Written by: TVM (firstname.lastname@example.org)
"Jessie I love you" ZoŽ said as Jessie got ready to climb into the ambulance after Cori.
"I love you too ZoŽ" Jessie said hugging ZoŽ and then saying to Sarah, "please call Katie for me and tell her what happened and I'll call her as soon as I can."
"Sure no problem" Sarah said as Jessie turned to get into the ambulance.
"And tell her I love her" Jessie said as the door closed on the ambulance and it peeled out sirens blaring, headed for the hospital, while Lily and Eli prepared to follow in the car. Lily was frantic, Sarah thought, as she kissed ZoŽ and told her how much she loved her. Then, in a moment Sarah would never forget, she took the time to hug Sarah too asking her to watch ZoŽ and take care of the house, then rushed off after Eli, who was already in the car.
The cops had arrived sometime before that and arrested the guy driving the minivan for DUI. The wrecker was pulling the van away as Sarah whispered to ZoŽ, "It's ok, Jessie's fine, she's gonna be fine."
Sitting down on the steps with ZoŽ a minute later, she was still crying. She wrapped her arms around ZoŽ as tightly as she could and praying franticly that Cori would be ok. At this moment, Sarah's memories of Cori were no longer bad. She just wanted her to get better. A long silence followed: the only sound being ZoŽ's whimpering and softly crying into Sarah's shoulder. An hour or two passed before Sarah suggested they go inside as night fell, and ZoŽ reluctantly agreed.
Sarah's first thought was to call Katie and tell her the news. She picked up the phone as ZoŽ lay down on the couch and stared off into space. Katie's mother was impatient and wanted to know why this couldn't wait until later, when Sarah said in a bitter tone of voice what happened and asked again to talk to Katie. Katie picked up and you could hear the air leave her lungs as she gasped and started to cry.
"Is she ok?" Katie asked through her tears.
"Jessie's fine and about Cori I dunno yet" Sarah said answering Katie's next question before she even had to ask it, "and Jessie wanted me to tell you she loved you."
"She really said that?" Katie asked as Sarah could imagine the smile slowly forming on Katie's face.
"Yes she sure did" Sarah said.
"Tell her I love her too" Katie said, "I know I'll never get to talk to her tonight with all that's going on. So just tell her if you see her, OK?"
"She said she'd try and call you" Sarah said as she listened to Katie cry and added, "But I'll tell her if I hear from her first. And if you wanna talk later call me ok?"
"Yeh I will bye" Katie said then lingering for a moment, "thanks Sarah."
"No problem bye" Sarah said hanging up and breathing a huge sigh of relief. She turned to see ZoŽ staring out the window. Sarah moved behind her and hugged her as ZoŽ looked up and smiled weakly.
"Come on sit down" Sarah said taking her hand and guiding her to the couch, "there's nothing we can do, just wait. Come on sit down, talk to me ok."
"I'm ok really" ZoŽ said sitting down and looking a lot calmer than just a few minutes before.
"You sure?" Sarah asked taking ZoŽ's hand in hers, "I'm here if you need to talk."
"Just worried about Jessie and Cori that's all" ZoŽ said laying her head on Sarah's shoulder. Sarah turned the TV on to hopefully take her mind off of what was happening, and flipped mindlessly through the channels. She felt ZoŽ's hand touch hers and take the remote away. She looked back at Sarah for a second and flipped to a channel with a blank screen and she entered a code. What popped up next surprised even Sarah.
"OH fuck yes just like that" the woman on TV said as she was being licked out by another.
"Spice Channel" ZoŽ said smiling nervously, "that should take your mind off things."
"ZoŽ Manning you little hornball" Sarah giggled taking the remote and turning the sound off. But for some reason not being able to get the channel to change, "I don't wanna watch a porno."
"Oh ok" ZoŽ said taking the remote back and flipping it away to another channel like nothing had happened.
"And how did you know about the Spice Channel?" Sarah asked.
"I saw Grace put in the code last week" ZoŽ said, "and I memorized it. So if I want to, I can watch it."
