***Part Nine***
Word Count: 6,001

"We've got to finish getting ready," Claire said as he kissed the back of her neck. She was doing her hair in his bathroom and he was doing his best to distract her. She wore pants, which he'd expressed his opinion on already more than once.

"I am finished."

"I'm not and we have to leave like any minute."

"Not for a while."

"Soon enough."

"Long enough."

She turned then to face him, settling her hairbrush against his chest. "We stayed in bed all morning!"

"Well, now it's noon and the bed's going to get cold."

"The breakfast was to die for," she said, glancing at the lone bowl left over from that delicious meal. He had a staff. Not like Nathan's, but that was because he didn't live here right now. Perhaps that was why the cook seemed to go overboard with breakfast.

French toast, waffles, eggs, toast, fruit, cereal, orange juice, apple juice, and milk that tasted better than anything she'd had before for some reason. It had been brought to the room on a cart. The cart had long ago been taken away, except for the fruit, which they'd kept to snack on. Neither could have anticipated they'd stay holed up in his room for hours.

"It was pretty good," he admitted.

"Anyway, I have to finish getting ready so I don't embarrass you in front of your friend."

"As if you could, but I really wish you'd reconsider the pants."

"No! We're going to a baseball game. Nowhere in there should there be time for you to do anything that requires me wearing a skirt."

He slid a hand along her lower back to her ass. "You'd be surprised what I could do with a few minutes, especially if we go to a club after the game."

"I would not be surprised, I have first hand experience with what you can do in the storeroom of a club. You will have to wait until later to show me again."

"Yeah, yeah," he said with a chuckle.

Once he left her alone it didn't take her much longer and they were ready to go pick up his friend from the airport. She was nervous. Beyond nervous. He didn't talk about too many friends and Matty was always the first one he mentioned if he started to talk about his childhood. Matty was the one he talked about most often.

She wasn't sure Matty even knew Taylor was bringing anyone to the game, though she supposed if tickets were involved he had to know. They didn't say much. She wasn't sure if that was good or bad that they sat in silence a lot. It didn't feel uncomfortable or anything, so she hoped it was a good thing that they didn't feel as though they had to fill every waking minute with conversation.

He'd said some pretty intense things the night before. Stuff she was pretty sure should have sent her running in the other direction. Except she didn't think he was a bad guy. Not to say he hadn't done bad things, but hadn't her dad? Hadn't Nathan? Hadn't Angela? Good God, the woman lied to her own son about the fact Claire had survived. Surely that was more hurtful than anything Taylor had done.

She wasn't stupid enough to think he'd never picked a fight himself. She just didn't think he'd done it for a long time. And growing up exposed to things he'd seen and done. Who could blame him for thinking that problems got solved with violence?


He said he'd seen people who'd been killed. Had he killed anyone? She hadn't asked, not wanting to know the answer. Loving her dad who she knew had done some questionable things and having sex with someone who she thought she could love knowing he did questionable things was very different.

His phone rang when they weren't too far from the airport. He let go of her hand for the first time since leaving his house.

She still couldn’t get over that house. Oh my God. She could totally understand his not wanting to bring anyone there. It was like a museum. Art and sculptures and antiques and furniture that cost a fortune. She didn't claim to know Taylor well, but she could tell which rooms he'd changed without him having to tell her. First, they actually looked lived in. And second, they didn't look like a security guard needed to be posted outside the door.

She wondered what kind of man his father was, but knew asking wouldn't be right. They clearly didn't have a good relationship and she wouldn't do that to him, but she was curious. There was one portrait of him in what had been his office. He looked cold. No matter what she might think about her dad, the things he did for The Company, she knew without a doubt that he loved her. One need only look into his eyes to know that. She didn't see that in Taylor's dad's eyes.

"Hey," he said into the phone.

"Yeah, almost there."

"No, my usual ride."

"All right, see ya in a bit."

