Taylor stepped onto the bus and walked to the back row of the twenty-seat school bus. The bus was almost full, and she sat down in the window seat and settled herself into the chair.
Damien sat down on the seat beside her. “Are you nervous?”
They were on their way to Belfast to perform at the Musical Festival in the Ulster Hall.
“I am nervous but also excited. I’ve never played in front of an entire hall of people before.”
He shifted in his seat, bringing his knee within millimetres of her thigh. It was an innocent move, he only needed to stretch his legs, she tried to convince herself, but she felt as if he had somehow claimed her by intruding into her space. She tried to push away the feeling of wanting to touch him. She even wanted him to kiss her again, although the brief kiss they shared in her room happened more than a month ago. A lot has happened in the meantime. She and Aidan still had not talked a single word to each other and Brianna was tired of Damien not moving forward from friend status although it has been eight months. Brianna had moved on without Damien.
The bus pulled away from the school grounds.
His knees were skimming the seat in front of him, his shoulder was brushing against hers. Taylor gazed out the window, watching the landscape stretching away into the distance.
When he nudged her softly, she opened her eyes bewildered. In horror, she realized she had fallen asleep and her head was resting on his shoulder.
She looked up at him mortified.
The intensity of his green gaze as he met hers stole her breath. The air between them seemed charged with some kind of electricity, it was intense.
His eyes were blazing as he gave her a quick once over. “Are you okay?”
“Of course I am. Why wouldn’t I be?”
His gaze narrowed on her hair. “Your hair is sticking up.” Before she could move out of his reach, he was stroking the side of her head. “That’s better.” He smiled.
She told herself she imagined the croak in his voice, the way he seemed to linger over smoothing her messy hair.
He stood up and stood aside so that she could walk along the narrow aisle ahead of him. He felt an urgency to pull her into his arms.
The City Hall was impressive and beautiful.
Taylor stood backstage and the feeling of nervousness was threatening to overwhelm her. Damien came to stand next to her and then he curled his fingers around her fingers lightly. She felt an immediate sense of calmness rush through her as she looked up at him and their eyes met.
After a standing ovation they left the Ulster Hall and in the bus Damien turned in his seat, pulling his one leg in under him. He turned Taylor so that she was facing the window, and then he pulled her back against his chest and wrapped his arms around her shoulders. She could feel his soft in and out breathing on her cheek. It made her feel the strangest, newest sensations.
Together they looked out the window as the city lights rushed past them and then slowly started receding until they could only see their own reflection in the window.
Taylor was aware of the strength and warmth radiating from Damien throughout her entire body.
“Hey,” he whispered close to her ear. “You are very quiet.”
She leaned back into him and sighed softly.
When they arrived back at the school building, her back felt cold when he pulled away from her and she shivered.
He stepped off the bus after her and as he slung his guitar across his shoulder, he reached for her hand. His fingers twined through hers as he started walking away from the school, the bus and all the other students.
Taylor followed him willingly. She experienced a definite feeling of divine intervention in her life. She had the strangest feeling of wholeness and purpose.
He stopped walking abruptly and she half fell into him. She put a hand up to steady herself as he leaned closer to her.
Her palm landed on his chest and her fingers curled into the material of his shirt.
His warm palm curved against her cheek, tipping her head back and his mouth lowered to hers.
Damien felt, at last, as if he had found a place where he belonged. Slowly, he pulled away from her and whispered, “I know it sounds lame, but it feels as if I have been looking for you.”
Taylor smiled slowly, leaning into him. “And you found me.”