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Never Too Late

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Harry’s always had a thing for the color blue.  He smiles to himself when he pulls up to his temporary new home.  The two story house is a gorgeous aegean blue, the roof is different shades of grey throughout with a wrap around porch that ends with a beautiful matching gazebo.  The front door is light-blue with a silver doorknob that unlocks easily as he enters the threshold, suitcase in hand and guitar strapped to his back.

He does a quick assessment of each room when he’s inside, beginning with the kitchen.   Marble covers all of the countertops with mahogany cabinets surrounding the space, and silver appliances--including a wine cooler which Harry makes a mental note to stock up later.  The living room includes a massive flat screen television and a black leather sectional with reclining chairs.  The stairs that lead to the second floor are covered in an ivory colored carpet.  There’s a wide corridor, and Harry looks for the master bedroom.  He opens the guest room, bathroom, and a linen closet before getting there.  There’s a king size bed covered with a fluffy teal comforter with white lilies adorning it, piled with matching pillows.  There’s a wide bay window that takes up nearly the entire side of the wall with a seating area--Harry can already picture himself using it as a reading nook.  There’s a huge oak tree right outside the window, and Harry can’t wait to see what it looks like in the fall.  The ensuite includes a bathtub big enough to fit his entire family, and a separate shower with what looks like sprays that come in all directions.  

Harry unloads the guitar on his back and throws himself on the bed, extending his arms and legs like a starfish.  He takes a deep breath, everything smells fresh like lavender and lemon...his thoughts get interrupted by the ringing of his phone which he answers without looking, already knowing who it is.

“Hey Niall.”

“Hey Haz!  How’s it going, how are you settling in?”  he asks.

Harry takes a quick look around again, still basking in his new temporary home, “Great, yeah just finished looking through the house.  Everything seems to be in order.”

“Great!  That’s good to hear,” he says, “So, I just got off the phone with the label,” he begins tentatively.

Harry rolls his eyes even though Niall can’t see him, “What do they want now?”

“They just wanted to check in.  I told them you were very aware of the amount of time you had to get this album ready, but you know them, time is money and all that,” Niall tells him.

“Tell me something I don’t know.  I’m sure they’re worried I won’t be able to make them as much money now that I’m out,” Harry says bitterly.  

Harry recently came out of the closet to the public, after years of PR relationships to cover up the fact that he was gay.  He’d been discovered right before he was to start Uni, and he was tied down by all sorts of contracts and NDAs.  Just last year he was finally able to sign on to a different label as well as a new management team, bringing Niall with him, refusing to let anyone else be his manager.  He didn’t trust anyone like he trusted his best friend.  His team had been working on his coming out and Harry was eventually in a glass closet, however, things got delayed a bit when he had to cancel his last tour.  Harry’s voice had given out and he had to have vocal chord surgery.  After the operation, and while he was in recovery, his team thought it best to have him come out, with a simple youtube video from Harry telling the entire world who he truly was.  He gave one interview with James Corden, and that was that.  He’s been hiding away, recovering and waiting for the media to settle down.  Apparently his coming out had been considered a bombshell, and the media couldn’t stop talking about it.

So Harry picked up and left.  He left LA behind and decided to escape to work on his next album.  His label gave him six months to come up with the new material before he had to start recording again.  His label is afraid that Harry’s career might be over, not just because of the coming out, but because they’re not sure if he can sing the same way again, even though his doctor said he’s doing great and cleared to sing again.  Either way, Harry feels like he has a lot to prove, not just to his label and the media, but to himself as well.  

Here he is in Highland Park, Illinois.  He’d always wanted to spend an extended period of time in Chicago.  He’d never really had the time to truly get to know the city whenever he’d come on tour, and on his time off he’d taken advantage to spend as much time with his family as possible.  Instead of staying in the heart of the city, Harry decided to rent a house just a short drive away, so that he could still maintain some sort of anonymity while getting to explore the beautiful city.  He heard Highland Park has housed many famous Chicago athletes and artists.  He heard Michael Jordan used to live around here, and supposedly Billy Corgan owns a tea house in town in addition to also being a resident.  While he gets to know the beautiful city, he’s also supposed to be writing and recording demos for the album, which is why he’ll probably be getting calls from Niall to check in.  Well, he’ll also want to know how Harry’s doing since they’re best friends and all.

“Harry?”  His thoughts are interrupted by Niall.

“I’m sorry, what was that?”  He asks.

“I was asking if you’ve got everything you need?  Do you want me to send you anything?”  

“No don’t worry I’m fine I think.  If I’m in need of anything I can just stop by the store or something, no worry.”  Harry dismisses it.  He doesn’t want to bother his best friend or his assistant Kelly who he’d told to go on a nice long vacation.  God knows she needs it, bless her.

“Alright, well, call me if you need anything or if you just wanna chat,”  Niall tells him.

“Thanks Niall, love you buddy,”  He says.

“Love you too Haz, bye.”

 

****

 
Harry spends the next few hours settling in.  He begins by unpacking his suitcase; he made sure to only bring the essentials.  He brought enough clothes for a couple of weeks, and plans to just do his laundry on a regular basis.  He’s not planning on doing anything fancy or going to any parties so he packed mostly t-shirts, a couple of dressy shirts just in case, and plenty of black skinny jeans.  He also brought some clothes to workout in since he plans on staying in shape during his stay.  There’s supposed to be a lake just a few minutes away, which Harry plans to explore on his morning runs.  He also packed some boots and sneakers.  It’s the end of the summer in early September, with fall just around the corner, and he’s heard marvelous things about Chicago in the fall.  

He steps downstairs to the kitchen to make a grocery list.  It looks like it’s stocked with non perishables so he makes sure to write down what is needed, planning to cook on his own as much as possible.  Harry loves to cook and he does it as often as he can.  Not only is it healthier than eating out, but the process of preparing a recipe is very soothing for him, often finding himself cooking when he’s had a stressful day or when he’s suffering from writer’s block.  He’s excited about the prospect of getting to cook just because he wants to, he’s already browsed through pinterest for recipes he’d love to try.

Harry also makes sure to make a list of other items he’ll need to buy, including his candles.  He didn’t want to risk bringing them on the plane and have them get damaged during the trip over.  Having the candles throughout the house will really help him feel more at home, at least for the next six months.  Grabbing the keys to the car he leased--a black Range Rover like the one back in LA-- he heads out the door.  There aren’t many cars on the road on this bright Sunny afternoon and it only takes him less than five minutes to get to the convenience store.  Nothing comparing to the heavy traffic from LA, although he’s heard Chicago could give them a run for their money.  He takes a shopping cart and makes his way inside the store hoping he won’t get recognized, but doesn’t think people will care.  Either way, Harry decided to wear his beanie to hide his famous long, curly locks.

Harry takes his time going through his shopping list, collecting the items he needs and tossing them into the cart.  He brought his pen to mark off the things he’s already gathered.  He’s looking down at the piece of paper examining what he needs next when he hears a high pitched whine.  Harry looks to see where the sound came from and is met with a pair of bright blue eyes with tears threatening to spill.  There’s a small boy standing in front of him, he can’t be older than three years old.  The little boy is looking up at the ceiling trying to reach something, making a frustrating noise with each movement.  When Harry looks up to see what’s got the boy’s attention he notices a red balloon floating against the ceiling lights.

“Is that your balloon little buddy?”  Harry coos.  The little boy is full on crying now, exasperated that he can’t reach the string that’s attached to the balloon, not seeming to acknowledge Harry’s presence.  Unfortunately, Harry can’t reach it either, as it’s way too high for any human to get to without a ladder.  Harry squats down to get at eye level with the little boy, who’s got one hand in his mouth covered in slobber.  His eyes are sad and Harry wishes he could get the boy’s balloon just to see him smile.  “Hey, it’s okay,”  He says soothingly, he looks around the aisle “Where are your parents?”

The boy doesn’t say anything, just continues to whimper, so Harry offers his hand.  The boy takes his hand out of his mouth to hold on to Harry, and Harry tries not to grimace at the spit covering his hand.  Harry tries to walk through the aisle to see if there’s anyone who might be the boy’s parents, but there isn’t anyone nearby who seems to be looking for him.

The boy looks at Harry, his eyes squinting in concentration as he makes a motion, his hand is extended and he’s moving his thumb against his forehead.  Harry’s confused for a moment before it hits him:  the little boy is signing.  Harry squats down to get to the boy’s level again and mirrors the same action.

“Dad?”  He inquires.  Harry learned basic sign language after having met a fan who was deaf.  He made it his mission to learn signing so that he’d be able to communicate with other fellow hearing impaired fans.

The little boy smiles brightly, his tears now long gone. He goes on to extend both hands, palms up as if he’s asking where? Followed by the previous sign which means Dad .  Harry smiles to himself at the amazing little guy standing in front of him.  

He stands up taking the boy’s hand, “Let’s go find your dad,” he tells him making the motion with his hand.  As they get ready to go Harry hears a panicked voice in the distance.

“Leo!”  He hears someone call, “Leo where are you?”  It’s a man’s voice.  Said man makes it to Harry’s aisle, he looks frantic, his eyes wide and desperate, searching.

“Is this Leo?”  Harry says gesturing to the little boy.

The man doesn’t look at Harry, but looks at the boy attached to him, relief coursing through his face, “Oh my God, Leo!”  He surges towards the little boy, taking him in his arms, Harry’s hand disconnects from the boy from the motion.  “Don’t you scare me like that again,” he mumbles into the little boy's neck, his face furrowed into it.  

“It looks like he was trying to catch the balloon up there,”  Harry informs him.  

The man startles from his embrace with the boy.  “What?”  he asks looking at Harry and then up at the balloon.  “Oh,” he says chuckling.  “Silly boy,” he says to Leo apparently.

Leo smiles bashfully, making a fist on his chest and rotating it sorry.

The man ruffles Leo’s hair with his hand, “It’s okay buddy.”  He says with his hands.

The boy’s father stands up and finally turns his gaze towards Harry and Harry’s breath hitches.  Not only is this man the most beautiful man he’s ever seen, but he knows this man.  Harry was in love with this man.

“Louis?!”  Harry asks awestruck.

And it’s like someone poured a bucket of ice water over him as the man’s mouth gapes open, eyes wide.  “Harry?!”

“Oh my God!”  Harry attacks Louis with a hug, Louis’ hand not letting go of Leo’s.  Harry quickly retracts himself, “How the heck are you?  It’s been what like…”

“Ten years,” Louis finishes for him, the shocked look still not leaving his face.

“What are you doing here?”  Harry asks, holding onto the cart in front of him.  He needs something to hold onto or else he feels like his legs will give out on him.

Louis scratches the back of his head with his free hand, “I actually live here,” he says.

“You do?”  Harry can’t help the excitement in his voice because holy hell.  Louis lives here.  Here.  He’s gonna have Louis in the same vicinity for the next six months.  He can’t believe it.  His heart thrums elated.

