A/N: It's finally done! Took me long enough, huh? I'm really sorry about that. Excuses, excuses, I know. The next story, however, will definitely be updated on a weekly basis. I'm gonna write it all out first, and then present it to you all when it's at the absolute best! I love you all for your support, and please check out the Tumblr blog dedicated to the fics here on ! I'll answer questions you might have, and post teasers/deleted scenes. Speaking of which, there IS a deleted scene for this story. Logan and Kendall write their own song, and you can find it on the blog. The link is on my profile! Thanks again for your support. I love you.
Yawning, Carlos rubbed the sleep from his eyes, smiling when he heard his phone beeping. Opening the message, he was greeted with a picture of Norah. Chuckling, he turned on the camera, taking a picture of himself. He was comfortable in bed, but if she was up, he was ready to get up too. Sending the picture, Carlos sat up and stretched, scratching the back of his neck. The room was empty; James usually woke up before Carlos. As he expected, James threw a small tantrum over the fact that he'd gone to McDonalds with Norah, instead of somewhere "more appropriate." Shaking his head, he opened a new message to Norah, typing: I'm posting that picture to Twitter. You're adorable in pink. Almost immediately, he received a reply.
You can post mine if I can post yours. xo
Running his thumb over the picture, Carlos posted it to Twitter. No more than six minutes later, Norah posted his as a reply. Setting his phone on the dresser, he pulled out the clothes he wanted to wear, and quickly changed. He thought about what his fans would say in response to the picture, and grinned at the thought of asking Norah what she should be referred to as. Norah, his friend, or Norah, his girlfriend? Their second date turned out as successful as the first, with Carlos taking Norah to the video store to rent as many movies as they could watch in a day. After that date, they went ice skating, and he taught her how to balance properly on the ice so she wouldn't slip anymore.
When Norah had to practice with the team, Carlos would stop by afterwards to say hi, and if Carlos had to spend the day in the studio, Norah would spam him with photo messages. She quickly picked up on how to avoid Gustavo or Kelly if she wanted to sneak into the studio to bring Carlos lunch, and he would always thank her with a kiss to the cheek. They still had yet to kiss on the lips, or talk about what their status was, but Carlos liked that. He didn't want to go on one date and immediately be boyfriend and girlfriend. A couple weeks had passed since that first date, and he still hadn't even introduced her to his friends. Today, however, that would all change. He considered the options, and decided after two weeks, he wanted to say Norah was his girlfriend. Whistling the tune to My Girl, he jogged down the stairs to the living room.
"So Carlos!" Kendall called out his name, stretching the vowels as he practically sang them. James and Logan sat on either side of him, and the boys leaned against the kitchen counter as Carlos opened the fridge to grab a bottle of water. He smirked, twisting off the cap and taking a dream. "Are we finally gonna meet this Norah girl today?" The boys batted their eyelashes, cackling with each other as Carlos set the water bottle down.
"Yep," he answered simply. Freezing, Kendall, James, and Logan stared at Carlos.
"What?" they asked in unison, exchanging glances. Since his first date with Norah, the boys had been asking Carlos when they were going to be officially introduced. He dodged their question masterfully, always coming up with an excuse or a way to avoid it. Carlos took another drink, wiping the corner of his mouth.
"You're meeting her today. We're hanging out by the pool, and you're gonna meet her," he explained. Grinning from ear to ear, Carlos sat down on the couch, checking his phone to see if Norah had texted him back. Approaching him curiously, Logan folded his arms over his chest.
"What's with the sudden change of heart?" he questioned. Kendall and James stood beside him, copying Logan's pose. Carlos chuckled, shrugging as if he didn't know what they were talking about. "Oh come on, don't play dumb! What's going on? You've got that 'I know something' face on." Again, Carlos laughed, shrugging. His friends sat around him, and he licked his lips.
"I'm gonna ask Norah to be my girlfriend. Tonight," he revealed. At first, the boys seemed excited. Then their expressions sobered, and turned to confusion.
"I thought she was already your girlfriend," Kendall said.
"You've been doing the whole dating thing for like two weeks, right?" James added, frowning. Carlos nodded, folding his legs underneath him.
"Yeah, dating. That doesn't mean relationship, you know? We're taking it kinda slow. I think that works better for us," he admitted. Logan's expression went from confused to impressed, and he patted Carlos's back.
"Wow," he said, his lips pursed. "That's actually pretty smart, Car." Kendall and James appeared to agree, and they watched as Carlos answered a text, presumably from Norah. Tucking the phone away, he pushed himself up, standing in front of his friends.
"You all ready to go?" he asked. James, Logan, and Kendall looked outside, wondering if they could spot Norah at the pool.
