The first thing that attracted me to Taylor was his smile. Sure, I know that it sounds cliché, but it’s the truth. His smile radiates this contagious vibe that can only make you smile along with him. Over the past few years I have seen his smile so many times, but I would always see it in a way that I wish I wouldn’t have …
But that’s a whole other subject. I picked up a picture frame that had been tucked behind my bed. I smiled when I saw it. Taylor Hanson. And he was smiling. Then I remembered why I had it stashed behind the bed. Lori. She would be furious if she knew about my little infatuation with him. I took the picture out of the frame and turned it over. 1997. Three long years ago. He looked so young and innocent in that photo. That was when we actually talked. Now though, it’s a whole different story. It was my fault though. My memories and thoughts took me back in time.
I heard the cheering of a crowd coming from the performing tent. I struggled to see who was taking their place on the small make shift stage. Three boys, three young boys. Ha, young…maybe my age, so not exactly “young”, but young in comparison to other performers.
I spotted my father sitting on a blanket near the front of the crowd. This was something that we always did. We would come to Mayfest every year, to hang out, spend some good father-daughter quality time together, and check out some of the new local prodigies of music. I sat down next to him and started to flip through a magazine that was sitting on the blanket.
The boys started off with thanking everyone for coming out to Mayfest. Ha, they must be newcomers. Only the newcomers start off their act by thanking people for coming. Owell. I took a look up at them for the first time up close. I nearly dropped the magazine. One was holding a guitar. He better set that thing down before he drops it and breaks it, I thought to myself. But then one of the other two walked over to the keyboards. And the third one, the smallest one, took a seat behind the drums. What was this!? Then they started playing!! And they were good! It didn’t make sense! They were my age and they were this talented? Ew, I bet they’re full of themselves or something. They started singing some oldie that I didn’t know. I focused my attention back to the magazine. The song ended and they were talking to the crowd.
“Hey!!!” one of them shouted into the microphone. It caught my attention. The one playing the guitar, and he looked like oldest one, was the one that shouted. I looked up at him and then I noticed that I was the only person that was sitting down.
“We said that we needed everyone on their feet for the next song and you’re the only one not,” he said. Everyone around started cheering and chanting STAND UP! I could feel my face redden as I stood. I looked up at the boys again. My eyes lingered on the keyboard player. He was looking at me, too. When our eyes connected, he smiled. I knew that my heart fluttered. He was cute. He was cute AND he was smiling at me!! :)
That was when I fell in love with him. At that point, I didn’t know his name, or the groups name or anything about them.
“Are you going to be ready any time soon?? You’re going to miss the flight if you don’t get out of here in the next fifteen minutes!” Lori shouted into my room of our apartment, breaking my pleasant thoughts. I blinked my eyes rapidly and looked quickly at the clock. Crap! She was right! I had to get out of here! I glanced quickly around my room to make sure I had everything that I needed. Nothing really stood out so I guessed that I was ready to go. I picked up my two fairly large duffle bags, and my heavy suitcase and headed out towards the main part of our 5 room apartment that we shared.
“I can’t believe that I’m leaving for the whole summer,” I said, setting the bags down right in front of the door. She looked as though she was about to cry. I gave her a hug before I could see any tears flow from her cheeks. I knew that if I would see her cry, then I would cry as well. This was going to be the longest we’ve ever been apart since we have become friends. Even when she moved when we were younger, we still saw each other at least every other weekend.
“Call me when you get home, okay?” she requested. Home. Funny, it didn’t feel like I was going home. Even though I was returning to my parents house for the summer, which would make sense to call ‘home’, I felt like my real home was with her in our apartment. I guess that’s what college will do to you.
“I will,” I promised. We released each other. “Want me to deliver any messages for anyone?”
She smiled. She knew what I meant. “Nah, I don’t hate him or anything, I just -- ”
“Miss him,” I finished for her. We both smiled. “I know. I’ll call you,” I told her again. Then I got my bags again and went out the door. Luckily for me, the bus was right outside the building letting people off and I didn’t have to wait around for one to get there.
