Chapter 21 - The First Date and Keith's Feelings
"Perfect," said Lisa as she brushed a little more rose into Taylor's cheeks. Taylor looked as Lisa claimed perfect. Her pale cheeks had color in them as if a hint of a blush was slowly making its way towards her face. Her eyes had no sign of the familiar dark circles around them. Lisa had applied a shade of light brown - bronze shadow above her eyes that matched the simple brown floral sundress. Lisa wanted Lorrie to wear something bold apparently to knock the high-school-stud out for good. Taylor had to literally beg Lisa for her to agree on the brown one because there was no way in hell she could go on her very first date in jeans. Taylor absolutely had to look the way she looked right then. Her nails were painted in red to match the blood-red lipstick her lips were covered in. Lisa had picked out a pair of red sky-high stilettos for Taylor to wear but the mere sight of it scared her so much that Lisa had to settle for a lovely pair of boots. Those boots that Taylor got to wear was the only thing that she owned, everything else was perfected and loaned by Lisa.
There was no doubt that Lisa had dolled other girls for their first date before. She had almost a professional air to it. Taylor knew Lisa had only good intentions for doing so, but as she glanced at the made up Taylor's reflection on the mirror she couldn't help but panic. The girl staring back at her was beautiful, a creamy mixture of delicious brown and red flowing all over the mirror. Her long blonde hair somehow magically shortened up to her hips in a beautiful fishtail side braid. The hair do was the only thing that Taylor would like to do again somewhere along the future. Everything else, she dreaded.
"So when is he coming to pick you up?" Lisa asked more excited than Taylor.
"5 or so..."
"Well, all the best then... You look gorgeous!" Lisa grinned and made her way out.
"I really do..." Taylor sighed as she once more inspected herself in the full length mirror. Her phone buzzed in the table announcing the arrival of her date. Taylor moved to pick it up getting over the impossible lengths of her eyelashes. Taylor had never noticed just how long they were until it was smeared in mascara.
"I'm at the parking lot..." Ian said and Taylor could hear his smile through the phone.
"I'll be there in a second..."
As Taylor made her way out the doors of her co-ed dorm, she was glad that the parking lot was crowded. It was filled with people as if the parking lot was in fact a park. She was glad for it meant Ian, the guy she had started to like over the months, couldn't spot her as soon as she was out the door. She was glad, she had a few seconds of privacy before the made upside of her was exposed to him. But what she didn't know was that Ian's eyes were glued to the door. He had spotted her as soon as she had taken her steps out of the hostel. Ian had stood there with his gaping mouth as Taylor slowly made her way to him. She still hadn't seen him so he had enough time to shut his mouth up. Taylor played with a few free strands of her hair self-consciously as she walked to Ian and all he could think was just how perfect she looked.
"You look..." Ian started to say but Taylor shook her head from side to side stopping him mid-sentence.
"Don't say it... Please." Taylor pleaded.
"Why?" Ian asked confused.
"I..." She grunted unable to express the way she felt, "I am uncomfortable..."
"Lisa dolled me up for this date. I know first dates are supposed to be a big deal. And I look so beautiful. This dress, this makeup everything is perfect but I feel like I'm a walking glass house. I can't rub my face, can't move my lips the other way, my eyelashes are heavy... I mean heavy!! Usually I don't even feel them but right now they're heavy! And I guess it is alright to feel that way but not okay to complain about it which is exactly what I'm doing. And I totally understand if you want to cancel, because I really don't want to go out feeling this way. I'm sorry." Taylor blurted out as Ian watched her pace from left to right with a blank expression that made Taylor nauseous.
"I am not going to cancel this date. And I'm not letting you bail either." Ian said finally with an amused glow about his face. He looked as if he was trying to suppress a hideous laughter in. "Taylor, you look beautiful. You really do and I love the fact that you." He air-quoted the next two words "Dolled up for me but I didn't want you to. I didn't ask you out on a date so that you could go Barbie on me. All I really want is to have a decent time with you and I would really love it if you were not uncomfortable then."
