Phyllis’ jaw dropped. Everyone watched as Taylor slowly made his way down the stairs, smiling from ear to ear. He set the box down in front of her and stood there. She looked up at him wide eyed.
“Come on, open it.” He smiled.
“I…uh…” Phyllis stammered.
“Phyl, don’t keep us in suspense!” Amanda said. Phyllis put her hand on the box and looked at it. She grabbed the ribbon and pulled it gently. She pulled the cover off and peaked inside.
“HEY!” She yelled, looking up at Taylor.
“It’s another box!” Phyllis said angrily.
“I’m gonna make you work for your gift.” Taylor smiled mischeviously. Phyllis pulled the next box out of the bigger box and put it on her lap. She untied the ribbon and pulled the top off.
“Not another one!” She said in a disgusted tone. She pulled the next box out from that one.
“Please tell me there isn’t anymore boxes!” She said, looking up at him.
“I can’t promise anything.” He smiled. Phyllis untied the ribbon to that box and pulled off the top. Inside was a tiny box. Phyllis reached in and pulled it out. She unwrapped the paper that was around it and opened it. Inside was a note.
“GO TO THE REFRIDGERATOR” it stated. Phyllis put the paper down on the table and walked to the kitchen where everyone was watching her. She opened the refridgerator to see another box. She pulled the box out and took off the top. Inside was another piece of paper.
“DAMN!” She yelled. She looked around the corner of the kitchen and looked at everyone.
“When did you have the time to do this?” She asked.
“Just read the paper!” Taylor laughed. Phyllis looked at the piece of paper in her hand.
“GO TO THE UPSTAIRS BATHROOM.” Phyllis trudged out of the kitchen and up the stairs. She walked in the bathroom and looked all around. She looked at the mirror and could see a sticky note on it.
“OPEN ME!” It said. She opened it and looked inside. In the medicine cabinet was another box with a note attached to the front.
“GO DOWN STAIRS! DON’T OPEN YET!” It said. Phyllis walked back down the stairs with the box in hand.
“Now what?” She asked, looking at Taylor.
“Go ahead.” He smiled. Phyllis looked back down at the box in her hands and peeled the note off of the top of it. She unwrapped it and threw the paper to the floor. Just as she was to open the box the doorbell rang.
“DON’T ANSWER IT!” Taylor yelled angrily.
“Go ahead.” Phyllis said to Holly. Holly got up and walked to the door.
Phyllis opened the box and looked inside.
“OH MY GOD!” She yelled and started crying. Inside the box was a brilliant diamond ring.
“Phyl…will you…” Taylor began as he kneeled down on one knee.
“Hello?” Taylor was cut off when someone appeared at the door. Everyone looked up.
Standing in the doorway was a woman. She had long black hair, pulled back into a loose braid. She had on a snake skin knee length skirt and a black top. She had in her hands a gift bag.
“EVE!” Candy gasped.
“Oh, hold on, Zac’s just getting something in the car.” She smiled as she looked back out the door towards the car.
“What are they doing here?!” Taylor said angrily as he gritted his teeth.
“Hey everyone!” Zac called as he walked in the door with a huge box in his hands.
“Am I interrupting something?” He added, noticing Taylor kneeling on the floor.
“DID YOU INVITE THEM!” Taylor yelled as he got up off the floor.
“YES!” Phyllis said angrily.
“I DID INVITE THEM!” She added as she handed Taylor the box and walked to the door. She hugged both Zac and Eve and led them in. Zac looked wearily over at Taylor. Taylor crossed his arms over his chest angrily and glared at him.
“Sit.” Phyllis smiled as she let them both sit on the couch. Eve sat down confidently and crossed her legs. Zac stood there, still looking at Taylor.
“Zac, sit down.” Phyllis said, trying to break his attention from Taylor’s glare. Taylor put the box down on the table and stood there, staring harshly.
“I have to go.” Taylor said. He walked to the closet and grabbed his jacket and opened the front door.
“TAYLOR!” Phyllis yelled as she ran over to him.
“Why are you leaving?” She whispered as she took his arm.
“I can’t be here while he’s here.” Taylor said, still looking over at his brother.
“Why are you doing this?” Phyllis said. Taylor looked in her eyes that were threatening to flow over with tears.
“Phyl…” Taylor said, softening his expression.
“Please…” She pleaded, swallowing the lump in her throat.
“Phyl…” Taylor began again. He couldn’t take it. He didn’t want to upset her. He loved her too much. He knelt down again and took her hand.
“Phyllis…will you marry me?” He asked, looking up in her eyes. Phyllis smiled and let the tears roll down her face. Everyone stopped what they were doing and stared at the two.
“YES!” She said excitedly and leaped into his arms.
“Yes!” She said as she embraced him.
“YEAH!” Holly yelled as she jumped out of her seat. She looked down at Amanda.
“Man, ready?” Holly asked.
“Yup.” Amanda smiled. They walked over to Taylor and Phyllis.
“WE LOVE YOU!” They both yelled and started hugging them.
“AGHHH!” Phyllis yelled while laughing.
“GROUP HUG!” Ike and Candy yelled and ran over, hugging them too.
“YOU’RE CRUSHING US!” Taylor yelled as he tried to get loose.
Claire looked down at the floor, trying not to look at Zac. She recognized the woman and she desperately wanted to leave. She felt extremely uncomfortable. Zac seemed to ignore her and just watched everyone else. Claire got up and walked over to the door.
“Phyllis…I got to go.” Claire called as everyone finally let them have some breathing room.
“But…Claire…I…” Phyllis stammered a she tried to catch up with her.
