"Goddamnit, Corrie, would you just pay attention to what I'm saying for five minutes?!"
I blocked out my best friend's voice as I lay on my bed. She'd been yelling at me for the past half an hour and she just now realized that I'd not been listening.
"Jess, shut up. Noah does not – and I repeat again for your sake as I have for the past four months – does not like me. It's blatantly obvious that he only sees me as a friend and nothing more," I answered exasperated. How many times did I need to tell her?
"Well it's 'blatantly obvious' that he definitely wants to be more than friends, Corrie. For god sakes, the boy drove you to his house when you were shitfaced drunk knowing that your parents would freak!"
I rolled my eyes and attempted to suffocate myself with my oversized pillow, anything to end this conversation and leave that stupid story behind. "Forget about it, Jess. I know you're quite the romantic but it's not happening. Leave it be."
She groaned and by the rustling on the other side, I figured she too was trying to asphyxiate herself.
"Fine, fine. I have to go anyways. Tony's going to call soon. But don't think this conversa—"
And with that, her voice shut off for the time being.
Thank goodness, I thought. I walked down to the kitchen and saw that my brother was at the table eating Cap'n Crunch and reading the comics.
Paul glanced up at the clinging the cups made and set his paper down. "Hey, sis."
I quirked the corner of my mouth in response and filled my glass with water from the fridge. He was still watching me from the rim of his bowl (he was drinking the rest of the milk). I pretended not to notice and continued sipping my water while thinking about Jess' thoughts of Noah and me. I mean come on. Even if by chance Noah did have feelings for me, it would never work. We'd been friends since eighth grade up to this year, our junior year. It'd only result in awkwardness.
I jumped and glanced over at Paul. "Yes?"
"Can I talk to you for a minute?"
I looked around and saw that he was sitting at the table with his cereal bowl in front of him. Paul glanced pointedly at the chair next to him, apparently wanting me to sit.
I looked at him suspiciously but sat down anyway. Big. Mistake.
"So, Corrie. How are you? How's life?" he started, pushing his blonde hair out of his eyes.
I furrowed my eyebrows together. Um.
"Really? You know what would make it much more grand?"
I narrowed my eyes at his boyish face and tucked a strand of blonde hair I shared with him behind my ear. "What are—"
"A boyfriend!" Paul screamed.
I stared at him dumbly. Then it came together in a huge, vibrant picture before my murky brown-blue eyes. "Jess."
"What?" he asked just as cheerily.
I glared at his pure blue eyes, just waiting. Then finally his shoulders drooped heavily.
He sighed dramatically and nodded. "Jess."
I let out a strange animal type noise in frustration. "How many times have I told you not to do anything for her?! You know whatever she has planned won't work!"
"But Corrie! Noah—"
"No! God, why can't anyone understand that Noah does not and will not ever like me in a romantic fashion!" I shouted.
All Paul did was raise an eyebrow. "'Romantic fashion'? Where do you learn all these phrases?"
I smacked him upside the head. "I'm going out. I'll be back later."
"Be home by nine!" he called out while I walked out into the foyer.
I slammed the door as a reply. Pulling on my hoodie, I trudged down the street toward the nearest Kroger knowing it was about eight; the ice cream "store" should still be open.
I walked in the direction of the store and was greeted by Noah himself. "Hey there, Corrie."
I smiled. "Hey, Noah. Can I get—"
"A scoop of mint chocolate chip in a waffle cone and could I please, please, please add some rainbow sprinkles on top?" Noah finished laughingly.
I open and closed my mouth several times before answering. "How did—"
"Lucky guess," he replied modestly with a shrug while picking up an ice cream scooper. Did I really come here that often?
I didn't call him on his humbleness and instead waited for my cone to be finished.
Since it was around eight-thirty by the time I arrived at Kroger's entrance doors, I lazily sat down at the closet table doubting anyone but me to buy an ice cream cone in the middle of November.
Soon enough, Noah came over with my ice cream. "Mint chocolate chip in a cone topped with rainbow sprinkles and whipped cream."
I looked up at him puzzled. "I didn't ask for—"
He grinned. "I know. I also know you love whipped cream. I found some in the back. No biggie."
I gave him a small smile and nodded toward the chair across from mine. "Sit."
Noah did and we began talking about nothing in particular while I ate my cone.
