"Well, I was in a hurry, and I guess I didn't really look before I crossed the street, and..." Cate continued.
"...The car hit you??" Kevin asked.
"No, almost. Next thing I know theres a black Escalade nearly two inches away from me. That driver really hit those brakes."
"Thank God he did! That driver would have been in deep trouble, not to mention I would have felt like shit if he'd hit
you," Aaron said. "Anyway, when the driver made his sudden stop, I got out of the car to see if she was okay. Big mistake.
Some fans must have been following in a cab or something and got out when they saw me. Next thing I knew there was like a
huge swarm of them."
"Yeah, that was scary. Anyway, I knew that even if he made it back into that car, the car would never get anywhere. He
told the driver to get out of there and I helped him lose the crowd." she told them.
Aaron agreed, "She knows her way around here. Since we didn't know where the driver went to meet us, we were looking for
him. By then, everyone following us was too far behind to catch up."
"Helps when you point at an unsuspecting pedestrian and yell 'Look! There he goes!'. I just can't believe some of them
really fell for it..." Cate pointed out.
"Me either, but it worked, thats all that matters..." Aaron said, still reminicing in recent events, "While we were looking
for the car, I asked Cate where she was headed. She said she wasn't headed anywhere in particular, and just then we met up
with the driver. It was like, a sign."
"Sign?" Alex inquired, "Of what?"
"That I was supposed to take her with me back here." he replied.
"Cate? Question." Brian requested.
"...Was that it?" she asked.
"No, this was: if you weren't headed anywhere in particular, why were you in such a hurry when you went to cross the street
when Aaron's driver almost hit you?"
"Oh. Guess its my turn?" she sighed. "Well, let me start by saying that my home life is pretty much hell. No, worse
"Oh come on," Aaron said, "Your parents can't be that bad."
Cate looked away from all of them. "Well, I really wouldn't know."
"...What? Wh-Where are they?"
"Cemetery." She said flatly after a few moments. Years of answering that question hadn't made the answer any easier to
say. "Well, I shouldn't say that," she continued, "'cause I really don't know that they were even buried. I always just assumed."
"...Oh. I'm so sorry, Cate." Aaron said apologetically, holding her hand and rubbing it with his thumb.
"I'm sorry too." Kevin added. The others followed suit.
"So am I," Brian chimed, "But that doesn't really answer my question."
"Oh, yeah, that. Well, I hate the woman they put me with -- the state I mean -- and I'm 17, so I really only had to stay
a little longer, but shes such a bitch. Won't let me do anything, unless it involves cleaning. She blames everything on me,
even if it wasn't my fault and she knows it wasn't. Then when the state comes to check up on how things are going shes the
perfect mother, pleasant and nice, and the horns come back out once they leave. She treats me like I'm a freak just because
I'm on medication. Anti-depressants, before you even ask." she took a deep breath to keep the cracking in her voice from getting
"Wow. I'm sorry." Nick said.
"Yeah, that sucks." Howie said.
"Today I got home like three minutes late because I had to drop off some homework to a neighbor, and she threw a shit fit.
Said that I'm not allowed to have friends. At all. That if she can't even stand me, why would anyone else? Tried to throw
a punch at me when I said that she wasn't exactly the most fun to put up with." Cate said, rubbing her arm with the hand Aaron
"...She punched you in the arm?" Kevin asked, noticing what she was doing.
"No, she went for my face, but I tried to block it with my arm."
"Yeah, so I packed up my clothes and my stuff, which there wasn't much of considering she only really buys stuff for her,
she only buys me things when she feels like it, which isn't very often. Anyway, I packed up, and I left her a note, the contents
of which I won't repeat, and I climbed out the window and left down the fire escape. Heard her screaming out my window from
about a block away and then started running. Thats when I almost got personal with an Escalade."
"I'm NOT letting you go back there." Aaron said to Cate. She looked him in the eyes, tears coming down her cheeks.
She hugged him and he rubbed her back. As he was calming her down, he looked around the room at the others. They gave each
other confirming looks. Brian nodded and sat down on Cate's other side.
"We won't either." he said.
"Well, I do have to go back at least once. Well, more like want to." Cate said, sitting up. Brian handed her a box of tissues
and she wiped the tears from her face.
"Why?" Kevin asked.
