Chapter 21

My brow grew furrowed and tight as my hands moved across my keyboard in my writing room above my bedroom.

"Hrm.. I don't remember this."

"What?" Taylor was going through my overloaded mahogany desk where I kept most of my original writing in it. He was picking out stuff and asking me about it, the last item that he'd pulled had been a pair of red satin panties that had been a gift from my last live in boy friend, he had left that same day.

"I'm checking my email, and my publisher, Rachel, she said that I agreed to do some interviews this week. Just phone ones, but jeez, I can't remember this."

"What are these?!" Taylor dangled a Tiger and Bop magazine in front of my face. He was on the cover of both. I glared at him.

"A quick fix two years ago." My attention went back to the glowing screen. I had mail from a couple friends in New York and all around. I wrote the times of when the journalists were supposed to call on my hand in black ink and looked up at Taylor. "What now?"

"I cannot believe this. You got a teeny magazine for me."

"Yeah, well such things happen."

"I thought it would've been from a friend as a joke, like the panties." My hands left the keyboard and I turned to him.

"My friends know not to joke about you. It happens to be a really sensitive subject."

"Oh." Taylor turned, almost embarrassed and went back to my desk. "Why, were you embarrassed about it?" My jaw dropped.



"No, of course not, they just knew that we were together, and I'm still nuts about you but won't admit it to anyone. They don't bring it up because I can't deal with it with them. I can deal with it on my own." I returned to writing a letter to my aunt in Vermont.

"Oh, okay." I could almost hear him pause, then resume to snooping.

Later on I had proclaimed that I wanted to make dinner, so we had to go grocery shopping. I refused his offer to drive and we took my '85 Wagoneer. He protested, then asked why I had car like that. I rolled my eyes and simply told him that I didn't like expensive ones, or driving them. I was always happy in my Wagoneer, I took the Four Runner on long car trips. My last garage space was empty, Kris's car had left it, and it looked strange. All the way there he looked at me, puzzled by my delight caused by this funny, old car. I pulled into the Acme parking lot and began to scan for a spot after a long ride into town. The afternoon sun was bright, the day was filled with clear blue sky and the blinding sun. I grabbed my sunglasses and took off my regular ones, slipping on the darkened lenses. Although it was well above the seventies, I was in my usual cargo pants and a tanktop. I rarely got too hot, only when the temperatures dipped in the nineties, it was then that I reluctantly put on shorts

"As much as I don't get why you like this car, I really like your driving style."

"I think I'll take that as a compliment, thanks. And stop making fun of my car, one more time and you find your own damn way home." I punched him lightly in the arm and got out of the car.

As we entered the produce section I shivered, they always make it so darn cold here. I grabbed random samples of fruit and munched while I started to think of what I wanted to make.

"You know, I always told my mom I was going to marry a chef." I mused to myself, it was true though.

"Really? Does that mean I have to take cooking lessons before this goes any further?" I smiled at him.

"You don't know how to cook?"

"I can make eggs. Hello, we have eight kids in the family, we support the take out industry heavily. Mom would have to be insane to cook that much." I gave a low whistle.

"Eight kids... damn... Well how many do you want when you get married?" This was a test, I had no idea how we were going to end up, but the kid thing should be handled right now. Taylor gave me a blank stare.

"Uh, I don't know. I mean it's cool always having someone around. It was definitely interesting, we loved each other a lot, Mom was always really busy though. I really don't know, I think I'll cross that bridge with my wife, it's not all my decision." I stopped the cart and hugged him tightly. "Hey, thanks." He smiled and let go. "And your view on it?"

"Ditto on the last part of what you said."

"Cool. So what're we gonna have for dinner chef?" I pursed my lips, thinking. "I don't know if this is matters, but I like macky and cheese."

"You want me to make macaroni and cheese?" My tone was sarcastic, I was planning to make something that looked impressive.

"Fine then, dazzle me, but I was just letting you know that I liked it." He started walking towards the deli section. Why would he want something so easy? Hadn't he run across anything better in all that traveling he'd done? I sighed, tomorrow night I'd have to go shopping by myself then.

"Taylor! Hey!" I followed him to the deli stand, where he was staring at the ready made deli macaroni and cheese. "We're NOT getting that, I refuse to have ready made stuff in my house. Tough beans. I'll make you some homemade." His smile brightened.

"Okay, let's see if you can beat my mom's."

"You're pitting me up against your mom? Jeez, no pressure or anything."

