How is love supposed to speak, when one can’t even choke out the words?
The airport had a deathly chill floating around, slipping in between different people, young and old. The air was stuffy with emotions: excitement, anticipation, emotional farewells, fear. It was hard to piece together when you had been sat there for hours, watching one child bouncing up and down in happiness one second and then watching a wife cling onto her husband with tears streaming down her face the next. The contrast was astounding. It’s not often realised, but people watching was somewhat underappreciated. Especially during times of trepidation and worry.
Louis was bunched up on the cold, metal chair with his legs brought up to his chest. He hadn’t been on the chair for too long, three quarters of an hour at most, but his backside was starting to go numb from the hardness of the seat. He wished that the airport could have been a little more helpful in times like so, maybe have more comfortable seating, however, he doubted that they had many wayward young adults moping around the airport for long amounts of time. He probably could have stayed at home for a while longer and stayed curled up on his sofa like he had the past however many hours.
Because Louis hadn’t done anything during the time between his departure from Harry and the present moment. Well, he had been to the toilet and slept a lot, but the thought of doing anything else just brought a thick lining to his throat and a curdling in his stomach. Not only did he have no energy to move from his foetal position on the sofa, but he didn’t have any motivation either. It was hard to find that little something inside of you which makes you do things when everything around you seemed so bleak and provided no light to help you find it.
The whole day was excruciatingly difficult. Time ticked by slower than usual, however cliché that sounded. It was like every minute was multiplied by ten, making the time he was awake drag on more than it ever had.
What made it worse was the feeling of the unknown. If he knew what was coming, if he knew what was going to happen, then the time would have gone quicker –however slight it was. He didn’t have anything to look forward to, or anything to not look forward to, more like. Of course, Louis didn’t have high hopes for that Monday. Half of him knew that the chance of Harry actually turning up was next to nothing, a quarter of him refused to believe that, while the other quarter was still in disbelief. He didn’t want to face up to what had happened the night prior because even skimming over the top of it made his heart crash down in his body and shatter into shards of torment.
As he curled in on himself defensively, at whatever time it was during the day, Louis wondered what Harry would be doing. Usually, on a Sunday, he would have Sunday Dinner with his parents at either 2pm or 7pm, depending on the activities of the day. He never normally did anything on a Sunday, using it to catch up on schoolwork or just laze around. If everything hadn’t happened like it had, Louis wondered if Harry would be packing his suitcase for their trip.
Wait–no, Harry had packed on the Thursday night because he had nothing better to do, so it probably would have been final checks that he had everything. Louis had packed at the same time, just so they could experience the task together. They texted back and forth about certain bits and bobs which they weren’t too sure whether to bring or not, clothing, toiletries and miscellaneous items included. It was fun, exciting, lots of anticipation swirling around. Harry had commented many a time that he just couldn’t wait to be alone with Louis, that it was a chance he wouldn’t let slip through his fingers. Louis wondered if that still applied, most probably not.
Instead of that, though, Harry was probably acting just as Louis was, although a lot more hurt and with a lot more thinking to do. Louis thought it was fair, giving Harry the option to either turn up at the airport and continue their relationship or not turn up and it all be over. He was doing it for Harry’s benefit; after all, it would only hurt Harry more if the fiasco was prolonged for even longer. Harry had more than a day to consider everything which Louis had told him, add on his opinions about his explanation to the base ones he made in reaction to finding out. Louis thought that that was enough; after all, Harry could be determined about things once he had set his mind to it. It wasn’t too complicated for him; he just had to decide whether Louis’ mistake was forgivable or not. Okay- so maybe it was complicated. But still.
The thinking time didn’t exactly help Louis, though. It didn’t straighten out his thoughts or make him see sense, because, really, he already had seen sense the second he knew that Harry had found out. It was the opposite; it didn’t make him feel better at all. He wallowed in regret and a small chunk of self-pity, but mainly in sorrow. The river of his emotions was polluted with how sorry he was that he had hurt Harry, tainted and murky. It was the one thing which he promised that he wouldn’t do, hurt Harry that is, and he did it without even realising it. That thought alone made him sob even more brokenly.
It took a lot of strength to even wake up on Monday morning, but the remembrance and tingle of hope at the base of his neck gave him that small push to actually move. He didn’t dare look in the mirror to see the sunken eyes, chapped lips, heavy bags, because that would make everything more real. He would see firsthand what his mistake had done, and he would immediately imagine Harry with those same particular side effects. That would probably push him over the edge and back into the ocean of pent up emotion, which he couldn’t afford to happen if he was going into civilisation within the hour. He had to keep up appearances, for…well, he didn’t know whose sake, but someone’s at least.
He took the bus to the airport, prolonging the time he could be vacant for. He caught sight of his reflection in the window, noticing the lack of glint in his eyes. He didn’t want Harry to see him in such a state, but he didn’t know how to recuperate and act like everything was fine when it blatantly wasn’t.
He didn’t want to feel sorry for himself; it didn’t feel right when he was the hurter, not the hurt-ee. He didn’t deserve pity, he knew that, but he couldn’t stop himself from letting that small slice of self-pity weigh on his back.
He just wanted it to be all over; he wanted the mistake to be gone and his Harry back where he belonged, with him.
The final check in time was 11:45am, but Louis had gotten there at 9:30am, purely down to wanting to be there just in case Harry turned up early. Just in case, there was not much expectance in there.
With around an hour and a half to wait, Louis’ mind was starting to numb. He was losing faith every minute, a little dusting of it being brushed off with every happy person who strutted by.
He hoped that Harry would be happy without him-
No, Louis thought, don’t think like that. If he was going to be strong, he would have to keep his thoughts at bay until after the final check in. Harry could turn up, there was still time. He didn’t want Harry to turn up and Louis to have given up, no; that could make him change his mind if he saw how pathetic Louis was. No, Louis wasn’t going to lose Harry; he couldn’t afford to. He needed him.
That, just before, showed how contradictive his mind was. One minute he was on the verge of giving up, the next he was full to the brim with faith that Harry would turn up. He couldn’t seem to find a happy medium. Both sides had their cons which screamed selfishness and, really, Louis wasn’t a selfish person, however much his mistake claimed that he was.
He just wanted Harry to be happy. With him, yes, but if not with him then all he wanted was for Harry to be paired with contentment. If Harry decided that Louis wasn’t worth his time and he was better off without him, then, after some battling on Louis’ part to try and save any last shred of their relationship, Louis would leave Harry to be happy. Because Harry deserved to be happy; he always had and he always would deserve that. Louis had said that from the very beginning and he would say it to the very end, maybe even beyond that.
Louis shuffled around a bit on his chair and pulled his coat tighter around his chest. The constant breeze from the automatic doors opening and closing, along with the constant stream of people, made a bitter chill bite at his exposed neck. He didn’t want to have to bring a coat to the warm country, and he almost threw it to the side before he had left the house, but instinct told him to bring it just in case. Now, he was glad. He had been waiting for long enough to cause his teeth to chatter, even more in this case when tiredness was present.
It was a surprise when his phone started buzzing in his pocket, sending vibrations through the metal bench. Louis fished it out, fingers scrambling in and around his tight jean pockets. He couldn’t deny the breath-catching thought that the text may have been from Harry; regardless of whether it was good or bad news, it was still Harry.
Except it wasn’t Harry; it was Zayn. How ironic.
