Airplane washrooms are much smaller than I remember.
I've been in here for almost 6 minutes, I'd say. (Heh...6 minutes...) I don't know what came over me...or Ellie...but I felt like I couldn't breathe. I know: you'd think that being in this cramped space would make me even more claustrophobic than I already was, but I don't think anyone (other than a contortionist, maybe) would be able to even imagine how asphyxiated I felt in that situation. But I know I'm still going back, nonetheless...
I finally exit the washroom, struggling to get past the sink and the door. I don't know how people do it... And to think that I'm average size! As I return from the tiny airplane washroom, someone seated in the center aisle spots me.
"Oh, God," he whispers audibly. "Don't tell me you're a freakin' Jonas brother! In First Class?! Pssh!"
I press my lips, giving him a thin grin, and keep on walking. Sometimes it feels like we have more haters than fans. It's really starting to get to me.
Nick sits back down next to me on the plane and sighs, letting his hands fall carelessly into his lap.
"Don't fret; your plaid shirt looks charming!" I say to him a little jokingly. It's only a few moments later when I realize that his depression is genuine. "What's wrong, Nicholas?"
"Nothing," he replies, even though I can tell that something is definitely wrong. And I know that when a guy asks you to leave him alone, or says that nothing's wrong, he's just actually saying, 'Please come and listen to me.'
"Is it something I said?" I ask.
"Is it something I didn’t say?"
"Is it something I did?"
"Is it something I didn’t do?"
We pause for a moment.
"Is it something I said in casual reference to something I did, when the thing I did shouldn’t have been done, or at least should’ve been done differently with more concern for your feelings?"
He seems to consider that for a moment, then replies, smirking a little, "...Maybe."
"I knew it," I joke.
He releases a tiny laugh, but then sighs again. I lean my head back on the headrest; prepared to listen to what he has to say.
"We have so many haters who say what they want, when they want. They always post comments on our MySpace and YouTube saying how crappy we are, and how we're not good enough to be famous. They constantly call us posers and stuff...it's horrible..." He vents to me, and begins tapping his fingers against his leg impatiently. I stare at my lap, nervously playing with my hands.
"Even just now, when I was coming back from the washroom, some guy completely dissed me when I passed him," I can see him run a hand through his hair, restlessly, in my perifrial vision. He shifts in his seat a little. I look over at him and let a nervous feeling creep its way into my stomach, for an unknown reason. I release a sigh before speaking. I turn a bit towards him, and slide my arm around his shoulders.
"Nicholas...you're better than this. Don't listen to the people who call you a poser. You shouldn't dwell over the negative. I've known you for quite a while now...and look at all the people who love you, and who love your band! We believe in you because we can truly tell that you're a great person... And don't be afraid to stand up for yourself just because you think people won't listen to you. Always remember that for every person who doesn't believe in you, or doesn't like you, that their are 100 people, even more, that love you. Those are good odds I'd say!"
"But what I have is hard," Nick pouts. Goodness, he's so cute!
"Of course it's hard! But wow...it is something special! You are such a sweet person. Who wouldn't want to get to know you?"
He stalls for a moment, and then looks up at me slowly.
"Thanks, hey?" He gives me the most gratifying and appreciative smile one can receive. We hug.
After countless games of solitare on my iPod, I'm almost out of battery. I look over at Nick to see what he's doing. It looks like he's writing. I tilt my head to a certain angle; trying to read what he's writing. It looks like a poem.
"I write this on my day of days... Leading my hope to think she's out of harms way," it reads. "Obviously thinking day in and day -"
Nick snatches his paper from the folded-down table in front of him.
"Hey, I was reading that!" I laugh at his shocked expression.
"What did you read?" He seems a little scared.
"Hmm...nothing much," I say, ignoring his tone. "Why are you writing in cursive?"
"Because it's more romantic," he states, matter-of-factly.
"Oh, so it's a love poem, is it?" I raise my eyebrows up and down at him.
"Who said it was a poem?"
I shrug, and put my earphones in again so I can listen to one last song before we land.
Puerto Rico is beautiful. Words cannot even begin to describe it. Once we had arrived, everywhere we looked we could see people enjoying the warm weather and basking in the sunshine. As soon as we set up all of our stuff at the beach house we're going to be staying in, we decided to go straight to one of the more secluded beaches. Our two families walk across the hot sand, towards the water, all wearing some kind of clothing over our swimwear; carrying our shoes and sandals. Frankie runs up to his dad, and grabs his hand, leading him to the shoreline where a seagull lays dead in the sand.