“Yea I moved over here after medical school actually,”  he says looking down at his feet.  Louis moved away to go to medical school at Loyola right before Harry got his first record deal.  He still remembers how sad he was having his best friend at the time so far away.

“Wow that’s great Lou...so is Leo your..”  Harry asks gesturing towards the little boy, who’s been pretty quiet.  He’s sucking on his thumb watching his dad talk to Harry.

“He’s my son,”  Louis states proudly looking adoringly at the boy attached to him.  “It’s a long story, but how long are you in town for?”

Harry smiles, “I’m actually in town for a while, I’m working on my next album.  I rented a house just a few minutes down the main road.”

“That’s great Hazza,” Louis blushes at the nickname that escapes his lips, “What are you up to tomorrow?  Want to meet up for lunch?  We can catch up while not having to stand in the middle of the cereal aisle,” Louis nods towards the rows of cereal boxes displayed throughout the aisle.  They’ve had to move out of people’s way a couple of times already, definitely not the best way to catch up with an old childhood friend.

“That sounds perfect actually,”  Harry agrees.

“Okay, then,”  Louis reaches for his pocket to fish out his phone and hands it to Harry, “Here, save your number, and I’ll text you so we can meet up.”

Harry takes the phone, Louis’ phone wallpaper is a picture of Leo wearing a bowl of spaghetti on his head.  His face covered in red sauce smiling so jovially, Harry smiles looking at it.  He taps his phone number and saves it, handing it back to him.

“Thanks,”  Louis says, “I’ll contact you,”  he hugs Harry back, “It was so good to see you Harry, I’ll talk to you soon.”

“Okay, see you,”  Harry tells him, and he squats down to meet with Leo, “And it was very nice to meet you too,”  He says pinching the boy’s cheek he signs goodbye to the young boy who in return smiles, excitedly and mirrors the same gesture-- goodbye.

Harry stands up again and catches Louis looking at him fondly, but he doesn’t say anything, just turns around to leave with Leo in tow.  Harry feels like he can’t mess up this opportunity that has just been presented to him.

 

****

 
Harry shows up fifteen minutes early to the quaint little cafe he and Louis agreed to meet at the night before.  Harry doesn’t even care that he seems overly eager, because he is.  It took him almost an hour to decide what to wear, cursing at his past self for deciding to pack so little clothing.  How was he supposed to know he was going to run into his old best friend, also known as the person Harry’s always considered to be “the one that got away.”  

Harry and Louis grew up in a small town in Michigan just outside of Detroit.  They met when Harry was in fifth grade and had to get tutoring because he wasn’t doing well in math.  Lo and behold, Louis happened to be the tutor assigned to him--Louis is three years older than him--and they quickly became inseparable.  Harry would follow Louis everywhere, and Louis would let him.  With Harry’s older sister being away at college, he often found himself at Louis’ house hanging out with his little sisters who Louis had to take care of while his mom worked the night shift as a nurse at the local hospital.  Louis’ mother, Johannah--who had recently gotten divorced-- worked twelve hour shifts and it was up to Louis to make sure his siblings were taken care of in his mother’s absence.

Johannah remarried right before Louis graduated high school, giving Louis two more younger siblings in the process.  Even when Louis started college, he’d come home as often as he could on weekends and Harry would spend time with his best friend and his family.  

Harry’s not exactly sure when he fell for Louis, he just remembers never wanting to be away from him and missing him so much when he was gone.  He felt like a moth to a flame, Louis being the bright flame making Harry couldn't get enough of.  He always want to be so close to him, often finding himself nearly kissing the older boy on several occasions.  His mouth would water as he felt Louis' warm breath against his lips at the proximity.  Harry’s heart broke when Louis had to leave to Chicago for medical school, but he was so happy for his friend.  Louis had always wanted to be a doctor and Chicago had one of the best medical schools, it was an opportunity that Louis couldn’t turn down.

Shortly after, Harry decided to compete on the XFactor when he found out it was coming to the States.  Louis was too busy with medical school to attend any of the tapings, but Harry took any chance he had to call or text his best friend.  Louis would send him good luck texts with confetti emojis right before every performance, which only made Harry work his ass off even more to try and make it to the finals.  After every show, when he was still full of adrenaline, he’d call Louis and the older boy would rave about how well he’d done.  Harry was elated to know Louis had watched him on television wherever he was.

He made it far in the competition--winning the hearts of the entire country--but eventually ended up in third place.  With all the attention and popularity he gained during the competition, Simon Cowell offered him a recording contract he couldn’t refuse.  During his rise to fame Harry and Louis kept in touch, Harry often finding himself trying to find the time to call Louis whenever he had the opportunity.  Louis was as busy as any medical intern would be, and their calls had turned into leaving each other voice messages, which eventually turned into a few texts exchanged here and there.  Finally, Harry stopped hearing from Louis, and after months of trying to reach out, he eventually gave up.

Now that he’d found his friend again, he wasn’t going to let go of this chance fate gave him.  Harry thinks that Louis is probably married--if seeing him with Leo is anything to go by--but Harry’s willing to have Louis as a friend.  As long as he gets to keep Louis in his life, he’s willing to do almost anything.

Harry is seated at a table by the window where he’s able to see the people walking about their days in the town square.  He sees when Louis arrives as he parks his pearl colored Mercedes GLS across the street.  Harry self consciously runs his fingers through his hair and makes sure he doesn’t have anything on his face as he watches Louis enter the cafe, eyes searching for Harry.  Harry waves his hand over and Louis beams and heads towards their table.  Harry stands up to greet him.

“Hey,” He says wrapping his arms around the smaller man.

“Hey,”  Louis replies returning the gesture.  This time their embrace lasts longer, neither of them seeming to want to let go any time soon.  Harry furrows his face into Louis’ hair rubbing the back of his Louis’ head.  Louis takes a deep breath and then finally they both let go.

“No Leo?”  Harry inquires.

Louis smiles, “No, my friend Sophia watches him while I’m at work,” he tells him.

“Where do you work?” The waitress interrupts for a few minutes to take their lunch orders.  When she excuses herself Louis replies, “I co-own a private practice with my best friend Liam.  I’m a pediatrician and Liam is the family doctor.  His wife Sophia is a nurse but is currently a stay at home mom.”

“Wow that’s great, Lou,” Harry says in amazement.  He’s so proud of him and how far he’s come.

Louis smiles bashfully, “Yeah, I always wanted to be a doctor, and Liam and I had always said we’d open our own practice after we finished residency.  Liam’s parents helped invest in the facility and we’ve kept it up well.  I’d say we’re doing pretty good for ourselves.”

“I’ll say,” mutters nodding towards Louis’ car and they both laugh.

“Yeah, we’ll you’re one to talk Mr. Famous Popstar,” Louis teases.

“Heeeey,” Harry pouts.

“How’re you feeling by the way?  Last I heard you were having vocal surgery,”  Louis asks in a concerned doctor tone.  It’s hot as hell.  Not to mention the flush that creeps up on Harry’s neck knowing Louis has been keeping tabs on him in the media.  

Harry subtly bites his bottom lip, “Um well I’m doing good.  Been taking it easy.  The doctor said I should be good to go after my time off.”

Louis nods, “Very well.”

The waitress arrives with their food handing it to them and refilling their waters.  She asks if they need anything else before she leaves them to attend another table.

“So Leo is adorable,”  Harry begins after taking a bite of his chicken wrap.

Louis brightens up at the sound of his son’s name, “Thanks.”

“So, are you married?”  Harry inquires, trying not to show how much he’s dying to know if Louis is taken or not.

Louis drops his fork on his salad and laughs, “God no,” he says, “I haven’t had a boyfriend in three years.”

And Harry feels so fucking relieved he tries not to look so damn obvious, “Really?”

“Really.  Leo is my son, I hired a surrogate,”  Louis explains.  “I’ve always wanted children and I had decided early on that if I wasn’t married or in a committed relationship with someone that wanted children by the time I was 30 that I’d just go and have one on my own.  Well, hire someone to have one for me.  There were a few complications along the way, with Leo being born deaf that I wasn’t expecting, but it’s been an adjustment and I wouldn’t take any of it back for the world.  He’s such an amazing little guy, the love of my life really,” he says with a voice so full of love that it takes Harry’s breath away.

Harry is in awe of the man sitting in front of him.  God, it’s so like Louis to plan his life the way he has, and it doesn’t surprise him that he’d gone off to have a baby on his own without needing anyone else to raise it with him.  There’s no doubt in Harry’s mind that Louis is an amazing father, if seeing how he helped raise his siblings is anything to go by.

“You’re amazing,”  Harry says, not being able to keep the awe from his voice.

Louis’ cheeks pinken, “Thanks,”  he chuckles, “He’s my pride and joy, that boy,” he says taking a bite of his salmon salad.  

“How old is he?”  Harry asks, popping one of the pita chips into his mouth.

“He’ll be three in January,” Louis replies.

Harry smiles, “Wow, that’s great Lou, he’s great too, you’re both just great.”  Harry says sounding like a blubbering idiot.  He laughs at himself.

Louis smiles in response and they continue digging into their food and catching up on the past ten years.  Harry talks to Louis about his career, and his recent coming out and how he’s working on his comeback.  He tells him about the pressure the label has put on him and how he feels like he needs to prove himself.  Louis sits quietly just listening, and giving his input at the appropriate times.  They talk for so long that Louis doesn’t realize his lunch hour is long gone, but he assures Harry by letting him know he didn’t have any afternoon appointments.  

Harry walks Louis to his car as they continue their conversation.

“Hey Lou, what are you up to this Saturday?”  Harry asks, tucking a loose curl behind his ear.

Louis fidgets with his keys, twirling the key ring around his index finger, “I don’t think I have any plans,” he says, unsure of where Harry is going.

“Would it be too soon to ask you out on a date?”  He asks looking down at his feet.  He’s kicking a rock off the curb too nervous to look Louis in the eye.  He doesn’t want to waste any more chances with Louis, he’s waited way too long and wants to make the most of the time he has here with him.

Louis chuckles nervously, “Yea,” he says softly and Harry’s head snaps up to look at him to make sure he heard right, “I’d love that actually.”  

Harry can’t help the goofy grin he displays when he waves Louis goodbye as the other man drives away.  Butterflies flutter in his stomach, and he hopes that the next four days fly by, because he can’t wait to see Louis again.

 

****

 
Harry had to give in and call Niall as soon as he arrived home from lunch with Louis to have him ship some of his fancier clothes.  

“Who’s the guy?”  Niall immediately inquired.

“It’s just an old friend Niall,”  Harry had insisted which Niall didn’t buy for a second.  He didn’t bother Harry about it though which he was grateful for.  Niall knew Harry would tell him everything when he was ready.

Thankfully his stuff arrived a couple of days before their date so Harry had plenty of time to pick the right outfit.  All his thoughts about packing light went right out the window as his room filled with scattered clothing options.  

