One minute you hate him so much you think you’re going to burn from the inside out because of it and the next minute you’re kissing him in a thunderstorm and realising that maybe – just maybe – you don’t hate him at all.
It shouldn’t be so hard to kiss someone. It shouldn’t be so difficult to stand underneath the storm clouds and say something that sounds like a broken I need you. The words shouldn’t catch in your throat and your heart shouldn’t stutter and skip when he looks at you, eyebrow arched and lips red from kissing. There’s a thunder clap, lightning and the sky splits open. There’s something brutal and fitting about the way he holds you when the world feels like it’s breaking in two. You say his name in a whisper, sigh it off the back of another lazy roll of thunder and let him press a warm hand against the part of your chest where your heart beats the loudest.
He says your name between rain-damp kisses and he makes it sound like a prayer. You’re shivering in his arms and he thinks it’s the rain, but it’s not. He asks if you’re cold and you tell him yes, even when you’re warmer than you’ve been for such a long time. You’re shivering because he’s Nick and you’re Louis, because it’s the first time you’ve kissed anyone in a thunderstorm and he’s the only man you’ve kissed outside of a dream. You wonder if he knows. Perhaps one day you’ll tell him, when you’re not too busy kissing him until you’re both breathless with wanting.
He tastes like rain, cigarettes and the two-for-one cocktails you necked when you were still trying to outdo one another with insults. His kisses are rough with stubble and it excites you more than you want to admit, pushing and pulling and turning every long, slow kiss into a fight because you don’t want to give yourself away.
“Louis.” Nick pulls back. His voice is rough and low. He brushes a thumb against your cheek and he watches you like he already knows. Maybe he does. Perhaps that lightning tore more than the skies apart and now he can see inside your heart.
“Don’t. Shut up, will you?” Your voice is reed-thin and unsteady. “Those fucking cocktails.”
Nick laughs and looks away. His lips twist, his smile wry. “Yeah. That’ll be it, love.”
You take a breath. Nick puts his hands in his pockets and leans against the wall. He’s all long limbed elegance and you want to touch him again. He ducks his head and lights a cigarette, the tip glowing in the darkness.
“Give us one, then.”
“Get your own. You’re a popstar with millions in the bank, aren’t you?”
He offers you one anyway, the packet battered from being crushed in the pocket of his impossibly skinny jeans. You push it between your lips and he gives you a light. You hope he doesn’t notice how much your hands tremble.
Nick snorts softly. He tips his head back and looks up at the sky. “You’re welcome mate.”
“They’ll wonder where I went.” Your friends are in that bar. They’re probably getting hammered, drinking tequila shots and trying to pull fit girls.
“Better go back then, hadn’t you?” Nick shrugs. He’s still watching the stars. You press against him, shoulder to shoulder, thigh to thigh.
“I don’t want to.” Your voice is small in the darkness. It feels like your vocal chords have been stripped bare and all that’s left is midnight and silence. The night air tastes like tobacco and the scent of Nick’s expensive cologne is all over your skin. He stubs out his cigarette and you watch his boot heel press it into the ground, extinguishing the light completely.
“Don’t, then.” Nick pushes himself off the wall. He looks you up and down. His cheeks are pink, his hair’s all over the place and you want him so, so much. He turns his eyes to the heavens as if he’s already regretting the question you both know he’s going to ask. “Want to come back to mine?”
“Yeah,” you say. Yeah, yeah, yeah. You have to swallow back a laugh which bubbles up with the nervous excitement which twists in your stomach. “Might as well.”
“Come on then.” Nick starts to walk and you fall into step beside him. It starts to rain again and he starts to run. He laughs like he’s punch-drunk stupid from the kisses and the cocktails. You run with him and begin to laugh too, wondering what people would say if they could see you both ducking around the street lamps and weaving through the empty streets. “We need an Uber. I don’t know where the fuck we are.”
“Call a bloody taxi then. Christ, Nicholas.” You stop running when he does, hands on your knees and your lungs burning. When you look up, he’s watching you. His face is flushed from running and his cheeks are damp with rain. His hair’s wilted and it looks way better than it should. He swipes his tongue over his lips and you want to taste him again.
He holds out a hand and you straighten up, fitting easily against his chest. He slides his arms around you and kisses you again until you’re unsteady with it, head spinning and a little bit weak at the knees.
That’s how it begins. With smoky kisses in the middle of fuck-knows-where, underneath a sky that could belong to any other stormy midnight.