Chapter 1: Prologue
Harry would be lying if he said he wasn't scared when he woke up two years ago on the streets of New York. So he's not going to.
Anne, Robin, and Harry were on a holiday for Harry's fifteenth birthday. Little did he know, it would be the worst birthday in his life. On February first at two in the morning, Harry woke up with an aching back and the city's lights casting broken iridescence on his face. The pavement of Times Square was as expected hard to sleep on. The bright lights coming from each and every angle imaginable weren't as beautiful to Harry as they were the day before. So Harry cried. Of course. He cried like he'd never cried before and he cried until he ran out of tears.
If Harry's parents hadn't set him out on the street. He could be in his last year of school and enjoying life like a normal teenager instead of sitting against hard walls of expensive stores with an empty cup that was made for people to put money in beside being used for a hot cup of coffee that Harry had desperately needed.
People have gave him money, of course. But the thing is, unfortunate really, is that only about twenty people during the period of two years — three in February — have given him money. All of it has either went on food or clothing he absolutely needs. He's figured the people of New York out — too heartless, tight, or just don't care enough to give money and help him out. Now, all Harry needed was a friend during the holidays, or just whenever. That'd be great.
Two weeks before Christmas, and today was Louis' last day of school before holidays. He was finally taking his annual trip to New York and he couldn't be more ready to leave.
Sure, it was his senior year, but he honestly just wants to get it done and over with. Also, he really loves spending his birthday, Christmas, and New Years in New York.
The first time Louis had been to the city was when he was eleven, and he fell in love. It was truly a magical moment once he stepped foot in the middle of Times Square, and he never wanted to leave. Louis believed that this was the place he could make his dreams come to life. Everyday, he would play out in his head what would happen after he graduates this year. He would go to Columbia University in upper Manhattan, get his degree in theatre, and that's where his mind-movie would stop from interruptions of his father, Troy's, voice would make an appearance in his head, telling him “Theatre is for poofs, be a man.”
As cliché as it sounds, Louis' father wants him to follow his footsteps in becoming a lawyer. Trust Louis on this, he wishes he could like and want to become what his father is, but unfortunately, that's not what he desires. He desires to become an actor — or a drama professor for college teens who have the same dream as him, the reason for Louis not wanting to be a regular teacher in secondary school is because honestly, those kids are pricks. Currently, Louis thinks, the coward himself is, he still hasn't expressed to his father what he is actually fascinated, passionate, and completely caught up by the drama and theatre department. Louis had dropped a few hints about it around his father, on which he had picked up on and Troy has been making a joke out of it since.
However, Louis wants to save that serious conversation with his dad after he gets his acceptance letter from Columbia. And if Louis so happens to end up with a big, red palm print on his cheek by the end of said conversation, then he'll already be able to leave since he'll have his spot in Columbia.
Besides that, this time when Louis and his parents go on holiday this year, it will be different. Louis decided that he would want one of his mates to join him in on his adventures of strolling around New York, and none other than Liam Payne, would do the job.
Sighing, Louis zipped up his suitcase — procrastination at it's finest — and rolled it over to the empty spot beside his door. Louis checked the time on his phone, it was nearly two in the morning. After he decided it was time for him to get a bit of sleep before the plane ride tomorrow morning, (well today), he plopped face down on his bed.
Lazily, Louis pulled the comforter up over him with a dopey smile on his face because hopefully this will be the last time he would be visiting New York, when he could and would be living there in almost a year. It was exciting to him to say the least.
Chapter 2: I.
Hi guys, so this is my first chapter of this fic! Also, this is my first time posting on here! I used post on Wattpad, but that is obviously a lost cause if you guys are picking up what I'm putting down. Anyways, enjoy xx
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
After almost a seven hour flight, Louis, Liam, and Louis' parents have finally arrived at Louis' aunt's house in Manhattan. Sure, Manhattan was only a few minutes away from downtown regular NYC and Louis wasn't even complaining — neither were the rest of the three.
Louis hugged his aunt, Elsie, once he stepped into her big house.
See, Elsie had the desire to become a surgeon and she is spending money, and not just on bills either. Elsie is two years older than Louis' mum, Jay, putting her at 48 and Jay at 46. They both have jobs in the medical field and are both making money more than needed for the average person. Elsie's accent is on the verge of becoming American from living here for a while and Louis absolutely adores it. He secretly hopes that'll happen to him once he moves here and stays a while.
