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I m p r i s o n e d

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Chapter 48

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After explaining to everyone else about the proposal for atleast twenty minutes with a red face, I sat down on the blue waiting bench between Ike and Taylor. Kate sat with Natalie, on another blue bench a ways down from us, chatting away happily. I found myself expecting to wake up in bed from what would be quite a realistic dream. I also found that I still couldn't bring myself to feel happy - not when I knew that Caitlyn was still with Chaz. My stomach did a kartwheel when I looked at my watch. It was now 2:07. I was just wondering why we had showed up so early when I noticed that Kate and Natalie were now standing. Nobody spoke; no one wanted to ruin the happy moment by mentioning what we knew all too well was about to go on. Goosebumps appeared on my arms as I let my thoughts wander. What if we couldn't get Caitlyn from Chaz? What if they got away, to Missouri? What if we never got to see Caitlyn again?
"Zac!"
I snapped out of my thoughts and looked at Taylor, who was now looking back at me expectantly.
"Uh...what?" I asked, surprised. Apparently, I had been deeper in thought than I had meant to be.
"I said, we have something important to do before we go through with this whole Caitlyn deal....right?" he muttered irritably. I barely caught a forced wink from his right eye.
"Oh, oh...yeah...right." I said lamely. I got up and followed Taylor down the street, waving goodbye to Natalie, Kate, and Ezra, all still standing next to the blue bench.
"We'll be back soon." Ike said loudly, without looking back. I wondered where in the world they could have been leading me to. Finally, we turned a corner and I caught up with Taylor, who had been walking far ahead of me.
"Taylor, where are we going?" I demanded. He threw me a strange look, and a smile crept up on his face.
"Isn't it obvious? We've gotta get Kate her engagement ring!" Taylor laughed. I felt slightly stupid; the thought of buying a ring had never even crossed my mind. And so, I followed them street after street. I was starting to think we would never stop until, finally, Ike led us into a small jewelry shop. I looked around at the half a dozen long, glass cases. As I peered into the nearest one, dozens of jewels gleamed back at me, some attached to gold rings, others to silver or white rings. I realized that I had no idea what to pick out; Ike seemed to notice my confusion, and stepped over to the case where I stood. As soon as he caught sight of its contents, he drug me over to a different case.
"I know you love the girl, but you can't love her that much." he laughed, "You can't afford to!" I frowned at him, knowing perfectly well that I could have bought any ring in that store if I'd wanted to. I saved my money - unlike my brothers. But I figured I might as well listen to Ike; I didn't want to blow a lot of money on one ring. Sighing, I looked around at the rings, my eyes circling past the shining diamonds and emeralds. I obviously had no idea what I was doing, so I decided to go to Taylor...after all, he had bought an engagement ring and a wedding ring before...surely he could help me out.
"Uh...Taylor? You, uh...wanna help me out here?" I whispered, eyeing the case into which he was now looking.
"Me?" he asked, startled. I shot him a strange look.
"Well, yeah, you picked out Natalie's." I told him. He shook his head.
"No, Ike picked it out for me...he's good at this thing." Taylor explained. I half smiled, and made my way over to Ike, who stood standing by the door of the store.
"You wanna help me out here?" I asked, becoming a little impatient. He took a deep breath before moving from his corner by the door, and stared into one of the long display cases. After only a few minutes, his eyes hung on one spot as if there were a string between them and the ring he was examining. Ike stared at the ring a small while more, then looked at me, pointing to a spot in the case.
"That one." he announced. "That's the ring you'll get her." I smirked, shuffling towards the case and staring down beneath Isaac's finger. The ring shined brightest among the others around it. It was a diamond ring, on white gold.
"How much?" Ike asked the store owner who now stood looking over my shoulder.
"Forty-five hundred." the man mumbled. His mustache rustled when he spoke.
"Arnold," Ike whispered quietly, "You owe me a good deal." The man stood there for a moment, apparently thinking this over.
"Alright, alright." he said, throwing up his arms. "Two grand." I coughed as he announced his new price; I couldn't understand how that was a good deal, even if that was over half off.
"We'll take it." Ike told the man, smiling at my horror struck face. "Zac, don't worry! Didn't Taylor tell you?"
"Tell me what?" I asked, still in slight shock. I hadn't exactly planned on spending $2000 that day.
"He and I are paying...you know, just how you and I paid for Natalie's engagement ring?" he chuckled, making his way to the register. I shook my head; it was true, Ike and I had paid for Natalie's engagement ring. But that had been a lot cheaper.
"Zac, what size finger is Kate?" Ike called. I threw up my arms.
"How should I know that?!" I shouted back. Ike shook his head and looked at the sizings. When the store owner, who Ike apparently knew as Arnold, promised that the ring could always be brought back and exchanged, Ike took a wild guess on a size 7. Before I knew it, I had pocketed the ring and was walking back towards the train station. I checked my watch; 2:30.

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