Chapter 14: Let's Try This Again…


"Good night's sleep?" Nick asked, grinning as he walked into the bathroom.

Taylor, who was brushing his teeth, rolled his eyes and spit out toothpaste. "That was a pretty gay sleepover." He rinsed our his mouth then dried it with Nick's Barbie towel. "And this towel is uber gay."

Nick laughed. "It's totally cute, what you talking about?" he made his way over to the sink to wash his hands of excess gel. "Do you think Alex will be at school today?"

Taylor frowned. "He said he wouldn't, but he might surprise us." He brightened up and smiled. "You're a cool guy Nick, that's why he's so upset. Kinda sad we didn't have a sleepover before the shit hit the fan. I guess I've learned that I need to communicate with more people."

"Uh-huh." Nick dried his hands. "You antisocial bastard."

Taylor smiled. "You look like an idiot by the way."

Nick shrugged. "I think I look fabulously dashing." he replied shaking his head from side to side to show off his Jack Sparrow wig. "You're just jealous."

"Yeah, whatever." Taylor shrugged.

And so commenced the longest day of Taylor's entire miserable life. The walk to school was awkwardly quiet to say the least which gave Taylor time with his thoughts…something he definitely didn't want. People at school were dressed in absolutely absurd costumes but Taylor didn't notice them. First and second period were painfully slow. Taylor tried to focus on what was being taught but he couldn't help his thoughts going back to Joel over and over again. At break, he sat idly in the science hall while the homosexuals of Ferndou celebrated Halloween by scaring poor straight teenagers. Alex was nowhere to be seen and Nick was moping around the hall sadly.

Taylor's thoughts were driving him crazy. All his thoughts kept repeating themselves. What could he have done differently? What should he have done? What should he have said? Why did he get himself in this horrible mess in the first place? At the end of the day, Taylor was ready to collapse and that was exactly what he did once he was back in Nick's room. His whole life was falling apart around him and he didn't know what to do about it.

He felt a little bad taking over Nick's room but Nick didn't seem to mind. He was mostly out in the living room, giving Taylor privacy and dreaded time with his thoughts again. Time passed quickly as Taylor lay on the bed wishing the events of the day before away and willing the memories out of his mind. He must have been laying on the bed for hours because when he finally sat up he noticed the world beyond the little window in Nick's room had darkened and children had already begun walking around in their costumes, trick-or-treating. The doorbell had already rung a few times but Taylor didn't notice. It rung again now and Taylor expected to hear a chorus of "trick or treat!" but no such chorus was heard.

A few moments later, Nick walked in and switched the lights on which temporarily shocked Taylor out of his mopey daze. "Hey guess what?" Nick asked.

Taylor shrugged. "What? Please don't say chicken butt or I'll--"

Nick rolled his eyes. "No. Someone's here to see you. Cheer up a bit will you? Mopey doesn't suit you."

Taylor shrugged. "Well mopey is all I have the energy for right now." he said. "Who's here to see me anyways? If it's Krista tell her I don't have the capacity for her cheerful personality right now."

Nick shook his head. "Not Krista…" he sighed then opened the door. "Good luck by the way." he said, leaving the room.

The person who entered the room after him was so unexpected, Taylor almost gasped in surprise. Joel walked in, looking terribly awkward and confused. He closed the door behind him slowly, unable to meet Taylor's surprised gaze.

Oh my God. What do I do? What do I say? How do I not fuck this up? Questions were racing through Taylor's head. He was speechless. His body was visibly shaking which was probably not attractive and his eyes were probably wide in shock.

"Hi." Joel said quietly to break the silence. He wasn't looking at Taylor. He couldn't look at Taylor.

Taylor swallowed. "Uh...hi..." he replied. His voice was shaking along with his body. "Joel..." he took a deep breath. I have to apologize...he probably hates me. He had imagined this scenario so many times in his head and now he couldn't even remember what he wanted to tell Joel. He began talking fast, rambling like a madman. "I...I'm so sorry for deceiving you. It's not something I would usually do. I hate myself for doing it, you probably hate me now too. I was going to tell you but every time I tried it was so fucking hard because you'd say something and I'd just feel so awkward and nervous thinking about the consequences and then I'd feel bad after and hate myself but then I'd feel okay because..."

"You're rambling..." Joel pointed out, finally looking up. His face was expressionless.

Taylor couldn't tell if he was angry or not so he just stared at Joel blankly. That was really stupid...why'd I ramble like that? I never ramble...

Joel sighed. "I forgive you."

Taylor's wide eyes got even wider. "Huh?"

