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What's Stopping You?

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Instead of jumping up to respond to Louis’ frantic tone, Harry just looked away from his computer.

“Yeah?” Harry called back calmly.

“Come help me, please! Please? Please!”

“OK, I’m coming.”

He took his time getting up from the couch and setting his laptop on the coffee table. Then he wandered slowly down the hallway to Louis’ room.

Harry held back his laughter once he got there. “Um, what happened, Lou?”

“I’m stuck,” Louis muttered.

“I see that.”

Louis currently stood in the middle of the room, wearing a pair of dark jeans and nothing on his feet. He also sort of had on a tight, long-sleeve gray shirt that was definitely too small for him. The shirt hadn’t even made it all the way on, was the problem. Instead, Louis’ arms were in the air and the shirt had made it about halfway down his torso, clinging to his body. Harry couldn’t even see Louis’ face, as it was hidden behind the material of the shirt, or his hands, which were about two-thirds of the way down the sleeves.

“This sort of reminds me of that Friends episode where Phoebe gets stuck in the sweater,” Harry said. “Or, the flashback where Joey gets the turkey stuck on his head.”

“Wow, thank you, that was great,” Louis deadpanned. “Just, I’m going to bend over, and you can pull the shirt off over my head, OK?”

“I bet you say that to all the boys.”

“Harry!” Louis stomped his foot. “Come on!”

“OK, hang on a second.”

Harry quickly pulled his phone out of his back pocket and unlocked it.

“Are you Snapchatting this?” Louis asked.

“Of course not.”

He was.

“Harry! Stop it!” He bent forward so he could see out of the top of the shirt. “I see you still recording, fucker. Knock it off.”

“Just a normal Saturday afternoon,” Harry narrated. “Louis getting stuck in a shirt.”

“I hate you.”

Harry released the button and quickly uploaded it. He figured it didn’t need a caption.

“Can you help me now?”

“Yeah, here I come.” Harry grabbed the shirt at the bottom hem and pulled it as he stepped backward. Louis also took steps away from Harry, and he was quickly released from the shirt.

“Thanks. Finally.”

“Mm-hmm.” It was all Harry could say, now that Louis currently stood shirtless in front of him. He held the shirt out and Louis tossed it into his closet, not really caring where it landed.

“Um…” Harry cleared his throat. “Why were you trying to put that on?”

Louis shrugged. “Was looking for something to wear tonight. Bought it forever ago and never wore it. Now I see why. I should’ve kept the tags on; I could have at least returned it for a store credit.”

“Shame.” Harry quickly raked over Louis’ body before feeling like a creep, not for the first time. “Um, I’m gonna get back to my computer.”

Louis nodded. “Kay.”


Harry quickly exited the room and returned to the living room. He pulled his computer into his lap and let out a deep breath.

Breathe, Styles.

It hadn’t been the first time he’d ever seen Louis half-dressed and he knew it wouldn’t be the last. But seeing him that way just did something to Harry. It made him want to reach out and touch, trace the shapes of Louis’ chest tattoos with his fingers and run his palms down his torso.

It wasn’t fair that he couldn’t.

It hadn’t always been this way – Harry having an embarrassing crush on his best friend and roommate – just over the last year or two, when Harry realized that Louis was the first person he wanted to share everything with and his favorite person to spend a quiet night in with. Then Harry noticed that he always felt instant dislike toward the guys Louis brought home and never even bothered to learn their names if Louis actually let them stay over.

Harry didn’t know what to do with this information, other than hide it, seeing as it was clear Louis didn’t feel the same way at all. It had hurt for a while, but Harry was mostly over it. He was just happy Louis never picked up on it, because that would’ve made everything worse.

Taking another deep breath, he returned to what he’d been writing before being interrupted. It took him a while to get his focus back.


That night, Harry found himself standing at the bar, stuck in a conversation with a guy named Tyler who was horribly boring.

Harry didn’t see Louis anywhere and he also couldn’t find Niall or Liam, who had ditched the two of them for the dance floor almost immediately after they walked in.

Harry nodded at whatever Tyler, who was really cute despite his lack of conversation skills, was saying. He took another swig of his beer and looked around.

At the back of the bar, he finally saw Niall talking to a pretty blonde. He wondered if Liam was maybe outside or in the bathroom. And Louis could literally be anywhere.

But just then, Harry found out exactly where Louis was. It was like a scene in a movie, when the crowd parts at just the right moment to show Harry something he really didn’t want to see.

Louis was in the middle of the dance floor, grinding against some other guy. The guy was running his hands down Louis’ sides while Louis backed his ass into the random dude’s crotch. He looked sweaty and flushed, so Harry suspected he’d been there for a while. And judging by Louis’ face, he was having a great time, without a care in the world.

Harry felt his heart stop. It had been a while since he’d seen Louis in action at the club. The last few times Louis had gone, Harry hadn’t been in the mood. So this was hitting him like a ton of bricks.

He was so focused on Louis that Harry didn’t hear the question that Tyler asked him.

“Huh?” Harry asked. “Um, yeah, that sounds great.”

“Really? Perfect! How’s 7? I can pick you up?”


“I’ll make reservations for Friday night.”

Fuck. What did I just agree to?

“Um, Tyler…”

“Here, give me your number and I’ll text you with the details.”

Harry felt bad, so he gave Tyler his number, figuring that at the very least, he could get a good meal out of it. After that, he looked back toward the dance floor and saw that Louis was no longer there. Great.

He told Tyler goodbye and put his half-finished beer on the bar before heading toward the exit. He wasn’t much in the mood for a club anymore.


A few hours later, Harry was awakened by the sound of his door opening.

“Haz!” Louis hissed.

Harry just grumbled before rolling over and pulling a pillow over his head. “If you’re hooking up with someone, I don’t want to hear it,” he grunted.

Louis giggled. “Silly Harry. There’s no one else here.”

Harry peeked out from under his pillow and saw Louis pulling off his jeans. Seconds later, he was sliding into Harry’s bed.

“How was your night, then?” Harry murmured, not actually wanting to know. He lay his head back onto his pillow and shut his eyes.

Louis cuddled Harry from behind, burying his face into the back of his neck.

“Fine. Hooked up in the bathroom, danced for a while more, then left when I realized you were nowhere to be found. Figured you just came home.”

“Yeah, I didn’t really feel like staying out.”

“I’m sleepy,” Louis whispered.

“I know you are.”

“No, I meant that I’m sorry.”

“Sure you did,” Harry said, chuckling. “Just go to bed.”


Within a few minutes, Louis was out cold. Harry, however, was up for a while longer, just listening to the sound of Louis’ even breaths.


So… wanna fuck?

Louis rolled his eyes and exited out of the Grindr app again. Yet another conversation he wouldn’t be continuing because the other guy couldn’t wait more than three minutes before asking about getting his dick sucked.

Louis wasn’t naïve; he knew that most guys weren’t on Grindr to find their soul mate, their ‘one and only,’ the love of their life – and Louis wasn’t either, if the last few months of random hook-ups were anything to go by – but for God’s sake, could no one hold a conversation anymore?

Admittedly, if Louis actually was looking for something more than just casual sex, he probably should’ve changed his profile picture. Right now, it didn’t even show his face, but it was a rather artistic shot of Louis from the side that showed some of his bare abs and some of his ass in his tightest jeans. He’d spent about twenty minutes in the bathroom trying to get the perfect angle from above, and he was pretty proud of it, honestly.

With a glance at the time and a sigh, he stood up from his seat and exited the employee lounge, realizing that his lunch break was over.

He returned to his spot behind the front desk of the dentist’s office where he worked, and dropped his phone into the top drawer.

“How was your lunch?” Perrie asked from her seat next to him. She was sitting with her legs folded in front of her and lightly spinning herself around.

Louis snorted. “It was fine. Only two more hours until I can go home, so that’s nice. I love late lunches.”

“And on a Friday? Even better.”

Louis heard his phone go off again. Technically, he wasn’t supposed to have his phone out while he was behind the desk, but he could always use the excuse that he was switching it to ‘Do Not Disturb.’

He took a quick look around, checking for any doctors who would scold him or any patients who might raise an eyebrow.

Not seeing anybody, he quickly pulled his phone out and saw a new message from Harry.

Harry: Don’t forget, I’m going out tonight, so I might not be home when you get back from work. Also, it’s your turn to do the grocery shopping this week. =)

Louis sighed. He hated going grocery shopping. He briefly wondered if he should just do it tonight after he left and get it over with, before deciding that he most definitely wouldn’t.

“Who’s that?” Perrie asked, still spinning.

“It’s just Harry.”

“Tell him I said hi.”


