I surveyed the kitchen, admiring my work and making sure all was in order for Super Awesome Taco Night. It had been awhile since I’d been at my L.A. house, and having four nights at the Staples Center was not only awesome because omg four nights at the Staples Center seriously? but because it meant getting to be both at home and on tour simultaneously. Amazing.

Also amazing was Ed’s willingness to be my guinea pig. He was due over any minute. The plan was to test out these recipes I’d found on Pinterest — this Korean-Mexican fusion chicken that smelled incredible, pork verde, fresh salsa, and of course as much guacamole as I could make in good conscience. Then it would be time to write. We’d been working on the road, stealing time to riff off each other, jot down ideas and snippets of melodies. But now we had hours of uninterrupted time to really focus.

Well, as much as we ever really focused when we worked together. Every night on stage we were almost giddy with excitement, feeding off the energy from performing together. It was why the video of “Everything Has Changed” just had to feature Mini Me’s of us: our friendship had always been about play first, play second, and work third (or maybe fourth). I looked up and out into the backyard at my trampoline and grinned thinking back to that first real hang that Ed and I had had. 

* * *

Looking up at the tops of the trees and the blue sky, leaping, kicking my legs up, my hairband tumbling loose, my hair flying wild. I could hear Ed laughing as he jumped in rhythm with me on the big trampoline in my backyard. He was still holding the acoustic that we’d brought out here to write with — but like two kids free from supervision, we’d opted to play first, work second. I caught his eye, grinning and marveling at how quickly we’d become comfortable around each other. Some people just click, I thought, and we’ll be fast friends. Especially two goofballs like us.

After months of feeling blue post-Jake, it seemed like maybe, just maybe, everything was changing for me. That green-eyed boy in Hyannis Port had made my stomach flip with butterflies, caused my eyes to light up, and my smile to brighten. It was like I could see a summer stretch out ahead of us — simple, easy, joyful, fun. I needed uncomplicated.

I just wanted to get to know him better.

Ed broke me from my dreamy reverie of potential romance by managing to strum a few chords as he leaped around, still as giddy as a five year old. Though in a different way, I realized I wanted to get to know Ed better, just as much as Conor. Ed’s melody stirred lyrics in my mind, and I start singing, letting the laughing and jumping make my voice sound hopeful and full of life.

I just want to know you better, know you better, know you better now
I just want to know you better, know you better, know you better now

Ed’s smile broadened as I repeated that beginning thread of a chorus, and he started to echo my know you betters, our voices together making the sentiment shine like the bright L.A. afternoon.

He must’ve noticed the change in my expression as a thought occured to me, and we both stopped jumping. As the trampoline slowed its reverberations beneath us, I realized that everything had changed about our initial plan for the afternoon. We shouldn’t be co-writing a song for me to sing, but for us. That's where the magic lay for this song, and for our collaboration. I pushed away the thought that maybe he might not want to do it, and boldly asked.

“Would you do a duet with me for the album?”

His smile said it all. 

* * * 

As if on cue, Ed came waltzing into the kitchen, my security at the front gate having let him in; he dramatically sniffed the air, before bellowing, “It smells scrumptious in here!”

“You know me so well, Ed. That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.” I beamed at him and nudged the chips and guacamole his way. “Guess what I was just reminiscing about?”

“Trampoline songwriting extravaganza?!” He looked out to the yard, as I’d done mere moments earlier. “Should we get on there for a hop around before supper, or live dangerously and stuff our face with delicious tacos and then jump up and down?”

I laughed out loud with him and dipped a chip into the guacamole. I wonder what we’ll be singing on stage together next summer, I thought. As much as everything had changed from last summer to this summer for me, at least some things — like true friendship — never would.

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