I tucked my feet underneath me on the couch, resting my head on Isaac's shoulder and staring at the TV, even though it was off.
"So what are you guys doing here? Don't you have a tour?" I voiced the question circling through my head as soon as I'd gotten my mind power back.
"You really HAVEN'T been following us, have you?" He turned his head and gave me a funny look that I couldn't help but blush and shy away from.
And why was I suddenly blushing anyway? Tasha doesn't blush! No!
"I don't know," I picked at the threads on the couch, for lack of anything better to do. "Not really."
"Well, if nothing else... you're honest." He smiled at me and reached for my hand. "We're taking another break."
I squirmed at the idea of him holding my hand and he realized and thus, let go. And first of all, we have to get it said that I am a walking contradiction. An oxymoron if you will. That said, it makes perfect sense that even though I didn't like the idea of holding hands as it made me uncomfortable, I immediatly missed the warm grasp and ached for the feeling of his long fingers to intertwine with mine again.
Frustrated, I shut my eyes. When Lindsay, Zac, Jen, and Taylor came in the room a few minutes later, I was sorry the time had passed. I almost wanted Isaac all to myself. But I pasted on a smile and returned to typical Tasha to wow the crowds.
Unfailingly, Isaac returned daily. And I never returned to the me that I had been that time we kissed. I couldn't bring myself to do it. Not in fonr ot fothers. I had had, of course, the time to think about it that night and convince myself I had been stupid to let myself get that week and talked myself out of any feelings I had for him.
I could tell he was getting irritated and, in the least, frustrated with this change in me. I was getting quite frustrated myself. We were sitting down on the back porch and he'd just opened his mouth to speak when Jen burst out back, tears streaming down her face and throwing herself into my arms. I immediatly hugged her and rocked back and forth, waiting for the explanation.
Isaac looked at me wide-eyed from behind Jen and I was all the more greatful that he could understand me when I gave him a look that said "shh! don't ask now!".
"H-he.. broke up with me." She finally whispered through her sobs.
I shut my eyes, as I have a habit of doing when something deep crosses my mind. And this was, for lack of a better word, deep. A thousand thoughts went raising at once and I snatched two out of the streamline which had hardly anything to do with each other.
In my head, I immediatly thought, "If Taylor could do this to her, Ike could do it to me! Abandon feelings! NOW YOU FOOL NOW!" and on the outside, I said, "Jen, honey. Its okay. He's just another boy. Lets go get you something warm to drink."
And then, getting up to lead Jen inside and play Dr. Katz, I gave Isaac a look. And I can't explain why I did it. Sometimes, I don't even try. But I gave him a look. And it was just this apologetic look. He saw it, of course, and hung his head. I don't think I'll ever understand how he knew me so well. Or why.
Jen, Lindsay, and I were sitting in the middle of the living room, each with a cup of hot chocolate and a throw blanket wrapped around us. In between us was a bad game of Monopoly, but we weren't playing it. We never did. It just opened the gate between us so that we could talk.
Lindsay and I exchanged glances. She was like Ike in that way. We could have entire conversations with our eyes, or our eyebrows as the cases may have been. And I think she realized the same thing I had about Ike. It wasn't as safe as we'd envisioned.
Jenn took a slurp from her steaming mug and then cleared her throat which had grown a bit raspy over the last two hours from her crying. I didn't realize she'd been that attached. "Did I do something wrong? I thought I was doing good. I think he was happy. Didn't he seem happy to you guys?"
Lindsay and I both nodded vigorously. "Yeah, I thought you were both so happy."
Jen continued staring at the tiny melting marshmallows swirling on top of her drink.
I sat there thinking. After a while, I offered, "If it helps, Jen, I haven't had a relationship in 4 years. And if what they say is true, its better to have dated Taylor Hanson than never to have dated at all."
I giggled. It was only offered as a comic relief and all of us knew that. We didn't care that they were Hanson anymore. It was something deeper. All the same, we laughed til our eyes watered. Maybe that wasn't why they were watering. But all the same, tears streamed and we laughed, clutching our sides as they ached terribly and gasping for breath.
Maybe things weren't so bad after all.