After trying out several different combinations of outfits, he finally decided to go for his black skinny jeans that make his ass look great, his black leather YSL boots, and his black herbarium print Gucci shirt.  The shirt is a bit see through, which make Harry’s chest tattoos pop out a little.  He styles his hair, making sure each tendril is placed perfectly around his face.  He wears his favorite Tom Ford cologne and dabs a little bit of cherry lip balm which gives his lips a subtle pop of color.

He and Louis had been texting throughout the week, and every time Louis tried to find out what they were going to do on their date, Harry would keep tight-lipped, not giving anything away.  The only thing he’d told Louis was to dress up for a night out on the town.  Louis pretended to be annoyed, but Harry knew he secretly loved the teasing.

Louis’ house is a close drive to Harry’s rental home.  He pulls up to Louis’ driveway, steeling himself for a minute before getting out of the car.  This has been a long time coming for him, and Harry’s still finding it hard to believe that it’s all really happening.   He climbs the few steps to get to the front door and rings the doorbell.  He’s greeted by crinkly blue eyes and a bright smile.  Louis looks ethereal, donning his own pair of skinny jeans, a blue collared shirt that fits just right--the color really brings out his eyes--, and a black blazer.  

“Hey,”  Harry chokes out, he feels breathless at the sight in front of him.

“Hi,”  Louis says, “Ready to go?”

“Can I say hi to Leo first?”  Harry asks.  He’s missed the little guy, and hasn’t gotten to see him since their first encounter.

“Sorry, he’s at Liam and Sophia’s.  They babysit for me whenever they force me to go out,” Louis informs him regretfully.  Harry tries not to pout.

“Oh, alright then, let’s go,”  he says turning around to lead them to the car.

“Don’t worry, I promise next time you’ll get to see him,”  Louis assures him, and Harry can’t help the way his heart rate picks up thinking about how Louis is already planning for a next time with him.  

He smiles, bright and dimply, “I’ll make sure to hold you to it.”

They drive in comfortable silence after Louis tries to ask where they’re headed again and Harry still doesn’t give in, wanting to keep their night ahead a surprise.  Harry fiddles with the radio to turn on some music, and they admire the view as they drive down Lakeshore Drive--Harry admiring the beautiful buildings that make up the beautiful Chicago skyline and the view of Lake Michigan across from it.  He glances at Louis and he’s staring out the passenger window in a pensive state, Harry would give anything to know what he’s thinking.

“Do you come to the city often?”  Harry asks bringing his gaze back to the road.

“Mm, not really, haven’t really had the time,”  Louis explains, “With the practice and taking Leo to his communication therapy appointments, I hardly have time to do that.  Once in a while, when Liam and Sophia pretty much make me spend time on my own I usually just like to catch up on my favorite shows and have a nice bubble bath and drink some of my favorite wine.”

Harry smiles at Louis, “Well we’re going to have to make the most of our night tonight, won’t we?”  He asks with a cheeky grin.

Louis chuckles in that cute way that Harry loves, “Yeah I guess so.”

They’re getting closer to the heart of downtown Chicago, their view of Navy Pier nearing by the minute.  Harry can’t wait to see the giant ferris wheel lit up after the sun sets.

“When was the last time you were at Navy Pier?”  Harry asks Louis with a quirked eyebrow.

“I can’t say I remember if I’m honest,” Louis admits.

They approach the entrance, Harry making his way toward the parking garage.  When they get out of the vehicle, Harry stretches out his arm, gesturing towards Louis’ hand.

“Shall we?”  He asks, dimple out in full display.

Louis eyes crinkle at the corners, not being able to contain his grin, “Let's.”

They walk back outside, the breeze is a bit cooler now that the sun is going down.  They walk down the boardwalk where there’s all sorts of large yachts.  Harry stops walking and they’re standing in front of a big white one, the windows are tinted making the boat look like it has black stripes across it.  On the front side of the boat it says ODYSSEY in big bold letters, it’s beautiful.

“Are we getting on that yacht?”  Louis asks disbelieving.

Harry takes Louis’ hand and kisses it making Louis shudders in surprise, “We are.  Wait, you aren’t those type of people that get like easily seasick or something like that are you?  Dammit I should have asked, I’m so sorry…”

Louis squeezes Harry’s hand to get his attention, “Harry, don’t worry I’m not.  I’ve just never been on an actual yacht before.  It’s quite a surprise,” he admits.

Harry’s face relaxes in relief, “Oh okay.  Well I’m glad I get to experience this first time with you,” he tells him.

One of the employees unlatches the velvet rope that was blocking the entrance, “We are now boarding the Odyssey, please watch your step.  Sailing will begin at 6:30 sharp,” He announces over the megaphone.

There’s a hostess that greets them when they enter and she leads them to their table.  The area around them is dark, the only light in the room coming from the tealight candles on the tables giving off a very romantic ambiance.  The natural light outside is slowly fading, the sun having just set.  

When they take their seats, there’s a small, cream colored cardstock with gold lettering on top of their plates with the list of options for their four course meal.  They share a shrimp cocktail for the appetizer, and both enjoy the roasted summer vegetable salad for their second course.  When it comes time to ordering their entrees, Louis goes for the oven baked atlantic salmon filet and Harry goes for the greek zucchini fritters.  They take bites of each other’s meal, Louis cutely reaching his fork with a piece of salmon over to Harry’s mouth.  A piece falls out of the fork before making it into Harry’s mouth and they giggle like teenagers.  Harry’s heart stutters when he feels Louis’ foot rubbing against his calf.  When he looks at Louis, the older man is smirking slyly, taking a sip of his red wine as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening.

After they share a lime sorbet for dessert they go out to the deck, the breeze gusting from the lake is cool and welcoming.  It’s dark outside now, and the skyline is glowing like lights on a Christmas tree against the night sky.

Harry hears Louis’ breath hitch, “Wow, what a beautiful view,” he says awestruck.

“Yeah,” Harry says sounding breathless.  It’s such an amazing view that Harry wants to take a picture, but he knows it won’t do it justice.  Either way, he coaxes Louis into taking a selfie with him, trying to use the beautiful Chicago skyline as their background.  When he takes the picture the skyline doesn’t really appear, but Harry and Louis make a good couple, he thinks.  Both of them looking all smiley and genuinely happy.

Louis is leaning on the railing, his eyes never leaving the beautiful view.  Harry can’t stop looking at him.  The glow from the lights reflecting from the skyline highlight his facial features so beautifully, Harry feels like a moth to a flame not being able to rip his gaze away.  

“You’re so beautiful Lou,” Harry blurts out and his face instantly blushes.  His breath hitches for a split second in surprise at the words that just came out of his mouth, but when he sees Louis beaming, he immediately relaxes.  

Louis’ eyelashes flutter, shadowing against his cheeks so beautifully, “So are you,” he says, his voice sounding deeper and raspier.  They’re getting closer, like two magnets attracting each other inevitably.  Eventually, their faces are merely centimeters apart, Harry can feel Louis’ warm breath against his skin and it makes him shiver.  

“Lou,” he begins, and Louis closes the space that was left between them by capturing Harry’s lips with his.  Louis’ lips are warm and wet and just so addicting.  He tastes tangy and sugary and everything sweet.  Harry’s face flushes with the warmth of Louis’ lips on his, tasting and tasting, not being able to get enough of LouisLouisLouis .  He’s just so fucking delicious that Harry doesn’t think he could get enough.  Finally Harry has to pull away before things get too intense in a public place.

“We need to get out of here,” he says trying to catch his breath.

“Yeah, let’s go,” Louis says, taking Harry’s hand and pulling him inside.

Luckily, the ship is making its way to shore, so they don’t have to wait long to get off.  Both Harry and Louis thank the staff for the wonderful service, but they quickly race towards the parking garage.  Harry reaches for the back door raising his eyebrow suggestively at Louis who has his hand on the front door passenger handle.  Louis whispers a mumbled, “Fuck yes,” and they get into the back seat, reattaching their lips resuming where they’d left off.  Harry’s tongue licks against Louis’ lips as if asking for permission, which he readily accepts.  Their kiss becomes sloppy and desperate, making Louis reach for Harry’s zipper quickly unbuttoning and undoing his pants.  His fingers reach the band of his boxer briefs and Harry lifts his hips so that Louis can pull them down with ease.  Louis makes his way down Harry’s jaw, leaving trails of kisses down his neck, making bruises across his collarbones and working his way down his torso.  He leaves lingering kisses across his hips nosing along Harry’s crotch, breathing him in leaving shivers down Harry’s spine.  Louis takes Harry’s dick in his hand, giving a tentative lick at the head of his cock making Harry gasp in anticipation.  When Louis takes him completely into his mouth, he feels so warm and wet, and Harry can’t help but whine in pleasure.  

Louis’ mouth is tight and wet and feels amazing when his head reaches Louis’ throat.  Louis moans in pleasure when he gags a little on Harry’s dick, which just spurs Harry on.  Harry grabs the back of Louis’ head with his hand, making Louis moan even louder.  He takes that as his cue to tug at his hair, which makes Louis let out the most beautiful sounds that reverberate against his dick, making it tingle in a heavenly way.

“Fuck Lou,”  Harry moans through gritted teeth.  He can feel the pleasure building up in his belly.  Harry’s words only spur Louis on making him work faster and harder until Harry warns him that he’s about to come which doesn’t stop him.  Harry spills all over Louis’ mouth, coming with a shout.  Louis swallows it all, sucking and hollowing his cheeks to make sure he takes everything, and Harry is fucking breathless.

“Mmm,”  Louis moans, as he swallows everything.

“God, you’re amazing,”  Harry says breathless, lifting Louis’ chin to get a look into his eyes.  Louis’ eyes are glazed over, tears trickling in the corners.

When Harry offers to get Louis off, Louis’ cheeks turn pink.  Harry realizes that Louis has already come in his pants.  His mind goes crazy thinking about Louis coming in his pants from sucking him off, he truly is amazing, he thinks.

“Let’s go home then,” he offers giving him one last kiss, and they both move to the front seats to head back to Highland Park.

The drive back is even more breathtaking as the buildings glimmer in the beautiful night sky.  The side where the lake is pitch black, but the lights coming from the buildings across from it give it a warm dark orange glow that make it difficult for Harry to focus on the road.  

When they finally arrive at Louis’ house, the smaller man looks at Harry bashfully, “Would you like to come in?”  He asks.

Harry smiles, blushing furiously, “I’d love to,” he says.

They walk into Louis’ house, and there’s traces of Leo in every room, Harry notices as Louis gives him a small tour of the small space.  There’s toys, especially small toy trains, everywhere.  Louis explains that Thomas the Train is Leo’s favorite, and how he’s planning a themed birthday party with that.

“Sounds wonderful,” Harry tells him, in which Louis grins in return.  “When do you have to go get Leo from Liam’s?”  He inquires.

