*Taylor's Story*

I hated it. Why did it always have to happen? It never fails. Everytime I even attempt to try to talk to a girl, either one of two things happened and I couldn't do anything to control it or to stop it.

1. The girl freaks out.

2. If the girl didn't freak out, I would turn in to be the "rumored" dyslexic guy that I am and I would not know what to say to her. And I would turn red too. My face can go from the normal "peaches and crème" complexion that I have (which, by the way, I hate) to the color of a red Popsicle in about 2 seconds flat, if not faster.

So, there's only one way to prevent complete humiliation. Not to talk to girls. But, then that just invites the gossip news reporters to say that I'm gay or something. I am so far from it, they have no idea.

All these thoughts were bothering me while I was supposed to be paying attention in "school". My mother was describing the process of mitosis and meiosis, which I had NO interest in learning. I, who was holding my head up with my hand to keep it from banging against the table from complete boredom, glanced over at Ike, who apparently seemed thrilled with learning the way that an atom split or reproduced whatever the hell atoms do.

I admit, it was nautiously boring, and Zac wasn't paying attention at all, who, probably already knew all about mitosis. He was so smart, he never pain any attention, yet, managed to get 100% on all the tests.

"Taylor, can tell me stage number one in mitosis?" my mother asked me, ripping me from my thoughts. I nearly jumped out of my seat. She knew I wasn't paying attention, and I got caught.

"Um, there's steps?" I asked. She gave the The Look that I usually got when caught daydreaming in school. "Uh, reproductive?" I guessed.

"No stupid, it's prophase." Genius Ike supplied the answer. I stuck my tongue out at him, as he smiled victoriously for getting the answer right. Well, whoop de du.

My mom finally closed the hideous biology book, and opened the green math book. Zac knew math was next and he seemed to come alive. I guess that if I were still in long division, I would be excited too. Actually, Zac is in my section, which makes me feel somewhat stupid. I'm 15 and my 12-year-old brother was learning and keeping up with me in math? It wasn't right.

The stuff in math was becoming harder and I think that mom is leaning on the idea of getting a math tutor, which wouldn't be too bad. But the last tutor we had was old with more lines and wrinkles on her face than a roadmap. Mom handed us both a worksheet and both a pencil, then got up to help Ike with his calculus. I stared blankly at the sheet for a few minutes. Adding and subtracting polynomial fractions. Even the name sounded confusing! I looked over at Zac, who was already on number four and I still had yet to write my name on the top of the paper. He seriously needed slapped. Great, my little brother is going to pass me up in math. Wasn't that just terrific news?

Ok, problem number one completed! But, I asked myself, what was the purpose? It made no sense what so ever. I tapped the eraser of the pencil annoyingly against the table and I contemplated the meaning of life when my mom returned from helping Ike.

"Here Mom, I'm done." Zac said, handing her the paper. She asked for mine, but I didn't give it to her.

"I'm not done yet. In fact, I don't see why we even have to learn this stuff!" I complained. Mom was used to me. I complained about everything.

"Tay…" she said, searching her mind for a good explanation, "you just do," was her reply. That's all? No reason? "Finish up."

It took me a good twenty minutes to finish it. And, I felt stupid.

* * * * * *

"Ike?" I asked, sitting on my bottom bunk, which I shared with Ike.

"Yeah?" he asked from the bathroom attached to our room.

"Do you ever miss not being normal?"

"Not really. With Elle in my life, I don't really need much of anything else, except for her and my family." Elle, he brought up a good "other" subject that I wanted to talk about too. "Why?" I knew he would ask the 'why?'.

"Because, well, I never, uh, kissed a girl before and I blame it on our early fame." I said, feeling heat rush to my cheeks. "What's it like?"

"Indescribable." He said. "I mean, there's not really a way to put into words what it feels like to feel someone else's lips on yours, and if you're lucky, their tongue in your mouth and yours in theirs."

"It sounds disgusting." I said.

"It does, but believe me, it's not. Just fold your tongue over and rub it back and forth. It kinda gives you the idea." I did what he said and it felt weird. But weird in a way it would feel amazing all at the same time. My next question was really hard for me to ask because I didn't want to pry around in Ike's private life, but I was simply dying to know.

"Ike, did you ever do it?"

"What?" I guess the question took him by surprise, then he looked down to the ground, as if ashamed at something. I was shocked. "Yeah," he finally said.

"Are you serious?"

"Would I joke around with something like this?" he asked, and I knew the answer. Yeah, he did it.

"Wow, go Ike! When?" Woah. This new news about my brother stunned me.

