Steal a Kiss

Charlotte has a past.

Hadley doesn't quite know what to do with her future.

But the two friends since middle school always seem to know how to get through everything.

Charlotte takes a leap and takes a job as One Direction's stylist that will bring her face-to-face with a past lover, while Hadley decides to leave college altogether and join her best friend on tour, despite the secret she's harboring that could ultimately ruin their friendship.

Will the girls be able survive the strain and struggle of broken trust and instant fame, or is all that will remain stolen kisses?

*Hadley written by Lexie Spencer (Official1DLuv), Charlotte written by Haley Randolph. Check out the story, here: http://www.wattpad.com/story/9563703-steal-a-kiss*

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6. Three- Charlotte

 

Charlotte-

All I wanted was to crawl into a hole.

“Why is your face so flushed, Charlotte?” Mum asked, coming toward me and touching my cheek. “You’re oddly warm.”

Well, I’m angry and confused and being pelted by all these rocks called feelings.

“I’m sure it’s nothing,” I assured her, slipping into my jacket. I don’t have to be at work for another hour, but I need a while to myself. To think.

“At least stay for breakfast, Cherie,” Mum said. “And I want you to tell me what’s wrong with you.”

The sun glared at me through a window, almost like it was trying to push me out the door. But I would only like to get back in bed and let the tears flow.

“Are you nervous about seeing Harry? I understand that.”

No, Mum. I’m so much more than nervous.

“I don’t want to talk about it anymore,” I mumbled, already in my shoes and heading for the door.

I gasped upon opening the door to the brisk air. My legs flew out from under me and all the breath left my body as my bum slammed to the cement staircase.

“Charlotte!”

I struggled for the railing and pulled myself up. “I’m all right.”

“Come back inside. Change out of those trousers,” Mum ordered, but I shook my head.

“I’ve got to go.”

The shooting pain moved up and down throughout my back as I ventured down the rest of the steps to my car. I cried out in pain as I plopped down in my car seat. Everything seemed blurry in front of my eyes, as if I was driving under the influence. I successfully made it to the bakery where I work, tying my apron behind my back as I jog into the place.

Only five hours today.

On the average day, I would be upset at such a small amount of hours. Today, I only wanted to go home and lie around with Evie - play around with her honey blonde curls and smile when she laughs.

Evie Grace was not a mistake. Anyone who called her that did not know her happiness - her excellent ability to bring a smile to anyone’s face with her vast bright green eyes. It was almost like Evie herself is hope for everyone.

“Char!”

I spun on my heel to face the voice of my superior worker. An acute pain was sent through my back and to my shoulders, and I felt my face twist with it.

“Charlotte,” Martha breathed in. “What happened?”

It had not gone away. The pain gnawed at my shoulders and bottom whenever I moved, even throughout the hour I had been at work.

“I hurt my back this morning,” I answered, knowing my elderly boss could spot lying wherever it came from. “Slipped on ice outside the flat.”

She thrusted her finger in the direction the employees’ changing room and I hung my head, heading in that direction.

“Lift your shirt so I can check for a bruise,” she ordered. I complied, pulling the maroon Sweetie Pie’s long-sleeved shirt over my head.

“Oh my.”

“Is everything all right?” I inquired. “Nothing a few anesthetics won’t help?”

“Does this hurt?” She tapped a part of my lower back. I gasped. It was so tender.

“That must mean yes.”

“I’ll ice it when I get home, alright?”

“I’ll find someone to cover the counter,” she assured me as I slipped my shirt back over my head. “Go home and stay with Evie Grace for the day.”

Martha was considerate, unlike past employers. Somewhat like a stricter version of a grandmother. I didn’t want to argue with her. I wanted to be home with Evie Grace.

“All right.”

“Ice your bruise.”

“Okay.”

“Give Evie a kiss from me.”

“Will do.”

My work day was over at ten o’clock that morning. I should be happy. But I was distraught.