He disconnected, putting the phone down and then he did something that made her more nervous. He didn't give her his hand back, instead putting it on the steering wheel. She wasn't sure what, if anything, that meant.

He'd told her, of course, that his friend was flying in on a private plane so she knew better than to expect LaGuardia or anything. She'd never been to a private airport before. It was somewhat weird pulling up alongside the curb and not having security guards standing there to hurry you on your way. Or taxi cabs or buses or anything.

Taylor turned the car off and took the keys before getting out. He had an older car so no automatic trunk release. He hadn't said anything, but she felt silly just sitting in the car so she got out, too. Just in time to see Taylor and Matty (or so she presumed) give one another one of those guy-like hugs she'd seen before. A handshake that was more than that but not a full-fledged hug. Why it was such a big deal for two men to hug she didn't understand.

He didn't hug the woman, though. Buffy. Someone different like she was. She couldn't help but stare, because she'd heard what Taylor had said about her being small but she hadn't thought she was going to be this small. She wasn't much bigger than Claire. She forced herself to look away, not wanting to be caught staring.

Of course, the fact that she was obviously pregnant would have been a legitimate reason for Claire to stare. Especially since Taylor hadn't mentioned it and judging by his reaction, he hadn't known. He'd been out there not too long ago, though, she knew because he'd mentioned it. She probably hadn't been showing yet.

Claire had vague memories of her mom being pregnant with Lyle, but otherwise she had very limited knowledge about pregnancy.

She breathed a sigh of relief when Taylor made his way to her side, sliding an arm around her as he made introductions. Bags in the trunk, they made their way to Yankee Stadium. Claire had opted to sit on the backseat with Buffy so that Taylor and Matty could talk all they wanted.

"When were you going to tell me?"

"Well, that's why we're here. We wanted to wait until we knew we were pretty free and clear. Pop and her sister know, but that's it."

"You're feeling all right?" He glanced over his shoulder at Buffy as he asked the question.

"Yeah, fine, actually. Starting to feel like I've swallowed a basketball, but I guess that's pretty common."

Taylor chuckled lightly.

"Do you know what it is," Claire asked.

"No, Matty said it was up to me and I really didn't want to know. It's kind of like unwrapping a present early. And I don't think it matters to either of us if it's a boy or girl as long as it's healthy."

The talk continued from there. Taylor filled Matty in about his job and the sparring he'd done recently. She'd never seen Taylor in this type of situation. Social. His world. His people, so she enjoyed sitting back and watching him in an environment more comfortable for him.

Soon they were at Yankee Stadium, parking on a prime parking lot that looked as though not just anyone could park there. And when they ended up in a very nice suite, Claire understood why they'd had such a good area to park in.

"You didn't tell me we weren't sitting down there," she said, gesturing to the regular seats of the ballpark.

"Does it matter?" Taylor asked.

"Well, no," she said.

"It's Matty's dad's. He's had it for years."

"Oh," she said.

"That a problem?"

"No," she said.

"You sure? Because Matty and me we may be out but we're only two of many who never got out. You're with me, people you meet will be connected. And neither of us snub our noses at things like this when his dad offers them up."

"I get it, I just wasn't expecting…"

"Oh wait, I get it, you wanted to sit out there."

"Well, yeah, it's Yankee Stadium. I mean, my dad'll flip when he finds out I was here."

"Trust me when I say your dad will flip no matter where you sat to see the game."

"I know," she murmured.

"It was hard for me to get used to, too," Buffy said.

"Huh?" Claire asked.

"The first time Matty and I went to a ball game. I'm not used to being one of those elite people that get to sit in box seats or suites like this."

"Oh, yeah, I'm not complaining. I just wasn't expecting it."

"It is different. Not that I'd gone to many games before meeting Matty or anything, but I always felt like being up here made you less a part of it, but it's not really. And, plus, the pregnant woman really likes not having to stand in line for twenty minutes for a bathroom."

Claire ducked her head a little, though she laughed.