Instead of using actual words, Louis sent a thumbs-up emoji plus a middle finger, as a way of responding to both parts of Harry’s text. Louis switched his phone to ‘Do Not Disturb’ and put it back into the desk, just needing to get through the rest of this day.


Fuck Louis.

Well, no, that was the problem, Harry realized as he sat at a restaurant table across from what was seriously the most boring guy in existence.

It was because of Harry’s stupid crush on Louis that Harry was smiling through Tyler’s tedious explanation of how he picks out his ties for work in the morning.

Their waitress came up then, unknowingly – or maybe completely knowingly, based on the pitying look in her warm, brown eyes – saving Harry from almost certain death by boredom.

“Can I get you gentlemen anything else tonight?” she asked, smiling at both of them.

“Just the check please,” Harry said, not giving Tyler a minute to ask for anything else and prolong the evening any longer.


As she walked away, Tyler looked baffled. “Oh, right. Guess we should be heading out soon.”

Harry almost felt bad for the guy. It wasn’t his fault there was literally no spark. Or that he wasn’t Louis Tomlinson.

“Yeah, um, you know, I just got an awful headache out of nowhere,” Harry lied, rubbing at his temple. “I should really go lay down.”

“Oh, absolutely. You should’ve said something sooner.”

Harry smiled and just nodded, trying not to look too excited about leaving. As far as he knew, Louis didn’t have any plans tonight, so at least he’d be home when Harry got there.

Now Harry was really trying not to look excited.


“Honey, I’m home!” Harry called out as he got back to the apartment.

He saw Louis sitting on the couch, his legs stretched out in front of him and propped on the coffee table. He had his arms crossed and laying on top of his stomach and his head was dropped back against the cushions. His lips were slightly parted as he quietly snored.

Harry grinned and slammed the door shut behind him. The sudden noise jolted Louis awake, and he shot up in his seat. He wiped his eyes and looked around, finally spotting Harry standing near the door.

“You’re back,” Louis said, stifling a yawn.

“Yeah, I am.”

“So how’d it go?”

On the drive home, Harry had planned to tell Louis exactly how terribly it had gone and how he wanted nothing more than to just put on sweats, eat some ice cream from the carton and cry about how he was going to be alone forever.

Instead, what came out was, “It went great.”

“It did?”

“Yup. It was great.”

“That’s awesome, man. You deserve it. Are you seeing him again?”

“Uhh…Yeah. Yeah, I think so.”

Louis picked up the remote and started flicking channels. “Good. I better meet him soon, then.”

“Um, I’m gonna go get changed,” Harry said, wanting to avoid answering that. As he walked toward his room, he called over his shoulder, “Maybe you should get to bed.”

Louis gasped. “How rude! I’ll let you know I have plenty of energy. In fact, I could go clubbing right now.”

Harry stopped walking and chuckled. “I know you could, Louis. You’re still an absolute party animal. Just because you’re turning 25 this year doesn’t mean anything. You’re not getting old.”

Louis yawned. “Damn right. Don’t you forget that.”

“OK, how about you make some popcorn and we’ll watch a movie?”

“That’s more like it.”

Harry laughed. “I’ll be right back.” Under his breath, Harry muttered, ‘grandpa.’

“I heard that!”


That night, Harry lay in bed, trying to figure out this whole Louis situation. Clearly, his best friend had no feelings for him and, based on his positive reaction to Harry’s date, probably never would.

He could live with that. Maybe. He might have to start getting drunk a lot more, but he could deal.

But what else? Dating wasn’t exactly going well, seeing as he just went on a date with a guy who actually explained the pros and cons of polka dots on ties. Maybe he just needed to have random hook-ups like everyone else his age.

Harry scrunched up his nose at the thought. He’d never been one to casually date or sleep with people, but maybe he needed to? Louis seemed to have a blast with it, and Niall and Liam, who weren’t often in long-term relationships, didn’t seem to hate it, either.

Now the question was, how was he supposed to go about it? Seeing as meeting guys in real life wasn’t working out, maybe he should try online dating.

No, he thought to himself. Not dating. Hooking up.

Harry tried to remember that app that was like, exclusively for gay guys hooking up. It wasn’t tinder, but it had an ‘r’ at the end. Was it Gander? No. Gaydar? No, that definitely wasn’t it.

Then it popped right into his head. Grindr.

He unlocked his phone and went to the app store, quickly downloading it. As he waited for it to load, he wondered what he should expect. Would there be other guys on there like him, looking for hookups that might eventually become something more? Or did everyone just want to come and go?

Well, it looked like he was about to find out.

The app was ready to go, so Harry opened it and created an account. He felt strange typing in his email, feeling like he was doing something illegal. But he was just making a profile that would be viewed by other consenting, gay men. It was perfectly legal, and sort of acceptable these days.

Then it brought him to the next page, where he had to put in a user name and what he was looking for. He wasn’t comfortable enough yet to put in his actual name, so for now, he just went with H. As for what he was looking for, he checked off ‘Chat,’ ‘Dates,’ ‘Friends’ and ‘Relationship.’ He figured that was good enough.

When it came time to write something in the ‘About’ section, Harry wasn’t sure what to type. Was it stupid to write that he just wanted to see what this was like? Probably.

He left the app and googled ‘grindr profiles.’ Images immediately popped up, and Harry started looking through them. After a while, he came across a few that had a simple bio of ‘checking things out’ or ‘new here and just looking around.’

Harry decided that would work for him, too. He returned to the app and wrote, ‘Hey! I’m new here and just checking things out. =)’

He shrugged and figured that was good enough for now.

Then came the time to upload a picture. Harry really didn’t know what to do now. He didn’t want to show his entire face, as the whole situation still felt surreal to him. He exited the app again and went to his Photos. He looked through them, trying to find some that were usable but didn’t completely reveal his identity. There were a few that were good that he could probably crop before uploading one.

Then he found it: the perfect one. It was taken after a yoga class a few months ago and showed Harry doing a prayer pose in front of his chest. He wore a black, long-sleeve shirt with a purple stripe across the chest. The sleeves covered his tattoos so he wasn’t recognizable unless they were one of the little old ladies in his yoga class. And if any of them were viewing his profile, then that was an entirely different issue.

Since it was just after yoga, he wasn’t wearing any of the rings that usually sit on his fingers. His hair was down, so the curls grazed his shoulders and cast a shadow over the rest of this face, which was angled downward. He could just crop out the top part of the picture so that he didn’t give himself away. He quickly edited the picture, returned to Grindr and uploaded it.

And that was it. He officially had a Grindr profile.

He felt… weird, to be honest. This was not something he’d ever done before and wasn’t sure what to do first, although, he supposed that browsing other profiles would be a good start.

He scrolled through the options that were presented to him and most of the guys on his screen were shirtless. He tapped on a few different pictures and saw that most of them were just a few miles or less from where he lay at that moment.

Then Harry froze. There could be another guy, right now, looking at his profile, too. There could be another guy deciding to message him and try to start a conversation. He didn’t know how he felt. It was all very real now.

Yawning, he decided he would try again in the morning. Maybe the light of day would give him the courage to actually message someone.

He closed the app and locked his phone. He set it on the bedside table and rolled over, wondering what the next day would bring.


When Harry woke up, he had three messages on Grindr. One was an innocent ‘Hey sexy ;).’ The second made Harry raise an eyebrow, as it said, ‘my back door is always open.’ And the third made Harry actually throw his phone down toward the foot of his bed, because it said, ‘nice arms. bet they can hold me up while you fuck me deep.’

“Jesus Christ,” Harry muttered to himself. Of course, he’d had his fair share of random guys clearly just looking to fuck, but having three of them at once just had Harry’s head spinning. This might actually be harder than he thought.


Harry didn’t actually have time to check Grindr the rest of the weekend, as he was too busy working on a project for grad school. Which was why, when he checked it Monday morning, he had 25 messages.

“Holy shit,” Harry muttered. He was at the table, eating his breakfast and just scrolling through all of them. They ranged from cheesy pick up lines that actually made Harry laugh like ‘Is it hot in this Bikram studio, or is it just you?’ to blunt questions like, ‘are you a bottom? i need a good bottom’ to statements like ‘i cn’t wait to fucking cum down ur throat’ that were bordering on harassment. Then there were a few that made Harry want to bleach his eyes so he wouldn’t have to read ever again.

But somehow, in the middle of all of that was one that was actually sort of nice.

It was from a guy named Lou W, and his picture was a photo of his abs and ass from the side.

His message read ‘saw that you’re new here. hope you find what you’re looking for =)’

It was sent yesterday afternoon, right around the time Harry was holed up in his room and Louis had been out at the grocery store.

