When the lights go out
Chapter 7 - While I’m waiting for your reaction (Kill my Mind)
Harry had left their old home shortly after breakfast and in doing so he’d left Louis wanting to sort things out so fucking badly. Though since he hadn’t really acknowledged the happenings of the previous night, Louis couldn’t tell how Harry felt about all of it. Well, he wasn’t even sure what he himself thought about it, so he couldn’t blame Harry for taking off so quickly. He probably would’ve done the same thing if they had been at Harry’s place instead of his. But now Louis was alone with his thoughts and nothing to distract himself with.
He tried watching Netflix to catch up on the shows he’d neglected, which only helped distract him semi-efficiently. He was half way through the latest season of Orange is the new Black, patting Clifford’s head absentmindedly, when his phone buzzed.
He had a text. One he wasn’t going to read, opting to ignore anyone and everyone. But then his phone buzzed again. And again. And again. It seemed like someone really wanted to reach him.
Heaving a sigh, Louis paused his show and grabbed his phone, the screen showing four different text messages sent by Niall.
Now what was that all about?
Glad you guys finally talked it through.
The internet is a war zone now though.
Was that even planned? If so, smooth move.
There are so many girls having a serious heart attack right now. It’s kinda hilarious.
Okay. What was Niall even talking about? The first message indicated that he was talking about him and Harry’s, but what was that about the internet and girls freaking out? He kinda had a feeling that he didn’t want to know the answer but he pulled over his laptop anyway. He slowly browsed through twitter first before gathering enough courage to open tumblr.
On twitter, he was immediately met with the worldwide trends of #Larryisreal, #boyfriendssharingclothesagain and #Larryaf2k19.
What the actual fuck was happening?
Louis wasn’t sure if he wanted to find out but he clicked on the first hashtag anyway. The chance that Matt would call him at any moment to talk about it was at 99.9% already, he may as well be prepared for it.
The tweets mostly consisted of rants on how ‘they had always known it was real’ and things about ‘true love’. Those were the tweets hitting home and hitting home hard. True love. Yeah, he’d thought so himself - until he ruined everything. Now he wasn’t so sure if Harry still considered what they had to be true love.
Trying to ignore the bitter thoughts, Louis opened a new tab to log into his very secret tumblr account. Even Harry didn’t know about it. No one knew about Louis Tomlinson following the most active and most popular Larry blogs on tumblr. He wasn’t very proud about it, though it was pretty helpful in moments like these.
Immediately after logging in, Louis was met with his dash being flooded by post after post of him and Harry wearing the same fucking shirt. One post caught his eye especially. It started with pap shots of them arriving at the party separately last night, followed by the hug when Harry was leaving the club - the author had put a lot of emphasis on that part, it almost rivalled the hug from One Direction’s last concert - and ended with Louis wearing Harry’s shirt while he took Clifford for a walk. The post even mentioned that Louis had not been seen at the party once Harry had left through the front door. There really seemed to be only one explanation for it all, didn’t there?
Of course, there were also several comments on how they could both own the same bloody shirt, and that all the Larries were overreacting again. Louis could see why Niall called it a war zone. It really was a matter of minutes before his manager would call about this.
They couldn’t ignore it now, could they?
Louis had just finished reading another post emphasising how the shirt was just a little bit tight on Harry while it was surely oversized for Louis. Someone else had commented on it that he, Louis, was always wearing his clothes loosely while Harry’s wardrobe was more of a form-fitting style. The comment kinda nagged at Louis, fingers poised to reply that, maybe, those different styles came with a habit of sharing clothes on a daily basis. It was just more convenient to own clothes that would fit both of them. But then his phone started to buzz again - this time announcing a call from his manager Matt.
A sigh left Louis’ lips before he swept his thumb over the screen to accept the call.
“Hey, Matt…” His voice was laced with resignation and he was sure that his manager noticed the second of hesitation before he offered his greetings.
“Hello to you too, Louis. I’m guessing by the sound of your voice that you’ve already seen it.”
It was a statement rather than a question.
“Yeah … Niall told me like ten minutes ago,” Louis explained in an unnaturally slow drawl. He sounded a lot like a certain curly-haired someone in that moment.
“Care to elaborate what exactly happened last night? I mean, I really don’t care who you hook up with but a bit of a heads up would’ve been nice before we’re hit by a fandom war between Larries and anti-Larries. Do we have to put up an official statement for your coming out after all?” Matt’s voice was calm and soothing and definitely not going through the roof because they hadn’t been careful enough.
Louis wasn’t sure how he was supposed to reply. If he had been talking to someone from Modest it would have been easy. After so many years of dealing with the homophobic arses they had come up with a routine for such situations. But that didn’t apply any longer with Matt being his new manager.
Another sigh left his lips before he replied, “I really don’t know what to do right now, to be honest, Matt. It definitely wasn’t planned what happened last night. I’m not even sure what it meant. We haven’t talked about it this morning and I only noticed I was wearing Harry’s shirt when I’d already left the house. I don’t know what Harry thinks about it, and I really don’t know how to talk to him anymore because every time I open my mouth all I do is hurt him even more. At least… at least it feels like I do.”
For a few moments no one said a word and Louis was sure that Matt was thinking of a way to help him solve his problem. He wasn’t surprised by his next words.
“Listen, Louis, I’m gonna talk to Harry’s manager to ask how Harry wants to handle it, yeah? And then, we’ll work out a strategy together. So, for now, I would like you to keep off the social media. No tweets, retweets, likes or anything else. You okay with that?”
