Original Work: You'll Always Find Your Way Back Home, Chapter 11, Part 1
Chapter 11, Part 1
When Joshua offered to drive I didn’t protest. It wasn’t like I wanted to get Daniel to drive us to the beach because the last thing I needed was to feel like I was just another teenager who needed her parents to chaperon on her first date. Besides, who would really turn down a chance to ride shotgun in Joshua Beckett’s car?
As we walked in the direction Joshua had parked his car, he asked politely about my day and as I tried to formulate a story more interesting than the truth, I couldn’t help but be continuously distracted by the photographers who followed us, occasionally darting in front of us in order to snap a picture and intermittently shouting out questions that neither Joshua or I felt particularly inclined to answer. Rolling my eyes, I grumbled, “Do they ever go away?” You would have thought we were doing something a million times more interesting than walking down the sidewalk.
Joshua gave me a skeptical look. “Are you joking? They’re like ants at a picnic.” He arched an eyebrow. “Not so keen on your fan club anymore?”
While Emilia might have been a fan of ending up splashed all over the papers, I was fighting down the urge to take one guy’s camera and slam it into his face. At least I seemed to be channeling Emilia’s inclination to violent rage blackouts. “Actually, I really don’t like being followed around twenty-four-seven by people blinding me with camera flashes.” I replied with a shrug. “Who knew?” I smiled.
Joshua did the same and he still had the slightly surprised look in his eyes, like I was saying and doing things that he wasn’t expecting at all. And maybe I was; he was expecting Emilia, but what he was getting was Scout and while I knew that the result was startling to him, I could only hope that it was a pleasant surprise. “Do you know what I like to do in situations like these?” He questioned, gesturing with his shopping bags toward the mass of photographers and eager, gaping fans.
“Call in a police escort?” I guessed.
Shaking his head, Joshua leaned in close to me, his cheek brushing against mine. I felt my heart stop in my chest for a fraction of a second and for the first time I was glad to hear all those clicking cameras because that meant there would be proof of this moment when I doubted it was happening at all. “Run.” He whispered against my ear.
Before I could process that single word, Joshua had grabbed my hand in his free one and started running, tugging me along behind him. For a minute it took me a minute to find my footing but when I did I caught up with him so we were running side by side, out distancing the surprised paparazzi. The feel of his palm pressed against mine and the feeling that I was doing something mischievous caused a smile to spread across my face and when I looked over at Joshua, I was surprised to see that he was smiling too. Our eyes met briefly and his smile only seemed to grow wider.
Our surprise getaway didn’t stay a surprise for long because several photographers were running after us, no doubt continuously snapping pictures. I glanced over my shoulder, frowning at our pursuers; couldn’t they take a hint?!
“This way!” Joshua panted, pulling me down a side street before I really had to process his command.
We seemed to have left Rodeo Drive behind, running down a street populated more with locals than the fashion-coconscious. We were turning heads as we ran past and I relied on Joshua to steer me in the right direction and away from any unsuspecting pedestrians. We still had a few straggling paparazzi but their numbers were dwindling and I’m sure that the novelty of taking our picture was starting to wear off now that they were having to sprint for it.
Joshua tugged me down another side street, though it seemed more like an alley than something that could be used for transportation. The air was thick with the smell of a dozen different kinds of food, all mixing together to create a very unique odor, which was only enhanced by the subtle smell of trash cooking in the hot California sun. At the end of the alley another street stretched out horizontally and parked half-hidden behind a dumpster was that car I’d seen Joshua in the other night.
When the car was in sight, we stopped running. I arched an eyebrow. “Do you always park your car behind Ru San’s?” I questioned, noticing the name stenciled on the dumpster.
Ever the gentleman, Joshua leaned forward to open the passenger side door. Unfortunately he had to let go out of my hand to do so and my skin still felt hot from the contact. “I know the manager pretty well, he always lets me use this place as my hideout because I had the tendency to buy out his entire stock of spicy salmon rolls whenever I walk through the door.”
As I slid into the car, I thought about Joshua walking through the front door of a place like Ru San’s instead of some five star restaurant like Antonio’s. Even though I didn’t know Joshua as well as I’d like to and all the pictures I’d ever seen of him had him living the rock star life style, I could easily picture him sitting at a cracked vinyl booth, joking with the staff.
Joshua got behind the wheel and gave me a quick smile before turning the key in the ignition. The sound of The Decemberists came blasting out of the speakers and Joshua quickly fumbled with the volume, his face flushing. “Sorry.” He cleared his throat. “I like my music loud.”
I smiled at him. “Don’t be sorry, they’re my favorite band.” I assured him, feeling excited at actually having something in common with Joshua. Back in Independence, not many people had even heard of The Decemberists, let alone were in possession of a CD by them and the fact that Joshua jammed out to them in his car the way I had done so many times before seemed so surreal and perfect at the same time.
Joshua seemed just as surprised as I felt and he gave me a slightly doubtful look. “Really? Not many people have heard of them.”
“I know, I’ve tried to get my best friend into them so many times. I guess Colin Meloy isn’t for everyone.” Which was something that completely baffled me. I had yet to understand why Jordan couldn’t see the folksy story-telling beauty that was The Decemberists. Though she did consider Pink poetry.
The smile that Joshua gave me now was more genuine than the half-hearted effort he’d worn before. “Sounds like the endless conversations I’ve had with the band.” He remarked, looking pleasantly surprised all over again. I felt like I’d just passed some sort of test, though I couldn’t exactly put my finger on why. Though I guessed that realizing there was a test and that you’d passed it was better than coming to the realization that you’d failed.