Bears Know Best
Part 22 of 28
Edited by Carla Ann
Thirteen year-old Taylor Landt’s step-mother believes that he should be the next great football player for the high school he’ll be attending in the fall. Having a dad who is an accomplished professional linebacker, and growing up surrounded by professional football coaches and players should all but guarantee his ability to dominate on the field. Unfortunately he hates playing football, and knows his height and build will never allow him to be successful at the sport. Faced with an obsessive step-mother who ignores his obvious talents in other areas but instead thinks he is a blight on his father’s reputation, Taylor does the unthinkable and moves to Ohio to live with his mother who abandoned their family and left him with his father eight years ago.
Soon after his arrival, Taylor discovers there’s more to his inability to follow in his fathers’ footsteps than just his height. Will it be possible for him to make friends in a new town in the middle of nowhere outside the shadow of his dad's fame? Will Taylor be able to finally make peace with his mother who abandoned them all those years ago? And how long can he keep his secrets to himself?
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The Legal Stuff: Bears Know Best © 2012 By Tiffany Shar
This is a work of fiction. Names, Characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2012 By Tiffany Shar. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission.
Like the first three books I posted here on BigCloset, I will be posting a full copy here on BigCloset. I will be posting it up in 28 installments, but that may change if I feel like a posting needs more. The book has a total of 35 chapters and a short epilogue. The full version should be completely posted by September. For those that cannot wait however, I have an e-book version of the full book available from Lulu.com as of today. You may find it at My Store. My assumption is that the majority of my readers would be more interested in this edition of the book rather than a hardback or paperback. There are two types of eBooks available depending on how you wish to read it. One is the ePub format that you should be able to load on any e-reader (you may need an additional app, but I believe all will read it), and the other is a standard PDF formatted file. I believe the PDF is the best way to read it on a computer screen personally. If you enjoy this work perhaps you will consider supporting me by purchasing it ($8.95 for the eBook formatted files).
Thanks again, and I hope you enjoy reading Bears Know Best!
Chapter 28: Making Plans
SATURDAY MORNING WAS a bit of a continuation of the night in that her mom made us chocolate chip pancakes and decorated them with faces like IHOP does. Mom was there to pick me up by about eight-thirty, shortly after our chocolaty breakfast, because I had to go home to take care of my still daily task, shower, and get dressed for my audition and lesson.
“Hi sweetie!” she told me with a smile. My hair was still in the pigtails from the previous night, and I knew she was in love with them. I was actually kind of surprised to think back on the fact she hadn’t braided them like that before, just leaving them loose, in the past.
“Hi Mommy,” I said. I had thought about trying to be mean to her to get revenge for last night’s trickery, but I had far too much fun to possibly keep a straight face.
“Did you have a good time?” She asked.
Okay… maybe a little bit of revenge. “Oh yeah Mommy, we played Barbie’s alllll night long, and we…Danielle’s mommy made these cute piggy-tails, and…” I broke up giggling at that point because I couldn’t maintain the little girl high-pitched cute voice anymore.
Mom was laughing right along with me, and after giving me a hug, we drove off to home. There I quickly took care of my daily care… well as quickly as it could be, took out the pigtails, brushed my hair out a little, took a shower, and quickly changed into a pretty dress. I looked at the clock and saw that I had about an hour left before we needed to leave to meet that director, so I started by taking the fingernail polish and toenail polish off from the previous night. It was waaay too bright of a little girl pink for me to look like the sophisticated horn player I wanted to come across as.
I put a coat of a light green that matched my dress on my toes, while I worked on my makeup. ‘Mom will probably yell at me…’ I thought as I put on a bit more eye shadow than she normally would have wanted me to put on. I wasn’t going for a full-on evening look, but I wanted something more than the ‘day’ look I had been wearing. I managed to get everything perfectly the way I wanted on the first try, and grabbed my horn case and music. I knew I couldn’t possibly play while my nails dried, but I did use the mouthpiece to buzz while I waited between coats on my fingers, and the second coat on my toes. When everything looked mostly dry I cleaned up the missed spots, and put on a pair of open toed sandals that had an inch heel, my necklace, charm bracelet, and a pair of earrings that matched my necklace well.
I looked in the mirror a few times, put my mouthpiece back in my horn case, grabbed my purse, and headed to find Mom. “Ready?” She asked as she heard me walk up.
“Uh-huh,” I told her slightly nervously. I didn’t know if they would really be able to make an exception for me, let alone if I was good enough to be worth the exception. Just because I thought I was good, didn’t mean I was really that good.
“I like what you did with your makeup,” she told me as she opened the door for me to enter the garage.
“Thanks!” I told her with a smile. “I was worried you’d yell at me for doing too much…” I admitted. ‘I am nervous, I’m admitting to my crimes without even being accused!’
“For a normal day, yes that would be too much, and I would get onto you… Today though, it’s appropriate,” she smiled at me.
I placed my horn in the back, once again checking that I had my music, before we drove off to meet the director at the high school that hosted the rehearsals. While we drove I tried to continue to be careful with my fingernails. I was sure they were dry, but I wasn’t absolutely sure!
Mom and I chatted all the way there, and she somehow got me to recount every little detail about the previous night. “I wish I could have seen you all!” She smiled.
“We did look cute,” I told her.
She sighed, “I wish we had known when you were a little girl… all of the pretty dresses we could have dressed you up in!”
“I can still dress up in pretty dresses,” I told her, “just wait until prom and homecoming!” I said.
She smiled at me, “It’s not the same though.”
I nodded. I guess she was right. I tried to picture myself as a little Kaylie, instead of the boy they had dressed me as… I would probably have been cuter!
It seemed like no time and we were at the school where I was meeting the director. We followed the directions she had given, and I soon found myself in her school’s beautiful band room, that reminded me of the high school I was supposed to have gone to.
“Hi, you must be Taylor?” The lady asked. She was probably about mid-fifties, graying, but looked like she was very sharp.
“Yes ma’am,” I said and took the hand she offered.
“It’s nice to meet you, I’m Mrs. Grainger.” She smiled at me warmly, before continuing, “Normally, auditions are done in May, and we don’t let anyone else in later on.” She and I sat down in a couple chairs. She motioned for Mom to sit in a chair off to the side. I sat my horn case on the floor next to me, not feeling right taking it out yet. “But, when Mr. Fark called me… well, he’s someone I know is picky about things. If he’s recommending I hear you I think it’s worth doing so. I need to hear you before I say anything else I think.” She smiled warmly at me.
“I’d be happy to play for you,” I told her, and began to pull my horn out and assemble it. I caught a glimpse of her eyes and noticed they widened at my freshly polished and beautiful rose gold horn. It always seemed to do the trick! I pulled out the two pieces that I had brought to play, placed them on the stand, and checked my slides really quick for moisture. There was just a bit of spit condensation in one of the slides, so I was glad I checked!
“Okay, are you ready?” she asked.
“Sure,” I answered. I could have used a good solid warm-up, but I wasn’t going to get anything more than what I had before I left.
“Okay, first thing, I’d like to hear your chromatic scale,” she asked.
“Any particular range you want?”
“As much as you can play,” she said with a smile.
“Okay,” I said, and proceeded to start with low pedal tones that were ridiculously low, and played to stratospheric heights at the top end of my scale, before returning. She named off four major scales that she wanted to hear, and I played all of them two octaves for her.
“Good,” she said in a much more deadpanned way than I expected. ‘Well, she is probably used to some pretty talented players,’ I told myself. “Now what else do you have to play for me today?”
I showed her what I had brought, and she gave me the nod to play the first one. Having a piano player would have been nice, but I played through the pieces and skipped over long rest sections as I needed to. Once through the first piece I moved to the second. I hoped I showed her I could play very fast, and also really pretty by the time I finished.
“Very nice,” she said to me.
“Thank you,” I told her.
“Well, you certainly are as talented as Mr. Fark led me to believe,” she told me, and I blushed a bit.
“Thanks,” I said.
“If I have you join at this point, I don’t have to worry about chair placement causing problems… we do that in a few weeks at the first rehearsal. Are you going to be able to make Saturday rehearsals regularly?” She asked.
“Yes ma’am and we’re having my horn lessons in the afternoon to make it easy to go from one to the other in one trip,” I said.
“Well, I’d be stupid to not take advantage of your willingness to join the group. I think I’ll just have to take an extra horn on this year.” She smiled brightly at me, “Congratulations!”
“Thank you ma’am,” I said with a smile.
She talked with Mom and I a bit about the costs of the group, when payments were due, things like that before we left to go eat lunch. Mom gave me a hug outside the car as she opened the rear of her Escape. “That was wonderful,” she told me, “I’m so proud of you!”
