Taylah Jordan Danielle Horvat
Taylah Jordan 2007-2008
Lived: Jordan house
Best friend to Jessica Wallace, Taylah was never the sharpest knife in the drawer, often simply following what her bitchier friend wanted to do. Whilst Jess and Taylah were at the pool one day, they saw Bridget Parker, a classmate who'd been away for several weeks, following an accident that left her paralysed down the left-hand side of her body. The girls did their awkward best to be polite, then started chatting about how a guy there was hot, but it was a shame he was in a wheelchair. The guy - Josh Taylor - came over to them, having befriended Bridget during their physio sessions, and started telling Jess and Taylah how brave they were to continue living their lives, despite their condition. Slightly confused, the girls quickly walked away from the conversation.
Ever the loyal friend, Taylah was on hand to help when Jessica developed a crush on Ringo Brown, whose girlfriend Rachel Kinski was away for two weeks in Canberra. After managing to spend some time alone with Ringo in detention, Jess called him that evening, upset and claiming to have had a bad experience on a date with a guy. Ringo met her at the General Store and comforted her and, as they got up to leave, Jess quickly kissed him, before apologising. Ringo told her it was fine, then left, as Taylah came in, having taken a photo of the kiss on her mobile phone, with the plan to use it to split up Rachel and Ringo for good. Thinking Rachel and Ringo were over for good, Jessica was horrified to see the pair kissing and making up in the General Store and promptly sent the photo to Rachel's phone. When Ringo confronted her the next day, Jessica managed to pass the blame to Taylah, who was happy to lie for her best friend, claiming that she thought Jess and Ringo would make the perfect couple and would do anything to split him up from Rachel.
A couple of weeks later, Taylah ran into Zeke, Rachel's geeky younger brother, at a rave party, and they quickly hit it off. After spending the night outside the warehouse where the rave was being held, chatting and staring up at the stars, Zeke shared his first kiss with Taylah, and she promised him that their new relationship would be their secret, and for once, she wouldn't be rushing to tell Jessica all of the details. It wasn't long before Jessica knew everything, however, and, as the teens attended another illegal rave, everyone got to find out about Zeke and Taylah's relationship, as they went public. But the big night ended in tragedy when the roof of the unstable warehouse caved in, leaving many people trapped. Despite their best efforts, Zeke and Taylah were separated in the chaos that followed and, as daylight came, Taylah was rescued but had to break the news to Zeke's family that she didn't know what had happened to him, then she was forced to deal with the fact that Jessica hadn't made it out alive. And so, a few days later, Taylah got together with Ringo, Rachel, Zeke and the others to say a final farewell to their friend with a memorial service on the jetty, a spot that, in her last moments with Ringo, she had mentioned to be her favourite place.
During one of the last conversations between Taylah and Jessica, Jess had told her friend that she'd spotted their new substitute teacher, Angus Henderson with a student and believed they were in a relationship. Back at school after the Christmas break, Taylah heard rumours about Bridget having a crush on 'Hendo' and tried to warn her off, only to be told to mind her own business. During class, Taylah passed Bridget a note, trying to apologise for what she said, but it was intercepted by teacher Daniel Fitzgerald, who was already suspicious of Angus and Bridget and took this as proof that something was going on. Taylah was devastated over the trouble she had caused, while Bridget admitted to Dan that she did have a crush on Mr Henderson, but it had never gone any further than that. Declan Napier wasn't quite convinced and, after learning that Bridget's parents were planning to take her out of the school, he badgered her about the situation, eventually realising that Bridget was covering for the person who was having an affair with her teacher - Rachel. And, furious with the way Bridget was being treated, he then announced it in the middle of the school corridor.
The days that followed were very difficult for Rachel, and she ended up running away from home. Taylah, after an evening out with her dad, then spotted Rachel sitting on a bench outside the mall and offered to give her a roof for the night, but Rachel turned her down, though she later turned up at her window when she realised just how rough the mall got after dark. Taylah then convinced Rachel to contact Zeke and tell him she was OK, before explaining her own difficult history, with her mum walking out when she was eleven, and her dad ignoring her and burying himself in work. Rachel still refused to go home, so, the next morning, Taylah contacted Zeke and told him everything, but begged him not to tell his stepparents Susan and Karl, worried that their involvement might only make Rachel run off again. When Zeke then turned up, with Bridget, Ringo and Declan in tow, Rachel was furious, taking her anger out on Taylah, but Zeke made her see that she had nobody to blame but herself.
