"I said yes."
He hadn't been able to say no.
And anyone who dared to mock him, or make fun of him, for admitting that should try to stare into those electrifying blue eyes and deny any request that they made. To be perfectly honest, it didn't really matter that they felt like the most beautiful pair of sapphires (which could shame any gemstone in existence) or that staring at them felt like gazing into a sea of the clearest waters mankind could find, or that they had tiny specks of green that mirrored his own emerald orbs...
Alright, maybe it did matter... to an extent. But all that truly mattered was that those precious eyes belonged to him: to Louis.
Louis fucking Tomlinson.
How ironically bittersweet was it to be part of one of the largest ships in the entire industry, only to realise that it was half-true? He reckoned half of their fan base would probably faint -either from joy or shock- if they ever found out how much his thoughts strayed to a certain Doncaster-born fellow.
Because yes. He, Harold Edward Styles (more commonly known as Harry Styles), was head over heels in love with Louis William Tomlinson. More than once had he tried to find a way to block out those feelings, burying himself in other, rather unhealthy, relationships. Yet nothing worked. His heart still belonged to someone else.
Not that there was anything wrong with being attracted by both genders. Harry had found out he swung both ways back when his biggest achievement was being part of the White Eskimos, and One Direction was still waiting to be born. He was a vivid supporter of LGBT, even if he still had not publicly come out as bisexual- only six people knew: his mother, his sister and the four boys he had grown to love so much. However, the biggest problem for him was not that he was bi, but that all of the fucking men and women, he just had to fall for his best friend and band mate.
Any Larry shipper that considered themselves the Number-One-Larry-Shipper was in for a shock, because that title truthfully belonged to Harry. He had lost count of the hours spent on Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram or any type of social media in general, searching for even the tiniest slice of comfort from his torment. For he knew his hopes and dreams of being more than close friends would only ever be that: dreams. He did not deserve him.
It had hit him the hardest once Dunkirk filming had finalised. Instead of finding his "how was your day, H?" text, Louis had sent him what felt like an entire album of photos of him and Freddie on holiday. Harry absolutely adored the little baby boy, but the photographs only served the purpose of reminding him that Louis was holidaying with Danielle. A cruel reminder that someone else held his beloved's heart- and it was not him.
Danielle was nice enough, and Harry was content with Louis being happy with her, but it would be a big fat lie to say that he wasn't hurt by it. Harry was the type of person who would be happy for their loved ones if they were happy, but sometimes, Harry could not help bitterness as he nursed his emotional wounds.
Harry had gulped down he burning sensation in his throat and answered Louis with a cheeky "cutie, just like his father :) x" before deciding to go to bed early (six in the afternoon to be exact). He was no stranger to crying himself to sleep, but what had shocked him to his core was that he had not.
He had laid down on the sheets, and felt a numbness that terrified him. Harry would have never guessed he would miss the tears, but anything would have been better than to feel nothing at all. It was horrible, but that night changed Harry- and not in a good way. And when Louis had broken up with her, and moved back to Eleanor… well, Harry was ashamed to admit that he spent a full week wrapped up in blankets, locked inside his room.
But who would care? After all-
Harry started, almost dropping the iPad. Gemma Styles glared suspiciously at him from the screen. Her brother had been so immersed in his thoughts he had thoroughly ignored her attempts to bring him back to their conversation. "Sorry sis," he mumbled embarrassedly.
"Have you listened to anything I've said?"
"Um... I kinda blocked out anything after I told you I said yes..."
Gemma sighed. "I did not expect him to do that when I called him..."
"You WHAT!?" Harry stared at his sister, eyes wide as saucers, as Gemma bit her lip and shifted uncomfortably from the chair where she was sitting. She had clearly not meant to say that out loud. "You called him!?"
"'M sorry, Harry. But I was desperate! I really can't afford to take a trip to America right now, and he's the first one I thought of!"
"Why him!?" Harry did not realise he was basically howling as he put his head into his hands.
"Because he is the one who had always made you happy, for crying out loud." Gemma had managed to calm down. "Louis is your best friend as far as I know! We all know the articles which keep making you look as enemies are just a load of shit. I just didn't think he'd go from going to visit you to actually asking you to stay with him for some time!"
Harry kept his face in his hands, feeling his blood boil. Gemma had had good intentions, but now they were presented with this tricky scenario which frightened him to high heaven. "Damn it," he muttered.
"Harold," and Harry knew that when Gemma used his name like that it was because she was full-on serious. "For the past however months, you have been a depressed wreck, and you have no idea- repeat- no clue over how much it hurt me and Mum to see you like a broken doll! You never smile anymore! Where is the brother who always had a grin and a laugh for everyone?"
"Honestly, if you refuse to see a therapist, but shut yourself from the world, then I am bringing the heavy artillery! And frankly, maybe some time with Louis will-"
"SHUT! THE FUCK! UP!!!" Even with all the distance between them at the moment, Gemma flinched as if he was right beside her. His eyes looked so hurt and yet so utterly mad, she feared she had lost her Harry. Tears streaming down his cheeks, he looked every inch a wrecked soul.
"All I hear is what you feel! What mum feels! What everyone else in the world seems to fucking feel! What about me? Have any of you stopped to think that I'd like nothing else than to stop being so damn sad?! And then you just had to go to phone LOUIS! Not only does he have better things to do than care for me, he-!"
"HE WHAT?" Gemma was not going down without a fight to prove she was right. "D'you think Louis would not move heaven and earth just to make you feel better? You most certainly need that! Being in a house with him is something you've done before; it will be like the old times! What's so bad about-?!"
"THE FACT THAT I AM SO FUCKING IN LOVE WITH HIM AND NONE OF YOU CAN EVEN SEE IT!"
Dead silence, only interrupted brusquely by Harry's sniffing as his eyes kept watering. Gemma was frozen, and her mouth was open in a small "o". She slowly brought a hand to her mouth, and her own eyes were shining. "You..?"
Harry nodded, looking down at his feet, hot tears still dripping from his cheeks onto the floor.
"Why did you never tell me?" Gemma whispered. "I thought that was just a one-time crush..."
"It never stopped."
The pain from his tone was like a knife in her heart. "Oh, Harry. I wish I could hug you. I'm so, so sorry."
"Don't", Harry sniffed. "You were trying to help. I'm sorry for yelling."
Gemma looked away, feeling so ashamed and guilty. "You know you don't have to go..."
"I already agreed. Anyway, maybe you're right. It might make me feel better to see him." Gemma was still not convinced, and his body language gave away that he too was extremely unsure.
"You know you can call me anytime, right? You're my brother Harry, I'll always be there." She sounded so hurt, and Harry regretted his harshness in his outburst. "You don't have to do this. Louis will understand it..."
"He'll come here then. He knows me well enough that if I suddenly say no he'll come to check up on me. I'd rather he not know... You're the only one who I've told."
"More than half your fans beat me to it," she smiled trying to make light of the situation. "Just... Don't do anything rash, okay? Ever since you were a baby you've tried to bottle stuff in, and that's never going to help you."
Harry sighed. Yes, maybe he did do that, but he wasn't about to tell Louis he loved him.
"I really have to go Harry." Gemma smile apologetically. "If there's an emergency, call me whenever you need, okay? I love you." She stressed the last part, knowing Harry was in desperate need of some loving.
"Love you too, Gems." Harry's words could not be truer, but his smile was nothing but a long-shot attempt that looked more like he had a severe case of toothache. "Talk to you later?"
"Always," and with that, Gemma ended her FaceTime call with her brother. Said brother sat down on the sofa, legs crossed, as he pondered how he would be able to hide his true feelings. Again.
Harry could have slapped himself as he observed his facial features in the mirror. He had been a good actor for the past six and a half years, why not now? He had disguised his true sentiments towards Louis so well, and yet now he found himself incapable of facing him without kissing him.
But not having seen him in months had weakened his resolution. His eyes, his smile, his lips... they looked so inviting... No. He had to learn to control himself. The only problem with that being that he was about to get into his car and drive to Louis' place. Louis had texted him the address, and mysteriously assured him that both Freddie and his girlfriend were not there.
