dancing in the dark
[ chapter 2 ]

After supper, Adam and Morgan chatted momentarily with his parents and Isaac and Zac with Mackie perched upon Morgan’s lap.

“So how was your flight Morg?” Zac earnestly asked, as his mother handed Zoe to him.

“Oh, pretty nerve-racking. I’ve only been able to see you guys once since you moved at your first concert in Tulsa since I missed you guys the second time around, and even then I couldn’t really talk to you guys.” Morgan laughed nervously. “So I was really nervous...the lyrics to ‘MMMBop’ kept running around in my head.”

Zac laughed and said, “Lets not talk about the band or music for awhile. I’m on vacation here!” Zoe whimpered in his arms, and he stroked her small head. Morgan smiled at Zac, amazed at how genuine and loving he was towards his beautiful new sister.

Morgan cuddled Mackie who was slowly dosing off, and leaned softly into Taylor’s shoulder who was sitting next to her on the love seat. “I know, I’m sorry. Well plus there were storms or something in Missouri or Kentucky or one of the states we flew over,” Morgan laughed and shook her head.

“Oh I bet you enjoyed that,” Isaac said and Taylor laughed,

“We’ve experienced our fair share of bumpy flights, that’s for sure...”

“I think I’ll need to borrow some of your Dramamine for the flight home, Zac.” Morgan smiled, knowing how often he got motion sickness as well.

“Oh we have a case of it somewhere around here,” he laughed.

Morgan gazed for a few more moments at Zac and his affection towards Zoe who was also beginning to fall asleep, and then looked over to Taylor and said, “Well, I suppose we better put this sleepy boy to bed. Is that okay Diana?”

“Be my guest, hon,” she smiled, and sipped a large mug of coffee. “Taylor why don’t you get Zoe from Zac and put her up in her crib as well. I’ll be up later to check on her.”

“Sure Mom,” Taylor agreed as Zac put her gently in his arms.

Morgan slowly rose as Mackie’s limp body rested against her chest and his head fell over her shoulder. “Shh,” she whispered as Taylor led her up the stairs and into Mackenzie and Zoe’s bedroom. She slid him into his crib, as Taylor put Zoe in hers, and Taylor turned on the night light and covered his baby brother up with a baby blue blanket.

“You’re such a wonderful older brother,” Morgan whispered in the dim light. Taylor smiled and said,

“I always wonder what it’ll be like for him and Jessie and Avie when they grow up, or when all of this is over. I don’t like to speculate about when it will all be over, but I can’t help but worry about how it’ll affect them. Zoe’s too young to be affected, really, but Jessie, Avie and Mac aren’t. Its so hard on them sometimes.”

“They know what’s going on though, to some extent, Taylor. I’ve followed you guys the entire way and even before hand, and its amazing how supportive they are - even being that young, they know how much this means to you guys and they know how to appreciate it.” Morgan whispered. Mackie stirred in his crib, and Taylor turned on his musical lamp and led her to the door. Once in the hallway, Morgan continued,

“If your parents didn’t think this was the best way then they wouldn’t be doing it.”

Taylor nodded and said, “I know. Sometimes I worry about them though.”

“Thats natural,” Morgan replied. Once they reached the bottom of the stairs, Taylor said, v “Do you want to go for a walk or something?”

“Sure,” Morgan agreed as he went to check with his parents.

Morgan waited for him at the door, and when he returned they stepped out into the night. The air was cool from the winds entering from Lake Erie, and Morgan automatically shivered, despite it being mid summer.

“Its almost like Tulsa weather, at least.” she said and drew her arms around her chest. “Hot days and cold nights.”

“I know, I thought you’d like it,” Taylor said as they walked towards the local elementary school.

They neared the elementary school in ten minutes and each sat on one of the familiar black rubber swings they’d loved playing on back in Tulsa. They both began moving their legs in and out as they soared closer to the bright moon in the black sky. After a few moments of silence, Taylor said:

“Sometimes I come here at night if my parents think I won’t get mobbed and just sit here like this, remembering how we always used to spend hours after school in elementary school swinging and trying to see who could get closer to the sun.” He gradually stopped pumping his legs and smoothly soared back and forth.

Morgan smiled, happy that he still reminisced of their friendship. “The first couple times we stayed at school until like, 5pm and our moms were so scared that we had gotten kidnapped or something.” She began to slow down her swinging. “After awhile they realized that no matter where we were, as long as we were together we’d be safe and happy.”

“I think I started to take that for granted.” Taylor said, making designs in the soft sand with his shoes.

“I know I did,” Morgan said and looked at Taylor, as the moon casted a shadow across his face. “I took you for granted. I realized that the minute your family backed out of your driveway in Tulsa never to come back. And then when you guys started becoming popular and famous...”

Taylor gave her a weak smile, wishing his relationship with Morgan wouldn’t have suffered as it had during the past year when he didn’t have as much time as he would have liked to stay in contact with her. He was silent for a few seconds and a light breeze blew through their hair. He suddenly stopped making designs in the dirt and looked at Morgan. “Morgan -” he looked at her, and she saw from the moon’s illumination tears were falling down his face. He grabbed a handful of sand in his hand and threw it across the playground and kicked the dirt beneath him as he cried “Gosh Morgan, I hate it here!”

Morgan stood up and moved closer to Taylor. He dropped to the sand and Morgan knelt beside him. She put her arm hesitantly around him, and he said,

“My parents don’t seem to realize how much I need you. They don’t know how important you are to me and how much I miss you. Its so lonely living here like we’re in the Witness Protection Program, and even more so on the road. I love my brothers and sisters, but sometimes I just wish I had someone like you along with me every step of the way. You’ve always seemed to be able to see inside me and know why I feel the way I do, and I can’t always confide in them like I can in you. Its just hard keeping in touch sometimes.” He sniffled and wiped the tears from his eyes, and looked at Morgan.

Morgan nodded and said,

“I know Taylor, I know. I’ve never stopped wondering how you were doing and what you were really thinking and how you, and everyone else was managing.” She paused. “I heard my parents talking last night before I went to bed, and they were saying something like they hoped that I was less depressed when I came back and was ready to be a member of the civilized human race again or something erroneous like that. They are probably tired of me listening to “I Will Come To You” over and over again, thinking that I can telepathically summon you or something.”

He gazed at Morgan for a moment, and then laughed. “You do that?”

Morgan nodded and he smiled, and then looked away, still saddened.

“Despite all of that, I’m glad you’re here Morgan. Hopefully we can make the best of our time and everything.” He wrapped his arms around Morgan as they fell back into the sand. They put their hands behind their heads and gazed out into the night sky.

“Don’t worry though, Morgan. We’ll all be back someday. I know we will. No one can keep us apart for long.”

“We’ve gotten through tough stuff before,” Morgan said. Taylor sighed and nodded with agreement as they lied in the sand for several more minutes before they decided they better get home.