Let It Snow-Larry Stylinson
Five hours into the day, the gusts of cold air coming in from the constant opening and closing of the door sent running chills throughout the bakery. A crinkled bill didn’t fit properly in the register and continued to get caught with every opening and closing of the drawer. Harry didn’t mind, of course, because the bill getting stuck meant that there was money in the register. He removed a pair of fingerless gloves from his pocket and pulled them onto his hands, he should probably remember to turn the heat down tomorrow, the cold air always found a way in anyway. Today, he had sold far more than half the pastries he had made already, and there were still four hours until close. Although, people do generally prefer their pastries in the morning hours. Sales were going really well, the Christmas season always put people in the mood for a morning at the bakery, and for that Harry was thankful.
The door flew open and cold air burst in and traced lines up and down Harry’s spine as he shivered. He pulled his beanie further down on his head.
“A bit chilly in here, innit?”
Harry looked up to see the boy who had just walked in. Although he was a bit small, his stance and aura demanded the attention of everyone in the bakery. A few customers snuck glances at him, but none were as transfixed as Harry. The boy’s brown hair ruffled like feathers and fell haphazardly over his ears with flecks of snow stuck in it like bits of lint on a sweater. His blue eyes were a bit watery from the sting of the wind outside.
“It is,” Harry smiled a bit in return, “can I get you anything?”
“Looking for a job actually,” the boy made his way up to the counter and leaned ever so casually towards Harry. Harry felt a flutter in his stomach, “you’re hiring, yeah?”
“I am,” Harry nodded a bit too quickly, “it’s just me right now, and I’m looking for someone to stand at the counter a bit so I can work more in the kitchen”.
“Good idea,” the boy smiled, “from what I hear, this little place is great”.
A blush colored Harry’s cheeks, “well, thanks. I have the applications just down here”. As Harry reached down to grab the application, he knocked over the tip jar, spilling loose change all over the countertop. “Oh god,” Harry blushed even harder.
“Hey, I’ve got it,” the boy grinned, “promise I won’t swipe any ones” he winked.
The boy quickly placed all the money back into the tip jar as Harry pulled out an application and a pen for him. “There you are,” Harry tried to smile as he handed them off to the boy, “If you could just fill it at one of the tables, I’ll get you some tea or coffee if you’d like”
“Some Yorkshire tea would be great,” the boy smiled again, “I’ll get going on this,” he added motioning towards the application.
“Take your time,” Harry smiled.
“You want me here longer?” the boy teased.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves”.
“I’m Harry by the way,” Harry reached out his hand.
“Louis,” the boy responded, shaking Harry’s hand. Harry felt Louis’ soft hand warm his own gloved one. He marveled at how his hands could stay so warm in the bitter cold outside.
Harry reluctantly released Louis’ hand, “I’ll get that tea right out for you”.
“I look forward to it,” Louis replied, and made his way to one of the tables closer to the counter, and Harry turned to put on the Yorkshire tea.
Harry removed his beanie to place it on the counter, and pulled his dark brown locks into a bun because suddenly, he didn’t feel so cold anymore.
Harry fiddled with the corner of the paper once more, staring at the numbers scribbled across it. His phone sat just to the right of his hand, mocking him silently.
It’s not like he was unqualified. Frankly, Harry didn’t understand why this year four college student was applying for a job as petty as a cashier at a bakery. Even beyond Harry’s personal preference, Louis was obviously the most experienced and personable of the candidates.
With a sigh, Harry typed the seven numbers into his phone and waited.
“Ello?” a muffled voice replied.
“Hello, this is H-Harry from Annie’s Bakery,” Harry stuttered a bit picturing the handsome lad on the other end, “I, um, I wanted to let you know that I am really impressed with your application and I’d like to offer the position to you”.
“Wicked!” Louis interjected, “Er, I mean sounds good, yeah”
“Sorry,” Louis laughed, “just got a bit excited I guess. When could I start?”
