capitulo diecisiete:

Liz's hand shook as she knocked on Graven's door. There wasn't an answer so she opened it slightly. "Gravie?" Liz asked softly. Silence. "Graven?" She called out a little louder.

"Hmmm?" Graven was sprawled out facedown on her bed. The room was darkened and it smelled of something strange and almost sweet.

"Can I talk to you?"


Liz frowned. What on earth was wrong? "Are you okay?"

"Betternthat," Graven slurred drowsily. "Completely stoned. S-T-O-N-E-D."

Liz almost gasped aloud. Graven's smoking pot? "Why?" She asked.

"It makes me forget mypob.. problems."

"It doesn't make them go away though." We're supposed to be discussing my problem. "Besides, do you know how much trouble you'd be in if the Hansons came in here? It reeks!"

Graven sat up suddenly, angrily. "What the hell would you know? You're too much of a straightedge for your own good Liz."

Liz stepped back involutarily. "I... I'm sorry Grave, it's just that..."

"You wouldn't know anything. You don't know anything!" Graven was getting hysterical now.

"Maybe I would, if you'd tell me!" Liz decided to yell back. "I can't apologize for everything you know. I'm tired of it!"

"Go away Liz, go fuck Tay some more. You're good at that," Graven spat out.

Liz burst into tears, but they were no longer tears of pain, or of worry. They were tears of anger. "What?"

Graven suddenly lost control of herself and started giggling incontrollably. She reached into her bedside table drawer and pulled out a package of baby cookies. She grabbed three and devoured them simultaniously.

"How do you know about that?" Liz choked out.

Graven felt a stab of pain, sharper than any she'd ever known. She hadn't known Liz and Taylor had slept together. She gobbled down a few more cookies before answering. "Lizzie, everybody knows about that. Tay has never been able to keep his mouth shut on these things. Zac and Mark told me," she stated matter-of-factly. "I can't seem to stop eating," she said between mouthfuls. "These are good, you want some?"

Liz just stared. "I didn't come here to judge you Grave. I'm sorry if it looked that way," she licked her lips nervously. "I came to you for advice."

Graven regretted immediately what had just taken place. Whatever Liz wanted to say was obviously important. "What's up?" she asked softly, still munching on a cookie.

"I think I might be pregnant."

Liz went out the back door holding the dog's leash in her right hand. "Come one Chuckles. Gravie's not feeling well today so I'll take you out." Chuckles, seeming to understand howled pitifully. Liz knew he missed his owner.

"Hey Liz," called Isaac coming up the driveway. "You wanna round up the troops and play soccer or something?"

"I just want to be alone right now," Liz said walking away.

Why does it seem that that's suddenly Liz, Taylor and Graven's life motto all of a sudden.

Taylor drove past the pond that was about three blocks away from his house, and he saw Liz walking along it. I wonder what she's doing out there, it's freezing... He decided to pull over and go see.

After he parked the car, he ran up behind her and slid his arms around her from behind, obviously scaring her.

Liz jumped. "Taylor!" she said it a little bit angrier than she had expected to sound.

"Sorry, I didn't mean to scare you..." he kissed her quickly on the cheek. "What are you doing out here?"

She wriggled out of his embrace and turned around to look at him. She stared at him, hoping if she stood there for long enough the truth might be forced out of his mouth. After standing there for a few seconds, she realized that he wasn't going to tell her. "Why did you tell everyone?!" She was very cogent about the whole thing, she wasn't in the mood for beating around the bush.

"Tell who what? What are you talking about?"

"Don't play dumb, Taylor, that was private!"

"Liz, what the hell-?" he looked at her nose and fingers which were all red from the cold, then back at her face.

"You know what I'm talking about." She felt like at any given moment, she might burst. If there was one thing that bothered her the most, it was being lied to. "Why did you tell them about that night? About us?"

Graven sat on the floor in her room thinking about things. She felt a little guilty about saying the things that she did to Liz, until she thought about the fact that she had done what she did with Taylor. Then she would be come enraged. Things went back and fourth like that for a while, and then she decided to tell someone about it.

