“I cannot believe you lied to me,” I grumbled, clicking my high heel shoes on the kitchen linoleum as I headed out to the car. “What else are you lying about?”
“A whole buncha stuff,” Kade said from behind us.
“Shut up, Kade!” Taylor demanded, turning around and glaring at his cousin.
“A whole buncha stuff, huh?” I stopped near the doorway of the mudroom and glared at Taylor.
“Don’t listen to him.” Taylor put his arm around me and guided me toward his BMW. “Let’s go to prom and have a good time, okay?”
“Shouldn’t we at least talk about your dad being Kai freaking Burton?” I didn’t even try to hide my frustration of him lying about his family for the past two years.
“Yeah, let’s uh… talk in the car.” Taylor opened the passenger door for me. His nervous stutter was understandable considering how mad I was for him lying to me.
“We’ll meet you guys there,” I said to Maddie, who took the hint she and Kade should drive separately.
“Sure thing.” Maddie nodded then turned to Kade. “Kade, it’s your lucky night. You get to ride in my girl Ethel. My grandad restored this beauty when I was a little girl, and it’s gonna be all mine one day.” Maddie pointed at her Grandpa’s 1966 black Mustang convertible.
“Woah!” Kade exclaimed. “This baby is sweet.” Kade jogged over to Maddie’s car, inspecting it as if he knew something about cars. Maybe he did, or maybe he was just admiring it, how would I know since I’ve been lied to already about how they’re related to a famous rock star.
“Ready to go?” Taylor asked in a soft voice.
I could see the remorse in his eyes. I knew he loved me, and I loved him too, but I was still mad that he lied. I climbed into the passenger seat as Taylor rounded the front of the car to climb into the driver’s side and turned the key in the ignition.
“Oh wait, I almost forgot. I’ll be right back.” He left the car running and headed into the house, coming out with a small box tied with a gold bow. Looped through the ribbon was a rose charm for my bracelet. “That’s so we can remember our prom together.”
I pulled the ribbon away and opened the box to reveal an elegant corsage and matching boutonniere. They each had a singular red rose accented by small blush pink budding peonies. Held together with black ribbon and sparkling crystals, these weren’t the average corsage and boutonniere combo sold at the local flower shop. “Oh Tay, they’re beautiful.”
“May I?” Taylor pointed to the corsage and I nodded. He reached out, scooping up the corsage and sliding it onto my wrist. The red and soft pink complemented my black satin dress. I lifted the boutonniere and carefully pinned it to his tailored black tux.
Taylor lifted my hand to his lips and kissed it. “I love you, Gracie.”
“I love you too,” I said with a small smile, then lowered my brows. “We still have a lot to talk about.”
“I know.” He squeezed my hand once then let go and shifted the car into reverse. As we backed out of the driveway he asked, “So, what do you want to know?”
“Well, first, why didn’t you tell me who your dad was?”
“I didn’t want to be known as the son of a famous rock star. I didn’t want to be known as someone who had a lot of money because of who his dad is. I wanted to be known just for being me.”
“Okay, that’s fair. But why wouldn’t you tell me after we had been friends for so long?”
“I guess I just didn’t want our friendship to change, and I was worried you would treat me differently if you knew who my dad was.”
“Tay, you know me better than that.”
“Yeah, that’s true. I guess another reason is because I’ve gotten used to it just being my mom and siblings, then you and the tennis teams, and I just liked how life finally felt normal. You know?”
“Well, I can’t know for sure since I’m not related to a multi-millionaire rock star. But I can kind of see where you’re coming from.”
“Now you know why I am such a Buxton Peak fan.”
I laughed, “Yeah, I was just rolling with your obsession because it made you happy.”
“See, that is one of the many reasons I love you.”
I smiled, but then remembered why I was still angry. “Kade said there was a whole buncha stuff you were lying about. What else?”
Taylor was silent for a moment then sighed. “A few years ago, Kade did some things that were really mean to me and I’m having a hard time forgiving him. I’m actually surprised he wants you to know about our argument.”
“Well, maybe that’s a sign that he’s changed.”
Taylor grumbled. “I’m not convinced he’s changed.”
“Has he given you any reason to suggest he hasn’t?” I asked.
Taylor seemed to contemplate for a moment. “No, he hasn’t. I still don’t trust him.”
“Well, it seems to me that you are the only one still hurting from all of that.”
“Yeah, it seems that way,” Taylor grumbled again.
“Why do you think that is?”
“Because he has everyone else wrapped around his little finger.”
“Perhaps. Or maybe it’s because he actually has changed, and everyone else sees that, but you’re so caught up in how he wronged you that you won’t even give him a chance to be forgiven.”
“You’re probably right.” Taylor let out a long sigh. I reached over and squeezed his hand to show that I was supporting him.
We arrived at the event center and Taylor put the car in park. We both sat there, not moving. I wasn’t quite done with this conversation, and Taylor seemed to respect that. “Can you promise me two things?” I asked, breaking the silence.
“Definitely.” Taylor nodded and and looked over at me.
“One, can you try to be friends with your cousin again?” I asked. “From what he’s told me you guys used to be really close. I think he misses you a lot.”
Taylor raised his eyebrows then cleared his throat. “I’ll try. What’s the second thing?”
“I want you to promise that you won’t lie to me again. About anything. We need to be honest with each other if we want this relationship to work, which I do. I wouldn’t want to be dating a liar, let alone be friends with one.”
“Gracie, I do want our relationship to work. But there are things I’ve been hiding from you for years and I’m sorry.” Taylor gulped and took a deep breath. “I promise not to lie to you again. But promise that you’ll forgive me as you learn about my past.”
“Of course, I’ll forgive you.” I leaned over the center console and he met me halfway for a sweet kiss, at least it started that way. Taylor wrapped his hand around the nape of my neck, low enough that I wasn’t worried about my updo. He didn’t seem to be holding back his passion. I gripped my hands into his hair, pulling him closer.
We were interrupted by a knock on our windows and pulled away from each other to find Kade and Maddie standing outside the car.
“Are you lovebirds ready to go?” Kade asked with a smirk.
“Not really,” Taylor grumbled as he climbed out of the car. He shut the door, and pulled Kade aside. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I hoped Taylor was offering Kade forgiveness and renewed friendship.
Maddie stepped aside as I opened my door. “You okay, girl?” She draped her arm through mine as we walked into the event center, our dates trailing behind us, still deep in conversation.
I wanted to let them have this moment and turned my attention to Maddie. “Yeah, I’m good. How was your ride over here?”
“Oh, it was fantastic!” Maddie didn’t even try to contain her excitement. “Did you that Kade has been learning to play the guitar since he was six years old? His dad wanted to be sure he was a great player, and it came as no surprise that he was naturally talented at it.”
“Really?” I asked. “I didn’t know he’d started playing that young. I’ve heard him play and he’s definitely talented.”
I was still a little off since finding out Taylor had lied to me. I forgave him, but it didn’t change the fact that it hurt. Hopefully a prom full of fun, food, and dancing would be just the thing to take my mind off the drama and enjoy time with my best friend, who also happened to now be my boyfriend.
As Taylor and Kade hurried around us to open the doors, I decided to make this the best night of our lives.
Book Club Discussion Questions: Taylor's still hiding a whole lot of stuff from Gracie. Raise your hand if you think this is truly going to be the best night of their lives! (Okay, not a question, but still a good discussion topic!)