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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17. >Noah<

 

“All right, mates, let’s clean and get packed up,” says Joe briskly.  It’s obvious he’s trying to distract us from the gloom filling the room. “We’ve made a giant mess this last week.”

I head to what was supposed to be my room, although I only slept there Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night.  It’s relatively clean.  I’m not a neat freak, but I don’t like chaos.  Plus, there were two fastidious girls staying in here over the weekend.

We leave at three o’clock, and our tour bus is headed out east next.  We have to end up in New York City by Christmas.  We’re doing concerts on the twenty-first and twenty-second there, and then heading to Boston for concerts on the twenty-eighth and twenty-ninth before returning to NYC for New Year’s Eve.

I’m ready to go by one.  Lucas is still packing, so I go to help him.  Maybe we can patch up our friendship before our fans and the media have caught a whiff of the rift.

“Hey, Lu,” I say as I knock on the door and poke my head in.  “Need some help?”

He looks up.  “I’ve got it,” he says stiffly.

I notice that his hair is unusually messy—and not on purpose—and he looks a bit frenzied.

“Come on, mate,” I reply. “You need help, or we’ll be late leaving.  Accept my offer.”

“Fine,” Lucas mutters.  He points across his bedroom. “Mind putting those shoes in this suitcase here?”

I go to do that.  After several minutes of silence, I realize I’m going to have to bite the bullet and be the one to make amends first.  Lucas is stubborn that way.

“Look, things got downright bad between us this weekend,” I begin. “And I hate that it feels like we’re barely acquaintances now.  We’ve been best friends for, well, practically forever.  I’d hate to lose your friendship over a girl, especially one we just met.”

“That girl is my girlfriend,” Lucas says sharply.

I stop suddenly, and a pair of his shoes nearly slips out of my hands.  Erin is his girlfriend?  But she told him she didn’t want to be a couple last night!  Unless…maybe it was all in my imagination.  Maybe I dreamed that they broke up.  But how would that explain their hug good-bye?  She certainly looked like it was awkward.  Maybe I imagined that, too.

“Well, even if she is,” I respond, “it’s still no reason to destroy our friendship.  I’ve missed goofy Lucas, and I’ve missed being crazy with you.”

Lucas meets my eyes finally.  “I miss that stuff, too,” he admits. “I guess I got too preoccupied with Erin and left you in the dust.  Forgive me?”

“Of course,” I say.

I cross the room and hug Lucas.  It’s good that we’re on the track back to normal.  Still, maybe I’ll take Erin up on her offer to text her.  It wouldn’t hurt to find out if she is Lu’s girlfriend.

---

About two hours later, we’re on our way to Cleveland, Ohio, our next tour stop.  We’re doing one concert there tomorrow night.  After that, we’re supposed to spend the weekend in Philadelphia, I think.  Don’t quote me on that, though.  It’s sort of hard to keep track of all the cities we visit.

I pull out my phone and check Twitter before listening to music for awhile.  My bunk is pretty comfortable, and I actually doze off.  I sleep for quite some time.  My dreams are filled with Erin.  She’s so serious yet so care-free, so sweet yet so sarcastic.  It would be impossible for someone to not fall in love with her.

I awake to someone shaking my shoulder.  I blink in the bright light and stare up at Derek.

“What’s up, man?” I say with a yawn.

“We’re almost to Cleveland.  Leo says the guys at the hotel called him, and fans are already swarming.  I figured you’d want to look halfway decent while struggling through the crowds,” he tells me.

I nod.  “Yeah, I should probably comb my hair and brush my teeth.”

I tumble out of my bunk and head to the tiny bathroom.  I can already hear the fans’ screams echoing in my head.  Ugh, why do they have to be so enthusiastic?

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