A/N: this is a long one guys. You'd think the fact that I actually like Dana would discourage my Natella bunnies. But since I've written two Natella one shots in two days...I guess it didn't, lol. Oh! Btw, if you haven't heard of Huey Lewis and the News you should be ashamed of yourself. They're amazing. And the song I mention in this story (and that my title comes from) is called "Power of Love" and it was featured in Back to the Future. It's one of my favorites and it sounded like something Ella would like as well. Enjoy! and thanks to JDPhoenix, PotR, and Standard-Ang3l for reading over this (or parts of it) for me! They were a big help!

Cruel Sometimes

By angellwings

It was the last night of camp. The majority of the group was gathered around the fire with the exception of a few people. Namely Dana and Andy. Yes, Dana and Andy. But Nate was okay with that. He and Dana had been over for a while. He liked Dana, and she was talented and sweet, but the spark just didn't last. They had remained friends, but that was all. So Nate hadn't been bothered by Dana's interest in Andy. It had actually made his life a little easier. Everyone could now see that he and Dana were definitely over.

He'd been trying to get that across all summer.

And, of course, it was the last night of camp when it finally sank in.

His gaze met Ella's across the fire and he smiled softly at her. She blushed and returned the smile. Their eyes lingered on each other for a moment before the marshmallow Ella had been roasting caught on fire. She yelped and stood quickly to blow out the flame. Everyone turned to stare at her and her blush deepened.

She laughed nervously. "I think it's done."

Did he mention that he'd really wanted one specific person to realize he and Dana were over? And did he mention that that specific person was Ella?

He laughed lightly as he watched her struggle with putting together her s'more. He got up and walked over to where she was sitting. "Need some help?"

She had her stick under her arm, the graham cracker and the chocolate in one hand, and a napkin in the other. "Um, maybe."

He smiled and took the chocolate and graham cracker from her hand. He smushed the cracker and the chocolate around the marshmallow and pulled it off the stick and then set the completed s'more on the napkin in her hand. "There."

She smiled at him and set the stick on the ground. "Thanks. Would you like to sit down?"

He nodded. "Of course."

He sat down next to her as she took her first bite of the s'more. The insides of the marshmallow fell into Ella's lap. She huffed. "And the night just gets better and better."

Nate winced and handed her another napkin. She sighed and scooped up what she could of the marshmallow.

"Are you okay, Ella?" He asked. She'd seemed jumpy and a little down all night long.

"I just—it's the last night of camp, and this summer's been great, but…a part of me can't help feeling like I've wasted time. Not at camp, but just in general. You know what I mean? I just feel like something that should have happened this summer, didn't. It's been bugging me all night."

He knew exactly what she meant because he felt the same way. They were the "something" that should have happened. "Ella, I—"

"Oh my gosh! I love this song!" Ella exclaimed suddenly as the song changed on the radio. "Sander, turn it up!"

"This? You want me to turn this up?" Sander asked with a smile.

"It's Huey Lewis and the News! Of course I want you to turn it up!"

Sander chuckled and turned up the volume. "You and Huey. I will never understand it."

"Hey! Don't knock Huey! 'Power of Love' is my favorite song!"

Nate sighed as she and Sander argued. He waited rather impatiently for their banter to stop, and finally she turned back to him. She must have noticed his annoyed expression because she immediately placed both of her hands on his arm.

"I'm sorry! I'm so sorry!" she told him urgently. "I just get really excited when this song comes on. I can't control it. What were you saying?"

"This is your favorite song?" Nate asked as a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth.

"How could it not be my favorite song?" She asked him rhetorically as she began to sing along. "You don't need money. Don't take fame. Don't need no credit card to ride this train. It's strong and it's sudden and it's cruel sometimes, but it just might save your life. That's the power of love."

He smiled warmly at her and chuckled. "I've always been more of a fan of 'The Heart of Rock'n'Roll', but 'Power of Love' is a good one."

