In Your Shadow

Not only are Taylor and Louis twins, they're also best friends.
But with Louis getting even more perfect everyday, will Taylor manage to escape his shadow?
Or will she always be known as just 'Louis' twin sister'?


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7. The Heart-to-Heart

 

“Taylor, wait!” Harry calls as I storm away from the large building, my vision blurred by the tears that won't seem to stop forming.

 

With my lip trembling, I ignore him as I continue down the road.

 

“I'm sorry! I wanted to surprise you... I- I wanted to show your family how talented you are... I never expected that to happen!” He shouts to be heard over the noise of the traffic beside us.

“Well it did happen, didn't I?” I finally snap, spinning around and glaring at him. “My family got to see just how talented I am, and I got to mess up my one chance at achieving what I love. So, congratulations to me!” I laugh bitterly.

“Taylor, please. You don't know how awful I feel.” He reaches for my hand but I rip it away from him.

 

All of my anger at myself boils within me and I know what's going to happen; it's all going to be unleashed. I'm going to blame Harry. I'm going to yell until my voice strains, until I can't feel anything any more.

 

You feel awful? What about me?! I've shown myself up, made a fool out of myself. I've thrown away everything I've worked for. And Harry, do you know what the worst thing is? I trusted you. I told you the very thing I've kept from my own twin brother, and what for? For you to throw it back in my face and make me look like an idiot in front of all of those people! I'm done with whatever this is. I'm done with everything, so do me a favour and leave me alone.

 

I watch my bitter words stab him in the heart, and part of me feels satisfied. The other part of me, I ignore. As I breath heavily, fueled by my anger and ready to spit out more harsh words, Harry grits his teeth and clenches his fists.

 

Oh wow. I told your little secret. I told your family that you play the piano. Well who gives a shit? And you know what? You're the most selfish person I've ever met. You've pushed away your own twin brother, making him worry about you every single day. He thought you were in trouble. He thought you were being harassed or getting in with the wrong crowd. When in the mean time you were just skipping off to your little practise room and playing a bloody piano! No one cares if you're the next Mozart, or if you write your own little pop songs!

 

“You've been so deluded all this time, believing that it would be the end of the world if your family found out you played the piano. You're talented Taylor, but bloody hell it's a musical instrument. It's not like you were hiding something much bigger, or a more serious problem.” His words hit me harder and harder, like I'm being repeatedly slapped in the face. But he carries on, clearly needing to get everything off his chest.

 

“And do you know what one of the worst things is? You told me to lie to my best friend. And I did what you said. You've dragged so many people into your tangled web of lies. You dragged me in, and somehow you dragged Niall in. And I bet after all of this, you'll run to him and pull him in further. But he hasn't noticed you all these years, and I have! And then when I finally kissed you, I was suddenly enough for you. I've been here, waiting whilst watching you fall for someone else, and then I finally got my chance. But I'll always be second best won't I?

 

“You can complain about being invisible, Taylor. But that doesn't mean you can cast other people into the shadows.” And with that he leaves.

 

I stand there, next to the main road, my mouth hanging open and my heart breaking into two. He knew that all of that would hurt me. He opened up all of my wounds and kicked dirt into them. But I know I deserve it. I said awful things to him, and maybe he's right; maybe I have been so self-obsessed and only focused on things to do with me. I didn't notice Harry all these years, well not in the way he wanted me to. But does that mean he's second best? Do I like Niall more than Harry? Because things can change, can't they? I don't know. But I do know that I'm such a shitty person.

 

I've spent all these years wanting to be noticed, but now I'd love nothing more than to disappear.

 

~*~

 

“Taylor? Are you in here?”

 

The door opens, allowing a creek of light to spill into my shared bedroom and creating looming shadows that jump off the wall.

 

I stay hidden beneath the covers. I just want to not exist just for a little bit of time. Until I've figured out what I'm going to do. Until I'm not angry any more. Until they create time travel so I can go back and do my audition all over again, so I can take back everything I said to Harry, so I can do everything all over again.

 

“Come on, Lor,” Louis says, using the nickname from when I was a toddler. For some reason I could only say the last part of my name, and not the 'Tay' bit. “Stop hiding from me.”

 

I hold my breath as my heart breaks. Part of my feels so angry at myself, at Harry, at Louis. But then here is my twin brother, calling me by my old nickname, and sitting beside me. I should appreciate him more. I should open up to him, be like how we used to be when we told each other everything. I should stop ignoring him. But something inside me can't.

 

I've been avoiding Louis for months, and I've only realised it now. I convinced myself into believing that he had changed, that he was so much more mature, so much different to the brother I used to know. But Louis didn't change. He's still the incredibly dorky, adorable, loyal, talented Louis he's always been. I'm the one who has changed. I pushed him away and blamed it on him. And like Harry said, I've been too self-obsessed to notice that.

