Chapter 17 - Smiles
Ian gingerly stood at the bus stop, waiting for the delaying bus which would tear him apart from the heavenly place he had spent the last week at. He didn't want to look at that place then, scared that he might not want to leave. He didn't really want to leave, but he had to. Ian had woken up that morning with Taylor sleeping comfortably in his chest. Her head lazily moved as the phone beside vibrated silently. The morning sun was around the room, filling every corner of it and it seemed that a small part of it was tangled up on Taylor's hair. Ian couldn't control himself, ignoring the angry phone still ringing, he slowly played with her long loose hair, caressing it, stroking it and it was candy cotton soft to touch.
Ian shook his head, thinking of the tattoo he had found behind her right ear. His eyes could've touched the ground with shock. It was so unlikely to find an inked calligraphy on that girl yet it looked so damn beautiful. The tattoo was a simple black and white but they were a little faded. The blackness of it slowly discoloring into a dull blue and it looked like perfection against her pale skin. For a few still seconds, Ian wondered why she had chosen that spot behind her ear to ink the tattoo. That place where she could reach easily yet never really see it without putting much deliberate effort. His fingers brushed the outline of the tattoo and there was electric energy to the touch. Well Ian thought it was electric, probably because Taylor jumped at the contact and was awake instantly.
Ian laughed remembering her expression as if a snake had been crawling over her body. The bus had still no sign of its arrival and suddenly he found his eyes stuck to the Jenkins' residence where Taylor stood relaxed on the porch probably watching him fidget from one foot to other. Ian thought she was smiling but from the distance, he couldn't be sure of it. And as predicted, his feet with a mind of its own working against his will, took long elaborate steps toward the girl with blonde hair like rays of sunshine. You can't kiss her. You can't kiss her. You can't kiss her. Ian repeated the words like a mantra to his self-control as he neared the girl who was impossible not to kiss at least to Ian.
"What are you doing?" Taylor asked with an amused look about her face.
"Well... I was wondering... umm... Can I get your number? You know just in case.." Ian froze on the words trying to think of one genuine scenario where he would require her number, except for the obvious one where he'd be missing her like a crazy fool.
"Just in case, the bus broke down and you needed someone to pick you up?" Taylor completed the hanging words for him with a face splitting grin smoothly transferring into Ian's lip.
"Yeah you know that..." Ian scratched the back of the head trying to control his arms who so desperately wanted to pick her up and spin her around.
"Yeah sure..." Taylor smiled again.
They exchanged the numbers and saved it instantly as if those digits were diamonds straight out from a forbidden mine. When both of them separated with an unspoken farewell, they were both looking forward to the days that were to come. Surely those newly saved numbers would play a big role.
Two Months Later
At 3 in the morning, Taylor sat in the hallway overlooking the parking lot which was recently her favorite view. A total of two cars were parked and they looked like heavenly devices under the dull street light. Everything had a reddish glow to it and Taylor smiled to that. Taylor had been smiling a lot lately, at everything actually. Her face was still getting used to the pull of her cheeks as her lips stretched into a grin without warning. Her slow lazy smile extended into a huge one as her phone vibrated. Even before she looked at the screen, she knew who it was from. Ian- just seeing that three alphabets made her heart jump from one beat to next in erratic forms in anything but normal pace.
*Thanks for finally agreeing to go out with me... It was just... wow*
*I didn't know I had a choice :P*
*You didn't, ;) I wouldn't have stopped askin' until you caved honey ;)*
A little girl inside her did a perfect salto as she read the last word of his text. Honey.... Jesus what am I twelve? Taylor disapprovingly asked herself yet it was impossible to remove the hideous grin off her face even though it was three in the morning. She should've been tired, after all she had just been to one of the longest dates of her life, even though the time she spent with Ian wasn't enough. It was just crazy, he had picked her up at 5 in the evening the previous day and she had been with him only an hour ago and yet she missed him terribly. Taylor was so indulged in her happy-go-lucky mood that the rude 'Enter at your expense' sign didn't piss her off as always, which obviously meant Lisa was busy with her new hot-shot boyfriend Tyler. She just smiled and walked a considerable amount of distance before deciding to settle down at the seat along the glass wall.
Keith stopped dead in his tracks as he opened the door to his room to fetch water. Sitting in front of him, at the early dawn was a girl with beautiful smile etched on her face. She was wearing a knee-length floral print brown summer dress despite the looming winter around the corner. A cool black leather boots that hugged her mid-calf loosely made her long legs look sexy and elongated in a beautiful craving like manner. A matching black jacket was thrown carelessly at her side as if she was unaffected by the cold. Her long blonde hair was braided to the side and it was falling below her waist. The effect of jet lag still hadn't left his system. He still couldn't completely sleep through the night and now he was hallucinating. He was sure he was hallucinating since he knew the color of that girl's hair was what he had once described as platinum yellow and that hair had belonged to the ugly bitch Taylor. There was no way in hell that girl was Taylor but he knew despite himself that it was her. It had to be. But when had the ugly duckling learned to smile?
