By Jenny Doocy
Taylor Johnson parked the rusted old pickup truck in front of a suburban mansion, two houses down from the intended destination, and sent a short text that simply read here. Being chivalrous and walking up to the door, at the risk of being seen in this part of town, was not an option. In other situations a quick honk would have sufficed, but seeing as neither of them wanted to draw attention to their meeting—that is, any more attention than a beat up truck in this neighborhood would cause—a text message seemed the way to go.
Taylor waited for Jordan Smith, releasing nervous energy by drumming two long, slender fingers against the steering wheel, body moving to the rhythm of the music coming from the old radio, sneakers tapping against the pedals to match the beat of the fingers.
After a song and a half and what felt like a life time Jordan came hurrying down the long stone drive, hastily swiping dark brown bangs out of darker eyes and to the side of a smooth, tan face. In a form fitting polo shirt, khaki shorts, and leather flip flops, Jordan looked like something straight out of a Ralph Lauren photo shoot, and so of course Taylor couldn’t help but stare. Feeling the intensity coming from the blue eyes in the truck, Jordan forgot the out of place hair and rushed down the street and over to the passenger door.
“I’m sorry for making you wait, but it took my parents forever to get the twins ready this morning, and I didn’t want to get up until they were gone or they’d ask what I was doing, and you know I’m terrible at thinking of excuses on the spot—”
The stream of incoherent babbling was swallowed by Taylor’s soft lips molding with Jordan’s. After a few lingering moments the blonde pulled back, just enough to stare into dazed brown eyes.
“Hi,” Taylor greeted sweetly.
“Hi,” Jordan returned, breathless.
Taylor, always so considerate, waited until the brunette was safely buckled and settled in before putting the car in drive and speeding off down the street. When they first started spending time together, all the way back in June, Jordan was alarmed by the speed at which Taylor drove through the quiet suburban neighborhood, until it was pointed out that, “We’ll have less chance of being seen together if we’re too quick to be seen at all.” Acquiescing to that questionable logic Jordan offered no further complaints on Taylor’s driving, and instead sat quietly gripping the edge of the seat so hard that tan knuckles turned white.
After a few minutes of companionable silence Jordan commented, taking in the worn out old jeans and beat up Chuck Taylors, “I can’t believe you’re wearing that.” The shirt at least, a white ribbed tank top, was sensible; if not distracting in that it showed off the blonde’s strong, pale arms and hinted at the defined abdominal muscles underneath the fabric. So as not to be caught ogling, the brunette teased, “At least you were smart enough to wear a tank top,” silently adding, ‘and leave the leather jacket at home.’ Taylor was rarely seen without the thing. It had actually become signature.
Taylor smirked knowingly. It’s adorable the way you pretend you aren’t checking me out.
Their destination was a dry, somewhat mountainous terrain where some of the other kids liked to hold motocross races. On this sweltering day, the spot was left abandoned, perfect for a young couple hiding from the unforgiving world.
They met around back of the Chevy, but before Taylor could reveal the surprise that had taken all morning to set up Jordan reached over and pulled their lips together in a proper greeting. They fit together easily, as there was barely an inch of height separating the two of them.
Only when the threat of actually passing out became too great did Taylor finally get the chance to pull back the tarp covering the bed of the truck and reveal a sort of picnic. There were cushions lining the hard metal floor, and a large, thin sheet spread out over them. There were bottles of lemonade in a mini cooler and takeout food from their favorite restaurant. The radio was left on, the popular music station a quiet background for their afternoon.
When the food was gone they played silly games for a while. Taylor pretended to read Jordan’s palm for the sole purpose of drawing meaningless patterns on soft skin. There was a pack of cards with which Taylor attempted to teach Jordan how to play poker, and when that failed they settled on a game of Go Fish.
The sun was just starting its descent from the sky. Taylor lay strumming lazily on an old acoustic guitar, head resting in Jordan’s lap so that smooth hands could run through the already tangled blonde locks.
“Sing something for me?” Jordan requested.
Pausing for a moment to think, Taylor decided to perform a song that had taken most of the summer to write. Seeing as it was almost their three month anniversary, now seemed as good a time as any to play it.
When the final notes of the guitar had faded and all that was left was the radio, Jordan leaned over and pecked Taylor gently on the lips. For a while they sat in silence, just admiring the sunset.
“I don’t want this to end.”
Tomorrow they would start their final year of high school. They would return to being fulltime members of their respective friend groups. Soccer and tennis would demand time and attention from Taylor and Jordan, respectively. Taylor only played the sport as an outlet for the constant overflow of pent-up energy. Jordan had been playing tennis at the country club practically since infancy; it only seemed to be the natural choice for an extracurricular activity. Jordan would undoubtedly be elected student body president, and Taylor’s band was sure to perform at prom.
“If someone had told me three months ago that I’d be spending my whole summer with Jordan Smith, and enjoying it, they wouldn’t be around to see it happen,” Taylor stated with a snort of laughter and a silly grin.
The party where they met was to celebrate the graduation of the most popular student in the year above them. Being captain of the soccer team and former president of the student council, both Taylor and Jordan were familiar with Casey Jones, and had been on the official guest list for the party. Most of the crowd, including Sam Anderson and Alex Davis, had crashed the party.
Sam had come along with the rest of Taylor’s friends who weren’t invited, and at first the blonde had been glad to see the redhead. After much alcohol and a drunken confession of less-than-platonic feelings on Sam’s part, however, Taylor was left alone in the crowded room and regretting the decision to go to the party at all.
Alex had come with the express purpose of tracking down Jordan and demanding to know the reason for their break up. Luckily for Jordan, that familiar head of curly raven hair was recognizable for miles, and so the brunette was able to escape into the crowd before being spotted by those black, thick-framed glasses.