"Ike?" Graven, peeked around the corner trying to conceal her high which had come down quite a bit but wasn't completely gone.

"Yeah?" He said not looking up from a letter he was writing at the computer in the den.

"Um, can I talk to you about something?"

"Of course..."

"Okay... promise not to talk until I'm done?"

"Promise." He crossed his heart with his hand.

"Okay... well... see... Liz came into my room, and I wasn't in a good mood, and I kind of just blew up at her and said 'go fuck Tay again', but I didn't really mean anything by it, but it turns out that they really did and Liz got upset and asked me how I knew..." She paused for a moment for a breath.

Isaac wanted to tell her to slow down and try to cut off that one run on sentence that she had been talking in so far, but kept his promise and didn't say a word.

"and I told her that Taylor told everyone!" She couldn't control herself anymore and she began to giggle uncontrollably.

Isaac had learned how to peice together Graven's little stories such as this one when she wasn'r exactly articulating, and he felt like he needed to pick his chin up off the floor. "Why would you do something like that, Graven?!"

"I don't know but it's pretty funny isn't it?!" she fell to the floor once again, seemingly revived.

"Do you realize that something like that could break them up if it didn't get set right? ...Graven are you listening to me?!"

She pretended she wasn't although she heard every word he said. Break up? She started to act serious. "Isaac, don't tell Liz that I was lying about that, I want to tell her myself, I feel awful."

"That's better. Sure, I won't. I'm proud of you, Graven..."

She smiled, more at the fact that he bought her little charade. "Thanks." He thinks I don't want them to break up?

"I'm not in the mood for this Taylor," Liz said with renewed tears. "I just want to know why you'd go brag to everyone..."

"Brag to everyone?" Taylor was lost, he had no idea why Liz was hysterical.

"Zac, Mark... maybe Ike."

It suddenly dawned on Taylor what she was taking about and he immediately started to defend himself. "I haven't told a soul Liz. Honest, I swear I didn't breathe a word about it to anyone."

Liz didn't know whether or not to believe him, he seemed sincere but what if she'd misjudged him all along? "I can't deal with this right now. I had a huge fight with Graven earlier. She told me that she'd heard from Mark and Zac about us..."

"What do you mean you heard it from Graven?" Taylor could not fathom the idea that Graven would tell anyone a lie, much less one as painful as this one. In fact, he started thinking that maybe it was Mark or Zac that actually had made up the story, not suspecting that Liz and Taylor had indeed slept together.

"I wanted to talk to her. I thought I might be pregnant, but then she was smoking something horrible and she yelled at me..." A loud sob escaped from her lips but it was ignored by Taylor who seemed frozen in place.

"Oh... my... God," he uttered finally. "Liz, y-you think you're pregnant?"

Liz was quiet, but she nodded miserably.

Taylor blew out all his breath, deep in thought. He glanced at Liz who looked so small and scared and he held out his arm. "Come here," he murmured wrapping his arms around her. "We're going to be okay."

Graven knew, instinctively that there was going to be trouble when Taylor came home. He and Liz would have sorted everything out and she'd be the one in the deep end. She tiptoed out of her room, grabbed her jacket and quietly left the house. Once she was a block away from home, she reached into her pocket and felt around for the clear plastic dime bag she'd aquired the day before. She reached into the other pocket of her designer suede jacket and pulled out ZigZag rollies and a bright yellow lighter. At the playground around the corner, Graven hid in the shadows, rolled her marijuana and smoked up for the second time that day. This would be her excuse.

Taylor shifted uncomfortably on his feet and looked up and down the isle.

"Oh Tay, grow up," Liz muttered as she reached past him and picked up the white and pink box and carried it to the front. Taylor shoved his hands in his jean pockets and followed.

The woman at the cash register smiled as she saw the two teenagers coming up to her station. They reminded her of her own grandchildren. Liz plunked down the box on the counter. The next time the lady looked up she was not smiling. She ran the box through the checkout and bagged their purchase. When she watched the two kids leave she felt saddened. They're babies still, both of them.

