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Chapter 4 – Taylor

I groaned under my breath with frustration as I punch the punching bag at the gym where I do kickboxing. After all these months of silent treatment, mom is coming over, with her new boy-toy. Syl has been upset ever since, he cries a lot and sleeps even worse. Finishing the set, I wipe the sweat of my face with a towel and take a sip of my water bottle.

I wonder what the hell she could want, it can’t be money since dad didn’t have that much and we sold the house in Italy.

“You okay there Ty? You have been a little off lately.” My instructor Ben looks at me worryingly. I like Ben, he’s pretty strict but then again he’s very supportive of everybody here. “Yeah,” I set my water bottle down and start to wipe off the cooling sweat from my face and chest “just hoping my mom will behave when she comes.” Ben winches in sympathy when I mentioned my mom. Mom came to visit me at the gym one day and was flirting with every male present until she saw me. Then all of a sudden she turned into this perfect concerned mom, asking poor Ben all kinds of questions.

Being showered and back home, my shoulders sag with relief when Greg texted me saying that Syl was more than welcome to stay with them for the duration of mom’s visit. I don’t want Syl anywhere near her, if he’s this upset with just the news of her coming, I don’t want to know how upset he will be when he’s actually around her.

“Hey, Syl buddy.” I say as I approach my little brother where he was sitting at the kitchen table making a drawing. He smiled at me as he looked at me “What is it fratello?” The way he looks at me with big wide eyes, made me want to hug him tight. Which I did; much to his utter dismay, he grumbled under his breath. “I asked Greg if you can stay with them for the time mom comes.” Syl broke out in the biggest grin I haven’t seen since dad passed away and mom essentially abandoned us. “Thank you so much fratello!” He cheered.

As he proceeded to tell Gordo and Meredith that he would be playing at the Chamber house again this weekend, I could tell Aunt Meredith didn’t think it would be a good idea. “Do you think it would be good for him to not be here when your mother comes?” She asked quietly so Syl wouldn’t hear. “Yes I do. He’s been a wreck since he heard she was coming, and he finally cheered up a little when he heard he could be at Logan’s house.” Aunt Meredith sighed under her breath as she finished up the dishes, “You do know she’ll go to their house and cause a scene at their house when she finds out Syl is at a friend’s house.”

****

I had to remind myself to tell Greg that my mother might turn up on his doorstep later this weekend. I will tell him at lunchtime. Nodding with that plan in my head, I drop off Syl at school, who ran immediately at Lo as they noticed each other. I wish me and Greg could be open with each other like that. Waving one more time at Syl, I drive off to school. I am still a little thrown off my game by Greg’s openness about his dad. I knew Santiago had gang ties, but what Greg told me was just beyond gruesome. I shudder as I remember him telling me that his dad witnessed his mother and younger brother’s brutal murder. I can’t imagine our family doing something like that. I can imagine them doing torturing and stuff but just killing a little kid for nothing? No I don’t think so.

During school I unconsciously kept an eye on Greg, I think I know why. Even though he didn’t tell me much, I think I can figure him out pretty accurately. It’s all in the little things he did that told volumes about his mood. The slight glare in his eyes, and him rubbing them frequently; told me he had a rough night. I slid in between Greg and this girl, who wouldn’t give up on talking to Greg, she was quite determined. She was shocked to see me and went back to her friends, even though he still glared; I knew Greg was grateful.

He cleared his throat a little as my group of friends join us, “To what do I owe this pleasure?” Although his voice was soft, the whole table heard the hostility in his voice. Before Rafa or anyone else could explode, I cut in. “You owe us nothing, what’s so wrong with us sitting at your table?” When he doesn’t respond I remember to tell him about my mother. “Oh, one other thing,” Greg had gotten up holding his tray with a half-eaten lunch “My mother might turn up on your doorstep later this weekend since she’ll want to see Syl. I don’t want her around him though; he’s been upset all week since he knows she’s coming.”

Greg nodded his head “I will tell my parents, they will keep her out of the house.” With that our conversation was over and he silently walked out of the busy cafeteria. “What’s his problem?” Rafa asked as he stuffed his face. Veronica rolled her eyes, “That just totally went over your head didn’t it?” Rafa looked up from his favourite lunch at her in question. “Greg tensed up when Ty told him she upset Syl. I think he might have known a pushy parent.”