My day had begun at seven o’clock this morning with the ring of my mobile on my bedside table. Harry’s voice had sounded so different...so much more grown up. I felt dead on the inside now.

Kind of... numb.

Evie Grace called my name when I stepped through the doorway of my flat. Mum followed, questioning why I was home. It was like I was watching from an outside point of view.

I went back to the bedroom and laid down on top of the blankets. I was kept company by Evie, who played on the floor below me. But every time she looked up at me…

I saw him in her bright green eyes. I saw Harry.

Awex,” Evie chirped when my current boyfriend came into the kitchen, unzipping his grey jacket and draping it over the back of his chair.

“Hello, Evie.” He lifted her onto his leg when he sat down.

I took my bowl of salad to the table and sat down next to the two of them. My stomach was empty, not that I’d possessed much of an appetite since this morning.

“Should I leave you two alone?” Mum asked.

“Yes,” I answered reluctantly. A lump had risen in the back of my throat.

My mother held out her hand for Evie. When she protested, Mum said, “Your favorite show is on the telly. Come along.” Evie Grace gave in and hopped out of Alex’s lap.

“Good evening,” Alex said once the door was slid shut, kissing me lightly on the lips. “Is something wrong?”

“Yes.” I sighed to myself.

“You look healthy. Evie looks healthy. Is Alice all right?” he questioned, standing to check on Mum. I pulled his sleeve for him to sit back down

“It’s about the job I just received,” I finally confessed. “There’s something I haven’t told you.”

“Okay…”

Alex didn’t know who One Direction was. Surprising, but true.

“It’s about Harry.”

Alex recoiled at the name. He did know who Harry was. It hadn’t taken long for me to confess to him the situation that had begun over two years ago. The only word he associated with Harry was betrayal.

“Harry is…” I cleared my throat. “Harry’s a member of the group One Direction.”

“The group you’ll be…?” he trailed off.

“Yes, Alex.”

“You didn’t know this beforehand, did you? You wouldn’t have taken the job if you knew he was in the group, right?” His eyes grew weary.

“I did, though. I didn’t think about it-”

“You didn’t think about Evie?”

“Evie was the only person who has been on my mind these entire two days,” I defended. “I took this job because of her. I can’t give her what she needs without it.”

“You’re not taking her on the tour, are you?”

“Well, I…”

“I can help take care of her with your mother. I can watch her overnight and Alice can take her during the days,” Alex began.

It felt selfish. Before, it seemed like the only option, but now it was as if I was taking away Alex’s life by putting this responsibility on him. He was a college student. He liked to party.

I knew he would immediately take Evie Grace for me because he cared for the both of us. He didn’t want me to take her on the tour with me because of Harry.

“No, I can’t make you do th-”

“Char,” he said. “I think of Evie like one of my own. I won’t let anything happen to her.”

I know you won’t.

“I don’t know.” I looked away.

“You don’t need to worry about another life while you’re out on the road,” Alex insisted. “That’s what I’m here for. And your Mum.”

I gave in. He was right. I couldn’t possibly be responsible for another life while ten-thousands of miles away from home.

* * * *

There had been no doubt in my mind we were in the wrong place when my mother pulled into the parking lot of a quite lavish inn. But the GPS on my phone had insisted that this was it. This was the place I was about to see Harry again for the first time in two years and one month.

“You’ll be alright,” Mum insisted as she parked the car by the curb.

“That’s easy for you to say,” I said. “You’re not the one going in there.” I shoved open the passenger seat door and blew a kiss to the back seat, where Evie was buckled into her seat.

“Good luck,” Mum called. I closed the door and waited on the sidewalk as she pulled out of the parking lot. It would’ve been nice if she had come with me in there, helped me talk to them and avoid conversation with Harry. Someone had to watch Evie Grace though.

The air was so cold around me, as if shoving me into the heated red-brick building. Still, the frigidness of the outdoors seemed nicer than inside. I was alone here.

“Good morning,” the young doorman welcomed.

