capitulo nueve:

God, I'm suffocating in here! I'm not going to any more funerals ever. Except my own. Liz sat on the hard wooden pew in the church, not daring to breathe in the air that smelled heavily like too many flowers. Beside her, she saw Graven twitch her face as if the flowers were hurting her nose too. The Hansons had arranged for a small, private funeral for Liz's parents. Graven's mom and dad had been creamated two days earlier and she and Taylor had hiked down yesterday to the lake near where Graven lived to spread their ashes to the four winds. A guy Liz thought she recognized from somewhere, and Graven and the Hansons obviously knew, stood up on the small podium and read from the bible. "Happy are those who mourn; God will comfort them..." Am I supposed to be glad my parents died? Who does this guy think he is? He read some more from the huge leather book, then sat down silently beside Graven. He patted her hand as if this were her mom and dad's funeral, and gave Liz a small smile and nod.

"Thank you Mark." Graven whispered softly. Taylor rolled his eyes but also thanked Mark for being there. So that's the Mark Graven's friends with. I thought I recognized him from school.

If there was one thing Graven hated about funerals even more than the sickening smell of flowers and candles it was the reception that was sure to follow. She herself, was always overwhelmed with sadness after someone was buried and just wanted to go home. She hated these receptions because she saw them as small parties. She was not in the party spirit after a funeral and couldn't believe anyone else would be. However, when the service was over she silently trailed behind Mark and Taylor to the van they were all taking to the cemetary.

The wind stung Liz's face, making her feel cold all over as she watched shovels full of moist earth cover the two oak caskets that were lain one on top of the other. It was then that she realized she was crying. She felt Taylor's arm go around her and she felt warm again. After her sobs had quieted down Taylor removed his arm. "No, keep it there," she murmured and his arm went around her shoulders again.

Isaac stood still, watching the burial of two people he had never met but who had made such a significant difference in all their lives the last few days. It all seemed so unreal to him that just a few days ago they hadn't even known Liz, she'd just been 'the girl Graven doesn't want us to meet', and now they were all playing a part in some sort of sad movie his mother and her friends watched on Sundays. He distracted himself from thinking about his life path gone askew by watching Taylor and Liz. Isaac's left eyebrow went up slightly. He'd have to make sure to ask Tay what was up with him and Liz. I was sure he liked Graven.

Graven too was watching Taylor and Liz. Unknown to her, everyone else was looking at them too. Isaac in confusion, Zac in approval. Diana in the same state as Isaac, Walker sharing Zac's philosophy. Mark was looking at Graven. It was easy to see that Mark Armstrong only had eyes for Graven. What the hell is Taylor doing? Graven felt like she was going to be sick. She tried to convince herself that Taylor was only being a good friend, but the more she told herself that the less she believed it.

Finally it was time to return to the Hanson's home for the refreshments. Graven, still feeling sick promised herself she'd only stay long enough to make sure Liz was alright and to thank the the Hansons.

Taylor walked over to where Liz was sitting, handing her a small plate with a piece of cake on it. She accepted it gratefully, "Thanks for everything you've done for me Taylor. I know you'd rather be with Graven and all..."

"Graven doesn't want to be with me," he said a little sadly. "It's no problem Liz. You're a good friend." He smiled and sat down next to her. "How're you doing?"

"A little better than I've been the last few days. I'm just thankful they can rest in peace now. It's going to be hard without them." Liz said thinking of her parents.

Taylor nodded sympathetically. "Its' going to be hard for us too without Sara and Luke. Did I tell you they were my godparents?"

"No," Liz said. "I am really sorry."


Graven walked up to them. "I'm going to go now if that's okay Liz. I'm really not feeling well and I think I should go home," she smiled very briefly. "I'll see you two later. Bye!" She walked quickly out of the room and out the front door, leaving both Taylor and Liz thoroughly confused.

"That's weird," Taylor said. He turned just in time to see Liz staring at him. "What?"

Way to go Tay, she was looking at you and you made it sound like it was an indictable offence or something.

The razorblade seemed to be calling to her as Graven took the exit on the highway that led to the long tree-lined drive that led to her lakeside home. I'm not going to cut myself. I'm not! The house stood tall and silent by the even stiller lake. Graven struggled with the key mainly because her hands were shaking so badly that she couldn't get a proper grip on it. The springer spaniel came out to greet her with a bark and a few circles around the yard. Chuckles seemed to be looking for Graven's mother. Poor doggie. She ran upstairs, slithered out of her dress and changed into shorts, T-shirt, and sweatshirt. She purposly avoided the bathroom with it's calling razor. Deciding to take a walk down to the dock where the Morrisons had kept their boat before they sold it. Graven called for Chuckles and set off. The sun was just starting to set and it was a glorious orange ball that burned her eyes still. "Everything is going wrong," she whispered to the dog burying her face in the soft white and brown fur. "I'm off by myself on a dock four days after my parents die in a disgusting car accident, I have this sudden urge to slit my wrists and Taylor is being a prick." No, that's not true. I'm the one being unfair here. He's just trying to be a friend to me because he knows that's what's expected of him. He doesn't know how much I care about him. "I love him Chuckles." No, he doesn't know. But he will. He will.

