Lost Stars

“If you want to know, you might wanna sit down then.”
I didn’t question.
Once seated on the couch, he opened his mouth, “I murdered a man.”
I choked.

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10. CHAPTER 10

Harry’s

 

Mornings had suddenly become the best part of the day for me. Not just the golden light and the mild warmth of the sun. It was something better. And I figured that it’s because I get to wake up and walk downstairs to see Diana… and also, get a good cup of tea. First, tea then Diana. Of course.

But I guess the fact changes for today. Today, it was the golden sun, then the walk downstairs, then seeing Diana and a good cup of tea. Perfectly normal, other than the fact that there was another human involved in the ‘seeing Diana’ part.

“Good morning!” I rejoiced, like my usual self. I only wished my curiosity and annoyance didn’t show up in my voice.

Diana, seated on the dining table, looked up. Her eyes were almost red. I guessed she didn’t sleep well last night.

She gave a broken smile to say, “A good one indeed.”

I moved my eyes to The Human to say, “Morning to you too, stranger.” He was on the kitchen counter, stirring his cup of coffee. His eyes were as sleepless as Diana’s. He had piercings in places I didn’t even know could be pierced, and his health almost as compromised as the fact that he drank coffee to start his day.   

He looked at me, stopped, stared, stirred his coffee again, looked up to see me, and then screamed. “JESUS FUCKING CHRIST!”

I didn’t know what to say to that.

Diana stood up, saying, “Felix. Shut.”

He did.

Diana took the lead. “Harry, this is Felix. Felix, Harry.”

He was still staring at me.

I had more questions in my head than Felix had on his body. I asked him, “You stayed the night here?”

He was still staring at me.

Diana jumped in. “Yes. Yes, he did.”

I pressed lips. “So, Felix and you are-” I tried to put in a less dignified word, but I just ended up with, “like, a couple?” My heart stopped for a moment.

He was still staring at me.

“Yeah. It’s been a crazy time. We just met a couple of days ago, so it was all really fast,” Diana answered. Again.

My heart didn’t beat. Even if it did, I didn’t want it to.

Felix opened his mouth to say something, but was stopped midway when Diana headed over to him, took away his cup and said, “But Felix has to go now. So, bye babe.” She planted a kiss on his lips, and without a word, he picked up his bag and left. Still staring at me, mind you.

Diana walked him to the door, while I sat down.

Before I knew it, I realized I was more jealous of Felix than surprised.

 

Diana’s

 

I had no time to think.

 “Yeah. It’s been a crazy time. We just met a couple of days ago, so it was all really fast,” I replied to Harry.

I saw Felix opening his mouth, and I stepped in to make him disappear before this morning got any weirder. “But Felix has to go now. So, bye babe.” I kissed him, just to keep up with my lie. While walking him out, Felix almost screamed at me, “WHY THE FUCK DIDN’T YOU TELL ME YOU STAYED WITH HARRY FUCKIN STYLES?! And for fuck’s sake, ‘a couple’? You and me? Hell nope. And by the way, you taste like tea ew-”

Jesus, Americans!

I slammed my palm against his mouth, trying to keep him from blowing my cover.

Once outside, I said, “Keep your mouth shut, your pay goes up by $100.”

He pressed on, “150.”

Asshole. “Done.”

He raised an eyebrow to ask, “But why lie?”

I grabbed his collar and whispered, “Listen, there are stuff Harry doesn’t know. And he doesn’t need to. It’s better this way.”

He shrugged. “Fine. And just for the record, you asked me out.”

 

“I didn’t buy it. God no! I was with Zayn all day. We went shopping to some mall in Hollywood,” Harry said.

I had filled him in with all the details of the time, date, day whatsoever about when the gun was bought. By him, that is.

I said, “Hey. It’s okay to buy a gun, you know.”

He stood up, pacing back and forth in the living room. “Diana. I swear to god I didn’t buy that! I swear! I don’t even want a gun. I hate them!”

He had cleared the point. “Connor framed you. Again.” I whispered, looking down, embarrassed how far Connor’s net has fetched. There was no way I could beat him.

Harry held my shoulders. “I’m so sorry for all this. I knew there was no way you could save me.”