“How've you been, bud?” Elsie asked Louis as she releases her grip around his waist.
“Never better if I'm being quite honest with ya, Aunt Els.” Louis grinned, excitedly. The expression faltered a bit when Louis saw that her gaze was adverted somewhere else but him, his blue eyes followed to where she was staring and then he had felt like he completely lost his manners.
“Oi! Els, this is my friend Liam who's s'pose to be staying too!” Louis motioned toward Liam. Liam waved at Elsie as she said, "I could have figured that out!" Everyone laughed, because yeah, it was funny.
“Anyways, Louis, you can stay in the same room you usually do. And Liam, the guest room is across from Louis'. Make yourself at home.” Elsie smiled at the two boys as they made their way to their rooms.
Elsie turned to Louis' parents, “So, cuppa anyone?”
“We'll both take one, I want sugar — no milk. Troy will have milk and sugar both.” Jay replied as her and Troy sat on the couch, completely exhausted.
“You sound like you have a lot on your mind, Johannah.” Elsie pointed out. Elsie never used Jay's name unless she was being serious.
“Yeah — yeah. S'just that Louis' senior year is killing me. Lots of time has been thrown down the drain from fooling with it.” Jay sounded ungrateful, and it angered Elsie a bit. No time can be 'thrown down the drain' when you're spending it with your child. The thing is, Jay and Troy have sort of, really always been like that.
“Well, better enjoy the time you have with him now because who knows when you'll get to see him when he goes off to college.” Elsie's arms were supporting her weight as she leaned on the black marbled counter. She's had that memory of a few years ago of the doctor telling her that she's not fertile in the back of her mind since Jay had first complained about having her time spent on her only child. All the while her sister isn't even capable of having one herself.
“I know but he can just be so difficult sometimes and I don't know what to do with him.” Jay said, patting Troy's knee, silently telling him to back her up.
Elsie pushed her long brown hair behind her ear as she went to take the tea off. “I think Louis is a great boy.” Elsie voiced from the kitchen, slightly irritated and angered. She walked over to Jay and Troy with their tea, and sat on the leather couch opposite to them, crossing one leg over the other.
“He is. Don't get us wrong, Ellie. But like Jay said, he's starting to get a bit out of control.” Troy put his two cents in. Like anyone needed it.
“How's that, Troy?” Elsie asked, genuinely curious. She uncrossed her legs and propped her head by putting it in her hands as her elbows rest on her knees.
Troy sighed over dramatically, “He's been talking nonsense about wanting to go to Columbia University, to become an 'actor'.” He put air quotes around the word, “That just won't do. I want him to become successful and not waste his time on something that he won't even earn minimum wage. Not to mention all the comments he'll be getting once people back home find out what he wants to do in life.” Troy cockily adjusted the collar on his shirt.
They're implying that boys who act and are in the drama department are gay — unfortunately it's just another stereotype. Elsie had almost forgotten about her sister and bother-in-law's morals. Not that being anything but straight is morally wrong, but it is in that household, and it's about the same for mostly everyone else in Doncaster. She had also almost forgotten about how close minded people are from home.
“Sounds reasonable.” Elsie lies. She doesn't want to cause a fuss for Louis' sake, and because it's their first day back to the city. But before this trip is over, she'll definitely speak her mind.
“Lou! We need to go to town and just look! It's my first time here and from what I've already seen, it's incredible. Just the aroma in the air and environment excites me. So please?!” Liam pulls on Louis' jumper sleeve, resembling more to a kid at a toy store than anything else.
The city is in fact incredible, Louis thinks. And it's never lost it's spark ever since that first time he's visited. Louis is excited too, of course. He's better at containing it this time around because his parents have kind of shot down his excitement and absolute admiration for the city. They've turned New York out to be a bad thing, and Louis wants it to change. So yeah, maybe just taking a regular stroll around the city that never sleeps will be a magnificent mood raiser.
