I get this old man feeling with Noel.
Now, if you know me, I really feel for old men characters. It has nothing to do with age, but a state of mind, maturity, and maybe focus.
So, this hit me in ways I wasn't expecting. And I don't get the feeling of a romance with this, I get the feeling of... one of those crazy bonds that certain people get and other people try to call something as misguided as soulmates.
I adore adore ADORE how you did the dialogue, mixed in with the rest of the text, no quotation marks. Understated, because what was SAID didn't matter as much.
I really like that effect, and I'm always impressed when writers go a little beyond standard grammar procedures.
I mostly adore how you focus on certain things. Rumors. Drinks. Food. It's an interesting effect.
I sound like a movie critic. XD Suffice to say, I'm glad you rec commended this, and I'm shocked (well, not really, people are fickle) that not many people noticed this.