[/>chapter two<\]
Mixed Up

I could tell when she wanted someone, and I could tell that she wanted Taylor. I don’t think that he had quite caught on yet, so I wasn’t really worried. But why should I be worried in the first place?? Maybe it was because she was older than him and I assumed that she should’ve been interested in the older one. Taylor looked more like my age. Maybe it was because I knew that he had seen me first and smiled at me. Then I reminded myself that it was only a smile. But it was such a cute smile!

Zac returned from where ever he had ran off to. He carried two CDs in his hand. He was out of breath.

“Wow, I didn’t literally mean to “go run”, but whatever,” Taylor smiled at his brother. Oh, his smile :) He handed a CD to each Lori and me. “Here, compliments of Hanson.”

“Thanks,” I said, turning the case over in my hands, looking at the back of it. Lori was doing the same thing. She looked up from the CD and tossed her flowing blonde hair over her shoulder. A potential “I want to flirt with you” move. She taught me all of the moves to make when I wanted to flirt with people. She was so popular; she knew everything. No, I didn’t want her to flirt with them. It seemed to be too risky.

“So, you guys played your own instruments on this CD?” she asked, more towards Taylor. I saw him see the look in her eyes and I could tell that he got a little uncomfortable with the situation.

“Yeah, we did,” Isaac chimed in. I was gracious he cut into the conversation. From that point on, the conversation took off and it seemed to last forever.

It was so weird. Though it was the first time that we met, the five of us seemed to click instantly. Zac and I shared this special rough-housing bond. Taylor and Lori seemed to have the same sense of humor. Isaac was really sweet and nice to me. He seemed kind of distant towards Lori, kind of like how Taylor was acting with me. We probably looked like an odd group, but we were just a bunch of kids joking around.

We hung out with them for about 20 minutes at Mayfest. Then, an older man approached us. I assumed that it was their father. I could see some resemblance between the four of them. Taylor introduced us to him. He smiled and nodded to us all.

“Hey, do you think they would be able to come over a little later and watch a movie or something?” Isaac asked with anticipation shining in his eyes. His father thought it over for about 3 seconds.

“It’s up to you three,” he said, pointing to Isaac, Taylor, and Zac. “You know the house is going to be crowded enough as it is because it’s Avie’s birthday. There’s going to be some girls there that she plays with all of the time, not to mention their mothers. And, you know, the usual gang, plus some additional family members, which, might I add, that you haven’t seen for quite awhile, and you know that they’ll be hounding you for information about getting signed. Don’t disappoint any of them with the rejections that we have faced. Just smile and say, “We’re still looking.” So, if you think that you’ll be able to pull off getting enough ‘alone time’ to actually watch a movie, then go ahead, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

I stood there, kind of in shock. Wow. They must have a really big family or something. Their dad was making a really big deal out of it. Taylor smiled along with Isaac. Zac didn’t really react to anything that his father just said.

“So, what do you guys say? Wanna come over and watch a movie?” Isaac said, focusing his attention mostly on Lori’s reaction. Oh, this is great, I thought to myself, Lori wants Taylor, but he seems too young to pick up on any of the signs that she’s tossing his way, and Isaac wants Lori, but she’s too busy trying to get Taylor’s attention to even notice that Isaac is trying to get HER attention

Lori and I exchanged glances. “Well, your dad seemed kind of upset. It seems like he really wants you guys to spend time with your family tonight,” Lori said. I could tell that she really wanted to go along with them, but she was just being polite.

“Oh, family-schmamily,” Taylor joked. “There’ll always be family around.”

“Okay then,” I agreed, “but only if your dad really agrees with it.”

All eyes turned towards their dad. He put his hands up, pretending to defend himself. “Okay, okay, they can come over. Just check with YOUR parents to see if it’s fine with them. And boys, I have an executive over here that saw you perform and he wants to talk to you.”

“Can you two wait around for about…?” Isaac looked at his father. He shrugged. “Well, we’ll come find you when we’re done.”

“Okay, we’ll be waiting out front on a blanket,” I said, pointing towards the front of the stage. They left us standing there in complete shock.



