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Runaways: Chapter Seven
Taylor went into his hotel room feeling confused: He was glad that at least one girl was interested in him, but he didn't want to get close to anyone. On the other hand, he didn't want to become anti-social, as his mother had suggested a day ago. As he was unpacking, Taylor decided that he wouldn't tell Cara much about himself, and, to avoid lying, he would join a homeschooling program on his portable I.V.S. that he had gotten with some inheritance money from an aunt or uncle that had died.
Taylor looked around the hotel room. There was an I.V.S., a coffee maker, a micro-oven (basically a microwave, but better), a refrigerator (they hadn't changed much), two Comfortform beds, and a bathroom with a Jaccuzi tub, toilet, sink, and very soft towels.
Taylor was just getting on the I.V.S. to look for a homeschooling program when he heard a knock on his door. He got up to look through the peephole and saw Cara.
Cara? What is she doing here? I must've forgotten something down in the lobby. Taylor quickly checked the clock. It was ten o'clock. Maybe her shift ended and she's just telling me so I won't go down there looking for her. Or maybe the cops found out about me and told her to come up and get me. No! Taylor told himself sternly. I can't get so paranoid! Just open the door. It's gonna be fine.
Taylor took a deep breath and opened the door. "Hey, Cara! What're you doing up here?"
Cara hugged her jacket closer to herself. "Oh, nothing. Hey, I know this might sound sort of rude, but can I come in? It's freezing out here."
"Oh, sure," Taylor said, holding the door open and standing back. "Is everything okay?" Cara looked like she was about to cry. "Do you want to. . .?" Taylor gestured hopelessly to a chair. Dakaita never came to him when she was emotional, and his parents never paid much attention to him when he was upset, so he was pretty much out of practice as far as emotional breakdowns.
"Oh, Taylor. . . I just found out that my house burned down. I was living with my parents, and. . . they were in there!" Cara broke down, sobbing.
Taylor gently led her to the edge of the second bed, where Cara collapsed. Taylor sat down next to her and just held her. It was sort of awkward for him, but he didn't know what else to do. In a little while, the shoulder of his shirt was soaked form the heavy flow of Cara's tears. They just sat there for a few minutes, until Taylor decided what he was going to do. Gently pushing Cara off and looking at her, Taylor said, "Hey, since you don't have anywhere to go, do you want to stay here for the night? I mean, you know, since there are two beds. . ." Taylor looked down, blushing.
Cara smiled. "Really? Oh my gosh, thank you. I don't have any clothes, though." Now it was Cara's turn to blush.
"Uh, do you want to go to Wal Mart? I need some things, too."
"Sure. Do you have anything to drink? Coffee or something warm?"
"I guess crying sort of depleats you of some of your fluids," Taylor said. Cara smiled. "Do you want me to make some hot chocolate?"
"Yeah. Are you sure you don't mind? Because if you do, I'll leave. I can just book a room."
"No, no, it's fine. I invited you to stay, after all," Taylor said, walking to the coffee maker. I know I saw some hot chocolate mix over here. . . "Ah-ha! Here's some," Taylor called to Cara. "It'll be ready in five to ten minutes, according to the package."
"Okay. Hey, do you mind if I watch something on the I.V.S.?"
"No, go ahead."
"I.V.S. homeschooling programs?" Cara said softly from the other room. She laughed. "Taylor, are you looking for some school program for your kid?"
Taylor spun around. "What?"
"Oh, yeah. No, I don't have a kid. My mom. . . " What's the use in lying? Taylor thought helplessly.
"You're a runaway, aren't you?" Cara whispered.
"I - look. Cara - "
Cara sighed. "Me too."
"Listen - wait, what? But I thought you said. . ."
"Yeah. Well, I did just find out that my old house burned down. And my parents were in the house."
"Well, you must not've liked your parents very much since you ran away, so. . . why were you crying?"
"I spent most of my life there, and my life was good until about a year ago. They started forcing things on me, like what I was going to wear, where I was going to college, and a bunch of other stuff. My life became miserable, and I told them I would run away unless they gave me some freedom. They didn't, so here I am. I don't even know if they survived, and - I - I think I l-loved them still!" Cara wailed.
This time, Taylor wasn't as sympathetic. "So, do you do this to other people, too? Do you get all buddy-buddy with them and then come to them in tears saying, 'Oh, no! My house burned down! Poor me!' Then the person feels sorry for you and invites you to stay in their room for the night. Good strategty, Cara. Really good. I fell for it, too."
"What? Taylor, no, I didn't - wouldn't! Please believe me," Cara said sincerely, eyes pleading.
Taylor rolled his eyes. "Why? Why should I beleive someone I barely know? I've made that mistake before, but I lived with the people all my life."
"Well, then, I understand why you don't trust me. If you want, I'll leave. Later, Taylor," Cara said, turning to the door.
© Sabrina Waddell 2009