The folded note slid easily into the back pocket of my pants as I stood upright from my chair at the table, and just as I was about to turn away and avoid being noticed, one of the twins (I can't ever remember which one is which) took notice and called me out on it.
"Where are you going, Louis?" she asked in a bubbly tone.
I paused, caught off-guard that my attempt to remain discreet about my exit from the dining room was exposed. Mother, unfortunately, was within earshot of the twin that she picked up on it.
"Oh, Louis dear, are you tired of me already that you must leave?" she teased lightly. Harry seemed to have coaxed out her inner clown during the last half of dinner.
I forced a smile to my face. "I am getting a bit weary, yes."
"Oh alright, if you must abandon me, then," she sighed. "Go get some rest, and perhaps get Dahlia to do something about the swelling in your face—it's getting worse, darling."
I immediately placed a hand to my face, and sure enough it felt as if a mushroom was growing underneath the skin. "Oh my."
"Yes, it's taken a toll on your face," she joked.
That made me laugh in spite of myself, which caught the attention of the diners around me. But I paid little attention to them because, for once, mum made a good attempt at humour.
I quieted down and cleared my throat to recompose myself. "Very well, mum. I'll see to it. Good night."
"Yes, good night Louis," she said as I strode away without a glance behind my shoulder at her.
Obviously, I was definitely not going back to my cabin, but instead took a swerve around a corner and came to the top of the Grand Staircase. It really was a majestic sight to see at night as well as during the hours of the day, with all the glowing electric bulbs set to define the contrast of the wooden steps and the glass dome above.
As I looked down to the bottom of the stairs, I saw a shock of familiar curly hair brushing against the wooden beam that the figure sporting the curls leaned on. Cocking my head slightly in curiosity I made my way slowly downstairs, all the way keeping my eyes firmly planted on the figure donned in a suit I thought he'd never wear.
He turned to face me. And for some reason, as I came to notice later, my heartbeat sped up. Nearly tripled, actually.
"So you came," he said as his eyes scanned me up and down.
I snorted. "You more or less demanded it of me."
He shrugged. "It was your decision to walk out or accept, mate."
I cocked a brow at him, but didn't give a response. We maintained eye contact for a while, not knowing how to continue our discussion until Harry strode to my side and linked arms with me.
"What—? What are you doing, Harry?!" I hissed at him while trying to struggle free from his vice-grip.
He didn't say a word to me as he walked us out of the room and towards the elevators, although he still kept my arm locked tight in his.
"Harry, let go of me," I said between gritted teeth. But he didn't.
Finding out relatively quickly that my vain struggling attracted more attention to us, I quickly submit to it and instead dropped my gaze to the floor in shame. The nape of my neck burned with embarrassment as I felt scornful eyes on us from every direction, disapproving of the "more than friendly" connection established between us.
"Where are we going?" I huffed, my arm going limp as the blood drained from it. Luckily, Harry caught on and released some of the pressure.
"Have you ever gotten hammered?" he asked from out of the blue.