I nodded in return, offering a smile before letting the warm air hit me. A fireplace was nestled in the corner, guests sitting comfortably around it.

I didn’t belong here - not in my tattered old leather boots and thrift store clothes. Maybe some type of guard would tell me to leave because I wasn’t dressed up enough for the upper class lunch I was about to have.

I kept my head down as I headed through the lobby. Down the hall, to the left. The ballroom. Mr. Arnold had explained to me everything. Part of me wanted to turn around on my heel and walk the opposite way. Go home. Tell Arnold I quit.

Do it for Evie.

I kept walking until I found a sign pointing rightward to the dining hall. My vision grew blurry. They always got watery when something big was about to happen.

How I wish I had someone here to tell me everything was going to be okay. I was alone in this.

Lost in my thoughts, I barely realized it when I collided with another figure walking the opposite way.

“Goodness,” I gasped, stumbling backward.

“My apologies,” the boy said, extending a hand to help me steady myself. A cute Irish accent showed in his voice. “You must be Charlotte,” he commented, flicking his light blonde hair out of his widened eyes.

“That’s me,” I said. A rush of relief filled me. So they aren’t all total jerks. “And you are…?”

“Niall.” He extended a hand. “Let me show you in.”

I preached my thanks to him and followed him down the hall a bit farther. We turned left and he opened a pair of French doors for me.

“You’ve come a long way from Cheshire, haven’t you?” Niall asked as we ventured further into the room. It wasn’t a large amount of people. I didn’t quite understand why an entire ballroom was needed for such a miniscule meeting. People stood around talking to one another. Women, men, older women, older men. About fifteen altogether.                

“Yes, I think it’s about two…” The breath was gone from me when my eyes fell on a familiar head of curls sitting at one of the set tables.

“Did you know Harry lives there as well?” Niall commented, apparently not noticing my inability to finish a sentence. “Well, used to live there. We all live together in the city now.”

“No.” I tried to smile. “Interesting, though.”

“I’ll introduce you to some of the lads before Arnold makes this meeting boring,” Niall said, heading toward the table.

Then it happened.

Harry and I locked eyes. Not just a glance. He held his stare for a moment, no trace of expression on his features.

Niall headed toward another table and I followed him, tearing my eyes away from the green eyes they had fallen in love with so long ago.

Before I could talk to anyone else here, someone tapped a glass at the front of the room and one of the managers’ voices filled the air, letting everyone know the food was finished and we could eat.

How does one go an hour without speaking to one person at the same event as them, yet make conversation with every single other person in the room?

Me.

Harry headed toward the table I sat at, and I got up and excused myself to the toilets. He glanced at me later, and I kept my gaze glued to the grilled meat that sat on my plate.

And then Arnold announced I had a few words to say and it all went downhill from there. I had nothing prepared. He smirked at me, as if this was a test to see if I was adequate for the job he had given me.

“Hello.” Pathetic little Charlotte.

“Hi,” everyone chorused back to me.

“I am excited about getting to be your stylist for the tour.” Actually, you’re so scared you can’t think straight.

“Are you bringing anyone with you?” Zayn asked.

“No, it’ll just be me.”

“Please don’t get pregnant and leave any time soon,” Louis joked. “I don’t want to get attached to you like I did Katie and have you leave like her.”

A fork clattered to a plate, and Mr. Arnold shot a glare toward Harry for making the noise.

“I’m sure she doesn’t want to be interrogated,” Harry said, looking at only the wall slightly to the left of me. The room was silent after that, as if everyone felt how much I wanted to run out.

Arnold stood up. “Then let’s get on with the planning.”

The five lads groaned and the management team scowled at them. Ten minutes later, I had all the information I needed for this tour.

We were leaving in three days. February twentieth, at seven o’clock AM from the Beverley Inn in London. We would take off from there to the arena in London. The tour would officially begin there.

It was official. I work for One Direction. They're my first official clients of my full-time job. 

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