Chapter 6

Taylor walked quickly to the men's room, carefully dodging the busy waiters and waitresses, not wanting to create a scene. Once he got to the bathroom he went into the largest one and sat down on the floor and began to stare at the blue bathroom wall. "She's had another guy. I'm not gonna last, she's been with him for four years, that's when you almost get married." He tried to push thoughts of her on top of some faceless guy out of his head, but there they were, in place of the thoughts of him with her. He had never had a relationship in his life, he was so naive compared to him, what could he offer to her? She had said that she was attracted to him, but she didn't know how young he was. He didn't know how to show her that he was better. She'd been hurt, he didn't know how to compare to someone she'd written a book for! He adjusted his stare to the ceiling, "What the hell am I going to do? She doesn't need me, that's it." He stood up and walked to the mirror on the wall. His closed his eyes, imagining the first time he had seen her, and he knew he was going to have to have her. He wanted her more than anything, it was so clear now. He inhaled a strong gulp of air and stepped out of the stall and into the cafe. I read over my quickly scrawled words with amazement. The similarities between this one and my most famous poems, 'Siren' were interesting, the style was alike, but this one was not a rant the way 'Siren' was, this had more inertia than the last. I had to read it to him. I saw him come out of the men's room and I scurried off my seat to the front of the cafe, where I ran into the manager. She said that she was just about to come over and ask me to sign an autograph for her, which I immeadiately gave, and asked if I could read a poem. She looked delighted and promptly got the last reader off the stage, and got me on. I cleared my throat and looked for our table. Taylor was about to leave. He had his coat on and was putting on a scarf, he had thought I must have left. So up to the mike I went. "Taylor, don't leave, I need to give you something." He stopped, at looked at me. The lighting made my black tank top and jeans make me look a bit paler, and smaller than I was, and he looked at me, with this hurt in his eyes. He sat down, but didn't take off his coat. So, with my napkin in hand, I began,
"My Siren whines and keels for you,
boy.
She scrapes her knees on rocks to get closer,
to you.
She wants to lick your eyes and carress your cheekbone,
so badly.
She wants to run her calloused hands through your gold silk
take your breath away.
She wants to pull your lips apart and slide herself into you.
so quietly
so loudly
She wants more than your sex,
she wants more than your self.
more than your darkness,
so much more than your light.
My Siren needs more than the salt from your skin, more than the flesh in your hands.
We need your love."


I closed my eyes and when I opened them I was surrounded with applause, I looked to Taylor and he looked into my eyes from across the cafe and smiled. As I stepped down from the stage people began to yell out for me to read another poem, I put up my hands and declined. People were following me to my table, so I took a minute to hug everyone and sign their stuff. As soon as I reached our table, still followed, I brought Taylor's ear closer and whispered "Let's go, this won't let up if I stay." He looked into my eyes, and I realized he had been crying. I came in closer, "I need you." He smiled this big, almost goofy grin and put my coat on me while I tried to hug more people and while I was saying my final goodbyes, grabbed my waist and whisked me out of the cafe, with our waitress handing me our food in a bag and the tea, with a note "It's on me.. thankyou."

As we quickly walked away from the busy cafe, and onto the street, he held me closer. I put my hands around him, and led us into a back alley, lit by a small street light. His long black coat was warm, and I slid my hands into it, and undid the buttons that kept it together. He looked down at me, and tilted his head slightly, smiling. "Who are you?" I whispered. He slightly bent down and our lips met. His nervousness had almost all disapeared, and I held him close. He brought my hips to his, and I could feel his excitement was as great as my own. I felt as if I was going to melt and drain into the rain runoff on the street. My hands went into his hair and I was lost in absolute pleasure, no one had ever made me feel so loved. Just as I began to lean away to catch my breath he again became more insistent, this time I let him go. His hands went into my coat, almost ripping off the buttons in his urgency. His cold hands made me shiver with pleasure as well as being cold. They barely touched my back then went under the back of my tanktop, running his fingers down my senstive back. I moved back slightly so he could bring that sensation to my front, but he paused with his kiss.

