Taylor tapped his fingers impatiently on the coffee table in his living room. Graven was supposed to be here 20 minutes ago, he thought to himself. He finally decided to pick up the phone and call her.
Taylor and Graven were the closest of friends, and they had been ever since Graven moved to Tulsa years before Hanson hit it big. But, she didn't see them as celebrities, she just saw them as Isaac, Taylor, and Zac... the guys she'd grown up with.
"Grave?! Why aren't you over here? You were supposed to be here 20- no 25 minutes ago!"
"Taylor, I've asked you time and time again not to call me that!" she laughed, "It sounds so... morbid."
"Yeah, sorry, it won't happen again," he said playing with the phone cord.
"Yes it will."
"Yeah, okay, I know. Anyway we're off the subject here. When are you coming?"
"Calm down, what's your hurry?"
"I want to hear all about your first day in public school. What happened?"
"Okay, okay, I'll be over in ten."
He smiled, "Great! See you in a few."
Graven pressed the 'talk' button on her phone, and threw it on her bed. The reason that she had been taking so long was because she was desperately trying to look good. Lately, for the past about 2 months, she had discovered that she had a little crush on Taylor. Okay, so a big crush...
She stepped downstairs, although not very well. She wasn't used to wearing 4 inch heels, but if she wanted to be able to at least talk to Taylor's neck, this was what she had to do.
"Mom?" she said as she stumbled into the kitchen. Mrs. Morrison gave her an akward look, but she continued, "Do I look okay?"
"Yeah, honey you look fine, but... maybe you should consider wearing a pair of shoes that fit?"
"They do fit," she said as she walked over to grab her jacket, but fell into the counter, "kind of."
Her mom stifled a laugh, "How are you going to drive with those things- who are you trying to impress?
Graven blushed and looked away, "No one, Mom." She wasn't too thrilled about telling her mom that she liked the guy that she used to have to take baths with.
"Hmmm, whatever you say. When will you be home?"
"I don't know, Mom, I'll call you from Taylor's, okay?"
"Alright. Drive carefully. Really," she said glancing down to her feet, "Drive carefully."
"Yeah, yeah..." Graven grabbed her keys and ran out the door.
When she got on the main road to get to Taylor's she turned the car radio up as loud as she could when she heard Jewel on her favorite station.
"MY HANDS ARE SMALL..." she crooned as she hit a stop light. Slowly, she turned her head to the left only to see a car full of guys next to her. God damn it, I always do that.
Whistles came from the lane next to her, and she just mouthed, "Thanks."
Graven was used to getting attention from guys. Needless to say, she was awfully good looking. Blonde hair, light blue eyes, gorgeous. Basically what any guy would want. So why did it seem that Taylor had no interest in her? Maybe he does, she thought.
"Shit!" she was jerked out of her thoughts by the cars behind her. "Yeah, Okay I see the green light!"
As she pulled away, she heard shouts of, "Bye, baby," and "call me!" from the carload she had just encountered.
Graven parked her almost brand new Saturn in the Hanson driveway and did a quick but thorough makeup check in the rearview mirror.
Not too bad
She stepped out of the car and, concentrating on maintaining her balance, saunterered over to the front door, pausing briefly to smooth her skirt and then proceeding to let herself in.
Taylor was sprawled on the family room couch with his ice blue eyes
glued to the TV screen.
"Hey," Graven said cheerfully entering the room.
"Hi," Taylor answered not looking up from his show. Graven frowned. This was not the sort of entrance she had wanted to make. "What's up?" Asked Taylor, lifting his eyes from the screen for the first time. "You look...nice." He finished weakly.
Nice? Oh well, at least he's trying. 'Hot' or 'great' would have been better, but at least he noticed.
Taylor laughed at something being said on TV. "Hey Grave, check this out. They're doing 'My Daughter Sleeps With My Lover' on Ricki Lake." He laughed again.
"Tay-LOR! You promised you wouldn't call me Grave anymore! Besides, I thought you wanted to talk about school?" She looked at the screen distastefully and since when do you watch Ricki Lake?"
"Since you went off to school and left me all alone." He put on a pout and did a few sniffles. "What's the matter Grave? Don't you love me anymore?"
Graven rolled her eyes. "You are such a weirdo!" A well aimed couch cushion hit Taylor square in the face and they both laughed.
