Title: Time Goes On
Chapter: Chapter 10 of 10
Warning: This fictional story contains mature content such as; alcohol-usage, profanity, sex and violence, consider youself warned.
Excerpt: I heard all of the things said about me during the time I was with Zac. I heard what a lucky girl I was to have him. How I should be thankful because you would be. I heard how you all would give anything trade places with me even just for a day. I kept getting asked “Would you tell us what it’s really like being with Zac Hanson?” Hmm, not really the answer you were expecting is it?
We drove for hours in silence. I still couldn’t remember what had happened after I had fallen asleep or passed out, whatever, on the bed in our room. I didn’t feel dizzy anymore… I was feeling quite normal. A little scared because Zac still hadn’t said anything about what his plans were or where we were going, but that was usual, being a little scared with Zac, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. I couldn’t tell anything about where we were. It was late and the road was dark. There were no signs anywhere except billboards and mile-age markers. Rarely, another car passed by us but it was mostly semi-trucks. The radio was turned down so music was barely heard through the car and the wind blew in through the cracked window.
Zac had somehow managed to get through a whole pack of cigarettes in three hours. I slid down in the seat and laid my head back. I was almost asleep when Zac finally spoke. “You hungry?” I opened my eyes and sat up. He glanced over at me. I nodded. “Yeah, me too. We’re low on oil and I need some more smokes so we’ll stop at the next gas station. We can just get some snacks for tonight.” he said. “All right,” I agreed. “Do you mind if we turn the radio up?” I asked. He shook his head. “I suppose you could. Just no… no country music ok?” I replied with a nod and leaned forward. Slowly I turned the knob and found a pop/rock station.”Is this good?” I asked. Zac again said “Just no country.”
I sat back and again closed my eyes. After a while Zac touched my arm and asked “Are you awake?” I sighed and said “Yes.” I felt the car slow down and heard him say “Well, come inside and find what you want to eat.” I raised my head and opened my eyes. Zac pulled into a gas station and parked right in front. As I unbuckled my seat belt, Zac grabbed my wrist. I looked at him but didn’t say anything. “Melissa, I don’t want to hurt you. I’m not angry at you and I don’t want you to be scared. We are going to get what we need and then get back on the road. Don’t do anything stupid in here.” He raised his eyebrows and squeezed my wrist. I replied “I won’t.” Then we got out of the car and walked inside.
As we laid our stuff on the counter and Zac asked for some cigarettes, I said quietly “Zac, I have to go to the bathroom.” He glanced at me as he handed the cashier the money and nodded. “Hurry up.” he said. I walked to the back of the store and walked into the restroom. I splashed some cold water on my face. My heart was beating fast but that wasn’t unusual around Zac so it didn’t alarm me all that much. As I looked in the mirror I said to myself, “Just ride this out Mel.” I dried my face and walked out. Zac was leaning against the door jamb that led outside behind the gas station. “I thought you’d probably try to run away.” he said. I shook my head and started walking to the front. Zac smiled at the cashier and we walked outside into the bitter cold air. I sat in the car while Zac put the oil in and then he climbed into the driver’s seat. As he started the car he said “We can get a motel room in the next town. Go ahead and eat something.” I took out the bag of chips as he pulled back out onto the road. I handed him one of the bottles of water. “Zac please don’t get mad but I want to ask you something.” He took a drink of water and replied “What do you want to know now?” I swallowed the last bit of the chips I’d been chewing and asked “Where are we?” He looked over at me and sighed as he turned back to the road ahead of us. “Well, if my guess is right,” he said, “we’re in northern Nebraska. By this time tomorrow, we’ll be in South Dakota.” I took a sip of water. “Why Zac? Why are we going to South Dakota?” He looked at me and smiled. “Well, we’re not. That’s just where we’ll be for a little while.” I looked over at him and asked again “Why?” He smiled but kept facing straight ahead. “You’ll see. I’ve got a big surprise planned for you.”
I sighed and sat back. I watched as he lit a cigarette and I thought for a minute. “Zac,” I looked out of the window, “what about your birthday? It’s day after tomorrow. Are we going to be with your family?” He laughed and answered “Not all of them. Isaac will be with us but no one else. We won’t be in Tulsa. The surprise is partly for him too. Just consider yourself lucky. You’ll know what it is before he does.” I looked over at him. “Now, relax and don’t worry about any of this anymore.” he said. I sighed heavily as I laid back in the seat and watched as dark trees flew past the window. I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t really want to know what was going on, what he had planned. Zac was so unpredictable and the last thing I wanted was to make him angry asking too many questions. So I didn’t talk anymore. Instead, I slowly let myself drift off and became unaware of the world around me.
I started to wake up when Zac picked me up out of the car. I opened my eyes as I felt him lay me down and saw that we were in a small motel room. “Mmm, Zac?” I asked for him as I stretched. “I’m right here baby. You should get out of those clothes so you’ll be more comfortable.” I raised up and slid my legs over and onto the side of the bed. I kicked my shoes off and flopped down again. I stretched my arms over my head and asked “What time is it?” I opened my eyes as he answered “Around one, one thirty in the morning.” I felt him kiss my face and gently pushed on his chest. He took my hand and pinned it over my head as he crawled on top of me. I looked up at him. “Don’t Melissa.” he said quietly. “Don’t fight me.” I felt his grip loosen on my hand as he leaned down to kiss me again. “Zac, I don’t want to do this right now.” I said as I pushed on his chest again. He sit up and smiled. “I know what you need. You need a mood adjustment.” He quickly slid off of me and sat on the bed to pull his shoes back on. “Where are you going?” I asked sitting up. He put his wallet back into the back pocket of his jeans and grabbed his jacket. “Don’t worry. I’m just going to the store down the street.” He looked around. “Oh yeah, I’m not taking any chances.” he said pointing at me. He walked over and took the phone cord that connected the receiver to the base and put it into his jacket pocket. “Now,” he said reaching into the duffel bag “give me your hands.” I stuck my hands out in front of me and he said “Up here.” as he walked to the headboard. “Zac, please don’t leave me here tied up.” He smiled and made a come here motion with his finger. I gave him my hands as I slid myself up to the headboard of the bed. He didn’t tie them tight. In fact, unlike when I first woke up in the other room, I could move my hands around in front of me, but not enough to get off of the bed. He tied me to the middle so I couldn’t even stand next to the bed. “What if I have to go to the bathroom?” Zac glared at me and replied “Do you have to go now?” I answered “No.” He stood up and looked down at me. “I won’t be gone long.” he said. then he handed me the TV remote and a 20oz bottle of coke we’d gotten at the gas station, a bag of chips and a chocolate candy bar. “There. I’ll be back in a bit.” he said as he quickly walked out of the door and locked it. I heard the car door slam and the car start and pull away. I turned the TV on and opened the coke and took a sip. For the next 20 minutes, I watched TV and wondered what kind of ‘mood adjustment’ he had in mind.