"Daddy, what happened to him?" Frankie asks.
"He died and went to Heaven," Mr. Jonas replies.
Frankie seems to ponder that for a moment, and then says, "Did God throw him back down?"
"No, Frankie!" Kevin Sr. laughs, and begins to explain what he meant by his previous statement, as myself and the three older Jonas brothers begin to walk the other way; down the shoreline.
"It's so awesome to have you here, Ellie!" Nick puts his arm around my shoulders, still walking. "You make the day seem even sunnier..." He removes his arm; stalling to think about what he had just said, "Was that too corny?"
I laugh, and can feel my face turning a little red, despite the sun's heat, "No, it was great!"
Joe takes a big bite out of the apple he's holding, and burps.
"Wow, Joe," Kevin rolls his eyes at Joe's rudeness. "I think somebody needs a vacation."
"He is on vacation..." I point out, giggling a bit.
"Sorry," Joe says. "I guess I'm just a bit tired."
"I can see that," Nick smirks.
"How do you guys cope with it all?" I ask.
"What?" Kevin asks. "Like, lack of sleep and all?"
"Well, you see, we could be either optomistic or pessimistic about it all..." Nick begins to explain to me. "What I'm trying to say is, we could be constantly complaining how we'd rather be dead than endure this endless mental torture and harrowing sleep deprivation... But then again, we could also look at it the way in which we always do, and tell ourselves that with all this hard work comes the ultimate gratifying result we recieve every day from our fans being there for us!"
"Heh... Yeah, I guess you're right about that!"
"C'mon," Joe motions for us to follow him into the water, taking off his shirt. "Let's have a quick swim before sound check!"
We all nod in agreement, taking off our over-clothes; leaving them in a small pile on the sand.
"Wow," I release that single word, breathlessly; my voice falters slightly. I can't take my eyes off of Nicholas. He walks over to me.
"Hey, have you been working out?" I ask, smiling with wide eyes, quickly looking him up and down.
"Hah...yeah," he laughs uneasily.
"You look great," I say to calm his nerves.
"Thanks..." He flexes, jokingly. "No one can touch my muscles!"
"Yeah, right!" I roll my eyes, laughing. "You wearing sunscreen?"
"Yes I am...thanks for reminding me, mommy," he says sarcastically, smirking at me.
Wow...honestly, it's like his cuteness is unstoppable... And the best part? He's way too sweet to realize how hot he is!
"Anybody home?" He laughs, waving a hand in front of my face. I must have zoned out.
I just laugh, shaking my head, and run further into the turquoise waves, motioning for him to follow me. When he gets close enough, I splash him. Joe and Kevin join in, moments later, and we all continue to have the time of our lives, swimming and running in and out of the waves. Needless to say, the entire time, I felt like I was floating on a cloud, surrounded by rainbows.
"Hey, Ellie?" Nick starts off.
"If you fancy a break from the sunshine, I've got something kind of exciting to share with you..."
"What is it?" I ask suspiciously, smiling.
"Well...it's a secret. But you don't wanna miss this, 'cause the bonfire tonight is optional, but what I'm going to show you right now is pretty much mandatory," he wades a little closer to me. "Sounds tres bien, non?"
"Hmm... Yeah, I guess it does!" I run back through the waves, to where we all left our over-clothes. "Let's go!"
He follows me, and from there he leads the way. We walk along a sandy path, past rows upon rows of palm trees. Nick occasionally looks down at the small, pamphlet-style map that his mom lent him.
"Nicholas, where are we going?" I ask for a fourth time.
"I guess I'm gonna have to tell you, or else you'll just keep on asking, huh?" He chuckles. I just nod, grinning. "Alright, then. We're going to where our band is gonna run through all of our songs...where we're getting our instruments tuned up and all."
"But aren't you performing at the Centro de Bellas Artes tonight?"
"Yeah, but we're rehearsing at a separate outdoor venue," he smiles. "It's right up here."
We approach the back of the venue to see an open doorway. We walk up the ramp leading to the doorway. Upon entering, Nicholas tells me to close my eyes. He guides me with his voice, holding my hand. When we reach a certain open, breezy spot, he tells me to open my eyes. I open them, taking in the scene around me. We are standing on a large outdoor stage; the audience is filled with countless empty seats. It's hard for me to stop looking around, or even say anything, since it's such an awesome and interesting sight for me.
"I can't believe this...you are amazing...thank you...wow," I stand there, staring out at the audience, then back at Nicholas. My smile is blinding my eyes.