"What, now?" Logan figured with the sudden maturity Carlos showed, he'd be able to give them a heads up as to when they would be meeting his soon-to-be girlfriend. Sighing, he smirked, knowing that even if Carlos could be mature, he was still Carlos, and old habits died hard. "I guess I'm as ready as I'll ever be." He stood beside Carlos, and James and Kendall exchanged one last glance before grinning up at Carlos and standing beside him.
Together they walked down to the pool, with Carlos stopping them at the doors. He found Norah immediately, and a grin stretched across his face as he got down on his stomach and army-crawled to the table she was at. His phone in hand, he lied down by her chair, taking a picture of her. The boys watched as her expression changed from blank to amused, and she took out her own phone, snapping a picture of Carlos. He laughed, and she helped him up, turning when he beckoned his friends over. James looked impressed that Norah didn't reprimand him for the picture, as did Kendall. If he ever did something like that to Jo, she would complain about how bad she looked from the angle. Already, the boys could see that Norah worked well with their wild brother.
"Guys, I'd like you to meet Norah," Carlos held out his arms, presenting Norah extravagantly. Logan chuckled, being the first to hold out his hand. Smiling earnestly, she took it and shook, doing the same for James and Kendall. "Norah, these guys are my best friends- brothers, actually. This is James, that's Logan, and that's Kendall." Pointing out each friend, he sat down, inviting Norah to sit on his lap.
"It's nice to meet all of you," she said, her hand resting beside Carlos's on the table. "I've been told so much about you. Carlos always tells me the funniest things you boys do together! Tell me, how did you manage to turn the pool into a jacuzzi?" Laughing at the memory, the boys exchanged glances, before all of them looked to Logan. He exhaled heavily, his lips curling up in a small smirk. The jacuzzi was by far his best work, and to this day he remained proud of it.
"All I had to do was reroute some tubing, turn on the fans that are used for the central air conditioning- Totally not even rocket science after you get through the whole water vs. electricity thing," Logan boasted, earning a small, playful shove from James. Norah clearly didn't understand, but she smiled anyway, laughing when she and Carlos exchanged looks. "Yeah, the guys did the same thing when I explained it then too." James and Kendall joined in with laughter, and soon enough, Logan was chuckling too.
"Hey, I'll be back in a sec, I'm gonna get us some smoothies," Carlos announced, sliding out of the seat and squeezing Norah's hand before walking away. Norah folded her hands on the table, her eyes darting from them to the boys.
"So, Norah, how do you like America? I've read that you've lived in Brazil your whole life," Kendall stated, attempting to diffuse the silence. He wanted to befriend Norah, just as he was sure the rest of the guys did. If she really meant a lot to Carlos, then he wanted to be supportive, and welcome her into their group. The boys tried to do the same for Jo, although mostly her time was split between filming, promoting her career, and dates with Kendall. Clearing his throat, and the thoughts buzzing in his head, he quickly added, "Carlos told us you wanted to try out McDonalds." At this, James buried his face in his hands, his body trembling as he stifled his laughter.
"I can't believe he did that. I still. Cannot. Believe it."
Norah smirked, nodding.
"He said you would freak out over that. I didn't believe him at first," she replied. Logan rolled his eyes, shaking his head. Turning to look at Kendall, Norah bit her lip and thought about what she'd told Carlos when he asked similar questions. "I really enjoy the freedoms I have here. There's so much to do and so many things to try. I'm having fun - and I owe so much of that to Carlos. He says you boys could teach me how to play hockey!" Kendall grinned, giving Norah a thumbs up.
"That'd be cool. We're the best hockey players at the Palmwoods-"
"The only hockey players, actually," Logan corrected Kendall with a smirk, and Norah giggled. Carlos had told her all about his brothers, and her impression of them was exactly what she expected. She liked them, and she could only hope they liked her too. Their thoughts would more than likely mean a lot to Carlos, and she respected that.
"Alright, smoothies, everyone!" Carlos exclaimed, five smoothies balancing in his arms. James took a couple, passing them to Kendall and Logan, while Carlos handed one to Norah. This time, he sat in her lap, both of them laughing as he did so. For the remainder of the morning, the boys talked to Norah, and Carlos admired how all of them were already connecting so easily. He hadn't expected anything less from his supportive family, but it was still a relief to see everything working out so well. Grinning from ear to ear, he soaked in the hopeful feelings he had toward the outcome of the night. If everything went the way he wanted it to, by this time tomorrow, he would officially have a girlfriend.
"DOGS! Griffin has asked me to get a couple songs from you boys. He insists that you're capable of writing smash hits for your next album, and I'm insisting that you got lucky ONCE. I'm gonna need at least two songs from you by tomorrow morning!"