"Are you sure, right now?" It was killing him to ask, but he knew he should. I looked into his eyes, seeing more demand than sweetness.

"Now." I was dead serious, I wanted him to be closer, I needed this love so badly, it had been months since my breakup with Mac, and I hadn't touched anyone since him. Taylor took his cue and filled his hands with my womanhood, my back was against the brick wall of the alley, and my back already had a couple burning scrapes from the hard brick. His lips went southward, to my collarbone and neck. I knew we should get going to somewhere that was not public, and soon, I knew couldn't restrain myself, and neither could he. This was getting so crazy, I hadn't had more than 100 words from him, but I knew I wanted to be with him. I had to know Mac for three years until I began to be attracted to him. I grabbed his now warm wrists. "We should stop, this can't continue here."

He looked up with devious eyes,"Really? Then we're going to have to continue soon, like within 5 minutes."

"You got it, where's the hotel room?" I wanted talk to him for more than five minutes, I did not want this to be a one night stand, the room was a good 30 minute walk away from where we were at. He looked at me, trying to see what I meant, but then said okay, and we started to button eachother's coats.

.

Chapter 7

"How long have you been writing?" "Hm, probably since I was 15, maybe a little earlier."

"What was Mac like?"

I couldn't believe he was asking about him already. "Well, what do you want to know?"

"I really don't know. What was he like?" I looked at the shadows cast by the streetlamps on the wet street, and breathed in the moist London air. I felt tears sting my eyes, and I quickly wiped one away with the back of my hand.

"He was really amazing, we met in high school. I didn't really pay attention to him much until my sophomore year. We were pretty close friends, but I was never really attracted to him. I mean, it's Mac, the cute boy who would play 'Julia' that Beatles song for me when I was feeling terrible. He was so nice, one incredible guitar player. He has so much talent. His mom died in our junior year, and we just ended up spending more and more time together. I took a lot of art courses my senior year, and he's really into art too, so we just started off really slow. We spent a ton of time together in art and stuff and we just kinda 'got together'. When he went on tour in Europe 2 years ago I went with him, it was the happiest I'd been in my entire life, I love it over here, and it was my first time here, and it was only with him. I would write him poems and he'd write me songs. He was even the first one who got me high." I laughed, remembering my rambling of nothing that first time, it didn't affect me that much, the second time I talked for 4 hours straight, and Mac listened the whole time. I was babbling about soap and how before I died I wanted to take a shower with Cascade. Taylor looked at me without anger,

"He sounds really cool, you were good friends." he smiled. "He was lucky."

My voice lowered. "Yeah, turns out that we were only friends in the end."

"What happened?"

"Exactly what I said. In the beginning we were inseperable, I mean we just always wanted to be together. And y'know, when we started getting a bit more serious, it was cool. I was so comfortable with him, he was good to have around. I mean we spent four years of basically talking about nothing, and that was all I was really ready for. After he toured Europe, he had a pretty strong underground following, so he moved here. He asked me to come, and it was like a tacit sort of thing. Y'know, if I moved in with him here, we'd more than likely get married some night at, like 2:30 in the morning, surrounded by some great artsy friends and not have kids and just hang out and create music/writing for the rest of our lives. End of story. And I thought I wanted to come. Thought I would be nothing but thrilled 'til the day I died with that life. The more I wrote about it, the more I realized that I couldn't be with him. I wanted kids, I wanted more passion. I did love Mac, very much, but my stomach just was telling me that he wasn't the one. It was me that ended it, and we're okay with eachother, we came to the conclusion that we needed some time off, which, to everyone else except my parents was crazy. Everybody thought we were perfect for eachother, but I didn't. He was my best friend, and I wouldn't trade those memories for anything, but I couldn't commit to him. I was tired of relying on him, I wanted to take some hits on my own. So I narrowed down the thousand poems I'd written about us into a collection and sent them off to a couple publishers and Castle Rock picked it up immediately. All of a sudden I had this huge amount of money, royalities coming every week, and talk of a book tour. My fans, I found out, really wanted to meet me. So I toured the states for six months and had a blast, I got to be interviewed by Rolling Stone and a bunch of literary magazines. I loved the attention I was getting. I didn't have time to think about Mac. Then he called me about six months ago, about two or two and a half months after the first book tour and wanted to get back together. All his friends couldn't believe that we had been together. So I visited him, we spent a month being lazy and hanging out, it was great. But in the end I realized I was done with that period in my life. I had to end it." I paused, amazed that I had been talking for such a long time.