"Unlike her, I treat human beings like human beings, no matter what, so I guess I just wanna say goodbye the right way.
I also should make sure I got all my stuff and tell her that I'm going to make sure I'm not in her care anymore so she doesn't
seem surprised when I tell the state EVERYTHING. I think this bruise on my arm should be more than enough to make the state
agree with me." Cate said, rolling up her sleeve and revealing a large, dark bruise on her upper forearm. "If not, I can name
a few neighbors who would be happy to tell the state what they've seen and heard."
"...I'm going with you when you go back." Aaron said.
"No way! I won't let you. She only took one shot at me, and this wasn't even really that hard considering how hard shes
hit me before. I don't want you getting hurt." Cate said as she pulled her sleeve back down.
"...What if we all went? And Mark, that guard outside the-" Nick started.
"-Yeah, we've met. I couldn't let you all do that. Shes crazy. She really is. I don't want her to hurt any of you, if I
knew that she hurt someone else because of me, I'd beat myself up."
"You never even told us her name..." Kevin questioned.
"Terra." Cate said, a disgusted look on her face.
"Well, once you take care of what you have to take care of, you can come with us. Even though we're together a lot, we
could still use the company." Brian said, his hand on her shoulder. The other chimed in agreement. Cate looked around at the
others in the room. When she looked at Aaron, she saw his smile, the happiness in his face, and she nodded. 'That smile...'
"Since you'll be joining us, we better let everyone know who needs to know." Alex said.
"Yeah, I have stuff to take care of, too." Howie said, "You're a cool person, Cate. I'm glad you're gonna be with us."
He gave Cate a one-armed hug. "See you all later. Goodnight."
"Goodnight, Howie." The others replied. Howie walked into one of the other rooms and closed the door.
"I think I'm gonna go too. I've gotta call Kristin. Goodnight everyone." Kevin said. He shook Cate's hand and went into
another room, closing the door behind him.
"I know that I'm not tired. I was before, but now, not so much." said Alex.
"Well you don't have a wife and son waiting for your call. I hope I don't wake Baylee, though..." Brian said, looking at
his watch. "Goodnight all, nice to have you for company, Cate."
As Alex came over to talk to Cate, Aaron walked over to his brother and sat down.
"Are you mad at me?" he asked.
"No, Aaron. Why would I be mad at you?" Nick inquired.
"I don't know, I just wanted to know if you were mad." he looked over at Cate. "Shes cool, isn't she?"
"Yeah, she is. I was mad at you for bringing her here until you told us what happened." He glanced sideways at his
brother and saw him watching her closely. "I gotta tell ya, no girl has talked to me like that in a while."
"Yeah. But it was only because you were acting like you were better than her."
"I was not!" Nick argued.
"I guess I kinda was, but what was I supposed to do? And don't act like you've never looked down on any girls I've brought
back to my room with me at the end of the night, Aaron."
Aaron sighed. "She needs a family, maybe thats what she was treating us like. Like family. She talked to you and me the
same way Angel, Les, and BJ do."
"She didn't treat you like you were family to her. You she treated like someone more like a boyfriend to
"What are you talking about?" Aaron asked.
"I saw the way you two looked at each other, the way you were rubbing her hand after she told us about her parents... And
I've never really seen you jump in front of a door to keep someone from leaving, let alone a girl. Ever since she walked in
the door you've been defending her, like she was your girlfriend."
"You were the first one to comfort her, she hugged you when she was crying and you rubbed her back, man. Aaron, don't make
me go on, you know I'm right. You liked her the second you saw her, admit it. Even I saw it. I bet if you asked the
other guys they'd agree."
"Okay, I'll admit it, I like her and I haven't even known her for three hours. But thats just it, I don't know her, but
I feel like I know her." Aaron admitted. "Happy now? Think I'm crazy?"
"No, not really. I saw the way she looked into your eyes. If she doesn't like you back, then shes crazy. And a good
actress, too." Just as Nick finished, Alex walked over.
"So, whats up?" he said.
"I think I'm gonna go talk to Cate. Aaron, why don't you tell Alex here what we were talking about? I'm sure he'd be happy
to answer that question of yours." Nick suggested, getting up.
"Question?" Alex asked Aaron. Nick turned around and laughed as he walked over to Cate, who was tending to her bruise.