She gasped. "You listen to Huey Lewis and the News?"

"They're classic."

"They are! Thank you!" Ella exclaimed as if she were relieved to finally find some one who understood.

"All right, Rockers," Brown announced as he stood from his log. "Time for lights out. Let's go. Early morning tomorrow."

The group groaned and slowly stood up. Nate continued to sit where he was. Had that really just happened? Had he come so close only to run out of time? Ella stood and then turned to face him when she realized he wasn't following.

"Nate? Are you coming?" She asked with a smile.

"Can we talk?" He asked her as he joined her.

"Oh, um, of course," Ella said with a nod. "What about?"

They were suddenly rushed by Baron, Sander, Andy, and a lot of the other Camp Rock guys, and Ella was surprised to find that Nate was no longer standing in front of her. She blinked before craning her neck to look around for him. She spotted the guys dragging off not just Nate, but Jason and Shane as well. Caitlyn and Mitchie appeared at her side.

"What are they doing?" Ella asked.

"Apparently they felt the need to throw the rockstars into the lake," Caitlyn sighed.

"B-but—now? Nate was trying to talk to me about something!"

Mitchie quirked an eyebrow at her. "Really? And that would be?"

"I don't know!" Ella yelled in frustration. "We didn't get that far."

"Oy! What are you doing!" Brown yelled after the guys. He shook his head as he headed toward the pier. "I said lights out!"

He sounded like he meant business but the grin on his face said otherwise. He turned as he walked and spoke to the girls.

"Ladies, please be on your way to your cabins."

"But Brown—"

"Ella, it's lights out. I know you want to keep hanging out, but tomorrow is a big day. So, go on, off to your cabins."

Ella sighed and nodded. "Okay. We're going."

Mitchie and Caitlyn shared a knowing look as they followed Ella to the cabin.

"You okay, Ella?" Mitchie asked.

Ella shrugged. "Yeah, I'm fine. Why wouldn't I be?"

Nate growled in frustration as he climbed back onto the pier.

Sander laughed loudly as the three young rockstars emerged from the water. "You should have seen all of your faces! It was hilarious."

Brown smirked at them as he stepped onto the pier. "All right guys, time to go inside."

"Now?" Nate asked with a huff.

"Yes, now. It's 11 PM, lights out. Let's go."

Nate looked past his uncle to where he'd left Ella, and cursed under his breath. Brown had probably sent her inside too.

"Awesome," He said dryly as he turned and stomped off toward his cabin.

His only choice now was to wake up early and try to catch Ella before the bus took all the Camp Rockers to the airport.

Ella stood outside the bus. She tapped her foot and crossed her arms over her chest. She had thought that Nate would try and talk to her again before she left. The bus was minutes away from leaving. Ella had been told to board several times all ready, but she was putting it off in the hopes that Nate would make it in time.

Peggy poked her head out of the bus door. "Ella? Are you coming?"

"Yeah," She told her with a nod. She turned back to take one last look at camp. "Come on, Nate."

"Is he still not here?" Mitchie asked as she came to stand beside of Ella.

"No," Ella said with a whine. "And I don't think I can put off getting on the bus much longer."

The bus driver walked toward the bus and stopped in front of Ella.

"It's now or never, Miss. You get on now or I have to leave you here."

Ella groaned and threw her hands up in the air. "I give up. Mitchie?"

"Yeah?" Mitchie asked sympathetically.

"Tell Nate that I said bye, okay?" Ella asked as she turned to board the bus.

Mitchie nodded. "Not a problem. I'm sorry he didn't get here, Ella."

She sighed. "Me too. Bye Mitchie."

"Bye Ella," Mitchie said as she watched the girl climb the steps. The door closed, and Mitchie walked away as the bus drove off.

Mitchie shook her head and wondered where the guys were. She'd thought they all would have been up early to say goodbye to people. She looked up to see Nate running around the corner. He saw the bus driving off and slowed to a stop. She watched as he berated himself and threw his hat on the ground. He sat down on the nearest bench with a thud and ran his hands through his hair. She slowly approached and sat down beside of him.