"What'd you do?"

"I kissed him goodbye, and came back to the states and went on prozac." Heavy silence."Mac tried to commit suicide the night I left, he was in a lot worse shape than I thought he was. He would always hide the hurt from me, that's just another thing I couldn't deal with. When I left, he waved me goodbye, and didn't cry too much. But I wasn't going back to him. He's okay now, he writes me letters, and I do send him a postcard from every city I go to, he loves that. I can't commit to him, I still miss him so much, but I want someone else. I needed a break from any kind of relationship for a while. I didn't think that anyone could be as sweet as Mac, but now.. I'm moving on with my life. I'm on tour right now, and totally loving this. My work is a lot better than my life." Taylor stopped walking, he lifted my chin and I looked into his darkened blue eyes.

"I want to make you happy. I know I can, let me. Please." I began to cry, I wanted to try to believe in him, he was doing one hell of a job, and I was crumbling. He lightly kissed my lips and took my cold hand in his.

.

Chapter 8

The walk back to the hotel room was not a quiet one. We talked about our pasts, and presents. He told me about his music and his family, and I related my own family stories too. We ended up walking past the hotel and almost becoming lost in the outreaches of the city. We also admitted to eachother that we missed home, and just staying put for more than a couple weeks. I told him about my weaknesses and problems that I couldn't shake, and he listened well, adding his own pet peeves and hatreds. We talked more about Mac, and my life with him, and how I really didn't miss him as much as the stability that he created for me. It was hard talking about the loss of a soulmate to a future one, but the more he asked about him, I realized that he had been a big part of my life, and Taylor knew this. When we had reached the very outskirts of London, and were barely in farm country Taylor started to talk more than me. And it was my turn to listen to his stories with a quiet but careful ear. He told me about growing up in a hot spotlight with his two brothers, and being utterly confused with himself. He loved his family, but felt like he couldn't get on with his life, and seperate from them. His older brother was still living with the family in Tulsa, something Taylor didn't want to do. He wanted his own life, becoming his own person, more than one third of some big thing that produced hits, and was plastered on girls' walls. At that point I interrupted him, and told him that there were a bunch of people that I knew that liked their music, which was true. He was sick of writing about what he wanted in life, and not really doing it. He wanted time off, but the whole tours' inertia had kept the group going for two years on the road with his family. He wanted out, for at least six months. The tour was to continue for around another two months, he didn't think he could make it through. His mom wanted to go back home and raise her kids in Tulsa, normally, while his dad was always looking ahead, trying to gain more fans, earn more money, sell more records. He told me about his brothers who didn't perform with any feeling anymore, Issac wanted to marry a longtime girlfriend but couldn't because of the group, Zac had to be paid up front before every performace, he didn't like it anymore. At that point I had to giggle, the Zac I had remembered was the 12 year old who liked jello, and not cash. Taylor looked at me with a tired eye, "He's lost his spark, you should see him when we make it home, he just sleeps 14 hours a day and plays video games. The kid doesn't like me 'cause most of the girls scream for me, we never talk unless in interviews or in concerts, when we have to." "If it makes you feel any better I never talk to my brother. Only about twice a year, Christmas and on his birthday, I send him German sausages, he likes 'em." Taylor laughed. "Yeah, unless there's food being offered, or a record deal, he and I don't get along."

"He's a musician?"

"Well he plays the guitar, we used to jam together a bunch. But that's ended."

