capitulo veinte:

Sweating profusely, Graven dribbled the basketball violently against the asphalt. She completed a less-than-perfect lay-up and pushed her blonde hair out of her face. The ball rounded the rim of the net and clunked down rather unceramoniously at her feet. She grabbed it and did a chest pass to Mark who was standing across from her. “Your turn,” she growled. Graven hated to lose.

Mark casually dribbled the ball back to the line, turned, and in no time at all had sunk a basket. “You going to tell me what the problem is anytime soon Graven?”

The question startled her. “What do you mean?”

“I think you know,” Mark answered passing her the ball again. “You obviously need to talk to someone. You picked me to come to, so I don’t understand why you aren’t, uh, talking.”

“I need some time.” Her voice quivered, and Mark could tell that she was almost afraid of speaking.

“Hey,” he said, touching her face gently. “It’s okay. Whatever happened you know I’m here for you.”

You know I’m here for you. The words echoed through her memories to when Taylor had spoken them to her. Were they just empty promises now? “I’m a terrible person Mark. Taylor, Liz… everyone thinks I am.”

“You know I’ve always thought you were pretty amazing.”

“Oh, I am,” Graven said laughing sarcastically. “Amazingly stupid. I guess I’m just different from everyone else. Like, there are some things I can’t let go of, now matter how hard everyone wants me to try.”

“You’ve been through a lot.”

“No more than most people are asked to go through in their lives. I don’t know why I can’t bear it all.”

“Listen,” Mark said. “The bad stuff will pass, I promise. You won’t always feel like this Graven. Taylor and Liz are going through a lot themselves. Give them time, and give yourself time.”

“What if they never forgive me?”

“They will. I don’t know Liz much, but she seems like a pretty understanding person. Maybe she’s angry and hurt now, but she’ll come around. And Taylor loves you.”

“I love him,” Graven wiped away a tear. “Only he doesn’t love me back the way I need him to.”

“Graven, just out of curiosity, have you ever thought about what he wanted? Have you ever stopped to think that maybe Tay is hurting as much as you are?” Mark was growing frustrated with her.

Graven began to tell him exactly what she thought of him at that moment then stopped. “You’re right,” she said in a low voice.

Mark smiled. “Atttagirl Gravie. You just admitted you were wrong. See?” He joked. “It’s not going to kill you.” He grew serious. “Bridge the gap. That’s what you have to do now. The rest is going to take care of itself. You’ll see.”

Graven smiled. “How’d you get so smart Mark?”

Mark shrugged. “Go home Graven. Say what you need to say.”

Graven let the ball fall from her arms. It bounced freely to the other side of the court. She reached over and kissed Mark’s cheek. “Thank you.”

Taylor was going mad thinking of what he’d do once he got his hands on Graven. A hundred different images flashed through his head, all of which involved a lot of blood. He heard a soft knock on the door. “Come in,” he said, hoping it was Liz. It was his mother.

“Anything you need? I’m going to the store,” she said, sticking her head in.

“Some rope to hang Graven with,” he muttered under his breath. “No,” he said to her.

“Things will work out son,” Diana Hanson said gently, as if reading his mind. “You shouldn’t be so hard on her.”

Taylor just shook his head stubbornly. “No,” he said firmly.

His mother sighed and closed the door gently. Taylor grabbed the nearest object: a mini soccer ball and flung it at the wall in frustration. A moment later there was another soft knock on the door. “Come in,” he called out.

Graven gently pushed open the door. “Can I talk to you?”

Taylor whipped around to face her. He put on his stoniest face and replied in an icy voice. “Not now.”


“I said not now. I don’t know if I’ll ever have anything to say to you.” He realized he was being childish but he didn’t care.

“I know you’re angry at me and you’ve every right to be. Yell at me; fling me against the wall like your ball if you want, but please don’t say that you hate me,” Graven cried.

“Leave,” he said loudly, through clenched teeth. “Just leave,” he repeated in a softer tone.

A tear slipped from her pale cheek. “You have to hear what I’m about to say. After that, I guess you decide where we go from here.”

“Alright,” Taylor agreed. Seeing her cry had softened him up a bit.

Graven took a deep breath and began. “You know, it wasn’t a big secret that you were supposed to be with me. Everyone expected it to happen, Taylor. Everyone but you, obviously, and I never even dared hope…that we could be together.” Graven paused for breath. She wondered if Taylor was going to change his mind and smash her against the wall after all, but Taylor remained silent. “Then, things changed. I know you remember what I said to you in the park. I may have been wrong, but you just let me say it.”

Taylor looked up suddenly. “That doesn’t change anything.”

“I was jealous!”

“I know,” Taylor said. He turned away from her. “I can’t do anything about that Graven.”