“If you’re free tomorrow, you could come and I’ll go over how things work around here and we could go over scheduling and such”
“Sounds good,” Louis responded almost immediately, “But you do realize I’m no good in the kitchen”.
“Having second thoughts?” Harry teased.
“Absolutely not! Where else am I going to find a place to work where the boss is so fit?”
Harry’s cheeks turned bright red, and not from the cold.
“Sorry,” Louis said after a moment.
A huge gust of cold air flowed into the bakery as another customer entered. Outside, snow fell lazily down onto the sidewalk, slowly laying a white sheet over the whole city.
“It’s fine,” Harry smiled a bit too widely, “a customer’s just walked in; I’ve got to run. I’ll see you tomorrow”.
“See you tomorrow,” Louis answered, “and Harry?”
Harry shuddered slightly and the sound of Louis saying his name, “yeah?”
The customer who had just entered approached the table, “the weather’s getting worse by the day,” he observed.
“Sets the mood though,” Harry gave a small smile.
“I suppose you’re right,” said the customer. Suddenly, a large gust of wind pushed the door slightly ajar, sending in a current of chilly air. The customer shivered, “you should probably do something about that door, must be awful for you to stand right across from it all day”.
“It’s not so bad,” Harry shrugged, “would you like me to put some tea on for you?”
“Yes, please, and an apple roll as well,” the customer nodded, “but are you sure about that door, I know a good repairman”.
“It’s no issue, really,” Harry paused, “and something tells me I’ll be feeling a lot warmer tomorrow”.
“Haz, we’re sold out of snowman biscuits,” Louis called into the kitchen. After a few days of working at the bakery, Louis had taken to shortening Harry’s name in that fashion. Not that Harry minded, of course.
“Dammit,” Harry said a bit too loudly based on the giggles he heard from Louis out at the counter. For some reason, the more snow there was on the ground, the more people felt compelled to purchase the snowman biscuits rather than the Christmas tree ones.
“You planning on making another batch before closing?” Louis called again.
“Nah,” Harry replied, “if there are any left-over they’ll sit for the next two days, just suggest the trees”.
“Got it,” Louis answered and Harry returned to the fudge he was working on.
As Harry finally finished the fudge and put it in the refrigerator, Louis walked into the kitchen. Harry furrowed his eyebrows. “What’s up?” he asked.
“You have to come see this,” Louis said. He grabbed Harry by the hand, and Harry looked away to hide his blush. Louis tugged him out of the kitchen and towards the door to outside. The shop had completely emptied.
“What the hell, Louis?” Harry laughed.
“Stand here,” Louis said placing his hands lightly on Harry’s hips and adjusting him to face the door. Harry shivered slightly.
Louis opened the door and a wall of air shoved itself through the door. Huge snowflakes speckled Louis’s hair and the shoulders of his black button-down. He heaved against the door trying to get it closed. Harry rushed over and helped him close it, but the wind kept pushing it open again.
“Sorry, I was going for dramatic flair and now we’re both freezing out asses off,” Louis laughed through a few shivers.
Harry removed his beanie and gently pulled it over Louis’ head, taking extra care to cover his pink ears. A little smile crossed Louis’ face.
Louis cleared his throat, “So I guess we won’t be getting many more customers today”.
“I suppose not,” Harry sighed, “Which is too bad, since it’s our last selling day before Christmas”. Harry headed behind the counter to turn on the radio.
“The blizzard of the year has come upon us; it is advised that everyone stays inside until the storm clears up. Unfortunately, we can’t get a good idea of just how long this storm will last, and we won’t know for hours at least”
“Damn,” Harry sighed, “I don’t think I can drive home”.
“Yeah, I don’t think I can walk to my apartment either,” Louis agreed.
“There are a couple blankets in back I could go grab to keep warm,” Harry said slowly.
“You know what I could really go for,” Louis said, “a cake. After all, it is my birthday tomorrow”.