"So, Matty avoided the question he wanted to ask you," Buffy said to Taylor, glancing at Matty clearly telling him to get on with it.

"What's that?" Taylor asked.

"We want you to be godfather," Matty said.


"Yes, you," Buffy said, smiling a little, as if she knew the request unsettled him somehow. "Maybe he was waiting for the right time, but if I know you two you're going to spend the weekend talking about sports and your boxing and whatever else and avoid talking about the reason we're here." She turned her attention to Claire. "You'd think they were a couple of women. They talk altogether too much."

"Hey, men talk."

Buffy rolled her eyes.

"And it's not like we're exchanging cooking recipes or anything," Matty said.

"Right, you're talking about important guy stuff."

"I take it you're not working?" Taylor asked.

"Nope, haven't for the past couple of months. I don't know if I'll go back. Matty doesn't want me to, and I don't really need to. I'm just not sure what I'll do with myself if I don't do something. I've been doing something for so long it's all I know."

"Aren't you going to college?"

"Yes, still have two years left. I had one year at UC Sunnydale completed, but my grades weren't that great and with Sunnydale gone. Well, I had some problems transferring credits."

"A baby and college?" Claire said. "I'd say you'll be busy enough without a job."

"That's what everyone tells me. I'm just used to being busy, but we'll figure it out."

"You know I'll do it, you sure you both want me?"

"Yeah, man," Matty said, handing Buffy a bottle of water before he opened a beer. "It'll be you and Willow. Pop may not be too keen on our choices since you're both Jewish, but he'll get over it."

"Do I have to fly out there? Cuz you're talking only two or three months from now and I'm not sure I could get away any easier then than now."

"Buffy's not a big church person and I don't have a church out there and you know Pop. He's been going to the same one since he was a kid. Plus, he'll want to have a huge party and everything for the baptism, his first grandchild. So we'll come here."

"I still can't believe you waited this long to tell me."

"Well, if something happened, you know, it was just easier not to have to worry about telling a million people. I'm surprised Dad's kept it quiet so long."

"I am, too," Taylor said.

"Listen, I'm going to take Buffy around for a bit. There are a few people I want her to meet and a couple of players are mine so I should say hello to them since I'm here."

"Right," Taylor said with a nod. He knew how it worked. He'd sort of expected as much when Matty suggested a ballgame, which was fine with him. He was just glad to spend some time with his friend away from the senator's house. So, he'd take what he could get.

"They're nice," she said, wondering if she'd ever have a friendship like the one Taylor and Matty so obviously had. Zach was the closest she had but he was thousands of miles away and they weren't close all of their lives. So, it was different.

"Yeah, they are."

"They're happy."

"They are that, too. Never thought I'd see him become a dad."


"No, I mean, I guess I assumed he'd get married one day, but I just never pictured it beyond that."

"And you?"

"What about me?"

"Do you picture yourself with kids?"

"Not really," he said, moving to stand in front of her. He slid a hand to her neck, brushing her hair away from her shoulders as he touched her. "Why?"

"Just curious. Not sure I can have them."

"Well, I'm not going to start down the path of trying to find out," he said, hands going to her hips to bring her against him. "Though we could probably perfect the act of trying a little more if you were of the mind."

She gave a soft giggle, brushing her body against the front of his. "I wasn't asking you to. Was just curious. If you were picturing yourself with a houseful of kids and I can't give you that. Well, that could be a problem."

"Nah. I didn't have much of a role model so I don't know that I'd be equipped to do the job right. And I refuse to put kids out in the world who aren't raised right."

"Mm, good," she whispered. She gave him a kiss, lingering a little and then moved to sit on one of the seats to watch the game. He stared at her for a minute, wondering what he'd done wrong. Or did she think he was just teasing her?

"You really going to sit and watch the game on me?"

"Planned on it. Isn't that why we're here?"