Louis sighed in disappointment, as bad as that sounded when Zayn was supposed to be his very best mate. In all honesty, he couldn’t help but resent the other twenty-one-year-old, even though he knew that, technically, it wasn’t Zayn’s fault. He hadn’t intentionally been ignoring any of the three boys’ calls- well, actually, that was a lie. He hadn’t exactly wanted to speak to anyone other than Harry, and if pressing that red button whenever their names flashed on the screen was the only way he could do that, then that’s what he would do. He also was reaping the benefits of living alone; the lack of human contact necessary was at bare minimum, if not zilch. Thankfully, the lads were too lazy to call around and never came banging on his door for his attention. Louis was grateful for that; they would most probably have ribbed him for looking such a state, because Louis Tomlinson would never let himself go like that.
Hesitantly, Louis opened the text from the boy for the first time in over a day.
From: Zayn (10:11)
Hey m8, u up 2 mch 2day? was wonderin if u wantd to meet me n th lads @ the bar l8r? mayb gt smth 2 eat b4?
Louis cringed at the text speak. He had always hated that and tried to make Zayn convert to normal words, but alas, the boy refused. It was so much easier, so much more interesting, too, texting Harry because it didn’t take you half an hour to work out what he was actually trying to say. Well, if you forget about having to Google Define half the words he used, that is.
Another reason he cringed was because of Zayn’s total dismissal for his lack of presence –but Louis wasn’t too sure whether he wanted to be questioned on it or not– and the fact that he knew that Louis was going away that day but still texted him to ask to meet up. Yes, Louis knew that one was able to forget sometimes, but he didn’t want to have an excuse for Zayn because, well, just because.
From: Louis (10:12)
I’m busy today, you know that.
From: Zayn (10:14)
Oh so ur alive r u?
From: Louis (10:16)
Oh shut the fuck up Zayn
From: Zayn (10:17)
Wats gt ur nickers in a twist? God lou lighten up, i ws jst jkin
From: Louis (10:18)
Well now isn’t exactly the best time, alright?
Louis was frustrated and agitated because of Zayn’s blatant ignorance. He obviously wasn’t picking up on Louis’ loud cries of wanting him to just leave him alone. Whether Zayn was doing it on purpose or not was another matter in itself. Being so riled up, when his phone started to buzz and play his ringtone, he answered it without even glancing at the caller ID.
"Hello?" Louis’ tone wasn’t harsh, as such, just a little gruff from the early morning, lack of hydration and general negative mood in his pores.
"It never is ‘the best time’ now, though, is it?"
Well, Louis should have seen that one coming. He must have been in one of those incredibly annoying, persistent moods and Louis had stupidly not realised that; now he would have to be put through the whole rigmarole of decreasing said pushiness.
"And what is that supposed to mean?" Louis said in an exceedingly bored tone.
"You’ve been such an ass these last few days and it’s pissing me right off!" Zayn answered with stern backing tone.
"I beg to differ," Louis stated simply.
"Well don’t, because it’s true! You’re being a complete dick for no reason at all!"
"I’ve hardly spoken to you, mate. I don’t know where you’ve gotten that idea from," he sighed, readjusting himself on the chair with a clang of the metal on his coat clinking off the seat.
"That’s my fucking point! You’ve been ignoring me for no reason!"
"Shut up, Zayn, you’re just shit stirring. You don’t know anything," Louis spoke tiredly, rubbing his forehead with the tips of his fingers. His skin felt dry and flaky, not what he was used to at all. The scratchy noise which tore through the air wasn’t pleasant, especially when Louis was so used to the soft swish which usually sung through. He really needed to moisturise, he contemplated.
"Louis, that’s what I’m saying, you aren’t telling me anything, it’s not like you," Zayn stated a little softer, but still harshly.
"Yeh, well you know what, Zayn? I don’t really feel like me right now, either, so fuck that,” Louis snapped.
"That’s not my fucking fault! You don’t have to take it out on me!"
"I’m not taking it out on you! I haven’t been speaking to you!"
"That is taking it out on me! You’re obviously ignoring me because I’ve done something which probably isn’t even anything major!”
Louis growled through his sigh, his throat vibrating up to the roof of his mouth, tingling. It was probably more of a grunt, actually. Through the way he shut his eyes resignedly, the darkness enclosed the harsh airport lighting. “You’re not making any sense. I really can’t deal with this right now so will you please just leave me the fuck alone?”
"No! I’m not going to leave you alone until you’ve explained why you’re being such a fucking twat!"
It was similar to a pin prick. A small, tiny, miniscule prickle of pain being injected into where his neck and right shoulder joined. It was sharp and succinct. It was totally out of the blue, who would have known which part of the sentence spoken had triggered it. But then again, who would have known what the intention of the sting was until it had erupted like a volcano to finally release all its pent up frustration.
It flooded his veins instantly, clutching and grasping onto the cylindrical tube which it had zoned in on. It sunk upwards, its ferocity burning out into a tired and cumbersome journey. The instant adrenaline it contained in itself had dropped to a new low. And so it made its way up the side of his neck, tickling and tingling. It curled around his ear and then back down, stopping by the top of his jaw to fester and set it into a fierce lock. Finally, it sunk through and landed in his mouth, lounging on the tip of his tongue.
"Because you’ve fucked everything up! You’ve ruined my fucking life! Everything is all over the place because of you and your fucking opinions and judgements on something which you have no bloody idea about! You made me into a liar, something I never ever wanted to be, especially not with him anyway because he was my everything two days ago and now he’s gone, all because of you! You made me feel like I shouldn’t have been with him when I knew I should because we were perfect for each other! He was- he was perfect for me…”
Zayn was stunned on the end of the line; so was Louis, except his was a little more fuelled from emotional exhaustion. Everything had tumbled out like frothy water crashing down a waterfall, smashing off the rock formations the way his words tore through is lips and bounded into thin air.
"What the fuck are you talking about? I thought you and Aiden were fine?"
"Will you shut the fuck up about Aiden for one fucking second?! I don’t give a fuck about Aiden!"
"Then who the hell are you talking about?!"
"Harry! For God’s sake. Harry Edward Styles, my boyfriend, or should I say ex-boyfriend all because of you and your stupid opinions?!"
"Who is Har- wait…you mean the mute boy?"
"For Christ’s sake, he’s just a normal boy; he doesn’t always have to be called ‘the mute boy’! That doesn’t define him; he’s way more than that! He has a million other qualities but nobody else looks past that and it’s not fair! He’s perfect the way he is! But now he’s going to think that I think just like you, and I don’t; I think the furthest away from you than even possible! And more! It’s all your fucking fault, Zayn. You’ve ruined him and you’ve ruined me!"
Moisture, tears, water; whatever it was, was gathering behind his eyes. It spread around and blurred his vision like a piece of creased cling film lying over his pupils. His throat ached, the lump that was lodged in there being heavy. It was trying to support itself, gripping onto the walls to stay up but the muscle was just sliding out from in between its fist. It was hard to talk normally. His anger, at whomever –himself or Zayn–, was making his voice rise a level, but the ache was pulling it up a notch on the pitch scale to a tad hysterical.
"I haven’t done fuck all!" Zayn countered back in annoyance, whether that was because of everything Louis was admitting or being accused of something, that wasn’t able to be told.
"You’ve done everything! You made me feel uncomfortable saying that I was even friends with Harry. You made me feel like I shouldn’t admit that I was dating him. You made me want to hide behind Aiden-fucking-Grimshaw because I was so fucking scared of your reaction! You forced me into telling you that I was dating someone and you made me say the wrong name because- because you were pressurising me. And now he knows that I pretended I was dating someone else and he probably hates me and will never forgive me. So there you go, now you know why I’m ignoring you, because of you and your stupid fucking judgements."
"I didn’t make you say Aiden’s name! You were the one who said it; I didn’t put the words into your mouth!"
"Well you might as well have because I was so worried about your reaction that I said Aiden-"
"No, Louis, that’s not me putting words in your mouth: it was you being a coward."