I glanced over when I saw the door open. Zac walked in and locked it then smiled at me. “How ya doing baby?” I slightly smiled and answered “Okay.” He sat down a brown sack and took off his jacket and shoes. “Well,” he said walking toward me, “Let’s get you undone.” He gently untied me and the opened the brown sack. “I got you something.” He turned back towards me and smiled. He was holding a bottle of wine in one hand and a package of plastic cups in the other. “Not too fancy I know but hey, it’s the same thing right?” he asked with a shrug. He poured two cups of the wine. “Take your hair down baby. You always look better with your hair down.” He smiled as he turned away from me and I slowly took the elastic band out of my hair. I watched as he hovered over the cups filled with wine for a moment and then he walked over and sat down beside me. He handed me one of the cups and said “Drink it quick, it’ll kick in faster.” I tipped the cup back into my mouth and nearly dropped it when I felt his hand tilting it up by the bottom. “That’s it. Drink it right down.” he said. To my surprise, I had drank it at once without stopping but immediately noticed that he had barely taken two sips of his. “Now,” he said standing and putting both cups on the night table, “lay back and just relax.” I did and for about five minutes, everything was fine. He had taken his shirt off and had pulled my jeans and shirt off. I didn’t try to stop him. I had felt the dizziness again but had thought it was just from drinking the wine as fast as I had. Then it got worse, and my heart started beating faster and faster. I felt his hand gliding up and down my leg. It was almost like a dream. The room became blurry but I could still hear and feel. I was like in a trance of some kind and couldn’t really speak. I tried but no words came… just sounds. I couldn’t really move normally and I had the feeling that I was slightly floating. I wasn’t scared, I was actually quiet relaxed. I looked up as Zac climbed on top of me and whispered “Feeling better?” He laughed a bit and then I felt his hands going from my neck down to my hips and onto my leg and then back up again. He was talking and although I could hear him I wasn’t understanding what he was saying. Then I felt as though I lost all control when he pulled my panties off and I felt his hand move over me. I couldn’t fight him, I couldn’t tell him no. I had never felt that before. It was like I was aware of what was happening but at the same time I wasn’t. I couldn’t respond. I couldn’t move to touch him or try to push him away and I couldn’t speak with desire or rejection. All I could do was feel. Everything was still blurry and I could barely hear him and I couldn’t even begin to understand his words. I felt his lips on my stomach as he kissed up to my neck and I felt his weight on me when he climbed back on top of me after taking his jeans off. I could feel everything from his bare skin to his breath but that was like the only sense I had. I felt his mouth on the inside of my thighs and then his tongue… licking and his lips moving over me but as much as I wanted to, I couldn’t say anything. I suddenly realized that I didn’t know where I was anymore. My mind fought to try and regain control but it was no use. I felt Zac kiss me up my body and to my neck and then I glanced up and saw his face just a few inches from mine… I could see him and he was smiling. I heard him speak. “This would be a lot better if you had never tried to fight me.” His words echoed but before I could even attempt to say anything, I felt his hard thrust into me. I felt him pull at my hair and his quick breaths on my face and neck. Harder he pushed into me. He raised himself off of his forearms and onto his hands. He became blurred again. He wasn’t hurting me, but it wasn’t the pleasure I’d known from him before. I think I was just too out of it to even realize what the sensations were. I tried to raise my hand toward him but couldn’t. I tried to say something but couldn’t. I was helpless and he knew it. He knew I couldn’t get away from him or even try. I couldn’t fight him. I just laid there until I felt his weight fall onto me. His body was slightly sweaty and his breathing was fast and raspy. He laid still for a few moments and then rolled over off of me. I felt his hand on my face and heard him calling my name. I turned my head and looked at him. He was clearer now. “You’ll be all right. That stuff will wear off in a little bit. It’s not meant to last very long.” He said and then stood up and walked to the bathroom. I faintly heard the shower turn on and the door click shut. After a few more minutes, I was able to roll onto my side and I pulled the blanket up around me. A feeling hit me suddenly that I wanted Isaac. I didn’t know why. I just wanted him. I wanted him there to protect me. I wanted him to come and get me. I wanted to be back home in Tulsa. If only there was some way to talk to them. I wondered if Zac had told them anything. Maybe he’d told them that we were on a short vacation or something. Maybe they didn’t think anything was wrong. “Oh God, how am I gonna get out of this?” I whispered. I glanced at the TV and saw that by the clock it was almost three in the morning. Zac would probably want to rest and then get back on the road as soon as possible. I had to find someway to let someone know where I was and that I wanted to get back home. Images of the knife Zac had and the way he’d warned me, threatened me, came back. I knew though that the next person I came in contact with was going to have to find out somehow. I slowly began to drift off. I was only partly awake when Zac climbed into bed next to me and laid his arm across my stomach. I felt him squeeze me gently and then I was asleep.
Things had been quiet on the drive to the next motel. Nothing had been said about the night before except the one time Zac had asked me if I was feeling all right. I had told him I was and the reply he gave was “See, I knew you would be. I told you there is no reason for you to be scared.” He had taken a country road through South Dakota. It was a long drive. Zac had only stopped three times, twice for food and once for gas. He had a small cooler in the back seat that had ice and bottles of water in it. I didn’t say much. I think I was trying to figure out what to do. The next day was his birthday and he’d already said a few times that Ike would be with us but no one else. As the car rolled on into the night I’d kept myself amused looking at the sky and thinking what the family was doing and what they had thought. I’d started wondering if Zac had ever told them anything. Everyone had been asleep the night we left. I wanted to ask about what he’d told them if anything but I didn’t.
I heard him sigh heavily and turned to look at him. Slowly a little more courage came over me and I was able to speak to him for the first time in hours. “Zac, can I ask you something?”
He never looked away from the road in front of us but quietly said “Yes.”