Louis rubs the tiredness out of his eyes, he caves, “Sure — yeah, let's get a cuppa. There's this diner right in the middle of Times Square. S'truly a stunner.” Louis opens one of his suitcases — they'll be here until New Year's is over so yeah, more than one case was necessary. “Lemme get dressed into something more presentable, and we'll be off. We can do more than go to the diner, Liam, if you want.” Liam nods eagerly. Louis grins, his excitement finally seeping out of him. Liam leaves Louis to change.
They both can barely contain their eagerness when they strut out the door, into a bright yellow taxi cab.
It was nearly 20 degrees at noon when Harry had woken up, shivering. Just as per usual.
He looked in his money cup, and there was only two dollars, but it still helps, no matter what the amount is.
Harry is in a thin, ripped, black sweater and a pair of dirty, gray sweatpants. His hair was tousled, curls going in every direction, wildly. The last time he checked himself was two days ago when he felt strong enough to stroll around and only able to look at himself in the reflection of stores that contained stuff that was worth more than his whole life. However, recently, a cold's came over him and he hasn't felt too up to par.
The Burberry store that Harry was sitting beside, had their bright lights from inside illuminating all the people who walked by. It all just reminded him of what he didn't have — family, friends, food, warm clothes, money, and happiness.
He wondered what he would spend his two bucks on. Maybe a small fry at McDonalds, or a half off scarf. Anything will do. It just has to be something he needs. He heard his stomach growl, so McDonalds it would be.
When Harry had gotten back to his spot outside of the Burberry store, he started thinking of his family.
Anne and Des were always lovely people — no question whatsoever. Though, like every parent, they had their moments.
When Harry was set out, at two in the morning on his birthday, he was rendered unconscious from chloroform, by his parents. That day, they were supposed to go shopping anywhere Harry had wanted, but apparently, that didn't happen.
A one week before their trip to New York and before Harry's parents threw him in the streets, Harry had gotten into a huge argument with his parents. Before all of this had happened, Harry lived in a massive house with everything he ever needed. Harry's dad was the CEO of Tesco, while his mum was a funeral director. So yes, they were basically at the top.
Harry was spoiled, to put the situation in one word. Harry would whine — literally when he wouldn't get what he wanted. If he wanted the newest iPhone, he'd get it, if he wanted to get his room expanded, his parents paid for it and so on. One day, Harry had cried because wanted a brand new black Ferrari, and his parents didn't have that much money to spend on one thing that could be spent on themselves for something more worthy of that much money. And that was the last straw and argument. Anne and Des had finally had enough of Harry's spoiled attitude. Of course it was a really nonsensical reason to abandon him. And Harry still doesn't know why he's here, alone, in New York. He never thought of that being the reason why his parents left him. Also, Harry knew his mum didn't plan on having him anyways, so she thought there was no use. Harry never lets his parents slip his mind while he probably never even crosses theirs.
Nothing is ever taken for granted again by Harry. He wishes he could get into school, get caught up with what he's missed and get a good education. Harry wishes he could get meat on his bones. Wishes to have a roof over his head and heavier clothes on his body. Harry wishes many things, but they never come.
What he doesn't know is that his wishes just might come true in a couple days.
As you guys have inferred, the chapters will gradually get longer. Thanks for reading!
Chapter 3: II.
Sorry for any mistakes that I have made! Enjoy!
Three days. Three days since Louis, his parents, and Liam have started their vacation at New York.
So far, Louis and everyone else had been shopping and sight seeing the places they had wanted. However, Louis has yet been to his favorite store — which is Burberry.
Louis is hoping that he can get away from his parents, aunt, and Liam for a bit to go to his favorite place in all of New York. He also wants time to himself for hour, hell, even ten minutes will be good to have to himself.
Now, Louis and Liam are walking around Times Square with Aunt Elsie, Troy, and Jay. It'll be hard to get away from Liam, Louis thinks, because this is Liam's first time here. And Louis' parents told him to stay really close to them. Liam has been basically in Louis' shoes today with how close he's walking with him.
Louis huffs, frustrated with everyone because they haven't given him air to breathe, "I'm just going to go take a wee, Liam. And mum?" Jay turns to face her son instead of looking at the fairly ugly striped purse that's in the Prada store, she has a questioning look on her face, waiting for Louis to speak, "What is it, Louis?" She asked, bitterly and aggravated.
