They decided to walk the streets together for Halloween. Although they were too old to do any trick or treating themselves, they decided it would be fun and something to do.
They all met at Aidan’s house, and when Damien arrived there, it was Taylor who opened the door for him.
She smiled when she invited him in and Damien felt a strange pull towards her from deep within him.
Taylor was happy to see him, although she tried to push away the feelings in the pit of her stomach from that first moment she glanced at him, when he walked past her on his first day at school. She loved the comfortable way he had when he held a guitar. He had the most beautiful green eyes she had ever seen and she loved the way he brushed his dark hair away from his face when he got flustered. She did not want to feel this way because she had been in a serious relationship with Aidan for two years now. She had even told Aidan that she loved him, but now she wondered if she was too hasty when she said those words. Lately, she and Aidan fought about every little thing. For instance, he wanted to stay at home tonight and watch horror movies and although Taylor tried to make a compromise by telling him they should go out with Damien and Brianna. Then come back afterwards to watch horror movies, but he was being difficult. Also, he was pushing harder and harder for them to go to the next level in their relationship, but Taylor did not feel ready. Although she used to believe she loved him, she did not know if she loved him enough to give herself to him completely – body and soul.
“Hey, Damien,” Aidan called from the lounge as Damien followed Taylor through the hall. As Damien entered the room, Aidan asked him, “Settle this, will you. Horror fest or, trick or treating?”
“Maybe we could walk around a little and then watch movies. I hear they are going to have a big bonfire in the park, the biggest ever, the fire brigade is even supposed to be on standby.”
“See, I told you,” Taylor chipped in.
Aidan gave her a sideways glance. “And you Brianna?”
Brianna said without hesitation, “I agree with Damien.”
Aidan grunted. “No use asking you anyway. If Damien said jump from a cliff, you’ll do it.”
Brianna blushed a deep shade of red. “No. I wouldn’t.” She stepped toward Damien. “I wouldn’t.”
Damien set her mind at ease, “I know you wouldn’t.” Although he thought she would.
Aidan stepped forward and took Taylor’s hand into his. As Damien glanced down at their hands entwined he felt a sharp piercing feeling shoot through his chest. Without conscience thought, he glanced up at her as she stepped past him. Their eyes connected and it confused him. She was always with Aidan, he had even heard them say, “I love you,” to each other, so why does he get the feeling when their eyes meet that there is something more between him and her than what there actually was.
They left the house while Taylor and Aidan walked a little ahead of Brianna and Damien. Damien walked with his hands pushed deeply into his denim pockets.
Brianna and Taylor laughed and complimented some of the little kids running around the estate collecting their chocolates and sweets from the spooky decorated houses.
All of a sudden Aidan cried out amused, “Hey kid.”
The little boy in front of them stopped and looked up at Aidan surprised.
“Give us some of your sweets,” Aidan demanded pushing his hand palm up in front of the boy.
The little boy dressed in an Iron Man suit took several steps backward.
A woman’s voice from across the street shouted out angrily, “Hey, what are you doing? Leave him alone!”
Aidan looked up and across the street surprised. The woman crossed the road and walked toward the foursome in a straight bee-line, her arms flapping dangerously and her lips moving with inaudible words.
She stopped in front of Aidan and stared up into his face. Although she was small, her presence made her look larger than life itself. “Move away from here,” she hissed through her thin lips.
Aidan laughed uncomfortably. “I just wanted a few sweets.”
“Come on, Aidan,” Damien said as he and Brianna started walking past Aidan. “Don’t start any trouble.”
Aidan grumbled as Taylor pulled him by his hand. She turned to the angry woman apologetically and said softly, “Sorry.”
“You better be sorry. Your boyfriend is a bully.”
Aidan wanted to turn back, but Taylor said softly, pulling harder on his hand. “Don’t be silly, Aidan. Let’s go, before we miss the bonfire.”
As they left the estate to walk to the park where the bonfire was to be, Brianna hooked her arm around Damien’s and she leaned closer to him. Often he wondered if he should just go for Brianna. The hopeless feelings he had for Taylor would never go anywhere anyway, and Brianna was a sure thing. He smiled down at her.
When they reached the park Taylor and Aidan were in the middle of a heated fight. Damien had the urge to step forward and to protect Taylor, but Brianna pulled him away. “They are always fighting. They break up and make-up all the time. Leave them, it looks worse than it is.”
Reluctantly Damien followed Brianna closer to the bonfire and saw the pile get larger and larger as people were adding old sofas, mattresses, anything old and salvaged to the already burning pyre.
They stopped a distance away and Brianna leaned her cheek against his upper arm. Damien smiled down at her before he quickly glanced at Taylor. The orange glow from the fire illuminated her already beautiful features, he forced himself not to leer at her.