I took a deep breath. “What about Bryce?” He shifted in the seat but still kept his eyes straight ahead. “What about him?” Zac finally said. “Well, where is he? I mean, you just kinda left him.” He glared at me for a moment and then turned away. “I didn’t leave him. He is with his mother. Courtney takes good care of him. I think about him all the time. He’s fine. I don’t have to worry about him or anyone else.” I sat back in the seat and turned my attention back to the dark sky. “How does Ike know where to find us? You said we’d see him tomorrow for your birthday.” I said without turning away from the window. “It’s not for my birthday. I told him where we’d be and that if he wanted to see your pretty face like he remembered it, that he needed to be alone and keep his mouth shut about talking to me and where he was going.” I glanced at him and then back out the window. I suddenly got a flash to the blade of that knife in front of my face. I shook the thought away quickly. Not wanting to anger him, I didn’t say anything for a while. Thoughts rushed through my mind of seeing Ike and hopefully getting out of the whole situation I was in. Isaac obviously knew that something was wrong if Zac had indeed told him that. I did have to consider that Zac had never said such words and had only told me that as another one of those mind games I’d been drawn into before. Then a horrible feeling came over me that I couldn’t shake off. What if Zac had never called Ike? I closed my eyes tightly and leaned my forehead against the cold window. When my eyes opened, my vision had started to blur as tears came. I forcefully held them back not wanting Zac to know I was crying. His voice caused me to jump slightly. “You okay? You’re awfully quiet.” I sighed as I laid my head back against the seat of the car. “I’m fine. I’m tired.” I replied. “Well, we’ll get a room in the next town. I’m tired too.” he said. I felt his hand on my leg for just a moment. I turned to look out of the window again and closed my eyes. As I felt the tears again and tried to keep them from falling, I said a silent prayer.
I stared at myself in the mirror. I was so tired and wishing I could read Zac’s mind. I glanced at him. He didn’t see me. He just sat still and quiet staring at the TV. I looked back in the mirror and ran my fingers through my damp hair. The shower had felt good and had calmed me a little bit. Slowly I turned off the bathroom light and walked over to the bed.
“I need to wash these clothes unless you have some more somewhere.” I said. Zac looked over at me and sighed. Crossing his arms he replied “Ike will be bringing you some tomorrow.” I nodded and put the jeans and t-shirt I’d had on in a plastic grocery bag.
I slid down onto the bed and turned to look at Zac. He had worry and nervousness in his eyes. He was tired too and seemed to be a little paranoid and distracted. He rubbed his fingers together constantly and I’d tried to remember if I’d ever seen him do that before or if it was a new habit. “Let’s go to sleep.” Zac said as he reached over and turned out the lamp next to the bed. “Alright.” I said and crawled up to lay next to him. He slowly ran his fingers through my hair and said “Melissa, I am not going to hurt you as long as you behave. But I don’t want you getting any ideas about seeing Isaac.” He then added as he turned onto his side and faced away from me, “You have spent enough time with him. You belong to me and he can’t have you. No one can have you.” I laid down, scared, confused and wondering if this was all a game to him or if he was telling me the truth… or a mix of both.
“Melissa, hurry up. We gotta go babe.” Zac said as he paced by the door. “All right, I’m coming.” I replied pulling my hair into a ponytail. “Where to now?” I asked as we got into the car. “Well, we are going to eat first of all. Then we are going to meet Ike.” Zac answered as he pulled out onto the highway. I sat back, preparing for another day. In my mind I could hear people asking “Why didn’t you just run away? Why did you go?” Well, honestly, until you have been in the situation you can’t ever say what you’d do. It’s scary and I never thought it would happen to begin with. You just kind of take it day by day and keep hoping for the best. Besides, I knew all too well what he was capable of and that I had yet to see his limits. I think I was too scared to try and run away. It was safer to stay and do what he said. He was in control and although he was stressed and probably didn’t know what he was going to do next anymore than I did, he knew that I wouldn’t disobey him. He knew that I’d do everything he told me to when he told me to do it. He was somewhat paranoid though. I’d noticed him glancing at the door and windows of the rooms when he’d hear a noise outside. He watched people so close and was always on guard. When we were in a room unless I was in the bathroom, I was always tied to the bed and he always took the phone cord on the couple of occasions that he left me at the motels. He watched me so close when we were in a gas station or motel office that I couldn’t let anyone know that he had me against my will.
It was like he could read me, he knew what I was thinking. He’d get this look on his face when I was ‘too close’ to someone. His face would turn to stone, I’d get that death glare and his teeth would clamp together making his jaw tense. He’d bring his hand up by his face as a way to get my attention and then slowly he’d lower it to his back pocket. I knew what he was doing but powerless to defend myself. So I took things as they came. I had already told myself that as long as I did what he told me to, I wouldn’t be hurt. So that’s what I did.
“How’s this?” Zac’s words were soft as they pulled me back to the present. I nodded as he pulled into the parking lot of a small, roadside diner. We walked inside and a young, cheerful waitress greeted us. “Just take a seat anywhere, I’ll be with ya in a sec.” Zac smiled and guided me over to a booth in the corner. We sat down and took our jackets off. “Happy birthday.” I said quietly. I looked up to see Zac smile. “Thanks babe.” he replied. “Zac, have you talked to anyone except Isaac?” I asked leaning forward. He sighed. “Yeah, I talked to mom for a minute last night. She told me to tell you that the family misses you and hi and all that stuff. She said they have been thinking about us.” The waitress walked over and said “All right, what will you two have?” When she looked up from her tablet her mouth fell open and her eyes grew wide as a grin spread across her face. “Oh my God! I know you!” she said pointing her pen at Zac. “You’re Zac Hanson! Well, I’ll be damned! I never thought that I’d see, I can’t believe this…” Zac smiled and held out his hand. He said “It’s nice to meet you. This is my girlfriend…” The waitress waved her hand and said “Melissa, I know. Fans talk about the girls you’re seen with and when she was on tour with you guys we knew it was official.” She giggled and held out the tablet for him to sign. As Zac signed his name she looked over at me. “You are one lucky girl! I hope you know how many girls would give anything to be in your place.” I smiled and said “Yes, he’s uh, he’s a catch.” Zac smiled at me and handed the tablet back to the giddy waitress. He ordered two breakfast specials and then asked the waitress to keep quiet about us being there. I felt a tug in my stomach as she walked away with a wink at me. I sat tense as we ate and then watched as Zac left a 10 dollar bill and a short note, tthanking the waitress for not screaming, on the table. He payed the bill and we walked back out and got into the car.
As Zac pulled back onto the highway he said “That was nice, what you said in there about me.” I just smiled and thought to myself; And it’s nice what people say about someone that they don’t know. I tried to relax but I couldn’t. So many thoughts raced through my mind about what the waitress had said and about seeing Ike. I also kept thinking about what Zac had told me Diana had said. Didn’t they know that I wouldn’t have left them like that? Zac turned on the radio and slid his sunglasses over his eyes. “You were very good to the waitress. I thought you’d try something.” I sighed and replied “No Zac, I’m not going to try anything.” He reached over and squeezed my hand. With a slight laugh he said “I know. You’re too smart to do anything stupid.” He let go of my hand and lit a cigarette. I just watched the world fly by us outside of the window and wondered if Isaac would rescue me the way I wanted him to.