"Can I go across the street to find a loo since they don't have any in here?" Louis asks, a look that was between desperate and begging sparkling in his eyes.
Jay nods reluctantly after a beat of thought, "Be careful, Lou, you know how crazy some people are out there. Why don't you take Liam with you?"
"Because when I do find somewhere to piss, Liam will be left outside alone! And I don't want to put that kind of pressure on him." Louis lies, well sort of. He doesn't want to leave Liam out by himself, but he doesn't even need to piss.
Jay huffs dramatically, "I guess, Louis. Be back in five or I'll turn you to the police as missing." She turns back around to the shelves of purses.
Louis nods thankfully. He rushes out of the store and sighs as he gets a breath of crisp, fresh air to himself for the first time in seventy two hours. It feels good more than Louis would like to admit.
The sixth former rounded the corner into an abandoned alley, which was a short cut to the opposite side of the street — where Burberry is located.
"Oh the sweet dread of having my mother find out about me sneaking over here." Louis whispered to himself, already more than halfway through the alley.
When Louis gets to the end of the alley, he instantly sighs in relief from being away from his family for a while.
On this side of the square, it appears to be much more busier than the other side. Frantic, really.
Louis walks maybe ten feet before he's right in front of this favorite store, he's sure that if marrying shops were legal, he'd be the first one waiting at the altar for the classic Burberry plaid to walk down the aisle.
As Louis is about to walk in the warm store, he sees a teenager, who looks his age, sitting on the sidewalk in front of the store's window.
Something pulls in his heart and mind, telling himself to walk over to him. The guy looks like he's not securely stable, Louis thinks, and that's what makes him drag his feet over to the boy that has his knees drawn up to his chest to keep the warm heat from flowing out of his pale, skinny, feeble body.
"You alright mate?" Louis asks slightly scared because this situation is so unfamiliar for him.
Harry looks up at him in astonishment, finally someone was talking to him who was the same nationality of him. "I," Harry coughs, he's coming down as ill, "I, um, yeah. I just don't have anywhere to live or anything to eat or any friends or family. Other than that, I'm fine." Harry really tried not to sound bitter towards this stranger, but it was more than obvious that Harry was not 'alright'. Besides the fact that this — very handsome — guy is actually talking to him for the first time in two years, it's even better because this boy has got to be from back home.
"So you're a beggar." Louis assumed, then he put his hand over his mouth very quickly, as if that took back what he said. Harry just turned his head the opposite direction of Louis.
To be fair, Louis was brought up in a rich family, of course. He was also brought up in a very blunt and blatant family. His family is known as the most ruthless family in Doncaster. But Louis was known as the down to earth one of the family, he can be a bit snappy at times but everyone forgives him because he means well.
This boy in front of Louis looked like he was about to bawl. Louis shuffled his feet nervously and awkwardly before he spoke again, trying to get a clean slate, "What's your name?" He asks, no answer.
Louis huffs, crossing his arms over his chest and jutting his right hip out, "Look, here, um," Louis starts off, thinking of a name, "Curly." Harry looks up at Louis, green eyes sparkling through the tears welling up. Louis continued, "I'm sorry for calling you a beggar, tramp, or whatever. I am obviously not used to running into people like you. Always have struggled to bite my tongue."
"M'names Harry." Harry says in a monotone voice, not looking up at Louis. Louis shifts from his audacious stance to a more subtle pose, actually noticing his accent this time around he talked. "What?" Louis asks, completely off guard by this guys accent that he hadn't noticed the first time he talked.
"I said that my name is Harry." Harry repeats, a bit annoyed, this time he does share eye contact with the boy standing in front of him.
"Well, 'Arry," Louis starts, "Want some cash? Will 20 dollars do you well?" Accent coming in very strong now. He pulled his billfold out.
Harry looks taken aback, it was his turn to ask his question, "Wait, what?" He looks up at Louis. If this petite boy ends up giving Harry twenty dollars, then Harry wouldn't even know what to do with it.
"You heard me, Harry." Louis said, voice stern, but his sympathetic grin was not tying into it, pulling out his money and putting it in Harry's cup.
"I-I guess, but um, you don't have to do that." Harry stammers. He draws his knees up closer to his chest.
"Wait, but wait." Harry says urgently, just before Louis is about to leave.
