capitulo siete:

How could this have happened? Isaac pondered, the silence in the car matching the heavy feeling in his heart. Just a few hours ago our biggest worry, our biggest problem was Taylor and Graven's latest fight. And now everything we ever did feels stupid and immature.

Liz hadn't stopped crying since they'd left. Graven kept looking over at her wanting to say something comforting to her friend, but her own grief was too much. She let out a quivering breath and dropped her head back on Taylor's shoulder. For the time being I can't help Liz out. I can't even help myself.

Taylor was also looking over at Liz unhappily. Mom's right, she'll aways blame herself because of me. He felt horrible... worse then he had in a long time. He knew he should apologize but he couldn't do it right then and there in front of everyone. He just watched her shoulders moved up and down as she silently wept.

Zac felt numb, the thought of death scared him out of his mind. It was so... permanent. How could Graven's parents be dead? And Liz's dad? He wasn't so sure he's be able to handle this.

Reality was closing in on Liz. She'd never see her dad's laughing face again, maybe not her mother's either. Oh my God.

Isaac turned his head slightly and saw Liz with tears still streaming down her cheeks and felt his heart break. He reached his hand to the seat behind him, offering her comfort. Liz took it gratefully. Her mom always did that on long car trips, reach her hand behind her seat to clasp hands with her. Mom, please be okay. Dear God, please let her be okay.

Finally the van pulled into the hospital and everyone jumped out. Liz let go of Isaac's hand and ran inside the automatic doors of the emergency room.

Graven followed unsteadily, using Taylor as her support. She still felt a little trashed from the the liquor. Why am I even here? My parents are dead. I can't be here, I just want to go to sleep this whole nightmare away and have Taylor hold me.

"Where's my mom? Where's my mom?" Liz was shouting to the nurses in the hospital. Suddenly a tall black man in a white nurse uniform came out from a small office.

"Liz Hunter?"

"Y... ye..yes?" Liz asked fearfully.

"Your mother has been taken up to the intensive care unit. She's in a coma, but she's been drifting in and out of conscienceness. Take the elevator to the third floor and you'll see the sign telling you where to go."

Liz didn't even stop to thank him, she ran to the elevator, he white sneakers making squeaky noises on the hospital floor. The squeaks seemed to be forming the words your fault, all your fault'.

Taylor tapped his foot impatiently against the floor, Zac wiggled his butt a little on the hard plastic chairs, Isaac was staring at the floor and muttered about how happy they'd all been a few hours ago, Diana coughed. Only Graven and Liz remained completely silent. Graven was standing in a corner away from the rest, leaning against a wall. She didn't feel like sharing her grief with anyone right now. Not until there was any news about Liz's mom. Even if it killed her, she wasn't going to show any more emotion. They were worried enough about Mrs. Hunter now.

Liz got up and paced. Suddenly a doctor came out. "Would you like to see her now?" she asked gently. She didn't need to ask Liz twice, she was already in the room.

Liz stepped up to the bed and looked away quickly as waves of nausia swept over her. Her mother hardly had a face, everything: skin, most of her hair, parts of bone were torn. "Mom?" she croaked. "Mom wake up! Come on, you've got to get up. Mom? Mom?!" She began to hug her until the nurse tore her away.

"I'm sorry, she musn't be bothered, honey."

"That's my mother, and I want to hug her!"

"Okay... I know, I know, but you want the best for her right? You need to leave now."

"No! Please, don't make me leave..." The nurse grabbed her arm and walked her into the waiting room where Diana and Taylor were sitting.

Diana looked up to see Liz crying even harder then she had back at the Maybee Center.

Liz went and sat on the other side of the room, while the nurse came over to talk to Diana and Taylor.

"It was very hard for her... half of Mrs. Hunter's skin on her face is completely torn away. I'm surprised she recognized her at all."

Diana just covered her mouth. She and Taylor both looked over at Liz who was staring at her feet.

"Oh my god..." Diana finally spoke up, "I'm going to go tell the othes and call Dad. Taylor, stay here with Liz."

Taylor remained looking uncomfortable. "The others went down to get something to drink." he said over to Liz.

No answer.

Taylor got up and walked over to where Liz was sitting. "Can I sit here?"

"Don't care." She was so afraid he'd been right when he'd accussed her about being responsible for the accident. She couldn't even look at him.

"Liz," Taylor started. "I'm really sorry about what I said back at the Center... I don't know what came over me. I didn't mean a word of it... I know how much you must be hurting right now."

"You were right." Liz's voice sounded flat and empty.

