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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7. ‘Pantsed’

The rest of my day seemed unreal. Hair and makeup, interview with Blender Magazine, sound check, and an autograph signing. Apparently opening for One Direction was working for my career, because, as we pulled up in front of the Mall of America, my manager, Jason, informed me that there were almost 5,000 people waiting to meet me. I was convinced I heard him wrong, because that was twice as many people as had ever shown up to a signing before. When I walked in to a chorus of excited screaming, I knew I had heard him correctly. I held back tears a few times during that experience, because I was so touched and shocked by the enthusiasm and support of the fans. I stayed as long as I could ignore Jason. He literally pulled me away just in time to make my performance.

On stage that night, I noticed that I could actually hear a large number of people singing along to my songs over the music in my ears. I was so overwhelmed by everything that happened that day that I had to step back from the microphone and turn my back to the audience in the middle of the chorus of my new single to gather myself together. Thank God my band kept playing. I glanced to the left side stage as I wiped under my eyes, trying not to smudge my eyeliner, and spotted, of all people, Harry, with a concerned look on his face. I barely made out him mouthing, “Are you ok?” I nodded briefly, even more nervous knowing he was standing there, but he had said he watched me every night. After about 30 seconds I turned back around with an appreciative smile on my face and picked up at the chorus.

I felt his eyes on me throughout my entire set and I just wanted it to be over. When I finished, I thanked the crowd for accepting me into the 1D universe and for being so supportive and hurried off the stage. Harry followed me when I rushed past him.

“Charlotte, what’s wrong?” he asked my back. I set down my guitar on a stand and turned to face him.

“Nothing, I’ve had an overwhelming day. I just want to sleep,” I answered.

“It’s only 8:30,” he pointed out, confused, like he couldn’t fathom someone going to sleep at 8:30 P.M.

“I don’t really care. Have a good set,” I said quickly, giving him a weak smile and patting his upper arm. I turned and walked away without letting him answer. I knew he didn’t have time to follow me.

I barely made it back to my bus before the tears started to fall. I threw myself down on the couch near the front of my bus in a mixture of excitement, happiness, exhaustion, fear, and loneliness. I wanted to talk to my best friend, but she wouldn’t be able to understand me until I calmed down. I cried for more than a half hour, until I eventually drifted off to sleep, lying right there on the couch.

I woke up to my stomach growling and glanced at the clock on the microwave across from me; it read 10:45 P.M. All I could think about was a shower and food, in that order. I jumped into the shower without much thought and washed off the sweat from my performance. I was feeling a lot better as I stepped out and dried my hair and body with a towel. I picked out a fitted polo and a dark pair of skinny jeans to throw on before I went scavenging for food. I had my bra, panties and shirt on when I heard someone bust through the door and I saw Harry ‘s mess of hair bouncing up the stairs.

“Harry!” I shouted, angry with him about barging in. He came to a full stop when he realized I didn’t have any pants on and I couldn’t exactly read the look on his face. I started yanking up the skinny jeans as fast as I could – big mistake. The zipper was stuck facing inward toward me, and it dug in and dragged up my upper right thigh. I let out a weird sound when I felt the intense pain and my vision turned red.

“What just happened, Charlotte?” he asked running over to me. But he looked down at my thigh and his eyes went wide. “Take them off, love,” he said in a gentle but rushed voice.

“I’m not taking my pants off in front of you,” I said, taking a step towards the bathroom. The pain was too much to walk, so I sort of fell back onto the edge of the bed.

“You need to take them off, now. You’re bleeding,” he explained. I looked down and saw that my pant leg was almost wet with a large oval of blood. I felt faint. Before I could do anything, Harry knelt in front of me, moved my hands out of the way and tugged my pants down as gently as he could. I lifted my butt off the bed to help, because I couldn’t really fight him after I saw the blood. My leg was throbbing, and I avoided looking at it. When he had them off of me, he got up quickly and headed to the bathroom.

As he walked back towards me with a clean towel under his arm, I noticed he was pulling his phone out. “What are you doing? You want a picture?” I asked, my mind clearly processing things slowly, because the pain was so overwhelming.

He looked up at me, confused. “Charlie, we need to call the doctor. I think you might need stitches.” I glanced down when he said the word ‘stitches’ and I was astonished that a zipper could do what I saw before me. The gash must have been over six inches long and there was so much blood that you could barely see the actual, jagged cut. My face must have gone white, because Harry was immediately in front of me, again, covering it with the towel. He spread my legs apart to wrap it all the way around my leg and I felt a faint sense of discomfort as I realized I was wearing only underwear. He made a quick call that I didn’t really hear the words to.

“Charlotte,” I heard like it was far away. Harry shook my shoulders a little violently. “Charlie,” he said louder. “Where is a dress you can slip on so that everyone doesn’t see you in your knickers?” I pointed to the closet next to the bathroom and he came back to me with a casual knee-length navy blue cotton dress.

“I have to take your shirt off, Charlie,” he said, looking at me wearily like he was expecting me to argue. He had already seen way too much of me, what did it matter if he saw the rest. I lifted my arms like a child so he could pull off the polo, which he did carefully. I caught him glancing at my nude push-up bra and his eyebrows rose slightly. He pulled the blue dress down over my head and arms gently and covered my thighs above the cut. “Are you feeling ok?” he asked, kneeling in front of me once more.

“You called me Charlie,” I smiled. Harry smiled, amused, and shook his head. He got up to sit next to me on the bed when Jason came running in with the tour manager, Sam, and a man who I assumed was a doctor.

The doctor unwrapped the towel and examined my leg. “You are definitely going to need a couple of stitches, young lady,” he said in a dispassionate voice. After exposing my cut to the air, again, I found it difficult to listen to what people were saying over the pain. I felt nauseous and sleepy. The doctor said something to Jason and pulled out a first aid kit.

The doctor poured a clear liquid onto my thigh and started cleaning it with a gauze pad. I heard my scream clearly through the pain as my eyes shut tightly and I turned to bury my face in the closest thing, which happened to be warm and have arms that wrapped around me tightly. My fingers intertwined with other fingers, but the arm still stayed around my back and it was comforting.

The next thing I know, I was being picked up. My eyes shot open and I saw Harry’s face looking down at me with a small smile under worried eyes. He bent his head down to my ear, and I heard him loud and clear as he said, “It’s alright. I’m here. I'm not going anywhere.” He only moved me a few feet, to the top of the bed, carefully placing my head on a pillow. I was surprised at how gentle he was being. He moved to the other side of the bed, sitting close to me, and taking my left hand in his. I felt someone doing something to my right thigh and that was the last thing I remembered; I either passed out or fell asleep.

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