"When are you planning to settle down, have kids of your own?"
Really, Louis shouldn't have expected anything less from Auntie Fiona, what with an unfiltered mouth and nosey personality.
He suppressed a sigh and gave her a tight-lipped smile, eyes shifting from his sister and her newborn baby to Auntie Fiona.
"I'm just waiting to find The One," he replied honestly.
She snickered, "Oh, don't believe in that air-headed nonsense, Louis! The One simply doesn't exist. I say, go out and find someone you get along with and bag 'em while you can because dear, you aren't getting any younger and three of your sisters now have kids, you have to catch up sooner or later."
Louis tried to bite back a snarky remark but ultimately failed to do so, "I'm only 27, Auntie Fiona. This isn't 1945 where I'm expected to have a family by 21, you need to catch up with the times, don't you think?" He smiled sweetly at her before getting up, hearing her offended gasp just as he did so.
"You look annoyed," Phoebe commented with a smirk, "Auntie Fiona rile you up again?"
"Every fucking time, I swear," Louis grumbled, plopping himself down next to her, "can I hold her?" He asked, looking at the quiet little girl in her arms.
"Yeah," she carefully handed baby Willow to him.
He took her into his own arms gently, making sure her neck was cradled properly and cooed at her when she started to squirm a bit.
She was so, so tiny it just made his heart constrict because she looked even more precious.
She blinked up at him slowly and he smiled widely at her, running a finger over her cheek softly.
It was something he would instinctively do with all of his nieces and nephew now, not even realising it until this very moment.
Lottie had gotten pregnant first about three years ago, eloped with Sam and a few months later she revealed that they were having a baby girl. Emma was now two and a half and an absolute terror but Louis loved her to bits.
A year ago, Fizzy fell pregnant and, astonishingly, Lottie fell pregnant again around the same time. Parker and Grace were only just a month apart, the two thick as thieves already.
Then, only a few months after, Phoebe announced her pregnancy. It was a whirlwind of pregnancies really and Louis felt overwhelmed in the best--- and sometimes worst--- ways possible.
It wasn't that he envied them... only that he kind of did because having a husband, having kids, a pet or two--- it had always been a dream.
A dream that got put into the sidelines when their father had suddenly passed away four years ago, leaving Tomlinson & Co. to a young and clueless 23 year old Louis.
He had already been working at the company, having finishing up his bridging course to officially become a lawyer, and worked as intern.
The company had legally fallen into Louis' hands and he quickly had to buckle up alongside his father's right-hand man, Daniel, to run what his father had left.
Soon, he would be appointed officially as the CEO of Tomlinson & Co. The thought was equally exciting as it was nerve wracking. It was such a huge responsibility from the beginning already and now to have a label with it was even more intimidating.
Lottie was offered the position as well but she had plans to go into beauty school and have a family of her own and who was Louis to stop her, really?
None of the others took an interest in law as his father besides Louis. He truly did enjoy studying it and he enjoyed his job too. It was just that sometimes--- times like this to be precise--- he craved this.
He couldn't help but feel like there was this empty hole in his life that wanted all of this.
He wanted so badly to experience the shrills of a newborn in the middle of the night, their first smiles, first laughs, crawling, walking, words, even the spit ups--- he wanted it all.
He fucking loved kids.
The only issue was that he didn't have time to do anything. He wanted a husband as well and in order to find a husband, he would have to date, something he no time for at all, given how demanding his job was.
Auntie Fiona was right about one thing; he wasn't getting any younger. He would be 28 come the end of this year and his search for 'The One' was going nowhere.
Still, he was determined, no matter how long it took him, he would find the one person that made him feel whole. He knew this person was out there. He could feel it in his bones.
"Seriously, mate when was the last time you even went somewhere that wasn't the office?" Liam asked, sighing.
"I was just at my sister's house the other day, visiting my new niece," he replied proudly.
Liam rolled his eyes, dabbing his mouth with a napkin, "doesn't count if it's family," he muttered, "just go out with us tonight, please?"
Louis shook his head, remaining indignant. "Can't, have to sort out the Montgomery case," he sipped his water slowly.
Liam let out an exasperated sigh, "when is this ever going to stop?" He groaned.
Louis smirked, "I like my work, what can I say?" He shrugged.
"Yeah, but, it's like so unhealthy this relationship you have with your work--- it's toxic, you know?" He deadpanned.
Louis rolled his eyes at his dramatics, "Liam, I'm perfectly happy with where I am right now, okay?"
Liam expression softened, dropping his fork onto his plate, "You and I both know that's not true."
Louis huffed, avoiding the look in Liam's eyes, "look, I'll go out with you and Zayn soon, okay? I promise."
Liam at least seemed satisfied with that, smiling again and picking up his fork before stabbing a piece of lettuce. "Good, at least we can get you laid," he said, mouth full of the lettuce.
Louis grimaced, "right, mate, eat your lettuce and shut up."
Liam chuckled, continuing to chew on his piece of what Louis was sure was rocket. That was lettuce, right?
Shortly after their lunch, Liam left to pick up Zayn from the airport. Zayn had gone down to Bradford to visit his family for Eid during the week.
Louis, sadly, took his walk back to work after bidding his friend goodbye, a takeaway container in his hand filled with some leftover pasta he was sure to have for supper.
The café they would have lunch at was not even a five minute walk from their office building, much to Louis' delight, which meant he wouldn't waste too much of time not doing work.
As he came to the familiar robot just opposite of his building he noticed a man--- boy, maybe--- to his right, scanning the trashcan nearby with a grimace on his face, his hands hesitant and timid the further he dug in.
Seeing homeless people around this side of town was not unusual. However, something about the man-- boy?--- seemed... different.
Louis cleared his throat as he approached the man-boy. The man-boy widened his eyes and looked up at Louis. Louis was met with a striking green and a scared twinkle in his eyes.
"Would you, um, would you like this?" Louis timidly offered his small packet of takeaway to him.
The man-boy reached out hesitantly and nodded, accepting it from him, "are you sure?" He asked Louis, eyes searching.
Louis nodded instantly, "it's extra anyhow," he shrugged nonchalantly.
"Thank you," the man-boy bit his lip, staring down at the packet with an excited glint in his eyes.
Louis' heart ached. He wondered when last the boy had eaten a proper meal.
He looked all right in terms of his clothing and hygiene overall--- at least from what Louis could see--- though his cheeks did look a bit sunk in and his lips looked chapped.
Did he have any proper hydration? Probably not.
Louis swallowed, "any time," he smiled.
"I'm Harry," he extended his hand out for Louis to shake but quickly retracted it as if he were ashamed.
Louis frowned, pushing out his own hand, "I'm Louis."
Harry's lips twisted up slightly, accepting Louis' handshake happily, "thank you so much for your kindness, Louis."
Louis almost wanted to cry.
"No need to thank me, really," Louis then reached into his wallet and pulled out a few notes, not even bothering to check how much it was, "please take this, I insist."
Harry's smile fell. Louis hoped he hadn't upset or offended him in any way.
"I--- I can't take that from you," he stammered.
"You can, it's not an issue, I promise, please?"
Harry bit his lip, reluctantly taking the notes from Louis then widening his eyes.
"This--- this is thirty pounds," he squeaked.
"That's fine," Louis replied honestly.
"N-no," Harry shook his head, "I can't accept so much of money from you--- I don't even know you."
"Harry, it's all right, please accept it, consider it a gift or so. Maybe a birthday or Christmas--- anything," he said earnestly.
Harry sighed, "I--- I have to repay you somehow,"
"No, it's really all right," Louis smiled, "just, um, you take care of yourself, yeah? Will, uh, will you be here tomorrow?"
Harry seemed taken aback, "I'm... I'm not sure, it depends if I find resources of sorts elsewhere," he said, rubbing the back of his neck, his cheeks red.
"Forgive me if I sound too rude or presumptuous but... is it--- are you, uh, new to this?"
How odd and unkind did it sound to ask someone whether they were new to the homeless lifestyle or not?
