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A Certain Romance

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At 5 AM, Harry can knock out a four-mile run in the canyon before the sun rises. A beanie and hoodie hide his face. His legs are blurred in black running tights. He parks the Tesla on a deserted street, tightens the bandana around his forehead, and heads uphill. 

He bends over to tie his shoes, and then starts tackling the oblique curves winding up the mountain, one foot at a time. A fire begins kindling in his lungs, crackling when he inhales. He’s running on drops of adrenaline, and it feels good. 

When he finally gets to the top, Harry’s nearly seeing black from breathlessness, his heart roaring, pulse a steady ululation in his ears. His body is revving like a well-oiled engine. 

The view rewards him spectacularly. The distant, jagged ridges of the San Gabriel Mountains look like a smoky hallucination in the half-light.

A kid from Cheshire UK doesn’t often get to see this, and Harry pauses appropriately to take it all in. He leans over, gulping oxygen, both hands on his thighs. His neck feels damp, and sweat gathers down his back. A mild breeze cools his forehead as he pushes the bandana up. The burn in his leg muscles releases lactic acid into the bloodstream. 

His eyes scan the horizon. The sky transforms so quickly at this time of day. 

One minute it’s pitch dark. The next minute, gay marriage has been legalized. One must always keep hoping and working. At heart, Harry is rooting for the sun to come out and double rainbows. For both of them.

Harry will have lunch with Rob Sheffield later today. Rob brings him snippets from his writing that he’s decided not to use, and it always delights Harry. He doesn’t tell Rob everything, of course not— no one should know everything— but he suspects Rob can guess anyway. Rob’s prose is closer to how he thinks of himself than anyone who’s written about him before, especially since Rob knew about Fleetwood Mac and Stevie Nicks way back when. As a journalist, Mr. Sheffield approaches Harry’s life like a spaceship crew finding an inhabited planet in the Milky Way, cautious and respectful of the aliens. He’d probably make a good Starship Enterprise translator, Harry thinks. He has the grace and tact. Rob is also perceptive, particularly when it comes to matters of the heart, because he has been through that kind of wrenching love. He holds no swagger or assumptions. He knows what it’s like to be bound to love like a life sentence, to be humbled by its excesses. So Harry doesn’t have to say more than he wants to. It’s good to find someone who understands.

Harry walks back down the mountain and checks the time. Louis won’t be up for a few hours yet. He was out late, having dinner with Mark Gillespie* last night, and Harry only saw the text alert this morning, sent at 2 AM. 

He gets in his car and starts it up. The Tesla makes maybe two decibels of engine noise— it’s an assassin’s car. Harry plugs his phone in. He opens up his own Louis Tomlinson Spotify playlist, and starts streaming for the day. 

(He’s Louis’ biggest fan.)

The car lights up with a call from Gemma. Harry clicks on the video screen display to take it. 

“Hey Piglet,” Gemma greets him. “Why’re you up so early? Having trouble sleeping?” 

“Gems,” he says. “I’m driving.” 

“In the dark? What for?” 

Harry pulls away from the curb and slides into the narrow residential street. Trees and fences hide the houses on both sides, built into the dry Los Angeles hills. Between rambling properties, a glimpse of the sleeping valley occasionally peeps through. He maneuvers the Tesla carefully down the sinuous road, with a satisfying ache burning up his calves and quadriceps. Good workout today. He’ll take an ice bath as soon as he gets home. For many reasons. 

Harry decides to tease her. “Princess Elsa, where’s your Olaf the Snowman and his acorn nuts?” 

“Told you, I’m not Elsa, you are. And don’t disrespect Michael’s nuts.” 

“You’re the OG ice queen,” Harry says smugly, a sassy little brother.

“Stop that. I’m about to leave for a baby shower, a friend of Chloe’s. Michael will be at work all day, till six.” Gemma picks up a bottle of water. “We’re meeting up for dinner later.” 

“What’s for dinner with Mikey?” Harry also takes a container from the cupholder and sips from a straw. 

“Let’s see. I picked up salad earlier, some buckwheat noodles, and a Thai curry mix, so probably going to try making that.” Gemma leans in. “How’s it going out there? What are you drinking?” 

“Fermented yak’s milk,” Harry holds it up with a straight face. Gemma scowls and he laughs. “Kidding, it’s green tea. I’m good, just ran four miles. Going home now.” 

Harry keeps an eye on car lights coming around the bend. Early morning sunbeams blind him in the eyes, leaking through trees and eaves, under branches that are too high to block them. He shifts up and down in his seat trying to adjust. 

His hand digs around for a spare pair of sunglasses, which, despite Gucci sending him new pairs every few weeks, is never easy to find. Harry swears that elves secretly move them. His LA cars sit in their garage, not driven for weeks, and by the time he comes back, his memory has faded. Frankly, he’s lucky even to find his car keys. His fingers finally touch an acrylic stem and he shoves them onto his face. 

They’re the most recent ones, with big, pale peach square frames, and they make Harry look like baby Abigail Breslin from the movie Little Miss Sunshine.

