dancing in the dark
[ chapter 8 ]

After Morgan had showered she dressed in a pair of khaki cargo shorts and a gray short sleeved tee that read “Girls Football” on the front, and smiled at Taylor as she walked in his room, hair dripping wet, and he strided past her towards the bathroom. After they had both taken showers, Morgan said,

“I’m hungry, Taylor.” and wandered to his closet. She pulled out one of his comfy sweaters and pulled it over her head as Taylor smiled and replied,

“Alright.” as they started out towards the kitchen.

“What are you going to tell your parents you did when you were here?” He asked as he pulled a box of Special K cereal out of the pantry for Morgan and Fruity Pebbles for himself and set them at the bar.

“I was actually thinking about that,” Morgan said as she took two bowls down from the cupboard and the milk from the refrigerator. Taylor grabbed a couple spoons and they seated themselves across from each other at the counter and began eating. “I guess I can tell them --” Morgan stopped mid sentence as Diana came into the room. “Hey Diana,” she smiled.

“Hey kids. I’m off to the grocery store before all of the other kids wake up. Do you guys need anything special?” she rummaged through her purse that was perched on the large round kitchen table, and then pulled her hair back in a low ponytail.

“Nope,” they both answered as Morgan reminisced of how she would spend days upon days at the Hanson household, often feeling like a member of their family and taking part in their family outings and decisions.

“Sure? I know you’re going to need something in two days Taylor and I don’t plan on going back to the store. Its hard enough to get out of this house alone and get errands done.” She rolled her eyes, but Morgan noticed a hint of a smile on her face, knowing how much Diana loved all of her children and would do anything for them.

“I’m sure Mom,” Taylor reiterated.

“Okay, hon.” She smiled. “What are you guys going to do today?” She asked as she retrieved a handful of coupons from a wicker basket atop the table.

Taylor and Morgan glanced at each other and Taylor smiled. “Just hang out around here.” Morgan nodded.

“Alright. Well I’ll be home in a couple hours. Help out the kids if they need anything,” she said and opened the garage door. She peaked her head back inside a second later. “Hey Tay, did you know Aubrey was outside on the front swing?”

Taylor, puzzled, looked at Morgan and then said, “No...”

“Well she is.” Diana said and then quickly ran out the door. As soon as they heard the van pull out of the driveway, Taylor and Morgan rose and wandered to the front door and peaked out the windows.

“She looks upset, Taylor,” Morgan commented.

Taylor slumped against the back of the door and agreed. “I feel terrible.” Morgan sat down next to him. “I don’t want to be with her anymore, and I guess I was caught up in the moment yesterday and I shouldn’t have been rude to her, but...”

“She pushed you down, though!” Morgan said.

“I know, and that made me mad, but I told you that I didn’t want to be with her anymore and I didn’t know who I wanted to be with or what I wanted. I don’t know. How was she supposed to react?”

“I am sure that she was hurt. You should go talk to her.” Morgan said and put her hand on his knee.

“What am I going to say? She’ll probably say that she still wants to go out or something.” Taylor said and put his hand over hers, and then stood. Morgan got to her feet and opened the door for Taylor. He looked at her with his bright blue eyes and walked out the door and across the lawn.

Morgan closed the door and watched Taylor walk out to Aubrey. She felt apprehensive as to what might happen. “But its not like we’re boyfriend and girlfriend,” she thought as she sat back down and resumed eating her cereal as Avery popped out from around the corner. Morgan abandoned her questions about what was happening outside and looked on to Avery.

“Hey hon,” she smiled as Avery crawled on her lap. “How are you this morning?”

“Fine,” Avery smiled and rubbed her eyes as she sat on Morgan’s lap. “Where’s my mom?”

“At the grocery store. She had to run out of her before you guys woke up. Do you want something to eat?”

“No...” Avery replied and leaned her head back into Morgan’s chest.

Meanwhile, Taylor briskly walked out towards Aubrey who was sitting with her knees against her chest, staring out into space. He neared her and gently sat down on the swing next to her.

“Hey...” Taylor said. It looked as if she had been crying.

“Hi. I’m sorry I’m on ya’ll’s swing. I’ll go if you want me to.” she said, and stood.

“No,” Taylor replied and stood. “Its okay, you can stay here if you want...Why are you here?”

“I don’t know. I guess I thought I might come over here and you’d be waiting for me and we could...I don’t know.” she sat back down, and Taylor hesitantly did as well.

“I’m sorry I hurt you, Aubrey. I guess I hurt Morgan, too, but I didn’t mean to hurt either of you. It all happened so quickly I didn’t really think about what I was doing, and I feel really badly about it. The thing is...the thing is, Morgan and I have known each other for a long time. Our entire lives. Before she came here to visit and during the tour and when you and I were seeing each other i didn’t realize what I felt for her was more than friendship. I still don’t know what I really feel for her, or you. I’m really confused and so many things are happening between her and I right now, but I didn’t mean to treat you like I did yesterday. I guess what I’m trying to say though is that I don’t think it’d be the best if you and I kept going out,” Taylor mustered all of his courage to say those few sentences, but felt like a load had been released off of his shoulders once he ended. He waited patiently for Aubrey’s response.

