Bears Know Best
Part 25 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 parts. 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!
Due to the way that this part lines up with Part 24 I decided to post them on back to back days like I did last weekend. If you did not read Part 24 on Saturday, please read it first to get caught up. Thanks!
Chapter 31: Bell of the Ball
ONCE WE CAUGHT up with Rachel she led us downstairs to the car to go home and change for dinner. At the top of the stairs, the girls and I split for our rooms and I stepped into my overly juvenile bedroom. ‘It’s actually not that bad…’ I thought to myself. ‘At least if someone visits they won’t think I wasn’t a little girl…’ I grimaced though as I added, ‘Of course if they visit they’ll think I’m still a little girl.’
I hadn’t closed my door and was just standing there next to my bed, when I heard a light knock on the doorframe. “May I come in?” Rachel asked.
I stared at her, I still wasn’t sure about everything going on with her. Something just wasn’t right; she was being too nice… But she had been amazingly civil since I arrived, ‘Maybe she really is being more accepting of having a step-daughter,’ I thought. I internally shook my head though, ‘I just can’t believe that.’ I smiled though, if she was going to play nice, I needed to play nice too, “Sure.”
“So what do you think of the room?” She asked me.
I sighed, “Rachel it’s really cute… and I really do appreciate all of the effort that went into it, but I am fourteen… it’s a little too little girlish for me,” I smiled when I said it.
She sighed, “I know, but I hoped you would humor me,” she paused, “just a bit?”
I nodded, “I’m not going to have a fit about it and say change it, in case you’re worried about it. I really do appreciate it, and it does look like I was a little girl now when I was a kid.” I tried to smile and put a positive spin on it. ‘What’s your game?’ I couldn’t help but think though.
She smiled at me and approached me closer, “That really was all I was trying to do,” she said.
“Thanks.” Was about all I could think to say.
“Umm… Taylor?” She asked.
‘Uh-oh, here comes the shoe to squash me,’ I thought to myself.
“Yes, Rachel?” I replied.
“I’m guessing you brought a dress for tonight?”
I nodded, “It’s really pretty too,” I said with a smile.
“I don’t doubt it,” she said to me. “But…” she paused and did this weird nervous twitch with wringing her hands that I had never seen her do before, “I was wondering if maybe you’d let me pick out a dress for you to wear tonight?”
I bit my lip. My trust of her did not run nearly that deep. ‘She’s been nice…’ A part of my brain screamed at me. ‘I really don’t want to fight during this trip…’ I sighed out-loud, “Depending on what it is…” I tried to hedge.
“Please, just let me pick, no arguing or debating?” she asked.
I stared at her. She was one to talk! “I don’t know…”
“Please?” She asked again. There was something in her eyes that made me feel like I’d be kicking a puppy if I said no. No, strike that! It was more a look like I was going to be a puppy killer if I said no.
“Yay!!!” She told me before closing my bedroom door, “Strip,” she commanded.
“We’re all girls here,” she told me.
“I need to at least go to the bathroom first…” I said to her.
“Oh, well while you’re going,” she said as she ripped through a drawer, “put these on.” She handed me a pair of soft, satin dark purple panties. If they were Victoria Secret satin panties, that would be nice. These were like the opposite age spectrum… around the top and the leg openings there was a thin ribbon of lace. At the top of the panties was a small bow that had been sewn onto the top. I grimaced a bit, but at least they were cut full enough I thought they would hide the pad that I needed to have. I grabbed my purse where I had just the two Alyssa had given me, and ran to the bathroom.
‘What am I getting myself into?’ I asked myself as I could hear Rachel leave the room and come back quickly. ‘It’s not one of the really embarrassing dresses from the closet…’ I quickly took care of switching my pad and wadding it up in some toilet paper in the trash can. It wasn’t that used, but it seemed wrong to transfer a slightly used pad to a new pair of panties! ‘If last time is any impression it’s going to be bad by the end of the night…’ I pulled on a robe that was hanging on a hook in my bathroom before heading back out to the room. I still had my bra on underneath too.
“Taylor, don’t be shy!” she admonished me.
I blushed, “I don’t like being naked,” I told her honestly. ‘Especially with you!’ I added mentally.
“Oh come now, we’re both girls here,” she said. Something about the way she said it though, just made me nervous. I forced myself to shrug off the robe though. ‘She is sort of my mother…’ I told myself to calm myself down. “Go ahead and take your bra off, you can’t wear it with this dress,” she insisted to me.