“You’re ridiculous,” Gemma says. “Must you wear those in your off time?” 

“It’s fashion, baby.” He smiles smugly. “Face of Gucci.” 

Gemma makes a nauseated expression. 

Harry comes to the stop sign at the bottom of the hill and signals to turn right. He’s only a few minutes from home now. 

“Gems,” Harry blurts out. “Guess what? I saw him.” He has to tell Gemma. He looks to his left to check for traffic, then rotates the steering wheel clockwise while slowly accelerating. Giddiness floods through him. “He called me.” 

“Who?” Gemma’s face freezes. “Who are you talking about?” She can’t imagine too many people who would make him breathless. 

“Louis,” Harry answers. His face is splitting in half with a huge grin. “I saw him last week. He just… We sort of…” 

“Harry!” Gemma shakes her head gently. A million questions pop up, but she can’t articulate any of them. They’re congealed in her brain like frozen yak's milk curds. Curse him for putting it in her head! “Darling, you’re not saying what I think you’re saying, are you?”

Harry’s cheek ripples. “I think I am.” 

“And?” She’s suspicious. “Talk to me. Tell me you did not.” 

“We did,” His dimples sink as deep as moon craters. “I think we did. I’m pretty sure we did.” 

“Oh, Harry.” Gemma shut her eyes for a moment. Inside, sparks of hope feel too fragile to voice out loud. She definitely has to call Lottie when they hang up. “You have your Louis face on, you realize?” 

Harry glances down at her. “What do you mean?” 

“Harry, I had to hear you talk about Louis for seven years,” Gemma says. “Seven straight years. Louis Tomlinson this, Louis Tomlinson that. Every single day, it seemed. Now you’ve swallowed the moon or something; you’re positively glowing.” 

“Gemma, he’s… ” Harry’s cheeks are pinking up to his brows. The morning light makes his eyes glow emerald green. “He’s wonderful, isn’t he?” 

Despite her misgivings, Gemma feels like candy floss too. She knows what it means to Harry, so she can’t hide the small uplift at the corner of her lips. 

“Hold up, bubbles. Tell me what happened.” 

Harry holds down a button on his keychain to unlock the gate to the driveway. A low frequency buzz sounds, and the gate retracts to the left. He slowly drives the car forward. 

“Can’t. I’m home now,” Harry says. “So I’ll have to tell you later.” 

“Oh, you little brat!” Gemma leans closer to her phone. “You can’t leave me halfway! Tell me what happened, or I’ll call Louis myself.” 

“I don’t think you will,” Harry replies. The car hums in front of his garage. His face is aglow in peach and golden tones, “Thing is, I’m not even sure myself. Louis called me to come get him out of Julian’s party, then we went back to his to watch Black Mirror, and then we just… I don’t know… we… ”

“You sure,” Gemma interrupts, “that you’re both on the same page? I’m not saying that you misunderstood, Harry, but sometimes.” 

“What do you mean?”

“Sometimes being ‘intimate’ isn’t interpreted the same way by both parties.” Gemma sounds nonchalant, but her eyes question him gently. “You’ve brought out my inner barrister now; I’m going to sound like a nag. I’m not doubting you, by the way. But this has happened before. There has been precedent.” 

“Do you really think so?” Harry asks, mildly anxious. 

Gemma changes directions. “So what are your plans for the rest of the day? Will you be seeing Louis?” 

“I’m having lunch with Rob Sheffield,” Harry says, “then, yeah. Gonna see Louis later.” 

“Oh,” Gemma makes a fond yet disgusted expression. “God, you should see your face right now.” 

“Is it embarrassing?” Harry grins. 

So embarrassing.” She rolls her eyes, teasing him. “It’s sickening. Truly. You’re sooo in for it.” 

“Now you know how I feel around you and Olaf,” Harry chides her affectionately. “You’re getting a taste of your own medicine. By the way, will you talk to mum today?” 

“Why?” Gemma quirks her eyebrow. 

“Tell her that her favorite child is thinking of her in LA,” Harry says. “The sun’s out. I wish she could be here. We’d go to spa and get our nails done together.”

“Listen, you favorite pillock,” Gemma articulates. “Remember to wear sunblock if you’re going outside. Especially on your nose. Skin cancer is no joke, and you’re not in London anymore.” 

“Thanks for raining on my parade,” Harry says flippantly, and then adds, contrite, “But seriously, you’re alright, Gemma. I guess you’re not completely worthless.” 

“Mmm. Thanks for that.” Gemma pinches her lips thoughtfully. “Hey, Harry?” 

“Yes?” 

“I wasn’t trying to... I just don’t want to see you hurt.” She gives him a sympathetic smile. “I mean— I’m not telling you what to do, but you know what I’m saying. Be careful, little brother. I’ve seen you... anyway, love you.” 

“Love you, too.” Harry pauses. “Thanks. Bye.” 

Harry sits for a while marinating in the Los Angeles heat. He has become accustomed to it as his second home. He remembers coming here for the first time: LAX being foreign and huge, full of strange shops and spicy odors, and people of every race. 