When I dropped off Syl at Greg’s house in the weekend Zach took me apart to talk privately. “So your mother might come visit us?” I looked a little uncomfortable as I looked at Syl judging he’s out of hearing distance. “Yeah, she’s slightly pushy and very overdramatic and it frightens Syl every time. In the beginning everything will be fine because she wouldn’t ask him a lot. But this time it will be different since she has a new boy-toy which would make her drill him for information, pretending to be the perfect concerned mother.” Zach’s eyes narrowed as he nodded his head. “We will make sure she won’t step a foot inside the door.”

With a lighter heart I said goodbye to Syl, told him I would pick up him tomorrow. Logan had managed to talk him into sleeping over, his first sleep over ever. Zach had asked me if Syl had any problems, like did he pee the bed at night or what were they to do if he had a nightmare. I had told them that since mom was coming he had been sleeping badly. “Don’t worry about it,” Santiago gently pushed me out of the door “we will take care of him.” With one last hug, I leave the Chamber house and mentally prepared myself for my mother’s demanding presence.

It was a good thing too, my mother was her demanding self; showing off her newest boy-toy. It was weird he was only a few years older than me; he looked just as uncomfortable as the rest of us, which was a plus. She didn’t notice until halfway through dinner that Sylvester wasn’t home. “Where is my cute little Sylvester?” She looked demandingly at Gordo, who calmly finished his plate before responding. “He’s sleeping over at a friend’s house. I didn’t want him anywhere near you.”

Mother wasn’t too pleased with Gordo’s tone for she bristled. “As his mother I can and will see my son!” She put her knife and fork down, being as dramatic as the soap opera actress she is. “You will not! You leave that boy be!” I lashed out, “He’s been terrified ever since he heard you were coming!”bThat seemed to strike a nerve, as she stared at me with big eyes. “My little Sylvester is scared of me?”

“Yes” Gordo admitted, “He’s terrified beyond belief and has been having nightmares every night.” That last bit was a little over the top, he didn’t have nightmares every night but he did sleep badly. She narrowed her eyes as she turned to look at Meredith “I left my babies in your care, hoping they would get a good childhood. But alas, it seems to me you two aren’t up to the task of raising my children right.” I snorted “And what? You are? Don’t make laugh, you don’t know the first thing of raising children. The only thing you worry about is what the press will write about you and your latest boy-toy.” I sneered.

The silence was so suffocating after that, I growled and walked away. “Don’t you walk away from me Taylor!” Although she sounded authoritive, I could hear a hint of fear in her voice.

Why would she be scared of me walking away from her?

I didn’t think too much about it as I grabbel my carkeys and slipped onto the driverseat ans started the car. I drove around town on autopilot, I wasn’t really think of where I was going and where I wanted to go. I was pulled out of my thoughts by the vibrating of my phone in my pocket. Pulling into a empty parkinglot, I pulled out my phone. I was surprised to see several missed calls from Gordo, Meredith, Rafa, Veronica and even Greg. Wondering what could be up I called Greg, thinking it might have to do with Syl.

The phone rang a few times before a sleept sourdine Greg answered the phone. “Hello?”

“Hey Greg, it’s Taylor.” In the silence following, I could hear the gears in his head working, trying to work out why I was calling. “You called?” I heard some shifting on the background, like he was sitting up and rearanging his quilt. “Yeah I did. Your uncle and friends called, they were worried with how you left the house. You should at least call your uncle and tell him you’re okay. And as you said your mom showed up, nothing really happened though, I was with the kids at the playground. Syl didn’t see her and my parents didn’t say anything about it to him about it. According to dad your mom made a scene before it became clear she wasn’t getting anywhere with her theatrical behaviour.”

I let out a breath I didn’t know I was holding. “That’s great.” I ecpected Greg to hang up, but he was still there waiting silently for me to say something. “So..” He said after a while, filling the silence. “What are you doing now?” I blinked, not expecting Greg to make small talk. Looking out my windstreken I noticed I was somewhere near a beach or bay, overlooking the sea. “Doing nothing but stare at the sea. Wanna join me?” I asked it jokingly and was startled when Greg where I was. Still in a daze I told him, chuckling he told me he would be here soon, since it was close to his house.

True to his word, Greg showed up ten minutes later, not that I was counting and knocked lightly on my window. I smiled slightly at him after calming my heart and opening the passenger door. Greg was wearing a pair of sweats and a sweatshirt of some uni, several sites too big for him. I keep glancing at him out the corner of my eye, he looked so adorable with his hair a right mess. When he licked his lips I made my mind up and reached over. I tokk Greg by surprise as he turned my way, our lips connected. Greg’s eyes were huge but he didn’t push me away.

Pulling back after a few minutes, and it just sunk in what I did.

I kissed Greg out of nowhere. What the he’ll is wrong with me?

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