An awkward silent hung on the air as Ian stood watching Taylor satisfied with his little speech. Taylor fiddled from one foot to next as she asked so innocently that it was one of the most amusing things Taylor had ever done or said. "So I can go and wash my face?"
Ian simply laughed and nodded.
After washing her face, Taylor felt such a weird relief that it was almost enigmatic, almost palpable. She was much relaxed. Sure, the reflection staring back at her was paler, had normal blonde eyelashes and her lips were pink and swollen after the smeared lipstick but she was more herself. She was more of her fugly self; she smiled thinking about Keith. But the smile died suddenly. "Did I just smile thinking about the Barbie guy?" Yelled Taylor in her head and laughed once again.
"Jesus Christ, what is Ian doing to me?" Taylor said out loud and laughed once again.
With a huge smile plastered on her face, Taylor made her way out of the hostel once again. This time, it seemed to her that she was literally hopping to get to her date. Without the slimy lipstick and heavy eyelashes, she found that she was in love with the dress she was wearing. It was a cotton dress and it felt air light to touch. Her hands kept fiddling with the surface of the dress and a lazy smile seemed stuck on her face. Taylor looked beautiful the first time she came out of the door but Ian loved the way Taylor was smiling the second time. She looked happy and for a second he believed she was actually happy at finding him waiting for her at the end of her line of sight. Both Ian and Taylor had a stupid grin stuck to their faces. The onlookers who noticed both of them could see that there was a sort of secret between them. They could see that Ian and Taylor were in their own separate world. And those who watched intently felt a tug of guilt as if they were prying at someone else's private moments.
The date, for Taylor especially was an eye opener. If she had any doubts regarding Ian, it vanished in thin air when he made her laugh, when he shared his side of the story that both of them had lived during their high school, when he showed his true self to her. Ian was a different kind of guy, so much more than the high school popularity had led her to believe he was. He was more than a pretty face, a wit that didn't miss a thing and Taylor just kept pouring her heart out as if it was absolutely necessary that he knew everything about her. Ian didn't seem to mind listening but Taylor stopped once in a while anyway. But he got her started once again with a curious question that he would ask so earnestly. Just as for Taylor, it was a new experience for Ian as well. He had dated other girls, despite his long relationship with Blair. But his experiences with those girls and Blair seemed somehow wrong to compare the time he had spent with Taylor. Maybe it was the fact that Ian had been curious about Taylor for such a long time that he simply wanted to absorb every new detail she was offering but he had never wanted a girl to keep on talking like that before.
The date seemed to be an endless rendezvous and it was the best they had ever had yet. During one particular moment of comfortable silence, Ian actually panicked with a sudden sullen thought, "What if this is as best as we get? What if we have nothing to talk about now?" That panic disappeared as Taylor suddenly started laughing out of nowhere.
"Do you remember Blair and Kher prom clip? I watched it like 1000 times. I always wanted to thank the person who made it viral."
"Well, you're welcome..." Winked Ian.
Taylor's mouth opened with sheer shock. And just like that they had found something else to talk about.
"I swear that day I laughed so many times it was just... Spectacular." Taylor sighed.
Keith was watching her with a sort of fondness that had developed over the story. As far as Keith could tell, it was one helluva boring date. Dining, long drive, long walks, long talks, blah, blah... that wasn't his definition of a spectacular date but he kept his mouth shut anyway. There was something about the way she giggled at the memory of her very first date, something about the way she repeated the words to describe her favorite parts of that so-called perfect night over and over that made Keith listen to her so earnestly. She was a great story-teller and Keith loved the way she chose her words. He had no heart at all to tell her that her first date, according to him, was one of the lamest dates ever even to imagine for himself.
