I am the entertainer
And I know just where I stand
And another long haired band
Today I am your champion
I may have won your hearts
But I know the game, you’ll forget my name
And I won’t be here in another year
If I don’t stay on the charts
Track 01 - You Have A Great Collection
My best friend Halo once told me that people come into your life for a reason. They may not stay forever, but your life is forever changed because they touched it. I didn’t know if that was true, and I suspected she was quoting one of her many poetry books, but I thought it was a nice idea.
Halo and I had a tiny apartment in Los Angeles, not exactly the best part of town, but it was ours and we were proud. We’d been friends since we were kids, bonding more in our teens over our mutual love for music. One night we went to a club and saw a couple of bands. One of them particularly stood out to me, some up and coming band that had just gotten signed. I’d thought they were great, true musicians with tons of potential, the singer obviously already a well-established front man who resembled Mick Jagger. I’d been excited to meet them after the show, but it wasn’t meant to be. Halo had started to feel ill and we had to leave early. I’d since forgotten the name of the band, but I remembered the singer’s name. Harry Styles. How perfect is that for a name? Nobody could forget you if your name was Harry Styles. It almost sounds made up, yet no one in their right mind would choose that as a stage name.
Two weeks later, I sat cross-legged on my rug flipping through my record albums when Halo walked in, suggesting we have some friends over. By “friends” I knew that was her way of saying she’d met a guy, but so as not to leave me out, she would invite some other people over too. I shrugged and told her that was fine. Our get togethers usually ended up growing anyway, as long as someone was providing the liquor and someone else provided the pot.
I heard the doorbell ring, but I didn’t bother to get up since I knew Halo would answer the door. A few minutes later, I heard her call my name.
“Sky! Our guests are here!”
I stood up, stopping in the doorway. My eyes widened when I saw who stood in the middle of my living room. The band. That band. That Harry Styles guy and the rest of his band.
“Hey,” I nervously waved my hand until they all looked at me.
“Hi there, love!” said one of the guys. Drummer I think. Oh great, he’s British, I thought. I had a soft spot for British accents.
“Sky, this is Lee, Mitch, Harry and Deacon. Wildfire.” Oh yeah. “Everyone, this is Sky.”
“Hello, Sky!” they all said in unison. Harry, however, stepped forward and held out his hand.
“Hi, I’m Harry,” he greeted. Great, he’s British too. And really fucking attractive.
“Nice to meet you,” I said casually, shaking his hand.
“Sorry to crash your little soiree, but Mitch here said we could come with.”
“Oh, right on,” I replied, having no clue what he just said.
Mitch I learned later, the lead guitarist of the band, had somehow run into Halo at some music festival in the park where she’d recognized him from the club. Leave it to Halo.
The evening was filled with drinks, smokes and laughs. I liked all of the guys almost immediately, and eventually some of our other friends and neighbors joined us as well.
A little before midnight, I went to my room to fetch something, probably some more rolling papers, when I heard a knock behind me. Harry stood leaning against my doorway, an easy grin on his face. I’d decided I liked his face. It was kind, yet masculine with a nice combination of angles and curves. And I really liked his smile.
“Hey,” I said. “C’mon in.”
Harry sauntered in, one long bootleg after the other, stopping next to me at my dresser.
“This is your room?” he inquired.
“Yeah,” I nodded.
Harry looked around, seeming to inspect it all - the Led Zeppelin poster above my bed, the white comforter and lace pillow shams, the stuffed animals on the shelf, the tambourine on my nightstand, the beaded curtain that separated my closet, the collection of trinkets and frames on my bureau.
“Nice,” he nodded.
Then he noticed my guitar in the corner.
Harry grabbed it and sat on the bed.
“It might need tuning,” I said just as I noticed he was doing just that. When he seemed satisfied, he plucked some strings and went into a chord progression. It sounded familiar. But when he started singing low, I recognized it as one his band’s songs that they performed at the club.
“Meet me in the hallway
Meet me in the hallway
I just left your bedroom
Give me some morphine
Is there any more to do”
I leaned against my dresser, fiddling absentmindedly with the locket around my neck, watching Harry give a private performance to me, even if he barely even knew I was in the room. When he finished, he laid the guitar on the bed and looked up at me. I smiled.
“I like that song.”
“Did you write it?”
Harry nodded. “I wrote all our songs.”
A dimple dipped in his cheek when he smiled at me and I felt myself blush. Harry rose from the bed then and bent down in front of my stack of albums.
“Of course,” I gestured.
Harry sat down, crossing his long legs, and went through each and every one of my records. The Beatles. The Rolling Stones. Elvis Presley. The Who. Led Zeppelin. Queen. Joni Mitchell. Eagles. Elton John. Billy Joel. Gladys Knight & The Pips. Stevie Wonder. Jimi Hendrix. Bob Dylan. Linda Ronstadt, Fleetwood Mac, The Temptations. Jim Croce, The Carpenters and Bread. Rod Stewart, Al Green, Kiss and The Doors. Simon & Garfunkel, Van Morrison, James Taylor, The Jackson 5. All of it. When he’d completed the stack, he looked up at me with child-like eyes.