Harry was not sure if that was a curse or a blessing. He was happy that he would be able to spend quality time with just Louis, but he feared what would happen if he had an outburst- the absence of reminders that Louis had already built a life beyond this sudden retreat would make Harry more likely to let something slip. And he was not ready for that to occur. Not now, not ever.
Yet who could guarantee that it would be smooth sailing?
What if he messed things up?
Worst of all, what if Louis found out and then started to hate him for it?
"Stop," he muttered to himself. There was no good in thinking about that. There could be no question of slip-ups; his secret would be kept away from Louis Tomlinson, ensuring that their friendship would at least stay alive.
As he heaved his bags into the back of the car, Harry wondered what was going to happen. He had not seen Louis face-to-face for months, and most of all, how would their interactions be like? It had been so long since they had lived together, and worst of all, they had to be super careful of being seen together out of the house. The media would be all over them, and Louis had managed to squeeze by unnoticed into Los Angeles- a feat that not many from Hollywood could boast about.
Turning the radio on, Harry was treated to a loud radio host announcing one of One Direction's songs coming up next. The moment Niall's soft voice tickled his ears, he knew what song it was. "Infinity..." he whispered. What better song to identify himself with? Hadn't he waited and waited for a sign, for what felt like an eternity? With a broken heart, Harry had still gone out and put on a brave face, masking his torment. It would certainly take more nights to fix his heart. There were more cracks in it than stars in the skies. As he passed a familiar venue where paparazzi had once kept him from getting back home on time a couple of years previous, he looked at the piece of paper where he had written Louis' address on.
Fortunately, the house was in a secluded area far from the city centre, which meant there was a higher chance of privacy. Plus, as the house came into view from the distance, Harry could not deny the house looked splendid. Although he knew it was vain, Harry couldn't help but relish in the fact that Gemma only had had to call Louis and tell him Harry was not feeling alright before he went all out and bought a house and asked him to come stay with him for some time.
Some time. Harry suddenly realised they had never specified how much time Harry would spend with Louis. A week? A month? And even then, who was there to assure him he was not going to go mad before that? Too late for that, he was outside the gates, and honking the horn before he could stop himself.
Oh crap. Harry felt panic bubble in the pit of his empty stomach. He just was not ready. What about his hair? His clothes? He looked like a mess! He just couldn't possibly...
There he was, coming towards him like Archangel Gabriel to the Virgin Mary- well, maybe that was an exaggeration, but to him, it felt like Louis was descending from the stars. He looked so cute in jeans and a white t-shirt, his eyes shielded from the dazzling sun with his sunglasses and his hair askew.
Harry simultaneously gave thanks and damned the heavens. Louis was drop-dead gorgeous. How could someone possibly be this precious? It should be made illegal to be so attractive.
But what captured Harry's attention more than anything was the wide grin that threatened to burst his friend's face. Harry just couldn't help himself and opened the car door and rushed towards Louis. With a hearty exclamation of delight, Harry and Louis melted into a long-awaited hug. The force of it was such that they both ended up on the ground, giggling like children.
"Harry!" Louis' grip on him was strong, and Harry felt tears threaten him again. "I missed you mate!"
Harry did not need to reply, his nuzzling of Louis' neck was all that he needed to put behind so many months of no physical contact. "Lou..." he whispered, quite not believing he was in his strong arms. Harry had always loved those enormous biceps that Louis had worked on for many years.
They stayed in an embrace for a long time, Harry inhaling that familiar scent that he had sorely missed for so long. He was well aware of the problems surrounding him, but for a few moments, he allowed himself the luxury of being able to enjoy this moment without thinking of his many concerns.
Louis withdrew, and Harry had to restrain from whining. Suddenly, he took off his sunglasses and Harry had the pleasure of looking straight into the blue eyes he had dreamed about so often. "C'mon Haz. Let's get inside, I have lunch ready!"
And for the first time in what felt like forever, Harry actually felt compelled to eat.
If the house looked good from the outside, the inside was ten times better. And "house" did not do the place justice- more of a manor or mansion if truth be told. Harry was no stranger to big residences, but Louis... Louis had bought this on the simple whim of spending time with him! "How...?"
"If you're going to ask me how could I afford this, don't worry. I was saving up with Mum for a long time to get a place like this."
Harry was still shocked. "But- how- when did you-?"
"Well, you know, when Mum... passed away, I almost forgot about it, but as always, she was one step ahead, and had kept the money ready for whenever we needed it. I ended up buying it a couple of weeks ago, when I invited you to come stay over. I’m sure she’d approve…" Louis gave him a cheeky smile. "And apparently, she was right in saying that it was a great place. I hope you like it."
"I love it,"
Harry couldn't help but smile back. Jay... even now she was working miracles- God bless her. He was brought back to Earth with a loud rumble. "Someone's hungry," Louis commented teasingly, poking a finger at his side.
Guiltily, Harry chuckled, desperate to hide the fact he'd literally been fasting for days, barely eating until someone forced him to. "What's for lunch?"
"Well, as you probably remember, you were always the more talented one in the kitchen..." Louis scratched the back of his head apologetically. "Buuuuuuuut, I am exceptionally talented in ordering food. Are you up for tacos and stuff?" And Harry could only beam, because he had remembered his favourite food.
"You really are one of a kind, Lou..." The words simply slipped off his tongue.
Louis bowed down with a smirk. Their eyes met, and Harry prayed his green would not give away he was desperate to close the space between them. Louis' eyes crinkled in what Harry supposed were affection. "I've really missed you, Harold." And suddenly, he was hugging him again.
"This is when you are supposed to say ‘me too’ you know..." and Louis' sassiness was enough to make him laugh out loud.
"Of course I missed you, idiot."
Lunch was one of the most revitalising events in the last couple of months. Harry ate, spoke and laughed- all things he had scarcely done for a long time. And all of it was light-hearted. Harry and Louis spoke of football, of music, of the food and Louis' disastrous attempt from 2012 to make an omelette. "Yeah, whatever. Liam complained for what felt like forever, but you didn't see him trying to help clean or make something else for supper, did you?"
Harry was extremely grateful for all this. Just this... Quality time. Where nothing troubled him, even if it only lasted a moment. "Nialler thought it was decent..."
Louis' snorted. "But we're also talking about the same Niall who ate that suspicious-looking piece of chicken from the floor at Nando's."
Harry chuckled. Why couldn't everything be as simple as this? Why was everything so damn complicated? Abruptly, a piece of corn hit his cheek. "What the-?"
"The perfect way to stop Haz from daydreaming." Replied Louis in a satisfied tone. "FOOD FIGHT!" And before he knew it, SPLAT! A blob of mashed potatoes collided with his left eye.
"You know this means war..." Harry whispered, before throwing a half-eaten taco. "And I'm definitely going to win!"
If someone were to innocently come in to check on the boys, they'd be treated to an entertaining display of flying food. Harry was giggling like a schoolboy, but who cared? He was having too much fun to worry about the state of the kitchen. Suddenly, he was splashed with a shower of barbecue sauce.
He crouched down, shielding his eyes, not moving a muscle. "Oh shit! Harry, you okay?" Louis hurried over to him, and kneeled down to his level. "Oh my God, I'm-!" Harry smirked. His best friend was still as gullible as always.
With a rapid exchange of hands, Harry smacked Louis full on the forehead with a piece of garlic bread heavily dipped in sour-cream. "Ha! Got you Louis!" Harry couldn't hold back the roar of laughter that came over him. Louis looked positively ridiculous with a mixture of sauces dripping on his face. His eyes still shut as to avoid the ketchup, a mischievous grin formed on his face.
"Wait a sec," he got up, and Harry suspected he was going to clean his face as he approached the sink (not that he would be able to stop him, he was still rolling on the floor in a fit of giggles). But quick as a flash, Louis opened the fridge and drew out: "Oh, no, not the whipped cream!"
Getting up hastily, Harry attempted to run away, but Louis had already reached him. His hair had grown longer, and for a second, he missed his short hair from Dunkirk, but Harry still had some tricks up his sleeve. "Okay, fine! Truce! I call a treaty between the two armies of food!"