Harry tried to think of something to say back, because out of all his options, this Lou W seemed like the best one.

Just then, he heard Louis coming down the hallway, so he put his phone away.

“Morning,” Harry said.

Louis just grunted as he pulled the milk out of the fridge and his cereal from the cabinet.

“When are you done work today?” Harry asked.

“Um… Early day today, so, 2.”

“OK. I’ll see you before class, then. I have to go to the library for a little while, though, so I’ll probably leave at like, 4.”

Louis nodded as he sat down with his cereal. “Do you have work, too?”

“Yeah,” Harry said. “It’s a short shift, though. Only 8-12.”

During the day, Harry worked at the coffee shop down the street.

“Speaking of which, I should get going.”

Harry got his dishes and put them in the kitchen sink before going to the bathroom to brush his teeth.

As he got ready, he thought about what he should say to Lou W. Was this like being in a bar? Could Harry just send him a random pick up line and that would be it? Or did he have to come up with something better than that? His brief, straightforward intro had seemed to hook Lou in, so maybe he could go with that again.

Once he was done, he went out to the living room.

Louis saw him walking in and asked, “Do you want me to order something for dinner? I can have it waiting for you in the microwave when you get back.”

“Yeah, that’s cool. Whatever you want to get is fine. You know what I like.”

“Of course I do. I know everything about you.”

Harry grimaced. Not everything.

“Yup, you sure do, Louis,” he said instead. “I’ll see you later.”



That afternoon, Harry sat in the library. He was supposed to be doing research for a project, but he’d lost focus about an hour after walking in the door. He closed his notebook so he could take a break, hoping it would help.

He rubbed his eyes, trying to keep himself awake, and remembered that message he’d read this morning.

He pulled out his phone and went to the Grindr app, only to see another four messages.

“Jesus,” Harry whispered. He filtered through them to find Lou W and opened it.

OK, what to say, Harry thought to himself. He decided to just keep it simple.

H: hey, thanks! it’s all a little crazy right now. lots of guys messaging me things I’d rather not repeat, haha

Harry sent it, hoping it didn’t make him sound like a huge prude.

He tapped on Lou’s profile. It brought up the shirtless side picture he’d looked at before, and it said that he was online now. It also said that he was currently seven miles away, which was very close to where Harry lived. Harry wondered briefly if Lou lived in his neighborhood, but forgot that thought when he saw that he had a new message.

LW: yeah that sounds like a typical first day on grindr, haha. you get used to it, as bad as that sounds

H: how? it’s all very overwhelming. I never get this reaction when I go to the bar

LW: bc ppl are braver behind the screen

LW: tbh, I probably wouldn’t approach you if I saw you in a bar

H: haha why?

LW: idk. I don’t work out much, so sometimes ppl who clearly do are a little intimidating

H: listen, if your profile picture is anything to go by then you have nothing to worry about

LW: you’re sweet

LW: and also a liar

H: I am not a liar!

LW: uh huh. sure

LW: so what’re you doing today, H?

Harry paused, not knowing how much he should reveal. It couldn’t hurt to say that he was in grad school, could it?

H: I’m at my school’s library right now. I have class in about an hour, so I wanted to see if I could get some work done.

LW: what’re you in school for?

H: grad school. for business administration. I want to own my own restaurant one day

LW: oh that’s awesome! making me feel inadequate though. I went to school for communications and have yet to find a job that uses that, haha

H: yeah but that’s not your fault. my roommate’s in the same boat, actually. he hasn’t had any luck getting hired. isn’t that really hard to get into?

LW: insanely hard. you have to have the right connections to get into anything. I once wanted to be a news anchor or something, but idk. we’ll see what happens

H: well good luck! I hope you find something full time

LW: thanks. tell your roommate I said the same thing!

H: thanks. =)

Harry checked the time and figured this was a long enough break. He put his phone down and figured he could get a solid half hour of work done before he had to get to class.

It wasn’t his fault he couldn’t stop thinking of Lou W, though.


That night, Louis lay on his couch, flicking through the channels to find something to watch.

He had finally decided on a movie channel that was currently playing Jurassic Park, when his phone vibrated.

He checked it and saw a message from H.

Ahh, H, Louis thought to himself. The Grindr newbie.

Talking to H had definitely put a smile on Louis’ face while he was at work earlier that day. It was nice to talk to a guy who wasn’t immediately trying to hook up. Of course, that could happen in the next day or two, but… H seemed different. Sure it had only been a ten-minute conversation, but Louis usually had a good sense of whether or not people were assholes, and H didn’t seem like one.

H: is it bad that instead of typing up notes, I’ve been googling ‘how to sleep with my eyes open’

LW: hahaha I guess your class isn’t very fun?

H: it’s fine

H: I guess

LW: you guess?

H: like, I know it’s important and all, but I’m just ready to be done. some of this stuff is getting a bit repetitive and seeming more like common sense

LW: I think that’s a good thing. it means you’re starting to think with a business mind.

LW: like, OF COURSE you’re going to do the best you can to make a profit. duh

H: haha it’s a little more complicated than that

LW: is it really? I mean, if donald trump can do it, anyone can

H: while I see your point, he’s probably not the best comparison, seeing as he’s gone bankrupt a few times

LW: true

H: he’s also an asshole and I hate him. and I try not to hate anybody

H: oh god, you didn’t vote for him, did you?

LW: also true.

LW: and god no. surprisingly enough, I actually believe that the rich don’t need to get richer and the middle class shouldn’t be driven into poverty

LW: and women should be able to do what they want with their bodies

LW: and minorities shouldn’t be made to feel like they don’t belong in their own country

LW: and that non-straight people should be treated like valuable members of society

LW: I know. it’s shocking, that I, a happy Grindr user, feel that way

H: wow

H: I’m applauding you right now, just so you know

LW: you are not. you’re trying not to fall asleep in class

H: well, yeah. but I’m mentally applauding you because you’re so right.

H: couldn’t have put it better myself

LW: thanks. glad we’re on the same page as far as politics go

H: and it’s an important page to have in common, I think

LW: definitely

H: can we promise never to talk about trump again, though?

LW: absolutely. let’s talk about… sports instead! do you have a favorite?

H: ooh, you picked a rough topic, haha. not really. I do go to the gym a lot, and I box and do yoga, although I haven’t been in a week or two. I’ve had so many projects to work on, I haven’t been able to find the time.

H: what about you?

LW: I like soccer. that’s probably my favorite. that’s also the only exercise I really get, tbh. but the cardio is good!

H: it is very good. never got into soccer, though. I feel like it’s pretty boring except for when someone eventually scores a goal

LW: you’re watching the wrong teams, then. which ones have you seen?

H: uhh… they had black jerseys, I think? or maybe they were blue. or red?

LW: you’re absolutely hopeless

H: heyyyyy =(

LW: =)

LW: just kidding

LW: but I get your point. it’s a lot of running back and forth most of the time. guess you have to be a really big fan to not mind that part

H: sorry. if it helps, I don’t mind watching it if I have a few beers. my roommate puts it on a lot, and beer always makes it more interesting, lol

LW: well beer makes everything more interesting, haha

H: another valid point

Louis hesitated over typing out his next message. He was wondering if it would be too soon to invite H out for a drink. Of course, there had been guys that he’d known for less time than he’d known H before figuring out a time to meet so they could fuck, so…

It just, felt strange now, to ask H out so soon. The way their relationship was going – not that it was a relationship or anything, for God’s sake, they’d known each other for like, seven hours – but Louis wanted to take it slower with H than he had with other guys in the past. That’s what felt right.

Before he could say anything else, though, H replied.

H: hey I’ll talk to you later. class is about to end, so I have to pack up and finally get home

LW: ok. yay! you survived class. message me tomorrow

H: I did! and I will =)

Louis put his phone down after checking the time. He tried to will himself into getting up so he could start getting ready for bed. Harry would be home soon and would probably hog the bathroom by taking one of his ridiculously long showers. Again.

With a sigh, he got more comfortable on the couch. If he fell asleep, he knew Harry would just carry him to bed when he got home. He always did.


The next day, Harry paced around his living room. He was trying to come up with an idea for a business proposal, and it felt like nothing he came up with was good enough, like everything had been done before and nothing in his head could ever be successful.

He heard his phone vibrate, though, and he welcomed the distraction.

It was a message from Lou, and Harry couldn’t read it fast enough.

LW: how’s your health?

H: what?
LW: your health. sorry I work at a doctor’s office, and some of the people who come in here are just so bad off. like, this one guy just came in for the fourth time in like, six months because his teeth are just so bad.