"I guess. I just don't know when the next time I'm going to get you alone is. Especially if I have to get you back tomorrow."

"We're not really alone now."

"There's no one here but us!"

"There's a whole stadium of people, Taylor."

"Who are out there and can't see or hear anything."

"Matty and Buffy."

"Aren't going to be back for a while. I wasn't envisioning a marathon session or anything. Besides, Matty wouldn't blame me. He says Buffy's hormones are all over the map and there have been times he's contemplated calling in sick to work so he could stay in bed with her."

"Oh my God, see, you shouldn't know that!" She scrunched her nose, eyeing him as if she might be contemplating the idea. "And even still, no matter I'd feel weird."

"We had sex at a nightclub. Why is that okay?"

"It was just different."

"Hmm," he said, grabbing his cigarettes.

"Was that your plan for the weekend?"

"Seducing you as often as I could, knowing your old man isn't a floor above us? Maybe."

She sighed softly.

"Why is that all right?"

"I don't know. It's just different. He doesn't know I'm with you. They know."

"And they probably suspect we've already had sex."

"Suspect? Or know?"

"Well, Matty knows because of how we first met, I assume he probably told Buffy the story, too," he said, searching his pockets for his lighter.

"Great. So they think I'm a slut."

"Absolutely not! Why would you say that?"

"I had sex with a stranger in the store room of a nightclub. Doesn't sound too good."

"Well, yeah, but I told him you were a virgin. And, honestly, it's not as if a million girls in New York City and around the world haven't done the same thing."

"Even better."

"Why are you getting mad about this?"

"I don't know. Why do you feel the need to discuss our sex life?"

"I haven't discussed any of it with that exception. I would just think they'd assume since we had sex that night and you're at my house for the weekend that we are currently. Besides, they eloped in Vegas while drunk, I don't think it's their place to judge what we've done."

"It's just weird."

"And your friends aren't going to think that?"

"I don't think my friends are going to be at Yankee Stadium with us."

"Or maybe you have no plans on my meeting your friends."

"That's not it, though I can't imagine why you'd want to."

"What? Why not?"

"Because they're all my age! I mean, a few are older, but not much."

"Okay, so I wouldn't have a whole lot to talk to them about, but I'd manage."


"Listen, you don't want to have sex, that's fine."

"Well, that's good because I'd hate to think that's all I'm good for."

"We had a nice morning, didn't we? Having a good time here? I know Matty's going to get a scorecard for you and have it autographed by as many of the players as he can."


"Yes, that's why I know he's going to be a while. He likes to do shit like that for people."

"He likes to do it?"

"And, all right, I asked him to; I thought you might like to have something from the game. The weekend. Our first date and all."


"Well, then, that should be proof enough that's not all you're good for. I could have taken my weekend furlough and done my thing. I invited you here. Jesus."

"I know. I'm sorry. It's just weird. You know? Maybe you're used to it, but I'm not."

"It's not that I'm used to it. I guess I just don't see the problem when we've done it with people around at your place."

"I know. It's just different. I can't explain it. We'll have breakfast with them tomorrow and they'd know."

"I guess I can see that, but they'd only know if they catch us."

"Please don't be mad."

"I'm not mad, I guess I just don't completely understand."

"Maybe if we were, you know, more together."

"How much more together can we be?"

"Tonight was our first date!"

"Doesn't feel like it."

"Sitting in your apartment doesn't count."

"I know. Not a very good boyfriend I guess."

"That's not what I meant." She sat up, turning to face him in the chair. "You're also more used to this stuff than I am."

"Yeah, I get that," he said, standing from the seat. He went to the fridge stocked with drinks, grabbing them each a beer. She wasn't a big beer drinker but she had one with him once in a while.

"Here," he said. "Come on," gesturing her out of the seat.

"What? Where?" she asked.

He took her hand, bringing her to the glass so they were right there at the edge of the box.

"You don't want to sit next to me now?"