Sighing into his pillow, Carlos rolled over, staring at James. He paced on the opposite side of the room, the tip of a pen between his teeth. All day they'd known about this assignment from Gustavo, but they'd blown it off until the last minute. Partially, Carlos was thankful. Now, he didn't have to worry about asking Norah to be his girlfriend. The nerves got the better of him, and just the thought of it was beginning to make his stomach sour. What if she said no? What if she decided they should just stay friends? Of course he would respect that, but it would break his heart. He really liked Norah.
"You got anything yet?" James asked, glancing down at the small notebook in his hand. Carlos shrugged, flipping a couple pages back in his binder. Kendall and Logan had already worked out a song, and they told James and Carlos the other one was their responsibility now. It wasn't that the two boys didn't want to do the work and pull their weight as much as it was they weren't the best at writing songs - especially together. However, tonight felt different. There were bits and pieces of lyrics coming to Carlos's mind, but he couldn't figure out how to link them together. At any rate, he didn't know how good of a song it would make. All of his thoughts were coming from something he remembered Norah saying.
"With my Dad, and even my brothers, I just- I felt invisible. They never really acknowledged me outside of soccer. It was weird growing up like that, and then suddenly having all of these fans that adore you and want to know who you are."
"Sort of," Carlos replied, pushing himself into a sitting position. James walked over to him, plopping down on the empty bed space. Underlining the lyrics he liked most, Carlos handed the binder to James, and in return, took the notepad from James's hand. Reading over the few things he'd jotted down, Carlos nodded, liking what he read. "Are you gonna speak up or lose yourself in a crowd... Can't give up, but can't walk away... This is a good start, I guess." Trying to encourage James, Carlos flashed him a smile, but James didn't return it. He shrugged, still trying to figure out the messy scrawl that was Carlos's handwriting.
"It's stupid. I like what you've got here though," James lifted the binder, circling a small chunk of lyrics that Carlos hadn't bothered to underline. "The sky's the limit and I'll be by your side? You're not invisible to me? Now those are good lyrics." Feeling a small sense of pride swelling up, Carlos scratched the back of his head, chuckling.
"Well, it gets easier to write when there's a girl on your mind," he reasoned. At first, James chuckled with him. Then he stopped and stood up, walking silently back over to his desk.
"Easier and harder," James partially agreed, his shoulders slumping as he took a seat. Carlos frowned, folding his arms over his chest.
"What do you mean?" he asked, climbing out of bed and slowly approaching James. Shaking his head, James went back to writing. Carlos wasn't going let the matter drop though. He perched himself on the edge of James's bed, leaning over the desk to see what he was writing. Something began to click for Carlos, and after a minute, his eyes widened. "Dude, is there a girl on your mind?" His question came off as a taunt, but it was mainly because Carlos couldn't believe it. James Diamond didn't have crushes on girls. The girls had crushes on him. That was what he always said, and how it had always been. Waving Carlos off, James set the pen down, his lips pressed into a thin line.
"Yes, and she's a girl I can't have, so we're gonna leave it at that."
Brow furrowing, Carlos stood over James, trying to read what else he'd written. Maybe it would give him some kind of clue as to who he was talking about.
"What do you mean you can't have her?" he questioned, slapping James's hand away when he swatted at him. James groaned, falling onto his bed and rubbing his face in his hands.
"I mean, she's not interested in me like that, she never will be, and she's with someone else. All of the above, you know?" James scowled, turning to face the wall. Carlos couldn't let it go. A girl had finally gotten the best of James. He never thought this would happen - he was tempted to get Kendall and Logan to come and see. They would never believe him otherwise. Again, something clicked for Carlos, and he poked at James's sides.
"Is it Jo?!"
"What? No way, she's not my type," James mumbled, pulling away from Carlos's jabbing fingers.
"Camille? Because I don't think Logan would be mad it you-"
"Ugh!" James growled as he leaped out of bed, storming to his desk. He yanked the bottom drawer open, sifting through the papers and pulling out a blue, leather-bound journal. Throwing it in Carlos's lap, he leaned against the wall, glaring out the window. Carlos's excitement quickly vanished, and his eyes darted from the journal in his lap to the brooding James. Biting his lip, he looked over the journal, seeing no particular markings on the outside. Unclipping the latch, he opened it, seeing that the pages were all full. There might've been more written, but from what Carlos could see, all it seemed to say was: I love her. Glued to the last page was a picture of Effy. Eyes wide, Carlos closed the book, setting it on the desk.
"You want Effy?"