"I really wish I could paint you." I stopped smiling and looked at him. His face was serious.

"I didn't know that you painted."

"That's what I wanted to do, music is there, but it doesn't come from here as much." He pointed to his chest. "Our parents really didn't encourage anything but the music seriously." He picked up a tomato and started tossing it back and forth in his hands. "A couple months after we released our first national label album, my dad quit his job and became our financier. From then on, we had no choice on whether we were singing or not. Don't get me wrong here Lane, we always will love performing and creating music, but it lost it's glamour after a while, believe me. Zac and I, we've always liked art better. Just a first love." I leaned against the cart and slowed, pushing back my hair from my face, it was getting a little long, around the length of my shoulders.

"Why don't you get some stuff in a gallery? Put on a show? I know some people in New York that run a studio, they'd run it under a fake name for you. Seriously, why don't you?" Taylor looked at me, he seemed almost bitter.

"I haven't taken any classes or anything, it's just a hobby. I wouldn't know how to get it going."

"Leave it to me. I've had stuff sold in their gallery, I do a little art, I took a year of art courses in Europe two years ago. It's small beans compared to what gets in, but I get a pretty nice check from them each month. If you don't want to do it, fine. But every artist I know, whether they be a painter or actor or musician wants to show the world what they've got. Poets on the other hand are reclusive, shy weirdos who usually have OCD. The good ones anyways." I laughed, it was all too true, I had to admit.

"Maybe. Do you know anything Italian?" With that he had ended the conversation.

"Do I know Italian? He asks if I know any Italian dishes?!" I threw up my hands, and grabbed the tomato he had been tossing. "What did you have in mind?" I closed my eyes and held the tomato to my nose, it was ripe and the smell drifted in. The colorful smell reminded me of the last time that we had used tomatoes in my kitchen, Kris and I had made fresh stromboli. They had taken hours to make, but by the end we were feeding each other succulent bites of warm cheese, sausage, pepperoni, and ham. They were so delicious, and had made the long process of creating them well worth it.

"Can you make stromboli?" Taylor was pointing to the deli meat section.

"You're scary, you know that?" His eyebrows raised and he smiled.

"I'll take that as a yes. Cool, what do we have to get?" I gave him a light push.

"Leave that up to the professionals here boy." I scanned the case filled with logs of spiced meats and rows of cheeses, ordering the ingredients I passed the white paper parcels filled with select meats and cheeses to Taylor as I finished ordering them. I ran back to the tomatoes and grabbed a bag full. "For the sauce."

"We're making sauce?"

"Nope, that would take too long, just to make the sauce taste better. Herb it up a bit and add a tomato, and it does taste as if it's homemade."

"Oh, you're going to have to teach me this stuff." Taylor looked uneasily at the numerous white packages of meats in the cart.

"If you don't learn anything from tonight, you're sitting in the bathroom. You'll learn, don't worry."

"How'd you learn?"

"My parents are pretty good amateur chefs, my dad especially."

"That must've been fun."

"Yeah, it's a blast, I love cooking." We walked down the aisle with tomato sauces the different labels showed various Italian scenes, my fingers brushed up against the glass bottles as I searched for my favorite brand.

"Have you ever been to Italy?"

"Nope, I've never gotten there. You?"

"Yeah, it's so beautiful. Pretty romantic, but I was there with my family. It was cool learning about the monuments and stuff. The land is gorgeous." A light smile played on his face with the memory of Italy.

"I'll make a mental note to go there then. Okay, got it. Now we need..hm gimme a minute. Meats, cheeses, sauce. . ."

"Crust?"

"No, we make that, you can't just buy a ready made crust, I know I have yeast at home."

"Dessert?"

"Yeah." I rubbed my hands together, thinking of a raspberry chocolate tart. It would be perfect.

"Can we get ice cream?" My train of thoughts were disrupted.

"No!" My voice was sharp, I was tired of his suggestions, I was used to doing this on my own, or with Kris. "Taylor, if we are going to spend the time making a stromboli, we are not going to spend thirty seconds scooping out ice cream for dessert!" I turned around the cart and made off to the produce section to grab some raspberries.

"Whoa there Lane, hey!" Taylor stopped me. "Hey, it was just a suggestion, I'm not used to someone going to that much fuss over me for dinner. I didn't know you were so damn sensitive over this stuff." I looked down at my hands.

"Sorry."

