Read Part Three Here
Taylor’s grandfather lived in a large stately home out in the country, just outside of Baton Rouge. Large live oaks lined the dirt driveway leading up to the house. The house had a grand porch that wrapped around all the way around the home. The house needed a fresh coat of paint, as the white paint had begun to chip from the constant presence of humidity each day. The dust spread out behind the car as they drove up, alerting her grandfather that they had arrived. He stood on the porch, whiskey in hand, glaring at the young man sitting next to Taylor in the car.
Jim was a simple man, or so he fancied himself a simple man. He had short white hair and a matching messy beard. Over the years he had developed a big belly that fell out over his jeans. He had always owned his own business and did not believe in dressing up for work, or for any occasion for that matter. Why dress up when Jesus would take him as he was? Jim had been an evangelical Baptist since he was in the womb, and he made certain everyone knew it. He did not know who the hell that man was driving up with his granddaughters, and he was not happy about it.
“Papa!” Kate yelled out the old man as she ran up the porch steps.
“How was school my love?”
“It wasn’t so bad, but look at who Tay found! It’s Dylan!” The man squinted and thought this young man could not be that scrawny boy that used to follow Taylor around like a lost puppy, could it?
“Papa, you remember Dylan, don’t you? I ran into him after school, and he said his mom moved in next door.” Taylor was hoping to turn the conversation away from Dylan and onto divorce. Sin was always a good way to distract her grandfather.
“I knew I had seen you around son. You certainly have grown up. How is your mother doing? You should invite her to church on Sunday.” Dylan looked back at Taylor and rolled his eyes, mouthing, “Thanks a lot.” Taylor just smirked and shrugged her shoulders trying not to laugh.
As they walked into the home, they threw their backpacks on the bench in the walkway and made their way to the kitchen. Kate ran upstairs to her room to change, and Jim stayed out on the porch, not wanting to have to make small talk with the boy.
Taylor walked around the kitchen island to the fridge.
“Dylan, do you want something to drink?” Dylan leaned against the counter and ran his hand through his hair.
“Sure, what cha got?”
“Diet root beer or lemonade.”
“I’ll take the root beer, thanks.” Taylor handed Dylan a cold root beer and struggled to think of what to do next. She didn’t want to end up in an awkward situation on the couch. She didn’t know what Dylan wanted from her yet, so she thought avoiding couches and bedrooms might be a good idea.
“Wanna go sit on the back porch? My folks won’t be home for a while.”
“Sounds good. You can fill me in the last two years of your life, as I already told you all about me.” They walked out onto the back porch and paused looking out at the long dock that went out onto the bayou. Without saying anything, they both walked down the path, onto the dock, and sat on the end. It was as though no time had passed since they last saw each other. They sat there for quietly for a few minutes, just swinging their feet on the edge of the dock.
“So, do you want to talk about Seattle?”
“Not really, but I guess I can talk about some of it.” She laid back and closed her eyes.
“Why don’t you start at the beginning?” Dylan said as he laid down next to her.
“It was beautiful there. Have you ever been?”
“No, it’s not like you wanted me to visit.” Taylor flinched at the hurt in his voice.
“Yeah…Well it is breathtaking. It felt like I had wandered into an enchanted forest. The water, the trees, the buildings, even the sidewalks are beautiful. There are some street corners that have a different coffee shop on each corner.”
“So, you drink coffee then?”
“Oh yes, you can’t live in Seattle without drinking coffee. It is only a matter of time before you begin consuming mass amounts of coffee throughout the day. They even had coffee in the lunchroom at school.”
“Maybe you can teach me how to drink coffee then.” Taylor sat up on her elbows. She wanted to relax and just hang out, but she just couldn’t.
“Dylan, what do you want from me, from us?”
“Well you are much more blunt than you used to be. I don’t know what to say exactly, just that I want to be friends. I miss our friendship. You were my best friend. I’m not looking for more than that, don’t worry.”
“I would like that, but it’s going to take time.” Dylan reached over, gave Taylor a big bear hug, and messed up her hair. “Ugh, Dylan stop! You are ruining my perfectly quaffed hair.” Dylan rolled onto his back laughing.
“Okay then, princess. I will leave your hair alone.” They both looked up as they heard footsteps coming down the dock.
“Shit.” Taylor said under her breath. Her mom was home. “Hi mom.”
“Hello darling, who do we have here?” She looked down warily at Dylan.
“Hello, Mrs. Guidry. It’s been a long time.” He stood up to shake her hand.
“Oh Dylan, honey, I didn’t recognize you. You must have grown a foot! What has your mother been feeding you?”
“Enough to feed a horse, according to her.”
“Well, good thing my dad has been cooking his jambalaya all day. How is your mother doing these days? I hear she is just down the road?”
“She is doing great. Never been happier.”
“That’s wonderful, dear. Well you two come get washed up to eat soon.”
“Okay, mom we will be up in a few minutes.” They waited until Taylor’s mom had reached the end of the dock to speak again, not knowing exactly what to say.
“Your mom looks good, Tay.”
“Shut up you pervert. I know you only dated me to get to my mom.”
“True, too bad I’m not her type.” Taylor smacked his arm.
“Let’s go inside, so I can watch you awkwardly hit on my mom.”
“Great, bet you five bucks she calls me darling or sweetie within the first two minutes.”