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eleanor isn't under any delusions about the relationship she and louis have.

she knows he and harry are fucking; there's no way they're not, not with all of the hand-holding and eye-fucking. (he doesn't even do that with her, doesn't even try to pretend he feels anything beyond the barest amount of platonic friendship towards her. not that she's bitter, or anything. she just. she expected something else when she signed up to date a member of one direction, something more real, tangible. but. she isn't complaining, not really. not even when the fans yell at her and make her feel like shit, not even when she's assaulted, time and time again, by how unreal her relationship must be, look at the proof, look at the pictures, he doesn't really love you. she's not bitter.)


but - she can hardly blame him, not when harry looks like that, with those curls and those fucking lips. 


she wants him, face pressed against her cunt, licking her out until she's screaming. she wants him, long, piano-player fingers sliding into her, playing a melody only he would know. she wants him, fucking into her, hard, until she's screaming, writhing against the sheets, back arching, coming without a care for anyone but herself.


she wants him, but she's with lou; ostensibly with lou, because it isn't as though they're putting up the facade, anymore, not really.


lou doesn't bother to try. he holds her hand, but it's limp, barely there, and he smiles at her in a different way, now.


(she likes to pretend he once loved her like he said he did, like she loved him, but as the days go on and they grow apart she wonders if that was the case and feels in her bones that it wasn't.)


lou still smiles at her, though, still kisses her fingertips when she's just that upset, and she can't be angry at him, not when he acts like that.


*


(she comes to lou and harry's flat, one day - harry invites her over, voice pitched deeper than usual, asks don't you want to see me, eleanor? it's been so long, darling and she breathes out white-sharp, whispers yeah, sure, as though she's fooling anyone with her nonchalance, as though harry doesn't know how much she wants him.


they hang out like old friends, eleanor leaning back against lou's chest, and it's nice - but later, when they think she's asleep, she hears them fucking, harry's whispers of "you want more, louis?" and lou's moans of approval, of want.


she wants both of them, in that moment, and neither of them for fucking with her like this, and she feels her stomach twist, her breaths come out shorter, but she makes herself stay still, keep breathing.


in the morning, neither of them say anything about it, and she wonders just how fucking long she has to keep up this charade.)


*


eleanor knew lou wanted harry from the beginning.


after all, it's not as though she's dumb, just because she's dating him; she's not blinded by love or any of that shit. 


she's accepting of the feelings louis has; in all honesty, she wants him to tell her, wants to be there when he tells her how he's fucking harry behind her back, as though it's some god damn secret, as though he knows how to keep things quiet. 


he'll tell her, and he'll be sorry. maybe he'll mean the apologies (but probably not, because harry makes him happier than he deserves). 


and then she'll stay with him, as far as the public eye knows. she'll stay with him, because whether she wants harry or not, (and oh, god, she does) she knows how hard it would be for him if he didn't have a girlfriend to fall back on.


she'll stay with him as long as he'll have her. she feels pathetic, but. at least she's not deluding herself into thinking it's anything more than a cover-up.


*


(harry fucks her, one night, when they're both a little bit intoxicated. lou's gone, off with lee-yum and zayn and niall, and then harry's looking at her, raising an eyebrow.


"i want to fuck you," he whispers, leaning across the table, kicking her, light, on her shin. it's probably supposed to be sexy but eleanor wants to laugh, shake her head, because he seems so fucking young in that instant.


"do you?" she whispers instead of laughing, leans so she could kiss him, if she wanted. she wants, she wants, and there's a voice in the back of her head telling her how awful this is but she doesn't care, not when harry's here, looking like this, acting as though he wants her like she wants him. they're in the back of a dark bar and they won't do anything here, wouldn't dare, but the possibility is there, weighing on both of their minds.


harry nods, quick. "and you want me, too," he says, all confidence and false bravado.


she smirks at him, raising an eyebrow. "think i'm going to leave," she says, standing up, and ruffles his hair. "you can come back with me, if you want."


he stares at her but follows her into the taxi, back to the apartment, back to each other.


they fall into harry's room, and he kisses her, hard, hands sliding up underneath her blouse, fingers touching her skin, trembling a bit from the alcohol.


"this is a bad idea," she whispers, but she doesn't move away, pulls him closer, falls back onto the bed.


harry grins at her, bright in the dark. "i don't think so," and he leans down, bites at her hipbones, makes her moan, soft, in the back of her throat.


(she comes three times, that night (his mouth his fingers his cock), and harry once, deep inside her. she groans and locks her ankles around his back, pulls him closer, closer, and his hair tickles her chin, her chest.)

after, she looks at him for a long while.


"lou and i - we're together," he finally says, biting his lip. "you should know."


she laughs.)


*


louis never really tells her.


she doesn't make him.


after she has harry, it seems crueler to draw it out, when he doesn't know about her, either. (she hopes he doesn't know. he shouldn't have to hear something like that, not when he cares so much for harry (more than he ever did for her, the cynical voice in the back of her head likes to insist when she's feeling particularly shit)).


she hears them, more than once, when she stays with them on odd occasions between trips, and she thinks about the sounds harry makes when she's alone in her room. she thinks about harry, poised above her, so quiet, and then pretends he'd wanted it like she had, had made the sounds he makes with lou.


she comes most violently, then, fucking herself on her fingers, and she wants harry (again, again) so much it almost hurts, but.


*


"i know about you and harry," she says, instead, one day, when she and lou are walking along the pier, right on the water.


louis turns to look at her, eyes wide beneath the beanie, and she's so glad no one's recognized them today because she needs to get this out.


"i'm not mad," she says, and the memory of harry assaults her in that moment - him inside her, biting into her neck. she has to close her eyes against the memory. "i just - thought you should know. you don't have to pretend."


"oh," and lou looks down. "i'm -"


"if you say 'sorry' i will hit you," and her voice is falsely bright but he pretends to believe her.


he nods.


they walk along the pier, and halfway through lou grabs her hand, linking fingers, tight.


she closes her eyes, and breathes.