“So sonny, where’s that paper? I’d love to hear this excuse,” an old professor leaned back and smiled.
This was nowhere near the first time his favorite student had to think of a reasonable excuse for an extension. Professor Nottington knew he’d probably get it too, those excuses needed some kind of reward.
“Well…this is a normal reason. Stupid school upped my tuition for the next quarter since I’m adding a couple of classes to double major. I needed cash, so I was working all weekend.
I have read the book, and I’ve got notes, around here somewhere, I just need another couple days to type it all up. Please?” He used his big brown eyes, framed with chin-length hair to hopefully persuade his teacher.
“Yeah, go ahead. You’ve got until Thursday. Take care now, I don’t want my little pupil overworking,” the professor smiled slightly. How many twenty one-year-olds would be paying their own way through college? Especially after being orphaned as a teenager, not an easy task.
“Hey, you going to that concert Saturday?” rang out from the doorway.
Professor Nottington laughed, “Nope, but I think my daughter is planning on some teenage reminiscing, by going there and screaming like there’s no tomorrow. She was an original during those years.” Turning back to a computer, he laughed a bit more to himself. “Those were the days…”
Diana Hanson looked sadly at the picture of her son. She felt the sorrow building up, and was not surprised to find herself wiping away the tears. Diana needed to keep herself composed, the whole family would be there tonight, including all the extras, boyfriends and girlfriends, and Zandy would be there. Which meant Dan too. Sighing, Diana turned and looked at the dining room table. How to fit twelve people in here…
“Hey mom,” Taylor walked in and pecked his mother on the cheek. “Ready for the gathering of millions?”
“Almost. Were you over at Zan’s?”
“Yeah,” Tay absent-mindedly started setting the table, “Ike and Alli were there too. They need another honeymoon, they still have yet to realize they’re back in Oklahoma.”
“Young love. So sweet, Taylor doesn’t fret, you’ll find a girl.”
“Mom, between preparing to work on a new album with Ike, and that stupid master’s degree, AND paying for that apartment of mine, I barely know girls exist!”
“You know, Taylor, you know.”
“Mom, I got over the hormone drive years ago-“
“Whatever Taylor. But I’ll never forget the two weeks after you met Cindy Crawford…” Diana started chuckling to herself, “The joys of having boys, and laundry duty. Oh dear…”
“Mom!” Tay let out a surprised and embarrassed yelp. This was horrid. His mother should be against this sort of thing by now. “You can’t be serious, I mean-“
“Taylor, just because I’m your mother, does not mean…well…”
“Good God!” Taylor sank face down into the couch. A muffled “Save me,” was all that could be heard.
“Taylor!” a shout went up from a young boy’s mouth. “Hey, I haven’t seen you in a couple days,” Mackenzie ran into the room smiling.
“Mac, long time no see. This is so weird. I have family still in grade school. Too weird for me. God, what were you thinking? Families shouldn’t come in economy sizes!”
“Taylor, I think that the bump from when the guitar hit you, is still having an effect. Who woulda thought that Mr. Boppy-Guitar would send it careening to your head? What a shame.”
“M, don’t make me tackle you to bits. I will you know. Anyway, where’s Jessica, and Avery, and Zoe?”
“Uh, Avery’s finishing her homework, Zoe is playing Barbie’s, and I do believe Jessica is on the porch with…MICHAEL…” Mac swooned and collapsed to the floor.
“Thanks M, I’ve found my next couple to victimize. The joy of being me,” Taylor walked out, in search of his sibling.
“Listen Mike,” Jessica began, while softly brushing her hand over his cheek, “Mom’s having everyone over for dinner. Please come, please?”
“Jessie, you’re over here all the time. Let’s go to my place-“
“Mike. You know today is one I want to spend with my family. So, either stay or go,” her cold blue eyes were fierce. This was one day a year not to mess with Jes Hanson.
“So Mikes,” Taylor came up playfully swatting at his arm, “staying or what?” Taylor really didn’t like Michael. No matter what Jessica said, he was sure the guy was out for sex. Being the older brother he was, Tay made sure Mike knew he was watching.
“Um…well, I better…Aw hell, I’ll come,” Mike gave up the battle. He was sick of Taylor’s attitude, but Jessie wanted him there.
Taylor smiled, and wrapped his arms around Jessica, escorting her inside, with Michael tailing behind.
“Alli, um, can we leave for Mom’s now? I want to stop, uh…somewhere first…” Isaac stuttered as he cast a gaze at the floor. Allegro couldn’t bear to see Ike so upset. It hurt her that her new husband could have so much pain.
“Don’t worry, we can go,” Allegro gently stroked Ike’s hair, holding him gently. Standing up, she led him to the car, and they started for the cemetery. “Honey, are you sure you’re up for the big dinner? If not I can always cook-“
“No Alli, I want to see the family, just bear with me please,” Isaac stared out the window. He saw a face staring back at him, it wasn’t his own, but in a way it was. He remembered, all the little noises Zac liked to make when playing at the Blue Rose Café. Ike could see his little brother’s head running wildly, towards the back woods. Towards the creek, towards the end, towards…
Isaac climbed out of the car and made his way past the souls at rest. He stopped at a light gray stone, reading the words, feeling the pain. Allegro stayed back, this was his time.
“So Zac,” Ike’s voice choked, “You feel like haunting us today?” His face fell, this was so insane. Talking to a grave that was what normal people did. “You know, I miss you. Come back any time, Alli and I have a spare bed,” Isaac stood up, tears swelling up, coating his rich brown eyes in the salty liquid. He felt the tears release and surprisingly did not feel ashamed. Alli walked up behind, hugging her husband close.
“I’m so sorry sweetie,” Allegro sighed as she carefully brushed away his tears. Gathering Isaac’s hands in her own, she started back for the car. “Let’s go see some family.”
“We just did,” Isaac mumbled, but no one heard his words.