27: Friends and Fools

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C H A P T E R    T W E N T Y S E V E N

Friends and Fools

(21 days til' Christmas)

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                  "I JUST WANT to make sure you've properly thought it through, is all. The last thing I need is for this to blow up on you and to have to deal with it from thousands of miles away."

                  Harry crossed his free arm across his stomach, gripping the fabric of his work shirt against his ribs and narrowed his eyes, realizing he'd heard something similar to this before. But then Olivia was moving, coming back into view to clear off a table that just vacated and Harry shook it off. The mere sight of her restored his confidence; no matter what Louis or Ed said, this would be the best Christmas gift she's ever received.

                  "I like how you didn't feel the need to preach at me when I first brought it up. Only now after I told you what Louis said," Harry quipped back, but he sounded distracted. And he was, really.

                  Ed sighed on the other line. "I'm not preaching at you. I still think it's a great idea. But I know you, Harry, and I know how you'll get if you fail. I just don't want you to set yourself up for something that very possibly could end in disaster."

                  "What makes you think so? Have you spoken to him? Does he sound like it's something he wouldn't be interested in?"

                  "I haven't spoken to him yet, no. I wanted to have this conversation with you first."

                  Harry craned his neck to see the clock now. He was on break and decided to waste it with this phone call, but luckily he still had some of it left. "Well, I don't want to have this conversation at all until you talk to him. And even then, I don't want to have it unless he sounds unsure or unwilling. Which he won't."

                  To Harry's surprise, Ed chuckled, and he imagined the ginger slowly shaking his head. "London has not changed you a bit. Glad to know it. Well, on second thought, it might have made you a bit sassier. I'll talk to you soon."

                  "That wasn't London's doing. Call me as soon as you've both spoken."

                  "Ah. Louis', then. Will do."

                  "Goodbye, Edward."

                  "Ugh. Goodbye, Harry Edward."

                  When Harry pulled his phone away from his ear, he was smiling. He was annoyed that Ed had doubted the plan for even a second, but also he missed the wanker and couldn't wait to see him again. He wished they'd talk on the phone more often, especially since this will be the first Christmas they've ever spent apart.

                  Noting that he had a few minutes left of his break, Harry sucked in a breath and made a second phone call without thinking it through too much.

                  "Harry," Zayn answered after three rings. "What's up, mate?"

                  "Hey. I was..." Damn, he thought. This might have been a worse idea than it originally seemed. "Would you, uh. Would you mind terribly maybe coming down to the hotel for lunch? I was hoping to talk to you quickly, if that's alright."

                  "Uh oh. Trouble in paradise?"

                  An awkward giggle escaped his pursed lips before he could stop himself. "Yes and no. Maybe. So, what do you say?"

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