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Louis’ brain is great for many things.

It secured him a passing grade in pre-calculus when he showed up to the final hung-over and on half an hour of sleep. It has an affinity for remembering random facts about people months after meeting, though he’d never be able to tell their name. It can tell how someone is feeling just by the tone of their words, and it can come up with a witty remark in just a fleeting moment, which has come in handy more times than Louis cares to remember.

So Louis likes his brain. It’s good to him.

However, there is one thing his brain is intolerably treacherous for.

It’s a terrible habit he picked up his freshman year during his very first Intro to Screenwriting class, and he hasn’t been able to shake it since. In his head he narrates his first impressions of people as though they’re in one of his scripts.

Nobody is safe.

He narrates his customers at the coffee shop, the classmates he’s never spoken to, the people he meets at parties, guest lecturers and professors, and even his third cousin twice removed when he first met her at a family reunion.

It’s annoying, redundant, and so unstoppable it’s become second nature, but there are only so many ways to say ‘enter a plain but HANDSOME MAN with the repelling aura of a subtly homophobic frat boy, his hair tousled and a trail of drying drool across his cheek as if he woke up only ten minutes before class. He’s wearing a bro tank and flip-flops and most definitely sells Ritalin on the side.’

He’s run out of words, both in his head and on paper. Nothing he comes up with feels innovative—it’s all the same, over and over and over until it’s just a repeating cycle on his personal Ferris Wheel of Failure.

That, combined with a major case of writer’s block, has left Louis feeling uninspired and uncreative. He feels like the butt of a crushed up cigarette with nothing left to offer the world. Like he’s already on the brink of retirement, coasting by on mediocre work he’s written that’ll get him by, but he hasn’t even begun his actual career.

It’s been a tough year academically and he’s completely burnt out.

He can’t even find it in himself to be properly excited for Spring Break.




…It’s possible Louis simply needed a change in scenery and a break from his brain.

He and Zayn walk through the front doors of the hotel, the corners of their eyes still crusted with sleep from the plane, and it’s like the first day of spring. He thinks it’s possible it actually could be the first day of spring as it’s the first proper day of spring break, but the feeling is, nonetheless, powerful.

It feels like there’s a weight lifted off his shoulders, like there’s a new spark of optimism within his chest, like he can smell fresh flowers even though he realizes objectively that it smells like salt and chlorine.

It feels good.

“Holy shit,” Zayn whispers from beside him, eyes raking over the spacious, open lobby, and that’s when Louis knows the hotel truly passes the test. Zayn isn’t easily impressed, and the stamp of approval from his best friend seals the deal.

There are actual palm trees and potted plants lining the artfully designed pseudo-dirt paths throughout the lobby and vines cascading down the white walls. Louis cranes his neck to take in what must be over ten stories of rooms along the perimeter of the building, and he loses his breath when he realizes there are actual acrobats dressed in red hanging from the glass ceiling. The room is massive, bathed in bright sunlight streaming through the glass that makes Louis think it’s possible he’s actually in heaven, a result of an untimely death by sleep deprivation and a coffee overdose.

Death by caffeine and insomnia. It would be poetic.

He can’t believe this is his life for the next seven days.

They haven’t even checked in yet, and Louis is more amazed than he’s been since Christmas when his sister got him an authentic Spiderman web shooter. The term papers and half-hearted short scripts must have taken a larger toll on him than he realized, because he feels like someone replaced his dead, burnt out batteries with the Energizer Bunny.

“Well,” Louis begins, and he realizes he’s actually smiling. “This is… it’s nice.”

Zayn nods at the understatement and drags his bag to the front desk. Louis lets him deal with check in, “Welcome to Cancun. Do you have a reservation?” registering in the back of his mind as he watches the acrobats unravel themselves from their draperies. Louis can’t find it in himself to look away, enthralled by the imminent danger and the seemingly effortless elegance. They’re so graceful, long limbs and pointed toes and extended arms, and Louis is briefly reminded of the time he cried over a ballet just because it was so beautiful to him.

The acrobats’ performance is extra impressive to Louis because he often struggles not to trip over his towel in the morning. He’s only pulled out of his trance when Zayn hands him his key card to their room and tugs him toward the elevator.

“Fifth floor,” Zayn tells him, eyebrows drawn together like he’s annoyed.

Louis sighs. Zayn has been annoyed more often than not lately, the failed engagement and the first rejected grad school application weighing him down like Louis’ failed scripts and treatments. Louis brings an arm around his waist as they drag their bags and silently makes it his personal mission to get Zayn to enjoy this next week as much as possible.

It’s almost an odd thought because last night while packing, they were both just as miserable as the other. Hours on a plane followed by a week of drunk socialization felt like too much for Louis, who was stuck in the middle of a script that once felt like the best idea in the history of ideas, but was beginning to feel like something akin to an annoying cousin that wouldn’t leave him alone at an endless family reunion.

The script had been like a buzzing in his brain, inescapable and nagging at the worst possible times, keeping him up at night. But Louis is surprised (and happy) to find that all feels quiet for the moment.

Zayn, in comparison, was even worse for wear last night, giving up halfway through packing to crawl under his covers. He complained about how there was no point in going on vacation when he felt like a squashed slug in summer heat, which in turn forced Louis to finish the packing for him.

Louis doesn’t even think that was Zayn’s original plan.

He thinks it’s possible they actually would have backed out and spent the entire week home eating chicken nuggets while stoned, cross-legged on the kitchen floor if it weren’t for the fact that they’d already paid a ridiculous amount of non-refundable money on the plane and hotel reservations.

But Louis is so happy they pulled through. Something about the humid air and music bleeding through the walls from outside feels rejuvenating. Promise is sprinkled throughout the walls like less carcinogenic asbestos, and he already knows it’s going to be an amazing week. After all, he read in a cheesy quote on his sister’s Facebook that most of life is about attitude.

He decides that they’re going to have an amazing Spring Break.

That’s his forecast. Sunny with a 100% chance of rainbows.

Louis meaningfully pokes his finger into Zayn’s cheek just as the glass elevator dings, announcing its arrival. “We’re going to have an amazing week. It’s going to probably be the best week of our lives. I’ve decided.”

The doors open, revealing a scrawny blonde FRAT BOY in a snapback holding a beer in one hand and a basket of French fries in the other. He has a look of innocence upon his face, sharply contrasted by his obvious sex hair.

“Not too sure about these elevators, honestly. Terrifying,” the blonde remarks while passing them, leaving behind only the greasy scent of fries a moment later. Louis and Zayn share a quick, questioning look before they shrug and step over the threshold. Louis pushes the button for the fifth floor and leans against the wall, humming in contentment as he watches the ground shrink away.

“The guy at the front desk was, like, giving me these weird looks. Because we’re sharing a room just us,” Zayn finally explains, picking at his nail.

Louis almost laughs, but remembers the night freshman year when they both got drunk, snuck into the drama building, and sucked each other off on their devil reincarnated into a teacher’s desk.

Though it was truly amazing at the time, he knows neither of them would ever want it to happen again. They had the awkward, blundering conversation the next morning while hung over, mouths tasting like dead animals and mischief having run its full course.

“He’s just jealous because he wants a ménage à trois and knows he’s not invited,” Louis wiggles his eyebrows to lighten the mood.

Zayn sighs and leans his hip against the wall of the elevator as they continue to rise, the machine humming in a way Louis thinks he should maybe be more concerned about. He guesses any elevator to be more reliable than the elevator at their apartment complex, though, what with their temporary permit having expired around Louis’ seventeenth birthday.

“I really just want to sleep for the next week straight,” Zayn confesses, voice apathetic, eyes closed in defeat.

There’s something truly miserable about seeing someone so unenthused about a weeklong promise of fun, alcohol, and delicious, pre-prepared food.

“Unless you’re trying to sleep poolside or in the sand, that’s not happening. I won’t let you, because I’m a better friend than that,” Louis declares. Firmly. With no room for rejection.

“I promise we’ll have fun. You and me, you know? It’ll be like the Kardashians, but instead it’ll be like—Zayn and Louis take Cancun. Because we’re much more fabulous than Kourtney and Khloe.”

Zayn lets out a huff of a laugh, one that he could easily disguise as a cough if he tried. “Thanks bro. If there’s anyone I’d agree to do shitty reality TV with, it would be you.”

Louis is truly touched by the sentiment.

“I’m gonna make sure you have a good time. That’s what friends are for.”

They will have a glorious trip. Together.

The thing Louis and Zayn quickly learn about sleeping poolside or in the sand is that it’s actually impossible. There’s no way. It’s laughable to think they’d ever be able to sleep within five miles of the water.

Music is blaring from every corner of the beach and pool alike, so they decide to try to find a spot to lie out on the beach. The ocean water is almost translucent and so, so blue, shallow and inviting and littered with pink floaties, filled with people their own age in bright swimsuits, bodies tightly packed and glistening with sun and sweat and sunscreen. Most people are gathered on land by what appears to be a wet t-shirt contest, but even so, the beach is almost claustrophobic.

Much to Louis’ delight, there seems to be at least ten men to every woman. Thankfully, he remembered to wear his sunglasses, so he can ogle and shamelessly assess his fellow beachgoers as much as he wants without feeling like too much of a creep.

Zayn finally drops his towel once they’ve walked far enough to reach a semi-secluded stretch of sand. Louis follows suit, grinning at the memory of a David Beckham lookalike still fresh in his mind.

He likes Cancun already.

“This is like all of my fifteen year old wet dreams come to life, honestly,” Louis reminisces once they’re settled in the sand, sunglasses sliding down his nose as he pulls the sunscreen from his beach bag. Zayn groans and flips from his back to his stomach, indifferent to Louis’ wit. Which is offensive.

The sun is bright, the water is blue, and Louis is beginning to feel like an overexcited parent intent on forcing their child to enjoy a trip to the beach.

“Can you at least pretend to be excited?” Louis asks as he rubs sunscreen behind his ears. (His mother would be proud). “You have a whole week of freedom! Hot people all around! There’s sun and water and shit. We’re in Cancun.”

Zayn doesn’t answer, which would normally aggravate Louis. But it magically becomes okay because the moment Louis takes a frustrated glance around, two things happen:

  1.      A surfer wipes out and eats shit, which, funny, but not that important.
  2.      Louis strips his shirt off with the speed of a cheetah on cocaine.

Louis lies back and poses accordingly—not too obviously, but with enough purpose behind it that the mass of buff frat boys playing Frisbee nearby will all know he’s single and looking. Looking hard.

He might come off as a bit desperate, but it’s Cancun. He has an excuse.

“Can I borrow the sunscreen when you’re done making a fool of yourself?” Zayn almost smiles from beside him.

Louis considers the small upturn at the side of Zayn’s mouth as more of a victory than he has any right to and takes it a step further. He squeezes a huge dollop of sunscreen onto his chest and smears it all across his It Is What It Is tattoo as three of the men from the group Louis had been eyeing come sprinting their way, chasing the rogue Frisbee.

He arches his back and moans as he tilts his head to the side, wandering fingers leaving trails of white all the way down to his abdomen. “Zayn, I’m not a fool, just a fool for—”

A stupidly muscular MOMENT RUINER trips in his haste to capture the dumb Frisbee, stumbling straight down onto Louis’ towel. His only redeeming quality is his six-pack, so defined he could easily be an Abercrombie model.

“Oh God, I’m so sorry,” the Moment Ruiner apologizes as sand flies everywhere, pebbles clinging to the sunscreen spread across Louis’ chest.

Louis automatically squeezes his eyes shut and blows the sand from his mouth, but he yelps when he feels hands, big strong hands, rubbing the sunscreen into his skin.

Normally Louis would not be opposed to an Abercrombie model rubbing white liquid into his skin, but when sand is added into the mix, it turns into a painful affair. He grabs at the boy's wrists to get him to stop and opens one eye.

“I only let boys rub lotion into my chest if I know their names first,” Louis tells him, but the boy has already turned his full attention to Zayn.

It only took a second. Louis groans—he’s both affronted and impressed on Zayn’s behalf.

He supposes he’s used to it, though. The unwritten downside to having a best friend as beautiful as Jake Gyllenhaal in his Donnie Darko days.

Louis turns his attention to the boy’s two accomplices and only narrows his eyes a little when he sees that one is running the opposite direction, curly hair flopping around under a red snapback.

He feels oddly abandoned.

“You survived,” the second friend states, and that’s when Louis recognizes him— the blonde boy from the elevator.

“We survived,” Louis confirms, sneaking a peek sideways to check on Zayn. He looks happy, which almost makes Louis unhappy.

It’s just, like.

Of course this is happening. Louis was prepared to nurse Zayn back to happiness, to take him out every night to get drunk and dance with hot strangers, to hardcore relax on pink pool floaties, to eat too much and make too many dumb jokes to get Zayn to laugh, but the first boy they came across is already wrapped around Zayn’s finger.

And Zayn is already smiling, a task Louis had mostly failed at so far for the day. Louis was almost looking forward to being the friend that made Zayn’s trip perfect, so it feels like this new boy stole his purpose. Stole his thunder.

Louis turns back to the blonde.

“What’s your friend’s name, then?” he asks, preemptively preparing to see a lot of the Abercrombie model over the next week.

“That’s Liam. And I’m Niall,” the blonde supplies, bending down to retrieve the Frisbee from the sand. “That was Harry, but he saw you doing that—the rubbing thing—and he ran away.”

Louis feels his heart clench in disbelief at the thought that his rubbing a white substance into his chest could prompt someone to flee the area.

Louis has never thought of himself as man repellant, but he supposes it might be time to face the facts: at 21, he’s already past his prime. He’ll never have sex again, and not for any voluntary reason.

It’s a terrible time to come to terms with such a sad reality, but he supposes that if there’s a place to learn you’re un-fuckable, Cancun during spring break is the best bet.

“Hey, do you guys have plans tonight?” Liam asks, question obviously directed to Zayn. It’s like he isn’t even aware of Louis’ crisis. It’s rude, honestly.

“Well, we haven’t really discussed any—” Louis begins, but Zayn cuts in, fingers coming up to rub at Liam’s bicep like a flirting fucking teenager.

“No, but we’re up for anything. What’d you have in mind?”

Louis studies the condensation around his bottle of beer and rests his feet on a bar of his stool, his gloom unwelcome, yet obvious.

He’s not nearly as drunk as he’d like to be. The club is crowded (men grinding, kissing, touching each other inappropriately everywhere), but Louis is alone with only the bartender as company. Said bartender is lovely and hot as fuck, true, but Louis didn’t come to Cancun to spend time with someone who is quite literally paid to be friendly to him.

“I really just want to sleep for the next week straight,” Louis mimics lowly to himself, turning and glaring daggers at the dance floor. He knows Zayn must be in there somewhere with his hands wandering to places on Liam’s body that are off limits during daylight hours.

Having absolutely nobody to hang out with on his first night in Cancun was an unforeseen circumstance Louis hadn’t anticipated. He’d always known he and Zayn would part at some point, sleep with different people and end up crashing in different rooms, but he’d never thought that maybe Zayn would find someone only two seconds into their vacation and leave him as a lone wolf—a barstool dweller during spring break, the college equivalent to a sad wallflower clutching a cup of lukewarm red punch at a high school dance.

And it’s just—Louis isn’t bitter, because he’s glad Zayn is having such a good time already.

…But Louis is actually a little bit bitter. A lot bit bitter.

Zayn and Liam had rushed off as soon as Louis and Zayn arrived at the club, and Niall was and still is nowhere to be found, and 40% of the club-goers must have their shirts off, but half of them speak a different language so communication would be impossible and another quarter of them seem so old they could pass as his father.

He’s not having any fun, even with the pulsing music and the pink strobe lights and the muscular, glistening, beautiful men wearing only underwear up on the front stage. The night feels lonely even though the room is so humid with sweaty bodies it’s almost difficult to breathe, Zayn’s absence like an imaginary friend sitting at the empty seat beside him, taunting him.