“Since it’s past his bedtime I won’t get him till tomorrow morning,” Louis informs him, his eyes looking at him mischievously.  

Harry quirks his eyebrow in surprise, “Oh, I see,” he says.

They look at each other for a split second before they surge toward the other, their chests and lips crashing.  Louis’ hand grabbing hold of Harry’s long chocolate locks, and Harry grasping toward the shirt on Louis’ chest.  Their kiss is desperate and hungry, licking into each other’s mouth with purpose and so much fervor.  Louis walks them towards his bedroom, Harry tripping on one of Leo’s toys but quickly recovers, running his hands down Louis’ body.  They never disconnect as they finally make it to Louis’ bed.  

Their clothes disappear in a blink of an eye, and before they know it they’re both naked and desperately needy clawing at each other, breathy moans and desperate pleas.  Louis breaks their heated kiss to reach over to his drawer for lube and a condom, leaving it on the bed for Harry.  Harry doesn’t hesitate to grab the lube, popping the bottle open to pour some of the clear liquid onto his fingers, not wasting any time to open Louis up.  He quickly works his way from one to three fingers until Louis is begging Harry insisting that he’s ready.  Harry pulls his fingers out with no hesitation, coating his condom-covered cock with lube before he finds himself lining himself against Louis’ hole.

Harry is hovering atop of Louis, kissing him eagerly, both of them covered in a sheen of sweat, before Louis eggs him on, “Please Harry,” he nearly begs.

“Okay, okay,” he assures Louis, one hand on his dick, slowly entering him.  As soon as Harry breaches Louis’ hole, he hitches a breath biting his lip to keep himself from screaming.  Harry’s sexual fantasies were coming true and he needed a moment to keep himself from coming on the spot.  When Harry bottoms out, Louis urges Harry to move, which he instantly complies.  Pulling nearly all the way out, then slamming back in making an obscene slapping sound, forcing a groan out of both of them.  Harry continues with his relentless rhythm as Louis lets out little noises with every thrust.  Louis wraps his legs around Harry’s torso forcing him deeper inside, hitting his prostate with nearly every movement.

“Fuck,”  Louis moans, his nails digging into Harry’s back urging him on, no doubt leaving marks that’ll last for days.

Harry increases his speed, the slapping sound getting louder and reverberating throughout the room.  It doesn’t take much longer before they’re moaning into each other’s mouth, Harry’s hips stuttering as he comes, Louis following shortly after him.  Louis’ face is flushed, his mouth gaped open, his hair matted to his forehead from the exertion, and Harry can’t believe he gets to see him like this.  So open and willing, just for Harry.  

Harry slows down, coming down from his high.  His forehead is resting against Louis’ chest trying to catch his breath, and Louis is running his hand through Harry’s long sweaty curls.  Harry’s nearly purring at the sensation.

“You’re amazing,” Harry breathes out as he gives Louis a chaste kiss, the warmth of Louis’ lips making Harry’s lips tingle.

They both catch their breaths as they cuddle after Harry disposes the used condom, cleaning them both up with a wet washcloth.

“I don’t normally do this,”  Louis says, after a moment has passed.

Harry turns to face Louis, eyebrows furrowed, “Do what?”

Louis’ face flushes, he looks embarrassed even in the darkness of his bedroom, “I don’t usually sleep with anyone on the first date.  I actually haven’t been with anyone since before Leo was born,” he admits, avoiding Harry’s gaze.

“Hey,”  Harry says, forcing Louis to look at him, “There’s no reason to feel ashamed, love,” he assures him.

Louis takes a deep breath, “Yeah, I know...you’re the exception,” he tells Harry.

Harry smiles, kissing Louis chastely on the lips, “Thank you,” he tells him.

Sleep overcomes them, and they end up falling asleep, arms and legs entwined in each other as the warmth of their bodies keep them from getting cold during the night.

 

****


The next morning Harry wakes up bleary eyed and he subconsciously pats the side of the bed Louis’ was sleeping on, but it’s empty.  Harry looks over and his eyebrows furrow in confusion, but then he hears voices murmuring downstairs.  He walks over to the ensuite to use the toilet and run some cold water on his face to erase the traces of sleep that are still lingering on it.  He throws his pants on and borrows a t-shirt from Louis’ wardrobe that fits him a bit tight, but it’ll do for now.  He opens the door quietly so he won’t disturb whatever conversation is happening downstairs as he makes his way down.

“Are you going to tell him?”  He hears a voice he doesn’t recognize whisper.

Louis sighs, “I will eventually Li, okay?”  

It’s then when Harry starts to make his presence known by stepping heavily down the steps.  He interrupts whatever it is that Li was going to say as both men look at him.

“Good Morning,” Harry greets.

“Good Morning Harry, this is my best friend Liam, he just stopped by to drop Leo off,” Louis tells him pointing at the other man.  Liam is a bit taller than Louis and he can see the six pack underneath the tight fitting t-shirt he’s wearing.  He also has big brown eyes and a buzzcut.  Liam nods at Harry in acknowledgement, a tight lipped smile adorns his face.

Harry looks around the room and sees Leo in the living room playing with his toys.  He reaches over to Liam and extends his hand, “Nice to meet you.”

“Likewise,” Liam smiles, his eyes look at him warmly.  Liam turns back to Louis, “Well, I’ll leave you guys, I’ll see you at work tomorrow, Tommo,” Liam pats Louis on the shoulder as he makes his way to the exit.  

Louis shuts the door after Liam and turns to look at Harry, “How did you sleep?”  he asks walking over to run his fingers through Harry’s curls, pulling one behind his ear.

Harry can’t help but shudder at the sensation, he loves having his hair played with, it feels so addicting, “I slept very good,” he finally responds after he manages to get it together.

“Good,”  he gives him a small peck on the lips, “Would you like some breakfast?”

Harry’s face brightens, “I’d love some breakfast,” he says kissing Louis again.

“Come on then,” Louis takes Harry’s arm and leads them to the living room where Leo is playing.  Louis squats down to where his son is and taps him on the shoulder, he gathers his fingers, his thumb under the others and brings them towards his mouth, “Leo would you like to eat?”  He asks making the gesture with his fingers against his mouth eat.

The boy nods brightly and brings his index finger towards his chin wiggling it excitedly cereal.  Louis smiles at his son as if he hung the moon and the stars, “Alright buddy let’s go get you cereal,” he tells him making the gesture as he carries him up into his arms.

Harry is entranced by the interaction the entire time and his thoughts are interrupted by Louis, “Ready Harry?”

Harry nods shaking his thoughts away, “Yeah.”

Breakfast is wonderful, apparently Leo’s favorite food is cereal especially Lucky Charms.  When Louis puts the bowl in front of the little boy he yelps excitedly picking off the sugary marshmallows first before he eating the rest of it, spilling some milk from his bowl in the process.  When he finishes he waves both of his hands as he looks at Louis all done.  He then brings his hand to his chin to sign thank you.  Louis leans down to the young boy, “You’re welcome love,” and kisses him on the forehead.  Leo kisses Louis back on the cheek and makes a sign with his hand only sticking his thumb, index, and pinky fingers out I love you.   Louis beams at him and makes the same gesture, “I love you too, baby.”  Louis lets Leo go back to playing with his toys as the adults finish their own breakfast, which also consists of cereal.

“Wow, he’s amazing Lou,” Harry tells him taking a spoonful of his Cinnamon Toast Crunch.  

“He is, isn’t he?”  He looks over at his son and sighs dreamily, “He’s the best thing I’ve ever done if I’m honest.”

Harry grins at him and looks at the little boy who’s back to playing with his little Thomas the Train toys.

“So, I’m not sure how much of my conversation with Liam you heard, but I want to be honest with you,” Louis begins as he gets up from his chair to load their empty bowls in the dishwasher.

“I didn’t really hear anything,” Harry lies, only because he doesn’t want Louis to feel forced to tell him anything.  He doesn’t owe him any kind of explanations, they’re both still getting to know each other all over again, and it’s been great.

“It’s okay, I want to tell you anyway,” Louis tells him bringing them mugs of coffee.  He brings them the sugar and cream so that Harry can make it to his liking.  When Louis finishes preparing his own he blows into the mug taking a tentative sip before he looks at Harry and takes a deep breath.  

“I want to be honest with you,” he begins.  Harry is starting to worry a little because Louis looks nervous.  “I...when we were younger, like back when we were best friends, I...well I had feelings for you.  So much so that I thought I was in love with you,” Louis admits looking down at his mug of coffee.  “I didn’t do anything about it back then because, I had these plans and things that I wanted to accomplish, and I didn’t want to start anything between us if I was going to be moving to a different state, you know?  I didn’t think it would be fair to you, and I know that you would have insisted that we try.”

“Wait, so you knew?”  Harry looks at Louis dumbfounded, “You knew I had feelings for you?”

Louis lips quirk, “Yea, I did.  I mean there were several occasions where we almost kissed, and the way you looked at me always gave me an idea that you might.  But, I didn’t say anything.  Like I said I knew you’d want to try to make it work even if we had to do long distance, and I didn’t want to put you through that.”

They sit in silence as Harry takes everything in.  Louis is right, of course he is, but he would have still liked to have a say in the matter.  Either way, it’s all in the past, and there’s no reason to relish in something that happened ten years ago.

“So what about now?”  Harry asks, finishing the rest of his coffee.  The warm liquid making his belly feel warm and fuzzy.

“Now...well, I don’t do casual hook ups.  I also don’t think us finding each other again is a mere coincidence, and I’d hate to let this new opportunity go to waste,”  Louis admits.

“So what are you saying?”  Harry asks.  He hopes he knows where Louis is going with this.

“What I’m saying to you Harry, is that I’d very much like for us to be together,”  Louis says eyes crinkling, “If you want to?”  A flash of uncertainty crosses his face when he looks at Harry for a response.

Harry’s dimples deepen, he feels like he’s about to burst with happiness and excitement all at once.  It took them ten years to get here, and Harry wouldn't have it any other way.  He surges forward to take Louis’ lips into his, licking into his mouth eagerly.  He breaks a way to say, “I’d want nothing more,” he breathes against the smaller man’s lips.  And Louis lets out a breath of relief at hearing Harry’s words, and they resume their kissing.

 

****


In the next few weeks, Harry and Louis develop their own little relationship routine.  Harry meets with Louis for lunch nearly every weekday, Louis insisting they try out a different restaurant each time so that he can make the most of his time in the city.  Other times Harry prepares lunch for Louis and Liam and they spend time at the practice hanging out and talking about their day.  Harry loves every minute of it.  

On weekends Harry spends time with Louis and Leo, whether it be staying in watching movies, or having playtime with the little boy.  Louis has different types of activities to keep Leo entertained so that he feels included.  The boy’s favorite is playing with playdoh, the three of them compete to make the scariest looking monsters--at Leo’s request of course.  They also do finger painting, which often times turns into a paint fight where they all end up covered in all sorts of colors.  And of course, Thomas the Train, where Leo even lets Harry play with his favorite toy.  If it takes all the strength in Harry to not shed a tear when the small boy hands him the toy, well nobody has to know.

