It was dark by the time the while van pulled up Simone's long driveway. She thanked them tremendously as she climbed out the van. To her surprise, Taylor followed her and walked her to her front door. Her parents had left the porch light on for her, and she could see all the detail in Taylor's gorgeous face. His every line. Today had been amazing. The Science Center, McDonalds, the digestive system, the baseball game, everything.
"We're leaving tomorrow afternoon." Taylor said, breaking the silence along with Simone's thoughts.
"Really? I don't want you too." She said and meant every word of it. He nodded. "I'm gonna miss you."
"Me too. Sure, I can still call you, but, it won't be the same as seeing you. I like being with you a lot better than talking to you on the phone. It's more fun." Taylor said, not realizing that they had stepped closer and he had her hands in his.
Simone was confused. She didn't know what was going on between them. Sure, they kissed in the digestive system, but, was that all? She hoped not. She really liked Taylor. And not just because he was Taylor Hanson. She loved his personality, she loved the way he walked, the way that he was talking to her right now, she loved the way his hair looked when it was pulled back, she loved to pick up the phone and hear him, she loved the way that he was looking at her, and most of all, she loved being with him. He was actually the first boy that she could be completely comfortable around, and that made her like him even more.
"Taylor, what's up with us? We both know that we like the other--"
He kissed her lips, gently at first; then, their lips pressed together more firmly, then again, like at the science center, they kissed each other deeply, as only a boyfriend and a girlfriend usually kissed.
"Does that answer your question?" Taylor asked. And actually, it didn't.
"Not really. I mean, are we going out now? Am I your girlfriend? What's up?" Simone asked. She really wanted to get things straight.
"Well, if it's alright with you, yes, to both questions." Taylor replied, kissing her again.
"Mmm, I like that answer. Can I hear it again?" she asked, and he kissed her again. She smiled, and responded to his kisses. "Can I come to the airport with you tomorrow?" Taylor nodded and Simone smiled. They kissed one last time and she wrapped her arms around his muscular neck and enjoyed the feel of his lips on hers, his tongue in her mouth and hers in his. Then, he brought his hand to the back of her neck, so she couldn't slip away from him until he wanted her too, keeping her close.
"I'll call you tomorrow before we leave to come and pick you up." He said, walking towards the van. She smiled.
"Okay, see ya!" she said, and waved to her boyfriend. Taylor Hanson, her boyfriend.
Taylor sat down in the van seat, next to Ike, in the backseat. He smiled to himself. Wow, he thought, Simone is my girlfriend. He liked the sound of that. He liked the way that it felt to have her in his arms. He liked her, period. He longed to be with her again, right now, at that very moment. He had to hear her voice one last time that night.
He just couldn't even begin to describe his feelings for her. He knew that he liked her, a lot, but was he supposed to get butterflies in his stomach every time that he thought of her? Was he supposed to smile at the sound of her name? Or even the thought of er name? Was he supposed to want to be with her as much as humanly possible? He thought that was kinda possessive, but there was something inside of him, deep down, that told him that what he was feeling wasn't possessiveness. It was love.
Love. In a way, the word scared him. Did he want to be in love at the age of 15? Or was it even love to begin with? It had to be, he decided. There was nothing like it. Nothing to compare it to. If this was what love felt like, then he never wanted to fall out if it. He always felt happy and smiled a lot to himself. He often found himself thinking constantly of Simone, wondering what she was doing at that same moment. Was she thinking of him the same way that he was thinking of her? He hoped so, because he wanted to be with Simone for a really long time.
"Is Ashna there?" Simone asked and waited eagerly for her best friends voice to fill the line.
"Hello?" Ashna asked sleepily.
"Ashna! So much has happened that I have to tell you! Are you doing anything later today?" Simone asked, hoping that they could get together. She had been kinda rude to Ashna lately and she felt really bad. There was a pause.
"Yeah, I can come over later. What's the big news?" she asked, coming alive and awake. "Omigod, it has something to do with Taylor, doesn't it?!"
"Sorta, I can't explain right now. I'm going to the airport with them to see them off. I'll call you as soon as I get home, ok?"
"Yeah, you better! I'll be waiting!" Ashna said and Simone knew that she would be, too.
The sight of the big white van pulling into her driveway was becoming way too familiar. But, this was going to be the last time that she was going to see it for a long time, along with the passengers inside. She found the only empty seat next to Taylor, way in the very back, along with Zöe's carseat, and a sleeping baby inside of if. Had that been planned? She looked over mischievously at Taylor, who smiled at the sight of his girlfriend. She returned his smile warmly and sat down beside him.