Joel smiled. "This is really hard...especially since I still think you're absolutely adorable...but I started getting to know you and I still want to know you. But I wanna know the real you if that's okay."

"Wait...you're not seriously..." Taylor began, not believing his ears.

"I liked you as a girl who's to say I won't like you as a boy?" Joel shrugged. "You're still the same person right?"

"Well, yeah but..." Without my weave and fake cleavage...Taylor thought. "Are you...serious?"

Joel shrugged. "I've done a lot of thinking and talking with people and I'm tired of thinking and talking. I'm kinda more of a do-er. Anyways…We have a party to get to, you better get dressed." He got up and left the room without another word.

A few seconds later, Nick walked in. "He's serious." He smirked.

Taylor blinked. "I think I'm gonna pass out."

"So...what should I wear?" Nick asked.

"You're coming too?" Taylor asked.

"Well yeah! Can't miss the chance to see my cousin being openly...experimental." he smiled.

"Oh..." Taylor smirked suddenly getting an idea. I need to call Krista. Meanwhile... "I think you should dress in drag. I have a skirt in my backpack."

"Drag?" Nick raised an eyebrow. "Do I look like you, Taylor? I can pick up guys without being a girl."

"Whatever. Do it anyways." Taylor said. "I'm giving up drag, obviously.."

"So who or what are you going as anyway?" Nick asked.

"I believe it would be fitting that I go as a normal teenage boy. It would be quite a costume for me." Taylor said, standing up. He felt like a huge weight had been lifted off of his shoulders. But there was something else he needed to do first. "Excuse me while I make a phone call."

Nick raised his eyebrow and nodded. "Yeah…quite a costume."


Taylor showed up at the party with Joel and Nick wearing low jeans showing off his heart boxers, and a red tee shirt with a coordinating baseball cap. He looked so typically boyish that Nick and obviously Joel had not even recognized him when he walked out of Nick's bedroom. He imagined it would have been quite an unpleasant shock for Joel to go from dating a girly girl to a full blown teenage boy but Taylor knew it wouldn't last, the way he usually dressed would soften the shock.

It was a bit awkward driving to the party. No one really knew what to say especially Taylor who had no idea where his and Joel's relationship was since it was now completely changed. He had so many questions running through his mind just like he did in the morning except these were hopeful questions. He and Joel were in a brand new relationship. They were starting fresh with no lies and no secrets which was good but Taylor was unsure how Joel would handle the situation that he was now dating a boy. Of course he had seemed a bit optimistic during their talk in Nick's room but Taylor knew he was still unsure about his decision and a little skeptical about how this will turn out.

The party was huge. It was held in a gigantic mansion-style home and dressed to look like a haunted house. The music was loud and inside lights were flashing all over the place, blinding Taylor while the music began to slowly give him a headache. He was still happy to be there anyways with Joel. He was happy to be anywhere with Joel. Even when Joel was dressed as a large banana.

"Jooooooeeeeeel!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" the scream was so loud that Taylor heard it miraculously over the music. What appeared like a pink haired drag queen was running towards them. Once close enough Taylor decided that it was not a drag queen since those boobs looked way too real.

Joel simply rolled his eyes. "Zoey. Hey." he said.

Zoey stopped in front of them. "Hey? Is that all you can say to me after all I've done for you? After all the grueling nights I've spent nurturing you and making you into who you are today?" she sighed loudly. "Ungrateful little boy!"

"She's drunk." Joel whispered to Taylor. It was the first thing he'd said since their conversation in Nick's room.

"I heard that!" Zoey yelled. "I am not drunk!"

"Yeah and I'm really a banana." Joel muttered. "I guess I'll introduce you when you're sober and have a chance of remembering the encounter."

Zoey looked completely confused. "Oh…" without another word she walked, no floated, back to the drink area.

Joel smiled. "She's not usually…"

"Drunk and obnoxious?" Nick suggested.

"Yeah." Joel replied. "Umm…I'm gonna go get a drink you want anything?" he asked Taylor.

"No, thanks." Taylor replied.

"How come you didn't ask me?" Nick whined.

"Because if I bring you home drunk your mom will murder me." Joel replied simply. He smiled then walked towards the drink area.

Taylor sighed. "This is too awkward."

Nick shrugged. "He'll warm up. I think."

"I sure as hell hope so." Taylor looked around, searching for Krista. After a few seconds of searching, he spotted her. "Come with me real quick, I need to um talk to my sister."

They walked together towards Krista. Taylor hoped that she had done what he asked her. "Krista!" he shouted over the music.

Krista turned around and smiled brightly at him. "Taylor!" she gushed.