"I’m not- I’m not…"
Louis knew that he was being a coward; he had said from the start that he had been, but he didn’t want to admit it to Zayn. He wanted to come across as a strong, macho (not in that sense, obviously, we all know that Louis is as far from macho as Santa is from being real), not cowardly and weak.
"You are, Louis, you know you are. You just don’t have the balls to say it to me. You never did, and you never will. You run away from things and blame everyone else; it’s just what you do. But you are not blaming your failure of a relationship on me. I don’t give a shit about him; I couldn’t find a flying fuck if it was staring me right in the face. All that matters to me is that you, my best friend from practically the day I was born, my brother, is blaming me and lying to me. You know I don’t like liars, you fucking know. You know why, and you’ve never lied to me because of that. But now this Harry guy is in the picture you think it’s perfectly fine to forget about everyone else and only do right by him. There are other people than him in the world that care about you, other people which depend on you. We all still need your truthfulness, not just him. I don’t think you know how angry this has made me, you not even having the balls to tell me that you were dating him. You were so concerned about him not getting hurt that you never thought about us –me– when you lied your way through a few weeks. Well you know what, Louis? You don’t have to be concerned about me anymore because I’m fucking done.”
Done. It’s a very expressive word: it can tell a lot but at the same time, it can tell so little. It could mean that you’ve finished doing something, that something is complete. But then it could mean the total opposite. It could mean that you’re finished with something, that it’s over. Polar opposites: one gives hope, continuity; the other gives a sense of defeat, interruption in the smooth flow.
Louis was waiting for that high pitched, prolonged tone to pierce through the air after Zayn’s words. But it never came. There was just silence on the other end of the line, that being parted by heavy, laboured, sporadic breathing. Louis didn’t know whether he was thankful or ungrateful for the continuation of the call.
"I know…I know, Zayn, I know…”
"You know what?" Zayn wheezed.
"I know that I messed up; I know that it was all my fault; I know that it wasn’t your fault at all. I just- I don’t know how I’m supposed to deal with this. It’s happened so fast and I can’t- I just don’t know what to do anymore..” Louis’ last words were alike to whimpers, pathetic and drowned in sorrow and regret with added helplessness. When Zayn didn’t reply, Louis let his mouth trail off with the words in his mind. They were mumbled from the way his head was hanging in between his knees, muffled and hot. “You- you aren’t going to leave me too, are you?”
"Fuck, Lou, of course I’m not going to leave you. I- I don’t think I ever could leave you, even if I wanted to. But-” Louis held his breath, “- but I don’t know if I can help you with this one, Louis. It’s your mess, not mine; you have to get through it yourself. I want to help you but I don’t know how; you’re the only one who knows how.”
"It’s gone too far, though, Zayn. I don’t know how to take it all back. I just…I keep trying to fight, not fall apart like I normally do when I mess up, but- but I don’t think I can this time…there’s too much at stake and I can’t lose him, Zayn, I just can’t..”
"I don’t know what to say, Lou, I really don’t know how to help you on this one…" Zayn said sorrowfully.
Louis let the silence linger a little, not on purpose, though, just to keep the calm (as much calm as there could be when the tears were brimming in his eyes and his heart was straining in his chest) as his thoughts raced. “I’ve really done it this time, haven’t I?” He said feebly.
"I don’t know your relationship, Lou. I know nothing about it. If I knew…maybe I would be some help, but I didn’t know. I don’t want to make you regret everything even more than I’m sure you already do, but things would have been a lot different if you’d told me; maybe I would have been some help, regardless of the fact I was never too keen on you even being friends with him…"
"I just want to take it all back, Zayn, please, just take it all back for me.." the hands on the clock were ticking from ‘Regret’ to ‘Desperation’ now, from ‘Whimpers’ to ‘Pleas’.
"Look- I’ve got to go, the boys are here, you- you just stay strong, okay? I…I may not like him –Harry– but if he makes you happy then you can’t let him go. You deserve to be happy, it’s all I want from you is for you to be happy. So please, make sure that whatever you do isyou’re your happiness. And I’ll get over this lying thing soon enough, just concentrate on this first and then we can deal with the other shit afterwards, once everything has settled down a bit, yeh?"
"Yeh…okay, sure…" Louis croaked.
"Well…I’ll see you, then," Zayn said awkwardly.
"See you…" Louis said, his voice cracking brokenly at the end.
The line went dead but Louis was stilled in his position, the phone still burning his ear. His breathing was deep and heavy but short in length, laboured pants streaming through his mouth and nose. His sinuses felt like they had a fire spreading through them, the flames curling around his nostrils and eyes to cause that blaze to take over each area.
Everything was falling; everything was crumbling, tiny specks being chipped away before finally, the floodgates were opened.
He felt stupid. Weak. Pathetic. But he couldn’t help it. The tears had been locked away but they had broken free and they were falling without a care in the world. They followed the creases in his wincing expression and pooled in all the crannies they could. They sprinted down his cheeks and took a detour to the corners of his lips, salt spreading through his taste buds. Some kept going, eventually dripping onto the seat in silence, not even a plink as they smashed onto the metal.
Louis wasn’t out rightly sobbing; he wasn’t actually making much noise at all, bar the odd sniffle and snort as he breathed in. Was he embarrassed that he was so crying out in the open? Maybe, a little, but he had good reason to. It felt like Zayn was slipping through his fingers too, along with Harry. It made him aware that you can never please everyone; someone will always be against whatever you are doing or have done. There’s no point in trying to, no point in lying to make someone feel more comfortable, because in the end, the hurt will be a lot more plaguing than the initial reaction to telling the truth. If only Louis had known that beforehand, things would have been a lot different.
If he could go back in time and change everything, would he? Yes, of course. He would do anything to take back to the hurt which he was certain Harry was feeling. What about Zayn? It would help their relationship, too. If he had been honest with Zayn, then maybe he would have warmed up to the idea of them dating and it wouldn’t be like it was now, Zayn on edge because of Louis’ lying, and reluctant to get to understand the new relationship.
But nothing could change. He couldn’t go back in time and change it all. All he could do now was sit, wait, and cry until Harry had made his decision.
The clock was ticking furiously fast in Louis’ eyes. Instead of moving in what felt like hours for every minute, by the time he had looked at his watch through watery eyes, it was just over a quarter of an hour before the last check-in. It made his breath hitch –and cause a coughing fit full of wet splutters– because each time the hand ticked once more, it was ticking closer to the end of everything he had worked so hard for. It was like a ticking time bomb, ready to destroy everything into smithereens. He doubted that he would be in any fit state to try and rectify it after the explosion had been cast; the state he was already in was bad enough. Louis could hardly even see straight, let alone think straight.
Was there much point waiting any longer? Louis wasn’t sure. If Harry hadn’t turned up yet, then he wouldn’t turn up at all. But he could always be stuck in traffic, right? He could have forgotten something and rushed back home..? Or maybe he had decided to come but then chose not to, that was an option too.
No, Louis shook his head of his thoughts. He wasn’t going to give himself any lame excuses; it was silly doing so. All those small, pathetic ideas of him wanting to turn up but being late in doing so were totally absurd because-
Because Harry obviously didn’t want to turn up. Harry obviously didn’t want to go on holiday with Louis. Harry obviously didn’t want Louis anymore.
And yes, maybe that hurt more than anything Louis had felt in a long time, but that didn’t make it any less believable. It was more believable than the petty excuse; that’s for sure. The excuses were light and easily broken, a sign that they weren’t real; whereas the heavy weight of Harry not wanting to turn up was much more sturdy, much more real. No, that wasn’t nice at all, but it was true, Louis had resigned himself to believe.
