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Chapter 28 of "Growing Up"

Donna screamed and clapped until her hands hurt.

"Donna?" a voice said. Donna looked up to find a stocky, bald man standing over her.

"Yes?" she asked.

"I'm Jason Browning, the boy's bodyguard," he said. "I'm here to take you guys backstage."

"Oh okay," Donna said. She picked her bag up off the floor and nudged Jess. "Come on," she whispered.

Donna, Jess, and Kelly followed Jason around the back of the theatre. As soon as Donna spotted Taylor and his brothers in the crowd, she ran over to him and wrapped her arms around him.

"Congratulations!" she said, and she kissed him softly.

"Thanks," Taylor mumbled as he returned the kiss.

"You guys were great!" Jess exclaimed. Isaac wrapped his arm around Jess's waist and kissed her.

"Now what?" Zac asked. Taylor shrugged.

"I don't know," he said. He turned to Jason. "Are we supposed to hang around?" he asked.

Jason shrugged. "I guess we can go if the show is over," he said. "Come on. The rest of your family already left."

"Why?" Isaac asked.

"Your mom wasn't feeling well," Jason replied, as he led the group through the crowd.

"Is she okay?" Kelly asked.

"Oh she's fine," Jason replied. "Just tired, that's all. Here we are." The group piled into Jason's car.

"So where are you going to put it?" Donna asked, motioning to the award Isaac was holding.

"In our room probably," Taylor said. "With all our soccer trophies. Donna nodded. A few minutes later, Jason pulled the car into the hotel parking lot.

"Here we are," he announced. "Hang back a sec guys," he said, stepping out of the car. Kelly gave Zac a questioning look.

"He's making sure there aren't any crazed fans or anything out there," Isaac explained.

"Oh okay," Kelly said.

"Come on guys," Jason said from outside. "The coast is clear."

Isaac, Taylor, Zac, Donna, Jess, and Kelly stepped out of the car, and walked with Jason to the hotel. The rode the elevator up to the floor they were all staying on, and walked down the hall towards the rooms.

"I'm in here," Jason said, motioning to the room next to Isaac, Tay's and Zac's.

"Okay," Taylor said. "Goodnight Jason." Jason waved, and entered his hotel room. Isaac pulled a key out of his pocket and unlocked the door.

"You girls want to come in for a little while?" he asked, pulling the key out of the lock. Donna, Jess, and Kelly looked at each other.

"Sure," Jess said. "We'll be right there."

"We just need to change," Donna added, as she pulled the key out of her bag.

After opening the door and closing it behind them, Donna, Jess, and Kelly quickly changed into more comfortable clothes. Donna pulled on a pair of carpenter jeans and a forest green T-shirt. She pulled a light blue long-sleeved shirt on over the T-shirt, and put on a pair of socks. After Jess and Kelly were finished changing, Donna walked over to the door that joined the two rooms and knocked on it.

"Coming," Zac said. He pulled the door open, and the three girls entered the room. Jess immediately walked over to where Isaac was laying on a bed and lay down beside him. Kelly walked over to where Zac was sitting on the floor watching TV, and sat beside him. Donna looked around.

"Ummmm....Where's Tay?" she asked.

"Out on the balcony," Isaac said. Donna walked over to the sliding door that led to the balcony, and pulled it open. She found Taylor standing a few feet away, looking up at the sky.

"Hey," he said when he saw Donna. Donna smiled and walked over to him.

"Hi," she said, looking up. "What are you looking at?" she asked.

"The stars," Taylor said, looking back up at the sky.

"You know," Donna said, turning around and leaning against the rail. "That was really sweet ; The way you mentioned us in your acceptance speech." Taylor looked at her.

"I wanted to say more, but I didn't feel it was the time or the place."

"What did you want to say?" Donna asked questioningly.

"That I love you," Taylor said, looking back up at the sky.

"I love you too Tay," Donna said, smiling. She wrapped her arms around herself and shivered. "How can you stand it out here?" she asked. "It's freezing."

"Here," Taylor said, moving closer to her. "Come here." Donna moved over to him, and Taylor stood behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist. He hugged her tightly, and Donna held onto his arms.

"Thanks," she said.

"Don't mention it," Taylor said.

They stood on the balcony, not talking, just looking at the stars for a good 10 minutes. Then Taylor reached up and took Donna's chin in his hand. He turned Donna's head slightly, and allowed his lips to fall onto hers. Donna reached up and put her hand on the back of Taylor's neck. She kissed him back, and was completely relaxed when she felt his tongue enter her mouth. She turned around so they were facing each other. She ran her hands up and down Taylor's back as they kissed.

"Guys," a voice said. Donna and Taylor broke apart, and found Isaac standing a few feet away. "Sorry," he said. "But I have something important to tell you."

