- Taylor -
"You’re incredible!" They told me.
"You’re fantastic!" They encouraged.
"You’re perfect!" They assumed.
But, I was far from it. I would smile over my shoulder, give a slight giggle, kick up my foot playfully.
"That’s a wrap!" They all said at the end. Everyone would clap and Daniel would tell me how great I was before letting me change to go on a date with Elliot.
"Hey," Elliot beamed, standing from the formal dinner table to kiss my cheek, pulling out the chair for me to sit. I look around at the fancy restaurant, it would take three of Mom’s paychecks to afford a salad here. "How was the photo shoot this afternoon?"
"Same as the other three I’ve had this week. Great." I tell him with a smile that felt more natural around him than in front of the cameras. "I’m just glad, I’m here with you now."
"I feel the same way. The studio was brutal today." He took a sip of his water.
"How so?" I asked curiously.
"Some of the tempos weren’t lining up and my voice just wasn’t wanting to work today," he tried to smile through his obvious tired eyes.
"But, at least you have Paris in a couple weeks," I refer to the concert CHET will be performing in France.
"Yes, however, I haven’t forgotten a more important date." He grinned. Reaching into his inside pocket of his suit jacket, he pulled out a long thin envelope.
"What’s this for?" I was praying, he wouldn’t actually say what I was thinking.
"Happy early birthday," I noticed a mischievous sparkle in his eye.
"I was hoping you wouldn’t remember."
"Now what kind of boyfriend would I be if I didn’t remember my girlfriend’s birthday after almost three months of dating." He leans back in his chair, taking another sip of water. I give him a stern look.
"You didn’t have to get me anything."
"Too bad. I purchased it and now it’s yours," he shrugs. I open the letter and try to understand what all the barcodes, letters, and numbers name mean.
"I don’t understand..." I say confused.
"It’s a plane ticket." He tells me and something in my head clicks. "To take you to and from Louisiana for the American holiday, Thanksgiving." He teases. Tears began to swell in my eyes, a second copy of the same paper falls to the table.
"There are two?" I ask.
"A companion ticket. In case there was a friend at school you wanted to bring, like Libby," he clarifies. The tears stream down, "Tears of joy, I hope." He laughs nervously.
"Elliot, this is too much. You shouldn’t have," I say.
"No, it isn’t, Taylor." He grabs my hand from the other end of the table. "You’ve been away from your family for almost four months now, I want you to see them for the holidays."
"What are you doing for that weekend?" I quickly ask him.
"I’ll probably be with the boys, just hanging out," he shrugs.
"Come with me. Use the companion ticket." I excitedly lean forward. "I can introduce you to my family and you can experience Thanksgiving!"
"Are you sure?" He raised his eyebrows.
"Of course, I am." I hand him the extra sheet.
"Looks like we have some planning to do," he sighed with a smile. The rest of dinner Elliot let me go on and on bout Louisiana, the diner, and Thanksgiving traditions. After paying for the bill, he held out his arm for me to take before venturing out to the streets where the press was waiting. We ignored them, high off of our own bliss. Back at his apartment, I cuddled up to him while watching a movie.
The thought occurred to me then.
"Elliot?" I murmured quietly.
"What is it sweetheart?" He smoothed my hair with his hand.
"Why haven’t I met your parents yet?" I look up at him. I could tell by the look on his face, he was surprised by the question but he recovered before answering.
"Because they aren’t too important."
"Will you let me meet them? Please?" I only knew that his parents weren’t very warm and inviting and were mostly concerned with money.
"There’s something you must know, Taylor." He looked slightly uncomfortable about the topic, like he was worried how I would take it. "You are very close with your family. I want nothing to do with mine."
"They are still your parents, Elliot." I say.
"I’ll set up a lunch in with them, if that makes you happy," he gives in.
"I just think it’s only fair, since your meeting mine."
"Lunch in, it is then." He declares.
I tapped my pencil impatiently waiting at the edge of my seat for class to end. I couldn’t keep my eyes off the slow moving clock as it was just about to hit four o’clock and ring. Just as the first bell chimed, I was out of my seat only to be pulled back by the teacher.
"Oh, Taylor! Please stay and chat with me for a moment please." I froze.
"Mrs. Robinson, did you need something?" I approach her large wooden desk that was placed in the front of the classroom.
"Yes, take a seat Miss Harris." She let her eyes scan through many papers in front of her. Mrs. Robinson was a cool teacher, unlike the others, she understood the student and wasn’t as boring.
"Did you have a fascination with the clock today, Taylor?"
"It’s been a long day," I say, slightly embarrassed.
"This," she hands me a paper, "was your last paper you handed in." I noticed the marking I got.
65 out of 100
"Wow," I was stunned. I’ve never gotten that bad of a score. EVER. I’ve been a straight "A" student for as long as I remember.
"Your last few papers haven’t been as great either." She picked up a stack, flipping through to read the tops of them, "79, 77, 73, 68, and it goes down from there." I let my head drop slightly, ashamed of my lack of academic achievement lately. "So, I took the liberty of checking your other grades as well. In Mathematics you currently have a C-, History and Cultures you have a B-, in Biology you are getting a D+, and English your at a C."
"I don’t know what to say," I say out of disappointment.
"When you were accepted into the Academy, you were getting all A’s. I don’t know if you are of knowledge of this, but the scholarship you received is only eligible for the first term. You must prove your academic abilities in order to receive the second term scholarship." She tells me. "Now, if you really throw yourself into the books, you could get that second term scholarship. But, you have to really want it."
"I do," I eagerly say.
"I don’t doubt it." She sighs. "Taylor, darling, I am only trying to help you. I’m routing for you and always have been. I tend to watch talk shows and read magazines quite a bit and do know that you are in a relationship with the boy band child... what’s his name?" She searches her brain.
"Yes, Elliot. I’ve seen you talk show after talk show, red carpet after red carpet and even the photos in the magazines with the articles. It has to be insanely busy." She leaves time for me to respond.
"It is." I open up. "It’s difficult to juggle all the press with friends and family and school not to mention trying to keep a close relationship with my boyfriend."
"Which is why I wanted to tell you, if you need any help, talk to me. I don’t give extensions, but I can help you study or with assignments, even if you need someone to talk to, I always have an extra cup of tea ready. " Mrs. Robinson offers.
"Thank you, Mrs. Robinson." I graciously say.
"You’re welcome, Taylor." She smiles before I leave.
I’ve let myself slip, way too much. I have to focus on school, that is the main reason I am here anyway.