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Chapter 6 – Taylor

For a change of pace of things; Lo and Greg were coming over to our house to play and study for our project. I was pacing up and down my bedroom as I waited for Greg and Lo to come.

“Dude relax.” Rafa drawled from his position on my bed, I hadn’t told him or Ronnie that Greg and I shared a kiss. That was private until I had figured out what I really wanted from Greg. I sigh as Rafa snickered at the comic he was reading; he was always reading his comics at my house because a bad boy like him couldn’t be found reading comics. He is either totally clueless about the fact that everybody knows he reads those comics or he ignores it.

The shrill sound of the doorbell being rung released me from my mussing as sprint down the stairs. My hand rests on the doorknob as Syl whines “I want to open the door, Fratello.” I chuckle as I step to the side and lift him so he could reach the doorknob. On the other side of the door stood an excited Lo and Greg with a questioning high eyebrow, shrugging I place Syl back down again and Lo and Syl race off to the living room.

“Come on in.” Greg slowly steps over the threshold as if he is waiting for anybody to jump him. That all changed within a second when he heard a cry from the living room. “LO! What’s wrong?” He dropped everything and moved towards the sound. “Está bien, estás bien Lo. ¿Me dirás lo que está mal?” (It’s okay, you’re okay Lo. Tell me what is wrong?) I don’t think he knew it but he fell back on Spanish while talking to Lo.

“What’s with all the racket?” Rafa finally managed to pull away from his comics. His eyes widened as he saw Greg sitting on the floor rocking a now sniffling Lo back and forth.

“I don’t know; I don’t speak Spanish.” Syl was on Lo’s other side, rubbing his back clumsily.

“Le dije a papá que te olvidaste de Coby. Ahora está en camino con él.” (I told dad that you forgot Coby. He is on his way with him right now.) Whatever he said to Lo must have been what he wanted to hear, he calmed down almost immediately. Not long after that, the doorbell rang once more and not much later Santiago Chambers walked into our living room holding a worn out Paddington Bear.

“COBY!” Lo squealed and latched on to his father’s leg.

“Lo won’t go to any house without Coby.” I was slightly startled as Greg’s voice sounded from my side.

“So he’s going to be okay now?” I asked a little worried since Lo is still stuck to Santiago.

I see Greg nod from the corner of my eye “He should be good now Coby is here.”

Santiago politely declined to have lunch with us; he was on his lunch break from work and had to go back. He said something in Spanish to Lo which nodded his head in agreement before running off after Syl to the backyard with Coby firmly hugged to his chest. After a free lunch, Rafa made himself scares; he was always gone when school work needed to be done. Not that I minded, he would probably run to Ronnie and tell her he had seen Santiago Chambers in the flesh and just lounge around her house. Sure enough, I got a text from Ronnie complaining about Rafa hanging around in her house. I know that she doesn’t mind, I think she might have a little crush on Rafa and she only complains about him because as a friend she feels like she ought to.

I shake my head lightly as I walk into my room holding a tray full of snacks Meredith forced on me. I stop on the threshold as I see Greg lounging on my bed; he’s holding one of Rafa’s comics in his hands. But that is not what stopped me in my tracks; it’s the scares that clearly show on the piece of skin that is exposed by Greg lying on my bed.

“What is it, Taylor?” Greg’s voice pulls me out of my staring, and so I notice he looks slightly uncomfortable.

“Your back…” Greg immediately pulls down his shirt and shifts into a sitting position, facing me. After I set the tray down we work in uncomfortable silence; neither of us knows what to say. It was driving me insane; I was torn between demanding to know and wanting not to know. What happened to him was none of my business, no matter how many times I told myself that I wasn’t convinced that I didn’t want to know. I wanted to know, I wanted to know everything about Greg.

Just as I open my mouth to ask him about it, Greg clears his throat uncomfortably and speaks. “The scar on my back was done by my father. My biological father.” He quickly says as he notices my body tensing.

“You were abused by your dad?” Abuse by a family member had always baffled me, they were supposed to keep you safe and not be your worst demons.

“Not just him, my mother joined in too every once in a while.” Greg looked so sad that I just wanted to pull him to my chest and reassure him that everything will be okay. “They are not a problem anymore; my mom died and her husband is stuck in a maximum prison for the rest of his life.” I shivered at the emptiness in Greg’s voice and eyes as he spoke about his biological parents, which just strengthened my resolve to stay on Greg’s good side.

