"It's hard when we argue, we're both stubborn, I know."
In truth, I haven't got a bloody clue what I'm doing here. What am I doing here - being escorted to a private lounge with a duffel bag hanging off my shoulder?
I'd spent all day adamant not to allow myself to be a pushover. Yes, Harry was showing me some attention for the first time in forever, but no, I wasn't going to just come when called like some dog.
But that resolve had disappeared the moment Penny had pushed for more Harry information for the eighteenth time that day. She'd been at me since the start of the shift, constantly prying, pestering and watching me with big round eyes that I assumed she thought were cute enough to get me to take pity on her and speak. It had been as though something in me had snapped and my brain refused to stand for it any more. I figured some time away from there would do me good, and so at the sound of the bell chiming - and therefore the arrival of my boss - I swept up my things and danced past him, informing him that I'd be taking the time I was owed for working extra yesterday and wouldn't be in on Tuesday.
I hadn't even bothered waiting for confirmation.
Telling my mother had been somewhat amusing. After ten minutes of Harry who? The Harry? British Harry? You mean the British Harry? As in Prince Harry? You mean British penpal Harry? Hold on, you mean Harry Styles? I'd finally gotten her to agree to water the small accumulation of overgrown plants on the windowsill of my bathroom in my absence.
And now I'm here, being chaperoned through Essendon airport by an air steward who clearly assumes I'm famous like Harry, but judging by the pained expression on her face, can't figure out what exactly it is that I'm famous for because she's never seen me in her life.
I know I should probably put her out of her misery; inform her that I'm honestly no one special, but there's something oddly amusing about making your way through an airport with an overwhelming sense of importance. I wonder if this is how Harry feels every day. It must be strange never going anywhere you're not recognised.
Once upon a time, I would have been one of the few that recognised him. Now I'm just another in a mass of millions, and although you're supposed to be happy for your friend's successes, I just can't let go of the fact that I was swallowed up into the crowd rather than still at the forefront.
I'd begrudgingly had to send him another message on Instagram to confirm my attendance. I'd kept it simple, not wanting to seem too keen to meet him, and he'd replied with a list of instructions detailing which check-in desk to queue at, which steward to ask for and then a ridiculous password - kiwi - that I'd have to give to confirm I wasn't some super-fan trying to get up close and personal.
It was all a bit surreal and I'd blushed profusely throughout.
The steward takes a sharp left and I turn with her. It's much quieter in this part of the airport, and far less packed with passengers and luggage. The walls are lined with tinted glass windows and there's a sign hanging overhead with Private Lounges in gold text.
I draw my lower lip into my mouth. This means Harry is nearby and I haven't even thought about what I'm going to say to him or what he might have to say to me.
And what has he told the rest of his tour crew?
My old friend Juniper is coming along because I ran off like a little boy when she tried to have an adult conversation with me???
She stops outside a room, knocks once and pushes the door open. An arctic blast of air washes over me as the air conditioning unit over the doorway bares down on us, and I hurry inside. It's quiet in here too, despite there being at least ten people, all occupying plush looking armchairs. I can't see Harry yet but I've already located the familiar bearded bass player from the store yesterday. He's got over-ear headphones on and appears to be FaceTiming.
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Remember Me [harry styles] ✓Fanfiction
Juniper's not heard from her penpal since he got swallowed up by the music industry eight years ago. But winding up front row at one of his concerts is about to change that.