We had gotten another motel room across town and were waiting inside for Ike to call when he got to town so they could decided where to meet. It was late afternoon by then and Zac had become increasingly paranoid about Ike being so late. I lay sideways on the bed with one hand tied to the head board, Zac sat in a chair next to me and flipped through the channels on the TV. He didn’t seem like he wanted to talk much so I didn’t ask any questions. Every time we heard a car outside though, Zac would dive toward the door and reach for the knife he kept in his back pocket. Any loud noise would startle him and cause him to pace around for a few minutes. I laid on my stomach with my head on my arm, and watched as I flopped my hand around just off of the side of the bed. He’d always tie my hands so tight in such complicated knots that I couldn’t even begin to figure out how to untie myself. I’d tug on the rope a few times and reminded myself that it was too short to bring my arm all the way in front of me… then I’d lay my head back down and continue to twist and turn my hand.
“You’re gonna hurt your wrist if you don’t stop jerking your hand around like that.” he finally spoke looking over at me. I sighed and sat up. “It already hurts. It’s sore.” I replied. “Yeah well, keep it still.” he said as he popped the top off of a bottle of beer and took a drink. “It’s stiff and hurts. I won’t run away. Can’t you just loosen it?” I asked with a whine. He glanced over at me and said “No. Keep still and it won’t hurt so much.” I gave my arm a final tug and let a tear fall as I said “Zac. Please, it’s too tight!”
Suddenly he threw the bottle at the wall behind me and screamed “Just stop your bitching! If you quit pulling on it, it won’t hurt!” I drew my knees up to my chest and laid my head on them. “You’re a real piece of work.” Zac said as he sat on the bed next to me. Calmly he said “I’m sorry baby. I’m just a little worked up right now. I don’t want you to be scared or think that I’m gonna hurt you. Ike wants to take you away from me. The whole family does and they are all for you being with him.” I wiped my eyes and looked over at Zac as he continued. “I love you so much, all I’ve ever wanted is to make you happy and take care of you. You are always on guard with me Melissa. You are always so scared that I’m gonna hurt you.” I couldn’t believe it… he said that like I had no reason to be afraid when I was with him, like I had no reason to think he’d hurt me. He pulled me to him and I returned his hug. He raised my head toward him and kissed me. “I know you won’t run away.” he said running his finger down my face. “Give me your other hand.” he whispered. I did, honestly think he would switch my hands and tie the other one. He didn’t do that though. Instead he tied the other one and pulled them closer to the head board. Then he took off his shirt and kissed me again. “Ya know something Melissa?” he asked as his hand went up my shirt and across my chest. “I’m sorry that you don’t trust me and I’m sorry that I’m scaring you. To be honest though, I don’t know why but I get so turned on knowing that you are a little scared. With you being tied up and trembling, it’s almost a fantasy in a way.” He forced me down on my back and climbed on top of me while he slid my shirt up to my neck. His hands roamed freely over my body as his lips kissed across my stomach. I squirmed a little but never said anything. It was as though my mind had left my body and the stress of the days that had passed and the uncertainty about what the following days would hold caught up with me. I wasn’t really thinking anything. The room was spinning and the sounds from the TV were nearly indistinguishable. I laid still and let him pull off my jeans and panties. I let his hands and lips explore my body as he wished and barely let out a sound escape my mouth as his finger tips gently glided up between my legs. He slid up my body forcing my legs apart. His hand slid up into my hair and he tugged a handful as his face came down just a couple of inches from mine. “Do you want me to stop?” he asked breathless. I answered only half truthfully as I shook my head no. He smiled and replied “Good. That’s good. You still haven’t given me a birthday present baby.” he said with a quiet, raspy voice. I bit my bottom lip as he pulled off his jeans and boxers. I tilted my head back and looked above me at the unimaginable way he’d tied my hands. I jerked them as I felt him push into me and heard him let out a low growl. I shut my eyes as he gently moved in and out. I let out a whine through my pressed lips as his hand again tugged at my hair. “Melissa.” he whispered. I opened my eyes to look at him. “Melissa, tell me you love me.” I licked my dry lips and said “I love you.” He stared at me as his movements slowed down. He was breathing heavy and I could feel his arms tremble against me. “Tell me I’m the only one you’ll ever want.” I felt his hand move from my hair to the lower part of my face. “You’re the only one I’ll ever want.” I said. His thrust quickened as my body tensed. As quickly as it started it was over as he let out a low moan and relieved breath and fell on top of me, his body slick with a light coat of sweat and still warm. Almost immediately he rolled over and lay next to me.
After a few moments, he turned on his side and kissed my face. “Melissa.” I looked over at him. I was slightly shaking and my wrist had started to itch-the thin rope had dug into the flesh. “You love me right?” he asked. I nodded in response. “Then say it!” he said with a cold stare and his jaw tense. “I want to hear you say it.” I closed my eyes and whispered “I love…” His hand covered my mouth and my eyes opened quickly. “No,” he said “Look at me and say it.” I licked my lips when his hand slid down. “I love you.” I said in a toneless voice.
He took my face in one of his hands and forced me to look at him. “You love who?” he said raising his eyebrows. “I love you, Zac.” I said as my heart began to pound in my chest.
He laughed and kissed me again. “I love you too, Melissa.” I smiled not wanting to upset him. He got up and pulled on his boxers and jeans. Then he reached into his back pocket and pulled out the knife. He flipped the blade out and stood over me. “Don’t be so scared Mel.” he said when I gasped. “Didn’t we just have a talk about you being so scared?” He reached up and quickly sliced the rope freeing my hands. I rubbed my wrist and he said “Go take a shower, you’ll feel better.” I walked slowly to the bathroom and closed the door. I let the water run down my body, wondering what all Isaac knew.
When I got out, I wrapped a towel around me and wished that I had some lotion as my skin had started to dry. I walked out of the bathroom and saw that Zac was laying on the bed, a newly opened bottle of beer on the bedside table. His eyes were closed and he didn’t move when I began to pull my clothes back on. I sat down on the end of the bed and stared at the TV, not really paying attention to what was on the screen. I looked behind me at Zac a few times and saw that he still hadn’t opened his eyes or moved. I slowly walked over to the small cooler on the floor by the bed and got out a bottle of beer. I sat down in the chair and continued to stare at the TV. As the minutes passed and Zac didn’t wake up, ideas flooded into my head about running. I was too scared to call anyone for the fear that he’d hear me. I just thought if there was some way that I could get out of the door… just some way to give someone a signal of some kind. I glanced around and saw a napkin laying on the table by the window.
We had gotten a small stack of them when Zac and I had gone across the street to get some lunch. I felt my heart beat faster and faster as my eyes switched from the napkin to Zac. He had a certain way of breathing when he was asleep so I knew he wasn’t faking just to see what I’d do. I slowly stood up, watching him the whole time. Backing to the table I got the napkin and the pen that was on the bedside table. I kept looking over at Zac every couple of seconds. I knew the motel maid would be by in a minute.
