Chapter Nine

Taylor watched August sleep, wondering what she was dreaming about. She had begun to twitch and mumble, toss and turn, and it was freaking him out. He would have woken her up, but he had a serious hang-up over waking up dreaming sleepers.

August bolted upright, nearly falling off the couch she'd been sleeping on. The sudden movement scared the daylights out of Tay, and he jumped.
"What?! Are you okay?!"
She looked around frantically, making sure it had just been a dream. Just a wasn't real. She was alive; her father hadn't killed her in a drunken rage. She sighed deeply in relief, and sat back. She calmed down a little, and noticed her surroundings. It was Tay's room; she had been sleeping on his couch. She looked at him, confused, until he smiled slightly and explained,
"You fell asleep in the car on the way home...I didn't want to have to go through your pockets for your room key, if you know what I mean."
August looked around again, and nodded, noticing that her breath was coming in short, raspy spurts. He stared at her worriedly, and asked again,
"August? You okay?"
She shook her head, and finally found it in her to make her lips move enough to say,
"Holy shit...that was so fucking nasty..."
He looked at her bewildered, then asked cautiously,
"What was?"
She looked up, and just the dissipating fear in her eyes told him that she'd been scared to death. He got up from the bed, setting his laptop down carefully beside where he'd been sitting. Approaching her like she was a very scared animal with her tail between her legs, and not sure of how he was going to take this, he sat down on the end of the couch, at the edge of the cushion. He had no idea how or what she was going to do, so was rather taken aback when she flew forward and hugged him like she hadn't seen him in ten years. He didn't squirm like he wanted to; he just let her wrap her arms around him and stay like that for awhile.
"Shit, August...what the hell were you dreaming?"
"I died," was the muffled response from the area of his shoulder. It would have been clearer, but she had her face buried in his shirt [which, for those who like details, was green with a few white stripes]. He could understand, that had to have been nasty.
"You think you'll be okay?" he asked her hair [more or less] softly. She pulled her head from deep within the folds of his shirt and nodded slowly.
"Was I in it?" He figured maybe if he got her to let it all out, she'd feel better. Apparently, it would work...but not yet.
"Yeah, you were in it, after I croaked," she replied. He winced to himself at that thought, but didn't let her see.
"What happened?"
"My dad beat the shit out of me, and I died, end of story. It was just the way it happened that was so freaky."
He brushed a stray chunk of hair out of his eyes, and said quietly, "Don't worry about it're safe now. I won't let him lay a finger on you."
She scoffed it in a barely noticable way, then replied,
"I wish that could be true, Tay. I wish that could be true. But the only way that'll ever happen is if he dies, gets arrested, or if you paid him a large amount of money." she paused. "Or if you found the way to ressurect my mother."
He hugged her closer, then asked quietly,
"Did he start hitting you after she died?"
She nodded, and after laying her head on his shoulder, answered,
"Oh, man he loved her. More than anything else on earth. It's just that I look so much like her, and he misses her so much...his drinking was a Valium, a Prozac. And whenever he gets drunk, he sees my mother getting killed by that plastered Cobain worshipper whenever he looks at me, instead of me, and thus takes everything out on me. If I could have been killed instead of her, I'd do it in a second. Then at least it'd be over in two seconds."
Her little speech wrenched Tay, pulling on every heartstring possible. "Don't say wouldn't do any more good. And then I wouldn't have you," he said quietly, taking the extremely dangerous risk, hoping it would help her feel better. Her cheeks flushed in embarrassment. She was flattered.
"Are you going to do this every time I get like this?" she asked with a slight tone of mischief. He didn't catch the mischief, and nodded. "Every time you want me to," he answered. He looked like he was going to kiss her, and lo and behold, he leaned over. She saw it coming, and accepted the long, sweet kiss graciously. If anything, THAT'S what made her feel better.
"I guess there's at least one person who can't do without me," she whispered. He smiled slightly, then said with a little chuckle to his words,
"Oh, I don't know...I think your friend Steph needs you...probably Dawn, too..."
She started howling, knowing he had a point. Mission accomplished, Tay thought. Mission accomplished.

"Whenever something goes wrong, blame it on the guy who can't speak English. Oh, Tibor, you've saved my butt so many times..."

-Homer Simpson, The Simpsons

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Chapter Eight
Chapter Ten