16 Fading Zen

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Sunday went in a similar fashion to the other Sunday's they had shared together. Waking up earlier than should be legal for a weekend, Harry making breakfast, going to do yoga in the park, meditating, eating a late lunch, then relaxing until Harry had to leave for water polo practice in the evening.

It was Wednesday evening. Louis had brought drinks and breakfast to Harry every morning before heading to work this week.

"Not to demand all of your time out of nowhere, but will you be able to make it to my polo game again this Saturday?"

Louis shifted the phone against his ear, trying to juggle taking a burnt casserole out of the oven. "Sorry, come again?"

"If you're busy, I can call back later." Harry sounded diffident.

"Shit, no. You're fine. I'm just going to fucking need the fucking fire department to come over if I- FUCK!" Louis dropped the casserole pan and it shattered all over his kitchen floor, his phone falling into the gooey mess shortly after. "Damn it!" Louis shook his burnt hand and picked up his cheese-covered phone. "Fuck, let me call you back in like five."

"Yeah no worries." Harry replied slowly.

Louis scrunched his nose. "Kay bye."

He hung up and wiped off his phone. Setting it on the counter, he ran his burnt hand under cool water until the stinging went away. He searched his house for earphones and plugged them into his phone and put the ear buds in his ear and phone in his pocket. He dialed Harry again.

Harry answered after the first ring. "Hey, are you alright?"

"Yeah I'm good. Just cleaning up this damned casserole." Louis searched for gloves under the sink cabinet. "This is case and point why I don't attempt doing fancy ass cooking."

"Aw I'm sorry Lou. If I could, I'd make you the fanciest casserole you could imagine." Harry didn't sound sarcastic, but he also didn't sound completely serious.

It made Louis' heart flutter lightly. "Sorry, what were you saying before though? You have another game this Saturday?" He found the gloves and started picking up the chunks of his shattered dish.

Why the hell do they make glass casserole dishes anyway?

"Yeah. I actually have a game every Saturday till end of term. If you want. I mean, you don't have to. I just didn't want to make plans if you were available." Harry spoke with an edge of nerves in his voice.

For a moment Louis was reminded of his days in Middle School on the phone with one of his first crushes. Something about innocent phone calls made Louis nostalgic and giddy. Though he had much more flair and confidence now. "Are you saying I'm high enough on your priority list to compete with your prescheduled commitments?" Louis smiled at the potatoes and cheese on his floor.

"That depends. Are you saying yes?" Harry spoke more smoothly now.

Louis bit the inside of his cheek because his brain was too flustered to come up with any kind of coy response back. "Of course... Because that's what friends do." His brain seemed to revert to the safe zone when he didn't know what else to say; and after he said it, he threw a chunk of glass a little too hard into the garbage can.

"Excellent. I can't wait." Harry's voice was like butter in his ears. Only without all the greasy earwax buildup that would happen in such a circumstance.

"Me neither." Louis swiped a hunk of paper towels to pick up a glob of potatoes. "I'll see you Saturday?"

"Yeah definitely. Is this goodbye then?" Harry's voice seemed to take on an edge of anxiety again.

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