"Now it's on!" He cried shoving the cushion back to her.
"Well, it looks like you two are having... fun." Chuckled Isaac Hanson as he passed by them on his way to the kitchen. "What's up Graven?"
"Thank you! At least someone around here can say my name properly!" She called out to Isaac.
"Now Grave-en! Don't get bitter!"
Taylor teased, placing enphasis on the last part of her name.
"I'm not bitter!" She whined. The truth was that Graven was a bit of a whiner.
"So, tell me about school?"
"Um, I go to some classes in the morning, and then I, uh have a spare period and then I have lunch. After that I have some more classes. Nothing too exciting." She added tactfully. Taylor had wanted to go to school with her so badly. Walker and Diana Hanson weren't very strict about many things, but when it came to education, home-schooling was it.
"Mark said there was going to be a dance at the school next week. Are you going to... go?"
Mark Armstrong was a longtime friend of both Graven and Taylor. He attended the same school as Graven now did and lived near her in their Lake Tenkiller area neighborhood.
Graven nodded, wishing she didn't have to answer the question. It was obvious that Taylor was upset about Graven's going to public school, and this was just going to make it worse. "I thought I'd go with Mark," She swallowed. "He asked and and I'm still new so..." She looked into Taylor's eyes and went on. "We're just going as friends. Tell you what. Why don't you take me instead? Mark will probably ditch
me, and like I said before, I don't know anyone yet." Graven hoped he would say yes... she wanted to do something with him so badly. Just being with him made her reealize how much she really liked him.
"No thanks, dances aren't my thing. You should go though. You'll meet some new people. If Mark ditches you, I'll just have to kick his ass." He smiled a fake smile.
Damn it. Graven picked up his mood right away. She had known Taylor Hanson for almost as long as she'd known herself. Something was up and she was determined to find out for sure. "You okay Taylor Baby?"
The little nickname brought a smile to Taylor's lips. A long time ago, Graven had had a birthday party and someone, no one remembered who, had given her a small baby doll with blond hair and blue eyes. The baby doll was meant to look like Graven, but she had insisted that it looked like Taylor. The doll was therefore called Taylor Baby, and now she still occasionally called him that.
"I guess so. I'm still angry that I didn't get to go to St. Vincent's with you." He smiled again, this time genuinally. "After all these years, who's gonna help me with trig?"
Graven laughed with him. Taylor wasn't bad at math, but for some unknown reason, he struggled with trigonometry. She leaned in to hold his hand. "You know I'm always here for you Tay."
He squeezed her hand back. "Likewise Grave. Always."
He was going to say something else but was interrupted by his younger, louder brother. "Gravie! Oh I missed you so! How are you Dahling? How was your trip?" Zac yelled at the top of his lungs coming down the stairs two at a time.
Graven laughed and braced herself for his impact. He ran right into her and knocked her down on the floor.
"Thanks Zacc-ie!" She sing-songed. "What's worse? Taylor making me feel like a corpse, or you making me feel like I should be eaten with turkey?"
"I love gravy! Speaking of which, are you staying for dinner?" Zac switched from one conversation to another quite easily.
"Actually, I need to be going now. I came by to say hello to poor, lonely Taylor, but I have a huge pile of homework waiting for me on my desk. Maybe, I will tomorrow."
Graven gathered her jacket and her purse and headed for the front door. Halfway there she turned around and said to Taylor, "Don't forget what I said okay?"
"Sure," He replied, "I'll see you tomorrow."
Taylor watched her walk down the driveway. He was so deep in thought that he didn't realize that Isaac was beside him until he heard a low whistle. "Wow man, Graven gets hotter every day."
Taylor looked at him funny... "Yeah," He agreed. "She's beautiful."
Taylor was terrified. Girls like Graven, who had it all made friends easily.
Friends and even best friends could be replaced without a thought. He just prayed that Graven wouldn't refuse his friendship once she made others at school.
Graven walked through the large steel doors that led to her locker. She looked around her. Everywhere there were people talking, laughing- having fun. It made her a little depressed that she didn't know anyone there, and she suddenly wished that she was back at the Hanson's being home-schooled again.
Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard someone say, "Excuse me?"
"Yes?" Graven said as she looked at the face staring back at her. It was a girl, a little taller than she was. Heavy set - but not fat. She had healthy, straight sandy blonde hair which was slightly curled under at the ends, and green eyes.
