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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1. Dwell on Dreams

Looking out into the stadium crowd, I still couldn’t believe that this was my real life. I may not be the headliner, the real reason this predominantly female crowd had paid about $100 to be here, but the cheers told me that they were at least enjoying my set. It was unbelievable to be standing in front of this many people, sharing the music I loved so much.

Less than a year earlier, I had released my first self-titled album, Charlotte Shayka. It didn’t break any records, but I was satisfied with its success. People came to my shows and I was humbled by the enthusiasm of my fans. My record company, on the other hand, was less than happy with the sales. In fact, it was strongly suggested by an executive that if my second album, Dwell on Dreams, didn’t perform better, I might be dropped. So, their big idea was to pair me with the biggest boy band in the world, One Direction, in effect, putting me in front of as many people as possible on a nightly basis. I may have been more comfortable playing my small venues where everyone was there just to see me, but I knew this was the best conceivable career move. So, I played to stadiums where people only knew the words to my singles.

I had been on a tour with One Direction for a month already, but saw them infrequently, even though we performed on the same stage every night, because they were always being rushed off to this meet-and-greet or that interview. I secretly wished I could spend more time with them. I had been a closeted “1D” fan for a couple of years; a proud owner of both of their albums, knew all of the words, and had been to a show before I knew them personally. I would never admit it to their faces, but it always gave me a big thrill to hear them thank me for opening onstage during their act. To be honest, though, as ridiculous as it sounds, subconsciously, I think I avoided them, because they really intimidated me.

As my last song came to an end, I excitedly thanked the crowd for the 100th time during my set, basking in their applause, before making my way offstage. I caught a glimpse of the boys gathering backstage in their pre-show circle and smiled adoringly, unintentionally catching the eye of the youngest member, Harry Styles. He smiled back. I felt my face turn red as I turned and hurried towards the exit.

I was a good 5 years older than Harry, so I felt a little foolish, being a fan. I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to befriend one of my favorite bands. It was silly to prefer to be a fly on the wall. As I walked back to my bus to get to the hotel, I made the resolution to make a greater effort.

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