I didn’t want to, but I did anyway. I watched her eyes zero in on my breasts, and I couldn’t help but feel like something was wrong there. There was some unreadable thought in her head. Not like she wanted to fondle me or anything… but something else. I shivered a bit and glanced over at my bed. It was then that I noticed she had a white garment bag sitting there for the first time then. She unzipped it as I half covered myself with my arms.
Inside I could see a bundle of purple that looked like a really fancy dress. I couldn’t see much about it other than it was full of purple and looked better than I’d hoped for age wise… but not by much. “Turn around Taylor,” she told me, and I was only too happy to turn away from her. “Arms up,” she added.
Rachel wasn’t as tall as Dad, but at five-feet, eleven-inches she was still well over a foot taller than me. As such she had no problem bringing the dress over the top of my head and settling it onto my shoulders.
I tried to look down and get an idea of what the dress actually looked like, but she said, “No cheating please, you can look in a few minutes!” she told me pleading, as much as a ordering. I sighed internally again, but looked ahead at the wall with no mirror on it. I couldn’t resist feeling with my hands as she zipped up the dress and fussed at it. It felt like it had a material my mom called organza, as well as a satin feel or something. I could also feel what felt like beads glued or sewn on in some random details. Without being able to see myself in the mirror, or look down, I thought it felt like the dress was in an A-line style for the bodice, but it definitely poofed out a lot.
Honestly I was dying to see how I looked! Even if I looked embarrassingly juvenile I was dying to see myself! She moved to the front of me, and looked in back too, before stepping away from where I was standing for a moment, “No peeking!” She said again.
I really wanted to peek to annoy her!
The one thing I could feel about the dress was that it didn’t really seem designed to make my breasts noticeable. It felt like there were some small darts built in, but nothing like a normal teenage girl would need.
“Okay, sit down,” she said to me, and I smoothed the dress behind me and slid onto a chair she offered. I couldn’t help but see the dress now, and it was a really interesting design… I couldn’t decide if it looked like the rest of the dresses in the closet though, or just looked like an amped up prom dress. It was hard to tell from just looking down at the skirt. I noticed a little rhinestone broach thing in the center that was in the shape of the heart. As I touched it I decided it was on the younger side of my guesses from that alone.
Rachel began working with my hair, much like Mom, Alyssa, my stylist and friends had done it. However, it didn’t feel good like it did with them… Rachel’s hands didn’t feel right in my hair, and I had to bite my lip to keep from saying something rude or mean. ‘After all, this is incredibly friendly for her…’
She was pulling and twisting at my hair for quite a while and that kept me from examining the dress any more. I thought she would never stop spraying hair spray, but eventually she did and handed me a pair of white sandals with an inch-heel that looked kind of cute. I bent over to buckle them once they were on my feet, but she insisted on doing it herself.
“Okay, where is your makeup?”
I groaned again internally. “Over there on the dresser,” I told her.
She left again and came back to use a pre-packaged makeup wipe on my face. As she scrubbed I felt like I was a four-year old kid having chocolate scrubbed off of my face… Her face looked like she remembered something and sure enough she draped a towel over my shoulders as she began working with my face and doing my makeup. She had a palette of eye shadow that looked new that she began to use on me.
I felt my fingers and legs fidget as I anxiously wanted to see what she was doing to me… I could feel my hair was tightly pinned on top of my head, and knew there must be a good amount of curls in it given the length she’d ironed it. I could also feel things sticking into my hair and scalp, so I knew she’d used some pins or something to hold it together.
“Okay, done.” She told me.
I started to quickly standup to spin around, but she said, “One more second,” she said as she semi-forcefully pushed back down on my shoulders. She handed me a white box with a purple ribbon and bow holding it closed.
Rachel actually looked me in the eyes and said, “Taylor, I know I’ve said some mean things… and we haven’t really gotten along much in the last couple years, but I hope you’ll take this as sort of an apology from me…”
I felt my jaw drop a bit and stuttered out, “Umm… Thank you.”
“Open it,” she insisted.