LW: like, he has all these cavities and just, awful teeth. and he just made an appointment for a root canal. really nice guy, though

H: gotcha. well you’ll be happy to know that I’ve never had a cavity and have never needed anything done to my teeth

LW: that’s a relief.

H: is this what you worry about when you’re at work?

LW: pretty much. that and when I can go home.

H: well, the time you can go home is pretty important.

LW: true. what are you doing today?

H: well I’m off from work, so I’m trying to work on a project for school.

LW: what do you have to do?

H: come up with a business proposal. but I want it to be something original. I don’t want to just design a plan to run a profitable coffee shop, you know?

LW: hmm… well, how about something entrepreneurial? can it be that?
H: it could be. but I can’t come up with anything

LW: um, something food related? idk. like the edible arrangements company?

LW: oh! what about that cookie company? where you can order cookies online? what is it called, sarah’s cookies or something?

H: cheryl’s? I love those cookies

LW: me too! my office got a delivery of them a few months ago and I like, ate my body weight in chocolate frosted ones

H: never had them

H: my roommate actually once promised to buy me some but he ate them all before he could bring them home

LW: lol that’s so something I would do. sorry.

H: it’s OK, haha. maybe I’ll have one one day

H: anyway, getting back to my project, haha, that could be a good idea!

LW: I know. I thought of it. of course it would be a good idea

H: wow, you’re modest. I’m in awe of your humility

LW: of course. any time

H: oh jesus… anyway. what about brownies? are there any brownie delivery services? or cupcakes?

LW: what if you did something really different?

H: like what?
LW: idk like, you know how applebee’s has those shooter desserts? like the mini ones?

H: yeah I love those

LW: me too. what if you did that? like mini chocolate mousse in a shooter size glass, or mini cheesecake or mini pies or something

LW: and you could get like, a four pack or six pack of one flavor or a variety pack

H: it would need to be same day delivery, so it could only be local orders

LW: edible arrangements does that

LW: wait, do you actually like this idea?

H: yeah I think it’s great. I love anything having to do with food

LW: me too but I think for different reasons

LW: I just like to eat

H: no shame in that

LW: wait so I really helped? yay! whenever my roommate has shit like this to do I feel like I’m not helpful at all

LW: I also tune him out most of the time but that’s not the point

H: well next time he talks about a project, offer to help. you’d probably be great

LW: thanks!

H: you’re welcome

H: I’m gonna go write all of this down so I don’t forget. plus, my roommate will be home in like, two hours, so I want to get this done before he gets back

H: he can be a bit loud sometimes

LW: I totally understand. my roommate can be annoying, too. he always leaves his books and notebooks everywhere. I feel like I’m always tripping over them

H: maybe you should step on one of his books one time. maybe he’ll get the hint.

LW: believe me I’ve tried that. I’ve also thrown them around the room before. didn’t work.

H: haha. sorry. maybe you could try hiding them?

LW: ooh, haven’t tried that before. good one!

H: =)

LW: I’ll let you go finish your project. talk to you later

H: definitely


Two hours later, Louis got home, and, like he’d predicted in his conversation with H, Harry had left books all over the living room. He walked up to one and nudged it with his foot.

“Harry,” he said calmly, “can you please not leave your textbooks all over the room? I don’t want to step on them.”

“Yeah, Lou, sounds great,” Harry muttered. His eyes were focused on his computer screen, and he was typing away, working rapidly on something.

Louis shrugged and rolled his eyes. He probably had another business something or other to type up and had waited until the last minute to do it.

Thinking back to what H had said, Louis picked up two books that were in front of him and quickly walked to his room, hiding them under his bed.

When he returned to the living room, Harry hadn’t moved from his spot, so he knew that he wouldn’t notice that the books were missing.

This could be fun.


The next afternoon, Harry felt like he was going crazy. He’d just gotten back from work and wanted to work more on his project before he had to go to class tonight. He really needed to find his Business Management textbook, but he didn’t see it anywhere.

Just then, he heard a key in the lock. Louis walked in and, taking in Harry’s crazed expression, asked, “What’s up?”

“Have you seen my Business Management book?”

“Harold, why would I have any idea where those books are? I can’t even read the terms in those things.”

Harry snorted. “Yes, you can, and you know it. But I just I can’t find it. I know I had it yesterday.”

Louis paused, figuring that the book Harry needed was one that he’d hidden in his room.

“I’m sure it will turn up,” he said. “You know, maybe if you didn’t leave your books all over the place, you’d be able to find them when you need them.”

Harry glared. “Not the time for a lecture.”

Louis shrugged. “Just saying. Did you check your room? Maybe you put it in there by accident.”

As he spoke, Louis walked down to his room and got changed into a pair of sweatpants and a T-shirt. Then he grabbed the book from under his bed and waited. As expected, Harry went into his own room across the hall and started moving things around.

Louis walked as nonchalantly as he could back to the living room and placed the book on one of the dining chairs. Then he went into the kitchen to get some food.

A few minutes later, Harry came back to the living room just as Louis got to the table with some of the warmed up leftover pasta that Harry had cooked the night before. He put his plate down by the chair where he’d hidden Harry’s book, waiting for the right moment to pull it out.

“Do you think I left it in my car?” Harry asked, scratching his head.

“I don’t know, Harry, but-” Louis stopped talking as he pulled out his chair. “Oh, look what I found.”

He held up the book and showed Harry, who looked very confused.

“How did it get there?” he asked, walking over to Louis and taking the book from his hands.

“I don’t know. Maybe you should try to keep all of your books in one spot so you don’t misplace them.”

Harry scowled. “Thanks for the advice.”

“Any time, roomie.”

Louis smiled to himself. He couldn’t wait to tell H about this. He sat down in his chair, waiting for Harry to say something back. However, when Louis looked over, Harry was smiling at something at his phone. He thought something over before sending a response.

“Who are you texting?” Louis asked.

“Hmm?” Harry glanced up at him for a second before returning his attention to his phone.

“I asked who you were texting. You’re smiling awfully big over there.”


“Uh-huh. Sure you’re not.”

Harry laughed. “Seriously, I’m not texting anybody. Just a funny knock knock joke. Wanna hear it?”


“Too bad. Ready? Knock knock.”

Louis sighed, knowing that he would have to indulge Harry in what was sure to be an awful joke.

“Who’s there?” Louis asked.


Louis frowned. “Isn’t this supposed to be a knock knock joke? Why are you at the door?”

“Louis, just say ‘Harry who?’”

“Fine. Harry who?”

“Harry up and open this door!”

Louis just stared in amazement at Harry, who honestly thought that was funny.

“Get it?” Harry asked. “It’s like, hurry up and open the door. And it’s funnier because I’m Harry.”

“Harold, that was horrible.”

Harry shrugged. “Hey, you asked what I was smiling about.”

“Yeah, remind me not to do that ever again.”

Louis started eating his food, but, despite Harry’s joke, he still wasn’t convinced that Harry wasn’t talking to someone. He brushed it off, knowing that if Harry actually was talking to a new guy, he would tell him about it eventually.

But that reminded him: H hadn’t responded to the message he’d sent him earlier. He checked his pockets before remembering that his phone was still in his work pants; he would get up to check it when he was done eating.

He looked over at Harry and saw that he was typing something else into his phone. He really hoped Harry would tell him what was going on soon. He didn’t like not knowing things about his best friend.


Louis wound up not checking his phone until a little after Harry left for class. When he did, he saw a string of messages from H.

H: hey lou. not doing much right now, just trying to work on this project some more.

H: can’t wait for school to be over. I just want to work on a real project

H: hey, you want to hear a joke? it’s really funny, I promise. it’s a knock knock joke

Louis shook his head. God, could he not escape the bad jokes today?

LW: oh please no, haha. my roommate tells me those a lot and they’re always bad. I’m sure yours is fine, but I’ve been sort of put off by knock knock jokes

H: I can’t believe you would say that. you can never go wrong with a good knock knock joke

H: you know, after hearing you say that, I feel like I would get along better with your roommate

LW: well, how rude! I’m offended, H. just for that, I think I would get along better with YOUR roommate

LW: how do you like that?

H: I don’t

H: this is not the direction I thought this conversation would go

LW: so let’s talk about something else then

LW: when are you done with school?

H: in December. so I’ll actually walk and have a ceremony in may

LW: so after this semester, you just have one more? that’s awesome. are you getting nervous?

H: not yet. once September hits, I probably will. but right now I’m just trying to finish this semester, you know?

