Tears    In    The    Treehouse

Ashley and Dawn sat in the Hanson's tree-house later that same day. Dawn sat with her back pressed against the walls, legs sprawled out in front of her, her head turned upward. While Ashley sat with her legs pulled up to her chest, slightly rocking back and forth, her face hidden from view by her arms, which were wrapped around her knees.

Dawn sighed. "How could this have happened? She was too young." She glanced over at her sister. Ashley hadn't said a word to anyone since she heard the news. She had been closer to their grandmother than Dawn was, who was closer to their grandfather, basically because their interests were similar. But they loved them equally. She crawled over to and wrapped her arms around her trembling sister.

Ashley had never been one to deal well with death. Dawn however was more in control. Even though Ashley was older, Dawn was more mature about such matters.

"Ash, are you going to be okay?" she whispered.

She shook her head but remained silent and didn't look up.

"Ash? Dawn? Where are you?" Taylor called from below.

"We're in the tree house, Taylor!" she called back.

Taylor and Zac climbed steadily up the latter and crawled into the small room.

Zac pulled Dawn into his arms and held her tight. "I'm sorry, Dawn." he whispered so quietly she almost didn't hear him.

Dawn offered him a weak smile, but Zac could tell it was forced, but he didn't hold it against her.

Taylor sat down beside Ashley and rubbed her back gently. He could feel her trembling violently. He look at Dawn with concern, and even fear in his eyes. "Dawn, is she going to be okay?"

"She should be. Ash never has been able to take death real well. I think it scares her."

"Has she said anything yet?" Zac asked, resting his head on Dawn's shoulder.

She shook her head in response.

Taylor gently ran his fingers through Ashley's damp hair. Probably from her tears, he thought sadly.

"At least she's in a better place now." Dawn whispered with a sigh. She blinked away a fresh new set of tears that threatened to cascade down her face like a river. However one escaped and slid down her cheek, only to be wiped away by Zac.

Taylor cleared his throat. "You're parents called again."

This caught Ashley's attention. She looked up at Taylor and he noticed her eyes were red rimmed and blood shot.

"What did they say?" Dawn asked quietly.

"They said they would be home in a couple of hours and they would call you when they got home. We would have Ike bring you home but he's having a hangover and mom and dad went to a friend's house. So we'll have to walk you home. Not that there's a problem with that." Taylor said, wiping the tears off of Ashley's cheeks and putting his arm around her. She dropped her knees and wrapped her arms around his waist and buried her head in his shoulder. He gently stroked her hair and kissed the top of her head.

Seeing this, Zac followed his brother's lead and kissed Dawn's head and ran his fingers through her hair. He pulled her closer.

This made Dawn smile slightly. He's trying to be like Taylor. That's so cute.

They sat in silence for a while. Taylor continued to stroke Ashley's hair.

"Umm, Tay. I think you can stop now. You put her to sleep, dummy!" Zac laughed.
Dawn smiled weakly again and leaned back against Zac.

Taylor looked down at his girlfriend, who was resting her head on his shoulder and her arms were still wrapped around his waist. A sad smile was plastered to her face.

"She's dreaming about grandma." Dawn whispered.

"How can you tell?" Zac asked.

Dawn shrugged. "It's a twin thing."

Zac and Taylor exchanged confused glances.
Isaac's voice interrupted everyone's thoughts. "Tay, Zac, Dawn and Ashley's parents are home. They want them to come home now."

"Okay Ike." Zac called down to him.

Taylor sighed. "I don't want to wake her up." he gently stroked the side of her face with the back of his hand. Her eyes slowly opened. "Ash," he whispered. "you're parents are home."
Ashley rubbed her eyes and sat up.

"Come on Ash. We gotta go get our stuff." Dawn said, heading down the latter.

Taylor helped Ashley up and hugged her tightly. He was pleased that she was no longer trembling.

Ashley let go of him and followed her sister and Zac back to the house.

Taylor and Zac didn't say a word to each other until they reached their street.

"I feel so bad." Zac whispered.

"Yeah, so do I." Taylor stuffed his hands deep into his pockets and sighed. "Ash still hasn't said anything. She usually tells me she loves me when we leave eachother."

