dancing in the dark
[ chapter 3 ]

The next morning, Morgan woke with a start due to Taylor jumping on her top bunk. Morgan groaned and said,

“Taylor, its too dang early!” and rolled on to her stomach.

He jumped some more on her bed and said,

“Come on, wake up!”

Morgan sluggishly sat up in bed and put her hair up in a pony tail. Taylor smiled and wrapped his bare arms around her neck, causing them to fall back into her pillow. Morgan smiled as she turned her head towards Taylor, who was now lying next to her. Their faces were inches apart, and Morgan felt a strange sensation of something other than friendship between them.

“Are you not even going to let me sleep in and get used to the new time zone?” Morgan asked. “This is my first time in the wonderful state of Ohio and everything.”

“Wonderful? Ha!” Taylor joked, and jumped off the bed. Morgan sat up and Taylor began pulling her off the bed. “Come on, today is gonna be fun. We’re gonna go tubing and stuff.”

“Is that what you told me you did for your birthday?” Morgan asked.

“Yup, its really fun. So go put on your suit.”

“Are you gonna give me any time to wake up then, Taylor?” she smiled and yawned.

“No,” he smiled. “We have to get there before the crowds arrive.”

“Oh, alright,” Morgan said sarcastically as she jumped down from the top bunk and pulled her two piece halter bathing suit out of her suitcase and wandered to the bathroom down the hall, just as the phone rang and Taylor went to answer it.

In the bathroom, Morgan stripped off her pajamas which was simply a school t shirt and running shorts, and she put on her boy cut navy shorts and her maroon and navy halter bathing suit top. She immediately felt self conscious, and wondered why Taylor had had no problem jumping on her bed five minutes earlier in just a pair of socks and his swimming trunks. She quickly put in her contacts and balled up her pajamas and slowly walked towards Taylor’s room.

At the end of the hallway, she peaked in the doorway and saw Taylor, still in his swimming trunks and socks, listening to the receiver and spinning around and around in his desk chair. He noticed Morgan in the doorway as she was about to enter, and smiled. He then said,

“Ok, I’ll try to call you soon. Bye.” and hung up as Morgan entered the room. Her face turned pink as she could feel him looking at her, so she quickly ducked to the side of the bunk beds and fumbled through her suitcase for a pair of shorts and a shirt; and tried to avert Taylor’s attention by asking,

“Who was that?”

Taylor crawled off his desk chair and over to Morgan, who was putting on a pair of socks. “Oh, just one of my friends...” his voice trailed off.

“Ah...” Morgan said and stood up as she pulled on a pair of khaki shorts. "So you do have friends here?" she smiled and Taylor rolled his eyes as he pulled a shirt out of his closet and over his head. Then he folded his hands against the back of his head and laid on the floor.

“Looks like my innocent tomboy best friend has grown up!” he joked.

“Please - I was never a tomboy and you know it,” Morgan retorted and threw a towel in his face she saw lying on the floor. She sat back down and began lacing up her Adidas sneakers. They sat in silence as Morgan put on her shoes, and she could sense him looking at her. She took a deep breath and looked into Taylor’s big blue eyes,

“What?” she said and stood up as she took down her short brown hair and re did her pony tail. She put her hands on her hips when she was done and Taylor replied,

“Nothing, Miss America. Ready?”

“Yup,” she nodded and grabbed a long sleeved shirt and tied it around her waist and flipped her sunglasses over her head.

“Let me put on my shoes and we’ll go,” Taylor said and kneeled and slipped on his sneakers. Morgan walked over to him and leaned over his back, and put her arms around his neck. “I think you’ve gotten a little too heavy for me to give you piggy rides, sweetie.” Taylor said and slowly stood up and held back Morgan’s legs. “Grab my hat,” he added.

Morgan pulled his hat off the doorknob to his closet and put it over her own head. “Sweetie? What are we, married now?” Morgan joked as Taylor led them down the stairs, smiling at the touch of Morgan’s arms wrapped lightly around his neck.

“I wish we were. Then we could live together all of the time and away from our evil parents who had the nerve to separate us,” he said and leaned his head back into hers.

“Oh, the irony.” Morgan said as they entered the garage and heard the Goo Goo Dolls on the radio perched above Walker’s work bench singing,

“ ‘...Put your arms around me. What you feel is what you are and what you are is beautiful. Do you want to get married, and run away?’” Taylor twirled around and then let Morgan jump off of his back. She laughed and looked at Taylor.

“Well?” he asked her.

“Well what?” she put her hands in her pockets.

“Do you want to get married?” Taylor imitated Jonny Reznik’s singing, but Morgan couldn’t tell if he was being half serious or just sarcastic.

“We already are, remember?” Morgan remembered and coyly wandered down their driveway as they waited for Walker and Diana to drive them to the river.

Taylor looked at her, confused.. “Oh, that’s right! Fifth grade?” he remembered.

