After turning off the microphone Ryan sighed. This was a very risky thing for him to do and he just hoped it was the right one.
When he finally turned back to where his friends where standing he saw both Summer and Kathy with tears coming down their cheeks at either side of Seth, clinging onto his shirt.
"Well? What do you think? Do you think she liked it?" – Ryan asked his friends.
"That was beautiful! I swear that if she doesn´t take you back I will bitch-slap her and then I´ll come back to give you my number" – Kathy said, winning an annoyed stare from Summer.
"It was perfect!" – Summer said looking at Ryan – "I´ve couldn´t have done it better myself. Now, get out there and kiss her senseless."
"Yeah bro, it was a nice speech. You go ahead and I will take care of the cry-baby twins"
"Hey!" - Both of them said.
"And remember, be cool!" – He heard Seth said while walking out.
Getting to where Taylor was proved to be easy because the crowd would make way for him when they saw him approaching. He walked towards her, looking at her face but she was very still and gave nothing away so he started to panic again.
Ryan was finally face to face with Taylor. He held her gaze and reached for her hands.
"So, what did you think?" – He asked with an impish tone more out of nervousness than anything else.
"Ryan, we´re in the middle of a bank in a mall, Are you crazy?"
"When it comes to you… yeah, I guess I am. But you haven´t answer my question. Would you be my girlfriend?"
"You know that it is the first time you have actually asked me that, right?"
"Ryan, have you really thought about this? What about the distance between us?"
"We´ll skype and call and text each other everyday"
"What about the time difference?"
"We can adjust"
"How about the lack of, you know… – she turned her voice down – … sex? Won´t you be tempted to get it from somebody else?"
"Me neither. Besides, I know we can work around it somehow because you´ve proven to be very creative in that department" – he said with a devilish smile.
Taylor blushed but smiled, too.
"Are you sure you won´t be running for the hills again? Because I don´t think I can take watching you walk away from me one more time."
"I swear, I won´t" – he said looking intently into her eyes, trying with all his might to make her see he was completely and totally honest.
"So, what do you say?"
Taylor started to cry because she couldn´t hold it for much longer. She smiled and nodded.
"Is that a yes?" – Ryan asked hopefully
"Yes, the answer is yes."
Ryan felt like his heart was going to explode. He released Taylor´s hands to wrap his arms around her waist and pulled her towards him. Then, he searched her lips with his own and gave her a soaring kiss. It started out a little rushed and very passionate but then it turned sweet and deep. That public display of affection won them another collective round of aawws and applause from the crowd and a few catcalls too.
After what felt like a long magnificent time, they pulled apart. Ryan gently kissed Taylor´s forehead and hold her in a tight embrace and she sighed happily basking in the warm and love she felt.
Ryan looked Taylor in the eye and said "I love you"
"I love you, too"
Kaitlin, Summer and Seth had been beaming at them the entire time and when they saw that the big moment had passed, they approached them to congratulate them. Kathy came close behind and also congratulated them.
"Taylor, this is Kathy. She is the one that helped us" – He said taking Taylor´s hand in one of his own and signaling Kathy with the other.
"Nice to meet you Kathy and thank you"
"It´s nice to meet you, too and you´re welcome. You´re a very lucky girl"
"I know" – Taylor said with a big smile looking at Ryan and squeezing his hand.
"I´m the lucky one, for sure – Ryan said rubbing Taylor´s hand with his thumb - Didn´t you get into any kind of trouble because of this?" – He asked Kathy
"Just a little bit but the manager was so moved with the speech and nobody complained so she is letting this one slip. I´m going to be on probation for a couple of weeks, though. No biggie" – she shrugged it off – "I have to go now. It was great meeting you and congratulations again, bye"
"Bye, Kathy" – they all said in unison
"Ok. What do we do, now?" – Kaitlin asked while skimming the room. She noticed a rather funny looking man, he looked kind of lost. Everybody noticed the confusion on her face and looked to where she was looking.
"What is it?"- asked Summer
"That man looks like he needs help. He looks kind of lost. Maybe he ran away from a mental institution or he´s one of those old people who forget their names"
"I´m sure he´s fine" – Seth said rolling his eyes – "Let the poor man alone"
At that moment, the man opened his jacket and pulled out a gun. "EVERYBODY DROP TO THE FLOOR!" – He screamed at the people in the bank.
There were screams and people running and throwing themselves to the ground everywhere. Kaitlin, Summer, Seth, Taylor and Ryan did the same. As Seth was between Kaitlin and Summer he opened his arms and placed them protectively over their shoulders. Ryan was a little further away holding Taylor and covering her with his own body as some kind of shield.
Ryan was starting to get annoyed with fate. Just when this day had finally made him think that things were looking better for him, this had to happen. For the moment, his anger with destiny will have to wait as his main concern right now was to make sure that nobody got hurt and that Taylor and his friends could go back home safe and sound. He just hoped that this man wasn´t crazy enough to use his gun.
TO BE CONTINUED…