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Taylor Reed

"I just want everything to go back to the way it was."

0 · 162 views · located in Coon Falls, Virginia

a character in “Shatter Me”, as played by shatari19

Description

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Image



Image



Image








Name
Taylor Collin Reed


Age
6


Gender
Male


Appearance
Image
View above pictures. Taylor takes after his father. He, too, has dark colored hair and blue eyes. He's a bit on the short side for his age but with some time he could catch up to the rest of the kids. Taylor dresses much as any other six year old would.


Personality
Taylor has begun to withdraw into himself ever since his mother left. Its only gotten worse since his father began hiding away from the children. Before recent events, Taylor was a very happy and loud child. He was always running about the house with his younger sister or getting into some sort of trouble.

Likes
+His dad
+His Grandparents
+His Sister
+Laughing
+Coloring
+Playing Pretend
+Chocolate



Dislikes
+Being Outside
+Being yelled at
+Veggies
+His Mother
+Cats



History
Taylor was born to Darrin and his former wife, Hannah. For two years he was an only child. The only thing that mattered to the adults. Soon, though, his parents sat him down trying to explain to him that he was going to be a big brother. Taylor takes being a big brother very seriously, always looking out for Nichola. From the very beginning, his parents would always comment about how close he was to his younger sister. They've only gotten closer since the disappearance of their mother.

So begins...

Taylor Reed's Story

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Kris Manser Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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What time it was..or even what day, Darrin had no idea. As of late, he was so drugged up he could barely keep up with the days or time. He couldn't even recall the last time that he'd actually gone downstairs to see any of his family. His mother would still come up to his bedroom to try and speak with him, or to try and convince him to leave the room. At one time, he would have been thankful for his mother's constant pestering. Not anymore. Due to the large amounts of alcohol and pills that he would take, he couldn't stand the constant pestering. He would often lose his temper with his mother. He'd recently began locking himself in his room. He didn't want to see anyone. He felt as if he was slowly loosing everything that he'd ever had. As Darrin lay in his large bed, merely starring up at the ceiling, he wondered..why had Hannah left him..them? He'd always given her everything that she ever wanted. He could see no reason for her to leave him nor their children.

As he'd just woken up, Darrin had yet to take anything since that morning. He was able to recall that his mother had attempted to get him to eat at some point though he'd refused. Gently sitting up, Darrin looked over to the nightstand. On top of it sat a beautiful lamp, a clock, a pill bottle, and a large glass container that held some forgotten kind of alcohol. Gently rubbing his face with a hand, Darrin debated with himself for a moment. Of course he knew that he shouldn't be taking the pills or drinking so much, but it helped him to forget the past three years. In the rare moments that he wasn't out of it, Darrin did feel terrible about ignoring his children. He was no good at being a husband nor at being a father. Just these thoughts were enough to drive him to quickly pop a few pills and drink a few shots of the very strong alcohol.

It wasn't long before Darrin began feeling the effects of the mixture. Slowly, he laid back down on his bed, pulling the blankets up and over his head. Darrin recalled the events that happened nearly three years ago, as he closed his eyes.
When Hannah had disappeared that awful day, Darrin had been worried sick. She had been supposed to pick the kids up from school and had just never shown up. Luckily, the kids teacher had called Darrin to let him know that she still had his children. He'd picked them up, at first being quite angry that Hannah hadn't picked them up. He'd taken them home, fixed them something to eat, made sure that they finished their homework, and put them to bed...and still no Hannah. It was by then that he'd really started to worry. Darrin had begun calling her phone, calling her family. No answer and her family hadn't heard from her that day. Becoming frightened for his wife, he called the police. They wouldn't be able to do anything for forty eight hours.

Darrin had stayed up most of that night, worrying. In the morning, he had had to get his children ready for school and take them there. He'd called Kris Manser, his closest friend, to let him know what was going on. By around noon, he received a text message from Hannah. All that she said was that she no longer loved him, the kids. She needed a life of her own. Darrin felt his world collapsing around him. His entire being belonged to Hannah and she didn't love him. He didn't know how to react. Slowly, as the next few days passed by, Darrin found himself not being able to really take care of his children properly. He had called his mother, asking her to watch them until he decided what he was going to do. Judith had flown out to the family's large home in California. She'd spoken for a long time with Darrin. She could not believe what Hannah had done. She attempted to comfort her son, to no avail. He was too far brokenhearted. She took her grandchildren and flew back to Coon Falls, keeping them at her small home.

Darrin stayed in California for another three months before he'd completely stopped caring about his career. He tried to leave the band, though his bandmates wouldn't hear it. Darrin resorted to calling them extremely hateful names, saying hurtful things. The other men became very angry with Darrin and at the time had not cared that he was leaving them. Darrin flew to Virginia to be with his family. He told his mother that they would be living in his large home that was located on the outskirts of the town. At first everything seemed to be all right. Darrin had seemed to be holding up as well as could have been expected. Slowly, as Judith would come over to the house everyday, she would notice that Darrin was usually drunk or had been taking some sort of drugs. He'd lost weight, didn't seem to care about his appearance, his eyes were usually bloodshot. His behavior had begun to change as well. Darrin had begun to have a bad temper, he'd lost any interest in singing or practicing his guitar, he was trying to push many people away from himself. Judith was beginning to worry about her son. No matter what Judith or her husband Mick said to Darrin, he just wouldn't listen to them. It had gotten to the point that Judith was staying at Darrin's home all the time. She was afraid to leave the children alone with the messed up man.
As he lay there, un-moving, Darrin could hear Taylor and Nichola running down the long hallway. He wanted so badly to be there for the young children..but how could he be when he couldn't even help himself?

Darrin fully snapped out of his thoughts when his mother began banging upon the door. "Darrin? I've got to run to the store for a bit and you'll need to watch Nichola and Taylor." His mother called from the hallway. He said nothing for a long moment. "Darrin! I know you're in there." She called again. Darrin sighed softly before dragging himself out of the bed. "Go ahead. I'll be out in a minute." He finally replied. He could hear his mother going back down the steps to the main floor of the house, no doubt to bid his children goodbye. He quickly changed into something fresher. He ended up with converse, jeans, a black band shirt, and a black hoodie. Darrin pulled the hood up to cover his once brilliantly colored red hair that was now beginning to fade.

He then made his way down the stairs to the living room where he was almost certain his children were. As he entered the room, he saw them on the floor watching cartoons. They glanced at him though said nothing. By now they knew better. He was, most of the time, completely out of it and they most often received no answer from him. He took a seat on one of the couches, turning his gaze to the tv. He had no idea how long his mother would be gone but she couldn't get back soon enough. His children were both quite good. They most often played together or simply watched tv. It was not often that he had to discipline them. Suddenly, Darrin heard the door being unlocked. He checked the time and realized that there was no way his mother was back already. Perhaps she'd just forgotten something. He decided not to worry about it. The door opened and closed and still the man did not turn. His children, however, did, looking to see who had entered the large home.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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Jessica stood outside his house, twiddling with the piece of paper and the key Judith gave her; the very things she would need to get into that house- his house. Hell, Jess had a very good reason to be nervous; the last time she had seen Darrin was when she was practically 200 lbs and looked like she bathed in bacon grease- not to mention she had a crush on him. Huh, that was an understatement, even Jess could see that herself; she just didn’t have a crush on him, she was freaking infatuated with him. He was the only boy throughout her childhood that actually spoke and didn’t say mean things to her.

