You can do this, everything is going to go just fine, Samantha thought as she walked along the stone path towards Taylor's front door. She gave herself a little pep talk before each and every case she went on, but none have ever been thing big or had this much hanging on the line. Pausing in front of the dark, red door, she let out a short breath before knocking lightly against it.
Within seconds Taylor was pulling open the door, her light brown hair in a high pony tail, a wide smile on her face. "Hi Samantha!"
"Good morning Taylor, how are you?" She asked, eyeing Taylor's white, strapless mini dress, immediately feeling under dressed in her jean shorts and a tank top.
"Great, I'm so excited about this," she gestured for Samantha to come inside. "Derek should be here shortly," she added in after glancing at a clock that hung on the wall.
Samantha settled down on the soft, dark brown Swede couch, her heart racing at the mention of Derek's name. "Actually Taylor, there is something I have to mention to you, I should've done it sooner but I didn't think it was a big deal. I hope you won't either."
"What is it?"
Sam clasped her hands together, focusing on Taylor's chin, away from the danger zone of her big brown, doe like eyes. "I actually kind of know Derek, it's nothing major, we just used to hang out a bit, some mutual friends," as she said the words she couldn't help but wonder when she became such a good liar. Although she already decided it would be best Taylor didn't know that her and Derek had been once together, once in love even, she knew Derek would react nothing less than shocked when he saw her there, and she had to prepare for that. If Taylor thought they had once known each other as friends, she might not be so suspicious.
Taylor let out a cheerful laugh. "That's it? That's fine, it might even help right?" Her smile looked so hopeful it made Samantha wish they could've met under different circumstances.
"It might," she tried to match Taylor's smile. She knew she seemed like a bad person, but it only seemed fair that she got a shot at the love of her life after helping so many people find theirs.
"How long does it usually take, once you get involved in the picture?"
"It varies from case to case, no two are exactly the same, but I'm incredibly good at what I do." It felt nice for her to say something that wasn't a lie.
Taylor nodded, her pony tail bouncing softly as a result. "Do you think one day I should tell him about this?" She laughed, seeming embarrassed. "Or is it better left between the two of us?"
"I've come to find that something's are worth keeping a secret. But if it works-" There was a loud knocking at the door, the sound pierced Samantha's heart like an arrow, causing her to swallow her words. He was here.
Even though it seemed humanly impossible for Taylor's smile to be any wider than it previous had been, at the sound of the door it was big Samantha wondered how her cheeks didn't hurt. "I'll be right back!" Taylor's voice was barely above a whisper as she raced towards the front door.
Samantha stood up as well, smoothing out her tank top and giving her hair one last fluff. She could vaguely hear them talking, but with how loud her heart was pounding in her ears she couldn't make out a thing. It took everything in her not to have her eyes at the door, watching them. There would be plenty of time for that, and right now she just had to appear relaxed.
"Derek, there is someone here I'd like for you to meet," Taylor's voice floated into the living room and Sam knew they were getting closer. "This is the friend I was telling you about, S-"
"Sam?" At the sound of his voice Samantha finally allowed herself to look up at him. He hadn't changed much in the nine months since she last saw him, if anything he looked even better than she remembered. His jet black hair had grown out quite a bit as it almost covered up his gorgeous dark blue eyes. He had on a white tank top that showed off his summer tan, as well as his toned arms; Samantha was dying to run her fingers tips down his over the muscles. She looked back into his eyes, which were clouded over in confusion.
She knew she needed to talk, but it felt like her lips were glued shut. Still, she was standing there looking like an idiot so she knew she had to do something, quick. "Derek, hi!" She practically barked out, coughing to clear her throat.
"You two know each other?" He asked, glancing over at Taylor who nodded. "Well, isn't that a small world."
Okay, so he didn't seem so excited to see her, but then again it was a huge surprise, he probably need to let it soak in. Samantha desperately wished she could talk to him alone, and she would, just not now. "It's nice to see you again." She gave him one of her charming smiles.
"We are old friends, we just haven't seen each other in some time," Taylor told him, reciting the cover story perfectly. "Samantha told me you two used to be friends, so I figured you wouldn't mind if she came with us."
Derek's eyes fell back on Samantha, causing her heart to skip a beat. "Friends, huh?" He was giving her a look, the 'you have some explaining to do' look. "Well, that sounds about right," he added in.
Sam did her best not to exhale a sigh of relief as he covered for her. He may not have been thrilled to see her, but he didn't correct her on the little lie, which had to mean something, and she was dying to figure out what. "So, should we head out?"
"Yeah, might as well to beat the morning rush. Are we all riding together? There is plenty of room." Taylor grabbed her car keys off the table.
"I think I am going to take my car, incase I have to head back here for a work emergency, but there is room in my car as well," she casually hinted.