I pulled the ribbon to undo the bow and opened looked at a necklace and earring set that made me gasp. The pendant from the necklace looked to be a blue stone that could almost be purple in the right light. It sparkled in even the low light in my room, and I had to imagine in bright light the stone would sparkle brilliantly. It wasn’t a small stone, and was surrounded by a couple diamonds towards the top where the loop to hold the chain was crafted. The chain itself looked to be fine white gold, and I had to imagine that the necklace alone was worth almost as much as the marching horns I’d bought. Adding to the set though, was a pair of earrings with the same color stone, but smaller and also surrounded by eight tiny diamonds.
“Thanks,” I managed to say in my amazement.
“You’re very welcome Taylor!” she said to me. “May I?”
I nodded. She took the necklace and clasped it around my neck and I lightly played with the pendant with my hand. I pulled my other earrings out, and placed these new ones in my ears before asking, “Now can I see?” with a smile.
“Sure!” She said. I stood up and walked to a full-length mirror and examined the damage.
The dress itself was definitely designed for a pre-adolescent girl. It didn’t make me look hideous, but definitely didn’t flatter my growing curves. The bodice was fitted and tight up top, leading to two very short cap sleeves that just barely passed my shoulder line. The dress itself was in a very pretty dark purple, plum I guessed would be the official color from hanging around Mom and Alyssa. The skirt of the dress had a layer of satin that kept me from feeling the scratchy tulle above it. Covering that tulle was a skirt that reminded me of an old-fashioned theater curtain the way it pulled and draped in multiple layers. It poofed out an amazing amount! The draped fabric didn’t go all the way to the floor with the skirt though, instead a layer of organza covered the bottom of the skirt that peeked out beneath the draped area about four inches below to just above the ground. All over the dress were little squiggles and designs embroidered on with a silver thread into patterns of flowers and squiggles, with some beads sewn in at the points of some of the petals. On each side was a thin ribbon made into a bow with two long ends of ribbon hanging down about five inches.
‘I look like I have on Belle’s dress, but in purple…’ I thought to myself.
I noticed that the purple brought out the green of my eyes a lot, and I couldn’t help but smile at my hair and face. Those two items kept me from looking ten. She had curled my hair up in tight ringlets and had a lot of pretty jewel covered pins poking out at regular intervals. ‘I may have to call her to do my hair for prom…’ I thought to myself.
“So what do you think?” Rachel asked me.
“It’s really pretty,” I answered, surprisingly honestly. Even if I didn’t look my age, which I was sure I didn’t, I didn’t look any worse than I normally did in that category. After all I never looked like I was fourteen!
“Really?” she asked.
There was something in her tone that sounded insecure, “Really, it’s very pretty,” I told her.
“Thanks,” she said.
I raised my eyebrow and she understood the question, “I didn’t buy it, I designed it,” she told me.
I felt my jaw drop as I heard a knock on the door and nearly jumped out of my skin. “Taylor, are you about ready?” Alyssa asked.
Rachel scooted to the door and opened it as I turned around. I watched as her hand flew to her mouth, and Rachel said, “I need to go put my dress on, tell your dad I’ll be down in fifteen minutes.”
“Okay Rachel,” I said before hesitantly saying, “Thanks.”
“So how bad is it?” I asked Alyssa as she came in. She was dressed in her own long formal dress that would have looked great for prom; of course she looked beautiful in it.
“Like you look like a princess,” she told me. “One of those beauty pageant worthy princesses,” she said shaking her head.
“Little kid type?”
She shook her head, “No, you look like you’re off to your first ball or something,” she said with a smile.
I grimaced, “And here you are wearing like the perfect prom gown, I’m in this,” I said.
“Taylor, you look pretty!” She told me and gave me a hug. It was then that she noticed the new necklace, “OH MY GOD!!!” She said quickly, “When did you get this?” she asked.
“She just gave it to me and the earrings,” I told her.
“Wow, those are pretty…” she said as our quartet completed itself and entered the room.
I waited for the laughter, “Well, it’s not like she put you into the little girl dresses,” Breanna said to me with a smile. “You actually look really pretty in that,” she assured me. I wasn’t sure how she knew I was so unsure about my appearance.
“Thanks…” I said. I noticed that Danielle and Breanna were both also in elegant dresses that were fairly poofy and frilly, but nothing like the effect of my dress. All three of them looked like they were closer to seventeen, even with Danielle being closer to my height.
“Actually…” Danielle started, “you may look a couple years older than you normally do.”