"No, that's not it," he said. He set his beer down on the floor by his feet. He pulled his lighter out of his pocket and lit a cigarette. He'd never been to a game with a woman before. Usually it was something he did with Matty, Chris, and Johnny when they hadn't done something the four of them in a while.

"What then?"

"Just be quiet."


He tugged on her, drawing her against him as he took the lit cigarette from between his lips. He regarded her for a moment before turning his attention to the game on the field below them.

"Never really had a relationship before now. Even in high school, it was more hanging out with benefits. Most of the chicks I've been with, that's what they're with me for. Not for conversation or for me to wow them with my cooking skills. So, I have a good looking woman who has yet to say no to anything I suggest we try nearby, yeah, my dick's going to do the thinking for me. Doesn't mean that's all I want you for. Tonight or any night. Hell, you've slept with me without having sex."

"I know."

"And I forget sometimes you're younger, that this isn't normal for you. I shouldn't, but I don't really ever see you in your life. It's at Nathan's house or at his functions and you always act older than you are there. And Monroe doesn't seem to think you're too young. You know?"

"I do."

"I'd be fine with meeting your friends."

"Don't know when you could."

"Yeah, there is that. I'll get nights off once in a while."

"I know."

"We're okay?"


"You're not mad?"

"No, if you'd pushed it more."

"Just didn't think it'd be a big deal."

She took a sip of her beer while he flicked the ash off his cigarette, neither saying anything for a while.

"So, godfather."

"Yeah, I figured one of her friends that lives out there, closer. There's one guy, Xander, I just sort of assumed."

"Well, it's obviously important to him you do it."

"Yeah, I get the importance a little more than most people would. Italian's take that role more seriously than most. I mean, it's just a name, really, doesn't mean a whole lot to most people. But we sign up to be responsible for their spiritual education. Ironic that I'm not a practicing anything."

"Your mom?"

"Oh, she is. I did the whole Bar Mitzvah thing when I was thirteen, but I haven't gone to Temple in years and I'm not really sure what I believe in anymore."

"Matty knows that?"

"He knows I'd never let my own beliefs interfere with his kid's upbringing. Not that I'll be living with it or anything."

"You could. Isn't that what that means?"

"Yeah, assuming they both die and they don't have someone else for a kid to go stay with. I don't see Matty wanting his kid raised here. Not to mention I know Buffy wouldn't. His pop," he shook his head. "If it was a boy, he'd be exposed to too much shit. It's too hard not to get sucked in. You just take for granted that's how life is."

"And you wouldn't move out there?"

"What am I going to do there I can't do here? Matty moved there because it was a chance at a fresh start, away from his pop. I don't have that." He glanced at her while he put his cigarette out. "You trying to get rid of me?"

She laughed a little.

"No, just curious. I guess if my best friend lived clear across the country I'd be tempted."

"You don't talk about any friends from back home."

"I guess it's different. I didn't have anyone I was lifelong friends with like you do. Well, one, Zach. I still talk to him occasionally in email and stuff, but my last year there. Well, it was sort of chaotic. Another cheerleader died instead of me and I was busy adjusting to my ability. Or whatever you want to call it."

"Wait, you were supposed to die? I thought you couldn't."

"Well, someone cuts off my head, I'll die. And there was a serial killer, Sylar."

"Vaguely remember reading about him, yeah."

"Well, he would have, yeah. But, Nathan's brother helped save me."

"So, Peter and Nathan?"

"Hmm," she said, sipping her beer. "Both have abilities."

"Should I ask what they are?"

"You could, but I wouldn't tell you. Bad enough you know. I should give you this book, it might help you understand it all a little better. I'm still reading through it. It's genetics and stuff."

"Sounds like it'd be over my head."

"I don't think so."

"So, no friends back home."

"No, and especially with Mom and Dad out in California now I wouldn't see anyone anyway."

"So, no best friend?"

"Zach was the closest. He knew my secret. We were buds in grade school and kind of grew apart during junior high, but he helped me out when this all started happening to me."


