capitulo deiciocho:

Walker glanced over at a picture that was next to his bed. It was of him and Taylor. Taylor was about 7 in the picture, wearing a soccer uniform that read Tulsa Soccer across the front in dark blue ink against the bright red T-shirt. Looking down at the floor, then back up at the picture for a moment, he blinked letting a solitary tear fall from his eye.

Graven watched the ambulence drive off in sorrow. There was nothing to be done, the dog was already dead when they had arrived.

Liz walked over to Graven and put her arm out for comfort. Graven gladly grabbed it and hugged her.

"I'm so sorry Gravie..."

"I know. It's not your fault. He was old... old..." The room is spinning... am I awake? What's going on... "old.... old.... old..."

"Graven?" Taylor walked towards his best friend. "Graven, are you alright?"

She wanted to believe that he meant it. But she didn't really know whether he cared about her anymore or not. Although anger built up inside her as she thought about the events of the past few months, she calmy replied, "Yes."

Clang. Scrape. Gulp.

Silence. The dinner table filled with 11 people was dead silence. It was so quiet, it was almost deafening.

Diana bravely began to speak in an attempt to ease up some tension. She cleared her throat loudly. "Uh, Taylor and Liz have something that theyd like to share, I'm sure..."

The two looked at eachother, both wanting the other to say it. Walker glanced harshly at Taylor, so he finally began to say, "Uhhh... yeah..." How am I going to say this? They're all going to think I'm so irresponsible. I AM irresponsible. Damn it... He stared at his plate and swore for a second that his carrots were in the shape of a baby. He shook his head. Maybe, just maybe, all his problems would go away if he shook it hard enough.

"What is it Taylor?" Zac asked leaning forward a little.

"Yeah! Tell us!" Mackie yelled from his position across from Liz. She looked at him and smiled a little. She thought for a moment about what kind of example they were setting for the littler kids and hoped that nothing like this ever happened to them...

"Well," Taylor finally decided if he just spit it out, it would be easier. "I'm - I mean we're - I mean... um... Liz is going to have a baby."

He said the last part of the sentence at an almost inaudible tone, but everyone heard. The gaping mouths that surrounded the table hinted to the fact that everyone was a little less than unsuprised.

"She's pregnant?" Jessica asked softly.

"Yes, she is."

Zac's head was filled with questions that he wanted to ask. "Are you keeping it?"

Liz realized how uncomfortable Taylor looked and decided to jump in. "Yes, we are..."

Again, silence.

Diana went on about how they would have a baby shower, how Liz would go to the doctor the next day, and the preparation needed while everyone sat confused, tired, and suprised.

Later that night, Liz and Taylor were both lying in his room.

She glanced over at him. "What are we going to call it?"

"I dunno... we do have nine months to decide that..."

"I know that, I just don't really see you very involved in this."

"It's just that this has been some day." He looked over at her and was suddenly filled with tremendous joy and tremendous sorrow at the same time. "I love you Liz."

"I know you do," Liz answered softly. "I'm scared Taylor."

"So am I," Taylor admitted. He leaned in and kissed her softly on the lips. He smiled and so did she and for one moment the world stopped. And peace replaced fear as love replaced time.

"Jesus!" Graven clutched her chest in panic and relief. "Taylor, you shit you scared me." She leaned over and clicked on the bedside lamp. "Are you insane?"

Taylor blinked and shaded his eyes from the brightness that hurt his eyes. "Oh," was all he managed to say once he realized where he was. How on earth did I sleep-walk all the way over to the other side of the house?

"Are you alright Tay?" She ignored the stabbing pain she felt in her heart. "I mean about the whole baby thing?" She choked back a sob on the word 'baby'.

Taylor shook his head miserably. "Yeah."

"Which is it?"

"A little of both."

Graven reminded herself that whenever Taylor was hurting she had always found the strength to help him, to talk to him and sometimes just to listen to him no matter how badly she herself was hurting. "You want to talk about it?"

"I'm scared Gravie," he began. "I'm scared shitless." She smiled faintly, giving Taylor the courage to keep going. "I'm not ready for this, not by a long shot. But I love Liz... and to be honest, I've never quite been this happy. When I'm with her I just feel like..."

"Like your life has meaning," Graven interrupted gently. "Like you came to this earth so that you could be with her. Like God made her especially for you."

He nodded. "Exactly," he smiled. "That's amazing. How'd you know what I was thinking that?"

Graven looked down. "Because I feel that way too," She shook her head realizing she'd said too much. "I love her too Tay." She looked up again and realized that Taylor had fallen asleep. She let the pent up tears flow steadily as she smoothed his hair, turned off the lamp and headed down the hall to Taylor's bedroom.

"Wrong room Lizzie. Taylor's bunked in my room," Graven sleepily pointed to the door. She yawned. "On second thought, maybe I will eat his breakfast after all." She greedily eyed the french toast Liz carried.

"Sorry to wake you so violently. I thought you were Tay," Liz smiled sheepishly. "I don't usually pounce on people who are sleeping."