The fact that Matt asked the last question was enough for Louis to be okay with it. His old management would have barked a simple “Got it?” at the end of such a monologue.
“Will do that,” Louis mumbled into the phone before he hung up with a quick goodbye, letting his phone drop onto the sofa next to him. This really was a fucked up situation.
His gaze went back to his TV screen, taking in the paused show without really recognising it. Considering the last fifteen minutes of his life he wasn’t in the mood to keep watching it. He logged out of Netflix before turning off the TV entirely.
He had just started wracking his brain for a solution to the mess his life had become when his phone started buzzing again with another call. He doubted that Matt had already spoken to Harry’s management and a look at his lock screen confirmed it. It wasn’t Matt but Liam calling him this time.
“Hey mate, what’s up?” Louis tried to sound cheerful and failed miserably, which he was sure Liam noticed.
“I’m good but I’m not calling to talk about me, really … I’ve seen the pics on the internet, Lou,” Liam replied without beating around the bush.
“I guess so did approximately half of the population. I’ve already talked to Matt.” Louis rubbed his free hand over his face, somehow hoping it would relieve the stress he was feeling.
“The real question would be ‘have you already talked to Harry,’ though?” Liam pressed, his tone kind but unrelenting like the Dad he’d always been.
“Not about the pictures, no. And before you ask, no, we haven’t talked about last night either,” Louis sighed.
“Because we obviously aren’t able to hold a normal conversation any longer, least of all a serious one concerning our relationship status.” Louis’ frustration was unmistakable, probably even over the phone.
“I’m sure that’s not true, Louis. The two of you just need to sit down and talk for real. Just be honest with each other. It can’t be that hard, can it?“ Liam was trying his best to cheer him up and Louis really was thankful for it - even if it wasn’t working.
“Whatever, mate, ‘s what it is,” Louis mumbled under his breath.
“It could be bloody easy, if you wouldn’t be so damn stubborn. Both of you,” Liam immediately replied. Louis wanted to argue that Harry was definitely more stubborn than he was but Liam cut him off first, “Hey, Cheryl’s calling on the home line, we’ll discuss this another time. Get your shit together, Lou. See ya.”
The line went dead and suddenly Louis was alone again with his thoughts. He stared at his mobile and debated the idea of calling Harry. It was probably the smartest move, but on the other hand, he really didn’t know what to say at all and calling your ex, breathing down the line and staying silent didn’t sound like the best of ideas.
He ended up scrolling through his twitter feed again instead, going back to tumblr after and reading several master posts - that’s how pathetic he’d become.
Drowning himself in pictures of him and Harry he lost his sense of time completely, startling as the doorbell rang. For a second, he looked down at the sweats and ratty shirt he’d changed into when Harry had left, then he just shrugged. Whoever was at his door had probably already seen him in a worse state. Well, maybe not, considering his state of mind.
To say he was surprised when he opened the door was an understatement. He couldn’t keep the smile off his face as he was greeted by grabby hands and a heartwarming, “Loulou.”
“Hey there, little guy. You’ve missed your uncle Lou as much as I missed you? I bet you did. I’m much cooler than your Daddy,” Louis immediately cooed at the child.
“When are you gonna stop calling me that? It always sounds so… wrong coming from you.”
“I think the word you were looking for is dirty, Li. And now let me hold the little Bear,” Louis replied, an almost smug look overtaking his face when Liam handed over his son to Louis before they went inside.
“Now tell me, what are you and little Bear doing here, Li?” Louis asked, sitting down on the sofa and placing Bear sideways on his leg so he was able to see his cute little face.
“Well, like I said on the phone, Cheryl called. Turned out she had some kind of emergency so she asked if I could take Bear for the rest of the weekend, which I gladly agreed to. After I picked him up from Cheryl’s I thought it’d be a good idea to come and distract you for a while, especially since I knew you wouldn’t call Harry. Even if it is the smartest move.”
Louis decided to ignore the part about his ex even though - or maybe because - Liam was right.
He couldn’t bring himself to call Harry.
“Well, I appreciate your visit. Especially since I haven’t seen you in ages. Look how much you’ve grown!” The second part of his answer was directed at Bear who giggled in response - making Louis wanting nothing more than to keep the little boy forever.
Being around Liam’s son really did help keep his mind off of Harry and the pictures, and Louis enjoyed every single second he spent with the boy. So, after Bear had fallen asleep and Liam had taken him off home, Louis’ mind didn’t immediately go back to the mess his life had become.
It felt good to be distracted, even though it meant he wasn’t as prepared as he could’ve been when his manager called again.
“Hey, Louis. I’ve spoken to Harry’s management and we’ve come to an agreement,” Matt greeted him as soon as he’d accepted the call.
“‘s that so?” Louis mumbled his reply.
“Yeah, we’re thinking it’d be best for now to just lay low. They won’t be talking about it anymore in a few days,” Matt explained their strategy.
For a few seconds, there was just static on the line, before Louis found his words again, “Okay… if you think so… I can do that.”
“Great. I will get back to you in a few days when we have some numbers on the album release. Don’t think too much about it, Louis. It’ll all work out,” and with that statement Matt ended their call, leaving Louis victim of his thoughts again.
It’ll all work out. Then why did it feel like such a big deal? Why did it feel like a monumental change in his life, just like three years ago, when Harry had told him they probably needed a break. All of this could only end in tears.