Status: co-write!

In the Company

Switching Places and Promises

I spent the entire morning bored out of my tree. This was what I hated about being sick – I couldn’t go to work, I couldn’t really do anything, but I felt good enough to be bored of sitting on the couch watching reruns of How I Met Your Mother and the cartoons on the Retro channel.

More than once I caught myself about to text Brayden and see what was going on, just for some conversation. And every time I erased whatever I’d typed in and quickly set my phone down, unable to believe myself. I mean, I was the one who’d made the line and decided we needed to keep things where they’d been, yet here I was, trying to complicate things.

‘How you feeling?’ the text from Taylor came right around lunch, and I sighed happily, glad for someone to talk to.

‘Bored as hell… you?’

‘Just grabbing some lunch – everybody else wanted to go get fast food so I’m on my own. Want company for an hour or so?’ I squirmed happily at the thought of some human contact, and eagerly replied that I would be more than happy to have some company.

Fifteen minutes later Taylor was at the door, and I couldn’t help but hug him when he held out the takeout container that he told me held a grilled cheese and some chicken-noodle soup from Benny’s down the street.

“You are officially the best,” I told him, as we got comfortable next to each other on the couch to eat our lunch. Taylor popped in a movie, and by the time I was halfway through my lunch – about forty minutes into our movie – I was head-bobbing and struggling to stay awake. The antibiotics I took with every meal had that effect on me.

“It’s okay – just go to sleep. I make a good pillow,” the smirk on Taylor’s face had me rolling my eyes before yawning and taking him up on his offer, curling up and chuckling when he wrapped an arm around me.

“What?” I shook my head, not wanting to get into a playful argument at the moment with him about this. He and Max were forever trying to put an arm around Rose and I, as funny as it was.


I woke up in my bed, more than a little confused. As far as I could tell, I’d fallen asleep on the couch with Taylor at lunch, and looking over at my alarm clock it was nearly two thirty in the afternoon. I hadn’t really expected to sleep that long.

‘Hope you had a good nap – got a text from the guys to head back. Text me when you’re up’ the text on my cell from Taylor explained it for me, and I felt my face heat up at the knowledge that he’d carried me into my not-so-neat bedroom and tucked me into bed.

‘Thanks – you could have left me on the couch lol’ I quickly fired a text back, and received a smiley face and a ‘no problem’ from Taylor before I settled back into my blankets.

I watched Never Back Down to kill some more time, and around six the entire crew seemed to pile into our apartment, Rose in tow and looking less than impressed with what appeared to be a very apologetic Patrick. I couldn’t resist, and saw the attempts to hide smirks from Claude and Max.

“What’s wrong with you two?”

Rose turned to me, her cheeks flushing slightly. “Patrick threw my phone – out the window! Out the damn window!”

I couldn’t help it – I managed to hold it in for about five seconds then began to laugh. I could pretty much picture it – David hadn’t stopped calling or texting Rose since she’d called it off, and undoubtedly the boys had broken into her phone yet again and got all of the details.

“Oh God you two… and you guys all just let him?” I asked, and got a few sheepish looks.

“He keeps calling and texting and annoying the hell out of her,” Tyler mumbled, keeping his eyes on his feet.

“And the thought that she could just go get her number changed never occurred to you all?” I was enjoying this far too much, because usually it was me on the other end of Rose’s frustration from acting ridiculous. They all shuffled and mumbled some form of ‘no’ for me, and for Rose’s sake I tried to keep an almost straight face.

“I bought her a new one! It wasn’t like I just threw it and left it at that!” Patrick finally defended himself, and with a chuckle I walked past them to turn on the kettle and make a cup of tea. I hadn’t even realized Brayden was there until that point, when he quickly shuffled to the side to ensure he wasn’t in the way. I tried not to let it show on my face that the obvious move had affected me, and kind of tuned everyone out as I made myself a cup of tea.

“You all right?” I jumped, sloshing tea over the edge of my cup and onto the floor – hardly missing my foot – and turned to see Taylor standing beside me, Tyler just inches behind him. I coughed and nodded, before putting my tea down and moving to clean the spill.

“Fine, why?”

“Because you and Brayden are acting like awkward exes or something and it’s obviously bothering both of you,” Tyler piped up, and I sighed.

“We’re just… it’s fine. I’m fine, honest,” I insisted, and after a moment Taylor wrapped me up in a quick hug.

“You’re not fine Ry. If the two of us can figure it out it’s gotta be pretty obvious,” Tyler pointed out. I groaned, not wanting to get into this with them at this particular point in time.

“Look, please just drop it; I’m fine,” I repeated, but found myself in Taylor’s arms. Tyler had become like a brother to Rose during their time in Canada, and I was beyond glad for the fact. But I wasn’t used to having anybody trying to take that place in my life.

“You should have said something earlier Ry,” Taylor told me, and I had a weird sensation. You know that one that makes a shiver go down your back and you just know somebody else is in the room? That one.

“What do you mean, earlier?” it was unmistakably Brayden’s voice coming from just inside the kitchen, and it was all I could do to turn from Taylor to half-assed face him.