"What is it, curly?" Louis lifts his head to face the boy he just met. "You never told me your name? And will you be back, like tomorrow?" Harry asks Louis. He is so curious as to why this boy wants to give a guy like Harry twenty dollars out of the blue. However, it is the nicest thing someone's done for Harry all year.
"It's Louis Tomlinson." Louis says without hesitation. "And will I be back?" Louis repeats Harry's question as the green eyed boy nods, "Yeah, sure, maybe I can make a different first impression on you than I did when I called you a beggar."
"It's fin—" Harry gets cut off.
"Christ, it's not," Louis tugs at his quiff, "and I feel bad for it. So yes, I'll come see you tomorrow, for a bit. I'll be here around seven tomorrow morning." Louis says, it comes out more sentimental than he meant but it's okay because it lit Harry's whole demeanor up.
Louis definitely isn't completely heartless. It's just his parents' personalities reflect on him poorly and nine times out of ten, he wishes they didn't. He cares about people, unlike his parents and all the close minded rich people at home.
Louis starts walking again, into Burberry with a smile on his face.
When Louis and his family including Liam, got back to the house that night, it was nearly eleven o'clock, and everyone was drained of energy. But Louis couldn't sleep because he was wondering what would happen if he went back to Burberry tomorrow and that boy he met wouldn't be there? What if he doesn't even get the chance to go? So many bad possibilities can happen. Either way, Louis was excited to go back and see those sparkling green eyes again.
"Well are ya just gonna sleep all morning or what?" Louis snaps Harry awake. It is freezing currently, and he is huddling closer to Harry for more heat.
"Ugh." Harry grumbles tiredly as Louis rolls his eyes in the nicest way possible, and pokes Harry in the chest.
Harry slowly lets consciousness take over him and he rubs the sleep out of his eyes and looks at Louis, "'S Burberry your favorite store?"
Louis nods, "Yeah, here and back at home when I get the chance to go to London. Wanna go in?" He's thought about buying Harry a new coat over the past few hours since he's met him, and he really just wants to go see if there's one that he is able to get for Harry, if it's worth it.
"I wouldn't mind it, no." Harry replies, standing up and following Louis up the three stairs that led everyone into the store.
Once they get in the warm expensive store, Louis heads straight to the jackets. He looks at the prices of them, and they're way too much for Harry to have on his body while he's laying on the dirty pavement outside.
Louis whips around to look at Harry, "Sorry mate, no jacket from here. I'll get you one from Macy's, though. And a new pair of sweats. How's that?" It's not that Louis doesn't have the money, because he does, it's just that he doesn't have that money to waste on a poor boy he just met. He's sure Harry would take whatever he could get.
"You don't have to buy me any—" Louis cuts Harry off.
"Harry, I need to buy you clothes, and apparently a bottle of cologne." Louis says very bluntly with his nose pinched. Harry pulls his thin jacket up to his nose and sniffs it. Louis' comment didn't really faze Harry though, he knows he reeks of old dirty pavement, greasy hair, and just trash, really.
Then, Louis feels his phone buzz in his pocket. He fishes it out and before he answers it to hear his mum speaking on the other line, he holds his index finger up to Harry and mouths "One minute".
"Louis, where are you?" She asks, irritated with drowsiness laced throught her voice.
"I'm fine mum. I um went to Burb." Lies. "But now, I need to get some greasy American breakfast. I know how long it'll take you to get ready and all that stuff to come out here, so just don't. I–Just don't wait up. Go back to sleep." He lies smoothly, watching Harry wander around the store, not daring to put his hands on anything. Louis is slightly ashamed to tell his mum that he's found a homeless guy on the streets and is hanging out with him and buying him clothes. He just couldn't tell Harry that he's embarrassed though.
"Okay Lou, I'm trusting you. Be careful." And with that she hung up.
Harry walked over to Louis, waiting for Louis to speak. "Said I was going to eat, we have time to shop. Let's go to Macy's."
Louis dragged Harry out of Burberry and down the street, trotting past Harry's money cup. They made it to Macy's in about five minutes. And Harry was currently trying on a pair of Nike sweats, a hoodie, and a new black shirt in the dressing room of Macy's.