“You have a great collection.”
Running a hand through his hair, he hesitated before asking his next question.
“Can I play something?”
Pinching his bottom lip between his thumb and forefinger, Harry flipped through a few more albums before settling on one. Rising from the floor, he slid the vinyl out of the sleeve and gently set it on the turntable. Then with great precision, he let the needle fall.
I recognized the low sound, the slow build in the gloomy track. He’d chosen Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.
“Good choice,” I remarked.
“You’re a big music fan.” It wasn’t a question, but an acknowledgement, a statement of fact.
I sat on the bed then as I watched Harry walk around the room. He picked up the frames on my dresser, inspecting each one before setting them back down. I wasn’t sure what it was about my bedroom, but Harry seemed to be very comfortable in it. Picking up the last photo, he held it out to me.
“Is that your dog?” he asked.
“No, that was Halo’s dog. A long time ago. I think I took that photo in junior high. His name was Comet,” I giggled.
Harry furrowed his brows and glared at me.
“I don’t get it.”
“You know…Haley’s comet. Halo’s real name is Haley.”
I giggled harder, maybe due to nerves, or maybe due to the weed. I had to admit Harry looked really cute when he was confused, like he’d just realized he’d been left out of some inside joke.
“Why do they call her Halo, anyway?”
“That’s kind of my fault,” I replied. “It’s supposed to be a reference to T-Rex.”
“You know. ‘Bang A Gong’. The ‘hubcap diamond star halo’ line.”
“Oh. Yeah, I know the song.”
I shrugged. “Halo’s a big Marc Bolan fan. So a few years ago I just kind of started calling her that and she liked it, so it stuck.”
Harry nodded, a smirk twitching at the corner of his mouth.
“I’m gonna take a wild stab at it that Sky is not your real name either.”
I shifted my gaze as I sucked in my lips. Harry chuckled, but asked no further questions. Instead, he made his way around my entire room, picking up things and setting them down while singing along to Elton John.
“Love lies bleeding in my hands…”
That was the first time Harry Styles was at my apartment. But it wasn’t the last.
Halo and Mitch had sort of become a thing…though what thing exactly I couldn’t tell you. Halo had always been a little more on the wild side than I was, although I liked to think I could hold my own. But…to put it nicely…Halo was kind of a groupie.
So because Mitch was at our place a lot, so was Harry. Lee and Deacon tagged along sometimes, and a few of those times they had a girl with them, but most of the time it was just Harry and Mitch. They seemed to be a package deal. Like Mick and Keith. I was okay with it. I liked them both, even if they did drink all our beer and smoke all our weed. They were good company.
One night after Halo and I went to watch the band’s rehearsal, they all joined us back at our place. We sat around the table playing cards until the chicks Lee and Deacon had brought, Sylvia and Jennifer I think, got bored and asked to be taken home. Shortly thereafter, Mitch and Halo snuck off to her room.
“Are you bored?” I asked from across the empty bottle-cluttered table.
“No. Are you?”
“Good. Then I’ll stay.”
Harry rose from his chair and crossed the carpet to the living room where he turned on the television. I smiled, even if it was just to the back of his head.
“Midnight Special’s on,” he said.
I joined him on the sofa where we watched Helen Reddy and Fleetwood Mac. During a commercial I got up to use the restroom and when I returned, I noticed Harry made it a point to scoot closer to me. He laid his head on my shoulder while Christine McVie sang “I’m over my head…but it sure feels nice,” and once again, I found myself smiling.
I thought he might be asleep when the show was ending, but Harry surprised me by nuzzling my neck. I felt no lips, but he was definitely trying to get my attention, like a little lapdog.
“Sky?” I heard him murmur.
“Can I stay here tonight?”
“Um…” Did he…mean…with me? Or…?
“I’ll just crash on your couch,” he answered my nonverbal question. “I’m just beat, and I don’t feel like driving home.”
“Oh. Yeah. Sure. No problem. I’ll…get you a pillow and a blanket.”
I fetched the items from the linen closet while Harry went to the bathroom. While I was tucking the sheet into the cushions, he returned.
“Aw babe, you didn’t have to do all that.”
“Couch is kinda itchy,” I shrugged.
“You’re lovely. Thank you.”
Harry sat on the makeshift bed and kicked off his shoes. When he laid down, I covered him with a blanket, laughing at his socked feet sticking out over the arm of the sofa. He smirked at me and wiggled his toes.
“You sure it’s okay?” I asked him.
“Of course. I’m eternally grateful.”
“Okay then. Goodnight.”
I turned towards my room, stopping to turn off the light.
“Harry?” I whispered in the darkness.
“You’re welcome to crash on my couch anytime.”
“Thank you, sweetheart,” he said with a yawn. “Goodnight.”
No telling how long I lied awake in bed that night. A couple times I could hear a few squeaks and moans coming from the other side of the wall, but that’s not what kept me awake. I wondered if Harry was sleeping. And if he wasn’t, what he might be thinking about. And if he was, what he might be dreaming about. And if either of those things included me.
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