He had something clutched in his hand and she couldn't see what it was. She reached over and took his hand and tried to open it.
"Hey!" he exclaimed. "What are you doing?"
"Trying to see what's in your hand." Simone said, still trying to pry open his fingers that had just closed tightly into a fist, around the mystery object sealed within his hand. He gave up. He opened his hand. Lying on the palm was a silver ring. The ring that he always wore on his ring finger. His ring.
"Tay, how come you took this off?" Simone asked, examining the silver ring in her hands.
"Because I think that I want you to have it." He whispered only loudly enough for her to hear him. "That's why I'm giving it to you. I want you to be in my world, so now, you always will."
"Oh Tay, that's so sweet." Simone said. She reached around her neck, and took off her choker and held it by its leather straps. She laid it down in Taylor's palm, next to his ring. She gave him her favorite choker, it was a silver turtle.
"Here, have this then, too." She said, handing him her choker. "It may not be as shiny or as nice as the ring you gave me, I won it last year at the fair, but, it's still mine and I want you to have it."
He looked into her eyes. She meant every word that she just said. She wanted him to be in her life forever. Was he hearing correctly? Because that was exactly the same way that he felt for her. He never wanted to lose her.
"That's ok. That's where I got mine, too." Tay said sheepishly. It was true, too. He had won it when he was 11 at the fair and he never took it off, until today. He put his ring on her ring finger and then put her necklace around his neck. Then looked into her eyes.
"Now we have each other. Forever." Taylor said. Simone nodded. She glanced slyly around the van. No one was looking or paying any attention to them. Zöe was sleeping, Ike was reading Jessica and Avery a book, and Zac was playing Tickle Monster with Mackie in the front seat. Tay's parents were busy talking about the rest of the tour and paying attention to the road.
Simone leaned over and stole a kiss from Taylor. He leaned over and kissed her back, pulling her down, sorta laying on top of him in the backseat, which was still pretty roomy, even with Zöe's carseat back there with them. But, still, no one noticed or could see them now, because they were lying down.
"Taylor, this means a lot to me." She said, sliding the ring up and down on her finger. He smiled.
"Good. Yours means just as much to me." He said, and pulled her down for one last kiss before they reached the airport.
The walk to the terminal between them was almost silent. Both Walker and Diana thanked Simone for being so nice, for coming to pick them up on Thursday morning, for showing them around yesterday, and just for being a good friend to the family. She said bye to all of the kids.
"Bye Ike." She said, as he walked past her.
"Bye?" he asked, stunned. "I still plan on talking to you. Besides, I think that we'll be seeing a lot more of each other if Tay keeps up his 'thing' for you." Simone silently wished that Taylor would always have a 'thing' for her.
"I'll call you as soon as we get to the hotel, I promise." Taylor said, taking her hands into his.
"Ok, you better." She smiled.
"I will." He whispered the promise. "Bye." They kissed quickly on the lips. That's all that Taylor offered with all of his family standing around, maybe watching, maybe not watching. He didn't know who was around. Simone was disappointed, but accepted it.
"Bye." She said and watched them all walk onto the boarding tunnel that led to the plane. Taylor was the last one of them, and looked back every other step. Just as Ike rounded the corner to board the plane, Taylor turned around and came running back out into the airport and kissed Simone with such passion it left her breathless.
He couldn't have just left with only a little kiss on her lips! He had to really kiss her, to make up for all the times that they wouldn't be able to be together in the upcoming months. She wrapped her arms around his neck, and he put both of his hands behind her head so she couldn't pull away. They hugged, and then the announcer came over the loudspeaker.
"Last call for flight 487." It said, and Taylor looked into Simone's eyes. He sighed.
"I really have to go now. But I swear it, I will call you as soon as I get to the hotel." He said, brushing the hair from her eyes. She smiled.
"I know you will. And I'll be waiting." Simone said, wanting to kiss him again, but not wanting to make him miss his flight. He kissed her instead.
"Ok, I really have to go." She laughed, he smiled, and they kissed again. "Bye." He kissed her one last time before turning around and running as fast as he could onto the plane. Before he rounded the corner, he looked back, and gave her a quick wave, but the look in his eyes would last in Simone's memory forever. It was "the look".
She sighed, smiled, looked at the ring that he gave her and stayed only to watch the plane take off.