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I m p r i s o n e d

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Chapter 12

***

Back in the hotel room, I slammed the door shut.

 I felt like the biggest jerk in the world. Plopping

 myself onto the bed, I lay on my stomach,

closing my eyes.

“Hey Zac, you gonna take a shower before

we get to sleep?” Ike asked.

“I can’t.”

“And why’s that?”

“I’m dead.”

“Really?”

“I should be.” I sighed, rolling over onto my

 back and letting my tongue hang out of my

 mouth, pretending to be dead. Ike laughed

and sat down next to me.

“You don’t have to feel bad about this…she did it,

 not you.” He reminded me. I sat up.

“No way! I hadn’t thought of that!” I snapped.

 Isaac just shook his head.

“Would you rather still be with her?” he said

 smugly.

“No! But…I don’t know, I just feel like the worst

 person alive,” I complained.

“Yeah,” Ike agreed, “She has a way of doing

 that to you.” I gritted my teeth.

“Wanna play some cards?” I suggested, raising

 my eyebrows. It was a weird thing with my

 brothers and me, but we always seemed to

 do something with our hands whenever

something was wrong. Usually we played

 music, but we couldn’t do that at midnight

 at a hotel. I picked up Tay’s Phase 10

deck and started shuffling, then dealing.

 As we played we kept the conversation

going.

“So…what do we have going on tomorrow?”

 I wondered. Ike thought for a minute. “Nothing

 that I know of,” he shrugged. That was a

relief. I’d planned on just going out tomorrow,

 maybe get my mind off everything. I set my

 cards down.

“I’m gonna hit the showers,” I called out when

 I got to the bathroom. The knobs on the shower

 wall squeaked as I turned them. Sliding off

my clothes, I slipped into the hot water. Oh,

shit. I still had my socks on. I threw them off

and let the smoky water hit my back like a

dagger. Every moment of this day had been

the worst of my life. It seemed like now, every

time I turned around, something worse was

sprouting up. I wasn’t quite sure if living another

 day of this was worth it. Maybe I was feeling

a little too sorry for myself, but I hadn’t ever

 really dealt with things like this before. I’d

been with Kate so long, it didn’t seem we’d

ever do anything to bring a tear to the other’s

eye. All I wanted to do was break up…I didn’t

 want her heart to be shattered that way. And

now I felt like the most horrible person in the

 world for doing that to her. I remembered all

 the crying she had done today. That’s when

 it hit me, and I could have slapped myself.

 Why was I feeling so sorry for her?! She had

 done this to me, and I’d had every right to

break it off – no, actually, it was pretty much

 essential that I did it. But I did still feel horrible.

 I was all mixed up in my head, it felt like

 I’d been turned inside out and back again.

 I turned the screeching knobs back off and

 stepped out onto the bathroom rug. I tousled

 my hair in a towel and then wrapped it

around my waist. No sooner had I walked

out of the bathroom then there was a soft

tap on the door. I swung it open and saw Natalie

 standing there.

“What’s up?” I asked. She was sweating and

 breathing heavily.

“Get dressed,” she gasped, “We’re going to

the hospital…Taylor’s not breathing.”

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