"What'd you play?"

"I love playing the piano or keyboards, unfortunately I suck at both, but it's just fun." I laughed. Taylor didn't laugh along with me. Instead he looked off the stony, unpaved road, and rubbed the back of his neck.

"Your life is so weird, yet so cool. Hey, check it out, pegasus. It's a little east of the North Star." He pointed to the conselation in the clear dark sky, then stuffed his hands in his pockets. The street lamps were waning off, and it was almost four in the morning. I lifted my eyes to the heavens and looked at the night sky.

"When I was a girl, I used to love those Greek Myths, y'know, Psyche, Persephone, Zeus, all the stories. I thought it must have been the most interesting religion, I mean, instead of being lectured on your one, solo god, you've got a bunch, and you've got these incredible stories to go along with them." I paused to see if he was listening to my drifting rambling. His face was still raised to the dark night sky. So I continued, "I always felt so bad for Echo. She was this forest nymph, who fell in love with this boy, who was absolutely in love with himself. He'd just spend hours in the forest, by a lake, staring at himself. Well Echo did something to make a god mad, I think it was Hera, I can't remember why, it could've been for Zeus falling for her, but she was forced to repeat what someone else said, she couldn't talk on her own. So before she could talk to this mortal boy she was in love with, Hera put that spell, or curse on her. So she found him, staring at himself in the lake, and touched him on the shoulder. He was amazed by her beauty, and started to talk to her. But she couldn't answer him. She only repeated what he said, and he thought she was mocking him. He couldn't deal with Echo not liking him, because he thought he was irresistable, so he threw himself into the lake and drowned. Echo is now supposed to be always wandering, mourning the boy, and forever repeating what people say." I breathed in the morning air, and felt tired, the conversation began to take its' toll.

"I always liked Apollo, he seemed like he was the only one who really tried to do right all the time." Taylor dreamily answered.

"He let his son roast the earth, and gave Zeus permission to kill him." I looked back into the twilight sky, that had already started to lighten. Our surroundings had taken a sweet turn to a rural setting. Lush green fields could barely be seen in the little light given. We approached a run down barn, the wood was a stony, grey colour, with shale walls on the first floor. I stopped walking, and looked at it, there was still too little light to make out most of it. "Check it out." Taylor followed me to the opening, which looked about the size of a garage. The sweet scent of hay filled the air, it would seem as if the barn was just used for holding hay now. I could hear the faint rustling of mice, and felt the warmth of the hay. Taylor was still carefully snooping through the structure, and had climbed up into the hayloft. I looked around the barn once more, then found the ladder he had used to get up into the hayloft, which was solid, and clambered up into the higher floor. On the far wall there was a dirty window that had started to let in smoky light and the hay began to glisten. I took his hands and began to sway with him, "Did you ever get to go to a prom?"

"We used to play at them a bunch, before we made it big. I never really got to hang out though, we never knew any of the kids." Taylor looked into my eyes with conviction, "You know, Apollo was also the main love god before Venus."

"That's one hell of a pickup line if I ever heard one." I laughed, then drew him in closer, and lightly kissed his full lips. I whispered, "But that is true."

.

Chapter 9

He laughed, then lightly cradled my jawbone, and took me in. I wriggled out of my large wool coat and removed his with a liquid movement. His lips had trailed a line of butterfly kisses down my neck and his lips were on my collarbone. I lowered my neck and tilted my head to his, he looked up with his crystalline eyes that had misted over. I realized I was crying, and my tears started to fall on his hands. He brought up his warm hand and moved the tears away. "What?" he asked quietly. "I don't know, I never planned on you." I had to work hard on keeping my voice smooth, the tea I had shared with him had worn off about 2 hours ago. I had to blink back my tears to see him clearly, more light had crept into the barn, and his eyes had changed colour from it, taking on that same sapphire richness I had seen outside the cold glass of the subway train. He seemed to feel the same that I did, and that same small smile that he had given me that first meeting was once again gently on his face. I began to see him like an artist does, and lines of poetry began to seep into my head. My thoughts were complete, the words coming so fast, I was concentrating on him, on every single movement, feature, breath. He met my gaze, and took it in with the same intensity. His fingers began to lightly trace my collarbone, and I knew what this was going to lead to.

