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Young & Beautiful

Chapter Text

The room is far too elaborately furnished, smells of polish, and nearly fucking glows in the afternoon light. It’s essentially an advert for a home and gardening network. It’s gorgeous, sure, with its honey wood floors and cream colored walls, picturesque windows peppering every room and the plushest and most ornate furniture (in the style of Baroque, for the love of god) clustered in the most artful patterns.

It’s luxurious and posh. And Louis abso-fucking-lutely detests it.

Not because it isn’t nice—he's not an idiot—but because of what it is. What it means. Here he is, having maintained a perfectly tediously normal and economically responsible life without his father’s money (thank-you-very-much) and now, as per the agreement struck between mother and father dearest in that nasty bit of divorce some years past, the latter had taken to insist that Louis attend the most awkwardly prestigious university England has to offer.

No pressure, of course.

Still better yet, father dearest didn’t even spring for a single; he insisted upon forcing Louis into one of the overly-compensating deluxe suites. The ones that require a flatmate.

So.

Not only is Louis being forced to enter a school completely out of his realm of expertise (because he was quite the social butterfly in the natural world, had a knack for making too many friends, if anything), he’s now contractually obligated to share HIS space with some pretentious twat who shits money and plays a pretty game of thinly veiled superiority. (No, he hasn’t met said flatmate yet, and no, he doesn’t need to in order to form judgment.) Louis has never been equipped to handle these situations with much grace. His mother always said his fiery tongue would be his downfall, were he not able to keep it in check. And “keeping it in check” is just something Louis does not do.

With a plonk that seems at odds with the fine setting, Louis drops his armful of bags and bits, sighing dramatically as he surveys his surroundings. Feeling a bit poetic (this is, after all, the opening scene to his tragedy) he sashays to the window, peering out at the ancient buildings entwined with ivy, settled in the vibrant green grass before him. His room sits on the ground, he once again notes with distaste. His windows are incredibly low set, providing easy entry for any entitled shit-faced intruder to hop in without any difficulty whatsoever. One could, quite literally, just throw a leg over and they’d be inside his flat.

Which is just excellent.

Not that Louis possesses anything these little Midas-es would want. (Excluding impeccable style, grace, and a full personality. Not to mention morals and a solid work-ethic.) (Well. Mostly solid.)  

“Oh my god,” comes the stunned voice from the door, and Louis turns to see his mum gaping at their surroundings, eyes scrambling to take it all in.

“I know. It’s a bit much, innit?” Louis remarks offhandedly, hands in pockets.

“It’s…it’s something,” she breathes in a low tone, and Louis doesn’t miss the bitterness that lies just below the surface. “Your father certainly has a knack for the most ‘showy’ of choices.” Pause. “When it involves public perception.”

Louis quirks an eyebrow. “Yes, Charles does, doesn’t he?” he replies delicately, placing special emphasis on the name.

He’s never been particularly comfortable with the term ‘father.’

With one last unimpressed glance out the window, he sighs and saunters forward. “C’mon, then. Let’s just get it all in here.”

His mum nods, still gaping with narrowed eyes, before following him out the door.

*

His mum left after they’d hauled box after box into Louis’ new abode, the murky cardboard contrasting against gilt picture frames and varnished ebony that had absolutely no place in a 21st century suite at school.

Seriously--why the fuck was everything gold? It’s Uni, not Versailles.

“I’ll see you soon?” his mother asked before she exited, voice teetering on the brink of frailty.

Louis nodded, doing his best to resist rolling his eyes in pained exaggeration. He was a good person, he really was—opened doors for little old ladies and all that—but his mother had a penchant for weakness and self-indulgent distractions, something he, nor his sisters, could ever really afford.

“’Course, mum. I’ll be back before you know it. One morning you’ll just wake up and there I’ll be, sitting at the table and demanding brekkie.”

“Or I could visit you?” she uttered with childish hope.

“Mum,” Louis sighed, lacing his words with feigned patience, “I’ll let you know. The term hasn’t even started. All right?”

She nodded, sad eyes gazing into his, imploring.

Right. Time to go.

Without transition, Louis wrapped impatient arms around his mother. “Thank you again for everything. Goodbye. Love you.” He pressed a stiff kiss to her cheek. “Tell the girls I’ll miss them, but only sometimes. Ban them from my room. And keep an eye out, all right? Don’t forget about them.”

She nodded, eyes still sad. “I won’t. Goodbye, Boo. I’ll miss you, my darling.”

“Best get going! Time is money!” was his response, sung in an overly chipper tone.

He watched her leave for only a moment before turning to the task at hand, mind still settled in the suitcases that littered the shining floors.

So now, Louis is alone, faced with duct-taped boxes, showy walls that mock him and his non-designer shoes, no flatmate (yet), and a very real sense of drowning.

“Well,” he mumbles, sniffing as he surveys his luxurious surroundings with hopelessness, “I suppose this is where it all begins.”