Chapter 23 - Taylor
As most things in life, the good things too come to an end. Mine came rather aburptly, I was barely in the door after dropping Greg home, and I was holding a crying Syl in my arms. “What? What is it Syl?” I couldn’t make sense of his incoherent babbling. I looked up in question as a pair of footsteps make their way towards us. Coming face to face with my elusive mother. She was smiling quite brightly as she opened her arms for the hug she wouldn’t recieve. I was too busy calming Syl down to do so. She pouted as I shuffled my way past her into the livingroom.
There I was greeted with Gordo’s drawn face and Meredith’s pale stressed out one. “What does she want?” I sit down on the small two sitee with Syl now silently sobbing against my chest. Our mother entered with a lot of flair, something we were quite used too. Much to her displeasure as she huffed and wiggled her way onto the sittee with me. “Why don’t you properly greet your mother?” She demanded, what translated to why don’t you lavish me with all your attention? I am the centre of attention, centre of the world.
“Why is it you only show up whenever you feel like it? And why are you never there when I or Syl need you?” Her hand that was stroking Syl’s head stalled, dropped into her lap as Syl fearfully peeked at her from under his lashes. She stands up and starts pacing. The clicking of her four inch high designer heels on the floor was more reassuring to me than her touch and that says something. When I was younger and Syl was just a teeny tiny baby, our mother was only concerned with being seen by the important people of the fashion world. She always wanted to be a model, stand in the brightest spotlight possible.
“I want you two to come back to Italy with me. I want us to be a family again.” Everybody is holding their breath as she drops this bomb on us. Just when Gordo and Meredith got the court approving of them adopting us as their own instead of letting our mother get her hands on us. “What makes you think we want to go with you now the year is only half over? I mean our lives are here, I know for sure dad and grandfather would want us to stay here.” She swallows as I talk about the dead men, Italians are very superstitious and every grown up in the room crosses themselves.
“The boy has a point Anastasia, why are you coming back now? Meredith and I just got the improvement from the court of adopting them as our own.” Gordo states as he glares at her, his earlier uncomfortable at her presence forgotten. Anastasia paled before her typical Italian short fuse shows. “How dare you Gordo! They are my children!" She screeches pointing an accusing finger at him. “I never heard about this court thing about my children.” Meredith is holding Gordo back from attacking Anastasia, so while all grown-ups are fighting among themselves I secretly sneak off with Syl upstairs. I know for sure that this will be continuing for a long while.
Syl flinches as we hear mom’s voice reach a high screech. Syl covers his ears as I carry him up the stairs to his bedroom. “Go pack your overnight bag Syl.” He looks at me in question as he sits curled up on his superman bedspread. “You are going to be staying with Lo for tonight.” His eyes water and he bites his lip just as mom’s angry voice comes from the hallway followed by Gordo’s anger controlled voice as he follows her. “There is no need for you to be witness to this.” He does like it but nods his head as he makes his way over to his closet and start stuffing things in his superman backpack. I stand outside his room, to make sure that mom will not try and take him with her. Pressing the call button once I typed in Greg’s home number, I hold the phone to my ear. I keep an eye on Syl as he shuffles around his room and an eye on the stairs for any movement.
“Chamber residence.” I let out my breath as Tiago answers the phone. “Hello mister Chambers, this is Taylor.” I winch as a door slams shut and the tinkling of breaking porcelain reach my ears. “What can I do for you Taylor?” I am sure that he heard the sounds and he went into business mode. “If it’s not too much trouble I was wondering if Syl could spend the night at your house. My elusive mother decided to show up and is having an angry argument with Gordo over me and Syl.” Now disembodied voices were floating up to the landing. A tug on my pant leg told me Syl was done packing. There is some murmuring on the line as Tiago no doubt is talking to Zachery. “He is more than welcome Taylor; do you need a place to stay as well?” I smile as I gently ruffle Syl’s hair, “No, that won’t be necessary Mister Chambers. I am more scared that she will just take Syl with her once she finds out he is asleep in his bed.” There is some more undistinguishable murmuring on the line before Tiago sighs. “Very well Taylor, I trust that you will be safe tonight. Please don’t hesitate to call if you feel threatened.” I bite my lip as Syl’s face falls as he learns I am not going with him. “I will Mister Chambers; I will leave the house as I hang up so we will be there in thirty minutes.” Tiago agrees and hangs up the phone.
