As the summer and tour both came to an end, Simone found herself wanting to return home more than ever. Not that she didn't like being with Taylor and his family, but she did miss her own family and her friends, especially Ashna. They returned to the Hanson household late one night.
Simone just collapsed on the big comfy couch in the living room and fell asleep almost immediately. Before Taylor climbed the stairs to go to his room, he knelt down beside the couch and smiled to himself.
He reached over and stroked her hair. He couldn't believe that the summer was over and that pretty soon he would have to go back to life without Simone and only calling her on the phone. Oh, how could he live without seeing her? It seemed pretty much impossible. He loved her so much.
A faint smile spread across Simone's lips. "Whatever you're dreaming about, I'm glad that it's making you smile." Taylor whispered.
"Taylor! Leave Simone alone! Let her sleep!" Diana scolded from upstairs. "Go to sleep. It's late!"
Taylor leaned over and kissed Simone's forehead. "I love you with all of my heart, Simone Reid. Never forget that." Before Taylor stood, Simone reached over and placed her hand over his, with her eyes still closed, still wearing a small smile.
"I won't." she whispered. Taylor smiled and leaned over to kiss her forehead again.
In the morning, Simone opened her eyes and forgot where she was. She sat up quickly. The afghan that was covering her fell to the floor. She looked around the strange room. Then she saw Diana in the kitchen, and she smelled brewing coffee. She stretched then stood.
"Good morning, Simone. How did you sleep last night?" Diana asked as Simone entered the kitchen.
"Great! I think that I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow." She said. "Is Taylor awake yet?"
"Actually, he was up with the sun this morning and left. He wouldn't tell me where he was going or what he was going to do. Once that boy is determined about something, there's nothing to change his mind. But he did promise that he would be back before your flight."
"My flight?" Simone asked, confused.
"Oh, we called the airport last night and arranged the flight for you. Tay was saying that you were anxious to get home to your family. Understandable after you have been gone for the entire summer. He figured that you would want to return as soon as you possibly could." Diana explained. Then she reached over and pulled Simone into a hug.
"I'm going to miss you, sweetie. Stop by any time. You're always welcome in our home." She said. Simone smiled and hugged Diana back.
"Thanks. I'll miss everyone." She said, as they released each other.
"Especially Taylor, though, right?"
Simone smiled. "Yeah." Then she looked down at Taylor's ring around her right ring finger. Tears built up in her eyes, and then she looked up at Diana.
"Oh Dear, don't cry." She said, taking Simone into another hug. Simone released a small cry and a single tear fell from her eye. "I can tell, you love him. And he loves you, too."
For some odd reason, it felt so much more 'real' when she heard someone else say it. Diana's voice replayed in her mind. '…And he loves you, too.' She smiled.
After a quick breakfast, Simone began packing her suitcase and bookbag for the plan ride home. She neatly folded Taylor's t-shirt and boxers that he had given to her at the beginning of the summer to use as pajamas and laid them on top of her suitcase.
Finally, just before lunch, Taylor returned from wherever he had been. He walked through the front door and then immediately went to Simone, took her hand and pulled her into the backyard. When Simone looked at him now, he seemed even cuter than before. But not exactly 'cute', he was handsome now.
Taylor's eyes were smiling. The iridescent pools of sky blue captured every emotion in them. No words needed to be spoken because they both knew what the other was thinking.
Taylor led Simone to the treehouse and once inside, he pulled out a velvet box from his pocket and handed it to Simone. She looked curiously at it and hesitated the first few seconds before reaching out to take it from Taylor's hand. The velvet was so soft between her fingers and they almost trembled as she held the slender box close to her heart.
"Taylor, what's this for?" she asked before opening it.
"Well, summer's over, and so is the tour. You have to go back to Pennsylvania and I just wanted to get you something. Call it a token of my love. And every time you look at it, you'll think of me and you'll know that I'm always thinking of you." Taylor said. Simone cracked a smile.
"You know you didn't have to buy me something to say that."
"I know, but I wanted to."
Simone's heart was beating so hard, so fast and so loudly that she thought that it was going to pop out of her chest. She slowly opened the petite box. Her jaw dropped and she gasped.
"Tay - oh wow. It's beautiful." She said, looking at the extravagant gold necklace and diamond pennant. The diamonds glistened so brightly.
"Let me help you put it on." Taylor said, taking the box and slipped the necklace around Simone's neck. She pulled her hair to the side so he could fasten it securely. Then he looked at her.
"It looks perfect." He said.
"It feels perfect." Simone said.
As their eyes locked for a steady stare, thoughts came flowing to Simone's head. Thoughts that were weird. Not exactly weird, but they were thoughts that she already thought about tons of times before. It was about love.
Love is a feeling that few people get to experience and was very hard to find. And true love was even harder to get ahold of. But Simone had a feeling that what she was feeling was more than love. It had to be. This feeling, it had to be true love because she couldn't even find words to describe it. It all seemed like a dream and she would be waking up any second.
"Taylor?" she asked.
"Am I dreaming?"
"I really hope not." Taylor said, smiling, causing Simone to smile, too. Then he reached over and gently pinched her arm. She flinched at the small pain. "No. You're not dreaming."
"Good. If you're wondering why I just asked that, it's because everything that happened with us just seemed like a dream. Seriously. Think about it. Ok, I met you backstage at a concert and thought nothing of it. Then, totally out of nowhere, you called me and we started talking on the phone. Then, you came back to Pittsburgh and I discovered that you liked me."
"Then, we started going out and you wrote me in that notebook. And when I came up again, I didn't think that I was going to be able to control myself around you. It had been such a long time that we were together. Then, we sneaked off; you came on tour with us. Everything was so great. If I could live it over, I would. And I wouldn't change any of it." Taylor finished for her. Simone smiled.
"Me either." She agreed.
"I love you." Taylor whispered only loud enough for her to hear.
"I love you, too." She whispered back, stepping even closer, putting her arms his neck. They stood there, arms wrapped around each other, staring into each other's eyes. And that, being so emotionally connected, holding the other so tightly, and just being there, was almost as engaging as the kisses that followed.