I suggest playing Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol while reading this. Just sayin. It's a good song, and it fits this chapter. Oh, and everything in italics and bold is music. Oh, and don't hate me (again. PREPARE YOURSELF)
I sighed as I picked up my menial items from the hospital room. A week it’d been since I broke up with Taylor; still no word. Not a call, text, nothing. Personally, I liked it that way; a clean break. No more heartbreak. I still really needed to know how he was doing. I wanted to make sure he was ok, but I refrained myself from scrolling to his number.
In fact, at that moment, I picked up the phone and scrolled to his number. When I reached it, my thumb hovered over the delete button. It wasn’t the first time I’d done this. Each time, I was at war deciding whether or not I should.
I took a deep breath and tapped the delete button. It was over and done with. My heart ached with my love for him, but I knew I couldn’t drag him into my problems. If that hurt him emotionally, I could live with, but if he… was killed, I’d end up spiraling into deep trouble. I’d loose myself, and I couldn’t be weak. Not when more lives depended on me.
The hospital staff was trying to keep everything “hush hush,” but it slipped that freak serial killings were still going on in Nashville. Those people depended on me and the FBI to keep them safe from my dad.
Just as I gripped the door, it pushed open.
Stephanie Jones looked at me. “We need to talk,” she murmured.
“What?” I asked.
“It’s about your dad,” she said frantically, with worry and fear in her eyes.
I sat there, looking at the clouds pass by my third class window. I flew all that way to get to Hayley, then she breaks up with me. Other than bitterness and sadness, I didn’t know what to feel.
I could understand what she was feeling. She didn’t want me in danger. She didn’t want herself in danger… but I couldn’t help feeling like this was the beginning of the end. Hayley wasn’t herself anymore. She was a career driven girl who was hiding the pain of her dad being a killer. Oh, and she hid it well, too. No one could see the mask covering all her pain like I could.
Hayley Williams was drowning, and she couldn’t be saved if she pushed people away like she was doing now. I wanted to find some way to help, but in my heart, I knew the only person who could save her was herself. She had to decide on her own that she needed help once in a while. She couldn’t be a one person army alone.
Even if I knew she had the strength to follow this case through, I had a sickening feeling she wouldn’t pull through. I knew she could, but… she’d be a wreck after she arrested her dad. Where my gunshot was, I could feel it burning all over again, like I was feeling the pain she’d eventually feel. I had to find some way to save her from herself… it wasn’t her dad harming her anymore. She was killing herself inside keeping her façade of composure when she was drowning in grief, sorrow, and despair.
I couldn’t believe I’d lost her just like that. She ended it. Part of me knew she was lying about Josh, but I still couldn’t help wonder. That note said she’d been kissing him behind my back, but what she had said to me about her not wanting to love for fear of loosing felt sincere.
I’d been so distracted thinking about Hayley that I hadn’t realized my plane landed in New York. I grabbed my carry on, which had everything I brought, by the way, and walked off the plane down the long elevated metal tunnel to the airport.
My life had never been so terrible as it was the past week, feeling sorry for myself and wanting to cry, and fighting the urge to run back to her to talk sense into her brilliant mind of hers. Now, I also felt regret.
Regret I’d ever agreed to go to a police academy with her.
“Taylor,” she said, sitting on her bed. “I need to tell you… I want to be a cop. I want to make a difference with what’s left of my life,” she whispered to me.
“Why something so dangerous?” I asked in shock.
“I feel like I belong there. I need to know that I can help people.”
“Why not become a doctor?” I had asked, wanting something safer for her.
“Because that’s what everyone wants to be. I want to change the world by taking monsters off the streets. Nobody wants the grunt work. Nobody’s willing to get their hands dirty trying to protect people. Doctors are cowards. They want to help them after they’ve been beaten down. I want to keep that from happening,” she said, sounding unlike I had ever heard her before. She sounded determined, strong, independent, like she’d just grown up ten years in ten seconds.
“If you’re going, I’m following,” I said.
On my iPod, I heard the song “Chasing Cars” by Snow Patrol. My heart began to ache, because that was the song that had been playing in the background the first time we kissed.
