In Our Stars

Charlotte is a musician in her mid-twenties who just got the best gig of her life, opening for the biggest boy band in the world: One Direction. At first, it just seemed like the best possible option for her career. That is until Harry Styles came crashing into her life, changing her to the core.

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6. Breakfast

I wandered in around 9:50 A.M., desperate for a cup of coffee before facing Harry. Of course, as I walked in, I immediately locked eyes with the man I wanted to avoid for another ten minutes and froze. Harry seemed to have been staring at the door before I even walked in and a genuine smile crept across his face when he saw me. I could get used to that reaction. I smiled shyly back at him.

When my eyes left him, I saw that Harry was not alone; all five members of One Direction were sitting around the table and I had a mini panic attack. Niall, Louis, Zayn, and Liam looked up when they saw Harry’s reaction and smiled at me. There was an empty seat between Harry and Liam and I briefly wondered if he had saved it for me. I gave a small wave. Before any of them could respond, Liam said something I couldn’t make out causing Niall, Louis and Zayn to turn back around and lean in towards him. They talked quietly.

I glanced briefly around the room, noticing that, for the most part, it was divided into cliques by table. One Direction’s backup band shared a table with mine. The wardrobe, hair and makeup people were gathered snugly around a different table. The tour management, bodyguards and a few of the bus drivers also had their own tables. I felt like a new student walking into the high school cafeteria on her first day. I was startled back to reality by excited shouts from my backup band to come sit with them.

I looked back to Harry, who had not moved his eyes from me. When he heard them, he stood up and started walking toward me, saying in a loud and almost charming way, “Sorry ladies and gentlemen, she’s mine for the next 15 minutes.” I smiled at them and waved, seeing the suspicion on their faces. Great, all I need is more people to think something is going on between Harry and I!

I pointed to the coffee as he reached me, and I started walking towards it without another word. He followed me like I figured he would. I started pouring and mixing as soon as I reached it. I looked up at him while I stirred, surprised to see him standing so close to me.

“Morning, Charlotte,” he said in a mockingly annoyed tone, I assumed because I had yet to say anything to him. I found it odd he always called me by my full name; most people called me “Char,” or “Charlie.”

“Harry,” I smiled and bowed my head, jokingly. He smiled.

“How’d you sleep?” he asked smoothly in that sexy British accent.

“I, uh, I slept great, actually,” I admitted, tripping over the words. “Better than I have in a while.” Then, I looked up at him, holding back a laugh as I said, “Oh, and I really appreciated the blanket burrito I woke up in.” He looked at me funny for a second, then, realized I was referring to the way he wrapped me in the comforter and he broke out laughing at my choice of words. I let myself join in.

After he finally stopped laughing, he looked a little embarrassed and said, “I’m sorry! I couldn’t think of any other way to cover you. I woke up in the middle of the night and you looked so cold. You were shaking.”

“Oh, well, thank you,” I said, turning back to the coffee. “I was definitely warm after that.” I smiled.

“Hey Charlotte, I’m sorry, but I only have like ten more minutes,” he told me, looking down to his feet. “Management keeps forcing interviews, signings and promotional events for our new album into every hole in our schedule. Apparently breakfast is now an unnecessary hole in our schedule.” He sounded annoyed. I knew how it felt from promoting my first album and preparing to promote my second, though the demands on me were probably only a fraction of his, being a member of the biggest boy band in the world. Promoting a new album was an almost 24/7 job, as was touring.

“That’s OK. I totally understand,” I tried to contain my disappointment.

“C’mon, c’mon,” he whined, jumping up and down like a giant kid. “I want to get back to my food.” I started laughing hard and it felt good. He smiled at the sound, looking a little fascinated. As he led the way back to his table, I eyed a table covered in delicious food, vowing wordlessly to eat it all later. When we reached the table, he pulled out the chair between him and Liam and motioned for me to sit. I looked at him suspiciously before I sat, because I couldn’t remember the last time a man did that for me. I caught a glimpse of the equally curious faces of his bandmates as he pushed the chair in. I smiled at the four members of One Direction sitting in front of me, as their gazes shifted to me.

“Hey, boys,” I said, trying to sound confident and playful. I doubt I pulled it off. I had met the boys many times before and even spent a little time with them doing press, but I was still intimidated by them. They usually tried harder to make me feel comfortable, though. I attributed it to the fact that they all looked exhausted.