He remembers traveling with the boys, walking beside Louis and trying not to touch him in public. As comforting as Louis’ skin could be, Harry kept his hands back, far enough away to satisfy their handlers. They had told themselves that it was temporary, it was for the best. 

Back then, Louis was the untamed, boisterous boy who joked about everything so the rest of them could get over their jitters. Harry admired his bravado, his sheer audacity, the way he scattered their worries with pranks. They thought this would get them through. His loudness was the net in their high wire act. It was camouflage; it protected them. It threw attention elsewhere. And for a short time, it did. 

Meanwhile, Harry fell headlong in love with Louis, deeply and irretrievably, the way one found a soulmate, a lover and a best friend. Their first years in the band were a long, sweet honeymoon. Louis took him on an adventure that seemed to have no end. 

Until one day, it all came to an end. 

Harry’s body shudders. It’s getting too warm in the car. He peels off his hoodie and beanie, and lets the sun bake his skin through the windows. A hand swipes across his nose, an involuntary and nervous gesture. 

What if Gemma was right? 

Intimacy can be misinterpreted. Goodbyes were always hard for them. Louis acts as indestructible as a rock, but his heart is tender, and Harry knows— knows with a terrible and innate understanding— that it’s difficult for him too. Harry knows how deeply Louis loves, how fierce and protective he is. He knows that Louis loves without regrets, and how he would rather throw it away than hurt Harry. Harry knows how much he cried himself, and he can’t even imagine what it has been for Louis. Harry wants to be held and to hold, and he wants to give love back— all the love that was forbidden on stage, all the glances forced away, all the months spent without him. He wants his Louis, until they’re old and wrinkled and crumbling away. Whatever Louis chooses, Harry wants to be there, young flamboyant Louis, sexy tough Louis, gray beautiful cool-as-fuck Louis and every Louis in between. He wants Louis content and safe; he wants Louis however he can. 

 

 

•••

 

I dive
Off a plane
As if you're holding up a card with my second name
For a start
Will you wait for me?

 

You leave me no choice but to plot my revenge.

  • H.F.G.W. (Canyons Drunken Rage), by Tame Impala 

 

 

“Off the record.” Rob Sheffield is wearing a black T-shirt and black jeans. His turkey club sandwich is almost gone, but Harry’s salad has barely been touched. “What’s the last thing you want your audience to learn about you through the new album? What’s the take-home message?” 

Harry leans back, one foot resting on a knee and his hands crossed behind his head. 

“Oh, Rob, you ask the toughest questions.” 

Rob smiles in return. “Jeff told me no holds barred, except for the fifteen pages of blacklisted questions.” 

“Ha!” Harry guffaws. “I suppose,” he says slowly. “I’d want people to know that I’m happy where I am right now. This is me. I’ve been through things— interesting things, and not all good things— but I’m happy I did them. I want to be in this moment.” 

“Happy, professionally?” Rob asks, “As in, doing projects you want to do? Or personally?” 

Harry sits up straighter. “I mean, there’s always room for growth. Being twenty-five is a strange, in-between sort of age. I’m not a kid anymore— and I’ve been in this business for nearly a decade now. But I’m not really old enough to have, let’s say, perspective. Or nostalgia. Except for the eras I wasn’t old enough to have lived through, that I wish I had.” 

“You’re pining for an older time?” Rob clicks his pen, reaching for a notebook. “Do you mind if I record, Harry? This is good stuff.” 

Harry nods. 

“So,” Rob says, pen in hand. “Time travel?” 

“A wilder and less inhibited period,” Harry nods. “It might sound funny when there are all these YouTubers, right? Like, people overshare everything these days. I mean it seems like no one is inhibited about anything. But I feel like creativity has taken a dive. You aren’t inclined to write as well when everyone already knows what size pants you wear, or what you order off the hotel menu. You know what I mean?”  

“You feel like you’re under a microscope.” 

“Sort of, though not as much, now.” Harry says. “I think when everything is about material things, or a person’s brand or whatever, then there’s less inside. There’s less of you. You have to hold back some of the mystery, the creative energy. It’s hard to manage, but you just have to stay off the grid.” 

“So you don’t go on social media?” 

“No,” Harry answers. “Hardly ever.” 

“It’s a big change from One Direction,” Rob prompts. 

Harry smiles. “I don’t believe that oversharing adds much to the music. My friends know who I am. That’s good enough for me. I want to keep something for myself, something to call my own.” 

“What do you say to the fans who want you to share more?” 

Harry’s smile becomes even more enigmatic. Large essays lie inside him that will never be spoken aloud. On the table, a text alert vibrates on his phone, and he takes it quickly in his hand, swiping to check it. 

When do you want me to come? 

The sender is a person named Boo. Harry tries nonchalantly to wrap his large hand around the edges of the phone so it can’t be seen, without seeming rude. 

“Sorry?” He looks up. “What did you ask me again?” 

Rob’s eyes flick to the phone. “I was asking, what about the fans who want you to share more?” 

