I LOVE YOU 3000!
Zayn had been feeling guilty about the whole situation. Last time he did forget to tell Louis about his possibility of working with Harry, but this time he didn't have the heart to do so. Louis was upset enough without the news of his best friend working with the person who broke his heart.
Working with Harry was a lot more weird. Initially he didn't feel like talking to Harry at all, but he didn't want to be petty about the situation and so worked like a professional. They got into the rhythm of working after a few days, both understanding and respecting each other's work.
They did have to communicate a lot, to discuss what outfits Harry was comfortable with, to try out changes in design, but every time Harry tried to talk about something else, Zayn deftly changed the topic, taking care to never steer the conversation towards Louis.
He wouldn't give Louis more reasons to be upset with him. It was not like he was rude with Harry or anything. They did have a laugh between work and did talk about things other than work but it was never Louis. The more Zayn stayed with Harry, the harder it was becoming for him to believe that Harry could hurt Louis. Harry wouldn't even hurt an ant, let alone a whole human being.
Other than that, the work was enjoyable. The designs being something out of the box and sort of a challenge for both Zayn and Harry.
The shoot was nearing, and as much as Zayn would miss working on a project like this, he was low-key glad that it was soon going to be over. And after the magazine came out, he'd be able to tell Louis everything. Probably over dinner, with Louis' favourite dishes. That ought to keep him cool.
The shoot took place on the First of August. Zayn couldn't stop smiling. His work would be featured on Vogue's cover page and he was feeling immensely happy and proud. People he was working with were full of praises for him not to mention the huge paycheck he earned.
He really was happy, but one thought kept nudging him from time to time. I'll soon tell Louis. It'll be alright, he kept telling himself. But Louis is so dramatic. He will get angry, the irrational part of his mind argued.
The shoot was over and putting his thoughts to rest, Zayn decided to pack up for the day too.
As he made to leave, he was stopped by Harry, who by the looks of it had clearly run to catch up with him.
"Hey Zayn," Harry panted jogging up to him.
"Good work today," Harry said, falling in step with Zayn.
"Yeah, you too."
"You're mot staying for the party? Everyone's celebrating."
"Ah no, I'm not really in the mood."
"Oh.. me neither."
They walked in silence for a while before Harry started again,
"Um can we talk?"
"We are talking," Zayn replied, hiding the sudden alarm he'd felt at the suggestion.
"No Zayn, I know you've been avoiding me and I just wanna talk."
Zayn stopped, "About what?"
"You know what I'm gonna ask. Ok listen," Harry paused to look around, " let's go somewhere else and talk. There's a Starbucks nearby."
As much as Zayn wanted to say, I don't wanna have coffee with you Harry. My best friend will mark me traitor, he replied with "okay."
The walked in silence to the Starbucks and seated themselves comfortably at one end, so as not to attract fans. Once they'd ordered two hot chocolates, Zayn demanded at once,
"So tell me what you wanted to talk about."
Zayn noticed how Harry's voice shook the slightest as he said Louis name, but he ignored it.
"I figured that much," Zayn replied. "What about him?"
"How is he?"
"You shouldn't be asking that."
"Please Zayn, he's blocked my contact, he didn't return my calls. I haven't talked to him in a month," Harry said, clutching the mug of hot chocolate so hard, his knuckles went white. "I miss him," he added after a pause.
"He doesn't want to talk to you Harry, after everything that happened."
"It's all a big misunderstanding."
"Maybe, but I didn't see you taking care to clear it."
"What exactly happened Harry?"
"I can't tell you that."
"Then why are we here?" Zayn replied, exasperated.
"I just want to know if Louis is okay."
"Yes, he is. We haven't abandoned him."
"Does he- I mean-"
"Does he mention you? No. And we don't bring you up either. He's keeping busy with work, so there's not really much scope to think. And he doesn't tell us if he even thinks about you, which I'm sure he does sometimes."
With every word Zayn was saying, Harry was tearing up. As Zayn finished, Harry replied in a strangled voice, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. I never wanted to hurt him Zayn. Believe me. If I had it my way, I'd be with him right now and this situation wouldn't even exist."
"Then why does it exist Harry."
"I suppose I can tell you now," Harry said, clearing his throat. "My manager will send you a NDA tonight about the situation at hand." Harry paused to take a sip from his mug. "Taylor and I are not really dating. This is a publicity stunt. With our upcoming movie and the Oscars, it helps if we are talked about by the general public. Turns out nothing interests them more than a popular relationship or a scandal. And that's why we're here today."
Zayn was stunned for a moment. A stunt. Of course. It had to be a stunt. He remembered Taylor telling him a long time ago that she liked to keep her affairs private and it made no sense for her and Harry's relationship to be so hyped. Momentary relief washed over him as he realised that Taylor wasn't dating Harry. Good news for both him and Louis probably. But a bigger problem lay at hand.
"First of all why didn't you tell Louis. Secondly, why are you telling me now?" Zayn asked.
"I couldn't tell Louis. Don't you remember what he used to think of me previously? He thought I'm just some shallow celebrity. It took me quite some time to make him trust me. I couldn't ruin that again."
"But isn't that what's happening anyways? He's thinking you were lying all through it."