"Well Tay, the girl just lost her grandmother. What did you expect her to do? Play football? I mean, you did the same thing when grandpa died."

"I know that Zac. Don't bring that up again." Taylor warned.

Zac shrugged. "I'm going over to Jimmy's. Tell mom and dad I'll be home later."

Taylor nodded and went inside to his bedroom, where Isaac was sprawled out on his bunk. "God Tay, don't walk so loud." he muttered miserably.

"I'm walking like I normally do, Ike. That's what you get for going out and getting drunk. You have incredible timing, too." Taylor shot back, throwing himself onto Zac's bed.

Isaac moaned loudly. "Damn my head hurts."

Taylor ignored him. "Ike, what makes you think Ashley and I had sex with each other last night?" he asked curiously.

"Well, first off, she was wearing your shirt--" he started.

"Dawn was wearing one of my shirts, too." Taylor interrupted.

Isaac waved his hand. "Let me finish. She was laying in your lap. And I saw where your hand was when I stumbled in."

"Okay where was it then?" Taylor demanded.

Isaac eyed his brother out of the corner of his blood shot eye."In a place only very freaky men have, Tay. Other wise, only women have it."

"Ike, you know I throw my arms in my sleep. I can't help it and I guess they just sorta landed...there."

"Uh huh. Well I thought Dawn and Zac had sex, too. You mean you didn't?"

"Isaac, did someone slip a duh pill into whatever it was you were drinking? Of course we didn't!" Taylor was getting annoyed.

"Damnit Taylor! I told you not to yell!" Isaac snapped.

"I tried to, though." Taylor whispered.

Isaac's head slowly raised from his pillow. "What?"

Taylor ran a hand through his tangeled blonde hair. "I tried to."

His brother looked at him. "You tried to have sex with Ashley?"

He simply nodded.

"Well I guess that explains where this came from." Isaac said all-knowingly and tossed something at his brother.

Taylor's eyes widened. "Where did you get this?"

"It was on Zac's bed." Isaac informed him.

Taylor stuffed the condom back into his pocket. "Good thing you found it and not mom. She would have a shit fit if she found it."

Isaac nodded. He layed back down. "I'm going to get some sleep."

"Yeah, I think I will, too." Taylor, not bothering to to get up and get in his own bed, or even take his shoes off, pulled Zac's coveres over him and closed his eyes, almost immediately falling asleep.

"Vancouver? As in Vancouver Canada?" Dawn demanded.

Mr. Smith nodded. "That's where Grandma was born, and that's where she wanted to be buried."

Dawn sighed. "When are we leaving?"

Mrs. Smith looked at her daughters wearily. "Our flight leaves at three p.m. tomorrow."

"But the funeral isn't until Saturday," she reminded them. "why are we leaving so early?"

"Well sweetheart, we have to go to this thing called a Will Reading an--"

"What's that?" Ashley asked quietly, speaking for the first time.

"It's this thing were everyone who is mentioned in the Will has to go to claim whatever it is that person left them." their father explained, as if speaking to a three year old.

Ashley only nodded.

Dawn grabbed her sisters hand. "C'mon Ash, let's go pack. We have to call Zac and Taylor and tell them we're leaving."

They parted when they reached their bedrooms which were across the hall from each other.

Ashley picked up the phone and dialed Taylor's number, not bothering with packing.

"Hello?" a sleepy voice asked. "Is Taylor there?" she asked, clearing her throat, which was scratchy from not talking.

"This is him. Hey Ash. Are you okay?"

Ashley sighed. "I don't know. I guess. But we're leaving for Vancouver tomorrow at three for for the funeral."

"I'm really sorry Ash." Taylor whispered.

"It's not your fault. Don't worry about it."

There was a soft knock on her door, followed by Dawn's entering the room. "Oh are you talking to Taylor?"

Ashley nodded.

"When you're done, I need to talk to Zac."

She nodded again. "Tay, Dawn needs to talk to Zac. Yeah okay. I'll see you in a few. I love you, too. Bye." she handed the phone to Dawn.

"What are you doing?" Dawn asked her sister.

"Well hello to you, too!" Zac laughed.

"Oh hey Zac.Sorry I was asking Ash something. Hang on a sec." she turned to her sister, but she was gone.

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Chapter 31: Missing