"Just for refernce."

"Hm?"

"I have my birth control in me. It's for five years, one of those longterm things." His eyes became surprised.

"My parents don't believe in that." He looked hurt.

"Taylor, I am just about to start a huge reading book tour for my publishing company, you happen to be on tour, and 16. I don't know how old your parents were when they got married, but I'm not about to make that commitment to anyone for that matter. If you really believe that I would have sex without protection, then you're in for a surprise, 'cause there is NO way in hell that I'm going to get pregnant in this time in my life." I was throughly ticked. I couldn't believe him.

"I'm sorry, it's just that I wasn't ready for you to say that. You're absolutely right, I just. . . " He trailed off, and his cheeks grew a bit more red. "My parents and I only had one real uh, sex talk, and that was with Ike and Zac in the room. I mean, we got the whole run down of how babies are made when every new one came along. I mean, I have six brothers and sisters, it's not some great mystery." I chuckled at that, he had me worried there for a second. I took his warm hand and led him to a hay pile by the large, dirty-faced window. "Lane, I. ." I closed his mouth with a strong kiss, and began to slide my eager hands into his white cotton shirt that had clung to him moments before, I felt his stomach, and traced his abs, he was more muscluar than I had thought. As he reached for my cheek I realized the thickness of his forearms, and in a heart beat I lifted his shirt off with both hands. His childlike thiness that I had remembered seeing at age fifteen had melted away, leaving a liquid perfection in his symmetry, his chest a rolling cascade of muscle. I stood there, staring, then looked into his eyes. He was blushing, I raised my eyebrow, then proceded to unbutton the tight fitting leather that had made me gander and smile in the hospital bed, only hours before. As I fiddled with the buttons, my head was low, concentrating on doing my job. I lifted my eyes to him, his eyes looked dazed, jaw slightly open. Just as I mastered the last button, I raised my head and brought him in for another kiss, he had begun to understand, and get the hang of it, I felt like I could have simply kissed him all day, and be completely satisfied. But there was work to be done, the timing, and my love for him, those were two factors that could never be undone, they were perfect. He kicked off his shoes and wriggled out of the pants while our kiss continued, growing evermore insistent. His hands spaned my waist, as I stretched, and returned to his close embrace. He gingerly raised my tank top over my head, and I felt a tiny pang of self-conciousness, I had never been like this in front of any boy except Mac. He looked at my upper body with a relaxed eye. He unbuckled my pristine white satin bra, and enveloped me in his arms. After a moment of frozen excitement, I began to relax, then took charge of him. I quickly ripped off my khakis and tevas, and pushed him onto a huge pile of hay, I figured this was his first time, so female dominance was going to have to superimposed the first couple times. As much as I loved him, I wasn't going to let him take control. As I mounted him, I began the rythem that was as old as time and brought his hands up to my waist. As the hot sensation in my pelvis that started the second I had laid my eyes on him grew, I could feel him preparing. His skin had a faint glow to it from a light sweat he had started. His hands grew lower, grabbing my pelvis and he began to shove my hips down harder. I began to come as he began to, my breathing began to intensify, and my thighs squeezed him. He softly moaned and raised his hands to my sweat coated chest, I lowered myself onto him, and seperated our hips. He began to kiss me, then moved to deep throated, searching kisses. I moved to his side, regaining my breath, as he moved on top of me and took one of my breasts and enveloped a sugar-strawberry coloured tip in his mouth suckling the rock hard tip, I moaned with absolute pleasure. His lips went back to my mouth, sealing his celebration of loss of virginity. Our pact was made, whether we would be together for the rest of our lives or not, we would be soulmates.