Thankfully, the bartender saves him from his pain, another shot of tequila ready to go. Louis thanks him and downs it only a moment after he sets it on the bar, body immediately tingling with warmth as the alcohol begins to spread.

Louis is trying to control his weak need to use his beer as a chaser when he’s disrupted.

“What’re you doing here alone, sweet cheeks?”

A tall MAN invades Louis’ space, seven shots of Patron in, going by the stench of his breath and the slur in his words. His hair is greasy and his stubble is an obvious result of laziness rather than style, but his eyes are focused like a starving lion.

Louis is in no mood. He rolls his eyes as he sets the shot glass down, but decides to grace him with an answer. It’s not like I have anything better to do, he bitterly thinks.

Damn Zayn. Damn Liam and his Abercrombie model body. Damn Niall for not sharing his fries when they first met.

“Don’t ever call me sweet cheeks.”

The man squishes Zayn’s imaginary presence beside him and leans his elbow on the bar, unfocused eyes attached to Louis’ face, too close. “Wha’d’ya like to be called then?”

The man’s line does nothing to cheer Louis up. It aggravates him and makes him curse Zayn for leaving him, but this time with more gusto.

Damn Zayn.

The man’s breath smells like a garbage can doused in expired liquor. Louis gags.

“Anything but sweet cheeks would be fine, honestly,” Louis grumbles, the screech of the legs of his stool almost audible over the music as he puts some distance between the two of them.  

The man’s fluency in body language and social cues is questionable. He leans in closer. “But ‘s the truth.”

“You know, there are a lot of things that are true that I don’t feel the need to tell random strangers in clubs the truth about,” Louis rambles. The man’s presence is more annoying than threatening, but something about his insistence leaves Louis with an odd feeling in his chest. “Like… aliens, and the fact that the Illuminati is real, that Tupac is actually still alive and hiding out in—”

“Ooh, you’re cute when you talk consp—conspic—conspiracy theories,” the man grins once he gets the words out, fingers coming to twine a piece of Louis’ hair through his fingers.

“I’m adding cute to the list of things you’re definitely not allowed to call me,” Louis cringes, leaning even further away until the strange man drops his hand. Louis turns back to his abandoned beer, silently begging the man to feel nauseas and leave him alone. Oblivious to Louis’ disinterest, the man moves his hand back to his shoulder, the metal of a ring cold against Louis’ neck.

“My name’s Jake.”

Louis bites his tongue against telling him he actually doesn’t care at all.

“I saw you all alone and I jus’ thought—woah, someone so good looking doesn’ deserve t’be all alone. D’you wanna dance with me? Please. You’re so hot, such a nice bod—”

“Can you please fuck off?” Louis demands, dragging the unwelcome hand from his shoulder. He turns to the crowd to try to somehow get Zayn’s attention, to tell him telepathically that they should go to the club down the street, that there’s a creepy man hitting on him and he’s all alone and bored and upset, when—

When it happens.

A tall, handsome STRANGER emerges from the crowd with a walk that could rival James Dean’s and a jaw so sturdy you could eat Lean Cuisine from it. He’s wearing a red snapback worn backwards and a thin white t-shirt with a butterfly tattoo peeking through, as though it’s trying to fly away and be free.

He’s the most attractive person Louis’s seen all night. And walking his way. He must be.

“Hey babe,” the stranger calls as he approaches. Louis opens his mouth in confusion, but it’s even more against his nature to correct a cute boy calling him babe than to stop an Abercrombie model from massaging lotion into his chest. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you.”

The boy throws in a quick wink and angles his chin almost unnoticeably to Jake, and everything clicks into place in one glorious moment.

“Uh… yeah. I’ve been here waiting for you,” Louis plays along, heart rate stuttering when they boy reaches him and drops his hand to Louis’ shoulder, much more pleasant than the hand that was there only moments ago.

The hand is big and warm and the stranger smells like fresh laundry, fancy cologne, and minty gum.

A clean boy with expensive cologne is pretending to be his boyfriend to help him get rid of his creepy, drunk admirer, all with minimal prompting and zero begging. Louis feels so lucky he could faint. He didn’t realize things like this were real and happened to real people in real life.

“I thought you said you were going to meet me outside the restroom?” the stranger asks Louis, his green eyes sparkling as he honest to God stares straight into Louis’ soul.

He’s so pretty. Louis wants him to be his Spring Break Rendezvous, the Liam to his Zayn.

“I—I thought you said inside,” Louis flirts, wiggling his eyebrows in what he hopes is a suggestive manner.

He wants this boy. He wants him bad. He will acquire him.

The boy is caught off guard, letting out a loud laugh and slapping a hand over his mouth in response.

Louis sees an opportunity and takes it, pulling the boy’s hand from his face and lacing their fingers together.

His hands are so big, so sturdy but also soft, and it’s distracting. But Louis’ years of acting in high school were not wasted on him. He can sell this and worry about how nice the boy’s fingers feel later. “I told you I hate when you do that. I love hearing your laugh. It’s my favorite sound in the entire w—”

“You two don’ even know each other!” Jake slurs from beside Louis. “I’ve been watching y’all night. Came in with some—some model boy who left you.”

Louis feels an unexpected chill run down his spine. His creep-o-meter rises from a low four to a significant seven. Ew.

“Actually, we’ve known each other for a year—” Louis begins to say, right as his savior blurts out, “It’s actually our six month anniversary.”

Jake grins, obviously pleased with his nonexistent detective skills. “Looks like someone’s lying here.”

The music transitions into an upbeat song with pounding bass as the lighting switches from pink to lime green. The club swells with elation as one of the underwear-clad men from the stage locks himself into a raised cage, which you would think would be more exciting than a little white lie, but the stranger’s eyes are glued to the space between Louis and Butterfly Boy.

“Definitely not,” Louis says a moment too late. He brings his and Green Eye’s linked fingers into his lap.

Oh God. Maybe he shouldn’t have done that, because now he’s even more distracted. There’s so much warmth seeping into his skin. It’s too much. “We met a year ago. In—in—”

“In intro to art!” the other boy blurts out. “He was all—wow, who is this Harry fellow, I need to get to know him.”

It takes a moment to sink in, but then Louis smiles, recognizing this is his savior—Harry’s—way of properly introducing himself.

Harry, who’s clever and hot with an unsolicited white knight syndrome that somehow works. Louis might be in love.

“Yeah, but then he was like—wow, who is this Louis guy? His stick figures speak to me on a spiritual level. He’s probably the next Monet, capturing the feelings of the scene like—”

Harry cuts him off, free hand coming to cover Louis’ mouth. He sadly thinks that it’s probably too early in their relationship to lick his palm without scaring him away. “He played hard to get all throughout romanticism and realism, but I finally got him to go out with me when we were learning about post-impressionism. He realized—”

“I realized he was okay and I could probably do worse,” Louis interrupts, escaping Harry’s hold, intent on spinning the story his own way. If they’re dating, it will be on Louis’ terms, as with everything in life. “You should have seen him when I finally said I’d be his boyfriend. He cried—told me I was the best thing to ever happen to him since—”

Harry gasps beside him. Louis hesitates and takes a peek at him from the corner of his eyes, delighted to see Harry looks scandalized, eyes wide and mouth a perfect ‘o.’ “Excuse you! You were the one who cried!”

“I didn’t cry!” Louis protests, trying not to laugh, determined to maintain control. “Maybe a few tears slipped out the first time we slept together—”

“You sooooo did—Wait,” Harry pauses, panicked eyes locking with Louis’.

Louis breaks character and laughs.

“The good or bad kind?” Harry finally asks, his face so serious Louis would believe him if he weren’t in on the joke.

“I’ll tell you later,” Louis hints, adding a significant look for good measure. He doesn’t miss the way Harry’s Adam’s apple bobs at the suggestion.

Ah yes. Control maintained. Interest piqued. Job well done. Louis will definitely treat himself to a mimosa in the morning to celebrate.

“Ah,” Jake interjects. Louis almost jumps out of his seat and turns to glare at him, having forgotten he was there.

Harry squeezes his fingers for no discernible reason. Louis will choose to believe it’s so Harry can keep him close if he were to try to leave.

“Any good boyfriend’d remember that,” Jake slurs.

Harry seems to get personally offended at this notion. He stands up straighter and tugs on Louis’ hand, urging him up out of his stool.

Louis stands. He would honestly go anywhere he asked right now.

“You have no idea the kind of boyfriend I am,” Harry directs to the man. Louis almost giggles because he has no idea, either… But they’re pretending to be boyfriends. It all feels very Mean Girls-esque, though he realizes there’s no fake dating in the plot of the movie. Also that none of them resemble Regina George in the least bit.

“Know you’re not actually dating that small one,” Jake responds.

Louis is about to point out that he does, in fact, have a name. And that he’d realize that if he wasn’t too drunk to function. But once Louis turns to do just that, he stumbles.

His head feels light and fuzzy, his limbs loose and pliant.

Ah, yes. Tequila.

“His name is Louis,” Harry snaps at Jake for him, pulling Louis away from the bar.

Louis follows, free hand coming to grip Harry’s arm as they maneuver their way through the sea of people on the edge of the dance floor. Louis’ mood and pulse skyrocket.

“Oh my God, are we going to dance?” Louis asks, delighted. He’d quite like to dance with Harry. To feel him close, their sweaty bodies touching from shoulder to knee, moving together and getting a feel for how Harry can work his hips.


He’s already half hard thinking about it, which wasn’t his intention at all. It’s just that Harry is so hot and so is absolutely everyone around them. They’re in a fishbowl of hot men. Louis reaches out his hand Harry isn’t gripping and rubs his fingertips over the chests of the boys they pass like a toddler touching a wall. He hopes nobody minds.

Harry shouts to him over the music once they’re close to the center of the dance floor. “We don’t have to if you don’t want to! But he was pissing me off—”

“No! I wanna dance!” Louis protests. He lets go of Harry’s hand and steps in front of him, fingers twisting through his belt loops. There are so many people around, an ocean of people pushing and pulling to the beat of the music like the rise and fall of the tide, and it gives Louis that extra spark of confidence to make his move.

He pulls Harry in close, begrudging the fact that he has to stand on his tiptoes to get his lips to Harry’s ear. Harry’s cock doesn’t seem to be as into this as his (though Louis’ dancing is legendary and will change that in five seconds easily), so Louis makes sure to nibble at Harry’ earlobe for a moment before breathing out, “I really want to.”

It’s possible he’s a little ridiculous and a lot trying to get some.

He reaches up and centers Harry’s snapback with an eyebrow raise, hardly refraining from tugging on one of his cute little curlies spilling out from beneath it. The drama of it all is slightly hindered by a rambunctious boy in short shorts almost knocking them over as goes too hard to Beyoncé, but Louis knows his point is made. He bites his lip against a smile as he pulls at Harry’s wrists and guides them all the way down his sides, giving him permission to touch.

Harry seems to be more excited now, cock twitching against Louis’ hip as his fingers ghost over the curve of Louis’ lower back, so Louis turns in triumph, slamming back into Harry’s chest. He dips low and grinds back hard as a sneak preview to the torturously erotic dance Louis is going to subject him to, but Harry takes it all in stride. His fingers tighten around Louis’ waist, his thumbs digging into his hipbones as he presses closer, body enveloping Louis’, his nose bumping beside Louis’ ear with how close he gets.

Louis’ body reacts almost too strongly to their proximity, his knees giving out and his neck titling to the side like he’s inviting Harry to mark him up. It feels remarkably like that charged moment before sex, the quick pause when everything’s all lined up and ready to go and the moment feels suspended in time.

And all just for a dance. If they don’t fuck tonight Louis will probably cry.

Harry keeps a tight hold on one hip but lets the other hand wander, sliding all over Louis’ body. He’s daring, fingers trailing across Louis’ thigh as he says, “Don’t hold back. I can take anything,” straight into his ear, voice deep and raspy.

Louis is aware that he should probably be moving, dancing, doing something other than standing there and wordlessly begging Harry to whisper more indirectly-dirty things to him, but his legs feel like strawberry jelly. He grinds back a little, too overwhelmed to do much more than move side to side to the beat like they’re fucking fourteen years old trying to avoid the school dance chaperones, but Harry follows his movements easily.

There’s none of the awkward we’re not on the same beat so I’m going to let you catch up even though it’s throwing off my groove type of fumbling Louis is used to. It’s like they’re on the exact same wavelength, bodies in tune to each other without any pre-planning.

Which is rare. Few can handle Louis Tomlinson on the dance floor, much less match him in skill and fervor. Louis has obviously met his soul mate; he just never expected him to be wearing a red snapback and to chew gum like an entitled Mercedes owner. Then again, he supposes the expected is never what’s truly best for someone, anyway, and—

That would be a good line for his script

Harry presses his lips to Louis’ jaw and trails hot, wet kisses down his neck. And oh God, Louis can feel his tongue against his skin and this isn’t the time. He’s on spring break and a hot boy is kissing his neck and grinding against him like he’s ready to be taken back to his hotel room, so now is not the time to be overthinking a failing script.

No, it’s definitely not the time.

He’s too tipsy for this. And if the line is really that important, he’ll remember when he gets back around to writing. Golden ideas don’t just leave. They stay. They nestle themselves into his mind so deeply he can’t sleep until they’re put out somewhere on Final Draft, sometimes written in 3 AM drivel that makes no sense the morning after, but still. It will escape his brain in some way—

Harry blows out onto his neck, sending a shiver down Louis’ body that has nothing to do with temperature. Both of Harry’s hands are wandering, fingers digging into Louis’ inner thighs as he pulls him closer and that’s just—that’s just intolerable. Louis can’t have Harry touching his inner thighs and just keep dancing like nothing is happening. Inner thighs are probably more of an erogenous zone than Louis’ actual cock.


He grabs at Harry’s hands and slides them back up to his hips, lacing their fingers together as they dance to keep them in a safe area. An area that doesn’t make Louis want to pull Harry outside and into a cab and all the way back to his hotel room.

But with his hands restrained, Harry goes back for the neck. Louis closes his eyes and lets the music wash over him, hips moving more filthily than before. Harry’s chest is solid and warm, broad and overpowering, making Louis feel small in the best way. It almost feels like they’re having standing sex, but it feels 100 times better because Louis has done that before, and it was actually just awkward and mediocre and made his calves hurt.

But Harry can read his body like a book, his mouth and hips eager and responsive. Louis is sure he’s sweating and that Harry can feel it through their thin shirts, and it’s getting hard to breathe because of how compressed he feels from all sides.

He feels like they’re moving in spurts, in flashes of sweaty men grinding around them and snippets of the DJ yelling out things in Spanish and moments of Louis losing less and less of his inhibitions. He guides Harry’s fingers to the waistband of his pants and lets him slip the tips of his fingers beneath his clothes. He bends over to grind back harder and revels in the unexpected shouts of encouragement from everyone surrounding them.

Someone begins thrust at Louis’ mouth as though miming a blowjob in front of him, which he doesn’t altogether disapprove of in his current state, but Harry pulls him back up to a standing position and turns them the other way, all the while shooting a disapproving glare over his shoulder.

...Which gets Louis hot.

He sinks down a bit and slides up slow, making sure to push back hardest where he can feel Harry pressing against him. He wants Harry to feel and know how turned on he is by such nobility, so Louis guides Harry’s hand to palm against his erection, holding back a giggle the whole time because he can’t believe he’s using the world noble to describe the boy he’s dancing with in Cancun over spring break.

But it feels right. Louis feels so blessed to have met someone like Harry his first night here, and he decides he’d quite like to kiss him.

Now. It’s actually long overdue.

He turns his head a bit and licks his lips, his nose knocking against Harry’s jaw. Harry pulls back a bit, eyes wide and focused as he slides a hand up Louis’ chest until his fingers are tickling Louis’ neck.

