Chapter 36 - Stop the world
My brother insisted as he poked his camera in my face for what seemed like the 20th time since I had walked out of my room.
"Jackson. . ."
I heard Taylor's car door shut and I moved past my brother to open the door for him.
He said after giving me a once over.
My dress was a little too tight for my liking but the lady a the department store told me it fit me like a glove so I figured why not. It was also a peach shade that I'd never worn and was a little iffy about.
But the only thing that crossed my mind since the moment I slipped into it tonight was that I wished Beau was here to see me in it.
And take it off.
I could imagine his fingers sliding the zipper down and pushing it off of my shoulders. If I thought hard enough I could even imagine the way his skin would feel when it would connect to my bare back and how his lips wouldn't hesitate to latch onto my neck.
I missed him more than I thought was possible.
Taylor moved inside and I got a better look at him.
"You clean up nicely, Thomas."
I smiled at him and he ran his palm over the front of his tux.
"Stand together and look this way."
Jackson said and I tried not to roll my eyes. He was enjoying this and I didn't want to take that from him. I had hidden in my room most of the afternoon wondering what it would be like if our mom was still here for this. I cried for a few minutes until I realized that she wouldn't want me to be upset today. And my brother didn't want that either.
I leaned into Taylor and he pulled me closer. We humored Jackson for a few minutes until he finally seemed satisfied.
I grabbed my camera from the coffee table before I followed Taylor out the front door.
"You're bringing that?"
I replied before waving goodbye.
This camera has become my best friend. I figured Beau would get a kick out of polaroids so I decided I would take one picture every day and even if I didn't mail each one to him, he would see them when he came back. The film would cost me a small fortune but with all of my new torturing jobs Mrs. Martinez set me up with I could cover it.
"Go ahead and hand it over. I know you want a picture."
Taylor smiled, holding his open hand out toward me.
I put the bulky camera in his hands and stood back against the line of trees off to the side of the yard. The sun was close to setting and I always loved to look at the way it peaked through the branches.
He asked and I nodded.
Taylor took the picture and I walked over toward him and we both waited to see the result. We watched as it spat the picture out, he grabbed it and started waving it so it would develop.
He breathed when it was finished.
"Is it that bad?"
He looked at me with raised brows and shook his head.
He turned the picture around so I could see. The rays of sunlight were peaking through just as I had hoped and with the color of the dress and the sparkle of my earrings, it gave the illusion that I was glowing.
"Come on, I need to show my hot date off pronto."
He tugged at my hand and I laughed.
"You're a terrible dancer."
I shook my head at Taylor who was doing his best not to step on my feet. We had been dancing for less than ten minutes and both of us were already ready to sit back down.
"I really am."
He laughed before pulling me closer. I watched him as his eyes lingered on a blonde across the room.
"Taylor, why did you ask me to prom?"
"Because I wanted to."
He shrugged but his eyes never met mine and that was how I always knew he wasn't being truthful.
"Why would I lie to you?"
He grinned but it wasn't going to work this time.
"You could've asked Anna Kate. Why didn't you?"
He sighed and flattened his lips.
"Promise you won't get mad?"
I nodded but made no such promise.
"Beau made me swear that I would take you. And that I would ask you long before anyone else had the chance."
Half of me wanted to be angry. But the other half found some weird joy in the fact that even from so many miles away Beau was still looking out for me.
In his incredibly overbearing way, but still.
Taylor took my silence as sadness and tilted my head up with his index finger.
"Make no mistake about it Stafford, I wouldn't wanna be here with anyone else."
He pressed a peck to my cheek before spinning me around.
"I actually have a surprise for you."
I figured he'd snuck in some alcohol or something else you'd see on some corny sitcom.
"Yep, it involves Beau and a computer. Any guesses?"
I practically shrieked.
Beau and I never Skyped. He said he didn't want me anywhere near that place, even if it was only on a computer. I Skyped Jackson hundreds of times while he was gone but something did feel different about seeing Beau there. It somehow made it more real, to actually physically see him there.
"Yep. He emailed me yesterday and asked me to set it up."
"Now, if you're ready to leave."
I looked around the room. We had been in the building about an hour or so and I had never been more ready to leave anything behind. I was ready to leave high school behind in general because what was waiting for me was infinitely better.
I grabbed my camera from the table and turned to Taylor.
"Ready to see your bear?"
"Taylor, I can not put into words how ready am."
And I knew that statement would hold true, no matter where either of us was at, I'd stop the world from spinning for even the slight chance to see a grainy video version of Beau.
And he would undoubtedly do far more for me.