He fought with himself, wondering whether to wait it out, prolong that ache in his heart each time it wasn’t Harry walking through those revolving doors, or to end it that moment and leave before he broke to an unfixable state. But was that selfish, leaving before the clock struck that doomed time which had been etched into his brain? Was it selfish to not want to face it? But then again, Louis always ran away, so what would be the point in changing that now?
So many questions, so little time. The hands on the clock were hurtling by as Louis fell deeper into his thoughts. He only dared for a split second to dip into the ‘Harry’ thoughts, seeing the wonderfulness that he was but then remembering that he wasn’t going to be Louis’ for any longer. It was a sear to the heart, a scorch emblazing onto him and branding him for an indefinable time.
Finally, Louis decided what to do. There was no point in staying, not when there was only the slightest chance that Harry would turn up. If anything, it would only cause more heartache than necessary (and Louis needed a lot of heartache to pay for what he had done). Louis didn’t deserve for him to turn up, and he was sure that Harry would recognise that and choose to leave Louis behind and start all over again. The simplest thing to do was to stand up, gather his things, and walk out, leave everything behind. He didn’t want to, but it was the best idea he had, the most sensible. For once, thinking sensibly was Louis’ main priority. He had to be mature about this, not stoop to that low level of desperation.
Louis rose from the seat which had been his home for the past few hours. His bones creaked and his muscles strained as he arched his back to rid him off the stiffness the seat had caused. He glanced around the airport aimlessly, blue eyes darting from right to left, left to right. He turned to the seat lethargically, sighing as he picked up his carry-on bag and slung it over his right shoulder. He slowly swivelled around on the balls of his feet and wrapped his fingers around the handle of his suitcase. It was cold under his fingertips and he gripped at it with all the strength he had, like it was his lifeline. It was ironic, the suitcase –the holiday– was his lifeline; it was what would be the decider of his relationship, so therefore his lifeline. Now he was clinging on to the one thing which was going to be his saviour as he carried it out of the building which was supposed to be the thing which saved him. Not anymore.
Louis took a deep breath through parted lips, his thin pinks being dark and raw from the worrying his teeth had caused on them. He sniffled and wiped his nose on his sleeve, swallowing thickly. He looked around the airport, searching for anything which would keep him there: searching for Harry. But nothing stood out. In a way, Louis wanted something to pull him back in, wanted a reason to stay. But you can’t, Louis thought, you have to leave or else you’ll only do more harm than good.
"This is for the best," Louis murmured to himself, reassuring himself somewhat. He ran a distressed hand through his fringe and pushed it back to try and find something to do with his spare fingers. Any way to distract him was, apparently, the way forward. It took a while for his feet to unlatch from the floor; they felt as if they were suctioned to the floor and would take more energy than Louis had to pull away.
A curly haired man had caught his eyes when he glanced up from his slugging feet, proving to be a massive dose of false hope. Louis had gasped dramatically and he could almost feel each of his pores unclogging and his body lightening. But when the man turned around, he saw brown eyes instead of green, a beard instead of smooth, a man instead of his boy. The disappointment was instantly reaffirmed in his cells and his body drooped with even more sorrow than before. He was dragging his feet unintentionally as he turned and walked to the exit door.
Louis was about to embrace the chilly morning air, but then he heard it. A distressed, panicked voice calling out. Curiosity got the better of Louis and he let his head turn distantly to the side, not in hopefulness but in wonder stemming from dullness.
For once, curiosity did not kill the cat.
Because there, stumbling through the doors with flushed skin and a slack mouth, was Gemma Anne Styles.
Louis straightened up and let out an embarrassingly shocked noise which was akin to a squeal. His hand automatically reached to cover his lips, to prevent any other similar noise from escaping or just in instinctive reaction, that wasn’t to be clear. But that wasn’t his priority, determining why he had done such a thing; his priority was dropping all of his possessions to the floor and, to put it impolitely, legging it over to the young girl.
Gemma was looking around frantically. Her brown hair was whipping from side to side as she scanned the area for, presumably, Louis. Even from the distance which was shortening with each uncoordinated step Louis took, Louis could see that she was beyond flustered and looking extremely frenzied. She turned her back to search behind her, having not seeing Louis’ ungracious sprint over towards her, so Louis called out her name in a bid to grab her attention.
"Gemma!" He shouted, his voice raspy and rough. Her body spun around and her features brightened when she saw Louis’ stumbling form. Louis tripped over his feet as he tried to speed up, inelegantly pushing himself onto the girl with a skid.
"Wh-where’s Haz?" he panted, supporting himself with his hand on her shoulder as he wheezed an unusual amount for a dancer. The logical thing to do would be to ask why Gemma was there in the first place, but Louis could only think of one thing –a recent happening–, Harry.
No, Louis thought, don’t do this to me. He had been filled to the brim with hope as soon as he had paired the shout with Gemma’s face. Every single drop from the jug of optimism had been poured into his veins and he was suddenly full of expectation. He didn’t want to be, but the drip funnelling hope which had started the second he had realised that a family relation of Harry’s was in the building had made him fully expect Harry to turn up. Louis knew he shouldn’t have thought that way because, after all, his reasoning from before still stood strong, regardless of who was there calling out his name.
But the thought of Gemma finishing that sentence with the word ‘coming’ would definitely wreck all of Louis’ hope. All of that hopefulness in his veins had channelled its way to his heart, and when all of it was to be drained out by that word, it would leave his heart feeling dried out of all emotion.
Louis almost had the urge to stop Gemma from speaking, to not let her finish the sentence. He wanted to let out a heartbreaking whine and let the tears fall all over again, just so he didn’t have to hear that one word. He didn’t want to hear the final ultimatum which had only the possibility of being bad. He was being cowardly in his mind again, yes; he knew that, but he had to protect himself from this last blow because Louis wasn’t sure what he would do if all that he had thought up to make himself feel better was to be crushed by one small word.
But then again, one small word started all of this, so wouldn’t it be fitting to end it like so?
"-exactly the fittest person in the world, y’know."
Relief. That was what flooded Louis this time. It curled around his ears and sunk into his cheeks. It swam in his eyes and curdled happily in his mouth. He would never be able to explain the feelings which overwhelmed him in that moment, but he could go as far as saying that it felt dizzyingly perfect.
Because Harry was coming. Harry was coming. Harry wasn’t leaving Louis alone in the airport. Harry wasn’t letting what they had come to an end.
That…that was pretty big pill for Louis to swallow, a good one, though, a one to dilute the previous defeat in his stomach.
Of course, Louis didn’t know what was going to happen when he turned up. It was a little too bitter of Louis to think that Harry would turn up just to tell him that it was over; that wasn’t in Harry’s nature at all. He would never do such a thing; his heart was too golden to have a speck of fiery red scarring it.
So it could only mean good things, right?
Louis did end up letting out that whine, but this time in grateful surprise, relief, exhaustion and just general overwhelmed emotion. He was already worn out so when he realised that Harry would be turning up, his legs lost all their support and the muscles in his calves felt like they were wobbling like jelly on a plate. He let them give way, let himself crumble to the floor. Maybe it was dramatic of him, but he was too exhausted to care. He could imagine the few odd looks he would be getting but the delirious puddle which was being splashed in by the words ‘Harry is coming’ made him unable care.
He was panting heavily with large gasping breaths, eyes wide and coated in prickling tears. His tanned fingers of his right hand were tangled in his hair, his palm lying on his burning forehead and his elbow resting on his knee for support. Louis’ mouth was open wide, jaw slack, and his tongue was starting to feel thick from the way his mouth had dried up in reaction to his shock and relief.
