Okay so I can admit it, I'm a freak. It's official, and I say that only because it's true. Sitting here, waiting for the doorbell to ring again, or to hear some low knock on our heavy wooden door from some costumed children, accompanied by some less than enthusiastic adults who are constantly reminding their kids to say thank you, I had managed to separate all the candy bars in the bowl I held in my lap, by flavor. I mean what kind of head case does that? Me, that's who... and what's worse, I couldn't even decide which one I wanted to eat. What the hell is wrong with me that I can't even choose a piece of candy on Halloween?
I don't know, maybe I was just pissed off that I was stuck here at home on Halloween night, passing out candy to all the neighborhood kids, while my mom took my little brother trick-or-treating. Then again, it's not like I was Mr. Popular at school and I had all sorts of invitations to choose from. In fact, I hadn't been invited anywhere... not to one party, not to hang out with anyone... nothing, I mean, even Ben was going to a party... with a girl no less. Ben! And here I was, sitting on my couch, alone, on Halloween night passing out candy and feeling so sorry for myself, that I couldn't even choose a piece for myself to try and sweeten my mood.
Ben was my best friend, had been since we met in the seventh grade, and all these years later, we were juniors, and were driving, and had sort of made our way through those crappy beginning years of high school and found our niche, although, I'll admit, Ben's niche seemed to come with better parties and more girls, not that I was at all interested in those.. girls that is. Ben was though, and he partied a lot. I was always invited along, and even actually went most of the time too, except tonight when I was stuck at home passing out this bowl of candy for my mom while Ben was out partying without me.
I couldn't even be pissed about it really, because it wasn't Ben's fault my parents decided to continue to reproduce after I was born, and it wouldn't be fair if Max didn't get to go trick-or-treating just because my mom had this insane need to make sure someone was here to pass out candy every year, so, it was either this, or take Max myself. I decided this would be the easier of the two, and besides, I know how this goes down... I ask Max how far he wants to go, and of course, he picks the furthest house possible, so we start heading in that direction, and about halfway there, he starts whining about how he's tired and his legs hurt and then, his bag of candy is getting heavy, so I take some and carry it for him in a separate bag and then, once we are as far from home as we can be, I end up carrying Max, in whatever costume he chose that year, and both bags of candy all the way home.
Not this year though, I opted for the boring couch, with the organized bowl of candy, and the giggling kids, and the moms with strollers, and babies not even old enough to eat candy, and the teenagers too old to dress up but still wanting candy, and indecision. Why was picking a candy bar so damn difficult, I wondered again, as I heard another knock on the door, before I gave up and carefully stood up, not messing up the organization I had going on in my bowl.
I swung the door open to a chorus of 'trick-or-treat', and I was faced with one 'Finding Nemo' fish, one Barbie cheerleader, and right behind them were the kids dressed as a ninja and Anakin Skywalker, and the baby in the classic pumpkin costume. I almost had the door closed when I heard a faint 'trick-or-treat', so I tried not to groan as I pulled the door open once more, only to have a little ladybug with wings and antennae on her head standing there, but it wasn't her outfit that caught my eye, it was her escort, Blake Madsen.
Blake Madsen. Senior, probably the most popular guy in school, and so fucking gorgeous I swear my brain ceases to operate on a normal level whenever he's anywhere within a one-hundred foot vicinity of me. Yeah, that Blake Madsen, the one standing a lot closer than one-hundred feet now though, since he was only a foot in front of me with his little sister and talking to me... talking to ME!
"Huh," I stuttered out so eloquently that I almost instantly hated myself for being such a total loser every time he was around.
"I just said 'hey' Taylor. Looks like you got stuck doing Halloween duty too," he repeated.
"Oh, yeah," I pouted. "I was gonna go to this party with my best friend Ben, but I had to stay and help so, guess that's not happening now."
"Oh yeah? You mean that party at Michelle's?" he asked.
"Yeah, that's the one," I sighed.
"Well, I heard it got broken up an hour ago cause her parents came home early, and she is in some deep shit, so no worries right?" he said, apparently trying to cheer me up, or maybe himself.
I considered that as the awkward silence grew between us and his little sister, who was maybe all of nine years old, stood there staring at us, wasting her valuable candy-getting time before she tugged on his sleeve and insisted, "Blakey, come on! We're wasting time."
"Okay, okay," he said in an attempt to calm her down, but it was the way his cheeks flushed, his face almost glowing, as she called this very popular icon in our world, Blakey, that caught my attention.
"Yeah, you should get going so you can get done," I begrudgingly admitted. "I've been there too."
"Yeah," he agreed. "Well, try to have a good night," he offered as he turned and I watched him walk away before I closed the door on one of the hottest boys in school.
It was then that I realized I had managed to have a whole conversation with him and only looked like a complete idiot once... I hoped. Not only that, but it occurred to me as I replayed it in my head, that he knew my name. We weren't exactly friends and we absolutely didn't run in the same circles, that was for sure, but somehow, he knew my name. I was still leaning heavily back against the door when I not only heard, but felt, another knock at my door causing me to come back to reality for the moment. I opened the door once more and standing there was Blake Madsen, this time with a very impatient ladybug waiting down at the end of the walk.
"Hey," he said fidgeting slightly, which was completely abnormal for him, at least in my head. This was Blake after all, then again, what did I know, it's not like we knew each other.
"Hey, are you lost?" I joked.