"OK" Sarah said confused, "but that was lesbian porn."
"So I like watching it anyway" ZoŽ said sitting up, "it's not like I'm gonna be warped or something. Besides they have all kinds of stuff on there, even some guy on guy stuff."
"ZoŽ" Sarah said as ZoŽ looked at her smiling, "that's disgusting."
Both started laughing and felt a little relief at the same time. A thought came to Sarah's mind and she debated whether or not she should ask. Finally deciding to, she tried to figure out how to phrase it without sounding so obvious.
"Grace was watching porn?" Sarah said in a questioning manner.
"Yeh" ZoŽ said smiling knowingly at Sarah and then going on, "and yes it was two girls going at it."
"ZoŽ" Sarah said blushing a deep crimson as ZoŽ laughed at her.
"It made her really horny too" ZoŽ said as Sarah put her hands over her face, "I bet she was thinking about you."
"ZoŽ Manning shut up" Sarah said giggling and pushing her down on the couch.
"What did you do, watch her?" Sarah asked making ZoŽ blush.
"No" ZoŽ said looking away, "but I bet you would."
They started wrestling after that comment, both trying to get the other to shut up. But neither succeeding for very long until Sarah let ZoŽ wrestle her to the floor and pin her hands down. ZoŽ seemed totally shocked at what had just happened as Sarah tried to hide a smile.
"Now what you gonna do?" Sarah asked ZoŽ.
"Nothing" ZoŽ said, leaning down on her elbows so she was only a few inches from Sarah's face, "why?"
"Well you won the battle" Sarah said feeling her hands being released, "so now what?"
"I don't wanna hurt you" ZoŽ said, "I would never do that."
"I know that" Sarah said feeling a little confused.
"Then get off me" Sarah said pushing ZoŽ aside and watching her smile and start to laugh.
"You are so cool" ZoŽ said.
"I am?" Sarah asked.
"Yeh you are" ZoŽ said smiling up at Sarah.
"You are too" Sarah said brushing ZoŽ's hair out of her eyes.
"You know I love you?" ZoŽ asked innocently.
"No but I'm glad you do" Sarah said, "and I love you...My Little Monkey."
"ZOň, SARAH" Grace screamed coming through the front door in a panic.
"Grace we're right here" Sarah said standing up as she saw her for the first time.
"Thank god you're ok" Grace said hugging Sarah tightly as she met her at the back of the couch, kissing her softly a few seconds later as ZoŽ looked on in surprise. "I been at the hospital with Mom and Jessie for about an hour now. But I had to see you and make sure you and ZoŽ were ok."
"I'm fine Grace" Sarah said smiling, "wasn't anywhere near it, neither was ZoŽ."
"You have no idea what went through my mind when I heard about the accident and you being here" Grace said walking around the couch and seeing ZoŽ still sitting on the floor, trying her best to avoid looking at them apparently, Grace thought. "ZoŽ look at me."
"What?" ZoŽ said, "I'm fine, you can see that. Now go and make out with Sarah and leave me alone. I'm watching TV."
Grace pulled ZoŽ into a hug and said, "I was worried about you too ok."
"Ok great" ZoŽ said laying back down on the floor and flipping through the channels.
Grace looked over at Sarah and both wondered what was up with ZoŽ. But those thoughts were forced out of their minds by more pressing matters.
"So how's Cori?" Sarah asked as Grace took her hand and walked to the kitchen with her.
"Dr. Blacklyn said she's lucky to be alive." Grace said, "They know for sure her leg is broken in two places. She has a concussion and a partially collapsed lung."
"Oh my god" Sarah said as Grace hugged her.
"She might not walk again either" Grace said continuing on, "she was already in surgery when I arrived. Dr. Blacklyn thinks she might have suffered some sort of spinal injury."
"You know I hated her but I never wished for this to happen" Sarah said.
"No one did" Grace said, holding Sarah as she cried.
ZoŽ came into the kitchen a few seconds later, seeing Grace and Sarah still standing there. Grace saw a strange look on ZoŽ's face and watched as she hugged Sarah from behind. For the next few minutes it stayed that way: no one moving or speaking just sounds of Sarah's tears.