"I'm sorry, are you new here?" the girl asked.
Graven smiled, "Yeah. Hi, I'm Graven." She extended her arm for a handshake.
"I'm Liz," the girl answered back, "Nice to meet you."
"You, too... So," Graven started as she opened her locker, "Are you a sophomore?"
"No, I'm a freshman. You're a sopho- Oh wow!"
"Your ring! You like Hanson?"
Graven looked down at the ring that Taylor had given her for her 13th birthday a few years back. He had said, I know that you won't get to see me very much for a while, so I want you to have this. That was right before they went on their promotional tour for Middle of Nowhere. Taylor had one just like it, and she later found out that he wore it in The Road to Albertane. Ever since then, she always got asked about it.
Liz just smiled as if to say, 'Hello?'
"Oh, I'm sorry... Yeah, like them? Hell, Hanson are my-" she stopped herself. Maybe I shouldn't say anything. I don't want her to like me just because of that.
"Are your what?"
"Um, Hanson are my favorite band."
"Really? Wow... what a small world!"
"Yeah," she smiled.
"Can I see your schedule?"
"Sure," she took out her agenda, opened it, and pulled out a pink slip of paper which she then handed to Liz.
"We've got study hall together... the same lunch... and math. Cool."
"Awesome! Wait, I thought you were a freshman," she said with a confused look.
"I am, but I'm good in Math, so they moved me up. And here, study hall and lunches don't go by grades."
"Cool... man, I can't find anything around here! Yesterday I was, like, five minutes late to all of my classes.
Liz laughed, "I know. It was hard for me at the beginning of the year, too."
Graven smiled and glanced at her watch. "Oh man, I'm gonna be late. See you in study hall?"
Liz walked away in the opposite direction. She was pretty proud of herself for going up and talking to Graven. Liz was extremely shy - especially when it came to guys. She was also quite glad that she had found another Hanson fan. Hanson was her passion... and even though she lived in Tulsa, she had never seen them. She didn't even know where they lived. Finally she thought, another fan.
"Isaac? Did Graven call today?"
Isaac looked up from his position at the kitchen table, "Do you like her, Tay?"
"What?! No! Did she call?"
"No... but... are you sure?"
"Of course I'm sure! Geez, Ike, we've known eachother for years... I can't see her like that."
"She's incredibly gorgeous. I mean, have you ever taken the time to just... look at her? She's so pretty."
"Yes, I know she is... but we're best friends."
"Okay. Then maybe I'll take a shot at her," Isaac said nonchalantly as he got up from the table.
Taylor rolled his eyes. "Because I don't want my brother going out with my best friend!"
"Well... can't you tell she's into you?" Isaac asked, changing the subject and sitting back down.
Taylor was extremely fed up by now. "No, Isaac, we're friends - best friends - and we don't like eachother!"
"Fine, fine," he said putting his hands up in the air. "Is she coming to the concert on Saturday?"
"Tay! Mom told you to ask her las week.
"I know, I will."
Isaac stood up again, and straightened out his shirt. "Good."
Taylor walked over to the already ringing phone.
"What kind of a greeting is that?"
Taylor recognized Graven's voice. "Oh, hey."
"What's your problem?"
"Dawson's coming on in five."
She never understood his obsession with Dawson's Creek. "That show is gay."
"It is not," he protested.
She laughed, "Yes it is! Hey, I'm Joey and I like Dawson, but I like the gay guy better. Oh and can you help me? I'm trying to find myself - I can't seem to-"
"Ah ha! You do watch it!"
"Do not. My brother does."
"You don't have a brother."
"Hahaha... Oh hey, do you want to go to our concert on Saturday? It's at the Maybee Center."
"You have a concert Saturday?"
"No, I just asked you to go to one because I was feeling stupid," he remarked sarcastically.
"Shut up! But, aren't you working on the next album now? Why are you giving a concert?"
"Well, my mom says that we should do a few gigs here and there so we don't 'lose fans'."
"Oh, I see... But, Taylor, that's not some gig at a coffee house. That place is huge!"
"I know," he said smiling, "and we filled it up last time... twice."
Graven laughed, "Yeah you did, because you guys are awesome!"
"Thanks," Taylor laughed a little. "So, do you want to? We've got a couple front row seats and backstage passes saved for ya."