When I was on the phone with Tiago, Syl had changed out of his clothes into his well-worn superman pyjamas. A clear sign that he is very distressed. “You will be fine Syl; you get to stay with Lo for the night.” I kiss the top of his head as I lift him and he clings to me like a baby monkey to its mother. Like ninja’s we sneak out of our house and into my car. I am immensely glad I didn’t park her in the garage; if I had we would wait on the door to roll up and alert anybody in the house to our departure. I do see mom’s angered face glare at us as we rush by.
I didn’t even get the chance to put my car in park when the front door is thrown open and a worried Zach came out. Syl whimpers softly making me turn back to him. “It’s going to be okay Syl; they will take good care of you.” Zach slowly opens the door behind the passenger door; slowly reaching out to Syl. Syl lets himself be willingly lifted out of the car by Zach, who makes soft shushing sounds. I watch the two of them walk up the porch into the house. Tiago walked up to me after watching them deeper into the house.
We meet outside the car; he embraces me tightly before looking me deep in the eyes. “Come in Taylor, you look like you can use some hot food and a good night’s sleep. I have already called your parents and they agreed. As you let the situation got a lot worse.” I feel a sense of dread knot in my gut at those words; I just hope things don’t spiral too far out of control. “Don’t worry Taylor; I am sure Gordo has the situation under control.” I slump against my car, it’s like he can read my mind. “He and Meredith agreed that you two were better off at our house for the night. Or as long as your mother is in town.” I rub a hand over my face, knowing fully well that mom isn’t going to let this go without a fight.
“Taylor, are you alright?” I look up and see a slightly worried Greg standing on the porch. He was clearly wondering if he should approach us since it might look we are having a serious conversation. I shuffle my way over to the porch, mostly due to Tiago’s strong hold on my shoulders and gently ushering me forward. Greg hugs me tightly to his chest, probably because he knew my situation at home due to his parents.
In the house I see Rafa sitting on the couch holding a sleeping Syl in his arms. The picture was so familiar to me like the scars on my body. I wrap my arms around his neck kissing the top of his head in gratitude. He pets my arms lightly before he gently wiggles out of my embrace and walks towards the stairs.
Two firm hands on my shoulder steer me towards the spot just vacated by Rafa. Tiago seated himself in front of my on the coffee table. “Looking how you reacted to Rafa holding a sleeping Sylvester tells me this isn’t the first time you fled for your mother’s anger.” I knew this was coming and yet I wasn’t ready. “Take as long as you need to gather your thoughts Taylor, there is no rush.” I didn’t know that I was shaking until I was handed a cup of hot chocolate courtesy of Zach and the liquid sloshed from side to side.
Tiago, Zach and Greg all waited patiently as I took a small sip of the steaming liquid, shivering at the heat. “My mother is a gold digger.” I state as I place the mug in my lap, playing with the rim, not looking at anyone. “Ever since I was young I remember my mother going everywhere where the important people were. She used to drag me along to several fashion shows, hoping that someone would discover her as their model. My mother never made as secret of wanting to be a model.” I sigh as I remember the only constant older woman in my life were aunts and cousins, even my grandmother was there. But never my mother when I needed her. I feel tears stream down my face and I hid it on one of my hands as I start sobbing. “She is so absorbed in her own head that she was never there when I needed her or when Syl needed her once he was born. It’s not like I didn’t have a female rolmodel in my life because I do; my aunts, nieces, cousins and even my grandmother. It’s just it was never my mom you know?” I am full blown sobbing now, shoulders heaving. “And when my papà and my nonno died she wasn’t there. She wasn’t even present at their funeral.” And that hurt me the most, more than all her absence, her sporadic bouts of wanting to be a family before leaving. It hurt so bad that she so easily dismissed my beloved papà and my nonno once they were dead. The worst thing was now mom had access to papà’s millions.
Gentle hands knead my tense shoulders, slowly getting me to relax so that I won’t spill the hot chocolate all over my lap. Soft encouraging words were whispered as I accept the tissue offered and wiped my eyes and blew my nose. “Greg, go take Taylor upstairs. Help him get ready for bed and we will see you in the morning.” There is some more talking but I was suddenly exhausted as I dragged my feet up to the stairs and towards Greg’s bedroom. There, I was helped with stripping and tugging on the offered clothes and I blacked out before I touched the pillow.
I wake up after a dead sleep to birds singing outside my window. I frown my room is nowhere near a tree and there a no shrubs near the house that has birds in them. Blinking I wake up in a room that wasn’t mine, oh wait, this is Greg’s room. “Good morning Taylor.” I smile lightly at Greg as he stands in the doorway holding a tray with breakfast.