Louis begins to lean in, urged on by the beat and the flashing lights and the magic of Cancun and the inexplicably intense look on Harry’s face, but someone grabs onto him like they’re trying not to fall over, which in turn almost knocks Louis over before his and Harry’s lips even touch.

“What the fuck?” Louis yells, standing only because Harry is still holding onto him.

The boy who grabbed onto him is less lucky, glaring up at someone from the floor and—and it’s Liam. (Louis is much less excited to see him now than he would have been earlier in the night when he was a loner.)

“He doesn’t want to dance with you!” Liam yells into the crowd pitifully from the ground, eyes unfocused, fists clenched and knuckles white like he’s ready to fight someone. His face might be red as well, though it’s hard to tell from the way the club is lit in purple. He’s obviously agitated, and Louis is nervous to figure out why.

The crowd disperses a bit at the outburst, leaving Louis, Harry, and Liam in the center of a circle like they’re the star dancers, when in reality they’re just a shit show. Nobody seems to care, anyway. Louis and Harry are the only ones who stop dancing.

“What’s going on?” Harry asks. He pulls away from Louis and grabs onto Liam’s wrists like they’re somehow already friends, tugging him to a standing position. It makes Harry’s arms bulge obscenely, and Louis has only allowed himself to fantasize about it for half the time he usually would allow himself when he feels a faint tug at his wrist, pulling him away from where he wants to be.

They only make it a few steps backwards before he turns and plants his feet, his heart plummeting as he takes in Zayn’s pallid face.

Oh God. This can’t be good. It feels like every drop of alcohol has drained from his body in one nanosecond.

He just wants to pause the night, rewind, and go back to almost-kissing Harry.

That was nice.

This doesn’t look nice.

“No,” he groans, moving his fingers to Zayn’s shoulders. “You don’t look good.”

“I feel so sick,” Zayn moans, sweat dropping down over his eyebrow. “We were dancing, but then this guy tried to dance with me, but then he pushed Liam, but now I think I have to throw up. Like, right now, right now.”

A short, stocky CLUBGOER parts through the crowd and enters the circle, eyes angry as a provoked bull. He glares at Liam and Harry, his fists clenched at chest level like a hormonal 11th grader that has something to prove.

Ah, yes. This really doesn’t look good. It reminds Louis of a terrible movie, though his thoughts are too flustered to put a title to the memory.

“I’m sure he didn’t mean to upset you,” Louis watches as Harry (bless him) raises his palms innocently in an attempt to placate the angry boy, but it does no such thing. If anything, his red face deepens in color.

“I don’t feel good,” Zayn whimpers from beside Louis, his chest heaving with uneven breaths like he’s fighting back a surge of nausea. Louis remembers with a jolt that Zayn always has been a puker.

“I really don’t feel good. Can we leave? We have to leave. I’m gonna throw up all over someone,” Zayn gasps out.

Louis should have known this night was getting to be too good to be true. He takes one final, uncertain glance at Harry, at the way he’s bravely pressed his palms to the Raging Bull’s chest in an attempt at getting him to calm down. Louis sighs in resignation as people begin to fill the space between him and Zayn and Harry and Liam, a symbol of looming separation.

“Would you say this is more freshman year Halloween party or last summer break, three-night long binge drinking level sick?” Louis accepts his fate, tugging Zayn towards the exits before he pukes and pisses off someone drunk and much larger than both of them.

Zayn shrugs like he isn’t sure, his face even paler than before. Louis can feel his heart sinking the further he gets from Liam and Harry’s drunken skirmish. He feels a little guilty for leaving Harry to deal with the boy all by himself, but he reasons that Zayn is his priority in a foreign country, not a boy he met only today.

…Even though he’s still a little bit upset with Zayn for ditching him. And a lot bit upset for ruining everything once the night was actually going well.

He supposes this was more what he had in mind for him and Zayn for tonight. Perhaps this was in the cards all along, and Harry was simply a nice distraction and way to pass the time.

Oh well. The cabbie doesn’t get too upset when Louis asks for a bag for Zayn to puke into and he doesn’t try to switch out Louis’ credit card with a fake one to steal his information when he pays, so he considers it an acceptable end to the night.

Definitely not great, but acceptable.




In a positive turn of events, Louis wakes up with no trace of a hangover. He turns over, ignoring Zayn’s hair that’s proven immune to the night’s tossing and turning, and glances at the clock. It reads past noon, but Louis shrugs and lies back. He closes his eyes and settles deeper into the comfort of the mattress, figuring that it would be pointless to set an alarm while in Cancun, anyway.

He dozes off, but wakes up what feels like moments later to Zayn clambering out of bed. He keeps his eyes closed and relies solely upon his ears to keep up to date with current events.

The slamming of the bathroom door and unmistakable sound of retching gives him a pretty solid idea of what’s happening. He pulls one of the pillows over his face to drone out the sound, but he’s still awake by the time Zayn brushes his teeth and exits the bathroom.

Louis can feel him plop down on the bed beside him. He pretends he can’t.

“I know you’re awake,” Zayn addresses him.

Louis stays still, but rolls over when Zayn pulls the pillow from his face. “I’m actually not, though.”

“You are,” Zayn accuses him. “Can we go to breakfast? I think I threw up everything I’ve ever eaten between last night and this morning.”

Louis opens his eyes and glares. “Well, is that my fault? We didn’t even get drunk together. That was all you and your new boyfriend.”

Zayn actually looks guilty, eyes shifty and lip between his teeth as he thinks it over. “I told you I was sorry. You know that’s not me— I think I just got a little too excited someone good-looking was paying attention to me. It’s been a while since I’ve been with anyone. But I promise I won’t ditch you again. I know I would’ve been pissed if you’d done what I did to you last night, so I’m like—yeah, my bad.”

Louis knows there’s a whisper of an apology in there somewhere, but he’s stuck on Zayn’s word choice. “Excuse me… I’m hot. And I pay attention to you.”

“You know what I mean,” Zayn rolls his eyes. “Someone I’d actually want back, you knob.”

Louis complains as Zayn shoos him up off the bed and forces him into the bathroom. “I’ve become an old maid. A spinster. I’ll never have sex again.”

(He hopes that's a damn lie.)

“And honestly, you’re too cocky for someone who’s not even that good looking,” Louis lies through a mouthful of toothpaste, Zayn perched on the bathroom counter beside him, urging him to hurry up.

(So many lies.)

“I’m actually offended. If I remember correctly, we shared a lovely night together on our devil reincarnated as a teacher’s desk once when we were young,” Louis reminds Zayn as they stack piles of eggs and pastries on their plate from the all day buffet.

“Young and foolish,” Zayn tacks on once they find an unoccupied table.

Well… True. Not a lie.

Once they’re full of grease and calories, leaning back in their chairs fighting off food comas, Louis has gained enough energy to clear his throat to go in for the kill.

“So. I’m actually still upset with you for two reasons. One—because you left me all alone and as a result I was eye-assaulted by a Human Liquor Trashcan. And two, because I met someone named Harry and I never even kissed him or got his number.”

Neither his phone number nor room number. Louis fucked up.

“Harry?” Zayn asks, voice thoughtful. “Wait. Liam has a friend named Harry! He was at the club with us. They’re in the same frat.”

“Well, my Harry from last night was obviously not in a frat,” Louis almost rolls his eyes. He was sensitive and respectful and hot… but in that way only guys who are unaware of it can be.”

“You can be all of that and still be in a frat, though,” Zayn points out. “Oh my God, I remember Liam’s friend had a butterfly tattoo, like, below his chest.”

Louis frowns. Harry obviously isn’t in a frat. Frat boys are overwhelmingly hetero, douchey, and focused solely on getting laid. Harry wouldn’t betray him like that.

“We’re thinking of different Harrys,” Louis insists, though he distinctly remembers Harry having a butterfly tattoo showing through his white shirt.

And he trusts his memory. He wasn’t that drunk.

He frowns. Now that he knows Harry’s in a frat, he’s leaning towards Harry was only being nice to get in my pants rather than Harry is a respectable boy whose pants I would like to get into.

It’s a subtle difference.

Does this make me as bad as a frat boy? Louis ponders. He doesn’t think it makes him as bad as a frat boy. A frat boy pretends to be courteous while actually being a snake, but Louis made his intentions fairly obvious. He was clearly projecting the image that he would like to get laid. If Harry missed that, it would have been entirely his fault.

“Okay, well, frat or not, I’m never going to see him again all because of you being a bad friend,” Louis points out.

Zayn reaches across the table and runs his pinky down the side of Louis’ hand, eyes apologetic. “If I’d realized you were with someone, I’d have just thrown up in the bathroom or something. I am sorry.”

Zayn pauses to frown. “This was supposed to be Zayn and Louis take Cancun, remember? We were supposed to be Kardashians. And I fucked it up.”

His eyes widen. “I think I was almost worse than you that time freshman year when I was too drunk to walk home from Preston’s. You just kept telling me to follow the yellow brick road back to the apartment because you wanted to stay and hook up with your TA.”

Ah, Louis remembers. It was not his proudest moment. “Okay, I get it. We all make bad decisions when we’re drunk and horny.”

“I wasn’t trying to guilt trip you,” Zayn clarifies, shaking his head. “I was just like—I remember how much that sucked. So I feel even worse—”

“I forgive you, though, you know? As long as it doesn’t happen again—”

“It won’t!” Zayn promises quickly. “You’re gonna get sick of me, honestly.”

Louis smiles at the sincerity and wraps his pinky around Zayn’s. “I know it’s been like, a tough few months. For you, especially, so I’m glad you had a good night.”

Zayn stiffens, but Louis continues. “And even though it was annoying, I think yesterday really proved that you’re finally ready to move on, which is good, you know? It’s time. It’s been, what, three months since Perrie broke it off? And, like, yeah you still haven’t heard back from your second choice for grad school yet, but I really, 100% think you’ll get in. You’re so smart and your personal statements were honestly so—”

“Are you trying to make me cry?” Zayn asks, voice shaky. “God, I feel even more like shit now. I love you, bro.”

“Love you too, bro.” Louis stands, because it’s not like you can just exchange bro love and not follow up with a bro hug. It’s probably not the best place for a tight, full-of-feeling hug, what with the people all around chewing overcooked bacon, but it gets the job done.

While they’re embracing, Louis whispers, “Isn’t it kind of weird to call you bro when I’ve had your cock in my mouth, though?”

“Leave it to you to ruin a moment,” Zayn laughs, pushing Louis away.

They decide to hang out at the pool to work on their tans during the remaining hours of daylight, but the pool is just as loud as the beach was the previous day. The pool is unofficially split into three sections—Louis and Zayn have already bypassed the family and relaxation sections, and it becomes clear they’ve reached the more rowdy section when Louis gets a beer spilled down the front of his shirt.

A short, sunburned LOBSTER of a man stands, beer mostly empty, laughing at Louis.

The splash of a culmination of cannon balls echoes throughout the humid air and they’re hit with a few drops of water, but the lobster doesn’t trail his eyes from Louis’ face once, still laughing.

“I—God, I’m sorry,” the lobster finally gets out, obviously drunk, zero sincerity lacing his tone.

He pulls the towel from his shoulder and begins to mop at Louis’ chest like they’re somehow on that level. Louis steps back just as Zayn steps forward.

“He didn’t ask you to touch him,” Zayn spits out, a little closer than necessary. Louis rolls his eyes and privately thinks that Zayn is overcompensating, but just as he pulls Zayn back he sees him. Him. Jake. Separated by only a group of blondes taking hits from suspicious-looking cigarettes.

Which is just his luck, honestly. And they make eye contact.

The lobster turns and takes a last dreg from his bottle, chugging the remains of the beer that didn’t make it to Louis’ shirtfront as he walks away. Jake waves and starts on his way towards Louis and Zayn.

“Oh God,” Louis breathes out. “We need to go.”

He grabs onto Zayn’s arm and tugs him along the side of the pool in the opposite direction. It’s quite convenient that it’s so crowded, wet bodies rubbing against Louis’ shoulders as they hurry through, because it makes it harder for Jake to catch up.

“Louis—what the fuck? Why are you in such a hurry?”

Louis doesn’t slow down, weaving through the throngs of spring breakers like James Bond on a mission.

“Okay, so, I met Harry for a reason last night,” Louis explains, glancing backwards to try to scope out the crowd, but he doesn’t slow down. “There was this guy hitting on me—like, full on Creepy Billy from psychology hitting on me—”

Zayn gasps in understanding. “—and Harry saw, and, uh, what happened is, Harry pretended to be my boyfriend to get him to fuck off. Out of chivalry or something. And free of charge—fuck!”

Louis was so wrapped up in his thoughts that he didn’t think to look at the floor. (Cheap flip flops with no grip + puddles = disaster, obviously.)

Louis reaches out blindly to save himself and possibly yanks someone’s arm out of their socket.

He doesn’t even have any time to feel terrible about it before the person is yelling out in pain and turning to Louis. Louis reaches out instinctively, his flailing hand coming to claw at the person’s shoulder as he’s going down, but the person steadies Louis with two strong hands to his waist.

“What the fuck?” the person cries out as Louis crashes into their chest. Louis fully intends to step back and apologize, but he realizes with a jolt that it’s Harry. It’s Harry, still dripping wet from the pool, tiny yellow shorts clinging to his thighs by the pool ledge, a red head by his side.

And he can’t help but notice that Harry is shirtless and glistening. He also can’t help but run his thumbs over Harry’s shoulders.

And, well. Louis is not one to mess with fate.

If he’s been blessed with Harry’s presence for the second time in a row, then that must mean they’re meant to be together. He doesn’t make the rules.

“Louis. Are you trying to kill me?” Harry smiles and doesn’t move his hands from Louis’ waist, so he guesses it’s alright.

Harry’s jaded GINGER rolls his eyes before jumping back into the pool.

“I didn’t come here to kill you. I, um,” Louis thinks quickly, butterflies flooding his stomach at the fond look on Harry’s face. “I came here to ask you a very serious question.”

Harry looks amused, biting his lip in the way the stupidly attractive male protagonists do in movies when they know they’re hot shit. Oh God, now he might already have his answer.

“Are you or aren’t you a frat boy?”

Harry narrows his eyes. “I’m—I’m in a fraternity, yeah.”

Louis gasps in betrayal, but doesn’t move away. Harry’s skin is too smooth. Louis is weak. “I can’t believe you’re a frat boy,” he accuses, ignoring Zayn’s ‘I told you this during breakfast’ look.

He still deserves to be ignored for a few minutes because of all the pain from the night prior, anyway.

“I’m in a fraternity. I’m not a frat boy,” Harry answers seriously.

He can practically feel Harry’s breath against his cheek with how close they are. It’s all very intimate, even given that it’s necessary because of how crowded the area is.

“Why are you so against being called a frat boy?” Louis asks, fingers crawling up towards Harry’s neck. He’s still just as tempting as the night before, if not more, and the thought of things possibly progressing right where they left off is making Louis’ heart race.

It feels like a second chance, and Louis takes every chance he’s given in life.

“Uh,” Harry looks around, eyes landing on Liam in the water, swimming their way. He lowers his voice to a whisper. “I mean… honestly I don’t really have a problem with it. But it kind of has a bad connotation. Our president told us at one of our meetings, like, you wouldn’t call your country a cunt. So I think—I think that’s why.”

Louis tries not to smile. “I think your president has a bit of an ego issue. A fraternity doesn’t correlate to a country. Sorry to break it to you, but you’re neither big nor important in the grand scheme of things.”

“Hey,” Harry complains. “We do a lot of philanthropy work! Like—wait, why does it look like you spilled beer all over the front of you?”

“Because I did get beer spilled all over the front of me,” Louis remembers sadly.

Liam gets out of the pool using just the strength in his arms. They bulge… Louis might stare. Harry might pull him closer into his chest, but he can’t really be sure. It’s all a blur. All he knows is that a moment later he can tell that Harry’s nipples are hard. He can feel them against his collarbones.

