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segment twenty-six

"Jen, truth or dare?" Zac asked me on the way home, trying to start up a game.

"Oh, I don't know, truth."

"Okay, say you were stranded on an island with only me, Ike, and Tay and we were all starving. Who would you eat first for food?"

"Unfair question! I wouldn't eat any of you!"

"Oh come on! You've gotta answer..."

"Fine. I'd eat you, Zac."

"Me? Why me?"

"Because then I wouldn't have to listen to you and your silly questions," I said and heard Ike and Tay start laughing. "I'd like to see you do better," Zac challenged me.

"Okay. Taylor, truth or dare?" I asked and gave him a sly look.

"Hmmm... truth."

"Okey dokey... what do you like best about your life?"

He looked at me puzzled and shrugged. "I don't know. How am I supposed to answer a question like that?"

"I know what he likes best!" Ike peeped up. "He likes knowing Jennifer, that cute and sweet girl who always smiles at him! I think she likes you Taylor... " he said and elbowed Tay.

My mouth dropped open. Why was he doing this to me! He didn't have to rub things in. Suddenly, Taylor turned beet-red, almost purple from embarassment. I felt sorry for him, and myself. Angry, I glared at Ike. He gave me a big grin and winked. I gave him a look that seemed to say, "I didn't need YOUR help!" Besides, Tay already knew I liked him!

"Okay, my turn now!" Ike broke the silence in a cheery voice. I rolled my eyes. "I'm asking you Zac! Truth or dare?"


"I dare you to get on this lap-top right now and email as many fans as you can from the HITZ list and tell them you love them!" Ike snickered and handed Zac the already hooked up lap-top he had been fiddling with. I stopped paying attention to them when Zac began searching the email addresses and emailing fans who would probably be convinced for life that a celebrity liked them.

If only Ike hadn't done that, I thought over and over. He had shortened my confidence to a low number already and I was beginning to doubt anything would turn out good if I asked Taylor out. All I'd get for the rest of our relationship would be wise-crack comments from Ike and Zac. The only other option would be for Tay to say "no" and I don't think I liked that very much either.

I sat quiet and depressed while Ike and Zac practically jumped up and down on the seats everytime they clicked the send button on the computer. I leaned back on the seat and suddenly felt Tay put his arm around me. My heart skipped a beat! I felt myself lean on his shoulder and surprisingly, Tay let me stay that way the whole ride home!

* * *

I think mostly on Sunday I just hung around and typed on the computer. All of us were tired out from an exciting week. The guys practiced their instruments every once and a while and then I'd chat with Tay. Still, I didn't have the guts to ask him my stupid question!

Why was it so hard? I mean, he already liked me, I liked him, but we were both too chicken to ask each other the same big question. It was practically driving me crazy.

On Monday, I went and bored myself at school as I usually do. Emily, of course, bombarded me with questions of all sorts. Mostly, I stayed quiet. My teacher began to worry about me when I didn't say anything for a long time. Trust me, that's not usual! Even Tommy began to wonder what was wrong.

I planned carefully in my mind. Okay, let's see... the Hanson's are leaving on Sunday afternoon this week. That should give me until the end of the week to get an answer from Taylor. Nah! I've got to leave some room for going someplace fun with him, that is, if he says yes! I sighed when I realized that after school would be the best time. Oh well, I've got to sometime!

When I ran inside my house that afternoon after school, Taylor was reading out of one of my books, all comfy on my bed. I slammed my backpack on the floor next to it and he looked up.

"Oh, hey there Jennifer. Did Tommy drive you crazy in school today?" I laughed. He always seemed to come up with a way to make me feel better.

"Not as much as he usually does... what ya reading, huh?"

"Oh, nothing much. I was bored so I'd figure I'd try The Glass House People out for a change."

"That's an awsome book," I said trying to keep up the conversation. "I've read it more than once." I plopped down on the bed beside him. Tay nodded as he skimmed a page for his place.

A moment passed by before either of us said anything. I figured it was now or never. "Um, Tay. I've been meaning to ask you something.... like what I tryed to say at the Olive Garden..."

"Oh, sure thing," Tay chimed up and marked the book with his bookmark. "What did you want then anyway?"

"Well, I kept trying to, but you either weren't paying attention or someone was interupting us."

"Sorry about that. It's just, I don't often get the chance anymore to stop and stare at the sunset."

I nodded. "So, like, what I wanted to say was... you know how much I like you, right?" I managed and looked up at him.

"Yea, so?"

"Well, I was sort of wondering if... maybe you might like me enough to go out with me? Ya know, sort of a relationship type thing..." I choked it out and held my breath.

Taylor's expression didn't change that much. He didn't even blush. Instead, he looked down at his hands. I felt my heart beating faster than ever before. It took him a while to say what I was practically falling off the bed to hear. Finally, he looked up at me, his baby blue eyes drilled into me. I almsot thought I saw a tear welling up.

"I... I'm sorry Jen," he whispered slowly, "I just... can't right now. I don't know if I want to... really."

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