Leo has warmed up to Harry easily, on several occasions choosing to go into Harry’s arms instead of his own father’s who playfully pouts when he does.  Every other Saturday, Harry and Louis go on their “date nights” where they take advantage of the city and the many wonderful things it has to offer.

Louis takes Harry to Cesar’s Killer Margaritas, who Louis insists has the best margaritas in Chicago.  Harry tries the mega mango frozen margarita on Louis’ insistence, the obscene noise he makes when he takes a sip of the drink makes people around him give him weird looks, which in return makes Louis giggle.  After dinner, Louis takes them to his favorite cupcakes, “Oh my god Harold you have to try their red velvet cupcakes, their cream cheese frosting is to die for!”  Louis pulls Harry by the arm, they’re both pretty drunk.  Harry had hired a driver for the evening knowing they were both planning on drinking and didn’t want to worry about any of them having to be designated driver.  

When Harry isn’t with Louis, he’s working on his music.  Niall checks in occasionally, happy to hear that Harry’s doing well and on schedule.  And Harry is, he’s been writing song after song, often times having to stop to make some notes into his phone.  Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night with an idea, and he gets out of bed to play on his guitar to test out the melody that won’t let him sleep.  He’s got a few demos already recorded, which he sends to Niall and the people at the label, getting praise and encouragement in return.  It makes Harry relieved to know his label doesn’t think he’s a complete failure and that they’re starting to feel better about his comeback.

One afternoon Harry gets a call from Niall, informing him that a movie that used one of his songs in the soundtrack will have a premiere in Chicago.

“I don’t know Niall,” Harry tells his best friend.  He isn’t sure if he’s ready to face the public.  He’s been in town for about two months now, and he’s got to admit that being away from the spotlight has been so refreshing.

“Come on Haz, this will be good for you.  You won’t have to give any interviews, just show your face so that people know you’re around.  We’ll leak some information about how you’ve been working on music, it’ll be great promo,”  Niall assures him.

Harry sighs resigned, “Alright, I’ll do it, but only if I can bring a date with me,” he tells him.

Niall laughs, “Of course, are you taking Louis?”  Harry has filled Niall in on Louis and Leo, and he couldn’t be happier for his best friend.  Niall has promised to come visit soon, claiming he needs to have the best friend stamp of approval.

“Yea, I want to.  I’ve got to ask him and see if he’s okay with it first.”

“Okay, well let me know so I can put you down with a plus one when you get confirmation,” Niall says.

“I will, thanks Niall.”

That night, Harry spends time with Louis and Leo, making them pasta primavera with homemade garlic bread for dinner, and his famous chocolate chip cookies for dessert.  He helps Louis prepare Leo for bedtime, and sits on the bed with the young boy as they watch Louis read and sign a bedtime story.  Harry sits awestruck at the smaller man, as he puts so much enthusiasm in reading his son the bedtime story, while signing to make sure his son understands the story.  Harry’s throat tightens, feeling overwhelmed with the feelings he has for Louis and Leo.  He can picture himself doing this every night for the rest of his life, and it scares him a bit, because isn’t it a little too soon to be thinking like that?  He’s only been with Louis for two months.  Before that he hadn’t seen him in nearly ten years, and it’s like they’ve met each other all over again because they’re both such different people from who they were all those years ago.  Harry is so taken by his running thoughts that he doesn’t realize Leo’s already fast asleep, Louis is nudging him so they can go to the next room.  Harry gets up and leans over to the small boy who’s fast asleep, and drops a soft gentle kiss against his head.  “Goodnight buddy,” he whispers.

Harry and Louis change into some pajamas as they get ready for bed.  Harry figures it’s a good time as ever to bring up the movie premiere.

“So I got a phone call from Niall today,”  He informs Louis, pulling the duvet out of the bed so that he can get inside.

“Oh yea?  How’s he doing?”  Louis asks as he applies his night cream onto his face.

“He’s doing good.  He asked me to attend a movie premiere in the City.  The movie is using one of my songs on their soundtrack so the label thinks it’s a good idea to attend, to make myself visible especially since I’ve been working on new music and stuff.”

“That’s a good idea actually,” Louis says finally making his way over to bed, “They’re right, you know?  Kind of like getting your feet wet before jumping back into the water.”

Harry kisses Louis on the lips, tasting the toothpaste he just cleaned his mouth with.

“Mmm, yea I guess.  I don’t want to go by myself though,”  Harry stretches out his arms over his head, feeling the bones in his back crack, “Will you come with me?”

Louis pauses rubbing the lotion onto his feet and turns to look at Harry, eyes wide, “You want me to go with you to the movie premiere?”  Louis’ voice sounds high pitched and he clears his throat as he resumes what he was doing.

“Well, yeah,”  Harry tells him.  He’s resting his head against his hand, his elbow on the bed facing Louis, “I’d love to have you there next to me, Lou.”

Louis puts the lotion away and scoots closer to Harry, their faces merely inches away from each other.  He smiles all crinkly and beautiful, just how Harry loves it, “Then I’d love to go with you, baby.”  He leans down to kiss Harry, starting slow at first and quickly turning into something more passionate and dirty.  Louis rolls atop of Harry working his way down to his boyfriend’s crotch.

“In fact, let me show you how much I’d love it,” Louis tells him, his eyebrow quirked in a seductive way as he pulls Harry’s pants down and takes him into his mouth.  Harry thinks he’s in love, getting lost in the feeling of Louis’ warm, wet and tight mouth.

 

****

 

Before they know it, it’s the day of the premiere, and Harry is a nervous wreck.  He decided to go to Louis’ house to get ready, wanting to spend some time with Leo before they had to go.  Hanging out with the little boy always makes him feel so much lighter, and this time it’s not an exception.  He can’t help but pout when Louis takes him to Liam and Sophia’s, but he makes sure to give him a hug and a kiss before he leaves signing him goodbye.  It hasn’t even been a few minutes and he already misses the little guy, but he forces himself to get out of the couch he had thrown himself on to wallow.  

He hops into the shower hoping that the hot temperature helps to relax him.  He hears the bathroom door open, and eventually feels delicate arms encircle his waist from behind.  He can feel Louis’ head leaning against his back, small kisses lingering against his spine.

“How are you feeling?” He hears Louis murmuring against his skin.  

Harry turns around in Louis’ arms placing his own arms around Louis’ shoulders nuzzling his face into his neck, letting out a deep sigh, “I’m nervous,” he finally admits out loud.

Louis runs his fingers through Harry’s hair in a comforting way, his lips pressing against Harry’s ear, his warm breath making him shiver.  “You’re going to be amazing,” he tells him with such certainty that Harry pulls away to look at the smaller man.  His eyes are so bright and azure, with no trace of doubt in them that Harry believes him.  Without a word he connects their lips together, tasting Louis’ warm mouth.  He tastes so sweet, like honey, and Harry can never get enough.

Louis pulls away, “Turn around,” he mutters.  Before Harry can move, Louis takes Harry’s shoulders and turns him around facing the tiled wall.  Harry places his hands above his head, looking down at his feet, letting the hot stream of water trail down his body.  He can feel Louis’ hands working their way down his body, until they settle on Harry’s butt cheeks.  When Harry turns to look over his shoulder he realizes that Louis is on his knees.  Harry shuts his eyes in anticipation of what’s to come.

Louis’ thumbs spread his ass cheeks open, and without a word licks a stripe down his crease.  Harry lets out a stuttered breath as Louis continues to lick him out.  His tongue feels like a soft wet feather, slowly teasing him in such a maddening way.

“Louis please,” he nearly begs, trying his best not to push back into Louis’ face.

Louis quickly relents, finally letting his tongue go past the ring of muscle and Harry lets out a loud keening noise at the sensation.  Louis licks and nibbles relentlessly, and all Harry can do is moan in absolute pleasure.  

“Fuck!”  Harry squirms, but Louis continues his merciless rhythm.  There’s heat of pleasure that’s building up inside of Harry, like a rubber band being stretched so hard it’s about to snap, and then he completely loses it.  With one last shout, he comes hard, stripes of come staining the black tiles.  Harry leans his forehead against the wall, the coolness from it giving him some relief.  He’s catching his breath as he turns around and Louis is back on his feet, rinsing his own come from his hand.  His cock twitches at the thought of Louis getting off from eating him out.  They kiss each other slowly and languidly for a few more minutes before they finish washing up.

There’s a limo parked outside waiting for them when they finally finish getting ready.  Harry is donning a flowery Gucci suit and Louis in a navy blue Armani suit that fits perfectly around his plump bottom.  Inside, they pop the champagne that’s chilling in the ice bucket waiting for them and they toast to the night ahead of them.  The bubbles from the drink tickles going down Harry’s throat, but it’s welcoming as the liquid quickly works its way to relax him, his nerves slowly wafting.  The traffic isn’t bad, until the get closer to the venue that is.  They sit in bumper to bumper traffic on Lakeshore Drive, and it makes Harry’s hands moisten in the anticipation building on his insides.  The closer they get the harder Harry’s heart seems to beat against his chest.  Louis’ hand squeezes his, and it helps anchor him as he takes a deep calming breath.

When they finally arrive to the event, they are greeted by one of the event managers who guides them through the red carpet.  Harry stands alone at first, letting the photographers get their shots, the flashes of light leaving spots in his vision, but after a few minutes he gestures for Louis to join him.  Louis tentatively walks over, and Harry puts his arm around the smaller boy’s waist, leaving his hand at the small of his back to guide him through the red carpet, letting them get their fill of pictures.  Eventually they’re escorted to avoid any unwelcome interviews and are taken to their seats.  There’s a low murmur of people having conversations as they wait for the movie to start.  Harry’s feeling a lot better now that the hardest part is over with, now he gets to sit back and enjoy the movie with Louis at his side.  He turns to look at his boyfriend who notices his gaze and smiles, eyes blue and bright.

They enjoy the movie, it was a drama that starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence about a man’s journey as he makes it back to his family, after they thought he’d been kidnapped in a foreign country.  It was very touching and Harry found himself wiping a stray tear towards the end of it.  From the looks of it Louis had the same predicament.  

They decide to attend one of the after parties, agreeing that they’ll bolt if it gets to be too much for Harry.  The party is held at the Westin Hotel, the room is full of people all talking, all having a good time.  There’s music playing loud through the speakers, colored lights flashing, and people dancing.  Harry runs into a few familiar faces including his “ex” and good friend Cara and her girlfriend.  He introduces Louis to them and they seem to get along great, both ganging up on Harry in teasing him about his dance moves, or lack thereof.  Harry pouts, and Louis kisses it away.  Harry excuses himself to get him and Louis drinks, leaving him with Cara as he debates with her about why Chicago is so much better than New York.