"Don't worry about it," he smiles, and slips his arm around my waist. "It's always more fun to share a good thing with a friend, right?"
"So do you like the view?" Nick asks half-jokingly.
"I love it."
"You know...you're going to want to start thinking about where your true skills lie..." He tells me, implying my singing.
My face feels hot, my shoulders become weak, and my voice becomes a little more quiet, "I have to get there moment by moment."
"I know..." Nick commences slowly, but then changes the topic. "Listen -- before we do anything else, I'd like to play you a song first."
"That would be awesome," I look at him gratefully.
He leads me over to the piano and motions for me to sit beside him.
"So unless you're living under a rock -- which isn't something I'd recommend -- chances are that you're dying to hear one of the songs off of our new CD!" He laughs.
"Of course!" I say enthusiastically, and smile. "I haven't really had any time to listen to it; just on the plane ride here."
"Alright, I'll play one that you know, then."
I think for a moment, and then turn to him, "I'd really love for you to play When You Look Me In The Eyes."
"I'd love that too."
We get a little closer, but Nicholas speaks up again, "This song is a classic for me... It isn't nearly as broken and hopeless as it sounds, but whenever I feel beaten down by love or anything else, I just love to play this song. And whenever I feel like giving up on something, this song gives me the energy to move on, and stick to my morals."
I don't say anything, but I simply smile at him, and he begins to play the song. Nicholas' voice rings clear throughout the venue, and his piano sounds powerful and beautiful, all the same. I hate the thought that this moment has to end, so I get nostalgic for it even while it's happening. I do my best to burn this magical moment into my memory so that it will always be a part of my life. But then...I begin to realize that even though every song and every special moment can't last forever, and has to end eventually, my memories of them will stick around forever, no matter what. Overall, it was undeniably an experience that I never wanted to end.
"It's golf the way it appears in your dreams!" Nicholas announces shortly after he's finished the song. He quickly leads me over to one corner of the stage, holding my hand again. "...Well, at least in mine!"
I laugh at his enthusiasm, and with a small chuckle, I let go of his hand and grab a club.
"I always think I'm going to have some kind of fun explosion whenever I play golf," he says. "But that never seems to happen...!"
I look at the golf club in my hand in mock-fear, "I swear to you, this club's whole goal is to hurt me!"
"Not good at golf, huh?" He laughs; as do I.
"I dunno...let's just say I'm dangerous in golf!"
"Ha! Don't worry, Elise, I'll help you along!"
"Alright, fine!" I give in. "...So where's the nearest golf course?"
"Oh, we're not going to a golf course."
"Then why do we have clubs and a bucket of balls?" I ask him, completely confused.
"We're gonna play here!"
"Yup!" He picks up the bucket of balls, and sets it down; right at the front of centre stage. "Here!"
"Oh, Nicholas..." I smile and roll my eyes, then stand right next to him. "When will you stop surprising me?"
After almost half an hour of Nicholas helping me perfect my swing, he asks if I am going to be coming to the bonfire tonight.
"Hmm...I guess I probably will."
"Awesome!" He smiles widely. "'Cause this is pretty much gonna be the highlight of our summer! How cool is that? Wait, I'll answer for you...VERY!!"
"I bet it'll be awesome!" I grin. "But for now, I just wanna go back to the beach house. From what I saw, it looked so beautiful!"
It definitely was beautiful...and it was also perfect for lazing around during the hour before the concert started! I step outside, into the fading sunlight, to see Kevin sitting on a wicker chair, reading. He has his glasses on. Joe is sitting opposite him in a lazy chair. I walk over to Kevin.
"Whatcha reading?" I ask him, sitting in the chair next to him.
He doesn’t answer.
"Can I see the cover, then, if you won't answer me?"
Still no answer.
"I guess I'll have to find out for myself," I crouch down beside him, trying to bend my head under his book to see the title.
"Maybe he's hoping the glare from his glasses will...light your path...?" Joe says in a misty voice full of wisdom (not), and continuously nods his head slowly. He’s in one of his moods again... Oh, dear... I tilt my head a little, looking at him with a peculiar expression on my face.
"...What?" He shrugs.
"Dude, are you hungry?" I ask him, still looking at him oddly. "I mean...what's the deal with the wafers?"
He holds up his wafers, showing them to me, "Delicious!"
"Hah...whatever..." I turn to go back inside, but accidentally bump into Nicholas in the doorway.
He almost drops the box that he's holding, but catches it just in time.
"Whoa! That was close!" He laughs, then looks at me. "Come on inside, Elise."