I glared at her, but knew what she meant, “So I look like I might be old enough to go to middle school?”
“Barely,” Alyssa giggled, “but she’s right, that’s better than being thought to be a third grader. I still can’t believe Cameron’s mom last week!”
I groaned, “That was so embarrassing!”
“Definitely more than the dress!” Alyssa told me and gave me a hug, crunching in on the skirt of the dress. “Geeze, how much stuff is underneath that dress?”
“A lot I think.” I answered. The girls ended up actually fussing at the dress for a few moments, their own pretty, but not as stunning dresses forgotten. I eventually said, “Come on, let’s go downstairs.” While grabbing my purse.
“Taylor, you can’t use that purse with that dress.” Danielle said.
I hadn’t even noticed, but she was right and I sighed. We began hunting through the room, I was sure someone like Rachel would not have forgotten a few purses in doing this room, and soon found a small white purse on a thin strap that I was just barely able to put in a few pads that Danielle had brought me, my iPhone, and my debit card before it filled up. The four of us walked downstairs and I watched Dad’s mouth open at the bottom of the staircase where he was waiting.
“Wow, ladies you look so elegant! And Taylor! Well, you just look beautiful,” he told me with a smile.
I grimaced internally, but said, “Thank you Daddy.”
“Did you pick that out?” He asked hesitantly.
I shook my head, “Rachel made it… I can’t decide if it makes me look younger or not though,” I answered quietly enough that she wouldn’t have been able to hear when she came downstairs.
He shook his head, “No, it looks like you still,” he said with a smile. He picked me up suddenly underneath my arms and gave me a hug, “Thank you for coming this weekend… and trying to get along with her.”
“She seems to be trying too.” I told him.
“She doesn’t…” he started to say before we heard Rachel descending from the top of the stairs in a long purple gown that matched my dress in color perfectly. It was then that I also noticed Dad had a tie on that matched our dresses. If she was my real mom, I might not have minded. As it was though, a part of me felt annoyed that she would try and claim me like that. Rachel ended up driving the black BMW5 that we rarely used, and insisted I ride with her. Alyssa and Breanna ended up going with Dad in the SUV, and Danielle joined me in the back seat of the ‘5.’ It really was a nice car that was fully loaded with options. The black paint color wasn’t my favorite, but Dad thought it looked classy when it was clean and waxed.
I had to struggle a bit with the skirt of my dress as I sat down in the car. Rachel had anticipated it and helped me a little bit. Unfortunately that didn’t help my ego on my age, as she leaned over my shoulder once I was in and buckled my seatbelt for me. “I’m not three you know…” I grumbled.
“I know Taylor, but this way you didn’t have to wrinkle your dress anymore than you have to,” she said soothingly.
The soothing voice was almost salt in the wounds, but I behaved and didn’t say anything. Rachel was actually forgotten a couple minutes into the drive as Danielle asked me about different landmarks we passed. We’d been talking for a half-hour and I realized that we had passed outside the city to the country. Rachel followed Dad as we pulled into a long driveway that circled eventually in front of an old plantation house. At the door I watched a valet approach the car and waited for him to open my door. I unbuckled my seatbelt while he approached. He gave the others and me a hand in stepping out while another man joined him to open the doors on Dad’s car.
The mansion was brightly lit by gas lamps, and I felt like if the cars weren’t behind me it could have been a hundred years ago. Dad came and took my arm, while Rachel took his. My friends followed close behind, and I felt like I was abandoning them. The door to the mansion was inscribed with the name of the restaurant. Dad had been here once and had described it as, ‘A little too fancy for me…’
‘Rachel definitely must have insisted we come here…’ I thought to myself.
“Mr. Landt?” the maitre d’ asked. At Dad’s nod, he said, “Right this way sir,” and led us back past the old elegant staircase and into a formal dining room. The walls were covered in a deep mahogany and a huge ornate fireplace in a darker wood sat against one wall opposite the table we were sat. The table itself was long and covered in a fine white linen table cloth, and each seat had more silverware than my mom and I would go through in a week. Danielle and Alyssa didn’t look entirely uncomfortable as the waiters rushed over to pull our chairs for us, but Breanna looked like she was seeing a whole different world for the first time.
I was glad for her sake that Breanna was sitting next to me on my right. Dad sat to my left, and Rachel to his left. Across from Dad sat Danielle, and Alyssa sat across from me.