"They left," Nate said as he shook his head.

Mitchie nodded. "You just missed them."

"I knew I should have brought my own alarm clock," Nate said with a clenched jaw. "Your boyfriend broke our alarm clock this morning. It woke him up and he hit the snooze button too hard and broke it. Then—then—he went back to sleep without waking myself or Jason."

Mitchie winced. "That's not good."

"No, no it's not. But I can't kill him because it would take too much time to find his replacement, and I'm not in the mood."

"If it makes you feel any better, Ella waited for as long as she could."

"No, actually, that doesn't make me feel any better. That makes me feel worse."

"She told me to tell you 'bye'," Mitchie added.

Nate sighed. He would have rather have heard that from Ella, herself. He couldn't believe he had missed her. They'd come so close.

Camp ended and Connect Three went back out on tour. But Nate couldn't get over his missed opportunity with Ella.

"Dude, come on," Shane said as he sat down next to him on the bus. "It's not like you won't see her again next summer."

Nate glared at his brother. "Next summer? That's a year from now."

"So?" Shane asked. "It's better than nothing."

Nate rolled his eyes and turned his back on Shane. He picked up his guitar and strummed. How could he have been so stupid? Why did he wait until the last possible second to try and talk to Ella? He switched chords automatically. He had no idea what he was playing but he was too caught up in insulting himself to notice.

Jason laughed and patted Nate's shoulder. "Man, you've got it bad."

His brow furrowed. "What are you talking about?"

"That song. You do know what it is, don't you?"

He blinked. He'd been playing a song? "No."

"'Power of Love'? Huey Lewis and the News?"

His eyes widened. "Ella's favorite song."

Jason smirked at him. "Exactly."

"I didn't even know I knew that song."

"Like I said. You've got it bad, little brother."

"Do we have a cover ready for the next show?" Nate asked Shane and Jason curiously.

"No, why?" Shane asked.

Nate grinned at them. "Can we play 'Power of Love'?"

"Really?" Shane asked. "You realize Ella's not going to be there to hear it."

"So? I think…it might make me feel a little better."

Shane nodded and smiled at his brother. "Then, I'm cool with it. Jason?"

"I think it sounds like fun."

"Awesome," Nate said with a small smile. "Thanks."

"Hey, if it will get you out of your funk then I'm all for it," Shane told him honestly.

"Guys, where are we?" Ella asked as Tess's limo stopped.

Dana grinned at Ella. "Somewhere fun."

Ella glared suspiciously at the girls sitting around her. "What does that mean?"

Mitchie patted her hand. "We just thought you could use a small camp reunion, that's all."

"And a night out with the girls," Peggy agreed.

Ella sighed. "I just want to go home. I'm this close to perfecting pleats."

Besides all she really wanted to do was eat ice cream and watch chick flicks. She wasn't in the mood for a night out on the town.

"Nope," Caitlyn told her. "You're not going home. Besides, we're already here."

"And the guys went to a lot of trouble to arrange all this," Tess told her. "Not to mention, I made my driver work on his day off. We're staying."

"The guys?" Ella asked as panic rose in her stomach. "What guys? Okay, really, where are we?"

Dana smiled brightly. "Let's just say your about to see the one guy you haven't been able to stop thinking about since the summer ended."

"Are we at a Connect Three concert?" Ella asked with a gulp.

Everyone nodded and Ella's breathing quickened. "Oh God, I think I'm gonna be sick."

Ella desperately searched through her clutch. She needed her lip gloss, and her crystals. She kept them with her for times just like this one. Once she found a bathroom she could get to sparkling. It would keep her properly distracted. Peggy grabbed her wrist and hauled her out of the limo.

"Let's go," Tess said. "We have VIP seats."

"We have what?" Ella asked.

