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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4. Honesty

In that moment, I wished I could stop time so I could stare back at Harry indefinitely. He was a very aesthetically pleasing man. I let my eyes wander his face. His beautiful curly brown hair was styled back off of his forehead. His piercing green eyes made me feel exposed in a somehow delightful way. Dimples framed his slightly crooked smile. As I looked down to his plump lips, his tongue slipped out and swiped across them. My heart stopped. Did he do that on purpose? Ok, you’ve been staring at him too long! You’re making it weird.

I immediately felt uncomfortable, so I got up and walked past him to the mini fridge to open two more beers. With a comically defiant look on my face, I came to stand in front of him, handed him a bottle, and raised mine, saying, “To confidence.” He smiled and clinked his bottle against mine. Just being near him seemed to awaken something in me; maybe it was confidence? How could you not feel more confident after being told you are ‘beautiful, brilliant and talented’ by the gorgeous man standing in front of you?

He took a large gulp, seemingly studying me with a look I could not decipher behind his bottle. After a loud swallow, he asked, “If I tell you something, do you promise not to get mad?” He sat on the edge of the bed and motioned for me to take my seat.

“How could I possibly promise that?” I answered, honestly, sitting back down. I got the feeling that he got away with a lot with most women. He tilted his head, furrowed his brow, and squinted his eyes at me, suspiciously in response, confirming my assumption. It was as if I had started speaking a language he couldn’t understand.

“Ok,” he said, slowly. “Well, now I don’t know if I want to tell you.” He sounded childish.

“Ugh,” I let out in frustration, slouching. “There is nothing worse than when someone starts to tell me something, but then, changes their mind. I hate thinking what it could have been.” I was instantly annoyed with myself, because I was pretty sure I just came off as a control-freak. I looked away from him and sat up a straighter. I’m not very good at playing it cool and nervously over-thinking everything made it difficult to be myself.

“Fine,” he said, very hesitantly. “Sometimes, when you’re on stage, I come in here to enjoy the quiet. Actually, not just when you’re on stage. Other times, too, when you’re not here.” He paused, adopting an amused expression before adding, “You just caught me tonight.”

“WHAT???” I said, standing and looking down at him, displaying the full amount of shock I felt on my face. “Harry, that’s… I don’t even know what to say.” I barely know the guy, but I just found out that he hangs out on my bus when I’m not there. It’s as if he had broken into my apartment when I was at work. I find myself looking around to see if there is anything that I wouldn’t want him to see. I can think of a few things.

“Did you go through my stuff?” I asked, nervously, avoiding his eyes.

“No! Not at all, Charlotte. I would never do that!” he defended himself, like it should be obvious. “I just sit on the floor and enjoy the quiet, like I was doing when you came in.”

I eyed him skeptically, wanting to cut through an invisible layer of bullshit I just noticed. “Harry, why did you want to ride with me?”

Want to ride with you?” he asked, confused. “It was a mistake. I didn’t know that my bus had left.”

“I know we hardly know each other, and we may never spend anymore time than Chicago to St. Paul together, but I have one rule: be honest with me,” I inhaled, high from the wave of confidence that just came over me. I somehow knew he wasn’t being honest.

“That’s a lot to ask a stranger,” he remarked, a little surprised by the intensity of what I had said.

“Well, no one has to follow the rule if they don’t want to, but break it and I won’t want you in my life,” I said, defiantly.

He thought for a second. “Ok, fine. I did go through a couple of your drawers,” he admitted with a huge sigh. “And, yes, I did make it look like I was asleep in my bunk so I would be free to ride with you.”

What he said was a lot to process, but he didn’t stop…

“You want more honesty?” he challenged, moving to stand in front of me. “I watch you on stage every night. I know the lyrics to your songs and sometimes, I sing along. I find you captivating and I wanted to know you. Trapping you on a bus with me for six hours sounded like a smashing idea at the time.” He spoke with more passion than before and I was mesmerized by him.

When he fell silent, I stepped back, looking at him with wide eyes. I wished that I could run away and process this information. But, I was exactly as Harry had said, trapped on a bus with him. I never expected that those things were really true, let alone that he would admit that they were. I was more taken aback by his honesty than what he said. “So all I have to do is ask and you’ll give me the truth?” I asked softly.

“Well, I would say it was more like you backed me into a corner,” he halfheartedly joked. “But, I don’t want to lie to you. If you won’t want me in your life, then, it’s too much of a risk.”

I felt like I was watching a newly discovered species in the zoo: the man that tells the truth on command. It had never been that easy for me. I wasn’t even upset that he just admitted he went through my things and tricked his way on my bus, because I was too amazed he actually admitted it. He somehow sensed this and his body visibly relaxed.

I threw myself on the bed, not responding to what he had said. I didn’t know how. I had never met someone that made me feel like I was unraveling the way Harry did. He cautiously made his way back to his side of the bed. I watched out of the corner of my eye as he sat down about 3 feet away and slowly lowered himself onto his back next me.

I heard him gasp and I turned my head towards him quickly. He was looking up at the ceiling with his mouth wide open in amazement. The ceiling of the tour bus above my bed contained a large glass panel that revealed the sky. During the day, I usually pulled the sliding visor shut to block out the intense light, but on a clear night, driving through the mostly rural parts of America, you could see millions of stars.

He stared up for what seemed like an hour, giving me time to look at him. He had the wonder of a little kid seeing something for the first time in his eyes. That look alone was as magical as all the stars in the sky. I felt comfort and peace with him lying next to me.

“I’m pretty sure this is the best view from any bed ever,” he said, glancing over at me. If he was insinuating anything, it was lost on me as my eyelids became heavy. In no time, I was asleep.

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