A few weeks later, Rachel had got over her problems with Angus and the teenagers were all looking forward to spending a few nights away together at a school bike riding camp. Caught between Rachel and Bridget, who were arguing over Bridget's incorrect suspicions that Rachel was now going after Declan, Taylah joked that she'd rather share a tent with Zeke. Once at camp, the gang engineered things so that the young couple did end up sleeping in the same tent, with Zeke seeking advice from Declan, and Taylah from Rachel, about whether they should have sex for the first time. Both nervous, they pretended that they'd each been in several serious relationships before, so this was no big deal, but finally confessed that they were lying, and neither was quite ready to take things further. After returning from camp, Taylah invited everyone to Sanctum nightclub to see her cousin, Ty Harper, play with his band. With the warehouse disaster still fresh in everyone's minds, their parents weren't keen on the idea, but Fitzy and fellow teacher Libby Kennedy agreed to act as chaperones. Whilst there, Taylah was determined to set Rachel up with Ty, despite Rachel's insistence that she wasn't ready for another relationship after the Angus debacle. Taylah continued to try match-making, however, inviting Ty to a going away party for Harold Bishop and even giving him Rachel's phone number, only to be constantly met with resistance by her, and for him to admit that he wouldn't want to date one of Taylah's schoolfriends anyway.
Meanwhile, Zeke and Taylah's relationship faced problems when he discovered that Chris Knight, one of the older guys on the football team, used to date her. Fearing that he looked immature by comparison, Zeke went along with a plan to secretly take alcohol to Ringo's 18th birthday party, only for Taylah to tell him that she loved him so much because he was different from all the other guys. As they went back to number 28 to take things to the next level, their romantic liaison was interrupted by Susan. Soon, Brad had been called and was horrified by his daughter drinking alcohol and sleeping with boys behind his back. Though he banned the young couple from seeing each other, Zeke managed to sneak in through Taylah's window that evening, almost being caught by Brad. As Zeke hid, Brad tried to talk to his daughter, but she sent him away, later admitting to Zeke that her dad had been a lot more attentive since Jessica died, and she didn't want to lose that, but didn't want to lose her boyfriend either. Unfortunately, the pair ended up falling asleep on her bed and were caught the next morning by Brad, and Susan and Karl who'd come looking for Zeke. Banned from seeing each other, Zeke and Taylah decided to take a mature approach and spoke to Karl and Susan, hoping that they would support them in their efforts to be open and honest. Though they won over Zeke's step-parents, Brad refused to budge. Continuing her mature new outlook, Taylah visited Karl in his professional capacity and explained that she wanted to go on the pill, though she quickly clammed up and left when he tried to talk to her further.
The following week, Zeke had arranged to take Taylah to a secluded beach, where he hoped they would sleep together for the first time, but she grew increasingly uncomfortable with the situation, eventually admitting that Chris had once taken her to that same beach and forced her to have sex with him. Zeke was supportive, suggesting that Taylah get some counselling, and she agreed to speak to Karl and also asked him if she could go on the pill, as she wanted to take control of her own body. Unfortunately, just as things were starting to look up for Taylah and Zeke, Brad found his daughter's prescription for the pill and decided that he'd had enough and announced that she was going to Sydney, to a girls' boarding school. And so, after one last night together at the school formal, Zeke walked Taylah home and the couple shared a final kiss. Taylah did, however, manage to help Bridget from her new home in Sydney, when Chris was seriously injured and later died, after trying to force Bridget to have sex. Taylah's evidence that Chris had done the same thing to her was enough to prove Bridget's claims of self-defence and she was let off the charges.
• The character of Taylah was originally going to be called Ruby, but the name was changed at the last minute
• To read our interview with Danielle Horvat, click here