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"We are made of all those who have built and broken us."
I sipped my cocktail in the corner booth of a bar called Zebulon.
Around me, everyone was staring, whispering, craning their necks to get a good look at the girl on Harry's arm. Our low-key status was no more. His name had been on the radio in the car, and I got to hear for the first time what was being said about me.
"...and in recent news, pop sensation Harry Styles is back in town for the IHeartRadio Music Awards! But that's not all" The lady chuckled conspiratorially with her co-host. "He's got a girlfriend."
"-that's right Julie! The one-direction singer has apparently shacked up with a young woman named Eve Ashbury, and you know what I hear-?"
"-What's that, Ryan?-"
"She was recently wanted in London for crimes related to a double homicide!"
"Way!" They laughed again like this was great entertainment. "The investigation has veered away from her, but the details are all on London Live, and, as expected, Harry's fans have taken up protest on twitter."
"Well I can't blame them! We all want the best for Harry." She defended. I released a long breath, realizing I'd been holding it.
"That's true, but I've met the man a few times and something tells me he can handle whatever he's gotten himself into-"
"Thank you." Harry's voice brought me back to reality as he replied to the radio, his expression filled with humor. When he squeezed my knee, my body relaxed.
"-I guess only time will tell, but in the meantime, keep your eyes open! You might just see the new couple around." Julie finished.
We both listened as the conversation moved on and Harry looked at me.
"Not so bad, huh?" He smiled. I wasn't sure what the scale in severity was for radio gossip, but Harry's casual dismissal made me feel more at ease than anything.
"I guess not," I shrugged. "Hopefully that was the worst of it."
"Oh no. The worst of it will be the awards. You're gonna get to test that thick skin of yours." He winked.
"Can't wait." I rolled my eyes.
"You got this." He insisted, dropping his face down. All of my anxiety drifted off to somewhere unreachable as he tucked a hair behind my ear and kissed my lips.
Now the lights were dim on our table overlooking the dance floor. The club had filled with people and a four-piece band was playing on stage at eye level across from us. Harry said he liked this place because the music was on fire and most people, respectively, left you alone.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Billie at the table waiting for us, though I didn't recognize anyone else, I introduced myself and accepted the drink Harry offered.
"How come we're allowed in here?" I asked him at one point. Billie wasn't the only one underage in LA.
"You're with me." He winked. "Club owners tend to be a bit more lax when it comes to serving underage celebrities. Just don't give anyone a reason to take your photo." His joke had honest undertones, but I didn't say anything as he chewed a piece of gum and looked around, knee bouncing.
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