take a photograph and carry it with you
you’re a photographer. you discover that Tom is your favorite subject when you’ve somehow been hired on a press tour.
tom holland x reader
words: ~18k (oops!!!)
warnings: swearing, fluff, a tiny bit of angst I guess??, smut (nothing SUPER graphic, but still), 18+!!!
a/n: lemme know what you think!!! I wanna hear feedback! thank you for reading, I know it’s long... enjoy!!
You were, somehow, hired to be a photographer. I mean, you knew how. You loved taking photos as a kid-- you know those cameras that you take photos on, and you can only take, like, 30 or something, and then you get them developed once the camera is full? Your mom gave you one of those when you were eight, and you took all 30 pictures in the one day. That just started it for you.
In high school you took all the photography classes you could, eventually purchasing your own real camera. In college, you took it with you everywhere, and were pretty proud when some of your photographs were featured in the campus’s art building. You took a term to go abroad, and you went to London, where you studied journalism and photography.
When you got back, one of your professors had approached you, and told you she had a friend who was looking for photographers. You reached out to the woman, and she hired you pretty quickly. She worked for a company that did photos for the airport in your area-- not a huge job, but it paid and it added to your resume.
You graduated with a major in journalism and photography, and a minor in creative writing. You moved to California pretty quickly after graduating (yes, you did live with your parents for three months. Maybe four.), much to the chagrin of your mom. She wanted you to stay local.
In California, you got a job as a pretty low-level secretary at an online newspaper. You spent your free time driving your shitty car around California-- most people gravitate toward the beach, but you find the most beautiful parts of California are actually the mountains, the deserts, the parts that people don’t see on the postcards or on instagram.
So, you build your resume up, you add to your portfolio, until finally a year has passed and you’re actually writing some articles for the newspaper. It pays better and it’s much more exciting than answering phone calls, but you’re still trapped inside, typing away on your laptop and rubbing at your eyes to fight off the oncoming zombie-like state you get into.
Your days pass, and you get into a slump. Your writing isn’t as creative as it used to be, you don’t go out to the mountains on the weekends anymore, and your camera case is pushed under your bed, because you don’t know what to take photos of, and just looking at the case hurts you. There’s something squeezing your heart, telling you that you’re stuck here, and you’re not meant to be.
One thing gets you out of your funk-- a phone call from your roommate that you take when you’re at work on your lunch break. She barely even greets you on the phone, just telling her that her aunt’s college roommate works with celebrities and was looking for someone to take photos of some up-and-coming celebrity. You thought about it, your fork clenched between your teeth even after you’ve swallowed your chicken, and then ask for more details.
The gig was flexible-- the aunt’s roommate (Fern, because she’s from LA so of course she’s got a cool name) only needed you for two or three days, and the shoot was happening in LA, which was almost an hour from where you lived. She would pay for your hotel, and you’d just be following the group around for a few days and taking photos, which would be used to promote the young celebrity.
You agreed, and that kicked off the rest of your life.
Fern was the nicest woman, even though she had a no-nonsense air about her. They paid for your hotel room, which was way nicer than your apartment. You followed the group around and shot photos and met new people, and finally, when you left, Fern gave you her business card which included her cell phone number, and told you that she’d give your name to a few people. She was happy with the work you did, and you were happy that she was happy.
You went back to your job, giddy with the new turn in your life, and your coworkers noticed. You got back into writing with a new passion-- LA apparently filled you with a new life, with a new appreciation for what you do and the opportunities that may present themselves to you.
Two weeks later, you’re walking around your apartment with a bowl of cereal, in a huge sweatshirt and athletic shorts, when you get a phone call from an unknown number. You very quickly swallow your honey nut cheerios and wipe your mouth (for some reason you can never eat cereal without making a mess), and answer the call.
On the other side of the line is some agent who heard of you through Fern, saw your portfolio, and wanted to hire you to take some photos. You asked who it was for, and she couldn’t tell you the name until you accepted, but she told you that it was for a singer, and you’d be hired for one show in LA (their regular photographer was sick). You agreed.
A week later, you were taking photos for Post Malone, and after the show, when you were walking back to the room where you had put all of your bags and cases and your coat, a voice shouted out to you and you were pulled into a room of drunk and/or high adults who were shouting your name and wanted to know who you were. You had a drink-- okay, maybe a few-- with the crew, and yes you maybe did choke on your drink when Posty himself stumbled into the room.
Yes, you were put up in another fancy LA hotel overnight, and in the morning, you uploaded the best photos you took (you took over a thousand and nobody wants to see all the blurry shots you got) and sent them to Post’s tour manager and agent, thanking them for the opportunity.
When you checked your instagram in bed when you got back to your apartment, you saw that Post had posted to his account, photos of last night’s concert, and your handle was tagged right there in the corner of his picture. You might have yelled as you saw your extra three thousand followers, but only your roommate would ever know.
When your paycheck came in the mail a week later, you’re pretty sure even your neighbors heard when you screamed at the number.
The next six months passed in essentially the same way-- you got a handful more gigs over weekends (you did occasionally ask for time off at the newspaper for longer projects), for singers and artists and any talent who came to LA and wanted to make a name for themselves, and wanted the fresh young photographer to take their picture. Your bank account wasn’t really hurting anymore, you had more energy than ever at your job, and you finally felt like you were doing something worthwhile with yourself.
On a bleak day in November, you received a phone number from an unknown number (which you’ve grown to expect), and an Andrew informed you that he had a young star that needed a photographer for a press tour. The kicker, though, was that the tour was three months and you’d be needed for the whole time. You swallowed, and he told you he just needed an answer in the next week, and that he’d send you more details via email.
When the email came through, you read it through ten times, not sure what to do. The tour would take you everywhere-- across north america, south america, europe, asia, australia. The paycheck was going to be huge, but you’d be doing something foreign to you.
You called just about every close friend you had, asking their opinion and talking through your worries, your fears, your hopes and your aspirations.
Finally, you made a decision. You had a tearful going-away party at work (you’d worked there for a while now, and you knew your coworkers really well. They were an awesome, young, fun group of people that supported your decision), and that night you and your roommate watched two rom coms, got wine drunk, and finally you fell asleep.
The next morning, with your huge suitcase, your purse, and your backpack which held all of your camera gear and your laptop, you hugged your roommate and jumped in your uber to the airport.
Two connections later, you landed in London and were greeted by a nice man holding a sign with your name on it. He helped you with your large suitcase, even though you protested at first, and helped you out the doors to a nice black town car with tinted windows. He told you that the drive was about thirty minutes with the traffic, and you just nodded.
On your drive, you knew you had to pull out your polaroid camera. It wasn’t anything fancy-- just an old white polaroid that you used to take photos that you wanted to keep for your own memory. You’re glad you pulled it out, because it wasn’t long before you could see the London Eye.
Your driver (James) looked back when you cracked the back window open, even in the cool air of January, but looked back to the road with a smile on his face when you stuck your camera through the crack.
Thirty-two minutes and seven polaroids later, you pulled up in front of a swanky-looking office building. James tells you on the elevator ride to the seventh floor that this is where you’ll be meeting the crew you’ll be traveling with, along with the young star, whoever he may be.
You’ll also be signing a non-disclosure agreement, and just from the current level of secrecy, you expect the NDA to be pages upon pages. You have no reason to be this nervous, but your heart rate is getting faster and faster as the elevator passes floors five and six, and you clutch onto your backpack straps. You wish, desperately, that you had stopped at your hotel first, so you could maybe change out of your ratty, torn, seven-year-old jeans that fit like a glove, and maybe take off your baggy UCLA sweatshirt that you stole from your roommate. Instead, you’re dressed like a 14 year old teenage boy, and your hair is pulled into a bun and you’re sure you look exhausted. You don’t get much more time to dwell on your appearance, though, because the door dings open and James is there, ushering you out.
James guides you down a hallway, through a door, down another hallway, and then he’s finally pulling a door open and you’re stepping through, where probably 15 people turn to look, smiling at you.
“Ah, our young photographer enters the scene!” Exclaims a woman whose hands are brought together in a clap. “I’m so glad you could make it-- was your flight alright, love?” She asks, and you’re immediately charmed by her posh accent.
“Uh-- yeah. I mean, yes, it was great, thank you for asking.” You shift nervously on your feet.
“I’m glad to hear that. Well, let me introduce you to everyone,” she says, and then goes around the room, telling you everyone’s names. By the end, they all laugh at the shocked look on your face. “It’s alright-- I know it’ll take you some time to learn everyone. Good thing we have a few months together.” The group looks pretty young, which is awesome-- mostly women, although there are a few men as well.
“Tom will be along shortly, he’s coming from another meeting,” says the woman again (her name is Caroline). “In the meantime, let’s go over the schedule and the NDA, alright?” As she says this, the rest of the team moans, as if they’d just gone over the same thing, so Caroline laughs and shoos them out of the room.
You and Caroline are knee-deep in paperwork when you hear laughs in the hall and the door to your conference room opens. The boy’s head is turned while he laughs at something someone had said (Garrett, maybe?), before he turns to look at you and Caroline.
“Hey, Caroline,” he greets, and she murmurs a hello. Then he turns to you. “Hey, I’m Tom,” he says, reaching a hand out for you. You shake it, and give him your name, a little starstruck. Of course, it had to be Tom Holland, one of your biggest celebrity crushes.
Here’s Tom Holland, the young heart throb himself-- and you’re going to be stuck taking pictures of his adorable face for months. How the hell are you going to do it? You think.
“Oh, you’re the new photographer! Awesome!” He says, and his grin almost knocks you off your feet. The professional bit of you, though, urges you to speak and not just stammer like a fool.
“Yeah, I’m really excited! This is a great opportunity, and this seems like a great team,” you say, still not trusting yourself to say anything more or less.
“Oh, yeah, we have a lot of fun,” he says, already laughing at some old memory. Your heart swells. “Alright, well, I’ve got to run, Caroline. My mum wants me home early so we can have dinner before we leave tomorrow. You know how it is,” he says, and the grin never leaves his face. You can tell he’s not upset by this-- he loves his family.
