Smoke & Mirrors

Smoke and Mirrors: a metaphor for a deceptive, fraudulent or insubstantial explanation or description.
Every time anyone joked about Louis and Harry’s close bond, calling them ‘boyfriends’ or whatnot, it caused a fluttering feeling in the pit of Harry’s stomach. He wasn’t sure what it meant. He hadn’t really thought of Louis too much in a romantic sense. They were mates – really good mates. But there was something about it. Harry loved Louis almost more than he loved any other human being on the planet. He loved him so much. They were the best of friends. Harry supposed the feeling derived from that. He wasn’t sure. He just knew he probably wouldn’t make it in life without Louis in it.

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3. 03

“I think I’m gay,” Harry said immediately after being let into Lou Teasdale’s hotel room the next morning.

“What?” Lou asked, stopping in her tracks to stare him down.

“I really think I am,” he told her.

“And why would you think that?” She asked.

“Because I like boys... well, a boy,” Harry clarified.

“And who would this boy be?” Lou asked, speaking slowly as her eyes quietly studied him.

“Louis,” Harry said lowly, watching as Lou’s eyes widened and her mouth dropped open excitedly.

“Louis?” She breathed, a smile wide on her face.

“Louis,” he confirmed with a slight head nod.

“And how does Louis feel?” She asked carefully.

“I don’t know, and I’m freaking out!” Harry said dramatically as he began to frantically pace back and forth.

“Wait, wait. Hold on. This needs some explanation. What is going on?” Lou asked, needing some sort of clarification.

I like Louis,” Harry growled, feeling frustrated over his feelings.

“I get that. But start from the beginning,” Lou coached him.

Harry let out a hard breath before sucking in another, looking up at Lou with huge guilty puppy-dog eyes.

“What?” She asked, quirking her eyebrow in question.

“He may have kissed me,” Harry confessed quietly.

“WHAT!?” Lou yelped loudly, causing Harry to bite back a smile.

“Louis kissed you!?” She asked, wide-eyed and waiting.

“You can’t tell anyone, Lou. Don’t tell anyone. I’m trusting you,” Harry told her quickly.

“Harry! Of course,” she scoffed at him.

“Pinky swear,” he said, holding out his baby finger. She smiled widely as she looked up at him.

“Sometimes I forget how young and adorable you are. Of course I pinky swear,” Lou smiled fondly at him as she linked her pinky around his.

“Where are Tom and Lux?” Harry asked, looking around the hotel room.

“You’re choosing now to wonder where Tom and Lux are? After coming in here proclaiming your homosexuality?” Lou smiled wildly at him.

“Cheeky,” he replied, sending her a playful glare.

“They’re getting breakfast. Now tell me,” she insisted.

“Well…” Harry started, feeling almost bashful even thinking about what happened between him and Louis.

“He kissed you last week, didn’t he?” Lou asked him as she studied his face.

“Yeah,” Harry said quietly.

“Oh, wow. That… it explains so much,” Lou said, looking as though she was really putting a lot of thought into it.

“What explains so much?” Harry asked, furrowing his eyebrows in question.

Both Lou and Harry were startled as the hotel door opened, Tom and Lux strolling in hand-in-hand.

“Mama!” Lux gasped running up to Lou.

“Hi, baby,” Lou smiled widely as she pulled Lux up in her arms.

“What’s up, mate?” Tom smiled at Harry, clapping his hand on his shoulder.

“How’s it going?” Harry said, his cheeks burning with blush because he realized whatever he told Lou was most likely going to be relayed to Tom. He and Lou did pinky swear and all, but Harry knew how relationships worked.

It wasn’t as if Harry was embarrassed by his feelings. He wasn’t. But at these beginning stages, he felt it better that the less people who knew about him and Louis the better.

“Is it alright if Harry and I go grab some coffee? He needs to have a chat,” Lou asked Tom.

