Home Is Where The Heart Is

It’s been years since Harry last saw Louis. They met in high school and they fell head over heels in love with each other. But right before they went off to college, they split up and ever since then, Harry has felt incomplete. He’s just lost his job and his landlord kicked him out of his apartment because he couldn’t pay his rent. He’s got no place to go. Harry decides to go on a journey to find Louis. After all, home is where the heart is, and Harry’s heart is forever with Louis. Copyright 2014

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23. I Don't Care What They Say

Louis' POV

"Where are we going?" I whine for the fiftieth time.

"If I was going to tell you, I would have told you by now," Harry replies swiftly, glancing at me before returning his gaze to the road.

I sigh and settle back into the passenger seat, passing time by looking out the window.

Finally, we turn into a parking lot and I crane my neck, looking for a sign that says what the building is.

"Don't break your neck," Harry says dryly. "It's rock climbing."

"Yes!" I leap out of the car as soon as it's at a stand still and bolt to the front doors.

"Slow down there, this isn't the Olympics," Harry tells me.

"Maybe not, but I'm about to win the gold medal in rock climbing," I respond. Harry shakes his head, chuckling, and follows me to the front desk.

I whip out my wallet before Harry can protest and give the lady the amount of cash she asked for.

"You didn't have to do that," Harry says as we're strapping on our gear.

"I know," I reply simply, putting an end to the conversation.

"Do you want to start on an easy or a hard wall?" the instructor asks as he inspects our gear to make sure it's on right.

"Hard," I say at the same time that Harry says,

"Easy."

The instructor laughs, as if he observes this predicament every day. "Okay, we'll opt for one in the middle, then," he informs us.

We follow him to an intimidating looking wall that's at least fifty feet above us. Maybe I'm exaggerating. Probably not though.

Harry looks a little taken aback. "This is the medium skill level wall?"

I'm surprised too; it looks like the hardest wall. And if it's not then I'm not sure I want to see the hardest one.

Harry gulps and looks a little nervous so I take his hand in mine and squeeze it reassuringly. He smiles gratefully at me and my heart swells a little. God, I love him so much it hurts.

We take our places at the base of the rock wall and I stare up at it disbelievingly. "Ready?" I ask, ashamed that a tremor is obvious in my voice.

"It's now or never," Harry replies, smiling one of those cheeky grins at me.

"Let's do this thing," I say, placing one foot on the first foothold.

I pull myself up to the next one and the next and the next, and when I look to my right Harry isn't far behind me. Halfway to the top I start to get a little anxious. I'm not a huge fan of heights, and even though I'm strapped securely into my harness, I'm still a bit worried that I'm going to fall.

"You good?" Harry calls from beside me.

"Never been better," I yell back. "How about you?"

"Great!" Harry tells me, grinning.

"I'll race you to the top!" I exclaim abruptly, scrambling to find the next foothold.

"No fair, you had a head start!" Harry yells from below me.

"Don't be a sore loser," I shout down to him.

"I wouldn't be so confident in your abilities to win," Harry replies quickly.

I don't reply, focusing all my energy on winning instead of talking.

I reach the top of the rock wall about a nanosecond before Harry does.

"Wow, Hazza, looks like I've beaten you at yet another thing," I taunt.

"You barely beat me," Harry responds, frowning.

"Still a win nonetheless," I reply. "Ready to go back down?"

Harry nods and we let go of the rock wall, letting ourselves be slowly lowered to the ground.

"Want to do another one?" Harry asks me as he takes off his helmet. His curls are flattened adorably on his head, and I can't help but laugh a little. "What?" he asks, both hands flying to his head.

"Nothing, nothing, it's just that your hair is like, flat," I say, bursting into laughter.

Harry shakes his head around for a while until his curls are as voluminous as usual, and I point to the smoothie bar.
"Let's go there before we do another wall."

A few minutes later we're seated at a small table for two, a mango smoothie in front of me and a strawberry one in front of Harry.

I play with my straw while Harry looks around at the people bustling to and fro. Harry suddenly breaks the silence, saying,

"I think I'm going to look for another job."

I smile at him encouragingly. "Good idea, Harry! Eventually I'm going to have to go back to work and it would be boring to be alone at the house all day. What are you thinking of applying for?"
"I don't know, exactly. Something with kids, maybe?" Harry's eyes light up.

"That'd be perfect for you, Haz."

And it would be. Harry is amazing with kids of any age. He can get the fussiest babies to stop crying and can coax a smile out of the most sullen teenagers.

"Louis?"

At first I think it's Harry saying my name, but then I realize it's not his voice. I turn around. Who's calling my name?

"Harry?"

"Who is it?" Harry asks.

"I don't know," I reply but as soon as the words leave my mouth I see who it is. It's Ronnie Stevens, the co-captain of the soccer team when I was the captain. He hated my guts, mainly for two reasons. One, he's a homophobe. Two, I could beat him at soccer any day, blindfolded and drunk. Still could, most likely. What does he want?

"So you two lovebirds are still together," Ronnie leers, smirking.

"Oh, sorry Ronnie, are you still single?" I ask sweetly. "I forgot that you'll never have a relationship as long lasting as ours. Are we rubbing it in too much?" I lean over and kiss Harry, a sweet, lingering kiss that makes Ronnie wrinkle his nose.

"Gross," he says.

"Leave us alone, Ronnie," I say tiredly.

"No," he replies defiantly.

I stand up, annoyed that he's taller than me. "Go. Away."

"Whoa, maybe it's you two gays that should leave," he says.

I ball my hand up and punch his in the nose. Blood immediately spurts everywhere, and I grab Harry's hand.

"Let's get out of here."

Harry is strangely silent on the way home. "Are you okay?" I ask when we get home, not able to contain my question any longer.

"Ronnie...what he said," Harry mumbles.

"You can't let it get to you sweetheart. There are lots of people out there who hate us because of how we are, but we can't let it bother us. We can't change."

Harry nods silently. "Okay."

"Hey." I lift his chin with my hand and look him right in the eye. "I love you. I don't care what they say. Got it?"

"Got it," Harry repeats, a whisper thin smile playing on his lips. "I love you too." He pauses, then adds, "I'm glad you punched Ronnie."

"Trust me," I say, laughing, "I'm pretty glad too."

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