"I am," Harry mumbled, "that obvious?"
"Only a little,"
"Well, thank you anyways--- for all of this," he said sincerely.
"Please, like I said, any time," Louis waved him off. His phone vibrated in his pocket then. Suddenly, he realised that he was going to run late for a meeting.
"Shit," he cursed under his breath, "it was nice meeting you but I've got to go, Harry,"
Harry waved as Louis hurried across the street to the building.
Louis made it to his meeting just on time. Throughout the rest of his day, he could not get this 'Harry' person out of his mind.
"You gave him thirty pounds?" Liam asked incredulously, almost shrieking, "that's a bit much, don't you think?"
"Liam, he was scouring the bin for food," he said flatly.
"Still, thirty pounds is a bit extreme--- who knows what he'll do with the money? He could be a drug addict for all you know and honestly, why can't he just get a job? It's not that hard to go into a restaurant or a station or summat and ask for a job," he scoffed.
Louis clenched his jaw, "he could be going through his own shit, Liam and I'm not going to judge him for that, okay?"
Liam seemed to hold back something by the way he twisted his face but he simply huffed, "did you get the documents from Daniel?" He asked instead, thankfully changing the subject.
He was well aware that perhaps Harry wasted the money he had given him on substances that Louis didnt even want to begin to imagine but somehow, Louis didn't feel like he did.
It was just... the way his eyes brightened when Louis had handed him his leftover food from the restaurant and his demeanour overall, it didn't seem like he was the type of person.
Then again, what did Louis know? Liam could be right but anyhow, his gut instinct disagreed.
They left the conversation about Harry at that, not speaking any further about the man-boy ( Louis still couldn't tell how old he was, even though he had slight stubble, he still looked young).
Louis spent his lunch in the office this time, heating up some of the lasagne Niall had brought him this morning and happily scoffing that down in minutes.
His curiosity still got the best of him though as by about four in the afternoon, he couldn't help by wonder if Harry had returned.
He discreetly walked out of the office in hopes to find out. And, much to his surprise, he found Harry sitting at the very corner of the butchery opposite the building, gulping down a bottle of water.
Louis smiled, waiting until it was safe to cross the street then approached Harry again.
"Did you buy some water with the money I gave you then?"
Harry flinched, seemingly not noticing Louis walk up to him.
Harry nodded shyly, "a few and some trail mix for now."
"Good, I'm glad," Louis grinned, "um, you came back," he said stupidly.
Harry chuckled softly, "Yeah, I was actually hoping to run into you again, to thank you once again for everything."
"You're welcome, it's nothing, really," Louis grinned.
Harry bit his lip, eyes flickering to the building opposite them--- Louis' office building.
"You work for Tomlinson & Co.?" Harry asked.
"Um, yes, I do," Louis replied, not wanting to get into technicalities about his job, he technically did still, kind of, sort of, work for the company.
"You don't sound very sure," Harry grinned mirthfully.
"No, I--- I do," Louis chuckled, "just, a bit more than working for them but it's just semantics and all," he waved him off, "have you had anything to eat today?"
Harry pulled out a bag from his jacket pocket and held it up to Louis, "my trail mix for now."
Trail mix was... not sufficient enough to be considered a meal, really. Hell, it was barely a snack.
"Do you want to get some coffee and something else to eat, maybe?" Louis offered, not even thinking twice.
Harry looked up at him as if he were growing two heads. "What?"
"The café down the road," Louis gestured to their left with his thumb, "I have a few minutes off--- you could join me."
Truthfully, Louis was still pretty full from the lasagne earlier but he was always in the mood for some coffee and Harry needed a proper meal.
"Louis..." Harry started, hesitant and reluctant.
"Listen, it's all right, I was heading there anyways," he lied smoothly, "You can just keep me company."
"I'm... you've done so much already, I can't possibly repay you," he swallowed.
"You don't need to repay me at all," Louis insisted, "Please, it'll just be one cup of coffee, some cake maybe? I hear they make a killer red velvet that I have yet to try."
Harry wrinkled his nose.
"Not a fan of red velvet?" Louis chuckled lowly.
"Well, I suppose not but I don't really get to be fussy about that sort of thing anymore, do I?" Harry looked down, playing with the packet of trail mix on his lap.
Louis gulped nervously. He wasn't sure what to say to that.
"What do you say, Harry?" Louis asked instead.
"I... I really don't know," Harry shook his head, brows furrowed.
"Its just coffee," Louis said, feeling a little desperate.
"I'll--- if I do go, I pay for my share with the money I got yesterday," he said, his look was stubborn.
"Only the coffee and I'll pay for anything else you order," Louis negotiated.
Harry seemed to contemplate the idea for a few seconds then nodded slowly, "okay," he said then pushed himself up.
"Come on then," Louis led the way.
As they approached the café, Harry paused and looked at the inside of it, eyes dubious.
"You okay?" Louis frowned, turning to him.
"Louis... I don't really fit in here," he said with a somber tone, coiling in on himself as he shuffled to the side.
"What? Hey, No, it's all right, Harry," Louis moved closer to him, "they don't matter, okay? People are jerks."
"They're already staring at me," Harry mumbled, glancing up at passing patrons as they entered the café.
Sure enough, they were staring. Louis passed each of them a glare. Harry was human just like them so they had no right to judge.
"We could sit inside, at that corner table where no one would bother us?" Louis asked, pointing to a relatively secluded table in the café.
"It'll be embarrassing for you, Louis," Harry shook his head, "this was a bad idea--- I should go," he already started to move away from Louis.
Louis stopped him with a hand on his shoulder, "Harry, listen," Harry turned to face Louis again, his eyes were now starting to look wet, "they don't matter at all, okay? All you're doing is feeding yourself just like they are."
"Except I'm dressed like a homeless person and I'm pretty sure I don't smell that great either," Harry laughed humourlessly, self-deprecating.
"Most people dress like that nowadays anyhow and you don't smell," Louis said honestly, "we don't have to sit for long, I promise."
Harry bit his lip again, something Louis noticed he did a lot, before he nodded shortly.
Louis let out a sigh of relief. Harry followed him inside with his head tucked down and hands over his arms, hugging himself.
As they settled down into their seats, Harry blurted out, "why are you being so nice to me? What do you want?"
"I, uh, I just am? I don't know," Louis shrugged.
"I don't do any sex favours," Harry frowned.
Louis almost choked on his spit, "I'm not--- No, god, no--- I don't want anything from you, I promise."
"Then why are you being so nice? Most people wouldn't even spare me a second glance," Harry said.
"I guess... I'm not most people?" Louis offered Harry a small smile.
Honestly, he wasn't sure why. Louis would normally stop for homeless people he would see and he would have given his leftover food and even cash to any one.
But he had to admit that taking any one of them out to a café for coffee was a bit unusual even for Louis. It wasn't as if he would be ashamed or anything, he just never thought much of it before--- before Harry, that is.
He wasn't sure what was so special about him, but being kind shouldn't come as such a shock to anyone and it was sad that it had.
"So you don't want anything from me of... that nature?" He asked, cheeks turning pink.
"No, fuck, Harry--- I swear I'm not like that,"
"Okay, okay, I believe you," Harry said, "thank you for being so kind then."
"You have to stop thanking me," Louis huffed out a laugh, "come on, what do you say we give some of their cakes a try? Maybe chocolate?"
"Okay," Harry answered, biting the inside of his cheek and looking at the menu.
Harry ended up ordering a muffin and a cup of coffee but Louis ended up paying for everything to which Harry was not very happy about but it was fine, really, as long as Harry had something to eat.
"Where have you been disappearing to these past few weeks?" Liam asked, eyeing his friend suspiciously.
Louis inhaled sharply, his hands slowing down, the pen gradually coming to a stop.
"Um, what do you mean?" Louis asked, clearing his throat. He quickly distracted himself with signing the contracts again.
"Louis," he said flatly, sighing, "mate, you've been going out of the office everyday at four for an hour for the past like fucking three weeks now."