He honestly believed that Harry was not going to turn up so the shock he was expressing was anything but fake. Of course, Louis still wasn’t sure that he deserved for Harry to be turning up but the main factor was that Harry was coming and that would be all that mattered until the two came face to face for the first time in days.
"My God, you really are getting a degree in musical theatre or whatever, aren’t you? You’re such a drama queen," Gemma scoffed. She wasn’t being mean with intention, more joking. She was alike Harry in that sense; they both had a very dry sense of humour. With Gemma, that could be misconstrued as being mean because you could hear her, but with Harry it was obvious. Or maybe Louis was just so used to Harry that he knew he was joking; that could have been a factor.
Louis would have replied with a sassy comeback or something like that, but he had no energy to do so. He was drained and he hadn’t even spoken to Harry yet; who knew what he would be like during and after the moment when he actually saw him.
And that moment came around sooner than expected.
One moment Louis was taking in gulps of air to try and calm himself down; the next, his breath was caught in his throat as his eyes locked onto the figure bustling through the door.
It was overwhelming (that was Louis’ emotion of the day, evidently) when he caught sight of the curly headed boy for the first time in what felt like forever. He had spent hours on end torturing himself as he flicked through photos of Harry –and him– on his phone. But although the small digital screen did show off Harry’s beauty, it wasn’t anything like what he looked like in real life.
In real life he was harry, not Harry. He was dimples and flushed skin but squishy cheeks and blemishes. He was chocolate ringlets of silky strands, not a mass of dark brown. He was tall and lanky and undefined, but still silently strong. His eyes weren’t just green; they were pools of emeralds sparkling whenever he laughed. No photo could portray that.
Harry shook his head of curls and wiped his fringe to the side with his hand. He had that brown satchel over his shoulder, and Louis felt a surge of sadness wash over him because he realised that for some stupid reason, he had missed a bag. But that wasn’t worth thinking about because Harry had raised his head from the floor and Louis thought that then and there he was about to throw up because everything was too much.
It made everything real: the whole weekend, what had happened, the situation in total, it brought it all together. Seeing the pale skin which he had missed so much, plus the cherry lips and strong jaw, made Louis realise that he could have potentially lost that. The, what Louis would class as, perfection which stood too far away from him could have been gone. Poof. Just like that.
And maybe the fact that he didn’t totally know whether the angelic face was there to bring good or bad news, maybe that was one of the things which was pushing down on his chest.
But seeing his boyfriend (can we still say boyfriend?) there made everything in him feel dizzyingly light.
Louis vaguely noticed Gemma waving Harry over quite a few times as Harry stood still in his spot. Harry had seen the two of them in the middle of the room but had not moved once he had recognised them. His eyes were locked onto the boy on the floor but he was too far away for Louis to see whether he was looking in his own eyes or not.
They looked drawn, his eyes, with big bags hanging from his lower eyelids. Louis could see even in the distance that Harry looked a lot paler than usual, regardless of the blooming bright blush on his cheeks from running. Louis hated that he had caused that.
Gemma’s waving got a little more aggressive as Harry refused to take notice of her, but she was used to that when Louis was around. And honestly, she didn’t mind it at all, as long as Harry was happy. So she kept trying to catch his attention until he finally cast his glance over to her and obeyed her frantic orders. They were on a tight schedule, after all.
Louis’ mind didn’t exactly register as Harry started walking closer. It was an awkward walk, an unsure and wary one. Harry had a right to be nervous and unsure, Louis thought; he would be if he was Harry, as obscure as that sounds coming from the most confident looking boy in Manchester. Each step that Harry took made Louis want to smile. It sounds strange comparing it to this, but that was what it felt like: it was like a baby taking its first steps. The baby would be taking the steps to better themself, to grow up and into themself. And essentially, that was what Harry was doing, too. He was taking to steps over to Louis to better himself, to do the right thing for himself and to choose his path. The path with or without Louis. Nothing was going to be the same, a decision had to be made, and that made lifting his feet a little bit harder.
Louis had stood up unsteadily so he could face Harry. A few metres away stood the boy who meant a whole lot to Louis, looking vulnerably strong. Harry hadn’t walked any closer after his feet had refused to move any more than they already had, but it was closer than before and that was something for Louis to hold onto. A sparkle of hope that at least he could face Louis at all rather than just doing what he was about to do by text.
They were just watching, looking, staring at each other as they stood a small distance away. They were too scared to close the gap. Louis didn’t want to be cautious, but they had to be. He couldn’t push it. Even though Harry was there, it didn’t mean that things were fixed; it didn’t mean that the small tear at the seams of their relationship had magically been sewn together in the space of a minute. But the thread was there and maybe Louis could somehow pull them back together.
He heard Gemma sigh in frustration as they both came to terms with the fact that the other was in front of them. Time was ticking but neither were aware. As corny as it sounds, the world had stopped in their minds as they drunk every last drop of the other’s presence; nothing else was important.
She cleared her throat awkwardly, making Harry’s eyes flick away from Louis. He had never made eye contact with Louis, back to how he was before, but he was looking at him and that was enough. He was registering that Louis was there, that was what mattered, regardless of that heart breaking blank expression which was laden on his features for the first time in weeks.
Louis took that second to move his eyes from Harry’s face –looking at Harry’s jaw wouldn’t do him any good– and cast a glance at his outfit. He was wearing him ‘comfy’ jeans, the old ones with a hole in the back pocket and which sagged around his knees. They looked soft and worn. Perfect for travelling on a plane, Louis thought. He had on that fatal Ramones shirt –which Louis had decided that he had duplicates of– and a light, almost dusty white, grey Abercrombie zippy hoodie on which looked very snuggle-able . Behind him was his suitcase which was similar in size to Louis’, maybe a little smaller, which Harry still hadn’t let go of. Louis remembered that his was still at the other side of the room, but he couldn’t bring himself to care because, well, the reason was obvious, wasn’t it?
But wait- suitcase? Harry had his suitcase with him. Did that mean-
"For Christ’s sake, H, just give him the damn paper."
Louis tore his gaze away from Harry, reluctantly, to look at Gemma after she hissed her words at Harry. He didn’t want to look away from the boy opposite, worried he would be a mirage and suddenly fizzle out into the background to leave Louis deflated. Once his eyes had focused on Gemma after flicking back to Harry to check that no, he was still there, he frowned in confusion.
Paper? What paper? A piece of paper for Louis? Or was it something for Harry but had to be shown to Louis? Or was it- No, there wasn’t any point in him wondering and spending his time thinking about that when he should have been taking all of Harry in instead. His mind was still messed up; thinking that Harry was here to go on the plane with him one second but then thinking that he was there to end it with him the next. It was utterly confusing and difficult to explain.
His eyes glanced between the siblings as they looked at each other in a somewhat silent conversation. Harry’s hand was poised in his pocket and from his knuckles poking out of the pocket, Louis could tell that the long fingers had something in their grasp. Harry was obviously hesitant with whatever was in his hold, his expression being a little creased and the trenched wrinkles between his eyebrows being carved with the stones of worry and nerves.
Louis looked on as Gemma sighed and walked over to Harry. She muttered words to him which Louis couldn’t hear, but he hoped they were reassuring ones at the least. While Harry looked at Gemma’s face intently, Louis stood patiently, not tapping his toe or wriggling his fingers. Harry seemed so serious with his thinned lips and furrowed brow. It would have been quite hot if they were in a total different situation and Louis was in Gemma’s place–no, now wasn’t the time to think about that. He tuned back into the real world just as the older sister was stepping away and he caught wind of her final words:
"It’s the right thing to do, you know that, H."
