Chapter 55 - Snowman sweater & birthday boy

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He took a heavy swig straight out of the bottle, then passed it to me without a single word. I shrugged and took a greedy sip of my own, wincing. "It tastes like Christmas trees," I sputtered before raising the bottle to my lips again.

"Tis the season," Harry deadpanned. It made my heart flutter just a little bit, because sometimes I thought I couldn't possibly love the CEO anymore, and then he did something like wear a cheap sweater and drink gin out of a bottle and he managed to take up even more space in my heart.

The elevator doors slid open. James made a small choking sound at the sight of us. It was either the fact that I was drinking gin straight out of the bottle (which couldn't have been that surprising, honestly), or the fact that Harry was wearing a fucking light up Christmas sweater. Most likely the sweater.

"One word," Harry snapped, fixing James with a deadly glare. I slowly lowered the glass bottle from my lips like a kid caught with their hand in the cookie jar. "One fucking word and you're fired."

James nodded solemnly. "Duly noted, sir."

Harry stormed towards the waiting car in front of me, head held high as if to keep a little bit of dignity. I held up my hand for a high-five as I passed our driver. "It's okay," I stage whispered to James, turning the failed high-five into some awkward pat on the back. "He's on Santa's naughty list already."

"Get in the fucking car, Norah." Harry snapped.

"Coal in his stocking for sure."

Harry slammed the car door shut in a very pointed manner. By the time James and I managed to stop giggling and climb in after Harry, he was sitting stoically in the backseat with the liquor clutched firmly in his hands, eyes straight ahead, lips pursed.

I lasted about thirty seconds in the tense silence. "There are so many potential Ebeneezer Scrooge jokes."

Harry gave me a sideways glance, and that was all it took before he was doubled over in laughter, shoulders shaking, forehead resting against the leather seat in front of him, and my heart swelled just a little bit as I fell impossibly more in love with him.

* * * *

"I don't know if it'd be weirder to knock or not to knock," I said, hand paused in front of my apartment door. "Is that weird?"

"I never knock," Harry mused.

I glared up at him. "Yeah, well, you're not a real person so you don't count."

With that, I pushed into the Manhattan apartment that I hadn't returned to in over two weeks. It was exactly the same as I had left it — bright and homely and coffee scented — except the places where my things used to be seemed to have been overtaken by Louis-related objects and decorations.

Multicoloured blinking lights hung high on the walls, our fake Christmas tree was shoved in the corner, and both the kitchen table and bar had been cleared of all appliances and replaced with bottles of alcohol, red and green cupcakes, one giant silver cake with Happy Birthday scripted on the top.

We added our bottles to the already giant collection and placed the presents on the little bit of free surface I could find. "Jace?" I called. "Birthday boy?"

"Not my birthday yet!" Louis shouted from the living room. We followed the sound of his voice and found him and Jace pushing our couch back against the wall to make dancing room. "All of our friends apparently live on another continent or something and have to go home by Christmas Eve. It's disgusting."

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