• 1.4 ~ It's been awhile
It’s Friday, which means Louis will have to spend six hours alone with Harry, and that is definitely going to make this ‘avoiding him’ thing a bit difficult. When he gets to the parlor, Niall and Zayn are just about to leave, so he says goodbye and stands behind the counter, waiting for Harry. He pulls out his phone to kill some time and startles when the bell above the door rings, signaling someone is entering. He doesn’t look up, but it’s useless since Harry’s already walking towards him, and stands in front of Louis, resting his elbows on the counter.
“You aren’t going to say ‘hello’ at least?” he asks, sounding a bit disappointed. Louis stares at him and sighs. He’s just so pretty, and it’s the first time in a week he's been able to see him this close. He looks as good as ever, the only difference being that his usually pale skin looks more tanned now, and his mouth isn’t pulled into the usual bright smiles he wears around Louis, but is tugged down in a small frown.
“You look good,” is what he says. Harry blinks.
“Why were you avoiding me?”
“You were. Are.” Louis can’t hold his gaze, so he chooses to stare at his own hand, his fingers playing nervously on his lap. “Louis.”
“What?” Harry sighs.
“Listen, if this is about the porn thing, then you should just tell me,” he tells him, his voice tired, “I guess I thought we were close enough for that kind of thing, but the only thing I did was making you feel uncomfortable, so yeah, I’m sorry.” Louis stares at him again, suddenly feeling very small
“It’s not that.”
“Then what happened?”
“Nothing to be honest, just me being dumb.” And, that’s actually kind of true, isn’t it? Louis and Harry are friends, and avoiding him was honestly the dumbest thing Louis has ever done since he met him. It’s not like it’s the first time Louis has noticed one of his friends is hot, - Zayn, for example. Louis had considered the possibility of something happening between the two of them and now, their friendship is perfectly fine and simple. However, Louis thinks, it wasn’t like this with Zayn. Things are just different with Harry because they had been really close since the beginning, and Louis truly feels like he’s known him his whole life. They just get each other, sometimes without even using words, and they’re very similar, the friendship is simply something truly inexplicable that just... kind of happened.
“So,” Harry says tentatively, “We’re like, ‘okay’ now?” Louis smiles.
“Yeah, of course, always were.”
“Really?” Louis nods.
“Really, really,” he says, the corners of his eyes crinkling.
“Asshole,” Harry says as he hits him lightly in the shoulder, “I hope you don’t believe quoting Shrek is enough to woo me.”
“That’s what you say now,” Louis jokes, feeling like a weight has been lifted off of his chest now that they are more relaxed around each other. “No, but really, did you have a good time? Tell me everything about LA.” Harry tells him he loved being in Los Angeles, and that he would like to live there, or maybe get his own place in the future. He tells him about the night he and Ed almost got into a fight with some drunk guy in one of the pubs he played at, but luckily, the guy was kicked out of the place by the owner. Harry also was forced to sleep outside their hotel room because Ed was using it to have sex with a girl he had met that night after his gig. Louis thinks that wasn’t very nice of Ed, but Harry assures him he didn’t mind. They lose track of time and accidentally end up staying at the parlor until half an hour later than when they’re supposed to close the place. Louis doesn’t mind because he’s feeling genuinely happy for the first time in days, and decides that he will stop putting any kind of barrier between him and Harry.
Everything goes back to normal between them, and they’re even closer than before, at least in the physical aspect of it. It’s like everytime they stand next to each other, Louis can’t help but bury his hands in the younger boy’s curls. Harry is always touching him as well, somehow; maybe without even realizing it, he’ll be putting a hand on Louis’ shoulder or arm while they talk, to stroke the skin there. Because of this, their friends have started teasing them and telling them things like “Get a room!” whenever they are around each other, but Louis doesn’t really mind.
“Hello, Sunshine!” he greets him cheerfully as he enters the parlor. Oh, and pet names. Louis uses those pretty often, especially with Harry, who seems to like hearing them as much as Louis enjoys using them (if his huge smile whenever Louis does is anything to go by).
“Today is a very special day, Harold,” Louis informs him seriously. Harry raises an eyebrow and smirks.
“Yes,” Louis responds as Harry goes to join them behind the counter, “Today, I’ll sit here next to Mary, and you will serve the ice cream.”
“Who’s Mary?” he asks him, the corners of his mouth pulling up. Louis points at the cash register. “It’s just a cash register,” Harry points out. Louis fakes a gasp.