"Taylor..." The words formed in his tongue as he breathed a long held breath and he felt the familiar bitterness flood in his tongue at her name.
The girl turned around as if it was her name being called out and her eyes met his. Gray eyes to brown, warmth to icy cold stared into each other as time moved on in a careless pace. And the most unexpected thing happened, the girl with those gray eyes, the color of storm in the clouds shone with an ineffable happiness and she smiled. It wasn't a huge beaming smile that once belonged to Phoebe, his girlfriend... well ex girlfriend, but it was so much better.
"Keith..." She replied and her tone was exactly the opposite of what he had used a few seconds ago.
They stared at each other, Taylor comfortable and smiling, Keith awkward and confused. An eternity seemed to have passed as Keith waited for the hideous and that so out-of-place smile to subside from her face. It never did. She just kept on smiling as if she was genuinely happy to see him.
"Taylor..." He shifted from one foot to next having nothing else to do and finally shook the empty bottle in the air as he walked awkwardly away from the smiling monster. While the bottle filled with water from the tap, Keith truly acknowledged what was happening for the first time. Taylor was waiting for him! She wants to... Keith mentally slapped himself at the audacity of his thought. Keith sleeping with Taylor... A repulsive wave took over his body as he set aside the delirious idea away from his mind. She isn't some French babe, Keith! He reminded himself.
"Well then what is she doing? And what the heck is up with that smile?" Keith hissed to no one at all.
With a mind to find out, he walked toward his room. Outside his room, Taylor was seated with her long legs placed left over the right stretched in front of her as she smiled down typing in her BlackBerry. What? Taylor's texting! A psychotic voice yelled inside his head and Keith stopped so that the voice would follow his footstep and stop the yelling.
"Hey..." Keith said announcing his unnoticed presence.
Taylor looked up and once again smiled a 'hey' toward him. What is up with her today? He wondered silently as he sat at the end of her boot.
"You're smiling..." Keith said unable to hide the accusation in his tone.
"It seems so..." She replied smiling even more, probably at his hideous expression but she was grinning so weirdly.
"Umm, can I ask why?"
"I don't know... this thing." She motioned her index finger over her lips trying to denote smile, 'has been stuck with me for the past month or so. It's so irritating...' she said looking so strange because at the end of her sentence she was grinning even wider. She rolled her eyes and pushed her cheeks together so that her smile would disappear, which didn't. The sight was so funny that Keith actually laughed.
"How long was I gone?" He asked more to himself than to his audience of one.
"It seems like for a lifetime to me. It was another me who hated everything and everyone..." She replied.
Keith's eyebrow shot up because he knew she had changed somehow. There was no trace of the hateful girl who had tried to sabotage his career, no hint of the sad girl whom he had peered into uninvited two months ago. This girl sitting in front of him was happy.
"What happened? Did you win a lottery or something?" Keith asked playfully poorly disguising his curiosity.
"Like the other Taylor says today was a fairy tale..." She beamed with innocence.
"Love songs huh?" Keith replied barely containing his shock.
"Yeah I guess so..."
"Wow..." Keith replied as he made himself more comfortable in the concrete seat below.
After a long comfortable silence, gazing out at the parking lot, Taylor finally spoke.
"So, are we good?"
There was so much hope and anticipation in those four words that Keith seriously considered the question before answering it. Are we good? If she has changed and she's no longer bitchy, then, why not?
"Yeah... Umm, does that mean we're friends?" He asked totally confused.
Taylor letting an extended second pass, nodded with a hint of mischief about her face.
"As long as you don't comment on my lesbian look... because..."
"Yeah, yeah... because homosexuality is not a race, an emotion, a physical state or even a gender that one can look like, it's a choice of sexuality." Keith said as he rolled his eyes and joined Taylor laughing in front of him.
"Well then we can be friends..." Taylor replied with a proud conclusion of their conversation.
"Since we're friends... umm, by the rules I had to tell you this a long time ago but.... umm, I kind of put up your picture at Matthews' exhibition. NFS, of course..." Keith stopped checking for the old bitchy to surface on the girl sitting in front of him. He was waiting for her new cute charade to break so that the bitch he hated so much could be seen, but it never happened. Taylor's expression did change but in a good way. Her eyes had stretched to an abnormally large size which looked extremely innocent and Keith wasn't sure but he thought a smile loomed around her lips.
"So did anyone like it?" Taylor asked teasingly.
"They loved it..." Keith shook his head in relief as he remembered the crowd in front of the picture.
