By the time Evie and Harry were close to the hotel, she was struck with two thoughts. First, the Hilton Hotel was just as big and nice as she expected. Sitting next to the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington, the behemoth rose above all the surrounding buildings, demanding attention. Second, never ride in a car with Harry Styles again. She thought this would be easy, because as soon as she dropped him off at the hotel, she planned on being done with the rockstar.
From the moment they drove away from the outdoor mall at Mayfaire, Harry would not stop playing with the radio. Evie had always heard jokes of people having “music ADHD,” but had never seen a case as severe as Harry’s. He drove Evie crazy by refusing to pick a station for over five minutes. Then, out of nowhere, would hear a song he liked and sang along. It would have been nice, Evie thought, if he didn’t change the station again after another thirty seconds. Needless to say, it was a long 20 minute drive.
At certain points during the ride, Harry would stop playing with the radio and turn to look out the window. After this happened a couple times, Evie began to watch him. When they were at a stoplight, he looked out the window again, and began waving. She leaned forward and finally realized what was happening. Fans were recognizing him. He had a big smile on his face. The people in the other cars appeared to be shouting. So he did the only logical thing. He started shouting back.
“Hello! Hello there!” he yelled. “No, I cannot hear you.” Evie began to laugh at the British star. He didn’t realize how weird he looked. Maybe he didn’t care. “You love me?” he shouted, pointing at himself, “I love you!” The light turned green and Harry started changing radio stations again. Just like that, the moment was over.
Turning onto North Water Street brought something else into view, dozens of news vans and paparazzi on foot. They were all staked out in front of the main entrance of the Hilton. “Shit,” Harry swore under his breath. Evie groaned.
“What should I do? I can’t drop you off there now. We will be all over the tabloids,” Evie said. She realized that was the first time she spoke during the car ride. “I would rather not be called another one of your many love interests.”
Harry snapped his head in her direction, a sudden fierce look in his eyes. “I do not have that many ‘love interests’,” he said, making air quotes around the last two words. “But I will set you straight on that later.” He pointed toward an entrance to the hotel’s guest parking lot a hundred yards away. “Enter there. There is an elevator that can take us straight to our floor.”
Evie noticed immediately that the carefree Harry she witnessed with the fans was gone. He was starting to put up a wall around himself. She didn’t have the heart to tell him that she didn’t plan on going with him into the hotel. Instead, she quickly pulled into the lot and found a spot near the elevator. She put the car in park, and left the engine running.
Harry started to get out of the car when he saw Evie wasn’t moving. He paused, searching her face. “Aren’t you coming?”
“Harry,” she began. “I told you that I was only going to drop you off at the hotel, and…we’re here.” He responded to this by pushing the button that released her seatbelt. He, she thought, is very tiring.
“Please don’t leave me to walk into the lion’s den alone.” His eyes not leaving her face, looking for any sign of caving. “Paul will be less likely to strangle me if a nice girl like you is around.” Harry had his hands clasped in front of him, begging. Evie noted the use of the word nice and approved. He must have gotten the message that she wasn’t interested.
She knew it would be best to tell him to get out of her car and drive off, but she didn’t have it in her. Evie wanted to know more about the Harry that was smiling and waving at fans; the Harry that disappeared as soon as he was brought back to his real life.
For some strange reason, Evie wanted to understand his view on everything, and not the the view that she read about in magazines. She had to admit, her curiosity was leading her to some interesting places. She was about to go upstairs to meet the rest of One Direction. Eh, she thought, could be worse. I could have ran into one of the guys from the Wanted.
Harry led her to the elevator, and pushed the call button. This made Evie think of something. “What if someone else calls the elevator while we are in it?”
A look of realization crossed Harry’s face when he heard this. “Good point, I hadn’t thought of that.” He laughed with a big smile on his face. “I guess we will just have to figure it out as we go along.” Evie couldn’t help but smile too.
With a ding, the elevator arrived and the pair walked inside. “What button?” Evie asked.
“The top floor.”
Evie rolled her eyes and pressed the top most button. The car jerked and began to ascend to the 7th floor.
The ride up wasn’t as awkward as she expected, because Harry filled the silence by humming along to the bad elevator music. Before Evie knew it, the familiar ding signaled they had arrived. The door opened up to a long hallway spreading out to the left and right. When they stepped out, Harry started leading her to the left. “Why is it so empty?” she asked.
“The hotel reserves the top floor for guests who require privacy. There are only a couple other people on this floor besides me and the boys.”
Evie was impressed with this, and thankful. She didn’t want to explain herself to her friends and family when she appeared on the front page of magazines and newspapers. They made slow progress down the hallway. Harry was taking his time, walking with long, slow strides. He looks nervous, she thought. He must not be looking forward to having to take responsibility for his actions. Evie couldn’t blame him. This Paul sounded like a threatening guy. She was having trouble just putting up with Harry for just a couple of hours; she couldn’t imagine adding four more boys to the equation.
Suddenly, Harry stops. They were almost at the end of the hall. He turned to face her, “I just realized. I never learned your name.” She could not get over his bad timing.
She sighed. “Evangeline. But I prefer to go by Evie.”
This brought a smile to his previously worried face. “Evie,” he said, testing out her name on his tongue. He started walking again. Evie hurried to catch up.
“Wait,” she called. “Why did you ask?”
“Because,” Harry stopped in front of the last door of the hallway. “I would like to know the name of the girl who I subject my friends to.” He finished his statement with a wink and pulled the keycard out of his pocket. Before he could put it in the slot, the door swung open. Harry’s features contorted in a look of surprise.
Louis was standing in front of him, a grin on his face. “Mate, you cannot even begin to imagine how much trouble you’re in.” It wasn’t until he was finished that he noticed Harry wasn’t alone. It was his turn to be surprised. “Whose the girl?”