The first time he runs into her at a concert is during a break between sets, when he finally runs to the bathroom for a break himself. She’s loitering in the hallway, and as soon as he sees the brown curls pulled up into a ponytail, he stops dead in his tracks, completely forgetting what he’s there for.
He isn’t sure why, except he’s just fascinated by the hovering curls, and as soon as she turns around, her face fascinates him for half a second before he realizes she’s crying.
“Sorry,” he mumbles, averting his eyes and stepping back. “I didn’t see you, I was just…” Luke waves a hand towards the men’s room door that’s just past her.
“Oh! No… I’m sorry,” she says, stepping aside to let him through. He gives her a small smile, moving down the hallway. He pauses at the door, glancing back at her before he goes into the men’s room to do what he came to do… After washing his hands, he dries them and steps back into the hallway. She’s still there, sitting down now against the wall.
“Hey, are you alright? Do you need a cab ride, or something?” he asks, rubbing the back of his neck.
“I’m fine!” she tells him, though it’s… not totally convincing. “I’m just… I’m hiding.”
“I can see that. Uh… Though not very well? Still kind of out in the open,” he tells her, stuffing his hands into his pockets and leaning back against the wall next to the bathroom door.
She lets out a chuckle, and then shakes her head. “My best friend is somewhere in the crowd. I told her… well, I mean it’s been like half an hour. I was supposed to get water…”
“You sure she’s not looking for you?”
“Oh, she probably is! But she may have thought I left the building completely,” she replies, shrugging. The music begins to start up, and screaming from adoring fans rages through the hallway for a moment. She winces.
Luke tilts his head, watching her. “Do you… not want to be here? Concerts are definitely overwhelming…”
“I… It’s complicated,” she says, her voice lifting so he can hear her. “She brought me here to try and get me back into music.”
“ Back into music?!” he asks. “Like, you fell out of love with music?! That’s crazy! I can’t imagine ever doing that!” She winces again, her eyes dropping, and she squirms, looking like she might find an excuse to run. “Whoa. Sorry. Okay… musical snob coming out there. Mouth running ahead of my brain. I’m a jerk, and I’m totally sorry.”
That makes her blink and look up at him, the ghost of a smile on her lips. “It’s fine! At some point I wouldn’t have ever imagined myself being like this, either…”
“It’s complicated,” he repeats.
“Jules!” a new voice shouts out, and then there’s someone rushing over. “I’ve been looking everywhere for you!”
“Well, here I am! Last place you looked. Ah… this is…?”
“Oh! Luke, I’m Luke!” he offers, nodding and holding a hand out. “Just… keeping company!”
“Right,” the new person says, looking him up and down, and ignoring his outstretched hand. “Flynn. And this is Julie. And we’re leaving! Bye!”
As she gets pulled away, Julie looks over her shoulder to give him an apologetic smile and a small wave. He waves back, but he’s pretty sure he’ll never see her again.
The thought makes him kind of sad.
Except he runs into her again two months later, at another concert.
Literally runs into her.
“Oops, so sorry,” he says, before he glances up to see… the same cloud of curly hair, but down this time, framing her face. Her brown eyes light up.
“Luke?” she asks, smiling wide.
“Yeah! You remember,” he says, chuckling a little nervously.
“Who is this?” Alex asks from behind him, and Luke has to resist the urge to elbow his best friend in the stomach.
Instead he waves a hand between them. “Alex, this is Julie! I ran into her at a different venue a couple months ago… Julie, this is my best friend, Alex.”
“He found me in the hallway to the bathrooms, and he kindly kept me company through a bit of an existential crisis,” she explains further, shaking Alex’s hand.
“Oh, did he? Interesting that he failed to mention this to me!” Alex says, looking between them. Luke can see the thoughts whirling in his best friend's head, and he is really close to putting his elbow right in Alex’s spleen.
“I mean, it was a pretty brief encounter,” Julie says, tilting her head and giving Alex a smile. “Anyways! Ah… you guys must attend a lot of concerts!”
“Well, we’re trying to scope out the competition,” Alex tells her, nodding enthusiastically.
“What he means is, we love music, and we play sometimes,” Luke says, this time actually listening to his instincts, his elbow colliding with Alex’ ribs and making him grunt in pain.