Matthews still hadn't gotten over his smitten memory of Keith's first project. He had demanded the picture be mailed over the week so that it could be part of his exhibition. The first week in Paris, Keith had to work his ass of, dealing with stuck up models who always found some hideous problem with setup of the photography. Keith had pasted a smile on his face and did everything in his power to smoothen the session. Of course the shoot went as well, as it was planned but his almost forgotten nicotine addiction took over him and he found himself longing for a smoke every few seconds. He had finally succumbed to his cigarette needs during the hectic two months stay at Paris but it had been worth it. His picture of Taylor was one of the many pictures among the most talked of in Matthews' exhibition. The critic especially mentioned his photo as rafraîchissant. He was over the top of the world and all thank to his first meeting with Taylor.
"Is that so?" Taylor asked with teasing tone that surprised Keith so much that he had to avert his eyes away from her. Who was this girl and what had she done to fugly?
Suddenly, a screeching sound of car tires against the concrete filled everything in the air as a sleek dark as night Audi started making its way to the dorms' parking lot. Even before the car had reached the parking lot to find a spot, Taylor had jumped from her seat and an impossibly large smile was stuck in her face. Keith watched Taylor, not understanding what was happening.
"I got to go... But don't worry if I get more offers for modeling, I'll let them know that I'm a one photographer model..." Taylor waved her hands in the air like a five-year-old and winked. Winked! Keith was tongue-tied as he watched Taylor newly fit and healthy, he would even go as far as calling her slim figure started walking away from him. It was the oddest thing to see. Taylor winked at him. What was the world coming to?
Taylor literally hopped her way toward the parking lot. She took stairs two at a time trying to reach twice as fast to the ground floor which was just a few seconds away. But when she reached the exit door, Taylor's mischievous side took over her and she hid herself behind the door watching at the impossibly good-looking guy waiting for her. Before she could think of anything, her mobile buzzed underneath her palm.
*I can c u... g8 out already!!!*
Taylor with a grace of a stalking kitten moved out and walked toward the car. Ian, with his overgrown curly locks and those impossibly blue eyes was standing outside the car with a mixture of elegance and impatience. His hands were folded in front of him but his long legs stretched as he relied on his back of the car, twitched as if in hurry. After what seemed like forever, Taylor finally reached Ian, but they didn't hug or kiss. They just stood in front of each other, both of their palms twitching to get closer, to feel each other. Taylor put her arms behind her with an effort to control herself from hugging him while Ian pressed his folded hands tighter not to pull her into an impossibly long kiss. Cannot kiss her yet... Cannot kiss her yet... Ian remembered his mantra once more.
"You ready for a second date already?"
"No not really..." Taylor said with an air of teasing in her posture and her tone.
Ian pretended to think for a second or two and finally his eyes twinkled with an idea. Taylor could see the light bulb of his head getting switched on, his eyes capturing the light in them.
"Then how about second round of the first date?"
Taylor grinned huge and finally nodded as Ian pulled the door in that oh so chivalrous manner for her to get in.
"Couldn't wait for next week huh?" Taylor teased once again as she started walking towards the car.
"When it comes to you... Never." He grinned.
So Keith's finally back! I'm sorry that it took so long to post this one! A very busy week... I'm sure you guys understand! Hope you guys like the chapter!
Replies to the Comments-
Kristy Sanders: Well I have a rough plan for Keith... slowly coming to life! Hope you like this one as well! Thanks for the comments!
Monica: Umm, I'm sorry but I haven't read 'If Only' but yes I am following Tracy's She Will Be Loved... It's one helluva interesting concept... Her writing style has got my interest in thriller hit the max! Yeah, I would really love it if she'd read my story too! Maybe some day! And as for this story goes... just keep reading. I'll try my best not to disappoint you! Thanks for the comment and hope you like this one as well!
Purple: So finally Keith's back... you must be loving it huh? Thanks for the comment! Hope you like it!
Gloria: I agree completely... writing totally depends on one of those random reveries... but this week I've just been so busy that holding onto my laptop for a few hours has been difficult! But hope you're still reading the story and liking it as always! Thanks for the comment!
Clyt: Haha, I literally LOL'd while reading your comment! I'll try never to stop writing! Thanks for the awesome comment! Hope you like this one as well!
Alyssa: Aww, hope you remember to read it now! Thanks for the comment and do keep reading!
Taylor Swift: Umm, I promise you won't be disappointed with what I have in mind. A full-blown love triangle... just remember you asked for it! Hehe... anws thanks for falling in love with the story! Thanks for the comments!
John Farson: I hope that someday this story would turn into a blockbuster movie... Nothing goes by dreaming right? Beside they do say to dream high! I try my best to post regularly but being a student, time management can get a little tricky sometimes! Anyway hope you like the chapter and thanks for the awesome comment!
Terry: I'm so sorry you got to comment thrice before I finally posted! I was just busy with study and stuff! Hope you liked the new post! BTW Keith's back! No kiss but it's a start right? And I'm so glad you noticed that line... I was reeling with joy writing it down! I love it myself! Thanks for the awesome comments and hope you like this one!
Alice X: Thanks for the comments! Hope you like this one as well!
Hate is Just the Beginning - Chapter 17Hope you guys like it!
By Lazilyinlove x