"Yeah?" I take a step inside.
"So...now, since you know a lot of our songs, and are on tour with us, you just have to be the ultimate fan with these ultra-cool Jonas Brothers shirts!" He tells me and dumps the cardboard box into my arms. I bring it over to the couch inside, and open it to reveal numerous articles of Jonas Brothers merchandise!
"You're too much!" I laugh, hugging him. "Thank you so much, Nicholas!"
"What beats a soft, heather pullover? Not a heck of a lot." Joe tells us, referring to the big, grey, comfy sweater that he's wearing.
Both of our families are walking down to the bonfire on the beach in the twilight.
"You know what's awesome?" Kevin asks, rhetorically. "Electricity."
We all release small laughs.
"No. Seriously!" He persists. "I mean, look how beautiful our place looks all lit up and whatnot."
I look back at the beach house, easily understanding what Kevin means.
"Hah! So does it freak you out that we're gonna be spending a lot of time away from electricity at the fire, then?" I ask, jokingly.
"No, not really... But when Joseph and Nicholas tell me what to do -" He laughs. "Now, that freaks me out!"
"I never tell you what to do!" Nick turns on Kevin.
"No, not really," Kevin agrees with him. "It's mostly Joe that does that kind of stuff."
"Exactly," Nick eases up.
"But I'd say you're the one who tells me what not to do," Kevin continues.
"Yeah right! ...Like when?" We reach the fire, and he sits himself down on a large rock.
"Like when you told me not to tell anyone that you are totally in -"
"OKAY, OKAY!" Nick stands up, inturrupting Kevin; making him cut off the rest of his sentence. "I get it now."
"Hey, you're the one who asked!" Kevin laughs, as his father comes over to us with a box of kindling.
"Here, Joe," Kevin Sr hands Joseph the box. "You can be the one to start the fire."
"Yeah, he's always the one who starts the fire," Kevin Jr rolls his eyes, implying Joe's attraction to danger.
Mr Jonas laughs, and then walks back towards the beach house. Joe takes a couple attempts at lighting his match, until he finally gets it.
"You done yet?" Nick asks impatiently, wandering off to the side of us all.
"Yeah, Joseph," I speak up, chuckling. "How long does it take to start a fire, anyway?!"
"Hold on, you guys!" Joe sighs. "This might take another minute or two...could be three..."
"I have to say, bro...this fire's not too bad!" Kevin pats Joe on the back. "Considering some of those other times..."
"What other times?" I ask.
"I actually lit Nick on fire once..." Joseph states, calmly. "Just kidding..."
Nick gives a small laugh over from where he is on the beachy area. I guess he's still in earshot. I can't help but notice how, like now, he usually stays out of the way, but always looks good doing it. But Nicholas is not the only good-looking thing here tonight. The darkness itself is beautiful the way it's lit up from the bonfire, the stars, and the fireflies... And I find it really amazing how if we're really quiet, all we can hear is the crackling of the fire, and the chirping of the crickets. This totally beats the city...no doubt.
"Would you like some meat-a-la-twig, Ellie?" Joseph offers, sliding a hot dog onto a stick. He begins to roast it over the fire.
I laugh, "No thanks, Joseph. I'm good for now."
"Good," he says, just as the hot dog catches fire. "I don't think you'd want it now anyways."
He blows the fire away, then goes to grab it with his two fingers, "WHOA! Huh-huh-hot!"
"Well, Joe," Kevin raises his eyebrows, and grabs a small plastic bag from behind him. "You can have your huh-huh-hot dog, but I'm gonna have some toasty toasty toast...I mean marshmallows."
I laugh again, "Oh, Kevin! You're so corny."
"I hope that's a good thing!" He eyes me.
"Of course it is!" I smile, then look over at Nicholas. I walk over to his somewhat secluded spot on the beach.
"Hey, whatcha doing?" I sit beside him on his blanket over the sand.
"Not much. Just relaxing, I guess."
I smile and look at him...but this time, I really look at him; at the side of his face lit up from the distant fire...at his eyes twinkling from the moonlight reflecting off of the water...
"Why don't you come on over, Nicholas?" I offer, momentarily straying away from my own thoughts. "This fire's not gonna last forever, you know!"
He looks up into the sky, and then instantly widens his eyes, "And neither will that shooting star! Don't forget to make a wish!" He puts his arm around my waist, bringing me closer to him.
I immediately close my eyes, racking my brain for a suitable wish for this moment.