"Cool. Yeah - definitely. Hey, listen, can I take someone?"
"Who, Mark?" Taylor said a little rudely.
"No... there's this girl that I met at school. She really likes you guys, and-"
"Sure! So two backstage passes, and two front row seats?"
"Um... nah, just the seats, thanks."
"Why? You always come backstage at our concerts."
"Um, because, um..." she fiddled with the bottom of her shirt. "Okay, you promise not to get mad?"
"No," he said then laughed, "Yeah, I promise."
"Okay, well, see, she saw the ring you gave me, and asked if I liked you. Of course I said yes, but I didn't tell her that I knew you because I didn't want her to like me just because of that. You know what I mean?"
Taylor sounded a little disappointed. "Yeah, I understand."
"Wow thanks - you're the best!"
He smiled, "Thanks."
"I'm gonna go call her. Oh, but Tay?"
"If we happen to run into eachother, will you act like you don't know me?"
"Graven, that's ridicu-"
"Please, Tay? This really means a lot to me."
Graven hung up the phone, then picked it up again, punched in Liz's number hurridly and waited till someone picked up. "Liz? Hey, it's Graven. Guess what?"
Liz set down the phone a little while later. She was shaking with excitement. She had front-row tickets to the Hanson concert! This was too good to be true. In one day she'd made a new friend who liked Hanson and she had front-row seats to the show! She ran to her closet. "What am I going to wear Albertane?" She asked her white cat named after the infamous ‘planet'. "Oh my god!"
Albertane gave Liz a bored stare, yawned, stretched and left the room. "Thanks for sharing in my happiness cat!" Liz laughed, returning her attention to the closet. "Oh my god. Oh my god!" She hugged herself with excitement. Liz wasn't the type of fan who was obsessed with Hanson. She liked them a whole lot, and had the hots for Taylor, but except for a lone Hanson calendar which had been a gift from her sister, and the cat, nothing in her bedroom was very Hanson-related. Her screams were more directed at the fact that she'd see them live. This was just so cool! Her squealfest was interrupted by the ringing of the phone.
"Me again!" Chirpped Graven from the other end. "I can drive to the concert if you want. Did you ask if you could go yet?"
"I'm going to in like two seconds. My parents wouldn't even dare to not give me permission. Over my dead body! Thanks so much Graven. I..."
"Oh I just got a beep. Could you please hold on for just a second?" Graven clicked the other line. "Hello Morrison residence, may I help you?"
"Hi sweetie, it's Diana. I was just calling to see if your family would like to come over for dinner on Tuesday. Is your mom home?"
"Yeah just a moment please. I was just talking to a friend of mine who's coming with me to the concert. I'll go find mom." She clicked back to the first line. "Liz I'm really sorry, but my mom's friend called to find out something. Can I call you back?"
"Yeah sure! Later!"
Diana hung up the phone after talking to Graven's mom Sara. "Tay!"
"What?" came the bored reply from the livingroom.
She sighed. Why didn't Taylor understand that Walker and herself were only doing what was best for him by not allowing him to attend public school? Why was he still so angry at them? She wandered into the livingroom where Taylor was moping as usual, staring out of the window. "Honey? What's wrong?"
"Nothin'. Just thinking."
"Hmm, what about?"
Diana smiled. "What about Graven?"
"She's...changed. I mean, she's practically dating Mark, she's got some friend she's bringing to the concert but doesn't want us to meet...I don't know. Just changed I guess."
"Sweetheart, why don't you want her to have a few girlfriends? And as for Graven dating Mark, if it was meant to happen between you and Graven it would have or it will. I can understand why it upsets you though. I wasn't born yesterday Taylor. I know perfectly well what boys consider 'good looking'. I know that..."
"Mom please!" Taylor groaned and rolled over on the couch. He hated when his mom talked about girls. It was so embarrasing. Ike and Zac both seemed perfectly comfortable discussing girls and sex with her but he just couldn't. "First of all, Graven isn't really going out with Mark. I was exaggerating again. Second, I wouldn't mind if she was, mom, we're friends. Third, I think she's just being weird about her new friend. She's just changed."
Diana rubbed Taylor's back in a soothing fashion. "I remember something someone very wise used to say."
Diana smiled, knowing she was about to quote Taylor himself. "Everything changes."
*what do you think so far?