"Er... no," he said confused.
"Forget something then?" I continued on, looking for the reason he was still standing there with his hands shoved in his pockets, looking totally uncomfortable with the whole situation.
"No," he said almost aggravated. "I came back to ask you..."
"Ask me what?" I asked him as he paused uncomfortably.
"You know what, never mind," he said as he started to turn back toward his ladybug.
"No! Wait!" I insisted, reflexively grabbing him by the arm to stop him before I even realized what I was doing and when he did stop and turned around to look at me again, I was the one that was uncomfortable and at a loss for words.
"Yeah?" he asked me.
"Well, uh..." I stuttered out. "I uh... well, tell me what you were going to say," I requested sheepishly.
"Well, I was going to ask you if you were doing anything later... cause there is this party at Greg Flemming's house. His parents are out of town or something..." he explained casually.
"Oh. Well, I'm not really doing anything at all actually," I told him before I realized that once again, I looked totally lame, with no plans on Friday night, not to mention that it was Halloween night.
"Well, do you wanna go then? With me? I mean... if you aren't doing anything..." he suggested.
Was he serious? Holy fuck! Blake Madsen was asking me... ME, Taylor Brooks, to go with him... to a party... where HIS friends would be... at Greg fucking Flemming's house. Holy shit!
"Well? You wanna go or what?" he asked after I hadn't responded.
"Yes! I mean... yeah, that sounds cool," I answered trying to keep my cool, when in reality, I was beyond excited. Hanging out with Blake and Greg and at a party. I mean he invited me to go... with him, hell yeah!
"Cool," he said casually, his smile as gorgeous as ever. "How about when I get done with Molly, I'll come pick you up? Sound good?"
"Sure, cool, sounds good," I stammered out, looking totally lame.
"Okay, see you in a little while Taylor," he said before he jogged down the walk to meet up with his little sister, while I stood there trying to figure out how in the hell I managed to get to hang out at a party, with Blake, on Halloween, He was picking me up, and... he smiled at me.
"Yeah... later," I mumbled watching him disappear down the street.
A good two or three minutes had passed with me standing there, being held up by the wall, before another group of kids walked up and helped themselves to my neatly arranged bowl of candy before I could get myself to finally go back inside and close the door. That only made it possible to wonder how this all happened in a warmer setting, since the cool autumn air had a way of sending that chill straight through to your bones. I appreciated the warmth that waited for me inside though, as I flopped back down on the couch, excited about the way my night had suddenly turned around.
It wasn't long before Mom showed up, carrying Max of course, and his bag of candy, but the part of the night that I always find amusing was about to unfold. Max, who had been too tired to go on, too exhausted to take even one more step, to venture forth to even one more door, even with the promise of some treat to coax him, was suddenly revived and demanding to start enjoying those same treats he had worked so hard to collect, as Mom flopped down in a chair in an attempt to recuperate from her latest weightlifting activities, and then it happens, like it does every year.
"Max, we have to check your candy first before you can have any, just give me a minute," my mom said, exasperated by Max's sudden burst of energy. "Maybe Tay will help you," she suggested, her eyes begging me to lend a hand.
"Will you, please Tay?" Max asked, practically bounding over to where I had been snickering silently from my seat on the sofa, watching the tradition of what Halloween had become in the Brooks household play out in front of me predictably, as if it were scripted and rehearsed, everything happening just as it should, right on cue.
"Alright twerp," I sighed, "but it's gonna cost you," I said teasingly.
"But I don't have any money," Max insisted, pouting as Mom and I exchanged a silent chuckle.
"Hmmm, well what do you have then? You must have something..." I said suggestively.
"Ummm, well..." he said glancing at his bag of candy and then back at me again. "What if... I give you some... of my candy?" he suggested painfully.
"I don't know, how much is some?" I questioned him as his little foot started tapping impatiently.
"Tay! Please!" he whined.
"Alright, alright," I absolved. "Grab your bag of candy."
Max proudly grabbed his rather large and bulging bag of candy and hefted it over to where I was sitting, before dropping it at my feet. I couldn't decide if it was more comical watching him struggle to hoist the bag to a level that would be easier for him to handle, or the way he was trying so hard to seem patient and unaffected by my lack of comparable enthusiasm over all this.
"Okay, here it is," he announced redundantly.
Slowly I sat up from where I had been leaning back against the back of the couch and as I grabbed the sack of candy and Max's eyes widened in anticipation. I glanced over at my mom and she winked at me, silently laughing at the way Max seemed to act like this was some precious treasure to be guarded and protected. It wasn't more than another second though, before I had the bag sitting in front of me on the coffee table and as I grabbed the bottom corners of it, lifting them upwards, all the candy poured out onto the large surface in front of us.
"Wow Max, you really made out this year," I noted as I scanned the pile of candy that was way too much for any one child to eat. "Did you leave any for the other kids?"
Max giggled, proud of his collection of goodies, "I don't know," he answered wide eyed.
"Okay, well, I guess we better get started," I sighed knowing this was going to take a while.
"Yep," Max readily agreed.
"So let's sort this stuff out first okay, then we'll check it to make sure it's safe," I said, thinking out loud, while Max just looked confused. Candy was candy... wasn't it?
"What do you mean 'sort it'?" Max asked.
"Well, like... put all the lollipops in that corner and all the gum in that corner over there, and the candy bars over here," I gestured as I started separating the candy into various piles.