Diana was beginning to worry about Graven. She had seemed so distant, and no one knew why. She pushed her way through the people at the get together and found Walker.

"Walker... maybe we should call and make sure everything's okay with Graven."

"Diana, Graven will be fine. She knows how to take care of herself. You've just got to let this run it's course, this all happened for a reason."

"I suppose you're right, but... oh geez, I don't know, I just worry about her."

He pulled her into a hug. "I know."

Liz quickly looked away from him, but then decided to play it off. "Oh, nothing, you have something in your hair."



"What is it?"

"I don't know..."



"You wanna get it out for me?" Taylor wanted to see this mysterious 'thing' in his hair.

"Um, oh look, it fell out..." Shit, Liz, you are so stupid... she scolded herself.

Taylor tried hard not to smile. "Oh..."

Graven began to walk back home with Chuckles not far behind. Once she got inside, the phone rang.


"Yes, is Mr. or Mrs. Morrison there?"

"No, you fucker, they died," she said into the phone before slamming it down.

She didn't know why she did that... they couldn't have known. She didn't know why she got so upset... she didn't know why she was mad at Taylor... But most of all, she didn't know why the hell her parents were taken away from her.

Without realizing it, she grabbed the closest vase, and threw it down on the floor. It came crashing down, shards of porcelain flying everywhere. Chuckles ran behind the closest object of furniture, and Graven fell to her knees.

"Why, god?! WHY ME? What the hell did I do to you?!"

"Taylor, I don't even know these people..."

"I know..." he smiled, "neither do I, to tell you the truth."

Liz let out a little laugh. She scanned the room and found a girl, she couldn't have been older than 12. She was sending Taylor some major 'I love you' eyes. "Hey, Tay, I think that girl's got it bad for you."

"Huh?" Taylor looked around and found Graven's younger cousin sitting in the corner staring at him. "Oh god... yeah, I've known her for about a year now and... well... yeah."

Taylor searched for a way out. "Are you done unpacking?"

"No," she looked down at the burgundy carpet that was under the sofa. "I haven't even started."

"Need some help?"

"Oh no, it's okay, I ca-"

"TRUST me, you need some help." With that, he grabbed her hand and they headed up the stairs.

"So what did I have in my hair?" Taylor asked coyly once they were alone. Liz bit her lip as she tried to think up a lie but he spoke again. "You have something on your face," he took a step and examined Liz's face.

"I do?" Liz asked, surprised.

"Yeah. Cake I think," he loved the fact that he was flirting with her and she didn't even seem to know it. Liz did in fact have a few cake crumbs around her mouth.

She turned towards the mirror in the bedroom. Shit. "Oh," was all she said.

Without even thinking Taylor put his index finger in his mouth and then wiped at the sides of Liz's mouth for a few seconds. They both stepped back suddenly. The action had been one of absolute normality for Taylor who had had enough messy sibblings to clean up in his lifetime, but he blushed fiercely now. "Sorry,"

"I thought my mom was the only person in the world to do that," Liz said wiping the remains of Taylor's spit from her cheek.

"I'm sorry," Taylor said again.

She smiled shyly at him for a minute. "Don't worry about it. It's a good memory that you just reminded me I want to keep."

"You should keep them all," he whispered softly.

"I will."

"You know, I'm making a memory right now," he leaned in and kissed Liz, surprising her. "There, now I've finished making it."

The phone rang. As Taylor leaned in to kiss Liz again he heard Isaac pick it up downstairs. If he'd known it was Graven and what state she was in he would have rushed to the phone. Instead Isaac didn't call upstairs for Taylor and it would be a long time before Taylor forgave him for that. He thought of that phone call as the beginning of Graven's self-destruction.

"Ike, I need to to Ta...Taylor." Graven didn't exactly what Taylor could do, but she remembered he's offered his support.

"I'm I'm not sure where he is Graven. Are you okay?"

She wasn't but she wasn't going to tell him that. Isaac had always been one of Graven's closest friends. But Taylor he was not, and right now Graven only wanted Taylor. "Could you go find him please."

Isaac thought she sounded desperate but he had seen Taylor take Liz upstairs and he didn't even want to know what was going on up there, much less interrupt. He decided to humor her though. "Sure, one second." Isaac put down the phone and walked around the small get-together. He ate a cookie and found his youngest cousin a glass of water. Finally he came back to the phone. "I'm sorry Graven, I looked all over for him and I can't find him anywhere."

"It was important!" Graven yelled and hung up. She stared at the phone for a full minute before running into the bathroom to find a razor. She found her father's razor in the cabinet How appropriate She whimpered painfully as she slashed the skin on her arms.

*capitulo diez
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