“Oh my God!” Breanna breathed to me quietly.
“Don’t worry, I’ll help you though this,” I told her with a smile. I’d been to enough formal dinners with Dad over the years that I had learned enough manners to make it through meals like this. Dad hadn’t learned until after going pro, but Rachel had been living like this her whole life. Her parents had been from ‘old money,’ and while they didn’t throw it about unnecessarily, they did spend it. Both of them had passed away in the last eighteen months or so… or I might have thought about telling Rachel I’d like to see them before I left. For as much of a witch as she was, her mom had always been really nice and sweet to me.
“Good… umm… which fork do I use first?” she asked quietly.
“Always go from the outside, in,” I told her the best rule as I looked at the silverware that was laid out. Somewhere I’d learned there were rules to how you placed the silverware, and knew that the meals here would most likely be multi-course. The maximum three forks that you were supposed to have out were laid out. ‘Of course they can always bring more out…’ I thought.
I expected to see a menu given to me, but Dad was the only one presented with a menu. I thought about looking over his shoulder, but realized that I was a girl now… or rather a young lady and that meant he might be expected to order for all of us here. He asked the other girls if they were allergic to anything before placing a rather long order to the waiter. We were all brought an initial course of a small appetizer soon after he placed the order. It looked to be a small piece of toasted bread that had some unidentifiable spread on it. I noticed Breanna watching me, so I took the outside fork and cut off a small piece aided, by a knife, and put it in my mouth.
“This is good,” I commented. The waiter had just returned to fill up my not quite half-full glass of tea.
“I’m glad to hear that,” he said over my shoulder as he placed my drink back down. “If a beautiful princess like you thinks so the chef will have his night made!”
I blushed and turned shades of red that I shouldn’t have been capable of turning!
We continued eating our way through two more courses of small, three bite sized portions, before the ‘plâte principal’ arrived. The main course was a braised short rib that was so tender, chewing was almost unnecessary. I savored the flavors that the dish had, and was sad to see the plate empty. A salad, and another couple of light courses later led to a small puff pastry dessert filled with chocolate.
“That was amazing!” Breanna said.
“But I am sooo full,” I told her.
“I’m glad you liked it,” a gentleman in a chef’s jacket said as he suddenly appeared by Rachel.
“I am Chef Rousseau.” He introduced himself. “Is there anything else I can get you all tonight?” He asked, “I hope you all enjoyed yourselves?”
“We most certainly did,” I heard Rachel call out in her most accented ‘belle of the south’ voice. She wasn’t faking it, she really did have the accent, but most of the time hid it.
“Yes, thank you sir,” Dad told him.
“More coffee before the ballroom opens?” He asked Dad.
‘Ballroom opens?’ I thought to myself.
I had my back to the rest of the room, which was a quiet affair, so I hadn’t realized that more people were gathered in the dining room, and all were dressed up. There were a few little girls here and there in dresses that attempted, but failed to outshine the one I was wearing. ‘I can’t believe Rachel designed this…’ I thought amazed. ‘She was stupid to give up her work…’ I added to myself. Not that I would be caught dead at school in this dress, but it was pretty and very well made.
“Please,” Dad said to him.
I suddenly felt a pressing need to find a restroom and decided to ask the chef, “Where is your ladies room?”
“Go out this door, and take a left down the hallway.” He said with a smile and surprised me by pulling my chair to help me stand up. Another waiter came and did the same for the three girls who agreed with me and we all traveled together to an elegant ladies room that was the first truly modern addition I’d seen to the house.
The four of us were alone in the restroom and I took care of changing a pad that was soaking quite badly. I was amazed I wasn’t completely and totally losing it emotionally like I had before, but I figured having my friends around and a special weekend was preventing that. “What’s this about the ballroom?” Alyssa asked me.
I shook my head, “I’ve only heard of this place once before when Dad mentioned that a sponsor of his took him here. Rachel was jealous that she wasn’t with him then…” I remembered the sniping she’d made after that, “but all I heard about was food. Maybe they’re having a dance?” I suggested.
“There were several cute boys in that room,” Danielle said dreamily.
I sighed, “I doubt any of them will even look at me if they’re older than twelve.”
“Actually…” Alyssa said while giggling, “there were two boys about our age checking you out through most of the meal.”
“But, don’t forget about Cameron!” Danielle said, “Hands off, it’s our turn,” she joked.
