That year Thanksgiving was eventful for Taylor, by the time she arrived home from the mall with Kristal, her brothers all knew about her two offers. Jake was pulling for Matt, since they were friends. Ryan claimed he didn’t care, but kept hinting towards her going with Aaron. Greg just plain bugged her. All he did was ask her who she was going to go with, over and over and over.
“Greg, leave me alone,” she snapped at him after a round of him asking.
“Come on, you have to be getting close to a decision.”
“Not since the last time you asked me, twelve minutes ago,” she rolled her eyes at him.
“Fine,” he harrumphed and crossed his arms.
“Who are you taking?” She asked deciding to shift the attention onto him.
“I’m thinking about asking Kristal, but I’m not sure yet.”
“What? Do you have a thing for my best friend?” Taylor asked with a conniving smile.
“Hey, I thought I was your best friend,” he said shooting her a mock hurt look. To which Taylor rolled her eyes again. “Fine, I sort of do, I don’t know… I need a date, so why not with her.”
“Because I already know her, and hang out with her, and stuff… I don’t know,” he said clearly becoming uncomfortable.
“Ask her then, she what she says, it may turn out to be true love,” she laughed as she gave him a teasing look. Now it was his turn at the eye roll. He pushed her then left the room to make a phone call.
“Omigoodness! Taylor! I can’t believe it, I’m going to the dance with Greg!” Kristal gushed into the phone later that night.
“I heard,” Taylor answered her less than enthusiastically.
“Tay, what’s wrong?” Kristal asked coming down from her happy cloud.
Taylor sighed loudly, “I don’t know, it just seems that everyone else is pairing up… and I can’t pick who I want to go with.”
“I still say Matt, plus I heard that Kellie is trying to get Aaron to ask her,” Kristal relayed the latest gossip.
Taylor tried to stop the surge of jealousy that flowed through her when she heard this, but couldn’t help it. Maybe she should just go with Matt, and let Aaron go with Kellie, they’d probably all be happier that way.
“Alright,” she interrupted, “I’ll go with Matt.”
“Really?” Kristal asked, slightly surprised. “I thought for sure you were going to say Aaron.”
“What? I thought you wanted me to go with Matt,” Taylor said confused.
“Well, I do, but I just figured you’d go with Aaron, since you two are already in love with each other,” Kristal stated carefully.
“We are not,” Taylor said, “So does this mean I should go with Aaron?”
“No, I never said that, look Tay, this should be your choice, not mine or anyone else’s. Follow your heart, I’ll talk to you later okay?”
“Fine,” she sighed again and hung up the phone more perplexed than before.
Saturday afternoon Matt was over at the Scott house again. When Taylor was alone with him in the kitchen she decided to go for it and tell him yes.
“Really?” he asked slightly astonished.
“Yeah, I think we’ll have fun,” she smiled at him.
“I thought Aaron asked you.”
“He did, but I don’t want a commitment or anything, plus I don’t want to ruin our friendship,” she shrugged as she told him what she had been thinking.
“Well I’m honored,” he smiled and they walked back to the living room together.
“And the verdict is…” Greg said when they sat down.
“I’m going to go with Matt,” she told her nosy brothers.
“Ha! I knew it, pay up,” Jake said to both of his brothers.
“You guys were betting?” she asked in shock looking at all of them. They all nodded, Ryan and Greg with guilty looks and Jake with a smile. Taylor rolled her eyes and turned her attention back to the game.
“So I heard you’re going with Matt,” Aaron smiled at Taylor the next day at church.
“Yeah, I’m sorry, I just don’t want to complicate our friendship. I like you Aaron, really I do, but I just don’t want a boyfriend right now.”
“We could have gone as friends,” he said with another slight smile.
She shook her head slowly. “It’s not that easy, especially since I already like you,” she told him.
“Okay,” he nodded and looked at her. “I heard that Kellie wants to go with me anyway,” he said his teasing grin back.
“I heard that too,” she laughed. “You should ask her,” she said as the beginning music started to play.
“Maybe,” he shrugged as they went to find her brothers.
“So are you guys busy tonight?” Kellie asked Kristal and Taylor on Tuesday the following week at school.
“I don’t think so, why?” Taylor answered, she had heard that Aaron had invited her and she had of course said yes.
“I still need a dress, I didn’t get one, because I wasn’t sure if I was going to go. But now that Aaron and I are going I need to get something,” Kellie rambled on and on.
“Yeah, I need to get some stuff too, Tay?” Kristal asked giving her and knowing look.
“Right, I think I do need a new dress, all my others remind me of Charles,” she said forcing out a smile.
“Great, maybe Jen can come too,” Kristal suggested changing the object of interest.
“I’ll go find her,” Taylor offered jumping up.
Jen said she still needed shoes, her best friend Macy decided to tag along; so the five of them scoured Kohl’s that evening.