"Okay, but how come Tay?" Max asked me as he reluctantly followed my lead, pushing pieces of candy in different directions.
"Because Max," my mom started to say, "Taylor is... overly organized."
"I am not," I insisted. "I just like to know what I have and know where it's at. Is there something wrong with that?"
"Not at all honey," my mom answered as her hands gently squeezed my shoulders.
The doorbell rang, echoing through the house. "It's pretty late for trick-or-treating," my mom said out loud as she made her way toward the front door. "Do we even have any candy left to pass out Tay?" she asked as she swung the door open.
"Hi, is Taylor home?" Blake asked her as I momentarily freaked out; temporarily forgetting that he was coming to pick me up in the midst of all this candy sorting.
"Oh, yes, he is. Come on in Blake," my mom said, and then Blake Madsen was standing in my living room seeing me and my compulsions with his own eyes.
"Dude, what are you doing?" he asked as he observed me in all of my freakishness.
"Umm... " I paused, looking for a way to explain my oddities to one of the coolest guys in school, the one that was currently standing in my living room, waiting for me, to take me to hang out for the night with his friends. "Never mind. I just need to grab a jacket," I told him.
"Okay, cool," he agreed.
"But Tay! You said you'd help me!" Max insisted, pouting.
"Go on Taylor, I'll finish up here," my mom said. "I didn't know you had plans tonight or I never would have let you get started with this. I'll help you finish up Max," she told him.
I ran up to my room and grabbed a sweatshirt and glanced at myself in the mirror before looking completely horrified at what I saw staring back at me. My hair was everywhere! I quickly ran into the bathroom to try and sort it out, and on my way into the bathroom, I was in such a frenzy, that I smashed my knee into the bathroom counter and yelled out in pain.
It didn't take but a second for my mom to be right there next to me, wondering what happened and if I was okay. I really just needed to calm down and I might actually be fine I thought, as I rubbed my sore knee and then fixed my hair. Mom and I walked back downstairs only to find Blake helping Max sort his candy.
"So why are we sorting out like this again?" Blake asked Max who was trying really hard to look like he hadn't just been crying.
"Because," Max sniffled slightly, "Tay says we have to."
Blake looked up at us as we entered the room again as he said, "Well, then I guess we should... I mean, Tay is the expert at candy sorting right?" He smiled in my direction as Max nodded.
My mom walked over and gently said, " Maxxie, Tay and Blake are leaving now so say goodnight and then I'll help you finish up here okay."
"Okay. Good night Tay," he said hugging me and then Blake. "Thanks for helping," he added before he turned back around to where my mom was waiting for him.
"You guys have a good night," she called over her shoulder, "and Blake, tell your mom I said hello, it's been way too long since I've seen her."
"I will Mrs. Brooks," he said.
Blake and I walked out to where his jeep was parked alongside the curb in front of my house. I had seen the black jeep drive past me at least a million times when I was walking to, or home from, school, but I had never actually been in it, or even this close to it, I realized, as he unlocked the doors and we climbed in. It was fairly neat inside, which for some reason totally surprised me. I'm not sure why, but I had always assumed that most teenagers cars would be the graveyard for the fast food remnants and long since forgotten beach towels and soccer balls, but not Blake's.
"Nice car," I said, still somewhat in awe as we pulled away from the curb.
"Thanks. You've never seen it before?" he asked absent mindedly. You would think he would know who had been in his car before, and who hadn't, especially when they only live a few blocks over from you, but then again, this was Blake Madsen... and I was... Taylor Brooks, I realized, suddenly feeling less than adequate.
Worried perhaps, like I just knew that tonight wouldn't go well. I mean, how could it? I was just this... total nobody. I bet most of the people at this party wouldn't even know who I was. I was just the tall, thin kid with the boring brown hair that I wore a bit longer than some people thought I should, and sometimes, I liked to hide behind it. The kid who never really struggled with school, never got bullied, never got noticed either; it was just Ben and me usually, and most of the time I was okay with that.
"So, I didn't know my mom knew your mom," I stated evenly when I realized I was going to get myself all worked up and worried if I didn't leave those thoughts alone.
"Oh yeah, from the PTA I guess," he explained. "I've helped your mom carry some stuff from her car a few times when I get stuck helping my mom."
"Oh," I said rather eloquently. I suppose that would explain it, but still, I somehow felt left out or uninformed. How my mom could know Blake Madsen and not tell me was something I just didn't understand, how could she know him and him not know me? Why did no one tell me about this?
"It's no big deal," he offered after a few minutes of quiet from me. "It never really came up before..., "he tried to say.
"Yeah, well... we haven't ever really hung out before," I stated evenly.
"I know," he frowned slightly. "I guess we just don't hang with the same people usually," he justified.
"Yeah," I said pitifully. He was right, only further proving my point. He was way cooler than I was, he partied like I didn't, he had friends, I had... Ben, who was awesome, but he can only be so many places at one time.
"Well, we're hanging out now... right?" he asked, seemingly in an attempt to make us both feel better about that fact.
"Yeah, we are I guess," I agreed, although every fiber of my being was still wondering why I was sitting next to Blake, in his jeep, and heading to a party at Greg Flemming's house.
"You keep saying that," he pointed out.
"I do? Saying what?" I wondered aloud.
"Yeah..." he answered.
"Yeah?" I repeated.