“You better be back here by nine tomorrow, Tom. I mean it!” Caroline says as Tom is backing out the door.
“I will be!” he says, and Caroline narrows her eyes at him. You grin. “Hey, it was nice to meet you, love,” he says, looking at you, before he turns and shuts the door behind him. These are gonna be some long months ahead of you.
In the morning, the tour starts. Tom has three interviews lined up today, and you follow him to every one. The whole team doesn’t really need to come, just you, Caroline who’s the manager, Garrett who does Tom’s hair, and Gwen who works on his makeup for when he’s on camera. Caroline directs you on where to go, where to sit, where you can leave your gear, and how to get around in some of the confusing back halls of the non-descript studio building you’re in.
You finally leave around 4 o’clock, and when all of you are shuffling outside to get into the van that’ll take you to your hotel, your polaroid is already on hand. You stop, turn back to the building, and take a photo. Tom’s right behind you, and you’re pretty sure he might have gotten in the corner of this shot.
“What’s that for?” Tom asks, and it takes you a second to realize he’s talking to you. You turn to him, already holding the little picture as you wait for it to develop. You place your polaroid camera back in your bag as you speak.
“I dunno-- I keep these for my memories,” you say, shrugging. He grins at you.
“That’s nice,” he says, and nudges your shoulder as you walk to the van together. You’ve got somebody driving you back to the hotel, and so you jump in the backseat, placing your camera bag between your feet. You’re surprised when Tom sits next to you. You grin at him and click on the light above your seat, pulling a pen out of your bag.
You write the date on the white part of the camera. Jan. 4th, 2020. Studio 1. Tom carefully takes the photo from you and laughs when he notices the sliver of his face that made it into the shot. And Tom, he writes, and you grin. Oh, boy, you think.
Tom is actually staying at the same hotel that night, instead of with his family, and when you get a knock on your door later, you frown. You didn’t order room service, and you’re not really expecting anyone. You’ve been sitting on your bed in sweatpants and a tank-top, your laptop perched on your thighs as you go over the photos you’ve taken today.
You climb off your bed and head to the door, though-- and on the other side is Gwen and Garrett. You grin, happy to see the familiar faces. And then you laugh when you see that they’re each carrying a bottle of champagne. You usher them in and close the door behind them.
Five minutes later, you’re all comfortably relaxed and have champagne in hand. You’re talking about where you’re all from-- Gwen’s from London, Garrett is from Canada, and you’re obviously from the states. The three of you are about the same age, with Gwen being just a few years older at 28. You all get along great, and Garrett’s in the middle of telling some story about him and his old college roommate that somehow involved two goats and a chicken, when there’s a knock on the door.
You slide off your bed again and open the door, still laughing at Garrett’s wild gestures and shouting, and are met with Tom’s face. He’s got a curious look on your face, and then hears voices coming from behind you.
“Oh, I thought you were alone-- sorry, I’ll--” You cut him off, still giddy and giggly from the champagne.
“Come in!” you say, voice practically at a shout. “Come in,” you say again, a little quieter. “It’s just Garrett and Gwen. I’ll pour you some champagne?” you ask, and he grins.
“Yeah, alright.” he admits, stepping inside.
“Eyyy, there he is!” Garrett exclaims, his hands up in the air. You roll your eyes, smiling. You think he might’ve had a few drinks before he came over, but it just makes him more animated. You step over Garrett’s legs to grab the last class, and pour Tom champagne. You hand it to him, and when your hands meet you have to swallow. God, you’re being an idiot. He’s just a cute guy.
You all cheers, clinking your glasses together, and then you realize you should probably take a photo, so you reach over the side of your bed and grab the small camera.
“Everyone smile!” You say, and the three of them lean in, big grins on their faces as the flash goes off. Jan. 4th, 2020. Champagne. You write, and show the picture to them once it develops.
They all get more comfortable as the minutes drift by, and Gwen’s on the ground, her head on Garrett’s lap (you’re pretty sure they’re sleeping together), and Tom’s also on the ground, although he’s leaning against one of your legs as you sit on the bed. Finally, Gwen says she should go to bed and Garrett says he’ll walk her to her room (yeah, sleeping together). You thank them for the company and the alcohol, and they bid you goodnight, closing the door behind them.
“Hey, thanks for tonight,” Tom says, his eyes boring right into you.
“Of course!” you say back, shooting him a grin as you collect the empty champagne bottles and glasses. He stands, helping you. You try to calm your beating heart, which is going way too fast.
It’s quiet between you now, and Tom finally breaks it by saying he should head back to his room. You nod, even though you want to ask him to stay. You force yourself to keep quiet, though. Tom thanks you for the good night, for inviting him in, and you grin at him, soft and easy. You ignore the way his eyes dip down to your mouth. Then he kisses your cheek and quickly hurries out the door.
The next morning, Tom has one last interview before you’re jumping on another plane headed for Ireland. You’re there for three days, and the third is a little more relaxing; there was a late night talk show Tom was on, and you didn’t get back to the hotel until nearly two in the morning. After a few hours of sleep, some people stay in the hotel, some go for walks in the beautiful landscape, but you decided to rent a car for a little drive up the coast with your camera.
It’s nine in the morning, and you’re grabbing breakfast in the lobby of the hotel before you set out, when Tom strolls in. He’s sweating and red, and you can tell he just went for a run. He spots you when he walks in, and changes direction from the stairs to where you sit.
Plopping himself down in the empty chair opposite you, he immediately grabs for a strip of your bacon before you can even let out an indignant “Hey!”. He grins.
“What are you up to today, sunshine?” he asks. You swallow.
“Uh, I’m renting a car, actually. Driving the coast. I’ve never been to Ireland before,” you tell him, and your excitement seeps into your words. He grins at you before his smile falters.
“Ah, I was hoping--” he cuts himself off and grabs another piece of your bacon, looking only at your plate. You push it towards him.
“You were hoping what?” You ask. He shrugs his shoulders and wipes a hand over his brow.
“I was gonna go see a movie or something, wanted to know if you’d come. But you’ve got much more exciting plans, so I’ll see you some other time.” he says, now on his third and final slice of your bacon. Both of your elbows are on the table with your forearms crossed, and you tilt your head.
“Do you wanna come with me?” You blurt out. Tom looks up at you and swallows.
“Uh--” he clears his throat. “I mean, sure. Yes, if you’re asking. I’d-- I’d love to,” he stutters out. You grin.
“Alright, I’m leaving in half an hour. Think you can get ready in time, pretty boy?” Tom’s eyes widen and he stands quickly, sprinting for the stairs. “I’ll be waiting down here!” You call after the rapidly disappearing man.
In the half an hour you have before you leave, you find Garrett and have him braid your hair back, out of the way, and then you head to your room and change. You put on those ratty old jeans of yours, the most comfortable pair you have, a black turtleneck sweater and a long, tan overcoat you have. You never use that much makeup, just mascara, and today is no different-- it makes getting ready in the mornings a lot faster.
When you get back down to the lobby, half an hour later, Tom is waiting in a dark pair of jeans and a white sweater with a coat draped over his arm. He’s texting someone on his phone, and when he looks up at your approach, his eyes widen and a grin take over his features. He’s smiling all the time, and you love it.
“Hey,” you say.
“Hey yourself,” he says back. “You look good,” he admits, and then starts walking toward the door. Your eyebrows shoot up.
“Uh-- thanks,” you say. “You do too.” And he grins back at you. The car rental agency is a seven minute walk from your hotel, and you spend it laughing at the stories Tom tells you from home. He’s rambunctious, and he often jumps in front of you and walks backwards just so he can make a point or make sure you’re paying attention, which makes you laugh.
When you get to the rental, Tom tries to pay but you shoot him down, telling him you’ll let him drive. When you’ve got your adorable little bug, you’re actually very glad you let Tom drive, because the steering wheel is on the other side, and you drive on the left here, too. Also, letting Tom drive is fine because it means you can take pictures while on the road.
It’s nearly forty minutes outside of the city when the road really starts to follow along the ocean, and you can only stare in awe. You’ve been to the ocean, of course, but there’s something about the ocean in Ireland that’s way different from the ocean anywhere in the US.
Your polaroid camera is out before you can give it another thought, and you take a picture of Tom at the wheel, one hand steering and the other hand in his curls, with his elbow propped up on the door. You let it develop carefully, and write Ireland Roadtrip. Jan. 8th, 2020. before placing it gently back in your bag.
When you’ve been driving an hour, you notice a little pull-over spot for cars that’s completely empty. You imagine in warmer months this road is probably crowded and this spot full, but in January the road is nearly empty, and the pull-off is completely bare.
“Tom, pull over!!” you shout, pointing at the spot. Tom swears and hits the brakes, turning the wheel before he misses it, and you laugh. “Sorry,” you say as he gives you a funny look jokingly. “Come on, come on,” you say, unbuckling your seatbelt and jumping out of the car. You’ve got your camera out of the bag and the cap off before Tom’s even out of the car fully, and so you miss the way he smiles at you, heart in his eyes.
The place where you’ve stopped is beautiful-- high on top cliffs, the waves crashing below you. Large, broken rocks lay all over the edge of the cliff. Gulls are circling, calling high into the wind, and the grass is yellow in the winter and blowing in the sea air. It smells like saltwater, and you laugh out loud, the joy of the moment so much that you can’t keep it contained.
You’re steady, your feet spread wide to keep you so, and your face is pressed against your camera as you take shot after shot-- of the cliffs, the grass, the water, the waves, the birds. Tom’s watching as you do so, smiling the whole time. He found a rock to sit on and is perched there carefully, content in the moment.
You didn’t notice him take his own phone out and take a picture of you standing there, dark sweater against the near-white of the sky, taking pictures of the landscape. And I mean, iPhones don’t take nearly as good pictures as your camera does, but he’s pretty pleased with the photo. Maybe it’s just because it’s you, though, and the sight of you in your element makes him happy.
