Life in a Northern Town Ch. 05byvelvetpie©
I was glad that Jessie dragged me out of there. No sooner than we'd left the classroom that I started sobbing and we held onto each other, crying for several minutes. It was a very emotional moment and I wiped my face, tugging on Jessie's arm. "Come on. Let's get out of here."
We were halfway down the hallway when Peter's voice stopped us, calling my name. "Where are you going?"
"To Jessie's house. Why?"
"You didn't have anything to say to me after that?" His eyes held me captive. "That was the best reading I've ever heard."
I didn't know what to say. "Thanks."
"Thanks? You rocked my world and all you can say is 'thanks'?" Peter laughed, smiling at both of us. "That's humility!"
The three of us couldn't help but laugh although Peter noticed that I had been crying. He touched my arm, his eyes burning deeply into mine. "Taylor, I'm sorry about last night. I shouldn't have blindsided you like that."
"It's all right, Pete. I just wasn't ready to deal with it. It's not your fault."
"Would you have dinner with me tonight?"
Part of me said NO! I knew what dinner would lead into and there was no way that I'd be able to resist him. But another part of me, a long dead part wanted to be revived, wanted to breathe in the sunshine of his love once again. I had already admitted that I was still in love with him; now I had another decision to make and I had the feeling that it had already been made for me. "Yes."
His smile lit his eyes in a way that I hadn't seen in a long time, since we'd been together and the age seemed to melt away. "Thank you."
We just stared at each other for a long moment, enjoying the renewed feelings that were flowing between us. Jessie grasped my arms and tugged me away, laughing the entire time. "She's staying with me, Mr. Garland."
"I'll be by at seven-thirty, okay?"
Still in dreamland, I whispered, "Okay." Jessie and I left, heading to the mall to do a little shopping for my date. I ended up choosing a pair of black slacks and a revealing blouse and we grabbed some Chinese take-out, heading back to the house. I half-remember what we did after that. A combination of fear and uncertainty overtook my senses. The food tasted bland and the beer was sour. I was having a full-on panic attack.
"Hey, where are you?"
"Sorry, Jess. Just thinking about tonight."
"Well, what do you think?"
When she handed me the mirror, I nearly fell out of the chair. Jessie had taken a sad tomboy and had transformed her into a confident young woman. My make-up was flawless and she'd piled my thick dark hair onto of my head, letting a few wavy tendrils frame my face. "Oh, my God. Who is it?"
"It's you, silly." She laughed, putting her make-up back into the drawer. "I always told you that you'd get more guys if you used make-up. Now put your clothes on. It's quarter after seven."
She helped me get the clothes on, snipping tags and tucking in material. A silver mesh belt, a pair of two-inch high heels and my silver necklace completed the outfit. I had no purse so Jessie lent me one of hers and I stuck my driver's license and credit cards into it.
"You look fantastic."
"I think I'm going to puke."
"Don't you dare!" She laughed, tossing a beer back. "You act like this is your first date."
"In some ways, it is." I nearly jumped out of my skin at the knock on the door. Jessie spewed beer, laughing and jumped up to answer it. Peter stood outside, handsomely dressed in a dark jacket and slacks. His glasses were gone and he'd gotten a haircut since this morning. We just stared at each other.
"Come on in, Mr. Garland."
"It's Pete, Jessie. You're not a student any more." He stepped in, swinging his eyes back to me. "Hi, Taylor. You look wonderful."
"Uh, thank you." I stammered, accepting his bundle of wildflowers with a smile. "Shall we go?"
"Yes." Peter took my arm and opened the car door for me like a gentleman, settling me in before pulling out. He had gotten rid of the Volkswagen Bug in favor of a Camry with all the bells and whistles I couldn't afford. I just sat in its elegance, silently appraising this man I used to know, wondering what had happened in the two years I'd been gone.
"You still like Italian?"
He nodded with a smile. "I remember the time you ordered two plates of manicotti and ate every bit of it."
"You ate my lasagna."
"Along with your chicken ziti."
Suddenly, the ice was broken and we were laughing like we used to. "I miss that." He said softly.
"Your laugh." He glanced over at me. "Your laugh puts the Brandenburg Concertos to shame."
He pulled over to the side of the road and suddenly, we were desperately kissing, teeth bumping, lips clashing, tongues fighting, finally meshing it all together in a kiss that almost made me cum. I had been a child, learning at the hands of a master back then but now, I was a woman and I gave as good as I got. Peter's whimper told me so. He pulled back, gasping for breath, examining my face and eyes as I was doing to his.
"I've missed you so badly, Taylor. I've never wanted anything so much in my life. When you left, I thought I was going to die and then when your mother called me, gloating over the loss of our child ... " The tears in his eyes reflected in the moonlight. "I thought I'd lose my mind."
"Why didn't you call me? Or come to find me? Or even write me a letter?"
"You mother threatened to ruin me if I ever contacted you again. Taylor, you can't even begin to imagine how excited I was when Jessie told me that you were coming to visit."
"I'm not visiting, Peter." I searched his dark eyes. "I'm staying." I brought his hand to my face, gently kissing the palm. "How long depends on you."
"Is forever long enough?"
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