“I love you. And I can’t do anything about that either.”

“Don’t say that,” Taylor begged.

Graven gently touched his arm. “I’m sorry Taylor. I was hurt when you told me you wanted to be with Liz. I was horrified when you said there was a baby on the way. But I was happy when we kissed…”

“And I would kiss you every day of my life if I could,” Taylor said sadly. “But I can’t. I love her.”

Graven nodded sadly. “I know. Not me.”

Taylor leaned against the wall. He wasn’t ready to forgive. He wasn’t, he realized, a very forgiving person by nature. He needed time, and he told her so. “Let’s try this,” he said. “Be apart for awhile. I have to fix things with Liz, and you need to think things through.” He realized these were lame excuses.

“Okay,” Graven agreed. “Do you want me to go? I mean, from your house?”

“No,” Taylor replied. “Just a little breathing room,” he gave her a small smile. “Okay?”


Liz drummed her fingernails on the kitchen countertop. Feeling very sorry for herself, she watched the minutes on the clock pass by. Nine o’clock in the morning, she thought Megan is late. Suddenly, as if on cue, the doorbell sounded. Liz jumped up and ran to the door. She was immediately enveloped into a giant hug. “I’m so hap... glad you’re here.”

“Glad? Did I come at a bad time?”

“Taylor and I are fighting.”


“You would not believe what my life has turned out to be,” Liz said sadly. She took in a shaky breath. “Come on,” she said, trying to shake away her unhappiness for the time being. “I’ll introduce you to everyone.”

Walker Hanson popped into the hallway from the kitchen when he heard Liz speaking with her sister. He smiled at her and offered her his hand politely. “It’s nice to meet you Megan. Liz has told us all so much about you, my wife and I are really happy you could come down for a visit.”

“Thank you, and Mrs. Hanson for inviting me. And for looking out for Liz.” “We like having her,” Walker said, smiling at Liz. “Besides we have so many, we can’t tell the difference.”

They all laughed. Liz was happy that, for the time being, they weren’t discussing anything related to babies, pregnancy or boyfriends. “It’s good to have you with me again sis,” she said softly.

Walker cleared his throat. “I’m just going to go find Diana. I know she was looking forward to meeting you Megan. But I think she just stepped out to the backyard a moment ago.” He left.

Megan looked at her sister’s sad face. “Where is he?”

Liz waved her hand as if tired. “I don’t know, upstairs I think.”

Megan bit her tongue, holding back the things she wanted to say.

“So…” Liz said, trailing off. Presently she heard footsteps on the stairs. Taylor hopped down the last step, smiling his little Taylor Hanson smile and apologizing profusely.

“Nice to meet you Megan, I’m sorry I didn’t come down sooner. I was in the shower.” Since he was making light conversation, Megan decided she’d cut him some slack, at least for now. “Nice to meet you too. Oh yeah,” she said looking him up and down. “Much better than any picture I’ve ever seen,” she said teasingly.

Taylor laughed, and Liz admired him for being so much more comfortable than she was around her own sister. “Um, where’s Graven?” She had to force the name out of her mouth.

“Outside with my mom,” Taylor answered. “Why don’t we go out there ourselves? Mom’s looking forward to meeting you. Graven too,” he told Megan.

“Okay,” Liz heard herself agree. “You’ll love Taylor’s mom. She’s been so wonderful to me, sometimes I think she’s my real mom.” Liz wished she could have bitten back her words. But she wasn’t thinking clearly that day. Megan was standing in front of her, towering over her as she always had, but somehow she seemed a lot smaller. The look she had on her face was enough to make Liz wish she would die several violent deaths. “Oh God,” she muttered.

“It’s okay honey,” Taylor said softly.

Megan regained her composure. “Of course. Don’t worry Lizzie. I’m okay.”

“God, why can’t I do anything right!” Liz said. She was on the verge of tears.

Taylor put an arm around her reassuringly. “It’s okay honey. Let’s go outside okay?”

Liz agreed. Maybe the fresh air would do her good. She’d been feeling funny all day. “This is my sister Megan,” she said slowly, unsure of how the family would react. How Graven would react. She shouldn’t have been worried. The whole family stood up and shook Megan’s hand amiably, and Zac even hugged her. The nonstop chatter about plane flights, and England, and how much Liz and Megan looked alike made Liz’s head spin. She smiled through it all, and tried to keep a straight face when Diana Hanson once again remarked how alike the sisters were physically. Like a unicorn resembles a bear. It wasn't that she was ugly, in fact she wasvery pretty, but in a less obvious way than her sister. It was her natural beauty that really shone out of her, and anyone would have seen that. Liz, however, was harder to convince. She was already starting to feel fat and ugly. This pregnancy is gonna kill me.

*what do you think so far?