 

All I want more in the world is to rewind time. I want to go back to the time when Louis could trust me. I want to jump onto his back, and climb into our old tree house, and snuggle down together as we attempt to count the stars in the sky. I want to be the wild-eyed child I used to be; the girl I was before I only focused on myself and blocked out everyone around me.

 

“What happened to us?” Louis whispers, his voice breaking slightly. “We used to be the terrible two... Why are you pushing me away, Taylor? Because believe it or not, I need you. I really do. You've always been the strong one out of the two of us. I just wish you could see that... You've never seen exactly what you're worth, always put yourself down. Please, just come back to me, Lor.”

 

I slowly reach out from under my duvet and clasp Louis's hand. The warmth is reassuring, and the familiarity of his hold gives me some hope. Maybe I can get everything back to how it used to be. I gradually sit up and fall into Louis's arms, his other free hand gently stroking back my red hair from my tear-stained face.

 

“I'm so sorry,” I whisper. “I'm so so sorry.”

 

I expect him to carry on questioning how everything went wrong. Like 'why did you keep this from me?', 'when did we stop being best friends?', 'what did you say to Harry?'. But he doesn't do any of that. He does the best thing he can do in this situation; he says nothing at all. Instead, he just hugs me back, and cradles me gently in his arms as I cry until I can't cry any more.

 

Eventually we crawl into my bed, Louis's arms a comforting wall around me as I lie there. With his warm body beside me, I feel safe. None of my head-ache inducing thoughts can get me. None of the monsters under my bed. None of the nightmares that haunt my brain.

 

“We used to do this all the time, lying next to each other and forgetting the world” He says softly. “Remember the forts we used to build in our room? We'd drag all the duvets and blankets we could find, and then we practically buried ourselves alive.” He chuckles. “And then when we woke up, our fort had always fallen down. We used to blame it on the monster under your bed trying to get us in the night, when really it was just mum worrying that we would suffocate under all those blankets so she took it down.”

“I miss that,” I say into the darkness. “I miss everything from our childhood. Everything was so much simpler then.”

“Yeah it was...But you know I'm always here. You don't have to go through things alone, Tay.”

“I know that now. I'm so sorry Lou. I-”

“No,” He interrupts. “Stop apologising. It's all in the past now. We just need to move on from it and learn from it.”

 

His grip around me tightens, and I bury my head in his arms. His familiar scents comforts me, as I snuggle into him. I really have missed my brother.

 

“When did you become so big, and mature, and wise?” I whisper.

“I've always been the smart one,” He says, pinching my cheek slightly.

“I can't argue with that,” I laugh. “I'm the awkward one.”

“No, you're n-”

“Oh come on, Lou. Yes I am. But you know what? I don't mind that much. It's me, I guess. And if I can find someone who loves me despite my awkwardness, then I know I'll have a keeper.” I joke.

 

My laughter fades into an ever-growing silence, my thoughts filling with Harry.

 

Did I really not notice him through all of these years? Was there anything to notice? Because I always knew he was there. I always appreciated him and valued his friendship. But that's all I thought it was, friendship. I had no idea he felt anything like that for me. But maybe I was blind to it because all I focused on was Niall. I was going after something which will never happen, and that meant I was oblivious to Harry...

 

“Hey Lou?” I say softly.

“Yeah?”

“Is it true that Harry used to like me?” My heart races in anticipation for his response. Feelings of nervousness and hopefulness run though me like a shock of electricity.

“What do you mean 'used to'? He's crazy about you. Always has been, and probably always will be. And don't think I didn't notice you two together. All those times when I couldn't find you, or your lips were swollen, or you had a bloody love bite on your neck! Yeah, I noticed it all. But I let you two play out your little 'secret'.”

You knew?!” I gasp. “That is so embarrassing!”

“Actually, it was kind of cute... I'm happy for both of you.”

 

My whole body floods with guilt and regret as I remember the stabbing comments I shouted at Harry. He really did care for me. He was only tying to surprise me...to make me happy. That's all he's ever done, tried to make me happy. He kept my secret, and he noticed me when no one else did, and he was there for me. And I just pushed him away.

 

You were happy for both of us. Past tense. I don't think Harry is ever going to want to talk to me again after everything I said to him today.”

“No, I don't think that's true. He really cares about you, Taylor. He almost knows you as much as I do. He'll know you didn't mean any of it, and he'll know that you need some space. But if he loves you as much as I think he does, he won't give up on you.”

 

And with Louis's comforting, yet probably untrue, words circling in my head, the sound of my twin's rhythmic breathing gradually lulls me to sleep.

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