"Star light, star bright..." I pause, slowly looking up at Nicholas, still making his wish with his eyes closed. "Can wishes really come true?" I whisper to myself.
Things get much too confusing when the heart and the mind cross swords.
Nicholas and I walk along the beach barefoot, carrying our sandals. We attempt to sneak past Kevin, Joe, and the rest of the family unnoticed, but Joe spots us.
"Hey, Ellie, are you gonna come roast some marshmallows with me?" He asks, excitedly.
I look at Nicholas, "Nah, sorry, Joe. I'm kinda tired... I'm just gonna go up to my room and relax for a while..."
"How about you, bro?" Joe asks Nick in turn.
"Uhm, same here..." He yawns. "I'm pretty tired too... I think I'll go upstairs for a bit of a lie-down."
"Oh, really?" Kevin smirks. I think he suspects something... I even notice my father giving Mr Jonas a stern look to what we had just said, but Kevin Sr sooths that with a calm nod of his own. He knows his son, and I truly respect that.
"Let's hightail it outta here!" Nicholas whispers to me playfully, and starts running towards our place. I follow him, and then look back, but it's hard to see anything in the darkness. I stop running. Nicholas takes my hand, and we walk slowly along the shoreline. My heart feels like it's slowing down into a coma.
This is so great; Ellie's hand in mine as we're walking along the beach in the moonlight... The only thing that could ruin a moment like this is what just ruined it. We both look back. We can see Kevin and Frankie circling the bonfire, chanting like Native Indians, as Joe sings over top of them. From what I can hear, he is singing something ridiculous along the lines of how we are of Cherokee descent, and how we wear headdresses whenever we visit our tribe... Totally not true!
"I wonder if they realize how loud they actually are!" I laugh.
"Yeah..." Elise smirks. "I guess some people don't have to go very far to find adventure!"
"Heh...you're right about that!" We continue to make our way back to the house, hand in hand.
She was like a spark in my life when we came back to her. And when I saw her again for the first time, it was like everything before that without her was empty. But the past doesn't matter now, because now I know she'll always be here.
As soon as we enter the house, we toss our shoes on the front mat, and take a seat on the couch in the open living room.
"...So did you have as much fun as I did at the fire?" Elise asks to break the silence.
I laugh, "How I resisted the urge to run over and throw myself on to the bonfire through sheer boredom? I do not know."
She laughs even more, "Yeah, right! You must be joking!"
"Heh...yeah, I am."
We sit in silence again, and I begin to debate with myself whether I should actually speak up about what's on my mind or not.
"What's up, Nicholas?" Elise asks, concerned, moving slightly closer to me.
"...Well, I've uhh...I've been thinking a lot about someone lately..." I can feel my face heat up, and I know it's turning slightly red.
"Yeah," I say firmly, and look up in her eyes. She tries to conceal her feelings by looking away, but I know her better than that.
For a few seconds when I was talking to him I actually didn't feel like I had a big dark secret looming over my head. But now, however, it's the total opposite. I look back up at him after moving away. How did I never notice how drop-dead gorgeous he is? ...With eyes that I could stare into forever...and ever, and ever...
"...You know, I -..." I pause for a moment, and then kiss him on the cheek. I didn't really mean to do it...it was just an instinct.
"Hey!" He says, shocked, but smiling.
"Sorry," I say.
"No, don’t be," he turns his head so his lips are directly in front of mine. "That’s better."
Our forheads touch. I can feel his hot breath on my mouth. I stare continuously at his lips with a strong sense of longing... And then our lips meet for a kiss that has been long overdue for months. I start to kiss him back even stronger, and angle myself more towards him, as he does the same to me. He tugs at my bottom lip with his lips, sending major shivers up my spine. I rest my hand on his knee, getting more involved, and he caresses my cheek with his hand. We continue to kiss for a few more moments...until:
"OH. MEH. GEH."
We break apart to see Joseph and Kevin standing there. Kevin is smiling big time with his arms folded, laughing quietly at Joe, as Joe is standing there, open-mouthed.
"Hey, you guys…" I say quickly and awkwardly, moving away from Nick, immediately trying to forget what just happened. I can see him blushing and smiling embarrassedly out of the corner of my eye, and make it a pact with myself to try to not look at him.
It was just a kiss. Forget about it...it doesn’t matter. It was only a kiss -- a soft, tender, pleasurable kiss -- NO! Forget about it. It meant nothing: nothing to me, nothing to him...nothing. He is my best friend after all. We’ve known each other since we were seven. We just weren't thinking...but I can't stop thinking about it; how warm and moist his lips were -