Long after I had finished (it only took me about ten minutes), I stayed in order to convince him that The Notebook's Noah was indeed much more sentimental than him.
"Are you kidding? I can be just as sappy and crap as that Noah!"
"Noah, let it go. It's a girl sort of thing," I said soothingly trying to let him down gently.
"Fine," he replied defeated. "Hey, can I talk to you about something?"
"Uh, what time is it?"
Noah checked his cell phone. "Ten to nine."
"Can we talk about it on the way to my house? I have to be home soon."
He nodded. "Yeah, sure. Let me close up though. It'll be quick."
Few minutes later, we were off. Noah had on a hoodie and a corduroy jacket and had shoved his hands into his pockets.
All I had was a thin hoodie but I did the best I could by pulling the sleeves down to cover my hands and thrust them into the pouch. Out of nowhere, I felt a hat being pushed onto my head. Noah was fixing it so that I could actually see. We stumbled a bit and eventually had to stop walking.
I faced him and he tried to push my fringe out of my eyes. With the parking lot lights, his silver lip ring occasionally winked at me as Noah moved. He seemed very determined to make sure none of my hair was in the way, making his normally amber eyes adorned by copper specks a dark golden color with abundant orange flecks.
A little bit of Noah's shaggy dark hair was hanging right over his nose. He tried flicking away but it continued to bother him. Unable to take anymore of the reluctant piece, I pushed it away from his face. By then, he had finished adjusting my fringe and was now looking at me funny.
Noah smiled. "Thanks. It was bugging me."
In lack of anything clever to say due to my apparent embarrassment, I muttered, "Welcome," and stared at the snow covered ground.
We started on our way again in a slightly comfortable silence, the snow crunching under our steps.
I shivered and then grimaced at my own stupidity of bringing only a sweatshirt in the middle of winter.
I glanced up at Noah. "Right, yeah. You said you wanted to talk about something?"
"Yeah. Yes, yes I did."
We kept walking as it began to lightly snow. It reminded me of a snow globe, how unhurried the flakes seemed to float down.
"Okay. What was it?" I asked again.
"Yes! Jeez, sorry."
"It's fine." I looked up at Noah again to see him playing and gnawing on his lip ring.
"Okay, right so. I just wanted to—"
Oh, it is love, from the first,
Time I pressed my hand into yours,
Thinking, Oh, is it love?
Oh, it is love—
I fumbled with my phone until I finally had it opened and pushed the Talk Button. "Hello?"
"You do realize it's like ten after nine, right?" The voice on the other side sounded muffled, like they were eating.
"And you remember when I said to be home by nine, correct?"
"So, in theory, when you do get home approximately a half an hour after the set curfew, I should punish you. I mean I think that's how Mom and Dad would handle this."
"Paul. Shut up. I'm with Noah."
"Oh! Noah, is it? Put him on."
I took the phone away from my ear and stared at it questioningly.
"Put him on the phone, Corrie," Paul said.
I shrugged and handed Noah the phone. "Paul wants to talk to you."
He looked at me as I'd gazed at the phone but took it from my hands anyways. "Hello?" He paused for a few seconds then said, "No. Well— You sure? I don't know. I— Okay. Fine. Okay, bye." He closed it gently then handed it back to me.
"What did he want?" I asked as I shoved it in my pocket.
"Oh. Um, he wanted to see if 311 tickets were still on sale."
I was about to ask why my brother would ask Noah but thought better of it. Paul had many doubtful connections. By the time this all went by, we were nearing the block my house was on.
"Okay. So, you were saying before my brother called?" I recalled.
"Yes, so. What I was trying to say. You know, me and you have been pretty good friends over the years, true?" He didn't give me a chance to answer before he carried on with his thought. "And what I've noticed is that through the years, we've gotten relatively closer than what we had started with, yes?"
I didn't know whether to reply or not but it seemed not to matter because Noah kept precisely on track. "Right, so what I'm trying to say is—"
Oh, it is love, from the first,
Time I pressed my hand into yours,
Thinking, Oh, is it—
I cut off the great song and hit the Talk Button again. "Hello?"
"Corrie! How's it going?"
"Jess. What are you doing?" I all but growled. I felt bad to keep disrupting Noah.
"Oh nothin' really. But a little birdie told me that Noah was walking home with you."
"How—" I began but immediately shut my mouth. Paul. "I can't believe you two are in cahoots with each other!" I hissed.
"Could you be a pal and give the phone to Noah for a bit?" I couldn't see why they didn't have the power to call Noah's number.
"Chop, chop, Corrie dear. We don't have all night." Though, I was starting to think they didn't have the mental capabilities in order for that common sense to flow through their systems.
I glanced at Noah beside me who gave off a good impersonation of someone who wasn't listening. I gave him brownie points for that. "Jess. She wants to talk to you about something."
I rewarded him with gold stars this time for looking bewildered.
"Hello? Je— No. Yeah, I know. Mhm. Yes. Jess— God, yes already! Okay. All right. Bye." Again, he shut the phone carefully and gave it back to me. Noah smiled weakly and I understood that he felt bad for them calling my phone. I offered a small grin that conveyed that I knew it wasn't his fault.
We had at last reached my house and were walking in the path that leads to the porch. The only light on was the living room but as soon as we were a few yards away from the steps, it shut off and thumping on the stairs could be heard resulting in my brother's light turning on.
I rolled my eyes but gestured to the steps. Noah brushed the thin layer of snow lay on the top step off and let me sit down first before bending down. His feet that were covered with Vans were on the third step and his elbows rested on his jean-clad knees.
I sat with my feet on the second step and huddled my arms between my stomach and thighs. I'm such a moron. Noah turned to me and opened his mouth to speak.
Oh, it is love, from the first,Time I pressed my hand—
I swear to god. "Hello?"
"Why hello, Corrie. Fancy hearing you still out and about."
"Jess, what the hell are you doing?"
"Corrie, we don't have much time so you're just going to have to do what I say okay?"
"Peachy. Now listen to me."
I walked away from Noah till I got to the end of the path. "What, Jess?"
"You're gonna have to kiss Noah."
"Excuse me?" I asked flabbergasted.
"You heard me. Noah's too damn shy for his own good so you're the one who's going to have to get the ball rolling."
"Jess! No! The ball will be staying in place. That ball is-is-is not going anywhere, all right? The ball is staying put."
"Corrine Ann Johnson! I know you have feelings for that kid if you're too blind to see them and the same thing for his feelings towards you. I will not have you—"
"I'll talk to you later, Jess."
"You will not be—"
"Hanging up on you? Yes, I do think I will be." And I cut her off for the third time tonight.
I walked back over to Noah and saw him putting away his phone. I was going to ask him who it was but didn't think it would be that nice since I'd been interrupting him for the past half an hour or so.
Luckily he answered for me. "It was one of my friends. Sorry."
I almost laughed. He's sorry? Instead I shook my head and smiled.
I sat down again on the cold steps and looked out in front of me. Kissing Noah? Obviously Jess had had a rough day because she couldn't possibly be thinking rationally. I don't kiss boys. I'm an old fashioned person. I let them make the first move.
I turned my head to Noah. "Okay, one more time. What were you saying?"
He faced me and stared at me with a small smile tugging on his lips. I saw a clump of snow on one of his ears and moved to brush it away. As soon as I did, Noah grabbed my hand and I noticed he hadn't looked away from me since he'd turned around.
Without looking away, he laced his fingers through mine. His hands were surprisingly warm in this cold weather but I wasn't complaining. All I was looking at was the unique shade of gold his eyes were at the moment. They were a mix of the usual amber and a caramel type color with little speckles of a light orange. It was such an insane blend that I was wondering what color his parents' eyes were to make such a weird swirl.
Noah's other hand went to my face and stroked it softly with his thumb. "Snowflake," he said but that was hardly a problem.
I found myself glancing at his lip ring from time to time. Would it be cold?
Wait, what was I thinking? How could I ever know? Why was I even wondering?
Noah was unnaturally close to me now, his knees in between mine, completely facing me. How he even got that close was beyond me but now I was wondering what color his eyes would be named because I couldn't think of a singular label for them.
I saw Noah taking a quick look over my face before returning to my eyes. Then in a blink of an eye, Noah kissed me.
The first thing I thought of was that his lip ring was cold, but not too cold. After that, all thoughts vanished from me. With the hand that was holding mine, his thumb was caressing my palm softly. His other hand was gripping my arm gently as if to make sure I wouldn't run.
Then almost as quickly as it came, Noah pulled away.
"That's what I wanted to say."
He got up after untangling himself from me and walked down the path. The next thought that came to me was simple:
Jess will never let me live this down.