I lay there on the couch for awhile, hoping Taylor will come back. He doesn’t. Finally, I get up and slowly walk to my room. My flashback spell has passed, and I’m safe for now. Like after all my spells, I’m not hungry, only tired. I pull back the thin, white blankets and lay down. I’m asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow.
I wake up the next morning to a cacophony of metal outside my window. Still in my racing suit, I walk to the window and look out. The Acura is lying in pieces all over the ground. I smile and walk outside.
Taylor has on a mask and is sawing off the roof of the Acura.
“So did you find a loophole?”
Taylor turns around and turns the saw off. “Yes. The car has to be at least one-third of the car the government assigned to you. So I’m remaking your car.”
I smile. “Thanks, Taylor.”
He nods. “Rhi, about last night…”
“Taylor, we need to end things at last night. This whole affection thing…I can’t. I’ve seen what ‘love’ does. Love is a lie invented by Hollywood.”
“Rhi, think about what you’re saying.”
I shake my head. “I know what I’m saying, Taylor. I can’t do this. If love made my mom give me up for that jerk Frank, then I don’t want love.”
Taylor nods, his lips pressed together in a thin line. “Rhi, you’re going to change your mind one day. And when you do, I’ll be here for you. So when you’re ready to let go of the ghosts of the past, I’ll be here for you.”
He turns the saw back on and turns back to the car. I stand there for a minute, in shock. After another minute, I turn around and walk down the track. This is just a training track, so it’s not as hard as the ones that I’ll actually have to race on. There are a few twists and turns, but nothing too bad. Yet. In the real race, the king has a master computer that allows him to change the track. All the cars have computers that are hooked up to the master computer. Our smaller computers show us a map of the track, what place we’re in, and how our weapon/fuel status is. I walk around the practice track, trying to think. Taylor said that I’m holding on to my past too much. My life was good with my mom and dad, and they loved each other, right? I shake my head. I’m too confused. But I do know that being in a relationship with someone, even Taylor, will make me too distracted to race, which is certain death. Maybe my love affair with death has gone on long enough. I’m still living and I have people who care about me. People that would care if I was gone. And maybe my mom still cares about me, wherever she is. But if she really cared in the beginning, would she have given me up? I stop walking. If nothing else makes sense, two things right now do. I have to race, or I’m going to die. I have to win if I want to live.