"Yeah!" he said laughing.
"Huh?" I asked, totally lost now, and frustrated on top of it all that he was now laughing at me. Just fucking great!
"Nevermind Tay," he said as we pulled up in front of what I assumed was Greg's house and parked.
I frowned slightly in his direction, for a couple reasons, not the least of which was the way he had seemed to decide that it was okay to call me Tay like my family did. On top of that, here we were at Greg Flemming's party, and I already felt completely uncomfortable and out of place and we hadn't even gotten out of his car yet. I was seriously beginning to wonder why I had even agreed to this.
I guess we had been sitting there in silence for a few minutes, and since I had made no attempt to get out of the car, Blake just sat there with me. My brain was pretty much going crazy, trying to figure out what I was even doing here and how I was gonna get out of it without looking completely and totally like the pathetic loser I'm sure all his friends would think I was.
"Taylor," he said hesitantly, softly. It was quiet in his car; he didn't need much force behind his voice anyway. "Are you okay? Do you not want to be here? Do you want me to take you home?" he asked, apparently trying to figure out why I hadn't moved from that spot where I was hoping I could turn invisible and pretend this night had never happened, why I hadn't said anything in at least the last five minutes.
"Sorry," I finally managed to say, probably sounding equally as pitiful as I felt. "I'll be okay I guess. I didn't mean to act all... totally lame, and ruin your night," I said barely above a whisper now.
Blake shifted in his seat, facing me now, his knee pulled up on the seat as well and said, " Taylor, you aren't lame, and you didn't ruin my night... but I'm not gonna make you go in there if you don't want to, and I'm not gonna go in there and make you walk home so... you decide."
Well great! Now if I say I want to go home, he won't get to go to the party either, and if I say I want to go inside, then I'll probably have a miserable time and feel ridiculous. It was a no win situation for sure, and I didn't like that Blake had laid it all on my plate either, I decided.
Instead of answering any of the questions he had asked me previously, and instead of making some verbal confirmation to either of his offers, I simply pulled on the door handle and got out of the car. I stood on the sidewalk waiting for him to join me, watching as he climbed out of the black jeep and clicked the automatic lock button.
"So we're partying then," he said more as a question that needed confirming than a statement.
"Yeah, looks like," I agreed before following him up to the front door of this large house.
The music was on, you could tell, not so much that you could hear it, but more that you could feel the beat, rising up through the ground and through your feet. I supposed that was better than having the police show up and break up the party though, as Blake knocked loudly, attempting to be heard over the music I suspect.
We heard laughter and giggling coming from behind the door, followed by what sounded like a shriek from a girl as we exchanged a glance of uncertainty. Finally the door swung open and we were faced with Melanie, Greg's girlfriend, who was obviously pretty tipsy and giggling like crazy.
"Sorry, I slipped," she slurred out as she pointed to her socked feet and the gleaming tile entryway.
"Oh," Blake offered, rolling his eyes, though only I could see it since Melanie was already headed back to the party, leaving us to close the door and follow her.
We ended up in a large open room where several people from school were sitting on the couches, snuggled up to some other boy or girl, quietly whispering to one another, just in time to see Melanie plop down onto Greg's lap where he was sitting in a recliner. There were probably only about twenty people left now, and somehow I thought there would be more people at a party at Greg Flemming's house.
"I guess most of them had to leave already," Blake leaned over and whispered to me.
"Madsen! You're late!" Greg bellowed. "What the fuck happened to you man?" he continued, "you missed a great party."
"Yeah? That's shitty. I had to take my sister trick-or-treating," he said feigning contempt for good measure, but then turned and winked at me.
"Sucks to be you," Greg agreed. "Who's that with you?" he asked, finally noticing me, perhaps it took him so long since I was probably slightly cowering behind Blake.
"Dude..." Blake said, as if he was shocked, "it's Taylor man, you know... from school," he continued to explain, while Greg's face said he still had no idea who I was.
"Right, whatever," he said ambivalently, nodding in my direction.
I nodded back as Greg told us to grab a drink from the kitchen. I followed Blake, never having been here before, and assuming he knew the way, down some hallway and into the kitchen where we looked around before deciding that opening the refrigerator was possibly the only remaining location for drinks.
"Looks like we have... beer or... beer or... beer," Blake laughed out, surveying the contents of the fridge. "Sounds like Greg to me."
"Can I just have some water?" I asked, immediately regretting how juvenile that sounded.
"Uh, sure dude. You don't want a beer?" Blake asked surprised, perhaps trying to make sure I knew I could have one if I wanted to.
"No, I don't drink," I stated bravely, hoping that he could respect that.
"Okay, that's cool," he said, "water it is."
Blake grabbed himself a beer, as I tried not to make a judgment about him in that moment, before locating me a glass from a cupboard and filling it with water from the refrigerator door.
"Thanks," I said as he handed it to me.
"No problem," he replied opening his beer and as I drank from my glass of water, he drank his beer.
"Let's go see what everyone is up to," he suggested, before walking back the way we came.
It occurred to me, at some point, as I stood alone in Greg Flemming's kitchen, holding my glass of water, that this wasn't at all what I thought it would be. Not only was it not very lively, it was more like a bunch of kids sitting around getting drunk and making out, and I was fairly certain that I wasn't going to be doing either of those things here, which only furthered my wonder of how I ended up here.
"You coming?" Blake asked, apparently wondering why I hadn't been right behind him and then coming back to find me.