The lady in the office had recognized Zac and knew that it was his birthday so she’d tell the maid not to disturb us. Plus Zac had hung out the Do Not Disturb sign on the doorknob. I knew that I could leave a note if I could manage to get the door open without waking him up. Oh God, don’t let that phone ring… please. I thought as I scribbled on the napkin and then sat back down trying to tear it in my nervous state. I heard the maid’s cart outside and had decided to reach out and place the note on it while she was in the room next to ours.
I quickly walked to the door and turned around to look at Zac… still asleep. I turned the lock and again glanced at Zac. I then looked at the phone and thought, Don’t ring, please don’t ring. My heart pounded harder than it ever has and I started to feel a knot drawing tighter in my stomach. I cracked the door open slowly with my eyes shut tight. Looking over my shoulder I saw that Zac was still asleep and hadn’t moved. I glanced quickly at the note I had written. I had thought better than to tell them to call the police. I had already dealt the that one night a long time ago and knew that there would be a terrible outcome for me and Zac if the police showed up. Instead, I had written: THIS IS AN EMERGENCY! PLEASE HELP ME! CALL THIS NUMBER. I had written Ike’s cell phone number down and at the bottom wrote: TELL HIM MELISSA IS AT THIS MOTEL. Slowly, I folded the note and glanced behind me. Zac hadn’t moved. I stepped outside and laid the note on the cart and quickly slid back into our room. I shut the door and stared at Zac as I locked it. I walked into the bathroom and closed the door, knowing that I couldn’t tell her anything about Zac. I just hoped that she would call Ike when she found the note. Isaac, whatever he’d been told, would know that I didn’t want to be there and that I needed help. All I could do was wait now and pray that I’d gotten away with what I had just done. (Why didn’t you just run? I knew that’s what people would think. I was too scared to do what I had done so, at that moment, that was all I could handle even trying.) Splashing some cold water on my face I waited for my heart to slow down. I opened my eyes and watched as my hands shook under the running water.
A few minutes passed and a knock on the door terrified me all over again. “Mel, are you all right?” he asked. “Yeah Zac. I’m okay. I’ll be out in a minute.” I yelled trying not to stutter from the fear that ran through me. I turned off the water and dried my hands and face. I walked out and saw him standing by the window. “What? Is something wrong?” I asked.
He looked over at me and said “I don’t know.” I walked toward him as he continued. “Ike still hasn’t called and that crazy maid just ran across the parking lot and nearly fell into the office. I sighed heavily as I thought Thank you, thank you God.
“Something is not right.” Zac said as he pulled his shirt on and started to gather things up. “Zac, what are you doing? Everything is fine. We have to wait for Isaac.” I said. “No! Get your stuff together. We’re leaving now!” I kept trying to think of something to say to him. He finally shouted “Melissa, either get your shit together and get in the car or I’m going to leave without you…” he backed me against the wall and looked down into my eyes. Suddenly that knife blade sprang out in my face and he clenched his teeth as he said “But not before I slice your throat. Get outside and into the car.” He raised his eyebrows and pointed to the door with the knife. I started to cry but did as he ordered. I felt my stomach and heart drop at the same time. He got into the car and drove up to the office door. “You open that car door and I’ll cut your fingers off!” he said as he got out and walked in to check us out. I watched as he stood by the desk. He kept glancing outside at me. I didn’t think it was possible, but in a matter of seconds I became more scared than ever as I saw the maid talking to the office manager. Suddenly Zac turned slowly and looked at me with that famous death glare. I saw the three of them laughing. Then he waved and walked out. When he climbed into the car, I didn’t look at him but I heard him laugh a sarcastic laugh. “Oh God Melissa.” he said with a sigh. “You…” he laughed again, “You are really something. That was… I’m impressed. I never thought that anyone could be so clever and so stupid all at the same time.” He backed the car up and drove straight back into the parking spot that we’d left just moments before. I felt him grab my hair and jerk my head back. I looked over at him as tears fell down my face. His eyes were dark and angry and his teeth were clamped down so tight I could barely understand his words. “Get out of the car.” he said quietly. “Zac, please, I’m sorry.” I cried. He got out of the car and came around to the passenger side. He opened the door and pulled me out. “I said, get out!” He pulled me up to the door of our room and unlocked it, shoving me inside. I fell to the floor and looked up as he closed the door. He turned to face me and as he leaned against it and said “Get up.” I did but couldn’t stand because my knees were so weak with the new fear that flooded over me. I sat down on the bed. He walked over and pulled me up by my forearms. “Zac, please. I don’t know what I was thinking. Please don’t hurt me.” I cried as I looked into his blank stare and a chill came over me as he said “I will not HURT YOU!!!!” he threw me down on the bed and then pulled me up again. “Zac, I’m sorry!” I screamed. He didn’t speak. I looked straight at him. Without a word I felt his hand connect with my face. I fell to the floor and tried to crawl into the bathroom but he pulled me up by my wrist and shoved me hard against the wall. He stood only inches away as he yelled about me betraying him and lying to him. He slapped me a few times as I cried out and then he threw me on the bed and climbed on top of me. I begged “Zac stop please. I’m sorry.” His hands were strong and I screamed as he hit me over and over. I started to feel blood run from my mouth and nose and my eyes hurt even though I kept them closed. He’d pinned my hands down with his legs so I couldn’t cover my face.
Over and over again he hit me harder and harder. With one backhand to my face I felt my head bash against the edge of the headboard on the bed. I felt a dizzy feeling come over me and my body went limp. Then I felt a punch to the side of my forehead and after that, nothing else. I didn’t feel anything anymore. Everything went black and I could no longer see, hear or feel. It was just silent darkness. It was like I’d gone deaf and blind at once.
I started to hear banging and bits of yelling but couldn’t make out any words. Suddenly I heard a one very loud explosion like noise. It seemed so much like a dream though. I couldn’t see or tell what was being said among the yelling or figure out what all the noises were. I saw a bright light in one of my eyes and I focused just for a second to see it shining around a distorted face. Then I felt my eyes close again and I couldn’t move or speak. My body felt numb and then there was a moment of a cold, solid object on the side of my neck… followed by silent darkness again.
My eyes opened but without my mind really taking in what I was seeing for a few seconds. It was bright and I shut my eyes tight and then slowly opened them again. That bright light was still there and it was blinding at first. I could only faintly hear a beeping noise. I tried to look around but I couldn’t turn my head. I felt something on my hand, something that felt stiff. The first thing I really caught notice of was that my arms and legs were numb. My mouth had something in it and my face felt stiff, like there was glue all over it. My body felt restricted and weak and everything was blurry.