Syl’s squeal of happiness and Gordo’s laughter interrupted me as I wanted to say something. Gathering the now empty tray; Greg and I had finished it quite a while ago, “Let’s go downstairs, I don’t think we can do much more on our project anyway.” We were a little ahead of our project planning and needed Mr Rush’s approval so we could do the next stage of our project. We were just in time to see a very shy Lo introduce himself to Gordo; he was slightly hiding behind Coby as he did so.

I was surprised when Syl called Gordo daddy, and so was everybody else in the room. I guess they were afraid of Syl rejecting them as parents after all the time they looked after us. “Gordo.” He looked up as I called out his name, “Meet Greg Chambers; Lo’s older brother.”

Gordo’s eyes shone as he reached out a hand to Greg “Nice to meet you, Greg.” Greg quickly shook his hand before he nervously started to rub at a burn wound on his wrist. My eyes widened as it looked big enough to be caused by a cigarette. Although he looked fine the other day when I was smoking on his porch, that was until I remembered his white-knuckled hands squeezing the railing. Gordo noticed and immediately got rid of the cigarette.

Greg relaxed slightly now there was no burning cigarette in sight. “Are you and Logan staying for dinner?” Meredith made a timely appearance; things were about to get very awkward between Gordo and Greg.

“Uhh” Greg sounded unsure.

“We are having risotto di fungi. Meredith’s are the best in the world!” I try and persuade him, I want him to stay for dinner.

“I wanna stay!” My wish was granted from an unlikely source; Logan wanted to try the risotto, most likely because of Syl’s enthusiasm for risotto. So that is how all of us ended up crammed together around our itty bitty small kitchen/dinner table. I thank God for arguing in favour of a round table instead of a rectangular one; which had Meredith’s and Gordo’s favour.

If we had a rectangular table, then Greg had an uncomfortable sharp point of the table in his stomach. With the roundtable, the only discomfort we have is bumping frequently with our neighbours. Not that I minded; I was used to it, but it was hilarious to see Greg and Lo blush and look away every time they happened to bump into someone’s elbow.

By the time dessert rolled around, Lo was having a hard time keeping his eyes open. He kept nodding off every so often before blinking quickly and looked around to see if anyone saw it. Meredith noticed and slowly but surely ushered both Syl and Lo upstairs; it was decided that Lo would sleep over.

Because of that Santiago made a second trip to our house with extra clothes for Lo tomorrow. While Syl and Lo were getting ready for bed, Greg and I were lounging in my room once more; Lo had insisted that Greg said good night to him, just like he would have back home.

Apparently, Lo won’t sleep very well without it, so to appease his little brother I got a few more minutes with Greg. “Greg, they are in bed now.” Meredith peeked in from the door, beckoning Greg to come and wish Lo goodnight. I followed slowly behind and watch from a distance as Greg said goodnight to Lo before speaking lowly with Meredith about Lo’s morning routine. He told her Lo might be a little bit disoriented in the morning; Lo wasn’t a morning person. I grinned; most of us weren’t a morning person, so he would be just fine.

“So, how long do you think we would need for us to finish the project?” I looked at Greg, who was nervously fiddling with his keys. I frowned as he wouldn’t make eye contact with me.

“I guess a few more weeks unless Mr Rush has a few more things to say about our project.” I shrug as I keep a close eye on his reaction. That way I saw his shoulders slump before he straightened and quickly got into his car.

“Text when you get home!” I saw him vaguely nod his head as he turned on the car, honked the horn and took off. Twenty minutes later I got a text from Greg telling me he was home a little later but safely. There was a roadblock on the main road so he had to take a detour. The text also told me he would come by tomorrow to pick up Lo after school. I smiled slightly as I read the text again, rereading it for no particular reason for doing so. Deep in my heart, I knew I really wanted Greg to come over as much as Rafa did; which is every day, and then multiple times a day.

To my utter joy, Greg seemed as reluctant as me to end whatever we are. His behaviour when we said goodnight last night proved it. He wanted to prolong us being around each other. For a first time in a long while, I was content with the way things were progressing between Greg and I. In my head I was already preparing for the reactions of my friends, family and Greg’s parents and Greg himself when I tell him I want to date him. Because I realised after the kiss we shared in the car that I want to be together with Greg. In every way possible, if Greg wasn’t too sure about it then I am going to convince him of whatever it takes that we should date. Nobody could get between that, not even my hate for that person who was responsible for the explosion that killed my grandfather or my father.

“Why are you smiling like that Ragazzo?” I glance up as Gordo looks suspiciously at me. I roll my eyes at his former Don look; “I just figured out what I wanted more than revenge at that piccolo cagna Julian.”

His eyebrows rose slightly “Oh? And what would that be?” I grin as I picture Greg’s flustered face after we shared that first kiss.

“Greg Chambers.”

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