“Oh, right,” Harry nods. He quickly types a response. 

Almost done, 30 min? 45? 

“I think it’s always more poetic to reveal less,” he says to Rob. “More romantic, maybe.” 

“Like a strip tease,” Rob nudges. They both laugh. 

“Your words, not mine,” Harry answers. “Yes, I guess. We all play different roles in life, and sometimes, the— ” Harry makes elegant, flyaway gestures with his hands, his fingers spread like raptor wings, “the theatrics, the grandiosity of performance, is a reflection of the drama within us, a drama that fans want to experience.” 

Another text shoots up. 

Can’t wait to get you in my mouth, swallow you whole. Are you hard, love? 

Harry stares at his phone. He tries to be discreet.

No

I want to taste your come

Boo pls

Harry swallows roughly, shaking his head. He moves to cross his legs. 

“Some say it’s creating unwanted narratives,” Rob is saying, adding gently. “The word ‘tinhatting’ has come up.” 

“Hmm?” 

Without taking his eyes from the phone, Harry slowly pivots his body toward Rob. He leans forward and places his hands across his lap, applying pressure. 

“Oh! I guess,” Harry shifts, “I would never say that they were wrong,” he says, glancing up. “I think everyone can find something to relate to in the songs.” He looks at the time on his watch. “I’m sorry, Rob. I’m supposed to meet a friend…” 

“Sure.” Rob shuts off the recording and gathers his things. “Just a few weeks till we go live, Harry. How do you feel?” 

Calm. Excited. Nervous. Horny as fuck. 

“Happy,” Harry says. “Never happier.” 

He pays the bill and walks to his car. In the driver’s seat, he stares out in front of him, then checks the sidewalks for anyone lingering to catch the Harry Styles. When the coast is clear, Harry brings out his phone. 

I’ll be there in 30. 

He waits for a response, but none come right away. 

I have a surprise for you. Harry texts. See you at home 

The dots run across for a minute. Then an answering text shows up. 

Have one for you as well. Soon 

When he gets there, Harry heads to the shower to wash off the smell of the restaurant. He had done an ice soak after his morning run earlier, and the hot shower felt good, stretching out all the tight knots in his buttocks and legs. He had done the ice bath because Louis would be over, and he wanted to make it last… for Louis. 

A navy bath towel is wrapped around his waist. Harry runs a few drops of split fix serum through his hair and fluffs it under a hair dryer, not bothering to style it. Once his hair is semi-dry, he uses a few hair clips up top to keep the curls out of his face. A sheen of perspiration clings to his upper lip. He feels the tenseness in his jaw, a tightness in his hip bone. The image of Louis lying underneath him, in the boxing ring, flashes through his mind. He can feel Louis’ curves against his pubis, bouncing against his pubic hair as he pushes in. He can hear his uncontrolled groans, see his legs opened wide for him and arse tilted up to be fucked. 

Harry wants that. He swallows again, ramming his thighs against the bathroom sink to keep his cock down. Calm yourself.

From a drawer in the armoire, he takes out kit of Gucci makeup products specially customized for him. Just like he does every day, Harry sprays toner onto his face, then plumping gel that preps his skin. He rub a thin layer of essential herbal oils around his shoulders, armpits, hip dents, and between his thighs. The contact of his hands makes his perineum contract and his balls wiggle. He cups them in his hand, hanging heavily inside the cotton towels, and imagines Louis’ teeth nipping at the skin in between, his tongue straying toward his rim. Harry had prepped and washed himself plenty, just in case. 

He groans at the thought of Louis licking him there, the memory of that iconic fuck when they were on tour, where the road crew had heard him screaming his second orgasm from the hallway (Louis had been eating him out after barebacking him) and Zayn had called them “goddamn animals.” Harry’s face flushes red at the memory. His blushing reminds him what he meant to do, the surprise that was for Louis. 

Harry can’t pluck his eyebrows or he’ll be in trouble with various casting directors from movies he has auditioned for. Instead, he uses brow gel to give shape to them. His fierce eyebrows bring out the liquid beauty of his wide, green eyes, so bright at times that they seem to be made of glass. He takes a slate gray eyeliner and traces inside the lash line of his eyes, a dark storm around a green paradise. Smoky shadows are layered just as he remembered from the photo shoot, angling outward and up on his upper eyelids. The result is a little messy, maybe, a little raccoon-eyed, but he gets the desired effect. 

He looks sultry and dramatic. The pale green of his eyes is nearly iridescent. Next, he draws an outline around his lips with a matte pencil, and colors in with a lipstick that’s a shade more fuchsia than his natural lip color. His pout is good enough to bite. 

Harry walks to his closet and picks out his clothes. The first layer is a thin, white silk chemise. It is cut low enough to show off the cleavage between the pec muscles, and the armholes are low enough for Harry’s nipples to slip out. The friction of the fabric stiffens his nipples as it glides across. Over the chemise, Harry wears a white lacy blouse with lace-covered buttons. It is cut wide in the shoulders and narrowly at the waist, bespoke to his measurements. He buttons the bottom two buttons and leaves the rest. 