With a sigh, Jess began to walk up the drive way that led to his house; trying to convince herself that he wouldn’t remember that fat girl who followed him around all the time like a little duckling. By the time she reached his door, she became confident that there was no way he could recognize her; she was completely different now. Pausing in front of the door, she decided to take a look in the windows; you know, just to make sure there wasn’t anyone initially in the room.
When she cupped her hands against the glass, a small and pretty little fair girl popped her head up; her face, was at first confused, but suddenly became happy as she smiled, waving profusely. Suddenly, Jess’ nerves cooled when she saw Nichola’s happy face; it was no use to try and be tense around a pretty little girl like her. Jessica smiled back, which sent Nichola back to the floor where she resumed the coloring.

She sighed, taking in a deep breath and bracing herself, she took a step away from the door and readied herself, gripping the tan bag she held on her shoulder that had various of activities- including the children’s homework and some movies she, herself also liked that would equally be educational for the kids instead of those mindless cartoons they seemed to be watching.
Jessica walked back towards the door, taking in the large house and wondering how she would be able to manage in this mansion- speaking of which, it was a mansion. Due to her nerves, Jessica had barely notice the huge house, and had no idea it was actually this big and beautiful. What the hell would she do if she got lost? According to Judith, Darrin had been so depressed, he barely left his room; would she have to rely on the kids or Judith to find her? What if she actually died? Disliking the melodramatic turn her mind had taken, exaggerating itself as if it was in some horror movie; Jess whipped out the key and shoved it into the door, opening it without much thought and more force and swiftness then she probably should’ve.

“K-Kids, I’m here!” She stopped dead in her tracks, wondering why she said something so, so ridiculous; then again, she said that every time she walked into a classroom, so it wouldn’t have shocked the children as much as it would Darrin. “I mean,” She stammered, turning to shut the door. “I came here to play.” She turned back around, walking into the living room and seeing Darrin already in there. It was obvious that he seemed drowsy- or out of it at least. Suddenly remembering Judith’s worries brought a bitter taste to Jessica’s mouth, making her slightly lose her nervousness and helped her resume her regular and usual personality.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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The voice that suddenly filtered through the home was not his mother's. Confusion crossed his features as he looked towards the doorway of the living room. He couldn't see into the kitchen which was where the front door would first lead to. The person would then have to walk by the dining room before they would then reach the living room. Darrin decided to simply remain where he was. As the woman entered the living room, Nichola got up from her seat. The small girl made her way over to the doorway, nearly bouncing the entire way. The girl stopped before the woman, beaming up at her. "Hello, Ms. Jess!" The young girl said. "Nana told us you were coming!"

This was news to Darrin. Why had his mother not told him that someone was coming over. Taylor was soon heading over to the woman, to greet her. Though the older child said nothing more than 'hello', Darrin was surprised to hear him say anything. It had become quite rare for his son to speak at all. Suddenly, Nichola had taken hold of the woman's hand and began tugging her towards Darrin. "You need to meet my Daddy!" The little was more than happy to have someone else in the house. Especially since the woman would most definitely play with her.

Darrin inwardly groaned. He wanted nothing to do with the woman..nor his children if he was being honest with himself. However, he was unsure if that was the pills talking or he truly wanted nothing to do with them. He did not allow them to reach him, however, standing and quickly leaving the living room. He made his way to the kitchen and picked up his pack of cigarettes and lighter and then made his way through the house to the back door. The pool was immediately out there and he chose to take a seat upon one of the lounge chairs.

He pulled out a cigarette and lit it, taking his time with smoking it. This was one of the first times he'd been out of the house in the past year. He looked about the area that he could see from his seat. The pool area was fenced off and so he couldn't see past the fence though just being outside felt..good. He suddenly pulled out his phone, scrolling through the internet. He began looking up things on his band, Unfinished Belief. He'd not kept in contact with anyone save for Kris and the other man always refused to speak of the others. He quickly stopped looking, finding that doing so was only causing him to want to down more pills.

Kris had sent him a few messages since he'd checked his phone last. He began opening them, reading through them. His friend just couldn't seem to understand that he wanted nothing to do with the band. Darrin sat his phone down next to him before leaning forward, resting his head in his hand that wasn't holding the cigarette. He closed his eyes, simply sitting there for a long time. He new that he should not have simply gotten up and left the house without saying anything. He'd ignored the hurt look Nichola had given him. There was a time when Darrin would have never caused any sort of pain to his children..now, however, he could barely take care of himself.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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Jessica smiled at Nichola’s attempts to herd her into the living room to meet her father- if only the children knew that Jessica had known Darrin since long ago. And she knew when he was going avoid her; like now. Instantly, Jessica remembered when they were younger and played together; they were playing with a fairly mean but pretty little girl that often bullied Jess when alone. Darrin suggested that they play hide and go seek, then he took Jess’ hand and led her out of the small wooded area and back inside the house where they played silently for a few moment until the little girl’s mother came knocking on the door about it.
With a small sigh, Jess smiled at his past kindness and cruelness he displayed- he was such a nice little boy. Her attention was drawn back into present reality though when Nichola displayed some sort of morose look on her face that caused a bit of a sharp pain in Jess’ heart.
That’s right, She thought, looking at Nichola. According to Judith, the Darrin now is a depressed druggie who abandoned his life. The unsavory taste returned to Jessica’s mouth and the bitter memory of her parents also returned; flashbacks of her mother dying and her father becoming an alcoholic. Then again, one could suggest that it was a bittersweet thing that helped shape Jess into the person she was today; but those who said that didn’t know the real situation.

Jessica smiled at the two kids and squatted down, holding Nichola’s shoulders. “Do you have any idea where he might be?” She said, looking at her pretty blue eyes. Nichola shrugged in confusion, and to Jess’ surprise, Taylor was the one who spoke.
“He’s by the pool.” He pointed over his shoulder, walking past Jess.
“Thanks, Taylor.” She said, standing up before she clasped her hands together. “Ah,” She said, a smile returning to her lips. “I forgot, I got you guys some stuff you can do in the mean time.” She pulled out some activity books from her tan bag, handing each child one book. “There’s coloring in here,” She smiled, taking out a box of crayons. “All you have to do is find out the math problem and when you get the code for the color, you color the picture that color!” Jessica tried to sound excited, which only caused her to get an unemotional look from Taylor and a befuddle look from Nichola.
“Or you guys can just color the pictures.” She laughed partially which caused the kids to understand a little more and have them walk into the living room, Nichola stalling a bit, looking worried. Jess squatted down once more before smiling. “Don’t worry; I’ll go get your daddy right now, ok?” At those words, Nichola smiled and nodded, scampering off into the living room.


With that, Jessica stood and turned on her heels, back tracing her steps back into the kitchen, trying to find the back door that led to the pool. In the end, she ended up going out one of the side doors and making her way through a maze of things before actually finding the pool.
“God, you guys never change- always choosing houses that anyone can get freaking lost in.” She said exasperated, tripping over a pool net that was leaning on the fence to the pool. Luckily, Jess caught herself supporting herself on the wall of the fencing, looking upwards to find Darrin sitting in the chair, his head in his hands. She stared at him for the longest time; he was so… different from the last time she saw him- broken, hopeless.
His hair was a brilliant shade of red and even though he had hoodie on and jeans, it was clear to the naked eye that he was underweight and a little bit buzzed. Jessica sighed slightly, brushing herself off and walking up towards him.
“Hello.” She said, now trying to get in front of him so she was in full view. “I am Miss Jess. I know you may not know, but I am your children’s teacher; also, I know your mother… particularly well.” She said, holding out a hand and waiting for him to greet her.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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Darrin was unsure how long he'd remained sitting there before he heard someone making their way towards him. He wasn't sure who he was expecting but it certainly wasn't the woman that his children had seemed to know. Yet..here she was, standing before him. “Hello. I am Miss Jess. I know you may not know, but I am your children’s teacher; also, I know your mother… particularly well.” The woman said. Darrin slowly moved his head from his hand, his eyes moving to rest upon the woman that was still standing before him. He immediately noted that she was holding a hand out, no doubt waiting for him to greet her properly. He regarded her for a long moment, his blue eyes holding the woman's steadily. There was..something familiar about her and yet he was nearly certain that he'd never met her before. He would have recalled.

