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I Can’t Stop Remembering Part 1

Summary:Based off of this prompt

Pretty much, it’s been a few years, Louis is drunk off his ass as per usual, but tonight’s a little different because he finds a photo that’s been hidden in his wallet for a while and then connects with the feelings that have been hidden in his heart for a while. Then he picks up the phone and calls Harry.

Trigger Warnings: Alcohol Abuse, Thoughts of suicide

It’s been ten years, one month, and thirty-one days, since the last time Louis saw Harry in person. Turns out alcohol helps with counting or maybe that’s just his tortured mind making him feel better about how much of a masochist he is. If he had the ability to see the hands on his watch anymore, he could tell you the hours, minutes, and seconds too, but no one ever asks, and his vision hasn’t been good enough for that in a while now. Louis is staggering down the street to some store that has successfully supplied his alcohol addiction for years now; it’s the most constant thing in his life.

He wishes he could complain about it, but it’s one of those instances where you’re the only person to blame for every single thing that’s ever gone wrong in your life. Louis was already underwater when the band was together; every fabricated moment took him down a little bit further until he was well under. Now he’s drowning and the love that he had for a boy, who probably doesn’t even remember his name, is the cinder block keeping him under the water.  The only thing his time after One Direction has taught him, is that life is the hardest thing in the world to have, but it’s yours and you need to control it.

He lost control of his life to management, the boy with green eyes, and a girl who didn’t even love him; Louis never got it back. The familiar ding of the bell over the front door shakes him out of his drunken thoughts, even if only long enough to grab a bottle of wine and stumble over to the counter to pay the cashier who has been looking at him with way too much pity as of late. He shuffles through his money, wanting to pay with his card, but part of him worries that if someone approached him with some kind of drug he might just ask them if too much of it will kill him and hand over the contents of his wallet, so maybe he should pay in cash.

The cashier stares down, eyes full of sadness for the man who hit his midlife crisis about fifteen years too early. Louis finally just grabs his card because he can keep track of time, but he’s not too sure about being able to count; it’s not necessary for wallowing. He decides to be spontaneous and grab the bright blue card he hasn’t used in a while and it’s pretty; Louis hasn’t seen pretty since Harry’s face graced the cover of a magazine a few years back. The cashier takes the card and while he’s swiping it, Louis takes a corkscrew off the display box on the counter and helps himself to comfort.

The man hands back his card and Louis takes his first sip to erase the knowing look he receives from him. Then he takes the second sip because he sees the calendar behind the cashier’s head and remembers why he was drinking so much in the first place. He puts his card away and starts to walk to the door before he decides that his wine bottle feels too light, so he better go back and get another one. He stumbles back around; trying to focus on the percentage of his blood not fully soaked in alcohol, just so he can grab another bottle and be on his way before smashing his face on the ground.

Louis reaches out and grabs the bottle, walking over to the cashier as fast as he can, like he expects his motor abilities to stop functioning at any moment. He places the bottle on the counter and opens the wallet, he hasn’t even put away yet, to fetch the same bright blue card. Except this time he can’t tell where he stuffed it and he’s searching through years of wine receipts and bad choices before he finds it in the back hidden compartment. He tugs it out and hands it to the cashier and manages to catch out of his peripheral vision that something is floating towards the ground. He puts his hand on the counter to steady himself and bends over at the waist to pick it up. The paper has scribbles on it that he remembers, but is consciously telling himself not to because he really doesn’t want to drink himself to death tonight.

He knows he shouldn’t open it, but he follows the line of the crease with the steadiest hand he’s had since 2012 and finds himself face to face with the part of his memory he’d been trying to drink away. Suddenly, the other bottle of wine doesn’t seem so important and he doesn’t know if he’s nauseous because he bent over or because he is staring a picture of him and Harry together. He folds the picture closed, but doesn’t put it back in his wallet, instead he slams it on the counter so he can grab his card and put it away. Then he tucks his wallet back into his pants and slides the picture off the plastic as he walks out the door.The cashier doesn’t tell him to grab the other bottle, because he’s been there before and that looked a little bit like a turning point, so he just hides it under the counter and prays that tomorrow he won’t see the younger man again.

Meanwhile, Louis falls out the door and reopens the picture as he completes his hike back to his flat. He’s mad because he’s been drinking for years now just so he didn’t have to remember, but he knows exactly when this picture was taken and how he was a proper dick and cut Niall right out of it because Harry was the important part and Harry being his was the really important part. Louis takes another sip of his bottle and starts to wish that it was something harder so it would hit him like a brick wall, but the only thing providing that pain is a picture of him and the love of his life. He doesn’t know whether or not he should be sad about the fact that his thought process is going something along the lines of, “Oh, so that’s what smiles used to look like on my face,” when he finally got around to peering to the stranger glued to Harry’s side.

In his hand, he was holding a guide to the times of make believe, and pretend you don’t feel, and honestly he’d go back. If someone told him to choose, he’d go back to X-Factor and world tours and beards, and being bloody knackered all the fucking time, because he had Harry — at least he had Harry. Louis now, has nothing. Louis then, had Harry.