"Yeah," I said half-heartedly before I placed my glass of water on the counter and this time, I followed Blake.
"There you are," Greg said much louder than was necessary, apparently an irrelevant fact in his inebriated state. "Dude, you missed the chance of a lifetime tonight."
"Oh yeah?" Blake asked, reflexively taking a drink of the bottle of beer he was holding.
"Yeah! Man, Sherri Marshall was here tonight, and looking for you," he said suggestively. "You could have had some of that tonight," he added as an afterthought, one that Blake seemed to shrug off subtly.
"Damn, too bad," Blake managed to reply, probably sounding believable to the half sober people who might have been listening.
"What about you?" Greg asked me. "Get any lately, have a chick?"
"Uhh, no," I said blushing slightly. It wasn't everyday I discussed my sex life with people, or my lack there of, besides, I was pretty sure that telling these guys that no chick would be getting any from me anyway was not something I wanted to do.
"No? That's too bad," Greg said, his eyes giving him away, scheming somewhat. "We could fix that if you want," he suggested. "Stacy is here and pretty fucked up by now, she'd probably do you."
I looked at Blake pleadingly, hoping he would help me escape this predicament I had somehow managed to get myself into. Most straight guys would jump at the chance to get off with some chick, especially Stacy, so it would probably raise a few questions, suspicions, if I said I wasn't interested. Besides, even if I did agree, I wouldn't even know where to begin, and that terrified me on a whole other level.
"Lay off the kid man," Blake said in my defense. "He does his thing. I need another beer," he added before he walked off in search of one leaving me there without him.
"So you go to our school?" Greg asked me,
"He's in my English class... I think," Melanie offered indifferently.
"Huh? Wonder why I've never seen you before then," he replied, thinking out loud.
"I don't know," I shrugged. "I live near Blake," I volunteered for no real reason other than to justify my presence since he had left me here with all these people I didn't know.
"Cool," he managed before Melanie occupied his mouth in other ways and I decided that was something I didn't need to witness up close and first hand.
Some girl grabbed my hand and yanked me down next to her on the couch and started talking to me as I wondered who she was; she had her legs tucked up underneath her and threw her arm around my shoulders, her fingers sliding up into my hair and her other hand landing high up on my leg. I shuddered from the sensations, more out of total and complete fear than anything else, as she continued to talk about nothing important.
I'm not sure if it was the way she kept staring at my mouth, or the way she kept alternating between leaning forward slightly and applying a slight pressure to the back of my head, but it became clear that if I didn't get out of there quickly, Kaitlyn, which I found out was her name, would probably be all over me in another minute, something I was even more certain I did not want to happen.
"Uhh, you know... I better... go find Blake," I said when she asked me if I wanted to go someplace quieter.
"I'm sure he's just fine," she countered. "I saw him and Jennifer go out back... we could too you know," she said suggestively.
"I need to go to the bathroom," I announced, looking for some way to get out of there, causing her to raise an eyebrow at that. Apparently it wasn't the response she was expecting from me, but I really didn't care at that moment. I stood up quickly, extracting myself from the tangle she currently had me in, before someone pointed me in the direction of the bathroom.
I took the time I had to myself in the bathroom to figure out that I really just wanted to get out of here before Kaitlyn got her hands on me again and did who knows what to me. The thought alone sent a shudder through my body as an image of her mouth encompassing my entire head flashed through my mind. I needed a plan. This would have to be covert style, I decided, if I was going to get out of here in one piece.
I needed to find Blake and convince him somehow, that he should forget about that Jennifer girl, and take us both home. I needed to find a way to get to the back yard without Kaitlyn seeing me and thinking I wanted to be out there with her doing who knows what unimaginable things. I needed... to be invisible.
Turns out, I decided, as I walked quietly down the hall and back into the living room that I practically was. I managed without too much fuss or attention to find the back patio door and make my way outside. Sure enough, there was Blake, sitting on a lounge chair with Jennifer practically in his lap. There were enough beer bottles on the table next to him to give alcohol poisoning to someone, and I hoped that Blake hadn't emptied them all himself.
I watched for a moment from where I stood quietly in the shadows, as Jennifer laughed obnoxiously at something Blake said that I couldn't really hear, but it annoyed me nonetheless. Here I was being practically mauled by Kaitlyn, and he's hanging out back here with Jennifer having a good old time and getting drunk. Thanks a fucking lot Blake!
I was getting more... angry I guess, by the minute as I stood there watching this scene play out before my eyes. Blake says something, Jennifer hangs on his every word, she asks him something so she seems interested, he painfully responds as her hand lands gently on his leg, squeezing it for effect, she giggles, and then he looks around as the uncomfortable silence settles in before they repeat the same situation again.
I wondered silently, standing there on the patio, how long it would take me to walk home. I was just about done convincing myself that it didn't matter anyway, and I was going to just leave, it's not like anyone here would miss me, except maybe Kaitlyn, and I was definitely okay with that, when I managed to bump the rather large terra cotta planter sitting on the ground in front of me, the one holding the tree I was attempting to hide behind. Both their heads spun around in my direction, looking for the source of the noise that had interrupted their conversation.
"Taylor!" Blake said excitedly. "I've been wondering where you were."
"Oh? You have?" I asked annoyed, knowing it was unlikely.
