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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7. CHAPTER 7

Diana’s

 

“How’d you sleep last night?” Harry asked when he saw me in the dining room. The morning sun brightly lighted the room, the curtains fairly floating with the wind. And with the windows open, one could not possibly breathe in fresher air.

“Nice,” I lied with a smile. I had to push myself to ask him. I needed answers, and he needed justice.

“Harry, can I ask you something?” I asked, and poured some coffee into my cup.

I tuned around to see Harry reading the paper, his eyes stuck on the headline. “Sure,” he agreed.

“I have a name: Chris Maybell. Does it ring a bell?”

He looked up, his eyebrows tensed. “No, not really. Why?”

I sighed. I sat down at the table beside him, looking for any dab of hope. “That is Connor’s actual name. Chris Maybell. Just a normal guy, son of a businessman.”

He put down the paper, and looked at me. “WHAT? Why would some Chris be after me?”

I shook my head. “I don’t know, Harry. I don’t know…”

But I knew there was something here. Something we were all missing, for some royal cause.  Looked at Harry, and said, “I’ll tell you all that I know about him. Chris Maybell, 22 year old, had no mother and his father was a businessman who died in 2011. Then, on the same year he plans for a plastic surgery and next thing you know, he is suddenly wiped off the face of the earth. Next he takes over his dad’s business, makes changes, swelling up profits and then, he is rich.”

Harry put up his head to put it against the wall, his eyes following the roof. He didn’t say a word.

“There is nothing special about this guy. No mental case, no criminal records, nothing. Except for the fact that, in 2010, he went on to the X Factor audition. He got selected, went to the next round, but didn’t make it in. Other than that, it’s-”

He held up his hand. “Wait. He went to the X Factor?”

I nodded. And then, it hit me. Of course, he went.

“But why you?” I asked.

Harry didn’t hear me. He said, “Chris… of course! Chris. I remember him now. We met on the auditions. Big dreams, both of us. When we met, it was no brainer we loved each other’s company. We became good friends. But here’s the thing about making friends on a talent show: you never know when they might be the only thing standing between you and your dream.”

I sipped my coffee.

Harry continued, “It was in boot camp. We were all in tears because we didn’t make it in the Boys’ category. But a boy from the crew told about 10 of us to stay, so we did. In the end, Chris, Louis, Zayn, Liam and Niall were called to go to the stage. I knew something big was going to happen, but it won’t be happening to me. And before I knew it, I burst into another bucket of tears. Then, Nicole comes backstage for a break and she saw me; all red and snotty. She tried to console me, but I couldn’t be controlled. All I wanted was another chance, and I begged to her in worse ways than a beggar begs for a penny. After that she took me into her green room and was like, “Ok, I’ll give you 2 minutes. Make me change my mind about you.” And I sang like a man on a tightrope: my life depended on every second that passed. By the end of it, Nicole said, “Those were the two minutes you’ll remember for the rest of your life.” And I did. I still do.”

I tried to piece it all together. “So you replaced Chris?”

He looked down. “Unfortunately, yes. Nobody knows because they filmed the whole thing all over again, only this time, they called me instead of Chris. I was so happy, and everyone was all hugging me, kissing me. But Chris... how damn hard I have tried to forget the look on his face. Anger, defeat, misery… his face had the thousand expressions, and all I had was guilt. I tried to hug him, tell him I’m sorry, tell him it’s my dream, but all he said was, “Your dream? Your? Harry, you stole my dream! And now, I’m gonna burn yours. I will.” And I never heard from him again…”

Until now… I wanted to add. But I guess it was too obvious.

But I had something else on my mind as well. Nick Grimshaw.

 

 

“Yeah, I introduced Connor to Harry last month,” Nick said. Harry and I had enough time till the trial, so we decided to pay Nick a little visit at his place. Upon sharing on which context we had wanted to come, Nick looked nervous.

I knew something was up. I just had to crack the surface. I asked, “Ok. So since when have you and Connor been friends?”

“I- uh… Connor and I … since we were kids, I guess,” he rubbed his fingers, each of them shaking.

I placed my hands on the table. “Listen Mr. Grimshaw. I want to believe you, but you are terrible at lying. And remember, holding back information in the face of the law can have serious consequences. Very serious consequences.”

Nick breathed long and deep. He looked at the floor, the roof, the window; biting his nails the entire time. Harry put his hands on his back and pleaded, “Please mate. Please.”

Finally Nick looked at me and began, “Ok fine. So about two days before Harry and Connor met, Connor came into my house. Not even a second passed, he started to blackmail me. He knew something about me, and I thought he was just bluffing. But…”

Harry spoke, “We need to know, Grimmers.” 

Nick looked down, ashamed. “See, Mila Kunis and I were having a little… relationship. Just a little fling kinda thing. It’s long over, and both Mila and I agreed to not let out a word of it. It would destroy my career and her marriage. And Connor, God only knows how, knew about it. And he said he would let out all about it, unless I helped him come in contact with you,” he pointed to Harry.

The rest was easy to put together. Nick said, “I knew something bad was working up in his head. I tried to warn Harry at times, but Connor saw that too. There was nothing I could do. I’m sorry.”

I said, “You could testify in court for Harry. It could save him.”

Nick shook his head. “No… no no! Please. I can’t. Connor can still destroy me. I really can’t let that happen.”

I was about to beg Nick to change his mind, but Harry held my shoulder. He shook his head, so I retreated. He smiled at Nick and said, “It’s okay, mate. I get it.”

I starred at Harry.

 

In the car, Harry apologized, “Look, I know I’ve disappointed you. But I really didn’t want to push Nick to do it. He means a lot to me. And the last thing I want is to destroy my friends’ careers just to save mine. I’m sorry.”

I had no idea he was so selfless. Honestly, I was disappointed and frustrated that Nick didn’t wish to stand up for Harry. But more than that, I was shocked that Harry would rather save his friend from some silly fling reveal than save his own life. I extended my arm to put it on Harry’s. I gave it a gentle press and said, “It’s alright. We’ll figure something out.”

He smiled. “Thanks. So where to now?”

My heartbeats fastened. “Court. Trial starts in an hour.”

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