"Taylor, say something," I said, looking nervously out the window at the car that was sitting next to us. I almost laughed at the site; an older man, mid thirties probably, talking on a cell phone, but the only thing was, he wasn't talking, he was screaming. His face was red with anger and frustration and boy, whoever he was talking to sure was getting it. Though he still said nothing, I turned my head back to face him to see his reaction. It was then that he brought his hand behind my neck and pulled me close to him. I had to unfasten my seatbelt in order to become comfortable.
His eyes were so incredibly deep and worthy. I didn't feel like this should be happening. Not to me. I'm not supposed to connect so wonderfully with someone as great as him, with someone famous, with someone that my best friend loves. Then it happened. A real kiss. It was me that leaned forward to initiate the whole thing. And even though it was only a short kiss to the lips, I knew that it opened so many different doors and made so many more things clear.
"Thank you," he said after some more uncomfortable, but tolerable, silence. I smiled and let him put his hand over mine once again.
"Finally admitting it," he said. "I always knew that you were keeping it from me, and now I'm just glad that you're mature enough to admit it to yourself."
"Mature enough?" I asked. What was his problem?! I certainly was mature way back when, I just didn't think that I liked him. Oh, was he ever pressing his luck. I took a deep breath before continuing. "I was mature, I just didn't think that I liked you."
"Oh Brook, that's a load full of bull and you know it," he replied.
"Taylor, I don't want to fight with you right now. As fun and tempting as it is, I really don't feel like it," I said heatidly. He accepted my answer for some odd reason and let it drop. His thumb stroked over my hand. I pulled it away.
"What?" he asked. He took his eyes from me and returned his attention to the road. The traffic was beginning to pick up.
"And truthfully, I don't think that this would be a very good idea right now, either."
"What's not a good idea?" he asked me, sounding sincerely confused.
I picked up his hand. "This."
"Oh," he said, grief filling his voice. "Why not?"
"Why not?? You want to know why?" I asked, almost completely baffled that he didn't know what I was talking about. "Because when I get home, I'm going to call Lori and I know that she's going to ask me how my traveling went. You should already know that Lori and I have no lies and I can't not tell her that you picked me up from the airport."
"Are you serious?" he asked, his temper rising again. "You're going to stop something from happening that we both want to happen all because I went out with your best friend 3 years ago? I really do not understand you, at all."
"What's not to understand? I refuse to hurt Lori. And you should feel the same way, too," I told him, matter-of-factly.
"It's impossible for me to hurt her because I never really cared about her enough to care! Don't you understand? I don't care if she ends up hating me because I like you," Taylor threw the comebacks in my direction.
"If you care about me, and you say that you do, which, might I add, seems literally impossible because you don't even know me. You're basing your feeling on the person that I used to be."
"People like you don't change. We were best friends. I can still read you like an open book."
I shook that comment aside. "So if you care about me, then you should care about the fact that my best friend would hate me if she ever found out that anything ever happened between the two of us!"
"You say that you have no secrets, right?" Taylor asked, totally changing the subject.
"Right. We know everything about each other."
"Then please tell me ... does she know that you were in love with me ever since the first time you saw me smile?" he quoted me. My mouth opened to respond, but no sound came out. He was right. She didn't know about that. With my silence he knew the answer. "Didn't think so," he concluded.
"You know what? I can't stand you!" I shouted. He only smiled in return. Then I began to recognize the scenery all too well. I was home. He pulled into my driveway, then put his car in park.
"You're welcome from bringing you home," he said.
"Yeah, thanks," I mummbled as I got out of the car. He popped the trunk and helped me carry my bags to the front door. I turned to him as I opened the door. Before I could say anything to him, I was overwhelmed with the noise that nearly knocked me over.
"WELCOME HOME!!" a chorus of people shouted and cheered. Of course I was surprised. As I looked around at all of the smiling faces of people that I loved and recognized, I turned back to Taylor. He was trying not to laugh at the expression on my face.
"We'll talk about us later," I said curtly, then directed my attention to my mother, whom was on her way over. I didn't want her to hear mine and Taylor's conversation. I knew that if she heard any of it then she would totally support Taylor and then that would not be good. If my mother has a view on something and it's against what you want, then she will do everything in her power to make you change your mind. She walked over to me and gave me a huge hug.
"So hun, are you surprised?" she asked and then kissed my cheek.
"Yes, I wasn't expecting this at all. You really shouldn't have," I said honestly. I felt Taylor tug on my bent elbow. I looked into his eyes.
"Why can't we talk about us now?" he pressed.
"Taylor, no!" I shouted angrily. Then I realized that I had shouted and I felt bad about it, especially with his hurt reaction. "I mean, just let me spend some time with my family, then we can talk about it," I added quietly. He nodded and then turned towards the door.
"You know my number. Give me a call later, when all of the hoopla dies down."
