The only thing I can think about the whole way back to the hotel is Louis kissing me. He hasn't said much since it happened. What if he regrets it? Back in the hotel room, I turn to Louis.
"Did you mean that?" I ask before I can stop myself.
"Mean what?" Louis replies.
"The kiss," I say. Louis blinks up at me and starts to smile.
"Of course I meant it," he tells me, brushing some snow out of his hair. "I don't go around kissing people who I don't... have feelings for."
My heart leaps in my chest and I try to contain my smile to no avail. He has feelings for me. "I wasn't expecting it," I admit, taking my coat off.
"I know," Louis says, grinning. "I pride myself in taking you by surprise."
"So are we going to, uh, be together again?" I ask.
"Honestly," Louis says, "I think we need to sit down and just talk and figure out if we want to...try this again." I nod in agreement and Louis continues. "I definitely think that I want to see where this goes this time. My only worry is that the same thing that happened last time will happen all over again."
"What do you mean exactly by 'what happened last time'?" I reply.
"We were both so insecure about dating each other and that's what led me to believe that you were breaking up with me and what made me break up with you," Louis says. "I think if we're going to have a serious relationship we need to understand that while we may think the other person is amazing and all that, we do deserve them. And I just want to say right now that I'll do whatever it takes on my part to make this relationship work, but only if you do your part also."
"Definitely," I say whole-heartedly. "I agree with you when you say that we need to learn to kind of accept each other so that we don't feel dwarfed by the other person when we compare ourselves to them. Not that we should be doing that in the first place, but you know what I mean."
Louis nods. "Right, yeah. So do you want to do this? Like, one hundred percent?"
"Yes," I reply without missing a beat. "Do you?"
"Yes," Louis agrees.
"So that's that, then," I say. "We're back together."
"God, I thought it would never happen," Louis says, sighing and making me laugh.
"I felt the same way if it makes you feel any better," I respond.
"That makes me feel worse," Louis exclaims. "All this time we were still in love with each other but both of us were too wimpy to come right out and say it. And when I tried to that time when I showed up at your house, it all went wrong." He shakes his head and chuckles a little. "I was so nervous around you. I still am."
"You? Nervous?" I repeat in disbelief. "I never thought I'd see the day."
"This is the first time and the last time," Louis says. "So don't get used to it."
"I'll try not to," I say. "Can I ask you something?"
"Go ahead," Louis says, shifting until he's laying flat on his back on the bed, staring up at the ceiling.
"Did you ever really lose feelings for me, or was that just a lie you made up when you broke up with me?" I ask, rolling over to face him.
"It was a lie," Louis says, his tone choked. "It was all a lie. Don't you understand, Harry? I never stopped loving you. Never. Every day I saw all these happy couples walking around my college campus holding hands, hugging, kissing, whatever. I kept replacing them in my mind with me and you, but it didn't make me feel any less lonely. The first year of college destroyed me. Everywhere I turned I saw a boy with hair just like yours, or someone who was your height, or someone who's voice sounded just like yours. I couldn't close my eyes at night without seeing you in my dreams. Every little thing reminded me of you. The second year of college was a little better I guess. I was starting to come to terms with what I had done, and I was getting used to not having you around anymore. I left college after two years and got a job as an assistant to a big shot lawyer and started making a life for myself that didn't have you in it. When you showed up at my door a few weeks ago, it was almost as if everything I had been working for deteriorated the minute I saw your face and smelled your cologne." Louis pauses and takes a deep breath. "I didn't think I would be able to handle it. So I tried pushing you away. It didn't work because every time I tried pushing you away, my feelings for you came back twice as strong. And now here we are."
I'm silent for a minute, letting the information he's just told me sink in. "Were you really that miserable at college?" I finally say when I feel it's appropriate to respond.
"Weren't you?" Louis replies instead of coming straight out and answering the question.
"I was," I admit. "My family was really worried about me. For a while, they hated you for breaking up with me until I convinced them it wasn't your fault."
"But it was my fault," Louis says flatly, turning to look at me.
"I thought it was my fault until like a year ago," I tell him, sighing deeply. "I thought I was some conceited jerk and eventually you got tired of putting up with me."
"I could never get tired of you," Louis says, inching closer to me. I put my arm around him and draw him to me.
"Too bad I don't feel the same way about you," I joke.
"Ha, ha," Louis says dryly. "You're so funny, Harold. Did I ever tell you that?"
"All the time," I say. "Only because it's true though."
"Sure," Louis says sarcastically. "What do you want to do for the rest of the day?"
"I have no idea," I say. "Has it stopped snowing?" Reluctantly, I get off the bed and peer out the window. It's not snowing anymore, but the city is still relatively empty from what I can see, and the pristine white snow is still untouched. "It stopped," I inform Louis.
"Then let's go out again," Louis suggests, then pauses. "Let's go see the Eiffel Tower!"
"Okay," I say. "We're not going to the top, though. I hate heights."
"I know, Hazza," Louis says, putting his coat on. I smile at him fondly and put mine on as well.
The whole trek to the Eiffel Tower takes about ten minutes, with Louis occasionally complaining that there's snow in his shoes or that the temperature is altogether too cold. When we get there, we both stop and crane our necks trying to wrap our minds around the massive monument.
"Take a picture of me," I say, shoving my phone at Louis. "I'll make it look like I'm holding it up."
Louis obliges, shouting out instructions. "Move your hand down a little! No, that was too much! Move it back up a little. Okay, now a little too the left. More. No, too much! Too the right a smidge. There!" Louis snaps the picture and then examines it before he bursts out laughing. "Harry, oh my God. It doesn't look like you're holding it up at all!" he exclaims, doubling over with laughter.
I take the phone from him and start to laugh too. It doesn't even look close.
"Well, I tried," I say. "Let's ask that woman to take a picture of us in front of it." Louis nods and I approach a middle aged woman standing near us. "Excuse me, miss, could you take a picture of me and my boyfriend in front of the Eiffel Tower?" I ask politely, gesturing to Louis.
"Sure," she replies, taking my phone from me. Louis and I pose, both of us making weird faces as long as we can stand to until it becomes too funny and we start laughing.
"Wait, one more please, if you don't mind," I say when the woman tries to give me my phone back. She agrees and I sling my arm around Lou's shoulders. He wraps his arm around my waist and pulls me close. The woman takes the picture and hands me my phone. "Thanks," I tell her as she walks briskly away.
I look closely at the last picture she took of us. "I look weird," I say, frowning at it.
"Let me see," Louis says, taking the phone from me and squinting at the screen. "What's wrong with it?"
"I don't know, I just think I look weird," I reply.
"You look fine," Louis says. "As usual. Do you want to go back to the hotel and eat at their restaurant tonight?"
I nod and hold my hand out to him. He takes it and we walk hand in hand the whole way back.