“Oh, sure. Come here, Luxy-Lou,” Tom smiled, grabbing Lux out of Lou’s arms.

“You’re the best, babe,” Lou smiled at him, before kissing his lips quickly.

Harry and Lou ventured away from the hotel to the Starbucks on the corner. Harry wasn’t entirely sure how much he felt like confessing in such a public setting, especially when he was stopped by numerous people to get his picture taken with them. So once they got their coffee, the two of them took a walk.

“Okay. The coast is clear. Please, tell me,” Lou said to him once they were a safe enough distance away from the Starbucks and any prying eyes or ears.

Harry took in a deep breath and let it out slowly.

“He kissed you?” Lou asked when Harry didn’t say anything for a few moments.

“He kissed me,” Harry confirmed with a nod, thinking about the night on the tour bus.

“Last week?” Lou asked, trying to get the ball rolling.

“Last week on the tour bus. We were watching Dr. Who together in the lounge, and I fell asleep on him. Like, we were on the couch and I fell asleep. And then… he woke me up. I don’t even remember why. But he told me he couldn’t sleep like that… on the couch… with the two of us together on it, I guess. And I don’t know. He just… he kissed me. It happened,” Harry explained.

“Like a peck?” Lou asked.

“Like a long, long peck. And then there was tongue. A lot of tongue. But he stopped and again told me how he couldn’t sleep like that… like we weren’t even just kissing like a second before. And then he left. He walked out of the lounge and went to bed,” Harry continued.

“Wow,” Lou said, watching the sidewalk as they traipsed across it.

“And then he didn’t talk to me for nearly a week, until yesterday. He even had Eleanor flown out for no good reason. It was rubbish. I… he really… I just—I don’t even know anymore,” Harry sighed, feeling like shit as he thought about the past week.

“And your revelation today about your sexuality was because…” Lou trailed off, hoping for Harry to finish her sentence.

“Because we spent hours last night snogging in bed,” Harry said bluntly, causing Lou to choke on air.

“We got into a fight and Louis even apologized, but I wasn’t ready to forgive him. I didn’t know how. And he got mad at me for it and locked himself in the bathroom for-literally-ever. But when he came out, he crawled into my bed and apologized again. And it went on from there. And I’m bloody exhausted,” Harry explained.

“Sounds exhausting,” Lou commented.

“No. I’m literally exhausted. I barely got a wink of sleep,” Harry smirked wildly at her.

“Oh, you!” Lou laughed, hip-checking him lightly as Harry let out a laugh.

The two of them walked in silence for a few moments. Harry was heavy in thoughts of Louis when Lou began to speak again.

“How was it this morning?” She asked carefully.

“Between me and Louis?” Harry asked as he looked over at her.

“Yeah,” she nodded.

“Uh, it was okay. Louis was still tired, so I let him go back to sleep and I went to find you,” Harry told her with a shrug.

“So you haven’t really talked since?” She asked, marring her brow together in concern.

“Well, no. I mean, he was tired,” Harry stammered, feeling his cheeks heat up again.

“So aren’t you afraid of him giving you the silent treatment again?” Lou asked cautiously.

“He knows how it made me feel,” Harry said, tightening up as he thought about it.

“And what about Eleanor?” Lou asked, bringing up one of the things Harry tried hard as hell to not think about.

“I don’t know,” he said quietly, feeling shame over it.

“He’s cheating on her,” Lou pointed out.

“I know,” Harry whispered, feeling his cheeks burning up, knowing he was a willing participant in his best friend becoming a filthy cheater.

The two went silent again, finally deciding to turn around to head back to the hotel. Harry’s heart was heavy as he thought about Louis and Eleanor. He never meant for Louis to cheat on his girlfriend. He was completely blindsided by it in the beginning. But last night, he was a willing participant. And something inside of him knew that even if Louis didn’t break up with Eleanor, he was still going to participate. He hoped it didn’t make him a completely terrible person. Couldn’t they just use that Vegas rule? What happens on tour, stays on tour? But Harry knew if he had his way, he wanted it to continue past tour.

