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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20. >Noah<

I pull a tired Erin along behind me through LaGuardia Airport.  The band’s main security guy, Ron, is supposed to be waiting for us at baggage pick-up.  I pull my beanie down a little further, hoping I’m not recognized.  After a red-eye flight to New York, I don’t think either of us is ready to go public with our relationship.  Still, before we got off the plane, I made sure Erin’s hair was smooth and she looked fine.  If paparazzi do find us, I don’t want the tabloids trashing my girl for looking terrible just because she’s tired.

We find Ron waiting for us right where he was supposed to be.  I introduce him to Erin.  I can tell he likes her, which is nice.  If our bodyguard approves, then the girl is definitely a keeper.  After collecting our bags, Ron leads the way out to our car.

The paparazzi must stake out LaGuardia 24/7, just waiting for celebrities, because they’re hanging around the entrance.  As soon as we’re spotted, they start snapping pictures.  I pull Erin close just because the camera flashes and loud voices can be disorienting if you’re not used to them.  Heck, I’m still not used to them.

“Noah!  Noah!  Who’s the girl?  Are you two dating?”  Those are the repeated questions as Ron guides us through the photographers.

I can still hear them as we get settled in the car.  They’re taking pictures even now, although it’s got to be pretty hard to get a good shot through the tinted windows.  I shield Erin.  She got enough hate three weeks ago when she wasn’t even dating one of us.  I can only imagine what the fans will say now.

“Well that sure woke me up,” she grumbles.

I chuckle.  “The paparazzi are good for one thing, it seems.  You need to be awake enough to greet the guys when we get to our house.  They’re all excited to see you.”

Erin raises an eyebrow.  “Even Lucas?  I’m surprised.  We didn’t exactly part on happy terms, and now that you and I are dating…”

“He’ll have to be fine with it because nothing Luke says will change my mind,” I tell her. “And if he can’t handle you being around, that’s his problem.”

Soon, our car has pulled up at the brownstone the guys and I call home when we’re not on tour.  Ron got in touch with the rest of the security team, and they’re keeping the paparazzi well back as Erin and I hop out.  I grab our bags, and she takes her carry-on.  Her hair falls in her face, shielding her features from the cameras.  There’s still hope she won’t be recognized.

The guys are all awake.  They must have seen us coming because they’re all gathered in the front hall when Erin and I step inside.  Joe pulls Erin into a big bear hug, and she embraces Jared and Derek, too.  There’s an awkward pause after that as Lucas and Erin meet each other’s gazes.  He looks sleepy, and he’s only wearing sweatpants, so someone must’ve pulled him out of bed.

“Hey,” Erin says.

Lucas does a chin-up gesture and replies, “Hi.  Nice to see you, Erin.”

And even though it’s late, and we leave tomorrow for Boston, Joe and Jared shepherd Erin into the TV room to talk.  I take our luggage upstairs and then go to join them.  The four of us chat for quite some time and then turn on a movie.  After the flight, Erin and I are pretty tired.  She starts to fall asleep on my shoulder, and I doze off, too.

---

I wake with a sore neck as the bright sunlight streams through the windows.  I shift slightly and try to rub the discomfort out of my neck.  In her sleep, Erin pulled away from me and ended up with her head on a pillow at the opposite end of the sofa.

I pull my phone out of my pocket and take a picture of her.  Then I send it to Twitter, saying, Isn’t @e_rose_frederick adorable?

I know I’ll probably get tons of replies, asking if we’re dating now, but I don’t care.  I want Erin to know I’m proud to be her boyfriend.  I’m not going to be ashamed of dating her.

Then it’s time to scrounge up some breakfast.  Derek is in the kitchen, making a sandwich.  He snickers when he sees me.

“Well, it’s about time!  It’s almost noon,” he tells me.

I look at the clock.  Sure enough, Derek is right.  Guess I’ll be getting lunch instead of breakfast.

“Erin and I didn’t get much sleep on the flight,” I reply as I take the box of taquitos out of the freezer. “I just wish we hadn’t fallen asleep on the couch.  My neck is pretty stiff.”

“Well better hurry up and eat.  We leave at two, and we have rehearsals as soon as we get to Boston,” Derek says before heading off with his sandwich and some chips.

A couple moments later, Joe comes downstairs with his guitar.  He makes a face when he sees me.

“Darn it,” he complains. “I was going to come wake you and Erin up.”

“She’s still asleep,” I respond, adjusting the temperature on our toaster oven. “Just don’t blame me if she slaps you once she’s awake.”

While my lunch cooks, I run upstairs and make some phone calls in the privacy of my room.  Since we’re not going to be back in town until the thirtieth, I need to call in some favors to get Erin’s Christmas present.  Hopefully it can be completed in time for New Year’s Eve.  The band is performing at the Times Square show, but we’ll be done at about eleven, so I’ll have plenty of time to take Erin to our private event for two.  It’s all planned out in my head as I talk to the various people who can make the special night happen.

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