“Tom, could you come here, please?” you call, your voice drifting to him over the sound over the waves crashing. He stands and walks over to you, but you tell him to go stand over there, where those rocks are.
“What do you want me to do?” he asks, and you shrug.
“I dunno, throw a rock or something.” Tom laughs.
“With all your photographic genius, the only advice you can come up with, is throw a rock?” He’s grinning, and you’re snapping photos of him the whole time.
“Just do it, would you?” You basically demand, and he can hear the smile on your face, even though he can’t see it. So he does, and you’re happy to take photos of your new subject as he launches rocks into the distant ocean. “Stay there!” you call to him after a minute, and then you walk to a spot farther away from him.
Now, you switch your lens and use a wider one, taking huge shots of the landscape, with him sort of the subject-- maybe just more so a prop. Finally, you’re happy with the shots you take, and you pull your polaroid out again, and take one more photo. Tom’s just in the background, barely able to tell it’s even him, but you see it develop as you walk back to the car, and the picture fills you with such a big feeling that it almost hurts your chest.
Tom wants to see some of the photos you took, so you show him shyly. These photos aren’t for a professional reason, just for you, and you don’t love showing your work to other people. It’s like showing a painting to someone, or singing for someone. This is your work, and you don’t want to disappoint-- especially not him.
He’s quiet when he clicks through the photos, and you’re leaning over his shoulder to see. You’re both leaned against the little bug, his elbows resting on the roof as you click through. Finally, he turns to you, and your eyes are wide as you look at him.
“These are, like, really good,” he says, awe on his face. You grin, your cheeks heating.
“Thanks, Tom,” you say, still smiling up at him. “Now come on. We don’t have all day,” you say, running around the car to jump in your seat. He grins at you. You really are a little ball of sunshine.
On the next bit of your drive, Tom nearly swerves off the road when you unbuckle, roll down the window, and perch yourself halfway out of the car and pull out your camera. “Just drive, Tom,” you said, kicking at him as he steadies himself and the car.
You make Tom stop a couple more times, all at other pull-off stops, and every time, Tom smiles constantly as he watches you as you laugh with joy, or laugh as he does a handstand or a flip. He does so just to make you laugh, even though he’d never tell you. He was goofy, and you loved it. You thought he was hilarious, and he loved it.
Your final destination was a tiny little diner that you found in a quintessential Irish town-- rolling fields, set near the water, cobbled streets and quaint, colorful houses lined perfectly next to each other. Triangular flags hang on lines strung between lamp posts, and the town itself looked like it came right out of a story book.
You drag Tom into the little diner you found, and the woman that greets you must be somewhere around fifty, although she’s bustling towards you with the speed of a youth. She gets you seated quickly, taking your orders almost as fast, and before you know it, you’ve got boxty sitting in front of you (a lovely potato pancake) and Tom’s got a piping hot bowl of Irish stew.
You dig in quickly, both of you hungry, and it’s quiet between you for a few minutes, until you slow down your eating so you have room to breathe and talk.
“Thanks for coming today,” you say around the bite of pancake you’re trying to swallow. He grins at you, spoon in the bowl as he stirs his stew around.
“Of course,” he says. “Thanks for inviting me.” You roll your eyes.
“Yeah, yeah, Tom. I know, this was the best two hours of your life, all thanks to me, what can I say,” you sigh, trying to sound world-weary. Tom just laughs.
“Yeah, sure, love. The best two hours of my whole life,” he says. “I think you’d get along with my brother Harry.” You look up at him. He’s mentioned his brothers in passing, but now it looks like you’re going to get to hear about them more. You’d listen to him talk about paint drying if it got him to look this happy.
“Harry’s one of my younger brothers-- he takes photos, too,” Tom blows on a spoonful of stew. “Although you probably do it better.” He laughs. “Don’t tell him I said that, though.”
“So you’ve got… three brothers?” You ask, trying to remember. His eyes light up.
“Yeah, I do. Harry’s got a twin, Sam, and then there’s little Paddy, who’s the baby. We all look alike, and we all drive my mum crazy. And my dad’s a comedian-- way funnier than the lot of us combined.” He’s got a wistful look on his face as he thinks about them.
“And friends?” you ask. He laughs.
“Ah, yeah. My best mate, Harrison, and I used to get up to all sorts of fun back in the day. I got into acting though, he did too, and now here I am. He still meets up with me pretty often, though, and we grab a few pints when we can.”
You talk throughout the meal, and you’re so relaxed in your seat, even after finishing your pancakes and then the coffee that you ordered, that you barely realize it’s been nearly two hours. When Tom finally checks his watch, just to see the time, you do too, and then swear.
“Aw, shit, I’m supposed to have the car back in an hour. We should probably go,” you say, and Tom nods, even though he looks a little upset about having to go.
“Alright, but not before I take a polaroid.” You stop in your reach for your jacket, looking at him like he’s crazy.
“A polaroid? What the hell for?” You ask. He shrugs, a cheeky grin on his face.
“Just hand it to me, would you?” he asks, and you dig in your bag before pulling it out. You hand it over to him, your eyes narrowed, and he points it over your shoulder to the middle of the diner. You relax, glad he’s not taking it of you, and you can’t help but grin at him.
Then, all of a sudden, he moves the camera so it’s pointed right at your face. A laugh bursts out of you, and you’re reaching for the camera when you hear the click of the photo being taken. “Tom!” You exclaim, still laughing.
“I take pictures of you, not the other way around,” you protest.
“Why! I want a picture of you! You have, like, seven of me already,” he says, pouting. When the photo prints, he takes it before you can grab it, and he holds it above his head, away from your reaching hands. Finally, you collapse back into the seat, pouting back at him. He rolls his eyes, grinning.
He writes on the bottom of it quickly, just as you do, and then stares at the developed picture before tucking it in his wallet to your protests. He ignores you, though, and still ignores you when he pays. You tell him that you’ll pay next time, and he just says “oh, we’re doing this again, then?” and you cross your arms and bump your shoulder into his as you walk to the car.
You don’t take any more pictures on your way back-- no wait, yes you do, because there was that one seagull that was perched perfect on a lone tree-- but aside from that, you leave your cameras in the backseat and just watch the landscape go by. The radio is on, some local station that’s playing some indie hit, and you and Tom both hum along, neither of you really knowing the words. One of your feet is up on the dashboard, and the other is tapping along to the music.
Your arms are crossed, if only to stop yourself from reaching over and grabbing one of Tom’s hands. The moment is perfect, just the two of you in the funny little car, a camera full of photos and two hearts full of happiness. The day is over way too quickly.
When you pull back into the hotel, you and Tom say goodbye sort of awkwardly, and then you rush to your room, your face hot. Oh boy oh boy, you think. It’s only the first goddamn week.
The next week has you in Spain. You see beautiful cathedrals, parks, and amazing sculptural buildings. You see the beaches and the lakes. Your schedules are getting busier, more packed, and your days get longer and your nights shorter. When you have days off (which is rare, because on your time off you’re sorting through all the photos you’ve taken), you relax in whatever hotel you’re staying at’s pool, relaxing and swimming and working out.
You try to read, but it’s difficult because, again, you have very little time. Sometimes Gwen or even Caroline will join you, and sometimes even Tom will come down. You find that he likes spending time with just you, though, even though he gets along great with the team. He’ll text you, asking if you’re by the pool, and if you say you’re alone he’ll be down in less than three minutes.
He likes swimming with you, picking you up and throwing you in the pool while your shrieks bounce around the ceiling. He’ll then jump in right after you, splashing water all over you. You like it when he swims with you too, because that means you get to see his bare chest and his wet curls and that beautiful smile on his face. Jan. 20th, 2020. Pool! Is one of your new favorite polaroids. Tom’s shooting a thumbs-up at the camera, a huge grin on his dripping face. He looks happy, and it makes you smile.
In Switzerland, you want to cry at the beauty of the Swiss Alps. It’s also in Switzerland that you and Tom get fully drunk together-- you had a few drinks out at dinner after the busy day you all had, and then when you were all driving back to the hotel, you and Tom made plans to watch New Girl-- so when you got to your room, you called room service and got two bottles of wine and drank until you were both howling with laughter whenever anyone on the show spoke.
“You’re really pretty,” Tom admits, propped up on the pillow next to you. You laugh, smiling at him.
“You’re pretty too, Tom,” you say, gazing down at him. His eyes are on your mouth, and there are alarm bells going off in your head. You’re drunk, but not drunk enough to do something you’ll freak out over and probably regret in the morning. “But I’m not gonna kiss you,” you say. He pouts, his eyes going wide.
“Why not?” he asks, and you slide down farther on the bed so you can be right next to him.
“Because I would freak out in the morning, and you don’t want to see that,” you say.
“Oh.” he pauses as Schmidt goes on some rant on the screen. “I wanna see you all the time,” he says, and you close your eyes. Why does he have to be like this?
“We can talk another time, Tom.” you say. “Now, focus, please,” you laugh, and so does Tom. It doesn’t take long for the both of you to fall asleep, your head on his shoulder. He leaves your room long before you wake up the next morning.
Three weeks later, in a club somewhere in Mumbai, you’re clutching onto the lapels of Tom’s jacket, your head thrown back in laughter as he shouts a joke in your ear over the pounding of the music. You can spot Gwen and Garrett a little ways to your left, Gwen grinding into him under the dark cover of the room. You and Tom are facing each other, holding each other close, inhaling and exhaling each others heavy breaths.
You never talked after that night in Switzerland, although you knew neither of you were drunk enough to forget it altogether. You kind of wanted to talk, because your heart beats faster whenever he’s close and you smile whenever you see him, and you don’t want to spend even an hour apart from him. But you know it’s for the best that you haven’t spoken about it-- he’s a star, you’re you. He’s always traveling, and you’re probably going back to your apartment after this trip.
But here, in this club with the music thrumming through your veins and your hair wild and untamed and Tom in front of you in those pants and that jacket and his eyes raking over you whenever the lights flash bright enough to get a good look at you, you wish you were together, and you wish you could kiss him as hard as you want, and then drag him back to your room after.
