Hiatus - A Larry Stylinson oneshot story
Harry Styles takes a hiatus away from the pressures of being 1/5 of a famous British-Irish Boyband. Although this is time for rest, he can’t seem to be truly relaxed. Only one person can manage to replace that frown with a smile.
Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson belong to themselves.
Extra points if you understand the reference toward the end.
And ShoutOut! to w0rds-unsp0k3n for helping me on some details and the much needed motivation to finish. :)
This is what I asked for. This is what I obtained. I wanted this. I needed this. Shouldn’t I be happy? Where’s my smile?
Harry stared blankly with a slight crease between his brows at the sink full of dirty dishes before him. They waited. His lips didn’t even twitch. There was a hum in his brain. A feeling of increasing stupidity numbed his thoughts. Something pressed lightly into his shoulder.
‘Smile, would you, Harry?’ Harry, awake now, turned his attention to his mother’s pleasant face. ‘It’s good for you, you know.’
He smiled warmly at her, nodding. ‘I know, mum. I was just spacing out.’ He wondered how obvious his false genuity appeared to her.
‘As always,’ She chimed jokingly, stepping away from her son. When she came into full view, he noticed her expression had become serious with her arms crossed, nuzzling beneath her bosom. ‘Now do get those dishes done, love: dishes don’t wash themselves.’
‘I know, mum.’ Harry chuckled, aware that his mother wasn’t truly serious. He turned back to the encumbered sink as she left the room to accompany the upstairs. The steps creaked gently under each one of her footfalls.
Harry turned the taps hot and snatched a soapy sponge. That familiar frown caught at his lips again as he began relaxing into the motion of scrubbing each plate and spatula.
This is my break. I earned it. I should be spending it as if a load has been lifted off my shoulders. As if I’ve never had a past. This is my happy place. This is my home.
‘Uhhh…I choose that one.’ A young lad with a shaved head declared hotly after slight contemplation. He jabbed his stubby finger at the glass separating customers from the pastries. He misjudged the distance, leaving him feeling silly with a shocked fingertip. The boy’s father held his hand, smiling when he looked up, meeting the employee’s eyes.
‘Pardon me. Hello,’ He greeted warmly, catching the other’s attention. ‘My son would like one of your, uh… red velvet cupcakes, please.’
‘Sure,’ Harry agreed, attempting to prepare tongs and slide open the dainty glass door. ‘How many would he fancy? One? Two?’
Before responding, the man glanced down at his son, tugging the lad’s hand coaxingly. The boy turned, shaken from his blind stare
‘Fifty!’ He blurted, his smile revealing a few missing baby teeth.
‘One…One would be splendid.’ The father corrected slowly, fixing his attention unto their server. His stare shook nervously with little notice. Harry half-heartedly smiled, nodding, before delicately plucking a cupcake of choice off the hand-knitted doily. Making sure not to drop it, he carefully placed it on the counter, pairing it with a napkin. Harry stored away the tongs and looked back up at the father.
‘Would that be all, sir? Anything else you had in mind? A doughnut, perhaps..? A slice of cake?’ Harry listed unconvincingly with a dash of pretend enthusiasm. The man shook his head quickly, already handing out the necessary funds onto the counter beside the pastry which he immediately grabbed, said his good-bye and left the shop without giving the boy a chance. Beyond the window, the son feasted happily on the cupcake, the frosting licking his nose.
‘You should know better, Haz,’ His mother appeared as if out of nowhere, arms crossed in their usual position. ‘Ankle-biters deserve their treat; don’t leave them waiting in anticipation. I saw what you did.’
‘I’m sorry,’ Harry stated insipidly, eyes downcast. ‘I… wasn’t really thinking.’
His mother sighed lightly and brushed her fingers through her long brown hair. Nonchalantly, her back approached Harry and leaned into the counter.
‘Smile.’ She demanded gently. Two eyes scanned the back of her head curiously. Knowing she had his attention, she continued. ‘You don’t seem too thrilled to be here, if my observation is correct.’
It’s not like that, mum. Really…
‘What’s holding you back, Haz?’ She turned, staring at Harry sidelong. He stirred awkwardly. ‘Are you alright?’ Now they faced each other, her face warped in concern; it was almost unbearable. Harry couldn’t keep eye-contact.