“Hayley, you know… now that we are at the academy… I just wanted to say how much I care for you,” I said while sitting down on my bed in our miniature apartment. We decided to be room mates, but we had separate rooms.
If I lay here, If I just lay here, would you lay with me and just forget the world?
Hayley halfheartedly smiled at me and looked to the floor.
I don’t quite know how to say how I feel.
She looked up to me hesitantly. I knew how she felt about Josh, I knew it still hurt her to know he left the band, their hopes, their dreams.
Those three words are said too much, they’re not enough.
It seemed like the song said everything I felt. Those three little words were said so much they had no meaning. To Hayley, they’d only remind her of painful times. I didn’t want to do that. I hated seeing her cry, or hide pain behind her eyes.
If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lie with me and just forget the world? Forget what we’re told, before we get too old, show me our garden that’s bursting into life.
Hayley went to sit next to me, still silent, not uttering a word.
Let’s waste time chasing cars around our heads. I need your grace to remind me to find my own.
“I care for you, too, Taylor. Thanks for… uh, being there. Thanks for coming with me,” she said awkwardly, but also a little sadly. I reached out and touched her small, pale, delicate hand.
If I lay here, if I just lay here, would you lay with me and just forget the world? Forget what we’re told, before we get too old, show me our garden that’s bursting into life.
“Always,” I replied. We both squeezed our hands together at the same time.
All that I am, all that I ever was is here in your perfect eyes, they’re all I can see. I don’t know where. Confused about how as well. Just know that these things will never change for us at all.
Our eyes locked on the word “eyes” in the song. It felt so perfect being with her, seeing her beautiful self day after day, saying hi to me in the morning, going to the gym together, or eating breakfast together at the closest Denny’s or IHOP.
If I lay here, If I just lay here, would you lay with me and just forget the world?
On the last word of the song, world, she leaned to me and gently kissed my lips, and we held hands the entire time. Once the song and kiss ended, it replayed again, and we laid together on my bed, side by side, listening to the soft rifts on the sweet guitar.
The memory made my eyes tear up all over again. It was one of my favorite memories of us together. It was the most vulnerable Hayley had ever been. It wasn’t just our first kiss, something else had changed in that room. It was like we had complete understanding of each other at that exact moment, like we were one person instead of two. I could feel everything she felt, and I was sure she did the same with me. The world had stopped, and as in the song, it was like we forgot it all.
My heart ached to hold Hayley, to comfort her and wipe away her mask of calmness. To take away the sorrow without burying it beneath the surface. I wanted to see her smile at me again, to see her enchanting green eyes light up when she saw me. I wanted to touch her soft red hair, to make breakfast for her again, to hit the rewind button back to the moment we left to the case of Stacy Collins, who led us to Josh. I wished to delete from that moment on. None of this ever would have happened if she hadn’t run into Josh.
Then I realized I was lying to myself. Of course it would have happened anyway, it was how it was meant to be, but that didn’t mean I wanted Hayley to be so far away, in so much danger. She’d already been so close to death I couldn’t bear to think about.
My heart told me that was how she felt when I was shot. It was the reason she turned, knowing Chad could knock her to the ground. It was the reason I knew she would have taken that bullet for me if she knew I’d be shot.
It couldn’t all be over. In that instant, I replayed Chasing Cars, and put it on repeat. I walked to the closest place I could purchase a ticket back to Nashville.
Once I bought the ticket, I sat down and waited for my flight to be called. Yet again, I began to reminisce moments between Hayley and I.
“Taylor… I have something to tell you,” Hayley started with pursed lips. She grabbed my hand and led me to the bedroom, which we had begun to share. “I love you.”
“Hayley…” I said with a smile pushing the corners of my lips up. “You said it first.”
Her green eyes looked up at me with a certain spark I only saw in her eyes. “I needed to say it. Taylor Benjamin York, I love you. No one could have possibly made me feel the way I’ve been feeling lately. Happy. I thought I’d never have that again. You… proved me wrong. I never thought I’d be so happy to be proven wrong, but… when I see you, I get this most ridiculous smile and my heart flutters. A slow, rosy blush always spreads across my cheeks, and then my lips tingle whenever you kiss me.” She rolled her eyes a little, but in a playful manner, like she was trying to think of every little thing I’d done for her.