We were both sweaty in despite the fall weather, and I could barely make out thin wisps of steam coming from his body. I looked down at my watch, and remembered Diana's request to be woken up. We were throughly screwed if we didn't get back to the hotel before she woke up. I looked over to Taylor, and found him just looking at me, his boy smell was intoxicating, I took his right hand and licked the salty back of his hand.

"Mmm.. " I smilied, I felt exhausted. I just wanted to sleep next to him until noon.

"Bop." He giggled.

"She-bop." I laughed at my own joke.

"What?" He didn't know what I was talking about.

"Cindy Lauper song on masturbation, She-bop. It's off of 'She's Unusual.'"

"Ah, now I get ya." He paused and looked out the window. "Shit! There's people out there!"

"Did they see you?"

"No, I don't think so." He looked terrfied. "What if we get caught?!"

I frowned, "Calm down, they haven't come in yet, now have they? Then we're stupid tourists that got lost, 'kay? Let's just get going." He began to protest, then smilied, and threw my khakis at me. We managed to get most of the hay off of eachother, and split.

Outside, we ran into the 'people' that Taylor had gotten worried over, just a bunch of farmer's sons who were just playing rugby early, when they had time before chores. We just waved and cheered them on before starting the long walk back to the hotel. It would seem that Taylor's mom was a late sleeper, and would probably up around nine, so if we kept at a steady pace, we could make it back by 8:30. Taylor didn't seem worried that his mom would be mad, but I was, I didn't want her to suspect anything, I mean it was bad enough that she trusted us not to do what we did. I needed to check my date book to see what I had to do today, I couldn't remember if I was supposed to visit a group of friends today or next week. I couldn't concentrate on that now, as much as I knew I needed to. He was here. He took my cold hand in his coat pocket, and we began the long walk back.

.

Chapter 10

"Well I need to get back to my hotel room, it's only a couple blocks from here, but I need a shower. I need to meet with some people around 4 and.... hm, what else is there? Oh yesssss! Neil book signing day!" I squealed with delight. I had been wanting to meet Neil ever since Miles, a friend of mine had first loaned me the Sandman series. And today I was going to hear him read a couple exerts from his new book. My publisher had given me two passes to get past security and talk to him afterwards. I was so pysched. Taylor raised his eyebrow, and looked at me with amusement. Diana was slightly peeved that we hadn't called, but nevertheless she'd been okay with us staying out all night. "Well Taylor, do you want to go with her? Have you gotten breakfast yet?" Diana fussed a bit over him, he was looking wiped, but very happy.

"No mum, we were gonna grab something on the way over, hey Lane, you wanna grab a muffin or something?" He looked over at me expectently.

"Sure, I just really need to get to my stuff. Thanks for keeping my bag Mrs.Hanson, and uh, for taking me to the hospital." I walked to her, across the hotel room and gave her a hug. At first she seemed surprised, then she willingly hugged back.

"Oh you." She smiled, releasing me from her warm hug. "It was no problem, we're responsible though, and there was no way we would've left you by yourself in the hospital. Tay'll keep you company, if you want it, today. I don't know how long he'll last, it doesn't look as if he's gotten much sleep."

"He can take a nap when I grab a shower, I'm meeting up with a couple friend later on today, but I want him to come along, he needs a break." Diana looked at Taylor, who was struggling valiantly to keep his eyes from closing permanently. She stood up, and handed me my bag with all my stuff in it.

"Make sure he sleeps, and remember, no sleeping for you till at least seven." She grinned at me, then winked. I had to wonder how much she knew.

We ran to a bagel shoppe and I got my typical strawberry cream cheese on a plain bagel. Taylor just bought four doughnuts. I eyed the offending breakfast, "You shouldn't eat too much of that crap."

"Hey, it's NOT crap Lane."

"Are you nuts? Do you always eat like that?" I raised my voice slightly, this was going to be interesting, I had little patience with junk food eaters.

"Well, yes, as a matter of fact I do. And if you don't like it just disown me." With that he stuffed the rest of a red jelly doughnut in his face.