Chuckling, he offered his dirty hand, and the moment Louis took it, Harry pulled him close, nuzzling into his neck, making sure he smeared most of the cream in his curls onto Louis. "Traitor!" but Louis was ready to keep peace. "I think that's enough..."
"This...is going to take quite some time to clean, you know..." And just like that, they were both back to laughing like maniacs. "Oh Lou, we're in our twenties, look at us!"
"I say, you look quite dashing with barbecue on your cheek..." And unexpectedly, Louis stood on his tiptoes and licked a bit off. "Tasty! You'd make a good dinner, Haz!"
Unbeknownst to him, Harry felt a chill run down his spine. He had to restrain himself from doing the same to Louis; knowing himself, he'd get a bit too carried away, and the last thing he wanted was for Louis to start feeling suspicious. "D'you...d'you think I can take a shower?"
"Shower? Oh no, in this house we fill buckets from the sink and throw them over our bodies in the backyard." Silence... And then Louis burst out laughing. "Fuck's sake, Harry! I'm joking! Let's use the one downstairs. I still want to give you a tour!" And he seemed so utterly excited at the prospect that Harry could only grin.
The warm embrace of the water cascading on him was relaxing...and still Harry felt tense.
Yes, the past hour had been calm and stress-free, but now that he had time to think... He was deeply afraid. Louis had been nothing but kind and friendly, and...and... Oh God, how he wanted to kiss him. To hug him without having to feel self-conscious. To tell him how much he truly loved him.
However, Harry was well aware of the almost certain consequences. Louis would surely be disgusted with the idea. He would sever all ties, except many the professional ones for the sake of fans, and never look at him again. Harry was terrified of that scenario. He couldn't afford to lose him, and anyway...wasn't an unaware best friend better than an aware acquaintance?
Sadly, Harry knew he had to swallow down his feelings. For the sake of their friendship, for the sake of his love. At least nobody could stop him from loving Louis... Damn it all, Harry smashed his fist against the wall. Out of all the people in the world, why did it have to be Louis? His best friend? Why?
Trying to cool down from his flaring temper, he began to sing quietly, loving the way his voice echoed all around him. Harry never boasted about having a good singing voice. Being completely truthful, he was quite self-conscious about his singing, always worried about disappointing people, but he pushed through it, and was capable of acknowledging whenever he had a good show.
"How many nights does it take to count the stars? That's the time it would take to fix my heart. Oh baby I was there for you, all I ever wanted was the truth..."
Slowly, he yielded and closed the tap as he took a maroon towel and wrapped it around his waist. Shaking his wet hair like a dog, he cursed as he realised he forgot his clothes in his bags.
Opening the door, he was surprised to find a shirtless Louis crouched down on the floor. "Um... Lou?"
"Oh, Harry!" Louis hastily got up, almost dropping his phone in the process. "I-I-I... Er... I dropped my phone and... Um..."
"Were you....were you recording me?" Harry asked incredulously.
"No! I mean... Well, I-... Maybe...?" Louis bit his lip, looking apprehensive of his reaction.
Harry rolled his eyes, and smirked. "If you post that anywhere I'll kill you..." He said teasingly.
Louis stuck his tongue out cheekily, but his eyes gave away the relief he was experiencing too. "Rest assured... By the way, you might want to..." And Harry blushed furiously and ran to get clothes as Louis pointed out that his towel had dropped.
The early days of July were extremely warm, so Harry decided on a white t-shirt and beige trousers that his mother gave him for his birthday. Having lost a considerable amount of weight, the clothes felt slightly too big for him, but that was the case for most of his wardrobe anyway, so there was no point in being picky.
He got up from the sofa and went looking for Louis. However, as he neared the bathroom, he heard running water and came to the conclusion his best friend was still taking a shower. Crossing his arms, he rolled his eyes with an affectionate smile on his lips, remembering how Louis would take the longest showers out of the members of the band.
His thoughts were disturbed by a noise growing louder from within the bathroom. A mixture of sweet and powerful. It was beautiful. Nothing could ever top Louis Tomlinson's voice when he sang like that in his opinion. Approaching the door, he started making out the words he was singing.
"But if you like causing trouble up in hotel rooms; and if you like having secret little rendezvous; if you like to do the things you know that we shouldn’t do; then baby, I'm perfect; baby, I'm perfect for you..."
The song they wrote together for Made In The AM.
Louis had insisted on Harry singing the chorus, when Harry had fought tooth and nail for Louis to sing that, trading the first verse. Finally, sneaky Louis got Liam and Niall on his side, so Harry had to give in. But hearing Louis' melodious voice echo with the words of the song was enough to make him melt.
It was only when Harry heard the door start to open that he realised he had his phone recording. Backing away quickly, he tried to rearrange his features so that it didn't give away that he had been listening and had been instead waiting nonchalantly for him to come out.
"Oh, Harry. Um, let me get change real quick, eh?"
"What? I mean, yeah, sure." Harry knew he was blushing. Curse his white complexion!
Louis was pretty quick in selecting skinny jeans and a baby blue tank-top. "Okay, where should we start?"
"Er.. Lou, maybe we should... I dunno, maybe clean the mess we've just made...?"
"Nah, we'll do it later..." as always, unwilling to clean up. Harry smirked.
"Well, you've seen most of the downstairs area. This is the kitchen and dining room. Over there is the living room, which has another small bathroom just in case. There's two doors here," he added as they entered the hall where people entered the house. "One leads to the place where we can keep and do laundry, and the other goes to the basement. I wouldn't recommend going in there, though- I forgot to have it cleaned so right now it's more of a dust storage room."
Most of the walls were a creamy colour, but what suddenly caught Harry's eye was the mirror and narrow table near the coat-hanger by the door. His reflection was not important, but what he was interested in was the framed pictures put in a line.
There was a picture of Louis and all his sisters, in a green frame, and another right next to it of him and his mother. The next frame was silver and held two photos, both of them of him holding little Freddie. In a copper frame lay a photograph of the band: him, Louis, Niall and Liam hugging after their last concert before their break. And the very last frame was gold in colour, but it was not the glow of the colour that brought tears to Harry's eyes. He remembered this photograph. It was the first one he and Louis ever took together, when they'd been teenagers with all their hopes set for victory in the X-factor.
Harry's eyes felt prickly and hot. They both looked so young and carefree, and positively excited. Why couldn't it have stayed that way? "Sorry, I-"
He felt Louis coming closer, and then a strong arm hugged him close. It was then that Harry realised a tear had escaped his eyes. "Hey, you alright?"
"Yup," Harry sniffed, and wiped his eyes. He faced Louis with a little smile. "I just got emotional. It's been so many years since..." He gestured towards their picture. "...since this."
Louis gave a low chuckle. "It's sure been a bloody roller-coaster! And you looked like such a foetus here!" He quickly ducked from Harry's playful punch. "Not that I'm looking any better, eh?.
"You always looked handsome..." Harry muttered.
Louis gave him an odd look before smiling and leading him up the stairs, his arm still wrapped around Harry. "So up here on the first floor, you have all the bedrooms, an office study and an empty room which I'm still wondering how to fill." Leading him towards the end of the hallway, Harry appreciated the walls went from white and faded into a pale blue.
"There is another floor above this one: the attic. It's full of old furniture the previous owners left behind, so I don't think we'll go up there too much."
"This is my room," he opened the mahogany door. The bedroom was quite spacious, even for what Harry expected. The king-size bed looked incredibly comfortable (4 pillows), and there was a large carpet at the foot of it. A plasma TV was stuck at the opposite end. There was a shelf and a cupboard. The cupboard was closed with a lock, and the shelf was filled with books. A bedside table with a lamp was on the left. And a large wardrobe loomed on the right. Another door led to an immaculate bathroom, and Harry wondered how the rest of the rooms would be like.
"Big? Yes. I thought that too, but I don't really live here so I think I'll survive." Harry rolled his eyes. "Anyway, let me show you your room..."
Once back in the hallway, about ten steps from Louis' was another well-carved door. “Welcome to your room, H."