She simply nodded, and said,

“I believe you, Taylor. I’m not saying that so you’ll like me again and we can pretend like this never happened. I know you pretty well despite what kind of life you lead. Maybe not as well as your friend in there who I can tell really feels the same way about you as you do her, but I do know how honest you are and what you must be going through right now.”

“I don’t understand. You don’t seem upset at all. I still want us to be friends and you can come over here whenever you want, but I didn’t think you would be that open to all of that.” Taylor said.

“I know, and I’m surprised too. I just got this feeling when I woke up this morning that I made a real mistake yesterday and I knew I would regret if it I didn’t come back here and talk to you. I’ve learned a lot from you, Taylor and Morgan seems really sweet. I saw the way she was looking at you yesterday, and I want you to be with her. I’m sorry that I hurt you.”

“Its alright, I deserved it,” Taylor laughed and then gazed at Aubrey. He leaned over and gave her a quick hug and said, “Thanks. You’re sweet.”

“I guess you should get back in there and tell her what I wanted,” Aubrey said.

“She is the one that told me I should come out here and talk to you, Aub. I think you would like her. You guys are a lot alike.”

“Maybe I’ll meet her someday. But I better get going.”

“Okay. Thanks for coming over,” Taylor said. She smiled and walked away.

When Aubrey was gone, Taylor ran up his front yard and into the house. He saw Morgan sitting at her place at the counter with Avery perched atop her lap, playing with her hair as Morgan tried to eat her cereal. Taylor grinned and walked behind Morgan and put his arms around her neck.

“Hey baby Avie, maybe you should let Morgan eat her breakfast,” he smiled and rubbed Morgan’s back.

Morgan blushed as he released and went to sit across from her at the bar and began eating.

“She doesn’t care, Taylor!” Avery looked over her shoulder at Taylor and smirked as Morgan grinned helplessly at him.

“Yeah, I love my little Avie,” she smiled.

“Do you love my brother?” Avery asked in her cute small voice.

Morgan looked up to Taylor for help, who’s cheeks turned a faint shade of pink. He put down his spoon and walked over to Morgan and Avery and pulled Avery off of her lap. “Alright, you.” He deposited her on the floor, and she ran off as Morgan and Taylor shared in a laugh.

“Ah, anyway.” Morgan blushed. “So what happened outside with you and Aubrey? I don’t see any scratches or teeth marks so things must have gone okay?”

“Yeah...she’s not really mad at all, and she just wants to be friends. She respects the fact that I’m really confused right now over whats going on between you and I and I just need a break from things, and figure out what I want and need from everything, and right now that’s you.” He smiled. Then: “She said that she thinks you seem really sweet and I had to agree.”

Morgan smiled, convinced. “Well I’m glad that you’re friends with her. She seems like a good person, and she seems like she cares about you a lot.” Morgan paused, and pushed away her empty bowl. “I’m kind of confused right now too, though. I don’t know what’s going to happen when I leave.”

“Don’t talk about that now,” Taylor said and dumped his bowl of soggy Fruity Pebbles in the sink. “This is only your third day here. We still have four more days together.”

Morgan rose and they walked into the large den rather than the family room so they wouldn’t have any more interruptions. Taylor left a crack of the sliding doors open and Morgan sat down on a section of the huge wrap-around sofa and put her feet up as Taylor lied his head in her lap and turned the tv on. Morgan smiled and picked up a piece of his shiny blond hair and twisted it around her finger. “We’ll be closer...”

“We already are,” Taylor smiled and flipped to the Cooking Channel. “Yes,” he said.

“Our favorite show,” Morgan smiled. “Cooking With Emeril.”

“Do you remember how we’d watch this show with each other all of the time and we always wanted to be in the audience?”

“Yeah...we still should someday.”

On a commercial break, Taylor said, “Hey Morg...”


“Where do you want to be in ten years?”

“Boy that came out of nowhere,” Morgan laughed.

“I’m just curious. Where do you want to be in ten years?” Taylor asked.

“Ten years? I’ll be 27, out of college, maybe teaching music at a small high school, married to my childhood best friend who is either teaching with me or still touring and promoting his band’s hit albums.” Morgan replied quickly, not thinking twice about her comment of marrying Taylor.

Taylor sat up and faced Morgan with a big grin. “So you must think I’m pretty cute if you think you’re going to marry me? Either that or you want all of the royalties from the song that I wrote you.”

“That’s it,” Morgan laughed. “I don’t know. I can’t imagine ever marrying someone or becoming as close to someone as I have with you.” she said.

“Really?” he asked.

“Well I’m only nearly 17...but I don’t think so,” Morgan thought. “Can you?”

“No. What we have is special.”

“Yeah...” Morgan smiled as she wrapped her arm around his neck as “Emeril Live” came back on.

chapter nine