Walls - Chapter 4
Dara smiled at Taylor as he closed his eyes and waited for the pill to work it's magic. She looked at his hands, which were resting on his thighs. Ever so gently she ran her fingertips over the golden hairs on the back of his left hand, and whispered, "You have beautiful hands."
Taylor opened his eyes, and looked down. He watched as she gently traced circles on the back of his hand. Her light touch, even though it was just on his hand, seemed to race through every part of him, and a nice tingly feeling took over.
He glanced up and looked into Dara's eyes. As she leaned over, some of her hair brushed against his hand. It's silky texture sent a jolt through his body, and he knew he had to touch it. Gingerly, he took a curly strand, and let it slide between his fingers, enjoying the sensation it gave him.
Dara smiled at him again, and as he smiled back, he suddenly felt her fingertips leave his hand and gently begin to run lightly up and down his thigh. His heart was pounding, the noise ringing in his ears so loud that it muted all the other sounds in the room. Dara was teasing him, getting very close to the top of his thigh, then letting her fingers slide down again, just barely touching his leg, but enough that he felt as though he was on fire. Taylor thought he might explode if he didn't kiss her soon, and leaned in towards her. His lips just barely brushed against hers, before she gently pushed him away.
Taylor gave her a confused look. He didn't understand why she would be touching him, she had to know it was driving him crazy, but not let him kiss her.
Dara, almost laughed at the pathetic look Taylor gave her, before she whispered, "Just relax."
Taylor sighed. "I don't think I can get anymore relaxed."
Dara silenced him by gently placing her index finger on his lips. Her finger lightly traced his mouth and she could feel his breath, coming out in hot spurts, blowing across her fingertip. She leaned forward and kissed his cheek, letting her lips linger on his soft skin, before pulling away.
Taylor took a deep breath, it hitched in his chest, and he slowly let it out, hoping he didn't get too worked up before she did anything else. He raised his hand and touched her face, stroking her cheek, then letting it slide down her neck. He wanted to touch her in the worst way, but didn't want to make her angry.
Looking up, he licked his dry lips and gave her a pleading expression. In response, Dara kissed his lips, and placed her hand over his, guiding it down her body. Taylor's fingers were trembling slightly and Dara kept her hand on his to steady them. Knowing that she shouldn't, she deepened their kisses, allowing their tongues to touch.
"Do you see that?" Jake looked over from his position at the kitchen table, and was staring at the little show taking place on the sitting room couch.
Mike glanced up and nearly choked on his beer. It sprayed out of his mouth, all over the table. Grabbing a paper towel, he wiped up the table stating, "She never let me do that. Taylor is gonna be thanking me tomorrow."
Jake laughed, looked back over at the couch and laughed even harder, "Think she's gonna remember she was all over a little kid?"
"We'll make sure she remembers, bahahahah." Mike exclaimed with a mock evil laugh.
Dara was letting Taylor's hands explore everywhere, but his trembling was worsening. He could barely touch her. As Dara was kissing his neck, she realized his whole body was slightly shaking. Alarmed, she pulled away and looked into his eyes.
"Are you ok?" she asked, genuinely concurred.
Taylor attempted to smile. He knew something was wrong. His shirt was sticking to his body, and he felt like he was on fire. Not an excited, tingly fire sensation as before, but a hot, uncomfortable sensation. Still, he wasn't about to tell her. He didn't feel very good, but the things she was doing to him, did, and he wasn't going to let it stop.
He caught his breath, and lied through his teeth. "I'm fine... fine."
He leaned back in again to kiss, trying once more to melt into her the way he had been a moment ago, but nausea licked at the back of his throat, and he pulled away almost immediately.
The abrupt movement startled Dara, and she sat up suddenly, her mood now completely broken. She looked at the boy next to her, and for a moment felt real fear.
He was sitting bolt upright, hands clasped between his knees, rocking slightly, back and forth. His jaw was clenched, and she could hear his teeth grinding together. She could see him swallowing convulsively, over and over, and his breathing was sketchy and irregular.
