I sat down on the park bench in the stillness of the night. I was alone. I couldn’t believe I’d lived to see this happen. Taylor’s leaving shocked me. I didn’t feel depressed. I didn’t feel anything but haunted.
Something had happened to Taylor. He wouldn’t just leave me like this. Not when we were finally getting to a happy place with everything. Not when everything was being settled about Josh and Zac leaving.
I felt determined to find out why he’d leave at such a serious part of our lives. I heard a crack, like someone stepped on a twig behind my seat.
I whirled around to see the source of the sound. Nothing was easy to see in the dark with no lighting, but my eyes adjusted quickly. I saw a shape of a human walk towards me. “Chill, Hayles. It’s only me, Jeremy!” he said quickly.
“Hey. You startled me, Jerm,” I said when I relaxed.
“What the hell are you doing out here, H-bomb?” he asked.
“Trying to figure out why Taylor left,” I answered.
“Hayles, I know everything is falling apart, but you really should get inside…” he tried to pull me up from the park bench but it wouldn’t work. I sat there stubbornly, unmoving. Jeremy just seemed to give up. He sat next to me. “I’m not getting you inside, am I?” he asked me.
“No. I need to understand why he left, Jeremy. I need to,” I said, desperate to find a solution in the mess I’d been put into. Did Taylor know what he’d put me through? I had never felt more lonely than I had in that second. Did Taylor understand how much I actually needed his humor, his friendship?
“Hayley, you are so blind sometimes. Don’t you see why he left?” Jerm asked.
I looked at him in confusion. “Why did he leave?” I demanded.
“Because it must have been painful for him to watch you miss Josh so much,” he said. I resisted the urge to slap him. What he said was true, I just didn’t want to see it. I didn’t want to admit it. “You should have kissed him when you had the chance,” he continued.
“And play with his heart, Jerm? I couldn’t do that. Regardless of what Josh may think, I wouldn’t be that shallow and superficial!” I said. Jeremy backed off the subject.
“Please, Hayles. It’s getting cold. Don’t you want to go inside?” he asked.
“No. I don’t. If you want to, go then. I need to think this whole thing over,” I said, not trying to be rude, but I needed to find how I truly felt about Taylor and Josh and the whole problems we’d been having recently. Jeremy stood up from the bench and walked back without another word.
I stood up as well, but not to walk to his place. Instead, I strolled over to the swings on the playground. I began to swing up and down, thinking of the times Taylor hugged me, thinking of the times I’d smile at him and steal his hat.
He couldn’t be gone. He couldn’t leave me like that. I jumped off the swing and ran. I ran as hard as I could, and I couldn’t go back. I was haunted. I needed the answers to the questions that made me question everything I‘d ever felt.
My breaths became pants until I could hardly breath. His house was around here somewhere, Franklin was only so big. I finally allowed myself to stop for a second, sure I’d lost at least five pounds from the run I’d just done. I rested my hands on my knees, trying to slow my breathing. Only when he came out had I realized where I’d stopped.
“Hayley? What are you doing out here?” said the familiar voice.
“Like it matters to you,” I said while refusing to look at him. “You’ve left it behind. It’s personal matters, Josh. Just stay out of it,” I said angrily. Josh put a hand on my shoulder and forced me to look at him.
“I know things ended badly, but Hayles, you’re freezing,” he said, rubbing his hand on my bare arm. I jerked away from him.
“Josh, you don’t just get to all of a sudden be friends with me now. You don’t. Not after the things you said,” I said, not angry, not quite, but hurt. I stepped away from him slowly. He reached for my hand.
“I didn’t mean those things. I was mad at the time. If I could, I’d take them back,” he said sincerely. I couldn’t bring myself to look into his chocolate eyes. I couldn’t believe he was apologizing to me, after waiting months. Why now?
“What took you so long to apologize, then?” I pressed, still backing away. “Why now? Why when I’m finally getting somewhere?” I asked.
“Hayles, I haven’t found the right time or place,” he said.
“What makes now the right time and place, huh? What?” I shouted, feeling the anger build up in my chest again. “What makes you think I can just forgive you? What makes you think I can just forget about it and forget about how wrongly you acted to me?”