In the ensuing chase, Jordan bumped into Taylor—quite literally—and, before the blonde could make a fuss over the nearly spilled beer, crashed their mouths together in a fierce lip lock, effectively blending them in amongst the rest of the horny masses. No one would look twice at a couple of teenagers making out at a party.
They’d seen each other around school before, but they ran in different circles, groups that didn’t exactly get along. That being said, Taylor should have shoved away from someone like Jordan faster than if the kiss had been with an open flame. It could have been the alcohol, but most likely it was the impossible softness of those lips, that encouraged Taylor to return the embrace, and so enthusiastically at that.
Enough time had passed that Alex was certainly gone. They pulled away, dazed and confused. “S-sorry about that,” Jordan murmured upon realizing exactly who had been pulled in to the impromptu lip lock. “It’s just, Alex …”
Before either of them could fully collect their bearings, Taylor spotted Sam and some of the others. Feeling bad about the rejection, and looking to avoid a confrontation, the blonde hurried into the nearest available room, dragging the still muttering brunette along as a shield.
They ended up locked in the bathroom. Taylor set the red Solo cup down on the counter, then hopped up beside it. Huffing out a sigh, Jordan closed the lid of the toilet and sat down on top of it.
“What are we even doing in here? Alex is gone.”
“Why would I be hiding from Alex?” Taylor asked sharply.
“… Well then what are we doing in here?” Jordan asked again, tone matching in aggravation.
Okay so Taylor wasn’t annoyed with Jordan, not really. It was just the whole situation in general. Why did Sam have to go and develop feelings? Why couldn’t Taylor return them? Why did it feel so good kissing Jordan?
Blue eyes cast about, searching for a change of topic. Anything was better than discussing romantic problems with Jordan Smith. Taylor finally noticed the brunette’s clothes. Dressed in fitted slacks and a white oxford shirt, straight hair combed perfectly into place, Jordan looked ready for a job interview rather than a high school party. “What the hell are you wearing?”
“That’s it, I’m leaving.”
“Stop!” Taylor cried just as Jordan’s hand reached for the lock on the door. “I’m … avoiding someone too.”
Sitting back down on the toilet, Jordan’s only response was to furrow dark eyebrows in Taylor’s direction.
Sigh. “Sam’s in love with me.”
Jordan waited a moment, expecting the blonde to continue. That couldn’t be it. “So, what’s the problem? Sam seems really nice … Actually, now that I think about it, I’ve never understood your guys’ friendship.”
“Ha. Haha. Maybe the two of you should date, and leave me out of it.”
“No thanks. I just got out of a long term relationship.”
“What, did Alex finally get sick of you alphabetizing your pencil case or something?”
Jordan’s eyes tightened into a glare. “Actually, I ended things.” Taylor cocked an eyebrow, as if truly surprised that Alex had not in fact dumped the uptight brunette. “I wasn’t in love. I don’t think I ever was. On paper we were perfect for each other, but when we were together it just felt like we were going through the motions of a relationship, instead of actually connecting.”
“Maybe that’s all there is,” Taylor suggested, staring morosely at the floor, pale hands gripping tightly to the edge of the counter, legs swinging back and forth unenthusiastically. “Maybe true love is just a sham.”
Jordan didn’t want to agree, but had no evidence to support an argument to the contrary. If things couldn’t work out after two years with Alex, what hope was there? “Yeah, maybe.”
The two went back and forth for a while, mocking the idea of romance and soul mates, sharing what was left of Taylor’s beer as if they were old friends instead of bitter rivals.
“So what’s the deal with you and Sam?” Jordan finally got around to asking again, when the cup was empty and they were seated together on the floor, slouched against the cabinets of the sink.
Fiddling with the frayed edges of denim at a hole in the knee, Taylor paused a moment before saying, “I can’t do a serious relationship. I’d only end up breaking Sam’s heart, and losing my best friend in the process.”
Feeling the heat of those warm brown eyes, Taylor turned to face Jordan. In a soft voiced the brunette asked, “Have you ever been in a relationship before?” Slowly the blonde head moved side-to-side in the negative. “Well then, how do you know that you can’t do it?” Taylor had no response to that.
Their eyes remained locked on one another, seeming to pull Taylor and Jordan closer together, glancing every so often at each other’s lips. They met again, slower and gentler than before.
They kissed for a long time, there on the floor of Casey Jones’s bathroom. They parted only when air became absolutely essential, when they ran the risk of passing out from the lack of it. Blue eyes sparkled with mischief.
“Wanna get out of here?”
Jordan grinned shyly and nodded.
They managed to slip out of both the bathroom and the house undetected and, laughing in the carefree way that only alcohol and new passion can create, the two ran hand-in-hand through the quiet, moonlit streets.
Three months later, on a night not unlike the one in June, Taylor parked the truck in front of the same house as before. This night wasn’t filled with laughter; this silence wasn’t companionable. The mood was morose. No words were spoken as the two of them sat clutching each other desperately, the worn out old Chevy safely hidden under the cover of nightfall.
What could they say? Neither knew what would become of them in the morning, or when they would get to see each other again, as more than just a passing glimpse and a snide remark in the school hallway. Their lives were so much different than before, so uncertain, and that scared them most of all.
There was, however, one thing they both knew for sure, something neither of them was expecting when this all began—that one drunken night together had led to a summer neither of them would ever forget.
Jenny Doocy was born and raised in Minnesota. She just graduated from the U of M with a degree in English, and a minor in Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies. Jenny plans to pursue a career in publishing and hopes to one day become a professional author.