"I think I'm all cried out" Sarah said as Grace kissed her and hugged her again. Sarah felt ZoŽ move and as she turned around, she saw her start to walk out of the kitchen. Sarah quickly grabbed her arm and asked, "What's up with you Zo?"
"Nothing, you were crying so I wanted to make you feel better" ZoŽ said trying to pull away.
"No I mean all night you been acting like something is bothering you" Sarah said as ZoŽ pulled hard and broke Sarah's grip and walked off without answering.
"It's nothing I'm fine ok" ZoŽ said down the hall as she went upstairs.
"What is up with her?" Sarah asked starting to follow ZoŽ as Grace stopped her.
"It's puberty" Grace giggled handing Sarah a mug of hot chocolate.
"But Grace I don't want her to be mad at me" Sarah said sitting down.
"She's not mad at you" Grace said sipping on the hot chocolate, "she's mad at me."
"You been gone for like three days" Sarah said, "how could you make her mad?"
"I didn't do it while I was gone" Grace said taking Sarah's hand and interlacing her fingers with hers, "I'm thinking it's something that just happened. Like when I kissed you."
"So?" Sarah asked, still totally clueless Grace observed.
"That's the first time she's seen me kiss you" Grace said, "and..."
"So she's gets mad because you kiss me. Why?"
"Sarah you can't be this dense" Grace giggled as Sarah shot her a warning look and then smiled shyly, "she has a crush on you."
"Oh shit no" Sarah said not believing Grace at first but then remembering what happened earlier in the day and how she acted post-kiss just a few minutes ago.
"But she told me weeks ago she didn't like me" Sarah said.
"I know" Grace said, "and I believe it's just a phase or maybe she's just confused."
"A phase?" Sarah asked.
"Yeh, listen to me before you kill me" Grace said as Sarah smiled and leaned her head on her hand and looked her straight in the eye. "With Jessie being gay and me and you getting together, she's probably thinking it's ok to have feelings for a girl. I guess she figures everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn't she."
"Yeh" Sarah said seeing Grace's point.
"So you being you" Grace said smiling, "how could she not have a crush?"
"What do I do Grace? I can't hurt her." Sarah asked looking worried.
"Look Sarah, ZoŽ's almost 13" Grace said, "She's got to learn about heartbreak sooner or later. Just be gentle."
"If that 3 was a 6 I'd be in trouble" Sarah said as Grace looked at her in shock and threw a muffin towards her.
"You are such a perv" Grace said as Sarah stood up and moved next to her and sat down across her lap.
"And I'm in love with a perv too" Sarah said smiling down at Grace as she kissed her.
"MMMMM who could that be?" Grace asked as Sarah smiled and kissed her again.
"Some amazing person I met by chance and she let me fall in love with her" Sarah said as Grace looked at her in awe. "And the most amazing part is, she feels the same way. Now you know who it is?"
"Has to be me" Grace said as Sarah nodded her head, "cause I feel that way about you too."
"Of course you do, it is me after all" Sarah said as Grace giggled and kissed her softly.
"Do you think I should go and talk to her?" Sarah asked after a few seconds of intense kissing.
"You're kissing me and thinking about my sister?" Grace asked accusingly and following it with a giggle.
"UMMMMMM no just you" Sarah said.
"But yeh I think you should in a way" Grace said, "you gotta tell her sooner or later."
"Maybe I'll figure out what to say on the way up there" Sarah said standing up.
"You will" Grace said smiling, "while you're gone, I'm gonna call Mom and see if they have an update."
Sarah walked slowly to the bottom of the steps and walked up them even slower, trying for the life of her to figure out what to say. Then it came to her like a flash of lightning, she didn't have to say anything. She could let ZoŽ lead the conversation and maybe she could get her to admit it.
"That is so not right of me" Sarah said coming to ZoŽ's door.
"ZoŽ" Sarah said softly at the opening of her door. ZoŽ turned over and looked by Sarah, seeing no Grace, she began to smile, "we need to talk, monkey."
"Cool" ZoŽ said putting her magazine away and laying down on the bed, "what about?"
"Why you're acting so strange tonight" Sarah said cringing at the way that came out.
"I dunno" ZoŽ said looking down and then turned over on the bed. Sarah lay down behind her and tried to get her to look at her, but ZoŽ refused.
"ZoŽ look at me" Sarah said softly.
"NO" ZoŽ said a little too loud, "just go away ok."
"No I won't" Sarah said getting tired of the way ZoŽ was acting by now. "ZoŽ Manning you either turn around and look me in the eye or I'm gonna take you over my knee and bust your ass."
"SARAH" ZoŽ said turning around in shock, "you wouldn't really, would you?"
"Good, now that I got your attention" Sarah said smiling. "Tell me what's bothering you."
"Do I have to?" ZoŽ asked, stalling for time Sarah thought to herself.
"Yes you do and no, I would never hit you for any reason" Sarah said touching ZoŽ's cheek, "now tell me what is so wrong with you. I'm worried about you."
"Sarah I love you" ZoŽ said looking down and blushing a deep red, "that's what's wrong."
"You mean you think you're in love with me?" Sarah asked quietly.
"Yeh I think" ZoŽ said, "and it's scary."
"Well" Sarah said starting and thinking about how she should go on, "what about Michael? Don't you like him anymore?"
"I do, but it's weird" ZoŽ said.
"But you're really confused right now?" Sarah asked.
"Yeh really confused" ZoŽ said laying her head down, "I mean Jessie is gay and now that you and Grace are dating, it's like I'm the only one who's not and I started to think maybe I am too. I mean I did like kissing you a lot. It was fun. And then Jennifer and all that happened. Sarah I'm scared."
"ZoŽ calm down" Sarah said, "I think you're just overreacting a little."
"Ok let's try and figure some things out, ok?" Sarah said rolling over and laying down beside ZoŽ.
"First, when you kiss Michael" Sarah started, "who are you thinking of me or him?"
"Him" ZoŽ said giggling at the silliness of the question.
"Do you like kissing him?" Sarah asked as ZoŽ blushed and giggled some more.
"Oh yeah" ZoŽ said smiling, "well I mean after I taught him a few things he started doing it really good: almost as good as you."
Sarah blushed at that comment as she smiled.
"So I'm a good kisser huh?" Sarah giggled.
"Yeh" ZoŽ said answering Sarah before she knew what to say next. Sarah found herself staring for a second into ZoŽ's eyes before she was able to snap out of it. "Of course if you liked me the same way...."
"Hold on ZoŽ" Sarah said sitting up, "even if I did. It wouldn't matter."
"I know" ZoŽ said smiling knowingly, "the age thing."
"Anyway ZoŽ" Sarah said getting back to her original thought, "how do you feel about Michael?"
"I like him a lot" ZoŽ said, "But lately I been thinking about you. Like a lot. More than I should I guess."
"Like what?" Sarah asked.
"All the goofy things you and Grace and me did and just, you know" ZoŽ said looking nervous.
"Do you get a weird feeling when you think about Michael?" Sarah asked.
"Yeh, like butterflies in my stomach" ZoŽ said.
"And when you think about me?" Sarah asked, "The same or different?"
"I don't know Sarah" ZoŽ said getting a little frustrated.
"I don't either ZoŽ" Sarah said lying back on the bed, her head a few inches away from ZoŽ's. ZoŽ moved her head over and touched Sarah's. Sarah found ZoŽ smiling when she did have the courage to look up and started laughing when ZoŽ stuck her tongue out at her.
"You suck at this you know that?" ZoŽ said as Sarah agreed and both started to laugh.
"I'll never be a shrink that's for sure" Sarah said as she giggled. Turning to ZoŽ as the mood turned a little more serious, "just know this ok. You got a lot of people who love you and one who's crazy about you. ME. So don't ever feel you can't come and talk to me. Cause in a way this is all my fault."