Harry approaches the bar and orders them two gin and tonics when he feels someone sidling up next to him.

“Why hello Mr. Styles,” Nick says playfully and it takes all the strength in Harry to not roll his eyes in front of him.

“Hello Nick,” he says curtly, “What brings you here tonight?”

Nick laughs, obviously amused that he’s making Harry uncomfortable, “Had to interview Leo and Jen, they’re so lovely,” he says taking a sip of his dirty martini.

“Couldn’t you have just done that at the LA premiere?”  Harry asks, he looks at the bartender willing him to hurry with their drinks.

“I could have, but that would mean I wouldn’t get to see your pretty little face,” he says running his finger down Harry’s cheek.  Harry flinches at the touch.

Nick’s smile falls looking at Harry more pointedly, “No seriously, I wanted to see you.  I wanted to talk to you,” he admits.

Harry turns his body to fully face Nick letting out exasperated sigh, “About what exactly?  Shouldn’t you be getting on a plane back to LA soon?  Those reality shows aren’t going to produce themselves”

Nick glares at him and takes another sip of his drink, “I want to talk about us, actually.”  His voice lowered.

“Nick, there’s no us to talk about okay?  We’ve been done and over for quite some time now, no need to rehash old memories or anything,” Harry tells him.  The bartender finally brings him his drinks, “Now, if you’ll excuse me, my boyfriend’s waiting for me,” he says brushing past Nick not giving him a chance to respond.

By the time Harry makes it back to Louis and Cara they’ve moved on their debate to Chicago style pizza versus New York style pizza.  Harry hands Louis his cocktail and smiles fondly at his beautiful boyfriend.  He’s talking passionately about deep dish pizza, his eyebrows furrowed to get his point across.

“I’m telling you Cara, don’t say anything until you’ve tried Giordano’s stuffed pizza, it will change your life,” Louis tells him.

“Oh god, just thinking about it makes me wanna gag,” Cara shudders.  She eventually gets called by other party goers and she excuses herself, but not before giving Louis a hug and a kiss on the cheek, “It was great meeting you Louis, maybe we can all go on a double date sometime?”  

Harry and Louis both nod even though Harry knows it probably won’t happen as Cara doesn’t know that Louis lives here and not in LA.  She probably thinks he’s a model--which who could blame her for her assumption?

They both finish their drinks and Louis convinces Harry to dance, which slowly turns into dirty grinding, but the people around them are too drunk to care.  This is Harry’s first time out dancing with another guy without having to worry about people recognizing him or taking pictures, and he’s got to admit that it feels liberating.  He doesn’t have to hide, and he can show off his hot and sexy boyfriend to anyone who talks to them, which he sort of does, but Louis is such a good sport about it just smiling along and greeting people he’s introduced to.  

They end up leaving a bit past midnight, wanting to make the most of their night.  Louis has the driver stop by Al’s Beef where they order Italian beef sandwiches with fries and milkshakes that they practically devour on their way home.  Louis admits to Harry how he always craves salty foods when he’s been drinking and he shows it, eating his sandwich as if he’s never eaten before in his life, making the most obscene noises with it.  Harry becomes too distracted by Louis’ moans to eat his own, until Louis looks at him--mouth full of beef--with a questioning look on his face.  Harry just smiles at him fondly and he digs into his own food, thanking his lucky stars for having someone like Louis by his side.

They stumble into Harry’s house, a mess of limbs kissing each other hungrily.  Louis’ hot pink, wet mouth is so inviting that Harry moans just thinking about how much he wants it all over his body.  They make their way to Harry’s bedroom, Louis pushing Harry down on the bed.

“Take off your clothes,” he orders, as he takes off his suit, throwing it haphazardly behind him.  Harry does the same, his body is buzzing in anticipation, wanting, needing Louis on top of him like now.

Louis climbs atop of Harry as if reading his thoughts and they resume their kissing.  Louis lowers himself, kissing a trail down Harry’s neck, biting and sucking to leave his mark and Harry loses it.  It’s something about having Louis mark him that just does things to him and, the thought of having people see the bruise on his neck wherever he goes out makes his cock twitch.  Louis brings one hand down to Harry’s crotch while he continues to kiss down his body, making sure to pay special attention to Harry’s nipples.

Harry mewls when Louis circles his tongue around his left nipple bringing his fingers to pinch his right one.  It feels like too little and too much at the same time, wishing there was some way Louis could get his mouth on both of them at the same time.  

“Fuck, Louis,” he chokes out.  His body is twitching in pleasure, his hips lifting off the mattress, and Louis holds him down in place with the hand that’s on his crotch.  Louis continues licking and sucking on Harry’s nipples, and Harry feels like he might actually come from just that.

Right as he’s about to let Louis know, the other man stops and gets off the bed.  Harry whines looking over at Louis with a furrowed eyebrow.  Louis finds his pants and takes out a piece of paper from the back pocket.

“So, I have something for you,” he tells Harry bringing the piece of paper back with him on the bed.  He hands the paper over to Harry, and the younger boy is still a bit confused.  

He unfolds the paper and looks at it.  

“I got tested, and I’m clean,” Louis confirms with a smile on his face.

Harry’s face feels hot, “I got tested before the surgery, and I’m clean too.  I haven’t slept with anyone before you in nearly a year,” he admits.

They kiss slowly and sweetly before Harry pulls away, his forehead leaning against Louis’.  “Fuck me, Lou,” he whispers against Louis’ lips.  Louis pushes him back against the mattress taking Harry’s lips hungrily.  

Harry reaches over for the lube, placing it in Louis’ hand as he spreads his legs further to give him easier access.  His whole body is thrumming in anticipation.  Louis takes his time in opening him up, working his way to three fingers in a slow and steady pace.  By the time he has three fingers prodding onto Harry’s prostate, they’re both sticky from sweat.  Harry’s loud moans have become low slurs begging Louis, insisting that he’s more than ready to take his cock.

Louis helps Harry roll over onto his tummy, on his hands and knees, having to hold onto his hips as his limbs won’t stop quivering.  He takes one hand to lube himself up and he enters Harry slowly.  The younger boy gasps at the intrusion, but quickly begins pushing back against Louis’ hips until he’s bottomed out.  They stay like that for just a moment, everything feeling so much more sensitive without the barrier of a condom, Louis feels he might explode.  Eventually he reels his thoughts in and begins pushing into Harry in the same slow and steady rhythm he’s been using all night.  Louis hopes the words he’s been thinking but not saying are able to be shown through his actions right here, as he takes Harry and takes him apart piece by piece, putting him back together with all the love and care he’s got for him.  

"Ngh!” Harry yelps as Louis increases his pace, their bodies slapping against each other, taking and taking.  

Louis bites his lip from screaming what he’s been wanting to shout from the rooftops.   I love you!  His heart screams, but the noises their bodies are making drown them out and all Louis can do is just show him.  Show Harry how much he means to him.  

Louis’ hand travels up Harry’s spine until his fingers tug onto his the strands of hair there.  Harry groans and Louis takes that as encouragement to keep going, fucking and pulling and they both shout.

“Louis!  Fuck, Louis!” Harry moans, pushing his hips back to meet Louis’ hard pace.  “I’m gonna come!”  

That warning makes Louis speed up the pace, moving his hand back to Harry’s hips and holding on to dear life as his drills into him.  Harry’s arms give out as his chest falls onto the mattress, but Louis keeps his ass up in the air.  At this point Louis is the only thing keeping Harry from collapsing onto the bed.  Louis’ hips begin to stutter and Harry comes with Louis’ name on his lips, and Louis follows seconds later.  Louis slumps against Harry’s back, his entire body giving out on him.  There’s come and sweat, hot and sticky between them, but they don’t care.  They catch their breaths, Louis can feel Harry breathing rapidly under him and he’s sure Harry can feel his heartbeat racing as well.

Louis finally rolls off of Harry settling next to him, they’re facing each other--Harry’s eyes are glassy and unfocused.

“That was..” Louis breathes out and Harry turns his eyes towards Louis, “You’re amazing,” he says, running his hands through Harry’s sweat slicked hair.  The younger boy preens, his cheeks are flushed and beautiful.  Louis takes a deep breath, “I love you,” he whispers, but he knows Harry hears him because his eyes suddenly focus on Louis.  His gaze burning through him.

Harry doesn’t say anything for a moment, making Louis start to regret saying the words.  As he’s about to get out of bed to wash up, Harry’s hand stops him.  Louis turns to look at Harry nervous at what he might find.  “I love you, too,” Harry tells him and it sounds so sincere, like the most true thing Harry’s ever told him.  Louis lets out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding and he leans over to kiss Harry.  The kiss is sweet and salty and everything Louis wants and will ever need.

 

****

 

Louis’ in such a chipper mood the next morning.  He hasn’t been as happy as he feels right now.  He’d sent Liam a quick text in the morning letting him know he spent the night at Harry’s and will be over to get Leo around noon.  He decided to walk quietly down to the kitchen to make them some breakfast.  Something big, not just cereal.  It is the morning after they said they loved each other and that should render some good celebration breakfast food right?  Louis grabs some flour--needing to grab a chair to reach it from the cabinets, whatever--some eggs, milk, and other things to begin preparing the batter for pancakes.  He finds some bacon so he heats that up on the frying pan as well.  As he’s finishing preparing the food, he gets a text from Liam.  All the message contains is a link to what seems to be an article.

Harry Styles and Nick Grimshaw an Item?  

The Famous Singer and TV Producer Seen Canoodling at Chicago After Party

There’s a picture of Harry and Nick Grimshaw and Nick is smiling at Harry, caressing his face and they are standing very close to each other, their chests nearly touching.  Louis’ heart stutters inside his chest.  Louis isn’t stupid, he knows better than to trust trashy tabloid stories, but...it’s like all the doubts that have been swimming around his head are coming in full force.

Louis is so in love with Harry that it scares the shit out of him, because Harry’s famous and Louis’ got a son and it just doesn’t usually happen this easy for people.  He always thinks that this whole situation might be too good to be true.  Harry will soon have to leave and go back to LA where he lives most of the time when he’s not traveling the world.  When is he going to have time to see Louis and Leo?  These questions have been lingering in the back of his mind, but he’s just been ignoring them because he loves Harry and wants to make things work with him.  But then there’s this article, and why didn’t Harry tell him about Nick?  Is he an ex or a friend?  Once Harry goes back into the spotlight there’s going to be so many stories written about him, most of them lies, and Louis isn’t sure if he can take it.  He just doesn’t know.

“Good morning!”  Harry chirps as he walks into the kitchen, “What’s all this?” He asks gesturing to the food.  Right.  Their I love you celebration food.  Louis feels like such an idiot.

Louis shrugs, “Just made some breakfast, thought you’d be hungry,” he says monotonically.  

Harry’s eyebrows furrow, “You okay?”  He makes his way closer to Louis to hold him, but Louis flinches at the touch.