LW: oh definitely. god I remember when I was in college and just couldn’t wait to get out. I hated having to do all of the practice stuff, you know what I mean? like I just wanted to be out in the real world putting actual productions together, not just ones that only my professor and classmates would see

H: exactly! all of these business proposals and ideas are great and they might help me in the future, but like, they’re not actually making me any money. it sucks

LW: it does. and, whatever you do, don’t think about the student loans you’ll have to pay back after you graduate

H: why would you do that? now that’s all I’m thinking about

LW: H, I said, whatever you do DON’T think about that

H: you’re kind of an asshole you know that?

LW: why would you say something so hurtful?

H: because it’s true?

LW: well now you’ve gone and hurt my feelings. and I was just thinking how much I like talking to you and you go and say that.

Louis smiled as he sent his message. It was the truth: he did really enjoy talking to H. He was smart, creative, open-minded, and, maybe most importantly, always made him smile.

After a few minutes, Louis started to worry, though. Usually, H was quick with his responses, but now he wasn’t saying anything.

Did I say too much? he thought to himself. Maybe H wasn’t comfortable with hearing that Louis was sort of getting attached. What if he thought Louis was starting to get clingy?

LW: shouldn’t have said that. think I said too much. sorry

Louis crossed his fingers H wasn’t about to completely write him off, but fortunately, he responded a few minutes later.

H: sorry. I walked in to class just as the professor arrived, so I figured I should at least look like an attentive student for a bit

H: but I really like talking to you, too. and I call you an asshole with love, btw

LW: an asshole with love? never heard that one before

H: well it’s true, so…

LW: at least you’re honest. I’m glad you responded to that first message the other day =)

H: so am i

H: if we’re being honest, yours is the only one I’ve responded to

Louis felt his jaw drop, not sure why he felt so strange about reading that. Of course, it was nice that H was only talking to him, but that was a bit uncommon. Grindr wasn’t really an app for building permanent connections.

But then Louis realized why it felt strange: because H was the only guy Louis was talking to, as well. Usually, he had multiple conversations going on, but ever since he started talking to H, he was the only one he bothered with.

There were new messages in his inbox, but he hadn’t felt the need to read them.

Who knew Louis would’ve reached that point so quickly?

He felt his phone go off again.

H: shit. and now I’m the one who’s said too much. sorry. forget I even said it.

LW: no, you didn’t say too much! I was just thinking how it’s the same for me

H: really?

LW: yeah, haha. are you that surprised?

H: a little

H: idk, you’re just so easy to talk to and you’re a little bit wonderful and definitely attractive

LW: uh, I can say the same about you, babe

H: I’m glad you can’t see me right now, bc I’m blushing and it’s really embarrassing

Louis took a deep breath as he typed his next message, praying it went well.

LW: hope this isn’t too forward for a grindr newbie like yourself, but what are you doing this weekend?

Louis squeezed his eyes shut, but peeked one eye open after a minute, as if that would somehow help with H’s possible rejection.

However, it seemed like he didn’t need to worry, because H replied very quickly, and it wasn’t with a rejection.

H: I just have to work on Saturday night and Sunday morning, but besides that I’m free. did you have something in mind?

LW: thought maybe we could meet up, if you wanted? then I actually could see you

LW: and if you blush, which I’m sure is really cute, then I could see it

LW: if you want. don’t feel obligated to say yes

H: do you really think I would say no? of course. I’d love to meet you

LW: oh, good. this would’ve been really awkward if you said no

H: I’d be an idiot to say no. are you kidding?

LW: =)

H: I’ll talk to you tomorrow. professor’s putting us in a group for something. shit, I wasn’t listening. hopefully my group members catch me up

LW: oh no! I’m sorry for distracting you

H: it’s ok. really. I’d much rather be talking to you

H: and maybe doing other stuff, but we can save that for this weekend

“Holy shit,” Louis said to himself.

LW: I like the way you think, H. can’t wait for this weekend

H: we’ll figure it out. definitely. I’ll talk to you later

LW: ;)

Louis dropped his phone to the couch next to him. His heart was racing. For the first time since joining Grindr, he felt genuinely excited to meet a guy. Before, it was a different excitement, one where he just couldn’t wait to come and then go, but with H, he actually wanted to have a real date and maybe hook up. But if the hooking up didn’t happen, Louis didn’t think he would be disappointed. Not one little bit.


On Thursday night, Louis woke up on the couch to feel Harry poking him in the cheek.

“Louis, wake up,” Harry whispered.

“No. Shut up.”

Harry chuckled. “Go to bed.”

“No. Sit here for a minute. I feel like I haven’t seen you in years.”

“We saw each other this morning at breakfast before I left for work.”

“And now it’s like, almost ten at night, and we’re both about to go to bed because we have work tomorrow.”

Harry sighed. “OK. I’m going to get some water and then I’ll be back, OK? You better still be awake.”

“I will be,” Louis muttered. He yawned and got comfortable where he sat, but his eyes stayed open.

Harry walked away, and Louis picked his phone up off his chest. He’d been talking to H literally all day, even when they were both working, and while H was at class. He was getting more excited for whatever they would wind up doing this weekend, which was looking like it would probably be a lunch date before H went to work on Saturday.

Down the hall, Harry was getting changed into a pair of sweatpants. As he walked toward the kitchen, he read the last message in his and Lou’s conversation.

LW: there’s this coffee shop that I know that’s near my job. it’s called back to the grind and it’s on Wilson blvd. do you know it?

H: I do know it. I go there a lot actually when I’m getting on the road to go see my family. the highway entrance is like, five minutes from there.

LW: yup that’s the place! that’s so weird. what if we’ve been there at the same time?

Harry pulled his water bottle out of the fridge and leaned against the kitchen counter.

H: you know what? knowing us we probably have. we’ve probably had full conversations, too.

LW: stop that’s so weird to think about

H: haha but it’s probably true

LW: probably

H: I should go. my roommate wants to talk to me about something

LW: uh oh. what’d you do?

H: no idea. but it’s cool. he said we haven’t really seen each other lately, which is true, since we both work and I’m always doing stuff for school

LW: gotcha. well go talk to him. I’ll talk to you tomorrow?

H: of course

LW: =)  good night!

H: good night =)

After Harry sent his last message, he went into the living room with his water and sat down next to Louis on the couch. He glanced over at his roommate and saw him closing out of a Grindr message.

A week or two ago, he would’ve been annoyed at seeing that, jealous even. Strangely enough, Harry didn’t feel that way right then. Maybe it was because Harry had Lou W. now, or because he was really over his crush, but now, he felt happy for Louis, who, hopefully, was also on his way to meeting someone great.

It would be perfect if both of them could find someone, and Harry would just be happy that he wouldn’t have to sacrifice his relationship with his roommate along the way.


On Friday night, Louis sat on the couch. Again.

He was starting to feel a little pathetic. He never used to stay home on Friday nights. Hell, he never used to stay home on Thursday nights, either. But last night, he’d spent all day talking to H before falling asleep on the couch, and right now, he was sitting in his apartment, alone, waiting for him to respond.

Get a grip, Tomlinson, he thought to himself. It had only been a few minutes since he’d sent his ‘so what’re you up to?’ message. But Louis couldn’t help it: he loved talking to him.

Just then, he heard Harry’s key in the lock and looked up to see his roommate walking in. And something about him was strange.

After Harry locked the door behind him, he looked at Louis and asked, “What?”

Louis shook his head. “Huh?”

“You’re staring at me. What?”

“Nothing, just, um… Is that a new shirt?”

Harry looked down at the workout shirt – black, long-sleeve with a purple stripe across the chest – that he was wearing. “No?”

“Oh. Never seen it before, I guess.”

“Nah, I usually just wear it to yoga. But I haven’t gone in a few weeks, so…”

“Yeah. Must be.”

Harry walked down to his bedroom and shut the door behind him.

A few seconds later, H finally responded.

H: just got home, sorry. but I have to make dinner

LW: yeah? what are your options?

H: good question. I better check. my roommate might kill me if I don’t make him something soon.

LW: ahh, this infamous roommate. tell him to relax. or learn to cook something for himself. ;)

H: yeah I’ve tried that. many times. we’ve been friends for years and it still hasn’t worked, so…

Louis smiled. He quite liked H’s roommate. They’d probably get along very nicely.

He heard Harry coming out of his room, though, so he yelled out, “Styles! What’re you cooking tonight?”

Harry snorted. “Lou, relax. I’m getting there. You know, you could cook something for us instead; it would save you the trouble of waiting.”

Louis just laughed. “Harry, you’ve been telling me that for years and I still haven’t-”

Louis stopped talking, because it felt like he’d literally just had this conversation.

He looked over at Harry, who had changed his outfit to a pair of black sweatpants and a white T-shirt. He was now bent over the fridge, looking at the contents.

Louis just shook his head. Nah, he thought to himself, it can’t be.

He started watching TV again and after a moment, his phone went off.