"All your fault?" ZoŽ asked, "How do you get that?"
"Well if I hadn't kissed you this whole thing might have never happened" Sarah said.
"I liked that, I thought you did too" ZoŽ asked looking hurt.
"I did" Sarah said simply.
"Good" ZoŽ said as Grace appeared in the doorway with a smile on her face.
"You two look so cute together" Grace said as ZoŽ and Sarah grinned with silly looks on their faces.
"ZoŽ" Grace said, "Michael called."
"He did?" ZoŽ asked jumping up on the bed excitedly, "I didn't hear the phone ring."
"I was on the phone with Mom and he beeped through" Grace said.
"What did he say?" ZoŽ said bouncing off the bed and running over to Grace.
"He said just call him tomorrow" Grace said, thinking about how she was gonna explain it when ZoŽ found out Michael didn't call.
"Cool he still likes me" ZoŽ said glowing from head to toe.
"Yep he still loves you" Grace said, "you gonna invite him to your 13th birthday party?"
"Maybe" ZoŽ said as Sarah came up from behind ZoŽ and hugged her.
"Our little ZoŽ's in love Grace" Sarah said.
"Yep" ZoŽ said looking up at Sarah and smiling and began to squeal with laughter as Sarah lifted her off the ground.
ZoŽ was floating on cloud nine now, Grace thought as she and Sarah left and went back downstairs.
"That was such a stroke of luck" Sarah commented at the bottom of the steps.
"No, not really just an idea I thought would work" Grace said.
"An idea?" Sarah asked stopping Grace in the hall.
"Michael didn't call" Grace said, "I made that up."
"Why?" Sarah said.
"I wanted to see ZoŽ's reaction" Grace said as Sarah smiled, catching on to the plan.
"And judging from what we just saw" Sarah said smiling, "she's still very much in like with Mike."
"Exactly" Grace said laughing out loud. Grace told her what Lily said about Jessie and how she still thinks it's all her fault about Cori and she refused to leave Cori alone. Cori was now in a coma after her surgery and they wouldn't know anything for certain about her condition until the next morning. Rick had also arrived at the hospital as did Karen and Henry. With so many people there already, Lily wanted Grace to stay home with ZoŽ and take care of the house and they'd be home as soon as they could.
"It's been a long day. I think I'll lie down" Grace said taking Sarah's arm, "wanna lay down with me?"
"NO I'm not really tired" Sarah said smiling.
"Neither am I" Grace said giving Sarah a wicked grin.
"Not tonight baby" Sarah said giggling, "I have a headache."
"Break my heart" Grace said as Sarah hugged her from behind and they headed off to bed.
The next morning Grace heard the phone ringing and groggily got out of bed to answer it, careful not to disturb Sarah. Lily was on the phone and asked if Grace could bring her and Rick some clean clothes for the day, Jessie refused to leave Cori alone and they felt they had to stay with her at least for a little while longer. Grace reluctantly agreed and went down the hall to take a shower, where she realized after stripping and climbing into the shower, that the house was unusually cold that morning. Not thinking much more of it, she got out and the coldness of the tile floor made her jump back into the shower.
"That piece of shit fuckin furnace" Grace growled as she forced herself to get out and brave the cold. She shivered for a while and her teeth chattered so hard it hurt her gums but she finally got dressed and felt warm enough to move again. Thinking she needed to tell ZoŽ what was going on, she woke ZoŽ who grumpily asked her to leave repeatedly. Then her sister too, realized how cold it was.
"Mom and Rick are still at the hospital" Grace explained, "and I'm gonna take them some clothes and stuff. Although for the life of me, I can't figure out why they can't just come home one at a time and shower and change."
"OK" ZoŽ said shivering now herself, "have you noticed how fuckin cold it is?"
"Yeh I did" Grace said giggling, "while I was trying to take a shower."
"I'll fuckin freeze to death" ZoŽ said covering back up.
"Well go climb in with Sarah for a while" Grace said, "she's got every cover in the house on my bed I believe."