“Dude!” Alex tells him, shoving him.
Julie laughs, and a moment later, her friend appears next to her, handing over a bottle of water. “Hey, Flynn! You remember Luke? And this is his best friend, Alex! This is my bestie, Flynn!”
“Hey,” Alex tells her, straightening up and waving.
“Oh, hallway boy!” Flynn says, earning her an elbow to the stomach as well.
Luke grins, and watches as a blush lights up Julie’s face. “So, how’s the whole music thing going?” he asks her, as Flynn and Alex exchange a look and pointedly move away from them.
“Okay, I guess. I mean, I’m here to see… uh… UNWELL? Flynn has eclectic taste,” she says.
“Well, I hope you like them! They’re a little more punk, but they have a great sound! The lead singer has done a few ‘punk goes broadway’ covers that are amazing!” Luke says.
“Oh, I think she mentioned something like that,” Julie says. “Do you always get to a venue this early?”
“To get the best spot in the pit, hell yeah!” Luke says. “Just you wait! Everyone wants to get front row, up close… but the best sound is right in the middle, and you get to see everything going on on the stage, too.”
“Does this mean you’re saving me a spot?” Julie asks, a small grin pulling at her lips as she watches him.
It’s definitely his turn to blush.
“I mean… if you want me to,” he tells her.
“Absolutely!” she replies. “You seem to know your stuff…”
“Trust me, I do,” he says.
“Then, I trust you.”
Concert number three was probably the most crowded, so the fact that he picked out Julie and Flynn in the crowd was pretty impressive. He headed over to them, hovering a bit until there was a break in the music. Then he made his presence known. Julie’s face lit up brightly, and Flynn gave him a look - one where he felt like he was being dissected just for existing in the same place as them. He gave a sheepish grin.
“Are you following us?” Flynn asks him, raising her voice to be heard over the chattering crowd.
“What? No!” he tells her.
“Flynn! He doesn’t even have my number,” Julie says, shaking her head at her friend. “He’s already said he likes coming out to these concerts!”
“Yeah, maybe you’re following me!” He shrugs and grins at them.
Julie laughs, at least, so he counts it as a win. “No Alex tonight?”
“Nah, he’s out with his boyfriend, Willie!” Luke tells him.
“Oh!” Flynn says, suddenly brightening up. “That’s cool!”
“Yeah, they’re sugary sweet together, but they’re super happy,” Luke informs them, nodding his head. “My other bandmates were also busy, so it’s just me! Plus, I’m the only one who likes this group.”
“Bummer, they’re really good!” Julie says.
“I take it the music thing is going well?” Luke asks. His eyes kind of constantly hover on Julie, even though he really is trying to make Flynn feel included in the conversation. He just couldn’t help it… She was like a sun, and he was caught in her orbit.
“It’s going! Slowly but surely,” she tells him. “At least I’m not hiding in the bathroom anymore!”
“Definitely an improvement,” Luke says, nodding his head. “Hey, you know, maybe we could exchange numbers, though? Seeing as we keep running into each other…”
“Smooth, Romeo,” Flynn snarks at him, shaking her head.
“He has a point!” Julie says, nudging her friend, and then handing her phone over to him, with it prepped for him to put his information in. He does so quickly and hands her phone back. She taps on the screen for a moment, and he feels his phone buzz with an incoming text.
“Cool!” he says, pulling it out and saving her number with her name. “Maybe next time we can actually do a meet up?”
“Yeah, that would be fun!” she tells him, smiling.
Just then, the crowd around them screams and surges as the band they’re there to see comes onto stage, a guitar note ringing out around them. Luke shoots Julie a grin, and they turn to watch the next act.
The fourth concert, they plan to meet up at, so they don’t really run into each other.
But Luke does accidentally eavesdrop on a conversation that he knows he shouldn’t have…
“I can’t believe you told him about tonight,” Flynn was saying, as Luke was about to round a corner of a building. He carefully stops, not making any noise, and hears Julie give a deep sigh in response.
“I thought you wanted me to get back into music,” she says to Flynn, and Luke can hear the frown in her voice.
“I do! But this is… Not the Julie I know. Crushing on someone you barely know?”
