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*


18. ~Erin~


It’s Christmas Eve day.  Noah and I have texted quite a bit.  From his Tweets and the pictures he posts, he seems to be having a blast.  I wouldn’t mind being famous just to get the travel perks.  Joe and I have texted, too, and we’ve Skyped a couple of times.  We’re definitely becoming best friends.  I sent a birthday present for Noah to the guys’ brownstone in New York City.  It arrived yesterday, right on time.  All I got in response, though, was a thank you text.  I was miffed at the brevity and lack of communication.  I guess I was hoping for a bit more, since the gift was pretty unique.  I was able to find a signed movie poster for The Avengers on eBay.  It wasn’t cheap, but I know how much Noah loves that movie.  The entire main cast signed it.

And now he’s not answering my texts.  I guess he’s probably hanging out with the guys or seeing the city, but it still makes me antsy when it’s been several hours and Noah doesn’t reply to my texts.

I have the day off from work; thus, I’m lounging on my couch and watching Christmas movies with Dessa.  I have a mug of hot chocolate and a bowl of popcorn, so I’m pretty much set for the afternoon.

Then the doorbell rings.  Dessa leaps off the couch and trots down the hall.  I get up more slowly.  Who could that be?  Liza is at her parents’ house to celebrate the holiday, and there’s no one else in town that would be at my door.

I open the front door and freeze.  Standing in front of me is a guy who’s about five-foot-ten with brown hair that’s slightly ruffled and blue eyes that make me melt.  Like before, he smells like a musky cologne and deodorant.  Just like the last time I saw him, he’s unshaven and looks downright amazing.

“Hey, Rose,” he says with a soft smile.

I throw my arms around Noah, and he stumbles back, not expecting my sudden movement.  But then he’s hugging me, too.  We both pull back enough to see each other’s faces.  I can hardly believe he’s here, and on Christmas Eve—his birthday!—to boot.  Then Noah gently puts his hand on my cheek; the other rests on my waist.  Mine are still holding onto his neck.  Before I can really comprehend what’s happening, he kisses me.  It’s not a quick peck, either, but there’s nothing inappropriate about it. 

Just a sweet, innocent kiss that makes me think, Finally!  Finally, he’s kissed me.

When Noah finally pulls his lips away from mine, our faces are both graced with small smiles.  But then Noah takes a giant step back, and cold air fills the space between us.

“I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have done that,” he says.

“Why not?” I demand to know.

“Well, you’re with Luke,” he replies. “And he’s my best friend.  I told you we managed to patch up our friendship, so I’d hate to destroy—”

I pull Noah to me, closer this time so we’re inside my foyer.  Then it’s my turn to kiss him.

When that kiss is over, I say, “If that says I’m with Lucas, then I think your brain is just a bit messed up.”

Noah’s jaw has dropped.  “But…I don’t understand.  Lucas said you were his girlfriend, and he’s been texting someone a lot lately…”

I put my hand on my hip.  “Oh, so you just assumed Lu was telling the truth?  And you didn’t think to ask me?  I broke up with him when he got back from the club the night of my birthday.  We weren’t even exactly together before then.  But I made it clear I didn’t want a relationship with him.  Because I want you.”

Suddenly, Noah is kissing me again.  Seriously, this boy really knows how to smear my lip gloss, and it’s nothing like kissing Lucas.  It’s about one hundred times better.

“I want you, too,” he whispers. “I’ve liked you since that first day at the bookstore, and I’ve been too shy to say anything.  When I got the gift you sent me, I knew I had to fly out here to see you and tell you how I felt.  What you sent me is great, and I love that you thought of something like that for me.  But all I really want for my birthday is for you to be my girlfriend.”

My eyes widen in happy surprise.  Then I tug on Noah’s arm.

“Come inside,” I say. “I’m watching Christmas movies.  Would you like to spend the rest of your birthday doing that?”

Noah nods.  “I’d love to do that.  And…if we can get a reservation, I’d like to take you out to dinner tonight.  You know, make things official.  We haven’t even been on a date!”

“Unless you count how we spent my birthday,” I respond, bumping him with my hip. “That was the perfect first date.”

“I still want to take you out,” he replies.

“And I accept,” I tell him pleasantly. “Why don’t you go call the restaurant you want to take me to, and I’ll go make some more popcorn and some hot chocolate for you.  And reheat mine.”

“Sounds good,” Noah says.  Then he grins down at the ground.  I look down.  Dessa is twining herself around our legs. “Looks like someone else is happy we’re together.”

“Now we just have to win over your band-mates and the rest of the world,” I say, thinking of the hate I got when people originally thought I was dating one of the Icon boys.

Noah, who was taking out his cell phone, pulls me close.  “The guys—at least, Jared, Derek, and Joe—will be easy.  And the fans will love you, too.  If they don’t, they’re not real fans.  If they were, they wouldn’t care who the guys and me date, as long as we’re happy.  The fair-weather fans only want us to date, if we’re dating them.  Besides, you’re better than any fan.  You don’t scream and give me a headache for one thing.”

I laugh.  “Well that’s good to know.”  I pause. “I’ve been giving your music another go, these last three weeks.”

Noah’s eyes light up.  “Really?  Aw, Erin, I appreciate that.  I know it’s not your style, but it means a lot to me that you would do that.”

“Hey, I didn’t say I liked it yet,” I tease. “But I’m learning to.”

Then Noah calls the restaurant.  He’s able to make a reservation.  I get really excited inside.  This is what I’ve been dreaming of for the last month—Noah and I going on a proper date.  Our reservation is at six, so we turn off the TV and go to get ready.  Noah brings his suitcase inside; he has a suit with him.  I choose a navy blue dress with a soft tulle mesh overlay.

While I wait for my boyfriend—it’s still a bit of a shock to refer to Noah as that—I hop on Twitter.  I decide to be totally vague and say:

A lot of things can change in three weeks.

Three weeks ago, I was almost dating Lucas York.  Then I told him I didn’t want a relationship with him.  I was rumored to be dating one of three guys, but I cleared up that mess quickly.  Now, I am dating one of the guys from Icon, and he’s the sweetest, most wonderful one.

Dinner with Noah is wonderful, of course.  We talk and laugh, and everything feels perfect between us.  I really couldn’t ask for a better guy.  I think he might be the one.  But we’ll see how things go.  It’s a bit premature to decide Noah is the guy I want to spend the rest of my life with.  If we’re still going strong in six months, I’ll reconsider the idea in my mind.

When we get back to my house, Noah and I don’t change out of our dressy clothes.  Instead we watch another movie.  My head is on his shoulder, his arm is around me, and we’re practically breathing in unison.  I’m not sure what I’m more in love with—Noah or how perfect our relationship already is.

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