“Zayn!” Liam says as a warm, universal greeting once he’s dripping beside them. “Are you feeling any better? I wasn’t sure if I’d see you again.”

“Loads,” Zayn blushes. “Uh, Louis took good care of me. He’s the best friend ever, honestly.”

Liam nods seriously. “Yeah, Harry, too. He almost got into a fight with that douchebag that was trying to fight me—”

“Liam, you were trying to fight him first,” Harry groans, tone like an eye roll.

“Either way, best pledge ever.”

“Harry’s the best boyfriend, too, from the sounds of it,” Zayn adds, voice strained like he’s trying not to laugh.

“Fake boyfriend,” Louis chimes in, but Harry doesn’t seem put off by the implication.

“Yeah I am. The best fake boyfriend you’ll ever have.”

Best boyfriend you’ll ever have sounds so attractive coming from his mouth. Louis gets brave and nibbles at his neck a little, smiling as he feels Harry’s pulse speed up beneath his lips.

“Thanks for last night, though,” Louis confides quietly, lips close to Harry’s ear. “You really were the best fake boyfriend. Nobody else I’d rather fake boyfriend with.”

“Thank you,” Harry laughs. “Can you tell that to my—uh, never mind.”

Louis’ heart stops. That sounds a lot like something someone who has a person in their life that calls them boyfriend would say. Louis lifts his head from his neck, and the look on his face must scare Harry because he steps back in terror.

But the thing about Harry stepping back in terror is that there’s nothing to step back on. He tips back and back-flops straight into the shallow water, pulling Louis down with him.

Which is surprisingly painful.

Once he stands and takes in his bearings, soaked and almost cold, Louis spits out a mouthful of water and blinks the chlorine from his eyes. He’s not positive they haven’t crushed some poor, unsuspecting soul beneath the force of their joint falling bodies, but he’s not ready to be put into prison for accidental manslaughter.

“Sorry! You alright?” Harry frets, hands wandering across Louis’ dripping back.

Louis steps backwards, aware of everyone close’s eyes on the two of them.

“No! You’re not allowed to pretend to be someone’s boyfriend if you’re already someone else’s boyfriend,” Louis almost rolls his eyes. “That’s, like, not cheating, but unethical.”

“I’m not someone’s boyfriend,” Harry vows. Louis can hear Zayn laughing loudly to the side of the pool—a laugh Louis could pick out in his sleep.

“You’re a terrible friend,” Louis shouts to him as he crosses his arms over his chest. “What if I’m hurt?”

Zayn wipes below his eye and sits, pulling Liam down with him. They throw their legs over the ledge of the pool and dip their feet into the water. Louis wades over to join them, Harry not far behind.

“Are you hurt?” Zayn asks.

“Not physically,” Louis emphasizes. He can feel Harry beside him, arm close enough to Louis’ he’d be able to feel the heat if they weren’t so wet.

He wants to reach out and maybe grab Harry’s hand, but he’s still not sure he trusts that there’s not someone waiting for him at home.

Instead of doing anything drastic like having a serious conversation about Harry’s love life, Louis reminds himself that they’ve known each other for less than 24 hours and suggests they play chicken, which is much more reasonable.

That’s how he ends up on Harry’s shoulders, Harry’s thumbs digging into his thighs as he shoves at Zayn’s shoulders. It was possibly not a good idea because Louis’ cock is pressed to the back of Harry’s neck, and Harry’s hands + Louis’ inner thighs = a dangerous combination, all things considered.

But it makes for a fun afternoon. After Louis successfully forces Zayn into the water, Harry gives him a congratulatory hug and they convince Zayn and Liam to buy them piña coladas at the poolside bar.

They stay in the water until they sky is pink, their fingers are pruney, and Niall finds them, eyes glinted with excitement when he tells them where they’re going for the night.

Louis is drunk. But he’s probably been drunker.

He’s at his favorite level of drunk—happy, chatty, affectionate. Everything feels five degrees warmer and he’d hug the entire bar if he could.

He’s had Harry curled up under his arm for the last few minutes while Zayn and Liam have played footsie beneath the booth. Niall’s been trying to chat up a brunette whose name might begin with an m and whose tall friend still won’t stop eyeing Zayn, and Louis’s just run out of the fruity drink Harry bought him but he’s not ready for the feeling to wear off.

“I finished,” Louis pouts to the group at large.

Harry tries to take a sip of his drink without dislodging his head from Louis’ shoulder. He’s mostly successful. “I’ll get you another once I finish this.”

Harry finishes quickly, Louis guesses because of the look he gives him. (He can be very persuasive when he tries.)

They join Niall and the brunette on their way to the bar and catch the end snippet of their conversation. “…But what if there are no limes?”

Niall laughs and brings his hand to the woman’s shoulder. “We’re in Cancun! There will be limes. Loads of ‘em.”

“Really?” Harry rolls his eyes and speeds up so he can aim a slap to the back of Niall’s head.

It all feels very drastic for lime talk.

“What’s wrong with them talking about limes?” Louis asks, fingers moving to Harry’s waist to reclaim his attention.

He refuses to have a redo of the previous night. He’s not letting Harry out of his sight.

“It’s a—fraternity thing…” Harry vaguely explains, lips pressing tightly together like he’s not willing to say anything more.

Which would normally be annoying, but Louis is feeling too good to care.

The bar is crowded, people pressed together end to end, so they hand back as they watch Niall try to get the bartender’s attention.

But Louis can’t hold his tongue. “Taking lime with tequila isn’t a frat thing.”

“I mean, obviously it isn’t—it’s just—it is, in this case,” Harry explains, a bead of sweat escaping from below his snapback. He looks twitchy.

“Why do you look so twitchy?” Louis asks as Harry begins to play with the ring on his middle finger.


Louis follows Harry’s line of vision. Niall somehow has a slice of lime and a saltshaker in hand already, so he gestures for his tequila partner to arch backwards over the bar.

Understandably, that gets the attention of everyone around them. The crowd gives the two of them some room to work, and a few people catcall.

“God, she’s going to slap him,” Harry shakes his head and whips off his snapback to run his fingers through his curls. Louis wants to tell him he’s perfectly capable of tousling Harry’s curls himself, but instead he asks why Niall is going to be slapped.

Harry seems reluctant to answer. “It’s like—it’s a fraternity thing.”

“If you say it’s a fraternity thing one more time I swear I will—”

“Okay!” Harry relents, eyes stuck on where Niall and the brunette seem to be having a heated discussion. “It’s just, like, there are a lot of really—uh, I’m not sure the word I’m—”

“Douchey?” Louis chimes in helpfully.

“Erm, I guess,” Harry shrugs. “So in the morning when we eat breakfast, there’s this, like, unspoken competition… That I don’t think I’m actually allowed to talk to you about because it’s probably a brotherhood thing. But basically some of the guys have this contest going to see who can, like, have the best story the day after.”

The brunette finally lifts the bottom of her shirt up to reveal her belly button. Niall licks at her collarbone before sprinkling salt over it and reaches for the shot glass.

“What does this have to do with Niall?” Louis asks, confused.

“This morning Josh was talking about how he tried to get his girlfriend to let him lick salt from her nipple while doing a tequila shot. I mean, it was in broad daylight, so if I had illegal nipples I’d probably say no, too, but Niall decided this was like, his personal challenge… I’m guessing she said no, though.”

Louis’s sure he should feel outraged that Harry’s frat tries to top each other in this way, but all he can think about is how salt would feel against his nipple as Harry licked it.

“I’d let you lick salt from my nipple,” Louis blurts.

Harry looks almost taken aback, but interested. “Me and Liam don’t really get involved with the story topping. What with the whole—not really being into women thing, most of the guys probably don’t want to hear about it. So we’re normally just kind of there to listen. I’m not sure I’d really be into trying to beat out other people like that, anyway—”

Louis is both impressed and annoyed. Impressed because he and Zayn both managed to pick semi-decent frat boys. Annoyed because the frat is making Harry and Liam feel excluded.

“I want you to lick salt from my nipple,” Louis tells him. Body shots 100% lead to kissing, which Louis is getting more and more desperate to finally have in his life.

“It won’t really count, though,” Harry points out. “Your nipples are legal. Less risky.”

“I don’t care,” Louis shrugs. “My nipple needs you.”

The excuse feels thin, and also makes him feel like a cow in some weird way. But it’s been too long, and when life gives you limes…

Once Niall plucks the lime from the brunette’s mouth, Louis maneuvers through the crowd until he reaches the bar counter.

He slams his hands down and demands the attention of everyone close by. “My boyfriend wants to lick salt from my nipple! Who has a lime and a tequila?”

A WOMAN with pretty hazel eyes and the posture of a pirate beside him offers her shot to him.

At the same time, the BARTENDER dressed head-to-toe in black produces a lime from seemingly nowhere, so Louis grabs the saltshaker and takes over the spot Niall and his partner previously occupied since they’ve already fucked off to who knows where.

Harry begins to approach him at the counter, so Louis strips off his shirt and lets it drop the counter top.

He can hear the collective intake of breath of everyone around him. Louis can feel himself grow half-hard just from the way Harry is looking at him and the heat of everyone’s stares, the undisputed center of attention for the moment. He feels warm and happy, desperate to feel Harry’s hands on him.

Louis leans back onto his elbows, ignoring the cold counter against his back, his neck and chest bared for Harry.

“Fuck,” Harry mumbles as he steps into Louis’ space. He lets his fingers trace along Louis’ bare side for a moment before something seems to click in his eyes. Without warning or assistance, he grabs at Louis’ waist and hoists him all the way up onto the counter.

Louis’s sure he must knock at least three drinks down during the process. He’s about to apologize to everyone around them, but then Harry lays him down by the shoulders and pulls him by the hips so his chest and head are easy access for his mouth.

Harry finally seems satisfied when Louis is stretched out on his back, body flat across the top of the bar with his foot stuck in a martini glass and head cushioned by his discarded shirt.

“Salt—where’s the salt?” Harry asks the group, almost frantically, eyes glued to Louis’ neck. Thankfully, the woman who gave them her shot points out the salt, knocked over by Louis’ knee.

Harry doesn’t have the time to murmur out thanks before giving Louis a giant lick all the way from his nipple to his collarbone. His tongue is sloppy but purposeful, licking again from his collarbone down to his nipple to be sure the salt will stick.

Louis tries not to moan the second time Harry’s tongue slides over him, but it’s so hot and feels so good that it might slip out anyway.

It’s made better that everyone is watching, entranced. Even the bartender has stopped bartending. Instead of taking orders for drinks, she’s holding the lime up to Louis’ lips. Louis opens his mouth and lets her place it correctly, lips tingling with lime juice and willingness.

All the while, Harry is pinching salt onto Louis’ wet skin casually like he’s baking, his eyebrows furrowed like he’s unsure whether it’s too much or too little. If Louis were thinking more clearly, he’d tell Harry to hurry, but finally, finally, Harry decides he’s satisfied and pours the shot into Louis’ belly button.

Some of it spills over, leaking down Louis’ side, so Harry drops the shot glass to the floor and presses his tongue there.

So they’re getting right into it.


Harry licks up the side of his stomach and latches his mouth onto the pool of alcohol, sucking it all up in one quick jaw movement.

He fucks his tongue in after to be sure he got it all, then pulls away and looks up at Louis under his eyelashes as he lowers his mouth to Louis’ salted nipple.

Louis gasps at the first contact, overwhelmed by the mix of pain from the salt crystals and the pleasure of Harry’s hot, wet mouth. He licks up to his collarbone and trails his tongue down again. When his mouth closes over Louis’ nipple for the second time, he brings his hand to Harry’s curls and tightens his fingers as he sucks, not entirely sure what the point of the action is, but feeling as though it’s the right thing to do.

Harry takes it as a hurry up gesture, because only a moment later he surges up and plucks the lime from his mouth before spitting it to the counter, bypassing the taste entirely to go straight for Louis’ lips.

Louis groans into his mouth. The kiss is hot and wet, tequila strong and fresh on Harry’s tongue, tinged with salt. Louis lets his eyes drift shut and his fingers scratch along Harry’s hairline, cheers sounding in the background.

And Louis has never felt more accomplished. He’s shirtless laid out on a bar in Cancun with a hot boy on top of him, making out to the sounds of drunken voyeurs encouraging them. He can feel alcohol drying on his skin and Harry’s doing this thing with his tongue that’s making him feel lightheaded from how quickly his blood is traveling south.

Louis’ spring break beats Ashley Benson’s and Selena Gomez’s. Louis’ Spring Break beats all of Harry’s annoying and objectifying frat brothers. Louis is the winner.

Louis sits up a little, smiling against Harry’s mouth when Harry’s hands move down to grip at his hips. But once Louis’s perched at the edge of the bar, his legs wrapped around Harry’s waist and ready for more, he feels a tap to his shoulder.

“You can’t do that here! Get off my bar,” the bartender says regretfully, gently shoving at Louis’ shoulders until he gives in, dropping down to his feet.

“Well. I’m definitely ready to go,” Louis dictates as he grabs for Harry’s hand, pulling him to the booth where Zayn and Liam are making out. Niall and his girlfriends are still nowhere to be seen; ordinarily, Louis would make an obnoxious comment, but he’s too turned on and impatient to worry.

He taps at Zayn’s shoulder, harder when he doesn’t pull back from sucking Liam’s face off.

“You ready to go?” he asks, gesturing much more aggressively than he would normally, but he has no time to worry. His cock has more pressing needs.

They agree and all leave their half-finished cocktails on the table along with a wad of cash before rushing outside. Miraculously, there’s a taxi waiting at the front of the entrance, so they all squish together in the backseat, the four of them a tangle of intertwined limbs and heavy breathing.

Louis feels bad for the cab driver, but not bad enough to keep his hands out of the front of Harry’s pants. There’s traffic, middle of the night traffic, because there’s only one flimsy road to get back to the hotels from downtown, so it’s not like anyone can blame him.

When they finally get back, Liam pays and they all tumble out of the cab. They rush through the front doors, flashing their green wristbands to the front desk so they know they’re at the right hotel before they gather into the elevator. Louis jams his finger into the 5 button, fingers of his other hand trapped between Harry’s, before he realizes there’s a dilemma.

He catches Zayn’s gaze and they engage in a quick, telepathic conversation using only their facial expression before Zayn nods.

When the elevator dings to floor 5, Louis gestures for Zayn and Liam to pass through.

“Which floor are you?” Louis asks, stepping into Harry’s space until his back is pressed to the glass wall.

“Seven,” Harry gulps. Louis dips in for a quick kiss before he stabs at the 7 button repeatedly, the elevator too slow for his liking.

Eternities later, the bell dings and they’re free.

“I can’t wait to actually see your cock,” Louis whispers as they hurry down the hall. Harry’s eyes grow wide as he pulls his key card from his pocket.

“I wanna suck it so badly,” Louis continues, pressing himself into Harry’s side so he can whisper it straight into his ear. “Against the door. Right when we walk in, probably.”

“Please,” Harry groans as he unlocks the door.

“Gonna drop to my knees—” Louis continues as Harry pushes the door open, but they’re met with an unexpected sight.

The room is already taken. There’s a beefy BOY with sandy hair ramming into a busty BLONDE with big tits at the edge of the closest bed andoh God, Louis’ mind is thinking in terms of porn.

He’s too horny for this.

Harry steps back in alarm, eyes wide and (possibly) traumatized.

Louis is also traumatized. He’s hard as fuck, Harry looks like he’s two seconds from crying, and someone is fucking in what could potentially be Harry’s bed.

Louis is two seconds from crying, too.

“Who was that? Should we call security?” Louis questions.

“No! We’re sharing the room with two of Liam’s line brothers. I just—we thought—”

“What?” Louis questions, confused and still too horny to think straight.