"H, what's taking so long? C'mon love," The pet name truly slipped past his lips, "Show me." Louis knocked on the dressing room door again, and before he could knock the third time, the door opened.
The stench was nearly unbearable but Louis knew that Harry couldn't help it. The clothing looks way better than the kit he had on just minutes ago and Louis immediately decided to buy the kit for Harry.
"That looks great! Want some new snazzy pants, too? You can even get get silk." Louis wiggled his eyebrows at Harry jokingly and Harry yelped a laugh and Louis found himself smiling at Harry not the joke.
"I seriously want some, Louis." Harry said in his most serious voice he could muster. Louis smiled and said, "'S not a problem." Louis gave Harry a small gentle push back into the dressing room for him to change back into his old kit that he would be throwing away soon, well hopefully.
Harry came out of the dressing room with his new clothes under his arms. Louis put his hand on the small of Harry's back and led him to the underwear in the boys' section of the store. Harry ran his fingers along a pair of tiger print, silk pants.
"These look so comfortable." Harry said happily, looking at Louis.
"We'll get 'em tiger." Louis gestured to them, silently telling Harry to get them off the hook.
Harry looks at the price tag, "You sure? They're 15 dollars..." Harry trails off. Louis scoffs at him, "H, s'okay. Just hand them and your new kit to me and follow me to buy them."
Harry does as Louis said. He trails behind Louis, his eyes lingering on the tinier blue eyed boy's body. Louis doesn't have to know that.
After the demure cashier rings everything up, she squeaks out, "That'll be one hundred and fifty four dollars and twenty four cent."
Louis hands the sheepish girl the money with a small mumble of thanks.
Harry is once again following Louis, but this time it's to go out of the store and onto the busy streets of New York.
Louis starts thinking as he walks in silence with Harry, back to his spot beside Burberry. His thoughts are about this boy who's walking beside him, his mind is just Harry, Harry, Harry. Louis wonders if he should come see Harry everyday, because he is genuinely worried for him. He also wonders if he should just not talk to Harry anymore after today, which would be really churlish of him. Harry is charming, resplendent, and enticing to say the least, and Louis doesn't want to unfairly abandon that. These qualities of Harry will increase, Louis thinks, once he takes a shower and washes up well. To be frank, Harry allures Louis. And Louis wants more. More knowledge of Harry and his background. More conversations with him. And basically just Harry in general — as a friend who needs someone.
As they say their goodbyes, an idea pops into Louis' head, "H," Louis' been calling Harry this all day and Harry's never showed any signs of being uncomfortable, so the nickname stays, Harry hums in response to show he's listening, "Would you mind if I take you to get something to eat, to get a bit of meat on your bones?" Louis suggests, honestly feeling sorry for the boy standing in front of him.
"I'll take you up on that offer, yes." Harry answers, shifting awkwardly.
"Okay, yeah. Um, well I've got to go now. Hope you like your new kit. I'll see you in a couple of days, yeah?" Louis says, in reference to the meal he just promised Harry.
Harry nods, "Yeah, yeah. I love them, thanks again. I'm in disbelief that you bought them for me because I don't deserve them and I'm definitely not worth your time and money. You sure you don't want to take them back?" Harry rambles, not catching Louis' eyes even for a split second.
"No, god no. They're yours. I enjoyed buying them for you. Good things come to good people and all that. S'no big deal, really, Harry." Louis puts one of his dainty hands on Harry's bicep, gently squeezing, as if to say not to worry about it.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you." Harry repeats, falling into Louis' arms and wraps his own around Louis' waist.
Apparently, Louis was surprised. The familiar stench of Harry's old clothes and unsanitary body wafted up Louis' nose, but he didn't mind because this was a moment to remember.
They pull apart, saying more goodbyes and finally, Louis' back on his tread to Elsie's house.
Louis thinks of all the ways he could possibly help Harry. He could bring him to Elsie's for a shower. Take him out to eat. Keep him hid somewhere in Elsie's house, anything to help. Louis laughs at his last thought, no way, he thinks but then again, anything can happen.
Harry on the other hand, was in Taco Bell's bathroom, changing into his new clean clothes with a grin bigger than the Grand Canyon on his lips and with thoughts flowing through his mind of Louis, the stunning, comely boy that seemed like they were never going to leave. However, he doesn't mind.