After a long walk around the track, I finally decide to walk back to the beginning of the track. When I get there, Taylor’s gone. I look at the car. The only part of it that even identifies it as an Acura is the trunk, which still has the car symbol on it. I guess that’s my one-third of the Acura. It’s still one-third too much. I look around at the pieces of the car lying scattered around on the ground. In each piece, I see my dad’s face before he pushed me out of the car. I force myself to turn away and walk back inside the orphanage. It’s quiet, something unusual here. Even during the middle of the night, you can still hear someone talking in their sleep, or crying out at unseen nightmares. I walk through the mudroom and into the kitchen. Empty. Where is everyone? The dining room is empty, along with the hallway. Something’s not right. I turn down a hallway and bump into Taylor.
I shrug. “It’s cool. So where is everyone?”
“Mrs. Rose took them to Salvation Army, said they could each pick out one new thing.”
I nod. “So it’s just you and me?”
He nods and takes a step closer. “Rhi, remember what I said. Let go of the past, please.”
I shake my head. “I don’t know if I can do that, Taylor.”
Taylor presses his lips together in a thin line. “Okay then. Just let me know if you change your mind.”
I press myself against the wall as he pushes past me. Part of me wants to let go of the past and let Taylor in, but another part says no, and for multiple reasons. If I was in a relationship with Taylor, it would only distract me during the race. And if I was distracted during the race, then I would lose, and die, leaving Taylor alone and with a broken heart. And on top of all that, I don’t believe in love. Affection eventually leads to love. My dad died because he loved my mom. The woman who had the right for me to call her mom died along with my dad on that Valentine’s Day so long ago. I stand alone in the hallway for a few minutes. Alone. That’s how I’ve been for so long. Is that how I’m always going to be? The only way to find out is to race. And the only way to stay alive after the race is to win.