“I’m—I’m so sorry, they’re normally out until sunrise. Honestly. They haven’t been back to the room since we’ve got here except to change! This wasn’t, like—that— that wasn’t supposed to happen. ”

Louis sinks to the floor beside the door in despair, echoes of the blonde’s moans audible. He blocks them out so he can focus on feeling sorry for himself. “I think God is telling me something.”

“Hey,” Harry joins him on the floor, his knees popping before he extends his legs. “Why do you say that? What do you mean?”

Louis feels his throat close up. It was entirely intended to be a joke, but Harry’s serious voice and unwavering stare is doing things to him.

“He’s saying, like. Like. Hey, Louis, your entire life is a joke,” his voice comes out thick. “You’re gonna graduate with a mostly useless major and subpar grades. You don’t have any connections to the industry and your professors all think you’re obnoxious so you’ll never be able to make use of your degree because you’ll have no way to break into the business. But before that, I’m gonna make sure all of your attempts to get laid fail. Even when you meet the least douchey frat boy in existence and everything seems perfectly lined up.”

“Hey,” Harry says again, bumping his shoulder into Louis’. “We can fuck in the bathroom if you really want.”

Louis drops his head between his knees and laughs. It feels like he’s laughing out all of the pent over stress from before break that has randomly crawled up and manifested itself into his speech.

“Classy, Harry. Now I know why you’re in a frat.”

Harry mock-gasps. “My fraternity is classy as fuck.”

Louis nods and looks up, meeting Harry’s eyes. He’s about to say something about the words fraternity and classy not belonging in the same sentence, but Harry cuts in.

“You wanna go for a walk on the beach?”

“This is romantic,” Louis rolls his eyes as Harry kisses his knuckles.

The waves crash and a gust of wind ruffles Louis’ hair as his feet sink into the sand. He’d never admit it, but he’s always wanted to hold hands and walk along the beach with a cute boy. Of course, it would have been 1000 times better if it was during sunset and he knew he’d be getting laid after, but he’ll take what he can.

That sounds like the end to a cheesy movie, anyway.

They walk for a few minutes without saying anything more, but the silence surprisingly doesn’t feel empty. It’s calm, charged with knowledge that they’re not silent because they don’t know what to say to each other.

“My degree will probably be pretty useless, too,” Harry finally admits, eyes drifting to the black horizon. “I’m art, if you didn’t know. But I might try to minor in photography if my school will let me. It's a little easier to get into.”

“Ooh, he’s artistic,” Louis teases before he bites at Harry’s shoulder. A more forceful wave rolls in, soaking the bottom of Louis’ rolled up jeans. “I’m screenwriting.”

“That sounds like a lot of fun,” Harry says simply, giving him room to elaborate.

Louis sighs as he steps around a lump of seaweed. “It is. Or, like, it was. But I haven’t written something I’ve actually been excited for in… a while.”

“How long is a while?” Harry asks as he squeezes Louis’ fingers between his.

Louis laughs. “Not sure. I’ve just been in like—this slump. Where the words all sound the same and everything feels like it’s blending into one. I’m not really excited to write anything.”

“Hey,” Harry stops and turns to him. “I get like that, too. I think everyone that, like, creates has their low points. When nothing feels right and you’re just afraid you’ve reached your peak and you’ll never improve again.”

“I’m not sure I even had a peak,” Louis mumbles, toe digging into the sand. “Whenever I write something, even when I think it’s amazing, I look back at it and it never reads as well the second time.”

Harry grins. “I’m not sure I’ve ever met an artist who’s content with their work. And, like, not to sound pretentious, but I think that’s because our standards of what’s good and bad varies day by day, depending on our mood and the type of day we've had. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad.”

Louis feels small looking up at Harry. He blames it on surface area and Harry’s big feet not sinking into the sand like his, but something about the moon and the stars serving as a backdrop is making Louis feel like this is important, like he should take a moment to take the whole scene in.

“Whenever I’m feeling uninspired, I always paint a canvas orange,” Harry says.

Louis waits for him to elaborate, but he seems content to just stand there glowing.

“Does that—help?”

“It does,” Harry nods seriously. “I looked up all these—wait, do you want to go skinny dipping?”

“Right—right now?” Louis asks. He looks around; the beach is deserted, but—

“Yeah,” Harry shrugs and pulls his hand from Louis’ before tugging his shirt off.

And after that, Louis could never say no. They strip quickly, and Louis honestly can’t even pretend not to be looking.

He’s trying his best to stay chill, but Harry’s not even hard and his cock is so nice. He obviously works out, too, because the definition of his hipbones and v-lines is ridiculous.

They leave their clothes deserted on the sand and run into the water.

It’s almost warm, salty and refreshing, so Louis dives straight in. It’s dark as fuck, so he can’t be too sure what’s even in the water the deeper he goes, but it kind of adds to the mystery of the night.

And even though he’s not getting laid, he’s content.

“Hey, Harry, what—” Louis begins to ask, but a mouthful of saltwater stops him.

Louis splashes back (obviously), but Harry steps into his space and grabs his wrists. And Louis can tell exactly what’s going on once Harry starts pushing them both forward, deeper into the water until Louis is finding it hard to keep his mouth and nose above water.

“Cheater!” Louis shouts once he’s on his very tiptoes. “This isn’t fair!”

He tries to break Harry’s hold, but he’s relentless. So Louis does the next most logical thing—knee Harry in the balls.

But gently. It’s much more of a rough thigh grind than anything malicious. He’s already quite fond of Harry’s cock.

Harry does let go of his wrists, but immediately after he tackles Louis and they both plummet into the water.

Wrestling with a naked Harry isn’t the worst thing in the world. It kind of reminds Louis of childhood, except the nakedness is much more significant now that he’s fully grown.

“So… orange canvas. How does that work?” Louis asks once they’ve calmed down.

Harry’s floating to the best of his abilities, knees and chest above water as the gentle waves push and pull him. His eyes are closed so he looks serene, his mouth upturned at the corners like he’s smiling.

“So… I was dating someone. Final year of high school. Their name was Cameron.”

“Gonna give me their sign, too?” Louis asks. They’ve migrated so the water is only up to his chest, but he’s starting to get kind of cold. He wades closer to Harry.

“I think they were a Virgo. Or a Leo. I don’t know, actually. Which one is it when—” he opens one eye just as Louis reaches him. “I guess it doesn’t actually matter.”

“Sorry, continue,” Louis smiles. He pushes a piece of wet hair from Harry’s forehead.

Harry nuzzles into the touch when Louis tries to pull his hand away, so he keeps rubbing his at his hairline. “Mmm. So we dated for, like, a year. Which was basically marriage in high school, you know? Our friends and our teachers kept asking how we were going to make the distance work because we were, like, it. So there was all this pressure, but long distance is already hard without everyone putting pressure on you for it.”

“True,” Louis nods in encouragement.

“So I begin college. They begin college. Different cities. We started to drift. And I started to get sad and stressed. Everything I painted began to look grey or black, sometimes dark blue. But it all had the same, like, sad vibe to it.”

Louis feels something bump against his ankle. It’s probably seaweed, but his mind obviously still goes straight to shark. He listens instead of freaking out.

“So I’d been talking to Niall about everything. About the break up that was on the horizon. About my art. About colors. And I’m pretty sure he wasn’t listening to the entire thing, but he told me to just do the opposite of what I’d been doing.”

“The opposite of doing what you were doing was painting a canvas orange?” Louis asks.

Harry laughs a little. “Not exactly. I broke up with Cameron because it just wasn’t going to work. Which I got a lot of shit for from everybody. But then I started going out with Niall more because I was tired of staying in and trying so hard to make everything work. I switched my routine mainly… But I also started painting everything orange. Because orange is the color complement to blue. It’s kind of dumb, but it felt symbolic to the art major in me, like it would even everything out in the end, you know?”

“And did it?”

“Yeah. I think it did,” Harry says. “I think we all reach this point in our lives where everything starts to feel blah. Because doing the same thing over and over again gets boring. It gets old, but it’s also really hard to get away from. Sometimes you have to end a relationship to move forward, even though it makes you sad. Sometimes you have to paint your canvas a new color because the old color is drying up.”

Louis thinks it over as he grabs Harry’s arm to keep him from floating away. “So how do you think I should get over this writing slump? Should I switch genres? Make everyone talk like they’re from Texas? Only write about old people going through menopause?”

Harry laughs before sinking into the water. He resurfaces only a moment later, hair dripping down to his shoulders as he stands and steps into Louis’ space. “That could work. It’s not like the orange canvas was what made everything better. Orange canvas isn’t good. That’s just kind of a starter. To get some new juices flowing.”

Louis nods as Harry pulls him in close. His skin is cold but comforting, beads of water dripping down the length of his arm. “Something completely new?”

“Yeah,” Harry agrees.

Louis tilts his chin up just as Harry ducks down, and they meet in the middle. The kiss is sweeter than their earlier ones, gentler and less heated even though Louis can feel Harry’s entire body pressed to his.

The kiss grows heated, though. Slowly, like boiling water. Harry’s hands drift down to the backs of Louis’ thighs and he eases him up, so Louis wraps his legs around Harry’s waist just like earlier at the bar, eyes rolling back at the feeling of their cocks sliding together. Every movement feels fluid and less calculated because of the water, skin wet and slippery.

Harry holds him up with one hand cupping his bum and the other tight across his lower back, pulling him closer. His arms bulge with it, with the effort of holding Louis up. Louis drops his head to Harry’s shoulder and buries his face in his neck, teeth sinking into his skin as he can feel his orgasm approach.

Even though Louis’s never had such public sex, the way they’re holding each other makes it feel private, more intimate than Louis can remember sex feeling in a long time.

All Louis can hear as he comes are the waves and Harry panting into his ear.




Louis wakes up to curls in his eyes and a body trapped under his arm. His clothes are damp, there’s sand where sand isn’t supposed to be, and the sun is somehow rising.

They fell asleep on the beach.

“Harry,” Louis whispers, nails digging into Harry’s chest through the front of his shirt. He feels vaguely sticky and gross. “We fell asleep.”

Harry groans and blinks his eyes open. His face is confused as he takes in the sunrise, his eyelashes luminescent and tangled together like vines. Louis feels his heart skip a beat at the sight and kisses his forehead.

They decide to shower separately in their respective rooms, much to Louis’ chagrin. He’s sure it’s a good plan, though, especially given that he’d prefer not to smell like a beach bum when he’s pretty sure he and Zayn have a snorkeling lesson.

Today. At some point. He’s not sure what time, though. He’s never been good with numbers or time. Either way—snorkeling.

When he gets to the room, Zayn is lying out on the sheets wearing only his boxers.

“It smells like sex in here,” is Louis’ way of greeting him. Zayn rolls over to face him.

“Liam left, like, ten minutes ago,” Zayn smiles serenely and stretches out. “It was a good night. How was yours?”

“Well,” Louis begins, stripping his shirt off as he makes his way to his suitcase. “It probably would have been better if there wasn’t someone fucking in Harry’s room already.”

Zayn sits up, eyebrows shooting up to the sky. “What? What did you do? Where have you been?”

Louis sighs as he slips off his shorts and underwear. They’re stiff with salt water and a mountain of sand drops to the floor along with them, so naturally he kicks the mess closer to Zayn’s bag.

“We went to the beach,” Louis explains as he begins to pick out his clothes for the day. “And we fell asleep in the sand.”

Zayn has seen him naked so many times he doesn’t even ogle him bending over. “And you’re just getting back now?”

“Yep,” Louis pops the p as he pulls a pair of blue swim trunks from his bag.

Zayn’s frowning when Louis turns to face him. “That’s shitty. You can have our room tonight for sure.”

“Thanks,” Louis rolls his eyes.

“No, I mean it. You deserve to get laid. I feel like this trip has been kind of a bust for you so far. And like it’s kind of my fault.”

“It—it definitely hasn’t been a bad trip,” Louis blushes, thinking back to last night. “I’ve had fun. It’s just not really been what you expect from spring break, you know?”

Zayn frowns and drops his eyes to Louis’ crotch. “Bro. I’d hug you, but you’re naked.”

“My cock has literally been in your mouth,” Louis deadpans.

“I know, but. Isn’t that a little weird now?” Zayn asks.

Louis smiles and drops the swim trunks, making his way towards the bed. “No. It’s not weird and I need comforting now.”

“Oh God, no,” Zayn complains, covering his eyes with his arm. “Go take a shower. You stink.”

“Not until you hug me,” Louis laughs. He cuddles up close to Zayn, and maybe it should be more awkward than it is that his balls are only inches from Zayn’s bare thigh.

“What did I do to deserve this?” Zayn protests, but he wraps an arm around Louis’ waist, anyway. “I’m a good man.”

Snorkeling is hard.

Snorkeling is Zayn being too afraid to jump off the boat. It’s someone smelling repellant to the fish because there are fucking none. It’s Louis’ goggles crushing his skull because they feel too tight, but when he loosens them they leak.

Snorkeling is Louis somehow inhaling water and his life vest coming undone and a shark scare and finding it impossible to pull himself back onto the boat after because there’s no ladder and he’s fucking exhausted.

Louis doesn’t move from where he collapses to the floor of the boat the entire way back to shore, Zayn right beside him, equally as tired. There’s a moment where they just stare at each other before they burst out laughing at how terrible they the entire experience was, but the verdict still stands.

Snorkeling is hard.

Naturally, to deal with their long and tiring day, Louis and Zayn knock on Harry and Liam’s door once they’ve showered. Louis feels like collapsing, honestly (snorkeling is hard) but Harry’s smile makes him feel lighter. It makes his legs feel more like legs and less like deadweights.

They decide to go to the Midnight Kinky Burlesque Cabaret on the first floor. This is good for two reasons.

  1.      Because Louis is tired as fuck and does Not feel up to going downtown.
  2.      Because he wants to have sex.

The close proximity of the club to his hotel room makes the possibility for both to happen as soon as possible, much more possible.

Louis doesn’t go for subtle. He practically sits in Harry’s lap when they settle into a booth in the corner of the dimly lit room and wastes no time before he nuzzles his face straight into Harry’s neck.

But Harry’s stupid backwards snapback gets in his way. Louis pushes the bill away with his nose.

“You alright?” Harry asks as the room falls into a hush and the spotlight centers on a woman in a ridiculous green outfit taking the stage. Louis nods and sinks his teeth into Harry’s neck, letting him know that he has plans. Plans for tonight.

“Uh… Let me know if you want to leave early,” Harry whispers as his nails dig into Louis’ thighs, his voice high pitched and uneven like Louis’ teeth did exactly what Louis was planning to do.

Louis grins to himself as he lets his hand drift to Harry’s crotch and he can feel Harry get hard. He keeps sucking, ignoring the beautiful woman on stage singing about wanting to rip her clothes off in favor of getting Harry hot and bothered and ready.

…And it works. They leave only minutes later, taking advantage of the audience’s captivation when the performer throws her leg over a man at a table in the front’s lap.

The only knowing look they receive is from Zayn and Liam. It isn’t altogether disapproving, so Louis doesn’t feel guilty for leaving early.

Louis kicks his shoes off as soon as they make it through the hotel room door. Harry’s hands are all over him, touching his face and running a hand through his hair and groping at him through his pants.

Which—off. They should be off.

It’s like a marathon, hands and mouths and fabric everywhere as they try to undress each other while still kissing. Harry’s stupid snapback falls off while Louis pulls his tank top over his head, but before Harry can retrieve it, Louis pins Harry down to the bed.

He distracts him with a kiss and grinds down. But at the first brush of bare skin on skin, Louis has to pull away so he doesn’t come right then and there, sending moans straight against Harry’s nose. It’s even better than the night before, the absence of the water and the privacy somehow amplifying things.

“You’re so—” Harry begins to say, but he doesn’t finish his sentence. Instead, he wrestles Louis onto his back and grinds down from on top of him.

