"Uh guys…what on Earth?" she stammered. The walls of the music room displayed white silks, and vases filled with baby pink roses illuminated authentic looking miniatures of Greek pillars. Tamaki waltzed gracefully around the room, his hands delicately folded around a white plastic mannequin, most likely belonging to the twins' mother. Honey-san shouted directions, following around Tamaki with a strawberry cupcake in one hand and a chopstick in the other. The twins, loudly debating over a pair of rose pink bikinis, paid no notice to Haruhi. Mori-san quietly watched Honey as he directed Ouran Academy's most eligible bachelor in his waltz. Typical…except not. "Guy's!" No response out of any of them. "Guys! Hello? What is all this?" Tamaki and Honey continued with their affair, Mori stared, and the twins debated loudly. "Senpai!" Haruhi began, placing herself between the waltzing prince and his plastic dance partner. "If you don't tell me what's going on, I'm going to ignore you for a week!" In less than a second, Tamaki began sulking in his usual corner.
"Well that got his attention quickly…" Haruhi murmured, the eyes of the host club all glued on her. "Oh come on…isn't somebody going to tell me what's going on?"
"Well," Hikaru began, "if you really want to know—"
"Then you should talk to Tamaki…" Kaoru finished, a dark smirk playing at his lips. Both twins began snickering.
"I couldn't have said it better myself," Hikaru crooned, lightly stroking his brother's cheek.
"You two seem to think this is awfully funny," Haruhi sighed. "Knowing your sense of humor, I should probably be worried."
"Well, well…it seems Haruhi has found us out, Kaoru," Hikaru chuckled.
"Yes it seems so, Hikaru. Perhaps…"
"We should tell her," they finished in unison. "You see Haruhi, Tamaki's—"
"But it's supposed to be a secret!" Honey interjected, leaping onto the table. "It's all up to the boss now, right Mori?"
"Hm," Mori agreed.
"In fact," Kyoya added as he strolled in, "you shouldn't have been here today in the first place, Haruhi. Didn' t you get the note I left you?"
"Uh, senpai…were you listening outside the door?"
"Haruhi, you haven't answered my question," he replied smoothly. "But if you want to know how I heard all this, I can assure you that I have no need to make a spectacle of myself."
"What's that supposed to mean?" Kaoru muttered.
"Well, Kaoru," Kyoya answered, "I thought you might be the one person in this room who would know, but judging by your face, I guess not."
"So is anyone going to tell me what's going on?" Haruhi asked again.
"No," Kyoya answered. "Now come along. I'm taking you to the Hitachiin estate today. Your father already knows, so there's no need for you to notify him."
"Um, senpai…I don't understand."
"That's the point. Come along; we're expected out front." Haruhi sighed; there was really no point in arguing with Kyoya. "I'm taking you instead of the twins because I'm not needed at the host club right now. Besides they'll all come to join us later." Kyoya smiled warmly, an action that Haruhi suspected didn't come naturally to him.
Deep in thought, Haruhi slipped on the edge of the first stair. Gazing down at the seemingly unending steps, a wave of nausea swept over her. Her eyelids snapped closed, and her arms flew out in front of her.
The fall never came. Kyoya, one arm around Haruhi's waist, gently pulled her back to her feet and then released her. "Now then," he smiled, "I'm sure Mrs. Hitachiin won't be pleased if her guest arrives with broken bones." Despite his fake smile, Haruhi noticed something genuine in the tone of his voice as he said this. Try as she might, Haruhi couldn't seem to place the sincerity. It just didn't make sense.
About twenty minutes later, a white limousine pulled up at the front entrance to the main Hitachiin estate. Gathering her schoolbooks, Haruhi waited as the driver made his way to the other side and opened the passenger door.
The Hitachiin estate was—well it was the Hitachiin estate. Rose gardens adorned every inch of the grounds, and cherry trees swept the landscape, old cherry trees. Haruhi suspected they had been planted a very long time ago. Normally, such gardens would far exceed the beauty of the house, but the main Hitachiin mansion was an exception. The mansion stood in all its grandeur, a sea of gold hues and modern design.
"This is ridiculous," Haruhi murmured. "Senpai, why are we here?"
"I'm sorry, Haruhi. I'm not allowed to tell you," Kyoya answered in his rich, velvety voice.
A maid waited for them at the top of the staircase. "Mrs. Hitachiin has been expecting you," she greeted, ushering them in. The mansions interior was every bit as grand as the outside. It hosted modern furniture and thousands of crystal vases, overflowing with floral bouquets of hydrangea, roses, freesia, and snapdragons. Baskets of orchids sat upon a fat coffee table in the room to the right. White, gold, and red satin drapes lay over fifteen foot windows, and thick yellow sunlight poured over glossy tiles and plush carpets. Maids in red and white scurried around, carrying more orchids, white silks, tea sets, napkins, and potted ferns. Above them loomed a fifty-foot ceiling, hosting more windows than Haruhi could count. The effect was overwhelming. Haruhi felt as though she had stepped into a renaissance ballroom.
The maid who had led them in showed them up a red-carpeted staircase and down an unending hallway. After some time, she stopped and knocked upon a set of double doors.
"Wait one moment," came a bell-like voice. "Alright, you can come in now." The maid opened the doors and ushered them in. "Haruhi! It's so good to see you again!" The twins' mother greeted, rushing over to embrace her in a tight hug. "And I see you're here too, Kyoya. Where are the others? Oh, never mind; they're probably still planning!" She laughed. "Well then, have Hikaru and Kaoru picked one?" She inquired.
"They hadn't yet when we left," Kyoya replied, sighing.
"Well then, I must have outdone myself! Usually the agree!"
"Um…I don't mean to interrupt, but I'm not sure I know what you two are talking about," Haruhi voiced.
"Oh that's okay!" Mrs. Hitachiin laughed. "We're just discussing some business. It's really nothing interesting, just a little dilemma. But really," she continued, "maybe I ought to design another, one better then both! That would solve it!"
"No," Kyoya replied. "They'll choose one. I think they enjoy arguing. It's something new for them, so they're probably thrilled by the idea. Besides it's only minor detail."
"You're probably right," she smiled. "Now let's get down to business. Haruhi, I'll need you to wear this," Mrs. Hitachiin giggled, handing Haruhi a crimson sleeping mask. "We can't have you peeking. That would ruin the surprise!" Kyoya slipped the mask over Haruhi's eyes and waved a hand in front of her face.
"See anything?" He asked.
"No," she replied. "It's pitch black. But why do I have to wear a blindfold?"
"Good," Kyoya replied.
"That's not much of an answer," Haruhi grumbled. As she finished, the door opened again, and numerous voices drifted in. One of them, Haruhi couldn't mistake. "Dad?"
"Yes Haruhi," he answered.
"Why are you here?" She inquired. It was all very confusing already, but apparently the rules of the game included purposely confusing the guest as well.
"That's a secret!" He laughed.
"You know," she sighed. "You guys keep too many secrets. I wish you would tell me what's going on."
"Now Haruhi, that would spoil everything." Haruhi recognized Hikaru's voice.
"And it's a surprise!" Kaoru added, chuckling.
"I hate surprises," Haruhi mumbled.