"Whatever you're eating, it must be doing the trick, 'cause it certainly hasn't stunted your growth." I slapped the back of his tight leather pants and laughed. He couldn't reply to that, since both hands were involved in carrying and eating the last of his second doughnut.

"Hey, do I really have to take a nap while you're in the shower?" He lightly dropped the question with a childish voice.

"I don't want you to pass out on me at the bookstore from exhaustion."

"Aw, c'mon. I've always wanted to do that with someone, the shower's the best place." I closed my eyes and thought of the warm, wet coccon of hydrated air and water. The heat of the water leaving the glowy sheen on the showerer's skin, and how soap enables the skin to slide against skin with a quick, or painfully slow movement. I shivered with the thought.

"Maybe, depends." His eyes pleaded. "Hey, I said maybe."

"I need a shower too, I think you forget that you weren't the only one working up a sweat there missy."

"True, true, the boy does have a point. Well then when are you going to get a nap? There is NO way that you'll make it till seven with me."

"And why is that?"

"Taylor, you're wiped as it is."

"So are you."

"Yeah, but that's just 'cause I have to be. I'm already so tired, I'm going to need you to make sure I stay up. How's that gonna happen when you're wiped too?"

"Well you could go to that Neil thing, and I could stay in your room and sleep."

"Are you sure? I mean, you wanted to go."

"I want to take a shower with you more." He stopped and my hand, I was still eating my bagel, but quickly swallowed my bite and looked at him. His eyes were sea coloured as he kissed me, I could slightly taste the sweet sugar in his mouth. Just as our tongues touched, he pulled away. "Isn't this your hotel?" He asked as he controlled his breathing. I nodded, and fished out my key card, my grin was from ear to ear as we entered the fancy lobby, filled with deep crimson velvets and pearly marble. I knew I should check at the front desk for any messages, but I wanted to be under the nozzle of my showerhead as quickly as humanly possible.

Just as we passed the front desk, the attendant, a young, twenty something girl called my name. She looked a little flustered, and I realized she was looking at Taylor. Her large dark brown eyes looked at him before she looked at me. "Sorry to interrupt you, but you recieved a couple messages while you were out, and some were urgent." She tucked her chin length coffee colored hair behind her ear as she reached for the little pink messages slips that were inscribed in my name. I stopped and started to read over them, quickly, dropping a couple, Taylor bent over and picked them up for me. Most were from my publisher, it seemed as if I needed to schedule in another Hamburg date, and needed me to call her back as soon as possible. Then Taylor gave me the dropped pink slips. The first was from Miles, a close friend who I spoken to earlier in the week, when I had first arrived in London, he lived in Liverpool with Mac. I smilied when I saw his name, I had known him since eighth grade, we had been forced to be a group in our American History class, and had stayed close ever since the first group meeting that dealt with Robert E. Lee. It always confused me a bit why we had never hooked up, I had always been attracted to his silver green eyes that always held my own from beneath his shaggy black hair, but I'd never questioned it seriously, we'd always been so close, and that was good enough for me. He was the drummer for Mac's band, although he was a bit of a symbol of my past with Mac, I liked him too much to leave behind. He left his number, said he and Mac had moved to a new place in Liverpool. The next one was from him too, he really needed me to call him, it was pretty urgent. Knowing Miles, it was borderline emergency or something, his personality didn't allow him to be that passionate when it came to big stuff, only small stuff, like arguing how stupid Tori Amos was, and defending the Rolling Stones. It often amazed me how well we got along because we disagreed on everything. There was one from my parents, whom I was supposed to call when I got back from a bookstore reading last night, but was cut short from a slight run in from a subway train. They'd be pissed if I didn't call back now, they were always worried about me traveling. The last one was again from Miles, looks as if I'd have to call him, and my parents now. While I had been reading my messages the front desk attendant had struck up a conversation with Taylor, he looked back at me.

"Is everything okay?"

"Yeah, I need to make a couple calls, they won't take that long. But they do need to get done now." I apologized with my eyes, I wanted to get into my room as badly as he did. "Excuse me, can I use the phone?" The desk attendant lifted her eyes to me, and smilied.