Louis dropped his pen and turned to Liam, sagging into his chair and rubbing his hand over his face.
"Come on, I'm supposed to be your best friend, Louis," he said, giving Louis those bloody puppy dog eyes.
"You're going to judge me," Louis sighed.
"Fine, fine," Louis leaned forward, exhaling heavily, "You remember Harry?"
"The homeless guy?" Liam raised his eyebrow.
Louis gritted his teeth, "Yes, that one."
"Yeah?" Liam leaned forward too, resting his arms over the desk.
"Well, yeah, just been meeting him and getting him some stuff," Louis mumbled, fiddling with his thumbs.
"What does that mean?" Liam asked carefully.
What did it mean?
Well, Louis had met Harry again ever since they went out for coffee. Harry told him that he was saving up to stay at a shelter for a while, while he looked for a job of some sort. Harry said he struggled a lot to find a job that would accept him in his condition which raised alarm bells in Louis' head.
Harry immediately pushed up a wall after that though and wouldn't elaborate, assuring Louis it wasn't anything too serious but what could it be really, that places wouldn't hire Harry?
He didnt push though, and continued to offer Harry some cash occasionally which he declined more often than not.
Last week, he finally got into the shelter and he looked much better as well, which made Louis happy for him.
Harry didn't really reveal much about himself aside from the fact that he was 24 and he was studying but didn't get to finish. He seemed touched at the topic so he didn't probe about it. He didn't ask how Harry got to the point where he had no home to stay in anymore.
Most of the time, Louis would speak to Harry, tell him about his work, his sisters, his life overall. Louis thought he may have been a bit boring but Harry seemed to enjoy his stories and indulge in them so Louis took pride in that.
They enjoyed each other's company, to put it simply. Louis wished he could do more for Harry, if he was being truthful, but Harry was extremely stubborn. He didn't want to accept much from Louis, arguing that he should be able to earn things for himself. Which, fair enough, but he still wished he could at least start him off somehow.
"Just been helping him out," Louis shrugged.
"Louis, he could be using you for your money," Liam said, his tone stern.
And that was exactly why he hadn't told Liam. Liam... as wonderful as he was, he was very... cynical and he wasn't really a 'glass half full' kind of guy. He always proceeded with caution whereas Louis was the complete opposite.
And it was good sometimes because they balanced each other out but there were times like this where it was just frustrating.
"This is why I didn't tell you anything in the first place," Louis shook his head.
"Well, can you blame me? You give the guy thirty pounds and now all of a sudden he can't stop coming back for more?"
"Its not like that," Louis snapped, "I went to him --- I offered my help to him--- and he declines it more often than not."
Liam sighed, "so you're telling me you're just, what, friends with the guy now?"
"Well, what's so wrong about that? He's human, just like you and I," Louis countered, feeling his blood boil.
"I'm just saying you need to be careful," Liam said firmly, "and aren't you late today?"
"He's out looking for a job today," Louis muttered, pulling the stack of papers into a near pile and straightening them out.
"Look, all I'm saying is, be careful with him because you don't know the guy--"
"Oh, and you do?" Louis bit back, pushing the papers aside.
He sighed again, "it's clear you're upset now so I'm going to send these to André, yeah? Calm down a bit--- for both of us," Liam grabbed the contracts and headed out Louis' office hastily.
Louis clenched his jaw and dropped his head into his hands. Harry... He wasn't what Liam thought he was. Louis was getting to know him and he wasn't going to let Liam ruin that.
So what if Harry didn't really have a stable home or job? Was that suddenly a reason for Louis to stop associating with him? Absolutely not, his mother would be horrified.
Harry was his friend now, whether Liam liked it or not.
It had been a whole week since Louis saw Harry and Louis began to panic. He wasn't sure what happened to him. Last Louis heard was that Harry was job hunting while staying at the shelter uptown and then it was like he disappeared off of the face of the earth.
Louis had kept his eyes out the window majority of the day, hoping he would somehow see Harry strolling past or waiting for him but he didn't.
It wasn't until later that same day that he saw Harry again and in the worst condition possible.
Louis had decided to stay at the office late, like he normally did when he knew he had work to catch up on. It was thundering outside, the rain pelting harshly over his window as he tried to work.
When the sound of rain became too overbearing and distracting for him to do anything further, he decided to pack up and head home.
As he drove his car out the underground parking, at the very edge of the building, underneath a small half-roof, was a figure hunched in, shivering in the cold of the storm.
Louis recognised him immediately. Harry.
He idled the car as he jumped out, grabbing his umbrella and heading towards Harry.
Harry blinked up at Louis as he came forward, drenched in water.
"Harry, god, get underneath the umbrella, come on," he urged Harry over the sound of the rain.
Harry didn't seem to argue as he got up quickly and sheltered himself under Louis' umbrella.
"Come on, let's get you to the car," Louis said, leaving no room for Harry to protest as they ran towards the car.
Once inside, Louis turned to Harry in the passenger seat to see the boy shivering, his lips purple and face white.
He reached over and turned the heat on in the car then shrugged off his blazer, passing it over to Harry.
Harry accepted it, much to Louis' surprise, and draped it over his front. He must be freezing.
Louis remained quiet as he took off again until he asked Harry where he could drop him off.
Harry's lips quivered then, "I'm not at the shelter anymore," he confessed in a small voice.
"Oh, Harry," Louis said sorrowfully, "well I'm not leaving you out there for you to get sick, you can come over to mine and take a shower--- warm up a little bit okay?"
Harry opened his mouth but before he could speak, Louis continued, "please, Harry, I can't leave you like this."
"Okay," Harry pursed his lips, "thank you."
They drove the rest of the way to Louis' house in silence, the heater warming them both up on the way.
Harry had his head on the glass of the window, his eyes fixed outside on the roaring storm.
There were a lot of questions swarming his mind but Louis held back, at least for now. Harry needed to get warm and fed first before Louis asked him anything.
"Wow," Harry gasped when they entered the estate.
Louis blushed, "it's nothing much."
"Its already so beautiful," Harry said, looking at what little he could see of the houses in the estate while the rain came pouring down.
Louis stopped outside his house; a light grey one, double story with a double garage. He parked inside the garage, closing the garage door behind them, shutting out the sound of the storm outside.
Louis led a hesitant Harry into his house, switching on his lights as they entered through the kitchen then clicking on the lamp light in the living room.
"There's a spare bedroom and bath down here that you can use to warm yourself up. I'll get a fire going in the mean time," Louis said, already walking towards the fireplace.
"God, thank you, Louis," Harry said, sounding like he was on the verge of crying.
Louis turned to him, "it's really no problem, Harry," he gestured down the hallway, "go and help yourself, please--- I'll bring you some clothes to wear, yeah?"
Harry nodded, pulling the blazer off of himself, "'s wet," he grimaced, "I'm sorry."
"It's fine," Louis grabbed the blazer and threw it over the armchair, "I'll have it dry cleaned soon."
Harry nodded then looked at the hallway dubiously.
Louis walked up to him, "come on, let me show you," he offered.
Harry nodded again as Louis led the way to the spare bedroom, turning the light on for the bedroom itself and the bathroom.
"Here you are," Louis pushed his hands into his trousers pockets, "I'll bring you down some clothes, yeah?"
Harry nodded again, eyes on the carpet.
Louis left the room quickly to grab his longest sweatpants and top with a hoodie, knowing the hoodie would keep Harry warm. He stopped at the living room to quickly get the fire started while Harry was taking a shower.
It only took a few minutes and Louis then went to the room again to leave the clothes with some unused underwear on the bed. It was a new pack he purchased just this weekend, knowing he needed new ones but it didn't matter, he could buy more another time.
As he dropped the clothing onto the bed, he noticed bathroom door wasn't fully closed, Harry's side being visible as he pulled off his top and----
Louis' eyes widened. He felt wrong looking so he quickly looked away and headed out the bedroom, his heart racing.
Did Harry---- was he being a twat or was Harry... expecting? He had been around his mum many times and her line of work along with his sisters enough times now to know what a pregnant belly looked like.
