A/N: So here's the next installment of Love. Sorry I've been so long with it, I'm kind of in a short on and off hiatus :) R & R!As soon as I stepped off the plane, I felt the warm, crisp Californian air fill my lungs. To be honest, compared to New York's lights being inspiring, California's sunshine made me feel like I could do anything I put my mind to. To say I started school with a clear mind may not have been the total truth, but I did feel refreshed.
Almost immediately as I stepped onto the UCLA campus, my outlook on life was brightened. I couldn't help but notice the looks I got from seemingly older kids, which all said 'She must be a freshman...' As I walked towards the administrator's office, a gorgeous guy worked up the courage to talk to me.
"Hi, I'm Bryan." The guy said, holding out a friend hand to me.
"Hi Bryan, I'm Taylor." I introduce myself, firmly shaking his hand and reluctantly pulling away.
"By the lost look on your face you're a freshman right?" I nod, and smile.
"Yes, and do I really look that lost?" I ask curiously. This guy was definitely flirting with me and by the looks of it, he was succeeding.
"Tell you what, how about I show you around and you go out with me Friday night?" Bryan asked, his mesmerizing baby blues pleading with me.
"Sure." I answered coyly, letting him show me around campus. The advantage of being shown around by a student and not, say the dean, you see plenty of interesting place. Bryan showed me everything from the best cubicle in the library to the Alpha Kappa Alpha house, individually naming each rooms occupants.
"Oh god Bryan! Preying on freshmen again, huh?" A tall girl, with dark brown skin shouts at him from down the hall in a bathrobe. Bryan blushes and looks at me.
"Shut up Cassidy!" He shouts back, smirking at the girl.
"You sure are popular." I say, laughing at him.
"Nah… Cassidy's just jealous." Bryan says, within hearing range of Cassidy. She shakes her head and walks to her room, giving Bryan the finger before walking inside. Bryan smiles at me.
"Yeah, she totally wants you…" I reply sarcastically, earning an amused look from Bryan.
After showing me to my dorm, he promises to help me organize my room, once all my stuff gets there. I even get to meet my roommate, a girl about my height, sandy hair in tight ringlets, and caramel skin. After talking to her, I learn that her name is Nicolette Pullini, she's from Beverly Hills, and that her mother is African American and her father is Italian. Boy, did she have a mouth on her.
"I love it here in Los Angeles! It's so sunny and the people are friendly, like back home." Nicolette, or as she made me promise to call her, Nic babbled. I nodded and tried my best to organize what little stuff I had, on my side of the room.
"I have yet to show you the campus gym and pool, but it doesn't compare to the beach though." Bryan sighs. Judging by his tan and body, I inferred he was a surfer.
After my in dept campus tour, Bryan took me to eat at a locally owned restaurant.
"So how do you like UCLA so far?" Bryan asks, looking at me questioningly.
"It's actually better than I expected. I knew about the close proximately to the beach and the wonderful weather, but it's true about how you don't know about some place until you actually visit it. I love it here." I gush, my confession putting a big smile on Bryan's face. "So anyway Bryan, tell me about you."
"Well I was born here in Los Angeles and I've always lived here. Going to UCLA has been a family tradition, and so naturally, this was the first application I sent out. I'm the middle child; I have an older sister Amy and a younger brother Jason. Amy graduated the year before last and Jason's a junior in high school. I'm a senior this year. Now tell me about you." Bryan replies, looking up at me. I feel my face heat up as he stares at me intently, apparently caring about what I have to say.
"Well I was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It's where I've lived all my life. I'm the oldest; my younger sister's name is Keily and she's a freshman in high school. My family has held the tradition to go to an Ivy League school or to the University of Albuquerque. When I chose neither, they didn't freak like I thought they would, they actually took it calmly. I'm a freshman, as you already know and I happen to be excellent at science."
"Wow, you're smart?" Bryan says, his face serious. I look at him, in disbelief. "I'm joking; maybe you can help me sometime in science? What's your major and minor?"
"I'm majoring in Biomedical Science and my minor is Theater."
"Wow… the science buff who could act. That's a first." Bryan remarks, smirking at me.