"Don't say it out loud!" James hissed, as if Logan would be able to hear them. Sighing frustratedly, James began pacing again, running a hand through his hair. "I didn't intend for it to- I didn't want it to be like this. I didn't really have much choice, it just happened. One day, it occurred to me that she's probably the only girl in the world that's ever meant so much to me and- It's a bunch of bullshit, okay, Carlos? Can we please just drop it and never talk about it again?" The desperation in James's eyes put off Carlos. He'd never really seen James like this, and he wasn't liking it. Not once would he have ever guessed that James felt this way about Effy. He wondered how long James had been keeping it secret. He couldn't ask questions though; James made it clear he didn't want that, and Carlos knew better than to go against those wishes.
Placing a hand on James's shoulder, Carlos gave him a small, comforting squeeze. The gesture meant more than anything he could think to say.
If anything good came from James admitting his feelings for Effy to Carlos, it was what he was doing now. Carlos tossed and turned all night after writing more for his song. He borrowed a few lyrics from James with his permission, and once it was done, his thoughts turned to Norah. James seemed bitter over his crush on Effy. Now, Carlos didn't know how long James had been nursing this crush, but he knew that he didn't want to turn out the same way. He liked Norah a lot, and he didn't want to regret anything. If she got away without him being able to ask if they could be something special, he would regret it for the rest of his life. So here he was, flowers in hand, walking out to the pool. Guitar Dude was already there waiting for him, as were the rest of the guys.
"He's here, bring her out," Kendall spoke into a walkie talkie, winking at Carlos. The boys all looked up, waiting for the door to Jo's balcony to open. Guitar Dude tuned the strings to his guitar, strumming to make sure everything sounded alright. Carlos had whistled the melody he wanted played for the song, and he was grateful that Guitar Dude had the skill to nail it with just a few minutes of practice. Kendall, James, and Logan all had copies of the lyrics, and their job was to help with vocals.
Only a little over a month ago, the boys had done this exact same favor for Logan and Effy. Carlos hadn't forgotten, and he realized how smart it was. None of them were good with words, but they were pretty damn fair singers. The door opened, and Carlos felt his heart flip as Norah stepped out. She looked around, confused, until she saw Carlos staring up at her. Smiling, she opened her mouth to speak, but Carlos closed his eyes, holding a finger to his lips. Jo and Camille stood on either side of Norah, exchanging knowing smiles. Guitar Dude began playing, and Carlos gulped, licking his lips. His mouth was dry, as was his throat, and he found himself choking. However, before the cue could be missed, James sang for him.
"Do you ever wonder..."
Carlos glanced over his shoulder at James, relief washing over him. Nodding, James continued to sing, patting Carlos's back. He blew out a gust of air, clearing his head and licking his lips again. As Kendall and Logan harmonized for James, and the first verse neared the end, Carlos cleared his throat.
"I won't let you fall, I see you through them all," Carlos sang, his eyes locking on Norah. At first the vocals were quiet, but rapidly the volume increased, and Norah couldn't fight the smile from stretching across her face. "And I just wanna let you know-" The rest of the boys joined in, and Carlos grinned when he saw Norah's expression. "When the lights go down in the city, you'll be right there shining bright! You're a star, the sky's the limit, and I'll be right by your side!" Carlos reached his hands up to Norah, amazed to see that her eyes looked watery. Was he really bringing her to tears? "You're not invisible to me! Oh, you're not gonna be invisible!"
Norah bit her lip, burying her face in her hands. The boys only planned on singing through the first verse and chorus, and that seemed to be enough. Carlos let his hands fall to his sides, and feeling the adrenaline pumping through his veins, he ran to the wall, jumping up and grabbing the ledge of the building. Kendall, James, and Logan ran after him to catch him if he fell, but Carlos effortlessly climbed up to the balcony, breathing heavily once he made it to the top. With nothing between them but the concrete railing, Carlos and Norah stared into each other's eyes, smiling.
"Hey," he whispered, his hand brushing against Norah's face. She leaned into his palm, closing her eyes.
"Hey," she responded. Carlos leaned forward, his forehead pressing against hers. "So what's with all of this?" She already had her suspicions of the answer, but she wanted to hear Carlos say it. He gulped, but this time, his mouth didn't run dry. Everyone waited, knowing it was now or never.
"It's my way of asking..." Carlos closed his eyes, chuckling. The excitement in his stomach was overwhelming. "Will you be my girlfriend?" Norah's smile widened, and she glanced at Camille and Jo on either side of her before peering over the balcony to see the boys waiting. Lifting her hands, she held Carlos's face, her nose brushing against his.
Leaning forward, she pressed her lips against his. Carlos's eyes widened, but after a moment, they closed. His fingers tangled in her hair, and he kissed her, enjoying how soft her lips were.
It was their first full on kiss.