That thought affords him another sip of his wine, which is more like a chug because at this point his bottle is almost empty and his hand is still housing this photo. He stares at Harry’s face a bit more, reacquainting himself with how the lad looks when he’s happy because Louis remembers, oh he remembers, that the last time they saw each other in person, he had made Harry cry.

They had been fighting over Eleanor again and Louis was frustrated because the bird meant about as much to him as Danielle did after her and Liam split. Harry was mad because he wanted to come out and Louis was mad because they had this discussion every time he came home from being with her. It was always the same. He’d talk about their dream, Harry would talk about their love. He would bring all the “what ifs” and Harry would supply all the “so whats”. 

Except this time, Eleanor had told Louis about the boy back at uni that she liked but couldn’t date, so he got a bit more defensive.  Louis remembers how Harry recoiled when he told him to stop dragging the poor girl through the mud when she was doing them a favor. He remembers how Harry threw in the flag and walked out the door. He remembers how he stared at the door praying he would come back. Most importantly, he remembers how he never did.

It’s always easy to remember how that night when down, especially since Louis never moved out of the flat or even redecorated it. It’s been ten years and that apartment hasn’t changed a bit. The furniture could almost been vintage he thinks as he takes another sip, chug. He reaches the entrance to the building and freezes as his regrets hit him with a force that he’s sure is akin to that of being hit by a truck at high speed. The tears well up in his eyes as he thinks I wish I would have listened. I wish I would have kept quiet. I wish I would have run after him. I wish I would have kept singing. I wish alcohol didn’t exist. I wish there was a part of me worthy of his love. I wish there was a part of me worth loving. I wish I redecorated. I wish his bed wasn’t still there. I wish that I still didn’t crawl into it nightly. I wish I still had my heart. I wish I still had my Harry.

He’s not sure which drunken part of him decides that taking the stairs is okay, but it’s probably the same drunken part of him that has Louis reaching for his mobile. Louis’ flat is only on the third level, so he’s stumbling on to the platform of the second floor as he finally manages to pull his phone out of his pants without dropping the picture again. 

He touches the screen and unlocks it with the accuracy of a professional drunk, tapping on his contacts and staring at the screen as his favorites pop up and Harry’s still there. He continues walking; staring at the screen, staring at the picture, and tapping the screen occasionally so he can continue his obsessive cycle. Then he reaches the platform of the third floor and he hits the call button because he think that it’s probably best that he’s really close to his flat before he starts bawling.

The phone rings and rings, and it feels like forever before a hello sails through his ears. Wow, Harry’s voice hasn’t changed, the rasp sounds a little bit like home, and the deep tones wrap around Louis’s body like his favorite blanket. He remembers how Harry used to be that little shit that made you have a conversation with his answering machine before you realized it actually wasn’t him, so he taps the one and begins to talk.

“I miss you. I’ve never stopped loving you and Happy fucking Birthday my dearest Hazza. It’s after midnight yeah? Well I hope it is because I’m too drunk for it to be any earlier. You are the man of my dreams, you are the man in my dreams, and uh… Oh yeah! If I die tonight due to alcohol poisoning, it’s not your fault. It was never your fault. Always perfect. I hope you’re happy because I’m not and I can’t be happy without you,” Louis confesses and like the words exiting his mouth are taking alcohol with him, he sobers up a little to finish. “Happy Birthday love. You deserve the world. You really do, really really do. I love you Harry Styles, I really really do.”

            He somehow manages to get his door open and the bottle clanks on the ground at the same time as the beep from his tapping end call echoes through the room. It’s only been seconds, but it feels like it’s been hours when Louis’ phone rings and startles him into moving. He picks up the wine bottle off the ground and tosses it into the recycle, because even drunk the earth matters. When he finally looks down at the screen it says Harry and fuck, he’s missed his chance cause it’s gone to voicemail.

            He stares at the ceiling until a ding from his phone tells him that there’s a message waiting, so he slides over to voicemail and presses play on the number and instantly hits pause as “Lou” finds his ears because holy shit he actually called back and holy shit he really can’t do this because the alcohol feels like it’s burning through his veins and fuck this is what dying feels like isn’t it?

He’s frozen, incapable of pressing play again, because 1 word, 1 syllable, 3 letters, managed to unhinge his brain from the rest of his body. He can’t do it, so he sits and stares at the ceiling some more while his thoughts scream and run rampant through his mind.

           In some amount of time that’s not years, months, or days, he thinks he hears the door jiggling, but that doesn’t make any sense because it’s been years since anyone has come to see him. Jay even stopped coming to visit after the first seven years because it hurt too much. Louis closes his eyes and prays to die, but then he’s pretty sure the door opened because he hears it slamming shut. He doesn’t want to open his eyes because it’s probably some thief who realized he just gets pissed every night and the last thing he wants to see before he dies is Harry with a smile on his face.

But then he feels a touch on his cheek and another on his thigh, then someone is running their hands through his hair and that smells a little bit like home, so his eyes fly open and he doesn’t know if he’s in hell because there’s Harry, green eyes staring back at him with tears again and he doesn’t know how to move or speak so he stares and hopes that this might actually be hell because even if it hurts, it’s so fucking good to see him.

HAHA. I’m a regular Charles Dickens (please get the joke. I beg you). I actually already have some part two written already. If you want it well yeah. Let me know if you want it?

posted 1 year ago