H: looks like I have some chicken, but if I wanted to make that I should’ve taken it out this morning to defrost it. there’s also a lot of pasta here, so that should be easy. or I could go really simple with like, grilled cheese. idk what do you think?

Louis thought it over before answering.

LW: definitely pasta. it’s a favorite of mine, so I always go with that

H: pasta it is, then! I’ll talk to you after dinner, OK? remember, you never want to disturb a chef while he’s creating a masterpiece.

Louis laughed and just texted back a thumbs-up. He dropped his phone to the couch next to him and got comfortable. He could hear Harry starting to take out pots and pans and going through the spice rack to find what he needed.

“Lou, I’m gonna make that pizza pasta thing that you like, all right?” Harry called from the kitchen.

“Yes! You know I’ll never say no to that. That’s my favorite.”

He froze, because, once again, it felt like he’d already had this conversation.

While Harry continued cooking, completely oblivious to the total mindfuck that Louis was experiencing, Louis picked his phone back up and opened up Grindr. He returned to his conversation with H and tapped on his profile picture, examining it once again.

That shirt was what held his attention again. How many other guys had the same shirt that H and Harry had, and – wait. H… Harry. Harry did yoga. So did H. They both had the same shirt, and had both gotten home ten minutes ago and were cooking dinner.

No way.

Louis looked at the picture again and stared more closely at H’s lips. They were pink and pouty, with the lower lip a bit plumper than the top, just like Harry. And H had brown, curly hair that reached his shoulders, just like Harry.

Louis looked over at Harry, who was putting his hair back up into a bun as the kitchen was most likely getting warmer.

“Holy shit,” Louis whispered. Have I been flirting with my own roommate all this time?

Harry, of course, chose that time to glance over.

“What?” he asked. “What’s with the staring thing tonight?”

“Nothing!” Louis insisted. “Just, I love you so much, Harry. You’re my best friend.”

Harry frowned. “Did you start drinking wine without me?”


“You promise?”

“I promise!”

“OK…” Harry turned back to the stove, checking on the food.

“We should’ve had chicken,” Louis blurted out.


“Huh?” Harry asked, without turning around.

“Chicken,” Louis said in a strained voice. If he was going to make an idiot of himself, he might as well go full force. “I want chicken tonight.”

“That’s a shame. I didn’t take it out to defrost this morning, so it would never be ready in time.”

Louis felt his jaw drop. “Oh, my God,” he whispered.

Twenty minutes later, Harry yelled out, “Dinner’s ready!”

Louis wasn’t even sure if he could move to the table. His whole world had been turned upside down. He’d been flirting with his best friend and didn’t even know it.

Harry set out two plates of food and saw that Louis hadn’t budged. “Lou?”


“Dinner. You want a beer?”

“No, I’m good. I feel a little lightheaded already, actually.”

“I knew you started drinking wine!” Harry accused.

“It’s really not that, H.” He paused, not meaning to say ‘H.’

Harry scrunched his face up. “Since when do you call me ‘H’? That was weird.” He went back to the kitchen to get them drinks.

“Yeah,” Louis muttered. “This is all really fucking weird.”

Throughout dinner, Louis found himself watching Harry extra closely. All of the little things that Louis had noticed over the years, but had long-since ignored, were suddenly very endearing. Like, how Harry played with the rings on his fingers when his hands needed something to do or how, when he ate, his tongue came out of his open mouth first. Also, whenever Harry ran his fingers through his hair, he would play with the ends for a second before moving his hand away.

Then there was the simple matter of just how pretty Harry was – his bright, green eyes, gorgeous hair and pink, pouty lips. His broad chest and huge arm muscles from nights at the gym, boxing and lifting weights. Even his huge hands and long fingers were beautiful – like they were made to hold Louis while also making him fall apart.

Louis’ eyes widened.

No, no, no. He was not fantasizing about his best friend, about Harry using his fingers to prep Louis so they could-

“Nope!” Louis shouted.

Harry jumped, causing him to start choking on the pasta in his mouth.

“Oh, God. Oh, no, I’m sorry!”

Louis jumped up and started clapping a coughing Harry on the back. After a moment, and a lot of water, Harry’s breathing returned to almost normal.

“What the –” Harry paused to cough. “What the hell is your problem tonight?”

“I don’t know; I don’t know! I just- Um, I…”

Harry stared at Louis, waiting for some kind of explanation from the man.

Louis just sighed and went back to his room. He lay down on his bed and stared up at the ceiling.

I like Harry.

It even felt weird to think it, but it was true. He liked his roommate, his best friend, the person he always wanted to spend time with. And it felt, oddly calming, if he was being honest.

He’d never thought of Harry in that way before, but now, after talking to him this week and actually letting himself think about it, he really did.

And he knew everything that Harry wanted in life – house, two-car garage, a couple of kids, loving husband. Basically, everything straight out of the ’50s stereotype, except both he and his husband would have jobs and the clothing would be much better.

The scariest part was that, some day, Louis wanted all of that, too. He used to think nothing of the fact that he and Harry always wanted the same things in life. Now it felt like fate was punching him in the face.

He could hear Harry puttering around in the kitchen, probably trying to figure out what the hell he should say to Louis after his breakdown, and suddenly, Louis didn’t want Harry to say anything.

But he really wanted H to do something.

He pulled his phone out of his pocket and opened up his Grindr messages.

LW: so how was dinner?

Louis heard Harry pause what he was doing and, seconds later, he had an answer.

H: it was good. I made pasta like you suggested. it was my roommate’s favorite, actually, but he was acting a little strange today.

LW: how strange?

H: idk. I think he just has stuff on his mind. he was like, checked out during most of dinner and when he finally came out of it, he sort of scared me and I started choking on my food, haha

LW: oh no! are you ok?

H: yeah I’m fine. he just caught me by surprise

LW: gotcha. so I guess you’re done dinner?

H: yeah.

LW: are you having dessert?

Louis held his phone tightly in his hands while he waited for a response. He wasn’t sure what he was doing right now, to be perfectly honest. It felt strange to be talking to Harry now that he knew who Harry was, but Harry didn’t know who he was.

H: idk. you’ve been doing good so far tonight, what do you suggest?

LW: your mouth and my dick.

Louis heard something hit the floor out in the living room, and Harry saying, “Shit!” He tried not to laugh, assuming Harry had dropped his phone.

H: uhh what?

LW: your mouth + my dick. keep up, h

LW: are you alone?

Louis wondered what Harry would say to that, if anything. He knew that Harry technically was alone, out in the living room, but since Harry didn’t know that it was Louis on the other side of the phone, he didn’t know if Louis in real life would come out of his room at any time.

Yeah, Louis confused himself with that one, too.

But his question was answered when he heard Harry walk down the hallway and shut his bedroom door.

H: yeah I’m alone

OK, let’s go, then.

LW: good. wish I was there with you, though.

H: well, what would you do if we were together?

LW: well first I’m going to make sure your shirt’s off so I can see those gorgeous muscles of yours. can you do that for me?

Louis waited a second for Harry to message him back. He hoped Harry actually did take off his shirt.

H: done

LW: good boy. now where can we sit? I want you to be nice and comfortable for what I plan to do to you.

H: ok I’m sitting down. I’m on my bed

LW: perfect. I’m walking up to you

H: what’re you wearing?

LW: panties. black lacy ones

LW: what do you think?

H: fuck

LW: now I’m turning around so you can see everything

LW: do you like what you see?

H: god yeah

H: do you mind if I spank you?

Louis licked his lips while also mentally rolling his eyes because that’s such a Harry thing to ask permission for. He turned over and lay face down on his mattress. Then he spanked his right ass cheek.

LW: not at all

H: just did

LW: did you do both?

H: of course I fucking did.

Louis grinned and spanked the left one, too.

LW: good. just gonna sit on your lap now. I’m moving my hips back and forth

LW: do you like watching me

H: love it. your ass is perfect.

H: you feel me holding onto your hips

LW: yeah. squeeze them

H: anything for you

LW: your cock feels nice under my ass.

LW: and huge

LW: I bet you’re big aren’t you?

H: yeah yeah. so fucking big baby. love feeling you on me

H: you feel that? how hard you’re making me

LW: yeah I feel it.

H: need to feel you

H: I’m reaching my hand around. spread your legs nice and wide for me

LW: of course

H: you’re so hard. love how you feel. I’m running my hand up and down your cock. can’t wait to get my whole hand around it

LW: what’s stopping you?

H: you’re right baby. keep your legs apart

Louis waited for Harry’s next message, because holy shit did this boy know how to talk.