"No, that's silly. Stick around and keep me company," I said. "Sure, I love my family, but I can't take them all alone." He smiled.
The time passed slowly. I did enjoy getting to spend time with everyone because it had been over five months since I had gotten a chance to see my family. The conversation that I shared with my grandmother was probably the most interesting.
"So, who is the young man that came in with you?" she asked me curiously. Uh-oh, I know what she's going to get at.
"Oh, he's just an old friend. He picked me up at the airport," I said. She shook her head, disagreeing.
"Is that what they call it now-a-days?" she asked, jabbing me in the side with her boney little elbow. I raised my eyebrow at her in disbelief. Was she being serious? She thought that Taylor and I had something going on?
"Gramma, I think that you're definitely getting the wrong impression. Taylor and I can't stand each other. We fight so much. We're not going out," I told her. She smiled and winked.
"Brookey dear, I saw the way that he was looking at you and vice versa. You keep on forgetting that I have raised five children, and that I have 13 grandchildren, and I have seen that look many of times before in my day. Any time that one of my boys would bring a girl home, he would look at her that way. And I could see it in their eyes any time your mother or Aunt Susan would talk about a boy that she liked ... her entire face would seem to come alive, glow, and brighten," she explained. "Don't want to mess with the looks in the eyes. They are real."
"I just don't think that you're right, Gramma. There is nothing going on with Taylor and me. Trust me; end of statement," I told her forcefully. I was not going to be a part of her conversation anymore, so I left. I didn't want to be ridiculed anymore. As I walked to the kitched to get something to eat, I ran into Taylor.
"Hey," I mummbled.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
"Well, nothing really, it's just that my grandmother gave me something to think about," I said.
"What's that? Maybe I can help?"
"No, don't worry about it," I told him.
"Brook, I know when something is bothering you. Why don't you just tell me?"
"Damn it, Tay, you do not know when you stop. If I really wanted to tell you, then I would have told you, alright?" I snapped. I saw him back away. And I didn't want him to back away. I wanted him to come close to me again, like he just was. "Look, I didn't mean to yell, it's just that so many things were thrown at me today and I don't know how to handle all of it."
"Oh, well, I know how you feel. A lot of stuff has been thrown at me today, too," Taylor admitted. After I took a sip of ginger ale from my champange glass, I looked into his eyes. Could my grandmother be right? Is it detectable that we want each other? I could feel my pulse begin to quicken and with each second, I felt more and more butterflies appearing in my stomach. It was as though the beating of my heart was deafening and I was sure that he could hear it. We got closer and closer. I saw Taylor moisten his lips and close his eyes. It was then that the only thing I wanted was to feel the touch of his lips on mine. The pining, the yearning, the needing.
I gasped as the door to the kitchen swung open wildly. Then I automatically backed away from Taylor. Lori! Oh my God, what was she doing here?!
"Surprise!" she said cheerfully. That's when I think she realized that she interrupted something. "Oh, did I walk in at a bad time?" I could see the disappointment in her eyes and I didn't want her to think that there was anything going on between Taylor and me. I didn't want her to hate me or anything.
"Oh, no, not at all. Actually, Taylor was just leaving," I said quickly. It came out a little too quickly, but I don't think that Lori picked up my tone. She was too busy looking at Taylor.
"Yeah, on my way out," Taylor said, a hint of disgust filling his voice. He then walked over to me once again. My breath caught up in my throat as he leaned over and kissed my cheek ever so lightly. "Glad you're home for the summer, Brook." And with that, he nodded in Lori's direction and left. I gathered from his grand exit, that he was going home. I would definitely have to give him a call later. Whew.
"Hey hey, what the hell did I just walk in on?!" Lori busted out as soon as Taylor vacated the room.
"Nothing!" I lied. She put her hands on her hips and glared. "Really, you know how repulsive I find him, why would there be anything to walk in on?"
"True, but man, I could've sworn that it looked like you two were about to kiss when I came through this door," Lori concluded. I shrugged my shoulders. "What an ass! He did not even say hello to me or anything. Can you believe the nerve of him? And after all that time we spent together, too. I thought that he was different than other guys."
"Look, can we not talk about Taylor right now? I'm feeling a little queezy," I commented. A look of concern washed over her face.
"Could it be jet lag?" she asked.
I laughed. "No, it was only an hour long flight. Nothing to worry about there. What are you doing here, anyway?"
"I wanted to surprise you! I knew all along about the party and it was your parents idea in the first place. My mom doesn't know that I'm in town, so please don't tell her, okay? I'm crashing here for a few days, and then heading back to the apartment. But gee, don't sound so thrilled that I'm here, okay?" she joked. "Wonder if Josh Newhart still lives down the street?"
"Josh Newhart? Gonna try to rekindle the old flame, eh? Kill two birds with one stone while on this trip. Hey, might as well, ya know?" I joked. She tossed me a look as if to say "duh!" Well, now I know, I guess.
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Chapter 7 -->