All of a sudden, there were voices. I couldn’t make out what anyone was saying though but there were a lot of voices and someone talking over a loud speaker that rang in my ears. I felt something on my wrist and then I heard the faint, echoing sound of my name. It was a woman calling my name. Her voice was soft. “Melissa, can you hear me?” I blinked my eyes trying to see her face but all I could see was white above me and that bright light. “Melissa, you are going to be fine. Just stay still for me okay.” I wanted to talk but words just wouldn’t come out. I got a panicked feeling all at once and felt my body start to tremble and then shake. I tried to stop but couldn’t. My legs and arms shook harder and harder and then a man’s voice yelled out. All I could understand was “Page.” He yelled “Page,” and then his words were mixed together. I felt a sharp stick in my other hand. My body continued to shake and then I heard more yelling and I could feel hands on me. Everything started to fade. I couldn’t tell what anyone was saying and that light got darker and darker until I was dragged back into a silent black world where I couldn’t speak, move, see, hear or feel.
I heard that beeping noise again. I felt cold. My fingers were stiff and they hurt when I tried to move them. My face was sore and stiff and there were voices over a loud speaker again. My eyes slowly opened and after a bit, came into focus. I could hear myself breathe. God, it was so cold. I again found myself unable to move. My mouth was dry and my head hurt. I looked around and that bright light began to fade a little to where I could see things. I was laying down. There were all kinds of machines that I’d never seen before. I glanced down and saw that my hand, which was laying across my stomach, had needle marks on it. I became a little more mobile and was able to turn my head slightly. I couldn’t remember anything at first.
I remembered being in a room with Zac and… ZAC! I tried to think of where he was. I remembered him yelling and that I had been dizzy. I looked on one side of me toward the door but saw no one. Oh God, where is he? I thought. My heart began to beat faster as I realized I was in a hospital. I was hurt, Zac had hit me. I felt a little uneasy and nervous. Where had he gone? Was he here? For a moment I thought about what he must have told the doctor. I could only imagine what, if anything, he’d told anyone else. Isaac! Where was Isaac? He was supposed to be there with us wasn’t he? I tried to sort my thoughts and remember what had happened. Why was I here? Where was Zac and Isaac? Oh God, I was starting to hurt.
Then I looked on the other side of me by the window. He was sitting by my bed, asleep in a chair. My stomach knotted for a second as I looked at him. His legs stretched out in front of him with his feet crossed and resting on the edge of the bed. One arm beside him, his hand on his leg. He had the other arm bent with his elbow on the arm of the chair and his head leaned over, his fingers bent on the side of his face. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted so bad to talk to him. There was no one else in the room. The machines now made quiet steady noises. I watched as his chest rose and fell with his breathing. I just stared at him. I got flashbacks to bits and pieces of the days that had passed but nothing that took my main focus off of him. Then he started to move. He raised his head and rubbed his eyes as he took his feet down off of the bed. I stretched out my fingers trying to reach out to him. He glanced up and looked right into my eyes. I saw tears come to his as he reached out and gently took my hand.
“Oh my God, you’re awake.” he whispered as he scooted the chair up close to me and rubbed his hand over his face again. I could only nod as his tears began to fall and I felt my own eyes starting to water. He came closer and gently leaned his forehead against mine. I felt his body shake as he cried and could no longer hold in my own emotions. I too cried as a flood of relief came over me. After a minute he raised his head an looked at me. He wiped my eyes dry and slowly a smile spread across his face. “Melissa, baby, you’re gonna be all right. I promise, you’ll be okay.” He ran his fingers through my hair and took another grip on my hand as he wiped his face on his sleeve. “Where’s Zac?” I whispered. Isaac glanced down and kissed the back of my fingers. I saw tears coming to his eyes again. I licked my dry lips and forced the words out.
“I’m scared Ike. Please tell me where he is.” I watched as he looked back at me and rubbed the side of my face with the back of his hand. “Melissa, do you remember being at the motel?” I nodded. “Do you remember leaving the note for the maid?” I answered, “It was for you.” He nodded and said “Yes, she called me and told me what it said. I was on my way to the motel when she called me back. She said that she was really sorry and that Zac had explained everything to her.” I listened as Ike told me how he’d told the maid that it was an emergency and for her to call the police. “She called them?” I asked.
“Yes, the people next door heard you scream. They called the office and then the police came. Zac was… he was in bad shape. He wouldn’t let them in. he told them that you were dead and he was crying and yelling and threatening to kill himself. They couldn’t get him to put the knife down. He finally agreed to let the paramedic come in and help you, and a police officer came in with her. He started toward him with the knife and…” He got quiet. His eyes shut tight as he took a deep breath. “No, Ike! Oh God, please no! Please don’t tell me that.” I started to cry, knowing what he was going to say. “They didn’t have a choice. He was out of control. He stabbed the police officer in the room and he was coming toward another one. They yelled at him several times.” We both began to cry and I asked “Did they not try to help him?” Isaac took a moment to compose himself and then said “Yes they did. He was brought here too. He was in surgery but they…” he paused and then continued as another tear fell down his face. “They just couldn’t do anything. He’d taken some pills and then the bullet pierced his lung. The pills made him go into cardiac arrest. They couldn’t get his heart stable. They tried for so long but…”
I cried out both in fear, pain and anger all at once. Isaac held onto me and we cried together. It made my face and head hurt and my throat sore. “Isaac.” I said softly after several minutes. “Hmmm.” he replied glancing back up at me. “Where is everyone else? Do they know?” I asked. Isaac wiped his face with his hand and said mom and dad are here with Taylor and Tori. Everyone else is back in Tulsa. They know what happened yes. They know that Zac lied about you and him leaving and that he had drugged you.” I suddenly got confused. “Drugged me?” Ike looked at me. “Yes.” Well, that was it, I thought. I had longed since suspected it but I kept thinking I was wrong. “They brought you here and had to bandage you up. He did a serious number on you. The doctor said that you were going to be in pain and probably unable to do a lot for a while. The nurse came into the waiting room a few hours ago and said that you had started to wake up but had gone into a slight shock and they had to give you something to knock you out. They gave you something for pain too, which is why you probably feel like your arms and legs are numb.” I nodded and Ike smiled. “Don’t worry. You’ll be fine.” He leaned down and kissed the side of my head. Without moving his lips away from me he said “It’s over. It’s all over. No one will ever hurt you again.” I trembled as I again started to cry. I felt a rush though when I heard the door open and heard her say “Isaac honey, let me take over in here. You go and get something to…” I turned and saw her hands clamp over her mouth. Tears flooded from her eyes as she slowly walked over and looked down at me.
