ACT III: CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

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A/N: It's come to my attention that my author's notes are very spoiler-y. I will try to control myself!


Two weeks. Every day for two weeks I waited for him on those steps and Harry never showed. No explanation. No apology. Nothing.

Every day I texted:

I'm waiting for you.

I'm here.

I'm not leaving.

I wasn't going to make the same mistake I made when we were in school. I wasn't going to let him push me away. I wasn't going to give up on him.

I dragged myself into the studio on a cool, grey Tuesday morning, the coffee in my hands burning the pads of my fingers. I was exhausted after a long night of waiting for Harry, who was once again a no show.

I was working alone with Alex that morning. It was the only thing I had to look forward to. All of my friends were ignoring me. Even Niall, who had agreed to implement Harry's notes, was still a bit cagey, and I didn't need to hear another "I told you so" about my problems with Harry.

Alex had me begin with some barre exercises: demi-plié, plié, slow tendu, fast tendu, slow dégagé, fast dégagé, before moving onto grand rond de jambe en l'air. Standing on my right leg, I slowly unfurled my left and circled it around me. Alex caught my ankle and lifted my leg a touch higher.

"You're muscles are tense. Are you injured?"

Only my heart.

"No," I answered. "Just a little stiff."

He massaged my quadriceps with his strong hands before circling my leg behind me and massaging my hamstrings, the heel of his hand working deep into the muscle tissue.

"Better?"

"Much."

He let go and watched me with his arms crossed. He pushed his rimless glasses up the bridge of his nose and had me move onto my solo in Act One, the one Harry had choreographed. I'd done it so many times now it was perfect, but the accomplishment was bittersweet.

"Beautiful, Louis!" he gushed.

It was Harry's ideas that were beautiful, his mind. The mind I loved that didn't love me back.

When I was done, Alex handed me a towel and a bottle of water. His hand lingered on mine. He could sense from my heavy performance that I had a lot on my mind.

"How are things between you and Harry?"

"Not good."

"I'm sorry to hear that."

In addition to coaching me in the studio, Alex had been coaching me in my love life. I was shy opening up to him at first but he was eager to help and I valued his opinion. He cared about both me and Harry and wanted us to be happy. So, piece-by-piece, I told him everything about our relationship: the fights, the intervention, the sex and the silence.

"I don't know what I'm doing wrong!"

Alex put an arm around me. "He's the one that's wrong if he can't see how special you are."

Our rehearsal was technically over but Alex sent away the soloist that was scheduled to rehearse right after me. With the flick of his wrist the rest of the world disappeared. All of our rehearsals were like this. We would work for a bit and then talk for hours. Alex was a really good listener. I could tell him practically anything.

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