“Uh, yeah I’m fine.  Listen, maybe we should slow down a bit yeah?”  Louis says moving across the counter from Harry.

“What do you mean?”  Harry asks crossing his arms across his chest.  

Louis taps his fingers against the counter nervously, “I mean that I think we might have let the heat of the moment get to us last night, and made us say things we probably didn’t really mean.”  He’s not looking at Harry, he doesn’t want him to see that he’s lying.  That he meant every single word.  That he’s dying a little inside right now.

“Oh.”

Louis looks at Harry, he’s looking down clearly hurt, “Yea, I mean, we probably shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves.  Besides, you’re going back to LA in a few months, and Leo and I will be long forgotten, right?”  Louis tries to sound light hearted, but it comes out more bitter than anything.

“What are you talking about Louis?”  Harry’s voice raises, demanding answers.

Louis’ heart is in his throat, if he doesn’t get out of here soon he feels like he might burst, and he doesn’t want Harry to see him.

“Nothing, I’ve gotta go.”  Louis tells him and he hurries out the door, ignoring Harry calling after him.

He remembers that they were dropped off here last night, so he decides to just walk home.  He could use a long walk to clear his mind.  Louis soon realizes that in his haste to leave, he’d left his clothes from the night before behind.  He’s wearing a light t-shirt and basketball shorts he’d borrowed from Harry, and it seems that the cold brisk November air is punishing him for it.  He gets home not even thirty minutes later and immediately hops in the shower and gets into a different change of clothes.  He had his phone turned off after he left Harry’s so he turns it back on to let Liam know he’s on his way to get Leo.  He sees three missed calls from Harry and a few texts that he decides to ignore.

 

***

 

Harry feels like he might go crazy.  Louis won’t answer any of his calls or messages, and he doesn’t understand why.  Last night was so fucking amazing, and they finally admitted their true feelings for each other, it was nearly magical.  This morning it was as if someone had flipped the switch, and Louis took it all back, pretty much crushing Harry’s heart.  

His phone rings and he grabs it so fast he nearly drops it, “Hello?”

“Harry what the hell?  When I told you to get the media talking, I didn’t mean get them speculating about your relationship with Nick Grimshaw!”  Niall reprimands over the phone.

“What are you talking about?”  Harry asks confused, because he’s got no idea what has Niall so pressed.

Niall lets out an exasperated sigh, “US Weekly published an article speculating a romance between you and Nick based on a picture of the two of you looking pretty cozy and Nick touching your face.”

“They what?  Oh god,” Harry can’t believe this is happening, “Nick was being, well Nick.  He was trying to get me to talk to him, but I completely dismissed him.  Our conversation didn’t last more than two minutes!”

“Well the tabs are saying you guys were flirting all night according to ‘onlookers’ or whatever,” Niall says more calmly.  “I’ll go ahead and and tell the PR rep to deny it so we can shut those rumors ASAP,” Niall tells him.

“Thanks Niall, I appreciate it,” he says disconnecting the phone call.

That’s probably why Louis was acting so weird this morning.  He calls Louis again, but it goes straight to voicemail so he decides to just send him a text.

 

That tabloid story is completely false, please talk to me.

 

He suddenly isn’t hungry anymore so he goes back to his room to wallow.  He falls asleep for a few hours and when he wakes up he checks his phone.  Still no word from Louis, but he does have a few texts from Nick.

 

Hey I just want to talk.

 
Can we meet up, I promise I’ll leave you alone after we talk.

 
Come on Harry, don’t be like this.

 

Nick is one of the last people he wants to hear from right now, but if meeting with him to hear him out will get him off his back, he’ll do it.  He sends Nick a reply to meet him at the bar not too far from his house, and they agree to meet later tonight.  Harry could use a drink, or three.



****

 
Harry stands in front of a red brick building, blinded by a neon panda sipping on a cocktail.  He can just picture Louis’ sarcastic comment about who the hell would name a bar The Panda Bar.  Harry chuckles at the thought--God he misses Louis so much, and it hasn’t even been a full day.  With a deep sigh, he enters the establishment quickly spotting Nick’s highlighted quiff in the back corner.  He acknowledges his presence when Nick waves him over and makes his way to the table.

“Thanks for meeting me,” Nick tells him.

The waiter comes over to take their drink order, and Harry orders a shot of whiskey along with a double Jack and Coke.

“Someone’s thirsty,” Nick comments, and Harry just rolls his eyes without bothering to hide it this time.

The waiter brings their drinks and, Harry doesn’t waste any time to swig his shot, chasing it down with his mixed drink.

“So what did you want to talk about?” He asks, taking the straw between his lips to take sips of his drink every few minutes.  Might as well since he plans on getting absolutely gone tonight.

Nick takes a gulp of his beer and takes a deep breath, “I want us to get back together.”

Nick says it so seriously, but Harry can’t help but sputter his drink and laugh, “What?”

The other man glares at Harry, “I’m serious Harry, I want you back.”

Harry stops laughing but he bites his lip to stop himself because what the fuck?  “But I don’t want to get back together with you.”

Nick lets out a frustrated sigh, “Why not?  We were together for two years, Harry.  I love you, you can’t honestly tell me you’ve already moved on?”

Harry smiles, “Oh I have, very much so.  You gave me a fucking ultimatum, Nick.  What did you expect me to do?”

“I just figured you needed time.  When I saw that you had finally decided to come out, I thought maybe…”  Nick looks down at the table, and he actually looks timid at his admission.

“What?  You thought I’d take you with open arms after you made me choose between being out with you and my career?  Not to mention that I was closeted against my will, and you couldn’t get that through your thick skull!”  Harry slams his fist against the table, all the built up anger he had from the past making its way back.

Nick puts his hands up, “I’m so sorry Harry.  I was just, I just loved you so much I hated that we had to hide it.  I hated having to go to events alone, having women be all over you, it took a toll on me you know.”

“Look Nick, I’m not going to rehash everything that’s already in the past.  I just have no interest in getting back together.  I’m in love with someone else,” Harry tells him.  The waiter comes back, and Harry orders the same thing.

Nick crosses his arms, “Let me guess that twink you were with last night?”

Harry rolls his eyes again, “Don’t talk about him, you don’t know him so just shut up,” he defends.

“Is he in the industry?  Because if he’s not, you might as well just end it now.  He won’t be able to take all the stories they write about you, all the travelling and being away from you…”  Nick taunts.

“Good thing that’s nothing that should worry you then, right?”  Harry tells him taking his shot.  He grimaces as the amber liquid burns his throat.

“Harry come on,” Nick whines.  He extens his hands out, putting one of them atop of Harry’s.  “Just think about it?”

Harry looks up at the ceiling in frustration.  He has a feeling it’s going to be a long night.

 

****

 

Louis feels like a complete idiot sitting in his car outside of Harry’s house.  Liam talked some sense into him last night, pretty much telling him to get his shit together and making him see how much Harry loves him.  His best friend convinced him to talk to Harry about all of his worries, and to work it out, telling him that he shouldn’t let those things get in the way.  That they should fight for their relationship, especially since it’s taken them ten years to get here, and he shouldn’t be giving up so easily.  So here he is, standing outside of Harry’s house about to grovel.

Louis rings the doorbell and his heart races in anticipation.  He doesn’t know what to expect--if Harry’s going to be mad at him, or happy to see him.  There’s only one way to find out.  He can hear someone approaching the door so he puts on a smile, to show him he’s glad to see him.  When the door opens his smile drops, and his heart breaks.  Because standing in front of him isn’t Harry, but Nick, the guy from that tab article.

“Hi can I help you?”  Nick has the nerve to ask.

Louis clears his throat, there must be an explanation for this right?  “Yes, um, I’m looking for Harry,” He tells Nick.

Nick, who’s in his boxers and Harry’s Rolling Stones t-shirt that leaves very little to the imagination, makes a show of looking over his shoulder, “Oh, I’m sorry he’s a bit..you know..”  then he whispers, “indisposed,” he winks, “shower.”

Louis feels like he’s going to be sick, because what the fuck?  Louis just needed some time to think, and Harry went and slept with Nick?  Did he think Louis had broken up with him?  God, why didn’t he just answer Harry’s messages and all of this could have been avoided.  No, that doesn’t excuse Harry from spending the night with this guy.  Fuck.
“Oh, okay,” Louis says trying to stay calm, “can you let him know I stopped by please?”

Nick smiles, “Sure thing Larry.”

“It’s Louis,” he says, but Nick doesn’t hear him because he’s slammed the door in his face before he can finish.  Louis turns to go back to his car, he tells Liam he’s going to be late to work and he drives.  He doesn’t know where, but he just drives, and cries.  He cries so hard he has to pull over.

 

****

 
Harry has a headache and did he eat sand last night because his mouth feels like a desert.  Why the fuck is it so bright in here?  Harry rubs his eyes trying to remember what the fuck happened last night.

“Good morning,” he hears Nick chirp.  Harry startles.  And no.  This cannot be happening.  

Harry lifts the sheet from his body, and sees that he’s got bottoms on, thank god.  He glares at Nick, “What the fuck are you doing here?  And why are you wearing my shirt?”

Nick pats down the shirt against his chest, “I’m sorry but you puked all over mine last night.  I helped get you home, because you were in no shape to drive yourself back.”  Nick explains.

Harry puts his head in his hands rubbing circles against his temple, “Oh god, I’m sorry.  I didn’t drunk call Louis did I?”

Nick rolls his eyes, “No, don’t worry,” he assures him.

Relief rolls over Harry’s face.

“Speaking of,” Nick continues, “loverboy came here looking for you just a few minutes ago.”

Harry’s head snaps back up, “He what?”

“Larry or Louis whatever his name is, he was here just a few minutes ago.  He was asking for you,”  Nick explains.

“Oh my god,” Harry panics, “What did you tell him?  Did you answer the door looking like that?”  He asks pointing at Nick’s body.

Nick huffs, “I told him you were busy..” he says not looking at Harry in the face.

“Why the fuck would you tell him that Nicholas?”  Harry is so close to punching Nick out it’s not even funny.

Nick crosses his arms looking at Harry pointedly, “I told you last night Harry, I want you back, and I’ll do anything to make it happen.”

Harry growls.  He literally growls he’s so fucking angry, “Get the fuck out of my house you asshole!”  He yells, “And please take my shirt off before you jinx the band.”  Harry gets out of bed, looks through his drawers, takes a plain white shirt, and throws it at him, “Here take that one.”

“Fine,” Nick says, taking off the shirt and putting the other one on, “But don’t come crawling to me when Larry wants nothing to do with you!”  He says storming out of the house.  

Harry can’t help but laugh at Nick’s words because there’s no way in hell he’d ever go back to him, even if Louis never wants to see him again.  He stumbles to get to his phone and dials Louis’ number but it goes straight to voicemail.  Dammit.  He scrambles to shower, and throw some clothes on.  He needs to find Louis and clear things up with him.