Her first panicky thought, "Oh my God, I overdosed him!" was almost immediately replaced by the sensible, "Of course I didn't, a three year old wouldn't overdose on what I gave him, he's just not used to it." Realizing that the speed was making him sick, she reached out and took his hand.
"Taylor, it's okay, just try to slow down your breathing, you'll calm down."
She tried to keep her tone soothing.
He shook off her hand, his whole body was tingling, and he was having trouble catching his breath. The last thing he wanted was something touching him. He could feel his teeth grinding, and it hurt, but he couldn't seem to help it.
Finally, unable to stand it, he jumped up off the couch. He had no idea where he was going but he couldn't sit still any longer.
Mike saw Taylor get up and was on him like a shot. He knew the kid was reacting to the drugs he'd been given, he'd seen it starting a few minutes ago when Taylor backed away from Dara. He'd been hoping it would be a momentary thing, and would pass, but it appeared to be accelerating. He knew if he let him leave, things would not go well for him, and his main goal now, was to keep Taylor in the room, and then to make sure he wasn't in real trouble.
He planted himself in front of the pacing boy, and reached out and took his arms.
"Tay, you gotta calm down, it's okay." He tried to sound firm, to penetrate the confusion he knew Tay was feeling. It didn't work. Taylor shoved him away, no small feat considering the fact that Mike outweighed him but about a hundred pounds, and headed for the door.
Taylor only knew he had to get out. He was trapped. There wasn't enough air in here, and there were too many people. He could feel the walls closing in. To top it off he was burning up, and had to find something cool, he just couldn't stand it anymore. He made a dash for the door and came up against Jake, who was laughing.
"Whoa, easy tiger, you don't want to go out there, the world's a dangerous place. You come on with Jake, we'll fix you up fine."
Taylor shook his head wildly, and when he spoke it was very nearly a scream, "You haveta let me out! You have to let me out!!!" He turned, and Mike got a good look at his eyes. They were the eyes of a wild animal, cornered, and dangerous. He'd never been afraid of Taylor, but he knew that if he didn't get the boy calmed down, things could get ugly. He approached him slowly, he didn't want to spook him.
Taylor only knew he was sick, and he couldn't breathe. He had to get out, he had to cool off, he had to do something. Nothing looked right, and the only sound he could hear was his own gasping breath. He didn't know these people who were holding him back, he didn't understand.
It was a huge relief, then, when he finally focused on Mike. Mike who was standing there, calm, and speaking soothingly. Things couldn't be that bad if Mike was okay. He reached out and grabbed his friend's arm, not noticing the look of pain on Mike's face, at the strength of his grip. He just held on, and managed to choke out the words,
"Help me, I'm gonna die..."
Mike chuckled softly, "No you're not gonna die, Tay, you're gonna be fine. You come on with me." He continued the soothing tone and led Taylor into the bathroom, away from everyone, and shut the door. He led him over to the sink, and wet a washrag and handed it to him, knowing full well that Taylor felt like he was on fire. He'd been in the same situation more than once.
Tay grasped the cool cloth in his hands and then reached out and blasted the cold water on full force. Mike just waited, knowing that the more he interfered, the more likely he'd be to spook him. Taylor had himself pretty well soaked, and much more alert, when he finally spoke, still panicky, but no longer out of his head.
"Mike, what's going on, why do I feel like this?!"
Mike sighed... "The speed she gave you. You're not used to it. You'll be okay."
Tay shook his head "No, I can't breathe!... I can't... oh God, what did I do?!"
Mike went closer, knowing Tay was coming back to himself, and put a hand on his shoulder. "You're gonna be okay, I mean it. You're gonna be fine. It's gonna go away."
Taylor just looked at him, still trembling violently, still grinding his teeth. A minute later he began to gag, and Mike spun him around and held him over the sink. He'd known this was going to happen, he was glad they were in here. When he felt Taylor's legs giving out, he gently sat him down on the floor, and held him until the sickness passed.