After a few long moments of silence, Darrin took hold of his cigarette with his other hand and then took hold of..Jess's hand, shaking it lightly. He then pulled away from her, tearing his gaze away as well. "I'm Darrin." He said softly. He decided to push the feelings of familiarity out of his mind. It was only causing him frustration. "So, why are you here?" He asked, his gaze returning to her for a moment. He took a hit off of the cigarette, making sure to blow the smoke in a different direction than where the woman was standing. He waited for her to reply before continuing. "You said that you know my mother well..then why have I not heard of you before?"

Darrin suddenly stood from his seat and then picked up his phone. He found it strange that his mother had never mentioned her and then all of a sudden this woman appeared. However, he was certain that she did at least know his children and so he truly had no reason to believe that she was lying to him. He waited patiently for her to fall silent. He began to walk around her, coming to pause once he was behind her. "If you are here to spend time with my kids, then shouldn't be doing just that? Instead of pestering me?" He asked before walking away from her. He took a final hit from the cigarette before snubbing it out in a ashtray that was sitting upon one of the matching tables that were located outside.

He said nothing else to the woman, heading back into the house. Darrin made his way slowly down the hallway before winding around the staircase and quickly headed up and then into his room. He made sure to lock the door and then made his way to the bed. He pulled his hood down and then flopped upon the bed. He laid on his back, looking up at the ceiling. He ran his fingers through his hair before leaning up and pouring himself another drink. He downed it quickly and then laid back down and closed his eyes. He hoped that Jess would leave soon. He'd not dealt with any woman save for his mother since Hannah had left three years earlier. He didn't really care that she was there.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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Anger flared throughout her system as he left her, putting out the cigarette. It wasn’t until he left that Jess turned around, biting her lip to keep her tongue in check. How dare that doped up ass wipe get smart with her? If it wasn’t for her reasonable and orderly personality, Jess might’ve snapped; instead, she balled her fists and breathed in slowly and calmly, trying to gain control of herself and think of the reason why she was here- that’s right. He did have a point, but was it so bad that she introduced herself to him?

Suddenly, all of those pink-painted images of him and her playing, of him trying to show her how to play the guitar and read notes, or him and her smiling and laughing and trying to cheer her up after she was bullied or rejected shattered and he was instantly a stranger. With a heavy breath, Jess walked inside, following where he had gone in and finding her way back to the main part of the house. The kids were busy coloring and watching whatever was on TV by the time Jess came in; she placed her tan bag on the couch before smiling at the kids, her irritation fading when Nichola looked up at her and smiled back.
“Did you meet daddy?” She asked, causing Jessica to nod tightly. Nichola, now smiling even wider, went back to coloring, this time humming.

Jessica cleared her throat and smiled. “You guys hungry? I don’t mean to brag, but I can make a mean pizza.” She smiled, causing Nichola and Taylor to both nod. “Want to help?” Jess smiled even wider when the two children ran into the kitchen before she even had the chance to spin on her heels.
When Jess arrived in the kitchen, Taylor was standing on a stool, pulling out tomato sauce and flour while Nichola was digging out some cheese and pepperoni. “Nana just went shopping. She bought us all kinds of things!” Nichola raised her hands up in the air, extending them out to help get her point across.

Jessica smiled lightly, remembering the times when she came over; Judith always did have huge meals prepared, and if she didn’t, she always had the items to make them. Jess shook her head lightly, reminding herself that Darrin had a lot to deal with, not to mention he didn’t remember her; so it was common sense that he might a bit hostile towards her. She opened up a kitchen drawer, looking for the needed supplies to make the pizza; though, what was in the drawer was something that wasn’t for pizza preparations. It was a picture of one the most beautiful redheads she’s ever seen; the woman was with Darrin and had Taylor holding onto her hand and Nichola in her arm, all of them smiling widely.

“That’s our mom.” Taylor said bitterly, making Jessica turn abruptly.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” She said, placing the picture back into the drawer, though, before she did, Taylor took the picture out and ripped it into pieces and throwing it into the trash in lightening speed. This made Jessica’s heart sink.
“Don’t tell dad. He’ll be really mad.” With that, everything was dropped, and Taylor returned to his normal self.

Jessica got the flour ready, pouring it into the bowl with other ingredients, making two smaller bowls for the children so they can make their own pizzas.
“I’ll make one for Ms. Jess, and, and, and Nana, and, and Daddy…” Nichola said, playing with the sticky dough and not really even kneading it right.
Jess smiled at her and got behind her. “No, no, you’ve got to roll it like this- that way the pizza you make will be super yummy.” Nichola nodded in concentration, making Jess move onto Taylor’s creation, who was doing perfectly fine. She preheated the oven and took out large pans, sprinkling flour on them to prevent them from sticking.

“Ok,” Jessica said, pouring sauce in a bowl, and laying out toppings from cheese to meat and vegetables on the kitchen. “You guys can customize and play with the toppings.” She said, smiling as she clasped her hands together while watching the kids attack the bowls. Nichola, who took a basting brush and flung sauce everywhere chose pepperoni and mushrooms, giggled, trying to make a face on her pizza while Taylor seemed to be making his pizza look as professional as possible.
Jessica on the other hand, was trying to make her pizza look like some sort of animal to try and be creative; but instead, the dough just drooped and slopped off the pan, making her the center of laughs as the children poked fun at her.

After what seemed like hours of just making pizza, the kids rushed back into the living room, leaving Jessica with a messy kitchen. None the less, she did enjoy herself, and was smiling wide as she put the pizza in the oven, licking the sauce off of her finger.
“Well, I guess this kitchen isn’t going to clean itself- and it was my fault for suggesting the idea.” She couldn’t stop herself but to chuckle at the scene, grabbing a dish rag as she began to scrub the counters, her pulled back hair falling to frame her face.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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Darrin remained laying upon the bed for some time before he finally felt the alcohol and pills wearing off. He picked up his phone to check how long he'd been up there. Two hours..no doubt the kids had already eaten for the night. Darrin slowly sat up in the bed, running a hand over his face. Not having any of the drugs or alcohol in his system, he was able to realize that he was hungry. He got up from the bed and slowly made his way through the house. He headed down the stairs and to the kitchen. He'd glanced into the living room as he came down, only to see his children laughing and having fun with Jess. He was fairly quiet as he made his way to the fridge. He opened the it and began searching for a few different ingredients. Once he'd found what he wanted, he headed over to the stove. He ended up fixing some sweet potato and pecan pancakes. Once they were finished and on a plate, he then poured a small glass of milk and then sat down at the bar.

He began eating slowly, enjoying the meal he'd fixed. Suddenly, he heard Nichola come running towards the kitchen. "Daddy! Daddy!" She came to stand at the chair that he was sitting in and the man looked down at the little girl. "Will you come and watch a movie with us? Pleease?" She begged. Darrin sighed softly before nodding to the child. She squealed and then quickly ran back into the other room, no doubt to tell the others that he would be joining them. As Darrin finished his meal, he stood and then put his plates into the sink. He then made his way to the living room to find Jess there as well as Taylor and Nichola. From the look of things, they'd had a fun time with their teacher.

