ACT II: CHAPTER ELEVEN

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A/N: Since I was so hard on Harry in the last chapter, it's only fair that I throw him a huge party in this one.

Also, he's wearing Gucci again. I can't help myself.


LOUIS / PRESENT

The party for Harry would be held in the atrium of the Royal Opera House. Anyone who was anyone would be there, including noted politicians and members of the royal family.

I was trying not to be jealous but it was hard when Harry's face was splashed all over the arts section of every fucking newspaper in London, with headings like, "He May Not Be Playing Prince Siegfried but Harry Styles is the Prince of Our Hearts."

Kill me.

I met up with Niall at the pub before the party. I was already half in the bag. I needed to sober up so I could get drunk again later.

He rushed in and pulled up a stool. "Sorry I'm late. I had an extra meeting with the orchestra tacked onto my day."

He set down his briefcase and called the waitress over.

I fingered the felt coaster and set down my empty glass. "What was the meeting about?"

"Oh, nothing." Niall cleaned his glasses on his shirt.

He was acting unusually discreet. Normally he loved swapping anecdotes about work.

"Spill."

He eyed me guiltily. "Oh alright. Harry asked me to introduce him to the orchestra."

"What?" This was unheard of. A music director would never formally introduce a dancer to the orchestra, the choreographer maybe, but never a dancer.

I got my back up. "What could he possibly have to say to the orchestra?"

"He had few ideas about tempo."

I almost fell out of my chair. "And you didn't throw him out?"

"It's completely unorthodox, but Harry had some interesting things to say. He has a profound understanding of the libretto."

Had the entire city gone mad? I thought Niall, the steely pragmatist, would see Harry for the overrated prima donna he was, but even he had Harry fever.

"Niall, are you hearing yourself right now?"

"I was surprised too. You should have seen him have a go at the concertmaster. It got fuckin' ugly, mate. The weird part was, Harry was right."

Two words I didn't like hearing together: "Harry" and "right."

I flagged the waitress and ordered another pint. "What is there to discuss? I mean the score is over a hundred years old. It is what it is."

"Actually--and Harry brought this up during the meeting--Tchaikovsky's handwritten score is lost. Most ballet companies use Riccardo Drigo's revised score from the 1895 revival, not the score from the original 1877 production."

"Does Saint Harry have the original score? Did Tchaikovsky's ghost come to him in a dream?"

Niall laughed. "Harry knows as much about the original score as the rest of us. But he is familiar with the letters Tchaikovsky wrote in 1875 to Sergei Taneyev while he was composing. Harry studied the letters in their original Russian."

"Ugh, of course he did... Unless the score is in those letters I don't see the point."

He swished his beer around in his glass and brought it to his lips. "He sees the letters as an emotional map to unlocking the ballet."

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