20 - Hong Kong and Thailand

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  "Escape from the city and follow the sun." 

It's been twenty-nine hours since Eve and I parted on awkward terms and neither one of us has made any effort to contact the other. I know I was harsh, perhaps unnecessarily so – I saw it in her eyes, in her posture and in the speed in which she removed herself from the store. But I just can't have her saying such things. She truly believes she's right; that Harry and I are some Netflix Original romance. And I know that if I pick up the phone she'll only repeat her reasoning, only torture me further. And I can't have that. I just want to shelve it and pretend it never happened.

It's put an edge on my relationship with Harry and a left a bitter taste in my mouth. There's a feeling of unease that wasn't there before, and putting Eve's words to the back of my mind seems to be the only way to move forward.

Harry's somewhere between Hong Kong and Thailand right now and although I've tried to tick off the dates on the poor quality poster I printed from Google - it's been hard to keep track of him. The contact has been there but it's been scarce. Time zones and flights have made things even more complicated than Eve has and right now, out of the three of them, I'm not sure which I detest more.

The absence of Penny in work until the weekend has given me the peace and quiet I wanted and yet too much time alone with my thoughts. When I'm not freaking out over Eve's damning words, I'm forcing myself to forget about them instead. Either way, they're still there – plaguing my mind and friendship. I'm actually glad Harry and I are no longer in the same country. Glad that amidst this utter mess of thoughts and feelings – I won't have to see him face to face. Despite my stern response to my best friend's questioning, I'm not entirely sure how I would act around him right now. Would I be different? Would I start noticing things I didn't notice before? Like how his eyes are exact shade of sea glass and-

For God's sake, Juniper – stop it.

I thrust my key into the front door of my apartment and twist it almost violently. Today has been torturously long. So much so that I'm half tempted to burn my apron and spend the rest of my days wallowing under my duvet until I've weened myself off of whatever feelings towards Harry that Eve has implanted in my brain.

There's a slight resistance on the other side of the door, as if I've left a rogue shoe on the mat, or the coat stand has toppled over again. It's probably the latter – my mother keeps telling me that there are only so many times I can keep selotaping it back to its base, but it's vintage and I can't really bring myself to replace it. To my surprise, as I slide through the limited opening, it's a pale padded envelope that obstructs my entry, not the coat stand that apparently remains completely functional in the corner.

There are about two seconds of baffled silence and then, in my haste to retrieve it, my hand bag and the peach fabric tucked under my arm falls to the floor – releasing a tidal wave of old tissues, three tubes of forgotten Lucas' Pawpaw Ointment, my Guest lanyard from Harry's Sydney show, a variety of coloured gelato spoons and my car keys. The amplified clattering noise is horrendous on the laminate flooring of my hallway but I barely flinch. Because aside from the odd pizza menu or real estate leaflet - I don't really get mail. All my bills are paperless. Which can only mean one thing.

Harry.

The churning in my stomach right now is nauseating, but whether it's with nerves or excitement, I'm unsure. All I know is that I might be about to open the first letter I've received from Harry in eight years and it's making me feel all kinds of funny. The international and air mail stamps are further confirmation that my penpal has returned to me and with one hasty tear of the seal – a mound of paper falls at my feet.

I sink to my knees, discarding the envelope with barely a second glance, and gather the parchment now in disarray in my hallway. I don't even care that my front door is wide open, just that amongst the pile there are twenty pieces of identical rectangular card.

LIVE NATION PRESENTS
H A R R Y  S T Y L E S
LIVE ON TOUR

But that's where the similarities stop. That's where my heart gets caught in my throat. Because upon closer inspection, they aren't as identical as I'd first thought. 

DALLAS
HOUSTON
FT.LAUDERDALE
ATLANTA
NASHVILLE
PHILADELPHIA
TORONTO
BOSTON
NEW YORK
WASHINGTON
DETROIT
INDIANAPOLIS
CHICAGO
ST PAUL
DENVER
VANCOUVER
SEATTLE
SACRAMENTO
SAN JOSE
LOS ANGELES

They begin a month from now and finish over a month later.

They are absolutely not based here in Australia.

I blink.

"What the hell?" I say aloud, to absolutely nobody.

And then my fingertips find the poorly folded sheet of A4. One edge has disintegrated from where it's been torn out of a notepad but the ink is scrawled just as I remember it - the handwriting as familiar to me as my own. 

I read it again to double check

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I read it again to double check. Then triple check. 

I'm not sure if I'm actually expecting the content to look any different each time, or whether I'm perhaps just in shock. In shock because Harry is not only handing me a once in a lifetime opportunity, but also thirty-eight days with him. I want to call him; to scold him for gifting me something so ridiculously extravagant and yet also to thank him until I'm blue in the face. Except, I haven't got a clue if he's up in the air or even what time zone he's in. 

My heart is pounding so fast right now; fluttering as if it's sprouted wings. I feel excited and giggly like a schoolgirl and yet also breathless with anxiety. I've never been outside of Australia before. I've never done anything like this. I'll get to hear him sing my song twenty times in twenty different outfits at twenty different locations. 

I scoop everything up and hurry down the hall before taking the first door on the right - the bathroom. The overgrown plants on the window sill are practically tickling the edge of the bath now but I ignore them. I'm fully aware that my apartment is currently open to the outside world and that the contents of my hand bag is still decorating the laminate, except neither seem to be a priority right now.

Instead, I pull the cord of the light switch, seat myself on the lid of the toilet and fix my gaze on my own reflection in the bathroom mirror. I clear my throat and take a deep breath.

Because if I've got to convince Luca to let me have a thirty-eight day sabbatical from work, then I better get rehearsing.

author's note: Hope you enjoy! Also, anyone else obsessing over To All The Boys I've Loved Before / Peter Kavinksy / Noah Centineo????

Also guys, I've created another Wattpad account for my non-Harry stories. So if you guys like my writing please come and check me out over at eolhcdraw ♥️

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