capitulo quince:

Taylor walked wearily back into the kitchen and sat at the table. He stared at the black liquid in the white coffee cup and slowly stirred it with his finger. He watched as the little whirlpool he made seemed to follow his finger. What did I do wrong? He thought to himself. Suddenly a tear dropped into his cup, disrupting the spiral motion.

"Are you gonna um... I don't know, drink that?" he heard from behind him. It was Ike. Quickly whiping away his tears, Taylor turned around.

"Um, I guess not," Taylor said with a somewhat shaky voice, trying not to cry.

"Well, why don't you take it down to Graven, I think she might need it."

"What are you talking about Ike, she doesn't want to see me," Taylor said as he glared at his older brother. "Besides, didn't you give her one too?"

"Yeah, but she left it here. Look Taylor, just go. You'll never know unless you try."

Tay decided to humor Isaac, for, if nothing else, to get him off his back. "Well, okay. I'll be back in a few," Taylor sighed as he got up and headed out the back door.

Graven didn't know what to do. She felt hurt, tired, and misunderstood. She slowly ran her finger through the mud, drawing a small flower that looked like a three-year-old drew it. Why does this have to happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? She asked herself the same questions repeatedly in her mind. Why, why, why? Suddenly, a tear dropped on one of the petals of her messy "flower". But it wasn't hers. She slowly looked behind her to find a red-eyed Taylor looking at her sloppy drawing in the mud. He looked terrible. His once bright blue eyes were now a sullen gray. His rosy cheeks were pale and tear-drenched. His blond hair didn't shine anymore, only hanged lifelessly behind his ears. And the bright smile that he had when he had picked her up that morning, was no longer there. In his trembling hand he held a cup of tea, half spilled from the bumpy walk down to the creek.

"Um, I brought you some tea," Taylor said slowly with a shaking voice, squeaking at the "tea". He set the cup beside the flower, looking at it solemnly. Out of the blue, he picked it back up and placed in the middle of the mud-flower, letting the petals expand from the drink. Taylor made a tiny smile at his work, turned to Graven, and walked back to the house. Graven was in awe. She had never seen Taylor like that in her entire life. Yeah, she had seen him cry, but never so hard that he was trembling. She turned her attention to the cup on her drawing. It looked so pretty, sitting there. She slowly choked up and watched as a solitary tear fall into the cup, joining the little tea that was left in it, and Taylor's tears. The teardrops came faster now, like rain falling into a muddy stream. Graven sat and cried until she was lying in the mud, washing her flower away.

Taylor returned to the house and found Ike sitting on the couch in the livingroom. "Hey," he said as he plopped down beside him.

"Did you talk to Graven?" Ike asked, not taking his eyes off the screen.

"Tried to, but she didn't look like she wanted to talk very much."


"Yeah, oh," Taylor said, watching the rabbit on the t.v. jump up and down. He always wondered why Ike loved cartoons so much.

"Well, I'm going up to my room to finish up a school report that Mom told me to do, will you be alright?"

"Yeah, I'll be fine, thanks," he reached over the couch and grabbed the remote. As he started to surf through the channels, he heard footsteps pounding down the stairs. Must be Zac he thought to himself. He was surprised to see Liz walk over and sit down beside him.

"Hi," she said, avoiding eye contact rather obviously.


"Whatcha doin'?" she asked keeping her eyes on the t.v. the whole time.

"Just watching some tube. I thought you were mad at me..."

"I'm not, Taylor, I'm just frustrated with everything, I'm sorry I blew up at you like that."

"No, I'm the one that needs to apologize," Taylor said, looking over at Liz. "I'm the one that blew up and made all of this happen. It's just this whole thing with Graven and everything, I don't know what to do. I'm so confused with everything, I just don't know what to do. I want everything to be happy again. Everything is so upsetting now, with the accident and Graven and her parents and your parents, I just can't take it anymore!" Taylor exclaimed. "I feel like everything is my fault in some way, like I caused this whole mess."

"No! Don't say that!" Liz almost shouted. "The accident just happened, no one can do anything about that; Graven brought all of this upon herself, you didn't do anything. So stop blaming yourself for everything, you are the last person who is responsible for this, Tay."

Taylor didn't say anything. He just sat there and watched the figuares move on the television. He then turned to Liz and grabbed her into a tight embrace, and held her for what seemed like forever.

Graven pulled herself together, not really sure about why she was crying. She couldn't help but wonder why she had even broken down. She'd always been a tough girl - the kind people admired. I guess it's just because this all happened at once. She knew that if it had just been taylor, or just been Liz, or her parents... she would have handled it better. But unfortunately, things just weren't that way.

She stood up and brushed herself off with complete disregard for the mug on the ground which would undoubtedly sit there for the next few months until someone came to get it. As she started to walk back up to the house, the figures in the living room became clearer and clearer through the back windows. It was Liz and Taylor, hugging.

"I am happy for them, I really am," she said aloud trying to convince herself. But her thoughts told her differently. No I'm not. I know it's horrible but I'm not. I want Taylor to be happy, and I want Liz to be happy, I love them both. Just preferably not together. Then for thr first time in what seemed like years, Graven realized that she didn't have control over it. She didn't have control over anything anymore. And she had to accept the fact that her two best friends found love in each other. I'll get used to it, she told herself. I will.

Liz breathed in the sweet smell of whatever cologne Taylor was wearing. Even though she was in the one place that she wanted to be, in the arms of the one person that she wanted to be with, nothing was right. She gently pulled away from Taylor and leaned back up against the side of the sofa.

"You okay, Liz?" Taylor asked turning off the TV.

"I'm just... I... thinking about mom and dad."

Taylor just looked at her, not really sure about what to say. He knew he would come up with a million things after their conversation, but at that moment, nothing came to mind. "I-"

"It's okay, you don't have to say anything," Liz said almost reading his mind. Why do I do that? Why do I have to bother people with my problems?

"Just remember that we're always here. Graven, my family, and... me. Never forget that, okay, Liz?" he asked as he set his hand on her back lightly.

Liz blankly nodded, hearing the words he was saying but hardly listening to them. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Graven coming up the small hill that made up the Hanson's back yard. "Here comes Graven..."

"And here goes nothing..." Taylor said laughing a little.

Graven quietly opened the backdoor and glanced at her two friends on the couch, but just for a second.

"Hi, Graven, I have to talk to you, if it's okay," Liz said standing up.

"Lemme get this out first," she said walking over to Liz. "I'm so sorry that I was the way I was outside. I don't know what my problem is and I really hope we can forget about it..."

Liz's eyes brightened up a little bit. "Of course we can... Oh Graven, don't blame yourself, we're all going through hell right now. You just have to know that you're not the only one okay?"

Graven smiled at her, genuinely. "You too, Lizzie..."

Liz smiled back and hugged Graven tightly. "I love you, Grave, please let's not argue. We need each other right now."

"Definitely." Graven let go of Liz and glanced over at Taylor. The two seemed to exchange nonverbal apologies and within seconds were also entrapped in a hug.

*capitulo diecisiete
*what do you think so far?