Taylor was in the middle of trying on a dress when her cell phone ran. She had left her bag in the sitting area with Kristal and listened as her friend’s perky voice greeted the caller.
“Well hi there, Matt, no this is her very best friend Kristal. She’s kind of busy at the moment,” she said trying to stifle her giggle. “Can I take a message?” she asked then waited for him to respond. Suddenly Taylor heard a gasp and Kristal assuring him that she’d have Taylor call him.
“Kris? What’s wrong?” Taylor asked, still frozen from when she heard the gasp.
“His grandmother just died,” she said after a slight hesitation. “He’s not going to be able to come to the dance.”
“Oh my goodness, I have to call him,” she said as she quickly changed back into her own clothes.
“Calm down a little, Tay,” Kristal advised as she handed over the cell phone.
Taylor grabbed it, but didn’t register what Kristal said, she flew out of the store and looked for a quiet place to call him back. She dialed and waited for him to answer. He informed her that he had to go out of town, and was incredibly sorry, but Taylor told him not to worry about her. When she hung up she noticed Jen standing a few yards away.
“You okay?” she asked walking a little closer.
“Not really, the dance is in to days and I’m date-less again… and I am NOT going on a pity date!” she said pointing her finger in the air for emphasis.
“What about Jake, he’ll still be in town, right?” Jen asked optimistically.
“That would qualify as a pity date,” she pointed out.
“No it wouldn’t, plus Greg and Ryan are both going to be at the dance, so Jake will be sitting at home all lonely,” Jen explained to her.
“But he’s my brother.”
“And he’d be honored to take you, if you asked him to.”
As if he had been listening in on their conversation her phone came to life with his special ring tone. He told her he had just talked to Matt. She told him that it was alright and asked if he wanted to go with her, he of course said yes. She felt a little better as she went back into the store, but was still sort of bummed.
“We are not getting our picture taken!” Taylor protested as the group moved toward the photographer, on December 1st.
“How about the four of us then?” Jake pleaded with her. She finally agreed, but only after all three spent a few minutes begging. After that picture Kristal suggested that they get one group shot to remember the evening. Taylor had to agree to this since everyone started to crowd in around her. Somehow once everyone was in focus, she was practically on top of Aaron. The photographer made them stand there for five shots before he got one he liked.
Finally they headed back to their table and shortly after the music began to play. She glanced over at disk jockey table at the same time as Jake, and saw Charles spinning.
“Looks like he couldn’t get a date either,” Taylor whispered to her older brother.
“You have a date.”
“Right,” she rolled her eyes. Not hearing any of this Greg stuck his head between them and asked his favorite twin sister for a dance. She laughed and followed him out to the dance floor.
Later after she had danced with each of her brothers multiply times, Jake asked Kellie if she wanted to dance. Which left Aaron and Taylor standing on the dance floor looking at each other.
Aaron held out his hand and smiled just as the song changed. Taylor froze.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, but she couldn’t answer him, she just left him standing there and made her way to the closest exit. Aaron followed behind her closely wondering what had happened.
“He has some nerve, I was having fun and then you… then he…” she dramatically threw her hands up in the air. Which Aaron grabbed and told her she wasn’t making any sense. She inhaled deeply the exhaled slowly.
“What’s wrong?” he asked again, still holding her hands.
“As soon as he saw us together he turned that song on,” she explained slower.
“First off who’s he?”
“What did he turn on?”
“He started to play our song, as soon as he saw you and me dancing,” she explained the rest to him.
“Our song?” he asked letting go of one of her hands and gestured to the two of them.
“No, me and Charles, our old one, he knew it would get to me,” she said throwing up both hands again.
“Then don’t let it, come on let’s just go back in there and show him he can’t phase Taylor Scott.” He told her standing up.
She let out a small laugh, “I don’t know if I can do that.”
“I’ll help,” he said with an appealing smile, as he placed his hands on her shoulders. She looked up at him just as a light snow started to fall. They both looked up, but something else caught her eye and she blushed.
“Is Taylor Scott blushing? It’s amazing,” he joked with her. “What in the world could make you blush?”
She pointed straight up, but didn’t take her eyes off Aaron’s face.
“Mistletoe?” he laughed.
“Shut up,” she pushed him backwards. “There, we are no longer under it.”
“I think it still counts,” he grinned and closed the distance between them. But to both their surprise he just lightly kissed her on her cheek.
“Come on, the song is probably over,” he grinned and opened the door for her. She walked back to their table in embarrassment. No one was there, but the two of them sat down anyway. Taylor scanned the crowd dancing, looking for Kellie. They may have been friends, but Taylor still knew the jealous temper Kellie was known for. But to her surprise she was still dancing with Jake.
A few minutes later the two of them were also back at the table. Aaron and Jake offered to go get drinks and Kellie could not stop her gushing.