Sitting on the bus, I let my mind wander aimlessly again…
When their set was over, an announcer came on and thanked the Hanson Brothers. So I was assuming that was the name of the group. The crowd applauded, cheered, clapped, and whistled for them. Everyone sure did love them. Even I liked them. They seemed so full of life and energy. I then changed my earlier hypothesis about them being snobbish. Just the way they put themselves together and how they performed with each other made an atmosphere of well, brotherly love, or something. They exited the stage.
“Hey Dad, I’m gonna go over and see if I can meet them,” I told my dad. He nodded, smiling.
“I’ll be here,” he told me. I knew that he wouldn’t be moving any time soon. I walked off in the direction towards the side of the stage that they had gotten off on. I saw them, but there were several other people around them, talking to them. My high hopes were let down as I slowed my pace. I suddenly felt self conscience. All the people around them looked so important. And here I was, an insignificant 13 year old. I didn’t feel worthy enough to talk to them.
Then the cute keyboard player saw me and smiled. His smile seemed so welcoming and inviting. In fact, it was that moment and that smile that gave me the confidence to keep going over to talk to them. Just as I was about to make my way over, I felt someone tap my shoulder.
“Brook?” my best friend Lori asked me. “Is that you?” Well, some friend, eh?
“Hey!” I welcomed her.
“Wow, I didn’t recognize you! Your hair is so short! Why did you get it cut? It was so long and pretty!”
“Actually, I didn’t want to get it cut, but Brad thought that it would be fun to blow a bubble in my ponytail this morning. I wanted to rip his head off, but my mom wouldn’t let me. Instead, I cried. I was so upset, but it’s all right now. I guess I got used to it already,” I explained how my four year old brother got gum in my hair, now thinking that the situation was being somewhat on the funny side. Lori giggled.
“So, did you see that band?” she asked me. I nodded. Then she whispered, “Isn’t the keyboardist cute??”
“Yes!” I whispered back. We laughed giddily for a couple of seconds. I lifted my eyes to see him again. He looked over at me again and smiled. I grabbed on Lori’s arm and pulled her over with me. All three of them were standing there. I decided to go to the tallest first.
“Hi,” I said. He smiled. I saw that he had braces. I hadn’t noticed earlier. He smiled and offered his hand.
“Hi, I’m Isaac,” he said. His voice was so smooth and even though I was only 13 years old, I thought that it sounded sexy. I wasn’t sure how old he was, but I didn’t care. He had a sexy voice and I liked it. “These are my brothers; Zac and Taylor.”
I looked over to them. Zac was the youngest. He was cute, but seemed like he was getting restless. I could tell that he wanted to blow the place as soon as he could get the chance. So, I thought to myself, the cute one’s name is Taylor.
“I’m Brook, and this is my friend Lori,” I introduced. I was surprised at how calm I was being. Normally when I’m around people that I didn’t know, especially guys, I got shy and hardly talked. “You guys were really good up there. Have you been playing for long?”
“Lots of practicing,” admitted Zac. I had to smile at the enthusiasm in his voice. Even though it appeared as though he didn’t want to the there, he sounded sincere.
“Have you picked up one of our CDs?” the cute one (Taylor) piped up. I shook my head, as did Lori. “Hey Zac, go run and get two CDs off of Mom to give to them.”
Zac ran off in the other direction. It was so cute. I looked over at Lori to see her reaction. Uh-oh. I recognized that look on her face. It lurked around like a shadow in her clear blue eyes. She was looking seductively at Taylor.
Let me interject here. I feel like I have some explaining to do. Okay, keep in mind that I was only 13 when this was taking place. Lori, on the other hand, was 15. She was older than me and how we were best friends confused even me. Maybe it was because her mom and my mom were really good friends and we grew up together, but whatever the case was, she was older than me and had more experience in the guy department. And when she wanted a guy, she always got him. She was the tall-skinny-long-legged-blonde-hair-blue-eyed babe that all guys would love to claim as their own. Okay, back to the story:
Chapter 2 Mixed Up