Harry's walls were a beautiful burgundy adorned with petite golden spiralling curls. He had his own bathroom and a small bulge on the opposite side facing Louis' room. A wide window gave him a wonderful view of the city in the distance, and red curtains promised to provide shade when needed. Two empty wardrobes stood in a corner, and another television over a small fireplace (not really employable in the nights of summer) and upon the bedside table, there was a framed chalkboard with the words "Harry".
The bed was enormous, probably the same size as the other one, but as Harry neared it, he noticed in the middle of the covers was a little piece of paper. Harry recognised the familiar handwriting as Louis’, who had neatly written "Welcome Haz, Lou".
"I hope you like it," said Louis quietly. "If not we can change-"
"No, it's wonderful," Harry cut in. "Louis, it's perfect..."
Turning to face him, Harry grinned at the beam on Louis' face. "There's one more thing..."
Raising an eyebrow, Harry scanned the room again. Nothing really out of the ordinary in his bedroom...right? "What?"
Louis moved towards the small bulge on the wall facing his own room. With a rapid movement of his fingers, he pulled a piece of fabric off, revealing "A doorknob? What the hell?"
Louis shushed him, and turned it, revealing that the uneven space of the wall was actually a door! "I had this made secretly. It connects your room with mine. I thought it was funny to have a passageway, like in the old medieval castles, you know?"
His small bouts of childish innocence made him all the more endearing. Harry gave a mock-sigh. "Louis William Tomlinson, what am I going to do with you?"
"Right back at you, Harold Edward Styles." came his sassy reply.
For a small moment, Harry imagined how soft Louis' lips would feel, but immediately shook it off, and instead opted for jumping on the bed and laying down. "Count me in!" And soon enough, Louis had jumped on top of him.
"Geroff me!" cried Harry. "Lou!"
Said friend was laughing his ass off. "Fine, you whiney little shit."
As they both lay down on the bed facing the white ceiling, Harry wished he could spend every day like this with Louis. He felt him shift on his side. "Harry...?"
"Can we talk?"
Oh no. Harry had been dreading this, and he hated the cliché of 'can we talk'. It made him extremely nervous and the fact that they were so close only made it worse. Moving into a sitting position so that they were facing each other whilst Louis kept sprawled on the sheets, his head propped on his elbow. "S-sure,"
"Um... Well, a week or so ago, Gemma-"
"I know she called you," interrupted Harry, unable to look him in the eyes. "Gems called you to tell you that... Well I'm not sure what she explained, but I suppose it was along the lines that I'm...I'm..."
"Sad? Depressed? Wasting away with nothing and nobody?" Louis eyes were pools of concern. "Harry... I..." Louis moved so he was sitting opposite Harry, close enough to hear his breathing. "When I heard you were so...so alone, it felt like shit. Liam, Niall and Zayn are our best friends, but they’ve always been deceived easily. But I can see right through it. I knew you were always fighting some personal battle."
Harry was doing his best not to crumble. He didn't want Louis to see him so broken. "Hey, look at me," and Harry felt Louis take a warm hand and lift his chin so that he was staring back, the blue reflecting back his green.
"When Gemma called, I felt like I had to do something. For you, Harry; my best mate in the whole world. It tore my heart, because I knew something was wrong, but I always hesitated to ask you. I... I failed you."
"Let me finish. I know I've been busy with my son and all... But that never replaced you. My son and my best friend are separate, but I love them both very much. I could see it in your eyes. You looked so...different when you arrived. I know you- you probably haven't eaten for days on end, and slept only when you collapsed from exhaustion. It would hurt anyone to see you like this."
Harry looked down again, feeling moisture cloud his eyes.
"If I know you well, and I definitely do, my dear curly, then you probably won't want to discuss it now. And unlike Gemma, I won't pressure you into telling me. Tell me only when you decide you want to. I can promise- well, no, I swear on my life- that I will be here, as long as need be. If you need something well, we're going to be living here together, so I'm never too far away to help you. Alright?"
Harry nodded, his eyes feeling incredibly hot, but still unable to move his arms, scared that any movement would trigger an explosion in him.
"Harry?" Louis' tone was soft and mellow. "You know I’m not going to run away, right?"
And that was the final straw.
Harry had no idea how, but he was sobbing profusely, the hot tears streaming down his red cheeks, as he shook uncontrollably. "Oh, Haz." And then Louis was beside him, and then he was hugging him and Harry was crying into him, grabbing at his shirt like his life depended on it. "Shhh, I got you, Harry. I got you."
Harry kept crying into Louis' chest, feeling the torrent of emotions rush through him. He had been unable to keep it in any longer. Louis was so nice and caring. He did not deserve this. He did not deserve the sweet words and tight embrace that promised safety and love.
Louis held the boy, feeling every single sob racking his body. Harry felt so utterly broken. "I'm sorry," he choked out between cries. “I’m sorry-”
"Shh," Louis held him tighter, his hand patting the soft curls, and making soft patterns on his back. "Let it all out. I'm here."
Slowly, but surely, Harry began to calm down. He felt the damp spot he had left on Louis' tank-top, eyes still slightly watery. Louis had his chin buried in his soft hair, and was humming a soft tune, still not letting go of him. "Better?"
Harry reluctantly withdrew and answered with a sad smile.
Harry nodded, not trusting his own voice.
Louis smiled back, not thoroughly convinced. "I need to start cleaning, or else it's gonna smell. You rest up, okay?" He softly moved away from Harry and was already heading downstairs when footsteps from behind surprised him. A hand reached for his shoulder and he turned to face Harry.
"I made half of that mess. Wouldn't be fair for you to clean up on your own." Harry said as he grinned.
Louis’ adorable half-smile crooked to one side. "Come on then,"
But halfway down the flight of stairs, Harry reached for him again. "What?" and his friend's face was the epitome of gratitude and affection.
"Thank you, Lou."
For entire nights, Harry had been unable to sleep.
Tonight was no exception. Harry had excused himself early on at eleven whilst Louis finished washing up. He wasn't exactly tired, even after spending most of the afternoon cleaning the kitchen with Louis.
He had tried everything to fall asleep. He had tried to sleep in different positions, tried light exercise, drank some warm milk and even read a bit, but he still fell wide awake. Definitely not falling asleep anytime soon. He got up and pulled his pants on. He liked sleeping naked, but now there was nothing to it if he couldn't sleep.
Looking out the window, Harry observed the flurry of lights dancing in the midst of the dark sky. Los Angeles at night looked incredibly beautiful. Even being this far away, Harry thought he could hear the light tune of music which was surely bombarding party-goers in the many clubs scattered across the region.
He caught sight of the doorknob, and attempted to ignore the itch that presented itself through his body. Louis had done enough today, he shouldn't really disturb him now... Especially at midnight... But it looked so inviting. Maybe he could just take a peek? He would be very quiet so...
Before he realised it, he was opening the hidden door and walking through the passageway. The cracks underneath the door gave away that Louis still had his lights on...therefore he was probably still awake. Harry was starting to have second thoughts about it, but it was too late, he had already knocked.
Damn his impulsiveness!
The door swung open. Louis was in pyjama shorts and looking just as awake as Harry. "Can't sleep either, huh?"
"Not really, you?"
"Nope," Louis popped the 'p'. "Come in."
As soon as he stepped in, Harry felt much calmer. Louis' room gave off a vibe of security and warmth- odd since it was summer, but warmth a way that Harry did not feel overheated, but instead feel at home.
"I've got an idea."
Louis' eyes twinkled. "Let's watch Titanic."
Harry's jaw dropped. He remembered? But it was late. "I wouldn't want to-"
"I'll make popcorn," he added invitingly.
Harry bit his lower lip, unsure over what to do. It was something he longed to do, reliving the past times, when they shared another home, and spent nights watching movies together and falling asleep on the sofa. But what if something slipped?
Louis patted the space beside him on the bed. "Come on Jack. Don’t ever let go..." He trailed with a mocking sing-song voice.
Harry smiled and gave in. "Shut up, Louis." he sat down, shifting the pillows so that it was comfortable for them both.
"Be back in a second, you put the DVD in," said Louis thrusting the case into his hands and heading downstairs.
