When the doorbell rings, Louis and Zayn are smoking a joint on the sofa.
“Louis or Zayn, make yourselves useful and get the door!” Liam calls from the kitchen. “We’ve all been working to set everything up and you’ve been sitting on your arses since you arrived!”
Louis takes another hit and Zayn acts like he hasn’t heard anything.
“Don’t make me come out there!” Liam calls out a second time, and Louis makes eye contact with Zayn before jerking his head toward the front door. Zayn just stares back at him, clearly unimpressed.
Louis mutters under his breath when he gets up, something about Zayn being a terrible friend and human being. He walks across the room and flings open the door dramatically, but it only takes one glance at the man on the other side for him to freeze. He’s never seen this person before, which makes him think that it’s the new guy that Liam met in one of his classes. Louis can’t quite recall what name Liam had mentioned earlier. Probably because he hadn’t actually been listening.
This guy is really attractive. Like, really, really attractive. Louis hates Liam for failing to inform him about this beforehand, but knowing Liam, he probably didn’t even notice the man’s good looks. As Louis stands here, dressed far too casually and feeling completely unprepared to talk to a hot guy, he’s paying the price for Liam’s obliviousness.
The man is taller than Louis by a few inches and he has dark brown curls that he’s brushed back from his face. His eyes are a lovely green color, his lips are naturally a pretty shade of pink, and he has a dimple engraved in one cheek as he smiles. Louis resists the urge to stick a finger in said dimple and brush his hands through the man’s soft-looking hair, but just barely. He isn’t sure if this guy is interested in men at all, but if he is, damn, Louis is going for it.
Then Louis realizes that he and this guy are still standing in the doorway.
“Fuck, mate, come on in. I’m Louis Tomlinson. Are you the new guy?” He reaches out to take a plate of cupcakes from the man’s hands, leading him toward the table where all the food is set up.
“Uh, yes, I am. I’m Harry Styles,” Harry says, reaching out to shake Louis’ hand as soon as Louis puts the cupcakes down. His voice is significantly deeper than Louis expected it to be, and that alone makes his stomach flutter a bit.
“Great to meet you, Harry. I see you were chosen to bless us with dessert.” He motions to the cupcakes, which are elaborately decorated with frosting flowers.
“Uh, yeah, I work part-time at a bakery, so I figured it was the least I could do. Which of these delicious foods is yours?” Harry asks. His eyes scan the table of steaming chicken, mash, carrots, and various other dishes.
“Ah, my offering is this one,” Louis says, pointing to a plate that Liam shoved onto the corner of the table. Harry chokes out a laugh and Louis looks at him, eyes narrowing.
“You brought sandwiches to a potluck,” Harry says slowly, one eyebrow raised.
“Hey, fuck you,” Louis says, prepared to aggressively defend his sandwiches. He doesn’t need this newbie coming in here with elitist cupcakes and insulting him because he doesn’t think Louis’ appetizer contribution is up to standards. “Not all of us were blessed with cooking or baking genes, alright? Besides, I cut them up into little triangles and stuck the toothpicks in. They look sophisticated and everybody likes them.”
Harry throws his hands up in defeat, laughing.
“I didn’t mean to offend, Lou. Please accept my deepest apologies.” Louis just glares at Harry in response and stomps over to where Zayn is well on his way to finishing the weed without him.
Harry wanders over awkwardly while Louis snatches the joint out of Zayn’s fingers. Louis closes his eyes as he inhales, ignoring the sound of Harry’s stupidly deep voice when he introduces himself to Zayn. By the time Louis opens his eyes again, Harry is sitting next to him and staring. He suddenly feels defensive again.
“Going to judge us for enjoying weed now? Judging my sandwiches wasn’t enough for you, pal?” Louis says, voice harsh. Out of his peripheral vision, he sees Zayn roll his eyes, but Louis chooses to ignore him.
Harry raises his eyebrows at Louis and puts his hand out. Louis looks at Zayn, who just shrugs, so he hands Harry the joint. Harry maintains eye contact with Louis while he inhales, and Louis wants to look away, but doesn’t. The twat even wiggles his eyebrows while he exhales the smoke, and Louis sighs when Zayn high fives him, giggling.
“I’m gonna grab one of those mini-sandwiches,” Harry says, standing up and walking away from the sofa. Louis looks over and sees that Harry really is getting one, plopping it into his mouth before grabbing a second sandwich to bring back with him. Louis has to suppress a smile.
“Alright, he can stay,” he says, ignoring Zayn’s laughter.