Next, he pulls on a pair of loose, cream-colored linen trousers that cinch at the waist. A supple calfskin belt is threaded through and buckled at the front. Inside, his cock swings loosely with his leg movements, dangling a few inches below his crotch. The rim of his cockhead and the outline of his balls are unmistakable through the thin fabric. 

Harry sprays a modest amount of cologne and steps into it just as the doorbell rings. As a final touch, he fastens a leather collar to his neck, gazing up at his reflection in the mirror. His hair is messy enough to make him look desultory. 

He walks to the front door and opens it, to Louis standing there with flowers in his hands. 

“Wow,” Louis says, looking at him from top to bottom. “Damn.” 

“Hi,” Harry says. “Surprise.” 

He holds the door open with one hand, close enough for Louis to touch him, yet Louis stays standing on the doorstep. 

“Do you want to come in?” Harry asks, uncertain. 

His eyebrows raise slightly, and eyes widen. His lips are luminous in the daylight, making his cheekbones sharp and defined. Louis stares at him with intensity, and Harry isn’t sure what he thinks. Does he hate it? Louis has always loved Harry looking pretty, but they were only boys fooling around back then.They’re adults now, and it’s an entirely different game. 

Louis comes to. “Do I ever.” 

He steps across the threshold and closes the door. As Harry backs up, Louis catches his blouse and tugs it gently toward himself, careful not to tear the lace. His eyes scan the bare skin at Harry’s throat, at the leather collar, at the strands of wavy chest hair above the satin chemise.

“Come ‘ere.” Louis’ voice is raspy and commanding. He pulls Harry toward himself, and Harry goes, drawn by a magnet. 

“You look sickeningly beautiful,” Louis says. “Did you do all this for me?” 

Harry’s voice is hoarse as he says, “I like it.” 

“Me too.” 

Louis’ hand strokes Harry’s cheek, moves down his jaw and cups behind his neck. Harry meets him halfway as they move to kiss. The lipstick transfers to Louis’ lips, staining them dark pink and sliding outside of the vermillion. They look as though they’re eating a bowl of cherries between them, and in a way, they will be. Louis’ tongue parts Harry’s lips, and he licks into Harry’s mouth, the scent of flowers and fields mixed with his sweetness. 

Harry remembers how they used to kiss after their shows, before their stage makeup came off, the greasy heaviness of it, the way their sweat was mixed into the taste of paraffin and nerves and the fear of getting caught. They kissed and groped each other in the short intervals they had, and could sometimes time it well enough to give blowjobs and hand jobs before they were found, their makeup wiped off haphazardly and the telltale stain of shared red stains on their hands and chests and cocks. If they didn’t do it, and laugh at it, then they would have gone crazy with sadness and want. 

The memory of their kisses comes back to him. They are men now, their bodies built like men, muscles taut and cheeks hollow, arms meant for taking and holding. He thinks Louis knows this too, moving his body with purpose, doing what it’s always wanted to do. 

Louis sucks Harry’s lip into his mouth and licks at the lipstick on his willing mouth, and Harry’s slight answering moan makes him push him into the hallway, all the way against the wall. Louis drops all of the flowers on the floor. He leans his body heavily against Harry’s, hand holding his jaw in place to be properly and thoroughly kissed. Harry’s tight abs harden against his, and he feels the outline of his cock straining against his pants. A shift of Louis thigh brushes against Harry’s legs, and the sensation makes him shudder, twitching beneath the thin linen. 

One of Louis’ hands clasps Harry’s hand and pins it against the wall. Trapped, Harry ruts his hip against him, breathing shallow and fast. As Louis kisses him on the jaw, Harry turns his cheek so Louis can move down the line of his neck muscles, licking him next to his jugular vein, sucking bruises into his skin, his lips searching, sharp canines nipping. Louis’ hand moves down to push his lace shirt aside. He palms the satin fabric of the chemise, following the line of Harry’s chest to his arm. Harry’s armpit tickles at the feel, and he squirms. Soon, however, Louis thumb finds the puckered hardness of Harry’s nipple, and he strokes across it through the slippery chemise, playing with his areola. The sensation shoots to Harry’s groin. His eyes squeeze shut and his mouth opens in a pretty O, seeking air. 

“You dressed up, baby,” Louis says, his thumb brushing across the nipple. “Dressed up for me so pretty, like a fucking wet dream.” 

His fingers tighten around the nipple and twist. Harry moans loudly, rutting forward, and Louis knows the pleasure is traveling in a straight line to his perineum. Louis knows just how to push him, how much to caress, how much to hurt. Harry’s heavy cock stiffens and juts forward, now unmistakable through linen, the outline of the head straining against the fabric. Louis swings his thigh from side to side, teasing it with light brushes. 

“Hard for me?” he asks. 

“Yeah,” Harry gasps. “I’m hard… hard for you.” 

Harry feels helpless as Louis strokes the cock a few more times with the tip of his knee, then nudges Harry’s thighs apart. His hip pressed into Harry’s groin and mouth against Harry’s ear, Louis whispers, “Ready to fuck?” 