"Fine, now let's decide on this together? All I made was a suggestion." I paused, over the grocery's weak speakers I heard the faint beginnings of Elton John's 'Blue Eyes'. I closed my eyes and smiled. I felt Taylor taking my hands from the cart and drawing me close to him. We slowly danced to the slow music. I looked into his eyes and smiled, then started laughing. He smiled and began to chuckle. Realizing what we were fighting over was a good feeling, it had been so insignificant.

"I wanted to make a raspberry tart."

"I don't like raspberries."

"Man...strawberries?"

"Right on. I saw they had some in the front." I gently touched my lips to his.

"Let's go."

.

Chapter 22

As we loaded the groceries into the trunk I looked at the sky, it was so clear and flawless. My eyes squinted at the brightness and I brought my hand above them. I felt a light breeze, I felt like the beach. I had lost a lot of my color over the past couple days, holing it up in the house. I looked over to Taylor who was closing the trunk door. "You're getting spacey on me." He looked at me, not sure of what response I'd give.

"Yeah. I feel like being alone." I didn't look down from the sky.

"Why?" My lowered my head and looked at him.

"I dunno. Maybe I'm just used to it."

"Huh, well I can check out the beach if you want to go off." He sounded unenthusiastic about that idea.

"Whatever, let's go home first." I climbed in and started the motor. Taylor followed, I could feel that he was mad. Ignoring him, I popped in a tape and turned it up, too loud for conversation. He angrily turned the volume knob down.

"No, what are we doing today? I came here for you, not the beach." I pulled back into the parking lot and turned off the engine.

"Well let's get one thing straight about me, right now. I like to be alone, I'm used to it, and when I want some privacy, I'm going to take it. I would want you to take your own too."

"So you don't want me around."

"No Taylor, I said that I wanted some time alone. Can't you respect that?"

"I can respect you taking some time to yourself, but we haven't been together for four years, I want to hear about what you've been doing, I want to find out about you. I don't understand why you don't feel the same way." My knuckles were white, clinging to the steering wheel, I stared straight ahead, not knowing what to say. Frustrated, angry and completely confused I felt a salty tear slid its' way out and fall onto my collarbone. His soft, heavy hand covered my tense one. "You have no clue what you're doing, do you?" I shook my head, sniffling. "You know what Laney?" I looked to his eyes, kind and clear. "Neither do I, so can we stop this? I think I love you so much, but I hardly know you." I raised my hand and wiped a salty droplet from my chin.

"Why?" I quietly murmured.

"Why what?"

"Why did you say that? Why would say that you thought you loved me?"

"Because I can't stop thinking about you, I can't stop wanting to know every sign you throw off, and what it means, I can't stop wanting to ask you questions, I can't stop wanting to see you move." He paused, unsure of what to say. "I've never felt this way about anyone, and I don't know how to say how I feel about you. English calls it love, but I mean, I love my mom, and I don't feel the same way about you that I do about my mom, and she was the main woman in my life for 14 years, I mean the main female that meant the most to me, until Becky, and Becky is nothing compared to this, to you. And you, you make my stomach nervous when I see you, but I want to crawl in and find out what makes you... you. I need to know everything, and if you want to keep a part to yourself I'm going to feel like a piece is never going to be complete in my life. I mean, do you understand what you said, what that does to me?" I squirmed in my seat, sniffling and comprehending what he had just said. He reached with his fingertips and traced the path of my last tear down my face. I moved closer to him and our lips touched, quietly. His arms enveloped me and I grabbed to him. We held each other with death grips, not sure what we had tapped into, and not sure how to hold on to it.

As I guided the Wagoneer in my garage, Taylor hopped out to put his car into the empty space next to it, he fed Julian outside then found me. We brought in the groceries and sat down at the kitchen table when we finished, unsure of what we would do for the rest of the afternoon. Healthy summer light burst through my home, and my thoughts went to earlier in the morning, in the tangle of sheets and the morning sheen his skin had adopted from the sweat we'd created. My thoughts resurfaced and I found Taylor smiling at me.

"You know, we should start the stromboli." I mused.

"Yeah, we should." His voice was monotone. I crossed the table to his side and stood in front of him.

"Start now?"

"Naw." He brought my waist closer to him with his hands, lifting my shirt, exposing my untanned stomach. He kissed my stomach lightly, and the butterflies came back in an instant. His tongue playfully licked my stomach and I drew my breath in quickly. His kisses grew longer, and moved upwards, my hands went in his hair as I brought him down on the kitchen floor with me. His hands moved underneath my bra, tracing the line of fabric. My hands moved to his warm back, reaching further down. My legs held him tightly as I wriggled out of my shirt and bra and grabbed his shirt off and over his head. He kicked off his shoes as took his mouth and gave him the most committed deep throated kiss I knew could be given. As our lips parted, his eyes looked into mine.