"Yeah, I was just telling Jennifer that I should go find you," he said. He looked rather uncomfortable with the whole situation, and I momentarily wondered if I had misread what I had seen and was interrupting something, before I decided I didn't care.
"When are we leaving?" I asked in a way that made it clear I was more than through with this party and ready to go home. I'm sure he could tell I was unhappy as I stood there with my arms crossed and an annoyed look on my face.
"Are you ready to go?" he asked. "Did you have to be home at a certain time?"
"Well, yeah. By midnight," I answered as I checked my watch, only to find that it was only twenty minutes until that time anyway.
"Oh! Well we better go then," he said a little too excitedly, "wouldn't want to get you in trouble."
"Thanks," I huffed out, as if he cared.
Jennifer seemed to be unable to choose one emotion as her face kept switching from pissed off to sad. I suppose if I was her, I would be pissed off too that Blake was leaving, along with my chance to get anywhere with him. Blake stood up in an attempt to leave, only to have to steady himself on the patio table that stood next to him. After a minute he slowly approached the spot I hadn't yet moved from, next to the large terra cotta planter, and managed to stumble into me, unable to judge the distance accurately or get his feet to stop moving in time.
"How many beers did you have?" I asked him incredulously, more out of surprise than anger, as I instinctively wrapped my arm around his waist to steady him.
He responded by grabbing onto me, his arm around my shoulder as he said," Umm, I dunno, I lost count after five... I think..."
"Blake! You can't drive us home like this," I decided out loud.
"I'll be fine," he disagreed.
"You can barely stand up," I pointed out.
"Come on, let's get out of here. I'll even let you drive," he said, winking at me, apparently thrilled with the alternative idea.
"Fine, whatever... let's just go," I said as we made our way out the back gate and over to where his jeep was still parked.
"Give me the keys," I requested not so politely.
"Sure, they're in my pocket," he told me as I stood there waiting for him to decide to get them out and give them to me.
"Can I have them?" I asked exasperatedly after he had made no move to retrieve them.
"Yeah, I told you they're in my pocket," he said again, as if it was obvious.
I decided, in the interest of getting home on time, that I would just have to get them myself, so I asked him, "Which pocket Blake?"
He giggled, apparently enjoying this game as it only frustrated me more, "Guess."
"Dammit!" I said as I started patting his pockets, looking for something that felt like keys, before I found them in his pocket on the opposite side of me. He could barely stand up, so letting go of him wasn't an option. Instead, I swung around and was face to face with him, his arm still around my shoulder, much like Kaitlyn's had been earlier, as I shoved my hand into his jean pocket to retrieve the car keys.
He didn't put up a fight as I managed to find the keys and unlock the doors. I helped him get into the passenger side before I shut the door and walked around, climbing in behind the wheel. I leaned over, reaching across him, face to face again, grabbing his seatbelt and stretching it across him to buckle him in before doing the same for myself. I started the car and we were on our way, finally.
"I guess I'll just take you home and then walk to my house," I said, more thinking out loud than anything else.
"No! You can't take me home!" Blake insisted in a way that had me scared too.
"Why not?" I asked cautiously since he was obviously quite upset about that idea already.
"My dad will kill me if I come home drunk. Please Tay, can I just crash at your house?" he pleaded with me.
I knew my mom wouldn't care; she was always cool about that kind of stuff. Ben stayed over a lot, but this was different, in a lot of ways. Plus, we didn't have a guest room or anything, so it was either the couch or in my room with me, and I didn't think the couch was a good idea. My mom would be up early, making Max breakfast and doing laundry, her usual weekend stuff, and a hung over Blake on the couch would definitely cause some suspicion.
I glanced over at him briefly, before I had to watch the road again, and his eyes were pleading. As pissed as I was about how this whole night had turned out, and how he had left me alone with all those people I didn't know, alone with Kaitlyn, the man eater, I really didn't want him to get in trouble.
"Fine," I agreed, "but you have to sleep in my room, cause I don't want my mom to see you like this."
"I can stay?" he asked, surprised.
"Yeah, you can stay," I repeated.
"You're not mad at me then?" he asked. "It seems like you are," he pointed out.
"Oh I'm mad," I told him, taking the time to look at him again, this time my eyes telling him I was annoyed. "But, we'll talk about it in the morning," I decided. Now was not the time and he was too drunk anyway.
"Okay," he pouted as I managed to get us home and parked alongside my curb.
I climbed out of his car and walked around to his side, opening the door and when he seemed to have some trouble figuring out how to stand up, I reached out to help him and he grabbed my hand as I pulled him out of the car before I ended up having to catch him, steadying him eventually, and locking the doors before we made out way inside.
"Be quiet okay," I instructed. "My mom and Max are already asleep, and we don't want to wake her up, trust me."
"I'll be quiet," he whispered loudly as I rolled my eyes at him, although I'm sure he didn't see it.
"Just come on," I said leading him in the house and to my room before he managed to flop down on my bed.
"I need to pee," he told me.
"Okay. So go... it's the next door over," I said.
"Can you help me? I don't think I can make it," he complained.
"Well, maybe you shouldn't have drunk so much then," I pointed out as I sighed, walking over to where he was and helping him to his feet again.
"I know," he admitted. "I just hate it," he said as if that was supposed to be a discernable statement.
"Whatever, let's just get this over with," I said, trying to get him out the door and into the bathroom.