When he gets to Louis’ house there’s no one there.  Louis’ car isn’t in the driveway either.  When he goes to Louis’ practice he manages to talk to Liam.

“I’m sorry Harry, Louis’ not here.  He asked for the day off,” Liam tells him.  “And to be quite honest, I’d appreciate it if you left him alone.  You really hurt him.”

“But that’s the thing Liam, it’s all a huge misunderstanding that I need to explain to him, please tell me where he is!”  Harry begs.  

Liam gives him a worried look, he sighs, “Fine.  He went to his mother’s.  He picked up Leo at our place and said he needed a few days off.”

Harry jumps into Liam, hugging him tightly, “Thank you Liam!” He yelps, giving him a big sloppy kiss on the cheek.

“You better fix this Harry!  I’m serious!” He calls out as Harry runs out of the office.

Harry jumps into his car, pulls his phone out, and makes a call.

“Niall?  I need your help.”

 

****

Louis made it his goal to visit his family at least once a month since moving to Chicago for medical school.  It’s only about a five hour drive, and a one hour plane ride.  Today, he didn’t think he could concentrate enough on driving so he decided to buy the next plane ticket out for him and Leo.  When they arrive, they take a cab to his mother’s house--his mother’s pleasantly surprised and more than happy to see them.

“I wish you would have given me more time love!  How are you?” His mother greets him at the door.  He takes Leo into her arms, hugging and kissing him as Leo giggles and kisses back.

Louis smiles at the adorable interaction between his son and mother.  “Sorry mom, just thought I’d visit for a few days.  I’ve missed you.”  He hugs and kisses her on the cheek.

“Oh I’ve missed you too son, come in.  Would you like some coffee?”  She offers, setting Leo down as he runs to find his aunts and uncle.

“I’d love some thank you.”

Louis’ mom heats up the water, and gets the mugs and other things ready for them to prepare their beverages.  After they both sit and take a sip of their coffee, Louis breaks, and it’s like the floodgates have opened, and he can’t stop the tears from flowing.  He tells his mom everything--about seeing Harry again and how they both wanted to take advantage of the opportunity they felt fate had given them.  Louis feels like such a fool for thinking it had been fate.  He tells her about falling for Harry and how he’s been amazing with Leo, and how much Leo loves Harry.  Louis talks to her about the premiere and how at the end of the night they’d confessed their love to each other, and how the next day everything came crumbling down.  And how he went over to Harry’s house, and the predicament he found Nick in.  By the time Louis finishes telling her everything, his mother has her arm around her son rubbing soothing circles on his back.

“Did you talk to him baby?” His mom inquires.

Louis shakes his head, “No, I saw Nick and he made it pretty obvious that they’d spent the night, so I had to get out of there.  Harry tried calling not too long after that but I couldn’t...I just couldn’t talk to him.”

Johannah kisses Louis on top of his head, “Oh baby, I’m so sorry.”  

Louis shrugs, “Maybe it’s for the best, yeah?  He was going to be leaving town in just a matter of months anyway.”

The entire family gathers together to have dinner, and Louis is just really glad he has his family around right now.  After dinner, Louis gets Leo ready for bed, making sure to read him his favorite bedtime story.  He lays down next to his son after he’s fast asleep, running his hands through the boy’s hair.  There’s a soft knock at the door and his mother peeks inside.

“Louis, you have a visitor,” she tells him.  Louis furrows his eyebrows in confusion wondering who it could be.  He didn’t let Stan or any of the other guys know he was coming today.  He turns to look at Leo, “Don’t worry son, I’ll watch him,” his mom smiles at him, “Go on.”

Louis is even more confused, his mom is talking like she’s not expecting him to be back any time soon and Louis has no plans to leave the house.  He makes his way down the stairs to the living room, and sees a blonde haired man sitting on one of the recliners.  When he notices Louis he stands up quickly.

“Hi Louis,” the man greets.

“Niall?” He asks.  Louis’ never met Niall in person, but Harry has shown him a few pictures of the both of them.

“Oh so you know who I am, good!  That’ll hopefully not make things too awkward,” he says.

“It’s still kind of awkward,” Louis tells him.  Niall just shrugs.  “What are you doing here?”

Niall scratches the back of his head, “Can we go somewhere and talk?”

Louis looks around, “Why can’t we talk here?”  He gestures around with his hands.

“Um, because, people are going to bed, I’d just rather go to a more relaxed environment and all that,” Niall says nervously.

Louis’ eyebrows furrow, “Okay? Sure, but I can’t stay out too long.”  He finally relents.

"Perfect,” Niall says, “Let’s go then.”

They get in Niall’s car, music blasts through the speakers when he turns on the ignition, startling the both of them, “Sorry.”  He apologizes quickly, turning down the volume.

They arrive to a bar mere minutes away and they make their way inside.  It’s not too packed inside, the crowd seems to just be starting to gather.  Niall leads them to a table that’s close to a stage that has a huge sign that says Open Mic Night, and Louis hopes that they’re done with their conversation before people start performing.  The waitress approaches them to take their orders, and Niall orders chilli cheese fries and a beer.  Louis just orders a whiskey sour.

“So...what’s up?” Louis asks wanting to get this encounter over with.  It’s nothing against Niall, he’d just like to put Harry and everything connected to him behind him and move on.

“Let’s eat and drink a bit first, yeah?  I’m starving,” Niall says.

Louis sighs, a bit annoyed.  He just wants to go home and wallow.  And cuddle with Leo.  He supposes getting a few drinks in will do him good too.  “Fine.”  He relents.

The waitress comes back with their orders and Niall lifts his drink up and Louis acquiesces, clinking their drinks together.  Niall offers some of his chilli fries, but Louis politely declines, taking in the area around them.  The crowd is getting heavier, and Louis wonders if these open mic nights are always this packed with people.  Well, it is Friday night after all, but it’s a small town they’re in.  He doesn’t think this many people actually live here.

A man with spiky red hair and black rimmed glasses appears on stage with a mic in his hand, “Good evening everyone!  Thank you for joining us tonight,” He begins.  And great, so much for trying to avoid the performances.  “We cancelled our open mic sign ups sort of last minute, when we found out this performer was in town, because who would refuse him the chance to perform?”  There’s confused murmuring among the crowd and Louis himself wonders who this mystery performer is.  Most concerts are held in Detroit just about an hour away.

“Anyway, enough with the suspense!  We have Grammy winning recording artist Harry Styles!  Please give him a round of applause!”  The crowd roars in applause and Louis stops breathing.  He literally stops taking breaths because what the fuck?

His head snaps to Niall but before he can ask for answers the lights dim and the strings of a guitar begin to play.  “Good evening everyone, it’s good to be in my dear hometown,” Harry’s low drawl echoes through the room. There’s just one spotlight on him and it makes him literally shine.  “Thank you for having me.  You see, there’s someone very, very important to me who’s here tonight, and I’d like to perform this song for them.  Now I apologize in advance, as this song is yet to be released, but I just had to perform it.  So here we go.”

Harry increases the thrumming of his guitar and closes his eyes, bringing his lips back to the mic.

A blue-black shade of love.

Sent from above.

My hands are tied, two worlds alone,

And this I know.

Your breath's like wine,

And just like clouds, my skin crawls.

It's so divine, the sky it glows with fields of light.

 

Did you know that I love you?

Come and lay with me.

I love you.

And on this day, I love you.

You make me feel alive,

And I'll love you

Until the end of time.

 

The crowd is swaying to the beat of the music, and Louis’ throat tightens.  He can’t lose it in front of all these people.  He turns to look at Niall who’s giving him the most smug grin.  Louis just rolls his eyes and focuses back on Harry.  The sight of him is pure heaven.

My hands shake clasped with fear, as you come near

To say goodnight, just like a dove.

A peaceful sign.

To help us by, as you come in,

Let this begin.

Stars fall like dust, our lips will touch,

We speak too much.

 

Did you know that I love you?

Come and lay with me.

I love you.

And on this day, I love you.

You make me feel alive,

And I'll love you

Until the end of time.

 

Louis’ face feels warm and when he runs his fingers to it, he can feel the tears streaming down his face.  Fuck.  Harry repeats the chorus a couple of more times and it’s like with each time he’s singing with more and more passion.  It’s like he’s trying to burn the words to Louis’ brain so that he’ll never forget them.

I've got a lot to say, if you will let me

It's always hard, when you're around me

But here right now, there's interest in your eyes

So hear me out, and hear this the first time

 

That I... love you (come and lay with me)

That I... love you (and on this day)

That I... love you (you make me feel alive)

That I... love you

Till the end of time

 

When Harry sings the last line it’s dead quiet for a split second before the crowd roars in excitement and Louis needs air.  He runs outside.

“Thank you very much.  Have a good night,” he hears Harry say.

Louis steps out and the cold fresh air hitting him is so welcoming.  He gasps breathing it in.  

“Lou.”

Louis shuts his eyes tight.  He turns around to face Harry, and when he opens them the younger man is looking at him with the most earnest eyes he’s ever seen.  They’re layered with unshed tears, and Louis gets the urge take him in his arms and run his hands through those precious curls.  “That was a good song,” he croaks.

Harry’s lip quirks a little, “It’s about you.  All my songs are about you.  And Leo too.”  He admits.

“What?”  Louis is dumbfounded.

Harry shrugs, “Why wouldn’t they be?  You’re both the most important people to me Lou.”

“But..” Louis begins before Harry interrupts him.

“The whole Nick thing isn’t what you think.  I got drunk, and he helped make sure I got home okay.  He slept on the couch downstairs.  He did try getting back with me, but I turned him down, Louis, I swear.  I don’t want anybody but you.”  Harry rambles and Louis presses his fingers against Harry’s mouth to shut him up.

“Shh,” he tells him, “I believe you.  I love you.  I love you so fucking much, okay?”

Harry nods, with Louis’ fingers still on his lips.  He kisses his fingers and Louis removes them smiling.  “In case you didn’t get what my song was about, I love you, too.”

They both laugh and Louis slaps him against his chest, “Idiot.”

They might not have everything figured yet, but all Louis knows is that he’ll do whatever it takes to make it work with Harry, because he’s never letting him go again.

 

****

 

Future Headlines

 

6 Months Later:

 
Harry Styles Adds Deaf Interpreters to all of His Future Performances

 

1 year later:

 Harry Styles and Longtime Pediatrician Boyfriend Louis Tomlinson are Engaged!  Check out the adorable announcement!

 

1 year and 3 months later:

 Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson Tie the Knot in Romantic Hawaii Getaway: Check out Adorable Pictures of their son Leo as Ring Bearer!

 

2 Years Later:

 Harry Styles and Husband Louis Tomlinson Expecting Baby Girl via Surrogate!  

 

2 Years and 6 months later:

 Harry Styles and Husband Louis Tomlinson Welcome Baby Girl Layla Anne!  Check out the adorable pictures with big brother Leo!