"We do okay together, you know that?"

"Yeah." I smiled and took his mouth again, he worked with my pants and I let go of his body to get out of them and tugged his shorts off, as I felt his sex through his boxers I rubbed closer to him. He moaned softly, I split my legs and pulled the boxers off in one motion. His mouth went to my chest as I grabbed his head and shoved him into me. We worked together again, the intensity was greater and we rode with it, treasuring every movement made together. Our faces met, and we saw the sweat bead and drop. He raised himself with his arms, becoming almost forceful, I grabbed his back, welcoming it. I thought I had died when I came, the feeling was above anything I had ever felt. I thought I had died and reached somewhere not of this earth, everything we tried was of the mystery and muscle of our love. And everything we tried was right.

As we laid on the deliciously cool tile floor, our bodies still steaming and charged, we looked at one another. I brought his fingers to my lips, kissed them, and moved closer to him.

"I'll let you in, I will, I promise." I whispered to him.

"Will you?"

"Yes." He kissed my forehead gently. "I will."

.

.

Chapter 23

Later, after a steaming shower, our skins moistened and still sparked by the water lust, we sat outside on the dock, before starting the food. The day was slowly beginning to wind down, as the light grew golden and sandy. My toes dipped in the water, my cutoffs had a good feeling against the wood. I looked into the murky water, fish at random sucked on my little toes and causing a giggle to escape my mouth. Taylor sat lazily beside me, casually leaning against a dock post, with one leg in the water and one curved around my body. The sun had tanned his skin lightly during the afternoon, the little time we'd spent outside. I began humming a tune as I carefully moved to lean against Taylor in his arms. The position felt natural as breathing, we simply relaxed against the wood and the sea. His soft, warm breathing was against my neck, calming me almost to a slumber.

"What do you want to do with life now?" My eyes opened to his question.

"Is this philosophy hour?"

"I'm serious here." I looked back out on the water, choosing my words carefully.

"Life has been good to me already. Sixteen through eighteen were not good years, but I wouldn't trade them back. I might not be here now. I have a fantastic job which supports me. I have close friends that I would kill for. I have a house that makes me feel safe. And I have this moment, which adds to my life indefinitely. I want to continue that, I'm really at a place where I don't know the directions that well, but I'm okay with it."

"Was all of eighteen that horrible?"

"No, I started my first tour then, I got help then, I faced a lot. I also met you, which at that time I didn't think was such a good thing."

"Why not?"

"Oh it's not like I didn't like the time we had, it was that I thought about it so much during that time. I thought I'd let the one thing I was looking for slip through my hands and I was never going to find love again. I'd let go of two loves in two years, two loves that I thought I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I didn't allow myself to talk about it, and that was what hurt the most. I couldn't scream you out on stage, I wouldn't let myself write about those hours with you. I really cut myself off from that part of myself. I wouldn't let people in, on stage was the only place where I was feeling comfortable with myself. The media was asking questions about my private life and I was ripping myself up in interviews, I felt like I owed it to people. But that's the way I think those things are always going to be, but I also know that people read them, and they relate, which is something that they can't do when 98 percent of all rockstars, etc. give interviews. I was always borderline of too far when I spoke to those journalists."

"Why would you do that to yourself? You don't have to, you shouldn't have to give up that privacy to be original, that's pretty sick." I turned to him.

"Because I'm coming to grips with that stuff when I speak of it. Let's get a couple things straight, I don't give names or places when I speak to them. A certain tennis star would be crucified by now if I had mentioned his real name. But I'm not going to sit there and bitch, that's not human, I can't do that. I'm honest, but I've never specifically spoken of who or what experience I had which drove me to write. My personal life is out there for my readers who see me regularly, the ones who read everything and can honestly say they understand. Now, there are a few who really did know the tennis person, but they also know that I want him to lie, I'm not always out for revenge. They know this, so it doesn't get on the cover."

"Do they know about me?" I paused, I had spoken of him a couple times, never his name, but I'd had a die-hard fan ask me to sign a picture of him that was autographed by him. That'd thrown me off, but she'd whispered that it was a fact that few kne w and listened to the water against the dock. "We're going to have to go swimming soon." No reply. "Full moon tonight, we should do it." I felt his arms wrap around me, content. The warmth felt good against my skin as his head moved, light butterfly kisses were on my neck as I heard a slight whisper, no more than a murmer. He loved me.