"That's okay. But I warn you, if you've bruised my goregous face you are going to get slapped with a humongous lawsuit missy." "What?" Liz looked preoccupied. She had been staring out the window and now stared blankly at her friend.

"Nevermind," Graven hid her sigh with a yawn. "In fact I think you should go jump onto Taylor's unsuspecting form right now and let me go back to bed. I had a long night."

"Tell me about it," Liz said rolling her eyes. "Graven," she licked her lips nervously. "I'm having a lot of trouble coping with this pregnancy thing. Can I talk to you about it when I'm upset?"

Am I everyone's friggin' tear mopper? I don't think that I can cope with it very well myself. "You can talk to me about anything Liz," she reached for her friend's hand. But I really think you and Taylor need to talk things out first." She handed Liz the plate of french toast. "Go on."

Liz nodded. "Thanks Grave."

"Good morning Sleepy," Liz smiled down upon her half-awake boyfriend.

"Hey there Dopey." Taylor smiled when Liz laughed and reached over to tuck Liz's hair behind her ear. God he loved her laugh. "Where'd Graven go? I'm afraid I kinda took over her bed."

"She was peacefully sleeping in your bed 'till I mistook her for you and rudely woke her up by jumping on her."

"Ah, she deserves that for calling me a shit last night."

"Ah, you probably deserved that for being a shit to her," Liz giggled. "What are you doing today? I thought we should talk things out. I mean what we're going to do and all. We haven't had much time to figure things out yet so I was hoping that..."

"You know what I think? I think that we'll be okay Liz. I really do."

Liz expected to become flustered and stammer like she usually did but this time the words came out right. "I think so too. I mean, love finds a way doesn't it?" She kissed him.

Taylor smiled. "Yeah, I think it does."

Graven sat on her bed, staring at the pattern of the bed spread. So much has happened so fast she thought to herself. It's all too much. I can't handle this pressure, this pain.

"Seems just like yesterday I was happily playing in my yard with chuckles and Taylor, both innocent and uncorrupted." Graven daydreamed of the happier days in her life, back when her parents were alive, back when Liz wasn't pregnant, back when everything was fun and life was easy. She often did this right before she fell asleep, that and playing the 'what if' game. She always kinda blamed herself for all that happened. If she hadn't decided to go to public school, she wouldn't have met Liz and Taylor wouldn't have been jealous. If she hadn't met Liz, then she wouldn't have invited her to the concert, and her parents wouldn't of died, and everything would be happy. Happy, she thought. That is an emotion that she hadn't felt in a long time. She remembered all the times that she had thought that she was unhappy, because of some stupid fight with her parents or Taylor, or because she couldn't go out on a Friday night. Ha, I haven't been out to a movie in forever. "I am the most miserable teenager in the world, I have no social life, I have no boyfriend, I have no friends." She was now standing in front of her mirror. Her once golden blond locks were now a pale yellow. They didn't have the volume and life that they used to have, just laid limp on her face. Her pale skin was not ghostly and almost translucent, from not being in the sunshine. Her lips were chapped and dry, and her once bright blue eyes are now a pale gray. She looked like crap. "Except my friend Mary Jane," she giggled as she grabbed her beloved lighter and pot. I need to get out.

"Where are you going?" asked Diana as Graven reached the door.

"Out," was all that she replied as she closed the door behind her.

Taylor turned off the talk show he was watching. He trudged up to his room and found his jacket.

"Mom, I'm going to drive around for a while, I need some fresh air," he called as he opened the door and closed it behind him.

Taylor drove out into the bleak Tulsa evening. It had been raining for the past few days, an ironic setting for the events taking place in the Hanson household. I'll go to the playground he thought as he drove down the wet streets. The trees hung their branches low, letting the leaves brush the car like wet fingertips. Taylor got out of his car and walked across the familiar soil to the swingset, a reflection place for him ever since he was a little kid. He sat in the swing and watched as his feet splashed the water around beneathe him. He always loved doing that.Man, what is that smell? he thought as he looked around, trying to find the sweet aroma that was surronding him. He new that scent, he had smelled it many times at parties. He jumped out of his swing to find the source of the smell. He soon found a tree with smoke coming out from behind it, reeking of pot. He heard a familiar cough, and that made him run to the tree and find the person he had never expected to be there.

"Graven, what the hell are you doing?" Taylor asked as he found Graven sitting behind the tree, smoking up a storm.

"Oh hey, Taywor, wanna have some?" Graven slurred as she gave Taylor a glazed look. "Oh come on, its fun, hehe," she laughed as she pulled on his pants leg for him to sit down.

"NO, Graven, that shit will mess you up so bad, what do you think you are doing, let's go, we need to get you help," Taylor stated as he tried to pull Graven up off the ground.

"Oh Taylor, stop being such a goody-goody, you know you want some," she continued. Taylor just looked at Graven, wondering how she got so messed up so fast.

"No, I can't, it's wrong, and you shouldn't either, that stuff is horrible," he repeated, trying desparately to get his leg free of Graven's grasp. "And I'm leaving, so if you aren't coming, then fine, but I'm not going to make up get help, you go to get it yourself," he said, an angry scrowl coming over his face. "Bye, I'm leaving," he spit out as he turned to walk away.