The pressure is even better this time. Louis’ thighs tighten around Harry’s waist, toes curling and ankles locking behind his back. He grabs a handful of Harry’s curls, mouth dropping open as Harry trails kisses down his jaw.

He continues sinking lower, lower. Lips to Louis’ neck and collarbones and ribs, down, down to nibble at his hipbones. Louis’ pulse jumps.

When Harry finally wraps his lips around the head of Louis’ cock, his neck snaps to the side and his hips rise off the bed.

“God,” Louis groans, eyes squeezing shut. Having an entire mirror-covered closet door was not an event Louis was prepared for. The visual is too much.

Harry takes him down further, hand working with his mouth to make sure no inch of Louis’ dick is unloved. Harry’s mouth is hot and warm, gentle but persistent, and Louis knows he’s already close. Normally he would be embarrassed, but he hasn’t had a mouth on his cock in months.

It’s normal. It’s fine.

“More,” Louis urges. He’s never been good at dirty-talk, can only ever get straight to the point.

Harry pops off and smirks, lips pink and shiny.

But then he sticks his tongue out and runs it down the length of Louis’ cock, down over his balls and lower, lower.

Louis’ heart feels like it’s never beat so fast as Harry spreads Louis’ legs further with his thumbs, teeth dragging against the skin of his inner thighs. Harry’s cheek is smooth against him, his eyelashes prickling as he blinks up at Louis, waiting for the go-ahead.

Which is both thoughtful and cruel. Louis bites his lip and jerks out a quick nod, stomach muscles clenching as Harry kisses over his hole.

Harry licks just once, getting Louis wet, but not wet enough to do anything.

And this is definitely more than Louis was expecting for the night. He already feels like he’s a heartbeat away from coming all over his stomach.

“You taste like the sea,” Harry mumbles into his skin.

Louis feels his toes uncurl. He isn’t quite sure how to answer, unsure whether to take it as a compliment or not.

“Uh… is there… sand… down there?” Louis blurts out.

He can feel Harry’s laugh. “No, definitely no sand.”

Harry goes back in, tongue relaxed as he licks over him. Louis twists his fingers into the sheets and squirms, causing Harry to press his hips down, thumbs pressed into his hipbones.

Harry straightens his tongue and goes deeper, stretching Louis’ hole open until he’s inside. It’s too much—it’s much too much. Louis tries to distract himself from the way Harry’s tongue is spreading him open by counting backwards from a thousand and imagining old men with liver spots or moldy bread, but nothing works.

He realizes his fate and brings a hand to his cock, pulling himself off quickly until he comes all over his stomach. Harry licks him through it with both hands rubbing at his thighs, and all of his senses are overwhelmed.

As he comes down, he feels like he’s just run a marathon. The sheets below him are soaked with sweat and his body feels limp and lifeless, but content.

Harry grabs a tissue from the side table and wipes the come from Louis’ stomach, then drops the tissue to the floor before he cuddles up beside him.

“Give me a minute,” Louis pants out, eyes drooping. He forces himself to move a hand to Harry’s cock and gives it a light squeeze. “I need a minute. It was too much.”

Harry gently pulls his hand from his cock and laces their fingers together. “I think snorkeling wiped you out. I remember Zayn saying he felt like he was going to fall asleep during the performance.”

Ah, snorkeling. Yes. It feels like it was a million years ago now, but the bone-deep exhaustion is back with a vengeance.

“Okay, yeah, but listen. I just need a few minutes and I’ll get you back. Promise.”

“Okay,” Harry giggles and kisses his nose. “Just a few minutes.”




Louis wakes up and immediately realizes two things.

  1.      He’s hard (though it’s early, so that’s nothing new.)
  2.      He feels guilty.

He knows he shouldn’t, but he does. Harry’s breathing is deep and even, signaling to Louis that he’s asleep tucked up under his arm, so Louis lets himself sag back into the mattress in despair.

But no matter how hard he tries, he can’t fall back asleep. So naturally, he pinches Harry’s nipple to wake him up.

“Ugh,” Harry groans, hand coming up to trap Louis’ against his chest weakly.

“Sorry,” Louis noses at the hairs at the back of Harry’s neck. “Think I fell asleep last night.”

“Don’t care,” Harry’s foot comes to press against Louis’ calf, cold enough to make him hiss. “I’m freezing. Come closer.”

“It’s spring. You’re not supposed to be freezing anymore,” Louis points out, but he rolls on top of Harry, anyway, covering him from head to toe and pinning him to the bed.

“Better,” Harry’s voice sounds muffled, his mouth squished into the pillow, but he’s definitely smiling.

The unusual quiet becomes apparent as Louis kisses all the parts of Harry’s face he can reach. The way the sun is streaming in through the window hints that it’s early, but not so early that it’s unreasonable to be awake. He can almost hear the crash of the waves.

“Hey, babe, now that you’re awake, I’m gonna get you back for last night,” Louis whispers into his ear. Harry nods and brings his head to the side, puckering his lips for a kiss, first.

Conscious of his morning breath, Louis gives him a quick peck before pushing the covers to the foot of the bed. Harry doesn’t move at all except to cross his arms to use them as a pillow for his cheeks.

It makes the muscles in his back flex in a way that makes Louis want to touch them.

He’s careful with it, fingers slow and soft as he kneads at his shoulders. Harry’s so broad, muscles solid and firm, but he’s also soft with cute little love handles Louis wants to bite.

“That feels nice,” Harry breathes out, eyes fluttering shut. “You can go harder.”

Louis mentally chastises his cock for taking that in the Very Wrong Way, but he still moves to get closer. He sits on Harry’s legs, knees framing Harry’s thighs as he presses his thumbs deeper into the muscle. Harry’s whole body seems to expand with his content sigh.

“Didn’t realize I could use my mouth to bribe people into giving me massages,” Harry grins, cocky.

Louis bends forward to bite at the knob at the top of Harry’s spine. He had fully intended to lecture Harry on the perils of prostitution, but at the sudden movement, his cock slips between Harry’s thighs.

The slide isn’t smooth, but it makes both of their breathing cut off at once.

Harry’s legs come together, the few inches between his thighs disappearing almost imperceptibly. Louis’ jaw slackens, his hands moving to grip the sheets between his fingers as he resists the urge to thrust forward.

But neither of them make any move to pull away. They both seem to be on pause, waiting to see what whether the other will make of the situation before responding.

Harry breaks first. He reaches his arm back and grabs at the back of Louis’ thigh, pulling him closer. Louis falls forward, chest to back as Harry’s pale, smooth thighs tighten around his cock.

“Fuck,” Harry’s nails dig into Louis’ thigh. “Fuck my thighs.”

Thigh fucking was not on his original agenda. But he can’t say he’s opposed.

Louis glances up at the side table, eyes roaming and searching for lube he prays Zayn left out from last night, but all he can find is Zayn’s fancy face lotion.

Zayn will absolutely kill him if he finds out, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Louis snatches the small bottle and pours more than necessary into his palm as Harry spreads his legs.

He grinds into the bed as Louis massages the lotion into his inner thighs, trembling as he does. The lotion smells luxurious and expensive, which, combined with the lavish hotel sheets and the open space of the hotel room, makes Louis feel very high class.

(If fucking someone’s thighs can be seen as that.)

Harry squeezes his legs shut again as Louis slicks up his cock with the excess lotion. Harry’s thighs are shiny and ready, so Louis wastes no time before pressing between them. The slide is easy, and they take a collective gasp once Louis is balls deep between Harry’s thighs.

Louis pushes his palms into the mattress, thrusts gentle and shallow as he gets used to the feeling. Harry’s responsive, moving his hand on top of Louis’ and tangling their fingers together on top of the bed, moaning as each slow thrust nudges up against his balls.

It feels innocent in the filthiest way. Louis is hit with a pang of strong nostalgia as Harry bites into the pillow with his thighs shaking from the strain of keeping them so close together and his ankles locked.

Thigh fucking reminds him of simpler times, when he just thought everything would fall into place and his biggest worry was whether he’d pass chemistry. When he was sixteen and he and his boyfriend would have half an hour before his parents would come home and everything would feel ten times better because they knew their time was limited.

“I haven’t done this in a long time,” Louis admits, panting into Harry’s shoulder as he sets a rhythm. “Reminds me of being a teenager.”

“I’m still a teenager for another year,” Harry gasps, legs squeezing tighter as Louis changes the angle and his cock brushes against him more directly. Harry grinds down, fingers twitching between Louis’ as he takes the pillow back between his teeth.

“That must be why you make me feel reckless again,” Louis laughs. “Like I still have a bowl cut or like we’re borrowing my friend’s van to fuck and we’re parked in a half-lit alleyway.”

“Very reckless,” Harry grunts into the pillow, body rocking up with each thrust.

“It’s good though,” Louis buries his face into the back of Harry’s neck.

He bites at his lip to try to hold off his orgasm, but in the end Harry’s soft skin and three days of unresolved sexual tension win. He shoots off onto Harry’s thighs without giving warning.

“Fuck,” Louis says after, collapsing all of his weight onto Harry. He’s not feeling very accomplished—first he falls asleep, and then he comes before Harry seems at all on edge.

He’s embarrassed, but determined to make up for his failures. He takes a deep breath to regulate his breathing before pulling his hand from Harry’s and manhandling him over onto his back.

His cock is hard against his stomach, long and pink and hard, calling out for Louis’ mouth. But the insides of Harry’s thighs are red and shiny, drops of smeared come clinging to them, so he wants to kiss those first. They look so angry and irritated, and Louis wants to make them feel better.

The skin is warm and humid against Louis’ cheek. He licks, but the lotion tastes like medicine and Louis quickly learns he should keep him tongue inside his mouth. He moves his lips down closer to Harry’s knee and is instantly rewarded with a gasp from Harry and fingers digging into his scalp.

“Your beard—” Harry whimpers. “It stings. But I—I like it.”

Louis takes a quick nibble of thigh, relishing in the quick intake of breath Harry takes before he licks a stripe up Harry’s cock. He wraps his lips around the head and sinks down all in one movement, vaguely hungry, ready for Harry to come so they can go down for breakfast.

It doesn’t take long before Harry’s well-moisturized thighs are constricting around Louis’ neck and he’s shouting his name.

After a quick cuddle session and brushing their teeth, they take the elevator downstairs and find Zayn and Liam already eating breakfast at the buffet.

“Hey losers,” Louis greets them and drops his phone onto the table before making his way to the buffet. He loads his plate with entirely too much bacon while Harry piles his plate with fruit.

The cantaloupe actually looks mouthwatering, but Louis decides he’ll just steal what he wants from Harry’s plate if necessary.

“Go away,” Zayn quips once Louis is sat beside him, bacon grease covering his fingers. “Liam was just giving me all the good fraternity gossip, but he can’t if your boyfriend is here.”

Louis wipes his fingers on Zayn’s shirt in retaliation.

“I wanna hear all the frat gossip,” Louis wiggles his eyebrows as he takes another bite of his bacon. “I’ve heard so many terrible things. Do you force your pledges to do push-ups on splintered wood? To drink pig blood? Clean your disgusting bathrooms that haven’t been washed since before the ‘80s?”

Liam almost chokes on his eggs. “God, no! We don’t haze like that. That’s dangerous.”

Zayn rubs at Liam’s back like he actually choked. It’s almost as sickening as imagining a frat bathroom. Almost.

“Even if we did, though, I couldn’t tell you. And our bathrooms are actually really clean. Thanks to Harry.”

“Harry?” Louis laughs and turns to him. He has his head down but he’s smirking, prodding at a runaway grape. “What’d you do to deserve toilet duty?”

Harry sets his fork down and gives up on the rogue grape. “Nothing. They were just disgusting. And unhygienic. So one night I got drunk, since I obviously needed to repress the memory, and cleaned them. Thoroughly.”

Liam beams at Harry like they’re in on an inside joke and tilts his head to the side. “Harry’s my favorite pledge we’ve ever had.”

Harry smiles back and raises an eyebrow. Louis’s not telepathic or anything, but the look they give each other screams something Louis can’t quite get a handle on. He notes in the back of his mind to ask about it later.

After breakfast, Harry invites Louis to an aerobics class, but… aerobics. Aerobics sounds like something a sixty-year-old woman whose breath smells like cream cheese would do.

He declines.

“But we have a brotherhood thing tonight,” Harry pouts, toying with the green bracelet around Louis’ wrist. “I won’t be able to see you until tomorrow.”

Harry’s pouting, puppy dog face does things to Louis he doesn’t want to admit. “Harry, I think you can last without me until the morning.”

“Yeah, but—” Harry begins, but Louis cuts him off with a quick kiss.

“I’ve been neglecting Zayn. He needs me, too.”

Louis slaps him on the ass and tells him to get going. He pretends he watches him walk away because he wants to look, but it’s not entirely the reason.

Zayn tugs off his shirt and lies back onto the pool recliner. At the same moment, a nearby woman drops her margarita and sends shattered glass and green juice flying through the air. Louis isn’t paying enough attention to anything but the way the sun feels bronzing his skin as it happens, but he knows the events correlate.

“God, Zayn. Stop it. You’re distracting the guests,” Louis says.

“Don’t blame me for them getting distracted. That’s not my fault,” Zayn counters, but Louis can see his smirk through his sunglasses.

“Tell me—what’s it like to know you look better than everyone here?” Louis sighs, envious.

“Shut up,” Zayn says.

Louis begrudgingly complies. He closes his eyes and turns to get the sun to hit the other side of his face, but a tapping distracts him.

And it’s Zayn. Zayn is tapping his fingers to his chair absently like he has a melody in his head. And it’s not like that’s weird—Zayn loves music and can sing better than anyone Louis knows— but Louis hasn’t heard him sing or do anything musically inclined since before.

Before she gave him back the ring and he didn’t get into his first choice grad school.

Zayn’s tapping feels momentous, like an audible confirmation that he’s going to be happy again. Moving on.

“Hey Zayn, what’re you thinking right this minute?” Louis presses.

Zayn scrunches his nose up like he’s disgusted with himself. “I’m definitely not thinking about how I’m glad I’m sitting here. And that I’m glad we went on this trip. Definitely not. This is terrible.”

But Louis knows him better than anyone.

He’s a liar.

And at the sports bar that night, Louis discovers two things:

  1.      He and Zayn can make a lot of money hustling while playing pool.
  2.      Cancun doesn’t feel as right without Harry.




A knock to the door wakes Louis up. He tries to ignore it, but the person on the other side is Very Persistent.

Louis swings the door open after tripping over a pair of flip flops, eyes still heavy with sleep, and realizes it’s Harry.

He can’t help the smile that spreads once he takes in Harry’s unruly curls trapped beneath his stupid red snapback.

“Ugh, what do you want?” Louis tries again to seem upset, but Harry’s smile and the way he pulls Louis in close for a tight hug makes it difficult.

“I missed you. Wanted to see if you wanted to get breakfast with me,” Harry says as he drops his hands down to the curve of Louis’ ass, kissing his cheek and working his way closer to Louis’ lips. Louis stealthily dodges the kiss and pulls back, hand over his mouth as he mumbles about morning breath.

Once Louis’ teeth are clean, they make their way down to the buffet.

There’s a seafood special, eggs with shrimp and crab and who the fuck knows what else. It’s still relatively early, so they’re able to grab a seat by the window once their plates are full, a tiny little square table with a nice ocean view.

The waves are calm today.

They eat in silence for a few moments, ankles hooked together under the table as they stare out the window, before Louis breaks the silence.

“So. Last night. Did you end up sacrificing a virgin? What was the big brotherhood event?”

Harry snorts. “I’m not allowed to tell you that.”

“Come on,” Louis urges him. “Who am I gonna tell? Give me the gossip. The 411.”

“I can’t. Liam would be so disappointed if I did,” Harry looks down to his plate, fork probing aimlessly. “It’s, like, an honor thing.”

