Harry was, well, a work of art really. Louis couldn’t describe him in any other way. A work of art, the brightest star, a rose in a field of daisies etcetera etcetera. He has never been good with words.
Maybe that’s why they were stuck in this constant state of are-we-friends-or-are-we-more. Compared to Louis, Harry was the reincarnation of William Shakespeare himself. He loved his contemporary literature and could easily quote any classic. Louis wouldn’t be surprised if harry made up his own literary canon, whatever the hell that may be. He’s heard him rant about that once. About how bland and white it was.
So yeah, stuck in the friend-zone and obviously it was because Louis could not tell Shakespeare from Wilde. Apparently it’s an insult to their ancestors or whatever Harry’s scandalised gasp meant when he thought that The Importance of Being Earnest was written by the former one. Whatever.
Or maybe not. Because “whatever” did not entail him going to the actual literal library to look up ancient love quotes to finally impress Harry and ask him out. This had to work because it’s been 3 years of pining and frankly he was tired of it. He wanted to hold Harry’s hand and listen to him read poetry in that deep delicious voice of his. And also kiss a little. Or, a lot.
He had his notebook ready and a pen in hand. He glanced around the walls lined up with thousands of books and took a deep breath.
‘Where to start’ he thought.
He looked for the nearest computer and sat down in front of the illuminated screen. He realised that he could have used his laptop at home, but the library gave him motivation and inspiration. Also, fake literature hoe aesthetics. He was gonna take a selfie in front of the romance section later. If his plan wouldn’t work he’d have a plan B. Woo him with artsy library selfies. He should have brought his broken glass-less sunglasses with him. Again, aesthetics.
Louis typed “romantic quotes” into the google search-bar and hit enter. He clicked the first link: ‘50 Best Inspiring Love Quotes For Him AND Her’. Sounded good enough. He wasn’t sure why the ‘and’ was capitalised but he wasn’t gonna question it.
He scrolled down for a minute, reading the various sentences and paragraphs when he came across the name Oscar Wilde.
“You don't love someone for their looks, or their clothes or for their fancy car, but because they sing a song only you can hear.", he softly read to himself.
He was definitely writing this one down, if only to prove that he did know Wilde and therefore he was not an embarrassment to his ancestors. And also because it was exactly how he felt about Harry.
A few numbers down he saw another name he recognised, William Shakespeare. He quickly wrote the quote down in his notebook and smiled to himself. This might actually work.
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind."
He wrote down a few more lines before he deemed it enough for the day. He still had to memorise them so he could whip them out whenever he saw Harry.
Two days later he sat down in their booth in their favourite cafe near the university they studied at. He had a cup of Yorkshire in front of him and a buttered, strawberry-jammed scone that was ready to be devoured. He looked at the time on his phone screen and saw that he was five minutes early. Which was a first.
He was usually the one who’s always late. Harry would wait to order his tea till he saw louis walk through the door or it would have completely cooled down when the blue-eyed boy finally walked in. It only happened once. Or maybe twice. No more than three times, he promised.
Louis took out his little notebook and went through his lines to make sure he had memorised them correctly. 'The one about sould might be a good start', he thought.
He heard footsteps approach and looked up. He saw harry walking up to their table with a surprised look on his face. He had his tea and danish pastry in one hand and with the other he dragged his chair back so he could sit down.
“You’re early”, he drawled out slowly.
Louis gave him a faux affronted look.
“Why do you sound surprised? You’re acting as if I’m always late”
Louis suddenly remembered his notebook and decided that now was the time.
“whatever our souls are made of yours and mine are the same”
Harry looked delighted and his cheeks formed dimples.
“Oh I love that one!”, he exclaimed joyfully.
“Thank you, so do I”
“You finally did Yorkshire proud by reading that book”
Louis looked at him confused.
Harry’s face turned fond and he sighed out amusedly.
“That quote. It’s from Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. She was from Yorkshire”
Louis bit his lip. This wasn’t going well. Maybe he should try another one.
“Uhm cupid is blind that’s why love is blind- no wait blind love is cupid- or-uhm love is blind because cupid is bli-“
“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.", Harry corrected gently. “It’s from William Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night’s Dream I believe”
“Right. Yes. Thank you.”, louis responded with flushing cheeks.
Harry gave him a soft smile. “Where is all this coming from Lou? What’s with the sudden interest in literature?”
“I guess I just wanted to impress you”
Louis’ eyes widened and he clamped his mouth shut with his right hand.
“Oh my God! I did not mean to say that. Please forget I said that. Oh my God. I just ruined everything. Well done Louis. Fucking dumbass.”
He was about to get up, thinking he for sure cocked up his friendship with Harry when the curly haired man grasped his hand.
“Do you really mean that?”, he asked with a hopeful look in his eyes.
Louis paused. Heart beating frantically in his chest.
“Yeah. Yes” he cleared his throat. 'It’s now or never', he thought. “I- I wanted to impress you I guess. I’ve lo- uh, liked you for quite a while now” he said with a self-deprecating laugh.
“Oh Lou” Harry sighted “I didn’t know you felt that way about me. I like you too. So much. I have for years actually”
Now it was harry’s turn to stare wide-eyed.
“Yeah”, he admitted with a forced chuckle, “years”
“I’ve liked you for about three years now”
They both stared awkwardly at each other before laughing softly.
“Why didn’t you say anything?”, Louis asked.
“I don’t know. Why didn’t you?”
“I don’t know. Well to be fair I did finally try today.”, he said, gloating just a little bit. He was allowed to.
“By memorising lovey-dovey quotes?”
Louis cleared his throat. “I mean, yeah I guess. Did it work?”, he asked with a half laugh.
“Yeah, it did”, Harry admitted with glowing eyes.
Louis eyed him surprised. “Really?”
“Yeah, it’s sweet that you wanted to impress me with something you knew I’m passionate about. Even if you messed up a bit”, he teased. Though his blushing cheeks refrained him from looking anything but flattered.
Louis stuck out his tongue, a matching flush to his cheeks. “At leats I had the guts to do something about all this pining. If it was up to you we’d still be friend-zoning each other ten years from now”
Harry stuck his tongue out right back before smiling widely. He took a sip from his now lukewarm tea and observed Louis with a new-found fondness.
Louis felt his stare and looked up at him. He drank in his features for the nth time since they met and noticed that Harry was looking at him in the same way he always had. With open admiration and affection with a hint of something else. He always thought it was appreciation, but it might have been love all this time.
“What’s wrong?”, Harry asked worriedly.
“You’re looking at me the same way you’ve done every day for the past three years”
“Is that a problem?”, harry retorted hesitantly.
“No”, Louis groaned again.
“Then why are you upset?”
“I’m not upset. I’m stupid. How could I have been so blind? You’re looking at me as if I’m shitting stardust and rainbows”
Harry cackled. “Shitting stardust and rainbows. Is that another one of your lovey-dovey line?”
Louis rolled his eyes. “Shut up and kiss me you fool”