“It’s your birthday tomorrow?” Harry asked, “Why didn’t you tell me? Of course I should make you a cake!” Harry grinned from ear to ear.
“Could you teach me how to make one, maybe?” Louis asked a bit more timidly.
“Of course,” the smiled never flickered from Harry’s face.
“You’ve got a bit of flour…”
“Where?” Louis asked turning to reveal that the entire side of face was covered in flower.
Harry let out a single loud laugh, “how’d you even manage to do that?”
“Do what?” Louis’ head cocked in confusion.
“Nothing,” Harry laughed and grabbed a towel from the adjacent countertop and gently wiped the flour from Louis’ cheek. His hand lingered for a moment before placing the towel back on the countertop.
“Oh so there was nothing and you just wanted to sensually stroke my cheek then?” Louis questioned.
“Of course,” Harry teased.
Louis laughed melodically, “Just so you know,” he smiled, “I have very high hopes for this cake”.
“Oi! Don’t put too much pressure on me!”
Louis stepped beside Harry and wrapped his arm around Harry’s shoulders, lightly squeezing his arm. “I have high hopes because I know it’ll be great” he grinned.
“Well, I’d sure hope for otherwise I would’ve dropped out of university for nothing,” Harry laughed.
“You dropped out of uni?” Louis asked moving his hand down to Harry’s hip so he could face him earlier.
“Yeah, after a semester I decided that it wasn’t for me. So, I used the money I saved for tuition to buy this place, best decision I ever made,” Harry offered a small smile.
“I’d say,” Louis smiled, “this place is amazing. And, uh, you’re kind of amazing too”.
Harry suddenly became very aware of how it felt to have Louis’ hand on his waist. A blush began to cross his face, but luckily the oven timer went off and Harry rushed to check the cake.
“Is it done?” Louis asked.
“Yeah,” Harry muttered as he carefully pulled the cake out of the oven, “but we have to wait for it to cool before I can cover it”.
“Good thing we have plenty of time then,” Louis gave a closed mouth smile and his eyes scrunched up. Harry couldn’t help but marvel at how effortlessly Louis could look absolutely adorable.
“You want me to put some tea on?”
Harry smiled down at his work. He had written “Happy Birthday Louis (and Jesus)” in loopy cursive lettering. He used a deep green icing for the message and added some red piping around it on the sides of the cake as well. Not the fanciest cake, but was really special was the boy it was going to.
“Haz, I’ve been waiting forever. Are you done yet?” Louis called into the kitchen from where Harry left him out in the shop.
“Just about, be patient babe!” Harry called back and gasped quietly in embarrassment as he realized that he had just called Louis “babe”.
“Fine!” Louis sighed back, unbothered by Harry’s word choice.
Harry put away his supplies and carefully placed Louis’ cake on a tray. He lifted it gently with both hands and used his shoulder to nudge the kitchen door open. A grin crossed his face as he saw Louis sitting at a table wrapped in a blanket with a steaming mug of Yorkshire tea in front of him.
“Here we are,” Harry smiled and Louis perked up. It was getting late, and both Louis and Harry were tired, but neither was willing to go off somewhere to sleep alone. Harry placed the cake in front of Louis and went behind the counter to grab two forks.
“Haz, this is amazing,” Louis smiled at him.
“It’s nothing fancy,” Harry shrugged and sat down in the chair next to Louis.
“Seriously, this is so nice of you,” Louis leaned over slowly and kissed Harry’s cheek.
“I..it’s nothing really,” Harry stuttered, “I mean, you haven’t even tasted it yet,”.
Louis grabbed a fork and took a bit of the cake. He slowly licked the frosting off his lips. “Amazing, just as I thought”.
Harry took a bite, “I’ve done better,” he shrugged.
“No need to get cocky, Styles,” Louis laughed as he continued to eat the cake, “this cake is pretty damn good though”.
“I know what I’m doing”.
“Oh I don’t doubt that”.