Sitting down on the unoccupied couch, Darrin turned his gaze to the tv as the movie started. Darrin recalled what he'd said to the woman earlier and suddenly realized that he may have been a bit rude to her. As the movie began, the children were both clambering into the floor so as to get a better seat. He tried to concentrate upon the film though found it hard to do so. His hands had begun to shake, most likely since it had been some time since he'd taken any pills. He suddenly stood from his seat and made his way over to the woman, sitting down next to her though allowing her space. Neither of his children looked up as he'd moved and he was glad of that.

Darrin remained silent for a moment longer, making sure that his children were completely engrossed with the movie. "I'm sorry." He said, his gaze still locked onto the tv. He soon clarified what he meant. "For how I acted towards you earlier. I didn't mean it." He was certain that if his mother had told her the problems he'd been having that she would have known he'd been high when they'd first met. Now, though, he was far from that state. He leaned back, relaxing as best he could, glancing over to the woman. He still felt the odd sense that he knew her from somewhere though that simply wasn't possible.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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Once Jessica was done cleaning the room, she went into the living room and played with the children happily; they played several board games such as Chutes and Latter or Sorry- all of the games they played, she lost, which made her easy to get picked on. She smiled, already knowing that they had their father’s skill of always winning in games such as these.
After several hours of games, Jessica settled them down and had them do their homework before popping some corn and put on an educational movie that would relate to their upcoming assignments. Nichola sat in her lap as she tampered with the huge and seemingly difficult surround sound. Ok, so the first button is the down volume… the second- up volume… third, well I’m not too sure what that one does… In all of her confusion, she hadn’t notice Taylor coming up and putting in the movie correctly, and when she did, Nichola had already left her lap. Busy bodies. Jessica smiled at that fact and stood up, taking a seat in a loveseat.

Then she saw Darrin; he seemed a lot better than he did before, almost clearer. Right when she turned her attention back to the movie, Jess felt the end of the seat sink in a little, making her turn her attention back towards Darrin who was now next to her- wait a moment, he was sitting next to her? Why? Instantly Jessica stared at the TV, trying not to make any movement that seemed uninviting; like, who knows, maybe moving away or ‘getting more popcorn’.
"I'm sorry. For how I acted towards you earlier. I didn't mean it."
This time, Jessica turned her head fully towards him, her eyes searching his entire body language before she simply smiled.
“It’s alright; you just spoke your mind, I guess. At least we didn’t get into a fight and you took my car and crashed it into a tree.” She chuckled absentmindedly, not realizing what she said until afterwards, which made her instantly grow quiet and clear her throat, shuffling in her seat.
“A-Anyways, you weren’t totally wrong; I probably should’ve stayed with the kids and waited until you where present to introduce myself.” She said, her full attention not turning to the TV as she crossed her legs and placing her hands into her lap.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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He could feel the woman's eyes on him. However, he did not look at her. “It’s alright; you just spoke your mind, I guess. At least we didn’t get into a fight and you took my car and crashed it into a tree.” Jess chuckled for a moment before she went quiet and cleared her throat. It took him a moment to realize what she'd said. It was then that he turned to look at her. His eyes rested upon her for a long moment, even as she continued speaking. “A-Anyways, you weren’t totally wrong; I probably should’ve stayed with the kids and waited until you where present to introduce myself.”

Darrin could recall the night that he'd driven his father's car into the tree. They'd been fighting over him refusing to apply to any colleges as he was determined to make it with the band. He'd started the band only a year before in the hopes of making a difference in the world. He could have cared less about making money of becoming known. However, during their fight, Darrin's father had berated him endless and called him a great many things that he did not care to recall. He left the house in anger and sadness that night. He took off, driving much faster than he shoulder have been going. Even now, he was unsure when he'd decided to try to kill himself. He didn't even remember hitting the tree. He could recall waking up in the hospital, his parents had been out in the hall speaking with a doctor. The only person that had been in the room with him had been Jessica. She'd come over the following morning to see him. It had been while they were alone that he'd admitted that he'd had the accident on purpose.

So, then, why would the woman next to him make such a comment? The kids where still ignoring them and Darrin was glad of this. "Why would you say that?" He asked her suddenly. "How would you know anything about that?" He was suddenly quite close to the woman. His gaze was searching her face as if trying to see something that was hidden from him. "Who are you?"

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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"Why would you say that?" Jessica turned her full attention towards Darrin, her eyes searching him before he continued to speak. "How would you know anything about that?" Jessica’s eyes widened slightly, realizing that he had caught on to what she had said before; suddenly he was close to her- like seriously close- close enough to have an old and familiar heat return to her cheeks. "Who are you?"
Even with logical thinking, Jessica felt a sharp pang that he hadn’t remembered her; even a smudge in his mind of her seemed to be erased. So what? He suddenly forgotten her because she lost weight and gotten a little prettier than she was years ago? Jessica sat up straight in her seat and scooted backwards into the love seat looking over at him, trying to ignore the fact that he was so close.

“Who am I?” She scuffed in a way that seemed as if she was pondering it herself. Memories of the two on their adventures, of him telling his secrets to her and the same with her, raced through her mind as she tried to choke down the rising offense that wallowed in her chest. “Well, I know that you like to draw- and you’re pretty good at it; that you despise bullies and the fact that if anyone else was bullied, you’d be the first to stand up to them, and the fact that you try your best even though in the end, you all think its worthless- that you have a birthmark on your ass in the shape of a hoof.” She was counting it off on her fingers, whispering to him so the kids wouldn’t be able to hear.
Jessica looked over at him once more, this time turning her body towards him and leaning close to him until they where only a few inches apart from their noses. “I’m a bit disappointed though,” She said, her eyes boring into his. “You came back to town and didn’t even call me- not to mention you’re all depressed and gloomy. It’s not like you Dairy-Boy.” Her smile was mixed with a bit of a scowl and a sly notion, obviously enjoying the fact that she is finally using his old nickname she always used to use for him.

With a sigh, she leaned back, turning her body towards the TV again, her head hanging off of the back of the couch, her eyes still looking into his. “Well, I guess that’s what I get; thinking I was actually more of a friend than just a pity case.” She chuckled at that, her old personality returning.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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He watched as the young woman moved from him, turning so that she could look at him though they were still close. “Who am I?” The woman said, seeming to think it over for a few moments. “Well, I know that you like to draw- and you’re pretty good at it; that you despise bullies and the fact that if anyone else was bullied, you’d be the first to stand up to them, and the fact that you try your best even though in the end, you all think its worthless- that you have a birthmark on your ass in the shape of a hoof.” He couldn't believe what he was hearing. There were not very many that knew the things this woman was saying. Suddenly, Jess was leaning in close to him now, their noses only a short distance away. Darrin did not move, remaining perfectly still. “I’m a bit disappointed though. You came back to town and didn’t even call me- not to mention you’re all depressed and gloomy. It’s not like you Dairy-Boy.”

At the mention of the nickname, it all finally made sense to him. “Well, I guess that’s what I get; thinking I was actually more of a friend than just a pity case.” He was silent for a moment longer before finally snapping out of the daze he'd seemed to be in. He took hold of Jess's wrists and then gently pulled her back up towards him. His gaze never left her. "You know better than that." He paused for a moment before pulling her into a tight hug. He remained that way for a long moment, simply remaining close to the woman he'd known so many years ago.