‘You came here with a purpose, and you ought to stick to it, right?’ She craned her head toward her son, prodding him for answers with her piercing eyes. ‘Remind me what that was again.’
Hesitation corrupted Harry. For that moment, his mother seemed so clever and knowledgeable. He almost lost his words.
‘A…br- er – H-Hiatus. A hiatus.’ Harry nodded at himself, staring down at what interesting shoes he was wearing.
‘Right.’ She agreed immediately, urging positivity ‘A hiatus. And those are meant to make you relax; feel better. You know. Smile.’ She reached out to pinch Harry’s cheek. ‘Do it or I’m kicking you out, son.’
Forcing a smile under pinching fingers, Harry felt a little silly with the necessity. That permitted his release, fortunately.
‘You do look better when you smile,’ His mother admitted before descending behind the counter. ‘Ladies like that sort of thing.’
Funny. Real rich there, mum. Ha ha. He jeered, hardly believing his own smile.
The smile lingered, morphed into an unreal positive legitimacy. Everything was okay. Nothing existed beyond this bakery. No fame, no popularity, no music. Customers came and went without recognising his façade. This treatment was the greatest gift yet. No friends, no cameras, no familiar faces.
The little bell rang and Harry finally acknowledged it. At the doorframe stood a young lady, probably about ten or twelve years old, with a balloon tied to the side of her jean skirt loop reading ‘Happy Birthday!’ in colourful bubbly text, surrounded in typical confetti. Below her long curly red hair, her big blue eyes widened and her little jaw dropped.
‘Mr One Direction!’ She screamed excitedly, not taking her eyes off Harry. ‘Oh my gosh, oh my gosh!’
Standing beside her, chuckling, were probably her parents. The little girl wriggled free from her mother’s hand and flung herself at the counter.
‘I’m a huuuuuge fan,’ Her restless hands grabbed at him needlessly. Harry stepped back, not knowing whether to be grateful or repulsed. His laugh was too obviously nervous. The father stepped forward, plucking the exuberant girl from the counter, easily holding her up by the armpits.
‘Sorry, dear,’ The mother apologised upon her approach, smiling away as if this happened daily. ‘She tends to get a little…’
‘It’s her birthday, you see,’ The father pitched in proudly, moving the balloon away from his face with his large nose. ‘She’s a tad obsessed, what with all the posters and—’
‘Daaaaaaad! Nooooo!’ The girl cried desperately, wriggling in his grip. ‘Don’t say it! It’s weird!’
‘Then why do you bother?’ He whimsically poked fun at her pouting face.
’ANYway,’ The mother shrilled above them, bringing up her mannequin-like smile, grabbing everyone’s attention. ‘We came here to purchase a cake. For her, of course.’
‘Uh…Yeah…’ Harry blinked, composing himself, remembering where he was and what job he occupied. ‘What, uh…cake – what cake did you have in mind - She had in mind?’
‘What kind of cake would you like, Mr One Direction?’ The girl asked enthusiastically with a baby-toothed grin. Her gums were as pink as candy. He couldn’t find himself answering that. This was all just a little too weird.
‘Uh… Angel food cake.’ He pulled that one right from his arse. He could slap himself right then if people weren’t around.
‘She’ll take an ice cream cake, if you would be so kind.’ The mother corrected, with an edge of bitterness. Looks of subtle surprise were shared, but somehow accepted. She almost forced her politeness ‘Chocolate, please.’
Harry nodded, resurrecting the exact location of everything in the bakery. The cakes were in the back – No. At the…Behind him. He looked over his shoulder. No. To the side of the back.
But these were regular cakes, not suited for cool temperatures. Did we even have ice cream cake at all? Mum…Where is she? No. You’re independent. Come on. Don’t be a bell-end.
Sure, let’s try the back. And bingo was his name-o.
Finally he placed the cake down, apologising for the wait, sequentially wondering if their daughter would like anything written on top. The girl shrugged, idly fingering the string of her balloon, ogling at both Harry and the dessert before her.
‘“Happy Birthday, Jennifer” would be lovely’ Her mother answered, her smile noticeably withering. Harry agreed statically and pulled the birthday gift aside, immediately calling for his mum. Her hand writing looked far more pleasing to the eyes than his, by far. When she appeared, they exchanged information and she took the cake, hid in the back of the bakery and came back with a signed cake within a brown box with the cover open. Carefully, Harry delivered it into the hands of the father.