Instead, you have to settle for dancing with him, holding him like this on the dance floor in a foreign club thousands of miles from home, and lose yourself in the moment and hope it never ends.
You could have danced on that floor all night with Tom by your side, but he notices you’re getting tired, and tugs your hand over to the bar. He orders you both a drink (a cranberry vodka for you and some beer for him), before he tugs you over to a little niche in a wall, where it’s darker than most spots, and he leans back against the wall and tugs you toward him. You spin so your back is against him and you can watch the dance floor, and his hand goes to your hip.
You stay like that, leaning back against him, sipping at your drink and letting it course through you, making you float, and you don’t even realize that your hips have started to sway against his. When you hear him grunt, though, you toss your hair back and turn your head so you can look at him. He grips your hips, and says “Would you stop moving, love?” and then you laugh because now you can feel him behind you, pressed against you, and you know why he groaned.
“Sorry, baby,” you say, and then turn to fully face him. You lean against him fully, letting your arms drape around his neck, and you nip at the exposed skin there. Tom’s moaning again, which makes you giggle against his neck.
“No, listen, we can’t--” he says, his voice shaky, and you pull back.
“Can’t what, Tom?” You ask impatiently. Your eyes burn against his, and he growls.
“Fuck, I want to kiss you so badly,” he says, his hand on your hip sliding around to your back and pulling you closer. You let him move you, and you don’t pull away.
“Why don’t you?” you ask innocently. His eyes roll up, and his head thumps as he rests it back against the wall.
“I-- we’re both going to be sober the first time I kiss you,” he finally says, and you grin. Yes, okay, this answer is perfectly acceptable. Your head drops back down to his neck. He’s barely sweating, but his skin is salty and exposed and the cords of his neck tense beautifully when you run your tongue over it. Yeah, this is still a good night.
Tom has hickeys the next morning, which he discovers when he wakes up at almost eleven. He texts you a picture of his shirtless chest, showing the dark purple marks covering the side of his neck. You smile when the photo comes through, along with the sarcastic ‘thanks’ text message that accompanies it.
You send back an ‘anytime’. If Gwen had any questions about the hickeys she was covering for the next week for interviews, she didn’t say anything. But yeah, she may have winked at you as she did it, to which you turned your back.
In Vietnam, you have two days off. Your first day you spend relaxing, lazing around in bed and texting Tom all day (he was out running errands, or something-- he didn’t really tell you). You drink a mimosa with your breakfast in bed, and for dinner you and Gwen head to a delicious Pho restaurant right near your hotel. You take a polaroid of her grinning over her huge bowl and write Pho with Gwen. Feb. 20th, 2020.
The next morning, you’re awoken by a knocking on your door. You close your eyes, thinking it was just a dream, but the knock persists. You get up, grumbling on your way to the door, and look through the peephole before yanking the door open.
“Goddamn it, Tom, I’m trying to sleep here,” you say, not fully grumpy because it’s Tom, and you’re never grumpy when he’s around.
“Come on, we’ve got--” he cuts himself off. “Is that my shirt?” He asks, looking at your chest. You cross your arms.
“Oh. Yeah, sorry,” you say, not really sorry. It’s a comfy shirt and you like it.
“No, don’t be-- it looks better on you,” he says, looking slightly dazed. You kick a foot out at him, prompting him to continue. He clears his throat. “I made plans for today.” You raise your eyebrows. “I mean, unless-- unless you have plans. Then, I mean, that’s okay if you do--” you stop him.
“Tom, shut up, please. I’m free.” he grins up at you. “Let me, um, get dressed and stuff. I’ll be, like twenty minutes. I can meet you in the lobby?” you ask, and he nods, elated.
Twenty minutes later, you’re waiting down in the lobby for Tom, wearing some of your favorite jeans and a tight long-sleeve shirt, a loose jacket on top. Tom appears, hugging you around the waist while your heart starts beating frantically, from the shock of it and then from the proximity of him.
You had both eaten in your rooms, so you’re all set to head out. There’s a driver waiting for you outside, which makes you look at him in confusion, but he just ushers you in and greets the driver. The drive is about an hour, Tom says, and so you settle into your seat. An hour is nothing when you’re in Tom’s company, so you reach your destination before you know it.
You’re in a small town, and Tom takes your hand and guides you down the streets to where the river is. It takes a minute, but he finds somebody he must recognize before heading to him and the older man greets him with a hug. He speaks little English, but he greets you with a hug too. Everyone is so friendly here, and it makes you wish everyone was like this-- but no, you live near LA, and americans are dicks.
Tom helps you onto the small boat, which is wooden and long and pretty narrow, and then you’re being pushed away from the dock and the older man is pushing you slowly up the river. Seven minutes later, you’re rounding a bend in the river and you’re met with a beautiful sight. There’s an entire market here-- you’ve heard of these water markets, seen pictures of them, but never dreamed that you’d go to one. This is absolutely amazing-- and Tom planned it all for you.
You notice Tom looking at you, waiting for your response, and you desperately want to launch yourself at him, but don’t want to knock the boat over, so you just reach for his hand. “Tom, this is-- this is amazing. I can’t--” you laugh. “I can’t believe it, I mean--” You want to cry, but instead you laugh again and release him and immediately pull out your camera.
You pause, though, and turn to the man behind you who is grinning down at you and Tom, and he nods when you try to ask if taking photos is okay. You take a photo of Tom first, who is still grinning at you, pure relaxation and joy on his face. Then, as you glide towards the docks and other boats, you zoom out and capture the clamor and chaos happening behind Tom.
You spend an hour or two at the market, and you take countless photos, making sure to ask vendors if you can take their photo before you do so. There are so many stimulants here that you’re near to bursting-- the smells of food frying, of spices and herbs and meats and pastas, the sound of people shouting, a flute playing somewhere, of kids laughing and of two men yelling at each other as their boats collide. The sights are overwhelming, too-- with all the colors, several small flags hung from each vendor’s area-- the colors of spices, the look of all the fruits and vegetables. The food you try is delicious-- homemade pastas and pickled vegetables and some crispy noodles and some delicious fruit whose juice dribbles down your chin as Tom laughs at you.
You take a polaroid of him, leaning back in your seat so the fruits you’re both holding are visible, and take it while he’s mid-laugh, his eyes crinkled and cheeks split wide. Feb. 21st, 2020. Vietnamese water market with Tom. The photo is perfect-- Tom is lit perfectly, almost glowing in the midday sun, and he’s happy and smiling at you, content with the world and with you. Your heart swells, heavy and full, and you stuff the photo in your bag before you can cry.
When you and Tom finally have to leave, you make sure to take a selfie with the man who pushed you around all morning, his smile huge and joyful as he hugs the both of you again before waving goodbye.
You wind your way up the narrow streets of the small town, his hand in yours, and you’re filled with the urge to kiss him. Then, that’s all you can think about, until you finally tug him to a stop in the middle of the street.
“Tom,” you say, and he eyes you. “This was incredible. Seriously. You amaze me.” Tom’s eyes are piercing yours.
“I’d do anything to see you smile like this,” he says honestly, and you roll your eyes.
“You’re a dream boat,” you say, and then put both of your hands on his cheeks and lean in to kiss him. You only see his eyes widen before your mouth is on his and your eyes are closed, but it doesn’t take long for his hands to find their way around your back and tug you closer. The kiss is perfect-- everything you didn’t know you needed. It’s slow and easy, full of feeling-- not rushed, not hurried, not aggressive and not demanding. He kisses you slowly, and you feel like liquid sunlight has been poured into your veins. You feel like you could jump ten feet, run a marathon, like you could sing out your feelings in the middle of this town in Vietnam.
You pull away slowly and your eyes meet his. “Get it? A dream boat? And we were-- we were just on a boat,” you say, and Tom’s head drops back as you start to laugh. He cuts you off with a kiss before you can draw more attention to yourselves, and you’re more than happy to let him do so. This kiss is a little deeper, has a little more feeling behind it, and one of your hands runs back to his hair and tugs on the curls. He stops you this time and gives you a look that makes heat run to your face. “Let’s get back home, okay?” he says, and you nod.
Your driver is waiting for you where he dropped you off, and you’re still giddy with laughter when you crawl into the van. Tom pokes your ass as you crawl in in front of him, and you shriek again and swat back at him.
“Cheeky bastard,” you say as you sit down. He just grins.
You and Tom get Pho for dinner, because it’s so goddamn good, and you’re grinning the whole time you eat. You invite him in after dinner, and you both collapse on your bed, full and happy and sappy, and you kiss slowly before he stops things and you turn on New Girl. After three episodes, you tell him you’re changing and you make him roll over while you pull off all your clothes and throw on that t-shirt of his that you stole, and then you drag your nails over his back to get his attention back on you.
When you’re both laying down, facing each other, Jess screaming something in the background, you whisper “I really like you” to Tom, and he grins in the low-lit room, light catching on his cheeks.
“I really like you, too,” he whispers back, and then leans forward for a kiss. Tom kissing you makes something in your chest thud heavy and deep, makes something shift around in your heart and squeeze it tight, and you don’t mind the feeling at all. You fall asleep like this, facing each other, and all is right in the world.
In China, Tom’s schedule is crazier than ever, and so you barely see him during the day (yes, even though you’re literally always taking pictures of him), but at night, once you’ve both eaten and showered, he comes to the room you’re staying in and you make out until you’ve fallen asleep. Sometimes he brings pizza, which is also nice.
On your fourth night in China, Tom’s day has kept him up since four in the morning, and at nine at night, he’s crawling into your bed, seeking your touch. You’re happy to give it to him, to tug at him until he pulls his shirt off, and you roll on top of him, kissing him slowly and gently, letting your feelings seep over.
Tom’s moaning softly, his body exhausted and your hands on him feel heavenly, and he barely processes it when he feels you crawling lower. He wants to protest, to talk about this, but you’re determined and he’s helpless to fend you off right now, and it’s not like he wants to. When you tug at his jeans, he asks, “are you sure, sweetheart?” and you just nod in response.
