"I...uh...we..uh.." Jen paused, looking at Taylor for assistance.

His eyes were wide and he shook his head in a "I have no idea what to say either" manner.

Well, this was enlightening. Sick of the silent conversation going on between them via eyebrows and vigorous shaking of the head and/or shoulders, I interrupted with my voice, seeing no use in communicating like a mime.

"You're dating, right?"

Jen looked at me, narrowing her eyes skeptically. "Tasha, if this makes the paper, I'll throw you off of the Sears Tower in a pink bathing suit and cowboy hat. As long as you can live with this, yes. We are."

I nodded and out of sheer habit and natural born occurences, the headline flashed in my mind. "Middle Hanson Brother Finds Love in M.D.". Of course, I wasn't stupid. If that ever appeared, the day afterwards the headline would read "Local Journalist Found Dead in Texan Swimwear."

I laughed outloud to myself and the other three patio occupants raised their eyebrows at me. All I could manage to do was shrug. "I..uh...just thought of a funny joke I heard earlier today."

Jen nodded though I could tell she was pondering how much it would cost to have me rehabilitated into a nice asylum on the other side of Chicago.

"So when is your concert?" I started, grasping at straws for something to squelch the silence that loomed over us.

"Tomorrow." Taylor leaned back, expecting to prop his weight up on something I would suppose. He went tumbling backwards over the wooden rail and landed on the grassy ground four feet below him.

I fell out of my own chair laughing at him and Isaac was red in the face with the bellows of laughter that he couldn't hold back.

Sheepishly, Taylor grasped onto the edge of the ledge and vaulted over, deciding to sit in a chair this time. I offered him mine and moved to sit up on the ledge.

"Are you guys coming?" He asked, leaning back in the chair.

"We hadn't planned on it." I offered. Jen shot me a look that clearly said 'speak for yourself'.

"Rather, I hadn't planned on it. I have other things to do. Sorry. They need me in the office tomorrow night."

"And you can't give up one night of work?" Isaac frowned at me, clearly displeased with my answer.

"Sure I could. Tell ya what. I'll come. And the next day when I go into the office I'll call everyone in Chicago that subscribes to the paper and say "Gee, I'm sorry I couldn't get your paper ready to tell you about the plummeting stocks, but I had to go watch a pop band in concert because I would simply PERISH without them. In fact, I could tell that to my boss right before he fired me. Sure, I'll come."

"Tash, you don't have a--"

I pinched Jen, cutting her off. She took the hint and just nodded.

"I guess. But you're coming, right Jen?" Taylor looked at her, practically batting his eyes.

"Oh yuck. I feel the bile rising. I'mma go re-sand my room floor or something. Have fun, guys!"

I walked back into the house and stood outside Lindsay's room for a moment but didn't hear anything in particular. Sounded like she'd broken her arm or something.

Shrugging, I advanced towards my own room and began packing my clothes. Vacation tomorrow! Yeah baby! Key west, Key West...

[sixteen] [Tasha's Stories]
Green Eggs And Hanson

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