"I've had a lot on my mind lately..as I'm sure you're aware. I'm sorry." He finally pulled away from her, still eyeing her as if he still didn't believe that it was truly her sitting there with him. "I didn't even recognize you..are you sure you're Jessica? Maybe you're someone who's stolen her identity." He finally smiled at her. "So, will you tell me what took you so long to come and see me?" He asked, turning it around on her. "It's fairly common knowledge where I live. You could have come by at any time. I should be hurt." He smiled, actually happy for once. He'd thought of her often when he'd first left Virginia, but over the years he'd had more pressing matters taking his focus.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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Ok, she knew she’d be in deep when Jessica finally revealed her identity; though, a hand that slipped around her wrist was unexpected. "You know better than that." Then the hug came right after his words which really startled her; he held her for a while, which only made her heart skip that familiar beat that it used to and she had nostalgic thump in the pit of her stomach. Well, wasn’t this perfect? The last thing she needed was to have an old crush be inflamed; especially one that was recently dumped- well, not exactly recent, but she got the point.
"I've had a lot on my mind lately..as I'm sure you're aware. I'm sorry. I didn't even recognize you..are you sure you're Jessica? Maybe you're someone who's stolen her identity."
A little guilt swelled up in her throat but was replaced with some sort of pride that made her smile at his words; she looked at him, having the feeling to extend her arms out and spin around as if they where dress shopping.
"So, will you tell me what took you so long to come and see me? It's fairly common knowledge where I live. You could have come by at any time. I should be hurt."

Jessica chuckled at him before it died off into an awkward half laugh. “Trust me, I was infatuated with you; if there was any given moment, I would’ve came to see you after you got famous- but things, they got complicated.” Or in other words, she didn’t have the confidence. “Not to mention I had serious family problems…” This time, her voice did die off into a half whisper, her eyes trailing off slightly away from him before finding his brown eyes again, a half smile returning to her face.
“You see,” She started, reaching her arm behind her head to scratch her head, but in reality, she only tousled her hair. “My mother died shortly after you left and my father became a drunk. He died two years ago from alcohol poisoning- three days after I moved out.” She gave off a dying laugh.

Ah, as expected, the pain was still aching even after all of these years, moments. Changing the subject to a different and lighter matter, Jessica scooted backwards a little bit, trying to make herself comfortable in an uncomfortable position. “If I knew you had children, I would’ve visited you- hell, if I knew these where your kids, I would’ve stopped by.” She smiled, looking over at the kids who continued to watch the movie.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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“Trust me, I was infatuated with you; if there was any given moment, I would’ve came to see you after you got famous- but things, they got complicated.” As Jess said this, Darrin looked at her in confusion. “Not to mention I had serious family problems…” He was silent, merely watching her as she continued. "You see, my mother died shortly after you left and my father became a drunk. He died two years ago from alcohol poisoning- three days after I moved out.” Silence engulfed them for a moment and the young woman moved a bit, trying to get comfortable. “If I knew you had children, I would’ve visited you- hell, if I knew these where your kids, I would’ve stopped by.”

Darrin allowed his gaze to shift to his children. He watched them for a long moment before shifting back to Jess. "I see..so you only would want to visit with me now because of my kids?" He joked, turning his gaze back to the tv. "And here I thought you liked me." He leaned back, relaxing on the seat. He did not bring up her parents, having been able to tell how it had upset her to bring it up. It wasn't much longer that the kids began falling asleep. Nichola had crawled up onto the couch and Taylor simply laid down on the floor. When they were both completely asleep, Darrin rose, stretching. He glanced back at his friend and then offered her a hand.

"We should probably get them up to their rooms." He said softly. He picked up Taylor as he was much heavier than Nichola and he knew Jess could easily carry her. He led the way up the stairs to the second floor where all of the bedrooms were. He showed Jess where the little girl's room was and then took Taylor to his own room. He changed his son into his pjs and then tucked him in. Darrin then made his way back to Nichola's room, waiting for Jess.

While he waited, he heard someone moving about downstairs. His mother had returned. No doubt she'd gone shopping and visited with his father for a while. As Jess joined him once again, Darrin offered her a small smile. He asked her if she was heading home or if she'd prefer to simply remain at the house for the night. It wasn't as if they'd never done so before. In fact, when he'd still been living in his parent's basement, they had often shared a bed.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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"I see..so you only would want to visit with me now because of my kids? And here I thought you liked me."
Jessica silently jolted at that and smiled with him, chuckling with him; she stayed silent though, despite her laugh, knowing that whatever she said or did would be used against her as a joke- or at least, that was what she teased herself with.
When the kids fell asleep, Darrin offered to bring the children to bed, so when he picked up Taylor, she knew the drill. Except, when she went over to pick up Nichola, she was heavier than Jessica initially thought; but of course, to not show how weak she had gotten versus her heavier days, she picked up Nichola with a loud grunt, trying to contain herself so she can pretend to be physically strong.

God, I need to start lifting weights and exercising… She thought with a huff, following Darrin up the stairs before he showed her Nichola’s room. Jessica walked into the pretty room and lied her down, tucking her in and walking outwards, meeting Darrin, who asked her if she’d like to spend the night.
“Sure.” She said, a smile pulling at the corner of her lips. “That way, we can have lots of time to catch up.” She elbowed him playfully, her casual tone returning and before long, she felt as if she hadn’t just been reunited.

Jessica smiled slightly, stretching upwards and walking past him after closing Nichola’s door. “Man,” She said, reminding herself of Judith’s reaction when they ran into each other at the store. “You should’ve seen your mother’s reaction when she found out it was me. She literately said what was on her mind,” Jess laughed a little, replaying the scene where Judith dropped her bags on the ground and called out her name before circling around her in astonishment. “You know, she asked me what diet I was on.” Jessica smiled, resting her hands on the stairwell, smiling at him. “It was quite the scene.”
She looked up at him, remembering the old times before grabbing her arm and swinging her body around, leaning down from the stairwell. “On a serious note, though,” She said, counting the steps below her. “I was really in love with you. So when she told me how heartbroken you where, it made my heart sink knowing that I gave you up for another woman who made you happy then dumped you- not that I had much of a chance at the time.”

Jessica glided along the stairwell, walking towards the top of the stairs, her foot on the first step down before she looked at him. “Now, though,” She began, tilting her head slightly to the side. “I think I’ll be just as happy to see my old friend back to normal in his happy condition.” She took a step, heading downstairs to go and greet his mother. “So that’s my job now,” Jess turned back around towards him, pointing a finger at him like the cartoons they use to watch together. “I promise I’ll get you back up on your feet and help you find someone even better!” Jess gave him a funny wink, and even reenacted some of the moves from one of their favorite shows. “So watch out Dairy-Boy, ‘cause tomorrow, you are in for it, for real!”

After she proclaimed her little game to be authentic, Jessica turned on her heels and took another step down.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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Judith smiled once again at Jessica. "Go on. I'll call you should we need anything." She bid the younger woman goodbye and then watched as she left. She then made to begin cleaning up after the children as they both quickly headed into the living room. They'd wanted to head upstairs to their playroom but she hadn't allowed them to. There was no telling what Darrin would do as his withdrawal continued to get worse. Judith had kept the children busy, playing games with them and even taking them out to the pool to swim. This was how most of the day was spent. They didn't see Darrin at all. After, she'd sat the children down for their supper, she'd taken a plate up, finding him door unlocked for once. She knocked and then entered the room only to find Darrin asleep and shivering. He looked bad, as if he was merely sick, though she knew better.

