"Score! This one has two ports!" Traci exclaimed when we finally found a portable charger. It's the little things in life that make us happy.
We made our purchase, throwing in some chewing gum and a Coke, and found a quiet corner down the road to stop and plug our phones into the charger. Traci was trying to shove both our phones and the charger into her tiny purse, and I was taking a long swig of the Coke, when I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head slightly to see four people walking toward us, and I literally choked on the carbonated beverage.
"Jesus, Aubree. Are you okay?" Traci laughed at me.
I muttered as quietly as I could between coughs, "It's them."
"It's them," I managed to say more sternly.
Traci glanced in the direction I was trying to discretely nod toward. Her already big eyes somehow got larger, and I knew she was freaking out, but she acted nonchalant, as though she didn't see Calum, Ashton, and two of their security guards approaching us.
A mere few seconds later, they were 10 feet away, laughing and talking amongst themselves. We were both trying our best to act like we didn't see them, even though it was impossible not to. The six of us were the only people within sight. As they passed us, Ashton said, "Hey, ladies," and waved as we looked up.
We politely waved back and smiled, but neither of us said a word. After they crossed the road, we noticed Calum look back at us over his shoulder, but he didn't acknowledge that he caught us staring at them. We stood there quietly for a minute, because we didn't want them to hear us freaking out.
Finally, when they were a good distance from us, Traci said, "You know they totally think we followed them."
I closed my eyes at the humiliating realization that she was right and nodded my agreement.
"Whatever. It doesn't matter, I guess. But it's getting late. We should go back to the hotel and try our luck with running into Luke and Michael, before we have to leave," she suggested, and I agreed.
We didn't want Calum and Ashton to see us walking in the same direction as them, so we walked down the street perpendicular to where they were walking, then around the next corner to get to the hotel. There were more fans standing outside the hotel entrance by then, probably about 20. But there was no sign of any of the guys. Apparently Cal and Ash had made a detour instead of going straight back to the hotel.
We hung out in the lobby for a few minutes, as we had been doing when Cashton had made their grand entrance earlier. But it was already 11:00, and we sumised it would be best in our best interest if we just went back to our original hotel to get at least five or six hours of sleep.
Traci sighed and said, "Man, we met Cashton. And hugged them. And smelled them. And, shit, Bree, Ashton acknowledged us first a few minutes ago. We've gotten more out of them than 95% of fans do."
I agreed. "I don't know what we've done to deserve it, but someone was watching out for us tonight."
We just smiled at each other, sentimental tears forming in our eyes.
Traci remembered, "Shoot, I left my sunglasses up in the room. Let's go get them, and we can catch an Uber when we come back down."
"Okay. I can't believe we spent all that money on a room that we haven't even spent 30 minutes in," I laughed at our patheticness. (Is that a word?)
"Yeah, let's not talk about that right now," she said, wanting to stay in denial about that part of our adventure.
I followed her to the elevators, and we stood leaning on the opposite wall, waiting for one to reach the lobby floor. Traci leaned her head back and closed her eyes. I was leaning with my shoulder against the wall, facing her. It seemed to be taking forever.
Then we heard that distinctive giggle. Traci's eyes shot open and she looked at me sideways, the panic showing clearly on her face. Then she suddenly stood up straight and acted cool as a cucumber. She kills me the way she can change her demeanor on demand. I, on the other hand, was frozen. All I could do was stay in that same position and remind myself to breathe.
The giggling and voices got closer and closer until I could sense that they were right behind me. I was terrified to turn around. But my friend saved the day.
"Gosh. Stop following us," she said in a fake annoyed tone, just as the elevator doors opened.
Everyone laughed, and I finally got up the nerve to turn around and face those beautiful boys. Calum walked past me, to the other side of Traci. He wrapped his arm loosely around her shoulders and exclaimed in perfect fangirl tone, "Oh my god, we're your biggest fans. Can we take pictures?!"
The guards, Corey and Joe, laughed as they got into the elevator, while Ashton just smiled and shook his head. "C'mon, Cal, you going up with us?"
Calum let go of Traci, who was still somehow acting like a normal human being, and he gestured to the elevator. "Ladies first."
Who knew Calum was such a gentleman?
"Thanks," I tried my best to say in the most normal way possible, though it still came out a little squeaky. I went in ahead of Traci and stood next to Ashton. The entire inside of the elevator was lined with mirrors, which made the situation even more awkward for me. I made it a point to not make eye contact with Traci, because I knew I wouldn't be able to keep a a straight face if I looked at her.
As soon as the doors closed, Calum got right to the point. "So, does that offer for a drink still stand?"
I literally bit my tongue to keep my nervous giggles from escaping. I knew Traci was shocked by his question, though you couldn't tell. She hesitated, probably trying to formulate a snarky response. But in the end, all she said was, "Of course. But I thought you weren't old enough?"
Both the guards snickered, and Calum elbowed Corey in the ribs since he was the closest. "I'm not old enough out in public. What I do behind closed doors is between us," he said with a smirk. Calum fucking Hood smirked. And I could have died. Actually, I was sure I was already dead and must have been in Heaven. And I wasn't even the one he was talking to.
I risked a look at Ashton in the mirrored door, and saw that he was shaking his head again with his eyes closed. Not in an annoyed manner, just like, "Oh my god, I can't believe he's doing this" kind of way. He opened his eyes and caught me looking at him. I didn't look away, and he grinned and shrugged at me. I stifled a laugh and looked down.
Traci replied to Calum, "Oh, I see. Well then, exactly where would these closed doors be?" Ironically, the elevator doors opened at that exact moment.
"Well, okay, it's not behind closed doors exactly. More like the bar here in the hotel. They'll bend the rules for me. Perks of being a rockstar." He was such a smug little bitch. But it only added to his attractiveness. He once again motioned for us to walk ahead of him, so we exited the elevator. It wasn't until then that I realized that neither Traci nor I had pushed the button for our floor, which was the 10th floor. We were getting out on the 7th floor, where the restaurant and bar were located.
"Um, I didn't realize what floor we were on. Our room is on the 10th floor," Traci told him. She was still playing it cool, but I could tell she was unsure what to do.
Calum looked slightly taken aback. "Oh, do you need to go to your room first? Or are you just not interested?"
"Oh, I'm definitely interested, I just didn't know that you meant we were going right this moment. But I'm good." She then turned to me and asked, "Are you down?"
I was kind of unsure how to respond, because Calum hadn't actually asked me directly to join them. I thought maybe he just wanted Traci to go. I opened my mouth, not exactly sure what to say, and Ashton spoke for me.
"Sure she is. I could use the company. I'm not a fan of being the third wheel." Without any further ado, the guys started walking in the direction of the restaurant, and we followed. Traci gave me a look that screamed, "Oh my fucking god!!" and she discreetly squeezed my hand. It took everything I had to not squeal in delight at how things had taken such an unexpected turn from that morning. It only confirmed that everything really does happen for a reason.