And in the course of ten minutes, Harry had gone from staring at a dark ceiling in solace to cuddling Louis whilst watching their favourite movie. The beauty of it all came down to the fact that during the movie, he and Louis could sit there together, with no words exchanged, but close in each other's warmth.
It was then, as the old Rose dropped her jewellery in the cold depths of the sea aboard the boat that Harry felt himself drift onto blissful sleep, with no worries clouding his mind or dreams.
The dawn in July was always a breath-taking sight, but nobody in the house seemed ready to wake up. Limbs entangled together, a couple of stray pieces of popcorn and the covers on their feet.
Harry awoke, but kept his eyes shut, feeling cozy and snug. However, when he remembered whose arms were holding him so satisfyingly, his eyes shot wide open like saucers. Turning his head, he was treated to what Harry believed was the most bewitchingly beautiful thing in the world.
Louis looked positively adorable asleep. His mouth slightly open as he snored softly and his hair ruffled into a messy state. Harry imagined that they both fell asleep watching Titanic... Or at least he hoped so. He was scared to imagine if he had talked in his sleep about Louis and his true feelings, but he supposed that if that were true, Louis wouldn't have wrapped himself protectively around him.
Moving slowly as to not wake him up, Harry slowly disentangled himself from him, and went downstairs to make breakfast. It was the least he could do after Louis' welcoming.
If he recalled correctly, Louis loved Special K and tea. Add in a bit of scrambled eggs and sausages and he was set for the day. Harry set about with the eggs, whilst scanning the cupboards to find the cereal. As he thought of what tea Louis would like best, he looked for the sausages in the fridge.
Whilst waiting for the plate to cool down, Harry decided to add in some orange juice, because there's no proper breakfast for any of them without it. Seeing that he still hadn't come downstairs despite the racket he probably made, he loaded stuff on the tray. Louis appeared all of a sudden, yawning and rubbing his eyes.
"Oh, good. That means I don't have to walk up the stairs."
"Breakfast in bed?" And he was off back up the stairs. Harry could hear him going up the steps and stifled a giggle.
"You're an arse!" he yelled.
"I know!" came the reply.
As he reached the bedroom, Louis was waiting patiently with his hands behind his head. "Two minutes? We'll have to learn to do better now, shouldn't we Styles? Might have to cut your salary this month..."
"Oh please sir, I have four mouths to feed back at home!" said Harry playing along with him before they both chuckled.
"What?" Harry grimaced, fearing he did something wrong.
"Only Mum and you seem to remember I love Special K," Harry breathed out in relief before smiling. "Aren't you eating?"
"Oh, um, no thanks."
Louis frowned. "Well, I refuse to eat anything unless you join me."
"Oh come on! After all the hard work?" But seeing that Louis wouldn't budge. "Ugh, fine..." Louis passed him a fork, stubborn in not touching his food until Harry had swallowed his mouthful of scrambled eggs.
"Good boy," Louis began to eat too. "What d'you want to do?" He added with his mouth full.
"Er... I dunno, to be honest. Did you have something in mind?"
"Not really. I have a bit of stuff to do right now, but afterwards we can play scrabble?"
"If you have stuff to do, you don't have to put it off because of me. I can read or whatever..."
"Oh no, it's not important, just a couple of documents I need to look at, but after that I don't have anything to do really." Louis studied Harry carefully.
"Okay, but take your time, don't rush things just to- to take care of me, okay? It's not worth it."
Louis put the bowl down. "I'll be the judge of that."
Harry sighed, but complied.
They got changed and Louis went into his office. Harry busied himself by unpacking his clothes. With that over, he also took his books and other necessities. Since Louis seemed to still be occupied with those documents, he decided to take his laptop out and look at what was happening in the world.
As soon as he opened the browser, he realised he should probably delete his search history just in case. But as he was about to do it, he couldn't resist a little look. Logging into his secret anonymous Tumblr, his dashboard was immediately filled. He scrolled down, reblogging almost every single post. He stopped abruptly. There was a photo-shopped picture of him and Louis holding Freddie. And right underneath it there was a cartoon of them hugging.
He couldn't help smiling a little. These posts were something to look at whenever he felt like crap. Lots of people supported his dream; the only drawback was that it would never become a reality. He finished reblogging a post reminiscing of an interview back in the day where Harry had jokingly asked Louis for a blowjob and he'd answered back without the bat of an eyelash.
"Louis!" Harry shut the laptop hastily. "D-did you finish?"
"Yeah... What were you looking at?"
"Oh, nothing. Just an e-mail. Scrabble?"
Louis looked at him for a second before shrugging. "Okay, let's go then."
They ate a lunch of ham omelette and devoted most of the afternoon to playing Harry's most geeky hobby. "Lou, you're cheating."
"Then what do you have in your pocket?"
"The other one, Louis."
"There's nothing there Hazza!"
"Let me see!"
"No! Harry! Get away!" Louis was being chased by Harry, and unfortunately for him, Harry's longer legs provided longer strides. "Harry!"
"This could be considered assault!"
"And this could be considered the most outright outrageous way to cheat at Scrabble!"
"I'm faster than you Louis. I'll catch up!"
The ran in circles around the table like kids. Before Harry decided to lunge from across and caught Louis as they both fell onto the sofa.
"Admit you cheated!"
"Yes, fine! I cheated!" Harry stopped tickling him and trying to rummage through his pockets. "Happy now?"
"Quite," Harry smirked. "Um... Should we play another round?"
"You've got to be joking, mate. I'm never going to win when playing against you!"
"Alright then. What do you want to do?"
"Fine by me."
The screen flashed and the speakers blared with sound. A smartly-dressed woman appeared, in a blue blouse and white skirt. Her blonde hair in a messy bun, she held a microphone close to her chin. "And in other celebrity-related news, are Eleanor Calder and Louis Tomlinson closer to tying the knot?"
Harry muffled a gasp and tried to stay as still and statuesque as possible. He risked a glance at Louis who was just as frozen as he was. "Sources confirm the couple have been talking about the possibility of marriage. It seems as though Louis is desperate to take his girlfriend to the altar."
"And for anyone doubting this abrupt news, Eleanor recently posted a couple of Instagram photos where you can clearly see she's sporting a new ring!" Several photos appeared on-screen. Harry felt the urge to shut the TV down. "Maybe little Freddie Tomlinson will soon find he has a new brother or sister. Who knows? Back to you Stephanie!"
Harry could feel bile creeping up his throat. His urge to close the television had transformed into a furious desire to pick the TV set up and thrust it out the window. "Um... Congrats...?" Harry stammered, doing his best to maintain calmness.
"It's lies." Louis was massaging the bridge of his nose wearily. "All lies!" He yelled, making him jump, frightened.
Louis looked up at him apologetically. "'M sorry, Haz. It's just that I'm sick of those bastards always spreading shit. Especially now..." Harry's face was utter bewilderment. "Er... Harry? There's something I haven't told you."
Harry dreaded what he was about to hear. What was Lois going to tell him? "What is it?"
"We broke up." Silence. "Me and Eleanor."
Harry's jaw might touch the ground if it opened a bit more. "Oh my God, Lou, I'm-!"
"No. Don't apologise. It was bound to happen anyway. It just- it bothers me- I mean, the fact is that we're not together and people still have the need to make it seem as though we’re this happy couple who are close to getting married... It's disgusting. Eleanor has other priorities, and she’s going to have to put up with so much shit because of things like this..."
Harry sat back down and edged closer to Louis who had his face in his hands. "D'you... D'you want to talk about it...?"
"It's just... I thought maybe this time round, there might be something... But it was like last time. It was alright, but definitely not what I really wanted. El is a really nice girl, and the time we spent together was...good. Honestly, I do care for her. But even this time... I realised she was not the one. Not my girlfriend. Not my wife, and not the mother for Freddie, even if she was perfectly capable for that, I must say."
"We broke up a few days before I came here. I'm not sad because of it, and she was happy enough to go find someone else who will love her completely. I think she knew all along deep down." Harry was lost for words by this point.
"I don't know what to say..."
"There's nothing you need to say. I'm happy." Louis shot him a little grin. "How about we don't watch this garbage, or even turn it on for the time being?"