“Liam…” Louis ponders, remembering the previous morning. “You two seem… uh, close.”

Harry grins, dimples and all. “Yeah. I mean, minus Niall, he’s the guy in the fraternity I’ve gotten closest to. It was probably, like, destiny or something. What with both of us not being straight and all.”

Louis nods, remembering how Harry talked about his frat brothers not particularly wanting to hear about his or Liam’s sex life. “There’s probably not too many guys like you in the frat.”

“Yeah, like…” Harry trails off, squinting like he’s not sure exactly what to say. “Liam was actually a lot of the reason I decided to pledge in the first place. When you rush, you go to a bunch of different fraternities to kind of try to get the feel of all of them and bond with some of the guys. And all of them felt, like, wrong to me. I mean, I got along with everyone, but I didn’t feel like I actually belonged, you know?”

“What happened to make you realize you wanted to join Liam’s frat?” Louis asks, curious. He doesn’t imagine there’s an advertisement during rush week reading “gay friendly.”

Harry smiles like he knows exactly what’s going on in Louis’ head. “I’d kind of given up on the whole pledging thing by the time we got to the house. But this was when I was trying out the whole painting my canvas orange thing, so I wasn’t too invested. I was more going so Niall had someone to go with to the last few houses.”

“Then what happened to change your mind?” Louis asks.

Harry laughs. “I’m getting there! So Niall and I started talking to Liam, and then he asked us if we wanted a tour of the house. A, like, more in depth tour. Said he’d show us his room and everything.”

Louis’s not sure he likes where this is going. “Please don’t tell me you hooked up with Liam.”

“Ew, no! So Niall gets hit with an invitation to BP that he obviously can’t refuse because he doesn’t want to seem like a weenie. So I go up with Liam alone. And he brings me straight to his room. And it’s nothing special at all, but on his dresser there’s a picture of him and another guy. Kissing.”

“Liam has a boyfriend?” Louis gasps in horror.

“Had,” Harry clarifies. “But I knew as soon as I saw that picture, and then how everyone in the house treated him just like everyone else, that I wanted to be a part of it.”

Harry gets a faraway look in his eyes. “I think he kind of wanted me just as much as I wanted him, in the end. There aren’t too many of us in fraternities, at least not openly. And I think it probably got to him.”

“Is Liam your big brother, then?” Louis asks shrewdly, a little sadly, annoying memories of high school he swore to block out creeping in.

“Not yet,” Harry blushes. “I think this trip was, like, the final decision maker. But I’m almost 100% sure Liam will be my big. I’ve spent so much time with him Niall’s been feeling neglected. He was actually jealous I chose to room with Liam and not him while we’re here.”

Louis wonders whether that began any rumors. “It sounds like a scandal, honestly.”

“Shut up, but that reminds me! I’m actually going golfing with Niall today. But I was wondering what you were planning on doing tonight.”

Louis doesn’t let the obvious answer—you—slip from his tongue.

He goes with something less dirty, but an innuendo all the same. “I’m not sure. Zayn and I haven’t really discussed anything, but I’m sure I can work you in.”

Louis is a little bit drunk. Harry is a little bit drunk, too, and sunburned as fuck. His skin is red as a lobster and his golf shirt farmer’s tan is a stark line, out in the open because Harry is dumb and wearing a tank top.

Louis can’t even remember the name of the club they’re at. He knows Zayn is off with Ed buying a round of shots, Niall is chatting up a blonde he’s never met by insisting they had an English class together, and Liam is holding their booth. But other than that, he’s mostly clueless about everything but Harry.

“Harry,” Louis sighs, hooking his chin over Harry’s shoulder. The line for the bar is long and crowded, and Louis doesn’t have the patience to wait. “You’re dumb and wearing a tank top.”

He wraps his arms around Harry’s waist from behind and buries his face in Harry’s neck, feeling the vibrations from the music within. “But you’re also very cute and I’d very much like to fuck tonight.”

“I’d very much like to fuck tonight, too,” Harry giggles. It’s a drunk giggle, a giddy and uninhibited one, and Louis sends his own drunk giggle into Harry’s shoulder.

“Fuck, I’m so horny,” Louis finally complains, teeth sinking into Harry’s neck. “I think I’ve been horny since we met. When you pretended to be my boyfriend. Do you remember?”

Harry nods and wiggles his ass back, which definitely doesn’t help Louis’ horny situation.

“Let’s dance, and then we can go back to the hotel,” Harry suggests. “And fuck.”

Louis appreciates the bluntness. And it sounds like a very solid plan, so they wiggle their way to the floor, dancing as they go. It isn’t too far, so Louis keeps his arms around Harry’s waist, holding him close. It’s a little awkward to dance with Harry in front because his bum is significantly higher than Louis’ cock, but they spend most of the time groping each other while attached at the mouth, so it doesn’t really matter.

They leave after only a few songs, anyway, so it’s fine.

In the cab, Louis lays Harry down and climbs into his lap. The cab driver purposefully Does Not Look Back, but Louis feels a bit like an exhibitionist and has to slap his hand over Harry’s mouth at one point because he gets so loud.

At the hotel, they stumble in with fingers laced and accidentally press the wrong floor on the elevator, but finally, finally, they make it to Louis’ room.

As soon as the door slams shut behind Harry, Louis has him pinned up against a wall. He digs his thumbs into Harry’s biceps and gives him an alcohol sloppy kiss, his bottom lip catching on Harry’s chin.

But the sloppiness just makes Louis want to go faster. He pulls his hands from Harry’s arms to tug his tank top over his head, but he gets distracted by how white Harry’s sunburnt skin gets when he presses his fingers in deep. He pokes him a few times just to watch the color fade from red to white and only remembers what his original intent was when Harry goes for his zipper.

“Sorry,” Louis mumbles as he whips Harry’s shirt off and tosses it to the floor.

Harry’s sunburn is even more apparent with no shirt at all. Louis frowns and undoes Harry’s zipper, pulling his jeans down to his ankles to see if his legs are the same crispy red.

They’re not, but once Harry is stripped bare before him, Louis can’t hold his concern in, anymore.

“Do you want me to rub aloe into your sunburn?” Louis asks, bringing another finger to Harry’s bicep and pressing hard. “You’re so—red. It looks like it hurts.”

Harry pulls the fingers from his arms and aims Louis’ arms to the ceiling so he can pull off his shirt. “I’ll be fine.”

Louis nods as Harry begins to walk them backwards. He feels the back of his legs collide with a chair and falls backwards, the red leather cold beneath his bare back. His legs and head are both thrown over the two arms of the chair as Harry pulls his pants off.

Harry’s knees collide with the chair as he bends down to kiss Louis, his hands spreading across Louis’ shoulder blades.

It’s uncomfortable as fuck, so Louis mumbles around Harry’s mouth, “bed, bed.”

Harry nods and helps Louis up, fumbling as Louis walks him backwards and then falling over onto the bed.

“I always feel terrible making hotel beds messy,” Harry frowns, running a hand over the perfectly pressed fabric like he truly cares. “Making it so tight takes talent.”

Louis straddles his thighs and bites down on Harry’s collarbone. Tight is such a loaded word—Louis know there’s probably an infinite amount of innuendos to make, but in his current state, he can’t find it in him to say anything but, “I’ll show you tight.”

It’s not his best moment. Dirty talk is overrated, anyway.

But it seems to get Harry hot. He grabs at Louis’ bum and pushes his hips up, pulling him closer. Harry’s skin is warm and everywhere, grabbing and pulling both of them up the length of the bed so Harry’s head is at the pillows.

Louis, after a scolding and long lecture from Zayn, now knows where Zayn stashed his lube and condoms. He crawls off of Harry long enough to pull open the bedside drawer and grab them both, ignoring the bible staring at him from beneath because it makes him feel judged.

“I want the d,” Louis says as he presses the lube into Harry’s hand. “In me.”

Harry looks up at him like he said he’d won the lottery rather than wanted the d.

“That was—that rhymed,” Harry blinks as he uncaps the lube. “I think I love you.”

Louis’ heart skips a beat. He knows it means nothing (he’s very lovable—Harry is hardly the first person to profess his love for Louis before doing the nasty) but Harry’s honest eyes make the words feel 100% more believable.

Louis finds he doesn’t mind, instead leans forward to capture Harry’s lips between his as Harry coats his finger and presses it into Louis.

Louis buries his face in Harry’s neck and inhales. He hasn’t had anything inside him in… well, a while. Too long. It’s all a bit overwhelming, but the alcohol seems to lessen the sting—make it tolerable, pleasurable. Louis already wants more.

Harry squeezes in a second finger and then a third. He tries to add in a fourth, but by this time Louis is very impatient, greedy for it. He wants more.

“Want your cock, not your fingers,” Louis says, sitting up with his hands flat on Harry’s pecs. Harry’s chest is heaving, flushed red and muscular beneath Louis’ fingers.

“Are you—are you sure?” Harry asks, his face eager but also oddly hesitant as he pulls out and wipes his lubed fingers on the sheets. He almost seems scared, like Louis is fragile or can’t handle a good dicking.

Louis rolls his eyes at his presumptuousness. “Yes, I’m sure, Mr. My cock is so big I’m gonna hurt you.”

Harry’s mouth drops open and his face flushes just as red as his chest. “That’s not why I—I wasn’t—”

“I’m joking,” Louis lies, grabbing and dropping the foil packet onto Harry’s chest. He’d very much like for things to continue—he’s been waiting for days to be with Harry, and now that Harry’s here below him, Louis’ cock hard and leaking, he’s ready for the wait to be over.

Louis rubs at Harry’s nipples partly as a distraction as Harry attempts to roll the condom on behind Louis’ back. Harry’s eyes roll back when Louis pinches the left nub between his fingers and he nudges the head of his cock at Louis entrance. He’s jerky in his movements, like it’s a reaction rather than just a natural movement, which makes Louis feel oddly powerful.

Once the head is in, Louis grabs at Harry’s wrists and pins them to the bed, sitting up on his knees.

He throws his head back as he sinks down inch by inch. Harry stays still and refrains from bucking up. Louis would never admit it, but he appreciates it. Harry is big. And it has been a while. And it’s a lot at once.

But Louis likes the sting. It burns in the best way.

Louis wonders if the frat stereotype is true—whether Louis is just another warm hole to Harry and he’ll never hear from him again after tonight. Whether Harry has only put up with hanging out with Louis for the past few days because he wanted to get it in and hasn’t actually enjoyed their time together like Louis has.

Louis doesn’t think it’s true. He thinks back to the night at the beach, remembers how genuine Harry seemed. How genuine he seems. He’s sure he’ll see Harry again in the morning. He’s not going to sneak out in the middle of the night and find someone else by tomorrow night.

Harry is his Spring Break Rendezvous. He wouldn’t. They’re practically committed for the break.

“Shit!” Harry yells out below him. His head is thrown to the side, eyes attached to the closet mirror. He pulls his wrists from Louis’ grip and grabs at his waist as he thrusts up, making Louis’ breath hitch.

Louis forgot about the mirror.

Harry hasn’t. His eyes are glued to where they’re connected, watching each thrust with wide eyes like he’s never seen something so marvelous.

Louis turns Harry’s head using his pointer finger, almost self-conscious at Harry’s gaze, missing the direct attention.

“Kiss—” Louis mumbles as he leans forward, Harry’s mouth as enthusiastic as his snapping hips.

“Can we— in front of the mirror?” Harry asks between breaths. His hair is fanned out against the pillow, wild and frizzed at the hairline. He looks thoroughly overcome by being inside Louis, and something about his hopeful and awestruck expression coerces Louis into nodding past his self-consciousness.

Harry pulls out and they both shuffle to the side of the bed, right in front of the mirror. It’s intimidating—close up and honest and putting everything out on display at once.

But Harry seems super into it. He’s staring intently at the mirror like he’s the DOP trying to figure out the best angle to shoot the scene from, not like he’s trying to fuck in front of a mirror.

Louis decides to end Harry’s search once and for all and throws a leg over his lap. He grinds down once, lip between his teeth as Harry brings his hands up to squeeze at his waist.

“Don’t you want to be able to see, too?” Harry asks, eyebrows pulled together. Louis shakes his head and reaches for Harry’s cock, impatient and needy, but the look on Harry’s face makes him pause.

Louis doesn’t want pause. He wants to press play. And then replay. And possibly replay again.

“Fine!” Louis shouts without prodding, much louder than necessary.

But he can’t even lie to himself—this is exactly what he had in mind when he first realized there was a mirror next to the bed.

He turns so his back is to Harry’s chest and his feet are beside Harry’s on the ground, his thighs thrown over Harry’s so he’s sitting sprawled in his lap.

Louis has never felt so on-display, and it’s almost unfair because Harry is mostly hidden behind him. Just his calves, arms, shoulders, and head are visible, while every inch of Louis, from his weird patch of chest hair to his pale inner thighs, is shown in the mirror in clear, high definition.

Harry kisses his neck and tells Louis that this is the hottest thing he’s ever done before as he lines his cock up with Louis’ entrance. Louis closes his eyes as Harry pushes in, his hands pressing into the mattress as he holds his body weight up so it’s easier for Harry to get inside.

But as soon as Harry is bottomed out, Louis realizes he’ll have to go up onto his tiptoes to keep his feet on the ground as he rides him.

Which is decidedly Annoying.

But it works for a few minutes—a few minutes of Harry staring into the mirror and running his hands all over Louis’ body. A few minutes of Louis changing the angle of his thrusts until he finds the spot and gasps. A few minutes of Harry tugging at Louis’ nipple and licking at Louis’ jawline.

But in just a few minutes, Louis’ calves get sore. It’s actually tragic because he was getting so, so close.

He plants his feet on the ground and tries to keep up the rhythm, grinding rather than thrusting, but Harry seems to know exactly what’s happening because he smirks and spreads his legs wider, slowly as he pushes in even deeper than before.

Louis’ legs spread along with Harry’s as they go, and with the change in position Louis realizes now his feet can’t touch the floor at all. He can’t move anymore, and Harry’s as deep as possible, the head of his cock nudged right up against Louis’ prostate

He comes without warning, shooting up his stomach and all over his left thigh. Harry follows only moments later, gasping straight into Louis’ ear as his fingers dig into Louis’ waist.

Harry collapses onto his back after, pulling Louis along with him. With the movement, he slips out, but he’s seems so boneless and lazy that he doesn’t even bother tying the condom before he throws it into the wastebasket beside the bed.

Louis is feeling too cuddly to care. As soon as Harry lies down beside him, he twines their legs together and rests his head by his shoulder, breathing heavily.

Harry wipes the drying come from Louis’ body and then drags his fingers across the covers to get rid of it.

“What a gentleman,” Louis teases him, but there’s no heat behind his words. “I thought you were the cleanest in the frat.”

Harry’s dimples come out in full force, even cuter close up, though his eyes are droopy with exhaustion. “I am!”

“I guess that doesn’t mean much, then. I’ve been to frats before, I know the competition,” Louis continues. “It’s a miracle the condom made it to the trash at all.”

Harry closes his eyes and snuggles closer. “You still think I’m like the rest of my brothers, then? That we're all douchey frat guys?”

Louis shrugs and touches Harry’s shoulder, fingertips tingling with the gentle pressure. “Not sure. Will you still be here in the morning?”

Harry opens his eyes at the hesitation in Louis’ voice. His eyes roam Louis’ face, wide and analytical, before he presses a lingering kiss to Louis’ nose.

“I’ll still be here in the morning. I promise.”




It’s the last full day.

That’s all Louis can think as he’s lying out in the sun, his toes digging into the warm sand. Tonight will be the last sunset, the last night to stuff his face until he can’t move, the last night in Cancun.

The last night with Harry…

Louis tries to push that thought from his mind. Harry is right beside him, lying on his back with his pinkie curled around Louis’, snoring. Liam had mentioned that Harry can fall asleep literally anywhere, anytime, but to see it actually happen is something else.