Harry nods, eyes still closed. Louis slips his hand down and touches Harry’s cock lightly through the trousers. Harry pushes forward, seeking contact, but Louis denies him. 

“Let’s go to bed.” 

As soon as they get in the bedroom, Louis unbuttons Harry’s shirt and takes it off, and shrugs off his own shirt. He untucks Harry’s chemise and is trying to raise it while kissing Harry, but Harry’s shoulders are wide and it takes too long. Impatiently, Louis bends down to suck Harry’s nipple through the fabric, his teeth holding the nipple still, tongue licking through, teasing the tip. He leaves a wet, dark splotch around the nipple. The sensation drives Harry a little out of his mind. 

“This shirt,” Louis says. “This whole outfit. You trying to kill me, Harry?” 

“Only for you.” Harry pants, nipple wet and erect. “Only you.” His hand comes up to play with the other nipple, to balance out the sensation. 

Louis bats his hand away. Taking a hold of the fabric in his hand, he rips it from Harry’s shoulders. The chemise splits jaggedly, silky ends soft and frayed, exposing Harry’s chest. His coarse chest hairs and broad shoulders contrast against his pink lips, dark eye makeup and the brilliant green of his eyes. The loose fabric hangs from the chest like demure silky curtains. 

“Pretty,” Louis shakes his head, licking his lip. “So very pretty.” 

His stained lips crawl up Harry’s chest, leaving a faint trail of fuchsia. He licks and sucks until he reaches Harry’s mouth, taking his lower lip in. They kiss, hot, hungry, and uncontrolled. Harry’s tongue pushes into Louis’ mouth and he licks him back with a wanton frenzy, wanting more, wanting it faster. Louis tears at the fabric until the chemise falls apart in his hands, off Harry’s torso and to the ground. They both feel the contact of skin on skin, every nerve alive. Louis’ chest hairs are stiff on his, making a familiar scratch. It reminds Harry of their cocks rutting against each other, the friction of pubic hairs. Louis’ hand massages Harry’s nipple with desperate urgency. 

“Aghnhh,” Harry moans raw and loud. “Can we— ”

Louis is pushing him back until he falls in the bed, and nudging his legs apart. He slots himself in between, belly on Harry’s chest and hard cock straining in his jeans, pressing down on Harry. Louis takes off Harry’s belt and wraps it around his hand. 

“Tie me up,” Harry pleads. “Like you used to.” 

Louis stares at him with a cold intensity until he takes Harry’s hands and raises them above his head. Harry’s chest pushes up and out. Louis winds the belt around Harry’s wrists, round and round until the belt can be buckled. He pulls the end tight. Harry flexes his fingers satisfyingly against the restraint. 

Louis leans down and kisses the top of Harry’s right ear, then nibbles and sucks his earlobe into his mouth. It’s the ear that’s pierced.

“Your hole is hot,” Louis whispers. “What a fucking turn on.” 

Harry closes his eyes. He turns his face, a shadow falling down the line of his sharp cheekbones. He looks gorgeous, restrained and protected all at once, lids dark, lashes fanned out and mouth barely open. 

Louis unbuttons the linen trousers and eases them off. Harry’s full erection pops free, the long, veiny shaft slightly curved, tip reaching to one laurel tattoo. His cock is dark pink, a darker shade of his lip color, and Louis closes his eyes from the image it gives. Harry’s mouth always looks obscenely beautiful sucking him off, but sucking Louis in full makeup is something else altogether. 

Louis bends down and puts his tongue under Harry’s balls, licking a broad stripe up the cock. Harry’s leg kicks out as he gasps. 

“Fuck!” 

“Spread your legs,” Louis commands. 

Harry’s knees open and fall to the sides. Louis bends down and lifts one knee, appreciating the knots of muscles on Harry’s leg that weren’t there when they were younger, a bulk of orderly manliness that comes with discipline and sport. The muscles flex and ripple satisfyingly in his hand. He pushes the thigh aside and bends down. 

“You smell nice,” Louis says. He glances up slyly at Harry from between his legs. 

Harry answers haltingly, “I might’ve prepped.” 

“I bet.” Louis smiles. “Gonna eat you out, then fuck you, then play with you. And you’re gonna wait on me to come. You ready for it?” 

Harry nods. “Never more ready.” 

Louis unbuttons his jeans and kicks them away, and places a pillow under Harry’s back, knocking his knee so he stays open. He bends down, pulls apart Harry’s arse cheeks and licks right into his hole, startling Harry into a jump. 

“How long has it been?” Louis asks, one finger slowly tracing the hole. 

“A year?” Harry says. “Nine months maybe? I can’t— agh— ” 

Louis puts his mouth on the rim and sucks right in, tongue licking and probing. Harry clenches down, but the wetness doesn’t stop, and Louis’ tongue is relentless, fucking in and out like a hard muscle, spit dripping down from the hole. Harry groans, his knee giving out. His strong ankle pushes his hips off the bed, into Louis’ face buried in his arse. His cock bobs like a thick candlestick on his belly. He strains for some relief, for any small touch, but his hands struggle helplessly against the leather above his head. Louis pushes harder, slobbering, probing, teasing. 