Morgan nodded and wandered over to the double swing they had in their front yard. “I also believe that you made up the pact that we’d both just have to kiss each other by the time we were sixteen if we hadn’t had our first kiss yet,” Morgan said and looked at Taylor who was blushing.

“I think I said that because I was mad at that Sutton girl in homeroom who wouldn’t hold my hand on the playground.”

“But I would. I always came to your rescue,” Morgan smiled.

“Oh...so now do you want me to kiss you Morgan? Seeing as how we’re both sixteen and all? I suppose I owe you for holding my hand on the playground.” Taylor said.

Morgan laughed. “You choose,” she said nonchalantly and looked back at the house for Taylor’s parents. After not seeing them, she looked forward at a pair of boys coming down the large hill to the right of the Hanson’s house on their rollerblades.

Taylor gazed at her profile, not noticing his friends coming down the hill. When Morgan slightly parted her lips as if she was about to say something, Taylor quickly leaned over in front of her and gently touched his lips to hers. Morgan was instantly in shock as she felt Taylor's lips press against hers. Lips that were her best friend's, and she had never imagined kissing before. When Taylor didn’t immediately release, Morgan closed her eyes and began to kiss him back as she tried to momentarily ignore the confused feeling in her head and the instant butterflies in her stomach, though never thinking once to pull away. Taylor smiled at Morgan’s reaction, who tried to remain her composure and repeat the way he was kissing her, though all she could concentrate on was the flowery smell of his shampoo and his hand pressed against her arm. A few seconds later, Taylor released and momentarily gazed at Morgan, and then slowly backed up as they rose from the swing. Neither of the two knew what to say and could only stare at each other in disbelief with flushed cheeks of what had just happened. Taylor blushed and put a hand on his hip as he rubbed his eyes with the other.

A few seconds later the two boys who were on the rollerblades coming down the hill broke their uncomfortable silence with whistles and whoops.

“Oh no...” Taylor said under his breath as he turned to face his friends.

“Oh my gosh! Taylor Hanson!” the first one cried and let out a sharp whistle directed at Morgan. “I never knew you had this close of relations with your girly fans.”

“Who is the chick?” the second asked.

“She’s not a chick, Jordie.” Taylor said, knowing how insulted Morgan probably felt.

“I dunno,” the first one said. “But it doesn’t look like Marisa to me, and I can only imagine how upset she and the rest of Taylor’s million girl fans would feel if they found out about this!”

Morgan became confused at the mention of the girls name - Taylor had never mentioned a Marisa before. Having his friends mention the part about Taylor’s popularity and knowing how many teenage girls would love to even catch a glimpse of him rather than her being best friends with him made Morgan feel hesitant about the kiss. But personally it made her feel many more emotions than she had ever felt before, and she knew it wasn’t solely because Taylor was Taylor Hanson of the band. However, suddenly all she wanted to do was crawl back into her warm bed and go back to sleep - not to be shown off to these two skaters and try to determine if their kiss was a good idea or not. Somehow Taylor sensed this.

“Her name is Morgan, Tyler. And Morgan - these are two nonentities whom I call friends.”

Morgan smiled at Taylor’s use of one of their SAT vocabulary words from Mrs Miller’s Gifted English Class from 9th grade as Tyler said, “Non-what?”

“A person of no importance,” Morgan supplied and stepped forward as Taylor smiled. She held out her hand to Tyler who gladly shook it.

“Okay, I see how it is Mr MMMBop,” Jordie said. “Let’s just hope Miss Marisa doesn’t find out about this, or any of your other fans,” he said, and they set back off down the road.

After they were gone, Taylor walked around in a circle and sighed heavily. “I’m sorry, Morgan. I didn’t know they were coming.”

“So that’s Jordie,” Morgan said, trying to sway their conversation from leading to the kiss. She sat back down on the swing, hesitantly, unsure of what to do or say next. Taylor had told her all about the people in Parma, and she was interested in meeting them. Just not this way.

“Yeah...” Taylor let out a weak laugh and sat back down next to Morgan. “I should have...done that. Kissed you. I didn’t mean to embarass you.” Taylor apologized again and rubbed his eyes. “Those guys are jerks sometimes.”

“Its okay. You seem more embarassed than I do.”

“I am. I shouldn’t have acted on a whim, which I always seem to do. I kissed you. Your first kiss?” Morgan shyly nodded, and Taylor continued. “It should have been with someone special or something...”

“You’re very special, Taylor. You know that. I just wasn’t expecting that.” Morgan let out a nervous laugh and sigh. “God, I guess I am embarassed - my stomach is in a knot.” Morgan laughed, not realizing at this moment what all of these new feelings and signs meant.

“I know, I’m sorry. That was kind of stupid of me. I don’t want to mess things up; this is only your second day here.”

“No, Taylor...” Morgan said, though her voice trailed off as Taylor’s parents called to them and Zac, Jessie and Avie jumped into the mini van. They silently looked at each other, and rose simoltaneously. Morgan reached to her head and removed Taylor’s hat from her head and smiled weakly as she put it on his as they walked to the car.

chapter four