Mixed Feelings

Icon is the biggest boy band in the world. They're even more popular than One Direction at this point. Liza Nelson can't get enough of them, but Erin Frederick absolutely detests the band. What happens after a chance encounter with one of the band members? Erin's life definitely won't ever be the same.

*the guys are based on the boys in One Direction*

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7. ~Erin~

 

A nurse rolls Noah out of the hospital in a wheelchair.  I grimace when I start hearing the screaming fans.  I slide sunglasses onto my face, just so no one will be able to get a really good look at me.

There’s a car waiting, one of the ones the guys rode in last night.  A security team member helps Noah into the backseat, and I slide in beside him.  Then we’re off to the hotel with no problems.

“Well that went pretty smoothly,” I comment, pushing my sunglasses on top of my head.

Noah nods silently.  I look at him out of the corner of my eye.  Ever since this morning, things have been definitely off between us.  It’s like, we were on our way to becoming friends and then he suddenly backed off.  He seemed fine last night when I fell asleep…unless, that might be it.  Maybe he was too tired last night to care, but this morning he felt like I have feelings for him and we were getting too close.  That makes logical sense.  Well now I’ll just have to prove to Noah that I don’t have feelings for him…even though I kind of do.

I’m feeling a bit confused, though, especially after Lucas and I made out.  I’ve been kissed twice by a high school boyfriend, and both kisses were light and sweet.  He and I ended on a mutual happy note.  Lucas is definitely more passionate than him, and when he kissed me, well I kind of forgot about his reputation.  But maybe, once he finds the one, he’ll settle down and stick with her.  Could I be that one for him?  Do I want to be the one?

There are Iconanators surrounding the hotel entrance, too.  I make a face at Noah, and he looks equally annoyed.  But all fame comes with a price.  Security safely escorts us through the mobs.  No matter how it looks to the fans, I keep my hand on Noah’s arm.  After his episode this afternoon, I’ll admit I’m worried about him.

Once we’re up in the hotel room with Noah settled on the couch, I head to the kitchenette.

“Are you hungry?” I ask him.

“Please, you don’t have to make me anything,” Noah protests.

“I want to,” I tell him. “Besides, you haven’t eaten since lunch, I’m sure.”

I rummage through the cupboards and emerge triumphantly.  I hold up a can of chicken noodle soup.

“How about this?”

Noah’s eye light up just enough to let me know he is interested in soup.  So I start to heat it up while I find a bagel and some cream cheese for myself.  Then I bring our food over and set it on the coffee table.  I grab a couple of blankets from Noah’s room just because he looks cold.  I figure, if I don’t have a blanket, too, he’ll act all masculine and tough and refuse the blanket.

We’re at opposite ends of the couch, although Noah’s feet are almost touching me.  My legs are tucked up under me.  When his soup and my bagel are gone, we fall into a comfortable silence.

“So are you in school, at a university or something?” Noah asks me.

I shake my head.  “No.  I work all week at the bookstore and then I have the weekend off.  I write then, and sometimes I do pieces for a local newspaper.”

“You want to be a journalist?” he questions, a bit surprised.

“No, not really.  The pieces I do are generally opinion pieces, not real reporting.  I love books, and I want to be a writer, but I often think I’ll have to be a librarian or something.  I haven’t been able to get an agent yet,” I tell Noah.

“I have connections!” Noah offers.

Once again, I shake my head.  “That’s sweet of you, but I want to get published of my own accords.  I’ll just keep trying.  The hard work is all part of the fun.  I’m constantly sending queries to agents and simultaneously writing a new book.  I’ll have a novel in bookstores some day, and I earn enough money to be content waiting for that day.”

Noah shakes his head in disbelief.  “You amaze me.  I’d go crazy waiting for an agent to take me on.”

“How did you wait to be discovered then?” I ask, puzzled.

He laughs.  “Man, you really aren’t an Icon fan.  Derek was jamming at a local coffee shop when Luke and I walked in.  We started singing with him.  Jared and Joe were there, too, and they joined in.  Someone from our record label was there getting coffee, and he took down our phone numbers.  It was kind of bewildering since, at the time, the only two guys who already knew each other were Lucas and me.  But now we’re as close as brothers.”

“You’re lucky.  I’m not very close to my brother anymore.  My parents were pretty much hands-off with us, so I raised him, but he’s five years younger than me.  I don’t see him much anymore,” I tell Noah sadly. “From what I’ve heard in the sporadic phone calls from my parents, they think he’s doing drugs and running with a bad crowd.”

I feel tears start to fall, and Noah looks alarmed.

“Aw, Rose,” he murmurs, using a shortened version of my middle name.  I have a feeling it’s my new nickname, but I don’t mind.

When I can’t keep myself from sobbing, Noah sits up more and holds out his arms.  I tentatively move down to his end of the couch and let him hold me as I cry.

“I just want Tyler to turn out okay, you know?” I tell him through the tears. “I feel like I’ll be responsible if he is doing drugs and he goes to jail or dies or something.”

“He’s making his own choices,” Noah tells me. “You did the best you could.  Don’t blame yourself, Erin.”

The crying tires me out.  When I’ve finally settled down, I don’t extract myself from Noah’s embrace.  Still, my heart is conflicted.  I’m sort of with Lucas now, aren’t I?  We made out, after all.  But I like Noah, too, I know it.  I feel him yawn.  Today has been downright draining.  Noah and I shift.  We’re soon lying down.  I’m on the outside edge of the couch.  Noah’s arm is around my middle.  He falls asleep before me, I can tell.  His breathing is soft and easy, making me even drowsier by the minute.

At one point I dream that Noah kisses my hair, and when I briefly wake, I wonder if it was a dream, or if he really kissed me on the top of my head.  I’m too tired to care, so I just drift back off to sleep.

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