Harry simply nodded. Watching those people speak about such things was an unpleasant feat. The less he heard about it, the happier he'd be, and in any case- wasn't that the aim of him living here?
"I'm actually up for Scrabble. You?"
Harry smiled, even knowing it was fake and would probably look that way to Louis. "Yeah, sure."
The days with Louis seemed to pass away far too quickly. A week had gone by, and Harry felt as though it was only a day since he had arrived. Even though he did not want to admit it, Harry knew that it was because Louis made every day feel wonderful. He was always full of ideas for activities to do together, places they could go without being caught by paparazzi, reasons to make him smile.
Louis had even gone as far as bringing Harry to a secret restaurant deep inside Los Angeles. Although extremely expensive, it guaranteed privacy, good food and a common place for celebrities to go for food and unite in their mutual loathing of nosy reporters.
Harry was startled from his thoughts. "What?"
Harry, now curiously, rushed to Louis' room, wondering what it was. And he was not disappointed; Louis was holding an iPad, and he was FaceTiming: "Niall!" Harry cried out in joy. "Mate! I missed you!"
"Harry!" Niall's adorable face beamed back at his other best friend. "Missed you too, man. Heard you and Louis are living together at the mo'!"
"Yup," Louis popped his head back into the conversation. "He's mine for now,"
Niall chuckled. "I'm in Ireland with the family. Maybe we can meet up next month when we come back?"
"I'd like that very much," said Harry happily.
"Oh, wait a sec- Dad!" Niall turned to face his father and then addressed them. "Um guys, I'm with me Dad playing golf. Can I call you later tonight?"
Harry was about to utter his "yes", when Louis interrupted him. "Sorry Ni. I'm taking our Hazza somewhere tonight. We'll call you some other time, yeah?"
"Sure thing, Tommo. Love you guys! Bye!" and Harry could have sworn he saw Niall wink at Louis ever so slightly.
"Where are you taking me...?"
Harry grumbled and threw himself over Louis' bed. "No... Come on Louis! I hate it when you do this!" he whined.
"Just wait. It'll be worth it." Louis laughed as Harry threw a pillow at him. "Oi! Pinky promise." Harry groaned face-down on the bed.
And Louis was true to his word. Harry spent a lot of the afternoon trying to annoy the answer out of him, but he would not budge. The only thing Louis even said to him was to be changed and ready by eight. "Nothing fancy, though." he had added.
At eight, Harry waited patiently downstairs in skinny jeans and a black and white shirt. Louis walked down the stairs with an annoyingly superior look on his face in his own pair of jeans and beige t-shirt. "I am right about ready to smack that smile off of your face, Louis."
"Is that a threat, Harold?" Louis teased.
"Can you tell me now? Please?"
"Actually, I need you to wear this," Louis raised his hand, with a long piece of silk. "You can't see anything till I say you can, agreed?"
"No, but we probably won’t leave until I put it on so I'll just save us all the trouble and just give me the damn thing!" Harry pouted, and wrapped the silk so that he basically was blind to everything.
"See how easy it is if you just listen to me?" Louis continued to tease, making Harry swat, unable to see where he was. "Uh-uh-uh," Louis wagged a little finger. "Behave yourself Harry. Trust me, okay?" Louis brushed his hand, and Harry nodded, feeling slightly weak at the knees with the touch of Louis' fingers.
From what he could deduce form his other senses, Harry knew Louis was driving them somewhere far away. When noise started to die out, Harry knew they were driving farther away from the city. "Lou, the suspense is killing me."
"Five more minutes,"
And a few moments later, Louis pulled the car to a stop. Harry let himself be led by Louis' hand out of the car and towards something else. His footsteps sounded like he was on some hard floor. "Can I?"
Harry undid the knot and opened his eyes. "For the love of God, Louis Tomlinson what have you done?!"
Harry was staring, flabbergasted, at a helicopter on a port. He feared to ask how much this had cost Louis. "Surprised?"
"Louis, this is... This is... Um, oh God, I don't even know what to say. Louis, this must have cost a fortune!"
"Not that much, actually. One of my friends is actually flying us tonight. Personal favours, you know the drill." Louis smirked at Harry's stunned expression. "You like it, right?"
Louis' tone surprised Harry. "Of course, yes Louis! But that's beside the point! I told you to not spend so much bloody money on me! Not worth it, Lou!"
Louis rolled his eyes, and ruffled Harry's hair. "Just shut up and enjoy. And I told you, I'll be the judge of that. Come on, Brian's waiting."
Harry heard Louis talk animatedly with their pilot, who nodded to him courteously. Harry smiled, and felt close to choking when Louis began to buckle him- Louis was gentle and rapid with his hands. He sat opposite Harry, and grinned. "I've done this before, but I always get excited!"
"Ready for take-off Brian!"
And they were off, and as soon as they did, Harry forgot all about his worries over how much Louis had spent. The sight was absolutely breath-taking. Los Angeles was beautiful enough on its own. At night, observed from above, it looked heavenly. "It's gorgeous!"
"This is sick, eh?"
Harry nodded, as he looked at the dancing lights change shape, size and colour. The helicopter was loud, but the headphones ensured Harry and Louis would hear each other's remarks. "I love you, Louis."
Oh shit. Harry froze. The words had come out of his mouth before he could stop himself. Louis just looked so handsome from here. The light from the moon lighted up his features, and Harry found himself more entranced by the other passenger than the city. But how could he have let that slip. Louis was sure to hate him now...
Louis smiled. "I hope you liked this."
Harry could have cried in relief. Louis had not caught the message behind his words. Louis believed he meant it in the friendly way. He had never been so happy about Louis misinterpreting him before.
"We're landing in two," announced Brian out of the blue.
"Sure thing, Brian. Thanks for the ride."
Louis smiled, and Harry smiled back, even though on the inside he was frowning. That had been close. Too close.
"What do you want for dinner, Harry?"
"Oh!" Harry had once again drifted too deeply into his thoughts. "I-I'm not that hungry Boobear- I mean Louis!" SHIT. Harry was slapping himself on the inside, and pinching his wrist on the outside. What was wrong with him?
"Did you just call me... Boobear?" Louis eyes were not filled with disgust, as Harry expected, but by surprise. "You haven't called me that in ages..."
"I'm so sorry, Louis! I didn't-!"
"Hey, hey... It's okay. Calm down." Louis put a hand on Harry's knee. "It's just that I haven't heard you call me that since... I dunno, almost five years."
"If it bothered you-!"
"No, silly. I've actually missed you calling me that." Louis smiled warmly, trying to calm Harry down, who appeared visibly troubled by having said that. "Seriously, Harry, calm down."
Harry nodded, but on the inside, he was still positively screaming. He was still pinching his wrist so much he was sore. Louis was probably not being extra-nice to him as they were however many hundred feet from the ground and a fight there was not recommended.
As soon as they landed, Harry unbuckled himself quickly before Louis could do it. Too close. Far too close. "You still haven't answered, Hazza. Dinner?"
"Oh... Um... Whatever you want, I'm not that bothered."
Harry knew it sounded obvious that he was speaking quickly and in short sentences, but he was utterly terrified by this point. "Um... Thank you for the ride, Louis. I- I really liked it."
His friend beamed, completely unaware that a plan was forming inside Harry's head.
A single tear rolled down his cheek, as he finished writing. It was late at night, and Harry was not in a happy place at the moment. His bags were packed, and he was ready to get out of the house. He kissed the top of the paper, forcing his eyes shut to block the tears threatening to fall.
He hoped the letter was enough to let Louis understand.
To my dearest Boobear,
In no any do I want to make this feel any more dramatic than it should, but by the time you read this, I'll be far away from you. If your first reaction is to go after me, please finish reading first and I can guarantee you'll think twice or thrice about it.
I've dreamt of this for years, but I always knew the consequences of my feelings would be horrible. But I can't fake it. Not anymore. So here goes...
I love you.
I love you Louis William Tomlinson.
And not love in a friendly manner. I wholeheartedly mean love, love as in that I am head-over-heels enamoured with you. I love you more than life itself, and I would do anything just to have you smile at me and love me back. Love me the same way that I love you.