What was the right thing to do? Was breaking up with Louis the right thing to do? Louis suspected that in Gemma’s eyes, that was the right thing to do. After all, she did say that she would kill him if he hurt Harry and regretfully, he had done that. Actually, Louis wondered why he hadn’t been slaughtered the minute Gemma had seen him, or at least been stabbed with words instead of a witty comment when he asked her a question. It was all a little baffling, but he would get to the bottom of it eventually, whether it be bad news or good news.
God, he was like a broken record, constantly contradicting his own thoughts with uncertainty.
Gemma stepped back and stood to the side again, leaving Harry staring into the space where she previously stood. Louis stayed quiet and just watched Harry take his time to process Gemma’s words. He could almost see the cogs turning in Harry’s mind, could see his fingers twitching in his pocket.
Finally, Harry nervously looked up at Louis, worrying his bottom lip. His eyes were wide and unsure, the green being dulled down a little more than usual. Harry shuffled forward, very insecure in how he did so with his head bowed. He scratched his neck as he raised his head to look at Louis, who stood fidgeting in anticipation. Slowly, Harry pulled out a folded piece of paper. It looked as if he was still toying with whether to give it to Louis or not in how he didn’t push it into Louis’ hand straight away. Every few inches he extended his hand, he pulled it back a little as he battled with himself.
Eventually, Harry grabbed Louis’ hand and slapped the paper in it. He retreated back a few steps as if Louis was on fire and he was saving himself from the scorch. Louis looked at him suspiciously, eyeing up his expression. He stared down at the paper. It felt heavy in his hand, much stronger and more powerful than just a normal slip of white. He almost didn’t want to open it, didn’t want to see the words of his relationship ending. Almost.
Temptation and impatience got the better of him and with a cursory glance to an expectant Gemma and an awkward Harry, he focused his attention on the paper he had been handed. Tentatively, he peeled it open and let his eyes roam along the neat lines of Harry’s handwriting. His heart was beating ten to the dozen and his pulse was racing in his neck.
Uhm..well..this is going to be hard to write so excuse the mistakes which are inevitable. I’m not really sure where it will go, so bear (or is it bare? I never know which it is…) with me while I try and get everything out, yeh?
I, well, haven’t had the best weekend- we haven’t exactly had the best weekend, have we? It hasn’t been pleasant at all, for me, anyway. I’ve been pretty confused, very confused right from when I found out because I just…I didn’t see it coming, y’know? I thought that everything was well, I thought what we had was enough for you?
I bet you’re wondering how I found out your hidden secret, right? Well I was on my way to get something from the shops on Friday evening and you were at the Pub then, weren’t you? You were with your mates, with him. I nearly didn’t notice - sometimes I wish I hadn’t - but I heard your laugh. I know it too well, I think I’m in tune with it or something because I could hear it over everything else. And well, I didn’t mean to, but I’m a curious person, you know that, so I stopped and looked over. At first, I tried to think that it was you just being you, y’know, touchy feely and stuff. You were tucked under his arm and that was a bit shocking, if I’m totally honest, it was a big blow seeing that because even though we aren’t like that, it’s what couples do. And we were supposed to be the couple, not you and him. I was going to leave, I swear, but then Zayn (is it?) started speaking and I was being a curious cat and thought there wasn’t any harm in seeing what he was like. I’m not going to apologise for eavesdropping, Louis.
Okay, so maybe I am. I’m sorry for listening in because then we wouldn’t be in this mess right now, would we? And I don’t like what we’re in because it’s really fucking scary. But I can’t change it now anyway; it’s over and done with.
So anyway, I’m just going to cut to the chase and say that I heard you saying that you ‘Fucked him into the mattress last night’.
I’m not going to lie, it fucking killed me. It ripped me up, Lou. It hurt so much. I’ve never been through this before, I’ve never been through ‘heartbreak’ other than my Dad leaving, and that was totally different anyway. I felt horrible- like I did before you, before things got better. I felt so lonely, like I had nobody. For all I knew, you had someone else and didn’t want me anymore. I guess it was a bit like how once you’ve had something, you can’t go back? Like, once I had you, once I’d experienced having a friend and having a boyfriend, it hurt more losing both of those things than never having them at all.
Before I forget, I want to mention about the part which got me quite bad. I know it was just something you said, it’s nothing major for you to say anyway, but at some point I started thinking about how we haven’t done anything like ‘that’ yet and I felt kinda bad. I mean, it was one of the reasons I assumed you had cheated on me because he could give you that and I couldn’t.
My Mum was a mess too just because she didn’t know what was going on. I kinda locked myself in my room because, effectively, in my eyes I had just found out that my boyfriend had cheated on me. I didn’t want to see people or to have to tell them what had happened because it was hurting so bad to even think about it. Eventually, my Mum got it out of me and she, well, she wasn’t happy in the slightest. I guess things like this don’t just affect one person, it’s more than you think. I felt bad for her because I was shutting her out, but it’s what I do. I can’t cope with things if everything is out in the open. I need to sort it out myself first. But I couldn’t do that when all I was asking in my mind was why. Why did you do it? Why did you need him? Why wasn’t I enough? Why didn’t I do more to make it work? Why couldn’t I be normal? Why couldn’t I be what you wanted? Why?
When you turned up, I was pretty angry at you at that point. The hurt had turned into anger and I was kinda fuming. In all honesty, if I had had the courage to face you, I probably would have punched you or something (okay, we both know I wouldn’t but I felt like I needed to. Like I needed a way to show you how much you had hurt me). So you arrived and you were oblivious and I was even more annoyed that you were oblivious but also hurt because you didn’t know much you had hurt me so you didn’t have the pain of that. Does that even make sense? I don’t even know what I’m saying anymore.
I don’t know what I felt when you explained it. I was just a whole lot more confused again. One minute I thought we were perfect, the next you had cheated on me, the one after that I was wondering if you would actually do that, the time after that I was hurt that you had had enough of me and wanted something better, and then when you explained it I was just confused as to whether to believe you or not.
I wanted to believe you, I did, but I felt like I didn’t know you anymore. How are you supposed to trust someone you don’t know?
I almost didn’t want to listen to what you were saying. I tried not to but you can’t exactly ignore Louis Tomlinson, I think that was proven when we first met. I did, though, I listened to you. And I took it all in and I considered it all.
Mum listened in on what you were saying too, because, y’know, she needed to know what had happened. She didn’t want me to do what I’m going to do because she saw what I was like after it happened, but she’ll have to deal with it.
You’re probably wondering why Gemma is here because she should really fucking hate you, shouldn’t she? She does a bit, don’t worry about that, but she knows what’s best for me. Of course my Mum knows what is best for me but she doesn’t understand what how I feel like Gem does. Gemma was the one who persuaded me to do this. She made me put things into perspective and realise what the right thing to do was.
I can’t let you go.
I was hurt because you lied to me, yes, but that isn’t a big enough reason for me to lose the best thing which has happened to me. It sounds exaggerated but you really are the best thing ever for me because you’ve helped me grow and you’ve given me confidence and most of all, you’ve cared about me. I can’t afford to lose you because I need you. You’re the only person who has given me the time of day and I can’t lose that over one silly mistake.
Because it was silly, kinda stupid actually. I understand why you did it: you were scared. And I get that because I get scared too, I get really fucking scared and I sometimes want to hide away too. And I know that it would have hung over you like a huge weight on your shoulders after you had lied about me, and I’m glad that it’s out in the open because you will feel a lot better too. We can get over the lying thing, like, it isn’t too big a deal and I’ll be over it in no time. And I know this seems quick because everything has only just happened, but this kinda has to happen quick or else I’ll never get over it. It’s felt longer than it’s been anyway so I have had time to think every single bit of this through. I’ve had a day to contemplate everything and it’s enough to realise that we do need each other.