You only use your hand on him for a minute, as it takes him nearly record time to get fully hard. When you sink your mouth onto him, Tom wants to cry. If just your hands on his chest felt like heaven, your mouth on his cock is… something else entirely. His hands fall lazily to your hair, not pulling or tugging or guiding, just sit there for something to feel. He’s exhausted, physically and mentally, almost in a haze, and your mouth on him is sending him soaring into the clouds.
It doesn’t take him long to come-- it’d been months since he’d been with a girl, his hand his only companion in the dark of night. He hadn’t even thought of other girls since the tour started, since you were with him all day and he got to spend hours looking at you, basking in your love of life, your humor and your goodness. He’d do anything to keep you happy, to get you to smile at him the way that makes his heart clench, to get you to laugh with him.
He doesn’t even really warn you before he comes, just grunts once, twice, his hips grinding and thrusting minutely, and when his body shutters and his thighs clench, you pull him in deep and hollow your cheeks, yanking a cry from his chest as he empties himself into your mouth. You swallow, making his orgasm last longer just from the feel of you, and you keep him in your mouth until he’s been milked dry, the last drop of his essence pulled from his member.
He’s panting, a hand now over his brow as he tries to keep his curls out of his eyes, and he’s looking down at you, a pillow propped under his head. You press a kiss to his stomach, just under his belly button, and grin lazily up at him, licking your lips (which may make him groan and clench his teeth, but he’ll never tell). “Fuck,” he says, feeling fucked out of his own skin.
You kiss up his body, up his tensed abdomen and up his pecks, and then press a closed-mouthed kiss on his lips. “Was that okay?” you ask, leaning back.
“Was that oka-- yes, that was obviously okay, you made me come faster than I have in years,” he says, a little embarrassed. You shrug.
“Eh, it’s okay. It’s hot,” you admit, and he grins. Only you. “Lemme brush my teeth, and then we can sleep, okay?” you ask, and he frowns.
“But you--” you roll your eyes at him.
“You’re tired, Tom. You can barely move. You can deal with it in the morning or something,” you say, already moving off the bed to the bathroom. When you get back to the room, Tom’s already asleep, fully naked, and you can’t help but grin as you climb in next to him.
In the morning, you’re woken by a warm feeling at your core. You think it’s a dream, but you’re shocked when a masculine groan rips you out of any leftover feeling of sleep, and you immediately prop yourself up on your elbows. Your feet are planted on the bed and your knees are spread wide. Tom’s curly head is between the crux of your thighs, and his hands are wrapped around them. Fuck.
His head shoots up, and he’s got a new sort of energy on his face. “Mornin’, love,” he says, and drops his head back down. When his tongue swipes over you, you collapse back onto the bed when you realize you’re already dripping, and that his tongue feels absolutely phenomenal on you. His tongue presses inside you, licking and twisting and then one of his hands move, and you don’t even get the chance to say anything before he’s prodding a finger inside you, right next to his tongue, and you just sigh in response. By the time he has two fingers in you, his tongue is lathing over your clit, which sends sparks shooting up your spine and makes your toes curl. Your thighs clench and writhe periodically, but Tom’s head and hands are there to keep you from trashing too wildly.
It doesn’t take you long to come (probably because Tom was already eating you out by the time you woke up), and when you do, your soft cries fill the room, and Tom’s grinning as he presses his tongue more harshly against you. Your hands are clenched in his hair, simultaneously trying to pull him closer and push him farther away. You’re twisting on the bed, trying to roll over or somehow get away from Tom’s mouth, but his grip on your thighs is unrelenting.
Once you’re done, when you’ve landed back on earth in this hotel bed, Tom’s smiling up at you as he slowly crawls up to lay down next to you. He’s beautiful like this, shirtless and smiling and looking at you with heart eyes. Aw, fuck.
And that’s how your relationship starts. After hours, Tom comes to your room (or you to his) and you drink wine, crack open a beer, talk about your life and your hopes and your dreams, send each other memes, and then you get under the covers where clothing is shed and love is made. You don’t talk about your feelings for each other, though, because you’re both aware that that would lead you down a rabbit hole you’re not sure you’re ready for. So you settle for sleeping together, and you both bottle your feelings up and save it for another day.
Feb. 28th, March 1st, March 3rd, all pass by slowly and yet rapidly at the same time. You and Tom are still falling into bed every night (sometimes you really just eat food and watch a show), and you’re fully aware that this is your last month on this tour.
In Seoul, you hear the end of a phone conversation he’s having, that ends with “yeah, love you too, man. Miss you,” and a thought starts forming in your head. In your three hour layover on your way to Tokyo, sitting in this VIP lounge in yet another airport, you step out of the luxurious room and make a phone call.
March 4th, the crew at a bar, shows everyone’s smiling faces, yours included, as you’re all a few drinks in and are all vastly amused by the karaoke stand in the corner. It’s a great night-- you were finished by four in the afternoon, so your whole team went out (not Tom, which was slightly disappointing) to explore Tokyo, discover the amazingly vibrant culture here, to eat some sushi and finally, to hit up this bar. And then, when you get back to your hotel, some of you sober, some tipsy, and some (like you) who let loose and were a little more than tipsy, you knock on Tom’s door and he opens it a minute later to find you swaying in the hallway to a soundless song.
Tom lets you in, laughing, and you make him dance with you in the middle of his room, swaying around with you and spinning you until you’re falling over, crying with laughter. There’s a little bird inside your chest, beating against your rib cage, and even though you’re drunk, you feel so happy and full, so ready to burst with this feeling of elation and joy and happiness that you could cry. But you don’t cry, you just laugh and laugh until Tom is pulling you off the ground, your laughter contagious, and his lips are on yours and you want this moment to stretch on forever in the isolation of this room.
March 7th, beach day in Hawaii! You’ve got a rare day off, and you’ve spent it on a beach. It’s warm and sunny out, and you lathered on sunscreen before taking the hotel-supplied beach chair and towel, grabbing your book, sunglasses, headphones and hat, and head down to the beach. You text Tom on your way down, and even though it’s pretty early in the morning, you figure he’ll see it when he wakes up.
Two hours later, Tom’s flopping down his own towel next to you and nudging your warm skin with his cold arm, cool from the air conditioned hotel. You turn your head and pull down your sunglasses to give him a look, but he just smiles at you. He’s got a hat on to hide him from any lurking fans, but you’re not famous so you’re not worried.
Two hours later, Gwen and Garrett have joined you, and you ask them to watch your stuff before pulling Tom towards the water. You’re both running before you dive headfirst into the waves, and you forgot how much you love swimming in the ocean. There’s something about the freedom of it, the coolness of the waves and the expanse of the ocean, that makes you giddy.
Tom, of course, loves to throw you around in the waves, trying to dunk you when a waves crests, but you like dragging him down with you, so when you both come stuttering back up to the surface he’s laughing with you, hair curly and dark, grinning at you with adoration written all over his face.
When you finally get back to your towels, you have a middle-aged mom near you take a photo of the four of you, all grinning and laughing at each other. It’s a good day.
March 9th. Surprise! You’re in Los Angeles, back where you started, and the schedule really isn’t as packed as it has been in other countries. You landed early that morning (more like midnight, really), and you were all schlepped off to the hotel to get a few hours sleep before you woke up at eight for the first interview of the day.
After the interview, which ended right at noon as you predicted, you dragged Tom to the uber waiting for you, and drove back to the same airport you had just been at. He’s utterly confused, of course, and won’t stop pestering you.
“Seriously, where are we going?” he keeps asking, and you kiss him to get him to shut up.
“You’ll find out soon, Tom, relax,” you keep responding. When you get to the airport, he just gives you a look and you simply roll your eyes and jump out of the car. He follows, and you lead him to where you wait to pick up passengers. You stand there with him, comfortable as he stands facing you, his arms wrapped around your back. Your forehead is pressed to his chest as you wait. Finally, your guests arrive.
“Look,” you say, and Tom turns his head to find his parents, all of his brothers, and his best friend Harrison rolling at you. Tom freezes in your arms, shocked and not sure how to respond. Finally he releases you and runs at his brothers, shouting his joy. Him and Harry collide in a tangle of long limbs, before Tom is moving onto the next brother.
Harry approaches you and you hug him, a grin on your face to see Tom so happy. “Thanks for planning this,” Harry says, and you shrug.
“Of course,” you say, and you both look at where Tom is, talking animatedly to Paddy. “He needed a break, anyways.” And the rest of the group is slowly making it the rest of the way to you, so you go through and hug the rest of his family, fully introducing yourself even though you’d spoken with most of them over the phone the past few weeks.
“How’d you guys--what--” Tom’s still in a bit of shock, not expecting his whole family to appear, halfway around the world in the middle of his tour. They’re all grinning, too, and the family resemblance between the lot of them is uncanny. When they’ve told him it was all you, how you called and asked if they’d be free to visit some weekend, Tom’s looking at you and grinning with an intensity that makes your heart skip a beat.
He’s hugging you, wrapping you in his arms and picking you up, spinning you around before you can even open your mouth. “Tom! Tom, put me down,” you say, laughing, even as your cheeks burn with heat. You didn’t need the attention, you just wanted to do something nice for Tom.
Speaking of attention, the clamor of the group has drawn attention from a few people in the surrounding area, and before the crowds of people can realize Tom Holland is in their midst, you’re all gathering your stuff and leaving the airport-- but not before you take a polaroid of Tom and the rest of the group.
You leave them to get dinner together, to reunite, and you go with Gwen and Garrett and a few other members of the crew team. You grab burgers at this environmentally-friendly, very-LA restaurant that screams ‘i’m an influencer!’. They’re awesome, and the crew is awesome, and you’re having a great time, laughing and sharing stories, when someone goes “wait, are you and Tom a thing?” and you have to try hard not to choke on your fries.
“Uh--” you glance at Gwen, and she’s got a smirk on her face. “I mean, like, not really,” you say, not quite knowing how to answer. There are raised eyebrows all around the table.