The bus dropped me off in front of the small airport. I managed to carry all of my bags without too much trouble. I found my way to my terminal that I needed to take me to Tulsa. Going home for the summer was going to be such a change than what I have been used to over the past year. Even though I’ve only been away at school for one school year, I have fallen accustomed to no curfew and no stupid rules from my parents. I hoped that they wouldn’t be as uptight with me as they were when I was living at home.

Finally, my flight was announced and people began boarding the plane. I looked around and saw no one that I recognized. Then I got onto the plane that would take me home. I found my seat and hoped that no one really weird would be sitting next to me. Even though it was going to be a short flight, I didn’t want to have to talk to anyone. I just wanted to be able to think. To think about Taylor’s smile and how he so easily won me over with it.



“I think that Taylor likes me,” Lori confessed to me later that night on the way home from their house. I had to force myself not to laugh, and I heard my dad chuckle from the front seat. It was a good thing that it was dark outside or else she would’ve been furious with the look on my face.

“Why do you think that?” I asked, trying my best to sound sincere. Ha, this was going to be good.

“Well, you saw the way that he was acting all shy around me. He could hardly look at me without being nervous or uncomfortable,” Lori explained. My dumbfounded smile widened. My mind flashed back to the secret Taylor told me when it was only him and myself in the kitchen making popcorn for the movie. He told me that he felt uncomfortable around her because she was older and she was being too upfront with everything. He said that he had picked up that she was trying to flirt with him, but he just doesn’t like that kind of stuff. He told me that he wanted her to act more like me. Usually, guys tell me to act more like Lori, so that was definitely the first time a guy told me that before.

“So, what do you think? Does he want me?” she interrupted my thoughts.

“I dunno. What about Ike, though? He seemed to be giving you some “I’m interested” looks,” I said.

“But have you SEEN Taylor?! HELLO!! This kid is gorgeous!”

“I’m sure Isaac’s a nice guy, too,” I said. In fact, I knew that he was a nice guy. Sure, we didn’t really talk very much, it was just something that I had picked up and sensed.

“Who cares if he’s a nice guy? As long as he’s hot…”

“I can’t believe you’d say something like that!”

“Well, it’s true!” Lori defended herself. “You have to be physically attracted to someone before you would want to try and initiate anything else with them.” I shrugged my shoulders. Maybe she knew this because she was older, but I didn’t think that it had to be that way.

The more time we (Zac, Taylor, Isaac, and me) spent together, the closer and better friends we became. Lori hung out with us sometimes, upon Isaac’s request, but she was mostly out of the loop when we were all together. I don’t think that she ever really quite picked that up. She was too busy trying to get Taylor’s attention to notice that he made fun of her almost all of time. In a way, I felt bad about it because I would laugh at her, but she was making a fool out of herself and she deserved it.

After being friends with them for a couple of months, I noticed that Taylor started acting differently towards me. I was confused as to why, but I didn’t question him about it. Their family went to a water park one day in late summer, and of course, I was invited to go along. Normally, in the huge family vehicle, Taylor, Zac, and myself would all cram together in the backseat. Isaac would always be stuck in the middle seat with Mackenzie, and the two girls would sit in the front seat, and then in the very front seat would be Walker and Diana. However, on this little adventure, Taylor ignored me the whole time.

I climbed back into my normal seat, where I always sat when I went somewhere with them. Taylor got into the van after me, but sat in the front seat where Jessica and Avie usually sat. I gave him a confused look. And then, everyone else that got in after us all had confused looks on their faces, too. I think that Taylor really cracked.

We got to the water park. As everyone piled out of the van, I noticed that he was acting even more strange.

“Hey Taylor, wait up a second,” I called to him. He turned and slowed his pace, then finally stopped to wait for me. I approached him cautiously and then finally let him have it. “What’s wrong with you?”

“Wha?” he asked, kind of stunned with my tone of voice.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about. Why are you acting so weird?”

He avoided looking into my eyes as I stood there next to him. Being that we were such good friends, I never ever saw this side of him before. Sure, he was a little on the shy side, but this was completely new for me. It was as though he was acting like he didn’t know me! Finally, he looked into my eyes. His were searching mine for something. For what I wasn’t quite sure, but he seemed to be silently pleading with me to drop the subject.

“Tay, I’m worried about you, that’s all,” I said, taking his arm into my grasp. He looked down at my hands holding onto him then he shrugged and pulled his arm away. “What’s the matter with you??”

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Chapter Three -->