She sat the plate on his nightstand and had left quickly, returning to the children. Darrin had heard his mother leave though had said nothing to her. He was slowly feeling worse and worse. All he wanted to do was to take a few of those damn pills. He wasn't hungry and so ignored the plate she'd left for him. He slowly fell into a light sleep as he got chills and hot flashes.




The following morning had gone much as a normal one usually did in the Reed home. The children got up, got ready for the day, and had breakfast. However, this time when Judith went to check on Darrin it was clear to her that he was doing worse. She felt terrible for him though there was nothing that she could do for now. She left the room and returned to the children to go about their day. By the time lunchtime had rolled around, Darrin was breathing rapidly. Something that signaled that he was only going to keep getting worse. She had tried talking to him only to have him begin throwing things in her direction and yelling hurtful things. He'd not come close to hitting her though it had scared her.

Judith packed a bag for each of the children and then called Jessica to see if she would come over, explaining what was happening. She waited until the woman arrived before ushering the children out the door and into the car. When they were in their seats, Judith returned to Jess. "I'm going to take them to my house. Mick hasn't seen them in some time. Darrin's no longer having changing body temperatures which is good. But, I did some reading last night about what all he could go through..his body is going to continue trying to get rid of the drugs that have been in his system for so long. It'll be hard on him. Please, stay with him no matter what he says. He'll need you." She thanked the woman again before leaving her alone with Darrin.

Darrin was still laying upon his bed, his eyes closed. He'd been fighting the feeling of vomiting. That was something that he didn't want to do. However, with each passing moment it was getting worse. He tried to allow himself to fall asleep though he couldn't seem to now. He was exhausted and wanted it all to end. He'd not noticed how quiet the house or gotten or the sound of his mother's car leaving. As far as he knew, everyone was still there.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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Darrin had not been surprised when he'd not seen Jessica since their kiss. His mother had noticed a slight change in his attitude the moment she'd returned with the kids. However, she'd not asked him anything about it. She hadn't wanted to risk angering him. He'd remained in his room for most of the week, going through the last stages of withdrawal. When they had finally gone away save for his cravings for the drugs, he was glad. He wasn't sure how much longer he could have continued dealing with it.

The first thing he'd done was asked his mother to get a few things for him from the store. When she'd returned, he'd thanked her and had immediately returned to his room, locking himself in. His had gotten quite long and honestly he'd grown tired of it. He cut the long strands and then proceeded to dye it a completely different color than he had in the past six years. He'd gone with a style that was more like what he'd always sported when he'd been in high school.

When his mother had seen what he'd done, she couldn't believe that he'd opted for going back to having black hair. It had always been a favorite of his and she'd honestly missed it. The rest of the week went by rather uneventfully. He'd spent time with Taylor and Nichola and had a wonderful few days. Even though he'd been furious with Jessica for forcing him to quit the alcohol and drugs, he was now able to think clearly enough to see that he was much better without the substances. He realized how much he'd missed spending time with his children and that he'd not been a very good father since Hannah had left.

Now that the weekend had arrived, they were all going to the water park with Jessica. Darrin was feeling rather nervous. He'd gotten ready, merely putting on his swim trunks, a black band shirt, his sandals, and sunglasses. He knew that without his hair being bright red he might be able to go a bit longer before anyone recognized him. Darrin had then started getting Nichola ready and then Taylor.

Judith had been the one downstairs, ready to go, when there was a knock at the door. She made her way to the door and opened it, revealing Jessica. "Hello dear." She said with a smile. She allowed Jessica to enter and then closed the door. "Darrin's upstairs getting the kids ready. They should be down in just a moment." Judith then made small talk with the younger woman. She informed her that Darrin had stopped having withdrawal symptoms a few days earlier and that he'd been spending more time with the kids. She did not mention what he'd done to his hair.

Suddenly, Nichola and Taylor came running down the stairs and headed straight for Jessica. They had missed her terribly. Nichola looked up at the older woman. "Can we go now?" She asked excitedly. Judith answered her. "Not until your father is down here." Nichola suddenly yelled, calling for Darrin. "Daddy!! Lets go!" Darrin was suddenly coming down the stairs and then entered into the kitchen where everyone was. He smiled down at Nichola as she ran to him, taking his hand and trying to pull him along. He allowed her to pull him and she quickly led the way out of the house. It was not lost on him that Taylor was doing the same to Jessica.

They decided to take Judith's van. Darrin buckled in both of his children and got in the back with them, telling the women they could have the front. The car ride to the park seemed almost awkward. Darrin had yet to say more than a hello to his friend. He just..wasn't quite sure what to say. Of course, if Judith took the children once they arrived at the water park, he was certain that he would eventually have to say something to her.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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During the trip to the water park, Darrin was continuing to glance at Jessica. He hated feeling so awkward around her. It was not something that he was used to with her. When they were about nearly there, Jessica spoke. “Oh, I hope you guys don’t mind; I’ve invited a friend along. She’s been with me since college and she also has a younger son; I invited her along due to the fact that her son is around your guys’ age.” Darrin glanced over to the young woman at this. They arrived soon after, all of them getting out of the van. Darrin kept his sunglasses on, making sure they were on his face.

They began making their way towards the ticket booths. A blonde woman began waving at them. She and her son made their way to them. “This is Anna; my friend I told you guys about- and this is Ian, her son.” Jessica said. Darrin eyed the woman, simply watching her. Her son, Ian, quickly offered some ice cream to Nichola and Taylor. The little girl immediately nodded as did Taylor. Darrin was glad to see that they seemed to be more than happy to have someone new to play with.

Anna's voice suddenly brought him out of his thoughts. “Hey, rock-star; how you’ doing?” He focused back the woman. She reminded him vaguely of Hannah. Her mannerisms at least did. He'd met many women that were like her and not one had ever truly stood out to him save for Hannah. He sighed silently before answering her. "Hi..um..good. I take it Jess has been talking about me?" He said, scratching the back of his head. Though he had a small smile on his face, it wasn't like the smiles he normally gave Jessica. It was much like ones he gave his fans when meeting them. It was more..reserved. He was saved from having to continue speaking with her for the moment as Nichola was suddenly grabbing his hand and trying to pull him along. "Can we go in now, Daddy?" Darrin smiled down at the small girl. "Of course." He said. The group made their way to the ticket booths. Darrin ended up paying for the tickets, having offered happily.

Once inside the park, they began making their way to where the lounge chairs were. Judith opted for a cluster of them that were in the back, farther away from the others. They sat their things down and Judith began helping the children with their sunscreen. When they were all ready, Judith offered to take the children to the section that had been built up for the kids. Darrin had sat down on one of the lounge chairs as his mother had helped to get the children ready to swim. He'd been awfully cold towards Jessica and even a bit towards her friend..though he'd not meant to. Now that his mother had left, watching over the children, Darrin was perfectly happy simply remaining on the chair, being fairly anti-social. However, if he knew his friend..she probably wouldn't let him.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis Character Portrait: Anna Q. Williams

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Jessica instantly saw that Darrin wasn’t interested with Anna, seeing the tight smile he gave her; for some odd reason, she felt relief spread throughout her chest. This confused Jessica and caused her to grow quiet, Anna talking away to her about something or another.
“Are you even listening?” Anna said when Judith picked out an area for the group.
“Huh? Oh, yeah… I think it’s a great idea.” This caused Anna to scuff, putting her hands on her hips, jingling the golden jewelry that hung from her yellow bikini.
“You aren’t listening, Jess.” Anna said, putting down her purse and ruffling her curly hair before sighing, watching Ian go off with Judith and the children. “Never mind about that,” Anna looked at Jessica in curiosity. “Aren’t you going swimming?” She asked, pointing at Jess’ baby dress. “I hope you packed yourself that sexy red bikini I got for you.” Anna leaned in closer to Jessica, whispering loud enough for Darrin. “I got that bikini for you to show off your newly earned body.” Anna sang, causing Jess to lightly shy away in a laugh.