"I'm actually a pre-med and I minor in jazz studies."
"Wow… the beach buff that can play music. That's also a first. What instrument?"
"Actually, I play the Sax." Bryan answered, smirking at me in a way that made my heart melt.
For my first week at UCLA, Bryan helped me find my way around. He even managed to help me memorize the college campus not using the map given in the freshman welcome kit.
"Remember the library is across from the UC."
Not once, during the entire first month, did I even think about Chad. Gabriella and Sharpay called me non-stop. I even got phone calls from my mom
"Ever thing's so much bigger here. The buildings, the cafeteria, the guys…" I trail off, thinking about Bryan.
"It's nice to know you're enjoying yourself sweetheart." My mom replied distantly.
"You sound like you're distracted, is something wrong?" I ask, suddenly worried about my mom. You'd think that after 19 years plus of being a mother, she wouldn't let her emotions show.
"Nothing sweetheart, it's just that Chad called today and asked to talk to you. He had no idea you'd already left." The thing about my parents was that they loved Chad Danforth and always had. Chad and I would always joke that our parents had our wedding mapped out before we were both two.
"Mom, how many times do I have to tell you? We broke up. Chad has no reason to be calling you and asking for me. He is no longer a part of neither my life nor yours." I say, feeling aggravated that my mother felt bad for him.
Even while we dated, it bothered me how much my parents loved him. The first time I tried to sneak out to meet him and was caught, was extremely awkward.
As I opened up my window and stuck a leg out, I heard something shatter. On instinct, I held my breath, listening for sounds of my parents stirring. When I didn't hear anything, I began to finish climbing. As I got my other boot clad leg through, I heard footsteps shuffle to my room and then I saw the light click on.
"Taylor Anne McKessie! Where the hell do you think you're going?" My mother asked, incredulous. After 14 years of being the perfect child, she had caught me sneaking out. As I tried to think of something, Chad drove by and blew the horn. Discreet, I muttered. My mother angrily pushed me to the side, and saw Chad.
"You're sneaking out to go with Chad?" My mother asked in a calmer voice.
"Ye-ye-yes Ma'am." I stuttered, looking at my shoes. No doubt I was ashamed at being caught at such a mundane coming-to-age stunt.
"Why didn't you say so? You can go, just be home by 1 am." My mother answered, yawning. As she shuffled out my bedroom, I looked at her back baffled by her nonchalance of my sneaking out. I sat on the window seal contemplating the illogicalness of my mother's actions, until Chad blew his horn once again.
When I got back at 12:45 am, my mother was sitting at the kitchen table reading a book.
"Did you have fun honey?" She asked, not looking up from her book. I nodded my head and walked to my room, removing the skintight skinnys, tank top, and boots and replacing them with a night gown.
In the morning, my mother and I had the strangest conversation in my life.
"Taylor why didn't you tell me you wanted to go to the concert with Chad? I would've said yes. Sometimes I swear you think you're older than 14." My mother said, shaking her head.
"I thought you would say no, and I've never sneaked out before, much less to meet a boy." I sputtered, still baffled by her coolness.
"Well Taylor, this was with Chad. I know he wouldn't hurt you or let anything happen to you. Chad's a good boy that comes from a good family. I know you'll be in good hands. That boy loves you."
"I…um… How do you know he loves me?" I asked, weirded out by my mother's knowledge of my budding love life.
"Every time he looks at you, it's like he's never seen anyone like you. He'd give you the world if you asked for it." My mother sighed smiling.
As the conversation progressed that morning, I became more creeped out by my mother.
"I'm just saying men make mistakes Taylor, I talked to Mrs. Danforth the other day and she said Chad had finished packing for the U of A. She also told me for the past couple of months he's looked like he's lost his best friend. Not even Troy can cheer him up." My mother spilled, her voice easily showing her worry. You'd think she'd given birth to Chad and not me…
"Well my mom as much as I'd love to talk about my ex whom you love like your own child, I have work to do. I'll call you tomorrow." I said, hanging up the phone. You'd think because she was my mother, she'd be on my side. Apparently not.