"Sure, just get on line two." I picked up the phone, punched my parent's number along with all the country, and state codes, and my phone card number. As I waited for them to pick up, I noticed the desk attendant laughing about something with Taylor. Every once and a while he'd look over to me, and then the front of the lobby, which was a wall of tinted glass. I realized he didn't want to be talking to her. Finally my parents picked up.

"Hello?" My mom's sleepy voice was a little slurred, I wondered what time it was.

"Mom! I wanted to call as soon as I could, I got into an accident."

"What? Are you okay, are you in a hospital?" Her voice immeadiately grew more awake, words instantly clear, I heard her raise her voice to wake up my dad.

"I'm fine, I just, uh, ran into a subway train, actually I was pushed. I had a concussion, but I'm okay."

"Who pushed you? Did you go to a doctor?" She sounded worried and frightened.

"I'll tell you about that later, but some people on the subway, a family, actually, brought me to a hospital, and I was out for a couple hours, it was right after my reading. So I'm back at the hotel now. Really mom, it's okay."

"You're sure you don't want me to come, are you really okay honey?" Her voice calmed, and a more heartfelt tone replaced the frantic one.

"I'm absolutely fine, besides some pain. I just need to stay up till seven over here."

"Okay, do you have a friend to keep you awake?"

"Yeah the people that brought me over, Mrs. Hanson, and her son, or one of 'em, Taylor, he's staying with me, he's pretty cool. And I made a date with a couple friends tonight, so they'll help too, don't worry."

"Elaine, you make sure you stay up. The doctor's serious about that." I cringed, she always used my full name whenever she was mad.

"I AM mom! Do you have any clue how tired I am right now?! I've been dragging myself around the whole night!" Taylor looked over at me, my voice had risen considerably.

"You know what Elaine, I do, because it's 3 am here. Give us a call soon." I could feel my mom's smile, she knew that she overreacted.

"Will do. Give dad a hug for me. Bye mom. Oh yeah, do you want to get you guys something while I'm here?"

"When you go to Germany, go to the BMW factory there and get your father a souvenier. Love you." With that she hung up. I took a deep breath, I missed her.

I hung up, then called my publisher, who wasn't in. So I left a message, then I rang Miles, who also wasn't in, so I left a message on Mac's answering machine. Something twisted in my stomach when I heard his voice on the machine. I didn't know if I wanted to see him, but I knew I couldn't ignore him. As I hung up the phone, Taylor asked me if I was done.

"Yeah, let's go." I rubbed my temples, I needed to relax.

As we sat in the fluffy velvet seats of the elevator, Taylor groaned. "That girl was so annoying, she was a fan, madly in love with Ike." His voice took a higher, girlish pitch. "How's Ike? How come you're not with him? Is anything wrong? I'm going to see you guys when you come back, will you look for me?" I raised my eyebrow.

"Would you stop?" I didn't like the way he portrayed her, my tone was flat.

"What? Don't you get sick of people sometimes?"

"Yeah, sometimes, but I wouldn't ever make fun of them. I don't see them as objects, they're the reason that I'm over here, doing what I love." I felt like drifting off into a nap, I was so tired.

"Listen, I didn't say that I don't like them, I just can't stand it when they scream and don't treat me like I'm a real person." He caught me as I leaned over to the elevator wall. I grunted and mumbled something like 'wanna take a nap' Taylor sat me up and looked me in the eye. "Lane, you gotta wake up, c'mon, just a couple more hours, and we can sleep together. Just think of that, please?" I opened my eyes and struggled to keep them that way. The elevator had reached my floor, and I struggled for more oxygen and yawned. My eyes watered, we stumbled out, and I stretched, and yawned again. It started to work, I was waking up.

"There ya go, that's better." Taylor smilied weakly at me, and took my hand.

I ran my free hand through my messy, barely shoulder length hair. As we neared my room, I realized there was someone in front of my door, I knew him.