‘Does that look all right, you think?’ Harry wondered, hoping everything was successful in their eyes. The father nodded, quite easily pleased. Its decency convinced the rest of them enough to pay the funds. The daughter wouldn’t leave without a hug and picture, though. Tolerating the notion, Harry stooped next to her, an unsure hand upon her slender shoulder, and a smile shared to all cameras.
Finally, they left.
Honestly, I thought I got away from it all…
The bell rang again. Oh god, much too soon. Spare me, please. Mother, switch shifts now.
A man stepped through the doorframe, paused to nonchalantly scan round the interior and admire his surroundings as if he’s never been here before. He’s right though: he hasn’t. Harry’s never seen him here before because he wasn’t meant to. The man purposely dilly-dallied across the tiled floor, continuing his observations while pursing his moustachioed lip. As if he didn’t look suspicious enough, he completely avoided Harry’s concerned gaze by turning his head in almost the exact opposite direction, as if something out the window appeared more interesting. Bull crap.
‘Good morning,’ The moustached man greeted in a forced lower voice. ‘Would you mind telling me the time, good boy?’
Bull-shitting-shit. Playing pretend, are we? Two can play at this game.
‘Good morning,’ Harry mirrored, keeping his status indifferent. ‘I wouldn’t mind, no: it’s around eleven fifty-something; almost noon.’
The man nodded, taking in the information, pursing his lips again as if checking up on it or enjoying the feel on the bottom of his nose before Harry rips it off his face.
Across the counter, he just stood there, looking around as if he wasn’t expected to leave. He continued to avoid eye-contact. What more could he possibly want?
‘Uh…Would you….ehm…would you happen to know–’
‘Yes,’ Harry answered point-blank, patience thinning. ‘I do know and if you’re not going to buy anything, I’d humbly suggest that you take your leave, sir. In all due respect.’
Their eyes finally met, exchanging silent looks of acknowledgement. Just one small glance and it screamed ‘busted’. Would he keep the charade? Surely it was comical but he really wasn’t meant to be here. Harry could almost feel the false hairs between his fingers.
‘You never even go-’ Crack. He coughs, pretending it never existed. His eyes launched downcast. ‘Never even got to—’
‘I don’t need to,’ Harry crossed his arms underneath his chest. ‘All I want to know is why you’re here. And take off that ridiculous thing on you lip. It’s not fooling anyone.’
The man’s eyes flared as if that response wasn’t foreseen at all. He huffed, clearing his throat, eyeing the floor, defeated. ‘We miss you, is all, Haz. I mean… I do.’ He reverted to his normal voice. Took him long enough. Didn’t even need to do that to begin with.
Harry shook his head. ‘You know I’m on break. I was tired – I am tired.’ He paused, examining the man’s face. ‘Louis, just-’ He stepped round the counter, lifting the door away and stood a fair distance from his mate. ‘Look at me,’ Louis complied uneasily, meeting a concerned stare. The former crept his fingers toward the latter’s face, greeting the upper lip and digging his nails into synthetic hairs before yanking across.
Louis shrieked, bending over and holding his nose and mouth with the whole of his hand. ‘Bloody hell! God!’ He peered up in Harry’s direction, screaming. ‘You pulled some hairs!’
The fake moustache silently patted the floor. Harry casually retreated behind the counter as Louis recovered.
‘You can be such an ass sometimes, Harry.’ Louis admitted in a light bitter tone, gently gliding his fingers over his upper lip. Fricken smooth, that’s what that is.
‘Is that enough for you to make your leave or do I have to force you?’ Harry responded, smiling a little. Fuckity-fuck-fuck. Keep serious: It’s more foreboding.
‘Forcing me out might be your only option,’ Louis retorted, still huffing over the pain. ‘I miss you, Harry. Like I said. Please, just—’
‘Come home?’ Harry almost sneered ‘I only just got here. Don’t you think it’s a little too soon to be calling it quits?’
‘No, it’s not like that at all. I mean - just…’ Louis haphazardly inspected his vocabulary. ‘We could…Be together - err…’
Harry’s ears suddenly heated up. Fuck.
‘Under the same roof. You remember when we shared a flat - like that. You know…’
Sighing, Harry agreed, indeed remembering. ‘Had you made plans prior to arriving here or did you come empty-handed?’
