Chapter 12 - Make a wish
Thirty-two people. That's how many I'd counted so far. I didn't even know that many people in this town, yet they were here. Jackson really was determined to make my birthday party legitimate.
"So, how has your birthday been so far?"
Taylor propped his body up against the door frame of the kitchen. I was busying myself refilling the chip and dip bowls.
Taylor was number three out of thirty-two.
"Good. Uneventful, just the way I like it."
He smirked and grabbed the bag of chips from me.
"Are you ever still?"
I laughed. I was almost positive I was still while I slept.
"Want to go sit out front? I don't think they'll notice."
He motioned to the crowd of people in the living room and back yard.
He was right. He knew I didn't know hardly anyone that was here and I highly doubted they would mind.
We walked out onto the front porch and sat on the swing. Taylor sat closer to me that he did the last time we were out here together. He put both of his arms around the back of the swing and I leaned back against one of them. If anyone saw us right now, we would look like a couple. Being with Taylor wasn't a bad idea, but still, something about it didn't feel completely right.
"You're so pretty."
He was looking right at me, not at my dress or at my legs that were exposed for the first time since I moved here. He was looking directly into my eyes.
Before I even spoke the words his eyes moved to my lips and I knew what he was thinking. I was thinking about it too.
He was going to kiss me again. Taylor was a good kisser. Not that I had anyone to compare him too, but I'd bet he had a lot of practice.
He leaned closer and brushed his lips against my cheek.
"Another birthday present?"
"Yeah, another birthday present."
He laughed and grabbed my face between his hands and pressed his soft lips to mine. He stayed along the same lines as our last kiss, adding a few nips on my lower lip here and there.
"There's no way your first kiss was only a few days ago."
"What are your plans later? Maybe we can go somewhere."
A part of me really did want to go. But the rest of me was only focused on one person.
"I'm going to see The Goblet of Fire again."
I shook my head.
Taylor knew that Beau and I were close. But I wondered if he thought it was weird.
"Well you loved it the first time so its no surprise you're going again."
He bumped his shoulder into mine.
He didn't seem to find it weird at all and I was thankful. No part of me wanted to lead Taylor on in any way. We enjoyed hanging out together at school and apparently we enjoyed kissing each other, I was prepared to leave it at that.
"Have you ever had a boyfriend?"
Apparently, Taylor had other intentions.
I shook my head. Why did this have to turn awkward?
"Don't look so excited River. It was only a question, I promise."
He teased but I was still worried. I wanted this conversation to remain casual.
"What about you? How many girlfriends?"
It was no secret that Taylor had a line of girls chasing him around Alberton high school.
"A couple, nothing serious."
"Makes sense, I mean you move around a lot so I can see why you wouldn't want anything serious."
"That's true but my dad retires this year and we all really like it here, as of right now we're staying."
I'd be lying if I said that news didn't make me happy.
I'd be dreading Taylor moving away. I knew it was a fact from the first time I met him when he told me his dad was in the military like Jackson. Moving a lot was just a reality for his family. They had already lived in North Carolina for three years, I thought we were on borrowed time.
But they were staying here.
I'd have Taylor for the rest of high school and then some.
Taylor tilted his head to the side and studied my face before rubbing my shoulder with his hand that was still propped up on the swing behind me.
"That makes you happy?"
"Of course. Why wouldn't it?"
I shook my head and watch him lick his lips.
"Skip the movie River."
He almost made me want to.
I whispered and he leaned in and grazed his lips against my neck before pressing a single kiss to my skin.
"Okay well how about we make plans for next weekend?"
"Like a date?"
I raised my eyebrows.
"It can be if you want. Or it doesn't have to be. It's up to you."
Why was he so sweet?
I wasn't sure if I wanted it to be a date or not, but I knew I wanted to be there.
Taylor was opening his mouth to say something when Jackson walked out onto the porch with half of the other people from the party trailing behind him. He was carrying a massive cake with seventeen lit candles stuck haphazardly around it. Everyone started singing happy birthday and I could feel the heat as it covered my cheeks.
Taylor tugged me into his side and I blew my candles out when the song ended.
Taylor followed everyone else back into the house, letting his sweet tooth control his feet and looked at my watch, willing 7 pm to hurry up.
I had just sat back down on the swing when Beau walked up the steps.
"What'd you wish for?"
Where had he been? I didn't see come out with everyone else, but he was obviously here.
"If I tell you, it won't come true."
The truth was, I didn't wish for anything. I had everything I needed for this year.
I looked at him as he let his big body fall into the rocking chair across from me and I realized that I already knew what I would wish for when I blew my candles out next year.
I'd wish for Beau.