H: I’m going nice and slow, sliding my hand down your panties

H: you feel that? me holding on you

Louis grabbed a pillow and moaned into it, hoping it was actually muffled. He ground his hips down into the mattress, needing to feel something.

Then his phone lit up again and he had to read the new message.

H: you feel perfect. need to get you in my mouth soon

LW: what’s stopping you?

H: get on the bed

And then Louis stopped, because, seriously, what was stopping him? There was nothing to stop him from going across the hall to Harry’s room so Harry actually could suck him off. All he would have to do is show Harry the messages and he would believe him. And if Harry was as affected as Louis was, well, it probably wouldn’t take long.

His phone lit up one more time.                                                 

H: ripped your panties. sorry. got too excited

That was it. With all the strength he had, he pushed himself off his bed, grabbed his phone and left his room.

He pounded on Harry’s door. “Harry! Open up!”

“Wh- Louis?”

“Harry, open the door,” Louis yelled.

“No! Fuck off.”


“Louis, seriously, come back later.” Harry’s voice cracked on the last word, and any other time, Louis would be very smug about it.

“Harry, I know what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with, so open the goddamn door.”

He heard some shuffling around and the door was yanked open.

“What?” Harry asked angrily.

Louis was left momentarily speechless. Harry was shirtless and flushed. His hair had been let down from the bun and now looked like it had been messed with a lot and his bottom lip looked really red, probably from Harry biting it.

But Harry was also hard. Very hard.

“Um…” Louis stuttered.

What is so important?”

Wordlessly, Louis just thrust his phone in Harry’s face, letting him see what was on the screen.

“What the f-? What is this? What am I read-?”

Understanding took over Harry’s face as he read the message that Louis had on the screen.

“Oh, my God,” Harry whispered.

“I know.”

“Um… You- How did you-?”

“I don’t know how this happened, Harry. But after I saw you wearing that shirt from your profile picture, I started to figure it out. Then you told me earlier about your roommate, and your options for dinner, and it all made sense. And now, I’m looking at you, and-”

“And what?”

“And…” Louis shrugged a shoulder before fixing Harry with a very determined stare. “I believe I was told to get on the bed.”

He heard Harry’s breath hitch, and he took that as a good sign.

Harry cleared his throat before saying, “I believe you were.”

Louis didn’t know if it would be appropriate to skip into Harry’s room out of sheer excitement, so instead, he strolled in, dropped his phone on the bedside table and stood there, waiting for Harry to take the next step.

Harry, who was still standing in the doorway, watched Louis’ every move. He subtly reached down and pinched his thigh, praying to any god that would listen that this wasn’t a dream.

They stared at each other for a moment, because this was a lot easier through phone screens than in real life.

“Um,” Harry started. “Louis-”

“Kiss me.”

Harry stopped.

“That’s usually what people do, right? When they like each other?”

Harry nodded.

“So kiss me, then.”

Harry pinched himself again, this time, much more obviously.

Louis grinned. “Come on.”

Harry slowly made his way over to where Louis stood. When they were right in front of each other, Harry reached a shaking hand up to lightly rest against the side of Louis’ neck. He ran his thumb back and forth, as if Louis was the one who needed comforting right now.

Without breaking their eye contact, Louis grabbed Harry’s free hand and brought it to his lips, lightly kissing the palm. Then, he brought it around his waist.

“Relax,” Louis said quietly. “It’s just me.”

“It’s not just you,” Harry whispered in disbelief. “It’s… you.

Louis smiled and leaned in. He watched Harry lick his lips, staring at Louis the entire time. He paused when he was just centimeters away, thriving off the electricity between them.

They stood there for a moment, just taking each other in. Then Louis licked his lips, too, and within seconds, Harry had apparently tired of not kissing Louis. He rushed forward, capturing Louis’ lips with his.

Louis was immediately left breathless by the kiss. Harry’s gorgeous lips were so soft against his and moved very slowly for someone who had been so frantic just minutes before. Louis wrapped his arms around Harry’s waist and tilted his head a bit, hoping this kiss would go deeper.

Suddenly, Harry pulled back and asked, “Are you sure you haven’t been drinking wine?”

To anyone else, it would’ve been a question with very bizarre timing. But because Louis knew Harry and knew how his mind worked, he responded with, “I’m sure. I haven’t had anything to drink and… I want this. Completely.”

Harry searched his eyes and, happy with what he apparently found there, kissed Louis again.

Without breaking away or opening his eyes, Louis turned so that Harry was closer to the bed. He put his hands on Harry’s hips and lightly pushed back. Harry got the hint and sat back on his mattress. Louis followed easily. He straddled Harry’s lap, putting one knee on either side of him. Harry leaned all the way back, lying down and bringing Louis with him.

Once they were comfortable, Harry parted his lips and Louis did the same. He slipped his tongue inside and he could feel Harry’s tongue rubbing up against it. Louis let out a brief moan before sitting back and pulling off his shirt. He felt Harry’s fingers walk up his thighs until they reached his hips. Harry gave them a tight squeeze.

Louis leaned forward again, but didn’t kiss Harry just yet. Instead, he just hovered over Harry and they smiled at each other.

Then Harry asked, “Do you actually have black lace panties?”

Louis snorted before completely bursting out in laughter. His forehead fell down to Harry’s chest and he could feel Harry shaking with laughter, as well.

After a moment, once Louis caught his breath again, he looked up at Harry and said, “I don’t, actually. But I guess I’ll have to buy some now that I know you’re into that. Never knew that about you.”

Harry shrugged. “I didn’t know I was into that until a few minutes ago, to be honest. But now that I know you’d be the one wearing them, I’d definitely be into it.”


“Hell, yeah.”

Louis kissed Harry again, their lips sliding smoothly against each other’s. Louis reached a hand up to run his fingers through Harry’s hair. He could feel Harry smiling against his lips, which made him smile, too.

“What?” Louis asked, giggling.

“Nothing, just… I’ve wanted this for a long time.”


“Yeah, really.”

“I’m sorry I made you wait.”

Harry shook his head. “Don’t be. You’re more than worth it.”

Louis bit his lower lip before getting fully off the mattress. Harry sat up, watching him move.

“You know,” Louis started, “I believe I recall you saying that you ripped my panties in our little message.”

He watched Harry’s Adam’s apple bob as he swallowed. “Yeah.”

“So that means that I’m overdressed right now, then.”


Without another word, Louis reached his thumbs under the hem of his briefs and pushed them, and his sweatpants, down around his ankles.

Louis heard Harry whimper as he stepped out of them and walked slowly back to him.

As he reached him, he slowly turned and said, “I believe you owe me a spank.”

Louis looked over his shoulder and saw Harry staring in shock up at him. He just winked and bent over so that his ass was more in Harry’s face.

He finally felt Harry’s hands slowly, tentatively grab onto Louis’ ass. He felt his fingers massaging the skin. Then, one hand came roughly over his right ass cheek, causing Louis to gasp.

A few seconds later, Harry’s hand slapped his left cheek, too. Then, his fingers were back to caressing his probably red skin and after a moment, Louis felt lips replace Harry’s hands.

Harry ghosted over Louis’ entire backside, leaving gentle kisses everywhere he went: his hips, his lower spine, his back. As he did that, his fingers danced across his warm skin, making Louis shiver.

“Harry…” Louis whispered.

“Hmm?” Harry hummed. He pulled back. “Yeah?”

Louis moved Harry’s hands off him before sitting right down in his lap. He shifted around, feeling Harry’s hard cock through his sweats.

He heard Harry’s breathing stutter, so he rolled his hips a few times back and forth. He grabbed Harry’s hands and put them back on his waist. Louis leaned back against Harry’s chest and reached one hand up and into Harry’s hair. He played with the strands at the back of his neck as he moved and was so distracted by the feeling of Harry’s cock against his ass that he didn’t notice Harry’s hand creeping down his inner thigh.

“Harry…” He loudly moaned when he felt cool fingers against his cock, wrapping tightly around it.

Harry just shushed him and kissed at Louis’ neck as he moved his hand slowly up and down. Once he reached the tip, he ran his thumb across it, sending another shiver up Louis’ spine.

Louis threw his head back onto Harry’s shoulder and let out a quiet whimper. He was starting to feel hot, but kept moving his hips, now sliding his cock into Harry’s fist.

Harry bit down on the side of Louis’ neck, pulling lightly at the skin before releasing and licking over it.

Louis braced himself on Harry’s thighs, knowing he was going to come soon. He could feel his abs tighten and his movement became unsteady. His knees pulled together as he arched his back, feeling like his body was ready to burst into flames. Harry’s strokes over his cock were long and smooth and the pressure on his neck was only driving him closer to the edge.

“I’m gonna come,” Louis cried out.