“I was here for lunch – when you guys all went for fast food I grabbed some deli food and came here to keep sickie company,” Taylor explained, squeezing my shoulders for emphasis. If he meant to make Brayden laugh – or chuckle, because we’d hardly seen him laugh – it didn’t work. Instead his expression crumpled before hardening. Immediately I knew what was going through his head, and wished Taylor hadn’t said a word.

“Oh, that’s cool,” his voice was stiff and quiet, and just as quickly Taylor seemed to realize the mistake in saying anything.

“I just came because she was bored – I texted her to see how she was doing,” he tried to explain, but just as I’d feared Brayden wasn’t hearing a single word of it.

“Yeah, of course. Why not?” he asked with a shrug, but the hint of sarcasm was there. For anybody else, it wouldn’t have been enough to worry about. But with Brayden, it told me a storm was brewing behind those blue eyes.

“Look, dude I—”

“No, it’s cool. No problem,” he insisted, before walking past us toward the door.

“Brayden wait…” I couldn’t give my voice any power, but he paused for a moment.

“Seriously, it’s fine,” was his cold response before he was out the door, claiming he forgot something in the car. The three of us stood shocked in the kitchen, and after a moment I realized that the conversation in the living room had died down as well. Keeping myself together was harder than I thought, and I felt Taylor’s arm slip behind me before he picked me up.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” he mumbled as he set me down gently on my bed, Tyler just a half-step behind him. Taylor was a little awkward, but Tyler immediately wrapped his arms around me and cuddled me into his side. He had sisters, and had undoubtedly dealt with them in similarly-ending situations.

“Ry?” I looked up to see Rose standing in the door, Claude, Max, and Pat all on her heels, and that’s when the tears won and started streaming down my cheeks.

“We got this,” Tyler insisted, and after a few more moments Patrick and Claude led Rose away from the door and presumably to the living room. I sat between the two of them, and let them rub my back and mumble comforting things while I cried.

“I-I’m s-s-sorry… you guys d-don’t have to d-d-o this,” I sniffled, but Taylor shook his head.

“Don’t be, it’s fine Ry,” he assured me, and rubbed my back.

“Rose is gonna be freaking out you know,” Tyler reminded me, and I couldn’t hold off the hiccup that came up.

“I know… b-but…” Taylor shook his head viciously, and Tyler shrugged at him. I knew they thought I wasn’t paying attention or didn’t see it, but I did.

“I’ll go check on her, see how she’s doing,” Tyler offered, and after another hug he got off my bed and went out to the rest of the apartment, leaving me with Taylor.

“I’m pretty sure Rose is his newest sister,” Taylor chuckled, and I nodded.

“Yeah, I’m glad for it. She needs a brother to look out for her with her brother so far away. I mean, I’m only so intimidating,” I managed to choke out.

“And you need someone to look after you sometimes too,” Taylor told me. I buried my face against his chest, unsure of what to say to that.

“I can take care of myself,” I mumbled into his shirt. I’d been doing it for longer than I cared to remember.

“I know that,” he rolled his eyes, before brushing a few tears away from my cheeks. “But nobody should have to do it all by themselves. It’s not a matter of whether you can or can’t take care of yourself – you just shouldn’t have to all the time.”

Taylor unknowingly choked me right up then and there and I began to cry again. It caught him off guard, and it took him a few moments to react and hug me tight.

“I’m sorry… I didn’t upset you did I?”

“No, god no,” I tried to chuckle a little bit, before sniffling and hugging him. “I’ve just never had anybody else to really look after me. I mean, when I was a kid, and then Rose… but that’s it.”

He paused, and I knew what he wanted to ask but wasn’t sure about asking.

“My parents died when I was nine,” I answered, and he swallowed hard before nodding. “And um, my grandparents weren’t exactly tickled pink about having me full time. I did anything and everything to try and lash out… and moved to New York two days after my graduation. I’ve been on my own since I was practically ten years old. It’s hard trying to let somebody else take care of me after that. Everybody always seems to leave.”

I began sobbing again at the end, and Taylor immediately began soothing me.

“It’s okay, it’s okay. That’s why you’re scared of letting Brayden mean anything to you, isn’t it?” he asked, and all I could do was nod in response. He sighed and kissed the top of my head before crawling under the covers and making himself comfortable.

“Not everybody’s gonna leave you Ry – we’re not. I mean, physically yeah I’m gonna have to go back to Edmonton,” I chuckled at his facial expression. “But I’m only going to be a phone call away.”

“Taylor… I… I don’t know if I…”

“Can believe me?”

“Yeah. I mean, no, but…”

“Yeah, you do – it’s okay Ry. I get it – after going through all of that I don’t blame you. But you have to try to trust us to realize that we’re not going anywhere to realize that we aren’t going to prove you right. That Brayden won’t prove you right – he really cares about you Ry,”

"And... and I... I care about him too," I whispered, and closed my eyes tight against the tears as Taylor pulled me in tighter, making himself comfortable and making it obvious he wasn't going anywhere tonight. As much as I knew it would probably make Brayden feel worse I didn't want Taylor to leave, and so cuddled into him and made myself comfortable.
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Hi everyone!

So, I apologize in taking so long to post this, but I really hope you guys enjoy this chapter! (And it's long... that's a good thing, right?) I found it kind of cool to actually show this part of Ry and everything that's going on, plus a little extra Taylor Hall never hurt anybody either :P

Let us know what you think!