While Keith was busy with his thoughts, Taylor stretched and rubbed her eyes tiredly. "Hey, why don't you nap for a while? I'll wake you up when something comes up..." Keith said as he stretched himself.
"It's okay. You can sleep for a while besides I can't sleep in straight surfaces. I need a pillow." Taylor confessed gingerly.
"Oh, I didn't realize you were such a baby..." Keith teased "Come here... I can be your pillow." Keith said tapping his legs motioning Taylor to move.
Taylor seemed to consider the idea for a while. But whatever was against the idea got beaten down by her tired mind. She looked at Keith for a moment and as if silently saying through her looks "Oh, what the hell." She moved towards him.
"You can't complain if your legs go numb..." Taylor warned as she pulled out her hood and used it as a blanket before letting her head fall into his lap.
"I won't." Keith promised and rested his head on the wall.
"Thanks for having my back and you know not blaming me..." Keith whispered with his eyes closed not sure he wanted to look at Taylor right then.
"Don't mention it..." Taylor replied as she shifted her head into a comfortable position without opening her eyes.
Almost instantly Taylor fell asleep. Her breath started to slow down into comfortable pace unlike Keith's. As seconds passed and as Taylor predicted Keith's leg really started to fall asleep. He couldn't sleep while his legs were growing heavier and heavier each passing second. Any other time he would've gladly shaken the girl sleeping on his laps, complaining despite the fact he had promised he wouldn't but he couldn't do it right then. Taylor was sleeping peacefully and watching her in that moment of serenity Keith once again went into an unintentional trance. Taylor was lying on the left side of her face, away from Keith. Keith's hand moved towards her hair and it was still there like the very first time he'd seen it. The Jasmine tattoo behind her ears, Keith was spellbound once again at the mere sight of it. The words meant so little to him, he barely knew who Jasmine was but somehow the permanency of the calligraphy took his breath away.
Keith didn't know how long he had gazed at the tattoo or Taylor sleep, but somewhere along the sleepy leg and his tired mind, he fell into an uncomfortable slumber with dreams that would change his life forever.
"Look, go wash up and change into whatever you want to wear. Just because your best roommate wants to dress you up for our first date it doesn't mean you have to or rather I want you to too. I mean you look awesome but I want to go out with my duckling not this Barbie doll." Keith said and winked at Taylor.
"Yeah, I mean you're enough of a Barbie for both of us right? Is that peach lipstick?" Taylor teased as she moved backwards disappearing into her dorm.
After a few moments of waiting Taylor was back. And suddenly the crowded parking lot was empty. From the concrete ground grew green grasses and suddenly the parking lot was no longer a parking lot but instead the college football ground. The growing twilight atmosphere was lost in the blinding sunshine of the morning that appeared out of nowhere. Of course, Keith didn't notice the change. He was too intent on the girl who was walking towards him with her platinum yellow hair flowing in the air. She was Taylor. It was a part of the memory from their first meet. Taylor was dressed in the same ill-fitting clothes she was wearing the first time. She held the same books and same red heels in her arms. It was a déjà vu within a dream but the only thing different from the actual memory was that both of them were smiling. In his dream, they were both happy to see each other. In his dream instead of having a feud, they both walked away together as the morning light slowly transcend into a dark light of the dawn.
They were in the hospital grounds. A huge black window behind them and it is deserted, no one in their immediate sight. They were walking and something about their pace, he had that feeling at the back of his mind that they are in a hurry. But Keith can't quite put a finger on it. Taylor suddenly let go of his hands and he realized for the first time she was holding onto him. As Taylor got further and further away from him he realizes that he misses it. He misses the way she held his hands, even though he doesn't remember what it felt like. He still misses it. And as if, she heard his thoughts and silent pleadings, she turns back. She still has that heels in her hands, but the books are thrown on the ground carelessly as she slowly walks up to him.