Images of him and Louis in their flat bombarded him. He imagined Louis leaning in to kiss his neck as he stood in front of the sink doing dishes. Or perhaps a little cuddle on the couch while watching a footy-match. He could even see them sharing a bedroom.

Harry shut his eyes up tightly for a moment, trying to flush out his wishful thinking. He didn’t need that right now. Not when he had no idea what the hell Louis was thinking… ever. Not when Louis had a girlfriend. Louis wasn’t his and he needed to remember that.

“You’ve got yourself a dilemma, babe,” Lou spoke up, as if she spent their whole walk back to the hotel thinking of him and Louis.

“I do,” Harry nodded in acknowledgement as they reached the lobby.

They were silent as they went up the lift to the 3rd floor where their hotel rooms were. Lou walked him down to his hotel room and they paused outside the door.

“Go talk to him,” she advised, giving him a simple nod toward the door.

“I will,” Harry told her.

“See you in a little bit, Haz,” Lou said as she began to walk slowly down the hallway to her door.

“Hey, Lou,” Harry called out.

“Hmm,” she replied, turning back to eye him.

“Can we keep this just between us? For now,” he asked her.

“Sure, Haz. I pinky promised, remember?” She smiled at him.

“Like, not even Tom, okay,” he clarified.

“Sure,” she nodded.

“Thanks. I appreciate it,” he said softly.

“Anytime, Harry,” she smiled fondly at him before she continued her walk to her own room.

Harry slipped his hotel key card into the slot on the door and let himself in. He immediately heard the sound of the shower as he walked in, realizing Louis left the bathroom door open. Harry’s heart beat wildly in his chest thinking about seeing Louis again after last night. He was anxious about things being weird between them. He didn’t want it to happen again. He just wanted Louis to get over whatever it was that made him turn into a completely different person in the light of day, when the alcohol left his veins and his inhibitions were built back up. Harry silently wondered if he was just going to end up being one of Louis’ drunken guilty pleasures. He felt a twinge of anger at the thought.

But as soon as he walked by the bathroom all thoughts were completely wiped from his mind. Harry had to do a double-take when he realized the shower stall had a glass door and he could see Louis as plain as day as he stood underneath the spray of the water. Harry only had a back view, but my god, Louis had a phenomenal ass.

Harry’s mouth hung open as his eyes washed up and down Louis’ naked backside. He felt like a voyeur, and maybe he was, but he couldn’t seem to look away.

Christ.

When Louis began to sing in the shower, Harry slid against the wall outside the bathroom, finally looking away from his naked friend as he listened to his beautiful voice.

“So stay there, ‘cause I’ll be coming over. While our blood’s still young. It’s so young, it runs. We won’t stop ‘til it’s over. Won’t stop to surrender,” Louis sang ‘Sweet Disposition’ by The Temper Trap, one of their very favorite bands.

Harry loved the song so much, and Louis knew it. He knew how much Harry fancied lovely ballads. And it sank in with Harry that maybe Louis was singing it because of him. Perhaps he wasn’t mortally wounded by what they did with each other. Perhaps things were changing for the better with them.

Harry smiled to himself as he continued on into the hotel room, pulling his cell phone from his pocket. He opened up twitter, ready to express his feelings of elation to the world, as vague as they may be.

@Harry_Styles: It’s a good day. #wontstoptosurrender

Harry blushed immediately after submitting the tweet. He and Louis still hadn’t talked. Would it really be a good day after that? He hoped so.

He was deep into scrolling his Facebook newsfeed when Louis finally emerged from the bathroom.

“You’re back,” Louis stated simply, looking surprised to see Harry lounging in the bed the two of them shared the previous night.

“I’m back,” Harry smiled up at his mate.

“Where’d you run off to?” Louis asked as he crossed the room to his suitcase wearing only a bath towel around his waist. His body was dripping wet and it took everything Harry had not to stare.

