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.
“And why’s that?”
“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
“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
“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
“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
“What’s up?” I asked. She was sweating and
“Get dressed,” she gasped, “We’re going to
the hospital…Taylor’s not breathing.”