Chapter Four

When Zac woke up the next morning, Starlight was gone. He felt a little unloved, but went about his business and got his normal Saturday morning stuff done. She'd be back, he knew she would. He wasn't sure how he knew, but he did. Around three in the afternoon, he went out, leaving the house to Taylor and Zoe.

Taylor wandered around, bored beyond belief and wondering why Zoe hadn't cried for him to come up yet. He went down the upstairs hallway to her room, and found Starlight, suspending Zoe's stuffed panda above the crib, making it dance like Will Smith in Gettin' Jiggy Wit It. Zoe was gurgling and laughing, enjoying the little show that her brothers never put on for her. Taylor stood in the doorway with his arms crossed, watching the show. It was pretty cool...he'd never seen that panda do more than dance on the crib railing before, anyway. When Zoe grew bored, Starlight picked her up and turned around, handing her to Taylor.
"Hey, Tay...missed you last night," she said softly. Taylor gave Zoe his braid to play with, which she promptly put in her mouth and began to chew on contentedly.
"Why can Zoe see you and not Mackie or Avie? Or Jessie?"
Starlight smiled.
"Zoe's special. Babies see angels all the time. They just don't know the difference between an angel and a human. Besides, the panda needed a workout."
Tay raised an eyebrow, and looked at what she was wearing. She was in a black dress with long sleeves that went to her ankles, and a purple long-sleeved shirt that was probably made out of cordouroy.
"What happened to the long white robes and gold belts?"
Starlight poked him.
"What happened to zoot suits and flapper dresses? They went out of style. I'm fifteen, Tay. Give me a break."
Taylor expertly detached Zoe from his hair, and gently led Starlight out of the room.
"When did you die, Starlight?"
She closed her eyes, thinking.
"March 14, 1963. My fifteenth birthday. That makes me...51."
"And exactly 35 years older than me," Taylor finished. Starlight blushed.
"That doesn't mean I have any more experience with life than you do, Tay. I've been fifteen for the past 36 years."
Taylor shrugged, and scratched his head.
"Okay, so technically, I'm older than you?"
"You're sixteen, aren't you?"
"Then you're older than me physically. I'm not 51 emotionally. I'm still fifteen. Groovy, hunh?" Apparently the dialect of the psychadelic era hadn't quite left her yet. Taylor nodded.
"Pretty cool," he replied, while, at the same time, he was thinking about how gorgeous she was. She really was... Taylor gave Zoe back to Starlight and touched her cheek gently.
"You're beautiful, you know that?" he whispered. She didn't respond, but Zoe babbled something in agreement. He drew as close as he could without squishing Zoe and whispered,
"Can I kiss you?"
It was something she had moreover expected Zac to ask, but she appreciated his shyness towards her. It was sweet. She nodded a little, shifting Zoe's weight. He leaned closer, centimetres away from her face. Reaching around Zoe, Taylor put his hand at the small of Starlight's back, and let the other run through her hair as he gave her one of the sweetest kisses he'd ever given anyone in his entire sixteen years of existance. When he pulled away, Taylor could see faint images of Starlight's wings, faded but not forgotten, losing so many feathers and looking so pitiful that he didn't dare touch them for fear they'd fall apart beneath his fingers.
"What's wrong with your wings?"
Starlight smiled.
"You're giving me my life back, Taylor. My wings are dying. Thank you."
She suddenly gave Zoe back, and faded away, a mysterious smile on her face. Taylor looked at Zoe, who was gazing at him with a strange, loving look.
"Tay," she said quite clearly, and nuzzled her face into his shirt. All Taylor could do was smile, and felt his eyes sting.
"I love you, Zoe," he whispered. She smiled slightly, falling asleep on his shoulder. Taylor carried her back to her bed and laid her down, kissing her forehead. Out of the whole family, Zoe had to be the only sane one.

"I'm not a guy. I'm a meat popsicle."

- Sean Morrice, Littleman

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Chapter Five