“Got some coffee with Lou,” Harry answered vaguely as his eyes shamefully slid up and down Louis’ half naked form.

“It was too early for me. Still is. I just want to sleep,” Louis chuckled, digging in his suitcase for a pair of boxer briefs.

“Hmm,” Harry hummed in acknowledgement, trying to focus on his phone as Louis walked back to the bathroom.

As soon as Louis was out of eyesight and earshot, Harry let out a ragged breath. He felt a weight lift off of his shoulders over the fact that Louis was carrying a normal conversation with him. He wasn’t just stewing silently. He was actually communicating.

There was a loud knock on their hotel room door and Harry’s heart sank thinking about bus call and the long hours of traveling they had ahead of them. He didn’t want to do it. He just wanted to stay in this hotel room with Louis for as long as it took for them to really get things back in order.

“Harry, can you get it? I’m in my knickers,” Louis called to him, causing Harry to chuckle under his breath.

“Yeah. I’ve got it, Louis,” Harry told him as he scrambled out of the bed.

He crossed the room quickly, catching a glimpse of Louis standing in front of the mirror brushing his teeth in his stripped undies. He smiled, shaking his head as he pulled open the hotel door.

“Hello, love,” their ‘tour mom’ Sally smiled at Harry from the hallway.

“Sally, hi,” he smiled back at her.

“Sally!” Louis shouted from the bathroom with a mouthful of toothpaste.

“Glad to see you’re awake. I had to use my key to get into Zayn’s room because he was still sleeping. And you’re dressed. Even better,” Sally smiled fondly at him.

“Well, Louis’ running around in his knickers,” Harry smirked, leaning back to get another glimpse of him in the bathroom.

“Bus call is in an hour. That means we’re pulling out of the parking lot at that time. No dilly-dallying,” she said, smiling at him.

“No dilly-dallying. Yes, Ma’am,” Harry smirked mischievously at her as he saluted her with his hand.

“Cheeky,” she smiled at him, and he sent her a wide, toothy grin.

“One hour,” she reminded him.

“One hour,” he nodded before she parted from their doorway.

“Buses are leaving in an hour, Louis,” Harry called to his best mate as he made his way back to his bed.

“Wanna get some breakfast?” Louis asked, peeking his head out the bathroom door. Harry’s smile went on for miles at Louis’ request.

“Sure,” Harry called back as he flopped back down on the mattress.

Today was definitely a good day.

 

It wasn’t until they were out of the city limits, piled back on the bus, like a bunch of sardines in a tin can, that Harry went on twitter again to tweet a picture of the barren road ahead of them. It was then that he read a reply to his previous tweet that had him smiling from ear to ear again.

@Louis_Tomlinson: @Harry_Styles as I recall, I was singing that song in the shower this morning. #sweetdisposition.

Harry bit his lip as he looked up at Louis who was sitting on one of the front couches on the bus with his legs up and his headphones in his ears. The sun shone on him perfectly, and made Harry’s heart skip a beat. Harry smiled wildly as he looked back down at his phone to type out a reply.

@Harry_Styles: @Louis_Tomlinson you sang it well. #myfavorite

As soon as Harry submitted the tweet, he looked up to find Louis digging in the pocket of his sweatpants for his phone. Harry’s stomach fluttered when he realized he must have had some sort of notification for his twitter on his account. As Louis scanned his phone, Harry watched as a smile turned up his lips and he hoped it was because of what his tweet said.

Harry got quiet confirmation when Louis looked up at him, giving him that same sweet smile. Harry wanted to melt. He wanted to dive-bomb Louis’ couch and crawl into his arms. But instead, he just smiled back, appreciating the quiet bond he and Louis were currently forming.

He loved Louis. He always had. And with every little smile, and every strategic kiss, Harry’s feelings only grew stronger. And he didn’t see them fading any time soon.

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