I got Blake into the bathroom and propped him up against the wall in front of the toilet, before I said, "I'll be back in a minute," and walked out, closing the door behind me.
I went back to my room and kicked off my shoes and changed into some shorts before I went back to get Blake. I knocked quietly and as he instructed, I opened the door to find him exactly where I left him.
"Did you go?" I asked, confused slightly.
"Not yet, you said you'd be right back," he explained.
"Yeah," I said exasperatedly, "so you could have some privacy, so you could go."
"Oh, well I'll go now," he said as he reached for his zipper trying to push himself up off the wall.
"Now?!" I asked in a voice much louder than a whisper.
Blake stumbled, wavering back and forth, trying to get his balance as he fumbled with his belt and button, and I instinctively reached out to catch him, holding him up from behind. His body sank back against mine as soon as he felt something stable to lean on. His back was pressed against my chest, his head leaning on my shoulder, and aside from the slight smell of alcohol, he smelled fantastic, fresh, almost like he had showered right before he picked me up and I could still smell the soap on his skin.
"Okay, I'm ready," he announced.
"You better not piss on the floor!" I said exasperatedly, realizing that I almost had my arms wrapped around his waist in an effort to hold him upright.
His waist, awfully close to... other parts of him, and the very idea of my hands being so close to it caused me to inhale sharply, only adding to the already intoxicating scent of him. I felt that familiar feeling in my own shorts as he managed to finally go, and I stared at the ceiling wondering how I got myself into this situation yet again tonight.
"I think I'm done," he informed me and I groaned internally as he leaned into me even more, his forearms brushing alongside mine as he let his arms fall down to his sides.
I was more worried about the current state of my shorts though, than anything else, and I was pretty sure that even in his drunken state, Blake would notice something like that pressing into him from behind. That made me more nervous, I didn't need Blake freaking out on me, or worse, telling everyone at school that this little nobody was into guys.
Carefully, so as not to accidentally touch anything that may or may not have been in the path of my hands, I slid my hands along his waistline until they came to his hips before I gently pushed him forward in an attempt to steady him and put some space between his ass and the obvious thickness that was beginning to tent out my shorts. My forehead landed gently on his back, just between his shoulder blades as I tried to get myself together. Slowly, and keeping one hand on him at all times, I turned around and let him lean against my back. I figured that was safer than the other side, and it allowed me some space as well.
"Are you... all dressed again?" I asked him, deciding that parading Blake Madsen, with his dick hanging out, around my house was probably not a good plan.
"Umm," he said sleepily, "sort of."
"What does that mean?" I asked frustrated.
"Can we just go to bed?" he asked, not answering my previous question.
"Sure," I sighed, turning until our sides were touching and my arm found its' way around his waist once more.
We walked like that back to my room as I forced myself not to look at Blake or his half open pants. I sat him on my bed once more before I knelt down to take off his shoes for him. He flopped backward as soon as he hit the bed and groaned out loud, seemingly ready for bed.
"I'll be right back," I told him. "I'm just going to go to the bathroom."
He didn't say anything discernable, but instead mumbled out some sort of acknowledgement as I turned and left the room. I managed to make it to the bathroom and back without having any major breakdowns. I brushed my teeth and headed to bed.
When I walked back into my room, Blake wasn't where I had left him though. Instead, he was in my bed, under my blankets, his head on my pillow and from the looks of it, he was already asleep. This was going to be a long night I realized, being in such a close proximity, so intimately I suppose, with Blake. Hopefully I'd fall asleep quickly, and wake up tomorrow, and put this crappy night behind me.
I turned off the light and walked around to the side of the bed that Blake wasn't lying on, and turned down the blankets enough to get in. I tried to move carefully, cautiously, so as not to wake him up, and maybe I'd be able to lie there and fall asleep eventually. Then again, Blake Madsen was in my bedroom, in my bed, asleep, and smelling so good I decided again, as my head hit the pillow next to his.
The moonlight, along with the light from the streetlights, shone through my bedroom window, and I watched the shadows dance across the ceiling as the wind gently blew through the tree branches outside. I could hear Blake breathing evenly, lying there beside me, and I turned my head to look over at him. It was safe, I thought, he was asleep. He was so gorgeous, his brown hair kept short and styled. He had these regular brown eyes, but for some reason, on him they looked anything but plain, as they fluttered open and then, he was looking back at me.
It's not like I could turn away, that would look more awkward, and I knew he had seen me, there was no point in trying to get out of it. Explaining it however, well that would be a little more difficult I thought, as I watched him and he watched me back. He lay next to me, on my right, flat on his back with his head turned in my direction, while I lay on my side facing him, watching each other.
"Tay?" he said so quietly I almost didn't believe I heard it at first.
"Yeah?" I whispered back. "You okay?" I worried; I hoped he wouldn't get sick.
"Thanks." was all he said.
"Thanks? For what?" I asked him?
"For everything... for being so sweet, and for helping me tonight, and for letting me stay here with you, for rescuing me from Jennifer, for driving me home, for taking off my shoes, everything," he explained quietly.
"It's no problem," I sort of huffed out, only half way meaning it, my eyes returning to the much less beautiful shadows on the ceiling. I was still pretty annoyed that he would invite me to a party, that turned out to be something much less than I expected, and then for leaving me with a bunch of people I didn't know, including Kaitlyn, and then getting drunk on top of it all.
"I'm sorry I acted like a jerk tonight," he allowed for the possibility, more the likelihood that he had.