Louis, Zayn, and Liam all said a rather weak “Hello” in unison, but Niall’s was more enthusiastic. “Hey, Charlie! We never get to see you. How are you doing? Are you enjoying the tour?“ Niall reached over and patted my hand that was wrapped around my coffee cup a couple of times as he spoke, making me smile and marvel at how kind he was.

“This tour has been an incredible experience,” I spoke emphatically. “I’ve gotten to see so much and meet so many new people. And, it’s bananas performing in front of that many people every night. It must feel incredible to know they’re all here to see you!” I said, feeling stupid after I finished. I saw Harry literally shoveling eggs and hash browns into his mouth, clearly preoccupied.

“Bananas?” Zayn’s eyes lit up before he started laughed. The other boys joined in and I couldn’t tell if they were laughing with me or at me. I decided to make it with me by laughing myself.

“Yeah, bananas! Speaking of bananas, I had no idea these breakfasts even went on,” I said, changing the subject and looking around the room. “No one ever told me! I would have been here every morning.”

I looked back to the boys sitting around the table with me and each one of them had a confused look on their face. “How is that possible?” Liam spoke what they all were thinking.

“I don’t know, but I’m going to get to the bottom of it,” I said in an enthusiastic, mock-angry voice, lightly pounding my fist on the table. “It gets really lonely on that bus, so I’m always looking for human contact,” I said in a suggestive voice, raising an eyebrow, and reaching out to touch Niall’s hand in an exaggerated, slightly more sexual way than he had touched mine. He started laughing hard and the whole table joined in. I felt myself warming up to them and felt proud that I could make people laugh; it used to come so easy for me. I even heard the words, “you minx!” from Louis. I looked over at Harry, who was still laughing, but wore an expression that told me he was impressed with me. That made me smile bigger.

Louis raised his arms in the air as he exclaimed, “This explains so much!” Always blunt, but meaning no harm, he continued, “We were actually starting to assume that you were stuck up and thought you were better than everyone, because you never show up to anything. You know there are lunches and dinners, too! And, games! And, general hanging out.” So, they did think I was a diva!

I raised my eyebrows, stunned by what he just said, and hurt that anyone would think that of me based on a misunderstanding. “Wow,” I said, astonished. “I hate that anyone would think that of me. Seriously, guys, I’m sorry if I ever came off like that. I’ve wanted nothing more than to be friends with you guys this entire tour.” I felt Harry’s hand lightly on the small of my back, somehow reassuring. They all seemed to soften as I said those words and I saw big smiles as I looked from face to face. The atmosphere completely shifted at the table. It felt like we were friends.

“See guys, I told you she wasn’t like that,” Harry said harshly, but clearly in jest. They laughed. He smiled at me, not moving his hand. It started to feel like an iron burning into my back.

“Send me a memo next time you guys do general hanging out. I’d like to see what that looks like and it’ll get me off that bus,” I said, making every crack up, again.

“Oh my God,” Harry said animatedly. “You guys have to see her bus. It’s fancier than ours. Instead of all bunks, it just has two bunks and a huge bed in the back, with a lot of extra storage space. And, there’s a huge skylight above the bed. It’s incredible,” he rambled, earning himself a few raised eyebrows from his mention of my bed.

“Oh, that’s right! You were forced to spend the night with Harry. I’m so sorry you had to go through that,” Liam joked.

I smiled, but was quick to clarify, “We didn’t spend the night together exactly. He just stayed on my bus.” I felt Harry remove the iron from my back when I said this. I looked at him curiously, but he was looking down at his plate. “It wasn’t altogether that unpleasant, though,” I smiled at the side of his face, attempting to make him laugh, again, so he would look back up at me. I think he felt me staring at him, because I saw a smile tug on the corners of his mouth and he slowly raised his head to me. He wasn’t going to give me a laugh, but I happily took the smile.

It was at that moment that a man Louis introduced as “Paul, our ass of a manager,” told them it was time to go. After Paul pulled the boys away from me, Harry almost literally, I took my band up on their offer to join them. I first made sure to fill a plate with the healthiest foods the buffet had to offer; my jeans were feeling a little tight and I did not have time to shop for new clothes.

I felt a change in me since yesterday. I was only vaguely aware of it and I didn’t know what changed and why, but it was an improvement.

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