“Anyways,” She turned around, walking towards the group already playing in it. “I hope you wear it and get some time in the water!” She waved her hand in the air before running up behind Ian, Nichola, Taylor and Judith, picking up Ian and throwing him into the water, the child laughing crazily as the other kids also wanted to be thrown.
Jessica turned on her heels, looking over at Darrin who sat in the chair before she made her way over towards him, sitting next to him. She looked at him for a little while before reaching over and ruffling his hair and squeezing his cheeks. “I still can’t believe you died your hair red.” She said, a smile forming on her face.
She looked at him a while before she scooted the chair closer to him. “Are you going to go swimming?” Jessica tried small talk with him, trying to ease up his tension; it was her fault, so she thought maybe having a little fun and acting normal will help him. She picked up a sunscreen bottle, and looked at him, her brown eyes staring right into him. “If you’d like, I can put sunscreen on you so you don’t burn.” She gave him a sheepish grin.
“If not, why don’t you put some sunscreen on me?” Jess said, turning towards him and taking off her dress, finally revealing her bathing suit.

“Are you freaking kidding me?!” Anna yelled over towards Jess when she saw what Jess was wearing. It caused Jess to slightly go pink at Anna’s scolding. Instead of a sexy, red bikini, Jessica sported a black, monotone one piece that covered every inch of her upper body- minus her arms. She even wore black shorts that stopped at her mid-thigh. “I spent a whopping fifty bucks on that bikini and you come here dressed like a nun!?” It was obvious that Anna was a bit angry that Jess hadn’t worn the bathing suit Anna planned her to.
Before Anna could say more, or even come up and have Jess pay her back, Ian threw a bucket of water on Anna, having the force of small children tackle her to play with her. Anna, already preoccupied dropped the entire thing, playing with the kids once more. Jess turned back to Darrin, smiling awkwardly as she held onto the bottle.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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“You’ve gained weight! It makes me happy that you are getting better.” As Jessica began sliding her hands over his back, Darrin leaned slightly into her touch. He laughed lightly at her words. They remained silent for a moment longer before Jessica answered his question from earlier. “Anyways, the school building is under renovations, so they moved out all of the students to trailers outside. I just had to set everything up in the trailers.” He smiled as he listened to her speak. “I didn’t mean to make it awkward for you; I mean, like not even calling or anything.” Darrin didn't really want to talk about that day, though did not say so. "I doubt that I would have been much company either way. I was sick for two days straight." He said.

Her hands slowed and then finally stopped. She moved from him and Darrin rose, turning to look at her. “Alright, all done!” She ran her hands over his chest. He looked down at her, a small smile on his face. Nichola took his attention. He glanced over at their small group and then turned his gaze back to Jessica. "Come on. If we don't join them soon I've no doubt that they'll come drag us in." He began walking towards the pool that they were playing in right then.

Darrin got into the pool, sinking down so that the water was up near his shoulders. Nichola immediately was on his back, laughing. Taylor soon joined them, trying to pull his sister off of their father as he wanted up instead. Darrin laughed before helping his daughter down. He stood so that they could no longer argue over it. Darrin was glad that they were all having fun. He decided to spend some time with his kids, they were currently trying to get him under the water. Suddenly, however, Taylor called to Jessica. "Come help us, Miss Jess!" Darrin's mother was laughing as she watched her son and grandchildren. It was obvious that Darrin was feeling much better than he had in a very long time..and it made her happy.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis Character Portrait: Anna Q. Williams

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"Come on. If we don't join them soon I've no doubt that they'll come drag us in."
Jessica smiled at him and nodded as he walked over and began to play with the kids; she shortly followed them, but at a slower pace, allowing her body to get use to the chilling but comforting water. Suddenly, Taylor called to her, asking her to come join them; it made her smile wide and brilliantly to know that Taylor was now speaking a bit more- he was always a bit too quiet in class.
She went under and swam over towards them, picking up Taylor and then dropping him; while he was in term, seriously heavy, she played it off as if she was playing with him, once again, not wanting to seem weak. To make up for her failure, she joined in with the kids to try and dunk Darrin, splashing water on him and helping by trying to pick up Nichola so she could pour water on him.
Anna was doing what she did best and kept throwing Ian and Taylor, allowing them to splash in the water until she grew tired, her hands on the back of her hips. “I’m going to catch up on my tan.” She huffed, making her way out of the water, not trying to hide her fatigue. It made Jess snicker a little bit, but she didn’t cease in trying to help the children dunk Darrin.

Nichola climbed on Darrin’s back again, while Taylor pulled Jessica nearer to Darrin, behind him this time as the two pushed tried to push him into the water, making Nichola slide off his back and helping the two. Jessica laughed slightly before pulling away, swimming some distance only to be pulled back in by Ian, Taylor and Nichola.
“I’ve got it!” Jessica proclaimed, catching the attention of the kids. “Want to play Marco-Polo? Winner buys lunch and gets ice cream.” She smiled at the laughter and yelling of ‘Yeses’.
“We should do teams!” Taylor announced, swimming near Jessica and pulling her near. “One team can have three players and the other can have two.”
“We get Ian!” Nichola suddenly burst out, pulling her father near her and motioning Ian to swim closer. She looked up at Darrin with motivation in her eyes. “We can’t lose Daddy.”

Jessica merely laughed at how serious Nichola was taking this all before Taylor pulled her attention back to him, tugging on her arm. “We should make Daddy, Nichola and Ian ‘it’ first, ok?”
Jess smiled and nodded at the small boy, turning back up and looking at Darrin, a sly look on her face. “You wanna be it first?” She gave him a playful wink and grin, as if challenging him.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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Darrin laughed as Jessica joined in trying to get him under the water. The were relentless on him. When, at last, they were able to get him under, Darrin smiled as he resurfaced. His hair was laying plastered upon his face. He moved a few of the strands so that he could see better. “I’ve got it!Want to play Marco-Polo? Winner buys lunch and gets ice cream.” Jessica suggested. Darrin wasn't surprised when the children all chimed their 'yeses'. “We should do teams! One team can have three players and the other can have two.” Taylor said, pulling on Jessica.

Darrin stood with his daughter, merely waiting until they were ready to start. However, his daughter spoke. “We get Ian!” The little girl then turned, looking up at him. “We can’t lose Daddy.” He smiled at her, laughing lightly. He was glad to see that she was so determined. Taylor spoke to Jessica and then she offered to allow them to go first. Darrin smirked at his friend. "Sure." He said. Nichola and Ian both seemed happy to be going first. Darrin instructed both children to close their eyes and then he did as well. He counted out loud, so that they could hear him. He could hear them trying to move silently in the water. He made it to twenty-nine before they began the game.

Darrin opted for calling out 'Marco' and he listened intently as the others called 'Polo' back. He focused upon Jessica's voice, trying to locate her. He moved slowly, calling out and then continuing to listen. He was glad that the awkwardness seemed to have disappeared from between Jessica and him. He'd not cared for it. It had nearly been forgotten as he made his way towards her voice. At one point, Nichola ran into Darrin and then quickly made her way from him once realizing that it was her father. Darrin had been certain that he was nearly to the woman, though he could not be certain.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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“Dairy boy!” Jess called from somewhere near him. He continued trying to find her though she was no longer saying anything. "Jess..are you cheating?" He asked, a light laugh upon his voice. He soon felt her poking him in the back. He smiled, turning around. He easily found her that time. “You caught me!” The woman said, tossing her hands up into the air. Darrin opened his eyes, noting how happy she seemed regardless of the fact that she'd gotten herself caught. His gaze simply rested upon the young woman. Within only a few moments, Jessica leaned into him, bringing them rather close. From what he could tell, she'd merely slipped her arms upon his shoulders.