We all returned to the dining room acting like young ladies, but smiling with giggles just barely below the surface. Dad and Rachel stood up as we approached though, and he asked, “Ready?”
“For what?” I asked, even though we had our guesses.
“To have a ball of a time!” he said lightly.
I gave him a stare to make him think I really wasn’t getting it.
“Tonight is an old fashioned ball being hosted by the restaurant,” he said. “I thought it would be fun to come to since you didn’t have any ideas of things to do. Mr. Kantry told me about it last week.” He smiled warmly at me as we walked down the hallway. A sharply dressed man opened the door to an elegant ballroom with windows that displayed a late summer sky with just the hint of light showing still. There was an actual dance band setup on a small stage at one end of the room playing some sort of swing tune and I felt my foot wanting to tap along. All around us people were entering from the restaurant and elsewhere to fill the ballroom with elegant dancers.
“May I have this dance?” Dad asked me with a smile.
“What about Rachel?” I whispered, and then realized she had gone off to the ladies room or something.
“Fathers are allowed to dance with their daughters,” he insisted with a laugh. My friends giggled as he led me to the dance floor, and I was certain their phones came out to take pictures of the sight. I wasn’t sure where Dad had learned to dance, but it must have been one of those other amazingly odd things he picked up that went against the grain of a professional linebacker. Truthfully I had no doubt it looked like a normal sized dad dancing with his four-year old daughter or something, but I had fun as we danced for a couple songs and he took off with Rachel.
“That was so adorable!” Breanna sighed. “I wish my dad was as cool as yours,” she added.
“I don’t know your dad, but you have an amazing mom and little sister. You’re not missing out on anything!” I told her with a smile.
We weren’t standing there long before three older boys, and what looked to be a younger brother came up to us. “May we dance with you ladies?” the leader asked Alyssa, who blushed.
“Umm… sure…” she said. “I’m Alyssa.”
“Jeff,” he said as he took her hand and each of us was paired up. Well, they were paired up, I was left with the boy who looked to maybe be twelve.
“I’m Tyler,” he said to my politely offering his hand.
“Taylor,” I said while letting him lead me to the dance floor.
I was amazed instantly that he seemed to be even better at dancing than my own dad was, and I felt like I was so inadequate at knowing what to do I felt stupid. “Just relax and let me lead,” he assured me with a smile.
I did, and I was amazed that I did have a great time dancing with him for a few songs before I noticed the others had taken a break. “So… umm… where do you go to school?” I nervously asked him.
He named a private middle school on the other side of town from where I grew up thankfully, “I’ll be an eighth grader this year,” he said proudly. That meant he was only a year or so apart from me age wise I noted. “You?”
“Well, I’m starting at a new high school up in Ohio where I’m living with my mom,” I told him.
“High school?” he asked, hiding his surprise a little poorly.
I nodded, “I know I look like I’m ten or something, but I’m actually fourteen.”
“I guessed thirteen,” he told me with a blush. “I knew you weren’t a little girl.” He said with a smile.
As we rejoined the other three pairs I found us all taking a walk to a beautiful garden outside to talk. In what seemed like no time, my dad found me and said it was time to go. “Thanks for dancing with me Tyler,” I told him.
“Likewise Taylor…” he said while pulling a piece of paper out of his coat. It turned out to be a business card… ‘What thirteen-year-old boy has a business card?’ I asked incredulously. “If you’re ever in town give me a call, I’d love to go dancing with you again or something.”
I smiled at him, feeling bad to think about Cameron, “Maybe, it’ll probably be a while though,” I told him.
“I’ll wait,” he said with a smile. I followed Dad and the girls back out to the cars and dealt with a giggling Danielle all the way home in Rachel’s car. She was pretty excited about Randy who she had danced with. Apparently they’d even shared a brief kiss at the end of the night that none of us had seen and I felt a little jealous. She asked me about Tyler too, and was amused when I told her that I thought he really did think I was thirteen. ‘I told you, you look older than you normally do,’ she said.
I mused as we drove home that I actually had looked like the pretty princess at a ball tonight, right down to having a Prince Charming! My only real gripe was the nail polish, ‘If she designed this dress, and expected me to wear it, why didn’t she have them paint my nails to match…? I guess the purple hearts match,’ and then let the thought go as we pulled into the garage back home.
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