I decided not to say anything unless Harry did. I know Matt’s outburst wasn’t because he was coming to see me, he had no way of knowing but it still angered me. No one insults my boys whether they know I exist or not. Harry had looked over at Matt as his car drove past but shook his head and brushed it off.
Harry reached me and greeted me with a hug. Our hugs were getting less and less awkward. “Ok, so what do you have planned for us tonight then?” he said with enthusiasm smiling.
“Well it depends on what you want to do. I was thinking about getting a drink and some dinner at the ‘Queen of Iceni’ and then something fun like bowling? But I warn you it’s about a 20 minute walk”
I was hesitant, not knowing whether it was a bit too much, or a bit lame, or too much like a date and less like me trying to show him the city. A Tuesday evening really wasn’t the time for me to try and give him a tour though was it? It would be dark in a few hours anyway.
“Yes, that sounds great. Lead the way.”
We set off, me knowing the route like the back of my hand and made small talk. I can honestly say it was the strangest 20 minutes of my life.
For 18 months I had obsessed over a boyband, I had posters everywhere, tumblr and twitter dedicated to them, watched every interview and nearly hyperventilated at the thought of meeting them and now I was walking with Harry through town, but it seemed perfectly normal. I wasn’t freaking out; it was like going to dinner with my friend. I was surprised at how my mind was coping.
“Table for 2?” the overfriendly waiter asked as soon as I stepped an inch into the ‘Queen of Iceni’ restaurant. I only managed to nod before he beamed “Right this way!” gesturing we follow him to our seats. He gave us menus and left us alone in a comfortable silence as we browsed the food section. Within five minutes the cheery waiter was back. Harry and I hadn’t even said a word to each other as we’d been looking at the menu and deciding what to eat. “SO what can I get you guys to drink?” he partially yelled at us. I ordered a diet coke and Harry some fancy cocktail I didn’t know the name of or what it had in it and after another few minutes when he brought over our drinks he took our food order and seemed as if he was going to leave us alone.
I really shouldn’t have suggested dinner with Harry. I thought it would be a good way to get to talk to him and know him a little better but what I didn’t take into consideration was the fact that I feel uncomfortable eating around my friends so with someone I hardly knew paranoia set in and I was very wary of what I ordered. Admittedly I wanted him to like me and not judge me and being self conscious about the way I look didn’t help, especially when it came to eating. After much deliberation I settled on the lasagne, I mean he couldn’t judge me too much from that could he?
Time passed quickly and over dinner we talked about anything and everything we could think of. From friends to movies, to music, to food, even to school. After the craziness that was our first meeting and with everything else I had going on in the non-Harry part of my life, this evening, I think was just what I needed.
Just as we were leaving the restaurant after arguing over who would pay (Harry won that argument) our overfriendly waiter who we now knew by the name Zac came running after us.
“Hey you guys! Wait!” he was breathless after running between the tables from the other side of the restaurant. “You’re Harry Styles aren’t you?” Harry nodded.
“I didn’t recognise you before, but I love your music, any chance I could have a quick photo please?” Again Harry nodded and I happily took the camera from Zac and took the shot.
“Thank you SO much! Sorry to bother you.”
“Its fine, thanks mate, it was nice to meet you” Harry responded discreetly slipping what looked like a £5 note into his hand as we turned to walk away except we heard Zac shout back so both looked over our shoulders.
“Thanks Harry, and you guys are such a cute couple by the way!”
“Oh we’re not-“ I was stopped by Harry who put his hand on my back and said “Just keep walking love” smiling.
“YES” I turned around to face Harry with his hand up. I high fived him and stood to his side as we watched the machine replace the ten pins in a triangular formation after my epic strike.
“Your turn” I smiled at him as he went to pick up a bowling ball. He picked up the heaviest one he could find, turned to me and started to do arm curls laughing; I think he was trying to be impressive. Guys just have this thing about their muscles don’t they? I just laughed at him and he turned to bowl.
“YES STRIKE!” he ran back to me and high fived me. That was his third of the game, I needed to up my game if I was going to beat him.
Again it was my turn. Just as I let go of the ball I felt myself lift off of the ground and be spun round. I tensed up and lifted my knees before quickly realising it was Harry. “You cheater” I told him as we both fell into fits of laughter and he put me down again. I looked and saw I’d hit only two pins, but I didn’t care to be totally honest with you. He put his arm around my shoulder and we stumbled back to the seats trying to contain our loud laughs. Just at that moment a small women, probably in her forties with a young child caught our eye and smiled. “You two make a very lovely couple you know”. She nodded towards us and kept walking
“Oh but we’re not a-“ I started again.
“Shh.” Harry looked at me. “Go on your go again, try and hit more than two pins this time” his tone cheerful and he winked at me.
Still in fits of laughter we stumbled out of Hollywood Bowl (despite my one strike) after my crushing defeat. Hey I never claimed I was good at it. After seeing a young couple walk past us giving dirty looks and security heading towards the door we pulled our act together and managed to straighten up and hold in the giggling.
“Just a question Harry, why did you decide to come out with me tonight? This may be a small city compared to London but it’s not like no one has heard of you you know. The likelihood is that you’ll get spotted.” I was genuinely interested, surely he knew he couldn’t step foot anywhere in public without getting mobbed or linked to any girl he was with.
“Well Lyss, the honest answer is I don’t know” he laughed. “I guess I just needed to get out and whilst it’s irritating the media report on us like they do sometimes, I can’t let it dictate my life. If I want to spend the evening out with a friend that’s what I need to start doing. I’m fed up of having to get to know people in the comfort of my own home.”
I don’t know what I was expecting but it wasn’t expecting the answer he gave me. (Side note, did he just call me a friend?) “Oh” I started to stutter. “does that mean you’re out with me to make a statement?” I was hesitant; I didn’t want it to come across the wrong way but by the look on Harry’s face it had.
“No not at all! Look I may have hooked up with a fan or two before but I don’t know it just seems like I really want to get to know you, you’re interesting Lyss. I never thought I’d get the opportunity to be friends with a fan and now I have a chance to get to know someone I want to and I’m not going to let the papers get in the way of a friendship. I am still a normal guy you’d go to school with you know?”
That was the famous line wasn’t it?
“Oh” I felt myself break a small smile. “Well thanks, sorry I didn’t mean for that to come across wrong its just all a bit weird that’s all.
“I guess kinda” Harry nodded and thought for a second as we carried on walking. A few seconds later he smiled at me, put his arm around my shoulder and gave it a quick squeeze.
I smiled and looked up at him. “Oh and for the record, no one like you ever went near our school.”