Damien sat down on the grass and pulled Brianna down with him. She crossed her legs and her thighs brushed against his. Her eyes looked even bluer in the glare of the fire. He tried to convince himself to like Brianna, although Taylor was all he could think about, even though her heart was already taken.
Brianna asked unsure, “The other kids at school said you are living with foster parents. Is that true?”
He did not like talking about himself. “Yeah, my mum and dad couldn’t look after me.”
“So you’re not an orphan.”
He shook his head. “No.”
“Do you ever see them?”
“No, and to be honest I don’t really want to see them.”
Just then, Taylor and Aidan joined them. Their fight was obviously forgotten and Taylor sat down between Aidan’s pulled up legs, resting her back against his chest.
Damien did not reply to Brianna’s question. He did not want to talk about the circumstances which led to him becoming a ward of the state. His parents were mean and there was nothing more to say about it.
When the fire burned itself out, they watched the fire brigade distinguish the last burning embers and then they started walking back to Aidan’s house.
Aidan was setting up the DVD while Taylor went to the kitchen to get a glass of water. Brianna sat down on a two-seat sofa.
Damien left the room to go to the bathroom.
As he stepped into the hall, Taylor walked past. He stepped into her unintentionally and automatically his arms came up to steady her. She jumped with fright and although Damien wanted to say something, he froze when he saw her standing in front of him. His mind urgently implored him to tell her, just tell her, how he felt. To stop spending so many sleepless nights thinking about her, and all the things he planned to say to her when he saw her again. Things he never said.
He opened his mouth, but his tongue got stuck as if the words were trapped in his head and he could not get them past the barrier that was his mouth. His heart started pounding in his ears, and he was afraid that she would be able to hear it here in the quiet hall with just the faint murmurings of the television, and the conversation between Aidan and Brianna further down the hall in the lounge.
“You gave me a fright!” The words whispered over her lips as her hand came up to her chest as if the action would still her fast beating heart. She was still standing close to him.
All he had to do was lower his head to discover if her lips were really as soft and warm as they looked.
She stepped away from him laughing. “My first scare of the night and trust me Aidan likes the really scary movies, so thank you for giving me a training jolt.”
Did she not feel the strangeness between them?
He was in love with her. There were so many little things about her that made him want her to love him back.
“Taylor?” Aidan’s voice came drifting down the hall towards them.
She looked at him for a second too long and he thought he saw a secret in her eyes. Could he hope she had the same secret as him?
“On my way.” She smiled shyly before she dropped her eyes to the floor and pushed past him.
He followed her down the hall. In the lounge, she walked across the brown carpet toward Aidan and flopped down onto the sofa next to him. Immediately Aidan moved his arm and wrapped it around her waist, and Damien felt something twist in his stomach when she reached up and kissed him.
He felt as if he was going out of his mind. Here he was dying to be with her, he felt as if something significant happened between them in the hall, but obviously it was only his imagination making more of something that was not even there.
For a moment, Damien considered sitting on the single chair, but then sat down next to Brianna. She smiled at him sideways and he pushed Taylor out of his head.
The movie started and when the scary serial killer on the screen killed its first victim, Brianna grabbed onto him, shrieking softly. Damien sat closer to her, his arm closely next to her and wrapped her small hand into his. She leaned closer to him and rested her cheek against his upper arm.
When the movie was finished he sat forward on the seat to grab hold of the bowl with the popcorn in it, just as Taylor reached in to take a handful. Her fingers brushed his accidentally, and he felt a jolt shoot through his body straight through his heart and down to his little toe.
He quickly glanced in her direction and saw a flush settle on her lightly freckled cheeks. Damien pretended it had no impact on him, as he waited for her to take a handful and then took hold of the bowl. He scooted back onto the chair, into the warm space next to Brianna. He balanced the bowl on his lap and then he lifted his arm to place it across Brianna’s shoulders. She nestled closer to him and her hair smelled like strawberries. Her long hair found its way onto his shoulder as well, and it felt comforting against his skin where his t-shirt met his neck.
Halfway through the movie, Brianna moved her arm and rested her hand on his chest. It took him a moment to get used to the sensation of her warm hand on him, only separated by the thin cotton material of his t-shirt. He closed the door in his mind on Taylor as he lifted his hand and fitted it around her chin. Slowly he pulled her face up toward him and he sunk his lips down onto hers.
Although he felt as if Taylor and he were inexplicably forever interlinked. Even though he felt his soul scream out in protest as his lips moved against Brianna’s lips, being with Taylor was a hopeless dream. He met Taylor two months ago and although she was always nice to him, and he made himself believe he could see something more in her eyes when she looked at him, and although he felt as if there was so much more he could discover between him and Taylor, his thoughts kept going in circles and instead of waiting and hoping, he needed to wake up and face up to reality. Taylor was not for him.