Zayn sits up beside Louis and raises his sunglasses. “What’s going on over there?”

Louis blinks out of his worry and turns in the direction Zayn is facing. There’s a group of Very Drunk People attempting to create a huge sandcastle, complete with a moat and makeshift flags of decorative margarita umbrellas.

“I don’t know, but I wanna help,” Niall says. He stands and sprints to the woman who seems to be in charge of the operation without looking back. She gives him a once over and waves him away towards the back of the castle to help a fuckboy in camo shorts with shaping a wall.

“That looks fun,” Zayn shrugs. He brings his glasses back down to his nose and stands before helping Liam up, too.

“You coming?” he asks.

“Just give me a minute,” Louis says. Once they’re both trekking through the sand, Louis grabs the bottle of sunscreen and squeezes a dollop out onto Harry’s back. He rubs it in gently, careful not to wake Harry up, and then kisses the back of his head before following.

He doesn’t want him to get an even worse burn.

The sun is setting and Louis is pressed into Harry’s side, the cab’s window rolled down to let the cool evening air inside.

The sky is orange and pink, with streams of pale orange throughout. The colors remind him of childhood, of pastel art projects and happy, sunny teachers and waking up in the morning before his parents.

He curls closer into Harry’s side and wraps an arm around his shoulders. “Where are you taking me?”

Harry’s ditched the snapback and his curls are framing his face quite nicely. He looks more put together in a way, aided by the fact that he’s wearing a shirt with actual sleeves.

“It’s a surprise,” he wiggles his eyebrows and leans his head on Louis’ shoulder. “I will say it’s healthier and probably a lot tastier than the hotel’s buffet, though.”

Louis hopes his face doesn’t fall too noticeably at the word healthier.

He wouldn’t put it past Harry to be one of the types of people to cook brownies using beans to make it healthier. Someone who puts health before happiness.

“Can’t wait,” Louis smiles anyway.

It turns out to be a tiny, hole-in-the-wall vegan restaurant.

Louis knows he shouldn’t be surprised. Harry does aerobics for fun. He’s like a hotter, more masculine, trendy, suburban mom.

The restaurant is cramped, with only a few booths and tables able to fit inside the stuffy room. Harry pulls his chair out for him while the middle-aged waiter sets their menus to the tabletop and asks them what they’d like to drink.

“Is beer vegan?” Louis questions as he sits.

The WAITER looks at him like he can’t believe his ears, a cross between offended and perplexed that someone could be so stupid. Ah, Louis is one for lasting impressions.

“Um, two beers please,” Harry saves the two of them, giggling beneath his palm as he sits opposite Louis. The waiter gives Louis one last glare before he nods and leaves them.

“Is beer vegan?” Harry mimics as he hooks his ankle around Louis’ under the table. “What kind of question is that?”

Louis shrugs and pulls his menu closer to him. “I don’t know! Isn’t something vegan if it didn’t affect an animal during the manufacturing? Isn’t beer made from barley? Maybe the farms were next to each other?”

Harry gives him A Look, one with a little too much emotion, but then bites his lip as he looks down to his menu. “You’re cute.”

Louis refrains from blushing and reaches his finger out to poke Harry’s hand. “You’re okay.”

After they make their orders (one order of a stir fry mix and another of Panang Curry), Louis is again reminded that it’s their last night when he spots an unfamiliar freckle on Harry’s face.

That tomorrow he and Zayn will pack up and leave. That tomorrow Cancun will be nothing more than a memory.

He doesn’t want Harry to be just a memory.

Louis reaches forward and takes Harry’s hand in his. He’s shy about it, hesitant and unsure before Harry smiles and twines their fingers. It feels like a date—it feels like more than a Spring Fling to Louis. He doesn’t want it to end yet.

He doesn’t want to go back to failed screenplays and the same boring, old teachers and pretentious film students.

Harry feels like his orange canvas, and he’s sad he’s going to be losing him. He’s not sure how to bring it up—how to bring up the irrational mourning for a perfect week that’s coming to an end.

“So, um. When are you flying home?” Louis chokes out more casually than he thought possible.

Harry gives him a small smile and rubs his thumb over Louis’. “The day after tomorrow. You’re leaving in the morning, right?”

Louis nods out his yes.

Harry’s breath comes out hesitant. “We have a, like, fraternity thing tonight. So I’ll have to stop by in the morning to say goodbye.”

Louis lets out a short laugh even though he actually wants to cry. “When do you have to go?”

The panic on his face must show because Harry brings their linked fingers to his lips and gives them a kiss. “Not until, like, later tonight. I’m free after this for—things.”

Harry’s eyebrow wiggle makes his intentions clear. “But really—I wouldn’t want you to leave without me saying goodbye.”

“That’s good, because if you didn’t say goodbye I’d probably never forgive you.”

The conversation turns to much less depressing topics once that’s sorted out—how good Cher looks in old age, whether McDonalds is actually as bad as everyone says it is, their mutual dream of one day being rich enough to own more than one house. Louis finds himself laughing throughout the entire meal, and his food is surprisingly amazing. He’d never admit it, but Harry might be onto something with the whole vegan thing.

And when they get back to the hotel it’s just as easy. Louis lays Harry down and fucks him into the mattress as they whisper things Louis knows he’ll blush about in the morning.

It feels like it’s tinged with sadness, like a premature goodbye, but it’s good. It’s nice. They fall asleep with their noses touching, fingers lingering over bare skin and toes rubbing up against calves.

And when Louis wakes in the morning, Harry’s gone.


DAY 7 


“Louis, he’s not coming…”

“He was the one who said he wanted to say goodbye so badly!” Louis shouts.

He doesn’t mean to take it out on Zayn. In fact, he knows it isn’t Zayn’s fault and that he’s wrong for yelling, but he needs to yell at someone. He needs to yell something.

Because he and Zayn have to check out in ten minutes, but Harry’s still nowhere to be seen. He’s not in his hotel room and he wasn’t at breakfast and he’s definitely not in their hotel room. There’s no trace of Harry anywhere—not a hair tie or his stupid red snapback or a shirt left smelling like him.

“He wouldn’t… like… I didn’t even get his last name,” Louis pouts.

“Louis, you’re being so dramatic,” Zayn rolls his eyes as he zips up a toiletry bag. “I have Liam’s number. I’m sure I can ask him for Harry’s, too.”

Louis wills his eyes not to water up. “But it’s not the same. If I ask, it’s because I wanted him. If he came to ask me for my number, it’s because he wants me. There’s a difference.”

Zayn gives him a pitying look.

“He promised me.”

“Aw, babe,” Zayn drops the shampoo he was trying to stuff into his travel bag in favor of walking to Louis and wrapping an arm around his shoulder. “I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding. Something probably came up. They’re in a fraternity. Who knows what they get up to at night.”

Louis looks to the floor and feels a stab of anger. “Fuck frat boys.”

“Okay, but fuck frat boys, too,” Zayn wiggles his eyebrows.

Louis pulls away and kicks at a stray towel on the floor. “The sex wasn’t even that good. Frat boys are all talk, no cock.”

At this, Zayn lets out a snort. “That’s definitely not what you were saying to me yesterday.”

Louis falls onto the bed in a show of defiance. “Would it be creepy of us to stop by their room? Just to check one more time? Maybe they were just sleeping?”

Nobody answers their knock. Louis pretends it doesn’t matter.

Security sucks. Flying sucks. Everything sucks.

Louis resents that he has to take off his belt to step through a metal detector. He resents that the closer he gets to the front of the line, the closer he is to leaving Cancun for good, and everything that came along with it.

He resents that Harry never came back to see him. He resents that he somehow grew almost attached to a frat boy that chews gum like a cow and thinks snapbacks are cool. He resents that he’s feeling so abandoned by a person he’s known for a week.

He kind of resents himself, but he’s trying not to be so negative.

“Zayn, can we smoke and eat chicken nuggets when we get back?” Louis asks. It seems like a good, familiar action to come home to.

Zayn, weed, and chicken nuggets. That is Louis’ home.

After having his Passport checked, Louis finds himself pulling his shoes off and placing them in a basket, along with his belt and phone. The plunk sounds like the ending credits to a movie to him.

His Amazing Spring Break is over.

“Can you come through here and put your arms up around your head?” the TSA AGENT asks, eyes bored and blank and she beckons Louis closer. Louis nods and steps inside the machine, his heart suddenly racing even though he knows there’s nothing to fear.

There’s nothing metal on him. He is a law-abiding citizen (for the most part.)

Zayn follows once Louis gets the go ahead to pass through. Louis buckles his belt and puts his shoes back on, interest vaguely piqued by a commotion that seems to be taking place on the other side of security.

Zayn glances over his shoulder just as a woman falls the floor and yells out in surprise. Confused, Louis slips his phone and wallet into his pocket and stands on his tiptoes to better see what’s going on.

And he’s sure he must be dreaming, because it looks to him that Harry is helping some poor, frazzled woman up from the floor and apologizing incessantly.

It’s possible he’s seeing things from a weeklong overabundance of sun.

“Is that—?” Louis begins to ask, but Zayn beats him to it.

“Harry!” Zayn yells. The TSA agent looks less than pleased and sends them both an icy glare.

“Louis!” Harry shouts over the crowd, his voice hoarse.

Which is great. Harry probably spent all night sucking someone else’s dick, and that’s why he ditched him.

“What?” Louis yells anyway, bitter.

“I didn’t get to see you this morning!” Harry yells.


“I’m going to need both of you to stop yelling,” the TSA agent reprimands Louis and Zayn. “Either you get on the other side or he gets in here with a valid boarding pass.”

Louis makes a split second decision and begins to dash over to Harry, but he TSA agent grabs him behind his collar before he can get through the gate.

“I’m going to need you to go around, sir,” she states coldly.

Louis feels like stamping his foot to the ground like an insolent five year old and throwing a tantrum because Harry is literally right there. He’s right there.

Nonetheless, he zips past Zayn and goes up the stairs after yelling to Harry that he’ll be there in a moment. It takes a few minutes to navigate the area and find the exit stairs, during which time he runs into a child that can’t be over the age of seven and narrowly avoids creating a chain reaction of falling domino-people because the airport is too crowded for Louis’ convenience, but finally he emerges from the exit and rushes back to security.

He finds Harry, hands stuffed into the pockets of his tight jeans, surrounded by what looks to be half his frat.

And Louis’ mind blanks.

“Uh, hi,” Harry looks up at Louis through his eyelashes.

“Hi,” Louis says. The distance between them feels too great.

“I got back as soon as I could, but when I got to your room it was locked.”

Louis can see the bags below Harry’s eyes, the way his hair is messy and unkempt. “Have you not slept? Where were you?”

Harry grimaces and scratches behind his neck. “That’s not what’s important.”

“How am I supposed to forgive you if you won’t even tell me what happened?” Louis asks. He crosses his arms over his chest and tries to ignore everyone’s eyes on him.

Harry steps closer, effectively shielding him from a few people. “It’s fraternity stuff.”

“Why can’t you tell me?” Louis complains. He’s so tired of Harry’s stupid frat getting in the way of things.

“I can’t tell you because you’re not a brother and we’re not married. It’s, like, rules. I could get in trouble.”

“Is that—that rule is so stupid. I can’t believe you actually take them seriously.

Louis loses all of his patience and grabs Harry’s hand. He pulls off a blue ring and slides it onto his ring finger.

“Now we’re married and you have to tell me.”

Harry’s jaw goes slack as he glances down at Louis’ hand. He swallows and looks over his shoulder, making eye contact with a big, bulky guy that probably takes steroids before turning back to Louis.

The move is bold, but it works.

“Uh… okay. So Niall got arrested.”

Now Louis’ jaw drops. “Arrested? Is he okay?”

Harry nods and slides his hands up to grip at Louis’ elbows consolingly. “He’s fine. He wasn’t actually arrested, but he was in the back of a cop car all night.”

“What?” Louis shrieks.

Harry claps a hand over his mouth. “Shh! It’s fine. He was caught doing it in an alley downtown, and somehow the police found him.”

“That sounds terrifying,” Louis laughs. “Naked and everything?”

Harry nods. “Naked. So they put him and the girl he was with in the back after giving them a second to get dressed. Ed knew Niall said he was just going out for a smoke and it’d been a while, so he goes to check to see if he’s still there. And then he sees Niall in the back of a cop car! In Mexico. So obviously he freaks out.”

“I would too!” Louis looks behind Harry, but he doesn’t see Niall.

“Yeah, we all did! So he gets some of us together and we go out there to try to bargain with the police officer. But he doesn’t speak English. And Niall is the one who knows the most Spanish, so we’re trying to communicate but we literally can’t!”

“How did you get them out?” Louis asks.

“We finally bribed him. We completely emptied out everyone’s wallets because we obviously didn’t bring much to the club. Just enough for drinks and stuff. So then Niall’s there practically hyperventilating, the girl next to him is embarrassed and alone because none of her friends came to get her, and the club is closed by now!”

“Are you fucking with me?” Louis asks, the story seeming to be more and more unbelievable.

“No!” Harry laughs. “But nobody has any money left so we have to try to walk to the hotel.”

“What?” Louis gasps. “In the middle of the night?”

“Yes! And the whole time I was complaining about how I’d met my dream guy and I was never going to see him again. And that’s why they’re all here—they got invested. I mean, except Niall. He’s in a lot of trouble and can’t leave the hotel.”

Louis feels himself blush as Harry steps closer and winds their fingers together. He’s overcome with happiness because Harry is here after everything, because Harry’s frat is taking an interest in his love life. In supporting him.

“But when I saw that you were gone, I swear my heart—”

“Louis!” Zayn’s shout interrupts them. “We’re gonna miss our flight if you don’t hurry!”

“One minute!” he shouts back, ignoring the TSA agent’s glare.

“I’ll miss you,” Harry frowns as he rubs his thumb against Louis’. “When I thought I wouldn’t see you again, I already missed you.”

Louis looks down at his feet. “I was really upset when I couldn’t find you this morning, too. It felt, like. A week wasn’t enough.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Harry almost laughs. “But that’s—the reason I really wanted to see you again was to ask if I could have your number. Or—or Facebook or something. Snapchat. Instagram. Tinder. If we could just stay in touch, somehow? If you’d be okay with that?”

“Yes,” Louis grins. “A hundred percent yes.”

Harry lets out a breath of relief as he pulls his phone from his pocket (a challenge) and gives it to Louis.

Louis bites his lip as he decides what to put his number under. Louis is much too boring. Love of Your Life and Future Husband are much too presumptuous, though he does have Harry’s ring on his finger.

He decides on Your Fake Boyfriend.

Louis hands back the phone, stomach in knots because he knows this is It. They have to say goodbye, and he’s not even sure they’ll ever see each other again.

Harry’s eyes look watery as he pulls Louis in for a hug. Louis holds on tight, trying to remember Harry’s scent and the way his shoulders feel and even the exact hue of his stupid red snapback.

But Louis can feel Zayn’s eyes on him and the clock on the wall is urging him to hurry up, so he pulls away, hands to Harry’s shoulders.

But before he can pull away Harry drags him in for a kiss. It’s short but heated, Harry’s mouth uninhibited. Louis clutches at Harry’s curls like he’ll never let go and ignores his erratic heartbeat.

It’s over too soon. When they pull away, Harry toys at the ring on Louis’ finger and tells him to keep it.

“You promise you’ll, like, actually text me?” Louis asks, just to be sure. It’s truly a gamble to give numbers one-sided.

Though if Harry came all the way to the airport to see him without sleeping, it doesn’t feel like too much of a gamble.

“I promise.”

Louis steps back into line for airport security with a new ring on his finger and the guarantee of a future text message. And even though he watches Harry and the rest of his fraternity walking away until they’re out of sight, and his heart feels like it’s sinking, it’s enough for now.


A Day Later


Hey fake boyfriend, it’s harry