Harry felt it again, the feeling that he got whenever Louis spoke his name, when Louis had placed that kiss on his cheek, the feeling that made it impossible for him to get the boy out of his head.
“You’re kind of amazing, Harry,” Louis smiled.
“That nice, but not everyone thinks so,” Harry laughed.
“What do you mean?”
“Well dropping out of university wasn’t exactly a popular decision with my family”.
“Why not?” Louis furrowed his eyebrows.
“Well, of course, it was a risk, and my parents were set on me becoming a lawyer or a doctor or something. I worked in a bakery growing up but it always seemed more like a hobby than an actual career choice, you know? But once I actually started doing something else, I realized this is the only thing I want to do”.
“Yeah, I get it, I’ve always loved acting but I never thought I’d be good enough to become an actor professionally so I’m just finishing school to teach theatre instead. I sort of wish I would’ve been like you and taken the risk but I’m sure my mum feels better knowing I’ve chosen the stable life,” Louis laughed dryly.
“Damn, I’m sure you’d like to be with your family, seeing as it’s your birthday tomorrow. Sorry about the snow”.
“My mum’s actually out of the country,” Louis explained, “I paid for her to take a trip to New York for Christmas. I know she’s always wanted to, and things weren’t exactly easy for her while I was growing up. She deserves it, but tickets to New York aren’t exactly cheap, so that’s why I applied to work here”.
Harry nodded thoughtfully.
“I guess I sort of just dumped that all on you,” Louis laughed, “Sorry”.
“I don’t mind,” Harry smiled, “that’s really sweet; what you did for your mum”.
“She deserved it though. Things were really uneasy after her and my dad got divorced. She had to support us financially by herself for a while, and I had a tough time at school especially being gay, and she was just absolutely amazing. Now it’s just a matter of working enough to pay off my loan”.
Harry’s heart skipped a beat. This gorgeous, kind, and witty boy was gay. Harry nearly shook with excitement knowing he even had some semblance of a chance with Louis.
“You can work here as long as you’d like,” Harry managed to get out.
“Well good, because I really enjoy it here,” Louis grinned putting his fork down, “cold and all”.
“You get used to the cold after a while”.
“Or maybe you find something to keep you warm”.
“Something like that”.
“Speaking of cold,” Louis stood up, “I’m freezing. I think I’ll cozy up with those blankets over there, care to join me?”
“I’d love to,” as he said this, Harry couldn’t help but notice the small smile that appeared on Louis face, a smile as alluring as the boy who showed it.
The two of them abandoned the cake, and sat together up against the wall with the two blankets Harry had found in back over them. Harry could feel the warmth of Louis’ thigh as it pressed up against his own. Harry felt a shiver rush through him but it wasn’t from the cold.
“Do you ever miss university?” Louis asked suddenly.
“Not really,” Harry shrugged.
“You never feel like there’s more you need to learn?”
“I mean, I know I still have more to learn, but I don’t have to go to college to learn it”.
“What do you mean?”
“I’ve learned some things on my own already”.
Harry gulped and looked down at his hands, “Like getting rid of the cold in here”.
Louis paused, “How?”
“You started working here”. Even in the middle of a storm, here next to Louis, Harry was the warmest he’d ever been.
Harry looked up to find Louis much closer than he’d expected. Leaning forward, Harry brushed his nose against Louis’ never letting his eyes break contact with the other boy’s beautiful blue ones. Harry watched Louis’ eye’s focus downward to look at Harry’s lips, biting his own.
Neither boy moved. A still life, frozen in the midst of a tumultuous storm.
Louis pressed his lips to Harry’s, melting the ice that froze them inches apart only seconds before. Harry wrapped his arms around Louis’ slender hips to pull him closer, his own little taste of summer on this winter day. Louis laid on top of Harry, they didn’t seem to need blankets to keep warm anymore. Harry pulled away gently.
“It’s midnight,” He nodded to the clock, his voice a bit huskier than usual, “Happy Birthday Louis”.
Louis smiled, “Merry Christmas Harry”