"No, Taylor, don't leave me," Graven called from behind him, reaching out for him, looking like a helpless puppy that had just the lost their home.

Taylor turned and looked at Graven for a long time. She looked so sad there, sitting on the muddy ground all alone. He slowly walked back to his friend and sat down beside her. She looked so weak, so fragile he was almost afraid to touch her for she might break.

"Here, it will make all your problems go away," she said as she gave him a joint. Taylor held it in his hand and watched it for the longest time, shifting it from hand to hand.

Hell, why not, it can't get any worse he thought as he grabbed the yellow lighter and lit it up. After a few puffs everything got blurry and foggy.Man, this shit is great, he thought as he giggled a little.

"It's fun, isn't it," Graven said in between puffs off of hers.

"Yeah, it kinda is," Taylor smiled as he glanced over at Graven. He had forgotten how beautiful she looked. Without thinking, he gently brished the hair out of her face.

Graven looked up at him, he looks so beautiful. She smiled her most flirtatious smile, displaying her perfect teeth, which were white regardless of all the pot she had done. Taylor caressed her face again, letting his fingertips outline her jawline and chin.

"Taylor, I have to tell you something, and it might make things really complicated," Graven said, looking at the ground.

"Believe me Grave, shit just can't get any worst than this. What is it," he asked as he put his arm around her.

"Well, um, Taylor, for a very long time, like before any of this ever happened, I had a crush on you. And well, I still do and it's been really hard and shit hearing about Liz and you and everything." Graven looked at Taylor to see his reaction. He was just staring at her, a wide grin on his face.

"You're so beautiful Graven," he grinned, rubbing his finger over her lips.

"Hmm, you didn't hear a damn thing I said, did you?" she asked as a disappointed smile came over her face.

Taylor just grinned and looked at Graven, lost in his own little world. "Graven, can I kiss you, cus you would be so awesome to kiss," he said, bringing her face closer to his.

Graven got a silly spell and started to uncontrollably laugh, as Taylor pressed his lips to hers, and guided his hand to her waist. After making out for a few minutes, Taylor separated his lips from hers.

"I want to show you something," he said as he stood up and staggered to his car, leading Graven by the hand. "I need to show you sumthin, so you can be happy like I am," he said with a stupid grin. Graven followed, dragged by Taylor to his vehicle.

p> A semisweet smile came over Taylor's face. "How was it?" he whispered into her ear. Graven responded with a satified giggle. "We need to be getting back, I'll take ya home," Taylor said sloppily, still high off the grass he had done earlier that day. Graven sat up as Taylor jumped over the seat to the front and turned on the engine. After the short drive home, he got out and walked to the door, leaving Graven in the backseat, alone with her thoughts. What the hell just happened?

"Taylor, where have you been, I've been looking all over for you!" Liz exclaimed as Taylor entered the door.

"I'm sorry babe, I just wanted to get some fresh air and find Graven, she disappeared for a while. Oh, and here she is," he smiled as Graven walked through the door, looking like hell.

"I'm going up to my room, see ya," she said quickly as she ran up the steps. Tears filled her eyes and her face burned with shame.

"She doesn't look too good, I think I'm going to go talk to her," Liz said as she gave a kiss to Taylor. She frowned. "What s wrong with your eyes sweetie?"

"Ok, you do that," Taylor said ignoring her last comments as he slowly and carefully walked over to his room and shut the door. The floor seemed as if it was coming up trying to swallow him up.

"Knock, knock," Liz said as she rapped on Graven's door.

"Come in," she heard a muffled voice. Liz walked into the smokey room, smelling the familiar aroma of pot that always filled Graven's room nowadays. Yep she's at it again, Liz thought as she saw Graven light up once more.

"My God, Graven, are you ever going to stop that? I just can't wait til you get caught with that and you have to go to a rehab center!" Liz exclaimed, letting all that had been held up inside her release. "Are you listening to me? You're going to die! Graven! You're going to die and you'll have it coming to you."

Graven felt a boiling hate overflow inside her. "Oh shut the fuck up you little bitch! Me smoking pot is the last thing you need to be worried about. Why don't you start worrying about who is fucking your boyfriend behind your back!!" Graven screamed as she staggered toward Liz.

"What? What the hell are you talking about, Graven?" Liz replied, worry overwhelming her. Taylor had sex with someone else?

"Yes, it's true! Your sweet little boyfriend has been sleeping around! Oh yes! And guess who has been with him? Hummm, guess!"

"No, Graven, stop!" Liz cried, tears running down her face.

"He fucked me! He fucked me just a few minutes ago in his car, yep, yes sir! Now, you tell what you need to be worrying about!" Graven screamed, her face the color of hate.

Liz ran out of the room with tears running down her face, busting open Taylor's door. "Is it true?? Is it true?" She exclaimed, startling Taylor.

"Is what true, babe?" Taylor asked, standing up and walking over to Liz.

"Is it true that you had sex with Graven? Is it true Tay? Is it true?" Liz cried, looking into Taylor's blue eyes.

Taylor just stared at Liz, turned into a statue.

*what do you think so far?