He was at a loss for words. I shook my head and turned around to run away. It didn’t matter my body was tired from the first time I ran like this. I just pushed on and on until I reached my destination: Taylor’s place.
I took a deep breath before finding my courage to knock on the door. On the first knock, the door swung open wide, as if some unseen force pushed it to the wall. The whole hallway was empty. The staircase looked old and decrepit, like it hadn’t been used for a while. I carefully trudged up the stairs, trying to make sure I didn’t slip or fall on the frail planks of wood on the floor of the stairs. When I entered the upper hallway, it looked just as empty and dark. No lights were turned on except at the end of the hallway, where Taylor’s room should be. The light was seeping through the crack between the door and the floor.
Hesitantly, I walked there, unsure of what I’d find when I got there. Nothing was in the room except a single light on the floor. Next to that was a note.
To: Hayley Nichole Williams
I reread and reread his note with no end. He couldn’t be gone. He just couldn’t. I didn’t feel anything. Not sorrow, not anger, not anything but the haunted feeling again. Not only was the house empty, but so was my heart. I guess it had been hurt too many times now, and that there was no changing anything.
I sighed and sat down on the floor. I kept telling myself he couldn’t be gone. He just simply couldn’t leave me like that. I was so sure I’d figured him out, that I understood him. Why did I have to be so blind? Why couldn’t I have just faced the truth of my feelings for him, and none of this would have happened. We both could have been together.
Tonight, I’d resolved my feelings with Josh. He was gone. He wasn’t returning.
Taylor had to. He had to come back, he couldn’t leave me like this. I remember the last time I’d seen him, when he told me bye at my place. At the time, it was just a casual goodbye, but it was the last time I’d seen him.
Now I knew; Taylor was all I wanted. I couldn’t go back to Josh. I couldn’t dwell on the past. I needed to find a way to tell him that.
In that moment, I’d never been so hopeless. Some part of me wanted Taylor to come to me, but I knew I’d have to be the one to come to him.
I closed my eyes and focused. He couldn’t have left too far from here. It was a long shot, but I pulled out my cell phone and star six-seven-ed. I dialed his number and waited as it rang loudly in the eerie silence.
One, two, three times it rang. Then, finally an answer. “Hello?” he asked.
Relief washed over me. “Taylor, please. Please come back. I’m finished feeling sad about Josh. I’m through feeling sorry for myself. I need to get past it. I already have, and I only realized it when you were gone. You can’t be gone, Tay. You can’t be,” I pleaded, finally feeling scared at what I stood to loose.
“Hayley, you called me at 4 AM to tell me this?” he asked groggily.
“It couldn’t wait. I’d been looking for you all night, and then I arrived at your house. Please, come back. Please,” I begged. I needed him. I needed Taylor to come back, I felt like my heart wasn’t empty after all. It was merely secured, safe, setting high standards for only one person to sustain.
It was Taylor. Taylor, the whole time since I’d met him. Whenever he wasn’t around, I fought with Josh, and I always was in a bad mood. When Taylor was around, I was happy.
How could I have missed that?
“Hayles, go back home. I’ll see you tomorrow,” he said reassuringly.
“I’m waiting here for you.”
“I knew you’d say that,” he said sleepily. “I’ll see you there tomorrow.”
I’d fallen asleep laying right there, on his cold, bare wooden floor, waiting for him to return. I was jostled from my sleep by someone shaking my shoulder, and I opened my eyes wide, happy to feel his warm hand on my arm.
“Taylor,” I said, sitting up and letting him wrap his arms around me.
“Hayley,” he breathed next to my ear.
“I’m so glad you’re back,” I said with relief evident in my tone. My arms felt warmer immediately, now that he was here to keep me warm.
Did I feel haunted anymore?
No, I certainly did not. I felt loved. “Taylor, I am so sorry I never told you this before today, but,” I paused, unsure of how to say what I was about to, “I love you, and always have.”
“Hayley, I love you, too,” he said, and gently kissed me on the lips while he picked me up and carried me to my house so we could get warm.
Again, sorry about that weird mix-up. Ok, so I might post this in Taylor's POV soon. Lookout for it! Oh, and btw, I am going to post an update of Temptation later, for sure. I'm going to continue posting, hoping that I get more readers. The ending is coming up, soon, too.