Paths - Chapter 16

There was some strange joy I felt from being here.

"Taylor." Jason beamed when he saw me. He ran to me and gave me a giant bear hug, making me drop my bags. "I missed you!"

"We talk about every day, Jason." I laugh.

"I know, but still. I miss seeing you in person." He set me down. He makes me do a spin, causing me to giggle, "Let me get a look at you." After taking a long examine of my new clothes and style, he declares, "Too European. What happened to the flannel button ups and jeans?"

"Don't worry, I still got them." I laugh. Elliot clears his throat behind me. "Oh my gosh. I'm sorry, Elliot. Elliot, this is my brother Jason. Jason, this is my boyfriend, Elliot."

"Pleasure to finally meet you. I've heard so much," Elliot gives a million dollar smile, holding out his hand. Jason gave a long, protective glare before taking his hand.

"I guess you're not too bad," Jason comments making Elliot chuckle.

"Let's get the bags in the car and leave." I suggest. We move our luggage to the truck but of course a couple of people stopped Elliot for autographs. I spotted a couple of photographers from some benches. The drive home was full of laughter and stories.

We turned into our gravel driveway which lead to a two-story white 20th century home with chipped paint and a red screen door. I looked out to the large lake only a few yards from the home, remembering how many summers Jason and I spent out there swimming.

"Welcome home," Jason told me.



Miss. Harris didn't know that Taylor and I were visiting. We were planning on surprising her at the Diner she worked at. But, after a 7 hour flight, Taylor wanted to wash up. So letting me browse the house, I came across Taylor's room. With a small twin sized bed, she had floral sheets and covers. Stacks of books were found everywhere. On a white desk, where the paint was beginning to chip away, was an old-fashioned typewriter. There were a few photos taped on the frame of a mirror. Many of them were of Taylor and Jason, a few of them other teenage girls, but a majority were from her childhood. My eyes landed on a black and white photo of a man, smiling while standing next to a woman, obviously taken a while back.

"Elliot?" I hear from the doorway. I turn to find Taylor, her hair wet from the shower, drying in a slightly wavy fashion. No makeup covered her face and she looked comfortable in jeans and a purple flannel button up shirt.

"You look beautiful," I tell her. This was why I loved her, she was completely natural, especially in her element.

"Thank you." She tries to cover her red cheeks by looking away.

"Who are these people?" I point to the photo. She comes over to take a closer look.

"That's my Mom and Dad," She says plainly.

"They look happy." I notice.

"They were... before me." Taylor turns away to grab some cowgirl boots.

"Taylor-" I begin but she stops me.

"If we wait any longer, Mom will be off work before we get there." She slips on her boots and grabs a coat. I just nod and follow her out the door.

Ten minutes later, we pull into a small town. The kind that I've only seen in films and on the telly. A 1950s' looking diner called "Donna's Diner" appeared after we took a corner. It was obvious that's where teenagers hung out on their Friday nights. Walking in, the place was somewhat filled with kids of our age, hanging out with their friends.

Whispers began to fill the room once they spotted Taylor and I holding hands.

"Charlotte!" A plump woman, grinned when she saw us. "Charlotte you might want to come out here."

"What do you need Donna?" A woman came from a swinging door, fussing with her apron. It was obvious Taylor was her child. She was thin and had some sort of natural essence to her. Her hair was blonde and curly, propped up in a high pony tail. She turned and saw us.

"Good Lord," she gasps when she sees us. She puts her hands on her hips, "Well don't just stand there in the doorway smiling at me, come and give your mother a hug!" Taylor let's go of my grip to give Miss. Harris a hug. Jason and I look at each other before shrugging and following Taylor.

"Mom, are you crying?" Jason sees, but Miss Harris quickly wipes her eyes.

"Me? Cry? Never." She brushes it off, laughing.

"Mom, this is Elliot, my boyfriend. Elliot, this is my mom." Taylor eagerly introduces us.

"Pleasure to meet you Miss. Harris." I hold out my hand.

"No, sweetheart it's Charlotte. And don't give me a hand shake, that's for business men. Give me a hug." She holds out her arms, so I accept without question.

"We wanted to surprise you," Taylor looked up at me. Her eyes full of excitement. "As a birthday present Elliot was kind enough to get me two tickets home for Thanksgiving. So we talked to Jason about it. I hope you're okay with it Mom." Something crosses Charlotte's face, grabbing a folded up newspaper, she hits Jason with it.

"Ouch!" He yelped.

"You kept this big of a secret from your mother?" She snapped.

"It's for your own good, Mother," he laughed.

"Well, I'm very happy you're both here." She smiled at Taylor and I. "Now, after a seven hour flight, you two are probably hungry, Jason is always hungry anymore. Sit down in a booth over there and I'll get you some food." She tells us. Taylor's hand finds its way back in mine, making me look at her. But, it's as if it were a reflex for her, she doesn't even notice she does it. She just wants to be close to me. I was fine with it though.

I couldn't stop noticing the stares and whispers the other teenagers were giving us from around the Diner. One girl with perky red hair and obviously attractive, came to our table.

"Oh my gosh, Taylor. It's been, like, forever." She gushes.

"Hello Natasha." She says through clenched teeth, obviously trying to be nice to someone she doesn't particularly like.

"I can't believe you moved to London. That's like, a huge step," Natasha's flirtatious eyes found their way to me.

"Yeah, I guess." Taylor shrugged, realizing what was happening, a wall of insecurity showed up on her face.

"Hi, I'm Natasha, Taylor's friend," She held out her hand to me, leaning over our table, she didn't have any problem showing her body off.

"Elliot, Taylor's boyfriend." I took her hand, just to be friendly.

"Oh my gosh, your accent! Is it British or something?" She fakes being surprised but I knew that she knew who I was.

"Yes." I nod.

"Well, Taylor and I go way back, don't we?" Natasha flips her hair.

"Yeah," Taylor chimes in. "There was that one time, you tp'ed my locker or the time you cheated off my tests. Wait, that didn't happen once but multiple times. Let's not forget those countless times you called me Taylor the Farm Virgin." I looked over at Taylor in awe. Then back at Natasha.

"Now, Taylor." She looks at me and gives me a little giggle. "I know we've had our differences, but, nothing we can't get over and become friends."

"Natasha, as much as I'd like to fake how much I enjoy your company, I'd rather spend time with the people I love, instead of watching a "fake friend" only be friends with me to try to sleep with my boyfriend. So if you wouldn't mind, we would like privacy while we ate our meal," Taylor tells Natasha off. She huffs, flips her hair before walking back to her friends.

"Where did that come from?" Jason asks in disbelief.

"Guess, I'm not poor defenseless little Taylor anymore." She says quietly.

"Well, I like you this way," he laughs. "I'm proud of you."

"Who exactly is Natasha?" I ask curiously.

"She's slept with half the boys in town," Taylor rolls her eyes. "She made my life a living hell when I was attending high school here."

"I'm glad you told her off. I know how strong you are," I tell her in a low enough voice, so Jason doesn't hear me.

"Thank you, sometimes I don't." She looks up at me.

"Food for starving children!" Charlotte announces, setting down a huge tray of food and milkshakes.

There was some strange joy I felt from being here. Like something was missing before and now I've found it here. Now that piece feels complete... but I'm not even sure what it is.


Comment! Gold stars to... LOL, Random, Maureen, Purple, Sam, Heera Mullins, Marr, HunterLecoleB.

I'm in love with Nathan Sykes. Don't worry, more to come on the Louisiana journey.
Published: 6/22/2012
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