A stray piece of her cherry red hair flew in her eyes, and I gently put it behind her ear. “Kiss me,” she whispered as my fingers drew back.
Instead of putting my hand back at my side, I rested it on the back of her neck and pulled her towards me a little. I held her tiny frame and kissed her as if it were the last time I ever could. For a second, we pulled away. Her eyes glanced up into mine, and she blinked once before returning to kiss me. Before we pulled away, I could swear I felt electricity as she leaned into me. "I love you," I said.
I actually smiled when I remembered that moment. But that only snapped me from my reverie for a second. Hayley wasn’t going to be easy to convince, and if she really did want Josh back, I needed to tell her how I really feel. I needed to say the unspoken words between us, and I needed to explain that she was everything to me. Nothing would ever change that. Not even Josh Farro.
I shed tears after tears. Sobs erupted from my throat. My world was shattered, broken, gone. I couldn’t breathe. My heart could have stopped beating, and I wouldn’t have noticed. My world was turned upside down; I didn’t know what was up or down. I ran shaky fingers through my red hair, without trying to wipe the tears from my cheeks.
I closed my eyes clamped a hand over my mouth. I stood up from my bed in Josh’s house, and paced across the soft white carpet, dotting it with tear stains. I barely heard the knocking on my door; probably Josh, freaking out with worry again.
But it was so far from my mind. I couldn’t think clearly anymore. I couldn’t stop crying. My heart ached so bad, I wished someone had shot it. It would have hurt less.
I had nothing left in this world. Nothing at all.
I was grieving. I was grieving for my dead mother.
Josh and I both knocked on the door, trying to get her to open it. Agent Stephanie Jones, Hayley’s partner-ish person walked behind me with tears in her eyes. I turned to her, and said, “What did you say to her?”
Agent Jones looked to the carpet, like she was taking in every detail of the shape, color, and texture. It seemed to be forever when she finally looked up and murmured, “Her mom was killed this afternoon.”
I looked to Josh, and he looked back to the door where sobs were coming endlessly. Josh looked like hell run over him. I knew how he felt about Hayley. I knew he cared for her. I knew it was probably love. He looked to the door with so much longing, like he wanted to go in there and hug her, but he knew it wouldn’t do anything.
I looked up, leaned into the wall and let myself slide down to a sitting position. I felt terrible for Hayley. Her dad was a serial killer, her mom was dead, her relationship with Taylor was… complicated, and she didn’t know how to feel about Josh.
If I were her, I would have exploded already.
Then, suddenly, the sobs stopped short. I stood up and knocked on the door again. So did Josh. “Hayley?” I asked. No reply. I shouted, “HAYLEY!” Still no reply.
Agent Stephanie Jones said frantically, “Stand back.” When we moved out of the way, she kicked the door down with one strong kick of her heel. We all ran into her room, all completely worried. I ran to the bathroom, and couldn’t open the door. I heard no sound from within, but the door was locked. It seemed out of nowhere, but Stephanie stepped behind me, then kicked that door hard.
Hayley wasn’t in there. “Hayley?” I asked.
Then, Josh came from behind us. “I think you’ll want to see this, he said miserably.” He led us to her nightstand. On it was a note.
When I read it, my heart stopped. I blinked back tears. It felt like I just got her back, and now she was yanked away again. First I thought she’d died in the bomb, then I realized she survived, then was told she could die, then she wakes up, leaves the hospital, then she just gets kidnapped from her own temporary bedroom with a note saying she’ll be killed tomorrow morning if we don’t find her? No one could do that to my best friend without having hell to pay.
I needed to find her. “Stephanie-”
“Yes. I’ll want your help,” she answered so quietly, I wasn’t sure I heard her correctly.
This was an unexpected twist, even for me. I didn't have this planned, but I did have an idea of what I wanted to do, then this just sorta popped into my mind. It was better than what I was going to do. I was going to just kind of end this one with Hayley saying that she'd left her dad's case unsolved and let it go, for a while, and left Taylor. I mean, she did leave Taylor, but the chapter I originally planned was going to be the end and it would have been boring.
Oh, and I've made a decision... I am making a sequel. DON'T HATE ME FOR THE OUTCOME OF THIS STORY!! I already know how it's going to end.