“That’s why I got his number! We’ve been texting a lot… I know he lives a little far, but at least we’re in the same city,” Julie replies. “Besides, he likes music, and he has great taste, and Alex and Willie are adorable. You even think so, admit it.”
“Fine, yes, he has good friends! But Jules… I just want you to be careful,” Flynn says.
“I know. I am! But Luke seems… different…”
He really hopes that’s a good thing.
“Well, I’m just saying, you know someone else who likes music and concerts… someone we went to high school with, and know better.” Flynn sounds as if she’s trying to needle something out of Julie…
“Oh my god, Flynn! A halftime show at a sports game is not a concert!” Julie protests. Luke definitely agrees, but he keeps himself tight lipped. “And don’t try to argue, I know you think the same way I do. Besides, Nick is in New York. That is never going to happen, and I think I dodged a bullet anyways!”
Luke has no idea who this Nick is, but he’s thinking that’s a good thing.
“Can you just… chill? Luke seems great, and I am… taking things a step at a time. I know you’re my bestie, and I love you, and I know you’re being protective,” Julie says.
“I do love you! I just… I wanna see you happy, Jules,” Flynn says, and there’s a bit of shifting, and when Luke dares to look around the corner, he sees them hugging tight.
“Now, can we change the subject? He’s supposed to be here any minute!” Julie says, pulling away from Flynn.
Luke gives it a couple more minutes before he makes his appearance, not wanting it to seem too coincidental or obvious that he was lurking.
As the concert goes on, he finds Julie bumping into him a bit more often, giving him wide smiles, and he can’t help but to stare right back at her. They laugh at it at one point, and he can’t help but really like seeing her blushing and giddy as she stands beside him.
He’s starting to feel so incredibly gone for her, and it’s barely been six months since they first met.
Concert number five is, somehow, another accident. But definitely a happy one, especially since he was really hoping he wouldn’t get caught here. “Wait, why are you at a Harry Styles show?” Julie asks him, a smirk on her lips as she looks at him. She had run into him - where else?! - in the bathroom hallway.
He sighs heavily, shuffling his feet as he looks at her. “I lost a bet,” he tells her.
That makes her snort, and she shakes her head. “Of course you did! Was the outfit included?” She waves at his purple, flowy shirt, and the too-tight pants he’s wearing.
“Oh, yeah,” he sighs, closing his eyes briefly. “Look away, Julie. This is too embarrassing.”
“Oh, no! I’m getting a picture to send to Flynn!” she says, giggling as she pulls her phone out.
“Hey, no way!” he splutters out, turning to run, but she catches his arm, squeezing and making him stop in his tracks. How can one gesture have him feeling like he wants to melt into a puddle, he will never understand...
“Okay, alright! I’m joking!” she tells him, laughing and seeming to be oblivious to his reaction. “I won’t send a picture to Flynn. She would absolutely not let you live it down. Besides… I bet Alex got plenty of pics, didn’t he?”
“Yep,” he tells her, popping the ‘p’ out and sighing once again. “Trust me, I don’t want to be here, but I can’t hide in the bathroom… I was told I had to send pictures or videos every twenty minutes to prove I was in the audience…”
“Well, why don’t we go out together? I can help you with the camera angles,” she tells him, grinning. “Besides, this could be more fun than you think! Harry is a total performer. Maybe you’ll learn something!”
“Oh! Oh, you wound me, madam!” he says, putting a hand over his heart. “You haven’t seen me perform!”
Her head tilts, and her smile falters for just a moment. “I haven’t. You said… I mean, the band is a hobby?”
He hesitates at that, letting his hand drop to his side. “Uh… I mean, kind of? But we’re…” He’s interrupted by the sound of a blasting horn coming from his pocket. He fumbles for his phone. “Alex, damn you…”
Julie laughs. “We should get back out there, so you can send a picture!” She reaches out and grabs his hand, tugging him towards one of the doors that lead into the arena. He follows dutifully, because what else is he supposed to do? This is Julie Molina - he’d finally learned her last name a few weeks ago - and he’s pretty sure that he’s stumbling into falling head over heels for her…
Thing is, he really needs to tell her just how big the band he has with his friends is. Sunset Curve is gaining a lot of traction, and he’s pretty sure they’re starting to get recognized out on the streets of LA.
He promises himself that he will tell her, soon.