"A few months ago was my first time." Isaac released the information that had remained a secret for a long time. I was already assuming that it was with Elle, considering she was really his first and only serious girlfriend. But wait! The tone in his voice revealed that his first time wasn't exactly the most resent. I punched his shoulder. I could no longer look at my older brother the same way, now. Or Elle for that matter. It was like, he matured faster than me or something. Sure, he's a good two years older than I am, but we were like best friends and now I felt like an inexperienced child next to Ike now.

"Not in my bed, though, right?" I asked, making sure.

"NO!" he said, and just then Zac walked in the room. Hopefully not hearing any of our conversation.

* * * * * *

I couldn't believe it! Our other neighbors were moving too? What's up with that? I sat on the front porch watching the moving van pile up all the furniture from the house across the street. The house was pretty small. I think that an elderly couple had lived there or something.

"Oh! The Smith's are moving out! That's great!" I heard my mom exclaim from behind me. Great? "I'll have to call Jeff and tell him that I found a house for him!"

Great. Another one of moms' high school friends coming to move by us. First it was Elle and her family, and now who was it going to be? Well, maybe they'll have some kids my age. Even though Elle is 15 too, she had a special liking towards Ike, and I didn't want to get in the way.

Later that night, mom confronted me and asked me to do a favor for her. "Remember Aunt Marie's first husband?" she asked me. "Uncle Jeff?"

"Yeah. Sorta. Why?"

"Because he's going to be moving in across the street and he asked me if you would show Johnny around."

"Who's Johnny?"

"The child from his second marriage."

"Oh." I thought, show Johnny around? I couldn't really GO anywhere considering the plain facts. Getting mobbed and not having a driver's license were pretty good reasons not to go anywhere, if you ask me. "Whatever." I agree. Mom smiled and ruffled my hair. I hated when she did that. Then Ike came out the door, car keys in hand.

"Hey, Ike. Where 'ya going?" I asked.

"Me and Elle are going out." He replied. I couldn't help but get a wicked grin on my face. "Tay, just shut it, ok? Just shut it." He smiled getting into the car. But I couldn't just wipe the smile right off my face. Not after last nights conversation.

I couldn't take it anymore. It was so boring in Tulsa at 8:00 p.m.! Nothing to do! I grabbed my bucket of pencils and paint and went to the garage. Turned on the radio on and started drawing. Just like random objects on the wall, then filled them in with paint. I must have been down there awhile, because Dad came down.

"Tay, what's up?" he asked, pulling a stool to sit by me. I continued drawing the spaceship I was currently in the process of making.

"Nothing, just bored totally out of my mind. Why?" I asked, making tiny corrections, perfecting my spaceship. There was an awkward pause.

"Well, son, you're 15 now and growing up fast…" Good thing that my back was to him because I couldn't have kept a straight face. Not with my dad talking about sex.

"Dad," I interrupted him, "yeah, I am 15." I said, and that explained everything and that made him stop. I wasn't stupid. I could put two and two together.

"Just don't be stupid about any-"

"Dad, what makes you think that I would do anything stupid?" I asked. I lost it. I was going to swear in front of my dad, but I didn't care, and I had to do it to get the point across. "Hell, I never had a girlfriend, dad! Never had a date! Never had a kiss! What makes you think that I am going to go out and have sex?"

"Tay, keep it down." My dad said. I turned my back. I was pissed. I wasn't the one that he should be having this conversation with. I looked at my spaceship, found another imperfection and perfected it. "Son, I just don't want you to do anything wrong."

"I won't." I said and that was that.

"Well, it's almost midnight. Comin' up to bed soon?" he asked, looking around, at my latest creations.

"Yeah, when I get finished with my ship." I said and began to paint it. I couldn't believe my father. What was he thinking? What was I thinking? I was 15 years old and never had a kiss? What kind of loser was I? Ugh, I felt pitiful. I wanted someone like Elle. Ike was lucky. I wanted someone to talk to, someone to trust completely, like Ike and Elle trust each other, someone to love and someone to love me. That's all I was asking for. I finished my spaceship, smiled at its perfection, went to the stairs and flipped out the lights.

* * * * * *

The next week crept by and before I knew it, the time came to meet Johnny, my aunt's first husband's son from his second marriage. So, we weren't related at all. I wasn't really looking forward to it. I imagined Johnny to be this scrawny little 15-year-old kid that was all nerdy. Yuck, right? So, I hoped for the best the day they arrived. Mom told me to go over. Knowing that Johnny was an only child, and that he had no sisters, I was safe to go, unless, of course, Johnny was really strange and started freaking out in my presence.

I walked across the street; my hair pulled back and a jacket on. It was only the first few days of fall and it was kinda chilly. I knocked loudly on the front door. If no one answered in 10 seconds, I was gone. I silently began to count. I got to 6 when the door opened. Staring back at me was a pair of the most insane color of eyes that I have eyes seen. They were yellow, and they belonged to a girl that looked about 15 years old. Maybe she was the babysitter or something. The babysitter? Johnny was 15!