“Really? I mean, you spend, like, every waking moment together, and he fuckin’ adores you,” somebody says. You look down at your plate, trying not to smile. “It’s adorable,” they add.
“Alright, everyone shut up about it,” you say, and the whole table bursts out laughing before moving on. But really, you should probably talk to Tom.
After dinner, when you’re in your room sorting through pictures on your laptop, you get a text from Tom. Can I bring some of the boys over? It reads. You respond, sure, if you bring me pink moscato. Tom sends you a smiley face emoji in response.
Fifteen minutes later, you can hear the gaggle of boys before they’ve even knocked. There’s a bunch of voices, all British, and you hear a scuffle in the hall and then a thud. When you make it over to the door and open it, Harrison has Harry in a headlock and Tom’s on Harrison’s back, and Sam is leaning against the opposite wall, looking exasperated.
When the door opens, they all look at you before standing up straight, but only Harry and Harrison look sheepish to be caught. “Alright, get in here,” you say, tossing your head back towards your room. They all shuffle in, grinning at you, and Tom is last. He picks up a bag that’s on the floor of the wallway and kisses your cheek as he enters your room.
You close the door behind them all and jump right back onto your bed, resuming your former position with your laptop on your lap. Tom’s on the bed next to you in a familiar position-- on a side, perched up on his elbow so he can lay down but look at you at the same time. It’s a very comfortable position for the two of you-- and when he gets bored with you scrolling through the pictures, he eventually will start getting closer to you and nudge you with his legs until you finally give him some attention.
Today, though, you’ve got a foot of space between you. You don’t know if he’s told his family about you-- but then, what is there to tell, really? That he’s been fucking some girl on his crew? No, you don’t imagine he’s been too keen to mention you. You don’t notice the way the other guys are looking at you though, or the winks they throw at Tom-- although he does.
It’s easy with them-- easy to jump into conversation with them, especially when they start telling embarrassing stories about a younger Tom, some that even have you crying with laughter. Harrison is in the middle of reenacting some story of Tom, and you’re giggly with your third glass of pink moscato, and when Tom looks over at you (you’ve both shifted and you’re laying on your stomachs with your heads at the foot of the bed), he knows you fit in here and he doesn’t ever want you to leave-- you’re a bright spot in his already bright world, and you’re everything he could ever want.
The realization of this shocks him to his core, and he lets the conversation drone on in the background as he realizes the tour is ending in only a few weeks, and then who knows what’s happening after? He swallows, his mouth suddenly dry and his blood pumping in his ears as he realizes he doesn’t ever want you to leave his side.
“Hey,” your voice cuts through to him. “You alright?” you’re looking at him, a cautious hand on his arm, and concern written on your face. Harrison is still talking animatedly in the background.
“Yeah yeah, I’m all good love,” he says softly, still not grinning. There’s a sour taste in his mouth from his thoughts.
Your eyes rolls back in your head. “Ughhh,” you moan. “Don’t be so moody!” You shout, and then quickly wrap your arms around his and roll. You’re drunk and are trying to get him to laugh, and you think that rolling the two of you off the bed will do just that. You’re correct, though.
Tom doesn’t get the chance to stop you-- he’s helpless as you roll and tip the both of you off the bed as you scream and he lets out a shout, too. You hit the ground hard, with Tom on top of you-- good thing he’s not too big. Tom takes your laughter to be cries at first, but when his head shoots up and he sees you laughing so hard you’ve gone silent, he just rolls off of you and laughs. The boys are laughing, too, and everything is right in the world, if just for this one night.
In the morning, Tom’s needed on set much earlier than you are, so you grab breakfast with his family before you head in. His family all tags along at first, to the studio, and they all get backstage passes. You take photos of them, jumping along and trying to catch rides in passing golf carts. When Tom’s at his interview, you take photos of him while his family waits in the back. They enjoy this, you can tell-- they’re proud of him, as family should be.
Finally, his parents are set to head out, but the boys want to stay there with you and Tom. Tom’s parents, Nikki and Dom, want to take Paddy with them but he insists he wants to stay. You say you’ll keep an eye out for him, and Nikki gives you a hug before she and Dom leave.
When Tom’s on his way to his next event, Sam and Harrison stick to one of the back rooms, where Tom leaves his stuff, but Harry has his own camera and Paddy wants to tag along. He’s funny, and his accent is thick and higher pitched than his older brothers, which only makes it funnier, and you’re giggling on the whole walk over to the set.
When Tom’s doing his thing and you’re clicking away on your camera, Paddy stands at your elbow. Every once in a while, when you pull the camera away from your face and look down to check how the photos are coming out, Paddy leans over to look, too.
“Pretty ugly, huh?” You whisper, grinning, and Paddy’s giggle makes Tom’s eyes shift over to you. You don’t notice, but he can’t help but smile at how you get along with his family.
On Tom’s break, when some of the crew can stop filming and Gwen can touch up Tom’s screen makeup and he can get a drink of water, you’re given the opportunity to sit in one of the many chairs around the room, let Paddy sit next to you, and show him some of the tips and tricks of photography.
“Okay, so then there’s this mode, I call it S for speed, and it lets you adjust how fast the camera is taking the picture, okay? And--” you’re saying, and Paddy is nodding along to your words.
“Oi, mate, how come you never listen to me when I try to teach you anythin’?” Harry asks, sliding into the seat on your other side. And then Paddy’s shouting something back at Harry and leaning over you to swat at him, and you’re laughing. When you look up, searching for Tom, he’s already looking at you, with an expression on his face that makes butterflies erupt in your stomach. Yeah, you should probably revisit that whole talk-to-Tom thing, before the situation actually drives you crazy.
They all leave two days later, and when they do they all give you huge hugs and thank you for planning everything. His mom is almost crying when she’s thanking you, so you laugh to keep tears at bay and then she’s hugging you again. Harry tackles you in a hug-- you’ve gotten close to him, and you think he’s absolutely hilarious, and he’s hugging you so hard and wide that your arms are pinned against your body and you can’t do anything but laugh. Sam jumps on his back, too, and then Harrison is joining the pile.
You give Paddy a hug once you’ve extricated yourself from the testosterone-pile, and he thanks you for showing him about cameras. You grin, and tell him anytime he wants more lessons, he just needs to set a date. He grins, and then you go “knuckles,” and hold your fist out. He bumps his own fist to yours, laughing. He’s adorable.
You and Tom wave them off, him standing right at your shoulder, pressed against your back. When all of their backs are turned, Tom spins you around, grinning at you, and leans down to catch your mouth in a kiss. It’s hard, passionate, and short. He pulls back, still widely grinning.
“You’re absolutely amazing, has anyone told you?” He asks. You pretend to think.
“Hm, I don’t actually know…” you trail off, and Tom kisses you again. When he pulls back, he grabs your hand and tugs you toward the exit.
“Come on, love. I’ll show you how amazing you are once we get back to the hotel.” Now you’re the one pulling him toward the exit. And if you get a text later from one Harry Holland that says ‘bitch! I saw you and Tom in the airport!’ with the emoji that’s just two eyes, you don’t mention it to Tom.
March 13th, 2020. Poker night! Shows the whole crew gathered around a table in a dark, funky-colored room. You’re in Vegas, having the time of your life. Tom kisses you at the casino, on your way back to the table from the bathroom. It’s more public than how you normally act, but what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right?
March 15th, 2020. Grand Canyon! You were able to see the amazing canyon in a few hours of an afternoon you had off, and even though you were the only one who was able to go, it was still phenomenal. Your polaroid is a selfie, you grinning widely with your free arm outstretched as if you really had to show off the vast emptiness behind you.
In your few hours alone, you also have time to think about how this is all going to end in two weeks, and you don’t know what to do. In the tourist bus back to the hotel, you listen to sad music to make yourself more sad, and by the time you’ve gotten to your room, showered, and slipped into the hotel-room bathrobe, there are tears dripping down your face. It’s been the best time of your life, not even joking. You’ve met some of your greatest friends, you’ve literally now traveled the world, and you’re pretty sure you’re in love.
When there’s a knock on your door, you just shout a “go away!”, not really wanting to see anyone.
“It’s me,” Tom calls back, sounding confused. Aw, shit. You have to let him in. You wipe your tears off your face frantically, checking the mirror quickly to make sure you look okay, and then you pull open your door. “I brought Chinese,” he says, holding up a brown paper bag, and you muster up a grin. He immediately lowers the bag, though, and his ever-present smile drops off his face.
“What’s wrong?” he asks, knowing that there’s something up. You roll your eyes and sigh, leaving your door open for him as you head back to your bed and then drop onto it, facefirst. You groan into the covers. You feel the bed dip down beside you a second later. Tom stays quiet, letting you figure out what to say.
You turn your head so it isn’t pressed into the mattress, but you look past him at the wall. “I don’t wanna go,” you say, and you’re mad when your voice cracks. Tom doesn’t say anything for a minute, just sits there, and then he collapses back so he’s face to face with you-- you on your stomach, him on his back, and there’s a rare look of sadness on his face.
You stay there for a minute, just looking into each others’ eyes, and the tears are building up in your eyes again and there’s a lump in your throat. And then, at the same time, you and Tom are leaning into each other and meeting with the most tender of kisses, expressing your emotions and your feelings and your longing.
You adjust yourself so you’re propped up, leaning over him, and his hands slide into your damp hair to keep you close.
“I don’t want to go either,” he whispers against your mouth, and his voice is tight, choked up in his throat. You open your eyes, looking down at him, and you let your hands go to his cheeks, leaving their place on his chest. If you spoke now you’d start crying all over him, so you just look at him, memorizing every light freckle on his face, every dimple and dip and every millimeter of perfect skin. You memorize his eyes, the way he’s looking at you, how his lips are parted and slightly redder than usual. And when your chin starts to wobble, you kiss him again quickly before you can think about anything else.
You and Tom make love slowly that night-- much slower than any other night. Your emotions almost sizzle between the two of you as skin touches skin, and when he slides into you once you’re ready for him, you don’t do much more than let out a breathy sigh. He sinks into you slowly, tenderly, deeply, and there are tears leaking out of the corner of your eyes which Tom kisses away, murmuring sweet nothings in your ear.
