Road To Eden
chapter seven

I sat in my car for a while before I actually got out to look for DeLorean. I was nervous, not of being with her, but being in public with her. I really didn’t need the media taking pictures of me with her; it’s bad publicity when you’re in magazines and papers and TV media for adultery. That’s what it was, and I know that. But I still can’t find a way to be sorry – I’m still glad I met her, and I’m still glad I had the chance to know what it was like to love her. This meeting in public, no matter how careful we were, was going to be a bad idea, and I needed to explain this to her. Of course I could lie and say she was just a friend, but people know the way you look at your friends and the way you look at someone you’re in love with – I wouldn’t be able to hide something like that. And I’m aware of the fact that we only knew each other for a short time, and yes, our relationship could be considered sudden seeing as some relationships take years to develop. This was meant to happen, I don’t know why, but that’s really what I believed.

She was sitting outside, at a table by herself. It was nice to dine outside; September would be rolling in soon and we wouldn’t be able to just sit outside like this. I wasn’t surprised to see her reading; her nose was in whatever book was in her hands, and she seemed to be on a completely different level of consciousness – one that didn’t include being aware of the other people on the planet. I hadn’t meant to, but when I touched her shoulder she jumped slightly.

“Sorry,” I said, unable to hide a smile. Yeah, it’s cruel to scare people, but I didn’t do it on purpose and it was funny.

“I was beginning to think that you changed your mind.” She said, watching as I sat down across from her.

“I’m only ten minutes late.” I looked at my watch to make sure I was right. “I wouldn’t change my mind if my life depended on it.” She smiled. Whether she wanted to admit it or not, she was glad I said that, and I could tell by the look in her eyes.

“So,” she said, closing her book and setting it down in front of her. “What do you want to eat?”

“I believe that’s supposed to be my line.” We both smiled, more relaxed.

“Well, I want a garden salad.”

“Don’t even tell me you’re one of those people who is constantly analyzing herself, criticizing her body, eating like a fucking bird because you’re afraid to gain a pound.” She looked at me with her eyebrows raised, in what looked like amusement. Then I realized I had rambled quite a bit in one sentence, and said, “fuck” in the presence of a lady I was on a date with. I cleared my throat. “Sorry,” I said quietly and shrugged.

“Actually, I eat a lot. I just don’t eat meat.” She replied. Yeah, she was definitely amused, the slight grin on her face being a dead give away.

“Oh.” That was the only thing that came out of my mouth. She just laughed. “I’ll just have, some, uh, pasta. They have a nice wine sauce here.” She laughed again.

“Taylor, that outburst was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen you do. Do you do stuff like that all the time?”

“Well… yeah.” Hey, there was no point in lying; she’d realize it soon enough anyway.

“That’s great,” she laughed. “Well then, we’ll get along great – I have a tendency to do the same thing sometimes, just not quite to that extent.”

“Meaning you ramble, you just manage to leave ‘fuck’ out of it?” She matched my grin and we both laughed.

“Yeah, something like that.” I loved her laugh. If there was one thing I couldn’t stand to go without hearing at least once a day, it was her laugh. I loved the sound of her voice, but her laugh could do things and make me feel a way I never felt anywhere else or with anyone else.

“How about we order our food, because that waiter has walked by us about fifty times, and if he looks over here one more time I’m gonna slap him.” I said. It’s one thing to look every now and then, but he was staring. I don’t know what was so interesting, but he was really getting on my nerves. I waved him over and he stood next to us.

“Um, the Lady’ll have a garden salad,” I said.

“What would you like to drink with that?” He asked, looking at her.

“Um, mineral water, thank you.”

“And I’ll have the fettuccini in red wine sauce.”

“And what would you like to drink with that, sir?”

“Um, I’ll just have water.” He nodded.

“I’m sorry, sir, but I have to ask you,” he said, avoiding looking directly at me. He looked genuinely embarrassed. “Would you be Taylor Hanson?”

“Yes,” I answered.

“My sister is a big fan of yours. Would you mind…?” I had to smile. I actually liked it when people said things like that. I didn’t know how old his sister was, but I was flattered, even though something like this had happened thousands of times.

“Of course not. But, do you think I could eat first?”

“Oh! Oh, of course,” he blushed a deep crimson. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be,” I said. He nodded and headed off to get our food.

“You handled that so well,” she said to me.

“I’m used to it.”

“But doesn’t it ever bother you? I mean, don’t you ever just want some peace?”

“Well, yeah. But I try not to turn down fans if I can help it; they’re really important to us.”

