tagMatureLife in a Northern Town Ch. 03

Life in a Northern Town Ch. 03


I partied with abandon the rest of the night. I thought about fucking my old friend, Grant, but I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Peter's angry face kept popping into my mind and his words sliced through my inebriation with the surety of a surgeon. This was not something that I wanted to think about so I tried my best to erase it. It didn't work. I woke up the next morning with an upset stomach and a headache that felt like someone was ramming an ice pick into my forehead. Vomiting eased my gut but I couldn't keep the Advil down long enough to work on my head so I just lay silently, hoping that it would go away.

Jessie made that impossible. Since I was sleeping with her, she threw her arm around me like a lover and breathed in my ear, making me laugh. She woke up and stared at me with bleary eyes. "What the hell are you laughing at?"

"You're breathing in my ear." I eased myself from under her arm and sat up, wincing at the insistent pain in my head.

"Sorry." She climbed out, hit the bathroom, then came back, sitting on the edge of the bed. "So what are you gonna do today?"

"I don't know." I stretched and slowly stood up. "I guess I'll go to school and visit my old teachers."

"One in particular?" When I didn't respond, she touched my knee. "What happened between you and Peter anyway? I know you were lovers ... "

"I don't want to talk about it."

"Well, that's a first. I thought I was your best friend."

"You are, Jess. It's just ... " I had to swallow several times to keep from crying. "It hurts too much."

"I heard a rumor ... " Our eyes met. "If what I say is true, don't say anything." I looked away, blinking furiously but unable to stop the sudden tears. "I heard that you got pregnant and wanted to keep the baby but your mother made you have an abortion and that that was the real reason you moved away, not because your dad got a promotion." Tears rolled down the spine of my nose and dripped onto my sweats. "Is that why Peter left so angrily last night?" Again, I was silent and she reached across and gave me a hug. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I couldn't." I whispered. "It hurt too much."

"Sounds like it still hurts."

I nodded, swallowing again. "It never goes away."

"I'm sorry, Taylor. I wish you'd have let me be there for you. I would have helped you with the baby."

Jessie's love for me had me bawling and I cried my eyes out for a little while. When I pulled myself together, Jess gave me a wad of toilet paper and I wiped my face and blew my nose, still despondent. "I'm not just here for a visit, Jess. I moved out of my parents' house. They don't know it."

"It's about time you escaped Cruella's clutches." She hugged me again. "You can stay with me as long as you want, if you don't mind sleeping in the same bed with me."

"As long as it's just the two of us."

"Why, did you have something in mind?" She batted her eyes and I laughed. I knew I had made the right decision to leave. I'd call in a few days and let Daddy know what was going on but my mother ... I hoped that I never talked to her again. "Hey, why don't we go see my mom?"

"Okay." I loved Jessie's mom, Aranca. She was a pure Puerto Rican super bitch and didn't mind letting everyone know it. She was the one who had told me, years ago, to get out of my mother's house. I wish I had listened back then. I felt better after taking a shower and the Advil stayed down so I gradually began to feel better. Jess and I got dressed and headed over to her mother's house.

Bambina!" Aranca hugged me as soon as I entered the door and I laughed, hugging her back. "Where have you been?"


"Mama, she's moving in with me." Jessie said and Aranca's smile grew wider.

"You're back to stay? Ah, my prayers have been answered!"

Aranca warmed up some yellow rice and lamb chunks that she had left over from dinner the night before and Jessie and I ate while we talked. I told her about everything and she cried when I told her about the baby. I was glad that she didn't grill me about it because I'd already cried enough today.

"You know, Peter's in love with you."

"How do you know, Mama?" Jessie brought us another round of drinks.

"I tried to ask him out and he told me."

"Why would he tell you?"

"Because he knew who I was. He knew that I was your mother and that you were Taylor's friend. I guess he was hoping that I'd call and let you know." Aranca put a motherly hand over mine. "His heart is broken, too, bambina. You should go see him, talk to him."

"I don't know if that's such a good idea, Mama." I sighed, sucking the drink down. "We had a bad argument last night."

Aranca squeezed my hand, bringing my eyes to hers. "Talk to him, bambina. Give him a chance to vent. Remember, he's been dealing with this all alone."

I looked at Jessie who nodded in agreement with her mother and sighed again. I had really hoped that I could just forget about it but my heart knew the truth. Peter Garland was still deeply embedded in my soul and there was no way to get him out. Because I didn't want him to get out. I sat at the table with my best friend and her mother and finally admitted to myself that I was still in love with my former English teacher.

Candyman, Candyman, Candyman, Candyman ...

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