At some point, in the languid heat and veil of passion and love, you flip the two of you over so you can see him better, splayed out beneath you as you lift yourself up before slowly grinding back down. His voice is ragged, pulling in air in jagged breaths that stutter every few seconds. Then an idea comes in your head, and you freeze-- Tom’s eyes open blurily.
“Can I take a picture of you?” You ask. Tom’s eyes clear, and he’s fully lucid when he answers.
“Anything for you,” he says. You don’t even have to fully disconnect from him to grab your polaroid-- and when you get it out, you leave one of your hands on his chest and take the photo. The flash goes off, and you wait just long enough for the photo to print before you put the camera and the photo on the nightstand, putting all of your focus back on the man below you.
When you and Tom are done and cleaned, hours later, you reach over to look at the photo, right before you turn off the light. Tom’s looking over your shoulder to see, too. The photo shows Tom looking directly at the camera, no expression on his face. His lips are slightly parted and he looks-- happy, content, even though there’s no smile gracing his features. His broad, bare chest is on display, and in the lower two corners you can see your naked thighs. One of Tom’s hands is perched on your right leg, and his other hand is clutching yours on his chest.
It’s a good picture, and it captures the night, his feelings, your feelings, so well that you have to put it down before you can confess to anything. You click off the light.
“Goodnight, Tom,” is all you let yourself say.
In Houston, your March 17th picture shows the crew in the sunny, open sky of a ranch. There’s cows in the background, and a few people are up on the fence, laughing and waving. Texas is fun-- big and bold and happy. You don’t focus on the fact that you’re done in less than two weeks.
Boston and New York pass quickly-- you’re familiar with the cities already. March 23rd and March 24th go by fast.
In Mexico City and Caracas, your polaroids are on beaches, everyone with a drink in hand. You definitely don’t cry the nights you take them, either before or after you see Tom, with the knowledge that you’re basically done with the tour. March 26th and March 27th pass quickly, even though the days are long and action-packed.
March 30th. The end game. You’re in Sao Paulo. You got some stranger to take the photo, and the entire crew is in it, almost fifteen people. Everyone’s grinning, because right now you’re at a nice restaurant which is being paid for. You are, really, having a good time-- everyone recapping the trip, talking about their favorite memories, their favorite countries, their favorite sights. You’re sitting next to Tom, and you’re bouncing your leg up and down until Tom’s warm hand slides over it to calm you. You grab onto his hand under the table.
Once the dinner is over, you stay for another two hours, although about half of the crew leaves after an hour. There are hugs all around as people head back to the hotel-- everyone leaves tomorrow, and you know you probably won’t see most of these people again.
There’s a group of about seven of you, you and Tom included, that go to Gwen’s room after you all leave the restaurant, and you stay there until midnight, when everyone can tell Gwen’s about to fall asleep. You drink more, laughing, enjoying yourselves, and when you leave, you and Tom go to his room, hand in hand.
You don’t talk about anything serious-- you keep laughing and talking and laughing some more. He’s your best friend-- he knows you better than anyone, and he knows what to say to keep the mood light. You turn on the office at some point, even though you’re still chatting over the sound of it.
It doesn’t take much longer until he’s inside you, pumping hard and fast, and you both feel like this is the end of something, even though neither of you say anything. He fucks up into you from behind, as you’re both still facing the TV, propped against the headboard. Then he has you on your back, your head thrown back into the pillows as he leaves marks all over your neck. Then he’s sitting up again and you’re on top, riding him hard into the pillows until he spills inside you, gasping for air, trying to sear this image of you into his brain. Then, he gets an idea.
“Can I take a photo of you?” He asks, and your hips stutter on top of his-- you’re still working through your high, and you love feeling him inside of you like this.
“Like--like this?” you ask, sounding incredulous. He shrugs, his mind still a little hazy.
“Yeah, but I don’t have to. Stupid idea, sorry,” and then you’re shaking your head.
“No, it’s-- it’s fine. I want you to. Take a photograph and carry it with you,” you say. “So you remember me.” It’s a terribly sad thing to say, and you want to cry, but you reach for your polaroid instead.
In the photo, one of your hands is propped on his lower abs, covering your core, and the other hand is entangled with his fingers on one of your thighs. Your chest is bare, glistening with sweat in the dim lighting of the room, and you’re looking right at the camera, mouth hung open as you’re still in a post-orgasm haze of bliss.
The photo develops on the side table as Tom pulls you down next to him and slips his fingers inside you, pumping the mess you’ve made back inside and keeping you hot.
Tom keeps you up until nearly four in the morning-- not that you’re complaining.
His flight leaves at three in the afternoon, yours at two. He wakes you up in the morning with his fingers, pumping into you and pulling a soft, slow, heavy orgasm from you. When you’ve come twice more that morning, you shower together. When you’re clean, Tom heads back to his room and packs everything, and you do the same.
You go out for a quick brunch, walking the streets slowly, his hat pulled down low, hand in hand, and you feel like you’re just in a bad dream. When you get back to the hotel and finish packing, placing your cameras in your backpack, making sure you have your sunglasses and chargers, it still feels like you’re in a dream.
When you catch an uber to the airport, when you go through security with Tom, when you sit next to him in the VIP lounge, it feels like a dream. When it’s finally time to board, you and Tom both stand up, and it feels like everything’s in slow motion.
“Tom, I--” you say, but you can’t finish your thought. It would hurt too bad. You kiss him instead, deeply, passionately, and you try to show him everything you can’t say. Things like I love you Tom, I never want to leave your side, I need you in my life forever. Yeah, that would hurt, to say that and then have to go back to your boring old life while he goes back to his. So you kiss him instead, hoping he understands.
You don’t cry when you have to leave him, standing alone with his backpack in the lounge. You just wave, turning around every few seconds to wave again until he’s out of sight. You don’t cry when you board your plane, or when the doors close or when it takes off or when you land. You don’t cry when your roommate picks you up at the airport, excited to see you-- you’d only seen her for a few hours when you were in LA.
You only cry when you get back to your apartment, your beloved apartment which you were still paying for when you were away because you wanted to keep living there when you got back. You only cry when you get inside and drop your bags on the familiar floor, and you realize that Tom won’t be sneaking to your room that night to watch New Girl with you, to talk about your day and to hold you close and kiss you and then to fuck into you later with all his love.
That’s when you cry, with your backpack still on, standing up in the middle of your apartment while your roommate wraps you in a hug and lets you cry.
A week later, you’re still moping and upset. You did one gig, just some indie concert in the city-- somebody called you, needed a last-minute photographer, and you agreed. You have absolutely no clue what you want to do now, so you figure picking up small gigs like these is a good first step. You’re going crazy, though, because you don’t really have a lot to do.
You spend your first few days finalizing all the photos you took on Tom’s press tour, and it’s only the professional in you that lets you get through it without breaking down every time you click the right arrow to look at yet another picture of Tom.
You do get out more, back in your shitty old car and drive north in the days, taking more landscape photos. One morning you wake up before the sun rises, and you get to the beach to take some photos-- a few surfers are out, who make for great subjects as the sky turns the ocean pink and purple.
On your driving time, or essentially any time you’re alone, you think about Tom, and how your heart aches every damn day. You’re in love with him, you’ve realized, and it’s really not that hard to admit. You’ve been texting him, sending him some of your best photos, and he tells you that he’s been relaxing at home and getting lots of sleep. You can picture him, back in his childhood home, playing video games with his brothers and walking that dog of his that he never stops talking about, and you want to laugh and cry at the same time.
He sends you snapchats, all the time, of his stupidly beautiful face that you know intimately well. He sends you videos of Harrison being a dick, and of him at the pub getting smashed every night. You wish you were there.
Finally, you make a decision. You love Tom, you want to be with him, and it really wouldn’t be that difficult for you to catch a flight to London. So, the next morning, you wake up early, tell your roommate your plan, pack a small suitcase, grab your polaroid, and order an uber to the airport. On the drive, you text Harry.
‘I’m on my way to the airport. Good idea, or no?’ You send, and you barely have to wait thirty seconds before he responds.
‘Oh, thank fuck. Tom has been moping around every day. Yes, it’s a bloody brilliant idea. I was gonna text you soon, anyways.’ You smile.
‘Could you pick me up when I land? Or should I grab a taxi?’
‘Yes, abso-bloody-lutely. Just lemme know your flights plans, yeah?’ You laugh, and your uber driver gives you a look in the rearview mirror.
“Buddy, listen to this shit,” you say enthusiastically. “I’m catching a flight to London to tell the boy I’m in love with that I love him. Is that some rom-com shit or what?” you laugh again, so happy you can’t hold it in.
“Sure, lady,” he says. You laugh again.
In london, nine hours later, Harry picks you up. He hugs you in the airport, spinning you around, and you can tell he’s thrilled to see you-- you actually consider him your friend, despite having only really talked to him for a few days, and you’re glad to see him again.
“How are you, mate?” he asks, leaning back to get a good look at you. You’re grinning now, widely, for the first time in over a week.
“Fuckin’ great, now that I’m here,” you say. “Can we go?” you ask, not able to wait any longer. You’re bouncing on your feet, giddy with excitement. “Where is Tom, anyways?” Harry’s rolling his eyes, but he’s got a smile on his face. He’s excited, too-- Tom really has been moping around the house, talking about you and telling little stories about you. He doesn’t even watch New Girl with Harry, because ‘you used to watch that show together’, and it’s been driving Harry crazy.
“Tom’s out with Haz somewhere, but he should probably be back soon.” Harry grabs your suitcase from your hands, extending the handle and starting to roll it in the direction of the doors. You’re smiling, you realize now, so hard that your cheeks are starting to hurt. You’re still smiling when you get to the car, and when Harry points it out, you laugh. You can’t really help it.
Twenty two minutes later, Harry lets you know that you’re in the neighborhood. In the distance, right down the road, you can see a car pulling into a driveway, and Harry reaches across to nudge you. “There, that’s them.” You’re bouncing up and down in your seat, and Harry laughs.
