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Louis almost snaps when there is a light tap on the door of the studio. His knuckles go white on the edge of the cutting table but he forces himself to take a deep breath and put on a smile before he turns around. He isn’t the type to take his frustrations out on others, he prefers to take them out on himself. When he turns he finds Liam poking his head just past the door frame, hesitant to come in and disturb Louis.

“S’alright mate, come on in, I’m just cutting,” Louis smiles, setting down his heavy set of fabric scissors.

Liam strides in and approaches the long wooden table, strewn with exquisite looking fabrics and wispy pieces of pattern paper. He has no idea what Louis will do with the fabrics but he can already see the beauty in the materials and colours Louis has chosen to use together. Liam slings his arm around Louis shoulder and Louis leans into his touch with a sigh.

“Alright?” Liam asks gently.

“I mean, everything is coming together really nicely but I’ve asked the girls to ask around because I need a male model and they haven’t been able to find anyone. So now I’m going to have to go out looking for someone and I really don’t have time for that, nor do I think I can get anyone to agree,” Louis sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose.

“You know Zayn would do it for you, or even me,” Liam offers, hating to see his best friend stressed.

“I know babe, and thanks, but Zayn is too short for what I’ve designed, and you’re way too muscular for that blazer,” Louis sighs, gesturing over to the mannequin where the half finished piece hangs, “I need someone long and lean.”

“Why don’t you scope out the basketball team?” Liam suggests, brushing his fingertips along the silk spread across the table.

“Hannah asked Robbie already but their tournament is the day of the runway show so none of them will be able to do it,” Louis explains, he lets out a huff, “but I should get back to work,” he adds pointedly, because talking about it is stressing him out.

“Alright mate, I’ll leave you to it. I’ll keep my eyes open for someone,” Liam says, squeezing Louis shoulder gently, “you want to come with Zayn and I for lunch after next period?”

Louis stomach aches at the thought of sustenance but he shakes his head, “no thanks Li, I already grabbed a burger before I came in here,” Louis lies.

“Okay, see you at the flat then?” Liam nods.

“See you,” Louis agrees, already distracted with thoughts about his design.

Liam sees himself out and Louis lets out a sigh of relief when he’s left alone in the silent studio again. He loves his best friends to death but he’s barely keeping it together with the pressure of the winter fashion show and even though they mean well he thinks better when he’s alone. He has three weeks and he knows everything will be ready in time, because Louis may be late when it comes to everything else but he has never had problems with deadlines when it comes to his designs, but this male model issue is throwing him for a loop.

The upside of being in the fashion design program at the university is that he has about a hundred pretty girls who are more than willing to model for him, but he is seriously deprived in the male model department. He’s been at the university two years already and as its his third year he has the privilege of showing his entire winter collection at the schools winter fashion show along with the other third years.

This year he got adventurous and decided to branch out into mens designs and while the garments are turning out spectacularly, he’s now scrambling to find someone to fit them and do them justice. He leaves the cutting table with the fine silks to go over to the three mannequins in front of the frosty studio window. The first holds a thin legged trouser with a beautiful pea coat that is only waiting to have the buttons sewn on. Louis is waiting to find buttons that are just right on one of his many trips to the fabric store. The second mannequin holds a tweed dress pant with a thick cowel neck sweater, the trousers are unforgiving and half of Louis’ stress is finding someone with good enough legs to pull them off. The third mannequin is his favourite; the jeans are perfection and the soft fabric of the hand sewn t-shirt contrasts perfectly with the denim. The blazer though, the blazer is his masterpiece.

Louis sighs and rubs his eyes, trying to ignore the way his stomach cries. He lied about the burger because Zayn and Liam were already on him about not eating enough dinner last night. Their class schedules are so different that it is easy to lie about when he eats but it is harder on weekends because they all share a flat and the boys tend to notice when they don’t see him touch any food all weekend. He’s good at excuses though, and any time the start to seem concerned Louis just eats. He eats and then he goes for a shower, which really means he runs the water so they don’t hear him emptying the contents of his stomach before his digestive juices start absorbing nutrients that he neither wants nor needs.

No, Louis definitely does not need the heavy pasta that Liam loves, or the greasy pizza that is Zayn’s favourite. He also didn’t need that apple that he had three bites of this morning to keep from passing out while he stitched that gown. He finds it easy to ignore the throb of his stomach when he grazes his hand over his chubby hips and bulbous belly. Instead he turns back to the cutting table and focuses on snipping the correct shape into the silk for the cocktail dress he plans to finish before the end of the period.

Louis does finish the dress by the time the bell rings and he packs up his stuff and tucks everything in his corner of the studio. He has his merchandising class on the other side of the campus but he has to stop at the beverage cart to grab a tea, hopefully the splash of milk he adds will help combat the slight dizziness that comes with running on empty. He slings his messenger bag over his shoulder with the paper cup in his hand and he is about to hurry off to class when someone catches his eye.

There, leaning against the wall outside the biology lab is possibly the most gorgeous boy he’s ever seen. He’s talking and laughing with a smaller boy who has artificially blonde hair. He is posed like he’s in the middle of a GQ shoot; all lazy stance with perfect angles, one foot propped back against the wall, one hand raking through perfect chocolate brown curls. He’s tall and lanky, but not too reedy. He’s made of thin hips and long arms and a square jaw. Then he laughs and it is really more of a cackle but it is strangely beautiful the way he throws his head back and claps his hand over his mouth.

Louis can’t help but notice the huge sparkling green eyes and a set of the most adorable dimples. Louis doesn’t know what the blonde boy is saying but it must be hilarious because the beautiful boy against the wall is still chuckling when he dips his head down and grins bashfully at the ground. Then the classroom door opens and the beautiful boy straightens up off the wall to go into class. Louis’ breath catches in his throat when he notices the boys legs. He looks like he was poured into his jeans.

Louis finds it extremely easy to ignore the ache in the stomach, the buzz in his head and the stress in his bones because he’s just found him. He’s the one. Louis has to have him.