When it was over, Taylor sighed deeply, and laid his head on his arm. Within moments he was asleep. Mike watched him for a short while, wanting to be sure that the vomiting was over, before he moved him. When he felt certain it was, he picked the unconscious boy up, carried him into the bedroom and laid him down on one of the beds.
He watched him sleep then, timing his breathing, and checking his pulse. Finding both strong and steady, he covered him up and left the room, wondering how in the world he was going to explain this.
Something was stabbing his eyes. One minute he was sound asleep, and the next someone was driving needles into his eyes. He groaned, and reached upward, his hand blocking the sliver of sunlight that was shining on his face. The pain faded. He kept his hand there for a moment, hovering in the air above his face. Light. It was light that hurt. Light meant morning. Morning. The word floated through his mind, searching for something to connect with.
He was still trying to figure it out, when a hand gripped his shoulder. He jumped, nearly out of his skin, and his eyes flew open, staring reproachfully up at Mike, who was laughing.
"I'm sorry, I thought you were awake. You'll have to get going, your mom told me you needed to be back by seven."
Taylor stared up at him, confused.
"What am I doing here?" He winced, his voice hurt his head. Come to think of it, he felt pretty damned lousy. His whole body ached, his throat was so dry he could barely swallow, and he had a terrible taste in his mouth. He felt weak, and shaky... What had happened?
Mike extended a hand. "C'mon, you gotta get up now..."
Taylor took the hand, and allowed himself to be pulled upright. For just a moment he thought that awake was only a temporary condition. As soon as his head left the pillow, dizziness set in, and huge black flowers bloomed in front of his eyes. Mike held on to him, and soon enough, the feeling passed. He squinted up at Mike, who was watching him, intent but seemingly faintly amused.
"What I'm doing here, Mike?"
Mike grinned, "You already asked me that. Come on and have something to eat before you go."
Tay's eyebrows went up at the thought of food. Was Mike crazy? Anything he swallowed now was sure to just bounce right back. Still, he was awfully thirsty... He followed Mike out into the kitchen, noting the people sleeping on the pull out couch in the sitting room. Had everyone slept here? He tried one more time.
"Mike, why am I here?"
Mike snorted, "What's the last thing you remember?"
Taylor sat back and thought about it.
Mike laughed, watching the little movie playing itself out on the boy's face. He could tell what Tay was remembering, just watching his expressions change...
Tay finally looked up at him. "I got sick, didn't I?"
Mike nodded, "Yes, you did. And then you passed out. I sure wasn't carrying you home. Don't worry." He saw panic jump into Taylor's face, "I called your mom and told her you'd fallen asleep, and that I didn't mind if you stayed. The way you've been not sleeping lately, she was more than willing not to wake you up."
Taylor nodded. His sleeplessness had been harped on until he wanted to scream. He wasn't surprised she'd let him stay.
Mike watched his friend for a few minutes, quietly. He hoped Tay could hold himself together today. He'd had a pretty rough night. still, he didn't look too bad...
Mike pressed a glass of juice into his hand, and motioned him over to the sitting room. "Go sit down and drink this... trust me," he added, noting Taylor's dubious look. He was eyeing the orange juice as if it were a week old dead fish. Taylor shook his head a little, not at all sure about this. He really didn't think swallowing anything was a good idea. His doubt turned to outright alarm when Mike handed him a donut, and instructed him, "Eat it... I know you don't think you can, but trust me."
Taylor was nodding frantically, "I do, I do, but you are crazy, I'm not eating this, I'll be sick before I can blink..."
Mike laughed. "No you won't, would you trust me please? I know what I'm talking about."
Taylor finally sighed in resignation, and started on the juice.
Once he was sure Taylor and food were going to work out, Mike wandered over and kicked the pull out bed.
"Hey, sleeping beauty, wake up and have a look at the monster you created last night."
He glanced over at Taylor, who was ignoring him completely. He couldn't wait to see what would happen between these two this morning. He kicked the bed again, and reached down and gave Dara a shake.
"C'mon, wake up. I have to go work in a little while, you too Jake..." He reached across the bed and yanked the pillow out from under Jake's head. Jake's cry of irritation finally convinced Dara that ignoring them all was no longer an option. Muttering under her breath, she sat up, and her gaze fell on Taylor. For a moment she squinted, brows knit, as thought wondering who he was, but a moment later her expression cleared, and she smiled.
He looked up, and blinked vaguely... he was having trouble staying awake.
She laughed, and signaled Mike. "He's gone Mikey, put him to bed"
Mike's face was troubled. "No, he's got to work today."
He observed Taylor's efforts to stay awake for a minute longer, and then turned to Dara. "Let me have one of the tabs you gave him last night."
She dug around in her jeans, and handed him what was left.
He broke a tab in half and gave Taylor a shake. "Hey, I want you to take this."
Taylor looked up at him, and Mike felt a stab of guilt. He looked so child-like right now. What was he doing giving this little boy all these chemicals? Still, he had to work, and he wasn't going to do it the way he was now.
"It's going to help you feel better, Tay, so take if for me, alright?"
Taylor obediently took the pill his friend was holding out.
Again Mike felt that guilt spear, but he shrugged it off. Taylor was fine, there had been no harm done. He headed into the shower, calling to Dara, "Keep him up, and make sure he's outta here by 7, okay?"
She waved him on and turned to Taylor.
"Hey, you awake?"
He looked at her, bleary eyed and struggling to keep his eyes open.
"Yeah, I guess so, I have to go... why do I feel so bad?" he shook his head, hard, and regretted it instantly, as the room began to spin.
"Real bright, Taylor," he muttered to himself, and tried to sit up straighter. At this rate he'd never make it back to his room. He shook his head again, and was frantically rubbing his eyes, when he felt a cool hand on his neck. He jumped a little, and looked up to find Dara sitting next to him. She smiled, faintly, and turned his face toward her. He was caught up in those golden eyes again, and felt himself drifting into them, as her fingers gently stroked his cheek. Her expression was gentle and concerned, and when she spoke he heard real regret in her voice.
"Honey, I'm so sorry. this is my fault. you were so sleepy last night, I just wanted to make you feel better. I didn't mean for it to do this to you."
He was mystified... What was she talking about? He stared into her eyes, trying to read her.
She laughed a little, "You have no idea, do you? You don't remember..." Now she really did laugh, and he began to feel irritated. Whatever had gone on, he really wished someone would fill him in. He reached up and moved her hand off his face. He placed it firmly onto the seat, and when he spoke there was no mistaking the annoyance.
"Look, I don't know what happened, and I don't really know why I'm still here, and I don't really care. Whatever you did, okay, you're sorry. Cool. I gotta go."
He stood up, and held onto the wall until he felt steady enough to walk. Dara reached up to help him and he brushed her off. For some reason, she was just getting on his nerves.
He headed across the room, staggering slightly, but he was feeling clearer and more alert with every step, but for some reason he was also beginning to be angry. He stopped at the door and turned a pointedly irritated face to her, "I'll be back later, you tell Mike."
He stepped out the door, but turned again, and saw the hurt on her face. He was genuinely puzzled. Why did she look like that? He softened his tone a little,"Will you be here tonight?"
She nodded, and gestured out the door, "You'd better go, you'll be late. You be careful." He smiled, but it did nothing to comfort her. It never touched his eyes. He stepped out the door, and slammed it behind him.
Taylor's heart started to race, and his nerves to fire, remembering where all this had led. He'd probably flat out ruined the band, and he knew he'd never be forgiven for that, let alone what had happened with Zac...
Five weeks previous
"Hey out there, this is Kim, and we're talking live to non other than HANSON!!"
The screams were deafening. Isaac and Zac laughed and waved. Taylor just winced, sank down into his seat, and pushed his ear plugs in a little further, hoping to drown out the shrieks.
"So guys, what do you think of this crowd, wow!"
"It's amazing. You can't ever expect a turn out like this, it's great." Isaac answered.
"Okay, well, you have a number one single, an album that is selling faster than you can say "MMMBop."
"Oh my God," Taylor muttered. "This girl is the biggest idiot I have ever met in my whole life," he thought bitterly. "What, do they like purposely find the stupidest people in the world and have them interview us?" He absently played with the cap from his bottle of Aquafina, and imagined what would happen if he suddenly decided to punch Kim. He felt a sharp pain in his right leg and looked to see Isaac staring at him.
"I'm sorry... what was that?" Taylor asked, returning the kick he had received from Isaac with an even harder kick.
"Taylor, I was just asking you if you enjoy all the attention that you guys have been getting the past couple of months." Kim gave Taylor a huge smile, that was so obviously fake he couldn't stand it.
"Oh, well, gee, let me think... attention... fame... doing something I love... no I hate it. I absolutely hate it. And by the way you have a little bit of something right here," he used his index finger and pointed to his front teeth indicating that Kim had lipstick on her teeth. Kim's smile faded and she stared at Taylor.
"Oh, my you are funny, aren't you," Kim tried to laugh off the embarrassment.
Taylor was looking at her as if he didn't give a damn if she found him funny, or not, but the look faded when he saw the expressions on the faces of his parents who were standing off to the side of the stage.
"What do you guys think about all these girls, huh? They all want to know if you guys have girlfriends. So can you give us the scoop? Are Hanson single?"
"We're all..." Zac began, but Taylor broke in.
"Secretly married. Yeah, Ike here has four kids already... he likes to get an early start." Taylor looked disgusted... He mumbled something under his breath about "Stupid question, who cares if we have girlfriends." He looked back down at his bottle, and continued muttering to himself. Sudden silence caught his attention and he looked up.
When he lifted his head, he saw everyone just staring at him...
"Uhhh, is there a problem? Why are all of you staring at me?"
"What are you doing?" Isaac mouthed.
"Why are you whispering!!" Taylor shouted back.
Isaac shook his head, and shot Taylor a look that threatened bodily harm if he didn't shut up. Taylor's brows knit together, and a crease appeared between his eyes... He glared at his brother, then looked back down at the floor, refusing to respond to any further questions. If they had a problem with him, well he'd just sit there and be quiet. He didn't want to talk to them anyway.
A loud bang caused Taylor to jump almost a foot out of his chair. Isaac gave Taylor a strange look as he watched his brother tip his chair over when he jumped up. Taylor frowned. His heart was racing a mile a minute. He was actually afraid that it might beat it's way out of his chest. He took a deep breath and sat back down. He noticed everyone giving him looks.
"What?" he snapped.
"What, what... you're lucky we are at a commercial break. What in the heck is up with you?" Isaac stared at Taylor. "You are completely not paying any attention to the questions, you're being plain rude... It's embarrassing, and just now... Why did you jump up?"
Taylor's brows raised, "That loud bang... didn't you hear it?"
Isaac shook his head, baffled, and annoyed.
"Loud bang? I heard a bang, but it wasn't that loud." He shook his head again, completely confused by his brother's behavior. Taylor was still looking at him like he had three heads.
"Well, whatever. How much time we got till we're back on?" Taylor was fidgeting badly.
"I'll be right back." Taylor stood up.
Zac grabbed his brother's arm. "Where are you going?"
Taylor tried to shake him off, the feeling of someone touching him was repulsive. His skin was crawling.
"I have to go to the bathroom... is that ok with you? Do I have to get your clearance to piss now too?" He tried again to yank his arm free.
"No, geez, I was just wondering." Zac let go and stared at the table.
He couldn't think why Tay was treating him this way, and he was angry and hurt. He sighed and looked toward Ike, who simply shook his head and shrugged.
He didn't know what was wrong with him either.
"Good, now... I'll be right back."
"HURRY!" Kim yelled as Taylor took off for the restrooms, nearby.
Taylor held back the urge to give her the finger. Why did she always have to shout everything she said? He quickly ran to the bathroom and shut himself into a stall. He was just too tense to keep going, and he was starting to feel sick. He knew how to take care of that. He reached into his pocket and grabbed the valium bottle. He extracted 2 of the tabs, put them in his mouth and swallowed, not even bothering with water. He shoved the rest of the pills back into his pocket, and left the bathroom. He made it back to the stage just as the camera man was cueing Kim.
"Glad to see you made it," Isaac whispered under his breath.
"Shut up, I had to go to the bathroom. Why does everyone seem to have a problem with this, God." Taylor shook his head. He just couldn't figure out what everyone had going on today.
Taylor felt a hand grab him by the back of his shirt just as he was about to head back for the interview table. He found himself looking into the angry eyes of his manager.
"You listen to me, and you listen good. I don't know what your problem is, and right now I don't care. If you pull anymore stunts like you did earlier, you will be outta here like that!" Chris snapped his fingers in Taylor's face for emphasis.
"Ummm, kay," Taylor muttered. Truthfully he had no idea what Chris was talking about, and quite frankly couldn't care less.
A security guard led him through the crowd back towards the interview area. Sounds flew around him echoing, and everything seemed as though it were covered in a grey haze. Taylor rubbed his eyes briskly, hoping to clear up some of the fog, but to no avail.
Managing to make it to the table, he flopped into his chair and took a deep breath. It seemed like it took every ounce of energy he had to just keep his eyelids from collapsing. Resting his head on his balled up fist, he gazed off into space, oblivious to the camera man's countdown, signaling the start of the rest of the interview.
"HEY! We're back with Hanson. I just have to say... awesome performance guys!"
Isaac gave Kim a tight lipped smile and muttered, "Thanks." Less than thrilled with how they had sounded on stage, Isaac turned and gave Taylor a pointed look, who to his dismay, appeared to have fallen asleep. Isaac nudged his brother and just about died when Taylor nearly banged his head on the table.
Sitting up quickly, Taylor muttered, "Huh? What?"
"She was telling us that we did an awesome show... in HER opinion," Isaac stated, glaring at Taylor.
"Mmm, kay, good." Taylor resumed his original position of head resting on hand and spaced out again, trying desperately to ignore the horrible noise around him. It hurt his head to look at anything. Silently he prayed for the interview to end as quickly as possible. He was ready to fall asleep, and just wanted to get back to the hotel. Thinking about going to Mike's and maybe even getting some shut eye, Taylor allowed his lids lower again.
"Whoa, what?" Taylor snapped awake again to see Kim staring at him. Everyone was staring at him... again. "Sorry," he muttered, noticing the looks he received from his parents, especially his mother. "What did you say?"
"I asked you what made you want to be in a band with your brothers," Kim replied, exasperated.
"Oh, umm," Taylor shook his head, attempting to clear the cobwebs. "Yeah," was his response.
Kim gave him a weird look. "What? What do you mean yeah?"
Taylor blinked. "What?"
"What do you mean?" Kim was now thoroughly confused.
"Oh, umm, well... I mean... what was the question?"
"What made you want to be in a band with us!" Zac practically shouted.
"OH, umm, yeah, well... they're my brothers. We liked singing and stuff like that, and... we sing so... umm, geez, well, you know... I mean..." Taylor trailed off, not really sure he even remembered what he was talking about.
"We all wanted to do this together. Since we were kids." Isaac spoke up, sick of hearing Taylor ramble and stutter.
"You are kids," Kim tried to laugh, but now just wished she had never heard of Hanson.
"Well, you know what I mean," Isaac mumbled.
The interview wrapped up about two minutes after that. Kim could no longer bear to even attempt to get Taylor to answer her questions. She would have felt sorry for him if she didn't think he was such a little prick. It was obvious the kid was tired, all of them were, but she still couldn't believe the way he had acted. Almost as if he was stoned or something. She shook off her thoughts, and wearily climbed into the van, ready to get as far away from Hanson, and especially Taylor, as soon as possible.