“She woke up a little bit ago.” Isaac said as he stood up and stretched. “I’m gonna go tell them.” Diana nodded as she draped her arms over me and began saying over and over “My darling Melissa, Thank you God.” I cried with her and when she finally pulled away she said “Don’t you worry. You’ll be fine. You’re safe now.” I held her hand and said “Diana, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” She replied. “No, shh. Don’t you be sorry for anything. You and Zac both won’t hurt anymore. It’s all over now, for all of us. It’s over for him. He’s at peace now.” We cried a few minutes more until I heard Tori’s voice. “Melissa.” I watched as she and Taylor and Walker stood by the door. “Oh sweetheart, what did he do to you?” Tori said as they all walked over and hugged me one by one. There were so many tears and so much was said all within a few minutes that I can’t even remember what it was. I just knew that I was with my family again. I would be home soon. I was safe and although I still had love for him in my heart, I knew that Zac couldn’t hurt me anymore.
He was tortured. he was miserable. There was so much pain inside him that he couldn’t get rid of. He was an emotional wreck everyday. Nothing seemed to ease his feeling of loneliness and nothing ever took away that anger he carried down deep until it would explode. I loved him still, even then, laying in that hospital bed. What he had done to me that last few minutes of his life has never left me. I knew that I’d have to forgive him. It was in the back of my mind. There, along with the memories of him that were some of the best moments of my life. They’ll never go away. Even in so much pain, I loved him. I found myself thinking that I wanted him to walk through that door and hand me some flowers. I wanted to hear him say he loved me and that he was sorry. I wanted him to kiss me and say that he’d never hurt me again. I wanted to hear his voice, his laughter, see his eyes and smile and feel his arms around me. I didn’t though, I couldn’t. It wasn’t possible.
They next week I spent in the hospital gaining back my strength and bracing for what was going to have to be done. I knew then and there I was going to have to talk about what had happened. I wanted people to know. I knew that those secrets couldn’t be kept any longer. So, mentally and physically, I prepared myself for it. For reliving all of it and letting strangers in on our private lives. After all, you always wondered right? You always asked what things were like at home and how it was dating and being married to one of the guys. Not exactly what you imagined it to be huh? I heard all of the things said about me during the time I was with Zac. I heard what a lucky girl I was to have him. How I should be thankful because you would be. I heard how you all would give anything trade places with me even just for a day. I kept getting asked “Would you tell us what it’s really like being with Zac Hanson?” Hmm, not really the answer you were expecting is it?
I sat in a chair staring out of the window in the living room. My mind kept replaying over and over everything that had happened since the day I’d met Zac. I had so many wonderful memories and some that weren’t so good. I sighed heavily as I thought that it wasn’t possible so little time had gone by. It seemed to be 10 years in the past. So much had changed since we’d gotten home after… yes after what had happened. The worst memories I’ll ever have are from those few days. We’d had a memorial service for Zac and then just the immediate family attended a burial service where he was placed two plots from Angel. Some fans had gathered at the motel and held a candle light service for him that same week.
It was all over the news for a long time. The story had already come out about him being in the treatment center and how he’d abused both Courtney and me. Bit by bit the whole thing had unfolded. Although most of it was left unsaid and only half of what was told was told completely truthfully. I think that’s why I decided to tell the story myself. The family kept telling me that even if the fans didn’t believe all of it, or even any of it, at least the whole truth would be out there for them to make their own decision. I’d hear people saying things about me and him, most of it wasn’t very flattering. As far as the world knew, I had lived a dream life. People made me out to be a gold-digging, betraying whore, that was the most commonly used phrase for a long time anyway. It didn’t take long for a few fans to come forward about seeing Ike and I together at different times alone so that didn’t make things any better for anybody. No matter how much people talked about what Zac had done,
I really don’t think any of his fans loved him any less.
Honestly, I didn’t want them to. I knew that things would be said and believe me, I heard it all. It wasn’t easy on any of us. We all had to learn to live with the whispers and stares. The whole family had been quiet and reflective over the first year. Holidays weren’t very good but the kids made them happier times than they would have been. Everyone had been saying the same thing about how it wasn’t my fault, that they didn’t blame me and how Zac and I both were finally okay now. I missed him and still loved him. We all had to learn to adjust and although we were back to a routine there was a part of all of us missing.
I stared out of the window at a leaf blowing across the ground with a gust of wind. “Oh Zac, after all this time, I still miss and love you.” I whispered. The wind calmed and the afternoon sun shone through a patch of clouds.
I smiled, little things had reminded me of him constantly. Once in a while, I saw a flash of his eyes, peaceful and shinning and that smile… that contagious smile that he had. I’d hear him laugh in my dreams and more than once I had woken up out of a sleep with the sense that he had been laying beside me. I know, I know. Crazy me….
The house felt different. Bryce stayed with us a lot. Courtney had gone back to school so we’d become babysitters. No one minded though. It was nice to have a little piece of Zac with us all the time. He certainly had developed some of Zac’s personality traits! He was a great little boy and he and Joshua were nearly inseparable. Zac’s room had been turned into a playroom, which we all thought he’d have been fine with. Tori and Taylor were expecting a second baby so as always there was some distraction from the little pain that we all felt every time Bryce learned something new or one of Zac’s favorite movies came on TV, it seemed like there was something that happened everyday that brought it all back. Isaac and I often had long talks about everything and reflected on our lives with and without Zac and what might have been. Taylor and Ike had began writing and playing on demos for other singers and producing music. They still played and sang for family and friends but no longer played on stage. They were doing good though and were in demand as writers, musicians and producers. Jessica had just enrolled in nursing classes and was about to celebrate her first anniversary with her boyfriend. Avery was getting ready to graduate high school and planned to go into a career as a therapist. (We’ll have to wait and see how that works out.) Mac was about to go into high school so he was geared up for that. Zoe had seemed so listless for so long. She ended up having to go to therapy for almost eight months before she became that giggly, spunky little girl again. Thinking of all the changes in the family also made us miss Zac… he was missing so much that he wanted to be around for. Oh no, I won’t cry, not again! There wasn’t much time to cry really. The house was buzzing with activity. The family had vowed to make that coming Christmas the best one we’d had in a few years. So Diana and Walker had not allowed any sadness or bad memories to bring down anyone’s spirits.
I stood up and walked away from the window catching sight of the TV screen. I reached down and turned it up slightly. Avery and Diana walked in out of the kitchen and paused to listen to the announcement. “Mel, are we gonna…” Isaac started as he came downstairs. “Shhh.” Diana and I said at the same time as Avery held up her hand. Taylor and Tori came into the living room from the den and stopped instantly when they saw what we were watching. A Tulsa news anchor spoke as a few pictures, one of Zac, one of all three guys and one of Zac and me together, showed on the screen.