“I learn more about you every day, Taylor Hanson. I like it each little thing a little more than the last.” There were words spoken without sound, from her eyes to mine and back again. There was a lot to be said between the two of us, and who knew when or where it would actually be said. We couldn’t just say something to each other, lean over and kiss, and be fine. This wasn’t a public romance – this was an affair, to be accurate and honest. We both knew that, but that isn’t what we told ourselves it was.

Isaac was in the studio, recording one of his “solo” songs for the new album. Technically it was a solo, because he had the lead vocals. This wasn’t a common thing – Ike hates to sing by himself a lot of the time. That’s thanks to the fact people like to compare his voice to mine. I have a very different sound from my brothers, as I do from say, Jon Bon Jovi. So, Ike tends to be a little apprehensive when it comes to singing lead. When he does, it sounds great, it really does, but sometimes it takes a lot to convince him of this fact. One of my personal favourites out of his leads has to be I Don’t Know. I think he did an awesome job on that song, and it just wouldn’t have been the same if he hadn’t done lead. Zac, on the other hand… If you don’t like the way he sings something, he’ll just tell you to kiss his ass. He’s flat out told one of our co-producers that. I almost laughed in the guy’s face. How would you feel if you were forty-something years old, and you told some sixteen year old that you didn’t like the way he sounded singing something, and he told you to kiss his ass? I’d feel pretty humiliated.

Ike took the headphones off, and hung them on their holder, finally finished with recording his leads on Deeper. He gave us all a thumb’s up: he liked it. When he came out, I patted his shoulder, and smiled, shaking my head.

“Nice job, man. Real nice job.” I couldn’t think of any better words. He really did great.

“It passes ‘Taylor-standards’?” He joked.

“Ha-ha. Yes.” I stood up and readied myself for a long break.

“Hey, did you get home late last night?” He asked me out of nowhere.

“Huh? Why?” That caught me a little off guard. I had been spending a lot of nights out late, and I’d been with DeLorean on ninety-nine percent of those times.

“Well, Natalie called me the other night. She said you’ve been out late at night for a while.”

“Yeah, so?” I was getting annoyed already.

“So, she gets worried, that’s all.”

“Yeah, well, it’s marriage, not prison,” I said, quoting my father. “I don’t see what the big deal is. I’m not allowed to stay out at night? I’m a big boy; I can take care of myself.”

“Chill out, Tay. I was just telling you. She’s five months pregnant, and I’m guessing worrying isn’t the best thing in the world for her. Maybe you should let her know when you’ll be home late.”

“Screw you!” I snapped. “She’s not my mother.”

“No, she’s your wife.”

“Listen, Ike. I don’t need this big brother bullshit. And if Natalie’s so worried, she can complain to me. Stay the hell out of it.” I didn’t realize that I had gotten in his face. I was about six inches taller than my older brother, but he could still slap the shit out of me if he wanted to.

“Back off, Taylor. The next time you get in my face like that, you’re going to find yourself flat on your back, staring at the ceiling.”

“Fuck you.” It was out before I could stop it. Bad habit I guess.

“Taylor.” I turned around to face my Dad. He wasn’t happy, at all. My mouth was just a little too free lately in his presence. “Watch your mouth. Understand?”

“Whatever,” I mumbled, heading for the door.

“Where’re you going?” He asked me.

“Somewhere other than here. I’m sick of this shit.” I slammed the door on my way out, and knew if I didn’t hurry up and get the hell out of there and my father caught up to me, I’d be in trouble for being disrespectful.

I was watching the traffic, steering my Santa Fe with one hand, and holding my cell phone to my ear with the other. The ring tone was really getting on my nerves; I wanted to talk to DeLorean. I threw the cell phone down into my lap, convinced she wasn’t home. I hated it when I couldn’t talk to her. So when the cell phone rang, I was praying it was her.

“Hello?”

“Tay, are you coming home?” It was Nat.

“Uh, no, not yet. I’m gonna stop at the bookstore first. I’m gonna get a cup of coffee and read a little. I’ll probably stop and get something to eat on my way.”

“Oh, well… Do you know what time you’ll be home?” She asked.

“No, not really. And when I do get home, we need to have a talk.”

“A talk?”

“Yeah, Natalie, a talk. Our business is our business. If I come home late, it’s none of Isaac’s business.”

“Taylor, I didn’t know where you were. I just called to see if you were there, and then we started talking – “

“Listen, I don’t wanna talk about this right now. I’ll see you when I get home.” And I just hung up, no “goodbye” no “I love you”; I just hung up. I decided that I would just drive by DeLorean’s place to see if she was there.