"I wasn't," said Harry. A tear slipped into his mug.
Zayn was feeling bad for him. "If it helps, he never really hated you that bad. In fact he was smitten by you from the first day you two met," Zayn said slowly.
"Really?" Harry asked, watery eyes hopeful.
"Yes," Zayn smiled. "Now answer my second question."
"About that, since you're working with me, and you'll be interviewed after the magazine hits the stands, there's a chance you might be asked questions about my personal life. Like how much you know, or how close we are. Stupid, I know. But you might be asked about Taylor, so my manager will explain everything to you- the kind of answers you're supposed to give."
"I'm sorry Zayn, but please don't tell Louis. I mean you can't."
"This isn't fair Harry. I've already hid the fact that I've been working with you for the last one month. Now you're telling--"
"He doesn't know?" Harry interrupted.
"No of course not. How was I supposed to tell him that his best friend was working regularly with the man who broke his heart."
"Please don't say that."
"Yeah I'm sorry, that was rude."
Another moment of awkward silence and Harry started again, "It's only a matter of one more month Zayn, after that all the contracts will be nullified. But till then can you atleast tell Louis that I'm sorry and I miss him?"
"I can try, but I'm not sure if he'll listen. He was expecting to hear the truth from you. But since your just turned the tables without saying a thing, he doesn't listen to what anyone else has to say about you. He's being stubborn. I can't promise anything Harry."
"I'll be content with knowing that you tried."
They sat in silence for a while, slowly finishing their hot chocolates. Harry checked his phone once and let out a groan.
"Oh god, they've already spotted us and posted pictures."
"What?" Zayn asked, visibly alarmed.
Normally Zayn wouldn't care if he was spotted with Harry, but given the situation, he'd have preferred to disappear from earth than be in this situation. There was a high chance Louis might have seen that and oh god he couldn't imagine how he'd explain the situation to him.
Zayn quickly grabbed his phone to call Liam, who usually had sensible things to say in every situation, but was shocked to see the message that awaited. Even though he was half expecting it, the contents of the screen froze him.
Zayn slammed his phone on the table startling Harry.
"What happened?" Harry asked. He'd been watching Zayn closely for the last five minutes and his expressions were making him anxious.
"Guess who is also ignored by Louis now. I'll give you a hint. Me!"
"Oh no Zayn I'm so sorry. I didn't realise he'd see the picture."
"He did," Zayn scowled. "And ofcourse he wouldn't listen to me. Damn it."
"So what are you gonna do now?"
"Nothing. I'll give him the space he needs. He'll come around. We always fall back together."
Harry nodded, with a pang of sadness wishing it was as easy with him and Louis too.
"Anyways, I think we should leave now. I've seen and heard enough for today," Zayn said, standing up.
"Yeah, thanks for listening to me Zayn."
"No problem. It's just, I wish you'd spoken to Louis sooner."
"I wish I had the courage," Harry said with a forced laugh.
They made their way out and soon parted ways, both thinking about Louis.
Back in Harry's apartment, he was greeted with a surprise. Niall was already there and Dave had cooked up a variety of dishes to congratulate Harry on the shoot. Harry had been planning to go straight to bed, but only the most cruel person would be able to turn down a smiling Niall. So instead, Harry settled for a warm meal and Niall's hugs and therapy.
Being with Niall was easy. He always made Harry feel better, even when he was at his worst and this time was no different. Niall never asked for explanations, he simply stayed by Harry's side, untill he stopped being petty. It has always been like this.
After dinner, when Harry was once again immersed in his phone, Niall snatched it away from him.
"C'mon Harry, you watch this like everyday. You need to stop," he said, pausing the video Harry was watching. Harry Styles talks celebrity crushes, Oscars, avocados and more with Louis Tomlinson!
"Shut up Niall. That's the only way I can see him talk to me in the present."
"But aren't you tired? You've been watching this everyday for like a month!"
"This is our meet-cute Niall! I'll never get tired of watching it! Now give me back my phone."
Niall relented with a sigh. He knew better than argue when Harry was like this.
At Louis' end, things had gotten worse, as if that was even possible.
He was having quiet and enjoyable time with his mum and Lux and Theo- one of his better Sundays, when he randomly decided to open twitter from his laptop. He'd forgotten that he was still logged into his burner account on the laptop, where he had not muted any words and it was just his luck that the first post that popped up was of Zayn and Harry outside Starbucks. He stared at the screen for a whole minute, unable to comprehend what he was seeing and soon his blood started boiling and he shot Zayn an angry text.
Zayn did reply and made half-ass excuses and even tried to explain himself. But Louis was just too tired for it all and he absolutely had no desire to listen to anyone.
Why was everyone hell bent on lying to him. Did they consider him a baby or what! 'I can't tell you the reason right now but I didn't wanna hurt you.' It's always the same. He couldn't believe Zayn would lie to him. They've had their fights before, but this time Zayn knew how much it would have bothered Louis if he'd found out Zayn had lied. So what if Harry was Zayn's client. Big deal. It's not like he'd have fussed about it. Okay maybe a little, but he certainly wouldn't have raised an objection concerning his best friends career. But no. Zayn went ahead and hid everything. If that isn't betrayal, Louis didn't know what is.
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