“Just a -” He puts his arms around it, tugging it against his chest. “Why are you trying to hurt her feelings? It’s okay, Mar,” he says, stroking the device carefully, “rumor has it boys with curls are cursed to be boring forever.”
“Dumbass,” Harry says fondly. Then he shrugs, “But yeah, sure. I’ll serve the ice cream.” They spend a while by themselves at the parlor, chatting and listening to music from Harry’s playlists on his iPod, until the door is being pulled open by a man with a little girl trailing behind him. She looks like she’s between nine and ten, and Louis assumes she must be the man’s daughter.
“Welcome to Tasty Treats,” Louis says with a friendly smile, “what would you like to order?” The man gives him a polite nod.
“Two scoops of vanilla for me, please, and… Lily?”
“Uh,” the girl hesitates for a few seconds, “can I have one scoop of lemon ice cream, pretty please?” Louis wrinkles his nose, but he doesn’t comment.
“Sure thing, my mate Harry here will give you your ice cream in a moment.” After the man pays, Harry gives him what he ordered, but then he takes too long before starting the other one. He looks a bit confused, staring at the different flavors with furrowed eyebrows. Finally, he walks towards Louis and says.
“I forgot what she wanted.”
“Mint chocolate chip.” Harry hums.
“I’m pretty sure it was lemon, actually.”
“Yeah, but still, you should give her that anyway,” Louis jokes. “You’d be doing her a favour.”
“So you think I really should?” Harry asks, staring at him with a expression Louis can’t work out.
“Yeah, whatever, but hurry up, we don’t want to make them wait for too long.” Harry grabs a cone then, but instead of going where the lemon ice cream is, he goes straight for the mint chocolate chip, and fills the plastic tub with it, holding Louis’ gaze. Harry hands the little girl the ice cream, and Louis watches as her face scrunches up in confusion while she explains that she had actually ordered a different flavor. Harry just nods, apologizing as he goes to look for another cone.
“Why did you do that?” Louis asks him after the man and his daughter left the place. Harry shrugs.
“Because you told me to.” Louis stares.
"That doesn’t make sense, I mean, you knew she wanted lemon.” Harry sighs.
“I just kind of like doing things for people, yeah? Especially for people I care about.” Louis still doesn’t get it because Harry probably knew he was kidding, but he decides they’ve spoken about this enough already, so he walks closer to Harry and grabs his right cheek to give it a little squeeze, his dimples appearing on his face, and the whole thing is forgotten.
However, it happens again a few days later. A group of high school girls are at the parlor, staring at Harry and whispering things to each other. Then one of them - blonde and a bit short - walks towards him to tell him what she and her friends want to order as Harry writes everything down, nodding as she speaks. Louis walks towards him and leans in to whisper something in his ear that makes Harry laugh while Louis simply smiles, looking pleased. He goes back to his place behind the counter.
“What’s so funny?” the girl asks him with narrowed eyes.
“Nothing,” he responds, nonchalant. She stares at him, suspicious, but leaves it at that.
“Okay, so how much is everything then?" Harry bites his bottom lip with a conflicted look and gives Louis a quick glance.
“I’ve been told to try to rap this answer,” he shrugs. “But I haven’t got a very good flow.” Louis snorts, and ten minutes later, he’s already given each one of the girls their ice cream, leaving Harry and him alone again.
“You disappointed me there, Harold,” he says as he puts a hand on Harry’s shoulder. Harry smirks.
“No, you aren’t.” Louis retorts, “Now, let me think about your punishment,” He says, putting the tip of his index finger on his chin, looking thoughtful. Harry licks his lips.
“Punishment?” he asks, looking at Louis with with glassy eyes.
“Punishment.” He repeats, clapping his hands together, “You are going to sweep the floor.” Harry was already nodding before his finished talking.
“Okay, yeah, I’ll just -” Louis laughs.
"I’m just teasing, love.”
“No, no.” Harry shakes his head, “I’ll do it. I always do it anyway, I don’t mind.”
And, well then it sort of becomes a game between the two of them. Ordering Harry around is a bit addictive, Louis thinks, because he’s just so eager to do it, and even if it happens because Harry is a people-pleaser, it intensifies when he’s with Louis. He had felt guilty at first because he was basically embarrassing Harry in front of the customers sometimes, but then he realized that the boy not only didn’t seem to mind, but he actually looked like he was enjoying it. One day, Louis uses his ‘power’ over Harry for his own benefit. Some guy in his early twenties comes into the parlor, and Louis can easily tell he’s into Harry, which makes him feel irrationally jealous. The guy isn’t even trying to be subtle either, and he shows the attraction he feels towards Harry with his body language when he puts his elbows right next to the cash register, leaning his face really close to Harry’s, which makes Louis roll his eyes. Then it becomes even more obvious, because he stays with Harry after ordering, trying to get him into a conversation that Harry clearly doesn’t want to be part of, but is too nice to actually say it out loud. Louis clears his throat then, making them both turn to look at him, Harry with a smile, the guy with an annoyed expression.