.

Chapter 24

I turned the black cylindrical volume knob up and my feet moved to the steady rhythm of Stevie Nick's voice. I raised my arms and twirled, thinking of how she danced on stage before she'd retired, her silks and lace surrounding her. My eyes closed as I rose to my tip toes and softly lip synched to her melodic voice. "We need more maranera sauce!" My spinning stopped at the call of Taylor's voice, and I opened my eyes. The urge to tell him to shove it was great, but I deeply breathed in the vanilla scented air of my living room and walked to the basement where I kept the jars of tomato sauce.

"Did you turn on the oven?" I questioned the apprentice of the kitchen, who was wearing an apron with a huge lobster on the front. He was staring into the depths of my refrigerator, with a look of confusion.

"No, where's your yeast?"

"Why? We don't need yeast." I turned as I entered the kitchen and turned the oven on.

"I thought we would, why do you have history books with your cookbooks?" He pulled out an Early European history book out of the shelves of cookbooks above the built in desk. He flipped it open and looked to me with amusement.

"Hey I was planning on being a historian, don't start with me."

"You actually read this? I mean regularly?" I smiled.

"Of course, you haven't seen the library yet. I pick up a couple of those every month, I'm always in a book. My profession happened to deal with the written word Taylor, if I'd never decided to start writing then I'd be a history teacher."

"You got a speciality?"

"Dark Ages, Middle Ages, High Middle Ages... the Renaissance.. anything early, up to the 1700s. I love that stuff."

"That would explain your furniture."

"And what's wrong with my furniture?" My hands went to my hips.

"Nothing, it's just.. I feel like I'm in a mix of a college dorm and a museum."

"Thanks." I reread the recipe and started to get out the remaining ingredients.

"No problem. So do you know everything about all this old stuff you have?"

"Uh huh." I rechecked the recipe and got out the oregano.

"Okay so I can ask you about anything in here."

"Yup." I didn't notice that he'd left the kitchen until I looked up from chopping up a fresh tomato. He returned in five minutes, as I continued the stombolis, with a small cat statue. It was a remake from the Late Dynastic period.

"Okay what's this for? And don't say that it's Egyptian, that's obvious." I rolled my eyes.

"Late Dynastic period. A symbol of the cat goddess Bastet, the protector of home, mothers, and children. She's by my front door, she protects the house."

"Cool."

"Put it back. And move it, I have these almost done." Two minutes later he came back with a scarlet flapper's dancing shoe.

"What's up with all these shoes on your walls?"

"It's a flapper shoes, from the thirties. Watch it, that thing was expensive. I like shoes, they're cool."

"You hang them on your walls?"

"Yeah, I get them from collector's, antique places, wherever. Shoes are great."

"Okay, and you write on your walls too, next to the shoes."

"What about that? Hey c'mon I'll take you around the house later, I've got to get these in the oven, don't get your hands on the cloth, it'll mark it up." He turned and started walking back to where he'd found the shoe.

"I can't believe that you don't have posters up somewhere." He murmured to himself. I decided to show him my paintings after dinner. I put the strombolis in the heated oven and set the timer. I lowered the lights and began to light more candles. It was dusk outside, and the candles let off a golden, soft glow that relaxed me. My thoughts began to stray, thinking of writing, and Taylor. As he came back into the kitchen, quietly, Stevie Nick's voice turned soft and loving, her piano smooth and steady like waves. I leaned to my sink and looked out the three windows above it, breathing calmly. Taylor's arms wrapped around my waist, snugly, his chin on my shoulder.

"Has anyone ever written anything for you?" I slightly turned to him, still looking out the window to the sunset.

"Girls have. Letters. Poems."

"No, you know what I mean. Something that you can't give back." Taylor paused, thinking.

"No. You gave me something, but I haven't heard it since then."

I broke through his hands and ran up the stairs to my bedroom and into my great grandfather's chest. I carefully reached in and brought out a shoebox with the pictures of him that I had taken and the original copy of his poem. I brought the box downstairs with me, my fingers erasing the brownish dust on the top. I placed the box in his hands.

"This is yours." Taylor opened the box, seeing the poem in the slightly yellowed napkin with the aquamarine crayon. He shook his head.

"No... this is ours."

"Then you still need something written for you, don't you?"

