Chapter Seventy-Four

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Meredith laced the mask onto her face, tying it tight behind her head. The green mask with a green feather hanging off with gold sprinkled around. On a trip to Italy in high school, Meredith had gotten the mask in Venice, and it finally paid off. Underneath the mask, Meredith had taken an hour to do her makeup and another three hours to straighten her hair and have it stay straight. With the clock showing the time, she was fashionably late.

Looking at her cell phone again, Harry had promised to text her today about what the plans were for spring break. She didn't even know if he knew. However, it was start to get under her skin. Tomorrow was Friday, and she was going home. By the time she got home, if he hadn't texted her, she wouldn't be spending spring break with him. It was just more money for her to make.

In the mirror, Meredith watched her reflection carefully. It was the best she would get. It wasn't going to be any Cinderella moment, even with flowing skirt that was yet short enough for her to dance and her t-shirt that allowed her to breathe. She placed on more green jewelry, which just happened to match the rest of her clothes.

Snow still on the ground, Meredith was forced to wear snow boots as she headed over the union. Others had started to walk over for the UWS Masquerade Ball. She pulled her coat tighter against the always harsh Superior wind. Tears built up in her eyes from the cold, and she blinked them away. She worked far too hide on the makeup to lose it all now.

Taking to the sidewalk through the parking lot, Meredith paused. Getting out of a car was a male, and he stared at her. A shiver ran through her body. Her heartbeat increased. Turning toward him, it was dark enough to hide his features, but she knew that stance anywhere.

"Are you fucking Prince Charming?" she asked.

He laughed, and the wind carried the sound to his ears.

Running through the snow was always dangerous, but she did it for love. Her body hit his. Warmth slid around her. He didn't wear a jacket, which was stupid on his part, but he probably wasn't ready for the cold of northern Wisconsin. Pulling back, Meredith finally got a good look at him.

"I heard there was a ball tonight," Harry said, "and I thought I might take the princess."

Her cheeks turned red. "You even brought a mask."

"I did some research. Surprise!"

Meredith shook her head. "But what the fuck are you doing here? Are you crazy? Someone might see you?"

"Would you like me to leave?"

"No, but, Harry, what the hell?"

"I wanted it to be a surprise."

"Because you know how much I love surprises?" Meredith asked. Glancing toward the warmth of the union, she wasn't sure if she wanted to bring him inside. It was easy enough to hide him in the room of Crownhart.

"Mere, come on," Harry cooed. "Let me take my princess to a ball." Leading her toward the union, Harry finally knew what she constantly complained about. It was cold, snowy and windy here, and this wasn't even the middle of winter. It was late March.

Dropping the jackets off at the front of the building, Meredith couldn't stop glancing around. In the dim lights of the grand ballroom of the union, she knew no one noticed, yet, what if someone did? Some how, which confused Meredith coming from him, Harry was calm. He melted near her.

"Come on, Mere." Harry pulled her to the dance floor, where other people danced. A slow song played, letting the single ladies leave the dance floor. "I know you love to dance."

"You just sway."

"Oh, snarky today, aren't we?" Harry mocked.

Meredith rolled her eyes. "This is very stupid of you."

"No one's going to notice."

"People know who I am, Harry. They'll notice I'm dancing with the ginger."

Glancing around, Harry's blue eyes hopped from one person to another, and none looked at them. Caught up in their own business and own lives, the people at the masquerade ball was too tempted by others to glance at a prince and his girlfriend. "I really don't think they mind."

"And what if they take pictures?"

"It's dark. They won't turn out correctly."

Meredith scoffed.

"Mere, look at me." Harry tipped her chin up. Their eyes met, and Meredith didn't back down. It was just another part to love. "I don't care. I came here, knowing the risks. I came here, for you. I want to know your life. I want to know what and who you are here. I want to know." Harry kissed her deeply, letting the whole room watch, and if they watched, no one said anything. "I love you, Meredith Rogue."

"I love you, Harry."

He laughed.

The music changed to something more upbeat, allowing the single ladies to dance again, which made many people happy. Packed together on the dance floor, people grinded against each other, and Meredith pushed Harry to the edge of the circle. People hadn't grown up much since high school apparently. With the loud music pounded, the couple danced on the outside, and in a scene like this, there was no adult dancing. That was for private time between them.

Harry twisted her hair back, kissing her on the neck and whispering sweet things in her ear.

"Not here, sailor," she said. "And not at Crownhart. Everyone can hear."

He laughed. "I guess I can keep my hands to myself for a day or two." However, his hands slid across her body, down her back, making her skin burn.

"We can't do anything at my parent's house."

"I know, but I have plans for your spring break."

"Do you plan on sharing?"

"It's a surprise."

Shaking her head, Meredith turned around and ran her fingers through her hair. More people packed into the room, and it was all a bit much. After being here for an hour, it was time to go. "Let's get out of here," Meredith said.

"What did you have in mind?"

"It's a surprise."

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