"Jason and Shane got us into the VIP seating area. It's roped off at the very front of the stage," Mitchie explained.

"Jason and Shane? So, Nate doesn't know we're here?" Ella asked.

"Nope. They haven't said a word to him about this," Caitlyn grinned. "He's been in a mood too apparently."

"Hey! I have not been in a mood!" Ella protested.

"You've done nothing but make outfits, eat junk food, and watch movies since you got home from camp," Peggy pointed out.

"And the last time I called you, you snapped at me when I mentioned Shane," Mitchie laughed.

"He broke their alarm clock! I didn't get to say goodbye to Nate because your boyfriend has a hard time getting up in the mornings. The next time I see him I might have to smack him," Ella told her with a pout. "Where's the nearest bathroom in this place?"

"Ella, you do not need to sparkle anything," Peggy told her knowingly.

"Yes I do!"

"There's no time," Peggy said. "The concert's about to start. We need to find our seats."

Ella could feel herself shaking with nerves all ready. She would be seeing Nate tonight. Nate! Would she finally get to find out what he wanted to talk about?

They found their seats just as the lights went down and the opening act was introduced. When Connect Three finally took the stage Ella's nerves were forgotten. She was too caught up in the sight of Nate. He looked good. Shane and Jason carefully avoided the VIP section, and Ella briefly wondered why. It was almost like they didn't want Nate to notice that she was in the audience.

After performing "Heart and Soul" they transitioned into a song that Ella knew a little too well. She smiled brightly as the familiar guitar riff started, and she couldn't help the enthusiastic yell that escaped her throat as Nate began to sing. She also couldn't stop herself from singing along. Loudly. That was her favorite song, and Nate was singing it. For some reason, she was very excited by that fact. It felt so…intimate, even though he wasn't even looking at her.

Ella suddenly felt someone's eyes on her as the song finished. She looked up to find Nate starring at her in shock. A huge smile spread across his face and he winked. Ella blushed and smiled at him in return. She gave him a small wave. They moved onto the next song after that but Ella could have sworn Nate seemed to have more energy than he'd had before. The rest of the crowd seemed to notice the increase in energy because they began to scream louder than Ella had ever heard Connect Three fans scream before.

Caitlyn cleared her throat and leaned toward Ella. "Maybe you should be at all of their shows."

Ella's pink blush turned deep red at Caitlyn's knowing smirk. "I'm sure he just got a second wind or he's running off of adrenaline or something."

"No," Caitlyn laughed. "I'm pretty sure it's you."

The concert ended and Mitchie rushed them all backstage. She stopped to chat with Connect Three's bus driver, Oliver, on the way, and Oliver then led them through security and told them exactly where to find the guys. They knocked on the door of Connect Three's green room. The door opened and Shane immediately enveloped Mitchie in a hug.

"Ew, ew! Shane! You're all sweaty!"

"Psh, you think it's hot and you know it."

Jason rolled his eyes and turned to Ella. "Nate's still in his dressing room. When we left he was talking to himself."

"Which way—"

Jason pointed across the hall. "Right there."

"Thanks," She said as she took a shaky breath.

"Good luck," Dana told her as she and the others walked into the green room. That left Ella to stare at the door in front of her. She took a deep breath and lifted her fist to knock, but before she could the door opened. Nate had taken one step out the door before he'd realized she was standing there. Now they barely stood an inch apart.

They stared at each other for several seconds. Just drinking the other in. Ella looked gorgeous. She was wearing a purple sequined spaghetti strapped dress, and her hair fell gently across her shoulders. But she could have been wearing a feed sack and he still would have thought she was breathtaking.

Ella could tell that Nate had hopped in the shower very quickly. There was a very soapy smell floating around him. It was heavenly. Not to mention his curls were wet and sticking to his forehead.

"Hi," Ella said softly.

"Hi," Nate said with a smile. "You're here."

She smiled and nodded. "I'm here."

"I didn't think I would get to see you again for a long time," He told her.