"I guess so." I lightly kissed him, almost solemnly.

"Go get your paints."

.

Chapter 25

My breathing grew quick and hard as I ran up the stairs to my bedroom again. I needed paper and pens to write for him. As my eye caught a piece of wine coloured silk slipping out of my closet the phone rang, I closed my eyes and sucked in a breath. All I wanted to do was have a flawless, undisturbed night with him, I still needed to get candles, and the silk was giving me an idea. Wincing with annoyance, I reluctantly picked up the receiver.

"Hullo." My voice came out a little too husky and patient than I had wanted it to.

"Lane?" It was Miles, I hadn't spoken to him for a couple days.

"Yeah, it's me." My voice resumed it's tone.

"You called."

"I did?" My voice was rushed, then I remembered how I'd tried to call him the night Taylor came back. "That's right, I did. Hey, how're you doing?" There was a certain sort of quietness on the line. I felt something had really gone quite wrong with him, and this was big.

"Okay." Short and a total lie, his voice was hiding a lot.

"Hey, what's wrong? Wait a second, what time is it over there?"

"Three in the morning."

"Where are you?"

"Mac's."

"Where's Jess?"

"I don't know, I don't care. She's having an affair." I stopped breathing.

"Are you sure?"

"She wants to separate."

"Oh God. . . Miles."

"Yeah." We didn't speak for a while. A pain in my chest began, I felt his hurting. He'd really loved this girl. I thought about what I would do if I was being left for someone.

"You're coming home, you're staying with me for a while."

"I can't leave the paper."

"Fuck the paper, you can correspond with fax and email. I don't want to not be there if you need me."

"I don't know."

"Miles, you can't go up against this alone, I'm not going to let you. Get a flight here tomorrow and call me back."

"I can't just leave like that Lane."

"Why not?"

"Partways because it was mutual. A lot more on her part, but.. nothing was stopping the fighting. She didn't want to try." I began to softly hear classical music creeping up the stairs from downstairs. Mozart. He had put in Mozart, I had Taylor waiting downstairs for me.

"I have to tell ya something too, I have a visitor at the moment. He might become permanent."

"He?"

"Yeah, I don't think you want to hear about it now though."

"Who is the bloke?"

"Taylor. He found me." I began to become uncomfortable to where this was heading, telling a friend about your new love, while his had just left him wasn't a good topic to speak of at the moment.

"Taylor? Oh man... I can't believe this."

"Weird huh? After all these years."

"That is strange, I can't believe it... I can't stay with you." The short, staccato tone came back.

"Why?" I grew a little annoyed, I didn't like to be turned down.

"I'm not going to be able to see two people like you guys and not be bitter about that ..." His voice trailed off, it'd be a week before he would start to call Jess obscenities, right now the wound was too fresh. I didn't know what to say, I wanted to have Miles with me. He was my closest friend, we'd stuck together for almost ten years, I placed him above boyfriends, lovers, and relatives. Now he was hurting, and I knew I had to be with him, no matter what it took.

"I'll come then." My voice wasn't nearly as strong as I wanted it to be. Silence. "When?"

"Now. I'll call you back." I hung up the phone before I could realize what I had just said.

I wrapped myself in my silky wine coloured robe, and started down the stairs on weak legs. My fingers grappled the banister for support. What had I done? What was going on? I raised my eyes, and Taylor's met mine at the foot of the staircase. I knew what I needed to do.

"I missed you, were you on the phone?" he had lit the room with my regular candles and the glow of soft light made his hair a deep, rich gold. It fell lightly on his shoulders, I stared at it, feeling my tears of frustration well up. He saw them, and in an instant his smile faded. Losing my idea of what I thought I should do next, I slumped to the stairs, leaning against the railing, and began to cry at the sight of him. I cried for Miles, his ended love for Jess, I was crying for myself, my rash selfishness. I was crying for Taylor, I wanted to prove that I could deal with staying with someone after five years of random relationships and lovers. When I felt his warm arms and his soft cotton from his shirt I leaned against him. He held me, rocking me, not trying to question my tears, or what had caused them. I found myself in the same position that Miles had held me when I had left Taylor, then I knew. I needed this being for the rest of my life, I wanted to open to him. I wanted to give him something back. My sobs lessened, and I looked up to him. His lips kissed my forehead and his voice shhed me.

"I have something to say." My voice was weak and congested.

"It's okay." I looked into that endless dark blue, honest and unwavering in their gaze.

"I want you to marry me."