She has a lazy smile stuck on her face and he feels it containing on his lips. Before he knows it, he is smiling ear to ear and Taylor is in his arms. She holds his face between her hands and pulls him into a kiss that is so perfect, and so unlike the ones he'd ever had that when she let go of him he can't help but feel an upsurge of disappointment and longing inside him. When he finally dares to open his eyes, as he finds he had somewhere along closed them, Taylor is laughing at him. Her gray eyes beneath her spectacles are shining as if moonlight were caught in her irises. She rubs her right hands, the one holding the red heels, to her cheeks for reasons he just can't fathom right then.
"Why are you carrying those heels around?" Keith asked laughing himself.
"You're not scoring this one..." Taylor said frowning.
"What?" Keith asked feeling a tug at his right arm.
"Keith? Keith... Wake up. Phoebe's coming about..." Taylor's whispers woke him up from his dream.
Aside from nightmares, we can have two types of dreams. The first one is the type that are forgettable, not worth remembering. You know such dreams that when you wake up from and you realize that it made no sense at all and eventually forget because it was just too illogical. Dreams that seem perfectly rational while you're sleeping but once you wake up, it has no place in your life so you just chug it off your mind all in all. And then there are the other types. Those dreams no matter how irrational or illogical it may seem you never want them to end. Such dreams are the dreams that you close your eyes for a second more because you want to live in it for a minute longer. Such dreams are usually the one that changes our perceptions regarding something that is too present in our lives. It gives us a new light to things we've ignored in our daily lives. Such dreams leave our mind baffled. They clung to our minds, make us question our reality and all day long, sometimes even more, we rummage with possibility to make better sense of such dreams. Keith's dream was the latter type.
Of course, when he woke up, he realized he had been dreaming all along. But the vision of worried Taylor waking him up made him want to close his eyes to the happy and laughing Taylor that much more. He stubbornly pressed his eyes trying to solve the mystery of her red heels in his dreams even though his sleepiness was long gone. He wanted to feel the lingering sense of Taylor's lips in reality.
"Keith, wake up! Phoebe is awake!!" Taylor finally yelled irritated about the fact that Keith was being so childish.
When Keith finally opened his eyes accepting the fact that it was only a dream and the kiss hadn't actually happened, he knew in the hearts of his hearts that something had changed deep inside him. He suddenly realized that the kiss he had felt in his dreams was the kiss he had seen earlier. It was the same kiss Taylor and the fairytale guy had shared. He realized the guy in his dreams wasn't actually him but the fairytale guy, whatever his name was. And finally with that epiphany he realized he was actually jealous of the fairy tale guy whose name he, for the life of himself, couldn't remember.
So this is the chapter where the actual triangle begins. You guys wanted Keith jealous well, you got it! Hope you like it!
Terry: Thank you so much for those awesome comments! I seriously think I procrastinate a lot when it comes to writing! But it's good that to read I'm not as bad as I think I am. And I'm glad you're enjoying the story. I seriously hope someday you'd start your stories... or if you already have then I'd love to read them!
Karen P: Decade?? I hope you really don't feel that way! I seriously try to write as fast as I can, but I guess procrastination comes along with the whole writing a story. So please don't mind the waiting so much! And thank you for the awesome comment! And hope you like the chapter! I have a feeling you did, you know with Keith and Taylor's dream kiss!
Tans: Hey, thanks for the comment! And it is absolutely my pleasure writing the story! Hope you like this chapter! Hope you keep reading the story and finding the same guts to comment on the future chapters! Thank you again!
Anita 123: Well, Keith is jealous of Ian right now... so let's see what happens! Thank for the comment and hope you liked the chapter!
Gloria: Well, my plan has unfolded in front of you! Did you like Keith's dream? He's finally jealous! That's a start right? Well hope you're surprised once again! And thank you so much for the awesome comments (all of them)!
Monica: I'm so glad you're in love with a character that I created! It's like I've created a real person through my writing! Well, I hope you like this chapter despite the fact that there's a competition for Ian in it! Thanks for the comment!