That couldn't be... how had Louis never noticed before?
Surely he had to have noticed, given how surrounded he was by pregnant people.
Harry always wore that bloody corduroy jacket of his that swallowed him whole but Louis just assumed it was because the weather was getting pretty miserable as of lately, he never thought much of it.
How long had he known Harry now? Almost a month, maybe just less of a month? And somehow, Louis missed the fact that he was fucking pregnant.
There was an off chance that Louis was wrong but he knew what a pregnant person looked like, he saw their bellies, he touched them--- he knew.
The pieces were starting to fit together now, how Harry said that it was hard to find a job in his condition because no one would accept him.
Male pregnancies were rare and Louis always considered it as a gift but he knew a lot of people thought they were freaks, males who could conceive.
God, he was pregnant.
Louis turned to Harry, his breath catching when he saw the boy with wet hair and a red nose, Louis' hoodie fitting him perfectly. Louis always got a size bigger because they were just more comfortable.
"You look like you've seen a ghost," Harry chuckled light-heartedly.
Instinctively, Louis' eyes flickered down to Harry's stomach then back up at Harry. It was barely visible still.
"Harry, I need you to be honest with me, okay?" He said.
Harry's smile fell, replaced by a frown. He stepped up to Louis and took a seat down next to him.
"What is it?"
"What, um, why is it so hard for you to find a job? I mean, why did you tell me that people wouldn't want you in your condition?"
Harry's face went even paler. Louis didn't even think that was possible.
"I--- you'll look at me differently and you won't want to be around me anymore, Louis," Harry croaked out, his eyes wet.
"Harry... I promise you that nothing will change, no matter what you tell me," Louis said firmly.
"I," Harry shook his head and looked down, "I'm... pregnant."
Louis let out a breath.
"How far along are you?" Louis asked. Harry seemed a little surprised at that.
"Four months or so, I think," Harry answered quietly.
"I've only been to the doctor once to confirm everything... I haven't been again," Harry squeezed his eyes shut, few tears falling down his cheeks.
Louis reached over and grabbed his hand, squeezing his hand.
"Harry, you have to go to the doctor regularly," Louis said gently.
"I know that," Harry seemed to snap but only briefly as he then looked crestfallen again, "how am I supposed to when I can't even afford to?"
Louis felt like kicking himself. Right. How was he even supposed to in the first place?
"I'm sorry," Louis said sheepishly.
"You don't seem disgusted or... repulsed or anything like that," Harry said, eyeing him cautiously.
"Why should I be?"
"Most people are," Harry shrugged.
"I'm not most people," Louis smiled gently.
Harry grinned too, small and unsure. "Really?"
"Yes, I'm sure," Louis gave his hand one last squeeze before getting up, "I'll make us some tea, okay? Warm you up a bit."
Louis' mind was still trying to comprehend what he'd just learnt. Louis didn't find it disgusting, of course not, but it was a big deal.
Knowing this, he couldn't let Harry just... leave. But what could he do? He could offer Harry the spare bedroom here but he wasn't sure how well they knew each other for that to happen.
But he just couldn't allow Harry to just go back out, all alone and with not enough healthcare or sanitation.
First thing was first, he had to make them some tea and they could at the very least talk about it.
When Louis handed him his tea and took a seat on the couch again, Harry curled up with the mug in his hand, his legs tucked close to his body.
Louis pulled the blanket off of the back of the couch and held it out for Harry.
Harry stared at it briefly before accepting it with a small smile. He draped the blanket over his legs and took a small sip of his tea. He hummed, looking satisfied and grateful.
"Harry," Louis started, still unsure but determined, "I know this isn't my place but I have to ask; what do you plan to do with your... pregnancy?"
Harry swallowed, looking down at the liquid in the cup, "I--- I want to have them, I do, and I know it seems silly given, well, everything, but I can't bear giving them up."
Louis nodded, taking in the information. He thought over his next words carefully. "I get that, I do, but, love, with your pregnancy, you need certain things and you have to go to the doctor regularly--- it's... going to be difficult with where you are right now. Speaking of, what happened with the shelter?"
Harry smiled sadly, "don't accept pregnant men, I guess. Got kicked out when they found out I was."
"Fucking pricks," Louis frowned, angry at the mistreatment of men who were able to get pregnant.
"Yeah," Harry shrugged, "there's not much I can do about it." Then, he reached down and placed a hand over his stomach, "do I have to give them up then?" He asked Louis, his eyes shining with unshed tears.
"You don't have to," Louis shook his head instantly.
"But you were right," he croaked, "how am I supposed to give them a life that they deserve? I can't even land myself a job for God's sake."
"Harry," Louis sighed sadly, seeing the boy crying, his lip wobbling. He made a quick move to grab at his hand again, not sure whether a hug would be a bit too much.
"What am I supposed to do?" Harry sobbed, wiping his cheeks with the heel of his palm messily, letting go of Louis' hand.
"You... you can stay here," Louis blurted out.
Harry froze, looking up at Louis. "Are you mad?" He asked Louis, staring in disbelief.
"Possibly," Louis shrugged nonchalantly, "but I'm dead serious--- I have a spare bedroom here anyways and--and you'll be safe here, we can get you to a doctor, make sure your baby is okay, take care of yourself too."
Harry shook his head, "no, Louis. You've done so much for me already, I can't just stay at your home."
"You can," Louis said indignantly, "I'm asking you to, please?"
"I don't even have a job! How am I supposed to pay rent or contribute in any sort of way?"
"You don't have to, at least not right away," Louis bit his lip, "look, you want to have this baby, right?" Harry nodded, "and I want you to both be safe and healthy and you can do that by staying here--- with me. We can work something out, if you really feel like you need to pay me or summat but for now, just... stay and look after your baby and yourself."
"Louis," Harry started, already shaking his head, "that's insane, I don't even know you."
"You do," Louis cleared his throat and straightened up, "my name is Louis Tomlinson, I'm 27, I'm a Capricorn and I love dogs and cereal."
Harry smiled. Then his eyes widened. "Did you say Tomlinson?"
Oh shit. Right. Harry didn't know that.
"You own Tomlinson & Co.?" He gasped.
"Technically co-own, at least for now," Louis waved it off, "anyways that's not important--- please just... stay, Harry. If not for yourself then at least for your baby?"
Harry seemed to soften at that, sighing, "I'll feel horribly guilty if I just stay here when I barely know you and don't even have anything to offer back."
"I can't let you just... leave now, Harry. You--- you have to go to the doctor and check how everything is with your baby and--and the shelters are being difficult--- please--- for now... just until you get yourself back on your feet, you don't owe me anything," Louis said quickly.
Harry bit his lip, "do you have someone to help you out around the house? Gardening or cooking or something like that?"
"Uh, I have a helper come in and clean the place twice a week and a gardener once a week but Uh, nothing else, no," Louis shrugged.
"I---I could cook for you and clean up and stuff-- whenever you need it--- I have to do something,"
"Is that a yes then?" Louis asked, feeling excited.
"I... fuck, I really don't have a choice because I know if I carry on this way, my baby won't make it," he sniffed, looking down at his stomach.
Louis felt his throat catch, "I'll look after you while I can, okay? And your baby, of course--- my sister works at a hospital--- I can see if there's any appointments available at the OBGYN and then we can start looking for a job for you after that, okay?"
Harry nodded, tears falling freely down his face, "Louis, I can't even begin to thank you for all of this--- fuck," he shook his head, "I can't believe I'm doing this-- I feel like I'm taking advantage of you."
"You're not," Louis stressed, "You and your baby will be fine, yeah? We'll sort everything out."
Harry wiped at his cheeks, nodding, "as soon as I get enough money, I'm moving out though and I'm paying you back, okay?"
Louis couldn't help but smile. He didn't have to but Louis knew he shouldn't push it. Harry was stubborn.
"Okay, no rush though, yeah? It'll happen when its supposed to," Louis said.
"Okay," Harry sighed, "it was scary tonight... I swear I felt like I was going to pass out from the cold."
