“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I whisper under my breath. The clock is a bit past ten, and I am standing in front of Waldorf Astoria. The hotel towers over me like the buildings of Columbia did earlier today; with pride and glory. The tall building is made of massive grey stones, that stand in nice contrast to the golden writing above me. The Waldorf-Astoria it says. The words are framed by a golden rectangle with ancient Greek looking engravings. The engravings are shaped exactly the same - a man sitting on a chair, perhaps a throne, and another one sitting (if not kneeling) on the ground.
Harry glances at me with a small smile, as I watch the building with wonder. My eyes are widened and my lips parted slightly. It takes me a while, before I realise that I am staring intensely at a hotel - not an old sculpture from Europe, but an over prized hotel in the heart of Manhattan. I shake my head and force myself to look at Harry instead. He is watching me with mild eyes, and a relaxed smile.
“How about that drink?” He asks as if it completely normal that we are standing in front of Waldorf Astoria - but then I remember, to him it is probably all too normal.
“Yeah, sure,” I fast say and nod a little. “A drink would be great,” I whisper to myself. He does not react.
I had expected a group of fans crowded in front of the hotel, but then I noticed that the entire street is almost empty. I glance at Harry. “What happened to all the people?” I ask as if they have disappeared of the face of earth. “There was a lot of commotion earlier,” Harry says - his tone changing from enthusiastic to slightly saddened.
“Oh,” I simply say.
Inside the place is even more plush. White walls and columns welcome. The entrance hall looks so luxurious that it almost manages to take my breath away, but for the sake of Harry - and partly myself - I try not to seem too unfamiliar with overwhelming luxury. I do my best to walk beside Harry as if I was used to marble floors and chandeliers. It is not all too hard, since faking (or acting as I prefer to call it) is something I more than just comfortable with.
I do not even try to remember what way we walk, or who we talk to on the way, all I know is that once we pass the doors into a bar - I need (for the third time) to focus on not losing my face nor dropping my jaw. It would be incredibly impolite of me to leave my jaw lying on the floor.
The bar is decorated in a darker style than the entrance hall and lobby. The walls are of fine dark wood, and the windows are hid behind thin white curtains. The bar chairs are of brown leather, and the desk of a green sort of marble. Even though there are a few different shades of dark colours, they manage to blend together beautifully and as my eyes wander over the hundreds of bottles with alcohol, I smile and decide just to roll with it for the night.
“A table for two?” A male in tuxedo asks politely, and manages to rip my attention from the bar. Harry looks around for a second, “Actually I think we will just be seated by the bar.”
I approve of his decision, but remain quiet. The bartender smiles, and holds out his hand in a polite gesture, “Suit yourselves.”
“Thank you,” Harry replies, and without glancing at me, he puts his arm around my shoulders. I look up at him, but he is looking elsewhere. I walk beside him, as me makes his way closer to the bar. The room is not crowded, but there are people - mainly people above the age of thirty. A group of nicely dressed middle-aged men are sitting by a table nearby. I can not hear their exact words, but understand that they are discussing something important by their inflection.
“Mel,” Harry suddenly speaks and I look away from the heated conversation. Harry’s eyes look darker in the dimmed light.
“Is this fine with you?” He asks. I glance at the two empty bar chairs and nod, “it’s perfectly fine.”
The chairs are tall and I am not, so getting up has always been the biggest struggle - not when sober, but when intoxicated. Tonight it goes fine, since the three glasses of wine have not managed to cloud my senses much. I can feel a small dizziness, but it is nothing I think further of. I can feel Harry look at me, as I sit down on the leather chair. I try my best to focus on the menus lying on the marble in front of me. There are no cocktails on the menu, only names of alcoholic beverages I have never heard of before.
A Courvoisier XO costs forty-two dollars. I do not know what it is.
Then there is the Courvoisier VSOP for twenty-one dollars, and neither do I know what that is.
Hennessey XO: forty-two.
Hennessey VSOP: twenty-eight.
Hennessey Paradis: hundred and sixty-five.
The list goes on and I try to look less confused than I am.
“Can’t find any Mojitos?” Harry asks with a lovingly mocking smile.
“No, and not any strawberry daiquiris either. They don’t even have cosmos!” I cry out, as if that is one of the biggest crimes of bar-ing.
Harry laughs. A deep and throaty and slightly sweet laugh. I can feel the blood running to my cheeks, but I do not look away from him. His laugh is not supposed to sound so… I have at least ten adjectives I could describe it with, but lets say: different. It is supposed to sound like it has done ever since he reached puberty. Why it sounds so pleasant now confuses me.
“What is so funny?” I mutter, and push the menu a bit away.
He shakes his head, with a growing grin and laughing eyes. “Nothing.” He assures me.
I raise my eyebrows, challenging him.
He breathes in heavily and tries to stop smiling like an idiot. He almost succeeds, until I hide my face behind my hands and rest my elbows on the desk. Then his throaty laugh caresses my ears once again. I can not help but smile, even though I have two small hands on front of my face.
“I am sorry,” he then says, chuckling.
I spread my fingers and look at him. “I feel utterly stupid right now.” I say, but I don’t and Harry knows that. He would not have laughed if he thought it would upset me. I know that.
“I’m sorry,” he says again, “It’s just… I’m sorry.”
I remove my hands from my face and let them rest on the slick marble. The surface is so polished, it almost feels soft underneath my fingertips. Suddenly, and without a warning nor a sign, Harry grabs my left hand - the one lying closest to him. His palms presses against the back of my hand, and he closes his fingers. I look down at our hands. Our fingers are not intwined. He is simply hugging my hand with his, and it is easy since the size difference is big. I can feel his eyes linger on me as mine linger on our hands. There is a moment of silence, until Harry speaks.
“You know… they serve cosmos and strawberry daiquiris.”
I look up at him, meeting his eyes. I want to ask why it is not on the menu, but speaking does not seem to be an option in that moment. His smile is relaxed and balmy. I feel dizzy.
“Can I get you two anything?” A polite male voice asks, and breaks our eye-contact. Harry lets go of my hand, I realise that I have forgotten to breathe. The dizzy feeling fades slowly as I suck in a great deal of air.
In front of us - on the other side of the desk - another tuxedo dressed bartender is standing. Harry throws a glance at me and then turns his attention back to the bartender. He seems to be unable to decide. I catch him turning to look at me from the corner of my eye, as I make eye-contact with the bartender.
“A martini for him,” I say and move my hand a bit in Harry’s direction. “And a margarita for me, please.”
The bartender nods, “Coming right up.”
“Oh and-“ I raise my hand before the bartender turns away from us, “Extra olives with the martini.”
“You got it.” He says.
Harry is still looking at me. I can feel his gaze burning into the side of my skull, and as the waiter turns away, I sink down in the seat a bit and look at him with a smile. A smile that says everything he already knows.
I love the game.