Though he'd automatically placed his hands upon her waits, he looked at her in confusion. The woman suddenly smiled and laughed. He had no idea why she would be laughing. It was his mother gasping that seemed to jolt the young woman. She then moved backwards, away from him. He allowed her out of his grasp, watching her. However, water suddenly pouring over his head. He closed his eyes and a smile crossed his features. When the water stopped, he reopened his eyes, looking down at the woman. He was forced to moved his bangs about again.

"You," He started as he approached her and sunk down so that they were level, "Are terrible." He laughed, showing that he'd not minded at all with what she'd done. "I believe it would be your team's turn. Let's see if you can find me." He smirked at her before moving from her. Though he was acting as if nothing had changed between them, he was still struggling with how he felt about her. She certainly didn't help matters by invading his personal space as she'd done only a few moments before.

He waited patiently for Jessica's team to begin their turn. He moved fairly quietly, answering with 'Polo' when they called out. He remained just out of her reach for some time, moving around her. He glanced to the others, seeing them quickly becoming distracted as they found each other. Darrin decided to continue moving around the young woman. He finally found a corner and sunk down, almost in a crouch. He watched Jessica as she moved about the pool. "You're not gonna find me, Jess." He teased, laughing for only a moment. He opted for remaining rooted to the spot, giving her a better chance of finding him.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis Character Portrait: Anna Q. Williams

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Jessica laughed with him, sliding backwards from him before he noted it was her turn. She turned around and swam towards Taylor and the curious Judith, who was eying her carefully; Jessica wasn’t exactly sure whether or not she was happy, or furious with what she had just seen. None the less, she smiled and went over towards what had happened, having everyone close their eyes and counting to twenty, Taylor cutting it short once he got impatient.
With her eyes closed, she yelled ‘Marco’, and of course, she followed the voice of Darrin’s who seemed to generate from one specific spot. Jessica paused a little turning her head away from him and peeking over at the others; the children were playing, Taylor and Judith teaming up to find Nichola and Ian. Jess smiled, biting her lip at her own excitement before closing her eyes fully and following Darrin’s voice.
"You're not gonna find me, Jess."

Being teased only made her want to find him even more; though, Jessica resisted, getting only a few feet from him and turning left and right, as if she was lost. She couldn’t help but to giggle a little, knowing where he was before she stopped, and swam closer to his voice, finally touching his skin.
“I got you.” She said, opening one eye as she looked at him, a smile on her face. Her eyes looked at him for a little while, her hands lingering on his chest before she dropped them, hearing the screaming and yelling of the kids. Jessica turned around, her hands subconsciously rising back to his chest, her fingers tapping him as she looked behind her for the kids; Taylor seemed to be struggling to find Nichola and Judith being led to the corner of the pool by Ian, who was swimming skillfully around her.
“It looks like they are pretty occupied,” She turned back around and smiled widely at him, her cheeks becoming a rosy pink from smiling too much and being out in the sun. “It makes everyone a little happy; thanks for coming out.”

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis

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Darrin continued to watch Jessica as she slowly got closer to him. Before long she'd reached him, touching his skin. “I got you.” She said, smiling. Darrin returned it with one of his own. It was not lost on him that her hands lingered upon his chest. He allowed it, enjoying the feeling. She was quick to drop them as the children stole her attention. She was quick, however, to allow her hands to return to their previous spot upon his chest. He allowed his hands to rest upon her waist once again. “It looks like they are pretty occupied. It makes everyone a little happy; thanks for coming out.” He returned her smile. "I don't think that you would have allowed me not to come." He said laughing lightly as he joked with her.

He allowed his gaze to shift to the others as they continued having fun. "But, I think they were long overdue for something like this. So, I believe I should be thanking you. For everything..even though at the time I wasn't very happy about it." He allowed her to remain close to him for as long as she wished. As the others were loud, having their fun, Darrin suddenly spoke to Jessica. "So..Kris is coming over tomorrow." He looked to her wondering what she thought about it. He knew that Kris would most likely stay most of the day and no doubt want to catch up with Darrin.

Darrin was dreading it yet at the same time was looking forward to it. In all honesty, he'd missed his best friend. "Anyway, I was just going to let you know that you are welcome to come over. I might have missed you this week." He fell silent, waiting for her answer. He had no idea if she had plans but hoped that she would come over.

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Darrin Reed Character Portrait: Taylor Reed Character Portrait: Nichola Reed Character Portrait: Judith Reed Character Portrait: Jessica Fallon Lewis Character Portrait: Anna Q. Williams

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For some odd reason, Jessica’s heart fluttered when he agreed. She found it very odd and almost irritating on how her heart can flutter at such a thing, yet, not even beat funny when they kissed. None the less, she was happy that he was coming with her, and practically planned out the whole thing in her head, nodding along absent mindedly to whatever he had said afterwards.
"If you're getting dinner..I'll just have to get lunch. I think that I'm going to dry off and go grab some food. Want to come with me? Or..I can bring you something back. I really don't feel like being cornered in the pool and having to take pictures with people."
She hadn’t notice the stares or pictures others seemed to take until he pointed it out; the whole feeling made her seem a bit watched- stalked, one might say- even if she wasn’t the center of attention.
“Yeah, I’ll come.” She offered with a smile, getting out of the pool and walking ahead of him to get her towel and shoes.

Jessica bent down, picking up her towel when she had a shutter sound and flash; she spun around quickly on her heels, expecting to see Darrin surrounded by his fans. Instead, she saw no one; sure, Darrin did have some fans around him, but none of them seemed to hold a flashing camera- or a phone for that matter.
Shrugging it off and chalking it to her imagination, Jessica picked up his towel too, putting on her sandals at the same time before turning towards him, handing him his towel. Before long, Ian and Taylor where also getting out while Nichola danced around, her arms extended as she twirled around Judith, proclaiming that she wanted a four-scoop ice cream cone. Jessica couldn’t help but to smile and once again, another shutter sound went off as well as a flash.
This time, Jessica full on ignored it; not even turning around or having it seem to bother her. If it wasn’t her imagination, then it must be someone taking a picture nearby; it was a normal thing to do, especially if they where tourists- perhaps they where even taking pictures of Darrin. He was a famous musician who has been on leave for a long while.

Jessica turned her attention towards the kids, rounding them up and asking them what they would all like to have for lunch.
“Ice cream! Ice cream!” Nichola proclaimed, jumping up and down while she held onto her towel.
“Nachos and ice cream.” Ian said, causing Anna to shoot a look towards him before she stood up and took out her wallet, handing Jessica the cash; she refused it at first, but accepted it when Anna refused to take no as an answer.
“Nichola, why don’t you have something else, other than ice cream?” Jessica offered, not wanting the girl to get all hyped on sugar.
“How about pizza?” Taylor offered, Nichola shooting him a longing look before nodded her head vigorously towards Jessica, making her laugh.

Once she had gotten all of the ‘orders’ from the kids, she shuffled on her bathing suit cover and walked over towards Darrin.
“I guess we’re getting pizzas, nachos and ice cream.” She said, smiling towards him as she waited for him to take the lead.