"Same here," Ella said honestly. "I thought we were gonna have to leave things the way we did at camp."

"I still can't believe I was too late to catch your bus."

"Neither can I. I still don't know what you wanted to talk about," Ella told him seriously.

Nate stepped back inside his dressing room and motioned her inside. He took a deep breath as she stepped through the door. "Well, you're about to find out."

Nate cleared his throat before closing the door and continuing. "First of all, I'm sorry I didn't make it to the bus in time. I tried. I really tried—"

"I know," Ella interrupted him with a soft smile. "Mitchie told me."

"So you're not mad?" He asked.

"At you? No. At Shane? Definitely."

He chuckled and nodded. "Me too."

They fell into a comfortable silence as they smiled at each other. This was actually happening. They were finally standing in front of each other again. Ella cleared her throat. "Was there a second of all?"

"Hmm?" Nate asked distractedly.

She grinned. "Earlier you said 'first of all', is there a second of all?"

"Oh! Second of all," Nate said as he took a step closer. "You're gorgeous."

Her eyes widened and she blushed. "Um, thanks. I actually just finished this dress the other day so—"

"The dress is nice, but that's not why I think you're gorgeous."

"Oh," Ella said as she turned a deeper shade of red and smiled brightly at him. "You don't look so bad yourself."

He quirked an eyebrow at her. "I just got out of the shower."

"Exactly," She said softly.

He gave her an amused look, and decided to change the subject. "So, that night at camp when we didn't get to talk…"

"Right," Ella said with a nod. "What did you want to talk about?"

He took a deep breath and cleared his throat. "So, over the summer you and I spent quite a bit of time together, right?"

She nodded. "We did."

"Well, I sort of started to…have feelings for you."

She smiled brightly. "You have feelings…for me?"

He nodded. "I do. A lot of feelings."

"For me?"

His brow furrowed. "Why do you make that sound like it's so impossible?"

"Because…it is. I mean I'm Ella. The fashion loving, sometimes ditzy, loyal sidekick and comic relief. And you're—you're—"

"I'm what?"

"You're Nate. The dry, pessimistic, insanely talented supporting character—"

"For the record, you're insanely talented too. And what does any of that have to do with us?"

"Well, if this were a movie…no writer would even think about putting us together," Ella said softly.

"What does that mean?" He asked fearfully.

"It means that I—I don't know," She said with a shaky sigh.

Nate took a step closer. "Ella, it's simple. Do you have feelings for me? That's all that matters."

Of course she had feelings for him. She knew she did, but if they decided to try something would they get very far with it? Or would it fizzle out like Nate's relationship with Dana? Would they be able to be friends too or would things get awkward? Did she want to risk losing Nate all together? She looked up to find Nate, and jumped when she saw that he'd taken several more steps forward since she'd looked away. He was only centimeters away.

She gulped and thought she should probably say something, but before she could Nate brought a hand up and cupped the side of her face. He caressed her cheek with his thumb.

"Ella, don't do something you'll regret," He told her softly.

She couldn't think to do anything with him standing so close to her. And then he did something she really didn't see coming. He stepped back.

She panicked. She didn't want him to step back. She reached out and put a hand on his arm. "Don't."

"Don't what?" He asked.

"Don't step away. I—I liked how close you were."

He didn't move. It was her turn to step into his space. He wanted to know that she really wanted something with him. When he didn't say anything she took a couple of steps forward. She took a deep breath and smiled softly at him.

He fought to keep his arms at his side as he smiled at her. "Well, we're close. Now what, Ella Pador?"

She bit her lip, and then slipped her hands in his. "We give this a try."

"You're sure?" He asked.

She nodded. "I'm positive."