The other man stirred much like before. His eyes flared but quickly composed, candling Harry’s recognition if any.
‘Because if you chose the latter option,’ His eyes of green scanned Louis judgingly. ‘Your choice was mistaken because we’ve no more room here.’
He stood awestruck upon unoccupied tile, blinking, then shaking his head. ‘C’mon, Haz. I’ve been through a lot to get here, I’ll have you know. I’ve nowhere else to go. I’m stranded.’
‘Ring Paul or something to pick you up,’ Harry suggested impatiently. But he analysed the counter before him, huffing gently ‘You know you’re my best mate, Lou, and I’d love to have you stay but this time it won’t work. I need this alone time. And besides, even if I were to squeeze you in, my mum would kick you right out. We just can’t support another person here. Sorry.’
Was that a fib meant to scare him? Louis let the information settle. He wouldn’t have it. He reached into his front right pocket, keeping his phone stationary in his hand. Nodding his reluctant acceptance, he finally managed his farewell, assuring his safety and plans before turning toward the exit.
That disguise couldn’t even humour him into agreeing. I thought for sure it would work. As Louis stood along the outside of the display window, he drifted his obsolete phone to his ear. Beyond the window he noticed a tall brown haired woman approach Harry from behind the counter and they began to chat. A slight look of shame adjusted upon the lad’s features.
It’s too early to wake up…The moon’s still up…
Heavy tiredness corrupted his hazy and blurred sleep-induced eyes. He blinked slow, too comfortable to check the hour. The sheets were hugging him just right. What stirred him, even? He’s only been in bed probably three hours or…
His heart lept out of its home, leaving him frozen. The window glided open. A bad chill gripped the room and engulfed Harry as the sheets fell from his naked chest. Immediately he thought to lunge to the nearest blunt object for defence, but before he could react, there stood a man in front of his window. A particular hairy upper lip and a cheeky smile: he waved in greeting.
‘Louis?’ Harry hissed quietly at the partial silhouette, embracing his sheets against his crotch.
‘Nanu nanu!’ Hand raised proudly, he formed a V between his coupled index and middle, ring and pinky fingers.
Behind gritted front teeth, Harry shushed the idiot. ‘Do you know what bloody time it is?’ He scream whispered, patting the air like it was water with his free hand ‘My mum’s gonna hear.’
The moustachioed fellow casually scanned the area like before, pretending he could be as loud as he wanted to. ‘Your bed looks like it could manage two people.’ He observed matter-of-factly and nodded at himself in a cocky manner. Harry subdued his shush, trying to keep a genuine scowl.
‘You’re not staying here,’ He persuaded sotto voce, shaking his head, not willing to show his exhaustion ‘I told you this before and I’m still as serious.’
‘Paul never did pick up, you know,’ Louis explained as he plopped himself down onto the sheetless bed, listening to that now painful creak. ‘And it sure is late…’
He was funny. How could he at all be taken seriously? Harry took the implication anyway and drifted his gaze out the open window. A black rectangle without a single detail beyond the pane. New moon, he supposed. But he wasn’t so callous. Not on a night as dark as tonight. Who knows what might happen to this moustachioed buffoon? A sigh ran off his tongue.
‘My mum’s going to potentially murder you when she finds you in here,’ He began, glancing at the man’s expression before it washed over bright in acknowledgement. He shut the window as silently as possible. The room slowed down subsequently. ‘So I’d suggest you leave in the morning immediately after you wake.’
Louis watched the other man turn and gift him a nice little wink. He smiled gratefully, pretending this was his privileged reservation. His friend couldn’t help but shy an awkward smile in return. It was a little too obvious he was trying to suppress it. ‘I can’t promise being an early bird, but whatever happens, happens.’ Louis fell backwards like a puppet freshly dropped onto the bed and shut his eyes, already content and comfortable.
‘I will kick you out that window if you sleep-in.’ Harry emphasised ‘will’, but he let his lips flourish into a full-hearted curve, knowing it’ll be forever a secret. ‘Now would you mind moving over? you’re hogging the bed - made for one person.’
Eyes remaining shut, Louis rolled over to allow a sleepy Harry to sit in front of his curled back. The old mattress levelled up and down like a disappointing trampoline until it settled to a low shake as Harry politely spread the sheet across him and Louis. Becalmed silence filled the room as they both quickly dozed off.