“Can I serve the ice cream now or?” The guy snorts.
“Whatever, I’ll be back in a minute, Harry.” And. Okay that’s enough for Louis, really. As he starts serving the ice cream, he motions towards the water bottle Harry is drinking to tell him that he wants him to throw it over the customer. Harry is chewing his lip nervously, but walks to him anyway and calls the guy’s name. He stares up at Harry and gets closer to him. When he is once again leaning against the counter, Harry makes a weird move with his arm that makes the bottle fall, making it seem like it’s been an accident, and soaking the guy’s shirt and jeans. He starts to apologize with a hurried.
”I’m so sorry, oh my god I’m so clumsy, don’t be mad, sorry, sorry.” Louis smiles triumphantly, but it doesn’t last long, because suddenly the guy is taking off his wet shirt. He stares with an horrified expression at his beautiful body, from his prominent hip bones, to the thick muscles in his arms. Curious to see Harry’s reaction, he turns around to look at him and is a bit surprised when he sees he’s already staring at Louis, without paying any attention to the fit annoying guy. After a few seconds of silence, Louis realizes Harry is waiting for Louis to tell him he had been good, so he quickly gives him a thumbs up, and Harry shows him a bright smile in return. So, basically, there isn’t anything wrong about what they are doing, but neither of the two are expecting that other people would start to notice.
Liam invited Louis, Harry, Zayn and Niall to his house to hang out for a while, eat some pizza, play video games and maybe watch a film. The five of them get distracted by a football game between two German teams they don’t know the name of, and they are paying attention to the screen as they eat. Harry, Louis and Niall are squeezed into the biggest couch while Zayn and Liam are both sitting in chairs next to the coffee table, with all the food and the drinks on it, situated between the television and the couch.
“Shit,” Niall says, sounding distressed.
“What’s wrong Nialler?” Liam asks before giving the slice of pizza that he’s holding another bite.
“We’re out of beer,” he says, pouting. “Can you get me some more?” Liam simply shakes his head no before taking a long sip of his full glass.
“There’s more in the fridge, but there’s no way in hell I’m going to get up.” Niall groans.
“Nah mate, no way.”
“Now, now, Harold don’t be like that,” Louis says, stroking Harry’s curls as he talks, “Niall here had a bad day. Some kid spilled his ice cream over his favorite shirt.” Harry sighs, and gives him a soft smile.
“Okay. Niall, I’ll be back in a moment.” He goes to the kitchen and everyone stays awkwardly quiet.
“Well that was weird,” Liam says. Louis is about to protest, but he’s interrupted by Zayn.
“You think that was weird? Mate, have you ever seen them while we’re working?” he asks, incredulous, “It’s a thing they always do, one of these days the boss is gonna end up firing Harry because of Louis.” Louis’ eyes widen. He had never thought someone would notice their ‘game’, but it’s just something he can’t not do when he’s around Harry.
“What are you even talking about?” Niall asks.
“Like,” Zayn starts, pensive, “the other day Louis told Harry to give the customer their change - that was two pounds - using five pence coins only.” Niall frowns.
“Why do you do that, Louis? Thought you and him were friends, you really want the boss to fire him?” No, no, no, no. Why are the boys asking these kind of things, and why is Harry taking so fucking long?
“Of course we’re friends and no, Niall, I do not want him fired,” Louis explains, exasperated. “It’s some kind of 'competition' between me and him, but I’d never let it go that far; it's all fun and games.”
“Until someone loses an eye,” Zayn adds. Louis rolls his eyes.
“Fuck off mate.” Right then, Harry comes back to the living-room holding a beer bottle in his hand.
“Guess who’s back, back again,” he sings with a silly smile on his face. Louis bites his bottom lip to keep himself from smiling. This boy is going to be the death of him.
Ik weet niet waarom maar ik heb zo'n schattig beeld van Harry in mijn hoofd in dit verhaal,
elke keer als ik het opnieuw lees zie ik weer een Harry voor me met een speelse glimlach op zijn gezicht
en met van die pretoogjes, ja dat is hoe ik hem voor me zie als ik dit lees.
Hoe zien jullie Harry?