Three hours later, Harry and Louis are sprawled out on the sofa. Zayn and most of the other guests have already left, but Liam and a girl named Sophia are cleaning up in the kitchen. Harry and Louis tried to help — well, scratch that, Harry tried to help, and Louis managed to get them both kicked out of the room immediately. They’re both high and a little bit tipsy, stuffed from the ridiculous amount of food they consumed, and now they’re just sitting down, talking, and giggling.
“Shut up,” Harry hisses, elbowing Louis. “The idea of me being on scholarship as an athlete isn’t that funny. You’re fucking rude.” Louis giggles again.
“I saw you walk across the room and trip over the air earlier. Don’t even try,” Louis says. “Now tell me what you’re really studying.”
Harry sighs. “Photography,” he admits. “I’m hoping to be a freelance photographer when I graduate, but I want to continue working at the bakery part-time for as long as I can. It’s great stress relief for me, baking, and while I don’t want it to be my only job because I love taking photos too much, it’s still important to me. I’m hoping to do both.”
Louis smiles fondly. He’d noticed Harry skulking around with a camera earlier in the night, snapping photos of all the people in attendance laughing and chatting with one another. Louis was too high to pay much attention, but he’s pretty sure he made an appearance in several of the photos himself.
It’s nice to hear Harry talk about his interest in photography. Louis loves hearing people talking about the activities that they enjoy, and he loves it even more when people pursue a career that really means something to them. Louis worries too much about not leading a stable life to blindly follow his dreams, but even without knowing much about Harry Styles, he feels certain in that moment that Harry will manage to pursue both of his passions.
Harry turns his gaze toward Louis. His eyes are bloodshot and watery, but they’re still the prettiest green Louis has ever seen. He wants to kiss Harry so badly, has been wanting to since Harry insulted his sandwiches, honestly, but he resists. They’ve only known each other for a few hours, but Harry has a way of looking at Louis like he’s the most important person Harry’s ever met.
“And what are you studying, Lou? Something to do with cooking, I presume?” Harry asks, a crooked grin on his face.
“Fuck you,” Louis says without heat. “I’m just studying business. I wanted to do drama and be an actor, but I didn’t think it would be practical, so here I am.” He looks up from where he’s fiddling with the strings on his hoodie to see that Harry is smiling at him softly.
“I think you would be a great actor, Louis. You can do whatever you want to do.” He sounds so earnest that it makes something in Louis’ chest tighten. It feels good to hear, even if it is just from a man he met tonight.
“You don’t even know me,” he says, but he nudges his body closer to Harry’s on the sofa. The weed is making him sleepy now, and he wishes he could just doze here with Harry instead of having to walk home.
“I don’t know you yet,” Harry says, wrapping his arm around Louis’ shoulders. Louis snuggles in closer, and Harry lets him. “But I’m going to, Louis Tomlinson. I can tell we’re going to be great friends,” Harry says, giving Louis’ shoulder a gentle squeeze.
Louis wiggles out from under Harry’s arm and stares at the curly-haired twat next to him.
“Oh yeah, Styles? Are we gonna be best friends forever?” He says sarcastically, but he knows his smile gives him away.
Harry raises his eyebrows and sticks out his pinky.
“Yeah, we are. I pinky promise.”
Louis stares at him. “Are we five years old? Does alcohol and weed make you revert back into a child?”
Harry just smiles at him and shrugs.
“Pinky promise, Louis. C’mon, you know you want to.”
Louis huffs. He’s pretty sure he hasn’t made a pinky promise since he promised Lottie there wasn’t a monster under her bed about six years ago. Despite how ridiculous he feels, he grabs Harry’s pinky and hooks his smaller one around it.
“I pinky promise, Harry Styles. We just met and we may never see each other again and I know literally nothing about you other than the fact that you make pinky promises like a child, you love baking and taking photos, you have curly hair and green eyes, you’re the same height as me—“ Louis cuts himself off when he hears Harry laughing at that. “And,” he continues diplomatically, choosing to ignore Harry’s laughter about his height. “You’re a complete and utter twat. Still, I pinky promise that we will be best friends forever.”
Harry laughs and lifts their hands up like they’ve just had a victory, fingers still locked.
Louis has no idea what he’s getting himself into then, but he’ll find out soon enough. For now, he just tries to ignore the rapid pace of his heartbeat when Harry looks at him. It’s just natural excitement over meeting someone new, he’s sure. There’s no reason to think that it’s anything more than that.
“Pinkies never lie,” Harry says, and Louis smiles.