I want to hug you and hold you tight in my grip. I want to kiss you all over. I want to be able to fall into your arms, and not worry that you'll let me fall. Because I love you so much, and you can beat me to an inch of my life and yet I'd still love you as I do now- as I have done since we crossed paths in 2010.
Yes Louis, because I have loved you for years. Without you, the sun and stars might still arise in the skies, but I do not want them. Not without you- my real sun, my sunshine, my love.
However, I am just a lovesick fool. You have your son, and you'll take your future wife, and I'll always be just you're best friend. I would support you and then have to watch you thrive while I fell deeper into a hole because I cannot face the world anymore. Because there's no reason for me left.
So I think it's best if I leave. I want you to be happy, and to be that, you don't need me. I'd end up as a burden, and I don't deserve your kindness. I don't want to get in the way; I don't want to weigh you down with my problems.
Please don't hate me for loving you. The happiest days of my life have been at your side. I won't bother you again. Thank you for everything you've given me. Thank you for making me feel like I have a place in the world.
All My Love,
Harry couldn't hold them back, and tears splashed on his lap as he quietly wept. He had slipped too far. He couldn't afford to do it again, and with a heavy heart, he made the decision of running away. He would cut off all contact. Louis deserved to be happy and carefree- and both of those two things he could not possibly achieve with Harry.
As quietly as he could, he made his way to Louis' room through the passageway. It was really late and Louis was already asleep. Harry almost sobbed as he looked at Louis' soft, untroubled face. "I love you so much, Lou." He whispered, choking back a little sob.
He left the letter on top of the pillow beside him, before lightly sitting down in the edge of the bed. Louis had been the best thing in his life, and Harry was not ready to let him go. But he had to- for his happiness. "I've always wished things could have been less complicated. That I never loved you or that somehow you'd love me back. But it never came true. I'm still in love with you and you're still far from loving me as more than just a friend."
Harry's whispers were plagued with sorrow, and another cold tear traced his cheek in solace. "The day I met you, I felt like butter, I literally melted for you. I knew from that point that I had a crush on you, and I always hoped we'd become more than just friends."
"We got together with three other wonderful boys and together we formed One Direction, and I was so happy to have you with me." Harry closed his eyes. "Everyone could see how much I liked you, and people dubbed us Larry Stylinson. I waited for a sign to see that you liked me, but you didn't, and you even denied it to our friends. I buried myself in women. Women who I liked, but who I would never love like you."
"Remember Carol? The day we broke up... I came to your house and you wrapped me in a towel (as I had walked in pouring rain) and kissed my forehead. We watched cartoons together and you cuddled me until I fell asleep. I felt so happy. I wish I could have stayed like that forever."
And Harry kept talking, and talking, and talking. He whispered as to not wake Louis up, but he felt better just talking. He knew Louis would insist in listening if he was awake, but now that he was asleep, Harry felt less guilty than he would in the other case.
By the time Harry realised he was basically pouring his thoughts out to a sleeping Louis, it was already past dawn. Harry bit his lip, and thought better of it. He grabbed the letter and rapidly tip-toed away, closing the door softly. Once back in his room, he hid the letter at the bottom of his wardrobe, promising he'd take it out tonight, the night he would really leave.
Yet the next night was the same as the previous. Harry laid the letter on the pillow, sat down, and began to pour his soul out. It was kind of therapeutic. Notwithstanding the guilt bubbling in the pit of his stomach, Harry could not help it. It was a release of all the bottled up emotions, in a way, and for every night that he spoke to Louis when the latter was asleep... he would spend one more day in the house.
The next night was similar, and so was the one after that. Louis never seemed to wake up when Harry was there, and if he had heard, when he was awake he never made Harry aware of it.
"Every time someone showed me an article where they claimed we were in a fight, I would laugh it off, but on the inside, it hurt me, because I was always afraid that it would one day become reality. That maybe I'd let it slip that I am in love with you and you'd hate me and it would break the whole band apart."
And it was the same thing each night. Harry let loose and spoke of his greatest fears, of his hopes, and about how much he loved Louis.
Before Harry knew it, it had been an entire month since he came to stay. In the day, Louis would entertain him, and they'd spend time together like nothing happened at night. At night, Harry would always think it was the night he would leave. However, he always ended up consuming himself in his one-sided nocturnal talks and as much as he wanted to deny it, he kind of liked being able to finally tell someone how he felt and not have to fear a response. Louis' peaceful face whilst deep in slumber both encouraged him to stay and to leave as soon as possible.
Harry was falling even further for Louis.
It was a couple of hours since dawn, and Harry was making some breakfast for him and Louis. He hadn't slept at all, but a bit of coffee had helped him shake the sleep off. He had small eye bags under his eyes, but they were minute and easily disguised. "Good morning sleepyhead."
"Mmphf..." came the muffled response.
Louis propped himself up with his elbows. He beamed at Harry. Harry swore that for a second, he had seen Louis frown at him, but he brushed it off, thinking it was probably that he had no slept that much for the past couple of weeks.
"Anything you're planning to do today Harry?"
Harry started. "No, why?"
"I was hoping we could have one of our marathon movie days..."
Harry could have jumped, both in delight and shock. “We haven't had those since that road trip to San Francisco in 2013."
Louis displayed a toothy smile. "Yeah, I was wondering when the next one would be. Didn't think it'd take more than three years." They both giggled, though Harry's was slightly forced.
In the course of the day, Harry and Louis not only managed to down however many sodas and pockets of popcorn they had, but also finish the entire Star Wars Saga, The Fault In Our Stars, Me Before You and Good Will Hunting.
"That movie gets me hard," commented Louis once the credits started rolling. He wiped his damp eyes and shook Harry who was close to dozing off. "Haz, wake up, it's time for bed, I reckon."
Harry stood up, rubbing his eyes and adjusting his beanie. He mumbled a "goodnight" and went back upstairs. He brushed his teeth and then made the mistake of washing his face with ice-cold water. That certainly woke him up, and being awake late at night was not a good thing for Harry.
Thoughts about leaving the house sprung onto him, and before he could fully process it, he had stuffed the two shirts out of his bags back in, grabbed everything else and took the letter to Louis' bed.
"I had fun today, Lou. Thank you for remembering. It's funny though, I told you about our movie marathons the night before. Maybe you dreamt of it because I kept whispering to your subconscious?"
Harry traced circles on the covers, his temper suddenly flaring, as he realised it had been weeks and he still had not left. "Oh God, what am I doing Louis? I was supposed to leave a month ago and yet here I am still...This is ridiculous. I've slipped on my act so many times, and I'm afraid you'll catch on... You know me better than anyone... Shit, why did I have to fall in love with you?"
The silence of the night pierced the air, and Harry sighed. How long would this go on? Would he be stuck here until he really let something slip and Louis began to hate him?
Harry's heart was ready to burst any minute, pounding in his rib cage so hard that Harry feared that even Louis could hear it. In the darkness, a silhouette moved, rustling the covers, and turned on the little lamp beside the bedside table.
Louis' face was illuminated and Harry looked away.
"Harry," his voice made his name sound so much sweeter than it actually was. "Look at me please."
Harry kept staring pointedly at the wall, his face flushed with embarrassment. This is it, he told himself. He's going to formally ask me to get the fuck out, he's going to stay he is disgusted, he-
"Why did you never tell me?"
Harry was so thunderstruck by that that his head whipped to stare right into Louis' orbs. "What...?"
"Why didn't you tell me that...? That you loved me? In that way, I mean."
"What difference would it make?" Harry protested softly. "Don't worry. My stuff is packed; I'll go call a taxi. You don't have to see me ever-"
"What makes you think that?" Louis, during the whole conversation, had kept a calm and low voice.
"You must hate me, Louis." Harry said, matter-of-factly, a hollow sensation to his words. "I'm sorry." He got up to leave, but was pulled back by a strong arm.
"There's something I need to show you."
Still not letting go of Harry, as if scared that he would run off and disappear, Louis went towards the cupboard. He unlocked it and opened it to reveal... A box? Harry's puzzlement did not go unnoticed by Louis who dragged him to sit beside him on the bed.
