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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14. ~Erin~

 

I get a kick out of driving Noah around my town.  I point out the little neighborhoods, and the best restaurants, and when we reach downtown, I park the car in front of the bookshop I work at.

“And that,” I say, “is the best bookstore in town.  All of their employees are incredible.”

“Oh, yeah?” Noah says, playing along. “Do I happen to know any of them?”

“As a matter of fact, you do,” I reply, pretending to be surprised. “She’s not very tall, but she has hair that’s sort of blonde, brown, and red all at the same time and blue eyes, and she wears glasses when she reads.  Her name is Erin Frederick.  Does that ring a bell?”

Noah taps his finger on his chin, pretending to ponder the deep question I’ve just posed to him.  “Hmm…why, yes it does!”  Then he fakes a surprised expression. “And would you look at that—she’s sitting in the driver’s seat of this car.”

I laugh, and Noah joins in.  After a brief stop at a coffee shop—I run in and do the purchasing so Noah can stay incognito—I point my car towards one of the city parks.  It’s kind of out of the way, and not too many people come here, so I think we’ll go undiscovered.  Besides, it was one of the first places I went to when I moved to town, and I want Noah to experience it, too.

Coffee cups in our hands, Noah and I stroll through the park.  When we reach the playground, I run to one of the swings and start to push off from the ground.

“Wait, Erin!” Noah says.

He takes the last swig from his cup and then throws it in the trash can.  He comes over and stands behind me.  Then Noah grabs a hold of the swing and pulls me back.  I hold on tight, and when he lets go, I feel like I’m flying.  I get this giant goofy grin on my face.  Swings always reminds me of my childhood and the times when my parents cared about me.

Oh, gosh, don’t start crying, I think.  I’ve struggled to keep my parents out of my head, just because if I think about them, I know I’ll cry.  And having a breakdown in the middle of a park isn’t a good idea.

Noah jumps onto the swing beside me, and soon we’re having a competition to see who can swing higher.  Eventually, we slowly halt the swings.  It’s nearing one in the afternoon, so I think it’s time to get some food.  We decide on a sandwich place, and I drive there.  When I park, I hesitate.

“Are we going in together, or do you want to give me your order and you can stay out here?” I ask.

“I hate to keep making you do everything, so let’s go in together.  Besides, they can’t say we’re dating if we’re just getting lunch together,” he replies.

I slip on sunglasses anyways.  Thankfully, the people behind the counter aren’t young girls so it’s unlikely they’ll freak out.  Noah pays for our lunch, and we take it back to the car.  I drive to my house, and we go in there to eat.  I mostly want to check to make sure everything’s okay and that I haven’t had a break-in.  My neighbors are nice, but the area is a bit sketchy so you never know what might happen.

Everything looks the same as always.  I grab an old blanket and spread it on the living room floor.  Then we have an indoors picnic, something I’ve always wanted to do.

When we’re done, Noah checks his watch.  “We should probably head back soon.  We’re leaving for your birthday dinner at five-thirty, and you’ll want plenty of time to get ready.”

“Do we have time for one last stop?” I ask.

He says we do, so I quickly clean up the trash and pull him back out to the car.  I drive through town, taking a route I know like the back of my hand.  At last we’re at our destination: the ice skating pond.  I went here a lot over the summer, and it’s a popular place to ice skate in the winter.

“Can you skate?” I say to Noah.

He shrugs.  “Yeah, a bit.”

“Awesome.  I can, and I’ve been waiting for it to get cold enough for them to be open,” I explain.

We hop out of the car.  I’m glad we’re properly bundled up.  Noah insists on paying for our skate rentals.  After the skates are laced up on our feet, we hit the ice.  I did some figure skating when I was little, so it all comes back to me quickly.  Noah is a little wobbly to start with, but he’s soon skating steadily.  At one point, he takes my hand.  I’m a bit surprised, since I thought we agreed at the sandwich place to not make it look like we’re dating.  The pond isn’t too crowded, but there are people around who might recognize Noah and take pictures.

So far, my birthday has been loads of fun.  Noah is a great friend, and he’s made my day wonderful.  And the party they’ve planned is still yet to come.  It’s hard for me to grasp that people I just met Friday want to celebrate my birthday with me.  Maybe there are some genuinely kind people left in this world.  It certainly seems that my perceptions were wrong about the guys in Icon.  They seem so human to me, not just five boys that teen girls go crazy over.

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