"What is it Ike?" Taylor asked.

"Is something wrong?" Donna asked.

"First come inside," Isaac said. "It's freezing out here!"

"No kidding," Donna said, taking Taylor's hand as they went back inside the hotel room.

"So what is it?" Taylor asked after he and Donna had sat down on the couch.

"We're leaving tomorrow morning, early," Isaac said.

"Why?" Donna asked. "I thought we were staying until the end of the week."

"Well, Dad thinks we should leave now. Mom is due to have the baby soon, and she's not feeling well. So Dad thinks it's best if we go home now, before the baby comes." Donna nodded.

"Do Jess, Zac and Kelly know?" Taylor asked. Isaac nodded.

"They're in the next room. Zac is helping Kelly and Jess pack." Donna turned to Taylor.

"You want to come help me?" she asked.

"As long as you'll help me," Taylor replied.

"It's a deal," Donna said, standing up. She took Taylor's hand and pulled him up.

"But Ike," Taylor said. "Are you sure Mom is okay?" Isaac nodded.

"She's just really tired," he said. Taylor nodded.

"Okay. You coming?" he asked.

"I'll be right there," Isaac replied.

Donna and Taylor walked across the room, and into the girls' room. Zac and Kelly were watching TV, and Jess was folding clothes and placing them in her suitcase.

"Hey guys," she said.

"Hi," Donna said, walking over to her bed. She grabbed her suitcase and dropped it on the bed.

"Where did you put your clothes?" Taylor asked.

“In the third drawer," Donna said. Taylor pulled drawer open, and began pulling clothes out and placing them in Donna's suitcase.

After they were finished, Donna placed her suitcase by the door, and followed Taylor into his room. She began to help him pack his suitcase.

"It's too quiet," Donna commented, as she placed a pair of jeans in the suitcase. "I'm going to turn on the stereo." Taylor nodded, as he pulled clothes out of a drawer.

Donna walked over to the stereo and concentrated on finding a decent station. She found a station playing, of all songs, I Will Come to You.

"Oh come on," Taylor said with a smile, as he looked at Donna.

"Come on yourself," Donna said, smiling back. "I think you can stand listening to your own voice for a few minutes." She walked back over to where Taylor was standing. "It's almost over anyway."

"That was Hanson with "I Will Come to You," the DJ said. "Our congrats go out to the guys, who picked up the Grammy for best new artist tonight. Great job." Donna and Taylor smiled at each other.

"Here's that chart topping single "My Heart Will Go On" by Celine Dion," the DJ continued. "And if you still haven't seen Titanic, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?! Go see it! Right now. Go. Well, now that I got that out, here it is, "My Heart Will Go On", love theme from Titanic."

"I sure would like to see that movie," Donna said, falling onto the bed.

"Hint, hint?" Taylor asked.

"Hint, hint," Donna echoed.

"We'll go see it as soon as we get home," Taylor said, laying down beside her. "We can go with the others too, if you want, that is." Donna nodded.

"Sounds like a date," she said. Taylor yawned. "You want me to go so you can go to sleep?" Donna asked, sitting up. Taylor shook his head.

"Stay here," he said. "Please."

"For the night?" Donna asked. Taylor nodded. She gave him a look. "Taylor, I..."

"I promise nothing will happen," Taylor said. "Come on." Donna stood up.

"Let me go get ready for bed." she said, walking across the room. "I'll be right back." Taylor nodded.

Donna pushed open the door that led to the other room, and smiled at the sight of Jess and Isaac asleep on one bed, and Zac and Kelly laying on the floor asleep. She quietly changed into a pair of Adidas shorts and a white T-shirt. After brushing her teeth and washing her face, Donna turned off the TV, and closed the door behind her. Taylor was laying on the bed, watching TV. He was wearing a pair of boxers and a black T-shirt. "The others are asleep," Donna said, as she climbed under the covers. Taylor, who was engrossed in the TV show he was watching, simply nodded. Donna grabbed the remote and turned the TV off.

"Hey..." Taylor protested.

"Come on," Donna said. "We have to leave early tomorrow morning. Taylor lay back and pulled the covers over himself.

"Ready?" Donna asked, hand poised to turn off the light.

"Ready," Taylor said. Donna flicked off the light, and the room was plunged into darkness. Donna gasped at the sudden darkness. Taylor laughed.

"It's okay," he whispered. Donna felt his hand touch hers, and she held it. "It's so cold," she said with a shiver. She rolled over, her eyes still adjusting to the darkness. She could make out the outline of Taylor's face.

"Come here," he whispered. He pulled Donna close to him, wrapped his arms around her waist and hugged her tightly.

"Goodnight Tay," Donna whispered. “Night Donna," Taylor replied.



Chapter 29: