Walls - Chapter 2
He looked at the boy beside him and jumped to his feet in alarm. Taylor's face had gone completely white, with hectic red fever spots on his cheeks. He seemed to be having trouble catching his breath, and his whole body was trembling.
Not at all sure what was wrong, Mike reached out and turned Taylor's face up to his."Tell me what's wrong Tay, c'mon..." He was worried, Tay's eyes were wild, and he was sweating.
Getting no response, and afraid the boy was really sick, he took him by the arms and gave him a little shake, "Taylor!!! You have to tell me what's wrong!!! Now!"
Taylor pushed him away, and climbed off the bed, nearly falling in the process, his legs too shaky to hold him. Mike caught him and held on to him, despite Taylor's struggles to free himself. "Tay, y'gotta calm down!! It's just me!!! Now what is going on?!"
Tay didn't answer him, but he stopped fighting, and let Mike hold him up. He was panting now, and Mike was afraid he'd pass out if he didn't stop. He sat the boy back down on the bed and cautiously let him go. Looking at him more carefully, he became convinced that the cause was far from physical. Taylor looked scared out of his mind. He vaguely remembered someone saying something about one of the kids having a panic attack, and his eyes widened. "Tay, is this an anxiety attack? Has this happened to you before?" He knelt if front of him. "Look at me, Tay, is that what this is?"
Taylor managed to nod, he was gripping his hair in both hands, and Mike reached up to stop him, afraid he'd rip it out. "Tay, it's gonna stop. You have to calm down."
Taylor nodded again, but the thing showed no sign of letting up. Mike watched him for a few minutes, turning something over in his head. He wasn't sure about it, but it seemed a shame to let the kid suffer like this. Hoping he wasn't about to get himself arrested, or fired, he pulled out a duffel bag and removed a small box. From it he took a tiny clay pipe, and a plastic baggie. He filled the pipe with some of what was in the baggie, and brought it over to Tay. He lit the pipe and sat next to Taylor. "I know you don't smoke, I know you don't do anything at all, but I want you to do this now. This is going to make you feel better I promise."
Taylor nodded frantically, he felt like he was dying. His head was spinning, he could barely breath, and his whole body was tingling. He barely saw what Mike was holding for him. All he knew was that if it didn't stop soon he would die.
Mike lit the pipe and held it for him. "It's gonna make you cough, Tay, cause you don't smoke, but breathe in as much of this as you can, and hold on to it for as long as you can. It won't hurt you, I promise, and it will stop that."
Taylor did as he was asked, and Mike was surprised that he didn't immediately start to choke. "Kids a natural" he thought with a laugh. He waited a minute or two, and instructed Taylor.
"Do it again now, and then that's enough." Taylor did, and Mike took the pipe away. He didn't want to fry the kid's brains. He was relieved to note, however, that Taylor's breathing had slowed down considerably, and the trembling was letting up. He put the pipe away, and prayed he'd done the right thing.
Taylor drew on the pipe Mike was holding out, and was almost immediately dizzier. For a minute he was scared, but Mike was right there, promising him it was okay. He trusted Mike, enough to take another pull from the pipe when asked, even though somewhere in his mind he was pretty sure he knew what was in it. Within a very few minutes the adrenaline surging through his body backed off, and he began to be able to breathe again. He could feel the fear draining out of him, and very nearly cried with relief. This had been so bad, he'd barely been able to answer anything Mike had said to him. He had really thought he would die.
He looked up at Mike, and began to smile... Mike looked somewhat flat and two dimensional, almost like a drawing of Mike, instead of the actual person. The thought struck him funny and he began to laugh.
Mike smiled back, "what's funny, Tay?"
Taylor couldn't for the life of him wipe the smile off his face, even though he felt like a goof. "You are, you look funny."
Mike nodded, "I'm sure I do. Do you feel better?" Taylor didn't answer, just rolled is eyes and shrugged. Mike laughed, but it was nervous laughter. The kid was wasted. He pushed him back onto the bed, and told him firmly "I want you to go to sleep until that wears off. We'll talk when you wake up."
Taylor giggled "I can't go to sleep here, I'll get in trouble." He didn't appear to be particularly worried about it, however.
Mike nodded, "I'm calling your mom now, and telling her you're sleeping here. It'll be fine. Now shut up and close you're eyes."
Taylor was feeling more relaxed, but Mike sure wasn't. He wished he hadn't done this, but God, the poor kid... he watched Taylor trying to comply, and go to sleep, but he kept bursting into giggles. Mike had to laugh, at least he was happy.
Taylor turned over onto his side, struggling to find a comfortable position. Seemed that no matter what he did, something still hurt. His head, his eyes, his stomach... more than that though, there was a deeper pain, a pain he thought might be his soul... all this because he'd wanted to feel better... his eyelids closed finally, but even sleep didn't stop the rush of memory... it followed him down into dreams...
Five weeks previous
Taylor pulled the door shut behind him. For a moment, standing on the railed walkway, looking down over the pool, he was confused. It had become a pretty regular thing for him, heading over to Mike's room after work, but he found himself missing his brothers a little.
Ike's comment as he left today "Tay, we sure don't see you much lately...", had set him thinking. Maybe he should just hang here today. They could mess around in the pool, have some fun.
But no, he was already irritable and tired, if he hung around he'd just start snapping at people and end up in a fight. Might just be better off over at Mike's. At least there he wouldn't have to put up such a front. Especially since Ike had gotten so wrapped up in his songs that he never went there anymore. Just spent all his free time working on whatever he was currently writing. Boring, all he ever did was work.
Sighing a little, Taylor headed down the stairs. Mike's room was all the way down and around the back. For the life of him, he couldn't figure out why they stuck the crew as far away as they did. Made for a long walk.
He jumped off the bottom step, skirted the pool and trotted around back, counting doors as he went, lightly tapping on each as he hurried by. He knew it was probably annoying to the people in the rooms, but he just couldn't bring himself to care. This was their first night here, and nervous and jumpy, he was anxious to find Mike's room. He counted down, and came to the one Mike had told him, second from the end, wondering why he hadn't just given him the room number. There had been a reason for that, he knew, but he couldn't quite remember what it was... seemed he'd had a lot of trouble remembering things lately... well, whatever it was, he'd found the room.
He rapped once and opened the door, hearing Mike's familiar "Hey, Tay..." from the sitting room. He stepped inside, chained the door, and padded into the sitting room, finding Mike slouched on the sofa in front of the TV.
"Hey Mike...", he plopped down onto the couch, in much the same position as his friend, and settled back with a sigh.
Mike smiled and reached under the couch, bringing out a small tray... he glanced in Taylor's direction, "You doing okay?" Taylor nodded, indifferent, watching absently as Mike deftly set things up. "I guess so, I'm tired..."
Mike laughed, no small amount of sarcasm in his voice, "Wonder why? Kid, you're schedule would drop me to my knees." Taylor grunted, only vaguely aware that Mike was even speaking. He'd taken it upon himself to up his medication dose, and was only vaguely aware of most things lately, and right now he was even further distracted by Mike's preparations. He reached out and quickly accepted the lighter and the joint Mike was holding out to him. With a grateful sigh, he relaxed back into the couch cushions, and flicked the lighter...
Waking up was disagreeable. He felt terrible. They'd told him to expect it. "Taylor, you're not a drug addict, your not going to have any real withdrawal problems, but stopping this suddenly can cause side affects..."
Side affects... if he blinked his eyes he was seasick. He glanced around, and his eyes lit on Isaac, sitting across the room. For just a moment the pain in his heart faded, but the moment was brief. Ike was watching him, expressionless, and there was no hint of warmth or affection. Taylor sighed, bitterly. It was no more than he deserved, he supposed.
Nausea slammed in with a vengeance, and he grabbed for the basin on the bedside table. He couldn't reach it, and Ike was on his feet in a second, handing it to him. No help or comfort there though, he went back to his chair, and watched his brother struggling with sickness. When Taylor could finally look up again, Isaac was gone. Well... he hadn't treated him very well. He guessed it was only fair...
Four weeks previous
Isaac sighed and leaned his head against the wall in the elevator, his eyes closed. He couldn't believe they were making him play babysitter, running after Taylor.
Taylor had told everyone he would meet them in the lobby in a minute, and after ten minutes, the group had elected Isaac to go fetch him so they weren't late for their photo shoot.
The elevator dinged, signaling that it had stopped on the fifth floor. Isaac opened his eyes and stepped out the door into the hallway. He walked, absently running his fingers over the guady lavender wallpaper the hotel had decorated it's halls in.
As he approached room 532, he saw the door was slightly ajar. He heard rustling noises from inside. He slowed down and when he reached the room, he paused, listening. He crinkled his brow and quietly pushed the door open a tad more, and peered inside. It was Taylor. He was rummaging around by Isaac's bed. Isaac frowned. He couldn't see what Taylor was doing from his angle, so he silently stepped into the room. Taylor didn't appear to notice him. He was still to involved in his search. Isaac walked in a little further and then stopped. Taylor was definitely rummaging through something. That something was Isaac's backpack.
"Tay? What are you doing?"
Taylor spun around, putting the bag behind his back.
"Ike! Oh..." Taylor seemed flustered.
"Yeah, oh? What's that you've got?"
"Uhh... nothing. I was just..." He trailed off.
Isaac just stared at his brother. He couldn't believe that Taylor would violate his privacy like this. "Taylor, why are you in my bag?" He gave Taylor a pointed look.
"Well, I uh, I didn't think that you'd mind..."
Isaac suddenly noticed an orange bottle clutched in Taylor's fist. "What's that?"
Taylor glanced at the bottle in his hand. "Well, see, I ran out, so I thought... you know, it's the same thing, that you wouldn't mind if I got one off of you..."
"Don't you think you should ask me first? You can't just take those things like they're Aspirins you know. Put them back.
"Ike, come on, you don't understand. I ran out."
"Then tell mom and she'll take you to get some more."
Taylor gave his brother a pleading look. "Ike!"
Isaac just shook his head. "What's up with you, Tay? Look at you! What's your problem? Just put them back."
Taylor replaced his pleading look with one of disgust. "What's up with me? What's up with you?"
"What the... just put my stuff back into my bag."
"Look, it's exactly the same thing I take. And I am supposed to take it now, but I'm out. What's the big deal? I'll tell mom, but I'm not supposed to skip. You know that! I'm supposed to take them on time!"
Isaac couldn't believe that Taylor was acting like this. It was just a pill after all. The doctor had said to only take them when they were needed. He sighed. "It is exactly the same... right?"
"Yes!" Taylor was exasperated.
Suddenly Isaac narrowed his eyes and glared at his brother. "How come you're already out? You can't be out that fast..."
"God, I don't know I just am!" Taylor interrupted.
"Taylor! We got them at the same time! In fact..." Isaac trailed off remembering the hassle Taylor had put them through just a week ago when he was hysterical because he had left his prescription at the last hotel. The whole family had been sidelined while Mrs. Hanson ran to the pharmacy to get his prescription re-filled.
"You just got new ones last week because you forgot them at the last hotel. The bottle is supposed to last us four weeks. How can you be out already?" He gave Taylor an accusing look.
"I just ran out, geez." Taylor looked at the floor.
"Tay! How much of this stuff are you taking?"
"What do you mean?"
"What do you mean what do I mean? I mean how many of these pills are you taking a day? You're way out of it lately, you sleep all the time. Tay, you can't just take these whenever you feel like it!"
"They're for my nerves right?" Taylor looked up at Isaac.
"Well, I only take them when something, or someone", he gave Isaac a pointed look, "gets on my nerves."
"LOOK!" Isaac just stared at Taylor. "The doctor gave them to me! I'm not out buying them on some street corner. You take the same darn pills!"
"Taylor, I don't take a bottle of them every two days!"
"Well neither do I!"
"Then how do you explain the fact that you just got a new bottle last week, and you're already out?" Isaac crossed his arms, waiting for his brother's reply.
"'Cause I... I spilled them. But don't tell mom, kay? Please, she'll get mad and tell me I'm irresponsible."
"You spilled them?" Isaac desperately wanted to believe his brother. "Yeah, they fell in the sink, they all got wet." Isaac studied Taylor's face, praying that his brother was telling him the truth. "How many do you have there?" He looked at Taylor's closed fist.
"Look, just two, okay? One for now, and one for later on." Taylor silently hoped that Isaac didn't ask him to open his palm, for he had about ten of the white tablets secured in it.
Isaac sighed. "All right, but you better tell mom. And stay out of my stuff."
Relief washed over Taylor's face and he gave Isaac a silly, ear to ear grin. "Thanks Ike." "Yeah whatever. Look, they're all gonna think we died up here. Let's go." Isaac tugged Taylor's sleeve and the two brothers left the room.
Present day - Isaac
Isaac watched his brother silently. He didn't really know what to think, or how to feel. He'd come in here wanting to see him, to see for himself that he was alright. He hadn't counted on the anger that flooded him as soon as he looked at the sleeping boy.
He'd been so scared, first Zachary, then Taylor. They'd actually thought that Taylor might die, for a while, it had taken so long to find him. By the time they had, the stuff he'd taken had gotten a good head start. The thought of losing him had been nearly more than Isaac could stand, and he was shattered that his brother felt so bad he'd actually tried to die.
They told him it was the influence of the chemicals, that he probably didn't really feel that way, but he didn't buy it. Although the drugs had certainly taken him over, just look at what he'd done to Zac. And to all of them...
He snapped back to reality at a sound from the bed. Taylor was awake. Isaac just watched him. He couldn't speak. He was so confused, he had no idea what would come out of his mouth if he did. Part of him wanted to tell Taylor it was all okay, that they'd get through, that nobody hated him. But part of him didn't believe that, because hate made up more than a small part of what he was feeling. That Tay could've ever, ever, for any reason, do what he'd done to Zachary... strange thing to hate Taylor... so he sat silently, watching him. When he saw him grabbing for the basin on the nightstand, he jumped up to get it to him, but he couldn't bring himself to touch him, or help him. Huge ache inside him, watching Taylor fighting this, seeing how sick he was, but he was afraid if he touched him, he'd kill him. Too many conflicting emotions. If he stayed here any longer he'd go crazy. He couldn't even wait to see if Taylor was alright. He left the room without a sound.