"Boy friend," she said. "Listen to you. I'd probably have to sleep with a lot of guys to catch up to you and you're jealous of someone I might have dated in Texas when I was like fifteen."

"No one ever said guys are logical, sweetheart."

"No, I don't suppose they are."


"So, Matty says that you lived out in California for a while?" Buffy asked Claire once they were done with dinner. Matty was waiting for the check, but as crowded as the restaurant was she figured it could be a while. Claire had thought they'd never sit down as apparently the restaurant they'd come to was frequented by many people Matty and Taylor knew. So, they'd spent forever talking to people.

"Well, no, my parents and brother live there, but I never did. I grew up in Texas."

"Oh," she said.

"Yeah, it's kind of confusing, but I came out here last November and just sort of never left. My parents think I'm better off here for now, so this is where I'm at."

"And you're okay with that?"

Claire shrugged. "It's all right. I mean, I miss them, but I had some things going on and I'm just safer here. My dad didn't think he could protect me and do his job at the same time."

"Is Taylor working for you then? Matty said he's working as a bodyguard."

"No. He works for a senator who I happen to be staying with, friend of the family."

"He's not so bad."


"Taylor," Buffy said, looking as though Claire shouldn't have had to ask.

"Oh, yeah, I get that. I never saw him inviting me to come with him for this weekend. Once Nathan told me he was going away for the weekend I sort of figured mine had opened up."

"He was kind of suspicious of me at first because of the way Matty and I met, but I've come to realize over the last couple of years that he probably would have been that way with whoever Matty married."

"And you two like eloped right?"

"Yes," Buffy said. "It wasn't the most conventional way to end up married, but we've made it work for whatever reason."

"That's good. I mean, that you even tried."

"And now here I am," she said, rubbing her stomach. "I never thought I'd be a wife let alone a mother, my life just wasn't cut out for those things but somehow I'm managing to do it."

"He talks about Matty all of the time."

"Likewise. They're the only ones who got out. I don't know any of his other friends well. There's one who died so I never met him, Johnny. I've met Chris a couple of times, but I get the impression he hasn't stayed out like Matty and Taylor have. They had something happen to them. One of those life altering events, you know? Even at the time you know it's decision-making time. And I get the impression Matty and Taylor made different decisions than Chris did. He never says anything, he wouldn't because Chris is his friend, but I can hear the disappointment when he hears what Chris is up to."

"Taylor's never really mentioned Chris," Claire said, biting her lip a little.

"But you two haven't been together that long or anything."

"No, and I see him all of the time at my house so that doesn't really give him much of a chance to show me his stuff."

"I think it's sweet," Buffy said. "He scared the crap out of me the first time I met him. Not literally, but he was totally sizing me up. He thought I was after Matty's money, house, or something like that, which I'm sure would be tempting to some but so wasn't my thing."

"And I get the impression Taylor's worried for similar reasons."

'What do you mean?"

"Well, he says Matty's the only one who's seen the house he lives in. His dad's house?"


"So, I guess it's the same thing. I don't know. He said he brought me there because he knew that even though I was living with Nathan and had access to nice things he knew that's not how I am. I mean, not that I don't like nice things just as much as the next girl."

"Right," Buffy said, taking a sip of her water. Claire couldn't help but notice the ring on her finger. It was definitely a nice thing.

"I just get the impression he doesn't want people to think he has money."

"No, he wouldn't, not his dad's anyway. I don't know the whole situation, but just the little Matty has told me I know his dad was a major jerk. And mine is a jerk, so if I can say that Taylor's is more of one that's saying something."


"And you're going to school? What are you majoring in"

"Nothing yet. I'm just taking some AP classes this year, but I've already applied to colleges for the fall," she shrugged. "Probably somewhere in New York, but I don't know."

"Nothing wrong with that. I dated someone way older than me when I was your age so don't think I'm going to judge you. You like one another that's all that matters. And Matty wouldn't like him so much if he was a bad guy."

