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In spite of myself I ducked into a bookstore and bought a copy of Dare to Dream: Life as One Direction. I sent Andrew a text that I’d be out in half an hour and hopped into the line to get my copy signed by the boys.

“Excuse me,” the girl in front of me said, after breaking from a huddle with her friends. “Are you Gemma Carlisle?”

I nodded, still stunned that people recognized me. “Can I help you?”

She shook her head, looking delighted that I was who she thought I’d be. “I follow you on Twitter. You’re so lucky that you get spend time with the band.”

“They’re lovely boys,” I agreed. “They adore their fans. It’s very sweet.”

One of her friends nodded vigorously. “That’s part of why we love them so much. We know they love us too.”

“So you’re American?” The first girl said. “I’m Charlotte by the way.”

I shook her hand. “Nice to meet you. And yeah, I’m from the U.S.”

“Your accent is so cool,” her friend giggled. “I’m Nicole.”

“Thanks, but to me your accents sound cool.” We were nearing the front of the line. Charlotte and Nicole looked like they were about to pass out.

“Oh my god,” Charlotte breathed as they became the next in line. “I’ve never been so close before.”

“Who’s your favorite?” I asked.

“Harry,” Charlotte replied as Nicole said, “Niall.”

“Let me go ahead of you,” I said.

Charlotte frowned. “Why?”

I laughed and smiled at her. “Trust me. You’ll be happy that you did.”

“Fine,” she said, her expression still skeptical.

The person running the line waved me through and I approached the table.

“What’s your name, love?” Liam asked, before looking up to see that it was I. “You know, if you wanted my autograph, you could have asked when you were crashing on my couch.”

I rolled my eyes. “I was bored and I saw it at the bookstore. Don’t get too full of yourself, Payne.”

Liam laughed and shook his head, signing the inside cover of the book. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Gemma.” He passed it to Niall, who was beside him.

“Hello, Gemma!” He beamed, signing his name near Liam’s. “Long time no see.”

“I know. I’ve missed you, Nialler,” I teased. I leaned in closer and he leaned forward to hear me. “Will you do me a favor?”

“Of course!”

“See that girl in the blue shirt who is about to approach the table?” I whispered.

He nodded. “What about her?”

“She was quite nice to me. Her name is Nicole. Will you give her a peck on the cheek or something? You’re her favorite.”

“She’s cute! Sure thing!” He agreed. “You’re holding up the line. Better get a move on, woman.”

“Gemma!” Louis said warmly, scrawling his name in the book. “You didn’t have to wait in line to see us. You know where we live.”

“I had a little time to kill before Andrew picks me up. I love seeing my boys,” I replied.

“We like you too!” He grinned. He passed the book to Zayn and winked at me.

“Hello!” Zayn said, signing the page. He looked up to greet me and let out a little yelp of surprise. “Gemma!”

“Hello, love,” I said. “You’re like, totally my favorite. You’re just so dreamy and so talented. OMG!” I put on a valley girl accent as I spoke.

Zayn rolled his eyes and passed the book to Harry. “I’ll see you tomorrow, yeah?”

I nodded. “I’ll be there. Bright and early!” I glanced behind me just in time to see Niall rise and plant a big kiss on Nicole’s cheek. The poor girl nearly feinted, and I subtly shot him a thumb’s up. He grinned, then signed Charlotte’s book.

“Looking for excuses to talk to me?” Harry said as he handed me my book back. “I know I have a strong effect on you.” He batted his eyes seductively to emphasize his point.

“You are so full of it!” I laughed. I leaned in staring at her with a playful expression.

Charlotte’s jaw literally dropped for a good minute before she could regain her composure. “I need a favor.”

“What would you like me to do?”

“Niall almost made the girl in the blue shirt pass out by giving her a kiss on the cheek. The girl in the grey behind her was really nice to me. Think you can one up him?” I challenged.

Harry grinned. “Most definitely. Watch what happens.”

I exited the table area and stood nearby to see what he would do. He smiled and chatted with Nicole for a moment, though she appeared to still be dazed from her interaction with Niall. As Charlotte approached him, he spoke a little louder so I could hear him.

“Hello, love,” he said sweetly. “What’s your name?”

“Charlotte,” she said confidently, though I could hear her voice waver with excitement.

“That’s a pretty name,” he complimented, signing her book. “You’re quite pretty as well.”

“Thanks,” she replied, her voice clearly shaking now.

“How old are you Charlotte?” He asked. I saw him nudge Zayn to keep talking to the girl behind her so that he wouldn’t have to rush.

“I’m 18,” she stammered.

“Me too!” He replied cheerfully.

“I know,” she tittered, giggling a little hysterically.

“My friend Gemma over there says I should be extra nice to you, since you were nice to her,” he continued,

Her jaw dropped for a solid ten seconds. “You don’t have to do that,” she finally managed to choke out.

He leaned forward and she automatically reciprocated. “You’re very pretty,” he repeated, turning on all his charm. He winked at me and before she could say anything in response he closed the distance between them, planting a quick kiss on her lips. “It was lovely to meet you, Charlotte,” he said, handing her book back.

She seemed to be unable to form a coherent sentence, so she just nodded and walked over to Nicole before heading towards me. I grinned at the two sweet, now rather dazed girls. “I told you you’d like it if you let me go first.”

“You are amazing!” Nicole squealed, pulling me into a hug. “Thank you so much!”

“Anytime!” I laughed. “You two were the first people I’ve met in London outside of the crew. And you were nice! I’m glad I could do something to reciprocate.”

“He kissed me,” Charlotte sighed. “Harry Styles actually kissed me.” She seemed to regain her composure and pulled me into a hug. “You are a wonderful, wonderful human being. How can I ever thank you?”

“Well, I’m in town for another couple weeks before we hit the road. I could use some girl friends to talk to. How about you put your numbers in my phone?” I suggested, handing her my Blackberry. “Maybe you can buy me a drink some time.”

“Seriously?” Nicole spluttered, taking the phone when Charlotte was finished. “You want to hang out with us?”

“I don’t know anyone here, and you seem nice,” I replied, surprised at how outgoing I was being. I took the phone back when she was finished and Andrew texted alerting me of his arrival a moment later. “I’ve got to go, I’m not quite done shopping yet. But I’ll text you sometime soon!” I gave them each a wave then wandered off to find the SUV, smiling to myself. 

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