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Big beams of light swept across us, blinding me. Blinding Harry. Well, we were already blind to them. How couldn't we have noticed them? What with their banging and racket, surely the whole ship must have heard them approaching the lower decks of the ship. But then again, stuck in a predicament where Harry was pushed up on me and snogging me, there's only so much room for me to make an excuse. Of any kind.

"You little bastard, get off of him!" One of the guards raised a hand and violently smacked him in the face before retrieving a pair of cuffs and snapping them around his wrists. Harry was still locked in a mild stupor after that rather harsh use of force.

"Come along, son. He won't give you any more trouble," the chief officer said comfortingly. He placed an arm around me, which I shrugged off.

I was mad. I was mad at them. I was mad, though, mostly at myself. Why couldn't I speak up, say something? I forced my mouth open, trying to say something in Harry's defense, but one look at the big batons in their hands had me silenced before anything could be said. I was trained all my life to be passive, to let others do things for me or let God take control, and to defy that with any ounce of rebellion was treason against your family. Not just your living ones, but your entire bloodline. Every member of the Tomlinson-Austin family would be turning in their graves if they knew what I was doing. If they really knew what I was doing.

"Here, you appear rather chilly." I accepted the coat just so I could use it to shrink into something, whenever embarrassment or . . . or something happened. It would be my shell.

"Thank you."

After a few flights of stairs, we began to see more activity of the passengers aboard the ship. More onlookers to stare at us, and wonder what heinous crimes were committed. At least on Harry's part. Most would probably guess I was the victim. Yeah, poor First Class gentleman assaulted by a Third Class felon. If tensions between the two social categories could increase evermore, then this would be the ice-breaker.

Thankfully, most of my kind were already in their cabins sipping away daintily on tea or stroking a feline or whatever the hell they were doing. At least there wouldn't be as much attention focused on us as I'd thought.

"W-Why are we here?" I said.

"Because your parents wanted you and requested for him as well." And sure enough, we arrived on my parents' threshold. Someone rapped on it before my mum opened it, tears in her bloodshot eyes.

"Mum?" I said worriedly.

She turned to look at me, and suddenly her gaze grew stone-cold. The sorrow, the tears, they all seemed to vanish. There was an air of authority around her like an aura, and she straightened her jewel-studded dress as she stood next to Mark. His fist was clenched, and a prominent vein stuck out in his neck as he locked eyes with me and Harry.


I looked up at him, my thoughts interrupted. "Yes . . .?"

"I asked you a question. Would you like for me to repeat it?" he said scathingly.

I nodded, my head hung in shame.

"Where were you all afternoon?"

My mouth was dry and my tongue felt like leather. A dozen excuses flooded into my mind, all of them pushing against the other to get to the forefront of my mind and out of my mouth, all impatient to be heard. But all were irrational, all had loopholes in them too easily to spot.

"Were you with this—" Mark spat on Harry, "—dirt the whole day, Louis?"

A raw anger throbbed inside of me, a contempt for what he did. And I instantly became quick to respond, "Yes, I was."

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