I smiled at her and returned the hug, “Thanks Mom.”
“Where do you want to go for lunch?” she asked me. “Your choice!”
“How about that Italian place we went?”
“Sure,” she told me and drove off to the Italian section of town.
The waiter there was an older gentleman that flirted with the two of us the whole time. I was feeling pretty happy all around as we left to go to my lesson at one-thirty.
“Hi Taylor,” Mr. Fark greeted me warmly again.
“Hi,” I said with a smile, “How are you?”
“Very good,” he said, and the two of us set about my lesson. It was supposed to last an hour, but before either of us knew it we were fifteen minutes over. We’d worked really hard on the concerto he wanted me using for the concerto competitions, and I was making real progress. He congratulated me on my successful audition, and we planned to meet again in three weeks time, since I would be out the next weekend, and he was leaving Monday to go on a two-week vacation trip to France with his wife.
“What now?” I asked as we put my horn away in her car for the second time that day.
“Now we go take care of something we should have done a month ago!” she told me.
“I’ve had a daughter for fourteen years, and have no professional pictures of her!” She said with a smile.
“Oh.” I said dumbly. I hated pictures growing up to this point… I wasn’t sure that was going to change.
“Just in this?” I asked.
Mom shook her head, “No, I have another dress and a couple other outfits for you to wear, in a garment bag in the back seat.”
I turned around and realized that there was a blanket in the backseat covering something. I’d been so concerned with my audition and the lesson that I never even noticed. “So we’re going straight to a photo place?” I asked.
Mom shook her head again, “I thought we’d go get your hair trimmed up first and your nails done.”
“Oh, okay,” I said with a smile. I knew I would like that, even if I wasn’t sure about the pictures.
“I figured that would work,” she said with a smile.
“You know me well,” I said with a smile.
It was about three when we arrived at the salon and I was treated once again to a manicure, pedicure, and having my hair trimmed back up. I would love to say it felt like an everyday, ordinary occurrence, but it felt absolutely incredible to be pampered in that way. I left there with the same dress on, but loving the makeup job even more. The lady who had worked on my makeup used a shade of green that made the color of my eyes really stand out. She went a little heavier on the makeup than what I had done earlier, but not much so.
“You look really pretty,” Mom told me with a hug as we walked out to the car.
“Thanks,” I said, squeezing her back. “I love you so much.”
“I love you too,” she told me.
The photography studio was about a ten-minute drive from the salon, and I found myself a bit amazed by the size of the building. I had my horn over my shoulder, and Mom had a zipping garment bag that looked fuller than I expected as we walked in. They had converted an old warehouse into a massive collection of backdrops, scenes, and had a little park right outside so they could do outdoor shots. One photographer was busy taking pictures of a lady in a wedding dress as we waited for someone to see us at their front desk.
“Hi, may I help you?” a man with slightly disheveled hair asked.
“Yes, we have an appointment for my daughter to have some pictures taken.”
“Taylor Landt,” she said.
He looked through his computer to verify the appointment and said, “Very good, is this the first outfit you want to take pictures in?”
“Yes sir,” Mom told him.
“How many more outfits does she have that you want to use?” He asked before adding, “Just so I can get an idea in my head of how much time in each outfit we’ll have.”
Mom sat there and counted with her fingers, “Five total, including what she’s wearing.”
“That should be great,” he said with a smile. He struck me as the kind of guy who was probably really accomplished at his art of photography, just the way his hair seemed a little out place seemed to say ‘artist’ to me. “Why don’t you follow me and I’ll show you where you may leave your other outfits. By the way, my name is Grant. Is that an instrument case?”
“Yes, it’s her French Horn,” Mom answered for me.
‘Geeze Mom, I can answer for myself,’ I briefly griped. ‘She’s having fun I think though… be nice.’ I yelled at myself.
“So you want some pictures with it as well?”
“Please,” Mom said. “I have a dress I’d like for her to wear with it, and then maybe one of the more casual combinations as well.”
“Okay, if this is the first outfit let’s walk this way, I have a couple of backgrounds and sets I’d like to use, and then we’ll switch. I have a lady who will be able to redo your makeup in different outfits if you need it.”
“Thank you,” I said.
He led me to the first background, which had a crazy mixture of bright colors that were brushed in a seemingly random pattern. “Okay Taylor, I’d like you to stand right here, plant your feet right here. Make sure you stand tall…” he walked to the camera which he had just sat on a tripod. “Take your hair and slide it…” he called out direction after direction, and soon my eyes were growing tired of flashing lights. I smiled brightly though on every picture, trying to make sure my mom would get a perfect set of photos.
“Great,” he said with a smile as he led me to another background that was made of white textured flower pattern that was overlaid and looked liked it was pictures of paper made origami flowers. I liked the background, and I suspected the dress I was wearing would look really good in front of it. He took another five minutes of photos before having me lay down on the background and taking photos like that for a bit. I had to be really careful that I didn’t flash the camera as he had me twist to different poses.
“I think we have enough with this dress, why don’t you go ahead and change into your next outfit,” he said with a smile.
“Okay,” I said and flashed him the same pretty smile I’d been flashing for the last fifteen minutes.
“What am I changing into?” I asked Mom.
“You’ll see,” she said with a smile. She had disappeared for five minutes to the dressing room and pick up some other things from the car.
I followed her there and saw a gorgeous, sleeveless, floor-length black gown that had little beadwork on the skirt scattered about. The sweetheart neckline looked like it would be great on me. I looked around the room and saw another dress that looked more like a younger girls dress. It was a pretty turquoise A-line style dress that had a skirt that really flared out, even hanging there. I blushed a bit as I looked at it, but couldn’t wait to try it on either! Mom had a couple skirts and blouses, and a pair of shorts sitting around too.
“When did you buy these?” I asked Mom.
“I went shopping one day this week when you were in rehearsals,” she told me with a smile. “Well, let’s get you into the black dress,” she said, “and get some photos done with your horn.”
“Okay,” I said, grinning at her.
Mom had pantyhose, matching shoes, and a slip that the dress needed all right there. It took about ten-minutes to change into it and I was a little worried about the time. “Do we have time to take pictures in all of these?” I asked while motioning to the outfits.
“I booked him for two hours, and he said he could stay later if needed,” she told me with a smile.
“Oh, okay,” I smiled back at her.
I switched earrings and she checked my hair for me before going back out with my horn. ‘I’m so glad I polished it earlier!’ I thought as Grant led me to a background he thought would go well with my dress. There was no scene to it, so much as another randomly painted canvas look to the background I thought it would look good too. I was stood in poses, sat in poses, laid down in a pose, and finally he moved me to another background.
“Is this supposed to be Severance Hall?” I asked as I looked at the background.
He nodded, “I’ve gotten enough requests from parents and people wanting photos there that I had a custom background made using some photos I took there,” he said with a smile. “I had to do some licensing with the orchestra, but they were willing to do it for me.”
“Cool,” I said with a smile.
He took a number of pictures that made me appear to be standing and sitting on its’ stage. I couldn’t wait to see them!
For the next photos Mom had me wear the gorgeous dress that she called a party dress. I looked like I was closer to eleven than fourteen, but it was a cute dress and I felt pretty in it. The skirt had a considerable amount of tulle on the inside of it that caused it to poof out so much, and thankfully a slip built-in underneath it. I had a feeling the material would itch pretty bad without it.
“You look so pretty!” Mom told me as she stood behind me observing my reflection in a mirror.
“I look like I’m eleven,” I said trying to fake grumpiness. Even looking younger than I was, it was a really adorable dress!
She gave me a hug and said, “Might as well get you into a dress like this once!”
I smiled, “I do look cute,” I admitted.
Mom had him take my picture in that dress in front of multiple backgrounds, and even a couple with my horn before moving to a background that was more of a children’s background and handing me Allie to hold. I stuck my tongue out at her, wondering how she got hold of her after the sleepover, but just shook my head. I found myself blushing as Grant chose the moment of my tongue sticking out to take a picture. With my face reddening he snapped another few shots in rapid succession.
There was a seemingly unending set of pictures in that dress before Mom helped me out of it and I wore a simple pleated jean skirt and a blue blouse with a ruffled collar for the next set. Mom even joined me for a number of mother/daughter pictures in that set. Her outfit coordinated well with my outfit, so I was sure the pictures would be cute!
A pair of shorts replaced the skirt for a few more with my horn, before we returned back to the room and I thought I would just be cleaning up so we could go home…
“Okay, one last outfit!” Mom told me with a smile and a gleam in her eyes. From a bag she pulled a folded pair of pajamas that looked like they were from the same rack as my nightgown from last night, but in purple.
“You’re kidding, right?” I asked incredulously. “Pictures, in those?”
“Plllleeeeeeaaaase?” she pleaded, looking just like me when I was begging for something.
I looked at her, glaring.
“Pllleeeeeeaaaasssse?” she asked again.
I sighed, “If you hadn’t been the most awesome mom of all time in the last couple months…” I griped.
“Yay!” Mom said, knowing she had won.
I shook my head and said, “Let’s get this over with.”
She gave me a hug, and I switched from my normal shorts and blouse into the embarrassing pajamas. They were incredibly comfortable, but a fourteen-year-old girl had no business having pictures taken in them… Mom further embarrassed me by helping me clean off my eye makeup, and changed my lipstick to just a simple lip-gloss. With a little bit of touchup of everything again, she put my hair into two pigtails on either side of my head, and handed me my pair of bunny slippers.
I just shook my head as I followed Mom back to meet up with Grant.
“Cute look,” he said with a smile.
I shook my head and felt the pigtails bounce. Mom had tied them off with a matching purple ribbon… I was embarrassed as we started taking pictures, but the truth of the matter is I was still having fun. I knew I was cute, and I figured I could swear for the rest of my life we took these pictures when I was nine and be done with it! Grant apparently felt inspired by my look, and we took pictures in four of his scenes, including one on a bed with a white bedspread. All of them were cute; fun looking pictures that I had a feeling really would look like they were taken when I was nine.
“Is that all of the outfits?” Grant asked.
“Yes it is. Thank you so much for your time,” Mom told him.
“It’s not a problem, this was a lot of fun compared to most of the portraits I’ve done in the last few weeks.”
“When will we be able to look at them?” Mom asked.
“Well, if you want we can go look at them on the computer right now. I’m also okay with giving you a CD to take home and look at and you can call me to let me know which photos you want. We can also do this the traditional way of me printing some four by six proofs and you can sort through them that way.”
Mom and I looked at each other, before she said, “How long would the proofs take?”
“I could probably have them done in an hour,” he told us.
I looked at Mom’s watch, since I never wore one, and saw it was about five-thirty. “How late are you open?” I asked.
“We’ll be here till eight tonight, I have a family coming in for a portrait at seven,” he said. “If you wanted to go get dinner and come back I could have those done for you then, you could then look through them and give me your decisions.”
I looked at Mom and she told him, “Let’s do that. I think it’ll be easier to pick out the photos we like.”
“Sounds good!” he told us with a smile.
Mom and I walked back to the room and I tried to decide what I was going to change into. I noticed her glance at the more juvenile dress, hoping I think that I would choose it. ‘Oh what the heck…’ I said to myself. “Mom, may I wear that dress to dinner?”
I watched her eyes light up. “Sure!”
‘She owes me…’ I grumped to myself, but kept a smile on my face. She helped me pull the dress on, and brushed my hair back out to its normal shape. A quick change of jewelry again and we carried the rest of the clothing back out to her Escape. I felt fairly conspicuous as I sat down in my seat. The dress had enough tulle fluffing out my skirt that it almost felt like I was sitting on a pillow.
Mom and I ended up driving to a nicer chain Italian restaurant. It looked busy, but the two of us were seated rather swiftly. “You look absolutely gorgeous,” a waitress who looked to be in her twenties said to me.
I blushed and said, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome,” she told me with a wide smile. “Would you like a kids menu?”
“No thank you,” I said.
She took our orders a while later; all the while I was sure she thought I was much younger than I was. “Mom, if anyone asks, I am definitely not fourteen!” I told her with blush and a red-faced smile.
“My nine-year-old daughter?” she joked with me.
“Yes Mommy,” I said while rolling my eyes.
As embarrassed as I was, I had to admit the dress really was pretty, and it was fun to wear it. ‘Maybe this is what it would have felt like to play dress-up as a little girl.’
Dinner was very good, and we soon returned to the warehouse to look at the proofs. “Come right in here,” Grant said when he saw us. A long table was well illuminated and setup to look at proofs. “I organized them by outfit and scene for you here,” he said while pointing to stacks of proofs. “You might want to look at each group and pick your favorites, then go from there.” He advised.
“Okay,” Mom said, “thanks again for all of your help.”
He smiled at us, and said, “My pleasure.”
Mom and I started going through each stack and I knew it was going to be tough to decide which ones to have enlarged. I noticed for the first time I seemed photogenic… I could never have said that as a boy. My smile seemed more genuine than it ever had in the past, and it was well into an hour before we had chosen the proofs to get printed. “The pajama pictures are cute,” I had to admit as we came to the last group.
“See, I knew what I was doing,” she said.
“Yes, but I was nine when we took those!” I told her.
“Nope, you were fourteen,” she told me with a hug.
We finished our photo selections and headed back home after a really long day. I was still in my dress when we arrived home and Alyssa and her parents were just coming home too. She saw us and waved, before I watched her run over to see me.
“Oh my God, you look adorable!!!” She said as soon as she was standing next to me. “Did you audition in that?”
I shook my head, “Worse, I had portraits taken in this dress.”
She covered her hand to contain her laughter. “I can’t wait to see them!”
I shook my head, “I look cute, too cute.”
Her mom insisted on a closer look at the dress too, and before I knew she, her mom, my mom, and I were sitting around our table at home having some tea and talking to each other. They stayed over for about an hour during which Mom showed them the proofs of the photo extravaganza. All the while I was grateful Alyssa was my best friend… an enemy could have way too much fun with information like this!
SUNDAY AND MONDAY passed in quick succession, and I wondered where they had gone. Since sports practices had started during the second week of practices we didn’t have morning or afternoon practices anymore. I appreciated having that time free, managing to go for a walk each morning, and I hoped in another week when I got back from the trip and visited the doctor again, I would be released from all of my restrictions.
It was about three in the afternoon on Tuesday that I looked down on my phone to see who was calling, and just about felt my heart stop. There was a picture of Rachel with devil’s horns drawn above her showing, and her name. ‘It really is a fitting picture to have on her when she calls,’ I thought to myself. I hadn’t received a call from her since before I moved, so I almost didn’t know if I wanted to answer it.
“Hello?” I said shakily. ‘Maybe Dad is just borrowing her phone…’ I thought to myself as I answered.
“Taylor?” I heard Rachel’s voice.
“Yes,” I said with as friendly and happy of a tone as I could, “Rachel?”
“Yes, how are you doing?”
“Pretty good,” I answered hesitantly. I really wasn’t sure what to make of this phone call so far, “You?”
“Excited that you and your friends are coming down!” she said with what sounded like genuine happiness at the thought.
“So are we,” I replied.
“You have three friends coming with you, right?”
“Yes; Alyssa, Breanna, and Danielle will be flying down with me.”
“Great!” she said with that same sincerity and it was unnerving, “Did you guys have anything in particular you wanted to do down here?”
“Not really. I thought we could maybe go to North Point at some point to do some shopping. I don’t know if there are any concerts going on anywhere in town that would be worth going to… I suppose the art museum, Coca-Cola World, or Six Flags might be possible too,” I told her.
“So nothing really specific?”
“Other than watching Dad’s game, no.”
“So would you be okay with me planning some things?” She asked.
I was nervous, but she sounded friendly right now, I didn’t want to upset that, “Umm… sure.” I found myself saying. “As long as you don’t mind letting my friends veto anything they don’t want to do,” I added.
“Sure,” she said. “So what have you been up to the last few weeks?”
‘Have aliens abducted her, or what?’ I thought silently. “Well, mainly resting for a couple weeks before we started band camp last week. That was all day, every day last week. This week we only have evenings, so it’s not as bad,” I added.
“Is that it?” She almost sounded disappointed.
“No, my friends and I got together for a sleepover on Friday and had a lot of fun. Mom picked me up from there and I had an audition for an area honor band that meets every weekend once school gets started up.”
“Your dad told me you made it, right?”
“Yes, they normally don’t make exceptions, but I guess I’m good enough the director was willing to make that happen.”
“Congrats,” she told me. “Music is all you have done?”
“Well, Mom took me to go get some pictures taken after my lesson Saturday in a whole bunch of different outfits,” I told her. “The photographer took a lot of cute pictures of me,” I said that last part gleefully.
“Make sure you bring some down for us!” She told me.
“Well Taylor, I need to get going, I just wanted to check in with you and see what you wanted to do this weekend. I think your dad will pick you up from the airport on Friday, and I’ll see you when you get here,” she said.
“Sounds good, see you Friday,” I said with more enthusiasm than I felt.
“See you then!”
‘That was weird…’ I found myself thinking as I pulled the phone away from my ear and pressed ‘end call’ on my phone.
“You’ll never believe who called…” I said to Alyssa as we rode to rehearsal together later in her mom’s car.
“Rachel.” I said with slightly less disgust than normal.
She seemed to pick up on that, “What did she want?”
“To ask what we want to do this weekend.”
I nodded, “It was weird. It was like aliens had invaded her body or something… she was actually friendly on the phone. She made me almost nervous by how nice she was being,” I said. That really was it… I felt like I was getting a trace of intuition regarding this weekend, and it didn’t feel positive.
“Maybe she’s coming around,” Alyssa said hopefully.
“Maybe,” I allowed. “I’m worried it’s all an act though.”
“So what did you tell her we wanted to do?”
“Well, I suggested one of the nicer malls for a start,” I said with a smile.
“Cool!” She said. “What else?”
I shrugged, “I suggested maybe a concert, Six Flags, or Coca-Cola World… I really have no idea what you guys would want to do,” I told her with a smile.
“Maybe we can talk about it tonight after practice?” Alyssa suggested.
“Sounds good!” I told her as we pulled up to the school. We were quickly distracted though by all of the hard work Mr. Brandt put us through. Time and time again we seemed to be moving across the fake football field while working on our first show. We’d managed by the end of Tuesday to make it through the entire first show without stopping, and pretty good. He seemed confident that we would be able to start work on the second show the next week cleaning up the rough spots in this show through the end of this week. Mr. Brandt even went so far as to say he was going to cancel Friday’s rehearsal because we were doing so well.
Breanna, Danielle, Alyssa, and I did sit down as a quartet to talk about the trip and what we wanted to do together in Atlanta. I had a bit of an awkward moment when Destiny came into the circle and was trying to figure out why we would all go on this particular weekend. I just shrugged and said my dad had an event he’d invited us to attend. I made it sound like some sort of boring thing, but it seemed like fate was conspiring for my friends to learn who my dad was before the year began. The end of the discussion was that none of them had anything in particular they wanted to do.
It seemed like no time and Alyssa and I were on the way home with Mom in her car. “How was practice?”
“Long,” I answered in stereo with Alyssa.
Mom laughed at us, and said, “Two more days and you’ll be heading home to see your Dad,” she sounded like she was trying to remain upbeat about it.
I think she was worried I would change my mind while I was down there and decide to stay there. I decided I needed to reassure her, “Yes, it’ll be a nice visit, but it’ll be even better to come home to my Mom.”
She smiled at me through the rear-view mirror, and it was definitely a good reward for that comment. I told her about Rachel’s odd phone call as we walked into the house. Mom tried reassuring me that everything would be okay, and maybe she was just finally coming to terms with me. I didn’t buy it, but I pretended to. I was walking through the hallway to put my horn down next to the table when I realized something had changed.
“My pictures are done?” I asked more excited than I expected.
“They called me this morning and I went to pick them up after I finished with a case in court.” She told me smiling.
Mom showed me the framed enlargements that she had already put up around the house. She’d managed to replace nearly every photo that had been taken of me as the fake boy, and I felt strangely more comfortable with the photos. My pictures in the pajamas unfortunately had been blown up and placed on a wall to the right of a fireplace in the living room. Mom had placed that picture next to one of the turquoise party dress, and it seemed to me that maybe I had taken them several years apart from these.
“Do you want to make a scrapbook of these to take to your dad?” Mom suggested.
“Sure!” I said smiling.
She and I worked at the kitchen table until midnight that night, doing just that. Every now and then I caught myself looking up at several candid shots the photographer had taken somehow. They mostly included Mom and I in the turquoise dress, and a few of the other outfits. I don’t think either of us was aware of them at the time. He had mounted them in a large frame and it made for a really adorable set of pictures. Grant had really captured the special nature that day had been for us.
I tiredly made my way to bed that night, and gave her a long hug from my bed when she once again insisted on tucking me in and reading a bedtime story to me. She had decided it was a once-a-week thing, and I couldn’t deny that I enjoyed it. “I love you Mommy,” I said.
“I love you Princess,” she told me as she turned off the lights and closed my door.
‘I don’t want to leave her Friday,’ I thought with my eyes moistening that night. I even had nightmares that Rachel kidnapped me and refused to let me go home to her. Thankfully I woke up and realized I was still at home, hugging Allie as tightly as I could hug my bear.
Well we’re entering the final section of the book after this post. I’m guessing it’ll be less than eight posts to finish the book out here(eight chapters and an epilogue remain). I hope you all are enjoying the storyline, and really do appreciate all of you who have left comments and or kudos. Thanks for reading!
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