"No, please don't think that.I'm so sorry," he finished lamely. Fuck, I'm an asshole.

Liz sighed. "Okay..." she gave him a weak smile.

Taylor smiled back. "You're going to get through this Liz. I promise. I'll help you... I'll do whatever I can."

"Thanks," she paused for a moment. "Taylor?"


"How come you and Graven didn't tell me you knew eachother?" she was hurt her supposed best friend could have lied to her, laughed with her at jokes about meeting them, laughed with her at the mall about Hanson trying to put their pants on two legs at a time. At another time it would have mattered more to her, but now with everything that had happened it didn't seem like a big deal. I feel so old all of a sudden.

Taylor's shy smile faded, and he looked towards the door expecting Graven to come in at any moment. He knew that she would no longer care whether Liz knew or not, but he still felt guilty, almost as if he were betraying her somehow. "She hasn't had it easy with friends since we got famous. Kids use her to get to me or to us, play on her friendship and her emotions in some cases to meet us or whatever. Not only that, people tried to harm her physically and emotionally. That was the reason she stopped going to school for a few years. She home-schooled with us, but then she wanted to go back, except she decided not to tell anyone she knew us because she didn't want to be abused and mostly she didn't want to have false friends. I know she lied to you because she liked you and wanted you to like her for who she was not who she was friends with."

"I wouldn't have cared. I know why she must've thought I might care but I wouldn't have cared. I'd have asked her to meet you of course, but I'd never use her. I wouldn't have cared..."

"All that time being harassed and taken advantage of made her vulnerable."

"Poor girl... And she dragged you into it right?"

Taylor blushed. "She explained things to me and I couldn't bear to see her heart broken again. I'd do anything for her."

Liz looked at him. "How long have you known her?"

"Since we were in diapers," Taylor said reaching into his back pocket. "Look at this," he said pulling out his wallet and showing her a picture of two blonde babies on a little toy horse. "Uh, that one's me," he said pointing to the one with the crooked blue cowboy hat. "The other one's Graven" he said of the other baby that seemed to be trying to stuff her fist into her mouth.

Liz smiled wearily at the picture. "It's cute," she said. A day before she might have laughed at the two relatively chubby babies dressed as a cowboy and cowgirl, now a smile seemed to be the best she could even imagine. Before she could say anything else, though, a doctor came out of her mother's room.

Liz prepared herself. She glanced at Taylor, and then at the nurse.


Liz didn't speak a word, she just listened to what the doctor was saying. Her mind was spinning, and she barely even made out half of the things she was saying. She creased her brow as if she were trying to figure out the hardest math problem in the world. As she listened... she realized that everything the nurse was saying was in past tense. Her heart dropped to her feet... Her hope was gone.

"...and as I said, it was an amazing impact, and she's even lucky that she made it that far."

Liz didn't say a word. She stared wide eyed at the white clothed person in front of her.

"I'm sorry." She walked away.

Before she could say anything, or do anything... before she could think... she felt Taylor's arms around her and relized he was hugging her.

"Oh god, Liz, I'm so sorry."

Graven punched the Coke button. The red can came tumbling down into the opening where it was made open to the world... vulerable to be drinken. Just like my life.

"Grave, look what I found in the gift shop!" Zac said in a pathetic attempt to cheer her up. He held up a black hat that had the words Orgasm Doner plastered across the front.

Graven rolled her eyes, but couldn't help but laugh just a little bit.

"I got it for Tay."

"Taylor? Why him?"

"I dunno... I think he'd get a kick out of it." Zac grinned and put the hat on himself.

Graven took it off of him. "You're too young to be a doner."

"I'll say..." Diana walked up looking at the hat.

"Um... mom..."

"Yeah, save it. Listen, Liz just got the first look at her mom..."

The two listened to the brief description that she gave.

"...and where's Ike?"

"He's in the bath- right there!" Zac began, but stopped when he saw Isaac walking up to them.

"Okay, you guys fill him in, I have to go call Dad." It was funny how Diana refferred to Walker as "Dad" even in the presence of Graven. She was just part of their family...

Isaac looked down at the carpeting with band aids on it. "That's horrible."

"I know," Zac sighed. "But, at least she's alive." Zac immediately regretted saying that in Graven's presence.

She sensed his discomfort. "It's okay, Zac, really it is..."

He blushed a little bit. "Okay."

"Hey, guys," Isaac said, "why don't we buy her mom some flowers?"

"Good idea, Ike... I'll go buy them and we'll give them to Liz to give to her."

*capitulo ocho soming soon!
*what do you think so far?