She was about to respond when she caught Taylor looking at her, staring actually. And he didn't look too pleased. In fact, he looked downright pissed off. Didn't he want her to get along with his friend's wife?

"Did you just say applying to colleges for the fall?"

"Yeah," she said with a frown.

He didn't say anything at first and while she'd never seen him mad before she didn't need to to know that he was absolutely pissed off now.

"I thought you were in college."


"But you go to school. I see you leave the house with a backpack and everything. And Nathan talks about you being in school."


"I guess I'm confused. Where do you go every day then?"

"To school."

"But not to college."


"But you were at my club."


"You had to be eighteen to get in."

"Not if you have an ID saying you are."

"You're not even eighteen?"

The scary thing about it was that he wasn't yelling. In fact, his voice was so low and smooth that it shouldn't have been frightening, but it was and she could understand why someone meeting up with him on the street might pee their pants at the thought of going up against him.

"I will be in a couple of months."

He stood then, taking hold of her arm and thereby her with him as he walked from the table without giving her a chance to decide if she wanted to or not. He propelled them out the door and onto the sidewalk outside the restaurant. He kept going, down half of the block where no one else was nearby.

"A couple of months does not keep me out of jail today."

"I thought you knew. I mean, I live with Nathan."

"Yeah, I just assumed you were going to NYU or something."


"You're in high school?"


"And it didn't occur to you to tell me that you were only seventeen?"

"No. Would it have mattered?"

"I certainly wouldn't have been fucking you."

She winced at that. She'd never really thought of what to categorize what they did when they had sex. Making love seemed too adult to her, but fucking. Fucking was something random people did. Or people who had no feelings for one another. And she thought he had feelings for her. Had she totally misread him? Was he just saying the things he thought she'd want to hear so he'd have someone to have sex with while working for Nathan?

"Because of a couple of months?"

"Christ, Claire, do you have any idea how hard I've worked to get out? Stay out? To keep my nose clean? If a cop got a whiff that I was screwing around with jailbait even if my dick didn't come within ten feet of you they'd still be all over me."

"How are they going to find out?"

"It can be difficult to keep secrets, Claire."

"I'm sorry, really, I thought you knew."

"And it never occurred to you once to mention it?"

"Why would I if I thought you knew?"

No response. It had to be because he knew she was right. Or at least telling the truth if being right was the wrong way to think about it.


"Don't. Just don't. I can't believe you've been lying to me."

"I have not! It's not a lie if I thought you knew the truth. You mean to say that Nathan never once mentioned my still being in high school."

"No. I guess I assumed him letting you hang around with Monroe meant you were old enough."

"Adam and I weren't having sex."

He spun around then, jaw clenched. "And you think that helps me feel better? That it somehow makes the situation okay?"

"No, Taylor."

He clamped his mouth shut, eyes looking behind her. She glanced over her shoulder, saw Matty and Buffy on the sidewalk outside the restaurant. Obviously waiting for them.

"Let's go."


"Let's go I said."

She was surprised when they went straight back to Taylor's house, assuming they'd be dropping Matty and Buffy off at his dad's. More surprised when Buffy and Matty got out but she and Taylor didn't. He put the car in reverse and left the compound that was his house once again.

"Where are we going?"

"I'm taking you home."

"What? Taylor. Don't be ridiculous. It's after midnight."

"I'm aware of the time. I'm taking you home and trying to figure out how to forget the last couple of months happened."

She didn't know what to say to that. He wanted to forget even knowing her? She tried to fight the tears, but she couldn't. She'd never had her heart broken before. It was bad enough to hear him call their relationship fucking, but to hear him suggest he wished it'd never even happened.

She went over the last couple of months in her mind. Was there a time that she didn't think he knew her age? No, not really. She supposed the issue of her ID was a major thing, but she honestly hadn't given it any thought.

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