I know you aren’t ashamed of me; you wouldn’t bother with me if you were. You just want to protect me because I’m not as strong as you, we both know that. I like that you care about me that much to want to save me from getting hurt. But you’ve got to let me make my own mistakes, Lou, it’s how life goes. I’ve been mollycoddled all my life and when I met you I finally felt like I was free from that. You’re reckless and confident and you’re what I need. But I don’t need you to cover that up just to protect me, I don’t need you to protect me from the people who don’t understand me because I’m used to it, I’m used to people not understanding me. Please, Lou, I’m not that breakable.
Gemma made me realise that we’re going to go through a lot. Relationships are like that. Things go wrong, things go right. But as long as you’ve got that special someone by your side then you can get through it, together. It sounds so fucking cheesy, I know, but it’s true isn’t it? I think it is. I think you can feel pretty invincible when the person you like/love is with you. I do when I’m with you anyway.
So that’s why I don’t want this to end. I don’t want to lose you. I want to pick up where we left off. I know things might be weird, I know you’ll be really cautious and stuff, but I won’t be too bad. Somehow, this has done me good. It’s made me more appreciative of you and somehow I feel a tiny bit less scared of this whole thing we have. You kind of poured your heart out to me when you were explaining things and it’s reassured me a bit more. This holiday is a way that we can be away from everything and focus on just us, y’know?
I hope you’re okay with everything I’ve said, I’m not really sure what I’ve actually said because it’s all kind of a blur. It’s gone on far too long but I thought I may as well get everything out in the open.
Oh, yeh, don’t worry about the anniversary thing… I was just being a hopeless romantic. I think it just kinda added to the hurt that it was on that day? Like, when I threw it at you? (Sorry about that, by the way). I didn’t expect you to get me anything, so don’t worry about that either, I just got you something small to say thank you for being there in general. It was just this teddy which was all snugly (because your room is so bare, I thought it’d spruce it up a bit) so nothing major. I can still give you it if you want?
So…yeh…if you want, can we maybe try again?
Love, Harry xx
What are you supposed to feel after you have read someone’s heart which has been poured onto a sheet of paper? How are you supposed to act? Are you supposed to ignore the lump in your throat and the wet lining behind your eyes? Are you supposed to focus of the relief instead of dwelling over the words about past emotions? What do you do?
Louis wasn’t sure. He wanted time to contemplate it, to let it sink in. It was like oil, it took a while to sink in to the pores and spent a while lying on top as a layer of protection. Protection from what? In this case, that wasn’t obvious. Maybe it was protection from overreaction; Louis was prone to his dramatics, of that was clear.
He didn’t even realise that he was back on the floor again. He was so focused on reading, so engrossed in finding out everything Harry that he had had to sit himself down to support the weight that the letter held. Louis daren’t look up at Harry just after he had read it. He didn’t think that he could match the words with Harry’s face until they had registered in his mind.
Firstly, Louis had to think about how Harry had found out. It must’ve been so heartbreaking to see that occur right in front of you. Louis could imagine how heart-ripping it would be if it had happened to him. Yes, the thought of seeing Harry act like that with someone would be shocking anyway, regardless of the fact it wasn’t with his boyfriend, but still, the point still stands. A part of Louis wished that he had told Harry before he had found out so he didn’t have to find out in such an unclear yet precise way. It was obvious that something was happening (even though it wasn’t like that) but it wasn’t confirmed as to what it was, so Louis could understand how confusing that would be for Harry.
Secondly, he had to get over the words in which Harry was explaining how hurt he was. Although he had expected them, they were harder to hear than he had thought. Each single word spouted disappointment in Louis –from both Harry and Louis himself– as well as the general sadness which was inevitable. Whenever his eyes ran over a word of Harry saying how much Louis had hurt him, it felt like he was being kicked in the gut with increasing force.
Thirdly, Louis had to consider the fact that Anne wasn’t happy with him at all. Gemma, well, he could handle that because at least she was here and she was the one who had convinced Harry to turn up. Actually, Louis pondered, I’ll have to thank her for this, maybe get her some flowers or something. Anne, though, she was the main supporter of their relationship. She had tried to help them as much as she could, all the trust that she had given him had just trickled down the drain. He didn’t like going behind her back, but essentially, it was all Harry’s choice. Her responsibility was Harry, not Louis, and she couldn’t deny Harry of his own independence.
And that led Louis onto his last port of call. He had to somehow get it into his head that harry wasn’t leaving him. It seemed pretty surreal after the past few days, but it was true and it was happening and he was here. Even pairing the words with Harry’s presence still made it difficult to believe because he didn’t think that he had a chance in hell, if he was honest.
He was here. Harry was here. Harry was going to take him back. Harry wasn’t going to let them end. Harry said that he still needed Louis.
It wasn’t over.
So that was what made Louis let out a wet sob and jump, with a stumble, up from his seated position. Harry had his head down with worry, his curls cascading over his features like a curtain hiding the darkness of the night. Maybe he was peeking through the silky locks, Louis couldn’t tell. But he could hardly see himself as his emotional ways caused his eyes to blur over. It was pathetic, how much he had cried over Harry in the past few days, but really, Louis wasn’t a typical ‘boy’ and he couldn’t help but tear up over the things which he cared about the most.
He wanted to say so much; he wanted to blurt everything out in a jumble of profanities and truths but all he was able to do was bound over to Harry with his messy limbs and fall onto the boy’s body. His head was resting on Harry’s shoulder, his features beings squished as he buried himself into the warmth, the smell, the being of his boyfriend. Louis was breathing so deeply that it was making his brain fizz with tiny bubbles of dizziness, the air feeling burning hot as it hit off his skin again. Burning like the tears behind his eyes and burning like the relief imprinting on his heart.
Eventually –although Louis never realised that they weren’t in that position already– Harry wrapped his arms around Louis’ tiny frame which seemed a lot more dainty than usual. He seemed breakable, ironically enough. And maybe it was because Harry hadn’t held him in a few days and it was easy to try and forget the things which meant the most, but it seemed like his arms could wind around and around Louis’ frame a thousand times when beforehand it only felt like he could do so two or three times. The small things like that were more reassuring than the big gestures.
Louis’ arms were sandwiched between both of their chests as he held them close to him. He was muttering nonsense but he let himself do it because, really, this was Louis and Louis wasn’t normal anyway.
Finally, he started talking a little more coherently and a little more meaningfully, “Thank you, fuck, thank you so much, Haz. I can’t- fuck."
It seemed the most natural thing to do, the most important thing to say. Thank you was the most relevant thing to say because Louis was grateful, really fucking grateful, that Harry had taken him back after everything he had done. No words could explain how thankful he was, but he had all the time in the world for that, didn’t he?
"I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry, Harry."
Harry just gripped him tighter. He didn’t want any more apologies; it was as simple as that. There wasn’t anything more to say. He wanted to move on from it and having Louis keep apologising would only cause more grief.
"I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve you.”
Harry froze a little, his arms tightening around Louis a little more so than before. Never, not once, did Harry think that someone would say that to him. He still believed that he wasn’t good enough for Louis; he couldn’t imagine it the other way around. The whole escapade hadn’t helped back when he believed that Louis had actually found someone else, so to have Louis saying it to him was extremely mind boggling for Harry. He would have spent more time contemplating it, but with time running out and Louis sinking into believing his own words, Harry didn’t have time for that.
With only a little caution, Harry let his hand come up to cup the back of Louis’ head. His thumb rubbed the fine hair behind Louis’ ear lightly in tiny comforting circles. He rested his cheek on the top of Louis head, not daring to press a feather light kiss there just yet. To show Louis that he deserved him when he didn’t believe that he deserved Louis would be a task designated for another time, he thought. He didn’t have the time to find a piece of paper and try and explain how much he cared about Louis, but one day he would.