“Fuck me,” Harry says, hands twisting the belt, wrists rubbed red. “Louis, fuck me now. I can’t hold anymore.” 

Louis surfaces, pink lipstick staining around his puffy lips. Harry’s eyes are kohl black, wet at the corners and unfocused. His lashes flutter with need. 

“Be patient, Harry,” Louis tsks. “Look at you. You’re a fucking mess.” 

“Want… want you.” Harry is distraught. “Want you in me. Want it now.” 

Louis turns his head to the side, kisses Harry wetly on the thigh. 

“Babe, where do you keep your— ”

“The nightstand,” Harry says. He turns his head and wisps of hair fall into his eyes. “Top drawer. Where it’s always been.” 

“With your toys.” Louis is already standing in front of the opened drawer. He wipes his hand on the sheets, pulling out the purple dildo that Harry had used to fuck himself on the airplane. “This bad boy! What‘s his name?” 

“I call it Little Louis,” Harry answers, embarrassed. “I like to keep him close at hand.” 

“I’m flattered!” 

Harry nods. “He’s my favorite. I keep him charged up at all times.” 

“You fuck yourself with a dildo named Little Louis,” Louis says. “I’m proper impressed.” 

Louis looks through the drawer with curiosity, pushing aside a pair of handcuffs, a cock ring, some interesting looking butt plugs. Truth be told, Louis knows that none of them are new. He’s seen them all before, and used quite a few in the past. He pulls out a string of shiny square condom packets, detaches one of them, and a small bottle of lube. 

He stands at the head of the bed, close enough to lay his cock right by Harry’s cheek. Harry turns, opening his mouth, and sticks his tongue out, trying to pull him in.

“You want my cock, Harry?” 

“Yeah,” Harry’s tongue swirls around the head, moving the foreskin like the hem of a dress. “Want to suck you.” 

He opens his mouth, and Louis feeds his cock in, sinking into the warm luxuriance of Harry’s throat. Louis puts one hand behind Harry’s neck, urging it forward as he fucks down his throat, and another on Harry’s cheek. He can feel his own cock behind the sculptural tissue of Harry’s cheek muscles, and he pushes a thumb in, stroking his own cock. 

“So good,” Louis grunts. “Baby, you look so good, so beautiful.” 

It’s a good thing Harry lost his gag reflex long ago. Louis’ cock goes way past the roof of Harry’s mouth, down to the base of his tongue. His cheeks are hollowed and his pink lips form a very pretty cock ring. His wrists chafe above his head, against the supple leather of the belt. Harry makes a swallowing noise, squeezing Louis’ tip deeper toward his throat. The intense sensation leaves Louis starry eyed. A squirt of his precome fills Harry’s throat. 

Louis quickly pulls out, rolls on a condom, lubes up and moves down the bed, lifting one of Harry’s legs and nudging in. Harry gasps at the contact, then lifts his knee to push down on Louis’ cock so it enters like a wet glide. Louis moans at how good it feels. It takes him back a few years, when they first learned to enjoy sex, and had the time to fuck as slowly as they wanted to, petting and stroking each other and calling each other cute nicknames. If they didn’t make an effort to go slowly, teenage Harry and Louis would have blown their jizz in a minute. They were so hormonal and had absolutely no control when it came to each other. Louis runs a thumb gently along the underside of Harry’s cock, caressing the velvety pink skin. 

“My angel,” he says softly. 

Harry stills, holding his breath. 

Louis pumps into him with a slow, patient rhythm. His hand wraps around Harry’s cock and strokes it fast and tight, under the head where Harry’s nerves are on fire. A thumb spreads the thin smear of precome that’s leaked out from Harry’s slit. The head is tense and hard under the pliant foreskin. 

“Louis,” Harry moans. “Louis, Louis.” 

Louis’ hips are moving like the tide now. Each time he enters Harry, he goes deeper, with an upward curve aiming at his prostate. Harry’s hands reach up to grasp the sheets above his head, twisting it in his fingers. He turns his head to the side and moans loudly. 

“I want to come,” Harry says. “Fuck. Want to come so hard.” 

Louis’ hand stops. Harry’s hip is still canted into Louis’ palm, chasing friction, but Louis cups the leaking cock, pushing it tight against Harry’s abdominal muscles, against his V line. 

“Not yet, darling,” Louis says, his cock still pumping at Harry’s prostate. “Be patient. Let me fuck you nice and slow.” 

And he does, again and again, until Harry’s overstimulated, leaking with every thrust. His hands twist the sheets as if his life were in jeopardy, as if he were clinging on to a cliff that held back a torrent of come, stopped by the sheerest mental strength, the stiffest human discipline. His cock is hot and hard. 

“Lou, I can’t,” he whimpers. “I’m so close. I have to.” 

“Fuck,” Louis exhales. 