"I'm glad I saw you then," he answered.
Harry stared at him, "I'm glad too... I'm sorry I didn't, um, you know, tell you about me being pregnant earlier."
"You weren't obligated to... I'm sorry if I pushed you to tell me and you weren't ready,"
"No, I---I wanted to eventually because I thought I had found a shelter to stay in finally b--"
"Hey, it's okay, we can get you settled in here and I'll call my sister up first thing tomorrow morning, yeah?"
Harry pursed his lips into a smile and nodded. Louis could tell he still wasn't feeling too sure about the whole arrangement but he was going to do everything he could to make sure Harry was comfortable.
"Who is he again?" His sister asked, eyeing Harry behind him who sat on one of the waiting chairs patiently, his eyes on the ground.
"Just a friend," Louis replied tersely.
"That's now staying with you and pregnant?" She raised an eyebrow at him, seemingly doubtful that Harry was just his friend.
"Look, he's a friend I'm helping out, okay? I'll explain everything to you soon but we just needed to see a doctor soon to check him up,"
She sighed, "and when last has he been to one?"
"When he found out he was pregnant apparently... I'm not sure when that was," he shrugged, glancing at Harry quickly.
He was already looking at Louis so Louis gave him a small smile before turning his attention back to his sister.
"And he's about four months, you said?" She asked, trying to discreetly look at him too.
"Yeah, that's what he told me,"
"All right," she sighed, "well, doc will be out to assist you guys soon, just take a seat with him while you wait--- he looks like a ghost."
Louis turned to look at Harry then. Sure enough, he did look like a ghost; his skin pale and eyes dull.
"Thanks, love," he thanked his sister quickly before taking a seat next to Harry.
"Everything okay?" Harry asked.
"Everything is fine, she just wanted to know some things like, uh, how far along you are and stuff like that--- how are you?"
"Uh, nervous, to be honest," he breathed out, "what if there's something wrong with them because--- because I've been so care less and---"
"Hey, hey, let's not jump to any conclusions, okay? I'm sure everything will be fine,"
"Okay," Harry murmured but he didn't sound too convinced.
Louis sighed. He still didn't know why or how Harry got onto the streets without a home and family in the first place but he didn't want to pry. Harry could tell him if he wanted to.
"Mr. Styles?" A low voice called out. His sister.
They both stood up.
"The doctor will see you now," she smiled politely at them, leading the way into the room.
Once inside, she shut the door behind her. "You can take a seat here and she'll join you soon," she explained, gesturing to the chair-bed (What Louis now called it because what else was it really?).
Harry nodded obediently and sat down on the edge of the chair-bed.
"I just have to ask you a few questions while we're waiting if that's okay?" She raised an eyebrow at him.
She proceeded to ask about when he last visited the doctor, his results from that visit, diet and exercise and a few other questions that Louis didn't really pay attention to because he could practically feel the discomfort radiating off of him.
She left shortly after, leaving Louis and Harry alone in the room. Suddenly, it hit Louis.
"Oh my God, I just came in here with you--- I didn't even ask if it was okay for me to be here--- I'm so fucking sorry," Louis apologised profusely.
"It's okay... I think I need the support, honestly, if you don't mind that is," he added the last part quickly.
"No, of course I don't--- as long as you're okay with me being here. It's not weird is it?"
"Maybe a little but life is nothing if not weird," Harry offered with a tiny shrug.
Louis accepted it with a smile just as the doctor came in. She was a petite, red-haired woman with striking blue eyes and constellation of freckles over her nose and cheeks.
"Good morning, Mr. Styles," she greeted with a friendly smile, extending her hand out for a handshake then turning to Louis, "and Mr..."
"Tomlinson but Louis is fine," he shook her hand dutifully.
"Very well, nice to meet you both. My name is Dr. Cooper, I'll be helping you guys out today,"
Louis liked her already. She seemed cheerful and friendly overall. Dr. Cooper pulled a stray chair to the edge of the chair-bed where Harry sat.
"All right, I'm going to have to ask you to lay back for me right now and pull up your shirt, you can take the whole thing off if you're more comfortable with that but it's not necessary," she informed him.
Harry followed her instructions, choosing to keep his shirt on and pulled it up to his sternum. "Is that okay?"
"Perfect," she smiled, "I'm going to set up the ultrasound and we're going to check up on this baby of yours and then answer a few questions--- that okay?"
"Yes, thank you," Harry replied with a grin.
"Okay," she scooted closer then grabbed a tube of some sort, "this is really cold--- you've been warned."
Just as she poured the gel substance onto Harry's bare stomach, he hissed slightly.
"Sorry," she grimaced. She reached for a stick--- it looked like a stick blender to Louis--- and started to rub around the gel with it, bringing a small monitor closer to them.
"Okay, let's see this little one then," she trailed off, moving the stick then stopping, "there we go."
A blob appeared on the screen and all of a sudden Louis felt emotional. It wasn't his first scan but god all of them felt emotional. He couldn't help it. Seeing a life formed on a small little screen in a form of a grey blob is wonderful and miraculous in a way.
"Oh my god," Harry gasped, sounding choked up.
Louis wanted to comfort him but he didn't know how far he could go.
"It's okay to be emotional, Harry," Louis ended up saying softly instead.
Harry nodded but he didn't turn away from the screen.
"Everything looks well with him--- seems to be the right size for about four months along, was it?"
"Yes--- him? I'm having a boy?" Harry asked, lips wobbling.
"Oh, I wasn't aware you didn't know," she gasped, "of course you didn't--- I'm so sorry, Mr. Styles, I should have asked!"
"No, it's okay. I was going to ask anyways," Harry assured her, looking at the screen again, "a boy," he whispered almost to himself.
Dr. Cooper smiled and Louis did too. Harry looked so happy--- something he never saw on Harry before.
It was a little weird now, to see the bump being out in the opened when only days ago it was hidden underneath Harry's coat.
Maybe that was why he couldn't stop staring, especially after the appointment, and it didn't go unnoticed by Harry.
"You think I'm weird now, don't you?" Harry asked, curling in on himself as they sat on Louis' sofa.
Louis snapped his head up, instantly shaking his head. "No, no--- it's just, I've known you for about a month and to me, you weren't pregnant and now all of a sudden you are-- you're not weird for carrying a baby."
Harry sighed, placing a hand over his tummy, "I guess it would be kind of odd."
His tummy wasn't big by any means but it was protruding. Harry told him that it only really started to look like that about a week ago; he woke up one morning and he looked down to see that he had a bump out of the blue.
"Do you mind if I use a laptop or computer? I want to start looking for a job and everything in a newspaper has proved to be useless so far,"
"Yeah, yeah, help yourself to anything you need. There's a study with a computer right opposite your room,"
"Your room, you mean," Harry amended.
"It was a spare bedroom that's now yours," Louis frowned.
"For the time being," Harry corrected again.
"Harry---" he sighed, "think of it as a roommate agreement, yeah? It's not that weird or bad, you're just my new roommate."
"That's not even paying or contributing in any way to stay," Harry murmured, looking down.
"Hey, I've told you already that it's fine and you're looking for a job already, aren't you? It'll be fine, Harry, just take your time."
"I still feel like I'm taking advantage of you," Harry sighed, "I mean I still don't get why you're doing all of this for someone that's practically a stranger."
"If you were me, would you do it for someone else?"
Harry looked at him, seeming a little shocked at what Louis said.
"Uh, yeah... yeah actually, I would,"
Louis grinned, "there you go then."
Before Harry could reply, Louis' phone rang. He excused himself from the lounge, opting to answer in the kitchen instead.
"Liam," he greeted.
"Louis, you haven't been answering your texts--- are you okay?" He sounded genuinely worried.
Louis leaned against the counter, stuffing his free hand into his trousers pocket. "I'm fine, I'm fine--- I was just busy, um, doing something else."
After their last talk about Harry, Louis wasn't sure how much he wanted to tell Liam anymore. But, if Harry was going to be staying here now, he would probably have to tell him soon anyways.