“Relax,” he says.
“I can’t!” You shout in response.
When Harry pulls into the driveway, Haz and Tom are talking to Sam, who is on the front step with his phone help up, presumably recording. They aren’t really looking at the car you’re in, just give it a cursory glance, knowing it’s just Harry, but when they hear two doors slam, both of their heads turn to you.
Neither of them realize what’s happening at first-- there’s a second of confusion on their faces, and then you see Tom’s face light up. His eyebrows are so far up his forehead that you think they’ll disappear, and that’s the first thought you have before you realize he’s sprinting the short distance towards you.
“No way!” He’s shouting, like a little kid on his birthday who just got the gift of a lifetime. You’re laughing, so damn happy to see him, and then he’s slamming into you, making the two of you stumble backwards, and you just barely stop yourself from falling over with a foot that you use to brace yourselves.
His arms are wrapped around you so tight that you can barely wheeze out a laugh, but you don’t mind; you’re squeezing him back just as tight. His face is buried in your neck, breathing in the scent of you that he wasn’t sure when he was going to be around again. You can hear his breathing turn heavy and choked, and your throat gets tight in response.
“It’s okay, Tom,” you say, and he pulls back to look at you, keeping his arms around you, not ever wanting to let you go, now that you’re back in his arms. He’s searching your face for something, his eyes darting everywhere, back and forth, and you’re swallowing through that lump in your throat.
“You gonna kiss me or what?” you whisper, and he gives a cursory glance at his family (yes, the rest have heard the shrieks and are now on the porch too), before he turns his back to them so his broad back is blocking you from their view, and then he’s planting a kiss right on your lips. It’s hard to keep the both of you together, because you’re both grinning into the kiss. It’s good though, so damn good to be with him again.
You don’t realize you’re crying until Tom’s hands are on your cheeks, wiping the tears away. He’s grinning at you, so widely you think his cheeks will split, and his eyes are teary too.
When you finally leave your little bubble, his whole family is looking at you adoringly, and you step away from Tom’s arms to give them hugs. Tom’s jumping on Harry behind you, laughing, and you can’t stop smiling. The sun is setting, casting a hue over everyone that only makes the moment more beautiful.
Harry forces you and Tom to pose at the end of the driveway, the deep blue, royal purple, and bubble-gum pink sky in the backroom. Your hands are all over each other-- hugging, on shoulders and backs, on Tom’s cheeks as you kiss him again, smacking him away as he grips your ass. Finally, Harry lets you go back inside, and you roll your eyes, shooting him a sarcastic quip about him and his damn camera-- like you’re any better.
Sam, Nikki, and Paddy had made dinner that was coming out of the oven just as all the excitement was happening-- some cheese-heavy pasta dish with ham and peas, a beautiful dark salad, and warm bread. Before you all sit down, you thank Nikki for letting you stay here (yes, Harry told her you were coming and she wouldn’t even entertain the idea of you getting a hotel room), and she just laughs and gives you another hug. “Anything to get Tom to stop moping,” she says, and Tom just shouts out an indignant noise.
Dinner is delicious, as you expected (apparently Sam is an aspiring chef, and his family does not mind being his test subjects), and you grip Tom’s hand below the table the whole time. You both squeeze hard periodically, as if to remind yourselves that it’s real, that you really did fly out to see him. Harrison sits across from you, and he shoots you a wink whenever he catches your eyes, just to tease you. You kick him until he stops, even as you smile.
After dinner, it’s a madhouse as people shout over who does dishes-- in the end, you, Tom, Harry and Haz are on dish duty, and you spend it splashing water at them and yelling whenever anyone tries to whip you with a dish towel.
When you’re done, you all collapse around the living room, where the rest of the family has congregated (there’s golf on TV, which everyone seems to be paying apt attention to, except for you). Paddy wants to play a game, so he runs to grab it, and you spend the next hour with Tom’s amazing family and his best friend, groaning along with the rest when Dom wins yet another round. Finally, Harry’s had enough, and he throws one of the pieces at Dom and then Sam is tackling Harry, and you’re leaning your back against Tom, shaking with laughter.
There’s a feeling in your chest, high and floaty and swelling, making you feel at home, but like you might burst if you don’t say something. You just float in that feeling until Paddy’s yawning, and Nikki and Dom are off to bed. Everyone else slowly goes upstairs, until it’s just you and Tom downstairs, holding each other tight.
Once everyone’s gone, you adjust yourself so you’re sitting across from Tom on the ground, criss-cross-applesauce, and you’re both smiling. Now is the moment-- if you don’t say anything, you’ll literally go crazy.
“Tom,” you start, and his eyes are shining with some emotion. Your mouths both open at the same time, and you both profess your emotions in the same breath.
“I love you--” you both say, your voices laying over each other, stripping your emotions bare. It only takes a second before you’re both laughing. Of course, you were both saying the exact same thing at the same time. It’s perfect-- and you’re still laughing when you push yourself up on your knees and lean over to kiss him.
You love this man so much it hurts, and now that the words are out in the open, you feel free-- you want to scream it out, to go into the middle of London, climb up the tallest building around and shout it out. Instead, you settle for kissing Tom senseless in the middle of his living room, pulling away every few seconds to let out a huff of laughter.
By the time you’ve successfully pushed Tom onto his back, you know Tom wants more, and you finally relent when he pulls your hips down over his for the third time.
“Jesus, Tom,” you say, pulling back. “Happy to see me?” You’ve got a shit-eating grin on his face, and Tom laughs.
“Yeah, you could say that,” and then he’s rolling you off of him, putting himself over you, settling down on top of you. When he rolls against you again, you gasp, your head tilting back so you can stare up at the ceiling. “I missed you,” he says. “But I really missed being inside of you,” he jokes, and you swat at his shoulder, your mouth falling open.
“Tom!” you cry, and he laughs, pressing a quick kiss to your mouth. When he starts getting handsy again, you laugh before shoving him off. “I need to take a picture,” you say, remembering your polaroid in your backpack that’s by the door, so you jump up and get it quickly. When you get back, Tom’s standing up too, and you admire him. It’s only been a little more than a week, but you forgot just how trim and sculpted he was.
Once you click the camera on, you slide in next to Tom, and then tilt your face to him. As he presses a kiss to your lips, you click the shutter.
I love you. April 11th, 2020.
You make love sweetly that night, even after Tom swatted your ass as you ran up the stairs in front of him, making you whisper harshly “I swear to God, I’ll kick you down the stairs,” not wanting to wake his family.
There aren’t many words between you when he’s buried inside you, his hands in yours as he presses them into the mattress. His hair is in his face, and he’s dripping sweat as he pushes in and out of you, deep, making you gasp for air as quietly as possible. The only real phrase either of you can piece together is ‘I love you’, and every time it’s said, your heart beats a little faster.
You come harder than you ever have before-- even though it’s certainly not the wildest, rowdiest, hardest sex you’ve had. Now that you’ve both admitted your love, though, things are different. You love him with all your heart and soul, and that thought propels you over the edge into toe-curling, leg-shaking bliss as your vision goes white with pleasure.
In the morning, with your head on his bare shoulder, he grabs his wallet from the bed-side stand, and opens it. He pulls out two polaroids.
Jan. 8th, 2020. Shows your smiling face, laughing over a steaming cup of coffee in that little restaurant in that beautiful town. Your heart jumps as you look at the photo. That was a good day.
The second photo shows you on top of him, naked, and you know exactly what the photo is. It’s marked March 30th. I think I’m in love with you. And your chin wobbles as you read his sloppy handwriting. He twists quickly to look at you when he feels a tear drop onto his shoulder, and then he’s holding you close, pulling you tight so you can listen to his heart thud in his chest.
“I love you so much,” you whisper, because there’s really nothing wrong. Your heart is full and happy, and you know that this is what life is all about. He kisses your forehead, and whispers the sentiment back to you, his voice thick with emotion.
Once you’ve stopped crying, you roll off him and reach for your phone. You pop the case off, and two polaroids slip out, landing facedown on the sheets. You pull them into your hand, and show him the first one.
Feb. 21st, 2020. Vietnamese water market with Tom. It’s one of your favorite photos that you’ve ever taken. Tom is beautiful, mid-laugh on a boat in a river in Vietnam, and looking at it still makes your heart beat faster. You told each other that you liked each other-- you think you knew already, if his planned trip to this market just to make you happy was anything to go by.
The second picture shows Tom below you, bare-chested, and it’s dated Tom, March 15th, 2020. There’s also a little heart drawn. It’s beautiful, this picture of him, shows him open and honest in front of you, content, and in the height of the good days on tour. It makes Tom laugh next to you as he looks at it.
“Great minds think alike,” he says, grinning at all four of these photos. The two of you are so in love it hurts, and you know that to be true when you look up at him and he’s already grinning down at you, love written all over his face.
“You know, when I told you to take a photo of me and carry it with you, I didn’t really mean, like, in your wallet, where it could just slip out and boom! My tits are on display,” you say, your cheeks warm.
“Sweetheart, I’d never let anybody see your tits, ever. Just me,” he holds eye contact with you while his hands creep for the top of the comforter covering you, and starts to tug it down, inch by inch.
You have sex again, quietly, as the light seeps in through the shades and turns Tom’s hair golden and lights your skin on fire. It’s fast, hard, and beautiful.
When you’ve rolled back over, and your breaths aren’t coming out hard and fast, you speak. “I don’t know what’s gonna happen tomorrow, or in a month, or a year,” you start. “But I love you, Tom. And I don’t ever want to be without you.” He rolls onto an elbow so he’s leaning over you.
“Don’t worry, I’m not ever letting you get away that easy again.” Then he grins. “Besides, who else am I gonna let take nudes of me for the rest of time?” His voice is loud, and when one of his brothers shouts ‘shut the fuck up, Tom!’ you can’t help but laugh.
You really don’t care where you are in a year, you realize. All that matters is that you’ve got Tom clutching one of your hands, and a camera in the other.
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