There were a lot of things which would have to wait until later, but later was possible.
Harry sent a pleading glance towards Gemma as Louis continued to reel off words of insecurities. Half the words were caught by Harry’s t-shirt but the general mood was dampening by the second as Louis rambled and rambled. This was supposed to be a joyful reunion, right? Although Harry knew that his awkwardness would mean that that type of cliché meet-cute wasn’t entirely possible, he had hoped that Louis would be too happy to even think about the other aspects. Apparently that wasn’t the case.
Gemma sighed overdramatically and stomped forward a few steps. “Look, as cute as this-” Gemma gestured with her hands, “-is, the words you’re saying, Louis, are utter bullshit and I think you should just shut the hell up and kiss my brother’s face off because, honestly, I’m sick of all the weeping this weekend has held and I just want you to get on that plane so I can finally sleep.”
Louis pulled his face from Harry’s chest and gave a watery smile to Gemma. He used the back of his hand to wipe his teary eyes and let a small breathy laugh tumble through his lips. He looked up at Harry for the first time since he had read the letter, making sure that blue met green and didn’t part.
It was overwhelming, again, being able to look at the colour which was indefinable although it was the colour of many other things. Green came in grass, trees, bushes and stems. It was everywhere. But Harry’s Green was special, particular, different. Other greens could be a reminder of the certain shade, but none would match up to Harry’s Green. Seeing it in person and up close when Louis didn’t think he would be able to experience it again was something which Louis took the time to appreciate. It seemed like all the building blocks were slotting into place, finally.
"We’re okay?" Louis croaked. His voice was greased with a lining of thick tears but still held that dry roughness from the everlasting ache in his throat. The corners of his lips were turned up in hopefulness and his blue eyes were wide and clear. He looked young, vulnerable, and full of dependence. Louis wasn’t hiding behind anything, not his confidence or mistakes. He was standing in front of Harry with faith in his eyes and need in his wrists. The blue eyed boy was open for Harry to see because, it was then that Harry realised, that Louis wasn’t scared anymore.
So neither was Harry.
A smile slowly crept over Harry’s lips. Its hands pushed the right corner of his lips further up and prodded a dimple on his cheek. Then, it slid over his smooth pinks to the left corner of his lips and graciously kneaded it upwards to cause a reassuring, happy, and confirming smile.
Harry’s eyelids closed slowly in a lazy blink, a content and sinking blink. He let the emotions filter through his eyelids and swim in his pools of green. He treasured the bliss he was feeling in that moment so he would always remember that this was why he was still here.
Harry nodded as he opened his eyes and didn’t miss the way that Louis’ eyes lit up to a brighter blue than before. They were doused in self-doubt and worry beforehand, a sheet of grey being draped over the blue to hide the ocean of emotions. But now, now the blanket had been whipped off like a magician pulling a table sheet from under the plates. The sparkling sapphire had been uncovered for the first time in the past few days and they were glimmering with relief, faith, and delight.
Louis whimpered through his tightly pressed together lips, a bubble of noise blurting out because of the rush of emotions which couldn’t be held in any longer. They soared through his veins and rested in every nook and cranny they could fit into, because if Louis couldn’t feel everything positive in that moment then he never would be able to. The moment was the epitome of joy. Louis hadn’t lost the boy he was sure to be falling for and so he had every right to feel the bliss of the situation first hand.
He collapsed into Harry’s arms once again but this time wrapped his own arms around Harry’s chest and held on as tightly as he could. His nose was pressed into Harry’s pale neck and his eyes were squeezed together in fear that this would all be a dream. He felt Harry pull him in closer and Louis almost cried in relief when he felt Harry’s lips press down on the top of his head. It wasn’t overly affectionate in the way of PDA, but it was more than Louis could have asked for because it was chaste and it was simple and it was harry all over.
So Louis nudged his head up and looked up at Harry through his eyelashes. He darkened his bottom lip with his top teeth holding it cheekily and rose up a little on his tip toes so he was level with Harry’s face. He let his hand slip through Harry’s curls to cup the back of his head and his other rest on Harry’s cheek. It was awfully cliché as he rested his forehead on Harry’s, but he couldn’t help but be romantic in the situation.
"I think I would like to kiss you," Louis whispered. "After all, we do have a lot to catch up on…"
Harry bit his bottom lip through his smile and his cheeks flushed to a pink. He nodded quietly and let his eyes flutter shut as he leaned in ever so slightly. Louis could feel both of their hearts pounding against one another through their chests, anticipation and excitement sliding through their veins. It had not been long since they had last kissed, and it was not like it was their first ever time either. But it was the first kiss of their new start, the kiss of life some may say. And Louis wanted it to be perfect so it would match everything else which he was feeling.
He edged his head forward and let his lips brush Harry’s. His eyes too had fallen closed silently so he couldn’t see the way that both their cheeks matched in flushed colour. It wasn’t even Louis who took the first move; it was the both of them who moved in sync to let their lips connect fully.
It was how it was slow, but not cautious. It was how they stayed still at first to absorb the fact that this was happening after everything which had ensued over the weekend. It was the sprinkle of warmth as they breathed out through their noses, as quietly as they could, not wanting to break the moment. It was the graceful part of Harry’s lips as Louis let his own prize open. It was the small crackle as they did so, the way that their surroundings had blurred into silence. It was how it wasn’t spurred on by lust or desperation. It was how each turn of the head and brush of the lips was because of soft need and gratefulness. Gratefulness that they were still together, that they had met, that they had each other. It was how it was tender and gentle, how it was warm and fond.
And when they parted, it was how their eyelids fluttered open a few seconds after. The way that they needed time to let the emotions of the kiss sink in and let everything be.
But what meant the most to Louis was that when they did finally open their eyes, those big green pools looked straight into his blues without any hesitation. That meant more than a thousand words; it meant more than a score of music; it meant the world to Louis because of reasons which he would never be able to express.
And maybe Louis could have apologised more. Maybe he could have pointed out every single beautiful detail about Harry. Or maybe he could have just kept kissing Harry senseless.
But sometimes, actions don’t speak louder than words. Sometimes words can’t speak for themselves.
Sometimes, all that is needed is silence.
THERE WILL BE AN EPILOGUE PLEASE DO NOT FORGET THAT
So that was the final proper chapter of Mute (if you don’t include the Epilogue which will be up at some point - once I’ve written it). I don’t know whether to say ‘ever’ because I still don’t know whether there will be a sequel or not but hopefully by the time the epilogue is up I will know if I am or not - so watch out for that at the end of the epilogue!
I’ll do a soppy message at the end of epilogue because Mute isn’t properly over yet without that final part so look forward to that! It’ll be full of thank yous and everything because y’know you guys are the best readers ever so yeh, that’ll be fun times :P
I hope you like how it turned out. I couldn’t not have it end with a happy ending! They’re my babies, I couldn’t leave them unhappy. I know some of you might think that it happened too fast but I think Harry explained it in his letter that it wasn’t too fast at all for him, it had to be sorted out or else he would never make up his mind. If you have any queries, you can ask me or ask Harry/Louis on my Character Ask Blog (shameless self promo holla at me).
It was a pretty long chapter, I didn’t expect it to be that long but somehow it just piled up to around 13,700 words. I think the length makes up for the time it took to update. I’m hoping that it won’t take too long to write the epilogue, but we’ll see.
Thank you so much for reading, I really do hope that you liked it, feedback would be fantabulous! xx
Ps. Remember that there will be an epilogue!
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