought it’d be a bit weird or wrong since you’re technically my physio.”
“Well, I’m technically not your physio anymore,” Harry points out fairly. “And I’ve sort of been thinking about kissing you as well.”
Liam smiles, fully closing the gap between them finally. Harry’s mouth is just as soft as Liam first imagined. He’s an insistent kisser, firm and thorough with little finesse. Not that Liam minds though. He loves the way Harry is broad against him, how he can feel wispy curls tickling his cheek, how Harry bites his bottom lip playfully before he finally pulls away with a wide open-mouthed grin.
“That was nice,” Harry says, making Liam laugh widely in surprise.
“Yes, quite nice,” he agrees before he tugs Harry sharply back into his personal space, Harry’s yoga mats falling to the floor in his surprise
Their next is kiss is more heated, Liam pressing Harry against the door, letting his hands travel down Harry’s sides, squeezing at his soft hips and moaning when Harry slips a hand underneath his vest. Harry pushes their hips closer together, rutting up against Liam until Liam’s panting against Harry’s mouth and on the verge of nutting in his pants like he’s sixteen and fumbling around with boys in the locker room of his old tennis club again.
“So, can you show me exactly how flexible you are?” Liam asks breathily when Harry starts to move his mouth down Liam’s jaw and neck. “Because I’ve been thinking of little else ever since the first time you showed me how to do Downward Dog.”
Harry laughs throatily, and nods, biting down lightly on Liam’s neck in agreement.
Liam grins, head dizzy with the thought that this is definitely not the last time he’ll ever feel Harry’s hands on him again.
Niall Horan Upsets Ten Year Friendship With French Open Win
By: Dan Woottan
Crowds flocked to the Stade Roland-Garros in Paris, France this Sunday to watch the most anticipated match of the season. While fans buzzed in the stands, Niall Horan, 26, and Liam Payne, 26, took to the court, facing off in a game that might end a friendship that has brought joy to the hearts of the tennis world for nearly a decade.
After a grueling day of play, Horan took home his first title win with a score of 4–6, 6–4, 6–3, 6–4. With Horan’s recently operated knee and reports of Payne’s injured shoulder, neither men were contenders for the finals, but both shocked spectators across the globe by breezing through the tournament.
Neither Payne nor Horan were available for comment after the match, but both were seen together, along with Payne’s new boy-toy, yoga instructor, Harry Styles, at Horan’s after-party later that night. A source close to both athletes claim that things between the childhood friends were strained throughout the event and that Payne’s behavior had really, “put a damper on [Horan’s] win.”
“They’re best friends though,” said the source, “and I’m sure they’ll make it through this just like they’ve made it through everything else life has thrown at them.”
It seems as though Payne is seeking comfort in Styles who he has reportedly been with for only a couple days before the beginning of the Open. Multiple sources have reported that Styles did not leave Payne’s side during Horan’s party and the two were caught by fans in a compromising position inside the men’s toilets of the club.
The future seems bleak for Payne and Horan, but there’s no telling what may come next for the two former friends. Maybe all it will take is another day out on the courts to patch up the fraying ends of their friendship.
Niall laughs loudly, practically rolling around in his hotel bed as Liam crumples up the paper, promptly throwing it in the general direction of the bin. Harry and Louis are staring at the both of them in bemusement, Louis looking like he’s about to burst into the same state as Niall anytime now.
“Absolute rubbish,” Liam mutters. “‘The future seems bleak for Payne and Horan’. Where do they come up with this crap?”
“Hey,” Harry says softly, the small grin on his face the only indication that he’s not completely immune to Niall’s giggles. He tugs gently on Liam’s hand and Liam lets Harry pull him forward and into his lap. “This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, yeah? Like you said, it’s just crap.”
“It’s just so stupid,” Liam moans. He curls into Harry, marvelling for just a second that they both fit in the small armchair next to Niall’s bed before tucking his face into Harry’s neck.
“Listen, Liam, if you want to break up with me, I’m totally cool with that,” Niall says, still laughing. “No use keeping you around if you’re gonna be - what did they say? Putting a damper on my win.”
Liam flips Niall off without looking, Harry chuckling at the both of them underneath him.
“You know what I’m really curious about is this ‘compromising position’ you and Harold were caught in,” Louis says, and Liam can hear the smirk in his voice.
“It wasn’t that bad,” Liam scoffs.
“Is that true, Harry?” Louis asks.
“Definitely not that bad,” Harry replies and Liam finally looks up to see the smug grin on his face. “Dunno what they’re on about. Liam was clearly on his knees tying my laces for me.”
“Jesus Christ,” Niall says, face screwed up in distaste.
Harry’s the one in giggles this time as Liam elbows him gently in the stomach, unable to hide the wide grin spreading across his own face.
It had been a wonderful night, really. Being a runner up his first time in the French Open was more than Liam could ever dream for, and seeing Niall on the podium next to him, bright and shining as he made his speech only made things better, not worse. There’s few people in the world he would rather lose to, especially since Niall played such an amazing game.
The only thing that made the day better was Harry in the stands, cheering him on during the match and waiting for him after he was done with the press. It was hard to believe he was losing at anything when he had Harry pressing him into the mattress and leaving hot kisses on his skin.
“Maybe next year will be our year, Payno,” Louis says, changing the subject hastily. “We’re gonna take you down, Horan.”
“Fat chance,” Niall says, but he’s still smiling widely, all play and banter. “Let’s face it, Liam. There’s no chance in patching up the fraying ends of this dying friendship.”
“Think I found something better anyway,” Liam replies lightly. Harry squeezes softly around his middle and then smiles smugly at Niall.
Niall looks affronted as Louis and Harry laugh loudly. Liam feels lighter than he has in ages and he can hardly see how anyone can say he’s lost anything at all.