Graven wearily walked back to the house, the world was caving in and she felt like a madwoman. Like the outsider she'd never had to be. This isn't me! her insides cried out. I don't do drugs, lying on a fallen tree trunk. I don't do this!

"I think I see a line," Liz's voice sounded muffled from the bathroom.

"Okay," Taylor called back to her, his own voice breaking. "We'll figure something out. Don't worry baby." He was trying to convince himself as well.

Liz came out holding the white piece of plastic that held their futures, their lives, their worries, their fear. "I can't believe it," she said finally.

"Can't believe what?" Diana Hanson bustled down the hallway on her way to the kitchen. Her eyes stopped on the home-pregancy test in Taylor's hand. She looked at him, then at Liz with misty eyes. "Tay?" Her eyes begged for an explanation. "What's happened?"

As Graven shuffled up the driveway she caught sight of Taylor and Liz through the livingroom window. They seemed perturbed but still very much in love. She watched with tears in her eyes the way Taylor held his hand on the small of Liz's back and the way she was leaning slightly on him. She too, was crying and Graven knew why. There was a baby growing inside of her.

Diana Hanson closed her eyes to keep her tears of anger and frustration from falling openly. Did I hear right?

"Liz is pregnant mom," Taylor repeated softly.

Diana felt waves of nausia hit her and a dizziness settle around her. She almost fell forward. Liz and Taylor rushed over to help her. "I'm okay," she said wearily. "Come into the livingroom and let me call your father."

"What do you think they'll say?" Liz asked Taylor once his mother was in the other room.

Taylor sighed. "I really don't know." Then, noticing that Liz looked perplexed he added "It's going to be okay. I promise you that it's going to be okay."

"I love you Tay."

"I love you too."

The front door opened and Graven stumbled in. She was glad that neither Liz nor Taylor glanced her way. She jumped sky high when the door opened again. Walker Hanson stood in the doorway looking as if he'd aged twenty years from that morning. "Graven will you please go upstairs? Di and I need to talk to Taylor and Liz."

"Sure," Graven replied, her voice hoarse yet squeaky at the same time. "Sure," she replied. She climbed the stairs shakily and flopped down on her bed when she got back to her room. After a moments thought she turned on MTV and cranked it up. She didn't want to hear anything that was being said downstairs. It hurt too much.

Diana took a deep breath and asked calmly "Have you thought about what you want to do?"

Taylor looked at Liz and reached for her hand. "It's up to Liz."

"I know it isn't an easy decision but it's one that you're going to have to make sooner or later. The sooner the better," Walker said gravely.

"You have certain options," Diana took over for her husband. "We can make an appointment for an abortion right away, or look into adoption programs. Or," she took a deep breath. "Or you can decide to raise it."

Walker began again. "We're very disappointed in both of you. But we'll support whatever decision you make." "Dad?" Taylor sounded defeated.


"Do you still love me?"

"We'd never stop loving you Taylor. This is something that will affect the both of you for the rest of your lives so think things out carefully. Your mother and I love you. Liz too."

"I want to keep it," Liz blurted suddenly.

"Are you sure?" Diana asked.

"Yes," Liz said looking at Taylor anxiously. He nodded and squeazed her hand.

"Please, if you're going to do this... do it right." Diana wrung her hands nervously.

"We will," Taylor said. He gave Liz a watery smile and kissed her cheek.

"Oh no," Graven stared at the lump on the floor on her bedroom floor. "Chuckles," she hissed. "Wake up. Wake up. Wake up. Chuckles!" The brown and white springer spaniel did not move. Graven gently pulled his paw up and stroked his ear. "Please God. OH GOD!"

Isaac poked his head into the room. "What's wrong?"

Graven turned, her mascara running making her her cheeks and temples black. "Chuckles'dead," she sobbed.

Authors' Note:
We know you've heard this before but please, please if you're going to have sex, use protection. A baby is the 'pretty' thing that can come from unprotected sex. Don't take a chance at killing yourself for one night of fun.

*capitulo dieciocho coming soon! *what do you think so far?