One of her hands untangled from his and worked its way up to the back of Nate's neck. She couldn't resist sinking her hand into his damp curls. His free hand rested on the small of her back and pulled her flush against him. Ella released his other hand and rested her hand on Nate's chest, and he placed his hand on her waist. There was only one move left to make. The question now was who would make that move. Just when Nate thought he couldn't wait any longer Ella rose on her tip toes and covered his mouth with hers. Nate smiled against her lips and leaned down so that Ella could put her feet back on the ground. He wrapped his arms around her and held her tightly as he deepened the kiss.

Ella let out a soft noise that was something between a whimper and a groan as Nate backed them up into a wall. His thumb was absently rubbing Ella's back even as they hit the wall, and the feeling of the contact through the fabric of her dress was driving her crazy. How was she supposed to ever stop kissing him if he was going to do that? But for Nate, it was merely retaliation for how crazy having her hands in his curls made him feel. Never in his life had it felt so wonderful to have a girl's hands in his hair.

He nearly growled at her when she moved her hands from his hair to his shoulders. She pulled away, and he huffed. "What are you doing?"

"Breathing. It's kind of a requirement if I want to stay conscious."

"Well, hurry up and breathe. We're not finished."

Ella laughed and smiled at him. "We're not?"

"Not by a long shot," he said as he started kissing a spot just below her ear. She bit her lip and held back a groan.

"Nate," She said as her hands went back to his curls.

"Hmm?" He asked as he continued to kiss that spot.

"Do you think the others are wondering what we're—"

Before she could finish her question his lips were moving against hers again. He paused for a split second to answer her. "Not important."

She tried to pull back from the kiss to ask another question, but Nate kept a firm hold on her. Eventually she gave up trying to talk all together. He felt her relax in his arms and smiled as they kissed. His lips moved from her lips to her neck.

"How do you not need to breathe more?" Ella asked him in amazement. He lifted his head from her neck and chuckled.

"I sing for a living. Lung capacity is sort of required. Besides, El, I've wanted to kiss you for quite a while now. So breathing? Not really important to me at the moment," He told her with a smirk.

She grinned dreamily at him. "You called me El."

"Should I not?" He asked with an amused grin.

She shook her head. "No! I like it. I don't normally, but when you say it…it doesn't sound so bad. As a matter of fact, it kind of sounds wonderful."

He leaned forward to kiss her again but was interrupted by a loud pounding on the door. This time Nate actually did growl. He yanked the door open and glared at Shane as he smirked knowingly on the other side.

"Well, hello there, brother. If you're not busy, we were thinking about tracking down some food. Would you and your beautiful companion like to join us?"

Nate kept his glare steady. "I hate you."

"What were you two crazy kids up to, I wonder? Hmm?" Shane asked. "Did I interrupt something?"

"I really really hate you."

"So, the talk went well I assume?" Shane asked with a chuckle. "Did you get all of your feelings out in the open?"

"Shane," Ella said with a grin. "I already want to smack you for breaking that damn alarm clock, and if you don't shut up you're going to get yourself hurt even more."

Shane laughed. "Yeah right, like you would smack me."

Ella pulled her arm back and punched Shane in the arm. Hard.

"Ow! That hurt!"

"I warned you. Didn't I warn him, Nate?"

Nate grinned at Shane and kissed Ella's cheek quickly. "You certainly did, El."

Shane muttered curses to himself as he walked away.

"Hey! Lovebirds!" Caitlyn called from a little ways down the hallway. "Let's go eat! I'm starving!"

"I'd much rather stay here," Nate whispered to Ella.

She laughed and laced her fingers through his. "Come on, these guys planned all of this for us. The least we can do is break bread with them."

He grinned and quirked an eyebrow at her, "Break bread? Who says that?"

"I do, thank you very much. Now, let's go. For once, we're all together during the school year. We should enjoy it."

He sighed and squeezed her hand. "You're right. I know you're right. Besides, we'll have plenty of time later to make out."

"And maybe while we're out we can embarrass the heck out of Shane and pay him back for the alarm clock incident," Ella said with a sly grin.

"Now that sounds like a plan," Nate smirked.