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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3. The Wall Falls

I took a deep breath in as I attempted to gather all the self-confidence I could manage. I was now locked in a moving vehicle with Harry Styles for the next 6 hours, so I had to pull myself together. I had to carry on a conversation with him.

I walked over and sat on the bed above him, as casually as possible when your insides are in knots. Looking down at him, I asked, “Do you want to talk about it? Or, would you rather talk about something else?”

“Talk about what?” he asked, visibly taken aback.

“Whatever you’re upset about?” I answered, attempting to sound gentle, but also like it was obvious.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said, turning his head down, but still looking at me out of the corner of his eye.

“Ok. That’s fine. You don’t have to,” I shrugged, already searching my mind for something else to talk about.

“It’s stupid,” he started and looked a little self-conscious. “I’m homesick. I miss my mum and my sister and even my flat... It’s been months since I’ve been home,” he rambled, but he caught himself and waited for my reaction with furrowed brow.

“That’s not stupid. I was extremely homesick in college. Back when I was your age,” I offered, smiling, trying to make him feel comfortable. I felt my smile turn sad when I realized in that moment that I didn’t really have a home anymore. He surprised me out of my thoughts by laughing out loud. I don’t think that what I said was actually all that funny, but it cut through the tension, so I chuckled along with him. “Is that all?” I asked, feeling like there was more he wasn’t telling me.

“Well, the girl I was seeing finally chucked me last week because I was never home,” he said with melancholy in his voice. I didn’t even know he was dating anyone, but was surprised anyone would break up with him. “It’s not that we were that serious, but it was just another failed relationship. The tabloids are eating it up.”

“I found my boyfriend of four years in bed with someone else a couple of days before I left for the tour,” I spit out, detached, partially attempting to make him feel a little better. But, saying it out loud actually made me feel a little better. I hadn’t had a chance to tell anyone in my life, because I had to concentrate on the tour. I hadn’t given myself any time to feel.

“Oh,” he sounded clearly shocked. “What an idiot!” he said, almost emphatically. I laughed, surprised by his reaction.

“How do you know? I could’ve been a horrible,” I joked.

“No. There’s no way. You undoubtedly treated him better than he ever deserved to be treated,” he shook his head with certainty. I couldn’t help but smile. I knew, logically, he couldn’t possibly know this, because he barely knew me, but the conviction in his voice made me feel like it must be true. Either way, I wanted to change the subject.

Trying to lighten the mood, I asked him, “How about I make you some bangers and mash and we can have a lager?” I said, in my worst British accent. “You just have to tell me what bangers and mash is…” We both laugh, again.

“That would be amazing right now,” he answered, with hunger in his eyes. I found myself wishing he would look at me like that.

“Well, I don’t have much food on the bus, but I do have a few types of beer,” I offered, suddenly convinced that beer would make the situation a little more comfortable. I walked to the fridge and read off the types of beers I had. He chose my favorite craft beer, and as I walked back from my mini fridge to the bed, two beers in hand, I half joked, “Wait, are you even 21?”

He smiled sarcastically as he took the beer, choosing not to respond to the question, but I wasn’t sure why. “Mmm. This is really quite good,” he said after taking a sip.

“I know, right?” I answered, enthusiastically. “It’s brewed where I’m from. So, my friends and I used to get it on draft at their bar, which was even better.” I got hit with a pang of homesickness myself when I mentioned home.

“Where’s your hometown?” He seemed comfortable for the first time since we started talking, and interested, which surprised me. Why would he be interested in what I have to say?

“I’m from the suburbs of Washington, D.C. You?”

“Homes Chapel. It’s about 3 hours north of London,” he said, sounding reminiscent.

“I’ve always wanted to visit the UK. I’ve never been.”

“Really?” he sounded surprised. “You never toured there? I’ve heard of you, so I know you have fans there.”

“You had heard of me?” Now, I was the one who was genuinely surprised. I shook my head, trying to focus on answering his question. “No, I haven’t toured there, yet. The timing just hadn’t worked out. I was actually planning a European tour when I got the offer to open for you guys, but this was a too big of an opportunity to pass up.” I smiled, sheepishly.

“Well, you should come with us after North America. We’re doing like 15 shows in the UK,” he sounded so excited.

“Well, I would be there in an instant, but it’s not up to me,” I said, as the voice of reason. What he was suggesting was a pipe dream. “They’ll probably want to have British act open when you’re in the UK.” I looked away from his bright eyes.

“I’ll have a talk with them,” he said, full of resolve. He looked like he could convince anyone of anything with the look in his eyes and that scared me a little.

“I would so appreciate that, Harry, but I don’t want to cause any problems,” I said, looking away from him.

“You should be causing more problems!” he exclaimed, as he stood. He almost sounded exasperated. He paced the small space as he continued, “I’ve barely spent any time with you, but I already know you are a beautiful, brilliant, talented woman with a good head on your shoulders. You should have more confidence!” I didn’t know if I should be flattered or offended that he called me out like that; mostly, I was embarrassed by what he said. He stopped walking and turned to look me straight in the eye. I looked up at him and smiled, without meaning to. I admired the passion in his voice, but didn’t respond. After that, it was as if a wall had been knocked down between us."

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