“Fans will be holding a Christmas candle light prayer service this weekend as a tribute to Zac Hanson. The youngest member and drummer of the band Hanson, which also consisted of his two brothers, Isaac and Taylor, shot to fame in 1997 with the hit MMMBop. The young singer was shot by a South Dakota police officer after stabbing another officer in a motel room. The police had been called after other guest alerted the manager to sounds of screaming coming from the room where Zac Hanson and his girlfriend were staying. Police say that Hanson was threatening to commit suicide after apparently attacking his girlfriend. She was found beaten and unconscious on the bed inside the room but survived the attack. When the police entered the room, Hanson stabbed one officer in the chest and was shot when he refused to put down the knife. He was taken to the local hospital where he died while in surgery. The two year anniversary of his death was this past October. The service will begin at five and is expected to last until ten.”
Diana stood up and sighed heavily as she turned the TV off. I felt Ike’s arm around me and leaned into him. He kissed my forehead and buried his face in my hair. My body still tightened at the sight of the police and ambulance in the parking lot and the crime scene tape around the room at the motel. Hearing the story of Zac dying again just opened new wounds.
“Well,” Isaac sighed, “Are we gonna go get the new tree lights?” he asked. I nodded as I walked over and pulled on my jacket. “Oh wait!” I want to give you a grocery list.” Diana said walking into the kitchen. I followed her and smiled when I saw Jessica helping Bryce up into his booster seat at the table while Joshua sat on her hip. The boys sat chattering and I helped Jess finish fixing their snack. Isaac and Taylor had taken up a new form of talking to the kids so the four of them sat having their own kind of conversation.
I quietly walked out onto the front porch. I stood quietly looking up at the sky and wishing it was spring. Although I loved winter, I loved spring a little bit more. It always made me think of everything coming back to life after surviving a long, cold winter. Zac used to say that spring was the season that proved time goes on. I became lost in thought until I heard someone call my name. “Melissa, there you are.” Tori said stepping out onto the porch. “Hi.” I said with a smile. She stood by the door and said “Diana wants you for a minute.” I nodded and she asked “Are you all right?” I smiled again and said “Yeah, I was just thinking.” She walked over and asked “About the book?” I sighed and looked out into the yard again. “Yes. I’m kind of nervous about it being out. I just don’t want…” I sighed again as I looked down at my hands. “You don’t want to do anything that might have disappointed Zac.” Tori stated. I glanced at her, again amazed at the ability she’d always had to finish my sentences. She smiled. “It’ll be okay. You’ll see. He hurt you a lot. He hurt all of us. He’s never been angry at anyone though, I don’t think. He was always angry at himself.” I hugged her and when we pulled apart she said “Come on.” I followed her into the house. Taylor was sitting in the floor with Joshua and Bryce playing with a bunch of toy cars. Isaac, as always, had a video camera. When he turned toward us, both he and Taylor laughed as Tori just rolled her eyes and put her hand over the lens. “Hey hey. None of that!” Ike said with as he pulled her hand down. Taylor stood up and said “Isaac, film her stomach.” Diana walked into the room and gave Taylor a playful slap on his arm. “Turn sideways.” Ike directed. Tori sighed and turned to stand sideways. Taylor pulled on her shirt from the back to tighten it around what the baby bump starting to show. Tori giggled and rubbed her stomach. “And how much longer today?” Ike asked. “Four more months!” Taylor said. We all laughed. Isaac turned off the camera and threw his arm around my shoulder. “And how are you?” he asked. I smiled and said “I’m just fine.” He leaned down and kissed my forehead. Over the past eight months, the family had stopped tensing and staring at each other when Ike and I kissed or hugged. It had taken a long time for everyone, including the fans and even the two of us, to be comfortable with the idea of us being together. There were still a few fans who felt that it was ‘wrong’ and ‘inconsiderate’ and some even called it ‘Part of her plan.’ For the most part, we’d been accepted as a couple. We loved each other so much and to ignore it anymore just wasn’t a possibility for anyone. “We have to get on with it. We have to live again somehow.” Diana had said.
Jessica and Avery walked into the room with a piece of paper. “What are you two doing?” Taylor asked. “We made a grocery list.” Jessica answered. “I don’t know what we’re gonna do without her when she gets married.” Walker teased nodding toward Jessica. “Make Mel do grocery list!” Taylor said winking at me. “Ha ha. Why don’t you do the grocery list.” Ike said as he took the list and we walked toward the door. The room filled with laughter and Diana said “Be careful and don’t be out too long.” Ike smiled and we walked out and got into the car.
“Sweetheart? What are you doing?” Ike’s voice pulled me out of my thoughts and I turned and looked at him. “I’m just thinking.” He sat up in bed and rubbed his hand over his face. “Come back to bed, I’m gonna get cold.” he said pushing the blankets down. I closed the curtain with a sigh. He patted the bed as I walked over and slid in next to him. Isaac pulled the blankets up around us and hugged me tightly. I lay my head next to his as he ran his fingers through my hair. I always felt different with him than I did with Zac. I felt safer and more comfortable. Slowly I drifted to sleep. With his arms around me I felt as though nothing could hurt me again. He loved me and protected me and had given me the security to live my life again without fear.
The next two weeks passed by quickly as Christmas approached closer. It was turning out to be a wonderful time. The house had filled with laughter and Christmas music. Jessica’s boyfriend had presented her with a promise ring. They planned to be engaged but Jessica had insisted they wait until she was done with school. On Christmas Eve, we were all in the living room and chatting about different things. Taylor had out of the blue directed the conversation to Ike and me and how we’d been together for a year. It seemed to be something everyone was amazed at. Taylor got out the video camera and Tori picked up her digital camera off of the table. Diana said “Well this is a great Christmas!” Walker kissed her cheek and nodded. I suddenly became aware of the room getting quiet. Ike slowly stood up and looked down at me for a moment. “What?” I asked with a laugh. He reached over and pulled out a box from under the tree. “Here, I’ll let you open one early.” he said sitting down on the arm of the couch. I smiled and slowly opened the box only to find inside a slightly smaller box. I looked at him as he glanced at his parents. I opened the smaller box and found yet another box smaller than that. After I reached the fifth box, each one smaller than the one before it, I started to wonder if there was some kind of prank going on. The room had filled with giggles and I braced for something to jump out of the sixth box I was now opening. But what I found was a small piece of paper. Just two words written on it: Stand Up. So I looked around the room and then stood up. When I did, Ike slowly got on his knee in front of me and opened a small white box. Inside was the most beautiful engagement ring I’d ever seen! I was sent into a fit of laughter and tears as he said “Melissa, I’m gonna make this short and right to the point. I love you. I know that I’ll never love anyone else. I don’t want to be with anyone else. Will you marry me?” I just nodded as the family laughed and applauded. We were soon in the middle of a group hug and I really don’t think Diana, Tori and I have ever cried so much. A lot of people would say it was wrong, but I just couldn’t see that. I was home with my family, I was safe and happy. For the first time in so long, we were happy.
This fictional story is hosted at The Gifted Ones,
with permission from the author Chelle.