The box was big and metallic, with a digital lock on it. Louis typed in a series of numbers, before it opened. "This box is probably one of the most precious things that I own. I always carry this box with me. Even if I only stay over at a place for a day, I always have it by my side."
Curiosity getting the better of him, Harry peered into the box. He took out a stack of photographs. They were all different, but they all had a similarity. "These...these pictures are all of us both..." Harry looked through them. One of them together onstage, another one of them eating hot dogs on that family barbecue in 2011, another one of them posing for a calendar, and many more that made Harry's insides flutter and his heart melt.
"Yup," and Louis picked out a stash of what seemed to be old pieces of paper. "And I kept all of our mock-letters that we wrote when we were on the show."
Harry grabbed them, and skimmed through them all. He was right. Louis had kept them all, and they were in a good state to Louis' credit. "And then I also kept this," and Louis picked out a small flower crown that Harry had worn back in the day when they had been with only close friends and family.
"This box isn't just a box. It's a memory box: my Harry-memory box."
"But... I don't get it... Why do you-? I don’t-?"
"Because you are what makes me the happiest lad in the whole world."
Harry was gaping at Louis. Was he saying what he thought he was saying...? "Louis, I... I don't know what you mean...?"
Louis rolled his eyes and shifted so that he and Harry were only a palm away from each other. "It means that I love you too, you fucking idiot."
A million things rushed through Harry's mind. From thinking it was an elaborate and cruel prank to thinking he might be dead, Harry still could not properly address what he just heard. "You- you do?!"
"Fuck's sake, Harold." And it was then and there, that Louis grabbed hold of him and kissed him.
Harry was stiff from shock at first, but soon melted into the kiss, grabbing at Louis too. They pulled away seconds later, gasping for air. "Believe me now? Will you stop asking if I'm pranking you?" Louis words were commanding, but his tone was teasing and loving.
Harry was speechless, the facts still not fully sinking into him. Louis loved him. Louis truly loved him, Harry Styles. "I love you, Louis."
"I think you made that point very clear, curly. I love you too."
Louis gritted his teeth in annoyance. "Let's get the deal straight here or you'll drive me up the bloody wall, Harry. Yes! I do! I love YOU! I, Louis William Tomlinson love you, Harold Edward Styles!"
Harry looked down, biting his lip. "Harry?"
Louis felt almost all the air in his lungs crushed out as Harry hugged him tightly, absolutely crying. "I love you so much, Boobear. I love you, I love you, I love you!" Harry looked up at Louis, his face the epitome of bliss. "It feels good to say it. I love Louis Tomlinson!"
And Louis could only smile and hold him tight to his bare chest, liking how he could feel his boy's heartbeat against his. "Harry?"
"Um... Well, I...might have been awake for the past couple of nights...awake as in when you came in...awake as in I might have heard what you've been telling me..." Louis withdrew and held Harry so that they were looking at each other. "All of this? For me? Because you loved... me?"
Harry smiled sheepishly. "Lou, you were, and still are, the love of my life. The thought of you with someone else... It just broke me." Harry's smile dropped as he thought of how the past months had been terrible for him.
"Well, you're an imbecile. But I love you regardless. You're not the only one with secrets Styles. I loved you since the day I put my eyes on you. As I got to know you better, my love for you could only increase! Whenever you were...dating others, I didn't think I was… Well, that I was good enough for you. I didn’t want to lose you, but I ended up acknowledging that I had."
Harry saw what he never expected to see. A single tear escaped Louis' lashes. "I love you, Louis." Harry kissed him on his clouded eyes, and then on the lips.
They sat down, suddenly a silence entrapping them. "So... You've listened to me all these nights?"
"I'm not exactly sure for how long you've been doing this, but I've been listening since last week. And every time, I always wanted to shout my denials, to hug you, to kiss you and tell you that you are who I love. But I was afraid. Afraid it was only ever part of my dreams and that... Well, that maybe if I confronted you, you'd deny it."
"I'd never do that!" exclaimed Harry. "If you told me you loved me back, I wouldn't hold anything back. I... I've dreamed of this since I was sixteen, for God's sake!"
A pause. Louis took Harry's hand, rubbing it lovingly. "So... Does this make us boyfriends?"
"Boyfriends, partners, who cares what it is? I only know that I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
"I want to do the very same thing, Haz. And I want Freddie to know that his Papa will be bringing another Dad home." Louis bit his lip, afraid Harry might have a grudge against the child that was born out of a little adventure Louis had.
"I'll spoil him, you know..." Harry remarked with an evil grin. "And I'll love him as if he were mine."
"He is yours, because you are mine, and I am yours. My son is your son."
Harry smiled gratefully through shiny eyes. "How am I so lucky?"
"I dunno." Louis held Harry's other hand too. "For all the time you've been hurt, Hazza, I'll make it up to you. I love you, and the thought of you having to cry because I was too stupid to see you loved me too is...is too painful. I want you to know that you are my boyfriend. My prince. My everything. You are the one I was looking for."
"I still can't believe this."
"Then I'll make you," Louis hurried out of the room.
A minute later, "Harry, check your phone."
So he did, and found that Louis had tweeted something after two weeks of inactivity from all social media. There were two tweets. The first of which was a retweeted tweet- the famous "Always in my heart" quote. The second one was a video, and underneath, Louis had written: I'm so lucky. @HarryStyles."
The video was the recording Louis had made of Harry singing "Infinity" in the shower. "Louis Tomlinson I will KILL YOU!" Harry screamed. "I told you not to post that!"
"Too late, sweetheart." Louis appeared on the doorway looking quite satisfied with himself. "Oh, and look at all the tweets... Ooh, guess who is going to star in tomorrow's news?"
But Harry was busy uploading his own little vengeance. "Wait a minute. Harold! What are you doing!?"
"Revenge is sweet, Lou." Harry smirked.
Louis refreshed Harry's Twitter account. Harry had posted a recording of Louis singing "Perfect", but what made Louis feel close to crying was Harry's little message: "Always in my heart too, @Louis_Tomlinson. Yours sincerely, Harry Styles."
And before Louis could complain, another thing was tweeted. "AKA, your boyfriend."
Harry laughed out loud at Louis' stunned expression. That was before Louis lunged at him with a war cry, and they both wrestled on the bed. Once on top of Harry, Louis pressed his forehead against Harry's. "Dickhead,"
"Hark who's talking."
Louis’ eyes darted to one side as he caught sight of the letter. “What’s this?”
“Uh,” Harry froze as he saw Louis taking the piece of paper and starting to read it. “No! Give it back!”
“Let me read it!” Louis got up, away from Harry’s reach, and ran to the other side of the bed, quickly scanning the contents.
“Please don’t Louis! It’s stupid!”
Louis’ face grew darker as he kept reading, and by the time he’d finished, he looked like an actual statue. Harry’s eyes widened in concern, and then apprehension as his boyfriend turned to him, but it was unnecessary, as the only thing left in the blue eyes were apologies.
“I’ll agree that you’re very stupid at times, babe. I’ll even agree that some of the things you say in this letter are stupid...” Louis kneeled down so he could peck him on the lips. Harry felt his warm breath on his lips. “...But they’re only stupid because I was stupid. Too stupid to see that all those years, I could be doing things like this.”
He kissed Harry hungrily, pinning him down. “I love you. I love you. I love you.” As he kept repeating himself, he pressed kisses to his knuckles. “Don’t you ever doubt that, Harold.”
Harry managed to pry the letter out of his hands, and with a grin, ripped it into pieces. “Is this enough?”
“No,” Louis placed a hand on both his cheeks. “I will spend the rest of my life showing you that you have a place in the world. Not just as a singer, or as an actor, but by my side. My Harry. My sweet, sweet Harry.”
They looked at each other as Louis lay down beside him, and hugged him close. "Love you Hazza."
And as he snuggled in close to him, his forehead on his chest, arms around him and legs pressing against his knees, Harry felt that perhaps -just maybe- it wouldn’t take an infinity to repair his heart. It had already healed, with the promise of keeping this love.
"Love you, Boobear."