"Hello?" she asked. "Can I help you?"

"Um, yeah. I'm looking for Johnny." I said.

"Well, you found her." She said. Johnny was a girl? Mom never told me that! What a dirty trick to play on me! I swear my face must have turned about 5 shades darker red; it sure felt like it did, anyway. "I take it, you were expecting a boy?"

"Sorta." I said. I couldn't even look at her now. And she was a girl. "Sorry."

"Don't worry about it. It happens all the time. Trust me." She said, opening the door wider so that I could come in. I followed her to the kitchen. "So, you have a name?"

"I'm Taylor." I said, feeling like the biggest ass as I said it. Didn't she recognize me?

"Cool, maybe we should switch names. Then people would be less confused." She smiled. Was that an insult to my name?

"Whaddya mean?" I asked.

"Well, I would think of Taylor to be a girl's name, but, its cool for a guy too."

"Oh, well. Taylor isn't my real name. It's my middle name."

"Ok, so, now I know you as Blank Taylor Blank. What's your name?"

"My full name?" She nodded.

"Jordan Taylor Hanson."

"Shut up." She said. What?

"What?" I asked, stunned at her comment.

"I said to shut up. You're not Taylor Hanson. You're just some guy that looks like him that goes around and sees how many poor innocent girls he can get to believe him for laughs. And, it is so disgusting."

"Johnny, that's not true." I said, not believing what I was hearing.

"You even say it wrong! God, my name isn't JoHNNy like the boy's name. It's Joni. Spelled J-O-N-I." She exploded.

"Sorry, Joni, I'll try to remember that." What was happening? I could talk to her now and my face didn't feel like a radish anymore! It's a miracle! "But I really am Taylor."

"Yeah right. Prove it." She said. Oh, what could I do?

"Come over to my house." I said, grabbing her hand.

"What?" she asked, alarmed.

"Come over to my house and I'll show you that I am telling you the truth!" I said, still pulling her. As we crossed the street, I noticed that I was a good 2 inches taller than she was and I peered at the top of her blond head. She was pretty and I could talk to her now! Wow, this was great for me. We walked through the front door. Luckily I was ahead of her, because I was welcomed with a blast of water right square in the middle of my forehead. I looked up from the source of the water. There stood Ike, from the top of the staircase, SuperSoaker 2000 in hands, smiling weakly.

"Sorry Tay. Thought that you were Zac!" he yelled, apologizing. I looked back at Joni, who was laughing. Just then, the door bust open and in popped Zac, carrying another SuperSoaker spotted Ike and shot him then ran through the rest of the house and out the back door.

"You're dead boy!" Isaac yelled, jumping from the stairs and followed Zac back through the yard.

"Great fist impression, huh?" I asked, wiping the dripping water from my head.

"Actually, now I can that you guys do normal brother stuff. It looks fun." Joni said.

"What did you think we did? Non-normal brother stuff?" She shrugged.

"Do you have any more SuperSoakers?" she asked, with an evil glint in those amazing yellow eyes.

"Yeah, why?"

"Let's go attack them." She said, wickedly. I smiled slyly as we went up to my room to find the other two SuperSoakers. We finally found them, and filled them in the bathroom. We got outside, in search for Ike and Zac.

"Hey Joni! Over here!" I said, aiming her up, my finger resting on the trigger, waiting for the precise moment to pull. She turned around. Perfect. I pulled the trigger, sending a spray of water hitting her. She responded by attacking me back.

"You traitor!" she yelled, running closer to me. I tripped over a toy wagon that Mackie had left in the yard, and my gun went flying. All hope was gone. She already got me. She was standing over me, a foot on each side of my stomach. "Say your prayers, boy." She said, pumping the water gun.

"Joni, don't do it." I was at this point already laughing hysterically and she was she, too. I thought that I'd won; she seemed to be backing away.

BOOM! Before I knew what was happening, I was getting drenched. Soaking wet. More wet than I should from a water gun. Joni shrieked in surprise and I heard her gun fall to the ground. I opened my eyes to see what was going on. It was pouring.

"Taylor, get up! It's raining!" she said, lending me a hand to get up. Another thunderclap and a bolt of lightning sent us into the house and fast, too.

"Wow, that storm came from nowhere." I said, watching it pour from the couch.

"I know. It scared my half to death. That's why I screamed." She said, looking around. "Um, where's the rest of your family?" Good question. I haven't really thought about it, until I heard the screaming from upstairs. I heard enemas giggling and it sounded uncontrollable. It had to be Ike. I looked over at Joni, who was already looking up the stairs. We went up the stairs and followed the laughing to my room. There was Ike, on the floor, with all of my little brothers and sisters on top of him, tickling him.