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"Let's get out of here for a little bit."

The words were spoken after nearly a half hour of silence. Fallon cocked her head in Calum's direction to study his reaction and search for agreement in his eyes.

"You sure that's the best idea?" His words were tentative.

"Not really but it has to be better than sitting here in a weird silence, minding our p's and q's. At the very least it's another test to see if we're still compatible. No reason in baring our souls if this isn't going to work."

"I feel like we established that what we had is still there that night a few weeks ago." He murmured as he leaned in closer. Fallon's cheeks immediately flamed in response as her mind filled with racey images from their night together in the hotel. A smug smirk playing on Calum's lips as he clearly knew what she was thinking about. "I'm still fine to go though, perhaps tonight I can be further convincing."

Fallon coughed to cover the choked gasp that came from the back of her throat. Was he really propositioning her right now?

She supposed that perhaps she shouldn't be that surprised but still she was which Calum apparently found amusing judging by the complete mirth that danced through his deep brown eyes.

"No pressure of course." He added more softly, sincerity in his words when she didn't say anything after a moment.

"No, of course. I know." She said quickly, hating the discomfort she saw in his eyes at the moment and wanting it gone. "I just didn't know what to say."

"Wanna just go for a walk and see what we find?"

"Just like old times, huh?" She asked, the corners of her lips lifting up ever so slightly.

"Reckon so." He eyed her, waiting for her to agree and when she finally nodded he tilted his head towards the front of the bus and stood, tossing a hoodie at her which she quickly pulled on over her shirt. He reached for her hand and guided her down the empty hallway—Luke and Micheal—must have made themselves scarce, and out the door.

The morning air was cold, the wind strong even in the city. They were somewhere in the midwest Calum was certain, he would have to check the schedule to identify their exact whereabouts. All the middle states tended to blur together for him.

A quick glance over to his right showed a shivering Fallon, his hoodie own hoodie wasn't doing much to thwart the sharp wind so he knew she too had to be freezing. He tried not to overthink it as he slung his arm around her and pulled her towards him as they walked, his hand rubbing quickly over her arm in an effort to keep her a little warmer until they could reach the diner he knew wasn't much farther.

The aged signage glowed in the distance, a beyond welcome sight. He pulled the door back, allowing Fallon to slip into the warmth both of them shivering for a moment as they adjusted to the heat inside. Only a few patrons filled the booths that lined the walls of the small restaurant, it was the middle of the week and just after nine which hopefully explained the lack of other diners. It looked like something out of a movie, red and yellow the overall color scheme with wood panel wainscoting and clear aging to every surface.

It wasn't anywhere near fancy but there was something so familiar and comforting about the place that overcame the pair as they slid into an open booth and a middle aged waitress with a name tag that read "Barb"brought them each a menu.

"We used to do stuff like this all the time." Fallon said quietly when Barb had left them to decide on breakfast.

"We used to do a lot of things." Calum said with a small smile as he fondly remembered the many mornings much like this one that he and Fallon had snuck away from everyone for a bit of time to themselves. For a longtime it was the only dating they got to do and because of that they had seen their fair share of roadside diners and coffee shops.

"If we could get Erin and Ashton on board maybe we could again." She said somberly, failing to meet his eyes.

He wanted to tell her that he had given her an option that he was sure would fix that or at least get them on the right path but he wisely knew that actually saying that to her would only set her off and make things worse. It was too early in the morning for the frustration they had already incurred and he would prefer that the rest of their day be more pleasant so instead he slid his hand across the table and covered her palm with his.

Her fingers curled around his hand, feeling so right and at home, as she gently squeezed his hand, a shallow breath falling from her lips as she stared a hole through her menu. "What are you going to get?"

And as quickly as the awkwardness had arisen it was gone. The conversations and events of the morning were forgotten as they settled into the comfortable quiet of two people who really knew each other. They ordered their food and ate, expertly avoiding mention of their relationship and their respective best friends disapproval.

"You ready to go back?" He asked, the hesitance obvious as he eyed her and then craned his neck to look out the fogged window.

She shivered noticeably from just looking out at the cold. "No, but I don't walk to amble along out in that wind either really." Her shoulders rose and fell in a shrug.

"There's bound to be something around." He offered, shoving his hands into his hoodie pocket and producing his phone. His fingers tapped away at the screen until he lifted his chin and their eyes met. He raised his eyebrows in silent questioning and she gave the most subtle of nods.

"Okay, right. So open right now there's an arcade, an art museum, a painting place.."

"Maybe just the museum then? I'm feeling more contemplative than creative or childlike."

"I can live with that." He nodded in agreement. "I'll get an uber. Don't think either of us really relishes the idea of another walk in that ridiculous wind."



An hour later Fallon was wondering if she had made the right choice. Usually in this type of setting she felt serene, a complete and total calm that gave her mind a breather and let her troubles wash away. This time however, she felt overcome with an inkling that something was wrong. Nothing had changed, there had been no foul remarks by she or Calum. They had simply strolled through the exhibits and tried to understand what they were looking at. She was at a loss for what had constituted the change but there wasn't a doubt in her mind that it existed and that was terrifying.

Once upon a time Fallon had been able to read Calum's mind simply by looking at him. Now, as she studied him while he studied the piece of art in front of him she realized that she hadn't a clue what was going through his head.

Was it something Ashton had said? Or her sister?

She wanted to know what had caused this shift in the dynamic between them. What had made such a comfortable morning feel so awkward but she was very quickly running out of time.

Just as she opened her mouth to ask he turned to her, big, beautiful brown eyes falling on her face and stopping her cold. If he realized that she had been staring at him, studying him, he didn't say anything about it. Instead he said quite simply, "We should probably get going."

He was right of course. They had obligations. Soundcheck and hair and makeup and despite the frigid wind there would still already be a line of dedicated fans at the stadium that they needed to avoid. So she held her tongue, following him out of the museum and down to the car he had ordered, slipping into the back seat and wondering how she could have been through such a rollercoaster of emotions all before lunchtime.

An: what do you think of their date-type-thing?

What's going on that's making things feel weird?

Sav 🖤

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