I pulled up outside her house just as she was pulling in her driveway. The sky was darkening already, and the air was cooler. I smiled as I got out of my car. I came up behind her and wrapped my arms around her waist. She gave a low, startled, cry, and unfortunately managed to elbow me right in the balls.

“Ohmigod, Taylor, I’m so sorry…” I could tell she really was, but that didn’t help me with feeling like I was about to throw-up. She’d definitely landed a good shot, and I’d be surprised if she didn’t damage my goods.

“Nice to see you too,” I grunted.

“Taylor, you ass! Don’t sneak up on me like that!” She helped me stand up a little straighter and put her arm around my waist. “God, I could have really hurt you.”

“Oh I think you did.”

“Come one, I’ll give you some ice if it’s that bad.”

“I don’t know. Maybe you should check it out.” She looked up at me, and tried to look like she wasn’t amused, but it didn’t work.

“You’re sick.” She unlocked her front door, and I followed her inside, one hand still grabbing my nuts.

I closed the door and she tossed her keys on the end table right by it. Her answering machine light was blinking, indicating she had one new message. She listened to it, and erased it; it was her mom.

“Taylor, I really am sorry.”

“Hey, don’t worry about it. Just every time I get a hard-on for the next week and it hurts, I’ll think of you.” I grinned.

“Ha-ha. Shut up.” She came closer to me and I pulled her in. I leaned down and kissed her lips, not letting a single second go by that I wasn’t in contact with her. It was a long, deep kiss, and one I never wanted to end. When it finally did, I found myself breathing heavily.

“I missed you,” I whispered.

“Mmm, me too,” she whispered back. She slid her arms around my waist, and we began kissing again. Actually, it was more like making-out standing up, not that I minded at all. We were really getting into it. We had turned around so her back was to the end table instead of mine; we still didn’t stop when her back hit against the end table and it banged against the wall. I had a painful reminder of being elbowed in the groin. I must’ve made some kind of noise, because she pulled back slightly. “I really hurt you, didn’t I?” She said quietly. I just rested my forehead on her shoulder. Some of you ladies out there might think that it can’t hurt that bad, but I’ll have you know: it does. The fact that I was turned on, and I had previously just been rammed right in that sensitive part of my body, was not a good combination when the soldier is standing at attention; it’s painful.

“I think I need that ice,” I mumbled. She laughed at little, and kissed the back of my head.

“Go sit down on the couch; I’ll get you an ice pack.” She turned me around and sent me on my way to her sofa. It was a cream colour, very simple, yet elegant – very DeLorean. The small square pillows at each end were sort of fuzzy, but it wasn’t tacky. I eased myself down onto the soft cushions, and stretched my legs out, both hands over my crotch. She must’ve thought that it was a pretty funny sight when she walked in the room because she started laughing.

“Not funny,” I groaned.

“Sorry,” she replied, stifling a giggle. “Here,” she gently placed a soft ice pack on my package. She sat down next to me and rested her head on my shoulder. “I hope I didn’t damage it for good; that would be a shame…” I caught her meaning and turned my head in her direction. I opened my eyes and looked at her, eyebrows raised. She just smiled.

“Oh, I think it’ll get better.” I replied. She smiled and kissed me, and then we were just quiet for a few minutes. “You know, you haven’t told me how old you are.”

“Well,” she said. “I’m twenty-four.” I was pretty quiet. Twenty-four isn’t that old to be honest, but I hadn’t told her how old I was all this time either. How was she going to react when I told her that I was only nineteen? “And now you can enlighten me on your age.”

“Um…”

“What, did you forget?” She joked.

“Nineteen.” I said. She didn’t seem bothered, just nodded.

“You’re still a baby,” she said. “God, when I was nineteen, I was out partying with my friends at college.”

“Trust me; I’d love to be doing that. But you forget, my career doesn’t allow me to have any other kind of life. I’m stuck with it, not that I’m not happy with it, I am, but… I don’t know. Sometimes I wish things had turned out a little differently, I guess.”

“Second thoughts are human nature, Taylor.” She said, gently running her fingers up and down my arm.

“You know what else is human nature?” I said quietly; she looked up at me. I leaned down and kissed her. The ice pack slid forgotten to the floor.

“Does it feel better?” she whispered against my lips. It really didn’t feel that much better, but I could deal with it if it meant finally being with her.

“Uh-huh,” I mumbled, climbing on top of her as I pushed her back on the cushions.

chapter eight
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