"Is he here?" Taylor whispered to her.

Krista nodded and pointed to the seating area where Alex was sitting, drink in hand, obviously sulking. Taylor smiled at her. "Thanks so much."

"I gotta say, it wasn't easy." Krista said. "But I did it."

Taylor turned to Nick who he noticed was already looking in the direction where Krista pointed. "Hey, go make up with Alex already!" Taylor said, pushing Nick in the general direction of the seating area.

Nick frowned. "Taylor…I'm so nervous…"

Taylor smiled. "Don't worry. He'll be back with you in no time. I expect to see you dancing on the dance floor in oh, about 10 minutes at the most."

Nick rolled his eyes. "Optimism. I wish it were realistic optimism."


An hour into the party, Joel had asked Taylor to take a walk with him outside. Taylor had agreed because he needed fresh air and a break from the headache although he dreaded the conversation to come. Nick and Alex, as he had expected, had made up but were far from participating in the Halloween festivities. Taylor and Joel had just been sitting with a group of Joel's friends (including Zoey, Jello and Mikula) and Krista and Jamie. They were just listening to the loud conversation though Taylor wasn't really paying attention much. He was grateful when Joel asked him to take a walk.

They walked a few moments in silence until Joel broke the silence (Taylor was too scared to talk first) "Um…so how was school?"

"Miserable." Taylor replied, honestly.

Joel looked at him. "Why?"

Taylor shrugged. "I dunno because the whole day all I could think about was what I did to you and I was completely pissed off at myself."

Joel frowned. "Yeah my day was pretty miserable too."

"I thought you'd hate me." Taylor said. "You probably kinda do too but you're too nice to admit it."

Joel shook his head. "I can't hate you. Apparently I was too stupid to notice anyways so I guess it's not your fault."

"Of course it's my fault!" Taylor said quickly. "I should have never cross-dressed in the first place and even when you asked me out I should have said no and when I did say yes I should have told you I was a guy. But…I dunno there's just something about you…I couldn't and I should've but I didn't and I feel absolutely awful about the whole situation and it's totally my fault and I--"

Joel smiled, "You're rambling again." he pointed out.

"I'm sorry." Taylor sighed. "I'm sorry for rambling and I'm sorry for being a deceiving asshole. You can admit that you hate me now. I know I hate me so I don't blame you if you decide you hate me now--"

Joel stopped walking. "Taylor."

Taylor stopped next to him. "What?"

"Will you shut up already?" Joel asked.

Taylor simply stared at him. They were far enough from the party that the air around them was quiet enough that they could even hear each other's breathing. They were standing quite close to each other and Taylor could smell Joel's cologne mixed with the coolness of the fresh night air and Joel's usual beachy smell. It was intoxicating. He wished Joel would lean in and kiss him right now. He needed it. He needed to feel Joel, to know this was real and that Joel still wanted him even with all the lies and deception. But he didn't just need it, he wanted it. He wanted it now more than anything.

He was leaning in closer, subtly, but enough that their shoulders brushed. "Joel…" he murmured, looking up into Joel's beautiful big blue eyes. Joel looked uncertain and a little scared, but once his eyes connected with Taylor's the fear was gone and the uncertainty was lessened. He brushed Taylor's cheek lightly with the back of his fingers as if testing the water.

This was too much for Taylor. It was driving him crazy, the closeness, the touch, the smell. He could barely restrain himself from jumping on Joel and kissing him wildly. Taylor had no idea how much he missed kissing Joel and now it was killing him.

Joel leaned in slowly inching their faces closer and closer with a painfully slow pace. Finally, their lips touched and Taylor's eyes instinctively closed. The kiss was slow and steady with a surge of passion. Joel had never kissed Taylor like this, it was unlike any kiss he had ever had with anybody. Taylor melted instantly in the kiss, relieved to finally have Joel's lips on his. The intensity of the kiss increased as Taylor struggled to make more contact, his arms moving up Joel's body as Joel's arms tightened around Taylor's waist, bringing them closer.

After a minute they separated, breathless. "So is kissing me the same or different now?" Taylor couldn't help himself from asking.

Joel looked at him, wide eyed. "God, better I think." he said breathlessly, grabbing Taylor and pulling him into another kiss.


Author's Notes: There's supposed to be an epilogue of sorts, but I dunno if I have the time/patience to write one so there might be one there might not. But yeah, I must say that we're all lucky that this one made it here, at least it provides a bit of closure to the story.

Hurrah for semi-closure!

please forgive me for the lack of updates. I actually don't have any excuse but laziness and forgetfulness. Thanks for looking anyways :)