He pulls out, whips off the condom, and presses his cock against Harry’s. They're beautiful side by side, Harry’s slightly curved and lengthy, Louis’ elegant and thick. He leans down with his body lying on top of Harry’s and starts kissing that beautiful, pouty mouth messy with fuchsia lipstick. 

“I love you, my darling,” Louis whispers, in between kisses. “Even when we weren’t together anymore, there wasn’t a day that went by when I didn’t think about you.” Their tongues dance around each other. Louis bites Harry’s lip, and licks in again. 

“Me too,” Harry says, kissing him back hungrily. “Thought about you all the time. When I was in the studio, writing love songs. When I opened my journals. Every word was for you.” 

“Really?” Louis’ eyes glimmered. 

“You’re the one, Louis,” Harry says. He leans in and bops the tip of Louis’ nose with his own. “From the first day. It’s never changed for me.” 

Louis stares at Harry’s open expression, his face smudged with makeup, the eyeliner making a dramatic declaration of his green eyes. He leans in to kiss Harry, wrapping a hand around both their cocks, and begins to jerk, as Harry closes his eyes and gives in to the kiss. He lets himself go now, his body entirely in Louis’ hands, the feeling of their skin together so right and so familiar, their love like a concentrated elixir that they can coax out from deep within. Harry has only love to give, and Louis needs only to open himself to accept it. 

“I want… want…” Harry’s leg wraps around Louis’ hip, pulling him close, his breath hot and desperate. “Louis, I want…”  He lifts his chin, exposing the leather collar around his neck, and Louis knows what he’s asking for, what he needs. 

“Baby.” 

Louis sucks a kiss under his jawline, and slips a finger between the collar and Harry’s skin. He lets go of his own cock and puts his hand around the head of Harry’s. Harry’s cock belongs to him now. It is all his. The pads of his fingers and thumb slide the foreskin back and forth, pulling in the musky wetness of precome. Harry’s arse is clenched tight as he pushes himself into Louis’ hand.

“Now,” Harry says. 

Louis tightens the grip around the collar and pulls it away from the skin, as Harry’s eyes close and his breath becomes whispery, shallow. 

“My beautiful, beautiful boy.”

Harry gasps at the words, his cock shuddering. 

“Love me?” he rasps. 

“Yes,” Louis presses a kiss to Harry’s neck, near the Adam’s apple. The susurrus of air passing through his voice box makes Louis want to cry. “I love you.” 

“Boo.” Barely a vibration. 

And with that, Harry grunts down, come spattering everywhere around Louis’ hand. A ghost of a smile is on his lips, and his eyebrows furrow, his world going dark for a moment. Lights swim, sounds are shut off, and he is floating.

“Harry,” Louis calls. 

Harry breathes deeply. He’s coursing down a mountain, the curves wide and dangerous, sunbeams shining in his eyes. His throat feels constricted, but Louis’ here, and Louis will take care of him. Louis will always take care of him.

Louis unbuckles his hands. Harry spreads his arms widely to the side, feeling freedom in his wrists. His face is hazy, blissful. 

“Come on me,” he whispers to Louis. “Want you to. Wanna feel you.” 

Louis doesn’t need an invitation. Feeling Harry spurt into his hand almost has Louis coming untouched. The pressure at the base of his spine is lit like a fuse. He gets up on his knees, gives a few rough tugs to his cock, and sprays onto Harry’s belly. It squirts out thick and fast, the last drops clinging to his cock with a sticky opacity.

Harry feels him. He smiles contentedly. 

“I love you, Boo.” 

Louis touches his arm, then sinks down next to him in bed. He puts his arm around Harry's shoulder. Instinctively, Harry rolls under, snuggling close, breathing in Louis’ evergreen and bluster, his bruising angularity, his kindness. He feels wholly loved, as does Louis. They cuddle without words, feeling complete. Eventually, Louis turns his head.

“Harry,” Louis says. “Do you want to see your surprise?” 

“Hmm?” Harry snuggles closer. 

Louis detaches himself gently, and hops off the bed to get his trousers. From the pocket, he retrieves a small, wrinkled piece of paper. 

“What is it?” 

Harry unfolds it. 

On alternate lines, Harry recognizes his and Louis’ handwriting, from years ago. The note was written in pencil— smudged and faded now, but still legible. The lines were recorded when they were merely two young boys, superstars in a boyband, huddled in another bed with tears on their cheeks. 

Louis hasn’t forgotten. In fact, he remembers it all, keeping all the memories just as close as he ever did. 

 

Come on, jump out at me 
Come on, bring everything 
Is it too much to ask 
For something great? 

 

 

 

 

 

•••

Thanks for reading! 

*Mark Gillespie is the owner of Three Six Zero, Louis’ management agency. 

H.F.G.W. (Canyons Drunken Rage) by Tame Impala is the soundtrack for the second part of the story. Fucking hot as hell. 

This is the fourth and final part in a canon-compliant series. The others are part 1 Thumbing My Way to You, 2 Heel, 3 Wild Horses