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Bad Karma

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Louis didn’t know what he expected, really, but he didn’t think dinner with his mother would end with her skipping out halfway through her entree. He figured with his father dead some of the indifference to their screw up of a son would melt away, but apparently that was just too much to ask. Especially when one of her friends comes calling about whatever dinner party she's missing so she can berate him on his 'choice of lifestyle.'

He goes to the bar, orders a whiskey, and downs it in less than three minutes before ordering another he sips more slowly. The bar is half empty - it is a Tuesday evening, afterall - and the only person paying attention to him is an attractive blond on a stool in the corner table. Even then Louis doesn’t feel uncomfortable with it; the guy’s just smoking a cigarette and surveying the room, so it's either watch him, a schmoozing couple, or the obnoxious lawyers toasting some sort of case a few feet from Louis.

He’s three drinks in when he hears the door close behind him and he turns, swearing when he sees who it is and wondering what he did to get such bad karma.

A few stools down, the lawyers let out a round of raucous laughter, and Louis feels like it’s fitting background noise to seeing his ex-wife talk to the hostess about her reservation, and her gesturing for the ex-Mrs. Clara Dega to wait in the bar.

The blond is still watching him, looking intrigued.

Maybe it’s the alcohol, maybe it’s how upset even looking at her makes him feel, but he finds himself on his feet and approaching the man in the corner nervously, chewing his lips.

“This is a very odd question,” Louis says, setting his drink at the man’s elbow, “But can you be my boyfriend for about five to ten minutes?”

The guys eyebrows raise, exhaling smoke out of his nose, and Louis rushes to explain.

“My ex-wife just walked in,” he says, wincing, “And I’d rather not be left wrong footed when she asks about what I’m doing now that I’ve been dumped and decided to be open about who I am. I understand if you think I’m insane, but you’re probably the best looking one in this damn room -” the man’s eyebrows shoot up even higher at that, “- and the complete antithesis of what she’d ever expect me to have, and-”

He pulls Louis in close, so he’s in between his knees.

“You owe me a drink,” is all he says, before he stubs out his cigarette and presses a kiss to Louis’ jaw, “I want a good scotch. The best on the fucking menu.”

“I’m guessing that’s a yes,” Louis stammers, giggling when the man's scruff tickles his neck and wrapping his arms around the man’s shoulders.

“It is,” He murmurs, nipping Louis’ earlobe, “and if you want to make her really crazy, you’ll follow my lead and act like a horny teenager.”

Louis whines, tilting the man’s face away from his neck so he can look into his eyes, “Louis Dega.”

“I’m Henri,” he murmurs, smiling, and kisses Louis' palm, “but all my friends call me Papi.”

Louis tilts his head back to give Papi more room and he presses kisses up the long line of his throat and chin, making him whimper. Papi nips his bottom lip, and Louis chases his mouth when he pulls away, making Papi laugh and kiss his forehead in a surprisingly sweet gesture. He cups Louis’ face in his hands and Louis runs his nails up and down his thighs, smiling like an idiot in love.


He turns, blinking at her, faking shock.

“Clara, I didn’t expect you to be here.”

Two hands latch onto his slim waist, so big they can almost wrap completely around him. Papi drags him back to him, and Louis leans against that solid, warm chest.

“Baby,” He murmurs, and Louis can’t suppress the shiver, “are you going to introduce us?”

He punctuates it with a kiss to the neck, and Louis’ eyes shut briefly, pretending to get lost in the feeling.

“Papi, this is my ex-wife,” he gestures to the man behind him, and Papi lets out a sound like he knows what that means, “Clara, this is Henri.”

His hand splays possessively low Louis’ stomach, and Papi reaches out his other to shake her’s. Clara does so weakly, her eyes impossibly wide. Louis knows seeing him so easily wrapped around this man in public completely goes against everything she thought she knew about him.

“Papi… is an interesting nickname?”