Still, it was face-to-face news.
"Busy? Oh my god, have you finally gone out of your house and away from anything related to work?" He gasped dramatically.
Louis rolled his eyes, "something like that, yeah."
"I'm so proud of you," Liam fake-sobbed through his speaker.
"Liam, shut up," Louis sighed, "I do other things besides work."
"Louis, you pay someone else to get your groceries for you... your groceries,"
"I just want to be healthy, okay?" Louis said defensively, "anyways, what is it that you wanted to talk about?"
Liam giggled before he finally answered Louis, "just about the Frederick case and the wife's side of the story, remember?"
They went on for about another hour talking about the case. When Louis returned to the lounge, Harry was passed out on the couch. Louis smiled, grabbing the blanket off of the back of the sofa and covered him up, noticing that he held his tummy with one hand. It was endearing. Louis didn't linger on the thought or the fact that he hadn't stopped smiling even when he got back to working on his cases.
During the week, Louis was getting used to what it was like living with Harry.
He would come home from work to a hot meal cooked by Harry without fail.
He wasn't sure how to feel about it but he could see that Harry was trying to somehow 'pay Louis back somehow', even after Louis insisted that he didn't have to.
Today he had his first interview at a vet clinic nearby for a receptionist position.
The two sat down together on Sunday evening and worked on a proper, updated resumé for Harry and applied for a few positions available.
He saw that Harry was studying English literature and was in his second year but he didn't ask about it and he could see that Harry was grateful for that.
He still wondered what had happened for him to be studying at a university one day and on the streets the next. He wasn't stupid, he could tell it had something to do with the fact that he got pregnant but to even think about the possibility of any sort of parent or guardian being so cruel was surreal to him. Not to mention the other dad too.
Kicking him out had to be a bit much. There had to be more to the story. And Louis, being the inquisitive person he was, was itching to ask. But, he had to remind himself that it was none of his business every time he came close to asking.
"Are you actually leaving the office with everyone else for once?" Liam asked, furrowing his brows, watching Louis pack up his case.
"Yeah, why not?" Louis shrugged, clipping up his briefcase.
"Because you normally don't? And you've done it the whole week-- what the hell has gotten into you?"
"It's Friday, Li. I just want to go home and chill," Louis made his way to the lift, Liam following behind him.
"Oh my god you're seeing someone," Liam hit his arm, standing next to him and wiggling his finger, "you're finally dating again!"
"Ow," Louis rubbed his arm, "I'm not dating anyone," he grumbled.
"Yes, you are--- that's the only reason I can think of for you to be leaving the office early five days in a row,"
"The only reason, really?" Louis deadpanned, stepping into the lift with another older man.
They both smiled politely at him. Louis was almost sure that it was Derek from the second floor but he didn't want to take any chances.
"Come on, why don't you tell me who you're dating?" Liam whispered right by his ear.
"Because I'm not seeing anyone," Louis gritted back, "now can you drop it?"
Liam pursed his lips in response and the rest of the ride down was silent. Until they both got off to get to their respective cars.
"Fine, don't tell me then. Zayn, Niall and I are all very disappointed in you, just so you know," Liam sang as he clicked his Audi opened.
Louis rolled his eyes, shoving his briefcase into the boot of his car. "Goodbye, Liam. I'll see you on Monday."
He heard a disgruntled noise from Liam but nothing else as he got into his car and started the engine.
When Louis came home, Harry was stirring something in a pot Louis didn't know he owned.
"Hey," Louis greeted softly, so as to not startle him.
Thankfully, Harry didnt seem startled. He turned to Louis and smiled. "Hello. How was work?"
"It was great, yeah," Louis threw his briefcase carelessly onto a stray chair in the kitchen and walked closer to Harry, "how was your interview?"
"It was all right, I think," Harry hummed thoughtfully before bringing up a spoonful of the steaming liquid to his lips and sipping it carefully.
"Yeah?" Louis asked, leaning against the island and facing him, smiling curiously as Harry mumbled to himself.
He wasn't quite settled in the house, Louis could tell. But, in the kitchen, it was like he'd always been here. He just moved effortlessly and worked naturally. It was wonderful to watch.
"Yeah," Harry finally replied, switching the stove off and turning to Louis.
Louis was taken aback by his protruding belly. It seemed to have grown quite a bit in just a week. Maybe Louis was just noticing it a bit more now that before, which is why it seemed bigger.
"I got to meet some of the animals--- that part was amazing. The people who interviewed me didn't seem to judge me, but then again, I don't know because it's seemed that way before and I just never got the job," Harry shrugged, rubbing his arm, looking slightly sheepish.
"I can't even imagine what that's like," Louis mumbled sadly, "But, hey, you've applied quite a few places other than this one so we'll just have to wait and see, yeah?"
"Yeah," Harry smiled, "I've made roasted pepper and tomato soup, I hope that's okay."
Louis' stomach gave a loud grumble, causing both of them to laugh.
"I'll take that as a yes then,"
Louis tried to ignore the heat in his cheeks as they ate together in the kitchen. It felt oddly comfortable for Louis. He'd never had someone stay with him for this long and he really liked it.
"You know, Harry... you don't have to make me food everyday--- you have breakfast, lunch and dinner sorted out all the time--- you really don't have to do so much," Louis told him as he packed up the dishwasher.
Harry sighed. "I know... But, you're just letting me stay here, Louis. We barely know each other and I know you keep telling me to think of it as a roommate agreement but roommates pay for staying in the same house as someone. I can't, at least, not yet. So for now, this is all I can do."
Louis swallowed, shutting the door of the washer and putting it on. He turned to him again and smiled, small but kind.
"I know... I just... I feel bad, you know? I don't want you to feel like you have to do all of this---"
"I know, but I do feel like I have to. Like I said, at least for now," Harry cut him off, stating his perceptive firmly this time.
Louis simply nodded, having no heart to argue with that. Maybe if he was in the same situation, he would feel the same way. He just want Harry to feel like this was an obligatory thing to do. Louis could take care of himself. Harry needs to put himself before anyone--- especially now.
"My next appointment will be in two weeks, right?" Harry asked suddenly, interrupting Louis' thoughts.
Louis nodded, "2pm on Saturday the 30th," he reminded him.
"Right, I'll have to write that down somewhere then--- I tend to have a very bad memory," he chuckled.
"Well, I'll be here to remind you so you don't have to---" it hit him suddenly, "we should get you a phone!"
Harry huffed, "not unless I can buy it myself, no."
Louis pouted. He actually pouted.
"Louis," Harry fought back, pleading but stern.
"All right, fine," Louis relented reluctantly, "But, you have to use the house phone if you need something--- anything, okay?"
"Okay," Harry agreed easily, "thank you Louis--- again."
"You really have to stop thanking me," Louis murmured, feeling a modest blush dust his cheeks.
"I can't--- not when you've done so much for me--- us," he gazed down at his belly fondly, "I seriously don't know where I would be right now if it weren't for you."
Louis' cheeks were hotter, "you're welcome--- really. I couldn't--- can't--- let you go back out there, not when everyone was being so cruel."
"I still don't understand why you weren't repulsed when you found out I was pregnant," Harry cocked his head to the side in wonder, staring at Louis.
Louis shrugged, "my mum didn't raise me that way. She was a nurse, see, so I was exposed to a lot from a young age--- I think that definitely helped, too."
"That's wonderful," Harry replied, eyes twinkling, "what does she do now?"
Louis sobered up a bit at that. "She, um, she's no longer with us--- passed from cancer about six years ago."
"Oh," Harry's twinkle disappeared and face fell, "I'm--- I'm really sorry, Louis."
Louis smiled weakly, "I am, too."
"She must be really proud of you," Harry said quietly.
Louis could only smile again, sad and hopeful.
"Do you, um, do you want some hot chocolate?" Harry asked, attempting to lighten the mood, Louis suspected.
Louis shrugged, "why not? Haven't had it in ages."
"Really?" Harry already made his way to the pantry as if it was his second home.