I smiled. “You’re not getting rid of me this easily. I’m not giving up.”

I wanted him to smile back, but he just sighed. “Why are you even doing this?” he asked.

“Because. No criminal in jail should have the luxury to see such a precious man-bun as yours.” I winked.

He laughed.

 

  

In about an hour, we were over at Hank’s And Sons. It was probably the gun shop farthest away from the city, making it even more probable that Harry would come here. If he came here at all.

“Welcome!” an elderly man stood up for behind the counter. That should be Hank. “How Can I help you?”   

 I didn’t want Harry to get involved at all. If it weren’t for identification purposes and probably a little back-up, I wouldn’t have brought him in the first place.

“Hello, Mr. Hank,” I smiled, although what was about to happen was the bossiest thing I had ever done. “Now, Mr. Hank, or should I call you Mr. Sanchez? You see, changing your name illegally is a civil offence. And then, you have illegal migration from Mexico and also, you smuggled in two arms for some Mr. Archibald about two years ago. Am I right?”

His Mexican tan had changed to pale white. Still wiping his sweat from his forehead, he spoke, “Yes. Very right. See, I don’t want any trouble here-”

I walked to him. “Neither do we. So either we turn you in, or you give us what we need.”

He held up his hands to say, “I’m a poor man. I have no money.”

I smiled. “Don’t worry. We’re not after the bucks.”     

 

 

“Yes yes. He was here.” Sanchez smiled. “Harry Styles. About three weeks ago, I think. Very nice man. He bought a .38. But the entire time, he was all like, “Where are the cameras, huh?” It was weird. But hey, he was a billionaire right? I heard my daughter’s say his name a lot. So I took his autograph. Made my little girls very happy.”

Surely, he had not a clue out that Harry was standing right behind me. Sanchez had no idea how pissed his girls would be if they knew their Papa got them a fake Harry’s autograph. 

Sanchez took out his register. “See, here. 14th April. Harry Styles. That’s his sign.”

It was quite a naked fact how the imposter got away. Primarily of course, Sanchez had no idea how Harry really looked. And also, Harry had the simplest of signs in the entire universe. It was just… his name. In cursive. The easy kind, that is.

This wasn’t going to help. Once again, head held in shame, we were about to leave when I remembered. “You do have cameras, right?” 

He smiled. “Oh yes. Surveillance cameras.”

Both Harry and I sighed out of relief. I asked, “Can we get the footage for April 14th?”

He agreed. “Sure sure. Just a moment.” He went inside.

Harry and I didn’t say a word. The silence was better than the noise of our struggle. When our eyes met for a moment, we bot gave away anguished smiles. I knew we were both thinking the same thing: the CCTV footage had better be good.

Sanchez came back. “I loaded it into this CD. Here.”

I took it and turned to leave. But I stopped when I saw Harry tearing a piece of paper from the register. “What are your daughters’ names, sir?”

“Juanita and Sasha. Why?”

He took a pen and scribbled something on it, and gave it to Sanchez. “Just so they know,” Harry said.

Sanchez looked at the paper and the look on his face was priceless.

Once outside, I asked, “What did you write in there?”

He smiled and recited in a straight note, “Dear Juanita and Sasha. Daddy made a terrible mistake. As a punishment, don’t give him your goodnight kisses for tonight. As for me, I will hunt down this bad imposter and make him cry. Come to our show. I'll save you a seat. All the love- Harry x (the real one, I swear)”

I laughed. Inside, I was melting.

 

 

I didn’t even wait to get changed before I played the CD on the TV. As normal footages go, I had to give Sanchez the credit for the fact that the resolution was much nicer. The camera was probably placed somewhere behind the counter, at the top of the third shelf. It gave a full view of the entrance door and then the counter below straight ahead. The footage had started, and both Harry and me seated ourselves on the sofa. We pulled it closer to the screen, trying to catch any flaw at all.

The bottom left corner of the screen said 10:00 am. For the first ten minutes, nothing happened. Just some random people coming in, a coffee dude, and then a woman, most probably Sanchez’s wife.

I hit fast forward.    

Around at 12:30 pm, I slowed down. There was a man who entered the store. And I swore to God, it was Harry. At least, it looked like him. I paused the screen and looked at Harry. He was still looking at the screen, but he wore a smile.