“I’m sorry.” Claire said as she walked out of the door. Phyllis turned towards Zac and Eve. Zac didn’t seem to realize what had happened. Eve on the other hand was looking directly in the direction of the door. Phyllis looked out of the corner of her eye and she swore she could see a smile spread over Eve’s lips. Taylor looked over at Zac and Eve and grimaced.
“Do you see what he did! Claire left…” Taylor began.
“Tay…” Phyllis began.
“uh…Phyllis is it…uh…we have to go.” Eve said, startling Phyllis.
“Why?” Phyllis questioned.
“Oh…work. I have to do something for work.” Eve smiled. Taylor looked straight at her and clenched his teeth.
“Bye.” Zac called as they were about to walk out of the door.
“Can I have a birthday hug?” Phyllis said, smiling a half smile.
“All right.” Zac said. He ran over to her and hugged her quick.
“I hope you enjoy your gifts.” He called just as they left the house.
“I knew he’d skip out! I just knew it!” Taylor said angrily as he walked over by Ike.
“Tay, I really think that Eve had to work.” Ike said, trying justify his little brother’s actions.
“Did you see how uncomfortable Claire was and how he didn’t even acknowledge her. Yeah, she had to leave for work. Whatever!” Taylor said angrily.
“Can’t you just let it go!” Ike said, looking straight in Taylor’s face.
“You’re getting married, Zac’s happy with Eve and Claire has her own life. Let it go!” Ike added. Taylor just looked at him. He walked over to Phyllis and took her hand. Phyllis smiled over at Taylor and he glanced at Ike. Ike didn’t know what to do. It was apparent that Taylor was angry about the whole situation and seemed to not want to discuss it in front of Phyllis. Ike didn’t really have any beef with Zac. He loved him, he was still his little brother but there was no getting through to Taylor that they were still brothers no matter what.
“Well, I think we should…uh…” Candy began and looked over at the girls.
“Oh yeah.” Amanda said, jumping up from her seat. They all ran in the kitchen, leaving Ike, Taylor and Phyllis in the living room.
“I wish that Claire hadn’t of left. I haven’t seen her in such a long time.” Phyllis said in a dissappointed tone.
“I’m not surprised she left.” Taylor said under his breath.
“Why?” Phyllis questioned.
“I…” he stammered.
“Since Zac was here.” Ike interrupted.
“Oh! I feel so bad! Oh god!” Phyllis said in with a shocked look on her face. She didn’t even think about it.
“Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Phyllis, Happy Birthday to you!” Candy, Holly and Amanda started singing as they walked into the living room with a cake lit with candles.
“Oh wow.” Phyllis said as they placed it in front of her.
“Make a wish Phyl.” Taylor smiled. Phyllis looked at him and smiled. She held her hair with her hands and leaned in, blowing out the candles.
Eve looked out the window as the outside world began to wizz by. Zac was driving and kept silent most of the time in the car.
“Zac…” Eve started to say.
“Yeah?" Zac answered, not looking away from the road ahead of him.
“Who was that girl?” Eve asked. Eve didn’t need to know the answer. She already knew. She knew that was Claire and she knew the reason why Claire had left in such a hurry. She loved having that feeling of superiority, knowing she had Zac and Claire didn’t.
“Oh…uh…what girl?” Zac asked, narrowing his eyes as he still looked at the road.
“The girl at the party. I know Candy, Ike’s wife, Amanda and Holly which are Phyllis’ friends and of course Phyllis but who was that other girl?” Eve persisted, smiling a little at the thought of how uncomfortable she made the girl.
“Oh…that was Claire.” Zac said quietly.
“Claire, my ex- girlfriend.” Zac said and glanced over to Eve.
“Oh…I didn’t know what she looked like. You never talk about her.” Eve said, trying to hide the amusement in her voice.
“Nothing to talk about. The relationship is over.” He answered bluntly.
“I imagine that you had feelings for her, right?”
“Just one of those kiddie relationships. Not the real thing.” He answered again. She could tell he was getting uncomfortable talking about it.
“What ever happened between you two?” She persisted.
“I couldn’t tell you, I don’t really know.” Zac said.
“Did she break up with you?” Eve asked, probing more into the topic.
“So you broke up with her then…”
“Then what happened?”
“It just didn’t work out. She was always too busy talking about her father and she never did anything without his permission…”
“So you broke up with her.” Eve asked.
“No…it…well…it’s more like she stopped coming around. You know, stopped calling and stuff. I sort of forgot about her or tried.” Zac answered.
“Let’s not talk about this anymore all right.” He added. Eve turned her face towards the window again and smiled. She was satisfied. She had gotten what she wanted. Zac’s full devotion even to the point of not even wanting to talk about any other girl.
“So…it was sort of odd walking in on your brother proposing wasn’t it.” She said, turning back around and changing the subject.
“Uh huh.” Zac said, tightening his grip on the steering wheel.
“I mean, they look so happy.”
“Are you happy for them?” Eve said shocking Zac so that he looked at her.
“What do you mean by that?” He said, narrowing his eyes at her.
“You just didn’t seem to happy for them, that’s all.” She said, looking in his face.
“Taylor and I don’t really get along to well.”
“Don’t you mean Taylor doesn’t get along with anyone too well.” Eve corrected him.
“No…Taylor just has a lot on his mind…”
“Zac, quit defending him! He treats you like dirt.” Eve said, raising her voice.
“I understand he’s your older brother and all but it’s not right. You haven’t done anything to him!”
“Eve, it’s not that simple…” Zac said, as he tried to interject.
“No Zac, he shouldn’t do that to you. You’re the sweetest person and you haven’t done anything wrong except take his shit!” Eve said in an angry tone. Zac looked back over at her again.
“I love you Zac and I don’t think you should be treated like that.” She said, softening her tone as she put her hand on his thigh and gently massaged it.
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