"'Cause you don't need anything that you don't have here with me,
Would you turn, would you turn, would you turn around?
Would it be that hard to do?
If you turned, if you turned, if you turned around
Well, I'd be right in front of you."
-"Turn around" by Josh Wilson
Ella had never been happier with her life. She was in a place where she had a routine or a rhythm. Sure, her life wasn't what she imagined it to be when she was 15. She was happy to admit that her life was better than what she imagined. She supposed it came with age. Ten years later you realize you don't have to one of the Tess Tyler's of the world to be successful and happy. No, she was happy just being Ella. So many things had happened that she had never expected like, for instance, her friendship with Nate Black. Never in her life would she have thought he would become her most important and treasured friend. She wasn't even sure how it had happened. She was formally introduced to him at the beginning of her third summer at Camp Rock, but she still wasn't sure how they moved from acquaintances to great friends.
She supposed it all started four years ago when she was hired to be one of Connect Three's back up vocalists. They only hired two, and they didn't really need any, but Nate said it made the songs sound fuller. Ella had discovered that she loved being back up. It wasn't bad at all. She was onstage every night with some of the best musicians in the business and she wasn't just talking about Nate, Shane, and Jason. Connect Three had one of the best back up bands she had ever heard. They even had a string section. That first time touring with them had been so amazing and so much fun. The more time she spent with the guys the more she liked them. Not that she hadn't before, but she couldn't say that she had ever been as close to them as Mitchie or Caitlyn had.
If Ella had to nail down a moment where she and Nate became true friends then she would have to say it had happened at the beginning of her first tour with them. Shane, Jason, herself, and Nate were all supposed to meet up and hang out for a quick dinner. At that point in time Ella had been closest with Jason. She was still close to him now. How could she not be? The two of them were a lot a like. Both Shane and Jason had been detained by phone calls from Mitchie and Caitlyn which had left her and Nate alone. Ella remembered being afraid that her bubbly nature would clash with all of Nate's intensity, but she had discovered something about Nate that night.
He was a very complex man. She had seen a side of him at that dinner that she had never seen before. She had seen the real Nate. He was lighthearted and witty. He had even smiled a few times. They got along very well, and after that they seemed to seek out shelter in each other at whatever events they were attending. Over the years she'd discovered that Nate had a lot of "sides" to him. Before she knew him well she had only seen "Band Leader Nate". His "Band Leader" side was passionate, anxious, and yet patient. After being asked to record backing vocals on a few of their tracks she had come into contact "Record Producer Nate" who was by far Nate's most intense side of himself. When he was in the studio he was completely focused on achieving the perfect sound. He wanted the recording to sound exactly like what he had heard in his head. Some times that was possible and some times it wasn't but either way he's going to work his hardest to try and get it there. As the years went on she met "Morning Talk Show Nate" and "Red Carpet Nate" who were a little lighter than the other Nates.
But it was just plain Nate that she enjoyed the most, and it was just plain Nate who was coming over tonight. Connect Three and the band had two weeks of separate rehearsals. The guys had to get all the details hammered out while the band worked on the arrangements Nate had given them. And it was tradition for the two of them that after those two weeks were over they would get together for Nick at Night reruns and junk food. Ella was pretty sure they did this because they both knew that there wouldn't be much time hang out for the next three weeks. Nate, Shane, and Jason would be putting in extra rehearsals for the tour and so would the band. Yes, their rehearsals would be taking place at the same time, but when you only have three weeks to perfect a massive concert tour there isn't much time to talk. So they spent an entire evening together before the rehearsals from hell started as a way to make up for all the time they were going to have to miss. She heard the lock on her door turn and she grinned. That would be Nate. He had some how gotten a key. She was fairly certain that he had charmed her building manager into giving him one. Every one in the building was so used to him that he no longer had to stop by the security desk and be announced by the doorman. The doorman would just smile and wave as Nate walked on through.
The door opened and Nate entered. He was holding a grocery bag full of junk food while Ella paused the television. The ability to pause live TV had to be the best innovation ever.
"Hey," She said with a smile as she got up from the couch and gave him a hug. He smiled and hugged her as well. He threw the bag of junk food down onto the coffee table as he and Ella released each other.
"So, what's on tonight?" He asked.
"All night marathon of the Nanny," Ella gushed excitedly.
He laughed, "Oh good, your favorite."
"I know right? I'm so excited," Ella said as she sat back down.
Nate chuckled and settled in beside of her. One of the many reasons he liked Ella was because of her ability to enjoy simple things like all night marathons of The Nanny. There was an optimism about everything she did that made him want to hold on to every moment he had with her. He tended to be a little cynical himself, and Ella's ability to find a positive in almost every situation had drawn him in. He had initially just wanted to figure her out. He wanted to know how Ella worked and what was behind all the sunshine and rainbows she threw at everyone. But once he had figured that out he was too addicted to walk away. Ella was more than the happy bright person she appeared to be. She had a history and baggage just like every other person in the world. The only difference was that Ella chose not to mope about it or dwell on it. He admired that about her. He was the type that liked to sulk, and that was fine for a while but he did occasionally tend to take it too far. For the last four years Ella had been the person by his side letting him know just WHEN he went too far. She always managed to find the perfect words to let him know that he needed to snap out of it. She didn't bark at him the way Caitlyn would have or caudle him the way Mitchie tended to. No, Ella fit some where in between. She was honest, stern, and yet gentle all at once. Before Ella pushed play he pulled what he had brought out of the bag.
"And tonight, m'lady, we have gummy bears, gummy worms, and Hershey's Kisses," He grinned as he opened each bag. He knew Ella had a weakness for gummy anything.
"Yes! Gummy bears and The Nanny? This is just a night full of awesome," She smiled as he popped a couple of gummy bears into her mouth.
He chuckled and reached for a handful of gummy worms as Ella pressed play. Nate smiled affectionately as Ella sang along with the theme song and chuckled softly once the song was over and Ella began to blush a little bit.
She cleared her throat, "I told you I liked this show."
"Maybe you should record a cover of the theme song. You sounded pretty good," He smirked.
"Shut up," She said with an embarrassed laugh as she buried her head in his shoulder.
And there was another thing Ella did that he found adorable. Any time she wanted to hide her face she would lean into his shoulder. It didn't matter what they were doing or what they were watching because it was an action that always made him smile. As a matter of fact he seemed to smile more around Ella than anyone else.
And everyone but Ella knew why.
Nate Black was in love with her. He had been for nearly two years now.
He just couldn't seem to find the right time to tell her. He had thought about telling her tonight, but he worried that his confession would make the rest of this night awkward. He didn't want to do that. This was one of the only nights he had with her for the next three weeks. But in this moment with her face buried in his shoulder he realized that he couldn't keep it to himself any longer. When she pulled away he knew it was now or never. His heart rate seemed to speed up and he swallowed thickly.
"Nate?" Ella asked in concern. "Is everything alright?"
He took a deep breath, "El?"
"Yes?" She asked worriedly.
"I'm in love with you."
Nate had never seen Ella's face completely blank until now. She had frozen and was staring at him with wide emotionless eyes. He was terrified out of his mind. The silence seemed to stretch on forever and he was tempted to hop up and run.
"You're what?" Ella asked in a tiny voice.
"In love with you," He stated again.
"Since when?" She asked as she stared at him in confusion.
"Do you remember the first night we did this?" He asked.
"Yeah," She said with a small smile. "I got a little carried away with the wine at Tess's release party and you made me come home. Except I didn't want to go to bed and I hadn't really eaten too terribly much at the party so you stayed up with me while I watched reruns and ate a little bit of food."
He nodded, "Since then."
"B-but that was almost two years ago!"
He had been imagining a lot of reactions in his head, but what he didn't expect was for Ella to rear back and punch him in the arm. Hard.
"Ow! What was that?"
"You've been in love with me for TWO years and haven't said anything?" She asked with a glare. "You idiot! Do you know how much time you've wasted!"
Nate blinked at her, "Wait, what?"
Ella sighed, "If you would have said something sooner we wouldn't have wasted two years. And now-"
"Hold on, rewind a second. Are you saying you're in love with me too?"
Ella's glare evaporated and she looked down at her hands before giving him a soft smile, "You never really gave me any other option, Nate. How could I not fall in love with you?"
He smiled and didn't wait for her to say anything else. He swooped in and captured her lips with his. He felt her hands slip into his curls and he smiled against her lips. He didn't think he would ever have a more perfect moment in his life.