ZoŽ lay there for a little while after Grace had left thinking about whether she should or not. Then she heard Grace pull out of the driveway and a cold blast of air sailed under her cover for some reason and she bolted out of bed and ran down the hall. Slipping quietly into Grace's room, she saw Sarah was sleeping peacefully with her back turned to the door.
"She does have every blanket in the house" ZoŽ said giggling and putting a knee on the bed as Sarah stirred and ZoŽ froze in fear. Sarah turned over and through a yawn said "Grace?"
"No it's me" ZoŽ said wrapping her arms around herself to protect against the cold.
"Where's Grace?" Sarah asked as ZoŽ explained about Lily and Rick and what was going on at the hospital. Sarah could see ZoŽ was freezing and as she moved the cover off her, she could tell why and she quickly pulled the blanket back over her.
"ZoŽ, you're freezing" Sarah said moving her hand from underneath the blanket and touching ZoŽ's knee that was still leaning on the bed and feeling her skin was cold as ice almost.
"Grace said you had all the covers and I could climb in with you." ZoŽ said smiling nervously, "my room is like a freezer."
"Of course you can monkey" Sarah said taking ZoŽ's hand and pulling her onto the bed as ZoŽ giggled and felt the blanket cover both of them up. Sarah put her arm over ZoŽ's waist and pulled her closer, feeling her cold skin against her own, laying her head just behind ZoŽ's.
"Better?" Sarah asked yawning a minute or so later.
"Yeh now I can feel my feet again" ZoŽ said as she could feel Sarah's breath hot on her neck as she giggled.
"You know something?" Sarah said quietly into ZoŽ's ear.
"What?" ZoŽ said sounding like she about to drop off again.
"You need a shower" Sarah said, giggling as ZoŽ's eyes shot open in protest and she looked back at Sarah, "you really stink."
"I do not" ZoŽ said sniffing her under arms as Sarah rolled on to her back and laughed out loud.
"Yep, you smell like a monkey" Sarah said.
"Well fine if I stink so bad, I'll leave" ZoŽ said sitting up as Sarah grabbed her hand and pulled her back down by the shoulder.
"I can deal with it" Sarah said smiling at ZoŽ as their eyes met and ZoŽ realized Sarah was teasing her, "and I won't be responsible for your freezing to death. So you're staying right here."
"Wasn't funny" ZoŽ said forming a pooched-lips look on her face.
"You don't stink" Sarah said as she cuddled close again to ZoŽ.
"You don't either" ZoŽ said smiling at Sarah now.
"You still cold?" Sarah said feeling of ZoŽ's arm and finding it normal again.
"Nope, you warned me up" ZoŽ said giggling.
"HMMMM is that good or bad?" Sarah said asked with small grin.
"Good, very good" ZoŽ said touching Sarah's cheek and making Sarah meet her gaze. ZoŽ's hand moved slowly to Sarah's neck and into her hair.
"You know what?" ZoŽ asked her arm still around Sarah's neck loosely, looking like she was deep in thought about something important.
"What?" Sarah asked.
"I just realized something?" ZoŽ said.
"What?" Sarah asked.
"I don't love you" ZoŽ said trying to sound convincing, Sarah thought.
"You don't?" Sarah asked feeling a huge sense of relief and hoping it meant what she thought.
"Nope" ZoŽ said smiling, "Not in love with you I mean."
"I know" Sarah said smiling softly. "Some day you will find the one who you will fall for though."
"You think it's Michael?" ZoŽ asked with a hopeful look.
"Could be" Sarah said laying back down.
"Who knows" ZoŽ said smiling with an evil grin and raising her head and leaning on her elbow, "Maybe you'll finally figure out Grace is a loser and dump her for me."
"ZOň" Sarah said in complete shock as ZoŽ looked at her with a mocking grin and began to scoot off the bed backwards. "Come here you're gonna get it, you little hornball."
"NOOOOOOOOOOO" ZoŽ screamed in laughter as Sarah caught her at the door, pinned her to the bed, and started blowing bubbles on her stomach.
To be Continued....