“Man, your brother is so amazing, I wish Aaron hadn’t asked me,” was just one of the many things she said.
“Hold up, I thought you like Aaron,” Taylor said holding up her hand to stop Kellie.
“I did, until I met Jake,” she said looking over at where they were standing. When the guys got back to the table Taylor pulled Jake away quickly.
“What did you do?” she demanded.
“What are you talking about?” he asked in the same tone.
“Kellie is pretty much in love with you, what did you do to her?” she asked again poking her finger at his chest.
“I didn’t do anything except dance with her,” Jake told her honestly.
“She’s my age, Jake!”
“I know that, calm down a little would ya? I never said I liked her.”
“But do you, because then she wont be mad at me,” she said quickly.
“Wait, you want me to like her?”
“Yes…no… argh! I don’t know,” she sputtered.
“You just don’t want to admit that you like Aaron,” he said figuring her out. “That’s the real problem here!”
“I don’t know, I mean he’s become a really good friend and I don’t want to ruin that… plus I don’t want to deal with another boyfriend right now.”
“Why don’t you just get through tonight, and deal with everything else tomorrow,” he said pulling her into a big brotherly hug.
The rest of the night went as well as a high school dance could go.
Taylor wandered into the kitchen the next morning sniffing the sweet smell.
“Something smells delicious!” she smiled at Ryan, who was standing behind the island mixing a batch of cookies.
“Glad you think so,” he grinned at her.
“Do I smell brownies?” she asked pulling the carton of orange juice from the fridge.
“Yep, Greg volunteered me to cook for the church bake-sale this afternoon, but forgot to wake up to help,” Ryan laughed and rolled his eyes. Of all the Scotts, Ryan was the most level-headed, and able to keep a girlfriend the longest.
“I can go get him,” Taylor suggested as she poured herself a glass.
“That’s alright, I’ve got you now,” he grinned again. She laughed and started scooping up cookies to cook. She managed to eat quite a bit, without Ryan catching her.
About five minutes after Ryan pulled the last batch from the oven Greg moseyed into the kitchen, a guilty expression covering his tired face.
“Sorry, I forgot,” he said when he saw them cleaning up.
“You get to clean up,” Ryan told him as they both threw their dishcloths at him. Taylor left them and went upstairs to get ready for the day. After her shower she found Jake nosing around in the bedroom.
“What are you doing?” She asked as she started putting clean clothes away.
“What are these still doing up?” Jake asked ignoring her question, pointing to three pictures of her and Charles she hadn’t taken down.
“I don’t know, I just haven’t gotten around to taking them down,” she shrugged, after looking to see what he was talking about.
“May I?” he asked his voice filling with a mix of determination and pleasure.
“Have all at it,” she rolled her eyes.
“Do you have anymore?” he asked once his task was finished.
“Yeah, probably. Why?”
“Get them and meet me downstairs in like ten minutes,” Jake said with an evil grin. “Bring any others you still have of any other exes.”
Ten minutes later she was downstairs with all three of her brothers. They were standing outside all holding a handful of papers.
“What’s going on Jake?” Taylor questioned as she got closer to them.
“You listen to country music, right?” he asked, ignoring her question again.
“Taylor Swift has this song, it’s called Picture to Burn, it’s all about old boyfriend and stuff. My friend Jessie loves it, sings it all the time.” He explained to his perplexed siblings.
“We’re going to burn these pictures?” Taylor asked finally catching on.
“Sweet!” Greg smiled widely.
Jake started the fire and looked at each of them intently before speaking again.
“Alright, once these pictures are gone we will be free to move on--” he looked pointedly at Taylor. “Some of us already have, but this will be like a closing ceremony.”
Taylor rolled her eyes and looked at Ryan to see what he was thinking. He was just trying to contain his silent laughter. Which of course got Taylor started, then Greg.
“Guys, come on just do this. On the count of three everyone throw one picture in,” he said, making them all sober up a little.
“One…” Ryan said, still laughing.
“Two…” Greg said next.
“THREE!” Taylor finished, and they all threw a picture into the fire pit. They spent the next fifteen minutes riding themselves of all the old memories. When Taylor was out of pictures she looked at her brothers again.
“I don’t have any left,” she informed them. Ryan and Greg both said the same, but Jake still had three pictures left in his hand. A slow smile crept onto his face.
“Tay, I think we need to do this as much as you do, guys,” he smiled as he handed each of his brothers one of the three pictures he had pulled off Taylor’s wall prior to their flaming event.
“Guys, at least rip me out of it,” she pleaded before the dropped the pictures.
“Good idea, I don’t want to liberate myself from you, Kid,” Ryan said with a chuckle as they all ripped the pictures.
Taylor watched as Charles’ face slowly disappeared in a blaze, and had to smile. She had to have the best three brothers in the world!