“Papillon,” He says, “If you saw my tattoos you’d probably get it, right darling?”

Louis giggles, sounding lovesick. Papi squeezes his hand, signalling it’s too much.


Papi hums, and Louis tilts his head against his chest. The arm around him adjust to pull him closer.

“How… how did you two meet?” she asks, glancing around for something to save her.

“He came into the restaurant and I had to have him,” Papi says with a shrug, and Louis raises his eyebrows, surprised. He turns so he’s leaning sideway against his chest, looking him in the face, and Papi’s fingers lace over his left hip.

“Oh really?”

Papi grins, pecking his temple, “You know I think you're the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen, mon choupinet. Stop fishing for compliments.”

“You work here?”

He can hear the distaste in her voice, probably thinking Papi’s a waiter or busboy, someone that would pick up on Louis being old money and would pounce. While he didn't think she'd actually feel that way, she was raised the same social circles Louis was, and he was well aware that some old classist habits die hard.

When he looks, though, Papi is smiling, saccharine sweet.

“I own it.”

She looks taken aback. The restaurant is the sort of trendy Parisian hotspot she and her annoying friends had probably been lucky to get a reservation at. Louis knows his mother only got in due to her clout in certain circles. The thought that Louis, the man she thought of as dull and emotionally repressed, has managed to land the attractive blond owner threw her for sure.

Whatever she thought she'd get out of Papi isn't working, so she turns her attention on Louis.

“So you've found something else to live off of instead of, I presume?”

Louis opens his mouth to respond, bristling, but Papi scoffs before he can get anything out.

“He doesn't need to. You should see his new work,” Papi insists, warm, loving tone taking over his voice, “It’s gorgeous. He can't paint them fast enough.”

“She has no eye for art, darling,” Louis says, and her mouth turns down into a frown, “I don’t suspect she’d get it.”

She seems to be over this conversation, turning fully and lighting up when she sees someone.

“Anais is waiting. I should go.”

She doesn’t even say goodbye, instead turning on heel and is quickly off. Papi doesn’t drop his arms from around him, and Louis watches as the permanent sneer on Anais' face shifts to surprise when Papi waves at her and she registers it's Louis in his arms.

“How did you know I painted?”

Papi grins, “You’ve got acrylic on your jeans.”

Louis glances down and flushes when he notices the small stain of dark blue at his knee.

“She always hated that I got paint everywhere,” he murmurs, staring at it, and Papi kisses his cheek.

“Well, no offense, mate, but she seems...”

“She was shocked, I think. To see us like this. It was the lack of affection that split us apart apparently. That's why she claimed she started an affair with my lawyer.”

“You’re shitting me.”

Papi’s arms around him tighten, angry, and Louis rests his head on his chest. The action seems to make him relax, though his arms don’t move from where his fingers are laced at his hip.

“I’m not. It wasn't... a clean divorce, to say the least. I studied business in university, but ended up hating it. I wanted to paint, and a Dega would never waste his time on something so stupid, but I was so miserable…” Louis shakes his head, “The day I quit the firm I went home early to find her in our bed with him. After that I didn’t feel like lying about liking men too, and well...”

Papi gives him a squeeze. He should probably move away, but he’s so comfortable like this, the liquor making his head swim a little. Papi doesn’t seem to mind either, with the way he’s clinging to his small frame.

“I should buy you that drink, I think.”

Louis moves to retrieve the menu from the bar but Papi pulls him back to him, his eyes clearly betraying that he thinks Louis is an idiot.

“Why would I make you buy me a drink at my own place?”

Louis presses his hands to Papi’s chest, frowning.

“...Are you asking me out for a drink, Papillon?”

“I was thinking we could shift this to a place I know...”

Louis licks his lips, fighting the urge to smirk when Papi can’t take his eyes off his mouth.

“Actually... if you'd be comfortable with it, there’s a bottleshop not that far from my flat that should be open.”

Papi smirks.

“Well, then. What are we waiting for?”