ACT IV: CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

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A/N: That's Nijinsky in the left panel of the collage.

WARNING: sexual content (I tried to keep it classy. It was a struggle...)


The curtain fell and Harry was gone.

Like the sorcerer Von Rothbart he vanished into smoke.

I knew something was wrong the second he took his final bow. He went down on one knee, hand over heart, and refused to look up at the audience, refused to acknowledge that it was over.

I didn't see him backstage. I wandered the dressing rooms as dancers received bouquets of flowers and popped champagne, their sweat and melting stage makeup smearing against my cheek as we kissed and congratulated each other.

Harry's dressing room was empty but I found his costume neatly folded over the back of his chair.

I stuck my head into the studios. They were all empty.

I could hear everyone making plans to meet up at the Lowlander.

I got changed into my suit. Could he have gone to the pub ahead of us?

I signed some programmes in the atrium and shook the hands of a few noted patrons before tearing myself away.

Harry's name sailed in the air like an aria. A group of London critics stood in a circle by the bar discussing the ballet. No matter how good the show was, this clique of writers always managed to find one tiny detail to hungrily latch onto and rip to pieces. They were like a pack of velociraptors in suits and evening gowns. Tonight, however, they gushed about every detail and it was no secret that the mastermind behind the ballet was Harry himself.

On the way to the door I ran into Jeffrey. He was wearing a tux, his shock of blonde hair windswept.

"Sorry," I said. "I'm looking for Harry."

Jeffrey crossed his arms. "Is that supposed to bother me? Well, it doesn't. I'm over you, Louis Tomlinson. I have a new boyfriend." He pointed to a corps dancer wearing an identical tux.

"Jeffrey, I really have to go."

He tossed his head theatrically. "Good show tonight. Harry was decent, though Winston and I found the performance a bit overwrought, didn't we Winston?"

"I'm going."

"Wait!" His bright blue eyes flashed with mischief. "I have gossip."

Ugh. When did Jeffrey not have gossip?

"I told you, stop spreading rumors!"

He couldn't help himself. "Kenneth is being forced out. He's getting a handsome package, but the board wants him gone by next season."

I put my hands on my hips. "And who exactly told you this?"

"Only everybody. The board thinks Kenneth mismanaged Maurice, Liam, Beauchamp and the whole Harry situation. They're appointing someone else next month."

His intel didn't sounded totally off but I wasn't ready to believe him either. Would they fire Kenneth so soon after Beauchamp was extradited to France? It was bad optics, and who would run the company?

Harry wasn't at the Lowlander.

Niall, Gigi, Zayn and Eleanor got a table at the back of the darkened pub. They waved me over. They were chattering excitedly about Harry's grand vision and how revolutionary his final solo was, but none of them had seen him since curtain call. He was all anyone could talk about yet nobody was concerned about him. I guess that was what it meant to create great art: he had created something greater than himself.

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