Louis smiled. He was glad at least part of Harry felt at home--- even if it was just in the kitchen.
"Uh, yeah---- Hey, have you always liked doing this stuff?" He had to ask, his nosey side getting the best of him.
Harry frowned, taking out the kettle and putting water to boil. "Making hot chocolate?"
Louis snorted, rolling his eyes, "I meant the cooking stuff--- your food is always lovely and you seem to enjoy it."
"Oh--- Uh, Yeah, one of my hobbies, I suppose," he shrugged, "and hot chocolate is my specialty."
"Really?" Louis raised his brow, smirking.
"Yup, always been told so. My friend from uni recovered from a breakup in just days from having my hot chocolate every night before he went to bed," he said confidently, grinning proudly.
Louis huffed out a laugh.
And he decided to humour him, as he gulped down the hot chocolate. But, he found that he loved it. It wasn't too sweet, just warm enough and creamy down his throat.
He would never admit to Harry that that night was one of his best sleeps he's had in a long time.
Monday mornings were already fairly miserable and horribly busy. Hearing Harry crying on a Monday morning was downright depressing.
Louis was left helpless and clueless regarding how to comfort him. He was just shocked at the fact that Harry was hugging him. They hadn't done that before and Louis found that he didn't want to let go until Harry felt better.
He'd heard tiny sniffles when he entered the kitchen and once Harry spotted him, he just broke down, hugging Louis and sobbing softly.
Louis could only rub his back soothingly and return the embrace. It was a little odd. They'd known each other for barely over a month or so but Harry still needed comfort.
For what, Louis wasn't too sure about until Harry's sobs had subsided and he abruptly pulled away, wiping harshly at his cheeks and apologising profusely.
"Its fine," he'd reassured Harry quickly, "what's wrong?"
Harry sighed, tired and sad, "I didn't get the job," he said quietly, "the manager of the clinic wasn't comfortable with clients seeing a pregnant man as soon as they'd walk in," he ended with a bitter laugh.
Louis felt a surge of protectiveness and annoyance all at the same time.
"What the fuck, honestly," Louis huffed, "I didn't realise people could be suck dickheads--- fuck them, Harry--- they don't deserve you."
Harry shook his head, "I'm sorry for jumping you like that--- I was just... disappointed, I suppose. Probably the umpteenth time someone's rejected me for who I am and I still can't seem to shake it."
"You shouldn't have to shake It," Louis said fiercely, "You deserve better--- so much better."
Harry seemed touched at his words, yet at the same time like he didn't believe it fully. "Thank you," Harry whispered, "I'm just... I'm feeling hopeless right now. I have to find a job soon; I can't keep staying here for free."
Louis shook his head, "Please, Harry, with the people out there being so cruel, I truly don't want you to pressure yourself over that. You don't even owe me anything at all, even if you don't want to believe it."
"God, Louis," Harry shook his head again as if he was frustrated, "I don't get why you're being so nice to me. We don't even know each other."
"We're getting to know each other," Louis offered with a half-shrug, "at least, I would like that--- and I just... I don't know what to say to that, Harry--- I'm not like every other person you've met, you know? I've been raised right, I guess--- somewhat, I hope."
Harry's eyes shone with tears again. "I get to actually have this baby, all because you decided to be so kind to me. You could have just found me another shelter, you know? Or we could have, rather. But it's been over a week and you still haven't. I guess what I'm asking is; why haven't you? Why are you insistent on me staying here with you?"
Louis' eyes widened. "I'm not---- God, I'm not forcing you stay here. If looking for another shelter or something like that is what you want then we can do that, Harry. The thought just truly hadn't crossed my mind--- I just... I don't know. I enjoy your company I suppose. I would have offered this to any of friends, Harry, if they were in the same position as you---- please know that I'm not trying to like, force you to stay here or anything. That's the last thing I want to do."
He would be disappointed, sure. But, if Harry was feeling uncomfortable here, he wasn't going to stop him from trying to find somewhere else to live.
"I..." Harry looked down, biting his lip. Again, Louis' eyes darted down to his stomach then back to Harry again, "I don't know... I just--- it's too much, you know?"
Louis ignored the sinking feeling in his chest, nodding instead. "I... I understand. If you want to do that, we can look at other options for you later today, yeah?"
Harry nodded shortly, still gnawing at his lip, "um, I'm sorry for making you late--- fuck, and you didn't even have any breakfast."
"Its all right, I'll get something on the way, yeah?" Louis already made a move to get out of the kitchen, waving goodbye to Harry awkwardly, before turning around and heading to his car.
He wasn't sure why he was so disappointed at this. It wasn't like Harry would cut him off from being friends if he did move out, yet he couldn't stop the feeling from crawling all over him.
It wasn't like he just enjoyed Harry for the meals he'd prepare or anything like that. He would just genuinely miss his company.
They'd bonded a little more, even if it was just tentative chats here and there and small talk--- Louis just felt good when Harry was around.
For the first time, he'd realised that maybe the feeling wasn't mutual after all. Maybe Harry had just humoured him all along and didn't actually enjoy Louis' company.
Louis knew he could get a little boring at times, perhaps ramble too much, a little insensitive at times too--- he just was starting to doubt his overall personality now.
Maybe there was something inherently unlikable about him. Maybe that's why he was still single to this day.
And maybe, he was just overthinking things but that's just another thing he does anyhow.
He didn't really talk to Liam or anyone else much the entire day. He was being a bit of a grumpy old man, but it wasn't anything they weren't used to.
Liam just left him alone once he noticed Louis' mood and Niall simply gave him pat on the back and did the same. He appreciated the space--- he was someone who needed it whenever he was upset or sad or angry.
It gave him time to think things through a little bit.
By the end of the day, when he finally came home, he knew that in his heart, he didn't want Harry to leave.
He couldn't even explain it which was the scariest part. He'd just enjoyed Harry's company and maybe part of him felt secure knowing Harry was here, safe and sound, where no one could hurt him or the baby.
For God's sake, the baby wasn't even Louis', yet he felt himself getting protective over him too.
A boy, he reminded himself. Harry was having a baby boy. Right.
His mind wandered again.
He got out of his car slowly, not prepared for what was to come. His mother had always taught him to be an honest person. She always told him how important communication was in order for a relationship of any kind to last.
Even though Harry and him were barely in any kind of relationship whatsoever, they were somewhat-friends, and that was good enough for Louis.
He was preparing a speech in his mind as he walked in, only for the house to be met with silence.
Louis frowned, heading to the kitchen after placing his case down in the lounge. The kitchen was empty, save for the two pots on the stove.
He crept down the hallway to the spare bedroom that Harry was staying in, finding the door half opened and a dull bit of light shining out.
Louis spotted Harry laying down, eyes shut closed and blanket to his chest, a book carelessly held by his left hand while his right was under the blanket. He had a habit of cupping his tummy, Louis had noticed.
He smiled, quietly walking in and taking the book from Harry's hand to put it aside. He had to bite back a laugh when Harry let out a particularly loud snore and snuffled.
Louis shook his head, pulling the blanket up slightly and looking down at him; eyelashes uncurled but long over his cheeks, lips parted and pink and nose slightly red. His heart leaped to his throat and he wasn't sure why.
Quickly, Louis switched the lamp off, pulled away and swiftly walked out the room. His heart beat rapidly in his chest as he made his way back to the kitchen.
He wasn't sure what that was about. His emotions were all over the place so he shrugged it off and sated his hunger instead.
As he ate, he pulled out his phone and asked Lottie to meet up with him tomorrow for coffee. He would have to avoid seeing Harry in the morning because he needed to ask Lottie a few questions to clear his mind first.
Waking up before Harry meant he had to be out of the house by five in the morning. He was practically dead on his feet by the time he had to meet up with his sister.
She waited at the café down the road from the office building, a cup of what Louis assumed was tea already in her hand and a scone on her plate, buttered with jam.
"Hello, dear sister," Louis grinned at her.
She smiled up at him then got off her seat, pulling him in to a hug. "So what is that you need then?" She cut right to the chase as she sat back down.