"I'll ride with you, let me just grab my bags out of my car," Derek told Taylor, giving her a smile that immediately turned her checks pink. Samantha had nothing else to do but what them, feeling her stomach turn with jealously. "Drive safe Sam, we'll see you there," he added in before heading out the front door.
"Call me if you get lost or need anything. Are you going to be okay driving alone?" It was interesting that Taylor seemed more concerned about her than Derek did.
"I'll be fine, you have a nice ride," Sam gave her a confident smile. Derek could run away from her all he wanted to, once they were in the house together he wouldn't be able to hide.
When Samantha pulled her car into the drive way, she felt in much better spirits then when she had left Taylor's house, the ride alone had actually done her a lot of good. She rolled her window down, getting a better look at the house. It was a nice size white house, surrounded by palm trees and plenty of sunlight. Pushing open the door, she got out of the car, smelling the ocean before she could even see it. She closed her eyes, basking in the sun, inhaling the sweet smell of the water, feeling very at peace.
She walked up to the house, leaving her suitcases in the car. She had enough trouble getting them all into the car, she wasn't about to try to get them out, plus she knew Derek would be more than willing to help. Since she saw Taylor's car parked in the drive way, she skipped knocking on the door and just walked in, instantly amazed at how homey the place felt. It was giving off some positive vibes, which she took as a good sign. "Hello?" She called out, waiting for a moment for any responses. Nothing. She knew they had to be here, the car was here after all, and even if they had gone for a walk, they probably would've locked the door or called her to give her a heads up.
Then she heard it, a giggle, Taylor's giggle to be exact, wafting in from upstairs. Taking the staircase to the second floor, she walked into the wide, hardwood floor hallway. She looked to the right, then left, unsure of which way the giggle had come from. She then heard low mumbles, most likely Derek's voice, and turned in the direction of that. She was walking as softly as she could, but the wood was still cracking under her light footsteps. The first door she passed was closed, but the second was opened and she paused outside it, trying to glance in without being seen. There they were. Taylor was in the middle of the spacious room, laughing as Derek talked, too softly for Sam to make out what he was saying. Her heart sank slightly as they looked almost…intimate. Instinctively, she took a step back, the floor letting off a loud cracking sound as she did. Damn wood floors.
Derek started to turn around towards the doorway and Sam pressed herself against the wall in the hallway. She glanced at the closed door just a few steps away and started towards it as quickly as she could without making any noise. Wrapping her fingers over the knob, she opened the door enough for her to slide inside the bedroom. Once inside the room, she let out a shaky breath, the last thing she needed was for Derek to see her watching them, even though that was the whole point of her being here.
Derek's laugh echoed into the room, sounding more clear than when she had been in the hallway. She noticed a doorway on the side of the room, and as she peered inside, she saw it was a bathroom that connected the two rooms together. The door that lead into Derek's room wasn't completely shut, and Sam knew she would get a good view of them without them noticing her. It was a crazy idea, she knew that, but it was oh so tempting. So tempting, she had to do it. She squinted through the crack in the door, half relieved to see they were just talking. Derek was telling some sort of story, using his hands to exaggerate, and Taylor was just laughing her pretty head off.
"What the hell are you doing?" An angry male voice demanded from behind her.
Samantha gasped loudly, nearing jumping out of her skin. She whipped herself around, coming face to face with a guy standing a few feet behind her. He had his arms crossed against his chest, his bare chest as he was just in swim trunks. His light brown hair was plastered against his head, still damp from the water.
"I was just, um, I was…" She couldn't think of an excuse quick enough when he was giving her such an intense, angry gaze.
"Eavesdropping?" He suggested, shaking his head in disappointment.
"No!" She said loudly, finding her voice.
"Bryson?" Taylor said from behind her, even though Samantha hadn't even been aware they had opened the bathroom door. "What are you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same thing sis." Bryson said.
Taylor laughed. "We are staying here for a bit. I guess the more the merrier though. You know Derek already, and this is Samantha, an old friend."
"Well it would be nice if your friend wouldn't snoop around in my bedroom." Bryson said, his eyes flicking on Sam. Even though his eyes looked angry, they were also really pretty, a mixture of blue and green with splashes of gold.
She gave a weak smile, feeling her face get red in embarrassment. "I'm really sorry about that."
"That was my fault," Taylor piped in. "I didn't show her where her room was." She gave her brother a look. "Why don't you boys go start cooking on the grill, I'm going to show Samantha to her room."
Bryson nodded. "Come on Derek."
As Taylor lead Samantha down the hall towards her bedroom, she knew that even though she had only been around Bryson for a few minutes, he was going to make her job a hell of a lot more challenging. Thankfully she was never one to back away from a challenge.