He looked at me. “This is such a disgrace!”

I didn’t understand.

He went on, “Can you just look at that lad?”  

I replied, “I did, Harry. And that’s you.”

He was speechless, like I had just spoken in Greek. “You seriously don’t know me, do you?” When I didn’t answer, he pushed himself toward me and held my face to turn it to the screen. “Don’t just look. See it. Can’t you see he is wearing a hat?” I saw it. Harry turned my head to face him.” When have you ever seen me wear a hat in LA?”

I didn’t even get to answer when he rambled on. “That’s right. NEVER. I never wear a hat in LA. And did you look at his hair? Now look at mine.” I saw. I mean, not that one has to force me to see it. Who wouldn’t just wish to stare at them all day? Those long gently waved locks that would just flow in the wind like-  

Harry grabbed my shoulders. “When I grow my hair long enough, the curls kind of go away. It becomes wavy. But that man there… his hair is curly. Conclusion: that creature is not me.”

I looked down, defeated. “Harry, you do know that is not solid proof. You can wear a hat to hide your face. You can curl your hair to keep away attention. Its all a shaky ground.”

He sighed.

Something clicked my mind. “Didn’t you say you were with Zayn all day? If we could borrow Zayn for a testimony, you-”

“No. Absolutely no. Nope.” He shook his head. “I can’t pull Zayn into all of this. Not him, not Liam, Niall or Louis. None of them please. I just can’t.”  

I knew he would say this. I smiled, even though all hope inside me was broken and burnt. All that was left now was to find another way around. I had to.

Now, here’s a fun fact. You see, my mind here sometimes doe these amazing things that I don’t even know how it does it. I smiled, “Harry. I need a favor. This will be extremely awkward, but I need this. For all I know, this might be the only way to get you out.”

Harry nodded. “Go on.”

I need a camera.

He nodded and went upstairs to grab one.

When he returned, I took the camera. I gulped, because I was going to sound so thirsty. “Take your shirt off. And your jeans too.”

The look on his face was not a shocker. He just stood there for a moment, baffled. I didn’t blame him. But after four seconds, he took onto unbuttoning his shirt. Then off went his jeans. I held this to the top of the list of my biggest embarrassments in life.

Much as a reflex, I let my eyes trace his bare skin. I saw his ‘17 Black’, then the birds on his collarbones, down to the butterfly on his belly and finally the vines. How could he be a mere outcome of two humans? It was as if he landed on earth straight from God’s greatest art gallery. He was this truth I couldn’t explain.

I felt his eyes tracing my gaze, so I stifled up.

I put the camera in front of my face. “Ok. So now, can you pose? I have no idea how this photo-shoot stuff works, but I just need a couple of pictures… ”

 He nodded. He took a chair and sat down. He hadn’t really posed, but I had already clicked the camera. He looked majestic anyway.

For the next 20 minutes, I gathered as many as pictures as I could. Harry got as creative as he could. He sat on the chair, stood on it, turned it upside down, leaned on the side and other endless endeavors. We put on a little music, and danced a little to lighten up the mood of my embarrassment. All in all, in the end we were in giggles. So I guessed it went well.

When lunch was done, Harry spoke, “I completely forgot about it! I have a writing session today with Julian and Liam. It can get really late so…”

I smiled. “Oh that’s alright. Go ahead. I have some work too.”

He asked, “With Felix?” He put his head down, pretending to go through some of the mail on the table.

I had to lie. “Yeah. We have a movie to catch. Umm… I guess I’ll see you later.”

He forced a smile. “Yeah sure.”  

He walked across the table to grab his car keys, and then came to me. Upon my wildest of gestures, I stretched out my hand for a handshake, while he opened his arms for a hug. I took back my hand, but by then, he had stretched his. I laughed, and gave him a hug. When we parted, he pulled me back for a kiss on the cheek, and when I didn’t turn, he move his cheek and I ended up kissing his chin.

He laughed. “We really have to work on our goodbyes.”

I smiled. “I like them kinda messy.”

“’Coz it’s like you don’t want to say goodbye at all,” I whispered when he turned to leave.

He didn’t hear. I smiled. 

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