"What? I can't just meet with my sister because I miss her?" Louis feigned hurt, clutching his chest as he sat down opposite her.
"Come on, Louis," she deadpanned.
"Fine, fine," he sighed, "i have a bit of an issue."
He explained how he'd met Harry over a month ago, how he wanted to help him out and found him stranded in the rain and then found out he was pregnant and now, how Harry didn't feel like he was comfortable and suggested looking for a shelter that accepted pregnant men instead.
"Okay, so you... don't want him to go?" She asked carefully, raising an eyebrow at him.
"Well, um, yes? I mean, if he's there with me, I know he's safe, you know? He'll be treated much better with me than any homeless shelter anyways," he grumbled.
She smirked, "do you like him or something?"
Louis rolled his eyes, "he's a friend, Lots. I'm just trying to help him out."
"Well, in that case, listening to him and helping him find a shelter would be the best option, don't you think?"
Louis pursed his lips. "No, he's just... he's doing better with me---- staying with me, I mean."
Lottie sighed, "I mean, if I were in his shoes, I would get where he was coming from; I wouldn't be comfortable just staying with someone else and not being able to pay them back somehow."
"Well, it's not his fault people are assholes," he mumbled, feeling a surge of annoyance.
"You could just be honest with him, tell him you want him to stay and see what he says afterwards? At least then you know you've tried, yeah?"
Louis hated that that was what he had to do. He didn't want to be overbearing or possessive or anything like that. He just genuinely felt that it would be better for Harry to stay with him, so Louis knew he was cared and provided for properly.
"I guess so," he relented, "anyways, tell me about you--- how's the family doing?"
Lottie went on to tell him about how her husband had gotten a new job and how demanding the hours were, making it hard for her to cope with the kids more often than not.
It was nice catching up with her overall and he ended their meeting by promising to visit them soon.
Louis went home feeling as confused as ever.
Harry was in the living room when Louis walked in. He was sitting by the fire, using the laptop that normally stayed in Louis' office. He didn't mind it, he knew the office got really cold anyway. He wouldn't want to work there half the time either.
"Hello," Harry smiled at him, "how was work? You left pretty early today."
Louis dropped his case down on the ottoman and sat next to him, sighing once his spine hit the back of the couch.
"Work was fine. I just woke up earlier than usual so I figured why not leave early. Uh, how was your day?"
"It was fine, thank you for asking," he grinned, "I found a few places that accept pregnant males by the way--- a few jobs popped up too."
Louis swallowed the uneasy feeling sitting in his throat, "Harry," he said, gaining the boy's attention, "don't leave."
Harry's face fell. "Louis..." He trailed off, placing the laptop on the seat beside him and turning to face him fully.
"No--- I know--- you don't feel comfortable here but we can fix that. What can I do for you? Just tell me, please?" He sounded desperate but he didn't care.
Harry seemed taken aback though. "Why do you want me to stay so bad?"
"I---I don't know. I guess if you stay here, at least I know you're safe," he admitted quietly.
Harry didn't reply for a while. Louis was worried he'd offended him.
Louis let out a resigned sigh, "I'm sorry--- you can do whatever you want. I won't stop you if you want to move out. I just wish I could make it more comfortable for you to stay here."
"Louis, it's not that I'm not comfortable--- Well, not in the way you're thinking."
"Then what?" Louis asked curiously, sitting up straighter.
"Its a lovely place and I like staying here, I do--- it's just that... without paying you back, I feel... uneasy, you know? Like I'm taking advantage of you or something and I know you say that I'm not but it feels like I am."
"Well, what about those jobs you came across now? What if you got one of them and started earning some money? Would you stay then?"
Harry stared at him, "um, I guess I could apply for a few and see what happens..."
"Great," Louis said instantly, "um, if---if you feel like you still want to leave afterwards, I won't say anything, I promise."
"O-okay," Harry swallowed, "I, uh, thank you, I guess?"
"You're welcome. I just--- I wanna know that you're safe--- you and the peanut "
Harry let out a beautiful laugh. "Peanut?"
"Yeah, 's what I call him in my mind," Louis said, blushing a little. He'd never said that out loud and now it felt like he maybe crossed a line somehow. "Is that okay?"
Harry chuckled softly, "it's fine--- I kinda like it," he looked down at his growing belly and rubbed over the front gently, "Peanut," he repeated fondly.
Louis grinned. As he was about to say something, Harry gasped and jumped back a bit.
"What? What happened?" Louis sprung into action, moving closer to him, searching his face.
"The baby--- he---he kicked," Harry laughed happily, placing a hand on his tummy again and moving it around, beaming when he felt it again.
"Oh," Louis let out a breath, smiling as well.
"Feel," Harry instructed, grabbing one of Louis' hands and placing it over his jumper (Louis' jumper that was being stretched out not that he really cared, it looked better on Harry anyways).
Louis gulped, feeling the overwhelming intimacy of it all hitting him when he felt a soft flutter against his palm. It felt... odd. It always did.
There were tears in Harry's eyes as he smiled at Louis. Louis couldn't help but grin back at him.
"Guess he liked the nickname then," Louis let out a throaty laugh.
"Guess he did," Harry bit his lip when Peanut kicked against Louis' palm again.
"Isn't it early to feel a kick?" Louis asked, pulling his hand away once the kicking subsided.
Harry was still gazing at his stomach fondly. "Anywhere from 13 to 25 weeks," he explained.
"My sister's only got their first kicks around six months," Louis said, "with Lotties second, it was just before that."
"All your sisters have kids then?" Harry asked, holding his tummy again.
"I have four and only three have so far," Louis explained, "Lottie, the oldest of the bunch, has two and Phoebe, the youngest of them, just gave birth a few months ago."
"That's lovely," Harry grinned, "do you like kids then?"
"Absolutely," Louis replied immediately, "can't wait to have my own someday."
Harry smiled gently at Louis. "I'm sure you'll find your soulmate soon and you'll have your own kids in no time."
For some reason, Louis' heart constricted. "Yeah, uh, I hope so--- it's just kind of hard with work and all."
Harry hummed in acknowledgement. "It'll happen when it's supposed to happen, I think."
"I really hope so," Louis suppressed the urge to sigh. He wasn't sure how long he was going to keep telling himself that.
"Can I ask you something? If you don't want to tell me, I understand," Louis said quickly.
Harry nodded shortly, looking a little hesitant.
"How... How did this all happen? I mean... You don't have to tell me, of course... I'm just... curious?"
"How did I get pregnant or how did I end up homeless?" Harry asked, not unkindly.
"Both? If you want to tell me, of course. I just... I'm a nosey person so just tell me to fuck off if you want to."
Louis waited with a bated breath for a reply.
"I... um, I ended up without a home because my parents, they um, they weren't very happy with me being pregnant--- thought I was a disgrace---- cut me off completely and I didn't have money to pay for my studies anymore and I stayed on res."
"And your friends? Did they not offer to help you at least?" Louis asked incredulously. He couldn't believe parents could do that to their own child.
"I had a few but," he sighed, "let's just say they didn't support my choices in... certain things."
"Oh," Louis said, "Well, I'm sorry. You deserve better."
"Thanks," Harry smiled weakly, "uh, in terms of how I got pregnant... I'd rather not talk about, if thats okay."
"Of course it's okay, Harry," Louis reached over and squeezed his hand, smiling reassuringly at him, "do you want some tea?"
"That would be lovely, yeah--- and I made some lasagne if you want to eat something as well," Harry said as Louis got off the couch.
"You're the best," Louis cheered. Harry chuckled as Louis walked to the kitchen.
He couldn't comprehend how parents could treat their own child that way. Even if the pregnancy wasn't planned, how could they be so cruel about it? Cut him off and kick him out?
Louis huffed about it as he made their tea.
He was also worried about how exactly Harry got pregnant in the first place but he knew it was none of his business anyways. If Harry wanted to tell him, Louis would be there.
He told him that much once he handed Harry his tea. Harry smiled, seeming genuine, and thanked Louis again.