Harry wrapped his free arm around Louis’ waist, holding him tightly against him. His hand started moving quicker and Louis gripped onto Harry’s legs even tighter.

When his orgasm finally hit, his entire body shuddered as he spilled over Harry’s hand. He felt all of his strength leave him as he collapsed against Harry, who stroked him through it. When Louis was finished, Harry rolled them over so they were both on their sides. Louis struggled to catch his breath and found it even harder as he heard Harry licking his hand clean.

“Oh, my God,” he finally said.


With all his might, Louis shifted around so that was facing Harry.

“Are you- Um, was that OK?”

Louis surged forward, kissing Harry quickly. It didn’t go any further than just lips on lips, but it was perfect.

“That was amazing,” Louis told Harry once they broke apart.

Harry smiled so hard that his dimples broke through and Louis couldn’t help but smile back. He wrapped his top leg around Harry’s waist, pulling them together. That’s when he felt it – Harry was still hard. Intensely so.

Well, there was only one thing to do about that.


“Yeah?” Harry asked. He traced lazy circles into Louis’ hip with his thumb, waiting for Louis to continue speaking.

“Fuck me.”

Harry’s eyes widened. “What?”


Louis kissed him again, quickly parting his lips and hoping Harry would take the hint. He did, and slid his tongue right into Louis’ mouth. Then Harry rolled them again so that he was on top.

Louis’ hands went to his waist and he slipped his index fingers under the top hem of Harry’s sweatpants. Just as he expected, he didn’t feel any underwear there.

Harry groaned, got off the bed and pulled his pants off. As he walked back to the bed, Louis put one hand on Harry’s hip and the other on his dick. Without hesitating, he wrapped his lips around the head and lightly sucked on it.

Louis heard Harry take in a deep breath. He looked up and saw that Harry had his eyes closed and his mouth was slightly open.

He moved down Harry’s cock a little more and watched Harry bite his lip again. Louis squeezed Harry’s hip where his hand still held onto it. Then he started moving his head back and forth, dragging his lips as he moved.

Harry’s eyes slowly opened and looked down at Louis, watching him with hungry eyes. Louis stared right back at him, positive that his own eyes were just as dark.

Harry released his lower lip and licked over it. Taking another deep breath, and seemingly using a lot of strength, he said, “Louis, stop. You’re going to make me come right now.”

Reluctantly, Louis pulled off. He kissed the tip of Harry’s cock just once before leaning back onto his forearms. He spread his legs wide, putting his feet up on the mattress.

“Sorry,” he said, not sounding sorry at all. “Just wanted a taste.”

Harry shook his head. “You’re filthy.”

Louis just winked.

Harry moved to the side, opening the drawer in his bedside table. He pulled a condom and bottle of lube out and dropped them to the bed.

Louis moved further up the bed so that Harry had space to kneel.

Harry put one knee up, opened the lube and poured some over his fingers. He braced his clean hand against Louis’ knee before bringing one finger to Louis’ rim. He traced small circles over it before lightly pressing in.

Louis took in a shaky breath, resisting the urge to pull his knees together. He still felt sensitive, but god did he want this.

Harry pushed his finger all the way in before twisting it around. He pulled it slightly out before sliding it back in. Louis closed his eyes, enjoying the feeling. It had been a long time since he’d had sex with someone he actually cared about, and it was only a little overwhelming.

Soon, Harry was pressing in a second finger and Louis focused on keeping himself relaxed, despite how fast his heart was racing. He could feel his toes curling into the mattress and one hand grabbed tightly onto the blanket that covered it. He wiggled his hips back and forth to help with the prepping. He could feel his dick starting to get hard again, which probably shouldn’t have been as big of a surprise as it was.

As he finally opened his eyes, he saw Harry ducking down, and seconds later, felt wet heat all around his cock.

Louis gasped and looked down to see Harry sucking him off as his fingers kept moving, scissoring Louis open.

Louis moaned, and suddenly, it was a lot easier to keep his legs spread.

Harry bobbed his head up and down, twisting and turning his fingers until he could get a third inside.

Louis’ hands shot down to weave into Harry’s hair. He pulled, and Harry’s head stilled.

Louis could feel Harry’s tongue pulsing against his dick, and he didn’t realize he would be able to get so hard again so soon, but here he was, stiffer than he’d been before.

“Get in me,” Louis groaned. “Fuck, Harry…”

Harry pulled slowly off. “Are you sure?” He looked nervous, to say the least, at fucking Louis just then.

“So sure. Come on.”

Harry slipped his fingers out and wiped them off against his thigh. He grabbed the condom and ripped it open before sliding it down himself. He poured some more lube over his cock before dropping the bottle back on the bed.

He put both knees on the bed and lined himself up with Louis’ hole. Carefully, he started pressing in.

Both of their breathing stopped as Harry moved. Louis kept his eyes down, watching as Harry’s dick pushed into him. Harry went very slowly, flicking his eyes between Louis’ hole and his face, wanting to make sure that he wouldn’t hurt him.

When Harry was all the way in, Louis wrapped his legs around Harry’s waist before dropping his head back.

Harry leaned forward, putting one hand on either side of Louis’ head. He fell to his forearms and ducked his head to kiss down Louis’ neck.

“This is going to be over embarrassingly quickly,” Harry quietly admitted.

Louis snorted. “Trust me, it’s definitely mutual, babe.”


“Yeah.” Louis turned his head to face Harry. Once Harry pulled off Louis’ neck, he leaned in to kiss him. “Now move.”

Harry steadied himself before rolling his hips just a little. Then he pulled out and pushed back in. It took him a few tries to get his rhythm just right, but once he did, Louis could feel himself losing his breath with each thrust.

He felt Harry changing his angle around, so he wiggled his hips, because he knew what Harry was looking for. He just had to find it.

A moment later, Harry made contact. Louis let out a loud gasp and his hands flew up to grip Harry’s shoulders.

“Right there, baby. Shit.”

Harry thrusted his hips in and out, aiming for the same spot over and over again. As he did, he attached his lips to Louis’ neck again, biting down and sucking roughly at the skin.

Louis’ hold on Harry got even tighter with each movement, and he could feel his second orgasm starting to build.

He reached a hand down between them and wrapped his fingers around his cock, jerking himself off. With a groan, Harry moved even faster.

Louis whimpered, the need to come taking over his mind and making everything else fade to the background.


“Lou!” Harry moaned.

Then he felt it. Harry stiffened up as he came, and Louis could feel the condom filling up quickly. He kept moving his fist as Harry shook against him.

It wasn’t until Harry reached a hand down and pressed his thumb against where his cock met Louis’ hole that Louis came, shooting white spurts all over his hand and Harry’s chest.

“Shit,” Louis said, gasping for air.

“Holy fuck,” Harry muttered against his throat.

The two of them lay there quietly, their labored breathing being the only sound in the room.

After a few minutes, Harry pulled out. He took off the condom and threw it out in his trashcan. Then he walked out of the room. Louis heard the water running in the bathroom and, sure enough, Harry soon returned with a wet washcloth. He’d already been cleaned up, so he gently wiped Louis down as well.

When he finished, he dropped the cloth to the bedside table and collapsed next to Louis on the bed.

Louis turned to face Harry, propping himself up on one elbow. “So…” he started. “You’ve liked me for a while, huh?”

Harry covered his face with one arm and let out a long groan. “Yeah.”

Louis giggled. “Babe, are you embarrassed? I mean, we just had sex. I think it’s pretty clear I feel the same way.”

Harry moved his arm just enough to peek at Louis with one eye. “You really had no idea?”

Louis shook his head. “Nope. But, don’t forget, I’m not the best at picking up on subtle hints.”

“You still figured out we were talking to each other on Grindr before I did.”

“It’s your fault for that. If you didn’t wear that stupid black shirt tonight, I’d still be oblivious. I wouldn’t have figured it out until we met up tomorrow.”

“Yeah that would have been a strange revelation,” Harry said with a grin. “Well it looks like my weekend is pretty booked now.”

“Oh, really?” Louis sat up and climbed into Harry’s lap. “And what exactly will you be doing?”

Harry put his hands on Louis’ ass. “Hopefully, you in this position.”

Louis pinched Harry on both sides of his waist. “You’re disgusting!”

“Yeah, but apparently, you like that.”

Louis smiled and leaned down, gently kissing Harry. When he pulled back, he said, “Yeah, I guess I do.”


The next morning, Louis and Harry deleted their Grindr accounts, and that weekend did, in fact, consist of a Louis/Harry ‘bonding time.’ Pretty much whenever Harry wasn’t at work, they were ‘bonding.’

They had a lot of lost time to make up for, and now, there truly was nothing stopping them.