Wow. This feels wonderful. So…well-rested, comfortable, easy. It could almost be described as ‘different’.
A pleasantly warm draft wafted over his shoulder, but he was too snug and satisfied to open his eyes to a bright, sun-lit room. The sheet fitted round him so perfectly - maybe even better than last time. Maybe even a bit warmer.
Now he was aware of his awakened mind. His eyelids pestered him to open. He refused at first until he knew he couldn’t win. The first item in sight was the metal bed frame which was painted in a shiny shade of gold. It almost reflected the sun straight into his pupils. Must be pretty early…
The sheet was a little too warm, Harry noticed. Was it perhaps the sun’s heat? Too warm… Across his shoulder - the draft was noticeably a little too sharp. Then he could hear it. Louis’ breathing. But he had his own corner of the bed…
Harry curiously peeked over his shoulder. Nose! He would have jumped out of skin but it was too obvious.
This tightness round his midsection wasn’t exactly the sheets either.
‘Morning.’ A soft, unexpected whisper entered his ear, feeling the subtle air over his skin. Harry stirred slightly. His brows immediately knitted together.
‘Finally took my plea into consideration, huh?’ Bitter round the edges, but Louis knew Harry didn’t mean it. Instead he hugged tighter and smiled contentedly.
Before Louis could respond, both he and Harry overheard a door opening from outside. Louis could just feel the leap of his friend’s heart beneath his arm.
‘Shit that’s my mum.’ He murmured stressfully. Louis imagined just how bulgy Harry’s eyes had become at that realization. He suppressed a giggle. Harry hesitated to sit up. ‘You really need to go.’
‘But I like this,’ Louis light-heartedly moaned, gently rocking the lad in his arm ‘What are the chances she’ll barge in? Besides, I know your mum: she really isn’t as harsh as you make her out to be.’
‘It’s for your own good, Lou.’ Finally, Harry sat up and his brown curls were a mess. The bed creaked as painfully as before. When he noticed Louis didn’t follow, Harry looked over his shoulder. He frowned disappointedly. ‘You took your shirt off?’
The latter nodded happily. ‘And my shoes and socks.’ He added on proudly. ‘It was fun watching you sleep, by the way.’ Harry turned before his cheeks flushed.
‘Get your bloody clothes on and just leave, please.’ He almost hissed again. Who or what turned his knickers in a knot, anyway? On a safer note, Louis decided to sit up. He grabbed his shirt from the edge of the bed and slipped it over his head. He would never feel quite finished in his usual routine at this rate, even if he was fully dressed. Everything just felt messy and unpresentable.
Harry pointed at the window as he stepped into his work pants. His friend understood the indication and as he approached the pane, his fingers combed through his caramel hair, brushing it toward his right ear. Unlocking the small white latch in the heart of the two glass doors, Louis silently opened them, letting the chirping of birds and static of zephyrs enter the room. Carefully, he stepped over the ledge and stood on the sliver of platform, facing the room, hands on either side of the window for support. Harry swept up to him, expression blank as paper whose artist has art block. A sniggering smile suddenly landed on him after he examined his friend. He reached out and plucked a moustache off Louis’ shirt.
‘Don’t forget this.’ Harry said softly, pasting it over the man’s upper lip which smiled so brightly, it almost caught him off guard. Those same lips then perked and gifted a small fuzzy kiss to Harry’s cheek which immediately heated up.
‘Thanks,’ He prepared to descend ‘I’ll be back one day.’
‘Please.’ Harry didn’t even know if that was meant to sound pleading or repellent. Louis still seemed pleased anyway and then was gone, meticulously climbing down the side of the building. Then the door opened, rattling as it glided across the floor. Harry immediately turned, seeing his mother. Her eyes lacked any perkiness, as per usual in the morning.
‘I heard ruckus going on in here. Is everything all right?’ She asked, her voice showing signs of grogginess. Harry smirked, the spot on his cheek still tingling. He shook his head.
‘I was just talking to the birds, mum.’ He lied, but she nodded her head anyway. Then she smiled sloppily.
‘I see my advice has finally got to your silly little head,’ she pointed out, grinning, ‘You seem really happy for once.’
Harry smiled nostalgically at that, remembering Louis’ radiant, sunshiny expressions. ‘Yeah…I am.’