"Mmmhmm," I mumbled out. This was probably his normal speech for whatever sucker he got to help him out right? I mean, it didn't seem like he was at all out of his comfort zone partying tonight with Greg and drinking so much he couldn't even stand up on his own.
I felt him moving around next to me, but I refused to look over, he was probably just getting more comfortable, I know it can be hard to get to sleep in a strange place, in a bed that isn't yours, so I dismissed it. If I could just get myself to go to sleep, I might just be home free.
"Tay," he whispered once more, and as I turned to look at him again, our eyes met briefly, for only a second before his lips landed gently on mine.
Warm, soft, and moist, as they pressed against mine, and I was more than a little surprised as my brain caught up to what was happening here. Blake was in my bed, with me, and kissing me... how in the hell did this happen, again I wondered, before I realized I probably didn't care. Blake... was in my bed, with me, and kissing me, just gently as he tested the waters. I suppose if I had freaked out he could have blamed it on the alcohol in the morning, but as it turned out, I didn't protest at all.
Blake, who had been propped up on his elbow when I turned in his direction, allowing his lips the best location to find mine, slowly laid back as I followed him until he was flat on his back once more. My hand landed next to him on the bed in an effort to support myself, but not before my chest landed on his, causing me to pull away abruptly, surprised at the contact, but more by the fact that his chest was as bare as mine was, hot against my own skin.
He smiled softly at me, perhaps trying to tell me it was okay, before he turned away from me, pulling my arm around him as he snuggled back against me, his back pressed against my chest. This time, besides that smell of soap, I could smell him, his hair smelled like apples, crisp and sweet at the same time, but it was soft against my face.
"Good night Taylor," he said squeezing my hand in his.
"Good night," I whispered back wondering what had just happened.
Blake's breathing evened out until he was making this cute little sigh each time he breathed out. I could feel his chest rising each time he inhaled, his back pressing just a little more into mine each time, and then falling again as he exhaled and rhythmically it lulled me to sleep, along with the warmth and the comfort of his body against mine.
Somehow in the night, we managed to reverse positions because when I woke up the next morning, it was I who was in Blake's arms instead. I felt his legs, bare and warm against mine as he was pressed against me, holding me tightly to him, still snoring softly. I was so warm, comfortable, lying there with him, but I definitely worried about how he would react when he woke up. I thought about moving several times, about getting up and just leaving him there in my bed, but the thought of leaving Blake, mostly naked in my bed, without me, was almost painful.
So, I stayed. I stayed in his arms; my back against his bare chest, our legs snaked in between the others, and I enjoyed it. I imagined Blake's face, peaceful and serene, as I felt his soft, warm breaths land on my neck over and over again. My arm was under the pillow, and he had my hand in his, and as he squeezed it gently, it caught my attention. He stretched his body out against mine, his long legs reaching the end of my bed as I felt his rib cage press up against my back, long like a cat, before he curled right back around me, seemingly only halfway awake and aware of his surroundings.
I stayed still against him, quiet, allowing him to wake up and decide what he wanted to do about how we were laying. I suppose he could always claim he didn't know, that he had been asleep when it happened. He probably didn't even remember kissing me last night, I decided, silently pouting to myself. He was drunk, I knew that. I'm sure he didn't mean to do it.
"Tay?" he said so quietly, bringing me out of my abscess of debilitating thoughts.
"Yeah?" I responded just as quietly, not moving a muscle, not one inch away from him. His hand squeezed mine and I felt his lips smile against the back of my neck causing mine to do the same.
"I'm glad you're awake," he whispered.
"You are?" I wondered aloud.
"Yeah," he told me, "cause you stayed with me when you could have gotten up."
"Oh," I said, my statement not at all giving as far as what I was thinking.
"Well, I'm glad you stayed," he said, catching my attention as he seemed to try to snuggle closer to me still.
"Me too," I whispered, unclear of what we were going to do about this situation or how much I was willing to tell Blake about myself.
We lay there, warm and in silence, just feeling each other's presence comforting for quite some time before Blake said again, "I'm sorry I acted like that last night. I'm glad you aren't as big a jerk as I am or I could have ended up in a lot of trouble last night," he paused, "thanks for taking care of me Taylor," he said as he gently kissed the back of my neck causing a sensation to run down my spine. Maybe he did remember kissing me, I thought, as I smiled to myself.
"Can I ask you something?" I said. I felt him nod against my back. "How come you drank so much last night? It just doesn't seem like something that you would do, it doesn't make sense to me."
"Turn around," he requested simply as he loosened the hold he had around my waist and I did. Our regular old brown eyes meeting again, for the first time since last night, and I closed mine. I felt my cheeks color as I remembered how his lips felt as they touched mine for the first time, and I tried to stop the smile that was forming on my face by biting the inside of cheek.
"You shouldn't do that," he admonished and I opened my eyes again, looking at him slightly confused. "You have a great smile," he allowed, and that time I couldn't stop it, even if I had wanted to, I couldn't.
"Thanks," I managed as he gently lifted my chin until I was looking at him.
"I did it because... I needed a way to not feel the way I was feeling. I know it's dumb, but I couldn't deal with Jennifer, or Greg trying to always hook me up with a different girl each time we're at a party when..." he drifted off in thought.
"When what?" I asked him, wanting to hear the answer.
"... when all I wanted was to be with you."